Monday, December 31, 2007

365 + 1

If you look around the internet you can always find something new to participate in. For instance, when I'm inspired by the world around me, or the boys, or even Dan, and it happens to be a Thursday, I will write a "Love Thursday" post. I've been known to do what one might call a "Meme" from time time, which is usually just a question & answer type post giving random facts and/or information that may or may not be of any interest to anyone other than myself. I've even taken part in NaBloPoMo this year, which was no small feat in and of itself. You might say, based on the lack of posts since November, that writing in a blog every single day definitely took its toll on me.

That said, the newest craze sweeping the internet (actually not so new, I'm just late in joining) is something called"365", which basically amounts to posting one picture every single day of the year. So why is this post entitled "365 + 1"? Well, 2008 is Leap Year, which means I could either a) take the day off on 2/29/08, or b) post a picture on that day as well. I've decided that I should really shoot for the stars and try to at least post a picture of something each day. Maybe me, maybe Dan, maybe one or both of the boys, maybe the dog. Or maybe it will be something random that we find interesting enough to photograph.

It's late at the MacDonald Clan's house though, so you will have to come back tomorrow to see pictures beginning from 1/1/08, and you may just get a glimpse of our view of the ball that was dropped in Time's Square, which we saw in all its glory (albeit from at least a half a mile away).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas...

from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One Year Ago

If you had told me a year ago today that Dan and I would be parents to Matthew and Nicholas I wouldn't have believed you.

If you had told me a year ago today that not only would we be their parents, but that we would have had the boys for 6 months already, I really wouldn't have believed you.

It's been an amazing year. We are so thankful...

I guess I should clarify this...December 20, 2006 is the day that Dan and I made the drive down to Sarasota to meet with our adoption agency. It is also the day that we signed our contract with FHSA, and began the whirlwind experience that we call our adoption. I remember saying to people right after we signed with them that we only hoped to be traveling by this time. Who knew we'd travel less than six months after we started the process? Who knew we'd be celebrating our first Christmas as a Mom & Dad already!?!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

We've Moved! (partially)

I finally got the finishing touches put on the new home for the vn-and-back blog. You can now view it at I don't know how long it will remain on blogspot, and the new home has a couple extra posts that were missed when I first updated the original, so if anyone is referring back to it, check there first please.

Also, stay tuned, because we are planning on moving this blog as well in the future.

Bye Cathy!

My friend Cathy leaves today to meet her daughter Adelyne. It's been a couple of weeks since we've talked, so I don't know all the details of her trip, but I think that when she lands in China she will go directly to the orphanage and meet her little girl. I'm so excited for her, Scooter and Colton!

It's amazing the path that life leads us in...three years ago Laurie & Ed, Cathy & Scooter, and Dan & I celebrated Christmas without children, and this year we have 6 kids between us.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

First Day Home...

We put the boys to bed last night around 9pm. That was about an hour later than normal, and certainly later than we had planned to do, but our routine was a little out of sorts having just come off an airplane three hours before bedtime...

The boys and I are all sick, and Dan is quickly catching our cold, so my mom stayed last night to do the night shift, which allowed Dan and I to get a full night's sleep. Wouldn't you know that last night was the night Nicholas decided to sleep ALL.NIGHT.LONG, and Matthew decided that he only needed ONE.BOTTLE.??? We've been doing two bottles a night for a couple of weeks now, so I hope they keep this trend up.

I think the boys are happy to be back in their own beds. The fact that they slept so well overnight is one indication, but they took two great naps (1.5 hours in the morning, and 2.0 hours in the afternoon) today also.

Other than their great sleeping, the boys have been playing with their toys and generally just hanging around. With their colds, they can't have swimming lessons, so we had a pretty lazy day around here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Flying with 10 months olds...

is not fun.

That said, we have flown on 8 different airplanes in the last five months. That's crazy! Of all the flights we've taken (including a 14 hour flight) the worst one, by far, was from Cincinatti to Orlando.

Dan said that we have become the family he hates. haha

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Packing to go home...

We spent part of the evening packing our bags to go home. When we packed to go to Minnesota, we really could have fit everything into two suitcases. However, we decided to go ahead and pack three, which would leave us a little bit of room to bring home anything we bought at the Mall of America and also bring home the best ribs/bratwurst you'll ever eat. It was a good idea to bring that extra suitcase!

All told, after packing our bags full to overflowing, we still left two boxes of stuff for Dan's parents to ship home. Oh, and we also left laundry.

Let's just say that even though I really thought we had packed light for this trip, we really didn't. Everyone came home with clothes they didn't wear. Next time we'll have to remember that we don't need as much stuff, especially since we had to do laundry twice while we were there!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Low-Key Day

After the craziness surrounding the last few days here in Minnesota, today was a welcome relief. Nevermind that three of the four of us are sick, and need the break in our schedule...

