Wednesday, February 4, 2015

His Smile.

Lately I have been feeling like that new mom who wants to shout about every little thing their child does! Because my youngest son, three years old, has been working so very hard this last year and has over come so many obstacles. So, for those of you who might pass him in public or see him at a social event might think his smiles and conversations and spontaneous hugs are no big deal, because they are age appropriate.

But I want to shout for joy because it is so different from where he was, because I was once so scared about his future. 

The other night I was near tears when he ran up to me with his arms wide open and said in his best deep voice, "Give me a hug!"

Not only is his language improving but more importantly his whole communication is growing. He seeks me out. He shows me his favorite toy. He sings the ABC's and he smiles. 

Oh how I love his smile.

Every time my son does the opposite of what he once knew I want to praise the Lord for His blessings. And to be honest, I am thankful we aren't there, in that dreaded place, anymore. There is relief in my exhale. 

I recently sat in his IFSP meeting with his preschool teacher and we went over all of his goals from the previous six months. One by one she read them off and said the word, "met."

Hearing the goals we had for him reminded me of all of the fears we had when he first started. Would he explode with anger? Would he refuse to eat in the group, because it caused anxiety to eat in social settings? Would he make any friends? Would he engage in the activities?

But on this day I heard that he was singing songs and patting his knees during circle time. He was being kind to other kids around him. My sweet boy was putting his arm around another kid while swinging from side to side during circle time. He was being social! In fact, he absolutely loves school.

When he runs over to his sibling to ask if she is okay I melt inside. Or when he seeks hugs and kisses from me, my heart is warmed. The other morning I came downstairs to my husband pouring cereal for the kids who were eagerly waiting at the table and in his chipper voice, my son said, "Good morning Mom!" I wanted to cry. 

Why do I get so emotional over these little things and want to shout to the world how happy I am?

Because God has moved mountains. 

Because a year ago as we were pursuing his adoption, we heard words such as- Aspergers, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anger, Possible Reactive Attachment Disorder, Neurological issues, and the list went on. 

Because over a year ago I loved a child who had a hard time loving me back. 

Because I was filled with fear of the unknown. 

There were hard days and I know there will be more to come. But right now I take peace in knowing that God walked with us through our struggles. God never left us. He never left my son when he was so hurt, so angry. He never left my worried heart as I tried to navigate through therapies and my parenting tools, doubting every decision I made. 

So, I when I jump for joy and get excited because my sweet boy reached out to another child who was sad or he ran to me when he scraped his knee or simply crawled up into my lap for snuggles-I am reminded that it is because God never left us. He won't leave you. 

Our difficult days can last longer than we want, end up being harder than we thought; and some times we just get through the day being thankful we are still breathing because our world is a mess, we feel lost and discouraged. 

But there is hope. Because we are not alone in those early hours of the morning filled with fear, in the raging meltdowns and messes that take their toll. We are not alone when we feel lost and confused. 

When I see my child smile I am filled with joy. His smile is a reminder that God moved mountains and can do so again.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Maybe Next Time"


I am constantly running to that place, that dreaded place where I hear words spill out of my mouth and regret what I said in an instant. I gripe about my morning or my crazy-tornado-mess-of-a-house or my lack of coffee.

Why is it that so often, our go-to response is to complain about things, as if when we say how great things are going then we are bragging or candy coating what is really going on.

While I think there is room for the inevitable vent session now and then, I believe our grumpy attitude will creep into our daily conversations if we let it. We take our eyes off of the Lord and grumble about things that just don't matter. We forget the bigger picture.

My four-year-old son has been working on his social anxiety the last few years and I am so impressed with how far he has come. Yet, I found myself getting so frustrated with one of his coping phrases. When I would say no to something he would with out a doubt reply with, "Maybe next time?"

"Yes," I would say, "maybe next time."

It is true that hearing "maybe next time" twenty times a day became a thorn in my side but I lost sight of the bigger picture. I forgot that he was trying hard to move on and he was doing a good job. It was all about my attitude.

