Friday, December 23, 2016

Busy, busy

Ryan was just commenting last night that we haven't had a movie date in several months!  It's because we have had activities almost every weekend...fun activities, but this weekend was a bit much.  
I was invited to a bible study project party on Friday night where we made a Christmas painting.  It was so much fun, but they didn't do a trial project, so there was a lot of learning involved and the project took a really long time (thank goodness they did a lot of prep work by staining the boards and putting them together).  It was a very cold night, so we huddled by the fire in between working on our projects.  Mine looks really good from far away (don't look too closely) and I found a great spot on our wall.
The next day, we had the foster Christmas event.  We've never been able to attend the one put on by the Foster Parent Association, so I really wanted to go.  It was much like the other events, too many presents!  Since Reggie is a teen this year, he got gift cards which he really appreciated.  The kids sat with Santa which was good since we haven't had a picture in awhile.
From there, we went right to Ainsley's intrasquad meet.  This was a practice meet and since she has only been back doing her skills for about 2 weeks, she was only ready on floor and vault, so she competed those 2 events.  She did great for such limited practice!
She was very happy with her bun...I have improved a lot in my bun making :o).
I tried uploading her floor routine, but the file is too big.  She was 4 days late with putting her bar routine together, but here's what that looks like:

video
We really lucked out that the first 2 events were the ones she was competing because we left her there (her team party was afterward) and went home to get ready for Ryan's company party.  Reggie was the babysitter and it worked great.  We had a nice time at his party, but didn't eat until 9:30.  I won a tree, but the table next to us won 2 baskets and I was asking them for a trade...What am I going to do with a small tree?  The guy looked at Ryan and said, "Are you with him," and gave me the "Relaxation" basket :o).  I guess he knew I needed it more!!!
The next day was the long awaited birthday party.  Reggie's friends came over and we went to Rogue 1.  The boys seemed to like it but Ryan and Ainsley fell asleep and it wasn't my favorite.  The second half was much better...

So, the week has just continued to be busy....I had a toffee making party, the kids had school parties and we had all our usual activities, plus packing and gift wrapping.  Now we just need to clean the house and get on a plane tomorrow....YEEHAW!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Awards

We had school awards at the beginning of December and Khalif got recognized for outstanding reading and Ainsley got recognized for the Principal's honor roll.  Reggie's assembly was the following week and we thought his straight A streak ended because his math grade was a B+.  He turned in extra credit, but the grade never changed on School Loop.  I guess she did change it because he got a 4.0!  He was very excited :o).
Reggie and Khalif also had their end of the year swim party and Reggie got awarded the hardest worker (just like his sister) and Khalif got most determined!  I wish they would apply some of that when it is cleaning day!  The kids had lots of good food at their party and cream puffs are a new favorite...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanksgiving and Grandma Peggy visit

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!  We spent the morning decorating for Christmas and then had a late lunch.  Ryan thought it would be fun to go on a hike afterward, so we went to the backside of Del Valle and scaled the giant hill.  Reggie is terrified of heights and was starting to panic (if you look over the edge, it is a little frightening), so Khalif yelled back, "Don't worry Reggie, God is with us!"  He calmed down because there were a couple other hikers that were passing by and I think he didn't want to be embarrassed.  We made it to top and he was happy about that.  I'm not sure if pushing through helps conquer fear or if their fears get worse by being exposed.  I'm going to have to look into that one!
 Some wild turkeys crossing the road on our way to hike
 So happy to be on the way down!  We went up that skinny trail to the left of his head....
When we got home, we ate again and then Reggie and I went to black Friday.  We waited long enough that the crowds were all gone.  It was really strange, but a very pleasant experience.  We didn't get anything too exciting.  We did finally cave and purchase a new t.v., but we were able to get that online.  It has a very bright, clear picture, but we haven't watched it enough to take advantage of all the smart things it does.  I am trying to give away our old t.v., but so far no takers, so it might have to be recycled which is a bummer since it still works great.
Grandma Peggy came the following week for Reggie's birthday and we had turkey dinner all over again!  It is one of our favorite meals :o).  We also went to the movies to see the classic, Christmas Story.  I didn't remember that movie very well and it was interesting.  The kids seemed to like it and now understand the house by the crosswalk that has a leg lamp!  The kids had a piano recital the next day and everyone did great with their Christmas songs.  It was Khalif's first one and he memorized his song.  Our last stop was Deacon Dave's....he decorates his house with a ridiculous amount of lights (Ryan thinks the number was 522,000) and it is quite a sight.

