Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Weekend

Saturday was my uncle Shyrl's funeral. He was 56 and died of Asbestosis and Pancreatic Cancer. The burial was at the Spanish Fork Cemetary. He served in the Navy, so a military burial was done. About 30 veterans from the American Legion performed the ceremony. These men volunteer to do this for all veterans buried there. I cannot hear Taps played and not feel patriotic.

My grandpa stood with the veterans.

My kids just adore their new cousin, Baby Max. They will just sit around and stare at him. Andrew had his hands washed and waited for his opportunity to hold him.

Andrew and Ben enjoyed a little Guitar Hero.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Our Staycation

According to the Today Show, because of high gas prices more people are doing "Staycations" this year. This is where you vacation where you live. Every July my sister Melanie comes with her kids from Washington for a few weeks. We end up doing a lot of playing while they are here.

Our favorie pool is at the Veterans Park in Provo.

Thanksgiving Point Farm.

Boondocks (or as Andrew and Bev called it when they were little, Boondogs.)

Swimming at our apartment pool.

Andrew, Bev and Jack finished up Bright Ideas summer camp.

Sleepout on the trampoline at Grandma's.

Boating at Yuba.
Kiki, Bev, Alisa and Jess.

Ben, Mike and Kiki.

Natural History Museum.

Fiesta Days Rodeo and parade.

A good time was had by all and we will miss them when they go home.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Liberia, One Year Ago

I've been thinking a lot about our trip to Liberia last year. Going to Africa was an amazing experience. It was very positive in that we were finally able to bring Jessica home. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really see where Jessica came from. It was also a really difficult trip. The first two days in Liberia I cried everytime we went out. I had an idea what it was going to be like, but actually seeing it was really hard. We also saw first-hand the corruption that exsists there. It is a war-ravaged country where people do what they must to survive. The problems in Liberia are very complex and frustrating.

When we arrived in Liberia last year to pick up Jessica, our luggage didn't. Although I knew we were in Africa and that it is third world, I still had this crazy idea that we could somehow find a Walmart or something like that. Um, not. Apparently there are a few "higher end" stores there, but nowhere near where we were. So, we did some shopping at the open market. We found some new underwear, me a rayon jumper dress (needed for our embassy appointment,) and Jessica some shoes and a dress.
People get items from donated humanitarian shipments and sell them at the market.

Finally, the third day there we were able to go to the orphanage to pick her up. When we arrived, she was on her nanny's lap on the porch getting her hair done. We got out of the car and walked to the porch. They told her we were her Momma and Papa. She came to me and put her head on my shoulder.

Jessica with her nannies.

From the porch, a view of the clothesline at the orphanage.

When we got in the car, she held her book (now called her Africa Book.) This is the book I made her about us. She had it for several months while in the orphanage. It was her only possession, and she was very attached to it. She still is.

After picking her up from the orphanage, we went with some other adoptive families to the beach. It was so beautiful.

At the guest house.

After finally getting on the airplane in Liberia (a long story for another day) and landing in Ghana, we were able to find our luggage and change our clothes.

After arriving home we went to Fish Lake for the annual trip. I just love this picture of her.

We plan to return to Liberia someday. I know that it will be important for Jessica to go back. I am trying to find some ways to stay involved in humanitarian efforts there. (It's really tough to find an agency that is trustworthy.) I also have the goal to make Jessica's lifebook this summer. (Like a scrapbook, but about her adoption.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Year With Jessica

We received this picture of Jessica shortly before leaving last year to pick her up.
Jessica, one year later.
It was one year ago today that we brought Jessica home. In many ways, the last year has gone by very fast. We love her so much. She has such a sweet personality. She is a wonderful little girl and Mike and I feel so blessed to be her parents. It has been such a great experience to watch her grow and learn over the last year. She has adjusted quite well to life here. I am amazed at her resilience.

Camping with Cousins

We went camping with Sean and Julie this weekend. It was a great time. Above is Andrew and Tyler. The kids just adore their cousins.
Jessica with Courtney and her friend Kayla.

Bev and Katie. They look like they could be sisters.

The gang playing our latest favorite game, "Scum." Andrew loves this game and is so happy to be old enough to play with the big kids and adults.

Alisa, Jessica and Katie at the campfire.

Mike, Bev and Kiki roasting marshmallows.

Mike's grandparents owned a membership to Camperworld. He grew up going there with them. Now his parents own the membership, so we use it a few times every year. We co-own a pop-up trailer with Sean and Julie. Having the trailer makes it really comfy camping.

Thanks to Julie for planning it and getting us all set up. We all had a wonderful time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Apartment Living

What a week last week was. We moved out of the house and into an apartment. Last weekend was physically and emotionally exhausting. We got everything into the apartment and storage and then I cleaned for two days. I just feel relieved to have that part done. It is still a little sad passing the house. We are really going to miss it, the neighborhood, the ward. The hardest part is going to be not seeing our great friends on a daily basis.

The apartment is actually just fine. When I tell people that it is a two-bedroom, they feel bad for us. It is really spacious and the kids are having fun. They keep calling it "the hotel." We take them swimming in the pool here almost everyday.

We are really trying to have a fun, relaxing summer and at the same time trying to pack a lot in. The kids start year-round school in 3 weeks--that is going to be a whole new experience for us. Andrew and Bev are in a summer camp called Bright Ideas that goes for the next two weeks (mornings only) and my sister Melanie and her family are coming next week for a visit. We are going to try to go camping this weekend. Packing it in.

Beverly finally got her glasses. (I will post a pic soon.) I took her to the eye doc a few weeks ago, because she didn't pass the vision screening at school a few months ago. I feel bad that I waited--she has really bad vision in her left eye. She is really excited about them and we all think she looks darling. Andrew, trying to be the older, informative brother, prepared her by telling her, "Now, when you get glasses, people might call you four-eyes, nerd, geek." Um, thanks for your help in this matter, Andrew. We then had a little discussion about him never calling her those things and how if he does he will really regret it.

We are off to complete our evening routine: Mike comes home, we go out to check on the new house, eat dinner and then go swimming.