Sunday, December 26, 2010

CHRISTmas Celebration

PHEW!  Christmas is over and long gone, but...I'm way behind. is a bit of our Christmas in pictures.  It was busy, much FUN...I LOVE hanging out with family and being exactly that FAMILY!  Check out Hal's so super cute dress...her Foster Mom, Mary Lynne made it especially for her. may see a trend here...Halle loves DOGS.  It was so fun to see Christmas through Halle's two-year old eyes this year.  She is getting it!!

 Halle, Jada & Maya -- Gienger gathering Christmas Eve
 Halle and her Jessie -- Christmas Eve
 Halle & Grammie -- Christmas Eve
 Our little family 
 Our Ragamuffin on Christmas Morning
 Opening her stocking with Mommy
 Presents from Mommy & Daddy
 Christmas hug for Grammie...Christmas Morning
 Halle & Roxy...Pals...
 A little iPod fun with Daddy
 Chillin' with her cousin Bryce
Benner Grandkids: Bryce, Eden, Kai, Hayden & Halle
We missed you Andrade!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa....or NOT?!

Would you do me a favor?  Read this post.  My friend Dena says this so well.  There is no Santa at our house and he will never be here.  For Christmas is about JESUS!  HIS birth......the wisemen, shepherds, Mary and Joseph....and singing "Away in a Manger".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today I am thankful, yet pondering....what would it be like if my Dad was still here???  I'm sure he would be EXCITED beyond belief that there was a chance of snow on Thanksgiving.  He would caution my Mom about the gravy....making sure there were no lumps and it was THICK enough for his liking.  He would eat with gusto and gooble up everything on his plate making sure he left room from Mom's apple pie.  He would want to make sure we had enough leftovers for the week.  He would settle in HIS chair after the meal and watch some football.  This I'm sure of.  I'm also sure that Halle would be the light of his life.  He would so love this little girl that DOES NOT stop moving.  That makes me sad.  But, do you know why I'm thankful?  Tomorrow marks the 4 year anniversary of my Dad's "graduation".  He went to be with his Jesus, the Saturday after Thanksgiving of 2006. Let me share something with you.  My Dad could always know when it was going to snow...and he LOVED the snow so much.  The evening my Dad passed away my family and I gathered for a meal out.....I kept saying...."it looks like it's going to snow"....they all passed it off...when we stepped outside to leave the restaurant...guess what??  It was snowing...and it snowed for almost a week!  So, I'm thankful for snow mostly because it reminds me of my Dad.  AND...yes, I love it too...just like him!  I am also thankful that I have the knowledge of my saving Jesus and a relationship with Him. That means that one day I will see my day again in heaven.  What a super, glorious day that will be....My Dad, my three babies I never got to meet and all the others that have gone on before me.  Does that make you thankful, excited.....giddy?  It does me!  This weekend, take some time....slow thankful.  Delight in HIS grace.  Sit at HIS feet....prepare your hearts for the CHRISTmas season.
Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Halle Grace

Two years ago on this date in Tyler, Tx this little girl was placed in my arms.  From that day on she has blessed my socks off!  That day just happened to be "National Adoption Day" in 2008 and while our family and friends in Washington were celebrating at the courthouse we were receiving the BEST gift EVER.  For as long as I live I will not forget that day....and when Halle is old enough her Daddy and I will tell her all about it and show her all the pictures we have.  Pictures of her Birth Mom and her Foster we treasure.  I loved that the people who worked at the agency just grabbed our camera and began snapping pictures.  Because of this little girl we have learned what it is to be Parent' my opinion, the HARDEST job one will ever have...and since Halle is TWO right now we are right in the middle of some of the worst days I have ever had.  BUT, when that little girl hugs me around my legs and says "Love you Mommy"....I melt.  I forget all the hard days I've had and remember Jesus has given us Halle as a gift.  He blessed us when her Birth Mom chose us after looking through many profiles....she gave her life and grew her in her tummy.  But, she so grew in our hearts!  I remember so clearly the day Bob from Christian Homes called my cell phone to tell us about this little girl.  I remember everyone in my office gathering around the computer as I pulled up her picture for the first time....I remember her Daddy's tears when he first laid eyes on her while she was in my arms and Halle looking up worried when Daddy fed her the very first bottle.  What an AMAZING journey we have been on!!  Thank you Jesus for blessing us with this little brown girl...we love her very much!!

Pictures from our FIRST day together

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Esther Jade

Calling all prayer warriors! Will join me and pray for sweet Esther Jade?  She needs our prayers more than ever........what an eternal perspective her Mommy has.  Love her so much and their family!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday--Best Buddies!!!

