Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Nine years ago today I decided to put my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. It's hard to believe it's been nine years since I made the awesome decision that rocked my world!

Today, I am celebrating the New Year with some wonderful family members. I'm sure it's hard to believe, but Titus and Leeann are still bright-eyed and bushy tailed just 30 minutes before we ring in 2009. Titus looked like he was going to give in for a few short minutes, but then he regained his energy rather quickly. Surprise!

We've been eating good food, playing awesome games (like Blokus... it's great!) and hanging out. Now we're watching the Bee Movie and counting down time until we pull out the cider and count down to the New Year.

I made some pumpkin rolls. Yummy!
This is Batman showing me how strong he is... mind you it's nearly mid-night.

Logan gave in!

Here's part of the clan. Since the taking of these pictures Leeann and uncle Chuck have fallen asleep beneath the Christmas tree. I took pictures, but I don't want to download them just yet. I'll try to remember to post them later because they've gotta be cute.
Happy New Year!

I haven't seen my kids in days!

We finally made it up to see Rob's family in the Kent area on Saturday. Suzy and I drove up with all the kids after a lunch stop in St. Helens (thanks uncle Steve for fixing my head-light and brake light!). We made it to Kent that evening and Rob joined us on Monday afternoon. We've been enjoying time with Rob's family, and the kids are having so much fun I virtually haven't seen them in days!

Seriously, Leeann's been sleeping in Ashly and Amanda's room (they're 10), and Titus has been sleeping in Joshua's room (he's 13). They wake up in their cousins rooms and pounce on them and play with them and aunt Shelly gets them breakfast and we get to sleep in until ridiculously late hours... I even slept in until 10:30 one day! It's been beautiful! Of course, we also stay up extra late hanging out with Chuck and Shelly, but that doesn't stop them from getting up at a normal hour!

The cousins are all worn out from all of their chasing of my kiddos. They are all so good with them! Josh even has the energy to chase Titus around all day and he's LOVING it. It's crazy that the cousins keep getting older and older (KayLee is 15), as I still think of them as young. I feel like Ashly and Amanda should be Leeann's age and KayLee and Josh should be about the age of the girls. Rob and I were talking about what it would be like to be here 5 years from now when Titus is 8, Leeann is 10, the girls are 15, Josh is 18 and KayLee is 20. Now, that will be a whole different ball-game. Before too long the cousins might start having families of their own adding more kids and a whole new generation to the mix. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves though... for now we're just having tons of fun together as a family. In fact, tonight we'll do our Buhl family Christmas. I can already smell the turkey!

On a not as happy note, Rob's mom has been in the hospital since the Tuesday before Christmas. She's been having some trouble with her liver for a long time and something happened with her kidney's where they've started to have problems too. I don't really understand it all, but I know that she's in the hospital and until she's able to get a liver transplant she'll continue to have significant health problems. So, we've gone to visit her and just spend some time with her every day we've been here. We bring by some grand kids and to fill her room with happy sounds, and we wear her out! The grand kids have plastered her wall with colored pictures and snap shots in attempts to help her keep her hopes up.

Leeann left her Disneyland flip book (with the pictures and signatures of the princess and other characters) with MeeMaw to give her something to look at and hope for. We keep telling her to get better so she can go to Disneyland with us at the end of 2009. We had so much fun with her when we got to go in 2007. Leeann politely asked her not to get anything on it because that book is very special to her. It was perfect, because it was actually MeeMaw who insisted that it was the one thing that she needed when we went to Disneyland. We weren't inclined to spend the money on it but MeeMaw bought it at the first stand she found in Disneyland. And, I admit, she was right... it was probably the best purchase of the whole trip! Now it's in MeeMaw's possession, helping keep her spirits up while she's in the hospital.

Carmin (Rob's step-dad) is taking great care of her, and the kids and grand kids are trying to visit as often as we can. It will be hard to go back to Albany, leaving her here. I went stir-crazy in the hospital for only 2 days even though I had a brand new baby, lots of visitors and my husband by my side the entire time. Oh, and I was recovering from a major surgery. I can't imagine what it must feel for her to be there. We appreciate your prayers for a quick and perfect liver match, and for the ability to fight to get healthy enough to have the transplant in the mean-time.

Anyway, I should probably go, but I wanted to get an update off to you since I've been terrible at keeping up lately. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and thanks for reading in 2008!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Just a few pictures!

