Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day, Pop!

Today, on Father's Day, I would like to honor a man who stepped into my life when I was about five years old, married my mom, and CHOSE to be my DAD!  He didn't have to love me, he didn't have to give me his last name, he didn't have to make me his daughter...but he did!  And for that, I will forever be grateful!  :)

My first memory of my dad is probably one he doesn't even know about yet.  I remember a night in that week between Christmas and when he married my mom.  I know it was after Christmas because I was holding a doll I'd gotten for Christmas that year and I know it was before they got married because it was at my grandparents' house, which means that my mom and I were still living there.  You see, I snuck down the stairs after I was supposed to have been asleep and sat on one of the lower steps.  From my hiding place, I could see my mom and the man who would love her forever sitting on the couch in my grandparents' living room.  There's no doubt in my mind (then or now) that he loves my mom with his whole heart!

On the day when he placed a wedding ring on my mother's finger, he also placed one on mine and told me that he not only loved my mother, but he loved me too and as far as he was concerned, we were all family now.  And since that day, there was never a doubt in my mind that he loved me every bit as much as if I were his biological daughter.  And when I was about seven years old, he decided to make our father/daughter relationship official...and he adopted me as his own!

Sure, there were times when we didn't get along...but isn't that always the way with fathers and daughters?  And he has a rough exterior that might remind you of a grizzly bear sometimes...but inside that rough exterior is a heart of gold!  He loves his family just as fiercely as that grizzly growl he has sometimes...and he would do anything in his power to protect each and every one of us!

When my dad laughs, he laughs with a hearty laugh that comes from his toes.  Nothing warms my heart more than to hear my dad laugh or to feel his strong arms embrace me in a hug that comes from the deepest part of his heart!  His love has a way of making you feel safe and secure, even when it seems a horrible storm is all around you.  I always knew I could go to him with a problem and he would always come to my defense and help me through the hardest struggles.  Most of all, he was always there for me...and that means the world to me!

My dad's favorite hobbies were fishing and hunting.  He taught me taught me how to bait a hook and reel in a fish.  He taught my brother how to hold a gun and wait patiently for his prey.  And he's passing these down to his grandsons.  Last summer, he taught Christopher how to fish while he was down here for a visit.  He and my brother have taken my nephews on hunting trips and taught them all about hunting...a hobby they still enjoy today!

I am so blessed to be CHOSEN to be Bobby Huffaker's daughter!  I'm thankful for his influence in my life, for the lessons I've learned from him, and for the love I've felt as his daughter!  You know, what they say is true...anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a DADDY!  And my daddy is indeed VERY special!  :)

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!  I love you!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Today, on Mother's Day, I want to share a few fond memories I have of my mother (pictured above with me as a baby on my grandparents' front porch).  I remember when I was three years old, my preschool teacher had each of us make a handprint in plaster of paris (or something like that) and when it hardened, she spray-painted it gold and we gave it to our mothers for Mother's mother held on to this for many years, even when it chipped.  I remember when I was about five or six years old, she was trying to teach me how to blow a bubble with my gum.  Unfortunately, we were in the car at the time, and I didn't quite have the gum positioned just right between my teeth...and it went flying across the car at her!  Instead of getting mad, she laughed!  :)

My mother LOVED yard sales...and she still loves finding a deal!  I remember getting up early Saturday mornings to go to yard sales with her...finding little treasures here and there, and just spending time with her.  I think that's what I loved most of all...spending time alone with her.  She worked for the telephone company...and when the office she'd worked for most of her adult life closed up in our small town, she had to transfer to work in a city that was an hour or more away from where we lived, so I didn't see her much during the week during that time.

