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One of the best things we do each fall is go to Jackson’s Orchard with the kids. Here are some pictures from last year and this year.

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Of course the main reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is the kids. Will is just now – at 6 months old – starting to sleep mostly through the night. During the day there seem to be few times that they both sleep at the same time, and during those times – which would be prime blogging times, I try to lay down as well. Hannah is taking to most Playhouse Disney shows – including the Imagination Movers – which explains why I am posting now.

Will is growing like gangbusters. At 6 months he is already wearing 12 month clothes, wearing the same size diapers as Hannah and has outgrown the carseat carrier. I am afraid he has irreparably bent the bouncy seat loaned to us when he was born. He is such an easy baby, which is good news for him because he is getting the short end of the attentive parenting stick. Of course, Hannah makes up for our attention by getting in his face and trying to make him laugh.

Hannah is amazing. She has this huge personality in this little body, and it is a blessing to watch her grow day by day. She is so smart and is learning so much. It was just over a year ago that we had an evaluation by the First Steps program because we were concerned about her language development. Ha! Now I don’t think there is anything she can’t say. She comes to visit me at Barnes and Noble and orders her own Strawberry Frappucino. She is able to tell people that her birthday is January 17th. It cracks me up when she uses the word “also” correctly. She knows the alphabet song and many others. I am posting a couple of videos of her singing Christmas songs for your holiday enjoyment. I’m sorry that they are so dark.

Hey all. This is just to inform you of a new blog that I have started. It is called “Being Better” and is about encouraging one another to be better than we were before. I don’t know where it is going, but it is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. There is a longer description there. Hope to see you there. I’ll still try to keep this one updated with other stuff as well.

As promised, here are some pictures from our adoption hearing. Nothing spectacular, but momentous.

It seems like this is about all I do these days, but I rarely seem to have time to do more, and then I choose to rest or eat rather than blog. But there are some things going on in our lives, and I want to document them and let people know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.

First on the family front – we have an adoption day! October 22nd is the big day. In the meantime Will is doing great – except for the whole “It is 2:00 a.m. and since nobody is doing anything I think I want to eat” thing. I was trying to do the nighttime stuff so Ashley could get sleep, but a person can only do that so many days in a row. Otherwise he is happy and healthy. He is smiling all the time and is starting to coo and gurgle a lot more. He is such a blessing and a gift. Hannah got her cast off and has quickly readjusted to using two hands. Her speech has progressed to conversational level, and she amazes me every day.

For me personally, I just had my 20-year high school reunion. It was good to go back and see people I grew up with. Ashley was a trooper – anchoring the spouse table for part of the time but mingling with everybody the rest of it. Some people were about what I expected, but there were some nice surprises – people I didn’t click with in high school but seem to connect with now. It was surreal to go there, because I don’t think I have changed much in some ways, but when thrust back into that situation I realize just how much I really have changed. There is much more there, but I’ve got a book-reading date when Sesame Street goes off.

The big change upcoming is my job. We have made decisions all along based on some assumptions, some of which have not yet panned out. For some time we have known that something needed to change, and just didn’t know what that was. Some days I was going to go back to full-time, and applied for some jobs accordingly. Some days I just needed to get another part-time job, and most days we just didn’t know. Through it all we just tried to be patient, knowing that God would lead us to the right change, but He probably wasn’t going to give us a preview. When it was time, it would become clear. Just when it seemed that we were at our breaking point, God provided us with some assurances in Ashley’s job and some indicators that my position was the one that needed to change. In God’s perfect timing, I was able to get an interview and a job offer at a local (and by local I mean right around the corner from our house) adolescent psychiatric hospital. It is flexible and offers possibilities for growth as our family grows. I hate leaving the Family Enrichment Center, but I trust that God knows what is best.

Gotta’ go. I can’t take the crying anymore.

