Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I hope yours was full of blessings. My husband's parents were here for the week, and it was great. I am so glad they had some time to bond with M. We made a lot of good memories - swimming at the pool, going to the bounce house and talking about trucks ("guck" in toddler-ease) constantly.
D's Mom shared several of her Christmas cookie recipes with me - but my artistic skills are definitely lacking!
 Usually we are out of town on Christmas. So this was the first year we got to attend our church's Christmas Eve service. We went to the Children's Mass, which was adorable (lots of little angels and shepherds!) and packed. It was a beautiful service, then we came home and stuffed ourselves on a delicious ham.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Christmas morning M woke up to a brand new Cozy Coupe truck, which blew his mind. We had fun relishing the day and playing with lots of new trucks and airplanes. Let the joy of Christmas continue in this happy season!

Amazed by the capabilities of his little truck! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quick Takes on a Snowy Friday

--- 1 ---

Do you do Quick Takes? I have no idea what I'm doing, and not even sure if I have 7 things to write about, so I appreciate your understanding for this first effort! What we've been up to since my last post: wrapping and mailing Christmas presents, attending D's work Christmas party, playing outside, and reading a bunch! I took M to see Santa at the fire station - he was amazed by the fire trucks and terrified of Santa. It is super nice that the fire dept lets you stop by to see Santa/fire trucks in exchange for food donations.

--- 2 ---

It is snowing! It started earlier this morning during Moms Group, and is still going strong. In fact, it is coming down really heavy as I type! I can't wait for M to wake up from his nap because...

--- 3 ---

We are going to take him outside to try out his new skis! Yep, toddler skis!! They are his Christmas gift from us, but we decided that if we got any snow before Christmas we would let him try it out. =) I'll be sure to take some pics!

--- 4 ---

I'm feeling very thankful for my Church and the wonderful folks that we are meeting there. I am really enjoying making some new friends through the Young Adult and Family Fellowship and Moms Group.

--- 5 ---

I had intended to make a Jesse Tree this year out of felt and have M color the ornaments to put on the tree. I've never done this before so I thought this could be a good "trial run" year before M gets older and realizes how bad I am at crafts. Well, my little tree looked so awful, and not at all like a tree that I basically gave up on the project altogether before we even attempted to color any ornaments (which my printer wouldn't print anyway, a whole different problem, argh!). But I've been pleased that the crafts that we've been doing at the Kroc Center have emphasized Jesus and the celebration of his birth (rather than just Santa), so I think that makes up for my own personal terrible craftiness!

--- 6 ---

Grandparents are awesome! D's parents arrive on Sunday and will stay with us until Friday. Then we will drive to meet my parents and sibs in Montana for a week! I can't wait to see them all and so thankful that they are all willing to travel to our neck of the woods!

--- 7 ---

We have had a nice, quiet Advent. It has been a blessing, and given me time to pray and read some Scripture (when I am not moping about my lack of craft skills!). We have been lighting our Advent wreath before dinner almost every night. It is exciting to see it start to resonate with M because when we put him in his chair he starts point at the candles and signing please. He loves hearing us sing a carol and proclaims a loud "AMEN!" at the end.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

What do you have going on? I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Advent!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap!

Happy First Week of Advent, y'all!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving, although I missed my family terribly!  I have such good memories of spending all Thanksgiving day cooking and prepping with my mom, sisters and grandmother.  It is just not the same when you are doing the cooking yourself.  Next year, we'll have to convince everyone to travel to us!

We hosted two other families, ending up with 7 adults and 7 kids ages 6 and under!  It was a crazy, fun chaos.  Little M was so excited when the doorbell rang, but then he quickly became overwhelmed by all of the bigger kids playing with his toys.  He eventually settled down and got right into the mix.

I made the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, company corn, mac & cheese and an apple pie.  First time making my gravy and apple pie crust from scratch and both turned out well so I was very pleased.  We also had stuffing, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, homemade rolls, pecan pie and Mississippi mud cake.  My mom friends are also from the South, so we had a little bit of a Southern theme going on! =)

Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention that M & I did a 5k Turkey Trot that was an utter disaster.  Poor M was yelling and crying just about the whole way.  He did fine for the first mile, but then just got more and more upset.  Of course when he really started falling apart, I was thinking that we were closer to the turn around point than the finish line.  So, I thought it made more sense to keep going until the turn-around rather than just turn around earlier.  It was cold out (28 degrees), but I don't think he was crying because of the cold because I reached into the stroller and was holding his hand to help calm him down and it felt warm.  In fact, the hand holding was the only thing that really calmed him down but it made for some awkward jogging/stroller pushing!

Nevertheless we finished the entire race and I let him out of the stroller as soon as we stepped off of the trail.  He made a beeline for some dump trucks parked at a nearby construction site.  I think he really was hollering because I didn't let him out earlier to go look at those.  We were certainly a sight, and so I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to take a picture of us, haha!

Tonight we lit our first Advent candle at home and sang an off-key verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  M loved it and was totally fascinated by the candle lighting, so that made it a lot of fun.  I am looking forward to building our family Advent traditions, and would love to hear any suggestions for celebrating this special season!

Do you have any Advent traditions?  Please share!  Have a great week!
Just about the only pic we have from Thanksgiving - making apple pie for my beloved!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Recap (in bullet points)

  • Friday after work Happy Hour: spent getting fingerprinted for our adoption homestudy update, followed up with homemade pizza at home
  • Saturday morning: brunch at the Kroc for M & I while D is hunting, then M & I went *hunting* for bargains at the mall in Spokane
  • Saturday night date night: packaging the venison from D's successful hunting trip.  Never in my life did I think I would ever spend time doing this, but I have to say, it is delicious!  Not to mention, D runs a pretty clean operation from start to finish, so the quality control is top notch.
  • Lazy Sunday: we relaxed due to our exciting late night (see above) and went to the "late show" at Church, the 6 pm service.  Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the liturgical year!  Last year, our priest made a comment about closing out the year celebrating Christ as our King and with thankfulness (because of the upcoming Thanksgiving).  What a great way to end the Church year!
How was your weekend?  Tell me about it!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving is Right Around the Corner!

Hi there!

It's been a busy, but great week.  We got our fingerprints taken again today to update our adoption home study. We have sent out revised adoption portfolios to our attorney in Washington and to the local agency.  So, we continue to wait, and pray!

In the meantime, we'll be hosting a "southern style" Thanksgiving.  We are having two families come over and both of my girlfriends are transplanted Southerners like me, so it should be fun and full of butter!  There will be 7 kids age 6 and under so we are hoping for chaos.

I'm making the turkey, gravy, potatoes, mac & cheese and an apple pie.  My hardworking husband loves apple pie, so you know I aim to please.  Is mac & cheese a standard Thanksgiving dish?  We never had it when I was growing up, but I made a Pioneer Woman recipe last year and really liked it, so I am planning to make it again, even though my friend's young daughter declared that it was merely "interesting."  I've asked my friends what they want to bring.  If no one volunteers to make green bean casserole or corn casserole, I might make those too.  I loved making these dishes with my mom and sisters growing up, so they are "must-haves" for me!

We frequently hosted Thanksgiving when I was growing up, so I have fond memories of cooking all day with my mom and sisters, and then eating outside at one big table with the extended family.  That's one of the benefits of Thanksgiving in Florida - you can eat outside with a gorgeous view of the river! 

We go around the table with the usual "what are you thankful for" but also other questions like "what do you want to be when you grow up" (best answer was from my nephew who was 4 and said he wanted to drive ships like his Dad), advice for the cousin graduating from college or advice for the cousin getting married (my Uncle advised D that year that "we all come with her!") 

We also went to NYC and watched the parade for several years.  That was a ton of fun too - I got up early with my mom and her two sisters to stake out our spot on the parade route, we played football in Central Park and shopped, of course!  We've also had our share of sadness at Thanksgiving - my Uncle died on Thanksgiving Day 2003, actually en route to the family gathering that year.  It was tragic and we all continue to miss him, but I am so thankful for the great memories of him that I have.  I'll definitely be thinking of all of our family spread across America this Thanksgiving, and thankful for our many blessings.

