19 November 2015


Jack loves to learn. It's like he has an appetite for it. Once he finds something he loves he wants to learn everything there is to know about it. Or if it's a song, he wants to listen to it a hundred times. (Current favorite is the Jurassic Park theme song.)  Some things he already knows everything about (imagine that.) like soccer. He knows all the moves. haha.

I admire his confidence and although I think there's great value in not being a know it all (no body likes a know it all) I love the way he delivers facts and little tidbits he's learned. And a lot of the time he's right. His little brain is like a vault of information and when he's told something once he will pretty much remember it forever (he did not inherit that skill from me.) He loves a good task or assignment and loves a good challenge. I love that about him. We're very different, but he's reminded me of the importance of a good nudge. A nudge of hope, of friendships, of finding something you love to do and committing to learn it because there is such great joy in accomplishment. I'm a little late in life to be learning this, but here I am. I used to think that having to do all the work made it kind of pointless, but finally at the ripe old age of 30 I am learning the great value in the process and not just reaching the goal.

And lately, I see this tender side of him. This side that prefers to cuddle and have hugs and kisses and to hear how important bravery and courage is. Lately I see little insecurities creep in and he quickly blames it on his shoes or the pants I make him wear, but the fact that his little confidence meter is being tampered with hurts my heart. I know it's inevitable and it's healthy and in the big picture, good. I just can't believe he's already there. It doesn't get a whole lot easier from here.

There's a part of me that wants to shield him from failure, from bullies, from eating lunch alone or not quite understanding certain things. I try to remind myself it's so good for him and that although this may be real life, it doesn't have to define us or keep us from trying again. I pray he keeps trying again. Love that boy,

07 October 2015


There are a few things I am really loving right now…

First, the reveal of northern california fall. It's unlike anything I've experienced. The sun sets earlier each night and the leaves have started to change (i didn't even know it did that in california!) The mornings are cool and crisp and foggy and yet the days are still warm and sunny and shorts-worthy. I'm trying to soak in that sun (I realized my body has sort of adapted to needing it.)  I like to imagine that just beyond the houses and telephone wire is the ocean and the waves are raging. That's kind of what the air feels like, the water is just a couple miles away. (it's not, but a girl can dream, right?)

Next, I started going to Zumba at our local Y and what started as kind of a joke has turned into a renewed love for dancing. I never danced growing up so it's not second nature to me, but man. i have a serious love for dancing. i kept telling john that if they made an exercise class that was the equivalent to how much fun dancing at weddings is that i would be there! that's pretty much zumba. the teacher is so good and like most good teachers, their love for it is contagious and you can't help but laugh and smile the entire time sweat is literally pouring down your face. It's gross, but it's so fun. I never thought I would write that sentence.

I'm not quite sure what is happening but I think it's called settling in and it fits well. I am learning to love it here, crazy culture and all. But while we're there on the culture let me joke about a few things (because I seriously couldn't joke about it until now)

a, people, why do we have to be so rude? please smile more.
b, please don't make me bring my reusable bags into the stores. i forget every time and the cheap skate in me really hates having to buy a new one for .10
c, but yeah, thanks of that ocean view.


my parent's and sister came for a visit on labor day weekend. it was such a fun and relaxing weekend full of the beach, a fever for my Pop's, a birthday celebration, a lot of coffee, laughter and delicious food.

We found this beach where the otters were literally nearly swimming to the shore. They came so close to people (get out of the water, crazies!!) There were also pod of dolphins. So incredible.

this boy loves the ocean. once his body adjusts to the constant roar of the waves he settles in like a boy with his noise maker (he's slept with a noise maker since he was born.) and he just revels in the freedom to think and run and be on the sand. and he always finds a stick or seaweed or something.

Here is my dad who later that day would have a 101 fever (thanks to a little saliva gland infection) but he was a great sport and tried to make some memories despite his pain.

