Don’t Worry Be Happy


The life of a grown up is not nearly as romantic and fun as I dreamed it would be when I was younger. I didn’t understand the responsibility that came with being an adult. I didn’t know that endless laundry, a constantly messy house, bills, fatigue, arguing children, and everything else that happens day in and day out would be such a drag.

I tend to get bogged down in it all from time to time.

I’m annoyed with my dirty house. It was clean two hours ago.

I’m annoyed with the laundry. It’s never done.

I’m annoyed with the bills. They never stop showing up.

I’m annoyed with the responsibility. It’s unending.

I’m annoyed with the arguing. Why are you fighting about an invisible piece of pie?!

On and on the list goes until I feel like the Grinch, my heart two sizes too small, and my patience stretched thin.

On Saturday we were preparing to host a dinner, and as I cleaned the house again, I felt an actual scowl forming. Blah, blah, blah. Grumble, grumble, grumble. As I set the table, Tia and Landon came racing through the kitchen squealing and laughing hysterically at who knows what.

“Slow down,” I called after them. They didn’t hear the sound of my advice over all their joy and laughter. The nerve. 

A few minutes later, they came racing through again, high pitched squeals and delighted laughter cutting into my grumbly heart. “Guys!” I called, a bit exasperated. “Slow down, please. You’re going to get hurt.”

“We can’t help it, Mom!” Landon called. “WE’RE JUST SO HAPPY!”

And off they ran, still laughing, still squealing, still slicing through my grown up bam humbugity. And just like that, my heart swelled, and I remembered that life is fun if you let it be fun.

Thank God for kids to remind me.

Happy Monday, friends. I pray that it’s JUST SO HAPPY!

Pregnancy Then and Now: A Comparison

It has been ten and a half years since my first pregnancy, and over six years since my last pregnancy, and as I reflect on how it feels to be pregnant yet again, I can’t help but compare and contrast those experiences. And so, without further ado:

Pregnancy, Then and Now


The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I called just about every one I knew within 2.4 minutes of those two lines showing up. I even called my husband, while he was at work, and told him over the phone. So sweet of me, I know…

IMG_3141The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test I waited 48 hours to tell my husband and a month to tell anyone else outside of a few close friends. And most days I forgot about it at least four times throughout the day.

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I ran to the bookstore and bought a minimum of five books on pregnancy, sleep training babies, proper nutrition for pregnancy, and baby names. I followed every guideline, suggestion, and rule of thumb to a T.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I downloaded a pregnancy app on my phone, read the first few weeks, then never opened it again because who has time to worry about all that?! Vitamins, decent nutrition, and exercise. The rest of those things are mere guidelines…

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I ran to Babies R Us and looked at all the things I would need to welcome a baby. I was crazy overwhelmed and I compiled a list of over 100 items that I would soon register for.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I wondered if there was even a Babies R Us near by, and even if there was, I’m sure I’d get around to visiting sometime in the next 7 months. And also? I know that I really only need about 1/4 of those items now, so why stress?

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I couldn’t wait to start showing and to wear maternity clothes. It felt like forever before that happened, and I bought and wore maternity shirts before I really needed them because I wanted everyone to know that I was with child.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I started showing before the pee on the stick dried. I visited a maternity shop and gagged at the thought of wearing those clothes again. I will squeeze into my regular clothes for as long as possible, and after that, there’s always loose, flowy dresses. Amen.

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I could think of nothing but babies, babies, babies. I doodled names on scrap pieces of paper. I read books and magazines. I designed nurseries in my head, and I did all the research I possibly could on child birth.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I put in another load of laundry, scrubbed down the kitchen, and made beds. I haven’t thought of any names yet (although Tia is adamant on Elsa for a girl and Kristoph for a boy), and I plan on squeezing a crib into the guest bedroom. The baby will get it’s own corner in the house. Lucky kid…

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I planned on life stopping when the baby was born. I would stay home, and the baby would get routine morning and afternoon naps every single day.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I thought of all the places I would get to go with this baby in tow. I hope this baby likes sleeping in a car seat…

The first time I got a positive pregnancy test, I felt in awe of the fact that I was carrying life. I treasured the thought of holding a baby in my arms, and couldn’t wait to meet the child that would be mine.