After feeling regret from my frustration on this topic I have tried hard to remember that when he says those words, he is trying his best to transition out and there are worse ways he could be handling the situation.

So when we find ourselves getting a bad attitude over an expectation we had, let's ask the Lord for His forgiveness and those we around us as well. And possibly remind ourselves we can make the right choice next time. Yes, "maybe next time."   :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three DIY projects in under an hour!

Life has been so busy and I have been working so much on my book that I haven't made time for any DIY projects. They make my heart so happy! In fact, the pictures below were done in November and I am just now getting them posted! 

I have been slowly adding lighter decor into my house to help brighten it up. I have had a lot of dark decor and cast iron decor from our previous house and when we moved in I just threw everything up whether it really belonged or not.

After two years of staring at my walls I started making some changes. Since I have had hardly any time these had to be quick...and cheap. 

I knew I wanted two frames that were 11x17 or close to it. I found these on crazy sale, they matched and I knew I could paint them white. Again because these projects were so quick (I may or may not have done these the night before Thanksgiving)  I didn't take the time to get a proper BEFORE picture. 

However I didn't see until after I bought them that the glass was glued to the frame! Really? So I couldn't paint them unless I covered the glass. I used a flat white spray paint and ran outside before dark to get these done. I added light coats until they were a solid white. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Only New Year's Resolution

I am a very reflective person at heart. So, you can imagine my excitement when the whole world joins me for a bit of insight on life.

I think most of us like the idea of new.  

However, debating on what to put on our list of goals can be a daunting task. There are the obvious; health related pursuits, splurges so we can enjoy life better, or education and job related goals.

Many of us pick an area of the house to purge from clutter with the hope of seeking the simple life, the frugal life, or the stress-free life. 

But here is the thing...

As I look back to the last year and reflect on the things I have accomplished, the regrets I have, and how I have changed- I see the constant...there are seasons in life. Emotional seasons, seasons of health, seasons of living in the desert, and there isn't one goal on my list that would have really helped me get through some of those hard trials or prevented them.

Life is a bumpy road with hard places to get through. Maybe you are in a season that isn't over yet, even though we are turning the calendar over to the new year. Give yourself some grace.

I will say this... I do think goals and lists and reflective thought is important to helping us change and grow. And we all have a mental list we want to pursue. But it can be overwhelming.

Instead, what if we focused one goal? Just one to give your attention to.

If we are going to dive into one goal whole heartedly, let it be this....
                                      to have a deeper relationship with God.

Whether you are struggling with healthy living or feeling trapped in a cluttered house, or living with the guilt from past choices, you can impact all areas when you seek God with your whole heart. 

"Because with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

We can run to Jesus and He will shape our heart, our lives. 

What does this look like?
Ask God to come into your heart and change it. 
Pray that God shows you the sin in your life and how to walk away from it. 
Read God's word in the bible, every day.
Ask for forgiveness.
Seek fellowship with other Christians.

Pray to Him every day.
Read His word every day. 
Ask Him to clean your heart, every single day. 

God craves a relationship with us and when we seek His will for our lives, the other goals we have will either fall into place or we will discover different goals. 

Who doesn't love simple? 
Instead of adding to the long list of wishes, we can simply work on changing one habit- seeking Jesus daily.

I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus and how much he has changed my heart and guided me this last year, these last few years. This new year is something to be celebrated.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

We have had a busy, super fun, month! I have been looking forward to Christmas for a long time! Maybe it is all of the fun family time. Below are several pictures!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

We finally found our tree! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Frozen Birthday Party!

My daughter turned 6 this month and for once we had a perfect theme for her December birthday!

I was able to find a ton of snowflake decor on sale right before Christmas. :)

First let me introduce you to my favorite part...the cake! My sweet girl looked around online with me for inspiration and we both had high hopes for her cake. I was excited and nervous to try to pull some ideas together and I have to say I am pretty excited about our creation.

Our cakes are always gluten-free of course. I used a 9x13 pan for the bottom layer and I did a vanilla cake. The gluten-free vanilla mixes I use are usually more dry and I figured it would hold the weight better.

