Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life in Our Luxury Box

Justin and I built Perry a sandbox last week as a part of his birthday present and we have been enjoying time outside playing in it ever since!

Perry's imagination is so much fun to watch!  I absolutely cannot believe he is already three.  He is so fun and smart- especially when it comes to tractors, trucks, and big machinery!

He was building a big, Big, BIG road this evening and needed to take a quick break for some summer goodness- a big 'ole slice of watermelon!  Which he ate so much of it, we dubbed it supper.  ;)

To see more beautiful favorites, hop on over to my friend, Lisa's blog!

the long road

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Falling Deeper and Deeper

With every click of the shutter, I'm falling deeper and deeper in love with photography!  It was such an exciting week for me in "photo land".  I shot two sessions, a first birthday and a maternity session.  I have found that the more I learn about photography, the more I love it.  I also have found that I absolutely love to post process in black and white!  

I've been working very hard this past year on my portfolio and I think I'm just about ready to put it all together and launch my official website.  Hopefully, Brooke Murphree Photography will be making its grand debut by the end of summer!  Fingers crossed!! 

 I've learned so much from my friend and mentor, Lisa and absolutely cannot thank her enough for all of her kindness, patience, and knowledge that she has passed on to me.  It is only with her help that this amazing dream of mine is finally creeping its way into a reality!  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Perry!!!

Dear Sweet Perry-

Happy Birthday Big Boy!!! You are THREE years old Sweet P!! Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back!!

We can’t even begin to describe the blessing you have been to our family. You are by far the most amazing thing that God has ever given us! Your smile, laugh, and sheer presence just light up any room. Your happiness is contagious!

Daddy and I are so proud of the little guy you are growing up to be. You are so smart, polite, and so so sweet. You can count to ten, say your ABC’s, tell everyone your birthday, recite most of our family’s birthday, say your weekly Bible verses, and remember where every single one of your toys are at any given moment. You can name any type of heavy machinery and tell exactly what it’s purpose is. You are good at kissing booboos and making someone who’s sad smile again. You love to say I love you! and you give the BEST hugs with your sweet little hand-pat! You love to say your blessing and bedtime prayers and you always remember to pray for your sweet Ruby-Grace and little Taylor. Your kindness and compassion warms my heart. I hope that you grow up to always care for “the least of these.”

We’re so excited to see all that “3 years old” brings for you and for our family. Each year with you is better and more exciting than the last! We love you so so much and are so blessed and proud to be your Mommy and Daddy!

We love you forever and ever, to the moon and back!!

Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Future Mrs. Dailey {Sunday Snapshot}

Camera Settings: f/5.6 ISO 560 SS 1/500
Hands: SUPER shaky!!  ...and shooting through a bush, trying to hide! ;)

To see more beautiful Sunday Snapshots, visit Stephanie's blog over at Ni Hao Ya'll!

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Souls {Favorite Photo Friday}

To see other Favorite Photos this Friday, visit my sweet friend, Lisa's blog over at the Long Road to China.

the long road

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wednesday in Seoul

Wednesday was another great day.  We hung out in the hotel until about 2:00, then headed to a local market for some souvenir shopping.  Then, we took a taxi to meet up with John and Jess and their CUTIE, Hannah. 

(Tay playing with Amanda's IPhone-wearing a Pororo hat!)

Let me take a moment… We normally use the metro, but occasionally take a gray taxi.  The driving here is, without a doubt, enough to make me hurl.  It’s like a Six Flags ride on steroids, without the restraining bars.  I tend to have to sit in the front of the cabs just to keep it in check. 

That being said, an orange taxi picked us up this go around…. Mistake number 1.  DON’T get in orange taxis!  Anyway, we were trying to get to the MOST FAMOUS palace in all of Korea.  The driver kept asking ME how to get there!  I was doing all sorts of directing, all while laughing my tail off!  I couldn’t believe he was asking ME where to go.  And on an honest note, we think he might have had some sort of dementia.  It was like riding with “ten second Tom.”  Every 30 seconds, he’d say, “Chung-dong Palace?”  I would smile and say, “Neh! (Yes)”  He would go, “Ahhhh! Neh!  Ok, Ok!!”  Then, he’d GAS it!!  Then, STOMP on the break, look over his shoulder and say, “Chung-dong Palace?”  And… we’d repeat.  THE ENTIRE WAY. 

