Sunday, October 28, 2007

Football fun

As the daughter of a sports fan who only fathered girls, I was exposed to a great variety of live sporting events throughout my childhood. Though I no longer really follow baseball or basketball, my love of football remains. We’re not an NFL kind of family, but together Dan & I really enjoy college ball. Even when Dan’s beloved USC is having a hard day or my Washington Huskies are having a hard season, we’ll watch just about any good match up or tension-filled 4th quarter. But anyway, the point is this: I ran across two unforgettable football clips this week that I just had to share. This is a video from a division III school in Texas. It’s a little hard to follow at first, but a pretty funny and unbelievable ending. For the second I’ll link you to our friends, the Pyromaniacs, since Phil does a much better job rehearsing the background than I could. All I have to say is, how proud would you be to be this kid's grandpa? Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My baby is one!

Reagan turns one today, and my feelings approaching this event have been mixed. While it is a big milestone, in many ways it seems very anticlimactic. One year ago today was just a normal day for us – we had no idea that halfway around the world a little girl we would come to love with all of our hearts had been born. We surely thought about her and prayed for her on that day, but we have no cherished memories to accompany this celebration. Dan went to work while I stayed home with Alyssa and Parker, and I then spent the evening teaching my Cost Accounting course. There are no stories to rehearse of going into labor, packing up for the hospital, checking in, enduring the pain, joyfully setting our eyes on our child, greeting visitors, or any of the other things that normally accompany a birth. Instead I’m left to imagine what that day must have been like for the woman who gave Reagan life. Her feelings likewise must have been very mixed both then and now. She endured the pain of childbirth, but probably without the joy a mother is usually rewarded with at the end. Perhaps she was relieved to no longer be pregnant, but also faced the pain of knowing that she would never really know the baby she had cared and sacrificed for over the previous 9 months. While I wonder about and pray for her, she is probably equally curious about us. Perhaps she wonders who Reagan has become, what she looks like, whether she’s healthy, happy and loved. She may know by now that Reagan has been adopted by Americans. I wonder how she feels about a part of herself now residing so far away. I wonder whether we’ll ever get to meet this special lady. Somehow I think probably not. It’s strange that so many clues about who our daughter is and who she’ll become are hidden from us. Reagan herself will likely have even more unanswered questions than I do. I pray that she will be able to reconcile those missing pieces with the little bit we do know. More importantly I pray that she will one day embrace Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and find her identity in Him. So, we will celebrate today with a special appreciation for the life we have been entrusted with, and both the God and the woman who made that life possible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No more pumpkins

Well, it's a good thing we went to the pumpkin patch when we did. According to reports I've heard, the ranch in the pictures below was one of the still-innumerable locations destroyed by the raging wildfires. Life around here has been pretty crazy since Sunday, as I'm sure you now know from the national news coverage. By God's grace, everyone we know who was evacuated has since returned to their homes unharmed. Now they're just digging out from a pervasive layer of dust and ash. Not too big of a deal, considering the alternative that so many families are dealing with. Please continue to pray for all of those affected, and that God would send a little humidity (dare we say rain?!) and calm winds our way.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Please pray

If you don't live with us here in southern California, you may not know that much of the area is dealing with out-of-control wildfires. We are not in immediate danger, but it sure is smokey and windy here! Our neighbor had a large tree fall on his property today and we've been busy chasing our outdoor furniture across the lawn. The news is saying at this point that there are gusts up to 80 mph and relative humidity is 4%, which is obviously not good for fire-fighting. My sister-in-law and her family, as well as some of our friends, have evacuated their homes, and several dozen houses have already been lost. God certainly has the power to comfort those families and to protect the fire-fighters and structures still being threatened. Please pray that He would do so!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Office