And dear sister Maggie who also got some time to reflect and be. 

see that little dot on the front right??? thats the otters! little family of them. 

a few weeks later we went back to a different beach and it was the first time i experienced what people describe as a spiritual experience and the ocean. i never quite believed them, but the beach was mostly empty and it was early enough to feel that cool breeze. the waves were strong and high and constant. john has taken the kids for a walk on the beach and i just sat and stared at the water. the waves never stopped raging with all their power and might. knowing that the water goes for miles and the kind of life that lives within those waters is something i can't comprehend. how can life be living in those waters and God still knows the depths of it? i found myself captivated by it's beauty and vastness and in awe of a God who can have that sort of control over the unpredictable and temperamental waves and yet He knows me and can love me with all my temperamental moods and emotions. I can't fathom that kind of love, I'm not capable of that kind of love. Directing the ocean and all it's beauty and still loving a quirky aging mama. Incredible.

This guy, who loves the ocean more than any one I've ever met, is well aware of the mystery and power of those waves. He has a healthy respect for it and won't go too near it but could stare at it for hours. 

01 October 2015

to zoey

my little bird…

I feel like i've uncovered a great secret. i imagine you must miss your jack during the day when he is at school, but my, how i love spending the mornings with you. you are flourishing in your new one on one role and i love hearing your thoughts from across the room, at the store and from the carseat. i love hearing your little stories you create with your animals and the conversations you're creating. i love listening to you sing while you color (they go hand in hand, after all.) and watching your creations unfold as you paint.

I listened last week as you told me how you're ready to have your sister home from Haiti. That you miss her so much and want to tickle her little toes. You want to feed her and no one else can hold her. (your exact words.) I love how big your heart is, little one. So full, so overflowing, all the time.

I hugged you when you came running towards me at chick-fil-e when you buried your little face in my neck and sobbed because "no one wanted to be your friend." (which isn't exactly true since you had only been in there about five minutes.) but you still wept and your tender little sensitive heart nearly broke at the thought of not being liked. (oh, dear one, hang on tight. that's a tough weakness to have.)

i love seeing your brave face when you're scared, i love hearing you tell me "i shy." when the lady checking us out at sprouts says hi and waves.

you're so caring and protective of your older brother. you stand up for him if he's ever in trouble and sometimes that can backfire (like with that one babysitter. we won't talk about that.)

You are kind, strong, brave and beautiful. You love anything pink and sparkly and if there's a butterfly on it, you want to wear it. You love to imagine you're a puppy and Jack can talk you into doing most things, though when you're done playing cars for the hundredth time, you are done.

You hold your own and stand tall. I love you when you're tired, pouting or talking back. I love it when you cuddle up and ask me to sing "mine baby" (also known as baby mine) I love how you sing along and how I find you singing it to your stuffed animals. You almost know the words by heart now and I never knew you would love that song so much. I love how you love life, little one. You're a girl after my own heart. Never lose your sense of wonder, excitement and joy.

Thank you for showing me grace when I lose my temper and for still wanting to do the ugga-mugga nose tickle before bed. Always be yourself.


01 September 2015

rhythm of life (part 5..?)

We're finding our new rhythm, our little tribe. 
It's taken a while and it still has a long way to go, but the rhythm of life has shifted and I'm surprised how ill-prepared I feel.

I am learning that after school Jack needs a break from talking, people telling him what to do, when to do it and how much longer he has. He needs freedom to run and pretend and create. 
(I am totally realizing this now as I type) 
He isn't ready to cuddle and connect. 
Oh, but I am.
By 3:30 I've wondered several times how he is doing and what he's learning and what sort of hilarious things he's said. I am longing to hear who he played with on the playground and if any arguments broke out and why didn't he finish his lunch? ha.

I'm learning that my need for connection can't come before his need to breathe. (healthy boundaries, I say)

Jack's learning how much he likes girls. 
(wish I was kidding)
He's learning all the names of his favorite girls in his class (and they all seem to share the same hair color. Maybe there's a connection.) 
Last night he told me as he drifted off to sleep, "When I close my eyes I see her on the playground and she's sad because I told her I didn't want to play that. I'm going to go and tell her I'm sorry and that I want to play with her."
Oh, young love.

