Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I wanted to share that the most amazing gift this year was how supportive our families are. I was getting to a point where I sometimes felt like people forgot that we were going through this (I know that's not true but there have been times where people have been a bit insensitive and I guarantee you that I'm oversensitive) and we had family members asking questions and our parents being so amazingly supportive, talking about the baby (as well as a generous gift from my in-laws) in a way that made this all start to seem real and not SO far away again. I'm thankful for that.
I am reminded that I should treasure the next few months of waiting. Our lives will change drastically in 6-9 months so I should appreciate this time with my two kids who are, honestly, getting easier. The only diaper I touch in a day is putting one on my daughter before she goes to bed, which she removes and throws away in the morning. They dress themselves, they entertain themselves (or each other) for at least short periods of time. B can entertain himself for long periods of time (when he wants to). They get along (fairly) well (for a 4 and 7 year old). I can do some cleaning or cooking while they're awake. I can work on the budget sometimes while they're awake. We can play games, go to the park, take trips, enjoy family outings together and it's a LOT LESS working than it used to be. For the first time ever we went on a road trip and we only brought regular water bottles in the car - no sippy cups. These things seem small but slowly my kids are getting to be so much easier and they're becoming so much fun. It's a blessing. I think I'm in for some shock when youngest comes home (we call him/her "youngest" most of the time to be discreet and because we don't know what else to say). It's a wonderful, welcome shock that I am anticipating greatly and waiting very impatiently for. I can't wait to have our youngest child home in our arms. To see our family complete (unless God has other plans). But I'm trying to enjoy my older kids while it's just the two of them. Trying to enjoy God's blessings to our family in the moment and not live my life always looking forward.
Sorry this is long and rambling but that's where my head is right now. Happy Holidays!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
I can't wait to see family. It's always so much fun to see everyone and it's so festive.
I can't wait to sleep in once or twice. We don't do that much while traveling, but usually each of us gives the other a morning to sleep in! :)
I can't wait to celebrate - it's so much fun to see the joy that everyone has while celebrating Christmas. Especially children. I'm so excited.
But most important -
I can't wait to sing Happy Birthday Jesus with my children. To remind them of the greatest gift of all and to remember why we celebrate. Thank you God for this amazing gift!
Thank you to Pixie over at Cheese Curds and Kimchi for sharing a funny and insightful story over here about a couple doing an "adoption maternity photo shoot".
I wanted to share one thing on here that the article made me think of. Here is the paragraph in the article:
"I don’t know a single biological parent who’s had the very choice to give birth to their children questioned so constantly, and throughout her child’s life; you just don’t see pregnant ladies having to face an inquisition squad in line at the grocery checkout, full of people wondering why they didn’t choose to adopt? Couldn’t have they investigated foster care? Don’t they realize that there are already so many children already out there who need homes?"
The reason I bring this up is that I was asked recently why we decided to adopt and why South Korea. These are not unusual questions and most people (including this person) are very interested in hear and encouraging. But I wanted to post a bit about my response. I immediately tensed up. I tried not to show it to these caring people (that I do know well enough that they should feel comfortable asking) but my initial reaction has become a bit of defensiveness because I've had these questions and responses before:
- I thought only rich/famous people adopted internationally (REALLY?!? nope, that's not us!)
-Don't you know there are a lot of kids here who need homes?
- Why aren't you going through foster care?
- My husband and I had one person go on and on for at least 15 minutes telling us that we should have gone through foster care and giving us the how's and the why's (hello - you've never adopted and I barely know you, leave me alone!) of it because she knows one person who successfully did this (one person - yes, that means it's a fact that it would be easy for us).
I think foster care adoption is wonderful. We briefly explored it. The goal of foster care is to bring families back together, not adoption. Adoption is the point once parental rights have been terminated. This doesn't happen quickly and easily usually (I'm sure it can but I don't believe that's the majority of cases). A majority of kids currently available for adoption through foster care (parental rights already terminated) are 6 and older. Not all, but a lot who already have the parental rights terminated are definitely older than 3 and we think it is important for our kids to keep birth order, at least at this point in time). Also, I'm not currently comfortable having a child come into our house, have my children fall in love with this child, and then have that child go to another home where we aren't allowed contact anymore. I can hardly imagine how I would deal with this emotionally and I don't think it's the best choice for our family right now.
Domestic adoption - another wonderful way to adopt, but this is not cheaper nor easier than international and it completely depends on a birth Mom choosing you and the timeline is completely unknown. Plus there are times that the birth mom decides to parent. This is WONDERFUL but emotionally I would struggle with that.
So we landed with South Korea. I said in a much earlier post why we specifically chose South Korea. I'll find that and link to it rather than repost. But one reason (out of many) is time since we are a military family and we can only be sure to be here for 2 years. We wanted to have our child with us before we had to move. It's also a country that we have respect for and could share the culture with our children and over time I've grown to love Korea and I can't wait to visit!!!
If you've stuck with me this far, don't worry I'm almost done. Thanks so much for listening! Hope we're still friends!
Anyway, this is more a chance to get things off my chest. Sorry for griping. I am happy to educate about adoption, I do get frustrated when people judge me without really understanding.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Min is on her way to Korea at LONG last!
Sonia is headed to China to get those two precious boys!
Praise God! So excited for these boys to all come home!!!
Sitting here in tears because I just heard more AMAZING news but I can't share it until she does! Thank you God!!! What an amazing week!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
During lunch Ben started to smile and "talk" quite a bit and after lunch we really saw his personality emerge. He is such a fun boy! E had a great time running around with him. Can't wait to do it again!
The sad part of our day was that we missed seeing Kelly and her girls today. E and Karis have become good friends and Kelly and I have become good friends (and my sanity at times) so we look forward to seeing them soon!
Thanks Sandra and Ben for a great time!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Anyway, we've been busy bees here. After G, J, and H left to go back to Uganda :( I had a day of not really knowing what to do with myself. Then I found out that my best friend, her husband and her 4 kids were coming to visit. Hurray! We didn't think we'd get to see them until summer so this was a huge blessing.
