Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Audreys

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting with a home study family for a post-placement visit (by far, my favorite part of being a sw!) This little sweetie came home just over a week ago from Kyrgyzstan. Her parents named her Audrey and my Audrey couldn't resist coming along to meet her. By permission, here's a pic: Left to Right-Proud Mama Kara, Me, Little Audrey and Big Audrey (BTW-I already looked up the reqs for Kyrgyzstan and we don't qualify based on # of kiddos...darn.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting Closer

Today we drove for almost an hour to the long-arm quilting lady's shop (we'll call her J.) I hope J didn't mind the parade I brought along with me. The kiddos were curious about what was going to happen next to Meili's quilt top and wanted to help.
J was very kind and gave the kids a great explanation of how the machine works which is pretty cool. I thought that it would be all computerized but it is not. She actually stands behind the quilt and guides a red light over a template of choice (we chose ladybugs, of course!) The machine is a foot or so away from the template and light and mimics the pattern onto the quilt. I might be able to describe the process better after a good night's sleep...;o)
Anyway, the quilt should be done minus the binding (Bless Betty's heart-She is going to do that too!) and tag(will have that embroidered this week) my mid August. We are getting so close-what a fun ride this has been! We spent the drive home talking about all of the things that we did in anticipation of the rest of the chidren which was fun. Granted, with my early deliveries, we only had about 7 months to prepare for each of them!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where's the flood?

My calling (job) at church sometimes necessitates that I leave the house early to attend meetings leaving Matt to dress the little boys. Taylor and Audrey can usually fend for themselves in this area and I figure that since I dress the boys Monday thru Saturday, I really shouldn't rob Matt of his one chance in the week to experience the 'joy.' Well, maybe I should...
When Matt showed up at church this morning with the boys, this is what I saw. Now, I've seen some interesting ensembles come out of the Bouton home but this one has to be the trophy winner. First, those are Xander's pants which means they are 2-3 sizes too small for Noah! Yes, the poor kid is named Noah-HE DOES NOT NEED TO HEAR ANY MORE FLOOD JOKES!!! Second, with pants that short, how could you miss the white socks??? And these aren't just any white socks. These belong to his 9 year-old SISTER, folks!

This look may have worked for Michael Jackson in the 80's but this poor boy got everything from snickers to odd looks today. I've never received so many hand-me-down offers in my life. Don't get me wrong-I love hand-me-downs but the combination of events today had me mortified! In perspective though, Heavenly Father probably doesn't really care what a kid wears to church as long as they show up, right?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We've Joined the Other Side

There was a day not so long ago that I swore I would never own a pet. Now, here we are making homemade dog biscuits for our spoiled pup! These were good! Peanut butter flavored-just like a peanut butter cookie with no sugar. I'm on the hunt for a dog bone shaped cookie cutter. These seem to border on canine-cannibalism.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Christmas in July!

Look what I picked up today!!! (Double click on the picture to enlarge and see if you can find your square!)
It's been almost 2 years in the making but the squares have been united and Meili's quilt is almost done! I think that Betty did a wonderful job. It turned out even better than I had imagined it in my head! I love the red and black fan border!
Here's a closeup:
It is so cool to look at each of the squares and think of the people who sent them along with their wishes for Meili. What a treasure! I can't wait to look at it with her one day and talk with her about all of the people who were thinking of her and waiting for her along with us...
After I spread the quilt top out on the floor to snap a few photos, the kids had a great time looking for each of their squares and finding the squares from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I so appreciate all of the squares from friends we know and friends from blogland!
On Monday morning, I'm off to an appt with the long arm stitch lady. She is hunting for a ladybug stitch design for us. If she can't find one, I may just opt for a meandering 'red thread' design. I'm also hoping to have a small tag embroidered that says, "100 Good Wishes for Meili-2007" to stitch into the binding on the back of the quilt. It could be done as soon as late next week-I'll be sure to post more pics!

