Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Family, Food, Fun!

We've had a busy week or so! So once again, it's time to play catch-up on the blog, which I consistently mean to post on, and promptly forget about.

The weekend before last was General Conference--a twice-annual, two-day even in which members of our church attend/watch/listen to several sessions of addresses from the leadership of our church. I always look forward to it; it is very uplifting, and a great chance to take some time and take a look at myself and my life and ways I can do better.

October Conference is particularly nice in our house, because it's the weekend we always make apple butter! It's delicious on pancakes or popovers :)

Popovers and apple butter, with a side of bacon. Best breakfast ever!

all packaged up, along with some fresh homemade bread
This went to my sister :)
We got to spend some time with my niece and nephew that Saturday. It was fun to have them over to play! Our nephew loves to snuggle, which is just fine with us! Here he is with Reece:
so darn cute!
That Sunday, we drove my youngest sister back up to school at BYU-Idaho. It was a late night; we left Salt Lake at 4:00, got to Rexburg about 9:00, and turned around and came straight back. We got home around 1:00 am. We both took Monday morning off so we could sleep in. It worked out well. 

Monday evening was great; we went to Reece's brother's house, to see them and also Reece's other brother, who was in town from Alaska with his family. It was so much fun! We haven't seen them in a year. We're planning to go up and see them next July. 
The whole group; and our forthcoming nephew, seen in our sister-in-law's baby bump on the left :)

We had a friend to dinner on Wednesday; I made copycat Cafe Rio steak tacos (homemade tortillas, pico, steak; rice and beans; and we got some Cafe Rio tomatillo dressing), and they turned out pretty good! It was my first time trying the recipes for everything but the tortillas; they're definitely keepers! 

On Thursday I had a training for Primary (LDS children's organization, where I do the music on Sundays), and it was lots of fun to exchange ideas with the other music people. 

Friday and Saturday nights I had to myself; Reece had a computer game night with the 12-13 year old boys (he works at the office where they hold the game night, and works with the boys at church, so he always chaperones the evening), and on Saturday he had a meeting with the publishing company where he works down in the next county. It worked out well, as I had a lot of time to prepare for our Primary program!

Once a year, the Primary kids do a performance in our Sunday meeting. They each have speaking parts, and there are several songs (usually around 8). There are 90 kids in our Primary, so we have a big group! They did so well! I told the kids that, for every song they sang nicely, I would put a big marshmallow in my mouth and then sing a song to them. They love this idea; I did it for last year's performance too. So on Sunday, after the program, I put 8 big marshmallows in my mouth and sang "Popcorn Popping" (a silly song from the children's music book; it's one of our favorites). It was hilarious! We split the kids into two groups, since there are so many, and meet with the younger group during one hour and the older group during the second hour. So actually I had to do the marshmallows twice. Some of the teachers took pictures, and one of the older kids took a video. However I made them promise it will never end up on the internet! So I do not have a picture for you. And if I did, I wouldn't post it. I may not have any shame in trying to make those kids laugh, but I have enough that I don't want the internet to laugh at me! 

So there we are, all caught up. Hope you've been having as much fun as we have!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Discouragement and Hope

Last Friday and Saturday were pretty rough days. Reece and I were both feeling discouraged at how long this path to parenthood has become, and how much longer it feels. We both were wondering if this is ever going to happen for us, if we'll ever get to be parents. After years of infertility and treatments, we were excited to choose adoption, and we burned through those stacks of paperwork really fast! A week after we were approved, our agency announced that they aren't going to be an agency any more (see the last paragraph of this post). We have three months to find a match, or it will cost literally 5 times as much to adopt. We have begun the overwhelming process of researching adoption grants, other listing sites, and even other agencies. It all feels really discouraging. And I am sick of filling out paperwork! 

On Saturday afternoon, I just had to get out of the house. I found an excuse (needed a new butter dish) and off we went. As we came out of the store, I saw what was literally the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. And then I realized it was a double rainbow!

