Friday, June 20, 2014

Life As Of Lately

Friends,

I have all these thoughts and pictures and things I want to share, and so I sit down with my laptop with the best of intentions and then all sudden 5 minutes later I'm like, "I wonder if we have any popcorn. Or Hot Tamales. I think it's time to start a new series on Netflix. Yes, it's time, let's do that."

So here is a list. Because they are fun. And easy. And my brain can handle fun & easy.

- Lincoln turned 3, Reese & Charlotte turned 8, and Ella turned 10 in these last 2 months. Remember when I used to do birthday posts? Yeah, I don't either. How do they all grow SO fast?!

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- Our situation with M hasn't changed. Except for the fact that I can't really talk about it right now without getting upset. It's the same old stuff, he has family that loves him but can't seem to care for him, the court makes stupid decisions, yada yada yada. It's all very hard and very strange. The system is such a mess. I feel that he is our forever son, and I still am counting on always being his mama. My heart can't go to the thought of losing him. I just can't do it. We are trusting the Lord and believing that this boy will remain safe right where he is :).

Just know one thing, which is the most important thing. We LOVE him. Like really, really, deeply love him. Forever. Always. 


Sigh, those curls :).

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- Have I mentioned we are remodeling? With 8 kids right smack in the middle of it all? It's like a party. Except not as much fun.

But seriously, I love to change things up and redecorate! We are re-doing our kitchen, and when I say "re-doing" I mean we are moving the kitchen from one side of our main floor to the other side. I'm so excited, I have wanted a kitchen like this to cook in for a LONG time. We are blowing out walls to open up the floor plan so we have more space to move in. I will be posting pictures of all this madness as we get it underway.

I've been picking up stuff along the way as we've been planning all this, and I have to share one thing that I can't wait to get on my wall…


Except you know what this means, right? I'll get that on my wall and surround it with pictures of my loves and I'll be like, "8! How fun! That's our number! We're complete!", and then the Lord will laugh hysterically and I'll need that number to be a 9…or a 12...or something. It's like I'm jinxing myself.

Lord help me.

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- Speaking of adding children. Brooks is the sweetest, happiest, most squishy baby there ever was in all the land. His chubbiness knows no boundaries. He is 5 months old and I adore him. I want to hold him all day long, and I do.


I know. Don't even get me started on how much I love this chubby boy or you will never hear the end of it. I snuggle into that sweet face, I squeeze his little belly, I smell his sweet breath...is this getting weird? Sorry, I just loooove him. He is my last biological child, so I will soak up every single ounce of him. You already know this if you hang out with me on Facebook

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- Summer is officially here. My brain gave up on all things related to school around the beginning of May, so it's a good thing they are out. We are hitting the pool and playing out back like it's our job. And right now, it kind of is our job



Today it rained and we stayed in pajamas all day long. Hallelujah and Amen.

Summer is glorious, isn't it?

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- A couple months ago I told the husband that I needed a change. I was having trouble losing the baby weight, I didn't have anything for myself, the stress of our foster situation was crushing me, and my energy was so low that I was struggling to keep up with day to day motherhood. I told him that I needed 2 things: Something for myself that I could feel good about. And more energy. So with some encouragement from a couple friends I bought some products from AdvoCare and started on a little fitness journey. And oh friends, I wish I would've done this sooner.

I have been an athlete my whole life so this stuff was right up my alley. This fitness journey? It's my happy place right now. It's my time alone. It's my sanity. It's my JAM.

The husband and I did the 24 Day Challenge and LOVED it. He lost more than I did because men tend to do that to us women. The man asked me at one point if Fritos were considered "clean eating", yet he still had 3 pounds on me in the end. I'm not bitter. And again, if we hang out on Facebook you might already know how much I love the Spark drinks. It is from the Lord. Every sip feels like Christmas. The baby weight started to come off and my energy has sky rocketed. I am meeting goals that I feel good about, and it's exactly what I've needed lately. 

A real good distraction from the normal chaos of our life :).



I am so not comfortable with posting pics of myself. I'm real sensitive about body image and I sometimes have trouble being vulnerable. But you know what? This journey has been so fun and so refreshing, I have to share it. We all have to get out of our comfort zones at some point, right?? If it helps one person give it a try and find some happy, then it's worth it :). I randomly shared this on Facebook and received a lot of questions that I didn't really count on, and now there is a group of mom's starting the 24 Day Challenge (or something of the sort) here in the next couple weeks! I 'm going to start a private Facebook fitness group for anyone to join. We are going to encourage each other, share tips and recipes, and laugh through the journey. Because laughter is the only way to do this, friends. And humor is my thang. 

