Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Elli!

Yes, we have another August birthday! Elizabeth Mei turned four years old yesterday!!! We are planning to celebrate tomorrow and will post more about it. As I was going through our pictures to pick some for her slideshow I was overwhelmed at how far she has come since we brought her home not even a year and a half ago. Her progress has been very slow, so sometimes it's hard to see it-- but she has changed so much! Though Elli's life is completely dark (at least her vision is), she lights up our lives in a way I can't explain. She is such a blessing to our family. I feel like she is water to me-- like I have to drink and drink of her every day. I cannot get enough of her tight monkey hugs and screeches of joy when I come into the room. She is a miracle. I will not hide the fact that it can be very hard to deal with her blindness and severe delays. I would give the world just to have a conversation with her. But in spite of that, or maybe because of it, my love for her runs so deep. I teach her cute little class at church-- 12 little "Sunbeams" that are each so special and unique. I love them all, but I truly do look around at each of them and then see my Elli sitting in the corner, babbling or singing at the top of her lungs or jumping in her chair or screaming and I truly think, "How in the world did I get her?" How am I so blessed to call her mine? She is truly my favorite little thing on the planet. Happy Birthday, angel Elli! Your mommy loves you.

P.S. I loved the daisies on the slideshow, but if they get obnoxious, you can click on "view all images" to see the pics without the daisies.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

So that's where...

Tonight I was tucking Jessica in. We were all done with the normal rituals and she reached up and gave me a huge hug. "you're my best Daddy ever!" she said. I told her she was my best Jesi ever. The she said she had the best Mommy ever, too. She asked me who was my best Mommy ever. I said, "Grandma Rose." Then she asked who was my best Daddy ever. I said "Grandpa Green." She kept asking questions until she got to this one: "And who lives in Heaven?" My first answer was, "Tiffany" (my deceased sister). That wasn't what she was looking for, so I tried again. "Heavenly Father and Jesus?" "No," she said. "Jesus lives somewhere else." "OK," I said. "Heavenly Father lives in heaven." "Yes," Jesi replied. "Jesus lives in California." We're moving there next week:)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Late night ramblings...

A couple of weeks ago, Graci went in for a heart cath to see how everything was coming along. The doctors were very pleased with what they saw and decided she is ready for her second open heart surgery. The scheduling department finally contacted us yesterday and gave us the big date-- September 18. We are of course nervous, but excited to get it done. If all goes as hoped for with this surgery, Graci will be home free for eight years, at which point they will have to replace her valves. So, as you can imagine, it will be a huge weight off of our shoulders to get through this next surgery!!! We are of course grateful for any prayers in her behalf. She is very scared and keeps asking me questions about it. I can't really play it down at all, because she's been through it before and knows how awful it is. She is especially dreading having the ventilator in her throat and not being able to drink. That was miserable for her last time-- and for us (I think I cried about it as much as she did). UGH.

This week has been crazy. All of the kids have had their school assessments (they will be in three different schools), Elli had her preschool open house, we've had two Lagoon trips, we've had a family dinner/outing with Jeremy's workforce, I've gone to Education Week at BYU (I went to classes all day on Monday)... the list goes on. Even as I am typing this, Jeremy is on a plane to San Diego. Yesterday, his best friend (former mission companion and roommate) called him with the news that he was getting married on Saturday. As in, two days from the time he was calling. He and his girlfriend have been dating off and on for 7 years and had decided to get married a few months ago, but were having a hard time with scheduling it. Apparently, they decided this week that Saturday was the day!! It seems a little anti-climatic after dating such a long time-- you would think that by now a huge, lavish wedding would have been planned. But who am I to talk???? As most of you know, Jer and I called off our "first wedding" just hours before the ceremony was to take place. So we know something about the ups and downs and perils of engagement. (: Oh how happy I am to be out of that phase of my life!!!! It feels so amazing to be secure in that decision and to know that whatever else happens, I will be spending the rest of my life with Jeremy. He really is my match made in heaven.

