Monday, June 25, 2012

Cute Couple!!!

I know two people who are not going to be very happy with me when they see these pictures posted...but I couldn't resist.  Taylor and Graci were all dressed up to go to a youth meeting at church, and I just had to take a picture of them together.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to so much as touch each other, but I think the results are quite cute:)  Is it just me, or do I have darling kids?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Restaurant of Fancy Nancy

I finally did it.  I made the commitment to eat healthy.  I have been struggling for the last few weeks and today after eating too much for lunch I decided no more!  I was not going to eat again until dinner, and it would be a super low-cal, healthy dinner.  No exceptions.

Approximately 5 minutes later, Jessica came walking into the room.  "Mom, are you hungry?"


"Are you sure you're not hungry?"

"Yes, I'm sure!"

I hear her voice start to shake.  "Are you just a little bit hungry?"

I turn around and see her face has fallen.  Apparently, I haven't been paying attention.  She is asking me for a reason.  I can see that now.

"Well, yes-- I am just a little bit hungry."

Her face brightens.  "Perfect!  I'll be right back!"

Five minutes later she comes into my room, in a dress and Sunday shoes and a big smile.  "You have been invited to the Restaurant of Fancy Nancy!  I am here to escort you.  Please come this way, Madame."


I follow her as she leads me outside.  She seats me at the patio table and hands me a menu.  "Please take a look and see what you would like, m'am," then disappears into the house.

Ok, I have a dilemma.  Remember that I wasn't going to eat anything more until dinner?  And now I have a menu with all sorts of options in front of me.  I decide to at least try and choose the healthier looking options.  I go with fruit salad and toast with apricot jam.  It takes her several minutes to come back and take my order.  It's hot outside-- almost 100 degrees.  I move the table into the shade.

Finally, she comes and takes my order.  She then takes the menu and then hands me a jar with broken crayons and a sheet of paper labeled. "Activity paper."  It has a maze drawn on the front, and directions to draw a picture on the back.

"I'll be right back, Miss!" she says as she disappears inside again.

I complete the maze and turn the paper over.  Then I draw a picture of a cute little blonde girl with glasses and label it, "My Adorable Waitress."

Then I wait.

After a few minutes, I start to add more detail to the picture.  The dress gets colored in.  I draw hearts all over.  The writing gets embellished.

And I wait some more.

I start to wonder what messes are being made inside.  I hadn't put anyone in charge of the littles, so I'm scared to death of what they are up to.  I contemplate going inside, but don't want to ruin things for Jesi.  I add even more detail to the picture.

It's been at least 30 minutes.

I hear the basketball bouncing and call out for Taylor or Parker, hoping they can go in and check on Jessica for me.  Nothing.  I see Sophi smiling at me through the window and try to tell her to tell Jessica to come outside.  She just continues to smile at me.  I think of all the things I should be doing.  I add even more detail to the picture.

Finally, after about 40 minutes, my cute little waitress comes back out.

"Whew!  Sorry about the wait, Ma'am.  I didn't know how long it took to make fruit salad!  By the way, sorry about the toast being cold-- I made it first!"

She hands me a HUGE bowl of cut up fruit and two pieces of cold toast with apricot jam.  Then she stands there as I eat my food.  Chocolate milk to wash it down.  No sneaking some of it into the trash.  I have to eat it all.  I try telling her how delicious it tastes, but that I am beginning to feel full and watch her eyes well up with tears.  Immediately, I change my tune and tell her that there is no way I can be too full for a meal like this one.  She brightens, and I try to tell myself that surely God will remove the calories from this meal.

After I finish, I am handed a map.  "Please follow this to your treasure, Monsieur!"  I decline to tell her that I am not a man.  The map leads me around the yard to various places until I find a leftover Valentine in one of the bushes-- my treasure.

Later on in the day, I decide that I've already ruined my "diet" and proceed to eat a hamburger, countless Milk Duds, a cookie, a yogurt, some almonds, and another big glass of chocolate milk.  I guess my resolve wasn't as strong as I thought.

I love our little Jessica.

The Bus

The bus is getting closer...

This is Sophi waiting for the bus.  See the smiles?  That is because she is so excited for the bus to come and take her to preschool.  Excited, that is, until the bus pulls up.  At that point the smiles are gone and Miss Grumpy pays a visit.  The complaint?  She doesn't want Kevin to be her bus driver.  Every time she sees him, she yells, "I don't want Kevin!" and throws some type of fit as I strap her in.  This has happened every Tuesday and Thursday since Kevin replaced her former bus drive about three months ago.  (For the record, it also took her a couple of months to get used to her first bus driver!)   Kevin seems like the sweetest guy, and she can't tell us why she doesn't like him-- just that she wants her old bus driver.  He doesn't even touch her-- I buckle her in and her teacher unbuckles her.  He plays fun music and is softspoken and sweet.  My "mother's sense" tells me he is a very good guy, and I'm not worried that he has done anything to make her not like him.  She just hates change, and so she hates him! 

