Archives for 2012

Adoption Update: Month Six

It’s been six months since we began this adoption journey. Shaky hands placing a thin sheet of paper into a crisp white envelope were what started us on this path. We told no one as we took this tiny, yet enormous, step forward. A step of faith. We had waited for the burning bush long enough – it was time to take action.

It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.

I love reading the status updates and blog posts of my expectant friends. It reminds me of the exciting days when we were expecting a child. I would scour books and marvel at the fact that the child inside me was now as big as an apricot, a walnut, an orange, a pineapple, a small elephant (Sloan…that kid was huge!). I love the anticipation of pregnancy and the posts of growing bellys, gender reveals and approaching due dates leaves me happy with memory.

It dawned on me recently that part of what makes this adoption process so difficult is it feels so…lonely. I don’t have a cute, growing belly to dress. I don’t have weekly markers that point to the impending arrival. Whereas in pregnancy, most mothers can breathe easy after that twelve week mark passes, adoption always feels a bit tenuous.

I keep waiting for the floor to drop, for something to happen to end this journey. I think part of the reason that I feel this way is because I’m not celebrating the milestones – the little moments that mean we’re getting closer.

So here are a few little moments:


Our paperwork is nearly done. We submitted the first round to our agency for review and were only missing a few documents. Unfortunately, one of them is going to take about six weeks to complete, so we’re in a bit of a holding pattern, but there are things we can be doing to keep moving the process forward so that when the paper comes, we’ll be set.

We are almost $10,000 into the process. For awhile it felt like we were going nowhere with the funds, then BOOM! We had the next payment. We still have a long way to go, but I’m in awe of how far we’ve come.

Would you like to be part of that process with us? We could still use your help. I have ideas for some other fundraisers that I will kick off in the new year, but for now we are still running our Story campaign. So far we’ve received almost $2,000 from dear friends and readers through online and personal donations. Thank you!

It feels more real. I get a little scared to admit that, but the fact of the matter is this has shifted from being an idea to being a person. There’s a person out there waiting for us. A little girl. She’s real and she is ours. She is as real to me as any of my children were in utero.

She has become more real to the kids as well. There isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t mention their baby sister. They are excited to meet her and I’m so proud of how they’ve embraced the idea.

There are still challenges to be met in this process, though, and we would love your prayers:


We still have a lot of money to raise. A LOT of money to raise. God has been so faithful to provide and we prayerfully wait to see what He’s going to do next. But I am a terrible fundraiser. I am being stretched and pulled in this process and have learned so much already.

The paperwork needs to be coordinated and sent to various states to be apostilled and I am so nervous that stuff will get lost in the process. We are also on a bit of a clock and with our final clearance six weeks away, this leaves me a little worried that a lot of the paperwork will need to be redone. If we don’t receive a court date within one year from the notaries, the paperwork expires.


There are emotional challenges to prepare for. I don’t expect that bringing an adopted toddler into our home will be all sunshine and roses. It’s going to be hard and I’m sure there will be days when I sit on the floor and cry from exhaustion and an overwhelming sense of fatigue.

Kind of like I did with every one of my kids when they were newborns and I couldn’t figure out how to manage life with all the change.

In so many ways, this adoption journey mirrors a pregnancy. But it differs in a lot of ways, too. People don’t always understand why we chose adoption. I find myself still feeling like I need to defend our decision to do this and I must constantly stop and remember that we all have a different journey in this life. Our path won’t look like your path and that is okay.

Will you pray for us? As we head into the holiday season, I find myself longing for my daughter. I want to know who she is and see the completed picture. This is the exact same way I felt when I hit about seven months pregnant with each of my children. I was just ready to be done!

The only difference was that when I was seven months pregnant, I knew I only had to wait eight more weeks. At this point, we are very likely still looking at another year.

Adoption is hard. It’s so very, very hard. I may not have the growing belly, but I very much am growing a baby. She is growing in my heart and until she’s in my arms, I fear I will feel incomplete.

