Monday, December 17, 2012

merry christmas!

We don't have time to mail out Christmas cards this year, but I did design something to share with everyone electronically. :-) We hope you & your family have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

bittersweet chaos

The past month & a half has been a little chaotic for us, to say the least. ;-)

Let me sum it up for you in pictures:

Tyson Nolan H. just after birth, about to have an urgent heart catheterization

 Happy Halloween from the NICU at MUSC!

Trunk or Treat at a local church in Charleston

 Moved to the PCICU; this was taken a few days before the heart surgery

Happy birthday Baron!! Holding Tyson for the first time, the night before surgery.

Exploring Charleston

 Finally in a private room in the step-down unit


 Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunset on the harbor

So happy to have family with us!

Granmama was so much help on this trip!!

There is always time for tickles.

 Going home from the hospital!!


One month old, and 2 days before heading HOME to Alabama!

I will post more about this wonderful adoption experience at a later time. We have been home from Charleston for almost two weeks now, and we are still adjusting to life with a newborn, and life with two kiddos. :-) Needless to say, spending over a month away from home - 8 hours away from home, to be exact - took its toll on me. More to come on that later. Right now I need to catch some zzz's before my next early-morning feeding. :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Needless to say, ever since we found out we were chosen by a birth mother, my life has been a whirlwind. And it won't be slowing down for awhile. :-)

I think there is a reason God gave expecting mothers 9 months to prepare. Having only 3 weeks to get a house ready for a newborn is enough to put a mommy in a crazy house! Add to that the chaos of finding a place to stay in a town 8 hours away for 6-8 weeks, making arrangements for help with the toddler when she & the husband come back to town in a couple of weeks, beginning a relationship with my soon-to-be-son's birth mother, preparing my boss/co-workers for my extended absence, and attempting to savor the last moments at home with friends & family before being gone for awhile; and my brain is officially mush.

But, here I am, the night before our travel day, and I am almost ready. No, not almost ready to bring a baby home. { My house is a mess; the baby's clothes are stacked in his room because his dresser drawers are broken; I don't have newborn diapers; the nursery isn't finished...etc...} I just mean I am almost ready for our trip. Because honestly, I don't think I could manage this whole ordeal if I were trying to get ready for ALL of this at once. I am taking it one day at a time. Tonight, I will get ready for tomorrow's travel. Tomorrow, I will get ready to be in the delivery room for the birth of my son on Monday. Monday, I will get ready for the moments I intend to savor with my son & his birth mother while in the hospital together. Tuesday, I will get ready for the emotions that come when the birth mother signs her relinquishment papers. And all that time, in the back of my mind, I will be praying for my son to just be healthy. I will pray for him to breathe when he is born. I will pray for his blood to circulate. I will pray for the NICU nurses, the surgeon who will operate on him, and all of the people taking care of him while he is in surgery & recovering. I will also be praying for his birth mother, who is nervous, excited, anxious. Who is struggling with her broken relationship with her mother. I will attempt to encourage her, while refraining from saying "it will all work out", when I don't know that it will. I will try to be her friend, because she has none with her at this time.

Friends, this is a lot to deal with. I am an emotional girl anyway, and all of this is just completely overwhelming for me! The only way I am managing to drift through this is because I am relying on God. This is His plan anyway, so He knows what's going on. He is my strength, because I have none on my own. I am fragile & weak & way too emotional to handle this myself. The Joy of the Lord is my Strength. I have had to remind myself of that over & over during the past 3 weeks! The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


So, I'll just get straight to the point:

We've been matched with a birth mother!!

We got a phone call on Monday that a birth mother has chosen us to adopt her sweet baby. She is a young African-American woman, and her baby boy is due November 4th! We are SO EXCITED!!!

Your prayers for our baby boy are coveted. He has a heart condition known as transposition of the great arteries. He will need surgery 5-10 days after birth to correct his condition. He will be in the hospital for 4-6 weeks after the surgery. Which means, we will have an extended stay in Charleston, SC, once he is born. There is also a chance the birth mother could be induced as early as October 23rd. We would love for little man to cook a little longer if possible! We need prayers for this sweet baby, for his birth mother, and for our sanity while we get ready & while we wait! Please, please pray for a safe & smooth delivery and surgery! Thank you all!!

Natalie is so excited to have a baby brother soon!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October is also the month we celebrate the birth of my mother.

Six months ago, those two statements had nothing to do with each other, other than having the word "October" in them. But in May of this year, after a routine mammogram, my mother was told she had a mass in her breast. And after her biopsy, it was confirmed: cancer.