They were here to celebrate birthdays:
My children wanted a Christmas theme for their birthday party. So we have red and green per B's request and the snowman ice cream cake per E's request. My cake decorating abilities are not one of my top skills but it's made with love.
Our friends stayed and celebrated Christmas with us before they had to go. It was wonderful to actually be together to celebrate this year. We miss living near them. :(
We've done a lot of Christmas shopping, starting to wrap, decorating the house, baking cookies and this weekend we put up our tree. Thursday night E had her pre-school pageant. It was adorable! Friday B had Gingerbread House Day at school so I went in to help him make and decorate his Gingerbread house. It's apparently a German tradition and they did it the week of St. Nicholas Day and it was a lot of fun. I don't often get to spend time one on one with my oldest so that was such a blessing.
We had 2 birthday parties this weekend among other things and I have to say that I am thoroughly excited about this upcoming weekend when it's a bit more relaxing. Tomorrow I really need to get some packages put together and mailed out! But that will wait until after our fun playdate.... :) More on that tomorrow!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I started thinking about all of this waiting (because it would be great if Santa wanted to bring my a picture of my baby for Christmas) and reminded me that I may be waiting for a child, but that child isn't waiting for me. That there are children all over this country, right in this city who are waiting for their parents to come home and who will have to celebrate without their parent(s) this year. I'll gladly take this waiting over waiting for my husband to come home from war (again). God granted me a bit of perspective. My husband and our 2 kids are here and healthy and safe. Our third child will join our family in time, but I can wait on God's timing and be thankful this year.
Please send up a prayer for our soldiers overseas and their families missing them here at home.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
If any of you read last night's post - Ben only threw up the one time last night! Hurray - healthy boy. He's home though so we're having a Christmas movie marathon day. It's been insane around here for a couple of months and all 3 of us could use a day off. Have a good one!
PS. Still letting you know you should check out Kelly's Great Gift Raffle at the Minus 1 Project.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Anyway, I'm waiting for laundry to finish so I can put it into the dryer so I'm writing a quick update on our lives.
Last week we got our Army 10 miler info in the mail. I was pretty happy to see my time. I actually finished in the top half of all runners, as well as the top half of females in my age group. For me, this is very exciting. I also shaved over 8 minutes off of my time from last year. I went from just under 11 minute miles to almost exactly 10 minute miles (yes, I'm slow, but I kept running and I've improved over a year). I was very happy!
The kids' birthday party on Saturday went well. I'm crazy and had a dual birthday part for my kids - basically a 7 year old boy party on one level while a 4 year old girl party took place on the other level. My husband had class - so it was just me. My best friend came with her kids, but couldn't get there until an hour into the part. Fortunately I've become friends with one of Ben's friend's Mom (did I do those contractions correctly?) and she really helped with the boys portion. The good news - the kids were ALL well behaved and my 2 had a blast!
I had a bit of a breakdown Sunday night. I feel like an idiot afterwards but I appreciate the honesty of other AP's who are honest on their blogs and share their tough times. I'm not really there yet, this is supposed to be the easy wait but having the referral pushed so far and a few other unknowns combined with being a bit sleep deprived made me lose it. Doing much better. I'll write a bit more tomorrow.
OK, laundry can be switched. Hoping for some sleep tonight!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I woke up at 4:15 in quite a bit of pain, thought it was braxton hicks (because they were very close together, didn't make sense - it WAS 4 am!), drank water and got back into bed. I didn't go back to sleep. About 5 minutes later I was shaking Brian awake, grabbed B out of bed and called my friend who had offered to watch him. Poor B was not sure what was going on as we pretty much kicked him out of the car (w/o shoes!) and rushed to the hospital. They told me there it was the fastest they'd ever checked anyone in and that my doctor probably wouldn't make it on time (she did, thank you God!). At 5:39 am E was born. Brian got to be there, and cut the cord, it was special since he missed all that with B (he missed EVERYTHING with B - from "I'm pregnant" to his first Christmas, but it may be because of that experience that he is the most attentive, wonderful Daddy to both kids). We had it between two names and we decided pretty quickly which one. Her middle name is the same as mine, my Mom's, and my Grandmother's.
B came that afternoon to meet his baby sister. It took a little warming up but before long he was the happiest big brother ever! A couple of weeks later he asked me if I could have another baby so we'd have 2 (come on kid, don't you remember what we've been through the past 9 months - you don't REALLY want Mommy to have another baby!). So sweet though.
G is now my princess. She's a very sweet (and polite) girly girl who also enjoys trucks, trains, dinosaurs and army guys (she has a big brother, what do you expect?). I can't believe she's 4. I'm a bit sad because I really didn't want quite this big of a gap between E and our baby, but it's all in God's plan. She'll be a wonderful big sister and B will continue to be a terrific big brother.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! I love you!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Daddy called at midnight and talked to us on the phone. It took a while to name him and our Mother's were going crazy! I told them he couldn't be named until Brian called. Then we were so happy to talk that we forgot to name him. When the phone card ran out both my Mom and MIL looked at me and simultaneously yelled "A NAME" in complete exasperation! It was lots of fun.
Finally they left the hospital room when Brian called back so we could talk privately and then we named him. BHM. H is after my Grandmother who died the same year B was born. B is a name we both like a lot. It was very hard to name him. We have no idea how we'll ever come up with another boy's name.
But I digress....B is an amazing boy. He's doing well at school. His teachers report that he loves to learn! He will go to the museums here and spend ages at each exhibit, studying it and really learning about it. He really enjoyed football this year though I think there was more fooling around than actual playing, but he had fun. He likes Taekwondo, most of the time. He loves to play with his friends. Currently we're blessed to have some of our best friends staying with us. He has asked every year since we moved away from them if they can come to his birthday party and this year his wish came true.
He's now sleeping. I still can't believe that my baby is 7. How do they keep getting older - I don't think I've gotten that much older. Happy Birthday baby boy! I love you!
