Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Family Christmas Card

Well this year was eventful to say the least! Greetings to all who received our Christmas card or are just stopping by for an update.

This year (like in past years here, here, here, here, and here) we decided to give you the scoop on each other, but we also let the kids fill you in on what they thought you should know. We asked them each what they wanted people to know about their past year:

Baby Girl (4 1/2)
"I love Bubba and Mimi and I am excited about Christmas." She also says she misses the white house (see move details below:) but she likes the "hope street house". "I also like cupcakes, dancing, ornaments, and presents under the tree, and counting" (she could not count or know to start with "1" when she first came)...we love and are proud of her sweet counting too :).

Mimi (2 1/2)
Eryn: "Do you want to talk about what you have liked this year?"
Mimi: "Ummm..... Yeah!" Then she waddles/runs into the living room and says the following things she likes. "Dance"- we dance alot after dinner time in the living room. Occasionally we will also partake of a ring-a-round-the-rosey and then all fall down, otherwise referred to as "ring roun". She also mentions "kikecream" (ice cream), "pee party" (having tea parties with mommy and baby girl in which she usually spills more of her thimble size tea cup than drinks it).
Then I thought she was done; however, she came back in for a second round.
Mimi: "Eat, eat".
Eryn: "Oh, yes I know you like to eat eat a lot! I will let them know".
Mimi: "And Daddy, Mommy, Bubb Bubbee, Awisha (baby girl)....bye bye Mommy"
Still not done, she came back in about 40 more times of making sure I knew she liked to "eat eat" :)

Eryn: "Bubba, what did you like about this year?"
Bubee: "Ehh, ehh (which means yes and no, probably no in this case), and then he said "bideo peeese" (translation: video please because I see you are near the TV :). That boy loves his Baby Einstein videos!

Eryn (written by David)
Eryn has had a great year. She has continued to counsel clients and her practice has grown (at least up until the time we got the kids). She is a great mom- Eryn is very patient and loving, but also firm when she needs to be. She is really able to get to the root of what is going on with the children. Here is an example of a conversation we might have: "Well David, Baby Girl is probably feeling sad that she cannot be with her mom (bio-mother), happy that she is with us, mad that she cannot control her situation, worried because she doesn't know what will happen next, responsible for her brother and sister, apprehensive about her life in general, and worried that we will not be pleased with her." To which I reply, "Hmm, I just thought she was being ornery"! The kids are all pretty good eaters, mostly thanks to Eryn's creative and healthy cooking. She is very ambitious and brave (as far as I'm concerned) when it comes to taking on tasks with the three little ones. Example: "David, I think I'm going to take all three of the kids to a birthday party an hour away at which they can eat nothing because of their allergies and which would fall squarely during their nap time." That's the kind of thing she does regularly because it's good for the kids, but for which I would rather go grocery shopping than undertake (that's saying a lot for me!).

David (written by Eryn)
After 6 Christmases, I am still so happy to be married to this guy! David is a wonderful, loving, firm, playful father and the kids really love him. It has been kind of a bummer, but lately Bubee has been saying, "Dadddeeeee" more- which means he wants the ole Dad more than Mom sometimes. Maybe it's because he knows that Dad will wrestle with him and Mom is quite frankly just not very good at it :) David is very creative with his parenting and it has really benefited all of them, especially Baby Girl. She didn't seem to have a concept of what a father figure was at first so David began playing Ariel/ the Little Mermaid with her where he would be King Triton and she would be Ariel. She really responded well to that and began to work out the role of a "dad" through her play with him. She adores him!
David continues to excel in school and he will start adjusting folks in the student clinic really soon. I'm excited to have my own personal chiropractor :)

On Everything Else
The kids are doing great. We are so proud of the improvements they have made over the past couple of months. Although most of those improvements are to the Lord's credit and not ours, we are very proud of them. Baby Girl (4) has both grown up and grown "down" so much since we first got her. She has grown up in that she is more settled, more helpful, has learned a years worth of information in the last two months, and can regulate her emotions better. She is flying through the phases that she missed in her earlier years. She is growing down in that she is less "hard" and visibly feels less responsible for her brother and sister. Mimi has perhaps changed the most, which is saying a lot. She is a much happier little girl and although she has her two year old moments, she is very pleasant to be around. We would now classify her as "well-adjusted" little girl who instead of throwing a fit and pulling out her hair will give a typical two-year-old response of "Duhdee, I'ont want too" :) Bubee is perhaps the happiest kid that we have encountered. He seems to weather things well. He is active and loves (LOVES) to sing! He is much more active (and interactive) since we took him a couple of times to a great Pediatric Chiropractor who helped him with a neck issue. (Had to throw in a plug for the chiropractic profession :) He has learned the word "Mommeeee" and "Dadeeeee" and will say it 100 times as long as we respond with some form of "Yes". Sometimes it's a game we play to see how long he will say it.

Everything else is also going well. Not only did we take in three kids in September, we also moved a couple weeks later in October. Many thanks to Eryn's family for helping out with the massive undertaking of moving with three kids. The kids also loved the garden at "the white house" (old house) which we did again this year (like last) for which I will spare you the numbers, but our crop produced more yield than last. We were sad to leave that behind at our new house. We hope to start one here in our new home this Spring. We love our neighborhood and the kids have other children around to play with. We have had a rough year, but in a good way. The transition from zero to three children has been tough to say the least, but we have not regretted a single minute of having these babies in our home. We cannot imagine ever loving any children more than we love them, nor did we know we were capable of loving little people who we hardly know this much. We are getting to know them better and know more of what they need each day and God has given us a ton of grace through the whole year from before we had them to now as we are parenting.

