Saturday, December 29, 2012


Last year we had basically no snow.  Allie didn't even really know what it was when we were talking about it this year!   But boy did we get some snow this week!  It snowed the day after Christmas, and we played and went sledding twice.  It snowed again today, even more, and the boys spend several hours out sledding!  All 3 of them unfortunately have no fear of hills or speed...
These pics are from snowy day #1. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A whole lotta joy!

Allie's new dressup clothes were enjoyed by all.  Sorry boys, had to share!!!

Santa Came!!

Christmas was really magical this year.  We can't help but wonder if our new little one will be home with us by next Christmas!!!

Christmas Eve

We had a lovely Christmas Eve with the Colemans.  Kids were thrilled with their gifts, including the headlamps from Uncle Matt, an idea which came from our trip to the caves a few months back.  Their little faces were literally glowing with excitement for the next day to come!   We took time to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  The boys wrote Jesus thank you notes for what he has done for us and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  They are truly full of joy this year, they are at wonderful ages to truly experience the joy of the season!

Countdown to Christmas

Hectic but fun December with Christmas celebrations!  The kids each had a class party (and I got to go to ALL of them, how lucky am I!), Sam had a Christmas program, Ben had a Fine Arts night, and the boys performed Joy to the World with their classes at church during service.  Lots of excitement and things to look forward to this month.  Here's a few other highlights.
Zoo lights with Jer's fam.  It was a balmy night, the best kind!


Christmas in our little town with best buddies... and lots of blue cotton candy!

Had to literally SHOVE the boys into the picture with Santa... they wouldn't touch him, talk to him or look at him!  Allie wasn't there, which was probably best, she would have been petrified!

A big part of our build-up to Christmas this year was being in charge of distributing luminaries to our neighbors for Christmas Eve.  With over 300 houses to keep track of, it was a big job!  But we enjoyed doing it as a family and the kids were a big "help"!  :)  It was all worth it on Christmas Eve when we got to ride around the neighborhood enjoying the beautiful lights.

This is the way the kids enjoy Santa.... by video!  He sent each of them a personal video... they each made the "nice" list.  They were all talking to him on the computer screen!

Ethan is TWELVE

Our sweet little nephew has turned TWELVE (going on 16).  He was born my first year of teaching, which seems like a million years ago, and yet we can't believe how old he is.  He's hilarious and truly my boys' hero.  We love you E!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Make Room for One More!!!

Always an Adventure

When your kids are 2, 4 and 6...even a one-day overnight to the next state over is an adventure.  The amount of stuff it takes to pack and get ready to spend one night in a hotel is overwhelming!  But worth it, since we got to visit Great Grandma Dot and stay in a hotel with a pool!!
Hard to tell in the pic, but on the way home Ben struggled to get comfortable enough to sleep.  He finally settled in with his head bent over resting in the bin of books.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Consider Adoption Video

I. Love. This.

Sam's Self Portraits

Thanksgiving in Pictures


Allie and I were invited to join Ben's class for a Thanksgiving Day feast!  I don't know who was more excited...


Three peas in a pod.

Happy Birthday Izzy!

Our sweet niece Izzy just celebrated her FIFTH birthday!  Izzy we love you so much, what a bright light you are in our family.  We love that you and Sam are the best of friends.  He can't wait to "catch" you when he turns 5 in a few months!  Hard to believe you two used to be the babies....

Foster Kid Donations!

Thank you, thank you to our family and friends who joined in our collection of items for Hamilton County foster kiddos.  These kids often come into care without basic items such as pjs, sippy cups, underwear and toothbrushes.  Every little bit helps!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Annual tradition:  Filling shoeboxes for underprivledged kids for Chrismas.  They'll get shipped all over the world!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Foster Kids Collection

We're collecting items to be donated to Children's Services. They are in need of new items for kiddos coming into foster care, who often don't have much, if anything, of their own.  Some ideas of things they need are undies, toothbrushes/toothpaste, crayons/coloring books, sippy cups, PJs, and blankets.  If you're interested in helping out, let me know!