We spent the day playing in the ball pit that Grandpa set up in the basement. The boys got to watch a video with Grandma. Dan and I each had an opportunity to nap. I even had the chance to get a full night's sleep, since Dan took night duty since we're all sick.

After the boys went to bed, we finally got to see Ocean's 13. It was one of the few movies Dan had really wanted to catch in the theaters this year. However, it was released to theaters just a week or so before we flew to Vietnam, so we didn't get to go. We spent a lazy evening having soup and scones, and watching a movie by the fire with Dan's parents. Not a bad way to spend a cold night, with a cold.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Open House

Dan's parents had an Open House party for the boys today. While the circumstances of the day could have been a little better (for example, the boys could have chosen to not start a massive round of teething and catch a cold at the same time), I think everyone had a good time.

I'm not sure how many people came this afternoon, but we got to see and/or meet lots of family that we hadn't spent any time with in the last several years. We were showered with many gifts...lots of stuffed animals and books, along with a sprinkling of clothes. Everyone was so generous, and all loved seeing Matthew and Nicholas. Robin, who catered the party, did a great job with the food, and even let me in on a little recipe of hers. Costco did a great job with the cake, as usual.

I really felt like the boys did great at the party, particularly since they were battling the beginnings of colds, some awful teething, and a serious lack of good quality sleepy by this point. Dan and I headed downstairs with them a few times, just to get away from the crowds and noise, when it all became too much for them. It was quite a sanctuary to go down to the basement, and the boys seemed very at ease down there. Several of the party guests visited us down there, and Matthew even reached out to a few people to be held! Lots of kisses were blown this afternoon, and lots of waves "bye-bye" were given.

Yes there are pictures...and I might even post some. Later.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mall of America

Apparently every parking spot at the Mall of America is within two minutes of an entrance. This sounds like a really great thing, especially when you visit it from the land of Disney World, where your car is parked a good 10 minutes away (assuming you don't have to ride a monorail!) It never occured to me that in the winter, in Minnesota, two minutes from the warmth of the car to the warmth of the mall is a long time! Thankfully for all of us, we got the first spot right next to the entrance of Bloomingdales. We were greeted by the most cheerful Salvation Army bell ringer I have ever seen. This guys seemed VERY excited about his job. He was just singing away, and he had a pretty good voice to boot. We dropped a couple of bucks in his bucket and headed into the mall. (As an aside, when we left the mall five hours later, he was still there, still smiling and still singing!)

We met up with Andy, Kristy, Jilly and Nick and had a great time. We hooked up with another friend, Paul, as well. Kristy and I had a ball going into all the shops. I think the boys were a little over our shopping, but she and I had fun. Paul said that he didn't even know some of the stores existed until today.

One of the neat (wonderful) things about Minnesota is there is no sales tax on clothes. Although the tax we pay isn't that high in Orlando, there's something about not having to pay any tax that makes it appealing to shop there. I think the one observation that I came away with after our day at the mall is simply this...Even when I have a little "mad money" to spend on me, I don't now that Matthew and Nicholas are here. They got shirts, sleepers and jeans. I went into Archivers (an amazing store), and spent too much money on scrapbook supplies. One might say that those are all for me, but ultimately they will be used to make scrapbooks for the boys. It's crazy what kids do to you. And your wallet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

First Day!

Yes, I know we arrived in Minnesota yesterday. But yesterday doesn't really count, since it was filled with family and food, and lots of commotion.

Our friends Andy & Kristy and kiddos arrived all the way from Michigan, just to see us/meet the boys. While we waited to hear that they had arrived safe and sound, Nicholas and Matthew spend most of the morning/early afternoon getting reacquainted with Grandma and Grandpa MacDonald. They had the chance to really enjoy all of their new toys, and got to play with their first (hopefully last) Thomas toy. They did a little showing off of their dance moves too. We spent time looking out the window at what little snow there was on the ground, caught a glimpse of a mink, and tortured Sasha.

A&K came over and we played for a couple of hours as well. I got the impression that they really loved the boys, and it was great fun to have all four of our children playing together. We didn't do a whole lot else today...I think today was the calm before the storm.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Love Thursday-Our First Thanksgiving

It's been a little crazy today. While I could spend a lot of time writing about the chaos of the plane rides/airports/carseats/rental cars, I won't.

Love is landing in Minnesota and seeing it snow! SNOW! It will likely be the only snow we see this trip, I still love the idea that it snowed today.

Love is the car rental place giving us a free car seat for the week, after one of the ones we borrowed didn't work in our car.

Love is walking into a house full of family and being greeted so warmly, that I was just in awe.

Love is watching M&N's G.G meet her great grandchildren for the first time. It's also watching them meet their Great Aunt's and Uncles and cousins as well.

Love (for Matthew and Nicholas) is a first meal of "real food". Shredded turkey and chunks of sweet potatoes prepared just for them.

Love (for Shannon) is Gini's stuffing, Grandma Henrich's Brandied Cranberries, and George's Pork Pie.