So, at one point, I FINALLY saw a sign and was pointing saying “Chung-dong Palace!  Left!  See? 5-0 (it was on the sign), all while pointing left.  He kept going, “Chung-dong Palace?  Left?”  With me going “Neh!  Left” and pointing.  Then, he realized we were five lanes too far to the right and went, “ooooooo” and… GASED it across FIVE lanes!  And then, we plowed into the car next to us.  Yep! A slight altercation, while riding in a taxi in a foreign country. Followed by a war of honking!!  The nice black car apparently was wanting to stop for insurance purposes, yet our cab driver was honking and screaming and signing for them to, clearly, get out of the way. 

Geez louis!  It was TERRIFYING and HILARIOUS all at the same time.  When I finally saw the palace I think I screamed “STOP!”  Lesson learned… orange cabs mean you’re are asking to meet your maker... sooner, rather than later!

Continuing… we ate our Burger King take out on the palace steps like reverent Americans….

Then, we visited a second palace that had BEAUTIFUL gardens (these are the palaces/gardens pictured in this post) and large pathways for the children to play.  It had rained lightly and cooled off the temperature, so it was super nice to be outside. 

After strolling around, we headed to a local Korean restaurant for some Bolgogi (marinated teriyaki beef with onions and crystal noodles), Gkolbi (beef short ribs, grilled at the table-YUM-O!), and some bebinbop (spicy rice with wild vegetables.)  BTW- I have no idea how to actually spell all that.  That is the phonetic spelling… I do teach first grade! ;) Our meal came with tons of side dishes too: kimchi, kimchi cucumber, kimchi soup, a salad with a sweet/sour dressing, octopus-which John actually ate, and a few other things that I couldn’t make out.  It was really, really good actually. 

After dinner, Amanda and I trucked it back to the Subway, where we made it home with only an almost wrong turn in the subway.  And then, we laid still for about .5 seconds and fell sound asleep!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jet Lag is For Real

I feel a bit embarrassed and a little snooty to say this, but I honestly thought all you other ladies were just whiny and over dramatic when it came to "jet-lag".  I mean, jet lag coudn't be that bad, right?  After all, it is all in your head. 

Though I would have NEVER said that to anyone's face, I did, however, think it, and for that, I am truly sorry.  Honestly.  You were ALL right!

I. Am. So. Tired!

We got back Saturday night, took a Sunday of rest, then, I was thrown back into my work-day routine on Monday.  Only on Monday, we had a FIELD TRIP... to the ZOO.  Fun as it was, it was HOT, HUMID, and a WHOLE lotta walking!  Did I not do enough walking for an entire life-time while I was in Korea??!!

Thanks to my amazing husband who is patient and kind beyond reason, I slept from 4:15pm last night to 5:40am this morning.  And you know what?  I'm STILL tired.

Gotta put my game face on and teach some cuties their ABC's and 123's, but I'd be lyin' if I didn't admit that I'm seriously ready for some summer laziness!

So, if you're wondering... yep- jet lag is for real.  And, on a side note, if you're heading to Korea anytime soon, I suggest you pack your walking shoes...and get in better shape before you go! ;)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Guess Who's in America?!


... and those two barely-hanging-in-there women who are traveling with him!! :D

Honestly though, our flight was really as good as you could have asked for.  I mean, yes, there was insane turbulence 75% of the flight and, yes, Amanda did get fussed out by the flight attendants a few times for sleeping in the floor with Taylor, but hey?  It's not like we're ever going to see those same flight attendants again.... or at least not for quite some time.

We have made it to our hotel in San Fran, ordered some take out that included pasta alfredo, philly cheese steak and a patti melt with REAL lemonade, coke, and apple juice.  Amanda and I thought it was delicious.  Taylor Won... not so much a fan.  He snacked on cheerios and some yummy bread the diner sent over, all while jugging some apple juice.

We have also all finally showered and don't smell like travel anymore, thank heavens, and we're all piled onto the beds playing and resting and getting psyched up about tomorrow's travel plans.  Ok, so I'm trying to put on my "game face" here.

We are SO close to home and SUPER excited about it.  Amanda has already made Tay an appointment with his pediatrician for Monday and is eager to get him all the medical attention he might need.  She has truly been super-mom.  I am SO proud of her and excited that Tay has found his forever Mommy and Daddy, who can't wait to take care of him and love him like crazy.

