BEACH 2012

It’s about time I finally posted this, I know… I finally got around to editing all the bajillion photos so here we go. We had a jam-packed week of vacation this year. We originally were going to have 3 long weekends, but decided we’d rather cram it all together, reduce the driving, and actually make Jeff take some time off work. 😉 We spent the first part in Hilton Head- 3 days with the Pyles clan (Grammie, Papa, & Aunt Kristen) in a beautiful house they’d rented, and 2 days with our dear friends, Brad & Steph, at their parents’ home there, before they moved to Utah! (tear) We were pumped that Nick, Natalie, & Theo (yes, the famous Theo… love him) could join us there too. We then drove to gorgeous Holden Beach for a few days with my parents… and the Patnode/Bryant clan we love so much were there as well! (I mean could we cram any more wonderful people into this trip?!) And my parents gave us the ultimate gift… they took the boys home early and gave Jeff & I an entire day alone together… it. was. awesome.

We had such a great week with everybody – I’m pretty sure Hilton Head & Holden are our favorite beaches of all time, AND we got to spend time with family and friends – amazing. The boys also slept like champs in their new sleeping bags, and LOVED the beach. Understatement. It was the first year where we felt like we could actually relax a bit since they’re a little older. We’ll enjoy this phase while it lasts!

Picture overload…. too many to post individually. {so click to enlarge} Thank you Lord for a week of refreshment & memories!

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{I can’t sleep}

So all week I have had insomnia. I literally cannot stop thinking about baby girl and have been up all hours of the night praying for her. This isn’t great combined with my new workout regimen of waking up at 5:30 every MWF to do a boot camp workout with the girls. Yikes! I have no idea what this means–odds are she’s not even born yet–but so many people have told me that when God keeps putting your future child on your heart, you should write it down, because it very well may end up being a significant time in their lives that you can look back on later & realize you were praying for them.

Who knows–maybe I just can’t sleep, but for the record, as we sent off your I-600A form sweet girl, I couldn’t rest all week and talked to God about you PLENTY. I’ve even found myself scanning waiting child lists to make sure you’re not out there yet. I have a feeling you will have some sort of special/medical need – maybe I am wrong about that too, but I just feel like that’s where God’s leading us right now… so whatever it is, I am praying for you already–that God will begin to equip us even now to be the best parents we can be to you. I pray that he’ll teach us patience, understanding, love, and gratitude. Whoever you are, wherever you are, we love you already!

I-600A sent off!

As soon as we got back from the beach, we got working on this packet so we could send it off.  It includes an application form, copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, home study, etc, and a money order for $890 for the application fee & biometrics fees!

Once it’s received we’ll get an appointment to get fingerprinted and then we’ll be waiting for approval…. which can take around 6-12 weeks.  In the meantime, we’ll finish up the few things we have left for our dossier, and be ready to SEND that bad boy as soon as this is done! Our next big installment will be due then as well – about $9K – which seems daunting, overwhelming, you name it – but boy… I know God will provide because he is already doing so in little and big ways.  If you’ve ever thought you might want to adopt, but don’t think you can afford it (we were there too!) – please – trust that God is SO much bigger than the finances!  Thank you to all who have SO generously helped us so far…we have been so humbled & blessed by you.  We’re also praising God for some additional work opportunities for Jeff and me to earn some extra money here & there. PRAISE HIM!

So that’s the latest update – as of yesterday, our I-600A is off to USCIS {U.S. Citizenship & Immigrations Services} in Texas…woohoo!

Why I love being a mom…

I came across this post today in my blog reader – Why I Love Being a Mom.  I loved it, and it was such a good reminder on a dreary Monday morning as I thought of the full week ahead… to focus on the positive and remember why I LOVE this job.  It’s one I’ve always dreamed of – being a stay at home mom to a house full of kids.  The most challenging, most rewarding “position” I’ll ever have.  What a privilege. I love my sons and I love being their mom… here are a few things that popped into my mind that I love about it:

  • the way they smell after bath time, all cuddled up in PJ’s and smelling of lavender.  Yes, they are three and I still bathe them in a nighttime baby wash because I can’t get enough of snuggling with them & inhaling them.
  • when they give me kisses and hugs or say “I love you” on their own out of nowhere
  • the things they say that crack me up and make me text Jeff immediately to share with him
  • finding a random toy car in my purse that someone hid in there
  • when they give me bites of a beloved, well-earned treat and say “I love sharing with you, Mommy!”
  • all four of us snuggling in bed reading books
  • bedtime prayers–all the incredibly sweet AND hilariously silly things they thank God for
  • a cudlly newborn baby–need I say more?!
  • the conversations I get to eavesdrop on when they’re playing and pretending together
  • the full-on run & jump into your arms you get after being gone a while
  • how proud they are when they learn to do something all by themselves
  • Saturday morning pancake breakfasts, even though they try to steal my coffee every time 😉
  • the expressions they make that remind me so much of my husband and other family members.  Love.
  • when they ask about Baby Sister and pray for her
  • the way they teach me so much about the Lord… patience, grace, humility, kindness, PATIENCE…

I could go on… why do you love being a mom?!

 

Beach bums

We’ve been MIA because we just got home from a week of beaching it with both of our families… Perfect timing after finalizing the homestudy to take a nice break & relax & spend some quality family time together. Now we can work on finishing up that dossier!

More to come… You know I have about 1000 pictures 😉

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finally finalized!!

We are so excited – as of today, our homestudy has been finalized, approved by AWAA, & is in the mail!!! This is a HUGE relief–it has been pretty crazy with switching agencies, so we are thrilled to be done with this part! {and miraculously, we didn’t have to make any big changes so we didn’t have to pay ANYTHING additional – such a great, big surprise!  We have LOVED our new family coordinator and she’s been amazing helping us transition through all of this.}

Now we can send it off to USCIS for our I-600 form… The big one that will take some time, including getting fingerprinted. While we’re waiting on it we’ll complete the other forms & information needed for our dossier (no small task but we’re up for it!) When everything is complete we can send the dossier to our agency…. And then to ETHIOPIA!

Celebrating one big step done tonight! We had fun watching Dibaba win the 10,000m race for Ethiopia too!! However, our Team USA hearts have fallen for GABBY, and the boys now cheer for her whenever she comes on TV… Which is often, since Jeff & I are obsessed & have the Olympics and/or the Today show on 24/7. 🙂 Loving it!!

3rd birthday celebrations!

The boys wanted to have their 3rd birthday party at the fire station, and I happily obliged. Another friend had done this and it seemed like a no-brainer–cheap rental of the community room and you get a tour of the fire station, the kids get to climb up inside the fire trucks, and the firefighter does a demonstration, plus no cleaning my house and it has to stay simple because of time constraints!

They had a BLAST. We had a small group of family & close friends since the fire station limits you to 25 people, and all the kids seemed to have a great time. Our dear friend Shebra once again made an awesome birthday cake for them, and we just celebrated! Poor Lane cried sad little silent tears as we drove away–when we asked him what was wrong he said “I don’t want to leave the fire trucks!” Poor buddy…he LOVED it.

On their actual birthday, we went to the Splash Pad & rode the train with Grandma & their birthday buddy Titus, and then had a cookout with my family. It really was a great day – they were so into it, so sweet (Lane kept thanking me for everything and both were SUPER cuddly), and were clearly having so much fun. The conductor on the train ride even had the whole train sing them Happy Birthday. It was just a wonderful day celebrating together. We love our 3-year-olds!

Picture overload-click any picture to enlarge: