Saturday, December 26, 2009

The day after CHRISTmas....

The day after Christmas is spent with Aaron's family! We eat, open gifts and let the kids play! This year we also got together with Aaron's extended family and we took a picture of the great-grandkids that were there...they are sitting on the very same fireplace that many years ago Aaron and all his cousins sat on. It may seem like A LOT of great-grandkids, least five or more weren't there. Aaron's Dad comes from a big family....and it's lots of fun to see all those people we don't see very often. I made Eden & Hayden tutu's and Hayden is modeling one in the pictures...Halle got a baby buggy from Nana and Papa and she LOVES it...just not when she can't get tables, chairs and people out of the way or...doesn't turn the corner very well.

Reading with her Nana...

Seriously, this was one of about 5 shots...and it's as good as it gets!
All the great-grandkids...Elijah, Jayden, Tate (on Eden's lap), Eden, Hayden, Kai, Bryce and Halle...she's the brown one....hehehe!

Friday, December 25, 2009

CHRISTmas Day 2009

This probably my most favorite day! I so love hanging out in my sweats with my family....eating my Mom's yummy food...the prime rib was GREAT just have to be patient...breakfast casserole...and I made sticky buns for the first time. I think they will be the NEW tradition. We open stockings and then presents. Followed by a day of just much fun! Halle got some fun stuff...a stuffed chicken from Great Grammie Carla...she loves to say "cluck, cluck, cluck"...just like her "Barnyard Dance" book....jammies from Grammie, her Little People School and a so fun singing Crayola thing. TiTi got her the cutest outfit from Gymboree and a new baby Cabbage Patch. Aaron got his most favorite gift EVER....a Book about building tube amps. If you want to know about'll have to ask him. He's been in the garage ever since! Just kidding, but...seriously, he LOVES it! I got a super cute, hip, brown purse, cozy slippers...and Lia Sophia necklace and a fun black sweater. Halle slept like a dream in her Pack-n-Play that we put in Grammie's walk-in closet....and Amber added THREE more purses to her collection! SHEESH!! But...most important we all got to spend time together!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

CHRISTmas Eve 2009

For Christmas Eve 2009 we started off with Halle waking up to look under the tree and find her Pal Violet from Uncle Shaun and Auntie Heather. She loves her....Violet is a Leap Frog toy and you program her with your computer...she knows Halle's name her favorite food and color. It's been fun to see Hal's face when she sees Violet. Definitely one of her favorite things. My friend Kristin and my Mom came over Christmas Eve morning and had breakfast with Halle and I while Daddy was helping The Grace's move into their new house. The rest of the day was spent preparing for Christmas Eve at my Aunt & Uncle's. Christmas Eve is always spent with my Mom's extended family. We take turns at different houses and this year we were at the Hall's. Halle loves spending time with her cousins and checking out all the new things at other's houses...we just have to keep on extra good eye on her. We ate a yummy meal...I think Halle ate her weight in ham....and then opened our gifts. We draw names and the guys have a grab bag gift of sorts. This year Daddy got a battery charger with AA and AAA batteries...those will definitely come in handy at our house for all Hal's toys. He also got a HUGE Mr. Goodbar and the gift that keeps on giving: My Dad's UW headband. Just a little background on this...last year we gave that with Aaron's gift to Colby in hopes that it would be the gift that kept on coming back. It's a great way to remember my Dad and he would think it was so funny! You see, my Dad and Uncle Gary are the ONLY Huskie fans on that side of the family. HEHEHE!!

***Please excuse our grainy pictures...somehow the settings on the camera got changed...gee, I wonder how that happened??***

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas JOY!