Hope you all are well and have a wonderful Christmas season!
Love, David, Eryn, Baby Girl, Mimi, and Bubee

If you want updates on our adoption/ foster care timeline or other stories here are some more links to other blog posts:
Why we chose to adopt through the foster system
Our Adoption Decision Journey
The first Two Months
Funny Things about the Kids

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Funny Things

At Thanksgiving with David's family we were all watching the Alabama/ Auburn Football game on Saturday. So Baby Girl heard a lot of "Roll Tides". We had rolls for dinner that night and after dinner Baby Girl asked me if she could have another "roll tide" :) It took me a while to figure out she wanted an actual roll. I think she might have thought we were all screaming "Roll Tide" because we were really, really excited about the dinner rolls :)

When we put the kids to timeout we usually give them 5 seconds to change their behavior. We say, "1..2..3..4..5, OK timeout" or if they actually change, we just stop counting. Well the other day Mimi was playing with BeekBock in the hall and she was saying something that I couldn't make out. Then I heard her say to him, "3...4...8..9....OK, PIMOUT", which is what she calls timeout. I don't think she enforced it very well though!

Bubee is very compliant; although, I'm not sure he always knows what he is agreeing to. If you tell him something and ask him if he understands he always nods very slow and seriously up and down for yes. The other day I was testing him out to see if he knew what he was agreeing to:
  • "Bubee all done with his dinner?"
  • Nod for yes
  • "Bubee want to get down?"
  • Nod for yes
  • "Bubee want to try and discover some unknown element so that he can win a Nobel prize for it?"
  • Pause, then nod for yes!
Both him and Mimi always say, "K" for "OK" whenever we ask them to do something/ remember something that we just taught them that most likely resulted in a timeout. They also are not sure about exactly what "K" means:
  • "Mimi share your toy with Bubee. You have had it for a long time."
  • "K" and then we give the toy to Bub.
  • Pause.
  • Scream and crying.
  • "But Mimi you said OK to sharing your toy."
  • "K"
  • Pause.
  • More crying.

David's parents are called Mimomo and B-Pops by all the other grand kids. The other night during prayers (they usually repeats after us) Mimi was praying and said "Thank you for Mimomo and P-Pots". So poor Buddy is now P-Pots until Mimi can talk a bit better :)

Mimi is a do-er. She loves working at her play. She also loves taking everything apart and putting things back together. The other day when they came home from school I noticed she took all of her big sister's clothes out of her back pack (which Mimi calls a pack-pack). I know Baby Girl will need those clothes for school tomorrow so I told Mimi to "put all of sister's clothes back in her pack pack". I didn't realize how literally she would take that! I came back about ten minutes later to find Mimi lugging a hugely stuffed Hello Kitty back pack full of all of her sister's closet contents. Underwear, shoes, socks, scarves, ,etc. I couldn't be upset because I was laughing so much. I mean I did tell her to put "all of sister's clothes back in her pack pack"!

Baby Girl kind of has a speech delay. It has gotten TONS better since her surgery and she has been able to hear better. But she still speaks with kind of an Ebonics type country accent sometimes. I know that seems hard to picture, but she will say "oooohh (ten syllables for the "oh") lerrrrk (look) at my berrrk (book)". It's hilarious to us even though were are working on the correct way to pronounce the "OO" sound.

Bubee is called "Beek Bock" because he has been talking a lot more lately. But for the last two months any time you ask him to say two or more words, your reply was always "beek bock".

  • Bubee say "Drink, please"
  • "Beek Bock"
  • Bubee say "I want to get down"
  • "Beek Bock"
  • Bubee say "Supercalafragelisticexpialidocious"
  • Pause. "Beek Bock"

He is so cute saying please for everything. Well, it mostly sounds like "peeeee", but we take it :) And he is a really good singer. He loves to sing and dance around the house. The other day I gave him chocolate for the first time (a brownie), and his singing and dancing around went into overdrive. He was a dance machine! I don't think I will try that again anytime soon:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm finally ready to blog again/ have the time to do so :)

Well, it's right around the two month mark that we have had the kiddos. Man, to say we have been "adjusting" feels like the worlds biggest understatement. Sometimes it has felt like surviving the hardest thing anyone could ever experience in an entire lifetime (no, I'm not being dramatic :). And other times it has felt like we were the luckiest people in the whole world and this whole parenting thing is a piece of cake. Now, I will admit that it was more of the former statement than the latter!