If you want to join us (or have questions about all this) you can email me at filled2thebrim@gmail.com and I'll send you an invite when I get it going! You should join us, it's going to be fun!

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So that's life lately. Busy, crazy, rough, but good :). Never a dull moment around these parts!

Back soon, friends!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A 7 Month Miracle

Putting my heart out there and sharing about our foster journey. It's hard to talk about how much we love when we know the reality of how much we can lose. Faith over fear, friends. It's our new motto :).

Little M turned 7 months yesterday. Can't believe how fast the time goes.

Feels like just a short time ago I went to the NICU to get him. We have lots of appointments for him at our Childrens Hospital, and every time I walk through the doors all the memories of the nights in the hospital with him come rushing back. Still can't believe my pregnant body slept on that little couch for 2 weeks. God sure gets you through the tough times, doesn't He?

He is so, so insanely sweet. I wish so badly I could share him with you completely.


We have struggled off and on through the last 7 months wondering what was going on with M. He was always sick, and his immune system couldn't fight anything off. His breathing was crazy (talk about making a mama nervous), and his eating was poor. The Dr's finally realized when he was about 2 months old that he was aspirating everything into his lungs because he wasn't swallowing correctly, and he had a feeding tube put in.


I remember crying that night next to his crib when they put it in. I hated that he needed it but I knew that it was our last option before things took a really bad turn. I was already so in love with him and he had only been with us for a month. I knew that night that he was the child we had prayed for when we started this journey. And no matter how it all turns out, he will always be the one God prepared us for. He will always be part of us. God knew we needed him just as much as he needed us. We are forever changed because of this little boy.

He's been slowly growing ever since. And can I just tell you that he is the happiest little guy? So smiley and sweet. He is always giggling at the kids and stays pretty content. We were told last week that all his struggles point to one diagnosis, Cerebral Palsy. We kind of saw this coming, but still felt blindsided by how it felt when they confirmed it.

That moment was hard on my heart.

But you know what? No diagnosis will ever trump the fact that God saved his life in the very beginning. No diagnosis will ever be bigger than the story of how God picked him up out of a dark place and put him where he needed to be. He will never be "a kid with issues", he will always be our little miracle.


He has biological famliy that loves him but can absolutely not care for him or provide services as this journey for him unfolds. So we are asking everyone to literally beg for this boys life. Pray for his safety and his health, pray for the biological parents and their health, and pray for us as we continue to try and love them all like Jesus wants us to.

Our hearts are completely attached. I feel that he belongs here, but I know the system often makes crazy decisions. I am asking the Lord to let me be the one to send him off on his first day of Kindergarten. The one with him in his therapy appointments. And the one to hold his hand through it all. I just want to watch him thrive, and I believe that he will!

So thats where we are. We have appointments today and will have lots to come, many weekly. But we're ready for it. God called us here and I know He will walk with us through it.

Thanks for hanging around, thanks for listening, thanks for praying :).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Always Their Mama


They've been gone almost 7 months. That doesn't seem possible. So much has changed in that short time.

But the thing that never changes is how much you love them. You think that time heals it but it doesn't, it just dulls it. God gives you peace and new mercies. That is all grace amidst the calling to foster care.

As a lot of you know from Facebook (which has become my mini blog), we got a call from our old caseworker asking us to pick up C&A this past weekend. It all happened kind of quickly, so I didn't have a ton of time to process or think about it. But can I just tell you that when the door opened and they came around the corner it nearly took my breath away. There they stood in the same coats and shoes I bought them a year and a half ago. There they were. My girls.



Although they aren't really mine, they just feel like mine. At the moment, they are still hers. Everything came flooding back when I saw them. The good times, the bad times, even seeing their little faces staring in my door the night they came to us.

My heart grieves the fact that they are back in a bad spot. I absolutely hate it. It keeps me up at night. (Well that, and you know, Brooks.)

I have gone over the whole situation in my head a million times. I have sat on the phone in tears with sisters who have walked through it with me. But at the end of the day, the reality is that we are dealing with broken families, and broken stories, in a broken world. We all need Jesus so badly.

People always say, "I don't know how you give them back", and the truth is, I don't know how we do either. It is divine intervention that gets you through giving back kids that you love. There will always be a spot reserved in my heart for them. I will always come for them if called. They will always have a home waiting here if needed. And there is a part of me that will always feel like their mother.

It's hard, friends. But goodness, somehow it is all so worth it.

He didn't call us here with a promise of keeping any child. He called us here with a promise that it was going to change our lives. And it has.

We are praying for them, praying for the struggling parents, and asking the Lord to keep them safe while the county works things out. I am worried about them, but I have to trust that He's got this. I don't know how often we will have them while things are in limbo, but I think they will be back soon :).

A tad tired, but thankful for this life changing journey.

