Sunday, August 28, 2011


Man, oh man, we only have FIVE DAYS before moving out to our new house at the children's home we will be living at. This past week has consisted of TONS of phone calls, appointments, meetings, visits, etc., to get things more squared away. And of course, a LOT of packing.

This is Michael and I's first time to move in seven years, and we're living our first and only home, so it's bittersweet. This is also our first time to move with kiddos, which creates an ENTIRELY different dynamic. I'll go ahead and admit that our boys have been watching a LOT more TV for the past week and will continue to do so this week as we're getting ready for the move and just trying to get everything checked off of our lists.

Our house is going on the market in two weeks - by then we should have all of the updates we wanted to do, completed. That will be a big relief, and of course an even bigger relief once it sells.

Michael and I begin training this week and will spend two full days getting stuffed with information about the children's home regulations, as well as regulations of the state, basic FAQs, and CPR training. It will be nice to have that info and the rules under my belt - I'm a rule follower, so I actually like knowing what's expected of me :).

Michael gave me a budget to set up our new home, and yesterday me and my mom went shopping for my birthday to pick up a few things, among them being some FABULOUS fabric for pillows that she (I would say both of us, but I'd be lying) is going to make for our formal living room and the living room the girls mostly hang out in, which I refer to as "The Cave" because they always have the lights turned off in there (I picked up a GORGEOUS lamp from Hobby Lobby last week to help with this :) ). I also scouted out some curtains from World Market that I'm going back to buy at the end of this week when they're shipped in. I've posted a picture of them below because they are just. that. awesome. They're for our kitchen/dining area.
I'm having fun thinking of new ways to create a homey environment for all eight of us, and it's so much fun to have a fresh start and blank page as far as decorating goes, but I have to admit that sometimes that's not enough to distract me from what is ahead.

The truth is, I'm nervous and excited and scared all at the same time, and depending on the time of day and what I'm in the middle of, these emotions take turns presenting themselves. I'm swept up in all kinds of thoughts and feelings about this change, and am realizing more and more what a HUGE life change this really is.

*Whew. Deep Breath.*

The comfort and solace I have when I start to feel a little bit crazy for taking all of this on is solely and completely in the knowledge that when God calls, God equips. I believe this with all my heart. When I rely and trust in Him, He will give me the strength, the endurance, the wisdom, the ability to do this. This is where God wants us, and knowing where He wants us and what He wants us to do is something our family has been waiting on for over a year. It is so sweet, so good when you can see God's plan stretching out in front of you.

Something else that is so sweet and precious about this move is how excited Bennett is about everything. He loves his new "sisters," he loves our new house, he is excited about the playgrounds, his new room, the backyard, etc. etc. He calls this his "Big Adventure" and we have a count down chart hanging on the refrigerator that he asks me to mark off every morning when he wakes up. He counts the days and pumps his fists and hollers out the number left until "OUR BIG ADVENTURE!!" This is from God, without a doubt, because he is my emotional, sensitive child, and I was more concerned about him in all of this than anyone else. And as it turns out, he's great with it. Thank you, Lord! (Jasper is excited and really likes the girls, too, but is more easy-going and is too young to really understand it all until it happens).

I turn twenty-nine tomorrow, and I can't think of any better birthday present than to be entrusted with the hearts of God's children, and to have the opportunity to embark on the brand new "Big Adventure" we have been praying for. :)

And just so you know, I probably won't get caught up on my other blog topics I was supposed to post about - there are just too many new things going on right now, and there's too much to cover with all that's happening, but I'll keep updating.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This summer we...

**learned how to swim
(need to get a picture of it!!)

Bennett took swimming lessons from Poppy (my dad) all summer, and he's doing AWESOME! He can swim the ENTIRE length of the pool (from the deep end to the shallow end) with his head underwater, coming up for air when he needs it. He can jump off the side in the deep end and swim to the other side, and then pull himself out. He can float on his back. He can dive underwater and pick up cars from the bottom (at the shallow end). THANKS, Poppy!! You're the best swim teacher EVER!

**began wearing our hand-sewn spiderman-ish glove to prevent finger sucking (more on that in a future post, put it was created by Nanna. She's a genius, I tell you!)

