Sunday, December 15, 2013

Nine? Really???

I think I say this every year.....


HOW does {this} happen??

HOW do my kids keep getting older?

Shea just turned 9 YEARS OLD!!!


It seems just like yesterday that we celebrated her birthday for the first time as our daughter.
She was only three.

Now she is nine!

Getting all grown up on us!

Having fun with the sibs!

This little guy, my grandson, is wondering what all the fuss is about....

Happy Birthday, Shea-Belle!
Oh how we love you!!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 {feeling blessed}

Look we what we received right in time for Thanksgiving.....

A picture of Jude, and a small little update....

He is 19 months old.
And is precious.
He weighs about 24 lbs.
And is adorable.
He is about 31 inches tall.
And is amazing!

I was inspired me to purchase some really cute tops.

And look what arrived!!!

And WOW!

Do we really have a crib?


(Ahem....I gotta get working on his room.....soon!)

As we anticipate and prepare for Jude to join our family......

We remember all of our blessings!

Our Thanksgiving Day started off with the girls making Monkey Bread.

Then on to puzzle making.

*I forgot to take pictures of our fabulous meal.....I guess I was a little will do that to me!

But I did take a picture of the calm after the storm.  lol

Hard to believe that there were five very happy, hungry, and well-satisfied people sitting around this table!!!

We sure did miss our three older children, their spouses, and of course our grandson.  They were blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving together down in Indy.

We were blessed to spend the day with my mom.

Hubby.....turkey stupor!  lol
And also....."Why are you taking a picture of me, Chris?" expression.

Finally, we watched this movie:

Perfect way to end a wonderful day.....

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cupcakes for Grandma!

The girls wanted to do something special for Grandma's birthday.

I decided to steal borrow an idea from my dear friend Tonya.  (Who by the way always has amazing, creative ideas.....just sayin'.)

No only is this cupcake idea super cute, it is super EASY!!  And that EASY thing is how I roll.

All you need is this:

Some frosting.
Some help from Betty Crocker.
And two really cute and enthusiastic helpers!

We started out with an interesting frosting approach.  It's called "let's take a sample as we frost the cupcakes".

Moved on to unwrapping the Chocolate Kisses.

Added some sprinkles......

Constructed the "acorns".

Had to sampled some cupcakes along the way , of course.
The best part of baking.

And voila!
The perfect acorn cupcake!

Lots of Acorn/Birthday cupcakes for Grandma.

Happy Birthday Grandma!
We love you!

*Hubby took this picture.....kinda hard to get everyone smiling and looking at the camera when all they (ARCHER) wanted to do was eat the cupcakes!

I just had to post this picture.
It's too cute.
Love the upside down acorn!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A time for Everything ~ Ecclesiates 3: 1- 8 {LOA!!! But not for Liam.....}

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

 Yep, this is going to be a tough post to write.

Our third adoption journey took a turn, an unexpected turn.  

A turn that has brought us to our sadness, in grief, in humbleness, in thankfulness.


It is beautiful and brutal.

It is filled with pain and sorrow.  It is filled with joy and happiness.

It is complicated.

It is complex.

It is unpredictable.

It is a faith walk.

For ALL involved.

For the child.

For the birth parents.

For the adoptive parents.

No easy answers.

No exact way of doing things.



God revealed to us, in His most perfect timing that Liam was not to be our son.

Our sweet Liam, a child for whom we prayed and loved during this past year.

Our son.

We dreamed dreams for him.

We envisioned him playing with his siblings.

We prepared our home for him.

But God had other plans for him and for us.


The same week we were to receive our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) for Liam, we also received some information about Liam that would rock our world.

After much prayer, we made a heart-breaking decision to not go forward with our adoption of Liam.

This was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make.

We believe in our hearts that God revealed to us that Liam's special needs were something that our family could not handle. We are not to be blessed with the privilege of being his parents. We are not equipped.

This is humbling. This is numbing. This is heartbreak.

I just wanted to languish in my grief. My husband wanted to move forward.

We received a referral from our agency. My husband took the lead. I was very unsure.....I was numb.....I was also filled with sadness, guilt, regret, anger......I needed sort through my feelings. But, my husband would not let me languish in my sorrow. My husband saw a bigger picture. He was leading, I was following.


We fell in love. We fell hard. We prayed for God's will. We submitted our PA (pre-approval) to China. Today we received China's Letter of Acceptance.

Our sweet son has an un-repaired cleft lip and palate.

He is young. Very young. He is only three months older than our grandson.



But we feel at peace. We believe this is the child who God wants us to parent. We are honored.

We are naming him Jude William. Jude means 'thanks' and 'praised'. My husband named him.

Liam will always be in my heart.  I still grieve and cry over him.  I have his picture by my bed. I pray for him constantly.

Our agency's China Director gave us some very comforting words.....she said that perhaps God used us this past year to pray and love on Liam as God was preparing the family whom HE has chosen for this sweet little boy. She said this past year Liam needed us in this capacity.

Who can understand the ways of God??? He is supreme. He knows what is best for us. He gave us Liam for a year. He used Liam to bring us to Jude.  

