Sunday, May 27, 2012


 Date night with Sam. Barnes and Noble and Yogurt Planet
 Mother's Day on the boat. Sambo and Harley.
 Missing her.
 Mother's Day dinner with my band of boys!
 Harley front packing her baby doll. Cracks me up.
 Very sentimental about this one starting kinder in the Fall.
 Lots and lots of swimming. We started swimming in March.
 We sold our house.  Moved in an apartment. Started building a house. We are a little excited ;)
 My golfer. 
 Easter at Lindsey's. Wall ball and jumping in the evening.
 Sam lost his first tooth. We are hoping the "gray" one is next! :)
 Moving with some great helpers.
Sam's cowboy play.

More pics to come.  

Three more days of school. 

Looking forward to Summer. 

Spending a lot of time with my boys. Eating watermelon. Date nights with all my guys. Summer birthdays. Summer reading. The lake. Boat rides. Tubing down the Comal. Bike rides.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Haiti Trip 2

Haiti Trip 2

We just got back from our second trip to Haiti in the last 4 months.  Thank the Lord above that our transition back was so much easier this time a little easier this time.  Now mind you, it isn't that Schella (Shay-la:) isn't the first thing I think about in the morning or that I don't feel a cloud that lingers around me.  I could totally go there, but I refuse to do it.  Jeremy and I had a overnight layover in Ft. Lauderdale on our way back home. I know that helped with our transition back into reality.  I also didn't want to come back on Mother's Day all depressed, crying, and moping around.  I have four boys that were super excited to have us back and we had to celebrate.  I CANNOT wait for the Mother's Day that our family of 7 will be celebrating together.  And, I know that our church, friends, and family were praying for us as we returned.  All of those things helped so much!!

Now to the good stuff.  Schella is AWESOME!! We had such a marvelous time loving on her.  She had so much more personality this time. She was crawling. She threw some fits.  We were loving it.  I know she recognized us also.  She was much more loving and would crawl to Jeremy and I to pick her up.  Schella has also picked up a little weight and she was eating great!! All that does a Mama's heart so good. We missed the whole first year of Schella's life. We have nothing to show her from that first year, but because of these bonding visits we get to document her and everything she does.  It blesses us to be able to do that and I know one day it will bless her.

It is a wonderful experience to be there with 22 other families who are adopting and know exactly what you are feeling.  These families rock and I admire each and every one of them.  We got to be apart of two girls birthday celebrations, watch as a family came to be matched with one boy and ended up with two boys (7 and 11. Can you imagine?), and a young lady who has aged out of adoption, but found out while we were there that she got a passport for a student visa!! I am amazed that I get to watch these stories and see God's glory in them.

The big question when we are going to Haiti and when we get back is "When is she coming home?" I have to totally disappoint everyone with "I don't know."  We really don't know. Are we believing by faith by a certain time? Absolutely!!! God can do ALL things and we hold on to that tightly!! As of right now, ours and her dossiers are finished. IBESR (Haitian Social Services) has closed all incoming dossiers until July 31st.  We are choosing to see this as a positive thing. Our hope and prayer is that some of these families who have been waiting in IBESR will get out and bring their kids home.  Hopefully by July 31st  a new batch of dossiers will go in and be able to come out more quickly.

Guess what? She will be home one day.  We met a mom in the Haiti airport who was bringing her 4 year old daughter, Lucy, home for the first time.  It does happen! They come home!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What to do? What to do?

I find myself praying for wisdom in parenting a lot lately.

Tyler, my oldest, is starting middle school in the Fall. Recently, if we are friends on FB, you have seen the whole "cell phone talk." He wants a cell phone. He has girls texting him on my cell phone, because it is the listed number at school.

I have so NOT arrived and everyday I am trying to figure out how to best parent my boys for our family. I have so many thoughts on the subject of media and materialism and Jeremy and I have talked for hours about the subject especially when it comes to our boys. I don't have a girl yet, so I am sure it is just as many conversations about the same things, but they might look a little different.

I won't go into my specific thoughts on all the different subjects that bombard my parenting decisions but here are some things I am thankful for and that have made the things we decide easier.

First off, we try to make most major decisions before it ever comes up.

For instance, we already decided that Tyler would not have a cell phone before high school. We also have set the age for group dating and then exclusive dating. Yes, our boys already know these ages. Secondly, we try to ask people who are a step ahead of us in the game or a few steps ahead that are raising or have raised their kids in the same way. I personally like having someone back me up and reassure me that I am not ruining my kids. It is probably just me, but I feel guilty and second guess my decisions sometimes. Lastly, we remain confident in the fact that God has given us these boys to raise and it is our responsibility to do the best we can even when it isn't popular, or when our kids seem to hate us, or if it seems silly to others, and the list goes on.

