Sunday, January 29, 2012


First of all, thanks for everyone who prayed for me as I drove yesterday. It was a smooth, uneventful drive. I passed a few state troopers who watched me fly by, yet didn't try to stop me. I didn't get tired. I only had to stop once to fill the car and empty me, and twice to fill my tummy. I made the trip in way under the 9:54 that maquest gave me.

Here's what's going on with Bev.

She was originally diagnosed with leukemia (ALL, Ph+) almost exactly 5 years ago. She had a bone marrow transplant from her own bone marrow cells. She was in remission for about a year, then relapsed. They were able to find a matching bone marrow donor, so she had another bone marrow transplant 3 years ago. She has done reasonably well over the last 3 years. The most difficult thing she has dealt with is graft vs. host disease (GvHD), in which the donor bone marrow recognizes Bev's body as foreign and attacks it. She has had to be constantly on steroids to ward of the GvHD. The effects of long-term steroids are devastating to the skeletal system. She developed Avascular Necrosis (bone death) in the majority of her joints, and has had several joint replacements and other surgeries to address it. She has dealt with chronic fatigue and pain.

Last week she relapsed again. The prognosis for a third relapse is extremely poor. Her body is weak from all she has been through, and she can't have another transplant. Joe and Bev decided to give the chemo one last try in hopes of putting the leukemia back into remission. If effective, this can buy several months. Bev's cells immediately responded to the chemo, and they were really excited. However, after a few days, the side effects of the chemo hit. Night before last was the worst night in the last 5 years. Bev's blood pressure plummeted, pushing her right to death's door. Yesterday morning her husband emailed asking us to come up. I threw some stuff in a suitcase, rented a car, and hit the road. By the time I arrived last night, Bev had been moved back into bone marrow transplant ICU where the amazing oncologists and nursing staff were able to get her stabilized. She was stable but in tremendous pain when I arrived. A generous friend purchased a train ticket for Matt, and he will be joining me here tomorrow. Another wonderful friend is keeping our kids for us. I am {yet again} blown away by the goodness of God.

Last night I stayed with Bev for a few hours. She was unbelievably swollen from the fluids they pumped in to raise her blood pressure. The swelling caused her skin to stretch, blister, and crack. I was able to rub a mineral cream all over her body, which brought some relief. The doctor came in and started Bev on a heavy dose of steroids. Since there is no long-term for Bev anymore, they can use the steroids without worrying about more bone damage. It doesn't matter anymore. I headed to a friend's house where I crashed for the night.

I came back first thing this morning. The steroids and pain relievers worked their magic, and Bev got a solid night of sleep. The swelling was down significantly, and she felt a whole lot better. We had some great conversation this morning and watched a church service online. Right now her boys are here visiting, so I am hanging out in the family waiting room.

The goal for Bev right now is to get her stable enough to survive the hour-long drive home. Once she gets home, hospice will come in and the end will come very fast. Bev does not know it yet, but Joe learned this morning that the leukemia blasts are back in force. The chemo slowed them for only a few days. At the very best, she will only be able to survive for a week or two. If she goes home and stops blood pressure medication, she will slip away within a few hours. She cries for the two little boys and husband who will miss her. But she is also ready to meet Jesus face to face and to be in a new, healthy, pain-free body.

That's the update.

As for me...I feel--almost tangibly--the many prayers that are going up on my behalf. Smell is a powerful emotional trigger for me. A whiff of my mom's perfume can reduce me to a sobbing heap of loneliness. Being in the hospital usually strikes anxiety and claustrophobia in my heart because the medical smells take me back to my mom's illness and dredge up all the old pain and loss. I prayed almost continually on the drive up yesterday. I asked that God would strengthen my spirit and prepare me to be here. He has been my rock, my strength, my comfort. Though I have experienced crazy waves of deja vu as I've walked the hospital halls, I have been strangely unaffected by the smells. They are the exact same smells that usually mess me up. Much of what Bev is physically experiencing is what my mom experienced. But my heart is strong and I am holding up well. Amazingly well. Only-by-the-power-of-God well.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