God has a plan for Liam.
Liam WILL have the family HE NEEDS.  
I believe this with my whole heart. I trust God completely.

For now, we move forward.
Forward to Jude.

Thankful to God.

Excited to love welcome him wholeheartedly into our hold kiss call him son!

"Always give THANKS to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day of day late.

Yep, that's how I roll....

Why be like everyone else and actually post pictures of the first day of school ON the first day of school???


This first day of school actually flew by before I knew it.

And here it is the second day of school.....and I'm posting the first day of school pictures.

Yep, that is how I roll.

True story.


Yesterday, Shea and Avery were up at the crack of dawn.


I think they were a tad bit excited.

All went well.

Recess was good.

Lunch was good.

Avery met a new friend whose name she can't remember.

That was all I got.

All in all a good first day of school!

Today, they were NOT up at the crack of dawn.
They were cranky tired.
Still excited, though.  :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Sunday Walk

Dave and I are trying to stay in.....ahem, shape.

Right now the only kind of exercise we can find time to do is walking.

We try to walk at least 4 times a week.

And the best way to use our time wisely is to make take the girls with us.

We call it "Family Time".   It's bonding while sweating.

We walk briskly for about 40 minutes.  We have a 2.2 mile route.

It's.......ummmmm, fun.  Yeah, fun.

Sunday, we decided to try the River Walk downtown.

Now that was fun.

Who knew that our little town held its own white-water rafting race?

On the River Walk???  I guess a river does means water, but I had no idea that the said river could boast a race.  Nor that the said river's water had a current that was even strong enough to be competitive for a race?  Like I said, who knew????

Guess I need to get out more.

What a pleasant scene we stumbled upon:

We watched the races for a while.....

Then proceeded on with our walk.

We stopped along the way to enjoy the river.

Something about a river is just so peaceful.....
That is when you not racing down the rapids of course!

We didn't get our 'sweat on', but we sure did have some fun!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Log in Date issued! Woo-hoo!!

Slowly but surely, we are getting closer and closer to meeting our little guy!

Yesterday, I was notified that our LID (log-in-date) is August 5th.

Yay!  We are officially 'in' the China system!

Yay!  The new computer program did not kick us out!

Double yay for that!!!!

So now the new count down begins.

We are counting down until we receive our LOA (Letter of Approval/Acceptance) from China.

Lately, it is taking anywhere from 60 to 90 days to receive LOAs from China.

We are on day 12!!!!  It's a start, right?

I'm figuring that we could possibly be traveling to China sometime in January or February of 2013.

Interestingly enough, we traveled in February {of 2007} for Shea, and we traveled in January {of 2010} for Avery.  So maybe, that time of the year is when we are meant to travel.  (???)

Now that we are officially LID, it's time to think 'boy' in our household.....again.  It's been a while since we have had 'boy' stuff and 'boyishness' 24/7.

"24/7?   Like...ALL the time?"
Avery says with a bit of incredibility hedged in her voice.

(Our oldest sons are 27 and yeah, it's been a while....)

Time to get a move on with Liam's room.
Liam's toys.
Liam's clothes.


It's my understanding he likes cars.

It's a start.
Cars in the house?
And none of them pink?
How will 'we' ever cope????

We have started working on the 'girls' bathroom......
Need to make it a girls AND boy bathroom.

Here is our first step:

Thank you Pottery Barn for Kids!

I just had to purchase this:

Waaaaay cute.  Don't y'all think?
I can just picture our little Liam wrapped up in his Penguin bath towel......all cute and snuggly!!!

This Momma is getting excited and completely impatient to hold her youngest son in my arms!

Hurry on up LOA!!!!

Let's get this show on the road!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Good-bye long hair......

Last week, Shea and Avery finally got their hair cut.

And when I say finally, it's not like they needed a haircut.....

It's not like they really wanted one, either.

They love their long hair.

And quite frankly, so do I.

So then, why?

Why cut the pretty l-o-n-g hair?

We've been talking for a while about helping others.
About how to give of ourselves.

It doesn't have to be big.
Over the top.

It just has to 'be'.
It has to 'be' a part of who you are.
We need to 'be' aware of others.

We rush through life so unaware.....
We are so focussed on ourselves.
Our needs.
Our wants.

Cutting off 7 inches of your hair isn't life changing.
It's not THAT huge....
But it IS something.
Especially if it helps my girls to focus on someone else.
Someone else who doesn't have hair because she is so sick.
Someone else who needs some hair to feel somewhat 'normal'.
Someone else who's momma is frantic with worry about the future of her child.
Someone else.....

I'm not going to lie.
At first, Shea and Avery really didn't get IT.
They were a little prideful.
Their hair maybe, kinda, sorta defined them.
Maybe "we" focussed too much on their hair.
Ahem. (me)

It took them about  a month to make this decision.
A lot of talking.
A lot of praying.
They finally 'got it'!

They were ready to go.
They wanted to help someone else.
They were on board.

Enjoying the shampoo....

The first snip.

Seven inches, baby!


The end result!

We love the new look.

It's a win-win!

They experienced the joy of giving of oneself.
And someone will experience the joy of hair.

Thanks Melanie!  You were so patient with the girls.  :)