Around here, we’re fans of the quirky, sweet, and increasingly funny show called The Office. You may remember a while back that Dan managed to score a tour of the set with one of the executive producers. Well, said producer invited them back, so yesterday Dan enjoyed one of those famous, entertainment-industry catered lunches with the cast, and sat in on a day of filming. Dan has yet to stop talking about how kind everyone was, and how much work goes into even the simplest of scenes. Stanley quickly became his buddy, leading Dan to the brownies when snack time came around. Phyllis was just as sweet in person as on the show, and both Creed and Toby were happy to chat for a while and pose for pictures. Needless to say, Dan had an incredible time, and I have a feeling we’ll now be watching the show at least three times each week instead of our normal two!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A gray day

It is a truly lucky girl who has a cosmotologist for a sister. I am one of those few who can trust her hair to hands who love her and will tell the truth, even when the truth is unpleasant. Saturday, Sarah became the bearer of this sad news: I have begun the journey towards my grandmother’s salt and pepper hair. Sarah discovered (and pulled!) my first gray hair. I know it’s only one, and when the time comes for all-over, gray-covering color the service will be free, but I had hoped to hold out on this milestone a little longer. Maybe at least until I say good-bye to my twenties in December. Or maybe until I’ve walked “in the way of righteousness” long enough that my gray head really will be a “crown of glory” (Proverbs 16:31). Or maybe it’s just not that big of a deal at all. But in my vanity, I’d really prefer to stay a natural brunette!

Friday, October 12, 2007

We have a little walker!

Reagan took her first independent steps 2 weeks ago, but it’s becoming apparent that crawling will soon be a thing of the past. She can already put 10 or more steps together before falling and will walk without any kind of encouragement from us. It’s happened so quickly that I don’t even have a lot of great video yet, but here's a photo of one of those fun, shaky steps, and a picture of Reagan laughing at her mama's attempts to capture it. Honestly, she just looks way too little to be walking. She is just a couple of weeks away from her first birthday but Reagan is the size of your average six month old, so looking at her it’s hard to imagine that she can actually walk. Alyssa and Parker were both early walkers too, and while I’m obviously thrilled that Reagan was so on-target developmentally when she joined our family, I had secretly hoped that she might remain less-mobile a little longer than they did. There sure is a lot more they can get into (and a lot more quickly) when crawling isn't the only option!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still little

As is the plight of most eldest-children I think, Alyssa already seems so grown-up. Compared to Reagan, and even Parker (though their 19 month age gap is quickly shrinking), Alyssa is responsible, knowledgeable, tall, poised, articulate and independent. Though she’s not yet five, it’s easy for me to forget that she is still very much a child. That is, until glimpses of her naivety shine through, reminding me that she’s still quite little. Things like…

  • Until this week she didn’t know who the tooth fairy is
  • She would still jump at the opportunity to sleep with a pacifier
  • An ice cream cone is a really big treat
  • So is getting her own soda or a “buy” lunch at school
  • Her nightmares are about crocodiles
  • She can’t comb her own hair
  • She still insists that I sing “rock-a-bye-baby” to her, wrapped up in a hooded towel after a bath
  • The average kids meal is still too big for she and Parker to finish off in partnership
  • The number of “obedience” stars accumulated at school is an important tally
  • Palm Springs and Vietnam are roughly equidistant from our home
  • She prefers to sit by mama

I realize that this list will quickly shrink… but I hope that the last one remains for a very, very long time.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Disney pumpkins

Okay, so we’ve made another trip to Disneyland. Despite appearances on this blog, we really aren’t hard-core Disney fans. In fact, there’s quite a bit about the company and many of the movies that we don’t love, but the park really is one of our favorite places. We have season passes and bring our lunches so it’s not terribly expensive, and the kids naturally love it. The longest we’re ever there is about 5 hours and I get a nice dinner out of it, so I love it too! Dan’s not completely sold yet but we don’t always drag him along, and he’s coming around to the idea that it’s more about just watching the kids.
One of my favorite parts is the “park” part of Disneyland park. The landscaping is always impeccably maintained and the creativity of men with God’s creation is quite remarkable. This time I was most impressed with the fall flowers and pumpkin carving. They have the cleanest petting zoo you’ve ever seen at the back of the park, and Thursday it was decorated with pumpkins carved into Disney characters. Pretty amazing! Here are a couple of examples, as well as the obligatory photos of my adorable kids and nephew!