Sunday, April 29, 2012

We are Hoping to Adopt

It's been a few months since I posted the last time about our hopes to adopt.  We are still on the journey to add our next child to our family; a child we are very excited to meet.  We know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and that he is directing the miraculous work of adoption.  If you are interested in learning more about adoption, have any questions about us or adoption in general, or just need someone to connect with please, feel free to email us at  You can visit our profiles at or, and learn a little about us by reading the posts on this blog.  You can also contact our Social Worker, Kimberly Toronto, through LDS Family Services at or 614-836-2466.  She is amazing and incredibly helpful.  One of the things we love about our agency is that they provide couseling and other services to expectant parents free of charge and without pressure to place the child for adoption.  We recognize that a parenting or adoption plan is personal and there is not one right plan for all people or situations.  That's why it's important to have someone to help find the right choice for you.  Kimberly does an amazing job doing just that.

Thank you for considering our family.  Thank you for considering adoption.  Thank you for giving us hope.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gone Fishing...again!

Earlier this week, Mark decided that he wanted to go camping (something we love to do).  The only weekend we have available for at least a month is this weekend, so he checked to see if he could get Friday off work and he could.  Unfortunately, the weather in Ohio did not like those plans of ours (big shocker, it got down to 38 degrees and rained ), so we chose not to got camping.  However, yesterday after we had gone swimming at a local indoor pool and the boys were taking naps, Mark decided that he wanted the four of us to go fishing that afternoon despite the fact that we did not have any fishing equipment.  I will spare you most of the rediculous details, but it was a huge fiasko.  We spent an exorbatant amount of time in Walmart and Gander Mountain trying to decide on which equipment to buy, forgot to get the fishing licenses and had to go back, went back home to retrieve water bottles and chairs, and went to the grocery store to buy chicken liver (yes, eww) for bait.  By then it was time for dinner so we got some fast food and headed to Buckeye Lake.  Once we were finally there we started to unpack and realized that the hooks and fishing line had been removed from the van when we stopped by home and had not been put back in, so we could not do any fishing.  We let the boys spend a little time throwing rocks into the lake then went to my mom's house to roast marshmallows instead.

Early this morning it rained and there was threat that it would rain off and on all day.  However, Mark again decided that he wanted to try to go fishing.  Being the agreable wife I am :) we packed up everything as quickly as we could, bundled up ourselves and the boys and headed back to the lake.  My sister, Erin, and her husband, Rony, were also with us.  It was cold and windy, but we had fun.  We had bought Spiderman and Lightning McQueen fishing poles for the boys, and they had a great time carrying them around and "fishing".

Rony and Erin each caught a small fish, but I was able to hook the largest fish of the day.  When I say large I really mean little, probably about 12 or 13 inches, but it was big enough that we took it home and got two small fillets off of it.  We looked it up when we got home and found that it was a Walleye.  It was small enough that we probably would have released it, but without grossing people out, I'll just say that the hook would have caused it to die anyway. 

One thing I realized about myself, and the kind of mother I am and will be as my children grow up, is I am someone who is not afraid to do things like catch a fish and cut it up for food.  I am not afraid to hold a fish, touch a worm (or chicken liver as the case may be), bait a hook, or cut into the dead fish I caught.  In fact, I enjoy most of these things.  I was definately a tom boy when I was younger and those traits are still a big part of me.  Granted, I am much more girly then I used to be.  But, I love doing things like camping, hiking, fishing, and generally enjoying nature, and I love to see my children enjoying these things too.  I not only don't mind it when they get dirty doing these things, I love it!

Tonight after we had cut the fillets off of the fish, I witnessed a trait of my husband's that those who know him will not be surprised by.  Once the meat was off of the fish, I was done, but not Mark.  He wanted to see the other parts of the fish.  He found the heart, a human organ he works with most days, and he watched facinated as it beat involuntarily when he put slight pressure on surrounding tissue.  He speculated about why this happened and what the parts of the heart and around the heart might be ("That would be it's right ventricle and I wonder if this is the aorta").  I have to admit, it was kind of cool, but not something I would have gone looking for.  I love that it is something that he goes looking for.  That's just who he is and I love him.

