Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Hunter Fam

So now I remember why I quit blogging ... something happened with the picture upload process such that portrait pictures upload in landscape & you can not rotate them.  Sigh.  Portrait seems to be my favorite way to shoot & so it was just confounded aggravating to me.  Apparently you can upload to picasa web albums and then port over & it's fine ... but that's several steps.

Okay, so now that I've complained - here's a family picture.  Hard to believe we have been home with Rebecca since January 2009 & this is our first family picture with her.  Okay, I'll admit it - I have issues being on the other side of that lense - but still, that's kinda sad!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Goodness, how do you start back blogging when you've been Missing In Action for so long now?  I've had several people ask me & to be honest - life has just been crazy for us lately and I really haven't felt like I had much to add of value for anyone.  Now how does that sound for pitiful?!

Also, I do not like blogging w/out pictures and the last time I had tried to add pictures there was something weird going on with blogger & I got terribly frustrated. 

With that said - I'll try to do better :-)

So what's been going on w/ us since August/September time frame.

Ryan:  Has realized he has a love & passion for cross country running.  Some of those meets were captured here ... or maybe it was just one???  But all of those were captured on Facebook.  Yes, I'll admit I'm a proud mama.  He did extremely well for his first season, but foremost - he enjoyed it and really that's all I want for any of my kids is for them to enjoy that which they do.  He also played fall baseball and again, I have about a bazillion pictures of that too.  Basketball has started for winter but most likely you'll be spared the pictures.  For one I get too excited about the games to actually be able to concentrate on taking pictures and two - I just have issues it seems trying to take any inside shots.

Emma:  This little dumpling moved up to the first level of competition in gymnastics and had her very first meet this past weekend.  I'll try to upload pictures of that - it was adorable!  Again, not a proud mama one iota.  January & February weekends will be full with more meets.   Looks like we'll be traveling to Indianapolis, IN and Knoxville, TN but the other meets will be a little closer to home.  Did I mention she looks adorable in her little competition leotard?  She does :-)

Rebecca:  Is absolutely LOVING being in Kindergarten.  Loves her teacher (who is AWESOME I might add), loves her friends and is so tickled about learning!  Right now she's not in any extracurricular activities other than AWANA at church - but I think she's happier that way anyway.

Other than kiddos, we were able to go to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving & one evening we were able to have a get together with a lot of the cousins from my dad's side of the family & it was a lot of fun!  I was also able to catch up with a childhood friend who was like a brother to me - very enjoyable trip!

So, there it is in a nutshell - we pretty much meet ourselves coming and going.

Promise to post pix soon!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday

With summer winding down, the cooler weather moving in and the first few leaves that have been falling - I can't help but go back and look at some of the pictures from this summer.  I know I drive my friends and family crazy with snapping photos but I love pictures.  So many feelings and emotions are brought back from some of  these.

With that said, this picture tickles me to the core of my soul in so many ways.  First, Ryan & Emma have such a unique relationship and they are alike in several ways.  He loves the rough and tumble play and she enjoys receiving it as much as he loves dishing it out.  Secondly, Ryan has finally discovered that having an adorable spunky little sister can work to his advantage in, umm ... how do I say this, in certain "situations".  Which typically means if there are cute little teen chickas around then Emma is going to somehow be involved in something!  Thirdly, Emma has the ability to even look graceful being tossed in the pool.  Please tell me all these gymnastics lessons are going to bring more value to her life than making her look cute flying toward the water!

the long road

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something New for Ryan

If you've been a reader on here for a while, you know we're one busy family with kids & their sports.  Ryan plays two seasons of baseball and then plays basketball in the winter.  He tried soccer once when he was little but it was the year we moved here and he was one sick little boy due to allergies and that season did not go well.  He started playing t-ball when he was either 3 or 4, I'm not sure which.  He also played flag football for several years as well.  This year he is trying something new & so far loves it - running cross country! And me, I've seen as many baseball games as I really care to see and am totally loving this cross country thing!  So far he has had two races, ran 41st out of 350 on his first race and then ran 17th in his race this past weekend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back To School

Like a month late ... again, I'm behind on this blessed blog o' mine.

Life just gets in the way of blogging sometimes.

So, school started - almost a month ago.  This year sees my baby girl Rebecca off to Kindergarten, Emma to 2nd grade and Ryan into 8th.  I still can't believe my last has started school and yes, it's been a bittersweet time for me.  She's outgrowing some of her little girl things but thankfully she was ready & happy for school to start.  Getting to ride the bus with Emma was a HUGE thing for her and each day since has been a happy day for her & she is enjoying learning all the new songs and words. 

