Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kate's Day in Court

For those of you who thought that the adoption process was all over and done with for Kate, there was actually one last step...

While we should have done this last year, having a houseful of small children made it more difficult than with Sydney, and we just dragged our feet. Wednesday, though, we finally went to the Denton County Courts with Kate (while the other three stayed with my mom) and had her adoption officially "recognized" by the state of Texas. Some families do a "readoption" in their state of residence, but Texas only requires a "recognition" of the valid adoption that was finalized in China. This allows us to, among other things, file a birth certificate for Kate in Texas so that we can get copies down the road. The certificate will say that she was born in China, but will be on file in Texas rather than having to use a translated copy from China.

We've actually been to the Denton County Courts three times now. We made two trips with Sydney, and this one with Kate. All three differed greatly, despite the fact that we were attempting the same action all three times...

Our first visit, shortly after we adopted Sydney, was unsuccessful, as the judge presiding that morning was filling in for the regular judge, and was not familiar enough with the process to feel comfortable completing it without more documentation than we had provided and had been told (by other adopting families) was needed.

Our second trip was a few weeks later, when the "regular" judge was back on the bench, and the process was over in 10 minutes. We probably answered a few questions, provided our paperwork, and were in and out quickly after filing the resulting court order and paying the fees to file a birth certificate.

Our third trip took us before yet a third judge who was either less familiar with the process or just more formal in general. After filing our request with a county clerk who clearly had no ability to deal with people who don't know the jots and tittles of the legal profession, we took our file to the court bailiff and awaited our turn. His Honor swore us in, asked us to identify ourselves for the record, and then asked us to proceed. Um... proceed with what, you might ask? I wasn't sure myself. He clearly expected us to present something, though, so after a few moments of awkwardness I started to describe the timing and circumstances around our adoption of Kate. His Honor interrupted a few times to make sure the record reflected who was speaking, etc (as the court reporter dutifully transcribed everything), and after asking a few questions about the information we had submitted, our backgrounds, etc, he made everything very official by declaring it in the best interests of the child and the state to... well, I don't remember how he said it, but it was done. He signed our papers, at which point we went back to the county clerk to be chastised yet again for not dotting some "i" or crossing a "t". Finally, it was all done, though, and we paid up and left. It says in the fine print (I'm sure the county clerk could quote chapter and verse) that we will get a birth certificate for Kate in the next few weeks, at which point we will be done with paperwork the formalities.

Oh, as a teaser, my next post will be a collection of photos of Kate "accessorizing". That little girl loves shoes with a passion, and we've started trying to snap photos of her when we see her clunking around in shoes belonging to everyone else in the family...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Update on the last two months

I. Have. Four. Kids.

What? I have a blog too? Pssh, like that gets to factor into things...

What have we been up to since I last posted on April 22nd with a promise to post some photos? A lot... See for yourselves...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Killer iPhone app?

Now, before you start - Yes, I know I need to post some photos of the kids! Ethan is approaching 7 weeks old, and we have lots of great pictures, but have not taken the time to post any. Insert apologies and begging of forgiveness here. It will be remedied soon...

In the meantime, yesterday I found what could possibly be the killer app for my iPhone, which I have had for a month now, and think is a pretty great gadget! I'm not trying to make a sales pitch for this app yet, because I have only used it once and there were mitigating factors, but the concept is awesome.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ethan's Birth Announcement

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Ethan

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ethan's Second Week

Well, this week has seen a lot of progress toward getting our heads above water, thanks in very large part to my mom who has stayed with us most of the time since Ethan's birth and helped out in every way, and thanks in another large part to our church family which has generously provided us with a number of meals. At the same time, our photos have largely been the same as last week, cataloging Ethan and his siblings as we try to spend as much time relaxing and playing as possible, while building a routine that we can manage once I go back to work on Monday.

Rather than include all the photos here, I've put them in a Picasa Web Album. Hope you enjoy!

