Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Month in Review

Sorry that it has been so slow. With the start of the school year and Bret's new job, we've been super busy.

We promise to do better soon.

Here are some August pics until then.

Grant's first day of preschool. Mommy could cry.

Grant playing soccer.

Having fun at home.

Some Holiday World pics. Grant's addicted to rollercoasters, and he talks about riding Thunder Mountain (at Disneyworld) every single day (we're heading to Florida in October).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Parties, Soccer, and Three Year Olds

On Saturday, Grant participated in his first team sport -- soccer. It was his first practice, and at the end, they played an impromptu game with another team of three and four year old kids.

Soccer with three year olds was about what you'd expect. Some kids actually went for the ball, some ran back and forth between the field and mommy, and others were content to graze like Ferdinand the Bull.

For most of the morning, Grant was relatively engaged in the actual playing of the sport. He seemed like he understood the basics; although, he did repeatedly line the ball up with the goal using his hands. I explained to him that whoever the geniuses were that invented this game decided that you couldn't use your hands. The expression of confusion he returned mimicked my own. In the end, it seemed like things were going along very smoothly, until Natalie informed Grant that she was BETTER at soccer than him.

Grant and Natalie were introduced to each other early in the practice. Natalie informed another teammate that she wanted to stand next to "the kid with the cool moves." (This came shortly after Grant had shown her some his patented dance moves. What girl could resist?) By later taunting Grant, she taught him a valuable lesson about the ladies -- they shouldn't be allowed to play on the same field as boys. (I kid, I kid...)

Anyway, after Natalie told Grant that she was the better midfielder, he immediately began hollering and growling (his latest habit) and stormed off the field. Erin and I did our best to calm him down and get him back onto the field, but his interest was pretty well gone for the day. Luckily practice was almost over anyway. Natalie 1, Grant 0.

Today we celebrated my nephew's first birthday. Happy Birthday, Drew Michael! Watching Drew Michael wander all over my sister's house got me to thinking a lot tonight about how quickly kids develop in the first couple of years. This, combined with Grant's soccer and dance moves, got me to thinking a lot about just how blessed we are to have healthy, active kids.

As I sit here, it makes me tear up to think about something...ANYTHING...taking away the beautiful energy and spunk that Grant possesses. He has an absolute passion for anything he gets involved with, including things as wide ranging as soccer and dinosaurs. He just lights up at the world around him, and it really is one of the things in life right now that I truly adore. The fact that Grant and Grace are so healthy and vibrant is a gift from God, and I just don't want to ever take that for granted.

I hope as parents that we're able to focus and cultivate that energy in all of our kids. It's a wonderful thing to look at both Grant and Grace right now and think that they can do anything they want to in life (as long as it doesn't involve the mob or a stripper pole). And it's pretty great that we, as parents, get to watch our kids grow up and help them along the way. What a gift...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

State Fair

The lion, quietly approaches his prey. He's careful to make as little noise as possible as he slinks across the savanna, carefully watching the every move of his next meal. Eventually he comes up from behind and...WHOMP!

Yes, siree Bob, that's a Krispy Kreme donut burger being attacked by yours truly. Erin liked this picture because it demonstrated my ability to unhinge my lower jaw when eating a burger. It's a beautiful thing.

Here are some more random pictures from this week's trip to the Indiana State Fair. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

So, this is what happens when...

Mommy cleans out the closet: impromptu dress up!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trade Offs

One of the unexpected outcomes of my return to full-time employment is that when I return home at the end of the work day, Grant just lights up. He's almost unable to contain all of the stuff he wants to tell me about -- what he did all day, how many times Grace has been in trouble, how much he ate at lunch, etc. It's really touching, and it makes me a little teary to think about how genuinely excited Grant is in those moments. I suppose he just got used to me being around for the past few months, so my presence wasn't anything special (Erin went through a similar period after we had been married a while. I suppose eventually it will let up.)

Grace also shows signs of being excited by my return each day, but her response is more geared towards me being someone else to do her bidding. It has less to do with her being excited at my return and more to do with there now being another person in the house to respond to her screams. But alas.

