Thursday, September 3, 2015

Extra Pictures

So, of course I'm still trying to play catch up on my little blog here.  Will it ever happen?-- I'm not sure!

Truth be told we do a family Valentines gift each year.  It's a big Shutterfly book from the previous year.  The girls love it and we love it and it's perfect! Well... lets just say we haven't celebrated Valentines yet this year.  I'm still working on our 2014 book. Yikes!  I just want to finish it before 2015 is over at this point.  I feel like I keep getting closer and closer.  Anyways, I say all that to say, I hop back and forth between working on the book to working on the blog.  I currently have them both pulled up. :) One day it will happen.

Back to some more summer fun though!

These two just crack me up:

I feel like every day they become better and better friends.  They have so much fun together!  (They are also learning how to push each others buttons if we are being honest!)


And this girl.....
When did she get so big?!  I feel like her sitting there all cross-legged, with her necklace, painted toes, and fake smile she looks SO big!!!


And lets talk about how Sawyer definitely still needs a nap each day.  This summer we would watch a  few movies during the week and each day we turned them on, you could almost count on Sawyer ending up like this:
Passed out... SNORING!!!  I love that she still cuddles and sleeps with her "Elmee" (elephant).

Did I tell you Mikalie came to stay with us for a week this summer?!  Best week EVER!!! She is such a great help with the girls & they LOVE, I mean LOVE her!  Love their cousin love! Kennedie & Sawyer look up to her so much:

And of course Preslee loves her too, but getting a picture with all four of them was a bit of a challenge:

On top of Mikalie visiting, we got several visits from Binky this summer.  Of course the girls LOVE when Binky comes to town.  She is so great about really playing with them and engaging with them.  Here they all are sharing a little tea party one morning on the kitchen floor:


Fun times!!

(Now time for me to head back over to keep working on our family book!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Waiting"


So, I have had a heart for adoption for as long as I can remember.  I've just always felt something deep within me that stirred up feelings for little ones that need a home.  Before Lantz and I got married {or even engaged} we talked about adoption.  It came up very naturally and we were quick to discover that each of us both shared this passion.  I know that Lord had to have planted these seeds for each of us knowing that it would be apart of our future.

Adoption has always been apart of our conversations with each other and apart of our prayer life.  It's never been about "if," but rather, "when."  Before starting our family we debated on the birth order (I guess you'd say) of when we wanted to adopt.  Even in the process of birthing kids we still knew that adoption was just over the horizon for us and we still prayed for our little one that would be birthed by someone else.

This last year and a half it became more real than ever.  Last fall we researched adoption agencies and foster care and knew we needed to make a decision.  In January we sat down on a date and knew we needed to decide officially who we wanted to partner with on our journey.  We talked about pros and cons about all the different options and agencies and we prayed.  (We had done this over and over, but this night it was more "official," knowing that we needed to reach a decision by the end of our date because it was "go" time.)  After that we decided that we would get out our phones and text each other where we felt our heart being pulled.  We weren't sure if we'd text the same place or if we'd have to start over and keep hashing things out.

Well, after a few seconds of suspense and my heart racing... I sent my text and received Lantz's about the same time.  It was official.  We each sent the same thing and we now had an agency who we knew we wanted to work with.  We decided to partner with Christian Homes and Family Services.

It just made sense for us.  Being an ACU grad, I had heard of Christian Homes over and over.  I always saw their booth on campus and Lantz and I had even taken some middle school students there to do some service projects.  Lantz's family is from the Abilene area and had connections with Christian Homes too.  Besides, I feel as if we are in Abilene more than any other city outside of the one we live.  Whether it is Kadesh, or Summit, or Homecoming, or visiting family- we are in Abilene tons.  It just seemed "right.." I don't know how else to explain it.

Not to mention how AMAZING they are and all the fabulous things we had read about them & people had told us about the agency. And now having been on this journey with them, I know we made the right decision.  I could not imagine going through this with any other organization.  I just feel as though they are kinda part of a large family... like there is this sense of community there that I just can't explain. They are wonderful!  And we LOVE our caseworker. Click HERE to go to their website to browse around.  I'd love to answer any questions that you may have or help find you someone who can help answer your questions.  I really can't say enough good things about Christian Homes and Family Services.

