Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Playing the Piano

Steven LOVES playing the piano, and he LOVES being with his grandpa, so when he got to do both on our recent trip to Pennsylvania, he was in his own little heaven. He had no idea that Grandpa was so talented--he could play "Jesus Loves Me" with chords! He even got to "play" with Grandpa by putting his hands on top of Grandpa's.

Playing the piano is serious business!

Looking at the music.

Checking to see if Grandpa is too.

Watching his hands.

I think Grandpa enjoyed it too.


When we were in PA for Christmas, Nanny took Steven out to play in the snow for the first time. . .

She tried to get him to follow her around,

but he wouldn't.

Instead, he gave her his special "You want me to do what?!" look.

So she put him on a sled and pulled him around,
but he stayed so stiff that he nearly slid off.

However, Nanny's persistance finally started to pay off when he managed a small wave at the camera.

And she knew it was a complete success when she had to let him bring a sled full of snow in the garage to save for Grandpa Hal in order to get him inside!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Yesterday we celebrated Michelle's birthday with both my family and Mark's, and she definitely had fun! Unlike Steven, she enjoyed her birthday cupcake, and she even had some fizzy punch that Grandma gave her.

Despite the look on her face, she really did like it!

Next we opened the presents. Michelle got a tea party set, a stuffed dog, a photo book, pj's, cards, and some puffs. Steven got ahold of the puffs and spilled them, and they both went at them! You'd think we hadn't fed them all week!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Playing Together

Family Picture

On the floor (L-R): Mark's brother Andy,Mark's sister Beth, Beth's fiance Zach.
Sitting: Ron, Mark's sister Rachel (married to Ron), baby Tori, Me, Michelle, Mark's mom Nancy.
Standing: Steven, Mark, Mark's Dad Hal.

(Click on the picture to make it bigger.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sad News

Last night at 6:05, my Uncle Gene died. My parents, his wife, and her sisters were there with him, and the kids (ages 5, 7, and 9) had had the opportunity to say goodbye to him earlier in the day. The kids weren't told until this morning, which is why I didn't post this last night.

The funeral is scheduled for the Tuesday after Christmas, and my dad was on the phone today with Marion (his wife), helping her with the obituary and other arrangements.

Thank you for all your prayers, especially for Marion and the children.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Please Keep Praying

Please continue to pray for my Uncle Gene. The latest news was not good at all. The tumor is malignant and is the same type as Ted Kennedy had. Uncle Gene is still in a coma, but the doctors have assured my family that he is not in pain, which is a blessing. My parents are still at the hospital in Columbus with him, and his wife, Marion, is driving home today to pick up the three kids so they can see him tomorrow. Their oldest, Joseph, is only nine years old, and the other two, Gracie and Ethan, are both in elementary school as well.

Thank you for praying for him and for his family. We really appreciate it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two Years?!

I can't believe it's already been two years since we brought Steven home! Two years seems impossibly long, but at the same time, it's hard to remember life without him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Please Pray

Please pray for my Uncle Gene. He was very recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and had a biopsy today. They found that the tumor had doubled in size since his MRI last week, and while in recovery, he went into a coma due to pressure on the brain from a bleeding artery. The doctors did emergency surgery and removed a significantly large blood clot.

He is now in ICU, and it looks very bleak. His three elementary age children are on their way to the hospital now, and it looks like he is dying.

My parents are heading to Ohio tomorrow morning, but we haven't talked about what we might do. Our situation is complicated by the fact that Michelle is sick.

Thank you for your prayers for Uncle Gene and his family.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite Ornaments

Some of these ornaments have quite the stories behind them, especially the first two which are from my dad. Notice the second one doesn't have Michelle's name on it. He had Abigail put on it, and when we changed her name, my mom painted over it. I can't believe this is Michelle's first Christmas!

Oh, how are family has changed!

Mark always hides this in the back, and I always move it to the front :)

Michelle's Ornament for the Year

I have many other favorites, of course, but I don't feel like taking the time to upload them all. I've been feeling sick today, and I still have a paper and a half left to grade :(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Years Ago Today. . .

Auntie E picked US to be the parents of a little baby boy!

Two Years Ago Today, No, Yesterday. . .

Apparently I'm not as good with dates as I thought.

Two years ago yesterday, our social worker took our portfolio and one other to Auntie E's house to show her. At that time, there weren't any approved families with our office open to adopting a black baby (which is a national problem to the point that foreigners come here to adopt them), so Auntie E's options were limited. The other couple was in the same situation as we were--almost finished with paperwork but not yet approved.

It was a very long day for me as I waited to hear back from our social worker. I knew that she was going up there in the morning, and as each hour passed without hearing something, it got harder and harder. At this point, very few people knew about the situation, but it was obvious that they were praying for us.

That afternoon, I finally called our social worker to find out what happened. I was discouraged when she said that she had driven to Auntie E's house only to find that she wasn't there, and despite repeated attempts, she never did get a hold of her that day.

