15 April 2015

little zoey

There once was this little peanut who stole my heart with her tiny person. Her delicate features, mannerisms, kind heart and spunky personality drew people in everywhere she went.

She smiled at strangers, admired babies, loved every animal big, small, dangerous or…no longer living.

She loved to stay up late, our little night owl, and had moved permanently into her big brother's room to sleep on his trundle every night. She is a loyal friend and will tell you all sorts of stories, even if at three years old you can only understand so much. She is a little entertainer and will dance circles around the family room, spinning in an arms out-legs out stance.

She laughs, makes jokes, already learned that farting will make people laugh and any sort of "butt" comment will get a giggle from her brother.

Zoey, our little girl, you are growing so quickly. We love you so.

13 April 2015

easter 2015

Little playdate friends. Our second annual easter egg hunt! they are so fun to watch gather the eggs!!

Ellie reading every one a book ;) She makes up amazing stories!

My little spunky birdie reading her little pink Bible to me. She has so much personality, it cracks me up!

This year's easter baskets (the other ones were in storage) I think I'll use these again next year. 

Jack and his Papa. My dad wasn't feeling too well, but Jack had to give him some cuddles. Love how he's totally a mini version of my pops!

our house

Our little home has been de-cluttered and deep cleaned and just this last week went under contract to be bought. Our first home as a family and where so many dreams came true, sickness fought, loss grieved, diapers dirtied, newborn tears were shed (and postpartum ones), friends laughter and change embraced because, I mean, what else can you do? I have fond memories of dance parties on this carpet and late night chats and little hands learning to walk holding onto that windowsill. Oh, time. You're rushin' me!

and change, my goodness, we've had our battles. i fight it like a kid fighting sleep, but then when it comes it isn't as scary or hard as i had thought. then sometimes it is and i wonder why i didn't fight it harder. ha. but most of the time, it is good. 

(I should probably document here (and tell my future-Jack---you handled this decision like a CHAMP and we cried and talked about how we would remember him, but ultimately we let go and got a set of caterpillar dump truck off amazon, to help ease the pain. It helped, but we will always miss him.)  We had to re-home our sweet, sweet Materboy. He is the best dog in the entire world and it was a decision that was so very difficult for us to make. Once we learned we were moving to California (and renting) I just knew that Materboy belonged in this mountain town. He needs a big backyard and a place to run around. We have dear friends who have a 12 year old male lab who Mater loves. They would graciously watch him for us if we ever had to go out of town. The pup is spoiled well there and lives like a little prince! He will have a great life. He is missed and fondly remembered and watching Cars and seeing Mater the tow truck will always be bittersweet for us, but we know he'll have a good, happy life. Complete with his rawhide every night and his kong of peanut butter every morning. Though we will miss our Materboy.

We watched countless monsoons and winter storms out those windows and that lovely, constant Arizona sun poured in every afternoon and morning. It kept our moods from dragging and our skin warm on cold winter days. The backyard, a beautiful escape and child's dream, should not be messed with from about February - May as though juniper trees really get to us, but other than those months it is always full of cozy coops and truck races. We shall miss you, backyard, though I have a feeling our next backyard will be full of new adventures and new hiding places. Can't wait to discover it. Jackboy is a sucker for nostalgia, just like his mama. I keep trying to remind him of the new memories we'll create there. I'm telling myself that too ;) 

It's always interesting to see how people process change, whether sudden or with notice. Some become nostalgic and remember, sometimes through smiles and sometimes through tears, the past and suddenly become very reflective people. Others fight against it, like trying to swim upstream, and hang even more tightly to the few things in life that are consistent, because there aren't many after all. The only constant thing in life is change. Well, that and Jesus! Amiright?

04 April 2015


So needed this reminder today.
He is so present. Even while we're chopping vegetables in our kitchen praying and asking Him for assurance and promises and that everything will always be okay (even though that's not usually the plan) 
Then, in a moment of quiet (rare) attention this song began to play and I was so gently reminded of who HE is and who His word says He is. And that's all.

