Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Flying Leap

On Saturday we needed to go to Ann Arbor for an adoption event. We left early to run by Cost Plus World Market and hoped to have time to go to the Hands On Museum. After the shopping we had no time for the museum, but we still had about an hour or so to spare. So the handy dandy Matilda (aka the GPS) took us to the Briarwood Mall where we found the contraption below. We were headed through the mall to find the play area, and we turned down the wrong hallway. There was no turning back once Landon caught sight of this jumping machine. So we caved in and paid the $7.00 for 5 min. Yes it was a rip off, but he had so much fun! Did not see him laughing out loud but at the end of it all he wanted to go again. We still went to the play area for a bit where he ran around and had a lot of fun. Out trip to Ann Arbor was well worth our time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Boys Go On An Adventure

We have been promising Landon for a long while that he could go on the bus one day with Mike. Today was the day. We dressed him quite warm as it is with the wind chill close to 0 today. While I was out taking pictures of them my hair froze since it was still wet from my shower. Here are the pictures below. I did not ride with them as I drove the car to pick Landon up after the big adventure. He had story time soon after. It wouldn't be a big deal if he missed it but today was a good one so I am glad we did not. While on the bus Landon saw a school bus and wanted to go on that one instead. What a character.

Almost ready to go on the big adventure.

Heading to the corner. We live only about 2 houses away from the stop.

Landon insists on having his hands in his pockets. So no gloves for this little one.

Here comes the bus. Thank goodness we did not have to wait too long. My hair might have fallen off.

I am not sure if he understood what was happening, but he got on happily.

Away they go! Mike said he was well behaved and enjoyed himself. What a cute guy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tender Mercies dotted with a Book

Hallie's brother gave her the 2010 Greg K. Olsen calendar for Christmas. One of the month's pictures is below entitled Take My Hand. I think it is one of the most beautiful pictures in the calendar. So I decided to look up the print on his website to see how much it would cost. While at the website I saw a poem he wrote to go with the painting. To me the poem was just as beautiful as the painting.


Take my hand and follow me,
There are things ahead for you to see.

Little wonders are all around,
And tender mercies to be found.

We’ll take our time, no need to run,
Breathe deep the air and feel the sun.

The grass is soft beneath our feet,
Sounds are soothing, the air is sweet.

Sometimes we’ll stop and just be still,
Our hearts will tell us God is real!

Small graces along our path appear,
They let us know that Heaven’s near.

So take my hand anew each day,
The walk is lovely and I know the way.

Greg Olsen -2008

I would really love this picture to be in Landon's room. To top it off after our little one was sitting in a chair until he could become "sweet" I went to get him and said, "what do you say?" and he in turn said, "I Love You" which he had never said before. I just started crying. He said, "Mami crying?" I said, "Yes, but they are happy tears". About a minute later he threw a book at me. Tender Mercies dotted with a book.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

11 Years, A New Love of....

Oh my what a crazy day our 11th anniversary was. It was all good and revolved around two good things: family and food. Today started out early. Landon woke up at 6:00 am, the 7:00 couldn't last forever. However, he did sleep for 12 hours so we can't hold it against him. He woke up in good spirits and was off to being busy as usual.
At around 8:00 am we went to the Village Grille to have breakfast. They just added on and are now serving breakfast and we have to say we really enjoyed ourselves. Landon ate really well and there was only one other table of guests, so he couldn't get into too much trouble.
Yesterday we went to an estate sale. Mike was a good sport when, after the appointment we were helping the missionaries with fell through, he said he was willing to go with me to the sale we saw a sign for. By the end of our tour around a pretty good sized house we bought a bed frame and box spring for $15. I thought that was good idea but had no idea how to get it home. Thanks to my WONDERFUL Visiting Teacher, who let me use her minivan, we were able to return this morning to pick up our goods. Landon was a big helper and almost a perfect listener the whole time (P.S. Mike may be jealous because I have a new love in my life... the Toyota Sienna).
At noon we dropped Landon off at Bettina and Cameron's house who so kindly offered to babysit Landon so we could go to the Love and Logic Seminar in the afternoon. (I know, really romantic right?) On our way we stopped by what is pictured below. I heard of them through something somewhere and as usual signed up for their emails. Our yummy destination was kind of in the vicinity to where the seminar was so we made a pit stop. Boy am I glad we did!

