Category Archives: Kids

Orphan Sunday

 

Ya. Today is a special day because its Orphan Sunday. Sadly, most churches aren’t aware of this or simple just don’t talk about it..

Deanna Wallace says this “God, the Father of all fatherless, adopts us into His family and gives us a place to belong, an inheritance and an identity. Orphan Sunday declares that every orphan from all corners of the world needs a family to belong to, an inheritance and an identity.” A to the men!

Some good Pastor friends of ours in Georgia asked us to put together a short little video on our hearts for Adoption for this special day. This was the 3rd time shooting it.  First it was lighting issues. Then, their were kid issues, like the sounds of them chasing each other with a sword and grapes…?? I know, strange. It just wasn’t the background music we were looking for. HA . Be near Lord.

Power of our words

 

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I’ve wanted to be a mommy from an early age, as young as I can remember. Like many women, I would day dream about being pregnant. I would imagine what my children would look like, surely they would look just like me. NOPE:( I would dream of reading countless books to them, fixing their hair, playing softball out in the backyard, beach trips, and all things fun.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mommy and to experience that kind of love.

I never thought about if something went wrong. My children struggling in any way never crossed my mind. Everything was picture perfect.

My oldest daughter is 10 years old and has been very active since day 1.  I just wrote it off as being very outgoing and typical toddler behavior. Now that she is older and in school, we had started noticing issues with lack of focus, not following directions, comprehension and falling very behind in school with a couple dozen more issues. What we had been writing off as immature or being “quirky” was becoming something we had to address. We had to finally realize something is a little “off” and we are going to confront it and take some action. I’m not here to rattle off a bunch of symptoms only to spook you and then you get yourself on the internet and start reading articles and then diagnose your child with 3 different things as you climb into fetal position. I’m so guilty of that, OMG its happened too many times.

My conversations with my husband now daily involve the words, ADD, ADHD, learning disorder, dyslexic, medication, IEP, occupational therapy, neurological specialist, developmental specialist and that list goes on. So many labels being thrown around. I think for some, they are a godsend. For others, they are a stigmatizing opinion.  I go from heartbreak to gratitude that we somewhat know what is going on. I realize that for her to get the help she needs like therapy and special classes that we have to have an official label.

Those labels, though. Dangerous. That’s where I get stuck. Wanting to know, but then wanting to forget. Since starting this journey I am way more aware of my words.

“Focus on your schoolwork! You’re so easily distracted.”

“Your being very immature, you need to act your age”

“She’s my add daughter.”

“She’s the one who struggles”

“Why are you so difficult?”

#notproud 

Use a label long enough and our kids are going to start believing it and then owning it believing that’s how God made them, it’s who they are and it will always be that way.  Even if it’s true, its damaging and it certainly is not Gods way. Proverbs 18:21 says that our words either give life or death. I like all of you mommas want to speak life into my daughter and I will be honest and say it’s going to take effort to think before I just spew out nastiness, but talk to her like she is a daughter of a King, a child of God. As mommas we get the high calling of being the voice our kids hear the most while they are little. “Speaking life is naming out loud the things that you believe your child is becoming…even if they aren’t “there” yet.” And All the praise hands here, right? I wrote this down in church years ago from my Pastor. I LOVE IT!!!

Speaking life is full of love, grace and a confidence that God is doing an amazing great work in our child’s life. God has an amazing plan for my child and yours, one so much greater than we can even imagine. His plans are to prosper them and to give them hope and a future. I looked up “prosper” online and some other words for it are to thrive, prevail and triumph. YES, Lord!! Sounds like some serious victory talk, right?!  Mommas, it starts with us and our words. They will become what you tell them they will be. Even if it starts small, maybe today, just hold them and look at them in their eyes and speak life. 

The future is blessed for my child. — “For I know the plans I have for you, ” says the Lord, They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

My child lives under a heavy anointing. -Isaiah 10:27

A God moment and a baby bottle

 

my Skylar

My Skylar

 

My youngest daughter was barely 3 weeks old. My oldest daughter was doing schoolwork and my husband was already back to work. I was recovering from a c-section and trying to function on a few hours of broken up sleep. I was convinced I was going crazy because I found myself bawling at the thought of starting over with a baby when our oldest was 7 years old. We were in the process of adopting a toddler who was sleeping through the night and not in diapers. Did I mention we had been trying to conceive for 14 years? Imagine my disappointment, guilt and shame with myself at thinking these thoughts when this precious baby was what I had pleaded and begged God for. Then, there was the breastfeeding thing. I, honestly hated it. I knew all the benefits of it and wanted to love it, but I didn’t.

