Monday, March 28, 2011

He's moved on to pancakes...

Yes, these were from two SEPARATE occasions.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Xander's birthday

Dear March 26th,

For such a long time, we begrudgingly referred to you as the date of our “first wedding.” This, meaning the date Jeremy’s family drove hundreds of miles to be celebrate with us, the date for which my mom made over 500 cream puffs, the date inscribed on hundreds of wedding invitations, the date for which my relative made a massive wedding cake that was never eaten… you get the idea. Yes, the very date that we called off our wedding just a few hours before it was supposed to occur.

So… I was thrilled to find out that our Xander’s birthday also fell upon this day. Finally, we could find something else to associate you with. YAY!


The girl who hated being the talk of the town

Dear Self,

When you began the tradition of making breakfast in bed for the birthday child, you created a monster. It started out so simple—with a couple of kiddos who wanted toaster waffles and chocolate milk for breakfast. How could you have known that you would someday have eight children with long, detailed lists of breakfast foods compiled months in advance?! Sigh. Next time you have to get up early to prepare sausage and eggs on an English muffin, mangoes, berries, donuts, and strawberry milk (Xander’s breakfast of choice yesterday) and you can hardly keep your eyes open, try to remember the happy, sparkly eyes that will soon greet you as you walk into their bedroom. Truly, it’s worth it.


A short order cook

Dear Taylor and Parker,

I love you!!! I love how willing you are to help with parties and even plan some of the activities. Taylor, I love the superhero training course you planned. I love that you included Graci by having her dress up as a princess and telling the superheroes it was their mission to save her. Parker, I love how you said that your superhero power was your good looks! I want you both to know that when I later dubbed you the villains and blindfolded you so that the superheroes could get you with their silly string, I truly thought that you would pretty much just stand there. How was I to know that you would both take off running into the darkness! Taylor, I’m so sorry about your goose egg from running into the shed. And Parker, I really did try to warn you that you were about to run into the rocks. Ouch. You definitely earned “brothers of the year.”



Dear Jeremy,

Thanks for taking their places and becoming the villain. You are a good sport. I know that birthday parties aren’t so much “your thing” but I appreciate you helping anyway. If you didn’t have a fun time, you fooled me!


The party planner

Dear Annie,

You should feel privileged to know that you were the only girl Xander invited to his party. I love how your “superhero” was Jessie, from Toy Story. I love how you pretty much live at our house. I love that you are such a good friend to Jesi, Xander, Lexi, and Sophi. I love that Xander has already decided he’s going to marry you, and that he is sincerely worried he might get too nervous to ask when the time comes. By the way, you should know that Xander has already named four of your children—Belle, Cinderella, Prince Charming, and Larry.


Your future mother-in-law???

Dear Cael,

I don’t know if you remember, but when Xander first arrived here from China, you asked your mom why you didn’t have big leg muscles like him. I want you to know what an impact that one question has had on Xander’s life! His face brightened when he heard about it, and from that moment on, he was more comfortable in his own skin. Thank you for changing his perception of himself.


A grateful mom

Dear Jesi,

I think you make an exceptional spidergirl!


Someone who’s enamoured with you

Dear weather,

Why don’t you ever seem to cooperate with my parties!


Someone who just wanted to keep the party outside

Dear Birthday Boy,

Xander, I cannot express how much I love you. You have exceeded all of our expectations. You are sweet, funny, thoughtful, charismatic, and tender beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I am so proud of the way you have embraced this new life that is yours. I am so grateful that you are my boy forever and ever. I love your sweet hugs, your soft skin, your infectious smile, your helpful nature, and your amazing, beautiful brown eyes that I could stare into forever. Thank you for accepting us as your family. Thank you for your unconditional love. We know that you will accomplish whatever you want to in this life with your determination and spunk. Happy 6th birthday, little Dang Xu Chu.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Pampered Princesses

This is how we find our girls when we check on them each night. I love it!

