December 2, 2010

By Order Of The Court

I can't tell you how many times I've prayed for this day. It's a lot. All week it has seemed like a dream knowing that it would finally be official and Isla would be ours forever. That morning I got up early, or rather, Isla got up early. We sat in front of the Christmas tree and looked in awe at it's glowing branches. I decided that this is my favorite Christmas of all. That afternoon we put on our Sunday best and headed over to the court house. I was a little nervous, never having been in court before, but Ben assured me that it would be better than any of the times he had been before.

We invited Cassie to come and witness the occasion, it only seemed fitting since it was her miraculous decision that made all of this possible in the first place. After all we've been through together it would have seemed strange to not have her there. Have I mentioned that we love her forever? Yeah, we do.

The court was running late that day and by the time it was our turn Isla was completely asleep and missed the whole thing.

Our lawyer headed to the stand and called us up to be seated before the court. We swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help us God. And then our lawyer proceeded to examine the witness, who also happened to be our caseworker from LDSFS. He asked her if all our paperwork was complete and correct. Then he began to interrogate us with questions like, "Do you love this child as your own?" and "Will you care for and love this child for the whole of your lives?" and on and on until we were all a crying mess. The judge said that he had read our homestudy and subsequent reports and that they reflected well on us as parents and that they were very positive. Then he said those magical words we have been waiting months to hear and ruled that we are now the lawful parents of Isla Grace Garner. I wanted him to use the gavel at that point, but no such luck. ;-) He did agree to a picture though, and mentioned that his grandson was also adopted and that he had a special place in his heart for adoption.

Aunt Claire and Isla's sweet little cousin Olive came to see us become a family too.

I love this picture. Can you see any resemblance? Um, yes. We always knew this day was coming, but I think that Ben and I are both able to breath a little easier now that it's done. It didn't hit me until later that night when our heads finally hit our pillows and the events of the day settled in. Tears filled my eyes in the darkness and I struggled to express the gratitude I was feeling, though my heart was on fire. Sometimes, words just aren't enough.

October 22, 2010

October 17, 2010

Good Dog

Everytime I see someone walking past our little house I pause and wait for it. The barking. It's so quiet now that my sweet dog is gone. It's a little unsettling how much trust we put into her to protect our house and give us peace of mind. A few weeks ago I had left the front door wide open to let in the fresh air. As I tucked Isla in for a nap I got nervous for a split second that maybe it was unsafe, but I figured if there were any danger Sophie would let me know with that big bark of hers that was often intimidating to outsiders. So many times I'd yell out the window for her to stop barking and now I find myself sadly missing it. Just pulling into the drive way and seeing the empty spot on the porch is enough to make my eyes well up.

The thought of going on a hike and not having her there seems so foreign and lonely. What if an animal comes or a suspicious person is on the trail, who'll watch out for us? All these unnoticed securities we had entrusted to our dog, a job she took on happily. She was loyal, particular in who she trusted, protective, sweet, calm, and a fantastic house guest. She could be cunning and very instinctual, especially when it came down to wild animals. She scrapped with 3 skunks, 2 raccoons, 1 porcupine,a handful of various rodents, and once had a near miss with a rattlesnake to be exact.

I loved how strong she was, and there was no denying that she was a truly beautiful animal. I loved her for being excited to see us after a long days work, even when we were too tired to go on a walk. I will miss seeing her run through deep snow in the winter, her favorite. I will miss the way she used to howl and tap her paws when she got excited to see a friend or loved one. Most of all I think I will miss that bark that let us know she was there, watching out for us. Thank you, Sophie. Good dog.

September 30, 2010

San Francisco Treat

After a day of sight seeing in downtown San Fran we decided we'd had enough of all the places you're "supposed" to visit and wanted to do something that only the locals do. While sitting in a cafe I asked two fashionably dressed women what they do around town. They responded with what else, "we eat!" And boy do they know how to eat as well. First up, Tartine. A bakery so good that there is actually no sign announcing it's inconspicuous location, only a line out the door and the smell of fresh baked bread. Yum.

Being from the clan McConnell myself and Ben being a descendant of those knaves the Campbell's, we made a quick stop at the farmers market before heading over to one of the largest Scottish Games in the U.S. It is a veritable nerd fest, but if you happen to be Scottish you can't help but like it. Plus, did you know that Chainmail comes in a halter top? Me neither.

September 20, 2010

I forgot to wear flowers in my hair...

SAN FRANSISCO! Is it shameful to admit I only came for the food? Oh, and my parents. I do love my parents. Here is our trip in pictures.

First on the agenda: get sand between our toes,

see the ocean for the first time,

and let the grandparents kiss on our cheeks.

Day 2 we headed to the Ferry building and tasted our way through all the vendors. First up, perfect macarons by Miette.

Speaking of perfect little macarons, this one was sweeter than them all!

Ben tried his first oyster on the half shell, and liked it! (and I gagged, it's a texture thing...)

Then we tried to work off a few calories by walking down to the wharf...

...where we went sunbathing.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we get fierce in the Mission district and eat far too many pastries at Tartine... it was worth it.

August 27, 2010

She said it best...

I loved this post on adoption at The Oak Tree blog. Her words are so powerful and she explained so perfectly how we feel, I just had to share.

August 18, 2010

August 15, 2010

Claire's Baby Shower

Fresh peaches, strawberries, bananas, and blueberries
Roasted potatoes with herbed creme fresh

Assorted quiches:
Spinach, artichoke, and feta
Bacon, portobello, and swiss
Green pepper, onion, tomato, sausage, and cheddar

Assorted tarts:
Fig, gorgonzola, hazelnut, and balsamic
Fig, vanilla, and ricotta
Roasted shallot, basil, and goat cheese

Strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream