Looking towards 2013


Where did the time go?  I can't believe this year has flown by so fast. I now watch Jenna talk about how slow time seem to move and I warn her that before she knows it, she'll be all grown up with a child of her own and be wondering where the time went.

So as we are headed into a brand new year, I've been thinking of the things I want to do differently in 2013.

I am not making any weight loss goals because those never stick and I've decided to just have plastic surgery when I'm 40.  I'm totally kidding.  Kind of.

One of the things I want to do in 2013 is start spending more time with my family.  Lately, when I put Kylie down at night, I'll go ahead and crawl into bed and do one or a combination of the following:  read, blog, read blogs, watch TV, read/study the Bible, surf the Internet....

I justified this by saying this is the only time I have to myself.  But I realized, I could do any or all of these things while sitting in the living room with my family.  So I'm going to start doing better with that.

Of course, as always, I want to incorporate more time spent in the Word and in prayer.  I bought a new book that I hope will help me do this.

I also want to make sure I eat lunch away from my desk at least once a week at work.  Now that I no longer have a WBFF, it's become very easy to simply eat at my desk at work.  The problem is that I then only take maybe 30 minutes max and after a few weeks of doing this, you start to really get burned out at work.  There's a reason they give you a lunch hour.  I need to take it.  I feel so much better when I do.

I want to do some other minor improvements but nothing significant enough to mention here.  So, that's what I'm looking forward to in 2013.  What are your goals?


9 months home!

Kylie has been home 9 months...as long as her China Mommy carried her inside.  I can't believe it's been 9 months.  Some days it feels like she's been with us forever and some days I feel like I was *just* packing to travel to China.

For Christmas, I bought a copy of our China album for Deanne and looking through it brought things so much more in focus.  It is absolutely amazing how far this sweet girl has come since March.
Maybe a better comment would be it is amazing how far this MAMA has come since March.  The journey is one we are ALL on.

What's Kylie up to now?  Well, she is a month shy of turning 2 years old.  In the last month or so, her vocabulary has really started to pick up.  She will parrot just about anything you say back to you.  We are working hard at getting her to "use your words" when she needs something instead of grunting and whining and us anticipating her need.  She doesn't usually spontaneously tell us things yet, but she's getting there.  We are still doing speech therapy twice a week and TEIS once a week.

We haven't been to the doctor for height/weight, but last visit, she was nearly in the 50th%ile for both.  She fits very well into 18 month clothes and some 24 month (pants are usually too big). 

She will go to other people now.  She especially likes my friend Jill's husband, Alan.  He's super tall and she loves for him to pick her up and even throw her up in the air, which is a big milestone...that's trust in another person...she had a great time with my niece over Christmas and then we had an ER trip thrown in for Steve's kidney stones and my sister kept her for us and she went right to her and even took a nap at her house.  So she's establishing relationships with other family members now too.

She is super animated.  Unless she has just woken up, she is usually a jabber mouth (gee, wonder where she gets it?!) and loves to sing (although I don't have a clue as to what she's singing).  This is from one day at breakfast.  I love that she thinks she is funny too!

Most times if you ask her for a hug, she'll hug you and pat your back which simply makes me melt.  When you ask for a kiss, she offers you her cheek.  Steve calls that "typical woman" behavior.  And sometime when you say, "love you", she'll try and say it back and will occasionally lean in for a kiss on the lips if you are lucky and she's feeling particularly sweet.

She still likes to be carried but she also likes to walk as well.  She has no fear when it comes to climbing and falling and we are expecting our first broken bone or stitches any time now.  :)

She is somewhat of a picky eater but her favorite food is shredded cheese.  I know my brother is rolling over in his grave right now because he hated cheese.  Kylie loves it but her favorite way is shredded.  She recently decided that chocolate pop tarts are her favorite breakfast food, but she likes donuts, eggs, biscuits and hash browns too.  We sometimes use M&Ms as a treat and she LOVES those, so I think we'll use them as potty training treats when that time comes.  She favors macaroni and cheese but will eat lunchables, chicken and a variety of other foods.  She's not a fan of fruits and/or veggies, but we are working on that.  The girl definitely has a sweet tooth.

Speaking of teeth, she LOVES LOVES LOVES to brush her teeth.  After her palate had healed, we switched to the OK-to-swallow toothpaste and she loves night-night time because she gets to brush.  She does mostly suck the toothpaste off but she's already moving the toothbrush back and forth top and bottom and both sides.

