Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No costumes this year :(

There seems to be a pattern this month...."a month without (fill in the blank)" Like I have already said in my pumpkin carving post, Halloween has never been a big tradition in our family. However, I have always dressed the kids up in costumes since they were infants. There is nothing cuter to me than to see little babies and children in costumes! Since they have never even been "trick or treating", Brad says it is a complete waste to buy them costumes, but I keep telling him it is all about the pictures!!! But, this year is the first year I didn't buy them costumes. It did seem like a silly expense when we are saving money for the adoption and really, it is just to look cute and take pictures for their scrapbooks I haven't even started! Plus, this year Halloween fell on Wednesday night when we have church and the kids ended up being sick anyway, so there really was no need.

So instead, I dug up photos of their costumes in the past and that satisfied my desire for costuming this year. Every year, they seemed to get cuter!!
2002-Isabella at 4 months old as an adorable little elephant
2003-Isabella at 16 months old as the cutest cow ever...Moooooo!
2003-Elijah at 2 months as a precious little jester
2004-Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann (my favorite so far!)
2005- Beautiful Snow White & a cute & mischievious little monkey
2006-Bozo the Clown and a little party clown

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Carving!

Halloween has never been a very big deal in our family, although every year we DO carve a pumpkin or two. The kids absolutely love it and surprisingly enough, they both love to reach inside the pumpkin and pull out the "guts"! We carve the same looking pumpkin every year and Mommy always marks the pumpkin face and Daddy cuts:
  • (2) hearts for the eyes showing the love we have for Jesus
  • a cross for the nose showing the love He has for us

  • an icthus for the mouth showing our faith in Him

Obviously, we then put a candle inside and set it on our porch. Except for this year......

This picture shows how far we went with the whole "pumpkin carving" thing until it got ugly! And don't let these precious little smiles fool you either!

Shortly after this picture was taken, they began fighting over whose pumpkin had more "guts" and before we knew it, it had escalated to the point that Elijah reached into his pumpkin and fiercely (not playfully) threw his "guts" at Isabella. So, she threw her "guts" on him as my jaw hit the floor! Daddy swooped in and showed his "guts" by shutting down the "pumpking carving booth", giving them baths and sending them to bed pumpkinless! Needless to say, we told the kids they would have to wait until Aunt Brittany came in town this weekend to finish the pumpkin carving (because she wanted to do that with them!). When she came over to carve the pumpkins with the kids, we lifted their lids and they were rotten and disgusting! So.....no pretty carved pumpkins this year, so here is a picture of our typical pumpkin from 2 years ago (since I can't find the picture from last year). So cute!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

THANK YOU!

Ever since April 2006 when we began our adoption journey, we knew it would stretch us in many ways. We have learned along the way that the Lord stretches us in ways that are known and ways that are unknown through adoption. In all ways, however, the Lord has guided us and provided for us even when our faith was shamefully barely visible. One of the ways we knew we would have to trust him completely was through our finances as most adopting families quickly understand. We have had to pay fees when we had no idea where the money was going to come from, but every time, the Lord provided a way. Every time. And every time, we are blown away by His provision for us! Today, was no different and so unexpected....

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, so we were to gather at a restaurant today after church to celebrate. My brother, Trey, and sister-in-law, Reagan, and their children live in Katy and were driving into Kingwood to celebrate with us but stopped by our home before we all left for the restaurant. Since Brad's birthday was last week, Reagan handed Brad a very thick envelope with his birthday card in it and as he opened it, a huge wad of cash was tucked inside with a note saying that they had held a garage sale yesterday in Katy to raise money for our adoption!!!! We had no idea that they were doing this for us and I was completely shocked as the tears would not stop!
(Rachael, Reagan, Trey, John Isaac & David)
Not only did they have a garage sale for us but our niece and nephew had a "candy stand" to help bring in some money and then went around the neighborhood selling candy door to door! Even Reagan's dad who makes furniture and wooden crosses, donated some to the sale!! Altogether they raised $769 and so selflessly gave it to us to bring home our children! We are truly touched by their support and love and know that the Lord used all of them to provide for our costs of adoption! We are so humbled and so very thankful!

