About Me

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I'm an extremely blessed woman! I have a wonderful husband, four amazing kids, an awesome Mom and Mom-in-law, Dad-in law, fantastic brothers and sisters and brother and sister in-law, nieces and nephews,a great job and lots of fun friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TICKETS BOOKED!!! Ethiopia here we come...

Just got official word on our travel dates and booked our flights. We will fly to Ethiopia on the 8th of January, arrive on the 9th (after a very very very long flight), and hold our sweet girl on the 10th! I am so excited...just a few short weeks away! We will return on January 16th at 11:38 and would LOVE for everyone to come out to the airport to meet our newest family member. Just please remember to meet down in the baggage claim so that our kids and Grandma can meet their new sister and Granddaughter first. Thank you all so much! God is good!!!!

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Chaos!!!

Tis the season for sugar-hyped, gift-wanting, Christmas-crazed kiddos at the Casa de Chaos! We are having so much fun and are so excited for Christmas to be here. Just a few weeks ago we actually got some snow! Not much, but the kids had a blast playing outside...until it melted about an hour later : )
We also had to have our traditional Christmas cookie making and decorating day...

And of course, for L a few sprinkles just won't do...

Pretty proud of their mess...um, I mean beautifully decorated cookies! We will have to save a few for Santa though : )

And of course, we are trying to stay focused on the true meaning of CHRISTmas...the birth of our dear Lord and Savior! We are just so amazingly blessed! And ,this Christmas, we are thrilled to add a new sister to the family...even if we don't get to bring her home until January. Thanks Grandma Bonnie for the new family ornament...we love it! Merry Christmas to all and may you have a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

She's OURS!!!!

Yipppeeeee!!!! She is ours!!!! We just got word that little H is now offically our daughter!!! Now, we wait for the U.S. Embassy to give us a date to travel to bring her home. I am on cloud 9!!!!! Thank you God!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can I have a little cheese with my whine?

So, I have to admit that I have been a bit depressed, anxious and in a bit of a funk for the last couple of weeks. While I am THRILLED for all of the families passing court, travelling and bringing home their children, I must admit that selfishly, it hurts too. I know that anyone who's ever been there knows what I mean. This is our fourth adoption and we've been on both ends of this rope...getting lucky through the process, while others wait...having to redo documents while others breezed through the process...been there, done that. It never gets any easier, but it really is soooooooo worth it!
Now, our second court date is this Thursday, the 10th in Ethiopia...well, actually Wednesday night as we sleep; and I am just so nervous. I do trust God and His timing, but I am truly scared that one stupid little piece of paperwork will keep us from passing and then we'll have to wait another month for our next courtdate to find that that one stupid piece of paperwork is still not there. I'm not normally one to mire myself down in negative thoughts, I just MISS MY GIRL and I want to be with her. Seeing the videos my friends John and Theresa took of her were such a blessing, but it definitely makes it that much harder to wait to hold her and look into her sweet face.
I am hopeful that we will pass this week...and bracing myself to not be totally devastated if we don't. I would appreciate any prayers on our behalf...especially for my poor husband, who has to deal with me. Let's hope second time's the charm!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It's a roller coaster ride...up...down....way up...way down fast....SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a bumpy journey, for sure...but well worth the ride. As I type this, we await our second court date next Thursday. Yesterday, my dear friends, John and Theresa, who just returned from Ethiopia with their new daughter, somehow found the time to not only send me several pictures of our "H', but also made me a little music video, complete with several shots of my girl on video. Talk about cloud 9! I laughed and cried and ached to hold her, but wow, did getting a video of her make my day!
Later that same day...SCREACHING HALT! Followed by superfast downhill ride..!!!!..AHHHH. We found out that three other families who did not pass their first time either, did not pass their second time in court. They didn't pass the first time for the same reason we didn't pass...so naturally, I freaked out thinking the same thing will happen to us. Last time we were missing a letter....so five weeks later, could we still be missing the same letter? Of course, I immediately called our case worker and asked if they knew for sure that it was there, but we are dealing with foreign courts so sometimes they can't find these things out until we don't pass court again. AHHHHHHHH!!!! We saw her gorgeous face for the first time on August 24th...it's been way too long...I want my baby home! Mommy meltdown!!!!
And, then once again....God gave me His peace...the peace that surpasses all understanding. My favorite verse..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart...lean not on your own understanding..." Proverbs 3:5, came to mind. And, sure enough my morning devotional was none other than that very verse, coupled with a very wonderful reminder of God's perfect timing and control. How can I complain? God has blessed me with three, and soon four of the most amazing children, through adoption...and he made me a sister in Christ. adopted into God's family by Jesus. Amazing! So, I'm climbing back into the seat, lowering the bar, buckling the seatbelt and hanging on for the next part of this crazy ride. Please continue to pray for all of the families who are experiencing delays in their process and for these silly court things to be resolved. Today, I am also choosing to be grateful to God and to the amazing birthmothers and birthfathers that have allowed me to become a Mommy. Hanging on and hoping for the best....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!!