Once again, I sat there reeking of shame.

It was feeding time and everybody on our street knew it. Bless her heart. She loves her food. Bottle is warm and ready. I tried for what felt like a hour to get that dang bottle nipple in her mouth, but she wasn’t having it. She was squirmy, somewhat thrashing her head and screaming. Just as the bottle would get to her lips, she would resist it.  I knew she was hungry and the very thing she wanted and needed was right in front of her, but she was too busy fighting it.  I remember myself saying over and over,  “Skylar, its right here. Honey, look, momma has what you want.”  Trying to convince a newborn -exhausting. My face was covered in tears and my heart covered in shame.

God showed up in that moment with a screaming baby, a cold bottle and a momma who was all around a mess dealing with labels, insecurities, fear and a really distorted view of God and what he thought about me.

I am not somebody who goes around saying “Oh, God talked to me last night and then again this morning and actually right now this minute too.” Or maybe he does and I’m just not listening or I write it off as hallucinating and too much coffee. Another devotional another day for that.

I know that I know that He spoke to me this day though. I felt Him gently whisper, “Jada, exactly. Stop trying to push me away, my love for you isn’t going anywhere. Stop looking here and there and making excuses for why you don’t deserve it. Aren’t you tired of fighting? My love is exactly what you need and want.

I wish I could say that day was like a demolition day (Joanna & Chip Gaines style) and all those lies, labels and my view of God was tore down and replaced with the truth, never to come to surface again. I’m so thankful that God is gracious and I know I’ll only be complete in Him. Some sweet ole lady always said in my childhood church, “I’m not who I want to be, but I’m sure not who I used to be.” True story.

There is a song that as the young kids say, “Its my JAM!” This song has become mine. my heart. my cry when the words won’t come.

Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure

You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us

So, pretty much God’s love is perfect. Ya, it can’t mess us up. God is crazy in love with you and me! He loves us madly and passionately- so much that the Word says, “He delights in me and rejoices over with me with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 May these words become your reality today. You can stop resisting. Stop fighting it. Just stop. His love is all you’ll ever need.

“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
-Zephaniah 3:17

Asking purposeful questions may surprise you.

 

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I’ve been married for 18 years and have 2 kids (Both are girls), so “Jesus, take the wheel” is a very daily statement around here. I have been home with them since the day we brought them home, every single day, all.the.day.long. See, my husband is cursed with many gifts, therefore staying very busy most weeks. There were and still are mornings that as he says goodbye for the day, I feel many different emotions. I think “I’m so blessed that I get to stay home with my kids and create all these memories and not miss a milestone, etc. Yet at the same time  would also think “I’m suffocating, I’m lonely and feeling bitter.” I would often be channeling my inner Ariel inside my head singing ” Wish I could be part of that world”. And if you think its impossible to feel all those emotions at one time, you my friend are not a woman or maybe, you do not have any blessed little ones yet.

My husband arrives home from work usually between 5-6.  He’ll walk through the door, hug the girls, hug me and then say, “What did you do today?” or maybe he’s feeling brave and asks “What did you get done today?”  I remember the day he asked that one, he was lucky that day because he happened to be wearing a hat and he just looked so darn cute. Today, he asked “So, how was your day?”

The question just hangs as I look at him, trying to gauge if he was being sincere, funny, sarcastic, and then which kind of sarcastic, trying to make out the pitch and tone of his voice and what all did he mean????? Meanwhile, I’ve asked my 10 year to get off youtube for the 38th time and to take my bra off and to stop watching strange womens labor and delivery stories.  My 2 year old is outside in the pool with her swim instructor having her 1st lesson and I can hear her telling her instructor, “no, no, I wanna do it myself” with a little bit of a monster voice and then I hear the instructor say “Skylar, please stop kicking me with water.” Poor instructor, We are probably now on the black list. I look at the custom made fireplace that Skylar had just drawn some artwork on with a black sharpie that same morning, my pee soaked shorts cause we are in potty training season and well, need I tell you how thats going, unwashed hair, chipped fingernails and coffee breath and I pause. Freeze time. Lets go into my head for a second.

