Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cousin Trouble

My sister has 3 boys under the age of 4!  Her #2 and # 3 are the exact same ages as my #3 and #4.  As of January, we now live about 20 minutes away from them which makes cousin life so much fun!  We are constantly trading kiddos and having sleepovers.  There are tons of weekday playdates and lots of action with 5 little boys being at home most of the time.  All of that being said....

                                               Meet Charlie...
                                               Meet Beckham

These two are T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

They are best friends, wholeheartedly, and they are also VERY mischievous.  They are both middle children and love attention, negative or not.  They feed off one another and cannot be left out of your sight for more than a few minutes.  Whatever one does, the other mimics, even if that means stripping down completely naked and running around my house pretending like they are going to pee on everything.  That may or may not have happened earlier this week.  They are always dirty, they never wear shoes, they have zero fear and only by the grace of God haven't had a broken bone...yet.  I can foresee these two being each others best man at their weddings, giving the most hilarious speeches of things they did growing up together.  Let's hope they don't burn one of our houses down before then!  These pictures are a great representation of these weirdo's personalities! (And yes, I am aware that Becks has a mullet in these pictures.  Don't worry, it's been taken care of since.)

What a freak show!  Any takers?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hendrix is One

My baby turned 1!  His birthday completely snuck up on me.  I think I was in denial.  When I found out that I was pregnant with Henny, I was less than ecstatic.  Remember this post?  Weeks of uncertainty, months of nausea, pregnancy hives and a 2 week longer pregnancy than all the rest.  Shoot me.  Then he came out and screamed for 6 months.  I had decided that I was being punished for something in my past.  Fast forward to today and this baby brings so much joy to our home.  He's happy.  He's so unbelievably easy.  He's sleeping!  Praise the Lord for that one.  He is the biggest momma's boy.  He rarely cries and is completely content just playing by himself.  He is still hanging strong in the 75th percentile and we could not imagine our lives without him.  God really does know what he's doing!!

The other 3 kiddos had over the top 1st birthday parties.  This is kind of how Hendrix 1st birthday went down....  We went to church on Sunday morning and his birthday was on that Tuesday.  We left church and I decided that I should probably throw something together to celebrate.  I called family and asked them if they were available to come over for dinner that night.  They were.  I dropped the Hubby and kids off at the house and ran to Target.  I bought some plates and napkins and cupcakes.  Threw a banner up and stuck a birthday hat on him and BAM, we had a party.  Sorry Henny, that's just how we roll with the 4th kid.  Eat your hearts out....

Here are all the hooligans on their one year birthdays...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I've Seen His Face

We started the adoption process almost 2 years ago.  Of course there was that crazy 4th pregnancy, but regardless of that, we've been waiting a long time to see our little Ethiopian's face.  July 2nd we got the call.  Our case worker briefly told me a little bit about a baby that she thought we'd be interested in.  He was a lot younger than we expected, but I firmly believe that whatever child we got a call on, was our child.  It's all in God's hands anyway and we were willing to take whomever he wanted in our family.

Up until that call, I had been pretty relaxed about the whole adoption process.  Although I was ready for that call, let's face it, I'm freaking busy.  I have 4 holligans to keep me occupied and my mind on other things besides adoption 24/7.  I knew that we would get our referral at the right time and that everything would fall into place as it should.  If it took longer than we expected, that was okay, more time for me to get ready for him.  That was until I saw his face.

I opened that file and saw his sweet face.  It wasn't love at first sight, I'm not going to lie.  I was completely overwhelmed.  We had been waiting for so long and we finally had a face.  I never cried, I just immediately had the sense of urgency that I hadn't had before.  I needed to do everything I could as quickly as possible to bring my baby home.  I check my emails 100 times a day waiting for any news of a court date.  I check plane tickets daily so that I will already have the best deal ready to book as soon as we get the call.  I have a list of everything I will need to pack so that I don't forget anything in the rush.  I have childcare lined up for the other kids while we are gone, and a freezer full of breast milk for #4.  I know that he is very well taken care of where he is at this time.  He's receiving medical care and has caregivers that love on him.  But it's not me doing those things for my son and I want it to be ME.  ASAP.

