our family trek

I have never really been much of a dog person. Not much of an animal person at all, really. But on a recent trip to the vet with Asher, our 14-year-old pit that I inherited when I took my wedding vows, something within me shifted. I spotted a woman with a litter of 5-day-old miniature schnauzers, and I got a lump in my throat. I knew that one of those puppies was meant to be ours. He was going to change our lives. 

I don't know what I was thinking. 

Actually, maybe I do.

In the weeks and months (lets face it--years) leading up to this moment, our son has been asking for a brother. And with the wait times increasing in Ethiopia and feeling like things were sort of standing still with our adoption process, this puppy seemed like the perfect distraction for our family. In an effort to keep Jude from insisting we name his future brother Trek involve Jude in the ownership of this dog, we let him name him "Trek" (if you have a small child, you may recognize this as the name of the younger, annoying brother on Jude's favorite Nick Jr. show, Dino Dan). The meaning of names has always been important to me, so when I came across the definition of Trek, I just knew this puppy was going to be the answer to our family's wilting patience during this adoption journey:


 intransitive verb \ˈtrek\: to go on a long and often difficult journey

He was going to be Jude's "puppy brother," I told him. I feel embarrassed even typing those absurd words now, because the truth is that my son has been living on our countertops since we brought this puppy home two weeks ago.

If you know me at all, you know that I am always looking for the silver lining in any situation. And as I whip out my paper towels and antibacterial spray every 30 minutes during this puppy potty-training process, I find that this situation is no exception. I can see my son peering over me from the refuge of our kitchen counter as I wipe another accident off the floor and I think to myself, "my floors are going to be so much cleaner now that we have this dog; if he hadn't peed here, I wouldn't be spot-cleaning my kitchen floor right now."

I wasn't entirely wrong in thinking that this dog was going to change our lives. He absolutely has. I now find it difficult to be away from my home for more than 3-4 hours because I feel badly about leaving Trek in his crate. I have to get up a little earlier before work so that I can take him outside to run around and feed him before I leave. I have to keep every valuable item off of the floor and out of his reach so that it doesn't get destroyed by sharp puppy teeth. I have to stalk him to keep him from sneaking off like a ninja to poop on my favorite jute rug. And the first week with these new experiences reduced me to tears. The silver lining in all of this?

Trek has made me realize what a wimp I am.

I didn't realize how comfortable I'd gotten as a mom to one well-behaved, toilet trained 4-year-old. What was wrong with me that I would crack under the pressure of caring for this 3 lb. adorable ball of fur? Maybe it's a stretch, but I believe God is using this experience to remind me to be thankful for this calm and easy season of life as a family of 3. He is reminding me that (as all of my friends to 2+ children have told me) we are not guaranteed an easy child or an easy transition when we become a family of 4 or possibly 5. And I have got to learn to muster a lot more patience and a greater dependence on God between now and then if I'm going to make it : ).

As for Trek? Poor little buddy...I put a lot of pressure on him to be the answer to all of our family's issues, huh? Well, he is starting to grow on us. Can you see why?


Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be a bittersweet day for many women--especially for those of us longing to be mothers. This year it is a sweet one for me: I started off my weekend scavenging and then washing a tiny soccer uniform, making chocolate chip pancakes and listening to the sweet sound of my son singing "Jesus Loves Me" from his bedroom. But for anyone to fully understand just how sweet this was for me, I really need to start at the beginning of my story...

My journey to motherhood started 10 years ago. I was a brand new teacher in a brand new school, and let’s just say there was “something in the water.” I had never seen so many pregnant women in one place, and it sparked a desire in me that I never knew I had. I wanted a baby bump! So I come home to my husband of 2 weeks, and I tell him that I want to have a baby. My husband, who never tells me “no” to anything I ask, told me “no” that day. We did, however, agree that waiting until our 2 year anniversary seemed like a good plan.

