Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Christmas Tradition

  I love Christmastime.  It truly is a wonderful time of year.  I love celebrating Christ's birth, telling and retelling the Christmas story, buying presents, decorating the house, making goodies, and definitely listening to Christmas music.
  A lot of families have Christmas traditions, and our is no different.  I love our tradition.  To be honest, though, we kind let a tradition that I had with my family overflow into our family.  But that's okay, because it's a great one.
  It started a long, long time ago when my sisters and I started wanting to buy each other Christmas gifts...but we didn't have any money of our own!  My parents came up with the idea that we would start exchanging ornaments - after all, they were the ones funding the presents!  Each year at Thanksgiving, we drew a name and bought an ornament for that person.  Something that was so "them".  Like my dad usually gets some along the lines of Tennessee Volunteers.  Except for one year, when I got him his favorite said, "Oldest Child...Dad's Favorite."  Of course I am!
  Some are funny.  Like when Jacob got a big donut ornament the first Christmas after he became a police officer.  Some have childhood meanings - like the Cat in the Hat my dad got me because he used to read that book to me all the stinkin' time since it was my favorite.
  Some have super good stories behind them.  Like when my youngest sister got my mom a glass ballerina ornament one year.  As most of us set there trying to not laugh (she was only like 9 or so at the most) because this gift did not make any was not a ballerina nor did she enjoy going to a ballet performance.  Then Maley pops up and says, "I got it because it's pretty, like you, mommy." Melt my heart.
  Some have a poetic meaning.  Like my clear swan that my sister, Maci, got me.  I was pregnant with AB when she gave it to me.  I kind of had the same reaction to it as I did to the glass ballerina.  Then Maci, my English major - literature loving little sister, said, "Swans always protect and take care of their young by covering them with their wings.  I know that you will always take care of and protect your children."  Melt my heart. (Insert a sidenote:  Never discount your little sister's heart or thought process!)
  And so the tradition continues with our family.  We get the kids an ornament every year, as well as each other.  We take a picture of it and I put it into our photo album called, "The Story of Our Tree".  We know what year each ornament was given and, when the kids get old enough to start drawing names, we'll add who gave it to who and why they chose it.  Last year, we found these cute little sock-style ornaments for the girls.  AB's was a frog, because she was really into whispering, "I though you was a toad." (from the movie O, Brother Where Art Thou?) and Lynns' was a monkey because she decided to be a little monkey and jump on the bed...only when she fell off she didn't bump her head, she broker her leg. 
  It's a great Christmas tradition, but it also has a bonus.  When our children are older and move out onto their own, they will have a great starter set of ornaments to begin their tree!  And they may continue this tradition or they may start their own...either is fine with me, as long as they remember that Christmas isn't about traditions. 
  Christmas is about Jesus.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Chose This....But, Why Exactly...

  I love being a mommy.  Always and forever.  I am a stay at home mommy.  I love this...most of the time.  I chose to stay home with my kids.  Not every mommy makes that choice and that's okay - that's their choice and this is mine.  Today, I need some reminding as to why, exactly, I chose this.  It is 10:38 am and today I have....

-  stuck my finger in poop
-  been covered in spit up
-  cleaned up an entire bowl of Cheerios and milk from the table (not an accident, by the way)
-  changed two "antibiotic poopy" diapers
-  given a bath to a kid covered in poop from the waist down
-  enjoyed a nice cup of cold coffee (decaf, of course)
-  swept a half a bottle of green sprinkles off my floor (the girls just LOVE to decorate)
-  kept a close eye on my peanut allergic child bc she ate the above mentioned sprinkles which are "made in a facility that also processes peanuts"
-  thought seriously about applying to be the person who dresses up in the cow suit and holds the "Eat Mor Chikin" sign (they'd hire me, right?  I would work really, really hard)

  And, yes, I've done all of these things because I choose to.  I choose to, because today, I have also:
- snuggled
- eaten a finely prepared plastic dinner by two of the greatest little chefs in the world
- made my baby giggle
- had a couple dozen hugs and kisses
- held my super snuggly Lynnsie while she was upset

  It seems that so far today, the bad has outweighed the good.  But that's only on paper.  I could stick my fingers in poop a dozen times a day and it would be worth it for any one good thing on my list above.  And that's exactly why I chose this.  Because the good days are so good...and I can go to bed in a few hours and pretend the things on the first list never happened :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adoption: Eli Tariku Palmer

These are my friends, Jon and Anna Palmer, and their precious son, Eli Tariku.  We met Jon and Anna at seminary and lived in the same building with them - fun times!!  Their son has been home for 6 months now - this is something she wrote while she was in Ethiopia, waiting for their son's adoption to be complete.

I Don’t Want to Be a Gadarene (Matthew 8)

Throughout his life Jesus performed miraculous signs and wonders - evidence that he was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Often people responded with awe, and some chose to follow him. But when Jesus sent demons out of two violent men in a cemetery in the region of the Gadarenes, the people responded with fear – they begged Jesus to leave.

It seems bizarre that the Gadarenes would prefer to have two  violent, demon-possessed men hanging out in their cemetery rather than to have Jesus hanging around town. 

What were they afraid of? That Jesus would cause them to lose more livestock?  That he might drastically change something in their day to day lives? Did his compassion for the town-crazies scare them? Offend them? Confuse them? Challenge them?

I wonder what the Gadarenes missed because they asked Jesus to leave town. Surely he had more signs and wonders up his sleeve. There had to be other needs in the region he could have met, other people he could have healed, and a message of salvation to proclaim.

I know there have been times in my life when I was confronted with Jesus – who He is and what He stands for - and I was scared. My life, though far from perfect, was comfortable. Despite the fact that I had my own inner-crazies, I would have preferred that Jesus left me alone. I didn’t want to be offended, confused, and most certainly not challenged.

There have been times I turned into a Gadarene and sent Jesus away. So I can’t help but be grateful that God relentlessly pursued my husband and me as he called us to adopt our son from Ethiopia.

I can’t imagine missing it. Yes, it was a confusing call on our lives – this isn’t the “normal” way to start a family. Yes, it was challenging – mentally, spiritually, emotionally and even financially. But mostly, it turns out, it was a challenge to trust in His faithfulness – to do away with fear - and to trust. All along the way He has proven himself faithful (shocking, right?).

