Sunday, October 30, 2011


I'm going to lead off this post with the Buckeyes, because I haven't had the opportunity to do so this season. I'm ready to put the past behind, and that includes Tressel-ball. So it's been painful to see Tressel-ball played with young, not-so-good talent. Watching them collapse against Nebraska was crushing, and I wasn't looking forward to the Wisconsin game. But it was clear last night that the Buckeyes are improving. And that gives me good thoughts for next year. Further, this Miller guy looks like the real deal... like who we all wanted TP to be. Go Buckeyes!
Last evening was Trick-Or-Treat in our neighborhood, and Lincoln had a great time being a Green Crayon walking from house to house. I ran into many clients, some of whom I remembered. About halfway into the walk, Lincoln didn't want to carry his bag any more because it was too heavy. That's right, we've got weeks and months worth of sugar.

Lydia stayed back home with Jenn to pass out the candy.
After Lincoln was tired of walking, we went home and he helped to pass out candy. It was around this time that a group of Woodridge high school girls came to the door all dressed as... crayons! And they didn't have a green crayon! They made a big fuss over Lincoln, and he liked seeing their costumes.
After all was said and done, Lincoln surveyed his haul. Twelve Reese's cups, and more, and more...

We're still dealing with some nagging sickness. That's been an ongoing bummer, but it's not anything serious, so things ought to pass.

For those that hit this blog but don't follow my sister, Emily's blog, the Hopwoods are having a baby girl! It's going to be an exciting 2012! Lydia will have a little lady-playmate on the way!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Henry Photos!

The paperwork has been completed to the extent that we can now share photos and more details of Henry!

Henry @ 6 mos old
Henry @ 11 mos old
They've estimated his birthday as November 9, 2010, so he's about three weeks younger than Lydia. His birthday is approaching!

We were also given the address for his orphanage so we can send him care packages. This is exciting for us as we'll get to send him some warm clothes, some toys to play with, photos of our family so he can get to know us in the coming months, and a camera so the nannies can take photos of him for us.

Where is Henan, China? Here's a map.
What's the weather in Henan, China? Glad you asked.

We've got our appointment with the federal government to get fingerprinted tomorrow, so we're lugging the kids up to Cleveland for a while. Our plan is to stop by West Side Market while we're up there.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Worship with Huey

The Cafe Worship Band at Christ Community Chapel (formerly known as Hudson Community Chapel) is really good. Jim Bossler leads it, and the musicians rotate a bit, but they're all fantastic at what they do. The particular grouping of guys this morning had been rehearsing all week to play in Docs Who Rock, an annual concert at E.J. Thomas Hall. The stipulation is that each band has to have at least one doctor. No problem for the CCC band, as one of the guitarists is a Doc.

Jim opened the morning by prefacing the first song, saying that after practicing all week, they didn't want to just play their songs once, and that they were going to be a little unconventional this morning. And then I heard the opening chord to my favorite Rock 'n' Roll song by my favorite Rock 'n' Roll band, I whipped out my iPad, and I recorded this...
Lincoln and I were jammin' and rockin' out in a big way. As we were leaving church, Lincoln said to Jenn, "Mr. Bossler's band played a Huey Lewis song!" Of course Jenn didn't believe him, but when I told her it was true, she said, "Well, I guess they couldn't play 'My Other Woman's Got Another Man.'"

I want to go on record saying that we're really blessed at the CCC Cafe with Jim and his crew. They're simply great worship leaders, and no one in our family takes him/them for granted.

One of Lincoln's prayer items that has become a daily habit over the past 4 months or so is to pray for "Mr. Bossler and Pastor Joe as they get ready for this Sunday." Since he's been praying for them, I 've been able to draw a point of connection when we're sitting in our seats on Sunday by saying, "Lincoln, here's Mr. Bossler/Pastor Joe. You prayed for him this week!" Lincoln's face lights up. His familiarity with them on his prayer level has made his transition to paying attention during the worship/teaching time much better.
Who knows how many pretty days we'll get in northeast Ohio before the year is up? We sure don't, and that's why we decided to make today another hiking day. Unfortunately, we didn't get too see as much color on the trees this year as last year because of a huge wind storm we had last week, but it was still a very pleasant day to be outside. Lincoln did a bunch of running, Lydia did a bunch of bouncing, Gretel ran around like a nut, Betty... well, she's still a lazy Pug... and we all came home a little more tired than when we left, which was a good thing.

Another trip past The Mossy Log.

