Book Day

I know I'm so very far behind to be blogging about end of the year school activities...but I want to remember, so better late than never I always say.  :)

Right before school ended, they had Book Day.  The idea was to celebrate reading and books etc.  The kids were supposed to dress up as a character in a book (or their favorite character).  That was no easy task for us, but Jenna finally came up with an idea and I thought we did a pretty good job...


Can you guess who she is?  I would have never in a million years guessed, so I'll be surprised if anyone else guesses.  She was Nim from Nim's Island.  I thought that was a pretty good character to choose and it pretty much guaranteed no one else would be dressed like that!

She had a good day and had a few interesting people come and read to them.  Unfortunately, my plea for famous readers yielded no results.  :(  But it was a good day all in all.


Another list!

So, we are anticipating another list of adoptable children released from China this evening.  We were hoping our Kylie is on this list, but late last week, our agency it could be a year or more.  Obviously, this is NOT what we wanted to hear. We are hoping to discuss more thoroughly with our agency and we are entertainng the idea of switching agencies.  I have MANY friends whose agency has matched them in the first couple of months.  So, don't hold your breath for a match...we certainly aren't, but we will keep you posted if we get "the call".

In the meantime, keep us in your prayers as we seek God's will.


Awards Day!

I know I'm a bit behind on some of these posts, but I'm trying to go back and get caught up.  Just act like I'm on time!

The last 1/2 day of school was awards day.  I always liked awards day and Jenna certainly looks forward to it.  Mostly she looks forward to getting her Perfect Attendance award.  The girl, she loves school.  And she doesn't want to miss for anything.  With the exception of kindergarten (where she missed 2 days due to us traveling for Steve's surgery that year), she has only missed 1 half day of school and that was because we traveled to see Chase graduate from boot camp.  That's a lot of time to not miss school!  So here she is...getting the beloved Perfect Attendance award!

She also entered a writing contest.  My girl loves to write.  The rules stated the book must be fiction and of course it was written with correct spelling and grammar etc.  Here she is with her story...can you see the title?
It's entitled "A New Life" and that picture on the front is the country of China.  The "fiction" story is about a little girl learning her parents are adopting a sister from China.  And it's all about the excitement she has and how anxious she is to get to travel to China and pick up her little sister.  I will tell you, it was all I could do not to get choked up while reading it.  It really gave me some insight into how Jenna really feels about the adoption.  And if there is any way possible, I need her to travel with me to pick up Kylie.

She didn't get first place, but she was a FINALIST!  Here she is getting recognized as one of the finalists...
They did recognize the kids who made it all the way through the different levels in Math and she got recognized there too.  The fact she is good in math really makes me happy.  Not sure who I'm going to enlist to help her after she gets past division, but I'll find someone!  :)

Finally, all the kids who reached their reading goals for every 9 weeks during the year.  And knowing how she loves to read, my girl was recognized in that category too!  I was so very proud of her!  Jenna is good in school especially reading, writing and math.  Those are her strongest subjects and I hope it stays that way!


Let's Bowl Let's Bowl...

Some of you may know that Steve used to bowl in a league back before he broke his hip.  The league was a church league from his sister and brother in law's church and he really enjoyed it.  It was HIS thing to do while I was out scrapbooking or whatever.

After the hip replacement, his bowling hobby was put on hold because he just could not get the strength to do it.  However, this year, he went back!  And while I missed him on Friday nights, I knew he was enjoying himself and that was worth it to me.

At the end of each league "year", there is a bowling banquet.  This year there were lots of cool door prizes and I was excited to get a shot at some of them.  Unfortunately, the kid they asked to help pick the winners out of a hat didn't have the same intention as me...

Steve did win a Cracker Barrel gift certificate which we promptly spent last weekend.  :)  But then came the awesome prizes that only the bowlers were able to be drawn for.  There was a flat screen TV, a Kindle, digital camera etc.  NICE GIFTS.  Did Jenna draw Steve's number at all?  NO.

