Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday in Pictures

We started the day by going to the bookstore and redeeming the boys' reading program certificates! They found some great books! Then we went to the Children's Museum - it was packed out which was a little disappointing. After some short naps, we headed out to dinner. Patrick chose going out so we went to a local steak house where they wished him a very happy birthday! When we got home, we enjoyed presents and cake (he loved the train cake which made me happy). He requested lemon cake and wanted it to be a train. (It's been a crazy few weeks and was not even close to what I normally would do, so please don't be judging - I also had serious humidity issues :)). Anyway, here are some pictures!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Patrick's 4!

Dear Patrick,

I can't believe you are 4! We met you just after you turned 1 and it doesn't seem possible that so many years have passed. You've been patiently waiting for what seems like forever for your birthday to be here and now it's today!

You are such a sweet and responsible boy. I love that you help set the table. I love that you enjoy watching the food network with me. I love that you ask for pasta with red sauce. I love that you want to hang out with me and read books or run errands. I love that you ask for kisses and hugs. I love that you frequently ask to sit on my lap. I love the way you love your brothers.

You did so well in school this year and you continue to learn so much. You have grown and developed like crazy and I sometimes wish you would just stay little. You are kind and loyal and your laugh is contagious. You are quick to remind us about singing and praying and reading devotions. And you are such a good helper.

This past year you helped us welcome Titus into our family and you love him SO much that you are pretty sure we don't need any more babies. You learned to ride your bike and recognize letters. You are such a water bug and you loved the beach and continue to enjoy the swimming pool.

Patrick, you have brought so much joy to your dad and me. I'm so glad God chose YOU to be our son. We can't imagine it any other way! I love you always and forever, no matter what.

Happy 4th Birthday, Patrick!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shower Success!

We had such a fun shower on Saturday night. It was a small gathering celebrating Margaret's upcoming marriage with a few personal items. :) We had a coffee shop theme and included a poetry reading as well as a poetry game. It all went so well and I think everyone had a good time! Here are a few pictures (okay, several :)):

The table of food (better food photos below).

The Bride - Margaret is going to love me for this one. :)

I found these signs on clearance for $2 apiece and thought they were perfect for the theme. I used one on the front door and these two on the wall. Margaret now has one for her kitchen.

The drink menu.

Behind the counter at the "coffee shop" - one of our friends is a barista so she helped us with making drinks!

Toffee Biscotti w/chocolate Drizzle

Lemon Biscotti

Mini Cream Puffs

Blueberry Scones w/Lemon Drizzle

Fruit & Cheese Platter

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Margaret opening gifts.

The Favors - Coffee Mugs w/Shower Gel & Mini Meringue Kisses

Sisters - Sadly, Steph couldn't make it and we missed her!
(Please don't mind how I look...I had been sick for a week and was super tired but it really was a great evening! :))

Monday, July 27, 2009

And Now For Some Fun

From my sister Margaret: Here's something for you to do kids! :)

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
1. Celebrating Patrick's birthday.
2. Margaret's wedding.
3. Titus' birthday party.
4. Feeling healthy.
5. Vacation - hopefully this fall.
6. Nieces & nephews - no, this is no announcement. :)
7. Tomatoes from the garden.
8. A new venture.

7 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Travel to all 50 states and every continent - well, probably not Antartica.
2. Cook a 4 course meal every night.
3. Write a cookbook.
4. Open a restaurant.
5. Adopt many, many children.
6. Be more patient.
7. Proficiently dance.

6 Shows I Enjoy:
1. Friends
2. Seinfeld
3. Iron Chef America
4. The Office
5. Food Network
6. Scrubs

5 Favorite Foods
1. Cheese - pretty much any kind
2. Chocolate Fondue
3. Fajitas
4. Cherry Pie
5. Homemade hamburgers w/the works

4 Guilty Pleasures
1. Food Network
2. Starbucks
3. Diet Coke
4. Celebrity Magazines

3 Favorite Smells
1. Coffee
2. Vanilla Extract
3. Bread baking

2 Frequently Visited Websites
1. Swagbucks
2. Facebook

1 Person you would like to have lunch with (dead or alive)
Heath Ledger :)

Now tag 5 people you would like to fill it out:
Okay, I'm going to cheat a little - if you would like to do it, please do!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Let Them Eat...


