Missing and Reminiscing

Last year at this time, we'd been living off of the hospitality of friends and family since December 27 and were gearing up for our cross-country trek on January 3.  To all the loved ones we left behind...we miss you!  To see the first part of that experience, click here.  To see the second part, click here.  Last year at this time, I was sleeping at Aunt Anna and Uncle Brian's.  So were Sam and Katherine.  The mommies and daddies were doing whatever mommies and daddies do on New Year's Eve.  Our last couple of days at their house included an amazing hike with Sam's family, a going away party for Daddy at his work, and dinner for some grownup friends while I got to be with Sam and Katherine's grandparents.  ("Many more precious memories are coming to mind that I won't list here," says Mommy.)  Happy New Year to all our loved ones, near and far!  We are thankful for all of you and pray for God's blessings for you this year!

Catching Up on Christmas Pictures-Part 1

My mom and dad have been a little distracted lately. They've been working on lots of paperwork. We've been enjoying a lot of time at home together since Daddy's new job gives him time off of work at Christmastime. (It's a trade-off for no time off during "season," Mommy says.) With all the distraction, we really didn't post any pictures, so...here we go!

Ticklefest with Aunt Corinne and Uncle Todd.  (Did you know that grownups are ticklish, too?)

My new book from Grandma

Aunt Amanda's new towel

Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos from Aunt Amanda.  Both Mommy and Aunt Amanda wished for this game when they were little girls, and now their wishes have come true!

Showing Grandpa my new big rig

Showshoeing

Yesterday, Mommy and Daddy and I went snowshoeing. Mommy got her snowshoes for Mother's Day and Daddy got his from Craig's List. Luckily, I still like to ride in the hiking backpack, so we all got to go together. We're really thankful to be able to drive a couple of hours or less to have some amazing outdoor adventures.

Getting ready to go!

Do you like my hat?  Uncle Garth and Aunt Kathy gave it to me for my birthday.  It kept me very warm!

Mommy thought these snow-cinnamon-rolls were the coolest thing.  Little droplets had fallen off of trees and rolled down the snowdrift causing little avalanche rolls.  She thought that was really neat.  Daddy and I wanted to keep moving forward.

My parents are pretty nice for taking me to the snow.

Finally...my turn to use hiking poles!
One amazing view!

Did I mention that I met a bear at the lodge?


We really enjoyed seeing God's amazing creation!

A Brother or Sister

Mommy and Daddy and I are praying that God will send a baby to us so that I can have a baby brother or sister. Here's what Mommy has to say about it:


Jeff and I would like to see our family grow, so we are applying to become adoptive parents through Bethany Christian Services. We hope to adopt a newborn within the United States. We're not sure what our family will look like, eventually, but the learning process has been really exciting.

So far, we have submitted our application papers, have begun our required reading, and have gone to an all-day seminar that is required for prospective adoptive parents. We met other couples who were also learning about the possibilities of adoption. Some of the speakers were social workers, birth moms, and adoptive parents. The seminar got us even more excited about the future. We are excited to love a baby and give him or her a chance at life that he/she might not have had otherwise. It's amazing to see, too, how much adoption appears in the Bible. We think it's an amazing privilege to adopt a child into our family just as Christ loved us and adopted us into God's family. We've also had interviews together and individually, and we had our home study today. We have a few things left to do before we are approved to be a "waiting family." (We need to put gates on our stairs, be re-certified in CPR and First Aid, and a few other things.) Then we'll create our profile-a mini scrapbook-about our family.

When a birth mom comes to a Bethany office to make an adoption plan for her baby, she looks through a binder of profiles provided by waiting families who are hoping she will choose them to parent her baby. We will be one of those families waiting for a "match." When a birth mom chooses us, we'll most likely have the chance to meet her in person and make sure that she-and we-think that this is the right match. If all goes well, she will have her baby and entrust us to be the baby's forever family. Adoptions are usually much more open now than they were in the past, so the baby will probably have the chance to know who his/her birth parents are and have visits with them as he/she grows up. Somtimes birthparents become like members of the family not only for the baby but for his/her entire adoptive family.

