Monday, April 26, 2010

Having a ball ... a bowling ball that is!

If you saw the teaser photo at the end of our last post, you've figured out we went bowling after our trip to Salt Plains.

Jake had a blast. He bowled. He played games in the arcade that dispense tickets when you win that you can redeem for valuable prizes (that's cheap plastic trinkets to you and me. LOL). No matter, though, they were treasures to Jake.

You gotta get your ball to the lane. It's an 8-pounder he handled like a champ.

Jake's first ball ever heads down the lane. He's got pretty good form.

Watching it head to the pins.

Take that you pins!

Another perfect ball.

Look at that score. Jake did pretty good for the first time out. Notice the spare he picked up in the third frame. Mommy and Daddy, though, could have used some help. Maybe we should have used the bumpers, too.

Jake wanted to play a driving game, so Daddy worked the gas while Jake steered.

Let's just say Jake's bowling is better than his driving! If you look at the screen on the previous picture, our car is airborne!

Tickets! These are just a few Jake won.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Birding and heritage festival

Saturday Jake and Kevin usually bach it, but Violet took off from work and the family headed to Salt Plains Wildlife Refuge for the annual birding and heritage festival. The refuge offers hands-on lessons about animals and habitats. We went north of our mark to start at Byron fish hatchery and watchable wildlife area where they were teaching kids to build birdhouses.

Jake was ready to do his part on the family birdhouse:

Proudly carrying the finished project, which we got to take home to put up, as Meredith, who helped us with our project, watches:

Then it was on to the refuge, where we saw animal skulls, felt animal skins and learned about buffalo and reptiles. Then Jake had to make tracks ... literally:

He got to make an edible wetland in which the bedrock was two vanilla wafers, the subsoil appeared to be Cocoa Crunch, the muck or mud was chocolate pudding, the water was blue-colored whipped topping, the plants were straight pretzels for cattails and the animals were gummy frogs:

And, of course, the fun part is that it is edible:

There were some exhibits that definitely were better off behind glass, like the rattlesnake. Western diamondbacks always draw Jake's interest:

The day started out promising, with the sun peeking through the window, and even as the clouds gathered and we left the house we were confident a 30 percent chance of rain would not be an issue. Well, 30 percent turned into 100 percent for us. We kept thinking it would be a sprinkle, and it would turn into a downpour, and surely it had blown over, and it would pour again. Thank goodness for tents, but Jake pushed the limits of staying dry. Rain, rain, go away ...:

We had a great time, despite the rain, and the Oklahoma City Zoomobile visited in the outdoor classroom at the refuge, which thankfully was covered. This month was the anniversary of the land run that settled the Oklahoma City area, so we learned about what the settlers had to deal with in the pioneer days. We also learned of animals that might have prowled the land in those days, like the owl, which Jake learned has eyes that won't move, so the bird compensates by moving its head.

He also learned the owl has ears under its eyes, and a cupped face that enhances sound like cupping your hands around your ears:

He also got a look at an armadillo, which admittedly he can see in his backyard, but this species hails from South America:

The zoo representative, Amy Stevens, set the armadillo down so it would walk. Come over here Dillo:

He also was introduced to the box turtle:

It was wet, but we got to do everything we set out to do. People often tell us Jake is so cute, and today was no exception. Our patented answer is we can take no credit for his genetics, but we can take credit for the smiles, and this one just had to be shared:

This is how the afternoon ended. Perfection:

But our day didn't end there. We had more fun in the evening, but we'll save it for a later post, as this one had gone on long enough. LOL We will leave you with a sneak preview, however, of a first for Jake:

Monday, April 5, 2010

April brings showers of blessings!

It's been 18 months since we met the Little Man face to face — ours excited and nervous, I'm sure, and his terrified.
Our son went from tears of mourning, missing the people who filled the first two years of his life and wondering who this strange couple was, in those first few days to total excitement when he sees his Mommy and Daddy now.
This is such an exciting month — almost as exciting as October, but not quite. This is the month of our original log-in date with China and the month we first saw Jake, as we gathered around our computer at work because we couldn't wait to get home.
It always will be the six-month marks for our Gotcha Day and his birthday.
We are blessed beyond words. We can't wait to see what the next 18 months bring.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Sunday was a great day. We celebrated Jesus rising from the grave, then we had some good family fun.

Jake checking out his basket of goodies. Hey, it's candy.

After a wonderful church service, the kids had an Easter egg hunt.
We're a small church, so there aren't many kids, but they had a great time.

The boys, Jacob, Oaklee and Gavin, get ready to go.

Here's one.

Gotta, go. There are more eggs to find!

Mmmmmmmm, chocolate.

After church, we went to Kevin's parents' house for Easter dinner and more egg hunting and other fun, including lots of tricycle riding and some chalk drawing.

Come out, come out wherever you are eggs.

Is there one here?

Here's one!

Mmmmmm egg.

What's a few crumbs among friends?

Artist at work.

Adding Daddy's glasses.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

LID anniversary

Two years ago today was the last time we truly marked this date as our LID, or log-in date to adopt a child in China — it was our number in line, so to speak.
It was an auspicious event, full of hope that slowly was giving away to the scary reality of a wait time growing uncontrollably.
The writing was on the wall early; the China program was going to see unprecedented delays.
So soon after our LID of April 4, 2007, we starting exploring our adoption agency's special needs program. We would receive a list of children in China with special needs — which run the gamut from serious to minor medical issues.
At the first of 2008, with our first anniversary of our LID approaching, we enrolled in the program, open to minor special needs.
Then, we waited. We celebrated our first LID anniversary by eating Mexican food and looking forward to our agency's big adoption conference in Chicago that we planned and looked forward to attending.
Then, less than two weeks later, as we were picking up last-minute items for the Chicago trip we were to take the next day, we got the call that rocked our world — the referral for our son, Jacob Wenfeng Hassler.
April 17 turned into our referral day, making today's date obsolete.
But still we remember our friends who still celebrate that LID anniversary and still are waiting in an ever-growing, stagnant line of potential parents of children for China.
And we know we are blessed, home 18 months (as of Monday) with the light of our lives, who will celebrate today in church with his family, having Easter dinner (making quick work of tomatoes and pickled beets that he loves and trying to find ways to dodge Mommy and Daddy's efforts to get him to eat meat) and hunting Easter eggs in Grandma and Grandpa's back yard.
We do realize the special needs program is not for everyone and we do realize not everyone desires that route to creating or expanding their family.
We know those facing the pain of the wait every day really don't want us telling them about our successful adoption through the special needs program.
But know this: It is hard for us to watch the pain of those continuing to wait knowing the smiles our son brings us every day.
We can only thank God for guiding us onto the right path every day, and we pray others can find happiness soon, no matter the road they take.
Here are a few photos of Jacob's activities on Saturday:

Showing his computer skills at

Sleeves rolled up and hard at work coloring Easter eggs

How's this Aunt Debbie?

Finished eggs

Eggs weren't the only things going into the dye!

Yuck! But it cleaned up.

Happy Easter everyone. May you be as blessed as we are.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Going up

Last Sunday we went to visit Violet's mother and celebrate her birthday. While we were there, Jake showed off his tree-climbing skills. Boy he can climb.

Just about up there

Looking down on those poor earth-bound souls

Wow, that's way up there!

OK, we're not that crazy. It really wasn't that high, and he did get a boost. LOL. Camera angles work wonders, don't they?