Tonight We Chill

How is it that life feels even busier when we are on vacation from school and work?

But not tonight. Tonight the girls are at their grandparents. Tonight we eat takeout from Pick Up Stix curled up with a blanket and watching Music and Lyrics.

Tonight we chill.


Fruity Pals and Plane Rides

Setting the scene:

I'm in front of the TV with a mountain of laundry to be folded, sorted, and put away. {Yes, loving the new washer and dryer!} Also, I'm eating a bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal. So yummy and a great source of fiber, that's my rationalization. Cutie, who has been tucked into bed long ago, is standing silently in the hall, watching me, waiting for me to notice her.

Me: Laughing, What's up sweetie?

Cutie: Ummm, ummm it's kind of scary in there.

Me: Ok, I'll tuck you back in.

Cutie: What are you eating?

Me: It's a bowl of cereal.

Cutie: What kind? Let me smell your mouth. It smells good.

Me: It's Fruity Pebbles.

Cutie: Where's my Fruity Pals?

Me: You can have some in the morning.

Cutie: In the morning? Can we go to the O-pork (airport) and get on a plane in the morning?

Me: No, we'll go on a plane another day.

Cutie: Can we go to Grammy and Pop Pop's house?

Me: They are going to come over here.

Cutie: I need another hug. Let me smell your mouth again. I can have some Fruity Pals in the morning?

Me: Yes, they are really delicious. Good night, sweet girl. I love you.

Cutie: I love you.


Christmas 2007

What a wild and fun Christmas! We had a blast in San Luis Obispo with my side of the family, then went to visit Matt's family and then to the girls' Grandparents with all their aunts, uncles and cousins. We are exhausted!

The girls got soo many presents, they didn't know what to do. So many new things to play with and wear. They are loving their new scooters and backyard toys, their new dresses and baby dolls from Grammy and Pop Pop, and their new kitchen sets and brumbellas from Grandma and Grandpa.

And I got what I really wanted, a new washer and dryer. I can't believe how big the washer is! It's twice as big as the one we had. Yay for fewer loads of laundry!

Merry Christmas!
Praise God for the best Gift of all-his Son!


What a treat!

Cathi and Shannon surprised us this morning by stopping by our home with Starbucks and a Christmas gift for the girls. How fun is that?

The gift was a Christmas book and a sign for their room that says, "CUTIE." Perfect.

The Cuties were SO excited! Laughing and playing and hiding and cuddling.

They couldn't believe their teacher was actually in their home. They asked, "Why aren't you at school?"

Shannon is a new favorite, too! They fell in love with her in seconds, which is easy to do.

Thank you, my friends, for making us feel so special. You truly made my day.


Conversations we have on our way to school

Cutie: Are we going to take the freeway?

Me: No, we just drive the streets to school.

Cutie: But I want to take the freeway. I like the freeway.

Me: Why do you like to go on the freeway?

Cutie: uummmmm...because we get to see lots of ferris wheels.

Me: That's true.

Cutie: Are we going to do a U-turn?

Me: No, we are just going to make a left turn here.

Cutie: Why don't we do a U-turn?

Me: Because then we would be going the wrong way.

Cutie: There is the donut shop. See the sign? Can we go to the donut shop?

Me: Not today, we need to get to school.

Cutie: Maybe another day?

Me: Yes, another day.

Cutie: What does donut start with?

Me: d...d...d...donut.

Cutie: "D"

Me: That's right! Very good.

Cutie: Why did you just do a U-turn? Did you go the wrong way?

Me: No, you have to do a U-turn to get into this driveway.

Cutie: Oh.

Cutie: Are you going to stop for an iced tea?

Me: Yep, I gotta have my iced tea.

Cutie: You like iced tea? It's your favorite?

Me: Yep, gotta have my iced tea.

Cutie: Are you chewing gum?

Me: Yes.

Cutie: What color is it?

Me: Yellow.

Cutie: Can I see it?

Me: It's not really a good time because I'm driving.

Cutie: Just show me in the mirror.

Me: I need to watch the road.

Cutie: You have to be careful?

Me: Yes, I don't want to hit any cars.

Cutie: You don't want to smash the new car?

Me: No, I want to keep our new car pretty.

Cutie: Sometimes new cars get smashed.

Me: That's true. That's why I want to be a safe driver.


Saturday and Just Relaxing

  • Drinking iced tea lemonade
  • Walking the dog
  • Climbing a tree in the backyard
  • Getting cute new haircuts
  • Eating messy ice cream cones
  • Chatting on the phone with Mitch and Lisa
  • Taking lazy naps
  • Playing with our train set
  • Christmas partying at Sue and Ellen's
  • Not getting anything done


It's Happening

In spite of our weaknesses,
Our inexperienced guesswork
And the dark circles under our eyes
In spite of ourselves
We are falling in love.
Our hearts are melding together.
We are becoming a family.



