"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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." Ephesians 1:3-6

Friday, August 30, 2013


More improvements being made!  Making this house our home more and more.

Brent has been working so hard on the back yard.  He is such a hard worker and even in the heat, he is out there shoveling rock and working to get it done so the kids can play.  This week he had a little helper! 

And since these photos were taken (on Monday, I think), he has the yard practically cleared of the rocks!  Once he gets the rocks shoveled he will get a tiller and get started on the grass.

No, of course she is not picking up dog poop.  She'd never do that. 

Elliana watching through the window.  Declan was in the pool with some toys and no water.

So cute.  She loves being the big helper!

This week Brent also hung some things on the wall!  This is all his doing, because I would probably wait another 6 months before putting something up.  I just think hanging things and putting nail holes in the wall takes such commitment and there is just no turning back.  He just laughs!
Daddy was carrying Elliana in the ergo while hanging things.  I love how her little hand and foot peeked out the side:)

Our very first thing hung in the house! Our wedding canvas right above the fireplace.  It fits perfect!

"Daddy, how nice of you to leave the step stool out for me to climb on"

Second thing hung! This is by the front door.  Thinking of putting some little hooks or something in the corner--although no one wears coats in Arizona, do they!? But we thought it made for a nice little 'entry way' with the table here.

We got the bathroom painted and mirror hung!  I like it a lot! Still deciding what to do about towel racks and a shelf.  And that's baby boy at 27 weeks!


Project 52: week nine

August 25-30

Sunday Snapshot:
Usually it is the girls in the picture because Declan is sleeping, but this time just Dec got his picture taken! This was actually taken before church and Elliana was napping. So just a picture of the big boy WALKING!  Yep, he's officially a walker now:)
 And he is also a climber....but we already knew that :)  He is always looking to see how he can just get a little higher or be a little more daring.

My sweet Raelynn.  She is so thoughtful of others and it is beautiful to see her caring for others develop.  This was an evening mommy's legs were really bothering her, so I was planted on the couch.  Elliana was in the discovery center and Declan was on the floor.  Raelynn went upstairs and came back with 4 little board books.  She gave one to Elliana, one to Declan, said "This one for Raelynn and here is one for baby brother" and she came and put it on my belly.  So precious.

What was even sweeter was when I told her she should read it to him.  Brent captured in the picture her showing my belly the book and then picks up my shirt and says directly into my belly button "Are you listening?" haha.  Never a dull moment with this girl!

We had a play date on Wednesday this week!  Asher Olmstead came over to play.  They ran around for the most part, but here they are playing play dough:

While daddy was shoveling rock one day, he had the kids in the pool with no water. They had toys and the water bucket to play with.  And look where Declan ended up:)


A special visitor came on Thursday! Auntie Kacia had painted Raelynn's nail a few weeks ago and it all wore off.  Mommy offered to paint them, but apparently I'm not skilled enough.  She wouldn't accept my offer and only wanted Kacia to do it:)  (Probably because Auntie Kacia has a cool pen that can make flowers on the nails!)
It was great to have Kacia come by and stay for a while.  She ate lunch with us and helped make cut out cookies with us later in the day.  It was a lot of fun!

Update on Elliana--
This week we had some highs and lows.  Elliana is getting better and better and the pincher grasp and can get things into her mouth.  She is also putting things in her mouth when she is on the floor--which as funny as this sounds, that is good! She was only licking things before, which indicates some sensory issues (which we expected she would have) but now she is starting to explore her new found senses and is putting papers and toys in her mouth as she plays on the floor. 