This is Hal and I last Saturday. We weren't sure how she would react to the tree, hence the "corral". While I was *trying* to put up the ornaments/garland last friday she was right behind me trying to take them off and pushing me OUT of the corral. Little Turkey! But, this week Halle went to her "Auntie's" and didn't touch ONE tree or ornament. So, the corral has now been taken down and she hasn't touched our's once since then. What you can't see in this picture is her reaction....she is in total AWE of this tree and it's sparkling lights and "pretty" decorations. I was explaining to Hal about the star on the top and the lights and the ornaments. She is soaking it all in....I can't wait for her to open up her gifts and spend time with her family! We have a book that I bought for her last Christmas that tells the story of Baby Jesus and Christmas. We have been trying to read that to her and singing lots of "Jesus Loves Me"...and she's working on saying "Jesus"...He is the Jesus for the Season....please, let's not forget that. It's so easy to get caught up in everything else. But, he truly is the reason!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fetching the Christmas Tree!

The weather was beautiful yet oh so chilly on Sunday, but...we needed our tree and Grammie needed her' off we went. We all bundled up really good, but...Mommy forgot Halle's gloves.....She could hardly move anyway! But...boy did she look cute. We would have more pictures, but...she decided she would rather be *running* around and not hanging out with Mommy & Daddy. We did manage to get some pictures with Grammie and while Hal was chillin' in the Ergo on Mommy's back!! Don't you love Halle's new hat that her Nana made for her!!?? It's so cute!! I promise to post some pictures of our Christmas tree and decorations soon.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just because

I should be making cookies, folding laundry and cleaning my house, but...I'm not! Because for a few weeks now this has really been on my heart. Often I will think of something I want to post about and mull it over for weeks on end. I want my posts to be meaningful and really want to express how I'm feeling, but...sometimes, it just doesn't come out right. I'm hoping and praying this will not be one of those times. Just recently, two very good friends of mine have delivered new babies! Because I love them and their families I have made meals for both of them. Also, recently I have become acquainted (through Facebook) with a sweet gal I graduated with who, like me, has experienced loss in her life. She and her husband have also experienced infertility, with her most recent loss just months ago. She has quickly become someone I treasure corresponding with. You see, when you've gone through infertility and loss you gravitate to others who have been through what you have. They are the ones who understand what you have been through and why you feel the way you do. This gal, let's just call her "A" and her husband have also adopted a daughter. We have a huge connection there as well. A few weeks ago,"A" congratulated me for being able to make meals for my friends and spend time with them and their new babies. I thought about this and wondered how it could be such and accomplishment? I quickly realized that "A" was where I had been at one time. I would never have been able to do this when I was SMACK in the middle of our TTC'ing journey. It hurt...and it hurt A LOT! I couldn't even look at another pregnant woman without hanging my head and crying!! Jesus took that from me....He mended my broken heart and gave me a gift! I shared with "A" that it was when I gave my infertility over to Jesus that I felt free....and after sharing this with Aaron he reminded me of something else. When the focus is taken off of oneself it is so much easier. And, to be very honest with is so healing for me. Not to mention the snuggles I get...who wouldn't like snuggling with new little people?? My Jesus has given me a gift....that is serving & giving! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to make meals and bake for others. I would spend my life savings (right now that's not much) on others. Not only is that gift God given, it's been passed down through three generations. My Mom is the very same way, and her Mom, my Grandma Rose taught her this gift. I'm thankful, very thankful for these women in my life. I wish my Grandma Rose was here today...she would love to see this in action!! So, "A", I hope you don't mind me sharing this. I'm praying Jesus blesses you with an unexpected gift...I'm praying you'll get to the place where you can spend time with others who are pregnant and love on their would do an incredible job!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My *best* friend