It has been SO much fun having children to celebrate Christmas with this year. It really changes the season, enjoying it through them.
Here is a list of traditions I hope we can continue with the girls through the years:
  • white lights on the outside of our house (Thanks, Art!)
  • driving around to look at crazy houses with lights
  • live Christmas tree with the train chugging around the base
  • 1960s Television Christmas Classics on DVD-Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, etc.
  • Elf the movie
  • Christmas CDs-Sufjan, Sarah McLachlan
  • The Advent Book and nativity scene
  • Christmas choir concert at church
  • fires in the fireplace, candles burning, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice muffins
  • Dreyers peppermint ice cream
  • Making a gingerbread house
  • Pretty Christmas dresses for the girls

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?


Throat + Yodel = Throadel

Throadeling is a rare talent. It is the ability to yodel inside the throat while crying. It takes a lot of practice to master, but I am proud to say that Cutie gets an A+.
We have had many wonderful opportunities to hear her throadeling in the car, especially on long drives. She also has wonderful projection and endurance.
If throadeling were an Olympic sport, she would win the gold.


Our Bellies are Happy

I looked at the foods we already had in the pantry and fridge and went to allrecipes.com for a new idea for dinner.
The Skillet Apple Chicken turned out surprisingly delicious. I used an extra apple, garlic powder instead of garlic salt, and half the pepper.
I made whole grain biscuits to go with it out of Trader Joe's Whole Grain pancake mix.
Very wintery, warm and filling.


Just right.

Vivid blue sky, warm sun, cool breeze, and leaves floating down as I sat on a bench watching the girls play at the park.
It was one of those eternal moments where everything is so beautiful and peaceful.
And perfect.

I've been reflecting on how to create a smoother morning routine in our home. Especially the mornings feel long yet hurried. It seems like we have so much time, and then suddenly we are rushing around.

I'm trying to slow down, accomplish less and just be. I'm trying to make preparations the night before when they are sleeping. Then, let the breakfast dishes sit a while longer, let the dust collect for a few more days. Move slower, talk slower, read to my girls, and let them run around with laundry baskets over their heads, and not be so distracted.


Rejected by a Three-Year-Old

The adult, rational me knows that when Cutie pushes me away she is confused or angry or processing or tired or all of these.
The vulnerable, emotional me doubts whether I am a good mother. Are we moving forward? Am I meeting her needs and loving her well?

My mind is full of these thoughts and many prayers.

Lord, help me to be and to say what these girls need. Give me wisdom and patience.


What a F * U * N weekend!

Friday {just the two of us}
Matt and I went on a date. We ate dinner in a noisy, crowded restaurant but still had good conversation, and then saw Enchanted.
So funny! Really clever. I recommend it.

Saturday {the more the merrier}
Visited with my friend, Ginny. What an encouragement she is to me!
Had lunch with my family at our favorite Italian place-Domenico's in Belmont Shore. Best salad dressing and pepperoni pizza anywhere. Yum and fun!
Had a Christmas reunion with the Supper Club. Dear, dear friends, so good to spend time together and laugh and eat and talk. I received a candle in our gift exchange. Smells beatiful-just like Christmas should. Thanks, Mitchy! On a scale of one through ten, it's 1000!

Sunday {let's celebrate}
Christmas party and Christmas Choir concert. Beautiful music and message about Christ's birth and the fact that He was born to die.

Now we are all exhausted! Sleep tight my friends.


Binky Update

Well, it was a long night.

We talked about binky, we prayed she could be a big girl and sleep without binky, we cuddled, and then after quite a few tears little Cutie fell asleep.

{{Big sigh of relief}}


12:45 am when the crying started again. This time with more fervor. And it went on, and on, and on. We talked again, we prayed again, we cuddled again... Nothing could soothe the pain.


at 1:45 I suggested we get up and start looking for binky again. We looked through the bath toys, through the laundry, and under the couch.

What she doesn't know is that I had an emergency binky all along, which I was hiding in the kitchen. I planted it under the couch as we were looking there and pretended I found it.

I know it's terrible. But I couldn't just produce another binky after all the tears that had been shed. It would have been a betrayal.

She was so relieved. So content.

And she fell right to sleep.

So, the binky saga continues...


Tears Are Being Shed

Tonight is a very sad night at the Rouses, because little Cutie's binky is nowhere to be found. A dear, comforting friend has gone missing.

Her desperate cries:
  • BINKY-Where ARE you?
  • Gracie took it. I saw Gracie had it in her hand. She hid it.
  • Go to the store and buy my binkie.
  • It's hard to be a big girl! I don't want to be a big girl.
  • You find it. Find it. Let's look for it.
  • My binky, I need my binky. (Repeat 57 times)

Yeah, it's going to be a long night.


It's beginning to look, sound and smell a lot like Christmas

The stockings are hung by the chimney.

We've hauled out the holly.

I'm sipping hot cocoa and they're eating popcorn.

We just watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer from 1964.

And we bought our Christmas tree! It was so fun to have this adventure with the girls. We drove to a lot near our house and picked the tree out in 2 minutes. The Cuties were jumping up and down as we carried it into the house.

It smells so fresh and it looks so happy.


Thank You

Thanksgiving was four days ago, but I haven't stopped thinking about how grateful I am.

It's truly overwhelming and inexpressible-the love that we are shown by our family and friends. Especially in this time of change, when things are so emotional, I feel grounded, supported, and loved. Knowing that we are held in prayer has never meant so much to me.