My mother always wanted the best for us and she made sure each major holiday was one to remember!  My brother and I would wake up on Christmas and Easter mornings (that is, if we ever actually made it to sleep in the first place!) to find quite the stash from Santa or the Easter Bunny.  Now, as a parent, I realize what a sacrifice that was for our parents...but I think she enjoyed seeing the excitement on our faces as we discovered some of the very things we had been longing most for...and those items were always there!  Those days were truly magical...even after we discovered the truth about who actually left the gifts!  ;)

My mother had great dreams for her children...she wanted my brother to be a doctor and she wanted me to be a nurse.  However, we didn't share her dreams...and we both became civil servants in our professions - my brother a police officer, and me a teacher!  ;)  But...she's getting part of her wish with my sister-in-law, who is currently studying to be a nurse - so, at least there's one person in the family in the medical profession!  ;)

My mother has always called me her favorite daughter and my brother her favorite son...good thing she only had one of each!  ;)  Now, she calls my brother's wife Stephanie her favorite daughter-in-law and my hubby David her favorite son-in-law.  She has welcomed both Stephanie and David into the family as if they were her own children and loves them every bit as much!  :)

One thing is for mother absolutely LOVES her grandchildren with her WHOLE HEART!  Every time I talk with her, she's telling me of something she is doing or has just done with my brother's boys...and I can sometimes hear her heart break that she is unable to do some of the same things with my boys due to the physical distance between us.  But when we go up to visit, she makes sure to do something special with ALL of her grandsons!  It may be a day at the park, a movie, or just having my brother's boys over for a cousin sleepover...and even pitching a tent in the family room for the boys to "camp in" together!  And these boys sure do love their Gran, too!  :)

I am blessed to have a mother who has taught me so much, who has stood by me even in the most difficult times, and who loves my boys with her whole heart!  And so today, I want to say THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU, MOM!!!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Loving Sacrifice

On this day before Mother's Day...Mother's Day Eve, if you will, I am reminded of a women who may find this day very bittersweet.  On some level, I can understand...but I know I will never fully understand. 

There was a time in my life when Mother's Day was a very bittersweet day for me.  I was thankful for my own mother and for my grandmother, who was also very influential in my life, and happy to celebrate them both...but it also served as a reminder of what I so desperately longed have a child I could call my own.

But one woman, who has lived a very hard life and made some unwise choices along the way, changed all that for me!  Because of her sacrifice, I could know the joy of being a mother, and I have a lot of respect for her for making some very difficult and self-less choices!  She was willing to allow the child growing inside of her to continue to live in her womb until he was ready to be born.  A child she knew she was not in a position to care for, but whom she loved very deeply.  Because of her love for this little boy, she sought out a family to adopt him...and she chose us!   When this little boy was born, the nurses placed him in her arms.  She looked at him with so much love in her eyes, snuggled with him for a moment...and then said the words I will never forget - "I think your MOMMY wants to hold you now!"  And with that, she handed him back to the nurse, who handed him over to me.  To this day, the very memory of that moment sends a rush of emotions to my heart and tears to my eyes.  This woman, who had just labored for several hours in very hard labor, just called ME his MOMMY!  Excited, I took him from the nurse and for the moment, his birth mother was forgotten.  That is a moment that I wish I could do offer her the thanks that she deserved, instead of being all wrapped up in the little miracle in my arms.  The little boy I sat breathlessly by as I waited for him to take his very first breath.  The little boy I'd overheard the doctor say just prior to his birth had the cord wrapped twice around his neck.  The little boy that caused a flood of tears in my eyes and down my cheeks as I finally heard that sweet (and LOUD) cry I had been longing to hear.  The little boy we named Christopher and took home the next day.

And as if that weren't enough, almost eight years later, this same woman found herself with another baby growing in her womb that she didn't feel equipped to raise...and once again, she chose us!  She went back to the same agency that had brought us together before and they made a phone call to us.  Immediately, our hearts soared with the possibilities...and we asked God to work out the details - and He did!  About 8 months after that phone call, I was blessed again to be in the delivery room with this woman - this time, a c-section delivery.  I had the privilege of praying with her several times during the delivery and in the days that followed at the hospital.  Again, she constantly referred to me as this little boy's mommy, even asking for my permission to hold him and to sign paperwork the hospital handed her on his behalf!  Never once did she take any credit for all she had done to give him life.  Instead, she thanked me over and over again for giving him a home with his brother!  Three days later, after having the joy of spending each one of those days not only bonding with my newest son - but also getting to know his birth mother and her family, we gave our little boy a name and took him home...our precious Jayden!