Here is what we have been dealing with over the last two months (side note- this is not intended to be a "complaining blog"- I just wanted to be able to look back and remember what all the craziness was like of the first couple of months):
  • We took in three kids. A (from here on out referred to as "Baby Girl"-4 yrs. 6 mos.), M (who I call "Mimi" -2 yrs. 5 mos.), and B (who we call BeekBock or Bubba or Bubee- 19 mos) on Sept 23, 2011**
  • We began to notice that Baby Girl couldn't hear very well. She would only look at our mouths when we talked so we made her an appt. with a pediatrician to get a physical and a referral to an ENT. She had a great doctor (who thankfully was also hearing impaired!) who said she definitely needed to see someone. We got her hearing checked and she had significant hearing loss. Thankfully the ENT performed surgery- basically tubes and fluid removal, and he said he was surprised that her speech was as good as it was with how much junk he pulled off her ears. Sweet baby girl went home and watched Bolt and noticed that puppies whimper for the first time. She also said I can hear y'all when you say "cockadoodledoo" now (Mimi and Bubba have a favorite book with that sound in it :) This whole process took about a month with about 4 appointments, 1 surgery, and several follow ups for the surgery and more hearing tests.
  • All three kids came with lice. I think I would rather handle vomit than lice. Apparently they had had it so long that their little heads were breathing Super Lice, a genetically enhanced breed of lice that could withstand any pesticide or treatment. I still don't think I'm rid of them. It's also hard to get a 2 1/2 year old to sit still for an hour so I can pick out the nits. We are thinking of cutting hair soon, but I really really don't want to cut their pretty hair. Bubee's hair got buzzed, along with Daddy's, the fist week we had them :)
  • Pinworms. Not gonna say much more about that. But thankfully they are gone and that wasn't a huge ordeal.
  • Bubee was sick most of the first month he was with us. He came with a nasty ear infection, got the flu, then got the stomach flu. Sickness has been rampant in our home. I think we all five had upper respiratory infections for about three weeks. Then David got some kind of eye issue- conjunctivitis? and I got the stomach flu. Also had two ruptured cysts happen. At one point I was just laying on the living room floor and Baby Girl was rubbing my head asking me if I felt better. Sweet girl should not have to take care of her mama so early! Then David let them go to the store in these outfits to get them out of the house for a while (proof that there is more than one reason why mama's can't get sick:) -
  • We noticed one day at dinner when Baby Girl complained that her teeth were "itching" that she had several brown spots/ gaping holes in her teeth. A dental appointment was for sure needed. We thought that her dental appointments were up to date because she was already in foster care, but that was clearly not the case. We took her to a "family dentist" who cleaned her teeth and said that she needed "too much work for him". So we took her to Children's Dental of Atlanta and there we found out she had 12 affected teeth. "Affected" meant everything from a cavity to being too far gone. On Nov 10th, Maurine/ David's mom came down to help take her to a sedation dental appointment so they could just do the bottom teeth, which was pulling the middle two, two crowns and some fillings. She has her appointment for her top teeth next week. She will have 5 crowns before it's all over, and we hope she doesn't look like 50 cent! Thank goodness all of this happened to her baby teeth. Everyday she talks about her new "big girl teeth" coming in.
  • WIC appointments. Let me begin by saying that I am grateful to the government for the services my kids receive. Thank you. Now let me complain about budget cuts and how they affect my week: Last week I spent a total of 9 hours at the WIC office- yes that's correct, 9 whole hours. 4 1/2 of which were with a 21 month old who did not like the WIC office after about 30 minutes. It was, however, a neat experience because all the moms are there with their kids who are hating life and wanting to eat (thankfully I packed enough for a small army to eat not knowing how long it would take) and there is kind of a camaraderie with everyone. Like we're all miserable together why don't we try to talk to each other and hang out even though you speak English and I only speak Spanish! That did happen to me because Bubee's new best friend was a little boy who's mama only spoke Spanish. I got her name and that her son was 18 months old out of her and that was about it :) For us, we don't depend on WIC like others so at one point I was wondering if this was even worth it. Especially since I have to do it all again in a month to re-up the girls. But I'm glad I did it and I'm can block most of the stressful parts out!
  • We moved! Why did we decide to move two weeks after the kids came home? Great question. I'm still not sure we knew exactly what we were doing, but after seeing Mimi put some cards in the radiator (no it wasn't yet on) we felt like we needed to get the fam to a place with central heat and air before the cold weather set in. Our story about how God got us a house is sure to be a post of it's own soon. Thankfully my Mom/ Rhonda and my Grandma and Grandpa (who the kids call Mamaw and Papaw- I'm not sure why they came up with those names but I think it was Mimi or Baby Girl. That is exactly what I called my Grandpa's parents so I guess it fits! Mimi actually called them Mamaw and Mamaw for a while- sorry Grandpa :) came (well Mom actually had been there a week to try and keep us sane!) and helped us pack up while the kids were in daycare on Friday October 7th and we moved the following day with the help of my Uncle Bryan too on October 8th. We love our house and the kids have much more space to run around and play.
  • Allergies! If you know us well you know that we don't "eat like normal people" because we have some abnormal allergies. David is allergic to salmon, eggs, dairy, and mustard. I also cannot have dairy. So the allergy adjustment with the kids was not as bad as it could have been. When Mimi and Bubee came to our house their digestion was pretty bad. We're talking sometimes 7-8 Bms per day. The diaper adjustment, meaning how often we would have to buy them!, was huge for us. Mimi had been tested sometime before- like when she was a baby- that she was allergic to milk. Great, we already eat that way so not a big deal right? Well after Bub's 3rd doctor appt in a month his pediatrician suggested he may be intolerant (not the same thing as an allergy but just as inconvenient if you eat it) to wheat or dairy so she said to take him off both. Then Mimi's doctor and chiropractor suggested taking her off gluten as well because she had a lot of edema- basically she was a squishy 2 year old. I'm all for kids being on a gluten and casein free diet, and I think it has helped a ton of kids with variety of symptoms from exema to autistic features. HOWEVER, I did not want to be one of those mom's who has to always read every tiny label and tell their kid, "No, you can't have that!" when other kids are eating this awesome thing right in front of them. Now, I guess that is good for character development. But sometimes I wonder if people think I am depriving my kids. I even make their lunches for daycare, who actually provide meals for them already. I also have to educate so many people like their daycare workers, case managers, their parents, anyone who could possibly feed them anything- because wheat and milk are pretty much in everything sold in stores today! So there you have it. I am not a high maintenance mom with kids who have food allergies/ sensitivities. I am dealing with it. I will say that when they have a good week where they have not been exposed to one of those things, their diapers are fantastic! Only one normal poopie per day :) No weird rashes or throwing up either- all is well with the world. So I guess it's worth it.
  • Parent visits. Our kids still see their biological parents once a week. I'm not going to say much other than it's hard on Baby Girl. And the other two really don't seem too affected by it. But it's hard. It's really hard on us to see regression once a week. But even though there is that little aggression, there is still so much progress that has been made since two months ago that it's all worth it in the end.

Even though all of these things have happened/ we have had to deal with them we don't regret a single moment of becoming "Mommy/ Mom/ Mother and Daddy/ Dad/ Father" to these three precious kids. We love them with our whole hearts and we are so proud to be their parents.

