31 May 2013

surprise time!

This past Wednesday was a fun day for several of us and a SUPER surprise day for a good friend, Ashley.
Ashley is the type of friend who is honest, loyal & never really gets/takes due recognition of her talents & time.

Thus, a few months ago, her best friend, sister and myself got together the idea of surprising her on her 1/2 birthday...her real birthday is Nov. 29th...tucked in between busy holidays and usually logistically impossible to honor or even surprise her as her family usually takes a trip to the Dells around that time.

She was completely surprised & we had a fabulous time on our road-trip (thanks in part to the Gentle Giant as our "limo"), a SUPER fun Segway tour, good food, good shopping & good conversation!

 what's a surprise birthday reveal at Starbucks without large, obnoxious signs?!

and the Gentle Giant all painted?!

 Jami, me, Alison, Kate, Arianne, Becky, Ashley & Tara (taking picture) ready to go!
but first...we must get instructions-exits, storage bins, legroom...wait, does that sound like flight instructions? :)

the girls loved it!

 "uh, Jon...you need to take care of transferring our food to the new refrigerator...I"m heading to Chicago!!!"
parked & ready to EAT & SHOP!

lunch at Lou Malnati's on State...gotta love a great salad & deep dish pizza!
they balance each other out calorie wise...right? :)

 next stop...Sugar Bliss on Wabash for a gourmet cupcake...no caloric balance here...just straight sugar!

when planning this trip months ago, Ali got out of Ashley that if she was to head to Chicago with some friends, she would LOVE to do a Segway tour sometime...so without disappointing our birthday girl, several of us braved the challenge!  Personally, I was THRILLED she chose that option, as I'm sure I could never get Arlan on one of those things without a considerable amount of convincing...it was FAB!!!

 listening to instructions...folks, helmets.ARE.COOL.

birthday girl went first for one-on-one instruction

Arianne conquering her fears!!!

Absolutely Segway makes you practice for about 20 minutes in a tunnel before hitting the streets of downtown Chicago...wise-very wise :)
Jamie-looking good!

 photo opp at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park...Becky was more than capable on her Segway, but Mr. Guide didn't allow time for her to properly park hers..."parking" a Segway takes some getting used to :)


we may or may not have broken a few rules regarding this Segway tour...rule #1 broken: you MAY NOT do the Segway tour if you believe you are pregnant.  Well, Alison was a trooper and while being 28 weeks pregnant, she hid her adorable belly under a very flowing shirt!  All for her sister's dream!

rule #2 broken...NO taking video, pictures, etc while Segway is in motion :)
ehm, well here's beautiful Lake Michigan.

ice cream & hot dog break at Shedd Aquarium

while we didn't know it at the time, apparently Obama was at the downtown Hilton & thus several hundred pro-life picketers were there rallying against abortion & Obama care....

 ...serious enough for mounted police.

 we finished our day up with dinner at Su Casa on Ontario St. where we met up with Tami for a bit! 
It was a super fun day!

Friday's Funny~silly bunny...

...or STUPID
We have been at war with our neighborhood rabbits for the past several weeks...however, with two very determined parents to protect our flowers (and the $$$ we spend on them each spring) and an even more determined 3.5 year old who loves chasing them while yelling "CHOP-CHOP bunny rabbits" we are BOUND to win!!!
However, after barricading our fence line, I came downstairs one afternoon to this...really?
Does it think it's a cat?
I mean...really?
This stupid thing would have hopped right in our front door if it was open.
One word...well, maybe two, describes this situation...
or desperate.


24 May 2013

Friday's Funny~water buffalo!

While a 3 year old gets energized by Veggie Tales, a college boy is lulled to sleep :)
Gotta love it!
Thanks Wyatt for traveling back with us...sorry, I couldn't resist posting this!

22 May 2013

a new blanket

A new blanket makes me prayerful & anxious to snuggle our daughter...
 Exodus 14:14~The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.
Psalm 37:4 ~Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

17 May 2013

Summit 9 & adoption update

Two weeks ago, Arlan and I headed to Nashville for Christian Alliance for Orphans' (CAFO) annual conference regarding global movement & orphan awareness.  To say it was amazing, is a HUGE understatement.  The workshops were so informative, helpful & practical all wrapped into one...I went away thinking "regardless if we are adopting/fostering, it was great parenting wisdom!"  Some of the workshops we attended were:
The Multiracial Family
Nurturing the Whole Child
Becoming a Trauma Compentent Healing Parent
Inter-country Adoption Legal Matters
Attachment Parenting with your Brain

As we have now hit the 1 year mark into our adoption from Uganda, we are beginning to feel the timeline frustration.  We are still peaceful about our adoption but are/were beginning to feel a bit of a disconnect from our agency and the orphanage they are working with in Kampala to process referrals.  God gave us a huge encouragement boost in two ways in the past two weeks...gems of hope & "trust" right from Eccl. 1:1 and 1:11.  The first gem...

Summit was attended by approx. 2500 people over a 2 day span.  Our agency Children of All Nations out of Austin, TX, is not a Christian agency but speaking to our adoption counselor, she mentioned that most likely a few CAN representatives would be in Nashville; however, without an actual exhibit/booth, how would one random family (us) find a "few" CAN rep's...well, Friday night before the FINAL session of Summit was about to begin, two ladies come walking into the church and sit right behind Arlan and I...the one lady-distinguishable by pictures from CAN's website-happened to be the President/CEO of Children of All Nations!  Unbelievable!!!  Yet very believable with the God we serve!  We were able to introduce ourselves and chat with both the CEO and her marketing director.  They offered us a "glimpse" of an update with our Uganda program and orphanage.

 Arlan and I with CAN's president Snow Wu (on right) and Mary (marketing director) at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville

The second gem...
just yesterday, our monthly email update came out announcing that CAN is now partnering with two additional orphanages in Uganda with hopes to begin matching families soon!  Folks, this is SUPER encouraging as there are only 7 total families in our pilot program and we are number 5!  While we are holding this news loosely as international adoption-well, adoption in general-can change so quickly, we are pretty encouraged by this news!!!!  My husband uses the word encouraged...I prefer EXCITED!!!!

We continue to be prayerful that our little daughter will come home to us soon...thanks again for all of you out there who continue to support & encourage us through your love & prayers...we do feel them!

10 May 2013

Friday's Funny~a whole lot of kids!

A few weekends ago, we got invited to some friend's house for an evening of catch-up.  Andy & Marie were fabulous hosts & the kiddos had a great time exploring their wooded backyard.  I only took pictures of the kiddos because...well, they're the most fun anyway!

the girl's table + Simeon

the boy's table

dress up central!

01 May 2013

spring hike

Tuesday was the perfect day for picnics...Mr. Sun was out in full force so Haven and I took advantage of it.
We first met our friend Jess for a picnic lunch date at Rosa Parks in town. We then took off on a short bike ride with Mom burning calories & Haven in the bike trailer.  After Daddy was off of work, we met up at the Parklands Nature Preserve for a little hike through nature.

 picnic date & catch up with Jess

 Haven gets very little love:)

 waiting for Daddy to arrive!

 every good hiker needs a walking stick :)

 the blue bells were in beautiful bloom

 a common site

 another picnic lunch

she thought this pole was meant for her :)

 the receded Mackinaw River

 "I need a rest" :)

 great lighting

"I'll race you Daddy!"...

"Are ya comin Mom?" :)

my two favorites!