Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Count Your Blessings

I didn't post for Christmas - too busy! So it's December 27, and if I'm lucky, Josh will sleep for a few more minutes and let me finish this post!

I am SO blessed. I've always been a "what-if" girl, building castles in the air of what might have been. At times it has caused me to lose sight of the blessings right in front of me.

God is encouraging me to focus on what's here - not on what was or could have been - but what is - and how glorious it is. Even the mundane things are blessings from His hand.

Life is full - Josh will be 3 and a half soon, and he is so full of life and energy. I am continually amazed by the things he says and does. He's growing a heart of gratitude - thanking people when they do things for him or give him things.

My job is good - most days, I still enjoy going to work! :) The political and economical environment have caused some stress and anxiety, but I am grateful to have a job, and know that God will see us through.

Chris & I celebrated 9 years of marriage - truly amazing, I think. There have been good times and bad times, but I'm grateful to God for him.

My focus in the new year will be on thankfulness and gratitude. It's one of the things that our pastor said helps keep the spirit of Christmas all year. Less complaining, more praise and thanks.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's so hard for me to believe that 2011 is nearing its close. Thanksgiving is the official beginning of the holiday season, and before we know it, we'll be celebrating New Year 2012.

Our holiday started on Wednesday afternoon. We gathered all of our stuff, ourselves, and the dog in the car to head up to Mom and Dad's log home in the woods. The highlight of the drive up was definitely the BP potty stop, where Joshua saw 2 dead deer on top of a van. He wanted to pet them, but we decided to look instead. Then of course, we had to have a long conversation about why they were there and what would happen to them. He's looking forward to hunting with Grandpa Mike someday.

We got to New Lisbon in time for dinner, and Dad made his homemade reubens to celebrate, because it was also Mom's birthday. Josh got to watch some Dora and then went to bed. The rest of us stayed up for a while, but no one was up super late. Josh ended up spending a few hours in the big bed with mom because he was having trouble sleeping in his closet.

Thursday morning we enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade while Josh played and the food was prepared. Josh also watched a Christmas episode of Curious George before the Packer Game started.

We shared dinner this year with my parents, my brother Paul, my Aunt Judy, my Grammie, and family friend Louise. It was a little bittersweet, as it was the first holiday without Grampie. We are very thankful that he is in heaven with Jesus and that we will see him again.

Josh took a bite of the turkey leg (tradition since his first Thanksgiving) and we enjoyed a wonderful meal - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, various breads, cranberries, and deviled eggs.

After some nap time in the afternoon for most of us (not Josh of course!) we took a nice walk on a beautiful afternoon, and headed back for dessert. Josh decided to take his nap in the car on the way home instead.

We're home now, the little one is snuggled in his bed. I am so thankful for my life - trials, triumphs, tragedies, and tears all work together to refine and purify me. I am thankful for the Spirit of God living in me, which enables me to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient(!), kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. I am NOT those things naturally, but with His help, I strive for them.

Our weekend is by no means over. On Saturday morning, we'll be heading up to Chris's parents' house to celebrate with them. We're looking forward to seeing everyone, and Joshua will love having his cousin there to play with.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


My Grampie is going home to be with Jesus soon. The Alzheimers has taken its toll, and he is ready to go. I'm glad that Josh got to know him.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coming Home Day

3 years ago I only worked for half a day. I left at noon, and came home to wait for a phone call from our Bethany social worker. It was the day of Joshua's birthmom's court hearing to terminate her parental rights. If all went as planned, we would be able to pick Joshua up that night and bring him home. It wasn't a guarantee, as not much had gone as planned with Joshua's adoption. He was in a wonderful foster home, but we all wanted him home where he belonged.

The call came about 2:00, and it was Josh's birthmom, who bravely called and told me we could come pick him up. We called our families, and packed up and drove about 90 minutes to Elkhorn. It was a very emotional afternoon. We had a placement ceremony at the foster home. Joshua's birthmom was able to sing to him and pray for him, and we prayed for her as well, and then she gave him to me. There was not a dry eye in the house - it was emotional for the foster family as well, who had spent the past 6 weeks bonding with him.