I am excited for Tyler to be going into middle school. He is totally ready and I want to be just as ready!!

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.”
- C. Everett Koop

The "Target" years!

The other day I was thinking about the preschool years. The years when I had a 5 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old, and super preggo with the fourth or the next year with a kindergartner, 4 year old, 2 year old, and a newborn. You get the picture. Those are HARD, I mean exhausting HARD years. For those of you in those years right now, I promise there is HOPE. It gets easier. You get through it. Maybe through it in a fog or a daze, or very little sleep, or an addiction to Starbucks, but you get through it.

Now my boys are 11, 8, 6, and 4. Yes, Schella will be coming home within the year hopefully and I will have a preschooler again, but I don't think it will be quite the same.
I have no wisdom to bestow upon you. I was honestly just laughing thinking about some of our times with little preschoolers at home.

I call those years the "Target" years as in the bullseye store, Target! I can't tell you how many countless times we went to Target just to get out of the house between nap times or before Jeremy would come home. Here are just a few of many funny now, not at the time, things that happened.

1. Jeremy dressed the boys one day and forgot to put underwear on our potty training 2 year old Sam. I went to Target (surprise) and Sam had a little accident that fell out his shorts onto the aisle of Target. In all my motherly togetherness I started sweating profusely, grabbed a piece of cardboard off a Halloween costume, scooped the poop, left my baby, 2yo, 4yo, and 6yo in the aisle, ran to the Ziploc bag aisle, put the poop in the bag, ran back to my kids, paid for my Ziploc bags and left.

2. Again at Target...I was loading Sam in the van and put the keys in his car seat, shut the van door, and he locked himself in the car with the key fob. I had to wait 20 minutes for Jeremy to come and unlock the van. I thought for sure I would be arrested.

3. We were selling our house and right before a showing, Blake put a magnet in the microwave and my whole house smelled like burnt rubber. My sweet Blake, also while trying to sell the house, wrote on my white cabinets with sharpie and climbed on the counter and dropped the entire pot of coffee all over the kitchen floor.

4. Every Tuesday and Thursday I would either double stroller my baby and 2yo in to check in my 4yo to preschool and check him out. I am still not sure that preschool was worth it after doing that twice a day every T/Th.

5. Lots and lots and lots of wiping. I had a full time job in wiping...everything.

6. We didn't sleep for about 9 years. I kid..sort of. I had great sleepers, but when you have mulitiple children one or more are up for all different kinds of reasons. Bathroom, bad dream, nose bleed....

I know you can relate. I do miss those times, but it makes me tired thinking about it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eleven Years. What?

Tyler Dec. 2001 (11 months)

Tyler February 2012 (11yo)

Eleven years ago today I became a mom!! It amazes me how much love you can have for a tiny person so instantly. I remember being nervous when I was pregnant with our second son that I wouldn't love him as much as I loved Tyler. Again, it is so amazing how you can love each of your children the same. I had my first taste of mom kind of love and there was no going back.

I wanted to be a mom ever since I was a little girl. I wanted five boys. Ha! Well, I have four and I am sure if I ended up pregnant with a fifth that it would most certainly be a boy!! I always knew I wanted a big family, so as soon as I got married I started harassing Jeremy about getting pregnant. I look back now and realize how young, very young I was. So needless to say, I was young, and now that I have an eleven year old, almost 6th grader, it makes me feel OLD!!!
Tyler did seal the deal for me, because I loved/love being a mom and I wanted to do that full time. He was a perfect baby, of course we all think that with our first, but he was!! I didn't realize that he wasn't like baby Jesus until his brother was born and he hit him with a plastic golf club. It only took me 2 1/2 years to realize he was human. In all honestly though, Tyler is a great young man.. and we are so proud of him!

Happy Birthday to my rock star first born boy!!! I love you Tyler!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I met my daughter.

I met my daughter. I held her, fed her, changed her, played with her, loved on her, kissed her, bathed her, laughed with her and then I had to hand her back over until I see her again in May.

Our time in Haiti was no short of amazing. I spent 6 days with Schella and I feel like I birthed that child. Only God can make that happen. I meet kids all the time and I don't think they are mine. That would just be weird.

