Monday, April 30, 2012

It's that time again

Sprinkler time, that is! While the sprinkler was never officially put away like it would have been in Ohio, the 90 degree temperatures are back and the water fun has begun!  And Gabe is loving it.  In case you don't believe me, his smile does not lie!


Gabe's "Daddy said it's time to go inside" face

Friday, April 27, 2012

His Happy Place

Where was Gabe?  What is his happy place?

The Houston Children's Museum, of course.  And we have officially gone enough to make our family pass worth the money. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Australia, Infertility & Adoption

For us, infertility truly wasn't the worst thing that could happen to us.  We always planned on adopting eventually but eventually came a lot sooner than we were anticipating.  Of course adopting isn't easy; putting every aspect of your life out in the open, talking about personal things with complete strangers, the cost of adoption services and of course the waiting - it's a little difficult, I tell you.  And I'll admit sometimes the ease which some people conceive, the certainty of no one changing their minds and the time lines of a pregnancy makes me envious. 

For us, adoption was (and is) an easy choice, but not always easy.  I've always loved this analogy involving Australia and traveling to get there. 

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you: You'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait - and wait - and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax, you'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!" you say, "going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money, I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It's a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible: traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you got there, but in the place itself. - Diane Armitage

Every ones journey is different; while some people conceive naturally, others conceive through treatment, some adopt and others decide not to have children but it doesn't mean any ones journey is the wrong one. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Before my parents came to visit us in Houston over Easter, we spent the last two weeks of March in Ohio. Even Matt was able to come for the weekend since he was traveling to Michigan for work.  It was great to be back in Ohio as a family, even if it were just for the weekend.  And after Matt left our days were spent visiting with family, play dates with friends and sleepovers with cousins. 

Gabe and his Nonny are tight.  Like Gabe cries when she doesn't sit next to him in the car type of tight.  And I love it!  Gabe also was able to spend time with his great Grandma Thomas and Gramma A.  There's nothing like the hug of a grandma to let you know just how much you are loved. 

Gabe and Nonny at the soccer complex.

Gabe and his great Grandma!

Gabe playing peek-a-boo with Gramma at the book store. 

Another benefit of being in Ohio is all of the time Gabe gets to spend with his cousins.  The smile on Gabe's face is like looking at the sun when he sees his cousin.  Gabe doesn't even acknowledge that they are older than him, they are his favorite playmates and he just loves to spend time with them.  I'm fairly certain Gabe thinks they to make him happy... and I'm just grateful that they love him enough to indulge him. 
A cousin is a ready-made friend for life.

Then there were the playdates.  Lots and lots of playdates!  The zoo, parks, friends houses... we bee-bopped all over the place visiting friends.  And Gabriel was in heaven.  His friends  N and W are only a few months older than Gabe and he just adores them both.  He loves watching them run around and they don't even notice that Gabe knee walks to keep up with him.  Their rambunctious and sweet, ornery and adorable... they play without abandon and pick-up right where they left off from the last time they were together.  To be young again.  C and L are a year or so younger than Gabe.  Gabe was full of love for Chase; they played at the playground, laughed at each other and gave each other a lot of love.  L and Gabe spent most of their time together in strollers and while they shared balloons and smiles, Gabe kept referring to L as a baby... it was pretty sweet.  I can't wait to get Gabe back together with his buddies. 
"A friend is, as it were, a second self."- Cicero
Visiting Ohio, spending treasured time with family and friends... it makes my soul well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thoughts on Becoming a Mother

I remember exactly where I was the first time I read this poem... the day, where I was sitting, what was on TV... everything.  It was May 11, 2009, the day after Mother's Day.  I was propped on the couch, Matt in his recliner and we were watching are usual Monday night show, How I Met Your Mother.  The only reason I remember is because after reading it, I felt hopeful and not quite so alone.  

I hope that someone else finds the hope and comfort that I found in this poem... know you're not alone, you will be a mother someday and the emptiness you feel now will be filled with a love so fierce you can't even explain it. 

"There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.
I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books,
but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.
Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.
I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.
Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.
I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.
I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body, I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.
I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.
So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immerse power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
I have learned to appreciate life.
Yes I will be a wonderful mother."

- Author Unknown

And may I add, a little over 32 months later, while I don't love getting up with Gabe and my steps aren't as light as they were when he was 5 months, I truly don't mind.  I'd love more sleep but I can still remember the longing I felt to have a child to wake up with in the middle of the night and I can't complain when I know others have that same longing.  

Be blessed by your children... or remember your blessing is coming.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Psalm 113:9

Later this year, I turn another year older.  I'm not all concerned about turning another year older, even if it is a big number this year.  But getting older does make me think a little and take stock in what I have around me.  And I'm not talking houses, cars and things but the people in my life; Matt and Gabriel, my family, my lovelies, my friends.  I am blessed.  Incredibly blessed.

But sometimes late at night, when I'm laying in bed wishing our next little loves were already home, I think back on how I expected life to go.  When infertility and loss weren't even a thought in the back of my head, let alone an actual part of life.  After Matt and I were married, I figured we'd have 4 or 5 children the 'natural' way and then adopt a couple more.  By 30, we'd have at least a car full. 

I was wrong.  I  hate being wrong.  But I am so grateful that I was wrong.  It will be a miracle... like the kind the Pope authenticates if are next baby is home by the time I turn 30.  And I'm okay with turning 30, I really am okay with growing older (of course, I will be buying wrinkle cream soon) but as much as
I try to convince myself that I'm okay, I'm not always okay with how long it is taking to grow our family.  I know it's part of God's plan and that his timing is perfect. 