The top around double layer was chocolate. The towers are made of three gluten-free ice cream cones. I covered them with white chocolate melts and a bit of oil to thin it out. They worked great and hardened overnight.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Cookies!

We have had a bit of a slow start with all of our Christmas fun this year. So I was really excited to kick off our vacation with our first ever, Christmas cookie decorating party!

Enjoy the pictures!

Lets just say, when my husband saw this, he thought I was a little nuts. :) I wanted everyone to have their own set of toppings. Plus for the kids, it was great, because, unlike the fistfuls they could grab in a shared bowl, they could only grab a little pinch at a time. There were 19 of us and I made 20 cups total. Never hurts to have a back up. :) I may have been a little excited about the options. :)

We moved furniture around and set up the table. My favorite part. :) 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun

This post is a little late... but here are some fun pictures from our Thanksgiving. We hosted this year and had a great time putting it all together. I love to decorate a table and plan the food and the whole party planning fun!

We had a great group of family over and wonderful food.

This little appetizer platter was an idea from...ready for husband! :) He didn't do any of the shopping or put it together but he claims it as his own. :) I joke but he did all the other work that I don't like to do, the yard work, heavy lifting and blowing leaves etc.. :) I am thankful that he helps prepare for the fun. Oh and he cooked the turkey for me. I do not enjoy touching raw meat of any kind.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Entryway Closet Makeover!!!

I am so excited about this make over I can hardly stand it! 
I have been day dreaming about a solution to our closet mess for quite a while now. 

Not everyone has a garage or a large mud room. So many of us have these little hallway closets that we barely fit in.  We have lived in three houses with all five of our kids and I have tried several ideas. We have had a big shoe bin outside the closet, in the entry way. We have had individual baskets for each of us on the bottom of the shoe closet. All of which resulted in big piles of shoes messed up on the floor. 

The kids would dig through their shoe baskets and it would end up mixed up, messed up and spread all around our entry way. Every day we did this...then I would throw everything back in just so I could barely close the door. Oh and the next pair of shoes I needed, they were of course, on the bottom of the pile. :) 

Here is the BEFORE picture. I am sorry to say I should have taken a better picture. I was so excited to get started on my project and I wish you could have seen it at its worst.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adoption Celebration & Circus Party!

What a weekend it has been! On Friday we had our adoption finalization hearing. What a fun day! We celebrated with family and had cupcakes and apple cider and took a ton of pictures. We took a wonderful family photo with the judge. 

I have spent the last four and half years going in that court room and spent most of those years imagining our adoption ceremony in there. But when I walked in and set up with the kids in the front, sitting at the table, all I could think about was the fact that their birth parents sat in those very same chairs years ago when I sat in the back. I recounted a handful of hard court hearings and all of the waiting and ups and downs in the case. At times, I doubted we would ever get to this day. 

It worked out that my husband was off that day, as were the kids. So we woke up and everyone crawled into our bed and we took our time starting the day. We sang "Happy Adoption Day to you!"

As we made our way downstairs I began picking outfits to wear and getting everything together. 

Along with the pictures and cupcakes to celebrate I brought to the court house, two books. One for each child being adopted. We did this with my other son a few years ago at his adoption. We bought children's books on adoption and asked everyone to sign the inside cover and blank pages. It was such a treat to have the judge and counsel and everyone who had spent the last few years working with these kids, sign their books. :) We brought them to the party the next day and put them on our welcome table for everyone to sign as well.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What a difference a year makes!

After church yesterday, we went to the pumpkin patch with the kids. We had perfect weather. The fresh air felt so good, a little crisp, but not too cold. 

I was looking forward to this day for a while now but inside I was a little anxious about how it would go. Last year we had such a short and hard visit to this same place. Our youngest little guy was right in the thick of pushing me away and social outings were especially hard for him. 

What a difference a year can make. Last year at this time I was scared, exhausted, and I spent a lot of time trying to predict the future. I worried about every parenting decision I made, for fear that I was only adding to the problem and not fixing it. Attachment, or lack of it, had creeped into my home when I was unaware and unprepared. 