Just yesterday I received the BEST message on my cell phone. That was from my BFF Jess! She just told me she was thinking about me!! I loved that...she also said she despised Facebook...that's because all her dear friends don't post on their blogs anymore because of it!! So, in honor of my dear friend I'm going to try and do better. She and I have been friends since we really didn't know we were friends. We grew up in the same church, in the same nursery doing the same silly things...we are six months apart and were in the same grade in school. Even though we live in the same county, we don't see *nearly* enough of each other. Living at opposite ends of the county just doesn't work well. She is an AMAZING Homeschooling Mama of four kiddos, Jake 9, Savannah 8 and twin boys, Honor & Justice that turned 1 in August. We have seen each other through lots and lots of ups and downs in our lives. We went shopping for training bras together, ok...I already had mine I just went along to give moral support....stole road signs together...I wasn't in my right boyfriend and I had just broke up, that's my excuse...wore more make-up at age 12 then we do now...gotta love the bright blue & green mascara....went along with all the fads including stirrup pants and long sweaters as well as matching shirts from the "Cube" to start off our high school years. I remember riding in her blue Chevy Luv to a District Basketball game and scrounging through her ash tray for enough change to buy two "Cheeseburger All-American" Meals. She has been with me through the death of my Dad and my infertility and she was one of the first to call me after learning about Halle Grace. She makes me smile and challenges me in my faith. She knows how to put me in my place gently, when I most need it. She has loved me through ALL stages of my life. Jess is one of those friends who could move away (she did right after high school) for years and when she comes is like she's never been gone. You pick up right where you left off!! I can count on her to eat my Snickerdoodles, Mac-N-Cheese & Monster Cookies. She also got me in big trouble, I had to make dinner for a week, when I was in High School. I said our dinner looked like dog food....she told my Mom I said dog *poop*...not so good!! AND...guess what I still love her!! I love her so much I had to dig up this picture of her and I on her wedding day.....I wish I had a picture of the two of us together now! We're going to work on that....I love you Jessica Mary!!! Thanks for reading my blog......xoxoxoxoxox

Monday, October 12, 2009

Our TEXAS Adoption Journey - Part 2

I had to go back and see where I left off. We had just received the phone call from Christian Homes and received the pictures of OUR daughter...Halle Grace. We made the necessary calls to family members right then and there at Aaron's work. I asked my Mom is she was ready to be a Grandma...she wasn't sure right then, I insisted she better figure it out....she now had a Granddaughter. Aaron's Mom did almost everyone I talked to that I called. I called Miss Dena right away with the news...I knew she would want to know. Those moments I will treasure forever. I love all the enthusiasm we got from each and every person who loves us! I did go back to work that day, but...I don't think I got very much done!! Everyone at work gathered around as I pulled up the picture of our was so cute. We spent the next week preparing to leave for Texas. I washed more pink clothes than I had my WHOLE life. Everyone wanted to shower Halle with gifts. Grammie & Auntie Amber went shopping and bought practically a whole wardrobe. We packed our suitcases and really didn't know how long we would be gone. Aaron could only stay for a week so, we were praying we would be back in a week with Halle. AND...that would be Thanksgiving Day. During this time I contacted a friend of mine, Rachel. A friend I had only met over the internet through an infertility website I have posted on since 2005 when Aaron and I had begun the long journey of trying to conceive. Rachel lives very near Austin, TX and had offered her home for us to stay in. We chatted on the phone and it felt like I had known her FOREVER! If she lived here or I lived there we would so be friends forever!! We took Rachel up on her offer. The plan was this. We would fly into Dallas (we used air miles and could only fly into that airport) to Tyler, stay there for three nights and drive to Austin to stay with Rachel and her family for as long as we needed. Wednesday night before we left neither Aaron nor I could sleep..we were so excited! Our flight left at the crack of dawn...5:40am...but, that didn't matter we were too excited. We arrived at the airport, empty infant car seat in tow, faces aglow. I can not tell you how many people asked about that empty car seat. It was a good lead-in for the story of Halle. Our flight to Texas was uneventful...for that we were glad! We arrived in Dallas and made our way to the rental car counter. Can I just tell you how glad I was to have my husband with me. He is so great with all of this stuff and had it planned out. We finally got our car and began our journey to Tyler...first stop..."Sonic" the time we didn't have one near us and we couldn't wait to experience that. We arrived in Tyler after a small detour. Well, this city has a two *loops* in it...everything is on a loop...kinda confusing, but...we finally found our way to our hotel. A Marriott of course, Residence Inn I think. It had a small sitting area, table & chairs and little kitchen. We we got into the room the "Pack-n-Play" was already set up for little Halle. That night we ate dinner at "Chili's"...that's another place we wished we had here. We just don't have one close enough! Aaron and I immediately noticed the Texas hospitality...we have NOTHING like it here in Washington. I wanted to take our waitress home with us!! HEHEHE! We wanted to get a good night's sleep as the next day we would meet Halle, her Birth Mom & her foster family. How does one prepare for that?? Well, we prayed a lot! AND...I didn't eat much breakfast the next morning...I was way too nervous. I spent time on the Hotel's computer the next morning updating this very blog and my Facebook status....the clock on the computer was wrong and I only had minutes to pack Halle's diaper bag and get to the car....and we were off to the agency to meet Halle Grace.....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Daddy's Pick...