Back soon, friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

And Then There Were 7

As many of you have seen, we had our little guy.

Meet the new man in my life, Brooks Abraham...


I'm so in love. And SO obsessed with kissing those chubby cheeks :).

Brooks was born (via csection) a little after 12pm on January 12th. He weighed 8 pounds 15 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

And he is just the sweetest little thing.

He. Smells. So. Good.



And his feet are pretty yummy too.

We are so thankful for this little guy. He is such a gift and we could not be more in love!


I'll be back soon with more pictures and some chatter about all the craziness of everyday life. Because as you know, the fun never stops around this place :). But for now I'm off to feed him and get some more snuggles.


Sigh. Love, love, love him!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rounding The (Delivery) Corner... And Other Happenings...

We are SO close to our new little man! Oh my word, just think of how great his sweet little self is going to smell. Thinking of that just gave me a nice solid contraction.

No it didn't.

We are waiting things out over here. 4 days till my due date. My Dr has given us the green light to try for a vbac, and so that is what we are doing. Just for the record, in case anyone is curious, I've only had one natural delivery (with Ella), and then 3 consecutive c-sections because of carrying multiples.

And I mean "natural" in that it wasn't a csection, not in a non-medicated kind of way. I'm an Epidural kind of gal.

I know a vbac after 3 csections isn't real popular, but our Dr feels good about it thus far and so do we.  If anything starts to concern us or we get to my due date with no sign of labor, then we will do a repeat csection. That is the deal my Dr made with us. I was induced with Ella, so I've never been able to actually go into labor on my own. And honestly? I'd just love to have that experience. But if I don't, that is TOTALLY fine :). I just want the babe and I to be safe and sound post delivery.

But you know, pray that I can go into labor on my own in the next few days, ok?? Pray for some painful contractions to set in. But not too painful - remember, I like the meds that numb all the things.


I know some of you may have seen this pic on Facebook, but I want to save it here as well so I remember these days :). And I know, it's such a professional maternity picture, isn't it?? I'm trying to cherish these last days of pregnancy. It is the plan for this to be our last biological child - I know, I know, I've said that before. But we really mean it this time. I think.

I popped my worn out jeans on this morning, and strapped my belly band on with my favorite maternity shirt...well, it's not really that it's my favorite one as much as it's the only one that still fits. I had to smile at this baby bump that God has grown. It's a shape only He can give. It's truly like I'm carrying around His grace in my belly. I don't deserve it, yet He still gives in abundance.

God has been so gracious and patient with me this year as I've tried to figure out what the heck He was doing in our growing family. He gives us what He KNOWS we need, not what we THINK we need. And then He equips us for the journey. I've learned this past year that that is one of our greatest blessings. He is faithful through it all, even in the confusing times.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

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We are still loving on our little foster babe too, Baby M. Yes, on Facebook I often called him Baby K, but that was just a nickname. He will be M from now on.

I know I keep a tad quiet about him, it's not intentional, I would love to share more but sometimes I don't even know where to start. His case in general is kind of messy. He has some special needs - a feeding tube and some other concerns. We feel however that he will completely come out of all that with time and with some great doctors...and of course a lot of love from us :).

And also? It's just hard to put my heart out there sometimes because I know the possible outcome of this situation all too well. This is foster care, after all. He completely has my heart just like the rest of my kiddos, and we are very attached to say the least. Right now we are trusting that the Lord will keep him safe right where he is. And also learning that He is faithful no matter what the outcome, He will and is preparing us for the story He has written for M. It is a gift to get to love him.


He is pretty sweet, isn't he?

He's also a tad spoiled. I had nothing to do with that. Or maybe I had everything to do with it :).

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So that's the round up. It's a busy season!

I am so, so ready to meet our new little man. I feel like I stay up half the night thinking of that moment when I get to finally hold him. Oh my, I can't wait! I just want that babe safe and sound in my arms.

I will update as soon as he arrives. It will probably hit Facebook first, and then the blog. I'll be sure to get a good picture of his fresh little chubby cheeks to share with you :).

Be back SOON!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Us...

Just wanted to pop in and say Merry Christmas!

We had a relaxing day at home with the kids, just what I wanted to do. I even got some stuff together for our little guy that is on the way very soon! Less than 3 weeks till I can kiss his sweet face :).

So from our crew to yours...


So much grace in that picture.

Hope you all had a great day celebrating with your friends and family!

Hugs and love to you all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Mommy Quiz


Because I was ripped from my sleep at 4am this morning by a little voice saying "my tummy hurts", followed by a lot of throwing up.
And because my 2yr old is chasing my 5yr old yelling "I not butt-head! I not butt-head!".
And because my bladder has completely turned it's back on my pregnant body.
And because I am determined to find joy and laughter amidst this insane, crazy, and unpredictable journey of motherhood.