After the placement ceremony, we got him dressed and changed and loaded up in the car to come home. I tried feeding him a bottle on the way home, but it was hard because I couldn't get him out to burp him. We finally stopped at a gas station, and went inside. One of the clerks told me how cute MY baby was and asked how old he was. Such a simple question, but I almost started to cry...he was MINE.

When we got home, our parents and my brother were waiting to meet their new grandson and nephew. He was fussy (I think he'd just had it with all the attention). After being passed around and fed, we put him to bed...

So 3 years have passed...I could not even imagine back then the joy of being Joshua's mom. I could only guess at the wonderful, imaginative, loving little boy he would become, and the joy he would bring to our family. It was much easier to capture photos of him back then, but now he has such personality that capturing a photo is priceless. For comparison, him sleeping...

...and hamming it up for the camera...

Man do I love this kid...even when he's being a "trying" 3 year old...so many snuggles and loves and cuddles and sweetness. I'm looking forward to many more years!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being Responsible

We're on hold...mostly because of finances. My paycheck is seeing about a $250/month hit, even with some extra education under my belt. Wisconsin's Act 10 has resulted in teachers in most public school districts paying a portion of our retirement that was previously paid by our employers. Plus with increases in health insurance premiums, daycare, etc...we're taking a hit. So - we're doing the responsible thing and waiting a bit before continuing forward with adoption #2. We're looking into refinancing our house, although the application fees and closing costs can be a bit expensive as well. We trust God to bring us through and provide for our family.

In the meantime, we enjoy every moment we can get with Joshua. There isn't a feeling of incompleteness, just a contentment in having him around. This Saturday will be the 3rd anniversary of the day he came home to stay - one of the most joyous days of my life....I'll be blogging about it then.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Question Friday

1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?
A younger brother - he's awesome. I see him about twice a month. I pray for him lots.

2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?
Slightly overweight - like to be comfortable

3. What's your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?
Don't really go to the fair with a 3 year old - but I like cheese curds...especially the fried ones...probably related to question #2.

4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?
Josh will go back to daycare...I can hardly believe he's 3...but looking forward to seeing him in a new class, learning new things.

5. Pool or Ocean?
I like the ocean if it's calm, but I've had some bad experiences getting dragged on the bottom by big waves...so for relaxation, I like a pool, but oceans are beautiful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joshua Michael!

Look who is 3! (Or, if you ask him, two-half).

Photo courtesy of Livia Marie Photography

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beginning with the End

Remember all that paperwork? I did the last one first - the Physician's report on Joshua.

Joshua had his 3 year old check up at the doctor today. He is 36.5 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds. She said he was very bright and was amazed at how much he had to say. He got one shot. They will be doing an asthma and allergy work up on him due to some coughing/wheezing episodes he's been having for the last few months. Eczema and asthma are related, so we're guessing that's what it is. He goes to the allergist in 2 weeks, and until then, will be trying an albuterol inhaler.

Otherwise, he's completely amazing, and according to the doctor's report, there is nothing about his health that would interfere with another child entering our home. Ok, so we already knew that, but it feels good to have one paper over and done with. Now for the other 50 or so...

Friday, July 29, 2011


Received our packet of application paperwork from Bethany Christian Services...are you ready?

It's 56 pages (most double sided).

Ever wondered what's included?? Here you go...
First of all, there was an online preliminary application including basic information (took about 5 minutes to fill out). Then an online formal application. This requests our basic info, work info, references, church affiliation, basic financial info, etc. (sort of like a job application). Then comes the 56 page packet, which includes...
* 1 page cover letter
* 1 page of instructions
* 1 list of paperwork included
* 1 page contract
* 2 separate 3 page background information disclosure forms from the state of Wisconsin (1 for each of us)
* 1 page permission to obtain public records
* 5 pages of fingerprint cards, instructions, and waivers
* 2 separate 1 page religious assessment questionnaires (1 for each of us)
* 2 copies of Bethany's Statement of Faith (1 for each of us)
* 2 copies of the appeal procedure (1 to keep, 1 to send back)
* 2 copies of 4 page self study form (1 for each of us) asking questions like what our goals are as parents, why we want to adopt, our strengths and experiences, descriptions of Josh and our parenting styles, etc.
* 2 copies of 1 page family history data (1 for each of us)
* 1 page statement of understanding that we will let them know if anything major changes in our family
* 1 page parental discipline policy
* 1 page adoption release and consent form
* 1 page affidavit of health insurance coverage
* 1 page release of confidential information form
* 1 page adoption study agreement
* 1 page statement of intent specified by our wills
* 2 copies of 11 page SAFE Questionnaire asking about our childhoods, marriage, jobs, health, etc.
* 2 copies of 3 page physician's report (1 for each of us)
* 3 page physician's report on Joshua