Please pray that we miraculously get a court date before everything in Ethiopia closes for rainy season August 6th.  It's a very long shot at this point, but I'm still hopeful.  Also pray that our little guy continues to get healthier by the day and that God would prepare his heart for us and our hearts for him.  Here is the whole gang seeing his precious face for the first time...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Years

The Hubby and I recently celebrated 10 years of marriage.  Some days I feel like we've been married for 25 years and some days feel like I walked down that chapel aisle yesterday.  I remember meeting the Hubby and within a few dates not being able to imagine my life without him.  I just wanted to be married to him, to have a life with him.  He was everything and more that I had ever wanted in a husband and I could not run down that aisle fast enough to get to him and seal the deal.  There is nothing more magical than those first few dates with the person you're suppose to marry.  It's like you can't quit smiling and you have butterflys in your stomach and are just plain giddy.  You want to spend every second you can with that person, and when you're not together, you are talking on the phone for hours into the night. You are inseparable and have the world at your fingertips.

After time, that newness wears off.  You are learning to live together and make major life decisions together.  Little things that you use to think were endearing about the other person are now just irritating.  You realize that they have morning breath and that they are messy and snore.  You bicker about things that don't matter and live on hamburger helper, because that's all you can afford.  You realize that living on love isn't going to get you very far.

Fast forward a little ways and you start bringing babies into the mix.  It is then that you fall in love all over again.  You have just made a perfect human being together.  That little human takes so much work, but brings so much joy to the home.  You immediately start talking about more kids, you move to the suburbs and hang out with other people that have kids.  The days get longer and the years get shorter.  There's complete chaos.  We created that chaos.  One day you wake up with 4.5 kids and have been married 10 years.  How the hell did that just happen?

This day and age that we live in doesn't value marriage.  It doesn't value family.  I'm not surprised by divorce anymore, I'm numb to it.  I'm constantly asking people that have been married forever, what their secret is?  I get lots of different answers and that's because there isn't one secret to a lasting marriage.  I firmly believe that God has to be the center of a marriage to make it work.  I also believe that you have to spend alone time with one another, laugh together, communicate, trust, forgive and encourage one another.  There are going to be good years and there will be crappy years, but you have to move forward together.

I can honestly say that I love the Hubby 1,000 times more today than I did 10 years ago.  We have built this life together and I wouldn't want to live in it with anyone else.  Our goal in our marriage, over anything else, is to set a godly example of what marriage should look like to our kids.  I would never want our girls to settle for anyone less than what their daddy was to their mommy, and I want to be the wife and mother that my boys will look for in their wives (many, many, many) years from now.  I want our kids to see that our marriage isn't perfect, but that it's solid.  I want them to see that though we may bicker, we always make up.  I want them to see that even when times are hard, we stick together and encourage one another.  I want them to know that even though they will see broken homes all around them, that we won't be one of them. 

I cannot wait to see where God leads us over then next 10 years!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beckham Turns 3!!

Number 3 turned 3 a few weeks ago.  Words cannot even express how obsessed I am with that little boy.  I can go from wanting to kill him to wanting to kiss his face in a matter of seconds.  When the girls turned 3, they got more mouthy.  When Becks turned 3, he got more compliant.  I don't know why, and I probably just jinxed it, but he is so much fun right now.  I remember before I had a boy and people would make jokes about their sons being "all boy".  Not gonna lie.  It ticked me off.  I was like, don't use him being a boy as an excuse for his bad behavior.  Well, now I totally get it.  Boys are just wild.  I'm convinced that testosterone is a brain defect.  Why do I have to discipline for the same things over and over and over again?  Why doesn't he get it?  Oh yeah, because boys are from Mars.  Or Pluto?  I can't remember. 

Anyway, although he has a very short term memory, he is the sweetest little cuddle bug on the planet.  He can go from throwing balls and wanting to wrestle to curling up in your lap and falling asleep on your shoulder before you can blink.  He says things like "that's ridiculous" and "don't even talk to me about it" and "that's biscusting" and "quit being rude to me" about 100 times a day.  He also says things like "you're my princess, mommy" and "I love your hair" and "you're my best buddy" about 100 times a day.  I could eat him up.

