Monday, November 30, 2009


This would be my family...all seven kids, five spouses, & three grandkids. My parents are not pictured. We had a great Thanksgiving - we were all together for a few hours before some had other commitments. The food was delicious, the coffee pot never given a break, the laughter infectious, and the joy of being together evident. I'm so thankful for my great big, coffee-addicted, very loud family!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We enjoyed celebrating with our families! I'm headed out to hopefully catch a few deals. :) I never go out early and last year was the first time I went out on Black Friday at all but I scored enough great deals to make me want to go again. It will only be one store but I have a couple of Christmas gifts to pick up!

Head on over to The Cooks Next Door to enter our Black Friday giveaways!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


This year has been a bit less eventful than the previous three years but that doesn't lessen my thankfulness. We are blessed. I love my parents' tradition of us writing on a construction paper turkey feather the things that we are thankful for each year. It gives us a chance to share with one another and to really focus on what is truly important. Here is a small list of some of the things that I am grateful for this year:

- Andrew, Calvin, Patrick, & Titus - they are the greatest blessing a wife and mom could ask for.
- My family - coming from a large family is awesome and I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships we have.
- Adoption - it has not only given me my beautiful children but it has opened my eyes and heart and taught me much about my own adoption in Christ.
- Friends - old and new. This year, I've had the opportunity to spend time with friends that I can truly share my heart with - a rare and true gift.
- The Cooks Next Door - wow, this was a big undertaking but it is such a joy to be able to share my creative outlet and collaborating has been awesome!
- My new job - losing my job was not easy and saying goodbye to patients was difficult but the prospect of my new position is very exciting!

I'm thankful. I feel blessed. God is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

4 Months?!

Yikes! I'm really falling down on this blog - I've missed two birthdays (you can check them out here and here). :) The truth is that I'm feeling very busy and I'm not sure how long I will keep thing blog active. But for today, I want to say how incredibly thankful I am for my three boys. What a tremendous blessing. I never could have guessed how absolutely amazing it would be to have the honor of being their mom. I love it! I love them! Here are just a few pictures:


I'm focusing on the many things I'm thankful for and trying to let the stress of other things go. Spending time with family, celebrating, and eating great food (what? I'm a foodie!) is what I am looking forward to. I'm excited about the fact that all of my siblings will be here and that we will get to spend a little time together - a rarity. The boys are excited and I love seeing their excitement. Andrew will have at least one full day off and I can't wait! Yes, focusing is a good thing. I am thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

And So...

...the holidays begin! For me, the week of Thanksgiving is the official launch of the holiday season.

We have a very full Thanksgiving with family and friends although I think it will be a bit more relaxed than some years - we are so grateful! I'm praying that the kids stay healthy - Thanksgiving week kicked off a very rough (and scary) winter for our youngest last year and so we have worked hard to plan ahead and do less this year. I think it will make everything more enjoyable and give us all an opportunity to enjoy each event more. And hopefully we will have a chance to enjoy some family time here at home.

I've begun my Christmas shopping, the Christmas cards have arrived, and holiday baking and cookie making will begin in earnest next week. I'm hosting a Brunch in the middle of December although we decided to take a year off from our annual open house. The traditions of the tree trimming, advent, and celebrations will be underway soon. I love this time of year. And the big boys understand it all a lot more this year which makes it even more fun!

These next few days will be busy as we prepare for Thanksgiving - cleaning, cooking, and baking. But I have a feeling there will be some fun crafts, story books, and games mixed in. So I'm turning on some holiday music and starting this week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The End

My job officially ended today. I'm glad - the anticipation of it ending was getting to me more than the actual ending. :) It was fine. I'm sure I'll be back subbing from time to time. And now, I have Fridays free! When I start my new job (which I'm VERY excited about!), I will be working Thursdays. So, a new phase begins. While I don't always seek change, I do try to embrace it and so I feel very content today.

This afternoon, I'm headed out of town for a girls' weekend to Nashville! I can't wait! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Days...

...I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of my love for my kids.
...I wish I could make everything okay for people.
...I want my pipe dreams to become a reality.
...I am absolutely amazed at how thoughtful my husband is.
...I can't believe that I am 30.
...I feel incredibly blessed to have such awesome siblings.

Some days = pretty much all days. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Deal

I don't usually post deals but this one was too good not to share. I ordered our photo Christmas cards last night - 100 of them...for free! I'm so thrilled! There are two promotional deals (coupon codes) for this site. The deals are here and here and I think both of them go through the end of November. Thanks to Money Saving Mom for mentioning those! The quality looks like it will be good and they were very customizable which was so nice. They shipped today and I can't wait to see them! I'm planning to use the site for making a couple of photo gifts because I was so impressed with their turn around time and how much personal touch I can put on the projects.

