Sunday, January 31, 2010

A little weekend with Uncle Sparky

My baby brother came into town this weekend and we had a blast together! Enjoy some of the highlights....
Connor couldn't have been happier to have a Mario Wii pal all weekend long. Connor: "Mom we made it world 5!! Uncle Mark is really good"
Alexis was a big fan of her Uncle too.
Bubba and Sparky
We took Mark to our favorite restaurants: Torchy Tacos, the Hula Hut, some pizza, and Torchy Tacos again!
We took all the Texas born boys (Mark, Connor, and Bryce) to the capitol building.
The weather wasn't cooperating so we went to Chuck E Cheese on Saturday! It was the first time we have been there and boys LOVED IT!
Connor kicking Uncle Mark's butt!
Alexis had a great time too. (Anytime she gets to be held by Mommy she's completely happy!) Such a Mommy's girl and I LOVE IT!Is it is a surprise that Connor loved getting his picture with Chuck and Bryce clung to my knee the whole time?
Ladies, this boy is single!!??!!
We had a blast and love you so very much Uncle Mark!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A week at Casa McManus

My posts have been a little heavy lately (GOOD but heavy) So I thought I'd lighten it up a little and just post a fun video. So enjoy a typical couple of days at Casa McManus.....

Just A Normal Week from Adam McManus on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Adoption Journey: Why Adopt?

We've had lots of questions and interest about this whole adoption thing. Especially now, when it seems like adoption is on everyone's mind (which is AWESOME). Please take time to pray that God continues to bring adoption to the front of the hearts and minds of all of us. I thought it would be helpful for all my readers if I answered a lot of the questions we have been asked and some I know are out there. I'm going to be blunt and honest, because...well I'm honest and blunt!

You have 3 (beautiful and healthy) kids of your own, why adopt more?
Short Answer: Why not?

Longer Answer: God has blessed us with our 3 healthy kids and we thank Him everyday for that. I wholeheartedly believe that Jesus, Son of God came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for me, and rose again and because of His sacrifice I am "adopted" into God' family. (But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-6) I also yearn and pray that my faith is more than just words. That the gospel is lived out in my life and is more than a great story. It's how and why I yearn and try to live the life that I live. I love kids and love Jesus so what better way to live that out but to adopt a baby who can't be taken care of for whatever reason. I'm now part of the family of God and can't wait to show that same love to the next member of our family.

Are you worried about how this will affect Connor, Bryce, and Alexis?

Absolutely not, we're actually excited to see how God uses this to increase the faith and understanding of Jesus' love to our kids. Little kids have this gift that seems to disappear as you get older and older. They see no color, no social economic statistics, sometimes no age, no disabilities. They welcome people into our house wholeheartedly, not letting them leave without a hug. They love because that's what they know. I WANT THEM TO HOLD ONTO THAT FOR AS LONG AS THEY CAN! I want them to see that Mommy's and Daddy's faith is more than just church on Sundays, a Bible on the coffee table, and a veggie tales movie. It's our DNA as a family!! I'm not going to lie, there will be adjustments, but there have been adjustments every time we add another member to our family. And, to be honest, my kids ROCK at transitions! (sometimes)

Why are you adopting through the foster care system and not another way?

I have no idea really. We only know that every time we pray this is the way we're being lead. We still have the intent to adopt internationally, but for now foster care is the way we are going. It's going to be hard, I know that. The possibility that the first baby placed in our house will be our new son or daughter is if-y at best. I know that what we have to look forward to is a year (at least) of court dates, confusion, frustration, grief, and more. But, just like pregnancy and labor, it's all worth it in the end when you are holding your little angel.

A boy or a girl?

Ah, this one is tricky for me, because I'm a planner. I'm just wired that way and will be FOREVER. In my head, 2 boys and 2 girls makes sense. After all, right now we have the boys in one bedroom and then obviously would have the girls in another. Perfect right? Well, I've learned over and over again that my "perfect" can and usually looks a lot different than God's. And guess what? I always end up admitting that God's perfect was better after all. All that to say, we're not going to check the girl box or boy box (yes you can do that). If I got pregnant tomorrow, we wouldn't get to choose and we won't when we adopt either.