Oh, and Rebecca's buddy "Flat Norah" saw her off to school too.  "Flat Norah" came to visit from The Netherlands earlier this year & my intention was to take her to visit a lot of sites - but a broken wrist put a slight damper on that.  Norah is one of the little girls that lived at the Starfish Home with Rebecca & her mom sent me several pictures of Rebecca when they were there adopting their daughter.

Speaking of the Starfish Home, I bought Rebecca's shirt back earlier in the year as a reminder of her time at the Starfish Home.  In retrospect, I wish I had bought several for all of her little Starfish buddies.  By the time I thought of it though the line had already sold out.  :-(
Sweet sisters!

And then there's Ryan who thinks he is too big for me to take his picture getting on the bus.  This was as close as I could get to getting a 'back to school' shot of him.  What's with these teenagers and getting their pictures made?  One day they're saying "LOOK MOM - TAKE MY PICTURE!" then before you know it they see the camera come out and they duck and hide.  I don't get it.

Happy back to school!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday

My blog buddy Lisa is changing things up a little on her side and has added a new fun thing - "Favorite Photo Friday" .. and since my blog has been rather stale lately, I think I'll join in on the fun!

This picture was taken back in the summer while we were on vacation and to me just sums up their little personalities.  Emma is the one always looking for fun and is as mischievous as they come.  Little Rebecca is much more reserved when around other people, but can be just as silly as Emma at times too.   But oh how she loves her big sister and loves it when Emma hugs her up tight ... even if it does tickle just a tad.

Hop on over & check out some other favorites!

the long road

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sweet Sweet Summertime

Well, it looks like summer is coming to a close for us.  School starts back next week and with that there will be a few new additions to our already busy schedule.  Ryan is running cross country this year and has already been in training the past month or so.  Emma is moving up to level 3 in gymnastics which means an additional 3 hour practice each week and that she will be participating in meets.  Of course as luck would have it, Ryan's meets are on Saturdays which is the same day as Emma's second practice.  I joked on facebook the other night that we will be "meeting" ourselves coming and going. haha!

So, we'll be busy these next few days trying to get in as many of the 'sweet sweet summertime' fun things that we enjoy so. 

For the girls, that just so happens to be watermelon.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Laid Back Vacation

Vacations are important to our family, seems like whether it's a year of feast or famine we get in one kind of vacation or another. A few years ago Ryan had set a goal of visiting all 50 state capitols and so we started trying to schedule our vacations in different areas so we could fit in a few visits. Prior to that we had pretty much just always gone to the beach, but we had gotten a little tired of the same ol' thing so the state capitol tour was a good diversion. However, my family let me know this past year that they were tired of these 'on the go' vacations and went so far as to accuse me of 'force marching' them. Now that's what every mother wants to be known for - 'force marching'. Ryan lobbied very hard for the beach and so the beach it was.

So our vacation this year did not include a single trip to a state capitol - although I did try to get one in while heading down there, but it wasn't open on Saturdays. But our vacation did consist of:
  • Sleeping in
  • Swimming in the ocean
  • Playing in the sand
  • Staring at the colorful beach umbrellas
  • Taking a nap or two out by the ocean
  • Drinking coffee and watching the dolphins swim by
  • Swimming in the pool
  • Back to the beach
  • Back to the pool
  • A trip to Lambert's where they throw these huge rolls to you - lots of fun!
  • Ryan spent quite a bit of time just swinging in a porch swing that overlooked the ocean - and making new friends.
  • A requisite trip to drive go karts
  • And last but not least, eating our fill of seafood
All in all ... it was pretty darn relaxing!  We just might have to do this again next year.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Sweet Family

Friday, July 29, 2011

Banana Boat Time

This so far has been Emma & Ryan's favorite beach activity!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Greetings From Gulf Shores Alabama!

They may not always go along with my plan ... but I sho' love my kiddos!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Plan Vs Actual, Part II

I was in such a hurry the other day that I left out several points of interest.