The next summer, one year later, my husband and I took a group of high school students on a mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico. One of our assignments while we were there was to visit an orphanage. We were told that the kids wouldn’t be there and we would just be moving some boxes, so we were thrilled when we got there and the director told us the kids were there and we could just spend time with them. I spent most of my time with one six-year-old girl who painted my nails and showed me the bedroom she shared with several of the other girls. She let me carry her around piggy back the entire time. I watched my husband playing with the boys. Later that night when Richard and I had some time to talk, we both shared that we felt God calling us to adopt from a third-world country...one day

Fast forward to the following year...the spring of 2005 rolled around, and we were approaching our 2 year anniversary--the date we had agreed that we would start trying to have a baby.

Now, I am a teacher, and teachers like to plan. I had heard that sometimes it takes a few tries to actually get pregnant, so instead of waiting until our official anniversary in July I told my husband we should start trying a month or two early. Then it could happen by July so that I’d have an April baby and I could take my maternity leave for the remainder of the school year which would just continue right into summer...

I am telling you all of this because I want you to see just how much I wanted to control my journey 10 years ago. 

I didn’t expect it to happen right away, but about 6 months later I began to get just a little concerned that it hadn’t happened and so I decided to go to the doctor just to make sure I was doing all of this right. I scrolled through a list of local doctors and randomly picked one. I had no idea that I had chosen the meanest, oldest doctor in the county--who was way overdue for retirement and hated her job. I had only known her for 5 minutes before she gave me her professional opinion: more than likely, I had Gonorrhea. What?! Are you kidding me?! I’m pretty sure that kind of diagnosis requires a little more than a handshake and a 5-minute consultation.

I left her office in tears and vowed never to return, but one thing I did take away from that visit was a Basal Body Temperature chart. For the next two years I would take my temperature at the same time every day in the hopes of finding my ovulation pattern. I hated doing it, but I liked that it gave me some sort of control. I was like a fertility detective, trying to break the secret code of my body.

Once we had reached a full year of trying and 6 months after my horrific experience at the doctor, I decided to visit a new doctor to get a new opinion. She was the complete opposite of my first doctor...completely laid back, and didn’t think I should be concerned about anything. She told me that for many people it can take over a year to get pregnant and that I shouldn’t worry, but she ordered some tests for me and my husband, just to humor me. The results came back and showed that both of our bodies were perfectly healthy and in good, working condition in the fertility department. It was bittersweet news. We were relieved that nothing was wrong, but then frustrated that we still had no answer. To find that something was wrong might have meant that something could be fixed.

