Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Window Watching...

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know...

Here are some random things about me – I know you didn’t ask to know these but hey, it’s my (er…our) blog:

  1. I’m slightly OCD – discovered this a few years ago…I thought everyone vacuumed their floors in straight lines. (my hubby might argue with the slightly part :)
  2. I LOVE chocolate and ice cream but don’t like twizzlers or potato chips very much.
  3. I’ve been married over 5 years and have 2 sons.
  4. I have been passionate about adoption for as long as I can remember.
  5. I’m under 30 but my husband isn’t. :)
  6. There are 7 kids in my family.
  7. I knew 4 of my great-grandparents.
  8. My extended family is super close – unnatural some might call it but I call it AWESOME!
  9. My best friend is my husband, after that, it’s my incredible sisters.
  10. I came to know Christ personally at the age of 3.
  11. Entertaining, cooking, and baking are some of my favorite things to do – combine all three and you have a stressed-out but very happy lady. :)
  12. I have a weakness for cookbooks and recipes - let's just say 2 shelves wasn't enough...
  13. My favorite vacation ever was to Mexico – well, so far (Kazakhstan was a great trip but NOT a vacation).
  14. Being a mom is the absolute best but also undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
  15. My favorite job of all time was dressing up in costume at Conner Prairie (a living history museum) – so much so that when they offered for me to come back, I jumped at the chance.
  16. My “dream job” (besides being a mom) is to do field (as in, not a desk job) work for the CDC – especially in the area of HIV/AIDS research.
  17. I don’t like talking on the phone, public speaking, making small talk, or big crowds.
  18. I’m terrified of snakes – no really, ask my brothers, dad, husband, and biology students.
  19. I once dreamed that I won the 100-free at the Olympics (I was not expected to win according to the commentators which made victory all the sweeter…oh wait, it was a dream).
  20. Pedicures are the best!
  21. Camping is one of my favorite outdoor activities.
  22. My least favorite foods are olives (black, green & greek), mincemeat, salmon patties, and raw fish.
  23. I strongly disliked my maiden name (Judd – the jokes and questions were unbelievable) and I dislike my married name as much or more (no offense, honey).
  24. I love dishes – all styles, shapes, and colors (what’s that you say?…an addiction…I don’t think so! :)
  25. Cleaning teeth sometimes makes me want to gag.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Then & Now

I can't help but post these pictures which show the HUGE change in the boys! They have grown incredibly and are definitely not the babies we brought home. Andrew and I have a few more gray hairs and lots more smile lines!

Our 1st family picture on October 5, 2006

Our most recent family photo, June 2, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Just a different perspective...

Sorry about the drool :)...he's teething!

Looking a little out of it...

Slight smile...

Those eyes...

Friday, June 22, 2007


Lately I've been overwhelmed with the magnitude of being Calvin and Patrick's mom...overwhelmed in a good way! I can't believe God chose me to be their mom - I feel so undeserving and so honored. It's amazing to me that God bridged miles and miles, crossed language barriers and cultural differences to unite us as a family. He hand-picked us to be together! Adoption isn't 2nd best - it's just different. I wish everyone understood that - it is so discouraging to be the receiver of thoughtless comments and assumptions. Adoption is simply another beautiful way of having children.

Yes, adoption is a passion for me - don't mind my ranting. :) We adoptive parents tend to be a sensitive bunch; we have taken a road less travelled, less understood but every bit as wonderful. Whether parents through biology, adoption, or both, we are ALL on an incredible journey of a lifetime.
I love my kids! I can't imagine my life without them; it seems they have been with us forever! Isn't God awesome?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I was asked to share a few of my organization tips so I shall oblige but I certainly hope some of you will also share! I have a long way to go and many of these are wishful plans but I’m not doing a great job of implementing them at the moment. :)

- Always say yes to donating – even if you only donate a few things.
- Use organizing helps and label things (I’m a sucker for clear plastic tubs – they make everything look so nice in closets and are easy to stack).
- Get rid of old magazines – only save ones that you will read again. I love cooking magazines and have begun the process of copying and cutting out recipes that we will use and throwing the rest away.
- Sell books you will not re-read.
- If you haven’t used something for 1 year or more, let it go.
- Donate clothes that are outdated, don’t fit, are worn out, or you don’t like.
- Evaluate the kid’s clothes and keep only if they are in good condition – if you are like me, you will want to buy (or make) some new clothes for any other children.
- Put a couple of special outfits and toys into a keepsake box for your child.
- Keep toys that are good quality and/or that your children love(d) (ones that you would use for other children) – consider donating the rest.
- Try rotating toys – children feel like it’s Christmas when they haven’t seen a toy for awhile and you will have less to clean up and keep organized.
- Let them enjoy Happy Meal toys for a few days or weeks and then throw them away when they have been cast off in favor of other toys. (Don’t let them catch you! :)
- Go through things frequently – it won’t be quite so overwhelming. :)
- Don’t feel guilty for passing things on – know that you will bless someone else.
- If you tend to be sentimental (as my husband is) think about ways to repurpose things. I’m in the process of making a quilt with shirts that my husband loved but shouldn’t wear anymore. :)

I do not have garage sales – the last one I did was for two days and I made about $12 (literally!). :) It was obviously not worth it but I will sell things on someone else’s sale. We have sold books to used book stores and we donate clothes and get a tax write-off. There are so many creative ways to get organized and stay organized! What are some of your tips? We can all learn from each other! Happy simplifying and organizing everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The boys went on their 1st family vacation this past weekend! We all had a wonderful time but if dirtiness were the measure, the boys had us beat. I have never seen so much filth - Calvin actually rolled in the dusty, dry dirt at one point (he was laughing the whole time). It was impossible to keep them clean so we didn't even try - just took them to the pool a couple of times. :) Here are a few pictures and you can see and read more here:

Happy Father's Day - A Little Late

Happy 1st Father's Day to the wonderful man I married. You are an awesome Dad - our children are blessed and I am blessed by your example. Thanks for all your wisdom and kindness. You are loved! Being parents is the greatest journey and I'm so glad we are in it together.