But on this day, we took our time visiting the "farm" and saw the chickens and horses and ponds covered in lily pads.  We were not rushed. We had no agenda. Robert would run up the hill and reach for my hand. The kids climbed on bales of hay, and I even found them laying down, relaxing, on the green grass.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Exciting Adoption News!

We FINALLY have a date set for next month to finalize our adoption for Katie and Robert!!! 

What?! I is crazy exciting. 

I can't wait to make it official and have a big party to celebrate this long, brought-me-to-my-knees,  wonderful journey. They have been my kids for so long but to have it be finalized is such a wonderful thing to jump up and down about! 

As a gift to myself, or from my husband, how ever you want to see it :), I ordered this set as part of our celebration. I LOVE Willow Tree. My mother-in-law started buying me Willow Tree Christmas ornaments every year when I first got married. It has been a fun traditional gift that I just love!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Catering for a Labor Day Campout

Earlier this year I was asked to cook for a campout at the church I grew up in. My parents still attend and this year they were organizing the annual church campout. 

It was an out reach to the community and while it rained most of the weekend, we had a wonderful time. 

Here are some pictures of my food adventures!

I put together these buckets to help people know where to line up for food. I made signs to change out for every meal. The signs had scripture, quotes, thoughts, all about prayer. Unfortunately, it rained after the first breakfast and well, I didn't laminate my signs. :) I was able to use them though for the last meal after church on Sunday, once the sun shined through. :)

These five gallon buckets were easy to put together. Thankfully my dad provided the buckets and filled them with dirt he had on at his house. I got fabric and tied it around them. The signs were stapled into the sticks. The ground was too hard to put the signs into anyway and we were able to move the buckets around as we needed. :)

Ultimately, if the lines were long, I wanted to provide something for them to read and ponder while they waited.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A little style.

This morning I took my little Mia off to her second day (because of the staggered start) of kindergarten.

Today was the first day that she got out of my car in the pick up line and held her sisters hand and walked in the building as I waved good-bye. My heart ached. I was so thankful that Laura would walk in with her. :) I knew she would be fine and I could see them go inside as I drove away but then I remembered that a few years ago I let Laura walk in- by herself! I thought it would be easier...and maybe for Mia, but for me. :(

I came home and tried to keep busy, and with my three little ones, it wasn't hard to do.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beach Family Reunion 2014

A picture I happened to get of some random kids playing down the beach.
I love how it turned out. 

Every year we go to the beach for a reunion with my husbands extended family. It was the perfect end to our summer break.

Traveling this year was different in many ways for us as a family. I didn't need to pack the big items like, the playpen, high chairs, baby gate or even sippy cups. Although, diapers and wipes were still on the list.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School: Closet Organization

We have been in our new house for over a year now and I finally have order in the closets!

With school just two weeks away, and my husband going back to work next week, I have been on this cleaning rampage all over the house. (So watch for more pictures to come!)

We don't have dressers for the kids, I am not a big fan anyway. I have always wanted to utilize the space at the bottom of the closet for more storage/clothes. Since I hang their shirts (and dresses for the girls) it makes sense to me to have the bottoms, well, at the bottom.

I bought five of these cube storage units for each of the kids and with free shipping they arrived at my door step. Fast forward a few weeks later when I had time and energy got tired of tripping over the boxes and wa-la!

I have two boys who share a room. They each have their own 6-cube storage unit for their clothes. They had enough width in their closet for me to lay them on their side.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 Cascade Awards Ceremony

A few months ago I was chosen to be one of three finalists, in the unpublished memoir category, for my book, What Led Me To You.

Last night I attended the banquet for the 2014 Cascade Writing Contest hosted at the Oregon Christian Writers conference.

Even though, I did not receive the award for my category, I really enjoyed getting to get to this point.  I met some amazing people and had a wonderful night out with my husband.

Here are some of the fun pictures!

Waiting for the event to start. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thomas The Train Birthday Party!

All aboard!

Robert LOVES trains.

