Sunday, March 31, 2013

Death Could Not Hold Him

But God raised him from the dead,
freeing him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him
- Acts 2:24

From us to you, we wish you a very blessed and peace-filled Easter.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday Vol 7

Adoption is not always sunshine and rainbows like some people think it is. 

But even if it's not all sunshine and rainbows, there are many good parts beyond the obvious of getting your child home.

These good parts come as little surprises along the way; kind of like when you spot a narwhal out on the ocean.  One of the 'surprises' comes in the friendships I've forged with fellow adoptive parents.  These are the deep relationships that you know will last forever. 

Friends that instantly respond to late night messages encouraging what others may think of as an exhibition of insanity.
Friends that can understand the ache in your heart to hold a child who's face you've never seen but know is out there.
Friends that post YouTube video's of them singing songs like I Can't Wait or Call Me Maybe just because they are awesome like that.
Friendships that aren't changed by time zones, long distances or never meeting face to face.
Friends that understand you're going to burst into tears the first time you see them and don't think you're unstable because of it.
Friends that pray with you, pray for you and ask you to pray for them as well.

Thankful.  Grateful.  Encouraged.

These adoption friends who get it.  Who get me.  They are the silver lining to the hard things in adoption.  They're a blast of List Frank unicorn awesomeness in the dull grey of the wait.

I saw this on Pintrest and instantly thought of some of my adoptive moms.  I am so thankful for women who let me be me and when necessary, encourage me to be a unicorn! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Moving from Houston to Ohio was a blessing in many ways; the biggest being Gabe will be growing up with his cousins and grandparents close by.  On the flip side we left the land of sun and our new house.  Our new house with beautiful bathrooms.  Sounds trivial, I know but the bathroom at our house in Ohio was really, well, gross.  I mean, prior to moving out it was clean but the tiles that were on ALL the walls were stained and some broken, the tub was stained, walls were peeling... it was gross.  I used more elbow grease then I knew I had to clean it but the stains remained.  Add to the fact that we had 3 guys in their 20's renting our house while we lived in Ohio and the bathroom was just a hot mess. 
Then Matt stepped in.  With the help of our brothers, he completely renovated our bathroom.  Took out the disgusting tub, ripped out the plaster walls and the dated tile that covered each wall.  Matt worked from early morning to late at night when we came to Ohio in early December and then when we officially moved back he had a few more long days of work.  But the result?  Well.. suffice it to say that the bathroom is now my favorite room in the house!
Our  bathroom:
new tub
new toilet
new vanity
insulated walls
new window
fresh paint
refinished wood floors
beautiful tile surrounding our tub
It's a brand new bathroom in a 100 year old house.  I love it! 
A little peak into our beautiful bathroom.

One of my favorite scriptures hanging about the towel rack.
Beautiful tile laid by Matt lines our shower .  The tile around the tub and the hand sanded and stained wooden floors are my favorite parts of the bathroom.  The company that redid our wood floors upstairs said the wood was to weak for their equipment, so my darling husband, knowing my love for wood floors and my desire to have the bathroom look in my mind, classic spent extra time sanding and staining them.  He's a great guy, I tell you!

And the awesomeness... the crème de la crème of the bathroom...
Our Harry Potter decal on the toilet.  It reads "This way to the Ministry of Magic"  and makes me smile every single time I walk into the bathroom.  Every.  Single.  Time.  I tell you.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

An Invitation

Last fall a dear friend connected me to a friend of hers; a friend that was stepping out in faith to adopt a young boy who's picture they saw a few weeks prior.  They saw his picture and new that just as their 3 daughters belonged to them, he was their son. 

Fast forward a few weeks and we met shortly before their yard sale.  I was a little embarrassed when I realized that when Gabe and I dropped by for a short visit we stayed almost 4 hours.  But that's what happened when you meet some one new and know instantly that they share the deepest passions of your heart. 

My dear friend Michelle and her husband Mike were able to meet their son when he came to stay with them through a host program that gives orphans in Eastern Europe the opportunity to come to the US and spend time in a family.  Michelle and Mike fell deeper in love with their boy and I can't even imagine how hard it was to say goodbye to him at the airport.  He left not knowing Michelle and Mike would one day be his parents and that the little girls he said goodbye to are his sisters. 

After their boy left, Michelle and Mike continued the paper chase to bring him home.  A few weeks after he returned to his orphanage, they were able to talk to him, tell him they were adopting him and that one day, he'd have a forever family. 

This sweet little boy is now waiting thousands of miles away for him parents to come for him.  And they are doing everything in their power to get their as fast as possible. 

Michelle stays at home with their girls while Mike is a fifth grade teacher, at my elementary alma mater to boot!  We all know teachers don't make a lot of money yet the O'Brien's are stepping out in faith to bring their son home.  And we can help; we can be the hands and feet this family needs to bring their son, who has spent way too long in an orphanage, home. 