The Kendall Lake Bum Pincher was on the loose!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boo At The Zoo

So we went to Boo at the Zoo today, and it was total craziness. It was completely packed, but we still got to have fun dressing up and shuffling around getting glimpses of animals here and there and getting good candy and treats.
Earlier in the day Lydia had a really cute moment with Gretel. She's been interested in Gretel's toys, and Gretel has been interested in shoving her toys right in front of Lydia. It's a pretty good relationship they've got going, and Gretel couldn't be more gentle with Lydia.

Carving the Jack-O-Lanterns

There's nothing new on the Henry front, other than we still have paperwork to complete... it seems never-ending. We're still praying for him many times during the day, and we continue to welcome and appreciate your prayers for him.

As October marches on, we're getting into the Halloween mood around here. Lincoln vaguely remembers Trick-Or-Treating, though the memory of that day is something we'd all like to forget. Our plan is to visit Boo At The Zoo this afternoon, and then we'll have fun with our neighborhood Trick-Or-Treating next Saturday. Pictures will be posted, for sure.
With Halloween comes pumpkin carving! Lincoln didn't want to touch the pumpkin guts at all (nothing new). One of the funny things he said during our carving was, right after we poked the first eye out, "This is like a Jack-O-Lantern!" I said, "It is a Jack-O-Lantern!" And he just laughed and laughed.

Here are some videos from the recent past. The first one is Lydia's first bounce on her new trampoline.
Lincoln's loving the trampoline, too.
This last video was from about a week and a half ago. Lincoln is "reading" his Franklin books from the library and jamming to Huey Lewis & the News.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lydia's First Birthday

Yesterday was the big party. Lydia's 1 Year Celebration was a big, fun success, with lots of good family time, really good food, and a bigger pile of little girls clothes than you've ever seen! The distances that family drove to be a part of the festivities was humbling to Jenn and me, and we're thankful that we have extended family that takes such great interest in each other.

above: my apologies for the lighting and focus
Lydia woke up from her nap a while before things began, and because she's usually so tired in the late afternoon, we didn't know what to expect from her. Lincoln was a wild card, too. With this being the first big party that was all about Lydia and not at all about him, we were wondering how he would behave himself. Both kids were all stars. Lydia actually sat in one place (right next to me) for most of the gift-giving time, which is extremely unusual for her busy self. Lincoln was given little jobs throughout the party, and he was such a good boy that he was receiving compliments throught the evening. Lincoln "helped Lydia open her presents" and he did a great job at showing the observers what was just opened. Sure, he got distracted with some toys here and there, but he was obedient throughout.
Lincoln stuffed himself with most of the dinner options. We made our award-winning chili, Grandma Paulette brought apples & a Heath dip (wow) & grapes (Lincoln's favorite), Aunt Kas brought fruit salsa & cinnamon chips, Grandma Gates brought her cornbread, and Great Grandma Mullen brought her meatballs. We all ate pretty well.

Jenn's cake was unbelievable. First of all, it tasted really good. But what was so impressive was the presentation. Check it out...

Lydia seemed to enjoy her cake, but the whole smashcake thing is anticlimactic, in my opinion. For both kids I had visions of them doing to their cake what John Belushi did to the cafeteria in Animal House, but it never really happened. Her face got as messy as it usually does, but the fun part was watching her realize that what she was eating was really sweet, and the rate at which she grabbed finger-fulls of cake and icing sped up with each bite.

Finally, this one's for Auntie Haley:
It's hard to believe it's been a year with the cutest little girl in the world, and we can't wait to see what's in store for Lydia as she continues to grow up in our family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Son is Identified

The big news over the past week is that we have received a referral, specifically, we have chosen a boy to join our family. There isn't much we can say now online, as we're limited by the relationship between government and adoption agencies. But what we can say is this:
  • Our son comes from Henan province and we'll be bringing him home sometime around April through June of 2012. His first and middle name will become his two middle names. His new first name will be Henry.
  • We ask for your prayers for Henry. Our LORD is a great provider, and we trust that He will give Henry all that he'll need.
  • Jenn and I have entered a new phase of the adoption process: now that we know who our son is, we get to spend the next 6 to 8 months knowing that he's sitting in an orphanage. Please pray as well for our family for patience, and as we prepare for Henry's addition, and all that that means.

    Pounding the Cold Stone

    I don't think we've spent an October Saturday walking around in shorts and short-sleeve shirts and eating ice cream outside. But that's what we did last weekend. Lincoln enjoyed Cotton Candy ice cream (it was neon blue) with chocolate chips from Cold Stone Creamery.

    Good friends of ours who now live in Johnstown, PA, visited a couple of weekends ago. Their son is a couple of months younger than Lydia. He's a riot, and here's some of his fun at our place for a couple of hours.

    Here's what Lincoln does when he wakes up in the morning before everyone else.