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!!

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!!