So if you haven't ordered yours yet, check it out!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


So, I just wanted to say how incredibly blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband and partner in life. He works hard, he takes good care of us, and he is seriously the sweetest guy ever! Eight years ago yesterday, he nervously proposed and I said, "yes!" Eight years later and we still love each other, we have three great kids, and we look forward to many more years together!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Boys & Me

Today has been pajama and movie day. I'm not feeling great, Titus is still sick, Andrew is working late, and the other boys while not sick, needed a low-key day. I ordered pizza tonight - it's a rarity around here and it was delicious. Papa John's runs a pizza deal on Mondays after the Colts game - $9.99 for a large pizza and a free topping for every touchdown the Colts make! That made 5 toppings this week after that AWESOME win last night!!! Maybe tomorrow we will be feeling better! Here are a few pictures of my boys and me from our fall photo shoot:

Sunday, November 15, 2009


The tough things:
- We survived Saturday! Andrew was at work for 13 or so hours. :)
- Titus woke up with a fever today and congestion.
- I had a migraine today.
- One of my stones broke clean in half in the oven - weird.

The great things:
- The house looks better than it did at the beginning of the weekend.
- We found out some great news from some friends.
- The boys had a blast making their own pizzas and sugar cookies!
- I made three recipes for the other blog.

It hasn't been the easiest weekend but I enjoyed the time with the boys yesterday. I'm praying that Titus' illness goes quickly away without anyone else getting it. I've cleared my schedule for tomorrow so we will be home - recovering, I hope! That's us in a nutshell. I'm headed off to bed with my aches and pains. :) Titus has had another dose of medicine and will hopefully go back to sleep now.

So much to do these days - I feel more behind heading into this holiday season then usual. Oh well, we will enjoy the time with family and friends despite what I don't get done - that's what really matters anyway!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Sometimes I find it difficult to know just exactly how much to expect from my 4-year-olds. They are at an age where they definitely need responsibility and need to be learning the basics of home care, setting the table etc. It challenges me to include them when I know it would take me half the time to just do it myself.

These formative years are so important in establishing a good work ethic. And so, I find myself considering ways to more involve my boys in helping on a daily basis. Today we are working on cleaning up thoroughly, dusting, and cleaning bathrooms. I have decided that the reward at the end of the day will be making sugar cookies together. I don't think they always need a reward for helping but I do think it's important for them to know that when we get things done, it frees up our time to do fun things as a family.

I'm once again challenged as I learn more of how to guide and shepherd my children here in the home. It develops character in me as much (or more!) as in them. As we work together today, I pray for willing hearts, teachable moments, and lots and lots of patience. And what a great end result of having a clean home for when Andrew gets home from work tonight - I know it will encourage him as he works hard even on this Saturday.

Incidentally, this is my 900th published post - a little hard to believe!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Photos

I thought it might be fun to find some photos from the archives for this beautiful Friday - at least fun for me! :) I can't believe how much my big boys have changed! These were taken three years ago right around this time. They had been home less than 2 months. So sweet! They were so little!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I was out with some friends last week and we were discussing keeping sheet sets together and organized and one of my friends told us that she puts the sheet sets inside the pillow case. So when you grab a set, you have everything to change the beds. And so today, I worked on my bedding cupboard and wondered why I had never thought of that before! What an ingenious solution to a frustrating problem!

And now I'm passing this tip on to you - perhaps you already do that or perhaps keeping sheets together isn't a problem for you but I'm always glad for a new way of doing things!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

My husband has been VERY busy at work of late so we are barely seeing him. It's hard. And then it reminded me of all the military families who have months of a spouse and/or parent being deployed. I just want to say a big THANK YOU - from our family to yours! We so appreciate the sacrifices you make and the grace with which you handle the difficult separations. We are thankful for freedom and for safety. We recognize with gratitude all of you currently serving in the military and those of you who have served in the past.

The Family

Fall 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

This evening, the boys and I are headed out to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I'm excited! We didn't get a chance to participate last year and we think it is such an awesome project so we want the boys (and our family) to be a part of it. Next week is the collection week so we will be taking our boxes to the boys' school which is one of the drop-off sites in the area.

We began filling these boxes when my siblings and I all lived at home. Our family would take an evening to shop and pack the boxes for children around the world. It was a meaningful tradition that we thoroughly enjoyed. Truly there is so much joy in joining together to bless others! And we always had such a good time trying to fit as much as can to bring delight to a child. I sometimes wish I could see their faces when they open the boxes full of treasures - I know I would have loved them when I was a kid!

So, we want to carry on that tradition with our children. They help us pick and pack the items and we pray for the children receiving them and talk about the world. I'm looking forward to the evening!

Monday, November 09, 2009


Some posts are hard to follow up and Saturday's post was one like that. Any time I write about what adoption means to our family, it's hard to follow up - we are passionate about it. There is rarely a day that goes by that we don't think about it and think about all of the waiting children. Many things just seem inconsequential compared to that!

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday - raising awareness about orphans worldwide. This is what I wrote over on facebook:

Today is Orphan Sunday. Do you know that there are 143 million or more orphans in the world? 143 million parentless children with no home of their own, and without anyone to kiss them goodnight or invest in their future.

What can you do to make a difference? Adopt? Foster? Donate? Fund-raise for a family adopting? Increase awareness? Get involved in your community? Caring for orphans IS our responsibility.

