Tuesday, December 27, 2011

happy birthday ellee

This precious brown-eyed girl has brought us 6 years of snuggling, laughter, fun stories and pure joy!! She has an effervescent personality that completely lights up any room! I am so thankful for the gift of her life!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Of Kids and Christmas

As the excitement and wonder of Christmas quickly approaches, I wanted to share a portion of a blog post from the "Desiring God" website. The post is Called Of Kids and Christmas and is written by Rachel Jankovic. The article offers a great perspective on approaching Christmas with our kiddos...

"Our celebrations aren’t supposed to be smooth, effortless bits of quiet either. They should be as big and as glorious and as spiritual and as physical as we can make them.

Clearly, the attitude with which everything is done is important. If the house is full of physical holiday cheer, but Mom is yelling about the snow boots by the door, the blending has not been complete. If Christmas dinner turns out beautifully, but no one wants to be together, something has gone wrong. But the remarkable thing is that doing it all wrong, having bad attitudes, and resenting the work will not affect the power of Christmas at all. The neighbors throwing money at their children and resenting each other will not slow down anything.

That first Christmas was enough for all time, and no amount of fussing from us about all the busy work will slow it down. We can give each other stink-eyes all day long, and the world will just go on being transformed. The only thing that we can actually damage by losing sight of the point of Christmas is our children."

I encourage you to read the entire post here.

Have a Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a day of change

The adoption process officially began for us in March of 2010. Truth be told, the "process" began in our hearts many, many years before that. However, we walked into our adoption agency in March of last year with absolutely no idea what lay before us. We fought our way through mounds of paperwork and endured months of waiting but finally brought our munchkin home in March of 2011. The journey wasn't over yet due to the nature of the Korea program. A six month wait had to follow his arrival before we legally finalized everything.

I'm so excited to say - TODAY WAS THE DAY!!! It was a day of great change for my sweet family...
  • Taehwan Kang became Samuel Lee Brown
  • He went from "legal alien" to US Citizen
  • We went from "guardians" to legal parents!!
Also - we are now able to go public with pictures, videos and the blog! Hence the reason you're able to read this without signing in! (And the adoption videos on here that had been blocked are not anymore!)

Just a glimpse of what today looked like...

*waiting outside the courtroom*

*inside the courtroom*

*it's final*

Words will never accurately portray this journey we've been on! Although I'm not even close to being a Grateful Dead fan, I think it can be summed up by saying, "What a long, strange trip it's been!!" God has been faithful as He always is and has taught us much about Himself and His goodness!!

**if you have not been able to access the blog until now, please take a look at what we've been up to the last seven months. we'd love to share our life with you**

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


a glimpse at a few of the {many} things we had to be thankful for this Thanksgiving...

*An opportunity to spend the holidays with my husband's family that didn't end like last year! It was {mostly} illness-free...
*A successful "turkey frying" experience. My sweet hubby wanted to add some excitement to the Thanksgiving Day festivities so he suggested we fry a turkey - something none of us had done before. I'm delighted to report that it was delicious!

*Beyond thankful and grateful for this little guy! We are overflowing with gratitude to our Lord for our first Thanksgiving as a family of 5...
*The most amazing cheesecake I think I've ever tasted...

*Matching PJ's and precious kiddos...

*Our annual hay-ride to find the perfect Christmas tree...

*The privilege of parenting these precious munchkins. And the chaos that comes with an attempted photo shoot...


...praise God from whom all blessings flow...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

better than a bitty baby

Every day, I pick up a bundle of energy from Kindergarten. Her name is Ellee and her personality is unmistakeable! Regardless of the fact that I saw her only 3 hours earlier (it's 1/2 day Kindergarten) she runs to me and squeals, "Mommy!!" as though we've been apart for weeks. She leaps into my arms, gives me a bear hug and begins rambling on about her morning.

Every. Single. Day.

And it never gets old!

Yesterday she was particularly bouncy because she had received a special gift from a friend at school and she couldn't wait to show it to me. With great pride, she unclenched her fist and revealed a shiny new quarter. To her, it was a million dollars! She was so excited about this gift from a friend and began making plans for the money as we drove away from the school.

"I could buy some gum from a gum ball machine with it!"

"Or maybe get a toy at the store."

"Mommy, let's buy some Christmas presents with it."

Her ideas swelled and it became more apparent that she really has no comprehension of money and the cost of things around her.

Finally she decided she would save the money and add it to her "American Girl Doll Bitty Baby" fund. She's been saving money since the summer to purchase one when we go to the American Girl Doll store in Atlanta in a few weeks.

"Good choice," I thought - be wise with that money.

Her grand ideas of saving were brought into question quickly as we made a stop at Wal-Mart on our way home. She retrieved the quarter from her backpack and held it tightly in her little hand as we got out of the car.

"Just in case I see something I really want, Mommy."

She began spurting off all these elaborate ideas of what she could do with the money in the store. She was so excited because she was the only one her little friend had given something to! The quarter had made her day!

As we approached the front of the store, we could hear the distinct sound of the Christmas season - the Salvation Army bell ringer! We smiled at each other and without saying a word, we knew what the other was thinking - It's finally Christmas time!

Then something happened that still has me choked up even as I type...

When we got to the front, Ellee let go of my hand and walked right over to the kind man ringing the bell. Without a moment of hesitation or doubt, she joyfully dropped the quarter (which held such a greater value for her) from her white knuckled hand into that red bucket and told the man "Merry Christmas."

My heart welled with emotion and I cried right there standing in Wal-Mart. She grinned at me and said, "Mommy, don't cry. Poor people who don't have anything are more important that Bitty Babies."

"You are right baby girl, you are right."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

art for addie!

My baby girl has now turned 8! It's still so hard to believe, but then again, I say that with every passing birthday!

This year, her party was perfectly suited for her; we had an ART PARTY! Because we weren't sure if the weather would cooperate (and we didn't want an instant replay of Sam's birthday) we opted for an indoor party. We cleared out our living room and set the stage!

We had several " art stations" for the kiddos to enjoy.

One station allowed the kiddos to tie-dye socks. This couldn't have been successful without the help of our great friends, Cortney & Lee - thank you ladies!

At another station, the birthday guests were able to customize their own notebook. (I bought several composition books at the beginning of the school year for super cheap - like 30 cent a piece - and covered the front with scrapbook paper and modge podge.) I gave them plenty of ribbon, jewels, cut-outs and other fun things to decorate with. Some of our sweet guests got a little carried away with the glue..

Another activity for everyone was to decorate their own wooden key chain. Thankfully, Addie has a grandpa that's super handy with a saw and made these. With a few different types of markers and a little creativity, the pieces of wood were transformed into unique souvenirs.

This go-round, we opted for cupcakes instead of a cake. Again - we have Grandpa to thank for the super cute wooden palettes. I'm so appreciative that I can call in my requests to him and he's always happy to comply!

After an elaborate (and very made-up!!) story from my hubby about the origination of the cupcake, we let everyone pick their own treat and decorate it at another station..

After cupcakes, ice cream and presents...

...we headed outside for a few games and a chance to color a banner for the birthday girl!

(love this - it's Ellee writing "I love you Addie")

Each artist went home with their keychain, socks and notebook. We topped that off with a goodie bag that had a few treats in them. One of the goodies inside was a stack of homemade crayons! Addie wrote on several different color paint chips and we attached them to the folded bag with a paintbrush. Trying to stay with the art theme...

It was a great day full of family, friends and fun!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl