Monday, September 23, 2013

Road Trip!

Scene from a McDonald's parking lot: I bet this thing gets great gas mileage.
On Sunday, my mother and I took the four kiddos to Illinois to visit one of my best childhood friends. She is a FSGM, Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. I am lucky if I get to see her once a year in the summer. Well, that didn't happen this year so we arranged for a visit on her home turf.
The kids quickly got over any shyness. Sister Mary has a way with people.
Matthew touching a statue of St. Francis.
Jack went on these bars a dozen or so times, trying to prove how strong he was. He actually made it over a few times, better than me. I couldn't even make it over once.
And that's about as far as I got.
I helped Liam get across the bars.

"Momma, when you coming down?"
Momma will go almost anywhere for a good picture.

 Thank goodness the Sisters operate a daycare. I don't know what mom and I would have done without the playground. It helped keep the kids happy for a few hours.
Miss Maggie shoots me a sly smile.
Liam on the move!
Sister Mediatrix and Maggie!
After playing outside, we went inside for snacks - cookies, crackers and cheese. Oh, and lemonade. The kids were pretty happy. I was too until the big boys decided to take both of the brownies. I thought brownies were for adults!
Chillin' with Sister. It was a beautiful day - perfect weather to be outside with the kids.
Temper tantrum #? 
Matthew was a little crabby on Sunday and had quite a few meltdowns, at least this one wasn't on concrete.
Our goofy picture, 2013.
Miss Maggie and Sister Mediatrix.
Our friendship goes way back - I say Kindergarten. Sister says First grade. She reminded me of my obsession with video cameras from a very young age. I reminded her of our common bond - not being allowed in the toy house in Kindergarten. Thank goodness, we eventually grew up - including those snobby girls. So easy to forgive but not so easy to forget. :)

I was grateful for my mom's help with the kids on Sunday. She's been on some crazy adventures with me, aka snow blizzard, etc. I couldn't have made the trip to Illinois without her.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gotcha Day Anniversary!

Two years ago we met our little girl in China for the first time. She was the tiniest cutest little girl I had ever met. The above picture is the first image we saw of Maggie on referral day. I love her crazy wild hair in the photo. Miss Maggie has grown into such a sweet ray of sunshine. I love watching her personality develop, even her ornery side that she has been showing us from time to time. Happy Anniversary baby! We love you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jack's First Soccer Game!

Jack's first game was last Saturday.
It was pretty cute to see six K and First Graders scramble on the field. Jack, my easy going child was pretty laid back about the ball while a few of the kids actually attacked it.
I wonder what those three were talking about.
Jack in action!
Liam inspects the play from the rock pile, his favorite place to be during the game.
It was the perfect day for a game. Thank goodness it wasn't 100.

My Two Youngest

The flavor of the day? Ketchup? BBQ?
Aren't they cute! Silly squirrels. 
I think Matthew was moving when I took the photo so it's a little messed up but he looks so adorable so I had to post.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Greatest Gift

Playing with Grandpa's and Grandma's bird bath during a visit with Liam's birth family

Ephesians 1:5 

....just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.…

We are so blessed that adoption has touched our lives in a very positive way. I know adoption brings different meanings, thoughts and feelings to different people. For example, one of our birth mothers is constantly criticized for choosing adoption for her son even though she felt it was the best decision she could make at the time. Open adoption is another concept people struggle with. “Aren’t you afraid they will change their minds and come get him?” Apparently, in their minds, open adoption is a huge threat. The birth parents know us so it would be easier for them to take us to court. With a closed adoption, we could somehow hide and the birth parents would never be able to track us down. To me, there is more fear in the unknown and an element of sadness . (Please know that we went through all the proper legal channels for our children’s adoptions. They are legal, binding adoptions.)

We are lucky. Our sons’ birth families are wonderful, loving people. They are not locked up in prison, on drugs or any other negative scenario you could possibly imagine. They are as normal as can be and very loving. We are blessed to call them family. They treat us like family and they love their boys. Recently, Liam had the opportunity to visit with his birth mother and his birth father. Jack was slightly jealous and wanted to know when he could visit his birth family. They look forward to these special times. 

