Sunday, December 25, 2011

With One Voice

The prayers uttered from our kids after family devotions tonight:

Zeke: "Dear God, please help us get the VISA to bring Shabila home soon.  Give daddy a safe trip to go get her.  Let Shabila realize it when she comes home.  Amen"

Cai: "Dear God, lksjfoahwekefsido Billa home. lkajsdhfaowiefof.  Amen"

Areyna: "Dear God, I am sorry that I keep sinning.  I am SO sorry.  Help us all to have good attitudes tomorrow and help me to obey mommy.  And please help us be able to bring Shabby home very soon and give daddy and Shabby a safe trip when they come home.  And please help the adoptions to go through for all the other people and for us.  In your name I pray, Amen"

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Comes Early This Year

 Since Christmas lands on a Sunday this year our church is shaking things up a little bit.
We're doing church ON SATURDAY!
We'd LOVE to have you come join us Saturday morning for one of our 3 services:
8:40am, 10:15am and 11:55am

Make sure you come early to help with parking and get a good seat.
You won't want to miss the opener!

CLICK HERE for directions and additional info.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Celebrating In True Via Form

Yes, Monday was a day to celebrate!

We celebrated the quick communication from Nairobi about our case.
We celebrated the immediate "Approval" from USCIS instead of the request for more evidence.
We celebrated the fact that Alethia will be with us in just a number of DAYS!
We celebrated God's "YES" to our heart's plea. 

Oh so many things to be thankful for!

We all celebrated in our own ways, but you better believe that some good ol' "field sledding" would ensue as a response to the gratitude and excitement in our hearts, ha!

The only problem is that we are going to need to buy a bigger sled for the winter:)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Things That Seem Most Important

I am finding that the things that used to seem so important and urgent to me just are not so important anymore.

These used to be the things that would occupy the majority of my time, besides wiping bottoms and piling food on little plates, of course.

These things would call out to me, just begging for more attention.

Granted, some of these things really must be done and truly are important, but they just don't hold the urgency that they used to.

Things like paying the bills (I just got caught up on this yesterday for the first time since coming home), figuring out what is for dinner, checking the mail (shocking, I know), couponing (this one is definitely a necessity for our budget, but it certainly doesn't consume me like it used to), keeping the dreads out of Areyna's lovely locks and the mindless task of keeping up with laundry (don't get me wrong, I am beyond grateful to have a relationship with a washing machine again), just to name a few.

Then there are the things that go along with the season like making the perfect Christmas list, going to parties, or picking the most elegant Christmas card that has "my family written all over it".

And I can't forget the ministry stuff like, the "End Of Year Giving" (which totally got neglected this year) or promoting my family devotional as the perfect Christmas gift.

None of it just seems all that important to me anymore.

Granted, I am much more motivated since we got the news of our approval to bring Alethia home, but I still cannot shake the perspective that comes along with the past 3 months that we have lived.  I don't even think I want it to fade away!  I like where we are and who we have become.  I pray that we will continue to hear God's voice as clearly as we have, and that we will continue to seek him above all else, even when we aren't forced to hang on for dear life.

I think I've found my New Year's Resolution...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Keeping With Traditions

Josh started a tradition with our family several years ago.  Every year he buys each of us an ornament that represents the events of the past year.
Sometimes he gets frustrated because he can't the "perfect" ornament that he is thinks is appropriate.  For instance, this year he was looking for a Chicken ornament for Areyna and simply could not find one.  He opted for the Ballerina Barbie since Areyna can always find a way to get dolled up:)

Zeke got Green Lantern to add to his Super Hero ornament collection.

Cai was given a Mater.  I think anything to do with cars would have sufficed, ha!

Josh found the perfect ornament for Alethia and Me.  It was a home that said "Forever Family".  It is perfect!

Now that we know Alethia will be home in the next week or two Josh is on the hunt for the perfect ornament for her first Christmas with her Forever Family:)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caption Please

Yes, this is my son.
No, he does NOT have pants on.
Yes he is wearing angel wings and a halo.
Yes, this mama forgot to bring "backup" clothes.
And YES, this is the kind of goodness you can expect at Journey Church!
I love my church!:)

BTW - How cute is my little "angel"?!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What To Expect When You're Expecting...#5 - Weeks 29-32

I am 32 weeks pregnant today.  I have 56 days left to be pregnant, but who's counting, right?!

I know that one can tend to get sentimental toward the end of a pregnancy, especially if they know it is their last one.  But...that just simply is not the case for me, ha!  Quite honestly, I CANNOT wait to be un-pregnant:)

Don't get me wrong or misinterpret what I'm saying here...honestly, some of you all jump to conclusions way too quickly;)

I KNOW that pregnancy is a blessing, believe me, I've been on both ends of the spectrum all too many times, but I also KNOW that I am little, that babies only continue to grow and grow, which only means that there is less and less room for my stuff inside my belly and this tends to make this mama downright grumpy uncomfortable...right.about.now!

I am grateful that I've been blessed to be pregnant just one more time (even if I DID give all our baby stuff away a month before we found out we were pregnant again, ha!), I'm thankful for a healthy pregnancy, especially spending so much of the time in Uganda, and I'm excited to see if this growing bundle in my belly is going to be named  Jude Warren Via or Talitha Hope Via!

In fact, I was so antsy to actually do something to prepare for this little guy/gal that I went ahead and set up its sleeping quarters:)

So, the countdown continues.  Here is my 32-week pregnant self for a few kicks and grins!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not Me Monday

We did not completely sleep through our dentist appointments on purpose this morning.

Nope, not us!

I have not been crying so much over the past few months that every time my kids hear me sniffing they automatically think I'm crying again and quickly run to wrap their arms around me to comfort me.

Oh no, not me!

Josh did not accidentally pour egg nog in his coffee instead of half-n-half.

Nope, we're always totally aware of our surroundings:)

We would never put off Christmas shopping until the very last minute just because we don't want to think about it...bah humbug

Oh no.

I'm always done with my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving even comes around...oh wait, we were in Uganda!