I don't know if I have posted about this before, but Jeremy began the most wonderful tradition for our family when the boys were just toddlers-- "Daddy Dates." One day of the week, he takes one of the kids on an individual date. It could be something fancy, or just a trip to the park. This year, he decided to share the joys of these dates with me by letting me have "Mommy Dates" as well. I cannot tell you what a wonderful thing this has been for our family. Every fifth week, each of the kids get to go on a date with Mommy or Daddy, and they look forward to it with great anticipation. Well, Jeremy just got through his last rounds of daddy dates and it was my turn. We bought Lagoon season passports this year, and so of course all of the kids wanted to do that for their dates. This was the last week that Lagoon would be open for the summer, so I went on two dates-- Tuesday with Taylor and yesterday with Parker. To be truthful, I wasn't as excited as I should have been. We've already been to Lagoon as a family, I've been with Jeremy, and he has taken each of the kids there individually on their daddy dates (during which I was in charge of the remaining four kids). I felt "Lagooned out." But I had sooooo much fun with my boys this week!!! The weather was perfect, and the lines were short. We had a blast. The best part, however, was the ride to and from Lagoon-- where we had some great conversations. It is so much fun to get into their sweet little heads. I would repeat all of the cute things they said, but I guess they probably wouldn't want me to. I will tell you of one short conversation with Parker.

Mom: "So are the kids at your school mostly nice kids? Do you hear a lot of bad things at school?"

Parker: "Well, there are a few kids that say those two really bad words."

Mom: "Oh yeah? What words?"

Parker (as serious as can be): "Shut up."

Oh that those could be the worst words he ever hears at school!!!! I love how innocent my kids are. I wish I could protect their sweet little minds and hearts forever.

Well the hour is late, and the kids get up early! What I would give for an extra few hours of nighttime!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

I wimped out

Taylor was all set to eat the worm...and Dad wimped out. I was just looking at the poor worm. It hadn't done us any harm. It was just doing it's job aerating our garden. And we were going to kill it. For no reason other than our entertainment. Fishing is a different story. We're using the worm to procure food for our family. But to kill it just so we could have the sick pleasure of watching another human being ingest such disgusting fare? It didn't feel right.

Taylor mostly agreed:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Boys will be boys...

So this morning the kids were out weeding in the garden and I was inside cleaning. Taylor knocked on the door, and I went to see what he needed. He asked, "Mom, Parker said he'd give me all his money except his missionary money if I would eat a worm. Is that ok?" I guess this question is what I get for reading the boys, "How To Eat Fried Worms," a favorite book of mine when I was little. Of course, my immediate thought was, "No way! That's totally disgusting!" But then I thought that Jeremy would get some kind of sick pleasure out of the whole thing, so I told Taylor it was up to his dad. I called Jer at work and asked what he thought of it. Jer's immediate response was, "Tell him Parker doesn't have to pay him anything, but I'll pay him $10 if he'll wait and eat it when I get home!" So now the boys have the worm in a little jar, waiting for Daddy to get home. Gag me. I'll keep you posted...


By the way, if you know of any danger in this, I'd appreciate knowing it before 5:00 this afternoon... (:

Monday, August 11, 2008


The girls' parties went well on Saturday-Christi does a GREAT job with stuff like that. In between the parties, we had a little incident. There was a disagreement, and Parker ended up getting kicked in the face by Graci. It really hurt him, and he had a lot of tears for awhile. I was holding him and comforting him when Jesi came up. We were sitting on the floor, so Jesi looked down at him and, in an effort to empathize, said (with a very serious face, I might add): "When I was a little boy, my Daddy hit me in the face." "WHAT!" I exclaimed. "I never hit you in the face!" She stared me down and said, "I not talking to you. I talking to Parker."

That girl!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our Summer

So I just uploaded 250 pictures from the digital camera. Basically our summer in a nutshell. For your viewing pleasure, I've put about 120 of them into the slideshow below. Hope you like it. (I must give credit to my sister, Jennifer, who took all the pictures in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.)

Tonight we went to a get-to-know-you event for the kids new school. They had several of the huge inflatable slides, jumping toys, etc. Of course the kids were delighted. The boys took off on their own and had a blast. Graci was wonderful with Jessica. She let Jessica choose what toys the would go on all night. Afterwards, she told Jesi that tonight had been Jessica's "Graci Date." (Once a week, one of the kids gets a one-on-one with either mom or dad. We call these Mommy Dates or Daddy Dates.) Graci is truly an amazing kid.