I didn't expect to feel so cared for by sweet gestures toward our girls. But because I love them so much,

I deeply treasure these kindnesses.

Thank you (in no particular order) Mom and Dad, Lisa and Steve, Susan and Ellen, Dan and Janine, Grandma Fisher, Grandma and Grandpa, Les and Debbie, Greg and Mitch, Chad and Sarah, Grammy and Papa, Miss Cathi, Nyla, Shannon, Drucks, Ericksons, Jeff and Robin, Ethan and Laura, Rob and Jane, Barb, and everyone else I forgot.

There are no words...


A 3-year-old's thoughts

Background: During our family devotions we have been learning how God made all things for his own glory.

While eating pancakes and watching Thomas and Friends this morning:

Cutie: God made TV.

Me: {Smiling} Yep.


Oh my goodness! {2 Parts}

Part 1

We had so much fun at Legoland with my brother, his wife, and their twin girls. Incredibly fun! The cuties were so excited about the rides, jumping up and down, laughing, running around with their cousins. It was a joy to share in the experience through their eyes.

Part 2

Cutie's prayer tonight before bed:

"Thank you God for...pause, pause...SNACKS!..."

It was hard not to burst out laughing.


Monday Night at the Rouses

The four of us walked the puppy around the lake, stopping halfway to feed the ducks.
There were stars, a few Christmas lights and a chilly layer of fog settling on the surface of the water.
When we got home we had messy pumpkin spice muffins and hot chocolate for dessert.
Now it's time to get these two kidlets into their jammies and into their beds.


All I want for Christmas

is a new washer and dryer.

Because we create laundry faster than I can do laundry. Which means it looks like the Himalayas out in the garage.

We are still using the washer and dryer Matt has had since he was a bachelor, and it's very, very small.

"Teenie Weeeeensie," as the Cuties would say.


December 1st is just around the corner

If you are looking for a fun, meaningful way to count down the days to Christmas with your family, this book is perfect.

There are 25 doors, each beautifully illustrated. Behind each door is part of the story of Christ's birth.
I can't wait to read it with the girls.


Recurring Topics of Conversation Around Our House Today Included

  • sparkles
  • tummy aches
  • trains, railroad tracks, bridges, hills, tunnels
  • numbers 1-10
  • crocodiles
  • popcorn
  • hippos
  • gum
  • washing hands
  • the carousel
  • Thumbelina
  • fishy crackers
  • pretty dresses
  • school
  • Christmas
  • pancakes

You know, all the important stuff when you're a kid.


Wonderful Winter

I don't know when the first official day of winter begins. It's not even Thanksgiving yet, but it's starting to get a little colder and the Christmas decorations are out in the stores and there is that buzz in the air.
Yay for:
  • cold night walks around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
  • warm cups of cocoa by the fireplace
  • wrapping Christmas gifts with red paper, twine, and handmade tags
  • cuddling in bed just a little longer because it's so warm and cozy
  • opening the doors on the advent calendar starting December first
  • Remembering our Savior's birth and why he came


Strawberry Lip Gloss and Chocolate Donuts

Me: When we get to church you can have a donut.

Cuties: We can have a donut at church?

Me: Yes.

Cuties: I love donuts.

Me: Yum, me too!

Cuties: I love church.

Me: Ok, it's time to go.

Cuties: Where is my lipstick? {Lipsmackers lip gloss}

Me: I put it in my purse. You can put it on in the car.

Cuties: {Getting in the car} Can I put on my lipstick now?

Me: Let me get you buckled in first.

Cuties: Can I put on my lipstick now?

Me: Ok, but just a little. You don't need to put it on over and over again.

{Continuous lipstick application all the way to church}

Me: Ok, let's go get a donut and then go to class.

Cuties: Wait, I need to put on more lipstick.

Me: Alright, but hurry or all the donuts will be gone.

{Arrival at donut table}

Me: Oh no, all the donuts are gone.

Cuties: All gone?

Me: I guess we'll have to go to the donut shop after church.

Cuties: {with disappointment shining in their eyes and glitter gloss shining on their lips} alright.


I just don't know what to do

I'm not sure if I should keep this blog going. As our court date gets closer, the information posted here could potentially make a difficult situation more tense.

I've looked into having a password for the sight, but it seems so contrary to the nature of the project-just a place to connect and relate to others.

Matt thinks I should keep it. He doesn't think it's a big deal. Maybe I'm overreacting.


Miss Caffee

The girls favorite thing to play right now is "Miss Caffee" aka Mrs. Cathi, their preschool teacher.

This involves sitting up high, like on the arm of the couch, legs crossed, a pile of books in hand, and a spoon from their teaset to serve as a pen.
Here is the way you play:

Say, "Good afternoon girls and boys. Let's see...today's super helper is..."
(usually Me or Gracie.) Then we get a nametag.
After that we receive our stickers and sometimes we get to go to the treasure box.
But sometimes we have to wait until next time.
Once we get our treasure, we are instructed to put it in our bucket.

As you can tell, they love school and adore their teacher. I'm so glad they are happy and learning so much!

Thanks, Cathi!