My sister, BIL, SIL, and I drove up north to where Steph lives to pick blueberries yesterday! It was totally worth the very long drive and long day. The picking was great, the blueberries were beautiful, and the price was right. We paid $1.50/lb. for u-pick organic blueberries.

Aren't they beautiful?!

We picked for about 2 1/2 hours and in that time I was able to get nearly 25 lbs. My sister gave me a few more pounds so I ended up with 30 1/2 lbs. Most of that went straight into the freezer (Andrew helped me with that!) and some will be for eating and some will be for a fresh blueberry cobbler and some will be for blueberry scones! :) We grew up picking blueberries and for me it's a summer time must - I'm always disappointed if I don't get to go. It's hard work but the end result is something to be enjoyed for the rest of the year. I'll definitely be headed up that way next year for more blueberries!

A few of the many bags - we froze 3 cup and 6 cup bags.

Peach and raspberry seasons are next, so hopefully I will be adding both of those fruits to our freezer, too. I love summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fun With Friends

Yesterday, we enjoyed spending time with our friends Mark & Adam and their mom, Jenny. The boys all had a great time! Jenny and I work at the same museum and have known each other for years...well before children joined our families. We both have all boys. :)
Here are some pictures from our fun day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Barbershop Was Open

Yep, it was that time again - haircuts all around. Andrew's hair has so much curl that it is quite forgiving and don't tell him but between you and me, it's getting a bit salt and peppery. :) Calvin's is the most difficult to make look nice because it is so straight and fairly thin. Patrick's thick hair curls at the ends all the way around and he has a low hairline which can be challenging. And finally, Titus has lots and lots of hair which is surprisingly straight and fine with only an occasional slight wave. He is difficult to cut because he is a moving, crying target - definitely not his favorite activity. :) Can you believe he has had three (3!) haircuts in the 11 months since he was born? The kid really didn't lose much of the hair he was born with - one of the NICU nurses told me she thought it was "the keeping kind" and she was right!

Yes, yes, I know this isn't a very good picture but it's the only one that didn't have horrible shadowing in the very quick, very impromptu photo taking. :)

I absolutely could not pass on posting this picture...the other boys were busy and Titus was happily posing. :)

Anyway, I'm still the barber - it saves money and it really doesn't take very much time. The haircuts are not perfect but overall it works. My trusty tools are my scissors and clippers. Last night, we cut the hair outside which is always nice - less mess inside! The older boys did the best ever and were rewarded with lollipops which they very much enjoyed. (Interestingly they chose root beer and cream soda lollipops - they aren't even allowed to drink pop so I think they were enjoying it vicariously.)

The tools for said barbering.

And so, hair is done for another several weeks and just in time for it to grow out a little before being in the wedding. Hopefully the mistakes won't show by then. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Menu Planning Changes

I haven't written about menu planning for awhile. And truly, aside for creating a few sauces and a few dishes here and there, I haven't really been trying anything new. I have, however, modified my approach a bit and so far, I like it. My friend, Heather, uses a small white board in her kitchen and I really liked that idea. So, I found a magnetic one for about $4 and have it in my kitchen on the front of the refrigerator - it's easy to adjust the menu plan based on what we have, what needs used, and how our schedule plays out. I have also been including lunch and snack ideas. We generally have cereal or oatmeal for breakfast with the occasional pancakes or waffles thrown in so I don't plan that out.

Overall, I still feel that menu planning has helped tremendously with my organization, with beating the dinner time blues, and with the budget. I'm still working on making sure that food isn't going to waste. And since I'm not a huge fan of most leftovers, I usually try to only make enough for one meal, a lunch for Andrew (he loves leftover for lunch!) and maybe a lunch for the boys and me.

I'm hoping to do more creating and to try some new recipes; I just find that the summer is when I want simple, quick, familiar meals. However, my new Cooking Light arrived a couple of days ago, so perhaps I will find something delicious for a summer time meal.