**Note: since we cannot use their names on the internet, I will be blogging about them with these names. It's a privacy issue with the state since they are still on foster status. I'm also probably fudging a bit with the new blog banner pic, but you can't see faces so it "should be just fine", as Baby Girl would say.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our Adoption Decision Journey

So for posterity, I am going to share our journey over a few blog posts so that I will remember this whole crazy journey we have been on. Today, I'm posting about our decision to adopt through the foster system.

A couple months ago, I posted this. Something I had written back in 2008, around the time I felt like God was saying that adoption is something I should do. Notice I didn't say "we"...not yet anyways. I love how the Lord took us on our own journeys to get to the same decision. I have laid out a timeline and overlaid what details we now know of the kids' lives as well.

Summer 2008- Eryn wrote this and felt the Lord calling her to adopt through the foster system. Our lives were hectic. David was working 55-60 hrs a week and was also getting sick with an illness that would plague him for the better part of a year and a half. (At this point our oldest girl, A, is 1 year old.)

October 2008- Eryn feels called to go back to school for a MS in Counseling Psychology and enrolls in a school in Colorado for a quarter.

End of 2008- We decide to move back to Tennessee from Colorado so that Eryn can go to a good school for my MS in counseling and we can be closer to family after David decides to quit his PhD program to focus on his health. Clearly, it wasn't the time to adopt or foster for that matter, and moving states would have negated that even if we had of begun the process in Colorado.

2009- David struggles with the decision to go back to school to finish his PhD. He has been teaching as an adjunct professor up until this point while Eryn goes to school and nanny part time. He decides after much trial and prayer that he wants to pursue a Doctorate of Chiropractic instead and he chooses Life University. Eryn has two more semesters to finish school at this point. (M, our second girl, was born in April '09.)

January 2010- David begins Life University in Marietta, GA while Eryn finishes up school and works on her internship at Agape Nashville (who incidentally also does foster to adopt through the state of TN, but obviously this was not a good time since we lived apart for 4 months, seeing each other on weekends, and were about to move to another state!). (February 2010 is when B, our youngest, a boy, is born.)

May 2010- We find a home in Marietta, Georgia (two counties over from the county the children we hope to adopt, but they aren't placed in the state's care just yet). Eryn continues to travel to school in Nashville for one night a week while David is in the throws of Chiropractic School. Eryn also works at an internship at an Atlanta counseling center.

August 2010- Eryn graduates and stays on as a newbie counselor at the center she did her internship at. We also decide to check out a local private agency that specializes in foster-to-adopt programs with the state. We feel good about what we learned and decided to sit on things for a while.

October 2010- Eryn gets an admin position at her job site and earns extra money while she decides to build her clientele. David also has a vision of two little girls running around our home and feels like it's time to pursue adopting, feeling very strongly that with the Lord all things (no matter how overwhelming!) are possible.

January 2011- We attend a three day training, right on our 5 year anniversary weekend no less! Also, our children are put into foster care at the very same time. We also get checked out by a clinical nutritionist to help us with some health issues (David really hasn't felt back to 100% by this point and would like to be by the time he becomes a dad!). We also have our first adoption homestudy with a wonderful contract social worker.

February-May, 2011- We complete a vast amount of paperwork, gather records, get tested for various things, get fingerprinted, etc. for our homestudy to be complete. We didn't particularly feel a rush during this time, but we felt like we had a bit more time before we needed to be approved. We get the official word that we are approved just for adoption at the beginning of May.

May 2011- The referrals start pouring in for children who are free to adopt. We don't feel led to pursue any particular referral. We begin to be more open to sibling groups of TWO. In fact our adoption agent said that she thought of us for a couple sibling groups of THREE, but we weren't approved yet at the time. We were like, "Three? Yeah right!"....

June 2011- We receive a referral for three precious children who Eryn, immediately feels a connection with. We just have an email with a small blurb about a paragraph long and no pictures. Eryn calls David and says well it looks like we have a referral we need to talk about. David excitedly listens. Eryn says, "Well it's for a sibling group of two sisters 4 and 2.....and their 1 year old baby brother!" To Eryn's surprise, David laughs and says, "OK, let's find out more about them!". We both felt a connection with these kids that we can't explain. But we still aren't approved for foster care yet, and we have been trying to get approved for a while!

This is where I leave you till next time for a posting on all the obstacles!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some News and Kid's Room

This is it...This is not a drill people....

That has been the phrase running through my mind this weekend. We received some "positive news" this week, which is what we are calling it because things can always change! And all weekend long we have been getting ready for our final homestudy visit on Monday. (Yes, we are already approved to adopt, but we have not yet been approved to foster- just a couple more technical things and paperwork that has to be finalized before we can have foster children in our home that might be ready to adopt soon.)

So all weekend we have been shopping/ looking on Craigslist/ having minor freak-outs about what a __ year old might eat? what kind of bed do they need?/ getting really excited/ freaking out. again/ trying to make our home look like it did in April when we had our last homestudy (which we thought was our last one so we let our house go to pot...j/k...sort of :).

We have felt so blessed by many of you with your thoughts, prayers, checking ins, and donations (THANKS HURTUBISE FAMILY!!!). Huge shout out to Maurine and Mom for their contributions- Maurine got us the adorable curtains and Mom donated my childhood armoire and cute laundry basket for them to put their dirty clothes in. And we also feel blessed by Craig and his list!

