April 30, 2008

Our life in pictures......

We have had a whirlwind week and I finally took the time to upload a ton of pictures so here goes:

Last Thursday morning we loaded up the car and head about 3.5 hours south of home for an annual family reunion. This is a reunion that we attend every year that is for Grammy's (Paul's grandmother) side of the family. We always have a wonderful time and usually make a whole weekended out of it. Usually we all take our travel trailers but with Paul and I just getting home from China, Daddy Sonny having some health issues and the astronomical price of gas we all decided it would be easier to just stay in a hotel for a couple of nights. We packed Avery up (and ALL her gear) and hit the road. She was an awesome traveler and didn't cry at all until the very end. Once we stopped at the hotel we found the reason for the meltdown, she had a not so little surprise waiting for us!! We were greeted by Sandra, Cliff, Grammy, Daddy Sonny, and finally Aunt Kay and Uncle Larry got to meet Avery. We had a wonderful evening visiting and just generally watching Avery charm everyone.

Our happy little traveler!!

Friday we spent the day at Paul's cousin's house who lives nearby. Avery was introduced to even more family and was her usual happy self!!
Her first experience on a trampoline. She wasn't too sure about it but I'm sure that will change in the future.

Us with Aunt Kay and Uncle Larry. Larry spent the entire weekend trying to get her to say "uncle Larry" to no avail.

Saturday was the actual reunion and once again Avery was the belle of the ball. It's funny how people have heard us talk about her forever and anticipated her arrival with us and now she is actually here!

Aunt Melinda, Uncle Tony, Mimi, and Poppy are all big Avery fans!!

Little Miss Priss in her reunion outfit.

Our little branch of the family!!! There were over 70 people in attendance total.

Sunday we packed up to head home but also had one important stop to make. Our nephew Kolin turned 13 on April 2nd and received a very special (and a little belated) birthday party. His parents took a group of his friend to tour Texas Stadium...Home of the Dallas Cowboys. Most everyone in our family is a major football fan and we have to root for the home team. We were treated to a tour of the luxury suites, locker rooms, meeting areas, and then we were taken on the field where the kids got to play football for 40 minutes. It was a great experience!!!

Getting Avery ready to go!!! She had to dress in the proper fan attire!!

Posing on the star in the middle of the field.

Kolin and his friends took a break from playing to pose for us. God bless Chris and Danette for driving 1.5 hours with all these kids, I wouldn't have wanted to be in the car with them!

Our family!!

The cutest fan ever!!!

Avery and her daddy in front of the cart that transports the players.

Funniest statement of the day: While we were touring the suites our guide was telling up the prices of the original suites and the price that Jerry Jones paid to redo his suite several years ago, one of the boys in all his 13 year old wisdom asked our guide "So...is Jerry Jones rich or something?" Yes the "or something" is totally right. All the adults got a big kick out of that question and our guide couldn't help but have a smile on his face.

Our week has not been all sunshine. We learned while we were out of town that one of Paul's good friends passed away unexpectedly. We were shocked and are still processing everything that has happened. Please remember us in your prayers!!

While we were at the funeral yesterday my dad got his first chance to babysit Avery all by himself. She was only with him for 3 hours but he definitely got a workout. He even bragged to me that he changed 3 diapers!! When we went to pick her up Dad informed me that we had "forgotten" to put baby powder in her diaper bag. Being the wise man he is he improvised....this (powder form) is what he used!! Needless to say she was a good smelling baby when we picked her up.

Hangin' out with Papa and trying out these mouse ears!!!

Last night Kelby had a baseball game and Avery got to sport her new Nike tennis shoes. Isn't she stylin'?

And last but certainly not least the first of Avery's 2 birthday celebrations. Because we just had her Welcome Home party we decided to go low key for her birthday. We had a family dinner with my immediate family tonight and will have the same with Paul's immediate family tomorrow.

Here's round one:
Can you guess what we ate for dinner???

Avery checking out all her new toys!!

One candle for our one year old!!

It took her a little bit but she soon go the hang of eating her own personal cake!

after that it was straight to the bathtub for her!!!

So that's our week......some ups, some downs, but such is life.

Thanks for checking in with us!!!!!

Look who's 1!!!!!!

HAPPY
BIRTHDAY
AVERY!!!!

Mommy and Daddy love you very much and are so blessed to be your parents!!!