PS. In an effort to make blog entries more "findable" (is that a word?) I have spent the last couple of hours (that I don't have) adding labels to our posts. I thought it would be fun to have the blog entries grouped together in categories, especially for the kids. Now they can find their names and read away! Also, people who come here wanting to learn about, say adoption, can just look on the sidebar and click! Pretty sure my favorite category is "Out of the mouths of our kids." (:

Sisters (and a brother thrown in there, too)

Going in for a kiss

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An open invitation...

Sophia is one of the most magnificent human beings I have ever met. She has the most amazing spirit in her little special needs body. When we first saw her picture and those haunting eyes first pierced our hearts, we immediately fell in love. How grateful I am that we didn't let logic get in the way. Logically, it made no sense to even consider adopting her. We were already going for number seven. We were already overwhelmed with the special needs we had at that time. How in the world could it be the best thing for our family to take on another child with such significant special needs? We waited and waited for another family to scoop her up. I cannot even come close to expressing my gratitude that no one did.

Sophi has been and will continue to be an unbelievable blessing to our family. Each of our children (well, each of them except maybe Elli, who seems to have a bit of a penchent for torturing her when we aren't quite watchful enough:) is absolutely enamored with Soph. She brings a joy and love and tenderness to our home that is palpable. Although she can be obstinate (as correctly described in the original profile we received), stubborn and demanding at times, she does it in a way that endears her to you even more. How grateful I am to a loving Father who continues to look over our family and provide us with what we most need, even if we don't understand how we are going to cope with the short-term challenges that go along with some of our blessings. The prophet Malachi tells us that the Lord of hosts says, "prove me now herewith...if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." I truly feel that the Lord has opened the windows of heaven. That His blessings have been poured out upon us. Sometimes it does feel like we don't have room enough to receive them!:) But they are so good and so great and so wonderful. God is good. God is great. Praised be His name.

So you're all invited! If you would like to experience the miracle that is Sophi, come on over! You will also benefit from the association with seven other magnificent children and one angel in human form. (You may run into a certain grumpy mister as well, but hey, there are pros and cons to everything:) I'm only partly kidding here. One hug from Sophi would be well worth the price of your round trip airfare. Just give us a call first!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A peek inside my thoughts this morning

Jer and I just started a diet. Buh-bye, happiness.

Taylor’s at BYU for the state science fair today. He gets to skip school and hang out with his dad all day—not bad.

Yesterday I had Grace and Jes at Primary Children’s. Graci had an ECHO, chest x-ray and EKG. Things look mostly the same. Her cardiologist has told us to go ahead with her spinal cord surgery on her back. He’s been hesitant before, and still was, but thought it was the best decision. We’re still trying to decide how we feel about it. Jesi was in for blood work. Poor girl was so scared, but she did great. When she was done, we walked across the hospital to the cafeteria to get some lunch. She seemed great and was holding her tray, waiting for her food. All of a sudden, I looked over and saw her crouching toward the ground. I told her to stand up, and she looked up at me, white as a ghost. I realized what was happening and immediately put all the trays down and told her to put her head between her knees. She looked up again, and her eyes began to roll back. Now, on the bright side, if you’re going to pass out, a hospital is a good place to do it! A doctor immediately came over and barked at someone to get her orange juice. I guess her blood sugar had really dipped from getting her blood taken right before lunch. Within 10 minutes or so, and with several sips of juice, she was fine again. I was so grateful to have so many doctors around making sure she was ok. She told me that her neck and head had felt all tingly and that she couldn’t see me for a couple of seconds. I felt AWFUL for not having fed her all morning right before blood work. However, a corn dog, fries, giant pickle, and Swedish fish erased all sadness/sickness. (I know, not a healthy lunch—but at that point I was willing to let her eat anything she wanted.)

Baseball is starting this week. I’m trying to cope with the loss of any free time we’ve currently been enjoying.

Speaking of sports, our family is LOVING March Madness and that our favorite team and alma mater has finally made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Go cougs!

If you like key lime pie, you really should try Extra’s key lime pie gum. It’s soooo good!

Sophi still has my heart.

Xander’s birthday party is this Saturday. We finally got invitations out last night, but I have yet to plan the party. Any fun ideas for superhero party games? I’ll likely end up googling the night before and copying everyone else’s cute ideas.