The fourth time I got a positive pregnancy test, I felt the exact same way.

Then the older kids started arguing, and I didn’t have time to dwell on it anymore…

The Big Reveal


We went back and forth on when and how to tell the kids that we were having another baby. Part of me wanted to wait until we had heard, or seen, a heartbeat for peace of mind and the knowledge that everything was okay.

But times have changed since I last had a baby. Doctors no longer see you early on in your pregnancy (unless you are high risk, which I am not), and they don’t do early ultrasounds, and a heartbeat can’t be detected this early. So we were looking at having to wait until 12 weeks or longer to hear a heartbeat and I couldn’t do that for a couple of reasons.

First, “Secrets, Secrets are no Fun!

I really wanted my kids to have the privilege and fun of telling people that they are getting a new baby. I’m not good at keeping secrets like this one, so the thought of waiting an entire month longer before we could talk about it seemed torturous.

Second, I’m already showing. Baggy clothes only go so far. It’s warm in Florida, so it’s not like I can hide under multiple layers of clothing for a month. This secret was going to be obvious to everyone very shortly.

So we are taking this on faith, with lots of prayers that the Lord will sustain this child in my womb. The fear of miscarriage nags at me, only because of what that would do to my children. But I’m trusting that the Lord will preserve this child and keep him/her healthy, and if something should happen, we will walk that path as gently as possible.

So last week, when I hit the 8 week point in the pregnancy, we decided to let the cat out of the bag. Our kids love to play Hangman, so when they came home from school, we set up a little hangman game for them and told them it revealed a special surprise.

“Are we going to get ice cream?” Tia yelled.

“Are we going on a trip?” Landon yelled.

“Are we going to Italy as a family?” Sloan yelled.

Um…this surprise fit somewhere between going for ice cream and Italy, I believe…

I got cute video of the whole process, including the point when they solved the message and stared at me with wide eyes. “You’re…pregnant?” Sloan asked. “I don’t believe you.” He changed his tune when I pointed out the bump in my belly that I could not suck in.

hangman2I’m working on figuring out how to use iMovie, and I hope to put together a little clip of the reveal. It was fun to watch the kids then call their grandparents in Arkansas, and play hangman with my parents here in town to reveal the message.

What fun it was to celebrate that moment with my kids. They have been precious since finding out, all of them excited in different ways. At first Landon claimed to want a boy, but I believe his sister has coerced him to change his tune. All three now say they want a girl.

If similarities in pregnancy are any indication, then this could very well be a girl, because so far this pregnancy reminds me a lot of my pregnancy with Tia. However, if genetics continue to play a part, then this will most likely be another boy.

Time will tell.

For now I am treasuring these moments of excitement with my kids, and trying not to panic at the thought of starting this whole parenting thing over again. I look forward to seeing my children develop into older siblings with a much younger sibling in the house. What sweetness is in store…

And then the road bends

Two days before “K” left, I found myself feeling sick. My stomach hurt, my head hurt, and I just didn’t feel right. I quickly chalked it up to the stress of putting her back on a plane, and the insanity of a month-long adventure that left me feeling run down and overwhelmed.

Just to be sure, though, I bought a pregnancy test to see if there was anything…bigger going on.


I tossed the stick in the garbage can and moved on, perfectly content with the knowledge that I was likely a little over-stressed. But there was this nagging thought in the back of my mind that kept rolling around, pushing it’s way out at night when the room got dark and the world quieted.

What if the test was wrong?

For years now (and by years, I mean yeeeaaarrrrssss) I’ve felt completely certain that our family was incomplete. The feeling was so strong that some days I would pull out of the driveway and look frantically in the back seat to see who I’d left behind. I’d look at photographs and feel so certain that someone was missing from them.