Saturday April 20th Michelle and Mike will be having a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help fund their adoption.  It will be held in Vermilion at the Lakeview Baptist Church from 5:30 - 8:00. There will be a 50-50 raffle and a few other items to be raffled off!  If you live in Northeast Ohio this would be a great opportunity to help a family bring their son home.  And who doesn't love a big old plate of spaghetti!

I'll post a flyer here once I get one!! 

And if you'd like to just make a donation to the O'Brien family and help them get their boy home, check out Mari's blog here.  She's the dear friend who introduced us!

Friday, March 22, 2013

This face

This face....

it gets me every time!  I am so thankful for this sweet boy.

Every good and perfect gift is from above... James 1:17

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Houston Day 4

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”
 - Plato
Our last day in Houston was spent at Gabe's 'happy place,'  The Children's Museum of Houston.  Gabe was eagerly asking to get out and for his buggy the second we drove by.  He remembered my promise that we would come back and he was ready to play. 
There are about a million different reasons The Children's Museum of Houston is ranked number 1 in the nation (again).  Every single activity there turns playing into learning.  The 5 hours we spent there were full of Gabe learning.  Learning how to better use his large motor muscles, better defining his fine motor skills, acquiring endless knowledge about spatial relationships, gravity, pulleys and how things like telephones, catapults and toilets work. 


 A play-by-play of Gabe's favorite exhibit: learning about gravity and vacuums.


After 5 hours I was ready to go home, Gabe on the other hand was not.  He cried as we left asking "play one more time?"  I can say with 100% certainty that every visit to Houston will include a visit to Gabe's personal Disneyworld happiest place on earth. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Houston Day 3

As luck would have it, the Tuesday we were in Houston fell on our church's Preschool Play Date day.  I was so excited!  Excitement grew when we realized the play date was at the zoo!  We planned on going to the zoo anyways, but it's always so much better with friends.
We started off in the reptile house.  Gabe could've cared less about the reptiles but loved the tunnel you could crawl through between exhibits.  Last year fall he still wasn't sure enough of himself to go through it but this visit.  He rocked it!  Gabe loved the tunnel and we hung back a little bit longer to give him a few more tries.  I love when my little boy accomplishes something new!

The weather was perfect!  High 60's and lots of sunshine led to a day full of meandering the exhibits and watching the animals.  It was just cool enough that most of the animals were out and full of energy. 

Gabe asked to sit on the turtle! 

After the zoo we needed to stop by HEB to pick up some diapers.  How I didn't pack enough is beyond me, but Gabe was excited when we arrived there.  HEB has the best shopping carts.  They have fairly large cars on top of them and Gabe was ridiculously excited to ride in one.  This grocery cart is absolutely perfect for Gabe.  Big enough that he can sit in it easily and not let his high tone effect him but small enough that I can manueuver it through the store.  Take note groceries of north-east Ohio... carts like these would make my life so much easier.  No pushing a buggy and pulling a grocery cart all through the store!

After picking Matt up from work came one of the highlights of the trip: dinner with our friends from church.  Eating chili surrounded by good friends and all of our crazy kids was the perfect ending to the day.  The food was delicious (best peach cobbler I've ever had!) but the company, that's what made the night great.  It was so nice to share a meal with friends, laughing until I was nearly crying and recounting all that's happened since we left.  Listening to the men talk about their intense and mutual love of Mexican and BBQ was also hilarious.  I'm pretty sure Mexican food is Matt's mistress[smile]. 

Our trip in Houston was winding down but we were having so much fun it seemed impossible that we'd been gone for almost 3 months. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Houston Day 2

Today was almost a complete disaster.  After dropping Matt off at the office and a quick breakfast at the hotel, Gabe and I headed to his favorite place in the world - The Children's Museum of Houston.  We made it there in good time, parked (paid for parking) and headed to the doors.  I grabbed the handle to pull it open and it was locked!  A worker inside saw us at the door and she came out to tell us they were closed on Mondays.  I'm not sure how in the year prior we never attempted to go on a Monday or missed the sign on the front of the building stating they were closed on Mondays but alas, that was the situation. 

Gabe was heartbroken and didn't understand why we couldn't go inside.  After he calmed down, we checked out the map and decided to head on over to the Museum of Natural History.  Matt had been there once for work and from what he saw, said it was great and I knew they had a great dinosaur exhibit.  It wouldn't be as good as the Children's Museum but considering Gabe's love for dinosaurs I figured he'd enjoy himself.  And he did.  I did too as it's all science and right up my geeky alley.

Stand (or sit) on the scale and it told you the amount of different elements in your body.
 Gabe's favorite part!  Dinosaurs.  Gabe amazed me as he identified dinosaurs by their fossilized skeletons.  He's one smart cookie!

 Petrified trees

Ammonites: The real winners of the Darwinism race

 A brief visit to Africa.  It was about 2:30 by now and Gabe was ready to leave. 

 Day 2 was a huge success.  If we ever move back to Houston we will definitely be getting a family pass for here.  And I'll be visiting on my own as well so I can spend as much time as I want looking at all the science nerd stuff!