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?!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deck the Halls

Tree up. . . check!
Christmas card labels (mostly) finished. . .  check!
Majority of Christmas shopping done. . . check!
I think this year is a record for me.  I always intend to put my tree up Thanksgiving weekend, but it rarely happens, and normally I haven't even started Christmas shopping.  I decided this year to start early so I could actually enjoy the season, and not stress the season.
I gotta say, it does feel pretty good so far.
"Christmas Vacation?" (Love that movie)
Ha! Don't be fooled.
I actually don't have all that many lights on my tree.
The settings on my camera just make it look that way.

I can sure get a lot accomplished while this little angel is sleeping.
I didn't dare decorate while he was awake for fear he'd be too much help.
We'll see in the morning how "don't touch" goes ;o)

 Christmas always reminds me of my Grandma, Lily Stephens, who happened to be born on Christmas day. She loved Christmas, and always had her house decorated to the fullest- and much of it was hand crafted.  I love that I have some of her Christmas decorations- they take me back to good memories at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Snow

Friday, we got our first substantial snow storm. The snow flakes were ginormous, and it was actually a "pretty" snow fall.  Usually our snow storms are a bit nasty since the wind normally accompanies the snow around here.  But not this time.  The snow fell quietly, and calmly.
 It actually fell straight down (instead of sideways), landed on the tree branches, and stayed there awhile.
. . . Till later that evening, when the wind appeared and messed it all up.
I truly dislike the wind. . .  it's the worst part of winter.  The non-stop, howling, cold wind.

Today, we had some sunshine so Brody, and I ventured outside to play in the white, fluffy stuff.
Brody thought it was great, as long as he didn't have to touch it.
He was content just roaming around, kicking the snow.
He refused to let me put his mittens on, so I guess it was a good thing he didn't want to touch it, or his little hands would've froze.


 It was all good until. . .
This happened.

He did not like the cold, white stuff all over his little hands.
The fun was over so we went inside to warm up.

On a funny note. . .
(and a change of subject)
We had this ham in the fridge which had been thawed for a couple days, and we knew we had to get it cooked soon, or it we'd have to throw it away. So Thursday night, Brent decided we should stick it in the oven, and let it cook while we were sleeping so it would be ready the next day.
I was up late, getting things done around the house, and Brent had fallen asleep while putting to Brody to bed, but wandered out of Brody's room about midnight.  I talked Brent into putting the ham in the oven for me so I could finish up what I was doing, and we could both go to bed.
The next day Brent took the ham out and opened the tin foil, then just kind of walked away and left it, and started playing with Brody.
Me: "What are you doing? I thought you wanted to make a ham sandwich."
Brent: "It's still in the plastic."
I was confused by what he meant, so I walked over to take a look and sure enough. . .
He forgot to take the ham out of the plastic it was packaged in before he put it in the oven!  Hahahahahaaa!
Way to go, honey!  Nice effort, but I guess I won't ask you to help me at midnight again.
I surveyed the ham, and the plastic was all still intact.  It hadn't melted, and we reasoned that since you put a turkey in a plastic bag before you stick it in the oven, the ham was probably still edible.
So we ate it anyway. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

He Makes Me Smile

Must have had some important phone calls (plural).
 Short story about the phones Brody's holding.  They have a history of terrorizing.  They're just cheapo, play phones that make irritating "phone" sounds, and have an annoying recordings that say, "operator, can I help you?," "leave a message," followed by dialing.  One night Brody took them in the bath tub with him, and it was fine because I hoped they would get ruined.  A few nights later, my parents were staying at our house and the phones mysteriously started playing their annoying sounds OVER, and OVER again in the MIDDLE of the night.  My mom got up and took them out of the bathtub toy basket, and nicely wrapped them in a towel to try and muffle the noises.  It didn't work, and I woke up and heard them too.  So I opened the back door, and chucked them on the back lawn (while the sprinkler system was running, hoping this time they would be ruined, and I planned to pick them up the next morning and throw them in the dumpster).  I completely forgot about them. . . until a couple days later when Brody and I were driving to the store, and I heard, "operator, can I help you?"
Those dang phones!  They're tantalizing me.
Thanks, Dad for planting them in my car.  I owe you one.
Needless to say, some how we still have the stupid phones. 