Kylie sleeps like a champ now and we are very thankful.  She goes to bed in her crib at 8:00-8:30 after 3 books and prayers.  Every once in a while, she'll cry and I'll have to go in and give her some extra love and that's it.  She sleeps through the night until we go in and get her up usually around 8:00-8:30.  She usually takes a full two hour nap when we are at home and she can.  Many times her naps fall during the time Steve has to go pick Jenna up from school, so it might be 30 minutes to an hour.  On the weekends, I'll take her to her room and typically she will want to get in her bed rather than have me hold her.  I'll sit in there while she settles down and then finally drifts off to sleep.  I try to stay in there while she sleeps because it's quiet time for me plus, I get to be near her and I like that.  Sometimes it takes her a while to drift off.  Today, for example...
We are so blessed by this sweet baby's presence in our lives.  She is such a joy and full of personality.  All in all, she's come a long way in 9 months and I can't wait for the next 9!


Help Needed

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." ~John 14:18

Today, my heart is very heavy with the passing of the Russian law essentially prohibiting Russian adoptions by Americans.

A sweet friend at church has a brother and sister in law who are mid-adoption right now for their sweet son, Josiah, who they met just a few weeks ago for the first time.  At this point, it is unclear how this law will affect them (or any of the other families that are in process), but we need to be on our knees for this law to be changed and changed quickly.

I received a forwarded email plea from this family today that I would like to share with you all...when you are finished reading, I ask that you take action.  Blog it, Facebook it, Tweet it...and then DO IT.  Make the call.  Send the email.  Above all, whisper a prayer.

These are CHILDREN.  And they have families who are here...in America.  Already loving them.  Already waiting for them.  Already preparing for them.

Help bring them home.
Greetings family and friends!

First off, Courtney and I want to say thanks for your continued prayers and support throughout this journey. Your continued calls, e-mails, texts, Facebook and Twitter messages are a source of encouragement for us. We give thanks for each of you and praise God for allowing you to be a part of our lives and in turn this journey.

Second, many of you have asked how you can help. As you know, this morning (our time) President Putin signed into law the ban on US Adoptions. We talked with our Adoption Agency and they have suggested that we have our family and friends contact two different sets of people. The best thing we can do right now is lobby for an agreement that would allow families like ours, who have met their children and are waiting on a court date, the opportunity to finish out the process and bring their children home.

First, call on the White House directly. You can contact the comments line and talk to an operator at 202-456-1111. Please say something to this effect:

“Hello, my name is _____ and I live in _____. I am calling on behalf of my (friends or family members) Josh and Courtney Clarke who are in the process of adoption from Russia. They have already signed a letter of intent in Russia for a two year old little boy and are waiting for a court date. I ask that President Obama contact President Putin directly to talk about the ban on adoptions from the United States, but specifically to work out a deal that would allow families like Josh and Courtney, who have already met their child, to bring them home safely.”

They also asked us to contact our Representatives and Senators. You can find your elected officials on this websitehttp://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm . When you talk with someone in their office please say something to this effect:

“Hello, my name is _____ and I live in _____. I am calling on behalf of my (friends or family members) Josh and Courtney Clarke who are in the process of adoption from Russia. They have already signed a letter of intent in Russia for a two year old little boy and are waiting for a court date. I ask that Congressman or Senator ______ contact Secretary of State Clinton and other members of the State Department to talk to them about the ban on adoptions from the United States, but specifically to work out a deal that would allow families like Josh and Courtney, who have already met their child, to bring them home safely. We also urge you to ensure that the United States State Department is following through with every commitment made in the agreement signed in July to ensure that adoptions can continue for years to come.”

Please make sure you do not reference anything negative about Russia or President Putin.  

Our goal is to let them know that the number “46” that appears in the news isn’t an arbitrary number that has no impact in their districts, but that we are real families that are longing to have our children home.

If you do not feel comfortable calling, then please don’t. There is no pressure to do this. If you would like to e-mail any of these people, please use the scripts above for your e-mail. Our agency mentioned to us that phone calls are most effective because of the time sensitive nature of this law.

However, more important than the letters or the phone calls are your prayers. We covet them, not only for us, but for the other families that do not know the status of bringing their children home and the almost 800,000 children in Russia that do not have any parental rights attached to them.