We went to the Orthopedic doctor today, and got Hannah’s cast. The fracture is slight and won’t require surgery, but she will have to wear the cast for about a month. We took some pictures, but they can’t begin to convey the pride we have in Hannah. She didn’t whimper a bit, and was totally cooperative. She even fell asleep at the end – maybe because the Tylenol with Codeine kicked in. Anyway, here are the pictures.

Watching the prep for the cast

Watching the prep for the cast

Jaycie sat and held her hand through the whole thing.

Jaycie sat and held her hand through the whole thing.

Getting her pink cast.

Getting her pink cast.

Blessed Codeine kicks in at the end.

Blessed Codeine kicks in at the end.

Showing off the final product.

Showing off the final product.

I realize I haven’t posted in a really long time – except for recipes on Thursdays. Aside from being relatively angst-free lately, I have been really tired and spending my spare time either getting ready for something, doing something, or cleaning up from something infant/toddler related. Now that Jaycie is back in school, Hannah, Will and I are trying to find our own little groove.

Enter the Olympics. We have been especially excited about these Olympic games since we saw the Bird’s Nest and the Cube while in Beijing. We talked to Hannah about the Olympics being in China while watching the opening ceremonies, so now when we have the games on she points to the TV and says – “watching China.” I guess at some point she will figure out that China is a country and not an endless parade of otherwise unknown sports about which her daddy is fascinated. We are working on location anyway. Now everytime we pass the Corvette museum she points at it and says “Louisiana.” I don’t know why.

So while watching random sports I have a lot of questions, and I probably won’t have time to list them all here. I will probably just update as I think of more.

1. Who plays these sports anyway? Are there little league handball leagues all over the country that I don’t know about? Are there high schools throughout the country that have 4-person rowing teams? I just wonder at what point little kids think “I think I want to play badminton in the Olympics some day.”

2. Is it really necessary for women’s beach volleyball players to have numbers? There are only two of them. And if they do have to have numbers, why not be a little creative? 1 and 2? Really? That’s all you’ve got?

3. How does one know if he/she is going to be good at synchronized diving? Are you groomed for that? I don’t know that this is a great question, but I just want an opportunity to say that I am amazed by this sport. Diving is hard enough, but to do it in complete unison with another person is beyond comprehension. Before the Olympics I may have been tempted to make fun of any sport with the word “synchronized” in it. No more.

4. I still think that they should have some events for things that are amazing in and of themselves, but normal people can qualify for. For example – going shopping with three kids. There should be opportunities to medal in that. Or driving a mini-van while selecting the correct Jonas Brothers song on the iPod, handing out fruit snacks (but only the colors that aren’t “yucky”), and answering the phone while the baby is screaming and you are driving through a construction zone. Actually, everybody should get a medal for that one.

Gotta’ go again. I’ll post more questions later.

I haven’t updated in a long time, and I know that. If you came here looking for something witty or insightful, you may just save your time and skip it. I just have a few minutes and some unformed thoughts in my head, with nowhere else to put them.

The date for my 20-year high school reunion is approaching, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I was at home last weekend and ran across my 1988 Senior Yearbook. I flipped through the pages and was surprised at how little I remembered. There were people I went to school with for 12 years, but I couldn’t remember their names for anything. I had vague memories of some of them, but couldn’t think of anything specific. Even band, which was my life in high school, brings back very few memories.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get weirder, now I have become “friends” with several people from my high school graduating class on Facebook. I find myself interested in what their lives are like, and I wonder what they think about me. I wonder what it will be like to see people again. How have they changed, if at all? Better yet, how have I changed? Was I really as geeky as I remember? (Probably.) Will it be awkward? Will the football players sit with the band geeks? (Please tell me that particular bit of immaturity has been outgrown.) Will the girls still have teased out hair? Is anyone still tight-rolling their jeans?

In other news, I have decided I am a culinary over-achiever. I have every reason to stop cooking home-made stuff, but it is almost a challenge to see if I can do it. In the last few weeks I have made sourdough bread twice, enlisting the help of my lovely assistants, Jaycie and Hannah. I couldn’t get a picture of Hannah, since my hands had flour on them and I was closely monitoring the situation.