Cutie Christopher

We just found out we get to sponsor this adorable little guy named Christopher for Christmas!  He's new to the New Day Foster Home in China.  This place takes care of quite a few special needs little ones while they wait for their forever families.  They have a fantastic blog and great opportunties to sponsor babies, nannies and staff.  I totally fell in love with his little face.  Sam thinks we should bring him home. :)

Allie Starts Preschool

Allie has literally been begging (and often crying) to go to school just like her brothers.  I think she would seriously hop on the bus with Ben if I told her she could.  She finally got to start preschool today.  She's not quite 2 and a half, but girlfriend was so ready.  She did great and was so proud of herself.  And Sam and I had the morning to ourselves-what a treat!

Halloween in Style

Whew, we made it through Halloween yet again.  Seems like there was such excitement and build-up this year!  I got to celebrate with Sam and cousin Izzy at their preschool fall party.  Grandma Toodie came for the afternoon to see the kids get dressed up.  Despite lots of ideas, the boys decided to wear their old favorites.  Ben was Buzz for the THIRD year in a row...the costume is way too short and embarrassingly filthy.  He wore it several times this year, including all day at school before trick-or-treating.  I feel the need to tell his teacher that he insisted on wearing that old ratty thing!  Sam was Spiderman for the second time, and Allie was a butterfly with a tutu.  We just used what we had.  She totally figured out the idea of trick-or-treating and wouldn't let go of her bucket of candy for anything!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday!  Across the world, churches and individuals are spreading the word about orphans.  There are an estimated 147 million orphans in the world today.  Orphan Sunday is one way to spread awareness and inspire others to be willing to step up and help make a change for these kids.  Here's the link for Orphan Sunday, there are lots of great ideas there!

I following quite a few blogs written by adoptive mommies (and daddies!), which I love.  I was very moved by the Oct 26th post on this blog, check it out.  I love her reminder that while it's so easy to forget how much orphans are suffering every day, we need to be reminded daily that this life is not about ME.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Adoption Awareness Month!

November is Adoption Awareness Month!  We kicked off the month by revisiting Allie's Homecoming Video.  It'll never get old.  So hard to believe she has been home 17 months!  She loves watching it with us now and has lots of questions about "Key-ah" (Korea)!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why I'm Thankful for Food Allergies

Food allergies are everywhere these days.  They are tough to handle and very scary.  The day I found out our 5 month old Sam was allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts was one of the scariest days of my life as a parent.  I couldn't envision what he would eat and how I would keep him safe.  He since outgrown the milk and peanut allergy (hallelujah!!), but we still deal with the egg allergy every day.  In the meantime, I became educated and empowered as a parent of a child with food allergies.  I joined support groups and followed blogs.  I learned to read food labels and how to be an advocate for my child.  I cleaned out our kitchen and purged anything containing peanuts and tree nuts... and guess what happened in the meantime? I got rid of the majority of the JUNK.  Most of the stuff that contains nuts or is processed around nuts was junk food.  Snacks, desserts... stuff we shouldn't be eating anyway.  I was forced to rethink the way that I cooked and naturally started to make healthier food for my family... mostly because we initially were forced into this. 

Even though he can now have some of those snacks and desserts since he outgrew his nut allergy, we're now out of the habit of eating things like that.  I usually don't even go down the snack/dessert aisle at the grocery.  Since he is still VERY allergic to eggs, we still avoid a lot of junk food.  He can't have cookies, cakes, waffles, pancakes, baked goods, breads, etc. that contain eggs... which still eliminates food that are mostly unhealthy! 

Sam has never had a donut.  Ever.

He's never had a cookie or cupcake from a bakery.

He has never had a Little Debbie snack cake.

We never eat breakfast out since the pancakes and waffles at restaurants have eggs, and he obviously woudn't be ordering an omelete!

Heck, even a lot of ice creams are not safe for him.

And you know what?  It's okay.  Sometimes I wish it were easier, that we could just run down to Dunkin Donuts for a special treat.  Sometimes when there is something right in his face that he would love to have but can't have (i.e. the special Halloween cupcakes at a buffet we were at the other day), I ache for him and wish he didn't have to worry about it. 

But most of the time, I'm thankful for his allergies.  Crazy, but true. We have become a MUCH healthier family as a result.  We don't buy the junk food, we don't eat out much at all.  Instead, we have a garden in our backyard.  We spend our money on food that are more nourishing for our bodies. 