Here are some pics of the kiddos room we just finished today. Also, we just kindof got a lot of things because they will be checking to see how many beds we own on Mon. We may have gone overboard with the beds in the room but this is just so our social worker can see that we have plenty of space- we can always rearrange :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Things That Grow at Our House

Isn't it amazing that something this small can grow into a giant of a thing producing 25+ zucchini? I am still amazed at how God created the world to work. Small things producing such bounty. Makes me feel like I can make more of a difference in the lives of others with just my small gifts. And it has been so, well for lack of something less dramatic sounding, spiritual to tend our garden, our little piece of earth that is our responsibility to tend. I am probably more contemplative this year than last since I have motherhood in mind. I hope the seeds I plant in my children will come to fruition, but just like the garden- sometimes it is up to the plant whether or not it will bear any fruit or survive. Ultimately it's out of my control, even if I do everything I know to do. Thank you God for this lesson in parenting. And thank you God for our blessing of a garden. We feel very blessed to be in a home with a large space to grow and experiment, and we even have an apple tree and a grapevine to boot!

We have had much success with our garden this year. We got planning early this year and already have had plenty of "harvest" so far:
  • 42 cucumbers (lots of pickle making going on at our house :)
  • 10 zucchini
  • 5 green tomatoes
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
  • 64 apples from the apple tree
  • several salads worth of lettuce, kale
  • and also fresh basil, mint, and rosemary out the wazoo
Here are some pics of how we gathered our apples. We were very red-neck about it. David got a rake and we spread out this blanket. He would shake the tree with the rake and we would move the blanket around the yard to try and get it under the apples that might fall. It was fun. And now I have plenty of apple butter and applesauce :)

In other news, I came home the other day and there were these new curtains hanging in our dining room:Yes, my husband sews! He did a good job. Just made roman shades with some old fabric we have had for a couple years, an old pair of corderoys, and some supplies from Lowe's. I was so amazed that he just threw them together while I was gone to work. He is a man of many talents :)

Also, random, but I wanted to post some pics of Easter. We got to go to Memphis for a couple of days and visit with some fam. Look @ how long David's hair is. It's much longer now. I married a hippie ;)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We're Approved!

The Drive Time commercial with the guy saying, "Approved, approved, approved..." keeps running through my head!

We got the word from our adoption agency late Thursday night that we are officially approved by the state of Georgia. Our adoption agency is now looking to match us with children. This will depend on what kind of referrals our agency gets from the state. Sometimes the summer can be slower, they say. We could be getting a call any day/ week/ or month now!

We will see....and definitely keep you posted.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amicalola Falls

David and I went to Amicalola Falls State Park today. It's only about 1hr. 15 min. away. It reminded me a lot of Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee, but with more mountain views. We did a "strenuous/ moderate" first mile. I don't know who put the "moderate" in there, but for Eryn Jones- it was all the way "strenuous"! We could have done several more miles and hiked to a really neat inn and lodge that you can only get to by trail, but we whimped out and went back down the falls :) We got some good excersise though, and it was great being out in nature all day!

Also, we saw a bear cub (or so we thought)! If you can see in the photo below, it's the big brown blurb kindof in the middle. David didn't get a chance to get a great pic because I was already at a mild walk/jog (you know, fast- but not too fast to attract undue attn. from a bear :) 1/2 way down the trail! If I had the camera, I would have had a great shot because the little guy looked right at if he was saying, "My momma is going to be here any minute, and she will eat you!" But we met a nice couple further down the trail that said he was most likely an adolescent and then I got less scared for our journey back!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Waiting on Approval

Well, we are all done! No more lists of what we need to do for our homestudy because we just had our last one. We met at Starbucks yesterday, and proofread our mini biographies and gave the go ahead for her to turn everything in to our agency on Monday!

We did ask her what a realistic time-line would be...and you may need to brace yourself here. She said about a month, two at the most! Now that doesn't necessarily mean we will have a placement in a month or two. Let me explain:
1. The time-line of 1-2 months means that we will have been approved (hopefully) by the state at that point. That means they can begin calling us with potential matches.
2. Our social worker said that they usually get referrals from the state in batches and things generally slow down in the summer time.
3. They will try to place a child/ children in our home that are about 95% likely to become legally free in the next 6 months to a year after placement. So that limits our placement possibilities a bit.
4. Also, after we are called with a potential match, we will have extensive meetings with their case workers, their therapist (if they have one), and any other resource person. I believe we also may meet with the kids in an informal setting- all of this before we make our decision.

So there you have it. It could be as early as June! But not, necessarily. We are living in limbo a bit. Trying to rest on God's timing and guidance- knowing that He will make us ready when our kids are ready to be placed in our home!

So exciting :) Thanks for everyone's prayers and support- and we will post updates when we get them!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Home Study

Well, first we dealt with a little mishap:We were moving right along cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Then I thought, hey I haven't washed my bath mats in a while.... Well, apparently the washer and my bath mats had a fight and the bath mats a death match! So I quickly burried them in the trash and ran to Target to replace them. Those things can be expensive! Not that it mattered all that much. I think she just walked through the house in about 5 minutes and then we sat at the table for the rest of the time. She didn't even look in my refrigerator (why I expected someone to look in there- I do not know, but at least it, as well as the rest of the house, is clean and organized!:)

It went very well. I made this yummy orange cranberry sweet bread (healthy of course :)And we sat individually around the table and talked with her for about 45 minutes each.

She was really sweet and supportive. There were a couple of surprise questions like, "How did your parents do the sex talk?", and "What schools are near by?" First, I understand that they have to ask that question, but I was not expecting it (neither of us really remember that much about our birds and bees lessons anyways)! And I had no idea what school we are zoned for. But she didn't count off for not knowing. Then, after quickly looking it up on the internet, we found out that our school is about 1 mile away and all the Kindergarten teachers have their own blogs! When did teachers start doing blogs? I guess that's a good thing, but I'm picturing kids going wild, throwing paper airplanes and Mrs. Johnson saying, "just a minute, I need to get this post out!" :)

So, on to the next steps... which we found out aren't that many! We will have one more, our third and final, home study (actually @ Starbucks) on Friday....yes, this coming Friday April 15. Then we will just go over our report to make sure our details are accurate and hand her the remaining things we will do this week: medical evaluations, drug tests, and getting Davids verification of employment. She goes home and sends of the report within a week.