I've always liked rainbows. Growing up, my mom had Noah's Ark stuff all over the house, as it was her favorite scripture story. She was impressed by the faith it took to build the ark and get in with all those animals, not knowing how this would turn out. And of course, at the end, the rainbow is God's promise that He will not destroy the earth with a flood again.

So when I saw that double rainbow, it just felt hopeful to me, like a reassurance that this is all going to work out. We got in the car and drove to the next store (to get jars for our annual apple butter! I'm very excited, we're making it this weekend). On the drive, we were listening to a random radio station, since all the ones I usually like had commercials. Just as I tuned in, they were playing Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet," and the chorus really hit home to me. It goes:

And I know some day that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work so we can work to work it out
And I promise you, kid, that I'll give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet

It felt very much like the song was about adoption. I'm adding it to our hypothetical "adoption soundtrack." I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, and I believe that His plan includes becoming parents. It has taken a lot of work to get to a point where we are ready for this, both legally/logistically and emotionally. But I know that work will be used to work it out, in ways I don't yet know or understand.

And I know that Heavenly Father does give us so much more than we are even able to give to Him. And Reece and I have so much love to give this baby, however he or she comes into our lives. We talk about parenthood all the time, about the fun activities and traditions we want to do and the things we want to teach our children. We love the opportunities we have at church and in our extended family to love children, and we're hopeful and excited to have children in our own home.

When we came out of the store from the last of our errands, we saw the double rainbow again. I posted a photo of it on Facebook (side note: maybe we should get an adoption instagram account), but here it is again:

It was more visible in real life, but you can see the double to the left here

I made it the wallpaper on my phone. And we're looking for ways to redouble our efforts to get our name out there, in the hope that someone will choose us. If you would like more of our passalong cards, let me know and I can mail you some. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend Fun!

We had a great weekend! I am just now remembering to blog about it, just as we start another weekend, so please forgive the delay! 

On Friday, Reece went to lunch with his brother. That evening, we had an epic date night: dinner at Texas Roadhouse (where we sat at the bar because there was a 90 minute wait for a table!), the we went to Barnes & Noble and got a new book to read together, and then went to the movies for free! I had 2 tickets and a popcorn voucher from work. It was so fun!

On Saturday, I went to lunch and went shopping with 2 of my sisters. That evening, we went to the book launch for the 7th book Reece has worked on! It was so exciting; we love this author, she is professionally very talented, and personally very nice. 
Afterwards, we went out to dinner at CPK. 

Sunday was very relaxing; we didn't have regular church, because they were dedicating a temple (in the Latter-day Saint church, temples are a sacred place where we go to make covenants with God and learn about Him and His plan for us). It was a chill day at home (our scheduled time to attend the dedication was 4:00; they had multiple sessions and broadcasted it to regular meetinghouses so the most possible people could attend if they wished). 

Then on Monday, we decided to continue the weekend further! Reece's work schedule gives him a half day off each week, so he took it on Monday, and we drove up to Park City for the afternoon. We spent it walking up and down Main Street: 

We got a late lunch at the Main Street Deli (BEST pastrami sandwich I've ever had!).

We also went to Dolly's, this adorable independent bookstore (how cute are those kitties?!), and got a new book...

...then we went next door and each got a little something at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. 

It was sooo much fun! This upcoming weekend will be a little more chill, with a lot more staying at home. We're excited about that, too. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Catching Up!

So I realize it's been ridiculously long since I posted. We have been busy with living life, and I honestly forgot to write about it. So here's some highlights! 

Ward Campout 
Our church congregation organized an overnight campout, and it was so much fun! We enjoyed playing with the kids, and getting to talk with our neighbors and friends. We roasted hot dogs and s'mores, and there were skits and songs around the campfire. And in the morning we helped make breakfast. 