We are going to laugh.

And take an updated Mommy Quiz. Again. You may remember some of it from back in the day.

These are the questions of our lives. Or maybe just my life. You can decide.

1.) You go out for a morning run (that now has become a waddle, and you feel that the neighbors have started getting up early to watch this kind of entertainment out their windows), and upon arrival home you have 4 minutes before you need to wake the children. Do you...
A. Brush your teeth
B. Take the worlds quickest shower
C. Wait 5 minutes till the baby starts screaming then shower with him on your hip.
D. Wait till all the children are up and available to stand in the bathroom to confirm you have no privacy.

2.) Breakfast is over for the kids and now you have 90 seconds to eat something before the first fight of the day breaks out over who holds the remote. Do you...
A. Eat the leftover scraps from the table.
B. Eat the half eaten granola bar that's in your pocket from yesterday (Yes, you have the same pants on. And yes, they are sweat pants).
C. Pray that Starbucks has started delivering breakfast to moms across the nation at 8am every morning.
D. Eat Cheerios out of the no spill bowl that you poured for your toddler while another child hangs on your leg.

3.) There are 47 loads of laundry to do and only 24 hours in the day. Do you...
A. Pack the washer way beyond capacity and pray that the water reaches every piece.
B. Drag it all to goodwill and start over.
C. Eat a donut.
D. Ignore it and wait for your imaginary cleaning lady to show up. (Just FYI, she ain't ever coming.)

4.) 3 of your kids have basketball. The oldest has practice at 5:30 and the middle 2 have practice at 6pm. They all need to eat 1 hour before and will want to eat again within 1 hour of being home. Then all 7 kids need baths before the 1st bedtime at 7:15 and the 2nd bedtime at 7:45 which is basically impossible. And speaking of impossible, you're huge because you're a million weeks pregnant, so bending over the bath to bathe the children isn't an option. How do you go about all this without losing your mind?

Explain your answer & show your work.

5.)  "Me time" is now defined as...
A. Sitting in the car by yourself during basketball practice.
B. A root canal on a sunny afternoon.
C. Walking to the mailbox.
D. All of the above.

6.) Your foster care worker shows up unexpectedly and rings the doorbell during naptime and WAKES THE BABY AND TODDLER. Do you...
A.) Punch him in the face.
B.) Kick him in the shins.
C.) Make him trade jobs for a day now that he's made yours harder.
D.) Take deep breaths similar to those while in labor to cool down before opening the door.

7.) You were just ripped from your sleep by (please note that the offender is subject to a don't-wake-mama outburst followed by a heartfelt & half-asleep apology)...
A. A child who has peed in their bed
B. A child who has peed in your bed
C. A child who has thrown up in their bed
D. A child who has thrown up in your bed

8.) When driving alone in the car Dora the Explorer comes on your Ipod and it takes you how long to change it...
A. 5 seconds
B. 10 seconds
C. 15 seconds
D. Before you know it, you realize you are at a stop light with the window rolled down and you have sang along to the whole song. (You know you don't know any adult songs anymore.)

9.) You tell the children to sit at the table quietly, but it translates into kid language as...
A. Run around the table till someone falls and cries.
B. Act like your sippy cups are bowling balls.
C. Say you aren't eating what is cooking before you've even seen it.
D. Start making fake crying noises because mom hasn't heard enough actual crying and whining today.

10.) 67 is...
A. The amount of times someone yelled "mom!" in the past 10 minutes.
B. How many diapers you changed this week.
C. The amount you spent at Target after going in for only 1 thing that cost $3.99.
D. The amount of times you've said this week that your van should have one of those dividers that can go up and down like in a limo.

11.) You can't get anywhere on time. For this you blame...
A. Shoes that won't tie themselves.
B. Someone inevitably always having to go potty the moment you're ready to walk out the door and after all their winter gear is on.
C. Pregnancy hormones.
D. Not being able to find your car keys that have been clipped to YOUR OWN belt loop for the past 20 minutes.

12.) While on the phone, one of the children is saying, "mom...mom...mama...mommy...mom...mama". Their important question is...
A. How tall are you?
B. Can turtles jump?
C. Is Ohio a country?
D. Can you flush a barbie doll?

(Insert me banging my head against the nearest wall after that last one.)

13.) You still have 45 minutes till the husband gets home. 3 children are fighting, 3 are crying, 1 has the TV volume turned up to 84, and the 1 inside of you has a foot in your ribs. (HOW ARE THERE SO MANY OF THEM. Don't answer that.) Do you...
A. Consider scheduling a tubal.
B. Consider scheduling a vasectomy.
C. Eat another donut.
D. Call your mom and apologize for anything you ever did as a child.
*Bonus option!*
E. All of the above.

