We are Andrew, Brianna, and Jessica. Thank you for taking the time to look at our blog and for considering adoption; it has already blessed our lives and is very special to us. We can't comprehend the challenges and decisions you are facing right now, but we want you to know we are thinking of you and praying for you. We know that prayers are answered and that God will bless you with the decisions you are making. We know that adoption is an incredibly brave choice, but it is also incredibly difficult. We hope you can feel our love for you and that you will feel peace and strength, no matter what choice you make.

We love being a family and we love adoption! We adopted Jessica as an infant in 2010 and we are so grateful for her birth mom, Melinda, and our relationship with her. We've been able to visit with her, her family, and Jessica's birth father's family, and have loved getting to know all of them and having them in our lives. At times, we have lived close, which was so nice to be able to visit often, but even when we have all moved, we are grateful to stay in touch in other ways when we can't visit as often. We see Melinda as a part of our family and we love her so much! We hope to have an open adoption again (maybe even with you) because we have seen how incredible it truly is!

We want you to be able to get to know us a little, but it is hard to describe your family in a letter without making it a mile long. Well, maybe some people can do it, but we can be long winded, so it is hard for us. Either way, we decided to instead share 10 random facts about our family to help you get to know us.

1. Andrew considers our first date together as the one where his roommate asked me out and Andrew was with another girl. While canoeing, he said he realized he had the wrong girl in his canoe. We still like to go canoeing, but now, we are in the same canoe.

2. Brianna has been skydiving, which is pretty surprising because she is no daredevil and pretty cautious. Side note from Brianna: I didn't jump, but the instructor strapped to me did and he was big enough to pull me out of the plane with him. Never again!

3. We like to celebrate half birthdays in our family. All of our family celebrations are pretty close: our anniversary in April, Andrew's birthday in May, Brianna's in June, and Jessica's in July. This way, we can celebrate all year! We don't do much...half a cake or a fun treat, decorate with our Happy 1/2 Birthday sign and some balloons and streamers (Jessica always wants to decorate with balloons and streams), and of course, we sing "Happy 1/2 birthday to you..."

4. Jessica named her doll Froggy, because the doll has some pajamas with frogs on them. Good thinking, right? Froggy often has birthdays; she is eight now although she has only been around for four years.

5. Andrew hasn't had a cavity in over 25 years! Brianna has had multiple cavities in the last 25 years and as a result dislikes visiting the dentist.

6. In our first home after we were married, we experienced almost every possible disaster! First, we had a septic tank/plumbing catastrophe, a flameless kitchen fire that filled the house and all our possessions with smoke, and a gas leak in the neighborhood which caused us to evacuate. We also had our phone lines ripped off the house by a garbage truck, a flood in the basement, and gale force winds that were tearing the roof off an old shed (don't worry...Andrew climbed up there in those winds to secure the roof). Despite all this, we still loved the place. Check out the full scoop here.

7. Every Christmas, one of our favorite traditions is making and decorating gingerbread houses. We buy way, way too much candy and take hours! We all decorate our own and it so fun!

8. We have lived in all the "aska" states (Alaska and Nebraska). One of those was the most beautiful state in the country. Hint: It wasn't Nebraska!

9. If we could go anywhere on vacation, we would probably all pick Seaside, Oregon. We love the beach, and even though Oregon beaches are cold, it is so beautiful and has so many good memories for us! Jessica has only been once, when she was one, and even she can't wait to go back. We are planning a trip to go there this summer and we can't wait!

10. Andrew can do some pretty funny things with his face. He can move his eyebrows with precision and accuracy, he can make the biggest frown in the world, and he can make a crazy half-frown half-smile. You will have to see it sometime! Jessica loves making faces with him (or practicing staring contests) and he is teaching her how to move her eyebrows too.

That is us in a nutshell, but there is a whole lot more we would love to share with you. We would love to learn more about you as well!

We are excited to have our family grow through adoption! Thank you for giving us hope! We are so grateful for Jessica's birth mom, Melinda. We are amazed at the strength she had to place Jessica in our family. We love having an open adoption and relationship with her and we feel that it has blessed all of our lives! We think one of the most important things in a marriage is having good communication and have seen it strengthen our relationship. We have seen this with Jessica's birth families and we know it will be important to have communication and openness with you as well. We look forward to meeting you and building a friendship. You can get to know us more by texting or calling us at 801-477-6621 or emailing us at andrewbrianna21@gmail.com.

Thanks again for considering us. You are in our prayers,

Andrew, Brianna, and Jessica

Family Reunion = A few days on a Ranch in Idaho, staying up lateplaying Parcheesi with nieces and nephews, eating tons of food and asuper fast 200 foot water slide!

Well the title says it all! Who says you can't judge a book by its cover...I bet if this was a book and that title was on the cover you could probably judge that this would be an interesting read.