I knew the day I brought Landon home from the hospital that he would not be my last child. I just knew it. I was certain at the time, however, that I would not give birth to another child. So certain that I gave away all the baby stuff I owned except for the infant carrier and the crib because sentimentality wouldn’t give me permission to let go.

I was wrong.


It’s no secret that my heart lies firmly with adoption, and my first choice would have been to further expand out family in that way. But for reasons I don’t fully understand, God had a different plan.

And don’t think for a single second that I haven’t mulled over the irony of the fact that we conceived a child while hosting a Ukrainian teenager in our home. I’m fairly certain God chuckled to Himself as He knit that one into the tapestry.

I digress…

After we put “K” on her plane, the feeling that something was up intensified. It was a combination of feeling queasy and exhausted, so I decided to check just one more time for peace of mind. Lee went to church that Sunday morning without me, and I ran to the store, picked up the cheapest test I could find, and came home. After I took the test, I started cleaning, and…well, I forgot about it.

I was so certain it would be negative again.

I was wrong. (I mentioned that already, right?)

That was nearly a month ago, and in these last few weeks Lee and I have slowly adjusted to this new development. It’s not that I didn’t want this, because there was a part of me that always liked the idea of having just one more.

There was another part of me, though, that didn’t really want to start from square one. And there is was a HUGE part of me that did not want to go through another pregnancy. Some women love pregnancy – I am not one of them.

So yes, the part of me that liked the idea of having a baby is excited. The part of me that longs to adopt is disappointed. These are conflicting emotions that will need to be worked through. I don’t doubt God’s plan for our family one bit.

I also don’t think that He’s done leading us down the path of orphan care. I don’t know what form that will take now, but I know this:

I am open to anything.

When we started our adoption journey, we did so on a very safe path. We wanted a child as young as possible, with as few issues as possible. It was what we felt we could handle. Now?

I wouldn’t say no to anything anymore. This is a freeing place to be, honestly. I am so open to whatever path the Lord leads us down, whether that be raising awareness, working with a ministry, taking trips to serve children in need, hosting orphans, fostering, adopting older or younger or special needs. Nothing scares me.

I feel free.

I also feel pregnant. For the time being, this is our path. We will continue to raise the children that the Lord has blessed us with joyfully and gratefully, and with all the wisdom that He chooses to reign down on us. And who knows? Maybe I’ll have the privilege of being an adoptive grandmother someday. Wouldn’t that be grand…

So that’s the story of where we are now. Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?!

(Come back tomorrow and I’ll share a bit of how our kids reacted to the news. I will also share my observations on pregnancy after having a loooooong break in between babies. Did you know at 35 I am considered of  “mature maternal age?” HUMPH…)

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Blogging is a funny thing in that it gives everyone the chance to stand up tall on their soap boxes and boldly declare I AM RIGHT ABOUT THIS AND ALL THE THINGS!

I say this with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek because, Hi! I’m a blogger.

That said, even I find myself weary of all the chatter online sometimes, but I find that the chatter only frustrates me when it pertains to subjects for which I feel a significant amount of passion.


Orphan care  – For me, that’s a big one, and more and more I’m seeing posts that frustrate me.

Posts that take unnecessary digs at adoption, at Christians who work to make orphanages more comfortable, crop up now and again, and I find myself terribly annoyed at this idea that the “Christian Orphan Care Movement” is actually doing more harm than good for children in the world.

This attitude incites a sense of shame and guilt for those people who really just want to help. To be clear, it’s not the topic that I disagree with, it’s the attitude that families who want to adopt, or to help bless children in orphanages, are contributing to a world-wide problem that leaves me with a sour taste.

Here’s the thing – there is no one size fits all solution to the orphan crisis. In a perfect world, yes – all children would grow up inside their own families, their own countries, their own cultures. Absolutely, I believe that that is the ideal.