This woman endured physical pains I may never know, and emotional pains I will never feel - all so I could be a mother...and she did it twice!  I will always respect her and appreciate her for that!   I know she may never see this post, since our adoption is only semi-open (which means we met each other, but identifying information such as addresses and last names were not shared & all contact goes through the agency)...but nonetheless, I wish her a very Happy (Birth) Mother's Day - because without her, I would not BE a mother to two of the biggest blessings in my life!  :)

On a side note...if you know of a woman who finds herself in an unexpected pregnancy, whether she is choosing adoption or to raise the child herself, be an encouragement to her!  My sons' birth mother shared with me during our time together at the hospital that she had so many people (at church, no less!) give her grief about choosing adoption for Jayden.  Knowing this, and other similar examples of her determination to do what was right for the boys she carried, I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is a stronger woman than I will ever be!  She loved these boys every bit as much as I do...and she loved them enough to give them the best she could...even if that meant she would never see them again!  I cannot even begin to imagine how she was able to make such a loving sacrifice...but I'm so thankful that she did!!!  :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who Knew?

For weeks, maybe months even, a commercial for the book pictured above has been advertised over and over on one of our favorite TV channels.  They talk about how rice can save a cell phone and wine can keep away wasps...and every single time the commercial comes on, Christopher asks me to order it, but I never do.  After could probably find all the information on the internet anyway.  But, what I didn't know is that this book would do something no other book has ever done before...something that certainly could not be substituted with anything on the got my 9-year-old son to read a book without pictures!

Now, Christopher is an avid reader, and has been since we started homeschooling and geared his reading lessons toward his interests!  He will often stay up late into the night reading in his bed...but the only way I've been able to get him to read a chapter book of any kind was to force him to do so as part of his schoolwork.  He would not choose one voluntarily.  He will happily read any picture book or comic book you put in front of him just fine, thank you very much.  But if the book has few to no pictures, he's not interested one single bit...until now!

Here's how it happened.  We made a trip to Wally World (Wal-mart) primarily for some formula for Jayden.  However, I always like to browse a bit, so after checking out the other baby items and electronics, we made a pass through the book section on our way to the checkout.  In our previous browsings, Christopher had found a hot-dog slicer and a car air freshener, both of which he spent the majority of our time in the store trying to convince me we needed to purchase.  I happened to glance down and see the Who Knew? book on the shelf and decided to pick it up and see what it was all about.  Needless to say, a certain not-so-little boy happened to notice and the bargaining began!  He wanted this book and he was immediately willing to sacrifice his previously found treasures for it!

"Please, Mom...can we get it?" He said, followed by a slight pause as he debated his next move, and then without even waiting for my response added,  "I'll put these two (the hot dog slicer & car air freshener) back!  PLLLLLLEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE!!!!!" (Ok, maybe he didn't carry out the "please" quite that long, but it makes for a great effect, doesn't it?).  ;)

Now, what my little bargainer didn't know was that I had no intention of purchasing either of the items he'd been holding on to throughout the store (or maybe he did and that's why he gave them up so quickly!) and I was seriously considering purchasing the book anyway.  Something else he hasn't quite figured out yet...I'm a sucker for books!  One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the bookstore with my grandmother to pick out a new book.  My grandmother loved to read and I'm pretty sure I have her to thank for my own love of reading!'s no surprise to most anyone that I love to buy books (one look at the bookshelves lining the hallway of my house will tell you that much)!  And if it will encourage my child to read and doesn't contradict with our beliefs, then it's a pretty sure bet I'll buy it for him...he just doesn't know that yet.  ;)

Naturally, I agreed to his bargain - a win-win situation if ever I've seen one!  And he has been reading that book ever since!  Ever so often, he will share with me something he's learned...but mostly, he's reading!  And there's not a single picture in the whole book as far as I can tell...though I haven't had much of an opportunity to check it out, aside from looking at it in the store!

So...while the little boys are sleeping, my oldest son is reading and I am's peacefully quiet in our house right now!  And I owe it all to the authors of a book titled Who Knew?  ;)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hand-Me-Ups & A Massive Update

I finally came to terms with the fact that my newest little guy isn't a newborn anymore.  I know, I know...I've had eight wonderful months with him to get used to the idea...but those months flew by so quickly that I barely had time to notice!  Now, he's 8 months old, sits up on his own, eats pretty much anything I put in his mouth (and prefers table food to baby food, thank you very much!), and is trying to crawl!  Oh...and those cute newborn and 0-3 month size clothes...yeah, they don't fit anymore (and haven't for awhile now).  He can still fit into some 3-6 months (mostly onsies)...but that won't be for much longer, I know.  So...I finally broke down and decided to sort through the boxes & bags of Hand-Me-Ups that some precious friends gave us for him...and am now doing laundry...lots of it!  ;)