Well, this week a new bus driver pulled up.  She screamed her little head off saying over and over, "I want KEVIN!"  She threw the biggest fit when I strapped her in her carseat and sent her off with the substitute driver, kicking and screaming like she never has before.  This turned out to be a huge blessing, because the substitute somehow helped her realize that she does indeed like Kevin!  In fact, it's all she can talk about now.  "I like Kevin!  He is my nice bus driver!  I don't want a new bus driver.  Kevin is my favorite!"  And so on.  So thank you, poor substitute driver who had to listen to her wails, for finally putting an end to Sophi's disdain for Kevin.  You have made our mornings much more pleasant.  (:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Planning Session

Many Saturdays Christi and I are organized enough to start the day with a planning session.  It usually gets started fairly late in the morning, but it still helps us to get the important things done.  Here is what our outline looks like if I am taking the notes:

Here's what it looks like when Christi (and Sophi) takes the notes:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Conversation with Jess

Jesi comes walking into my room holding a DVD.  "Dad, instead of two shows can I just watch a movie since that would be the same as two shows."

Me (assuming Christi must have told her she could watch two shows):  "Who told you that you could watch two shows?"

Jesi:  "I don't want to watch two shows!  I want to watch a movie!"

Me:  "Yes, but who said you could watch two shows in the first place?"

Jess (with a furrowed brow):  "But I'm not watching two shows, I'm watching a movie and that's the same as two shows!"

Me: "But did somebody tell you it was OK if you watched two shows?"

Jesi (a pitying look on her face):  "You don't get it do you?  A movie is the same as two shows, and I want to watch a movie."

Me:  "Let's wait until Mommy gets back and then we'll talk to her about it."

Jess:  "You're still confused, aren't you."

Conversation with Soph

Christi and I were in our room planning out our Saturday.  Sophi wanders in and in a sweet little voice asks, "Daddy, can I have some yogurt?"

Me:  "Sorry Sophi, but we don't have any yogurt."

Soph:  "I gonna ask mommy.  Mommy, can I have some yogurt?"

Christi:  "Sorry Sophi, but we don't have any yogurt?"

Sophi:  "Xander had some yogurt."

Me:  "Maybe there is some yogurt."

Sophi:  "I know.  I can ask Graci."

Me:  "OK."

All of this was said in Sophi's sweet little angel voice.  She continues in this voice:  "OK.  I ask Graci."  Then she walks out of our room and makes an instantaneous switch to her do what I say and do it NOW voice.  She bellows out at the top of her lungs.  "GRACI, YOU GET ME SOME YOGURT!"

Ah, sweet Sophi.  She is at once charming, consternating and positively precious:)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Asian Invasion

This is what happens at our house when you try to sneak away into your room and take a little rest:

Poor Daddy.  I think we need a little vacation sans kids.  (:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dinosaur Daddy and the Party Pool

About once a month I have to take a road trip for my job.  It's about a four-hour drive through rural Utah and takes me to such metropli (metropoleis?, metropolises?) as Vernal and Roosevelt.  I stay overnight and then hit some other towns on the way back.  It's really quite a beautiful drive.  In February I pulled Jesi and Grace out of school so they could come with me.  They read, napped and iPod-ed in the car, and then enjoyed a dinner out with dad, time in the pool and a complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  Good times were had by all.

Yesterday was Taylor and Parker's turn.  We got up early and headed out.  The boys slept most of the 2.5 hours to my first stop.  We had lunch at KFC and then finished the driving and calls I had to make.  After I was done with work we took the opportunity visit Dinosaur National Monument, which is just outside of Vernal.  This is one of the most amazing sites in the world.  Truly.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit, it is worth the drive.  (Thanks Grandpa Nelson and Uncle Matthew for the tip!)  A bazillion years ago, when the dinosaurs were here, a large river ran through that area.  As dinosaurs died, their bodies were pushed along by the river until they hit the area that is currently Dinosaur National Monument.  Many of these dinos were deposited there, then covered by layer upon layer of silt, sand and mud.  The bones fossilized.  As the rocky mountains were formed, the ground was pushed upwards.  This layer of thousands of fossilized bones was no longer lying flat.  It was pushed up until it was pretty much vertical.  In the early 1900's the bones were discovered, and it became apparent what an incredible find it was.  They excavated quite a bit, but left over 1500 of these massive bones partially exposed in this wall.  Then a building was erected around it for protection from the elements.  Taylor, Parker and I were awed by the experience:

Those bones were just found there!  Thousands all together.  Very cool.  I feel very blessed to have boys who appreciate this type of beauty and grandeur.  They are my best buds!