Our little boy was turning three-years-old so we celebrated his birthday at a train park.

I had so much fun putting this together!

Each of the kids got a bandanna, a hat, and a train whistle to take home.
We had lots of finger foods in train cars that went all the way around the table. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Simple Truth- from my five-year-old

Today I was driving my two oldest daughters home from swimming lessons when I heard such simple words of truth, from my sweet daughter.

Our typical drive home involves a winding road next to a cliff with little to no railing. There is a small water fall on one side and beautiful shade from the tall trees. For the most part, I find it to be a refreshing view after passing through worn down houses and industrial buildings.

However, the cliff is intimidating and I usually ignore the fact that it is there, keeping my eyes on the road. Sometimes, I even cautiously hug the middle of the lane and slow my speed.

I really hate that cliff, but I would like to think that I never vocalize my fear. *guilty snicker* (hand over face)

Okay, maybe I have, once or twice when my husband was driving, and I sat in the passenger

You would think I would find a different way home but I am all about efficiency. :) Since we have therapies just past it, along with a quick shot to the highway, it has become a typical route.

While we have driven up and down the hill hundreds of times this last year, it has become the focus of conversation these last few weeks. Maybe it was because I was driving my husband's truck instead of our big suburban as we finish our two weeks of swimming lessons, which gave the girls a closer look out their windows in the backseat.

This afternoon, Laura, my seven-year-old daughter, looked out her window and started squealing about the possibility of driving down the cliff, "Oh no, what if we drove off of the cliff?" "What if our truck tumbled over and over?" I think she was trying to be over dramatic but still, I wanted to remind her that we would not drive off the cliff.

Monday, July 14, 2014

School Work File Folders!!

I have been storing awards, important papers and art work in all of the wrong places; the top of the fridge, junk drawers, cupboards, and even in the garage.  

Today, after months of this project sitting half done, I finally finished all of the tubs for each of my kids. I wrote signs with their names on the outside of the box and each kid and color coordinated as best as I could! :) 

Two Pink, Purple, Blue and Green.
 I am always a little bummed when I can't find 5 different colors! :) 

I bought several boxes of assorted colors and pulled all the yellows together, blues together, etc...

I have been storing awards, important papers and art work in all of the wrong places; the top of the fridge, junk drawers, cupboards, and even in the garage.

Today, after months of this project sitting half done, I finally finished all of the tubs for each of my kids. I wrote signs with their names on the outside of the box and each kid and color coordinated as best as I could! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Look For Summer!

After almost 2 years of not changing my hair I was eager for change!

But summer vacation is here and with a last minute appointment, cause that is how I roll, I made my way to a wonderful salon with the intent of only getting a cut.  I left with a cut AND some highlights and feel very refreshed!

BEFORE: Wow, that was long! And all natural.
I  think I was 12 the last time I had my own hair color. :) 
Growing up I colored my hair every color and had a new hair style just about every month. With life stealing my attention I had let my hair grow out more than I realized.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Suttle Lake Vacation

We just enjoyed a wonderful vacation with my husband's family at Suttle Lake....which was maybe 10 miles from Sisters, Oregon.  The kids had a blast! 

The kids taking one last look off the front porch of our cabin, before we head home. 

Note to self: Always bring night lights on vacation. I always forget and end up buying some at the near by store. :) The new environment is always a little scary for the kids at night and we end up keeping a bright lamp on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Sitting in the sun with Robert snuggling in my arms.
Oh it felt so good! 

I have been on cloud nine lately after realizing just how far my little Robert has come over the last year. Many of you may have read the article I recently wrote for the Fostering the Future campaign, if not, you can read it Here.

During our recent camping trip I was enjoying a good conversation with my mother-in-law, and she commented on how far Robert has come. It got me thinking...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fishing/Camping Trip

I  just had an amazing weekend at Trillium Lake. This was the first fishing trip for our kiddos and they loved every minute of it. I had to share some of our fun pics!

I had never been there and was so moved by the amazing view of Mt. Hood.