Cai would never get so acclimated to the Ugandan lifestyle that he continues to call all motorcycle-ish vehicles a boda:)

I would never continue to get pregnant after knowing the inside scoop about the lack of muscle control in the, ahem, "bladder area", that would cause you to pee in your pants EVERY.TIME.YOU.SNEEZE.

Nope, not me!

I never put myself in awkward situations and I would NEVER pee in my pants!

I would never put off unpacking from a trip.  Nope, I always delve right in.  Unless that one last suitcase contained a sleeping bag, toys and sweet memories of my daughter that is living 8,000 miles away, because that really might make me have one of the afore mentioned crying episodes.

And I already told you, that just isn't happening around here:)

Love you all!  Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Tree For Alethia

Josh and I decided that, given the fact that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away, it was time to get in the Christmas spirit.  It's not like we were trying to be the Grinch, but it is just taking us a while to morph back into normalcy.

We decided that Josh had had plenty of time to soak in the Fall season, 3 days to be exact, and that it was time to dive right into the next, ha!

We took the family to a tree lot here in Rolesville in search of the perfect Christmas tree.  Not only did we find the PERFECT tree for perfect spot in our living room, but I spotted another perfect little tree:)

If you read my letter to Alethia last night you'll know where I'm going with this.

Knowing that Alethia couldn't be here with us this Christmas we had a choice to make.  We needed a fresh new perspective and, although this may seem silly to you all, we decided to dedicate a little tree to our sweet daughter who is on the other side of the world.

What we have begun to do is print out little love letters, notes of encouragement and prayers on Alethia's behalf to hang in ornaments on her little tree.  We are fully aware that she won't have a clue what any of this means for a few more years, but we want her to know that she is loved and thought of by so many people all over the world and that our journey to get her has impacted so many of you.

We don't know the ending to this chapter we have been living out, but we do know that God is good and He has a perfect plan.  We do know that we have been placed in Alethia's life right now, and I think these letters and prayers will be quite a treasure for her as she grows up, no matter where she is!

So, if you would like to participate we'd love to have you write something for her tree.  You can email them to us or leave it in a comment below or hop over to our adoption blog and write it in any of the comments there throughout the season.

Many of you have commented throughout the journey and we'll be trying to compiling some of those as well, but feel free to keep them coming!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Slow Motion

I feel like I'm standing in the middle of a whirlwind.  I'm staring at life scurrying all around me and I can't seem to keep up.  I don't even think I want to keep up.  I kind of feel like our lives are standing still while shoppers are getting ready for Christmas and people are rushing off to work.

It's kind of strange to explain.  No, we're not wallowing in self-pity, nor are we depressed...we are just indifferent to life right now.  Things that used to matter so much all of a sudden seem so silly and irrelevant.

Josh made it home to the rest of us (minus Alethia, of course) but we are together, again, as a family.

We are slowly getting back to life as normal, but normal will just never be the same as it was before September.  We don't want normal to be the same.

My mom is here to help us gather our lives back together here and she let Josh and I get away for a coffee date this afternoon.  Josh and I both agree that we are so not feeling this Christmas season.  Sure, we know it's more than the gifts and Christmas trees, and we will always come back to the true meaning of Christmas, but life goes on outside of our family and the extended family continues to live life as normal.  But for Josh and I, this Christmas is different.  We both looked at each other saying that we agreed that this year needed to be different...somehow...we just don't know what that "different" needs to be yet.

Living in Uganda for 2+ months really makes you reevaluate wants vs. needs and things that are truly important to you and your family.  We don't want to quickly forget the life we lived in Uganda, or the way those people served and gave of themselves from nothing.

Anyway, as I creep back over here to the life we left behind, we want to be forever changed!

We are continuing to keep our adoption blog going.  Feel free to grab the code on the right to link to our adoption journal to share our story and to help you remember to pray for our sweet Alethia.  We'll be keeping you up to date on any new information on our case as it comes.

Thank you for holding us during this time of transition:)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We're Home

Well some of us are home, but for some reason I just can't bring myself to blog on this blog yet.  This blog is about our normal lives, as abnormal as it may be sometimes, and life just is NOT normal right now.

If you haven't been keeping up with our adoption journey you may have missed the big announcement!  We were granted legal guardianship of our daughter, but on the final leg of our journey she was denied her VISA at the US Embassy in Kampala.  We can't bring our daughter home...

I, being 28 weeks pregnant and having just entered my 3rd trimester, needed to get home and begin preparing to bring another life in the world.

We split our family up on Sunday, the 20th, as I got on an airplane with Areyna and Zeke to make our trek home on a flight that was meant to be for our ENTIRE FAMILY!

While I prepare for this new little one to enter this world, Josh continues to live in Uganda with our little girl and fight for her little life to have a family in this world!

We have been to hell and back over the past 2 months...wait we still feel the heat of this very real battle, but we are going to fight this until the bitter end.  It's time for our little girl to come home!

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Hambrick
Seeing my Cai-bo at the airport for the first time in 2 weeks.
He came home with his Meme.

You can continue to follow our family over at
until I can get the nerve to come back to the land of the "normal".

~Make sure to leave me your email address so I can get you the password~

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let's Go!!!!!

Well, today is the day!

The laundry is done.
The kids are all clean...a bath on Saturday counts, right? RIGHT?:)
The bags are packed.
The toilets are clean (because my mom always said you can't leave the house without scrubbing the toilets:)...well, they were, and then Zeke had to pee, ha!
The refrigerator has been  purged.
And the tasks to keep our lives on track here in America have been divied out to our sweet friends and family.

I can't believe it's here.

We fly out at 6:20pm and our checklist is finally dwindling to just a few last minute items.

This will be my last post from this blog until we return.
We'd love for you to continue to follow our journey to get Alethia on our password protected blog.  Just email or message me with your email address if you would like the password.


