Evan Day

We know you have been thinking and praying for our family, and can tell- today could not have gone better! We met Evan at 11:30 this morning, and he walked in wearing his Charlotte Hornets hat and holding the picture book we sent to him early this year. When we picked him up, he pointed to our pictures! We’re grateful that the orphanage took the time to prepare him for us. They gave us a DVD of pictures and video, and a memory book. We can’t wait to look, watch and get the book translated. His nannies wrote in the notebook we sent, too, so are looking forward to getting those entries translated also.

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He was a little apprehensive about Chris at first, but now seems to prefer him. He didn’t cry when left with us, and would not let go of our hands. He is a good eater, and tonight he gave us lots and lots of laughs to treasure. Guys, we are so blessed and thankful. He’s in his crib, now, being very quiet and trying to sleep. I’m sure we are distracting him…

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We visited the grasslands of Inner Mongolia today. We drove a dune buggy, drank fermented mare’s milk, made wishes at the Oto, tried Mongolian cheeses and jerky, and ate Mongolian dinner in a yurt. It was very cool.

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Back at the hotel we played basketball with a laundry basket and some soft balls, and colored. Chris tossed Evan in the air and on the bed, which got lots of giggles.

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Tomorrow we sign the docs to make Evan officially adopted. 🙂 Hoping and praying for another awesome day!

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China or Bust!

Today’s the day! I’m sitting in the admiral’s club at the airport, sipping on my jamba juice, and trying to think of what to write. I have so many things to share, so many thoughts going through my head, so many emotions… I also am realizing that this will be a short post, since I’m typing on my phone.

So… First, let me say thank you. Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, encouragement, and support. You have gotten us this far in our journey, and we appreciate you! Please continue to think of us as we travel to bring Evan home.

This morning, Chris and I took Austin out to breakfast. We talked about our trip, and were trying our best to get him to understand that we’d be gone for a while, but that when we return, he’ll have a brother. I think he gets the brother part…. It’s the period of time he doesn’t get. At one point he told us we’d be gone for five weeks (as he held out his hand to show five fingers)! Thankfully it will not be five weeks. We know he’ll have a great time with his grandparents, and he has lots of fun in store for him.

When we dropped him off at daycare, we took our last photo as a family of three…

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We are excited to explore China; less excited about flying there. Thrilled that we’ll finally get to hug the son we’ve been praying for; anxious for him, as he is about to lose everything he’s ever known. I cant tell you how eager I am to hear his voice, his laugh, and even his cry. I can’t wait to introduce him to his brother via a video call next week, too. There’s so much that we’re anticipating….

We know you are excited for us, and eager to meet Evan. When we return home, though, we will be in a period known as “cocooning”, where we will be focusing on establishing bonds and attachments with Evan. We will be staying home as much as possible, and limiting outside interaction. We want you to meet Evan and show him the love you’ve been pouring out on us, but we ask that you bear with us during this time. We don’t know how long it will take. If you do stop by, please keep your visit brief, do not hold Evan, and any gifts need to be given to us to give to him. I know it sounds weird, but it’s very important that we do things this way until Evan understands that we are his primary caregivers. Thank you for your support in this way!

Twofer

I had written a post about last weekend, and have not been able to post it. Aside from my new schedule and feeling crazy busy with my new commute, work, a new women’s group, and normal happenings here, to add to it I left the power cord for my Chromebook in Myrtle Beach. Oh, you didn’t know we went to the beach? That’s because my Chromebook has been dead and I haven’t been able to provide any of the updates I’ve wanted to! I tried to use my phone to post, but once I hit “publish” it just sat there, stalled. That was incredibly frustrating.

So, with this post, you get the one I had written, and also some additional updates. A sort of Two-fer… I’m not even going to edit my first post. You’ll get it as is. or.. as was?

Last weekend was a Myrtle Beach weekend for us. We took Friday off of work, and headed down Thursday night after dinner. We time it like that so we can have a full day down there the next day, and because Austin will sleep in the car during the 3 hour drive down. So Thursday evening, after a pizza dinner with friends, we cleaned up, packed up, and hit the road.
The trip started out like any other trip down. We go about every six weeks to visit family, so we’ve got the routine down. Well, a little over an hour into our trip, I hear Austin’s paci pop out of his mouth, and something that sounded…. Wet. So I turned on the light and looked back at my sleeping child, just in time to see him throw up. A lot. So we pulled over at the nearest gas station, cleaned up the kid, his car seat, and the car, changed his clothes, and got back on the road. That pit stop cost us some time though. A little bit later- it happens again. We stop and get everything clean. At this point, all of Austin’s spare clothes are buried under our luggage, so he’s riding in a diaper. We hit the road, and it happens a third time. The gas station we pull over at this time is not open, so we head to another. This time, after Austin and everything else were cleaned up, we think to put a catch-all bib on him. Good thing. He threw up twice more on the way down. Around the 4th time, our little trooper starts to cry. I just wish there wasn’t so much stuff crammed in our backseat, so I can sit with him. I reach back and hold his hand. Finally, we arrive at our destination, and just as we pull up, he throws up for the sixth and final time of the night.

