Monday, November 14, 2011

the greatest... and latest!

God is good! It's often said... but in our home these days, it's deeply felt.

Sadie, our big first grader lost her first TOP tooth, tonight! She's 6. When she was 5 she lost two of her bottom teeth -- back then she insisted that we give her one dime (per tooth) as this was the going rate for a lost tooth in the Berenstien Bears' home. Mama and Papa Bear gave Sister and Brother Bear ten cents for each tooth that was hid under their pillow! Now, Sadie knows the value of each coin and the value of one dollar! As you may have already guessed, she asked for one dollar this time! ha ha

Sadie is doing well in school. One of the top students academically. She won student of the month for her class in November and her picture as well as a nice little blurb was placed on the schools wall of fame in her honor!

She also attends Awana! She's having fun, learning scriptures and earning badges!

Lauren is learning her letters, numbers, colors and shapes at home! She is constantly moving, jumping and climbing! A lover of dress-up & pretty shoes! She just finished up a gymnastics class and has begun a tap / ballet class! She loves it! Lauren is very expressive and beginning to voice complex ideas as well as carry on conversation!

John, is the man! After a period of uncertainty... He (God) has led us into a promising new phase! John and I have become closer as friends and we look forward to what we hope will be 'normal life' for the first time in a long time! John landed a job in the IT field. He's excited to start soon! He also plays beautiful music at church and cooks and continues to make us all laugh!

I'm so grateful to be married to a man who puts God in the center of our life.

Me, well, I am doing great! I'm building back strength and learning the best foods to eat after being diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction back in August. I am on a baking and crafting kick! I'm learning to crochet. I've gotten the hang of apple pies and I'm back into the swing of snapping pictures! Now, I just need a new book to read! The one-year-bible has been a new endeavor as well!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

foster to adopt

A quick update. Thank you to those who are following & praying!

We're now in the 6th month in what we were told should be around a 9 month process. We began foster care classes in March of this year. Very significant because we lost our 5th baby at 10 weeks gestation in March of 2010.

What is left to do:

John needs to get a physical

Waiting for a note from Sadie's Teacher

[The homestudy will be 3 visits. Family interview. Seperate interviews. Home safety inspection.]

Presentation of 'our story' to the 5 person child welfare panel.

Getting licensed!

THEN. Once we're licensed [IF we're approved by all 5 members.] We just wait to get a call - anytime day or night.

Our social worker is hopeful that we should be licensed before Christmas!... :)

We have such anxious hearts to be in the most simple way a helper in a team of people in a family's / child's life. The depths of compassion and inspiration we're about to witness are far beyond our grasp in this moment.


We feel ready. Like a runner waiting for the gun shot at his race.

As with biological pregnancy I'll admit I've found myself buying several cute blue things here and there when I've found great deals. AND we can't say Thank you enough to some VERY special people who have given us countless baby items. Your rewards are the eternal kind! In foster care, it's more common for boys to land in the system... So, being that we already have two daughters: we have asked to be placed with boys only [of any race] age 12 months or younger. :)

I have recently taken on a part-time daycare baby girl! The girls have responded with open arms to her presence in our home! I like to think this is God's way of getting us all in baby mode again! ;)

As I've shared before we started this process with the intent to add a son to our family. Today, we are going into to this trusting God's timing is best and that we may help several children / families before officially adopting... It hit me today that we'll be growing our hearts and families with the 'sons' who simply visit, too.

Because as Mother Teresa says: "...we belong to each other."

And, I know what I want for Christmas:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lauren and the age 3

"Loh-nan" is what you call yourself! You're 3 and nearing the age that Sadie was when you were born [3 years & 2 months]. Today you spent the day in underwear - and you told me that you would just 'pee in the grass' while we went outside... Lol. You went on the potty more than once on your own and I think you're real close to staying dry during the day.