Well, it's ridiculously late. While I've been learning how to put together a slide show, Christi has created an enchanting Chinese atmosphere in our living room for Graci's birthday party tomorrow. We actually have two parties tomorrow: Jesi at 10:00 and then Graci at 2:00. Yes, our lives are crazy. But I'm realizing more and more just how much this is what life is all about. I'm getting to the point where putting the kids to bed is not something I have to do before I can begin enjoying the evening. Instead, I'm finding the joy in spending that half hour (or hour and a half!) with them. They are amazing little people!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good Kids

Once a month our church publishes 3 magazines. One is for adults, one for teens, and one for children. The magazine for children is called: "The Friend." We subscribe to these magazines. The other day, they came in the mail, and Parker immediately said, "Can I just sit down and read The Friend for awhile?"

Talk about making a parents day! He was excited to read this magazine filled with uplifting and spiritually educational stories. It's great that he can hit home runs in baseball, but this is the stuff that really counts! (Note the gratuitous mention of his athletic prowess in this story:) What can I say, I'm a proud papa!)

Happy 5th Birthday, Jessica!

Yesterday, our Jesi turned five years old. She had a wonderful day, starting with her breakfast in bed-- cinnamon toast crunch, sausage, an apple, and chocolate milk. All the kids LOVE picking their birthday breakfasts. Graci played with Jessica all day-- they are so inseparable!! The boys have been at a sports camp at BYU and are staying the nights with Uncle Matthew and Aunt Megan. Last night, Megan brought them here so they could be here for some of Jesi's special day. The boys have only been gone since Monday morning-- but you would think it had been much longer than that the way they were all so excited to see each other. Parker swung all the girls around and they were all jumping up and down. Elli flipped out-- she was so excited to have the boys home. It was so cute and made me realize how much they all love each other-- such a blessing.

Anyway, it was a great night. Jessica picked corn dogs, french fries, and plums for dinner--- interesting... The girls are both having their parties on Saturday, so they are very excited and talk about it constantly.

Jessica, you are such an amazing little girl. You light up our lives every single day. We are so grateful for your "sparkly" personality, the dozens and dozens of dress-ups you go through each week, your infectious little giggle, your determination to succeed, your sweet "deliveries", all of your "parties" and "decorations," and the pure magic you bring to our home. Words can't tell you how much you are loved. Happy Birthday, princess Jesi!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

If only...

The other day, Jeremy was in bed with his sore back and completely overwhelmed with life. He asked me, "Hon, don't you have a pair of red shoes in the closet?" I said that I did, and he then asked me if I could put them on, click my heels three times, and say, "There's no place like Hawaii..."

Monday, August 4, 2008


Happy Birthday, darling Graci!!!! Graci turned ten years old today. She has been so excited for her birthday to come and to get spoiled. In China, she didn’t have presents or a party on her birthday, so she thinks America birthdays are “sweet!” She loved having breakfast in bed, opening presents, eating KFC for lunch and Chinese for dinner, and delivering her birthday invitations—party is Saturday. She has come a VERY LONG WAY in the 8+ months that she has been in our home. Her zeal for life, courage, faith, and resilience are such an example to our family. Happy Birthday—we love you Gracelin Kate Green!!


I've been messing around with the layout and somehow my background shrunk!!  Hopefully I can figure this out...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Held Hostage

Christi is making me do this. She said she won't watch I Love Lucy with me unless I sit down and write on this newly created Green Family Blog. So here I am, being held hostage as it were.

Once a year, most of the congregations in our church (each congregation is called a ward-those of you who know me may think this may have something to do with mental capacities, but it really doesn't). Anyway, once a year most wards hold a "Father and Sons Camp Out." It's a great time for boys to get away with their dads. We've gone every year since Taylor was 1, and it's become one of the boys favorite things to do. They look forward to it each summer with great anticipation.