Betty has done a fantastic job and she was quick and very reasonably priced! If you would like her to do a quilt top for you, send me an email and I'll put you in contact with her.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Well, we're back from vacation and slowly yet reluctantly readjusting to reality. I am gearing up for a monster post about all the fun that was had so stay tuned... I spent yesterday playing catchup with work. I don't talk much about my job here because I want to respect the privacy of my clients, many of whom I now consider friends. Many if not most of my home study clients have returned home with their children and are ready for readoption and post placement services which I truly enjoy. It is one thing to talk and speculate about attachment/adoption issues with families as they are preparing to adopt and quite another to sit down with them and their child(ren) and talk about what reality has been for them. I love that it always seems as though the child has always been a part of their lives even though I knew them when they weren't yet a family. It is also nice to have that reaffirmation that babies come home and ours will too. My favorite sw moment yet was when I showed up at a family's home for another follow-up visit after the adoption of two older children and was greeted at the door with hugs from them. I write tons of reports and shuffle lots of files but my job is so not about the paperwork.

Believe it or not, I sat down with the intention of discussing bedding! I finally made a purchase for the girls' room!!! After searching every store and website I could think of in every price range imaginable and consulting Audrey of course, we finally decided on these two numbers from Wally World. Matt claims that moments like these (when my decisions save him $), he actually loves me a little more-so everyone is happy! Audrey loves the flowers and I love the colors. I also find it very cool that this bedding style comes in two versions, a quilt and a comforter. We bought one of each so Meili (once she's ready for a twin bed) and Audrey will have bedding that coordinates but is not actually identical. Now the big task is to choose a color or colors for the walls. Right now the room is banana yellow and we are leaning towards a medium/light purple. I hope we(I) can decide on paint faster than it took to decide on bedding!

In other exciting news, I dropped off 100 squares and fabric to Betty (Jackie's mother-in-law and master quilter) just before we left on our trip and I received an email this morning that the quilt top is done!!! I can't wait to see it. It's going to be emotional to see all of the squares put together. It has been almost 2 years in the making and at times seemed like it would never happen-kind of like the adoption! We chose a basic 10X10 (squares not feet) pattern with black sashing (1" strips) between the squares. There will also be a 4" or so border around the squares that is red with black fans and then the edges will be bound in black. The backing will be black flannel with a ladybug pattern and the whole quilt will be stitched using red thread, of course! Lots of black but it really makes the squares stand out individually. I can't wait until it is finished!!! I'll be sure to post pics as soon as I can.

I have enough extra squares to make a small crib-sized quilt for Meili to cuddle with and I've already bought an awesome flannel material with lanterns and cherry blossoms to back it with. I'm thinking of buying an extra set of sheets from the sets we just bought and trying to make a bumper pad and a dust ruffle out of them along with some more extra squares. I may have to wait until the kids are back in school to accomplish much of anything, though. Only 2 and a half more weeks!!!

All right, back to laundry.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Since Audrey is still in CA and Matt joined Taylor at Scout Camp the night before, it was a quiet day-just me and the two little boys. We started the day with the traditional 4th of July breakfast at church. It is always a great way to start the day-good food and patriotic music. We have a lot of talent in our ward. I'm always glad that there are other people around who are willing to sing. Personally, I'd rather run naked through the streets than sing in public but that's another post for another day. My favorite performance was Bro. Seaman's 'God Bless the USA.' He sings it acapella wearing his military uniform. It's very moving, even for a tough chick like me.

I spent the rest of the day conquering Mt. Laundry in preparation for our next trip. We leave Sat. for CA again. My mom and I will fly out from there and head back east for a Church History/American Heritage tour while Matt stays behind and entertains the kids. Once we meet back up, we have some fun things planned to do as a family down there-probably a trip to Knott's and maybe a visit to LaBrea Tarpits for the resident dinosaur fan, Noah. Two days ago, my Leno tickets arrived in the mail! I have a sick obsession with attending TV show tapings and I've just about seen every one that I'm interested in. There's a slight chance that I'll get to see Letterman next week in NYC which really only leaves the holy grail.....Oprah. If that happens, I'll have to find another reason to live.

