Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Not-So-Scary Mongolian Spot

Not surprisingly, Sara and I hang on every word of the updates we receive regarding our favorite little Korean fella. The updates come every couple of months with the most recent one being shortly after his first birthday. By all accounts our little guy is doing very well. He is walking, saying “momma”, enjoying his porridge and cooked rice, sleeping well, and Addy’s favorite part…displaying frequent tantrum behaviors. We may have to soundproof our walls so as not to concern the neighbors if his tantrums come anywhere near the decibel levels of our little princess’.

One thing we have been anxiously awaiting is pictures of our little guy from his birthday celebration. We were told they were supposed to have come with his last update, but they did not show up. So this past Friday I called our agency and asked our case worker ever-so-nicely if she had any idea when the pictures may arrive. To my delight, she said she had received them the day before BUT she wasn’t comfortable sending them to us. I didn’t wreck my car when she said that but I probably didn’t stay between the lines. I couldn’t imagine what she might say next. What happened was our agency received the pictures but they were very concerned about a large bump on one of his arms and weren’t comfortable sending us the pictures until they received definitive word as to what the issue causing the bump was.

Her exact words were, “I would never send pictures like this to a family without first being able to explain what was in the pictures.”

I calmly told her that I understood and appreciated all of her efforts while my imagination began to race.

When I hung up I quickly dialed Sara to give her the news. What could this bump be? What did it look like to cause such concern? We instantly envisioned something huge. Something resembling a third arm. Something warranting it’s own name. Something hairy. Something scary. You name it, we envisioned it. So after a long weekend of waiting, our concerns were put to rest yesterday once the pictures arrived and the bump was revealed. It turns out it is a Mongolian Spot. What is a Mongolian Spot? Your guess is as good as mine, but I understand it’s nothing to be concerned about, so I didn’t even bother to Google it.

I have to send a big thank you out to our agency for doing such a bang up job getting our questions answered before we asked them. Undoubtedly, if we would have received the pictures before knowing about the spot, we would have asked what it was and if we should be concerned. They took care of that before we could ask. Good job CHSFS…and thank you so much for the great pictures of our very handsome little boy.

He’s a good looking little guy… Wouldn’t you agree?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Monster Jam 2011

Sara and I were joined by her dad and step mom this evening as we made our way to Paul Brown Stadium for Monster Jam.  We were quite skeptical of how the evening might go, as Lleyton has very sensitive ears that we feared wouldn't get along with the loud engines of the monster trucks. 

But to our surprise and delight, everyone did great and loved the action.  If you haven't been to an event like Monster Jam, I highly recommend it. 

These smiles are prime examples of the look that both boys had during most of the show...

When Parker wasn't smiling at the action on the dirt, he was devouring a bag full of peanuts.  Parker and peanuts are hard to separate.  You give the kid a bag and he acts like it is his last meal.  At one point I looked over at him only to see that he has somehow gotten peanuts in his ear. 

If you need us next year around this time, come on down to PBS during Monster Jam.  We will hopefully be introducing Camden to our new favorite event.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Look who's 8!

Our big man turned 8 years old today, and he was pretty happy about it.

The birthday celebration was all weekend long thanks to yesterday's visit from Grandma Susie and Papa Don.  Included in the festivities was some backyard fun...

Although the water slide was certainly a hit, the highlight of the day was revealing Parker's very special birthday cake.  Upon seeing the cake for the first time, he said, "It looks like me!"

Mission accomplished.  Nice work Sara!

With today being his official birthday, we couldn't go without another cake, so Sara and Parker set out this afternoon to make some delicious cupcakes that we all could enjoy this evening when Grammy and Pop came over.  Mission accomplished again...the cupcakes were fantastic.

Hopefully next year this picture will be complete with Camden here celebrating his big brother's 9th birthday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things we learned on vacation...

  • Lleyton has NO qualms or reservations about blatantly staring at cute teenage coeds. We are going to work with him on this, but watching him longingly gaze at one young lady in particular was possibly the funniest moment of the trip.

  • Parker could live on peanut butter and chicken fingers.

  • Minivans with DVD players and wireless headphones are God's gift to families on long drives.  27 hours in the car and not one unplanned bathroom stop thanks to the endless supply of DVDs we brought with us to entertain the boys, and distract them from having to stop every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom.         

  • I prefer a nice pool over a nice beach.

