Monday, July 13, 2015


We maybe should have known, that when he filed in like this, that we were in for a real treat.

 Through the entire program, five songs long, we were the proud parents of the boy who did this.

Now, some parents may have been embarrassed by this (or grandparents, hi mom).  But to me, this is nothing but memorable.  Perhaps the greatest memory of his entire preschool year.  Now, I have full confidence that in a few years he will turn into a fantastic student, and that this is not foreshadowing for his junior high band concert or whatever event it is. But really, our little three year old sourpuss is just too hilarious for words.  Bravo, little Stover.  Bravo.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Well it's been awhile.  A bit longer than intended.  I guess life has been happening for us, and now I have a few things to catch you up on.  Like how my baby finished his first year of preschool.

He was pretty squirrelly on this day (not to mention SUPER shaggy) so we only got a select number of pictures where he would actually look at the camera, but I suppose that is common at this age.  And thankfully, we got this gem up above.

We went to his program at school, which was memorable and will be shared shortly.  Afterwards, we went out to lunch and celebrated with an afternoon at the zoo.  We are so proud of our boy, and even though there were aspects of preschool that were challenging for him, he has come SO FAR this past year.  We love his preschool, love his teachers, and are so thankful for the education he is already getting.

I expect this will be a common view for us as he gets older.  Him, backpack, walking away.  I remember he had never worn a backpack before his first day of preschool (he refused to try it on).  And now, it's just so natural.  I can only hope that we are in some small ways instilling him with the values that he will live with the rest of his life.  We love you so much Mason.  And we are with you wherever your path takes you!

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I suppose it has been awhile, and is time for an adoption update.  This post has been in my head and on my heart for awhile now, but with the busyness of life, hasn't been written.

Things were going along according to plan.  We were officially placed on the waiting list for an Ethiopian child last summer. We knew about how long we would wait, what we needed to accomplish in the mean time, and generally what would be next.  Can you sense what's happening from my verb tense?

Sometime around October (the dates are a little fuzzy to me now but I think that's close), we were participating in a conference call on various topics with the Ethiopian adoption program.  Nobody came out and said anything specifically, but reading between the lines, it hit us.  This dream we're chasing, of bringing a little one home from across the globe...probably isn't going to happen.  The program was basically closing.

So then what?

It was definitely a time of struggle for us, discerning what to do next.  We had a lot of different options to discuss.  Byron seems to be able to figure out what he thinks the best option is for him rather quickly.  I, on the other hand, usually want to try all the options, do all the things, adopt all the kids.  So we talked about it for a while, but mostly I just needed to sit with things for a while.  The biggest question that made it hard for me to actually make a decision was... I thought we were following God's call.  I thought God led us to the Ethiopian program.  So why would he then lead us away?  Why did we do all that work for nothing?  Shouldn't there be some reason, some lesson we see in this?  I can tell you now, yes, there are lots of lessons I've been learning through this, but mostly it is just to follow where God is leading us, even if that means we have to turn around and start again.

So I think that we, as a family, have figured out what our adoption might look like.  Because Byron felt so strongly about one option, and I just felt everything about all options, we decided to go in the direction Byron felt most comfortable.

But what does that mean?  First of all, though we are not starting completely over, there are some things that we have to go back and redo.  Appointments...visits...paperwork...things like that.  And those rough timelines that we were attempting to follow?  Those are all out the window.  We don't yet have anything new to go by, and we may not get anything.  Finally, the financial impact changes as well, but I have no worries there.  God has shown himself faithful here before, He will do it again.

So we're good, and we're pressing on as best we know how, but truly truly it's into a land of uncertainty.  We are trying to take things day by day.  I actually read a quote just this morning by Lysa TerKeurst.  It says, "Being present with a heart bent toward love and daring to look at what's been placed right in front of you is the best place to start."  That resonates with me - what has been placed right in front of us is all we have.  Good words.

I want to open up just a bit more though.  I, in particular, have been dealing with lots of insecurity in this new direction. Some of that being lack of control, others just being everyday insecurities that I really haven't dealt with for a while.  For a time, I was even feeling attacked by the devil every time I tried to go to sleep.  Any time you uplift our family in prayer, we really appreciate it.

My last insecurity is all of you.  We shared with you our story, our struggle, but also our hopeful outcome.  Now that will be different.  Are you judging us?  Do you still support us even though our path may have turned?  I am not living out this story solely to please others, but you all matter to me so much.  Friends, family, so many of you have supported us this far.  Are you disappointed with this failure?

