Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Well Deserved

Dear Christianne:

For 16 years you have been a mother.  You put your heart and soul into that career choice.  You've sacrificed so much and worked so hard.  You have gone above and beyond, shouldering unique and difficult challenges that few would be willing to accept.  You are an amazing example of love and selflessness to your children and to those around you.  I am so proud of you and so humbled to be your husband.  Thank you for all you do.

Today you entered a new chapter of your life.  All 10 kids are now going to school for the full day.  I hope you take some well-deserved rests and find some opportunities to spread your wings and focus on you.  You deserve it.



PS.  On a lighter note, in reference to my comment about how humbled I am to be your husband...
Today Cali and I were at the doctor's office.  While we were in the waiting room, she helped me set up an Instagram account.  ( I figure I ought to be following our kids if they are posting things for the world to see:).  The two of us were looking through my phone for a profile picture for me. We perused our pics of our cruise in April.  I found a few that looked pretty good, but the angle caught my thinning pate a little too mercilessly.  I whined to Cali, "I'm so bald!"  She replied with obvious amazement at my good fortune in a spouse, "Yes.  And mom's so pretty!"  Not sure how I landed my sweet Christianne ;)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Coming to America!

Graci's wonderful foster family has become part of our extended family.  So much so that we just refer to them as our "China Family."  We have been back on four adoption trips since we got Graci and each time we have scheduled two days in Hangzhou (Graci's hometown) to visit them.  Every time we go, her China parents, China brother and his wife, China aunts and uncles and grandparents and even some of her China friends take time off of work and spend those two days completely devoted to Graci and whoever else from our family is with us.  Over the years, Jessica, Taylor, Parker, Cali, Conner and my dad have all had the chance to visit this wonderful family.

Several times we have extended the invitation for them to come and visit us in America.  We are so excited that this coming Friday, they are arriving in Salt Lake to stay with us for a week.  Sadly, the whole family couldn't come, but we will be delighted to have China Mama and China Dad here to visit.  Also, Sara, our interpreter on our trip to adopt Graci and now a family friend, will be coming with her husband and daughter.  Sara and her family will be with us until Wednesday, and China Mom and Dad will be here until Saturday.

We are truly excited, but also a bit overwhelmed.  This is their first, and likely only, trip to America.  China Mom and Dad will spend their entire trip with our family, so we want to make sure they have the opportunity to see some noteworthy things while they are here.  We will take them to temple square.  We're planning on a rafting trip down the Provo river.  They want to see Graci's school and do some shopping.  Hopefully we'll be able to play some games and have time to just hang out.  And of course, coming to Utah, we have to take them to a national park!  So we're taking them camping at Bryce Canyon.  We have no idea how that's going to go over.  No idea if they've even heard of camping.  But really, is there a more American experience that going camping at a national park?

Graci is a bit nervous about the food we will serve them.  First of all, there is a huge difference in the food they are used to and the food we eat on a regular basis.  But beyond that, there is the matter of the number of dishes served.  Whenever we eat with them in China, there are at least 20 different dishes to choose from.  Each dish is served in a relatively small amount and all of them are placed on a lazy susan that rotates around the table for everyone to choose from.  Graci wonders, "Are you really going to serve them just lasagna, salad and garlic bread?

It will be a fun experience to have them get a taste of American culture.  We hope they will have a great time and we can avoid any egregious faux pas'!  We will gladly accept any prayers said in our behalf as we host these wonderful people ;).


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cute Quotes

Sophi has never seen Disney's "Tarzan," and she asked Christi about it.  Christi explained that Tarzan and his parents lived in the jungle, but Tarzan's parents died.  After that, a mommy ape came and adopted Tarzan and took care of him.

Sophi:  "Oh, like we were adopted."

Xander:  "But with a lot less paperwork!"


Cali, Graci and I were on a daddy date yesterday at Lagoon.  We noticed a girl working there who had a leg discrepancy.  She did just fine, but, much like Sophi, her body went up and down a bit as she walked.  After we got home, I was putting Sophi's shoes on.  One of them has about a 5-inch lift to help her walk evenly.  

Me:  "Sophi, today we saw a girl at Lagoon whose legs are like yours!  One is longer than the other."

Sophi:  "Does she have arms?

Me:  "Yes, but her legs are like yours."

Sophi:  "Oh.  She uses her toes to do everything?"

Me:  "No..."

Sophi (interrupting me):  "She can do the splits?"

Me:  "No.  When she stands, she has to bend one leg or stand on her tippy toes on the other leg."

Sophi:  "Oh."

I love to get little glimpses into my kids minds, especially the younger ones.  It's cute to see what popped into Sophi's head when I told her I met someone like her.

After I got Sophi's shoes on, she and I went on a walk.  I pushed Elli in the stroller and Molly came along, but Sophi and I were able to have a great conversation.  She is such an incredible little girl.  She talked mostly about her plans for the future.  She wants to go to every school in the world because she loves learning things, particularly things about animals.  (By every school, she means elementary, jr. high, high school and college:)  She wants to be a mom and a doctor and several other things.  I am excited to see how her life unfolds.  

Taylor and Parker were outside as we started on our walk, and Sophi went up and gave Parker a great big hug.  I was struck by how tremendously blessed our family is to have Sophi in our midst.  And how lucky Sophi is to have such wonderful older siblings.  

"As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them."   Psalms 127: 4-5


Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Anniversary

On Tuesday, August 11, Christi and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  It's pretty hard to believe that this incredible girl has been by my side for 17 years.  Time flies when you're having fun:)

Floating the Martha Brae river in Jamaica

Thank you so much, sweetheart, for all you have done and continue to do for me and for our our family.  I love you!


PS.  Happy Gotcha Day, Xander!!!  Thanks for six fabulous years in our family!!!!!
PPS.  Happy Birthday, Tiff.  You remain in our hearts always!