Now, looking back (a whole 3 weeks), I can’t imagine our life without him or his life without us. Many people will think that God’s major purpose behind this adoption was to provide a family for our son – and that’s partially true. But now I know that we needed him and we needed the process – of trusting Jesus, of yielding to his will in our lives,  of learning not to respond out of fear. And I needed the visible, tangible example of adoption in our lives to remind me that I don’t want to be a Gadarene.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adoption: Sweet Mr. Russ Payne

Meet my best friend, Meg, and her husband, Matt, and their beautiful, precious, oh-so-sweet little boy, Russ.  I have know Meg my entire life...seriously, since I was just a few weeks old - we're both "Betty's Kids".  I love their adoption story, because it is such an amazing answered prayer.  I can't tell you how many times I prayed for Matt and Meg - begged and pleaded with God to make Meg a mommy - and how many tears I shed with her and for her during this time.  We had always done everything together and we needed to be mommies together.  When I had a missed call from her at 8:15 one August morning, I knew exactly what she was calling to say...

Matt and I met and began dating in 2002. One of our initial conversations in getting to know one another was our desire for children one day…4 to be exact. After marrying in 2005, we wanted to wait a few years before starting our family. We have always believed in trusting our faithful Father, but it wasn’t until our journey began that we found exactly what it means to blindly trust.

Our journey began in 2007. I found out through a routine examination that I had (and continue to suffer with) endometriosis and complications of ovarian cysts. After several treatments, operations, rounds of Lupron injections, and months worth of Clomid, my heart began to move toward adoption. The pain that followed each month of unsuccessfully being pregnant began to be more than we could bear. Matt, on the other hand, was not ready to consider adoption as our only option to have a child. At that time, we began to pray that God would move both of our hearts, and we would faithfully wait until we came to a decision together.

In October 2009 our pastor delivered a sermon in which he used the passage Galatians 4:3-7. The Holy Spirit began to move and Matt’s heart changed toward adoption. We are all adopted children through Jesus Christ, and joint heirs to the Kingdom!! We met with our local social workers for the first time on November 28, 2009. The ball was rolling, and it was rolling quickly. It seems like the next few months flew by in a whirl of paperwork, doctor appointments, home visits, and background checks! During that time, we chose Love Basket, Inc. as our placing agency. Everything was falling into place…it was not IF we would have a baby, but WHEN!

Our final profile (a scrapbook of sorts that the birthparent(s) uses to choose the adoptive couple) was submitted mid April. All that was left to do was wait. Soon after, we bought nursery furniture, against the advice of our social workers. Their fear was that it would be too painful for us to walk by an empty nursery day after day. It was quite the opposite…I saw hope in the great blessing that the Lord was going to provide! The summer passed and my new school year began.

On August 16, 2010, our world changed forever. At 3:42 p.m., while sitting at my desk grading papers, I received a phone call from our social worker at Love Basket. She asked me if I was ready to meet our baby boy! We had been chosen!!!! It struck me that it had been the second time in my life that I was chosen for such an incredible gift; the first time for my salvation, and the second time to receive my precious baby. He had been born August 1, 2010…almost exactly nine months from the first meeting we had with our social workers to begin our journey. God’s plans are always far better than we can ever imagine!!!

We had three and a half days to prepare to go meet and receive our baby boy. We will never forget that week as long as we live. We saw the body of Christ at work. Our home was suddenly overflowing with everything that he would ever need….and SO much more! We began communicating with the family that had him in their home for cradle care. Mike and Carla Valet are forever in our hearts for taking care of our baby the first two weeks of his life. She saved every memento, so that I wouldn’t miss anything.

We arrived in Independence, MO late Friday night, August 20, 2010. The moments leading up to holding our baby for the first time were indescribable. I remember walking downstairs and seeing Carla holding him. My arms, that had ached for a child for so long, finally reached out and held my son, Russell (Russ) Bryan Payne, for the first time. That moment is forever engraved in our hearts.

We spent 5 days in MO waiting to receive our interstate compact in order to cross state lines back into TN. It was during that time that we met Russ’s birthmother. We had lunch with her, and she was able to see Russ for the first time. We are so thankful for the time we spent with her. We could see her love for him so clearly, and her willingness to give him the life that she couldn’t despite her own pain. I have never known anyone more courageous than she. We love her for loving Russ enough to want more for him.

Our son is now a vibrant, active, intelligent, beautiful 15 month-old. He is the joy of our lives. As parents, we are now able to better understand the great love that our Father has for us. He sent His one and only Son to die for us. The sacrificial love that has been given for us is a gift that is undeserved, yet so humbly received. We are so very thankful that the Lord chose us to endure this journey…it lead us to Russ.
Pray for Matt, Meg, and Russ as they start their journey to their next child!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adoption: It Costs HOW MUCH?!

A lot.  A whole, whole lot from what I've approximately $30,000...give or take a few thousand depending on domestic or international (and which country you choose). But guess what - not a single family that I know who has set their heart and mind to following God's call to adopt...hasn't had every single penny provided.  Every. Single. Penny.  God calls and He provides.  So if you are considering adoption, but are afraid of the expense, check out some of the things, including fundraisers and grants, that my friends have done to help raise the extra cash:

- Sacrificial living - I think it starts here.
- Yard sales.  These seem to bring in some great money and it allows others to be a part of your adoption journey when you ask for donations for the sale and you let people know what you're raising money for at the sale. 

- T-shirts.  Families are designing adoption t-shirt, or having them designed, to sell - how cool!  This also helps to spread  the word to others about adoption as they see the t-shirt and start to ask questions.

- Personal donations.  Friends have given sacrificially to help fund others adoptions.

- Monthly raffle.  Each month an item, items, or service (like a photo session) is donated and then people can donate a certain amount of money to have their name entered in the drawing - lots of fun!! Do you have a special talent or service you could donate to an adoptive family?  Or can you make really cool stuff to donate? (my friend, Cole, does this over at - it's the 1st of EVERY month!)

- Car washes

- Spaghetti Supper (or a cookout or whatever food you like!)

- Paint Party - A friend who is adopting domestically (The Nease's @, is very artistic.  She did a painting party similar to what you do at Painting With A Twist....she led those in attendance through a great New Orleans painting, step by step.  Fun and productive!

- These are grants that I found from the Christian Alliance for Orphans web page:
  - ABBA Fund, Katelyn's Fund Orphan Ministry, Lifesong for Orphans

- Show Hope grant (from adoptive dad and Christian contemporary singer, Stephen Curtis Chapman)

- The Southern Baptist Convention has also recently started a grant for pastors who are adopting.

