24 March 2015

they do this thing...

We were at home depot yesterday and Zoey did the cutest thing ever.

(side note: she hasn't seen Mary Poppins yet. And doesn't she look like a preview of her teenage self? Slow down, little one!)

We were in the garden section and she is looking up at the birds and listening to them sing. I see her lift up her hand and I think, how cute!

After expressing her need to go to the bathroom she asks me on the way, "Mama? Why birdies don't land on my finger??" the poor girl really though the birds would land on her little finger if she held it out for them. Oh, man. Keep believing, little one.

Jack, my little leader and one who loves friends, he keeps changing on me. And getting smarter and learning words like "claritin" and "hindenberg blimp" ---this boy. I tell you what. He's full of adventure and energy and such deep feelings. They surface often and if I'm careful enough, he'll share them with me. If I respond harshly he's quick to shut them down. It's a tough balance, learning this little guy. What a gift to be his mama. What deep questions he has and most sincere prayers to Jesus. Thanking Him for everything he has, good and bad.

I love watching his friendships grow and his little person learn that you can't decide what you're going to play all the time, and how to take turns deciding. That's a tough deal when you're five, lets be real.

I had my first semi-goodbye time with dear friends here in our mountain town. 
It's so tough to think of living life away from these dear friends.
What all we'll miss out on and the little friendships our kiddos share. 
Forever I will be so thankful for this season with them and so many others. 

17 March 2015

zoey turns 3!

What a girl, our Zoey.
What a kindred little soul.
a lover of laughter, jokes, being chased, all things puppy, babies, every animal (even bugs) her blanket, sparkly things, purple tshirts, chap stick, jewelry, nail polish and strong desire to get her ears pierced.

my little bird has grown into a lively, passionate, kind, friendly little girl.

three years has gone SO very fast. too fast, if you ask me.
it feels like just yesterday that i was holding her for the first time at the hospital.
i was so scared, scared to have a daughter and scared to have a newborn again.
i wish i could tell then-mel to relax a bit and that she would be just fine. but ya know, you just can't tell a new mom certain things. how could i have known that she would be a very easy going baby? that she would be full of joy and life from the very beginning?

i also didn't know that she would need physical therapy, the cutest little braces i ever did see and would be a speedy potty trainer. how can you predict such things?

oh, my. she lights up my world, ya'll.
she is so precious and hilarious. such a little cheese ball.
i read amy poehler's book recently and she wrote what she was like as a baby and i couldn't help but see similarities and it was then that i prayed and hoped that she would grow up to be a comedian just like amy. haha. okay, not just like amy, but similar would be fun.

we had a puppy party for her 3rd birthday. complete with puppy bowls (that she continues to request to eat out of) and the cutest little puppy balloons. 

Zoey actually got a bad ear infection the day of her birthday (complete with a trip to urgent care) but grandma and grandpa were up so we had a mini celebration and rescheduled her party until the following week. 

it was so, so fun.

happy birthday to my beautiful Birdie,

I love watching you grow up, hearing your opinions develop, see you mercy heart so early, and see also your deep loyalty to those that you care about. You are a girl all your own, Zoey, and I can already see your courage and your kindness as two of our greatest gifts. 

I saw Cinderella in the theater a few days ago and all I could think of was you and how much she reminded me of you. Your core is kind, my girl, and yet you are brave and courageous too. I pray that as you grow you will hold tight to those two core traits that you were given. You will do such great things and love and meet so many wonderful people on your journey. 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Zoeybird, I can't wait to watch you grow! I love you!



today is been a day to slow down it on down.

Zoey has had a high fever and so we have spent the majority of the day on the couch, running the thermometer over her forehead (like a crazy lady, cause that is what I do. Not proud of it.) watching Paw Patrol, eating and drinking as often as she can. I really, really dislike when my kiddos are sick. It scares me so much. However, this time and for the first time in my mama-hood, I feel like I have a deep peace that they are going to be okay. That she is strong and brave and her body can kick whatever comes her way. We found out last week that our little birdie needs tubes put in her ears. That was scheduled for Thursday, but with the high fever we've had to postpone it. For who knows how long she has heard life as if she were under water. What a bummer for our life-loving girl! I will not deny that I love the snuggles and cuddles on the couch and as she falls asleep. She's growing up so fast.