Today, my "baby" girl turns 3! I can't believe she's already 3...even though she looks like she's closer to 5 : ) We will go out for Mexican food tonight and have a small neighborhood pizza party on Sunday.
3 things (there are so many) that I love about my feisty girl:
1) Always happy, always dancing or hopping around wherever she goes.
2) So sweet...loves to give hugs and kisses. I love it most when she grabs your face and really plants one on ya!
3)Miss Independent! This can be good and bad, but I love that I don't worry that she will have a lot of confidence. Daddy and I laugh that we will have to "warn" her dates, not worry that they will prey on her : )
I also have to add that she is sooooo excited to be a big sister. She is always telling me how she will hold "H" and hug her and she won't let anyone sleep in "H's" bed. I love it! I know they will be the best of friends!

Adoption Update: I was very relieved to hear that "H's" birthfather DID make the court appointment and was able to confirm her relinquishment. I am sooo happy to know that he probably got to go see her and was given the letter we wrote him and the photo album we made of our family. We didn't pass court because of a missing document (from the Ethiopian government), that should be in place for our December 10th appointment. So, if all goes well, we are looking at late January to bring her home. Keep those prayers coming! Thank you to all of our amazing friends and family for your support and prayers, and thank you God for giving me the peace of knowing that you are NEVER one nano-second too early or too late. YOUR timing is perfect!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We Didn't pass court...now what? : (

We found out today that unfortunately, we did not pass court in Ethiopia on Monday. I still don't know why...our agency is trying to find out, but I suspect that maybe H's birthfather could not make it the 8 hours to Addis Ababa for our appointment. We have been rescheduled for December 10th...a LONG way off for me. I'm so heartbroken, but I know that God is in control and that He has the plan...not me! Please pray that all will work out...we obviously won't have her home for the holidays, but we will have many more holidays to spend with her, God willing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

No News...but New Floors!

Well, our court date was today in Ethiopia, but it may be a few days before we find out whether or not we passed. If we passed, we will most likely travel at the end of December. I have to admit that I am pretty disappointed...I was really wanting to have our newest daughter home for Christmas, but I have to remember...not MY timing! I'm praying to hear about court soon and still hoping for earlier travel, but not much I can do at this point, but enjoy the holidays with my family and love on all my crazy babies here!
Last weekend was a very busy and extremely exhausting one for us. T and I decided to rip out our nasty old carpet and put down hardwood floors on our mainfloor. Yes, I am doing some SERIOUS nesting! Anyway, we recruited some amazing friends to help, but it turned out to be a much bigger job than we originally thought. After ripping up the carpet and somewhere close to a GAZILLION staples and nails, we discovered that we were going to have to replace a couple of places on our floor that had water damage before we could even begin to seal and lay the floor.

Bummer! But, at least now we have decent and non-rotting floors in our house...yay! Thank you God for our friend, Will, who is a true "artist" with woodworking and carpentry. Without his know-how and drive, we would be laying floor for months. Our friend, Paul, was also kind enough to come and help us lay the flooring. As it was, we were able to finish it by late Sunday night and it is BEAUTIFUL!
I'll post more pictures once I can polish it and get all the furniture back where it belongs. I am just thrilled with the floors, but I have to say, this is probably the sorest I have ever been! I have a whole new respect for people that do this kind of work every day.
Please continue to pray for us and for our sweet girl in Ethiopia as we wait (impatiently) and put our trust in the Lord to bring her home to us soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Pumkins and Ghouls!

