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!  :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chick-fil-A Day - Why I Chose To Attend

Yes, I ate at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday (and on Thursday, for that matter)...but, it's probably not why you think.  It really had nothing to do with same-sex marriage.  If you know me at all, you know I'm pretty much a non-confrontational kind of gal.  It's not that I'm wishy-washy...just that I try to respect ALL people, regardless of whether they think like I do or not.  From what I read in my Bible, that's the kind of guy Jesus was...and my goal is to be more like Him (though I'm a long way off from that goal!).  :)

I usually stay away from such controversial issues as this because in almost every one of them, I have friends on both sides.  I read an article in the midst of the latest Chick-fil-A controversy that stated that Christians are not here to fight the issues.  All too often, we put those issues/causes/whatever-you-want-to-call-them above other people.  But that's not our purpose.  We were given a commandment to love our neighbor.  On Wednesday, I posted on my Facebook page verses in Matthew about this.  Here are the verses:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"  
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
~Matthew 22:36-39

If I truly love my neighbor as myself, then I'm not going to cut them down for their sins any more than I'd want someone to cut me down for mine.  Yes, according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin.  But so is lying, cheating, stealing, greed, and gluttony.  God didn't specify any sins as more heinous than any other with the exception of who am I to decide that someone else's sin is worse than my own?  We are all sinners and we all need Jesus.  He died to wipe away our sins so that we could spend eternity in Heaven...ALL of us!  No sinner is better than another, just as no sin is better than another.  God made ALL of us, He loves ALL of us...and He commands us to love each!

So...having said all that, why did I choose to participate in the Chick-Fil-A day?  For the simple reason that I wanted to support a business that shares my faith and has, from the very beginning, based all of their decisions and operating procedures on Christian values...both when it was socially acceptable...and even now that it is not.  My chicken sandwich was not against anyone...but instead in support of Christian values...something I do quite regularly anyway.  You see, it wasn't all that out of character for me to go to CFA...just that I stood in a little longer line than usual.  I wasn't making any kind of a political statement.  In fact, had I not been asked, I would have made no statement at all, other than the purchase of a lunch (that I probably would have purchased that day anyway since we were at the mall for my son to get a haircut).  But a lady did ask.  She asked me if I knew what we were supporting.  I simply told her I was supporting a business that stood for Christian values (which, by the way, seems to be a dying breed).

Another reason I chose to support CFA?  Because a friend of mine told me a little known story about Truitt Cathey.  You see, her parents worked for CFA when they were fact, that's where they met.  And when Truitt Cathey got wind of their pending marriage, he offered his own cabin as their honeymoon location.  When he realized that their honemoon was planned for the same weekend as his family's annual gathering at the cabin, he paid for the young couple's honeymoon at a location of their choosing!  My friend was born about 10 months later!  :)  

On a more personal note, when my cousin was dying of colon cancer, several of our family members went to CFA for lunch.  The owner of the local CFA paid for ALL of our lunches (about 20, in total)!  At the time, I thought it was simply a gesture of the individual owner, who also happened to be a friend of the family.  However, today, I learned through CFA's Facebook page that this is not an isolated incident.  A soldier returning from Iraq wanted CFA and his family called ahead because there were going to be about 15 or so of them.  Not only did they set up tables for them, but they decorated them with American flags and other such patriotic fare...and the owner paid for all of their meals as well!  That says a lot for a company and its values in my opinion.  :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Adoption Day, Christopher!

Eight years ago today, a judge made legal what David and I already felt in our hearts...the little boy we brought home from the hospital four months earlier was indeed our son!  I remember that day like it was yesterday...the drive back up to where our son had been born, sitting in the courthouse waiting our turn, even the warning the judge gave us before signing the paperwork!  He said, "You know, he's really cute right now...but there will come a day when he's not so cute and cuddly.  There will come a day when he will test you.  You can't bring him back when he's a teenager...if I sign this paper, he's yours forever!"  He was right on three things...he's really cute, he has tested us (on many occasions), and he's ours forever!!!  Not once in the eight years that I've had the pleasure of being his mommy have I wanted to take him back.  I fact, we are hoping that when it is time for Jayden's adoption finalization hearing, we'll be able to have the same judge so we can tell him that not only do we not want to bring Christopher back, we came back for another just like him!  :)

We are so blessed to have such a sweet, loving little boy!  As his Aunt Betsy said last night, he is wise beyond his years.  That has become even more evident since welcoming his little brother into our home!  Christopher absolutely LOVES his new role as big brother!  He's always thinking of Jayden and wants to make sure he is included as much as possible.  Every morning when Christopher wakes up, he seeks out Jayden and loves on him before doing anything else.  When we are at the table eating and Jayden (who has already eaten) is in his bouncy seat, Christopher says that Jayden is lonely and brings him close to the table
(right next to his own seat, I might add).

Since we first found out about Jayden, people have asked Christopher if he was going to help out with his baby brother...and Christopher would agree to anything EXCEPT changing the diaper...that's where he drew the line! Saturday night, a friend of our family had asked him the same question he's gotten so many times about changing diapers...and his response was, "NEVER!"  But, for whatever reason, he changed his mind yesterday and actually changed Jayden's diaper...and it wasn't just a wet one, either!  We have the video to prove it!  Daddy did have to help with the wiping part, but Big Brother Christopher did the rest!  I'm so proud of him!

I know it's been awhile since we've done a blog update (3+ weeks, to be exact)...but I've been a little busy (and sleep-deprived) since we got home from the hospital!  ;)  I'll do an update on Jayden soon...but in the meantime, I'll post some pictures of the brothers together!

The picture above was the first time Christopher got to meet Jayden.  On the way over to the hospital, he asked David, "I'm going to get to see my brother in REAL LIFE...not just pictures and videos?!?"  Yesterday, he made the comment that he had to wait a WHOLE DAY to meet Jayden!  He had been so good about waiting patiently at the hotel and hanging out with Daddy while I was at the hospital...but these two statements make it obvious he was as anxious as everyone else to meet his little brother!  :)

We had given Christopher his own camera as a Big Brother gift and he quickly put it to use when he met Jayden for the first time!  :)

The above picture is what Christopher often does first when he wakes up...he finds his little brother and talks lovingly to him for quite some time before moving on to other activities.  And the following pictures are just some great pictures of Christopher with his little brother!  Christopher loves Jayden so much, he's always asking me to take pictures of the two of them together...and of course, I'm happy to oblige!  ;)

If you are on Facebook, you likely have seen some of these pictures already.  But, I felt the were worth repeating!  :)  As much fun as it is to have a new baby in the's every bit as much fun to know that for the last 8 years, 4 months, and 3 days, I've had the joy and the privilege of being Christopher's mommy!  He amazes me every day with his sweet spirit, his creativity, his tender compassionate heart, his enthusiasm, his stamina, his everything!  And because of that, I can't end this post without a special thanks to his birth mom...because without her, none of this would have been possible!  Because she made a decision to carry not one, but two little boys to full term and chose us to adopt both of them, I am one blessed woman today!

Happy Adoption Day, Christopher!  I love you with all my heart!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012


I really wanted to write this blog last night, but I just couldn't put two thoughts together by the time I got back to the hotel.  And I'm not sure I'll do much better tonight - but really wanted to get this post done before too much time passed.  :) 

We drove up Wednesday afternoon and checked into our hotel.  Once we got settled in, we found a local restaurant and had dinner, and then went to Publix to pick up a few things we needed (our hotel has a kitchen, so it enables us to cook some meals & save on eating out).  When we got back to the hotel, we gave Christopher his Big Brother gift from Jayden.  He was so excited!

Christopher got his very own camera so he could take his own pictures of Jayden.  Christopher loves taking pictures and video & we found out that his new camera lets him do both! 

That night, I got very little sleep...but not for a lack of trying!  I kept tossing and turning...and checking the clock!  I finally fell asleep sometime after 12:30am (once I finally realized how to turn off the sound notifications every time someone posted to my Facebook page)...but I was awake again by 2am.  I slept in little 30-45 minute segments until about 5:15am - so, I guess you could say I slept like a baby!  LOL!  ;)  I met the lady from the adoption agency in the front of the hospital and she and I walked to the Labor and Delivery area together.  When we got there, we found out that I was the only one allowed in - so we parted ways there at the nurse's station so I could go to where they were getting the birth mother checked in.  I was given a surgical gown and booties to put on and handed a mask that they said I should put on just before going into the OR.  After the nurse was done gathering all the birth mother's information, I asked the birth mom if I could pray with her and she said she would like that very much!

They took the birth mom in first to get her prepped for surgery while I waited in what would become the recovery room.  When they were ready to begin the c-section, they called me in and I was shown a stool to sit on.  As they began the surgery, the birth mom asked me to pray with her again, which I happily agreed!  Before long, we heard a strong cry coming from the other side of the curtain.  I stood up to see, but was quickly instructed to sit back down.  His official birth time is 9:31 a.m. 

Once he was out and the cord was cut, they brought him around to the warming table in the OR to clean him up.  I kept hearing the nurses comment on the fact that Jayden looked like he was 42 weeks...which confirms what I thought when I saw him on the ultrasound!  :)

Just like his big brother, Jayden has quite a good set of lungs on him!  He was quite vocal about his objections to pretty much everything they did to him on that warming table!  Just after the above picture was taken, they wrapped him up in a blanket and handed him to me.  After giving his birth mom a minute to look at him, I got to carry him into the recovery room, where they weighed him (7 lbs. 8 oz.), measured him (19 1/2 inches), and gave him his first bath.  The only time he wasn't screaming was when he was holding my finger.  I couldn't get over how much he looks like Christopher did when he was born!

After they were out of recovery, we ended up in a room in the pediatric unit because they didn't have any available beds in the post partum unit.  The nice thing about that is that every room in the pediatric unit is a private room.  :)  The birth mother's family came shortly after we were out of recovery and her mother gave me a hug and told me how thankful THEY were that WE were willing to adopt Christopher's brother!  Oh...if they only knew!