This world is not perfect, and the solution to children growing up in institutionalized care is convoluted. It will look different for every child, for every family, and for every country.

Photo by Keely Scott

Photo by Keely Scott

There are children all over the world who have been orphaned for a thousand different reasons. Some are orphaned by drugs and alcohol, some are simply abandoned. Some are orphaned by tragedy, others are orphaned because their physical needs are too great a burden. Some are orphaned because their culture and government dictates life in such a way that parents have little choice.

The reasons for a child to be left in an orphanage are far too great, and they each require different solutions. While I do not want to assume that adoption is right for every child in every orphanage, I do want to say to parents who are hoping to adopt, in the process to adopt, dream of adopting – you’re doing a good thing! You’re offering a child hope for a future outside the confines of the orphanage. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who are working to restore children to families who simply couldn’t afford to raise their children – you’re doing a good thing! Thank you for working so hard to reunite children with their families. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who are working to make orphanages more comfortable and livable – you’re doing a good thing! Providing a stable shelter, offering clothing and supplies, funding renovations and better equipment – these are all necessary to making sure that children inside orphanages are receiving the best they possibly can given their current circumstance. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who host orphans for a brief period of time then send them back to their homes – you’re doing a good thing! Many of you will move forward to bring those children into your homes permanently. Others will love those children from afar, and give them the hope of knowing that they are loved and valued inside this world. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

I do believe that children orphaned by poverty are some of the most devastating, because I feel the heartache of a family who simply cannot afford to raise a child. This is a travesty, and in areas where this most often happens, let’s keep working together to help these families stay together.


Next week, a team of bloggers will head to Uganda to talk about the work of Compassion International. This is the 5-year anniversary of Compassion Bloggers, and it will undoubtably produce amazing words and images that will allow us to see what orphan prevention looks like. Because of their hard work, Compassion International is keeping families together, keeping children out of orphanages, and keeping communities in tact. I’ve seen them do this, and I’ve never been the same for it.

There are so many solutions to the orphan crisis that people are working on around the world, and I’m grateful for each one of them. We need to keep working together to defend the orphan, in whatever capacity that may look like. This isn’t a battle of Conservative Christian verses Liberal Christian and who has the best solution. Rather than continuing the argument about who is doing the best/worst job in defending the orphan, let’s work together to be part of the solution to orphan care (and prevention).


The One Where I Brag on My Kids

Last night Lee and I took a little time to debrief. We haven’t really had time to talk this last month, to process all that was happening. It was sort of survival of the fittest around here, and since he went down hard with the flu, we’ve just passed each other in the house this past week with little more than a few mental high fives, and withered looks of fatigue.

2013 was a big year for us. Now that we’re on the other side of it and can look back and take stock, I’m amazed to see at all that happened in those 12 months. They were undoubtably the hardest months of our lives, and at the same time, with hind sight providing some clarity, I can see just how blessed last year really was.


And my kids? You guys, they were just amazing.



My kids saw and experienced more in the last year than they ever have before. They witnessed abject poverty when we went to Dominican Republic in June. They served many Saturdays at our church’s food pantry, and they helped serve Thanksgiving dinner to those in desperate need of assistance. They helped make shoes for children in Africa, and they delivered a car full of toys to children in the hospital.

And then, to top it off, we asked them to make the biggest sacrifice of all – we asked them to open their hearts to love a 17 year old girl from half way around the world, and they did it without hesitation.

roomSloan gave up his bedroom for a month, letting me turn it into a pink and grey girl room. He never complained, never asked why. He didn’t whine, and he didn’t once make us feel bad about the decision to put her in there. I could not be more grateful for his attitude. 

Tia sacrificed being the only princess girl in the house. She gave up a bit of her autonomy as the coveted female, and she willingly shared her daddy with K for four weeks. We had less time to spend watching her do gymnastics, and when it was time to play with makeup or paint nails, it was always three of us participating in the activities. She didn’t complain or react in jealousy, but freely gave up her coveted one on one time with us. I’m so, so proud of her.

