Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My Cousin posted this on her blog and I thought I'd pass it along....


Please go to this website and vote against the building of a marina in Tin Can Bay, QLD. It is one of our favorite places to visit. (The Federal Gov. may be making a final decision as early as Jan 2011.) A marina would change the whole "feeling" of this sleepy little town. It would also mean that there would not be a place for the dolphins to come and interact safely with humans.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stupid Fridge!

WHY would the freezer work and not the refrigerator part!?!  (SIGH) No milk.  No eggs.  No cheese.  No fresh veggies.  No bacon.  No butter.  Or margerine. No juice.  No way to keep fruit after cutting into it, (Tana loves apples and peaches, but can't eat a whole one in a sitting.).  I am NOT happy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Adoption Journey

Before you start reading this, get comfy and make sure you have plenty of time!

  A lot of people have been talking lately about the adoption process and how it went for them. So I thought I would share our story a bit here.

  In June of 2009 we were at a four day church convention in Riverton, Utah when Brian and I were asked if we could run to Sam's Club to pick up some supplies. Now, at the convention there was a beautiful family that had just had a baby boy. He was only a few weeks old and so precious. Both Brian and I had done a lot of holding and cuddling between meetings and had totally fallen in love. So, anyway, on our way back from Sam's Club, I finally got up the courage to ask Brian what I'd been thinking about for a few years. What did he think about adopting another child? I completely credit that little baby boy for giving me the courage to ask, because I was certain, and I don't know why, but I was totally positive Brian was against adoption.

  So, I ask my loaded question five minutes from getting back to the convention grounds, and 15 minutes before the next meeting, but in the car where Brian can't escape me. And I am pretty sure it took him somewhere between a million years and a split second for him to answer me. I was all primed up and ready to cry because I KNEW what his answer was going to be, but I HAD to ask. And do you know what he said? "I've been thinking about it for about three years now."

  So here's pretty much the rest of the conversation. I did not end up crying, by the way, I was too shocked by his answer!

T: You have?! So have I!
B: I was afraid to say anything though. I thought you were against it.
T: I thought you were.
B: No, I have no problem with it.
T: Huh. Me neither.
  Yeah, so a precautionary tale to all readers: Communication is VERY important in a marriage!

  During the rest of convention we discuss what we are and are not comfortable with in an adoption. We both wanted to adopt from the U.S., neither of us cared about the race of the child, or the sex. We talked about children with physical or mental challenges and what we felt we could handle as a family. We both felt it was best to adopt a child who was younger than our son Ian because it would be enough of a shock going from having been an only child for 6 years to having a sibling, without making him be a YOUNGER child as well. And we BOTH said we didn't want to tell anyone about our decision to adopt because we had heard so many stories of people who had waited years and years before there was a child available to adopt. I just couldn't face years of , "Have you heard anything yet?".

  After convention we went home and looked at each other and said, "Okay, what do we do now?" Never having adopted before, and with no idea who to talk to, what did we do? Well, we Googled it, of course. Do you know how many sites purport to give you information on adoption? About a zillion. Do you know how many actually do? None that we could find. You go into this blind. So we decided to research agencies. They all tell you how wonderful they are, but none of them tell you about the H.E. Double Hockey Sticks you are about to go through. Brian diligently searched. I, diligently as I ever get, searched too. Brian found an agency he liked. My gut reaction was, "No." but I ignored it. I was wrong about him wanting to adopt, I was probably wrong about this too. Instead I did what I made Brian promise not to do. I talked to a friend. I told Callene we were looking to adopt but did not know where to start. She got super excited and told me about her mom's neighbor who had just adopted through a great local agency and why don't I give her a call here's her number I'll call her first so she's expecting you this is great and wonderful I'm praying for you. (Thank-you Callene, I love you too!)