- Just Love Coffee - you can sell this brand of coffee and a portion of the proceeds go into your adoption fund.

- 147 Million Orphans - their website is; you can buy their merchandise at wholesale prices and sell them for retail prices if you are actively pursuing adoption.  Even if you're not, you can buy some great shirts and other products.  The best part?  All of the proceeds from anything you buy helps to feed, educate, and provide medicine for an orphan child!

- Do you have any other cool fundraising ideas? Please share them in the comment section!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adoption: Easton Gilbert

Jacob and I actually met Chad when we first toured NOBTS and later met his wife, Cole, when we visited the church they were attending - where Chad is now the pastor.  They've just started their journy to their son.

We are one of many families that dispel the myth that you only adopt if you can't have your "own" kids. God has blessed us with two amazing kiddos (Ava is 3 and Grayson will be 1 in December). In fact, having our kids be a part of this adoption journey has been priceless (God even used our daughter to confirm His call . . . you can read the whole story on the blog!). We talked about adoption even before we were married and continued to keep the idea in our minds as our family grew, but it wasn't until this Spring that we heard God say, "Now!"

We are currently in the "paper chasing" phase of adoption, which can be a bit overwhelming and tedious. But we're keeping the end result in mind . . . a little boy, orphaned in Ethiopia will one day be an orphan no more. He'll be Easton Gilbert . . . my son!

We have just begun this journey, but I already feel like there is much I could say about orphan care and adoption. God has taught us so much and used this process to refine us, individually and as a couple, and let me tell you . . . it has been intense! A good intense though. Intensity that I wouldn't trade because it is making us more like Christ AND we get a precious addition to our family!

Our journey started when we looked at God's heart revealed in His Word and chose not to ignore it. From beginning to end, Scripture declares God's concern for the fatherless. We had only one response to this Truth . . . to ask God, "How do you want us to demonstrate YOUR heart for the orphan?" Truth is, most followers of Jesus tend to ask God IF they should be concerned about the orphan and then don't listen for the answer. The question isn't "Should I . . .?" but "How should I?"

This question changed everything for us. We were desperate to hear God speak because we wanted to be in His will. And He did. In big, God-sized ways that only He could get the glory for! God was clear that we were to adopt a little boy from Africa. (Side note: I don't believe that every follower of Jesus is called to adopt, but we are all called to care for the orphan in some capacity. It is what our Heavenly Father is concerned about so we should be concerned too.) For us, it was adoption. For others it could be raising awareness of the plight of orphans, sponsoring an orphanage in another nation, becoming foster parents, and the list goes on. There are many ways to be involved in orphan care . . . the point is to just take the step and join the cause in some way to make God's heart known!

When I asked Chad, my husband, how he would sum up our experience so far he said, "The joy of obedience is far greater than any of the fears or hardships that the journey brings." Couldn't have said it better myself! We have great confidence, not in ourselves, not in our parenting skills, not in our fundraising abilities, not even in our love for the son we've never met, but in Christ alone. God spoke. We are obeying. We are able to experience joy in the face of many unknowns because God promises to be with us. So no matter what is ahead . . . the heartache of waiting years to hold my son, the trauma and loss that we will have to help him process, the spiritual attacks (Adoption proclaims the Gospel in a beautiful way and Satan is wholeheartedly opposed to the Gospel . . . attacks WILL come.), the cost, the fears, the twists & turns of our journey . . . we know without a doubt that we are walking in obedience to our Father and that will be enough to get us through. He is enough!

My encouragement to you, whoever you are, is to ask the question, listen for the answer, then obey. God is truly the Father to the fatherless, but He gives us the privilege of being His hands and feet to "the least of these." We don't deserve this, but in His mercy and grace, God uses our surrender to Him to mold us into the image of Christ, to bring more joy into our lives than we could ever imagine, and to give hope and love to one of His little ones.

You can follow the Gilbert's adoption journey through their blog,  You can also read more about how and why they chose Ethiopia.  It's also in my bloglist to the right! Be sure to check it at the first of every month to enter the monthly raffle and get a chance to win something way cool!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Adoption: Somewhere

Somewhere today, there is a little girl who is having a really bad day - but she doesn't have a mommy or a daddy to come home to, to give her cookies and milk, and tell her everything will be okay.

Somewhere today, a little boy made an A on his homework - but there's not a refrigerator to hang it on.

Somewhere tonight, there will be a child who wakes up crying - but they won't have a mommy or daddy to come rock them, telling them it was just a bad dream, and make them feel safe again.

Somewhere today, there is a big room, with cribs lining the walls and filling the big open space in the center of the room, each one with a baby in it.  But it's eerily quiet.  Why? Because the babies have stopped crying, because there's no one to come comfort them even when they do.

Somewhere today, there is a boy watching others play football - but he doesn't have a daddy to teach him how to play.

Somewhere tonight, a child will lay down to sleep in a strange bed in a stranger's home - they will cry and wonder why it's not safe to be home with their mommy and daddy and what the word "foster" means.

Somewhere today, a little girl with chocolate brown eyes fell and skinned her knee - but she didn't have a mommy to put a band-aid on it and give it that special kiss that makes it all better.

Somewhere today, there is a young woman carrying a baby she didn't plan on.  She's scared and there's no one there to hold her, to walk with her, to support her or encourage her.  There's no one to tell her about adoption.

Somewhere today, there is an orphan or foster child who only wants a mommy and a daddy.

Do you have children? Maybe a niece or nephew? What do they go through on a daily basis? What are their needs? How do you provide for those needs?  Somewhere today, tonight, tomorrow, and every day after that - there will be a child who has no one meeting those needs.  Let's ask God what we can do to change that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sister Talk

We were in Tennessee this past many good things to say about that...but I just had to share this sweet convo I overheard between the girls.  We were driving from Jacob's parent's house to his grandparents house for supper.  The two houses sort of share a really long driveway, so I put the girls in the front seat together and I was driving.  Jacob was driving his granddad's truck,  hauling the deer he'd just killed and showed off to the kids back to his grandparent's to dress it.  The girls had just gotten their first, close up look at a deer (dead) after numerous episodes of deer hunting shows and pretend deer hunts in the back yard and even a real deer hunt for Anna Beth.

Anna Beth: I don't like to touch the dead deer.  Do you, Lynnsie?
Lynnsie: No.  It's yucky.
Anna Beth: Yeah, it's yucky! But I DID touch it, though.  But I didn't like it.
Lynnsie: No, me either! It's yucky!

