Called To Love

I spent the weekend with adoptive moms at the called to love retreat in Silverton, Oregon.
I am forever changed from this weekend. I’m still processing everything….the whole experience was emotionally heavy and rich. Each day I kept thinking wow I am so tired, why? And then I would remember how emotionally drained I was. I listened to dozens of women every day who poured their hearts out with such an honesty and love that I felt an instant connection. Each seminar was full of gold and wisdom that I am so grateful for. The worship team had hand tailored every song for us and their was not a dry eye in the pavilion.

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It was amazing to sit next to women who 100% understood every struggle, every longing, and to not have to explain themselves. The parenting tips were golden, the honesty was humbling, and the vulnerability was beautiful.

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On the last night of the retreat I was totally tapped out. We had the opportunity to visit with our new friends, and I felt so full…..that I really just needed time alone. So I drove down into town for a glass of wine, just to gather my thoughts.

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I sat and ate, and my mind raced with all of the things that I did not want to forget. I replayed every moment that touched my heart:
The 59 year old woman adopted from Korea and her touching story of living alone on the streets from age 4-7, at times near death, and her message of wearing the banner of “adopted” with pride, despite her struggles.
The panel of birth mothers who shared their pain, perspectives, and stories.
The panel of adults who shared their adoption stories and the things they cherished and/or wished has been different about their upbringing.
The experts who shared parenting tools that nurture kids from hard places.
The adoptive mothers who shared their mistakes, their shortcomings, and their lowest moments through tears.
The mother who told me…”this is the year we might floss our teeth!” with such transparency that I wanted to give her a high five.
The passion and faith that wove these women together as sisters, not just adopted moms, was so strong!

I thought about my little boy a lot this weekend. I really want to just hug him, and be alongside him during the hard places he may be experiencing. I’m thankful for all that I learned about his beautiful country this weekend. I hope that we are enough to comfort his broken heart. I’m so grateful for a little insight into feelings and emotions he may carry on our journey together. I just can hardly wait to love on him. But I will wait;)

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“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.” Isaiah 43:5

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Time In

Time In. I totally think it is crucial. When my littles are particularly naughty, I’m finding the best relief from a stressful day is time in. Usually it’s just a 5 minute one on one break, reading a book, or a quick hug, etc. But little miss Laken, oh the sass. She is fiercely independent and I definitely have to pick my battles so that I do not crush her little spirit with too many “no’s!” Sometimes the two of us just need a substantial time in, after a long day together;). Last week Chase took River to pick up Thai taste take out, so that Laken could make cookies with me.

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We had so much fun! She is just the best little baker…….so careful and precise. She licked her spatula, and said, “mom that’s delicious!” So pleased with her creations.

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It was so tempting watching the cookies cool on the sheet, that she ended up trying to touch one and burnt her little hand on the cookie sheet:(. She is oh so tough and never shed a tear….. But we could tell that it really hurt. Then River and Chase showed up with dinner, Laken muscled through her dinner with her hand on ice……….just so she could top it off with a cookie;). Good times Laken!

The Best Fun

The best fun is spontaneous and doesn’t make sense at all. Lucky for me I have three awesome buddies who will jump on the crazy train with me……..and randomly travel 4 hours for a birthday party!

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We stopped at Spokane to check out the Möbius Children’s Museum.

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Checked into a hotel with these two. They love a “montel” stay. They ham it up and tell everyone in the hallways that they slept on a cot and went swimming;). Next week they’ll be ordering room service.

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The next day we woke up with the rain, made a pitstop at Target and drove the rest of the way to an unnamed town where my bestie Liz lives with her three babies and husband. Two of her littles were celebrating their birthdays together……..3 and 5, princess & airplanes. Why am I being so vague? My bestie Liz is married to a spy! Just kidding ……but almost..,…he works for homeland security and takes privacy and protection very seriously;). So I’ll share some photos of this special party in an unnamed part of the US with you here…..but never on Facebook;)

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It was a fantastic party and fun to peak at the beautiful home and life Lizzie has made with her party of 5! Happy birthday little ones!

Trick or Treat

We waited patiently for our neighbors to arrive home and turn their porch lights on……….then it was time for the wild things to get into costume.