We'll let you all know when we're returning home.
We'd love to see you at the airport so you can meet our beautiful new addition!!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Because We All Need To Laugh Until Our Cheeks Hurt



For your viewing pleasure:) Either this truly is one of the funniest commercials I've ever seen in my life, or it just hits way too close to home, ha!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What To Expect When You're Expecting...#5 - Weeks 17-20

So, that little baby bump that would be oh-so-tiny when you woke up in the morning, but would grow with every meal you ate throughout the day will no longer fluctuate in size.  You are full-fledged, 100% showing now!

People will no longer come up to you asking if you've put on a little weight, but will instead ask when you are due.  That question will then immediately be followed by, "Aren't you adopting?!":)

Your absentmindedness will continue to increase. No surprise there.

The fact that you have problems brushing your teeth are now becoming a problem.  Invest in some mouth wash...please!

The fact that you are pregnant has finally begun to sink in, but let's accomplish the pick-up of #4 first:)

Your 5-year-old will continue to ask if you have gotten that baby out of your tummy yet.  He'll be ready to sweet that sweet wrinkly face.

Your 6-year-old will continue to remind you of how much bigger you are getting day-by-day, but the look on her face when she gets to feel the baby move is priceless!

Your 2-year-old will continue to be oblivious to the shrinking lap that he frequents on an hourly basis, making it more and more uncomfortable as he plops down for cuddle time.

Your 31-year-old husband will continue to look down at your growing belly and smile in sweet anticipation of its arrival.
_______________________________________________
Yes, I am definitely showing now.  You know that 4 pounds that I'd gained by the last little update?  Let's just say that I've gained, ahem, a little more by this check-up:)

We've had some issues regarding Malaria prevention medication for me.  I am unable to take the safer meds because I'm pregnant, and the one that I should be able to take (which can cause hallucinations and panic attacks) I'm unable to take because of my anxiety medication.  I've gotten several opinions and I've had to choose if I'd rather get Malaria or have anxiety during this process overseas.  You can definitely be in prayer for us over this issue.  I'm not worried about it, but Josh has seen the effects of Malaria first-hand and is a little, um, paranoid concerned.  Especially since my OB told me that Malaria can be deadly to a fetus, even if the mother comes out okay.  We're just running out of time to decide...

I'm still having bouts of nausea.  I'm pretty ready for that to be gone, but I still can't complain:)

The little flutters in my belly have turned into kicks and somersaults.  I love feeling little hick-ups, even though I'm not sure they are as sweet to the victim bouncing around inside as a result of them, ha!

So, I've reached the half-way mark and going strong.

Here's a quick 20-week belly shot for the scrapbook;)

Oh, and here's a quick "Thank You" to all my friends and family who have clothed this pregnant belly lately, since I still can't fit into any of my maternity clothes:)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Gonna Miss...

The fall...it's my favorite time of year

Ice...oh how I love ice, and being that we can't drink the water, and ice is made from the water, ice is a no go for the next 6 weeks

My pillows...don't worry, I'm packing my favorite one, but when I'm pregnant I'm usually surrounded by nice, fluffy pillows

My bed...

Dependable internet and electricity...

My girlfriends...I've really been blessed with so many sweet friends that surround me and I'm going to miss them dearly

Dependable warm water

Familiar food

A washing machine...I'm really gonna miss this one:)
_________________________________________________.

But I CANNOT wait for...

The familiar burning smell of Uganda...I know, it may sound weird, and I may regret writing this as I'll be pregnant this time around, but that smell brings back so many sweet memories

The beautiful land...

The crazy animals...I can't wait to show the kids all the monkeys in the trees and the lizards in our bedrooms:)

The unforgettable people of Uganda...

The red clay...it sticks to everything and can't hardly be washed out of your clothes, but there's just something about it that I love

The sweet kids in the orphanage...I can't wait to see their smiling faces

But there is one of those kids, in particular, that I can't wait to wrap my arms around and call "daughter".

There is so much to look forward to!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finding The Green Grass On Your Own Side Of The Fence

It's so easy to see the grass that is green in someone else's yard, but nearly impossible to see the green grass in our own yard.

Why is that?

I have a few reasons why this has been the case in my own life.

1 - Selfishness - we want all the good things to come to us.  But in this, we are forgetting that God knows what is best for us and He knows what we can/cannot handle.

2 - Comparison - we are always comparing our lives to someone else's.  But have you ever noticed that we always compare up?  There is always going to be someone richer, smarter, better, more creative than us...we need to stop comparing!  We only compare down if it makes us look better...Ouch!

3 -Perspective - we see someone's green grass and it appears to be perfect.  We are only seeing part of the story.  I've talked about this a lot.  A person's "profile" can look picture perfect, while their life's content can be crumbling apart.

Pastor Jimmy had some wonderful things to say about it here on the June 5th message.

Just some food for thought as I count my own blessings today. 

I want to play in my own green grass today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Than Bags And Airplane Rides

It's no secret that we have been running full steam ahead this week trying to tie up all the lose ends here in America before venturing off to the beautiful land of Uganda to pitch our tent for a few weeks while we finalize our adoption.

Josh's parents offered to keep the kids for an extra few days after vacation so Josh and I could be free to run all the errands we need without having to drag them along.  I must say that I feel like I've been working 12 hour days this week(end) getting things done and I can't even imagine how much longer each trip would be taking if I had 3 kids to add to the mix.  So thank you, Meme and Poppy!

It's been kind of quiet around the house without those three.  Josh and I have caught ourselves waking up at night because we've thought we've heard one of them crying or kicking the wall with their feet:).  Weird.  I've enjoyed getting things done, but I sure do miss them...

But in this quiet house, while Josh is away working on his latest project, I've had a lot of time to think.  A lot of time to pray.  A lot of time to prepare.

I feel like during this part of the adoption process we can get so caught up in the details that must be done, like buying medication, packing bags and games and food and clothes and..., printing documents, emailing, faxing, signing, that we can miss a very important part of the preparation.

We are bringing another life into our family.  She is already a beautiful little 2 1/2 year old girl with very strong likes and dislikes;)  She has a place she calls "home", she has friends that she plays with, and caretakers that she depends on.  This is probably going to be scary for her when it really sinks in that she will no longer be at the only familiar place to her.