Anyway, back to the 4th. In between laundry loads, I played simple games with the boys. Noah and I took turns drawing a squiggle that the other person had to make into a picture for hours. It doesn't take much to entertain that boy. Later in the day he said, "Mom, today was awesome. You didn't even clean anything!" Hmm. I guess I should spend more time with him during the day and get more cleaning done at night while he is asleep.

Our favorite event of the day was making a Jello Flag. Grandma Judy gave us the mold last weekend and the boys have been begging to make it for days. It is supposed to look like this:

Ours turned out like this:
It looked so pretty in the picture. I'm not sure why ours turned out looking like a placenta. We haven't laughed so hard in a long time! The freaky think is that I put the layers in the correct red, white, then blue order and somewhere along the way the blue and white layers inverted... Noah had a fun time decorating it anyway:
and the finished product, though not aesthetically pleasing was delicious!
At around 5:30, on the way back from a caramel apple run, both boys fell asleep in the car so I postponed BBQ plans and called the caramel apple dinner. Worked for me! I hope that everyone had a good time!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Only Half of the Kids, Still a Busy Day

Audrey is in CA with her grandparents for the week and we sent Taylor off to scout camp at 4:30 this am. He'll be gone until Saturday. So, down to two kids. What to do...

I took the boys to the new Rat movie (can't spell it.) The movie was cute. The fact that Xander had to pee 3 times during it was not. We then killed some time at the mall. I let the boys play on the play equipment for a while, picked up some hand soap, browsed the book store, scoured my usual clearance racks then headed to the grocery store, picked up a couple of sandwiches at Subway and went home.
I decided to try to make Clean Mud (unravel 6 rolls of toilet paper in a large container, cover with water, add 1 1/2 cups borax and 2 flaked Dove soap bars. Let the kids mix it with their hands. Cover when not in use.) for the boys to play in and invited the neighbor girls over to help. It was fun but not so clean. There will be scraps of it all over the house for days. If it wasn't 111 degrees outside, I would have had them do it on the table on the back porch. We may have to do this again in the Fall. Matt came home from work and wanted to take the boys out for pizza for family night. First we hit the pet store, then headed over to a furniture store that was having a sale. There is a bedroom set for Audrey that I've had my eye on for a while. She has never really had her own bedroom furniture. Long story short, it was on sale and we got two twin beds (one for Audrey and one for MEILI! since they will be sharing a room.), two nightstands, a dresser with a mirror, a chest, and a bookcase for a total of ...drumroll please....$1300!!! It looks white but is really a light wood whitewashed with a cream colored paint if that makes any sense. I really like the scrollwork on the pieces.
When I was 8 years old, my grandparents bought me a matching set of bedroom furniture. It has always been very special to me and several of the pieces are still in the family. In fact, Audrey uses the dresser now but it is on it's last legs. I hope that she and Meili will enjoy this furniture as much as I loved mine.

If I could find some bedding that I liked (and could afford) I would choose a paint color, paint the walls and give Audrey the surprise of her life when she comes home but I am too indecisive. I spent hours on ebay last night and can't seem to find something that I think she would like. Truth be told, I've been looking for months. I may have to go do some real shopping today but my hopes aren't too high.

The boys had a great time at the pizza place stuffing their faces and playing games. Even though they are the most demanding two of the four children, it was easier only having two heads to count and a 1 to 1 adult to child ratio again. But having said that, I wouldn't trade our kiddos for the world! I can't wait to have 5!