Tuesday Updates

  • Gracie's rear end is already getting better. Michele, I thought $229 was a good deal. I think I've lost perspective.

  • All of our paperwork has been turned into our attorney, so we should be assigned a court date soon. Hopefully before Christmas. Sunday night I started to panic about it. What if, what if...? I've been praying a lot. Thank you for all your prayers, too.

  • The girls and I met Susan and Ellen for an Italian dinner tonight. So much fun. It is such a joy to see my family interacting with them-hugging them, talking with them, and loving them.

  • Now I'm going to veg out- eat some mint chip ice cream, watch some frivolous tv, and be in bed by 11:00. Hope you all have a good night's sleep.


I woke up this morning

to the sound of Gracie spitting out mouthfuls of her own fur.

A trip to the vet, a shave, an injection, two perscriptions, and $229 dollars later, our little dog is doing just fine.

Poor baby! How humiliating.


A short poem for you, Lisa, my twin sister and soulmate

generous heart

dazzling smile

compassionate spirit

exquisite style


Legal Update

We met our attorney today, and she seems very knowledgable and personable. Our guardianship court date will be set for 5-6 weeks from now. We could be appointed guardians on that day, or there could be delays if it is contested.

After the guardianship is established we will wait two years to apply for adoption. Two years seems like such a long time, but that is how long the courts like to wait in guardianship cases before terminating biological parental rights.

Deep breath...

This is an uncertain path.

What do you do

the morning after Halloween?

You put your fairy princess costume back on and eat more candy, of course.


Two Little Girls

If there were
25 hours in the day
there still wouldn't be enough time

If there were
27 letters in the alphabet
there still wouldn't be the right words

If there were
89 keys on the piano
there still wouldn't be the perfect song

If there were
101 pennies in a dollar
There still wouldn't be a suitable gift

To express to you
how very much I adore you
and how overwhelmingly grateful I am to know you


I'm exhausted

We just finished five hours of interviewing and home-inspecting. I have been very nervous about both of these processes-but they went well.

We passed the home inspection except for the garage (ehem...Matt?!?) He needs to do a bit more work out there. We also need to get copies of our dogs' licenses. And there are a few more papers to turn in as well-a personal reference, an employer reference, new fingerprints, and it just never seems to end.

We didn't get all the way through the interviews, so we will be completing another three hours in the next week. Lots of personal questions...really personal. But our adoption specialist is so sweet, and really affirming with however we answer the questions. We'll find out what she really thinks when we read her 20-page report on us!

Thank you to all of you who love us and are thinking about us and praying for us. We feel so supported and encouraged by all of you. It's exciting and overwhelming. It's been a long day. I think I'll hit the sack early tonight.


Things that make me laugh

  • Listening to Matt laugh while he watches "Seinfeld" episodes for the 14th time. Right now he's all by himself in the other room, cracking up.
  • When the girls play "Make Up" and color their faces with marker. I was perturbed, but I had to laugh.
  • When the girls dress up like fairy princesses and then go about their very serious business of playing. Why should it seem strange that they are wearing wings or high heels?
  • Greg and Michele Stump-they both have such a quick wit. The four of us can sit around for hours talking and laughing. I think we are do for an evening like that soon.
  • The Office-crazy funny. Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute. So loveable, so clueless.
  • My sisters. We can take a funny moment and replay it for hours. It never stops being funny. And we never let each other live anything down.
  • When Matt teases me. He told me my new haircut looks like I backed up into a fan. I laughed so hard because he's right!

What makes you laugh?


Friday's Highlights

  • I slept until 11:00. 11:00! Amazing. I have been a little under the weather and felt soo much better when I woke up. I know, I know, you don't have to think that. "I won't be able to do that anymore when we have the girls full-time." I get it.
  • I took the girls to get a few accessories for their fairy princess Halloween costumes-frilly princess headbands and beaded necklaces. They are going to look so cute.
  • Matt and I went on a date tonight-Mexican food and a movie-Bella. It was good. Definitely pro-family. Interesting dialogue.
  • We made an appointment to meet with an attorney about legal guardianship. A very exciting step. Also, Monday is our {rescheduled} home inspection and adoption home study. So lots going on this week in our process. Yay!


Bella...wonderful movie con Verastegui

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie in a few days. It's pro-adoption.


Things I have resorted to to keep the girls awake in the car until we get home for nap time so they will actually sleep, so I can actually sleep, even

though they find me extremely irritating.
  • singing the days of the week at the top of my lungs
  • doing fishy faces at red lights
  • fake sneezing over and over
  • making up cheers for them
  • giving them gum or a lollipop
  • talking incessantly bridges, trees, and airplanes out the window
  • shaking and tapping their feet
  • asking them questions about the ABCs or Miss Cathi
  • dancing with my upper body including lots of snapping and clapping
  • making up stories that include loud noises-like BONK, ZAP, BOOM

I know it's pitifully strange that I'm willing to make a fool of myself and endure their scornful looks and bitter comments like, "Don't talk, Chrissie!" "Stop being so noisy!" "I don't like that song!" But those two hours of quiet naptime are precious.

And the fishy faces made them laugh pretty hard.


