Sunday, June 29, 2014

Learning about Jesus

Each Sunday we go to church as a family.  We learn about Jesus and His atonement.  We learn about His commandments and how following them can bring us peace.  We go to a total of three hours of meetings.  For about two thirds of the time we are broken up by age group, so kids are in classes that are designed to help keep them engaged.  Each time we bring home a new child, there is an adjustment period as they discover that Christ's gospel and attending church are a big part of our lives.  Poor Conner has had a tough time sitting through three hours of church during which he not only endures instruction in a language he can't understand, but also sits there patiently in complete darkness, not even able to see his surroundings.  We've actually been bringing him home early most Sundays because of how difficult it is for him.

In order to help him understand more about what we're doing and why we're doing it, we've enlisted the help of the local missionaries.  Yes, those boys in white shirts and name tags have a presence even here in Utah, the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But the missionaries in our town don't speak Chinese, so we've been able to take Conner to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to meet with a sweet, Mandarin speaking missionary there.  For those of you who don't know, Temple Square is a popular tourist destination, with visitors from all over the world.  To help accommodate those visitors, missionaries are called from many countries to serve for 18 months at Temple Square.  Together, these missionaries (all female) speak just about any language you can think of.  

Last Sunday we took Conner to Salt Lake and met with Sister Jin, a missionary from China who would be teaching him about Jesus.  There are not many members of the Latter-day Saint church in mainland China, so most of the Mandarin-speaking sisters on temple square are from Taiwan or Singapore.  What a pleasant surprise for all of us when we found out that Sister Jin is from mainland China.  What an even greater shock when we found the she is from Conner's hometown of Wuhan and that they were able to speak the same local dialect and talk about some familiar places in that city.  We felt it was truly a tender mercy from our Father in Heaven as Conner was able to speak with someone to whom he could relate so well.

We stayed at Temple Square for about 90 minutes.  Conner learned many things about the Savior and about Father in Heaven and His plan for us.  He learned more about why we pray and how to pray and has been saying his own prayers regularly for the last week.  He is such a sweet boy.  As we've talked to him over the past couple of months, we have repeatedly told him that Jesus Christ let us know it was right for him to come to our family and be adopted.  Conner loves Jesus!  We look forward to more meetings with the missionaries and hope that Conner will decide to be baptized.

Located in one of the visitor's centers at Temple Square is a beautiful statue of Christ that we all took a picture in front of.  Unfortunately, the nice young kid we asked to snap the photo turned out to be a less-than-stellar photographer.  But it's better than nothing:)


Friday, June 27, 2014


I'm sitting at my desk doing some paperwork.  It's a lazy summer morning for the rest of the family…with two exceptions.  Lexi and Sophi always seem to wake up early.  We always get an early morning visit from Soph, but she is often willing to go play with Lexi while the rest of us try to snooze a little longer.  I got up and snuck into my office.  I had to sneak because as soon as the little ones know I'm in here, they attack.  Sophi, Lexi and Conner love to enter my "personal space" zone.  They want to cuddle up to me or give me a hug or hold my hand.  Aren't I lucky to have such loving kids?  As they approach, they always seem to find a way to disrupt this pile of papers or that computer cord or…you get the idea.

Anyway, I was safely sequestered in a satisfying solitude when in marched Soph!  I'm not sure how she knew I was in here.  It must be some kind of sick sense or something.  (Oops!  Sixth sense:)  She opened the door with her chin and began a non-stop conversation.  Very disconcerting to one who is trying to focus on the task at hand.  (You can ask Christi how successful I am at multi-tasking!)  I enjoyed our banter for awhile, endured it for a bit, felt my face begin to twitch like I was hearing nails on a chalkboard for a stretch, and finally asked Sophi if she could leave my office and go play with Lexi again.  As usual, she completely ignored my request.  I asked again.  She continued talking to me. "Sophi, can you please go out of my office?"  She glanced over my desk and noticed my money clip, which had a $20 bill wrapped around the outside.  She got a reflective look on her face and said, "If you give me money I will go out!"  She is learning early.

Fortunately, she is still at an age where a simple, "I'll count to three and you need to be out of my office" works wonders ;)


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cutest Thing EVER!