The Casa de Chaos is always rockin' and this month has been exceptionally crazy. I do love the fall though...especially here in East Tennessee...just breathtaking! Wanted to catch up on some activities and show off my adorable little ghoulies! The Pumpkin patch is always one of my favorite fall activities. We all had a great time and hauled back five pumpkins and a car-load of tired people!

And, then of course, we carved them and decorated for Halloween. This is the first year that J1 wanted to be something scary...not too horror-ble though. J2 chose to be "Dark" Vader, but I think he just chose that because he wanted to get a light "saver". L, ever my tom-boy (God love her) opted for Thomas the train, even though my Mom and I were leaning toward a lady bug or Tiana (the new disney princess). Maybe H will be a bit more of a girly girl, but then what will I do? : )

Here's L with "Mr. Lazy Bones"...he never got up!
Our Ethiopian court date is November 9th, but since Ethiopia is seven hours ahead of us, our court hearing will take place probably while we sleep (or try to sleep) on Sunday night. We do not go there for this court appointment, but we will hopefully find out early next week if we passed. If so, there is still a good chance we will have H home for Christmas. If not, I will definitely have some major boo hoos, but I trust in the Lord and His perfect timing. Of course, we will take all the prayer we can get, so thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to lift our family in prayer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


So after I finally chilled out and waited for God's hand on this...our case manager, Julie called me today to tell us that we have a court date. November 9th! Not as early as I'd hoped, but I totally trust God and His timing. Please pray for all to go well and for H's birthfather to be able to make the long trip to Addis Ababa for our court date. Pray also that he will have peace and know that we love and will take wonderful care of this amazing little girl. And, please pray that God is preparing all of our hearts for all the new adjustments and for our family of five to become a family of six!! God is so good...I have a very grateful heart today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

C'mon Courts!!!!!

Ok, so we are two weeks into October and still don't have our court date in Ethiopia. The courts were supposed to open last week (at least that's the rumor, no one seems to know for sure). We know a family who was supposed to have their court appointment last Friday night, but haven't heard yet if they passed or not. (Please be praying for them and for the East family, http://eastiesandcompany.blogspot.com/, who have their court appointment this Wednesday!) Several families who were scheduled for the first week of October were rescheduled into the third week of October, so although I'm still hoping and praying we will make it into October, the reality is that it will probably be November....and then hopefully travelling before Christmas.
The waiting is SOOOO hard. Even though we've been through this three times already, it never gets any easier to wait, especially when you have those huge brown eyes looking at you through pictures and those sweet little cheeks dying to be kissed, and those cute, dimpled little hands needing to be held. I think if we don't hear something this week, I will indeed go crazy. (ok, yeah, I'm already there, but I'll probably really start driving everyone else around me nuts too : )
What also makes this harder for me is that little "H" is already 18 months old and has already had so much loss and pain in her short little life. She recently was moved from the only home she had ever known eight hours North, where everything is different...especially the language. Soon, some strange people that look, smell and talk completely different will come and scoop her up and take her far, far away. I can only imagine how difficult that would be for a toddler, nearing two years old, who is in the stages of understanding what's different and fearing
all the new experiences. I thank God for the wonderful care she is getting and I pray that she is looking at our pictures that we sent her and understands that we will be her forever family soon. I pray that God is preparing her little heart for all the changes still to come and that he will fill her with peace and not fear. I am also so thankful that her little friend, Orange is with her now in Ethiopia and will be her friend here in Knoxville as well. How amazing is that?! At least she will have a familiar face here when she comes home. And, I especially thank God for my sweet childen, who are so excited to have their little sister come home and who I know will love on her and help her and let her know they are always here for her.
Please be praying for all the families and children who are in "process" and please pray that we will be able to bring our sweet girl home very soon. Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All About August

