A birthday is a Gift


What a day.

What a special, wonderful, amazing, beautiful day!

Today, we had the opportunity to celebrate our little girl’s 6th birthday.

This birthday was unlike any we have ever experienced before.

So different from celebrating Noah and Collin’s birthday.

A year ago, we were waiting to find out if we would be matched with a

Little girl who already had our hearts.

We had seen an old picture, in black and white, and heard some of her story.

I had spoken with her caseworker several times, and we were a few days away from

Finding out if we would she would join our family.

It seems so surreal.

The day we found out that we would be her Mommy and Daddy


Was such a special day.

We found out on Noah’s birthday.

The craziest part is, it is her birthday too!

So here we are, a year later, celebrating the life that has changed me in more ways

Then I knew possible.

And it is amazing.

What joy it was to stand in a room, overflowing with friends and family who

(Now) love her too.

What joy to know she is healthy and happy.

What a gift to see her eyes filled with tears and wonder

As she watched people pour in to a room

Decorated, for her, with balloons,

A beautiful cake, and presents…

And she knew they were all there for HER!


In many ways, I wanted to make up for birthdays that she celebrated

Away from us.

Birthdays that came with disappointment.

I wanted her to feel that


I wanted her to know that she is an important part of our family

And that we are so glad that she is here.

What a gift we have been given to be able to shower her.

Throughout the day, I saw the shadows of the past creep in on her.

It clouded the sun at times.

It was hard to see, but I am so thankful that

The memory of this day will impact her future birthdays.

I am so thankful for new memories and special days.

Next week, we will celebrate Noah.

I am looking forward to another special day with another one of my children.

What a blessing it is to be mom to 3 precious children.


I am thankful for the children that grew in my womb

And the one that grew in our hearts!

Happy birthday, Sweet Evelyn.

We love you very much!


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The word that has flooded my mind since I was a very young girl.

A word that, at times, seemed to taunt me.

Seemed to control my thoughts,

And bring sadness as it seemed to stay at arms reach

Never to be part of my reality.

I mourned what this word meant

As it didn’t seem to be part of me.

For years I longed to embrace this word.

To feel it.

To taste it.

To live it.

It was not the right time,

I had to wait.

Nearly 2 years ago, the word invaded the heart of my husband.

It enveloped his heart, the way it had mine.

God joined our hearts deeply in this way.

Two became one.


We researched.

We committed.

We learned.

We waited.

Nearly 8 months ago, I got a call.

A call about a little girl.

No picture, just a name and a story.

We said yes.

We waited.

and waited.

In March, we were matched.

It was official.

She would be ours and we would be hers.


It is like finding out you are pregnant after months of trying.

You are speechless, excited, nervous, joyful, happy.

A few weeks later, we met her.

She was there, in front of us.

Husband. Wife. Daughter.

Flesh and blood.

Heart on her sleeve and longing in her eyes.

I am sure her image reflected ours.

It was amazing.

I will never forget the moment we shared the same air for the first time.

It was beautiful.

It was ours.

It was hers.

A short visit, only a day.

A day, such a special day.


This moment.

She wanted to hold hands.

My heart jumped.

Later, we said goodbye.

My heart was sad.

A few days later, we returned to her.

The boys joined us this time.

Such excitement.

So much unknown.

So much Joy.


They met.




We were together.

The day flew by.

So fast, too fast.

We said goodbye again.

A few days would pass and we would return to our little girl.

She would come home with us this time.

Just for the weekend.

It was so good to have her here, we were home.

All of us.

Then we had to take her back.

It was hard.

Almost impossible.

A few days later, she came for good!

She was home.

Praise be to God.

Tomorrow will mark 19 weeks since that day.

The day where dream became reality.

The last 19 weeks have been unbelievably hard.

There have been so many days when I didn’t think I could make it.

So many battles I just couldn’t fight.

You have no idea just how hard.

So many hard days.

Things are shifting

Things are starting to gel.

We are figuring out how to love her.

How to love her well.

We are finding our needs to be met, daily,

By our great God.

We are finding joy in the little things,

And celebrating all good things.

I feel like my feet are finally finding footing.

I have messages to return.

I have people who love me and have checked on me,

That I just haven’t been able to respond to

Because I was almost unable to breath most days.

I hope, when I look back at this post in the future, I will rejoice in the journey.

I am so thankful God entrusted us with this precious girl.

She is a gem.

She is smart.

She is funny.

She is beautiful.

She is ours.

She is so much like me, at times,

I wonder how she is not biologically mine.

I am in love with her.


I am so thankful that SHE is how God has unfolded

Adoption for us.

For now.

As God has been walking us through our journey

He has become bigger to us.

He has shown us so much of how much he loves us

Through the gift of loving our daughter.

