Archive for the ‘Utah’ Category

Are you surprised? 

Thought I would catch you up on some of the missing months of our lives.  Let’s start with July and August

We left Utah the first week of July and arrived back in Shelton after the fourth.  On our drive here our living situation changed and we ended up staying with some friends of my parents.  Brandon jumped back into his job.. he had to renew his insurance licenses, reconnect with old contacts, and basically figure out how to sell insurance again.  It was a pretty stressful time for him.  He needed to make money quick but had to do all these other things first.  He spent a lot of time at work.  The other 4 of us (me and the boys) tried to find some normalcy living in someone else’s house and fitting back into a community where many of our relationships had changed and disappeared.  It was a really trying time.  I was stressed, sad, maybe even a little depressed and didn’t quite know how or what to do about it.  Basically, I look back at July and August and don’t remember much but that it was a very dark time.  We were stressed to the max, tired and sick.  All of us!!  Glad those two months are over with.  There is a lot I could say about July and August… but none of it has any real value to anyone and honestly it makes me kind of sick to my stomach remembering. Looking back I think that is why I disappeared from my blog…..  Aren’t you glad I showed back up with this lame post?

I’ll redeem myself and give you some pictures…

july2008-224 Riding horses at Brandon’s uncle’s ranch.

july2008-245  That horse wouldn’t leave Eyob’s head alone. 

july2008-319  Sloan turned 4.

july2008-249  My three wannabe cowboys.

july2008-309  Eyob met Great-Grandma Mathis (Meemaw) for the first time.

july2008-341All the Armstrong men (except Brandon).

july2008-262  E thought he was sooo cool driving this little tractor.  Don’t know how he managed to get it all to himself but he did…

augsept2008disneyland-006  Cousins… Sophia and Sloan. They are only 3 months apart.

augsept2008disneyland-004  The boys… you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get all of them to sit still for a picture and forget them all looking at the camera at the same time.

augsept2008disneyland-016 Grandpa Warren (my dad’s dad) came for a visit and we all went to the circus or maybe the circus came to us… wait we are the circus.

augsept2008disneyland-031  Cousin Sage Olivia entered the world…

augsept2008disneyland-034 and we ALL fell…..

augsept2008disneyland-032  in LOVE…

Maybe they weren’t such bad months after all?

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Sometimes I really hate making decisions…… it seems like that is all I do.  I make decisions for myself, for each of the boys, often times for Brandon and many times a day for the family.  By the end of the day I am pretty much done in, so when Brandon asks me what I want to watch on TV, I think I must just look at him with a blank look on my face.  I imagine myself… eyes glazed over, mouth open, and staring at who knows what…..so this past week and a half as we have made some huge decisions about our future, I find myself at the end of this week needing a bib and a vacation.  A bib to collect the droll that must be coming out of my mouth as I sit almost comatose before the computer and a vacation to recuperate from these last 6 months.

As you may know we have spent the last six months, not only getting to know a new son and trying to figure out how to be a parents to three little boys and how to run a family of five, but also taking a new direction with Brandon’s job.  There have been many ups and downs along the way.  We take a few steps forward with our boys and then seem to find ourselves many feet back. With the job situation it seems like we have walked through many open doors only to find a wall at the end of the hallway.  At this point our plans were to be settled into Brandon’s new “job,” to feel stable as a family of five and well into working our way through the adoption of an older child we met while in Ethiopia (we were just waiting for our six month transition period to end).  But it seems like God has other plans.  One week before our 6 month mark, another family stepped in to adopt this child that we so felt like God was calling to be our child.  We had been praying for her the whole time and imagining her as part of our family.  At the same time many of the opportunities Brandon was “running,” down over the last six months are being met with closed doors, which leads us to a week of huge decisions needing to be made. 

In the last week, we have bought a cheaper car (ever heard of a micro-van?), done numerous around the house fix-it projects, put our house up for sale, interviewed many moving companies and made the decision to pursue a job back in Washington. So there it is….in a strange twist of events…we are headed back to the Northwest. 

I am not sure how I feel about all of this except to say I am in a daze.  Things have happened so fast and so unexpectedly and not at all like we had planned that I don’t quite know what end is up.  I do know that we have risked a lot following the path that we feel God has led us down these last few months and I am tired. Risk is scary and learning to trust in the Lord is hard work… maybe I have made it hard work because I want to hold on to so much of the control.  I do know that so much in the last few months has been uncertain and so to have some certainty before us will be a refreshing change.  Yet leaving is always hard. 


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BackYard Adventures

Here are some pictures of the boys favorite place to play.  This company sells backyard play equipment and they have all of it set up in a large room including huge inflatable dinosaurs that you can slide on and jump around on…. get really tired on and then go home and take great naps….. So for 5 dollars a kid for 1.5 hours you can go and play.  The boys love it… even Eyob.  It has been especially wonderful because living in a townhome we don’t have a yard and because during the winter around here it isn’t as easy to get outside.  Speaking of which it is spring right?  There was snow on the ground when we woke up this morning.  It is supossed to be in the high 70’s tomorrow though.  Go figure!

