just call me scrooge

Another confession of sorts…I am already taking down our Christmas decorations.  Gasp.  I know.  We don’t fly away for a few days, but putting decor away seems easier than packing a family of five into 2 suitcases for a ten day trip.  I am contemplating 3 suitcases, yes I am.

It’s been quite a week…with no Christmas cheer.  It started with a doctors trip on Sunday morning to find out about a possible ear drum rupture and fluid in my ear- followed by 2 pain-filled days and a return trip to the doctor.  He confirmed that my ear drum had burst and thankfully gave me some pain meds since I hadn’t slept in 3 days.  He winced when I said I was flying over the weekend- makes me more than thrilled to board an airplane…sarcasm abounds.

And so I live this third week of December, normally one of my favorite weeks of the year, in varying amounts of pain, depending on things like getting up, bending down (the worst pain!!), chewing, yawning (also horrible), laying down (initial pain and then relief), etc… All I gotta say is that I am SO THANKFUL for my husband and babysitter and friend who have taken over the household for me.  And for ear numbing drops and pain pills.  Merry Christmas to me.

Can’t wait to cuddle up on my parents couch and stare at the water and a christmas tree…only 3 more days to wait.

that feeling

You know that feeling, when your heart kinda goes into your throat?  Anxiety and fear jump on quickly and without warning…like little leaches sucking life from you?  I’m making this much more dramatic because I’ve only had one cup of coffee today so far.

I’ve had this feeling several times this month.  Consistently when I think about flying with 2 toddlers and a baby for 6 hours my throat gets a little constricted.  I’ve never had issues with flying much but this time- I’m just not looking forward to that part at all.  I am trusting that God will give Bart and I all the grace we need to get through and perhaps make it even enjoyable?!  I need a little more faith for the last part.  And its so worth it because of where we end up…I love my family.

Another time I had this feeling was yesterday when I checked my email.  The school nurse had sent out a message and the subject line was lice.  EWWWW.  I cannot even.  As I opened it, my fear was confirmed- there is a student in Josiah’s class with lice.  Why me was my first thought, quickly followed by phantom itchy feelings all over my head.  I bolted up the stairs and pulled Josiah out of bed and into the light while I carefully examined his little head.  He was bewildered but compliant.  THANK THE LORD ALMIGHTY I saw nothing.  I’m no lice expert, but from my estimation, he is lice-free.  Tomorrow when he goes back to school we’ll find out for sure.  Ugh.  So gross.  So not Christmasy.

Last night I felt my ears pop and this morning they hurt.  This causes me great distress as well, mostly because of flights coming in our future.  When I was younger, I used to have the worst ear pressure pain while flying…into my 20’s I can remember holding my ears so tightly for the entire descent of the plane.  Horrible pain.  Alas.  I’m hoping it’s nothing.

Well… this was a joy filled post, eh?  Sorry!  I should have another cup of coffee and play with my children instead of write blog posts, don’tchathink?


its my birthday and i’ll post if i want to

bday35 Things I’ve Learned…since I am turning 35 today.  Side note- I can literally remember thinking that thirty-five was old.  My, how my perspective has changed.  Now I think 80 is old, but that’s more normal, right?  So, I think it’s weird that I am now in my mid-30s…like, 40 is my next big milestone?  Like, who said that was “over the hill”- so lame.  40 is the new 30.  Ha.  I don’t mind getting older actually.

1.  It’s easier to be who you were made to be, than someone else.  The older I get the more I realize I like who I am and I can be confident in who God made me.

2.  Hugs from my dad still give me the same loved feeling as when I was 2.

3.  Scarves make me hot, always.  I still like them but like all of my accessorizing, they only last a few minutes.

4.  There are things that I am good at, and I don’t need to worry about perfecting every area…sometimes good enough is just right.

5.  But, there’s always time to learn something new…like that time I learned how to crochet.  Perhaps I will have time to learn that again.

6.  Gratitude is the gateway to joy and contentment.

7.  Jesus likes me.  He loves me too, and He really enjoys being with me.

8.  Age does make a difference in this life, but spending time with people in their 20s and their 50s and any age is so good to do.  Generations bring hope and perspective like nothing else.