He calls this one, "Two Brown Bears"....seriously how cute is this? Hal was using her bear for a pillow!! This bear was used in our wedding and now Halle gets to love on it....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So Sweet!

Just a sneak peek at a birthday pic! This is for you Grammie Mary!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy FIRST Birthday!

Miss Halle -- 1 year old
Tomorrow is Halle's first birthday...I seriously can't believe it! WOW! She has been with us for 10 whole months. In a way it seems like just yesterday we arrived home from Texas. other ways I feel like she's been ours FOREVER!! This little girl is the light of our lives. She brings us so much joy and LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of laughter. So, here dear sweet little girl is your birthday letter from Mommy!!

Dear Halle Grace,
Mommy can not believe you are going to be one tomorrow....the time has flown by!! I was telling Daddy just the other night that I can hardly remember what it was like when you were so tiny. When you came to live with Mommy & Daddy you were about, you weigh 20lbs and you are so get that from your Birth Mommy! Words can not express how much I love you little girl...I will NEVER take for granted that love. I will kiss your cheeks until you grow too big and won't let me any more and, just for the record, that's going to be a long way off!! You sweet brown girl fill Mommy's life with smiles, laughter and so much fun. I love, love, love that you love music just like your Mommy & Daddy. Dancing is one of your favorite things to do! And you have more rythmn than either one of us has. You face life head on with no fear though we're not sure if that's good or bad, but...I'm going with good. This would be the reason that tonight you got your very first bloody lip. For the same reason, we're pretty sure it won't be your last. We're working on saying some words right now and I seriously, never want to forget how you say "dog". It's the cutest have to concentrate really hard and then at the end you don't get the whole "g" out but, lots of spit comes instead! You little girl could charm the socks off anybody...the checker at the grocery store, Grammie's friends at the bank and more than anything your Daddy!! You love your Daddy so much and that makes Mommy so happy...I love to see your face when you see your Daddy after he's been away at work. You use your ever so speedy crawling skills and get to him as fast as you can. You follow him EVERYWHERE...and even wait outside the bathroom door for him. Your Daddy waited a very long time to have a little girl like you, Halle Grace. There are so many things I don't want to how you get so excited when we come to get you out of your crib, I sometimes think you might jump right out you're so excited. Or, how you tip your sippy cup back so far when you're drinking you almost fall makes us laugh sweet girl! And all the silly games we can play with you and your blankie. We can get you giggling so hard....But, my most favorite thing of all is snuggling with you sweet girl. I rocked you for just a *little* bit tonight before you went to bed...I was remembering when you were so tiny your feet hardly made it to my waist...and you'd tuck your legs up with your little bum in the air. Now your legs are so long they hang down to my knees when I'm sitting. But, just like kissing your cheeks...I will rock you until you won't let me anymore! Halle, Daddy and I pray that this year will be one of wonder and delight for you. That your little brain will retain lots and lots and you will learn more and more. We pray our Jesus will bless you baby girl...that He will keep you safe and away from harm. But most of all we pray that when the time is right you will ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. We love you Halle truly are a gift from God!!!