A newborn or an older child?

Oooh, they're getting harder!! Another one we've prayed about a lot. And I'll be the first to admit that this answer might change someday. But for now we are going to prepare to foster/adopt 2 and under. We have only one reason why we're going this way and that is because of our family's current birth order. Connor is our oldest and we have prayed over him since he was born. He is the leader of our children and we are teaching him that. Already, I'm beginning to see God work this in his life. We don't feel comfortable throwing in an older boy or girl just yet. Like I said, God's perfect is not always my perfect so I reserve the right to change my answer (that is when or if God changes it first).

One child or siblings?

Again we won't and can't check the box that says ONLY 1 CHILD, because God has His greatest plan already mapped out. Logistically, we're starting with 1 baby, but who knows??!!

Does race matter?


Healthy or special needs?

Adam and I have no experience with special needs children, so we don't feel called yet to check that box. (Told ya I'd be honest) But, I feel weird saying we want a healthy child because we'll be adopting a baby, so only God knows just how "healthy" he or she will be.

Most babies in the foster care system are "drug" babies, are you ready for that?

I really doubt that that is true, but yes it is a possibility we get a premature, physically abused, or drug addicted baby. But, once again that is when I have to trust that God is great and bigger than any statistic. With His strength, I'll be able to stay up all night with a screaming baby, get up and go to the gym, and be Mom to everyone else! (That doesn't seem too unrealistic, right?)

Where are you in the adoption process?

This process is going to be long and hard, which is really annoying because getting pregnant was so easy and well.... FUN! :D We've decided to go through an agency instead of the state and have picked our agency. We have begun taking our 30 hours of classes. We've almost completed our 50 page application (I felt like I was applying for college all over again BUT WORSE). Next, we have certifications to finish, an expensive and very detailed home study to get, and then we WAIT!

How much will this cost?

Again we won't really know until this process is over. I know for sure that we will have to pay for a home study very soon, which can be anywhere from $1200-$2,000. (Yup, we have to pay someone to come into our house watch us parent and decide if we are good enough to adopt.) Then, we have all the lawyer and court fees, and I know that those can pile up really fast. We've heard numbers like $1,200- $5,000.

That's all the questions I can think of right now. I'm sure that there are more and I look forward to answering all of them. I'll continue to keep you updated on our Adoption Journey! I leave you with a shocking and mind numbing statistic. Please pray for families in this process and continue praying for the orphans.

If roughly 6% of the born again Christians in the world adopted, we could care for all the adoptable orphans in the world.

Six. Percent.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Welcoming Home Amos

We have been blessed to have found a church like Austin Stone the same weekend we moved to Austin. God is doing some great things there and we're excited to be a small part of them. As I'm sure you've heard, we are beginning the process to adopt through the foster care system. Austin Stone has a great support ministry we are a part of for families interested and waiting to adopt. I've been following the adoption story of Amos and Story from Haiti since we moved here. I met Jamie and got to talk briefly about adoption. And TODAY, we got to go and help welcome Amos home from Haiti. (Story came home in November) Please enjoy some pics of the day by our very own Daniel!!
Waiting to welcome home the Ivey Family!
After learning that Amos was 4 too, Connor is convinced that they will be best buds.
There was a great crowd ready to welcome Amos and a news crew ready to hear the end of this family's AWESOME story!
The WHOLE family is together at last!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mom's sick day

So in the middle of the night I woke up with a very ugly nasty stomach something. Adam was a sweetheart and stayed home to help with the boys while I was quarantined. Luckily, the stomach bug was quick and already I feel like 85%. Here's what our day look like.....
Bryce and Connor are teaching Alexis how to crawl.
And it's actually working. Little girl is really starting to move. (Look at that face: pure determination)

Adam was so wonderful today. I'm not a great "sick" person at all. I cleaned even though I was sick...yes I still cleaned, sorted through some clothes in the closet, did laundry, and probably drove my husband nuts. But Adam was great, he took the boys outside to play twice, brought me crackers and sprite, yelled at me when I wouldn't lie down, and made me laugh(I needed to laugh). I love you baby, and can't believe how lucky I am.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Our new roomie!!!