Zoey is learning how to play solo and create her own little stories with her little animal friends. She has reunited with nap time and today we went in for a speech evaluation. She has so much to say and just needs a little coaching on how to get there. The therapist surprised me, however, and didn't see the need for the intervention and just encouraged repeating phrases back to her and practicing our speech skills. Lucky for Zoey, I'm a little bit of an expert when it comes to chatting. I'll teach her what I can, but I know interacting with kiddos her age is going to be the best therapy and we're planning to do lots of that.

Zoey is also learning how she doesn't like sharks, snakes, or any kind of scary animal that may attack and kill a smaller animal. Today, during the speech evaluation the therapist was showing her pictures and she got to a picture of an animal and Zoey just lit up. She loves so fully, so well. When asked to say a word three times rather than get frustrated that her words didn't come out the same as the therapist she broke into a fit of giggles and thought it was hilarious. She looked at her reflection in that little mirror and just laughed it off.

These two love to reunite at the end of the day, but my. How good it is to grow on our own. To find our own two feet and experience life just ours. (it's not always fun for us social beings) but it is so good and necessary.

I pray they know Jesus is with them as they experience challenges, victories and trials all their own. That when they look back they see how He made them brave, strong and able to laugh when things are challenging. I pray they see us standing behind them, looking on and watching them walk all on their own to the class or the car at the end of the day and they know we see how grown up they are becoming. And how proud of them we are.

For it's beginning to hit me, the need to let go bit by bit and encourage that independence and allow the natural consequences to occur. 'cause everything in me wants to keep consequences so far from them (unless I am the one giving them, let's be real.) I'm a mama-bear, but I know its just the beginning of the rest of life for them. and it's good. even if i'm not there to comfort them when the consequences are painful. they've got this and more importantly Jesus has them.

25 August 2015

our weekend routine

Now that Jack has started Kindergarten we are trying to find our new rhythm. One that can exist well with the busy weekends that go along with your daddy being a pastor. One that still allows for moments like these...

Granted, work-weekends are all this kiddo has ever known. And until this month we have enjoyed his Friday day off as our family day and tried to do something fun. Or run errands. Or stay in our jammies until 2pm, take your pick. 

But now that our pace is quickening and our schedules are filling (and will be for the rest of his time in our home) I find myself mourning the loss of carefree Fridays where there wasn't a places to be. But it's inevitable, that pace of life. And our boy has always thrived in a fast pace (he inherited that gift.) and this week has loved every school and all that it includes.

He has loved play time, recess time and snack time. He loves learning, meeting the other kiddos and making friends. I love watching him grow.

He did get his first bee sting yesterday. The First Bee Sting is a monumental moment for me. It's a big deal. And somehow in 5 years of life he has not once gotten stung, but he did yesterday. In effort to fight off the bee, he said. He was on the monkey bars and swung his legs in effort to hit it and, well, you can imagine what happened next.

When I heard that story I had such an array of feelings. I felt proud of him for handling his first war wound solo (he did tell me he cried. He doesn't cry a ton when he gets hurt, so it must have hurt badly.) and no one was there to help him so he had to go and find someone. I felt my stomach drop as I wished I had been there to see and comfort him while we put a bandaid on it. It was my first Mom Moment of the school year (probably not the last) being apart from my brave boy. I blubbered to John about it last night, thinking about him all alone on the playground, most likely in a pool of shameless cries as he has always been more afraid of getting a bee sting than the actual sting.  But more than that, I felt myself entering into this new season of life with my boy where he experiences so many, many things apart from me and that is how it's meant to be. He wasn't meant to be within eyeshot, earshot, (yell shot. just being honest.) forever. He's meant to cross those monkey bars, get a bee sting and cry and feel better on his own. He's ready. So begins the journey of him needing me less and less and as bittersweet as that is, it's time. It's meant to happen. 

It may just take me a few weeks (maybe years) to get used to, okay? 

And for the most part, Zoey enjoys being home. She misses her pal and playmate, but has loved starting to do little school things and has returned to her afternoon nap (thank You Lord!)

So we're finding it. Our groove, our rhythm, our ever-changing pace in life. This old mama has a harder time adjusting to the change, but I'm trying to embrace it.

21 August 2015

the time with the mud

between 6 and 7pm the sun starts to descend and the air cools. it's one of our favorite times of the day.
the kids escape to the backyard and explore every inch of land that our fence holds. 

this particular day it was quiet. too quiet. but we were tired and if i remember correctly i was taking a 7pm snooze on the couch and the screen door was open to hear any chaos that may be happening. john was catching up on the news. we heard laughter but we weren't quite expecting this. and not jack, but zoey. somehow the binky joined the fun and somehow she had in caked in her hair. she wouldn't come out at first when i called her name. she was hiding from me. when she saw me i couldn't help but laugh. snap a picture and laugh. oh, kids.

but let's be real. we're in a drought! so of course the kids were told they couldn't play with whatever any more. 

19 August 2015

day 1

Today our boy started Kindergarten.

Last night we had a little family feast (nothing special, just burgers and watermelon.) We shared our hopes for this year (very briefly cause there was chocolate cake to be had, people.) and at each turn Zoey was quick to say, "I in Kindergarten too!" or "What about me?"

He said he can't wait to wear his backpack and play on the playground at recess (though he has been informed he can't go on the monkey bars until he's in first grade. who knew?) Our little bird is having a hard time adjusting and just can't understand why/how Jack can go somewhere without her. They have become dear friends and each other's favorite playmate since we've moved. They create the best stories and are always onto the next adventure. I am excited to see how Zoey grows this year and the different areas she changes as she's able to have her own opinions without the strong influence of an older sibling. ha.

After an early start to the day (Jack has to be at school at 8:15 and its about a 20 minute drive.) Zoey has taken a nap (been a very long time since that) and Jack has had a quiet afternoon. They only went until 11am the first day, but tomorrow it's a full day of school and learning.

The imminent routine of school life has been taunting me all summer long as we sleep in every morning, stay up waaay too late and our days are full of a fun, easy going (and mostly free) pace. I know routine is good and that kids thrive on it and even I prefer it, but establishing the routine is the real burden and getting there takes a lot of sacrifice and choices. Right choices. But we'll establish it and I will embrace it, what else is there to do? ;)

And I am certain Zoeybird will learn to love life in her own skin. Meeting her new friends and going on little adventures all her own. But if she's anything like her mama, she'll always prefer the company of a good friend over that of flying solo. Maybe not, who knows.

But here goes, 2015. The beginning of something new. Let's not talk about the continued summer heat or that I still firmly believe school should not start until after labor day. We'll just roll with it.

15 August 2015


I write a whole lot about our Jackboy. He's always bursting into new seasons of life and I follow him, sometimes willingly and sometimes dragging my feet. Each stage is a new learning curve for the whole family. We've never had a 5-almost-6-year old. We're newbies every single day. (bless those first borns. bless you.) We try all our new parenting tactics out on his precious heart and sometimes it's a win and sometimes it's an unfortunate (and apologetic) fail on our parts. With Zoey, we adapt, but it's not the first time. When it's a hard day I say to John, "don't you remember when Jack went through this?" or "she's responding so different than Jack." And we laugh and reminisce and say a thankful prayer that we're not newbies with our dear second born.

Thus, the reason why I started writing in the first place (other than to document and reflect on this journey called motherhood) was to help balance the feelings of what-on-EARTH-is-happening with the these-moments-pass-so-quickly. 

And yet, I want our little Birdie girl to look back and see her milestones reflected on as well.

like the moments when she smiles at me and says, "I brave, Mommy."
or when she sees a new dress I got her and claps her hand over her mouth. "oh, my goodness! it's beautiful!!" she squeals in the highest pitch voice you ever did hear.

I also love hearing her little vocabulary grow and develop. We still have a few milestones to reach on that and we will keep working hard, but every day I hear a new word I didn't hear before and thanks to her and her brother's imaginative play, their dialogue has gone from a few words to puppy playmates. (they're currently pretending they are adventure puppies in the next room.) He's so good for her and she for him. They tend to each other's little friendship soul and encourage one to be a bit more rough and the other to be a little more gentle.

Zoey is fiercely loyal to her big brother and can often be found defending him on the playground, "don't you say that to my BRUVER! you a monster!" And a smack may or may not follow.