He is also opening our hearts to how adoption will be even more

Part of our life.

He is growing another child in our hearts.

We don’t know when, but we are confident that our time,

As a family of 5 will be short lived.

We are excited!!


What a gift.

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I don’t know where to begin.

I am sitting in my living room,

Just home from my morning walk.

The house is quiet.

Very quiet.

The faint sound of the dryer tumbling,

Creates a steady, calm background noise.

It is Monday morning.

The kids are in school this year.

They attend a local charter school and we have found our groove.

The transition from homeschool to school has been hard.



 The boys love being in school with other kids

And it is really challenging them in many ways.

Good ways.

I am figuring out what my new role looks like

And working to get my cookie business up and running.

I will discuss that more soon.

My days look completely different than they have for the first 8 1/2 years

And I have to say I am starting to enjoy the time I have alone.

I miss the boys, very much,

But I am treasuring our time together more and more.

I will be making some changes here, too.

Since starting this blog,

Nearly 6 years ago,

There have been many changes

In life and on the blog.

So, as I have done in the past,

I will try to mix things up a bit.

I plan on investing more time on these cyber pages

And sharing ways I make our, more limited time,


I plan to pick up my camera a little more and share stories of


I plan on sharing ways I am saving money,

Decorating our house as we are getting it ready to put on the market,

And ways we are trying new and exiting products…

For free.

I also want to share the exciting world of cookie making with you!

Happy Monday!!

You will hear from me soon!

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Learning Through Observation

As a mother…

I want to teach my children to:

Love one another.


Walk through life with courage.

Be independent.

Look out for each other.

Be compassionate.

Be caring.

Be grateful.

Be gracious.

Be respectful.

Love God.

Cherish one another.

And so much more.

The longer I am a mother,

The more I realize these things are all taught

By them watching what I do.

What their father does.

While they hear what I say, they watch what I do more closely than

Anything I intentionally to tell them.

That being said,

And knowing they are watching,

I begin to think about all of the other things I am teaching them.

I am pretty sure I will do many things that will be packed

Into the suitcases of their mind creating baggage they will carry for the





So many of the lessons I show them are reflections of fear.


There is that word again.

When I think about Mother’s Day,

I think about the role God has given me.

The gift of the children that he has entrusted to me.

I think of what I want them to learn by observation.

I think of what I wish I could hide from them.

Things that I know God doesn’t want to be a part of my life.

Things that many mothers need to be released from.

I am a child of God.

That should be where I find my identity.

I should hold to that FACT tightly.

This means I should NOT compare myself to others.

I am redeemed.

This changes everything.

My debt has been paid.

A debt I could never pay on my own.

I am forgiven.

I am forgiven.

I just want to sit in this thought for a moment.

EVERY day I wake up,

EVERY breath I take,

EVERY moment,

I need to remember I am forgiven.

My sins, and there are many, are washed away.

I am the mother God made for Noah and Collin.

If I would believe this truth,

I would not feel like a failure so often.

If God would have wanted a different mom for these

Precious boys, He would have done that.

He did not.

He chose me for the job!

The boys are not mine.

They are HIS!

There is so much freedom in knowing the boys are not mine.

I need to embrace this and live like this.

If I truly entrust my children into the hands of their Creator,

The pressure to always be perfect is released.

They have been entrusted to Aaron and I.


They are not ours.

They are HIS!

I will mess up.

This should not be a hard concept to wrap my brain around.

I am human.

I am sinful.

I do not know everything.

Therefore, I will mess up.

I need to trust that the God who holds the

Past, present, and future in the palm of His hands, knows this too.

I can not change God’s plan.

God is God.

His will, will be done.


I cannot throw a monkey wrench into the inner-workings of  His plan.

I need to relax.

Childhood moves fast.

I need to unplug more.

Stop comparing myself to other mom’s who do things “better” than I do them.

Interact more.

Yell less.

Be in the moment more.

Take more pictures.

Embrace spontaneous moments.

I need to stop questioning whether I deserve this life.


I deserve death.

BUT Jesus paid it all so I may have life.

I need to trust.


Easy, right?

Not so much.

I need to trust that God knows what He is doing.

IF I embrace these truths then the lessons the boys learn

Through observation will reflect the image of Christ.

What a gift.


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Spring, AHHHH!

Spring rain!

Yes, spring has finally sprung in our fair city!

We have waited and waited for the change of seasons

And as I type this morning,

The smell of fresh rain is wafting in through

My open dining room windows.

It is lovely.

Spring is quickly matching fall for my favorite time of the year.

I love thunderstorms and fresh flowers.

I also love seeing my neighborhood come to life.

We live in an old neighborhood in a nearly 100 year old home.