It was a long drive.
The next two mornings, Austin throws up at breakfast, but was fine the rest of the day. We decide it’s his milk, and throw it out. We get on with the trip.
Friday we have lunch with Chris’ mom, visit his dad who is recovering from surgery, and head to the beach. It’s overcast and super windy. After about an hour, we decide it’s too chilly to stay, but Austin had fun playing in the sand while we were there. We had dinner with Chris’ mom, and Austin was really into watching the pianist at the restaurant. The next day, at Chris’ grandma’s, Austin plays with their piano.

All in all, it was a good trip. We had lots of family time, and even met up with a friend we had made on our cruise. Chris’ aunt gave us a ton of handcrafted jewelry to sell to help us raise funds for our adoption. we ate lots of good food, and just tried to make the most of our time down there. Even so, it’s always good to be back home. We’re heading back down in just two short weeks… A short trip, but hopefully a good one.

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He stole my seaweed salad, but at least his appetite was back!

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Double Rainbow!

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And so that was last weekend. Eventful. And the rest of the week was just plain busy. Busy for both Chris and I at work. I got to have lunch with my mom one day while she was working uptown, so that was a nice break. We dined at The Capital Grille and it was delicious!

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Wednesday night was my first night with my new Life Group. This time it’s a women’s group, and this was their second meeting. I am hoping and praying that fellowship with these women will really help me to deepen and strengthen my relationship with the Lord, and that good relationships with these women will form as well. They seem like a great bunch of ladies, and I’m already feeling good about the book we are reading – A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. It’s good timing for this book, because I feel like lately my prayers have been repetitive and stagnant, and we have a lot to be prying about.

It was one of those weeks where I was easily annoyed, and little things happened every day that made the week drag on and on. I couldn’t be happier that it is Friday. It’s been a tough week for both Chris and I. But we have been trying to smile through the setbacks and disappointments. We’ve been doing lots of group hugs with Austin, which always makes us laugh.

Tomorrow we are volunteering with UNCC Football again, to raise more funds for our adoption. I hope it’s a good time. The weather should be much nicer than last time, and we are picking up a good, fun guy that we don’t get to see often enough. I hope to remember to take some pictures this time. 🙂

Have a great weekend y’all. I hope to be able to post again soon, but we shall see. At least we’re going back to Myrtle Beach in another 10 days or so. I think I can survive without my Chromebook until then…

Busyness

We have been slammed. So incredibly busy! We have done so much that I have not updated you on. I’m slapping myself on the wrists for that one. So, this post is going to have some updates, some pictures, and hopefully not be too lengthy. I don’t even have the time to get down to the level of detail that I’d like to, but I’m going to fill you in, none the less.

First- the cruise! Our friends Brian & Shamin were getting married on a cruise ship, and Chris was a groomsman in the wedding. Chris’ parents and sister and brother-in-law all gathered in Charleston for the wedding on the cruise ship, too, which was nice. The wedding and reception were fun- short and sweet. Then, the non sailing folk debarked, and we continued on to the Bahamas! While on the boat, we swam, took dance lessons, sang karaoke, ate (a lot!), went to an art auction, shopped, saw a comedy show, hung out in the casino, and hung around with our friends from the wedding. In the Bahamas we shopped, beached, toured a brewery, and rode around an island on a scooter! We met some folks there who were on a different cruise ship, and we met up with them in both ports. They were from Myrtle beach, and we hope to see them again when we head down there to visit. We had a great time.

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Second- UNCC Football Game. We served in the concession stands almost two weeks ago, and had a great time. Our friend Stephen rode up with us, and we met our friends Josh, Jess, and Ana there. Together with folks who were raising money for missions trips, we served food and beverages (lots of beverages!) on that sweltering hot day. It wasn’t as busy as we were expecting, it was super hot, and our team blew the other team out of the water. All in all, we had fun, met some cool folks, and enjoyed each other’s company. We’re signed up to do it again the weekend after next. Who wants to join us?

10649955_10152653527869029_6358827804397089700_n Last week was Chris & my anniversary. 4 years! We took the day off and dropped Austin off at daycare so that we could spend the day together. We went for a trail run/hike, had a great lunch outside on a beautiful day, got massages, and did a little shopping. We ended the night with wine and cheese, and cake that our neighbors had given us. It was a perfect day!