In an attempt to not leave this on a gloomy note, I have to reiterate how thankful I am for those of you who do support us. Our future is has been ever since October...but we are choosing to live out each day - what has been placed right in front of us - to its fullest.

p.s.  Okay okay I can't stop I guess.  I need to share one more thing that has been helping me through this time of uncertainty.  I am going to do an extreme summarization, but here's the story.  Daniel 3.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are being thrown into the fiery furnace.  They are asked something like will your God save you now?  They answer we believe he will, but if not, He is still Good.  To me, that is just like me saying God will lead us through this life, through this adoption, and we will see our dreams fulfilled.  But if not...HE IS STILL GOOD.  Let that be an encouragement to you today in whatever way it needs to.  It has been a constant reminder for me.

Friday, November 7, 2014


It is a sad reality that we have been in our house for so long and yet so much is still undone.  And I'm not talking about the big stuff, because we always said we would work at our own pace on the basement.  What I mean is that we will soon have been in our house for five years, and not a lot of art on the walls.  So I got a bee in my britches last weekend and decided to remedy that.

Two new holes went into Mason's walls.  The first was of a print that I had picked up years ago at a place like Target or World Market.  I just liked it, so I hung onto (cough...hoarder).  The second was something I picked up at a craft fair just the week before.  And...voila!

So after I accomplished that little task, I decided to just keep going.  Our family room is often overrun by the toys that I haven't quite figured out how to corral.  In the corner, though, we have a small bookshelf that houses all of Mason's books and a few other things.  We've managed to keep a plant or two alive on top, so I went ahead and added a bit more personality.  I had ordered the family print a few weeks ago, and the other two pictures were things I had on hand.  There is a reason that you aren't getting a wide angle shot, but what do you think?

These two small projects have really motivated me to get some more things checked off my list.  Are there any small updates you're making around your house?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


This will bring us to the end of this fall-slash-Halloween extravaganza.  The last thing that we did with Mason to celebrate Halloween was trick or treating.  As usual, I stayed home and passed out candy while Byron and Mason took on the neighborhood.  Well, taking on the neighborhood was a quick five houses, followed by Mason saying "Daddy, I shivering."  So they came home quickly.

But then Mason quickly adapted from collecting candy to passing it out.  He took his job very seriously.  Every time the doorbell rang, he would jump up and say "That's my job!"  He would open the door all by himself, put one piece of candy in each kid's bag and watch them walk away.  Several times after he closed the door he would even wipe is brow and say "That was hard."  Where does he get all that cuteness?

Here he is checking out his spoils.  It wouldn't be much, but we have a certain next door neighbor (Papa) who may have loaded him up with some special treats.  I guess this is all until next year.  It is neat to see how things have changed over the past years and it will be neat to see how Mason handles it all next year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Remember when you were a kid, and carving pumpkins involved stabbing them with a steak knife in order to get triangle eyes and a jagged smile?  That was more or less the pumpkin carving experience of my childhood.  Fancy was when our pumpkins had a few teeth thrown in the mix.  Fast forward to today, when elaborate patterns and power tools are plastered all over Pinterest.  Those ideas are great and all, but let me tell you they are not for us.  At least not until Mason turns 16.

We bought the pattern book.  "This is going to be great!" we thought.  Mason and Byron conspire to select the best patterns.

They decide on two different skeletons.  SKELETONS.  This is where things started to go wrong.  Skeletons have dozens of teeny tiny bones.  I didn't realize it at the time, but like five minutes later I would see the error in our ways.  Second mistake.  How many adults does it take to understand the directions on how to apply the pattern?  She looks happy.  It's fake.

And then, when we were carving and carving and carving those tiny little slits, we all began to feel like this.

We did finally finish those pumpkins...right before Mason went to bed.  The redeeming moment was when Byron got them finished, he turned out the lights and showed Mason what they look like lit up. Mason exclaimed, "Daddy, you made a Halloween!"  Love him.

So next year, would someone please remind me that we will enjoy ourselves a whole lot more if we just cut out triangle eyes?

Monday, November 3, 2014


The second of our fall traditions is to go to the Great Pumpkin Party hosted by my sister's church.  Games, inflatables, candy...what could be more fun?  We stuck mostly to those three things, although the church offers a science show, petting zoo, pony rides, concerts, and probably much much more.  Mason was a bit hard to capture, so I only got a few photos.  But isn't he the cutest little Triceratops you ever did see?  Of course he is.

At the end of the night and after several turns in the bounce house, the costume definitely came off.  That dinosaur head is no joke.  We also did something that was a family first - we took our turn in a photo booth.  So not only did we come home with plenty of candy and a worn out little boy, but a cool souvenir as well!