So in February we went to a weekend orientation and then it got really real. Ha!  It was like, "Oh wow, this is real.  Like we are going to have a baby!"  I almost felt as though we found out we were pregnant.  Does that make sense?

We left with a MOUND, and I mean a MOUND of paperwork. I can't even explain to you the amount of paperwork we swam through.  Although, everyone at Christian Homes was so GREAT to work with- there is just tons of paperwork that comes with the process.

At the beginning of July we FINALLY finished all of our paperwork. Y'all... I'm not even kidding... it was a ton!  I feel like the most time consuming thing was working on our photo book for the birth moms to view.  The birth moms are given letters from waiting families that are a one page "highlight" (You can read our letter HERE) based on our profile and the birth mom's profile.  She could have 30 letters or 3?  Kinda all depends on the profiles.  From those letters the birth mom narrows it down to two or three families that she is interested in.  She is then handed photo books and autobiographies.  Lantz and I each had to write a 10 page autobiography telling about ourselves.  From the photo books and the autobiographies she will "pick" a family that she is most interested in to parent her child.  The adoptive family is then given all the information about the birth mom and then they can decide if they are a "match."

So... I felt a lot of pressure to have our photo book up to par.  And by that I mean- I just wanted it to be real.  I really just wanted to convey who we really were as a family. It proved to be more difficult than I originally thought... especially given that I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and it could only be 10 pages front and back and only 8 & 1/2 by 11.

When they received our book in the mail and our letter then we officially became "live" on their website and they could official start sharing our letters and profile with birth moms.  That was in the middle of July.  Click HERE to see our information on their website.

Since then we have just been praying and waiting.

People ask if we've heard anything.... no.  Just waiting.  That's the hard part.  Just being out of control and not really knowing what's going on.  I have no idea if we've even been shown to a birth mom or if we've been shown to a hundred birth moms.  It's hard not knowing.  But if we were told when we were being shown it might be just as hard to know if we were "rejected" or if someone else was "chosen" instead of us.

I know that God has our fourth child already picked out for our family.  I know He will bring us our birth mom and our baby in HIS time and that we have to just trust Him.  I know that He already has special babies picked for each of the other waiting families and that it's not about the birth mom "picking" a certain family... because those families and our family and those precious babies have already been chosen by our Lord for their forever families.  HE is in control....not Christian Homes, not us, not the birth moms.... our Father in Heaven is in control of it all.  And knowing that brings peace of mind and allows the waiting to feel a bit more divine and a little less anxiety filled.



Sweet 4th baby of mine.... I'm waiting for you.  I'm waiting to see you for the first time, waiting to hold you, waiting to smell you, waiting to hear you, waiting to kiss you, waiting to cuddle you.  You are mine.  You always have been and you always will be.  I love you with a love that is so deep it cannot be explained... a love that is settled and long been there just waiting. Waiting for you. Waiting to be unleashed in a way it never has been and waiting to envelop you.  I know your other Mommy loves you in this same way and that she and I have this kindred spirit that share a bond of love that is so strong just for you.  How blessed you are to have this love!  I know that the Lord is watching over her and you right now and that when the time is right we'll get to meet.  Until that day, just know that I am waiting so desperately for you and that I love you so much more than I could ever put into words.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sawyer's 3 Year Old Pictures

Yes, I know that Sawyer is now three and a half years old, but I'm going to post up my sweet girl's pictures.  In my defense these were taken at the beginning of summer though, so she was only three and 4 months old when we took them {that makes it better right? And hey, she is still three!}.

Get ready for picture overload!  I couldn't decide which ones I liked best, so you get to see all of them ... and you even get to see some in black and white and color. Ha!

I love this photo session though. You want to know why?  Because when editing these pictures I saw myself.  For the first time I saw myself in one of my children.  I mean, I know that they each have little pieces of me, but there are a few of these pictures of Sawyer where I thought I was actually looking at a picture of myself.  Enjoy these sweet little pictures of my middle babe:










This one right here... this is the one I saw myself:

And the next one... totally like looking at a picture of me in some ways.... not the nose, but everything else:













If you made it all the way through then "Congratulations!"  That was a load of sweetness!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sawyer's 3 Year Stats


I totally forgot to blog about Sawyer's 3 year stats back in February. (Oops!)