It has been a privilege and an honor to have Beverly in my life. I wish I could simply wish away cancer. *Sigh* Today I'm driving solo to North Carolina to say goodbye. I doubt I'm going to make it in time, but at the request of her family, I am sure going to try. I'm glad her suffering will be over and that she'll be meeting Jesus face-to-face. I'm also glad this goodbye is not forever. If you are a praying person, please pray for Bev, her husband Joe, and their boys, Christian and Dante. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lesson Learned...

I visited the dentist a few weeks back and was reminded {again} that I have horrible teeth. The dentist strongly suggested that I get a Waterpik flosser. Yes, it was expensive. But yes, I love it. It's amazing how much more junk it gets out of my teeth than traditional flossing. It has also helped my gum inflammation to go down! I use Listerine in the water to help even more.

However, when using the Waterpik flosser, there are a few very important guidelines you must follow religiously. I share these rules with you based on my own experience.

1. Fill the Waterpik basin with warm water and a capful of Listerine.
2. Turn the Waterpik on and begin water flossing your teeth.
3. Bend over the sink and leave your mouth partway open so the water and gunk can drain as you floss.
4. Widely open the eye in the back of your head.
5. Don't let devious husband sneak up behind you while you're flossing with a high powered stream of warm minty water.
6. Kick devious husband in the shins before he has a chance to grab your sides and yell "BWAH!" at you while you're flossing with a high powered stream of warm minty water.
7. Never scream and drop the pik into the sink, because it doesn't turn off just because you let go of it.
8. Remember that the pik has a curly cord that will cause it to rotate toward your face if you drop it in the sink.
9. Remember that the high powered stream of warm minty water shoots a very long way when it isn't contained by the cavern of your mouth.

10. Above all, NEVER allow the Waterpik flosser to shoot a high powered stream of warm Listerine water up into your nose and sinuses as it is twisting and falling into the sink when you scream and drop it because you didn't remember to kick devious husband in the shins before he grabbed your sides and yelled because you didn't open the eye in the back of your head while you were flossing!

FYI, Listerine was not intended for use in the nose and sinuses. And neither is the Waterpik flosser.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Second Post for Today

Okay, I don't like to post twice in one day. But sometimes there is news that compels me to post again. I think the arrival of a new niece and a new nephew in a 9-day span is good reason to post twice in one day, especially since my two sisters-in-law emailed me priceless photos of these new little people. I am one proud auntie!

So, let me introduce...

Silas Timothy
January 14
7 pounds, 4 ounces
Born to Matt's sister Julie (and Timothy) in India

Leah Hope
January 23
7 pounds, 14 ounces
Born to my brother Brandon (and Amanda) in California

Artsy Fartsy

I love love love to make things. I can happily say that I never waste time on Pinterest because I actually make a lot of the things I pin. I've made so many things, in fact, that I started a "Things I've Made" pinboard where I re-pin the projects I've completed. The thing about that is, they aren't actual photos of the things I have made. I thought it would be fun to post photos here of the things I have made, for posterity, you know. I don't sit around crafting all day. I did, however, devote part of almost every day in November and December to making Christmas gifts. I LOVE what I made for everyone, and I think they all loved it too. So as you look at these photos, remember that I made these things over the course of 3 months.

I made these cute skirts for my nieces. There was another one--madras plaid for my rainbow-loving niece--that isn't pictured here. 

These burp cloths were also really easy, thanks to that delightful product called quilter's basting spray.

My little niece (who just arrived on Monday) got this pretty cloth-wrapped canvas for her nursery.

My dinosaur-obsessed nephew B got this cute hat.

This monster cap went to my nephew C, and nephew A got the same hat in blue. My sis-in-law says the hats rarely leave B&C's heads. I need to make one for Pepper, too.