As we move forward we truly echo the words of Daniel 3:17-18, “our God is able to deliver us… but even if He does not…” we will still worship Him alone. Our prayer is that God’s will be done. We know He has the power to bring Josiah home tomorrow, but we also know that may not be His will. No matter the outcome of the governments of this world, we know who still sits on His throne and will reign forever more. Our faith will not be shaken. He is still our God and we are still His people. We will forever worship Him.

Love you all.

Josh and Courtney
Now, I ask you...can you imagine what this family...THESE families...are going through?  I'd venture a guess that you CAN'T imagine.  Because I know I can't.  I implore you again, please help bring these children home. 

If you are so inclined, you can leave a word of encouragement on the Clarkes blog.  You can find them here.  They need to feel our support. 

Until then, may God watch over these children and bless their families as the wait.


Christmas v1.1

The Saturday before Christmas, we got together with my side of the family.  If you can believe it, I walked out without my camera.  I was so irritated with myself but the weekend had been so hectic...I had my sweet grandson Gage with me and Steve was gone ALL day...and I was trying to cook and get the last minute stuff done for Christmas...something was bound to be forgotten and it was the camera.  Thank God for Apple and iPhones which take pics just as well as DSLRs sometimes!!  In a pinch, it'll do!

The spread this year wasn't as over-the-top as in years past.  I think I'm scaling back and so is everyone else. 
I love holiday food.  All of this was SO delish.  And the company wasn't bad either.  :)

It was Kylie's first time to EVER open a gift.  And there I was without my camera.  Turns out, it was fine because I used my camera to video and I'm SO glad I did.
She really was sure what it was all about, but she enjoyed the time with family nonetheless.

She really seemed like she turned a corner this season with the family.  She would let a variety of people hold her (not for long though) and she took to anyone who would play with her.  And of course, the big kids enjoyed the gift opening too...

I will tell you...I always go on and on about how much I enjoy spending time with the Taylors and I do.  I love them dearly.  But I love my family just as much.  We don't spend nearly enough time together and when we do get together, everyone always has such a great time and talks about why we don't do it more often.  I didn't get a family pic since I forgot my camera but I'm still glad we got together.  Now if we could just find time to do that more often...


Merry Christmas!

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. "
-Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas to all of my readers!


Just In Case...

...I get too busy to post for a  few days, I wanted to wish all of you who stop by and read what's going on in our crazy lives a Merry Christmas.

This weekend has been...challenging...to say the least.  I've had many, MANY, less than stellar parenting moments, so I am choosing now to make tomorrow and Tuesday way better days.

I can tell you that my girls went to see Santa and get a picture, but until I can find time to scan it in, I'll leave you with a picture worthy of of those Worst-Santa-Picture-of-the-Year sites.

But it makes me laugh every time.
Merry Christmas!


Christmas fun

A few weeks ago, our church life group had a little Christmas party.  I'm pretty certain I've mentioned how much I love my life group (and church) before.  We wore ugly Christmas sweaters (explaining the green one in the video) and did some fun games.

This is a video of a game of spoons...I was already "out" and I laugh hysterically every time I watch this.
One of the other games was to take balloons and hose and make a reindeer. Oh my word.

  And somehow the reindeer antlers became a new Christmas decoration in the yard of our fabulous leaders...
Oh so fun...

And there's been fun going on at home too.  We have a Santa that dances to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and a Grinch that sings the famous "Mr. Grinch" song.  Kylie loves to dance to them both and thinks the Grinch is hilarious as long as she doesn't have to touch him.
At the end, she's singing that last note with him.  And if you listen closely, you can hear her say "more" to Jenna meaning she wanted Jenna to push his button and make him sing again.

We did go to see Santa.  It went as well as could be expected.  I'll post that picture a little later...until then, here's a pic of my sweet Sunday School class watching the live nativity last weekend at church...


Happy birthday Rachel!

Today I want to wish my dearest and oldest friend, Rachel, a very happy birthday!
Rachel and I have known each other literally our entire lives.  We are very much alike and at the same time, oh, so very different!

We hold the same morals, work ethic and values.  We went to the same school, home church and now attend the same church and live in the same town.  Up until last year, we worked at the same company.

Rachel is way more outgoing than I am and a ton funnier.  She is also way more laid back and she is  phenomenal event planner. Not too long ago, I volunteered to help with a church event she was planning and I got to see her professional side and WOW!!!  I just couldn't get over it! 