But Steve's bowling team did come in 1st place which means we get a free trip to Memphis for him to be in the tournament with another 1st place team, so that's pretty exciting.  I'll have to blog about that when we go.  I just might see Elvis.  You never know.  :)


Kylie's books

One thing I forgot to mention was a few weeks ago, I went online and found a couple of books on adoption for Kylie.  These books are AMAZING, one of them written by an adoptive mother who got her daughter from China and I think it will be perfect!

Check out the excerpt from the "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes" book.

I mean...it brought tears to my eyes.  I can highly recommend any of these books.  I can't wait to hold Kylie and read them to her and answer her questions about how she came to us.


Kylie's Room-Almost Done!

Well, Kylie's room is almost complete!  I can't think of anything else we really need to do except maybe get the extra junk out of there.

The room became complete when we acquired a glider.  We knew we wanted a glider and looked into several online, but they were $100 and up.  Then Rachel got a glider donated to her for her yardsale.  I was very interested in it, but it was definitely going to take some recovering of the cushions because they just didn't match the room at all.  I hated to buy it from her without giving her the chance to sell it in the yard sale first.

Much to my disappointment, Jenna called about 1/2 way through the sale to tell me the chair had sold.  That night, I thought about checking Craigslist just to see if I could find anything.

You won't believe it, but I found a chair actually IN our city!  When we saw it, we knew we had to have it because it matched PERFECTLY.

And the best part?  The cost.  $20.  That's good stuff right there!  Rachel got 3x or more for hers at her adoption yard sale which gets her one step closer to bringing her girl home and I am out $20.  Good times.


Guest Blogger-Jenna!

I thought I'd shake things up today and let Jenna do a guest blog.  It seemed like a pretty good way to get her to practice writing over the summer, so I have not edited her post, but pasted it in it's entirety below.  Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Jenna I am Sandra's daughter and I'm going to say some words now my birthday was just last week, June 15th.  I went out to dinner with family and a couple of friends.  My birthday cake was a swimming pool cake we made blue jello.  We had to make two cakes because we had to make the pool deep enough so that's way we made two cakes.  I took a polly pockeet and some pieces of candy and made it a pool towel and two intertubes.  It was fun making cakes!  When we went to the restraunt, I got a book, legos, money, nail polish, and a lawn chair.

It was a good birthday!  :)


Report Card!

Ok, yes, it's another catch up post, but I gotta take time to brag on my girl no matter how long past it is.

A few weeks ago we got the final 9 weeks report card.  Last nine weeks there were a couple of Bs which were still good, but Jenna was a little disappointed since she had straight As up until then.

Honestly, we weren't sure what to expect because the last 9 weeks is super busy and there was lots of other things going on. 

BUT MY GIRL PULLED IT OUT!  STRAIGHT As!!!!  I was so proud of her!  She did so well...and she earned herself $10 for a straight A report card (that she's saving for vacation!)


The Nail Salon

So a few weeks ago, Jenna kept asking if we could go and get pedicures.  Well, it's just too expensive for us both to go and at the time we were on a pretty tight budget (this happens when there is only one income AND there is only a once-a-month paycheck!).

With that in mind, I just decided to go another direction...I set up a home-spa right in our bedroom...
And then I let Jenna come in for her appointment.  Apparently the water was pretty warm...
But she soaked her feet and let me rub them.  I trimmed her toenails and painted them per her instructions.  And she absolutely enjoyed it like none other. It took very little time for me to do and you would have thought we were going to Disney the way she reacted. 
There was only one thing I could think of that she might enjoy more.  And a few nights later, I gave her the opportunity to do it...
She polished my toes.  It wasn't the best job.  It certainly wasn't salon quality, but you know what?  I wear it with pride.  She took such great care with it...carefully painting each toe and trying not to get any outside the nail.  She kept asking me if I liked it and of course, I said yes!  I did touch it up just a tiny bit, but I wore it until our pedicures on her birthday.

Such a sweet memory for us to have.  I love my girl!


