Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas 2009

You found our Christmas letter!! We sent out Christmas postcards, but decided to do an e-letter. Why? We could say it was because we wanted to be eco-friendly or that we wanted to save some money on printer ink or even that we wanted to lure more people to our blog. But the boring truth is that we ran out of time this year. 2009 was a crazy busy year full of changes for our family.

Most of you know from our Christmas letter last year that Derek was laid off at American Express after 13 years. His last day of work was in January and then he started 8 months of severance. He looked and looked for a job in Phoenix. There was NOTHING out there. So we decided that now was the time that if we wanted to move anywhere, where would it be??? We wanted to be somewhere close to rivers and mountains for Derek and somewhere without snow for Amy. Sacramento had everything we wanted and we really felt that this was where we should focus our search. But the Sacramento job market was even worse than the Phoenix market. So Amy packed up Derek and sent him out west to check it out. Derek fell in love with Sacramento, applied for a few jobs, then headed back to the heat.

He got a call from PG&E in Sacramento and they wanted him to come out for an interview. He flew to Sacramento and went to the interview. He thought he wasn't qualified for this particular position. But it went really well!! And they told him that if he didn't get this job, he was also very qualified for another position there. A couple of weeks later PG&E called and wanted to do a first interview over the phone for the other position. He was on the phone in his bedroom and the kids were being rowdy. Amy asked them to be quiet and Kendall asked why. Amy told her that he was on the phone about the "electricity" job. Kendall said "Just a minute." Amy watched her walk over to the couch, kneel down, and say a prayer that daddy would get the job. When Derek got off the phone he said it went awful and that he didn't even think he would get called in for a second interview. A week later, on his birthday, they called and told him that he got the job!! We could not believe it!! We know that our Heavenly Father truly listens to our prayers and that miracles do happen in today's times. 2009 was a very hard year for us and we would never want to go through it again, but we are so grateful that we did go through it. Because of our trials we are so much happier and more grateful for what we do have than we would have been without those trials.

To make a VERY long story short, Derek started work in August. Amy came out over Labor Day weekend, we found a house we fell in love with, put in an above the asking price offer (along with 8 other people), and got the house by just $1000 over the next person's offer. More miracles!!

Finally in October Amy and the kids moved out to Sacramento and we all stayed in Amy's old roommate Shannon's house. We are forever grateful to them for letting Derek stay with them for a couple of months and then Amy and Derek and 4 kids for 3 weeks!! We moved into our house on October 30 and we love it!!

Derek loves his job and is enjoying seeing the river every day when he drives to work. Amy is at home with the kids and is still working from home doing medical transcription.

Kendall was very sad to leave Arizona and all of her friends, especially Emily and Victoria. But she has made new friends and is getting used to her new school. Her school put on a play this year and she got one of the leading roles. She loved acting and wants to do some more. Does this surprise anyone?? She turned 8 this year and was baptized in Utah. She is such a wonderful girl and a very big help with her younger brothers and sisters. We are so proud of her.

Carson is 6 and in the first grade. Socially he is doing great and has lots of friends, but has had a tough time academically. The school district here is very advanced and his teacher said that his particular school is even more advanced than the other schools in the district. He is slowly catching up, but we are trying to decide rather to have him repeat first grade or go on to second. The kids go off track the whole month of January and we have another teacher all set up to tutor him 2 days a week. We are hoping that is all it takes. He has moved on (finally!) from Thomas the Tank Engine and is now really into Spiderman and Batman. He loves to climb and is looking forward to getting a play structure for the backyard. He is really fun to be around!

Landon is 3 and has made great strides this year! His speech therapist continued to come to our house once a week and he started occupational therapy to help with his sensory issues. He is starting to talk more and is learning to be more patient and wait for things that he wants. He and Presley are best friends and love to pal around together. His favorite place is outside. He has taken over all of Carson's Thomas trains and he loves cars and trucks. He is all boy!

Presley is 2 1/2 and is still a daddy's girl. Her language has exploded the year. There are a few sounds that are hard to hear because she has a cleft in her gumline, but she makes it work! She likes to take care of Landon and make sure he is behaving! She still wants to do everything we do. She is already loading the dishwasher!! Amy is thinking of teaching her to clean the bathrooms next year! :) She can be a stubborn 2-year-old at times, but once she realizes she can't get her way, she backs down and is very obedient and easy! She is now a head taller than her older brother Landon and is still in the 95th percentile for her height. The doctor thinks she will be 5'10" to 6' tall!!! She is a complete delight and our family wouldn't be the same without her!

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your families and friends. We are hoping that next year won't be quite as exciting for us as this past year and our big news will be that we added a puppy to our family!

Derek, Amy, Kendall, Carson, Landon, and Presley

We are both on Facebook, so you can contact us there if you want!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pictures and Outtakes

Redo!!!Kendall and PresleyLandonCarson
YES!! He does need a haircut!!


All decked out.....almost!!

We love the way our staircase turned out. The picture doesn't do it justice though. See those ledges on the stairs? I want to wrap some boxes in really fancy paper to put in the sleigh for next year. Anyone one have any ideas of what else I could do on those ledges? What else could I put on the garland? Maybe some cranberry strings or pinecones?

We are happy to have a fireplace again! The only thing is that Landon and Presley need stockings from their Grandma Johnson. Hopefully she will be able to have them done by next year. We bought some cute stockings for them this year, but when we got home we realized they don't have the loops to hang them from! We also will need to order some more stocking holders for the mantle. So by next year we should have all 6 stockings hanging in a row!

Notice what is missing?? Yep, no tree yet. We intentionally waited for a while because of the boys and their urges to grab, twist, throw, and break anything in their hands! But then I got super busy with work last week and life in general and so we have no tree yet. But TODAY we are getting the tree up!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kendall and Santa

We just got back from our church Christmas party. When we got home Kendall (age 8) said "I was a little afraid to sit on Santa's lap because I thought I might toot!!!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Leaving Arizona

I'm back!!! I have been sooo busy moving in, working, having 4 kids!! I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. I thought it would be easy to leave Arizona, but it was harder than I imagined. Arizona was a time of "selfishness" for our family. We moved to Arizona and then just 2 months later Landon was born at 31 weeks. We spent the next 2 months shuttling back and forth to the NICU and then adjusting to our new family of 5. Soon after Landon was born we started the adoption paperwork, brought home Presley, and then adjusted to our new life as a family of 6!! Then we had 2 toddlers!! Wow, were we busy!!! We definitely accepted more help from others than we were able to give. We were just starting dig out of our hole and step outside our front door when we moved to Sacramento. There are so many people in Arizona that we wished we would've gotten to know better. We would mention a family and talk about how much we wanted to have them over, but just never got around to it. I wish now I would've just made the time and not worried about how messy my house was.

Kendall especially had some wonderful friends in Arizona. Her friend Emily was a one in a million friend and they had been best friends since kindergarten, her friends Victoria and Madeline whom we carpooled with to and from school (though luckily their aunt lives here in Elk Grove), and her friend Mady who moved back to Utah a year before we moved to Sacramento. Kendall, as anyone that knows Kendall would expect, has made lots of new friends here and has already started to carve her nitch in her new surroundings. Carson had lots of "girlfriends" back in Arizona and actually has more friends that are boys here in Sacramento. I guess the girls aren't as charmed by his blond hair and good looks as they were in Arizona!!

Arizona was a place that we know we were supposed to live during those 3 years. My very first appointment with the perinatalogist they decided to run a test on the blood flow in my umbilical cord because my other babies were so small at birth. He said it would probably be fine and it was an extremely rare condition. Sure enough, I had that rare condition. They monitored me very closely and then I began to have reverse flow in my umbilical cord and they decided to deliver Landon. I was showing no signs at this time of preeclampsia and would have continued with my pregnancy if we had not known about my condition. Landon is here and healthy because we moved to Arizona!! There is another more personal reason why Arizona was a place we should be. Heavenly Father was watching over us and led to our "stopover" in Arizona.

That being said, we LOVE Sacramento!! We love our house, our ward (congregation) at church, our school (though it is about a year ahead of the kid's school in Arizona), and of course we love the weather!! We are so close to so many things to do with our family. Now that we have come out of our cocoon, I am excited to show my family everything that there is to do in the area that I enjoyed when I lived here. I look forward to taking them to San Francisco, Monterey, Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz, hiking, overnight backpacking along the coast, and whale watching just to name a few!!

We are so blessed and hope that we are here to stay for a very long time!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Carson Funny

Tomorrow I will have a fever because my legs hurt.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A few pictures....words to follow later!!

So much to say, but too tired to write it all down!! We left Arizona on Friday and arrived in Sacramento Saturday afternoon. We are hoping to get into our house this week, but it may be next Monday. :( I will write more about our moving adventures later, but for right now enjoy the pictures. Today we went to the new house to show Derek's mom, then we went out to the Sacramento LDS temple, and then to Goethe Park where the kids had a great time playing in the trees....yes, there are trees here!!! Yay!!!


Adorable Presley!

Derek the monkey
Sacramento LDS Temple
Carson and Kendall at the temple

Friday, October 02, 2009

Goodbye Clint!!


Landon LOVES his speech therapist. What 2-year-old boy wouldn't love to have a male speech teacher that plays trains, cars, and loves to wrestle! They had so much fun together. And I think that Clint had almost as much as Landon did!! Landon is going to miss Clint terribly!! Thank you Clint for everything!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Carson and Lexi

Carson has always had a special place in his heart for Lexi. Today he said "Mom, we are going to have to have 5 bikes when Lexi comes home. When is her brain going to be finished?" I told him that her brain would be sick for the rest of her life. He said "But she is our child. We love her." I really hope that someday we will be able to go to China and visit Lexi and that the kids get a chance to meet their special sister.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Help her come home!!!

Isn't she adorable?? No, she's not mine! My friend Marianne in Idaho is bringing her home to their family soon. The orphanage donation has increased from $3000 to $5000. Marianne is a dietician and has a 4 week eating plan that she will base around your height and weight for just $25!! Go to her blog at to sign up. You can pay her through PayPal. Scroll down to her August 26 blog entry to get the link to the PayPal link. It's a great deal for a great cause!!

Here is all the information from her blog:

I have been racking my brain for ways to further reach our goal to raise the orphanage donation for our daughter's orphanage in China. We have been so blessed to know she will be home soon . I feel honored to be her Mama. I know it will all work out in the end, and that the donation we are required to take will help feed and house the many many friends of our daughter's who will remain in China. I want to offer my services as a nutritionist in a way that is easy and effective no matter where you live to help raise the last chunk of money we need before we travel. SO............drumroll please:) ...... haha I've always wanted to say that:)...I am going to offer a 4 week plan for ANYONE who wants to loose weight, make their metabolism fire up, and feel so good you can't imagine!!. I usually give this infornmation out ovver a span of 4-6 weeks for a client to help with their weight loss goals.I work with heart patients, diabetics, fibromyalgia and overweight clients on a regular basis. THIS WORKS FOR ALL OF THEM!!!!! I use a very flexible, very "real life" plan for my clients. You eat real food, you will just be paying more mind to WHEN, HOW OFTEN, AND HOW TO "FOOD COMBINE" to get your body to burn fat around the clock!!!......THIS METHOD GIVES YOUR BODY NO OTHER CHOICE but to burn FAT! Your body composition will change . Let me repeat.......your body composition will change!! I have a friend who did this, and I saw her go from 28 % body fat to 16% in a matter of a couple months! I tried this and within 4 weeks I had dropped the weight I gained this summer worrying about my baby:) It is fool proof and EASY! Exercise 3 days a week is suggested . Anyway, I can't say enouph about this method I use. I have watched it work over and over and over again! You have the power to train your body to burn fat all night long!!! EVERY NIGHT!!!! So, the details. I have put together a "packet" if you will with ALLL the instructions, the food amounts and recipes from my own kitchen that I have developed to fit this plan. I have spent almost 2 years putting all this together. I have done the thinking for you! NOW all you have to do is plug it in and EAT!!!! ( you will eat alot trust me! 5 times a day:)!! It is very flexible and YOU decide what you want to eat......just order it and you will see for yourself! So the plan is.....when you order, just go to the paypal widget here on my blog. The price is only 25.00!!! The average client doing this is about 225.00!! So DO IT NOW FOR 25 bucks!!! SEND ME A NOTE THRU PAYPAL( you go to the "Orphanage Donation " widget below -just keep scrolling down) WHEN YOU DONATE WITH YOUR ADDRESS, HEIGHT AND WEIGHT,. This will give me the information I need to get you started. I also will be available ANY TIME for questions and tips........via my cell phone or email. Picture yourself lighter, happier and healthier for a GREAT cause!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Healthy Choice