14.) While changing clothes, with all the kids in your room of course, you hear...
A. Total silence. Just stares, wide eyes and looks of confusion and wonder on their face. You might get an occasional self esteem boosting, "you're really big" or "what is that???".

Please note that the test administrator decided there was only one answer for the above question.

(Its shocking that mothers get out of bed in the morning sometimes, isn't it?)

15.) You're life is...
A. Busy, but so blessed.
B. Completely exhausting, but fulfilling.
C. Chaotic, but packed full of sweetness.
D. All of the above.

Sigh, what would I do with all my extra time if I didn't have to answer these pressing questions all day long :)?

Tired, but thankful.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Baby Girls

Kinley and Raya have turned 5!

(And yes, I back dated this post so it would be on their actual birthday. Because I'm crazy.)

These sweet girls bless our family more than I can even put into words. They are twins, yet they are so different. Love how they are unique in their own ways. These girls changed our family forever 5 years ago. This second set of twins changed our perspective on our family, we started to realize that our plans were not His plans, and that our family would grow beyond what we had ever planned or imagined :).

Kinley is a free spirit. She is outgoing, vibrant, funny, and always having a good time. She keeps us laughing and she is probably one of our most compassionate kiddos. Her wild curly hair matches her personality, but for her pictures this year she wanted me to straighten it, and she was IN LOVE.


Sigh, she is a treasure.

Raya is my serious girl. She is detailed, smart, and loves to play games. She asks tons of questions, she is by far our most inquisitive child. She is giving, and sweet, and loves to cuddle. She has always loved to be by my side. I carried her in a carrier well into my pregnancy with Lincoln, and she still to this day is a mama's girl.


Oh my heart. How did these baby girls grow so fast??

Love them, and am so excited to see what God has in store for them with each coming year!

Happy Birthday, my little ladies! Your mama loves you more than you could ever imagine :).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crazy Beautiful

Well, time flies when things get reeeaaallly busy!

As some of you might have seen on Facebook, we have grown...and obviously, we are about to grow again. A few days after my last post we took in a little boy. We got a call about this sweet baby who was in our local NICU, and things have not been the same since.

That night I drove my pregnant self down there and scooped up this teeny, sweet, little babe. And oh my heart...


Look at those feet! He's been with us for almost 2 months now. And as you can imagine, he's getting a lot of love over here :).

He's such a sweetie. Innocent, and super snuggly. You should come to the store with me and see the confusion that he and my very pregnant belly causes. It's priceless. I've had some interesting conversations.

There is a lot going on. There are things that we didn't expect at all, which is why I've been off the radar for a while. We have been in and out of the hospital a ton - learning about all kinds of medical stuff, and how to care for him. Life has been and still is somewhat of a whirlwind while we figure things out. It's been a whole new world to us, but it's been worth it. So, so worth it. 

I feel that the Lord has drawn us SO close to Himself these last 2 months, and that has been one of the sweetest parts of this whole season.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, and it is a season I never imagined we'd be in, but it is beautiful. Crazy, unexpected, hard, but beautiful. He has been faithful through every step. I'm so thankful that He is letting us love him, he is such a little gift to our growing family. 

So at the moment, I am full of new life, and I am full of emotions over this little boy. Taking it all one day at a time, because thats all the Lord asks us to do.



Thankful for the journey. Grateful for His grace. And looking forward to what He has planned.

We are all doing great, and the kiddos are vibrant as usual. I did some family pictures last week, all that is missing from this pic is the new babe. I like to call this our "waiting on you" picture :)...


Only 7-8 more weeks till delivery, how is that even possible?! I can't wait to have us all together, I want this new baby in my arms safe and sound. And look, I straightened Kinley's hair, isn't it SO long??? She loves it like that, says she feels like Rapunzel. 

So thats all for now, just wanted to pop in and give an update now that things have "slowed" down a tad. Thanks for hanging around our craziness, friends :).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Round Up

Ok, this is officially the longest I've ever gone in between blog posts. But I think we are finally starting to surface after a busy couple months and a handful of curve balls :).

You know those seasons when you start to forget the last time you had a full conversation with anyone over the age of 9? Well we are there. Anyone else there too? Awesome. Let me just give you a hug and remind us all that someday far, far away the children will grow up, we will surface from underneath the laundry pile, and we will frolic in our new found freedom.

(No we won't.) (Yes we will.)

Ok maybe we'll "miss this stage" just a little :).


I know. Her hair. It's magical. Advice on products for insanely curly hair is welcome.