How will you be celebrating your Thanksgiving?  I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Overheard in Our House

"It doesn't have to be fun to be fun."  - This is how D describes hiking for miles and miles in the snow on a hunt, and not seeing any wildlife.

"elp, puh!"...."mon-mowah" - M saying "help, please!" while asking me to help him put on his Dad's running shoes, and then saying "lawnmower."  I helped him put the shoes on and then asked him if he was going to mow the lawn.  He said "yeah!" in reply.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips on Tuesday: The Telephone Toy Basket

Hi there!

A friend shared this tip with me this afternoon - so I thought I'd pass it along and capture it here so I remember in the future!

Here's the background:  My friend called me and we were trying to talk, but since M is fascinated with the phone these days, he kept begging to hold it and basically hollering in the background of our conversation.  I apologized to my friend for the racket, but she passed on the concept of the "Telephone Toy Basket."  This is a special basket of toys for the kiddo to play with while mom is on the phone.  I don't get a ton of phone calls, so I think this would be a great tool to use when I do!  You know how those first children/only children love to be the center of attention, so I think a basket of special toys will keep him occupied while I'm on the phone!

Hope this is helpful!  Have a great day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

Good Monday Morning!  Today I'm thankful for all of our veterans, especially my veteran-husband!

It is funny how things work out: I come from a Navy family, but it is mostly because the women in my family married Navy men.  My Great-Grandfather was a Navy doctor.  Both of his daughters (one of whom was my Grandmother) married Navy doctors.  My Grandmother had 7 kids and all 4 of her sons served in the military.  My brother is in the Navy, and both my sister and I married Navy men!

My man was in the Navy for 6 1/2 years.  He was gone a lot when we were first married, so it was really a tough adjustment for me!  My thoughts now are always with our friends who are still sticking it out.  We were really lucky - he only missed our first wedding anniversary.  But we know lots of families who have had to celebrate many holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays while Dad is overseas.  And he has friends who made the ultimate sacrifice, and not a day goes by that we don't think of them, and pray for them and their families.

The happiest day for any military family is the day the service member comes home from deployment.  When D came home from his second deployment, his plane landed literally in the middle of the night, so there was no fanfare like you see in the newspapers sometimes.  I stayed up all night at the base airport waiting for it to land and jumped into his arms as soon as I saw him.  Reunions are always the best part of Navy life!

I'm thankful for his service and sacrifice, and for the service and sacrifice of all of our other veterans. 

Who are the veterans in your life?  Go buy them a beer to show your thanks!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I love reading, and I love to read magazines when I want to read but I'm not yet ready to pick up another book.  I am curious about what magazines other folks read.  We use airline miles to subscribe to magazines for the most part, but I do pay for my Runner's World, which is probably my favorite magazine of all time!

Here is what we get:

Runner's World - my fav, I think it has great feature articles and I love to read about the regular people runners and the destination races!
The Economist - good new source, I never read everything in it but it has global coverage which I like.  It generally has well-written Letters to the Editor, interesting Book Reviews and Memorial profiles about people and books that I probably wouldn't hear about otherwise.  Not to mention the actual news articles, of course.
Redbook - I think of this as my mom magazine - I usually read it and then toss it, I like some of the fashion, but I'm not in love with it.
Inc. - my husband picked this one out.  I read it sometimes, but if we stopped getting it I wouldn't miss it.
Coastal Living - this magazine always makes me miss the beach.  If we ever buy a house with a guest room, you'd better believe I will have an ocean/beach-themed room based on ideas from this magazine!
Sunset - I don't think I'd get this if we didn't live in the NW, but I love it!  Makes me want to travel all over the NW, even though it typically seems very California-focused. 
Princeton Alumni Weekly - the magazine from our alma mater.  First I always check the "Memorials" section, then the Class Notes, and then the Letters to the Editor.  The LttE can be pretty confrontational at time, so I get a kick out of reading them!  This mag is not actually weekly anymore, but it has interesting articles and I like hearing about what's happening on campus.  I read it and then give a book report to my husband, who could care less!