Some people call them Hand-Me-Downs...but a sweet friend, when I gave her some of Christopher's outgrown clothes for her boys a few years ago gave me the term "Hand-Me-Ups" and I loved it!  And in reality, that's exactly what they are...because some of these clothes carry some pretty expensive brand names!  Name brands I couldn't justify purchasing on our current budget (I didn't even realize some of the brands made kids clothes!).  And so, I'm thankful.  Not because I'm a brand-name kinda gal (I'm just as happy putting my child in something from Wal-Mart or Target as I am from the Gap or Gymboree, especially since they wear them for such a short period of time!)...but because they are quality clothes...most of which look brand new!  And since I don't have to spend money on clothes that he will outgrow all too soon, it opens up opportunities to do other things with my boys that I might not otherwise have been able to do.  And again, I'm thankful!  :)

OK, are probably thinking right about now that I promised you an update on my Valentine post and here I am posting again without so much as an update on the last five months of our lives!  No need to update is here!  LOL!  OK...reality check...I'm pretty sure most everyone who reads this blog is already a Facebook friend of mine or gets a Christmas letter from us, so you are probably pretty much up to date and don't really need or want me to rehash it all anyway.  If this is you, no can stop reading here and not miss anything (except maybe a few really cute pictures of the boys)!  :)

For the rest of you still reading (if there are any of you)'s an update on our lives:


Lots of firsts for Jayden in October...he began holding his head up pretty regularly and really wanted to see all that was around him!  He also started eating baby food this month.  We started with veggies, moved on to fruits, and eventually meat (not sure when we introduced each food...except I know he had his first meat on Thanksgiving...turkey!).  ;)


Christopher was a month or so into his second year of Classical Conversations (CC).  He's the only boy in a group of girls...and we're ok with that (he seems to be ok with it for the most part, too)!  ;)  I am amazed at all he learns in his CC class!  Each week they do a presentation to the class of their choosing (in the picture below, Christopher is sharing his lapbook that he'd made of the memory work from the first six weeks) and a science project (below are the owl pellet dissection - not a favorite of my little germaphobe, but with some encouragement, he did participate - and observing the sections of crawfish).  The year is divided into four quarters, each six weeks in length.  Their Fine Arts section is divided by those quarters.  The first quarter is focused on art lessons, the second quarter is tin whistle lessons, the third quarter is art appreciation (focusing on the artists of the period we are studying in our memory work), and the last quarter is music appreciation.  These are things I probably would never (or even have the ability to) offer on my own...which makes me even more thankful for our CC community!

Another benefit of homeschooling is that when Daddy has a conference for his work (sometimes in the summer, sometimes in the fall), we get to go along!  This fall, Daddy's conference was in Orlando, we loaded up the van and headed toward the hotel!  Unfortunately, we hit a nail or something on the interstate, which caused a flat tire.  The good news is that my van has a warning feature when the tires lose pressure to let you know before it goes totally flat and causes a problem on the road.  Because of this, we were able to pull off at a rest area so Daddy could have plenty of room to change the tire...with a little help from his favorite assistant (and not worry about the danger of traffic)!  ;)  We ended up having to stop in Brandon and get a new tire since the spare isn't really intended for long-term use or interstate speeds.  We stopped at Costco, but they didn't have a tire to fit and they recommended Sears.  So, off to the Brandon Town Center we went.  While Daddy worked out all the details, the boys and I wandered around the mall and Daddy caught up with us for dinner in the food court while our tire was being replaced.  :)

