Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear 2009

What can I say to 2009?
January was a bitter sweet month. Our nephew turned 2. He is at such a fun age. Growing so fast and learning even faster. So busy and so much to do. Why don't we have a cousin for you yet?

In February I got sick of the infertility blues and gave my blog a new name and a new theme. Oh, and you almost had us with that scammer.
I started a cooking blog. But most importantly, we celebrated eight wonderful years together.

In March Josh got a puppy. I named her Sage. Pyro had her first cancer removal surgery. I offered to join a craft exchange. (Gosh dang, I need to get those bookmarks in the mail!)

In April Josh took me to see "Phantom." That was fun. Hitting the deer with my car, not so much. Easter in St. George with my grandparents, that was fun too. Getting together with FSA is always fun.

In May we had to give a new rule to Zipper. I was able to meet several online adoption friends in person. Josh felt creative and built a bench. And I took a stand for adoption and wrote a letter to the editor.

June, I love your warm weather! We went craw dad fishing and we discovered Pelican Lake. More good times with our FSA buddies. And I got a new fridge! I wrapped up the month by babysitting the happiest little boy.

In July I reaped the rewards of babysitting that cute little boy, by catching the icky influenza bug from his family. Highlight of the summer was helping Preston catch his first fish! Josh took me hiking in the mountains (sometimes I still call it the death march of '09).

August is always my favorite month because its time for FSA Conference. It was a blast this year because we met so many friends. And what a busy month you were. Blowing bubbles with Preston was the bomb! The family reunion in the mountains was the best. And then we welcomed our newest nephew, Tyler, into the world. (But still no children for us.) I also learned that there is worse things then a dead mouse in bed, try a live bat in the house.

In September, FSA got together again. We took new family pictures at the farm.

October, you didn't get a lot of attention because, let's face it, up until the 20th, you sucked. So much so I couldn't even find the strength to blog about it (and I still haven't). But you had your shiny moment on the 20th when we received our first email. And you did go out with a bang with my Halloween Dinner and Dallon coming home.

In November, I got back into my blogging groove when I took on the National Adoption Month challenge to blog about adoption every day. You reminded me how cruel life can be when you took my Missy away from me. I still haven't forgiven you for that. But you did melt my heart when we met Ally. (Why didn't you warn me about all the trouble she would find?) I had a few fun hours watching my little nephews. (When can I do that again?).

December, how can I ever repay you. I want to scream it from the housetops, "We were picked!" Quite frankly, the rest of the month was a blur because we have had our heads in the clouds.
2010, our future has never looked so bright.

*To read an update on our adoption journey, please read Unchosen.

I couldn't say it better myself

New Year's Eve

Josh was asleep before 9:00.

Temple Square

We got our second Christmas on Saturday when we went to see Celeste. We had a fun time, but learned we need to better prepare for the city. We were a few minutes late for the movie, not that it mattered because it was already sold out. I had to call a friend to find a restaurant (turns out we were piratically standing on it). The city sure is busy during dinner time, we never have to wait to get seated at a table where we live. But dinner was a blast, she even laughed when I called Josh a gay cowboy because he bought a purple shirt. We are so comfortable around her. We were able to get into a later showing of the "Princess and the Frog." It was super cute. I could fall in love with Disney all over again.

After that we decided to get lost in the city and go to Temple Square. I'm so glad the temple is big so even when you see it several streets away, you can get there. This was my first time using my new camera and I haven't figured out the settings yet so some of the pictures are blurry.

On the way back to her house we got really lost. Had no clue where we were. We thought about keeping Celeste, but we weren't sure where our home was either. But God is in all parts of the adoption process and through divine luck we found her house.

I get to go out again on the 22nd to learn the sex of the baby. I am so excited!!!! If Josh can't get the day off, than he says we will have to take another trip in January so he can see Celeste too.

Ally's first dive... and first bath

Christmas morning Josh woke me up to tell me the hilarious story of Ally jumping into the toilet. I didn't laugh. Instead I inquired to make sure he had washed her off and was informed he didn't. I found her on the couch, on his side of the couch. So back to the bathroom we went, but this time to the sink where she received her first bath and if she has her way it will be her last bath.

Christmas 2009

For the Christmas holiday, I participated in another blog swap on Seasonal Swaperoos. I forgot to take a picture of the stuff I sent. Here is the picture of the stuff I received. Kirsti did a good job when I mentioned I really like snowman (and don't like Santa's). The Snowman tin had chocolates in the top and the snow flakes and hair clips in the second bin. There was a cute Christmas card telling us to use the picture frame next year for baby's first day in the snow. I can't wait!