Instead, I spent another year taking my temperature, asking questions, researching on the internet…but mostly pleading and wrestling with God. It was a lonely and dark time for me. Nothing and no one had an answer for me. I begged God to make me pregnant, and at the time it felt like He was so silent and distant.
After 2 years of “trying”, I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should start the adoption process. After all, we had both felt that calling from God and it was definitely something we wanted to do in the future. And we knew that it could take a while, so it just made sense to go ahead and start. But I will confess to you…it wasn’t my plan A at the time. And there was a large part of me that still hoped I would get pregnant. But in my mind, adoption was a given. It was certain. It was something I could control (if you are an adoptive mom out there, I know you are laughing right now…adoption is anything BUT certain, and certainly not anything we can control!). If I couldn’t control my body, and I wasn’t hearing from God, this was something I could do TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. 
So we contacted a local adoption agency and signed up for their informational meeting. Days later, before we’d even attended the meeting, I heard from God. My husband and I had volunteered at the Louis Palau festival on a Saturday, and when we got home I was feeling pretty tired so I took an afternoon nap. And while I was sleeping I had a dream. It was so vivid. In my dream, one of the workers at the festival…a woman with blonde hair and a white visor walked up to me. She said, “you need to read 1 Peter  1:6, and tell Richard.” I woke up scared to death. I had never had a dream like that before, and I certainly wasn’t familiar with the scripture she was telling me to read. I was terrified of what I might find! What was this woman trying to tell me?
So I ran downstairs and grabbed my Bible, and as I read it, tears just streamed down my face:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
I knew in that moment that God heard my cry. That he cared. And that He had a plan. I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and everything up until this moment was for a purpose. I did not, however, realize that I was about to enter a 2 year refining process
And so we began the adoption process. We chose an agency, and we chose a country—Ethiopia—it was the only country my husband and I agreed on and whose profile we fit, and it was really an easy decision for us. Later, when we learned of the statistics of Ethiopia’s orphans (there are currently 4.3 million orphans in Ethiopia; and 1 in 6 Ethiopian children die before the age of 5)—it affirmed our decision. The first part of our adoption process went fairly smoothly. The paper work was smooth. We had the funding we needed. We loved our social worker who visited us and wrote our home study. I began reading books on adoption and Ethiopia and my dream of becoming a mom began to materialize.
Our social worker sent our home study to our adoption agency, and at the same time my husband and I boarded a plane to Colorado for spring break. He was out snowboarding one morning and I was in our hotel room when I got a call from our agency that they had received our home study…but they had some questions and wanted me to call them. This woman told me that she had reviewed our study but that she couldn’t guarantee that we would be approved by immigrations OR by the Ethiopian court because in our home study, my husband admitted to experimenting with drugs when he was 19 years old. My husband was honest in this study because that time in a life was a big part of his story and how he learned about God’s grace. But this meant that we could wait a year, receive our child’s picture and information, and then be denied during the final court approval process. It planted a seed of fear in me that cause me great anxiety throughout the rest of our process and forced me pray for peace continually, and to pray that God would let nothing stand in our way.
We joined the waitlist at #98 for a baby girl. But then I just didn’t have a peace about our decision, so we decided that we were open to either gender. Still didn’t feel right. Ultimately we decided to request a boy, from birth to up to 9 months old. And then I had a total peace. I began to dream. Began to visualize. We had a name: Jude. God was growing my heart for adoption. For this little boy over 7,000 miles away on the other side of the world. 
During the year that we waited to be matched with our son, a lot of incredible things happened...
  • On a Friday night on the way to an out of town wedding we received a phone call from a family friend, telling us that she had an employee who was due in 6 weeks and wanted to give her baby up for adoption and the adoptive family had backed out. She wanted to know if we were interested…we were interested only if we could do both adoptions simultaneously, but once our agency said we’d have to put our Ethiopian adoption on hold, we knew that this baby was not meant to be ours. We remained faithful to our call to our baby boy in Ethiopia. So I called my close friend who had been going through infertility treatments and had just mentioned that she might be open to adoption. When I called, her husband told me she was in the bathtub and that she’d call me back. Little did I know, she was in the bathtub, grieving over her 3rd failed fertility treatment, and telling God that if He wanted her to adopt, it was going to have to fall in her lap. She called me after her bath, and I told her about this pregnant girl and this baby due in 6 weeks. She was interested, and he came early…he was born 10 days later and has been in her arms ever since. 
