Friday, October 30, 2009

Beggar's Night in Des Moines

Costume #1 - Black Spiderman
The ginormous spiderman boxing gloves are not part of the costume. :)

And this is for my family...apparently Black Spiderman does "rag doll". The only thing holding this rag doll up is his face propped on the arm of the couch. He was getting irritated with me trying to take a picture of him.

The only way I could get a straight on picture of Tate is when he was strapped in the carseat and couldn't move. Something tells me he wasn't smiling under that mask!

Tate walking up to a house to trick-or-treat.

A couple of funny stories:
The first house we went to, Tate hadn't gotten the hang of what he was supposed to do yet so when the lady bent down with the HUGE bowl filled with candy, Tate quietly said "trick-or-treat" and matter of factly wrapped his arms around the entire huge bowl and tried to pull it away. He didn't understand that she was bending down to let him pick a peice out and not take the whole bowl.

After several houses, Tate got more comfortable. We got to one house where the lady opened the door and Tate just walked right into the house, took his mask off and went running around the corner! I had wet shoes on and didn't think I should take off after him so I just apologized and hollered for him to come back. He was saying, "it warm in here!" It was pretty cold out and I think he just thought, okay, I'm going to cozy up in this warm house. The lady was so nice and thought it was funny. She said, "he can stay in here for a bit and warm up!" Ummm...thanks for the offer, but we'll pass on taking over your house. He just must of felt at home there! It was pretty embarrassing!

Stay tuned for a Beggar's Night in Colo post when Tate will be in costume #2!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Remember a few months ago when I posted about how I had the worst day I had ever had at work??? Today was worse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An evening walk and hot chocolate

Tate was looking out the front door this evening and said, "I want to go on a wagon ride".
So that's what we did.

And we couldn't go without the token Tate and Daddy picture before we took off. Only Tate wasn't being terribly cooperative. He did insist on wearing Sean's hat over his stocking cap.

Yet another example of my angelic child who LOVES getting his picture taken...ha...

And seriously, this is the biggest leaf I've ever seen...

We underestimated how chilly it was going to be. By the end of the walk, Tate was saying, "burzees", so he got to snuggle up in Daddy's sweatshirt...

So when we got home, we made some hot chocolate...mmmm...
Any calories we may have burned were soon packed back on.

Tate sure liked the hot chocolate...

It was a nice evening.

Put your boots on...

He happens to love my boots on his feet and his on his hands.

He is quite the supermodel...

When is this little man going to decide that he will smile for pictures once again. Honestly, he has the sweetest smile and cutest dimples and you just have to take my word for it because he absolutely will not smile for a picture. I try to trick him, bribe him, hide the camera so he doesn't know I'm taking a doesn't matter, he knows and immediately stops smiling. In fact, it's a miracle if I can get a picture of him without his hand in front of his face!

However, I still can't look at a picture of him without my heart going pitter patter!

This would be a picture that Tate took. I had to bend down to even be in it. He is too funny. He absolutely loves it when I let him take a picture though!

And THIS is why we will not be doing professional pictures of our little angel any time soon. A complete waste of money it would be. This is what 75% of my pictures of Tate look like...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I know, I am a slacker...

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted! Not a whole lot happened this week. I wasn't feeling great and had an ongoing headache all week, so I didn't get much accomplished. Finally, I started feeling better on Friday and was determined to have a productive weekend. Therefor, there was not a lot of time to blog this weekend either. I have pictures that I will post sometime soon, but don't have a lot of exciting news. We stayed in the house ALL weekend and it was glorious. I got some laundry done and various other things. I even managed to squeeze in a nap on Saturday AND Sunday! It's a few minutes after 8:00 and I plan to be in bed within 15 minutes. I am feeling TIRED for some reason.

And I must mention the fact that I almost completely lost my voice last night from screaming at the top of my lungs when watching the Hawkeyes UNBELIEVABLE win!!! My voice is back and I am one happy Hawkeye fan!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Tate loves playing with playdough.
He got some for his birthday and could play with it all day long!

Nose Picker

The other day while Tate was sitting in his carseat, I turned around in the car and noticed he was picking his nose...this is the converstation that was had:

Me: Tate, stop picking your nose!

