Saturday, December 31, 2011


Even though I wasn't on the ball this year...taking very many pictures of the cousin's visit...they still had lots of fun.  Besides, the pictures that I DID get (actually Uncle Steve took them) sums up their stay.  FOOD, GAMES and SLEEP.  (In that order)  Good times.

Friday, December 30, 2011


When there's LOVE at home!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


 I LOVE this shows the chaos of trying to get organized for pictures.  You'd think the older kids got, the easier it would be.  Nope, not so.  And even though picture day is probably my least favorite day of the year, I am always grateful for the result.  I'm grateful to have another addition to our family and grateful for the blessings that he has brought in our lives.  I included some of my favorite pictures...enjoy!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


 For the GRAND finale of the day...
we had them open THIS gift last.
 A 7 day vacation in April to Williamsburg, VA.
Of all the historic sites to see and visit, guess what they are MOST excited about?  Busch Gardens.  :)  This will be our first (aside from Ben's Make-A-Wish trip) family vacation EVER!  We are excited.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I was JUST sitting and thinking about how I'd love a yummy treat when out of no where a KNOCK on my door.  I opened to find THIS large box sitting on my door step.
 There was no name so I have NO idea who sent this, but it was a really cute 3 tiered snowman full of GOODIES!
 I'm all set for more wishing for treats. :)
 I'm a BIG fan of Mrs. Fields, I even have her cookie cookbook.
 A BIG thank you for being so thoughtful and generous during this Christmas Season.
You've put a SMILE on my face and have made my tummy very HAPPY!  Thank you for thinking of my family.  We are grateful!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


(many have asked for 'his' it is)

Do you believe in miracles?  Almost 10 years ago a little boy was born without a brain.  He was given an almost zero chance to live.  Through the faith and LOVE of his family, little Ben surpassed all odds and lived.  He lived for 8 years.  He was our miracle child.  Before Ben died I looked into foster parenting, specifically for 'medically fragile' children.  Steve encouraged me to wait because Ben was needing frequent hospital stays and he required around the clock care.  I put my search on hold.  About 5 months after he died I felt this urgency to start looking into fostering again.  Steve wasn't thrilled.  He worried that I was trying to fill a void that I wouldn't be able to.  I tried to explain to him that wasn't it.  Besides...I loved taking care of Ben and did such a wonderful job that I wanted to provide that same level of care and love for another less fortunate child.  I enrolled in the classes.  It wasn't easy.  They were on school nights, 30 minutes away for 3 hours at a time.  Even though Steve wasn't happy about me doing this, he knew that there wasn't much he could do to stop me.  I was on a mission.  I plowed through the classes by the middle of December and had about 10 big things to complete on my checklist before becoming certified.  I lost steam after Christmas and put it on the back burner.  Every once in a while my case worker would call and ask how I was doing on my certification.  The guilt would propel me to finish a few more items on the check list.  And then I would put it aside again.  Finally in June she called me asking if I would be interested in doing 'respite care' for a 6 year old boy with big medical issues.  YES!  The fire was lit once again.  I only had about 3 more things to do and so I hurried to finish.  But then I didn't hear anything more about this child that needed respite or any other child for that matter.  I kept thinking it would never happen.  Then I got the phone call that changed our lives.  August 24th, I was out water skiing with a friend and my daughters when the call came.  It was my case worker.  She told me about a 'safe haven' baby that was born the day before at the local hospital.  The baby didn't have any parents to claim him and he needed a home to be fostered in with the intent to adopt him.  Then she asked me if we were interested.  Before I even had the chance to talk to Steve I said YES!  We ran to meet him that night and fell in love with him.  He was ready to go home the next morning and so in a scramble we raced around the morning of and bought all the necessities needed for a newborn baby.  It was CRAZY!  There is a reason why you have 9 months to prepare.  It was becoming clear to me that the foster care intention was just an avenue to enable this baby to come to our home.  He felt like he was ours the minute we met him. I continue to stand in awe of this whole process and the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of his children.  Most of you know that I tried desperately to have more children.  My pregnancies were so complicated and sometime dangerous.  I spent most of the time either in bed vomiting or in the hospital vomiting. It was not easy getting the four children that I have here to this earth.  Then in 2008 and 2009 I lost two pregnancies at 20 weeks and then 16 weeks.  After the second loss I had to have an emergency surgery that rendered me unable to have anymore children.  They were all really hard losses.  I accepted the facts and moved on, focusing on Ben's declining health and my other 3 healthy children.  The dream of a large family was put aside.  Then came Brady. (that's what we are officially naming him)  I consider him a miracle.  He was the first 'safe haven' baby in 20 years.  What are the chances?  He's completely healthy and thriving.  He's the baby I didn't think I would ever have.  But he's here...he's our miracle baby.  Everywhere we go people adore him and tell us how much he looks like our family, even people that don't know his story.  And what a story it is.  I'm truly grateful for this gift and I know that my Heavenly Father's hands were in this...and like I've said before, I can't help but think that Ben's hands were too.    

Friday, December 16, 2011


...of this happy face.

And LOOK!!!  He's found his toes. =)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Christmas Cards coming to a mailbox near you....