Yeah...I know it's September, but I've got all kinds of full-time working, busy-mama, crazy-woman excuses. Anyway, August was an amazing month at the Casa...with lots of activities, school starting, and of course...our referral of our new daughter! So, here's just a few pictures to catch everyone up on the chaos. Daddy and the boys spent one Saturday having "guy time" at Lowes. They got these nifty work aprons, goggles and each built a great little boat that we HAD to take to the swimming pool later that day to try out.
Both of the boys started school...this year they are in the same school and big brother is showing little bro all the ins and outs of elementary school and bus-riding. They are both loving school and are still very excited about their "homework"...that ought to wear off in about a week : ) I have to admit that watching my "little man" get on the bus was a little heart-breaking, but I love that his big brother holds his hand and watches out for him. Love them!

T had a conference in Wisconsin at a really neat resort on the lake, so with the help of Grandma and my awesome BFF, I was able to fly up for a couple of days and enjoy some rest and time away with the hubster. We REALLY enjoyed it and need to do that more often, but leaving three, and soon-to-be four small kids is no easy feat! I'm so grateful for the two days I had of "down time" and time to reconnect with T.

The view from our room. It was overcast that day, but still so gorgeous.

Last, but not least...our girl, "L"! I just love this dress Grandma Marie bought for her and she actually will let me put it on her and wear the headband! She is very very strong willed and normally anything Mommy picks out for her to wear is greeted with a firm "no!". We pick our battles don't we? Most days, she goes to pre-school in mis-matched, ragged play clothes and her brothers old Lightening McQueen crocs, but hey, that's one of the many things that I love about her. She is soooooo excited about her little sister, telling me all the time that she is going to "rock her in the rocking chair" and asks to see her picture all the time. When she sees it she screams her name and does a little dance...so sweet! Of course, the boys are excited too.

Adoption Update: Unfortunately, the Ethiopian courts are not assigning new court dates until they reopen in October, so now we wait some more to see how much more we have to wait for a court date ; ( Still praying we will still get an October date, but we'll see. In the meantime, keep praying for little "H" and I hope to get some updates on her soon. Hope you are all having a spectacular September!

Friday, August 28, 2009

"THE CALL!!!!"

It finally came...of course, when I least expected it. I mean, I knew we were next in line for a toddler girl, but I didn't think it would happen when it did. See, usually the "calls" come earlier in the day, so on Monday, August 24th, when 4pm passed by I thought "well, not today". T has been out of town so much over the last few weeks and I've been basically a single Mom, so Monday night I decided to take the kids out to eat. Yeah, I'm crazy...three small kids at a restaurant. Anyway, as expected, the kids were running wild, melting down, fighting over crayons, whining about what they would or wouldn't eat, and being "quietly yelled at" by Mommy to sit down! So, when the phone rang I thought it was my Mom. I had invited her to meet us for dinner and thought maybe she had decided to have some sense and NOT join us : ). But nooooo, it was Julie from AGCI!!!!! When I saw the number I couldn't believe it...I answered and tried to hear Julie while attempting to corral two kids heading for the outside fence (we were on the patio) when thankfully, my Mom showed up. I mouthed to her that it was our agency and my angel of a Mom took over the craziness of ordering drinks and trying to quiet down the chaos. Anyway, I said "Hey Julie...do you have some good news for me?". And, she said, "well, I have a little girl to talk to you about..."