The Chocolate Michigan Bumpy Cake. YUMMY!
The Cupcake Station. We arrived late to the Love and Logic Seminar so we could go get these.
Buy one get one free is what drew us to this store today. We bought a dozen, no two the same. We have tried two and so far they are dang good!

After a really good time at the seminar we trotted back to the car that was parked a bit away due to nearly 500 people being at the seminar. We passed an eatery called Salsarita . It is similar to Cafe Rio and Baja Fresh. Which we LOVE. So we grabbed some take out and headed back to pick up our bundle of joy.

A table for our little big boy. Landon loves to help. Here he is helping Mike put together a table Mami bought on her magical alone shopping trip to IKEA. Thanks Mike!

Landon loves sitting at his little table. He is coloring away now and having so much fun with it. So glad I bought it.

I found myself saying at the end of the day, "It was such a busy day, we need to decompose, er uh, decompress!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Step

Well Ms. F as we will call our contact lady did for sure send out the paperwork as it arrived today. Hooray! We have signed up for our orientation as that is our first step.

We now will just have to find a babysitter for Landon as we can't bring children under 18, oh if family lived close. But thanks to those ahead of time who will be helping us out.

After our orientation we will schedule the other sets of classes. So far they are mostly on Wednesday and that is the only day Mike is really gone from the home. Ms. F said they may be able to work with us on that. Yeah! for being nice in the beginning.

On a side note we went to an estate sale in the area today and found a bed frame and box spring for Landon for a total of $15. Yeah for people getting rid of stuff! Yeah for Mike going with me to something kind of girly.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Avenue

In our search for our missing child we have decided to add Foster Care to our list of ways to find the child that is meant for our family. We know a handful of friends who have used foster care and have been successful. So why not give it a try.
Hallie had thought of Foster Care before our trip to California but we put off pushing adoption until we got home. So Monday she geared up, got the address from the Internet and away she went. Until about 5 min in the car she realized it was a holiday and they would not be open. She turned around and came back home. Try tomorrow.
So from now on we are going to chronicle our experiences with the Michigan Department of Human Services.
Here is our first two experiences.
  1. Tuesday Hallie set out again to the address listed on the Internet. She went into the DHS office that was quite large and full of people in chairs. Then there was a line to get in just to ask questions or so I assumed. So there Landon and I stood. It moved quick and he was rather well behaved. We got to the desk and asked what to do if we want to Foster to Adopt and the lady said, "I don't know what you are talking about." I know I had the address right and everything. Thank goodness the lady next to her and some sort of idea what I was talking about and gave her two phone numbers in which she passed on to me. I said thanks and headed out to the car. Once in the car I tried both of the numbers one of which did not work. The other I punched in all of the numbers in the menu choice and got to a part where I could leave a message and was told a packet would be sent to me as soon as possible. So I left my message, started the car and we headed home. That was the end of Tuesday.
  2. Thursday afternoon I received a phone call from a nice woman from DHS. We chatted for a few minutes and she told me that we need to attend an orientation class that will be about 3 1/2 hours long. At the orientation we will be given the forms to start working on and if we have 3 references we can bring them then. We then have to go through Phases 1 and 2 which are several days each.
So here it is the beginnings of this journey. I am kind of happy to see where this takes us and I pray that whatever comes it will be what Heavenly Father has in store for us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best of All Worlds