In the end, we all were glad we went and we hope to be able to do it again soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

And it has been a happy one.  We had candy, we had cinnamon rolls, we had hard boiled eggs, and we went to church.  We have spent time as a family, which is the best part of all.  Today when we came home from church I asked Gabriel, as I do every Sunday, "what did you do in primary today?".  He ran off for a second and came back with the cutouts of a "cave", "rock", and "Jesus" and proceded to tell us the story of how "Jesus died and was put in the cave and the rock was put in front of the cave to keep him in, but after three days he came back alive and when they looked for him in the cave he was gone, but then he came back and there were angles and he was alive".  The whole while he was moving the cut outs around to go with the story he was telling.  We could tell that he had closely watched as his wonderful and patient primary teacher had taught him this lesson.  We are so grateful to her for all she teaches him and how lovingly she gives of her time to be with these very young children of our Father in Heaven.  And I am grateful for our son who came home and shared what he had learned about his Savior.

I am so blessed to have such amazing, beautiful spirits placed in my care.  How have I been so blessed?  I know that my Savior and my Father in Heaven love me.  I felt today, as I sat in Church, a need to make my relationship with them so much stronger.  I begin the only place I can and that is the present.  I want my children to learn every day about who they are, why they are here, and where they come from.  I want them to FEEL of their Savior's love for them through me.  I am so glad though that I'm not the only one teaching them.  They have their Dad, who loves us all very much.  They have their grandparents, who have paved the way by sticking to the gospel even when it was hard.  They have Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, who we are blessed to be very close to.  And they have amazing friends and teachers, who are always willing to love my children. 

Yes, it's been a good day.  I know my Savior lives.  I know that he suffered for me and that he died for me.  I know that he lives again and that he is MY advocate to the Father.  I know that he has done this for each one of us and in my small, insufficient way, I am grateful.  I wish you a Happy Easter as well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mommy, it's snack time!

Today Gabriel got it in his head that he wanted ice cream with sprinkles on it for snack time.  This was around 4:30pm and obviously closer to dinner time than snack time, but he was determined.  I suggested that maybe if he was well behaved that we could have ice cream after dinner.  Immediately after this exchange I went to check my email.  A couple of minutes later Gabriel says to me, "Mommy, I'm all ready for snack time.  See, I got out three bowls and three spoons and the ice cream and the sprinkles" in his cutest little boy voice.  And it was true.  While I was zoned out checking emails he had gotten out all of the things neccesary for he and Eli and myself to have ice cream.  He had even gotten a smaller spoon for Eli.  I couldn't resist.   He had thought this out and was so stinkin cute about it.  So, we had ice cream for "snack".  I actually love when things like this happen.  Don't get me wrong, I would always love for the boys to listen to what I say and follow my instructions (I am a parent after all), but these are the types of moments when I really get to slow down and just enjoy being with my children.  These are the special moments we will remember.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Little Little

This is our Eli:

With Sarah's sister, Elaine

Every man needs a little light reading material while uses the facilities 

I feel like his older brother gets a lot of face time on our blog, because he is older, talks, and does more independently that I can report on.  So, I wanted to write a post just about my little little, as I like to call him. 

Eli is exactly what we needed to counter balance the very active, independent child who came before him.  I am so grateful for who he is and what he adds to our family.  He is not quite as mild as we thought he would be as a baby, but he is a little boy after all.  He loves to play with his big brother and try just about anything that Gabriel does, which makes me very nervous sometimes, because despite how close he is in height to his big brother, he is not nearly as sturdy.  He starts as many of the wrestling matches as Gabriel does.

He loves to jump or fall head first off of the couch, he loves to stand on things he shouldn't (like his car/scooter he got for Christmas), he loves to climb on things, he loves to reach his little hands up onto my counters and grab whatever he can just because he is able to reach them (needless to say, I have to be very careful about where I leave knives even for a second to turn to get something). 

Eli is also very gentle and cuddly.  He has the most joyous smile; his whole face lights up. 

He also has an ornery smile that I love to see, even if it means he's being well...ornery.  He often gets a very serious face like he's saying, "Mom, don't embarrass me."  He gives the most perfect kisses with the smacking noise and everything.  There is no way to describe how perfect they are or how happy they make us.

He is 19 months old, so, of course, he throws temper tantrums, but they are some of the most mild tantrums you will ever see, and he is easily talked out of them.  He is VERY tall for his age and VERY skinny.  Mark says that someday, when he is a teenager, he will be playing basketball and he'll have a conversation that will go:

teammates: "Dude, who is that short, fat, white guy going crazy in the stands every time you score,"
Eli: "that's my dad," 
Teammates: "No really, who is he," 
Eli:  "No really, that's my dad"

And Mark will be that crazy, super-proud-of-his-kids dad no matter what.  But that's another post about another person I love.