There is another way that we might be matched with a baby: a designated adoption. This would happen if a friend or family member, or just someone who knew of us through someone else, chose us to parent her child directly. Sometimes a birth mom feels much more comfortable entrusting her baby to someone known to her-even indirectly-rather than a family that she only knows from pictures. So, in writing this post, we're hoping to plant seeds in your minds and hearts. We never know what will happen or who our friends and family will meet. So, we hope that if you meet a young woman in a difficult situation who wants to place her baby for adoption, you'll think of us. We're happy to share our profile with anyone who would like to see it!

All that we're learning about this process is completely new to us, and we have a lot of questions that we're asking along the way. We know that you, our friends and family, may have a lot of questions, too, so we hope that you feel free to ask us the things you're wondering about. We'll all be learning together.

We've talked to Jonathan about this a little bit-as much as he can understand. When we pray with him that God will send us a baby to be a part of our family someday, he says, "A brother or a sister." We are all excited to see our family grow, and we hope you'll share our excitement and pray with us, as well. All these things have been happening pretty quickly, so we hope you don't feel too "out of the loop" if you're reading about it here. If you'd like to follow our adoption journey specifically, you can check the blog I've been keeping at http://ourwaitingfamily.blogspot.com/. I've added it to the sidebar on the right. Thank you for joining us in the journey!

Smiles by Wire...Again


Hi! This post is from Jonathan's mom. You might remeber, back in November, that we posted a link to Jonathan's pictures on Smiles by Wire. It was a little cryptic because I wanted to keep some of the photos secret from Jeff until Christmas. It worked! Since we're done keeping secrets around here, I thought I'd post the link again and make it a little more accessible. So, if you want to see Jonathan's pictures from JC Penney, click here. Where it says, "customer name," put in my first and last name. You should be able to see all of the pictures we took that day.

I gave a lot of these shots to family members for Christmas. If you didn't get the pose you wanted or the size you wanted, you can order anything you want from this website...but only until February 14. Enjoy!

One More Christmas Quote

"There are Christmas lights in the stable and Mary and Joseph turned off those lights so that baby Jesus can sleep in that manger."

Adventures with Ella

Last night, we had a great visit with Ella and her family. Here are some of the adventures we had together.

Ella met Chico for the first time.

Ms. Jen read my ABC album to us, and Ella and I decided we needed to be "Silly."

We made some little Christmas cookies...

and waited for them to bake.


Then we decided it was time for a rest.  Thanks for a fun time, good buddy!  Come over with your family anytime!

The Shake-Up

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The Run Around

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Old Friends

Today, Mommy got to see some special old friends, and I got to play with their kids.  Ms. Gretchen (top) and Mommy met briefly when they were in first grade and then became good friends when they were in junior high.  Ms. Gretchen and Ms. Sarah (left) became good friends in junior high at camp.  Ms. Gretchen introduced Ms. Sarah and Mommy when they were in high school and they became good friends, too.  Mommy says she's getting kind of old to have known friends for that long, but it's a really good thing.  

This picture is of all of our group except for Ms. Gretchen's oldest son, Peter, who went to Costco with his daddy...
Ms. Gretchen, James, Mary Beth, Ms. Sarah, Paul, me, baby Levi, and Mommy.

James shared this amazing train book with me.

Here I am with my good buddy, Paul, playing with trains.

We played while the moms chatted.  Thanks for a great visit, friends!

Chico the Horse


Here is my new horse, Chico.  He is named after the (real) horse Grandpa had when he was a little boy.  I am a farmer and I like to ride on him.  He eats grass most of the time when I'm not riding on him.

The Little Chef


I've had a lot of cooking to do lately!  I've been cooking fruits and "beggies" from the garden for Mommy and Daddy and myself to eat.  I spend a lot of time putting them in the oven and microwave and taking them out, and sometimes they need to go in the fridge to cool off.  Then we can all take a taste, and the food is so yummy!

A Christmas Quote

Said with much joy, while helping to pass out gifts for friends and family to open:

"IT'S OUR FAMILY'S BIRTHDAY!"

Merry Christmas!

Fall Colors



Here's what our backyard looks like in the fall.  The thing is, the colors get pretty here in early December.  Mommy says it's still technically fall in early December.  Okay, Mommy.

