Thursday, July 30, 2009

24th of July Traditions

I have so many pictures from our 24th celebration I decided to condense them. I will do something fun with them for the scrapbook, but for now...

My mom is such a good sport. She always sleeps out with all 9 grandkids on the trampoline after the movie. This year a campaign began among some of the children--two of mine included--to sleep inside the house. I told them sleeping out was great (I'm not about to disrupt tradition) so I enthusiastically joined them.

I have in my memory a few horrible night's sleeps. There is now one more added to that list. I kept waking up to scoot back toward the outer edges of the tramp, looking at the sky, wishing for sunrise. It was one of those nights where I was actually awake more than I was asleep. Finally at 4 am I was all, "to heck with this." (Cleaning up verbage for posterity sakes.) And I went inside.

Next we all went to the parade. We go every year. I think I have only missed one--the one when I was on my mission.
The kids run after candy, play with cap guns, wave at princesses and get sprayed with water guns. I love the bag pipes, the huge Icelandic flag and all the vintage cars.

A few thoughts I had during the parade.

I love my hometown.

I get choked up when I stand for the flag.

Seeing the 20-year reunion float, I realized that in 2 years that is me--yikes.

I loved seeing my grandparents there--every year I am so glad that they are still there.

I have really bad feelings towards/about a few Utah County politicians.

I love my heritage and I need to do better at teaching my children theirs.

I still have a thing for cowboys.

Every year Grandma B buys tickets for her whole family to the Fiesta Days Rodeo. This year it was 40 people. We always sit in the same section. For as long as I can remember going to the rodeo, I remember having conflicting feelings about it. I particularly dislike the calf-roping competition. I find that I am often silently cheering for the animal. It's not the first time I have done it, but this year a calf escaped out of the gate and ran past us and I cheered for him--out loud. I have a thing for cows too.

The kids love their cowboy attire.

It was really windy, so I didn't get many pictures.
During the rodeo Mike pointed out that Jessica had a look on her face that says, "I just don't get it." She did like seeing the cowgirls with sparkly outfits, but overall I don't think she's a rodeo fan. The other three enjoy it. Every year Christian begs to do the Mutton Bustin--I just might let him--I don't necessarily have any tender feelings for sheep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

it's what's for dinner

This, or something very similar, is what we are eating a lot of lately.
It consists of something grilled. These days it's either salmon or hot dogs or burgers. I never liked hot dogs. I think it was all of those stories about what goes into them that turned me off. I am no longer a hater.

Several times a week Mike stops at the local farm stand on his way home from work and brings us home something fresh. The usual is watermelon and corn. But I always encourage him to live dangerously and surprise me. I don't know what we will do when the farm stands go away. But, hey, we can grill year-round. (By we I mean Mike.) He'll go out there in the rain, snow, whatever. Anything for some good grillin'.

That reminds me of a funny t-shirt I saw once. It said, "Meat is murder--tasty, tasty murder."

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Love to See This Temple

I think this might just be my favorite temple. A few reasons:

We can see it from our house.

The architecture/design/color inside and out is amazing.

It contains a lot of art from my favorite religious artist of all time, Minerva Teichert.

We had a great time Saturday.

Here's to eternity with these guys.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Cruise

After hitting Las Vegas and Sea World, it was finally time to board the ship.

Our kids are at such great ages to travel. It gets easier every year. I packed them each their own suitcase, and they each pulled their own. Here, Jessica was too tired to pull hers so Christian volunteered.I was a little worried about taking four kids on a cruise. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. We loved it. There was always something for everyone to do.
The other really great part was traveling with these fine folks. We went with Mike's brother Sean and his family.
In Ensenada we saw the Bufadora--a big blowhole where the waves force the water up into the rocks.

We also did some shopping. It was a little overwhelming--the salespeople were very aggressive. It was fun speaking Spanish and the kids loved finding Mexican treasures to bring home.
On the bus in Ensenada.
Andrew's favorite parts were bargaining in Mexico, playing ping pong and chess with Dad, Sean and Tyler, the kids club activities, and frozen yogurt that's available 24 hours a day.
Bev liked parasailing, the towel animals, kids club, the beach in Cabo and shopping.
Christian's favorite things: kids club activities, eating shrimp for dinner every night, parasailing and snorkeling in Cabo. (Mom's favorite part: he didn't go over this railing.)

There was a small pool and a slide on the Lido Deck.

Tyler and Christian.
Courtney and Jessica.
Mom and Jessica.
Andrew and Sean.
The brothers.
Katie, Courtney and Julie on the boat going to Cabo San Lucas.
The cousins in Cabo. I can't even describe how much the kids loved the ocean and the beach. I loved it too--I think Julie and I could have stayed in that water all day.

Mike negotiated with a guy on the beach to get us a good deal on parasailing. He went up with Chrisitan and took the camera with him.

Andrew and Courtney.
Mike and Christian.
Katie and Bev.
I went up with Jessica.
Sisters snuggling on the parasailing boat.
Mike and the boys were in one room and the girls and I were next door.
All ready for a day of fun.
Jessica's favorite things: kids club activities--especially the face painting, eating on the boat, sleeping on the boat, swimming on the boat, pancakes, eggs and shrimp.
Andrew bought a chess set in Cabo. He loved bargaining for it.
He and Tyler playing chess on the Lido Deck.The kids loved coming back to our rooms to find the towel animals that the steward had left. Christian with the turtle.
Christian got a mask and cape in Ensenada. I guess even superheros need sleep.
I had heard that cruises were just a big buffet on water. I was surprised at how good the food was. I loved that I didn't have to fix it. I loved that everyone could get what they wanted. I loved that we could get frozen yogurt cones whenever we wanted. Here we are at dinner one night.
Andrew and Jessica.
Christian and Courtney.
Tyler, Bev and Katie.
Sean and Julie.
It was one of the best vacations we have taken. The trip was to celebrate Tyler's graduation--I am so glad Sean and Julie let us tag along. We had a great time. The only problem is that I now have to get used to preparing food again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Years Ago...

On September 14, 2006 we got a call from the adoption agency we were working with. They called to tell us about a little 21 month-old girl and asked us if we were interested in adopting her. We had started the paperwork one year earlier, so we were thrilled to finally get the call. Donna told me about her and then said she would send us a picture. I told her that of course we would love a picture, but I didn't need one to know she was ours. I called Mike and he agreed. As I sat waiting for the email with the picture it was like waiting for the line to appear on the pee stick. When the email came the song playing on my itunes just happened to be "Isn't She Lovely." It was even better than an ultrasound--we could see her face. This is that first picture.
Jessica now.
It was two years ago this week that Mike and I traveled to Liberia to bring her home. In many ways it feels like she has been with us forever. She is a bright little sunshine in our home. She is so funny and sweet and smart and loving. I can't imagine our family without her.

Adopting a toddler has come with it's own set of challenges. Communication difficulty, cultural differences, understanding her personality, bonding and attachment. I wasn't prepared for how much I would grieve missing her first two and a half years of life. I think about what she might have experienced, what might have happened to her. I feel reassurance that she had a birth family that loved her and did their best to care for her.

A friend asked me about our trip to Liberia. The only word I could come up with was "complicated." International adoption is complicated. Liberia with all of the political and social issues is complicated. Traveling there is complicated. Getting anything done there is complicated. Finding new underwear to purchase there is complicated. Trying to get out of the country is complicated. The only thing that wasn't complicated was picking Jessica up in my arms and taking care of her and loving her.
Two years has flown by. She has made so much progress. She has taught us so much. Two years ago this beautiful little blessing entered our lives and we are so so lucky.