Schella is a pretty serious little girl. I don't blame her one bit. She has been through so much in her short 13 months of life. Her right hand was burned pretty badly. We aren't sure exactly what happened but I can't imagine going through a burn that bad and how long it probably took to heal. I doubt she had any medical attention and probably not very good living conditions. Then I think about her whole world changing at 7 months old when she was given to HIS home, the orphanage she is at. She has every right to be serious. Talk about self preservation. It was so neat to see her warm up to Jeremy and I over those short 6 days. Schella is tiny for her age. She only weighs about 15lbs. She doesn't crawl or walk. We went from day 1 of no smiles, no holding on to us as we held her, and only sitting to day 6 of smiling, laughing, reaching out for us, and eating better. Being able to love on her was pure joy.

HIS home is a great orphanage with a wonderful couple who run it. Hal and Chris have been in Haiti for 14 years, they have 3 Haitian children (7 children total) and they have 134 kids at HIS home right now. They work tirelessly helping these kids. No matter how you look at it, she is still in an orphanage. There aren't enough hands to hold her, feed her, help her crawl and to walk. Hal and Chris care about these kids being adopted. The bonding visits are just one way that shows how much they love the kids and the families adopting them. We can go for bonding visits every three months until she comes home. Fourteen families were with us last week. All of these families love and adore their kids. They want them home. We are thankful for the visits for many reasons, but one huge reason is how these visits will help when our children come home. The transition is said to be much easier. Seeing families, and experiencing it myself for the first time, have to say bye to their kids is heart breaking. This leads me to the adoption process in Haiti, which is not the same for every country.

This process is frustrating to say the least! Jeremy and I say we want to pitch the biggest fit yelling "It's not fair" at the top of our lungs. My knowledge is still pretty limited since I am just walking down this road. Many of my new friends who are adopting from Haiti know so much more than I do. Getting our dossier done and sent to Haiti was a pretty smooth and quick process. We are now waiting on Schella's dossier to be done. IBESR, Haitian social services, has a list of forms and documents that is intimidating to say the least. Check out the process here. Chris and Hal are in the process of getting Schella's documents together. When hers is done, then her dossier and our dossier will go into IBESR. It can take 3 weeks to 10 months to come out of IBESR. After that we go to court in Haiti where they will ask why we want to adopt her and the birth mom will be there. Then we go into immigration and passport phase. So all of that has to happen, if only it was easy without any hiccups or any hold ups. It is totally out of our control.

Why is this process so long? Why is it this way? It really was designed primarily to prevent child trafficking. Years ago one could walk into Haiti with a large sum of cash and have their adoption completed in 4 months. You can see the obvious dangers in this process. So, the government has gone to the opposite extreme, making the process very, very long.
Only 33 kids were adopted out of Haiti last year to the U.S. Here is the good news and a glimmer of hope. Haiti has a new president and a new director of social services. We need to be praying that this process starts moving faster, so that these precious babies can come home soon.

I say all this not discrediting the God that I serve. His Word is what I cling to more than anything I hear or see when it comes to bringing my baby home. His timing is perfect! He loves Schella more than Jeremy and I do. He is the Father to the fatherless. He is more powerful than any government or any organization. We are holding on to His truth! We are believing and we are praying for a supernatural process that can only point to Him and His glory!!! This process is teaching me so much about God's love for me and it is continually turning me back to the gospel.

Please pray for us and pray for our girl. Please pray for God's provision. Please pray for God's protection over Schella. Prayer is what is going to carry us through this journey.

I met my daughter...and all of this is so worth it!

*Jeremy talks about our adoption here.

*Next post...videos of Schella. (We have a lot, but no time to upload them yet.)

*Many questions about her name. Her name is Schella, sounds like Shayla. We thought we might call her "Ella", but Jeremy thinks it will be hard to say Ella after saying Schella. We will see...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Deep Breath

Deep breath is exactly what I did before this post. It is crazy how when I have the most to share on my blog is when I don't blog. It seems so overwhelming. It is exactly like when you haven't talked to a dear friend in a long time and you need a minimum of 2 hours to catch up, but it is hard to find that time.

At this very moment I am sitting at my Mom's house blogging because someone is looking at our house. Our house is up for sale. We have lived in our house for four years and we love it and we especially love our street. There are about 16 kids my kids ages. It is wonderful. We know as we get closer and closer to bringing our sweet girl home that we will need a little more space. I always said I wanted 5 boys when I was growing up and now we are having 5 kids, but not the way I had always thought...much better. Our family, of soon to be 7, needs just a bit more room. The funny thing is that when our house sells we are planning on moving on the same street as my parents and my sister. We are really excited about it, in its own little cultish way (wink). Jeremy grew up in the same neighborhood as his grandparents and loved it. Our goal is to be in this "new"house for a good long while.