I used to get Shape, but then it started to read too much like Cosmo and so I canceled that subscription.  I love me some Southern Living but I don't have a subscription right now.  Whenever we would fly somewhere, I used to always buy SL in the airport, but the idea of reading while flying with a toddler is a joke now.  I am thinking about subscribing to Magnificat and Verily magazine - I've heard good things about both but never read them.  And I can't walk through a Barnes and Noble without skimming the latest People - that would be my guilty reading pleasure!

Which magazines do you like to read?  Got any recommendations for me? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Latest on Our Adoption Journey

Good morning!

Here's a little update as to where we are in our pursuit of Adoption #2:  It has been almost a year that we've been formally back on the list with our attorney.  He has had a couple of situations arise but nothing has panned out for us.  I am getting our paperwork together to work with an agency as well, and also planning to give our portfolio to another local attorney that a friend has used.  She has said that she hasn't had many prospective mothers lately though.  We have to get our home study updated, fingerprints done again, etc.!  Lots of paperwork!

We trust that God will build our family as he sees fit.  I remember talking with Dan the night we became engaged and we had such dreams for a big, rocking family.  But it may be just the three of us, or more, or not.  The first time we were not chosen by a birth mom, it was really hard for me.  But I think I needed to go through that, and I have learned more about myself as a result.  It made me sad and made me feel inadequate, but I ultimately realized that it was out of my control and that situation was just not the perfect fit that God has in mind for our family.  M was a perfect fit for our family, and God willing, there will be more children who will fit perfectly with us.

In any case, we are all sleeping too well in this house so we need a newborn around to shake things up.  =)  No matter what happens, I am truly grateful to entrust the building of my family to our Lord, and hopeful, and patient.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

How was your Halloween?
Our little snow leopard, with me trying to run out of the photo!
The last few years, I just haven't been big on Halloween.  It was fun to dress up in college and law school, but before this year, we always lived in condos or a busy street that no one really trick-or-treated on.  Plus I don't like all the skull and crossbones/ gory types of decorations that seems to be all over the place now!

We grew up in a very rural area so we never had very many trick or treaters come to our house, but I always loved putting up the silly little cartoonish decorations - we didn't do the scary stuff.  W did always have cute costumes and there is this great old home video that my parents have with my sisters jumping up and down dressed as a unicorn and a bumblebee and all of us acting like crazies.  Makes me laugh just to think about it!

But this year, we actually had more than 2 groups come by our house!  Pretty funny that we had to move to a small town in Idaho to have the traditional trick or treating experience!
Posing with our hedgehog friend that my mom sent!  M likes to pet him.
We took M over to our neighbor's house so he could say "boo" and they could see him in his cute little costume.  On our walks around the neighborhood, I taught him that if he sees a ghost, he has to yell "boo" so he has been getting a lot of practice.  Then we went back home and he loved watching people come to the door and waving bye to them.  It was fun.  I was kind of surprised that there were some big kids who came by the house - my friend says she just flat out tells them that "this should be your last year trick or treating."  Hah!  Harsh, huh?  

It was also fun to watch Dan keep telling the kids, hey take more, take one of each.  We were really committed to getting all of the candy out of the house!  He said his parents used to keep track of how many trick or treaters they had.  One year when I was growing up, we had a big Halloween party and my uncle turned one room into a haunted house and really went all out.  So I guess I do like Halloween after all!

I loved this explanation about Halloween on this website:
I'm going to bookmark this to use when M is older!

I would love to hear about other fun Halloween traditions, please share!  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trail of Terror 5k Race Report

Saturday I did the Trail of Terror 5k with M in the stroller -- our first stroller race!

There was a 1/2 marathon option too.  Considering he was yelling "All done" when we still had a quarter mile left to go in the 5k, I think we made the right choice by not running the longer distance. =)

This was a fun race.  The weather was perfect - cool and crisp and the race is out on country roads that back up to the mountains so it can't be beat.  People dress up in costumes, so M wore his Leopard costume.  He was a fan favorite of course, and it kept him warm too!
Staying warm in the car before the race