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Last Saturday, Chris did a workout with some guys from church, which included exercise and fellowship. He got to meet some new people, and feel strengthened in more ways than one! On Sunday, we had a cookout at our house to give our friends, Matt & Jen an opportunity to garner support for the long-term missions work they plan to do in Japan. I had marinated 3 tri tips, and we had three trays of drumsticks. Chris and my dad handled the grilling. Our friends all brought a side, and we had tons of food. The house was full of old friends and new, and lots of kiddos! It was a fun time. Afterwards, we spent some time doing some much-needed catch-up with Matt & Jen, who are only in town from California for a couple of weeks. We miss them, and it was so great to have them here. Be sure to check them our, and sign up for their newsletter.

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This week I started working in the office again. It’s been an adjustment. I’ve had to be up early every day, instead of being able to saunter down the stairs in my PJs and log on. I’ve had to get dressed up (and buy clothes), put make-up on, wear heels. I haven’t been able to do laundry, grocery shop, or run (which is not good for the Chosen Race in 5 short weeks!), but I know I’ll get used to it. I have been carpooling with my friend, Lisa, from my neighborhood, which has been nice. It’s helping with the expenses of paying for gas and parking, and also giving us time to just chat and talk about life (read: our kids). I’ve been drinking way more coffee than normal, but hope that after another week or so of this, I can start feeling normal with this routine and cut that back. We’ll see!

what happens when we walk in the door after a long day.

what happens when we walk in the door after a long day.

Tuesday night, we went to LifeGroup Connect at our church to try to get connected to new LifeGroups. This time, Chris and I split up, looking for Men’s and Women’s groups. I found mine, and Chris is still hoping to get plugged in. I look forward to getting to know the new group of ladies, and growing with them in our walk.

And last night we had pizza with friends before hitting the road to Myrtle Beach. We left after Austin’s bedtime and hoped that he would sleep the whole ride down… Well, this is a whole ‘nother post in itself, but it didn’t go down quite like that. Austin threw up in the car 1/3 of the way down. And didn’t stop until his last (read: sixth) round of heaving in the driveway of our destination. Oy.

And I think that’s it! Oh wait- no, it’s not. In my last post, I told you that we were still going back and forth with our adoption agency about the language of our contract. Well, we couldn’t come to terms, so we are no longer moving forward with that agency. We (read: Chris) have been talking with folks at other agencies, and we’ve been praying about our next steps. We have found that the social worker who did our home study in SC is now employed by one of the agencies we were considering. After talking with her, we have found that our education would be accepted there, and they can build on our completed DSS home study to save us time. It’s a Christian agency, and we are feeling like this is the route we should head down. We’d appreciate your prayer around that!

We’ve been like little Energizer bunnies over here. Or like little Austins… Lord knows he keeps going and going…!  He is awesome and brings us so much joy and laughter. It’s really amazing how much he is learning and growing. I’m hoping that this weekend gives us a little time for just rest and family. And I’m hoping that when we get back to the grind, we’ll have time to just slow down a bit, even though our calendar is already filling up. I’m just thankful that we have maintained our sanity during this crazy time for us. Wonder how long we can keep it up….?

Mountain Vacay

We returned home last night from a 5 day mountain trip. MOUNTAINS! I love them. We had such a great time. My parents used some of their timeshare option to book a week at a resort in Banner Elk, NC. We escaped the Charlotte heat, relaxed, and enjoyed each others’ company. I have been itching to get up to the BLue Ridge Parkway, so this was wonderful for me. Now, I just have to make it during the early fall, when all the leaves are changing color.

During our trip we panned for gemstones (to Chris’ delight). I was kinda hoping we’d find a huge ruby or something, and be able to fund our adoption with it, but alas, no such luck. 🙂 We also visited Linville Caverns and Falls, Banner Elk Winery, Mystery Hill, and lots of good eateries. The “cabin” we stayed in was a two bedroom condo with a loft, kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. Chris and I read to each other on the balcony one evening, sipping sweet red wine and munching on kettle corn. We paddle boated on the lake at the resort, brought Austin to the playground, and grilled chicken on site. We checked out a game called Imaginiff and played it while Austin was napping one day, while our chicken was roasting in the oven. Good times!