April 27, 2008

Sunday 3 word......

Several weeks ago a fellow blogger started a trend where a bunch of us would post a picture on Sundays that included 3 words to sum up our thoughts or our week. I participated the first few weeks but have been absent the last few. Little things like a trip to China, jet lag, a baby in the house, etc have kept me from participating. Well, I'm back......and in honor of that I have 2 pictures for this weeks post:

Still kind of hard for me to believe!!!



Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!

April 24, 2008

Welcome Home Party!!!!

I know this post is a little late but I had to round up pictures from our guests since I totally neglected to get my camera out during the party. Anyway......

Last Saturday night we had an East meets West party hosted by Avery's grandparents. We had a great turn-out with over 110 people in attendance to welcome her home!! We had a full spread of BBQ (70#'s of brisket!!) and all the fixin's and a variety of Chinese entrees too. I promise that no one went away hungry!!!! For dessert we had a chocolate fountain with a variety of fruits and even marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, and a castle cake made by Avery's grandma!!

Everyone was so excited to get to meet Avery and she did fantastic during the party. She really was the center of attention!! She received some awesome gifts and we are overwhelmed with the generosity of all friends and family.

Pictures of the party:

We decorated the room and tables with both American and Chinese decorations to symbolize to joining of the two cultures. Sandra and I made centerpieces for each of the tables with half being American and half being Chinese. It really turned out cute if I do say so myself.

The American table centerpieces!!

The Chinese table centerpieces!!!

Avery loves going up in the air!!! Here she is with my brother, her Uncle Chris, and her smiles are evident!

My dad entertained the other kids there by blowing bubbles. It was a big hit!

Avery can't believe all this is fuss is for her!!!

Me, Paul, and Avery posing in front of Avery's castle cake!

Paul giving Avery a sample of her cake.

We had Avery's 100 Good Wishes Quilt on display so that everyone could see the finished project and see what they all had contributed to.

Me, Kelley, and Erin with our little Chinese beauties!! We are waiting a few more to come home then our mini-posse will be complete!!

I won't even begin to post pictures of all the guests because I don't want to leave anyone out!! A great time was had by all we feel so blessed to have such a large group of family and friends that supported, encouraged, and loved us during the wait and were anxious to welcome our baby girl home!!!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped with this party for one very special little girl!!!!

Another family is complete.

They've got her!!! And it wouldn't be a typical Valerie post without the dramatic flair!

Congrats Gary and Valerie, we can't wait to meet her!!

April 23, 2008

Major happenings:

As I type this post our friends Valerie and Gary should have just received Aubriana in their arms!!!! We are so excited for them and can't wait to see the first pictures of this joyous occasion!!!

Tonight I went to dinner with Erin and Kelley and we had a little toast for Valerie:

Here's to you V and your newly enlarged family!!!


While I was having a mommy's night out Paul and Avery were having a daddy/daughter date. They went to dinner and then somehow my sweet little girl who doesn't talk yet conveyed to her daddy that she wanted a pair of Nike shoes....at least this is the story Paul is telling. So being the great daddy that he is he had to go out and search for a wee little pair. This is what he came home with:
I have to admit that they are cute even if they are a little pricey for kid's shoes!!! I will definitely have to get a picture of her modeling her new shoes tomorrow.

We are heading out of town tomorrow for a family reunion. We will be gone for 3 nights and I got a taste this afternoon of packing for a child. Whew!!! They require alot of stuff!!

Happy Wednesday!!!!!!!

April 21, 2008

4 weeks ago today......

we were entrusted with the most precious gift we could ever receive. Yes, it has been 4 weeks since we first held our daughter in our arms. What a whirlwind 4 weeks it has been!!!! We are still in awe the fact that we are finally parents. Even today Paul said to me "we are really not babysitting are we?" I guess it has taken a little while for it to sink in for both of us. There have been some ups and downs during the past 4 weeks but we would not trade any of it. We still feel so blessed that the Lord has given us this child. She continues to thrive and we can't wait to see what task she will master next. I was going through our China pictures tonight and amazed at the changes we have seen in such a short amount of time. I am already one of those mothers that say "she is growing so fast".

Happy Monday!!!!!!!!!!