We finished under 30 minutes (barely) which I was glad to see, but my mile #2 was pretty slow.  There was another lady pushing a jogging stroller too and she and I kept passing each other on the long uphill during the second mile.  I'm sure we were quite a sight, and she had a dog with her too!  I was impressed.  I was dragging on the uphill and even walked for a minute or two so I tried to let it loose on the downhill.  Happy with my 8:35 mile #3!
Pre-race snuggles!
 We got a fun key chain and a growler at the finish line, along with a bunch of Halloween candy.  You can tell I don't drink beer much because I didn't even know what a growler was.  1/2 marathon finishers also got a medal.
Post-race, trying to catch my breath!
A fun race with a nice and chill post race party.  M and I shared some pizza, watched the awards and listened to the music at the after party.  He also enjoyed running around after the race, hopefully he'll want to do his own 5k some day!  I  really liked this race - we'll be back next year!

Gorgeous North Idaho!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekend Adventures - a belated recap

We had a busy, wonderful weekend!

D was elk hunting.  He got skunked (didn't get one) but saw several moose.  He had a blast and got his fill of fresh mountain air before heading back to his office dungeon on Monday.

M and I stayed busy while he was gone, spending money and eating fast food.  =)  We went swimming on Friday.  He has no fear at the pool and walked in up to his neck, splashing around!  Can't wait to start up our swimming lessons again in a couple of weeks, he just loves the water.  Some girlfriends came over for movie night and we had so much fun catching up we didn't even watch a movie.

On Saturday we played and then did the Trail of Terror 5k in the afternoon.  M was in costume and it was our first stroller race!  We didn't crash into anyone with the stroller so I think it was a success.  It was a fun race atmosphere and M really got a kick out of being a part of the festivities.

Post-race pizza party with my little snow leopard

Sunday was filled with church, a birthday party and then the Global Run for Water 5k (a virtual race) for me.  D had come home in the afternoon, so I ran without the stroller around the neighborhood.  I signed up for this on a whim after reading Kristen Armstrong's blog on  It is a benefit race for people in Burundi and the $25 entry fee for each participant provides access to clean water for a Burundian FOR LIFE.  $25 so that someone has access to clean water for life?  You can't beat that - so of course I signed up!  It was such a beautiful, windy fall afternoon to run and I'm glad that we could contribute to a good cause.

How was your weekend?  What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Catholics Craving More

I attended an inspiring gathering last week.

It was the first gathering of our new Pray and Play group for Catholic Moms.  It was a small group, we were surrounded by our chaotic children (childcare not finalized yet), and we didn't even have coffee!  But I was so thrilled to meet other women raising young kids who want to nurture a faith-filled and Christ-centered household, and ALSO want to actively serve our parish(es) and our local community!

 I was really encouraged to meet some other women in this area, in the same stage of life who are eager to grow in our faith and to implement it more in our daily lives - this is what I mean by "Catholics craving more!".  I am thankful for this group, hopeful that it will be able to continue, and looking forward to participating and growing in faith with these women.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I just looked back and realized that my blog has been in the virtual world for one year!  Happy blog-annie-versary to me!

Apparently I wrote 2 posts that first month, and then didn't post again until March.  Whoops!  Not to mention, that restaurant I blogged about is now closed (sad).  Anywho, hopefully I'll have some interesting and fun things to post about in blog year #2.  Thanks to my husband and mom for being my loyal readers. =)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hayden Lake Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K

Last weekend I ran the first annual Hayden Lake 10k with my runner girlfriends!  What fun!

This was the first year for the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k.  The full marathon goes all the way around the lake!  I'd like to do it one day, but for this year we settled for the 10k distance.

It was a ton of fun - a gorgeous course that climbs up gently in the first half, has a steep downhill around the halfway point and then rolls gently along the lake shore back to the start line.  The 10k started at 9 (the longer distances at 7 am) so it was still a little chilly at the start, but we warmed up pretty quickly as we climbed the hills.  We started out slowly, chatting along the way and admiring the views.  There wasn't much traffic along the roads and there were plenty of volunteers holding traffic at a few spots.  I know some folks had written in to the local paper to complain about the race, but at least for the 10k, we didn't see much car traffic, so I don't think we impeded the folks driving along the road all that much.

