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.

20 July 2014


The thing about kids and illness is, it's unpredictable. and I don't do so great with unpredictable things. There, I said it.

I wish I could sense when they're about to get the stomach flu, a cold or an ear infection.
I wish I could sense when they're about to get hurt, hurt someone or touch a hot stove or slam their little fingies in the door.
I wish there was some sort of sense that said, "this is about to happen. be ready."

There typically isn't…though sometimes there is a little bit of mama-sense. Ya know, when it's quiet and you're in the other room and you got "it's too quiet. they're into something." and you go into their room to find lotion or diaper creme everywhere. haha.

But a few weeks ago when Jack had his 107 fever, there wasn't a whole lot of mama-sense going on.
There was a "you're-coming-to-the-store-with-me-so-your-dad-and-sister-can-nap-since-you-won't." sense happening. And it wasn't my finest moment, I'll be honest. We stopped quickly at Big Lots and Walgreens to grab a new thermometer. He'd stop every few feet and say how cold he was. I held him for a while and told him this is why he needed to nap.

Sorry, buddy.

When we pulled into the garage he said, "right when we get inside mom I'm going strait outside because I am cold and I wanna be warm!" which is not an abnormal thing to hear from my Arizona-born son.

So when we came inside I told him he could go outside while I bring the groceries in.
Within a few minutes he was back at the door asking for a drink of water. He felt a little warm so I asked him to come inside and sit down for a second so I could get his temperature. This was a little inconvenient for my boy and would rather not be bothered.

But when I did swipe that little gadget across his forehead and it read 107 I nearly lost my mind.
How on earth? He was just playing outside?

John seemed to react a little more concerned than I did. Having just experienced a high temp with Zoey a week before (thank you, double ear infection) I had spent a lot of time on the phone with nurses who said again and again "what we look for is how they're acting compared to how high the temperature is." Jack didn't seem to be acting too different, but none the less we took his shirt off, turned on a fan and put a cold wash cloth on his forehead. We gave him some medicine and waited. Then called our babysitter to stay with Zoey and swooped Jack into the car and to the ER.

In retrospect, it was probably one of his favorite memories (if you remember it, Goose.) because he had mommy and daddy and mom's games on her phone and dad to play trains with at the hospital and he had zero other symptoms.

So strange.

For me, it was an experience I'll never forget. For the first time in my short years of motherhood I didn't shake with anxiety over what would happen to my baby boy, I didn't giggle when I shouldn't or feel like I was going to vomit (this happens to me often when our kids gets sick.) I think it helped that he was acting himself, but more than that it helped that he could communicate how he was feeling.

I pray Jesus has made a change in my heart, I pray that He has overcome my anxiety over whether or not my kiddos are sick or gonna-be, 'cause it's just not worth it. and what control do I have over it any how?

My mantra for this year has been "even if my greatest fears happen, and they could, He will carry me through because He always does." 

that idea rocked my world. To not wonder if He is punishing me, or trying to "teach me" something or just test my faith. But to know and remember that we live in a fallen, broken world and bad things will happen and that's not a part of His plan. But even if they do, even if our kids get high temperatures or break a limb or have to have surgery, He is the only thing and person who can and will carry us through. Simple truth, I know, but still amazes me.

thankful Jack was fine a day later and couldn't wait to go back and play outside.

17 July 2014

summer 2014

We've been livin' it up this summer.

Jack has taken swim lessons and has loved every second. I love seeing his little personality develop more and more.

I see this tender side emerging. The side that's beneath the rough edges of his toddlerhood and becoming his little boy-self. Today he asked, "mom, are you mad at me?" which startled me. toddler-Jack wouldn't have even thought about it. (or maybe he did, but couldn't verbalize it) For us, for him, that's a huge step. To be able to sense a change in someone's voice and demeanor. (for the record, no, I was just asking him to clean up his toys.)

He loves to sit in bed and sing songs together. Raise our hands when we sing worship songs. Tickle backs and give each other goose pimples. John has taken over putting Zoey to bed so it leaves most bedtimes for Jack and I. Some nights we open the windows and look at the moon, other nights we listen to the rain and some we just quickly go to sleep cause it's 9pm and mama's got a take a shower and little man is so tired.

I treasure these nights for as long as I can still fit on the edge of his bed. I love how he'll stroke my cheek with his blankey in hand. The way he smiles at me. The way he asks me to turn the bathroom light on.

Time has taken our little toddler and turned him into this strong, sensitive, energetic yet kind little boy. Jesus has grown him into this person who can love on his sister and her little friends and run after older kids in an open field.

the other night he had gotten his feelings hurt at someone's house and was having a bit of a meltdown. as i've learned him over the last 4 (almost 5) years i know that there's something deeper there (may be hunger or may be hurt feelings) 
so when i finally got him to share it he burst out.
"he took that toy from me and it hurt my feelings!' 

and there it was. and we hugged and i said i was sorry and he felt heard and validated and affirmed.

so strange what a difference that makes. 
i love learning little people, especially at this age. i love hearing their likes and dislikes. like when i moved some toys off of his dresser he came out looking really off.

