Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brotherly {Love}

Jack Cruz is a ROCKSTAR.  Sweet buddy has been so very brave during his transition into our family.  We have a long way to go before everyone is completely adjusted to our new normal, but I can honestly say he is a PERFECT fit for our family.  And I'm thankful he's home every. single. day.

My Sweet P is AMAZING.  He had his world rocked too.  He went from being the center of our world, to having to share it with his baby brother... who really isn't so much of a baby.  And likes to play with all of his special toys.  And even though its been hard to watch Perry struggle, it's also been one of the very best ways to help illustrate to him love, compassion, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  

And slowly, but surely, we are getting there.  Month by month.  Day by day.  Minute by minute.  

Slide by slide.  

Brotherly Love.  One of His Greatest Gifts.

{thankful for}
the little playground at the end of the street
evening light
a warm January day
a healthy day
fresh air
His love shining down

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baby It's {COLD} Outside

January has been pretty bitterly cold and wet, so we have done lots of fun activities inside.  Including but not limited to: bubble baths, painting, side walk chalk in the 'foyer' and on the walls, and rolly toys.  

My boys headed off to the Monster Jam in Atlanta for some much needed "Man Time."

Little bit and I stayed home as I had little desire to strap him in a car seat for a few hours drive.  Did I mention he has decided the car seat is not cool?  Unless, of course, I give in and allow him to watch Peppa Pig, in which case he's golden.  Sign him up for a cross country road trip.  

We were gifted (the most amazing gift ever!  seriously people.. listen up for future gifting ideas) a family membership to our local children's science museum.  Hello bonding time. I think we've been four times already.  Pman loves the shark/stingray exhibit and Jack Cruz is seriously infatuated with the bubble station.  It's been a more than perfect place to take the boys on these frigid cold days to allow them a place to stay warm and dry and play and enjoy themselves.  With Jack Cruz still learning that we are 'forever,' its also a great place to pop him in the carrier for some face time or to provide a big, happy 'shared' environment for the boys to bond.  You know... a place where the toys don't belong to one child or the other so there's no dominance, there's no cat's tail to pull, or beautiful picture frames of Mommy's to break.  

Yeah.  It's pretty blissful. 

And with a membership, we also get a discount at the food court.

We may not can keep our children in a bubble, but at least we can photograph them through one! ;)

Life literally feels like a hurricane right now.  But see that smile on my face?  
It's a good kinda hurricane!

We were thankful we went soon enough in the new year that the Winter Wonderland exhibit was still set up.  Second from Coke, Jack Cruz's favorite thing in all the world is trains.  

Or water.  Maybe its water???

Thankfully, the weather was GORGEOUS for the past five days, so we were able to enjoy some MUCH needed outside time.  But, we're already right back to snow flurries and rain.  Boo.

I'm thinking McWane is back up on the schedule soon.  

{thankful for}
gifts that give adventure
wind shield wipers
the amazement of jelly fish 

Friday, January 23, 2015

The {Greatest} Show on Earth

Perry's Kindergarten class took a fun field trip to the Circus this week.  It was really one of the best circus performances I've ever seen and we had a great time!  Here's our recap:

Starting off.  Pricing.


Holy Cow.  

$14 Cotton Candy.  SERIOUSLY?!

I 'bout died.  

So, instead, we opted for a large coke, nachos, and a motorcycle.  Oh yea, and $8 parking.  

And of course, the tickets...

All worth it for the fun and smiles! 

Okie dokie.  This lady?  This Jemma girl.  


She's certifiably crazy.  

I believe they said this was her 468th time being shot out of a cannon and she is the youngest human cannon ball on the planet.  I'm not sure I've ever seen this stunt before and if I have I didn't remember it.  I was super impressed with how gracefully she flew through the air.  And her somersaulting at the end was quite the delicate little landing.  

The clowns are never my favorite and to be honest, I never really think their skits are all that entertaining.  But, they are a vital part of the industry and therefore photo worthy.  

As a former gymnast, this type of flexibility and strength is simply astounding to me.

For real... how cute is Dumbo?!

I always leave the circus wanting a pet elephant.

These girls weren't very entertaining to me, but this upside down splitter was so sweet and came over to the side to smile and dote on a few little girls.  So she won my heart.  And their costumes were the sparkliest things I had ever seen in my life, which I loved.  

