Saturday, January 25, 2014


Alternatively titled, "She just went for it and fortunately it worked."  Mason couldn't stop talking about playing with aquasand at his babysitter's house.  The first day he played with it for an hour and a half, and the second day he played with it twice. I had this idea in my head that he was really wanting to do some activities at home.  On the drive home, I got this idea in my head that we should paint in the bathtub.  I know that's not a novel idea or anything, but the paint we happened to have at home was just regular Crayola washable paint - nothing bath specific - so I was just hoping that I wouldn't regret this later.  I asked Mason if he wanted to paint tonight and he said he would.  So my plan was after dinner I'd strip him down and let him go at it and hope for the best.
I can gladly report that this was wildly successful. Off went his clothes, and I just plopped him in the bathtub with three separate pots of paint and paintbrushes, and it didn't take him long to make masterpieces.  Between the time it took to get him ready, paint, clean the tub (which only took a washcloth and Mason did most of it himself!), and bathe him, Mason was probably in there for an hour and a half.  A miracle!
Of course we (the parents) had so much fun that we had to FaceTime with all the relatives, and at one point we squeezed four adults into our tiny bathroom along with the artist himself.  Yes, we might be crazy.  The best part was watching his little mind work.  On his own, he painted a rainbow, a bird in a nest, several monsters, and a purple banana (he narrated this, of course).  With my help we painted his name, Elmo and Cookie Monster, and some various other characters.  I love watching his imagination develop.  I'm sure we'll be doing this again.
I just have to share part of the conversation we had on the way home that day.  After I mentioned painting to him, the subject changed and I asked Mason what he wanted for dinner that night.  His response?  "No thanks, I'll paint!"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I just have to say thank you to everyone for the kind words and encouragement you had for us as a result of my last post.  It means the world!
For lack of a good transition, I'm just going to say...and now for something completely different.  Over Christmas we were home with Mason a lot, and unless I wanted him to beg me for the iPad all day long, I needed to come up with activities to keep him busy.  This is one of those ideas that I came across somewhere on the internet (okay my addiction Pinterest - here is the original source) and it looked like a winner.  The concept is to make a batter that you dip cotton balls in and then bake, so that the batter hardens.  Afterwards, you can smash them to your heart's content.  Sounds like a blast, right?  I thought so.
So Mason and I got to work.  The batter is just equal parts flour and water, plus food coloring.  This was a great activity by itself because Mason loves to help me mix things and it was fun explaining to him how the colors would change.  It also probably took us 30 minutes or so, and when an activity holds Mason's attention for that many minutes in a row, it's a good one.
We baked them for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees and let them cool.  This is where I thought the real fun would begin.  Who doesn't like smashing things with a hammer?  (It was a toy hammer.)  Well, turns out this part wasn't so fun.  By the time we got to this part it was the next morning, so I don't know if this was just the mood he was in or if he forgot what we did or what.  Even so, I would still try it again.  It was fun and really cheap.
If any of you end up trying this out, let me know if you find success!