9.  I will always miss my favorite far-away people, no matter where I live.

10.  God is constantly showing me a new facet of who He is.  When I accept and believe it, I fall more in love with Him.

11.  The only person in this world that I love talking on the phone with is my sister.

12.  I will always be a spender.  Sorry Bart.

13.  I still love presents, even at 35.  I think this means I always will.  And I might always be the first one up on Christmas morning forever.

14.  Never neglect time to yourself.  Alone.

15.  I hate picking out paint colors of rooms.  I never knew this about myself, until this year.  The lesson is- go with what you really want, not what anyone else says.  It worked for me!

16.  Taking pictures is important.  I will never regret capturing moments.  Plus it’s a good love language to my mom, the scrapbooker extraordinaire.

17.  It’s not my job to include everyone all the time.  And that’s okay.  But its good to be sensitive and kind.

18.  A starbucks delivery will do wonders for anyone.

19.  Spray paint is one of my favorite things.  Gold is especially fun.

20.  Bart is more sensitive than me.  I think I will never catch up.

21.  Consistency is key in parenting, but every once in a while surprise them with a treat or a special activity instead of what they were expecting (nap, discipline etc).

22.  Snuggle.  Snuggling is good for all things, all people.

23.  Amazon Prime is the best money saver in this world.

24.  Cooking is not enjoyable to me these days, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be that way forever.  And sometimes, I need to just do it anyway.

25.  I can make anywhere home.  But I will always call my parent’s home mine too.

26.  Shelves are amazing but horrible to install.  I cannot forget that the next time we move.

27.  Always take lots of pictures of newborn babies…because when they start moving it’s really hard to.

28.  Sleep is my favorite.

29.  Accepting people’s generosity is a learned behavior.

30.  Texting is acceptable for any communication now in my world.  I know it’s not in other people’s lives, but as for me and myself…text me.

31.  Showers are a place of peace and quiet.

32.  I have never felt more gratitude in my life than when 2 women gave me their babies to keep as my own.  I will never get over that.

33.  Sunshine is a gift.  Relish it.  Bask in it.

34.  Rewards are such a good motivator.  Use them liberally.

35.  The ocean is where I see God the clearest.  It’s vast and glorious and beautiful and breath-taking.  I’m so glad that’s who God is.

Confessional #288

Remember when I used to post confessions of a mom, a mom of two and a mom of three?  I liked those.  Part of me liked airing my secrets and part of my liked shocking you all, even though I think I just made other moms feel good about themselves which is never a bad thing.  I think we could all use some lowly comparison sometimes since most of us fall into comparing to the mom or woman or angel that does it better than us, amiright?

So- for those of you who are new…feel free to look back upon my other confessional posts- I find them to be some of my favorites.  They should be under the tab motherhood.

*My 3 year old son is wearing his footie pajamas backwards because of an unfortunate decision he made yesterday regarding poop.  He chose to smear it on his walls, floor, self…probably in retaliation to the arrival of a lock on his door- from the outside.  Thankfully Josiah, albeit much younger then, had some poop playing days as well, and we remembered the beautiful trick of backwards pjs and ductape if needed.

*In keeping with the smearing theme- during Thanksgiving dinner the same unnamed child decided to play in the ranch dip IN THE LIVING ROOM.  We were hosting a big family…that’s my only excuse as to why ranch dip and veggies were left IN THE LIVING ROOM.  Darn myself.  While enjoying a delicious feast I looked over to see my son with white hands and thought to myself- “huh, weird, white hands?”   Thankfully I can say I did not scream or even alert the rest of the crowd, just Bart- and the ranch dip was extracted from the couch, the rug, and my lovely 3 year old’s body.

*Bigger than either of those prior confessions- that child has not had a bath yet, despite two major incidents in less than a week.

*I have always done my children’s handprints on their birthday…it’s December and I haven’t done Maya’s first birthday ones yet.  Her bday was Nov 11.  I will not succumb to the age old “3rd child” mentality- I have in so many ways but I refuse to give up on my future cool handprint wall idea.  I can do it.  I can do it.

*Josiah goes to school only two mornings a week but I still regularly think of reasons why he shouldn’t go each week.  It’s pathetic.  Whatever am I gonna do next year when it turns into 5 days a week?!?!

*I change Maya’s clothes almost every day- hooray for me!  She has so many clothes and looks cute in everything.  But the boys only get changed when their clothes when it’s actually necessary.  As in, we are going in public or they got too dirty to justify staying in said clothing.

*I look forward to nap time, and bedtime every single day.  And I’m not afraid to admit it.

*My boys eat more carbs than most humans on the earth.  So.many.crackers.  I am proud to say because of my husband’s strong will, we have banished nutrigrain bars (of which my boys would eat 4+a day each).  The sugar content is very high…but I will admit, I miss them.  I miss the ease of “breakfasts”.

*Here is perhaps the biggest public confession of all- which I am quite mortified by- we are not getting a Christmas tree this year.  I know, right?!!?  INSANE.  Me, the lover of all things Christmas, who vowed I would never NOT get a real tree the day after Thanksgiving decided no tree this year.  Basically, since I decorated earlier this year, and then had to put away all the boxes of decor before Thanksgiving (we hosted) I just couldn’t bring myself to pull some of it back into my house.  PLUS we will be in Washington for Christmas, thus meaning we’d have about 20 days with a tree before having to take it all down.  Also we have a VERY active one year old who, while she’s great at listening, would have to be trained not to touch the tree and I just didn’t feel like spending our 3 weeks of December doing that.  So… gasp in shock…our home does not have a big Christmas tree- it does however, have 3 mini ones and lots of trimmings in the hopes of still smelling the same.  NEXT YEAR THO- BRING IT ON.

*I did set up the advent pouches with the Bible stories and activities/treats to go with each day…but alas, I missed yesterday- the first one.

*We are not getting our kids anything for Christmas.  WHOA.  Don’t worry, other people are…

*I got a nespresso machine for my birthday and it might be the joy of my life.  Think keurig for espresso… lattes at my fingertips.  It’s glorious.

*I tried another Christmas card photo shoot.  I really should give up on this idea because it’s just a built in FAIL every time.

*I am too tired to continue, even though I have so many more confessions.

have yourself a merry little christmas

First- I know this blog has taken a dive into the abyss.  Hoping for inspiration in the near year… but for now, I’ll just say I know I know.  People are gonna shoot me because I am talking about Christmas and it’s not even Thanksgiving.  But, everyone who’s anyone is telling me that since Thanksgiving is so late this year, it’s okay to start decorating for Christmas…and listening to Christmas music.  EEEK.  Hate me?

Well, sorry!  I’m ready to jump into the lights and the cozyness of the holiday time…I found my signature Christmas scent that was retired ten years ago…it’s back!  It’s a different company, but check out StellaMare Cranberry Tangerine candles- they are the most heavenly scent!!!  I could only find them online at Amazon for more expensive, so I enlisted my sister to pick me up some at Fred Meyer and there was even a sale.  They are made in Portland, Oregon…so I’m sure you west coast peeps can find them nearby.  Anyway, I’m also getting an early start because I will be taking everything down on December 20th so we can fly to Seattle on the 21st.  Have I convinced you that it’s okay yet?

I just finished taking down my Fall decor.  It wasn’t hard and last week we already threw out our porch mums because they had all died.   Alas.  It just seems right…this week it got really cold here too.  Bart is making fires often, which I love.  I am dying to browse my favorite antique stores to check out their Christmas selections and I’ve already walked through Target’s holiday section about a hundred times.

I’m looking at the mountain that is taking a kid’s christmas card photo.  The easy part is picking out the clothing.  The hard part is…well, everything else.  Wish me luck!

New favorite Christmas album- Kim Walker-Smith- When Christmas Comes. So good!


happy first birthday maya

maya16My dearest Mymy,

It’s your birthday!  The very first one you’ve ever had, besides you know, the one where you were birthed.  I have had the privilege of being by your side for every single day of your life.  What a gift.  I always wanted a daughter but I never realized what amazing joy you would bring.

