Friday, December 14, 2007

This Will Have To Do

I thought I could be Super Mom and have a Christmas card out. But after taking more than 6 weeks to get Landon's birth announcements out I had to succumb to the idea that no Christmas card was going out this year. So, our blog will have to do.

I am not going to recap this last year as most of you have heard via email or phone of our goings on and if you are really desperate you can read over our blog archives. I will however tell you of our most recent going ons.

Mike - Has just completed his first semester teaching at Wayne State and he really seemed to like it, that makes Hallie happy! Just about a month ago he was asked by the Stake President to be our Branch President. He said yes and we have not stopped running since. In about 2 years time we will take a breath and go on a really long vacation. Mike just received an iPod through work and LOVES it. But most of all he loves being a dad. He won't deny it has taken some getting used to but knows that our forever family is just starting and what lies ahead is exciting.

Hallie - Enjoys spending a lot of her day with Landon. He is so funny! The faces he makes are amazing and recognizing all of his developments makes her marvel. She is definitely lacking in sleep and we realized this when she put a bag of lettuce that was to be used for the Branch Christmas Party in the freezer. We all had a big laugh! At church Hallie is the Branch Family History Consultant which she is still trying to get a grasp of and just recently was called to be the 1st Counselor in Primary. To add to our crazy lives this last Monday Hallie accepted the job to be co-chair of the Families Supporting Adoption Michigan/Pennsylvania Chapter. She has a great co-chair partner and we look forward to what the year will bring. Who knows she may see Pennsylvania before the year is up.

Landon - Boy is he growing fast. People think he is still little and I guess he is because he just passed the weight most babies are born at. He recognizes our faces and he is now over 8 pounds. We have so much fun with him. He had his first Thanksgiving with 20 guests. This coming Friday he will take his second plane trip as we head to California for Christmas. We will spend four days in Northern California with Hallie's brother and his family and then onto Southern California where the grandparents will get to meet their third grandchild. It will be fun for all and good break for Mike and Hallie. Landon will attend his third baby shower and hopefully one day he will understand how truly loved he is. Mom and Poppy took him to Poppy's work today and all of the fun ladies ooh and aah over him.

We have been truly blessed by our Heavenly Father this year and as we choose to stay close to him we know he will continue to look after us.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

1 Month

My how the time has flown. Landon is now nearly 8 pounds and is just over 20 inches long. The sleeping adjustment is just that, an adjustment. Landon experienced his first Thanksgiving last week. We had twenty people over to the house and it was a wonderful time. Thank goodness it was potluck! My mom visited and we went to Frankenmuth, MI to see the biggest Christmast store in the world, Bronners. We then went to Zhenders which is known for its famous chicken. I am going to post some pictures on here and hopefully on another day I will be able to write more.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Just About Two Weeks