Rachael & David selling candy at the Garage Sale!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pumpkin Farm

Today, we met my mom, dad, and two sisters at a pumpkin farm not that far away from where we live. We try to go to different pumpkin farms in October and I must say that this farm was the best! They have an outdoor eating place that is covered with a food bar, games, clean restrooms, a wooden fortress built playground, a stage for special performances, all sorts of animals to pet, hayride, but most of all, a kiddie zipline! The kids took pictures with Granna and Poppy on the hay bails: And then went to pet the animals in the barn:
That is a pig he is petting!
Isabella said the animals were nasty and she didn't want to touch them and "then maybe, accidently rub my eyes and get an eye infection!" I have taught her too well! So this is a "posed" picture.....I made her just touch the goat but told her she didn't have to "pet" the goat!

And this hen was making all sorts of racket in the barn, so we went in to see what all the clucking was about! She kept squatting and all of a sudden, out popped that brown egg underneath her!!! I am not kidding!! (I know it is blurry, but I took it in a hurry without focusing.)

Then, we all turned around to leave and this is what we saw:It was like they were coming to see what all the human-fussing was all about! Then, we turned to leave out the other side of the barn and this was waiting for us!I am not kidding, this llama looked part human and partly animated! It was just staring a hole through us! It was beautiful but really kind of freaky!!

We all then made our way to the "kiddie" zipline (and I use the term "kiddie" loosely!) We strapped the kids into their harnesses, told them to hold on tight, and let them loose to ride side by side and they LOVED it!

Poppy and Elijah after his first ride down the zipline!

In fact, it looked like so much fun, Brad decided to try it but the harness was too little (again, this was a "kiddie" zipline) and after he rode the line, he tried to get out of the harness as it moved back and forth on the line! I don't think we have ever laughed so hard! Everybody (except Granna and Poppy) took several turns riding the zipline, and loved it so that is why we all say this was the BEST pumpkin farm we have been to so far!

Aunt Christi and Elijah reinacting 'Titanic' even though Elijah had no idea what he was doing. We just told him to shout, "I'm the king of the world!" and he obliged!

On the way home, we stopped by Cracker Barrell for lunch and rocked on the porch for a long while. It was so relaxing as the weather was perfectly breezy! It was a great day especially because it was Granna's birthday!

Friday, October 26, 2007

On the WAIT LIST!!!

Today our paperwork was sent out to D.C. for authentication and we are officially on the "wait list" for a referral!!! Here is the email we received:

Dear Brad & Kimberly,

You are officially placed on waitlist to receive a referral! I reviewed your dossier documents, and they are ready to be sent today to Washington, D.C. for final authentication. Currently, families have waited up to three to five months to receive a referral. Please keep in mind that this timeline is subject to change at any time. Congratulations on making it through the tedious dossier process!

I will be in touch with you as soon as a referral is ready for you. I ask for your patience during this time and completely understand that “waiting” is probably the most difficult (yet exciting!) part for most parents. I would like to confirm that your referral preference is for 2 children (twins or siblings), male or female, between the ages of 0-3 years.


They went on to explain about training hours we needed to complete before we traveled and any vaccinations we needed before travel.

We are so excited to say the least!!! Now, we wait.......

“Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Isaiah 26:8

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gladney bound!

Hooray! We overnighted our dossier to Gladney today! I feel such relief that I have all that paperwork behind me and out of my hands!! I feel like I have been working on paperwork for 18 months straight! (Well, I really have!) So, now we move on to the next phase of this process which is the "Waiting stage". And even though it may sound a little strange, I am so tired of paperwork, I oddly welcome this next step of waiting. But I know I probably will have to eat my words when I become overly anxious and not wanting to embrace the wait time!

So here is our dossier spread out with everything included:

And here are all of our photo pages we had to include: (We were able to use some of the ones we had already made for our China dossier which helped tremendously!)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Juvenile Diabetes Walk

Back in August, we were told that my cousin, Bethany, has Juvenile Diabetes. As she was getting ready to go back to Texas A&M for her sophomore year, she had a doctor's appointment where they discovered that her insulin levels were drastically elevated. She was told to get to the hospital, and within a couple of hours her entire life had changed. She is only 19 years old and has Juvenile Diabetes (Type I).

This has been a whirlwind these past several months, as she has had to accept this new medical condition, quickly educate herself about it, learn how to cope and balance a new diet, medicines, exercise, and documenting when and how much she exercises and eats all while trying to be a "regular" college student! I know it has been overwhelming to say the least, but she loves the Lord and knows He is in control. What a blessing to know the Lord and have hope in Him when we experience heartache and trials!
In an effort to show our support for Bethany and others with Juvenile Diabetes, we all were invited to participate in the Houston Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Run/Walk early this morning! Of course, we were late and heard the gun go off to signal the start as we were walking up through the gate! We were a motley crew (Mom, me and the kids, Trey, Reagan and their kids) all eager to get started and almost every corner we would pass, Mom (with her two brand-new knees) would ask if we could see the finish line!! We brought a 2-seater wagon and a little trike that the kids fought over, as Reagan had a 2-seater jogging stroller with Isaac and all of our bags in it. Since the whole walk was contained, we kind of just let the kids run free as long as we could still see them up ahead and they loved it! Elijah's favorite part were the "break tables" stocked with water bottles and fruit! We really took our time just visiting as we walked and taking rest breaks, and at one point we actually stopped to watch the kids roll down a steep grassy hill on the way. We were pretty oblivious to the others passing us until we looked around and discovered that we were literally the LAST people in the walk and we still had a long way to go!!! We started laughing as we passed each "break" point because the volunteers would clap really hard trying to encourage us to "keep going"! Then they would dump all the leftover apples into our little wagon! Elijah decided to hang with the food and would bite a row all around an apple and then throw it off the side of the wagon, only to do it again to another apple. Trey and I had to keep picking up his barely eaten apples and throw them away. (Even with all the apples Elijah consumed, we still came home with over 50 apples!)
As we were approching the end of the walk, there were signs posted on both sides of the path with pictures of the kids who had Juvenile Diabetes and it was pretty sobering to say the least.
We crossed the finish line so late, that most everyone had dispersed! We were so glad that we went and were a part of something to encourage Bethany. We met up with them under their tent where we received our T-shirts they had made for everyone and got to visit with more of our family for a while. It truly was a great time and Bethany's team alone has raised over $10,000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research (with more rolling in!) Oh, and as we were walking to the parking lot to go home, we (just Mom, the kids and I since Trey and Reagan parked elsewhere) not only realized that we were the absolute LAST people left, but that we had no idea where we were parked! There were a bazillion lots all color coded, but do you think either one of us ever looked up at where we parked this morning? No. We were running late, so we jumped out of our car and blindly followed the other "sheep" through the parking lot and between the cones to the starting line! We didn't even know what COLOR lot we parked in, so as we meandered around the lots and going with our "gut" feel, we found our lot! It was the only lot with a car in it and we felt like we were in the desert and seeing a mirage of our car!

We felt a little like "TweedleDum and TweedleDee".

Friday, October 19, 2007

Birthday Photos

Okay....so, this year I have been running soooo late on getting the kids their birthday photos. Since they both have summer birthdays, I am more than a couple months behind but better late than never! So here are a few of the pictures:

Isabella's 5 year old picture

"Mommy made this dress and hairbow for me!"

Elijah's 4 year old picture
"Granna made this reversible dinosaur shortall for me!"
Sister and Brother...
.....cute as can be!

These next pictures were taken inbetween takes:

"Gimmee a kiss, please?"
"Come here and give me a kiss!"


"I've got you now!"


"Mom? Are you seeing this?"
This is one of my favorite pictures!
They truly adore one another!

Little Violinist

Ever since the kids were much younger, they have LOVED the Little Einsteins show on the Disney Channel. The show is about these little animated kids who go on journeys with their rocketship and it is all set to classical pieces of music and art. They teach the kids about all the classical pieces and their composers and the scenes in the background are of the different art pieces. When Isabella was around 3 years old, she began to notice every time a violin was played in each episode. Then, she began to notice a violin playing in other music she heard everywhere she went and would get really excited about it!

She began to ask for a violin to play on last summer, so we waited to see if her interest changed to something else before we started looking for one. Last year for Christmas, she was totally surprised to find a violin especially for her!
(side note: notice how Elijah wants NOTHING to do with Christmas!)


video

We had bought the cheapest one I could find for $25 and she played it all the time never losing interest! So, this summer, one of the gifts my parents gave her for her 5th birthday was.....vioin lessons! It took us a while to find a teacher who would teach a child so young, but a few weeks ago, she began her violin lessons!

We brought the violin that she got for Christmas to her lesson and quickly found out that it was something that "real" violinists call a V.S.O (violin-shaped object)! So, she had to be measured for her very own violin that we rented (you do not want to know how much they cost to buy!)and these pictures are of her getting fitted with her new violin at her teacher's house!

A little shy, a little nervous....but a whole lot of cuteness!!

You can see her "old" violin has been "retired" for display on top of our piano.

I must say that she is the most adorable little violinist I have ever seen! And, she is so proud of her new teeny-tiny violin!