Sunday, January 25, 2015

a few interviews...

i thought that it would be fun to do an interview with Sophie and while I was asking her questions, Dan joined in so for your entertainment but mostly for preserving memories here are the questions:

1. how old are you? Sophie: 3 Dan: you know the answer to that

2. what is your favorite thing about preschool (or your job for Dan) Sophie: painting and my friend Evan. Dan: visiting elderly people in their homes and helping them overcome their problems.

3. what thing are you very best at? Sophie: drinking hot chocolate.    Dan: playing board games

4. if you could change your name what would it be?  Sophie: D'Ante        Dan : Art Vandalay

5. what is your favorite color? Sophie: purple   Dan: black or blue

6. what is your favorite toy? Sophie: playing princesses and my ninja turtles      Dan: legos

7. what do you want to be when you grow up?  Sophie: pierce peoples ears     Dan: banker or architect

8. what do you like to take to bed? Sophie: My teddy bear       Dan: my wife 

9. what is your favorite book? Sophie: Disney's Scary Stories      Dan: hobbit

10. what is your favorite season? Sophie: snowy and karate        Dan: fall

11. what is your favorite food? Sophie: mac and noodles (mac and cheese)   Dan: thanksgiving dinner

12. what is your favorite animal?    Sophie: a cheetah because they can almost run as fast as me
dan: a panda because they are so loyal

13. what is your favorite sport? Sophie: basketball    Dan: i hate sports

14. who are your best friends? Sophie: Evan and LoLa but she is really small i much bigger than her 
dan: my wife

15. what is your favorite Holiday? Sophie: Halloween and my birthday    Dan: thanksgiving

16. what is your favorite thing to do? put stickers on my pumpkin    Dan: my favorite thing this year has been adopting Eli

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

on resolutions

I have been want to write on this little blog for awhile now but it seems like whenever I sit down to type one of my cute babes need something so here we are.
we had the lovliest Christmas...chuck full of lots of family! We had Meg and Riley and Owen from Kentucky and my Tim and Kayti and little CJ were here for like 9 whole days! Sophie keeps saying "and baby CJ loves everyone in the whole world!" and we had my grandma and family from Iowa come visit and then we went to California to visit Devin and Megan and their squishy new baby! holding a brand new baby made me realize how freaking fast 9 months goes and just how quickly they change! they go from being so needy and helpless and snugly to movers and shakers in the blink of an eye! Sophie got to play with cousins she hardly sees and it was so fun watching them interact!
soooo new year resolutions! always a struggle! I used to make all these goals in all these different areas of my life pretty much becuase i thought i had to. then i would try so hard and never be able to attain them because i am so inconsistent! seriously though my middle name should be inconsistant:)
i cant even remember the goals i made last year:( there are always so many areas of my life that i want to improve but setting year long goals is just silly for me...i really look up to people who can do things for a whole year!
i have decided that this year my main problem areas are as follows:
1. i need to PRIORITIZE more! my little family needs to be my main dish and then everything else are
just side dishes:) i always have all these ideas of fun things to do and then i am rushing around ogden or salt lake or brigham city with two kids in tow and no real plan....where if i just prioritize we could have more meaningful afternoons and days!
2. sometimes i think that i am done learning??? i don't know why i think that but this year i am going to put more emphasis on learning!
 learning how to be a better mother one disagreement at a time.
learning how to be a better wife, one date at a time (hoping we have a lot more dates this year than last!!!) learning how to be a better teacher, one observation at a time:)
learning to find beauty among the ugly!
learning how to enjoy the moment rather than always waiting for a better day ahead....this one is kind of tricky for me! I find myself often saying things like "i cant wait for Eli to be eating solid food" or "i am so excited for when Sophie can do chores for me" or " i am really looking forward to spring" pretty much i waste most of winter hoping for spring and then most of spring hoping for summer and then summer always goes by in a whirlwind then when fall comes i am always saying "i hope this fall is a long one!" and then back again to winter! well! I am going to learn how to enjoy winter! and i don't mean just winter the season...i mean all the winter like times in my life. i am going to try so hard to not rush things and just live in the moment. all the while remembering that my focus is on learning and people who are just learning how to do things are not always perfect...its all part of the progress!
much love,
 ps: here is a preview of our Christmas card...ive been prioritizing and haven't got them sent out yet...maybe for valentines day?:)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A few of my favorite things:

Oh man, the last three weeks have been chuck full of so much joy! Lots of challenges, but lots and lots of joy! I just feel so lucky to have Sophie and Eli in our family! I wanted to document a few if my favorites from the last three weeks so that I can always remember them! In no particular order:

*the way that Sophie says "Eli you have one kiss coming your way!" And then she always proceeds to smother him in a bazilion kisses....