I genuinely believe we live in the best of all worlds, at least for the present. I recognize that such a statement is sometimes hard to justify, particularly when reflecting on the tragedy going on in Haiti and so many other natural and human-made disasters that exist, but consider the outpouring of effort going into Haiti even as we speak and the selflessness of so many who have responded to the Haitians’ cry for help. Consider how much more we know now about the world than we ever have before today. Not only is the present day a great time to be alive, but I believe that humankind is progressing toward a better future than we have today. We live in a remarkable world where tragedy and miracles exist in concert, where frequently the best in human nature is brought out under the worst of circumstances. We live in an age of miracles, where more people are able to choose for themselves what they will do with their lives than at any other point in human history. We have cures for diseases, means of communication and transportation, and material resources unheard of even a century ago. Even though I do believe this is the best of all possible worlds, I do recognize that serious problems plague this world and that we each bear responsibility for responding to problems within our field of control. For example, I’m not a big fan of the dysfunctional bureaucracy in our city, county, state, and nation, but I can participate more actively in the civic process to help remedy some of those dysfunctions. I feel grateful not only that I can participate, but that I feel that I can. In southeast Michigan, we’re dealing with the aftermath of some pretty despicable decisions by a number of individuals that have all compounded together. And yet, we have remarkable museums, beautiful scenery, strong institutions of learning, and friendly people, again built and maintained by the conscious efforts of a number of individuals whose efforts have also all compounded together. We reap what we sow, and I hope that whoever is blessed to live here in this place at this time understands that here and now is a remarkable, wonderful time when we can act in positive ways that will not only help us now but will benefit those who remain when we leave.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some People Are Not Cut Out to Be Customs Agents

We had a pleasant trip to Canada today to visit the Roots outlet (bargains galore!) and Costco (our quarterly goodie run). Just a nice morning out. On the way back, however, we had an experience that reinforced just how much mean, small-minded authority figures disturb me. The only thing I can say about the experience is that it gave me a strong sense of empathy for any other average person who, minding his or her own business, runs afoul of one of these types who lets his authority go to his head. Grr. Not to knock border agents generally, or even most of the Tunnel agents, but this guy gives the US Border Patrol a bad name. He wasn’t “just doing my job,” as he put it when Hallie called him on his attitude as he made us jump all sorts of hoops (you go, Hallie!). It’s not the questions or the requests he made of us that bothered me, but rather it was the approach, the assumption out of the gate that we were a potential threat and that he was going to put us in our place. I get that caution appears to be the watchword and that legitimate threats may exist, but we come nowhere close to looking like a threat. The man was abusing his power, what little of it he had in that wee booth of his. I would think it would be possible to protect the border, to ask the questions that need asking, and to discern the normal people from the baddies with grace, strength, and even some humor. The Canadians across the river do it almost all the time. Border agents are often the first official representatives of the country a visitor is entering. I get it that the US Border Patrol or Customs or whoever the rent-a-cops they hire have to make some sort of show that America takes border security seriously, but come on, guys. Take a cue from the Canadian agents on this one: strength can be shown as much through professional detachment and finesse as through bullying. You leave such a bad first impression behaving like jerks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Can You Do?!

Dear Family and Friends (and family & friends of family & friends),

A miracle happened for us in 2007 when Landon joined our family through adoption. The love and support you gave us at that time was deeply felt and appreciated. We have been so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who have kept us in your prayers. We started our paperwork for another adoption in January of 2009 and have since been approved to adopt again! YEAH!! We are again asking for your prayers and assistance. Since our chances of adopting increase with exposure, we want to remind you about designated adoption. Designated adoption is when the birthparents and adoptive parents find each other through a third party. That is where you come in!


· Forward this email to everyone in your address book. If you have a blog (Blogger, Typepad, Facebook, Myspace, etc.) copy and paste this email to a post.

· Link to our Internet profiles on your blog accounts:

· Bookmark our online profile(s) for future reference.

· Have our pass-along cards with you at all times. If you don’t have any contact us so we can send you more (

· If you know of a woman who is thinking about placing her baby for adoption, or doesn't quite know what to do, please give her one of our pass-along cards or our web address. You could also post our cards on bulletin boards wherever you think a potential birth mother or someone she knows might see them (for example, dorms or college campus common areas).

· Create a signature line at the bottom of your emails that has our web address included (see example below). This serves as a constant reminder to others of our hope to adopt.

Our friends are hoping to adopt!

Check them out!