Eli doesn't talk very much at all.  We have started telling him that "ung" is not a word and if he wants something then he needs to use words.  He's not such a fan of this line.  In fact he has taken to sighing at me.  It's a sigh that would make any teenager proud.  He also does this when he is trying to tell me something and I say I don't understand as though he were saying, "if you aren't going to understand then why do I even try".  He thinks that we have known what he wanted up to this point without him talking, so why should that change now.  Mostly we are tired of screaming being a large part of his vocabulary, so we are trying to help him communicate without it.  One thing he did communicate very clearly to me recently was his discomfort with the Gorillas and Polar Bears at the zoo. 

I know this is super blurry, but it pretty accurately shows his opinion on being that close to the gorilla.

Gabriel trying to get Eli to smile for the camera.  He would not be persuaded.

He was not comforted by the thick glass separating him from these large creatures, and did not like it when I tried to get a picture of him in front of them.  I'll admit, I got a little bit of a laugh out of his reaction while still trying to show him I wouldn't let those big animals get him.

 His mommy is still his favorite person and he has just barely started calling daddy "dada" instead of "mama".  I love this!  I love that I'm the person he wants more than anyone or anything else.  I love that I can soothe him and comfort him at any time.  This is not to say that he doesn't love his daddy.  He gets so excited when daddy comes home and I love to see that too.  He also loves his big brother.  We can already tell that his family is very important to him and this brings us a great deal of happiness.  He brings us joy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GO BLUE!! (or Red?)

In our home the most important color has been BLUE.  It is my favorite color as well as Mark's, but most importantly it is a way of declaring allegiance for my husband.  For those who don't know, Mark was born in Michigan, and as far as sports go, he is true to his home state.  It is true that he only lived there for the first couple years of his life, but a boy is taught sports by his Father and Mark has not strayed from that teaching.  From a very young age he has tried to instill the importance of rooting for the "right team" in our sons.  GO BLUE!!

Elijah is still too young to vocalize his preferences, but that has never been an issue for Gabriel.  He was vocal very early and definitely knows his own mind.  For a while now he has known that his favorite color is RedEverything should be red in Gabriel's eyes.  When we go somewhere he wants the town, person's home, or store to be red Not too long ago, when Mark was driving in circles waiting for me to come out of a store, Gabriel asked him if the circles they were driving in could be redHe wishes the whole world could be redThis is one of the colors of the "evil rival", so this fasination with all things red has been a bit of a concern for Mark. 


(His facination with the color might have something to do with a certain red race car.  Cachow!)

Recently, Gabriel said to Mark, "Daddy, when I grow up and play football on tv, I will wear red and you can wear red too and cheer for me in red."  At first, Mark's face fell and I could see he was a little sad because of this declaration.  But, my wonderful husband just looked at each of his sons and said, "I will always cheer for you and Eli, no matter what.  Even if you choose to wear red."  Now that's love!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Visiting (Birth) Family

About two months ago we were talking to Andrea, Gabriel’s birth mom, and we mentioned that we would really like to come see her again. We were able to see her and her mother, Tammy for the first time since Gabriel was born last August. We had talked on the phone, on the internet, and sent her pictures, but it was so wonderful to actually see her and spend time with her. Since that first visit, Mark and I had talked about how we didn’t want to go so long between visits again. So, when I broached the subject with her in November we were hoping she would interested in another visit as well. She definitely was, and told us that her grandmother and grandfather, who we also met when Gabriel was born, were upset that they hadn’t been able to see us (well, mostly Gabriel) during our last visit. Andrea said we could probably meet at her grandparents’ home this time, so we started making plans. We all agreed it would be easier to plan a time after the first of the year, so that is what we did.