So this year was a little unique! We left our home on Friday and headed south to Payson (about 1.5 hours) to go the camp out. One of the games our kids like to play as we drive is: Fortunately/Unfortunately, so I'll give you the story in that format...:)

Fortunately this was the weekend of the father and sons camp out!
Unfortunately, we left about an hour and a half later than we had planned.
Fortunately, it was still early enough that we would be able to have enough light to enjoy the lake once we got there.
Unfortunately, there was some sort of roadside incident near Provo which cost us close to 30 minutes.
Fortunately, the boys had brought enough books, leapster games, etc, to keep them busy the entire time. (By the way, much of this stuff for Taylor was focused on his Cub Scout advancement. I'm proud to say he has now earned his Wolf badge and five arrows!)
Unfortunately, we saw a forest fire up ahead!
Fortunately, it looked very far away.
Unfortunately, when got to our exit, we realized the fire was very near the canyon we were headed to.
Fortunately, the smoke wasn't thick enough to cut off our vision, and we could still see the road.
Unfortunately, we weren't smart enough to turn around and go back home, or at least to another campsite.
Fortunately, our final destination was far enough up the canyon that the air was clear, and all looked to be well.
Unfortunately, there were not too many great sites to pitch a tent.
Fortunately, we were some of the first people there, so we got to choose a great site, with lots of shade for the morning. We were so excited!
Unfortunately, as we set up our tent, we realized that the zipper was broken. We struggled and pulled and cajoled the stubborn thing, but it did not want to zip correctly.
Fortunately we were able to take our minds off of this with a short drive down to Payson lake.
Unfortunately, poor Parker lost his footing and fell in the lake (ok, maybe dad had something to do with that!)
Fortunately, the water was great and several of us decided to go swimming.
Unfortunately, Taylor decided he did NOT want to go swimming.
Fortunately, Dad is much stronger that Taylor and was able to help him see how fun swimming would be. (I put him on my shoulders, carried him about 20 feet in to the lake, taking care not to get him wet, and then said: "OK, it's up to you. I'm not going to make you get in. If you just want to go back to shore, go ahead!:))
Unfortunately, when I put Taylor into the lake, I totally messed up my back! I couldn't (and still can't) walk or stand up straight. I was practically useless, and the camp out had just started!
Fortunately, the boys are old enough to help quite a bit, and we were able to get dinner in spite of my pathetic condition
Unfortunately, the boys were too tired to play Monopoly in the tent that night
Fortunately, they were awake enough to read a chapter of "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis before they fell asleep.
Unfortunately, my back hurt too much for me to fall asleep very quickly
Fortunately, by around 11:45 pm, I finally conked out.
Unfortunately, at 12:00 am, I was awakened by a church leader who was letting all of us know that the forest rangers said we had to evacuate the camp due to forest fire danger!!!
Fortunately, after several minutes of prodding and pushing and calling their names and asking for help quite loudly, I was able to awaken Parker. (Taylor sleeps very deeply, and it was several more minutes before he woke up.)
Unfortunately, as soon as Parker realized what was happening, he started bawling uncontrollably, convinced we were about to be consumed by fire.
Fortunately, with the help of some fellow campers, we were able to get our camp broken down and loaded into the car in spite of my back pains and Parker's fears.
Unfortunately, we were told we could not go back down the canyon the same way we came. Instead, we had to go through the full Mt. Nebo scenic loop, adding at least an hour to our drive time.
Fortunately, we made it home safely
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there will not be another father and sons camp out until next year:)


Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's time!

I've thought for quite some time that I need to begin a family blog.  Elli and Graci's websites were an amazing way to share our adoption journeys.  Now that we're home and settled in as a family, I'm going to give the blogging world a try.  I'm hoping that it will be an easier way for friends to keep up with us, as many were unaware that we were posting updates on Graci's site.   I am not "blogging savvy." so I put off the process for a long time.  Well, tonight the boys are at the father/sons campout, and after I tucked the girls in I thought I would take 30 minutes or so and set up a blog.  Three hours later, here I am!   I'm not even sure if I like the results, but it will have to do, as I cannot keep my eyes open one minute longer!  Now if I can just take the time to blog every day...