  • When I mentioned the sticky notes, what I left out is the fact that I had loaded up my iphone with some of Brian's favorite music and even drove so he could zone out, enjoy the trip & listen to some ol' tunes.  So he totally missed the brouhaha over the sticky notes. 
  • I mentioned stopping not too far out of town, which really messed up my gas-fillup plan.  So by the time we do finally REALLY need to stop, Rebecca is snoozing away.  One thing we've learned from experience that a Rebecca that awakens on her own is a little angel from heaven.  A Rebecca that we've woken up is a little ... well, let's just say there's pouting, fussing and leg kicking.  It's not pretty.  Brian has a term for her in that mood "snarl-puss".  So about the time the red light is about to come on little sweet Rebecca wakes up - so it's time to get gas.  But my "plan" involves only stopping at certain kinds of places for gas and those certain kinds of places HAVE to be on the same side of the highway we're traveling down.  A little OCD, maybe.  But by this point we couldn't be choosy and we were left with two options.  One was a run down truck stop that was right beside the "Pine Wood Spa" which was a "spa" in a metal barn.  Can't say that I've ever seen a spa on the side of the hwy in a building like that!  No, we didn't stop.  Which left our only other choice as a tad bit less sleazy of a gas station.  I take the girls to the bathroom and it has vending machines ... Emma reads them and as she's reading "red hot love potion" and the like she asks "Mama, what's that?".  Better ask yo' papa.
Thankfully the beach is making up for that road trip!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Plan Vs Actual

When it comes to traveling, I have a precise way I like to do things.  From packing the suitcases to packing the van ... to what is w/in arms reach of the van - and what's not ... I've got my way.  And it's the best way.  Haha. 

But what's the saying, something about the best made plans?  The funny thing is - as much as I have a plan - I have 4 others who don't always go along with it.

Here's some examples. 
  • The plan - the van is full when we leave so that we can get several hours down the road before we have to stop.  Actual - Just about an hour of town we have to stop because someone I know and love had several cups of coffee before we left.
  • The plan - I pack a cute little carrier with healthy snacks.  The main reason is financial - so that we do not end up buying things at every stop.  Actual - First stop, Brian buys coffee and the kids declare it's not fair so we end up with beef jerky and chips.  Those chips go well with a just vaccummed van.
  • The plan - a dollar store bag of goodies so that when the little ones get restless I can pull something out of my bag of tricks and that will buy another hour or so of peace.  Actual - silly me bought one package of sticky notes thinking of how much fun they would have with them.  Did I mention the one package was $1?  After them arguing over who got what for 10 minutes I was kicking myself for not buying another set.  Heck, as aggravated as I was I was wishing I had bought every pack of stickies they had. 
I think the picture is clear so I'll stop there :-)  So very thankful when I get the hotel in my sight!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Helping Hand's Annual Family Picnic

Our adoption agency hosts an annual family picnic which we've unfortunately missed the past year or so.  Thankfully though, we were able to go this year and had the best time!  There were only a few families from our first travel group but since then we have made friends with some other families - so in a way it was almost like a family reunion.  The girls had a blast playing with their friends from China ... and me, well - I got a little misty eyed thinking of the girls from our first travel group and how Emma has "known" them even before she became our daughter.  It just further instilled in me how important it is that or Lianjiang daughters have a life long bond.
Susan was our travel guide with Rebecca's adoption.  In fact, the area we traveled to was her hometown!  While we were there we were blessed to enjoy some homemade dumplings that her mom sent to us at the hotel.  Best I've ever had!

Emma and Kate - We sat close to her parents on the trip to China and then became good friends too.

Emma, Sheridan & Mattie Grace - our little "Lianjiang Sisters"

Emma & Rebecca with Jenna - the daughter of a local family we met while waiting on Rebecca's adoption.  Neat thing with this friendship is that they are in the process of adopting again and their new daughter is from the same orphanage Emma was in. How cool is that?!!!

And just for fun - this picture was taken at the very first AHH Family Picnic we attended which was just about a month  after we had gotten home with Emma.  She was blowing kisses already!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Red Orchard Park

A photog friend of mine recently purchased a new macro lens and brought it in for me to try out ... I'm always on the ready to take pictures so we headed off to Red Orchard Park for some photo fun!

Girlfriends like to practice their "cheers"

And cheer formation - if that's what you call it :-)

And pose for ol' Mom

And Play In Old Barns

And play with various things from the trees 

Then roll various things down the slide - WHEEE!

Then before you know it, it's time for that last slide down the slide ....

Have I ever mentioned how pretty Kentucky is?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hanging Out

Emma is such a little monkey ... It seems as though she can climb just about anything and does it with the utmost of ease. It's really amazing to watch her because there looks to be very little effort on her part.

Case in point. Brian was busy helping Rebecca with the slider thing at the park while Emma just shimmies up the pole - a regular metal kind of pole. No foot holds. No indentations. No nothing other than a straight up pole.

Check out how she's just hanging on as though it's normal for people to hang on to the side of a pole any ol' day.

This just cracks me up on soooo many levels ...