Monday, November 29, 2010
To make sure our house isn't quiet for long....my best friend H, and her 4 kids are coming to visit!!! This is a complete surprise and I'm thrilled. They're also going to be here for my kids' joint birthday part this Saturday. They are thrilled because they always want to invite C, B, and C (and baby E this year too) and they actually get to come this year! Hurray! But please keep my husband in your thoughts. He adores this family but he's had a lot of sharing his house going on. :)
The good news - it's keeping us busy. Between visitors and the holiday season we can *almost* forget that we were hoping to get a referral this month and that the date has been moved off by a lot.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Then E was sitting on the ground with a flyer that came in the mail. This is what she "read":
"There was a King named B and he met a Princess named E. They went to the castle...." she kept going but I thought it was ADORABLE! I loved hearing her imagination and her imagining her older brother as a king (not surprised that she was the princess).
Just thought I'd share a fun story about my kids b/c I want to remember it.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
SWS has made improvements in encouraging single mothers, so there are fewer relinquishments. Also they have seen an increase in domestic adoption so more children are staying in their own culture. These are wonderful things! I rejoice for these changes. I'm especially thrilled with children being raised by their mothers, I have started praying for these single Moms because being a single Mom is TOUGH. I haven't actually been one but my DH has spent a couple of years in Iraq, and that was close enough for me to have some major sympathy! And if being a single Mom in the US is tough, then a single Mom in Korea is a bit more, because it's more accepted in the US (even though it's not perfect here, it's still better than Korea). So I am praying for them
It's tough to sit here and struggle with feeling happy for all of that, but sad that it's going to take longer for us. Sad to see our children get older and the gap between our children grow. I have started looking at Rainbow Kids even more but as of right now we're waiting on the Lord (though thinking of increasing the number of medical needs we're open to, so I guess it's a bit of both).
Just thought I'd share the joy in this wait. I am truly thrilled to be working with a Korean agency that is trying hard to help single Moms and working to change the view of adoption in Korea. I know it's in God's hands when He brings the little one He wants in our family, home.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Now we've been told to expect a 12 month wait for referral. I had a bumpy week last week. It wasn't easy to get to a good place with this news. But I'm there. I'm at peace. I don't actually think it is going to take 12 months. I don't know if that is wishful thinking or if it my "gut" or if God is putting it on my heart that it won't be that long. I know that it may very well be 12 months but I have prayed a lot and I am at peace with God's perfect timing. It helps that the other part of the equation that made this really bad news is not as big of a deal as I'd originally thought. I'm not ready to talk about that until we have more info but it's a relief.
It is hard to hit this 4 month mark, which I had been desperately looking forward to, and realize it's not the milestone I'd expected to be. But nonetheless I'm celebrating hitting the 4 month mark and praying that it's sooner, rather than later. But Your will be done, not mine.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Slow and steady is good. Plus I've found that as I get close to the race and I'm training hard I don't really lose weight, I mostly maintain. Now that I'm just doing a couple of short runs per week, I'm losing again.
Once I lose the .8 lbs I will be at my original goal weight for Weight Watchers too (I'm a Lifetime member but I haven't found a meeting that worked for me here so my consistency has been quite low, trying to change that now).
Just thought I'd give an update. It's getting harder to run now. I ran in 38 degree weather on Wednesday. Honestly proud of myself because I wouldn't have done that a year and a half ago. It's cold and I was done. Now I'm trying to run until it snows.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Hope. Hoping for three pumpkins on the front porch. Right now I have that, ironically. (It's so much fun watching G experience silly American traditions.) It looks right to have 3 pumpkins on the porch. I'm very hopeful that next year we will have that again. And that the 3rd pumpkin will be our child's pumpkin.
The pumpkins above were illustrated by (from left to right) E, B, and G. Then carved by H (the interpreter) and me. Yesterday the kids really had a blast. I had my little Minnie Mouse ladybug (dressed up as Minnie Mouse who decided to be a ladybug for Halloween). E was so sad that we couldn't find a Minnie Mouse costume in her size, but this compromise worked pretty well. Plus the costume was comfy, fluffy and warm. B was a transformer (Bumblebee to be exact). G was a princess - the princess of hearts (not the mean queen of hearts, a very nice princess of hearts - not sure who came up with that, Walmart I guess, but it looked adorable on her anyway).
We went Trunk or Treating then to another family's house for dinner, then trick or treating in their neighborhood (our neighborhood is pretty sad for trick or treating).
As my friend wrote on facebook - only 3 1/2 weeks until we can put up Christmas decorations! Hopeful that next year there will be 5 stockings instead of 4...
This struck me earlier in the adoption process and continues to grow in my heart.
Do you know that I think about, pray for, and love my child and I don't know who my child is yet?
Do you know that God loved you before you were even formed in your Mother's womb?
Do you know that I greatly desire to know my child and have a relationship with my child and spend time with my child?
Do you know that God greatly desires to know you, have a relationship with you through Jesus Christ, and to spend time with you, His child?
When I do have a picture, this love will increase and my desire to know my child and have my child know me will increase.
God sees us and His desire to have us know him is stronger than we can imagine.
Plus God is perfect. His love and desires are stronger than we can comprehend. He loves and desires this relationship with me EVEN more than I do with my child. Hard to wrap my brain around that.
Just thought I'd share something that has been forming in my brain (and heart) for a while.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Brian went home to his parents for a couple of days this week (for a funeral, one of many factors in our past week) but while he was there his Mom generously gave us her old sewing machine. Now I'm going to learn how to sew.
Do you hear the crickets?
Where do I begin?
Any of you crafty ladies out there have some good recommendations? One thought is doll clothes, if I screw them up, E won't care. But someone said they're hard because they're small. What do you think? Where to begin? A simple project that can make me feel successful! Also, if it's something simple but cute that I could also give away as Christmas gifts, all the better (have to save up for the adoption)!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thanks so much.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
But please send up a prayer.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
It's in a shadow box and with info on the DMZ written in both English and Korean. We're planning to hang it in Little One's room. :) Just wanted to share.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Anyway, one of the things I really enjoy are the t-shirts.
I'm going to break these into categories. Unfortunately my memory is horrible and I wasn't exactly taking notes.
In Memory/In Honor of:
There are always a lot of these at races. I'm running for...who....
A couple of them made me cry. Do you know that it's very hard to cry and run at the same time? I don't recommend it. I had to get my emotions under control quickly, which is very difficult for me!