More Birthday Fun

On Friday night, we let Jenna have a couple friends to spend the night and boy was that exciting! 

For dinner, we let them make their own homemade personal pizza.

While the pizzas were cooking, we had presents...

And for dessert we decorated cupcakes...

And there was laughing.  And screaming.  And running.  And just lots of fun in general.

Saturday morning we got up and made it to the rec center pool where a few other friends met us there. 

It looked like it was going to storm, but thankfully, the rain held out until it was just about time for us to go.  It was a nice day to just hang out.

The girls swam and then had a quick lunch at the pool.  It was a great day for Jenna and cheap for me!  What a great way to celebrate turning 10!


Birthday Dinner

On Wednesday night, we had dinner out to celebrate Jenna turning the big 1-0!  A bunch of family members came.  There were presents and cake and Jenna's favorite...CHEESE DIP!  It was great and we took a couple of her sweet friends from church.
After our delicious dinner, we had cake.  It was sad to see my pool cake decimated, but everyone said it tasted good, although no one really wanted the blue jello!

After cake, came the gifts.  The best part of the night according to Jenna!  :)  This next picture perfectly depicts the theme of the night...

MONEY!  But check out what Jenna got from my niece, Karen.  She totally made this and it is the cutest thing I have EVER seen!

It's a necklace made with little treats (some candy necklaces etc.) and dollar bills!  It was SO cute.  I'm telling you, this girl could make stuff like this and sell it online.  Seriously, the way she dolls up her gifts is unbelievable.  She's a teacher by trade and is ULTRA creative.  LOVE it.

Then, it was home again to hang out and build some lego structures.  I have learned that I really love lego building.  They aren't cheap and this birthday is the first time we've, ahem, JENNA, has gotten legos.  But I might have to invest in more of them for me! 

All in all, I think Jenna really had a good time and it was good to spend time with family and friends.


Jenna's birthday at home

Wednesday started off early because we had decided, rather at the last minute, to go to the strawberry patch nearby.  I'd been meaning to get out there forever, but just never did and so we went just on the tail end of the harvest.
Picking was still hard work because you are bending over and even at 8am, it was hot!  But we ended up with 5lbs of strawberries, so I think we did really well for waiting until the last minute!

Of course because it was late in the harvest, we had to go right home and fix them up.  They are SO sweet and delicious!  Jenna loves strawberries and these are the best we've had in a longgggg time.

In the midst of it all, the day before her birthday, Jenna decided she wanted a pool cake.  Well, because we are on a very limited budget right now, I was just going to bake her cake myself.  So, I started researching online and found what I thought to be a pretty simple-to-make pool cake.  So.  I gave it a shot.  I think it turned out pretty good.  What do you think?
 After the cake craziness was done, I treated Jenna to a pedicure.  When I saw I treated her, I really mean, I treated US.  :)  It was past time for me to have a pedicure and boy was it great!  Jenna really got the VIP treatment for her birthday.  The place we went was a tiny bit more expensive on mine, but less expensive on hers but the people were much nicer, so that's where we are going from now on.
And we also both tried out the new crackle nail polish.  You pick a base coat and then a top coat for the crackle and the top coat cracks to let the base coat shine through.  It's pretty neat.  I've heard it doesn't stay on as well as the regular polish, so we'll see.  Here's Jenna's color choices...
After our toes were done, we went next door to have a hair trim and a 'do for the evening activities.  Jenna chose to have a french braid.  Oddly enough, only 2 of the stylists even knew how to do a french braid although you would have thought that's a basic taught in cosmetology school.

The final product wasn't exactly perfect, but it looked cute enough and was better than what I could have done, as well it should have been since we were there an hour and it took the stylist 3 tries to get it half way decent looking.

Then it was off to pick up a few friends and to dinner.  But more on that later...



We got the disappointing news yesterday (Jenna's birthday, no less) that Steve did NOT get the job he interviewed for.  He was pretty bummed and yes, a little angry.  But we forge ahead in looking for more work elsewhere.

