Friday, September 9, 2016

Nathan's 1st Day of Pre-K

Okay so technically this isn't Nathan's first day of Pre-K.  He did a year of Pre-K last year in Bakersfield.  Then we moved and he started attending the Preschool at our new church over the summer.  But this is the first day of the Fall Session and I'm all about taking advantage of photo opportunities!  This is his last year of Pre-School-next year he will be in Kindergarten! I'm trying not to think about it!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mommy & Me Swim Lessons

For the month of August Silas and I will be doing swim lessons together on Saturdays!  I loved doing these with Nathan-now it's Silas' turn!

As soon as we got to the pool he started yelling "wa-wa".  He was super excited to have a turn in the water after watching Nathan the last few weeks! 

Ready for the pool! Nathan is doing another round of swim lessons at the same time as Silas and I. (Note: You really love your kids when you allow yourself to be photographed in your swim suit.  Try not be to blinded by my white legs!) 

Almost ready!

This was pretty much Silas the entire time.  Loves. To. Splash.

Practicing kicking

Blowing Bubbles for Silas meant drinking all the pool water

More Splashing!

Mommy was blowing bubbles.  Silas was smiling for the camera. 

He didn't mind being on his back at all! He would lay back, close his eyes, and smile!

Waving to Daddy!

Jumping in! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Swim Lessons 2016

We enrolled Nathan in swim lessons at the YMCA around the corner from our new house in Long Beach.  This is the first year he has been a willing participant from the very first day! He is still terrified of the teacher "letting go" but is getting more confident with every lesson. 

Nathan's teacher is the only teacher who wears a black rash guard in the water.  For the first week of lessons he referred to her as the "black teacher" LOL

Practicing using his arms and kicking

Little Brother was not excited to be stuck on the other side of the gate!

Nathan referred to this little boy as his "swimming buddy".  They were too cute together! 

When will it be my turn?!

Getting the "magic marshmallow" strapped on

This floatation device allows the kids to float but also helps them practice using their arms and legs.  Nathan was not a fan when the teacher would let go but has gained a lot of confidence since he started!


So I've been a horrible blogger as of late but it's probably because I'm too busy keeping up with this guy to take any pics! A month ago or so this Silas decided he would climb up on the couch by himself! 

Now you will rarely find him sitting as he thinks it's fun to stand.  The words "on your bottom" have risen to the top of my vocabulary!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Paid in Full

So I've been trying to put this post into words for almost two weeks!  That's how shocked and amazed I am.  But then I serve a Mighty God so why should I be shocked when he comes through in amazing ways?  Last week Ben and I were able to walk into a bank and say words I thought were still a long way off in coming,

"We'd like to pay our loan in full".

But first let me back up.  When we adopted Silas we fundraised like crazy, emptied our savings accounts, and applied for grants but it still wasn't enough to cover the cost of his adoption.  As a last resort we ended up applying for an adoption loan.

Fast forward a year and a half later and we are still paying on that loan.  It's not a huge payment but it has been looming over our heads for awhile.  We worked hard to pay off all of our debt before adopting Silas so it was difficult to go backwards in our financial plan.

By now you may be a little confused.  At the beginning of this post I said we paid off our loan in full! Well let me tell you the rest of the story.  We have always been very open about sharing our adoption story with others. When our new Lead Pastor asked if he could share our adoption story from the pulpit we saw no problem with it.  Little did we know that when he shared about our adoption debt that someone would feel led to come forward and write us a check so we could pay off our loan!  We. Were. Floored.

Our Lead Pastor was teaching on the Acts 2 church in which the people took care of each others needs, big or small.  The couple who chose to write a check to pay off our loan both felt God telling to them to take care of this debt for us.  The weren't even sitting next to each other in church at the time but when the wife went to talk to her husband after church "It was like we had been talking the whole time".

I didn't ask God to take this debt away.  But he did.  And the story gets even better.  When we looked into moving to Long Beach and crunched the numbers for our budget we came up a little short.  But we trusted that God wold provide and we would pinch our pennies as tight as we could in order to make a move to the beach happen.  Never in a million years is this how I pictured God providing!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Best Friend

On Sunday, April 3rd the unimaginable happened.  My best friend, Crystal Dean, was called home to be with Jesus.  Her passing was very sudden and without warning.  If you follow my blog at all you will recognize her name as she was the friend who God brought into my life to walk with me through my infertility and adoption journey. As I have been preparing for her Memorial Service and reflecting on our friendship I wrote some memories down and thought I would share them here.  

Crystal was my best friend.  When we met she would tell you that she thought I was pretty weird.  But God knew we needed each other and so our friendship began.  I was in Room 3 and she was in Room 2.  To this day when I visit Haley Elementary and I walk by those rooms I can picture us both inside teaching Kindergarten.  And truth be told taking multiple breaks throughout the day to email each other funny things our students did and said. 