  • Shortly after this, a friend of mine who had been barren for over 10 years found out she was pregnant.
  • And then the same wonderful friend of mine whose adoption process took 10 days, and who had been diagnosed with an onset of early menopause…found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately for my husband, he was the one that delivered that news. We both remember it like it was yesterday. I’m pretty sure I smiled and said how great it was for them, and then I just sort of melted to the ground. My whole body just gave way and I was doubled over, ugly crying on my kitchen floor. Saying, “I am happy for them…all of these things keep happening for everyone around me…and that’s great…but I feel like God forgot about me. When will it be my turn?” And my sweet husband…who is always so compassionate and sensitive and understanding…lifted his hands in surrender and slowly backed away, saying, “I don’t know what to do.” And then a moment later he said, “I’m worried about what is going to happen to you if this doesn’t work out. I think it will, but if it doesn’t…you’re enough for me.”
I called that moment my first real “Hannah” moment. In the book of Samuel there is a story about Hannah, and it says that the Lord had closed her womb. Her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” 
And it says that in her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. She goes on to say, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” I learned to pray like Hannah. I took my anguish and grief to God and was transparent before Him. He was the only one who could handle that kind of ugly crying and brokenness. 
On 9/9/09, it was finally my turn. I got the call while I was teaching a room full of first graders. Our adoption consultant got my husband on the phone and then told us the news at the same time: “we have a referral for you! A handsome baby boy. He is 8 and ½ months old, he is healthy, and his name is Abreham.” She also told us that she was sending us an email with more detailed information along with his picture. My husband and I vowed to wait until we were together to open the email. Several long hours later, we sat down in front of the computer and laid eyes on our son for the first time. He was beautiful and perfect. We began praying that we could bring him home by Christmas.
The Ethiopian courts were closed for the rainy season, so it wasn’t until November 4th that we received a court date. Our court date was set for Friday, December 4th.  That was the longest month of our wait, and possibly the longest month of my life. I was terrified we wouldn’t pass court. That we would have come this far only to be denied at the end. I prayed night and day. I remember driving down the road and feeling like I was running out of air…that no matter how deeply I breathed I couldn’t get enough oxygen to my lungs. But finally, on December 4th, we received the news that he was officially ours. And I could breathe again. 
We received an embassy date for January 5th, which meant we needed to leave for Ethiopia on New Years Day, 2010. We were disappointed that we weren’t able to bring him home in time for Christmas like we prayed, but when we arrived in Ethiopia we made the interesting discovery that THEIR Christmas is on January 7th, so we were with Jude in time to celebrate HIS Christmas with him! My husband jokes that we just weren’t specific enough about WHICH Christmas when we prayed.  
Jude is everything we prayed for. Everything God knew we needed and abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined. 
He had heard my cry. But He had also heard Jude’s cry. And he knew what I needed. He knew what Jude needed. 
Jude is an amazing boy. He has caused many to open their heart to adoption. God didn’t heal my body, He changed my heart. It says that He gives us the desires of our heart; He also gave me His desire. There are 54 verses in the Bible about orphans. He tells us to look after them; to bring justice to them. That is the desire of God’s heart. 
And now we are waiting again…we are #59 on the boys list, #72 on the girls list, and #28 on the siblings list. We are praying for siblings—a toddler boy and a baby girl....and this time around, I am learning to pray expectantly. I have learned to say, “God, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are, and I know that you are faithful and most of all you are good.” I look back on my journey and I realize it was during those times of great desperation that I walked so closely with God. What seemed at first to be a curse has turned out to be the greatest blessing of my life. I thank God that He chose me. Instead of feeling like He forgot me, I think to myself that He must really favor me to have chosen me to be an adoptive mom. I am so blessed. 