Our amazing view.
Walking down to the lake

Monday, June 16, 2014

Freezer Jam!

It is that time of year! Jam season! 

For the last few years my sister-in-law and I have made strawberry freezer jam in large batches and every year we forget to write down how much we need so we can do the same size batch the next year!  

So, this year we vowed to actually keep detailed information and email it to ourselves, so I wouldn't have to worry about keeping track of where I put the precious information.  :) 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hearing Evaluation

This picture brings tears to my eyes.... my little boy looks so grown up in this picture.

Maybe it is the super cute overalls he is wearing. 

Maybe it is the fact that he is sitting in this chair by himself instead of in my lap, for the first time, as we test his hearing in the booth we visit often. 

Maybe it is because I have seen him practice this "game" so many times and this was the first time he used this new technique to test his hearing.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Foster Parenting Quote

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

DIY Project: Rocking Chairs

I finally finished my rocking chairs right in time to kick off summer vacation! 

I found these on craigslist for $30 each, they are $150 brand new.  The ad said they were distressed. :) They were in bad condition. Paint was chipping off all over, it looked like the wood was rotting and there was even green moss on one of the arms.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Publication: An Anchor

I am honored to share that I was asked to write a blog post for the Fostering the Future 2014 campaign through the Children's Rights organization. You can find out more about their mission here...

You can find the article here... as well as posted below.

10 MAY 2014 / POSTED BY CR

By Carrie Dahlin
carrie new largeMy son Robert went through a lot of instability in his first year. My husband and I first met him when we brought him home from the hospital at just 2 days old. The plan was for Robert and his sister Katie, whom we were already fostering, to stay with us for a short time and to then be adopted by a relative. But after the kids left our care, there were some bumps in the road, and they ended up in separate foster homes.
When we let Robert and Katie go, we thought it would be best for both of them. We never intended for them to be shuffled through different homes. But the reality is that kids in foster care get moved often, and for many different reasons. There are good homes and not-so-good homes. Life happens, illness takes over, good intentions become regretted decisions, and these all have a huge impact on the child.
Robert’s new situation was heartbreaking. He wasn’t being cared for properly in his foster home — he was often left in his playpen or high chair and not bathed on a regular basis. The family was busy with jobs and obligations and Robert seemed like a side note, a paycheck placement.
My husband and I had never stopped loving Robert or his sister. When we learned that they were available for adoption, we began the process to make them part of our family.
We were incredibly thankful when Robert, then 1, and Katie, then 3, moved back into our home, joining our two biological daughters, Laura and Mia and our son Jabar, also once our foster child. But it wasn’t an easy transition. Robert now had attachment struggles — he hated to be touched, held, kissed or hugged, and would often refuse a meal simply because I asked that he take a bite.
From his experiences, Robert’s view of a mother was one that left him disappointed and angry. He needed to learn that I was not going to abandon him and this would take time.
I decided to focus my attention on providing for Robert’s basic needs. I changed his diapers, gave him food and simply offered my presence. After a while, and a handful of attachment therapy sessions, the boy who once screamed every time I touched him started to lean against me as I sat on the couch. Before long, Robert was holding my hand as we walked to the bus stop instead of cautiously walking a few feet away. I will never forget the morning I went to wake him up and as he stood in his crib, heard him eagerly say, “I love you.”
As foster parents, we are asked to not only care for the basic needs of a child, but also sit alongside them as they digest the hurt and damage they have undeservingly experienced. We need to remember that these kids — even the littlest ones — who come into our care are hurting and struggling to digest the interruptions in their lives.
The reality is, whether the abuse and neglect come from birth families or fellow foster families, the impact on the children will have lasting effects. I believe we need more loving families who are willing to become foster parents to raise the standard in which we place these precious children. And I want to encourage future foster parents to seek support for themselves, in order be an anchor for the children they welcome into their homes, their hearts. It is our job to show kids a new kind of love, a love that is strong when they can’t be.
This Mother’s Day I will enjoy my breakfast in bed with a smile. Not because life is easy, but because I am surrounded by my five beautiful kids, as they try to make their way under the covers and steal a bite of my waffles. Mother’s Day is more than a day off from chores around the house or being pampered with flowers. It is a day to be thankful for our children, because without them, there would be nothing to celebrate.
It is my prayer to spend the rest of my life showing Robert, and each of my kids, the kind of love they deserve from a mother. I hope to show them that we are more than our beginnings.
Published on May 10, 2014 as part of Children’s Rights’ “Fostering the Future” campaign.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spiderman Birthday Party!

