Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Words must be weighed not counted. -Polish Proverb

Words enable communication.
They can be used to build people up.
Or tear people down.
Words are powerful.
Words can wound. Others. And yourself.

And they can alter your perspective.

As Gabe grows up I want to teach him that what he says matters. I want him to learn (through our modeled behavior) to use words appropriately and to know what the words he's using mean. And there will be some words that we won't let him use. Some words will not be allowed until he's old enough to know what they mean, realize how strong they are or actually goes through that circumstance.

What are those words? Well, I'm sure our list isn't complete but one of the is hate. For us, the word hate is strong, powerful and evokes such extreme feelings, we just don't feel someone young is capable of using it correctly. And hate is one of those words that wound.

Another word that wounds is stupid. Our children will not call one another or their possessions stupid. I really dislike name calling and calling someone stupid just burns me. Whether it's a child calling another child stupid, or regretably a parent calling their child stupid, that word wounds. And the wounded person remembers being called stupid and may begin to believe that they are in fact, not smart.

In case you missed it, we're adopting from Ethiopia! Because regulary food supplies are short, our next child may very well know what it's like to starve. So for me or Gabe to be hungry because it's close to our next meal or we perhaps skipped a meal is one thing. To say we're starving though, is not only inaccurage but not only disregards the pain people all over the world are going through daily, it also disparges the fact that my child, Gabe's sibling at one point in their life may have been starving too. It seems to be an American tendancy to over-exagerate but I think it's important for us to keep perspective in life. Even with our words.

Speaking of perspective; we are hopefully moving into our house today. It wasn't until last Monday that we knew exactly where our permanent residency would be in Houston.

A few weeks ago I posted that we had found a house and then posted again pictures of our house. Then Matt want to Lousianna and Gabe and I traveled home to Ohio. At our respective places Matt and I both began to feel discontent over the house we had a contract on; what would happen if we didn't like living in Texas and wanted to leave? Would we be stuck, unhappy, hundreds of miles from where we want to be all because of a house? Thanks to Texas real estate law, we were allowed to rescind our contract.

But that left us without a permanent address. We were in a rush to find a place to call home and I felt completely displaced. The word homeless kept entering my mind. I kept worrying that we were homeless. One day as I was bemoaning to myself, I realized how horrid my thoughts had become. And my horrid thoughts were giving me a negative attitude and perspective. I was not homeless; without a permanent address - yes, but I had a place to house my stuff, sleep at night and keep cool during the day. Living in a hotel for a month with a 22 month old is not ideal but it is far from homeless.

I felt guilty. Here I was blessed to have a roof over my head, plenty of food and air conditioning and I was comparing myself to people that were really without a place to find shelter and safety. It was like someone slapped me upside the head.

I wasn't homeless, far from it. But it was the thought of homelessness and all it encombers that wreaked havoc on my mood and kept me from the everyday joys of life. Once I changed my perspective, even though we still had no place to call 'home,' we had a place to live. Unlike so many others.

Agonizing over the word homeless and repeatedly telling myself we were homeless showed me that I have a lot to learn when it comes to modeling proper wordage to Gabe. Parenting is definately a learning and humbling experience. I love to learn and God loves to continually keep me humble, so I suppose I'm the right vocation {smile}

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm estimating that our hotel room is a little less than 300 square feet. Intellectually I know we have more than enough space to live but it's just not an environment we're accustomed too. Besides the limited space Gabe doesn't have very many toys. We packed a handful and have bought a few new ones but the toys don't always keep Gabe's attention.

What does keep Gabe busy while living in a hotel?

Since his parents only have cell phones, Gabe's been enthralled with the room phone. He'll sit and chat for a long time; I'm not sure who's on the other end but Gabe has a lot to say to them! The phone's unplugged in case you're curious.

When the hotel phone, books and toys all fail to keep Gabe busy, there's always the shower! Oh, did I forget to mention that our hotel room doesn't have a bathtub. Yeah, that was a great surprise! You know what I mean by great, right?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


For the first time since we've been in Texas I've had the worst desire to be home. The desire that if money really did grow on trees, Gabe and I would have had taken the first flight out of Houston.