(Ok, one teaser, just to show you what you're missing if you don't click the link...)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ethan's First Week

So, for those dying to know, here's our week in pictures:

Ethan has been doing lots and lots of this:

, though he seems to be the only one. Meanwhile, we have taken the opportunity to do lots of this:

and this:

and this:

and of course trying to capture it all by doing this:

The high point for Sydney and Peter was today, though, when, in an effort to get out of the house, we visited the newly completed fire station down the street and did this:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Frii as in Biir

I woke up this morning and went to check on the kids so Amy could keep sleeping. I found them in the playroom (a small-ish second family room between their rooms) playing together. At first I didn't think anything of the fact that Peter and Sydney were sitting on the stairs next to each other while Kate watched. Or the fact that each was holding a Lincoln Log in one hand and a plastic hoop (from some other game) in the other. It was not until a few minutes later, after I had dispersed them to their rooms to start gathering clothes, etc, that I picked up on what they were saying and realized what game they had been playing.

They were playing Wii.

And no, we don't have one. But friends of ours do, and that's enough to set their imaginations in motion now, isn't it?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Introducing Ethan James Bredenberg

Everyone is home from the hospital safe, sound, and glad to be home!

Born at 9:41pm on Friday, March 5, 2010, and weighing in at 8 lbs. 0 oz, 21 1/2 inches long, here, ladies and gentlemen, is Ethan James:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ethan James Bredenberg


Mom and baby are great. 8lbs even!

Ready, set, go!

We're at the hospital, Amy's doing great. Real soon now!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Feeding kids...

(Yes, today is Amy's due date. For whatever that's supposed to mean. No little one yet.)

I don't think anyone likes feeding kids. Am I right? Peter has been a struggle, but he'll feed himself now. Kate, on the other hand, would actually prefer to feed herself, which is a mixed blessing. Why?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just another day...

March 3rd, and all's well!

Just got back from working out (5th time in two weeks... *gasp*... trying to get rid of some of these "sympathy" pounds...) to find Amy asleep on the sofa. They may have debunked the "eating for two" thing, but she definitely needs to sleep for two!

Here's a photo from Monday, when Amy and the kids went with family to a fun kids' place to play:

The rest of Monday didn't go quite as smoothly as we'd hoped, but I did manage to get one photo when no one was pestering anyone else and everyone was sitting somewhat still (in front of the TV watching the video from five years ago). Enjoy...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No baby, no time

As some folks are really taking me at my word to post every day until the baby arrives, I'll post and say...

"No baby yet"

Today was busy, so that's about all I can say. Trust that you'll see it here when the little bambino arrives, and thanks for checking!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Celebrating Sydney's Gotcha day

Believe it or not, it was five years ago today that we adopted Sydney! It has been a blast, so far, and God has blessed us more richly than I would have thought possible.

We've celebrated the anniversary every year since then (more regularly than we've written about it here), with various friends and family joining us here and there. Sydney was well aware of it this time around, and came out of her room this morning carrying her photo albums and ready to share them with everyone!

Our traditions include watching the video of our trip to China and giving her a gift that we brought back with us from China on that trip (yes, Amy has that much forethought...). Tonight we'll be having dinner with family and sharing memories of the last five years. I'll post photos tomorrow, hopefully.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maybe another project will do the trick...

So apparently we haven't been busy enough to make Amy go into labor yet. Hmm... we can fix that!

Yesterday, as part of everything else we did, we cleaned out a desk that is going to find another home for some undetermined period of time. We're not giving it away, because I designed it and my step-father built it for me (he did custom cabinetry and other carpentry), and it has too much sentimental value to let go permanently. But for the present, at least, we need the room for other things. Today, after church, we disassembled it (we being Amy's dad and me, not Amy...) and transported it to its new home.

Well, now that it's out of the way, why not start redoing the office where it used to be? So I broke out the paint and put some sizable patches on the wall to make sure we like the color, and tomorrow we'll judge it in the light and either pick a different color or move the rest of the furniture out and go to town. Again. And I'm sure Amy won't sit idly by and watch. So if you're listening, little man, now would be a good time to make something happen...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Work Day

Today was a full day! It started out with a little house work, followed by the kids' favorite, a project for kids at Lowe's. I've attached a few pictures below. After that, we worked in the yard, getting dead stuff trimmed back for Spring, killing weeds, and just generally spiffing up. And before you think I made my almost-40-week-pregnant wife work outside, know that it was her idea, and she was more than half-hoping it would make something (i.e.- labor) happen...