You just celebrated your birthday with a puppy theme. You just can't get enough of all things dog lately! You love being "Ser-reee!" [Your way of saying 'three'!] And here's a recap on your current interests:

"Nastics" Gymnastics class

Playing with Dolls

Dress Up


Playing with water

Filling cups with water

Putting toys in a cup; then filling it with water


Looking at books

Doing school/learning time with Mom

Scooting on your new scooter

Getting the mail

Washing your hands [emptying soap EVERYwhere]



Eating at "Sick-a-way!" [Chick fil A]

Playing in the play-place

Eating frozen yogurt

Bike rides in the burley

an update, instagram style

A rare peaceful moment of mutual enjoyed playtime. They were playing "Aunties". Sadie is very much the 6-year-old and Lauren likes to push big sis' buttons! They sure love each other and would give each others right-arm for one another...

This is our most popular family past-time. Scoot around when it's NOT the heat of the day, just after dinner; right before dad goes to work.

Nini stopping to say 'cheese'!

Sadie and her overly-done pose! She's so full of life!

Our new part-time, day-time family member! 5 month old baby 'A'! The girls trip over themselves to grab whatever she needs, may want or could have... Sadie & Lauren are so ready to be big sisters!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

to my sweet, Sadie

so bold and so true [admirer of the color blue!]. I never dreamed I'd be loving an amazing 6-year-old like you! You celebrated your golden birthday with pottery painting & cupcakes with family & friends!


Last night, at dinner you asked if you could marry me. Ha! We all had a great laugh. Weeks earlier you had asked about marrying dad, too. You are so thoughtful and engaging with those around you. Yet, you never miss a chance to be silly.

Tonight, you told me: "My friends tell me that their Mom is the best, but I tell them that's not true because YOU are! I'd take all my babies[dolls], zhu zhu's & books and SQUISH them together and that love would not be as much as I love you!"

In 28 days, you'll start the 1st grade. I'm so excited to watch the ways you blossom. You love learning & the culture of school. You currently love to hear about life before you were born. You ponder, proclaim and ask the best questions. You ask about Heaven. Being a Veteranarian one day. And you hold your friends close to your heart like rare gems -- because they truly are.

You're an amazing big sister. You love to teach Nini. Make sure she's safe. And you're quick to forgive when she pushes your buttons. Remember always: Nini wants to do what you do & have what you have because you're a great mentor and friend to her.

Side thought: As you grow, remember that everyone shows love in their own unique way -- not always how you'd expect. 'Singing their song' or 'going fishing' is the key to each person feeling love from you, too!

You chose 'Dumbo' tonight for your bedtime story. You 'ooohh'ed' & 'aawww'ed' as you watched the way the mama and baby elephant were mistreated. Then your face lit up in a big grin as the story ended with justice and a happy family back together! I'm amazed by the depth you see at your age.

You are heading places, to shake, move, build and embrace your unique story by understanding and loving others!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

thoughts, feelings & repeat...

Today is my first full day back from my 2-week vacation in MN. My Dad flew to Denver and drove the girls and myself to MN. The girls and I had a great time seeing loved ones! John flew into Mnpls from Denver and we spent the last few days of the trip together in MN, before driving back here to Denver -- what treasured days they were! (Thank you, Dad, for your help & the priceless memories!) And. Thank you, Mom [& Dad], House's, Family and Friends for your hospitality, meals & [mostly] your time! We love you all. We're so grateful for the unique flavor you each add to our lives!

It was a wonderful time in the comfort of familiararity. But there were some sad moments that still linger here with me today as I feel caught somewhere between Denver and Mnpls. My sadness is linked to a story that is not mine to tell. But, mine to part-take in. Because, I'm reminded once again -- we're here to love & be loved. To listen and wait and encourage.

I feel a bit helpless and overwhelmed on the behalf of some precious family members. I feel like I want to build shelves in my living room and donate piles of extra stuff to goodwill. But. Those desires aren't really fruitful endevers for today, I think? Maybe, tonight, at 2am? ;)

Instead, I'm choosing to take pictures of the girls, chat at ease with my hubby & fold laundry [always theraputic? right?]! Because, so many things are out of my control. Yet. Today is mine to treasure; along with the people in it.