**went to the water park twice a week
This was our last week and me and my mom bit the bullet and got the boys their Dippin' Dots ice cream (which we think is disgusting and ridiculously priced, but the boys love and have looked forward to all summer).

**learned to play (and made up) a LOT of new games
In this game, they're playing "Baby" and they go to sleep (usually in Jasper's crib), and then wake up crying. I tickle them and pounce on them until they go back to sleep - not that it makes any sense, but they love it. Other favorites of the summer were Alligator Snap and Leap Frog, both played on our couch cushions on the living room floor. Fun times.

Bennett's new thing, playing board games. We've taught him how to play Cootie, Connect Four, Go Fish, Chutes and Ladders, Trouble, and Yahtzee Jr., and I must say that my little man has learned REALLY well how to be a good sport! I'm so proud of him. When he loses, he says, aw, well, that's okay. I'm glad we played. And when he wins (after a lot of hooting and fist pumping), he turns to the loser and says, That's okay. You played good! So cute.

**had Nanna over for a visit, which was wonderful, as always!

**visited the pet store for the first time ever (don't ask me how we managed to avoid that for so long - the boys LOVED it. Bennett even got it in his head for a while that he was going to save up his money for a mouse, but decided to use it for candy instead, which made my heart very glad :) )

**went to birthday parties and play dates with friends.

**watched some Saturday morning cartoons

**visited Great Grandpa and Granny (and ate M&Ms, of course)

**went to the eye doctor, where Jasper passed all of the tests for his vision and eye muscles! Praise God!
(he was EXHAUSTED after the appointment and fell asleep on the way home, which NEVER happens)

We had a great summer packed with all kinds of fun. The boys are at such a terrific age for going out and about, exploring and trying new things! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


More info for you:

1. Our official move in date is September 3rd...2 1/2 weeks away. Dude.

2. We told the boys this past weekend. Jasper doesn't understand at all, and Bennett is having a hard time grasping it since he has never moved before. He keeps asking if we're moving tomorrow :). They met the girls yesterday and that went well all around. Bennett is excited about all of the cool things to do there, but his main concern is that he won't be the oldest anymore. That will have to play out when we settle in, I think.

3. I had to get a new SS card today because my wallet was stolen years ago (before Bennett was born), and I was one of those smarties who kept her card in her wallet (don't EVER do that!!). I am just now replacing it, and now I know why I procrastinated so long. The drive was a beast, getting lost in downtown was a beast, walking half a mile with the boys was a beast, and sitting in pleather chairs waiting for our number to be called was a beast. The boys were sweet and patient about it (thank you, Lord!) so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it sure wasn't fun.

4. Michael started back to school today. Crazy. Me and my mom are taking the boys to the water park for the last time on Thursday, which feels really weird since summer is pretty much over for our family. Everything is wrapping up. On the subject of school, I have decided to wait to start school with Bennett until after we move and the girls move in, too. We'll start school at home that following Monday, I think (or as soon as I get his school stuff unpacked and organized :) ).

5. I know I have a kajillion blog posts left to do from my list, but I'm not sure how many more I'll get to. Trying to get your house ready to be put on the market is not for the faint of heart (much like painting one's kitchen cabinets, which one will no longer be enjoying). Hope the next people who live here appreciate the blood, sweat and tears I poured into those babies!

6. It's amazing how a new mission and a fresh perspective on what's important in life can really rev up your spiritual mojo. I am so thankful for the way God has refreshed me and given me peace and strength for this upcoming transition.

7. The girls (soon to be our girls - crazy!) start school next Monday, and will have to live in a temporary house on campus while their old house mom moves out and we move in (three weeks total). Terrible time to not have a stable support system. Please pray for them if you think of them. Please pray for Bennett and Jasper and their transition, as well. All four of us are going to the house for dinner tomorrow night to pray over the girls and their school year, and then again Sunday night to give them hugs and show our support for their first day of school the following day.

8. If I am not calling you or getting back to you in a decent, socially acceptable time frame, please forgive me and extend some grace for a few weeks. I can't remember a time my brain has ever been so flooded with information, to do's, how to's, appointments, etc. Whew!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I'm skipping ahead by like six posts, because I can't hardly stand keeping the news to myself. Before I tell you, let me put out a disclaimer by saying there is no way I can adequately explain/express everything that has suddenly transpired and changed in our family.

