Thursday, December 31, 2015


As I try to think back to August, I don't think it was too memorable for us.  Although as I type those words memories are suddenly flowing back, so maybe I'm wrong after all.  We spent the majority of our days playing outside in the summer heat, but we also took our first family trip to the State Fair.  Yes, you read that right.  For the first time in Mason's life, and the first time in Byron and my eight years together, we have never gone together to the fair.  It's like an Iowa sin, I'm sure.

We did get the chance to zip up to our home away from home, Michigan, to meet up with my family to celebrate an uncle's wedding.  It was a chance to see all my relatives and some of our friends, too, in a very short amount of time.

Finally, August marked a big milestone for us as far as our adoption goes.  Yes, we are still hoping that adoption is in the future for us, but we say that now knowing ultimately that whatever happens is in the Lord's hands.

The rest of the year flew by.  We would soon be celebrating back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  At home, we are already starting to look ahead to what the new year will bring.  But for now, I still have a few more months to recount.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


July really gives us reason to celebrate.  It's Mason's birthday!  How fitting for my 200th post.

And how crazy that I now have a four year old???  After struggling for what seemed like forever through ages 2 and 3, 4 gave us about two weeks of absolute perfection.  And then we were back to reality, but with 4 year old issues now.  And for the most part, they are much better.  Mason can be such a riot.  The things that he says are hilarious!  We are really enjoying him.

For his birthday adventure, we took him to his first movie theater movie where we saw Inside Out.  His favorite character was Disgust, and we couldn't get enough of him saying it - "Disdust".  Since then he has been to a couple of movies, which is one of the great things we are learning about having a big kid!

One of the funniest things he said to me shortly after turning four was "Don't you know Jesus died so that people could be twins."  I asked for clarification a few times (cleansed?) but he really meant what he said.

He totally surprised me one morning as I was reading to him.  I randomly quizzed him on a word (cat) and he got it right. Maybe a fluke I thought, so we tried again (dog) and he got it, too.  He proceeded to sound out three more words all by himself, so now we are working on reading as often as we can.  He would still much rather play Ninja Turtles or Legos than practice school things with mama, but I try to sneak them in as much as possible.

I'm sure there are many more hilarious things I could say about that boy, but this will do for now.  We are so thankful for the four years we have had with him so far and pray for many many more!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


This place has gone largely abandoned.  Oops.  Such is life.  I have noticed one main change in the way we do life here as my baby is slowly turning into a little person - I don't take as many pictures.  When he was little, everything used to be an opportunity for a photo shoot.  Now he's so much more independent, that we aren't just observing things any more, we are deep in the action.   Which means fewer photos.  This will be evidenced below, shortly.

Anyhow.  I do feel like a quick recap of the rest of our year would be beneficial for, well, me.  So let's see.  The highlight of June was our summer vacation to South Dakota.  We did so much, it was quite awesome, though maybe just one day too long.

Highlights were the butterfly garden in Sioux Falls, Bear Country USA, Reptile Gardens, Mount Rushmore, and Keystone in general.  Deadwood was kind of dead for me, and a bit disappointing from what Byron had been expecting, but we made the best of it.  And saw a cool shoot out.

There may be an addendum to this post, with some of our instagram pictures, but since my computer is slowly dying, it won't be today.  Just know we had an awesome time and are pumped to check another state off our list of travel goals!

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.