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I have been loving time with Lincoln in the mornings during preschool. Like, really loving it. Soaking him in and playing one on one, it's been fun and a much needed season for us. Kinley and Raya love preschool, they are at the same place A was at last year - which has been hard on some mornings when my pregnancy hormones are in complete overdrive.

Life after a long term placement has proved to be interesting. Which I think is why I seem to be flying below the radar lately. I'd like to answer this foster care question that I've gotten a lot recently, "How do you give them back and how do you let go after so long???"

The answer? You don't.

You never let go of how you loved someone. My heart will always have a place for those 2 girls, the ones that literally rocked my world for almost a year with good times and reeeeaaallly hard times. There is a part of me that will always feel like their mother, and there are times when I want to see them really bad so I can just make sure they are ok. I've had days when I wanted to stay in bed all day because the situation they went back to haunted my heart so deeply - thankfully, I had sisters walking me through it who spoke truth and reminded me of His faithfulness. We really feel at peace with what happened, and even though I worry about them and I have my moments of "what if's, and should have's, and could have's", I feel that everything happened just the way He intended. The Lord helps you let go of your plan and reminds you that His plan is best. But the love and the story will always be in my heart...there is no letting go of that part :).

So. That was a little heavy. Sorry about that, folks.

Moving on.

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We have started throwing some names around for babe #7. And while we have a few we like, we can't come to a conclusion. Not that we need to immediately. Eric doesn't like picking names early because he says I tend to change my mind after fully committing to a name. After all, you do remember the great name debate we had in 2004, right? You don't? Well let me fill you in.

Eric thinks that I waited till he left the hospital to name Ella. He says that the other name we had in mind was the one we were definitely going to use, but then he says I put "Ella" on the birth certificate instead when he went home to take a shower.

Not true, friends. Not. True.

He does still hold me to that though, and he is still wrong. We had come to a conclusion to name her Ella, he just forgot that at some point during MY 24 hours of labor. That's my side of the story people, and I'm sticking to it.

So clearly we could always use some help in the name department. I'd love a name as strong and manly as Lincoln. Any ideas??

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So that's about it. Nothing insanely exciting or new, just normal life in these parts. We are sitting outside and enjoying this crisp, beautiful weather today - I truly could not love Fall more than I do.

Back soon! And I mean it this time :).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Boys


Lincoln is getting a brother!

It's a boy :).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things As You Start School

My sweet (growing so fast) girls, remember those 10 things we talked about last year? With school starting, and the busyness of the season upon us, I feel that we need to talk about them again. They change a tad as you change, of course. I know that you won't always want or welcome my advice, so I will try to refrain from constantly blurting out my opinions as you continue to grow.

I said I'll TRY, I can't promise anything.

We are always ready for school by the time it rolls around, but I think for every mom it's hard in that where-have-my-babies-gone kind of way. For me it's never about you being a year older, it's about how you change with each leap. The changing is the hardest for my mommy heart. Just know that I will always date back to your baby days, your innocent days, and your days when you actually wanted me walk you to your class...Miss Ella.


Look at all that 4yr old sweetness.

In the newness of this "older kids" season I have learned a lot. My life isn't all toddlers and babies like it once was. I've learned a lot this past year - both good and bad. I've learned a lot about waiting and listening. A lot about letting go. And a lot about how I try to control things that were never meant to be in my control.

Motherhood is humbling, girls. It's a journey of grace, and love, and joy, and pain, and sleepless nights. It's dancing in the rain, and soaking up the small stuff. It's this passion that runs so deep in my being that sometimes it's painful.

And just as I blink and remember being in my early 20's with my belly swollen with your newborn goodness, I also know I'll blink and we'll be ten years from now.


10 things, girls. 10 things that I want you all to remember as you start another year of school...

You are unique. Unique among your siblings, and unique among your peers. You won't be any good at being someone else, but you will be great at being you. Each of you have different passions and talents that make you stunning in His (and my) eyes. Embrace the beauty that God created when He knit you together. Inside and out.

Everyone is not doing it. Not everyone is acting that way. Not everyone talks like that. Not everyone is wearing that skimpy outfit. And not everyone thinks its cool. The only one you need to be following is Him. Otherwise, be a leader and a light.

You are worth it. You are worth that dream you want to chase, that goal you want to reach, and anything else your little hearts desire. You are worth waiting for, worth fighting for, and worth the respect of others (especially boys, my dears). You are worth it because He says so.

Don't be a gossip. You don't want to be that girl. It never ends well and it almost always comes back to bite you. Let your conversations be uplifting and encouraging to people around you. God wants your words to be full of grace.

Be Honest. To me, to yourself, to Him. Be upfront and tell it like it is. It's like telling someone their zipper is down, awkward at first, but better for everyone in the end.