*One I really enjoyed though said:
My American Idol
then it listed the soldiers name/rank/etc.
Funny Running T's:
*Sofa King T-shirt with some logo about taking a nap (much wanted about mile 6)
*Please God, let there be someone behind me to read this.
*Hashing T-shirts: A Drinking Club with a Running Problem (they do have beer at mile 8)
*Will Run for Cupcakes
*Sorry, I've gotta RUN! :)
*I'd run faster but I have no idea where I'm going.
Funny Military T's:
*Military Wife: Giving up Sex for your Freedom (funny story about this, for another post)
My favorite (ooh la la):
*I put the Ooh in his Hooha!
Just thought I'd share my observations. I had some other funny ones that I really wanted to remember but of course it didn't happen.
Friday, October 22, 2010
One way this is especially apparent is with friends. We're starting to talk about the kids' birthday party in December (a little early but usually it's almost Thanksgiving and I say YIKES! Their birthdays are just over a week later). G has a list of 7 or 8 people she genuinely wants to invite. She's going to be 4. B has a list of 3-4 people he wants to invite, and really only cares that 2 of them come. He has a list of about 5 more (that includes 2 cousins) scattered around the country who won't be there. He becomes GOOD friends with someone and only needs 1-2 friends. G is extremely social. She has about 6-7 friends scattered around that she'd like to invite (and we moved here when she was 2). She likes to have lots of people around and she makes friends easily. Part of that is being 3 but B never made friends as easily, but once he does, he is fiercely loyal. G is very loyal to her friends that become good friends but if she meets someone, she becomes great friends right away, then if she doesn't see them again, oh well. It's a funny thing to observe.
I'm somewhere between my kids. I have lots of good acquaintances in the area. But I feel like I'm just starting to make some friends in the area. Finding someone I really connect with isn't always easy for me. I have some AWESOME friends. Most of them are scattered around the country. A couple of those are my lifelines even when they're far away. I'm blessed that I have them. I wish they were closer. So thankful for those in the area that I'm beginning to form good friendships with. K is amazing - so blessed to have met her! G is in Korea right now and our friendship continues to grow. Whenever we talk we have trouble leaving or getting off the phone. :) G and S whom I've met once but emailed with a few times and I look forward to seeing again soon! Adoption has really grown our circle of friends already and I'm thankful.
I also wonder what our 3rd child will be like. Shy, quiet, excited and boisterous, fun loving, serious, a bit of all of the above. Many more qualities not listed. So many possibilities and I can't wait to find out!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I have to tell you, too, that J, G, and H are wonderful people. I'm finding it so interesting to learn about Ugandan culture and looking forward to trying more Ugandan food! ;) I'm always up for trying new things! G is really settling in with the kids. That manic-ness (not really a word, but it works) of the first couple of days for all 3 kids has calmed down into a more happy play time together.
On another wonderful note - I got a TERRIFIC email today! What a wonderful surprise to see an email from my friend, G, who is currently in Korea. I didn't expect to hear from her until she got home. I was thrilled to hear how things are going. Anyone know where you can find an umbrella stroller in Seoul for less than $150?!? I can't wait to meet her new little one!!!
Hope you're all having a great day. Taekwondo for B tonight and E gets a little Mommy time during it so those are good things. A bit more normal routine for them will be great. :)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
People are bringing us meals to help out, but I personally find this much more stressful. It's so nice of people to do it, and I would never want to tell them that but I enjoy cooking, it helps me relax in the evening, and I can accommodate the different tastes currently in our household. People aren't sure what to bring so I have a lot of food that either has to be stuffed into my already stuffed fridge or go down the disposal. I think I'm going to try to freeze some of it as well. My family can eat it in December when everything is crazy with the holidays! :) I'm also going to have to be at peace with wasting food, which is hard for me.
E is needing a bit of extra attention these days and I think her sleep schedule is also off. I feel like it's given me a peek into what's to come with a new sibling. Yikes! It does also confirm for me that we made the right decision to keep birth order with our kids. I know it works well for some families to adopt out of birth order and that's great, but I think we made the right decision for our family. I read "The Birth Order Book" by Kevin Lehman which is very enlightening and though I don't 100% agree with everything I thought he had some great insight. B is definitely the first born male (but the gentle type) and E is actually the 1st born female - which is possible. If the kids are different genders they can both seem like first borns. The past few months E has become a COMPLETE rule follower - possibly to her detriment (hmmm, who does she remind me of...anyone who knew me when I was younger would know). :)
G's surgery is on Thursday. She has a little cough so please pray that she doesn't get sick before surgery and that the surgery goes well! Thanks so much for all of the encouragement! This is definitely outside of my comfort zone and Brian has been working or doing school work at the library from sun up to bedtime every day so I'm feeling a bit lost. Your kind words help more than you know!!!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
We picked them up at the airport this afternoon/early evening (they got out of customs around 5:30) and all 3 were pretty tired (almost a full 24 hours of traveling). The little girl, G (another G - so my daughter will be E for the time being) was so quiet and I wasn't sure if she was going to be overwhelmed by my two (who are anything but quiet or still or calm or...they're just overwhelming - even to me!). ;)
Well, we got home and all of a sudden there were 3 tornadoes whipping through our house. It was wonderful! All 3 of them had a terrific time. We're excited that they're all getting along. I'm still a bit nervous about living life with other people in our house, but I'm sure we'll all adjust soon. The important part is that G will get her surgery! No matter what my comfort level is or whether we're close to them by the end or just find it was nice and interesting to have met each other, G will have what she needs and that's what this is all about.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Dragons live forever, but not so Little Boys
Painted Wings and Giant's Rings make way for other toys.
I try to hold it together to finish the song but I'm choking back tears from there to the end. I always sing the "made up" last verse too. Here it is for those of you who aren't familiar:
Then one day it happened
Puff woke from a dream.
He thought he'd heard a familiar voice
and Jackie's laugh it seemed.
He looked around the cavern,
and over by the door,
was a little boy with a piece of string
and a smile he'd seen before.
He said "Hello I'm Billy,
My dad gave me your name.