Going to the Park

The day after my birthday party, we walked the short three blocks to the park to try out my new ball. Here are the pictures of our fun time. (The weather is a little colder now!)




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Another Delay

We're having picture issues again, so it may be awhile before I do another photo post.  Thanks for being patient!


I can still tell you what we did this morning.  A couple of the ladies from Mommy's BSF group came over with their kids:  two girls and two boys.  Kenna and Eva are in my class, and Eric and Stewart are in the 4-year-old class.  Mommy and I talked a lot about sharing before they came over, and I managed to do pretty well.  We even got to play outside.  Mommy thought the other mommies would be worried about the kids getting soggy, but they weren't!  We had a great time, and it was a great excuse to eat cookies.  Thanks for the visit, BSF buddies!

Guy Things


That's what Daddy and I like to do!  Here we are racing Lightning McQueen and Doc.  I like to sit on Daddy while I drive.

Samantha


I think I might possibly have the best babysitter in the whole world.  On Saturday, she came over to take care of me and put me down for my nap while Mommy and Daddy were out for awhile.

Samantha also brought a surprise for me...cookie dough!  We made cookies and used the train cookie cutters that my buddy, Caleb, gave me for my 2nd birthday.  (I miss you, little buddy!)  Here I am with my train cookies.  Samantha even let me eat a cookie after we baked them.

Mommy and Daddy figure that Samantha is very forgiving.  She also came to take care of me on Mommy's birthday so that Daddy could take Mommy out on a date.  Samantha gave me a wonderful birthday gift, but instead of playing with her, I asked her for some space and didn't want to play with her.  Now I am getting lessons on how to keep from saying things that hurt people's feelings.  Thank goodness, Samantha forgave me.

I hope she comes over again soon!

From Graham's Daddy


Graham's Daddy, Timmo, sent me some brochures about Nissans.  He is a car guy like me, and he's even going to be designing trucks soon.  Timmo is going to teach me all about important car things like electronic locking differentials.  Thanks, Timmo!

New Parking Place


This is my new favorite place to park cars!  And, in case you're wondering, I'm finally completely comfortable venturing upstairs by myself.  It's nice to have Mommy and Daddy join me, but after 11 months in our home, I am brave enough to go up there solo and enjoy the playroom...or the bathtub.  Mommy is very thankful for my courage.

(Now that Daddy has our pictures up and running again, we'll try and catch up on the blog.  We'll start with the most recent photos and go back in time.)

Today's Quote

That lady is making cupcakes for Baby Jesus.  And that lady is making a cake for baby Jesus.  And after he has one cupcake, he can have some cake.  And Mary is going to cut that cake into little pieces for Baby Jesus.

Good News and Bad News

Here's the bad news first:  Mommy and I both came down with colds late yesterday, so we are feeling yucky.  But, there are two pieces of good news!  The first:  Daddy worked from home today so that he could take care of us.  Mommy and I both got some extra sleep this morning, and we plan to be feeling better soon.  The second good news:  Daddy got our pictures on the computer working again.  So, soon we can catch up on blog posts and thanking all our wonderful family and friends for making our birthdays so special last week.  Maybe we'll work on that tomorrow!

Birthday Playgroup

This morning, we had a playgroup for my birthday with my little buddies.  Ella, Jared, Annelies, and Helia were there, along with the babies, Delia, Cora, and Peter.  We can't load pictures on our computer these days, but lucky for me, Ella has already put some pictures of our morning on her blog.  You can see them here.  I loved having my buddies over and decorating car cupcakes-although I mostly ate mine before we decorated it.  Thanks to Uncle Todd and Aunt Corinne for lending Mommy the cupcake pan.  I got kind of overwhelmed with all the activity and sharing toward the end of our playgroup.  (Mommy says that's part of being an only child.)  But I'm so glad my buddies came over, and Mommy sure enjoyed the conversations with three of her very first friends here in our new town:  Ms. Amy, Ms. Jen, and Ms. Jetta.  We're both thankful for our wonderful friends.

Happy Birthday to Mommy

Today is Mommy's birthday! Daddy and I got up early to cook breakfast for Mommy and give gifts to her. I like sharing birthday times with Mommy, but she didn't share her gifts with me, even though I asked nicely.  I am being Mommy's praying mantis today. I like to pretend to be different animals sometimes.