I was smiling to myself and really loving the conversation and was excited to see what all they would say, when I suddenly heard a grinding sound and my car started jumping and then stopped.  Note to self....if you allow your two small children to ride in the front seat, warn said small children that they should NOT pull the gear shift and put the car in drive when you are backing down the drive in reverse!

Oh, and here's another sweet one:  We were drove past Jacob's other grandparents house and saw about a dozen turkeys in their front yard.  When Jacob saw them, he said, "Anna Beth, Lynnsie - look there's some turkeys." Immediately....IMMEDIATELY I tell you...both of my sweet little girls started doing their turkey calls...making their daddy so very proud!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adoption: Grace Ann & Jack

  This is one of my most favorite families in my life.  I love their kids....and the parents are okay, too :)  I have known Chris and Melissa most of my life and their adoption of Grace Ann was the very first adoption that I was blessed to witness and experience with my own eyes and Jacob and I were able to organize a yard sale to help them raise money for Jack's adoption, so their story is special to me, too.  It is a story of families joined through open adoption...

  I am so thankful to Misti to be able to tell others my family’s journey to adoption. Our story begins like most, Chris and I got married, I finished college and then after two years ditched the birth control in hopes of having the average 2.5 children to make our family complete. I had no idea that God had a much greater, much better plan for us.
  After years of trying to get pregnant, two miscarriages and so much heartache we finally had a doctor tell us that God had a great plan for our family. The doctor went on to tell us that somewhere there were children waiting for us and wanted us as badly as we wanted them. I half heartedly listened to him as he talked to us. I, being a control freak, wanted to fix the problem myself. I knew God could make me fertile or send the right birthfamily to us, but I did not want to bother him with our "little problem". (Don’t we all do that?) After about a year of refusing to believe the doctor, Chris and I finally turned to adoption and of course, we began praying for a child through adoption. We contacted Abrazo Adoption ( ) in April and were scheduled to come to their famous orientation weekend in May. We left that weekend after meeting twelve other couple just like us, excited about the possibility of being parents.
  A little word about Abrazo and the types of adoptions that they do, they only do open adoptions. With an open adoption, both the birthfamily and adoptive family meet. You exchange information and begin a relationship with the birthfamily. I admit I was a bit scared of open adoption, but like anything else once you educate yourself about something, you are better able to embrace it. Like any great relationship, you must interact with one another. Adoptive and birthfamilies talk on the phone, visit with one another and basically become family. I cannot imagine not having a relationship with the very people who helped me to become a mom. Some people think that by having an open adoption, the birthfamily just pops in and out of your home and take over when they are there. This common myth of open adoption is far from the truth. Chris and I are our children’s’ parents in all sense of the word, but we do stay in contact with their birthfamilies and let them know what is going on in the life’s of the children they love enough to place for adoption.
  Jump forward to Aug. 28, 2002. While I was teaching, the office buzzed my room to tell me I had a call. I grumbled the entire way to the phone because I was in the middle of a great lesson. When I picked up the phone, I heard the voice of our adoptive parent support person from Abrazo. She told me there was a couple that really wanted to talk to Chris and me. I immediately called them with little regard to my great lesson. We had a great first talk. Everything just clicked. It was as if I always knew this couple. Chris called them once he got home and they told him, that they really wanted us to adopt their baby girl once she was born. YIPPPEEEE!!! We had just a few months to get to know this wonderful couple and their family before the baby was born. We grew to love this family not for what they were going to do but for who they were through visits and many phone calls.
  We were in the room on November 19, 2002 when Elizabeth Grace Ann made her appearance into this world. During the hospital stay, we kept the nurses very confused. They had never witness an open adoption relationship before. They kept trying to figure out who was who. Those days were such special days. We just passed Grace Ann around the entire time and loved on her.
  When Grace Ann turned three we really, felt the urge to adopt again. Grace Ann’s Sunday School teacher told me that every week without fail she would pray for her baby brother or sister to find her. She said this prayer for two years. In November of 2007, we returned "home" to Abrazo and began the process once again. Once again, while at school I receive a call from Abrazo. I was told the mother would be expecting my call once I got home from school; imagine trying to teach with that though on your heart. When I called the birthmom, once again things just clicked. We had a great time on the phone and talked for well over an hour. At the end of the call she said, "I want you before anyone else gets you!" I was thrilled to say the least. This time around, we had six months to get to know this sweet birthmom.
  On June 10, 2008 surrounded by his birthmom, her sister, Chris and myself, Ethan Jackson was born. The days that Jack spent in the hospital were wonderful but sad. We were there for his birthmother as she grieved and made such a heart wrenching decision. Placing a child for adoption is not easy but with an open adoption Jack’s birthmom is never left out of his life. Being able to witness the pain allows us to never take for granted the gift she gave us when she placed her son into our arms.
  Since the adoption of both children, we have made several visits to San Antonio to visit their birthfamilies. They have come to visit us also. Grace Ann even had her very first tooth pulled by her birthmom when she was staying there while we were at the hospital with her brother. We talk to both sets of birthfamilies by phone, text and of course Facebook. (Isn’t technology great?)
  The years following both children’s births have been filled with so much joy. God has truly turned my weeping into laughter and he made the barren woman a mother. To quote Grace Ann after hearing about her baby brother, "He heard me! He heard me! God finally heard my prayers!" I am so thankful for God’s greater plan which expanded our family of two to many whom all share a common love for each other.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adoption Awareness Month

  November is National Adoption Awareness month.  Today, specifically, is Orphan Sunday.  God talks repeatedly about caring for orphans and the fatherless throughout the Bible. 
  If you know me, then you know that adoption and orphans have a HUGE hold on my heart.  It has been on my heart to adopt since I was about...12 years old.  But, more about that later.
  I have several friends whose families have adopted or are in the process of adopting (and I will admit...I am a tiny bit envious that it's not our turn, but again, more about that later.)  I have asked them to write guest posts for me that I will share throughout this month.
  I'm the kind of person who has to do something while I am waiting. My prayer is that these posts and others that I will share, will open your heart to orphans, educate you on the worldwide orphan crisis, and give you some ideas on how you can take part in the lives of orphans.  I hope you enjoy meeting these special families and, if you are considering adoption, you will find encouragement and some answers to some questions you may have.  Mostly, I pray that you will be open to whatever God wants you to hear and how He wants you to respond to the fatherless.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Fests & Flings Are F-U-N!!

