Friday, May 17, 2013


It is so hard for me to believe my little 4 lb, 13 oz miracle baby is now two years old! I mean, seriously, where have the last two years gone?

It's been a blur, let me tell you. All I can say is that since this child entered our home and our family, our lives have never been the same! She breathes happiness and delight into our very core, and we couldn't imagine our family without her.

Sometimes, when I take a minute to really ponder the absolute wonder of it all--how Berkley became a part of our family--it humbles me and fills me with a deep sense of gratitude for the immense goodness of God and his desire to bless our lives, for I am certain this child was part of our family long before we ever existed here. In fact, she fits in so naturally, I forget she was adopted at all. If it wasn't for her wild afro curls and her chocolate brown skin, I would have a hard time being convinced I didn't give birth to this beautiful little girl. She has felt such a natural part of our family and our world, and I will never forget the first time I saw her and held her in my arms and realized she was familiar to me.

And now she is two years old! And a very active, strong-willed, spirited little girl, let me tell you. She keeps us all on our toes. She loves to climb and jump on the tramp and sing and dance. She loves eating chips and popcorn and cookies and anything else that isn't good for her. She has the most wonderful hug on the planet--with both arms clasped tightly around your neck in the sweetest squeeze. She is especially crazy about four kids--her siblings--who would move the world for her if she asked them to. She is a tease and a flirt and a handful, and I'm so, so profoundly grateful she is mine.

Here are a few birthday pictures. She didn't understand what it was all about, but she sure enjoyed the attention, the balloons, the cake and the gifts.

We went to the park as a family recently and snapped these photos of Berkley. I am so glad I thought to throw this little bench in our car (I really hoped to get some shots of her since she had just turned 2) because she loved sitting on it and "posing" for the pictures. To me, she is one of the most beautiful creatures ever!

I will forever be grateful to Berkley's birth mother who made the decision to give her up so she could have a complete family. And I will never be able to thank God enough for the inspiration, the courage, the faith He blessed Dan and I with to adopt. It was definitely one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made as a married couple--one that took the utmost faith--but it was also one of the most rewarding decisions we've ever made together as well, for this little girl is one of our choicest blessings!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Writing on the Wall

You just never know when something very ordinary (like some foam bath letters) can turn into something kinda great. Who would have ever guessed when we gave Berkley some foam letters for the bathtub for Christmas this past year that the rest of our family would end up enjoying this gift more than Berkley? I mean, seriously, we are talking about some silly foam letters.

I'm not sure when or how it started, but one day I got in the shower and found this one the shower wall:

Wow! That's about all I could say. I had no idea who had posted it or why, but I have to say, it made me smile all day. I mean, who doesn't want to be "1 Hot Mom?" I asked everyone in the family who left me such a fabulous message, but no one would fess up to it. I must have made a big enough deal about it to arouse interest, however, because pretty soon I was getting notes on a regular basis.

I'm not going to lie--I was loving this new practice in our home! I found myself looking forward to my shower just to see if there happened to be another fabulous message on the wall, saying how wonderful I was!

Then one day, it occurred to me that maybe I should return the favor and allow someone else(or a few someone elses) to feel fabulous for a change (I know, I should have figured this out sooner--I guess I was enjoying the praise a little too much:). So I wrote this:

The kids loved this, of course, and so they wrote back:

I know this sounds utterly ridiculous, but these messages did so much for me! I mean, life tends to kick the air right out of a person on a pretty regular basis. And let's face it, motherhood can be especially grueling at times, so it just felt so good to hear (or in this case, see) some positive reinforcement from my kids. Not that they don't get frustrated with me regularly and roll their eyes at me and tell me all the things I'm doing wrong, BUT at the end of the day, I think they really have tender, loving feelings toward me, and I am so grateful for that.

Here are a couple more messages I happen to love (you must keep in mind that when spelling with only   alphabet letters--one each--and the numbers 1-10, the spelling has to get creative sometimes:)

I'm not sure what "Amazingo" is exactly, but I'll take it!

So, I was enjoying this little banter back and forth with my kids so much I could hardly stand it, until one day I was showering away with a huge smile on my face and another revelation occurred to me: maybe my husband would like to be included (duh)! So, I thought and thought about what meaningful thing I could put on the shower wall that would tell my husband how much I loved him. To simply write, "I love you, Dan" or something was too obvious. No, it had to be something better. Finally I had an idea, and I have to say, I was pretty proud of what I came up with:

Sometimes the notes were just thoughtful little messages like this one that Hallee left before Dan and I went on a baseball trip with Nate to St. George:

I had to respond, of course:

Then, after my surgery, I found this sweet little message on the wall:

So simple, but man alive, it meant a lot to me. I have noticed my children starting to pray for each other and for me, and it just touches my heart so deeply. This was almost as great.

Here's what I wrote back:

Sometimes, the letters were even used to apologize:

I love it! Who would ever believe that a family could come up with a way to write some of the sweetest, most loving sentiments of their hearts to each other using something as silly and simple as foam bath letters?

The last message I wrote was just a few days ago, and it said this:

Although my kids are far from perfect and they drive me absolutely crazy at times, I truly feel they are awesome kids, and man alive, I am grateful they are mine! Mostly, I am grateful for family life--the little moments of joy, the satisfaction of growth, the tiny perks that make life so good.

And let me just end by saying, if you need a little way to spice things up a bit in your home and start some positive communication with each other, I have the best idea--foam bath letters!