We all have front porches and we love to use them.

Spring time means the end of our hibernation and the beginning of months of porch

Sitting, iced tea drinking, and neighbor visiting.


Do you love spring as much as I do?

What is your favorite thing about spring?S

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Mindbender Mansion, COSI Giveaway!



One of the fears that God has been etching away from my life,

Is the fear that I will lose my children.

In February, the boys went to Georgia

With my parents.

Aaron and I stayed here.

The big change was noticed when I was able to miss them,

While still fully enjoying the time I had alone with my husband!

This balance was so beautiful, it was only made possible by the grace of God.

On Sat, Mar 23, I took the boys


To COSI for the day.

This was awesome!

It was so fun to spend the day with the boys,

In a big place and not have that terrible feeling

That they would be separated from me.

Now, let’s get down to business!

I was invited back to COSI to experience the new

Exhibit, Mindbender Mansion.


I can’t decide if the boys like this or the Lego’s exhibit we played with better.

When you enter Mindbender,

You get a piece of paper

And instructions to go from room to room and solve clues

By working various logic puzzles.

It was really challenging, but so much fun!

This exhibit really gets people working together too!

For some reason, I am unable to upload ANY pics,

So you will have to trust me when I tell you it is amazing!

The exhibit room has been transformed into a mansion.

We had a serious mental workout!

It was awesome!

The lovely folks at COSI

Have given me 2 Family 4 packs of tickets including 4 IMAX tickets

To the wonderful film Butterflies.

We watched the film while we were there and it was

Beautifully created and wonderfully informative.

So how do you enter?

All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me you want to win!

Enter once daily, if you’d like!

I will use random.org to select 2 winners on Fri, Apr 12 at 9 a.m.

Please include your e-mail address in the comment so I can contact you!

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The Great Dayton Flood

Last week I didn’t get the post up , that I had intended,

So I will do my best to get them up this week!:)

A week and a half ago,

My dad and I headed over to the The Dayton Art Institute

For the Social Media Preview night of the new

Exhibit, “Storm, Watershed and Riverbank”.

The Great Dayton Flood happened Easter weekend in 1913.

As I mentioned, my dad was my date for the evening.

When the invitation to the event showed up in my e-mail,

I asked Aaron if he would mind if I asked my dad to be my date.

Dad is a bit of a Dayton Geek.

In a good way,

He knows so much about the history of our fair city,

So I thought this would be right up his alley.

It was great to spend the time together, but even

Better to discover some interesting things about the city

While finding a photograph with the hotel where his dad stayed

When he moved to Dayton.

Dad had never seen it, so it was fun!


It lives in this picture, but if you want to find it you

Will need to go there to see it.

Considering that my father is my resident Dayton Historian,

I asked him if he would write about the flood itself.

So here it is: (He wrote it a week or so ago)

One century ago this week, Dayton, Ohio and the entire Miami Valley were devastated by a massive flood as torrential, seasonal rains supersaturated the ground and the resulting runoff brought the Wolf Creek and both the Mad and Stillwater rivers to levels above flood stage. Their surging waters met the already swollen Great Miami River in the heart of downtown Dayton. The resulting floodwater broke through the earthen levees and rose up to the second story windows in just a few hours, stranding merchants, families and others throughout the business district and the adjacent neighborhoods. Horses, wagons, railroad cars and entire homes were carried through the streets by the rushing waters. Entire blocks were destroyed by raging fires as people fled from attic to attic of adjacent buildings to escape the inferno. Over 300 souls were lost. Dayton was changed forever. The story is depicted in photographs, original art and relics in The Dayton Art Institute’s exhibit of The Great Dayton Flood of 1913. The exhibit also covers the aftermath, recovery, preventative improvements made to the rivers and even future plans for making The Great Miami Riverfront a focal point for the further revitalization of downtown Dayton.

The history of the flood is interesting,

And I remember hearing stories as I was growing up,

Of people stranded on rooftops or people rowing boats

Through city streets to help rescue the stranded Daytonians.

In the next 3 photos you see the same house photographed at

6 a.m.


8:30 a.m.


and 11 a.m.


As you can see, the water rose fast and the people must have been terrified.

The most amazing part of the exhibit is the

Parallel photographs.

The DAI hired an artist to recreate the images in the current location of the original.

It was so helpful to see the before and after.


The DAI also features some of the upcoming river based projects!

This made me excited as I think of the fun that could be had

If the community had the opportunity to utilize our river!


The exhibit is beautiful and respectfully done.

I highly recommend you make your way out before the exhibit ends, May 5.

And a special thanks for my dad for joining me!

If you are interested in hearing more from my dad,

Hop over to Eastwood Eagle Watchers

Where he posts about the eagles that have made Dayton their home.

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