If an open adoption works out for all parties in the adoption triad, consider it a blessing. We do. I feel very close to our sons’ birth families and treasure the times we spend together. It brings me great joy to see our sons spend time with their birth families. I think it is one of the greatest gifts I can give my sons. I could be selfish and somehow keep my sons to myself but why? I would be blocking my heart and their hearts to some of the most wonderful people we know.


*On a side note, one of the things that always perplexes me about the adoption process is the child’s “final” birth certificate. For legal purposes, birth certificates are updated with the adoptive parents’ names. That’s understandable but I always feel like there should be a modified version for adoptions. I should not get the credit for bringing three of my beautiful children into this world. That just doesn’t seem right. Was I in the hospital experiencing the agony of childbirth? No.

Fun World

 We had a fun long, short weekend. On Saturday, we headed to Fun World or Worlds of Fun as it is commonly known. During the long car ride, the boys kept calling it Fun World. The main reason for our trip to Worlds of Fun was to meet up with Liam's birth father. It's a special joy for me to see my children spend time with their birth parents. Last weekend, we visited Liam's birth mother and her family. This weekend, we spent a fun day with Liam's birth father.
We spent a lot of time in Planet Snoopy, an awesome place that has rides just for the kids. Even some of the shorter children can go on the rides if they are accompanied by an adult.
 The Chomping Kite Tree ride.
I was concerned that Liam would be scared on this ride that took the kids up and then dropped them a little only to bring them back up. Liam has been scared of little county rides in the past. But he seemed to enjoy this ride and especially liked glancing at the girls on the other side of him. As the day went on, Liam seemed to become even more brave. He even said he wanted to go on the big roller coaster. Well, not this year. He can go on those with his birth father when he gets older. I can't breathe on those things.
I let Mike go on the whirly rides with Jack. I knew I wouldn't be able to take them. Flash backs to merry-go-rounds and a full stomach of soda at my dad's employee picnics still haunt me.
 Worlds of Fun was decorated for Halloween. It looks like the tornado finally caught up with Dorothy and gang. At least they all got what they wanted.
 The scarecrow and his heart.
We hit the air conditioned places when we could. After all, it was around 100 degrees on Saturday. We ate lunch in a cool cafe.
 There were animated dinosaurs at the park which freaked out the boys a little. Good thing we didn't spend money on the dino park.
    Mike had a lot of fun with them.
Jack was so excited to go on the bumper cars only to find himself in a stuck position for most of the ride even though I tried to bang him out of it a few times. Poor guy. Poor Liam was not tall enough to go on the ride. Hopefully, they'll both have better luck next time.
 It seemed like we waited a long time for the train to get going. Here are some reasons why the train had problems.
  This was probably the boys' favorite ride. They could make the plane go up in the air.
  Me and Linus. I wanted this picture taken of us because it reminded me of Matthew and his lovie and of my time spent as a mascot at a local NBC station. Being a mascot this time of year is a killer. I remember getting heat headaches all the time. It's horrible for the body.
  There was a Charlie Brown show that was pretty cute and air conditioned. Couldn't go wrong with any attraction that was in the A.C.
 This was Jack and Liam's other favorite spot. It was a two story playhouse equipped with nerf balls and blasters. The kids loved it. I had a lot of fun too!
 I was going to go on the hot air balloon ride until I realized that the individual carts could spin. Then it was no way Hosea. By then it was so hot. All I wanted was a glass of ice water.
 The last ride: race cars! Jack loved it. It was just like the ride at our local fair this past summer.
 I took this picture of Lucy for Maggie and me. I was grateful that my parents took care of Maggie and Matthew this weekend. My two youngest would have been bored at the amusement park. I was surprised at how many people brought their babies on Saturday. I felt sorry for the little ones. It was just too hot.
 Liam and his birth father. They had a great time talking and riding rides together. I am so grateful to have a good relationship with both of Liam's birth parents. He is very blessed to be in their lives.
 A close encounter with the T-rex kind. Liam was more brave than Jack.
 Don't get too close. They might bite!
Mouth wash anyone?