Or recently, when we tried out a new babysitter (it did not go well.) and she informed us when we got home that she is concerned about our little girl because she tried to choke this babysitter. In defending her brother who was getting in trouble. I'm not saying it was right, but I am saying that to be scared of this petite 3 year old is funny all in itself.

She's spunky and sassy and sweet and sensitive. She's nurturing and cuddly and loves to sing and dance.

I think the hardest thing to watch during this move was the way she's grown to dislike babies. She's not as forward as Jackboy is and tends to keep to herself for a little bit. Her feelings have been hurt so many times in meeting new friends and one can only be called a "baby" so many times. She toughs it out and keeps going back into the ring, but I see her reject little babies who she used to welcome with open arms. Maybe its part of her age and development, but she doesn't want to be a baby and doesn't want to play with babies. Maybe it's just a phase.

They may or may not have come up with a game at Chick Fi Lay called Team Rocket. Which they decided meant to push babies.

I can't make this stuff up.

I love watching her grow and become more of a little girl every day as the toddler phase slowly leaves us. Though I am glad I can still carry her when she's sleeping or cuddle her when she's sad.

The other day she watched Dumbo for the first time. When Baby Mine came on she yelled my name over and over. "Mom! it's your song!" I don't sing it to her every night, but when she was a little baby I used to sing it to her all the time. I rushed in so we could watch it together. (and then proceeded to have a good cry for that moment and other goodbyes to birth mom's that breaks my heart.) She hasn't asked to watch that movie again and I don't blame her. Why is it so sad?

songs that remind me of you, little Bird.

14 August 2015


I love a lot of things about this new place.

I love the consistent breeze that flows throughout our house the minute that sun is lower.
I love how the trees are green and they pretend they get rain to their roots, but we're on to the drought (and the ridiculous water bills to keep grass green.)
I love the fig tree in our yard and the orange tree on the side of the house. I love knowing we can be whisked away to the beach or to the city for cooler weather.

There have been, however, a few learning curves for this banana shaped place. Besides being a little too keen on itself and a little ahead of it's time, it also requires reusable bags wherever you go. Even Marshalls. I still, to this day, have a hard time remembering my bags when I go into Target. and I don't like wasting money, even if it is .10 a bag. That's been an adjustment.

Another awakening was today at the DMV to register our vehicle. There is a charge for every day you don't register your car here in Cali. Even if you had prior registration that was not expired. My goodness. After a doozy of a ticket the innocent bystander asked if I would like help with anything else to which I couldn't help but reply "Nope! You guys took all my money, there's nothing left!" ha. She chuckled. Then she asked for our previous state title for our vehicle so she could destroy it and issue us a california title. I knew my conspiracy theory husband would not like that idea so I told her that was not going to happen. Then she asked for our old license plates so she could destroy those. I told her thank you very much that will not be happening either. I'm still not sure why I put up such a fight about those. I mean, I do. I'm sentimental and so is my boy. I imagine he'll want those hung in his bedroom later this year.

Oh, Cali. You are luring with your beautiful coastline, dangerous earthquakes, repetitive weather and billowing trees that waves at us all day long. I like you, I do, but maybe it's the rebel in me. Or the old small town girl. I just can't trust you yet. This summer has been hot and I am sure you will try to woo me with your winter 70 degree days. I'll do a reevaluation then, don't worry. But for now, go easy on us, okay? Particularly in the potential 100 degree weather thats supposed to come tomorrow.

02 August 2015


Can it be? Are you really about to start Kindergarten?
Where has the time gone, my boy?