Finally, what would a post about menu planning be without a here is recipe for Blueberry Peach Pancakes that I recently created. They were a huge hit with all of my guys!


1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 Tb. sugar (generous Tb.)
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. sour milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tb. melted butter
1/2 c. fresh or frozen bluberries
1/2 c. fresh or frozen diced peaches

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs, sour milk, vanilla and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until combined (batter may still be lumpy). Fold in blueberries and peaches. Cook on a greased griddle. Serve with maple syrup. Enjoy!

All that to say, the new menu planning is working. I'm glad for a change of pace. And even though I'm not posting my menus, I'm always still happy to give out recipes or whatever...just e-mail or leave a comment!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Patrick Said...

P: (I handed him a shirt) Mom, I wanted to wear that shirt!
Me: Well, good! Please put it on.
P: I'm going to show Margaret my shirt and see if she likes it.
Me: Okay, do you think she will?
P: I don't know, it's a bad shirt.
Me: What? What makes it bad?
P: It has a lion.
Me: Oh.

P (to Aunt Margaret): I'm putting on my Batman socks.
AM: Oh does that make you Batman?
P: Um...yeah. (said in a, like duh, voice)
AM: Are you going to wear them for my wedding?
P: I have to ask Mom if they will show.
AM: Okay.

Patrick often:
- sits down to a meal and looks at his plate and says, "Delicious, Mom!" (So sweet!)
- says, "I love you, Mom."
- says, "Give me a kiss!"
- adamantly declares that we do not need any more babies even though he adores Titus. :)
- insists on wearing tennis shoes instead of sandals or flip flops.
- says, "Hey Calv" (and fills in the blanks with whatever he wants to tell Calvin).

Monday, Monday

This is the start of a busy week. It's a good kind of busy which includes time with friends, picking blueberries with sisters, and helping plan and host a bridal shower. The latter is the personals shower for Margaret - I can't say too much without giving it all away (since she reads the blog) but it's a coffee house theme and I'm so excited about it!

Pictures to come from all of the above. :)

And just because, here is a picture of the boys. I've also written a couple of posts lately about some conversations with Calvin & Patrick.

Hope you've had a great Monday! After spending the weekend quite sick with a summer cold/flu that hit with a fury, I've been cleaning and organizing which feels great!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Eclectic Thoughts

After yesterday's post, I really don't have much to say. This has been a week of reflection for me...definitely praising God and feeling so happy but also overwhelmed as I've thought an awful lot about C. But I must say, I am just in awe at how everything worked out and we are so incredibly in love with our little boy (well, all three of them!). We so clearly see God's hand in it all - it's just one of those unbelievable stories.

This has also been a bit of a draining week - the kids have been somewhat demanding, disobedient and disrespectful which is exhausting. Being consistent with correction has worn me out and my patience feels thin. These times come but it's how I respond that is so important and I've struggled with that this week. (Just keeping it real here.)

On a happier note, I'm planning Ty's birthday party! We don't do a party every single year but we make a big deal on the first one they spend with us - in this case #1 for Titus! I'm so excited about it - the plans are coming together, invitations are ordered, and ideas are flowing. It's a carnival theme.

I'm also excited about some other things, not child related - we are good with 3 for now. :) So, you'll have to stay tuned over the next few months to see what I'm up to!

And finally, Titus' suit arrived and it is great! Calvin & Patrick are so excited to be in the wedding and wear their suits so I'm hoping that will rub off on Ty who was not so sure about trying on (or wearing) his suit. There may or may not have been many tears and tugging at clothing... :)

Anyway, have a great weekend! Ours is jam packed - I'm looking forward to a break one of these days. In the mean time, I have 12 pounds of cherries and 8 pounds of strawberries to freeze, a post-wedding brunch to plan, wedding favors tags to help design, a shirt to dye, and many other things I'm probably forgetting. Life is full and great!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Time Last Year

Our lives were about to drastically change this time last year. I still can't believe all that transpired. We feel SO blessed. It's been an amazing year, a challenging year, and a growing year. I can't believe how quickly it has passed. It's such a privilege being the mom to these three boys. Titus has been the perfect fit for our family. (We honestly thought that maybe we would have a new baby around now and we have an almost 1 year old!)

