Thursday, December 27, 2007

All Girl

Ella is my "girly" girl. She is flowery and pink through and through. She just loves to play house, cook in her kitchen, and take care of her babies all day long. One of her favorite things to do is change her babies' diapers and outfits numerous times a day. If I am carrying Ben around in the baby carrier, then Ella gets hers out and straps her own baby in too. She's gonna make a great mommy someday. She's getting lots of good practice in now between taking care of her dolls and mothering her little brother all day long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ella's Longies

This past fall I decided to knit Ella some "longies." My knitting guru friend, Tricia, makes and sells them and does a fabulous job. Ella had seen quite a few of the ones that she had made and even got to model a pair. She loved them right from the start, so I decided that I would make Ella her very own pair. It was a blast knitting them and even more fun to see how much she liked them. For the first 4 days I couldn't get her to wear anything else. How cute is that? It made my mommy heart just swell, I'll tell you that much. I'm hoping to find some good boy yarn and knit up a pair for Ben too...when I get to that pair, I'll post more pics.

Christmas Cookies

Well, the season is here and the cookie baking has begun. Ella has been having so much fun. What's better than mommy asking "want to bake cookies again, Ella?"

Of course she enjoys the measuring, scooping, and cookie cutters...but the tasting, now that's where it's all at. And since I would rather eat the dough than the actual cookie, there's no one telling her that you have to wait until the cookies are baked in order to eat them. We each get a spoon and start scooping...into our own mouths. Yummy!

This was our first batch, and since then we have done oodles and oodles more. We have a good 15 dozen cookies in the deep freeze. I'll post pics of our first annual "Cookie Bowl with Nana" soon. We had so much fun and of course left with even more cookies.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ella's New Hat

Since the weather has turned and winter is now here, I decided to knit Ella a new hat for winter. I was so excited...based on advice from a great friend, I ordered lovely wool for this new hat. I couldn't wait to get it since it was coming all the way from Uraguay. I emailed them and they said that they would go out that very day to hand-dye my yarn and once it was dry they would ship it out. How exciting is that?!? I waited and waited and waited. Finally, one day there was a knock on the door and on the other side was someone needing a signature for my package. Yarn...what a wonderful thing to get in the mail...and then to open the package up and run my fingers through the lovely hank. Only a knitter could understand the beauty of it all.

I got out my needles and started knitting. Ella picked the design she wanted along with the pom-poms on the ends. She saw a picture of a hat my great friend Tricia had done and wanted one of her own. Thanks, Tricia, for letting us use your pattern.

Anyway...Ella loves her hat and her ears are toasty warm on those cold Minnesota days. Isn't she cute?!?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Three Muskateers

Two weeks ago, we had my entire family here for the weekend. My Mom and Dad were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary...and in today's world...well, that's quite a milestone. My siblings and I are so blessed to have such a wonderful model of what it takes to make a marriage strong. We had a fabulous time with everyone... I'll post more on it later. One of the highlights for Ella and Ben was getting to have lots of time to play with their cousin Aaliyah. They always do so well playing together and they have a blast. All three kids were busy running around all weekend long, climbing stairs, playing ring-around-the-rosie, and jumping until you were sure their calves must be burning. They played well, they played hard, and they played tons. How we wished Aaliyah lived closer so we could have more playtime with her.

Aren't the 3 cousins just the cutest?!?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yes, Believe it or Not...

We are indeed still alive. I know I haven't updated in a long time...sorry for that. I have been kept very busy with my parent's anniversary party, my own anniversary vacation, two busy little ones, fevers, Thanksgiving coming up, and even a root canal. No, I'm not making that last one up.

I'll try to get back on my game once this month is over and I can breathe again before Christmas is here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Where has the time gone?

I'm sorry for the lack of posts these days. It seems like I just don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done. With Fall now here we have been busy getting outside projects done...and with a big pool in the backyard...that means a lot of work. Between leaves, the pool, and trimming the bushes along with chasing a very fast Ben and an even quicker leaves little time for blogging. I'll try to update sooner, but I may have to take a little break until things settle down around here. I have lots of pics to share with you all. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pic Parade

Ella gets a magazine once a month and they always include a recipe for a snack. This is her "stoplight" snack. We had a lot of fun making it and she had even more fun eating it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why I love the Windy City...

Because my Auntie Jill and Uncle Joren live there! We took a trip this summer to visit them and what a trip it was! My Mom and Dad were ready to pull their hair, was that fun to see! It was a long drive home from Chicago with me and my little brother in the van. We slept for a little while and then hollered and screamed until they finally stopped to let us out. I heard Mom and Dad talking about getting to stop in the Wisconsin Dells if the drive home didn't take a turn for the better. Well, I figured that was my call to action. I started saying "Let me out of here, I want out of this carseat, I'm sick of being in here" as many times as I could muster. I'm pretty sure I said it at least a million least that's what I overheard Mom say. It worked! We got to stay at a hotel with a fun waterpark and I went zooming down the kiddie one all by myself. What a blast.