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Austin kept us all entertained, by running around, eating like a champ, and learning new words. Much to my dad’s delight, Austin now knows him as “Goom-pa”. His new thing is finding things to make music with. One day it was a sample of toothpaste in a box that he was shaking and banging with, the next day it was a packet of raw sugar. He loves music and danced and watched videos of orchestras to his little heart’s content! The best thing, though, was when we were all in the kitchen/dining area. We were all doing different things, and it was kind of quiet. I was sitting at the table next to Austin, and I put my hand on his head, leaned near to his ear, and said , “I love you.” His response? “I louwoo.” Gah! My heart melted and I might have teared up a little. And everyone was there to hear it! After that, they all kept trying to get him to say it again, but he didn’t. That was reserved for  me. Hehehe.

We didn’t really have any agendas during the trip. We just got up and did things as we decided to. I worked out every morning, at the fitness room downstairs. Still working toward that 10 mile race- even on vacation! We watched movies, cooked, had good conversations, and laughed a lot. I watched more TV on this trip than I have in a long time, but mostly because it was on while I was working out, or just on in the Living room as we were going about our day. Chris and I worked on adoption paperwork one night after everyone had gone to bed. So… some of the same stuff we do at home, but in a different environment.

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SInce my parents were so wonderful to let us join them, and we brought tons of food, we didn’t spend too much on this trip. Which is amazing considering we were gone for 5 days and got to do a bunch of stuff and spend so much quality time with family. I’m glad to be home, and feeling refreshed and happy! I am still glad that it’s only a two-day work week for me, though. 🙂 I hope we can do another trip like this again!

A Fun Long Weekend

I know this post is a bit tardy, but we got home late on Monday, and I had lots to catch up on yesterday. Then today, I had to go work uptown, and had some family time (I’ll post about that- hopefully tomorrow). This is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write.

Last Thursday, we had planned to work, and then head out to Myrtle Beach at the end of the day. That way we could have a full Friday down there, and make the most of the time we had. We were taking Monday off, too, so this was to be the longest getaway we’d taken in a while. Well, Thursday Morning, we got a call from the daycare that Austin was sick, so he came home. We ended up finishing our work up early and heading out mid-afternoon. THat was nice, because we were able to get into the beach early enough to have dinner with Chris’ parents, which made the trip seem even longer and more full. Unfortunately, we were all a little under the weather for the first couple of days.

This extra-long weekend was jam packed with family and fun. We ate lots of good food and had lots of laughs. Friday, after spending the morning at Chris’ grandparents’ house, we tried to nap, and then headed out to the Market Commons, where there was a “block party” going on. We ate and walked around, and finally ended up in front of the stage. Once we were in earshot of the band, Austin headed that way, twisting, and dancing, and clapping, and smiling. Once he found the stage, though, he was stuck! He planted himself in front of the band and was absolutely mesmerized. The band was awesome about it, and brought him up on stage to bang on the drums. They even gave him a drumstick to keep. It was awesome, and everyone was watching with smiles on their faces.

After that, we stopped by our favorite beach bar to say hi to our friend who bartends there, and then we made our way out to the beach. It was amazing. The beach was full of families and friends having a great time. There were sparklers and glow sticks everywhere, and patriotic music playing. Folks were hanging out on the balconies of the hotels along the beach, and you could see fireworks in every direction. Austin fell asleep in the stroller, so we didn’t really get a reaction from him when the fireworks went up. Oh well. Maybe next year. It was still warm, and full of fun energy, and Chris and I got to hold hands on the beach with our sleeping kiddo, surrounded by squeals, laughter, and colors shooting across the sky. Doesn’t get any better than that. Except, maybe coming back in the future with a bigger, somewhat older brood. And maybe friends.

Saturday was spent mostly with family, but Chris and I did get a chance to leave Austin with his grandparents and go have dinner. It was as touristy a dinner as we could get- at Medieval Times! We were cheering for the blue knight, who was very good, but alas, was not the night’s victor. We had fun, though. The food was good, and everyone around us was into it, which made it more fun.We had a great time.

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Sunday, I got to get to know some of Chris’ family that I had never met before. We actually went and visited Brenda at her job on Saturday, but Sunday we could hang out more and meet uncle Mac. Chris’ parents took us out to eat at Cracker Barrel (one of my guilty pleasures!) where we met and talked – getting to catch up/get to know each other, laugh at Austin’s silliness, and chow down. It was great. That evening, we made the most of our built in baby sitters again. Chris and I went out to hear some live music at the Boathouse, which is somewhere we try to stop on every summer visit. 1ga5GD.AuSt.78When we got back, Austin was having a great time running around and being tickled. He was riled up and squealing at the top of his lungs, and collapsing in giggles and hearty belly laughs. Love.

Monday was a beach day, before saying goodbye to everyone and hitting the road. It was lovely.

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Aaaannndd…. That was our extra long weekend in a nutshell. I’m tired. Hitting the sack. Nitey nite.