So I guess the trade off is that I only get to see the kids a couple of hours in the evening, rather than all day like has been the case for the past few months. But perhaps absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, and that time will be some solid, quality family time each evening.

Or perhaps by next week both Grant and Grace will realize that I really am returning every day and will go back to punching me in the crotch and throwing food at my head. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Work is Hard

I've now worked two days at my new job.

I've slept approximately 12 hours total over the past two nights.

I've worked approximately 8 hours each work day.

I've been at my desk one hour total in two days.

I've spent the other 15 hours in training.

I'm so tired that I can barely stay up long enough to eat when I get home.

Who knew that four months off would render me unable to store up enough energy to actually work a full day?

Note to other people who take extended summer vacations -- drooling on oneself in front of your new boss is not looked upon favorably.

I'll post more oncessssss.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

Thursday, August 05, 2010


As most of you probably know, I was laid off back in May from my job in the consumer electronics industry. It wasn't totally unexpected, and it wasn't an all bad thing. I had worked in basically the same company (under various guises) for 15 years, and it was time to make a change.

Additionally, we decided earlier in the year that Erin would not teach in the coming school year, instead choosing to stay home with the kids (which will result, no doubt, in a slightly slower, but no less complete, drain on her sanity). Therefore we've been living the past few months in a state of unemployed bliss, choosing to spend time traveling and enjoying the summer as a family.

But fortunately, our condition is coming to an end on Monday morning. I've taken a new job with a small (15 people) software company here in Indy. They make software products to automate various human resource tasks for school districts. My position will primarily involve providing support to the various schools once they've purchased the products, including providing training and looking for further enhancements to the product line.

I really couldn't be more excited about the position, and we feel extremely blessed that I was able to find employment quickly in the current economic climate. The job will give me the opportunity to work directly with customers, travel a little bit domestically, and expand on what limited skills I possess.

So come Monday morning, I'll be dragging out of bed early to head into work, while Erin begins her first year home with the kids. Say a little prayer for both of us. We're going to need it.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Happy Birth...What the...

Yesterday at church, we went to pick Grant up from his Sunday School class. When we arrived, his teacher said, "Oh wait, we need to sing 'Happy Birthday.'" Naturally I assumed that some kid was having a birthday that day, and she wanted to make sure that he or she received the traditional birthday serenade.

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Grant.."

Hold the phone. Grant? Is there some OTHER Grant in this Sunday school class? We stopped the festivities and were informed that Grant had informed the class that it was his birthday. Apparently his jealousy at his cousin's birthday party on Saturday carried over to church on Sunday, and he saw the opportunity for a good con.

We explained to his teacher that it was not Grant's birthday. We explained to Grant that you can't just SAY it's your birthday. (I gave him a little side lecture on lying at church. "You have to pick the time and place, son, and church isn't it.")

He cried and complained that he wanted them to sing to him, and I cried back and complained that I wanted a son who wasn't delusional. In the end, nobody got what they wanted, and we went to Taco Bell for some after-church gastrointestinal distress.

This morning Grant inquired as to whether his birth date could be moved, preferably to something in the coming week. I told him that his birthday was January 13, and the likelihood of that ever changing was very slight. He wasn't happy about it, but I think he finally got the message.

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today,we were given our sweet Tong Min Wei. Inside the Jin Feng Hotel in Nanchang, a nanny from her village orphanage and the orphanage director put little Wei Wei in our arms. We had dreamed about the moment for so long, but nothing could prep us for that very moment. She was so scared and so sick.

She cried for so long (until I put her in the sink for a bath), and she slept through the night (no doubt from sheer exhaustion). She has changed so much in a year. Sometimes, it feels just like yesterday they brought her to us. In other ways, it feels like forever ago that we were in China.

One thing we know: we were meant to raise this child. We love her so infinitely much. We feel so blessed to be her parents.

Grace is a gift from God, the giver of good gifts, of which, she is one of the greatest.