Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Special Vacation

Several months ago, we talked to Brandon about flying him down to Florida for a vacation with us.  He was game and we started planning!  We have spent LOTS of time with Brandon over the last 7 1/2 years, but it was always short spurts of time.  Tate is always excited to see him and sad when he leaves and then starts asking when he gets to see him again shortly after our visits.  We decided that it was about time he and Brandon got lots of uninterrupted time together.  Tate has been so excited and counting down the days since we told him that he would be going on a whole week long vacation with Brandon!

It's been so great.  Of course, I have taken hundreds of pictures to document this special trip! 

Tate was attached to Brandon from the second he arrived...

And Brandon is always so amazing about including Wes and Cason too.  He's just a great person and ALL 3 of our boys are blessed to have him in their lives!

It just never ceases to amaze me how perfectly orchestrated this adoption story went.  How God made such an amazing thing out of this incredibly hard time.  He always knew this is how it would be...we know that.  We are so blessed to not only have Tate as our amazing son, but to have an additional family member in Brandon who we love so much as well!

And the fact that Tate has a father's love from 2 incredible  It's just such an amazing and rare blessing!

These two love each other beyond words...and they have so many uncanny similarities!

It's just so cool that Brandon is a part of Tate and our lives, but it's even more awesome when he gets to take part in things that most birth fathers don't get to be a part of because of the short spurts of time they get to spend with their children.  For example, tonight Tate lost a tooth...he was scared to pull it out.  He asked me to go get the tooth pillow (I brought it because it was sooo loose when we left and I KNEW it would come out on vacation!) so Brandon could help him pull it out.  Brandon sat with him and coached him while he worked on getting it out...

And wouldn't ya know, he got it!  And Brandon was there to witness it.  It's a small thing, I know...but it's so cool that he was hear for something like that!

And then he helped Tate rinse the blood out of his mouth while I took pictures! lol

 Then, we went into Tate's room and prayed together in his bed.  Brandon tucked Tate in and will be able to again for the next several nights.

It's hard to articulate how awesome this whole situation is.  It's something that many struggle to really understand.  It is our story...and I love our story.  I love how things in our family have grown and worked out and how we get to be a part of this amazing gift from God!

Going to bed feeling so unbelievably blessed tonight!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Florida with The Barry Family

We've just had the best trip so far!

Our time with our great friends, The Barry Family has come to an end.  I am sitting in a silent home while everyone is sleeping and when we wake up in the morning, Jamie, Dave, Jaxson and Asher will be gone. :(  It was such a fun trip with them!  It's always a little nerve racking when you travel with someone new for the first time because you just don't know if it'll "work".  You know?  Like do you travel well together?  Do you enjoy the same types of things on vacation?  I wasn't THAT worried with Jamie because we are so much alike in a lot of ways and are always brutally honest with one another.  And it turns out there was nothing to worry about!  We make great travel companions. :)  Looking forward to vacationing with them again in our future!

The boys (there were a LOT of boys in the house on this trip!) got along great and played non stop!  We did a lot of fun things and kept really busy.  We will miss having them down here, but look forward to the 2nd half of our vacation with Brandon!  Lots planned for the next week!

So here are some pictures of our time with The Barry Family!

Before getting on our air boat tour at Myakka State Park...

Jamie and I did a lot of this...

Always smiling, this one!

These two are just really good buddies!

I'm not going to lie, there was some attitude wasn't all smiles and joy!  Tired boys all around a couple of the days!

Jaxson's sweet smile...he was willing to flash it for the camera almost the entire time...aside from the day we did their family pictures! lol

Cason and Daddy...

Can you spy the turtle?!

The sunset at Nokomis Beach the evening we went to the drum circle...

Dipping their toes in the sea while listening to the beating drums of the drum circle on Nokomis Beach...

Tate loved listening to the little groover couldn't keep still! :)

Nor could this one!  He is in love with the ocean and the beach!

The 3 biggest...

Sweet Jaxson...

Since my boys wouldn't do great for a picture together, I thought I'd capture the willing subjects!

Man they're cute!

Seriously LOVE this shot of Jaxson and Asher!

Blessings being handed out after the sunset at the drum circle...

My little Ergo loving Cason.  He LOVED the drum circle and loves the beach and ocean as well!

It was such a great time with The Barry Family!  Lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of sun and great memories made!  Thanks for coming down guys, love you!  Let's do it again soon!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Georgia Aquarium

When Tate was about 18 months old, we had some flight issues on our way home from FL and ended up staying the night in Atlanta for a night.  Sean said when we were there, "I think the aquarium here is pretty nice, we should maybe go."  We didn't end up going, but have wanted to since then!  Well, it only took about 6 more years and boy am I glad we went!  It.was.amazing.

The kids had the time of their lives...even Cason!

I never knew Manta Rays were so gigantic!
That is Tate in the bottom corner of the picture...he was amazed by everything!

Even just the regular fish were awesome to the boys! :)

Cason loved every second of the day...well, aside from the absolute terror and fear he felt for 5 minutes (until I took him out) of the dolphin show.  It was a dramatic show with loud booms and strobe lights and all kinds of things that are hell on earth for this one! lol

The boys loved the sea otters!

There were all kinds of tunnels that people could crawl through and then poke their heads up in the middle of an exhibit to get a closer look...Sean enjoyed that too!

The whale shark is like Georgia Aquarium's "thing"...and you just can't get a good idea in's not possible.  They are the biggest fish in the sea and SO GIGANTIC!  These were over 25 feet long and NOT full grown...they get to be 50 feet long...the size of a school bus!!!  There are 3 of them at the aquarium.

Those fish swimming by this one are huge...the picture is deceiving.  This whale shark makes that huge manta ray pictured above look small!

I don't know what it is about jelly fish, but they're always among my favorites at aquariums...such amazing creatures!

Cason was really in awe of them too!

The boys in one of the tunnels look at me through an aquarium.  They had so much fun!

Pure awe...

Here Sean is touching a hammerhead shark.  I love the boys' expressions as they watch him!

Tate ended up touching the sting rays, but Wes wasn't into it!  He just enjoyed watching them.

Tate could have pet the sting rays all day!

And Wes wasn't easily lost in the "Sea Monsters" exhibit! LOL

It's amazing how many children on leashes we saw.  So funny to me!

It was an incredible day and a great drive down to Florida!  The boys truly could not be better never talked or complained or said anything much the whole time (thanks to our DVD player and movies!) unless they had to go potty.  Tate read for hours, the littles napped, they all looked out at the scenery.  They were just perfect.

We pulled into the driveway of the house and I turned the car off and the boys said, "Why did you turn the car off?!?"  I said, "We're here!"  Tate said, "OH!  Already?!  Yay!!!"  Already?!?!  It took us 2 1/2 days!!! LOL  Funny boys!  Tate then jumped out of the car and said, "I love it here, this is my favorite place!"  Yup, it's one of mine too, bud!

We walked up to the door and were greeted by an adorable tree frog which excited the boys tremendously!  I was carrying Cason when we walked in the front door and no joke, plane as day, Cason broke the silence with a perfectly pronounced, "NIIIIIICE!"  as we were walking in the front door.  I died laughing!

Everyone is sound asleep and I am heading there now!  Feeling so happy and relaxed and ready to start our vacation NOT on the road! ;)