Thank you for praying.

Until later

We are home from a bang up time at Disney World. Turns out it truly is the most magical place on Earth. No one does fun like Disney.


Unfortunately, we brought home a sick little girl, so today it is lots of laying on the couch, watching Disney Princess movies and trying to recuperate. There are more pics to post later, but for now I thought I’d share with you the one thing I found less than magical at Disney World. Just…wait for it…

For. Real.

I found this costume wildly creepy in a hilarious sort of way…

It was the only thing in three days that I questioned. Everything else truly was magical and amazing and I will carry the sweet memories with me forever.

But for now, I’m off to administer more medication, wash germ filled sheets, walk a jittery dog and try to figure out what in the world to make for dinner. My kids ate like Buddy the Elf all weekend. Suger, Syrup, Candy Canes and Candy. The was basically it.

No lie – Friday night they ate Cotton Candy, Cinnamon Rolls and Ice Cream for dinner. That either makes me Mom of the Year, or the worse Mom ever. I’ll let you know after we visit the dentist.

Bye friends!

Celebrating early…with Mickey!

When the kids get home today, we have a surprise waiting. A trip to Disney World this weekend. It’s an early Christmas present from my parents and I couldn’t be more excited. They’ve never been and it’s been over fifteen years since I was last there.

So we’ll be out of comission this weekend.


Merry Christmas everyone!

Blonde jokes totally appropriate

Landon gives the angel her final flight.

Despite temps in the ’80’s, Christmas has fully made its way to our house. We topped off Project Initiate Christmas this past weekend with a trip to the local Tree Lot to purchase our Christmas tree. You can go to actual tree farms here in Florida to cut your own tree, but a Christmas tree grown in Florida does not have the  same appeal as one brought in from Oregon.

You understand.

Lee and I have celebrated twelve Christmases together and we’ve never had a tree fall over thanks to our amazing tree stand, so imagine our horror when we got home Saturday and realized our tree didn’t fit into the stand. I’ll make a long story very short:

Awesome neighbors lent us another stand.

We decorated our tree.

It fell over at 10:30 Saturday night.

Ornaments shattered.

Our angel broke.

I cried.

Apparently it was too heavy for our borrowed stand as well.

We tied it to the piano and the chair with twine where it stayed propped through our big party on Sunday.

So Sunday night, I headed to Home Depot to look for a sturdier stand to hold our wily tree. As I walked out of the house, I grabbed Lee’s keys thinking I’d take his car. Did I mention Lee got a new job? His new job necessitated the purchase of a new car and…well, his new car is pretty. I like driving it.

It doesn’t smell like french fries and make strange knocking noises when I hit 40 mph.

Alas, my car was parked behind his, so I grabbed my keys, jumped in the car and took off. I purchased the largest tree stand known to mankind made of solid steel. You’ll be pleased to know that should we ever want to get a 12 foot tree we have the stand to hold it up.

Merry Christmas!

After I paid for my tree stand, I walked back out to the parking lot and began looking for the car. The problem? I thought I was looking for Lee’s car. Somehow I totally and completely forgot I had driven my car to the store. Lee’s new car is so fancy that you just push a button to start and stop it – you just need to have the keys in the car with you.

As I wandered the parking lot, I couldn’t remember taking his keys out of the car with me so the obvious conclusion that I could come to was someone had stolen his car.


I stood in the parking lot and began to panic. My foolishness and forgetfulness had resulted in Lee’s car being stolen right out from under my nose. I wondered how on earth someone had figured out that I left the keys in the car. I wondered at what point I should call the police.

Just then, a Home Depot employee came up to me. “Can I help you?” he asked. I must have looked a little crazy, what with my heavy breathing and wide, panicked eyes and all.

“I…I can’t find my car,” I said. “I parked it right here and I don’t see it.”

