Monday, July 30, 2012

Eight Years of Wedded Bliss

As I look back on July 30, 2004, I can't help but think about how naive I was.  I, like most girls, just assumed you met a nice guy, got married, had kids, and lived happily ever after. 

Now, eight years later, I realize just how important it is that I married such an amazing man.  We've faced our ups and downs (infertility, getting pregnant, losing Aubrey, more infertility, adoption trials, and adopting Joseph to name a few), but we've made it through and have a stronger relationship because of them.

Sam, I'm so glad we braved the July heat for a wedding with a beautiful Oklahoma sunset as our backdrop on that glorious day when we became husband and wife.  I couldn't imagine making it through the last eight years with anyone else!  I look forward to many, many more happy years with you and our growing family!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Up on Cripple Creek

Although "Up on Cripple Creek" by The Band was our theme song as we road tripped to Cripple Creek, Colorado for Sam's cousin's wedding, this post should probably be titled "We Survived Our First 1,500+ Mile Road Trip With a Two Month Old."  Seriously, here is a picture of our odometer upon returning home from our four day road trip.

Our lovely road trip consisted of lots of this:

And a little of this:

With some smiles and coos thrown in along the way.

The drive out wasn't too bad.  We left Thursday morning and drove to Canyon, Texas just south of Amarillo where we visited one of Sam's high school friends and his wife (the kind, kind people that made Aubrey's memory chest in the months leading up to their wedding!).  We woke up refreshed Friday morning and finished our journey to Cripple Creek.  I wish I would have had the camera handy as we drove through Colorado Springs as it was very touching to see huge homemade signs thanking firefighters (I planned on taking pictures on our way home, but we drove a different route).

Cripple Creek is a funny little town with donkeys roaming the streets and casinos everywhere you look.  Of course I missed my one chance to take a picture of the donkeys, but they did have "donkeys at large" signs on all sides of town.  

We stayed at a cabin outside of town with one of Sam's cousins and his wife.  Wasn't our back porch view awesome?!

I'm not going to post any pictures of the bride as I don't feel it's my place to do that, but I do have other pictures from the wedding and reception to share.  The intimate outdoor wedding was held in a pasture outside of town creating a beautiful mountain background.  I was concerned about Joseph's behavior during the ceremony, so I sat on the next to last row on the outer edge with a bottle right next to me.  Apparently his behavior isn't what I should have been concerned about... during the opening prayer (read the quietest time during the entire ceremony), Joseph pooped his pants with more intensity than I've ever heard before.  I mean EVERYONE on our side of the aisle including the groom and groomsman heard it!  All I could hear around me were people trying not to laugh!  I was so embarrassed that I wanted to climb under the bench I was sitting on!  Way to make your presence known, little man. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it from my embarrassed point of view), Joseph and I had to retreat to the car mid-ceremony as it started raining and hailing and I knew that would make him cry.  The storm actually created a beautiful background and left before the reception started so they could take pictures.

Sam's Grandpa Parks got to meet Joseph for the first time before the wedding.

Aunt Kim and Joseph pre-wedding (notice the looming storm cloud).

We couldn't resist a few pictures with a gorgeous mountain backdrop.

I think I've mentioned it before, but Sam, his younger brother, and two of their cousins all went to OSU at the same time (and frequently hung out together), thus they are collectively referred to as "the Parks' boys."  We HAD to take an updated picture since we had the opportunity to include their grandpa.  I just wish Sam's dad had been able to attend the wedding so he would be included in the picture. 

Our good friend Aaron (who we consider a Parks' boy) moved to California in January.  Upon hearing about Joseph's arrival, he texted me to tell us congrats.  He also jokingly said he would be eagerly waiting for his "World's #1 Uncle" shirt.  Well, that's the wrong thing to say to someone as addicted to freezer paper stencils as I am.  When I gave him his shirt at the reception, he promptly put it on so he could take a picture with Joseph. 

Our branch of the Parks' crew.

Aunt Emily took a picture with Joseph too (doesn't he look cool in Uncle Ty's shades).

And, just because I can never put too many adorable Joseph pictures in a post, here are a few more:

I think he looks like a little old man in this picture.

His face cracks me up in this one.

Yup, he has feet too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joseph is 2 Months Old!

I'm a few days late posting this, but on Wednesday, July 18th, Joseph turned two months old.  He's now weighing in at a whopping 12 pounds and about to outgrow his 0-3 month clothes in length (he's finally starting to be a chubby baby too :).  He loves smiling and cooing as well as making other random noises and has just started laughing.  His favorite time of day is bath time.  He smiles while I'm giving him his bath then coos and talks away while we're putting his lotion and pajamas on.  He still loves ceiling fans and will watch them for extended periods of time.  He sleeps a solid six hour stretch at night, but doesn't like to go more than three hours without eating during the day.  Joseph is now on a hypoallergenic formula that seems to be helping with his tummy issues (finally!  I guess fifth times the charm).

Joseph - 2 Months

The other day Sam came home at lunch because he had an appointment to get his whooping cough vaccine that afternoon.  The boys decided to squeeze in a quick nap.