About halfway through the race, we turned down a sharp downhill and at this point I lost my friends because I just let the hill take me down.  This probably wasn't the most responsible way to run, but all I could say was "whee!" and be glad that I didn't trip and fall and roll right into the lake!  Then it was flat to gently rolling back to the starting line down at Honeysuckle Beach.  I finished in a hour, so I was pleased considering that I hadn't done any specific training and didn't study the course beforehand.  I set out to have a fun experience, and that is what it was.

The 10k was super scenic, so I know the other distances were too.  The half marathon runs through some very pretty neighborhoods on the northwestern side of the lake, and we all agreed that we wanted to train for that distance next year.

The finisher shirts were awesome, and the half and full marathon finishers got some cool medals.  They had plenty of food at the finish, including three different kinds of delicious soup and free Qdoba!  (Yeah, I kind of stuffed myself after the race!)  And yes, we waited an hour after we finished for our free food, haha!  But we got to watch the half marathoners and full marathoners finishing and that was super inspiring!

Modeling my finisher t-shirt!  Half marathoners and full marathoners got long sleeve shirts.

I also have to mention that this race is a bargain - we paid $25 as the late registration for the 10k.  I think the longer distances were good prices too.  I only heard one half marathon finisher mention that the first aid station was at mile 6 and she wished it had been earlier.

This was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning!  I hope to make this an annual event!

Prairie Home Farms

Last week I took M to Prairie Home Farms with some friends.  This was our first trip to a pumpkin patch and animal farm.

He had a lot of fun wandering among the corn stalks and the pumpkins.  He is kind of a wanderer/explorer, so he probably would have been happy to do this all day!
Reenacting a scene from "Ollie's Halloween" - one of our favorite fall books!

We also saw some goats, pigs, geese, chickens, horses, bunnies and a turkey.  The pigs were huge and he was a little bit afraid of them and VERY scared of the horses, poor thing!  He didn't want anything to do with the horses and burst into tears when they stuck their noses over the fence.  But he had a blast looking at the geese and was squawking back at them, it was pretty cute to see.  He also liked chasing the farm cat around, but his all time favorite activity was pulling the little red wagons.  He is a little people mover, for sure! 

The owner charges $2 admission, $3 for a bag of animal feed and .30/lb for pumpkins.  We didn't get any animal food because I wasn't sure he would want to feed the critters, this ended up being a good decision.  I also didn't buy any pumpkins because I am a cheapo and will only pay .09/lb at the Super 1 sale.  =)  It was a fun, beautiful morning - great to be outside!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More Fall Colors

I can't get enough of the beautiful leaves this year!  Here are a few more shots from our walks:

In our neighborhood.  Anyone want to buy that house and live down the street from us?
My guys on our after dinner walk.  Doesn't M look cozy?
Enough with the stroller!  I want to walk!
I hope you are enjoying a beautiful season too!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review: The Open-Hearted Way to Open-Adoption, by Lori Holden with Crystal Hass

I picked this book up on a whim at the library last week.  The title piqued my interest because we have an open adoption.

This is a great book for anyone involved in the adoption process or contemplating an open adoption.  The authors are the birth mother and the adoptive mother in (what I would call) a very open adoption.  I call it very open because they seem to have very frequent contact with both of the biological parents.

The authors very thoroughly explain how open adoption benefits the child with reconciling the "split" between his/her biology and biography.  The subtitle of the book ("Helping your child grow up whole") really sums up the book.  As adoptive parents, all we really want is for our child to grow up "whole" and feel good about himself, who he is and how he came to be.

I think the first half of the book can be really helpful for folks who are not yet in an open adoption - the authors really explain who the players are in the adoption and the real life anecdotes are interesting to read.

I liked the second part of the book ("Orienting on the Child: Open Adoption's True North"), and I know I am going to be referring back to it again and again over the years.  Holden gives some good examples of how to deal with the question of "where's your real mom?" and also refers to other helpful resources.

The book is a quick read, and a great one for every adoptive family!  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekend Adventures/Fall in the Inland Northwest!