While Daddy was in his conferences all day, the boys and I headed out for a "field trip" to Wonderworks.  Christopher, being the scientist that he is, had a BLAST!  He blew some giant bubbles, experienced what an earthquake would feel like (several times), walked on a giant keyboard, moved a ball with his mind, and many other wonderful things!  Jayden...well, he pretty much slept through it all!  ;)  Someday we'll go back and let him experience all the fun with his brother!
Jayden did get an adventure of his own while we were in Orlando, though!  He had his first ever swim in the pool...and unlike his brother at that age, he LOVED it!!  Now that Christopher has learned to love swimming, I see many fun summers in our future!  :)
Jayden also had his first Halloween...unfortunately, he was sick with a cold and couldn't go out.  :(  So, instead of dressing up, he dressed like Daddy and stayed home while big brother and I headed out! 
Our tradition every year is to stop at Grandma Jansen's house to trick-or-treat and then go to our church for their Halloween alternative.  Christopher dressed like a fireman this year.  Each year, we usually shop for the next year's costume after the holiday is over (when they are 50-70% off).  I just now realized we didn't do that for next year.  Guess I'm gonna have to make them something!  ;)


November was a very important month for our family!  It was the month where Jayden OFFICIALLY became a Jansen!  Of course, in our hearts, he had been a Jansen long before he was even born...but now, he was legally ours!  It was a crazy roller coaster ride.  We had gotten information from the attorney about the hearing in October (just before we went to Orlando) stating that we needed to return the paperwork she'd sent, along with $2,000.  Thinking this was a mistake, because all legal fees were included in Christopher's adoption and in a breakdown we had gotten from the agency, a chunk of what we'd paid was allocated for legal fees, we called the agency to confirm.  Turns out, the money we'd already paid for legal fees was to cover what the attorney had done for the agency...not her fees for the hearing.  It was a rough few weeks...but it all worked out in the end!  And on election day, November 6, 2012, Jayden officially became our son!

 Having seen pictures on a friend's facebook page, I knew there was a chalk art festival in Sarasota while we were up that way for the adoption, after the hearing and lunch, we stopped by to view the 3D chalk art.  It had rained, so not all of them were as good as the one above...but some of them were amazing!

With my new-found love of sewing, I decided to make pillow pals for all the littles in my family.  The only girl, Hannah Kate, requested a "ballerina one"...and so, I learned to make a tutu...thanks to a Youtube video (and descriptions from friends and a lady that works at JoAnn's)!  Not only does the tutu fit the pillow pal, but HK can also untie the ribbon, take it off the pillow pal, and wear it herself (which she did as soon as I told her that was a possibility)!

Above are all the pillow pals I made...each one just a little bit different.  If the child had a favorite color, I used those colors...otherwise, I picked fabric to make it somewhat unique to that child.  The two on the ends are for my nephews...same colors, and yet, still different! 
At some point in November, my computer bit the dust.  There was some problem with the operating, even though it powered on, it wasn't much use to me.  With Christmas just around the corner and an already tight budget, a new computer just wasn't gonna happen. So...I made do with my phone and iPad to check Facebook & emails, put in my Avon orders, and surf the web.  But, neither one would enable me to blog, that is why I was absent for so long!  After David received his bonus in January, we were finally able to replace my computer...which is why I'm able to update this blog today!  ;)  The only thing is...all new computers come with Windows 8, which has quite a learning curve to it...but, I'm getting there!  ;)



In December, Jayden got to go with me to my Avon Christmas party...all decked out in his Tiny Tillia by Avon attire!  Even though he slept through most of it...he was the hit of the party!  Christopher got to enjoy a day with Daddy at the office...he loves doing that!

Another big event for Jayden was that on 12/12/12...he got his VERY FIRST TOOTH!  The second one came just two days later!  All that drooling had finally paid off!  And nothing like a couple of toofers to make you wanna eat something more than baby food!  When we went for his six-month check-up, his pediatrician told us that he could eat anything, as long as it wouldn't choke him & gave the example that he could eat peanut butter, but not peanuts (due to the choke factor).  Boy!  Things sure have changed from when Christopher was a baby!  Anyway...we started feeding him whatever we were eating in hopes of helping him avoid his big brother's picky eating tendencies!  Grandma Jansen gave us a Baby Bullet for now he can have pretty much whatever we do!  WOO HOO!


Another big event was that Jayden played Baby Jesus in a couple of the performances of The Living Christmas Tree at our church.  They do seven three babies shared the role so that no one baby would have to be there at every performance...though we were there anyway because Christopher sang with PraiseKids (children's choir) in the performance and David was helping with Resonate (youth choir) we attended every rehearsal and every performance!  But, we loved every single minute of it, too!