Tate: (with his finger DEEP in his nose) I almost got it, Mommy!

Me: Tate, that's yucky, stop picking your nose.

Tate: (he pulls his finger out with "the prize" sticking to the end of it) See Mommy, I got it.

Before I had time to say anything...

Tate: (Tate flicks it onto the floor and appears to be very proud for doing so) See Mommy, I throw it on the floor now!

I have no idea where he learned this. Gross.

Monday, October 19, 2009

an evening out

with NO kids!
It was sooo much fun!
We went out to surprise Kelly for her 30th birthday.
We ate at Givanni's in Iowa City.

Cassie (with her fabulous new hairdo!) and I in the limo (ahem...conversion van)...

Sorry about my hair being in your eye, Mom!

Sean and Dad...

Dad and Kelly...

Kelly blowing out her candles...

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Dad and Water...

I didn't know if I was to shout it out on the world wide web yet, but since Cassie disclosed it on her blog already, I thought I would too! :)

My dad is going to Liberia, Africa in a couple of weeks with Jody and Charity:Water to meet and see first hand the people and places that are changing because of clean water that has been brought to Liberia to save lives through Water For Christmas and Charity:Water.

He is going to get to experience something life changing by being there. I cannot wait to hear all about their trip, to hear of the lives that are being saved, to see how this affects my father. I wish I were going. I wish I could see it all first hand. I know that some day I will get to.

Please pray for my dad and Jody as they travel across the world to witness how clean water is saving lives. And learn about Water For Christmas and what YOU can do to help!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Car issues...

While at work today I found out that there was a recall on our van last month for something and then this month for another issue. Then, I went out to the parking lot to leave from work and had a front tire that was flat as a pancake. It's almost 9pm and I just got home from getting the tire replaced. I was looking so forward to a relaxing evening at home...didn't happen. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Comments By: Jennie

I made fried green tomatoes tonight. Our neighbor gave us a bunch of green tomatoes and I didn't know what else one could make with green tomatoes, so that's what I made...and they were delicious!

What ever happened to 4 seasons? We went right from summer to winter. Where was fall?

Oh how I love my Tuesday evening shows!

Aren't stomach bugs are only supposed to last about 24 hours? I am still not right from my stomach flu this weekend.

My camera is on its last leg...I need a new camera.

I still don't know what we are going to dress Tate up as for Halloween.

Is it bad that I'm already considering starting my Christmas shopping?

I might be 25% gray...I'm not kidding, it's bad!

SO's all that for random?!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some of Tate's favorite things

I was looking back at what I posted on October 12th, 1 year ago. I posted about Tate's favorite things. So I'm going to do it now...exactly a year later!

A list of Tate's favorites:

Everything Super Hero

Movies - Finding Nemo (STILL), The Incredibles, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Toy Story. Madagascar and Madagascar 2

"Guys" - Any figurines

Cars - Not the movies so much, just toy cars

Play Dough - He could play with it for hours!

Handy Manny - ANYTHING Handy Manny

WordWorld - the TV show

Games - video games (he doesn't really play them, but likes to hold the controller like he is whenever Sean plays), card games, board games, hide and go seek, tag...any games!


Mandarin Oranges

Mac and Cheese - any cheese really

White Milk

Brown Puppy and Taggie - he sleeps with these and is ADDICTED

Tools - Manny tools especially, but he likes any tools

Sports - golfing, basketball, football, soccer, baseball

Taking pictures with Mommy's camera

His toy laptop computers - yes, he has 2 and loves them both!

He loves to help Mommy cook

He loves to help Daddy fix things

He loves getting his fingernails and toenails clipped - he requests it...I know it's strange, I have no idea why he loves this so much

He LOVES his baths!