Seany loves these little slides.  He gets going so fast and lands with such a thud that I am surprised it doesn’t hurt him.  They also love to climb up the big inflatable slides and then slide down over and over.  Forget the ladder…. the slide is better for climbing.  Sloan loves that his brother can do it with him now.

Eyob tries to climb up the slide because his big brothers are doing it.  He doesn’t make it that far but he doesn’t care.

Kind-of a WT hat huh?  I had them going around pretty fast on this, maybe that is why they look a little sick..

The pic of the two blond boys looks sweet, but it was taken right before Sloan gave his brother a nice shove down the slide.  It takes Eyob a while to get up the courage to do things but once he does he is gone.  This is one of the times he wasn’t sure he liked what I was trying to get him to do.


So Yeah for Backyard adventures!!!



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Eyob, Traci

No, I’m not falling in love with another man (love me some Brandon), but actually with a little boy named Eyob.

 I had a moment today that I wanted to share.  We got a call from the drs. today and I wasn’t home (we were all taking a walk in the beautiful Utah sunshine) and so the nurse left a message.  First of all, no giardia so while that is actually good news, she also asked me when I was planning on bringing in Eyob for to redo his HIV/Hep B screening and then she asked me to call her.  Anyway, for some reason, even though we had planned to redo the screening on the advice of the infectious disease dr. we saw regarding the giardia,  I heard the nurse connecting the two.  Being lunch time at the drs. office I couldn’t call back for clarification. So I just went up stairs with a very tired little Eyob to put him down for a nap.  As I was holding him close and feeding him his bottle it hit me…..  I love this little boy and if something were to be “really” wrong with him I would be soooo sad.  It was such a great moment to realize that he has gone from “someone elses” child to my child in my heart.  For the last few weeks, as I have begun to change the way I talk about him and the way I relate to him, I have felt subtle changes in my heart, so today was just that moment of awakening for me.  I think that I have been holding him at a distance, afraid to be rejected by him over and over and it is such a relief to not be worried about that any more.  I am not worried about that with Sloan and Sean and I am no longer worried about that with Eyob.  He is just one of my boys.  Praise the Lord!  I know that there will continue to be hard times with him and that I will have to continually give my attitude to the Lord.  This is just a testament to how changing your actions first can change your heart.

PS…. I did call the doctor back and they were not linking the tests with Eyob’s current poop problem, they just wanted to make sure the order was there when I brought him in.  Actually, Eyob still has the giardia antigens and so we are working on getting to the bottom of that, but the rest of the fam is free and clear.  I feel confident and so does my pediatrician that the HIV/Hep B tests done in Ethiopia before we brought Eyob home are correct and reliable, but it is always a good idea to have a local lab redo them.  So… don’t worry for us in that area.

On another note… I wanted to make a disclaimer…….  Brandon was concerned when he read my last post that people would think that I am endorsing the book A New Earth and I wanted to make it clear that I am not.  I have not read it yet and infact, I am reading it with a heart open to hear from the Lord.  I actually, went to Brandon before I bought the book to ask him if he thought it was ok for me to read.  I have always been hesitant to read things that I am afraid might be in conflict with my faith in God.  I think part of that is my need to be the “good” christian girl and follow a certian set of rules. However, while I don’t want to compromise my faith, I do feel like I have a discerning heart and that God will show me what is right.  I am mostly interested in reading this book because it is causing a stir in the “world” and I know that many of my fellow MOPS moms and other friends will be reading it and I want to be ready to answer questions or point people to the truth.  I already have a page full of questions in my journal that I will be asking myself and God while I read it.  So that being said….. I am NOT at this point encouraging anyone to read this book, but will discuss it on my blog after I have begun reading.  How was that for a disclaimer?

Also, watch, tomorrow, for my first chapter synopsis of Henri Nouwen’s book, Turn My Mourning into Dancing.  This is definetly a book I feel confident recommending….. especially if you are struggling with some loss or grief in your life right now, no matter how small.  I started writing the post last night, but I need to shorten it down a little.  I may be a little long for some of you readers.

Anyway….. I am encouraged today, by answered prayers and I hope that all of you who have been praying for me will be encouraged as well.

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While Valentine’s day was not our usual “big”  event day as it was B.K. (before kids) we were really excited about actually getting to do do anything.  One of my girlfriends, Cassie, volunteered to watch the boys for the evening… all three and she already has three of her own. Her husband was going to be away on business for the week and so she thought she would volunteer to help us out.  Thank you Cassie!!!  I know some adoption experts would not recommend leaving your recently adopted child, but I know a lot of marriage experts would recommend some couple time away.  Brandon actually stayed home from work Thursday, not to celebrate VDay all day but because he lost his voice (can’t sell stuff without a voice).. so we dropped the boys off around 4…. made a stop at the liquor store (can’t buy wine at the grocery store here (one of the many twilight zoneish things about this state) and got to Red Robin right as the 5 o’clock rush of merry makers came in.  I guess in a place where most of the population are children, the parents all think like we do…. out early and home early for bedtimes.  I was surprised that Brandon actually chose RR. Usually he wants to go someplace “extra special” but he said we usually spend a lot of money when you (traci) would be just as happy with the food from a casual place.  So casual it was and really fun.  We ate a lot of really “good” for you food and had a couple of “fun” drinks and talked a lot.  I was waiting for my cell to ring but it never did.  Instead of going to a movie like we usually like to do we went over to Target and bought one. 