Love (for Dan) is his new camera lens, which allows him to capture all of these memories.

Love is celebrating our first Thanksgiving as a family of four, with the Henrich family.

And love is talking to my parents on Thanksgiving Day.

We are so blessed, and so thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nothing much going on at our house today. Since all the packing was done yesterday, we had kind of an easy day. I ran out to do a couple of errands, and then because Dan was given the surprise to get off work a couple of hours early, he went shopping for a new camera lens.

My bible study was taking tonight off, but some of us go together to have dinner and talk. It was a nice way to spend the, chocolate and good friends. We're off to bed now, so we can get up early tomorrow to start our next adventure!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We got all of our packing done! We're awesome like that.

Everything is by the back door. Tomorrow evening we'll be able to relax, get to bed early, and have no worries about making sure we've got everything for our trip to Minnesota.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Whole lotta packin' goin' on...

I've been telling Dan for a week now that I wanted us to be completely packed for our Minnesota trip by tonight. Well, we're not totally packed, but with the exception of a couple of pairs of socks and underwear, and my need for a straightening iron/hair dryer, we could be ready to go.

There are clothes EVERYWHERE. In the living room. On both couches. On a box in our bedroom. In a laundry basket. But, they are all in piles that make sense. At least to me.

I'm hoping that when we finally pack (tomorrow! We will be packed by tomorrow!) we'll be able to squeeze in a few Christmas gifts so we don't have to ship them later. We got smart last year and left a few basics at Dan's parent's house. I left a sweater and some warm wear, and a few toiletries. I left the famous nebulizer. And I found out today that I could purchase a travel size CPAP machine for less than $250. Score! That was purchased and shipped and will arrive before we do. (This gadget will be particularly helpful when we go away for New Year's!)

My parents left today. :-( They were wonderful enough to hang around an hour later than originally planned so I could go to a meeting at church. But I was all alone for swimming lessons. Tomorrow Tyger joins me at swimming. Should be interesting...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A whole lot of nothing...

Other than church, today has been pretty boring. Quite the opposite experience of the last few days, but much needed.

Dan worked on projects in the garage. I did laundry. The boys were hyper.

Jan and Todd came over this evening, and got here before bedtime, so they got to play with the boys. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and both kids tried all evening to say "ball". It comes out as "ba", but you can just tell by watching them say it, that they're almost there.

We watched Amazing Race, and I folded a few loads of laundry. The living room is a disaster. It has been difficult in years past to pack for a trip up north, knowing that it's going to be really cold and hoping there would be snow. But it's nothing compared to trying to pack for two little one's whose bodies don't understand temperatures below 80 degrees.

We're packing tomorrow night. :-) Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The MacDonald family is crazy. We decided to go to IKEA on opening weekend. Not the best idea in the world. The highlight of the trip was our super-close parking spot.

The store is neat. HUGE! It was busy, and parts of it were very crowded. But we found some neat things in there, and have some ideas for the kitchen, should we ever have any money again.

I can't wait until January. Maybe by then we'll be able to just wander the store, rather than try to keep up with traffic.

I insisted that Dan take a picture. :-)

PS. It took longer to drive out there and home again (thanks to a poor decision on my part on the way home) than we were actually in the store. In January it will hopefully not be like that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Awesome Friday!

Dan, Nicholas, Matthew and I were invited by our adoption agency to attend a reception on Friday at their offices in Sarasota in honor of some Vietnamese officials who were in town from Ho Chi Minh City. When the invitation arrived, we were so excited to have the opportunity to participate in this. Of course we said yes to the invitation and started asking some questions. Would we get to see An Na, who was our facilitator/life saver when we were in Vietnam?! Would we be able to meet Bonnie, who was our coordinator/life saver before we traveled to Vietnam? To our surprise and utter delight, we were told that both An Na and Bonnie would be at the reception. This was such great news, because when we left Vietnam, we thought we'd never see An Na again. She is such a wonderful young woman, and truly went out of her way for us while we were in country. Until this week, she had never traveled to the United States, so this was a really amazing opportunity for her. Bonnie, our coordinator, lives in New Jersey, and while it's possible we would have a chance to meet her one day, we weren't sure when/if that would ever happen. Suffice it to say that this was a great day, and that doesn't even begin to cover the government officials that we were able to meet.

I couldn't decide on which pictures to share. We took 40 while we were at the reception, but I tried to choose some of the better ones...

The boys were exceptionally cute today. :-)
(Matthew left, Nicholas right)

The MacDonald family (M, S, N, D)

With Bonnie
(M, S, Bonnie, N, D)

With An Na
(I have no idea which boy is which)

MacDonald family with several of the Ho Chi Minh City, VN
officials. (Also pictured, a little girl who was just adopted.)

The boys received gifts from the VN officials.

Matthew and Nicholas model their new t-shirts.

Nicholas and Matthew, getting the chance to meet one of the
VN officials!

