Tuesday, January 12, 2016

And then she was two.


Today, 
on the other side of the world, 
my daughter I have yet to meet turns two. 

It's such a strange feeling, 
loving someone so much whom I've never actually met. 

It's also hard for someone who loves birthdays as much as I do to think about the fact that there will be no cake, no presents, and no one celebrating her today. 

My arms literally ache to squeeze her. 
I can't wait until her birthday will involve candles, cake, and all the presents. 
But, so much bigger than that, I can't wait until I can tell her just how happy I am that she was born. 
I can't wait to be her day-to-day mom and do all the things that come with that--
 the good, the bad, and the messy. 

The way my heart longs from her--
I remember feeling this way when Hollyn was in my belly. 

There was one night towards the end of my pregnancy when I just cried and cried. 
I was SO ready to meet her and just wanted to hold her. 
(I was also obviously very hormonal. Bless it.)

That's how I feel now. 
I WANT her. 
I can't WAIT until she's here, with her family, in her home. 

My most precious Evie girl, 
YOU are celebrated. 

Happy two years, baby girl. 

And while we can't celebrate this one together, 
I pray that we will have many, many, many birthdays to spend together celebrating the gift that is YOU!

So, instead of focusing on the sad and allowing this to be a hard day, 
I'm instead focusing on the fact that this birthday you have a family who absolutely adores you and is praying for you and loving you and celebrating you from afar. 

I love you all the way to Africa and back, E. 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

And If Not, He Is Still Good



This is me, writing a blog post.
 I know, I know.
 It's somewhat of a {post} Christmas miracle. 

So, where have I been? 
What have I been doing? 
Why haven't I been blogging? 

2015. 
That's why. 

This year was something else. 
It was one of the worst and best years of my life. 
It was a year of loss, heart-aches, and new beginnings. 
  
And as hard as this year has been for our family, 
God has used this year to reveal Himself over and over again. 
He's used this year to remind me that He sees me. 
He sees us. 
And no matter what happens or doesn't happen, He is still good. 
He is still in control. 
His plans are always better than mine. 

And right now, it seems as if He has another plan for our family.

On May 19th we lost our beloved Emily.
That phone call knocked the wind out of my chest.
It was so unexpected.
It was so out of the blue.
It was so painful.
And it was so good.

Good, you say?
Yes.
Good.

On May 19th, in the same minute that we lost Emily,
our agency told us about another little girl in desperate need of a family.

Another little girl?
What?

Another little girl. 

It wasn't really a question of IF as much as WHEN.

God didn't call us to adoption because of Emily;
God called us to adoption because there is a little girl out there in need of a family.

We still have room in our home; we still have room in our hearts; we still have room in our family.
And there is still a little girl in need of a home.
None of those things have changed.

So, we prayed.
And we waited.
And we prayed some more.
And on July 20th, we said YES.

Everyone, I'd like to introduce to our newest addition:

EVIE.


And by OUR, I literally mean OURS;
we passed court, making her legally our daughter.
BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT I'VE EVER RECEIVED.

God is so so good.
This wasn't my plan;
but it was His.

She is ours.
We have a daughter.


AM I SCARED? 

I'm terrified.
Losing Emily hurt.
It was so hard. And if we're being honest, it still hurts every day.
What if I fall in love with Evie, and we lose her too?
Well, that will be awful, but not following God's call?
That would be MORE awful.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't view adoption differently now.
I have seen another side of adoption now than when I was waiting for Emily.
With her, I never ever doubted that she would come home;
 I never for one second entertained that idea.
With Evie, I know better.
It's not about my plans.
I can make them all day long, but in the end, God's plan?
It's the only one that matters.
So with Evie, every single day that I get to  be her mother is a gift.
Every day is a blessing.
SHE is a gift, and being her mother?
What an honor.

AM I EXCITED? 

I am very, very excited.
The more I learn about her, the more excited I get.
I can't stop staring at her little face and dreaming about the day she'll be here,
in her house with her family.
I don't love her less because I lost Emily,
the same way that I don't love Libby more because she was first baby.
This heart of mine?
It's big enough for them both.
She's not our second choice or our plan B.
She is our DAUGHTER,
and we are thrilled beyond thrilled to welcome her into our hearts and our home.


WHEN IS SHE COMING HOME?

Do you know?
Because I certainly don't.
We are still several steps away from being ready to bring her home, and on top of that, her country is still under suspension and not allowing anyone to come home right now.  So, I'm trying very hard to view it in terms of, "she'll come home when God is ready for her to come home", and not focus on the fact that this whole thing is scary and hard. One step at a time. So, today I'm focused on praying for the speedy arrival of the documents we need to file for our I-600 application. So, if you see me out and about and want to talk to me about how cute she is but don't bother to ask us when she's coming home, that will be fine by me (and I may hug your neck. Consider yourself warned).


HOW CAN YOU PRAY FOR US? 