It has been just over a week since we brought Landon home from the hospital, and, boy, has his time been filled with adventure and excitement!
After we left the hospital on Thursday the 25, we went to RIESTER where Hallie used to work. All of the folks there LOVED him. Afterward we went to University of Utah to see Mike’s old professors and friends. It was another Love Fest for Landon. So far he seems to be handling it all quite well. We then traveled to Murray to where Riley and Breanne live. They were so cute with Landon, and Breanne’s first question was if she could look at Landon’s feet. We then headed home to Provo after a long emotionally draining day. We were greeted by Carly and Shad, with whom we had been staying. Carly loves babies, and it was nice to have someone help change his diaper or hold him while Hallie did a few things in their apartment.
On Friday the 26, we did several errands and then headed to Marion, Utah, where Mike’s Aunt Karen and Grandma Andrus live. We were also greeted on our arrival by Aunt Irene who had her camera ready to go as soon as we got in the door. Lots of pictures were taken and love was given to Landon. He did great while we chatted with the relatives and were treated to lunch by Karen. Thanks, Aunt Karen! In the evening we attended a Families Supporting Adoption Education Class. We were asked to attend and to share our adoption story. We were now the ones at the front of the class sitting in a panel. I felt like I had graduated. It was a wonderful evening. Friends Tim and Jennifer sat on the panel with us, and they have two children, Charlie and Kathryn. The Spirit was felt, and it was a wonderful evening. We love that Curtis and Melody asked us to do the panel and were excited to see so many new couples wanting to adopt. Our prayers go out to each of them.
Saturday brought fun and a road trip. At 10:00 AM we were at a Baby Shower that was given for us by sisters from our Salt Lake 11th Ward at the Toyn’s home. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see everyone there. All who came were very thoughtful and kind and loved seeing Landon. After we arrived back to Provo, we packed our things and headed to St. George to surprise Grandma Landon. She would call and say, “I wish I could come see you and the baby.” Well we could not let the chance pass us by, so we headed on down and appeared at her door, where her remark was, “Oh, hi.” Not recognizing Mike with his facial hair, it took her a minute to realize it was us. Then she was happy to see us. We are glad we took the opportunity to go see her. We drove back to Provo on Monday and helped Mike pack as he was to go home the next day. Hallie was not sure how ready she was to be by herself with this brand new baby, but all along she knew the pioneers did it, so she could, too.
Tuesday, Hallie drove Mike to the airport and told him a tearful good bye. How long would she have to wait until it was her turn to go home? Her fate laid in the hands of government employees in both the states of Utah and Michigan. She could be in Utah at this rate until after November 3. So she drove herself and Landon out to breakfast at IHOP and enjoyed the pancakes. Hallie found out that morning that the Inter State Compact had come through and she could go home whenever she wanted. So she headed to the Toyn’s house to borrow their computer to purchase some airplane tickets. At last it was real she would be with Mike, in their new home, in Michigan sooner than she tought. At 1:00 Hallie had an appointment to go see her friend Cory who works at LDS Family Services. It was a wonderful visit, and Cory held Landon the whole time, and he looked so peaceful in her arms. Afterwards Hallie drove to see Riley, and they went for a free taco at Taco Bell and ice cream at Coldstone. From Riley’s Hallie made arrangements to return her fabulous rental car and Carly would meet her their to pick the two of them up. The shuttle was coming at 8:30 am to pick them up so Hallie had to get packing. Carly was a great help to watch Landon as things were being thrown together. Tuesday night we had Landon model for us while Shad took pictures. Landon was not happy with the idea of being a model but hopefully for all of the time we spent there are a few good pictures. Carly was a sport to lay there and be the backdrop for the pictures. Tuesday was an okay night by myself with Landon and morning came quickly.
Wednesday Shad watched Landon for Hallie as she got the final things together and when she came back to the front room Shad was taking pictures of the two of them together. It was so cute! Shad is a great guy. It was a pleasure being able to spend so much time with the two of them. We will not let you relive Hallie’s experience back to Michigan via air travel. That story will be for another day. Mike met Hallie at the airport and greeted her with a sandwich and a soda. How grateful she was for that. Mike was a trooper and watched Landon all night long while Hallie got some much needed rest.
All the other days run into a blur. Taking care of our precious son and putting things away in the house have kept us busy. We look forward to meeting with the doctor on Tuesday to see how much Landon has grown. Landon went to church today and all the ladies oohhed and aahed at the bundle of joy. He actually slept for 4 ½ hours and then ate and now has been back to sleep again for at least 2 hours.
We look forward to Hallie’s mom coming this Friday night. It will be fun to have her in the new house and to have her help.
We are going to try and make it a goal to write some on our blog on Sundays and to update pictures as well. Hope you like our little ditties and enjoy watching Landon grow.
Lots of love to you all,
Mike and Hallie

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Introducing Landon X

Our son, Landon Xavier, was born weighing 5 pounds, 9 ounces (Yeah, tiny, eh?!), and he was 19 inches long. We are so excited to be parents, and are more grateful than words can express to our birth mother, Natalie, who placed our boy with us. For those of you who have not experienced the blessing of being able to adopt (and yes, it is ironic that I phrase it that way), we wanted to share at least a few words that describe what we feel for Natalie. We wrote her a note telling her how grateful we are for her choice to place her little boy with us. We let her know that we can only imagine how difficult it was for her to leave the hospital, and we wanted her to understand how bittersweet it was for us as we felt her sorrow mixed with our joy at being able to have Landon Xavier in our lives.
We admire Natalie so much for her strength and courage. She made a brave choice that gave us the chance to share with her and others who have children what it means to be a parent. We wanted her to know that whenever she has someone ask why she placed her son that we hope she will be able to tell that person it was because of how much she loves him and because she knew that placing him with us was the right choice. So few people have the kind of compassion Natalie has for both her son and for us. Placing Landon Xavier with us was an act of the greatest kindness and generosity of spirit we know. It means so much to us to know that our son’s mother had the strength of character and humility to place him with our family. She has guts, and we love that about her!
We recognize that having Natalie's son as our own son now is a huge responsibility, and we promised her that we will do our best to give him everything he needs to be healthy and happy. As she receives and shares pictures of him with he family and friends as he grows up, and as she sees him from time to time (we are in an "open" adoption, meaning we have some degree of contact with Natalie on a continuing basis), we hope she will have a mother’s pride in knowing he is becoming the man she hopes he will become.

