"So promise me you'll never forget...that you aren't an accident or an incident...you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth...Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly.'" Max Lucado, God Thinks You're Wonderful

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day Cooper!

Another Gotcha Day that makes me teary...my precious Cooper. Cooper's story is one that forever changed our lives and our love of adoption. It was through the deep pain and struggle of his adoption that brought so many wonderful changes in our lives. We pray that by this Gotcha Day next year Cooper's Law will be in effect!
I remember his Gotcha Day last year and how I just faked it all day long. We had a failed placement just two days before. I was still holding onto hope that that was our baby and she would soon come home to us. I knew that if I could just fake certain parts of the day, and cling to my faith, I could make it through one day at a time.
A year later, I see the incredible miracles and blessings of God in our lives. I see how in the last year God has answered so many prayers, especially for what we were grieving this day last year. It was only 5 weeks later that our precious Sadie popped into our lives!

So today was a celebration not just for Cooper's life and what joy he brings us, but a day for our family celebrating his adoption story, the miracles that God worked on our behalf and how God has shaped us through Cooper's life.
So here's a little bit of our festivities of the day! Happy Gotcha Day Cooper!
Owen waiting for his dinner! Seriously, he's getting so big!
Happy Gotcha Day Cooper! We sing it to happy birthday!
Papa Joe and Gigi (Blake's parents) always come over and take us all to dinner for Gotcha Days! Aren't they fun? Cooper got a new OU putter from Papa and Gigi.
Cooper's new love of golf. I love how he wears his bag!
We went swimming this morning! Are they not the cutest kids EVER?

We made train cupcakes and decorated them with candy. Needless to say, most of the candy never made it on a train and went straight into a mouth! Aren't they cute? Yes, we ate very healthy today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Positive Protest Post

I got an email originally from the CEO of Children's HopeChest that asked for those who are upset about the movie, Orphan, to write a positive post about how their lives have been changed by an orphan or adoption.
I started writing that post, and whew! It will take an eternity to write that all out! You know I could go on and on about these 3 that have blessed me beyond words!
So, I decided to share something that's been on my heart the last 6 months or so. And to think that this movie made me sad enough to take the plunge! Just look at all the positive things that are coming out of that poopy movie!

I can hardly contain my excitement.

I am pretty sure its probably annoying my family how giddy I am about what's going on in my heart.
(This is Sadie just as excited about this as I am!)

Tomorrow night there are about 12 girls that are going to meet about the possibility of starting an adoption ministry at our church! Seriously, I could scream it every time I talk about it...I am THAT excited!

If you haven't heard of an adoption ministry before, then let me explain what I am dreaming. As a church, we would follow Christ in His call for us to care for the fatherless. There are so many ways that this could pan out. But I am thinking in every way possible we can support, encourage and educate those looking to adopt (international or domestic) or foster. There are LOTS of churches out there already doing this. This does not mean we are going to become or start an agency (lots of people have asked that).
We have received a TON of support from the Adopt(ed) ministry out of Tulsa. Please check out their blog linked to the right to see what they have been doing for over 2 years! It's INCREDIBLE the vision they have. Sometimes it scares me to look at what they are doing because I think, "There is just no way I can do this or have time to do this!" But then I remember this is not about me doing anything. This is about me being willing. This is not about me being able. I will never be able enough, but HE is able to use me as broken and nutty as I am. This is about me knowing that God has given me an unquenchable passion for adoption. He's placed that in my heart for some reason and so I am choosing to do something about it.
So if you live anywhere close to us (OKC) or even in the state please know that you are welcome to join us as we explore what God is calling us to. We have no idea how our church is going to receive this, but are praying that God is moving in the hearts of our staff and elders. If you are even thinking this is something you would like to know more about please check out the Adopt(ed) blog as they are doing a fundraiser for their ministry in Tulsa. They are hoping to share their ministry plan with other churches who are considering starting adoption ministries!
So this is my protest to the movie...we are going to start a ministry to encourage adoption and fostering!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lookie here...

I am slow at figuring out how to link videos, so the actual link is in the post below!

We got a call early this afternoon asking if we would be willing to do an interview with a local news station about the Orphan movie. When they called my house was a wreck (it was nap time and I was in the cleaning mode) and I was fresh back from the pool covered in chlorine, sweat and sunscreen (yummy)!

How could I turn this down though? Miraculously, I was already cleaning...we had no plans that afternoon AND my precious honey had come home early.

So, we are not actors and we have small children so it was a riot trying to have complete sentences and thoughts, but I think it came out okay. Blake and I laughed when we saw it because we can't tell you how many times we wiped Sadie's nose, yet she still came out looking snotty!

KOKH FOX 25 :: Top Stories

KOKH FOX 25 :: Top Stories

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Post of Pictures

I saw something like this at The Market and it was $40. I thought I could do it and love how they turned out!