The young man looked concerned himself and both of us turned in a circle, scanning the parking lot.

“What kind of car do you drive?” he asked.

That’s when I realized my mistake. How did I realize my mistake? You ask.




I saw the van and cleared my throat, trying to figure out how to not look completely crazy but I realized pretty quickly that there was very little I could do to mask the truth.

“Oh…ahem…um,” I turned to the concerned helper. “So, funny story…I was looking for the wrong car. This car right here is mine.” I point to the car that is literally within arm’s reach.  “So, I’m all good.” I flashed him my best I-am-totally-normal-and-not-crazy-at-all-and-am-actually-a-fairly-intelligent-chick-who-happens-to-suffer-from-a-rare-bout-of-ditziness-now-and-then smile.

He smiled back. It was more of an I’m-totally-going-to-laugh-my-head-off-and-tell-the-entire-store-about-how-dumb-you-are-when-you-drive-away sort of smile.

So there you have it. The blonde strikes again. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I make sure it’s good…


Am I the only one who’s ever done this?


You know what…don’t answer that.

Sometimes I wear something beside Yoga Pants…

Today I am over at Together in 10 sharing the fashion tip that keeps me feeling confident and comfortable as I drive my smokin’ hot minivan around town. Join me there?


Happy Monday!


Well hi there! I’m Kelli, wife to Lee and mom to Sloan, Katya, Landon and a precious daughter in Russia who we hope to bring home next fall. I chronicle the daily joys and hilarity of motherhood and life on my blog, Minivans Are

There are a few important things you should know about me before I set forth to write this post on style. I drive a minivan (which, given the title of my blog, it would be weird if I didn’t, wouldn’t it?). The day we purchased said minivan I was fifteen months pregnant with my third born and I was certain that I’d just surrendered my youth. I saw sweats, frizzy ponytails and oversized t-shirts in my future.

In short, I was overly hormonal and a total drama queen.

I’m five years out from commiting to the dreaded minivan and I can proudly say I haven’t worn a single pair of sweats out in public yet. Yoga pants? Every. Day. But those are practically the hip mom on the run uniform, right?



Read the rest at Together in 10.

Christmas time is here!

Oh the weather outside is frightful…unless you live in Florida where the weather is truly delightful and the thought of building a fire is frightful. We have to buy our snowmen down here, dontcha know?

With the holiday season fast approaching (or, you know, already upon us), I thought it would be fun to share some ideas on how to make the holidays count. The greatest thing about Christmas is the spirit of giving that seems to overtake us. Though we try to keep that spirit up all year long, this time of year is always especially sweet and poignant. So I’m going to share a couple of things we have done, or are doing, and I would love to hear what you’re doing with your families.

Two years ago, we threw a Christmas party at our house for the kids. They played, ate Christmas cookies and Lee read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. What made this party particularly fun for everyone was all the kids brought new, unwrapped toys which we then donated to the local Ronald McDonald House.

We didn’t have a party like this last year because we were new and didn’t know anyone, but the party is on again this year and we are so excited! There’s something so fun about coming together as a community and blessing ohters in need. The kids especially get into it, which makes it even more delightful.

Image from:

Another thing we love to do is give gifts through Compassion International. We go through their gift catalog and each kid gets to pick one or two things they would like to give. Usually these things end up being farm animals because really, what’s more fun than buying a goat for someone?!

Having travelled with Compassion to Tanzania in May, I’m so much more connected to this process than I was before. I saw how a goat could not only provide a family some nourishment, but also a stream of income, which would allow them to provide for their children. Providing livestock for a family is the best $50 you will ever spend, I can guarantee it.

Last year, on Christmas morning before we even opened gifts, we shuttled the kids out the door, met up with some friends and headed to downtown Tampa where we served the homeless hot coffee, breakfast sandwiches and a little Christmas love. This was deeply impactful for the kids and for Lee and I. It was a beautiful way to celebrate the morning and I believe we came home feeling equally blessed. I’m not sure we can do this again as laws have changed and been put in place to prohibit those things, but we are looking into it. 