Here's a verse that has been rolling around in my heart the past few days:

It is said of Jesus that he was "a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering" (Isaiah 53:3). -Deeper Still blog

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

take heart; aftermath [by hillsong united]

I'm a firm believer that music was created to help bring healing & freedom...

This song is a new favorite: take heart; aftermath [by hillsong united]

There is a light. It burns brighter than the sun. He steals the night. And casts no shadow.

There is hope.

Should oceans rise and mountains fall. He never fails.

So take heart.

Let His love lead us through the night.

Hold on to hope.

And take courage again.

In death by love. The fallen world was overcome. He wears the scars of our freedom.

In His Name.

All our fears are swept away. He never fails. All our troubles. All our tears.

God our hope.

He has overcome. All our failure. And all our fear. God our love.

He has overcome.

All our heartache. And all our pain. God our healer. He has overcome.

God our justice.

God our grace.

God our freedom.

God our refuge. God our strength. God is with us.

He has overcome.

There was a time when these kinds of christian writings held no meaning in my life. I would read them like a familiar comic strip in the sunday paper. Today at 29, God has held me through some incredibly hard experiences. He brought me to the end of myself...

I'm so glad that He did {and does so daily!}.

"The sky and the earth won't last forever, but my words will."
-Matthew 24:35
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

a late night, hello!

My wonderful Dad, my Girls and I rolled into Minneapolis tonight after two days on the road; starting in Denver - our new home as of 6 months ago! THANK YOU, Dad for helping us get here! John had to stay back to tend to his job. :( Thankfully, he'll be catching a flight here at the tail end of this 2-week-trip in MN!

It's 'all kinds of warm fuzzies' being with family, anticipating seeing some great friends & planning for a long weekend at my grandparents cabin! And. I must say, I'm loving the lush, green, lake, humid smell here in my grand 'ol hometown. Colorado is stunning - however, the smell is quite 'dusty' and dry. Makes for a lovely 90 degrees, though! ;)

Just before I left CO, John and I became: First Aide & CPR certified to fulfill our foster care licensing process! Now, what's left? So glad you asked! ;) Our homestudy & physicals! That's it!! We are told that our homestudy may be assigned to us as soon as within this month!? Or longer. They are waiting on our background checks & finger prints. And. Our actual license date? December 2011. Maybe?

Now, to be totally honest here, there is a small chance we may not be approved as a *foster-to-adoption family, like any/every couple who apply. But, we feel this is the path we are to be taking. So. We're doing our best to leave this in God's hands [and time frame] while we trust! It's an exciting time!

Tonight, my Mom surprised me with two HUGE bags of very cute 0-12 mos. boy clothes for our future foster son! It was our own sweet little 'baby shower'! I'm so touched! I have the most thoughtful Mom!

*foster-to-adoption: caring for children who are not legally free to be adopted. In the event that no kin commit to adopt the foster child; and parental rights are terminated - the foster child is then able to pursue a possible adoption by his/her foster parents. A common saying in this line of adoption: "It depends?" ;)

**Our heart in this first and foremost is to honor birth parents and each child by coming alongside as a part of their helpful team to aide in bringing the child(ren) home to their parent(s) or to a safe family member.

(one of the adorable outfits from my Mom!)

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible." -Ruth Bell Graham

Friday, May 27, 2011

an "ah - Ha" moment

I was talking the other day with a friend (Cousin) about how parenting seems to be a whole new ball game when children go off to Kindergarten [and beyond... gulp!] We felt we had "100% parental control" when our children were/are Pre-school age... they were/are usually within arms reach.

I mentioned the other night that our foster care class taught on parenting. It was GREAT! And it was Mainly, about how to teach our children self discipline, especially the ability to problem solve and be aware of the result of their choices.

Well, John and I had a big "ah HA!" moment during this class! [This may be something everyone else is already doing? Especially Teachers?...] ha!

