Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Season Traditions

This is by far my favorite time of the year.  I love the lights, the Christmas cheer, family, friends, Christmas music (to a point), good food, good memories at Grandma and Grandpa's house, an amplified reminder to serve others, and especially the reason for the season. . . the birth of the Savior.

This year we took Brody to see the lights at Rock Creek with my sister and her family.
Wow. These people go above and beyond.
This is just a private residence decorated with MILLIONS of lights.  They have a Christmas village displayed to impress -- it is THE largest collection I have ever seen.  Every tree branch, and inch of ground is covered in twinkling lights, and sparkling decorations that wind around several acres. 
People come from miles to see it.
(my pictures don't do justice, but take my word, it's spectacular)

Wide-eyed and bundled.  It was FREEEZING that night.  Brody was so bundled up, he didn't move.  He sat still, and just stared at all of the lights with this look. . .

 Time out to remove a rock from Landon's shoe.

Mr.and Mrs. Claus

They even have a camel that the spectators can feed carrots to.  Who knew camels liked carrots?
I didn't.

Looks to me like they're leaning towards the naughty side.

These pictures have nothing to do with our visit to Rock Creek, but they are some I took pre-Christmas.
Plastered all over Pinterest are pictures similar to this--
 I thought I'd give it a try, and wrap my little guy in Christmas lights too.
 He sat still for a total of 3 shots, and then he was more interested in attempting to un-plug, and plug the lights back in.  Can you say Electrocution Hazard?  Needless to say, we called it good with the three pictures. 
  My idea was to read a Christmas story around the tree each night counting down the 12 days of Christmas.  We didn't accomplish all 12, but who's counting anyway?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Janelle and Justin Forever

The week before Christmas, December 20th to be exact, Brent's little sis tied the knot.
Justin and Janelle were married in the Manti temple, and had a reception the following day in Janelle's hometown.  Then on New Year's Eve they had a reception back east, in Virginia.
Congrats Justin and Janelle!!

Janelle is the second youngest of 15.  Yes, I said 15!
Brent comes from an EXTREMELY LARGE family.  To begin, there were 8 children in Brent's family and from there it grew, and grew AGAIN.
After Brent's wonderful mother passed away from cancer (Brent was in high school at the time), his dad remarried another wonderful woman who had 5 children of her own.  That made 13, but then 2 more kids were added to the clan- Janelle, and finally Jared, the youngest.
Here are some snapshots of a few of Brent's siblings and their families.

 Because of weather, and other circumstances not everyone was able to make it to all of the blessed events at the same time.  With this many of us, sadly it is a rare occasion that we are ALL together.  (After all, there are 50, or is it 60 some odd of us when you add every one up).

Brody was a wild man, and ran crazy in the gym behind the reception all night long.
Brent became a little flustered by all the little kids running wild (I think there were about 20 under age 5 between our family, and the groom's)

Here are about half of the grand kids.  Notice how thrilled Brody is to be in the picture!

(10 of the 12 living siblings, and Justin, the groom, of course!)
 We wish you and Justin the very best, and all the happiness in the world!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feelin' Groovy

My sister threw a groovy birthday bash for Jason's big 4-0!
If you haven't figured out the 70's theme-- he was born in the 70's- duh.
Let me tell ya, this pair was looking pretty far out!!
Mel was going for the Farrah look, but she resembled a barbie, and Jason nailed the bad hair look!

Gee wiz, that party was Dynomite, and so were the outfits!

Brody was content wandering around throwing balloons to people, and Brent and I indulged in some good grub, and the totally awesome music.

Happy Birthday to you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Well, at least that's what I was trying to get Brody to do (sit in his rocking chair by the tree).
It was a little harder than I hoped it would be to get my 20-month-old toddler to cooperate while I attempted to take his picture.  I was sweating by the end, and completely out of ideas for bribes.
So this is what we got. . .

He was eating smarties in this series- that was bribe #1 which worked for a minute.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

National Adoption Awareness Month

November is THE month- National Adoption Awareness month!
Now it is the last day of the month, and I am posting about adoption.
Not because it isn't important.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Each time I sat down to gather my thoughts and write something, I felt like whatever I had to say just didn't do justice to the topic.
How do I adequately express my feelings about something this important to me?
I can't, so to put it plain and simple. . .
We LOVE adoption.
Adoption is the pathway that crowned us with parenthood.
These angels made it possible. . .
 We are still in awe, and so full of gratitude when we think about it (which is often).
Next to the Atonement, can you think of a greater gift? 
The gift of a child?
It's amazing, and humbling to think about how these two loved their child enough to do the impossible.
We saw how much pain they felt, yet at the same time the overwhelming courage that they possessed.
They knew it was right.
They followed their hearts.
For this we are eternally grateful.
 There are those who criticize adoption and say "if you loved your child, why did you give him away?"
The answer is, a birth parent loves her child so incredibly much that she is willing to put her selfish desires aside, put her baby first, and place him in a loving home with two parents who promise to provide the life she dreams of for her baby.
Some say "adoption is the easy way out."
Wrong again.
I remember the day of placement as if it were yesterday.
I also remember the mix of emotions we felt.  We felt incredible joy- that our son was here, and coming home, mixed with pain as we watched the agony Brody's birth families were going through.
The easier choice would've been for them to keep him.
But it wasn't the best choice, and they wanted the best choice for him
The easier choice would've been abortion heaven forbid--which thankfully was never an option in Kourtney's mind.
I can't imagine this world without our little boy in it.
But for many this is the option.
I don't mean to stand on my soapbox. But the statistics are horrible.
60% of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion, nearly 40% choose to single parent, and less than 2% consider adoption.  Why?  When there are so many adoptive couples longing to be parents?
It does my heart good to think of all those amazing birth parents who chose adoption.
Thank you. We love you.

This was taken in the first few days as a new family.

We love this child.
He is our own.
I've heard people say,  "you probably love him just as much as if he were your own."
I know they mean well,
but he IS our own.  We know Brody is our son, he just had to get to us another way.
Biology doesn't matter, and pre-adoption we heard other adoptive parents talk about this.
We always knew we would love an adopted child, but we never comprehended just how much. 
We can't imagine loving him more if he were our biological child.
The most amazing part is that this love is forever.
We are an eternal family, and we were sealed together in the temple when Brody was less than two months old. 

We hope that Brody will feel lucky, and special to be adopted.  We realize that some kids struggle with the idea. But with an open adoption (which we have) there are no secrets, no mysteries, and we plan to be open and honest with our son. He won't have to wonder who he looks like, and where he came from. He will get to hear about his amazing story, and how much he is loved by his forever family, AND his birth families. 

"I feel that adopted kids have a leg up, emotionally. Because the truth is that we chose this child, and who wouldn't like to know THAT about themselves."  Quoted from The R
Yes Brody, we chose you.
Your birth parents were guided to us
by our Heavenly Father, and possibly by you.
"Families are one of God's greatest masterpieces."
Each family is unique, but beautiful.
Our family means everything to us,
and we are so grateful for the gift of adoption. Grateful for Brody's birth families, and to our Heavenly Father.
We had almost given up,
but then this little boy happened. . .
 And he's the best thing that's happened to us.
How can it be that nearly 2 years have passed?!