Our SIXTH Anniversary!
We have been married for 6 years! I can't believe how fast it's gone by. We went to the Log Haven restaurant to celebrate 
I wore the same earrings as I did on our wedding day :) 

Nephew's Birthday, and Niece's Birthday 
These 2 siblings have birthdays about 2 weeks apart. We went to our nephew's birthday party, and our niece's is tomorrow. Haley takes our niece shopping for her birthday every year. This year they went to the Lego Store. It was fun! 

Other Nephews Too!
Reece's sister and her family were in town, and while mom and dad ran errands, we got to take the boys to the aquarium! It was a blast! The older nephew was brave enough to touch a sting ray, and the younger one said "Oh my gosh!" about literally everything 

We've also been having fun cooking and baking: 
And peasant bread...soooo good! 

And books! Of course we love books :) Reece had another book he edited published:

And we finished reading another book together (which was really good and totally intense and we highly recommend it) 

And I also had a ton of fun making photo books of family photo albums. 

We babysat my friend's little boy last night, too, which was a blast as well! 

Anyways, there's an overview for ya! I promise I will post more regularly! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spontaneous Silver Lake Visit

About 2 and a half months ago, we drove up the canyon to Silver Lake, but it turns out that in early May, high mountain lakes are basically just snow fields (yeah, we might be a little dumb sometimes).

Anyways, at the last second, we decided to go yesterday! It was like a million degrees down here in the valley, and we were both feeling a little caged and tired of concrete and wi-fi (I know, who ever thought anyone could be tired of wi-fi?!), so we decided to try Silver Lake again. It was the perfect temperature up there, and the breezy evening light was so pretty!

We got to talk, and just spend time together outdoors. It's been way too long since we did that!

We're adorable. We know.  ;)

We saw a ground squirrel, a deer, a million gnats, and a moose!

He was not very big, so I guess you would just call him a moose-ling. There were a bunch of people watching this guy eat dinner (Silver Lake is popular, there were tons of people and kids up there, but not in a really crowded claustrophobic way, just in a pleasant popular place way). I was thinking how fun it would be if we'd had kids there with us, and we could go home and color pictures of what we saw, and the older kids could write a story about the evening from the moose's perspective (why are all these people watching me eat dinner? humans are weird, etc).

It was a really nice evening, and then we got grilled cheese at The Melty Way afterwards, which was delicious. Overall, a definite win for spontaneity!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Long Weekend = Relaxing!

General update time! We had a really relaxing weekend, which is nice because it's been a while since we got to truly relax!

On Friday, I (Haley) took off work a little early; I have been getting over a cold, and I had a headache at work. So I went home about 10:30 and went back to bed for a little bit, which turned out to be exactly what I needed! I woke up refreshed a couple of hours later, paid the bills and did the budget for the month, and then went grocery shopping to pick up a few things.

Reece's parents came over that night (they were in town for the weekend), and we grilled hot dogs and chatted. They helped us date some childhood photos of Reece which we'd been unsure about. And they gave us some really cool skewers, for roasting weenies or marshmallows over a campfire. The Scouts in their area had a fundraiser and sold these as part of it; we love them! It will be fun to take those on our ward campout this coming weekend.

On Saturday, while Reece went on a bike ride with his dad, I used the newly dated photos and put together a book on Shutterfly of Reece's childhood photos. Usually we use Snapfish, but my mom gave us a coupon for a free 20 page book. I finished it up, and was able to order it; should be here sometime next week!

I love doing these books; I just finished one of 2007 - 2013; it's our first official family photo album! I figured, no one is going to look at these pictures if we just leave them on a hard drive or phones, so I started a system to get them all over to the computer, and then I'll make books periodically. I have big plans for photo books for our children! We did one in April for Reece's mission, and I'm in the progress of scanning his mission letters as well (in fact, the scanner is running in the background as I type this post).