This past week he finally decided that he was ready to potty train.  Let's not get crazy, he's still crapped his underwear daily, but other than that it's been a breeze.  He still loves his paci and bunkie, but we are being a lot more firm with those only being used at bedtime...unless he's driving me crazy and then I cave.  I've said it before and I will say it again,  if he takes his bunkie/paci to kindergarten, I don't really care.  Someone will make fun of him and he will give it up.  Whatever.  I don't have time to stress about little things like his security items.  Becks still takes a long nap every afternoon and still sleeps in random places.  Sometimes he sleeps on the couch, sometimes he sleeps with us, sometimes he sleeps with one of the girls.  Wherever he sleeps, he sleeps hard and for that I am thankful. 

Here's my Prince Charming...

Sophia Turns 8!!

So I'm a little behind on posting birthday and anniversary celebrations.  Let's start with Sophia's 8th birthday.  I cannot even wrap my head around it.  Ugh...2 years from double digits.  Sophia had kind of a rough year.  She isn't real big on change.  So we had another baby, moved and she started a new school in the middle of the year.  I know.  Parents of the year right here.  We are on the lookout for therapists.  Even though we totally uprooted her and threw her to the wolves, she has really done better than expected.  Her new school is a lot of fun.  We love to walk and pick her up in the afternoons and go to one of the local parks to play after school.  She lives for drum lessons on Monday afternoons and seriously has some talent.  After trying dance and soccer and art, we finally found her niche and she is in her element.  If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she waivers between missionary in Africa and playing drums in a band!  Either way, she will do great things.

Sophia reminds me so much of myself at her age.  I can relate to being the oldest child and thinking that I always knew everything and the need to be in control of everything.  We are working constantly on putting her type A personality to good use instead of bad.  I've always said that she is our old soul.  She is so wise beyond her years, but is still 8 and immature.  She is very sensitive, but doesn't like to show it.  Sophia has lots of OCD tendencies.  She's a hoarder.  She has to take a shower if she even walks outside.  She has to brush her hair 100 times a day, but could care less about dental hygiene.  She has to hold the remote when watching TV and would NEVER wear a shirt that didn't fit perfectly.  She wears athletic shorts and vans to school everyday and just wants to be comfortable to play.  Choose your battles, right?  Thank the Lord for Zoloft because this child could easily make me snap at any moment.

All that being said, I have such a soft spot in my heart for her.  She is the daughter that I always prayed for and is going to do amazing things in life.  She loves the Lord and reads her bible daily.  She still talks to me about everything going on at school and with her friends.  She is crazy smart and thrives in school.  She is a leader and I pray daily that she always stands strong in her beliefs.  Here's our beautiful girl...

Monday, July 15, 2013

4 Feels Like 27

I always wanted a big family.  I love the idea of growing old and having a house full of children and grandchildren coming home for the holidays.  I guess I forgot to think through the fact that you can't get grown children out of the womb.  You have to raise them first.  Well crap.  Now I'm stuck in the middle of complete chaos and have like 20 more years to go.  Jesus, come quickly.  I'm kidding.  Sort of.  Here's the deal, 4 kids is hell.  Saying 4 doesn't sound like a lot, living with 4 is like living with 27.  Straight up.

All that being said, I pretty much hate summer.  Don't get me wrong, I love my big family.  However, I love them more when there isn't quite so much togetherness.  The first week of summer was bliss.  Everyone was excited, we had VBS every morning and nobody was on anybody's nerves...yet.  The second week of summer was pretty good.  We went to the water park and it was still cool enough for the kids to play outside most of the day.  The third week there was a lot of excitement about the next weeks beach vacation, so things were still going relatively well.  Then we went on a little vacay, where we were all crammed in close quarters for a week and it was all downhill after that.  This past week was a nightmare.  Lots of fighting, lots of talking back, lots of "I'm bored", lots of spankings and vinegar.  Throw on top of all that, potty training a stubborn 3 year old because I refuse to have 3 kids in diapers.  And, anxiously awaiting a call that we can travel before rainy season to go to court is about all I can handle.