Well, she told me a little bit about our sweet H and I caught things here and there between yelling "sit down!" and "stop blowing bubbles in your milk"! We agreed that she would e-mail me all the information and pictures and I would check them out as soon as I could get home. Great! I'm at a restaurant with three wild kids and no computer AND my husband is out of town. I immediately texted T..."REFERRAL!!!!", since he was in a conference and he texted back that he would call me asap. So, I rushed the kids through dinner, kissed my Mom and said thanks for coming and got home as quickly as possible. So, I tell the kids to get their jammies on and brush their teeth and I run for the computer. I text T like 8 times...."call me", "CALL ME!!"..."CALL ME NOW!!!"...and "WHERE ARE U!?". And, of course, the kids are running around like animals..."L" is naked and running around singing "I shake my booty", the boys are fighting over some cheapo happy meal toy and I am about to fly to Wisconsin to choke my husband for not calling. Finally, T calls and he's booting up his computer, which according to my calculations at the time took, like, 3 years! Anyway, we finally both open the picture and both at the same time said "Oh, look at her, she's beautiful"! We oohed and aahed and congratulated each other and said we would talk more later. I didn't say anthing to the kids about what was going on, cause I wanted T and I to see everything first, but right about then little "L" comes in the room, looks at the computer and says happily but very matter-of-factly "that's my baby sister, H". She knew. I just looked at her and smiled and said, "yes, it is honey". Well, that got the boys all riled up and soon I had three little monkeys all in my lap wanting to see the pictures of their new little sister.

We are just so thrilled and grateful to God for another amazing child. She is 16 months old, sweet as can be and too cute for words...looks a lot like "L" and I cannot wait to kiss her little cheeks. What happens now is that we submit more paperwork, and wait for a court date in Ethiopia. Once we pass court it will take about 3 or 4 weeks until we can travel to bring her home. Please pray that we will get a court appointment soon and that all will go smoothly and we will get her home sooner rather than later. We should have her home in time for Christmas, but I sure would be extra-super-thankful if she was home for Thanksgiving!

Please also pray for her birthfamily and for the selflessness and loss that have experienced. We will love this little girl so much and do everything we can for her. I am just so grateful. So blessed. So so incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

San Diego Baby!!!

Yeah...it's only been two months, but I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of our awesome trip to San Diego in June. The kids did great on the looooong flights...thanks to lollipops, dvd's and gummies. Ok, they were loaded with sugar and "L" kept screaming "Airplane Mommy!" at the top of her lungs, which then turned into for some strange reason, "Dog Poop!" prompting her brothers to laugh hysterically...the other passengers, not so much.
Our first day, we took the kids with Uncle Marse and our wonderful neices to the Point Loma lighthouse, Cabrillo National Monument and the tidepools. We had such a great time. "L" wasn't too fond of the crabs at the tidepools, but she had a blast running around with her cousins.

You can see all the way to Mexico and all of San Diego from here. So beautiful!
We also got to spend time with some of our dearest friends at Jill and Ron's house. Jill is "my girl" in San Diego and I miss her terribly. It was so great to get to spend time with her and her hubby and darling son, Lucas. Who, by the way, was so awesome about sharing all of his way cool toys with my kids.

We also got to spend some time with Aunt Nancyand her kids...Here are all the cousins together at Grandma Bonnie's house.

We attended the "H" family reunion...and this ain't no small thing! T's Dad is from Mexico originally, and grew up on Catalina island. It was so great to see all of his family come together...we were part of the "yellow" group, from Grandpa Marse's side of the family. This is about maybe a 6th of the amount of people there. It was great fun to see all the amazing people that have made up so many generations of this family. Very cool stuff!

We were able to enjoy breakfast for Father's Day the next day with everyone. Happy Dad's day to Daddy, Grandpa Marse and Uncle Marse! You are all such special Dads and very loved by your kids, and grandkids!
We also made it to Sea World with Uncle Marse and had a blast. The kids really really really loved Shamu. I'm still hearing "Shamu! Shamu!" in the car on the way home from school some days.

Jacob made me ride the one ride that you can get really soaked on...and we did!

We were so grateful to Uncle Marse for his hospitality, to Grandpa Marse for organizing the family reunion, and especially to Grandma Bonnie for making this trip possible for us. We can't wait to see you all again. Here we are with Grandma Bonnie on the beach. Thanks again everyone...can't wait to see you all again soon! XOXO!!!!

And, last, but not least...San Diego will always be special to me because that is where God led me to meet my wonderful husband of 11 years. We were married here on the water and are so grateful for all of our family and friends still there. We were able to sneak away for a few hours one night and have dinner at the little "hole in the wall" best fish-taco place in the world, where wer had our very first date! Love you honey!