The Huskies played in the Pac 12 Championship game in Santa Clara and Ryan got us tickets!  Reggie went with a buddy and it was lots of fun.  Really cold, but we were victorious, so worth it!
We had great seats..


Sunday, December 4, 2016

13!


Wow...Reggie is 13!  Thankfully, he is still the same sweet boy, who loves his Lego's, Pokemon and video games.  He has become quite the thinker and says some pretty funny things....starting to seem a lot older, but at the same time, still pretty innocent.  He had a great birthday, but asked me why he had to do anything.  I replied, "That would be nice to not do anything on your birthday...maybe I should try that!"  Too bad life doesn't stop on our birthdays.....He even had a test at school!  His dinner request was grilled cheese (like Denny's) and I think we got it pretty close!  He is the carb king.  Grandma Peggy flew in to celebrate and made him some Lemon Lush for dessert!
He has chosen some nice friends, figured out how to manage school and have time to "play".  He loves football, watching and playing in the yard with Ryan and the neighbor, but has no interest in playing on a team.  He was lucky enough to be invited by his friend David to go to the Pac 12 Championship game in Santa Clara to see my huskies whoop the Colorado Buffs (Go DAWGS!).  He loves recounting events and had to tell me his favorite play :o).
His activities are swimming, math club, reading club, piano and life group.   He has been pretty sweet in putting in prayer requests for Ainsley (wrist) and a pre-school friend who got brain cancer (who is doing great!).  I love that he is so caring and is bothered when things aren't right and knows to go to the Big Man upstairs for help.
Enjoying his storm trooper from grandma and grandpa.
 Conquering his fear of height...we went to the top on the skinny trail to the left of the big depression!  Not sure it worked as he never wants to do it again.
 At his November swim meet.  They really lucked out with the weather....mid 60's.  He has really improved his times and got first in every heat he was in.  He felt pretty good about his day!
He is growing like a weed...literally, every time I turn around, he is growing out of a different pair of pants.  He is almost 5'4" and it won't be long until he passes me!  I am going to have to weigh him, but I think he's easily over 100 now (he weighed in at 110).  I will update my findings later.
He has decided to wait on his birthday party until Rogue 1 comes out.  6 lucky boys will be joining us for the movie!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Adoption Finalized!!!

Our court date was on October 7th and we met with the judge and signed all the documents.  It was rather anti-climatic, sign here, sign there, but I guess I'm not sure how it could've been exciting.  Khalif was sure excited...grinning from ear to ear the entire day :o).  Mom and dad made it here for the occasion, as well as his biological family (on his mom's side).  It was nice to have everyone together for his special day.  I guess they hadn't been doing adoptions in the regular court room for awhile and I'm not sure how our's ended up there, but our judge was very excited that we were the first case she's had in over 6 months.  I'm sure she was very glad to put that one in the books!  She is the main reason it finished up so quickly.  She had a sub for her courtroom and took us to another location and after at least 4 full days, it was finally finished (usually, you have multiple cases on the same day and between the breaks and cases coming and going, not much was getting accomplished).
We had a nice celebratory dinner at Sweet Tomatoes.  Later that night, he said to me...."I guess I'm really not moving now."  Amazing that even after being with us for over 4 years straight, he still had some doubt.