*the way that Eli loves to be tightly swaddled into a tight burrito...I love that if he is starting to get frustrated, I wrap him tighter in his burrito and hold him close to me and most of the time he stops crying:)

*I love that Sophie took two naps today! Both times in one arm while Eli was snuggled in the other...that is a life of bliss I am telling you!

* I love that last weekend and this weekend was full if relaxing and lots of visits from family!
That is what weekends are supposed to be. Yesterday I was supposed to go to a bridal shower but just as I was headed out the door. I took one look at who I was going to leave behind and I couldn't do it!

*i love that my sweet husband will help with night duty and also let me sleep in on the weekends... He watches the kiddos while I snooze and it is oh so needed and appreciated!

* I love that Dan took Sophie to church today so that I could stay home and have some one on one time with Eli...our time  alone is few and far between so it was super nice to snuggle without Sophie "smothering" him the whole time!

* I love that we have all decided to comit to a healthier lifestyle! We are limited screen time to about 20 minutes a day at most! We are trying to not eat any sugars and we are being very selective iof carbs and prossesed foods.. This has been something I have been wanting to do for awhile but you know...I'm just glad to start now! We are also doing some sort of family exercise everyday....usually it is a walk /run to the park and then play on the is good to be active with our families!

*I love that Sophie calls Eli her buddy! It is seriously the sweetest!

*i love that everyone in the whole house gets super excited when Eli poops! Sophie always shouts " good job buddy! I knew you could do it!" Like she us the proudest sister in the whole world!

* I just love the feeling of a new baby in the house! I'm pretty sure this is what heaven is going to like! There is rarely a disagreement, and everyone is always so willing to help where they are needed! Even Sophie will say "I will make Eli a bottle mom!" Whenever she thinks he is hungry

There are loads more things but I am needed elsewhere so I may continue this post another day!

Much  love ,

Pd : if you have any yard sale items, you would like to donate, please let me know! Thanks!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blessed by the Gifts of Others!


Throughout our marriage, we have been blessed by so many generous gifts. When Dan needed a kidney transplant,we received many meals, people fasted and prayed for us, and  family and friends donated their time to drive Dan down to Salt Lake 3 times a week for dialysis. Our dear friends, the Paces organized a fundraiser to help raise money for us, they also bought us a pig from the fair and got it ready for us to eat! A pig! seriously! I feel so blessed to be able to say that I have been given a pig as a gift! People cleaned our house, did our laundry and we received so many anonymous donations of money to help pay for Dan's medical bills. Not to mention my best friend donated her kidney to Dan! It was definitely a year of trial but we felt so loved.
      When we adopted Sophie, we had many generous family members donate to the cost of her adoption. My brother, Paul, put together a race and we had so many people come and donate and run for us! It was so sweet and we appreciated it so much!
       Dan and I are humbled by our very brave birth mothers who chose to place Sophie and Elijah with us. We are humbled that Heavenly Fathers trust's us enough to raise these strong and beautiful spirits, even though we are far from perfect. Tonight I am humbled as a sweet almost three year old freely accepted my apology and loves me despite my impatience with her.
       Again, as we have started asking people to donate to our adoption fund, we are humbled by the many people who have been so generous and kind to us. My long time friends Cami Fairbanks and Amelia Hale, and my mom and sister are organizing a super fun yard sale, care wash, carnival extravaganza to help go towards Elijah's adoption costs. I really hope that you can make it to the party on Saturday, May will be a really fun Morning/afternoon and it will be great to see you all!
        One thing that we are asking for right now is donations for the yard sale. If you have any items that you would like to donate...please call me or Facebook me and we will come get the items from you or you can bring them to my house:) It would be so very much appreciated! you can even leave a comment on this post or on Facebook if you would like:) Also, if you have any talents that you think would be beneficial at an extravaganza, let me know! Anything like face painting, making balloon animals, cooking hot dogs, or if you just would like to volunteer your time that day, please let me know!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Much Love,
Dan, Emily, Sophie and Elijah Furse