Being able to go to Sarasota was such an amazing experience. When the invitation first came, it was for Wednesday. We were very bummed because even though I could go with the boys, Dan was going to be in Iowa. But last weekend an e-mail came and the date had been changed to today. With some work, Dan was able to catch a three-legged flight from Iowa to Orlando, and he got in around 1:00 this morning! We've talked about how this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We feel very blessed to have been able to go, and honored to be able to share our children with these women who came from so far away. We were continually complimented on how wonderful the boys were (behavior, looks, personality, etc.). We've seen them grow for the last five months, and we know there have been great changes in them. We hear from family and friends all the time how great the boys are... But it was just so neat to have people like An Na (who saw us at our worst!) say nice things to us. And it was just awesome to have the VN officials tell us what a great job we are doing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stay tuned

With the exception of the three hour visit to the Jewett clinic for a ten minute appointment and shot in my hand, it's been a pretty uneventful day. My mom kept the boys for me so I could sit at the walk-in clinic and get my hand looked at again. 6 months ago, the day after getting our referral, I managed to stab myself in the right index finger. A couple of weeks after the stabbing, I started having a lot of trouble with the finger. I had been to an urgent care center and had it looked at, and bandaged up, but the pain and lack of mobility was a new thing, and what I thought was a new symptom. Apparently it was something different and I was diagnosed with "Trigger Finger". I received a Cortisone shot to help alleviate some of the inflammation in the finger, and it seemed to work until a few weeks ago.

Fast forward to the slight temperature change that happened around Halloween. Ever since we got our first "chilly" night in Orlando, my finger has just ached. It's progressively gotten worse in the last three weeks, and with our upcoming trip to the great (hopefully white) north next week, I wanted to get it looked at again. The doctor poked around at my finger, which was quite painful, said he could still feel where the inflammation was in my hand, and gave me another shot of Cortisone. The consensus is that if the shot helps, and continues to help for the next several months (like the first one), then I don't need to see him again. If the pain/discomfort continues, or gets worse, I'll need to have a quick surgery on my hand. A no biggie thing...he said it takes longer for me to wash my hands and get prepped for the incision, than it takes to actually do it. Not looking forward to having yet another surgery anytime soon, so hopefully this will do the trick. :-)

Anyway...Dan, Nicholas, Matthew and I are doing something super exciting tomorrow. I can hardly stand waiting! But, you'll have to stay tuned (hence the title) to find out what we're doing. :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Long awaited swimming lesson pictures...

Nicholas MacDonald at Safe Start

Nicholas and Mr. Jamie
Nicholas, pulling up on the wall after doing a "swim".

Nicholas successfully climbed out of the pool. He was very upset
that Mr. Jamie pulled him back in the water.

Nicholas doing a float. Note the screaming. Also, note
that Jamie is not touching him. (Actually, you might
not be able to see that he isn't touching Nicholas. Take my
word for it.) :-)
Second verse, same as the first.

Matthew MacDonald at Safe Start

Matthew and Mr. Jamie. For some reason, Matthew likes
to kick his feet up in the air. Jamie is working on that.

Matthew floating, not being supported by Jamie.

Matthew trying to climb out of the pool.

Matthew pulling up on the side of the pool after being dunked.

Matthew doing what Jamie called a "270". That's where Jamie
turns him face down in the water, and then Matthew has to
rotate himself around so he's facing out of the water. Personally I
thought it looked like a 360, but what do I know? ;-)

My new favorite website

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Find Your Wings - Mark Harris

I heard the song below for the first time after we had returned home from Vietnam with the boys. I remember listening very closely to the words to it, because at the time I was trying to choose music that would go with a photo montage that our friend Karin was making for us. The words just struck a chord with me, in the way that music often does.

Just a few minutes ago I turned on the radio. The boys had been fighting over some toy or another. As soon as the music started, they both stopped what they were doing, stood up, and began dancing. It's so funny to watch them. A few weeks ago when they first started "dancing", it was just sitting down and swaying their heads back and forth. They added their arms in the swaying soon after, and continued to progress up to today. Standing up, swaying, arms moving, sometimes clapping, sometimes bouncing. It's awesome to watch. During the few minutes this was going on, Find Your Wings came on the radio, and it hit me again that I'm a Mom. That everything I am doing with them (or not doing with them) is shaping them to be men. Hopefully men of honor and tremendous faith, with a good character. That is my prayer. Enjoy the song, and depending on who you are, get a Kleenex ready. :-) (Words are below the video)

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
That you're walking in the truth
And If I never told you
I want you to know
That as I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings
It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday once more

It's been a much better day around here today. Nicholas seems to be doing much better, and we haven't had to change 20+ diapers yet. Matthew has no symptoms as of now. Neither do I. My mom seems to be unscathed by whatever this is that Nicholas is battling.