Getting a good grasp!
 Now we just need to work on chewing:)  She gets peas and corn in her mouth but then it pretty much sits there until she smiles big enough for it to fall out.  Puffs are good because they dissolve...but corn, not so much.  We continue to spoon feed her for a while anyway, so this isn't a major issue right now.  But hopefully she will learn this skill as her teeth come in.
 Grasping again!  And also a shot of the 27 week old baby boy. And my feet are under there somewhere:)
Elliana is also continuing to become more comfortable in her surroundings and learning to move around.  She will be the completely opposite direction in her crib some days when we get her.  And she is doing the 'backward scoot' across the room and usually ends up with her legs trapped under the couch.  She is still getting up on her knees to rock a little bit, but only when she wants to of course.  A lot of the time she isn't interested.
She LOVES the Johnny Jump Up now and jumps all around! Her legs are getting so strong-she pushes back a lot when I'm changing her diaper and has a strong kick to my belly too!
She's doing pretty well with sleeping, though it is inconsistent.  Sometimes she naps, sometimes she doesn't.  She gets SO SO happy when we go in there, so that is sweet to see. 
We started putting her to bed a bit earlier than the older two because she gets pretty fussy at night.  Especially when she didn't take a third nap of the day.  One night this week, she went down before Bible time.  Brent was being quite animated and loud and woke her.  She was startled, you could hear it in her cry.  I went in and picked her up to soothe her and she sort of grasped on to my arms and put her head down.  A sweet moment that hasn't happened before and was very very special.  She is often fighting us when we hold her, so it was very sweet and I didn't want to put her down:)  There have been moments of that during the day since, but only lasting seconds.  She just isn't interested in being held on our terms, but yet she seems to want to be held and likes being carried around on my hip.  But when we hold her in a more intimate position or kisses are placed upon her cheek, she gets very upset.  It's hard.  Hard to know how to handle it and hard to deal with.  But God gives grace and the sweet moments just have to be savored.
A friend who adopted a long time ago reminded me today that we are no comfort to these children. Not yet. 
They are under so much adjustment and stress and someone who is of no familiarity is trying to comfort them. We know she had only 2-3 nannies, so there was some regularity for her. And we ripped it all away. All the smells, sounds, lights, tastes, everything. Every single thing. 
 But she needs to grieve and we will be there for her. We will show her our faithfulness that no matter how much she pushes away, we are here. With open arms ready to soothe her and giving her what she needs.
She can't see it now. But our plans and intentions are good for her.  I bet you know where this is heading.  God is so good to his children and so faithful to us. He never leaves or forsakes us and though we doubt the plans he sets before us at times or wonder why we are struggling and suffering through something, his way is good and perfect.
Just another way that adoption on a horizontal level can reflect the great love and mercy our father gives us on a vertical level through his adoption of us.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Peter Piper Pizza

The kids participated in the library's reading program this summer and at the end each of them got a certificate for 10 free tokens at Peter Piper Pizza.  Daddy thought it would be fun to go during his lunch break one day when he worked from home. 
My family....all shoving their faces with pizza.  classic.

He started crying on this ride...not sure why!

she loved it, but was copying Declan's cry

Declan asked Daddy if he would ride this with him

Purposeful Play 13 months

Declan is 13 months now, so as I mentioned before, I want to get more purposeful play in with him.  We are working on animal sounds and naming animals and body parts. (cow, pig, head, nose, toes)
I also try to rotate some 'educational' toys each week--or every couple weeks, just depends when I remember!
We had been playing for a while, then I left him to play by himself.  He did so well with these and had a fun time.  He continues to blow me away with his attention span and concentration on an activity.
we LOVE Melissa and Doug toys here!!  He did a good job of putting these on by himself

A good ol' pounding bench is wonderful! Got this at a garage sale when Raelynn was a baby.  The two pegs on the end fell out though and when I glued the bottom piece on I did it upside down so now the pegs don't stay in! oops.
He pushed the pegs up and down for at least 10 minutes. 

I've seen the foam idea with golf tees.  Well I don't have any golf tees laying around so we tried popsicle sticks!  Declan loved this.  He did this for 30 minutes! He was so concentrated.

It was pretty much a one time use toy because he broke big chunks off when he pulled out the sticks.


Showering Elliana

On Saturday, August 24, some of my dear friends threw Elliana a shower.  It was held at Treva's house and was such a special time.  Everything was perfect and there were such special touches on every detail.  We felt so loved and I am so blessed to have these sisters in my life.

"Welcome Elliana" on a diaper banner

First we ate....

Food and Drinks! Adorable cupcakes made by Nancy Bradt

 Then we played a game....

A fun game I've never seen before.  Kelly came up with the idea from a game that was played at her shower, but she put a twist on it.  The first Sunday we were at church with Elliana, Brent had to get up and take Raelynn potty.  I was already standing up with Elliana in the back and he handed Declan off to me.  Kelly looks over and laughs because I'm standing there with Elliana in the ergo, Declan on my hip, and let's not forget the baby in the belly!
So her idea was that the participants had to have a baby in a carrier, a baby on their hip, and a baby around their leg while hanging laundry on the line.  It was a race for the ladies who played.  It was pretty funny! I said they should have had to stuff a pillow in their belly too:)  And midway through we should have spilled milk on them--"uh oh, baby spit up"  It was fun!!




Jaime trying to hang laundry through the 'wind storm'.  And it was pretty funny because her daughter, Avrie was at the shower and had spilled her clothespin basket while she was competing.  So she got a very real life experience while playing!

Then Chiara Rusev gave a beautiful devotion on the topic of adoption and how God places us in families. 

Then we were showered with diapers!  Such a blessing!! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Marissa!

Marissa's birthday is August 22.  We were able to celebrate with her on Saturday with dinner, presents, and ice cream cookie cake!

These pictures are pretty funny!

And now it's become a tradition to get this picture with Marissa on her birthday.