He said I'd find you in your cave
Along the Cherry Lane"
Puff that Magic Dragon
Smiled in his joy
He'd never be alone again
For this was Jackie's boy!!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Grace and Min, sending up more prayers!
J - praying for legals
Elisabeth and D - praying we get referrals soon!!!
K - praying for your homestudy
Prayers for many more of you, this is just a small list!
Monday, October 11, 2010
The corn maze occasionally had areas with large
(fake) animals in it.
Playing in the Haystacks
Both kids got a chance to milk a cow (G was scared
and I had to help her)
B stepping through the jaws of a great dinosaur (on the
way up to a very cool dino slide).
We went to Cox Farms about a week ago (I'm slow uploading pics). The kids had a terrific time. They had a corn maze, all kinds of cool slides, animals - goats, pigs, etc., yummy food (always the best part), live music, and lots of pumpkins! So glad we got to go do this with them. It (almost) let me forget that the closest place to go apple picking is 2 1/2 hours away. :( This is the first year I haven't taken them. B even asked when we were going to NY to go apple picking (we often visit my parents in the fall - :( but not this year). We had a terrific time and we did make homemade applesauce this week so not all is lost! :) Unfortunately the applesauce is gone so perhaps we have to make more...
Friday, October 8, 2010
Praying for EPs and TCs all around. So excited for Heather and her husband, Bill who arrived safely in Seoul! Grace and Min - thinking of you! Hoping to hear good news soon.
Also my friend, G, got her I-600 approval this week! Hurray! Hoping to continue to hear good news soon.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I often talk to people and they stay acquaintances. G becomes great friends with those she meets and talks about them incessantly for a week or more even if we don't see them again in that time. A little strange but at the same time, it's great that she gives out love so easily and let's people into her life so easily. What a gift.
2. I don't need to worry.
This is something I struggle with so much. I need to just have faith and not worry. My friend's little girl was described as "not having a worry in the world" and I thought how wonderful to have that childlike faith.
3. If you love someone and are happy to see them, let them know it.
This isn't just from today but it hit me today. I am so thrilled with the joy and exuberance that G meets me with when I pick her up from church or PWOC or preschool. She is just so happy to see me and doesn't hide it one bit. Now I can show joy and excitement at seeing my children, but do I let other people know how happy I am to see them as well? Do they feel cared for when I talk to them? Lots to learn from little ones.
There are so many more things but these are a few that hit me today. I've learned SO much from my children. I'm pretty sure I've learned way more than I've taught them at this point. Just some points to ponder.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Thanks K for having us over! We'll figure out our next get together soon. :)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In our conversations about Korea and adoption Sandra mentioned the great cakes in Korea and Sandra had the brilliant idea of going out for dessert. We all have a sweet tooth in common and we headed over to a Korean bakery for dessert and ate Strawberry Bingsoo which you have to try if you haven't had it before! I had never heard of Bingsoo and it's amazing. Ice cream, shaved ice, rice cake, gooey goodness.
I had to wait for Grace to post on her blog so I can link to her pictures. She was the great picture taker in the group. :)
It was wonderful to talk with both of them. Sandra brought her son, Ben, home this spring and Grace is waiting for her TC (come on EP submission!!!). It's so exciting to hear the stories and it's great to talk with other people who understand this frustrating process and some of the strange things that Adoptive Parents hear from other people. It's also great that Grace speaks Korean and can share so much about the Korean culture, I'm hoping she'll let me hire her as a private tutor.... :) Plus Sandra is from Germany so if B needs a tutor I know who to call! :) I was the only dud at the table who only spoke one language fluently. I really wish we were better about that here, but that's another post in itself.
Thanks Grace and Sandra for a fantastic time! I can't wait to meet Ben and for Choi Boy to come home!
Friday, September 24, 2010
What if I Give All by Ray Boltz
He heard the preacher say
"A single dime could feed
A hungry boy or girl with
Nothing to eat"
So he pulled a dollar
From the pocket of his jeans
He asked his Mama
"How many will this feed?"
She just smiled when she told him ten
He reached back in again
"What if I give all I have
What will that gift do?"
"My child a gift like that could change the world
Could feed a multitude!"
He didn't close his eyes or turn away
I can see him standing tall
He saw the need and I can hear him say
"What if I give all?"
Three birthday dollars could of bought a special toy
But he reminds of another little boy
Who gave to Jesus a gift of fish and bread
I wonder if he said?
"What if I give all I have
What will that gift do?"
"My child a gift like that could change the world
Could feed a multitude!"
He didn't close his eyes or turn away
I can see him standing tall
He saw the need and I can hear him say
"What if I give all?"
Long ago, a Father and His Son
Saw the children lost in sin
Can you see the tears in Father's eyes
As Jesus says to him?
"What if I give all I have
What will that gift do?"
"My son that gift will change the world
It will feed the multitude"
"So what if I give all I have
What will that gift do?
My child a gift like that could change the world
It could feed a multitude
We cannot close our eyes and turn away
When we hear his spirit call
We see the need, now let him hear us say
"What if I give all?
What if I give all?"
Monday, September 20, 2010
My wonderful blog (and forum) friend Tracee at Mothering in a Shoe (http://motheringinashoe.blogspot.com <--I think I need to learn how to turn words into a hyperlink...anyone want to teach me I'd greatly appreciate it) gave me my first award! The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks so much Tracee! For those of you who haven't read her blog it is about being a Mom to her three beautiful children, adoptive parenting, being a Foster Mom and a Military Wife! Wow! Check out her blog! So, with the Versatile Blogger Award comes a few guidelines...
- Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
- Share 7 things about yourself.
- Pass the award along to 7 other bloggers who you recently discovered and think are fabulous.
- Contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award
1. I am a military wife and I'm happy about it. I wasn't always happy about it but I've come a long way in the past 9 years! :) The hardest part was probably throwing up pregnant with my husband in Iraq during his first deployment. Scared + Sick = 1 unhappy wife (and Mommy to be).
2, I am a Christian and God has always brought me in unexpected directions (see above) and has always used the negative situations in life for His good! The aforementioned deployment lead to amazing communication and an even better marriage than ever anticipated! The adoption definitely has it's share of ups and downs and I'm frustrated at times, but I know God is in control and He will make something wonderful out of the negative situations (specifically out of our poor child's loss and the negative situation(s) that led to his/her adoption plan in the first place - not erase the hurt but bring beautiful things from the bad).
