Andy's F A M
Andy is the youngest of 7 boys and there is such a sweet bond all the brothers have. His parents are the nicest people you will ever meet. We lost his dad recently and that has been tough! I always loved that you could always feel the love they have for their family just by looking at them. They make everyone feel SO comfortable and so special. Andy's mom has continued that legacy. From growing up with 6 older brothers, Andy has the funniest stories. When all the brothers get together they always talk about the mischief they got into and almost always, something funny comes out that his mom didn't know about that makes us all laugh. We look forward to family reunions every year which are normally spent camping, playing games, sharing stories, eating the best dutch oven you've ever had and just spending time together. Another favorite tradition is when we go visit in the fall. The weather is beautiful, the air is crispy, the trees are bright red and orange and we usually go four-wheeling in the hills.
L I F E
It would be so easy to only write about all of the fun, happy moments because there are a million of those but we have challenges and trials just like anyone else. What we also have is each other and a deep rooted faith in our Heavenly Father and in His son Jesus Christ. We know that we are loved and known by our Father in Heaven and that Jesus Christ knows exactly what we feel and go through and that brings peace and happiness. We always want to teach our kids to have that foundation too so that when challenges arise (and they will) that they know where to turn for peace.
On a normal day, we really just hang out together. We love to go boating or visit family or friends on the weekends. We go outside, do drives up the mountain, play games, read stories, watch movies, play dolls with Lo, work on house projects and relax at home. We love fall, it's always too short! We're always planning the next vacation because we love to travel! Our favorite place so far has been the Cayman Islands. We try to go to a couple major league baseball games and concerts every year and we visit Park City, UT and Disneyland every chance we get! We just went on a family vacation to Hawaii and LOVED that! Lo kept saying "I'm just a Hawaii girl now". Me too, Lo!
Kaylie's F A M
Kaylie is the oldest of 7 (5 girls and 2 boys) and life has always been busy! Her and her siblings played a lot of sports growing up and after we got married we spent a lot of time traveling to watch her younger siblings play highschool and college ball. Kaylie has such a special bond with her grandparents and aunts and auncles. It's unlike anyting else! Our favorite traditions are the 4th of July spending the day watching the parade, BBQing, running through sprinklers and watching fireworks. We look forward to Labor day at the family cabin, dinners and temple dates with her grandma "O" and lake trips every year. I feel so comfortable with her family, they have welcomed me with open arms since day one, as they do everyone else.
This is one of our favorite pictures! Friends and family from both sides of our family came to celebrate Lo's baby blessing and sealing to us in the Cedar City temple. The best day!
Our relationship with Lo's birth family has been special from the beginning. I remember a few years ago, we went to an adoption workshop as one of the last requirements to get our home study done. We ended up sitting behind two women during an adoptive child panel where children who had been adopted talked about their experience. I remember listening to this one girl, who was probably in her early teens, talk about open adoption like it was the most normal thing ever. Every time this girl would talk, the two women in front of us would give each other a happy smile or put their arm around each other or squeeze each other's hands. When it was all over, the teenage girl walked up and hugged both of them women and we realized that one was this girl's mom and the other was her birth mom and right then Andy and I knew, that's what we wanted. That relationship was full of LOVE and sacrifice and joy all for this sweet girl they both adored.
The first time we ever met Lo's birth mom and dad, we had gone to their home town and decided to meet for lunch. Andy and I got there early and waited in the foyer of this restaurant for them. As soon as we saw them get out of their car from the window of this restaurant we loved them. Especially Lo's birth mom. I saw her and I loved her right away. I loved her from the minute I read her first e-mail to us but that day when I actually got to meet her face to face, we had this bond.
Our daughter is almost 6 now and we talk to her birth family often. We don't live close enough to visit as often as we'd like to but we've been back to visit every year and hope that tradition continues forever. I can't imagine the visits are always easy for them but they are healing for all of us in a way. They also come visit us a couple of times per year and we look forward to it! We love to see that connection they have with Lo and love to watch how much they grow and change in life. I love watching Lo and her birth parents interact and to see the love they have for each other, we feel honored to witness such a sweet relationship. They aren't just Lo's birth family, they're our family too. We celebrate their successes and they celebrate ours. In our eyes, we can't imagine not having them apart of us. We love and have the deepest respect for them all.