Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our 3 year old and our 31 week old

I forgot to put this picture on the August update and I thought I'd better get a pregnancy shot in the mix just in case I don't get caught up before our little girl arrives.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

July and August

We took our family vacation in July.  It was truly a family vacation because J.J.'s parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew were all there with us.  We spent a nice cool week in the beautiful Colorado mountains.  Cool was a fabulous change of pace for me.  I have always been cold natured, but with the pregnancy I took a complete 180 and I've been hot even when it wasn't hot.  Well, July in Texas was hot!  We made the big announcement to J.J.'s family at the end of the trip since they were all together in once place.  I went ahead and called my parents just in case news started spreading and they heard things from someone other than us.  After vacation we had a few days at home then headed to coach's clinic.  J.J. was at classes/meetings during most of the daytime, so Xavier and I just hung out together.  We did too much shopping.  One of the dangers of living in a small town, for me at least, is that when you visit a larger town you feel compelled to squeeze as much shopping into a tiny window of time as possible.  Then we spent another week in our camper, but this time at a Camp Meeting.  Camp Meeting is always hard for me to explain, but it's basically a week of church services throughout the day with lots of visiting/eating in between.  We ran a concession stand in the evenings and helped my parents, who were co-directors, as much as possible.
That brings us to August.  J.J. goes back to work for all practical purposes in August because of football practice.  Thankfully it is not the 10-11 hour long days that fill our fall, but we still had to adjust to a new schedule.  August was fairly quiet.  We finally got to settle into the new house.  Xavier had his third birthday at the end of the month.  We woke him with birthday enthusiasm, but he is not always a rise-and-shine kid, so it took until breakfast for him to match our excitement.  He told me "No more 2!".  It's hard to believe we are now parenting a 3 year old.  Here are some pictures of our summer fun.
Giving Daddy some love

Ice cream everyday? Yes please!

Xavier catching his first fish

The music room at the children's science museum during coach's clinic

Happy 3rd Birthday!1

Thursday, October 4, 2012

June: News and Newness

I think the easiest way to do this might be a few big chunks at a time.  Here is the June overview.  We started the month with kids camp for a week and then teen camp the next week.  We actually weren't very involved with the younger kids, but we were co-directors for the teen week.  I taught a music class each morning and led music at the evening services.  J.J. was in charge of the paintball rec station.  In between all that we tried to keep everyone going in the right direction, focused on the right things, and doing the right jobs.  We've been blessed to fill this role for several years.  In the middle of camp I had an appointment that we had to keep low key at the time, but it pretty much changed our world.  I had taken a pregnancy test the week before and got a positive result!  I know! It was pretty much a shock to me too.  We made an appointment to see a doctor to have results confirmed.  We didn't want to wait too long, so we took time off during camp.  We also had to see a new doctor to get in so quickly because my regular doctor was on vacation.  All that aside the news was good.  Yes, I'm pregnant!  We've now made it 23 weeks and things seem to be going as normal as one could hope.  I'll try to fill in the blanks as I go.  We kept the news to ourselves for several more weeks because it was so much to take in and our history with pregnancy wasn't positive.  I was 7 weeks along when during camp when we found out.  After camp we began the process of moving.  Because J.J. is no longer pastoring we had to find a new place to live.  Our house had been provided by the church.  God opened a door and we bought a house from one of his co-workers who was moving.  We really wanted to get everything done before our scheduled vacation in July, so we ended up closing on a Thursday and moving the next day.  We still hadn't made our announcement and I was right in the middle of the yucky, sick-all-the-time stage of pregnancy, so I broke down and took a prescription so I could get through those days with some pretense of normal stomach function.  I was not one of the those people who never felt sick and (Praise the Lord!) I'm not one of those poor people who are sick all 9 months.  I did have a nice ~6 week stretch of nausea, a serious dislike of all smells, and at least once a day vomiting.  Food was not my friend. Thankfully our parents and a good friend pitched in and we got all the big stuff moved in one long day.  We ended up removing an entire window to get our couch out of the house!  I guess several years of comfortable reclining didn't make for good maneuvering through already tight doors.  The window was carefully put back and I think it looks better than when that day began.  So the end of June found us semi-settled in our new house, Xavier adjusting to all that newness, and J.J. and I adjusting to our new news.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Saying Good-bye to Summer (Break)

