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…)

Nester Says Dance, and All I’ve Got is a Hobble

This photo embodies the carefree nature of childhood. That we could all be so free...

This photo embodies the carefree nature of childhood. That we could all be so free…

Friends, I’m afraid my time on this blog is drawing to a close. It hurts my heart to write those words, it really does. It’s so bittersweet for me to think of moving on, but the truth is, this blogging journey is evolving for me, and I’m slowly allowing myself to be okay with that.

I’m not done yet. I have a few more posts set up for this space in the next couple of weeks, then it will be time to officially say goodbye. That’s the bad news. The good news?

I’ve got a brand new site under design right now that will be ready very, very soon.


I’m not leaving the internet. Oh heavens, no. I like it too much here to walk away. But life has changed, I’ve changed, and honestly…I’m kind of tired of the race.

I wish that I was leaving this site on the top of my game. Not too many months ago, I had thousands of people visiting each week, and I enjoyed writing and sharing my life with everyone. Then, life got hard and something changed. People didn’t want to stay around and read the hard things, and I get it – I really do. The title of my blog insists on light-hearted humor, and I broke that rule, and it simply wasn’t fair.

The truth is, I feel like I’ve had a chair at the “big kid’s” blogging table for awhile, but I’ve never quite been able to scoot my way in. I’ve sat on the fringes, knowing the right people, offered amazing opportunities, and yet still I had to fight to be heard, fight to be seen, fight to stay relevant.

I got tired of fighting. That’s not why I started this journey. I started because I wanted to share the journey of motherhood with others who would laugh at with me. Motherhood is hard, especially when the kids are young and you are literally crawling through crap most of your days. Young mothers, hear me on this: YOU MUST LAUGH THROUGH THESE DAYS!

It is imperative that when you walk into your child’s room and find poop smeared on the wall, that you throw your head back and laugh. Trust me, the journey will be so much more fun if you do.

I loved writing those posts, but I can’t do it anymore. I cannot tell my kid’s stories, because…well, I just can’t. And really, the title of my blog dictates that I continue to tell these humorous stories of motherhood, but to do so would be to compromise my children’s trust in me, and I’m not willing to do that.

So I’m winding down, and I’m preparing to launch Kelli The way that I write will likely not change there. I still love to laugh, and every opportunity that I can do so, I will. But I’ll feel less encumbered by the title of my blog, and I feel like I’ll have more freedom to share this place that the Lord has led me to:

A place where I’m motived by the inspiration of the world around me. A place where I get back to my first love, and the dreams I held as a wide-eyed college graduate – writing books. I traded that love for blogging some time ago, and while I don’t for one second regret the journey I’ve taken these last six years, I do feel like it’s time to move forward in my craft.

My friend Myquillin wrote a beautiful post today in which she processes her return home after a second trip to Africa with Compassion International.

“Dance in your kitchen.

Do your thing well.

Share what you have.”

Nester writes these words, and they stir in my soul. I haven’t been dancing in this space of mine. I’ve been trying so hard just to keep up, to be noticed by those sitting around the “big” table, and somewhere along the way I got tired. I’m sorry for that.

I don’t feel like I can dance here anymore. All I’ve got is a hobble. But can I share where I have been dancing?

Yesterday I wrote the first three pages of my second novel. My first novel is in the hands of an editor, and my heart hopes and prays it will be picked up for publication by the end of this year. Words make my soul dance, and stories give me song. In my new space, I will continue to let the words dance, and I’ll do so less encumbered by the title of the site, and more free to dance in the inspiration that moves me.

This isn’t my official goodbye. I have a few more words left to document here. But I’m getting close, and as I do I feel a dance coming on. I do so hope you’ll join me there.

Blessings, my friends.

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…

You’ll forgive me if…

You guys, I want to write but I simply can’t seem to get my words organized. I’m completely scattered, my brain is a jumbled mess. My washing machine broke, my house is a mess, my stomach hurts all the time and I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been.

You’ll forgive me if the next week’s posts are a little scattered?

Since pictures are worth 1,000 words anyway, I might as well just share those.

I’ll tell stories later.

Like the one about the time we went to Disney World and it was less than magical, but there were magical moments, and we’re choosing to remember those.

Or the morning I blubbered in church like a wee little babe, while on stage…Singing…In Russian…


Or maybe I’ll tell you about the night that precious friends came over and celebrated “K’s” 18th birthday with us ten days early, since she won’t be with us on her real birthday.

It was her first ever birthday party.