Chrissie and the girls-just hanging out

licking watermelon lollipops
splashing in the rocky surf
crunching tortilla chips
laughing with Jeff and Robin
Ethan, Laura, and Charis
soaking in a strawberry bubble bath
snuggling up
to read the Bible together
tucking them into bed
with hugs and kisses
and their blankies
and their comfeys
and their sippy cups
and their lullaby music

Sleep peacefully, beautiful girls.



Our home inspection and adoption home study have been postponed until next Monday. The fire is very close to our home, causing many freeways and roads to be closed, and so we all decided it would be wiser to wait. And so the anticipation continues...

It's sobering to look out the window and see the peach glow over the ridge. And the air is thick with gray smoke and ashes. Matt and I are gathering a few things in case we have to evacuate, although that is unlikey. Pictures, documents, medications, laptops, pets, and the like.

If you hear a knock at your front door, it might be us...moving in.


Tomorrow is Another Milestone

We will be having our home inspected and our adoption home study completed tomorrow. The home inspection is a walk-through of our house to confirm that all the expectations for child safety have been met. Decals on the windows, a week's worth of food, a carbon monoxide detector installed, and on and on.

After the inspection, we will be certified foster parents! We aren't planning on doing foster care anymore, but it is still a huge accomplishment. Also, it is helpful in gaining legal guardianship for the girls. Basically, it looks good on our resume. I have so much admiration and respect for any family who is certified to foster parent. It is such a rigorous process.

The adoption home study is basically a five-hour interview to find out all about you and your spouse and your pasts and your secrets and anything else they would like to know.

I'm excited. We've been working so hard to get to this day, and we have felt the Lord's guidance and grace continually. It's another big step along this sweet journey.


New Discovery

Today I discovered a wonderful artist, Nikki Mcclure at a darling store called Road Less Travelled. I love her work. She cuts out all her images from a single sheet of paper with an x-acto knife. Amazing. I bought a poster, 2008 calendar, and a children's book of her art.


Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

Background: Little cutie has stepped on Gracie (the dog.) Gracie yelps and runs away.

Chrissie: Cutie, don't you think you should say sorry to Gracie?

Cutie: I'm too busy.

Chrissie: You're not too busy, and it will make Gracie feel better.

Cutie: Maybe next time.

Chrissie: It's important to apologize each time you wrong someone, even if it was an accident. It's good to say you're sorry. It helps you to be friends again.

Cutie: I don't want to.

Chrissie: Well, let's just stand here and wait until you're ready to say sorry.

:::::::waiting::::::::::::staring at eachother:::::::::::::::waiting:::::::::::::::::::::

................................three to seven minute time lapse...............................................

Cutie: {almost inaudibly} sorry.

Chrissie: That was very good. I'm so proud of you. Great job.

Replay this scenario five times a day for the last two weeks.
I do think we are making progress!


Beautiful Night

Tonight we ate at home. I made chicken curry and vegetables and then we played ball in the backyard. I accidentally threw the ball into the top of the tree and we couldn't get it down. I said, "Oh well, let's go get ice cream."
The girls thought that was so funny. They kept saying, "Oh well, oh well, oh well, let's go get ice cream."
We ate our ice cream by the lake, watching the ducks under a crescent moon. It was chilly and dark. One cutie said, "I don't want to go home. I want to stay here and watch the ducks." So sweet.
When we got back home we lit a fire and watched "Monkey George." We cuddled under a soft red blanket.
Now they are in their beds and my heart is ready to burst with love for them.


My Brilliant Idea

In my head, taking Alfred (the dog on the left) to the vet this morning, with the girls didn't look quite so chaotic.
I thought, "We always have extra time on our hands in the morning. Why not get Alfred's vaccines up to date?"

Well, trying to get two three-year-olds and a rascally dog in the car, out of the car, and into the vet's office is no small feat.

Alfred peed four-yes four-times in the waiting room. And one of the girls also had a bathroom accident.

Oh, and did I mention that the girls are afraid of Alfred? They won't get anywhere near him.

Yeah, good fun.

In other dog news, Lulu (the dog on the right) has gone to a better place. No, not that place. She has gone to live on a farm in Visalia.

We just didn't feel completely confident in Lulu's social skills. I don't know, maybe the constant barking, growling and snapping had something to do with it. We miss her a little. Just a little.


A Museum, An Accident and A Movie

We had fun with my mom and sister, Ellen, at the children's museum. The girls drove a bus, rode on the carousel, played dress up, played the piano and climbed in the tree house. Then we all met my dad for lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Yum.

Afterwards, we took naps and then Matt watched the girls so I could go get a pedicure. So wonderful. I did feel a little lonely without them.

Matt and I were just sitting on the couch talking after putting the girls to bed. We heard the sound of liquid hitting the tile and both of our eyes got bigger. Yep, one of them didn't quite make it to the toilet. Sigh. It's cleaned up now and they are both back in bed.

Now it's quiet again and Matt and I are going to watch the documentary Grey Gardens about the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy. Oh, and eat chocolate ice cream too.

What have you been up to today?