On the day after the last performance of The Living Christmas Tree, Jayden learned to sit up on his own!  He was the oldest of the babies to play baby Jesus and they were a little concerned that he might not like laying down like a baby, as many babies who have learned to sit up on their own are like that.  So, I wouldn't let him even practice sitting up on his own until after the performances were over (one of his performances was on the LAST DAY)! When I finally let him try to sit up on his own the next day, I was amazed!  Of course, there was some falling over (which is the reason for the pillows behind him)...but he's come a long way since then!  :)

 Part of our Christmas traditions include going to the Christmas Eve service at our church.  It's a candlelight service and all the adults, teens, and older kids get a candle as they enter.  Little kids get a star on a stick.  This was Christopher's first year getting a candle and Jayden's first Christmas Eve service...a first for both my boys!  :)  I love this service because we always sing Christmas carols together as a church family, then the Christmas story is presented from the Bible (this year it was read by some of the pastors and their families), and a message is given by our pastor.  At the end, candles are lit across the sanctuary and the overhead lights are's absolutely beautiful! 

Christmas morning was so much fun at our house!  This was the first year that Christopher got REALLY excited about it.  In the past, David and I have always gotten up before him on Christmas morning and had to wait for him to get up...sometimes even making lots of noise in the hopes of waking him up!  Thankfully, I had an inkling it was going to be different this year and we roped off the door that led out from his bedroom and bathroom to the rest of the house so he couldn't get out if he got up before us.  "Santa" left him a note letting him know not to bust through it until after Mom & Dad were up to let him out.  Of all the things he got, I think Christopher loved his Hexbugs the most!  Jayden seemed pretty interested in them, too!  I am so thankful that Christopher is the type of big brother that he is willing to let his little brother see his new toys (as much as it is safe for him, anyway).  I am so blessed by the relationship these two have already!

On New Years Eve, our tradition is to stay home and watch the ball drop as a family...then we have sparkling grape juice in fancy glasses to celebrate!  Both boys stayed up to see in the new year...and Jayden was very curious about what we were Daddy gave him a sip, too!  Wanting to post the picture on Facebook, but not wanting to give the wrong impression, I also took a picture of Jayden with the bottle so everyone would know that it was just grape juice and nothing stronger!  ;)



In January, Christopher decided that he wanted to learn to sew.  He has watched me make things for him, his brother, and his cousins with my sewing machine and decided he'd like to give it a go.  He not only made, but also designed, a pillow toy for his brother as his first project!  He did very well...and I'm very proud of him!  At least I know who will get use out of my current sewing machine if I'm ever able to upgrade to one that embroiders!  In the meantime...I'll just have to share!  :)

On January 11th, several homeschoolers from our area took our annual field trip to LEGOLAND!  It's a great deal because the kids get in for about $5 and the adult tickets are around $25...much less than the normal ticket fees!  This was the second such trip for Christopher and me...but a first for Daddy and Jayden!  Christopher and Daddy had a blast on the rides while Jayden and I enjoyed the scenery!  We ALL enjoyed a lunch at the pizza and pasta buffet inside the park!  We are already looking forward to next year's trip!



As I mentioned in a previous post...DaRuMa's has a very special meaning to David and me on Valentine's Day (our first date)!  This year, we celebrated our 11th Valentine's Day together by taking Christopher with us to DaRuMa (Jayden had some Grandma Jansen time).  :)

Christopher loved watching the guy cook the food in front of us!  He wasn't the most entertaining of chefs we've had there...but Christopher, not knowing any different, enjoyed it all the same! 

Christopher especially loved the onion volcano (being that volcanos are his thing and all)!  He was amazed!  There's no doubt he enjoyed the whole experience...and is already asking when we are going back again!  Oh Boy!  I don't think it will be anytime soon (due to the cost factor)...but I know my favorite part of the whole dinner was watching him enjoy it all and his precious expressions!  I just love being this little boy's mommy!