My mom's been battling a headache for the past two weeks and was admitted into the hospital on Friday. So far her tests have all been good and I'm thanking God for that but she still has a few more tests to do. Hopefully the doctors will figure everything out, get her pain under control and she'll be released soon. I'm still hoping she'll be able to fly here next Saturday as planned but definitely not holding my breath. Of course, I don't want to rush her recovery either. I'm selfish, but not that selfish.

Besides us being in Houston, my dad is in Germany! While my brothers (and sister-in-laws) are at home with my mom; sitting with her, taking care of her and keeping me up to date. It's just not the same!

I was born with the 'mothering' gene. I need to be there. To ask questions, inspect IV bags and see for myself that my mom is okay. But right now, that's just not possible. We move into our house Tuesday (or Wednesday), utilities are being turned on Tuesday as well as the Internet provider and appliance delivery coming Tuesday as well. Coupled with the fact that a plane ticket would cost an arm and a leg (literally) and I'm working on setting up all of Gabe's appointments it was just not feasible to come home. Especially since my brothers are there and my dad will be home tomorrow.

So tonight as we drove home from the outlets for a little retail therapy, I was soul searching for some comfort. Actually retail therapy wasn't the plan but I found a super cute dress for $20 and who can resist a deal that good? Anyways, Matt turned the radio on and Chris Tomlin's Our God (Is Greater) was playing. I turned the radio louder and just sat and let his words run over me. By the end I found more comfort in my soul then I'd had in days.

I love relishing in the peace only God can provide.

And because he's just so cute:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Laundry Time

Laundry day at the hotel means extra fun for Gabe! Yes, he rides to and from the laundry room in the laundry basket. Today, while I was folding clothes (the clothes he threw out of the basket onto the floor - he was helping), Gabe decided he didn't want out (no down Mommy!) but wanted a bookie.

I don't think he could get any cuter if he tried. And don't worry, I was about 5 inches from him the whole time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Choosing to See

I was super tired today... it could be the stress of living in a hotel or the uncertainty of where and when we're moving or it could be the fact that when I couldn't sleep last night I went to the bathroom, shut the door and opened my Kindle.

Just so you know, I wasn't doing anything but reading in the bathroom, it's just that Matt and Gabe were sleeping and the bathroom is the only place I could turn on the light and it not bother them.

Earlier in the day I had started to read Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman. I'd only read a few pages when duty called (duty named Gabe) and I had to put my Kindle down. So in the peace and quiet of the night, I read and read and read. I laughed, cried, was inspired, convicted and awed.

The book was the story of Mary Beth Chapman; growing up, meeting Steven, birthing babies, depression, adoption and the death of her youngest daughter; Maria Sue.

Around 3 am I was too tired to keep my eyes open so I went to bed thinking about the miracle of adoption and the marvelous way God weaves people into our lives.

I woke up wanting to read but had to wait until Gabe's nap time. Of course, Gabe didn't want to nap (eek! 22 month olds need naps!) but during his rest time I was able to finish the book.

And my recommendation is READ IT!

If you're looking for comfort or inspiration - read it!
If you want to laugh and cry - read it!
If you want to feel God's love and grace - read it!

Next up on my list: Unplanned. It's the story of former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, whom after witnessing an ultrasound guided abortion was drastically changed. Much so, that she's now Pro-life. I read the first chapter as a preview. And cried. I can't wait to read how God's transformed her life and inspired her to help others.

So what's in your Kindle?


Father's Day was a little bit unconventional yesterday.

We attempted to go to church. After doing internet research we left with an address to program into our TomTom. The TomTom however didn't register the address. We knew the street the church was on and we knew the street it was off of, so how hard could it be? Much more difficult than anticipated was the resounding answer. After driving for what seemed like an hour, we finally gave up, stopped for a Shipley donut and then continued looking. We found the church we were looking for but it was already an hour into service and an hour and a half since we left the hotel. Here we thought we had a 15 minute drive and plenty of time to get settled - ha! Boy, were we wrong!