Our tree on Christmas morning.
After opening presents. Don't worry, it was a bigger Christmas than it looked. I also got 4 new tire rims and two new tires. Josh got a kennel and a bed for his dog.
This year I had good intentions, I started my Christmas projects in Sept. But then I quit working on them in Oct. So on Christmas Eve I pulled an all nighter and stayed up until 2 AM finishing the scrapbooks I was making. I made Josh's mom and sister each one using Melanie's kids. Here is just a sampling of some of the pages.

Then for Josh's Grandparents I made a scrapbook for our family reunion this summer. I had a ton of pictures for it so I decided to do a different layout for it.
This is a tradition I talked about keeping, but that was before I realized just how in over my head I was.
We are so excited for Christmas next year. It is going to be big!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Modern Blitz Designs

I have a friend who makes the cutest cards. I'm talking Christmas cards, announcement cards, pass along cards. You name it, she can design it. She also does blog designs. The best part is all this work is for her dream of parenthood. They are looking to adopt and she is doing this design work to help raise money for their adoption plans. Check her website out at Modern Blitz Designs. Go there and check out her adorable work.
P.S. She is doing a giveaway right now.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Josh's birthday thoughts

One year older and wiser too.....

Hello everyone, Josh here invading Savannah's blog for a moment with some thoughts on my birthday, and the year that has past. To start with, I had heard that when you turn the age that your birthday falls on, it's supposed to be a very good year, so last year I turned 27 on the 27th, something big had to be coming.

The winter passed without much incident, it snowed some, it was cold, then the warmth of spring came. Much like other years my faith waxed and waned like it always has. We were still not parents yet, although we had been contacted by a scammer who got my hopes up and them smashed them to pieces.

Wanting some control back I expanded our family in a different way, we got Sage. I now had some control back in what happened to my family and it was wonderful. I love my puppy, and it has been nice to have a dog around to walk and play tug of war with, but I was still expecting something big, then came summer.

With the warm summer months upon us Savannah and I decided to tackle the 101 things to see and do in the Uintah Basin. We started off with a bang but got stuck on the "Fishing for bluegill at Pelican Lake," I can honestly say I haven't had that much fun fishing since I was a little kid going to the mountains with my family on our annual pack trips. So we have now found a new fishing spot, it was a nice change but still not the big thing that I was expecting.

We also tried backpacking this summer, A fun trip into beautiful country, country that I love very much and was so glad that I was finally able to share with Savannah. We both has a good time and Sage was in 7th heaven, but still not the big thing I was expecting, maybe fall would hold the big excitement for my 27th year.

The end of July saw us once again going to the annual FSA confrence, it was there that I decided that Savannah has a fairly faithful following of couples hoping to adopt like us. I had to go out to the car for something and Savannah stayed inside, on my way to the car several women who I didn't know said hello to me and asked about Savannah. They recognized my hat, I love that hat. The conference was wonderful, and we were able to meet new friends and have a wonderful time. I look forward to conference more than Christmas each year. At the end of the weekend I felt different, I was uplifted as I have been at the end of each conference, but this year was different, I cold now sense something big coming for us, I have no idea how I knew this but I knew that something was going to happen and it was going to be big, but what was it?

With the coming of September, the obvious excitement of fall hit me, Dallon was coming home, the hunts started soon, and we were going to the Book cliffs in November. I lay awake one Friday night in mid September and listened to elk bugle above the house here all night long, maybe fall would see the big something coming, maybe in the way of a big elk or deer. Well it was a good thought anyway. The hunts came and went and were fairly uneventful. But on the 20th of October a very small thing happened, we got an email from a potential birth mother. Dallon was coming home in a week, and here was this email. At first I didn't know what to think other than it was a good thing. I felt good about it but nerves and fears of scams past kept me from getting too terribly excited.

October 31st, Dallon came home and I went to the mountain alone, I had a sense of sadness that I have never felt before this day. I was of course excited to see Dallon again, two year is a long time to be without my brother and best friend. But I was sad because I was so sure when he left that when he came home Savannah and I would have a baby, and he was coming home and we didn't have one yet. I went to the mountain and walked out on a long ridge overlooking a deep canyon. I sat down for a moment and told my concerns to my Father in Heaven. I explained that I wanted Savannah to be a mother and I wanted to be a father, but I wasn't sure how much more I could take. If it was to forever be just her and I and the cats and the dog, I would accept that. I would love my nephews fiercely and would be a serious contender for the worlds best uncle. And if I was to never have to change diapers or get to experience 2:00 feeding, I would survive, I was saddened because of the loss of these things but I would get through it. Then I had a feeling, a feeling that I don't often get probably because I don't listen for it often enough, but this feeling told me that the Lord was aware of Savannah and I, he knew of my struggles and heartache and he hadn't abandoned my yet, so I shouldn't abandon him. The words "wait just a bit longer Josh, you're tough enough just a bit longer" were running through my head all that day. I had a feeling of peace that I have not known since I knew that we were meant to start on this adoption journey.

