Saturday was Parker's Birthday. As is the tradition, Christi served him breakfast in bed. Of course he loved that:) We threw quite the party for him. Most of you who read this blog are not steeped in the tradition of the Utah-BYU rivalry. It's not quite Michigan-Ohio State, but it has to be one of the longer-standing rivalries in the country, and people around here are quite passionate about their favorite team. For the birthday party we had a "football party" and kids were supposed to come dressed in the colors of the team they cheer for. (For those of my family who are "football challenged," the music playing is the theme song for Monday Night Football.) We had about 25 kids show up and it was split about 60-40 in favor of BYU. Although our family is a die-hard BYU stronghold, we decorated in both red and blue to make everyone happy. We had the kids play several games, and the winner of each would score either a touchdown or a field goal for their college. At the end of the party, BYU won by a field goal in overtime. This of course is a foreshadowing of how the game this coming weekend will end up! Anyway, the kids loved it. This was the first time we've ever purchased a birthday cake, but, as you can see in the pictures, it was worth it!
After the party, Christi and I went on a much needed date. We took in the movie "Fireproof." WOW, what a great show. I think every married or engaged couple should watch this movie. Completely clean (although the themes were too mature for kids), it was a wonderfully uplifting experience. It is a Christian movie, made by the same people who made "Facing the Giants" (another must-watch). Anyway, we really enjoyed being out by ourselves. After the movie, we went to Sonic to share a dessert. We ordered a strawberry-banana smoothie, but it wasn't very good. Well, I thought it wasn't very good. Christi had a hard time expressing just how disgusting she thought it was. Mostly, it was the texture. It felt like they had added some kind of powder to it and it hadn't been blended in. Anyway, Christi practically gagged when she took a sip. We ordered a carmel banana shake and headed off for home. We were sharing the shake, and would pass it back an forth to each other. It was quite delicious and very thick, so we had to suck on the straw extremely hard just to get a little bit out. In between one of my turns with the shake, I had the great idea to pull a switcheroo. The strawberry-banana fiasco was still in the cup holder right by my hand. So the next time I got the carmel shake, I handed back the strawberry smoothie instead. Christi, thinking she would have to inhale strongly to get anything at all, instead got a huge mouthful of the strawberry stuff which she couldn't stand. Needless to say, she complimented me on my charming sense of humor (or something like that!:)
Thanks to Dave and Marie Ausdenmore (visit them at ausfamily.blogspot.com) for nominating us for an "I love your blog" award. We met Marie and "Aus" (as Dave prefers to be called) on our trip to China to get Graci. They were also adopting a beautiful little girl and we got to know them pretty well. By the time we met them, Christi had already returned home, so it was just Graci, Taylor, Parker and me! Aus and family were a HUGE help to me, taking the kids off of my hands several times over the week we were together and just being good friends. I might not have survived without them! Apparently, one of the requirements when you receive this award is to nominate four more blogs for the award, so here are four blogs (in no particular order) we think are just great. (There are tons of others which would be equally deserving, but these are just a few we have particularly loved.)
1. Michael and Heather Matheny at: heathermathenyfamily.blogspot.com This great family is one of the many that we came to love in Tennessee. They have been in our thoughts and prayers lately as they just returned from China on a trip to adopt little Max.
2. The Martine family at: martinemadness.blogspot.com We followed their journey to Maliah while were in the process of adopting Elli. We share their passion for adoption and their love of our great nation and our Creator.
3. The Smith family at: audreycaroline.blogspot.com We share with them a love of Tennessee and the pain of losing a baby. We love Angie's humorous and uplifting slices of life.
4. The Stewart family at: stewartfam-shelly.blogspot.com They, too, share our passion for adoption. Plus they have the coolest Star Wars Halloween costumes I've ever seen!
One final note. I just can't express how grateful I am for the amazing children the Lord has blessed us with. Not a day goes by that somebody doesn't comment on how wonderful Taylor is, or how reverent Parker is in church, or how Graci is the favorite kid in her class at school, or how charmed someone is by Jesi, or how touched someone is by the special spirit that Elli carries with her. A couple of nights ago I re-watched the video I made of our journey to Graci and her return journey home. I was overcome with a small understanding of the love her Savior has for her, and an increased appreciation of what she has gone through in her life. She is a special little girl. I am excited to see what the future has in store for her! (The two youtube videos below are the first and second half of the videos we made for Graci. Each half is about 10 minutes. If you want to watch them, be sure to first scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause the blog background music so you can hear Graci's video.)