Joseph loves his bumbo.  He even falls asleep in it sometimes.

Cousin Bryar came to visit so we had to take a side-by-side picture.
B-4 months, J-2 months

We actually tend to do this just about every time the boys are together.
B-2 months, J-day of birth

B-3 months, J-1 month

Their friend Boone even got in on a photo session. 
 Boone- 3 weeks (?), B-3 1/2 months, J-1 1/2 months

Look at his sweet smile!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Independence Day

Independence Day was spent just like every other non-work day for the last month and a half at the Parks' house.  Since we didn't prepared a nursery ahead of time, every ounce of free time we have had has been spent doing just that (for the record, if we had to do it over we still wouldn't fix a nursery ahead of time... packing up a nursery is no fun).  Of course I couldn't settle for an out of the box, store-bought room (having the ability and desire to sew/craft is both a blessing and a curse sometimes).  Luckily, the hubs has been pretty awesome and willing to spend his evenings and weekends sanding and painting furniture. 

While he painted furniture, I sewed covers for the glider cushions.  We even covered buttons so they would match.

And Joseph did what he does best (look pretty darn adorable sleeping in his swing).

That evening, we headed out to Boomer Blast which Joseph thoroughly enjoyed!  He looked at the lights with amazement in his eyes the whole time (don't worry, we were far enough away that it wasn't loud).

Hi guys!

How adorable is his double chin?!?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pre-Fourth of July Fun

The weekend before the fourth of July, we headed south to visit Uncle Ty in Dallas.  We went down last year for some pre-fourth of July fun, so we decided to make it a tradition.  The weekend started on Friday when the guys moved dirt to level the ground for a pool. 

While they had the bobcat rented, they decided to remove the stump from Ty's front yard (I think they really just wanted to play on the machine).

That night, everyone went to a concert while Joseph and I met my aunt for dinner.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from either of these events. 

Saturday we had a fun time hanging out in Ty's back yard.  We swam, grilled, jumped on the trampoline, and slept inside in our swing (ok, that last one was just for Joseph {I don't know what I would do without the baby monitor}).

I sometimes wonder if Ty's neighbors look out of their windows and wish that they had a yard big enough to actually mow much less have a pool and trampoline with plenty of room to spare (he lives on an acre in the middle of Arlington).

Joseph even debuted the new shades.

Before we headed home on Sunday, Joseph got to experience his first boat ride.  We didn't stay out too long and he and I hung out in the shade on the boat while everyone else swam, but it was still fun and he got to wear his adorable life jacket.

The brothers even humored me and took a picture with the little guy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gotcha Day

What, you might be wondering, is gotcha day?  Well, in the adoptive family world, it's the day the adoption becomes final or the day we officially gotcha!  Gotcha day tends to mean more to families that adopt older children (or at least families that don't have custody of the child from birth), but it still means a lot to us and I hope we are able to celebrate it in the future with a family outing such as a zoo trip or a fun dinner.

The best way to describe the days leading up to gotcha day is that it was a sunny day where we were, but their was a dark cloud looming on the horizon that could cause a storm at any minute.  The moment the judge signed our final decree of adoption, the clouds disappeared and the sun shone a little brighter than before.  Even though she hadn't given us any reason to believe she would, I had a fear that we would arrive at our final court date only to find out that birth mom had changed her mind.  Luckily, that didn't happen and we can breathe a little easier now knowing that Joseph is officially a Parks.

Since our court date was at 9:00 a.m. in Lawton (three hours from Stillwater), we decided to stay the night before at my dad's house rather than leaving the house super early with a one month old baby.  I didn't do the best job documenting the day with pictures, but here's a quick recap of one of my top five best days ever.

Our first officially a Parks family photo (Sam had already changed out of his court clothes into much more comfortable driving home clothes).

While we were at my dad's house, Joseph got to ride in a tractor (actually, it was a swather) for the first time (does it count if he slept through the whole ride?). 

On our drive home, we decided to take our time and enjoy the first completely care free day we have had in a while.  Since Sam had never tried a Meer's burger, we thought that would be a fun place to eat lunch.  When we got to the Wichita Mountains, it was still a little too early for lunch and Joseph was starting to get hungry, so we stopped at Medicine Park to enjoy the scenery and give Joseph a bottle.  While we were there, Sam broke out the camera and started taking pictures.

We even sat up the tripod for a couple of family pictures.

After a delicious lunch, we moseyed on up to Oklahoma City where we stopped by the fertility clinic to introduce Joseph to the doctors and nurses that played a major role in our journey to have a family.  Even though they weren't the final step in us having a family, they were still very excited for us.  More than once they told us that their goal is a baby and they are excited however we get that baby.  I really wish I would have thought to take some pictures while we were there.

For an afternoon snack, we felt it appropriate to stop at Wendy's for frosties since Wendy's founder Dave Thomas was adopted thus they are strong supporters of adoption (it doesn't hurt that frosties are good!).

After our frosties, we made a quick stop at the mall to order new glasses for Sam then headed home.  All in all, it was a pretty amazing day!