I took Peter and Sydney to the coin operated car wash here nearby and washed both cars, just because it was a beautiful day and it seemed like a good idea. Maybe not so much after letting Peter and Sydney take turns with the power-spray nozzle, but oh well...

Friday, February 26, 2010

That little "Next Blog" link...

I'm feeling a little wierded out right now...

I had a few minutes to kill, and I started clicking on the "Next Blog" link at the top of this page...

I clicked 12-15 times, and every time, without a single exception, Blogger directed me to a blog either about adoption, adoption activism, or by an adoptive family.

So, apparently Google thinks they know me, and they want to send me to sites I'll resonate with, rather than just a random blog. Either that, or adoptive families have taken over Blogger and replaced all material not related to adoption with adoption stories.

Anyone else experience this kind of "targeted" selection for Next Blog?

Second test from a phone

Okay, this appears to be much better. Instead of sending in a post via SMS, I'm using the phone's browser to post through the normal web interface. A little more effort, but worth it for the extra features available.

And yes, this is just practice. No baby yet...

Blogging from my mobile

This seems like it might be a handy feature in about a week, so let's give it a try!

(Posted from a phone)

(and then edited from the web...)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One week and counting

We're down to 1 week until Amy's due date.

Not much else to report, but I said I'd post everyday, so...


I posted.

I'll leave you with this shot of Sydney reading to Peter, which is a huge blessing!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Sydney loves science experiments. And her dad loves getting to do them with her!

That's salt making the glass on the left cloudy in case you were wondering. Oh, and it makes the egg float too. But contrary to popular opinion, it won't save you from having to salt the egg when we cook it.

Vinegar and Baking Soda. Stinky, but fun. And yes, the wine had been safely ingested with friends several days earlier, don't fret! Sydney was very interested to know when the balloon would deflate. Turns out the answer is "pretty soon", as the air (and freshly generated carbon dioxide, naturally) seeped out around the neck of the balloon before bedtime.

Kate's version of a science experiment is rolling her head around on a sofa and enjoying having her family laugh at her hair. If you can't see her hair, click to see a larger version. She looks like she just grabbed hold of a Van de Graaff generator...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shiny new door

If you had said the words "door maintenance" to me three years ago, I would have thought you were talking about oiling the hinges and the lock to stop squeaks. Little did I know how spoiled I was with a painted metal door that faced north under a covered front porch.

Now we have a south-facing wood door that is stained and finished, and much to my surprise, it requires regular maintenance. Well, "requires" is a funny word, isn't it? It's not like the previous owner did any. When we moved in, you could tell the door needed some spiffing up, but it wasn't that bad. Two years later, however, it was that bad.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Peter's favorite stories

For a while now, Peter has been in the mode of loving to hear stories told before bed. Actually, he loves stories all day long, but we have set the standard that right before bed (nap and at night) is the time for Mommy and Daddy to make up a story. It's not as hard as it sounds, as pretty much any story that involves a little boy named Peter gets two thumbs up. Past storylines have involved Peter riding a train, flying on a rocket, helping to put out fires, and all kinds of other activities that little boys love to dream about. His favorite, however, is to ask for a story about a boy who doesn't have a hammer and nails.

I can see you re-reading that last sentence to make sure you didn't miss something.

That's right, he asks for a story about a little boy (named Peter, of course) who does not have a hammer and some nails. How exactly we arrived at that is not completely clear to me, but it involves the construction of our swing set last Spring, Peter's assistance in said project, and the inevitable stories that went with it about building all kinds of fun things with a hammer and nails. Invariably, the little boy in the stories starts out by getting a hammer and some nails and various other tools, and proceeding to build whatever Mommy or Daddy can come up with off the tops of their heads, but it is very important that the story start out sans tools, which is fascinating to me. I'm not sure if it's because Peter recognizes that he does not own such tools, or if he thinks the story will be longer if the boy does not start out with what he needs, or if there is some other basis for the story that is not understood even by Peter. I do know, however, that anyone who offers to tell Peter a story about a boy who doesn't have a hammer and nails will find themselves with a captive audience.

New: Reactions

Oh, by the way, in case either of the people who stumbles across my site hadn't noticed...