This whole experience has been so different from when Christopher was born!  We didn't get to spend much time with Christopher right after he was born...just about an hour or so in the nursery.  Then, we went back to the hotel until he was ready to go home the next day.  But with Jayden, I have been with him pretty much his whole life!  Not only did I get to be there when he was born, but I've also had the pleasure of staying in the room for most of the last two days!  The nice thing about being in the room with Jayden and his birth mom is that not only did I get to bond with my new baby, but I also got to know the birth mom of both my sons so much better!  I have always had such great respect for her for having the courage to do something I know I could never do - place a child she'd carried in her womb for 9 months up for adoption!  But, what's even more amazing is that from the very beginning, she's always referred to us as the parents! 

I remember right after Christopher was born and she held him first, after awhile she told him, "I think your Mommy wants to hold you now" and had the nurse hand him to me.  When we went for the ultrasound for Jayden, she always referred to David and I as the parents.  And even today, as the nurse presented her with a consent form, she asked my permission before she signed it!  There is no doubt in my mind that she loves these boys every bit as much as I do...and yet, she has done far more than I would ever be able to do - she's let them go because she knows that is what's best for them!  For that, I will be forever grateful!

Today, Christopher got to come up to the hospital to meet his brother for the first time.  The agency advised us against letting their birth mom meet Christopher before she signed the papers relinquishing her parental rights of Jayden, so it took a little bit of fanagaling to get it done.  But, with the help of a wonderful nurse, we pulled it off without a hitch!  When I told Nurse Millie what we wanted to do, she came up with the plan for me.  She told the birth mom she was going to take him to give him a shot and invited me to come along.  She took us into another room in the unit, where David and Christopher met us.  David told me that on the ride over, Christopher said, "I'm going to get to see my brother FOR REAL, not just pictures and video?!?"  ;)  When he came in the room, all Christopher could say was, "He's so cute!" - which he repeated over and over during his visit!  He also got a lot of use out of his new camera!  ;)

After we had our visit, the nurse gave Jayden his shot and took him back into the birth mother's room while David, Christopher, and I went to grab some lunch.  When I got back to the room, the birth mother's family was there and I got to visit with them as well.  I have learned so many wonderful things about them that I look forward to sharing with my boys as they grow and ask!  I'm so thankful for that time with them!

Tomorrow, we get to take Jayden home.  The way it works here is that the birth mother can sign the papers to relinquish her parental rights 48 hours after the birth or when she is released from the hospital, whichever comes first.  Because she had a c-section and had a hard time managing the pain afterwards, that time comes at 9:31 a.m. tomorrow.  The agency director will go up in the morning around that time with the paperwork and meet with the birth mother.  Once she has signed the papers and the baby is ready to go, I will dress him in the outfit I made for him and we will get to bring him home!  I can't wait!  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Countdown is ON!!!

It is now 7:17pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.  In less than 36 hours from now, I will be getting to the hospital to prepare for Jayden's birth!  In 38 hours, our precious little guy should be here!!!  To say I'm excited is, well, quite an understatement!!!  And if you are friends with me on Facebook, you know just what an understatement that is!  I have been posting the daily countdown for over a week now...and I'm down to hours (and occasionally minutes).   ;)  I've had some fun with my countdown, though.  I found an app on my phone where I can send a fake text I made it look like Jayden sent the text message below, then took a screen shot of my phone and pasted it on Facebook as one of the countdown days!  ;)

Today is Jayden's due date, according to the last ultrasound (the one we went to & found out Jayden's a boy!).  But, for some reason I may never know, the doctors scheduled the C-section for two days after the due date.  I guess they know better than, we wait!  ;)  I have now packed and repacked Jayden's diaper bag half a dozen times (at least!) and think I've made my final pack...and to be quite honest, we actually have 3 bags packed for Jayden!  The diaper bag has diapers, formula, wipes, etc. needed for the trip home (including the cute teddy bear his big brother bought him).  The second bag has back-up formula and diapers in case we need them (this includes size 1 diapers in case Jayden happens to be more than 10 pounds)!  The third bag has extra clothes, burp cloths, etc. in case Jayden is a messy baby and/or if he is released from the hospital on Friday evening and gets to spend Friday night in the hotel room with us!  Yeah...I'm well least as far as Jayden is concerned.  And to think...I was only a girl scout for one year (and I'm not even sure it was a whole year)!  ;)

Today was a GREAT day!  I took Christopher to Vacation Bible School at our church and then went to Calistoga to do some Homeschool Evaluations for a couple of families.  One of the requirements for homeschooling in our state is that the child must be evaluated by a certified teacher at the end of the year to be sure that the child is making progress.  Since I still have a current certification (and plan to keep it current), I'm able to do this for other homeschooling families and make a little pocket money!  After evaluating a 1st Grade girl, 2nd Grade girl, and Kindergarten boy, I was off to make some Avon deliveries.  My precious friend Sarah picked up Christopher from Vacation Bible School (along with her 3 precious children) so I could have time to finish my deliveries before lunch.  I met them at Jason's Deli and we had lunch (including ice cream for dessert) and then headed off to the local children's museum for the kiddos to play while the mommies chatted.  ;)

I happened to catch Christopher getting his friend ready her news cast in the Weather News Room at the children's museum.  I love seeing him help others!