  • Sara yearns (understatement) to live close to a large body of water, preferably an ocean (I already knew this, but it became even more clear on this trip).

  • Addy bites hard, screams loud, and believes it’s her way or the highway (we already knew this as well...except the biting part, but it also became much more clear on this trip).  

  • Parker smiles every time cap comes off of the camera. 

  • Lleyton and Addy do not. 

  • There is NO easy way to get to the Rosemary Beach/Seacrest Beach/Alys Beach/Seaside area of Florida.  We sat in traffic for hours on the way home trying to find our way to an interstate...ANY interstate.

  • We love Nashville, TN (more specifically the Franklin/Brentwood area of Nashville)

  • Each kid loves having his/her own backpack full of fun things to occupy them in the car.  As you can tell, Addy was pretty pleased with her Dora bag.

  • My new favorite restaurant is Sharky's in Panama City Beach.  Cold beer, delicious fruity drinks for Sara, overlooking a beach that includes a playground for the kids to play on while mom and dad enjoy the aforementioned cold drinks.  What's not to love?

  • If you're in or around Montgomery, AL stop at Sweet P's, you won't regret it.  Their sign piqued our interest while making our way to Florida, so we decided to give it a try, and we were happy we did. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A look back at our vacation...

We took off last Tuesday afternoon for a family vacation to Florida.  We decided to break the approximately 12 hour long drive into 2 legs on the way down and the way back.  Our good friends Kevin and Sandi graciously stayed up late for our arrival on Tuesday night, offering us a place to stay on the way down. 

We were up and at 'em early on Wednesday so that we could arrive at our destination (Seacrest Beach) at a reasonable hour.  Our plan worked as we rolled into our condo complex mid afternoon. 

We checked in and the festivities began...

First trip to the pool...Parker was nice enough to carry Addy's lifejacket.

First trip to the beach.

Lleyton getting in a brief workout with a Shakeweight before dinner.


Our models.

The little ones trying to strategize a way to get me to stop taking pictures of them (it didn't work).

This young man never turns down the chance to have his picture taken.

Striking a pose.

I can only imagine this being a very clear glimpse into the future.

I have a new favorite restaurant, Sharkys.  This is the playground for the kids while we waited for a table.

Best friends.  Sara actually overheard Lleyton asking Addy, "Sissy, are you my best friend ever?".

Pretty excited about the thought of eating chicken fingers and fries overlooking the beach.

Lleyton showing off his powers.

Future Spiderman.

Addy had a blast cheering on Parker as he attempted to surf.

What better way to finish up a great trip than by stopping at one of our favorite restuarants for lunch on the way home.  If you are passing through Louisville, it's worth your time to stop at Queen of Sheba and enjoy some delicious Ethiopian food.

Happy Anniversary St. Basils!

In honor of St. Basil's Cathedral's 450th anniversary I thought I would share my favorite picture of all time.

We miss Russia.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

We loaded the kids into the car yesterday evening and headed over to Grammy and Pop's house for the annual 4th of July fireworks on the lake (the powers that be opted to have the fireworks on the 3rd, which I think was a very good decision). 

We decided to tiptoe our way into the world of personal fireworks by allowing the boys to play around with Sparklers for a bit.  To our delight, there were no instances of the boys sword fighting with the mini-pyrotechnics, hence our first experience was a success.

By the looks of these faces, the boys will be expecting Sparklers for years to come...

Before the main event started, the little men entertained Sara and I with an impromptu dance (turned belly dance) routine on the dock. 

Who knew that the boys dance-off could be topped?  Only by the spectacular firewords display that followed.  If the past is any indicator of the future, we expected to see quite a bit more of this out of Lleyton than we did...

But we ended up being very surprised and even more delighted that his sat on Pop's lap for the majority of the show and he loved every second of it.  Who wouldn't with fireworks like this...

And as the boys learned on Friday night at the parade we went to, it's never a bad time to thank the men and women that make the United States the great place that it is.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What a difference a year makes...

One year ago today we arrived home with our little girl.  She was a sight for sore eyes when we picked her up in Ethiopia, having recently been very sick her head had been shaved and she wasn't much more than skin and bones.  That has all changed. 

She also wasn't a very big fan of her brothers upon the first meeting, but that has changed as well...

July 3, 2010

July 3, 2011

In honor of her big day we made her a very special Ethiopia themed cake.