One week before we were supposed to travel the two hours for our visit we all got sick. It was just a cold, but a fairly serious one, and I was very worried that we would end up having to reschedule. We prayed that we would recover in time to go and we were blessed. The day before we went we were all in good health, finally! We gathered everything we were taking with us and were on our way. The trip up and back went very well, which is no small feat with a three-year-old and one-year-old. When we got there Andrea, Nana Tammy (Andrea’s mother), Grandma Donna and Grandpa Ken (Andrea’s grandparents) were all waiting for us. They welcomed us in quickly and we immediately exchanged gifts. We had bought a single picture frame to put a picture of Andrea and me together in, and a collage in which I had already put pictures of her three children (including Gabriel). We hadn’t expected it, but they had gifts for both Gabriel and Elijah. The boys were thrilled to say the least! We spent the next four and a half hours talking and playing with the boys. They were wonderful! It was so obvious that they loved seeing Gabriel, but they also loved on Eli as though he were their grandson too. How could anyone think that having more love in a child’s life could possibly be a bad thing? It felt so natural to talk to them and be in their home. At the end of the visit we all agreed that we would like to do this more often. We told them that we would like for them to come to Gabriel’s birthday party in August, and we are planning a trip up to see them again in a few months. Mark and I are both very happy with the way our relationship with Gabriel’s birth family is evolving. We love them. We are family.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I've been working on a post about how
 I don't like winter,
I miss the sunshine during these months,
I long for warmth. 
Then the crazy Ohio weather gave us today. 
The high today was 62 degrees!!! 
It was sunny and beautiful
and we took advantage by going outside and playing
So, I'll save that winter pick-me-up post for another time
and just be thankful for the great day we've been given.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hoping to Adopt

We are hoping to adopt! We are so excited to be working toward adding another child (and their first family) to our family. We are approved through LDS Family Services. You can see our profile at and One of the best ways to share this dream of ours is through our family and friends, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in finding out more about our family or adoption in general, please share these links with them! You can also email us at One of the great things about our agency is that they offer free counseling services to expectant parents to help them figure out what their options are, and whether to place their child for adoption or choose to parent. Our Social Worker's name is Kimberly Toronto and she is very easy to talk to. If you would like to reach her directly you can call the Ohio LDS Family Services office at 614-836-2466 or email at We know that Heavenly Father is directing the work of adoption. We have seen the way in which adoption can join the hearts and lives of those involved, and we are so grateful that we have been able to have this amazing blessing in our lives.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back to Basic, Back to Blogging

In 2010 I decided that one of the things I wanted to include as a New Year's resolution was to blog more, and I did. However, after Eli was born I felt a need to get back to basics on many levels...hmm, I wonder why. Having a new baby, I imagine, can do that for you. Another thing that has been on my mind is our relationships with each of the boys' birth moms. This blog was started, in part, for them, but I was feeling the need to reach out to them more, so we have made that effort. We haven't been successful on all fronts, but I am definitely pleased with where our relationship with Andrea, Gabriel's birth mom, has progressed to. On August 6th, two days before Gabe's 3rd birthday, we saw Andrea and her mother Tammy for the first time since Gabriel was born. It was an awesome experience. I feel like we have grown much closer. We have called, we have messaged through Facebook, we talked through Skype on Christmas, and I am so excited to say that we have another trip planned in the next couple weeks to go see her and more of her extended family. Gabriel is so excited! He keeps telling people "we have 16 more days (or however many it may be) til we go see my tummy mommy!". I love seeing how excited he is and feeling that excitement myself. I love that he knows her, that he tells people about her, and that he knows that she loves him. She will always be a part of us because she is a part of him, and she means so much to us. I hope to develop a closer relationship with Eli's birth mom in the future. Even though we are not in contact with her now, she is always in our thoughts and prayers, and we love her.

The boys are wonderful. I love being at home with them! I love my husband, who works hard, so that I can be at home, and who wants me there as much as I want to be there. Gabriel learns so quickly. He is learning to identify his numbers and letters, and even writing a little. He loves to color with markers, paint, and read books. He likes playing with cars, trains, and pretty much any toy with wheels or wings. He also likes to build things. We have recently had a friend come do some repairs around our house and he has let Gabriel watch as he works on things. Gabriel has been in heaven. He is such a smart kid and he loves to see how things work.

My Gabriel is so full of adventure

I love to see him happy

Elijah will be 18 months old and he is every bit as ornery. Whoever said the terrible twos start at 2 years old was lying. Still, he is also such a sweet heart. Even at this young an age you can tell that he loves his family. He wants to do everything his big brother does and he is almost as tall as Gabriel, so he tries a lot of what Gabriel does, which makes for a very nervous mommy sometimes. He still loves to cuddle. He also loves all things vehicular. He got a car that he can sit on for Christmas and he plays on it most of the day. He doesn't use words very much, I think because he has a big brother who does a lot of talking for him, and he seems to get his point across without talking. We have been working on getting him to talk to us lately and he is making a good deal of progress. He is so tall, and we expect by the time he is ready to be baptized that Eli will be as tall as Mark.

My beautiful Eli

I love this picture of my boys. They love each other so much and it makes us so happy!

It is amazing the amount of joy a happy family brings. Believe me, things are not perfect, but perfect is not really the point. It is definitely true that it is the little things that bring the greatest happiness.