How was my day???  Hum, wellllllllll (really dragged out ) today felt like eternity. There were moments when my heart was so full I could have exploded and then there were other moments when my senses were under assault that I think I did explode. I was both lonely and desperate to be alone. I counted down the minutes til nap time and then the second I layed down my 2 year old I couldn’t wait for the moment to go nuts kissing her sweet face! I was bored out of my mind and completely overwhelmed with so much to do at the same time. Today dragged on, yet there wasn’t enough time. It was loud and silent. I was at my best and then, a moment later, at my very worst. I think around 2:00 I imagined us moving to Haiti and taking over our favorite orphanage, adopting each of those kids as our own and then a hour later, I thought what if we give up our kids we already have for adoption and move to Bora-Bora.  Hubby-when there are 3 girls and all of us have several personalities(jk);)  and we all have crazy hormones –  it becomes super difficult to explain the question, “How was my day”

I’m too tired to say all of that. So, sometimes I would cry, or yell or just say fine and tell him I got errands to do meaning TARGET RUN!!!! Go to target, order my grande iced vanilla latte and wander the aisles, thinking “please God, let me run into a friend, somebody I know, anybody will do Lord.” In those moments, I often feel sad and hurt because I just want to be seen and known. The days just seem impossible to explain.

In one of my many self help books or a blog,  I read how we should ask each other better questions. Whether it be spouse, child, friendship-if we really care to know them, we need to ask them better questions, specific questions and then really listen. This quote hit me straight in my face,  “If we don’t want throwaway answers, we can’t ask throwaway questions.”

It doesn’t always happen, but now we try to ask more thought out questions. Ones that hopefully will set us up for success.

What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?

What can I do to help you right now? -my fav!!!

I also use it on my 10 year old when I pick her up from school. I no longer ask, “How was your day?” because she has noooooooo clue. It was the worst of days, it was the best of days. One moment, her best friend was one girl and then 10 minutes later, it is a different girl. A specific question is going to give me a more clear answer and more of a window into her day.  So, now i ask

How do you feel about your spelling test?

Did you play anything fun during recess? 

Do you feel proud of yourself today?

What if we viewed our questions the same way we viewed giving a gift to a close friend? Giving a thoughtful gift requires us to really listen and know that person. The more personal and specific the gift the more the receiver will feel genuinely loved and known. If thought out and purposeful our questions can evoke the same response as that perfect gift. Love is specific. Love is personal. Love is being known.

Love Day, 2016

We love Valentine’s Day around here. Daddy always goes over and above on gifts which just happens to be my love language. Thank ya Jesus! This year he got me the cutest gold bracelet and it had JB+RB. Its etched in it like it would look like if it was etched on to a tree.. Kinda sloppy and the gold is the hammered look.. SOOO CUTE!!!!! Love it.. Ryan gets the girls little gifts too which they are all about. Always the cutest little trinkets. 

About 7 years ago, we started staying home on Valentines Night and we love it. I make a yummy dinner and we all dress up and eat with a hundred candles lit. ITS THE BEST!!!! The girls love it. We even skip paper plates on this night. No paper cups. We get the best plates out that we have. Thank you Crate and Barrel. Wine glasses come, we toast each other and CHEERS!!!! The girls love it. 

This year we wrote love notes to each other (why didn’t I take pictures of that???:( ) and we took turn reading them to each other while Skylar continued on her 2nd plate of Spaghetti. LOL.  Ryan and I both got sappy and couldn’t even get through all of them without crying. We just love our girls so much. Its a fun night and something we all look forward too every year. img_5257

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2015 Christmas Day Action

A few shots from Christmas Eve and Day with our cute little family. 

Christmas Eve before their 1 gift they get to open. Which is always pjs and an ornament for the year.

Christmas Eve before their 1 gift they get to open. Which is always pjs and an ornament for the year. Are they not the cutest??

