"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jumping with Joey!

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Amanda was laughing hysterically at Joey (aka Ironman) jumping on the couch. I caught the end of it on tape.

Just Hangin with the Neighbors

Such cuties!!! And Amanda and Maddie even had matching suits!
The daddies hard at work putting on sunscreen...the mommies were soon to leave to go get manis/pedis
Two handsome guys!

Splash!
It was SO fun to actually get a full day with nothing else planned JUST to hang out with the Zitos. Usually we are there for a night or two but are cramming in a million things. We had SUCH a wonderful time with them as always. They are amazing friends and staying with them feels like staying at "home." THANK YOU ZITOS for another wonderful visit filled with more treasured memories. Can't wait to see you again soon!! And hurry up and plan your trip to Tokyo! Not as many foot massages as when you came to China, but I PROMISE we will show you a great time!! Maybe we will even break out PIGS!

Cupcakes!





Meeting the Cosgroves!

While Mike went to the game, Amanda and I drove back out to the burbs. We stopped by our old neighborhood where we still have our house, and stopped in to see some of our great friends, the Cosgroves who lived two houses down from us! This is Amanda with Kevin and Chloe! OH MY GOSH they are all grown up! They were TINY when we left for Shanghai! I used to keep Capri Suns in my house for these two cuties. So good to see them!!

Cubs Pre-Party

We walked into a restaurant FULL of people waiting to meet Amanda!
Carsten even stopped by before he flew back to Austin. He was NOT happy to be in a room full of Cub fans as he is a die-hard Cardinal fan. Sorry buddy!
Amanda meets Drew, one of our good friends from Shanghai who now lives in Michigan.
Charles, Amanda and Erin! It was SO fun to get to see them and we were SOOO happy to get to meet Charles! Thanks for taking time to come see us guys!
Daddy, Amanda, Smatty and Blake. Blake was here all the way from South Carolina! It was SO fun to get to see so many people that day!

Mark and Vanessa stopped by on the way to the game with their friends. They were SO nice to stay even though there were no real seats. It was GREAT to catch up with you guys!!! Here's hoping we get to see ALL of you in Tokyo some time soon!

A fun morning before a BUSY afternoon

Maddie took SUCH good care of Amanda.
Krista had more presents for Amanda the next morning which included this adorable headband and tutu. AND, a beautiful shadow box for Amanda that is so full of love and emotion. It is hanging in her room and I cry every time I read what Krista wrote. THANK YOU my incredible friend for capturing so much in one little box.

Joey's in love. Mike is having nightmares about the teenage years:-)

Big hug from her boyfriend before we headed off to Chicago! By the way, Krista and her mom stayed home while we went downtown to meet a bunch of people before Mike went to the cubs game. While we were off having fun, they were shopping and slaving to make us another DELICIOUS dinner. Homemade crabcakes were just the start. Yum!!!!!

Dirty Pigs


After the kids went to bed, we had a fabulous dinner and a few drinks. Joe got Mike a very special t-shirt--covered in dirty pigs. Ahhhh the memories!!!

Meeting The Zitos!

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Meeting the Zitos! IT is too bad I didn't get Amanda meeting Bella, the Zitos white lab. Bella gave Amanda a BIG kiss! It scared her to deathe but by the end of our weekend there, Amanda was following Bella all over the house trying to give her kisses.

Amanda, Meet "THE Neighbors!"

So this trip was a complete ROLLERCOASTER of emotions. First, Amanda got to meet SO many people. Then, we would have a great time with dear friends and then have to leave. I was crying in the car as we drove away from St. Joes. But, just a few hours later, complete BLISS as we got to introduce the Zito family (our neighbors, and WONDERFUL friends, two different times before moving to China)

Maddie, Joey and Krista all came running out to greet us...well Amanda!
Maddie and Joey had a present for Amanda right away! Lucky Girl!
They made her a panda build-a-bear that says "We love you Amanda" in their sweet voices. She LOVES it!
Kisses!
And Krista, hostess extraordinaire, had the most delicious homemade margaritas ready to go!

Joey and Maddie were full of hugs and kisses for Amanda. It was absolutely precious!
Amanda swinging in a big girl swing with help from Maddie
Joe got home from work and found the little toddler swing for Amanda and put it up.

Amanda loved it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to the Beach

One last quick dip in the water!
It was so fun to take Amanda to Lake Michigan especially since I spent so many summers on the beaches of Lake Michigan growing up!

Carsten and Mike
Beach Babies

Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much McCurdys for an AMAZING time! The place was gorgeous and it was incredibly nice of you to let us invade for a few days. Can't wait for you to buy the place so we can park our yacht there--hehe! Love ya and see you soon!!! XOXO!!!

Happy Birthday Steph!!

Happy 41st Birthday Steph!!!
Thank you SOOO much for all the EXTRA travel you added to an already long trip to come and see us! Congratulations on #2 coming in 2011!!! And because I love you dearly, I will correct myself and say Happy 31st Birthday you youngin!!! Can't wait to see you in April when you are cheering on the Boilermakers with us at the Final Four!!!

Lake Michigan!

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Amanda LOVED playing in the water!

Waterpark Fun!

There was an amazing waterpark just down the road from the cottage

Lucia and her daddy having LOTS of fun!

Amanda decided to try it out!




After playing at the waterpark, we went for ice cream. Amanda was checking out all the homemade fudge!

Back to the beach!


These two girls had SO much fun together. I cannot tell you how many times I watched them playing or every time I look at these pictures, I just stop and stand in complete AWE that we adopted at the SAME TIME as our incredible friends, the McCurdys, that we got to travel TOGETHER to China and that our beautiful daughters are from the same province in China. Must have been all those prayers from Grandma Griffin..."Now to Him who is able to immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..." Ephesians 3:20

Two little miracles

Very intense "sand castle" building






She has a flower on her suit too!

Carsten decided to join the girls at the beach...sans suit. Pretty sure his daddy would be rather proud:-)


Ended the day throwing the girls up and down in the water. I wish I had video of this. They were facing each other and laughing hysterically!!