Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adoption Day

Today the adoption was finalized. The girls are officially O and L Penner! We've been talking a lot about what that means. Right when I took this picture, O told the judge that her papers meant that "no one can ever send us away because I like my room a lot!" The judge heartily agreed that these legal documents mean that we are their parents forever and it's good that she likes her room. :)

One thing the court does for adoptive kids is that they each get to pick a teddy bear. The girls spent a lot of the morning role-playing with their bears and right now, they are napping with them in their arms. :)

Some have asked if now that they are adopted if it is OK if we put their faces and names on the blog or on Facebook. Although we COULD now - there is no foster agency telling us what we can and can't do anymore, we do not feel it is in the best interest of the girls. For their safety, we will continue to blur their faces and not use the full names. I can't go into detailed reasons online as to why we do it - just know it is for the best.

After we left the courthouse, Jenetta packed us some lunches and the girls and I headed to Mt. Palomar to play in the snow to celebrate. At the peak, there was still a good 18 inches of snow, although it is melting quickly. Sadly, the observatory (and it's parking lot) were closed due to weather - I'm guessing they just didn't want to plow out the road so city people like us could play in their snow. But there was almost nobody else up there, so we found a place on the side of the road that had a pretty decent sledding hill and some areas of fresh snow to play with.

The girls made a few snowmen:

all of which were promptly destroyed...

... and eaten!

We also found out that a boogie board makes a pretty good sled when the snow is wet!

We brought home a cooler full of snow to play with in the yard - I'll try to pull the camera out for that after nap time.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers for us. Please keep them up. Although a lot changed today, really nothing changed at all. Our routine is still the same, our discipline and structure are still the same, and our love for them is the same. Sometimes it is easy and fun, sometimes it is very difficult and exhausting, but most of the time, it just IS. It's our life now... :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Two hikes

I went on two great hikes today. One was with my friend Jeremy, and we enjoyed a good time walking and talking together. The air was crisp and clear and the views to the snow on Mt. Palomar were great! That little waterfall near the edge of Westwood is a serious gusher now because of all the rain. The best part by far, though, was spending time just talking to Jeremy. It's been a while for both of us...

After that, I came home and got the girls and we joined Geoff and his boys and hiked to a stream near his home. We climbed up on rocks and got muddy on the trail. It was a lot of fun. Then we enjoyed a yummy lunch prepared for us by Geoff at his home. The girls were wiped out - they fell asleep in the car on the way home!

Sadly, L was kind of a third wheel on the trail. O is definitely going after Will... :)
Sorry about that, Horn family! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo Shoot

I've been working this week on a photo shoot in lovely Boulevard, CA. Our Cousin-in-law Alana hired me to help out. The crew is shooting product promo photos for a military contractor. It's been quite an experience! We are working on a ranch where the southern border of the property is actually the US-Mexico border. Here is what the fence looks like:

Here are some photos of the type of setups we have been doing:

Alana and I helped to make the concrete barriers and junky cars look more junky and dusty.

Cris worked today on the shoot as an Afghani person. Here he is sweating nervously at the military checkpoint. Definitely a "person of interest!" :)

It's been hard to be away from the girls so much this week, but I am sure grateful for the work!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Tonight we shared a meal with the Gallion family. Avery was born on Dec. 9. The girls were fascinated by her and did a pretty good job of keeping calm around her.

Avery was kind of fussy tonight and for some reason, when O sang to her, it settled her down. :)

L "read a book" to Avery. :)

And the girls were just as enamored with their cat, Shadow. He let them pet him. (Our cat just hisses at the girls and runs under the bed.)

We really enjoyed our evening with our friends. It is so good to be able to share in each other's journeys...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lake Poway

Jenetta's dad Pat and his wife Shelley visited our place earlier this week. The girls loved having extra sets of laps to climb up on and more people to read stories to them. :)

This photo was taken by O. She is a budding photographer!

We have been enjoying temperatures in the high 70's. Today seemed hot! It just does not seem like it is January at all! I took the girls to Lake Poway and we played around on a rental boat. They each got to take turns steering the motor, and later we played around with the oars a bit. We had a lot of fun together, and it was a good day for behavior. I'm grateful for days like these.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I like blogs because they provide a good record of how I was feeling and what I was thinking throughout the year.

This afternoon, I reviewed all the posts from the past two years. Some conclusions that I draw from these snapshots are:

- I only had a vague lingering recollection of how tough some of the early adjustments were with the girls. I guess I'm just kind of accustomed now to how I respond to difficult behaviors, and we are always working on dealing with new problems and phases. It is good to reflect on where we were then and where we are now. The girls for the most part are pretty well-behaved. They go to sleep like clockwork, instead of fighting it and staying up past 10:00. Even when she makes poor choices and is disciplined, O's temper tantrums are sometimes less than 30 seconds instead of 20-30 minutes of screaming and kicking. L has reverted somewhat and is peeing and pooping in her pants a lot. We had three dry days, but today she was too interested in playing with the neighbor girl to listen to her body. So that is annoying (after saying goodbye to diapers 4 months ago!) For the most part, they listen well and try hard to behave. It is still a lot of work, but we are enjoying times that we spend with them.

- Training for the marathon was extremely challenging for me. I was tired much of the time. I am glad I completed it, but it may be a while before I put in that kind of effort again. I think the half marathons are a much better race for me (and my parenting schedule). The next one is Feb. 14.

- I lost two different jobs this year, Jenetta has zero weddings for next year (and we just closed her studio yesterday), I haven't been able to find anything else and have been unemployed since September, and Jenetta's blog work, while growing, is still only generating a part-time income. So the financial side probably is the bleakest we've ever seen in our married lives. But just like running nearly every day conditioned me to do the marathon, and dealing with the girls everyday makes us conditioned to the way things are when challenges come up, the fact that we've had to spend more or less two solid years of trusting God for every bill we pay has taught us a lot about relying on Him. Trusting God to provide is becoming like breathing. It's just something we do without much thought - it just happens, and we are grateful for it.

- And in many respects, having the girls in our lives has isolated us from our friends. There is much we need to say "Sorry, no" to now (or it never even comes up as most of them have small kids or newborns now - or assume we wouldn't be available anyway). I was feeling like maybe we should take a break from our homegroup. It is so easy to feel a desire to insulate and detach. But, in the midst of all that, we received the most generous outpouring of love from so many people this Christmas season. It has helped so much and taught us that at this time in our lives, it is more important to connect with others than ever.

I'm eager to see what God teaches us this year. Here are some things I am anticipating:

- Adoption should be finalized in early January. We'll announce a child dedication at our church later this winter or in early spring.

- I'm planning on running another half marathon on Feb. 14. Judy and Kyle might even come down to visit that weekend!

- At some point, I will find some kind of employment, or the income on Jenetta's blogs will increase to the point where I can contribute there regularly.

- We will continue to discover what it means to trust and follow God.

- The girls will continue to grow in their understanding of Him and be more and more fun for us to parent.

Happy new year to all of you! Comment on this post - tell us what you expect in 2010!

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