I like to think that I usually have everything together, but sometimes I don't.  This summer is one of those times and I'm just going to be okay with that.  I'm also okay with the fact that I don't like my kids 24/7.  Sometimes they are just a big pain in my ass.  Sometimes I wonder why we have so many dang kids?  Sometimes I sit around and think about all the things we could do if we didn't have any kids. World traveler?  Yes, please.

Then there are those random times throughout our chaotic days where Sophia wants to sit with me and talk about all the things she wants to do in life.  And times when Lola comes out of my closet decked out in my clothes and wants to have an impromptu fashion show.  And times when Beckham comes up and hugs my leg and tells me that I'm his princess.  And times when Hendrix is nursing and looks up at me with those big eyes and they pierce through to my heart.  It's in these times that I know my life is so much richer with all these hooligans in it.  There's more laughter, there's more fun, there's more love.  No matter how much they may drive me crazy, I would not trade these long days for anything under the sun.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Raffle Winner

In case we are not friends on Facebook, there was a winner for the raffle.  One of my oldest and dearest clients, Linda Johnson, won all of the amazing prizes!  She was so excited and said that she had never won anything before this.  We ended up raising about $2600!!!  We feel so blessed.  Thank you to everyone who donated towards our adoption, we appreciate you more than you will ever know.  Thank you for helping us get one step closer to bringing our sweet Silas home.  Speaking of Silas, no referral this month.  We were really expecting one, but as with everything else in this process, you never know what to expect.  I was sad, but I know this is all in God's timing.  So we still wait...

Monday, April 15, 2013

"I'm not called to adopt"

There wasn't a divine moment in my life when I was called to adopt.  The heavens didn't open, God didn't come down and stop me in my tracks and tell me to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia.  I fully believe that God makes some people's decisions to adopt that clear.  I believe that it's not as black and white for others.  I also believe that there are tons of people that automatically dismiss adoption because they believe they aren't called to adopt.  This makes me very sad because the bible is perfectly clear that we are to care for orphans. 

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Most of you know our story and how I have been open to adoption for years.  The Hubby on the other hand, not so much.  He was very content with our 3 kids, the cost was overwhelming and the thought of having a child that didn't look like the rest of us was a lot to have to deal with for the rest of our lives.  Trust me, I know that your mind can take you to a million places of why adoption would just be too much for you.  So, I asked him to commit to praying about adoption for a couple of months.  Let me tell you something, if you commit to praying about adoption, God is probably going to tell you to do it.  Why?  Because there is no justifiable reason why there are still 153,000,000 orphans on this planet!!!

I think the biggest fear most people have of adoption is how it will affect their comfortable lifestyles.

"We already have enough kids"
"We can't afford it"
"We don't have room in our house"
"What if the child has mental issues or health problems"

I could go on and on.  Listen closely.
It is not your decision as to how many kids you have, it's God's.  (I can completely attest to this)

If you choose to adopt and follow His will, the funds will be provided for you.  There are ways to adopt that will cost you zero dollars.  I would also throw in there that your kids don't have to be involved in a million activities that cost a ton of money.  You don't have to go on elaborate vacations every year.  You don't have to drive a brand new car and live in an expensive house.  And, show me where in the bible it tells you that you are required as a parent to give your child a car when they turn 16, pay for them an iPhone or put them through college and give them a 50k wedding?  All of those things are the American dream, not God's dream.  (I will get off my high horse now.)

Your kids can share a room, you don't have to live in a mansion.  Bunk 8 of them up together!  Hell, they will learn to respect one another and teach them how to live in harmony.

If you adopt a child that has physical or mental issues, then you can praise the Lord that we live in a country that has an abundant supply of people in the medical field to help with any issues your child may have.  You are right, you aren't guaranteed a perfectly healthy, "normal" child.  You aren't guaranteed that when you have biological children either.