Here is a rough timeline:

May 2008 - decide to pursue domestic adoption but kept it mostly to ourselves.

June 2008 - home study delayed for a variety of reasons.

July 9 - still were not in process and very seriously considered delaying starting another adoption - kind of decided to put it all on the back burner for awhile.

July 10 - phone message out of the blue about a potential domestic adoption from the agency we used for the boys - they did not know we were planning to adopt again. We decided to pursue the adoption. We quickly sent them a few pictures and the profile letter I had written on a whim several weeks earlier.

July 10 in the evening - C learned about us and one or two other families. C told the social worker that she wanted to meet us.

July 11-14 - we kept pinching ourselves and telling each other that it probably wouldn't work out. And we worked very hard to keep it quiet.

July 15 - learned that we would be meeting C in KY the next day.

July 16 - very nervously met and had lunch with C (whom we really liked) - she asked us to parent her baby boy during the lunch. I got very teary eyed and gave her a hug.

July 17 - August 14 - a blur :), paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, vacation, more pinching ourselves. Tried to prepare for a newborn. :)

August 15 - Titus arrived 2 weeks early. We cancelled the fantasy football draft, called in to work and headed to KY.

August 15 - 29 - on pins and needles as we waited to find out if everything would work out. Loved on our new baby, shed lots of tears, had lunch with C, and pinched ourselves some more.

August 29 - we came home with our beautiful baby boy.

November 6 - adoption finalized and we breathed a big sigh of relief.

I think so much of C. In fact, rarely does a day go by that I don't think of her. I often wish to tell her how much our lives have changed - not only through Ty joining our family but through meeting her. She made such a courageous and difficult decision. I wish for her to know how happy and healthy Titus is and what an incredibly adorable little guy he is. I look forward to telling Titus about his first mom. How thankful I am that our lives touched and that our lives will be forever linked through our beautiful son.

I am so thankful for God's work in our lives - for calling us to adoption. We have been forever impacted and changed. We will never see the world the same - we see it through the eyes of children - children with no home, no parents to call their own, children from dysfunctional families, children in foster care... God has given us three wonderful children. We often wish for others to experience the amazingness of growing their family through adoption - we just can never fully put in words how wonderful and life-changing it has been for us (for us and for our children!).

Though we knew adoption was important to us when God joined us as man and wife, we had no idea how He would use it. We have learned so much about our adoption as God's children through the earthly adoptions of our boys. They are fully our own, our real children, no question. It does not matter that our skin color and eye color and eye shape are different, it does not matter that they did not grow in my tummy. They are ours in the truest sense of the word - they grew in our hearts and changed us.

We celebrate today as the big start of our journey to #3 - unexpected, surprising, difficult, emotional, amazing, and wonderful. Yes, he turned 11 months yesterday and we are still pinching ourselves - for sure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cute Products!

Awhile back I won a $50 gift certificate to Sarah + Abraham. They sell personalized stationary, invitations, stickers, notepads, etc. Such cute stuff! Well, I finally ordered and was so happy with the products that I had to share.

First, I ordered these adorable flat notecards personalized for the boys (pictured below). It came with an assortment of circus animals and brightly colored coordinating envelopes. They are perfect for thank-you notes, invitations, birthday cards or a just-because note. I love that they have the boys' name across the top - so classy.

I also ordered these mommy calling cards (pardon the picture, I just didn't want to publish all my personal info here :)). They are so cute! I love that I can use them to quickly give my numbers for babysitters and day camp. They are great for exchanging information with another mom to plan play dates and they are especially wonderful for when I'm working and have a patient that wants to keep in touch (they include my e-mail and main blog address in addition to my phone numbers). I love how they turned out!

While neither item is a necessity for life, they are a lot of fun! It was hard to choose what to spend the gift certificate on and I don't think you would be disappointed with anything. So, check them out if you are on the lookout for some great stationary etc.!