But sometimes it's hard and I have to stand firm in the truth of the word; that God does know the desires of my heart.  Psalms 37:4 tells me to "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart," and I do.  In Psalms 113:9, the psalmist (most likely David or Moses) writes  "He settles the barren woman in her home - the joyful mother of children."

And that I cling too.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week.

Infertility is defined as a medically recognized disease that affects men and women equally. It is defined as the inability to conceive or retain a pregnancy during a one-year period.

Did you know:
  • 1 in 6 couples are affected by infertility
  • 35% of infertility problems can be traced to the woman, 35% traced to the man and 20% traced to both.
  • Ten percent of infertility is unexplained
  • 6.1 million couples are affected by infertility in the US, worldwide 50-80 million
  • Infertility affects approximately 10 - 15 % of the population
  • The fastest growing group of people affected by infertility are women under 25
Statistics found here and here.

You probably know someone who struggles with infertility, even if you don't know that they do. 

And the chances are even greater that you didn't know that April 22 - 28 was National Infertility Awareness Week.  Until we struggled with fertility, I didn't know anyone else.  And then slowly, my blinders were removed and I realized a lot more people struggle with it than I could have ever imagined.  I am so thankful for organizations like and friends who are willing to talk about infertility, so that I didn't feel so alone.  We need to get past the social faux pas of not being perfect and open up about infertility so that others know they aren't alone.  And NIAW is a great start. 

However, if it weren't for infertility, I wouldn't have had this moment:  The first time I held Gabriel.  And I would not change one thing. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

12 Hours to go

Just 12 hours remain in the Ordinary Hero grant contest and have I mentioned lately that we want to win?

Need a gift for a friends birthday? Ordinary Hero has some super cute t-shirts!

A baby or adoption shower present?

A tumbler for your summer drinks?

Don't need anything but still want to help us and them?  Ordinary Hero has awesome product donations for children and families in Africa.  Feed 40 children (or more) when you purchase a sheep or buy a backpack to help a school aged child go to school. 

They also have an awesome donation combo where you can bless a child in Ethiopia or Uganda with two raincoats, shoes and a warm blanket. The rainy season in Africa is long and hard (even the government shuts down for about 6 weeks) and this package would be invaluable to a child living on the streets. There are actually 5 teams of Ordinary Hero's going this summer and they will be delivering the items bought to those in need. 

Just don't forget to choose us from the affiliate drop down box when you check out or else we won't get the credit.  And you know we want to win the grant contest! Hehe!!  But really, truly, thank you for your support.


 "Vooom" is the sound the vacuum makes as I clean the floors.  It is also the sound Gabriel makes when he "vacuums" when I'm done.

As evidenced here, this child just loves the vacuum.  And trains. And Veggietales, football (meaning football, soccer, basketball and baseball), cars, books... but mostly the vacuum!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shoes & links!

From everyone who has been given much,
much will be demanded;
and from the one who has been entrusted with much,
much more will be asked.
- Luke 12:48

This verse continues to be placed on my heart as I send out emails, facebook messages and facebook posts about the Ordinary Hero grant contest.  I'm not entirely sure why it continues to come to mind but as often as it does, I felt like maybe I should share it.  Maybe it's because I do have much... much more than I could ever possibly need. Clothes, food, piles and piles of things.  Last winter, I took over 20 pairs of sandals to the Salvation Army (obviously this was before we knew we would move to Houston) and then there are children who don't have any shoes and can't go to school, can't receive an education and have the hope of a brighter future.  Two of my favorite organizations provide shoes for children, TOMS and Ordinary Hero.  Yes, neither of these organizations are going to eradicate poverty by giving shoes away to children in need, but they are making a difference and are actively part of the change we need in this world. 

Buy TOMS and join the One for One Movement of click here and buy aqua shoes for children in Ethiopia who go barefoot because they don't even one pair of shoes. 

The Ordinary Hero grant contest continues through Saturday night and we would be so blessed if you stop by their store and check it out.  If you find something you like don't forget to pick our name as an affiliate and if you'd be so inclined, share our information with your friends.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I love the saying "winner winner chicken dinner."  It makes me smile every time I hear it.
Because life has been a little on the crazy side, my parents were in town and we were out of a computer for a while, I am just now getting to the Bead for Life winners.   Drum roll please.... the winners of the chicken dinner bracelets are Sondra and Stephanie! And I didn't even have to use because they were the only 2 that entered!  While I'm glad that won, I can't believe no one else wanted a beautiful bracelet!  Ahh, well!  Better for these ladies! 
photo source
Still interested in Bead for Life?  Check it out here!  Shipping is super inexpensive as well! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kemah Island

While my parent's were in town visiting we took them to Kemah Island.  Matt, Gabe and I had never been there before so it was an adventure for all of us!  While it was a little on the warm side (high 80's - low 90's), the breeze from the Gulf was perfect.
We walked around the boardwalk a couple of times, watched boats go out and laugh at the little ducklings riding the waves.  Gabe loves trains and was so excited to see one zipping around the park.  Since we passed on the boat ride, we figured a train ride for the little man would be perfect.  While waiting in line for tickets, the train broke!  Drats!
So, instead of riding the train we went to find lunch.  Gabe (and I) ate at Joe's for the first time and we found that Gabe has an affinity for seafood; crab-stuffed mushrooms, mahi-mahi and popcorn shrimp were his favorites!  The food was delicious and it was lovely sitting on the deck, although I was very thankful for the netting that was up because those seagulls were creeping me out!
A pirate ship!

What are you boys pointing towards?


Eating at Joe's!

Nonny, Gabe and Papo
Before leaving we checked back to see if the train was working... and it was!  Gabe was thrilled to go on the train with his Daddy!

We had so much fun.  And I'm sure another visit is in our future; perhaps it will be filled with a boat ride, funnel cakes and probably another train ride!