Not only is the house for sale, but Jeremy and I leave for Haiti in 11 days. I have so much to do next week to get our stuff plus everything the boys will need for the 6 days we are gone. We are going for a bonding visit. We will meet Schella and have her with us for a full 6 days and nights. I feel like it is going to make this process even more real, even more hard, and lead us to lean into God and His faithfulness even more. Thank the Lord for Kimberly and Lindsey who have hooked me up with everything besides formula and diapers for Schella while we are there. A friend of mine said she has seen them drop off a baby with a bottle with the adoptive parents at the hotel and leave. Needless to say we are bringing everything!!! I am so thankful for my in-laws, my parents, our good friends Kat and Kenny, and our intern Leo from Brazil (he has been living with us since July) for helping with the boys while we are gone. That is a HUGE job in itself. We will be updating the blog and Facebook/Twitter while we are gone! Lots of pictures and videos!!

Please say a prayer for us if you think about it. For our house to sell and for the upcoming trip!!

Also, the new church is going AWESOME!! So much to be thankful for!

What is a blog post without pictures ;)!

Roll Tide is all I am sayin!
So thankful for this crew!!
One of the failed Christmas card pics!
I liked it, but Jeremy doesn't really like his head cut off.
This is a better depiction of this crew!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just in Case....

I have been a huge slacker (at least on my blog), so just in case we aren't friends on Facebook or you don't follow Jeremy on his blog. It has been one of the busiest times of our lives. Crazy adventurous, but busy. I will add a few of my own thoughts to Jeremy's updates :)

4 Life Changing Realities for the Self Tribe in 1 Week

Personal always impacts professional. Personal always influences ministry. Personal joy spills over into life in general. And, we've got some personal joy to share. Actually, we have 4 Life-changing Joys to share:

1. Ella-We signed an adoption agreement to be matched with Schella...We will call her Ella. She is 10 months old. Her parents were killed in a car accident. Her grandmother had her and she got sick and died. Her aunt, who was 9 months pregnant, brought her to the orphanage we have been working with and they contacted us. We are so thankful God has chosen her for our family and chosen us for her. Seriously, I went bananas when we found out this is OUR girl. I am so excited and can hardly wait to meet, love, kiss, her in February. Jeremy and I will be going for a week. I never thought we would get a baby, but I am so happy. Please pray that she gains weight and stays healthy. She only weighs 13lbs.

2. In my loudest Dave Ramsey style scream, WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!! We began the journey of becoming debt free in June 2009 and after 2 years of living within our means through a monthly budget, operating with an envelope system using cash, and focusing most "extra" income on snowballing debt, we are debt free of all consumer debt! Yes, we are done! The most critical moment in the last two years that I can think of was the moment I said OUT LOUD, "I will not borrow any more money." Life changing! Thank you, Dave Ramsey and thank you, Jesus! Now, on to baby step #3:) Living like no one else, so later we can GIVE like no one else! We are crazy, sold out Dave fans!! Take it or leave it, but it is who we are now. We got to call in on Friday to do our scream on the radio. We checked the boys out, did our family scream, and then celebrated with a treat of course!!

3. We launched a new church this week! Well, sort of. We merged two existing churches together to form one new church (The Church at Lake Travis) and our first item on the agenda as a new church . . . SERVE. We cancelled our first regular Sunday worship service to do something that God may indeed receive as worship more than what we normally do. We raised money for orphans in Haiti. We are pumped about what God is doing and what he'll continue to do! Our first worship gathering will be this Sunday, November 6 at Tex Arts next to Chair King in Lakeway. On Sunday we had our first worship gathering and it was no short of AWESOME. I am so humbled and honored to be able to be apart of starting this new church. I pray that God would use it/us for His Glory!!

4. In the big scheme of things, I'm not even sure if this qualifies as a "life-changing" reality, but Ashley and I (and a team of others from our church) completed a half marathon this past Saturday. We ran in the Chosen for Adoption race and it was a blast! More to come on lessons learned... Jeremy is going on to run a full in April. Yeah I am not doing that. I truly do love to run, but I am good for a 4-6 miler. It was fun training and actually accomplishing something I never thought I could do. I will probably do it again next year just because I love running for the cause.

So, all that is really great stuff and it has been fun, but there are some things that I feel like I have neglected because these things have been going on. I have backed way off at the boys school. I am really feeling convicted about not engaging in those relationships through their school. I know we can only do so much, but I really feel like it is important. I also have been not engaging my neighbors like I have in the past. I love my neighbors, but when the boys are playing outside in the afternoon I have taken that time to do other things inside. People are more important than anything I do or accomplish and I never want to forget that!!