Landon did what Landon always does. Pulled out a ball and asked K to play. The language barrier didn’t matter to him, and he willingly and daily asked her to play with him. Most days she said yes to his inquiries, but sometimes she said no, and when she did he moved on without complaint. He was so gracious and loving toward her. What a precious boy he is.

I’m bragging on my kids today because they deserve it. They aren’t perfect kids, and they have their moments, as any child does. But they gave up a lot this past year. We asked them to make sacrifices of comfort and time and material things to the benefit of others, and every time we placed a challenge in front of them, they met it.

When we began the adoption process a year and a half ago, we were warned more than once to be careful that our children weren’t sacrificed in the quest to bring someone new into our home. While such warnings are wise, and should be considered, the fact is this: our children (mine and yours) are a heckuva lot stronger than we often give them credit. Kids love to know they’re being helpfulthat they’re being used to make someone else’s life better.


I saw this not only in my own children, but also in their friends while K was here. So many of their friends wanted to be a part of blessing K, and they really, really did! They gave her rainbow loom bracelets and 1 Direction cards. They laughed with her, and shared smiles and waves that communicated so much love. K went home blessed by more than just my kids, without doubt.

If you’re looking at stepping outside your comfort zone this year and trying something different – something that might be hard – I encourage you to let your kids take the journey with you. And as you do, watch and observe how they respond.

I can almost guarantee they will surprise you.

The Story of Goodbye

Tonight was hard.


There were a lot of tears shed, puddles of salty grief washing soft cheeks, all dotted with freckles. As I held them close, all four of them, I couldn’t help but feel like I caused all of this. I know it’s not true – that such a feeling is a lie from the pit of hell meant to bring about the unholy guilt that stops one from taking action against the injustices of this world. But it didn’t diminish the pain I felt as I watched them cry.

This saying goodbye thing is not a fun ride.


It’s interesting, though, to watch my children embrace this act of sacrifice, even in the very worst moments. It’s a chance to share with them what we all must learn at some point in our lives – serving others requires sacrifice, and sacrifice is rarely easy.

We sacrificed time and energy this last month. We sacrificed funds, and sleep. I don’t say any of those things to publicly pat myself on the back. On the contrary, there were some days when I was so fully overwhelmed by the sacrifice that I wanted to scream…and cry. Then scream and cry some more. I didn’t enjoy every moment of the sacrifice, but if I had, would it really have been a sacrifice?

Sometimes I wish that God could have placed an easier call on my heart. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t feel a passion for something that’s so hard to fulfill. Sometimes I wish that I could just stop and be content with where we are – to enjoy the ride in the fast lane for a little while.

But only sometimes…

Sacrificial love requires that you shave off a piece of your heart and offer it freely. But can I share a little secret?

When you do this – when you give away pieces of yourself without any expectation attached – you’d be surprised at what you receive back.


When we signed up to host “K” for a month, we naively thought this would all hinge upon what we had to offer. We had no idea how much she would give back to us. She brought joy and laughter, and a wholeness that was entirely unexpected. This wasn’t about us, and it wasn’t about her.

This was about all that God could do with hearts willing to submit, and with broken people willing to take a chance.



Tomorrow there will be more tears, and more heartache, and my children will be separated from someone they’ve come to love deeply. “K” will board a plane and will be separated from a family she’s come to love deeply. We’ll all go our separate ways broken, and also more whole.

Isn’t it spectacular how God can both break and heal all in the same breath?

I’m trying to guard how many of the stories I share publicly – how much of the heartache and pain that we all feel to open to the world. Some stories need to be told, and others need to be protected. But I wanted you to know, my friends, that we are all going to be okay. This month was part of a design set into motion long before any of us drew breath.

It doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t easy.

But sacrifice never does, and it never is.