Weekends are the best!
The view near where Lake CdA feeds into the Spokane River
 We had a such a great relaxing weekend.  M and I went for a short and easy stroller run on Saturday morning.  It was gorgeous out, and we got side-tracked checking out the neighborhood garage sales, but it was really nice to get him out into the fresh air.
Nice paved trails in our area
Later we went over to Spokane Valley so we could go to Hobby Lobby.  I am looking for some things to finish decorating M's room, but they didn't have what I needed so that was kind of a bummer.  We did pick up Five Guys for dinner, which made up for my failed attempt at retail therapy. =)

On Sunday we went for an awesome family bike ride along the river.  The leaves are starting to change - it seems that we get more yellow/gold than red but it is just lovely.  We didn't make it all the way into downtown, but we stopped for lunch at the Fort Ground Grill.  The food was fine but nothing special, but it had a nice casual atmosphere that is appealing to us.  Plus, M and I enjoyed watching football on the TV (since we never get to do that at home, ha!).

M fell asleep in the trailer on the way home, poor little guy couldn't make it all the way home before naptime took over.  We went to the Sunday night service at our church.  We have never been to it before, but they play contemporary-style music which reminded me of my Agape (pre-Catholic) days back in college!  Poor M was falling apart by this time though because it was too close to bedtime and he had such a short nap, so we probably won't be attending this service all that often - the 10:30 usually works much better in this stage of life!
Prince Charming.  At Church he is getting very good at loudly proclaiming "AMEN!" whenever he feels like it!

Riding through the North Idaho College campus

How was your weekend?  Does my weekend sound incredibly boring?  Who cares, I loved it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

18 Months

Our little guy is one and a half!
You talking to me?
 I would say "our little baby" but even I can't ignore that he is full-on toddler now and not my little baby anymore.
Northwest Toddler Fashion, puffy vest style

He is a busy little boy - he loves to push his Batman car and play with his Legos.  He loves to dance and even will sing "da-da-da, da-da-da" if I ask him to sing!  He is used to having my full attention and might be known to get a little upset if he has to share time with someone else! =)  He will tell himself "NO" if he is about to do something that he knows he is not supposed to do (and then do it anyway!).
Supporting all of Dad's teams at once: Princeton +UF
He has lots of words now; I love it when he runs over, grabs my leg and says "up!" requesting to be picked up.  When I go in to get him first thing in the morning, he shouts "BOO!"  every time.  He is an amazing sweetheart and the love of our lives.

Relaxing in the backyard just like (lazy) Mom!
We are so thankful for him, and so thankful for his birth mom.  She is, and always will be our hero!

Monday, September 30, 2013

September in Photos

I have to look back at my photos to figure out where this month went.  Where did it go?!

We moved a few miles down the road to a newer house.  Hopefully the windows won't leak here and M's room won't be freezing!

I had a bunch of these linen napkins that were my Grandmother's.  They were stained and yellowed, but I did an Oxi-Clean test and they didn't fall apart in the soak, so now we are actually using linen cloth napkins.  Yes, we are crazy, and yes we also eat on our wedding china every day.

I took this picture to send to my Mom and show her that the stains came out.

We spent the last few warm days over on Hayden Lake while all the poor big kids were stuck in school.  This beach is heavenly when it isn't crowded!

It's not Florida sand, but it will do!

Daddy is Britney Spears.
This was funny at the time, but now he only wants to sit up front when we get in the car...

For college football season, we root for the Gators, even though we don't actually watch the games.  My brother and SIL are die hard Gator fans even though neither of them went to school there.  My Mom and all her siblings went there so we grew up going to Gator games every year.  I have great memories of walking into the stadium and sweating it out with the rest of Gator nation during the hot Florida fall.  Dan is actually in UF's MBA program, so that keeps him in good graces with the rest of the family. =)
We are already getting a lot of use out of our jackets!
My wonderful Mom came to visit M and me for a few days while D took a trip to India.  M loved playing "hide and seek" in the woods with her!  D had to travel 36 hours just to get to India, and even more on the way back.  He did not find his inner guru, but we are so glad to have him home!
Playing hide and seek with Grammie D
What I'm looking forward to in October:

The possibility of a Catholic Mom Group starting up in our area!

Hopefully running a 10k and/or 5k, it looks like there are a few in the next couple of weeks in our area!