Monday, January 20, 2014


I didn't know it at the time, but this little boy was a miracle baby.
I always wanted a big family.  Always.  Choosing baby names is honestly one of my earliest memories.  Thank goodness you don't have children when you are ten, because my children would be Chrysanthemum (horrible), Sidney (got lucky here, still one of my favorites), and Brishan (my parents' personal favorite).  Poor taste aside, this is just something I always saw for myself - grow up, get married, and have lots of kids.  
When I did get married, we knew early on that having a family would most likely be harder for us than for the average couple.  During the hard times when we were trying to have a baby, I was always plagued by the thought that I knew I had so much love to give a child.  Surely there was a child somewhere for me to love?  After a few years of infertility ups and downs, we finally found (fairly simple) help from a doctor, and were pregnant soon after.  We thought we had found the answer to our struggles.
When it was time to think about having another child, we simply did what worked for us before, and quickly we were pregnant again.  Only this time, shortly after hearing the baby's heartbeat, we lost the baby.  We were discouraged, but not hopeless.
Soon after that, we were pregnant for the third time, and yet again, the ultrasound showed us another baby that failed to thrive.  Once again we were discouraged and broken, but not hopeless.
Though as time went on, our hope began to dwindle.  And a few months later, we were suddenly faced with the reality that we would not be having more children without an additional financial investment.  In essence, that door was closed.  And we were devastated.
Through it all, I felt God speaking to me.  He was asking "Katie, do you love me?"  Yes, Lord, I love you.  "Katie, do you love me more than having babies?"  This is the question that though I would like to think it was an instant yes, made me really stop and think.  My thoughts and behaviors, every mood and timing and procedure, was completely engrossed in doing what I could to have a child.  It became the most important thing to me.  But when I thought of God, sitting face to face with me, asking me that question, I could only answer in one way.  Yes, God, I love you more than having babies.  I laid aside my biggest dreams and desires because that is what he asked me to do.  It was hard, but it was the only way.  And though I still deal with the outcome of that on most days, this story still has a happy ending.
That feeling that we had years ago, that there were children out there who needed the love of a family, stayed with us.  God placed the desire so strongly in our hearts, that we are following his call, and we are now embarking on a new journey - a journey to adopt a child.  God is taking us on a crazy adventure.  One that will not just lead us out of our comfort zone, but across the globe to Ethiopia.  And we are ready to share this with all of you.
We are definitely in the early stages of this process, which began last fall.  It will be a long journey.  The estimated timeline they gave us is at least three years, if not longer.  So my feelings about this are just that we are living day by day.  But I can say that when we made the decision to proceed with adoption, all the stress that comes with infertility melted away, and I truly felt at peace.
And through these past few months, we have been reassured that we are following God's will in little ways, even though somedays we feel overwhelmed by what we are agreeing to.  A few months back, before we had shared our decision with anyone, Byron travelled to Virginia for work.  On his flight home, he began talking with the gal he was sitting next to on the plane, and one thing led to another and he opened up to her about our adoption plans.  She was very supportive, as most people we have shared with are, and he left appreciating the conversation they had.  Within a week from him returning home, I checked the mail and realized there was a note about the size of a thank you card from someone I didn't recognize. I opened it and quickly realized it was from the woman he had met on the plane - with a very kind and supportive note as well as a check for $50.  We couldn't believe it!  And since then, other things have happened that have allowed us to use our story for good.  I choose to believe that God is giving us this opportunity to strengthen our testimonies, and that in the end, the hardest, saddest, most broken part of our lives will turn into something beautiful that He will use for His story.
Thank you for letting me share what has been on my heart.  We are thankful for those of you who will stand with us on our journey!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I am finally able to share about our Christmas, thanks to reconciling all of the nasty messages that iPhoto has been giving me over the last few weeks.  The bottom line?  Apparently I take too many pictures.  Well.  This has spurred a goal of increasing my organization in regard to my computer, but at least for the time being, I have enough to do what I need.
This Christmas was great.  We had good visits with each of our family, and some really great family time among just the three of us.  We went to church on Christmas Eve, and then visited with my family for the evening, but really just had a quiet night.  I woke up the next day promptly at 5, and Mason slept until almost 8, so the mood at our house was probably backwards from most of America - it was me who was jittery with excitement.  We exchanged gifts, but kept it small this year.  Mason's big gift was a scooter, Byron got a bunch of new clothes, and I got something super exciting - a new camera lens!  (Note:  I am still learning to use not only the lens, but also my camera.  Don't expect anything amazing to follow.)
After this, we went over to my parents' house where we opened more gifts and had brunch.  My mom has started a tradition getting us a "family gift".  Last year, we all got fleece pullovers.  This year, it was moccasins.  Although most of the boys didn't like it quite as well, whoops.  She shouldn't feel bad, though, since it was my idea in the first place.  We also spent quite a while taking photos of each other. For example, I spent about 20 minutes directing my sister on how to achieve the perfect mermaid hair flip, so we have quite a few out takes from that evening.  The pictures make me laugh, and as much as I want to post one for the sole purpose of embarrassing her, I am afraid nobody else will understand our odd sense of humor.  We did manage to get one nice family picture at the end of the evening, so score one for us.
Santa also happened to bring us matching Christmas socks.  Christmas socks are fun, but sure aren't Christmas Jammies...
The next day, we celebrated with Byron's family.  The best way I can describe that time (as always) is fast and furious.  There are so many family members, that so much just seems to happen all at once.  We had a brunch and opened presents, but the best part for me was watching Mason interact with all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We don't see them as often as we see my sister, and Mason's circle of "people" is really rather small, so I am never sure how quickly he will warm up to his extended family. Apparently the theme is anyone who will play iPad with him is good in his book.  I also caught him in a series of pictures where he is putting his fingers in the cookie frosting and licking his fingers.  Sorry to anyone who ate the cookies.
So that was our Christmas.  We had such a great time with our families, and can't wait until the next time!  Also thanks to Erin for grabbing the camera and shooting some of these!