Thank you for your prayers, and yes, please keep them coming. But know without doubt that we’re all going to be okay.

This is only the beginning of the story…

Tenting with Shamoo

If anyone ever tells you that sleeping in a tent is comfortable, go ahead and assume that person a liar. If they tell you that having the proper equipment is all that stands between you and a good night’s sleep in a tent, kick them in the shins and flee.

We camped last weekend.

Our friends Kevin and Jenni let us borrow some of their camping gear for this trip, and I foolishly thought that having nice gear would make the entire experience okay. On the second night of no sleep, however, I may or may not have cursed nature and all it’s components.

Here’s how it went down…

We arrived at the campsite and began pitching our tent. Just as we tossed the rain shield over the top of the tent, the rain began to fall. Then the sky sobbed for 45 minutes. I think it was nature’s way of trying to warn us of the consequences of camping in January, but we misinterpreted the storm as “memory making” and “character building.”

My mountain man. Photo courtesy of my friend Karen.

My mountain man. Photo courtesy of my friend Karen.

Who wants to play in the cold rain? These crazy kids, that's who...

Who wants to play in the cold rain? These crazy kids, that’s who…

The rain stopped, we finished setting up (including mopping up a small lake that had developed inside our tent). Super duper…

Then the temperature began to drop plummet. The #1 redeeming quality of camping absolutely must be the fire pit. A crackling fire on a cold night gives you the false sense that this camping thing was a pretty darn good idea.

It also helps if you’re surrounded by good company. Kids running through the trees, breathless and pink cheeked, free from the confines of electronics, while adults laugh and joke adds a luster to the whole “living in the great outdoors” thing. This is the part of camping that I would boldly place under the column labeled FUN.


Then we went to bed.

Jenni had given me her sleeping bag, which just so happened to be named Big Agnes, along with a thermal pad to go under it. The thermal pad actually tucked into Big Agnes and kept me warm from underneath. When I climbed into Big Agnes that first night, I had high expectations. “I will heretofore sleep like a baby,” I thought as I nestled in deep, and indeed, I quickly fell asleep that first night.

I woke up at 2:00 when a raccoon (one of satan’s sidekicks, undoubtably) tossed a metal pan off the picnic table behind us. I heard his evil laugh as he ran back into the trees. It was at this point that the whole sleeping thing eluded me for the rest of the trip.

Lee slept next to me in a different bag – a bag not named Big Agnes, which I think may have been part of the problem. He also slept on a thermal pad that seemed to be made of tin foil, so every time he moved (which was all. night. long.) it sounded as though he were thrashing on a pile of crumply aluminum. After the demon raccoon woke us all up, Lee left the tent to go to the bathroom. It was at this point that I realize the temperature had fallen significantly. My body was toasty warm (thank you Big Agnes) but my eyelashes were icicles.

This sweet girl hung in there with us crazy Americans.

This sweet girl hung in there with us crazy Americans.

Lee came back to the tent and began the process of settling into his sleeping bag. My husband is 6’2″. When you zip him up into a thin body bag, there’s bound to be a few issues with comfort. He pulled the zipper all the way up to his neck to get out of the cold, then I heard him thrashing. I looked over at him, and his gaze was fixed intently on the ceiling as he flopped around like a whale on a beach.

After a couple of minutes, I leaned over and hissed, “What the heck are you doing?! Can you please be quiet??” He looked at me as he continued to flop, his arms pinned to his sides, and the thermal tin foil under him shattering the silence of the campsite. A moment later he squirmed and tugged until his arm broke free of the bag and he thrust it in the air, his pants clutched firmly in his hand.

He looked at me as though he’d just won a prize. “It’s hot in this bag!” he stage whispered.

Then we both started laughing so uncontrollably we couldn’t breathe, and neither one of us slept the rest of the night. Nor did we sleep the second night, which was less comical than the first, but who’s keeping score?


So blessed to call these women friends.


