Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blankets Of Love!

I just tucked our two little miracles into bed with the blankets their birthmom's made for them. They are still a little young to understand these beautiful gifts, but we do. Through the years they will bond with these blankets, and more importantly bond with the faces that put so much love into making them. It warms my heart to know that even though their birthmom's can't be here every night to tuck them in as they would love to do... that our children snuggle them in a way all through the night.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Birth Fathers Matter!

Sister loving her Birth Dad

A few days ago I received a thoughtful text from Sister’s Birth Dad, “Miss you guys”.  It’s amazing how such few words can mean so much, and be so full of love.  We love him and are extremely grateful for all that he adds to our family.  He lives several hours away so we don’t often get to visit face to face, however, we love every ounce of contact we do get.  

His text got me thinking about our last visit with him and it brought back fond memories.  We were in his home town due to a family celebration and arranged to visit with him and his wonderful family at a local park.  They were all so thoughtful and planned a delicious picnic meal on short notice.  We are so grateful to be loved not only by Caleb, but also by his parents, grandparents and siblings.  They have always welcomed all of us with open arms.  We love them all dearly.

We actually got to the park (our last visit) a bit early so we let the kiddo’s play on the playground.  Caleb (Sister’s Birth Dad) arrived before the rest of his family.  I was so excited to see him, as it had been a while since our last visit.  Sister was busy playing, that is until her Birth Dad came closer.  She looked up and they made eye contact.  She didn’t look away for a long while, she just soaked him in.  At only a year old, it was amazing that he had captured her complete attention.  I wish I could have heard her thoughts at that moment, as I know they were thoughts of recognition.  She knew he belonged to her, and that he was special.  You should have seen the glow in his eyes, he recognized her admiration as well.  It is simply delicious to watch your child's birth parents heal, because of an open adoption.

The beautiful biological connection doesn’t get removed, nor should it through an adoption placement.  Open adoption allows these beautiful connections and relationships to continue to develop and grow.  Our children were not only meant to be ours through the miracle of adoption, I believe they were also meant to be theirs (Birth Families) as well, each role sacred in their own right.  If embraced and nurtured, these roles can only compliment one another.  

I cherish that memory of my daughter’s recognition of her Birth Father. 
 She needs him.  We need him.

Thank You, Caleb.  For being, an active role in not only her life, but also ours.  We are so blessed to have you as a member of our family.  We are so grateful for the influence you currently share and for the influence you will continually share in the future.  Thank you, to all of Caleb's Family Members as well, for all of the love and support you give us!   Your actions do not go unnoticed.


Great Birth Grandma & Birth Dad
Sister and her special Birth Grandmother
Hazel's Dad & Birth Dad.
Sister's Birth Grandfather, Birth Aunt & Birth Grandmother.
Hazel playing with her Birth Dad and Birth Grandfather.
Kisses from her two favorite men.
Birth Uncle, Birth Grandfather, Birth Grandmother, Birth Dad, Birth Uncle, and Birth Aunt.
Sacred relationships that are nurtured through an Open Adoption (Sister and her Birth Dad.

Sister Is Officially A Nursery Go-er!

Sister started going to nursery this month!  It stimulates mixed emotions in me.  I love snuggling by babies, yet all kids just can't sit still and need nursery from about 14 months on (smile)   For the past 3 years I have always had either Brother or Sister with me in class, so it is a bit weird to have empty arms.  Everyone keeps asking me when we will adopt again.  I guess once your baby goes into nursery... it's time.  Ha.

The happy part is that I knew Sister would love nursery.  One of our best friends is their nursery teacher.. so it works out perfect.  Brother holds Sisterl's hand and walks her to nursery every Sunday.  We walk in.  I kiss them both and tell them I will be back in a little bit.  No tears, just busy bodies ready to play.   Neither of them have had a hard time joining the big kids. :)  I wouldn't either... have you seen those toys!?  It also helps that I had subbed in for the month prior to Sister officially joining her nursery group.  So it gave her time to adjust and see how fun it is!

