Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Saturday night we went to a meet 'n greet for a new church we've been checking out. Apparently the other churches in town have tired of me asking "When do you bring out the snakes?" Thus we're diligently looking for a church home where we can meet some new people, get a good cup of coffee on Sunday morning, and get out of the parking lot quickly. Oh, and worship. That, too.

This meeting was at the pastor's house, and the goal was simply for him to introduce some fundamentals about the church and introduce us to some key figures. We started by going around and saying something about ourselves. Erin started to explain that we had met in Indianapolis almost 10 years ago and some other random data when I interrupted and said, "We're the couple with the Chinese kid and the black kid." Immediately you could hear the "Ahhs" and "That Grant is so cute." Erin's method was sort of like having a third eye and introducing yourself by saying that you like walks in the park and sunsets. Might as well go with the obvious.

After Erin and I introduced ourselves, the gentleman next to me began to speak, and almost immediately he teared up.

Now make no mistake, dear readers. I am in no way making fun of this gentleman. He had a touching story, and he was a genuinely nice guy. The issue at hand is all mine.

How do you react when you don't know the individual crying or anyone else in the room? If I'd have been sitting across the room from him, I'd probably have been analyzing my fingernails or occasionally nodding. Instead, I'm sitting right next to the guy and all eyes are aimed in my general direction. Do I give the guy I've never met a hug? Do I pretend that he's not emotional and just get up for more food? Do I feign a sudden nosebleed? It was all very awkward. I felt like I was at a funeral for somebody I'd never met.

The rest of the evening went fine. I didn't accidentally stain the carpet or ask any offensive questions, so Erin considered it a success. But I still left feeling weird. Maybe on Sunday I'll ask the guy if he needs to talk or if I can bring him a casserole next Tuesday night. That would be the church thing to do.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lame Pictures

We recently went to Big Splash Adventure, a large indoor water park in French Lick, Indiana. The kids had a blast. I took one picture, and it was from the day before, in a completely different hotel (how could I pass up the swimsuits, floaties and snow boots?).

And this last weekend, we took the kids on a quick get-a-way which included snow tubing at Perfect North. And, I only took one picture (and not even of the snow!).


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quick Cincy Visit

Erin and I were both pretty stressed out Friday night. I think we both had just had long weeks, and the kids were sort of wearing us out. So after church, we looked at each other and decided that we needed a quick getaway over the holiday weekend. We decided that our default weekend getaway to Cincy would do the trick.

We booked a $50 hotel room at the Hyatt downtown, and I sent a text message (how 2007 of me, right?) to my cousin Kate who now lives down here. She agreed to meet us for dinner with her man friend, Clint, and we made a late afternoon attack on Terry's Turf Club.

Haven't heard of Terry's, you say? Well it's been on several Food Network shows recently, apparently. It's a tiny little place that serves primarily hamburgers the size of a woman's basketball. It was glorious. Plus they have all sorts of random things on their menu like foie gras and things made of chicken. Why would you eat any of these things when there are burgers and fried things to be had?

It was fun to hang out with Kate and Clint, and the kids had a great time tonight at the pool. Mommy and daddy are feeling much better about life also, so I think it was money well spent. Tomorrow we may or may not stop on the way home for some tubing at Perfect North Slopes. We shall see. In the mean time, I plan to lay here in bed and keep my heart beating by manually moving my burger from Terry's around my major organs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Four Years Old, or the "Where did the time go?" edition

It's hard to believe that four years ago our sweet and spicy Grant Nicholas was born into this world. Like most parents, we can remember that first day so well (the next six weeks were a bit of a blur at times).

Grant is so smart and so funny. He's so full of boy. He slays dragons daily, tells complete strangers that he is a special agent with the FBI, and spends long hours perfecting his bow and "arrowing" at enemy submarines (don't try to explain to him that enemy U-boats cannot be sunk by suction-ending plastic arrows). He runs, jumps, climbs, growls, roars and does most other things most commonly referred to as "being a boy." But, he's also extremely tender-hearted. Just today, he started sobbing at the end of The Giving Tree because "it was so sad." He's a snuggler, who loves to give and to get lots of affection.

He loves books (loves!) and television (loves!), and he loves going to preschool to see his friends. He is an extrovert of the highest order, and he is happiest and most energized when he's surrounded by people. He's not remotely shy, talking to anyone who will listen (even those who won't), and I want to go on the record right now that I think he has one of those autobiographical memories that are all the buzz right now. The boy's mind is a steel trap. We often ask Grant about when something happened because we are old and have already forgotten. Seriously, it's a little creepy.