After having such a blast making the photo book (I know, I'm a nerd; and I love it!), I gave myself a break from doing anything productive at all, and just had fun! I played my piano, Reece and I watched some shows together, and I looked on Pinterest for Primary ideas. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb mode so I wouldn't get any texts or calls, and took a bubble bath. So nice! It was a really awesome day.

Sunday was good too! Reece had a meeting in the morning, and I got up and watched Music and the Spoken Word, and worked on some stuff for Primary music. Our ward doesn't meet until 2:00 (!!), so I had lots of time to work in the morning. I was substituting for the organist, so we got there a few minutes early, and had a really good meeting. And then at the end of Sacrament Meeting (the first hour, where everyone meets in the chapel before splitting off into smaller classes), the Bishop (local ecclesiastical leader, like a pastor or priest) got up and announced that they were having a problem with the building's plumbing, and after the closing prayer they would invite everyone to return to their homes. So I didn't have to teach my lesson (well, play my game; I'm the music leader so we just have fun), and we got an extra 2 hours at home! I finished up arranging some of the music for our Primary Program in October, and choosing kids to play the extra parts (we have lots of musicians, so I'm going to have them play in addition to the whole group singing).

I did a little doodling yesterday, and had fun experimenting with sock buns (I know I'm late to the trend, but I just started doing them):
Reece and me!

Love this style; so easy, stays put, and most importantly in this heat, keeps my hair off my neck!

Monday's not technically a weekend day, but I don't work on Mondays, and Reece took today off work. We took the car in for some routine stuff (oil change, registration renewal, and new brakes) and found out that the weird clicking noise our brakes have been making for a few days is some problem with the drive shaft, so it's costing us about 4 digits to fix all of this. Thank goodness we are in a place financially that we can afford surprises like this (just not too close together, please)! The car's been there all day, we're waiting for a phone call so we can go pick it up; a very sweet friend took me to pick up Reece when we learned how long this would take, and is going to take us back to get the car, whenever it's ready. I'm so glad we have such great friends!

Anyways, that's life with us!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fourth of July

This post is a little late, but I wanted to put it up! We had a fun 4th of July here.

We started out the morning by going to the pancake breakfast that our ward (local congregation) hosted. After that we came home to get going on cookies for the party at Haley's aunt's house that evening. They turned out pretty good!

In the late afternoon, we walked around the fair that our city does. It was cute. And then the main event: we went to Haley's aunt's house for tank wars and watching the big fireworks!

She does this big party every year, and buys lots of those little fireworks that look like tanks, and the smoke balls and poppers and flashers and parachutes, and lots of little army men. We set them up and have battles until it gets dark. It is so much fun! Her husband is a great cook, so we always have good food too. 

One round of fireworks going off

the aftermath (her driveway is stained until it snows!)

We ended the night with sparklers, and holding hands with my sweetheart :)

It was a fun holiday! We can't wait to take our children to this fun family-and-friends party!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Passalong cards are here!

When we got back from our trip, we found that our passalong cards had been delivered while we were gone!

Passalong cards, if you're unfamiliar with them, are like business cards for adoptions. They include a photo of us, the fact that we're adopting, and our contact information on the back. I also made a QR code that directs to our blog, and put that on the back. We give them to clergy members, doctors offices, friends and family, hairstylists...pretty much anyone. The whole point is to help spread the word that we're adopting. Matches actually do happen through passalong cards. I posted on Facebook and Instagram. Somewhere out there is a pregnant woman we are supposed to meet and become friends with, who is supposed to be in our lives and we in hers. This is another way to try and find her.

We are sending a few to friends and family so they can help distribute them. Included with the cards is a letter of do's/don't's on distributing them. So Reece and I started stuffing envelopes last night, and we have card holders at our desks at work, and we both keep cards in our wallet. We're gonna try to not be annoying about handing these out, but we also want to be ready with them when needed.

Sponge & water is for sealing envelopes without paper cuts on my tongue.
Diet Coke is for energy.
Dad said our future child is going to get a kick out of this picture when they're older. Haha!