Sunday I made my first batch of homemade salsa. I used tomatoes from my garden, as well as jalapeƱo peppers and a banana pepper and cilantro. I had to use store-bought onion and bell pepper, but that’s all. I was concerned about it, but Ashley ate almost all of it. I have a bunch of tomatoes that are about to turn red, so I’ll be making more soon. It is very satisfying to be eating sandwiches with bread you made, lettuce from your garden, and dipping chips into your homemade salsa. We also have some broccoli and green beans we have harvested, but not enough to make a full meal. Maybe this weekend we’ll have another round of homemade food.

I actually have a couple of minutes – maybe more?? – to post something. Hannah, Jaycie and her friend are all still asleep, and Will is conked out in the other room. He has slept through the night two nights in a row, so I am actually feeling better. For several nights there I was only getting about 4-5 hours, and that not in a row, and it was starting to wear on me. Ashley said something this morning about how I shouldn’t avoid blogging because I am self-conscious, and I laughed and reminded her that blogging has slipped down my list of priorities, just behind sleeping, feeding three kids with totally different schedules, changing diapers, stopping the screaming/crying/climbing, and washing dishes. Even eating myself is a luxury some days. I tend to find myself starting to clean up after the girls’ lunch, getting a bottle ready for Will, and realizing that I haven’t eaten myself. You’d think this would help me lose weight. You’d be wrong. The sad thing is that at night I find that I am too tired to eat but too hungry to sleep.

I feel like I should be posting something deep and insightful about the beauty of adoption and how much it teaches us about God, etc. The truth is that we haven’t really spent much time thinking about it. I’d like to blame that on time, but I wonder if it has more to do with the way this adoption has happened. For almost six weeks it was in some ways like we were babysitting. I anticipated that at the twenty day mark there would be a cloud lifted or that it would change in a flash, but it really didn’t. That may be because that point came and went, or maybe just because we felt more secure about it, or maybe because we truly are sleep-deprived. For whatever reason, we just went from day 20 to day 21 and 22 and the reality never hit in one shot. In many ways it is still surreal.

The good thing is that our new reality reveals itself in smaller, more subtle ways. For example, last night at our worship at the park, I was leading the discussion, and I looked over at the wife of one of our elders. She was holding Will, and I was struck with a sense of familiarity. It is silly to say that I recognized him, but seeing him with someone else, especially when I wasn’t expecting it, stirred up a feeling of ownership. I guess God knows that I can’t handle the reality all at once, because in my current state I’d melt down into a blubbering, crying, helpless mess. And speaking of crying and helpless, you know who is starting to wake up. I’m trying to decide on a recipe for today, and maybe before midnight I’ll have another opportunity to post it.

Well, nothing much going on here, but I have a few minutes to blog. It is rare that I have time to write but nothing much to write about. Actually, I guess I do have some things to write about, but I don’t have enough time to fully expand on each of them. So allow me to preview upcoming posts that, like the four books I have in my head, may or may never be written.

1. Jaycie just got back from camp. It was totally different being on the parent side rather than the camp director side. I have so much to say about watching my little girl grow up before my very eyes, seeing her become her own person and have experiences for which I am an informed party rather than a spectator.

2. I hate reality TV. I find most reality shows to be contrived, ridiculous opportunities to see people at their worst. They require people to be selfish, dishonest and generally contemptible. That being said, last night we finally watched “I Survived a Japanese Game Show.” Ashley had recorded it earlier in the week, and I haven’t hurt from laughing at a TV show in a really long time. If you haven’t seen it, you ought to watch it. I love it because it takes people who were expecting to be on a regular reality show and took them to Japan to be on this crazy game show. It is hysterical!

I guess that is all I have to report.

Oh yeah, Will is coming home.