PS for those of you who do not live in Utah, or cannot make it to the party on May 17th, you can donate online by clicking on this link


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eli's Adoption Story

Dear Family and Friends,
hi! How are ya? So, most of you have heard by now but maybe some of you have not...we have a baby!!! His birth story is so special, I just really wanted to document it and so here it is...this is the long version so you may want to grab a snack:)

Almost exactly one year ago, we were in Stake Conference and singing the closing song when all of a sudden it hit me from my head to my is time to start the adoption process again!! I told Dan and he said he felt the same thing! So, the next day I called LDS family services and sat up a time to meet and start working on the paper work. We had our meeting and they gave us the large stack of papers to complete. One of them is a recommendation from our bishop saying we are fit parents. We gave it to him the next Sunday. We were kind of frustrated it was taking him so long to complete the paper work...while we were waiting, I kept hearing rumors that LDS was going to stop doing adoptions, we kind of just put that in the back of our heads and kept on working on the paper work. I kept nagging and finally, a few months later he had it done. By this time, it was early fall and we were starting to second guess our idea to go through LDS Family Services. We ended up not going through them, but in January we started looking at other options. We realized that we could get a home study done for about half the cost as LDS Family Services and then other adoption agencies can use it. So, we got our home study done in February, and started completing paper work for lots of agencies in Utah. I never even thought to call the agency we adopted Sophie from. There was one agency who promised us a baby within 6 months so that is kind of what we were thinking.
During this whole time, I just kept thinking, " I think that we will get a baby when Paul goes on a mission...the blessings of having a brother on a mission are so very powerful!"
One Sunday the end of March, I think it was the 30th, I got an email from the social worker of the agency we adopted Sophie from saying "I think I have a baby boy for you....birth mom is deciding between you and a couple other families...I will let you know is due may 5th." So, we kind of got excited, but knew that this baby might not be ours, but we couldn't help getting excited to add a little boy to the family!
so, our social worker is seriously one of the very most Christ-like people I have ever met. She just drives around all day, answering phone calls of how she can help people. When I asked her why she thought of us after having no contact for 3 years she simply said " I have been having a feeling to find a little boy for you family and I just know this little guy is perfect for you."
 On Tuesday, April 1st, I got a message saying the birth mom had picked us and that our social worker will get back to us sometime next week to work out some details. we were Super excited and made a big announcement to the internet:

I was so happy to be a mom again and I was so happy that we found out before my spring break began...Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent cleaning the house, getting a nursery together, and I even wrote a few general sub plans...inspiration and nesting instincts kicked in and I am so grateful for that!
Saturday, April 5th around 8 in the morning we got a call saying that our birth mom's water had broke and we needed to get to Kansas!!!!! The baby was coming a month early! Wow! So, we packed as quickly as we could, took Sophie over to my moms, and headed to Kansas. my dear sweet husband drove the whole way because he wanted me to sleep so I could be awake for when we got to the baby. last picture of a family of three:

we got the call around 2:30 in the afternoon that our baby had been born with this sweet picture:

we had been texting different names back and forth with our birth mom but when we saw his sweet face, we just knew he had to be an Elijah. I received a text from our birth mom the same time I sent a text to her saying "he is definitely and Elijah!" So, we double knew his name is supposed to be Elijah. We chose the middle name to be William which is my dad's, brothers, grandpa's middle name.

We got to the Hospital around 6 am and found our sweet birth mom and sweet baby. We talked to her for a little bit, and then she wanted us to go in our own room with baby Eli so she could think and we could bond. over the next day we were able to talk to Eli's birth mom and really develop a friendship with her. It is so much fun to share the love we have of Eli with her. Whenever he is doing something cute we send her a picture and she sends back a cute response. I am so happy to have a friend in Eli's birth mom. She told us about how he liked to kick a lot while he was still in her belly, especially at night. he hated it when she would drink cold water, she didn't really crave anything
and it was a pretty smooth delivery with her only pushing three times.

On Monday we go to go home...and when I say go home I mean to the home of the social worker. she and her husband who is the lawyer let every adoptive couple stay in their home, eat their food, and even invite people over to stay, seriously the nicest people ever!

Wednesday we appeared before the judge who gave us legal guardianship and we set up the day of May 22nd to be finalization!