And they're off!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning our dear friends Valerie and Gary left Texas heading to China!!!
They are finally completing their family by adopting Aubriana. Their gotcha day will be 10am Thursday, April 24th (which will be 9pm Wednesday night for us Texas folk!)We can't wait to see the first pics of this new addition to the crew united with her parents!!


Can't wait to welcome you home Gary, Valerie, and Aubriana!!!!!!!!!!

April 20, 2008

Pics from the last few days:

We continue to be busy, busy, but we do see the end in sight. I think almost everyone in our family has been introduced to Miss Avery and she has been a trooper with all the running around and meeting new people.

She continues to make good strides with her sleeping and she seems very attached to both me and Paul. The other big thing about her: THIS GIRL CAN EAT!!! So far we have not found anything she doesn't like and she seems to have a bottomless pit for a stomach!!

We are still amazed beyond belief that we have been chosen to be parents to this wonderful little girl. She has smiles that light a room and she is getting more vocal everyday. No words yet, but she definitely babbles to make her voice heard.

We had her Welcome Home Party last night hosted by her grandparents and we had a wonderful turn-out!! I was too busy socializing to take very many pictures but I am relying on those that were there to send them my way (hint!hint!).

Now for the reason you really still visit:

Bananas were an instant hit in China and they continue to be a hit at home. She has now progressed to holding her own banana and yes she wants (and eats) the entire thing!!

Her first taste of Oreo cookies, courtesy of her Papa!!!

Who's ready for summer??
We spend alot of time in the pool during the summer and Avery is decked out and ready to go!!!!

I did manage to capture one picture of her in her party dress from last night:
I know I am a little biased but she is just the most gorgeous little girl!!!!

Hope everyone has a great week, thanks for checking in!!!!

April 17, 2008

Unknown......

I had a moment today that I am sure every adoptive parent (especially international adopted) goes through. In the back of my mind I knew the answers but having to write them down in black and white was very heartbreaking for me.

Avery had her first visit today with the pediatrician. First and foremost he was awesome with her and we received a glowing report.

When we entered the office we were given the standard paperwork packet to fill out. Of course the first sheet was the basics: name, address, parents, insurance, etc....it was the second page that really got me. This page contained the "Pediatric Health History". The first portion was about pregnancy. The second portion was about the birth and days immediately after birth, and then there was a section about family history. When I got to this section I thought "whew! Finally something I can answer." I got about 1/3 of the way done answering the questions about family history of heart disease, cancer, etc when it occurred to me that even this portion I could not answer. It's really irrelevant what Paul's and my family medical history is when it comes to Avery. She is not predisposed to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer from our gene pool. By the time I got to the end of the sheet it was a sad site that on 80% of it I had to write UNKNOWN....and it got to me.

When we chose the path of adoption we knew there were certain things we would never know about Avery's start in life. We knew this and have told ourselves this repeatedly but when we have to write it down somehow all those things that you know and thought you were prepared for show up in a different light. I am sure this is just the first of many times we will feel inadequate about our daughter's history. We can't change the past but we can vow to change her future.

Anyway, on to more positive things.......as I stated earlier we did receive a glowing report. Avery is right on target with her height and head circumference. She is on the lower end of the charts for weight (which we knew) but there should be not problem with her catching up there very soon. We will go back in 3 weeks and they will do all her blood work and give her the 1 year immunizations. That should be fun!!! Even though she is slightly behind developmentally the strides she has made in the short amount of time she has been with us lead our physician to believe she will catch up soon there as well. We plan to watch her development for about 6 months and then judge from there if we think further intervention is needed.

Now of course I had to take a couple of pictures of this "first":


Avery stripped down and chillin' out to get her measurements taken. She weighed in a whoppin' 18 lbs and 2 oz and is 29" long.

She found all kinds of things to play with in the exam room!

Thanks for checking in with us!!!

April 16, 2008

Guess what?????


For the last 3 nights this sweet little girl has slept through the night....normal Texas nighttime hours!!!!!

YEAH AVERY!!!!!! Your mommy and daddy are so thankful that we might (just might) be getting you in a routine!

We don't want to jinx it or anything but the last 3 nights have been heaven in our house. She usually fusses about 15-20 minutes and then she is out like a light!!! Believe me, Paul and I were both feeling a little sleep deprived for the first 10 or so days we were home with her erratic schedule but it looks like we might be getting this parenting thing down after all!!

One of the things she loves is when her daddy (still feels weird typing that) tickles her belly. We get instant laugh out loud cuteness!!!!