Liking those new jimmies

Liking those new jammies

The girls get an ornament every year. I try to get an ornament that captures them that year. Skylar is all about fairies lately, especially dressing up like one:) so I got her one of the Fairies grin the Messenger ornament series at Hallmark.. It seriously was so cute.. looked just like her and evidently looked edible. Micah got a soccer girl with her number on it because she played for the first time this year on her school team and absolutely rocked it!!!!!

The girls get an ornament every year. I try to get an ornament that captures them that year. Skylar is all about fairies lately, especially dressing up like one:) so I got her a fairy from the Messenger ornament series at Hallmark.. It seriously was so cute.. looked just like her and evidently looked edible. Micah got a soccer girl with her number on it because she played for the first time this year on her school team and absolutely rocked it!!!!!

Christmas isn't complete with an Anna Dress. I wish she would just let it go... hahahahaha oh lawd.. crack myself up:)

Christmas isn’t complete without an Anna Dress. I wish she would just let it go…see what I did there?? hahahahaha oh lawd.. crack myself up:)

I hope ya had a very Merry Christmas. 

xox, Jada

2015 Christmas Fun

The holidays have come and gone. boooooooooohoooooo:( Now, its cold, foggy and rainy for no reason at all and its depressing!!!!!!! Its just fun during months of November and December. Anybody else feel that way?

We had a fun few months with friends and family. Skylar, especially was fun this year with all the Christmas events.. She told me hourly how pretty the Christmas tree was and that the lights are hot. We sang Happy Birthday Jesus and Silent Night about 39 times before bedtime. Actually, we do that everynight. Not kidding. Skylar has always loved those 2 specific songs. Also, we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas about 4 times a day. That was definitely the movie of this Christmas for us. Ryan made us his special crack, I mean Nutella cookies pretty much every few nights. And I’m not even mad about it. We had several impromptu dance parties on the table to Mariah Carey’s, “All I want for Christmas is you”. One of our favorite traditions is letting the kids open a wrapped book every night starting Dec. 1st. and reading together as a family I would be lying if i said we didn’t miss night. oops.. . Overall, it was a relaxing Christmas vacation and many memories were made with my sweet little family.

Our elves, Colby and Chloe decided to come back, but they had ebola and weren’t their usual selves:(

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Micah and I also did our annual goody bags to hand out to the homeless. It gets more and more special each year as she gets older and understands it. God is using her to bless others and she thinks thats pretty cool.

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little assembly line putting the bags together. Skylar wanted to help too:)

little assembly line putting the bags together. Skylar wanted to help too:)

My sweet family in Old Town enjoying the lights and the 17 fake snow flurries that they blew down. Thx SacTown, you shouldn’t have. (I miss home and real winter)

My sweet family in Old town, enjoying the lights and the 17 fake flurries that they blew down. :)

Micah started a new school this past fall and we are so in love with all the staff and the kids. It really does feel like another family. She got to perform in her first Christmas Production and she was over the moon. That girl rehearsed the heck out of her songs and even had the courage to try out to sign with the senior sign team for a song. Its a huge deal at our school, something they do with excellence. She didn’t make it and their were tears, from both of us. I actually went into the bathroom and curled up in a ball and bawled. I mean, like literally lost my self for a few minutes. It was not easy to see your little girl experience her first real disappointment and hear her say “I wasn’t good enough”.. ohhhh lawd.. gonna stop right now or starbucks gonna have to intervene over here in the corner. Anyway, lesson learned and she’ll be trying out again next opportunity. She’s such a trooper.

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looking too grown up!!!!

looking too grown up!!!!

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Remember those impromptu dance parties I mentioned above?? Oh yeeeeeah, got some of them on video.. This 1st video is absolutely my favorite cause it has my niece in it. She’s not shy, but she is little more reserved than my Micah and tried for several hours to find my phone and delete this video. Someday, she will thank me for posting it:) And Whitney!!!! Need I say more?!?!?!? She just makes me come alive. Just gotta dance!!! But seriously, she’s my all time favorite. Makes me sad that she is no longer here;(. Again, tears. For the love, Jada! ok.. Pulling it together.

And then it was Christmas Zumba time!!!!!!!!!!