We also miss our little one in Haiti so, so much. I think about her all the time and wonder how she's doing and feeling and growing and what she's learning. We get occasional updates which do my heart such good. She is thriving and seems to be so happy and strong.

A big change is about to happen for our little fam and as bittersweet as it is, we're anticipating great growth as John recently took a job as a teaching pastor in residence at Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California. Our hearts feel so sad to leave behind our family at Cornerstone, beautiful mountain town and all of our dear family and friends, but John and I both feel deep in our hearts that this is where we're meant to go. Change is never easy, but it is the one constant in life and so we embrace it, move forward and pray for a smooth transition and an armful of adventure.

I was nervous about telling the kids, I'll be honest. I don't handle change well and I, again, realized I was about to project my feelings of deep dislike for change onto my kids. I knew I was faced with a crossroads as I practiced how I would tell them. I could cry and be sad and fear their response and the disruption that this would cause on their little lives. Or, we could celebrate what God is doing, anticipate all the new that California would be and reflect so fondly on our season here, but also look forward to all that will happen there. It wasn't easy, especially for sentimental me, but to my great surprise, my kindred-soul son looked up at me and John and replied, "Okay! When do we go? Can we bring our beds with us?"

So there you have it. Too young to realize the great change that awaits, but adventurous enough to dare the leap even if it means to leave behind all that is familiar and comfortable and wonderful. I've done it so many times and each time does get a little easier, except for saying goodbye to dear friends (and family) that were made along the journey. I have such a deep love and appreciation for good friends, authentic conversation and lots of laughter. Along the road I've met so many wonderful kindred spirits that I will forever hold so close to my heart. Every goodbye has not been easy, but Jesus is always so faithful to provide friendships in every change of season. The length of friendship varies, but that is what is so beautiful about life and people, they are every where and all it takes is listening and loving.

It's the starting over that is hard. Reintroducing yourself. again and again. And yet there's something beautiful about that too. A fresh start and a chance to do different what you wish you had done. A chance to really remember that Jesus is and always will be all that the depths of my soul needs. As much as I like to think I need to fill it with friendships, He's the only one that can fill that (bottomless pit, let's be honest. ha!)

So who knows what this next journey will bring? The unknowns sometimes keep me up at 3am, but lately I've realized that whatever it is, it will be good. Especially because our Jesus leads us and our little tribe gets to go together.

18 December 2014

zoey : life

This one…

You know that moment when you realize you can't train kids to do certain things? I mean, you can discipline and encourage, but you know when you see something that you kiddo does that is a trait they will very well have for the rest of their life? Their little personality blooming right in front of you?

That's what it's been like ever since Zoey was born. She's always been this little girl full of sweetness. She has her sass and spunk, but she is a lover at her core and has lived well up to her name, Zoey, which means life in Greek. I knew as soon as we decided to name her Zoey that she would bring joy and laughter and life into our little fam. The same way I knew when we named Jack that we would have a Hero, fun-loving, curious boy. (he also lives up to his name, by the way)

Lately Zoey's speech has blossomed. She's a little delayed according to the books, but right when we wonder if we should intervene she (and Jesus) surprises us and off she goes.

It started with little phrases like,

"I know DAT" (said with much sass and talking back. Not cool. But hilariously cute.)
"Just a ittle-ittle bit?" She'd ask with a tiny squeaky high voice and her fingers pinched together. Most often asking for a treat of some kind.
"Cuque puppy!" referred to her "cute puppy" see in the picture below. He goes everywhere with her, except the tub, and is so well loved.

