Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Play Date

Yesterday Haylee and I got together with Claire and her two little ones, Megan and her two little ones, and Katie and her three little ones. We ate a yummy lunch at Claire's house, then we went to this tumbling place that has open gym for little kids in the afternoon. It was a blast! Haylee loved jumping on the trampoline with me! She also loved the rope swing and foam pit! I actually don't know who had more fun, all of the kids or the mommies!! Thanks everyone for a fun day out of the house!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A First

The following picture is a first for Haylee and Me. Since Haylee was very little, she has not just fallen asleep with me while watching T.V. Well, the other night it happened, so of course Brett had to go run and grab the camera. After the flash went off and I realized what had happened, I was shocked! Then after the shock was over I was mad that she wasn't already in her jammies, because then I had to take her up stairs and wake her up just to put her back down again!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chuck-E-Cheese

Where a kid can be a kid! Last night Marco (Haylee's biological half-brother) had a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. Neither Brett nor I have been to Chuck-E-Cheese forever! We have fond memories as kids of playing in the disease infested plastic ball pool and watching the Chuck-E-Cheese band play, so we were excited to take Haylee there for the first time. Haylee loved the little rides they had that were just her size. It made me a little nervous to have her do them by herself, so in every picture you can see my hand right there- just in case :). Here are a few photos of our evening out...

posing with Daddy

posing with Mommy


getting up close and personal with Chuck-E-Cheese himself
riding in the Jazz Car
saying Hi to her new friend
riding on the horsies
Dancing on stage with Mindy

posing with Marco and his present from us :)

Ariana (Marco's cousin), Haylee, and Marco

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Full of Adoption Stuff Day

Yesterday was a "full of adoption stuff" day for our family. Brett and I volunteered through LDS Family Services to go around to Junior High and High School's on befalf of the Utah Adoption Council to inform the students about adoption. We educate them so that if they ever find themselves or have a friend or family member that are in a situation where they are pregnant and not married, they have information about adoption. We go over how much it costs to raise a child and everything that goes into being a parent and single-parent. We also brush on the topic of abstinence. I have presented on my own at Granger High School, but yesterday Brett was able to leave work early and we both presented at J.F. Kennedy Jr. High School to two health classes. The kids that we taught had great questions and paid close attention to our message. We just figured that we have had such a positive experience with adoption that we might as well spread the word to young kids so that they can become adoption advocates!
Part two of our "full of adoption stuff" day took us to LDS Family Services where we met with our new caseworker for the first time. It's called the "intake interview." We just talked to her about our family and about our previous experience with Haylee. We also paid our first initial down payment, so there's no going back now :) In all honesty though, Brett and I are excited to be back on the adoption trail again. We realize that this time it might not happen as quick as it did last time, so we decided to put our papers in as soon as we could so that our children would at least be a few years a part. For those of you who don't know our first adoption story, here's a little rough draft...
Brett and I found Haylee through designated adoption. Designated adoption is where you tell the whole world that you are adopting and chances are that someone might know someone that knows someone who is pregnant and considering placing their baby for adoption. Then your acquaintance can inform this person of a fun family that they know who is adopting and the rest is history. With Haylee, Brett's dad Steve was our "baby recruiter" as we like to call him. The day before Thanksgiving in 2006 he was talking to his cousin Cindy about us. Cindy has a daughter named Mindy who was pregnant and considering placing her daughter (Haylee) for adoption. After Steve and Cindy talked to each other, Cindy informed Mindy about Brett and Me. We got a phone call from Mindy the Monday following Thanksgiving, finally met with her the Tuesday after that, Haylee was born that Saturday (Dec. 9th), and we brought her home on Dec. 11th! Like I said before, we don't plan on things happening as fast this time :) One thing that we would appreciate from all of you is if you would become our "baby recruiters." If you know someone who finds themselves in a situation where they are pregnant and can't parent their baby, please inform them of us.
At first when Brett and I were trying to get pregnant, then later found out I had endometriosis, we were heartbroken. But, adoption has brightened our spirits again and brought us new hope! We feel that adopted children are choice spirits, hand selected from our Heavenly Father. We also feel honored that our Father in Heaven would trust us so much that he would make us these children's parents. We hope that this adoption journey is as positive as our last one and we look forward to sharing it with all of you!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quinceanera

Brett, Haylee, and I had the opportunity to attend a family friends little sister's Quinceanera on Saturday night! For those of you who don't know what a Quinceanera is, it's a big 15th Birthday party for young women. Hispanics celebrate young women becoming WOMEN at age 15 so they have a big party to do so! It was a little like attending a mini wedding reception. Our friend's little sister was all dolled up in a beautiful gown and had a photographer and videographer following her around all night! They actually followed Haylee around a lot too, because she was the only baby there :) It was held at the Gallivan Center and was decorated like you were at a Mardi Gras party. They had masks and beaded necklaces for all of the guests. The food was also wonderful and was topped of with a three tiered tres leches birthday cake! We danced (by we I mean Haylee and I) the night away until about 11:00, then decided it was time to call it a night. Thanks for the invite Astrid!! We had a ball! Here are a few pictures that captured our evening...

Modeling our masks
Shaking it to earn more beads!

Posing with Daddy
Crawling around and dancing to the music

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Big Time Slacker!

