Thursday, December 31, 2009

Questions and Answers


Happy New Years to All! I recently reread Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I was struck by this sentence, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." This seemed particularly appropriate to our lives this year. Among the many questions that we asked in 2009 and anticipate answers for in 2010 are:

"Who will our new son be?"

"When will he join our family?"

"What will our first trip out of the country be like? And where all will we go?"

"How will our family of 3 transition to being a family of 4?"

"Where we will live after Chris gets his promotion?"

"When will we get to meet our new niece? And what will this little girl among 3 boys be like?"

"How will Brooks handle kindergarten?"

It will surely be a year of answers! On the adoption front, we may have some answers very soon! I received a wonderful email from our Power of Attorney in Rwanda telling us that the nuns have indeed chosen the son for our family and will be delivering the file to the Ministry this coming week. This means that the Minister will need to review the match and sign her approval and then Veronique, who handles the adoption matters for the country, will need to scan all the documents & A PHOTO and email them to us. Then we will see his face for the first time! Stay tuned for that news . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Very Busy December

Bored? Not around our house! Here is just some of what has kept us busy around Tulsa this month . . .

I added some of my favorite Christmas songs to the playlist for this month--though not always my favorite versions (except, of course, those by Josh Groban). I will say not a single version of Sweet Little Jesus Boy could hold a candle to Brother Jerry Cronan's version from my childhood, so I just left it off completely. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes!

Mark Twain's Notebook


Imagine my surprise when I opened email this morning and found our APPROVAL letter! What a blessing and what a big step! Thank you to Peter and the Ministry in Rwanda; this is so quick and efficient especially considering they just had all the work of getting the referrals out for the previous group. They are working so hard over there on behalf of us and these children. Thank you for your prayers--Thank you, God! The letter states that we will now wait 2 months for a referral (the information about our child). Here is the letter for those of you who'd like to see it:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October! (And a little adoption update . . .)


"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."
~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Wow! What a month October was! When you're done reading this post you'll understand why I didn't have time to stop and blog for the last month. It has been crazy and fun around here; as you'll see Brooks spent the better part of October dressed as Darth Vader. It has been beautiful weather, and we have been able to stay out-and-about just about every day. Enjoy these pics of all our October fun. (If you are reading this for adoption news only, scroll down; it's at the bottom!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

17 years ago . . .

It has been seventeen years since two high-schoolers in Humble, Texas, started "going out." How time flies! I'd post a homecoming picture from that week, but gosh-dernit I can't seem to find one!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Into the Wild-ish & Adoption Dreams




Well, the third time is a charm, at least for zoo campouts, that is. This weekend we went to our 3rd "Zoofari" which is a Tulsa zoo event for its members where we get to pitch a tent and spend the night at the zoo. The first time we went it was horribly hot, the next time there were severe storms, but this time was perfect. It did get a little chilly (in the 50's overnight) but it was so nice throughout the evening. We were able to ride the train and the carousel, make smores, and explore the zoo by flashlight. They had stations set up with the docents where we were able to meet and learn about a snake. Brooks also colored a giraffe mask to wear.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you ready for some football?!?!


Three seasons ago we made the long drive from Tulsa to Austin for the Ohio State game and the Texas A&M game; it has taken this long to be willing to attempt it again. It is a very long drive and after a loss it is even worse. However, we figured that an older Brooks (with a newly developed Star Wars obsession and DVD player) combined with a game against the University of Louisiana-Monroe might work out better for us. So, Chris said he wanted to go to Austin and the game for his b-day and off we went.

IT WAS GREAT! We had heard so much about the Lake being very low that we had given up on the idea of getting in the water, but after quite a hike over the rocks we were able to get to the water(for those of you who've been to the Lake house; check out the pictures!).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tempus Fugit






Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




Well, it seems as if summer has come to an end and with its end has come a new beginning in our home. Brooks started Pre-K at Grissom Elementary School. It turns out that they are about the only school on the Tulsa area that has a 1/2 day program (2:45 hrs), so I put in for an out-of-district transfer so he could go there. The first week is absolutely kicking our rears! Mommy and Brooks rarely see the clock during the 6 am hours, but his school starts at 7:50 across town so it's "rise and shine" for us.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Moving right along . . . (Very Long Post!)