Once she sends it to the Atlanta Lutheran Services office, they take however long they need to take to let us know if we are "approved" or not. If we are, then they send off everything to the state (DFCS- Dept of Family and Children Services...the cool people call it took David a long time to figure out what people were talking about when they said D-fax this or D-fax that :)

Then when "D-Fax" has our info they begin the matching/ placement process. We are hoping all of this takes longer than at least a month and a week because my work is moving and I'm kind of helping with the move- which if you have ever moved a business, you know it's a BIG undertaking.

We know there are bound to be kinks in the flow of things, and maybe they might need a couple of unexpected documents. But that might be welcomed because things are goin fast! As usual we are a combo right now of extremely excited and a little bit terrified :)

We will keep you posted in the mean time!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Special Company

Whenever someone is coming over- family, friends, etc.- you tend to clean the house (either extra good or even at all :) and you want to make sure they have good eats. At least these are the two things I usually think about when having company over.

Well not this week! We have been painting, redecorating, deep spring cleaning out closets, giving stuff away, trying to come up with a yummy quick bread recipe, and so much more...all for our home study which means our home study social worker will be here on Friday! She is very special company. Special because whatever she puts in her report decides whether or not we will be parents soon. So she gets the five-star treatment :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So David and I just finished (sort of) rearranging our entire house! If you remember the house post, you may know that our house is a little bit...let's just say- not typical. Since we have no hallways, we had to switch our room for the future kids room. We did this so that the child(ren) who come to live with us will have their own space and we would be able to shut their room door since the only door in the house was to our bedroom! So now, it somewhat makes sense to have them in the "back" room of the house- quieter and all.

For those of you who just flipped out at the mention of children (if you flipped out at the mention of any kid at all- please read here :), that is my main reason for this post. We are putting on our form that we are open to sibling groups (of no more than 2, of course). We just realized we have not yet leaked this information because we have been in a couple month long discussion on that topic.

I realized that we have come to terms with feeling really "led" to be open to having 2 children instead of 1, but I know that is an idea that takes getting used to. Believe me, we have thoroughly thought about so many different pros and cons. I felt the need to post this so that everyone we now can "get used to" the idea like we now are :)

So there you have it; David and I may go from a family of 2 to 4 very soon....maybe not. But if it does happen, we want to give you time to adjust to the idea and not have a heart attack when we introduce you to our children!

Besides being open to siblings, there is a list of about 3-4 pages of what we are willing/ definitely will not/ and are open to taking. This list includes everything from behavioral problems to severe medical and mental health problems. While we are not going to share our "list" with the world wide web, I will say that we are open to any race, any sex, and some other minor (in the grand scheme of things) issues the child or children may come to us with. We also stated that our "ceiling age" (meaning, the oldest child we will take) is 4.

If the language of all of this sounds kind of ugly to you; it does to us too! It feels weird to be "picking out features" of our future children. We like to look at it as though we are trying to best serve those that will be in our home, and to do that we have to search ourselves and know our limits. And, thankfully, being Christians and being OK with not being perfect, we are secure in our "limitedness" :)

We are excited! We are freaking out! And we are tired! That is the adoption update for now. We will keep you posted :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Why we want to adopt

First, let us say, "Thanks!" to everyone for commenting their support and encouragement about our decision to adopt. We thought we would document our decision process that led us to this point.

It all started in Colorado, when we were made aware of an organization called Project 127. A Colorado church-based initiative whose aim was to decrease the number of children waiting for families by empowering and equipping Christian families and the churches in Colorado to adopt them. I wrote this down at the time, because I wanted to remember exactly what I felt like God was saying to me....... (below is what I wrote in July 2008, it is in past tense, but I purposefully wrote it so that I could use it later- turns out that came in handy!)

My friend, Emily, once stated (as she does so matter-of-factly, but in a light-hearted, funny way, about various statements people just say that can be slightly annoying :) that she hates it when people say that they are "trying". I thought nothing of it and dismissed it as Emily just being Emily...until about a year later. The thoughts that came changed my life. They changed it drastically forever (please excuse the dramaticism :).

It was a July day in Colorado 2008 when I could say "it began". The truth is it could have begun the day I was born. It could have begun the day I was two and my parents' divorce became final. God had been working on me for longer than I knew, but the culmination of His work on me in this area "began" on that day in July. It was one of those crazy seasons where everyone you know comes to visit within a matter of months, you have illnesses and surgeries, and your marriage seems to be just a tad bit on edge because of lack of time together, sleep, and communication with one another. My friend Jen called, and normally I would stay in my hole (or apartment) and hide out, ignoring social invites, but I decided to go and visit her despite my reclusive tendencies. I am so glad I did.

She fixed me some tea, and we exchanged small talk which grew into how each other was doing which grew into the sharing of struggles and funny stories. She was giving me updates on the “infertile” of our group of friends (actually pretty much all of our friends were going through this or had just been through it). She then shared with me some website she had recently been researching called "Project 127". Honestly, I was curious, but not interested until something she had said flipped on one of those heaven sent light bulbs that stay in your head until you or someone else allows them to be turned on. She said that the website/ ministry, Project 127, had been named after James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans... in their distress.

The widows and the orphans. The least of these. Jesus on earth.

Recently I had read a book by Shane Claiborne called The Irresistible Revolution. His book, in premise, challenges my generation to follow the Rabbi Jesus in all ways, including peace-making, bridge building and care-taking of those Jesus talked about and with whom there is a degree of separation from us comfortable Christian Americans. I felt as if someone had given words to some of my feelings and had convicted me of further action. But after reading it I felt the need to take some kind of major action towards those convictions, but I had no idea what that was. This is where the conversation comes in and the light bulb came on.