This week has been packed with fall fun.  Anna Beth had her Fall Fest at her Mother's Day Out school on Thursday.  They went around the gym, played games, and scored lots of candy for mom and dad :)
It was a western theme:

Isn't our little cowgirl adorable in her braids?

She had fun going around with her friend, Sara.

Daddy surprised her by coming to her Fall Fest!!

Then, on Saturday night, our church had it's annual Fall Fling...Light the Night for Jesus Trunk or Treat!  It's super fun.  You line up lots of cars, open the trunk, decorate it, and put a game in it for the kids to play.  They loved it AND they got to wear their precious costumes!!

Officer Creek Coleman reporting for duty

What's a good fairy without bright, green, heart-shaped sunglasses?

Lynns isn't really into the "stop and look at the camera and say cheese" thing right now -
so I take what I can get!

I love that AB's hair is long enough for me to do stuff with and when I saw this on Pinterest, I knew it was
P-E-R-F-E-C-T for her fairy costume...and I made the little button clip myself!

We love Fall Fun!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Are We Gonna Call Him?

  Jacob gave adorable little nicknames to the girls when they were both very small.  He still calls them by these nicknames and they call each other by their nicknames sometimes, too.  He calls Anna Beth "Chippy" and Lynnsie "Lynnsmeister".  How did he come up with these names? Well, let me just tell you...
  Anna Beth (AB, please don't be mad at me years down the road for writing this!) had gas as a baby.  She would let loose some major "toots".  After one particularly explosive "toot", Jacob said out loud, "Well, let her rip, tator chip."  For some reason, "Tator Chip" stuck with him and that's what he started calling her.  Then it was shortened to "The Chip".  And, finally, "Chippy".  I know, I know, a nickname based on your gas as a baby....whatever.

  Lynnsmeister, well, it just kind of came out one day.  And the next and the next.  It's really cute to hear AB say it...the "meister" part gets kind of nasally for her!

  So a few weeks before Creek was born, the girls and I were sitting at the table having lunch and they were saying, "I'm Chippy"..."I'm Lynnsmeister" back and forth.  And then AB wanted to know what we were going to call Creek.  I told her I didn't know, but he would have a fun "special name", too, just like them.

  Fast forward to last Thursday.  Creek was upset, so I picked up him up and tried to say, "What's wrong, Creek, baby?" Instead, "Creek, baby" came out "Creekie".  Lynns heard me and tried to repeat it and "Creekie" came out "Cricket".  And it has stuck.  They both call him "Cricket" when they are referring to each other in their special names. And I think it's perfect for him! Even sweeter that Lynns named him. 

  I just wonder how many crickets "Cricket" will bring into my house as he grows up and starts doing all the things that rough and tumble little boys do...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkins, Pumpkins...And A New Style!!

  This weekend we went to a Pumpkin Patch here in town.  They had lots and lots and LOTS of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.  The girls had tons of fun walking through them and picking out pumpkins.  They each got to pick one and we got a bigger one to carve/decorate.  They each picked one out for Creek, too, so he ended up with two pumpkins! Not too bad for his first fall, huh?  So today, we brought them in a decorated them.  The girls decorated theirs and the one they picked out for Creek.  Creek slept through the whole pumpkin patch experience and the decorating experience.  Maybe next year...

Too much going on for them to look at the camera!

Lynns enjoyed painting her pumpkins

AB painted her hands just as much as she painted her pumpkin.

The final products :)

  Oh, and today was also a great day because Anna Beth got her first hair cut and style.  Too bad it wasn't by a professional...but that's what you get when you give a 3 year old scissors, leave her unattended, and tell her specifically "not to cut her hair".  At least the damage was minimal.  Noticeable, but minimal!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Will Survive

"At first I was afraid....I was petrified!...
...But I will survive, I will SURVIVE!!"

  And survive is what I did today.  Today was my first whole day alone with my kids.  And I survived.  Jacob was able to take off of work for two weeks after Creek's birth and then his mom came down for two more weeks.  Today, he left for work and she left for Tennessee. 
  I stood in my living room with Lynnsie at my side and Creek sleeping in my arms and watched the front door close.  And then I thought, "Oh, great!! What was I thinking?!?! Everyone come back, please, please come back! I'm so not ready to go at it alone!!"  Tears almost formed.
  I took a deep breath and remembered that it's only a 8 hours a day and I was really not alone...God was with me and would get me through today. 
  There were tears - from all four of us.  Lynnsie is the only one who got a nap today.  I managed to pick Anna Beth up from school on time and have a short conversation with my friend outside her school.  I did a fun activity with the girls involving shaving cream and food coloring and a very long, soapy bath.  And I even got the kitchen floor mopped under the kitchen table.  I finally put away the two baskets full of clean and folded laundry (thanks to my mother-in-law).  The kids made it to bed with full what if it was a pumpkin sugar cookie that topped off that full belly.
  So, yeah, I can do this.  Today I may have just survived, but each day's only going to get easier, right?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pitter Patter Art Giveaway

Check out the Pitter Patter Art Giveaway from my bloglist - it's their 11 Month Waiting giveaway. She also sells art canvasas, key fobs, t-shirts...super cool stuff and all proceeds go to bringing their second son home from Ethiopia!

Mommy's Little Secrets

I have the fun and sweet thing I do with kids.  Its mostly with the girls for now because, well, Creek doesn't talk, obviously, but I still do it somewhat with him.  I tell them little secrets.

Mainly, it's the same secret over and over.  I call to them across the room and say, "Come here.  I've gotta secret for you." They smile real big and come over.  I put my hands on their cheeks and lean them in real close. 

And then I whisper, "I love being your mommy." and I sit back and look at their big smiles.  Then I say, "I have another secret for you." I lean back in and tell them why I love being their mommy.  Sometimes, when I'm done with my secrets, I just go "pshpshpshpsh" in their ear to hear them giggle.  They usually scrunch up their shoulder because this tickles their little necks.

I do this a lot with Lynnsie at the end of the day when I am rocking and 'nuggling with her before bed.  Last night was not any different.  I leaned her in and said, "I love being your mommy."  She sat back and smiled. 

Then she put her hands on my cheeks and leaned back into my ear and quietly said, "I love you being mommy." So sweet. So precious.  Then she said, "I have another secret for you." She took my cheeks and leaned back in and said.....