Classy, huh?!
 I was taking a shower one morning, and I could hear Brody fumbling around in our closet.  When I got out of the shower, I went to check on him to see what he was doing. 
And this is what he was doing!!
He actually walks better in them than I do.
 I usually lock him in our master suite while I'm in the shower to try and minimize the trouble he can get into while I'm not watching.  Once I failed to do this, and while I was showering, Brody was frantically gathering everything he wasn't supposed to touch around the house (such as a glass picture frame with a picture of my Grandma in it), and putting it all in a pile in my bedroom.  It was hilarious actually, seeing him run just as fast as those little toddler legs would take him, trying to get everything he'd been dying to touch gathered up!
He had quite a pile harvested!

This must mean he's been around Brent's cow dogs too much. . .

 How could this grin not make your day?  It does mine.
Take a look at his ear.  Yes, that is a pea.  We switched from stuffing things up our nose, to now our ear.  Fantastic!

I love this kid.
Even when he's grumpy.

The Grandparents

We always love spending time with Grandpa, and Grandma.
Just before they left for Arizona, we went to see them. 

Here's Grandma and Brody

 A few months earlier they came to our house to see us.  It's nice that for half of the year they live fairly close to us so we can see them.  This winter we'll have to visit them, and catch some warmer weather while we're there.

We love Grandma and Grandpa!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Old Man, A Witch, and Their Puppy

Brent, and I (mostly me) thought it would be fun to dress up for Halloween along with Brody.
After all, we don't want to be considered some of those "boring parents."  However, this didn't earn us a FUN label as far as Brody was concerned.
When Brody saw Brent with his scary mask on, he clung to me like a magnet, and refused to even look at his dad.
When I first appeared out of the bedroom dressed in my costume, Brody was in his high chair eating.  He caught a glimpse of me, and jumped as if he were startled by my appearance.  Then, he sized me up with a sideways look for a moment, and I could tell he wanted to figure it out from a distance. 
It was a little disturbing to him, so I kept some distance until he decided I was still his mom under all that garb.
But after Brent's mask went on, I was A-okay.
He held on to me.  TIGHTLY.   Then. . .
. . . he flat out burst into tears.  It was pathetic, and REALLY sad.
Poor little pup.
 I thought Halloween was supposed to be fun,
but he IS a little young for all that scary stuff.

So Brent ditched the mask, and Brody got over it really quickly.
It was funny though because if the mask was laying on the couch, or anywhere besides ON Brent, then Brody was fine with it, and would laugh, and swat at it.

We took him to a "trunk-or-treat."
When we first arrived, there were kids running around everywhere in their costumes busily collecting candy, but Brody couldn't have cared less.  He was more interested in the kids playing football behind the church.  He stood by this tree and watched them, and occasionally jumped with his arms in the air as if he were trying to get their attention so they'd throw the ball to him.
 This child is obsessed with balls, and is constantly throwing them AT us.  I think he's trying to throw them TO us, and play catch, but he fails to warn us, and usually the only warning we get is when we see a ball flying toward us from our peripheral vision.  It isn't just a toss either.  He has a pretty good arm for a 19 month old. 
In nursery last Sunday, one of his leaders commented that she'd never seen a nursery kid "throw that accurately."  I'm not so sure that was a good thing to be told about my child in nursery.
But I chose to take it as a complement (and we'll have to work on him not throwing things AT others. . .)
A quarterback someday?  Maybe. . .

Anyways, he makes a pretty cute puppy. 
What do you think?
Eventually we got him engaged in the task at hand, and started "trunk-or-treating."
But he just kind of wandered around with a glazed-over look on his face.
It was a little much for him to take in. 
He didn't really care about the candy, or the other kids in their costumes.  We had to coax him to take any candy.

But he found some leaves that he thought were pretty cool to play in,
and someone brought their bull dogs dressed up in costumes. Brody was really into them.
I guess he's drawn to his own kind.

He cracks me up.
Isn't this typical of a dog?

Brody and Brent trick-or-treating at my sister's house.

We ended our night, hanging out at my the Weir's house, and Brody walked around all night saying, "rawrrr."  I'm not sure where he picked that up.
On the way home our little puppy was pooped, and by the time we pulled into the garage he was sound asleep.
We had such a fun Halloween, and I'm sure it will get even better next year.