It seems like ever since Christmas hit, I haven't had any extra time to breathe (or blog)! I don't know about the rest of you, but the day after Christmas my house looks like a tornado hit it, so although I have been tempted to blog I have spent most of my free time at home cleaning! Anyway, I have been informed by my sister-in-laws that Brett and I have been slackers at blogging, so I thought I would take the opportunity tonight to get caught up!
Where to start... Our Christmas festivities started on Christmas Eve with a traditional dinner at my Grandma and Grandpa Gardner's house. Every year all of my cousins and I meet there for dinner and presents. We have a gift exchange with all of the cousins, then open our p.j.'s from my grandparents. This year Brett and I opted out of the cousin exchange and just had Haylee participate (gifts can get expensive when you have to buy for both families :). Haylee got a darling princess bath set from my cousin Lindsay. It came with a crown, wand, and a mirror. Haylee loved every last bit of it! She also got a puzzle from her, but will probably become more interested in that when the batteries in her wand run out!
(Haylee with her princess toy)
All three of us got really nice jammies! Brett and I got them from my grandparents and Haylee got them from my Mom and Mark. Hers were equipped with slippers and a matching bow! After taking a huge cousin photo and family photos, we were off to home to get to bed before Santa skipped out on leaving presents at our house.

(All of my cousin's in jammies)

(my family in jammies)
The next morning was nice, because we didn't have to be anywhere until 10:00 am. We slept until Haylee woke us up at about 8:30, then got her ready to see what Santa left. She got some really fun things and loved the toys that played music!
(Haylee opening her gifts from Santa)
(our family on Christmas morning)
After opening all of her presents, we were off to Brett's parent's house for our traditional Christmas breakfast. Everything tasted delicious as usual and breakfast was followed by more presents. It was fun watching all of the cousins take turns opening up all of their toys! Haylee didn't really understand what was going on, so I had to open the majority of hers. After presents, Brett and I raced to my parent's house to talk to my brother Jake who is on a mission. We made it just in time for our turn to talk! He sounded really happy and comes home on his 21st Birthday, April 11th! I can't believe he only has about 3 more months!! After talking to Jake we opened all of our gifts from my siblings and parents. Once again, it was fun watching all the little cousins open all of their gifts. I think that's the part of Christmas I like the best- watching other's reactions to gifts they receive! Our next stop was to my Grandma and Grandpa Castleton's to visit for a little bit. They always have the best appetisers, so we couldn't resist on snacking a little at their house! Then it was off to Bountiful for our Christmas dinner with Brett's cousins! Dinner at the Stratton's is always delicious!! Dinner was followed by a little Guitar Hero (yes, I actually took a turn and played Barracuda, which I totally sucked at, but had a blast so I didn't care), then we opened a few more gifts. We were out the door by 8:00 and headed home. We thought that Haylee would have slept the entire way home, but instead she was hyper as can be! Before we left the Stratton's house Emersyn, Haylee's cousin, passed out Reece's Peanut butter Cups, so of course Haylee had to have some! I think she was on a major sugar rush until we got home!! Brett and I finally got her down by 9:00 and thought about watching a movie, but sleep sounded a little more tempting since we were gone all day! Our house was dead silent by about 9:15! Although it was an eventful day, it was nice seeing everyone. We are both very grateful for everything everyone gave us. We are both so blessed to have close families.

(Haylee snuggling her doll in the car as we drove from house to house)

Since Christmas has been over, Haylee and I have enjoyed having Brett home. He is still working hard as ever, but we are able to see him a lot more. We have really enjoyed relaxing at home and watching movies!

Now on to New Year's Eve... Brett and I both hate to be out on New Year's Eve. It's usually way too cold outside and we both get nervous to drive after midnight. This year we decided to catch an early Linner at Cheesecake Factory around 4:00. The food was delicious as usual! Then we headed home to catch the Utah basketball game that started at 6:00. After the game was over we put Haylee to bed and decided to watch Harry Potter 5. We went and saw it in the theater, but Haylee was a little stinker so we (by we I mean mostly Brett), missed out on a lot of the movie so it was like we were watching it for the first time. The movie ended at about 11:15, but we were too tired to stay up to bring in the new year. We were actually awakened by our neighbors banging pots and pans and lighting fireworks so we gave each other a new year's kiss and rolled over and fell back asleep. I guess we are just getting old or something!

Today, New Year's Day, was pretty eventful as well! Brett didn't have to go to work, so we both headed over to the gym and went to his sister Jamie's cycle class. We hadn't ever gone to a class together, so it was a lot of fun! I actually had never tried cycle, so I was excited for that too. Needless to say it kicked my trash. It was an awesome class, but my sit-bones are killing me! I hope to go again so that I can get used to it! I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a high intensity class :) After the gym Brett and I went to my parent's house for a brunch for my brother Jared's birthday! I can't believe he is 23. I swear I still feel like I am 23 at times. After brunch my family went and saw National Treasure 2. It was actually pretty entertaining! When the movie was over we were off to the Dickson's house for Emersyn's birthday. She turned 2 today. I really can't believe 2 years has past since she was born!! Dinner was great and watching Emersyn open all of her girly presents was fun! It makes me excited for Haylee to be that age and into all of the fun princess stuff :) To top the night off, when we got home Haylee decided to get brave and stand on her own! This was a 1st for her! Her record is now 5 seconds and she even took on step, which we caught on video. I think she was motivated after seeing all of her cousins walking around today! Maybe she won't crawl her whole life after all :)

Well, and that about wraps it up! We have been quite busy this past week! So, Happy New Year to you all! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and hate coming back to reality as much as I do :)