DSC_0057DSC_0021DSC_0128I love the way you laugh- with your whole body- even smiles take up every inch of your face.  Your dimples are the best and your little chiclets crack me up.  Even when I don’t want to smile, I just physically can’t not when I see your beautiful grin.  I love your crazy hair and admit that I have no idea what to do with it.  I love the way you stare at everyone.  I love the way you’ll snuggle when you’re tired, but if you’re awake- the world is beckoning.  You don’t stop for a moment, except to stuff yet another *insert anything on the floor* into your mouth.

maya15I love your strength.  You are fearless when it comes to movement.  You are so tough.  The fact that you are walking already is purely you- all you.  Lord knows I tried my best to thwart your progress and slow you down, but that’s impossible.  I wonder how much of the way you take on this little world right now is a glimpse of how you will tackle life in the future.  Oh and I can’t wait to hear you talk!

DSC_0003I love the way you love your brothers and how they can always calm you.  I love how happy you get when they come into your room in the morning…really how excited you are when anyone comes in!  I love picking you up from your crib and holding you close, kissing your cheek a million times while you just let me.  I love dressing you- and how every single time I put a shirt over your head you giggle.  I mean…who does that?  I love you, I just love you so much.  I love introducing you as my daughter…I love praying over you and dreaming of your future.  I love that you’re mine.

maya8You made me so proud at your birthday party girl… no tears when we sang the birthday song so loudly- nope, all smiles instead.  And then the way you want after your birthday cake was seriously the best cake smashing I’ve ever seen.  You are a star!  I can’t wait to see what God has planned for your life;  I have a feeling your dad and I are in for a real exciting adventure.

Happy Birthday my darling daughter- you are the best!

Love mama


maya’s birth story

To be fair, I need to document Maya’s birth story here on my blog.  Plus then all I have to do is copy and paste when it comes time to make her baby book…which I haven’t even started.  Eek.

My little girl’s entrance into this world is burned into my memory so deeply that I know it does not matter that I’m writing this down a year later.  I actually saw her be born.  With our boys, we met them the day they were born- one 7 hours later and one 4 hours after but our baby girl…I was there when she cried that first tiny cry.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that sure I wanted to witness the birth of my daughter.  It might sound horribly wrong to anyone who hasn’t been through a failed adoption, but in my mind she isn’t ours until her birth mom signs the papers and makes it official.  Nothing is certain in those hours and it’s very very difficult to not get too attached and hopeful.  So, when Maya’s birth mom requested my presence I kind of sloughed it off, as the boy’s birth mom had also asked that I be there and it didn’t work out; I thought the same would happen.  Except for the fact that she was induced…and there was a specific time…and we were driving down…and would be able to arrive before she was born.

Literally it came down to that that Monday morning, November 11th because we were on the road driving the rest of the way to Jacksonville.  We had stopped to spend the night about 6 hours away, and we knew *Mel (that’ll be our name for Maya’s precious birth mom for the rest of the story) was being induced at 8am but had figured we had plenty of time and I really had no idea what the heck I would do sitting in a birthing room all day waiting for a baby that may or may not be mine to be born.  It’s hard enough after the baby is out to wait the required 48 hours until a birth mom signs her rights away…so I wasn’t breaking any speed limits.