Once we submit all of that and $2000, we can start this process again. Any guesses why they call this stage being "paper pregnant"? If only all parents had this kind of extensive study done before being allowed to raise children. Any takers?? :) It's going to take us a while to wade through all of this. And it's only the beginning. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back on the Merry-Go-Round

Our first adoption was a bit of a merry-go-round. It took a while and there was a lot of uncertainty. But the end result? We are blessed with an AMAZING little guy who is almost three and takes pride in being "a man" (he tells me this often).

So deciding to do this again has taken us a while. I still feel torn - part of me doesn't want to share Josh - we've got a good thing going here, and brining another child into the mix changes things. But we also don't want him to be an only child - and we're not getting any younger!

Last week, we attended an orientation at an agency in Madison. Their domestic adoption program runs on a lottery system - every 6 months, they draw 3 - 4 names of families that may enter the program and start the home study process. There are usually around 20 entries in the lottery. If your name doesn't get drawn, then you can wait until the next lottery in 6 months or look into their other programs.

Chris & I were initially both drawn to the idea of a Russia adoption. The price tag was steep - $40,000 including all the travel, etc. We don't believe that money is an obstacle for God, and didn't want to immediately turn our backs on this because of finances. So we asked our families to pray for us, put our names in the domestic lottery, and waited. While waiting, we decided to contact our previous agency, which is not in Madison, and slightly more expensive, but would let us enter the program right away.

Our names were not drawn in the lottery. Rather than wait 6 months, or pursue a Russia adoption, we've decided to go with Bethany Christian Services again for our next adoption. We'll be working with the Fond du Lac office, which is convenient, since Chris's parents live there. The first step is filling out the application and collecting the application fee. The nice thing about working with Bethany again is that there are some steps we can skip over since we've done them before. This also reduces our fee a bit.

So - life is not any less crazy than it was before. Chris started a new job last month and he loves it. The hours are much better for our family. I continue teaching 4th grade, and am taking on more responsibilities with my MOPS group in Portage. Josh is almost potty trained, and will be back in daycare 3 days a week this fall. We are content for now - but look forward to a sibling for Josh. Trusting in God's timing, and knowing we'll stay busy as we wait.

Friday, July 15, 2011

5 Question Friday

1. If you knew your best friend's spouse was cheating on her or him, would you tell her (him)?

After I killed the spouse, I would tell my bff!

2. Soda in a can or a bottle?

Tastes better from a bottle, but cans are cheaper.

3. What do you wash first, hair or body?

Body - hair is last.

4. What advice would you give to any new mama?

Get sleep when you can...and follow your instincts. Pray a lot!

5. What is your best hangover remedy?

Never had one - so I don't know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

5 Question Friday

1. Do you think cursive writing is overrated? (Schools in Indiana have now voted to take teaching cursive writing out of their curriculum.)

The problem with not teaching is that kids still need to know (as of now) how to read it. I think we probably emphasize it too much in our age of keyboarding and digital print, but kids do need to have a decent signature.

2. Do you still use a pocket calendar or notepad or do you keep your info on your smart phone?

Neither - my calendar is on my computer email program. Occasionally I download to my i-pod so it's portable, but I don't have a smart phone.

3. What 3 things would you save if your house was burning down? (family & pets are already safe)

The Bible Josh gave me for Mother's Day, my cell phone, and some pants...

4. Country Mouse or City Mouse, err Person?

How about Small Town Mouse??

5. If you could pick ANY reality show to go on, which would you pick?

The Amazing Race - but I don't think Chris & I would do well together. I'd have to go with Kimberly or something.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Joshua is blessed to have Chris as a daddy. I love watching them play together.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adoption Day - 5/20/11

Joshua officially became a member of our family on May 20, 2009. I looked up the word family at dictionary.com and here is what it says: a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group. So, according to this definition, Chris and I weren't a true family until Joshua came along. Sure, we were a couple - but a family is defined by the group - parents and children.