I mentioned earlier that my friend Emily hates the word "trying", and I think now I feel it's not such an appropriate word for me either. My husband and I had been doing just that (you can call it trying, planning, wanting-- they're all the same here). I had even gone in for surgery/ treatment for endometriosis only to find that it should not have been affecting my chances to get pregnant after all. I was starting Chlomid, a fertility drug for ovulation as well at this time (July 2008). We had wanted a child so badly for what felt like the whole time we had been married (actually only 1 1/2 years at this point). I always was astounded at the number of people that I would hear about having problems having kids with-in the first five years of trying (there's that word again, bear with me you will soon see my point:). I also marveled at the number of stories you hear about teen-age and unplanned pregnancies.

And at that moment on Jen's couch, I heard the answer to my suffering and to my questions. It was so clear to me everything I had wrestled with over the past year and a half, every dry spell I went through in my walk, every fire I got in my heart and had no place for it to set something a blaze. We are "trying" our own plans. And that is all we are accomplishing is the "trying" because we are in the realm of our own plans. I believe I heard the Lord say to me, "I care about the least of these. The least of these are ME. What you do for them you do for ME. What you do to them, you do to ME. It is possible that I could have designed it this way so that there is a balance. Many of my people (Christians) are unable to get pregnant. It could very well be by my design. I control everything under the sun. My first priority for you is not your comfort, but it is for you to take care of the least of these. The widow, the homeless, the orphan. I am the FATHER to the fatherless. My people are my vessel. My people should be "trying" to love and embrace the fatherless of this world."

I shared these thoughts with Jen, and she said very thoughtfully, "I wouldn't put it past God to be behind all this". I felt freed by this, and even surer that I wanted to adopt, but I still didn't know where to start. I mean I hadn't even talked to my husband yet about it for crying out loud! Here I am so convinced that adoption is my future, and I have no idea what he wants to do. He had a lot on his plate at that time, being an organic chem student and all. His minimum hour requirement by his boss was 60 hours a week. How would we ever get the money and time. Had I completely gone from the woman who wanted to "carry her own babies" to this woman who wanted to raise and love a perfect stranger? Would it be harder to raise a baby like us, with our ideals if that baby did not have our genes? And what about what their previous parents did to them? And as I thought about all of those things, they paled significantly to the power and resources of the Almighty and His people.

So I did what every young whippersnapper with a vision for change does, I went surfing the internet. I found the website for Project 127. I bawled my eyes out, and I wrote down this little excerpt (yes I wrote it in past tense-- who knows it may go in a book some day and this will save me the time of changing all the verbs). I encourage you to check it out. The stories of the waiting children are compelling. The commission to the church to stand up for the orphaned is inspiring and this ministry has developed a real way to actualize this call. And even better, they are working with local government agencies which helps to bridge the gap between secular and Christian.

But, alas, it was not our time to adopt in 2008. With the events that unfolded at the end of that year, and the beginning of the next year, we now know that we weren't even staying in Colorado. I was called to go back to school, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and David struggled for about a year with his own health, having to quit his PhD program.

David and I joke about how (if our relationship were like a boat) he is the rudder and I am the sail. Sometimes we switch back and forth, but mostly I am the passionate idealist who wants to press forward from challenge to challenge. Sometimes immediately. And he is the harness-er of the passion so to speak. He makes sure that we have balance in our marriage. A balance between what we are called to do and the wisdom with which to carry out the call.

In this case, the wisdom took three years! But here we are. David is very excited about adopting, especially from the state system. He said to me that he has "grown to see that there is a balance between understanding that this is a Big Scary Decision and realizing that it's not big or scary with God!"

As we mentioned before, we are knee deep in paperwork and errands right now. They basically want to know when your Grandma's cats last vaccine was (slight exaggeration :). But we have the first homestudy done, and the next homestudy we will have (hopefully) all the paperwork done. We are shooting for April/ May for this one.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


(Chris, Sarah- insert the announcement, announcement, announcement song here :)


David and I are adopting.

Wow, that seems really official.... and scary. As it should I guess.

Many of you know already. But for those that don't, here are the details so far:
1. We are adopting through Lutheran Services of Georgia
2. They get referrals from the state, so we will be adopting through the State of Georgia- through the foster care system. (This just means that our first placement may or may not be permanent)
3. We have had our first home study and are still filling out paper-work/ completing a bunch of crazy tasks that we never thought we would need to do to be worthy of being parents (but hey, I'm really glad there are a lot of hoops to jump through. It's sort of like parenting "pledging"...If you can't do this, then you aren't cut out to be in the parenting club!)
4. We will post updates, but this is pretty much what we know as of right now.

Valentines Day 2011

If you have been following us since last year's V-day post, you know a couple things already.
1. My husband has weird names for things
2. He likes to do it up big on this day.... He actually said that since we never celebrate actually on February 14, that we should just have our own Holiday that has nothing to do with Valentines Day but happens to be celebrated sometime mid February! I agreed to that.

So here is our "Balemtimes Day" Celebration:

First I was told to be up and ready around 10:30 (those with kids, please insert scoffs and laughs here :)

We drove to our favorite place, R. Thomas, for "brunch". I love brunch! However, we both are eating raw right now and so this "brunch" was more smoothies + lunch, but we made do.

Then we drove to an unknown location where David had scored us a cheap COUPLES MASSAGE! It was heaven! When we left my masseuse had marked down several "problem areas" that I needed work on (you know, to try and get us to come back), and David's masseuse just said, "You are really pretty much relaxed. I was just going wherever you muscles wanted to go. You don't really need a massage unless you just want to unwind every now and then." URG! Now, though, I have proof of why i need a massage, and why he just simply doesn't understand why massages are important to those like me! And David was happy to be called "laid back" by a professional :)

Then we went home for some time out on our porch in the sun (this was planned time). David made us smoothies, like this one here, to sip on. We had great conversation and then I got ready for the evening (had to wash the oil out of my hair from the massage!).