Mommy (and Daddy too!)
Miss Halle -- Two days old

Friday, September 11, 2009

From a a bunny!!

I was thinking about fall today...and Halloween...which led me to think about a costume for Halle. I remembered that Auntie Lisa had given us cousin Eden's costume of a bunny and wanted to see if it would fit!! Guess does PERFECTLY!! And seriously, have you seen a cuter bunny?? With that little brown face. She LOVED having the costume on...she was so silly and crawling EVERYWHERE...I could hardly get a good picture of her. comparison...we have a picture of Halle last year at Halloween...thanks Mary Lynne & Robbie!! We're so glad Halle got to spend the time with you all!!!

Fun at the Park

On Sunday, September 6, we celebrated Great-Grandma Benner's 80th birthday!! WAHOOO!! I asked her how it felt to be 80...she said, "Not much different...I still feel with my hands!"...what a jokester! We are glad we got to spend some time with Grandma, the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. We were at the the city park which made it lots of fun for all the kids. AND..the rain held out until we were leaving....PHEW! Halle especially loved Lisa & Matt's puppy Hixson. If she could, she would hug every dog she sees...I'm so glad too. I was scared of dogs for a long time and I don't want her to be like that too! After we had lunch, cake & visited we took Halle down the park to "play" and have an impromptu photo shoot. We needed some pictures for her birthday invites. She loves the swings and fact, she was crying because I went down with her. SHEESH!! Can you say: strong willed?? That's our little girl!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Let's just call this....BED HEAD!

Just a little fun in the morning.....or this could have been after her nap! Either way...she's got some DO!