Even though the waterpark was fun, it was nothing compared to seeing my Auntie Jill. I love her and she is so much fun! Her and Uncle Joren have a tiny (and I mean TINY) apartment. When we first arrived I thought it was way too clean and I was going to need to take care of that. I proceeded to pull out anything and everything that I could to give it a more "lived-in" feeling. My brother and I can whip up a tornado in 3 seconds flat! It's awesome.

We got to see lots of the windy city in 98 degree weather. The first day we went downtown. Joren and Jill took us on the train!! It was so cool. I've never been on a train before and I even taught Ben how to sign "train". We got to stop at Millenium Park. They had a spot where water was pouring down and make a little wading pool. Ben and I had sooo much fun. Even Auntie Jill got into the action. She was chasing me and splashing in the water too. How fun is she?!? I got so soaked that I had to take off my shorts and shirt to dry out. Luckily Mom had an extra shirt that I got to wear around while the sun dried my clothes. After that we went for a long walk and I figured it was high time for a nap. The stroller was just so comfy that I just decided to lay back and relax. I guess Ben thought it was a good idea because he zonked out too.

We went to see Lake Michigan...well, my mom and dad did. I was still sleeping so I missed that part. I heard it was awesome and the water was warm and beautiful. I wish I could have dug my hands into that soft, white sand. Oh well, next year. The next stop was Navy Pier. Wow, what a place. So many people and so much food. We didn't get to stay long because we had to try and make it back to the train station to catch our ride home. Before leaving downtown, we got to have some authentic chicago style pizza. Yum, it was good.

On Sunday we went to the zoo. It was fun to see all the animals, but wow, it was another hot day. When we left, we went to a fun restaurant that had chicago dogs. They were pretty tasty too. I think this city has got it all together. Awesome pizza, awesome hotdogs...what's not to love?

I had a great time hangin' with my auntie and uncle. I sure wish they lived closer because I miss them a lot. Auntie Jill is one of my very favorite people.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Ella!!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl. I can't believe that she is 3!! How the times flies! People always told me when she was a little baby to enjoy every minute because they grow up too fast. Well, I am starting to understand what they mean...I can't believe that she has gotten so big. It's a bittersweet day...happy of course because of the celebration of my daughter...and a little sad on a mother's heart because she is growing older and more independent every day.

I'm so proud of Ella! She is a sweet and loving little girl with so many woderful things about her. She is funny, smart as a whip, and busy soaking up every ounce of information she can get her hands on. She loves reading books (and I stress the word really), enjoys playing outside, can change diapers on her babies a million times in one day, and loves to play with her kitchen. She has quite the vivid imagination and can come up with such amazing stories. Ella loves her brother fiercely and is such a good big sister to him. She is compasionate and wears her heart on her sleeve. And although she wants to do a lot by herself these days, she is still my #1 snuggler and would chose her mama's lap over anywhere else.

I'm so thankful that God has allowed me to parent this amazing girl. God gave me treasures beyond measure when He gave Ella to me. I couldn't love her more and it is so amazing to me that it is only a fraction of how much God loves us.

Happy Birthday, Ella-bug. Mommy and Daddy love you so very much.

Monday, October 1, 2007

William Tell Overture for Moms

This is toooooo funny! I had to pick myself up off the floor after listening to her song. It's no wonder why we are "supermoms!" No one else could go through this many things in one day only to get up the next morning and start repeating it all. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rain, Rain...

Please, please stay...we are having fun today!

Here are my two babies enjoying the gentle rain outside. There's just nothing like being allowed to run and stomp in puddles, let the rain fall on your face, and not worry if your clothes get sopping wet. They had so much fun and it was hard to get them to come inside.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Welcome to the USA

One Year Ago Today...

We finally landed after a long and tiring flight. Even though the kids were fantastic, there's just something about crossing a bunch of time zones, sitting on an aircraft for hours, and walking up and down airports for a grand total of 21 hours that can tire one out. We were so excited to be home, so excited to show Ben his new home and room, and excited to get back to normalacy...whatever that was to be.

We had a layover at LAX which is where we first entered into the United States which means that is also where we went through customs. They were so nice, opened a line special just for us, and processed everything very quickly. We made it to our next gate with a 4 month old, a 22 month old, a stroller, a diaper, make that 2 diaper bags, a purse, a computer bag, a carry on, and our sanity.

Once we touched down in Minneapolis, we were so thrilled. It had actually happened...we had picked up our son and were now about to begin life with a new family dynamic. I remember having a rush of emotions...glad to be home, and sad to have left Korea...glad to be back where English is the primary language, and sad to not be hearing the beauty of the korean language spoken...glad to be able to introduce family and friends to our sweet boy, and sad that Ben had to leave the only family he had known. It was such a mixed bag; relieved to be back where everything was familiar and yet disappointed that our travels were coming to an end.

