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Showing posts from April, 2010

Chaco, Tiki & The Train

So, today Tiki got to ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad with the entire Kindergarten. He was SO excited and he did a super job! I am so proud of him and seeing his face so lit up made me super happy! I would have a great picture of him by the train but. . . .

I took Chaco to pick up Tiki. For those of you who do not know Chaco, he is a HUGE 130 pound Great Pyrenees who was SEVERELY abused as a puppy and he is just a big pathetic baby. Around family, Chaco is great and almost normal, so sometimes I forget how hopelessly pathetic he is. . .well, today I got my reminder.

We hopped in the car and headed downtown to meet Tiki and the train. There is MAJOR construction going on downtown and more noises and traffic than I could have imagined. Poor Chaco. When he gets nervous, he pees. . .and that is exactly what he did for one full block. . .tail tucked between his legs peeing all over himself and me and the sidewalk (which is a BIG no-no in Durango). There were p…

Bike Rides, Ice Cream & Airplanes. . .

. . .and of course, elk! She was standing right by the road in front of our house the other night. . .I'm not sure where her hubby was.

Yesterday I loaded up ALL of the bikes and we headed to the park (I actually had 7 bikes because we went to the park with friends). My friend, Jessica (who I really like hanging out with) and her 2 kids biked with us. It was so refreshing! It was a BEAUTIFUL Spring day and we road the river trail for a while. . .then Tiki's training wheel broke and a dust storm moved in and that was all she wrote.

Next we headed to Baskin Robins for 31 cent scoop night. Thank goodness we were 20 minutes early because the line formed quickly!

And back to that above mentioned dust storm. . .yesterday was so beautiful that I had ALL the windows in the house opened and when we got back from BR, I had a layer of dust in my house a quarter inch thick. It is pretty nasty. My sheets even smelled like dirt last night. The dust storm was so surreal. . .I felt like …

The Fro Is Back In Town

Well, the braids are gone and I am so sad. I think I'm going to have to go out on a fundraising tour so that I can afford to keep extensions in Gabby's hair.

Phase One: I cut the braids to the length of her real hair.

Phase Two: I unbraided her hair.

Phase Three: Gabby's once-signature fro after her bath.

I think my first fundraiser will be a t-shirt that says "bring back the braids" or something. I can't wait to see if her personality changes back. . .she got so grown up the day the braids went in. . .I wonder if them coming out will have the reverse effect? I'll keep you posted!

Ginny Mooney (& Family)

One of our first (and one of my all-time favorite) KCO campers was Ginny Gattle (now Mooney). They have such an amazing story. They lost their first son when he was 99 days old and it is inspiring to me to see the way they celebrate each day of his life. . .something I need to do WAY MORE OFTEN with my kids!!!

Ginny is so great and I am so proud of her! Their story in inspiring and they were on the Today Show today. (You can click on Today Show in the sentence before to see the video.) If you have time, watch their entire "99 Balloons" video (click on 99 Balloons) and get your Kleenex ready!

I love you, G.I. Ginny! :)

Beth Moore: So Long, Insecurity

So, I went to the Beth Moore simulcast this weekend with my two girlfriends from Durango (and 300,000 other women all over the country--including, come to find out, my mother and my grandmother)! It was good and it was much needed! My spiritual climate here in Durango is more dry than the arid mountain climate I live in. It's odd, because I feel so close to God and so "in tune" with what He is trying to do in my life right now. I feel secure and comforted in our new "life" and I am confident that God has us here for a reason. However, it has been spiritually dry in terms of being poured into and stuff (bottom line, I miss the worship at James River and Pastor John's teaching).

So, back to Beth. I, like all women, struggle with insecurity. (I actually didn't think my mother did, but she went to the conference, so she must. . .who would have thought?) The biggest thing I gained from the conference was just being fed. . .I felt refreshed after eleven…

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

Gabby is 3 today! I cannot believe that it has been that long! She has changed my life so much. . .and I think ultimately she has changed the lives of thousands and people begin to think of their family unit differently! It is crazy to think that our minds shifted from China adoption to Rwanda adoption three years ago this week, too. God's mystery will never cease to amaze me!

Gabby: she is funny, she is stubborn, she is happy, she is loving, she is energetic, she is a great encourager! I love this girl!!!

And on this day (as with many others) I cannot help but to think of her birth mom. What a brave person she must be. My dream is that she knows and loves the Lord and that one day she and I will me and hug and share a look that only mothers can know. I think of that reunion often. I pray that somewhere, deep in her mother's heart, she knows that her baby girl is safe and happy and loved.

The first time I saw Gabby. . .I cannot describe the emotions and the happiness!


Maggie's Concert

Tonight was Maggie's music (and dance) concert. (Pictured above are Maggie's two best friends from her class: Kayla and Jordan.) She did a great job. She was so cute and so excited about the evening! I loved seeing all of the Durango kids dressed up. . .in the Midwest, you see kids dressed up at least on Sunday, but here, you have to wait for a school concert for that! They were adorable! Maggie sang with her class and danced and played the xylophone. (And, of course, Tamara was there to support my kids. She is so amazing!)