But, most of all, he faithfully loves Jesus, which makes us happiest of all. He is learning daily what it means to be a child of God.

We feel so very, very grateful that Grant's birthmom gifted us with Grant. We feel so blessed that God chose us to be Grant's parents.

Here are Grant's birthdays: from the very first to today.







Grant woke up this morning SO excited to go to school today because today was supposed to be HIS special day. He got to bring the show and tell; he got to be the weather watcher and line leader, and most importantly, the class was celebrating his birthday, complete with songs, a gift and brownies Mommy made.

So, imagine the utter disappointment when he found out that school had been called off for the day. Oh, the tears!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

AwardWallet and Winter Travel

What are the chances that I would need to go to Jackson, Mississippi the one week when they're expecting snow and ice?

After spending an hour on the phone yesterday with customer service departments at several airlines, web sites, and rental car agencies, I was finally left with the realization that there just wasn't much I could do until the snow hits the South tonight. What a pain...

In the mean time, all this travel stuff reminded me that I've been meaning to do a quick post about a new website I discovered that has been a big help over the past few months. It's called AwardWallet, and it basically gives you a single place to track airline points, hotel points, ATM points, etc. My favorite piece is that it shows you your frequent flyer numbers and attempts to automatically log you into the various airline sites with a single click.

I know this may seem trivial, but with airline miles scattered all over the place, this site is a life saver. Plus when I travel with the kids, I don't have to spend an hour digging out their frequent flyer numbers. (Yes, our kids have frequent flyer accounts. Might as well start 'em young...)

Anyway, if you get a chance, checkout AwardWallet.com...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Baby #3

Well, the wait is over for our two, maybe three, followers: info about baby #3. That's right: we hope to bringing home a new baby in 2011. We don't have many details yet, but we do know that we are planning to adopt another domestic newborn (unsure of baby's sex, as we have not yet been selected by a birthmom). We're using the same agency--for better or for worse--and we hope to have our homestudy done by the end of February at the latest. From there, we expect between a one day to six month wait.

The kids are already in bunk beds, so the nursery in our ever-constricting house is empty and ready. Grant and Grace talk about the new baby all the time, and we often catch them playing "adoption" (as they call it) with one of Grace's baby dolls. Bret and I are excited too, and now that I am home full-time, we hope the transition will be a bit more mellow.

Right now, we're just getting fingerprints, background checks and other info in order. We have a mandatory class (don't even get me started--we've adopted two kids for crying out loud) next week, our physicals in early February, and a meeting with our social worker soon.

That's all we know; we'll keep you posted as we have news.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Our little girl

Here are a bunch of random things about Grace that I have typed up (one toddler interrupted sentence at a time) over the last week (translation: if it doesn't flow, blame it on the two kiddos):

Grace is growing up so quickly. In the last two months or so, she's gone from a toddler to a honest-to-goodness preschooler. She throws very few tantrums anymore; she has very few freak out sessions when she doesn't get her way. It might be safe to say (queue: the "she's going to regret saying this music") that we are leaving the terrible twos.

She sings all the time, loves her stuffed animals and dolls, and likes to "do your hair," as she tells me hourly. She is wildly independent, and she's entered a super bossy stage, especially with Grant. She is sweet and affectionate (both on her terms), and she's smart and funny. She is still SUPER particular: whether it's building a lego tower or tearing the paper off of a bandaid, she has a patient and thorough way she does things. She'll make a great surgeon or architect--something where her attention to detail is a good thing! For example, her favorite toy: a piggy bank where she can put change in for HOURS or Legos where she builds tower after tower.

She is starting to like longer books, and for the first time ever, she watched a half hour of Curious George (I don't want my kids zoned out for hours on TV, but that 30 minutes was FABULOUS). She still remains a tad bit uncoordinated on land, but I think she might have a special skill in the water (translation: Olympic diver material, no doubt). She'll start swim lessons with Grant this spring, so we'll see how she does.

She has become very friendly with people, willing to talk and to hug total strangers. The attachment road was hard with Grace, and it took almost a full year before I was willing to say that I we were in the clear, so her complete security as a member of our family is endearing to watch.

Okay, I have to jet. More on Grant next week (the boy turns four--how did that happen?) and baby #3 (more details to come!).