One of the first things I remember about Crystal is that although she had been a Christian for awhile she was excited to start taking her faith more seriously.  She shared that she was recently baptized because she wanted the world to know how much she loved Jesus and longed to follow him.  I find comfort today knowing she is with Jesus this very moment. 

Crystal was the first friend I texted.  Yes I am old enough to remember what life was like before texting.  She was at IKEA buying supplies for her classroom when she sent me my first text with a picture in it.  Back then every text cost $ and if you sent pictures it cost even more $.  Let’s just say we had to change our cell phone plans to accommodate our growing friendship.  At night while my husband and I would be watching TV, my phone would start going off crazily-notification after notification.  My husband wondered what was wrong.  Oh it’s just Crystal I said.  We text a lot and the message doesn’t fit in one text so it just carries over to the next one.  And the next one.  And the next one. It’s a good thing plans today come with unlimited texting!

As we got to know one another better we started sharing more intimate parts of our lives.  I shared that we had been trying to have a baby for almost a year.  She excitedly told me that she and her husband were planning on trying to get pregnant soon as well.  Two years later and not one positive pregnancy test between the two of us we both found ourselves grateful for one another’s support.  It was Crystal’s shoulder I cried on when I didn’t think I could handle another pregnancy announcement or attend another baby shower.

I remember the day Crystal shared her excitement for adoption with me.  She had so much love to share with a baby and was hopeful she could love a baby as her own-even if it didn’t come from her own womb.  Little did I know that God would also plant a heart for adoption within me as well. 

During the 2011-2012 school year, God granted our deepest desires and longings: we both became Mommas.  My husband and I brought home our oldest son, Nathan in October of that year and Ivy came in March.   When we got the call that a baby in Tucson had just been born and needed a home the first person I called was Crystal.  She wondered why I was sobbing hysterically. 

I vividly remember the day that Crystal learned she was going to be a Mom.  We were standing outside of her room.  I was talking excitedly (and probably loudly) when I realized something was going on and it wasn’t just a casual conversation between husband and wife over the phone.  It was the day before spring break and parent teacher conferences were scheduled for the afternoon.  Crystal left for the hospital and I was instructed to share with each one of her parents that an emergency had occurred and Mrs. Dean would have to reschedule.  Oh how hard it was not to shout from the rooftops that there was no emergency-my best friend was meeting her baby!

When I found out my husband and I would be moving back to California the thing I knew I would miss most was Crystal’s friendship.  Although miles separated us our friendship did not fade-in a lot of ways it even grew stronger.  I remember when Crystal was at home bonding with her baby on adoption leave and how weird it felt to be at school without her.  When I shared I would be moving she told me that she thought God had already been preparing us to be separated.  If we could teach without one another next door we could make a long distance friendship work. 

Luckily we found time together still even when living far away.  I flew back to watch a Judge declare that Ivy Rose was a Dean on her adoption day.  Bobby, Crystal and Ivy drove over to attend Nathan’s first birthday party.  We vacationed together in San Diego-twice!  Went to Sea World and the beach.  My family flew back for Ivy’s 1st Birthday.  Precious memories that I will not soon forget.  I just wish I had more pictures-but we must have been having too much fun together (or truth be told the cameras were pointed at our cute kids-not ourselves!)

When I learned that Crystal had gone to be with Jesus my heart broke in two.  My heart still hurts but it is slowly healing.  And that’s only because I have a Father in Heaven who knows what it feels like to suffer loss.  And if you don’t know this Savior I speak of personally-please contact me.  Crystal knew him intimately and is with Him even now. 

I have received so many messages, texts and e-mails from people sharing how much Crystal meant to them.  She truly made an impact while here on Earth and she will not be soon forgotten.  Crystal loved her Savior with her whole heart.  She chose to “Shine Bright” for him here on Earth.  I speak with confidence when I say that I know I will see her again.  But for now I find myself longing for a text from heaven from my best friend, Crystal Dean.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Egg Hunt 2016

Our oldest wants everyone to know that "No Bunny Loves you Like Jesus!"

Pre-Hunt Festivities included playing with hula hoops

and chasing after basketballs

and coloring

Silas got right into the hunt!

Clapping for himself since he found an egg!

Do my eggs go in here?

Is this a hard-boiled egg Mom?

Truth be told he was more interested in the woodchips than the eggs!

The hunt is over and I'm outta here!

Nathan lining up for his egg hunt.

He wasn't sure he wanted to participate at first. 

Having Grandma and Grandpa here helped get him going. 

Having a tall Grandpa has it's advantages!

Checking out the candy in his eggs

Our church had egg hunts every 15 minutes so Nathan went a couple more rounds!

He wasn't shy this time around!  Look at that basket full of eggs!