"mom." he mumbled. "you moved my trains and firetrucks off of my dresser and i do. not. like. it." i was a bit shocked that he said it so calmly and yet proud that he had verbalized that it had bothered him. 

where did you go, little goose? i can't believe how fast this part of life is going. 
i can't wait to see who you continue to grow into.

02 July 2014

mama's day

this is a majorly late post, but here it is!
from mother's day!

this one. made me a mama.  
teaches me every single day the His mercies are new every morning
and there's grace to cover the way we are that we wish we could change.
he teaches me how to be patient and speak kindly and laugh and go on adventures.
he keeps me young and and reminds me how fragile relationships are and how they need to be taken care of and not for granted.

this one teaches me to see beauty in everything. 
to stop and see puppies and babies and to have courage 
to do things on her own.
she reminds me of patience and strength and the beauty in being an individual and to not compare
to other kids or stages or places they are.
she reminds me of the beauty and importance of not caring what any one is thinking
but dancing in the aisle or singing let it go at the top of her lungs.
she keeps us up late and gets us up early, but the girl has the sweetest spirit.
she's drawn the kindness out of all of us and created a little habitat of love.


this post got me…written from a dear friend who gets my heart and shares my struggles and is trudging through this life and sees it as just a dot and reminds me not to focus on where we've been or where we are, but where we're going. kind of like this article did too.

i've really neglected this blog, once again.
some times i just don't know what to write.
well, that's not entirely true, some times i just can't find the time to write.
nap times, since february, have been spent with more discipline than i thought i was capable of and are devoted to adoption paperwork. i've tried to keep that separate from my time with kiddos and relationships and mom's group. mostly because it keeps me from getting annoyed with interuptions. it's been a tough balance and i'm sure i've let so many things fall through the cracks…which is really hard for me to accept.

these last few weeks have been a push with adoption paperwork. it's all coming together, but it's been hard to balance. to balance being with the kids and remembering papers that need to be scanned and sent to the translator. today i was thinking about the greatest challenge for me in this paperwork portion of the adoption process and for sure it has been having to push my way through people and be assertive when i talk to them. i often just take whatever someone says as the fact and don't push harder. i'm a peace maker at heart and don't like to ruffle any feathers, but in this crazy, doesn't even make sense process, the greatest asset a mama has it to assertive and keep asking until you get the answer you're hoping for. and people respond to that.

i've begun to wonder if Jesus wants me to stop being so passive and start addressing things and people and behavior. my husband will tell you i don't have a problem doing that with him, haha, but i do tend to have a hard time saying what i really think to people. i've never been as assertive as i've had to with this paperwork process. every one looks out for numero uno and so i guess it's time i step up a little, not for me, but for that little one in Haiti who God has planned to be in our family and one of ours. i do it for her, wherever she is and whoever she is, and just like with my biological children in the doctor's office or at school, i'm their greatest advocate.

i never would have thought that would have been the stretch God had planned for me through this process. the waiting and unknown isn't as hard for me, but the persistent calls and staying on top of things has been a challenge.

who knows what the greatest stretch will be in the next process.


these pictures are from months ago. i have some loaded up on my camera, but i need to unload them into picassa.

birdie is talking up a storm. of course, strangers can't understand much of it, but we can. and jack can. and they have little conversations outside for hours about who knows what.

and sister loves her babies.

and her dadddy. who she wakes up and sleeps with almost every night around 2 or 3am.
i have given in and automatically move to her bed in her room. i can't snuggle and fight over covers all night. she just loves to be next to someone.

i don't know where she got that from. ;)

her legs are growing longer, her steps are stronger and little person is so enjoyable.
she loves puppies (as you can see) and all things Jack.
she can definitely voice her own opinion, especially if it's no to her request for a sucker.

14 May 2014

tail gatin'

This picture just swells my heart with joy. Those little chocolate faces, the red straps, the warm spring breeze (that quickly turned chilly after we ate the ice cream ;)

Some nights when John gets home we try to do something to burn that hour-energy before bedtime. some nights we declare an adventure and drive through the hills. This particular night the kids were bathed, each wore an outfit of choice and we were off to get ice cream from Trader Joe's.

I didn't really think about Jack not wearing shoes as we left the house. We wouldn't leave the car after all, right?

And there we were. In the mall parking lot, full of prom attendees and busy folks. We parked at the top of a hill and watched the sun set and the clouds move. It was beautiful.

Of course it lasted all of about 10 minutes before Z wanted to go explore the back of the cruiser and Jack declared that he was freezing and needed to go peepee.

So, in true mama-bear form, I whisked him from the car, shoeless and in firefighter gear to the ladies room. Something he despises, by the way. He isn't a girl, so why should he go to the girls room? It's always a fight.

So, despite my best efforts, I had to put his little bare feet on the ground (gross!) and let him go. As well as wrestle under his coat to get those suspenders off. No easy feat, folks. 

He giggled the whole time and wanted to blow dry his hands after he washed them. Why of course, buddy.

I wondered as we raced through the crowded restaurant why people kind of looked at us. Could it be that we used the bathrooms even though we hadn't eaten there? (sorry Roadhouse) no, it must have been the gear. Or a barefoot four year old.

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