Halle and her BEST buddy, Trevin.  These two = TROUBLE!

BIG Girl Bed

A few weeks ago we moved Halle into her "BIG Girl Bed"'s a twin size bed that was mine.  So, that makes it pretty special....Daddy painted the headboard bright red to match Hal's room and we got some new sheets too.  We don't quite have all the bedding yet.  Nana is going to help Mommy make a duvet cover, but...she's been really busy lately preparing for her new grandson that will arrive sometime in early December.  She made the cutest bedding for the little guy's crib!  For the first two nights we climbed into bed with Hal and laid with her until she fell asleep.  Then, on the third night, she stayed all by herself...HOORAAY!!  Well, I 'd like to say she's done that ever since, but...that is not the story!  AND...certainly would not be truthful if I said that!  It's a struggle...we're making it.  Isn't parenting great?  Nothing has ever stretched me as much as being a Mommy has.  Here are some pictures to commemorate this BIG step in Hal's little life.....

She LOVED helping Daddy put her bed together and was just GIDDY with excitement over this BIG change.  I found her on Sunday morning sleeping totally sideways in her bed...good thing she didn't fall out!  She loved to do this in her crib too, but...she had become way too tall!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fluffy Little Chicken.....

I Love YOU!!  This would be the ONE and only picture I have of Halle in her chicken costume.  We learned quite quickly that two year olds and busy church Harvest carnival's don't go well together.  We lasted one HALF hour.  Oh well....maybe next year will be better.  But seriously, have you seen a cuter chicken? I think not!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Strips

I've been wanting to post this for a LONG time, but...time is something I don't always have a lot of...well, a lot of extra time that is!  I love, love, love me some good 'ol chicken strips at a little down home diner...but, let's face it...sometimes you're really taking a chance.  Have you ever ordered them and been disappointed?  They have two much batter, they are burnt....and just not tasty!  Well...I fixed we can have DELICIOUS chicken strips at home.  The usual suspects:

boneless chicken tenders (save yourself some time, seriously, buy them at Costco)
salt & pepper
and..maybe not so usual.....PANKO breadcrumbs (these you should buy at the Asian Market, they are much less expensive)

Here are the bread crumbs for your viewing pleasure!!

I usually make an assembly line...first you dip them in flour, then and egg/milk (salt and pepper) mixture...then finally, in the Panko.  I coat ALL the tenders first..then I put them in a stainless skillet that's been warmed with canola oil.....

I cook them on both sides until they are lightly browned.  I used to cook them all the way through in the pan, but...that just doesn't work good.  It's takes too long from them to cook all they way through...and then they burn.  SO, I put them on a baking sheet with a wire rack and bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.... get to eat these yummy treats....YUM-O...ummmm...just in case you're wondering...that is not gravy made from scratch...I can't do that.  Well, I guess I haven't tried...but, this tastes sooooo good and is so easy!!  But, the corn is from our own frozen's that??  ENJOY!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fabulous FRIDAY!

On Friday Grammie & Mommy took Halle and her Cousin Kai to Stoneyridge Farm....oh my!  What fun we had!!  I just posted two of my favorite pictures...I love Kai and Halle on this pumpkin wagon. Kai has that silly little grin on his face.  The next picture is Hal eating her very first candy necklace.  OH MY!  What a big mess, but...she had so much fun...can't wait until next year!!!

SECOND Birthday Party Pictures

This post is FULL of pictures...ENJOY!  I don't think words are necessary.  I made Hal's shirt and her Foster Mom, MaryLynne made her sooo cute pants....we partied at Grammie's and had a FABULOUS time!!  OH...I made the monkey cupcakes with Grammie's help as well.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy SECOND Birthday!!

Today is your 2nd birthday Miss Halle Grace...I CAN NOT believe this BIG girl was the very same almost 9 lb'er we flew home from Texas with.  At the time she was 2 months old....and OH SO cute, guess what??  She still is!!  Her Daddy is trying to train her you can tell by the above picture.  We'll let him....he even got her a PINK camo shirt for her birthday.  It's pretty cute!!  We'll celebrate at Grammie's house today with her cousins, Auntie's & Uncles, Nana & Papa....and she is getting a BIKE!  I can't wait to see the look on her face!!

