Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I'm Thinking...

The thoughts that are currently running through my head...

  • How thankful I was to be home for Thanksgiving!  I wasn't expecting it at all and I definitely didn't take it for granted (especially since my husband had the day off!).  Even if at one point during dinner, I teared up at the thought of our little girl eating mush in an orphanage instead of here with warm food, family, and so. much. love.
  • We found out that her actual birthday is November 6.  I think they had it confused with November 10 because that was the day her birth mother signed all of the paperwork.  The more I think about it, the more I am amazed at how intentionally God was working in our lives.  Our daughter was born on November 6 (the night I had prayed specifically about God's will for us to adopt), Orphan Sunday was on November 7, we turned in our paperwork on November 9, which was the same day our daughter's birth mother signed the paperwork in Russia.  The timing of it all will never cease to amaze me.
  • The last two days have been crazy.  We had to re-apply for visas and then I accidentally mailed the copy of our old visa instead.  I feel like I'm pregnant because I just keep doing things like this and it's killing me.  Thankfully I was able to attach our new visas in an email and all is well.  I was hoping the next day would be better, but Casey spilled hot chocolate on himself at church (he grabbed the cup before I could add cold water) and ended up with second degree burns on his chest.  It was horrifying watching him scream for so long, but he eventually fell asleep in my arms.  Of course, Adam was out of town too.  It was all too much honestly and I couldn't help but cry with him as we waited for the doctor.  Thankfully, he will be okay... I just have to put an antibiotic on his wound and keep it covered for two weeks.  Totally scary and stressful though!
  • We are a few days away from heading back to Russia.  I am sooooooo excited to see our sweet girl.  I am sooooooo nervous for court.  I've heard the Russian judges can be a little... okay a lot intimidating.  I've heard that it can take hours.  I've heard that I may need to have some Russian recipes memorized in order to show him that we are going to implement her culture into our lives.   I've heard that the adoption can be delayed if we say something the judge doesn't like.  My heart beats faster just thinking about it.  Please say a prayer for us on December 5!
  • If everything goes well in court, we only have ten days until Gotcha Day!  The day where our little girl is ours forever!  Russia has a mandated ten day period after court before you can bring your child home, hence the third trip to Russia.  :)  Still hoping and praying we make it home and bring our family together just in time for Christmas.


I feel blessed that we were able to be home for Thanksgiving between trips to Russia!  I was so happy to volunteer for Gavin's kindergarten feast too.  :)
 Kindergarten is so cute and fun!!
 We spent Thanksgiving afternoon with my dad and step-mom.
 Maddie is growing up so fast and always takes such good care of Casey (or whoever is our littlest one at the time)!

 Mommy, my tummy is FULL.  :)
 My sister and her family
 The entire clan!
 My dad and step-mom are always out-of-town for Christmas, so we joke that Thanksgiving becomes Thanksmas.  ;)  The boys are more than happy to get a few presents early!
 This is Jacob's new thing.  He pretends to faint on top of whatever he is super excited about.

 I love this guy!  So grateful he was home for Thanksgiving.
 My sister and me
 Later that night, we went to Adam's parents house for Thanksgiving dinner.  My brother-in-law woke up at the crack of dawn to smoke this turkey is his very own smoker machine.
 That's the thing about these Holmes boys... they think of these amazing ideas and create them from scratch!  The turkey was seriously the best I've ever had.

 So many kids around this table... and there's about to be one more!

Friday, November 18, 2011

We are home!

We made it home last night and thankfully, the jet lag is affecting me WAY less than it did in Russia.  There I could only sleep for four hours at any given time (hence all the blog writing ;) and the first morning I woke up, it felt like I had been hit by a train.  I think it might have something to do with the fact that I stayed up almost the entire plane ride on the way there.  So thankfully, I was able to sleep for several hours on the plane trip back.  I was even able to sleep for eight hours straight last night... the first time in over a week!  Maybe I just needed my own bed back.  ;)

On the last day in Russia, we had our medical.  It was interesting... to say the least.  I was SO nervous for the blood draw because I'm the type of person where they have to try three times in each arm (after missing each vein and jiggling the needle in order to desperately find it somehow).  I have had some horrible experiences so I just wasn't thrilled about trying it out in a foreign country.  I even asked my translator to tell the woman drawing my blood that I had small veins.  He said not to worry, that they were all really good here.  :) To my relief, he was right!  Although it was the biggest needle I've ever seen, she got my vein on the first try!  Amazing.  I seriously think this has only happened once before?  I gleefully ran out of the lab, practically bursting in excitement.

