Thursday, December 15, 2011

Around the Tree with Grandma and Grandpa

The kids LOVE when Grandma and Grandpa Russell come to town. They get spoiled to death, of course, and they just love being with their grandparents. It was WONDERFUL that Grandma and Grandpa could come visit at the start of the Christmas season to help get the tree, decorate the house, and play with Maya and Sam. Here they all are around our newly-decorated tree.

Come again soon, Grandma and Grandpa.

Cutting the Christmas Tree

Aaron's mom and dad (Paula and Dave) came for a visit the first weekend in December, and while they were here, we went and cut our Christmas tree. It was a wonderful morning outdoors followed by some hours of decorating later that afternoon.

Our family just before picking a tree.

Maya got to help cut the tree trunk.

Sam brought his own dose of silliness to our morning.

Aaron's parents joined us for this special morning.

My sweet boy is almost 3 1/2! Hard to believe.

And my big girl is 6 1/2.

Grandpa helped Maya finish cutting the tree's trunk, then together they hauled it to the car.

Wrapping Up November

November came and went really quickly at our house. We started with a visit from Uncle Nathan (my brother) and ended with Thanksgiving followed up with our match with a baby in China.

We were matched on November 28, 2011 with a little boy in Guangdong Provence, which is in southern China. It was his first birthday the day we received the match. After some consultation with a pediatrician at the UW Center for Adoption Medicine, we decided to say YES to this little boy.

His name is Matthew and he has a cleft lip and palate, which we will have corrected when we get him home to Everett, which will likely be sometime this next spring.

Hooray for a third child for our family. Welcome, Matthew.

Me with my sister Amy and brother Nathan in early November.
Uncle "Noodle" (Nathan) with his nephews and niece.
The cousins on Thanksgiving.

Crazy Mr. Sam.

Our family--although Sam doesn't look very happy.

My 6 1/2 year old girl!

The night we were matched with Matthew, his 1st birthday. We lit a candle and sang to him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween 2011

We had a nice Halloween in Everett this year. It was a beautiful sunny day as our two horse and riders set out (along with their parents) to attend our annual Halloween party hosted by Ed and Carol Petersen. We feast on pizza, the kids play, and when it gets dark, we all head out for trick-or-treating.

The horse and rider costumes that Aaron made for the kids.

Sam's horse is unnamed but he was a cute rider.

Maya named her horse Charlotte.

Parker went as his favorite Sesame Street character, Elmo!

Aaron was a hurricane weatherman and I went as Rosie the Riveter.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Parker's Baptism

On Saturday, October 29, our nephew and cousin Parker was baptized at home by our long time family friend Terrie Rae. My cousin Andrea is Parker's godmother. It was a very special day celebrating one of our favorite little people in the whole world!

Parker LOVED dipping his hands in the water.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Star Student

The last week in October, Maya was the Star Student in her first grade classroom. This meant she got to do several special jobs, have family members come to class, make and present a poster about herself, and be the celebrated person for the week.

Here's the poster Maya and I created for her special week:

The Star Student and her poster.

And here's a close up of the poster.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October Adventures

We had a fun month of October, complete with a visit from Grandma, two trips to the pumpkin patch, and other autumn adventures at home.

Maya and Sam LOVED their week with Grandma while mom was gone.

Sammy had fun exploring at the pumpkin patch.

Maya picks out her pumpkin.

And Parker's not sure WHAT to think about all the dirt and orange circles.

Maya, Sam and Dad make October crowns together.

Another trip to the pumpkin patch--We also did a fun corn maze.

Parker gives a sweet smile.



Bapa and Marmie joined us for pumpkin gathering.

Parker seemed to really like the small pumpkins.

Parker and Sam get a ride in the wheelbarrow from Bapa.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Camano Island

We spent a lovely Friday overnight on Camano Island a few weekends back. The weather was perfect and the beach was magical. What a blessing to be together and enjoy the bounty of Autumn in the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few shots from our time together.

Parker & Maya walking to the beach

Sam and Aaron collected a bunch of rocks

Amy and Dad


The adorable Smith family (with my very cute nephew)

Parker signs "more" for another handful of blackberries
There's no hiding hands that have been picking blackberries

Summer's bounty--made two batches of jam and two cobblers with this load of berries

An evening soak in the hot tub

Friday, September 9, 2011

Summer Finally Arrives

Irony: Summer has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest, coinciding with a return to the school calendar. We're trying to squeeze in some summer fun among classes and activities. We have a first grade girl and a preschool boy at our house this year--and it's BUSY!

End of summer smiles.

Sam playing in the rocks at Mukilteo Beach with his friend Lily,

Beach play!

Sam and Maya with their good friends Emma and Lily.

First day of first grade . . . and she's SMILING!

This girl is getting so big--can't believe it.

Marmie and Bapa walked with us to Maya's first day of school.