Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Presley's hair!!

Today I put a ponytail in Presley's hair. If you look closely, okay - so you have to look VERY closely, you can see a teeny tiny ponytail. Woooo Hoooo!! Doesn't she look cute?? I can't wait to be able to put her hair in 2 ponytails. If I did it now, she would look like she had horns!!

Presley carried this backpack around trying to figure out how to get it on!!

I'm not sure exactly what kind of pose Carson is trying to do. Maybe Steve Urkel??

Thursday, August 21, 2008

China pictures

I've added a new link to my blog that goes to my Flickr account where you can see my photos from China. The link is on the right side on the top. After you get to the China pictures, you can click on each day to see the pictures from that day. Now that we are home, I wish I would've taken more pictures! But with everything that happened, there were days that pictures just weren't that important.

Both Derek and I want to go back to China SOOOOO bad. We have been watching the Olympics as much as we can and root for China almost as much as we root for USA. China was everything we didn't think it would be. It was amazing, the people were amazing! And we are so happy we have a little girl from China and China is now forever a part of our family!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My "Partridge Family" Girl

Kendall and I went school clothes shopping last Saturday. I think we did pretty good! Those of you that know me, know that a fashion diva I am NOT!! And my fashion has gone downhill considerably since being married and not having roommates to help dress me! But Kendall seems to be quite good at fashion or at least she thinks so! I was going to have her wear this shirt with jeans, but she picked out the skirt and it is perfect. However, the skirt is getting a little short. Grandma Johnson, can you please work on this the next time you go shopping?? Carson wanted to be a model too, so I had to include his picture also!

Yummy dinner!!

I made a very good dinner last night. I have to admit that since Presley has been home, dinner has been somewhat challenging. Planning a meal, shopping, having energy at the end of the day when you children are all having meltdowns, and then having to turn on a stove or oven on an Arizona August evening is just not a fun thing to do! Meals here have consisted of spaghetti, anything frozen, and scrambled eggs at least 2 nights a week. I dusted off my old house manager binder and determined to get organized this week. I found these 2 recipes in my recipe box that I haven't made in a long time and I forgot how good they were! I'm definitely not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination and the only things I can cook without a recipe are spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches. These recipes are easy, look good with lots of color, and taste good too. My kids loved it. The only person that wasn't super thrilled was Presley, which surprised me because she gets overjoyed with a piece of toast!!

Tomato and Olive Penne

1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb penne or other short pasta (I use Barilla Plus because it has lots of protein and fiber)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I just used a teaspoon of minced garlic)
2/3 pounds cherry tomatoes (2 cups), halved or quartered
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, but it doesn't make it too spicy)
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (I just use a small can of regular olives)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I omitted this because I didn't have any)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cooking, stirring, until just golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring until tomato juices run clear, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the penne, olives, parsley, and Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired.

Green Bean and Mushroom Medley
(I found this at

1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 carrots, cut into thick strips
1/4 cup butter (okay, fattening I know, but who can resist mushrooms sauteed in butter!!)
1 onion, sliced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt (I omitted since we try to watch our sodium)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt.
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I just used black pepper. I have never even used white pepper before and couldn't find it in the store.)

1. Place green beans and carrots in 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and cook until tender but still firm. Drain.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until almost tender. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, carrots, salt, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dove Award

On the last day of school last year, the teacher gave everyone an award. Kendall received the Dove award. "You are the student who always makes sure everyone is happy with one another. You help to make the classroom more peaceful and friendly. Your kindness is a special gift." That just makes us very proud! I hope she retains that quality for the rest of her life!

On another note, Kendall LOVES High School Musical. Below is a drawing of Troy and Gabriella. It just cracks me up!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing 2008!!

The video below was taken while we were watching the Opening Ceremonies. As soon as the Chinese National Anthem started playing, Presley stopped what she was doing and ran right up to the tv screen! Sorry that the quality is so bad.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First day of school!!

School is back in session!! I don't know who is happier, me or Kendall! Living in Arizona without a pool and having 2 babies preventing us from going anywhere is very hard on a 7 and 5-year-old. Kendall is in 2nd grade and Carson just started kindergarten. Carson cried when I left, but Kendall was about 20 feet in front of me telling me she knew where her class was I didn't need to go with her. I followed her anyway just to make sure she got in the right door! She told me when she got home that she wasn't happy with 2nd grade and wanted to got back to 1st. The reason.....There is no snack time in 2nd grade. Hopefully that will teach her to eat her lunch!! The kids both have wonderful teachers. Carson's teacher taught special ed for many years, so that will be very helpful with his speech, OT, PT, and minor sensory issues. She said he did great and is quite a smart kid (of course I do realize that she would say this to every parent)!! I spent a somewhat relaxing day at home with 2 toddlers trying to catch up on some housework. And I actually got a 15-minute nap in!! Wow, I am living the good life now!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chinese Sisters

I love these two pictures. The first was taken on the first and only night we had our sweet Lexi in our room with us. The second picture was taken on our first night with Presley. We consider them sisters and hope to someday go back to China and introduce Presley to Lexi. Or better yet, if Lexi is deemed "adoptable" by the CCAA, we can take Presley to meet Lexi in her new home!! We love both our Chinese daughters!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sun Valley Pictures

Derek's sister took some group pictures of all of us up in Sun Valley. Here are a couple of quick pictures that I took while we were there. Tonight we are in a hotel in St. George. The babies cried a lot of the way here. We were so glad to pull into the Holiday Inn!! The kids went swimming. Presley went swimming for the first time and loved it!! I thought because she was so scared of the bathtub at first, that she would be the same with the pool. I wish I would've taken my camera to take pictures. I am excited to get HOME tomorrow!

Grandma and Grandpa Ries with the ALL the grandkids!!

The 7-year-olds

Tanner and Colin would much rather be fishing than posing

This was about as good of a picture of Landon as we could get!

Sarah is soooo cute!!

Presley's Adoption Timeline

  • 8/15/2007 - Received referral for Geneva!
  • 9/13/2007 - Sent LOI (letter of intent) to our agency
  • 9/29/2007 - LOI was sent to China!
  • 10/08/2007 - LOI was delivered to the CCAA in China
  • 10/29/2007 - PA (pre-approval) was issued!!
  • 1/15/2008 - DTC (dossier to China)
  • 1/18/2008 - Dossier delivered to CCAA
  • 1/25/2008 - LID (log-in date)
  • 4/1/2008 - LOA (letter of acceptance)
  • 4/25/2008 - CCAA issues TA (travel approval)
  • 5/22/2008 - Leave for China!!!
  • 5/25/2008 - Met our sweet Lexi!
  • 5/26/2008 - Discovered Lexi had brain damage
  • 5/30/2008 - Met precious Presley!
  • 6/7/2008 - Arrived home

My Family

My Family
My favorite people!!