Adoption is hard, mentally and financially.  It will never get easier, but you know what?  God doesn't call us to do things that are comfortable and easy.  He calls us to do things that aren't the norm and especially things that aren't categorized under the "American Dream".  He calls us to obey Him no matter what our circumstances are.  There should not be an orphan crisis.  Don't tell me that you aren't "called" to adopt.  Pray about it and let Christ make that decision for you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Name Silas

Have I mentioned that we are number 1 on the waiting list?  That basically means that any moment our agency could call to tell us that they've found our little boy!  I think a lot of people are confused and think that there is a specific child already picked out for us.  I'm assuming the confusion comes from the fact that we've called him Silas since we started this process.  Let me explain...

Here's how it works.  When you get to the top of the waiting list within your agency the agency starts to look for files of children that would fit into your family.  I say this because our agency will not refer a child to a family that is the same age as a child you already have.  So they are looking for a child that will fit in the middle somewhere in our case.  Once they have a file that they think would work, they call us first and ask if we are interested.  Of course we will scream, "YES"!  At that point, they will send his file to us.  It will have a picture of him, along with any information they have on him like status of birth parents, where he's from and his medical report.  We will have 14 days to pray over him and accept or decline the referral.  I can't imagine any reason why anyone would decline a child, but I'm sure it's happened.

So, when we decided to adopt, we initially requested a baby.  Most of the children in Ethiopia have names that are difficult to pronounce, so we decided that we would give him a name and keep his given name as well.  He would be too young to know the difference anyway.  We chose the name Silas.  We both just loved the name and wanted this child across the world to be personal to us as we waited on him.  Using his name, that we would give him, made him seem more real and close to us for some reason.  We would pray every night for Silas, not "Lord, take care of our child on the other side of the planet".  Our kids have called him by his name since day one.  Everyone that we know ask about updates on Silas.  He has a name and everyone knows it!

Fast forward past our very unexpected pregnancy and delay in the adoption, we decide to adopt an older child instead.  Then we had the dilemma of knowing that we were getting a child that will know his given name.  After talking with several people, that know a lot more about child psychology than we do, we decided to keep the name Silas.  We will still keep his given name as well.  We will call him by both for awhile and then I'm sure he will get 600 nicknames added to it, just like all my other kids.  Seriously, they all have at least 8 nicknames each and will answer to any of them! 

Anyway, hope that clears things up.  We do not have a referral of a child...yet.  When we do get him, his name will be Silas and he's going to be awesome!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I just breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Our dossier is done.  Done.  I think I've mentioned a hundred times how much I hate paperwork.  I feel like for the past year and a half, it's been hovering over my head.  It's done.  Thursday we will scan and email all of it to our case worker, she will go over it with a fine tooth comb and note any changes that need to be made.  Hopefully there will be none and we can send it to Ethiopia!  I did converse with our agency shortly today and she said she is already on the lookout for a little boy for our family.  EEEK!  Although she cannot give us a time frame, she is optimistic that our wait shouldn't be long.  Part of me is terrified, part of me wants to jump up and down like I just won a trip to Hawaii.  Either way, it is out of our hands and all in Gods timing. 

"Thank you, Lord, for working out all the details.  Thank you for laying this on our hearts.  Thank you for giving us encouragement every step of the way.  Thank you for not letting the numbers and stress get in the way of our decision to follow your will for our lives.  Thank you for that precious boy on the other side of the world that has no idea how much he is already loved.  Prepare our hearts for him and his heart for us.  Now hustle up and get him home!"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Photo Catch Up

I pretty much document our lives via instagram these days.  It's a good way to make sure I take photos and don't become "that mom" that doesn't have a picture of her 3rd and 4th kid.  I'm also becoming "that annoying mom" that posts way too many pictures of her adorable hooligans.  Sorry if I annoy you.  Here's what my days off consist of...

Taking #1 to drum less, she's pretty talented if I do say so myself!

 #1 and our Pepaw.  So sweet.

Going on picnics with the fam in this beautiful Texas weather

Lots of playing at the park

Lots of laundry

 and Uno

Taking this wild woman to gymnastics

and working on modesty...

Picking up cars all over my floors because a certain somebody is OBSESSED with them

Watching chunk grow...

and grow...

and smooching all over his obese cheeks

Wearing Aztec Healing Clay to tighten my "old" skin...

and going on as many date nights with this hottie as possible!