Friday, October 14, 2011

Pinned It & Did It: Prayer Pail (or Jar)

  Pinterest strikes again.  I love that site...probably too much.  Anyway, we've now done 2 of the "more than few" things I've pinned.
  I loved this idea when I first saw it...prayer & much better can it get?! Mawmaw came home from another outing with a bag of popsicle sticks and I had just decided to save the empty jar of pizza sauce (if you know my mother in law, then you know that me saving a jar made her smile really big).
  So, one sunny afternoon (today) the girls and I set out in the front yard and made our prayer sticks.  I wrote several different prayers on a stick and let the girls color them.  They had lots of fun.  Each night, as a family, we will each draw a prayer stick out of the jar and pray for that specific person, place, or group of people.
  I am hoping that this will teach the girls - and someday Creek - that there are so many more things than our food that we can pray for :)

Coloring our prayer sticks.

Our prayer sticks - they mostly colored the back of them.
(Sure wish I knew how to rotate pics on Blogger ;) )

The prayer jar.

  I'm thinking that when the kids get older and they have the attention span for bedtime prayers to be a bit longer, you could have a "missionary jar", "church staff jar", "family jar", "friend jar", etc., etc. with names of people and each child could pick one prayer stick from each jar.  Let's Pray!!!

Original idea from:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pinned It & Did It: Pipe Cleaners/Colander Activity

  Have you heard of Pinterest?  If not, don't go looking for it unless you need an addiction.  If so, I'm sure there's a help or support group out there somewhere for us addicts.  It truly is awesome...ideas for everything under the, kids stuff, decorating, DIY...millions and millions of things from the world wide web that you can "pin" to your own virtual pin board in the hopes that you will come back and cook this recipe or do this DIY project or sew this or do that activity for you kids.  Well, right now I have 17ish pinboards and a couple hundred pins...I've done none of them.  But I will, I really will!!

  This activity really caught my eye and I was super excited when my mother-in-law came home from a trip to the store with the only non-household supply it needed...pipe cleaners!! Colorful, fuzzy, bendable pipe cleaners.  Apparently, she had "pinned it", too.  So, we got out the colander and let the girls go to town.

Insert one end of the pipe cleaner into a hole and the other end into another hole.
Simple. Easy. Fun. (And (mostly) quiet.)

We made swirlies.

We grouped them by color.

  We also made a swirly flower bouquet that we put in the top and we flipped the colander over and slid the pipe cleaners in on one side and out the other, making a colorful web of pipe cleaners.  The girls had fun doing it and me and Mawmaw had fun watching them.  And Jacob was "super excited" that we got the girls happy about Pinterest, too!!

Original idea from:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Two Sisters & A Brutter

Dear Creek,

You have two awesome older sisters.  They love you.  They hadn't seen mommy very much for two days, but when we brought you home from the hospital, they ran right past me and climbed all over daddy just to get a look at you.  It is precious watching them run to you first thing in the morning just to look at you.  They like to touch you on your arm, leg, back, head, and sometimes your cheeks...a lot of times your cheeks, but we don't always let them.  They like to remind people that you can't talk when someone talks to you.  They stand on the changing table so they can see mommy and daddy change your diaper.  (Please be nice to them when they do this and don't pee on them :) )  They love introducing you to everyone who comes by as their "baby brutter" and they stand protectively close to you when anyone comes near to sneak a peek, with a huge smile on their faces as if you were there pride and joy.

You will survive them.  We will not let them dress you up in dresses or force you to play with their dolls.  They even brought you a block to play with yesterday.  Lynnsie couldn't understand why you just looked at it.  I tried to explain it to her, but she thought you weren't being very nice.  And they really don't think you're hitting or kicking them when you move your arms and legs around when they are close.  They say you are, but we know you really aren't.

First peek

One happy Big Sister

Two Sisters & Their Brutter

Lynnsie said, "I wanna 'nuggle Creek." That means she loves him.

I hope someday you look back on the pictures of you and your sisters in the first few days of your life and remember how much they loved you from the very beginning.  I know there will come a day when you will feel very protective of them, even though you're the "little" brother, and people will have to get past you to get to them. Your daddy and I have loved watching them with you.  It makes our hearts smile to see how much you already love each other.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creek Allen Coleman

O Lord, my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made...

Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How Great Thou Art,

 How GREAT Thou Art!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bringing Home Baby Part 3

  And here is our third Bringing Home Baby story....

September 28, 2011 - This was my original due date.  However, at our first ultrasound appointment they said, "Hmmm, he's measuring about 5 days further along, so we are going to move you up to the 23rd."  Little did I know, this would be the major storyline of this pregnancy!

September 23, 2011 - The new due date for Mr. Creek Allen Coleman.

A few weeks prior...I start having the usual Braxton Hicks contractions, which are totally annoying and completely pointless.  Why, oh, why must they exist?!?!  Oh, well.

August 30, 2011 - My doctor sent me for another ultrasound because he has continually measured bigger and bigger than he was "supposed" to measure.  At this point, I was 36 weeks and 4 days and he was measuring between 38 and 39 weeks!  I'd had other ultrasounds up to this point because of his size, but Dr. R wanted to them more regularly here at the end.

September 13, 2011 - He's measuring in at 8 lbs 13 oz...give or a take a anywhere from 8 - 10 lbs and I am still 10 days from my due date.  AHHH!!  She checks me, though, and I am dilated to 3. Yippee!! She thinks d day will be in the next day or two.  I obviously get excited and a little anxious.  The plan is that if I don't go into labor by Monday, the 19th, I will be induced at 4 am...yes, 4 in the AM!  We develop a plan for that night while my mother in law hops the train in Tennessee to head on down.  I spend the next 2 days stopping at every twitch and kick thinking, "Is this it? Was that a slight contraction?"  I'd been having real contractions, off and on, for about a week now but they never regulated.

By Thursday evening, I feel defeated and disappointed because I really did not want to be induced and the doctor was so sure he would have been born by now.  On Friday, I go to Hobby Lobby to walk around and get out of the house and find a few crafty projects to work on over the weekend...I am so not a crafty person, but these were simple things that I knew I could do and wanted to do (I made a canvas art piece of 3 John 4 and finally did Creek's name for his wall...easy. as. pie.)  I am continually getting more and more anxious about being induced as the weekend wears on.  I have some pretty intense contractions over the weekend, time them for a few hours, only to have them disappear into thin air.  Oh, well...maybe they were doing SOMETHING to encourage him along.