3. I'm a runner. I used to hate running. I often used my kids as an excuse not to run (granted a well founded excuse, still an excuse). Once when doing that my husband told me that he'd watch the kids but that I won't start running. Well, that was it. My friend and I started running together 3 days per week. When we moved to the DC area I signed up for the 10 miler and had a goal (one I wasn't sure I'd obtain). I ran it last year and it was awesome. I'm signed up again for this year and have had trouble being consistent with workouts so I'm getting nervous and need to get my butt in gear!
4. I'm not the most organized person in the world (to say the least). The good thing is I've gotten much better since becoming a Mom. It's still a lot of work for me to stay organized and on top of things (including cleaning) but I'm doing fairly well at it now.
5. I have a SWEET TOOTH! I love ice cream, cookies, chocolate, donuts, etc. I can't get enough. The only thing that doesn't excite me is candy. Most candy (except for the chocolate variety) is something I can pass up. I loved it when I was younger but now it's nothing special.
6. Confession: I get too into tv shows. The ones I'm following, I get interested in and excited about and can't wait for the next episode. Sort of like a good book where I can't put it down. I look forward to the next show a bit more than I should, in my opinion.
7. Never in my life could I have imagined my life to be as wonderful as it. A loving husband, two terrific kids, in the process of adopting our 3rd, amazing family and friends. I am so thankful for my life. It's not exciting, it's not perfect, but it's truly amazing to live it!
OK - Blog friends to award this to (apologies again for my inability to turn names into links):
1. Pixie over at Cheese Curds and Kimchi: http://curdsandkimchi.blogspot.com/
2. Elisabeth at Loving Leah with All Our Heart and Seoul: http://lovingourleah.blogspot.com/
3. Jenny at Searching for Cutie Pie Clopton: http://cutiepieclopton.blogspot.com/
4. Linny at A Place Called Simplicity: http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/
5. Kala at Our Adoption Journey: http://adoptfromkorea.blogspot.com/
6. Sonia at His Hands, His Feet: http://cheaperbythehalfdozens.blogspot.com/
7. Elizabeth at Romans 8:15: http://romanseightfifteen.blogspot.com/
8. Sandra at Three Continents, One Family: http://across3continents.blogspot.com/
I didn't follow the rules and I did 8. I tried to do 8 people who haven't posted about the award yet (though they may have been awarded it). I also may have missed it so forgive me. This is a great way to share blogs so check those out. I want to mention a.e.i.o.u., Chois R US, Little Bit O'Seoul, and John and Kelly + Max because I enjoy those a lot, I believe they've all received the award but wanted to mention them anyway. I enjoy learning more about everyone. Have a great day!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
G loves having her big brother home, though she was sad to miss PWOC today (seriously - she's been fighting me on being left anywhere and TODAY she wants to go?!?). It was our first class of the semester so I'm sad to miss it, but at least I already have my book so I won't get behind.
G has school again tomorrow. Right now she's excited about it, but by tomorrow I expect to hear "I don't want to go to preschool!" I ordered "The Kissing Hand" and "Llama, Llama misses Mama" from the scholastic catalog. Unfortunately she'll probably be all settled in by the time the books come. Maybe I'll take "The Kissing Hand" out of the library in the mean time.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The good news:
1. Her teacher is AMAZING - so warm and loving!
2. It is a Christian preschool (not just taking place at a church but the teachers gather and pray for the kids each morning before school starts, the kids learn a memory verse and have chapel time, etc.)
3. G is always happy and excited when I pick her up from any of these places. She seems happy about what she did in class even if she doesn't want to go initially.
As I experience this with her (my child who has never really experienced a lot of separation anxiety, who follows my son who only experienced it right after Brian deployed when he was 1 but then never did again), I wonder about our child on the other side of the world. We're guessing our child has been born and has experienced his/her first loss already. Separation anxiety won't even begin to describe the type of difficulties this child could face. Loss of parents and then loss of foster parents. Coming to an unfamiliar country with weird looking people and a strange language. Finally attaching to us (hopefully within a few months or so) and then definitely NOT wanting to be left with someone else. The fear that being left could invoke would be so real. I am thankful that G and B are so attached that they don't want us to leave but that they're really just fine once we do. They are confident that we will return. I pray that eventually our third child will also feel confident in that.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the PHONE to RING (ring phone ring!!!)
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Apologies to Dr. Seuss for using his work and tweaking it slightly.
Obviously adoption is filled with waiting. You'll notice the italicized parts and of course my own commentary above. Steps that you wait for during the adoption process. We're waiting for the phone to ring (and the agency to be on the other end with a referral). We know that we're likely to be waiting a few more months. The important part is not to live the wait, but to live while we wait.
This is something I've been contemplating for a few weeks now and the Chaplain at PWOC today mentioned something that was interesting. He said that some people are just waiting to die to go to heaven. They're not living the life God gave them. To me this sounds crazy but I remember that there are days when I get caught up in what is to come (whether it's the adoption or a move, etc.) that I forget to live in the moment and appreciate all that God has provided in this day right now! So NO! I won't live in the Waiting Place. I'm waiting but I'm also LIVING!**
**I may need this reminder from time to time....
Wednesday (yesterday) was 2 months HSTK! Our agency said 4-8 months. Recently I've heard 6-8 months. I can't bring myself to think 8, but I'm trying to let go until January and just enjoy the fall. So excited for the kids as they enjoy the beginning of the school year. I can't wait to go apple picking! Lots to look forward to and to enjoy each day.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Check it out! Very fun stuff and for a great cause - bringing home two adorable, active, funny boys from China! :) Also check out the pictures of these two on her blog b/c they will bring a smile to your face!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The good: His teachers were nice, he liked them (I was told that they're very strict the first couple of weeks so this is a surprising start!). He was excited about German and not terribly upset that he didn't understand any of it yet. :) By the end of the day he had made a friend: named Gus. I didn't see a Gus on the list but I didn't study it extensively the other day either so either there is one or B didn't hear his name correctly (very possible!).