One of the speakers told a story about his daughter, who was 3 at the time. We'll call the daughter, Kara and the dad, Garry. Garry was letting Kara play unsupervised at 9 pm. Garry knew this was not ideal in the first place. [note: He is a child psychologist, ha!] Kara walked into the living room holding an armful of oreo's! In that moment, Garry realized that he had never told Kara to make a choice for herself - in her whole life! Garry told Kara: "You may choose to keep one cookie and put the rest back! OR You may choose to put all of the cookies back!" Thus, fully expecting his daughter to make 1 of 2 choices. Kara stood there for a moment and her eyes rolled high as if to try and look into her brain, Garry said. [LOL!] Kara then took her cookie collection back into the kitchen... AND, returned with just one! [copy write: Garry L. Landreth, Ph.D.]

Garry calls this his oreo cookie theory. And he claims it works on all ages as long as the parents always follow through, of course. And, the consequences [in the moment] can be called just that; giving the parent an extra few seconds [or hours] to think of one.

In just 48 hours we've seen some great quick obedience with our girls by following the oreo cookie theory.

For Sadie, we currently have a reward chart, too. It's just a plane piece of paper labeled "kindness & quick obedience". When I cover the whole thing with 'X's' Sadie earns an outfit for her build-a-bear! She's almost halfway in just a week! *warning* She does try to tell me when she's obeying so she can get an 'X' and we've just started implementing that from now on 'only mom or dad can give her an 'X' sometimes and that when she catches herself doing the right thing she can be happy knowing that she'll grow up to be a person who does the right thing even without a reward because that's what matters most to God'.

For Lauren, the oreo cookie theory has quite possibly saved what was becoming a big get-out-of-bed-at-bedtime mess. In just 48 hours, she stays. in. bed. WOW.

One final thought that this speaker shared was on the topic of transparency. In short, he told a story about his daughter [again] at age 5. One afternoon he yelled at her and they accomplished nothing. That night, at bedtime he told her that he was sorry. He went on to say that when he apologized their relationship was restored. As it was broken "over" before the apology. So powerful...

I thought I'd share this just incase it may help you, too?

Happy Memorial Weekend!!!

my girls

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Foster to Adopt | Final Class

Last night was the end of the every Thursday night classes that lasted 8 weeks [at 3 hours each]! The theme was parenting/discipline.

We listened to three Speakers (one via video)!

The Topic was how to help our children make the right choices, problem solve, have good character, be responcible, etc. Great, great tools to have in our back pocket(s)!

We left with our '24 hours pre-training completed' certificate in hand!!! So exciting! Comparable to hitting the 20 week mark in pregnancy, I think!

Another strange biological similarity - getting 'finger-printed' was like having blood drawn at a prenatal clinic visit... sort of! [Ironic. While we were getting our finger prints done, a GLOWING couple walked in holding their baby who they were planning to adopt... beautiful.]

Bonus: we've made some great new friends in the past two months!!

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." -Mother Teresa

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Out 'n Bout

These photo's are [mainly] for my dear friend, Leslie, who doesn't do facebook. SO? Have I lured you in for a visit?? ;)



I need to remember this:

“She came tonight as I sat alone, the girl I used to be…
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye and questioned reproachfully;

Have you forgotten the many plans and hopes that I had for you?
The career, the splendid fame, and all the wonderful things to do?
Where is the mansion of stately height with all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you and the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad for I wanted her please with me…
This slender girl from the shadowy past the girl that I used to be
So gently rising, I took her hand, and guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay innocent, sweet, and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems, and precious they are to me;
That silken robe is my motherhood of costly simplicity.
And my mansion of stately height is love, and the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls for the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest, she smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw that the woman that I am now, pleased the girl I used to be.

- Author Unknown

Sunday, May 22, 2011

sweet, sweet summertime

Goals for the girls:


two pages of writing each day.
20 min of reading.
5 math problems each day.
go outside at least once each day.
getting shoes on by herself [this has been a struggle as she has tactile sensitivities].
ride her bike by herself [with training wheels].
climb the net at the park.


get totally potty trained.
pick up toys quickly.
read to her 20 min.
do puzzles.
learn [all] colors.
learn [all] shapes.
learn letters.
learn letter sounds.
go outside at least once each day.