Then Christopher got a chance to be the news caster!  ;)  Only problem is that his shirt is blue (same color as the screen behind him) it looked like he was a talking head!  LOL!  :)

Lunch and an afternoon at the children's museum was EXACTLY what I needed to get my mind off the fact that today is Jayden's due date and the countdown to his birth.  And takes me back to 8 years, 3 months ago when my cousin did something similar while I was waiting for Christopher to be born.  We didn't have a scheduled birth date for Christopher and I was teaching at the when the birth mom started to dialate and things were looking like it might be close, my principal advised me to go ahead and start my maternity leave.  After 4 days of waiting at home with nothing happening, my cousin called me and asked me to spend the day with her.  She took me to breakfast and then we helped move her husband's office.  Afterwards, we went to McDonald's to pick up some Happy Meals for her youngest son's class...and it was there that I got the call that it looked like the birth mom might be in labor!  That was Christopher's actual due date.  It turned out, he was born the following afternoon.  ;)

I know I've said it before...but I'm so thankful for my sons' birth mom!  She is enduring so much so that I have the blessing and privilege to raise two precious children.  She may get to feel their kicks and movement in her womb...but I get to tuck them into bed every night, experience their milestones, and watch them grow!  So...if you think about it over the next few days, please say a prayer for her.  I'm thankful that she has never waivered in her decision to place these boys with us, and yet, I know how much she loves them and how hard this decision is for her.  Pray for her as she prepares to have surgery on Thursday morning.  Pray for her healing after Jayden is born.  Pray for her time of grieving.  Pray for strength for her as she faces the days ahead without the sons she gave birth to.  Pray that her walk with the Lord is strengthened and she draws ever closer to Him.  :)

This may be the last post to the blog that I make before Jayden is born.  So...if you are wondering exactly how long it is until his birth, just check the countdown clock at the top of this post!  ;)  Thank you all for being with me on this amazing journey!  It's not over fact, it's really just beginning!  But without your love, support, and prayers...I'm not sure we would be at this point!  So...THANK YOU!!!!  =)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Big Brother's Day Out

What's that?  Why yes, I am blogging twice in one day!  What do you know!  :)  But I just had to share!  This afternoon after Brady's mom picked him up, Christopher and I decided to go to the bowling alley and get some use out of those Kids-Bowl-Free coupons!  Just us.

Christopher had a blast!  We did use bumpers, but he didn't use the ramp thing.  We were neck-and-neck with our scores!  The boy is good!  And we had a lot of fun together during this mother-son outing!

Christopher kept a close watch on those scores, too!  He really enjoyed our special outing together.  Funny thing is, one of the workers (who was apparently board due to the lack of work to do since there was only one other bowler in the building) asked me if I was a pro bowler.  LOL!!!  I looked for any hint of kidding or sarcasm...but found none!  He was serious!  Oh my!  Either he didn't know much about the sport of bowling or he couldn't see the scores on the screen...because if he did, he would have KNOWN better!  

However, looking at the form of my bowling buddy, maybe, just maybe he saw some talent there that was yet to be discovered!  I'm not sure where he came up with this technique, but I've seen a few pro bowlers use it and, for the most part, the bumpers were unnecessary!  He really did great!  I think my favorite part was as we were leaving, he told me he really enjoyed it being just us!  :)

Several weeks ago, Christopher had received some money from Grandma Jansen and Uncle Chuck.  The money came without any strings attached, but Grandma did mention that he might want to buy his brother something with part of the money.  So...of to Wally World we went for him to pick out something for his brother!  We spent quite a lot of time in that baby toy aisle as he checked out each and every toy offered!

I was both humbled and amazed at the generosity of my precious son!  I honestly thought he might pick out one, maybe two small items and use the rest of the money on himself.  But, that was not to be the case!  When he threw the third item in the cart, he must have noticed the look of surprise on my face and said, "What?!?"  When I told him that might take most of his money, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, it IS for my BROTHER!!!"  I couldn't help but grin and be oh so proud!  We thought we were done when he saw a cute little teddy bear that said "My First Bear" on the tummy and was oh so snuggly!  Christopher fell in love with it and immediately wanted to get it for his brother.  But, when we added up the costs, it was more than he had the money for.  So, as he surveyed the items in the cart, he remembered that I had purchased a turtle similar to, but smaller than the one pictured above and asked if it was staying with us or going with Brady.  When I told him it was staying, he decided that his brother didn't really need two turtles and put this one back.  There was some serious thought that went into each and every gift he chose for Jayden!  You can tell he loves his little brother as much as we do!  :)

10 Days...and Counting!

It seems like just yesterday that we got the call about Jayden...and a million years away, too.  It's been quite a journey - one that's not quite over yet!  When I look back and remember the day we'd gotten the call, the days I didn't think it was going to happen, the phone call from a sweet friend telling me it would, the fundraisers, the unexpected financial blessings, the love and support from friends, family, and complete strangers...I am just amazed!  I am amazed at all God has done and all He continues to do!  If you have had any part in this journey, whether it be financial, hands-on service, and/or prayers...or even just listening to me and encouraging me, I am extremely thankful!  It is because of you that we are now just 10 days away from Jayden's birth (unless he decides to come earlier)!  You are all such a blessing to me!