You know that feeling you get when you have put something off for so long and it seems so insurmountable that you just keep putting it off?  That is how I've felt about blogging through this summer.  Summer for us brings a big change in schedule.  J.J. is able to stay home so much of the time. We are outside more and obviously using the computer/TV less.  In fact, we shut off our TV service for almost the whole summer this year.  I got behind on blogging, life kept coming with more and more changes, and I just couldn't seem to get caught up.  Now we are just a few short hours from the official start of Fall (can I get a Hooray!!) and I'm finally sitting down to tackle something that used to be routine and relaxing.  I really hope blogging can become those things again, because, as you will learn in some hopefully soon coming subsequent posts, our lives have been full of blessings and blog worthy material these past few months.  For now I'll just say "Hey!".  I missed all your stories, struggles, and successes.  I hope I can truly get caught up with everyone.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our day in court (again)

Daddy and Xavier walking to the courthouse

Celebration dinner with our new "official" Texan
Yesterday we had Xavier's adoption refinalized.  It was a big contrast to the sober and nervous day that was our Russian court hearing.  Well, for starters, everyone spoke English. =)  We had a good attorney and she had taken care of all the legal requirements.  We just showed up, stated our situation, and the judge granted our petition to accept the Russian court's decision.  J.J. did give a brief testimony.  The judge also asked some informal questions because he was curious about the process.  Xavier did really well, but he wasn't thrilled about sitting still.  Just as the judge finished asking if we had any communication problems when we first arrived home Xavier starts yelling, "I need go potty!" as loud as he can.  And not just once.  Oh no, he yelled it over and over.  What can you do?  I just started laughing.  I knew it was a clever ploy to get down and walk, but his timing was impeccable.  He is obviously a very effective communicator!  We had a celebration lunch with my parents and our friend Andy.  It was a nice day and a big relief to check one more thing off the post-adoption to-do list.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gotcha Day Adventure Year 1

Thursday marks one year since they placed our son in our arms and we became a family.  We decided to celebrate each year by doing a family activity together.  This year we went to the zoo.  Yes, we went a few days early.  Camps start next week and even with school being out for the summer the level of activity at our house is pretty high.  Getting ready to move, getting ready for camp, summer athletic workouts, etc.  We already needed to visit a bigger town to get concession supplies, so we just made the zoo part of the excursion.  The camera battery died about a third of the way through the zoo, but at least you get some pictures.  We also took video, but that seems to take forever to upload on my tired laptop.  So, here a few pictures of our first annual Gotcha Day Adventure

Standing beside my favorite zoo animals, pink flamingos

Xavier climbing like a monkey in the children's area

A pygmy hippo yawning

Xavier with the "pretend" lions.  We didn't see the real lions.

Up close and personal with a tiger

Xavier and Daddy playing in the bamboo
We actually went to the zoo together in Moscow almost a year ago and I would love to post some comparison photos, but I guess they are all saved on J.J.'s computer.  Maybe another day.  We had a great time at the zoo!  Thank you Lord for a full year with our wonderful Xavier Aleksey Manning!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Xavier has decided the word no is a good thing to say in all occasions and to every person.  I was sort of waiting for this stage to hit (please let it be a stage) because every small child seems to learn and enjoy the power of the word no, but I secretly hoped we could just skip it.  Oh well!  I think about how Xavier interacted with us and with other people when we brought him home almost a year ago.  He would go to anyone.  He showed very few preferences or dislikes.  It took something major to make him cry.  Now he is full of opinions and ideas.  He knows exactly what he wants and he has discovered how to express it.  I am so thankful he is comfortable enough in his new world that he doesn't fear rejection for disagreeing with us.  Don't get me wrong.  When I ask him to say "Hello" to a friend at the grocery store and he screams "No!" while turning his head and growling I don't have any warm fuzzy feelings.  Or when we ask him to eat more bites at supper and he say "No!" while banging his fork on the table I don't gush with love and tenderness.  I just have to remind myself in quiet moments like now that this is normal and so much better than the silent, emotionless, little boy we first met.  But it is just a stage, right?