Seriously. No way.

So I might make this a couple of posts long, and you're welcome as always to call or email or whatever to ask more questions or chit chat with me about it. So here it is:

*Michael and I have accepted the offer to become house parents for a "cottage" of teenage girls at a nearby children's home.
*We start the beginning of September.
*This means we are putting our house on the market, packing, and moving, all in the next 3-4 weeks.
*This change has taken place in nine days (they called us to request an interview on August 2nd).

Now, you may think we are a little bit crazy, and you may be right, but my mama always said a little bitta crazy never did nobody no harm (okay, she's never really said that, and certainly not with such horrible grammar, but I still think it's true).

Here's how things unfolded, as best I can explain it through typed words:

*We have a passion for raising and loving kids, and a passion for mission work - these two passions combine into something pretty awesome in this specific job description.
*We applied to be house parents a year ago, and they didn't need anyone then, so we assumed that was a closed door.
*We have been waiting and praying, and waiting and praying for over a year for God's plan for our next phase of life. This opportunity was dropped in our laps with a big fat bow tied around it, right after some recently difficult and confusing events, and the more we have talked and prayed about it, the more we have realized the timing and situation and house we will be in just couldn't be any more perfect for our family.
*We went in to interview, then toured the house we'll be living in and met the girls all in the same day, and I instantly felt peace about it, like this is just what we should be doing (Michael is ECSTATIC about the whole thing - I was the one with reservations and concerns at first when we got the phone call).
*I have been emailing back and forth with the current house mom since then, asking lots of questions, gathering information, etc.
*Tonight I went back to the house and had dinner with the girls and the house mom, and then me and the current house mom spent two hours talking about things, asking and answering questions, etc. VERY exciting, went SO well.
*We officially accepted the job today and will begin training in a couple of weeks.

Here is a breakdown of more factual info about the children's home, where we'll live, etc.:

*The place we are going is a children's home, but it is not operated by the state and not at all affiliated with CPS or anything like that. The children who are there choose to be there, and their parents/guardians choose for them to be there. A group of us all meet and decide about each individual child entering the home.
*Bennett and Jasper are safe and we believe will actually grow and mature spiritually because of this opportunity. This was my number one concern, and all of my questions about this have been answered without fail.
*We will be living in a beautiful seven bedroom home on a campus with land, horses, a pool, sand volleyball court, multiple playgrounds, computer lab, gymnasiums, etc. It's pretty amazing and the boys will be pumped about it.
*Our home is about 15 minutes further down the road from where we live right now, so we're still close to everything and in the same area (thank you, God!).
*The girls already attend the same church we attend, so that will not change at all.
*I have to quit praise team for now (or at least only sub), which is hard, but it's a sacrifice that is needed to minister in this new way.

The long and short of it is, God has called us to do this and we have answered the call. It feels so good to finally know what we're doing and where God wants us after crying out to Him and trying so hard to be patient for what has felt like a very long time (even though it hasn't really been that long). We are thrilled by this opportunity.

Please pray for us over the next few weeks as we prepare the boys, put our house on the market, sell it, pack, move, and get ready to love on these girls!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Michael and I have been married eight years today. Praise God!! We haven't done any "crazy eight" things yet - we're reserving all of that for this weekend when my parents take the kiddos and we paint the town :). I'll blog about that later.

For now I'll just say that I am one lucky woman. We got married when I was twenty and Michael was twenty-one, and I can say in all honesty I had NO idea what I was doing back then. I recognized all of the wonderful, strong, godly qualities Michael possesses, yes, but we both had a lot of baggage, and the Lord guided and protected both Michael and I, and has brought us to where we are today - all glory and honor to Him!

Michael is a Christ-follower, a hard worker, an AMAZING father...the list goes on and on, and I'm the lucky gal who got him :). Our passions and callings in life are SO similar, which is also a tremendous blessing. Walking along this life, which is sometimes so uncertain, with Michael is what I hoped for in a marriage. I'll leave you with a few "oldies but goodies," some pictures from our wedding day, August 9, 2003.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This was the biggest, fattest, hairiest BFHP to date...BY FAR.