The hospital was very clean and quiet.  There are several doctors who specialize in specific things, so basically in each long hallway there are chairs lined up along the wall. Depending on the doctor you were there to see, you would wait in the chair directly outside his/her door.  Although we were in line to see several different doctors, oddly enough, we got right in each time... (which may or may not have to do with the fact that we paid $1000 per medical?? ;)  All in all, we saw a dermatologist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, psychiatrist, oncologist, neurologist, and a phlebotomist.  Whew!  Let's just say I had to take my shirt off several times and somehow follow the directions of doctors who were speaking Russian.   We passed, even after the horrifying realization that I forgot Adam's blood work papers at home.  My heart almost stopped because forgetting ANYTHING can be seriously detrimental.  It is amazing to see how God has come through for us in every circumstance though.

That night, we went to a restaurant with our friends and walked around some stores in a different part of town.  Our friends really wanted to take us to one of their favorite places, even if our interpreter was really worried about our ability to get back to the hotel.  With a GPS on our cell phone, we can find our way around anywhere right?  It's a lot more fun to find your way around Russia, buy souvenirs, and figure out how to order food with friends, that's for sure! And yes, in the restaurant and in the stores, they tried to bring us Russian vodka.  I think they must have found that free Russian vodka = more sales in the long run.  Ha!

So here I am at home, trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to get Christmas presents, decorations, traditions, Jacob's birthday party, visa applications, preparations for our court date, ... all planned or completed before we leave again on December 1.  This is definitely going to be a whirlwind of a month and the only way I can get through it is one day at a time.  We are so anxious to be back in Russia with our little girl, but it's definitely hard leaving our boys... especially during my favorite holiday season!  To quote another mom who adopted from Russia, it will be a beautiful day when we don't have to leave one child in order to see the others.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day #2 with our little girl

We started off the day with another priceless visit with our sweet girl!  I could immediately feel such a different rush of emotions than yesterday.  Yesterday, I was honestly a perfect mixture of excited, scared, and nervous.  I had so many questions of what she would look like, what she would act like, and how she would react to us.  Yesterday, my heart was beating out of my chest in anticipation... today, my heart was beating out of my chest in pure excitement.  I just could not wait for the door to open so I could scoop our little girl into my arms again!!

We got there at 10:00 and we waited... and waited... and waited.  Finally our interpreter came in and had us sign some papers.  Then we waited some more until finally I left the room (and I have this feeling we are NOT supposed to leave the room) to ask where she was.  I knew she would be taken away for lunch at noon and it was nearly noon.  They told me she hadn't gotten up from her nap yet and you can probably catch the drift from my last post that they do not break routine.  Ever.  So finally, around 12:15, after she had woken up and eaten lunch, they brought her to us!!!  I immediately couldn't help but smile as she was bundled up so much that she couldn't. even. move.   We counted five layers later that afternoon!  An undershirt, another undershirt shirt, a regular shirt, a sweater, leggings, socks, boots, a thick snowsuit, and a warm hat.  Then they looked at us like we were crazy for just standing there and said, "Get her outside!  She's going to get hot!"  Wow.  Okay!  We got her outside and found out from our friends that we were taking them to get passport pictures.

This next part you are going to find absolutely crazy if you have little kids.  Actually, even if you don't have little kids.  Maybe you should just skip this paragraph.  First of all, I had no idea we would leave the orphanage at all on this trip.  We walked to the car and I immediately was asking the other couple about car seats.  Nope.  Apparently, they don't do that in Russia.  Seriously??  Seriously.  We were expected to hold our sweet baby girl on our lap and hope for the best.  Coming from the United States, where car seat regimens are so strict, where you have to install the car seat perfectly, turn the car seat around at the exact right age or weight, practically use them until your children are teenagers... I didn't know what to think.  I knew we had to do it though, otherwise our little girl wouldn't have a passport.  So we drove for about ten minutes to get her picture taken and made it safely back to the orphanage.  Phew!

Back at the orphanage, we were told that we could change her clothes.  I didn't know we were able to bring an outfit for them, so I gave all the outfits I had to the orphanage.  Thankfully, our friends had an extra outfit (I can't even tell you how many times they have saved us!) so we changed her clothes.  We were happy to, especially since she was wearing the same clothes that she had on yesterday.  My first time dressing our little girl was so. much. fun.  I wanted to take so many pictures, but I wanted to spend every ounce of time with her that I could!