My little guy, that's becoming not so little, has been requesting a buzz. Blake and I have fought it hating to cut those precious curls, but we thought, "hey, it's only hair!" Here is the progression.
Before the product when he first gets up in the morning! After the first cut. I wanted to make sure he didn't just want a trim. Nope he says..."like Max's!" His best buddy! A mohawk just for fun! Blake hated it but I thought it looked cool! Just like his daddy, Owen thought it was quite silly looking.
Oh my goodness! He looks so big! He loves it though!
My hottie hubby took his girls out for dinner last week when the boys were at camp. We so enjoyed our time alone with Sadie!
I have to say, it's been so much fun watching Blake with our daughter. It's amazing how different he is with her and it's so cool to watch their bond. I mean, pretty much all of our kids think their daddy hung the moon...but there's something different about Sadie and her daddy.

She's all dressed up for our date!

Cooper is quite the golfer. He LOVES it. He has blisters on his hands from playing so much. If you have noticed a pattern by now...he becomes obsessed with a sport and practices it non-stop until the next season rolls around. Cooper calls himself Tiger Woods right now. It's pretty darn cute! And, I think golfing in a diaper should be a new trend...no need for potties at the 9th hole!I think she likes the swing! What do you think?

Owen wanted to take this one before church a couple of weeks ago. I thought that was cute that he wanted us to have a new family picture!
Same day before church. I just put Aquafor on Sadie's cheeks-so she's a bit shiny! OOPS!

My mom with Sadie and Luke. Isn't she gorgeous, doesn't look a day over 30 to me?!?!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camp Noonie-Papa

What a wonderful tradition my parents have started with Camp Noonie-Papa! This first picture is of the "drop-off" after dinner! Notice the babies got matching shirts too even though they didn't stay for camp.
My parents take their 7 oldest kids for 4 nights and create some of the most incredible memories with them. They always have some of the funniest stories that come from these adventures. This year they went horse back riding, visited a sheep farm, saw donkeys, rode camels at the zoo, visited the aquarium, went to Incredible Pizza, learned to fish and swam a ton!

The funnier parts that I have heard are that my 2 year old convinced his grandmother that indeed he was fully potty trained and only wearing diapers at night. Somehow the fact that I didn't pack him underwear didn't hurt his argument at all. His brother testified on his behalf that this was true. As exciting as that sounds that Cooper might want to wear underwear, can you imagine trying to keep track of his tee-tee with 10 other bladders? So, poor Cassidy (one of the "camp counselors") got peed on twice by my sweet pumpkin! Sorry Cass!
All 7 of them slept together in the bunkroom at my parents house. It must have been comical trying to get everyone asleep. Their ages are 11, 9, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 2!
The kids were completely worn out, but had the time of their lives. I will share some of the best pictures of the almost 500 pics my mom took of camp this year! Hope you enjoy!My sweet parents! You all have no idea how cool I think you are and what fabulous grandparents you are! Thank you for doing this for our kids and for our marriages! Notice my Owen is missing? He is a stinker about pictures! But this looks like great fun!Being silly with the sharks! How can you not giggle at that face?

Seriously Cooper...you take my breathe away! You are so stinking adorable!

My precious daddy carrying Owen around. This is the man that had open heart surgery on April 6th! How great is our GOD?

Max really and truly is Owen's favorite friend and I love it! They are about 20 months apart in age, which is about how far apart Laura and I are. It's is so cool for me to see their friendship and how much they love each other!

My mom even made coloring books out of Bible stories and had crafts for them to do. Seriously, they came home with painted piggy banks, colored coffe mugs and animal visors!

My mom does a great job of preparing everything for camp and is the best organizer that I know. She even has a list of what we need to pack for the kids to keep it simple in the mornings. Both her and I forgot that last year my boys had to borrow jeans and shoes for the horseback riding outing. OOPS! So, I won mom of the year for best preparing my Owen for his favorite event. Notice he has no shoes on! His flip flops fell off while getting on the horse. Bless his heart!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Like Myself...

For a while now I have been wanting to share about a book that I have come to LOVE. There was something that happened this week that reminded me to share.

Luckily, the books that I love will only take you 3 minutes to read because right now that's all the reading I do is in children's books.
My MIL bought Sadie this book, but its become a favorite for our whole family...even the boys love it.

It's called "I Like Myself" by Karen Beaumont. The book is all about how this little girl likes herself no matter what anyone else may think or say about her. She talks about how it's silly for someone to think they could know who she is just by her appearance. I have read this book to the kids 50 times and just recently did I apply it to myself.

I actually thought about how much I put into my appearance. **GULP**
I don't think I am vain, and hope none of you think that either, but it did occur to me that I spend more time running in the morning than time reading scripture. **bigger gulp**

I spend more time in the bathroom getting ready for the day than I do in prayer for myself and my family. Dear Lord, what's wrong with me? I am 30 and have been reading this to my kids for almost a year now and am just realizing that I am going to teach them to accept themselves by the way I like myself and model that for them.

You know how much I want them to love their heritage and their beautiful skin. And here I am not liking myself. What in the poo?
And then it happened. My sweet husband told me on Sunday night that it had happened. We put the kids down and then I ran to the store. When I got home at 9, the boys were still up. This is WAY past their bedtime. I asked Blake what was going on and with tears in his eyes he told me that Owen told him he couldn't go to sleep because he was thinking about something. He told Blake that he didn't want to be brown anymore. *tears*

He told Blake he wanted to be peach like him. I'm sobbing now.