I have a few minutes while Christopher is still asleep and the little "loaner child" (Brady) that we've been watching the last 3 months while his mother works takes a nap, so I wanted to take a moment and reflect on what I'm thinking today.  No real agenda or plan to this post...just an opportunity for you to get in my head and share in my thoughts of the day (scary, I know!).  :)

We have a stroller (one that can also be a double stroller so that when Brady comes back in the fall I only have to push one stroller) and an infant car seat.  The diaper bag has been packed...and re-packed, and re-packed again!  ;)  Last night, I sterilized all the bottles and pacifiers (and again re-packed the diaper bag).  And yes, I may indeed count down every single day until his birth on Facebook!  I'm just that excited!!!!  =)

This past weekend, a very dear friend of mine sent me a text message and asked if I wanted to go grab some Starbucks with her after church.  I agreed...I'm always up for some girl-time!  I met her after church and got in her we are driving and chatting, I realize she's not going toward any Starbucks I know and I'm slightly confused, but enjoying the conversation so much that I don't think too much about it.  After awhile, my friend makes a confession.  "We're not going to Starbucks," she says.  "We're going to Target.  You're going to pick out your baby gift from me!"  WHAT?!?!?  ;)  At this point, we are both laughing, mostly from surprise, her from the sheer joy of pulling off the surprise!  ;)  I could not believe it!  But, I had so much fun walking through those aisles of precious little baby things with her...but even more fun was sharing in the conversations with her over those baby things!  It reminded me of when I was a little girl and my grandmother would take me shopping for my birthday gift.  She would take me to the store and hand me a buggy (a.k.a. shopping cart) and I could put whatever my little heart desired in that buggy!  Then, when I had exhausted the aisles of toys and books, she would send me to the car with my aunt (who is 10 years my senior) and she would dig through the buggy to find several things to wrap up and give me on my birthday.  My grandmother told me she did this so that she would know she was getting me something I liked, but it would also be a surprise!  Those are some very precious memories of my childhood...unknowingly brought back to life by my precious friend!  

Thursday will be my last day with Brady (a.k.a. our loaner child) until the fall.  His mom teaches at the school where I used to teach and I've been watching him since February.  It's been great "big brother training" for Christopher...and a big help in reminding me what it's like to have a baby around again...after all, it's been 8 years since I've done the baby thing on a regular basis!  I'm going to miss the little guy...he's become a part-time member of our family over the last three months.  I think Christopher will miss him, too...that was evident during spring break when we didn't have him for a whole week!  :)  But, he'll be back in mid-August.  We desperately need a new car.  David and I have each had our cars since before we got married (10 years in September).  Though David's car (a Toyota) is older than mine (a Suzuki), my car is in worse shape and is nearing the end of its great testimony to the value of a well-made car like Toyota!  :)  We haven't had a car payment in quite a few, the money from watching Brady will come in handy!  We are hoping to find a mini-van or other car with 3 rows of seats so that I have enough room for 2 car seats and a booster seat!  Sad as it may sound, my dream car has always been a mini-van!  I never longed for sports cars or anything like that.  Because I have always wanted a large family, it's the mini-van that caught my car-envy eye!  Yeah, I know...I'm weird.   ;)

I had hoped that Jayden would be born on June 8th...that day seemed so perfect.  We would be done watching Brady the day before and we would be back home in time for Christopher to go to VBS (Vacation Bible School) at our church.  It's also my dad's (and Aunt Ann's) birthday...and I couldn't help but think how special it would be for Jayden to share a birthday with his Pop!  But, unless Jayden decides to come on his own, that's not to be.  The doctors have determined that he will be born by c-section on Thursday, June 14th.  Flag Day.  I'm not sure how I feel about that...but it's really not my choice.  I do not get to make decisions about Jayden until after he is released from the hospital.  Until then, it's up to his birth mom and her doctors.  

I think that's one of the hardest parts of this stage of the adoption...especially this time around.  We have known about Jayden almost as long as his birth mom has.  It's the closest I've ever been to carrying a child to full-term...and yet, just when most moms at this point are making birth plans (which my Baby Center app keeps reminding me I need to do), I'm just on standby.  I wish there was a way I could feel what she's feeling.  I want to feel Jayden move.  I want to feel his kicks and punches as he tries to stretch out in his cramped living quarters.  I would even welcome the heartburn, swollen feet, contractions, and any other uncomfortable parts of late pregnancy...just to be that much closer to my son.  But, instead, I wait for phone calls from the agency (I will not even pretend that there is an ounce of patience as I'm waiting, either!) to tell me about the latest doctor visit and/or update.  I do my best to make plans for his birth on our end...knowing every plan I make has to be flexible.  And I wait.  So, if you get tired of my daily countdown on Facebook, please forgive me.  I'm just an excited momma anxious to meet her newest little blessing!

For those of you who see me on a regular basis, you know I've been counting down for quite some time...first in months, then in in days (and occasionally in hours)!  :)  But, someone actually caught me off guard without a ready countdown response!  Last week at church, someone asked me how far away we were...and I couldn't remember if it was 2 or 3 weeks!  I think it's because I got thrown off when they scheduled the c-section for 2 days AFTER the due date.  At least that's my story, and I'm sticking with it!  ;)  But now, I know.  And I can't wait!  A sweet friend reminded me today on Facebook that I'm now at the "only one more Sunday without him" part!  YAY!!!!!!