In other depressing news, 2 years ago today, my Daddy passed away.  I remember we were so afraid he was going to die on Jenna's birthday, but true to form in never wanting to be a 'burden to his family', Daddy held on until the wee hours of the morning on the 16th.

I miss him.  I miss him like crazy some days.  And I'm very sad that he won't get to see sweet Kylie come home.  But I have to believe that he WILL see her...just not the way I wish.


Happy Birthday Jenna!

It's been a WHOLE decade.

10 years ago the moment this blog is posted, I gave birth to a beautiful 7lb, 1oz baby girl.  She was perfect in every way.

And today, she is 10 years old.  It just doesn't seem possible.  I never thought we'd see 1 year and here we are celebrating 10.  I will blink my eye and she'll be celebrating another decade of life.  Until then, I'm going to love on this girl as much as I can.

Happy birthday my sweet baby girl!  We love you more than I ever dreamed possible!!!


Deeper Still

This past weekend, I went to the last ever Deeper Still conference in Louisville, KY.  For those of you who aren't familiar, Deeper Still is a very in depth conference of 3 absolutely fabulous women speakers...Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer and Kay Arthur.

Now, I have heard Beth Moore speak in Bible Study videos and even in person, but I had not yet had the opportunity (privilege) to hear Kay or Priscilla (though I about 1/2 completed a study of hers).  Now that I've heard them, I have only one thing to say...


First of all, my dear sweet friend Rachel planned this trip as she has in the past and so I went with 15 of my closest friends from church.  And because Rachel is crazy and has turned most of us crazy too, we get to the venue about 90 minutes ahead of time in order to get seats close to the front.  Here we are waiting...see how close we are to the door?  Yes ma'am, that's the FRONT if I've ever seen it!
And then of course, being this close to the door, you'd think we'd have seats very close to the front.   Waiting outside in the 90 degree heat, I think we certainly deserve it.  Our efforts were certainly rewarded.

You have not experienced hearing any of these wonderful women speak until you have sat just a few short rows from the stage where they are standing.  And the worship...OH the worship.

The worship is just unbelievable.  There are just no words.  Let me share just a bit of what I learned.  Bear with me...

Let me preface this with just a quick tidbit of information.  When Rachel plans a trip she really plans a trip.  That girl as a GIFT.  When we all met at the designated departure place, she handed us all bags with goodies in them.  One of the goodies was a home made worship CD.  She had emailed us earlier with details on the trip and asked us to reply with our favorite worship songs and then she turned them into like the best CD ever.  My song was "How He Loves" by the David Crowder Band.

On Friday night, Kay kicked it off in talking about just how much God loves us.  Even when He doesn't work the way we think He should.  As we worshipped and I listened to Kay, I realized God was whispering to me, "Do you believe I love you?" and overwhelmingly, I felt like YES, yes I do know that.  And then He whispered, "Even if Steve doesn't get this job?"  And I said, "yes, I will still love you".  And then I heard Him ask "What if you lose your house?" and I realized that yes, I would still love Him even if He didn't solve these problems for us.  Because in the end, He loves me desperately.

The next day, Priscilla talked about taking some Sabbath time...some rest time.  For me, time in which to spend with my child, my husband and my God.

Beth talked about the different generations and how important they are to each other.  How we need women older and younger.  And I realized I really do need some mentors in my life. 

There was so much more but it's something for my heart and not this blog.  All I can say is this weekend was just what I needed.  I didn't just get filled up, I was overflowing.  And there wasn't a better group of women to share that with that the ones I was with.


No new is...well...no news

I've gotten some "gentle" reminder emails about my lack of blogging and noticed that my site meter shows my hits have been cut in half.  I guess people are tired of coming to an un-updated blog, so here we go.  I can't promise it will be updated every day, but I'll try.

So, mostly people keep asking whether we've heard anything back from the interview Steve had a little over a week ago.  And the answer is no, unfortunately we haven't.  It has just been a week ago this past Friday, so that's not an excessive amount of time passed.  However, we have determined if we don't hear anything by the end of this week, it's probably a good assumption that he didn't get it.