We didn't do much around here. Nicholas wasn't allowed to swim, so only Matthew got a lesson today. He did very well, though, and I was impressed. I wondered how he would do after getting two days off. By now the boys seem to know that a lesson is coming, and Matthew greeted Jamie by crying as soon as he saw him.

It was an uneventful evening, other than some issues with the power. Dan's out of town for the week, but returns home Friday night. We leave in 9 days to go to Minnesota. Our first flight since the journey home from Vietnam. So much has changed since we made that flight home. It'll be interesting!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two Words...

Stomach bug.

Need I say more?

Oh, and I promise there will be no pictures. :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Feeling lazy tonight...

The picture above was taken by our friend Laura at the birthday party of her 6 year old twins. The boys (Matthew-Left and Nicholas-Right) loved the toy they are standing behind. Their mother loves the outfits they are wearing. She is very sad that they are now just about too small to wear. :-(

I spent an hour or so this afternoon emptying out the closet of all the cute baby clothes. In dressing them this morning I realized that they are growing out of a lot of their things! We're quickly moving from the 3-6 and the 6 month clothes and getting into the 9 month stuff. It's all cute stuff too, but not as cute as those monkey suits above.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday night, MacDonald style

I really should make Dan write the entry for today, but since I'm the one who signed up for NaBloPoMo, I guess I'll do it. Before I write about the exciting things we do around our house on a Friday evening, I'll just mention that Dan got to experience swimming lessons firsthand today. The instructor seemed to be pretty impressed with the progress both boys are making. Matthew, if left to do so, will not only turn to the wall and try to swim to the wall if it's out of reach, but will also scale the wall in an effort to get out of the pool! Nicholas would probably do the same, but he was too busy floating on his back, unassisted, for 14 seconds today. Jamie (the instructor) was very pleased! Also, when Nicholas finished his last sequence, he did manage to climb out of the pool, onto the towel covered mat, and proceed to lay there wrapped in a towel for a good five minutes. He was very sweet. (And the funny from today is that Jamie kept telling Nicholas not to drink all the water in the pool. Nicholas obliged and proceeded to throw up all the water he had swallowed, right back into the pool. :-)) on to this evening. Dan, Jack, the boys and I all took a walk together. No stroller necessary either, since they're walking like champs! We walked only to the end of the block and back, but it took a good 20 minutes to make the journey. After we returned to our driveway, both boys sat down and began playing/trying to eat/trying to throw every acorn, "hat", and stick they could pick up. We had a good time though.

Dan and I settled in for an evening of TV. With his travel schedule such that it is, some of the shows that we watch together end up getting saved for nights like tonight. We popped a bowl of popcorn, had some fresh baked cookies (thanks to Pilsbury), and watched three shows. Dan kept joking about our "hot date" since we had hot popcorn and hot cookies. He's crazy!

We have a busy weekend ahead. Tomorrow is the Alternative Market at my parent's church, Jack Hannah is at Sea World this weekend, we'd like to get out to Disney at some point, and we have some plans for Sunday after church as well. Dan leaves on Monday for another trip, so we're trying to pack lots of time together as a family in before he heads out.

All is quiet in our home, so I'm heading to bed.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

In case you wondered...

Sometime Monday evening our internet connection went down. This tragedy happened to coincide with Dan being away on business. I did everything I could do to get our connection back. I fiddled with the modem, the router, my computer. I called Brighthouse for help. Nothing worked. I was very sad. :-(

But Dan got home this evening, and after he greeted his children and the dog, I sent him upstairs to fix our connection. Thankfully he was able to find a new power cord or something and get us back up and running. So for those of you who think that I'm flaking out on the blogging every day, you're wrong. You'll just have to scroll back a little bit to catch up on what's going on at our house.

No pictures will be posted yet, but check back this weekend. :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First Post Placement

It's hard to believe that we've been home from Vietnam long enough that we are already starting on our first post-placement report! This morning I met with Lisa, our social worker, so we could have a chat session about the first several months of our adoption. She came around 10am, and stayed about an hour. Before arriving she had sent a three page survey with lots of basic questions: height/weight at adoption, height/weight now, dental information, attachment questions, what kind of activities we've been doing the last several months, and any concerns that we have.

When Lisa arrived, the boys were in rare form. They were laughing and giggling like nobody's business. I was so happy they were in good moods...I was a little nervous about having a stranger come over. Lisa walked in, greeted Jack (who was going bonkers!), and then immediately sat on the floor close to the boys. They gravitated towards her more quickly than I have seen them do with anyone other than family. They were crawling all over her, handing her toys, and babbling to her. She gave them the forms that I had tried so carefully to fill out, and they proceeded to chew them up, crumple them, and have a grand old time. About thirty minutes into the visit, they got tired, and went down for a nap. Even naptime was a dream on Wednesday. I took them upstairs, showed off the nursery, and then put each one in his crib. A couple of tears and whimpered came, but about 2 minutes later, both were sleeping peacefully and we were able to finish up the interview.