I'm really going to be sad to have to split from them in the airport tomorrow.  I hope we don't get too many stares as we say our good-byes... though it couldn't be any more than the stares we got while eating Burger King on the floor in the que lines in Seoul.... we waited in line to check our bags for TWO hours and were STARVING!!  (They were rescheduling everyone's flights.  It was a small disaster.)

Anyway, I suppose my next update will be from HOME!!!  :D  Eeeeek!  And also, I'll definitely be filling everyone in on the "missing" days in Seoul.  I've got lots of photos I'm eager to share!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Prayers Needed!! Please!!

Hi everyone!

This is Brooke updating.  Amanda is currently walking sweet Taylor around the airport getting him to sleep.

We've had some issues today that we'd really appreciate your prayers about.  The morning started normally, with sweet Taylor giggling and playing, then all of the sudden, he fell into a seizure (of which he has no history of) that lasted about 6 1/2 minutes.  It was incredibly scary, but we immediately called emergency assistance and were rushed in an ambulance to the emergency room in Seoul.  We then spent the next two hours or so speaking to several different doctors (Seoul and US) to come up with the best plan of action.  The consensus seemed to be to get on a plane and get to the US as soon as possible so that Tay could be seen by his pediatrician.  

We arrived back at the hotel just in time to throw everything into our suitcases and get to the airport on time- only to find out that our flight has been delayed for FIVE hours.  Which greatly frustrates us because it in turn messes up our connecting flights, causing us to have to spend an extra night in San Francisco, California.  This means, we will arrive at our final destinations approx 6:00pm on Saturday night, Alabama and Louisiana time.  

We are both incredibly nervous, exhausted, and just SO ready to be home.  We humbly covet your prayers for travel mercies and a happy, healthy Taylor as we travel back into familiar territory.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grand Children's Park Recap

{This post goes along with the photos from Grand Children's Park.}

Tuesday was spent at the amazing Grand Children’s Park in Seoul.  It was FABULOUS!!  Every adoptive parent’s dream.  There were little Asian beauties and cuties EVERYWHERE!  I cannot wait to take miss Ruby here one day.  And the best part?  It was F-R-E-E!  There was a gigantic water fountain, playground area, and zoo-where some of the animals were so close, you could touch them.

We met up about 11:00 with two other adoptive families and our precious guide, Mina.  We played for a while, then went through part of the zoo, stopped for lunch and an ice cream, then finished the zoo.  It was really, really nice.  It was also my first ‘real’ American meal.  FABULOUS. 

After the zoo, we came back to the hotel for a quick dinner in the yummy downstairs restaurant and then came up to the room and crashed!  I’m so glad this hotel is so comforting.  We’ve really enjoyed staying here!

Taylor continues to amaze us more and more each day.  He is such a sweet and joyful boy!  He still occasionally has moments of sadness, but they only last a few short minutes and it is normally reserved for right after he wakes up.  The good news is, he takes comfort in being held and snuggled by Amanda.  After a quick snuggie session, he is all smiles, giggles, and ‘lightening boy’ moves!  He is SO fun. 

Although he loves Amanda dearly, he is still not so sure of me.  I definitely have to love him from afar.  I got “fussed at” earlier today for touching his DVD player- which he is FULLY capable of working independently.  He is doing a great job at draining my grape juice too, which I lovingly joked I was going to have to touch so that he’d leave it alone and I’d still have some to drink!  But… I just bought more grape juice instead. 

It’s been a little strange not being a big part of helping take care of Tay.  Since I was four probably, I’ve been all kids, all the time.  However, we both know that it would be bad for him to get attached to me and then me skip town to good ‘ole Bama.  So for now, I’m just concentrating on trying to meet all of Amanda’s immediate needs so that she can focus solely on sweet Taylor. 

I’m having so much fun being in my sweet Ruby’s birth country, submersed in the culture here.  I miss Justin and Perry so badly, but at the same time, I will most definitely be sad to leave too.  There’s just something about being here, being so close to HJ, Ruby, and all the other Korean people.  I really do love Seoul more and more with each day I’m here.  I’ll be glad to go home, but also happy knowing that I’ll be back.  Hopefully sooner, rather than later!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Grand Children's Park

I just spent half an hour writing about our day and when I hit Publish, the computer froze and I ended up losing everything.  I do want written details about this day, but unfortunately, its going to have to wait until tomorrow for me to re-type.  However, I do want to share a few photos from our day.

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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