We have some big transitions just around the corner.

Our biological children have some big transitions just around the corner. 

Their toys are not going to be just theirs anymore.  Cai is going to have to compete more than ever for the love and affection that Alethia so passionately needs as well.  Areyna will not be the only girl in the family.  In fact she is going to be sharing a room with her little sister that will most likely eat her lip gloss and tear out her princess pictures.

We are also very aware of the strong spiritual presence in Uganda.  Unlike America, which is saturated with internet and technology that distracts us just enough to ignorantly look the other way, we have seen some very scary and very real spiritual warfare while in Uganda.  It is eye opening.  It can be hair raising and chilling.  We have been praying intently for our children's tender hearts and minds (as well as our own) as we venture overseas for the next six weeks.

I am less concerned about the dangers of this world but of the things that are unseen, yet all around us. 

My mind has been consumed with my to-do lists, yes, but more so for the changes that are up ahead. 

It is exciting!  Oh yes, so much so that words cannot describe my feelings. 

It is terrifying.  More so than I'd like to admit sometimes.

It is a picture of God's faithfulness.  Because I could not do this in my own strength...

To God be the glory...even in this!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Me Monday

I never feel the need to impress my children.

Nope, not me!

Especially if it's as silly as gaining cool points for making up graceful mermaid moves in the pool.

Nope, absolutely not!

And most certainly not as a 19 week old pregnant mama in a strapless bathing suit.

Oh no, not this mama.

Because if that kind of impressing were going to take place to a 19-week preggers mama in a strapless bathing suit, the "audience" may get a little more than they bargained for while beautifully jumping out of the wave, pretending to lift up on the glistening rock as the water splashes down my back and tail fin.

But, hopefully if that were to happen, the only "audience" would be a very impressed 6-year old daughter, an oblivious 5-year old son and a very excited shocked husband, ha!

But...

that would never happen to me.

Nope, not me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not My Words

The words in this post are not my words...but totally worth your time!

If you are a mom who struggles with your identity as "just a mom" or if you are a mom at all you need to read this!

It's a very refreshing perspective about finding enjoyment and fulfillment as a "M"om, not just a "m"om.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Results Are In! We're Having Another Little Baby...

...with a sweet little face...
 ...and tiny little feet...
...and a perfect little figure...
...with no area of health concern at all...
who's sex we are going to find out in 22 weeks when it makes it's arrival!

I mean why not?!:)

Sorry to keep you in suspense,
but how sweet will it be to find out when we see him/her face to face.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The View From Here

I told you Zeke likes to be creative:)

Fun Facts For Friday - On Thursday

For some reason Zeke always puts his jammies on when we are getting ready for bed, even though he takes them off before actually climbing up his ladder to get in bed.  He likes to sleep in his undies:)  That's just one of the reasons I love that boy!

Another thing that makes me love him is when he bursts out of his bedroom in the morning screaming, "I need to get the smacko!!!!  There is a big red ant on the floor!"  The "smacker" is the fly swatter, but when it comes out of his mouth it is so stinkin' cute!

I love that Areyna is doing school with her daddy right now and cramming in today and tomorrow's lessons so she can be done for VACATION!  She is a self-motivated little girl and when she is determined nothing will slow her down:)

I love how Cai has started wanting me to cuddle in his bed with him at night.  I went in the other night because he has a tendency to kick the wall next to his bed when he is asleep and it scares the heebly-jeeblies out of me, especially when I'm alone!  So, when I went in to gently shift him in his bed he half-way opened his eyes, poked his pillow and told me "nite-nite".  He wanted me to lay down with him and cuddle.  *smiles* *melting heart* *contentment* *sigh*

I love how my husband knows me.  He has been so busy trying to tie up all his loose ends with the Journey Worship project and our ministry that he has been gone at all hours of the day.  He has been working so hard to help us get our family to Uganda.  Which leaves me to try to run around and get little details faxed, or bought, or copied, with all the kids.  We set aside last night as my shopping night so I could get a big chunk of things checked off our get-ready-to-go-to-Uganda list, because he knows I need that time.

So, when he got home last night he said through a big smile, "Why are you still here?!  Get out of here and don't come back until the kids are in bed!:)"

So I did.  I left them to their dinner plans I'd prepared and went on my merry way.  I had been perfecting my list of things we needed to purchase all week so I was ready.  I walked up and down the medicine isles making sure we had everything we needed for every possible ailment.  I may have stopped by the Starbucks in Target to partake in a Pumpkin Spice Latte too...ahhhh....

It was a glorious night of accomplishing things, having alone time and being in my favorite store;)

So now, we have our plane tickets (we leave in 17 days, by the way!), we have our prescriptions and antibiotics, we have every other kind of thing you could think of that you might need to live in Uganda for 6 weeks...except for...well, I guess I'll always have a few things I've forgotten, but it sure feels good to have the majority of the stuff checked off!

In other news, I have a very important baby appointment tomorrow!  Any guesses as to what the tie-breaker baby will be?  After bringing home Alethia we'll have 2 boys and 2 girls...hmmmm...what do you think?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Times Before

We only have to mow the grass 2, maybe 3 times before...

We only have to go grocery shopping 1 more time before...

I turn 20 weeks pregnant right before...

We only have 1 more week of school (after we finish this week) before...

We have less than 3 weeks before...

We get one week of vacation before...

We only have 2 small group meetings before...

I only have to get 1 more prescription refill before...

I only have a couple of weeks to process the rest of this process before...

The Rolesville weather forecast will only apply to me for 19 more days before...

I only have 2 more baby appointments before...

I will only be able to ask 288 more questions to our agency before...

I will only change out the towels in the house to wash them 3 more times before...

We will only be going to the chiropractor 2 more times before...

We will only be running to Target or Wal-mart to get supplies for our trip 1,217 more times before...

We will only have 3 kids for 3 more weeks before...

We are only a family of 5 for 3 more weeks before...

...we leave for Uganda and become a family of 6!