The bad: I asked the wrong questions. He talked away to my Mom on the phone (I think I need to call and get some info from her) but didn't tell us a whole lot. I asked about the playground and he said no one played with him on the playground. This broke my heart and I felt horrible. I think I am much more upset than him about this. Brian reminded me that at the playdate before school started (where he made friends who are all in the opposite class!) it took the kids about half an hour to warm up to each other and playtime at school definitely isn't more than that so it'll be better in a couple of days.
The Ugly: G told B everything fun that we did today without him. Brian took the day off to see B off to school and pick him up but of course we all took advantage of only having one child with us and ran some errands and went out to lunch. I'm not sure how to handle this throughout the year. How do I continue to have fun with G but not make B jealous and sad that he's at school.
Brian took the kids out for ice cream and I'm headed out to meet G's teacher. Jealous about the ice cream but excited to learn more about G's preschool. Plus I'm on day 4 of (successful) healthy eating and exercise! Hurray!
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I just thought I'd post that I'm trying to be better to kind of make some accountability for myself. My goal is to lose about 10 lbs. by Halloween. I guess we'll see, but I think it's possible. ;)
Friday, September 3, 2010
Brian took B into DC and to visit the Pentagon today (plus they got to ride the VRE which is very exciting for B). G is having a movie day due to not feeling well, though we did have a lovely tea party with her stuffed animals and Alani (G's Cabbage Patch doll) up in her room. Hoping everyone is healthy and home and able to enjoy the weekend!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tuesday was Brian's 30th Birthday! Hurray! He joined the same decade as me (I'm the older spouse - you know, women live longer, I chose a younger guy....). ;)
The night before his birthday I got an email and on Tuesday they were having a playdate for all of the German Immersion kids and were specifically inviting the incoming 1st graders so that they could make some friends. So my husband was a trooper, and being the wonderful Daddy that he is, he celebrated his 30th birthday at the school playground! It was great for B. He met some nice kids on the playground and I think he's a bit more comfortable about starting at a new school. I met some nice Moms which makes me a bit more comfortable too! :)
Today he gets to meet his teacher and find out who is in his class. Afterwards I promised another trip to the playground so the kids are excited! Surprisingly (since he's switching schools) B is very excited to meet his teacher and go back to school this year! I'm a little nervous though because I was told by some of the parents that the 1st grade teachers start off the year by being VERY STRICT! They ease up after about 2 weeks but they set the standard high initially. While this is a good thing for the most part, I'm nervous about my son who struggles to not talk in class and hold his body still (he is a 6 year old boy - sitting still and quiet is NOT in his nature!). All I can do is pray and wait out those intial weeks. It will probably be great for him in the long run but I envision a few tears along the way...
These are my random musing about school. I'll probably write more about preschool soon. Right now I'll leave you with a quote from B "I just can't believe that G is big enough to go to preschool - I just can't believe it!" Like his Mama - he still thinks his sister is our little baby, but she's growing up!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I did limp out of there with all the ingredients I needed to make 2 dishes this week and I have successfully made both of them!
Thursday night we had Kimbap (think Korean Sushi). Brian and I both liked it a lot. B said it was "a little good" (translation: he can choke it down without whining). G whined and wasn't a huge fan. Oh well. She's 3, what do I expect?!?
Tonight I made Bulgogi, rice, and salad with ginger dressing (we're not huge fans of Kimchi here, I'll continue to try it when we're out but I'm not making it at home). I also got some rice wine that is pretty strong and not really to my taste but it was fun to try.
The verdict - YUM! 8 thumbs up! All 4 of us loved the Bulgogi! Bap (or rice) is always a hit in our house and we also liked the ginger dressing (that broke my toe) a lot. :)
Below is the Bulgogi. I wish I had though to take pictures of the Kimbap but oh well.
Friday, August 20, 2010
G and I got to spend a lot of Mommy/daughter time together and it was great. We were very fortunate to get together with another Mom and her 2 daughters who are using the same agency as us and are just beginning their adoption journey. We had a fantastic time at the play area at the mall, then walking (running) around the mall and coming to screeching halts in front of anything that looked exciting (ie. Build a Bear, Pottery Barn Kids). I hope K and her daughters enjoyed getting together as much as I did because Ella and I had a great time and really enjoyed them!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Thanks Kala for taking the time to visit with us. Maybe next time the kids will be a bit calmer - though no guarantees.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Even A Miracle Needs a Hand
Miracles happen most every day
to people like you and me
but don’t expect a miracle
unless you help make it to be
You hope while I hurry
You pray while I plan
We’ll do what’s necessary cause
Even a miracle needs a hand
You love and I’ll labor
You sit while I stand
Get help from a next door neighbor cause
Even a miracle needs a hand
We’ll help our maker
to make our dreams come true
but I can’t do it alone
So here’s what we’re gonna do
You hope while I hurry
You pray while I plan
We’ll do what’s necessary cause
Even a miracle needs a hand
We’ll help our maker
to make our dreams come true
but we can’t do it alone
So what are we’re gonna do
You wish while I whittle
You drip while I dry
Lets all try to help a little cause
Even a miracle needs a hand
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday was rough because I was constantly worried about whether G was sick. She was fine and after a bit we went into full packing and getting ready mode. Lots of errands and packing and the Brian came home. We left as quickly as possible and checked in at the camp site around 6. One positive point is that the playground was RIGHT next to our campsite. So the kids played on the playground while we set up the tent. They were back quickly though because they were excited to "help". Afterwards we cooked hot dogs at twilight. It was actually pretty nice (though I'm a bit nervous about having my kids near fire so I'm an overprotective camper - I'll get there I'm sure). Then we made a sticky mess of ourselves and made smore's -definitely the highlight for the kids! Then it was bedtime. Here is the real issue. We put them to bed and we cooked our smore's while they were (supposedly) falling asleep. Well they were up and the tent was moving and the talking was loud and sleeping was definitely NOT happening in that tent! We had to tell them several times to go to bed and my beautiful angels did not go to bed until 11:00!!!! Brian and I were exhausted and ready to sleep!