Today I'm thankful for...

princess dresses, "I love yous," curly hair, legos, the girls falling asleep in the car, being called "ChrissieMommy," spending time with Michele and her kids, watching the girls laugh and play at the park with Kat and Nat, spending time with Matt right now, watching "The Office" we DVRed last night.


Here's What I Know

Some of you have been asking for updates about our situation with the girls. There are many things we are waiting to find out, but here is what I know.

We are very much hoping and praying that we will be able to adopt these two beautiful girls that we have fallen madly in love with. They have turned our lives completely upside down in a very wonderful way.

We initially thought we would be foster parents and then pursue adoption, but now the plan has changed. (Who knows how many times the plan will yet change?) We are going to become legal guardians first, and then pursue adoption. Biological parental rights have been suspended, but as you may guess, it is quite a process to terminate parental rights. It will take time, and there will most likely be challenges in doing this. Right now we are in the process of hiring a lawyer and having a home adoption study completed.

We are spending as much time with them as possible, seeing them almost every day. They trust us more and more as we build a loving bond with them. They are beginning to call us "Mommy" and "Daddy." The four of us are becoming a family. We have had several conversations with them about their past. I can't give any details, but the girls are well aware of their loss, and they are grieving.

We are anxious to see what the Lord will do. I am constantly praying the Lord would put my trust in Him, because I, by myself, have no idea how to trust him. I also pray for patience and wisdom and energy and He continues to prove himself faithful and loving and good. We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. Our cup overflows.


We had fun

with Lisa and the kids at the Santa Barbara zoo. We spent our time walking around, snacking on hot dogs and candy, feeding the giraffes, riding the train, and playing.
It was so wonderful to be mommies together. Busy and a bit hectic, but wonderful.
The girls took turns crying on the way home. They were exhausted and so was I.
This longer stretch of time with them is certainly enabling me to experience a new side of motherhood- frustration and exasperation, along with the giggles and cuddles. We are definitely "in" it right now.


Our nine-day journey has begun.

It started yesterday when we picked the girls up at 3:00 and drove to Matt's parents' house in Temecula for dinner. What a special night of meeting new family. It was sweet.

This morning we woke up and played and then went to second service at church. The day is much longer when you wake up at 6:30 am. I am constantly trying to fill time and keep them busy. We ate breakfast and got them dressed. They played princess-dress-up. They watched Charlie and Lola while I took a shower. And then we still had lots of time left over. I'm sure we'll eventually settle into more of a routine. But for now, the mornings kind of drag on and on.

Tomorrow we are meeting Lisa and the kids in Santa Barbara. I am so excited to see my sister and have the cousins get to know each other better. I can't wait!

This is such an important week. It's a huge event for the four of us as a family-to get to know each other better and develop routines. I pray that the Lord would strengthen our bonds as parents and children and that He would be glorified in this home.


funny baby

The girls love babies, so we have been watching some baby videos on youtube. This one had me laughing.


Conversations in the Car

Cutie: Where's Matty?

Chrissie: He's at work.

Cutie: Where's work?

Chrissie: Matt works at Biola.

Cutie: Where is Biola?

Chrissie: Biola is a school in La Mirada.

:::2 minute time lapse:::

Cutie: Where's Matty?

Chrissie: Matt's at work.

:::2 minute time lapse:::

Cutie: Where's Matt?

Chrissie: Matt is teaching. He'll be home for dinner. Are you excited to see him?

Cutie: Yes.

:::1 minute time lapse:::

Cutie: Where's Matty?

Chrissie: I don't know. Where is Matt?

Cutie: Matt's at work.

:::1 minute time lapse:::

Cutie: Where is Matty?

Chrissie: Matt was eaten by giraffes.

Cutie: {{giggles}} No he wasn't. He's at work.

:::30 second time lapse:::

Cutie: Where's Matty?


The Pumpkin Patch

We had some fun running around in the hot sun, picking out pumpkins, and riding the train with Sarah and her girls.

My girls were ALL about riding the train. Once I mentioned the train, that was all they could think or talk about.

And they LOVED their new room.


This afternoon and evening

we set up the girls' room-

put together their beds, hung shelves and curtains and pictures. It looks so girly and cute! Now we just need a couple sweet girls to make it complete.

I'm so excited that the room is taking shape because the girls will be staying with us for nine days in about a week. I want them to feel like they have a place all their own. I can't wait.



Crisp, cool air
Orange pumpkins
Red leaves
Caramel Apples
A warm fire in the fireplace
Rainy mornings
Cinnamon rolls
going to school
watching a movie
hot chocolate
with a shot of peppermint syrup
Cozy naps wrapped in
a warm, fuzzy blanket
holding hands
wearing my denim jacket and
the scarf Lisa gave me last Christmas


Ingrid Michaelson on Carson Daly -

Love this song! It's on the Old Navy commercial.


Wednesday's Blessings

  • Running errands in my hip new minivan-oxymoron?

  • Napping while the girls napped

  • Pink roses from my student, Madison

  • Dinner at Outback Steakhouse with Matt and the girls

  • Hugs, cuddles and kisses from my sweet girls

  • This quiet time when when everyone else is asleep

  • Assurance that God is working out His plan in our lives


I want to write something happy

and fluffy and funny to all of you.