The celebration continued 2 weeks later with a party, so large that we had to break it up into 2 groups!  There's been a lot of people who have come along side us on this crazy ride and I'm so glad they came to celebrate with us.  We probably could've done 1 party, but I think around 75 people showed up total, so it would have been a bit much.  We had neighbors, teachers, church friends, foster support group friends, friends from both schools and his family!
Khalif was a bit worried about how he was going to play with all his friends, but he managed to figure it out.  We had a giant bounce house, it looked a lot bigger in our yard than online!  It was great though....had a climbing wall, jump area and slide.  Between that, the secret room and the trampoline, the kids were happily occupied!
Mom and dad were a big help in getting the yard looking nice and setting up....until....I went to go ask them a question and dad was on the couch, rolling around in great pain minutes before the party.  I could tell mom was a little frustrated because his timing is quite amazing.  Thankfully, he remembered he'd had the pain before and shoved his hernia back in and 20 minutes later he was good as new thank the Lord (mom was figuring out which medical facility to take him to).

 Rancho teachers and friends


My bible study friends
My last minute artwork to remember the celebration:

Our final celebration was our trip to Legoland and Disneyland!  This happened the first week in November and we did pretty good with the lines and weather (although the last day was 90!).  These trips are usually more for the kids and we get grumpy and tired, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!  We left the house at 5:30 in the morning and luckily it was the daylight savings change, so it was really 6:30 and drove straight to Legoland.  We arrived at noon and explored until it closed at 5.  We were initially a bit disappointed because we took a wrong turn when we went in and it was all geared toward very young children.  Thankfully, we found all the really awesome displays and the rides for older kids.  We had to have a little talk with Khalif about making sure he knew where we were at all times because there were a few moments where he was "lost".  I suppose a very good lesson before Disneyland since that place is way busier and bigger and we had no problems after that.
The kids having some fun with chewey:
 They constructed boats for a boat race
 Reggie/Khalif's looked REALLY cool, but it broke into a bunch of pieces when it hit the first turn

The Star Wars display was quite impressive, but the Death Star was amazing:

 In all my years of visiting aquariums, I have never gotten to see an octopus swim.  It was the coolest and if the park wasn't so close to closing, I would have stayed for awhile
The next day we did Disney and I was excited because the last 2 times we were there, Indiana Jones had been closed, so I hadn't been on that ride since 1994!  Unfortunately, Khalif was an inch too short, so now we have to go back.  We found Jafar and Jasmine while they were on the ride.
After the first hour my shoulders were killing me because I was carrying all the waters.  Ryan had the food bag and what are you supposed to do with them on the rides???  Our backpacks were hot and super annoying, so I decided we should rent a stroller, so we did and it was great!  Next time we'll have to bring our own because it was a little pricey.  The kids loved Pirates of the Caribbean and the Star Wars ride (which I barely made it through...started sweating about 30 seconds in and had to take my glasses off and stare at the number 2 on the wall to avoid vomiting.  I had a vague memory that I shouldn't go-NEVER again!).  We toured the Star Wars museum and went on a few more rides and Ryan and I were ready to go....the Seahawks were on Monday night football, but the kids didn't want to go.  Ugh, so we rode a few more rides and then went to Denny's for dinner.  I have never in my life seen Khalif eat so fast.  He was the first one done...ate eggs and 3 pancakes and then felt sicker than a dog.  Thankfully, he didn't throw up, but was close...and now he knows that even if he is starving, he needs to eat slow.  We finally made it back and CRASHED!
These were the only characters we saw all day!



