Monday, April 29, 2013

The Beginning of the End

Today is a very big day for us. One that I want to be sure and document in "real time." (as opposed to my usual "blog time")

Tonight Matt heads off to his last face to face class! He has one more class to take online this summer -- and an easy one at that. But, it's the face to face classes that have been much harder and much more of a strain on all of us. It's meant that at least one night a week for the past 4 years he's been gone until well past when the kids are in bed. Those have been the toughest nights and I'm so thankful that this is the end!

It really feels like we are finally reaching the end of this journey. The Ph.D is now just months away -- not years. :) When we started this journey, 55 hours of coursework seemed like it would never end, but now Matt is just 3 little hours from finishing it all up! That's 52 hours down, 3 to go. Then all that's left is that little thing called a dissertation. Ha! I really think that will be the easiest part of all of this because Matt can work on his own schedule. After 2 years of a Master's program & 4 years of Ph.D school, he has pretty good time management skills. Hehe! And, it should go by pretty quickly.

He's already picked out a topic. Yay! That's a huge step. And, he has Comps scheduled for end of July-end of August (it's a 30 day time frame). So, that will be tough, but only for a month. That's nothing after 4 years of tough.

It's exciting to think that in just 12 months this whole thing will be over! We are certainly going to be celebrating then! I'm still not sure what the future holds for us. We'd love to stay in NWA, but some pretty big doors have to open for that to happy. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen, but it is something we are praying about constantly. And, I know and am thankful that we serve a big God, one that can open those big doors.

But, for tonight, I'm just happy. So so happy that we've made it this far. And, we are stronger than we were when we started -- thanks to our families, friends, an amazing church family, and our God that has been with us each step of the way.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


This past Monday, I kept Mason for a few hours so that his parents could go get fingerprinted by the FBI -- as part of their adoption process. Charlotte was beyond excited that Mason was coming to her house -- I think we need to do more "home" playdates. We usually meet up with our friends, but she was giddy having a friend at her house! They played so well together all morning and I'm already hoping that we can do it again soon!
They played for a long time in the playroom, the discovered they both loved the iPad. They took turns playing PBS on it for a long time. 
 Then they moved on to music. :) They found Madeleine's toy guitar and sat on Charlotte's bed and played and sang and sang! It was so cute. They sang Jesus Loves Me and I've got the Joy over and over and over. Made me smile.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I'm a little behind on this (the story of my life these days!). Charlotte has become my little sidekick this semester. She's with me all the time, and most days, she's gotten pretty easy to have around. :)
This particular Monday, we started with storytime at the library. Then we moved on to do the puzzles. Charlotte loves puzzles! She will sit at home for a long time and work her puzzles. The library has so many different ones and we just rotate around and usually spend a good 30 minutes doing puzzles. 

 Then it was off to do our grocery shopping! She loves to go to Walmart -- silly girl. We shopped and then she got to ride the mickey ride as a treat, with her 2 baby dolls in tow. She calls them the pink baby (blonde) and the blue baby (brunette). Not sure why, but it's been that way for 2 years now. I keep asking her if she wants to name them, but she always insists that they have names -- pink and blue baby. :)

Just an ordinary monday, but still lots of fun. I try hard to make even the daily things we do fun for her -- like shopping, cleaning and folding laundry. And, so far it's working -- she love to help do all of those things!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Be still my heart

{Friday night, I went to our church to help some of our good friends that are in the process of adopting from China & Congo. A group of girls got together and made around 400 iced cookies in the shape of China & Africa to be a part of the meal they served on Sunday. It was such a fun night of hard work, but hard work is much more fun when you have friends around you!}

When I got home, Matt had this story to tell me--

He was laying in bed with Harrison at bedtime. Matt said the first half of the prayer and then Harrison finished. In his part, Matt asked that God bless Harrison as he grows up and goes through his life. After the prayer was over Harrison asked Matt what that meant?

Matt told him that we pray that for him daily and we pray that he will grow up and marry a nice girl that loves God like he does.

Harrison's quick reply, "I'm going to marry mommy." sigh

Matt told him that mommy was already married to daddy, so Harrison can't marry me. But, maybe he can marry someone like mommy.

Harrison's quick reply, Daddy, there's NO ONE like mommy.
Be still my heart.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easter 2013

We had a fun and busy Easter weekend this year! We started our break with some playtime at the playground after school that Thursday -- the kids had friday off this year which was a nice treat!
We went to Little Rock for Easter this year. This is the first Easter we haven't stayed home in 5 years and it was nice to have a change. Of course this little cutie had something to do with why we went down there. :)

My kids just adore Cormac. They all love on him and want to hold him. Madeleine is especially good with him and is such a great helper!
Unfortunately Friday night Harrison started feeling bad. By Saturday morning he had a fever and sore throat. We decided to go on and take him to the doctor and I'm so thankful that we did. He ended up with strep. What a crummy way to spend easter weekend.
Saturday afternoon was spent taking care of Harrison and helping Mimi get ready for Easter lunch. Saturday night was something we were all looking forward to and Matt nicely volunteered to stay home and watch Harrison so I could go. Our whole family met up with our Little Rock "family" for dinner at one of all of our favorite spots. I can't even begin to count the hours that we've spent with the Stevens family in my lifetime. We've been with them for Easters, birthday, and every Christmas Eve growing up. Kathy hosted my wedding shower and had me over for birthdays when I was in college and away from my parents. Some people become your family because you are related by blood, other because you are joined by love. I'm so thankful for this sweet family and they bond that we all share. Our parents became friends before there were any kids -- and now there are 19 of us.