Surely God is my help, he is the one that sustains me.
Psalm 54:4
Thanks to my friend, Jenn, for that great reminder this morning!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Password Protected Blog

Well, we are quickly working on checking things off of our list before we head to Uganda in 20 days (but who's counting:)!

One of the things we've been aware of that we have to do is password protect our blog.

Since Blogger does not have that option we have created a Wordpress blog so you can follow our journey.  I won't be posting on there until our trip is underway and you will need the password to read the content once our trip has begun.

You can go ahead and get familiar with the new blog so you know where it is.  I'll also leave a link on here when we make the trek overseas so you don't lose contact with us!

Leave a comment below with your email address or find us on Facebook or Twitter to request the password.  You can share it with your friends and family.  We'd love to have you come along!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday - This Is A Good One

Where to begin...

My mind is moving 100 miles a minute.  I can hardly write as fast as my brain is working to put a post together.  It's been like that since we got the phone call.  Sleep has been nearly impossible!

What phone call?

If you follow me on twitter you already know, but for the rest of you, we got some BIG news this week!

We have a court date!!!!!!

I still get butterflies in my stomach when I say it, or think it, or write it...

October 5th is the big day!

We are working on booking our flights and it looks like we'll be traveling sometime around the 25th or 26th of September.

Wait, isn't it September NOW?!?!  We don't have long to prepare...ahhhh...

My prayer is that I don't over-complicate this whole thing.  I want to keep it simple.  It is going to be an adventure for sure.  It's not going to be a glamorous 6 weeks.  It's not going to be a smooth 6 weeks with every day mapped out the way I like it.  There is going to be no schedule, no normal, no familiarity, but it is going to be good.

Last night Josh and I sat down to start making a list of things we need to do.  It turned into making a list of all the lists we need to accomplish before leaving:)  That's just the way I roll.

We have all but $2300 in hand to reach our $33000 adoption goal!  We have a few short weeks to watch the Lord unravel this feat, which is no problem for Him...I know this full well.

In other news...I had a baby appointment yesterday and had the scare of a lifetime.  It was just the standard check-up, you know, pee in a cup, blood pressure and iron check, weight check (I've gained a total of 4 pounds this pregnancy, oh boy, ha!), and then the measurements and heart beat check.  Everything was going smoothly until she pulled out the little doppler thing and tried to find the heartbeat.  And tried...and tried...and tried... I could tell she was getting concerned by the look on her face, and the fact that she called out in the hallway for the ultrasound machine.  She said I wasn't leaving there until she saw that heartbeat.  After turning on the machine she searched around for what seemed like 5 minutes and then we saw it!  The head, the sweet little feet...and the heartbeat just beating away.  Relief, exhausting, thankfulness.

Josh has been away most of this week working on a recording project so the kids and I have been looking for ways to spend our extra alone time in the evenings.  The night after we got the Court Date news I decided I wanted to check something off of my list, so we treked out to Target to get a little backpack for the littles.  Zeke and Areyna already have bags that follow us around everywhere, but Cai and Alethia needed a little bag to bring their fun treasures on the airplane.  Cai was very particular while picking his out:)

Alright, it's time for me to get going here.  We've got a lot to do today.  WE'RE GOING TO UGANDA!!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And She Shall Be Called...

Names are important to Josh and I.

It takes us FOREVER to come up with baby names, and after one of my best friends gave birth to a little boy after being promised that it was a girl, I never 100% believe the ultrasound technician when they tell us either way.  We always have a back-up name "just in case":)

So, choosing a name for our Ugandan daughter has been no different.

Yes, she already has a name.  A beautiful name!  We are used to calling her by her birth name. 

We have checked with reliable sources, thanks Andrew, to find the background and meaning to her birth name.  It means, "Lively Life".  A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.  MY little girl!

*sigh*

But to us, we are bringing her into a new family.  A new life.  A new season. 

You know when a new convert from the Muslim religion to Christianity changes their Muslim name to a Christian name?  Well, that is kind of how I am looking at it.

We are bringing her out of her Orphan state and giving her a loving family.  She is going to become ours.

Honestly, I've kind of struggled with the whole name changing thing, for some reason.  I guess I just felt like we were changing enough on her all at once, and changing her name was something that was hers.  Something that was familiar that she could hold on to.

But after Josh spoke his feelings toward the name change to me I've agreed that this is important to the whole transition into our family.

We've always loved the name we chose and are still working on a middle name, wanting to stick with her heritage and roots somewhere in there.  So now we are trying to mentally make the transition from thinking of her as Shabila to our Alethia.

Alethia is Greek for Truth,  and we pray that she will  know the Truth and that she will boldly shine the light of that Truth to others!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Now That's A Good Daddy

Areyna loves girly things.

She loves fixing hair (never her own though:), putting on makeup, wearing dresses and sparkly accessories and...

...painting nails.

It doesn't matter who it is, as long as she can use your nails as her canvas!

Yesterday she asked if Josh would like her to paint his nails.  His usual response is, "Nope, I'm good:)" and she is fine with that.

But yesterday his response was a little different.

He said, "Sure, do you have any boy colors?"

They proceeded to go through the color selections and pick the perfect boy blend of color for daddy. 

It was precious to watch her carefully apply the polish to his fingers as he sat patiently for her to be done.

I must admit that the shiny platinum catches me off guard when it flashes across the room, but I absolutely LOVE it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Me Monday (On Tuesday)

I do not become a pillow snob when pregnant.

Nope, not me!

Really?  That is just so vain.  Becoming partial to a pillow, ha!

That just would never happen to this down-to-earth momma.

Nope.

But, if for some reason I were to become that ridiculous...

I would NEVER make the one pillow that I absolutely have to have...my daughters!

Oh no, not me.

That's like stealing candy from a baby Micaiah...except it's stealing a pillow from Areyna.

And what kind of mother goes around stealing pillows from their daughter?

Not this mama.

Because if I did, I'd have to start hiding it after every use, in fear that my daughter would see that, in fact, her mother had stolen her Cinderella adorned pillow, and decide to steal it right back.
And that would not make for a very happy mama.

So, nope, no pillow-stealin'-mama around here!