After church we had an ill-concieved plan to walk around the outlet mall. Outdoor outlet mall + mid-afternoon Houston heat + church clothes = unhappy, hot walkers. Quickly we decided to head home, Gabe took a nap and then we played some in the hotel room. Matt and Gabe raced up and down the hallway (our neighbors love us, I'm sure), we went out to a late dinner and came back to eat some cookie cake.

Not the normal summer cookout family and friend Father's Day we were used to, but a day to celebrate the dads in our life all the same.

Matt's father's day cookie cake, bought at the store instead of home made this year.

my two favorite guys

Hallway races :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.


I always knew Matt would be a great dad. I'd seen how much he loves our nephews and how compassionate and fun he could be with children in our Sunday school class. But mostly, I saw bits of my own dad in him.

Growing up my dad always put his family first: he worked hard to provide us a great life and spent all of his free time with us. It wasn't until we were grown that he actually had time for golfing and gardening, his two favorite activities. My dad also puts my mom first. Putting other people first is an important attribute for the leader of the household. And our whole marriage, Matt has put me first. If he was able to put a whiny and emotional (yet loving) wife first, he'd have no problem putting his baby first. I was right; everyday Matt puts Gabriel before any of his own needs.

To this day, no matter what I do my dad supports me. Somehow we survived my teenage and college years and despite my effort to state my Independence; my dad was always there. To love me, listen to me and support me. When I watch Matt play with Gabe, correct him when he misbehaves (I know you all can't imagine Gabe misbehaving, hehe), encourage him to use lefty and cause him to belly laugh; I see what a great dad Matt is as well. Because I can see the future in these moments; I can see Matt playing catch with Gabe talking about life or sitting on the sidelines of his soccer game cheering him on.

Growing up with the blessing of a great father and raising a family with a great father has been two of God's greatest gifts for me.

Gabe and Daddy - 8/19/2009

Gabe and Papo - 8/21/2011

I can't acknowledge Father's Day without acknowledging the man that helped turn Gabe's dad into the fabulous dad he is today. Many of Matt's attributes; how passionate is he about Gabe, how caring he can be with him and how much fun he is as a father are all in part to how his dad was with him. Matt is a great dad in part because of his dad; and I will be forever grateful to him for all he did to help turn Matt into the man and father he is today.

You are missed Gramps!

Gabe and Gramps - 8/22/2011

Happy Father's Day to all the dad's, dad-to-be's and men waiting for the blessing of a child.

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. Malachi 4:6

Friday, June 17, 2011


Yesterday Gabe had his first pediatricians appointment in Houston. Actually, since he saw a family practitioner in Ohio, it was his first pediatrician appointment EVER!

Gabe's appointment wasn't for the usual reason your child sees their doctor; for a well child check-up or due to illness. This doctors visit was for two reasons. One, to get plugged into a pediatricians office in case we need them. And, two, to get all those referrals Gabe needs to continue regular monitoring and of course, therapy.

We left with a referral to see a neurologist, an opthamologist, a physiatrist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. That is 6 referrals. Six initial appointments/evaluations we need to set up. And I left out his dermatologist. I actually forgot to ask for one, but now that I'm thinking about it, 7 referrals would have just been way too many!

The Texas Children's Pediatrics Association and the Texas Children's Hospital Cy-Fair Therapy offices are right next door to one another. Because it was not that hot today (98), we figured we'd go to the wrong building first and then walk to the one we were supposed to be. Not exactly fun considering the 30lbs of love I carry with me!

Walking into the therapy office with their uncomfortable looking chairs and super bright lights, made me miss CCCR-West all that much more. Gabe and I have looked at pictures of his therapists since we've been gone and we work daily on stretches, standing, weight-baring and using lefty, etc. But it wasn't until walking into a new therapy office did I realize how much we miss them. Their kind yet firm ways with Gabe, their encouragement and ideas for ways to help Gabe and just their love for their profession and the children they help.