As you can see, Tate had MANY "favorite" things! He's pretty easy to please! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Naughty Switch

What is it about 3? It's like the day Tate turned 3, a "naughty switch" turned on. Seriously, Tate has been such a stinker! Defiant, major tantrums, talking back, could care less about time-outs, doesn't is so frustrating. He had a major tantrum at Wal-Mart today...we were the parents with "that kid". You know, the one that is flailing himself on the floor, screaming at the top of his lungs, flailing his arms and legs...out of control. It was completely ridiculous. Somehow I remained calm and picked up my kicking and screaming child and grabbed the item or 2 we still needed and then carried him flailing about in my arms out to the car. I about wanted to cry was the first time I felt like I had absolutely no control over him...none. It was awful. He continued his screaming freak out in the car and well, I took pictures of him. Why? I really don't know why I would want to document that tantrum, but I suppose in the back of my mind I felt that I needed a visual for the blog post I was going to write about his new naughty ways. So here they are...and believe me, these pictures do not do his tantrum justice...not in the slightest. It was completely ridiculous.

So whoever created the term "Terrible 2's" was a year off. I am hoping this is going to be a short phase or we are going to have to come up with some different discipline tactics!

And it continued...

I thought I was on the mend from my stomach bug when I woke up late on Friday night, but I was WRONG!!! After sleeping all day Friday, I slept until 9:00 Saturday morning and was back in bed feeling TERRIBLE by 11:00. I slept all day Saturday until about 3:00. At 3:30, our cable went out and we panicked a bit with the upcoming Hawkeye game starting in a few hours. I felt like I was on the mend again and even though I was under the weather, I wanted to watch the game. SO, Sean and I decided to pack up and head to his parents' house...they were out of town for the weekend and had an empty house and working cable! I thought that if I started feeling icky again, I'd be able to go to bed and that way we could put Tate to bed at his bedtime too. I just kept feeling better and better as the hours passed and was able to watch the whole Hawkeye game...which was AMAZING and was able to even stay up later passed that! I was able to eat my first real meal in 2 days and Tate went to bed at a decent time. Thank you Pat and Linda yet again for being generous and letting us use your house!

I have to say that Sean is an amazing nurse! He was so good to me and took such good care of me for the 2 days while I was sick. I am lucky to have him! Tate took this picture of us...I'm still not 100%, but feeling much better than the last 2 days. We got the cable guy to come hook our cable back up and we are laying low today and hoping I am feeling back to normal tomorrow.


This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning. And as weird as it is, I was kind of giddy about it! Just for a minute though. I really an NOT ready for snow yet!

Tate was pretty excited though!

duplex living

So when you live in a duplex and your neighbor doesn't pay his cable bill...there's a chance you could get disconnected too. Yup...even when it's Saturday in the midst of watching college football with the big Hawkeye game starting in a couple of hours. Can you say frustrating?!?!?!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I woke up Friday morning feeling tired, but okay. I got ready, went to work and when I got there I sat down at my desk and felt a little light headed. About 15 minutes later it hit me like a ton of bricks...nausea, headache, achy. I felt terrible. I thought it would pass at first. Nope. At 9:45 I decided I HAD to go home. I spent the next 1/2 hour getting some things done that I needed to get done and was out the door by 10:15. When I got home, I went directly to bed and fell asleep immediately and slept HARD until about 4:45 pm when I woke up for about 45 minutes to take some Ibuprofin and drink some Sprite and tried to eat some toast. I still felt terrible so I went back to sleep and just woke up again and it's almost 1AM! I literally slept all day! I am feeling so much better!!! I hope it has passed and I continue to feel like I do right now. Now I just hope after sleeping for over 12 hours today that I'll still be able t sleep tonight!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tate's 3 Year Well Child Checkup

He is in the 50th percentile for height and weight.
He weighs 33 lbs.
He is 37 inches tall.
The doctor said, "he's perfect".
We think so!
He got some blood work to check to see if he's anemic and also got the Flu Mist instead of the shot.
It was a good appointment and we have a happy, healthy boy.

Birthday Tradition

When I was a kid, my mom would wake me up in the morning on my birthday by bringing me a gift. I loved it, I'll always remember it. I wanted to continue this with my kids. This is the first year I felt really 'got' the idea of opening gifts. So this is the first year I started this tradition. It was also not how I imagined or planned it in my head...what really ends up working out the way you always thought anyway, right?!! Ha. So Tate had a terrible night the night before his birthday...TERRIBLE! He had a night terror and was screaming bloody murder and was completely inconsolable. It was bad that I started crying because I didn't know what to do to calm him down. Long story short, we ended up in the living room...Tate on the love seat, me on the couch. So he awoke on the couch the morning of his birthday.