The next day was much better. We got up in the morning. I'd packed bagels/pastries for breakfast. That was a fun start to the day but the bees came around soon after so I tried to hurry the kids along! Then we had some down time. We got to play on the playground, walk around a bit, relax a bit and enjoy being out with the kids. This was nice except that the kids couldn't stop jumping around asking when we were going to the waterpark (which is basically a pool with a water feature in the middle).
Finally we got changed and headed over (it didn't open until 11) and had a great time in the water. I tried not to get my head too wet since I still am using drops for swimmer's ear but overall we had a great time. The kids could stay there all day, it was fun though crowded and crazy.
We went back to our campsite and decided to take a hike down to the marina. Very pretty hike and the waterfront was nice. It's fun to walk along and be able to focus your full attention your kids and on God's creation around you. No distractions from this family time and that's what I like about camping. Having the time to spend with my family without other demands on my time and attention.
Saturday night they went to sleep QUICKLY! It was wonderful! We definitely wore them out during the day. We all got a much better night's sleep though Brian and I were still VERY ready for coffee come Sunday morning (I was going through a bit of withdrawal at this point...). :)
All in all it was a success but we are imagining in a few years (probably 5 since we'll be adding another little one to the mix in the coming year) how much fun this will be as long as we keep it up. The kids will be used to it and know what to expect and I'll eventually relax a bit more and we'll be able to continue to spend some great time together as a family!
and the other is my friend G whom I met at a waiting parents meeting and we've been emailing back and forth. I am so thrilled for both of them. I'm also excited to see movement at our agency because we've now been waiting 1 month! I know this means many more until we get a referral but we're moving forward and that's wonderful!
During naptime today I will try to write about our camping trip with a 6 and 3 year old (which was smoother than our camping trip last summer with a 5 and 2 year old so it's something). :) Have a great day!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Then G came in this morning and told me she threw up. I went and checked and there is a wet spot on her bed. Not to be too gross but it didn't smell very much, it was clear and just wet, not sure what's going on. Once she ate she said she felt fine. She woke up really early this morning and I put her back to bed (before all of this) so I wonder if her tummy was upset because she hadn't eaten but was awake for a while?
Anyway, we're debating our camping trip right now. Fortunately it's nearby so we could decide to just go over in the morning and set up camp if that seems like a better idea. I guess we'll see.
Here is a picture of the "water park" at the camp ground we're going to.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
Great book - a lot of football - one chapter I skimmed because it was pretty much all football! ;) I told my dad he should read it because there's so much football!
But it's also about adoption and about love and about breaking down boundaries. I highly recommend reading this. It's better than the movie (though I also enjoyed that) and I think it was very interesting to read after hearing Collins Tuoy speak at our adoption agency's Annual Conference. She was EXCELLENT! She shared so much and was inspiring to listen to. And Michael is such an amazing and interesting person. All that he's been through is heartbreaking and just amazing that he didn't fall into drugs, gangs, etc and not only survived but with the love of the Tuoys he has thrived!
Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie Literary Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
I was skeptical about the is book because a book told through letters is generally not my favorite style of writing. It didn't take long to forget that it was letters being written at all. This was a terrific book and I'd definitely recommend it. It's about an island off of England that was occupied by the Germans during World War II. A writer in London ends up in touch with someone on the island quite accidentally and becomes entwined in the lives of those on the island. She is intrigued by what they lived through and she eventually goes for a visit. You can find out the rest by reading it.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book is also about a writer in the 1960s. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi and was raised by her black maid (as were most children at the time). She was much closer to this person than to her parents and she came home from college to find her gone. Her Mom wouldn't tell her why and neither would anyone else. Over time she found herself drifting away from those she was close to in high school and disagreed with their view on how "the help" should be treated. Eventually she grows close to her friend's maid and the two of them start to write a book. Hearing the story from 3 different viewpoints is interesting. Parts of the book are absolutely heartbreaking but mostly it is a wonderful portrayal of the beginning of the changes that took place in this country and especially in the deep south in the 60's. Definitely keep reading, it took a chapter or 2 for me to really get into this, but it's worth the read.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This poem was in an adoption e-newsletter that I get and I think it's well written. Just wanted to share.
More Than Enough
By Jamey Briscoe
My child, I know you have questions
about the mother of your birth.
And I don't have all the answers,
but this I know for sure.
She loved you enough to protect you
and do what she thought best
to keep you safe and healthy
and help you find happiness.
Maybe it was hunger
that she protected you from.
Or maybe she was ill
and knew neglect would surely come.
I do not know the reason
she chose to give you up.
But this one thing I know for sure,
She loved you more than enough.
And that was just the beginning
of the love that's felt for you.
God held you in his loving hand
and was there to see you through.
God watched over and protected you
though the times were tough.
He always had a plan for you,
He loves you more than enough.
And then half way around the world
we said our nightly prayer
and asked God if He could use us,
His love we wanted to share.
My child you were the answer
to our prayer that night.
God knew the love that we would share
as we both turned out the light.
Now, if you ever wonder
about your "forever family's" love
It's unconditional and unending.
We love you more than enough!
Friday, July 30, 2010
B and G had an AMAZING time at my parents. We got to spend so much time with family. B esp loved seeing cousins S & N, G loved seeing R, G, and K! Plus seeing my parents is always just huge. My kids pretty much think that their grandparents should move in with us. I love that they feel so close to all 4 grandparents even though we don't live close by. We are so blessed to have such wonderful and close-knit extended families!
While in NY we got to go to the National Museum of Play. As you can imagine the kids were thrilled! I will post some pictures of that and the Indianapolis Children's Museum soon.
It's also nice that as much as we love traveling, and especially love seeing family and friends, we are also always happy to be home. It's especially wonderful to see Brian! :) Tomorrow we're off to Baltimore (Fort McHenry and the Aquarium) and on the way back going to see the Washington Bayhawks (pro-lacrosse - did anyone know we had pro-lacrosse?) play (their home games are at Annapolis). We have a friend on the team and we're excited to see him play.
So excited that my friend K and her husband A are home with their son M FINALLY!!! Also so excited to continue to read about W's and H's journey home. Hurray!