The most important thing we’ve learned over the years as we’ve parented and raised these children is how little our family needs and how much so many others lack. We have drastically reduced the number of gifts our children receive at Christmas for a number of reasons, one of them being the fact that they just don’t need more toys to sit in their rooms and gather dust.

I would rather buy my children two meaningful gifts that they will love and use than five useless toys that they’ll play with once and cast aside. I love giving my kids gifts. I love seeing their faces light up when they open a present. Those looks are so much more meaningful, though, when we all know we have given of ourselves first.

This has been a learning process for me. I was so worried that my kids would be disappointed when they saw how little was under the tree, but I so vastly underestimated their capacity to love others and their desire to bless. My kids did not complain at all about not getting many gifts. What a lesson that’s been to me.

So how about you? What do you do to foster the spirit of giving in your home? I know you all have a lot of great ideas. None of our ideas are original. We didn’t think of those things on our own. We learned from observing what others have done and we decided to follow suit. I don’t share any of these ideas to toot our horns by any means. I always love to hear how others are working to make the holidays more meaningful and learn from those ideas.

I’d love to hear how you are blessing others this season. Or perhaps you have been on the receiving end of a blessing. How has that affected you?



Fa, la, la, la, la…man. 

The Terrible, Awful, No-Good, Very Bad Day

You know those days when nothing seems to go right and you think, “Golly Gee. I sure wish this icky day would skeedaddle.”

Or, you know…something along those lines.

Well, folks. THAT was our Monday. Totally and completely icky. Like, not swell, man.

The day started alright. Christmas decorations were up, the house was fairly clean despite half of Orlando having visited over the weekend and I got ten pages of my novel written. It seemed like one of those sunshiney days that musicals are made of. I think, actually, that’s what made everything go awry. The day was too perfect. There’s nowhere to go but down from perfection.

The kids came home from school in great moods. They were jazzed and revived after a week off and immediately set into their homework in a way that was almost freaky in a Stepford kinda way. Tia even took her homework outside because it was freaking 74 degrees out. Even Mother Nature felt pretty good about herself.

Apparently, however, the devil wanted to ruin this idyllic day. It started when Tia came in to play. Everyone was cheery and happy for about thirty minutes. Sloan sat on the couch playing the iPad and Tia leaned over his shoulder to watch.

Then she shrieked.

“Something’s poking me!” she cried, yanking on her pants leg. I assumed she had some kind of sticker from outside and tried to pull her hands away from her leg, but she began trembling and crying and she dashed to her room, yanked the pants off and threw them at me. I picked them up and shook them and Hark! A massive bee fell out. Tia came out moments later with four large welts on her knee.

Strike one to the perfect day.

An hour later, half the neighborhood was over playing kickball in our backyard. Lee came home and, ever the awesome Daddy, he joined in on the game. Because I’d already started dinner, had laundry going, had the house cleaned and in general had nothing else to do, I decided to not be a fuddy duddy and join in on the neighborhood kickball game.

Truth be told, I succombed to Mom-Guilt. I felt bad for not playing with my kids and decided the nice mommy thing to do would be join in. I had on my Ugg boots and briefly considered changing the, but then decided, “Nah. I’ll just kick a couple of times then bow out.”

On my second kick, as I ran the bases, my left boot slipped a little, curling my toes underneath and sending all my weight onto the top of my foot.

Friends, the only pain I’ve ever felt worse than that was natural childbirth. It was as though someone lit my foot on fire and to make matters worse all the neighborhood kids were gathered around so I could neither cry or curse, both of which I wanted to do in abundance.