In the courtroom that day, I remember waiting for the judge - surrounded by our extended family - and being so nervous. I don't really know why - I wasn't expecting any hurdles or obstacles. Josh was already in every way my son and nothing the judge said would change it. The moment the judge began talking, I started to cry. There was something so incredibly meaningful in the act of adopting - (choosing or taking as one's own). A family was created that day. A family of love.

I don't remember much of what the judge said. I know Josh will not remember that day. Maybe I'm like Mary, pondering these things in my heart. My heart became a mother before Josh was even born - but being actually a "mom" - really legally recognized as one - healed a place in my heart I didn't really even know was broken. The place that still grieved a bit when friends announced their pregnancies or I held a new baby. The place that knew I was meant to be a mom and couldn't wait.

Being a mom. Having a son. A ball of curiosity, imagination, stubbornness, innocence, childlike faith. And now - contemplating a new one. Another link in our family. Another wait - another step forward - another round of faith and hope. Another child to adopt - God knows the perfect conclusion to the creation of our family - and I trust Him to make it just as wonderful.

5 Question Friday

1. Do you and your spouse go to bed at the same time?
No - Chris works in the evenings, so I am usually in bed by the time he gets home.

2. A question for the ladies...What kind of facial hair do you like on your man?
I really like Chris's goatee. He's had it for a while, and it's my favorite he's ever had.

3. What's the worst vacation you've ever taken?
I don't remember a bad vacation. There were bad moments on vacations - but they didn't ruin the whole thing. The worst experience was getting off a train at the wrong stop at 1 a.m. in the middle of Germany.

4. What's the first-ever blog you followed?
I don't remember that!

5. Do you enjoy amusement parks?
I do - but many of the rides make me sick. I used to do great reading in the car and all that, but now they make me ill... I can do ferris wheels and water slides, but nothing that goes around horizontally.

Friday, May 13, 2011


We're experimenting with some "naked" time after dinner every night in preparation for potty training. We remind Josh that if he has to go, to tell us and go to the potty. Tonight he came running and said, "mama, poop!" I rushed him to the bathroom, praised him, and realized he had already done it - all over the kitchen floor and himself. We cleaned it up, and he still got his reward for going on the potty...after all, he did tell me!

5 Question Friday

1. Tube socks, calf socks, crew, ankle, none?
Ankle socks - other socks leave marks.

2. Was your childs (children's) name a mutual decision or was it a debate?
Chris & I both liked the name Joshua and his middle name was chosen by his birthmom.

3. What is your favorite type of weather?
Sunny and about 70 with a bit of a breeze

4. If left to your own devices, what time would you wake up every day?
Probably around 8:30 or 9 - but 7:30 feels late.

5. Have you bought your cemetery plots yet?
Not a chance - I want to be cremated, so don't really need a plot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

5 Question Friday!

1. Have you ever had roommates?
I lived in the dorms for 2 years in college, and then with my friend in an apartment for the following two years. Always just 1 person at a time.

2. How many names do you/your children have? (i.e. Prince Charming William Phillip Arthur Louis John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt)
3 - first, middle, last

3. Did you watch the Royal Wedding?
I watched the TLC thingy the next day. I wasn't about to get up at 4 a.m.!

4. What is the messiest room in your house?
Wait - I'm supposed to contain the mess to just one room???

5. What is your ideal mothers day?
Being with my boy and my mom...quiet day, simple dinner, beautiful weather.

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Question Friday


1. What is your favorite Easter tradition?
Grandma always made a bunny cake. My mom did it with Josh last year. I'm hoping to start some new traditions with Josh this year - resurrection cookies and resurrection eggs.

2. Are you a "shower" or a "long, hot bath" kind of person?
Mostly showers- I have better things to get to, so I like to be done quickly....but if I have the chance to sit in a whirlpool bath and relax, then I'll take it.

3. Can you parallel park and if so when is the last time you did it?
Haven't done it in so long I can't remember if I can or not.