Also in this post, I wanted to address the recent changes our agency (LDS Family Services) has announced. Basically they're going to stop being an agency. If we are matched with an expectant mother before December 31, 2014, we can proceed with them as expected. After that point, they will act as adoption counselors to help us figure out the independent adoption process. So it is another bump in the road for us, but one we are going to figure out, just like the rest!

California, Here We Come!

We spent the last week in California for my youngest sister's graduation from high school. And in a classic Reece & Haley move, we forgot to take any pictures of ourselves. It was a good trip though! We picked up my sister Bunny from her place in Orem, and she drove down with us. It's about a 10-12 hour drive, depending on traffic. Her husband couldn't come through, he had to work and take a final. We sure missed him! And Kitty wasn't there either, she's still in Romania. Bit of a commute.

Reece & I stayed with my Grandma (mom's mom). She's a lot of fun! She used to take each of my sisters and me shopping and to lunch for our birthdays (a tradition I'm continuing with my niece). We stayed in her spare room. It was great to catch up with her! And I installed a program on her computer so I can fix it while in Utah.

We went to my parent's ward on Sunday; it was actually Stake Conference, and they got a new Stake Presidency. It was great to see so many people I knew growing up!

We also caught up with my Grandma from dad's side. I inherited my deep love of tacos from her, so we picked up lunch from El Burrito, Jr. (look it up if you're ever in southern California; thank me later) and took tacos to her house.

We had fun with my immediate family too. On Sunday we were at mom and dad's house for Father's Day, and went through some old pictures and piles of stuff. Among it all, we found a homemade coupon book that I sent to Shorty during my freshman year of college. She immediately redeemed this coupon:

And hilarity ensued! I got my butt kicked. Then everybody got into it; my parents played against each other!

After all that, we FaceTimed with my sister in Romania. It was good to see her! And fun to all catch up together:

On Tuesday, Mom and Bunny and I took advantage of $5 movie day and went to see The Fault In Our Stars together. (Quick review: I liked it. Bring Kleenex.) Then, because the movie theater is at the same mall where Shorty works in a 50's diner, we went to dinner and sat in her section. Isn't she adorable?

The graduation was good (though the commencement speaker said "hollowed halls" instead of "hallowed halls"), and Shorty rocked the high heels. We had like 7 leis for her afterwards. She's so darn cute.
I just barely missed getting her smiling at us

We drove back on Thursday. It was a long drive; there was a huge accident outside Baker, California, which delayed us some. And poor Bunny had a monster sunburn all over her back and legs from laying out at the beach the day before, so she was super uncomfortable sitting in the car all day. But we made it home! It was a good trip.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Best Birthday

Today is my (Haley's) birthday. We're not doing anything really fancy, but just got the best birthday gift ever: our caseworker let us know that we are officially approved! She presented our home study to the committee today, and they published our profile on the agency's website! I can't stop using exclamation points!

Here's the link:
I've also updated it on the "Contact Us" page on this blog.

Now we are "paper pregnant." Or "glowing but not showing." I feel like we should get T shirts.

We are so excited to meet our birth parents and their families. We know that there is a special baby and family out there that we are meant to meet, and we can't wait!

Tell your friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Park Picnic

Well, our home study visit is TOMORROW! We are pretty excited (and, let's be honest, a little nervous). But we both really like our caseworker, so it will be fine. For those of you who aren't familiar with the process, this is where our caseworker comes to our home and inspects the safety and general live-ability of it.

So in preparation for the home visit, we have, of course, been cleaning like crazy. I've been doing 1 room each day since we scheduled it last week. Today's room was the kitchen, and it looks great! But when Reece came home from work, we realized we hadn't cooked dinner. Looking at that clean kitchen, it was just demoralizing to think of making it dirty and cleaning it all over again....so we didn't! Reece took me to pick up dinner at a new burger place near us (they have them in California, so I'd had it before, and it's just as delicious in Utah), and we took dinner to a nearby park:

Delicious-ness with a view!