We know that Owen understands nothing negative about his skin, but that he wants to be more like the man he adores. He wants to match Blake.
Blake handled it so well and told Owen how beautiful his skin is. He pulled out I Like Myself and read it to both of them and talked about how God knit our family together so perfectly and He knew we wouldn't match but that it made us more beautiful.
He told Owen about when he was little he didn't like his "spots" either. When Owen was first discovering color he found Blake's moles and called them brown spots and noted that they matched him. He told Owen of how he wished he didn't have them when he was little, but now he loves them because they make him more like the kids.
I told him the same about my freckles. I hated those suckers when I was in middle school.
As much as we think this is about being black and white, its not. I am sure one day we'll deal with those issues. But this day it was about just accepting and loving how God made us. It's about liking ourselves and not focusing on appearance.
I certainly am not saying that it's okay to "let yourself go" but I do think there is a point at which we need to look at how much energy or thought we put into our physical self over our spiritual self. I personally needed to realize that teaching my children to accept their brown skin comes in the form of modeling for them that I like myself!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Orphans Deserve Better

Blake and I had a date night last week and actually had a nice long dinner and then enjoyed a movie. Before the previews came on I remembered reading about Orphan on another blog and I shared with Blake what I had read. Sure enough, we sat and watched the preview ourselves. I wanted to scream and throw up at the same time. This movie seems to easily stereotype orphans as something that most people already feared they were. There is so much negativity in the media about adoption, both international and domestic, already...to have this thrown in the mix was just more than my heart can handle.

The premise of the movie is a 9 year old girl is adopted into a family and then starts terrorizing not only her family but everyone she comes into contact with. It's a horror movie to say the least.

It's devastating to see that there are so many children without someone to give them love, and here we are in America making movies to scare anyone away from reaching out to them. Please, I beg you do not see this movie. If you will, you can easily sign this petition asking Warner Bros. to give some of their profits to help Orphans around the world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Come to Jesus

Owen is reminding us with every passing day of how he is becoming a boy and no longer our baby. It is one of our greatest honors and responsibilities as his parents to daily steer him toward Christ.

Yesterday in the car, we were listening to one of our favorite CD's and the boys favorite song came on. It took me a bit to grab my camera and get it on the video setting, so I only got the end...but it's enough to make me cry just watching him sing about Jesus.

Notice he is singing "He is AVLE" not able!

When the song was over Owen said, "That makes God happy when I sing to him." You're right buddy, I bet you made him teary. Then he told Blake and I that he wanted to go up to heaven and give God and Jesus a big hug. Seriously, we were just goo at this point. Blake then asked him if he knew how you get to heaven. Blake began to explain salvation in terms that a not-yet-4 year old can understand when Owen piped up, "No, you just pop your head in and look around and hug them!"

Seriously, how did I get this blessed?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Teef and my birthday!

I love how kids say "teef" for teeth. I can hardly correct them because I think its so cute!

On Monday I took the boys to the dentist for their cleaning. We have a wonderful pediatric dentist if anyone needs a recommendation in the area (OKC). Here Cooper and Owen are so proud of their smiles.
Aren't they handsome little men?

Speaking of teef....little Miss has TWO that popped up! The first came on July 4th and the second you could feel by the 6th. She loves biting your finger when you try and feel for them! But she will hardly sit still long enough for you to try and see them! Sounds like she's ready for some ribs!

My birthday was yesterday and I think I am one of a few adults that LOVES a birthday regardless of how old I get. I was so excited to turn 30 yesterday, but as my brother-in-law pointed out (thanks David) I have been celebrating for about a month now! He is right, I sure know how to drag a birthday out! HA! Yesterday my mom and sister came to town to hang out all day! We had so much fun with her 3 boys and my 3 kids...it was rather entertaining, 6 kids 5 and under! But we actually managed to get some good conversation in and enjoy the pool!

Long-arms-Sadie got herself just a little taste of the cake while we were singing! Look at that face! Notice that she covered me in icing too! I think she loved it!

Laura was so sweet to even make me a cake! Thanks mom and Laura for making my day so special...you know I love quality time together!
My present from my parents this year is that in December we are all (all 20 of us) going snow skiing in Breckenridge! I am so pumped! Let me clarify, this is everyone's birthday present...not just because I turned 30! My mom and dad also worked hard to make a video of my life. It was precious and even has pictures from the day my mom went into labor with me! I will try and figure out how to share it! They did a wonderful job with it and of course I cried watching it! Owen and Cooper loved watching it because they were on TV and they thought that was so cool!

My stud hubby took all 3 kids shopping for my birthday present early last week. What a pumpkin! They picked me out the most beautiful amethyst silver ring. Blake and I don't usually do gifts, so this was a big deal. I was so surprised and I love my new bling! I even wore it yesterday with a tank top and yoga pants! I love it guys! Thanks for making me feel so loved and appreciated not only for my birthday, but everyday!
I know, I should be a hand model. Look at those gorgeous nails!