June 24, 2008

Our 4th Anniversay in East Tawas, MI



On June 18th 2004, Tony and I got married on the shores of Lake Huron in East Tawas, MI. Every year we go up for that week and celebrate our anniversary. We walk to the spot our ceremony was at, reminisce and give each other a kiss. This has been a special day for the past four years. But as of last year, this day has turned into a double anniversary because on June 18th of 2007 we recieved our LOI to travel to meet Taylor! So now this day has become even more special, and who could have asked for a better anniversary gift!

So this year we headed up on the 18th, to the house on Sand Lake. The minute we got there, Taylor was excited! She loved the cabin! She ran around, giggling the whole time. We went into town and did our grocery shopping (yeah, fun I know!), had dinner at Genies (where everyone loved Taylor!) and came back. We showed Taylor where her bed was and allowed her to get used to the bedroom, in hopes of avioding a meltdown come bedtime. Taylor loved to play with Bushka's beads, and wore them all day everyday! At the cabin we have a wall of antlers, so Tony decided to add one for Taylor, made our of Megablocks! It was up until we left! Around 9pm we put Taylor to bed and she passed out, exhausted from all the excitement! We were tired as well so we just sat back and watched a movie.

The folowing morning, Tay woke up happy as can be and ready for the day. It was a gloomy day so we decided to go into town and visit the local shops. We talked with a lot of people, and had some good conversations. We were asked by many people about Taylor's heritage and our adoption process, as adoption is not very big up there. We headed back to the cabin and enjoyed playing there for a while. We then headed back to town for dinner at Tony's favorite place to eat "G's Pizzaria." Taylor wanted nothing to do with eating the bits that we gave her, but the minute Tony gave her the actual piece of pizza she chowed down! Afterwards we walked around for a little while, played on the jungle gym and went to get ice cream. Taylor was in heaven!

When we woke up we headed down to our beach to relax and play for a while. Taylor was hesitant as usual when we first got to the sand and water, but after a few minutes of freaking out, she settled in. She knocked over Tony's sandcastle (she is destructo-baby!) and then wanted to play with the rocks. She played with the rocks and threw them into buckets for quite a while content as could be. Then Tony took her into the water. Another freak out for a minute and then she realized that it was fun!

The evening was rather cloudy and rainy, but we made the most of it. After dinner we went for a walk around our side of the lake, and Taylor had a lot of fun. When bedtime came for Taylor, she was ready! We popped in another movie and vegged!

We woke up Saturday excited to see the sun! We all got dressed for the day and thought we would head into town to go to Tawas Point to play at the beach. However, when we got there, it was very cold and windy so we walked around for a bit and headed back. When we got back our neighbor came down with her two grandsons, Ben and Braden. Ben is 4 and Braden is 17 months! How great is that! Taylor was very excited to see the boys and she really had a fun time playing with them. We blew up her bear float and loved to ride in it! After nap we headed to KJ's for dinner and hung out back at the cabin due to the rain. It was rather fun, we played follow the leader (us following Tay) and built with blocks.

Sunday morning we woke up to more sun! The weather was rather perfect while we were there, sunny during the day and rainy at night when it didnt matter. We went back down to our beach and di some more swimming with the boys. We played in the sand until about 2pm and then headed up to get ready to go. The drive ome was long (it felt long - its really only about 2 hours) due to the thurderstorms and heavy rain. As we were leaving Iosco County we heard reports that a tornado warning was in effect in the county above us and that we were now under a severe thunderstorm warning. I guess it was a good sign that we were on our way home! We arrived back home around 5pm, only to realize that we were back to reality! The lawn had to be mowed and we had to go grocery shopping! We enjoyed a quiet evening at home and were so thankful to have one another!

June 17, 2008

Fun at Kazapalooza!

On June 13th we got in our car and headed out to Chicago for the weekend. We were a little nervous, as this would only be Taylor's second long car ride since we have been home. She did very well on the drive in and seemed to be just as excited as we were!
We arrived and checked in to our hotel, the Essex Inn around 3:30pm and were greeted by Muriel and Michelle. It felt so great to put live faces to these pictures we had been seeing for months! We checked into our room, and spent the afternoon in Grant Park until it was time for dinner. We went back to the hotel and saw Jila and Dana, all I can say is that tears almost rolled! We were all so excited to see one another again, finding it unbelievable that it had been almost a year! On our way down to the Sherwood Conservatory for a pizza party, we ran into so many more people. It was great to finally see Steve and KJ again, and not have any weirdness between us, and to finally meet Gena and Jamie in person after spending so much time on the phone with one another! The pizza party went great, and we met a lot more people. We found out throughout the weekend, that we knew many more people there through blogs than we had originally thought!

Taylor and Aitugan at the Pizza Party

After the pizza party we headed back and stopped to play in Grant Park for a while longer. This was the first time Taylor had stayed up and played outdoors after dark, and she was really into it. Around 10:30pm (Chicago time) we headed back to the hotel room to wind down and go to bed. Needless to say Taylor wanted nothing to do with it. First she semi stood up in the pack n play so that only her eyes were showing... I could not help but bust out laughing! After we settled her down, she babbled for about 40 minutes and finally feel asleep. Around 3:30 am she started screaming at the top of her lungs, still asleep! That not only woke us up but our neighbors too! She settled down quickly and slept until about 8 am. Needless to say we were all tired in the morning!

Left to right: Maegan, Tony, Taylor, Steve, KJ, Aitugan, Jen, Asher, Jay, Shelby, Hayden, Zoe, Jila and Kiana.

We went to breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel with Steve, KJ and Aitugan. I believe that this was one of the best meals we have ever had, not because the food was great (far from it) but because we all we able to have a great talk about all the events that happened last year. This was a needed conversation, and it has made us closer because of it!
After breakfast we all met in the lobby to head out to The big event! This was a party where all the families got together and really got to converse with one another. We met many people and caught up with many. We had a great lunch, had a raffle, and took many pictures. We all had a great time, but come 1:30pm all the kids were tuckered out. We all headed back to the hotel where the kids (and Tony!) got a nap.

So happy to be a family!

At 2:45pm we met in the lobby to head to the Shedd Aquarium. Our group was rather large but it ended up being us with Dana and Serena, which was great and gave us a really good chance to catch up. Taylor had a good time watching the fish with her daddy but when it came to the larger ones, she wanted nothing to do with them! Serena and Taylor had a great time running around and playing, and the penguins seemed to be a hit! We met up with Gena, Jamie, Jessie, and Berik and all went to dinner.

Taylor and Tony looking and some of the fish.

The gang at dinner!

We had a pool party that evening and Taylor had a blast! At first she let out a little squeal but she got over it once she realized that we were going anywhere. She had alot of fun splashing and playing with the other kids. She was giggly and happy the whole time. Afterwards we went back to our room and took a quick shower. We all met up with Gena, Jamie, Jessi, Berik, Jen, Jay, Hayden, Zoe and Asher and we walked a few blocks to watch the fireworks. We all headed back to get some much needed sleep and to wind down.

Tay and I in the pool!

Needless to say, Taylor had the same kind of night as the previous night, so we were all exhausted! We awoke to loud thunder and wind at about 8 am. We packed up, got ready for the day and met with all the families in the lobby for a while. We took many pictures, had a lot of fun, and had to say our goodbyes. It was very hard to say goodbye, but we hope that will keep in contact with our friend's. We plan to head back next year to the next Kazapalooza which will be in Nashville.

Some of the children at Kazapalooza!

Finally Reunited! Maegan, Taylor, Kiana, Jila, Serena and Dana