Well, it's that time of year again! 2009 is coming to a close at mock speed and we are getting ready for 2010 and all it will have in store for us..... So in order to know where we're going we must know where we've been :)
The boys competed in Pinewood Derby for the pack and had a great time, but the most exciting thing to happen in January was a visit from Grumpa. We had a great time having him here. The boys trained him on the power of the Wii and he taught them some things too :)
In February we participated in our last Blue and Gold Banquet with the pack. It was bitter sweet, knowing that by this time next year we would no longer be in the pack, having gone on to Boy Scouts with both boys now.
In March for Spring Break we went camping with the Jones's at Lost Maples State Park. We had an absolutely wonderful time complete with a very long hike that wore poor Lady Bird completely out. We had Marshall (our Blue Heeler) with us too, but he was very old and we left him at the campsite. We knew while we were camping that this would be our last camping trip with him. We also took our Blue Bonnet pictures :)
April began with a visit from our very good friends Angie, Raul, and Emma Cadena. They used to live here in town and go to church with us, but a couple of years ago they moved to New Foundland where Angie's family is. It was just like we had just seen each other last week, and a great time was had by us all :)
After very little rain all Spring we had a major rain storm at the end of April... Here's a picture of our lake er I mean street:
In May Auston graduated from the Encourager Home School Enrichment program. We were so proud of him :) Gregory turned 10 and tried to convince us he was in fact a teenager instead! :) We keep telling him to slow down and not be in such a hurry! We also finally got our license for foster care and began waiting for a child.
In June we went to Disney World with the Joneses again and had an absolutely wonderful time. We spent 4 days in Disney World and then 3 days at Vero Beach. Honestly I don't know which part we enjoyed more! We had been home for only a few days when we got a call requesting respite care for another foster family. We took the baby (who I'll call Chickadee) and we were very excited to have a baby around (even if just for the weekend) :)...... Or so we thought!!!
In July we found out we would have the Chickadee as a foster child, not just respite because her other foster mom had some health stuff come up. We were thrilled! She was so much fun to have around and we had adapted surprisingly well to having a baby around! I (Semalee) also started taking cake decorating classes in July. :)
In August we got ready for school to start back up and I made several cakes. Here is one of my favorite cakes I made. It also became more clear that Chickadee's future was not what we thought it was going to be, so we made it known that we would be honored to be her forever family. We had no idea what would happen, but figured it was worth a shot!
On a more sad note, our beloved dog Marshall passed away at the end of August. He was 15 1/2 years old. He was a wonderful dog and it really isn't the same without him.
September took us back to school again and it was a little different this year. Auston being in the 7th grade is a big difference. We are still homeschooling and enjoying it. I began another year of teaching preschool at the Encourager Home School Enrichment program and Gregory is in the 5th grade there now. Auston is the assistant to the science teacher and he really enjoys that a lot!
In October Auston turned 13!! GASP! I can't believe he is already a teenager! We celebrated this milestone by making a trip up to Austin and going to a place called Cypress Valley Canopy Tours and did a zip line tour. It was a LOT of fun! We also got official word that it was not CPS's intention to let the Chickadee stay with us, so we were preparing our hearts to let her go. One of Michael's good friends also got married in October and Michael was a groomsman so we were able to have some adult time while attending the rehearsal dinner and wedding... I think we clean up alright :)
I also donated my hair to an organization called Beautiful Lengths again as well. This is the second time I've done it, and I actually didn't get my hair mailed off right away, so by the time I actually got it mailed off I found out one of my pastors has stomach cancer. My hair is donated in honor of Reverend Janet, who is currently battling stomach cancer, my friend's daughter Marenna, who has battled Wilm's tumors twice now in her short life, and in honor of my neighbor JoAnn Horace who passed away this year of brain cancer.
November was an exciting month for us. We went to court on the Chickadee and after we left we were told that they were transferring her case to the adoptive worker who would prepare her to leave our home. 4 days later we got a call from the case worker saying she had prayed about the situation and had CHANGED HER MIND!! She was now changing her recommendation to have the Chickadee stay with us and have us be her forever family! In addition to this great news we were told that her younger brother was born (early) and asked if we would consider taking him. Well, we just couldn't see how we could not give her the opportunity to have a biological sibling, so we decided it was the right thing to do. We were scared to death about having a 10 month old and a newborn at the same time, but felt good about our decision. Also in November we had our 5th Annual Bilbrey Family Picnic and had a great time with all of our friends and family :)
December is very much a blur... having two infants is hard work! On December 9th "Sir Grunt a Lot" came to live with us. He was 3 weeks old when we brought him home directly from the NICU and just over 5 pounds. He was so tiny, but grew so fast! It has been exhausting, but an amazing experience to have him in our home. We are so in love with him already :) We went to Midland to spend Christmas with Michael's brother and his family. It was interesting to say the least to travel with 2 babies, but it went very well and wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be :)
That about wraps up 2009... It's been a wild ride, but we wouldn't change any of it! Here's to 2010 being even better! :)