And if we thought the cannon ball girl was cray cray, meet this guy.  Yeah.  I just simply can't imagine.  He was in that cage with 15 tigers/lions at one point.  I couldn't stop myself from thinking that I hope he knows Jesus.  

He totally upped the vulnerability when he decided to do a handstand on a stool and let this roaring animal jump through his legs.  I was seriously impressed.  

The poodles were simply amazing.  They were sooooooo cute and had the entire audience laughing.  They were P's favorite and a very close second for me.

This act was the flying trapeze replacement.  Kinda boring, but cool costumes.  

Again, I wasn't thoroughly entertained by the tightrope walkers, but this girl doing the splits up there really amazed me.  

These trampoline guys were INCREDIBLE.  

Words could never do them justice.  I snapped a few shots and then sat in my seat completely mesmerized.  My favorite part!

{thankful for}
a Mommy Perry day
a Daddy Jack Cruz day
that everyone had a GREAT day
the safety of all the performers
nachos cheese and hot peppers
a large coke
belly laughs
steel city pops
my favorite coat
Pman's rainboots

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Welcome Home {Isaac Paul}

On January 1st, we got to do one of our very favorite things ever:   
Welcome home a friend from South Korea!

I'm always at the airport during the day, so it was neat to see it all lit up and pretty.  They also still had their Christmas decor up and it was really cozy and sweet for a homecoming.

After having a MELTDOWN because Mommy wouldn't {couldn't} open up the gigantic glass display case of the ducati racing motorcycles, he decided playing on the luggage belt would suffice.  

And about two seconds after this picture was taken, that entire Mountain Dew was emptied into my BRAND NEW leather purse.  The entire bottle.  All of it.  And I spent the next 15 minutes sitting on the airport floor with all the contents in my purse spread out in front of me trying to salvage what all electronics I could.  :X  Oiy.  Never a dull moment.  Never. 

{thankful for}
friends coming home
having Jack Cruz home to dump Mt Dew all in my purse
my keys still working

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy {Korean} New Year!

I need to catch up this blog... in the BIGGEST way... like our first Korea trip is still not chronicled.  So is life.  I think my game plan is to keep trucking along with my Korea posts and then just back dating them as they're done, but meanwhile, I wanted to get a leg up on keeping it more up to date in the new year.  So here goes...

We started our new year a little early at 10:00am on December 31st... New Year's in Korea!

We ate traditional Tteokguk soup, cooked by our resident Korean cook, Liz, which grants the consumer luck for the new year and also gives you a year in age.  Mr P was super stoked that he turned six years old five months early! ;)   

After lunch, we hung out while I enlisted the help of my fellow friend and photographer, Lauren, to get some photos of my boys in their handboks.  It's amazing how still my boys will get when it's not me behind the camera!  (HUGE thank you Lauren!)

And after our mini photo shoot, we let the kids play on the swing set, slide, roll in the mud, and borderline ruin a few hanboks... ahem.   

Among the casualties, I will just say, someone modified their hanbok to a halter top... just sayin.'

Where is that laughing-till-you-cry emoticon when you need it?!

{thankful for}
a friend that knows how to cook Korean
a friend that gets fabulous shots of your boys
several more friends to share a culture that your heart so dearly loves
hanbok clad children
a crisp shiny morning
new beginnings
the promise of a good dry cleaner

Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas! {Love, The Murphree's}

{thankful for}
the miraculous birth
a FOURever family
three smiling boys
all the broken ornaments
an enormous tree
candlelight services
Christmas communion
promises fulfilled
JOY on Christmas morn

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Baby's Birth City {Chuncheon City}

So, we pretty much think Jack Cruz rocks, and his birth city is certainly no exception.  I can't wait to take him back here one day!  He was born in Chuncheon (pronounced Choon-Chyon, very quickly) City, South Korea.  One of the city's most famous landmarks/attractions is Namiseom Island which is actually a beautifully little island.  Emphasis on little.  Tiny more like it.  But amazing.  There were ostriches, squirrels, gorgeous trees, captivating folk art.  Quaint and fabulous.  

(Random trivia:  His birth city is in the same province as the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics)

*Don't forget that I've already blogged more info about all these sites previously... this is just a quick recap with 'real camera' photos*

An enormous statue that represents two rivers 'feeding' her people.  I found the statue both thought-provoking and cleaver, to say the least.  Of course, I have an art-minded brain and appreciate the oddities in life.  

