Monday, May 31, 2010

"Chloe, where's your button?"

Memorial Evening with the DeCooks

We had a great time hanging out with the DeCooks this evening. As usual, Tate and Ava ran around, giggled and had a blast! Tate didn't want to leave and then decided if he had to leave, Ava needed to come home with him. We promised him that someday she could. So sweet!

Sunday in Muscatine

Sean, Dad and Brigg golfed while the other kids and adults hung out in the sun. The kids played in the baby pool for hours! They had a blast!
I believe the guys had a great time golfing too!
Great family, great weather, great food.
It was a great day!

These next 2 photos are SO "Ayla"!

One more day of our long weekend left!
Tomorrow we'll be spending the day with the DeCook family.
More pictures to come from our day tomorrow I'm sure!

Bathing Beauties

Love these pictures...

Especially this one...

And seriously?!?!?!
She is so beautiful!

wow...this has never happened before!

Willingly putting their arms around each other...unheard of!
And can I just say that Tate looks like a GIANT next to Ayla?!

There were brief moments (like the moments captured above) when they actually acted like friends!

praying with passion

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I love being biased

Because when you are biased, there are moments when you look at your child and believe with every ounce of your being that there is no cuter child that has walked the face of this earth.

And it never fails...throw Tate in the bath and he'll smile for pictures a million times over!

he's so sweet

As Tate was running up the stairs bare bottomed heading towards the bath I said...

"You have the cutest little bum, Tate!"

He looks at me ever so sweetly and says,

"Thank you Mommy, and I love your big bum."

Ummmm, thanks Tate, that was sweet of you.

Banana Bread

Since our TV broke (see below post) and we were unable to carry out our usual morning ritual of Tate watching some of his morning cartoons while I check email and blogs, Tate was all out of sorts. :) Or maybe it was a little bit of both of us being out of sorts.
Tate loves almost nothing more than helping me cook or bake, so I said "Tate, do you want to help mommy bake banana bread?" He was so excited!
Plus, I had been meaning to make it because as you can see I had some bananas that were definitely ready to be used for banana bread. When my bananas get like these, I'll put them in the freezer for a future batch of banana bread...and those bananas that sit in the freezer end up looking like the ones below. It was so funny, Tate grabbed those and said, "OOOOHHHH, Mommy...look at these chocolate bananas!" He was very excited...

So he helped me make banana bread and had so much fun, but I think this was his favorite part...

Doesn't t his just remind you of being a kid???

And I have to say once again that I LOVE living so close to my parents. We were mid mix on the batch of banana bread and my mom calls and says, "why don't you put the batter in a container and bring it here to bake them and we can do lunch and hang out today." Ummmmm, OK! :) So we did! We drove over there and spent the afternoon and then were home just as Sean woke up and ate dinner before he headed to work for the night.
Here are a couple of the delicious banana bread loaves. As you can see, they are packed with mini chocolate chips. Mini chocolate chips make everything just a little bit better, right? :)
I made a double batch which makes 8 mini loaves. I told Sean when I made them that I would send some to work with him for he and his co-workers. So I sent 2 loaves with him...he was happy. We ate 1 loaf when it was still warm at my parents and the rest will surely be eaten by us in the next several days!
Thanks Brenda for the best banana bread recipe ever!
I will post the recipe later tonight over on A Peakin To My Recipe Book!

our new TV

Can you see it?
Look closely and you will.
I'm not even kidding...

Sean said he heard a "pop" in our TV and the screen went black last night. After some research, he realized the lamp blew out. It's not a cheap fix and we have some other issues with our TV anyway that aren't fixable so we hate to spend the money to fix it when the TV could just stop working at any moment anyway. So for the time being, we've hooked up the portable DVD player as our TV. I mean, I'm not trying to be unrealistic, but seriously, I can't even see the TV. It is a problem for all of us. Tate sits his little chair right up in front of it, it's kind of funny. I see a new TV in our near future.

progression of our masterpiece!

Mom asked me to help her paint an Italian landscape on a canvas for an upcoming event she is decorating for.
I've never painted on a canvas...ever.
Of course I agreed to help though! It was so much fun!
It is definitely not as easy as it know like when I watch Bob Ross on TV painting "happy little trees".
It was actually quite frustrating.
But as with all of the tedious, crafty things I take's so worth it to see a finished product that you're happy with!

So here's the progression.
Mom and I both kind of did the sky and hills together. The sun was kind of my contribution...I know, super hard! Ha.
Just the sky and the hills...

Then my mom painted some "happy little pencil trees" while I did the poppy field on the hill on the bottom right...

Then my mom made some of the trees bigger and worked on the fields on a couple of the hills while I worked on the field of the other hill on the right side.
There's a bit of a glare on this photo as the paint was still a bit wet, but you get the idea...

It was a really fun project to do together!
We were pretty happy with the finished product.
It definitely inspired me to possibly do some more canvas art for fun someday!
I am thinking about painting a more abstract painting of some sort to hang in Tate's room.
We'll see...if I do, you know I'll post pics of it! :)

not the best of friends...

Though Tate may refer to Ayla as his "best friend", they certainly are not.
He clearly doesn't understand what a "best friend" is!
These two have a very difficult time getting along for more than a minute or two on most days.
Some days they run and play and giggle and then it's like a switch is flipped and they suddenly cannot stand each other again.
It's actually kind of comical...sometimes.
Most times it's just really frustrating!