Yesterday, they came around 2:45 to get her for a nap so I was preparing myself for that.  I knew it was going to be hard.  I felt my heart break into a million pieces when they came to get her at 2:00.  Why were they early today?  Why couldn't they just give us a few more minutes?  Or a few more hours?  I carefully placed her into the caregivers arms and she waved our little girl's hand to say goodbye.  "Paka, paka" they would always say, which in Russian means bye-bye.  I wasn't sure how I was going to react, but I immediately sunk into Adam's chest and cried.  As I looked up, I saw his eyes were filled with tears too.  When I met all three of my baby boys for the first time in the hospital, nobody ever took them away for more than a few seconds.  To this day, I have never felt the raw emotion of somebody taking my baby away.  It was painful.  I felt helpless.  I wanted her back.  I wanted to bring her home right then and there.  I took some deep breaths, got myself together, wiped away the mess of mascara around my eyes, and tried to focus on being thankful.  Thankful that this region only makes you wait a few weeks in between trips.  Thankful that she was everything I had hoped she would be and more.  Thankful that she recognized us today and immediately walked into our arms.  Thankful that my heart is bursting with love for her.  Thankful for every second I got to hold her, kiss her chubby cheeks, watch her breathe as she fell asleep on my chest.  Okay, now I'm making myself cry...

Now for the good news.  They are doing everything possible to get our sweet baby home by Christmas!!  Whew.  Today we have our extensive four hour medical exam, which I'm sure will be interesting?   Our friends said it wasn't scary, that it was the best physical exam they've ever gotten.  Hmmmm.  We'll see.  If they can draw my blood on the first try, I'll officially be impressed.  After that, we are flying home!  So happy I have three amazing boys to come home to!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meetcha Day!!

God is so good!  We met our little girl today!  She is absolutely amazing!  We honestly don't think it could have gone any better... we are truly blessed! 

We met the couple we were driving with in the downstairs lobby and they immediately told us to grab some of the fruit that was on display, because in their experience, we wouldn't be eating for a long, long time.  Thankfully, we had gallons of water already, so we grabbed some fruit and were on our way.  We talked for almost the entire four hour drive.  Another thing they didn't tell us was to be sure to use the bathroom before we left because our driver was on a strict time schedule.  About halfway there, Adam and I thought we were going to burst and couldn't hold it any more.  Our new friends politely asked him if we could stop to use the restroom and thankfully, he said he would in ten minutes.  Phew!  Everywhere we stopped, he would tell us how many minutes we had.  The bathroom?  14 minutes.  Our hotel?  10 minutes.  The adoption center?  Well, he told us he would be back in 2 minutes but it ended up being about 30.  This is where he picked up our interpreter and told us the next stop was the orphanage!

My heart was absolutely pounding.  We waited for six months, flew halfway around the world, drove for four hours... all. for. this. moment.  It was truly unbelievable.  The orphanage looked really clean and they immediately gave us plastic footies to wear over our shoes.  Then our interpreter led us into a room and told us to have all of our questions prepared for the social worker.  Adam and I looked at each other, held hands, and prayed.  It was all we could do to pass the time until they brought our little girl into our arms.  Then the door creaked open and in she walked, (yes walked!!), holding the two fingers of one of the orphanage caregivers.  They immediately introduced us as momma and papa and we could tell they were assuring her we were safe and friendly.  She clutched onto the orphanage caregiver for a few moments, who steered her toward me with her fingers... and she walked right to me!  I immediately was gushing over her and kissing her chubby little cheeks with tears in my eyes.

Adam wanted me to make the first connection because children in orphanages typically never interact with males.  This might be the first time she ever saw one.  He happily took pictures of this moment in time, but it was only a few seconds before I used my fingers to lead her over to him.  And she seriously almost never left his side.  It was the most adorable thing I've ever seen.  Almost as if she knew she needed a daddy... and he didn't skip a beat.  Adam was absolutely amazing with her, just as I knew he would be.  They played with a ball, explored some toys, blew bubbles, and played all the familiar little daddy games that he played with each of our boys.  I think she's going to be daddy's little girl for sure.