As I reflected on the upcoming life-change and monumental moment for my boy I couldn't help but wonder (and doubt, as I do. just being honest.) Have I taught him enough? not in the typical letters and numbers sort of way. The kid is an information vacuum and loves to learn. he's the same kid who asks questions like, "why does the moon change sizes? how do planes work? what were some of your mess ups as a kid?" 

but i wonder (or perhaps worry) have we practiced honesty enough? treating others the way you like to be treated? sweet Jack, we've practiced for the last five years how to use gentle hands, how to use words when we're upset, how to problem solve, find root emotions, sing songs to ward off bad moods and find comfort in blue blankets and bee bees (his beloved pacifier. RIP.) We've learned the joy of dance parties and bath time, Thomas the train, playmates, oreo eating, long walks and car-running in the house and/or backyard. we've practiced so much, my boy, and yet i can't help but wonder, are you ready? have we laughed enough? have we played pretend, read enough books together, taken enough naps together, made up stories, built forts, put together puzzles, created paint masterpieces and jumped through creeks enough?

have you tasted enough adventure? i'm sorry for how many times i've asked you to slow down or be careful, you know i just love you and want you to be safe, right? 
did we read up enough on how thunderstorms start and what an earthquake is? 
did i listen to your dreams?
did i draw your heart out enough? your tender, spirited little heart that has lots of feelings that you're learning to express well. 
i sure hope we did. i do love those moments with you.

you're getting faster, kiddo. your legs are strong and swift and your feet hit the ground at just the right beat. i watch you dart across yards, across monkey bars, down and up slides. i see you there, with never ending energy that only ends when your head hits that pillow. but oh, my boy, you will stay awake as long as i will sing and your questions just keep flowing. i see you dozing, your eyes getting heavy, but you come alive in those late night chats and every secret of the day unfolds and suddenly you have undivided attention (as your baby sister is long gone as soon as the lights are out. it is 10pm after all.) 
you ask, "are you old? i wish i could stay young forever."
"i had a scary dream, do you want to hear it?"
"i wish mater was here."

and suddenly, those chats will have to be cut short as school starts and our wakeup call will be much earlier than the 9am you typically roll of out bed. 

i wonder, do you feel ready? do you know how life will change for the next several years? school starting marks such a beautiful beginning of independent life and i am so excited for your journey and to watch you grow and change.
time with you is precious, my son. and time is catching up to us and here we are. five years in and i love you more each day. being your mama is an adventure and never lacking excitement and laughter. you're funny and kind and know a good friend when you see one.
i see you, goose. 
i see you choosing good friends on the playground,
sharing that toy with Zoey,
creating incredible pretend play with your friends.
learning how to read and feeling deeply about the characters in the book or in a good movie,
singing your prayers to Jesus at night about how much you love Him and how big He is.
i see you, pal, using the coping skill of laughter to help someone feel better when they're sad. choosing to see the bright sad in tough situations and being protective and encouraging when things are tough. even when you're the one who is disappointed.

i can't wait to see you travel through this next adventure. to learn how to read and write, to learn about science and math and how to master those monkey bars. you will love it.

love you, goose. my wingman and the one who taught me how to be a mama. 

some of my favorite songs that remind me of you: 

beautiful boy


father and son

blue eyed son

31 July 2015

big 3-3

birthdays continue on, even in new places.  even apart.
there's a very special little one whose birthday is on the 7th of july. we celebrated it from thousands of miles away, but we prayed for her, thought about her and wished we were close to her. she turned one and i can hardly believe we've been in this adoption journey for a year already! our love for her has grown so greatly in our hearts and we can't wait when we can celebrate with her. we think of her every day and pray (and beg) that next year we will have her in our arms to celebrate. Here's a vague, but real picture of her celebrating her 1st birthday far, far away, over ocean and land at 10pm at night. hopefully, one day soon, we won't have to be so vague and we can shout it from the rooftops (and Facebook posts ;) 
next year, little one.

and on the 11th we celebrated this guy and the 33 years he's been on earth.

here's jack quoting spanky when he says "i'm not hearing this. i'm not hearing this,"

i wish i could express how much he really means to me and how as each year passes i grow to love him more and more. we've found a rhythm together and he's encouraged me to be the best version of myself. he stretches me, believes in me and challenges me to try new things and take good risks. he's loyal, respectful and a man of integrity. i love living life with him. it's never boring and definitely never lacking tasks (which sometimes goes against my chill-and-relax personality) but we've learned to meet in the middle and that a balanced life needs both. i will say, those laugh lines that curve around the sides of his eyes are from a lot of laughing and smiling. he lives life full and well. 

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