Whirlwind Weekend

We left on Friday and picked up Grandma on the way to CA. First stop, Coach outlet in Cabazon! I've wanted a Coach bag for over a year now but the price tag put the dream on hold-until this weekend! The bag I picked was regularly priced at $358 and was on sale for $146. Thanks Matt! When I consider that it will last 5 times as long as a cheap purse and that I was still carrying around my 'J' initial purse (remember those?) I think it was a sound investment. Grandma spoiled me with a coordinating wallet. I've already transfered everything over and feel like a new woman! Grandma kept Xander occupied in the back seat for about an hour by letting him duct tape each of her fingers. Hey, whatever it takes, right?
We rolled into town and went with the whole fam damily to a Chinese buffet. Interesting. I'm embarrassed to admit that it was my first time actually sitting in a Chinese restaurant-we usually do takeout. I really enjoyed being able to try a taste of the different foods. Most were good. Some not so much. There were bones in just about everything which I am not used to and not being a fan of seafood limited my choices by about half but we had a great time. Brice (BIL) showed up fresh from the Apple store with his iphone. That thing is pretty cool. I took a turn and went to my blog and linked to RQ (of course!) Weird to have it in the palm of my hand. It would be far too dangerous not to mention expensive for me to own one. I had to get a picture of my dad feeding Xander Jello with chopsticks!
On Saturday morning we enjoyed a delicious crepe breakfast at Matt's mom's (our parents live blocks from each other) with Mitzi and Elna (Matt's great aunt and cousin) who were visiting from Utah and Pennsylvania. These two women kept my husband alive when he was in college in Utah. (They fed him on the weekends while he used their laundry rooms.) Good food and good company! The plan for the day was that Matt would stay with his family and attend a memorial service for an Uncle that passed away several months ago. He played the guitar for the service and I'm told did a great job. I took the kids and my Mom drove us out to Long Beach for the Anime Expo where my brother had a booth. He is an amazingly talented artist and can do just about any medium. He is best known for his minimalist 'emo' comic strip-Pon and Zi. I was able to line up with his hoards of fans and listen to them gush about his art talent and watch them ask for his autograph. I was very tempted to shout in the middle of the crowd, "Hey, I changed that guy's diapers!!!" but refrained. Jeff sent us home with tons of merchandise-thanks Jeff!

After that, we headed to a beach near the Queen Mary where the kids frolicked in the water and Taylor took a skim-board lesson from Uncle Jared who is only three years his senior. T really looks up to him and I could tell that he was more brave than usual trying out the board not wanting to disappoint his uncle. He actually did pretty good for a first try. Poor Noah took a skim board to the head and bled all over the place. Grandma Judy threw us a towel I applied pressure and tried to calm him down. The bleeding stopped but I still wasn't sure if he was in need of stitches or not. I took him over to the lifeguard station and Lifeguard Brent (first day on the job) cleaned and bandaged him up and declared him good to go-no stitches necessary. Noah was mortified when I brought out the camera. The battery was dead so Aunt Julie retrieved her camera/phone. I'll have to get the picture from her later.

After the beach, we headed to Rubi's for lunch. It's a hole in the wall place in Whittier where we used to live. I think I've probably sat in the high chairs in that place. I ate the requisite bean and cheese burrito and had a chocolate chip shake to top it off. Good stuff and the braces have done their job. I used to not be able to take a clean bite out of a burrito because my teeth didn't line up right. That right there was worth the $!!! It was also nice to not have to wear the burrito home in my grill!!!

We headed back to Mom's, left the kids with my Dad and went for a pedicure. It was my first spa pedicure and was worth every penny. I wish I knew what she soaked my feet in (battery acid?) because they have never been so soft. There's nothing like a fresh pedicure to make you feel like a girl. We went back to Mom's and ate a delicious dinner with Janine (my sister) and Brice and James (my brother) and Faith and their two girls. [If it seems like siblings keep popping out of the woodworks it's because I am one of seven.] We ate too much and then had an impromptu talent show. Grandma put out a match with her mouth. Jared juggled three balls. Julie played the tuba and James played the trumpet which was very impressive since he probably hadn't seen the thing for 10+ years. He even gave the tuba a try and did pretty well. I would have participated but wasn't in the mood to clean out a closet on a full stomach. ;o)
After a quick and action-packed weekend, we hit the road early Sunday morning minus one child. Audrey is staying with my parents for the week since we will be down again next weekend. On the way home, Grandma received a gas-pumping lesson. She is 74 and until this day had never pumped her own gas. Recently, the gas station near her stopped doing full service and she has been driving miles away so someone could pump the gas for her. Not if I can help it! Poor Grandma. I have a twisted interest in getting her to do things that are out of her comfort zone. We have taken her on a hike. She has danced on the Ellen DeGeneres Show...you get the idea. She's a good sport!