But I am just so overwhelmed. The past few days I feel like I am running on empty and the slightest irritation may push me over the edge.
  • a visit to the gynecologist
  • a mysterious rattling in the back of my car
  • dog hair on my shirt
  • the neighbors putting on a new roof

You get the idea. I'm just so emotionally drained. I'm tired.

But I did read a cute joke on my juice box. So I'll end with something light :).

Q: How do you find a princess? A: Just follow the foot prince.


My sister, Lisa,

makes incredibly beautiful jewelry. I am continually in awe of her new designs.


Be still my heart

I put their hair in buns this morning, and it was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

They are such beautiful girls-inside and out. It's so much fun getting to know their personalities.


Today I went against everything I believe in

and bought the girls Barbie song players that came with a Barbie song book.
We went to Borders before preschool this morning. I was thinking we'd have fun looking at books together.

All they wanted to look at was Disney princess and Barbie books.

I have never been into dolls or princesses and certainly not Barbies. I remember my friends would want to play Barbies, and I would be sitting there thinking, "What do we do with these things?" "What is the point of putting different outfits on them?" I just didn't get it.

But I guess the girls get it, because they are about all things girly-nail polish, make up, dresses, jewelry, and prinesses and Barbies.

I bought them the song players because I figured the pros outweighed the cons. There is no picture of Barbie on the player, and they have lots of cute kids songs, sung in a non-obnoxious tone.

The book, on the other hand, is filled with images of the buxom, blond-haired, blue-eyed, midriff-baring woman. Let the warping of their body image begin.
I don't think we'll keep the books.


Gracie woke me up this morning

by barking loudly and persistently at an intruder. She's such a good guard dog.

Actually, it was just John, our friend who is fixing up the backyard for our girls.
There is a nasty old dried-up pond that John is disassembling. It has to be done for our home inspection and it has needed to be done for a long time.

Things are buzzing at the Rouses. Everything is in disarray. Everything is half complete-the garage, the backyard, the girl's room. There is the transition all about. Very unsettling.


Just so cute!

I love how their hands are positioned exactly the same way.

Our little sweethearts.

We are now having them sleepover 2 or 3 nights a week. In October they will be spending nine nights with us while their grandparents are in Tahoe. Wow!

It seems like the transition of bringing them to live here is moving forward slowly but surely.


We did it!

We are now the poor, I mean, proud owners of a 2004 Toyota Sienna. Such a mom-car, and I love it!

We just bought bunk beds

and now we are researching vans. I'm kind of freaking out. It's just really big. So so much bigger than me. And it's really good, but it's hard too.


So much to do, so little time

The girls spent the night again last night. Good times-park, painting, singing, dancing, bath time...

I dropped them back off at their grandparents this morning, and then I was off to work. As I was heading out the door, I asked the girls for hugs and kisses. One was willing, but the other said, "I'm too busy."

Oh, sure, I understand. Maybe you could check your daytimer and get back to me some time next week. You're THREE!

They make me laugh.



My friend, Kelly, is starting a cupcake business. How fun is that?
She is beautiful, talented and creative. I can't wait to order some!

We have to clean out our garage

The requirement on our foster care home inspection checklist is stated like this:
  • Garage is to be free from clutter and hazards

Now, I've always thought garages were specifically set aside for all the clutter and hazards you don't want to keep in the house. So needless to say, we have a lot of work to do. Paint, a rusty weight bench, an old chainsaw, gardening tools, and on and on. So, I've started going through our stuff, deciding what to get rid of and what to give away and what to reorganize.

The first item to go was the old beat-up weight bench and the 500lbs of weights that go along with it. Not as easy as you might think. It cannot be thrown into the weekly trash bins-too heavy. I called for a special trash pick up-they don't take exercise equipment. My last and only option-drive this stuff to the Irvine dump and pay $37.35 to get rid of it. Whatever, I'm desperate at this point.

So, I found the dump in Irvine after circling the block a few times. Let me tell you, it is another world. It's a scary, loud place that smells of fish and fruit loops. Hills and hills of refuse.

I went after work, so I was in a white skirt and flip flops. Everyone was looking at me like, "What the &*^%?" I probably had the same look on my face. And I had to unload the stuff myself. Surprise! Filth, stench, and me hauling weights out of the trunk. Hilarious!


I need your advice

on some good toys for 3 1/2 year old girls. I want to get quality things for them that stimulate their imagination, but aren't ugly, noisy or Disney.

Some of my favorite things I to do with them are:
  • beading necklaces
  • watercoloring
  • magnetic dress-up dolls
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • playdough
  • large legos

So, what do you think?


Remembering Made Me Laugh

Yesterday I was driving, and I had a memory from high school. It made me laugh out loud, in my car, by myself. So, here it is:

Lisa and I had two best friends in high school, Staci and Amy. The four of us were inseparable.
Every summer, the four of us would vacation at a lake in Northern California with Amy's family. Tanning (or burning in my case), skiing, swimming, jet-skiing. Chocolate malts at the Shake Shack, lunches at a little restaurant called The Kettle. So much fun.