Well, perhaps the most important compilation of papers I have ever held is now on a Fed Ex plane headed to Washington D.C. If all goes well our dossier will arrive to The Assistant Stork courier service on Monday. On Tuesday, they will then take the documents to the U.S. Department of State to be authenticated (they've already been notarized locally and authenticated at the OK Secretary of State). Steve from the Assistant Stork will wait while the authentications are done and then hand-deliver the package to the Embassy of Rwanda. He will return to pick up the documents (which need yet another seal from the embassy) and, hopefully, our Letter of Recommendation from the Embassy. The embassy has stated that they will only need 8 working days for their part, but you never know--I've heard of it going faster and slower for different folks. He will then FedEx Overnight everything back to us and we will send it to Rwanda!

In the meantime, I am going to use this post to do what I think will be my one and only "history lesson" regarding Rwanda's history in regards to the genocide. This is not because I don't feel that we shouldn't all be learning, teaching, and remembering such events, but because I want to use this blog to focus on the amazing, exciting miracle that takes place any time a child is brought into a family. That said, Rwanda has a powerful history that most of us only vaguely recall.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Our 4th of July "Stay"cation!

We hope you all had a great 4th of July Weekend! Chris mentioned really wanting to take advantage of his 3-day weekend, but we didn't want to have the time and expense of a long drive, so we had ourselves a fun "stay"cation here in Tulsa.

The local Radisson here has a great indoor "water park" that proved to be the perfect size for Brooks. The water was all less than 3 feet deep, but the slides were big enough to be fun for the 10 year olds (and the occaisional parent)! So, we spent a ton of time in the pools and we also saw two movies, went bowling and saw the fireworks! All in all, a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Disneyworld!









Well, we've been home a bit now but I am now sufficiently recovered from our Disney vacation to post some pictures. We all had a blast at Disneyworld. This was the first trip for both me and Brooks. We really vacationed hard and honestly hit just about every attraction and show! Brooks spent all the time in line for every single ride trying to convince us that he didn't want to go on this one because it was too scary/too boring/too loud/too dark/or he had to go potty right now, but he came off every ride with a huge smile saying how much he liked it. He really had a great time with everything and since we've been back he has been playing roller coaster on his bike and in the car down every hill we drive down. When we first started researching Disney and all the characters we would meet, we were at first worried that it would be all princesses and not enough "boy" stuff, but as you can see Brooks got to meet Power Rangers, Star Wars Characters, Peter Pan, Pirates, and more! (Not that Brooks doesn't love princesses, too! In fact, he has not forgotten to tell anyone about having lunch in Cinderella's castle; do you think she often takes pictures with little guys in Superhero facepaint?) Besides Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Railroad, Brooks even rode the Tower of Terror! It's one of those 13-story drops, but this one is combined with the opening and closing of giant doors along the side of the "hotel" as your "elevator" starts and stops its drops without warning. His favorite ride was the Buzz Lightyear game where you sit in a car and shoot lasers at arcade style aliens. I think we went on that 6 or 7 times. He also loved Haunted Mansion and the Astro Orbitor. "Turtle Talk with Crush" was so much cuter than I expected. Crush echoed my almost constant refrain with Brooks when he singled Brooks out and told him to "focus, little dude." Then Brooks raised his hand to ask a question and when the microphone was put in front of him, Brooks asked the following question, "Apple." This, of course, apparently made perfect sense to the preschool crowd and inspired the next little girl's question, "Bathtub." Crush admitted he was "A little confused by these one-word questions!" Brooks enjoyed meeting all the characters, but the highlight of his autograph quest came when he met Mulan. The boy wore a silly, stupid grin and her lipstick kiss on his cheek for the rest of the afternoon. It rained hard every day, but in the end that really helped keep the heat at bay. We just donned our ponchos and put Brooks in his "Disneymobile" (the stroller with the rainhood) and waited. The only day it was really miserable was the night we had to just sit in the rain for over an hour waiting for the Fantasmic show which they kept reminding us--may or may not be cancelled. Brooks took the time to make shapes with his glow bracelets, cleverly coming up with this Disney inspired creation. Luckily for us, the show went on and it was great. Our hotel was amazing, we could sit on our balcony and watch zebras, giraffes, ostrichess, and other animals just yards away from us. You can see here the way Brooks "rode" home almost every night. Brooks is already talking about "next time" when he goes back with his brother! Here is a slide show of many more of our photos (believe it or not these aren't all of them!) You can use the arrow to scroll through at your own pace--they are in no particular order; if you're patient there are some really good pics in here! There is no music with the slideshow, so you can keep the blog music on if you want to; I've added music from Brooks's favorite Disney shows to the playlist. As they said at Disney--Celebrate Today!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Disneyworld 2009
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