(I told Hays that he is going to be sorry that he smiled like that when I put this picture in his rehearsal dinner video someday!)

Tiki and his favorite friend, William.

Maggie and her teacher (who is wonderful), Mr. McManus.

Then I got to quickly tuck my kids in (concert ended PAST bedtime on a school night) and what a joy to this mother's heart to walk past the girls' room and see Maggie kneeling by Gabby's bed as they were praying togethe…

Tri The Rim Triathlon 2010

I did it! I can't believe it, but I did it! The triathlon was yesterday. I finished (23 minutes ahead of my goal time) and I feel great today! I even think I want to do it again next year! It was hard, but so satisfying. I feel like this is the first time in a long time that I am actually proud of myself. . .and I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm just proud of myself. I think I was proud of myself after birthing my three biological children and after getting Gabby from Africa alone and now.

The best part of the race was that Andy brought all five kids to cheer me on. . .I had the biggest cheering section at the race! I didn't think they would come for the entire race and they were there. When I rounded the corner on my bike and saw them I was so overcome with emotion that I almost wrecked! Seriously, I was crying so hard that my feet slipped off of my pedals and I almost busted. I was just so overwhelmed by what a great family I have. That was my favorite p…

Sick on the Bathroom Floor

Poor Dax is throwing up toady. . .my little cutie ("Sweat Muffin" is my little pet name for him). I thought this sight was priceless when I walked into my bathroom a minute ago. Dax is on my new rug Andy brought me from the Middle East with his "MeMo" (the cape/blanket Pops had made for him that says "D-Man") and the most comfy blanket in the house. It is so cozy there on the heated bathroom floor with a high quality rug under you and your head on a pillow with new amazingly soft pillow case! Sweet boy.

Adoption Fellowship & A Poem

Adoption Fellowship Group last night was wonderful! We had 24 people over and it was so much fun! This time we had 8 countries represented under one roof! I am loving getting to know the adoption community in Durango! There are so many great people and I'm excited to pursue friendships with them! We have families in the waiting stage from Mongolia, Taiwan, Korea and Rwanda. . .that is so much fun!

I have also been searching for this poem for a year and a girl in our AFG found it for me! It makes me cry every time. . .especially now that Tiki is mine!!!

The Waiting Child
by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
Inside I"m aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I reco…

Great Article

Here is the link to a great article by a man I respect SO much! He has worked for decades with troubled teens and I believe that he has amazing wisdom when it comes to today's youth. This article is about adoption and if you have adopted or if you are thinking about adoption, it may be good for you to read it (and to follow his blog, too). His name is Mark Gregston and you can click on his name to take you to the article.

Count On Two Hands

So today on the way home from school drop off I heard a song and part of the lyrics were about how thankful the guy was that he could count the people he loves on two hands (instead of just on one, I guess). I, for sure, can count all of the people that I love on many many hands (I am so very blessed), but the words just hit me about my immediate family. Mornings are chaotic sometimes and life gets crazy at the home of Braner Party of 7 and I was so touched this morning about how thankful I am that I have two hands worth of people I love living under my roof. I am so thankful for my husband and for my kids. God is so good to me and I am so thankful. I just wanted to share that today.

(And then I get so overwhelmed about all of the people I love and who love me who don't live under my roof. I am so very blessed! I love you all!)

So Much And Nothing At All

I feel like I have been so busy with so much going on, but when I look back, I don't feel like too much at all has happened.

Andy is home from the Middle East. He had a wonderful time. The people there were so good to him and he felt so loved and he felt so at home. I'm so thankful that they took such good care of him. He also did a super job with the souvenirs! He isn't much of a gift guy, but he hit it out of the park this time!

His back is killing him from the fall off of the roof. It is so sad to see him in so much pain. He is either miserable and awake or totally sedated. No doctors have really said what is wrong with him at this point and I think that is very discouraging. He has an MRI scheduled for Friday. We'll see.

Hays had middle school open house. I cannot believe it. My baby! It was really good. I like the principal. One of the first things they assured the incoming middle schoolers (and parents) was that the lockers are not big enough to be st…

Easter Weekend on the Mountain

What a SUPER GREAT weekend we had with GoGo and Pops! It really couldn't have been better! We stayed up at the mountain and the weather was perfect! I love being with my parents and I love watching my kids love being with their grandparents! The relationships make my heart so happy! We are so very blessed! Enjoy the pictures! (News from Andy's trip in the next post.)

GoGo & Pops

GoGo and Pops (my parents) get here this afternoon! I am SO excited! We are all SO excited! We're picking them up and then heading to the mountain. We're staying at the mountain in a big house and we're going to spend the weekend just enjoying one another's company! We'll board some with dad Saturday and Sunday. . .the house is ski in/ski out so that we can see mom and Gabby at the end of each run! I'm thrilled! The only thing that worries me is that my kids think today is Good Friday because GoGo and Pops are coming and I think they're forgetting the REAL reason that it is Good Friday!