Adam and I said that when God provided this super awesome house that we would use it to bless others. Today our new roomie moved in, and I want everyone to meet him and get to know all the great things he is doing!!!
Daniel is a VERY talented photographer(check out his pics: Tonight, I tried to convince him that Adam and I needed engagement pics (we never got them done), a redo on our wedding pics (ours are VERY traditional and I'm jealous when I see what great things photographers are doing with wedding pictures today), some rockin' family photo sessions, and the list goes on. Hehehe. Daniel has no idea what he has gotten himself into.
Anyways, earlier last year Daniel was in a terrible long boarding accident and is lucky to be walking, talking, and alive today. He got hit with some horribly nasty medical bills and needs some time to catch up. He's also starting a new adventure here in Austin working for a pretty sweet video production company. So, through a friend of a friend we heard Daniel's story and immediately felt like we were supposed to ask if Daniel wanted to live with us.
The boys couldn't be more excited about a new "playmate" and absolutely love Daniel already. I'm sure that he will quickly feel like part of our family! We are also excited about how we get to see first hand how God uses Daniel's talent to help others around the world!
Check out this video of our new roomie. (Are you embarrassed yet, Danny??....Can I call you Danny??)

Meet Daniel from One Spark Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alexis 6 month (ok maybe 7 month) pics

Yeah yeah yeah I know, I'm behind.....But take a look at these cute shots and I'm sure that you will forgive me. These are my favorites! I wish I could have bought them all, but I had to pick 3! Enjoy!

Gigi made this cute little sweater!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adoption Journey

We started our paperwork this week to become a foster family with the intention to adopt! The application alone is over 50 pages long and very thorough! We had to search through all our paperwork for past addresses, work details, copies of social security cards, copies of insurance cards, cars pink slips, house deeds, life insurance, etc and we are only on page 20. It will be a long process, but we are excited about taking this next step.
Many of our friends and family have responded positively to our decision to pursue adoption through foster care and we thank you for that. I have also got a lot of "You're crazy!" responses (those responses are all from those of you who love us and are proud of us too) I thought that someone calling us crazy was funny considering that I'm in the middle of reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.
Here is a quote from that book that really got me thinking: "I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don't swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That's for the "radicals" who are "unbalanced" and who go "overboard". Most of us all want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering."
I wanted a nice uncomplicated life and, let's be honest, I have it. But, that's just silly when I think about the 130 million kids out there without a family to call their own. Especially when I think about our own family who would love to welcome another little member to it. Even today while talking to Connor after he saw coverage of the Haiti earthquake he said "Mommy, those kids don't have Mommys and Daddys and we need another girl in our family so we have 3 boys and 3 girls." As God continues to bless our family we will continue to find ways to bless others. We have a lot of love in our family, plenty of room, a crazy household full of toys, child proofed everything, a Mommy and Daddy who feel called to adopt, and 3 kids who can't wait to add more to the mix! So let's DO THIS! We will need lot's of support in the upcoming months from you! I will continue to keep everyone updated with our progress and God willing we will be loving on little babies later this year.