I don't think we realized just how blessed we were until I walked into a therapy office where everyone didn't know Gabe's name. Here's to finding Gabe therapists that are half as good as the ones we left behind.

Gabe at therapy at CCCR-West:

and yes, I'm fairly certain I want to do that too :)

And Gabe with his therapists:

Ms Danielle (OT)

And Ms. KC

Thursday, June 16, 2011


And Slide!

Gabe doesn't just enjoy pools in the hot summer sun. At home, we found out that he liked slip and slides too! While he did more sit-and-splashing then slip-and-sliding, I'm not sure he could have had more fun. He loved sitting at the bottom of the slide splashing by himself, but nothing compared to his squeals of delight when his cousins would slide down next to him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roast Master, Decisions and More Swimming

Today, Wednesday June 15, Just Love Coffee is offering a Roast Master Special. Today, and today ONLY, if you buy 3 bags of coffee they'll give you a bag of Jason's favorite for free. If any ground coffee is ordered, your free bag will be ground. If not, it will be whole bean. So that's 4 for the price of 3 and all proceeds go towards our adoption fund. (adoption update coming soon)

We've had a lot of decisions to make lately; which agency to update our home study, doctors and hospitals for Gabe, housing situations, what to eat (which seems like a harder decision to make than big decisions sometimes). And then take all of our decisions added to the fact that LeBron was in the NBA finals and I've thought a lot about decisions.

Matt and I were never really Cavs fans but I'll admit we were captivated by all the press last summer and headed over to my parents to watch "The Decision". The South Beach result didn't bother me as much as every ones reactions. Yes, it stunk to have our best player leave in such a crude way, but as much as basketball is just a game (it is just a game, my friends), it's just as much entertainment.

With that ESPN special; Clevelanders and NBA fans everywhere went the wrong way. I didn't like his decision but for me life moved on. And while I readily admit I was glad Miami lost and 'King' James didn't get his ring... for me it's just a game, just entertainment. But I couldn't help but wonder how we (and by we, I mean society as a whole) became so enamored with one person.

Was it that he was the best young player ever? Or the fact that ESPN stationed themselves at his high school basketball games? Was it the title of King he had?

Tonight as Matt flicked through the channels, ESPN was again talking about LeBron. And I was done. He is just a single person. Yes, he's great at basketball, but truly what does that matter in the grand scheme of things.

Does he know God? Will his basketball trophies get him into Heaven? Besides making millions and inspiring (and un-inspiring) young athletes, is he making a difference in the world?

I don't know the answers to these questions, and while I hope everyone knows God as their personal Savior, the answers to these questions aren't as important as what these questions mean. The fact that we care more about a basketball player and every minuscule facet of his life than we care about our faith in God, our job as Christians and humans to care for one another blows me away.

Yes, LeBron James made a decision that changed Cleveland basketball, demeaned the sport and spirits of Clevelanders and fans everywhere but we all make decisions. Our decisions may not be made public and aren't scrutinized by millions, but they are still important: to you, your family and even people across the world.

Each day you make decisions that may not only change your life, but the lives of others. The decisions Matt and I make regarding our time, money and energy effect not only us, but Gabriel, our future children and in many regards how we will follow our faith and impact the world around us. Have you ever asked yourself how your decisions impact others? I never consciously thought about it until recently, and now I can't stop thinking about it.

On a lighter note.... (please don't mind the abrupt change of subject)

The visit to Ohio did nothing to quell Gabe's love for swimming. We've gone swimming every day that we've been back and Gabe never seems to tire of it. Gabe loves to sit on the edge of the pool and push off into my arms. I imagine his legs and arms (including lefty) are getting stronger for all that paddling and kicking. This week our aim is to get to Target and pick up a toddler approved life vest/floating device to give Gabe some more Independence in the water and mine and Matt's arms a little bit of a break.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Lately I've felt a little bit like Dorthy when she lands in Munchkin land. Often I find myself thinking "we're not in Ohio anymore." Texas is just different than Ohio; it's not bad, it's not good... just different. The amazement Dorthy has on her face as the movie turns to color and she looks around, well sometimes I feel like I have that same look on my face as I drive around Texas.