  The next thing we did was interview agencies. No, actually the next thing I did was call up a complete stranger in her home and inundate her with the millions of questions Brian and I had. She graciously answered each and every one of them. I came away happy. This felt right. All the praying we were doing was coming to fruition. Here was the agency we had been looking for. Brian will be so happy. Umm, no. Brian was still fairly certain this other place was the agency we should go through. NOW the next thing we do is interview agencies.
  So we call up the agency Brian is interested in. They were based in California. The lady was polite, kind, enthusiastic, willing to answer all our questions, ready with references from previous clients. In short she was perfect. Then we went to the place I was interested in. In a tiny office about the size of our laundry room two ladies sit us down and say, “So, what do you want to know?” Brian explains that we know nothing about adoption and that we don’t even know what to ask. We’re told that you just fill out the paperwork and get started, and that you could download it from their website. I can see Brian getting more and more frustrated with these people as we go along, so we wrap it up and we leave with more questions than when we started. The only thing we did get out of it was the name and number of a social worker to do our home inspection.

  Now I still feel like this Utah based agency is the way we should go, but I totally understand Brian’s frustration with them. We then decide we are going to start working with Brian’s top agency. We call them back and get their paperwork and are told we need to set up a home inspection as soon as possible. The only lead we have in that direction is the name and number we were given at the last disastrous interview. So we give her a call. Diana tells us that yes, she will come and inspect our home, and that we can use her report for any agency. Good to know. So we set up a date for her to come and I clean like I’ve never cleaned in my life. I was particularly proud of my bathrooms. You could have eaten off those floors. If you need to actually use the facilities, go to the neighbors, these puppies were CLEAN. Martha Stewart had NOTHING on me. When Diana arrives, she asks IAN to give her a tour of the house. He takes her in his room. He takes her in the basement. He shows her the storage room. He shows her everything. Everything except, you got it, a bathroom! They could have been pig sties, and no one would have ever known! Well, Diana liked us anyway. Maybe because I did not indulge in my desire to make her look in at least ONE of my bathrooms!
But Diana was working under the assumption we were going to use the agency I still liked, A Guardian Angel. When we mentioned we wanted to use this other agency and why. Diana suggested using them both since everyone she knew had such good results with A Guardian Angel. Well, we prayed about it and thought about it and okay fine we’ll give them a shot.

  This is where the paperwork comes in. Remember how surprised you were when you bought your first home and the escrow agent plunks down a dictionary sized stack of papers that you are going to have to sign and initial multiple times? Yeah, there is about that much. Only instead of just signing and initialing, (you do that too,) you are answering questions, very personal questions. About your lifestyle, your health, your mental health, your background, the lifestyle, health, mental health and background of every relative, friend and acquaintance you’ve ever had, what you think they think about you and oh, by the way we need references and only one of them can be from a family member. And they need a doctor’s note that says you are healthy enough to raise kids. Also since you haven’t lived in Utah for five years, (it was over four! Come on!) you need a background check that looks at your record from all states! ARRRGGGH!!! But a million years later they said they were ready to show our profile to prospective birthmothers.

  Oh yes, the profile. The profile is like a 10 page full color brochure about your family. It is what the birthmothers read to decide if they want their baby to go to you. There’s a letter in the front that you address to them telling them about your family, lifestyle and your desire to adopt and why. And the rest is pictures about your life, past and present, your hobbies, pets, wedding, EVERYTHING, but no personal information. You cannot include your address, last name, city you live in or any information they could use to track you down. All contact is through the agency. This is for the protection of the adoptive family, so birthmom doesn’t call asking for handouts or try to move in with you.

  Anyway, once all that was out of the way we started receiving phone calls from the agency. May we show your profile to a birth mother in this or that situation? We always said “yes” and tried not to get our hopes up. We were still thinking it would be years before our child found us. Well, actually there was one situation in which we said “no”. A birth mom had tried to self-abort through the use of alcohol for the first trimester of her pregnancy. Brian works with newborns whose mothers smoked, drank done drugs or any combination of the three throughout their pregnancy and he said anything is treatable except fetal alcohol syndrome. We were so frightened to turn down this baby. Even though it didn’t feel right to either one of us, we were worried turning it down would hinder the agency from showing our profile to other birthmoms. When we were assured that that would not happen we then said “no” and a few days later we were asked about a birth family that was pregnant with a little girl. Ian wanted a sister, by the way, while it did not matter to Brian and I one way or another Ian only reluctantly agreed to accept the idea of a brother. So Ian was ecstatic about this situation, most of the rest had been boys, but this was a sister! And Brian and I were cautiously optimistic too, since the birthfather was involved and willing to sign too. So we settled in to wait.
The next day Jodi called us up. They had chosen us. This was September 26th. Coletta was due to be induced on November 6th, about three weeks before her due date. Oh! The frantic weeks of getting the nursery ready! The wonderful friends who wanted to throw us showers! And gifts! So many sweet, kind wonderful gifts! We were overwhelmed! And then Miss Tana, in a hurry from the beginning, decided to come home. She was born October 29th 2010 at 1:55 in the morning, weighing a whopping 5lbs 8oz and measuring 18.5 inches. Okay, really there was nothing “whopping” about her. She was tiny and perfect, and loved her big brother from the beginning. Instant connection. She would barely eat for the nursing staff, for Ian, she guzzled.