We went over some paperwork and the orphanage workers played with her in the background.  You could tell that they loved her, truly loved her.  They ooohed and aaahed and laughed and played together.  I have no doubt that she is extremely well-loved here, which is so comforting.  They told us lunch was at noon and let us have some time alone with her.   Funny enough, right at noon, she looked worried and showed us a few hungry tears.  Thankfully, we bought puffs with us and she gnawed on one with an expressive little look... and proceeded to eat the entire bag!  A few minutes later, they picked her up promptly for lunch. 

When she was back from lunch, they told us we would get to play with her until 3:30!  We had no idea we would get to see her that long!  So we played and took pictures and played and took more pictures.  She seems right on target with milestones for this age, which being in an orphanage, we were not expecting at all.  We think she either learned to walk for the first time a few days ago, (or maybe it was with us today??) but Adam and I sat a few feet away from each other and she would go back and forth, taking a few steps and falling into our arms.  We also saw her crawling, which I was really happy to see.  She had an amazing pincher grasp with both hands as she happily ate her puffs.  She would mimic things Adam was doing and looked right into our eyes.  She babbled away in delight as we played.  We also could see about four teeth cutting, so her happy demeanor was incredible.  :)

I was surprised they didn't whisk her away for a nap, and low and behold, around two o'clock she started rubbing her eyes. I always hear how children in an orphanage do not like to be held and it is best to lay them down to fall asleep on their own.  My mommy instinct kicked in though and I gently rocked her back and forth... and she was asleep in my arms in less than a minute.  I couldn't believe it!  So Adam and I watched her sleep on my chest until they finally did whisk her away for a nap.  The orphanage worker seemed very happy to see her sleeping in my arms and kept saying something over and over in Russian to me.  And as she left, Adam noticed she had left an imprint of this perfect little hand print on my chest.  Right over my heart... and inside my heart!

I'm so sorry to say that our adoption agency doesn't want us posting pictures publicly over my blog until she is officially ours.  I would love to share them with you through an email or on facebook if you would like to see them.

And yes... after twelve hours, we did get to eat.  In case you were worried.  ;)

There was a verse that came to my mind over and over the entire day.

John 14:18  I will not leave you as orphans.  I will come to you.

One moment that will forever be engrained in my mind was when we drove up to the orphanage and saw about twenty toddlers, all bundled up and walking hand in hand with their caregivers out to the playground.  It broke my heart.  I wanted to bring them all home.  My prayer is that they will have a happy ending too and a mommy and daddy will come for them soon...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Russian Culture

Adam and I are getting much better at working our way around the city.  Wait a minute, that sounded like Pretty Woman.  In one day, I feel like we've come a long way though.  Instead of being intimidated with the fact that everyone speaks Russian except us, we are trying to embrace it.

We went to McDonalds the next morning (see, I was serious about the McDonalds thing ;) and tried to figure out how to order lunch.  There would obviously be no ordering "a McChicken without mayo" and I was seriously contemplating a Happy Meal because it seemed like the easiest thing.  So Adam asked for an English map and we pointed to french fries, a Chicken wrap, and a hamburger.  Did I mention this McDonalds was the fanciest I've ever seen??  When we walked in it looked the same, but around the corner, there was a separate McCafe with coffee and tons of desserts.  You could also walk upstairs to find additional seating and it was packed.

Then across the street, we found Starbucks!!  I think the entire store lit up like the Christmas tree on Christmas Vacation!  I was in heaven when I saw the little red Christmas cups and happily ordered a Gingerbread Latte.  Actually, I thought I pointed to the Eggnog Latte, but I got Gingerbread.  Who cares?!  We found Starbucks!  As we sat down with our giant mug, I remembered reading a blog where someone was convinced they got sick due to the water in the coffee.  I was a little nervous about this, but we rationalized that hot water would burn off anything that would make us sick.  Right?  Right??  You're not going to make me give up Starbucks, are you??  Okay, I might be addicted.  ;)

Later that night, we even got more brave.  Adam went into a flower shop and bought me a gerber daisy (my favorite).  It was a little funny because she didn't have a cash register, so we couldn't read how much to pay her.  She just kept repeating herself and Adam kept giving her different coins, trying to guess how much it was.  Finally, he got out his cell phone and she typed the number into his calculator.  My husband is so smart!  We also found a little dinette and paid $8 instead of $80 for dinner... yay us!