I couldn't find a Christmas dress that I loved for Snapper, so I made this sweet skirt for her instead. 

I haven't used my Cricut much since switching from paper to digital scrapbooking. I was so happy to have a reason to use it again! This wreath was really easy to make, and the end result was stunning. I made about a dozen of these for teachers and family members.

I had originally planned on making these for all my aunts, cousins, and sisters-in-law. However, it would seem wood letters were a popular gift this year, and I was only able to find about half the letters I needed. I didn't make as many of these as I had planned. This was probably my favorite gift to give this year.

Coasters were a ridiculously inexpensive--yet lovely--gift. And they were super easy to make! It just took a lot of time because I had to let each layer (3) of Mod Podge and each layer (4) of sealer dry completely. It took all day.

Snapper has 4 swim coaches. I wanted something unique that they would enjoy using, so I made them clipboards to hold their heat sheets at swim meets. They were a hit! I also made photo ornaments for them--photos of the coaches with Snapper--but I forgot to get a picture of them. Boo!

Ever since Snapper was 3, we've had the tradition of making cookies for our neighbors. With gluten out of our diets this year, I didn't make any of the traditional cookies. We made gluten-free candies instead! These are peppermint patties.

You can't go wrong with Buckeyes! YUM! I also made caramel corn and salted caramels. Even more yum!

I absolutely love wreaths. The remind me of my mom, and they make me smile. I have made a few wreaths in the past, but they are getting pretty tired. My goal for this year is to make a new wreath for every season/holiday. Here is my Valentine wreath. I cut a whole bunch of 3" circles out of red felt, folded them in half and in half again, and used basting pins to stick them through the point, into a heart-shaped foam wreath. Then I glued on a bow. Simple!

 Pepper has a very loose tooth. He's the kind of kid that will not be able to leave his tooth alone under his pillow. He'll have to check on it throughout the night, hold it, touch it, etc. When the tooth fairy arrives, that tooth will be lost somewhere in the bed. So I got out a bunch of fabric scraps and made these cute tooth fairy pillows. One is for Pepper. The other two are for my nephew C (age 6) and my niece A (turning 5 next month). 

As we prepare to welcome additional children into our family, we thought it would be a good idea to post our family rules in a visible place. Matt and I had a meeting, developed these rules, and backed them up with Scripture. I need to do a post about our rules in case another family would like to use them, too. I wrote the rules and corresponding verse references on strips of pretty scrapbook paper. Then I mod-podged them onto a 12x24 canvas. The word Family is a cheap cutout from Michael's. I painted it black with acrylic paint and hot glued it on. I need to get black grosgrain ribbon, which I'll use to hang the canvas in our living room. I love how this came out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wonderful Week!

Last week our best friends from California flew in for a week. We had an amazing time with them! The kids had their first cross country meet, in which they went all out for Uncle Stan and Auntie Noel. We spent time with our Florida best friends. Matt and Stan played disc golf three times. Noel and I scrapbooked. We spent an afternoon at the beach. And the four of us adults went to Universal's Islands of Adventure to celebrate Matt's birthday. We talked into the wee hours. We laughed. We made memories. Oh...and we took pictures. Lots of them. And here they are!

Pepper's goal for the race was to keep going the whole half-mile. He succeeded! He only slowed to a walk one time. And he didn't finish last!

Snapper's goal was to run her whole mile and to finish in the top 50. Not only did she run a {nonstop} 8-minute mile, she came in 17th out of 95 girls in her age group!

It was fun having Uncle Stan and Auntie Noel there to cheer them on!

Stan and Noel are Snapper and Pepper's godparents. We cherish our times with them, and hate it that they live 3000 miles away.

Bored in the car on the way home from the beach.

Matt and I spent part of our honeymoon at Islands of Adventure 11 years ago, and Stan and Noel spent part of their honeymoon there 9 years ago. It was so much fun to make a trip back there together! In this photo we're drinking butterbeer (butterscotch+cream soda=beverage bliss) in Hogsmeade. Butterbeer is one of Harry Potter's favorite treats. Being a Harry Potter junkie myself, I had to try it. I was not disappointed!