This kid enjoyed the camping experience more than anyone else I think. He slept well and he got to play ball all weekend long. So this was basically his heaven.


A zipline = Good fun


She had such a great attitude all weekend.

In all, it was an awesome weekend, despite the loss of two night’s sleep. The kids had a blast, even “K,” though she wanted to make sure we were definitely planning on returning home to our warm beds on that second day when the temps hovered around the high 30’s and low 40’s.

Will we tent camp again? Definitely. Camping is a bit like childbirth, I’ve decided. Give yourself enough space and time from the experience and you forget just enough of the pain and turmoil to want to do it again. As long as I’ve got Big Agnes, a cup of strong coffee, and my husband to laugh at, I’ll be just fine…

Scenes from a Holiday

Remember when we were kids and all the futuristic movies we watched were set in the 2000’s? The year 2025 seemed to be a popular setting for movies filled with flying cars, highways in the sky (skyways?), and robotic keepers of the peace.

Basically what I’m saying is car makers only have 11 years to get that flying car up in the air or Hollywood is going to lose all credibility.

Flying minivans?



Also, it’s high time someone came out with the Hoverboard. The future is now, people! Get on it!!!

Happy New Year, everyone. This is a year of expectation for our family. We are looking forward with great expectation of all that God has for us to do. Last night I rang in the New Year with a kiss from the most precious 17 year old old who has stolen my heart right away, from the man who has been a rock through a couple of rough years, and from a ten year old with a heart as big as the ocean.

This morning I kissed the freckled cheek of a six year old who giggles his way through life in a way that projects sheer delight. Soon I will welcome home a seven year old who got to ring in her new year with a sleepover at a sweet friend’s house, and I will force her to hug me because she’s not really the touchy-feely type.

I’m so blessed it’s ridiculous.

Here’s to a great 2014! I am thankful to have 2013 behind me. Looking forward to this new year.

Happy New Year fist bumps to everyone!!!


Enjoying one of our many morning walks.


So cute! The birds are fun, too.


Playing with “The Girls.”


I love these kids!


Florida + December = Awesome


Exploring a new park.




New cowboy boots, which she has worn every single day since Christmas.


Tampa Aquarium


If only they had some personality…


Rainbow Loom – It’s universal…

Half a dozen years

My baby is six today. This child brings so much joy to our family, and I am grateful every single day for his smile, his humor, his giggles, his freckles, his energy, his sweetness.

He is so precious to me.


He’s currently keeping his hair longer because, in his words, “I wanna be able to flip it.” Um…okay.

He's always good for a laugh.

He’s always good for a laugh.

That face. I could cover it with smooches if he'd let me...

That face. I could cover it with smooches if he’d let me…




Goof take 2

Goof take 2

Perhaps his biggest flaw is that he knows he's cute, and he works it.

Perhaps his biggest flaw is that he knows he’s cute, and he works it.

Skinned knees and elbows are part of his every day wardrobe. "Play hard of Go Home." That's his motto.

Skinned knees and elbows are part of his every day wardrobe. “Play hard of Go Home.” That’s his motto.


He hates shoes so this is what his feet look like every moment of every day.

He hates shoes so this is what his feet look like every moment of every day.

He continues to grow taller, yet he has only gained about 4 pounds in the last three years. He's a scrawny little bugger...

He continues to grow taller, yet he has only gained about 4 pounds in the last three years. He’s a scrawny little bugger…


All the girls have crushes on him. What can I say? Chicks dig freckles...

All the girls have crushes on him. What can I say? Chicks dig freckles…

I’m constantly wishing I could freeze time with this kid, and yet each new season brings out a new aspect of his personality that is so much fun. I can’t wait to see what he becomes in the future.

Posts of birthdays past if you’re interested:

Someone’s One – December 16, 2008

To My Son on His Birthday – December 16, 2009

My Christmas Baby – December 16, 2010

Four is More – December 16, 2011

Delightfully Five – December 16, 2012