Friday, August 28, 2009


I actually can't believe that at this time last week we were in our car traveling to Billings, Montana. WOW!! What a loooooonnnnngggg trip. We left our house last Thursday at 4:45am. YEP...that is mighty early. I scooped Hal up from her crib while she was still sleeping...she woke up when I put her in her car seat, but...fell back asleep. Halle was such a super duper trooper. We drove to Missoula that first day and had many stops along the way. That was a good thing...both Hal & Mommy & Daddy needed to stretch and get our of their seats. Can I just say hotels are EXPENSIVE. Even not so nice ones. We are very fortunate that Aaron's Auntie Joy works for the Marriott and we are able to receive a "Friends & Family" discount. BUT...not all towns have a Marriott and sometimes, because of availability, they can't offer that discount. SO...all that being said, we were not able to stay in a Marriott that first night in Missoula. We stayed at the "Days Inn" in downtown Missoula. I warn you all.....NEVER EVER stay there. It reeked...of must and mold and our dear sweet daughter woke up with a barky cough in the middle of the night because of the must and mold. Not to mention the fact that there was NO parking and a really nasty lady reeking of alcohol, came up to Halle and touched her while I was holding her.....SHEESH! AND...continental breakfast, my was NOT! We were very glad when we could leave that place and head to Billings to meet up with the rest of Aaron's family. His sister, Heather, was getting married on Saturday in Billings. I think I need to mention part of our drive....through Bozeman to Billings. It was raining....SUPER HARD....I was driving at that time and could not even hear Aaron talking to me in the car. Not my idea of fun. I was praying hard as my wipers were swooshing ever so quickly...the fastest they would go. We arrived in Billings around dinner time and were whisked away to visit with the Hirschi's (Shaun's family, Heather's now husband) at their house.....and eat some yummy dinner. We got back to our hotel in time to relax a little by the pool before Miss Halle needed to lay down for the night. Thanks so much Auntie Joy....this hotel was not lacking and it was beautiful and had everything the "Days Inn" didn't. "Residence Inn-Marriott"....was the best! A full breakfast buffet in the morning with an eating area. We shared a suite with Aaron's sister, Andrea her husband Guy, and their two boys, Bryceton & Kai. It was a lot of fun! We really enjoyed sharing that time with them. Hal goes to their house every Thursday and she loves her Auntie, Uncle & those silly cousins....that was very evident!! Heather and Shaun were married on Saturday....that's about all I have to say about that. By 10:30pm we were ready to get Halle back to her bed...she was 3 hours passed her bedtime and we were all cranky and tired. We stayed in Billings until Tuesday morning and then made our way back to Washington, slowly. We stayed with my favorite Youth Pastor and his wife, Lowell & Tami Hochhalter, in Missoula on Tuesday night. We had so much fun catching up with Lowell, Tami, Courtney, Carson, Lacey & Allie. We had yummy ice cream with fresh huckleberries. YUM-O! AND...Lacey & Allie fought over Halle. I loved that!! AND them....I babysat for Courtney & Carson when they were little so, this was so much fun for me!! Wednesday we spent some time with Lowell, Lacey & Allie before we left fo Spokane. Upon a recommendation from Lowell, we stopped off in Alberton, Mt at this so cool used bookstore that has over 100,000 used books. They are all stuffed into a small space, but...I had so much fun. AND...bought 4 books for $14. I needed more reading material for the car ride. Lunch that day was at Silver Dollar City it was so yummy. We checked into our hotel in Spokane in time to take Hal swimming for the very first time. She LOVED it, did take her awhile to get to that point. Dinner that night was at the "Old Spaghetti Factory" one of my favorite places. I was disappointed...the service stunk and we had to wait for 1/2 hour to get our table. Not to mention the fact that I ordered WHOLE WHEAT spaghetti with my white clam sauce and didn't get it. Guess what?? We got my meal for free! AND...Hal loved the spaghetti with brown butter & mizithra cheese. On Thursday we spent some quality time with Aaron's Great Uncle Merle & Great Aunt Joanne. Can I tell you how much we love these people? Merle is Aaron's Grandpa Craner's brother...we miss Grandpa and Uncle Merle is a lot like him, so we treasure the time we get to spend with these two. We had a great time visiting and Uncle Merle made Miss Halle the sweetest little chair that says "Jesus loves Halle" on it. How cute is that?? She really likes it too! We were able to surprise Cousin Nancy & her husband Terry who were bringing their daughter, Joy to school at Eastern by stopping by and inviting them all to eat with us. Dinner was at "Zips" drive-in, courtesy of Uncle Merle. Such a good choice...the milkshakes were so yummy!! The night was not finished so we headed back to Merle & Joanne's for some more visiting. This is becoming an EXTRA long post, sorry about that. On Friday we arrived in Wenatchee for Aarons' friend Bob's wedding to his sweet bride Jessica. Yep, another Jess in our lives. We so loved spending time with Bob, Jess & their son Micah. BONUS....Josh was also in the wedding so, he, Dena & the kids were there too. Jess' family showed us wonderful hospitality and kindness and Bob could not have picked a better family to be a part of. This family loves the Lord with passion and it is evident. I so love seeing this in people!! Saturday was the wedding and it was wonderful. They could not have chosen a better location for an outdoor wedding. It was in the backyard of some good friends of their's in Monitor, WA. The river was flowing behind the bride and groom. Very appropriate for them and so peaceful and cool for all us! My husband looked so handsome in his chocolate brown slacks, white button down shirt & TIE....yep, if you know Aaron you'll hardly believe it!! Sunday Jess' family, The Flick's, provided a WONDERFUL brunch for the wedding party and we headed home after that. We tried to make it quick, but...did stop for a box of peaches and some nectarines on the way home....and ice cream at DQ...Hal loves ice cream too! Here are some of my favorite pictures I may add more in another post! ENJOY!
Mommy & Hal enjoying a breakfast burrito on the pass
Sleeping Beauty...she did A LOT of this
Daddy & Hal...reading a book during our lunch break
Getting pretty for Auntie Heather's wedding
Smiles for Uncle Aaron
Shopping at Cabelas, in Billings, MT
Isaac & Halle, sharing a moment and Puffs!
So cute!
Halle with Jess' nose!
My Handsome Hubby & our sweet daughter...note the tie!
Halle...all tuckered out after Bob & Jess' wedding!