My son Jabar turned 4 years old! He LOVES spiderman everything. Although I have to admit he has never actually seen the cartoon. Here are some pictures!

Jabar has been talking about his spiderman birthday for months! And it was finally here!

This city scene was super easy to make. I got a 3-fold board from the craft store, already black, and shaped it into my city and then used my craft square punch to make the yellow windows.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Fun!

We had an incredible day yesterday. Not only did we celebrate a birthday in our family but it was also the 4 year anniversary of our very first foster kid placement and the 3 year anniversary of finding out that our son James could join our family!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Little Mermaid Birthday Party

Laura and Katie have birthdays just a week a part. So we celebrated them turning 7 and 4 years old with a Little Mermaid themed party! It was a lot of fun to put together. Enjoy the photos!

I made this banner with simple cardstock paper, which happened to be on sale - bonus!
I printed large letters and cut them out. I quickly realized the black wouldn't show up well against the dark blue but by leaving a white trim as I cut them out it helped the letters pop off the dark color. I simply taped the back of them to ribbon. (make sure they are in the right direction for when you flip them that they will read the correct way. Sadly I didn't realize this until I was done and had to start over. :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

"Hallelujah" Even in the weary moments.

I hope you are all doing well!

Our house has been burdened with the stomach bug. :( So far only three of the seven of us have had it but it has lasted over a week. We have spent our days doing a lot of laundry for our littles who can't make it to the bathroom in time. We have been living on rice, bananas, toast and gatorade.

This morning I was not prepared to run out the door to take my two oldest girls to school but somehow we made it. This afternoon I have an important meeting to attend with my youngest daughter and my husband will be teaching until late tonight. I am reminded that life still happens with sick kids.

In the midst of the chaos, I took a few minutes and watched this video, while trying to just breathe. I hope you enjoy. God is good. I pray I can give Him glory as I get through this day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DIY Laundry Soap Recipe:

Here are all the ingredients. Pretty simple. All of them were on the laundry isle except the Baking Soda was on the baking isle. 

There are tons of recipes on pinterest and I found one I like. Here it is and how it all comes together.

With five kids we do a ton of laundry. I started this a year ago and love it. We save so much money. I bought these at my local Winco, even the a five gallon bucket.

The ingredients cost a total of $24.91 It lasts our family a little bit more than 7 months. Who doesn't love that! Even if it was a conservative six months that is still less than $50. per year! HUGE savings.

This recipe fills my five gallon bucket 2/3 of the way full. I only use about 2-3 tbs at a time. In fact I use the scoop that comes with the oxi clean and only scoop it half full....I pour it in first so it mixes with the water and then dump in my clothes.

I got smart and finally wrote the recipe on the gallon bucket  so I won't lose it. Since I am only making this about every 6 months or so I don't want to have to search for it.

I also write on the bucket the date I make a new batch. It helps me keep an eye on how long it lasts for our family!
I grate the bars on the smaller side of the cheese grater. In fact this brand is yellow, some are pink, and it looks like grated cheese. So make sure to do this at nap time and keep it away from the kids.  

I put all four bars in a big bowl so once I start dumping I can add it in as I go. 
Here it is all mixed up. I dump a little at a time from each box and some of the grated soap and stir with a wooden spoon I keep just for this process.

I would suggest doing this you pour the dust comes up and it is less mess outside. 
Here is the cute little jar I got to keep on top of my dryer. The five gallon bucket is too big and I keep it up high on a shelf in my laundry room, away from the kids. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally we have a play room!

Our new space. Before the kids get into it. LOL.