I could tell you about the conflicting emotions in my head and heart – about how part of me is so terribly sad to see her go, and the other part of me longs for the return of a “normal” routine. I could tell you that I know that both of these feelings are natural, and there’s nothing wrong with either feeling, but that each time I find myself looking forward to having my house back, I feel a twinge of guilt for the thought.

There are stories to tell, and stories to keep to myself. But for now, there are plenty of pictures to share.

Happy Monday.

One of our favorite experiences at the Zoo when a friend took us behind the scenes and let us play with this fella.

One of our favorite experiences at the Zoo when a friend took us behind the scenes and let us play with this fella.

We also fed the giraffes, which is always fun.

We also fed the giraffes, which is always fun.

Perhaps my new favorite photo of all time. Tia and a rather surly Llama had a moment. It was a bit of a stand off - two attitudes colliding. The Llama won by lunging and sending her scampering away with a yelp. :)

Perhaps my new favorite photo of all time. Tia and a rather surly Llama had a moment. It was a bit of a stand off – two attitudes colliding. The Llama won by lunging and sending her scampering away with a yelp. 🙂 Also – I’m jealous of my daughter’s arms…


The Llama was in serious need of a good orthodontist.

The Llama was in serious need of a good orthodontist.

K feeding the birds.

K feeding the birds.


A beautiful day calls for jet skis.

A beautiful day calls for jet skis.

And then she drove, and she felt like she was flying.

And then she drove, and she felt like she was flying.


Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom!

Even if you've never seen the Cinderella movie, you can still be in awe of a real, live princess.

Even if you’ve never seen the Cinderella movie, you can still be in awe of a real, live princess.


Enjoying birthday cookies at her very own birthday party with her very own babushka.

Enjoying birthday cookies at her very own birthday party with her very own babushka.

She loves that she has grandparents here. So precious...

She loves that she has grandparents here. So precious…


Gone Camping

We are leaving shortly for a weekend long camping trip with friends. Our car is packed to the max, which kind of makes me feel like we’re doing camping wrong, but whatever. We’re not hiking to camp, so BRING ON THE CREATURE COMFORTS!

In lieu of an actual post, I thought I’d leave you with a little Jim Gaffigan for your weekend viewing. You can watch this, then laugh at us. Our sweet “K” has no idea what she’s in for…which makes this oddly even more exciting.

Happy Weekending!


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

Scenes from a (crazy) (blessed) weekend

We packed last weekend full of as much activity as we possible could in order to fit everything in before Christmas. Birthday parties, an all day training for orphan hosting, and our annual Christmas party left us completely spent last night.

But it was all so fun!

I baked, cleaned, baked, cleaned some more, set up, tore down, set up, tore down again, and on and on it went, and when it was all said and done and the dust settled we were left with great memories, and sweet blessings shared.

Today I’m just going to share a few photos of our crazy weekend. I’ll be writing later this week about the impact our Christmas party had on us, and will hopefully have both locally and internationally.

We are blessed, indeed.

We kicked off the weekend by celebrating Landon’s upcoming 6th birthday.


I managed to control 15 kindergartners, a piñata, and a metal bat all by myself WITHOUT BEING BLUDGEONED TO DEATH! Someone give me a medal. Or a stiff drink. Either will do…


Don’t you love how much kids enjoy celebrating one another?!


A 6 year old opening gifts in front of his friends – the definition of claustrophobia…


On Sunday we hosted our annual Christmas party in which we gathered toys for The Ronald McDonald House, and this year we teamed up with Sole Hope to cut shoes for Ugandan children.


So many people we’re blessed to know.


Cutting out old jeans, which will be made into shoes for children. So simple. So effective.


Sweet friends working hard. We cut enough fabric to assemble 30 complete pairs of shoes. 


It’s not a party without a wicked game of soccer, football, baseball, tag…


Lee reading the story of the birth of Christ, and why we love to bless and give to others, because so much has already been done for us.


Tia and Landon helped me assemble the shoe kits Sunday night, which will now be sent to Uganda to be sewn together.


We have one week left to prepare for Christmas before our sweet “K” arrives to spend a month with us. I am admittedly a little overwhelmed, and also relieved to have last weekend under my belt. But what a blessing it is to be able to pour ourselves out to the greater benefit of others. It’s not easy, but the reward is worth the lack of sleep, the stress, and the work involved.

I can’t wait to share more with you all this week about the way the Lord has blessed us by giving us opportunities to bless others!

Happy Monday, friends!