flashback mercy

By Family, Holidays, Kids

sarah reminded me that we never really did anything with these pictures. we haven’t even touched them up, but i think they look really good just the way they are. this was the funnest (??) photo shoot i have done with sarah and now i realize we are a great team. i have tried taking mercy’s eight month and nine month photos on my own and oh. my. goodness. impossible? maybe. mercy’s next few months (years?) of her life might be documented in blurs of motion. i’m not joking. i don’t understand how something so little can move so fast.

on that note, here she is in all her six month adorableness. when climbing out of a metal bucket took time. when crawling was a little slow and methodical. when she sat still. those were the days of easy picture taking. 🙂

p.s. she is nine months tomorrow. how is that possible?

my oldest is actually cinderella ♥

By Family, Kids, Moldova

she is cinderella.

and if you call her anything else…

you will probably get this reaction.

on a side crunchy note…i’ve been trying to figure out addy’s hair. her hair is still fluffy like a baby, fragile, delicate, whispy and at times, even frizzy. i hate the idea of using special shampoos or conditioners or anything in her hair. i finally found something that is really working. she gets a bath on friday morning and i rinse her hair with either water, vinegar or a little shampoo. then we towel dry and blow dry her hair. i rub a little grapeseed oil in the palms of my hands and work it into the ends of her hair. throughout the day, i keep combing it and you will see the oil work its way up. it should be completely gone by saturday but if it is still there just comb a little corn starch into the top of her head and the oily look will disappear. her hair is becoming softer and silkier before my eyes plus grapeseed oil should help her hair to grow. we do it once a week and she says her hair is turning golden like tangled!

where is 2011 going?

By Family, Kids, Moldova


It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through February. Where did January go? We brought in the new year happily asleep except for hearing the occasional gunfire or holler. I’m pretty sure many pregnant women brought in the new year sleeping just like me. 🙂


Then Grammie came for a cooking vacation. Basically she cook and I was on vacation. Actually she wanted to cook for everyone and I just reaped the benefits! We did sneak a Disneyland day in there and a few other fun activities. It really seemed like a short trip but I think she was here for an entire week.


Daddy, aka Christian has already gotten really old this year. 🙂 We ended January (and started February) with lots of celebrating. We drove to Modesto (thanks Jim and Cindy for the use of your home!) the Saturday before his birthday and had a great dinner with Christian’s family, my family and our NorCal friends. Grammie and Pops followed us home. Sunday we went to Sharkey’s after church and were blessed to have even more friends and family fill the entire restaurant to share a birthday lunch (am I married to a popular guy or something?!). But the grand finale didn’t start until Monday, when Christian and I were blessed to go on a four day cruise to Catalina and Mexico. Grammie, Pops and Auntie Doh watched Addy and I am very thankful for them – – I don’t think I could have left my baby girl if the three of them hadn’t been watching her! She did great and we got more sleep than imaginable. We were pretty much old people cruisers – – we ate when we felt like it and were in bed by 9pm every night. We had the most awesome tiny room down the middle of the ship (windows cost extra!) and it was perfect for us!


All that to say, January is over and Christian and I find ourselves thinking the strangest things – – such as, “that was our last January in the states” and “that was Christian’s last birthday in the states” and well, you get the picture! This is a weird year for us – – it’s like everything we need to figure out and sort out needs to get done. Every month brings us closer to the “big move.” Every decision we make is weighed now – – because we won’t be here that much longer and that makes a difference!


A lot of friends have asked us about our timeline. I thought I would give a basic one and add more details later. March, April and May are baby-preparation months. We figure it’s going to be a little hectic after the baby comes, so we are trying to get everything done before then. We are slowly transitioning our responsibilities. We are getting finances and such in order. We are going to be having garage sales and Lord willing, raising money to cover our moving costs. And then hopefully, baby will make his or her appearance in May or at the very latest, June. Since Addy was two weeks late, I have to keep reminding myself that this baby could be a June baby.


We figure June will be a lot of recuperating and adjustments – – but we are going to be blessed to have Auntie Doh living here, Grammie coming down to help and Christian having a much more flexible work schedule this time. Addy seems to be doing so well with the idea of a new baby coming. She loves to lay her cheek against my tummy and talk to “her” baby. She has come up with many name suggestions, including some really great ones like “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Spiderman” and “Beef Jerky.” Pretty much she is full of suggestions.


July and August will be packing and selling and selling some more. We may have found flights that allow us three bags per person, which would be a total of (9) 50 pound bags. Hopefully that is enough or even more than enough. However, we’ve never moved our family overseas before so it may be harder than it sounds! I have been gaining as much advice as possible from other friends that have moved their families to other countries. Lots of “take this” and “don’t worry about that”.” We will end August by moving into my parents’ house (thanks, Mom and Dad).