  So on October 31st,2009 Tana came home to live with us forever, and on May 18, 2010 the legal system declared what we already knew, She is ours and we are hers!

  Oh, and as for A Guardian Angel, we would highly recommend them to anyone. We found out Jodi, the lady we were interviewing with, had placed FOUR babies that day. She was exhausted!

  Ummm, sorry this is sooo long!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th

September 11th, 1995.
What? You say that's wrong. That it was 2001. Yes, I remember that day. It was tragic. Horrible. I was at work at a time when most people in Washington state were still in bed. I cried so much that day.
But, no, I am talking about September 11th, 1995. I was in Paris, France. It was magic. Wonderful. That's the day my husband asked me to marry him. At the top of the Eiffle Tower. I cried that day too. They were tears of joy.

I love you Brian. Now and forever.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I have never been overly fond of Las Vegas, it's okay, but not my idea of a great fun getaway. Nevada however, never really registered, I would now like to unequivocally state I am a HUGE non-fan of Nevada. We went down for a competition. It was 112 degrees on Friday, 109 on Saturday and 115 on Sunday. And we were cooking on blacktop. In a parking lot. It was so hot that Brian had not even lit his smokers and they were registering 150 degrees.

Then, on Friday, I get a call from the place we board our dog and am informed that we have a $450 vet bill waiting for us, for another dog. Apparently Denali got into a scuffle with another dog and caused him some damage. Denali. The dog that is afraid of our cat. Who lets children crawl all over him and pull his ears. This I don't understand at all.

But wait! There's more! As were were leaving the hotel Monday morning we discovered a broken window on our car. Yup, front passenger side window totally shattered and our GPS gone. When we went in to tell security they told us they had discovered the damage earlier and decided it was the heat that had caused our window to explode. when we told them the GPS was missing he swore. I guess it was there when they saw the car and someone had come along and helped themselves in the meantime.

Oh and if you are wondering how we did, out of 48 teams we took 36th.

So the upshot of the whole deal is I need a vacation from this vacation!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Equestrian Vaulting


Start of routine

One foot on saddle

Hanging off saddle while Opal walks

And a Dragon, just 'cause it's cool!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Poor Baby!

Poor Tana has, not one, not two, but SIX teeth coming in all at once!

Poor little thing!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So Brian and I were talking about a friend of ours, Colleen, and he told me she grew up "just outside of Worland, WY."
So Ian pipes up; "If she jumped out her bedroom window would she have been in Worland?"
"What!?" we ask.
"Well you said she lived JUST outside of Worland, so if she jumped out her bedroom window would she have been IN Worland?"
At this point I start laughing so hard I have tears coming out of my eyes at the vision of Colleen jumping out a window, but I manage to ask him why Colleen wouldn't just open up the front door and WALK a few steps if she's that close.
Ian's reply,
"Because it's funner to jump out the window!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


How is it, in the hottest part of summer, with temperatures hovering in the upper 90s and low 100s, I end up with pneumonia? That should not even be possible!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Horse Vaulting

Ian has decided to take up a new sport. He wants to do horse vaulting. We went to his first class yesterday. Since the arena is enclosed and I couldn't take a picture because the flash might startle the horse, here is a video to show you what it is.

Heaven help me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

She's All Ours!

On Tuesday May 18th we went to court. Tana Rei Winther is now completely and legally ours. The Judge says we may not give her back even when she turns 13.