Riding the Caro-suess-sel.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Emily Hates Leukemia...(and all cancer, actually)

If you have been following my blog for the last few years, you will remember my friend Bev. She has been battling leukemia for the last 5 years. Here is a post that links to her story. She had a second bone marrow transplant 3 years ago. She has been in remission since then, but has struggled with a host of other debilitating problems. We spent 5 days with Bev and her family at the end of December, and I am so glad we did. Yesterday Bev went for a routine check-up. Her blood work showed a very high white cell count, so they did a bone marrow biopsy. Sadly, it confirmed that the leukemia is active again. While the prognosis for someone in Bev's situation is extremely poor, she (and we) know that God, the Great Healer, has her in His hands. We are trusting Him, no matter the outcome.

Please pray for Bev, her husband Joe, and their boys Christian (10) and Dante (12). This is really, really hard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Sweet little Pepper boy--age 5 1/2--is in the thick of a detestable phase. It's a whining phase. The worst of the whines come out when he has to do homework. I've nearly reached boiling point a few times due to the thickness of the whine. Seriously, it makes me cringe. Yesterday I ended up having to let Matt take over halfway through the homework because I could not get that boy to stop whining and do his work.

Today I decided to try something new. I told him he could whine about his work all he wanted, but only during pre-set whining periods. He was surprised...very surprised. For homework today he had to do a shape matching coloring page, a penguin math page, and he had to write the numbers from 51-80. He got a do a good whine before each page. Every time he changed colors on the first page, I gave him 5 seconds to whine. I let him whine for 5 seconds twice during penguin math. Then he got to whine at 65 on his number writing. Every time, without fail, he managed about 2 seconds of whining before he burst out laughing. It lightened the atmosphere of our homework time considerably. He finished his work in about half the time it usually takes him, and he didn't truly whine at all.

I think I've found the solution, y'all!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Children are Actually Planning Ahead?

I can't wait for Tuesday! Our best friends Stan & Noel are coming from California!!! It has been almost 2 years since we last saw them, and even then we only got a day with them. They are coming for {8 days} and I know it is going to be WONDERFUL! Snapper and Pepper don't know who is coming, but they do know we have to pick someone up at the airport on Tuesday evening. Snapper decided she wanted to get started on this week's homework early so she will have more time to spend with our visitors. Pepper agreed with her, and he has gotten a jump-start on his homework, too.

All of last week Snapper was working on research for the paper/presentation she has to do about the Apalachee Indians, a large group of Native Floridians. The paper isn't due until the 23rd, but she didn't want to have to deal with it at all this week. She averages about 3 hours of homework per night as it is. So Snapper buckled down today, researched three websites, took an additional 2 pages of notes, and we wrote her paper together. She dictated to me, I typed exactly what she said, and then we went back through and edited it together. We got to talk about a lot of the things she has been learning in writing and language arts, such as transitions, flow, colorful language, variety in sentence structure, and punctuation. We also used the thesaurus. It is so much fun for me to watch her developing as a writer. Her thoughts flow to naturally, and she is extremely creative. The end result was a lovely story titled Niponi's Tale: An Apalachee Anecdote. It is 2 solid pages telling all about the culture, customs, government, and historical importance of the Apalachee Indians. She is building a diorama with her small group at school, too. As soon as I finish here, we're going to build several tiny Apalachees out of Sculpey clay. They will be Snapper's contribution to the diorama. I am so proud of my sweet girl for working giving up 3 hours of her Saturday to work so hard to finish this project early. She was focused, cheerful, and diligent the entire time. It shows such growth in her! What a long way we've come in the last year. Proud, proud, proud!