Sophi has been wanting a bike for years. It is so hard because she has to steer with her chin-- which is even more difficult than it sounds and only allows her to go very slow. It's also hard on her back and tummy and she falls easily. A few days ago, the sweetest lady (mother of one of Parker's friends) surprised Sophi with this gift. We could not believe how quickly she learned how to ride it! This video was taken only a few seconds after we assembled it. I don't think you can even imagine how excited and happy we are for her! Seriously such a happy day! :-)  She is on this pretty much non-stop.  It's so cute!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Christi is my hero.  In so many ways.  I could go on and on about her patience with me, her intense love for her children, her ability to to provide meals for a small army on a daily basis, her organizational abilities in putting together paperwork for our adoptions, her innate desire to look for the good in everyone, her knack for making all of her kids feel important, her ability to help kids with homework in every subject under the sun, her artistic talents which are often on display as she helps with said homework (thank heavens the kids don't have to depend on dear old dad for their posters/book reports/art projects/etc.!), her pure love for Elli in spite of all of the challenges that go along with severe autism, her charge-in-and-take-care-of-the-mess attitude when it comes to a particularly difficult diaper disaster, her tenderness, her toughness, her fantastic kissing skills, her ability to play pretty much any song on the piano the first time she tries it, her efforts to provide an incredibly safe and loving environment in our home, her prowess at mini basketball shooting games and so many, many more areas in which she excels.

But today Christi is my hero because she managed to get our kids through the last week of school with me gone for six straight days.  I had to fly to New Jersey on Sunday and spend all week at our corporate office for training.  Somehow she got everybody ready and off to school each day.  She got Lexi ready for her bus by 7:15, herded four junior high kids out the door by 7:25 for their carpool, drove Jesi and Xander to elementary school by 7:45 and got Elli all ready for her bus by 8:15.  Every morning this week!  What did YOU do every morning this week?  I'm guessing it wasn't quite as draining:)  My efforts at work were certainly not even in the same ballpark as what she had to manage at home!  Once she got everyone off to school, she then had to keep Conner and Sophi occupied for the next seven hours. And after school there were practices, music recitals, youth activities, homework, and who knows what else in addition to the everyday demands such as dinner, dishes and bedtime.  I am, indeed, married to superwoman.  To top it all off, I am quite certain that when I arrive home this evening, the house will be spotlessly clean and full of an extra dozen kids or so.  Somehow she always manages to get the home looking amazing when I get back from a trip.  And today was the last day of school, so she let the kids invite friends over for a late night.  What a woman:)  I love you, sweetie!


PS.  Today is the ten-year anniversary of Tiffany's death.  I miss my sweet little sis, but I'm confident in the knowledge that she is in a much better place.  I truly believe she can look down and see our little family and that what she sees makes her happy.  I think she occasionally throws some assistance our way as well.  Thanks, Tiff.  I look forward to catching up some time in the future.  Love you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

School Carnival

On a recent weekend we had the following:

-Two touch football games
-three basketball games
-a soccer game
-a school carnival

All before 1:00pm.

Christi and I used the divide and conquer method, her attending some events, me, other events.  I was really hoping the kids would forget about the school carnival, because I wanted to watch Taylor and Parker play basketball.  But of course, that would be too easy.  At the football games we ran into a friend of Jessica's who promptly asked if Jesi would be going to the carnival.  So I had the opportunity to take Jesi, Soph, Lexi, Conner and Xander to the festivities.

It actually turned out to be quite fun.  They're such sweet kids.  They went on bounce houses and inflatable slides.  We had a pulled pork lunch and snow cones for dessert.  All of the kids got face painting done.  The highlight was probably the pony rides.  All five kids enjoyed it.  I'm a lucky guy to have so many people who want to do fun things with me:)


Sophi found two "diamond shaped rocks" that totally made her day.  She insisted I take a picture:

Monday, June 2, 2014


A few days ago, Sophi and I were talking about Christi.  "Mom's the best!" I said.  "Yup!" Sophi replied.  "And preschool!!!"  (When she started to say 'and…', I thought maybe she was going to include Dad in her list of things that are 'the best',  but no such luck:)


Sunday, June 1, 2014


We had a few new people come over to our house last week:

Rock Star!

Hip Hop artist