We have been low key this week. I have been working on the pictures from our trip. When you combine mom's and my pictures we took a whopping 1452 pictures in China. Yes, that is one thousand, four hundred, fifty two!! Now it is on to the task of deleting duplicates, editing, and organizing.

We are getting Avery's first professional portraits made today (like we need more pictures?) and then tomorrow she has her first appointment with the pediatrician.

Have I told you lately how much we love this little girl?????

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

April 13, 2008

Busy, busy little girl.......

We continue to get "settled in" (even though we haven't moved or anything) but I will admit that adjusting to life as parents after living as just a married couple for over 16 years is different!! Way different!! We are making good strides with the sleep issues and of course we are spoiling Avery tremendously!! We will freely admit that not only us but both our families and our friends are all wrapped her tiny little, beautiful fingers!!! We have had a very busy week here with visitors, appointments, visits to both my and Paul's workplace, and meals with friends! So much is happening in our little social circle right now that sometimes we have a hard time keeping up! Next weekend is Avery's "Welcome Home" party so the final plannings of it are going on as well.

I continue to get comments from those who followed the blog during our travels and I am extremely humbled that so many people enjoyed it. Please keep checking back as we settle into family life but also please don't be disappointed if I only post a couple of times a week. For some reason my days seemed to filled right now. Can't imagine why???

Before we get to the reason you really check-in (the pictures) let me give a couple of "shout-outs" to those we are close to that have major happenings going on....

Valerie and Gary leave next Monday to travel to China to bring Aubriana home!!!! We had dinner with them this week to give them some pointers and let them pick our brains. We are so excited that they will be traveling so soon after us and coincidentally Avery's Gotcha Day and Aubriana's Gotcha Day will be exactly 1 month apart!!!!

Christie and Anton have their court date for Quint tomorrow!!!! If everything goes as planned he will officially become their son and they will travel in May to Ethiopia to bring him home!! They joined us for dinner last night to give some lovin' to Avery and quiz us about the ups and downs of new parenthood!!

Kelley is turning in to such an entrepreneur as she branches out in several different areas. Her latest is digital scrap kits! She recently created a kit dedicated to our family called "Worth the Wait" and it is fabulous! We are so appreciative and I can't wait to scrap some of my China pics using that kit. You can check it out here!! She also has a ton of freebies so go download them now!!

Erin still patiently waits for Meisey's referral but she is not letting any grass grow under her feet while she waits. She has her own very exciting (non-adoption related) news coming very soon but I won't spill the beans. I will wait until she tells you herself!!

and last but certainly not least, our friend Jamie gave birth to twin boys yesterday! Both mother and babies are doing great and they are the most precious little boys!! We will be saying alot of prayers for her as she begins her life as a mother of 3!!

Now onto this weeks pics:

Friday we went to Oklahoma to introduce Avery to Grammy and Daddy Sonny, her great grandparents!! She was just as entertained by them as they were her:
At last they meet!!!

It seems as if Avery is telling everyone in the room "Hey, have you met my Daddy Sonny?"

Another 4 generation picture: Sandra, Paul, Avery, and Grammy

I call this her "deep thinker" look!!

It is usually quickly followed by this beautiful smile!

Today was Avery's first church service. We wanted to go last week but unfortunately jet-lag and sleepless nights were obstacles we couldn't overcome. We made it today however, and Avery did great during the service. We did have one little snafu, in one of the quieter parts of the service she decided to make some very unlady-like noises that could be heard by the people all around us. We must find out what causes her to have "gas issues" and avoid that on Sunday mornings! Makes for a great memory though!!!

Here she is ready to go!! After church we went to lunch with Erin & family and Kelley & family and had a great time! Erin took some great pictures of the 4 girls that I will post very soon!

This afternoon Avery spent some "quality time" watching tv with daddy!!

She has found a new favorite snack!! Our friend V turned us on to this little treat: Mum Mum's! Avery practically inhales them!

And I couldn't post without this one last picture. My mom returned to work this week and her co-workers were so kind to throw her a diaper shower for her newest grandbaby! They literally outdid themselves with all the diapers and wipes. We are so appreciative!! You gals are great!!!
This only represents a portion of the diapers received!! They will definitely be put to good use!!!

Once again, thanks for checking in! There's no telling what this week holds in store for us!!!!!