We are having trouble getting new pictures onto the computer again, so here are some old ones.  This is the birthday cake that Aunt Anna, Uncle Brian, and Sam brought to Mommy in the hospital two days after she had me.

Mommy says her best gift ever was getting to have me in the hospital room with her and Daddy after I had to stay hooked to the machines in the hospital nursery for a couple of days.  Here we are celebrating Mommy's 30th birthday together.  I'll always be able to remember Mommy's age because I'll just add 30 to my age...when I learn how to add.


My Hands

Most mornings when I get up, I tell Mommy and Daddy that I've been telling a story to my hands. But, my hands are different animals every day.  Sometimes they're crabs...or bears...or pigs...and today they were sharks.  So, today, I was telling a story to my sharks.  They had big teeth, too!

Today's Quote

"Sally is the Mommy car and Lightning McQueen is the Daddy car."

I'm 3 Today!


Yep, I'm a big boy now. I'm so big that I can look back at the day I was born. Mommy and Daddy told me about it over breakfast this morning. It was all very confusing.

I get to do lots of special things for my birthday today: eat oatmeal for breakfast, go to the doctor, go to the Thomas store to play, and go to Quiznos for dinner and have my favorite food: a grilled cheese sandwich.

I've already been to the doctor today, and I was weighed on the grownup scale and measured standing up for the very first time. I am 39" tall and weigh 38 lbs. (A note to Caleb's mommy: Mommy was wrong about me only gaining a pound this year. I actually gained five.) I have slowed down in my growth a lot and am no longer a chart-topper. I'm only in the 90th percentile for height and weight. Strangers still comment on how tall I am for my age, anyway. Mommy and the doctor talked a long time about boring things like potty training. I had a finger-prick test so the doctor could look at my blood, which I took like a champ, and I also had a hearing test with headphones. That was the neat part of the appointment. Oh, and it was also great to read one of my new books with Mommy, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

I don't have to go to the doctor again until I turn 4. If you want to see my doctor appointments from when I turned 1 and when I turned 2, click on the blue letters. Mommy is thankful for an uneventful checkup, because last year the doctor complained a lot, and the complaints led to my CT scan and getting glasses.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I have to share this Christmas gift idea from Design Mom...click here.

Today's Quote

(as we were walking to the park)
"We're the wise men and this ball is a gift for baby Jesus."

My 3rd Birthday Party


We did it! We had my 3rd birthday party. Having a family party was lots of fun. The first time the doorbell rang, I squealed, "Our friends are here!" and ran to get the door. It was Grandma, and she had decorated the cupcakes that Mommy had baked for me. I've been asking for train cupcakes for days! Every time the doorbell rang after that, I squealed, "More friends!!!" Then I'd answer the door and say, "We can have train cupcakes now." It was very hard to wait to eat those cupcakes. But I did wait!

While I waited, I ate snacks and opened lots of gifts. Nobody told me I'd get lots of gifts, and I sure loved opening them. Everyone was so kind. It was hard not to spend time playing with each toy and reading each book, but Mommy and Daddy said I had to wait until we opened them all, so I did. Then, when I was ready to play, it was finally time for cupcakes!!!

Everyone sang happy birthday to me, I blew out my candle, and I finally got to eat a cupcake. In fact, I got to eat two, which has never happened before in my life.

After all the cupcake eating, Daddy and I got our special gift out of its box. Daddy gave me Lightning McQueen and Doc racing slot cars that I get to play with only with him, not by myself. Unfortunately, Daddy forgot batteries. So, after Daddy went to the store and got batteries, I played with those slot cars for the rest of the day until my nap.

I haven't decided whether to sleep or not. Telling stories and singing is much more fun, and boy, do I have a lot to sing and talk about today. Thanks to my wonderful family for spending the morning with me, helping me eat my cupcakes, and giving me such wonderful gifts.

If you want to see all the pictures from today, click here. And if you can't get it to work, just comment here or email Mommy. She'll figure it out!

Lightning McQueen and Doc

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Birthday Party!

Today is my birthday party!

I am most excited about eating train cupcakes. I've been asking for them for days. It will be my first "family party." I can't wait!

