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!
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 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 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!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Ryan went to Asia in Sept. and he flew my mom here to help me.  It was a great stress off of me, just to know that I wasn't alone.  Thank you mom!  The time went by quick and we were consumed by the daily grind, but we did do a couple of fun things.
We made homemade pasta:

We went to the pool:
We played bocce and mom caught a praying mantis:

Khalif had a rough week when Ryan was traveling.  He got in trouble several days at school and had 2 accidents.  It was very unusual and I didn't put it together until Ryan came back that it was likely because he was gone.  Sometimes, he is just not able to deal with change or things out of our normal routine.  His teacher is very glad it resolved!
Other than that, things were good on our end....The weather was great and mom got to read a whole book, maybe even two!  Of course, she had her fun in the yard and I let her!  We planted beets, peas and lettuce, but there's whole bunch of carrots coming in (we think).  We have put so many carrot seeds in that planter and never had any grow.  Well, mom turned over the soil and made everything soft instead of clay like, so now maybe they are taking root.
Ryan didn't have the best trip....stomach issues, sleep issues and a sprained ankle.  He was very glad to come home and we were all very have him home.  He brought the kids presents and it took them hours to put together.  Apparently, all the pieced were in one big bag and they spent a lot of time sorting and looking for pieced, but it turned out amazing!