They are doing okay here, but we are keeping a close of them very well could throw the other off of this ledge in an instant...really, I'm not even kidding.

Not sure I trust either of these smiles.
Could they be envisioning how they will manage to throw their cousin over the edge?

Now I believe this is about when Ayla decided to lock us all outside...

And this picture shows off the love fest that was going on.
Can you feel the love...can you?
Ya, neither can I.

It doesn't matter how many times she kicks, hits or bites Tate.
I cannot resist this little face!
I must add, in Ayla's defense, Tate almost always is the one tormenting her until she does something to him so that he can run to me crying and telling on her!

It's kind of just what they do.
We're all sort of getting used to it...sort of.
It'll be nice when this stage passes between these two though!
Hopefully it's just a stage!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It changed me.

I can't stop reliving the day we met Maggie (Tate's birth mother) in my head. It changed me. I needed it. I knew all along, from the day we got "the call" about Tate that I wanted Maggie to be in our lives...most of all, Tate's life. I also knew it may never happen. I hoped and prayed about it constantly. We were so blessed to have the most amazing relationship with Brandon, Tate's birth father and wanted so deeply to have that with Maggie as well. After a couple of years went by, I just think we started to accept the fact that it would likely never happen. And though we felt that way, we knew without a doubt that it was not for her lack of love for Tate that we may not meet her. In fact, we knew it was because of the deep love she has for Tate that it would be too hard to be in his life.We always talk about Maggie and Brandon to Tate. From the day we held him for the first time, we have talked about them to Tate and prayed for them with Tate and tell Tate all the time how much they love him. We never wanted him to wonder if he was loved by Brandon and Maggie. He has had from day 1 the relationship with Brandon to feel first hand that love, but we feared that no matter how much we told him that Maggie loves him, he wouldn't understand why she wasn't in his life. That worry is now gone. And I had no idea what a burden it was inside of me until it went away! What a weight that was lifted from me! To know that Tate will not have to just trust our words telling him how loved he is, but that he will get to feel that love first hand from BOTH of his amazing birth, there are just no words!
I know I mentioned it in my post about his meeting with Maggie, but I truly am amazed at how we feel so much more complete now that we have met Maggie. And not a day has gone by since that day that Tate hasn't said, "Mommy, I want to go on a picnic again!" He knew that day was special. He also had a natural comfort about him even though he had just met Maggie. It was natural for him with her...which is actually pretty unnatural for Tate. He doesn't do well with new people...he is shy, quiet and nervous. This was different and it was amazing to watch...amazing.

I know I may be repeating myself in documenting these feelings that I have written about before, but I just can't help myself. I know that so many people don't understand why we chose an open adoption. We have even had people voice to us that they disagree with our choice of an open adoption. I could go on and on about all that I've read and learned about the benefits of an open adoption, but feeling it, actually living it is something that is so difficult to put into words.

Simply put, Tate has a mother's love from 2 women and a father's love from 2 men and there is just nothing bad that can come of him being loved that much! There is just no such thing as TOO MUCH LOVE! There is no threat here, there is no confusion...he knows who his mommy and daddy are. In fact, I believe with every ounce of me that there will be LESS confusion within Tate because of our open adoption. He will always know he was adopted and he will never have to be confused as to why or confused as to if he was loved or is still loved. Any questions he has in regards to where he came from biologically or why an adoption plan was made by Brandon and Maggie will be able to be answered for him directly from the 2 people who made the decision! What an amazing gift!

I have thanked God every day for Maggie and Brandon since the moment we learned of Tate. I have not forgotten about them for a single day! I still can't believe this amazing adoption story is ours to live. There is pain in adoption...there is. We felt it when we took Tate home, when we drove away from Brandon with his son. I was an emotional wreck for MONTHS about the pain of it all. I have a true, deep love for both Brandon and Maggie and to know that they were going through unimaginable pain so that we could live our dream of being parents was such a heartbreak. It was something that was so unexpected and surprising. I never thought about that side of the adoption process until we were living it. I remember how I realized in an instant that adoption was not about ME and instead about the child. It wasn't about what was best for and most comfortable for Sean and I, but instead what was best for Tate. Again, something unexpected from such a selfish, sinful being as myself.

You know the commercial that says, "a baby changes everything"?
It does and it did...everything.
I know all of the mothers and fathers reading this will agree.
In the same light...
Adoption changes everything!
It does and it did.
It changed me.
Forever, in ways I never dreamed.
It changed me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Where has the time gone?
When did my baby grow up?

3 years ago today...

I snapped some pictures of Tate tonight.
The picture below just happened to remind me of a picture I took of Tate when he was a baby.
It's not exactly the same picture, but when I saw this picture I just immediately thought of the picture below it.

The strangest thing about this is that these 2 pictures were taken 3 years apart TO THE DAY!

And on a side note...I have been developing some serious baby fever lately. And as I scoured my blog to find the picture above, I gazed longingly at all of the baby pictures of Tate. It didn't help the baby fever...I'm just sayin'. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Recipe

Sean's favorite meatloaf recipe I make is posted on A Peakin To My Recipe Book.
Check it out!

My new camera strap!

I got a camera strap for Mother's Day and it just came in the mail a couple of days ago.
I LOVE it!
And it helps me to take my pictures in style! :)