We were scheduled for Courtroom W44, but we actually went in the back to the Judge's Chambers.

Daddy, Big Brother, Judge Iwasaki, Miss Tana and Mommy

Adoption Day Cake!

Close up of the ladybug.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Family Pics!

Family Picture time! And it turns out I have the cutest Kids in the world.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just A Pic I Had To Post

...And this is what happens when you lose your two front teeth and eat a blue sucker.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Best Big Brother in the World

So we're sitting in meeting today and Ian kept whispering "I want to hold Tana. Can I hold Tana?" So finally I passed her over to him. Very quietly, so quietly I wouldn't have heard it if there had not been a pause in testimony, he whispers to Tana, "You are the best little sister I could ever have in the whole, wide world."
I burst into tears.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thank-you God

I haven't had time to post this recently as we were out of town, but I wanted to let you know, another baby has a home. The agency called me again last week with another "baby born" situation. A half Hispanic, half Caucasian baby girl born to a mother who did coke and drank beer through out the pregnancy. The urine test for the baby was clean however, and the doc said there were no signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, (apparently you can spot that immediately) and while the baby was premature, she was otherwise healthy.

So, I made calls and the people I called made calls and a little baby found a home. God did His work, and I cried again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear Nana (An Open Letter)

Dear Nana,

I really enjoyed your last visit. Sitting on your lap, talking to me, all the attention. It was so wonderful! But the best part of all was the play mat you got me! I lay on it all the time to play with the toys, or just to rest. It's so much fun! There is just one little problem...
Will you PLEASE tell Tana you got it for me? She's always stealing it!


Love, Simon

Monday, February 15, 2010

A New Ian-isim

Yesterday at meeting we heard about how when people die their prayers for us don't just disappear. Rather, that God keeps them in rememberance tword us. Today Brian and I were in the car and we were dicussing how wonderful that is, when Ian broke in to ask us what that meant. I explained how when people pray for us those prayers don't go away when they die, but that God keeps them. I think he was unsure about weather God keep the prayers or the people that die, because the next thing he said was, "Wow! God's house must be full of prayers and caskets!"

.....Annnd I lost it. ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cute! Cute! Cute!

I was able to meet Jacob and his new family today. Jacob is the little baby from my last post. And he lives about a block away from us. He is ADORABLE! He is also about the size of Tana. I guess he was close to 10 pounds when he was born. He has the chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen on a newborn.

The mom made a comment that really made me think about God's hand in all this. She said that they had been trying to adopt through another agency for about 2 1/2 years, they had just sent in the paperwork to continue on. She said that she told her husband they weren't going to get their baby this way, but rather that they would get a call out of the blue that someone knew someone who knew someone else. I smiled because when I first got the phone call I felt a strong feeling that I needed to call Calleen. Now Calleen has four children of her own and I KNEW she and her husband didn't want to adopt, but I called her anyway. Now sweet baby Jacob is where he belongs and I KNOW God's hand was in it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oddly Satisfying

This afternoon as I was feeding Tana the phone rang. It was one of the people from the adoption agency. She said that there was a baby that had been born last night in another state that needed a home. She was wondering if we knew of anyone that was looking to adopt. I knew no one, but two people I had talked to recently had mentioned that they knew of families who were looking. So the first thing I did after hanging up was to call my husband to ask if HE had heard of anyone. Then we called our friends who called their friends....
To make a long story short, there is a family we don't know flying to another state to pick up a baby we've never met and bring him home. I may never meet this family and their baby, but right now I am so happy for them I'm crying.
And I feel... satisfied.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas 2009

#1 Kimberly, Wilson & Tana
#2 Grandpa and Tana
#3 Greatgrandma and Tana
#4 Picking oranges for Christmas
#5 (couch pic #1) Ian, Aunty Yvonne, Aunty Shawna, Alex
#6 (couch pic #2) Ian, Tana, Alex, Kimberly
#7 The start of The Great Marshmallow War
#8 the park will never be the same - marshmallows ALL over

We did not have a "white Christmas", but we did have a good one. We went to Phoenix to visit Dad and Tami. Shawna and her kids were there too so Tana got A LOT of loves! we had a wonderful time.


See? It really does get curly when we wash it!