With all the traditions that we enjoy this time of year, including my birthday party, we've been thinking of our friends in our old town a lot. They did so many wonderful things for us last year when we needed a lot of support. They came to my birthday party, they helped us get ready to move, they helped Mommy take care of me when she had to be away, they made wonderful scrapbook pages for us, they gave us a heartwarming going-away party, they let us stay with them after our house sold but before we left town, and best of all, they just spent time with us. To all of our faraway friends...we love you and miss you so very much. We have not forgotten you and all the kindness and love you showed to us.

Last year, Mommy and Daddy had planned to have a small, quiet celebration for my second birthday...until they found out we were moving. Then, they decided to have a little open house for all our buddies, big and little. We had a great time just playing! Also, they took me to the fire station so that I could walk around and look at all the trucks. It was amazing. Click here to see all the pictures of my birthday party or here to see the pictures of our visit to the fire station. Be patient...there are lots!

Chutes and Ladders

Now that I'm almost three, I get to start playing board games. My first one was Chutes and Ladders that Ava gave me for my 2nd birthday. Here I am spinning the spinner. I loved spinning so much that it was hard to remember that other people get to spin, too. Mommy and Daddy helped me to remember.


We had a great time playing my game and sliding down the chutes. I even won! Thanks for the game, Ava! (As you can see, I couldn't even stop spinning for this picture.

Playing Airplane

You Say "Tomato," I Say...

I did it again. I spontaneously figured out how to say another word the regular way. I've always said "tah-diddo" for as long as I've known how to talk. Now I say "tomato!" And since tomatoes are a big part of our lives here, that's a pretty big deal.

Little People Nativity Sets

Hello Little Buddies,

If your mom and dad are thinking about getting a Nativity Set for you to learn about Jesus' birthday coming up, you might want to let them know about this. The Little People Nativity Set, Shepherd set, and Drummer Boy set are all on sale at www.fisherprice.com until December 10 (my birthday-how appropriate!) If they like to save money like we do, they might like the sale.

Tummy Bonks

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Congratulations, Zachariah!


Congratulations to my big buddy, Zachariah, on becoming a big brother on Monday, December 3. His baby brother, Nathanael, was 10 lbs., 14 oz, 22 1/2" long. Congratulations to his mommy and daddy, Ms. Bethany and Mr. Todd, too. (And Mommy says "Way to Go!!!" to Ms. Bethany, who did all this without drugs. Do you know what that means?) Zachariah is very far away, and I miss seeing him! If you want to see us together, you can click here or here. Congratulations, big buddy!

No More Amayule

I'm figuring out tricky words on my own. I don't say them the Jonathan way anymore-I say them the regular way.

Amayule is now animal.
Tikar is now guitar.
Boofitull is now beautiful.

And Mommy and Daddy are sad about it!

LookyBook

Here's a find from Mommy's new favorite blog, Design Mom. (The link to the whole blog is over on the right.) This link will take you to LookyBook, which allows you and your parents to read kids' books online-the insides, too! What a great thing!

Mommy loves Design Mom because it is artistic but also relevant to moms...whatever that means. The Lady who writes it has five kids but shares beautiful and interesting things every day. Enjoy!

What I've Been Doing Lately


Parking my cars


Bonding with Daddy


Getting ready to drive to the mailbox


Going to get the mail

Ira Talks!

Those of you who have followed Ira's story will enjoy this video of Ira talking. What a miracle!

Our Christmas Tree

We're getting ready for Christmas! We're a little late this year since we were out of town on the Saturday after Thanksgiving-that's when we like to put up our tree.

As you can see, we went with a fake tree this year for the first time. Mommy and Daddy miss the smell of the real tree but not the hassle of bringing it home, putting the lights on, and keeping it watered. Here are Daddy and I "fluffing" our new tree. It's a good thing we don't have any big chairs in our living room, because the tree takes up a lot of space.


Here I am doing what I do best while Mommy and Daddy decorate the tree.


Mommy loves this time of year.


Here is Daddy putting up lights on the outside of our house. Notice that he's not wearing a jacket. It has been cool (but not too cool) and dry here-more so than normal. We're hoping for cold, rainy weather soon! Our house is decorated now, inside and out, and we'll take pictures of that soon. We love getting ready for Christmas!