Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taking a Break

August marks one year since our home study was approved. Last year this time, I sat anxiously by the computer, waiting for someone to contact us. I just knew we would spark up a great relationship with this special first mother, and that she would choose us (US!) to raise her child.

For the first few months, we had absolute silence. We got some advice from friends who had used LDS Services that it might be a good idea to advertise ourselves on some popular adoption websites. After doing so, we received quite a bit of traffic.

We came in contact with some really great people, and built some good relationships. Even though the adoptions never quite worked out, we are so glad to know these women. After several months of going at it on our own, though, we realized we needed to go through a reputable agency if we were to see any sort of success.

I did a ton of research - like, months of research on this! We picked out 3 agencies we were going to apply to. Then out of no where, an adoption attorney we keep in close contact with had several possible adoptions back-to-back. We put off applying to these agencies in order to be eligible for these local mothers.

First, we were not picked, then we were picked second (SECOND!), and then we were FINALLY picked for a baby that was already born. She was gorgeous. We did not meet her, but we met her beautiful mother. What a roller coaster. We really liked this girl, and felt we could strike up a meaningful relationship with her. However, her family was against adoption, and this adoption also fell through.

Not long after this, we were contacted by a woman up in Seattle who was pregnant with twins. We talked for a few days, and she agreed to meet with us. We were ecstatic. I'm always leery of people over the internet, so I was relieved that she was willing to meet so soon. We drove up to Seattle in a flurry, talking about buying a minivan and what it would be like to have twins (she was due in September). I was shaking by the time we got to her house, I was so nervous. I got out of the car to knock on her door, only to be told she did not live there. We had been duped - scammed. It hit me like a bullet. Who would do such a thing? I have no idea. All I could do was put my face in my hands and sob all the way to our hotel.

Because home studies are only good for a year, if we are to continue with adoption, we would need to update this month. Maybe you can understand that we have chosen to take a break for a time. After this year, and this summer especially, we want to focus on what we HAVE instead of what we don't have. Whether this is for 6 months, 1 year, 2? I have no idea. But right now, we just need to reset. It's been almost 4 years since we started this journey of adding to our family, and I think a little vacation from this particular path is just what we need!

Thank you to all who generously donated to our garage sale. You kindness is appreciated more than you know. And thanks also to all those who have supported us emotionally. We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

McKenzie River Trail

We have had a goal to go on more hikes this summer, since Ethan is much more willing to walk than he ever used to be. It's been awesome!

I've been obsessed with anything on the McKenzie River for quite some time now. It has so many gorgeous hidden gems. Well, I found something called the Blue Pool, and knew we had to go check it out. It was a 4-1/2 mile hike and was a few hours away, so we set out around 9:00 in the morning.

I came prepared with snacks, water, and of course - water guns!

Look, Mom - I'm trigger happy!
….And can we please talk about this pose? It was all him. 

This was the first half of the trail when we were stopping to enjoy everything. It wasn't until we were on our way back that we realized how much time we wasted and how we had to book it back to Salem!

The trail ran right along the McKenzie River, and everything was a picture-perfect moment.

So…. turns out you can't actually get down to the Blue Pool if you are on foot. 
If you're on bike, there's like, a 10 mile loop that takes you around so you can get up close and personal with it. 
Kind of disappointing, but still pretty awesome.

What was most awesome was seeing Ethan be such a champ about keeping up with us big kids on the trail. I was so proud of him!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Seattle 2

We couldn't leave Seattle without doing some hiking. I had heard about Rattlesnake Ledge, and seen some photos. Once I saw the pictures, I knew we had to go!

I looked up the hike and it said "easy" and that it was 1.2 miles.
Oops… my facts were wrong!
It was definitely intermediate and was 4 miles round-trip.

Still worth it, though!
It just took longer than we thought. 

We took this right before we left. That big mountain behind him is the one we climbed.

Here's one more shot from the bottom…

And here's us at the top! It was absolutely breath-taking. Can't wait to do that hike again.

Here's another shot from the top. We could have stayed up there for hours and been happy. 
You know… if it wasn't a cliff..

After our hike, we met some friends for pizza. They took us to Snoqualmie Falls, and it was GORGEOUS!
I don't know why anyone lives outside of the NorthWest.

Seattle 1

Ever since we moved to Oregon, we've wanted to visit Seattle. Well, after almost 6 years, we finally made it. 
And it did not disappoint!

We met our cousins from San Francisco and stayed in a little house just right next to downtown. It was amazing.

First, we went to a gigantic indoor playground to get all the wiggles out after the 4 hour car drive..

Isn't this place awesome?

We took a pic of E right before you left. You can tell he's pretty winded and sweaty in this picture. 
Juuuuuust the way we like him!

After the playground, we all went to the house to take a nap. Vacation is heavenly!
Then, we went to a Seattle Mariner's Game. Seriously, so fun. Ethan LOVED being at the ballpark and watching baseball. We brought his mitt just in case!
We also splurged and got him a ball cap while we were there. He loves it.

Here he is, ready to catch a home run.
He now wants to be a police officer, a robber, and a baseball player. 
Such ambition..

We had to take a family photo while we were there. Ethan's face is priceless!

Our view of the field was excellent. 
We can't wait to come back in August to go to another game!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Before/After Preschool

Get ready to crack up - these pictures kill me! The ones on the left are at the beginning of preschool. The ones on the right are his last day. Needless to say, he was so sad to be done!

 We ended up taking him to lunch to celebrate, so don't worry, he wasn't sad for long.

Schooooooool's Out for Summer!

I can't believe our boy is 5 and done with preschool. It just sounds so grown up. It was just yesterday he fit so tiny in my arms as a newborn. 
His last week of preschool made me really reflect on the last year, and how our boy has grown up.
I may have cried a bit when he graduated!

I always thought preschool graduation seemed a bit ridiculous, but when his teacher hugged him with tears streaming down her face.. it was a really great moment. We are so thankful Ethan had such a passionate and engaged teacher. She was such a blessing. We will truly miss her.
Oh geez - I'm getting choked up just writing this post!

 THAT FACE! I love that he's at the age of weirdo smiles. I don't want it to go away.

Their last time in the circle.

Ethan made so many great friends this year. I hope these boys will be life-long friends. They're all so sweet!
And how photogenic are they??

This picture is everything that a 5-year-old is. We went to this school because one of his best friends (on the left) signed up. I can't imagine having gone anywhere else. 

Next stop: Kindergarten!
Side note: I think Ethan is a little confused about when Kindergarten is happening. We have a meltdown every morning that he has to wait 3 months before school starts again.

Adventures with Water & Babies

We got to go on a really short hike last week with some friends, and it was so fun!
It was a trail just off of a park we frequent, and we couldn't resist - the weather has been so nice lately.

We got to go with my friend Leanna, who has 4 kids, including a 1-year-old baby. I like exposing Ethan to babies so he can get a feel of what our life will be like soon. This was particularly fun, because this baby was enamored with Ethan.

And Ethan LOVED IT.
He's a comedian with his friends and loves to be the center of attention, and loved making baby Liam laugh. It melted my heart to see this.

As kids do, they found water to play in. Splashing in water is always preferable to NOT splashing in water, so this occupied almost an hour of our time (no joke)! Baby Liam loved watching the kids splash, so Ethan entertained him for quite a while.

This face! I love it.

I love that look of joy on his face when he's having fun.
Can't wait for lots more summer adventures!