We just got a 30% off coupon at Kohls. Trying to talk myself out of a shopping trip.

Our flowers began to bloom the other day, followed by snow the day after.

My neighbors/friends have been such a blessing in my life. They are spoiling me. I cannot even express how grateful I have been for their love and service. It’s almost embarrassing, all the help I’ve been given—and am still being given. They have taught me so much about Christlike love.

Elli, Elli, Elli…

Last night after the littles were in bed, I had G, T, and P climb in bed with me and told them it was time they learned about the “Brady Bunch.” We watched the first episode together on the computer. I think I have them hooked. (:

Jer and I still frequent our “Happy Place,” meaning the area that we would like to build on someday. We always go to “our lot” (which we don’t own) and visit “our house” (which we don’t own either.) “Our house” has been under construction for several months, and we always go and trespass and see how it’s coming along. It has this awesome, open floor plan and all kinds of space. We’ve assigned all the bedrooms out and everything. (: The best part about these outings is that they are free, they are close to home, they are a bit of an emotional escape for us, and best of all, we are totally happy coming back to our own cute home. Meaning, the outings don’t make us at all unhappy with what we have but are rather a fun way to spend time together and dream. (: I’m not sure what we’re going to do when “our house” is finished and people are actually living there. Guess we’ll have to pick a new one!

My stomach just growled. It hasn’t done that in a long time. I remember hearing that the sound of your stomach growling was the sound of all these little fat molecules evaporating. Sounds good to me.

Today is the first day in over two weeks that I didn’t wake up with a sore throat. Hallelujah.

I really should go and attend to my kiddos. Ready, set, stand up!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lexi Loves School!

Jeremy's is in reading to the kids, and I had thought I'd hurry and get a post in. Well, here I am-- I've done three posts, and he's still reading! So here comes #4-- Jen, you should be smiling. (:

Lexi is absolutely LOVING school!! We went back and forth forever on where to send her and had decided on the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind. At the last minute, however, we spoke more thoroughly with the vision people in our district, and decided to put her in school right here in Herriman. I am SO happy with our decision. This school is close, and she has the most wonderful people working with her. She has a vision/mobility specialist that is with her all the time. She does a perfect job of helping her without doing too much for her. Her teacher has been fabulous as well, and we are so appreciative of her efforts. Now, every morning, Lexi's first words are, "I want school!" She comes home every day and tries her best to tell me what happened at school. It's amazing how many words she has learned in just three months. This week she was able to tell me such details as how she went to gym, opened and shut her folder, practiced ABC's, learned to spell her name, played on the slide at recess, sang songs with her friends, heard a story about a grandma and grandpa... I mean, isn't that amazing?! We are just so happy for her that she is enjoying it so much and that her language skills are taking off!!

Lexi is using a cane now and has progressed so much in the last couple of weeks in how she uses it. I am so excited to see where she is a year or two from now. We are so proud!

As a footnote, we now have three kindergartners at three different schools. Yikes!

Lexi and Daddy on her first day of school.

The Cream of Wheat Saga Comes to an End

You may remember this post about Jer's battle with cooking cream of wheat. A few weeks ago, I woke up to find he was giving it another try. He was so excited to have it work out right this time, and we were all cheering for him. He had the water boiling and added the cream of wheat. He soon found that he could barely stir it-- it was soooo thick. You should have seen his face when he realized that he did the conversions wrong in his head and somehow added FOUR TIMES the amount of cream of wheat as what it called for. In an effort to make him feel better, I suggested adding milk and made the kids eat it anyway. It tasted ok, and Parker, bless his heart, kept saying how good it was. After Graci's spoon broke, I gave up and told them they could dump it.

This time, however, I got smart. It's usually months, or years, between cream of wheat attempts. I decided that was the problem-- that he couldn't remember time to time what he did and what went wrong. So the next time I was at the store, I purchased a new box and told him he HAD to try again.



even liked it, and I don't care for cream of wheat.

We're so proud of you, Jer. (;

This is what happens when Daddy's in charge