And lately, her speech has just taken off. At the beginning of this month I was certain that we would start speech therapy in January and I was okay with that. But then, she came full circle and not only really embraced imaginative play and using voices for her toys, but also expressing her needs and wants with us.

My new favorite phrase that she uses is.
"I like you." Simple, and not her most complex sentence, but I love how she uses it.
Not to be mistaken with I love you, she says that too, but she says this often right before she's about to get in trouble for something. She'll hold her tiny hands out and be like "but I like you!" or "you like me?" Gets me every time. My favorite is right before she falls asleep and I lean over to kiss her cheek and she cups my face with her hands and says, "I like you, Mama."

Are there sweeter words?

Zoey is also a lover of all things pink and sparkly. Not something she has inherited from me as I have very little of either. She is all girl and notices the tiny accessory that I don't (often) wear and asks to wear it.
She loves putting on my makeup and getting her nails painted and getting her hair done.

I'm not making this stuff up. I wish I was because a part of me has no idea how to go along with this, but it's in there. I'm finding it. 

I pray I can always encourage her to love life, to live it fully and to love herself in it. I pray that she cares little what others think of her or her passion for life, besides inspiring others to love life the way she does. I pray she embraces every opportunity and has the confidence to conquer it. Just like in her small delays in walking and talking, she goes at her own speed, but she catches up and doesn't ever wonder where the others in the race are. 

So very thankful for her sass and zest for life. 
So thankful that I get to be her mommy. 

As we continue our international adoption I can't help but wrestle with all that we are missing in the little one's life that God has for us. It's a reality of most adoptions. We'll never be able to replace the life that has been lived, but I pray we can add to it. I'm thankful for these early days with Zoey and that I am able to look on and watch as she grows and develops.

17 December 2014

these days

Jack turned five a couple months ago.

Five years old, and I haven't even had a chance to write him a letter. The months have woven together and time is barely giving me a chance to catch my breath.

Right now, my five year old boy is sitting next to me creating another lego masterpiece. No joke, a true masterpiece. I am partial, but I am also honest. I have found Legos to be one of our saving graces. That and Mater, our yellow lab. They are of the same kind, those two, and both have an excitement level that hit maximum a few times a day and each know how to love so unconditionally and fully. Mater is well loved and well cared for, even if it is through the kennel sometimes. We get him out after the kids have gone to bed (sorry kids) and let him roam around. But during the day he is either in his kennel or outside.

But back to legos, they have become a saving grace since Jack gave up his nap time. That was a sad day. Along with the day Jack said goodbye to binky.

But we have survived and our "lellow" saying toddler turned into a real Peter Pan boy (and has told me numerous times that he will never grow up and he'll stay a kid forever)

And he's turned into him. Jack Dickerson. Lover of numbers, puzzles, trains, car, legos, play dough and anything that is a challenge.

We have loved How I Met Your Mother (and are about to finish the series) and last night we realized how similar Barney and our Jack are. Praying Jesus intervenes in Jack's life before he's that age, but every time Barney says "challenge accepted." it's like a grown up Jack.

Happy birthday Goose,

Every day that passes I fall deeper in love with you. Your grin, your mumbles when you're saying a potty word, your giggle that is so contagious and wonderful, those deep blue eyes, your passionate spirit, your loyal friendship, your caring heart and the way you encourage Zoey and play with her, even when it's not cars and trucks.

You are a gem, Jackboy, and your strength and determination will follow you through your life. I already see the way you engineer incredible planes and trucks and trains. I see the way you enjoy alone time in your room and when the noise is just too much for you. I see the ways you are like your daddy and a precious mini version of him.

I love you Jack and every single part of you. The part that writes songs while we lay in bed at night, your heart for Jesus (and honest and real questions about Him and who He is and why He is that way.) The part that misses people and gets restless and lonely when you don't see your buds. The brave part of you that doesn't worry that gets nervous at the thought of seeing any sort of doctor or experiencing any sort of pain. But, my boy, you are brave.

You are all in, wherever you are, buddy. And that's going to take you places. Can't wait to watch you grow.