We recently attended an amazing family reunion with Brianna's side of the family. We all met at a neat little ranch in the middle of nowhere in Idaho, and it was so much fun! Besides some of the usual family gathering activities we did some fun and crazy stuff. One of the hits during our time there was the home made 200 foot water slide. I had a special method of racing down the slide to help me reach maximum speeds of up to 200 to 300 mph...so it seemed. There was a water pump that pumped irrigation water down the slide from the top of the hill, and it was so cold your first time down. I would sit there and let the water fill up behind me, then I would let the water go in front and I would race behind it. The slide is built on a good hill, so you get a bit of speed on the way down. The way you stop at the end could be a little scary, but it always worked out ok and I didn't get banged up too many times. There was a slightly wider section that was about five feet long with about two feet of standing water that you would splash into that served as the braking system. On one of my times down the slide, I found out that it was possible to hydroplane across the water if my feet were just right. That was really fun, until I skimmed over the top of the water pool that was suppose to slow me down and crashed into the end of the slide. It only takes one time of trying that out to realize that is not a good idea!

I am really proud of Jessica for going down the slide. It was a huge slide for a kid and the first day she went down from halfway up the hill, but the next day she was going down the whole thing. The other little nieces and nephews had fun waiting at the bottom of the slide for me to come down. They would all get a tidal wave of water on them (check out the picture below to see it) when I was splashing to a stop. It was so much fun! We really enjoyed that slide.

Another fun thing we did there was I started a game of Parcheesi with the teenage nieces and nephews. If you haven't heard of Parcheesi, it is a combination of Sorry and Backgammon. Once they got the rules down and started a game it lasted for about two hours. It was fun teaching them how to play the game then having them wipe me out as they played! The game got pretty loud and we were told multiple times to be quiet as we were playing it. Finally, we relocated to an outdoor hallway so we would not keep people up who were trying to sleep.

One last funny memory I want to share is the reenactment of the human pyramid family picture. I'm sure you have reenacted famous pictures from your childhood years later just to see if you can do it. For me in my family, it was a picture of my uncle David with my dad on his shoulders, then I was on top of my dad's shoulders. This is a classic picture in my family, because my dad is 6' 2" with broad shoulders and my uncle is just standing there like it was no problem. Well fast forward 10 years and we tried to reenact the picture...my dad is still a big guy and I was no longer the little toddler I once was...I was about 6' 5" and 225 lbs. To make a long story short, we took the picture but it nearly ended in disaster with my poor uncle buckling under the pressure!

So back to the family pyramid picture. When Brianna was younger all the siblings made a pyramid family picture. For some crazy reason Brianna was on the bottom row (actually it was because she was the tallest girl at the time)...the reenactment had switch the placement of people around a little bit to make things work out. I took a bunch of pictures as they were trying to get the picture to work. I love the expressions on some of their faces as people were laughing, yelling and hoping that the picture could finally be taken and they could be done with the thing. Fun times.

All in all it was a great experience. Brianna comes from a wonderful family and that is a great blessing.

Oh what do you do in the summertime?

Now that we have less than a month of summer left before Jessica starts kindergarten (yikes!), I figured it would be good to give an update of some of the things we've been up to. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? I'm pretty sure that means I can stop writing here...but I won't.

First off, we built a fairy house and a fairy garden. And then, a few weeks later, when this fairy house got rained on and fell apart, dad built Jessica another fairy house out of wood to last forever. She swears she saw Tinkerbell visit a few times.

We built a beautiful fence! Man...gates are hard work! Andrew is patient and I'm grateful he was willing to build the design I wanted, because, really, doesn't this look beautiful??

We planted our garden...and this year, we even planted an herb garden. I love it! Today I picked my first Armenian cucumber, and I had to use my shirt as a bucket to hold all the cherry tomatoes I picked, so the garden is finally getting real.

We got a dog...Bailey! And we loved her...

But sadly, after a few weeks, Bailey had a hard time adjusting to life here, and we had take her back to her first family. It was rough...and the only thing that made it easier was seeing her so happy to see them. We still miss her sometimes though.

We made some sweet homemade tie dye shirts (with craft paint) to celebrate Independence Day. Best family night activity ever!

We celebrated Jessica's 5th birthday too!! This was an awesome card she got from one of her birth grandmas. It played music, and we heard it a lot!

We had two exchange students from Japan come to stay with our family for two weeks! It was fun and exhausting, and it made me very thankful for google translate.

We've also played with lots of friends, eaten picnic lunches, gone to the library, the park, and the water park many times...and made a lot of messes. Here's to another month of summer fun!

Welcome to the Zoo!

Yesterday, it was a little rainy and windy here, so after preschool, we decided to build a zoo! Jessica's Zoo. It was so fun; she even wanted me to make a map to show where to park and where all the animals are. 

We brought down all our stuffed animals, puppets, and everything else we own that is an animal, including the rocking horse, and we made cages for all of them. We don't have any elephants, lions, or tigers, but we have bears, a giraffe, a penguin, and a beluga whale. And a lot of other animals. 

When Andrew came home from work, they drove to the zoo, picked up their tickets at the coat closet, and headed to the zoo so she could show him all the animals. Then, they fed them some dinner. Today, we are going to be veterinarians and give them all check ups, although the sun is starting to show, so we may not last all day.

Sledding in a Winter Wonderland (sort of)

In January, we decided to take advantage of the holiday and go sledding. The weather didn't really want to cooperate with us...I think it was in the 50s that day. But, we went to the mountains, stayed in a tiny scout camp cabin overnight, and had a blast sledding on the tiny amounts of snow the next day. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, here are 10,000 for you!