When Sam originally was diagnosed with milk, eggs and peanut allergy, he basically could only eat fruits, veggies and meat.  Today, fruits and veggies remain his favorite food.  He will beg me for fruit over a  piece of candy.  He LOVES planting and harvesting from our own garden.  He LOVES LOVES LOVES stopping by the farm stand in the summer and picking out corn, peppers, potatoes.... he loves eating healthy and fresh.  His favorite foods are soups that are bursting with vegetables.  I truly believe this is a direct result from his food allergies and how they have directed us to a healthier lifestyle.

So, yep, I'm thankful for his food allergies.  I'm thankful for a caring and thorough allergist.  I'm thankful for his amazing preschool that is peanut-free and is very careful about his snacks.  I'm thankful that he was born into a family who is aware and are advocates for his health and well-being.  Now he's becoming his own advocate and is very careful about what he eats.  We've been told that most kids outgrow their egg allergy, and I do hope he does.  But I also am very thankful that they've given us a start to a much healthier lifestyle.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Allergy scare with Sam today... totally my fault and feel like such a terrible mommy.  He wanted candy out of a little machine at the store and even though there were no ingredients listed, I felt confident that chewy Sprees certainly didn't contain eggs... boy was I wrong.  Thankfully, Sam has a 6th sense when it comes to food containing eggs.  After eating one, he said he hated it and didn't want any more.  About 10 minutes later he started having terrible stomach pains that lasted for the next couple of hours.  We were out running errands, and I didn't think much of it at first, but the pains continued. By the time we got home, he could barely stand up.  It made me think of when he had a bite of a muffin back in the spring the contained eggs and had the same reaction.  So I looked up chewy Spree ingredients online... sure enough they contain egg albumin, which is basically egg whites (he is allergic to egg white and yolk both).  It's listed as a very minor ingredient, less than 2% and he only had ONE piece of candy.  He was miserable-pale and in so much stomach pain.  I gave him some Benadryl and followed his instructions- he said he needed a "bed on the couch and a Diego movie and a bucket in case I throw up."  He didn't throw up this time (he did after the muffin incident), but it really scared me. If that tiny amount of egg in one piece of candy could make him that sick, what could happen if he had real egg?  I'm so thankful for his 6th sense and his extreme caution (usually) in what he eats.  It scares me that usually between the ages of  4 and 6, kids start to outgrow egg allergy.  In fact, his allergist has always been very confident that Sam will outgrow this allergy.  But he's 4 and a half now and is clearly still very allergic. I obviously needed a reminder not to become to lax about his allergy.  He is now feeling much better and is eating whole (big) carrots as fast as I can peel them.  Those of you who know Sam know that that is more like what he prefers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ben's Poem

Ben was the Star Student of the Week last week in his class.  His teacher really put a lot of time and effort into making each student feel special when it's his week.  He got to make a poster all about himself, including family pictures.  He spent HOURS on this, he was so proud.  He also got to bring in his favorite book and have Daddy come in for lunch one day.  We were also asked to write a letter/poem/story about him and send it in for the teacher to read to the class.  Here's what we came up with.  It started as something I just wanted to check off the to-do list and turned into something really emotional and will be a keepsake for all of us.
Our Ben

One upon a time there was born a boy named Ben.

He came into this world and quickly became our best friend.

An easy, sweet baby with a special blanket of blue

He made us so happy we didn’t know what to do!

With brown hair and bright blue eyes

Our love for him came as quite a surprise.

Over time he grew and became such a smart, strong boy.

His smile and giggle brings us endless joy.

He became a big brother to Sam and then to Allison too.

He loves them and helps them and shows them what to do.

Ben loves swimming and hiking and camping and such.

He also loves baseball and video games just as much.

He’s kind and gentle and patient as well.

He has a heart of gold, you really can tell!

He’s becoming a great reader and writer this year.

And with God by his side he has nothing to fear.


We love you Ben!!!!  We are so very proud of you.
Love, Mommy, Daddy, Sam & Allie

Candy Acorns

Easy and yummy!!! 


Sam and Allie have been taking a tumbling class this fall. They are loving it!!!  Allie's class is a parent-child class, so I participate with her.  Last week Jeremy came and hung out with Allie in class so I could get some pics.