September will be (Lord willing) a month to travel, see some far away family and maybe even attend a few preparation classes/courses for new missionaries. We aren’t exactly sure what it will look like because we are still planning it but hopefully it will include a few road tips and plane rides. Christian is also going to fly over to Moldova in October (take some of our stuff) and get things set up – – things like renting our apartment.


Then it will be the holidays and we will spend the rest of October, November and December with our family and friends in NorCal. We will probably take one last trip back to Thousand Oaks in December to see our church family before we leave. And then it will be January and we will be moving to Moldova with a three year old and a seven month old.


All that to say, I think 2011 is going to disappear fast – – and I have mixed, excited and bittersweet feelings about it. That however, would be for another post!


Happy Valentine’s Day from Christian, Marie, Addy and BabyB <3

baby’s ultrasound pictures

By Family, Kids

okay, so they are a month old now (or maybe more?) but at least I am posting them, right?! these are baby #2’s twenty week ultrasound pictures and pretty cute if you ask me. 🙂 they also look so much like addy’s ultrasound, it’s amazing!








christmas 2010

By Family, Holidays, Kids

Christmas was perfect this year – – full of fun, food and family. Baby B did make me a little sick right around Christmas Eve but I managed to enjoy a few delicious goodies. I can’t believe that tomorrow we are heading back down south. It’s been a pretty wonderful December!

The Oaks_20101201_000142
Success! Addy really wanted to sit on Santa’s lap but was too nervous the first four times so I (being the good mama that I am) kept trying until she finally felt brave enough to sit on his lap. She was very proud of herself afterward!

Our amazing Christmas tree and maybe my last Leland Cyprus (since next year we will be living up north).

Craft: Cranberry and Popcorn Garland
Picking out the cranberries.

Putting them on the thread and needle.

Eating the extra popcorn.

Putting it on her little Christmas tree!

Craft: Making Marshmallow Creme Fudge
She was a BIG help with this one, can’t you tell?!

Craft: Making Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
Crushing the candy canes into crumbs.

Filling the center of the cookies with candy cane crumbs.

Craft: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Oreo White Chocolate Balls and everything else dipped in chocolate!

Craft: Advent Wreath
Showing off her work.

Showing off Mama’s work.

Most mornings, we eat oatmeal for breakfast. This morning, all Addy wanted was hot chocolate!

A little girl with big attitude!

Christmas Program: Addy’s angel debut!
Olivia was wondering why she didn’t have a lolly pop.

She was actually pretty offended that she wasn’t allowed to stand on the stage with the “big girl” angels.


Christmas Eve:
“I’m two!”

Grandma and Grandpa Burtt

Great-Grandma Dine, Daddy, Addy, Grandpa

Christmas Morning:
Ready and waiting – – where are all the sleepy heads?!

Oh, there they are!

Grammie and Pops fixed up a doll house for Addy, making it look brand new. I was especially excited about this idea, because a doll house isn’t something we will be able to take to Moldova but she will have one until we go. Grammie bought a new doll house family that will be able to go to Moldova with us!

This was her reaction to pretty much everything she opened.

Thank you to our friends, the Rohrers for these beautiful matching stockings!

That’s chocolate in her mouth that you can see.

I am actually quite good on the trike and Addy enjoys a good bike ride with mama!

Cousin Spencer got a fire engine that makes NOISE from Grammie and Pops.

Emma doing a little dance with her tambourine and Uncle “T.”

There were even more crafts but I don’t have pictures of all of them. The one thing I learned is that a “one day” craft might take two or even three days when you are working with a toddler’s attention span. The key is to have FUN and be creative. Oh and making a mess is good too.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas.
Happy New Year!

twenty-five days of christmas crafts

By Holidays, Kids

it’s a goal – – simply a goal. my hope is to do a different craft every day with addy. we will see how it goes but i can tell you now i probably will forget to take pictures of every one. however, today was a great first day of december!

we started this morning by doing box #1 of the “what God wants for christmas” nativity. we did a few crafts during the day and then we ended the day doing day #1 of our really cool, new nativity advent calendar from cousins spencer and emma.

here are a few pictures from one of our crafts. i have been wanting to do this for a while based on the following facts:
1. we have a million skinny crayons
2. addy prefers to break skinny crayons than color with them
3. this is way cuter!

i took the paper of the crayons. i started off my tearing it, which was time consuming. then i got the brilliant idea and used my craft x-acto blade and the paper came off in one piece.

addy’s job was to break the crayons. she loved it probably because i was letting her do something i’m usually telling her not to!

this was addy’s way of telling me it was time to take a break. tip #1 – – if you want to have a successful toddler craft time, let them take breaks when they want to. tip #2 – – don’t be task oriented! at one point we were just playing in the crayons. i am constantly reminded how kinesthetic and tactile my little girl is. <3

here she is with her entire bowl of crayons and in desperate need of a hair clip!