Lisa seemed very impressed with the boys, and that was exactly what I wanted to hear. She thinks they are doing beautifully, adjusting well, and looking great. I wish I could remember everything she was all so positive. She reminded me that these are my (our) kids, and we know what's best for them, and for our family. We (Dan and I) may have to parent our children a little differently than most of our friends, and that's okay! Wise words were spoken, and hopefully as we continue on this journey they will be words that we will continue to remember.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Swimming Lesson!

Nicholas and Matthew had their very first experience in a swimming pool this afternoon. We met my parents at the Crosby Wellness Center (YMCA) for the first of many, many days of lessons. (Six weeks of lessons, 5 times a week, 10 minutes each lesson). If I had to venture a guess, we were at the Y for 2 hours for 20 minutes worth of lessons. Insane.

Jamie is the name of their instructor. When he had Nicholas in the water, he pointed to him and said "176". Then pointed at Matthew and said "177". Suffice it to say that he's taught quite a few children how to survive if they fall into a body of water. We had been hoping to start the lessons back in July, but it took until last week to get their skin clear enough that the doctor would sign off on lessons! Anyway, according to Jamie, their first lesson went well.

I tend to look at the boys and see all of their similarities. When one does something, the other one does it very quickly afterwards. If one laughs, the other one does. One cries, and the other one joins in. One plays with a certain toy, a fight breaks out so they can both have it. You name it, they do it the same. Except for their swimming lesson. Nicholas (while screaming his head off) started floating pretty quickly. He crossed his feet and almost looked like he was relaxing on his back in the water. Matthew (also screaming) did no want to be on his back, but preferred trying to swim to the wall. Initially, I wondered how the instructor would tell them apart. They look the same, act the same, and wear the same swimsuit. But he knows which is which! Of course, since they like to do everything the same, even though they have different styles in the water, their goal is the same. To climb out of that pool as quickly as possible.

(Yes, I have pictures from this. I just need to get them from Pop!) :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday, Monday...

It hasn't been a particularly exciting day around the MacDonald house. At 6:30am Dan left to go to the great Midwest, on an adventure for work. I assumed (incorrectly) that the boys would be up soon after him, since the garage is directly below their bedroom, and the door makes lots of noise. Since I had to get to Laurie's house to relieve her mom at 9am, I kind of dozed for an hour or so, waiting for noises to come from upstairs. I guess I fell asleep because at 8:15am, both boys were still fast asleep. It figures that the day I need to be out of the house by 8:15, they would decide to sleep in. So I finished getting ready to head out, all the bags packed, car loaded, dog fed and watered. It's now 8:30am, and there is no movement in their room. I rummage around to find a phone to call and say we're going to be late. That did the trick!

I picked up both boys, threw them into the car, and we headed out. Three phone calls later, and multiple changing of the mind, I headed to Laurie's house, my mom headed there, and I ended up only being 1 minute late. (My mom took the boys for the day so they would be sure to get good naps...after all, we thought swimming lessons were starting today, but they didn't).

Josiah and Jesse were awesome. Jesse slept for almost 2 hours, and Josiah probably would have slept if I had remembered his pacifier (I'm a bad babysitter!). Probably the weirdest thing was changing Jesse's diapers. I'm so used to looking at boy parts, that seeing a little girl was a bit shocking. :-) Jesse reminds me so much of the boys when they first arrived home. She does so many things that they did, makes many of the same's very neat.

The best news of the day is that the doctors think they figured out why Laurie was having so much pain and discomfort, and she was able to come home! I ran home for what I had planned to be a few minutes, between babysitting and swim lessons to find out that lessons were canceled. I took the time I had at home to tidy up a bit (we have a social worker coming on Wednesday), get a little laundry done, and play with Jack. Then it was off to my parents house to pick up the boys, and home for bath and bedtime.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Just a quick post tonight. Dan is leaving for Iowa/Illinois tomorrow and he's busy packing right now. Once he's finished I'm going to bed. It'll be a long (and early) day tomorrow. I'm dropping the boys off to spend the day with my parents so I can go over to the Dullmeyer household to babysit their kids. Laurie's been in the hospital with unexplained stuff for a week, and the family just needs some helping hands, so I'm going. I'll get to play with Josiah (their 15 month old son) and Jesse (their 10 month old "China baby") for the day.

The big news for tomorrow is that the boys start swimming lessons. More accurately, they begin Safe Start, which is a drowning prevention program. This program takes serious committment. It's 5 days a week, 10 minutes per lesson, for six weeks. We had hoped to start it back in July, but with the issues of eczema, particularly with Nicholas, our doctor didn't want us to start until now. I got the go-ahead last week at our 9 month check up, and I "on my honor" promised that if any skin issues popped up, we would immediately halt lessons until it cleared up.