God is my shepherd
I won't be wanting
I won't be wanting
He makes me rest in fields of green with quiet streams
Even though I walk through the valley of death and dying
I will not fear 'cause you are with me
You are with me
Your shepherd staff Comforts me
You are my feast in the presence of enemy
Surely goodness
Will follow me
Follow me
In the house of God, forever
God is my shepherd
I won't be wanting
I won't be wanting
He makes me rest in fields of green by quiet streams
Even while I'm walking through the valley of death and dying
I will not fear 'cause you are with me
You're always with me
Your shepherd staff comforts me
You are my feast in the presence of enemy
Surely goodness will follow me
follow me
In the house of God, forever
In the house of God, forever
In the house of God, forever

the end of the season

This spring has brought with it the end to many seasons. One being the season of living in our beautiful mountain town as well as the end to some of my most-loved tv shows. We've watched the last episodes, ever, of Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, most recently Hart of Dixie (ok, I watched that one on my own) and soon to be Mad Men. We also may have binge watched How I Met Your Mother and had to see that series end too. It was a sad day for me, in all honesty. John sort of chuckles at me when I finish a show because I mean, it's sad.

I bond with a good TV series like dear friends. and after laughing with them (perhaps sometimes crying with them) once a week….or maybe sometimes once a day (depending on how many series are on netflix) it's like saying goodbye to old friends. Not just a see ya later, but forever. This may be weird, this may just be me, but my hubby knows to give me about 2 weeks to say goodbye and then I'll return, but for the mean time, I have to say goodbye…again and again.

And of course, they all connect to real life in different ways. I started watching Hart of Dixie those last couple of months I was pregnant with Zoey and through the first couple years of her life (the lead character is named Zoe, by the way.) and we live in a town not so different than Bluebell. It just seems timely to say goodbye to Bluebell the same time we say goodbye to our little town.

And the finale of Parenthood? PHEW! my favorite part? forever young. the montage. my GOODNESS. and a little friday night lights bonus in there. i love a good character developed show.

loved this scene in Parks and Rec too.

and while we're here:

one of my all time favorite scenes of mad men, the season 6 finale. don draper has come so far!

and I don't want to give away the ending of how i met your mother, but i will say that john suggested the ending a week before the finale and was like, "wouldn't it be cool if THAT happened??" and i assured him, "babe. there is NO way it could happen. No WAY!"

and it did.

so there's my tribute to some old friends and some wonderful memories shared with my love as we chart out upcoming episodes together or continue to freak out about series finales while we're getting ready for bed, or making the theme song a ring tone (oh, maybe just i do that) but also a fun way to escape for 22 minutes after a long hard day and after the kids are in bed. it's been fun. not real, but definitely fun.

oh, and i can't forget these two honorable (but past) mentions:

lost. michael giacchino. you guys blew us all away. and i couldn't have been happier with that ending. see what i mean? old friends reuniting?? so many characters. so much STORY. so great. i watched this when jack was just a little babe. i had just finished nursing and john had taken over walking him down to sleep (those early months were blurry and so tiring and trying) and i watched this and it was like all my postpartum feelings surfaced and it. was. ugly. haha…. and yes, jack shephard may or may not have inspired us to name our first born son Jack. Lost was, after all, what John and I connected on when we first met. Even in season 2 we wondered, what was the island a symbol of? was it all real?

and, friday night lights.
we watched this the summer after i had Zoey. again, postpartum Mel! you choose great series! We binge watched these 5 seasons all summer long and into the fall. i learned what a QB is, i suddenly wanted to watch football that fall and cheer on a team with my dad. it was sentimental and there just aint nobody like coach taylor.

and yes, there were montage scenes like this EVERY. EPISODE. i mean. clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose! thank you, jason katims.

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.

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