If you don't want to comment on a post, you can now leave your reaction with a single click. At the end of each post is a "Your take" section, where you can click on one of the available choices. C'mon, how hard is that? At least throw me a bone and let me know someone is reading the site...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Playing with Google Voice

So Google is basically out to rule the world, right?

I mean, honestly. Google Mail, Google Apps, Google Maps, Picasa, Blogger, Google Wave, Google Voice, and something just popped up about "Buzz" when I checked my mail earlier. Don't know what that's about yet, but those are just the things I have been tinkering with! (Editor's note: I somehow failed to mention Google Calendar, Google Docs, Orkut, Google Reader, Google Code, and YouTube... what was I thinking?)

So, Google Voice...

So far, I like it. One number that can ring to whatever other numbers you want, and you can set up schedules for weekdays, weekends, etc, for each number. Voicemail gets transcribed and emailed and/or sent via SMS to a mobile phone, in addition to be available through the Google Voice website. You can make outgoing calls in what seems very similar to a Skype or Vonage setup. It's slick, and I'm sure it will just get better.

Oh, and no baby yet... just for those who are checking...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ding-dong, the server's down

It's official.

My Linux server that at one time or another faithfully hosted a number of domains, including this one,,, and, is now powered down. Now that all the domains I have a hand in have been moved to other hosting solutions, I'm able to free myself of running a server at home.

It was a good run!

I've had that machine for just shy of 11 years, and the last 7 it had been on 24/7, except for maintenance, hardware issues, and the occasional power outage! The processor, power supply, video card, sound card, memory, and hard drives had all been either replaced or upgraded over the years, but everything else (let's see... that would be the motherboard, NIC, optical drives, and chassis...) were the same!

I'm going to give it a few days of rest to verify that I don't need anything else off the hard drives than what has already been backed up, and then the hard drives will come out, and the server will be no more. *sniff*

A moment of silence please...

Ok, enough of that. Time to go outside and play with the kids!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Daily Post Challenge

I've just decided I'm going to post something on this site every day until our little one arrives. Why? As Peter would say, "I-unno..."

Maybe THAT will cause Amy to go into labor...

And if nothing else, maybe it will get people to visit each day and see if he has arrived. I'm sneaky that way.

Things I wish would induce labor...

Yes, it's time again to talk about those things I wish would induce labor, but don't. People keep saying "it could happen any day!" While true, it doesn't feel that way...

Amy doesn't want any part of pitocin this time around (due to increased risk given past history), so we're waiting to see if this little boy will decide to come on his own, or if we'll end up scheduling a c-section. In the interim, I keep thinking about things I wish would trigger labor, like

  • naps
  • Tex-Mex food
  • going on a date
  • naps
  • having a babysitter
  • Tex-Mex food
  • did I mention naps?
A guy can dream...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two weeks and counting!

Amy's due date is March 4th, just two weeks from today. Wow, what an amazing thought! I STILL can't believe we're going to have another little one...

There are of course a bunch of to-do items that go with preparing for a baby, like

  • pulling out clothes and filling in any gaps created by giving away infant clothing because we thought we were done
  • buying diapers
  • and so many others...
But those are the obvious ones. When we were in the early stages of thinking about a fourth child, Amy came up with a "goal" for each of the older children.

So, some things are broken...

It appears I lost all my followers when I changed around the domain so that points here. Alas... hopefully they will find me again.

FYI - photos from more than 4 years ago will not appear, as I am still working on updating all those old links to point to the new storage location. I may start on that in my "free time" (cough, cough), so don't hold your breath.

UPDATE - Thanks to Blogger's "missing files host" option, the vast majority of photos included in old entries should now be working.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Site fully converted

I said when we first set up this Blogger site that I would eventually convert my blog from my old home-hosted Wordpress site completely to this site. Well, guess what! It's not as easy as it might sound... Ok, it might not sound easy either...

Anyway, it's finally done. I found a utility that converted most of the posts (and most of the comments, but a few went missing along the way...) into a format that could be imported into Blogger, and I manually filled in the posts that would not convert for some reason. You should be able to see any of the posts back to when I first started posting on ye olde worlde wide webbe, though I can't guarantee many of the links from back then will still work.

I still have to move the images and other attachments off of my server and put them somewhere Blogger can link to them, but that's another step on down the road...