Oh yea, and we thought it was really cool to howl, whistle, and yell out to cute guys driving or walking by. Thinking back now, I can't believe we did that.

One night, we were walking down the road as a jeep was approaching with four guys piled inside. So, we launched into our typical reaction-calling to them, whistling, etc. As they drove past us, one of them called something out.

We were split on what exactly he said. One of us thought he said, "Meet us at The Kettle!" Another thought he said, "Go back to the kennel!"

Ha! I guess we'll never know if we were complimented or insulted that night. What a bunch of geeks we were!



I didn't know a temperature could get that high.

But last night one of my little sweeties was that sick. Just burning up. Poor thing.

She was up most of the night. It was so sweet to be able to take care of her. To soothe her by giving her medicine and a cooling cloth and snuggling her and smoothing her hair.

I'm beginning to feel I need them as much as they may need me.

It's good to be a "mommy."


Sushi Love

Fresh, healthy, flavorful. Matt and I can't get enough sushi.
Tonight, around 9:30, we decided to get some for dinner. Neither of us had eaten yet.
Well, let me tell you, it is impossible to get sushi on a Tuesday night after 9:00 pm in this town. After driving to three different places, we gave up the fight.
We ate Mexican food instead. Good. But not sushi.



My head continues to spin, spin, spin. I am grumpy. I am stressed. I am not very much fun right now.
But, I did get to have a tall, ice-cold glass of fresh-brewed iced tea during lunch today with my sister. Iced tea and my sister at the same time. How bad can things really be?


Is it too much to ask

for a simple glass of freshly-brewed iced tea?

It seems like every time we go out to eat, they are serving some pretentious, gourmet iced tea.

But I don't want blueberry basil, apricot, lavender, ginseng, jasmine, tropical dragon oolong, cherry chai, or any other flavor. What is this world coming to?

I just want tea. Plain old tea.

Ok, I'm done venting.


Shopping with Twins

To the car, in the car,
Buckle them up
Huge, unwieldy shopping cart
Pink and purple raincoats for fall
Pinched finger {{{screaming}}}
Socks and swimsuits,
Shoes and jammies
Wet pants...oops!
Singing Row, Row Row Your Boat
and B-I-N-G-O
To the car, in the car
Buckle them up
Chocolate milk and applesauce
French fries and
Four more trips to the bathroom
Hand-holding and hugs
Giggles and kisses
To the car, in the car
Buckle them up
Into the driveway, through the door
Collapse on the couch


Monday Updates

Random thoughts for today:

  • Thanks you so much for your sweet comments about me in my dress. I was so self-conscious, but I feel so affirmed. Thanks.

  • Got a lot done in my classroom today, getting set up for the fall. Bulletin boards, pencil boxes, textbooks. Good progress. So tired.

  • Tomorrow I am going clothes shopping with the twins and their grandma to pick out some new stuff for them for preschool. Can't wait.

  • My car is getting a little rickety. Matt keeps telling me something is wrong with it. I just took it in and they said everything was great. He thinks the wheel might be loose. Ummmm...yeh, that could be a problem.

  • Saw Wicked with some girlfriends last night. Great!!! Funny and engaging. Definitely worth the drive.


The wedding was so beautiful!

Tonight was my friend's wedding. The beachfront location, the flowers, the cake, everything was idyllic. It was amazing.

You may remember I had a 30-day workout plan to fit more comfortably in my little bridesmaid dress. Well, my workout was half-hearted, but I think I dropped a few ounces at least, and the dress fit, albeit a little snugly. So here are the pics I promised of me in that sexy little number.


We had an absolutely amazing time!

Wow, wow, wow!
These girls are just so incredibly fun and so sweet. We had a great time at the park. They went to bed easily and we didn't hear from them until 7:20 this morning. Of course, I checked on them every hour, so I barely got any sleep. I was so nervous they would wake up and be scared. But they made it!
This morning we woke up and made chocolate chip pancakes together. They were very helpful. They also made their beaded necklaces this morning. They worked so hard. The necklaces came out darling. The sleepover was a huge success!

Things I learned:

  • There will be more fingerprints and beads and pieces of toys and sand around the house than I can possibly keep up with. I'm going to have to chill out. Enjoying the girls is more important than keeping the house picture perfect.

  • I have to figure out when to brush my own teeth, take a shower, and do the dishes. Moms, when do you do those things?

  • Being a mom is exhausting. It's constant. Fun, and worth it, but exhausting.


Tonight's the night

for our first sleepover. Words to describe me: nervous, excited, so excited.

Here is the basic plan for the evening:
(I know, how out of character for me!)

4:00 swim at grandma and grandpa's house
6:00 feast on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, carrots, applesauce, yogurt, and fishy crackers. We're having all their favorites!
6:30 park
7:15 frozen yogurt
8:00 bath time
8:30 make wooden-beaded necklaces- Melissa and Doug
9:00 movie

Hopefully we'll all get some sleep tonight.
Thanks for praying.



Lisa and I just saw this movie the other night. Neither of us had heard of it, but it got good reviews, so we gave it a shot.

It was so cute and fun and entertaining. Definitely in the Princess Bride genre. I recommend it!