We decided that we would like to have a theme this time around: "Once you choose hope, anything’s possible." Adoption in itself is an act of hope. We hope to add to our family. Parents who place their children hope to find families to love and care for their children. We each believe it is possible to give a child a life full of love through adoption, and we desire for you to share this desire.

We have grown to love adoption, and it has become a big part of our lives. We are always willing to talk about our adoption and give you more information. Feel free to ask anytime. You or the potential birth parents may contact us or our caseworker Doug Gardner at LDS Family Services anytime to request more information. His number is (248) 553-0902. Thank you in advance for all your help as well as your love and support.

Much Love,

Mike, Hallie, and Landon

(313) 377-7368

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sometimes It Hurts

In order to get to know other adoptive parents better and to feel that I am apart of something I joined Adoption Voices . Since joining I have met a lot of people and that is great. Where I am torn is I joined a group on Adoption Voices called Prospective Opportunities. A man named Dave Williams who works for Adoption Center of Choice . He often is posting new opportunities for adoptive families. Most of the time the situations he presents does not work for us for one reason or another. Yet, in the last month two situations have been posted that would seem good for our family except for one MAJOR thing, MONEY! An average adoption cost $26,000 and that is a lot of money, but his agency is charging even more. I don't understand all of the whys, I just know we want a baby and this is where it hurts. Tonight Mike pleaded with the Lord in the Temple for us to be blessed with a child and now as we teach Landon to pray we have him ask for us to be placed with a child. As I was reading my emails Dave sent another opportunity out looking for adoptive parents for this opportunity:

Expecting Twins: boy/girl.
Due 3/10/10
No drugs/alcohol/tobacco
No mental or physical health concerns
BF 31. (Caucasian/Hispanic) will sign
Lives in Nevada;
Prenatal care: yes
2 other children ages 2 1/2 and 8 months
Placement Fee $32,475
Twin fee is $16,000
Estimated legal 5000,
Estimated post placement assist $2500

Please contact Dave Williams Outreach Specialist at The Adoption Center of Choice at 801-473-9350 for more information.

If you know of anyone who would qualify please pass this information on to them.

We don't have the money for this situation and this is why it hurts sometimes. Several years ago I wrote a talk about how adopting requires H.O.P.E. Right now the (P) perseverance is hard for me. So for the (H) hard work part of H.O.P.E. on Monday we are going to the Michigan's Department of Human Services to start paperwork for Foster Care. I plan on building our Forever Family in whatever fashion it takes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We Are Home - Not A Ton New

It has been a bit cold here in Michigan. Not as much snow as we had anticipated. Because of the cold we have been in the house quite a bit more than we were in California. Landon has been a sport and has ventured outside with Papi to shovel and just to check out the Winterwonderland. Here are some of our most recent photos. Landon has finally figured out how to climb all of the way out of his crib. He doesn't do it often thank goodness. So in weeks to come we will be trying a twin bed for him. Oh how this cutie is growing up!

Landon pushing Brobee on his train. Landon's speech finally kicked in while we were in California. Today as we pulled up to the house, Landon said, "Landon's house". That was a first.
Landon is not potty trained yet, but he thinks part of his potty seat should be worn on his head.

Bailey Bear, Landon, and Papi off on a walk to the library to get Landon's wiggles out before dinner.
Landon saw a biscuit on the counter climbed the barstool and got it by himself. This is the simplest thing he has done in the last couple of days. Today he flipped head first off the couch. Did not cry, was annoyed I was holding him because I thought he was hurt.

This kid has attitude! And he knows it.

At Macy's 2nd Monday at the Henry Ford Museum this week they gave the kids all a Mickey Mouse. Landon loves it! He asks to watch Mickey Mouse now more than Cars. I never knew a day would come when something would win out over Cars.

Here is Landon and Papi listening to a story on a railroad car that the museum opens only once a year. Henry Ford had this car duplicated from another one and it is decked out! It was used to carry friends and dignitaries around Greenfield Village after it opened. We were lucky to be at the museum that day!

Here is Landon peeking his head out of a steam locomotive at the museum.