I love you.

15 September 2014

another summer gone

I can't believe it's already the middle of September.

Where does time go to?

I can't believe Jack is almost five years old. I can't be old enough/and or mature enough to have a five year old! So many words, feelings, opinions and thoughts in his little brain! My goodness!

In the last five years I've discovered a few more gray hairs and forehead wrinkles and laugh lines around my eyes. I've learned the beginnings of what it means to say I'm sorry when I lose my temper or stop what I'm doing to "watch this." I've learned bits and pieces of the deep love Jesus has for us, if even a fraction of it, when I look at that little guy. I've learned how to work with a kiddo who has a very "refined" pallet and deep preferences. He's pretty great.

Five years, man. Five years! That's longer than my whole high school experience! (thank You Lord.)

so, I've jumped onboard with Les to do our joy dare collection.

TODAY was 3 gifts paired

There's so much in this shot that I am thankful for.
A daddy who loves his kiddos fiercely and works hard to connect with them.
and a little girl who can go all-in with the boys, but really prefers girly things.

11 September 2014


I'm diving into doing a thankfulness project with my dear cousin-friend Les. Which is something I've wanted to do for quite some time, since the first go-around of reading 1,000 Gifts.

The summer is slowly ending (who am I kidding, I give it until November out West.) and I am wishing for chimney smoke smells and deep, cool breezes when I open the door. Almost, but not quite.

Jack has started two days a week of preschool. He loves it. He thrives. He's growing. He likes to move, but he has the perfect teacher for him. Whenever I ask how he's doing she always responds positively (she always has, since he was 3 months old and in the nursery at church and would only let Mama hold him. He went to her and she didn't complain that he cried for the entire hour.) She's a kind soul with a sing-song, Prescott drawl that always makes kids feel comfortable and relaxed. She once told me, years ago, that she was much more comfortable with kids than with adults. I knew we were kindred spirits even then.

Her life hasn't been easy, her husband is mentally unstable and her four children have scattered around the state. She is faithful and positive and always has a smile on her face. And my boy loves her.

Jack is really gifted at discerning people. It doesn't take him but a couple of minutes of meeting a person for him to decide if he likes them or not (or if they're safe or not.) I admire this quality about him, but do wonder how he'll do when he reaches school and is stuck with a not-awesome teacher for a whole year.

Oh, things I never thought I'd worry about.

All that to say, Jack loves school, his teacher and his little buddies. He is in a class of mostly girls and my lands, does he love it. The other day he said out loud "I wonder who is gonna be my honey." Apparently he and his buddy Casen were discussing it. Oh, boy. However, he experienced his first heart break a few days ago when he said goodbye to his binky (pacifier) It was a hard 24 hours, but I am proud to report he made it! So proud of him. But at 10:30pm I really wondered if we were going to make it. We survived.

We sang happy birthday to the binks on the way to the trash can and gave him his very own photo shoot. In the middle of his sad tears he just kept saying "he was my friend! he'll be all alone outside and he'll be scared." near broke my heart.

Proud of you, buddy.

27 July 2014

some of jack's favorite things

this shot just cracks me up.

I'm sure you know, but our boy loves LOVES cars, and trucks and planes and firetrucks and monster trucks. He loves everything with wheels and a motor.

So much in fact, that over the summer he had a teacher on the one day a week he went to pre-school who had a "motor skills station" which just rocked his world.

He would tell me every day that he got to play in the motor skills station. I know what this means, but he just knew it said "motor" and "station" and that was all it took to get him there.

Daddy's 31'st birthday!!!

He got a soccer ball and a day ALL TO HIMSELF. and an evening to see whatever man-movie his heart desired. We watched The Edge of Tomorrow (so good) and the kiddos got to stay home.

Zoey and her puppy-pal. She is named marshmallow and the white fluff has turned a slight brown. Zoey carries her everywhere and loves, loves her.

My adventurous, brave, strong, carefree and happy boy.

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