i read a few blogs that said to oil muffin tins and fill them with the crayons. it sounded difficult and i had these silicon christmas muffin pans. i didn’t oil them or anything. just fill them with any color combination you want.

i put them in our oven (250 degrees?) for i don’t know how long. i just checked them perdiodically and took them out when the crayons were melted and water-y looking. stir them a little or a lot. if you want swirls, just stir them until they aren’t water-y. or completely blend the colors together.

the silicon muffin pans are awesome! the crayons peel right out without any trouble. oh, let them cool for a while and you can even stick them in the fridge once they are cool to touch.

this is just the first batch. we have more cooling as i type this. even sarah helped make some!

goodbye to our little man

By Family, Foster/Adoption, Kids

he came in a blur on wednesday, september twenty-second around dinnertime. he had a total of four names written on all his paperwork – – so we nicknamed him luca. he was wearing clothing for a twelve month old baby. he was so filthy, that during that first bath i wondered if maybe his skin was permanently stained with dirt. he was shell shocked and glazed and his only smile was when addy would smile at him. his first night, he woke up at least five times, screaming and crying to leave. he had no idea how to sleep in a bed or take a bath or not watch television twenty-four hours a day. it seemed like he had never brushed his teeth or used a spoon to eat. he had two words, “coke” and “chicken” (aka chicken nuggets).

then the tantrums started and an angry, nasty little boy started coming out of his shell – – or so we thought. it didn’t take much time to instead find a scared, sad, confused little boy, acting out in anger and pain. he spent more time throwing tantrums then doing anything else. we had no idea what to do with him or how to communicate with him. sometimes it felt like for every step forward we’d take three steps backwards. so we just loved him. he had no idea how to respond to steady and consistent love and care – – something that comes from not receiving consistent care during those first two years of his life. he was one of the most broken little boys we had met in a long time.

yet being a foster parent means parenting and loving a child for a length of time you can only guess. it means dying to self daily and asking the Lord to give you the strength you need to get through the day. and at the end of the day, it means not knowing when the time has come for a child to leave your home. for us, it meant having our little guy leave two months and two days after he came to live with us.

sometimes i can’t believe it was only two months. sometimes i can’t believe we actually made it two months. i can only trust the Lord that we were faithful to the assignment given to us and that we did make a difference in luca’s life. the night he left, sarah, christian and i stood around him in a circle and prayed for him. we asked the Lord to keep him safe. we asked the Lord to protect him when the court reunited him. we asked the Lord to bring Godly men and women into his life to continue to love him the way the Lord loves him.

thank you for all your support during this challenging time in our lives. we were blessed to have so many supportive family and friends willing to drop everything and lend us a helping hand. thank you in advance for the continued prayer support.

love lots,

christian, marie, sarah and addy <3 IMG_9157

one year ago…

By Family, Holidays, Kids

one year ago i was…





and 27.

this year i am 28,

but i have this:






i’d have to agree.


i love this kid

and i don’t mind getting older…

it’s kind of cool, actually!

Orphan Sunday

By Foster/Adoption, Kids

James 1:27 says, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.”

John 14:18 says, “No, I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you.”

Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ “

Galatians 4:4-7 says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

The command is simple and straightforward – – take care of orphans. But the facts are even more straightforward – – the Christian church has not done a great job. Christians are missing something when the “coolest” thing about adoption right now is that celebrities are the ones adopting.

Adoption is the heart of God. If it were not for adoption, we would not be saved. We were not in relationship with the Lord because we sinned in the garden of Eden. But thanks to God for sending his Son to die on the cross, we have now been adopted to become sons, no HEIRS as the scripture points out, of God.

November is Adoption Awareness Month  and that is what what we need to be doing – – bringing awareness to an issue that Christians long ago started ignoring. November 8th is Orphan Sunday. Here is one way you can learn more and teach others more about God’s heart for orphans and adoption.

Orphan Sunday

Here is a little from the website:

On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.

From many sources, one voice. Hundreds of events across America and beyond, all sharing a single goal:  that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well.

Each as they are led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan…and what we can do in response.

November 8, 2009. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

In California, it will be live @ 2pm (check out the website for the link to watch over high speed internet). We would encourage you to gather some friends and family and watch – – and allow the Lord to speak to you and see what you are supposed to do to support orphans and adoption. We think you might be surprised with how the Lord wants to work in your life!


what have we been doing?

By Family, Holidays, Kids

we’ve  been busy for the past month or two, that’s for sure!




hanging out at the beach (santa cruz)


visiting grandma and grandpa burtt


giving daddy kissies


learning how to climb stairs




apple hill with grammie, pops, aunties and spencer




meeting emily elizabeth




getting to know our new backyard


talking on the phone


underwood farms with our auntie sarah and our friends dina and grace

we also went to disneyland with spencer, but we don’t have pictures of that yet.

so, we will leave you with this…


happy harvest/halloween from two *very* scary little guys!