Friday, we were hoping to be able to go home, but when I called Utah ICPC the lady on the other line made it sound like we wouldn't get to leave until Thursday or Friday of next week, I hung up the phone and cried and then we ate lunch and I felt much better! Food always helps! I decided to call back and see if there was anything I could do to expedite the process. when she answered the phone, I pretty much started to cry saying we had a three year old at home that we needed to get to. she said that she would look over our paper work and call the head person at home so that we could possibly leave that afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay! two minutes later, she gave us the ok to head home! we packed our bags and started to drive! We decided to stay the night somewhere in Wyoming and we were home Saturday early afternoon.

Sophie loves her baby brother! so much! She loves to hold him, kiss him, feed him, scream, I mean sing in his ear, poke his eyes, try to carry him around the house, and tickle him. Before we knew Eli was going to be a boy Sophie was set on having a girl named She will sometimes call him baby Ruby:)

This boy is so sweet! He rarely cries, sometimes hi whimpers. he loves to be swaddled. he is having a hard time gaining weight (he was born at 5 lbs. 12 ounces and was down to 5 lbs. 2 ounces and now he is 5 lbs. 8 ounces) so the docs have us on a every two hour feeding schedule which is very exhausting so I am hoping he gains some weight soon so we can get off it:) he loves to be snuggled, rocked and held.
I just wanted to thank you all for your kind words! Also, mark your calendars for May 18th because we are going to have a fun fundraiser to help with our adoption cost's! There will be a yard sale (if you have any items you would like to donate, please let me know!) car wash, food and lots of other fun activities!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My thoughts on the movie frozen


I have been reading a lot of controversy on facebook in regards to the movie, Frozen. Usually I do not like to get involved with controversial things, but today I feel strongly about what I got from Frozen and the many beautiful messages I believe it holds. I have seen this movie at least 5 times now and I loved it every time I saw it!

I would like to start with Elsa. I love that Elsa is a strong female leader! I see Sophie so much in Elsa... Elsa's parents squashed her power and talents, taught her to conceal, and not be true. For many years, she was not free to be her powerful self! I never want Sophie to feel squashed or that she has to hide her talents. I want her to know that she is powerful and has amazing talents! I want her to use her influence and energy for good! I want her to feel....feel the love she has for others and the love other people have for her. I feel confident that if I teach her to be confident she will use her confidence and influence for good!

When I hear and sing the words to the song "Let It Go", I am reminded that in order for me to be my best, most powerful self, I need to "let go" of my sins, my insecurities and my judgements of others and trust in Heavenly Father's plan for me!

When I think of sweet Anna, I hope that I can have the same courage as her, to give my life to my husband, sister, daughter, and/or friend! Sure, she is impulsive (just like me!), but I love that she learned from her mistake (getting engaged before getting to know Hans)  and was humble enough to try for love again in Christof!

When I think about the song "Fixer Upper" I realize that everyone is hurting, even though I don't know about it, or can't see it, it's there! I need to be mindful of others and always have a kind heart and smile for others! my favorite line from that song is "true love brings out the best!" Isn't it Christ's love that brings out our best? 

When I think of Olaf, I hope that I can be the same type of friend...offering a listening ear, friendly advice, and perhaps a joke or two! Am I willing to melt for the ones I love?

"Beware the Frozen Heart" in the opening song "Frozen Heart" is a great reminder that we should always have an open heart to the people we love!

In conclusion, I feel that when you view, read, or listen to great art (like Frozen) then you will take what you want and need out of it! People can find the good, the bad or the ugly in just about everything so lets always try our best to find the good!
Much love,

Saturday, January 25, 2014

spread a little kindness

Today I attended the funeral of a very good friend. I was very inspired by the words spoken. One person said that she had never heard her say a mean word or unkind remark about someone. That she was a bright star, always striving to be kind, good and Christ-like. She was loved by everyone who knew her. Her kids and grandkids spoke about how she always had time for them and made them all feel so special by the little things she did.
I pondered on my own life....I know that I have not always been kind and that mean words have came out of my mouth. I cannot change the past but I can change the future! I am going to strive to be more like my friend Kris. I want my home to be a safe haven where my family can come and feel loved and special and know that mean things are not allowed! I want my family and friends to feel like I always have time for them. I want to be someone who is positive and doesn't complain, and is kind!!!!