The rest of our Vernal trip consisted of a dip in the hotel pool, a showing of Madagascar 3 and a visit to a pretty nice steak house.  The boys had never had really good steak before, and they can't stop talking about it.  (They are now trying to convince Christi to try medium rare, or at least medium, but "charcoal" is still her preparation of choice:)

While I was gone, Christi set up our new kiddie pool:)  It is 10 feet in diameter and 30 inches deep.  Xander went over to the neighbors and invited them to come see our 30-foot pool!  Even the dad came over, wondering what it took to install such a thing.  So while I was gone, Christi hosted 14 kids for a pool party.

When we got home today, Parker played with Elli in the pool.  She loves being squirted!:
Tonight, Christi returned the favor:)

She left to a church activity with Taylor and Graci.  Parker went to scouts.  "Oh, by the way hon, I promised Lexi and Sophi that they could go swimming tonight in the pool.  You might as well let the other kids go too.  And don't forget the sunscreen.  Love you!"  Once I got my head wrapped around it, I dove right in (pun intended:)  I really did decide to just have fun with it.  And, by the way, except for those of you in similar parenting situations (and there are a few) you have NO IDEA what kind of chaos our family can erupt into in no time flat.  OK.  Sunscreen.  Really?  We won't even get outside until 7:10.  And we need about a gallon of sunscreen to cover everyone.  Can't I skip it just this once?  The kids will be fine.  Well, I guess they say the exposure can be harmful, even if there's no sunburn.  I don't want to condemn my kids to skin cancer in their 60's.  All right.  I'll be a responsible father.  So I sunscreen all of the kids.  (As it turns out, I really didn't have a choice.  Sophi absolutely insisted on "sunscream" in addition to her "swim soup.")  Just as were about to go outside, the phone rings.  It's the neighbor dad from last night.  (I've mentioned this before and will say it again.  Many tears are going to be shed when this family moves next month!)  "Um, I just got home and Gracie, Annie, and Levi are telling me they're going over to the Greens to swim in the pool.  Was that the plan?"  "Well," I replied, "I don't think it was exactly 'the plan,' but I am just going out with our younger kids to play in the pool.  They're welcome to come over."  So all of a sudden I'm in charge of a gaggle of 8 kids in a pool.  As we step outside, the first thing I notice is that the pool is completely inside the only shadow on the lawn.  Our neighbor's tree is completely blocking out the sun from the pool.  In other words, no sunscreen needed.  Of course.

Everything is going along fine.  I get in and splash with them.  Everyone is having a fun time.  After 20 minutes, the kids are getting a little chilly and they start to get out.  Someone asks if we have popsicles, which we do.  Refreshing treats are passed around, and I think I'm about done with the pre-bedtime part of my evening.  But then Jesi gets this hankering to go back in the water.  I try to convince her otherwise, but she insists.  She eventually convinces everyone else to join her, and so everyone (including me!?!) ends up back in the pool.  This time they start running and jumping in.  It's really pretty cute:

Another 20 minutes.  I'm pretty cold.  I finally tell them we're going to go in after five more minutes.  Within seconds, two more of the neighbor kids come running around the side of the house with loaded squirt guns.  A huge water fight ensues.  I become the prime target.  We now have 10 kids in the back yard:
Christi is somewhere far away, sitting quietly and listening to a spiritually uplifting speaker.  I am soaked to the bone.  Actually, I would not have traded with her.  It was a great chance to spend time with the "littles."  It was about this time Elli decided she wanted to join in the party.  Earlier she had emphatically let me know that she did not want to go in the pool.  So I used rather poor judgement and dressed her in jeans and a shirt instead of her swimsuit.  Inappropriate apparel aside, she now decided that being in the pool was exactly what she wanted.  And so our lives go:)

With Father's Day around the corner, I can't think of a greater gift than the time these kids still love to spend with me.  I have eight wonderful blessings that I count every single day!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Last night we were able to skype with Cali again.  Let me just tell you, I am in love.  This girl is so, so sweet.  And beautiful.  It has been such a blessing to be able to skype with her.  We've never had this opportunity with any of our other adoptions, and it has made a huge difference in how bonded we already feel.  Last night Jeremy asked Cali (all through a translator) if she was nervous about being adopted and she said that she wasn't.  The translator (her teacher) then explained that Cali had been very nervous prior to the first time we skyped with her, but after skyping told her that she knew that we loved her very much and that she wasn't nervous anymore.  What a blessing that she could spend the next several months being excited rather than scared, all because of skype!

