Thursday, June 22, 2017

Homebound Adventures (in photos)

We had to be out of our hotel by 11am but were in NO hurry to get home.

So we drove up the road a little bit to the Jockey's Ridge Sand Dunes to hike out some energy
and to see the beautiful sites.

After that sandy excursion we decided to get an hour or so under our belt before stopping for our lunch.  We weren't too far down the road before the map let us know that we were about to come upon an accident and that we could expect to be sitting on the two-lane HWY for over an hour!

So of course we decided to try to find an alternate route.

We saw a few other cars turning down a side road and then drove into what appeared to be woods.
We figured we were up for an adventure so we followed suit guided by our GPS and the handful of other like-minded drivers.

This off-roading adventure just happened to be the PERFECT Father's Day gift according to the look on Josh's face.  We bonded quickly with the other SUV drivers in the bunch as we tried our hardest to get through the road blocks and to the other side...but we were surrounded on every side by swamps, cement and/or chained road blocks and had to turn back.  Luckily the wreck was all cleaned up and nowhere in site by the time we finished our little off-road adventure.

By that time we were really getting hungry and found the PERFECT rest area/wild life refuge.

After a quick picnic from leftover food from our cooler we decided we had one more adventure in us.
It started with a 12 minute video in the museum about the area and the wildlife surrounding us.
Then we took off on the trails to see what we could see.

When we got back to the entrance we were sweaty, stinky and ready for the rest of the car ride home to cool us off and relax.

Everything about this day was special and we were so glad we took the time to stop and enjoy it all!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Colony Beach Trip 2017

Josh planned it out, I packed 'em up,
and we headed to the OBX for 3 days with JUST US!

The rip tides were super strong this particular weekend 
so we were careful not to get too far into the waves.

Josh enjoyed lots of reading, relaxing, riding the choppy waves with the kids, 
digging for little crabs and chasing the kids around in the surf.

I, on the other hand, didn't even crack the books I brought!
I did, however, take a ton of pictures (way more than I could ever post, ha!)
and simply sat and soaked in those three wonderful days.

The kids played near the edge of the water and in the breaking waves on the shore 
almost the whole trip.

Jude loved trying to capture these little guys.
He also liked air karate chopping the wind (which was freaking hilarious to watch)
and boogie boarding with Zeke.

Alethia mostly spent her time making new friends and doing cartwheels in the waves.

Cai liked "getting stuck" in holes that he would dig so he could stay grounded when the current would try to pull him in the ocean.

Zeke's favorite thing, by far, was boogie boarding in the surf!

We enjoyed getting to know Addison and her family this weekend.
We stayed in the same hotel and came out every day together.

The first day was super hazy but the other
the brilliant bright colors were too gorgeous NOT to take photos of!

Jude spent a few rounds just sitting to readjust his little heart.
but overall we all stayed pretty positive.

Areyna LOVED standing, watching, jumping and splashing in the waves 
that crashed in around her.
She's our little mermaid at heart:-)

We also had some fun adventures on the way home that I'll document later this week hopefully.

So thankful for this time to unplug from "real life" and just BE.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day 2017

By far the EASIEST photo shoot I've ever done with all five kids!
We knocked this Daddy's Day gift out so quick this year:-)

Happy Father's Day, Josh Via!
We are beyond blessed to call you OURS!
Thank you for loving us so well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I haven't posted a blog post with actual word content in a very long time.

Finding the time and the quiet that necessitates such a post is few and far between these days, but I wouldn't trade this season for anything!

In fact, NOT being attached to a screen is kind of something I've been working on over the past couple of months...some days are better than others, but it is a personal conviction I've needed to get control over.  So there's that.

But as I was sitting outside on this beautiful breezy day, in the shade of my carport after a nice little workout, sifting through 7th grade curriculum (how is that even possible?!) and just looking around me I began welling up with gratitude for all that God has given us.

Given ME!

I look at my Areyna Joy and the tangible joy that she is to be around.  I see her growing beauty into young womanhood. I see her peacemaking spirit in action almost on a daily basis.  I see her confidence in who she is in Christ.  Can I just stop and say how special it is to see her activity on the Bible App that we share and how she is getting in the word all on her own now!

I see Zeke and how far he has come over the past few years.  I remember the feelings of that difficult season with him so clearly but can hardly remember him being in such a difficult spot.  I see his sensitivity and compassion.  I see his creativity and leadership qualities growing.  And the difficulties that come with an artistic kid like Zeke, who thinks outside the box, quickly becomes overshadowed by the positive qualities that accompany those exact same qualities.

My "mama bear" came out on behalf of my Alethia Grace this weekend!  If you are not an adoptive mama you may not understand the magnitude of this, but the bonding process is most definitely a process.  You might move forward a step but moments later fall back 10...but I feel like this past weekend was a stride in this mama's heart in my relationship with her.  I have also seen her grow in so many emotional areas throughout this past year that I thought may never improve.

Cai brings the laughter that this Colony so desperately needs!  His giggle, his jokes, his daily random facts, his artistic ability to create something from nothing...he is loud and overly inappropriate with bathroom humor to be sure, but man I love this kid (and the fact that he STILL lets me nibble those chubby cheeks!).

Jude, oh extra, so sassy, so confident, so persistent. JUST. SO. MUCH.  This kid is smart as a whip though.  And when he is sweet, MAN he's sweet.  He is an all or nothing kid.  Determined to the core (unless he is tired...or hungry, ha).  If he can't figure something out he'll keep trying until he does.  Again, so many good qualities can and will come with his fire cracker personality.

What a blessing to be able to stay home and just be mom.  I don't take it for granted...well, actually I do sometimes, but I am so very grateful for this opportunity.  We may not have much wiggle room in the bank account because of this choice, but God NEVER ceases to amaze us with his provision, and over abundance that he lavishes on our family.  From clothing, to food, to toys for the kids, activities for our family to do, childcare for dates, a beautiful safe home to open up to anyone and everyone.  I don't even have to apologize for the bathroom issues anymore!

My husband loves and follows hard after Jesus and is so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he makes submission easy.  Not perfect by any means, but he is humble and teachable and growing into such a sexy leader;)  He loves me and the kids well.  We are learning to fight fair and not hold things in.  We have committed to learn from our own mistakes and poor choices, as well as other people's.  And we wholeheartedly believe that we are not exempt from any temptation, meaning we are continually reevaluating and praying that we will be aware of the enemies tactics.  We are learning to say "no" and all the freedom that comes along with healthy boundaries for our family and ministry.

Our life is not perfect.  Kids disobey.  Appliances break. Bank accounts are depleted. We hurt each others feelings.  Relationships waver.  People disappoint.  Difficult seasons with friends, and each other, come in tidal waves...

But God...

He is so good, and so patient.  He is always waiting for our repentance so that he can wrap us in grace and help us move forward.  He loves to give good gifts to his children.  And then smiles when we generously give them away.

Life is full of hurt and sin and pain.  But God also allows these glimpses of good to hang on to.  We all get them, we just have to be willing to see them.  Contentment. And today I see it and I praise His Name, Jesus, the only one worthy of that name, for it ALL.