Such a scary word, isn't it? Cancer. I have had two grandfathers, a stepfather-in-law, and several church family members lose their earthly lives to cancer. It is a devastating disease. So naturally, when my mother called to tell me her mass was, in fact, the "c-word", I should have been scared. Mortified. Shocked. Angry. But you know what? My mother wasn't those things. She was calm. Peaceful. Even somewhat matter-of-fact. As if she were telling me this was just another speed bump in life, like changing jobs or a car breaking down. She is a strong woman. No...that isn't true: she is a weak woman, who fully relies on the strength of her God. You see, humans cannot overcome cancer. Therefore, humans have no hope when they are told they have cancer. But my mother knows that God controls her life, and God has already conquered cancer. If her cancer is healed here on earth: Praise God; she's got a few more years with us here! If her cancer consumes her body & takes away her earthly life: Praise God; she's got a new body that will never see disease again! Either way - Praise God; he is the ultimate Healer!

Mom's cancer was removed. She had a partial mastectomy in May. The cancer was actually pretty tiny. So her story had a happy ending. Not everyone's battle with cancer ends the same way. This month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's not just think about how we can detect & treat breast cancer, but all cancers. And let's remember those who lost their earthly bodies to this terrible disease, and the families who deal with this on a daily basis.

{ So many women are a walking case for early detection, and so is my mom! Her cancer was detected very early, by a routine mammogram. Ladies: get your mammograms! }

{ my mom with my daughter & my brother's daughter, on our family vacation in June 2012 }

Friday, September 14, 2012


It kind of hit me today.

{ I am NEVER this shocked when my wallet is empty. ;-) }

We don't have the money to replace our dryer that died today.
We had to pay a hefty fee to fix our home A/C this summer.
We don't have the money to replace the sprayer at our kitchen sink that leaks.
We paid for 2 E.R. visits during the summer, one of which included an ambulance ride.
We don't have the money to replace the recessed light above our bathtub.
We just paid $75 for antibiotics for our daughter.
We had to put our car in the shop about a month ago.
We don't have the money to get our lawnmower fixed.
We had to buy the more expensive meds for our dog since his regular brand isn't currently being produced.
We don't have the money to decorate another nursery.
I don't even have the money to get my hair cut!

But you know what? We have a nice house. We have two vehicles that {currently} run. Every month, we are able to pay our bills. My air conditioner is running right now. Our washing machine works, and our dishwasher works. We are able to buy groceries each week. We have a computer, a printer, a TV, and two gaming consoles. Every night, we sleep in a cozy bed and get a good night's sleep. Our home is protected by a burglar alarm system. We have furniture to sit on in every room of our house. Both of our toilets work, and all of our faucets work. We are incredibly blessed to have our adoption fund almost complete. I have a coffee maker that I program to make my coffee at 6:30 each morning. We have clothes to wear. And THIS list goes on & on. The list above pretty much stops where I ended it. But our blessings continue, despite my nagging, whining, & complaining.

God is good. All the time.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ~Matthew 6:27-29

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


In 1996, I was blessed to be a part of a mission trip to New England, and we took a day trip to NYC.
We were able to go to the top of the World Trade Center on that day.
I am so glad we took these pictures to document that trip.

Today, we remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Lives lost because of an act of evil, and lives lost because of bravery that came about as a result of that evil. I remember the day vividly; the confusion, the fear, the chaos in our country. And the resulting camaraderie, bravery, and patriotism. It was an amazing thing to experience, and I will not ever forget it.

Do you remember? Will you remember today?

"The Lord Most High is your fortress. Run to him for safety, 
and no terrible disasters will strike you or your home." 
~Psalm 91:9-10

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pinterest idea: DONE.

I pin a LOT of ideas on Pinterest. [ If you don't believe me, go check me out: ] So whenever I actually accomplish a task or idea I've pinned, I feel like I should shout it from the rooftops. "HEY!! I actually DID this!!"

Yesterday, I saw this pin:

[ source ]

I didn't intend to go out & do it the NEXT DAY. But I found myself in Target, and I saw those placemats, and I just happened to notice the clearance price:

I couldn't resist, since they were on clearance. So I brought a few home & got to work. This is my fridge before. ICK.

 [ Yes, I have 2 pitchers of tea. I like tea. Leave me alone. ]
[ Milk crust. I hate milk crust. ]

I didn't want the mats sliding around, so I used this adhesive stuff to make them grippy on the bottom. This isn't great glue; it doesn't hold well & using the dispenser will nearly make you lose your religion. But it provided a bit of grip for my mats, so I'm thankful I held onto this useless piece of crap stuff.

And here is the made-over fridge! Tada!! The mats don't reach all the way to the back, but I don't care. The back of the fridge is no-man's land anyway. Scary stuff goes on back there.

Now that my fridge is prettier, maybe I will actually keep it tidy from now on! HA. ;-)

Monday, August 27, 2012


Normally on our anniversary, I post about how much I love my husband.

And how awesome he is.

And how amazing it is that God brought us to each other, and has woven our lives together.