Here he is getting his gift about 1 minute after he woke up...

Later in the afternoon, we gave him a couple of other gifts. We only had Christmas wrapping paper, so that's what he got...he didn't know the difference!

He was excited about his monster bean bag toss game...

He also loved his big box of "fake food"...

Tate is such an Iowa boy...eatin' (fake) corn on the cob and dawning his Hawkey sweatshirt...

It was a pretty low key birthday at home, but we had a great time!
I cannot believe our son is 3!

Meeting Our Son...3 years ago today!

There is no way to describe the feelings from the moment we met Tate.
The only thing I can think of is "surreal".
I couldn't believe it was happening...I couldn't believe this perfect little child was ours!
We had to pull the car over after driving away because we were both such emotional wrecks, so much that Sean couldn't even drive and I couldn't even speak.
I remember calling my mom and sister just sobbing while trying to tell them how beautiful Tate was.
It was so unbelievably incredible.

The first 2 pictures below were taken within the first 5 minutes of meeting Tate...3 years ago today.

The first time I saw Sean as a Daddy.
What a moment!

It didn't take long...Sean and I fell fast and hard.
These next 2 pictures were taken about 4 hours after we met Tate.

This day is just as special to us as Tate's birthday.
Many in the adoptive world call this day "Gotcha Day".
October 7th, 2006...our "Gotcha Day".
This day, 3 years ago, changed our lives in a moment.
One look at our son and we were no longer priority.
From that day forward, all that mattered was Tate...his safety, his health, his happiness.
Nothing else on this earth mattered to us.
Our love for Tate grows with every day.

3 years later, we still look at Tate and can hardly believe he is our son.
What a blessing adoption has fulfilled us more than we ever dreamed!

Monday, October 05, 2009

A day we will never forget...

3 years ago TODAY was one of the most memorable days of our lives...that is up until 3 years ago tomorrow! 3 years ago today, we found out we had a son!

Here's a recap of the story...

I was planning on going to a local place called What's for Dinner where you prepare several meals for the month to freeze and our friends The Knutsons were coming down so that Sara and I could go together and the guys could hang out with their kids. I will never forget, we had our appointment at What's For Dinner at 5pm and at 4 pm, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. I immediately thought, "what if it's Bethany Christian Services!" This time, it was. The director was on the other end and said, "Hi Jennie, are you busy?" I of course said, "No, why?" She proceeded to tell me that they had a situation where a baby had been born the day before and the birth parents had selected us, but the birth father wanted to meet us first before they made a final decision and asked if we could be in Cedar Rapids by 7pm. She said that we would need to have our carseat in the car and a diaper bag. I couldn't even think. I was a mess! I told her that I wasn't sure we could be there that early, but I asked if 8 pm would be okay. I asked her if it is a boy or a girl and she responded with, "oh my goodness...I will have to call the social worker and ask, I am unsure." Honestly though, I didn't care. She gave me a quick overview of the birth mother and father and their story. I was overwhelmed to say the least. Sean was at work. As soon as I got off of the phone, I called him and said, "I think we have a baby! I don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet, but you need to come home right now...we have to be in Cedar Rapids by 8 pm to meet the birth father!" He was very calm, but overwhelmed as well. He came right home and did all of the thinking for me as far as what we needed to bring because I couldn't even breathe, let alone think!

We drove to Cedar Rapids and talked about what we thought it would be like to meet the birth father, what we will ask, what we thought he would ask. We were so nervous! I could go on forever about the very special first meeting we had with Brandon, but it was a moment created by God, it was the right place we were supposed to be, I felt a calm and a comfort, we just knew that God was with us and felt Him with every moment we spent with Brandon. At the end of our meeting, Brandon let us know that he and Maggie wanted us to be their son's Mommy and Daddy. They had named him Hunter Kenneth, but Brandon so graciously said, "he is your son, you can name him whatever you would like." We wanted to discuss this with him though, so we all agreed on Tate for his first name and Sean and I wanted to keep Kenneth for his middle name as it was the part of the name that Maggie had chosen and we wanted to honor her by keeping that name.