I'll start by breaking the experience down into stats so that the recent memory doesn't overwhelm me/make me hyperventilate :).

1. We used Kilz 2 primer, and for the color of the cabinets we used Behr's Swiss Coffee in eggshell (both from Home Depot).
2. I used a nice brush for small areas and trim, and a foam roller for the larger surfaces. I had aspirations for using a professional paint sprayer (my dad owns one), that quickly turned disastrous (more on that later).
3. It took two weeks of leisurely paced cleaning, scrubbing and sanding before I put one drop of paint on the wood (used a liquid sander, which seemed to work fine).
4. The entire paint process took twelve days, with one day taken off in between. I'd estimate it took about 35 hours of work total, including Michael working with me for about five of those hours.
5. It took three coats of paint to completely cover the cabinets (I alternated doing two coats primer, one coat paint, and one coat primer, two coats paint, depending on my mood and where I was at in the project; regardless, it took three coats).

I think that about covers the facts. Now onto the emotional aspect of the project :).

Do I recommend doing this? No. I do not. Do I L-O-V-E the results? Absolutely yes. Did I know what I was getting myself into? Kind of.

Here's the thing you have to know about me. I'm an "expectations" kind of gal (as my husband and mom will tell you without hesitation). This means I go into something imagining and planning how it will go. I don't necessarily have "high" or "low" expectations, just a firm idea on how something will work out. And when that idea explodes in my face (or splatters paint all over my garage floor, my cabinets and my feet), it's a bitter pill to swallow :).

Painting our kitchen cabinets started out innocently and easily enough, but about half-way through, I nearly had a panic attack (not really, but it was pretty crazy for a couple of days at our house). The truth is, I misjudged the project.

I assumed the most difficult, stressful part of the project would be painting the built in parts of the wood. Dead wrong. Priming it all took about 15-18 hours over the course of four days, but I took it slow, listened to nice music, and had some help from Michael (thanks, Honey!! His first time ever to paint with me!). I actually enjoy painting, so this predictable part went as expected and wasn't bad at all. Because of this, the next part of the BFHP caught me off guard completely. Using the paint sprayer was the death of my optimism and enjoyment in the project.

It took a few days to get the sprayer working right, and because the cabinets were already off and lying on the ground in the garage, every time we opened or closed the garage door, dirt, dust, leaves, etc. got all over them and they had to be wiped down all over again. Lovely.

I got the paint sprayer working, got everything set up, listened to and watched tutorials online several times, and plunged in....and ran out of paint about two minutes into spraying. When this happened, I had only 6-7 cabinet doors out of 27 actually sprayed, and the nozzle began splattering uneven blobs of paint all over several of the remaining cabinets. Keep in mind this is in the middle of the day (during the boys' naps), in our hot garage with the door closed, in this INSANE 105-110 degree weather we're having right now. I was hot, only a fourth of my cabinets were sprayed, I was out of paint, and 3-4 of the cabinets would be ruined if I didn't wipe the globs off IMMEDIATELY. Of course Bennett and Jasper decided at that moment to both wake up from their naps. Because that's how we roll here in Crazy Town.

I couldn't think straight because of the heat and my panic, so I called my mom and explained the situation. At first I decided to go buy more paint and continue using the sprayer (after cleaning up the disastrous mess on the cabinets, garage floor and my feet), but we really didn't have that in the budget, and for all I knew, the sprayer would just gobble up all the paint again before I got anywhere near finished. So I stayed home, asked my mom to come over and help me with the boys while I cleaned out the paint sprayer (that could be a whole other post - cleaning one of those bad boys is a nightmare - it literally took me 2 hours to get all the parts cleaned out) and finished priming the remaining cabinets.

So that was the insane part of the project. From there, things mostly smoothed out. Because of the splatters, I found I had to sand down parts of a few of the cabinets again, which was annoying, but for the most part, the next four days were spent hand painting and rolling doors one at a time on top of a heavy duty tarp in our living room.

I also spray painted our hinges oil rubbed bronze, and those turned out pretty well and was super easy to do (I used Krylon's oil rubbed bronze and found it at Ace Hardware).

