Thursday, August 18, 2016

We Are Ready



The air hung heavy and thick, the humidity so dense you could cut a knife through it. Sweat, earth and the sweet scent of tropical flowers scented the air while the ground left a perpetual covering of a deep red dust.  Laughter and shouts filled the air as groups of kids ran and played, begging to be picked up, thrown in the air, spun around. A dark, chubby little hand rested on my thigh, a bright smile with big dimples smiled back at me. His name was Moses and he was an orphan, living in one of the Watoto villages, a small grouping of building that held 8 orphans and one housemother.  Almost all of the occupants were affected by the AIDS crisis in Africa. Widowed, orphaned, left alone all due to the severe outbreak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.


Moses’ bright eyes lit up when you talked to him, his smile wide and inviting. Next to him sat his house brother, another orphan. He did not smile back. His eyes lacked sparkle, as if staring into a deep abyss. He had missing fingers on one of his hand and he kept close to his house brother. Two boys, both orphaned through no fault of their own. Both having seen things that no child deserves to see.



It was then, in 2002, in Kampala, Uganda that my eyes were opened. I could not pretend I did not know. I had seen with my own eyes, felt with my own hands, hugged with my own arms. The plight of the orphans was not just a moving commercial for partnership. It was bright happy eyes and very, very sad eyes. It had touched my heart, grabbed my soul and never really lost it’s grip.

Fast-forward 13 years. It was August of 2015 and I was at the playground. It was a hot and sweaty evening and my children were tearing around. Somehow, Ryan and I started talking about kids, our kids and what our future was going to look like.

We both took a deep breath and shared our hearts.

After four pregnancies, three beautiful, healthy children and almost 9 years of marriage, we both separately had been praying for our next step.

On our own, individually, we both came to the exact same conclusion.

Adoption.

We were ready.

My heart had felt the call years ago, the tug and the pull always intensified with every adoption story that I heard. Ryan has his own journey towards adoption and maybe one day I will have him share it here.

But for now, we were united.

We wanted to add to our little family. We wanted to bring a child in. 




So, almost one year later we are FINALLY and HAPPILY able to announce.

WE ARE ADOPTING FROM CHINA!!

We have our approved and sealed home study, our request to the United States Immigration for the approval to adopt sent and we are wrapping up the last of our dossier, which will be sent to China.

Many, many things have happened before we got to this place. I will share more of how we got here later.

But for now, celebrate with us! We are adopting a child from China. Pray for our little one. Pray for us!

Here are some quick facts so far.

1.     We are adopting a special needs child from China. We do not know if it will be a boy or a girl, and we do not care. We have no preference. Boys, however, wait much longer than girls. We love boys! We don’t want them to wait for a family, but if we are matched with a girl, there is a very excited sister waiting for her.

2.     Special needs?! What does that mean? We don’t know. It could mean anything from missing digits, some mental or physical delays to cleft lip and palate. Maybe less, maybe more. We just don’t know until we receive our referral.

3.      The cost of an international adoption to China is around $35,000. It is a daunting number that gets broken down into lots and lots of small (and a few very large) payments. A large part of the cost is traveling to and from China and the lodging.

4.     How are going to pay for it? Well, we have been saving and not taking vacations for the last year. We can also now start applying for grants. We are also hoping to do a few fundraisers as well. The Lord has been so faithful. Every time we had a payment due, we were able to cover it. So far, we have put in around $5,000.

5.     How can you help? Pray with us! Pray that we keep meeting our financial goals.  We are working with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a non-profit agency, so all payment given to us are tax deductible! Own a business and need a tax write off? Consider donating to our adoption. We are on the site AdoptionBridge.com and all donations will go 100% to our adoption. You can read our profile here. Feel free to post and share it with your friends! Every little bit helps.

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 Many thanks for reading this far and for celebrating with us as we welcome a new member into our family!





Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Both Hands


We've reached a milestone.
Both hands. Colin needs BOTH hands to show his age.
The big six.

My baby boy is six.
I can hardly believe it.
It seemed like yesterday that I held his fuzzy little head to my cheek and snuggled his little newborn mush.


But, oh how I have loved these 6 years.

That laugh.

That pout.

The varied and vast emotions of my sweet sensitive little soul who feels 100% of the time

I wouldn't change it for the world.




I love the way that you laugh with your whole body.

I love the way that you run at full speed, all the time.

I love that you defend those you love, regardless of the size of the opponent.

I am proud of you when you try to control those powerful emotions and not let them get the best of you.




Oh, Colin, my boy, I can't wait to see you grow!

You challenge me and push me and propel me forward.
I love you for that.

My sweet little Boo, 
Happiest 6th Birthday!

We love you so!




Monday, July 4, 2016

8 things I like about you



Eight years ago this wonderful boy came into the world.
Not only is it America's birthday, but it is also Jack's birthday.

So, in honor of his big day, here are 8 things that I like about Jack.
(I could go on and on, but 8 seemed a fitting number for such a boy on his 8th birthday)

1. I love his smile. Right now, he has a small gap in his front grown teeth, and I like it.

2. The amount of angst that happens when he is restrained to just ONE book at his favorite used book store. How can one choose just ONE book when there are SO many?! 
(Never fear. He has some gift cards coming and will be able to buy to his heart's content.)