David made dinner for us both. The menu was barely steamed veggies, cauliflower "rice", fish (for me- I can have fish sometimes), and this sour cream (in the blue bowl), which was off the chain, and very close to the dairy version! David found the recipe all by himself. (He knows I love the Spunky Coconut blog :)
The Chef, himself

Then we went to see a movie.

I love how he kept it casual, and it was definitely one of the most relaxing days I have had in a really, really long time. Thanks David!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Name Change

So I changed the name from "Tales from the West" since we now live in the SouthEAST. We will move again, so I felt Jones Family Adventures was appropriate.

And we miss the west! Oh, Colorado....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Music City Bowl 2010

Dad got us tickets to the Music City Bowl for Christmas. We stayed in downtown Nashville, and enjoyed going to the game... even if the wrong team won!
David showing his true colors underneath. Thanks for being a great sport!
(Dad's forever-old, never washed, TN sweatshirt.)

The Pride of the Southland Band!

Our faces after the game was over, we won, then the game wasn't over! You can tell by the girl in the background that the crowd was not happy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Christmas with the Joneses

I know, I know... way behind as uaual. If you follow this blog at all, you will probably know that my recent pattern has been to post several in a row that relate to events happening at least three+ months ago. I'm ok with this pattern....I guess we'll both get used to it ;)

This year for Christmas all of David's fam gathered at Zidon Aveisha, a lovely lake house that is owned by the Cunninghams at David' old church. It was a fun Alabama Christmas. It even snowed a bit on Christmas Day.

Here are some pics of the Jones Family Christmas.
There were many trails to walk around on and tons to do here!

Also, we had family pictures taken that you can check out by clicking on this pic below, by Jenny Dixon:

And check out my SIL's blogs for more pictures and info:
Melanie and Anna
(you may notice many repeat pics. I'm not as good of a documenter as these two, so I stole some pics from them :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Our Home

FYI: This post has a lot of random fact and pics of my house. If that bores you, please feel free to not read :)

We like to say we live on a farm.

We don't.

But if you consider the fact that our house is about 100 years old, we have an apple tree, two walnut trees, a gravel driveway, a huge garden and a decent amount of land to roam around on if we wish to, then it sounds kind of farm-ish.

If you consider the fact that we live about 30 yards from a major highway (all the land is in the back) and within walking distance to a Publix and a Kroger (we walk during the summer... and also when a snow storm hits for quick trips) then you would just think we lived in the Atlanta metropolis that we do.

Either way you look at it, you probably have been wondering what our house is like (well, maybe not:). How do you make a 100 year old house with holes in the floor (slight exaggeration) feel "homey"?.... please enjoy the following before and afters :)

Our Kitchen
I like our kitchen. It's galley style, has no pantry, little cabinet space, has a 50 year old gas only stove and oven, but I like it :)


I love the natural light in the kitchen, despite the weird stain glass pieces on the window. Just outside that window is our apple tree.

Quirky things about the kitchen:

1. Apparently, when the previous owners decided to make an addition to the countertop in the kitchen, they thought that this was a good enough match:
HA! At least we know one is granite so we can say we live in a farm house with granite counter tops :)2. The kitchen outlet situation is not much better than any other room (we only have one outlet in our entire bedroom!). So we have jerry-rigged a TV tray to be the designated Kitchen Aide mixer stand:

The Dining Room

Fun and Not-so-fun Things About the Dining Room:
1. Our fireplace mantle used to be in the govenor's mansion in Georgia around the beginning of the 1900s. The architect for the mansion apparently used to live in our home, which I guess was prime real estate back in the day! However, the previous owners (right before us- I think they had kids) decided that they should add red and orange paint to jazz up this beautiful antique! Take a look...So glad that red is not a single color in the themes of my kitchen and dining room- maybe we can get some paint thinner and fix it!

2. Well, this isn't too weird, but because we have no closets/ pantry's/ storage I had David make me this curtain to go in front of this cheap book shelf we got from Big Lots. The shutters on the wall were from Good Will for $3 each! I like this little arrangement because I like to mix up nice things, like crystal, with old/ old-looking stuff.
3. Speaking of mixing the old/worn/ etc with something newer/ fancier.... David got me these two incredible anniversary gifts. They are Baker's Scales. One is at least 50 years old. He painted some parts that matched our colors in the kitchen and dining room. I was so proud of him, his color matching skills were right on! I like them because they are old, but I can dress them up in interesting ways. The big one I actually use for weighing and baking.that "8" means half a pound (8 oz.)

Living Room
Before:This is the living room and the "front door" which is really on the side of the house, but we have 6 doors total, 2 that aren't sealed up and usable to get in and out of the house. The "back door" is just behind me where I have taken this picture :)

BedroomHere, we got a carpet remnant from Grandma and Grandpa, but we had to spend a week with heavy books along the edges so it wouldn't roll up our bed in a burrito!

Well, no Before, or after here. This is a combined pic...bedrooms are always too messy to take good after pics of... well at least ours is!

Other Quirks about Our House
1. We have no hallways. Therefore, living room leads into guest room that leads into our bedroom and we are about to have to switch our bedroom with the guest room (hint: be looking for an upcoming explanation post about this)

2. Below: These random shelves in the dining room are my "Cupboards" as you can see from the kitchen pics, I have only 1 cabinet for pantry, dishes, etc. Here they are before...And after.........I think they turned out all right. And I now like them. Who knew I would enjoy having shelves on the walls of my dining room.