I'm just grateful that the Lollipop Guild hasn't started singing; those little munchkins, while I think that they're cute now, they scared me to pieces when I was younger [smile].

But our visit back to Ohio also made me feel a little bit like Dorthy as well. I felt like slipping on ruby red slippers, clicking my heels and repeating "there's no place like home." Before we flew back to Ohio I thought Ohio was home. I was wrong. Texas isn't really home either. I've found that home is where ever the one I love rests his head.

While my faith tells me the earth is not my home, and I know that my true home is in heaven, on this side of heaven, I will find home where ever I find Matt.

Because Houston is where we find ourselves, Houston is where we'll be making our memories. Sunday we went to our first Astro's game! After being a Cleveland Indians fan were the highs were high and the lows were really low, the Astro's well.... they're a bit like the Indians on a really bad day. Alas, we made good memories anyways:

Gabe was almost as excited as his Daddy when he found out it was Dollar Dog day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gabe's Favorite Things

Part 1.

Two of Gabe's favorite things to do are rocking....

and swinging!

Gabe perfected two phrases in Ohio; 'rocky baboon' for rocking the rocking chair and 'I swing' for when he wanted to go outside and swing.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Our blog was added to the Circle of Moms Top 25 blogs. Thanks for the info Kat :) I voted for your blog!

So if you'd like to vote for us, click the little box above and vote for us!

Tomorrow, we head back to Houston... stay tuned for lots of pictures from Ohio (don't have my camera cord to upload pictures here) and lots of updates on our visit to Ohio and life in Texas!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Where We've Been

We've been in Texas... and Ohio!

Yep, you read that right, Gabe and I have already returned to Ohio for a visit. Not because we don't like Texas, but because we had the perfect opportunity to come visit. On Matt's first day of work, he learned that he would have to go out of town the following week, for the whole week.

I was so bummed. We're not in our house yet and staying in a hotel for a week by ourselves just didn't seem like fun. Actually, it seemed like a horrible idea. Matt knew I was bummed; I already missed Ohio and now I was going to have to miss him too... so he surprised us with a plane ticket home!

Since we've been back to Ohio we have been all over the place. We've watched Gabe's 4 cousins play baseball, we've visited with family and friends and not only do we have a baby shower and soccer games to attend this weekend, today we have the privilege of attending the preschool graduation of Gabe's bestest buddy and our youngest nephew, Sam. Considering I've been to both Ethan and Jacob's preschool graduations it seems fitting we're here for Sam's. Even more fitting because Gabe truly believes that his cousin Sam was put here on earth to play with him!

It's been great to be back (even though we weren't gone that long) and from Ohio we're making doctors appointments for Gabe in Houston so that we don't have to be away from therapy too long and working with our home study agency in San Antonio so that we can keep pressing forward with bringing our little one home.

While I hate that moving to Texas has slowed things down with bringing our baby home (i.e we would have our dossier turned in by this point and now we're restarting it), God has a reason for the slow down. Maybe it's because our baby hasn't been born yet or is still with his birth family. Whatever the reasons are that are causing the delay in bringing our baby home, we know God is in control.

Speaking of bringing our baby home, there are two sweet little babies (or sweet little boys) waiting to come home. They have a family that loves them and a medical community waiting to help them.... it's just their family needs a little help in raising their ransom to bring them home. So, if you'd like to help to very special little boys find the arms of their family click here or here or here to read their story and donate. Yes, their are a lot of different families joining together to share the story of Carson and John because they have a desperate need to get home. While God doesn't call everyone to add to their family through adoption, he has called everyone to help the orphans.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!