Pray for Evie.
Pray for her foster parents, her health, and her little heart.
Pray for paperwork-- all the paperwork-- to go through at a speed so fast I get a little whiplash.
A little whiplash sounds awesome right now.
Pray for my girls; waiting for your little sister is not an easy thing to do.
Pray that 2016 brings Evie HOME.

We've been in the adoption process for almost three years.
I'm tired and weary.
But Evie?
She's worth pushing on for,
and I'm believing that 2016 is our year.

And yes, today is my birthday.
Happy 36 years to me.
I can't think of a better to celebrate than by sharing all that God is doing in my life.
If you need me, I'll be busy stuffing my faee with tacos, laughing, and staring a hole into Evie's smile on my phone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

And then she was six.



Yesterday, my baby turned six. 
While part of my thinks this is just downright rude of her, 
the other part is too busy being thankful for her and all that she adds to our life to be anything but crazy grateful. 

She's our sunshine, 
our peace-keeper, 
and has more friends at age six than I've had in my whole life. 

Everyone that meets her loves it,
and it's so easy to see why. 
Her little heart is so so good. 
She loves deeply and is crazy funny. 

I literally can't wait to see what all God has store for her, 
and I will thank him every single day for the rest of my life for choosing me,
 of all people, 
to be her mom. 

Happy birthday, peanut butter cup. 
I love you all the way to Africa and back. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eleven whole years.



This girl of mine is simply amazing. 
She's so brave and bold. 
This past year she's learned a lot about what it means to be a friend. 
And she's growing up. 
I'm noticing it more and more in everything she does. 
Slowly but surely she's becoming the girl God made her to be. 
And even though she knows how to push my buttons more than anyone else, there is NO ONE I'm more proud of. 
I feel like I'm just sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see all that life holds for her and all the ways she will make a difference in this world. 

And even though if it were up to me, she'd be five indefinitely, 
I sure am enjoying the adventure that is Libby. 

Happiest of happy birthdays to the girl who made me a mom. 
I pray that your eleventh year is nothing short of amazing. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The beach life is the best life.


This past weekend was just what a needed. 
Four days at the beach with my girls, my mom, my sister-law, and my nieces. 
It was simply simple, and that happens to be my favorite way to spend a weekend. 




The girls boogie boarded until they all but fell out. 




The waves, sun, wind, and sand were practically narcotic. 




And Hollyn swam floatie free for the very first time. 

Also, I was able to cross #3 off of my 30 in my 30's list. 

I'd say this weekend was mighty fine indeed. 



Friday, August 28, 2015

Five things on Friday.



Happy Friday, friends. 
Here are few things I've been thinking about this week: 




1. I got a Stitch Fix today. 
This one was extra special because it included elephants and was styled by sweet friend Andrea. 
Seeing as how my work wardrobe consists of t-shirts (one of my many job perks), it's fun to pick up a piece here and there that I LOVE. 


2. Libby is about to be eleven. I can't handle it. I'm not ready. Somebody hold me. 



3. Hollyn is seriously rocking this whole kindergarten thing. 
It's been the most natural transition for her, and the girl hasn't missed a beat, even with missing three days two weeks ago to have a second set of tubes put it and her adenoids removed. 


4. Our new house-- to put it mildly, WE ARE LOVING IT. 
You know when a house just fits your family? That's how I feel about this one. Throw in the fenced backyard and awesome neighbors (including FOUR other kindergarten kiddos-- how does that even happy?!?), and I'd say this is just about as good as it gets. 


5. I finally finished Gilmore Girls
*Insert a moment of silence.*
Loved it and will probably start rewatching it after Labor Day. 
Yes, I'm serious. 

Here's hoping you have big weekend plans. 
Lee and I are hitting the road to do a little post-birthday, no kids allowed celebrating. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

30 in my 30s: #8 GO CAMPING AS A FAMILY


Summer camp is my jam. 
I loved it as a kid and love it still. 

And although this 30 in my 30's goal didn't turn out quite the way I planned, what DID happen was way better than anything I could have imagined. 

We went to camp for three weeks this summer. 

Yes, I'm thirty-five years old, and this summer I: 

-stuffed my face with s'mores
-swam in the lake
-dominated at chubby bunny
-sang all the camp songs
-sat on a sit-upon
-anxiously awaited the daily mail call
-wrote lots of letters
-wore a uniform
-saddled lots of horses
-fell off only one horse
-ate my weight in popsicles
-realized that being a camp counselor is a lot harder at 35 than it was at 19


All of that was everything I'd hoped it would be. 
BUT, watching my kids do all of that (and more) was SO MUCH BETTER THAN I HAD EVER DREAMED OR IMAGINED IT WOULD BE!


Here are a few of our favorite camp moments: 














Watching my girls step out of their comfort zones and try all the new things, from foods to tennis to holding snakes, was truly one of my most awesome mom moments. 
They came home more confident than ever before, and I couldn't be more proud of them. 

And even though our expected eight week stay turned into a mere three week stay, 
those three weeks were crazy good and filled my adventure tank up to the tip top. 


Cheers to lake swimming, canoeing, s'more eating, and stall shoveling... well....maybe not stall shoveling.