At the beach!















We recently returned from a great trip. Chris had to travel to Jackson, MS and Tampa, FL for work, so we tagged along as we always do. We had a great time. Brooks really loves the beach and would play there all day. He enjoyed jumping over the waves and playing in the sand. He was very daring and would go too far if we let him. The Tampa zoo is amazing--and we know zoos we've been to 11 or 12 of them! They have great animals that you see very up-close, and they have rides like a little roller coaster. They also have a several splash areas and a ride that takes you behind the scenes into the animal areas. We got stuck behind a stubborn ostrich and had to wait for a handler to come move him. Believe it or not, I was a little afraid then due to our last up-close and personal encounter with ostriches at a drive-through safari! Despite an excruciating sunburn that I managed to get on day 1, we all had a great time. The food was also really great. Us landlocked people don't get the freshest seafood 2 seafood meals on the beach were awesome. Then we also took my dad's recommendation and ate at the Columbia in Ybor city and it was so good. I finally got some good Yucca, now I'm eager to get to the Cuban restaurant in Orlando in a couple weeks. Finally, we took a pirate cruise! It was absolutely wonderful and fun. The "pirates" were so fun and led the kiddos in all sorts of games, treasure hunts, and water gun fights. Then, the captain found a group of dolphins and we had dolphins swimming right along side us. On our way there and back we were able to stop over in Little Rock and go to one of our favorite Children's Museums, the amazing park, and eat at the Flying Fish. If you haven't been to the Little Rock Riverfront lately, you should go. We love visiting there! It really was a good trip, and I can't say that I'm happy to be home. I'd just as soon stay there (in Tampa, not Jackson!). Enjoy the pictures!
















Thursday, April 30, 2009

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao-Tzu

Brooks is getting a brother! We would like to share with you all some exciting news. We have started the official process of adopting a child from Rwanda. We look forward to having a second little boy who will come to live with us at the age of 2-3. We are very excited and hope that you will share in the excitement of this process with us. In adoption circles they refer to this as a “paper pregnancy.” I’m hoping I get to eat unlimited quantities of chips and guacamole this time around, too!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Brooks!

Our baby is four years old! We can hardly believe it has been four years since Brooks took us from being a couple to being a family. It seems like yesterday and yet so much has happened since then. Brooks has grown into a smart, affectionate, energetic, opinionated, and beautiful little boy. His baby face allows us the luxury of thinking he is still a baby, but we know he is all little boy!
Brooks’s world is a fantastical imaginary land filled with Superheroes and “Bad guys”, pirates, and knights. He loves to pretend! He also soaks up knowledge as quickly as we teach him and often surprises us by using rather sophisticated language (and using it properly even if he doesn’t say the beginning “s” sound!)
We have celebrated his birthday 3 times this year (living away from home as its advantages in the birthday party department!). Brooks was able to squeeze in a sports themed party with Nana and PawPaw, a pirate party with Mimi and Grandpa, and a Superhero party with his friends. At his party the kids had fun decorating their own Superhero capes and ridding the gameroom of all bad guys!
We know the next year holds many exciting things for Brooks, we can’t wait to see how he grows and changes with each passing day. Enjoy the slide show below highlighting the best pictures from Brooks’s fourth year. The song on the playlist "You're Gonna Be" by Reba is dedicated to Brooks from Mommy.