When we got to my friends house to pick up the boys they were in their pjs and looked content but happy to see us.  I actually think it was good for Eyob.  He learned that he would survive and that we would come back.  It was the first time both of us had been away from him at the same time.  He was really affectionate with me by his choice, which doesn’t happen very often.  Did I mention.. Thank you Cassie!!!  You’re a life saver!!!

After the kiddos were in bed we watched the movie we bought, Martian Child, which brings me to my topic.  You have to see this movie if you are in the adoption world, want to be, are thinking about it or just interested in watching a good movie.  It was clean, only PG, and was such a moving story about the miracle of adoption.  So many times throughout the movie I was thinking about Eyob and what we are going through and thinking about the vision for orphans that God gave me when I was small and while it seemed to disappear in the post adoption aftermath it is beginning to come back again.  It is movies like this that inspire me to think about doing it again.  I know, I know…… more on that later. 

By the way, John Cusack plays the lead role in this movie (we love John) and his sister Joan Cusack supports.  The little boy they picked for the part of the boy was also fabulous in his part. So not only was it an awesome movie, the acting was great also. 

At the end of the movie the main character makes a statement about all kids that I thought was really profound……. he said something like… All kids come into this world as aliens or martians and their first years are spent trying to learn about us….. The way he said it was much more insightful and made me think in a new light about Eyob and all that these last 2 months must have been like for him.  He truly has been an alien in a new land, trying to figure us out, just as we have been trying to learn about him.

Watch and enjoy. 

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We had our first MOPS  meeting today, with me as coordinator, and it went great (thanks to all the wonderful people on the Valley Breeze MOPS team). 

Let me back up a little.  MOPS or Mothers of Preschoolers was the first “event” I attended here in Utah.  Jenn made me promise when I left Washington to find the nearest MOPS in Utah and join it.  She new how nervous and honestly scared I was about leaving my comfort zone, my place of safety to come to this “foreign” land.  So I followed her advise and found a MOPS group at South Mountain Community Church, went to my first meeting, and met some people who invited me to another moms group.  Anyway, MOPS has been the place where many people, with children in the infant to preschool years, to find, support, friendships, and much more.   After a meeting or too I knew that if I was going to really “meet” anyone I would have to get more involved.  SO I let the coordinator know that I would be willing to help and that led me to the role of Publicity.  I did newsletters and stuff like that.  Well, at the end of last year I agreed to be the co-coordinator for one of the goups (our church has two groups with 60+ women attending).  As the year came to an end it was evident that we would be needing a new coordinator for one of the groups, and, I think, out of sheer desperation they asked me.  So here I am….leading a totally new group of women, most of whom I have met only recently (in order to take this position I had to leave the group that I was with last year and all the people)  and stepping out of my comfort zone to get up in front of 60+ women twice a month. 

The last three months have been filled with learning a completely new role, meeting new people, planning a leadership retreat, planning the year, and really relying on God for his guidance.  I am really excited about the year.  We are planned up and ready to have a good time.  So if you think about it pray for me everyother Thursday.

Also, I get to go to the MOPS convention, in Orlando, Florida, for 5 days starting next Wednesday.  I am so excited about that opportunity to get more ideas and leadership training and also the opportunity to “get” away and rejuvenate. Probably one of the last times I will have for awhile with the approaching arrival of our new little one. Please pray for Brandon and my mom as they will be taking care of the boys next week while I am gone.

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On Labor day, after all of our plans to hang out with other people fell through, we decided to take a trip up into the mountains. Someone had told us about Mirror Lake. They had even given us tentative directions. Which we did try to follow. However, we forgot our map. Anyway, we stopped in Park City to by Subway sandwiches and headed up in the direction we thought the lake was. After a few wrong turns and a lot more miles than we thought we finally arrived. It was worth the wait.
We ate our lunch on a blanket next to the lake and just enjoyed God’s creation. It remined me of times in Wyoming,in the Big Horn Mountains,when I was a kid. After we ate we took a walk around the lake. THe boys threw rocks in the water and we tried to keep them from throwing themselves in the water. YOu can tell from the pictures that we didn’t have total success. I guess boys will be boys. Sean finaly escaped from our clutches and just walked into the lake shoes and all. Sloan took his shoes off and walked in tentatively, deciding after a few inches in that he didn’t like the goo between his toes. He knelt on the side and used his shoe as a shovel.
Brandon and I were talking the other day about how different the boys are. Sean plunges and I do mean plunges head long into everything he does. Whether it is throwing a rock in the lake or jumping of the couch. Sloan takes his time and thinks about everything he does. He is careful and thoughtful until he knows what the situation entails and how much risk he is going to have to take. It is going to be fun seeing how their personalities develop as they get older and what are newest, Baby E, is going to be like.
Just click on the picture and it will take you to Flikr like usual. Look to the right side for “View as a slide show” and click on that.

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