The first week, I couldn't stop peeking in on her.  Not because I didn't think she was in good hands, but because I just love watching our kids have a good time and to see the joy on their faces.  She loved playing with her friends.  It was also super cute to see how Brother watched out for her.  All in all it has been great.  I now go to class to listen to the beautiful lessons that have been prepared, instead of keeping my kiddo's quite so that others can listen to the beautiful lessons.  Progress is a beautiful think.  It is sometimes hard to transition into the next chapter, but it is for our benefit.  I love watching Brother and Sister progress, develop and learn new talents and skills.  I also love that they go to nursery to learn about our Loving Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.  I love the new decorations that are found on our fridge.  Beautiful artwork that shows our little ones are already learning to be like Jesus.  I am grateful for nursery leaders!

Here are a couple pictures I took with my phone and edited through Instagram.  Enjoy!

Getting ready for her first day in nursery!  I love our sweet baby girl!

Ha.  Our photo got hijacked.  That's OK, we like the hijacker!

Hazel's first day in nursery, she loved snack time. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Safe Place...

This morning Russell spent daddy time with our kiddo's so I could go to the temple.  It was refreshing.  It was enlightening.  It was peaceful.

The Boise Temple re-opened in November 2012.  This was my first time back since it had closed  2 years prior for renovation.  I have missed it's beauty.  You don't realize how blessed you are to have the blessings of the temple so close by, until it is closed for two years.

I have a new goal of going at least once a month.  I feel so rejuvenated.

I love having family come stay with us in our home.  I know that our Heavenly Father feels just as excited when we go to his house.  The spirit is always so inviting and welcoming.  I am grateful to have the Boise Idaho Temple so close, and to also be getting another temple even closer!  We are truly blessed.  Today has been a good day, and has brought much eternal perspective into my mind. 

Date Night!

Russell and I went on a really fun ice skating date tonight.  I sure love my sweet husband.  We made up games as we looped around the rink,  "When you come to the blue line, see how long you can go on one foot."  It was hilarious.  It was also really funny to watch all of the newbies try to find their balance, especially when you see three guys holding hands.  Ha.  It's fun being kids again.  We also went to our favorite resteraunt Cafe Rio... YUM!

I love spending time with my best friend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Love Them!

 Today the kids were being quiet so I went to check on them, and this is what I found.  I love how much they enjoy one another.  Russell has always been super close with his brother and through childhood and into adulthood.  I hope my two little perfects continue this sweet bond through the years to come!  Warms my heart!

Reading together

 After I found them, they got silly.  :)

Alphabet fun.
No one can get Hazel to giggle like Ira can.

And he loves to make her giggle.

Cute little feet!

Enjoying A Cold Day

Sheesh!  It has been so cold out lately.  We haven't had snow covered like this for years, especially for this long.  We have enjoyed it, but we are officially ready for spring.  Until then we are find things to keep us busy inside where we can be snugly and warm.  Today we decided to make it a cookie making day.  I decided to let the kids go nuts for a couple minutes with the ingredients before we got to it.  They both enjoyed it and I enjoyed their joy.  Hazel wasn't quite sure about the eggs, expecially when she banged it on her leg.  They both loooved the chips! 

Haha.  So funny.  Hazel's first experience with eggs.
Funny Girl!
Took them about 5 minutes before they noticed the good stuff.
:)  In the mouth it goes.
Look what I have Mom.
I love watching them discover new experiences.

Num Num!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Third Day of Potty Training!

I loooove those cute legs!


Our first go at potty training Ira when he was 18 months didn't over as we had hoped.  The morning had started off interesting because Ira couldn't see the excitement or the accomplishment in succeeding in potty training.  Then half way through the day he got diarrhea.  We ended up stopping in the middle of the day and decided that the timing was definitely not right with him being sick and after evaluating the experience I had come to the conclusion that he just wasn't quite ready. 


Our week started off having both of our kiddo's in big kid undies!

We are three days in and Ira is doing GREAT!  Yesterday he only had a couple accidents and he is finding the excitement in celebrating his victory and loves being a big boy!  This experience is much better than the first experience, because he is ready and healthy.  I am so proud of him!  I still can't believe that he will be turning 3 in February!