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It’s true…..this might be the third year that Laken has been a monster, and the second for River! Let me explain;). When Laken was one I bought her the costume that Riv is wearing. The next year it fit River, and I wanted them to be a duo of monsters so I bought her the next size. Then this year they still fit! And we are saving for adoption fees so it was really a blessing that they are just too cute;). These wild things were busy and hard to photograph……..so we quickly gave in and let them tromp like monsters through canyon crest;).

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They spotted their friend the joker Jace;)

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And then we loaded up in the car to stop by Aunt Pat’s, where the wild things were spoiled with candy, plastic horses, and money to feed their piggy banks.

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Then we loaded up again and headed to Grandma Ivy and Grandpa Rods house. They get a lot of trick or treaters so the wild things passed out candy and costume watched. We all ate soup too and celebrated Grandma Ivy’s last day of work…..EVER! Then the wild things went home with bellies full of candy and crashed hard. Happy Halloween everybody!

Lakens School Halloween party

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to spend Halloween morning at Children’s House with little friends……..magic was in the air. So many little ones bursting with excitement, and tickled to share what they were going to be that night. Laken was beaming and had to tell everyone, “that’s my mommy!”
First all of the friends made a Halloween snack of spiderwebs and a toothy apple mouth.

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Then they waited patiently for all of the friends to finish their creations, before the feast began. After snack, they went back to classrooms for “work”. I think I was a bit distracting for Lakens class, so I only got a peak. Many of the friends know me and kept coming up to remind me of who their Mommy is, and/or “member when I came to your house and ate cookies?” “can you take my pictore?” They are too sweet! After a little work the friends all joined the rest of the community and the head teacher Megan for circle time. The story was enchanting as the friends acted out a Halloween spooky classic. The friends brainstormed about Halloween safety and trick or treating manners.

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The day ended with a chance to practice trick or treating by knocking on the elementary classroom door. The little friends entered and where assisted by their older friends. They were able to visit the “pumpkin patch” and hunt for their very own pumpkin that their more mature friends had hidden;). It was so cute!

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And before I left this little friend, Ella, tugged on my sweater and asked me to take a picture of her pumpkin;). Of course I did!

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Thanks little friends, my tour guide Laken;), and the teachers of Children’s House……it was a special morning!

Halloween Party

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On our way to a family Halloween celebration! We dug out Halloween costumes from the past, and the kids wore things from the dress up box. Good times with cheap thrills 😉

Adoption Tees

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This is our families adoption tee! I think it turned out amazing, thanks to the pros down at Artbeat. This was our first round of printing, so don’t panic if you did not get one this time. We plan to do a second round of printing once we get a referral in order to help out with travel expenses. This week we sent out a basket full of shirts to our friends all over the United States (Washington, Montana, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Michigan!).

If you received a shirt, please send us a picture for the babies scrapbook. For adopted children it can be confusing and sometimes sad to not have a mental picture of life before their adoption. We hope for his sake that we will have information from his birth family, but sometimes this is not possible. That is why it is so important to us to show him all of the events and thoughts that went into our portion of his life story before we bring him to be a part of our family. Pictures of those who supported us in bringing him home would be so special!

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The Wild Things

This one is really into cars lately. He adores them. He drives them in the window sills and lovingly will drive one on my legs or over my head. The best race track is the bathtub! I can’t tell you how many cars I have to scoop out of here to take a bath;)

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And this one is all about dressing up. She wants to wear a dress everyday! And loves to play in my closet. She walks around in heels, dons my scarfs, and sneaks into my jewelry too;).

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These two are wildly silly!

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And full of shenanigans

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But when the days is long, the wild things get sleepy……..and still look like my babies;)

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The Boys

Jessica Clark got married last weekend! Growing up, her brother DJ was Chase’s BFF. So the wedding was like a high school reunion;). We got a babysitter for the evening, so it was also an amazing date night;

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I think the bride had a blast, we sure did;)

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Since all of Chase’s old buddies were in town at the same time, we had a pizza/football get together the next day.

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And all “the boys” are men now;). So some of their little ladies came over as well…..two generations of shenanigans in the works here!

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