March Madness.

If you're wondering where I've been, you may remember this post from this same time last year. Enough said.

Anyway, seeing as how March will be over in a week, I thought it was high time I give you our number for the month! We will have a new number at the end of next week.

Our official number for March 1st is...

number 127! A number that is near and dear to my heart, I felt it appropriate to announce our new number with the soap logo created for me by my dear friend Buzzy of Buzzy Craftery : )

On another note, I had a personal achievement that is one for the record book. I ran in the "Run the Reagan" 5K once again this year, and I won 2nd place in my age group!!! I have since registered for the Peachtree Road Race and am waiting to find out if I'm in (it's on a lottery system). This means I'll be going from a 3.1 mile race to 6.2 miles. This is going to take some training : ). 

This past month, I also completed a new nursery painting. Here is a picture of the nursery bedding.

Cocalo Couture bedding
My client originally wanted a mural, so we made the painting large to cover a nice amount of wall space. The walls were painted a light blue, and the room had bright orange and blue accents. I think the painting tied it all together nicely...

my client was welcoming in her 2nd baby boy, so I painted the owls as "brothers"--notice the larger owl's wing around the smaller one? sweet brotherly love...

I am so happy with the way it all turned out, and I am already working on a new piece for another expectant mother! I will post pictures along with our new number next week.

Annnnd...my post just wouldn't be complete without updates on our sweet boy. He is currently VERY MUCH into dinosaurs, and I am blown away by his attention to detail. He loves to check out dinosaur books from the library. Not just cute little children's dinosaur books, but National Geographic books. He wants to know ALL the facts. Show him a dinosaur, and he can probably tell you the name, what they ate, and an interesting fact about them. 

When we visit the library, Jude loves to get on the "Kiddie Mac" computers and play the "Diego Dinosaur Rescue" game while I look for books. This is the only time he plays on the computer or uses a mouse (we don't use them at home--the mouse I mean), so I am always impressed by his ability to click and drag : ). Well, this past week I was sitting beside him reading a book, and he said, "look Mommy...I spell my name!" I looked up at and saw the letters "J-U-E-E" typed out across the computer screen. Well, he wasn't completely accurate, but close! He never ceases to amaze me...


Watch out lightning...here comes Thunder!

Jude and I had the best day yesterday. He made me laugh so many times, and all day long I was reminded of how thankful and lucky I am to be able to work part-time and spend so much time with my son. We started out the day visiting a client's home to talk about her ideas for some nursery art. This client just happened to be one of my best friends from high school, so the visit was extra special. Jude entertained himself by playing with my camera. Here are some of his abstract shots...

I don't know about you, but the artist in me says he may have an eye for composition : ). Well, if that wasn't artsy enough, later in the day he was "helping" me in the kitchen. We decided to pack a picnic for the park because the weather was so beautiful. Jude positioned himself between a kitchen drawer and the oven, and began opening and closing the drawer over and over, while simultaneously clicking the oven light on and off. Swoosh, swish, click, clack...swoosh, swish, click, clack... After watching him for a few minutes, I said, "Jude, what are you doing?" Without hesitation, he said, "I'm making music." Oh, I love this kid.

Before heading to the park, Jude grabbed his football and brought me two shirts from his drawer. I thought this was odd. He doesn't really have an opinion about what he wears yet. "Jude, you already have on a shirt. You are already dressed," I told him. "I put this OVER my shirt," he said. I giggled when I looked closely at the shirts in his hands. I told him to pick one. I think he was going for the athletic look. I present to you...Thunder.

We took the camera with us to the park and snapped these shots after our picnic dinner...

This one is a little scary, but it's worth sharing 
because of Jude's "silly face"

To close, I thought I'd post some pics of my most recent "creations" since I've been a little slack in sharing lately. 

First, here is the baby bedding from Sophia Bedding Co. that I was asked to coordinate with the artwork for baby E...
This one was fun because my client gave me a lot of freedom in the creative process. Her only request was that it coordinate with the bedding and the wall color and that it include the baby's name. Here is the final product...

My sweet husband actually purchased a website domain and designer for my Christmas gift this year! The website is in the works and still in the planning stages right now, but I am so excited to turn my hobby into a small business in the near future. It is such a passion for me, and I am thankful that my husband is so supportive and encouraging. Currently all of the profit from my paintings goes toward our baby girl fund, but my dream is to be able to give towards other's adoptions with each piece I sell. I will keep you posted on my progress! 


number 132.

We received the call Friday that it is official...all of our adoption paperwork has been approved and we are a "waiting family," sitting pretty at number 132. While this number may seem rather large, (and yes, it IS rather large), keep in mind that when we began the wait for Jude our position on the list was #98. It took us 363 days to move to the top of the list and receive the call that they had matched us with our beautiful boy. We know that this wait will be even longer, but we are are ready. And relieved that the mountain of paperwork is behind us : ). We will receive our updated "number" at the end of each month, and we will keep the wait fun by thinking of creative ways to show you. So today's number was brought to you by Jude : ).


Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year!