3. I like how he can hold entire conversations in movie quotes.

4. I like that he can't decide if he likes to do math or read. "They both are just so fun." And I hope that  always continues.

5. I like that I have to nightly confiscate books out of his bed because otherwise he would stay up reading hours after his bed time.

6. I like that he wants to be the big brother. He doesn't want anyone else to take his job. It is just too important to him.

7. I like that you always make sure to give your ol' mom a kiss goodnight, no matter what.

8. I like your love of learning and desire to research everything around you. I hope that you always pursue truth and justice in all that you do.




There are so many things that I can say about you, my Jack, my first born. You keep us laughing and on on our toes. We love you SO much.
Thank you for giving me my very favorite job. Mom.
May your 8th birthday be filled with love, laughter and your long sought after blue high tops.

We love you!

Happy 8th Birthday, Jack David.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Highlight Reel

Well... it's been awhile. Three solid months to be exact. I didn't plan on taking such a long hiatus from the ol' blog, but life just happened. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months...and here we are. The first of June. Summer is just a skip, hop and a jump away.

But in those blank spaces of March, April and May special things happened. Fun and exciting things.

So, instead of a massive recap, let's just go with the best parts.

The highlight reel of sorts.


Happy Easter! 
And a family picture where we are ALL looking at the camera. A small miracle.


Hunting for eggs, but not with out a little ankle poppin' pose for the camera.


The Hubby and I got away for a snowy (and deathly sick) filled spring break weekend in Chicago.


Putting on the Ritz in our fancy clothes for the New Morning School auction.



Macy put on her hat, put a hat on her Daddy and told me it was her "marrying hat".
Nothing cuter than a little girl that wants to marry her Daddy.



In April, I flew back to the city of my birth, Salt Lake City, UT. I joined my parents and my sister and we spent time with our Andrew side cousins and had a burial service for my aunt and grandmother. (My Aunt passed away in 2008 and my Grandmother last fall) 
We brought their urns to be buried with my Grandfather.




While the reason for the trip was sad, it was so good to be with family and to explore Utah and the mountains again. I had not been in Utah in almost 20 years!
(And now I feel super old)





Macy and I took a girls' trip to meet up with my mom, sister and her kids and our good friend from MO.

First stop, Bronners. The largest Christmas store in the world.



Frankenmuth cut out were a big hit with Macy.

Her cousin Elliot was not as impressed.



Mother's Day greeted me with donuts, giant homemade cards and sweet smiles from my favorite girl.


Post-park McD's ice cream cones on Mother's Day. 



Memorial Day weekend road trip. Shades on, ready to roll.






It's bubble time.


I walked in on Colin, just brushing his teeth with his sunglasses on.

No big deal.

Peace out, mom...





And a little Memorial Day festival food under a leafy tree.


So, that is our late spring highlight reel.

Some of the golden moments that were splattered in-between the school lunches, drop offs and pick ups, soccer practises and  potty training conversations.


We are ready for June.

We are ready.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Be Like Her



It's been two years since my Grandma left this world.

It seems like such a long time ago.

It seems like yesterday.

I still miss her.

We all do.

Macy will do something so funny and silly and I wish she was there to watch it.

I wish she was here to know her great granddaughter.

She would want Jack to talk to her about books.

She would ask Colin about soccer.

She would talk with Ryan about his latest project.

She would ask because she cared, because she was engaged, because she was involved.

It is a good reminder for me, on this bittersweet day.

Be like her.

Ask.

Engage.

Be involved.

Be like her.



Monday, January 25, 2016

32 years ago...

... this guy came into the world.




Thank goodness.

Because we could not imagine a world without him

Happiest birthday to the best man I know. Thank you for being loving, caring and providing so well. Your integrity speaks volumes to your character and you make me so proud to be your wife.

I can't wait to celebrate with you this year and than for the next 32 more years.

We all love you so much.

Happy Birthday my love.


Monday, January 4, 2016

The Best Is Yet To Come



Happy 2016!

Whew.

2016. 

We made it.

This year. It is going to be a big year for us, I can feel it.

2015 was good and trying and challenging. All years are. We have had some changes that happened late into the year that are bringing us to new places this January.

Late in December, Ryan closed the door on his job in Ann Arbor. He joined the start up with high expectations 18 months ago. If you know us, you know how much he worked. Hours upon hours, way past what is normal or, in my wifely opinion, acceptable. He gave it 100%. Somewhere along the way, the effort grew one sided. Ryan kept working, but expectations were not met on their side. It was a challenging time.

 But, out of the blue, Ryan was offered a new job. A promotion, with a nice raise. They pursued him, and offered everything that was promised before at the former job, plus some.

God is so good. While in the midst of struggling, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We had no idea, but He did.

So, in this new year, this fresh start and clean slate, Ryan started his new job. The boys are back in school, ready to tackle the new year. Macy and I are home...cleaning up the remainder of vacation fun.

This is just the start though. (Not the cleaning though, that will always be around)

There is more to come.

Good things. Great things. Challenging things.

There is an underlining excitement for this year that I have not felt in awhile.

We are taking some big steps. Faith filled steps. Scary steps. Exciting steps.

The best is yet to come.