Nope.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The View From Here

Family Devotions With Friends

What To Expect When You Are Expecting...#5 - Weeks 13-16

You may begin to feel those sweet little baby flutters this month, but remember, holding your breathe for more will only cause a black out, not more of those sweet little movements in your tummy:)

You may as well get used to cooking but not being able to eat it.  For some reason dinner only looks appetizing if someone else fixes it, ha!

You know "the smell test" you use to see if laundry is clean or dirty?  Yeah, don't even try it!

Unlike your first pregnancy when you could hardly wait to be showing and wearing those cute maternity clothes, you may find yourself squeezing into your normal clothes for as long as you possibly can.  Just be aware that you may look like the "fat guy in a little coat" if you wait too long to make the transition:)

Gas-X and Tums will most certainly become your best friend.

Eating the leftover bites off of your kid's plates is no longer considered a meal!  Calories are needed at this point.

Your tolerance for other people's kids will deplete day by day.  Just tell your friends and family not to hold it against you:)

It will help if you can keep natural disasters coming (i.e. Earthquakes and Hurricanes).  It will give you something else to blame your children's insanely hyperactive tendencies on, instead of your lazy weary parenting approach caused from your lack of energy and motivation.

If brushing your teeth continues to be an issue, begin buying packs of gum in bulk.  It's cheaper!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This month has been an emotional roller coaster, but I have continued to stay vomit-free!  Bouts of nausea are still eminent on a daily basis, but still, I can't complain.

Headaches are the big issue for me this time around.

I have had 2 really bad colds this month!  It is taking me so long to get over these little illnesses.  They are more of a nuisance than anything.  I know my immune system is shot.

I am patiently waiting for that surge of energy to come during this second trimester, but I'm beginning to feel less hopeful that it will happen this time around.

And for your viewing pleasure...a shiny 16-week photo because I still haven't figured out how to take a good picture with my camera:)
16-Week Belly

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Weather Nerd Dictionary For Dummies

This gust was pushing me over.
Here's a post for all you weather nerd wannabe's.  Just a few tidbits about Hurricane season and the definitions surrounding the storm.

Hurricane Categories -

■ Category 1 hurricanes have sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph. These very dangerous winds will produce some damage.
■ Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph. These extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.
■ Category 3 hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph. Devastating damage will occur.
■ Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds of 131 to 155 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur.
■ Category 5 hurricanes have sustained winds greater than 155 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur.
 Source: NOAA


Storm Surge - a rise in level of coastal water - a rise in sea level above the usual tide as a hurricane or other intense storm moves over water, causing flooding when the storm comes ashore.

Deteriorating Conditions - for some reason everyone just likes to use this phrase...over and over...when talking about the hurricane conditions:)

Overwash - a deposit of marine-derived sediments landward of a barrier system, often formed during large storms; transport of sediment landward of the active beach by coastal flooding during a tsunami, hurricane, or other event with extreme wave action

Why is everyone freaking out about a Category 1 Hurricane?  Because of it's size and duration.

Eye Wall - The eye wall of a hurricane surrounds the eye of the hurricane with a wall of clouds that is considered the most deadly area of a hurricane. The eye wall removes any trace of a storm from the hurricane's eye and produces deadly winds more than 150 mph.

Eye - the center of the storm as well as the calmest part of the storm. When you see a photo of a hurricane, the eye is the empty hole in the middle of the storm that the bands of the hurricane surround. The eye is calm and almost serene, and is where the weather service flies its planes into to determine the ferocity of the storm.
 
Spiral Bands - Hurricanes have spiral bands that surround the eye wall of the storm. These bands are what produce the vast majority of the wind and rain that hurricanes produce and are the largest part of the storm.
 
Hurricane Season - Begins June 1 and ends November 30.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The View From Here


Fun Facts For Friday

Yesterday felt so much like a Friday to me that I woke up feeling like today is a Saturday.  It's a weird feeling...

I have had a terrible cold this week...again.  The kind that makes your head hurt from coughing so hard.  The kind that makes your nose drip when you tilt your head forward to talk to the kids.  The kind where you eat a wonderfully tasty meal but can't actually taste a thing because your nose is so stuffy.  The kind where just walking outside to hang the laundry up on the line feels like you just ran a marathon.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant!  Where is the time going?!  Two weeks from today we can find out if it is a boy or a girl...now that is crazy!

Hurricane Irene is said to make an appearance tomorrow.  I can't help but get giddy...it's the weather nerd in me:)  I remember growing up in Texas and frantically preparing the yard for the coming Tornado or other awesome storm that came our way!  I loved the excitement of the dark clouds moving in and the gentle breeze blowing before the storm approached while I excitedly ran around picking up the small toys in the yard that would inevitably end up in the neighbors yard.

All this word typing has made my arms and fingers feel like spaghetti so it's time for me to rest:)

But first, a picture to start your day with.
My adventurous boys:)
Happy Friday ya'll!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The (Temporary) Death Of A Super Hero

Zeke woke up this morning with a massive swollen bug bite on his arm.  He was itching it and saying that it hurt.  So, naturally, I gave him the proper dosage of Benadryl.

About 20 minutes later we noticed a huge change in Zeke.

He was no longer climbing on the walls and door frames.

He was no longer begging to wrestle.

He was no longer jumping off of furniture.

He wasn't even interested in getting into any kind of Super Hero costume.

Instead, he was quietly sitting around.

He was contently playing his Leapster.

He cuddled up with Josh for a while.

He concentrated through his school work.

Instead of asking for wrestling he asked for us to read him a book.

He even asked if I would let him take a nap this afternoon.

No fits.

No outbursts.

I kinda like my medicated little boy:)

It's kind of like when you see your kids and how sweet they can be when they are sleeping...

I must admit, though, I kinda miss my hyperactive little boy that I'm used to. 

You know, the one who is full of life and energy.

The one who can turn anything into a guitar to play.

The one who rescues his Princess sister from the bad guys and sits on his protesting little brother.