Since the last time I've written, we've experienced Halloween, Thanksgiving, Jude's 3rd birthday and Christmas. It seems I have a lot of catching up to do. Let's start with Halloween.

I first have to tell you that I absolutely love the fall because it marks the beginning of so many fun events and special times with family. I have never been one to get especially excited about Halloween in particular, but now that I am a mom, I look forward to sharing apple cider, hay rides and, most importantly, creating original costumes with my son. Let's take a trip down memory lane and look at Jude's Halloween costume from last year--his first Halloween in America...

Oh, it was cute, and every part handmade. His car was fashioned from a card board box and even his racing suit and hat was modified with homemade patches from his "sponsors." I was a proud mama. This year, I hit a low point. I was desperate. With time running out, I swallowed my pride and walked into a party supply store...and bought a store-bought costume. I was so embarrassed that, until now, I have not even shown anyone a picture from Halloween. So here goes...

Can you see Jude's distress over his store-bought costume?

Actually, it was really cute. I was just disappointed in myself because I take pride in being creative. So, for me, it felt like a mommy "fail." However, I do not judge anyone for buying their children's costumes, and I can definitely appreciate the convenience. 

Thanksgiving was full of joy and...thanks. Here are some great shots from our special Thanksgiving with our family. Jude adores his cousins and loves playing with them.

 Jude at the "kids table" with his cousins

 Jude serving tea at the party

 enjoying s'mores at our late night bonfire

enjoying his marshmallows a little too much : )

And now to recap Jude's 3rd birthday. He wanted a "race car" theme, so I began with (gasp!) store-bought "Cars" invitations. Once again, I was a little embarrassed that I did not make them, but Jude liked them and they were very inexpensive. For those of you who are Dave Ramsey fans, you'll appreciate the fact that I found myself asking, "what would Dave do?" as I chose the $4 pack of invitations over the cuter, $8 package : ). Plus, it was just our immediate family so I was not afraid they would judge me for the cheesy invites. I had a lot of fun with the decorations. I used the leftover black and white checkered fabric from his Halloween costume last year to make some "Jude #3"banners and little flags for his cup cakes. 

I don't know how I managed not to get a photo of the birthday banners I made, but you can trust me that they were cute : ). Now on to Christmas...

Because Jude's birthday is only a few short days before Christmas, the two are kind of meshed together for him, especially at this age. Although he does understand that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. During his bath one night, he sang, "Happy Birthday, dear Jesus. Happy Birthday, dear God." He is absolutely precious. Unfortunately, Santa Claus and Jesus became very confusing this year. We checked out a book from the library in which a little bird mistakes a little owl for Santa Claus. All throughout the book, the bird insists that the owl is Santa, and the owl insists that he is not. I overheard Jude narrating as he looked at the pictures in the story one night, "Yes, you are Jesus. Nooooo, I not Jesus! Yes, you are Jesus. Nooo, I not Jesus!" Oh. Three is so fun! 

So now I will leave you with some of my very favorite pictures from the end of 2011. I hope your New Year is off to a wonderful start. Ours certainly is, and I will post more about that next time.

this little train (a gift for Jude's bday) was a holiday favorite;
it brought me so much joy to watch him watch the train go around and around;
he would watch for hours...

and hours...how sweet is this?

 at what age do family photos actually work?

Happy New Year from the Pruitt family to yours!


happy camper

I have written so many blog posts in my head since the last time I posted on here. Every day there is something new that I want to share, and the next thing I know it's midnight and way past my bedtime, with still too many things left "to do" on my to-do list. So, I will do my best to remember the many amazing things I have tucked away away in my memory (and some jotted down) over the last few weeks. 