The park didn't open until 10, but with the time change, everyone was up and ready by 7.  So we played some ping pong and went to the pool for a bit before heading to California Adventure.
And...the boys hunted for Pokemon at the condo:
When we got into California Adventure, we went right to get a Cars fast pass and the return timeslot was already 3 o'clock!  It was election day and it seemed quite a bit busier.  We decided to hit the water ride first since the line was short and it was already quite warm.  The first time we went, we got a little wet, but the 2nd time....the geyser went off and soaked us from head to toe.  It was so warm that it didn't matter :o).
We tried to find rides with no lines, but we did a lot of waiting.  The ferris wheel was quick, so even though the boys were scared, we went anyway.  Reggie does not like heights at all!  We were able to distract him by having him look at all the cool things, but this is what he did on the way up:
No one wanted to go on the Tower of Terror except Ainsley, so the boys waited patiently for us.  The ride broke and everyone left and we got there right as it opened, so the wait was only 20 minutes (instead of an hour!), so we felt pretty lucky.  I have to say that I don't remember it much from last time and this time my bottom was off the seat at every drop.  Definitely a tummy turner, but Ainsley liked it.  Thank goodness she was willing to ride almost anything....we went on a fun roller coaster at Legoland.  No one would go on the big one at California Adventure with me.  Maybe next time!  Reggie was a nervous nellie in the Indiana Jones line, but was very glad he did it!

It was finally time for cars and we had a blast!  That is the best ride :o).  Reggie wanted to go again as a single rider since the line was only 15 minutes and he checked to see if Khalif could do it and you only have to be 7, so we all went again as single rider and Khalif and I ended up in the same car and we raced Ainsley at the end so it was lots of fun.
We just missed pictures with Lightening McQueen, but we were first in line for Mater :o).  Is someone in there driving these cars?

We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and shopped around in downtown Disney.
We headed back to California Adventure for the Soarin ride (everyone's favorite) and the light/water/fire show-the fire was HOT.  Pretty amazing!
video
At the beginning of our day in California Adventure, Reggie kept saying he wanted to go back to Disneyland because the rides were better.  As the day went on and we rode more rides, he wasn't so sure.  By the end of the day, he decided that California Adventure might have an edge over Disney :o).  They were sure troopers...we walked 13 miles in 2 days!
The drive home was a quick 5 1/2 hours, but of course it wouldn't have been a road trip without someone puking.  We were prepared this time and Khalif gave us enough warning.  Usually, he gets it out and then feels better and is ready to eat, but not this time.  He threw up again and he looked bad.  Partly because he was so tired.  We couldn't tell if it was car sickness or the stomach flu, but when we got home he was begging for food and returned to his normal self, thank goodness!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Halloween and mom and dad visit

I searched and searched the internet for costume ideas for KOA and finally found one that was relatively easy and somewhat unique.  We were........garden gnomes!!!
Sadly, our group did not win the costume competition and this was likely our best shot.... we were robbed!  The walking dead won :(.  Ainsley won for her age group and Khalif got the 3rd place prize, so at least they won something!  The kids did the usual all weekend, jumped on the jumpy pillow for hours, rode bikes/scooters and hung out with their friends.  
The entire group:


It was a very fun evening....lots of adult treats (jello shots/regular shots) and some were really tasty :o).  Mom and dad and I danced the night away!  The kids were here and there having all kinds of fun with their friends and eating way too much candy.  The rain started around 8 PM, so we headed indoors, which was probably good because we all got a good night sleep.  We woke to pouring down rain...it was quite a feat to get everything in the car and dad and Ryan were soaked...not to mention 2 boys who went out without umbrellas (glad I brought 6 of them!).  It made for an uncomfortable ride home for them.
We won't talk about the bush that mom flattened.....
The rest of mom and dad's visit was pretty packed with adoption activities (pretty cool the timing worked that they could be here for the court date and party!), corn picking, yard work and the Cougar/Stanford football game.  
It has been a few years since we picked popcorn and my stash was getting quite low, so we made the trek to Ardenwood Farms to pick popcorn.
 What a great Cougar upset!  We had some fun watching a very loud and animated elderly Coug fan...
 The fall trimming....
It felt like the Halloween activities went on forever.  We had the school parade and then trick or treating.  
Ainsley with her best bud, Makayla.
Ainsley decided to wear my old gymnastics suit/warm up and be a gymnast.  I didn't realize what that suit was for, but it said on the back Jr. Elite and I think Ainsley thought that was pretty cool.  Mom and dad brought a bag of all my stuff and it was a perfect fit!
We went around our neighborhood and ran into many school friends.  It was a busy, little area!