OK...I think that's enough for today.  I'd like to say that I'll do a daily blog until he comes...but I know that's somewhat unrealistic.  However, you just never know!  ;)  Thanks for indulging me in my ramblings of the day!  May God bless you greatly for your love, caring and friendship!  =)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Showers of Blessings

When Jayden makes his arrival, he is going to be one of the most loved babies on the planet!  I had the blessing of not one, but three gatherings to celebrate our newest son!  

Our BLG (stands for Bible and Life Group, a.k.a. Sunday School) at church does a Celebration of Life dinner for mommies who are expecting a child that is not their first.  The mommy-to-be gets to choose the location and all the ladies in the group go out to dinner...the ultimate Girls Night Out!  I, of course, picked Po Boys Shrimp Shack (owned by my friends Shawn & Josi Teeters)...and the evening couldn't have better!  Since we went on a Monday night in "off-season," we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves...except for the one sweet couple who quietly sat behind us and came up to wish us well and take a picture of us before they left (I can't remember whose camera the lady used...but if it's you, can you please email that pic to me?)!  What a wonderful blessing it was to spend an evening with these precious ladies!  The cake above is from this dinner...I loved how they took the meaning of Jayden's name and used it this way!  We are indeed thankful!!!!

Then, quite unexpectedly, I walked into my Holding On To Hope meeting at church to discover that they were throwing a surprise shower for me and two other ladies in the group!  This is a group of women who have suffered infertility, miscarriage, and/or child loss and we get together every other week to discuss a book related to what we are going through and to share with each other in a way only those who have walked the road we're walking can understand.  God has done some pretty amazing things in this group...just about everyone who has stayed in the group has ended up with a child - either through adoption, birth, and/or fostering!  One of the ladies that shared the shower with me came to our group when she found out her son that she was pregnant with at the time would not live outside her womb.  We were able to support her through this and now she is pregnant with a precious little girl due in the fall.  Going in to the meeting, I knew there was going to be a shower...but I thought it was just for this lady!  I was very surprised to find out it was also for me!  The other shower honoree recently gave birth to a sweet little princess a couple of months ago  after dealing with secondary infertility.  I am just so amazed by this group of  amazing women that I now have the honor and privileged to call my friends!  We have become as close as family...and yet, except for this group and the common thorn that brought us to it, I might have missed out on getting to know many of them!  I am so thankful for each and every one of them!

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friends Rhonda and Jen threw a great baby shower for me!  Several of my friends from church and homeschool groups I'm involved in came out to celebrate Baby Jayden!  

I ALMOST wore my Choose Life adoption fundraiser shirt to the shower...but opted for a nice sweater instead (I must admit, it was a totally vain decision...I look better in a sweater than t-shirts and I knew photos would be taken of me!).  I kinda regretted my decision not to wear it when I saw the hosts of my shower sporting their own!!!  But, then I felt better when my friend Judy showed up in hers...and all three of the shirt colors were represented at the shower!  ;)

Not only was it a great shower...but it was a great afternoon of visiting with some very precious friends...some of whom I don't get to spend nearly as much time with as I would like!  :)

And, of course, there were some precious baby gifts to unwrap!  Lots cute little outfits and lots of the everyday stuff we will need when he gets here!  I can NOT wait to use each and every one of them with Jayden!  

I got a HUGE surprise when I opened the gifts in the next two pictures...they were secretly sent by my very dear friend Sherry in Alabama to my friend Lynda (who lives here) so that I could open them at the shower!  I could not believe it!  

 Another special gift came from my friend Angelica, who made the basket below!  If you need a gift basket of any kind for any reason, I highly recommend her!  

Another special part of the shower came as I read the precious note written by my friend Stacy's sweet daughter Zoe!  Stacy said she was getting ready for the shower and realized she needed a card for their gift, so she asked Zoe to put something together for her while she got ready.  To read what this sweet girl with special needs wrote was both humbling and some of the most precious words I've ever read!  That girl is a treasure indeed!  :)

I know you are dying to know what the note here it is:

This baby is going to love its new parents and
Entering your guy's life!
It's going to be so grateful to have
A great Mommy and Daddy and Big
Brother who will adore him when he's here
What a blessing to its life you guys will be.

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Stacy and kids

Above is a group picture of those precious ladies who took time out of their busy Sunday afternoon to spend a few hours with me in honor of one of the greatest blessings God has provided!  I am so thankful for each and every one of these women!  I would adopt them all as sisters if I could!  I am so blessed to have so many great friends!  :)

 Kirstin and Kasia are two of my fellow homeschool moms and we were all in the same Classical Conversations community last year.  Kasia's daughters also do gymnastics with Christopher on Monday afternoons.  I met Kirstin when her daughter Kyla was in Kindergarten with Christopher. Christopher loves playing with ALL her children...but has formed a special bond with her son (who is a year younger)...and Dominic is STILL praying that Christopher gets his maybe there's another Jansen child yet to come!  ;)

My friend Lynda (who secretly brought Sherry's gift to the shower...girl can keep a secret!  I had NO idea!!!), me, my friend Stacy (whose daughter wrote the sweet note), and my friend Judy!  Love these women!   =)

At the end of the shower, a few of us sat around and had some girl talk!  I enjoyed that precious time every bit as much as the shower!  I love having girl time!!!  Thanks to my friend Rhonda, who opened her home and was such a gracious host for my shower and the girl time that came afterwards!  :) that the showers are done, the car seat and stroller (thanks to Grandma Jansen for the gift card that made those possible!) are put together and ready to go (among other necessities), as well as the high chair that Uncle Bob & Aunt Betsy sent from Ohio...we are ready to go!!!  Provided the anonymous couple that pledged to give us $15,000 toward our adoption sends in their last $3,000, ALL of the funding is DONE!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!!!