I'm sure he'll be back in full swing in a few short hours!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The View From Here

Sweet Baby Hannah (my niece) taking a nap this afternoon

Straw Bale Gardening 101

Now, don't be jealous when you see the beautiful pictures of my garden!

Just kidding.  You're allowed your one moment of jealousy.

Especially when you see the luscious, green grass growing all around the perimeter:)
 And when you see just how fertile these straw bales have really become!
 For some reason when people come over we have to keep repeating that it is a garden
and NOT a pet cemetery...
In all seriousness though, I am just laughing it off.  I mean really, what's a woman supposed to do when she leaves for weeks at a time during the hottest part of the summer.  Her garden goes unattended and dries up.

I've been reading in the New Testament over the past few weeks.  All these vineyard and field owners just hired workers and slaves to do the work for them.  I am beginning to realize that this just might be the way to go.  I can just pay them in beans and pumpkins, ha!

There's always next year:)

Wait, this year's not over yet!  I think I'll try to use these super fertile bales for some good.  I think we're gonna clear out the beautiful, green grass around the inside and plant some fall crops.  Anyone want to come get a Pumpkin from our patch this fall?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conversation Piece

If you know our family at all you know that attire is not a battle worth fighting on most occasions around here.  I guess I am just so used to my kids wearing costumes that when we need to run a quick errand I don't even think twice about the fact that instead of loading up Zeke and Areyna into the car, I have, in fact, loaded up Ariel and Iron Man.

Most of the time it just slips my mind until we enter the public scene and we begin getting the usual reactions that range from "Awww, they are so cute:)" to looks of "what in the world was that mom thinking letting her children out in public in that!".

It has kind of become their trade mark around town and church.

We'll walk into band rehearsal on Thursday nights and the sound and tech team are just guessing which superhero Zeke will be on that particular night.

But, just last week I realized that there may be a little more to this sure-wear-your-brother's-too-small-Batman-costume-that-reveals-way-too-much attitude.

I walked into our small town post office and prepped myself to have a happy heart, no matter what attitude our postal worker may have.  She tends to be a bit abrasive, harsh and just plain bitter.  She very rarely smiles...unless she sees Zeke.  OR unless she is talking about his cute little costumes.

This particular day she was her normal grumpy self as I smiled my way through my transaction.  Then, she began asking questions about our little "blonde-haired boy with the little boots and red cape".  Her face lit up as she began to chuckle just thinking about him:)

Maybe my sweet, quirky little boy, will help bring light to a very bitter soul.  Maybe he will help open up conversation that would never have the opportunity of even arising.

So, I will proudly continue to let Superman run errands with me and just wait for an opportunity for him to shine!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not Me Monday

I am so glad that I am as patient as I am.

Yup.  I'm patient.

In fact, when I am waiting on something to happen, I just wait.  I don't manipulate or will for something to happen.

Nope, not me!

I am always living in the moment.  Never thinking about the future possibilities of the desired thing I am waiting patiently for.

Nope, not me.

So for me, the fact that the Ugandan courts reconvened last Monday meant absolutely nothing.

I did not wait expectantly with my phone by my side, checking my email at least 10 times an hour a day in anticipation of hearing something about our case.

No way, not me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

It's been a little different around our house this week.

My brother and his wife drove in from the DC area to come and visit.  It was nice to have them here and catch up on their lives up north.  We really don't get to see my family all that much because of distance and craziness of life, so it was pretty sweet to be able to connect outside of the holiday hustle and bustle.

Another update is that my parents will be moving back here to the East Coast from Colorado!  I have mixed feelings about all that.  Only because selfishly it was nice to know that we had a get-away in the mountains to go to.  But really, with 5 (soon to be 7) plain tickets to purchase it was tough to really "get away", so we are welcoming their move to Marion, NC in just a couple of weeks!  Bring on the 1.7 Acres of fun to run around on:)

I felt the first baby flutters this week.  Every morning our little one wakes up with me and gives a little kick to let me know he/she's up and at 'em for the morning.  I-Love-It!  They are getting more frequent throughout the day now.  Can you believe we can find out if it's a boy or a girl in just 3 short weeks!

With little to no warning Cai has entered into the "Terrible Two's".  I mean, running full force and busting down the door into this stage!  The whole arching the back, throwing down on the floor and screaming has hit a new level within just the past few days...and so it goes...another stage of life begins for our sweet, sweet little Cai-bo.  Dear Lord give me patience!

I am so ready for fall that I can hardly stand it.  I am having to restrain myself from opening up all the windows at 7am when it is nice and cool, knowing that it will soon be muggy and hot by the time the kids get out of bed.  But soon enough it will be here.

Ahhhh, the football playing in the background, the kids running around in the yard, the pumpkin spice candles burning throughout the house and something yummy baking in the oven...

Josh just called and he landed safely in Memphis.  He is there playing at Fellowship Memphis again this weekend.  I know he feels totally out of his element, but I absolutely love hearing him practice his black gospel sets for this church!  Brings back so many good BSU memories from college:)

Have I mentioned how much I love my man lately?!

Wow, can you tell my husband is gone.  I could go on and on today.  I must have a lot of extra words to get out, ha!

I better stop while I'm ahead though:)

Have a GREAT Friday, ya'll!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eliminating Anxiety

After going off of my anxiety medication for this pregnancy I quickly realized that I was going to have to work extra hard at finding the triggers for my anxiety if I was going to be able to cope well as a pregnant mommy and wife.

Some of my triggers are just things that are necessary for our family to do to get by.  One of those is couponing.  Just thinking about the whole process that needs to be done to get a grocery list together was becoming overwhelming to me, though!

But, I needed to prioritize what was best for our family in this season in our lives.  I had to decide to put my family and our sanity before saving a few bucks at the grocery store.

Couponing isn't bad.  But getting anxious and overwhelmed just thinking about it IS!  The solution...no pressure.  Josh totally took the pressure off by confirming that if it made me anxious to get rid of it.  Just hearing him say it took a load off my chest (as if he wouldn't support me otherwise...oh yea of little faith:). 