Nana was waiting at baggage claim when we arrived. She was so excited to see Ben as well as Ella. We picked up our oodles of bags and made our way to the parking lot. The van was such a sight to behold. There is sat with not one, but two little car seats beckoning us to come home. I had dreamt of this day...the day that I would be able to actually fill both those car seats with my own sweet dear children. How blessed I was!!

Once we arrived home, we were greeted by a quiet house that boasted lovely signs welcoming us back. It was dark outside, everyone was asleep...except us as we were still on Korea time and it was about time for lunch. It was a lovely first night home introducing Ben to his new life and new surroundings. We had so much to show him, so much love to start giving, and so many new things to experience with him. We were so excited to start our life with two of the most precious children. God blessed us when He gave us Ella and Ben.

One year ago today, Ben landed on US soil. It was a moment I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One Year Ago...

Another trip down memory lane...

One year ago we awoke early as we had a lot to do. Jason and I had to get two children (yes, two) ready for a very long flight to the other side of the globe. It was our last day in Korea, our last day at ESWS, our last day in our room we had come to love, and our last day with the view of Seoul right out our window. Today we would be taken to the airport to take our flight that would bring us back home. We were nervous, excited, anxious, and yet relaxed.

Nervous because we weren't sure how this long trip across the ocean was going to go. How do you take care of a 4 month old who may be screaming at the top of his lungs when you are trapped inside an aircraft many miles above water all while people are trying to sleep around you? What about that 22 month old? What if she decides that she has had enough of sharing mom and dad with this new baby and she doesn't want any more of it?

Excited because although we had arrived as a family of three...we were leaving as a family of four. Our son was coming home! We had waited for this day...and it was finally here.

Anxious because we weren't sure what to expect from Ben. He had had a good night, slept well, took his bottles well, but what would happen when he would realize that we weren't going away. That these white people who looked different, talked different, smelled different...well, they were always there. Life was about to change a lot for this sweet, little would he react once he figured it all out?

And relaxed because God had brought us on this journey and He sure wasn't about to leave us now. He knew that this baby was meant for our family, meant to be my son, meant to be Ella's brother, meant to be Jason's little boy. God's plan was coming to fruition...and yet it was just the beginning. Relaxed because God had a plan, His Plan, and we were content in knowing that He was in control.

Many prayers were sent up that day and the days preceeding this flight home. Prayers were coming from all sides of the world...some from the US and some from Korea. God heard all those prayers and sent us yet another miracle. After saying our goodbyes to all the people we had come to love, admire, and respect and they said their goodbyes to Ben, we loaded up in the van that took us to the airport.

Our miracle was the flight itself. What an incredible flight. Two children under the age of two and God sent us peace and rest. As astonishing as this sounds, it is true...the total amount of time spent crying between these two little children was less than 2 minutes...on a 15 hour flight!!! If Ben was starting to get cranky, it was nothing a little walk up and down the aisle wouldn't fix or if Ben got hungry there were very kind airline attendants that would heat bottles up for us. They were so attentive to us. God answered prayers, many prayers, and watched over us as we flew home.

One year ago today, we left a country we love to come home to a county we love. To start life as a family of four.

Monday, September 3, 2007

One Year Ago Today....

Another trip down memory lane. Thinking back to being in Korea to pick up my son brings back so many emotions...what a blessing that God chose our family for this path...that God would entrust us with such an amazing gift...a precious little boy to call our own. Ben is such a miracle in so many ways and we are so thankful that his birthmother chose life for him. We wouldn't be the family we are today without Ben being a part of it.

One year a day. It's hard to describe it...words just don't do it justice. This whole trip to Korea was filled with wonderful things; getting to meet our son, being allowed to experience and learn about his birth culture, meeting the wonderful Korean people, learning about this country's history, etc. But all of that pales in comparison to today. What a day it was!

One year ago we woke up early as we had so much to do. We knew that we were meeting with our social worker as well as Ben's fosterparents at 11am...because today...Ben would be placed into our family forever. No more little one hour meetings to get to know him better, no more heavy heart because I would once again have to say good-bye, no more walking around Korea feeling like someone was missing. No more.

We were rushing around our room trying to get as much packed as we could. We were still working on getting all the clothes washed and put away. We knew that once we got home the last thing on our minds would be laundry. We were busy planning...what does one need for a 15 hour flight to the other side of the world with a 4 month old and a 22 month old? What if the plane is hot, what if it's cold, how many diapers do we need for two little bottoms? Do we have enough toys, how about bottles, and what about wipes and a change of clothes? Jason and I were running around crazy trying to finish all of the last minute things so that we could just spend time with our new son once he was placed in our arms.