Even though Jayden's due date is June 12th, the doctors have scheduled a C-section for June 14th (not sure why they are scheduling it AFTER the due date...but it is what it is!).  So, unless Jayden decides to start making his wishes to be born sooner known before then, that's when he will be born.    That's TWO WHOLE WEEKS AWAY!!!!...and even though the last several months since we found out about him have flown, the last two seem like an eternity away!  I am so VERY READY to hold that little boy in my arms, count his fingers and toes, give him some "neck sugar" (as my aunt calls it), and just love on him!  Please pray for us during this time as we make plans to travel up for the birth (most importantly, that if she does go into labor early, that we are able to make it there in time!).  The doctors told the birth mom she could only have ONE person in the delivery room for the birth...and out of all the people she COULD have picked, she picked ME!!!!   WOW!!!!!!  I had the blessing of being in the room when Christopher was born and I will also have that blessing when Jayden is born!  I can't wait!!!

Pray also for the birth mom during her last two weeks with Jayden.  Pray for peace, for health, and for comfort.  She's had some back problems, which is why they are doing the C-section.  Pray for healing for her back.  Pray for her to prepare for life without him and pray for blessings on her!  I am so blessed to know her!  This woman has more love and courage in her than I may ever know!  There is no doubt in my mind that she loves Christopher and Jayden with all her heart...and it is because of that love for them that she is making the hard choice to place them for adoption with us!  She has not made this choice lightly and she has not once wavered in her choice...and for that, I have the utmost respect for her!  Please, whatever you do, do not judge her for the choices she's made...because for whatever mistakes she may have made (and we have ALL made mistakes in our lives), two of the choices she has made have blessed me more than I could EVER describe with mere words!

I also ask you to pray for Christopher as he prepares to be a big brother and pray for us as we prepare to be the parents of TWO boys!  Pray for wisdom in some decisions we will make around the time of Jayden's birth.  Pray for blessings, wisdom, and mercy for all involved in this process.  But most importantly, pray that this will all bring glory to God!  Without Him, there would be no Jayden!  He has indeed moved a mighty big mountain to bring this little boy into our family!  Thanks to each and every one of you who have allowed Him to use you in blessing us throughout this process!!!  We are blessed indeed!!!  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Long Time, No Blog! ;)

It's been awhile since I've posted anything...mostly because I didn't have a computer to blog on!  I came home from Classical Conversations (a homeschool group) back in late March to find that my computer was dead (or at least in a severe coma).  My hubby originally thought it was the power supply, which would have been a pretty easy fix...but after buying one and bringing it home, we discovered that wasn't the problem after all.  The computer turned on long enough for the motherboard to start smoking!  So...we bought a new motherboard, only to discover the processor wasn't working either.  After waiting several weeks for a processor to come in, my hubby put the computer back together...but the operating system wouldn't boot because the motherboard wasn't an HP motherboard!  OH MY!

So...David calls HP and talks with their equivalent of "Peggy" (from the Discover Card commercials).  After quite some discussion on the phone, David is transferred to Tori (an actually helpful HP Customer Service Rep) and discovers that my computer is still under warranty (which we never suspected, given that the computer is about 2 years old) and if it could be returned to it's original non-working state, they could repair it for free.  So...David took out the new motherboard/processor, re-installed the old, non-working motherboard/processor and waited for HP to send us a box to ship the computer to them.  The good news in all this is that somewhere along the line, David mentioned that I use my computer for my Avon because it was a business computer, they upgraded the shipping to Express (for free!)!!  So, box arrived, we packed it up and shipped it off, and it came back in full working order!  WOO HOO!!!  The day after it arrived, Tori called to see if it was working and if there were any further problems.  From all that she said they replaced, it sounds like I've pretty much got a new computer!  :)

So...that explains why I haven't been blogging lately.  Not for a lack of events...just because it's very hard to blog without a computer!  LOL!  So...without further ado, let me catch you up on some of the other life events that have been going on! :)

The first big event was that on the last day of our Classical Conversations homeschool group, we had to say a farewell to our friends, the Sotos.  Christopher and Emily were in PK4 together and have been the best of friends ever since.  I met Emily's mom, my sweet friend Maureen, on the playground one day after school the year our kids were in PK4.  We have been through many ups and downs together...and it was heartbreaking to let them go, even though we know God has great plans for them where He has called them!  Christopher and I both were in tears on the way home from the park that day!  But we are looking forward to many visits with them...both here and there!  :)

In my last blog post (which I did on a borrowed computer), I told you about a very special event that was taking place in Christopher's life...his Baptism! It may have taken him a year, but he finally overcame his fear of the water! We never wanted to push him into something he wasn't ready to do, so even though his profession of faith had been made a year earlier, we waited on him to be ready to take the next step. All on his own, he announced that he was finally ready! We chose Easter weekend for his baptism because baptism is a picture of what Easter is all about!