A little child enters your life and fills a special place in your heart. A place you never even knew was empty!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Minter Weekend

One of our favorite families; the Minters came and visited us this weekend. I have blogged about them before here and here and here and here. As I'm sure you can guess we were really excited about seeing them. We have missed them since we moved, and I was extra excited about the chance to them stay at our house. They drove down Friday morning and left Saturday afternoon(they had a wedding they were going to in San Antonio). It was short probably too short, but we enjoyed every second. We're already trying to plan our next getaway together. We love you Minter Family, thanks for visiting us.
What is a weekend with friends without LOTS of FOOD?! We enjoyed lunch together at home Fri and Sat (as seen in the pic). On Friday night we took everyone to our favorite taco place; Torchy's Tacos. Brent and Kari used to live in San Antonio and missed all the tacos so they were very excited! (FYI: I decided to put all the kids at one table and adults/babies at the other. It seemed like a good idea at the time. They did pretty good considering, but our 2 year olds might have forgot that throwing food is not appropriate and horseback riding is better played at home) Afterwards we went to get some awesome frozen custard!
We spent the rest of our time playing, video gaming, and lounging(oh yeah and eating more tacos....yum breakfast tacos!). Austin was having record low weather so no outside play for us. But that didn't stop us from having great times. The kids played for hours and hours, Kari and I enjoyed lot's of great talks and a quick trip to shop, Brent and Adam got to have goodvideo game time, and we (adults) enjoyed staying up WAY too late talking. We might have even.....maybe....sort of spent a majority of our time together in our pjs. YAY!
Connor and Avery played lots of imagination games when they weren't playin Wii! They are such great friends and can just play for hours and hours. During prayer time tonight Connor said that he wished Avery could live at our house all the time.
Bryce and Elliana actually played together! They used to be completely content just playing side by side, but this time loved playing all sorts of games(I have no idea what they are playin here, but it was very fun). They are growing up so fast.
Justus and Alexis got a little playtime too! (Aren't they adorable?!)

It's so fun getting to spend so much time with friends! Now back to "normal" life. (Did I mention that I start boot camp on Monday oh joy?!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy 6 mth Birthday Alexis!

Baby girl turned 6 months old a couple weeks ago. I know I'm a little late on this post, but we just had her check up so I have a valid excuse for my tardiness. She weighs 14 pounds 1 ounce and is 25 inches long! That means 25% in both weight and height which is REALLY good for a 4 week early baby. She is sitting up by herself, but still needs padding around her because she like to DIVE toward toys. (She thinks that she can crawl and she can't) She loves to move on the floor but no one can really figure out how she is doing it, one minute she happily playing on the floor and the next she's moved 5 feet. She's also more and more vocal and has just recently discovered the art of crying well! Just the other day she started really crying in her bed and I went in there to check on her (it was time to get up anyways) I peaked over the crib and made eye contact with her and her face was priceless! She immediately stopped crying and smiled (She must have thought "Holy Cow the crying thing really worked!) The other milestone 6 months bring in our house is BABY FOOD! She is doing great with this new adventure and is so excited about eating even though she is still a beginner! (That means half of it comes right back out of her mouth) She is still very smiley and is beginning to get a bit attached to her Mommy(completely normal). Alexis we love you and enjoy so much watching you grow and grow (even though I wish you would do it a lot slower!!) Ok I'm starting to get teary so gotta go.....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vacation with Gigi

My Mom came for a visit the day after Christmas and stayed until New Years. She hadn't seen the new house or our new town yet. We had a blast celebrating Christmas, showing her around, and having lot's of playtime!! Enjoy some pics
Our Christmas morning with Gigi
Mom, Adam, and Me had a blast working and FINALLY completing this awesome puzzle. It was a lot bigger that we thought, once finished it was the size of a volleyball.
Gigi got lots of snuggle time with Alexis. They were both in heaven.
The boys love her so much, can you tell?
We went downtown and ate out at the Spaghetti Warehouse and then went to the children's museum. We had a blast. Here we are in the tinker workshop working away. They gave the kiddos an endless supply of paper, scissors, tape, and fun little objects. (I need to do something like this more often at home, the boys had so much fun just be creative)
Bryce's craft
Connor's craft
Bryce workin' the parachute pulley
Connor checkin out the train in the tower

It was a great trip!
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