As Landon grows up, we look forward to telling him about when he was born and about his loving birth mother. We look forward to him understanding how much Natalie cares for him as he matures into adulthood and begins to understand how complicated things get in life. We will always let him know that she did right by him and that she holds a special place in our hearts.
On Thursday Landon Xavier met several of the people who have supported the two of us through our adoption journey. Everyone oohed and ahhed over how cute he is. We shared with them Natalie's courage and love for her precious son. On Friday, he met Mike's Aunt Karen, Aunt Irene, and Grandma Wini, and they were so excited to see him. On Saturday, he met his Great Grandma Lula, and she about fell over with surprise. There are many people who love Landon Xavier already and will continue to love him through the years and will support him in the activities he chooses to participate in. We are excited to share our lives with this little tyke, and we look forward to sharing more about him on this site.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Wedding, A Wedding!

Riley and Breanne got hitched on October 5th in the Bountiful Temple in Bountiful, Utah. Congratulations!

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Memoriam -- Alison Erin Owens, 1978-2007

Mike's sister, Alison, passed away in her sleep on Sunday, September 2, 2007. This has been a somber time for our family. People who knew Alison understood her to be a complex, complicated, and deeply loving person who will be deeply missed. As a family, we wrote a letter to her in memoriam:

Our Dearest Alison,

We feel that you are with us today, and we wanted to tell you a few things as we mark your passing from this world. Each of us has written a little something here that we wanted to share.

From Dad: “Heavenly Father has given us each talents to find and develop, and burdens to endure. He never gives us more that we can handle. This life is a series of ups and downs. How we handle them makes us what we will become. To make it easier, we're given a set of rules books and hints (scriptures and direction from our Prophet) that can make the burden much easier. Life without trials and tribulations isn't possible, but with the guidance available as members of the Church, it makes it easier for us to face the trials and tribulations of the world. I think that the reason that you are no longer with us is that Heavenly Father felt that you had suffered enough in this world, and that to ease your suffering, He took you home.”

From Mom: “I will miss her daily phone calls, her sense of humor, her willingness to always help when it was needed. Alison was trying daily to improve herself and do positive things in life. Alison had a terrific talent and ability to write, and she loved reading and writing. She was thoughtful and caring and loved giving to others. I will miss her.”

From Emily: “You were my little big sister. I could always go to you for anything, even when that meant getting your big strong opinion and advice about what I should do. You were always there for me, and you understood where I was coming from. You supported me in my decisions.”

From Amber: “Alison was a great sister. She wore her heart on her sleeve and you knew exactly where you stood with her. She was always there as a shoulder to cry on. She loved being an aunt and was a great help for me when Haydn was a baby. If I had questions about work, she was right there to give me advice about what to do or who to go to. Her death has left a big hole both at home and at Countrywide.”

From Haydn: “I loved having Alison as an aunt. She bought me toys for her house that I could play with. She played games with me, and I miss her a lot.”

From Michael: “Alison, I will miss you. As I was waking up one morning this week, you were on my mind. I was thinking about how maybe people are like stars. So many of us burn yellow like the Sun. We’re steady. We live to a ripe old age, and not to say we’re ordinary, but we don’t burn with the same ardor of those blue stars out there. You are one of those blue stars. While you were here, you burned hot and bright. You lived every day with such intensity. And like those blue stars, your flame went out a little earlier than the rest of ours. You will always leave your mark seared into my soul.”

We want you to know that many people mourn your passing here with us today, and we want to thank them for supporting us and honoring you during this difficult time. We want to repeat how much we love you and will miss you. You remain here with us in our broken hearts.


Your Family

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Road Trip to Our New Home

On Sunday, August 5th, after having spent the last several weeks packing (thanks again to those who helped!), we set out on our long road trip to Detroit. Along the way we stopped by several locations from LDS Church and American history. What follows is a day-by-day recounting of our adventures. (follow this link for pictures)

We headed out at about 8:30 Sunday morning, and we hooked up to the I-80 eastbound for Wyoming. We crossed most of the state by the end of the day moving mainly along less traveled roads, stopping by Martin’s Cove and Devil’s Gate then Independence Rock (still a potty stop 150 years later, how sad (wink, wink)) before having dinner at the very patriotic Fort Laramie American Grill (FLAG) and bedding down at the Tea Kettle Ranch Bed and Breakfast on a cattle ranch outside of Torrington. Isabel and Calvin treated us to chocolate crème pie for dessert on their back porch as we watched deer drink at the watering hole.

Monday morning, the 6th, dawned hazy, but that didn’t stop Mike from wandering along the bluff and getting a spectacular view of the broad panorama. The only sounds that could be heard were the cooing of the doves, the screeching of the hawks, and the rumble of the motorcycle caravans headed for Sturgis. We crossed paths with many a motorcycle over the course of our trip, lots of them headed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally along the scenic back roads. After a hearty breakfast, we headed down the road to Nebraska. In Nebraska we stopped by Chimney Rock and followed the historic Lincoln Highway, which in turn follows much of the Mormon, Oregon, and California Trails and the Pony Express route, through several small towns before hooking back up to the I-80 and bedding down in Omaha. That night we stopped by Winter Quarters and witnessed a wild thunderstorm (along with our first real ugly muggy humidity) before finding our motel. Throughout the day, the landscape became greener and greener as we moved from the backside of the Rockies to the middle of the Great Plains to the edge of the Prairies. The corn we saw was indeed as high as an elephant’s eye, and it grew everywhere as far as the eye could see.

Tuesday the 7th dawned muggy and sunny. We went to the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs, Iowa, before heading south toward Kansas City and Church History sites in Liberty (Liberty Jail) and Independence, Missouri (the LDS Visitors Center and the Community of Christ temple). Before we started this trip, we had thought we would stay in the area, but we decided to bypass a lot of the KC touristy things (like the Hallmark Visitors Center, the Harley Davidson factory, and the Truman Presidential Library) and save them for a time when we could take the time to really see them. So we pressed on to Columbia, where we dined at the 63 Diner, a recommendation from a book we own called Roadfood, before going to bed at the Stoney Creek Inn.

Wednesday the 8th found us St. Louis bound. We made our way to the Gateway Arch in the 100-degree heat coupled with 85% humidity. For a couple of kids used to dry, dry Utah heat, the combined heat and humidity about wiped us out! We stopped by Ted Drewes’ for a couple of concretes and by C & K for some St. Louis style barbeque (both were Roadfood recommendations) before traveling along the Mississippi River and ending our day at the Stoney Creek Inn in Quincy, Illinois. We felt like we were soaking wet as we took our bags in for the night.

We spent Thursday the 9th and the morning of Friday the 10th in Nauvoo, Illinois, where Mormon pioneers settled after being driven out of Missouri and before finally moving en masse to what would become the state of Utah. In recent years, much of the historic portion of town has been restored to what it might have looked like during the time the Latter-day Saints lived there. Two branches of the Latter Day Saint tradition (note the difference in spelling) own sites in Nauvoo, reflecting the present result of a historical disagreement over who should lead the Mormons after Joseph Smith, founder of our church, was killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois (more on that later). We went to the LDS Church’s visitors center and rode in a carriage around the outskirts of town and in a wagon around the built-up historic part of town before we watched a play in the visitors center and went up to the more modern part of town for dinner. In the evening, we went back to historic Nauvoo, where we saw another play and a sunset musical revue on the Mississippi River. Mike has ancestors who lived in Nauvoo during its historic period, and the name of one of his ancestors is listed in a pavilion dedicated to saints who died of causes endemic to being driven out of Nauvoo. In Mike’s ancestor’s case, James Clark Owens, Sr. died of exposure to the extreme cold near Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, in January 1847, the winter after the 1846 exodus from Nauvoo that came about when Mormons “chose to leave because we had to” rather than continue to face persecution from non-Mormons residing in the general area after Joseph Smith’s death.