We got to use the picnic blanket I keep in the car (which I made myself from all my old camp bandanas, thankyouverymuch!). And there was a soccer game going on in the little bowl part of the park (I think those are so clever, to keep the ball from going in the street!):

I love that mountain horizon on the other side of the valley :)
We were idly watching the game as we talked, and I quoted a meme that I relate to, which made Reece laugh (partly because it's funny and partly because it's true: I really don't understand sports. I don't hate them or anything, I just don't get them).

We had fun! It was nice to have a little time to just relax and be together, and to enjoy the GORGEOUS weather we've been having, before it gets too hot! At least they opened the pool at our apartment today, so we'll have that to look forward to and beat the heat.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Started the Baby's Room!

Last weekend we started slowly converting the music room to a baby's room. It's been a lot of fun! It might seem premature, to start all this before we've been matched with an expectant mother, but we decided to do it for several reasons:

  1. We don't want to end up having to put it all together super fast, if we have a placement like that
  2. It's fun!
  3. And it's a nice way to "nest," as it were; I love decorating and organizing, and it's nice to have a reason--even a future reason--to do this
Stuff-wise, we have a few things. We got some onesies and the cutest pair of duck pajamas ever. We've also been slowly buying diapers and wipes, so it's not overwhelming to stock up. We got a diaper bag (scored a sweet deal on a Petunia Pickle Bottom), and a baby monitor (the video one I like was way on sale; plus we can play secret agent spy until placement, haha!). 

Screenshot of the monitor app. Classic Reece :)

We also got a couple decor things:
Ikea hack: shelf with rail 
This shelf is just beside the changing table/dresser, so we can easily reach clothes. We've bought a couple more things since I took this photo. That onesie in the back is from the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks (called such because they wear "all black"); my sister got it for us when she was studying abroad there. The brown bear on the right was Reece's as a kid; it's all worn out around the neck, where he used to hold it. The book and picture were mine as a little girl. And the bunny, we made together at Build-A-Bear a few years ago.

Alphabet zoo decal, and growth chart

I found a good deal on this decal, which will be over the crib (currently the blanket rack and table is there, because the piano is where those things will go; this is a work-in-progresss!). When I showed my mom the picture, she told me that she had an alphabet poster on the wall in my nursery! Fun coincidence. The growth chart, which you can kind of see to the right, is a project I made at a Relief Society (LDS women's auxiliary). I use it for now as a singing meter for the Primary (children's choir) I teach. 

So that's the current state of the room! Stay tuned for progress!

May the Fourth Be With You

Last week, we celebrated one of our favorite "silly" holidays: May the Fourth!
("May the fourth be with you" - "May the force be with you" - Star Wars)

Because we were babysitting on May 4, we ended up celebrating on May 5 ("Revenge of the Fifth!"). We had Monday off anyway, with the way our work schedules currently are. So we woke up and went for a hike first! It was finally warm enough to go up higher in the mountains.

We decided to do Silver Lake, up Big Cottonwood canyon here in Utah. But when we got there, it looked like this:

Oops! Guess it's still a little early in the year. We didn't consider how high up in the mountains it is! So we drove back down the canyon and found a snow-less place to hike (and stumbled on a great picnic spot, which we will definitely use later on!)

After we got home, we got down to the Star Wars fun! We watched the original trilogy (we're not hard-core enough to watch all 6, plus the animated Clone Wars spin-off, in 1 day). During the second movie, I served dessert:

It's vanilla ice cream, strategically scooped to look like the snowy landscape, and I put characters and robots from the movie in it! So fun.

Oh! and one more funny thing. We had to ship something we sold on eBay, and on our way home, we saw this:

Looks like times are tough for Scooby and the gang.... Haha!