Next, Pepper and I are tackling his January homework folder. His teacher is a firm believer in worksheets, and he has a bundle of them. There are 25 math worksheets and 14 phonics worksheets, as well as a family project and 20 minutes of reading each day. All are due the last day of January. We just got our packet yesterday. She also sends home bags of books tailored to each child's reading level. After the child has read each book three times, you send the bag back and the teacher swaps it for another bag. Pepper and I usually read them together every afternoon. This morning he delighted me by picking up his book bag and independently reading 4 books! They are level 2 readers and he made it through all of them entirely on his own! I worked quietly in the kitchen while he read right through them, using his decoding skills to sound out the words he didn't easily know. He was so proud of himself, and so happy to be independently reading for pleasure. Pepper is going to be my reader...I just know it! Proud, proud, proud!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I like my dentist, which is a very good thing, because he rarely has good news for me. Last March I had to get a root canal. It ate my entire chunk of insurance money for the year, and I couldn't afford more dental work during the rest of the year. I went back today with a fresh $1000 of insurance money to use on my teeth. I had two large fillings done (yuck) and a fat load of x-rays. I walked out of the office 90 minutes later and $186 poorer. But it doesn't get end there. In the next 6 weeks I get to pay:

3 fillings+1 crown+1 root canal= $1500 that insurance doesn't cover.
Oh, and because I apparently have "genetically compromised" teeth, I have to get cleanings every 4 months instead of every 6 months. Does my insurance cover that third cleaning? Of course not!



Okay God. The ball is in your court because I don't have $1500! This can't wait because the 3 teeth needed fillings are all in danger of needing root canals in the next few months if we don't fill them now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Revolving Door of My House

The number one problem with living in Orlando (apart from the disgusting love bugs that take over the air in May and September) is that our whole family lives on the other side of the United States. I miss them all. A lot. Snapper went to California last summer to visit, but the rest of us haven't seen my family in almost 2 years. I also haven't seen my best friend, Noel, in 2 years.

But that's all about to change!!!

One week from right now I'll be on my way to the airport to pick up Noel and her husband Stan, who happens to be Matt's best friend. They are going to be here for A WHOLE 8 DAYS! I can't wait! We're going to sequester ourselves in the house and just spend time together. I anticipate a lot of laughter, crafting, and good times. 

When they go home, I won't have any time to get blue, because my daddy and step-mom are flying in on February 3! They are staying for 5 days, and I can't wait to see them!!!!!

Good times. Fun to be had. Memories to make. YAY!  *does happy dance around the living room and oils the revolving door* Who else is coming to Orlando to see me?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I feel like I'm living in unreality right now. Is unreality even a word? If it isn't, it should be, because it fits me. Five short months ago we were arriving home from our month-long road trip with the discussion of adoption fresh out of our mouths. We had decided to consider adoption from foster care. I went down to the library and began a period of voracious reading. When I say voracious, I mean that in 6 weeks I read every single book our county library has on foster care, adoption, attachment, child abuse, etc. That's 32 books with a grand total of about 10,000 pages. We started our foster/adoption training scared out of our minds about what we were getting into, but still feeling strongly called by God to move ahead.

I asked God to either give me a clear "out" or to crystalize the call so I could move ahead confidently. In September I learned I was pregnant as I had a miscarriage. God spoke to me so tenderly through it. He used the miscarriage to remove any doubt from my heart, and to push me forward. Not only did He NOT give me an out, He took away my fear ad gave me unbelievable peace. We went through our training all fall and graduated December 6. We expected the home study to begin mid-January, and that we would receive certification around Easter.

Here we are, January 8, and we are on schedule to receive certification in five short days! We've begun getting our house ready for new kids. My adoption blog has tripled readership in the last 3 days. Matt and I have begun seriously planning some support-raising trips because we need to raise $1200 new monthly support by summer in order to prepare our finances for two new family members.