November saw Steve and Dallon hunting elk in the Book cliffs. They both got elk, and I had a wonderful time on the hunt just being with them and the rest of the family there. But we had also been receiving a few emails from this potential birth mother. I was actually getting pretty excited about her. Days that we didn't hear from her were longer than days that we did, And as Dallon and I went to camp late one night I told him about her. I was excited about where this might end up and had to tell someone.

Thanksgiving we decided to tell our family and a few friends about "C", the birth mother we were in contact with. We asked for prayers on her behalf and on ours as well. Never in my life have I felt the power of prayers offered on my behalf like I have that week after Thanksgiving. I felt like my "Big thing" was getting closer and closer, then on a lazy Sunday afternoon "C" emailed us and said that she wanted to meet. Savannah called her on the phone and I paced close by eavesdropping on as much of their conversation as I could. The word "Excitement" cannot do justice to the feelings that I had during that phone call. I think Savannah stated it best on her face book status as "Big things happening right this second."

December 4th, I have never been so excited and nervous as I was that day. The drive from home to the city was filled with nerve racking excitement and nervous energy, I think I could have run part way there. As is usual with my driving in the city, we got lost, then got found again, then we found her house. As I stepped out of the car in her driveway I felt the spirit of the Lord so strong, giving me the strength I needed to walk to the front door and knock. She opened the door, Savannah gave her a hug, and the nerves went away. I cannot explain it but it was as if I have known her forever. We had a wonderful visit, I did not want the night to end. As we took her home after dinner, the tears came. She stated it as she said that she felt the spirit so strong, and as she told her mom and dad the we were "Awesome"

As we got in the car to come home tears wet my cheeks. Yes me who tries to be big and tough was crying because of a 16 year old girl. The drive home was long, I didn't want to leave the city, she is amazing and I wanted to stay there and learn all I could about her. When we got home we turned on the computer and there was the email, she had chosen us! An email on the 20th of October, such a little thing, and an email on the 4th of December Big thing, both connected but the small thing turned into my BIG THING!

The last few weeks have been a blur, I live for daily emails from Celeste, we went and saw her again last night. I have never met anyone so amazing, so strong, brave, and wonderful as her. She is now part of my family and I don't have the words to describe how I feel.

So now I start 28. Big things await us from here on out, and I'll never be the same man I was, I can only hope that I am better, worthy of the blessings I have received. For my Savannah, and all that she is and does for me. For Celeste and the light and the hope she has given me, for making this big tough cowboy cry more than once now. And for our child, I'll meet you this year, and I am sure there will be tears because of you too. I can't wait to tell you your story, and tell you about all the wonderful people who helped bring you to us. One year older and wiser, and hopefully I am getting better with age.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Josh the big 'ol softie and Ally in trouble

When we dated Josh used to tell me on a regular basis that when we married there would be no dogs in the house. I happily agreed to this arrangement. It was never a problem until earlier this week when Josh wanted to bring Sage in during the night so she could stay warm. I realized I lost the fight as I was purchasing a kennel the next day. So now Sage comes in every night and sits by the couch for about an hour. We have to keep her on her leash so she doesn't go find stuff to chew on. Then we put her in the kennel at bedtime. Josh gets up at about 1:00 to take her out for a potty break and then she comes back in. I think he is training for the 2:00 AM feedings so I can stay in bed at night.
Of course, none of the kitties are happy with this arrangement.
What trouble has Ally managed to find this week? We have learned she LOVES shopping bags. They aren't on the floor for two minutes and she is in them. And it will keep her entertained for hours. Or until I get the groceries put away.
She also finally manged to find her way into the closet. That part I understand, but I have no idea how she got up on the hangers.
She just wants to be just like her big brother.


We have decided that this makes the perfect Christmas theme for our family this year.

I ordered this doll from my friend Christine. She is the perfect addition to our Christmas decor. I plan to order more for each season of the year to adorn our little rocking chair. You can view your dolls at Annie's Pals.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christensen Christmas Party

Santa & Grandpa Paul
Santa & Savannah
The Christensen's
Melanie & Colter's Family
Santa with Willard & Judy
Preston spent the ENTIRE TIME running. I think he was in a lot of pictures because he would run by just as people were taking pictures.
Santa holding Tyler
Preston still isn't quite sure what to think of Santa
Well, I guess Preston laid down for about a minute.