After painting, Michael helped me reassemble the cabinets back in their proper places (I made a diagram and numbered the cabinets with stickers ahead of time, which I HIGHLY recommend doing!). And now we have a beautiful, light and airy kitchen. If it's possible to be in love with your kitchen cabinets, I'm definitely in love with mine (though it was more of a love-hate relationship until I finally finished).

I actually planned on this being a two-phase project. The second phase was supposed to include oil-rubbed bronze hardware and a calmer shade of green for the walls, which looks FABULOUS in my head, but due to reasons that will be written about in my upcoming "BIG News" blog, phase two won't be happening (And no, I'm not pregnant. In some ways it's even bigger news than that, if you can believe it!).



(My little fella snuck his way into this one :).)

Tips if you decide to do this yourself:
1. Do. not. use. a paint sprayer. It really won't save you time or money, unless you're one of those professional, expert paint sprayer people.
2. Invest in a really nice paint brush, and use a four inch foam roller for the larger areas to make the finished surface look smooth.
3. Sand and clean your cabinets before you paint so that the paint will adhere to the wood.
4. Have help. The more people, the faster it goes.
5. Take your time and look for drips and mess-ups as you go so they don't dry that way (I actually did pretty well with this - Michael rolled and I followed behind cleaning up drips with the brush).
6. Surrender yourself to the necessity of doing three coats.
7.Make a diagram of your cabinets, numbering them, so you know where each one lines up perfectly when you're ready to re-hang them.
8. When reattaching the cabinets, attach the hinges to the built-ins first, then attach the cabinets to the hinges.

And finally, a big fat THANKS!!!! goes to Michael for helping me paint, even though he loathes and despises it, and to my mom, who really helped me out of a big scrape that would have gotten even bigger without her help.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I almost always leave our church on Sunday mornings amazed and grateful by the message our preacher has brought to the pulpit. He truly is gifted from the Lord with the ability to bring the Word to life and get to the heart of things in scripture.

Last week in particular really spoke to me. He started a new series, and the first week was about being a fan or a follower of Christ. It's SO easy to kick back and cheer for Jesus, but not really get involved, get our feet wet, get our hands dirty. It's so easy for me to forget what I'm doing here when I get busy and caught up in life. It seems like the first things to go are my spiritual disciplines. I do struggle with slipping into fan-dom, and having this reminder was needed.

I want to be a follower of Christ, not just a fan looking on from the sidelines. I want to be active and involved. I want to be faithful and keep on running the race! Lots of cliches here, I know. That's why I'm not the preacher at our church :). I'm not communicating this nearly as well as he did, but essentially it was a good wake up call for me. That this world is not my home and I'm not here just to take up space or be a good (or even excellent) cheerleader. We were made for more than that.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I don't know if I'll do my thoughts and my heart justice in this post, but I'll do my very best.

Last week a friend and I met and found ourselves in eerily similar places in life, though our specific circumstances differ greatly. We talked for hours, updating each other on things, sharing our heartaches and hurts, and also encouraging one another as best we could while still feeling a bit broken down personally. Sharing the intimate, heartfelt details of one's life with another, knowing they will accept, understand, and empathize, is wonderful all in itself, but as we talked, an amazing thing began to happen.

We talked about how God seemed far away, and how it's hard to feel Him sometimes, and that even being raised in the church and filled up with the knowledge of scripture doesn't always make things easier. It just means we know the truth - which can never be underestimated, of course. We talked about how we didn't understand what God was doing or why He sometimes chooses to be silent, especially in times when we think He should be shaking things up a bit!

The amazing thing was, we both realized that God has orchestrated perfectly the timing and closeness of our friendship, for such a time as this. Both of us were amazed to find the other using words that exactly described what we'd been feeling. We thought each of us was alone and lonely in our current place, but God showed us while questioning and wondering where on earth He has been, that He is here, and cares so much about both of us, that He gave us friendship and time together to realize we're not alone, and that God's hand is still active, powerful, encouraging, and loving. He is still involved, He is still present, He is still moving. Not that my friend and I did not know this. We did. We do. But it's mind-blowing to have it illustrated in such an obvious, tangible, ironic way, right before your very eyes! It made me feel so cared for, so loved, so sought after - something I really needed.

So thank you, my sweet friend. You know who you are and how much I appreciate you! And thanks be to God, whose faithfulness and love are unmatched and unconditional.