Jude is saying so many new things every day. He is smart AND funny, which is a very entertaining combination in a two year old. So here are just a few things he is saying lately...
  • Every measurement is "three." When he wakes up from a nap, he will tell you, "I slept three hours!" It doesn't matter if it has been an hour-long nap or if he has slept 10 hours through the night. After using his potty, he proudly announces (every time) that he has used the potty 3 times! This past weekend he was helping his daddy and "Pops" with the tape measure and asked to measure their height. He told each of them that they were "three hours tall." 
  • He is obsessed with "family." He lines up his inflatable ball, soccer ball and football and says, "Mommy, Daddy and baby!" Should I be offended that I am the large red inflatable ball and Daddy is the slender football? Whenever he finds similar things in different sizes, he lines them up and says the same thing (Mommy Tow Mater and Baby Tow Mater, for example). The other day he was playing on his swings and he pulled the swings together and nested one inside the other and said, "Look, Mommy and Baby!" I wish I'd taken a picture. The swings are still like that, so I'll snap a pic and post next time.
  • He is quick to apologize...for everything, guilty or not. As soon as he thinks he has done something he thinks he shouldn't, he tells on himself and says, "I sorry, Mommy. I didn't mean to. It just an accident." It has come in handy for cleaning up messes I might not have discovered until later--whether he has had a potty accident or spilled something on the floor. Richard and I are pretty low key and patient, so it's not that he's afraid he's going to get in serious trouble or anything. Recently he spilled some milk on the table and then spread it out and drew in it with his finger. I was doing some laundry and didn't realize it until he said, "I sorry. You mad?" Ha. I think he's testing me : ).
  • He loves to sing. Whether he knows the words or not. He even sings along to Adele and just sort of holds the notes out really long to try and copy her. One of his current favorite songs is "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars. I just checked out a "Bob Marley for Kids" CD at the library so I'm excited to hear him learn the lyrics and sing along : ) 
  • He is sweet. Really sweet. He continues to be extremely affectionate, cuddly, and still asks to be carried several times a day...usually when he is tired. The other day our school hosted a staff kickball game and I brought Jude along. After running around for over an hour, it was time to go and he asked to be carried. He snuggled into my chest and curled himself up really small and said, "I still wittle...I baby." It's probably a good thing that the adoption process for baby girl will take a while. I don't think he's ready to give up his spot as the "baby" quite yet--and I think he's entitled to make up for some lost time for that first year of his life. Now I have a lump in my throat. Moving on...
  • He loves to count, but when he gets to 13 he's not sure, so he says, "eleven, twelve, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen....twenty." 
  • We had a great opportunity to get away for a weekend at a friend's cabin a couple of weeks ago. We pulled up to this beautiful mountain cabin and the first thing Jude asks is, "where my friends at?" We explained, "It's just the three of us this weekend...we're your friends!" He looked at us and said, "You not my friends. You my parents." Here are some pictures from that wonderful weekend free of internet and cell phone signal...

Richard carried Jude on his shoulders the entire hike up the mountain...
such a good daddy

the four wheeler wasn't working, but Jude sat on it and made racing
noises--he loved pretending

This next group of photos is from another exciting event in our lives...Jude's first trip to the Cumming Fair!

"Pops" got us all tickets to the fair...here, he and Jude are raising their
fries to the camera. Jude carried that fry around for 30 minutes and never ate it : )

This was the only ride Jude was tall enough for or even interested in...
except the train, for which he was 1/4 inch too small. He cried. Hard.

As it turns out, we should have saved our money for the overpriced games with prizes. We had exactly $2 left for Jude to play one game in which he won a tiny little elephant that he later name "Ellie." On our way to exit the fair, we passed at least 30 more of these brightly lit, prize packed booths full of games our son desperately wanted to play. I was so thankful that I snapped the next few shots with my camera, because the pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jude pulls his Daddy toward the games

Jude digs his heels in and pulls a little harder...you can see the desperation on his face

poor Daddy pulling out the car keys and lint from his pocket 
to show Jude that he has no money for the game

And last, but not least, I will leave you with a video of our tiny dancer. Who knew he had these moves? If you listen close enough, you can hear him saying, "Yeah. Yeah."