These are some of Titus's birthday presents. After Christmas is done, the only vital Cars character we are missing is Tow Mater. I have looked for him everywhere, and the only time I've ever seen him he was the brand new mater (which he only is for like 2 seconds of the movie). Anyway, if any of my faithful readers ever come across Mater, I'll pay a high price for him! Well, not really, but I'll pay you back and thank you like crazy!

This is Leeann and Titus playing under Rob's counter in his office. Why are they covered in toilet paper covers? Glad you asked...

Because Pastor Joel and Branden decided to decorate Rob's office for him! They actually did a great job and it looked quite decorative until you realized what they were! Rob had the kids at the office with him when he took them off of his ceiling and they had a blast playing in them. Go figure, the best things in life... uh, never mind!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Tried

This morning it appeared that there was a break in the weather and a stability in driving conditions so we packed as fast as we could and hit the road in hopes to be with family for Christmas. Suzy's clan followed close behind us and we made it just north of Salem before we realized venturing out was a bad idea. The further north we got, the more clumps of slush and show were on the road. It was bumpy and we were going less than 20 miles per hour. There were semi's and cars and trucks all lined up on the sides of the road to chain up, so we turned around and came home.

The whole way home Leeann and Titus kept begging us to just try to go a little bit further so we could make it to Aunt Shelly's. We tried to distract them by asking them to help us brainstorm some things we could do together, and with Suzy's family to make the next couple of days extra fun at home.

After a few great ideas such as painting and making cookies Leeann said, "I know, we can drive home and get our shovels (sand toys) and come back to the freeway and shovel the snow out of the way so we can get to Aunt Shelly's!" Rob told her it was too cold outside to do that and it would take too long. "We can wear our boots!" she replied. Ah, I love that she would think to do whatever she could to make it to Washington. We are sad to be missing family, but we are looking forward to creating some Oregon Christmas memories this year. Hey, at least we tried!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowed Out?

The only thing worse than being snowed in for Christmas, is being snowed out! Although Rob has the week off, we've yet been able to find any hope from the weather man to be able to travel to visit family on any of our days off... because they're all buried in snow. We, on the other hand have only had a few flurries today and other than that it's just been raining for days. 30 minutes north of here roads and businesses are closed as the snow keeps coming down. None for us though. I'm getting the impression that if you travel 30 minutes in any direction you'll find treterous conditions... crazy eh?

So, we anxiously watch the forecast trying to figure out if we'll get to spend Christmas with family, or we'll be hanging out here. The good news (or at least the silver lining) is that if we're stuck so is Suzy so we'll at least have some family around for the holidays.

Other than that, I still have a lot to update you on (and loads of pictures) but my laptop is seriously slower than dirt, and my desk top doesn't have any room for more pictures. That's why you're getting these boring wordy posts. I may have nothing but time on my hands this week though, so I'll try to get those up soon.

High Lights since my last post:

Leeann has a deep cough and she sounds miserable, but the on call nurse didn't seem concerned all.

Titus and Leeann had a Christmas Program at church and Titus discovered his angel wings as of the second performance and decided he could fly. He ran back and forth across the stage like a wild angel. Yup, that's the Pastor's kid! It was a circus! I was quite entertained, yet embarrassed at the same time. Every performance has to have a clown and I wasn't at all surprised that it was mine, honestly!

That's all I can think of for now. Enjoy the snow, since I'm sure every one of my readers has it but me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So much to blog, so little time!

When I have a lot to blog I tend to blog nothing. Strange eh? What's really bad is when I wait so long, wanting to blog everything all at once, that I don't end up blogging anything at all.

So, in a nutshell, you've missed:

Leeann's last swimming lesson for the Fall season (see, I'm so far behind you didn't even know she was taking swim lessons huh?)

I'm racking my brain trying to remember what I did this weekend, but I'm at a loss! Oh, yeah, the kiddo's and I went to a friends and decorated sugar cookies... and I'm still not sure what happened after that.

Sunday we went to church and McDonald's then had Dean and Deborah and their family over for some tater-tot casserole, Cold Stone Ice Cream Cake (yummy... and Happy Birthday Deborah!) Then after they left we went out to play in the freshly fallen snow and took a short trip to Target... which ended up being a lot of fun since nobody was out in the snow.

Monday the snow kept falling and Rob took a day off to play in the snow and in celebration of our 7th wedding anniversary. We braved our way over to Suzy's place to play in the snow. I have lots of pictures and I promise to post them soon! We had lunch and hot cocoa there and mossied home to put the kiddos down.