We left our meeting with a sense of peace and felt as though this would all go through. The social workers did indicate that we should 'guard our hearts' because there was still a chance they could change their minds. It felt a bit too late at this point to guard our hearts. We stayed up all night praying. We were going to get to meet our son the next day!!!

Read my post I wrote from 3 years ago today HERE.

3 Years Ago Today...

3 years ago today we were completely in the dark that our son was born. I went about my day with thoughts of when we would get "the call". I prayed constantly for my child and his/her birth parents. I knew that God had already chosen a child for Sean and I to raise, I just didn't know if He had created him/her yet. I especially had no idea that he would be entering the world that very day!

I'm not going to makes me so sad that I missed even a second of Tate's life. I wish I would have been there to see him enter the world, to see his first breath, to hear his first cry. However, I am not sad that Maggie and Brandon were the ones who got to witness all of that, who loved on him and soaked up the short time with him while he was 'just theirs'. They needed that time alone with him and I am so thankful for the love they showed him during that time. We have only heard stories of how those 2 days were for them and we will never ever understand what they were feeling, but we know that Tate has never lacked for people loving him. He was instantly loved with that deep love that only a mother, father, grandmas and grandpas know. He was shown that love every moment of his life from his first breath. Though we weren't the ones to show that love to him for the first 2 days of his life...we couldn't be happier that we didn't NEED to be the ones to show it to him. His birth mother, father and grandparents are the ones who were supposed to show that love to him for those 2 days.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the time that has passed has not caused our feelings of gratitude to diminish at all! It's the most amazing feeling of gratitude you have when you are an adoptive parent. There are no words. I love being Tate's mommy, I love that he has the love of his birth family, I love being an adoptive mother. It's where I was meant to be.

3 years ago today, our son entered this world to an amazingly loving, selfless and courageous mother and father. Only 2 days later, he would be handed over to Sean and I so we could be his mother and father. There are just no words.

(I wish I had a picture to post of Tate from 3 years ago today. Read HERE the post I wrote the day Tate was born. We wouldn't know about him until the next day.)

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!!!

Our "baby" is 3 today! I am one of those Mommies that gets emotional with every birthday that passes. I feel like it was just yesterday that we got "the call" that we had a son. I still get the chills when I think about it. I never knew how amazing motherhood would be, how exhausting it would be, how consuming it would be, how rewarding it would be and how much love I had in me! I can find more love for this little man every single day that passes. He is our pride and joy.

We love you Tate and are so honored to be your Mommy and Daddy. You bring us joy like we never knew we could feel. We pray you always feel how much love we have for you and always feel how much love God has for you. You are an answer to our prayers every single day. We love you more than any words could describe. Happy Happy matter how many years pass, you will always be our Tater Tot!!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Birthday Party or Daycare Center?

We couldn't have asked for a better setting for Tate's party! It would have been nice if the weather had been another 10 degrees warmer, but aside from that, it was great! The sun ended up coming out, which we didn't expect and everyone seemed to have a great time. It was quite overwhelming with the amount of kids that were there. I felt like I was constantly saying, "where's...?" and "has anyone seen...?" or " there with you?" I just felt like I couldn't keep track of them all! All of the kids were taken care of and had a great time though.

Those of you who know me, know I am a fan of "themes". Tate's been really into Super Heros lately, so what else would we have, but a Super Hero Birthday Party! :)

We played football, soccer and ran around outside for much of the afternoon...

just had to slip a picture of this little sweetie in...

I think Evan thought she was a sweetie too...check out this smooch!!!

Sara and Ty...

Tate was so excited about ALL of his gifts!

My attempt at a picture of all of the Peakin Grandkids...

For and activity at the party, I made Super Hero Capes for all of the kids and had fabric markers so everyone could decorate one. It was quite the hit...the kids seemed to LOVE them!

Our BEAUTIFUL niece, Leah showing off her Super Hero Cape...

The Peakin Grandkids all looking at the camera at the same time!!!
So cute in their Super Hero Capes!
(if only Tate was smiling! At least he wasn't holding his hand up yelling, "DON'T CHEESE ME!")

It was a FANTASTIC party!