On Friday, we went to another couple of sites in Nauvoo before heading to Carthage Jail, site of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hiram, his brother. We appreciated being able to visit the sites around Nauvoo over the last couple of days. They provided a real-world context for so many stories we had heard from our youth. In some ways, some of the entertainment was hokey (Mike called Nauvoo a bit of a Mormon Disneyland), but the overall experience served to build our understanding of our religion and the sacrifices made by our ancestors in order to have the right to worship as they believed. We spent the rest of the day traveling through Illinois, following the Illinois River on up past Peoria before ending up back on the I-80 and ending the day in Michigan City, Indiana.

Today, Saturday, August 11, we finally made it to Detroit after a trip of 2500 miles. We are staying in Warren until we find a home to buy, and Mike has to start working in earnest starting Monday. The weather ended up practically ideal for summer, and we had a yummy couple of sandwiches from Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor (again, a Roadfood recommendation). We look forward to our new adventures in the Detroit area, and we’ll make the attempt to keep you posted.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We've been matched!

Yeah, it's been a while since we've posted. We have had a busy summer between Mike graduating, getting ready for the move (boxes everywhere--argh. . .), and summer jobs. Once again, Mike is working with the Upward Bound program, plus he is doing work for his departments at the U and at Wayne State. Hallie had her last day at Riester on Friday, and we leave Salt Lake the first week of August.

The most important piece of new news we have, however, is that we had a meeting with a birth mother, and she wants us to adopt her baby boy due in October! The adoption agency said that we have been “matched” with our birth mother. This means that there is no legal obligation, and hence no guarantee that we will in fact be placed with our birth mother’s baby, but we feel optimistic that we’ll be parents before too long!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Busy and Productive Times

Well, it's been a busy couple of months. We have become involved with an additional adoption agency, Open Heart Adoptions through Children's Service Society of Utah. We understand that the ratio of birth parents to couples waiting to adopt is better there, and we have some friends in our Families Supporting Adoption group who have successfully found their children through this agency. While we have experienced several challenges along the adoption road, we felt a renewed sense of entusiasm as we began working with CSS in addition to LDSFS.

On another note, Mike has not written much at all over the last several months because he has been working on his dissertation. All the work has finally borne fruit! Mike defended his dissertation before his committee yesterday, and you can now say you personally know a(nother) Doctor of Philosophy (want fries with that?). In other good news, Mike received his official hire letter from Wayne State, so we have a destination to go to in the fall. Things seem to be coming together just in time for another set of adventures!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Grateful I Feel

We here in Utah especially Salt Lake have finally received snow. It is so beautiful! I love watching it fall gently through the sky. I think there was close to 6 inches outside this morning. One reason I find myself to be blessed is that I can sit and watch it fall and I do not have to be out driving in it or working in it. I feel so blessed to live in area of the country where I can see and experience all four seasons that God has given this earth. I am giddy with anticipation for Spring to come. My favorite flower the Tulip will be here any day and brighten my day every time I see it.

I am convinced that now is not the time for us to adopt. I have even heard stories of people saying oh so and so in my family was preganant and we forgot that you were adopting. We have spent a lot of time and money to get the word out. I am not sure what else we can do to make people remember. I will admit there is a bit of frustration in the back of my mind. But, oh well.

Mike has interviewed at two universities this last month. Excitement is in the air at our home. The two places were Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Both seem like wonderful schools and everyone treated Mike very well. The rest of the year holds great excitement for us.

On March 30 I will be holding the last mission reunion that is hosted by me. It will start at 7:00 PM and it will be held at 951 East 100 South. Bring a dessert to share and send me photos at so that I can include it in a power point presentation I am putting together. It can be while you were in the mission or if you have visited since then. Check out the Mission website at . Hope to see you there. If you can come pass on the info.

I wish all of you the best!

Adoption: It's about love! We're approved to adopt, so if you know birth parents who are considering adoption, direct them our way. Our Parent Profiles Profile: LDS Family Services Profile:,12272,2133-1-4720-1-1,00.html