Here are some things we've discovered about the culture.  The woman are super trendy.  Seriously.  I felt completely under-dressed and was wishing I brought my Uggs because then I would somewhat blend in.  The typical outfit was coordinated with jeans or leggings and boots with tall heels.  I remember reading somewhere that these girls love heels and they totally do.  Also, I think we are by Moscow State University because there are mostly teenagers and people in their early twenties.  We have rarely seen little children and when we do, they are bundled up like the boy in A Christmas Story.  All the children we have seen are EXTREMELY well-behaved.  We have yet to see one little child throw a fit or do anything for that matter other than hold their mommy or daddy's hand and quietly walk beside them.  Actually everyone is extremely quiet.  Even in McDonalds, with the entire upstairs filled with people, you can hardly hear anything above a murmur and occasional laughter.  I typically talk louder, mostly in excitement as I'm telling a story or something... so Adam keeps telling me to tone it down a little.  ;)

We got to talk to the boys tonight and it absolutely filled my heart with joy!  (Even if Casey walked away from the phone to continue playing with his toys... ;)  Hearing their sweet voices was the best sound in the world, even if it made me a little homesick.  The coins here look just like the golden coins on Super Mario Brothers, so Jacob and Gavin were beyond excited to hear that we are bringing some home.  I am so thankful they sound healthy and happy.  A huge thank you to all my friends who are checking in on them!

This morning we are leaving to go to the orphanage!  There is another family from Ohio who is adopting a little girl from our orphanage as well, so we get to ride in the same car.  I'm really excited to meet them... and relieved to talk to someone else who speaks English!  They adopted a little boy from this same orphanage last year so they will be a wealth of information and tremendous help.  I can't sleep.  Again.  (Which is totally weird because I'm a sleep at the drop of a hat type person.)  This blog and I have become best friends in the middle of the night.  Another mom who adopted from Russia told me that her number one advice was to write down everything.  Because soon enough, it will turn into this surreal dream filled with blurred events that you can't remember...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Halfway around the world

We made it!  It's almost five o'clock in the morning, since Moscow is exactly twelve hours ahead of where we live.  So we are adjusting to the exact opposite schedule here... you can't mess up your body any more than that, right?  ;)  It's so weird to think that our boys are probably eating dinner and here we are in the pitch black room of our hotel, with only the city lights glowing outside the window.  From what Adam and I could see on the drive from the airport, Moscow looks beautiful.  It is much more than either of us expected. 

I was a little nervous about the length of the flight to get here, but you know what?  For the most part I really enjoyed it!  Especially being a stay-at-home mom with three little boys... I was really soaking in the whole "peace and quiet time to myself" thing.  Traveling stand-by went way more smoothly than I could ever have imagined, even if it was a close call to get on the flight to Frankfurt!  God has been answering our prayers and taking care of us the entire time.  The airline we traveled on was Lufthansa, and they were amazing!  Apparently, I've never been on an international flight because I felt completely spoiled!  There were screens ahead of each person filled with the latest movies, a giant screen up front showing us exactly where we were on a map, warm dinner, even hot towels once we were finished!  So here I was with my glass of wine, catching up on Parenthood and Grey's Anatomy, with the flight attendants walking up and down the aisle to bring you coffee, tea, or wine at any given notice.  Really?!  I think I'm in heaven!

I noticed that everyone was starting to sleep around 8 o'clock, but I wasn't the least bit interested in joining them until a few hours later.  What I wasn't expecting was for sunlight to fill the aircraft around midnight, since we were almost in Germany and it was already morning there.  Everyone was suddenly awake. I wasn't drinking much water because (those of you who know me won't be surprised ;) I didn't want to wake up the people on either side of me to go to the bathroom.  So I ended up getting super dehydrated and turned sheet white at one point.  The flight attendants were really worried and had a doctor take my pulse and blood pressure, but once I got some water and sugar in my system, I was fine.  :)  It turns out you're supposed to drink a lot of water on international flights... who knew?  ;)

We had a layover in Germany and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone spoke English at the airport.  Even people who were speaking German in line ahead of us would order in English.  This made it super easy to find out where our connecting flight was, get some lunch, and try a real German cappuccino (which was amazing!)  From there, we had a connecting flight to Moscow and a representative from our adoption agency was waiting with a sign at baggage claim.

We are extremely fortunate that our hotel is next door to the biggest mall I have ever seen, so last night we were able to get some groceries, bottled water (I read that people can get very sick by drinking the water here), and dinner.  It was at a restaurant in the mall that we encountered a struggle with the language barrier for the first time.  The waiters didn't speak much English, so thankfully, they had an English menu and we were able to point out what we would like to eat.  Adam even used an iphone application to ask where the bathroom was (ahhh, technology)!  We made it through dinner, and all the stories we had heard about how expensive Moscow is were confirmed.  $80 for dinner, ouch...  I think we'll go to McDonalds tomorrow??