OK...that was quite the update...but, at least now you know what we've been up to!  ;)  I packed a lot more pictures into this update than I usually do...and it was no easy task!  Internet Explorer kept refreshing itself and I kept losing pictures (especially if I tried to add more than two at a time) it took me a few days to complete the update as a result...but I needed the pictures to help me tell the I persevered!  You're welcome!  LOL!  ;)  Hopefully, it won't be so long before the next blog post and I won't have so much updating to do!  =)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I's been a long time since I blogged anything at all here...and I'll try to do an update later...but this day is special, so it gets it's very own blog!  ;)  Eleven years ago today, something big changed in my life.  They guy I had, up until that day, known only as a friend suddenly became so much more!  Even though I was sick and had stayed home from work that day, I was convinced (pushed) by my precious friend Robyn to join our singles group at DaRuMa (one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook in front of you) for our annual Valentine's Day dinner.  When I arrived, I was met by a very handsome man all dressed up and holding a single red rose (with our friends, who were all in on it, behind him)!  To say I was surprised would be a great understatement!

Earlier in the day, he had called many times trying to see me and I kept turning him down.  After all, I was sick, hadn't had a shower, and was not really in any mood to see anyone!  What I didn't know at the time was he had a bouquet of flowers with which he had tried to surprise me at work (only, I wasn't there)!  After dinner, we all went out for dessert...which is where he presented me with the flowers he had wanted to give me earlier.  :)

A month and a half later, on Easter weekend, this man would ask me to marry him at the fountain in our church's courtyard with many of those same friends cheering us on (along with many others as they filed out of the church service)!  In September of that year (on my maternal grandparents' anniversary), we would become husband and wife!  I indeed married my best friend!  <3 p="">
Since that day, we have made a life for ourselves as husband/wife to each other and mom/dad to two very precious little boys.  Not all of our days have been happy...but we've ridden this crazy roller coaster of life together and my sweet husband has loved me unconditionally through it all!  I am indeed very blessed to be his wife!  He listens to all my crazy ideas and angry rants...and loves me anyway!  He tells me every single day (usually multiple times during the day) that I'm beautiful, even though he knows that's the hardest compliment for me to accept.  He shows me he loves me with his actions.  He helps out around the house...doing the laundry, a lot of the cooking, and so much more!  He is the best daddy in the whole world...spending quality time with each of our sons...and even changing diapers (unless they are too messy - LOL!)!  ;)  He sends me random texts to tell me he loves me...especially when he knows I'm having a particularly hard day.  He loves me just the way I am and would continue loving me even if I never changed at all (which is very hard for me to wrap my brain around!)!  He cheers me on and supports me in everything I do!  He encourages and does everything he can to help me when I'm trying to make changes to better myself.  He is a gentleman through and through...and he's teaching that to our sons by example!

The picture above is a gift our oldest son put together for me for Valentine's Day.  Christopher had prepared this all on his own without any prompting from anyone, but he had shared with his dad that he had something special for me, even though he didn't share what it was (he just kept asking David when Valentine's Day was and saying he had something special for me).  Christopher woke up early this morning to present his gift to me.  He had chosen a Fun Dip valentine from the box we'd bought after the holiday last year for him (it's one of his favorites) and a $100 bookmark he had in his room.  Then, he wrote "I love you!" (using a purple marker - one of my two favorite colors) on an index card and made it into a paper airplane (his latest skill)!  This gift meant more to me than anything he could have purchased at a store because I know it came straight from his heart!  I know, without a doubt, that this idea came to him because his whole life, he has watched his Daddy make every day special for his Mommy...and always making Valentine's Day a little extra special!  :)

David and I count that dinner on Valentine's Day at DaRuMa as our first date, since we had been friends long before that and had done many things together with our group of friends. We didn't have any "alone dates" (just the two of us) until after we were engaged...and even then, it was always in a public place.  We made a point never to be completely alone while we were dating so that there could never be any reason for anyone to believe our love was anything but pure.  In fact, David was such a gentleman that he would end each date together by kissing my hand.  Only when I accepted his marriage proposal did he first kiss me on the lips (and he had even asked my permission to do so!)!  I'm so thankful for the way God brought us together and the way David courted me.  I am such a blessed woman...blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined possible!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ten Years Ago Today...