Then we took Leeann to Red Robin to have dinner with some of her birth-family and Rob, Titus and I headed to Applebees. We were going to go to P.F. Changs for dinner on Tuesday to celebrate our anniversary, but that ended up getting snowed out! Anyway, just as we were finishing dinner Suzy called. I ignored the call because we were at dinner, but when she called back again a few minutes later I picked up the phone and she was crying and I could hear Landon screaming in the background. Landon rolled into a radiator styled space heater and got his arm and hand stuck in it while it was on. Suzy didn't know where the hospital was and it was super icy on the roads and she didn't know what to do. So we ended up meeting her part way so Rob could drive her car to the hospital and then he took all the kids back to our house and I stayed with Suzy at the E.R. Landon is a trooper and he's doing well, but he got some pretty good burns and blisters.

So, Suzy and the boys stayed the night at our place Monday night, just in case something went wrong especially since the roads were still icy.

They hung out at our house all day Tuesday until the roads cleared up a bit then Suzy took Landon back to the doctor. We invited them to stay at our place to weather the upcoming storm together. It was supposed to be several days worth of snow and freezing rain, so we were gearing up for not going anywhere for the next several days. Rob got some last minute grocery shopping in and we hunkered down ready to face whatever would come our way. The funny thing is, the storm never came. Oh well, it's always fun to have sleep-overs anyway!

This morning I had an interview to take on a day-care kiddo (I'm looking at picking up some part-time kids), and then I got to tackling a good winter project: Closets! I rearranged and cleaned out both of our hallway closets and it felt great! It makes me wonder why I didn't clean them out ages ago since it only took an hour and a half and now they are both function and far from chaotic!

That's been our last couple of days in a nutshell, and I'll post pictures when I'm able. I hope you're enjoying the snow wherever you are. Assuming that there's snow wherever you are. Oh, and Happy Birthday to our 10 year-old neices Ashly and Amanda and Rob's step-dad Carmin!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snap! Snap!

Yesterday Suzy and boys came over for lunch and the kids all played upstairs for a while after we ate. A few minutes before Rob gets home I usually try to have the kids pick up their room so it's not too chaotic for him as he walks through the door. So, about 10 minutes before he was scheduled to be home I went upstairs to encourage them along in the clean-up process and their room (and hallway outside their room) was TRASHED! I mean, it was bad... really, really bad. All of the Poly Pockets were scattered and Titus took every flash card in our house and scattered them in the hall. Blankets and cars and stuffed animals were strewn throughout the room. I should have taken a picture.

So as I'm barking out orders like, "Two hands, two toys" and "Super speed kiddos, gotta work fast Uncle Rob's almost home!", Leeann comes up to me and asks me, "Mommy can you just snap really well so that our room will clean up all by itself?" I couldn't help but laugh in the midst of chaos. "Oh sweetie, I'm not Mary Poppins, but I wish I were... you're going to have to clean your room up all by itself!"

More Updates

Just in case you are wondering where we're at with the adoption pursuit, we went and looked at bulletins last Thursday and put our name in for 4 girls in state and 1 girl in a neighboring state.

We've heard back that 3 of the 4 Oregon girls have been placed (their bulletin's were pulled the next day) and the other one's caseworker is out of town this week so we don't know if she's still available. Our caseworker sent our home study along to an interstate worker who weeds through out-of-state home studies and forwards along ones that seem like they might match. We don't yet know whether or not she'll send our home study along to this girl's caseworker, but we're hopeful. We're not really sure where to go from here because these 5 girls (now 2) are the only ones that are currently available that we're wanting to get more information on.

So, we wait. Again. We're trying to patiently wait on God's timing for the child he plans for our family. We're coming up on 7 months from the time we decided to adopt again. I was hoping to by-pass the whole 9 month gestation processes this time around, but it looks like we'll easily surpass that mark in this pursuit!

Anyway, that's where we're at. We're both doing well, recovering as expected from the dissapointment of not being selected for the previous young lady. We were both sad and bummed, but we're committed to moving on, continuing the pursuit of our next daughter. We'll let you know when we get closer to going to committee for anyone specific.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Church Office Part 1

This is the first of three videos made by our fantastic staff to help teach the congregation what not to do as part of our Project Christmas series. It's well worth watching, and I'll post the others later. Leeann makes a special appearance in #2!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Little Texter

7:39 am: (Blank message sent to random number unbeknownst to me)

7:48 am: Is this robin?

7:49 am: Yup (Me thinking--who on earth is texting me at 7:48 in the morning from a number that isn't programmed into my phone? And why are they texting me asking if it's me. Weird!)

7:51 am: whats up? just textin? (Again thinking--What? Just texting? I hardly ever text. Who are you and why are you texting me so strangely so early in the morning...