I have continued to keep up with expired coupons and cutting and organizing them but with no strings attached.  If I have time (and motivation) I'll get online and get my deals and grocery list ready, but there is NO pressure.  Otherwise, I'll just make a grocery list the way I used to and go to the store with the cheapest prices.  I just have to choose to buy less and make healthier choices with the money we do have.

It was hard to not feel guilty at first, but I am all about eliminating anxiety triggers to keep this baby healthy, not to mention my relationships with my other family members:)

I know that this is just a season and I'll be back on the couponing wagon again, but for now, I choose sanity and tranquility, ha!

What triggers your anxiety that you just have to choose to cut out of your life sometimes?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The View From Here


Lessons From The Classroom - Progress Report

Well, we've made it past our first month of school.  It has been a learning curve for all of us, but I feel like we've got a great routine now and am excited for what's to come!

Now, I am about to become very vulnerable here, so no snickering:)  It's time to reveal the name I've chosen for our school.

Ready?

"Learning Together"

I know, I know.  Super cheesy, but they have all these little requirements for choosing your school name, and I have no clue what I'm doing so I figured it was the perfect name for a first-time Home School mom and her first-time Home Schooled kids.

Last week Zeke finished up Get Ready for the Code - Book a with 5 stars!  I am so proud of him and all the little light bulbs (no matter how dim they are) that have gone off in his little brain as he begins piecing together the things he's learned with everyday life:)
The next two weeks or so we are going to review the letters one-by-one that he learned in this book before moving on.  I've got some fun activities planned and reading as he finds the letter of the day.  It should be fun!

Areyna has been flying through her lessons.  I went ahead and started her in Explode the Code 1 to make sure we didn't leave anything out with her other reading book.  It is really easy for her right now, but there are a few things that this curriculum has added that have been really good for her.

For example:  This activity below was new for her.  She had to think of 2 words for each of the endings I wrote on her paper and sound the words out to write them down herself.  I've been very impressed with her progress.  I'm wondering if I should be a little worried with the last word choice for -eg, ha!

I didn't anticipate her moving so quickly so now we're waiting on Explode the Code Book 2 to get here.  We should be finished with that one by Christmas.

Math is, by far, Areyna's favorite thing to work on.  She will be finished with her first book of Horizons Math K SET of 2 Student Workbooks K-1 and K-2.  Again, I went ahead and began with Kindergarten to get her used to the curriculum and to make sure we aren't leaving anything out.  She should be all caught up and completed with first grade on time at the rate she is going!

She can now tell time on the hour.  She can write and count to 100 by 5's and 10's.  Her addition is getting quicker, she is counting money and she is getting much better at following the directions.

So, I give my class an A+ for the first 6 weeks (almost) of school.

I wasn't so impressed with their teacher for the first few weeks, but I think she is getting used to her class and her responsibilities.  She is more comfortable saying "no" to things because school must be done, and she is actually beginning to enjoy teaching her children:)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Me Monday

Photo Compliments of Areyna Via
I did not drive straight past my house the other night.  Nope, we've lived here for almost 2 years now.  I know my driveway!

I did not get into a super cleaning mood the other day and actually scrub down all the sticky baseboards and cabinets in my whole kitchen.  Nope not me.

I did not get sucked into watching "Staying Alive" instead of taking a nap the other day.  Nope, nothing gets in the way of my sleep.  Especially, some old flick on the CW Sunday Afternoon Cinema Channel:)

I do not have a mountain of laundry piled on the couch where the kids have been digging out clothes and jammies to wear for the past three days.  Nope, not me.

I do not continually leave my husband stranded around 9pm every night because I can't seem to keep my eyes open any later.  Nope, not me.

I cannot drink coffee when I'm pregnant.  Not because of the caffeine and I think it hurts the baby, but because my taste buds change and I simply cannot stomach it.  So, I would NEVER hold my nose and endure a cup just to "get things moving" if ya know what I mean.  Oh no, not me!

I would never admit why I've been a religious coffee drinker over the past week, when I can hardly stomach the stuff, to the whole blogosphere.  Nope, not me!

Darn it.  There goes my tongue again, spouting off whatever comes to mind.  Sheesh!

Happy Not Me Monday:)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

I think we've found a great routine here at the Via Home Of Schooling:) (No, that's not the name of our school, it just sounded fun at the moment, ha!)  We've found our groove and we're sticking to it.  I'll give a full recap of the past month of school next week.  It's been going great, and I must say, the kid's teacher has had a much better attitude toward teaching our kids over the past few weeks.

My bestest bud and her hubby had their baby yesterday morning!  New life never gets old to me.  I still get giddy every time I get a text from someone saying they are on their way to the hospital to have their baby.  Hey, that'll be us in less than 6 months!

Yes, 6 more months.  I am growing out of my regular clothes on a daily basis now:(  Oh well...I can take it...6 more months...

We received our first check from Just Love Coffee.  This organization is helping us raise money for our adoption one bag of coffee at a time.  For every bag you buy, we get $5 toward our personal adoption!  So, go get you some coffee worth two great causes...a happy heart for you in the morning, and support to get our little girl home!

The Ugandan courts reconvene on MONDAY!  We hope to hear something soon after they re-open so we'll have a more definite time line of when we'll be traveling.

After last weekends Yard Sale we are down to about $4000 to raise!  That's it...I can't believe it.  You can help that number go down by buying our coffee and/or by cashing in your Change For Change that you've been saving up.  Go ahead and send those on in!  We're getting close ya'll!

We have new service times this weekend at Journey.  Take your pick and come on out to join us!
8:40am, 10:15am, 11:55am.  Oh, and go sign up for a LUGGAGE GIVE AWAY that is going along with our new series!

On a different note, the weather has been absolutely beautiful in the mornings.  The kids and I even spent a few hours outside before lunch yesterday!  Bring on the FALL!

Here's a sweet picture to leave you with this morning!
I went back and noticed that most of my pictures recently have been of Cai.  *sigh* He's just growing up so fast, and his recent birthday has just been a reminder of how big he is getting:)

Have a great Friday ya'll!