And how he is an incredible husband, a wonderful father, and an example for everyone, especially me & Natalie.

All of those things are true. And I could sing of my husband's praise for a long time.

But this year, I'm doing something different.

I'm showing you a little decorating project I did.


I wanted something personal & meaningful in the space above our bed. We don't have a headboard, and I keep changing my mind about what I want to do with that space. I see lots of super awesome ideas on Pinterest, but of course this project is pretty close to the bottom of our "to do" list around the house, so this area gets neglected. Anyway, for something quick & easy, I decided to incorporate our favorite verse - Romans 8:28. If you know us, you know how much this verse means to us. If you don't know us, around on my blog some & you'll see. :-)

Anyway, here is the finished product! Thanks for reading!

Oh, and...happy 8th anniversary, Baron!! :-)


Want the scripture art for yourself? Click on the image below to download it for free!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the tod life.

So...I have a toddler. I've had a "toddler" for over a year now, technically. But in the past few weeks, my sweet child has suddenly realized that she is supposed to be donning the "terrible twos" phase of her childhood.

She is embracing it well.

When we got back from our last vacation of the summer, about a month ago, our sweet angel started a new phase. I like to call it, "Pull My Hair Out One Strand At A Time". Her nighttime sleep was suddenly becoming sporadic, as were her afternoon naps. Usually for her, this means she is either: a) getting sick, b) going through a growth spurt, c) teething, or d) possessed by a demon. After a couple of weeks of the screaming-out-loud-at-two/four/six-in-the-morning, I took her to the doctor, to rule out "a" & "c". Which we did. And that is good - except it left a big question mark. What to do now? Her doc suggested that she is probably a little too young to be getting afraid of the dark/shadows/whatever. So...the mystery remained.

We decided to put her in a big girl bed, to see if maybe she was just tired of her crib. Negative. Although, I have to say, now that she isn't confined to a crib, she comes into our room when she wakes up, and honestly that is slightly less stressful than the screaming coming through the monitor. It has its pros & cons. Anyway - she is doing GREAT in her big girl bed, and she loves it!!

But, the problem of waking up in the wee hours of the morning remains. During the first couple of weeks of this, I have to admit, I was super stressed about it. We felt blindsided, since our sweet pea has always been such a great sleeper. Take the element of surprise, add to it the sleep deprivation, and then the sinus infection from hades, and I was one frustrated mama. I did not react well. I whined & complained all over facebook & twitter. I probably had people hide me from their walls or defriend me. If you follow me, let me apologize now for my whiny-ness! Honestly. I was worse than my 2 1/2 year old.

Then it hit me. This is clearly out of my control. We tried so many different tactics, with no success. I am such a control freak, and this was something I was determined to FIX. She WILL sleep through the night, and I WILL make her do it. Speaking of a strong-willed child...I may or may not be one myself. :-)

Yes, I had been praying about it. Sometimes out of desperation, sometimes from selfishness, but really - I did pray about it from a legitimate concern for the health of my child. But you see, while I was praying, I was still trying to control it. As I do in so many other areas of my life, especially in the genre of parenting. Control is just NOT the answer.

I now officially give up.

I give up looking for the solution. I give up searching for the answer. I give up trying to MAKE her sleep "correctly". I give up trying to MAKE her behave like a child who doesn't pitch a fit on the floor. I. Give. Up.

No, I don't mean I am giving up parenting. I am still the parent, and she is still my child, and I will still struggle with teaching her to obey me. That is part of being a parent of a toddler. But, I am no longer trying to CONTROL how she acts.

Does that make sense? I cannot CONTROL her. She is not a robot. She is a human being. She has a beautiful spirit, and an independence that will one day make me proud, if it doesn't kill me. :-)

My goals are:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ~Ephesians 6:4

It doesn't say, "Make your kids behave how they are SUPPOSED to behave." It says to train your child to obey the Lord. WOWZA. How I have NOT been doing that!

So now, I will change MY attitude, as I attempt to teach my child what an appropriate attitude is. Sleep will come later.

Maybe. :-)

Footnote: For those who are wondering what we are currently doing to get Natalie to sleep at night (although it still isn't uninterrupted), here is our current tactic. We created a new bedtime routine that consists of Goodnight Moon in her bed, a prayer in her bed, and then lights out. She has a new nightlight - the Twilight Ladybug - and LOVES it. One of us stays in the room with her until she falls asleep. We figured out that, for whatever reason, she doesn't want to go to sleep alone. So, every time she goes to bed, wakes up during the night, and goes down for a nap, one of us is in the room with her until she falls asleep. We don't have to rock her, or pat her back, or even be in the bed with her. As long as someone is in the room with her, she's good. Whatever, right? :-) Hopefully this is a transitional phase & she will soon be sleeping like a champ again.