So I started potty training both of them together.  We went the whole first day with both of them in their big kid undies, but the second day I decided to completely focus on getting Ira on board.  I have been monitoring Hazel's and I don't think she is quite ready.  Soon, just not quite.  I don't think it will be too long before both of our kids will be potty trained and in big kid undies for good.  It has been cute.  Hazel will sit on the potty and Ira says, "Come on dider (sister), go potty!"  Tehe.  It makes me giddy.  They are such a cute pair!

A couple things that have helped Ira.
(1) Treats of course.
(2) Books and Toys while he is sitting on the potty.
(3) He gets to play games on the Ipad while he is on the potty.
(4) Great apps on the ipad for potty training.  He loves Rachel from the video's Baby Signing Time.  There is an app where he can call Rachel when he succeeds in going potty in the toilet.  He also gets to call her when he doesn't succeed and she gives him encouragement.  Their are video's, sticker charts, and games that come with the app to encourage him.  It is 5 Star!

So far it has been a good experience, exhausting, but good! 

My big boy on his potty!

Brilliant Light

At church on Sunday we were having a discussion in class about bettering one’s self.  I always enjoy going to church and participating in the gospel, and I always feel uplifted.  I have often talked about this topic in church or in other social settings with friends, though this time it was explained in a way that turned on a light in my heart and mind. 

I am going to break down the quote board I created above as to what it means to me.  

click on image to see larger view

“We all have darkness within us.”

 “Time and time again we try to fix these dark places by pondering ways to rid ourselves of our weaknesses or shortcoming.”

We all have trials and tribulations in our lives and sometimes it leave shadows, some are great and some are small.  Coming from a dynamic background I have always looked for ways to purge myself of certain qualities/ habits that I learned at an early age.  It takes time, and deep thinking to overcome such things.  I started thinking about this at a young age and began to work hard.  The only way I could figure out how to fix the darkness was to dissect it over and over again until I could make sense of it.  

What is the darkness? Where did the darkness come from? When did the darkness enter? Do I want the darkness?  Do I want to get rid of the darkness?  How is the darkness impacting my life and others around me? Do other people struggle with this same darkness? Why have I nurtured the darkness? Does the darkness make me a bad person?  How do I get rid of the darkness?  Why do I even have darkness at all?  I DON’T WANT this DARKNESS!  HOW DO I get RID of the DARKNESS!?

On Sunday I realized my old way of fixing a problem isn’t so bad (I mastered the desire), and truly it was the only way I knew how to purge darkness from my life.  It worked for me for a long time, and I have progressed in purging certain traits and qualities.  I do now however believe there is a healthier way.  A way that I won’t have to dwell on my negative qualities (only adding to the darkness), in a way that I can continue to grow, progress and purge without breaking down myself worth or overshadowing my other divine qualities.

“I have now realized that it’s impossible to draw out the darkness.”

Let’s talk about darkness and how we can manipulate it. Think of a dark space of your own choosing, such as a cave, underground tunnel or a room with no windows.  We as humans would not do well in these dark places for long or even small periods of time unless of course we are in a slumber.  We also know that there are natural laws.  I cannot reach out with my hand and grab the darkness to remove or extract it from a certain space such as a dark room, tunnel or cave.  It is impossible.  

In trying to fix qualities, traits, and habits in the past I would dissect them over and over in my mind. I was trying to fix them with the lights out.  We all know how hard it would be to cook or clean with the lights out.  It is possible, yet not as efficient.  It would take much more time and it could also create other messes along the way.  For me in the past I was progressing and purging slowly, but even still I was progressing.  What I didn’t see is that along the way I was creating other messes by dragging down myself worth, which can actually be more harmful than helpful, because I was replacing one piece of darkness with another.  I was learning to resent myself because of this darkness that exists within.  Now I realize that dark places must exist so that we can experience it’s opposite… brilliant light.  

“We must instead find the opposite of the dark within to bring in light.”

Correct.  We can’t extract the darkness, but we can alter the darkness by bringing in its opposite, which of course we know is light.  To bring in light, we need certain tools.  It can be a flashlight, or it can be a light switch that creates light by electricity.  These tools are helpful on many levels.  We all know the difference of cleaning or cooking with the lights on vs. in darkness.  In the light we are much more efficient in time and energy.  With light we are able to focus clearly on the task at hand.  The extra energy that would have been used in the darkness can now be used to nurture the task and with less stress.  