So four bee stings and a broken foot. Day’s not shaping up well. (And yes, the foot’s broken. I got an X-Ray just to be sure. It’s just a hairline fracture and should heal quickly. I also learned that I have two bones in my foot that are not connected and likely have never been. It’s a rare something or other people have from birth. So…there’s something you didn’t know about me, eh?)

As I sat on the couch nursing my swollen foot a neighbor boy came in looking for an iPad to play. He grabbed Lee’s. He dropped Lee’s. It shattered.

And that’s when we sent everyone away and hunkered down for the night hoping to avoid any more lightening strikes.

There’s a moral to this story, you know. No…”Don’t Play Kickball in Uggs” is NOT the moral. “Don’t let neighbor kids touch expensive electronics” isn’t the moral, either, though is has been added to our house rules. No, those are not the morals to be taken from this story. CLEARLY the moral is “Mom-Guilt Clouds Your Judgement Making You Think That Playing Ball with Your Kids is Better Than Sitting Down in a Quiet House with a Book for Fifteen Minutes.”


The End.



So…how’s your week going so far, hmmmm?

PS: At the end of the day, I’m more than aware that we are so blessed. I am beyond grateful for all that we have and I don’t share our horrible awful day to complain so much as to laugh a bit, because seriously?! How can all that go on in the span of just a couple of hours?!

So don’t cry for me, Argentina…

Thanksgiving was for…

























Flirting (ahem…boys!)



























How was your Thanksgiving?

Because we ARE the Griswolds

HEEEEEYYYYY!!!! Welcome to the Griswold Family Thanksgiving!

The turkey is stuffed and in the oven. Lemon cakes are prepped and waiting to be iced. Green Bean Casserole is in the crock pot and there is a dessert in the fridge that involves cut up Granny Smith Apples, frozen snickers chopped in pieces and two tubs of whipped cream.

We’re eating at 1:30 if you’d like to join us.

The house is clean and ready for 31 people to come destroy it, all in the name of family and love, of course. And I? I’m on my seccond cup of coffee.

I fell into bed just before midnight last night only to be awoken at 1:30 by the shrillest, loudest brain melting screech you’ve ever heard. I leapt out of bed with a shriek and all sorts of havoc and confusion ensued.



Me: AY YI YI YI YIIIIIIII!!!! (karate chopping the air)


Then it stopped and we wandered the house trying to figure out what just happened. When I went back to our room, the smoke alarm was chirping. The battery needed to be replaced and apparently there was some sort of malfunction? But hey – good to know if there’s ever a fire in the house the smoke alarms give sufficient warning.


We removed the smoke alarm from the wall and disconnected it.

It still chirped.

We took the dead battery out.

It still chirped.

This is the part where I went all Phoebe Buffey and yelled, “WHAT DO YOU WANT WITH ME?!”

I finally found a new battery and we got it taken care of. We crawled back in bed at 2:00, as did our terrified dog who had buried herself under our covers at the base of the bed.

At 3:00, a certain girl child came and crawled in bed with us.

At 6:30 I dragged myself out of bed.

Today what am I thankful for? I am thankful for coffee. And family because they won’t care if I have bags under my eyes or if I start mumbling incoherently around 3:00 this afternoon. They will love me no matter what…and will probably get a kick out of laughing at my jumbled brain.

Here is a video the kids and I made the other night. I wasn’t going to share it with you because I look a hot mess in it. But I decided to keep it real and show you anyway because while I look a bit frightening, the kids are cute and they make up for it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thankful…for a break

My head is spinning and my heart bursting. I have so much I want to share – so much I want to write, but for some reason I can’t seem to get the words from my head to my fingers. So I’m taking this as a sign to step away and just be present in the now.

It’s 70 degrees.

We have 31 people coming over for Thanksgiving.

I want to be present right now, in this moment, while my kids are racing through the yard. They are living life and I don’t want to miss it.

So I’ll be back later, when the words are ready to flow.

Have a lovely, wonderful, beautiful, totally and compeltely present in the now Thanksgiving everyone!