Sadly, I only took on picture that night -- keeping up with 2 girls during dinner kept me busy. But, I did manage to snap this picture of Andrea, Livia, and Cormac.
We headed home Saturday night and got ready for the Easter bunny to come!

Madeleine's basket

Charlotte's basket
Harrison's basket

They were up early the next morning and excited to see what he'd left for them!

I stayed home with Harrison and Matt took the girls to church with my parents.

Here are my girls all dressed up. Charlotte wore Madeleine's easter dress from 5 years ago. I loved it then and I love it now. Amazing to think how much time has passed since then -- it seems like I just bought it for Madeleine!
And this little cutie was there for Easter lunch too.

We were sad to go home, but it was such a fun weekend, full of family, good friends, and lots of yummy food!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Break {Part 2}

We planned a pretty low-key spring break this year. Matt had to work some at Ramay and he also needed to get some work done on his grad work as well.
Monday started off bright and early. Matt took Harrison to his dentist appt early that morning -- I know, what a way to start spring break, with an 8am dentist appt! Then Harrison got to go to work with Matt while the girls and I did some grocery shopping for the week. Divide and Conquer, right??
We finished up and picked up Harrison and headed home. The rest of the day was spent playing outside or hanging out around the house. I'd discovered the Magic Treehouse website and showed it to Harrison that afternoon. He and Madeleine spent most of the afternoon playing that or doing Reflex Math (their choice, not mine. :) 
We taught Harrison to play SORRY that night and had some pretty competitive games the rest of the week! We love to play games as a family and we are very competitive!

Matt had to work again Tuesday and the kids and I spent the morning hanging out and having a Wii tourney.

Matt had acutally gone into the office around 7 so he could come home early. He got home early that afternoon so Madeleine and I could go out and do some spring shopping. We found some great things and I snapped this picture of this dress that we both loved -- and of course bought!

We met up and Matt, Harrison & Charlotte for dinner at our fav mexican spot. Yum! Madeleine & I beat them there and enjoyed some chips and salsa just us for a bit.
Wednesday was my day off. :) Matt stayed home and took care of the kids and I got to have most of the day to myself. With his crazy work schedule right now (and getting even crazier in April) I just needed a day to take care of those little things I'd been putting off (like Easter shopping!). I also needed to get the kids some warm weather clothes with spring just around the corner. It was such a nice day and one that I desperately needed. Not only to get things done, but also to just refresh my spirit and prepare for the coming months.

While I was gone, Matt took the kids on a picnic to the park and played games with them. They had a super-fun day with Daddy too!

Thursday we met up with our besties, the other W family, for a playdate at the Monkey House. It was crazy busy but the kids had a blast! Harrison was beyond excited for some playtime with Drew (and Adam) and Madeleine blew me away with her sweetness by helping not only with Charlotte but Titus as well. Madeleine is going to make one great babysitter soon. She loves little kids so much! And, has such patience with them.

It actually started snowing as we were leaving -- crazy weather!

We had movie night that night. We watched the old Disney movie That Darn Cat for the first time and the kids loved it! It was one of my favs growing up and fun to experience it with them.
Friday morning we stayed around the house and cleaned and I did some much needed laundry. :) That afternoon Madeleine, Harrison & I went to the library while Charlotte napped. We had quite a list of books we wanted to look for and found most of them!
We paid for that nap that Charlotte took later that night-- she was up and reading in bed with us at 10:30 that night. Ay-yi-yi!
Saturday we picked up Alex and Veronica again and went to do the building project at Lowes. It was by far the hardest project yet (we actually took extras home to build that afternoon).

The kids had fun which was all that really matters! I think they had a fun spring break. Our kids are so easy -- they love being home and staying in their PJs all day and playing with each other at home.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break {Part 1}

We started off our spring break with a crazy weekend this year! After Charlotte and I spent the morning playing with Sarah & Mary Mack, we headed home for her to get a (much needed) nap and so I could get ready for the rest of the weekend.
We picked up Madeleine & Harrison from school that day and added another 2 to our number as well. We'd invited Alex & Veronica (from the family at school that we help/mentor) to come and spend the night and most of the next day with us. They were all pretty excited about this and we headed home to start the fun. :) We came home and played outside for a bit before heading in for snacks and more playtime. 
Once Matt got home we loaded up the van and headed out to dinner. We ended up at Red Robin -- Alex and Veronica were so excited to eat out and had never been there before. The kids were all sooo good during dinner, but corraling 5 kids while eating out is quite an adventure!

After dinner we went to a nearby park to run off some energy. It was a new park to everyone except Madeleine so they had fun exploring. We discovered a neat looking trail, but ended up turning back because it was getting dark. We decided to come back and try it later and surprised the kids by coming back the next afternoon.

We left the park and headed to braums for some ice cream. It was a perfect night to sit outside and eat! Then it was home to clean up and bathe everyone -- which takes a good hour with 5 kids! Ha! We got everyone tucked in bed by 9:30 which I thought was pretty good. :)

The next morning the kids all slept till after 8 -- yay! When they got up I made pancakes for breakfast and then we played at home for awhile and let it warm up before heading back out.

We went to another park that morning. It's one of our favorites and the kids never get tired of playing there. And, for Alex and Veronica -- they don't get to do things like this and they were thrilled  to be at the park. We took frisbees and soccer balls and made a long morning of it! The weather was perfect and I'm thankful we took advantage of it since the next week ended up being rainy/snowy.

After the park, we made a potty break and then decided to go hike the trail we found the night before. It was a great little hike and even Charlotte was able to make it.

By the time we'd played at the park and hiked we were all hungry. So we grabbed a quick lunch and then took the kids home. It was a fun way to start our spring break! Matt and I were both pretty tired from keeping up with 5, but it was so worth it!