In my old way of purging, (searching and reaching to extract the darkness) I was breaking down myself worth.  I was inch by inch bringing in light, but my focus was to extract it, not on bringing in light in large beams.  I began to find other faults in my abilities to change or better myself.  I was moving forward, but not efficiently and I was creating other messes along the way. 

Now we know that when we are in a dark room at night, we need a tool.  We turn on a light switch to bring in light so we can see.  The light pushes away the darkness.  We know that when making our way through a cave we must have a tool.  We turn on a lantern, to once again, push away the darkness.

So how can we gain tools to push away the darkness within?  Do we focus on the darkness?  No.  Focusing on the darkness is not the answer.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot extract it.  We MUST find it’s apposing light and nurture it.  What is the darkness that is within us?  Is it bad language, lack of word of wisdom, laziness, being critical of who we are or in our progression or finding fault in others?  What is their opposite?  Defining these opposites to the darkness’s within us is a very personal observation and experience and will vary for each person.  Though when searching this out, we must look to the light that opposes the darkness.  

“Only through light can our darkest corners be replaced with brilliant light.”

What is brilliant light to you?  To me, brilliant light is equal to divine qualities.  To me the most brilliant light comes from and only through my loving brother and savior, even Jesus Christ.  I believe whole heartedly that he has the tools that we need to rid ourselves of the darkness inside.  Satan is patient in his works and he wants us to focus on the darkness, he doesn’t want us to succeed or progress.  We cannot extract darkness from within.  We can however shine the light of Christ into our dark places until they become a brilliant light.  Our Heavenly Father loves each of us as individuals, he wants us to find much joy and he has given us the tools we need to replace the darkness within with joy and light.  He has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has given the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Within the gospel, we have all the tools we need to rid ourselves of the darkness from within.  Will we perfect it in this life?  No, but by focusing on the light instead of the dark we can feel his love and encouragement.  We must be patient with ourselves.   I am grateful for this knowledge.  I am grateful for our dear friend, Kevin Nielsen, for explaining this topic in a way that gave me another tool (light) to move forward in my journey of bettering myself.  I am excited, to move forward, to put this knowledge to practice, to purge myself of unwanted qualities or traits with light instead of focusing on the darkness!  Light and knowledge has been switched on in my heart and mind.    To some this knowledge might seem simple, though for others it is a blessing… a tool to succeed.  I hope this touches others in a way that it has touched me. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Snow Day

Our forever family...  I am one happy lady!

We have blessed with moisture in abundance this past week, and we couldn't take it any longer... it was time to enjoy it.  It is actually quite amazing how much preparation time you put into getting ready for a snow day.  It is not very often we get enough snow here to go sledding, so we had to pull our all of our winter clothes out of the attic (Thanks babe!)  Worth it?  See these smiles?  I think so! :) 

We had to make sure the sled worked.   OK, I admit that's a lie.   The truth is, we were just to impatient to wait to get to the park before we introduced them to their new friend...


What a good brother, keeping his sister safe.
Run faster Daddy!
Just enjoying the ride.

Do you see that smile? It works!

We are grateful to have a beautiful park close by, it was actually just built this past summer  and it has a wonderful sledding hill!  Our kiddo's loved it, especially brother.  This was sister's first big snow experience, she was a little hesitant, but I can tell she enjoyed it.    Every time we got to the top of the hill brother would start yelling, "Again, Again!"  It is such a beautiful experience to watch our little ones find joy, it's delicious!  To think that only a couple years ago I ached so deeply to have these sacred experiences.  We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father and to our birth families for turning our dreams into realities.  Thank you for trusting us so much!

Down, down, down...

Up, up, up...
Snow bootie.

What do you think about your snow bootie brother?
Watching Daddy and brother go down the hill.


Snuggles and...

even more snuggles!
 Two very very happy parents!  We are so grateful for our two little miracles!  They are joy!  They remind us parents to be kids again... Snow days haven't been fun like this since we were children

Ha.  Trying to take a self portrait of us.  My arms aren't long enough.
Thank goodness Russell's arms are long enough. (Tease)