143,000,000 (at least!) - let that number sink in for just a moment. One hundred forty-three million...

Yes, some things are just inconsequential. We are continually seeking what God would have for our family, what our response needs to be (or continue to be), and how to honor Him through caring for orphans.

If you are interested in donating to a wonderful organization, please check out Two Hearts for Hope. If you know families in the process of adopting, consider supporting them through a financial gift as well as through prayer. And if you would like to know other ways that you can help, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Happy Forever Family Day

It's hard to believe that one year ago this week, our petition to adopt Titus was granted. Once again we appeared in court on behalf of one of our children but it was so different than our court experience in Kaz. When I think back over the last year plus, I am amazed at how everything worked. Never in a million years would we have predicted that we would have a baby boy last August. What a sweet and wonderful blessing!

Yesterday was the official date but we celebrated today with family pictures and a picnic at the park. Titus is quite adept at playground equipment so it was a perfect way to commemorate the day. He had such a good time climbing, sliding, and swinging.

I still pinch myself thinking about the "out-of-the-blue" phone call that day in July. God knew that the little boy preparing to enter the world needed a home and that the home needed to be ours. So many things had happened just in the previous weeks to prepare us to welcome him into our family. Words are inadequate to express our thankfulness and joy!

Dear Titus,

It's hard to believe how fast the year has gone and how fast you have grown. Last year at this time you were not even three months - just a baby in our arms. And now you are Mr. Independent and like to do things your way. You have amazed us with your abilities!

You are such a gift and we are so grateful that God chose you to be in our family - you were the perfect addition! Your sweet smile, determined personality, and infectious laugh are just a few of the things we love. Your brothers take good care of you and you try to keep up with them. You tease us and bait us and insist that we tickle and chase you - not that we mind. :) We love watching your personality develop!

As we celebrate the day that you were officially declared our son, we remember your first mom. She chose life for you, she loved you, and she wanted what was best for you. She will always hold a special place in our hearts. We love you and cannot imagine life without you - we are so thankful for her decision!

We mark this day to remember, reflect, celebrate, and rejoice.

Love always and forever,

Friday, November 06, 2009

Goodbyes Stink

I'm in my final few weeks of my job and man, it's awful. I knew it would be difficult saying goodbyes after so many years, but it has literally left me emotionally drained today.

These patients are people that I have rejoiced with (engagements, marriages, pregnancies, adoptions, babies, kids, new pets, and/or new houses) and been sad with (loss of family members, loss of jobs, and/or difficult health concerns). And for some patients, I've had the privilege of knowing them through many of the above happy stages. Many of them have kept up with my family and kids as well.

I choked back the tears today as I assured them that it has been a pleasure serving them and that the other hygienists will do a great job taking care of them. As I prepare to move on and work on developing new relationships at my new practice, I will never forget the patients who have impacted me. I have served them for the past six years - 3/4s of my career have been in that practice.

So, it's sad. And I'm drained - I really don't know how I will make it through the next few weeks. The hugs, the kind words, the well wishes, the teary eyes, and the heartfelt goodbyes are touching and mean more than I can ever express. I will miss everyone - well, almost everyone. :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Early Turkey

Today, I am cooking my first turkey. Yes, a whole one - albeit on the smaller side (13 lbs. or so). And I'm making pie and side dishes and appetizers and setting the table nice. What? It's not Thanksgiving? :) Well I know that - we've still got three weeks. But let me tell you, those three weeks will be filled with great recipes over on the new blog. After all, we want you to be prepared for your Thanksgiving feast!

So today, we are making Thanksgiving and I think an extra Thanksgiving meal in the month of November is definitely a thing to be thankful for! Yum!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Overwhelming Love

I'm so often overwhelmed by the love I have for my children. It is a love that can never fully be described. Their sweet words, gentle hugs, and sloppy kisses make my heart overflow. I can think of nothing I would rather be doing than being the mom of my sweet boys.

And for me, the amazing beauty of adoption also overwhelms me. It not only made me a mom but it truly changed me. It has given me a totally new perspective on the love of Christ. I often wish more people would have a chance (or choose the chance) to experience adoption - it is quite simply, indescribable. It's an experience that fills my heart with joy, makes me smile, and brings tears to my eyes - all at the same time.

Genetics don't create families, God creates families. How thankful I am for the children He chose for us and for the incredible journeys that brought us all together. And my heart rejoices each time I learn of another child being given the gift of a family and another family being given the gift of a family-less child to love and raise.

I guess I get especially reflective this time of year as we celebrate the family days (finalizations) of all of our boys and especially overwhelmed with gratitude for adoption. The sweet book about adoption that I read to the boys this morning didn't help either. :) How blessed I am.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Few Favorites

The boys with our friends and neighbors! The kids had a good time together (well, so did the adults!)! :)

You can find a few more on facebook later today. They had such a good time!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Where, Oh Where...

Did October go? And if we really want to get into it, where has this year gone?! The holidays are staring us in the face! We are starting to work on Christmas gifts and definitely working to get all the holiday plans in place so we have a chance to see everyone. I just can't believe it. Happy November everyone!