Ah, I get it. I woke up to Titus in bed next to me playing with my phone... he must have texted this person. But their name isn't even showing up, how'd he randomly text someone who's number isn't programmed into my phone? Seriously, who is this? Maybe I have a programming genius on my hands!)

8:00 am: That must have been Titus... Sorry! Who's this?

8:16 am: Haha this is Branden
Haha thats funny (How did he text Branden... I don't remember calling Branden or getting a call from Branden anytime recently. I went to find Branden's # in my phone and it wasn't even showing up... stranger yet even!)

8:18 am: I hope he didn't wake you! Sorry about that!

9:11 am: Haha no im @ work. Silly titus

Anyway, I figure that somehow Titus texted Branden and then erased his contact information which is why his name wasn't showing up next to his number... hence all the confusion. After flipping through my recent calls I remembered that I'd called him Saturday evening to let him know I'd locked up the church and set the alarm after a wedding so he didn't need to come lock up. Still though, Titus had to do some pretty crazy maneuvering to find Branden's information and text him, and erase his information. It makes me wonder who else he's erased from my phone without my knowledge! Silly boy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

3rd Birthday!

We had a small party here, with Suzy and the boys in celebration of Titus's 3rd Birthday.
It was fun times had by all!

Titus showing off his new Doc car. One of many Cars vehicles he got for his Birthday this year!

Opening up some presents!

The final cake picture. Oh, and the red frosting tasted so bad that later that evening Titus exclaimed that he didn't care for the red parts! Titus chose to eat the tire, Logan chose the spoiler, Leeann chose the window and Weston said he was find with whatever he got. I ate an eye and Rob got lucky by choosing the numbers... he didn't get very much red! I'm not sure which piece Aunt Suzy got. I'm sure you were just dying to know who ate what parts of the cake huh?

My 3 year-old son, blowing out his Birthday candles! Can he really be 3?
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Birthday Breakfast

Rob took Titus out for a late Birthday breakfast, which turned into lunch when Titus insisted on macaroni and cheese and grapes at Denny's. Thought you might enjoy a sneak peak of the Birthday Boy!
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Cake Mess!

I found myself up until 2:00 this morning putting the finishing touches on the much anticipated Lighting McQueen cake in celebration of Titus's 3rd Birthday! As always, it was a long daunting process full of "learning opportunities". So now I have a Strawberry Shortcake, a Blue's Clues, 2 John Deere Tractors (one was pink), a Princess Belle cake, a Cinderella cake and a Lightning McQueen cake under my belt. I have done others too, but these are the character cakes that I've done.

It seems like each one takes longer than I anticipated and runs into some sort of catastrophe before turning out okay in the end. This year I learned that it takes a boat load of red to turn white frosting into a deep red. I ended up using 1.5 ounces of Wilton cake decorating food coloring, and 3 full tubes of regular food coloring, adding some Wilton brown to try to tone down the awful pink color I kept getting. In the end it turned out okay because I also found out that red darkens as it sits. I almost cried at the thought of all of that effort for a pink Lightning McQueen cake!

What I didn't know until I hopped on-line to try to figure out how to get a deep red, is that when you use that much food coloring it makes the frosting taste bitter unless you get the no-taste red (would have been good to know before it was too late to go get some). So, I added some almond flavoring to try to mask the bitterness, but honestly, I'm not holding out hope for this to be one of my best tasting cakes! Hey, you learn as you go right?

I also made a huge mess! This was even after cleaning up some as I went along. Notice my lap top, I watched some Super Nanny on-line to help pass the time while I was making a mess... I mean... decorating. I go through tons of paper towels for some reason... and lots of tooth picks too. Oh yeah, and spoons and bowls!

This is how I left my kitchen counters last night, I was just too tired to clean up at that point. Here's one of my tricks by the way: I buy store bought frosting then add some powdered sugar to it to thicken it up. And if you need brown or black, just add those colors to chocolate frosting so you can get it a nice deep color.

More mess!

And here's the finished product! Well, almost finished, I added a black line to his mouth and some writing beneath the cake later, but here's the mostly finished product for now. Ka-Chow, Ka-Pow!
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My little baby turns 3 today! I remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. I remember all sorts of crazy silly details, but most of all I remember the joy and excitement of bringing this little boy into the world and holding him in my arms for the first time. How have three years come and gone so quickly?

He's such a sweet boy, full of spunk and energy. He has a great joy-filled personality and a smile that melts my heart each day! I'm so blessed to get to be his mommy!