Getting Ready, or, a Summer Update

I’ve been really bad about updating the blog. And there’s so much going on to share! I don’t quite know where to start… I will tell you though, that this will probably be mostly pictures. 🙂

Well, first, I should say that we got our Travel Approval! Our TA came in on August 27, in time to make a September Gotcha Day. Our prayers for September were answered! But, due to some circumstances, we are not travelling until October. It’s hard knowing that we could be in China RIGHT NOW, but we are still here waiting… But it’s ok. We’ll be boarding a plane to China in 21 days. Here’s hoping we make the most of our time here, but that these next three weeks go by quickly!

Screenshot 2015-09-15 at 11.00.13 PM

While we wait, we I’ve been nesting like crazy! I just finished refinishing a dresser and nightstand that were mine as a child, to go in the boys’ new room. It was my first time attempting anything like this, and I think they turned out pretty well. The beds are put together and made up, and artwork is on the wall. We just need a few details, like a picture of our boys together to put in one of the empty frames, and we’ll be done! I think it’s coming together nicely.

IMG_20150915_141852750 IMG_20150915_141821615 IMG_20150915_141746276 IMG_20150727_212513 IMG_20150914_212950 IMG_20150831_172310

My grandparents came for a visit, which was so awesome. They were here for two wonderful weeks. It was full of conversation, food, and family. They were helping me with learning Mandarin so that I would have some useful phrases on hand while we’re in China. They also gifted us with a tour of Beijing that includes hotel, so we’re now able to sightsee a little bit of China while we are over there!

IMG_20150901_171253623

IMG_20150821_103042572 IMG_20150822_181601990

The ladies of my small group surprised me with a shower to celebrate Evan. It was very sweet and thoughtful, and lots of fun! There was Chinese food, and Chinese lanterns, and an American Flag cookie cake. There were also fortune cookies with hand written “fortunes” that were scripture and quotes about families, children, and adoption. It was so cool! I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life, and thankful for people who are excited about Evan coming home as we are!

IMG_1964 (1) IMG_1969 IMG_1968 IMG_1967 IMG_1966 IMG_20150902_215217622 IMG_20150902_215224481 IMG_20150902_221936629_HDR

As far as we can see, even with the added cost of traveling during Trade Fair, our adoption is fully funded! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us! Your support means so much to us!

IMG_20150904_180715931_HDR

There were a couple Myrtle Beach trips.

IMG_20150907_132830157_HDRIMG_20150907_134506443IMG_20150907_140107666

Chris and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last week. My parents kept Austin Friday and Saturday nights so that we could have a nice dinner on Friday (our anniversary) and go to a music festival to see our favorite band play the following day. It was awesome.

IMG_20150912_173915274 IMG_20150912_215407176

And lastly, I’ll just say that this was the summer of trains, swimming lessons, and Okra.

IMG_20150822_115518738_HDRIMG_8535

IMG_20150903_082729
IMG_20150903_083943346IMG_20150903_084903084_HDRIMG_20150903_090257002_HDRIMG_20150821_172129

Advertisements

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.

WP_20140902_017 WP_20140904_012 WP_20140902_025 WP_20140902_001 WP_20140902_004 WP_20140902_011 IMG_20140902_084250_286 IMG_20140830_170240_530 IMG_20140902_165455_555 WP_20140901_003

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!

10662071_10152382293753811_3706958345110136605_o

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.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 at 9.16.21 AM Screenshot 2014-09-19 at 9.15.18 AM

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….?

We Do Weekends

This weekend was jam-packed. We had lots to do, and we somehow managed to fit it all in and enjoy the time. This will be a more picture heavy post. Because it was a beautiful summer weekend, and that’s how I feel like rolling today.

Saturday morning we headed up to a Concord park for a surprise birthday celebration. I had partnered with the wife of the birthday boy to plan a fun event, and of course, in taking care of all that I was setting up, and making sure things were going well, I didn’t get any pictures. Part of the reason was that my hubs had my phone the whole time. I have to remember to wear deeper pocketed pants when I am working! Luckily, there was a photographer present, so hopefully I can do a follow up post to show off what we did. But, even without pictures… there was a flash mob, a candy bar, a disc golf basket, chick-fil-a, and tons of food and drink. We made a giant “30” out of pictures from the birthday boy’s life, and had all around fun. There were little ones running around and playing baby cornhole. Lots of old friends. And Josh (the birthday boy) was surprised and happy. That’s the best part of it all.

Sunday evening we had dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants, Ilios Noche. BUt at a newer location I had yet to try. It was great, as expected. We had nice conversation, and our friends’ adorable little baby made me wish that I could go back to the days of carrying a car seat into a restaurant and not having to worry about a riotous, crazy toddler. Oh well. 🙂 And of course, after promising pictures, I don’t have anyone from that either. FAIL.

There was also some lawn mowing on Saturday. And getting together adoption paperwork. And finishing up some adoption education. And that pretty much sums up Saturday.

Sunday we got up and went to church and then volunteered at the senior center, like we do every Sunday. This time, we met some family visiting one of the couples that we hold dear. That was cool. After all of that, we headed home to work on the house. Chris tackled edging, weeding fertilizing… that kind of stuff. He also hooked up my second rain barrell. Hooray!

While he was doing that, Austin and I picked veggies from our overgrown garden. He picked tomatoes, mostly the red ones, and I picked beans and peppers. He thought that was cool. I wonder if it means he’ll actually eat the tomatoes now…

WP_20140817_004 WP_20140817_011 WP_20140817_007

It was getting hot, and all Austin wanted to do, after picking the veggies, was to play with daddy’s tools and get in his way. So I filled up the little pool and tried to keep him occupied with water. That worked pretty well for about 10 minutes. He splashed and squealed, drank out of tupperware, poured water.. Then he decided it was fun to throw half full tupperware out of the pool, splash mommy, and just be all kinds of rambunctious.

WP_20140817_022 WP_20140817_016

So I told Chris to come take a break, handed him a beer, and handed Austin a popsicle. That made everybody happy. 🙂

WP_20140817_025 WP_20140817_027WP_20140817_030

After that sticky, cool, popsicle, Austin needed a bath. But first, we trimmed up his hair. And he insisted on helping.

WP_20140817_034

After the bath, we went back outside so I could water the lawn in prep for the Weed ‘n Feed. And of course, Austin got all wet all over again as he “helped” me. Stinker. When all of that work was done, Chris scooped up his boy and took him upstairs, where I later found him changed and being read to. Love those boys. And apparently Austin wanted to be like daddy in his reading glasses.

WP_20140817_045 WP_20140817_038

Goober. I love that kid. 

After he went to bed, Chris and I watched a movie. A rare pleasure. It was a live-action version of an anime we enjoy, Rorouni Kenshin, and we were really impressed with how well done it was! Can’t wait for the sequel. 

So that was our busy weekend. Today I sent out our adoption package with a big check. I hit up the grocery store, did two loads of laundry, went for a run, and am still doing my day job. I hope the rest of the week isn’t this busy. But… I am looking at my calendar, and I know we have folks coming into town this weekend and a “luau” at Austin’s daycare on Tuesday. Chris has a networking event on Thursday, and I have a volunteer event on Friday, as well as a dentist appointment. Somehow we’ll find a moment to breathe. Somehow…

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!

WP_20140722_003

WP_20140720_011

 

WP_20140719_025

 

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.

WP_20140720_027

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!

Alicia and the Beanstalk

Back in May, I posted about starting my summer garden and all the planting I had been doing around our home. This is the first veggie garden I have planted here, since moving from California 10 years ago. Ok, I did attempt one late last summer, but that doesn’t count. Now that I have paid more attention to the season, zones, and all that gardening stuff, it’s for real this time. I was looking back at that post, and smiling over my little shoots and sprouts. Look what they’ve become!

WP_20140628_008

 

WP_20140628_012

sunflowers, arugula, cilantro

 

 

My beanstalks are so tall you can see them from the family room window- even after I snipped them shorter!

WP_20140628_007 WP_20140628_011

 

I had scattered marigold seed in a corner of the garden, and they never came up. But I started seeing something growing all over the rest of the garden. I assumed my marigold seeds had been blown around, so I let them grow. Weeks later, I realized these were tomato plants, and they were everywhere! lol. Oopsie. I have no clue how that happened.

I think I mentioned before that I had put some green onion roots in a jar of water in my windowsill, after I had cut the green stalks and cooked with them. Well… they’re growing!

WP_20140701_001

 

And remember my scraggly butterfly bushes? They are filling out, thankfully. I guess we need to make sure we cut them back in the winter. I also think we will be moving them from the spot at the front of the yard, and replacing them with something that will stay green all year. I love them, though, and want to make sure wherever they end up, we’ll be able to see them and admire all the butterflies they attract. See! THey are doing much better- just ignore the super lush grass. 🙂

WP_20140701_002

 

So… what do you think? Green thumb??? huh, huh? Have I got one??