It's disappointing for sure, but it's all part of it.  We will continue to look forward.  Thanks to all of you who prayed, some fasted and just thought of us.


Interview Update

First of all, I'm overwhelmed at the sheer number of you who have prayed for us today.  Words can't express our gratitude.  Steve was calm and not anxious, so those prayers were answered.

Steve thinks the interview went "OK".  That's not exactly what we wished for.  We wished for him to knock their socks off, but I think all around, the feeling was just "OK".  But like my friend said, Steve is very much, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy.  He doesn't come in with both guns blazing, but he also doesn't slink in without you ever knowing he was there.

It will be a while before we hear.  We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  Either way, we know God's hand will be all over it and we'll glorify him no matter what.

It's time!

Steve should be starting his interview right now.  Please pray!!!

Today is a big day...

Today at 11:00 Steve will be interviewing for a position at a local company.  Will you please send up some prayers for his peace and for the right answers to come to him today?  I'd love for him to get hired on the spot but that is unlikely, so pray for patience and calm as we wait for the answers to come.

Pray that no matter the outcome, we will trust and accept God's will in this (this is very hard for us).  I will post more as soon as I know something.



I haven't mentioned this on the blog yet, but since things are moving all of a sudden, thought I'd update my readers (all 2 of you!).

About a month ago, I got an email from a dear friend of mine, who we call Rachel VG, not to be confused with my other dear friend Rachel, who is adopting from Ethiopia.  She asked me if Steve would be interested in doing what she did.  After finding out exactly what her job entailed and about how much the position would pay, I thought it might be a good fit.  Steve went online right away and applied. 

Fast forward to last Tuesday night.  We'd heard nothing officially, only that my friend Rachel had seen a number of people interview.  Steve got an online assessment email from this company which is the next step in the process.  He filled out the online assessment (during the commercial breaks of the Biggest Loser finale!) and then we waited some more.  On Tuesday this week, he received a phone call from the corporate office wanting to set up a phone screen. 

The phone screen took place at 1:00 and the recruiter told him after that he "definitely qualified" for the job.  The next thing was that his resume would be forwarded to the hiring manager and either he'd call him in for an interview or he'd get a "thanks for applying" email.  And that it could take up to 2 weeks to hear something.

Yesterday morning (less than 24 hours later), he got a call for an in person interview! It's Friday at 11:00 central time.

While this is very good news, we are far away from landing this job.  God is working (and we hope this job is His will) but Satan is working too.  He is going to do his best to put negative thoughts in our heads, make us doubt God's provision for us and steal our peace.  I had asked for prayers from a number of people this week for the phone interview and from what Steve said, it sounds like he was perfectly calm and his answers were very good.

If you aren't a praying person, please send us positive thoughts.  But if you do believe in the power of prayer, like we do, please join us in storming the throne and asking for God's will (and our acceptance of that) in this.

More to come...


15 Years Ago...

15 years ago today, I was just a few weeks shy of turning 22 years old. 

15 years ago today, I'd been without my mother for 4 years.

15 years ago today, I was steps away from inheriting a full-on family.

15 years ago today, I walked down the aisle at my home church in Nashville and committed my life to my best friend in the world.

I was 21 years old and he was 36, the age I am now.  I was barely "legal".  I get ribbed all the time that while Steve was graduating from high school, I was toddling around in diapers.

I am pretty sure no one thought we would make it for long.  But they didn't know us.  The road hasn't been easy.  Marriage isn't easy and if you are unmarried or engaged and hoping to be married soon, do not listen to the lie that it's all a fairy tale and happiness.  Marriage is work.  It's hard.  But the dividends are worth every tear.

I not as in love with Steve today as when we married.  I am in love with him MORE!  He is my rock and we fit together perfectly.  I can't remember life before him and I don't want to do life without him.

Steve Taylor, Happy Anniversary!  No one thought we'd make it this far.  And this is just the beginning.  Here's to 15 more years together!  I LOVE YOU!