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend!  I made a promise to love him forever...little did I know ten years ago how easy it was going to be to keep that promise!  Our love has grown by leaps and bounds over the last ten years and for that, I am thankful!  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it wasn't because of anything either of us have done in our own strength, but because of the One who brought us together in the first place, and Who helped us grow closer together and to Him as the years have gone by.  What a love story He is writing!  If you will indulge me a bit, I'd love to tell you about it!  :)

About eleven or so years ago, I was praying over my list of qualities I wanted in a future mate.  First and foremost, he had to be a Christian so that he could be the spiritual head of our household.  He had to love me unconditionally.  He had to love children and desire to build a family with me.  And...well, I wanted him to have brown eyes.  ;)  It was the only physical characteristic on the list.  And the whole reason I wanted my husband to have brown eyes?  I wanted my child to have brown eyes.  Well, as I was praying over that list one morning during my quiet time, the brown eyes jumped out at me and it was almost as if God were asking me, "Really?  Is that a deal breaker for you?"  I finally agreed that if he had the other qualities, brown eyes weren't really all that important after all.  I look back on that day now and realize, that was what God was waiting for before revealing my mate to me...He wanted me to come into agreement with Him on what the man He had chosen for me would be like.  David does not have brown eyes...but he fits all the other qualifications to a T!  :)

The funny thing is that pretty much our whole singles group at church saw that God had chosen us for each other before either of us realized it!  In fact, on one of our singles trips to Orlando, they kept "ditching" us so we would have time to spend "alone" together...yet we found out later, they were never all that far away from us.  They could probably all have jobs in the CIA for their surveilance skills!  :)  It was on one of these trips that the veil was removed and David and I saw each other as more than just friends for the first time.  We had been friends in the singles group for years, but never thought of each other as more than a friend until God decided the time was right.  I remeber David and I walking from Universal back to the hotel were our group was staying (boys in one room, girls in another - back in the day when they would allow you to pack in as many people in a room as you wanted).  As we walked, I kept silently praying and asking God, "Is this the one, God?  If it is, thank you!  If not, please let me know!"  I silently repeated that prayer over and over as we walked.  You see, I'd never had a dating relationship that made me feel like being with David felt.  David treated me with such love and he really enjoyed being with me!  He pulled chairs out for me at restaurants, paid for my meals, and carried my shopping bags for me at the outlet mall.  That may sound silly and old fashioned to some of you, but it just melted my heart in ways that I can't even begin to describe!  :)

This was a trip our singles group took to Orlando (we all had annual passes to Universal) just after Christmas 2001.  I had spent Christmas with my family in Alabama, but met them in Orlando.  On the way back, everyone in the van decided that David needed to ride back with me so I wouldn't have to drive back alone (of course, they were right behind us in the van).  It was on this 4-hour drive that David and I really got to know each other as we shared stories about our family, our dreams, our interests, etc.  We had so much in common and thought so much alike on so many was like God made us for each other!  Imagine that!  ;)

We spent the next several weeks getting to know each other even better (always in a group or in a public place, so as to not be tempted to do anything we shouldn't before marriage).  Then, on March 30, 2002, David asked me to be his wife at our church's fountain right after the Easter worship service.  How very special!  Our friends were gathered around us, taking pictures and blowing bubbles!  David presented me with a boquet of roses...yellow for our friendship, white for the purity of our relationship, and red for love!  :)

It had always been my dream to get married on my maternal grandparents' anniversary...and it just happened to land on a Friday that year!  So, on Friday, September 27, 2002, I walked down the aisle of our church, which was the beginning of the best ten+ years of my life!  :)

Our life has not always been sunshine and unicorns...we've had our struggles along the way.  But, those struggles have served to bring us closer to each other.  One of those struggles was going through infertility and miscarriage.  I had always imagined that once I got married, pregnancy would naturally follow.  But, that was not to be the way for us.  However, God had greater blessings in store for us as a result.  Because of our struggles with conceiving children, we sought out adoption earlier than we probably would have otherwise...and as a result, we have two precious sons!  And...if you remember, the whole reason I wanted a husband with brown eyes is because I wanted my child to have brown eyes...well, Christopher has brown eyes!  God is sooooo good!!!!  :)

Today, I am thankful for a husband who loves me just as I am and also encourages me to be my best!  He loves me even when I don't love myself.  He encourages me when I'm feeling down and discouraged.  He helps me in more ways than I could ever name.  He is my rock, my confidant, my encourager, my friend!  Without him, I would not be who I am today...and I'm thankful!  And I'm thankful that God brought us together!  When you let God write your love story, it is always far more amazing than anything you could ever write yourself!  :)