That's the highlights from our household. Since the title of this is Halloween, it's only appropriate to touch on our Halloween. Or at least share a picture from it.
Four Peas in a Pod

PS. Go to our Gallery to see more pictures from Halloween, and other adventures!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hot Date, day two!

Dan and I were given Season Passes to Disney for our anniversary this year. It was totally unexpected, and totally awesome. Today was our first chance to get out to the theme parks, and we chose EPCOT because of the Food and Wine Festival. We have loved going to this in years past, and this year was no exception. The event has gotten so big over the years, and it seems like there were double the tents than years past.

One of the things that was really fun about going out there today was that we had the privilege to meet up with our new friends Anne & Jason from our church and hang out with them for the afternoon and evening. We walked, talked, and ate our way around the World Showcase. It was a pretty laid back day, stopping only at a couple of countries to ride the rides.

I think the coolest thing we did was at The Living Seas. Our friend Cathy works there as one of the dolphin trainers, and because God really loved us today, she happened to be out on the observation deck doing the demonstration. When she was finished, we went to chat with her for a few minutes, and after she finished her duties, she was able to take us "backstage" for what she called the two cent tour. It was so neat to see a different perspective of the animal tanks, and it was also fun to share it with friends. :-)

The boys hung out at home with my parents. It was nice to spend a little time as just the two of us, and very nice to be able to have complete conversations with other adults. I am, however, looking forward to our first trip to Disney. They are SO getting the buttons at the park that say "My first trip to Disney". It's going to be a great year at Disney!

Yes, there's a picture to share, but you'll have to check back for it tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hot Date

Or something like that...

Dan and I left the boys tonight with a babysitter for the first time! Up until tonight, whenver we've needed a sitter, my parents have been more than happy to do the job. But this evening they had tickets to a Magic game, and we had an invite to a leadership dinner/meeting at church.

Wednesday evening I asked Emily and Tyger if they would babysit together, and they both said yes. What's neat about having Emily come over this evening is that for the last 12 years I have been babysitting her! The times truly have changed. Emily's all grown up, and apparently she even changed a diaper!

Both ladies came late this afternoon and Dan and I scooted out the door, and no one even shed a tear. The boys were in bed by 8:10, and not a peep was heard for the rest of the evening.

And because I know that the only reason you read this blog is to see pictures, here's one!
Auntie Em and Nicholas

Thursday, November 1, 2007


You might be wondering what that little icon in the top right corner of the page is all about. Well, if you click on it, you'll come to my profile on the NaBloPoMo website, where you can learn all about what it means! In a nutshell though, it is a challenge to get people blogging every day in the month of November.

I've been thinking about what I'd like to blog about for the month. November is often a tough month to take part in this challenge, particularly because of our upcoming trip to Minnesota. We'll be there for almost a week, and now that there are two babies to chase after (Did we mention they are walking???), computer time will be precious and limited.

My hope is to give you a little glimpse into a household with twins. And maybe a glimpse into what Dan and I do to try to maintain a relationship with one another. I promise there will be pictures. Lots of pictures. (Just not today! Haha!)

If you're a blogger, why not join the challenge with me?

More tomorrow, as we are about to have friends over to watch Survivor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Just in case anyone didn't believe me when I told them I went alone to Sea World on Sunday, October 21, 2007, here's a picture.

I met up with the Kindred Souls of Florida which is a Yahoo group geared for families with children who have been adopted internationally. We have families who have adopted in China, Vietnam, Guatemala, and Taiwan, just to name a few countries. We get together at least once a month for a fun outing. We have enjoyed getting to know the other families in our group, and especially have enjoyed following the journey's everyone has taken.

I went without Dan last Sunday because he had to fly up to Atlanta for work. The boys were great, and we were able to stay about three and a half hours. I used my awesome Babyhawk
for much of our trip out there, and the boys managed to get decent naps either in the stroller, or in the Babyhawk. We even did a little trick-or-treating at Spooktacular. Unfortunatly they didn't give any good candy away. :P

Have we mentioned that they're walking???

Matthew, closing in for the attack.

Not to be outdone, Nicholas runs to attack as well.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Remember us?

Yeah, yeah. I know no one reads this blog to hear about what Dan and I are doing. That's okay. We're quickly becoming used to being known as "the twin's parents", or "you're the couple that adopted the twins from Vietnam". (Seriously. We get called that!)

In case anyone has forgotten what WE look like, here's a picture that was taken at a wedding last month. (Dancing to "If You Could See What I See", which we had sung at our own wedding six years ago.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Light a candle, say a prayer...

I imagine that most people don't know what today is. Of course, everyone knows the date is October 15th, but as of last year Congress passed a resolution to support a national day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss. For many of us it's a special day. The following words are from the website Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is to promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide).

Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss.