Being a pilot, Adam is accustomed to traveling all over the world and adjusting to time changes.  Since the greatest time change I have ever endured is a three hour difference in Hawaii, he thought I was going to be a mess.  It was like he kept waiting and expecting me to melt down at some point!  So I think he was completely surprised at that at every stop we've made, I am giddily taking in all the new places, people, and customs.  I am half-way across the world, in a country that has only been a pinpoint on a map in our boys' room, in the country our daughter was born, a country that we hope to bring her back to someday.  I am taking in every ounce of the scenery and the culture, so one day I will be able to tell her all about it.  When you consider all of that, sleep is overrated right?  Or maybe ask me again tomorrow.  ;)

Anyway, so here we are!  It is soooooo surreal that our sweet baby girl is a mere four hours away from us!!!  We have a day to explore and catch up on sleep (which I'm sure I will need since I went to bed at midnight and am typing away at five in the morning)!  Then on Monday morning, we will drive up to the orphanage to meet the little girl whose picture we have been staring at for six months!  I can't wait to see her and find out if her hair is really strawberry blonde, if she has teeth, what her latest milestones have been, what her temperament is, let her play with the toys we brought, and just love on her...  we. can't. wait.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Travel dates!!!

We got our first travel dates to Russia!  The time between getting our referral and our first travel dates took a lot longer than our adoption agency expected.   I guess there was a misunderstanding with some new directions that were given and the adoption center didn't want to give us dates until it was resolved.  Now it should go really fast though, with merely weeks and even days between trips!  Whew!

I am completely in awe of God's perfect timing.  Adam had the last few days in October off, so we decided to take our boys to San Diego.  Our adoption agency actually called us while we were in Legoland!  I was screaming and jumping up and down... people must have just thought I was really excited to be there.  :)  Also, as of November 1, my hubby is based in Seattle again!   It is so amazing to have him home and it definitely makes it a lot easier to get ready for our trip!  My mom usually goes to Arizona with my grandma until Thanksgiving, but she decided to come home a few weeks earlier this year.  It ends up her flight back is just a few days before we have to leave, which is a huge blessing for us and our boys!  Another blessing is we will be back in time for Thanksgiving, and we will be able to speak on November 6th at our church for Orphan Sunday.  God is good!

Wow, there is a lot to do though!  Between applying for our visas (Adam had to write down every country he has visited for the past ten years, which was a looooong list being a pilot!) finding the best stand-by flights (and there are so many different options), getting everything ready for our boys while we are away, packing... whew!  We are sooooo excited to finally meet our little girl though.  Beyond words excited.  I can't wait to share our story and introduce her to all of you!


Each of the boys got to trick-or-treat twice this year, so they were super happy!  Jacob and I went to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate my nephew's birthday.  It was so much fun to have some one-on-one time on the waterslides with Jacob... and one-on-one time with my sister while all the cousins were dancing later that night!

This spider sets a world record for the number of balloons (3000) it took to create it.
 Jacob wanted to be the toy soldier from Toy Story.
 Travis opening Jacob's present
 Dancin' the night away.  :)
 My sister and my niece, who is growing up so fast!
Gavin and Casey got to trick-or-treat at the YMCA.
  Gavin really wanted to be Buzz Lightyear this year... I actually can't believe he's never been Buzz before, considering it always seems to be the theme of his birthday parties!
  Casey was all set up to be Woody... but he just REALLY wanted to be Buzz too.  Since my friend already had a Buzz costume that fit and Gavin didn't seem to mind,  I let him go for it.  :)
 They came out with pumpkins FULL of treats!
 We ended up flying home from San Diego on Halloween morning... because the flights looked the best and we are crazy like that.  ;)  Thankfully, we made it back just in time to trick-or-treat with our favorite friends.

  Casey could almost keep up with his brothers this year!
 Pointing out everything to his daddy.

 My two Buzzies.
 People in our church set up hot chocolate stands all over Puyallup... and we found one of them!  Gavin remembered the hot chocolate from last year and was so excited.  :)
Pretending to faint of happiness into his bucket of candy.  ;)
Later that night, the boys got to hand out candy to their own trick-or-treaters!