We now have a play room for our kids to enjoy! I love it more than I thought I would. Their bedrooms are free from toys and stay mostly clean (except the pile of clothes from their closet and books off their bookshelves) and most of the toys are in one spot.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Best Day!

On our way to the bus stop. 

I just had to share that I had the best morning with my little handsome boy!

The rest of the kids were at school and the house was quiet, Robert was content and it would have been tempting for me to work on my book or do another load of dishes....but with only a few hours until the kids got home I found myself on the living room floor in a fort with my little man. We were silly and read books and chased each other upstairs into the play room and served each other tea in little plastic cups. He even gave me a fork to stir my tea. :)

Creative Parenting

Katie's new princess bed! 

I feel like I am always trying to keep up with my kids as they grow and change and jump from one stage to the next. I have a plan of action and attitude about who they are becoming and then before I my very eyes they switch things up on me. It doesn't happen on their birthday, there is no spot on the calendar for it, it just happens.

When we moved into our new house, over six months ago, our little Katie got her, very much needed, own bedroom.  Not only did she bang her head as a soothing mechanism but she would wake up in the middle of the night ready to play. She would be up for hours as I repeatedly tucked her back in to bed praying she would fall back to sleep.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cowgirl Birthday Fun!

Our buffet of treats!
Our sweet Mia turned 5 in December. She is madly in love with horses. She wants one so bad and often tries to convince me we could keep one in our garage. :) I was a little worried about how we would throw her a cowgirl party indoors. So many of the activities are for outside in the summer time. I think we were able to pull it off. :)

Here are some pictures from her party. All of our food was gluten free of course and mostly dairy free. Not pictured: We had a punch bowl of "Country Lemonade" or you could have a bucket of bottles of water and call it the "watering hole."


Cuddles with my sweet boy after his bath. 

I have been hoping to write sooner on this but I was struggling with how to share my excitement with you. I have been digesting a lot of our changes recently. With the year coming to a close and as I was reflecting on a lot that has happened I wanted to share the joy in my heart with you!

My sweet boy has slowly been making big changes these last few months. All of the sudden I realized I was able to connect with Robert more without him rejecting my contact or going into a frustrated fit.

Here are a handful of some of the wonderful moments I have been blessed with:

*Cuddling after his bath (as pictured above) while I rock him in his chair until he is ready to be done. These are such special moments for me because I have rarely had the chance to cuddle with him while sitting still. He has shown interest before but would usually get easily overwhelmed almost in a panic and want down.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Lie of Santa

As a culture we lie to our kids about Santa. We go to crazy lengths to prove he is indeed real. We do things like mailing letters to Santa, participating in the elf on the shelf, taking photos with Santa at the local mall, having family members dress up as Santa, leave cookies and milk only to eat them ourselves and don't forget to leave the crumbs behind as evidence.

We expect everyone around us to support us in our lie and if by chance we are exposed for lying by another adult or child we are furious and somehow they are in the wrong for spilling the beans. If our children find out the truth, that Santa is a fake, they are crushed and the moment is often portrayed as one that takes away their innocent childhood. It is not to be a good moment in their lives but one they will remember and reflect on as we often see portrayed in movies like the Santa Clause trilogy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Facebook Page!

You can now get updates on blog posts and what is happening on Facebook!

Click on this Link to check out the facebook page. This will allow easy access to comment on posts and updates as my upcoming book continues to come together.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hard Feelings

This last month had built up into a swirl of emotions. I wasn't even aware of how much they piled on top of each other until finally I erupted through tears. 

My sweet boy, Robert, has been with us for a year now and once before just after he was born. In between our family he moved twice into other foster homes. When we got him back when he was a little over a year old I thought bonding would be easy. 

Tis' the Season!

Our little 3 year old Katie loves to blurt out "Tis' the Season!" any time we mention anything about Christmas. It is so adorable and I have no idea where she got the idea. :)

Our house is starting to look like Christmas!

Heading out to the find our Christmas tree! 

The kids loved watching Dad cut it down. :)

All set up!

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