But as God would have it, we arrived in Jacksonville around 2pm and headed straight for the hospital with the whole family.  I jumped out at the entrance and Bart took the boys to grab food.  I remember feeling eerily excited and nervous and a little nauseas.  As a nurse ushered me into the hospital room, I immediately headed over to Mel and gave her a hug, asked how she was doing…totally unsure of what else I should do or say.  I’d met her once before, when we had dinner and met each other a few months earlier, but that’s it.  And now I’m standing next to her and she labors pretty intensely.  Literally about ten minutes after I showed up, nurses started wheeling in all sorts of equipment and an empty bassinet and things just came alive.  Two social workers and I stood nearby trying not to get in the way while still giving Mel support until the dr showed up and Mel began to push.   Originally I was standing by her head, praising her to keep going…or whatever the heck I said, I have no idea… but then it was only about 6 pushes and the dr ensured the baby was almost here- so one of the social workers grabbed my arm, exclaiming that I just had to watch my daughter be born!  Mortified, a little curious, and seriously excited I watched as her head emerged and she just shot out.  Insane!  The dr held her up to show her off and yelled “where’s your camera?” so of course, we all scrambled to grab our devices for a quick picture.  Then he held scissors and looking at us, asked who was cutting the cord.  I did not think for one moment it would be me…I mean, what if I messed up?  But they pushed me towards him and I found myself grabbing the scissors and thankfully cutting in a very clearly marked area of the cord.  Then the baby was whisked away to the flurry of nurses waiting nearby and I was so torn.  I wanted to comfort Mel and congratulate her, which I did…but my heart was also so drawn to the precious slimy (I mean, come on- gotta be truthful) little girl who was just born.

My heart felt like it was in my throat as I stared at her through all the hands moving around her.  I watched as they weighed and recorded all the little details.  She was moved into this little warming bed and checked out completely and I just watched in amazement that I got to be right next to her the entire time.  The best part was when a nurse asked who the “second” bracelet was for…normally it’s for the dad and I’ve actually never gotten the bracelet privilege- which means one can see the baby without her mom present.  With both our boy’s births, we got to see them in the hospital, but never with this much freedom.  I almost cried when one of the nurses asked if I wanted to go with her when she brought Maya into the nursery to give her a bath.  Incredulously, I followed, feeling like it was a dream.  At this point, I tried so desperately to trust God that He would hold my heart if this wasn’t going to be our daughter, because I was bonded.  From that first moment she grabbed my finger, minutes after she was born…I never wanted to let her go.  I prayed and hoped that this was my Maya Joy…the one we had prayed for so much.

It was so fun to be a part of all the little stuff.  About an hour after the birth, Bart brought the boys up to our floor and a nurse kindly found us a small “storage” room for privacy so they could meet her.  Bart held her and the boys looked at her in awe.  It was all very surreal.  That lasted about ten minutes and then we crossed over to Mel’s room and she got to meet Bart and our boys.  It was special to be all together, with our lawyer (who we LOVE) and I remember feeling such peace as Mel fed Maya her first bottle and then handed her off to me so she could  rest.  What could have felt so odd and awkward felt strangely normal.

After awhile it was time to say goodbye.  We headed to our hotel room without a tiny baby but filled with much hope and anticipation.  Much to our surprise and delight, Mel was ready to be discharged the next day, which meant that we didn’t have to wait the customary 48 hours for the rights hearing.  Thankfully we had a family friend who was able to babysit the boys while we sat anxiously in the hospital waiting room while Mel signed all the papers and surrendered her parental rights…and even though it felt slightly more definite this time around, it was still hard to fully believe we would leave the hospital with a daughter.

But Praise God- she became ours on November 12th, 2013!!!  Of course, finalization didn’t happen until many months later, but in our hearts it was a done deal.  Maya was required to stay one more night in the hospital, so we spent a good amount of time cuddling her and taking lots of pictures and then headed out to grocery shop and get ready for the next two weeks of hotel living.  The next day we met our social worker back at the hospital and changed Maya into her going home outfit…and then waited a lot longer than we should have because of a shift change- but it didn’t matter- she was ours!!!!!

I still can’t forget the drive back to our hotel- with our THREE?!!? children in the backseats.  It felt like so recently we had brought Josiah home from the hospital, and Regan too…and now, our first daughter- what an incredible feeling, an amazing reality.

I do however forget a lot of our hotel living…which I think is part of God’s divine plan in getting me back down to Florida each time for another adoption.  It’s a miracle how living in a hotel room with 2 toddlers and a newborn can seem like no big deal a year later.  In the midst of it, there were loooooooong days and looooooong nights.  But the gift of Maya Joy was worth ten times that torture.

So, I finally finished this on the eve of your first birthday Mymy.  I love you to pieces my daughter.