We've got our eye on a few children who at first read of the profiles seem to be possible matches. As soon as that home study is in our hands, it will be going out to some case workers. When I think about the fact that God already knows which kids are going to be ours I get goosebumps all over. It still seems so unreal to me that I may know sooner than later. Each time I get on the photo listings I pray and ask God to guide me. I wonder if I'll get goosebumps when I see their photo for the first time? I'm prone to goosebumps...

I'm really thinking that this whole process is like being pregnant. These kids started growing in my heart way back in September. When we went to that first class, it was like getting a positive pregnancy test. We started to acknowledge that kids are coming. Starting to scan photo listings in early December was like getting that first ultrasound and seeing a tiny heartbeat. These faces are real little people and one or two of them are ours. Now we're well into that second trimester. Having the homestudy done and purchasing a bunk bed for Pepper's room is like feeling that baby kick. It is suddenly physically real to us. Can I just say I'm loving the absence of morning sickness, leg cramps, sore boobs, and dislocated hips?

But anyhoo, this all seems unreal somehow. I've wanted to adopt since I was a very little girl. Matt and I have talked about it since before we were even married. And now it's happening. Oh my wow!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Adoption Update 1/5/12

Our home study is tomorrow! I am very thankful that we were detailed and thorough in our paperwork. It has cut several hours out of the home study process. Tomorrow's meeting is so our caseworker can see our house and check it for code and safety requirement, interview our kids, meet our cats, and go over a few things with Matt and me. Then we just have to wait for her to put it all together and get the necessary signatures. I can't wait for it to be done so we can officially start searching for the next members of our family!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Second Post of the Day

So I don't like to post more than once in a day, but I will forget this if I don't write it down now.

Epic parenting moment!

Playing Disney Scene It with the kids tonight. The question for Pepper was: What kind of cats are Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp? He looked at us with that blank expression that means he doesn't have a clue. We decided to help him out a bit by giving him a hint.

Matt and I burst into song, complete with the accent.

We are Siamese if you please!
We are Siamese if you don't please

Then we looked at each other and burst out laughing! What an awesome parenting moment!

The blank stare from Pepper continued, but Matt quite obviously knew the answer, so he got the points for their team. I think we both should have received bonus points for our very excellent rendition of the classic song from Lady and the Tramp.

Do You Like THESE Towels?

I recall a childhood Christmas--I believe it was the year I was 5 or 6--when we bought my mom dish towels for Christmas. My dad bundled up my sister and me, loaded us into our Oldsmobile, and we headed out to Macy's to shop for Mommy. She got quite a haul that Christmas! There was the puffy gray coat, a bottle of Lauren by Ralph Lauren perfume, a handsome set of kitchen knives, and a stack of dish towels. I still remember the dish towels with the matching hot pads. They were a cream color with forest green accents. Some of the towels had chickens printed on them, as did the hot pads. Anyone who remembers my mom will probably remember how much she loved chickens.

My 6-year-old self stood in front of the towels and thought, "What a dumb, boring present! When I grow up, I'm going to ask for exciting things for Christmas. I will never want dumb, boring dish towels!" Despite my thoughts, the dish towels went home with us, and were placed under the tree as a gift from my sister to my mom. The knives were designated as my gift to Mommy.

A few days later (or so I'm reminded by my family every Christmas), my mom took Jenny and me shopping for my dad, also at Macy's. On our trip around the store, I showed her a puffy gray coat. "Hey Mommy, how do you like THIS coat?" And then some knives..."How do you like THESE knives, Mommy?" And perfume..."Smell THIS perfume, Mommy! Isn't it pretty?" And of course, towels..."Do you like THESE towels, Mommy? I think they'd look great in our kitchen!" On Christmas morning, my mom pretended to be surprised. Then she told the whole family about my antics. And I've never been allowed to forget it.

This Christmas I received a nice chunk of Christmas money to spend on myself. A portion of it will be used on a laser hair removal package I got on Groupon. So much vanity, I know! But when I was pregnant with Pepper, I think he leaked testosterone I started sprouting a regular beard; unfortunately, it never went away. Time to do something about that! After I paid Groupon, I still had about $20 left. Guess what I did with it?