Both Girls/Family

neighborhood pool twice a week.
a new hike each week.
drive into the mountains twice each month.
2 camping trips.
roxborough nature center for 'kids time'.
chick fil a 'story time'.
library reading program & special events.


jog around neighborhood 'horse shoe loop' twice = 1 mile.
yoga TWICE each week.
read 3 books.
cook 2 dinners IN each week. [John does much of the other dinners! :)]
juice for the whole family once every other day.
blend smoothies for breakfast once every other morning.
Read to the girls each night = bible stories about 'being brave'!

This is all simply a list of our ideals to reference as a guide. HAPPY Summer!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foster to Adopt | Class

This was our second-to-last class! The topic was 'the first 6 months' after a child is placed in your home. It was great to hear the stories of 2 parents who had been through this. We have asked to be placed with one baby boy only [at a time], age 12 months or younger. [We had originally asked for an 18 month old boy or younger.]

We tell the girls that a baby boy will come and visit for a little while because his parents have some things they're working on. We plan to be a total 'team' with all involved... We'll love him like a cousin, even though he belongs to his own family. Sadie is a deep thinker and she understands what adoption is. So, she does know that oneday we hope to adopt one of the baby boy's who stays with us.

All paperwork = DONE
Background checks & finger prints = submitted [pending]
Refferences = submitted [pending]
CPR/First Aide = needed [about 1 month out]
Physicals for all 4 of us = needed [about 2 months out]
Homestudy = needed [about 3 months out]
Home Inspection = needed [about 4 months out]
Getting Licensed = Oct, Nov, Dec...??

John and I would LOVE to put a few more gifts under the Christmas tree this year for a sweet little someone... [my not-so-secret prayer!]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

[Then] The Yampa's

came to visit!

We enjoyed:

seeing the Moody Blues at Red Rocks
feeding squirrels in Estes Park
having a picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park
seeing elk, mountain goats and deer
climbing on boulders, walking in a stream
manitou springs
roxborough park
and great conversation :)

And, the weather was in the 70's mostly!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Bumpa's

came to play!

John [and Lauren] were able to play 'tour guide' most of the 8 days they were here!

The Bumpa's visited:

Red Rocks
Roxborough State Park
City of Golden
Garden of the Gods
City of Manitou Springs
City of Estes Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Cripple Creek

and various resturants including Chick-fil-a, of course!

We also celebrated Barb's birthday with the family here! Much fun was had!

Foster to Adopt | Class

Tonights class was about cultural differences. How to listen and accept the lifestyle of our potential future child. The subject of racism made a few appearences. An African American Gentleman [one of our classmates] brought up the point that he feels the words 'ethnicity' and 'colored' should not be used anymore -- because we are all simply human beings created by the same God. :)

Good stuff.

We still need to do:

two more classes. one make up class. CPR/FirstAide class. Fingerprinting. more paperwork. Homestudy. Physicals.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God was the 1st Adoptive Parent.

I was pondering this statement today.

Why do we chose to become parents? [Well, some of us get surprised... that's another rabbit trail...]

Is it because we want our children to be cute? Or marvel at how they are just like their Great-Aunt Thelma? Is it that we want our children to grow up and make us proud? Have someone to care for us when we are old? Raise responsible adults who will add to society?

I think these are all somewhat common and somewhat harmless.


What if as parents it was a common requirement to raise a child who didn't have grandpa's blue eyes, or daddy's quick wit... What if parenting was "just" based on acceptance and grace [encouragement & boundaries]?...

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
-Romans 5:8

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Foster to Adopt | Class [and other thoughts!]

This night was all about how abuse looks on a child at various ages. It was a tough pill to swallow. But, we are [still] all systems 'GO' with this exciting journey! Our hearts are heavy with the needs of these families -- yet we're so ready to dive in and help. Help even though we are naive & will make mistakes. Help and encourage & add love. Help and present hope & opportunity.