Finishing our paperwork to begin working with a new adoption agency!  We are still working with our private attorney, but are trying to spread the word that we are called to adopt again.

What are you looking forward to next month?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Glacier National Park: Driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Here's a quick post to finish up our recap of our time at Glacier National Park in Montana.

We woke up early and Dan made a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast!  M thought waking up in a tent was the funniest thing, so he was just laughing like a maniac and bouncing on the airbed, basically waking up the entire campground.  (They must have loved us!).

Breakfast time!  It was around 50 degrees when we woke up!
 We spent the majority of the day driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  It is a gorgeous drive, and definitely the thing to do if you don't have a lot of time to visit the park.  There is so much more to see, but it is the most accessible way to see some beautiful vistas and make short stops/do short hikes. 

We drove from west to east, stopping a few times, and then turned around going back West towards our campsite.  On our return trip, we did some hiking on Logan's Pass (basically where everyone else is hiking, it is super crowded there!) and got some good pics in the snow. 
Lake St. Mary, on the east side of Glacier

Logan Pass - the highest point on the GTTS Road!  There were mountain goats up here and yes, we had a snowball fight!

We did a little more hiking near The Loop (a hairpin turn on the GTTS Road), but it was hot out and I was getting nervous about bears so we weren't out too long. 
Starting our hike near The Loop.  D is part mountain goat so he does not need hiking boats or even running shoes, he just hikes in cheapo flip flops.

We eventually made our way back to camp for some relax and play time and walking around the Avalanche Creek area.
Reading some Emily Giffin chick-lit in the tent.
The campground had a "free or borrow" table of books at the ranger's campsite.  There were a bunch of books that you could either just take or borrow!  I have never seen anything like that (of course, I've never been to a campground before either) but I thought it was awesome.  Hotels should do this!  I picked up a good, fast read by Emily Giffin, "Where We Belong."  I was drawn to it because it was partially from the viewpoint of an adopted girl and Emily Giffin books are my go-to guilty pleasure. 

All in all, this was a wonderful, fun day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Minnesota Nice

Dan grew up spending his summers on Lake Blanche in Minnesota.  Now we try to make it there at least once a summer.  It is a beautiful, peaceful lake and we were lucky enough to get there during the same week as all of our extended family.  There is a lot of family history connected to Blanche so it is a very special place!

Sometimes when we go the weather is 90 degrees and you hardly ever get out of the lake.  This year it was nice and cool, perfect weather for sitting on the deck and curling up with a good book, or watching your little guy toddle around on the beach playing in the sand.  We went for boat rides ("cocktail cruises"), a hike in Glendalough State Park, had a lot of fun playing with our niece and nephew and visited with the extended family.  Dan got to get his fishing in, we ate our share of walleye, and we got to have lunch at my favorite spot, Zorbaz on Ottertail.  We didn't ski this year, which was probably a good idea because every year we end up so sore from trying to drop one ski, haha!  All in all, it was another great visit to a special place!

Grandma borrowed this roller coaster from the neighbors.  Can you tell he loved it?!

Water baby!

Hiking in Glendalough

Florida = Family

M and I flew to Florida for almost two weeks this summer.  We missed D like crazy, but it was a wonderful time to get to visit with our Florida family!

The sounds of crashing waves reminded him too much of his sleep sheep - he fell asleep in my arms!

I just love the beach.  It is the perfect family vacation!  We got to spend a whole week at the beach with my parents, my siblings and their families.  It was wonderful cousin time for the little guys and we ended the week celebrating my sisters' 30th birthdays.  M loved playing in the sand and along the shoreline and watching his bigger cousins play in the water.  We had great story time with the littles, walked to get ice cream, and I got to go on runs with my sisters.  I am so thankful for this time together and all of the memories that we made! 

We had 11 people in our group (and that is not even the whole family!) and we even managed to eat out a couple of times with NO meltdowns!  We had a good routine of exercise time, morning beach time, lunch, naptime/reading time for the adults/lego time for the big kids, afternoon beach/play time and then dinner time.  We also all became addicted to American Ninja Warrior and Duck Dynasty.  I loved getting to spend this time with my parents, siblings and nephews, and will never forget what a wonderful week it was.