Remember those dumb, boring towels we bought for my mom? I went out and spent the rest of my money on dumb, boring towels--with matching hot pads--for my kitchen. And you know what? I did a happy dance in the aisle at Target when I found them! Some are dark red (my favorite color), and some are red and white checked. They look lovely hanging in my kitchen, and I was very glad to finally be able to throw out the nasty, old towels and hot pads we have been using since we got married 10 1/2 years ago!

So I guess I've grown up, huh? Dish towels and hot pads are an exciting present. Yup, I think I've grown up. I do love THESE towels!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hopes and Dreams

At the beginning of every new year, I love to sit and dream about what I want to accomplish in the coming year, and about the pre-determined events that will take place.

It is really fun to go back and read my old journals. I have made my dream list every year since I was 12. Earning vaulting medals, making straight A's, getting my driver's license, and winning goat showmanship at the fair were among my jr. high and high school dreams. One sad year, getting family counseling so I could speak to my parents again was my hope. Another year, my big dream was to get married. The next year the goal was to get pregnant (little did I know, I already was...just!). So much has happened throughout the years, and so many of my dreams have become reality. I am so blessed!

2012 Hopes, Dreams, and Goals

  • Do a final purge of the house/garage/attic. Each time I purge, I am able to let go of more. Time to reach another level of "simplify."
  • Complete our home study. Lord-willing, that should be done in the next few weeks!
  • Welcome new baby nieces and nephews! Niece Leah Hope and another new niece or nephew (gender & name unknown) will be born in January! One will be born in California, the other in India.
  • Spend time with visiting friends and family. Katie, the awesome college girl I mentored when she was in high school, is coming from Arkansas next week; Stan and Noel (our best besties) will be coming from California mid-January; and MY DADDY AND STEP-MOM arrive from California at the end of January!
  • Raise more support. Ah yes, such is the life of a missionary. There's an ebb and flow in this way of life, and right now we're at an ebb. It's time to move toward a flow. We need $1200 new monthly support in preparation for growing our family. This means travel for Matt.
  • Take a solo trip to California. My Granny is 94 years old. Parkinson's Disease and dementia are taking their toll. I haven't seen Granny in almost 2 years. I'm hoping to make the trip to see her in February or March. Just me, unless someone wants to give me $1500 for 4 plane tickets...
  • Take the kids to the west coast to visit family. Our hope is to fly to California/Portland/Seattle/Spokane in the early part of summer. I checked fares today, and it will cost about $2000 for multi-city flights for the four of us. If I'm a frugal money nazi between now and April, I think we can manage it. It has been almost two years since we last saw our families, and with new kids coming into our house, we want to go once more before we have to buy six plane tickets instead of four.
  • Go to Sea World. A lot. Remember those amazing rates I got on Florida resident passes? I plan to make the most of them.
  • Welcome a new child or two into our home. If I get my wish, we'll be adopting a brother/sister pair. Do we know who they are yet? No. Well, maybe. If a particular pair are still available when our home study is finished, I'll be calling their caseworker. 
  • Celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. This summer we'll see our 11th anniversary (June), Pepper's 6th birthday (July), and Snapper's 10th birthday (September). 
  • Move forward with my projects at work. I love what I'm doing, and I'm ready to make forward progress.
  • Continue to drop weight. Because of going gluten free, I've been consistently losing 1-2 pounds each week. I'm hoping that this pattern holds, and that the 2 miles I'm walking while Snapper swims 3-4 evenings per week will help firm me up. Down 2 sizes by the end of the year would be awesome!
  • Go on more dates with my hubby. We've not been good at this at all. Our foster/adoption class got us out together every week for 3 months, but it definitely wasn't a date. Even if we can go out once a month we'll be making progress.
  • Finalize an adoption. This is my hope, but the timing is completely in the Lord's hands.
I think it's going to be a full year! I'm excited to see how it plays out.