Every so often I get a rush of excitement deep in my heart. This experience has really shown me how much we all belong to God and each other. How we were all adopted into the most royal family - God's family. How God views everyone as important. We all add a unique piece to 'the puzzle'.

Today, I was privaledged to be able to spend a few hours with Sadie and her class [Teachers & other Parents, too] at a field trip. I was a group leader to 6 sweet little girls [two who were my own]. One of the girls was added to my group at the last minute because her Mom didn't show up as planned. Sad.

Sadie's awesome Teacher quietly asked me if I felt comfortable with this [naughty] active one in my already good sized group. I smiled and said: "[yes] YAY we GET _________!" Suddenly this girl who had been chasing her classmates with a stick on the picnic field earlier -- LIT UP and grabbed my hand. She. held. my. hand. [almost]. the. whole. time.

It gets me choked up. I was so honored to tell _________ in many ways that she is important and smart and funny... [not the naughty one.]

Labels. Lies. Yuck.

For that hour as we toured the 1860's farm, I got to be a teacher and an encourager. I have no college BA Degree that gives me a title in the education field - maybe oneday? [I plan to go back to school once John is done.] In the eyes of the girls I led around the farm I was leaving a mark. I have a not so secret fascination with 1800's US history -- God used that today to bond a group of Kindergarteners to each other and build self confidence in them [and me].

He helped me to be present in the moment.

Today, I'm reminded again that God can use us to share His love anytime - everyday - in the most ordinary ways. He makes the mundane beautiful.

Sadie and I after her recent performance in 'The Three Piggy Opera' [her Kindergarten play]!

Friday, April 15, 2011

my family [snapshot]

Tonight, while at our lovely Church Small Group a new friend mentioned that she journaled the first 4+ years of her childrens' lives! I was inspired! In no particular order, I'd like to take a few minutes to document the three most important people in my life.

Here goes:

John: You have the ability to meet someone new and connect with them on multiple levels within 10 minutes. You make others laugh. You don't take yourself too seriously and you've taught me to do the same. You help me see the bigger picture. You work hard and pick up my loose ends. You've become a close friend. We've remembered what brought us together. We have found new activities to do together and as a family. We're both pursuing dreams which have been years in the making. We sharpen each other. You are a great Dad!

Sadie: I believe you are the special treasure to your friends' in your new school, Awana & Church. Your classmates all call your name when you walk by them with me before or after school. I CHERISH my time bringing you to school and picking you up. I love seeing glimpses of your new 'big girl' world. You thrive on rutine. You never forget what I say. You keep me aware. I LOVE going on dates with you. You are smart with people and books. You have many talents to share with others. You have a great sense of humor. You feel deeply and love intensly. You're starting to enjoy playing with your sister. You are artistic and getting so good at reading. You enjoy homework! You lost your first tooth about a month ago (one of the front bottom ones)! Soon, you will take a childrens theatre class and swimming lessons. I think you're an extrovert [most of the time]. Last night while I was reading you the bible story of the prodigal son you told me: "Mom, I know that I am a special treasure to you and dad, I'll never disobey you when I'm a teenager." [I made SURE to write this one down! Ha!] You are such a sweet girl.

Lauren: You are a ball of energy. A ham. A joyful comedian. An Introvert. You are beginning to talk in sentences and express more complex ideas. You love to play 'mommy' with your baby dolls. You drag your shoes all over the house and you love wearing different pairs throughout the day. You admire your big sister and you miss her while she's at school. You also adore your big cousin, 'A'. Your little world is expanding as you welcome more [fun!] extended family members into your heart. You love to listen to stories. You are starting to draw. We've been working on colors, shapes and counting, lately. Just starting some letter sounds. You love to sing and DANCE. Soon you will start a gymnastics class. Today, you opened up a bible and said: "Thank you God my friends, Thank you God. Amen."