Height: 39" (89%)
Weight: 33lbs & 8oz (76%)
BMI: 15.5 (43%)

She is growing like a weed every day!  Such a tall little girl!  Everyone always asks if Kennedie & Sawyer are twins because they are almost the exact same height. :) Guess she's going to take after her Daddy! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Preslee Ray is 16 Months Old


Every month it's hard to believe that my baby girl gets a little older!  Sweet girl is 16 months old today going on 6 years old.  Ha! This girl is 100% PERSONALITY!  She is a ham and a half!

My fun little girl:
- Each month you just keep "improving" your climbing skills.  This month the most popular place that I keep finding you is on top of the tables!  Over and over you just keep climbing up on chairs, the couch, the table, up the plates.
- You walk around waving at everyone telling everyone "Iiiii" (hi) and telling everyone "bye-bye."  You walk around the church building as if you own the place and you will break out into dance randomly.
- You keep learning to communicate.  You use the sign for "more" frequently, you just tend to use your pointer finger and you say, "mo, mo."  You will say, "nigh-nigh" (night-night), "doe!" (you will yell this right before you go down the slide- it's your way of saying "go"), you also try to say "uh-oh," but it doesn't quit sound like that, and you try to say Bee but it comes out "baaa."  Of course you say "ma-ma" and "da-da."  You will also frequently use the sign for milk and say, "mii."  You also say, "no-no;" you hear that word and know it so well.
- You continue to develop more of an opinion daily about what you eat.  Of course you like sweets more than anything, but you still eat pretty good.  You tend to eat most things we sit in front of you.
- You are still breastfeeding 5 times a day.
- It's common to find you feeding your baby a bottle, walking around pushing a stroller, or carrying a diaper bag.  You have quickly fit right into your sisters world of baby dolls that's for sure!  It's so sweet and I know that one day you are going to be the best big sister ever.
- You are wearing some 12 month clothes, but starting to move right into your 18 month clothing.  You are mainly wearing size 5 and size 6 shoes.
- You love to be outside!  Whether on a walk, playing on the play set, or swimming- you love to be outside!

Baby girl... I just can't get enough of you!  You are SO much fun!  You truly do light up the room & bring so much joy to our lives.  You are active and always on the go!  You love to get into everything and you do not like to be left out of anything.  I love when you lean in for a hug or kiss.  I will never forget getting you from bed last week and you were still half way asleep.  You started patting me on my back and then leaned in all on your own and gave me a big kiss.  It was one of the sweetest moments ever.  I can't even begin to explain to you how much I love you and what my heart feels for you.  You are my precious girl and I thank God for you every day. I'm so blessed to be the one that you call,"Ma-ma."  








Thursday, August 20, 2015

Swim Lessons 2015

This summer we did swim lessons at the high school again.  It's always good to be at my alma mater & share some of my old space with new memories.  I love seeing my old swim coach, Coach Serio (he's the best!), and catching up with him a little bit.  I spent many a day here growing up...

This year, both Sawyer and Kennedie did lessons at the beginning of the summer.  They each had private lessons, and Preslee was there supporting them & cheering them on.  I'll let the pictures from the week do the talking....








Sawyer did not want to get out after day one... this was the face she gave us:







On the last day the girls were so excited to "jump" off the diving board:





Momma Jean & Cowboy came to watch them on their last day.  I forgot to get a picture, but they were there in full support!

Kennedie had progressed so much since last year and at the end of the week she was so close to "getting it."  She could swim underwater and hold her breath, but we really wanted her to start to swim strokes and learn the correct way of swimming.  So, I talked with Coach Serio and got her signed up with another set of lessons with Collin, the new Sea Lions swim coach (Sea Lions is the club swim team). Those lessons were at the beginning of August.  To say that Collin is a great teacher would be an understatement.  I am hoping all my girls will get to do lessons with him through the years, and I'm also hoping he'll stay on as the coach of the Sea Lions and my girls will maybe be able to swim under him.  Preslee & Sawyer both tagged along to support big sister!



















Learning her Momma's stroke... backstroke:








She did SO great!  I'm hoping next year she can make it down & back all on her own & possibly be on the swim team if she wants. :)