We ended up meeting with our social worker that night to talk about the financial aspect of the adoption. We had taken out an adoption loan for Steven's adoption and really didn't want to take out another one. One reason we went with our agency (Bethany Christian Services) was because they work on a sliding scale. They discount every adoption through fund raising, and that made a huge difference for us. The agency helped us out as much as they could, and we had complete peace about the situation, well the financial aspect at least :)

The waiting wasn't quite so easy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Putting Up the Tree

I didn't take any pictures of the ornaments going up since I was helping, but I did take a few pictures afterwards.

Steven was a big "helper" this year. We finally got a system down where I unwrapped the ornaments, handed them to Steven, and then he told Daddy where to put them. Of course some of the ornaments were off-limits, but there were enough that he could have to keep him busy.

We also pulled out his Little People nativity, and Mark spent some time setting it up under the tree and telling Steven who the different characters were. Last year he knew who Baby Jesus was as well as the sheep and maybe Mary (Jesus's Mommy). I'm not sure that Michelle will catch that much this year, but we'll definitely be working with her.

Working with Daddy

Baby Sis Going to Investigate

A Full View of the Tree

Playing with the Nativity
(and upset that the wrapping paper she was eating got confiscated)

The Over Tired Girl Having a Melt Down

Work With Me Here, Buddy!

As you know, we're in the midst of potty training around here, and Steven is doing well. I decided last week that diapers are only for naps and nighttime, so that meant that Steven wore his Grover underwear to small group tonight.

I wasn't convinced that he had gone before we left, but he woke up with a slightly wet diaper from his nap. He made it through just fine, and before we left, I asked him if he had to go. He, of course, said no. I shouldn't have listened to him.

We were barely on the road when he shouted from the backseat that he had to go potty. I tried to convince Mark to stop somewhere for him to go, but he thought that Steven would be fine until we got home.

I kept telling him to hold it in, and he answered, "No, let it out!" And that's what he did.

Thanks, Little Buddy. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Two Years Ago Today. . .

We got a call from our social worker wanting to now if we had our adoption portfolio finished. There was a little baby boy needing a home. . .

God was beginning to show us the answer to the question we had had for so long:

How Will God Send You?

Will you be our own flesh and blood,
A blending of Mark and me,
A tangible result of our love?

Will you be a sacrifice of love,
Tearfully given by the one who
Conceived you, carried you, and delivered you,
Only to give you to us,
The ones chosen to raise her child?

Will you be matched to us
By an oh-so-far-away agency,
Trying to create families,
Making the careful matches,
Holding others’ happiness in their hands?

Does it even matter how you come?
You will be ours regardless
Of how you arrive.
You will be the answer to so many prayers,
The product of years of waiting and believing,
God’s gift to us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just One More Week

I keep reminding myself of this over and over again. Just one more week left of the quarter. Surely I can make it just one more week.

This is my first quarter teaching since Steven was just a few months old, and I'm exhausted. I've been tutoring in the Writing Center this whole time, but now I'm back to doing both. I'm teaching a day class, so I drive up to school two days for that. I stay late on the one day to tutor for a couple hours, and then I go back up on Saturdays to tutor for another five hours. Being gone three days a week has been hard. I'm used to working on Saturdays, but that wasn't too bad because Mark was home with the kids, and I didn't have to worry about them at all. It doesn't help that it's at 45-60 minute commute one way, depending on traffic :(

I only have one more Saturday, one more Monday, and one more Wednesday. It's just one more week, but it feels like so much more! My students are giving presentations both days next week, so it'll be super easy. I'll just grade them as I go, and the presentations are instead of a final exam. (Yay!)

However, I just collected research papers today. Six to eight pages per paper times however many students actually turned theirs in. I am not looking forward to grading those. So much is riding on these papers because they are a huge percent of their grade. I hate to see students that who have worked hard fail (or not pass with at least a C) the class. The ones that only come on partially cloudy days or every fourth class are a different story.

I had a student reappear today after weeks of missing class. He didn't have a paper, nor has he ever turned in a paper. Part way through class, he realized how pointless it was to be there (and I think he had a doctor's appointment or something) and left. I just don't get it.

Just one more week and then I get a whole month off. I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bye Bye Froggy Potty!

The Little Buddy has apparently decided that he will only use the "big potty" and is no longer willing/interested in using his froggy potty. I had forgotten that I had picked up a seat that attaches to the toilet at a garage sale who knows how long ago and pulled it out a few weeks ago. It's quite the seat--high back, arms rests, what more could you ask for?! He loves it, and even better yet, he's been using it.

He still wears diapers when sleeping, and since he's in a crib, I don't see that changing anytime soon. He does wake up dry from his naps a good deal of the time, but it isn't worth risking him waking up early because he's wet and having to always change his sheets.

He has also been wearing them when we leave the house, but honestly, that just a convenience factor for us. It's really time to start changing that, so I had him wear his underwear out today when we took Michelle to the doctor, and he did just fine. He went both before we left and after we came home without any problems. I think it's about time we cut out all daytime diapers. Exciting? Yes. Scary? Even more so.

I can't believe my Little Buddy is getting so big!