She is currently STILL in the very, very long wait for a little girl in Ethiopia.  I know God had written her story just like ours, but it's been several VERY LONG years...once upon a time, we actually thought we might travel together right before the big slow down in ET.  So, if you will, take a moment today and whisper a prayer for her as she continues to wait.  I know a lot of adoptive families read this blog and while we all waiting various times for our children, we know the pain and struggle that you endure during that time.  And if you want the HELP her bring her daughter home, she's selling these cookbooks for $20. 

I put a bunch of recipes in there and it has become my favorite cookbook I own and I'm not exaggerating.  I seriously love it.  So if you want one, comment or email me and I'll put you in touch.  And if you are out of town, I will personally cover the shipping costs.

Happy birthday Rachel!  Here's to your last birthday without Zoe in your arms!!!


My little monkey

Kylie likes to climb as much as Jenna did when she was this age.  I'm just waiting for our first broken bone, stitches or knocked out tooth.

I got this video at work one day...that's Doc McStuffins she's watching in the background...
And then just a few nights ago, I captured this on video...
So um yeah...she's a climber.  She likes to climb the stairs, but there's a bunch of those, so I don't let her do those alone. She's a mess.  We have to keep our eyes on her at all times or else she'll be on top of something in an instant.



Kylie enjoys the church nursery SO much.  This past Sunday, when she left my classroom (I teach young 3s) with Steve, to go to hers, she said, "Bye!  Bye!" and Steve said she walked right into her classroom and started playing.

Her teachers are truly fabulous and I am SO thankful for the men and women (yes, men...Kylie loves her men, just like Jenna did) who sacrifice their time each week to teach her and make her feel safe.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, my friend Elizabeth, joined the teaching crew in that room, because her sweet Congo boy, Moses, was being introduced to church nursery (if you remember, Elizabeth and I first met while I was loving on her older girls in the nursery).

I got the following videos while teaching my 3s a couple Sundays ago...tell you what...these kiddos know how to have fun!!!

A few weeks ago, my friend Jill and I went to hang out at Elizabeth's house and it was a little like we were running a daycare.  3 adults, a tween and 5 or 6 little kids!  In January, Kylie will join Moses and Wylie in a local Christian daycare.  I told Elizabeth, those poor teachers have no idea what they are in for!!!
And you know, I can't show a video like this without bragging on my wonderful church.  How many churches can boast at least 3 nationalities in one toddler class?  Not many.  Not to mention, I'm ultra excited about a new China friend coming to join out church in the next few months...some friends of ours just got their referral and I absolutely cannot WAIT to meet him!!


Happy Birthday Chase!

Today, I want to take just a moment to say Happy Birthday to the "token male" in my family (other than Steve!!)
I've been fortunate to be part of Chase's life since he was 6 years old.  He is as laid back and easy going now as he was then.  I always said Chase acted like he could take it or leave it. And that was true for everything and everybody.  Of course, I know now that he really does care about people and things but back then, I wasn't so sure.
Chase runs his own store here locally and we are VERY proud of what he's done with his life.  He still knows how to punch my buttons, but I quite enjoy the time I get to spend with him.

Jenna and Kylie both call him Chasey and think he hung the moon.  He is the world's best big brother.

Chase-Happy birthday!  We are SO proud of you!  May this be the beginning of the best year ever!


Upcoming Blogger Day of Silence

I know many of you are as heartbroken over the recent events in CT.  I have talked with friends about what happened.  We've debated gun control, mental health assistance, media involvement and school safety.  But really, the reason for this evil is that we live in a fallen world.  Evil is ever present and that, my blog friends, is a fact.   And so, rather than write a post, tweet, or Facebook on any or all of the above things and how I feel about them, I think we should focus on the hurting families.  There is one ONE Hope for this world.

His name is Jesus. 

And if you haven't ever thought about it before, think about it now.  If you have questions about who Jesus is and who He is to me, please leave me a comment or email.

But to show support and love to those affected by the events in Newtown, CT, Tuesday, December 18, 2012 I'm participating in a blogger day of silence.  I encourage you, if you are a blogger, to use the button and observe too.

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.
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Sleeping Beauty

I have taken a short break from blogging after my 30 days of Thanks posts.  I'm going to try to get back to it, but work is crazy busy and a bunch of nights where I'm working from home up until nearly midnight.  So, I can't promise regular posts, but I'll do my best.  Tonight, I just want to hang out and watch TV...

Until then, take a look at my precious sleeping beauty (she is, incidentally, a very good sleeper now).