We witnessed so many miracles straight from the hands of God during this adoption. God was so gracious to us and He hand-delivered a miracle right to us on this very day. Normally the adoption agency in Korea doesn't allow you to have your baby until the very minute you are ready to leave for home. Literally. You get in the van to leave for the airport and that's when they put your baby on your lap. Well, as I said, God had another miracle all lined up for us. We were able to get Ben the day before we left! This allowed us some bonding time before ever having to get on a noisy aircraft. Jason and I were so thankful for this.

Well, 11am came very quickly and we were so excited. All three of us, Ella, Jason, and I walked down to the 2nd floor. We met Ben and his fosterparents for the last time. It was so bittersweet. Bitter...or sad because we would be taking Ben away from his foster parents who love him dearly, sad because we were going to be moving him to the other side of the world away from Korea and all it has to offer, sad because we were taking him from the only family he has ever known. Of course sweet because we were adding this wonderful boy to our family, sweet because God knew how much we needed Ben, and sweet because he was the perfect addition we had prayed for. What an emotional rollercoaster.
I will have to fast-forward here and leave out some details and conversations that took place. There is so much more to this story and as much as I wish I could share ever detail with some of you, it's just not my story to tell. I will save the rest, safe and secure...guarded in the deepest part of my heart to tell my amazing son when he is older.

What I can share is how grateful we were that day to have Ben with us. How much each precious minute held for us! Ella was so sweet and took to him right away. Once we got back to our room after our goodbyes, the only thing Ella wanted to do was hold her knew baby brother. She gently hugged and kissed him. What an amazing gift as a parent to see a brother/sister bond forming in it's earliest days.

That evening we went out for our last meal in Korea. We went with our dear friends that we met while staying at the agency...Scott and Karne. They were there to pick up their son...who ironically was born only a day before Ben. We are sure that these two little boys were in the nursery together and had met many months before. Another miracle...they live right here in the Twin Cities too! We are forever grateful for the friendship that started on the other side of the world with them. So...Jason, Danyelle, Ella, and Ben met up with friends for a traditional Korean meal of bulgogi. We sat at a traditional table on the floor while enjoying being a family of 4 all while having delightful conversation with our new friends. What an amazing end to an amazing day! I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be Ben's mom. He knew I had a whole in my heart that only little Ben could fill. Adoption is nothing short of a miracle. Ben is a miracle!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One Year Ago...

...we were on the other side of the world

...we were getting to meet our son for the second time eyes were filled with tears and my heart with pride upon holding Ben again
I remember this trip and each day of it so vividly. What an amazing journey God took us on and for that matter are still traveling. Let me take you back to one year ago today...
...we awoke early that morning...afterall, we were still on USA time and sleeping wasn't going so well. Ella and I had been up around 3am that morning cooking some eggs for "supper" in the kitchen located on our floor. Trying to adjust our bodies to the new time zone was proving to be challenging. We had just met our son for the first time the day before and what a rush that was. Although it was such a wonderful feeling meeting him and holding him, it was hard to leave him to let him go home with his fostermother. The only thing that really made it easier was knowing that I was going to be able to see him again in less than 24 hours. My nerves were raw with excitement and anticipation and the clock just didn't seem to move at the speed I would have liked.
We all got ready...Ella, Jason, and I. We anxiously made our way down to the second floor to the social worker's offices. Inside was our social worker, a wonderfully sweet woman. She brought us into the room where we would be meeting our sweet Ben. I remember wanting to just hold him...just hold him...just hold him. They came in and put him in my arms. Both Jason and I were so thrilled and Ella was starting to take to her new brother already. I had brought my podaegi with so they could show me how to properly put Ben in and wear him around. Once in, he immediately fell asleep on my back. What a comfortable feeling it was, having my baby boy that close to me, and feeling that safe and secure with me.
Oh what a day...what a morning...what a trip...what a treaure...and oh...what a son!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pony Rides and Petting Zoo

Our city has a big festival every year. The kids and I decided to go and check it out. We even brought Aunt Jackie with us. She was a huge help...two kids around pony rides and a petting zoo is fun, but you can't take your eyes off of them for a second. After much deliberation, Ella decided that she wanted to indeed try the pony ride. Turns out she loved it. (Grandma, you may have to get horses again!!) In fact, once she was done, she wanted to go again. Turns out, pony rides aren't exactly cheap. Two rides was our max. She enjoyed herself!

Ben had a blast too. If I would have asked, I'm sure he would have loved the chance to ride a pony too. I'm sure the pony is grateful that we didn't put Ben on his back. All the kicking, gleeful screaming, and drool would have been enough to want to buck him off. Instead, Ben enjoyed the petting zoo, wandering around aimlessly, and dancing to the band that was playing.

I have more pics...and once blogger cooperates, I post them.