Focus on your heart, not your appearance. Modesty is admirable. I have been shocked at the pressure on you young girls. Our culture can be nasty, be prepared to fight for what you know is true. The state of your heart is more important than your size, or choice in designer clothes - you are more important than a number. And at the end of the day, people want to be with someone who's heart is full of passion and joy, not with someone who only talks about her image or lack there of.

Love your sisters. Take a look around you, these ladies are your best friends. Look out for each other. They will be here when you are down and when you want to celebrate. They (along with myself) will sit in bed and eat pizza with you when you get your heart broken. It is an unbreakable bond, remember that when you pass each other in the hallway.

I am your mother, not your friend. This is a hard one for me because I really want you to like me and I know that sometimes you won't. For now though, it's my job to raise you. Study, do your homework, and make good choices in your friendships - if you don't, I will step in and be the bad guy (and we all know how much fun that is). We'll laugh and talk like girlfriends sometimes, but for the most part, I'm mom. I can't wait to have the grown up relationships with you that I have with your grandma.

Show unexplainable love & grace. Girls, remember the year we've had and those we have loved. Remember that no one in school would have ever guessed the horrible battles that C was fighting. And remember that you never know what the kid next to you is dealing with. Love people even when they're not your favorite people. Love the ones that no one wants to love. Everyone needs Him, and nothing trumps the grace that He has shown us. It truly is amazing grace, ladies - don't ever let anyone tell you different. Share it with everyone.

I'm here. Anytime you need me. Anytime you need to talk or cry or rejoice, I'm here. I want to know whats happening in your little world. I will wait for you to tell me and I'll try to accept the times that you don't. Just know that I hurt when you hurt, and I rejoice when you rejoice. Tell me all about life, about school, and about whats on your heart. I'll listen. Always.

I love ya, babes.

Yes, you'll always be my babies. And no, I won't call you that in front of your friends anymore.

There is nothing I wouldn't do, no fight I wouldn't fight, and no other earthly love like the one I have for you.  It is unique and mysterious and a gift from Him.

You ladies are a gift in so many ways. I am forever thankful for the bond we have. Here's to another school year. If you need me, I'll be in the car after drop off trying to figure out where the time has gone.

Love you so, so much,
Mama

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This, That, And The Other Thing

Sometimes a list is a great option, yes?

- Summer is coming to an end, and the kiddos are literally climbing the walls with boredom. We have been to the pool a million times, run around outside, had craft days, etc. But now they are soooo booored, and there is nothing to doooo. So needless to say, we're all ready for a schedule.

School starts in 6 days. I love them deeply. But it's time. Before my hair turns grey.

- It has been chilly here lately. In the morning it can be a cool 52 degrees. And you know what that means for me, right? My Fall obsession can begin. Pumpkin everything, friends. I'll try to refrain from going completely crazy till September.

- Lincoln has this bear that he carries around everywhere. But he constantly has it in a choke hold and it cracks me up. I will keep that bear forever. And ever and ever.


- A little foster update... It's been almost 2 weeks since C & A left. Feels like they have been gone longer for some reason. We did get a call to let us know how everything is going a couple days ago from a caseworker - and honestly, it wasn't good. Things aren't great where they are. The family is just so broken, and the mother just is lost on how to be a parent, sometimes I don't know how or if they will rebuild. Deep breaths though, it's all part of foster care. I really believe He has a plan for their little lives.

- We got a dog. Because we have no boundaries. And because everyone in the house insisted that we NEEDED one. I don't even want to talk about it.


He is almost 2 and part of a breeding program for assistance dogs, so he's fully trained and really laid back. He gets a lot of attention and is insanely worn out at the end of the day. You understand.

- I am almost half way through the pregnancy!! Woohoo! We have our big ultrasound in 7 days. Not that I'm counting. And yes, we will be finding out the gender :).

- Baby #7 has just starting moving around enough for me to feel those little kicks. Oh my word, it never gets old. In every pregnancy I am always amazed at what a miracle this all is. Such grace right there in my (growing) belly.

- You know one thing that has kept the kids busy lately?? Rainbow Loom. The girls seriously love this craft. They've made tons of bracelets and such. We bought our kit at Michael's. Totally worth it.


- And just in case you're wondering, Kinley's curls combined with her bed-head is still reaching all kinds of awesome.


Love her.

So anyway, that's what we've been up up lately. Nothing super exciting, but it's been a good couple weeks with the fam. We are finding our "normal" again :).

Hope you all are having a great week!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A New Morning

I had planned on posting yesterday after the girls left, especially after some of your sweet encouragement on Facebook... which by the way, can we all just move to one neighborhood and live life together, drink coffee, laugh the cares away, and live happily ever after?

No? It was worth a try.