4. What is your favorite Easter candy?
The Cadbury caramel eggs.

5. Easter: do you go all out with the Easter Bunny or focus on the religious part of the holiday?
The real meaning of Easter is the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The easter bunny and eggs hunts are fun, but I want to make sure that our focus is on Christ's sacrifice and victory over death.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

5 Question Friday

1.What is your favorite sign of spring?
When everything starts to turn green. The monotony of winter colors (gray, white, brown) gets old after a while, and when the grass starts to turn green - I know spring is really on its way.

2. What was your best birthday ever?
My 16th was pretty cool - my parents arranged for 2 gifts each hour at school (there were 8 class hours) for a total of 16. The final gift was a set of keys to the car.

3. What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate french silk pie.

4. What is the best excuse you've ever used to get out of a ticket?
My husband did it!! I got pulled over for not having my taillights on because Chris had turned them off. The car has daytime running lights that are always on, so to me, it looked like the lights were on. (It happened twice - and I got out of it both times by blaming Chris.)

5. Do you wake up before your alarm, with your alarm, or after hitting snooze several times?
Snooze, snooze, snooze, and maybe one more snooze - depending on whether I have to get Josh up or not.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

5 Question Friday

1. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would be less of a worrier. I tend to think things through to their worst case scenario...and then worry about it. Learning to give things to God is a big challenge for me.

2. Write about a time when you got lost.
I wasn't really lost - more like left behind...I was 16 in Tulsa, OK for a competition, and my entire group from my school left for the airport and left me at the restaurant where we ate breakfast. (I was in the restroom when they did the headcount). Long, long story...

3. Camping or 5 star hotel?
Considering my style of camping is an air conditioned camper, I would have to say the hotel.

4. Have you donated blood?
In college I did. I have since discovered I have a clotting disorder, and while that may not affect my ability to give, it affects my desire to.

5. Do you have a budget or do you 'fly by' most months?
Have a loose budget in my head, but stuff always happens.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sticker Chart

Joshua has started his first sticker chart here at home. While many children begin their sticker charts with some chores, my son gets stickers for NOT BITING!!! He's been biting other kids at daycare, sometimes while pretending to be a puppy, and other times just because.

So - we started a sticker chart. And remind him about 28 times a day "NO BITING". We called a bunch of people and had him tell them the rule. He has 3 stickers so far. He's working for a trip to "Dawos". Any guesses what that is??

I'm told by his doctor that biting is quite normal - but it's not what I want to hear. It's tough with a playful puppy at home to differentiate.

In other news, he's doing really well - I can't even keep track of how many words he knows now. Tonight he asked to read his Bible. We pray every night - something like this (he repeats after me) Dear Jesus, help me sleep. Help me be good. I love my mama. I love my dada. I love you Jesus. Night night. Amen.

On our walk the other day, we were looking at the moon and the trees and talking about how God made them all and that God lives in heaven up where the moon is. He said he wants to go to heaven. Someday, buddy, someday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Two and a half...halfway to 5. That's how old Joshua is. I can't believe it. Of all the amazing things that have happened in my life, he is the supreme top of them all. Today he was lining all his books up in a row and then running his train over them like they were tracks. AMAZING! He asked to watch a "moomie" (movie) about "kikis" (kitties) and doggies and choo-choos. AMAZING! (there is no such movie, by the way, we settled for a Thomas the Tank Engine movie). We went up to his room for his nap, and he raced me up the stairs trying to get away from the "butt-catchers". AMAZING! In his room, he went right to his bed and arranged his blankie and his baby just so and then laid down and said "nigh-night mama. Go way now." AMAZING!

Seriously - watching him grow up and interact with life - AMAZING!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Welcome to Patrick Michael, Joshua's new (and first) cousin. Patrick was born to Aunt Kimberly and Uncle Michael on January 17. We got to go visit him the next day, and Joshua did a very good job holding the baby. Hopefully they will be great friends!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm not making resolutions...but I do have some thoughts for the new year.

I want to pray more...not just the rote, ritual prayers before meals, but genuinely spending time talking to my Father.

I want to be a better housekeeper. I'm checking out flylady.net to help me out with this...we'll see!!

I want to be a better mom. To do this, I have to be a better wife. This is hard for me. I like control.

I want to budget and prioritize our finances better.

I want to make the most of every day I have.