September 19, 2011 - here's the good part :)  I get up at 2:50 in the morning to shower and finish packing my bag.  I couldn't decide how "ready" to get for the day.  I didn't want to roll into the hospital with bed head, but what was the point in getting all dressed up only to get super sweaty and exhausted looking during labor.  I decided to get as ready as I could at 3 am, though, because I actually had the opportunity to get ready for my baby.  We got to the hospital and they had everything ready for me.  I took my time, praying and trying to will my body into laboring on its own or my water to break or something and giving myself as much extra time as I could.  It took me 25 minutes to get into my fancy hospital gown and I called for the nurses.  I asked them if there was any way we could just break my water and not do the pitocin (it was the pitocin I was scared of, tell you why in a minute).  They checked me and I was a 3.5, so they said that sounded like a reasonable request and called Dr. R to see what she had to say.  Dr. R said I had one hour to start contractions on my own and then we would do the absolutely lowest pitocin level we could and see if that worked.  I was okay with that.  An hour later, contractions started.  Yay!!  Thirty minutes later, contractions stopped.  Boo.  We started pitocin.  I was scared of the pitocin because I had this vision of my body being jolted into labor and I did not want to use extreme force to send me into labor.  Thankfully, it was not like that.

Contractions started back up, but they were all over the place!!  A super strong one, a small one, a medium one...5 minutes apart, 15 minutes apart, 9 minutes apart...come on!  So every 30 minutes they upped the pitocin a smidge.  At 7:30 Dr. R arrived and checked me and I was a 4...I'd gone up a half centimeter after an hour and a half on the pitocin.  She broke my water and I just knew things would really get going and they wouldn't have to up it anymore.  At 9:30, I was STILL a 4 and contractions were STILL all over the place.  They were uncomfortable, but not bad.  I went ahead and got my epidural because I thought, "Why wait?".

And then....about 11:30 I felt this twinge on my right side.  And by 12 I could feel every part of every contraction because my epidural had worn off.  I called for the nurse and she said she'd have to see how close I was to delivery before she could ask anesthesiology to redose me...not what I wanted to hear!! I was an 8 so she said she could call them.  It took him HALF AN HOUR to get up there and said he'd heard I was "uncomfortable".  Yeah, that's exactly how I'd describe it, doc. He gave me a small dose and cheerfully said, "Let's see what this does." Seemingly hours (only minutes) later, I said, "Not working!" So he gave me a little more and said that should do it and started trying to have a conversation with me to take my mind off the pain...I won't even go into how absurd that was.  In the meantime (is that one word or two...mean time/meantime?), Jacob got me a bed pan because it was all they had and I was sure I was going to vomit because of the pain.  I didn't vomit, but I was sweating bullets, so he started fanning me...with the bed pan.  Whatever works, right? Again, I scream, "PAIN!" and he gives me another small dose.  During this dose, I scream, "PAIN and PRESSURE!  I WANNA PUSH!" 

And now it gets exciting...The nurse checks me quickly, runs to the door and says, "Get Roskos, now!!"  Apparently, I was ready to deliver.  At this point, just in the nick of time, the pain subsided.  Praise you Lord, for answering prayers just in time!  Dr. R came in and we got all set up.  It was at this point that I totally surprised everyone, including myself, and I about freaked Jacob out - I wish I could've taken a picture of the look on his face!! I asked the nurse if it was too late for the mirror...I suddenly realized that this was my last time doing this and I wanted to see it.  But I won't tell you about it :) 

A few good pushes later and I was holding my son, Creek Allen Coleman.  I remember trying to think of words to describe how I felt and I couldn't come up with anything...because there is nothing to describe how amazing it is to hold your child, your baby, your amazingly undeserved gift from God for the very first time.  How humbling for God to allow me to be a mother to now my third child and for Him to trust Jacob and I with another of His beautiful creations.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Highlights...

  So, here's some highlights from the past few days.  They don't really get a whole post of their own, but I definitely want to have them written down.  I'll talk about some of them more in depth later on!

   "Should I fix my hair for this?  What about makeup?"  These were my thoughts at 3 am when I was getting ready to go to the hospital to be induced.  I had no idea if I should "get ready" or just walk in there looking like I rolled out of bed.  I decided that since I had the opportunity to look halfway decent to meet my little man, I'd get as dressed up as I could and hope it would last through delivery!

   The genius anesthesiologist who commented that I looked "uncomfortable" 8+ centimeters dilated and an epidural that had worn off.  Seriously?!?!  I think that only females - who have had been through labor and delivery - should be allowed to give epidurals because they are the ONLY ones who can truly sympathize with this fierce pain and they would never stop for a latte on their way to you!  (No, mine didn't really stop for a latte, but you know what I mean :) )

   My nurse when I finally got to my post-delivery room kept looking at me kind of funny.  Then she said, "I just have to ask...have you had "work" or are those your real pregnancy boobs?"  Um...okay.  And, yes, they're real...

   When Lynnsie met Creek for the first time at the hospital, she said "I like him.  And I like your rooooom, Mommy!".  So glad she liked my room :)

   I have never seen Anna Beth smile so big as she did when she first saw Creek!

   Anna Beth wanted to hold Creek so bad at the hospital, but we there were too many people around so we told her she had to wait until we got him home.  So she would wait and if she thought the person holding him wasn't paying attention, she would reach over to try to pick him up! So sweet !

  Lynnsie: "This is my brutter. I love her."  Gotta love toddlers and their pronouns :)

  When Lynnsie held Creek for the first time, he stretched his arms and accidentally hit her arm. She said,  "Uh..her..her...him...her...he..her hit me!!"  She was so confused as to what to call "him"!!

  Mrs. Nora was the sweet lady from the kitchen who would ask me every day, "You eatin' lunch/suppa wit me taday?"  I would tell her yes and she'd smile and tell me what she was having.  She had the best smile and she always made me smile.  For lunch right before we were discharged, she put the best piece of 4 layer chocolate cake on my plate.  Yummy!!

  There was this black-haired lady who was absolutely in love with Creek....even though she was there to visit her new grandson.  She was all about him...his cuteness, his name, EVERYTHING!  She would see us in the hall and just say, "OH - there's Creek! I just love Creek!"  We almost missed the elevator leaving the hospital Wednesday morning because she was telling all three of us bye!

  I will never forget the look on Jacob's face when I asked for the mirror...yes, THAT mirror!!