Every time my husband went out of town I would stock up on frozen meals for me and feed the kids mac and cheese, hot dogs, and other junky food like that. It was a vacation from cooking for me. Every time I heated up a frozen meal, it was awful!! Yuck!! Last week I bought a couple of Healthy Choice frozen meals. Have you guys tried these?? Seriously, they are good!! I mean, fresh meals are definitely better, but this the closest to the real thing there is!! Okay, this is a silly blog post. It is amazing what is exciting to the stay at home mom!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My kids need diversity training

On the way home from school today Kendall was talking about how excited she was when we move to Sacramento that we are going to get her a Bento style lunch box with rice and egg molds. I told her that some of her new friends might also have Bento lunch boxes because there will be lots of Chinese kids in her new school (it is 29% Caucasian and 28% Asian). She said "What!! I have to have Chinese friends??" Now I have to explain that her school here is very diverse. She has lots of friends that are Hispanic, African American, and Caucasion, but not many Chinese (because there aren't many Asians here). I said "Kendall, your sister is Chinese." She said "Oh yah, right." I guess Presley isn't Chinese to her, she is just her sister.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New House!!

The offer on our first choice house was accepted!! We beat out the second highest bidder by just $1,000!! If everything goes well we will be in by the middle of October. We LOVE it!! And if you are like me and love to watch House Hunters and could spend all day looking at houses, we have videos of a house just like ours. Derek videoed this other house about 6 weeks ago. We are so glad that we didn't get it, because our house is in such better shape!! So if you are interested, go to and click on the videos that say Avocet house.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

We have had a great Labor Day Weekend here in Sacramento. The drive up by myself with 4 small kids was tough, but they did great! The kids have been having a great time swimming in Shannon's pool and playing their Wii. The kids have done great and Landon has done so much better than he did on our Utah trip. We will be so sad to leave tomorrow!!LandonCarsonPool pizza party!!Skinny dippin'

On Sunday we went up the 50 to Sly Park and had a picnic at the lake. We then decided to drive up to Tahoe. We went around the lake and up to 80. We didn't stop and get out in Tahoe because it was WAY crowded and took about 1.5 hours to get around the west part of the lake! But it was a great Sunday drive!!
We put an offer in on 2 houses on Saturday. We like them both, but one of them we LOVE. Of course, everyone else will love it too and it will get multiple offers. We are hoping our offer will be strong enough!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's amazing what you find when you move.....

I was so excited to find a tote in the garage that had some clothes for Presley that I hadn't realized was there. When I picked up the tote I found something on the garage floor. When I inspected closer I shuddered because I thought it was a snake skeleton. I went inside and got some tongs and started to pick it up and it kind of freaked me out. When I got it inside I realized that it was a lizard. Funny that I was a little scared to pick up what I thought was a dead snake, but when I realized it was a lizard I wasn't as scared. Poor little lizard!! He must have gotten stuck in between the totes and couldn't get out. I'm assuming it was from last year because I think it would take a while for it to decompose like that!!Lizard skeletonLizard skeletonLizard skeletonLizard skeleton

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!!