On Easter morning, we have a tradition at our house that the "Easter Bunny" sends Christopher on a scavenger hunt to find his basket.  This year, the clues took Christopher to the kitchen, Jayden's nursery, the game closet, his playroom, and finally to Daddy's closet to find his basket.  At each clue, there was a candy-filled carrot.  We started this tradition about 3 years ago, when Christopher first learned to read.  Christopher loved it so much that it quickly became a tradition!  I can't wait until Jayden is old enough to read his own clues...but I'm not rushing!  I know how fast that time can fly!

Later that day, we went to Grandma Jansen's house for Easter dinner with Grandma and Uncle Chuck. Christopher brought along his Uno cards, so after dinner, we enjoyed a few games of Uno.  I have always enjoyed playing board games and card games...and it looks like Christopher is following in my footsteps!  :)

Because of Jayden, I have been able to re-join the MOPS (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) group at my church.  I have really enjoyed being a part of the group and have been blessed so much.  I even had the opportunity to brag on God a bit as I gave my adoption testimony one week.  Our MOPS group had an Easter Egg hunt just before Easter and Christopher had a blast!  I'm not quite sure, though, which he enjoyed more..."hiding" eggs for the little ones (which pretty much constituted of tossing them on the ground for easy hunting by the littlest of egg hunters), hunting eggs with his own age group, or pushing the toy car around with his buddy John Robert's little sister (Sarah Kate) inside after the hunts were all done!  He is going to make an awesome big brother!  He loves taking care of the little ones and helping them have fun, too!

Just after Easter, our Classical Conversations group had their End of the Year Program.  As a group, they said John 1:1-7 in both English and Latin.  In the past year, we have learned many great facts about American history, some English and Latin grammar, math facts, American geography (including all 50 states and capitols), and did some great science experiments!  Classical Conversations is a great way for kids to the elementary level, most of it is learned through memorization of songs and chants that they will be able to fall back on when they are older.  I think the best way it was explained to me is by relating it to the Alphabet Song we teach to toddlers.  They may have no clue what those letters are or that they are used to make words, let alone be able to read...but later in life when they are trying to put those words in alphabetical order, they fall back on that catchy Alphabet Song to help them figure it out!  :) 

Of course, school is still in session at the Jansen Christian Academy!  And sometimes, Daddy gets to be a part of the homeschooling fun!  These pictures were taken the day we had our home study completed.  Daddy took the morning off and while we waited for the adoption agency director to come down to do the home study (usually this part of the process is done before you are matched with a birth family, but NOTHING has been normal about this adoption!), Christopher showed off to Daddy how well he is doing in school.  The board behind David is our daily schedule.  At the bottom of the schedule each day, I put a challenge for Christopher to finish his school work by a certain time (the time varies slightly...and I put a clock face showing the ending time...this serves not only as a visual for him, but also helps develop his time-telling skills).  At the very bottom is a reward Christopher can earn by beating the clock!  On this particular day, the reward was getting to play a game with Daddy (the board says Mommy...but since Daddy was still home, he and Christopher played a few challenging games of Battleship - their favorite!)! 

In case you are wondering, our home study went by without a hitch!  We had a great visit with the agency director.  I think my favorite part was when he told me he wasn't even going to ask us about our parenting skills because we are obviously doing a great job with Christopher!  As any parent knows, some days are quite it's always good to hear compliments like these!  :)

Towards the end of April, we got to see our cousin Ben in his school's production of The King and I.  Ben played the part of the interpreter and an angel.  It was a great worthy of Broadway (at least in my opinion)!  As I look at the picture above, I realize Christopher is three years older than Ben was when I moved here...and now Ben is graduating from high school this year!  Time really does fly!  It seems like just yesterday that Ben was in elementary school!  And to think...when Jayden is Christopher's age, Christopher will be old enough to drive!  Scary!!! 

Last weekend, my brother, his wife, her mom, and my nephews held a yard sale for us in Alabama to benefit our adoption.  They raised $311 for our adoption...and in the process of collecting donations for the yard sale, one of their friends offered to do a Zumbathon for us!  The Zumbathon will be held at their church in Santuck, Alabama (near Montgomery) this Friday (May 11th).  If you live in or near that area and would like more information about the Zumbathon, let me know.  The cost is only $10 per adult and $5 per child...and 100% of the profits go toward our adoption!  There are also lots of door prizes, too!  =)

Speaking of our adoption, we are down to the final weeks..just about 5 weeks to the due date!  We are now at the stage where I will not go anywhere that I couldn't easily get to the delivery room if Jayden decides to come early!  I am so excited that I get to welcome him into the world just like I welcomed his big brother into the world eight years ago!  Please continue to pray for us and for this adoption.  Pray also for the birth mother.  I can only imagine how she must be feeling as her time with Jayden is drawing to a close...and yet, she has never once waivered in her decision to place him in our home...just as she never waivered in her decision to place his big brother with us.  For that, I have the upmost respect for her!  She has great love for these much so, that she chooses to give them the best she can by placing them for adoption!  And we are so blessed because of her loving decision!  :)