To my silly, stubborn little brown girl,
Today you are TWO!  You have been practicing with Mommy and Daddy how to say that when people ask you.  You're doing GREAT!  You, my little ray of sunshine are as silly as they come.  You are so quick to give kisses and make the "mmmmm" sound when you do that...that is ALWAYS followed up with "love you"....that's what we say to you when we give you a kiss, so I guess it came naturally.  You still LOVE books and being read to....and your love of all things "Veggie Tales" is ongoing....not to mention, Elmo & Miss Patty Cake....."Lady and the Tramp" comes in at a very close second.  I wish you were as passionate about mealtime as you are about playtime!  HEHE!  You do not like to eat much and  almost every meal we have to coax you through it.  It's gets very tiring for both Mommy & Daddy. We're hoping this year, you'll grow out of that???  You love your Grammie, Titi, Nana, Papa, Auntie, Uncle and cousins....and readily talk about them throughout the week.  This year has proved to be an amazing year of new things for went from walking to running, you've mastered climbing and love slides and swings at the park....your love for animals has GROWN.....and I still see a puppy in our future...Nana calls you her "little farmer girl".  Happiness for you is your boots and a BIG backyard to roam in.  You enjoyed your Saturday's with Nana watering flowers and checking the vegetable garden...not to mention eating strawberries right out of Nana & Papa's patch!  Your little singsong voice following me around at home makes me smile and Mommy almost cried watching you sing to Miss Patty Cake the other day...motions and all.  It's not uncommon for me to hear, "more, more" from you after I've finished a song...I respond with "more what"??  Your answer to me "SINGING".  While on the subject of music it should be noted that you know what kind of music you want and when you want it!  Well, that's pretty much true for everything with you. BUT, honestly, when we get in the car you usually shout out the title of the song you would like to listen to.  Your favorites:  "Big Green Tractor" by Jason Aldean & "What I like about YOU" by the also like David Crowder and are starting to sing many of his songs along with Mommy....It's so super cute to hear you say "Hallelujah"!  You're getting so big and it's a lot harder to snuggle with you at night before just don't fit well!  BUT, we'll keep doing it until you don't let Mommy and Daddy anymore.  YOU our little brown girl still bring us much joy and love life and everything that it's do challenge every boundary we give you and definitely keep us on our toes.  We are so thankful that our Jesus brought you into our was kinda boring before you came!  We pray that this your second year is filled with more wonder and amazement...continued learning and growing...your letters, colors & numbers...and more importantly Jesus' love for you!

We love you Halle Grace Louella,
Mommy & Daddy too....

Monday, September 6, 2010

LaConner -- Celebrating Birthdays!

Over Labor Day Weekend we jam-packed a BUNCH of stuff in....On Sunday we loaded Halle up after a short nap and drove to LaConner.  Aunt Ione & Uncle Ron were camping out there and our extended family would all be there to celebrate Jessie & Evan's birthdays.  Jess turned 17 on August 31 and Evan will turn 16 on September 11.  We made sure we were all dressed for the beach....good thing!!  Halle ABSOLUTELY loved it.....good thing she had her super cute boots on!!  Thanks TiTi for those!!  We spent time practicing our rock throwing skills and just walked and walked the beach!  Hal loved picking blackberries right off the bushes and was very well behaved.  PHEW!  We only had a meltdown when she wasn't allowed to walk RIGHT into the water.  Silly Girl!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Northwest Washington Fair 2010

We took Halle to the Fair for the very first time today.  OH MY!  She loved every single stinkin' minute of it.  We chose to park in one of the free shuttle bus parking lots and ride the bus.  We usually do that any way, but this time was extra special.  This little brown girl thinks buses are the best thing since sliced bread!  Her excitement is contagious and it makes me want to enjoy riding the bus as much as she does.  We could hardly keep her in her seat.  We met Grammie, her friend Roy (he was visiting from Texas and here to attend his class reunion) and TiTi!  Hal was sportin' her oh so cute puffs in her hair....I love it like that!!  We started off the night with a few rides.  I wasn't sure how she would do as recently she has become a little timid on the swings at the park.  Boy, you sure couldn't tell....she faced the rides HEAD ON...just as this little girl faces life.  You'll see from the pictures below the sheer joy and excitement on her little face.  Even though the slide one is blurry you should have been there to see her expression...I'll never forget it!  It was all worth it just for this....seriously, do you know how long I have been waiting for a little person of my own to take to the Fair???  So many years I can't even count.  My heart was so happy watching this little girl of our's having so much fun.  And then....we went to see the animals...yes, my daughter is wearing a bear backpack/harness.  It worked super....and this time she didn't run around like a crazy girl with it on.  She had to touch every single one of the animals....and even their water...SHEESH!  We had to keep her hands out of that.  I enjoyed my King Corn dog, french fries and had my ice cream cone from the Dariy Wives booth...LOVE IT!!  We didn't get home until 9:30pm and she was still awake.  We just had to snap one last picture of her hair...after we took the puffs out.  She was laughing so hard at herself in the mirror...yes, my mirror is dirty.  It somehow doesn't look that bad in person...honestly.