Camping Pictures

Here are some pictures from our fun weekend! They cannot fully capture how filthy the boys were - the whole weekend! :) They had a blast!

Our Campsite: We had the 3-room mansion tent. :)

We took both pack 'n plays which made sleeping better for the boys.
They each had their own crib area in the tent.
Patrick - he pushed the stroller all around the campsite.
Andrew - spending his first Father's Day in the great outdoors.

It was so fun having Liz & Luke! The boys loved all the attention.

Calvin thought this wiffle bat was awesome!

Monday, June 18, 2007

We Did It!

We had a great time on our first (albeit short) family vacation. Our church was having a campout Friday to Saturday and with our crazy schedules and lack of family time we opted to stay until this morning. It was a great time! My sister & brother-in-law, Liz and Luke, were with us until last night which was alot of fun. The boys loved it and were pretty good though they seemed to think obedience was optional at times. :) Anyway, we will definitely camp with toddlers again - we were so thrilled that it worked!

We love to camp, there's just something about getting back to nature in the midst of our busy lives. The weather was perfect and the state park was beautiful! Seeing the creative, wonderful work of the Lord through His creation is such a good reminder of what an awesome God we serve. And to think, He cares for each of us!

Stay tuned for pictures...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Children's Museum

We went to Children's Museum last week - they love it! We met our friend Emily and her mom. We are so blessed to have memberships to the zoo and museum; we use one or the other almost every week and sometimes both like last week. Calvin loves the trains (he is playing with Emily in the 2nd picture. Patrick loves this car on a track - he is really getting the hang of it. I couldn't resist the pictures below that showcase Calvin's dimple and Patrick's awesome straw abilities (he thinks he is extra big!).

White River Gardens

Just a couple pictures - we stopped in for a few minutes but it was naptime so the boys were really tired:


Wow, it's been a little while since I posted. We are having such a wonderful summer and have been on the go a lot! Here are a few pictures from our trip to the zoo with Uncle Noah & Uncle Wesley last week. The new Ocean's exhibit at the zoo is really great but very popular - Calvin touched a shark but Patrick wasn't so interested. They both fed the giraffes and thought it was pretty cool (quite the rip off at $1 for one piece of sweet potato but worth it for the excitement - I broke it in half instead of paying for two :)). Calvin loved petting the goat and probably would have stayed there all day; he loves animals and has no fear which can be good and bad.

When the boys were finished seeing each animal, they would wave good-bye. In fact, waving has become an important part of our routine - especially for Calvin. He waves at EVERYTHING (his blanket, room, toys, cup, etc.), the best part is that it signals the end of things for him which helps with obedience. Patrick has been working on obedience and is doing a great job at following 2-3 step instructions. He laughs all the time and has become extremely cuddly and affectionate which we all love!

Simple Life: A Continuing Journey

Recently, I have been desiring to simplify life. I've been convicted about how "stuff" can become so much a part of my life that it can squeeze out time for family, ministry, and involvement in people's lives. The other problem is where it falls in priority and value in my life. It's so easy to become attached to objects and allow them to influence my decisions! I'm one of those people who LOVES to be organized but I'm not great at accomplishing it and keeping it - a quest I will probably continue for the rest of my life. It's frustrating because at times it determines if we will have company, etc. - okay, okay, I admit it, I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to how my house looks!

I try not to be too sentimental but I'm finding that exceptionally challenging now that we have two adorable sons. It's just so hard not to keep everything they have ever worn and played with. :) But, I'm also committed to not saving so many things that the boys will roll their eyes and say, "Mom, we don't want that..." I think it will be more meaningful to them to have a few special things and many organized pictures and written memories. (Having said that, I do save clothes (and toys) to use if God chooses to grow our family but I know myself well enough to know that I will want any future son or daughter to have some new clothes, too. I always feel bad for children who only ever wear hand-me-downs. :))

It seems that the example we have in Christ is not a man burdened with lots of "stuff". I don't think having things is bad but I think we need to be careful stewards of what God has blessed us with. And I think it can become sinful if we allow "things" to take over our life. For me, that means going through and donating items fairly regularly. I'm challenged that it is wasteful and selfish to keep things that we aren't using (and likely won't use again). (Side note: The VA is a wonderful place to donate and they will pick up your donations - I make myself say yes every time they call to find out if we have anything to donate and then end up scurrying around the night before pick-up...)

So, simplicity in the form of serious organization is my goal. It is a constant process and I pray God will give wisdom and continue to challenge me in this life process. It's just that - a way of life and I know I fail more often then succeed! Let me emphasize again, having stuff is not wrong, it's my own attitude and actions regarding it that is the problem.

Now, here's my true confession - I love Christmas decorations and dishes. Both take up a lot of storage space... I'm working on it... Anyone need some Christmas lights? (Yeah, I'm not ready to offer the dishes, yet! :)

**Some of you may remember that I blogged about this here.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


We went to the annual KidsFirst picnic this afternoon. It was such a joy to see and meet so many families blessed by the miracle of adoption. We met families who have adopted from various countries and some that are just beginning this life-changing journey. The boys had a great time and didn't want to leave! We are so grateful to our wonderful agency for their work in uniting children with their families. We are so awed at the way God works to bring families together from across His world. We pray that He will always work in hearts and lives to continue this amazing way of building or adding to families. It's exciting!