  Creek's nickname in the hospital was "The Toddler Baby" because he was so big.  One lady came up and gave me a hug when she found out I was his mommy and said, "I told myself that if I saw that beautiful baby's mommy I'd hug her neck and say good job!"... and so she did :)

  Today, I asked Jacob what he was thinking.  He said, "We have 3 kids."  And just looked at me with a precious, happy, satisfied smile.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pitter Patter Art Giveaway

Hey, guys! Check out my blogroll and click on Pitter Patter Art.  She creates amazing, custom made art pieces, clothes, key fobs...and LOTS of other stuff.  All of the proceeds go to bring their precious son home from Ethiopia.  Each month, she creates a beautiful piece and gives it away on the date that their paperwork was completed and they officially began the "wait".  This is their 10 month giveaway...check it out!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's All Fun and Games...

  Earlier this week I wrote about our morning trip to the beach in Waveland, MS (which, I have since found out that was a very popular beach to play on by my friend's family when she was a child!).  What I can't believe I forgot to write about in that post was feeding the sea gulls!  Let's just blame it on the "pregnancy brain", okay?
  The girls loved feeding the sea gulls.  You know how it goes, though - you feed one and they all come to start munching and mooching off of whatever you're throwing at them.  The girls would throw little pieces of bread as far as they could....about 3 feet...and Jacob would throw some farther out so they would come eat it.  We fed the sea gulls on a couple of different occasions that morning.  It really was pretty watching them all fly around and some would even catch the bread midair!
  We were having so much fun feeding them and watching the girls feed them, when we hear this squealy-shrieky sound from the 4 year old kid playing about 10 yards away.  We look over just as he says, "Mommy, what IS that?" and holds out his arm.
  It's all fun and games until somebody gets pooped on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Toes in the Water, Toes in the Sand

We wanted to have one last special, family outing before Creek gets here and, since we don't know exactly when that will be, we decided yesterday was a good day.  Originally, we were going to go to the zoo - but apparently the zoo is closed on Monday's, so we decided to go to the beach instead.  Now, this is not a Gulf Shores or Panama City kind of is a Waveland, MS kind of beach.  No, you've never heard of it.  It may not have waves, but it does have sand, ocean water, hermit crabs, and sea gulls.

The hermit crabs were the highlight.  Jacob helped them dig this hole and they put them down in there and waited for them to wake up...only every time they started to move one of the girls would grab it and back in the shell they would go!

Have you ever built a sand fish instead of a sand castle?  My girls have.

Daddy and his girls watching the sea gulls go by.

The Perfect L & D

  I keep finding myself daydreaming about what it's going to be like when Creek finally decides to make his arrival in this world.  Here's the perfect labor and deliver that I've been dreaming about:

Option 1: This is my second September baby.  Do you know what September means when you live in the south?  It means football...especially, for me, college football.  Which team? The Tennessee Vols.  Lynnsie was born in the wee hours of the morning on Tennessee's season opener in 2009.  I watched their first game of the season with my new baby girl and my dad in my hospital room.  Well, it's September again and we've got a big game on Saturday.  It'd be nice to wake up Saturday morning to some contractions that would quickly progress, we'd get the kids dropped off at a friend's house and head to the hospital.  He'd be born in plenty of time that he'd be back in my arms, in a tiny little Tennessee t-shirt, and ready for kick-off.  But I'm not going to make him hold out if he wants to come earlier this week :)

Option 2: Sunday, September 18.  Yes, that's just one day after Option 1, but September 18 is my Nana's birthday.  I think it would be simply amazing for my son and my Nana to share their special day.  I really don't think she would mind, either.

So, there you have it - if I could have it my way.  Of course, God is the only one who knows when Creek will arrive and I know that no matter when, or how, he comes into this world, that God is in control of it all and it will be far more perfect than anything I could dream about.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lynnsie's TWO!!!!!

  Wow.  Two whole years!  She still seems so tiny.  She's always been in the average to lower percentile in everything, but she's just always seemed so tiny! Especially her little mouth...she has these big brown eyes and cute, chubby cheeks - and that is part of the reason why her mouth looks so tiny.  Jacob and I think it's also because she talks so much and so clearly.  She's been talking for months...I don't just mean a few words, I mean full sentences - in a conversation.  Is this a sign of things to come?
  Today is Labor Day - for America, not me (I don't think!) - and Jacob has to work all day - so we decided last week that we would celebrate Lynnsie's birthday on Sunday, Sept. 4.  However, Tropical Storm Lee decided to show up and throw us for a loop.  Some early maps kept showing that it was going to be the worst for us on Sunday, so on Saturday morning, we decided to go ahead and celebrate.  We went out during a break from the rain - which started back up as we were loading up - and, since it was Tennessee's Season Opener...we were wearing our ORANGE!! 

Lunch at "Donald's"...Lynnsie's favorite are the french fries and she eats a few nuggets just to make it a meal.

Presents, presents, presents!! She got a new pink dress, a Ladybug blanket and matching pillow for her bed, and a Sit and Spin.

She's 2!!

So, so tiny....

...and getting so, so big.

  Today, her birthday, we spent mostly indoors....thanks to the remnants of TS Lee!!  But, we did have a special popcorn and cartoons lunch.  And, yes, she's still in her pajamas per her request.  I mean, who argues with the Birthday Girl, right?! 

  We ended the day by singing Happy Birthday to her during our bedtime prayers and thanking God for giving her to us.  Happy Birthday, Sweet Lynnsie!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tennessee Lessons in Life

  Some very important things I want to teach my children...

  Rocky Top, you'll always be, home sweet home, to me!
Good 'Ole Rocky, Top, whoa!
Rocky Top, Tennessee! Rocky Top, Tennessee!

Go Big Orange!

It's GREAT to be a Tennessee Vol!

V-O-L-S, V-O-L-S, V-O-L-S,  Go, Vols, Go!!

Touchdown Tennessee!!

All about the power "T"

The true color of orange

The name Peyton Manning

It's football time in Tennessee!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Day

Today was Anna Beth's first day of preschool for this year.  She is in Miss Jodi's 3 Year Old class at our church's preschool.  Just like most other mommies and daddies, we did the first day pictures:

She's got her new shirt on and her backpack is ready!

Here's a look at the complete first day outfit...a beautiful teal shirt with pink, purple, and yellow butterfly designs, a denim skirt, and the hot pink croc-ish shoes that she has been waiting ALL summer to wear.

She's checking out her new monogramming on her new lunch box.

Ready to head out the door...

...but not without one more picture.  She's thinking, "Mommy, stop taking my picture, already!"

Lynnsie had fun getting her picture made, too.

She insisted on taking her backpack, too!

Here's to a GREAT preschool year!!