As I reflect on the idea of this day, it feels bittersweet. Right now I am listening to my two children playing downstairs. They are laughing, squealing and generally getting into mischief. Those are the sounds of pure joy. But if not for the losses that Dan and I have suffered through, I would not be given the privilege of having those sweet noises filling my house. So today I am thankful. Thankful to Alex, Nathaniel, Emma & Samantha for giving me the gift of Nicholas and Matthew. Thankful for the friends we have because of all our children. Tonight, at 7:00pm, light a candle in remembrance of those we have lost. We will.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

On Tuesday, October 9th, I managed to join GOMOTT, the local twins club, at a local pumpkin patch. It was so fun to dress the three of us alike, and do a little exploring around all of the pumpkins and other goodies that the patch had.

On the left, Matthew stands up to explore the basket of fall gourds. Nicholas, on right, kept an eye on me to make sure he wasn't getting left behind!

Matthew gets a closer look at one of the gourds in the basket.

Not the greatest picture in the world, but have YOU tried to take pictures of eight month old twins by yourself???? Matthew's on the left, and Nicholas is on the right. The photographer who was there taking pictures for the club came over and complimented me getting "creative" with the boys. In reality, it was the only way I could get them in the same place at the same time, in hopes to get a picture of them together. :-) (By the way, the patch calls those tiny pumpkins Spookies!)

Nicholas takes a moment to try climbing over the pumpkins! I do think the boys had a good time at the pumpkin patch, and I hope we'll be able to go with Dan before Halloween.

Matthew enjoys the straw more than story time!

If you want to see more pictures from our visit to the Pumpkin Patch, and any other pictures taken in October, check out our picture pages. Eventually I'll remember my how to log in to the gallery and upload the rest! (Quite possibly after I've had more than three hours of sleep)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Six Years!

The MacDonald family has gone from this:

October 13, 2001

to this, in just six years!

October 13, 2007

Happy anniversary to us!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Love Thursday...

I don't know where the idea of Love Thursday originated, but I am happy to continue the idea of it in our own family blog. So what do I share as part of the MacDonald family's initiation into Love Thursday? Why, a picture of course!

What is love? For me, love is looking at the utter and complete joy in Nicholas' face. Yes, Nicholas is the one on the right with the big ol' goofy grin. While both of our children are amazingly cute, and absolutely wonderful, it is often difficult to catch Nicholas with a smile. That's because as soon as Nicholas sees a camera, he immediately dives for it, no matter where he is in the room.

Love is also knowing that the day this picture was taken, it was our first outing to the park as a family of four. We dressed the boys up, got the diaper bag loaded, everyone fed and changed, and right before we left we snapped this shot. We went on to the park and had a great time.

Love is spending time together as a family. And love is two sweet boys in complementary outfits! ;-)

Three Months!

Can you believe it? I can't believe that we have been back in the United States for three whole months! It seems like both a lifetime ago that we were in Vietnam, and just yesterday at the same time.

Today Nicholas, Matthew, my mom and I headed out to the airport to greet our friends, the Dullmeyer's, as Ed brought their daughter Jesse home from China. It seemed fitting that on the three month anniversary of our arrival home from adopting that I be at the airport on the other side of the experience. Although words can't describe what it was like to be greeted (at the gate!!!) by my parents and then come off the tram and be surrounded by friends, it was almost equally amazing to be a person watching a family be united for the first time.

Those who know me know that I am not much of a crier, but I found myself watching Laurie hold her little girl, and the tears welled up. What an amazing experience it was, not just for them, but for me as well. How unbelievably blessed Dan and I are to be the parents of Nicholas and Matthew. My experience at the airport today just cemented that for me. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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This blog is a collaborative blog written by the parents of the MacTwins. This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. However, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

All about Matthew


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

All about Nicholas


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

All about Dan


Monday, January 1, 2007

All about Shannon

There are two things you should know about Shannon.

1. She responds to many names (and there is one name she won't respond to, ever).
2. She wears many hats.

These days, Shannon responds mostly to Mommy. But she also responds to: Shannon, Shan, Hon, Wife, Hey You, The Twins Mom, Matthew's Mom, Nicholas' Mom, Anne's Daughter, Fred's Daughter and Shannie Lu (but only one person gets away with calling her that name).

You're probably curious about what name Shannon will not respond to, if called. Sharon. Shannon does not respond to Sharon. Janet, Janna, and even other butcherings of her name she will respond to, but for some reason, being called Sharon drives her bonkers.

Shannon wears many hats, and she's pretty happy with all of them. Her first hat is her Wife Hat. She likes that one a lot, and is proud to be known as Dan's Wife. The second most worn hat is the Mommy Hat. It looks pretty similar to the Mom haircut, which she also sports on her head (and quite proudly!). Her other hats include the Daughter Hat, Friend Hat, Servant Hat, Knitter Hat, Short Order Cook/Baker/Chef Hat, Party Planner Hat and 3rd VP Hat.

She does have one hat that she wears all the time, never taking it off, even when she's wearing another hat, and that's her Child of God Hat. She's most happy with that hat, because it is because she is a child of God that she is able to wear the many hats life throws at her.