But I was so tired and emotionally drained that it was just better for everyone involved for me to take my tired self to bed. I guess it went exactly like I thought and nothing like I had planned. The CW took them as quickly as she brought them back in December, like we had not grown into a family or something.

And it was C's birthday, so there was also that.

Can I just spill my heart for a second? Honestly, I think it has been so difficult on me because I had to fight to be their mom. I was the role in their life that they didn't trust because of their past, and it forced me to put sweat and tears into building a bond. I have never had to fight for the love of a child, and if you want the truth, I hated it in the beginning. But that part about this journey has ended up being my greatest gift, it grew me in ways I didn't know I needed as a mother.

Love is hard sometimes, but it never comes back void. Even when you lose.

They taught me about loving regardless of the outcome, and giving away my heart even though I always knew in the end it was going to sting. They were a constant reminder to me that Jesus didn't say to love only when it's easy or when you won't get your heart broken, He just told us to love.

Love is always worth it. And I would do it again in a second.


I loved that snow day with the girls. It was the first time they had been sledding. We had only had them a couple weeks.

Our whole family said goodbye yesterday, not just me. People always wonder how that is on kids, or how they are dealing. And I can tell you that ours are doing great. They knew we were waiting for C & A's bio mom to get healthy, and even though they were sad, they showed excitement for them about being able to see her again. I was proud of them. I'm sure there were times that this year was hard on them - they had to share their things, make room for kids their own age, and watch Eric and I struggle through some hard times with the girls. But they also learned about relentless love and a never failing hope.

And I know God will use that in their lives. Like I said, we would do it again in a second.

And we may. Our hearts are still deeply in the system. We plan on still being involved, we are just going to wait for God to show us how. I think my heart is going to take a little hiatus from taking in older kids, mainly because my heart is still with the older ones who just left and I know we could get a call about them at any point.

But we'll see. Our line is open, and so are our hearts :).

Thank you, thank you, thank you for hanging around for my ramblings. I so appreciate the support and encouragement that you've shown us!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Little Season Of Change

Again, where is the time going in between posts?? I'm waiting on that energy rush of the 2nd trimester, although I'm not seeing any signs of it :). I'm about 15 weeks and feeling better, just sooooo tired, friends.

But anyway.

C and A are officially leaving. There has been a unexpected turn of events in their case and they will be going back to their mother here in a couple weeks. I could drop a 1000 details that would make you want to ask children's services a 1000 questions, but believe me, I've asked all those questions. Twice.

I don't believe that this is the best possible scenario. And to sum it up for you easily I will just say this; I'm a little worried. But I'm also at peace with what God is doing here. It's a strange combo of feelings. The truth be told, we have never felt like God completely gave them to us, even though we loved them like our own. We never felt total confirmation that we would get to be their forever family, and I truly knew deep in my mamas heart that she would be their mom, not me.

We visited their mom last night in the hospital after she delivered another sibling. I spent so much time judging and feeling shocked over that pregnancy. But when the girls climbed up in that bed and I saw a shell of a family that has a long road ahead, the tears just started coming. She is their mother, she's the one that God chose for them, and she is under the same umbrella of grace that I am. She, like all of us, needs second chances. Even when it doesn't seem to make sense. I am pulled to love her because I love those girls.

Sometimes foster care is about adoption, but for the most part, it is about helping rebuild families who are limping through life. And that is something that you will never regret being a part of. I always said that I wanted to walk away (with or without the girls) saying we gave her every chance and encouraged her as much as we could, and I feel like we can do that.

It's a roller coaster of emotions. Actually, combined with pregnancy hormones, its been more like a tsunami of emotions :).

Don't get me wrong, our hearts are hurting as we let go, but we are so very thankful for the 9 months that we have been able to love them.  Even though we are losing, we are still not left empty handed. This has been one of the biggest spiritual and soul searching journeys of my entire life. We took in what we said we wouldn't, and we faced issues that we said we couldn't handle. God used that to stretch me in ways I didn't know I needed. I see the system in a whole new light, and I have seen brokenness that I didn't know existed. If God had not let us walk this, my eyes would have never been opened.

It's been a great reminder that God doesn't give us what we want, He gives us what we need.

Getting to be their mama this past year was grace. Merciful, and hopeful grace.

We are going to spend the next couple weeks loving them and trying to figure out what the old way of things looked like. We are looking so forward to finding out the gender of our new little love, (next month!!) and we are praying that He clearly shows us what our next step is in this foster care world.

This chapter with C & A is coming to a close. We are super excited to see what He has in store for our little family as we continue on. I would love any prayers for us all, especially for C and A as we transition them back into a completely different environment. Pray for protection and healing and hope, ok? I would so appreciate it!