Cali is just so sweet.  Have I mentioned that?  (:   You can sense that she has a very special spirit.  I am just dying to get her here with us-- we all are!  My heart was so full as we all sat on the bed skyping.  She simply belongs.

As a bonus, I received a few pictures of her celebrating Children's Day.  She was the emcee for a program put on by the orphanage.  Enjoy!

PS. Still no word on Conner, but we have no reason to think that there's anything wrong-- we've just been told that his paperwork will take quite some time to process.  Still praying!

Redheads Rock!

Last night I was reading through some old journals and came upon this conversation I had recorded in 2007, when Parker was 6 years old:

Parker: “Mom, do you think I’ll ever get married?”
Mom: “Of course.”
Parker: “My chances are much gooder because of my hair, right?”
Mom:  “Oh, yes, you have very nice hair.”

Parker: “Do you think it will change to your color when I get older, or will it stay nice and bright?”
Mom: “I don’t know.”
Parker: “I mean, I like yours best for you, I just like mine best for me.”

I thought it was cute and read it to Parker last night.  His response:
“I do agree this hair is gonna get me some ladies!” 

Our kids do not suffer from a lack of self esteem.  (:

Parker, age 6


Sunday, June 10, 2012

How To Treat a Lady

After church today I had the delightful opportunity to do some puzzles with my sweet Jesi.  She is very into puzzling lately, and it's a great way to spend some time with her.  We have several 100 piece puzzles that are just the right level.  When I started working with her, I began to consult the picture on the front of the box.  I was quickly and somewhat sharply reprimanded.  "Don't look at the picture!  That's too easy!  We have to use the pictures on the pieces to figure it out.  It will help you to think better."  And the insights kept coming.  She gave me myriad instructions on how to treat ladies.  Here is a small example.  Something went wrong, and I said:

"My bad."

"Dad, you don't say 'my bad' to ladies.  You have to say something else."

"Like what.  Can you give me an example?"

"Like 'Sorry, ma'am' or something princely like that.  Dad, you really need to know these things, because you have a wife!"

"You're right."

"But it's ok.  But your mother should have taught you these things."

And on and on and on.  It was one of the cutest conversations I've ever had and it made for a fantastic afternoon:)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, little Jacob!

Born, still in the arms of God.
Born, still in the knowledge
Of His grace, and of His love.
Born, still to us
But alive to God!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Melt Your Heart

Just look into those smiling eyes!  This sweet little boy has been brought to my attention, and I feel privileged to advocate for him!  Like Sophi, he was born without arms.   And like us, you can be be beautifully blessed if you open your hearts and home to him!   We can't imagine not having Sophi in our lives-- she is magnificent and perfect in every way.  Don't be scared by missing limbs!

DOB: 09-2009
Gender: M Age: 2 years (exactly one year younger than Soph)
He has a neutral personality; he can be both introverted and extroverted. He has a quick reaction and is fond of listening to music. He is diagnosed with congenital absence of both upper limbs. He is able to hold things with his feet and play. He currently lives with a foster family and is attached to his care givers. He loves to be cuddled and his favorite toy to play with is a toy car.

 If you find this little guy tugging at your hearts, please email my friend, Sonia at for more information.   (:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Random Tidbits

You have to look very closely to see the point of this picture.  Sophi was standing near our front door, observing as Christi was talking to some of the other kids.  I glanced at Sophi and noticed something I never really had before.  Because of her leg discrepancy, she has a very awkward time standing still.  She either has to be leaning to one side, or, like in the picture, she has to be on tip toe on her right foot.  How tiring that must be.  And yet she never complains about it.  In fact, she practically bounces with joy everywhere she goes.  (Except when she's in a bad mood, but that's prompted by other calamitous events, such as mom walking out of the room Sophi is in, etc.)  She is really a trooper.  Love that girl.

Jesi, Xander, Sophi and Erin C. put together a rock band.  Jesi's playing the badminton racquet.  Sophi is playing the guitar (you can almost miss her in the pics above).  Erin C. is on the plinkety piano.  And I haven't yet figured out what Xander was contributing.

Sophi loves to be scratched.  Back, legs, wherever.  She has very sensitive skin and obviously has a hard time scratching herself.  Last week at Grandma's house, she asked Lexi to scratch her back.  Lex really got into it.  (Notice the red marks:)