One thing that was very interesting to me about Nami Island was all the 'randoms' around the serene nature, like the giant stuffed teddy bears just hanging out in the trees.  

The famous first kiss statue where we cheesily tried to recreate the scene.  The sweet couple who took our photo couldn't stop giggling.

The gorgeous flowers of Namiseom.  They were enourmous and very magical!  7-8 inches diameter each.  I love the way this one looks like it was glowing!

Gorgeous walkways all over the island.  I can only imagine how beautiful this is in fall.  We actually traveled (according to Google) for custody on the most vibrant leaf day in Autumn, but there was no way we could make the 3 hour (one way) journey to Nami Island with both boys during our custody trip.  Hopefully we can bring them back in a few years.  

The tracks that would lead me to where he was born.

The fields all along the train ride were a glowing neon green.  

Off in the distance is the Soyang Dam which is the largest dam in Asia.  There are so many lakes and rivers in Chuncheon which make it a very foggy place to live in winter.  And to me, its also just another small reminder that God is in the details.  We are a water LOVING family through and through, so its very fitting that Jack Cruz was born in a land known for all its water activities.  He also happens to L-O-V-E water and swimming!

The most amazing, fun, romantic, nostalgic meal I've ever eaten with my husband.  Chuncheon is world famous for its spicy Dak Galbi!  YUM.  I can't wait to go back to this family restaurant.  

The beautiful little family garden that supplied the produce for the restaurant.  This is also where I picked the flowers I dried and brought home for Jack Cruz.  I wanted him to have a tangible piece of his birth place in his new home.  

The beautiful Soyanggang Maid on the lake.  There was something about her that really resounded in me.  I don't know her story, but her position, with the wind blowing through her... a peaceful surrender maybe.  That's a lot of how I have felt about our adoption of Jack Cruz.  I love him to pieces.  I'm thankful for him beyond reason.  He is my child through and through... but he should not be mine.  The magnitude of the blessing I have been given in my child will never be lost on me.  I do not believe that in God's perfect will for our lives he included adoption, because He would never want children separated from their parents or women to have fertility issues, etc.  We believe adoption is an answer to brokeness.  A beautiful way to redeem and build families.  Please understand I'm FOREVER GRATEFUL that he is mine.  I don't know how I lived life before him.  If he had never entered my life, there would be a piece of my heart never made whole.  And yet, it's hard for me to overcome a certain amount of guilt and sadness in knowing he won't grow up in his birth land.  A land so beautiful and magical.  The realities are he needed a loving family and our loving hearts needed him and we are thankful for the knitting together of our hearts that was done long before the dawn of time.  But, we respect and acknowledge that there's still much that's lost in adoption, for all three parties of the triad.  So, it's here that we will peacefully surrender our story to our God that can weave all ashes into beauty and all glory to Him.  He can bless us with joys that far outweigh the sorrows.  We are eternally thankful for the gift of our son and his birthmom/family.  

A little cafe with love letters left all around the walls.

I'm honestly not sure what this little shop was.  I pretend its a story time place where a sweet librarian with glasses comes to read to little child and then they choose a book to take home with them.  
...It's probably just an info booth or something much less exciting.  

And Chuncheon is not without the Korean staple: STAIRS.

**I have read many blog and Facebook comments (on other families' posts) lately that have left me quite timid to share what's on my heart in regards to our own adoption story.  So much so, that I've actually considered just turning our blog into a book and being done with the whole shabam.  Please understand that I, like so many, share our stories quite openly and in a manner that we believe is both respectful and honorable to our children.  Because although they are our stories as parents, so much more is their (our children's) story.  Our motives to adopt and build our family might be different than yours and the way I/we view adoption (pre and post) may also not completely parallel.  And that's ok.  As long as we both are doing what we feel is in the best interest of our children.  Justin and I are continuously educating ourselves on adoption and follow our hearts with what we share and how we parent both our sweet kiddos.  We certainly don't do it perfectly (can I get an AMEN?!), but we do it to the very best of our abilities and in the manner and ways that we feel led.  I have the best readers who have never offered anything but the kindest of words and I certainly pray that's always the case.   Thank you for sharing in our moments and always building us up in love, prayers, and encouragement.  Most sincerely-us**

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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