My husband and I are always looking for opportunities to give. God has blessed us over and above and its such a honor to just pass it on to others. A few months ago, God placed a family on my heart as I was praying that God would show me a family that we could love on and shower with gifts… Who doesn’t like receiving presents? I’m not gonna lie, I’m a huge fan of gifts!! Its my love language, just FYI. We did some fb stalking to figure out likes and stuff about them, etc. it’s a family we don’t even know well, but had met a few times. It’s been fun and a blessing to love on them like this and sure will bring some extra smiles.. Micah said as we were running the gifts from the car to their porch trying to be quiet, but both of us was so giddy that we should do this every year!! And a new tradition has now been born!!!!

this was actually our 1st stop, dropping off little tokens of our love to some new and forever friends

this was actually our 1st stop, dropping off little tokens of our love to some new and forever friends

 

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us little elves:)

Even though this post is after Christmas, I hope your Christmas was full of love. “Christmas is a togethery sort of holiday,” said Pooh. “That’s my favorite kind,” said Piglet. I couldn’t agree more. 

Merry Christmas,

Jada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Christmas card pic

Another post witten several weeks after the actual event.. I’ve fallen so behind and trying to play catch up. I’ve sent the kids upstairs with daddy to play with blocks and give me some silence. And of course they are up there playing zoo or WWI. I have no idea, but I’m staying here on my tush. where it is safe:) and peaceful.

OK. People. If you know us personally and get our Christmas Card every year, you know its a big deal. If it were entirely up to me, I would stick a cute pic of just the girls with some cute graphics. BAM. Done. But my hubs is a super out of the box thinker, creative photographer. And I think he feels like everybody is expecting this amazing mouth drop pic every year and it has to be better than last year. Somebody needs therapy, prayer:) Honestly, when christmas card pic talk starts, I get anxiety poos. I know. I’m sorry 🙁  But Ryan spoils blesses (i have a sweet friend who started saying blessed instead of spoiled and i like it so I’m doing it too,Thanks Sonia!!!!) me year round and pretty much lets me have control of everything. So the card is his baby and we just do what we are told.:)

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 Fun

Christmas Card 2012

2012 Chaos (Pretty much close to reality though):)and I’m 2 months pregnant here:)))

Christmas Pic 2013

Christmas 2013 Cuteness. This is my favorite of my loves

Christmas 2014 fun. Lets hit the runway.

Christmas 2014 fun. The fun begins.

And 2015 card barely made it in time. We got it back the first time and the color was off, we looked green. Anxiety is high at this point. Its Dec. 16 and we have to re-order them, address them and get them sent out. People are texting and asking on fb where our christmas cards are….They are stressing, I’m stressing.. Help us LAWD. We can’t let our friends and family down.  I was messing around with my time lapse app in preparing for the shoot.  Heres a little look:)

Wasn’t that sweet?? I love the video of the girls dancing!!! Micah and her dancing cracks me up.. She truly does not care if its done right.. That girl loves to bust a move and I absolutely love it and her:) and Skylar.. so yummmmmmmy..  So here is the final product.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Ta-daaaaaaaah!:) Its pretty simple and calm compared to previous years, but we love it.. I absolutely love the girls in this pic. And of course the hubs is a hottie. I changed about 37 times and hair was like 5 days dirty and begged Ryan to photoshop my thighs in half. HA but its okay. I love the pic still.:) We already know whats gonna happen with 2016 Christmas Card and its gonna be prettttttty amazing…

Merry Christmas Family and Friends,

Jada

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a family of 5

Yes, its true friends. We will become a family of 5 hopefully in the next year or 3.:) No, I’m not pregnant. (Please don’t say, “Oh your taking the easy road, huh”, “pregnancy too much for you?” or other crazy nonsense stuff. You could accidentally get punched in the throat. 1. Adoption is so not the easy road. I’m allowed to say that now since I’ve adopted and given birth.:) and 2. Yes, pregnancy was hard at the age of 37, gestational diabetes and 63 pounds. (you’ve seen my youngest, right).  My uterus now hates me and I am trying to restore that relationship.

The truth is we have to. Its in our hearts and we can’t stop thinking about him. In 2012, we had started the adoption process and were just waiting for the call that we had been “matched”. But one night, something told me to pee on a stick and OH MY WORD, i saw 2 lines. 2 sticks at home and then 4 more in the walgreens bathroom. WHAT?!?!?!?!                           14 loooooooooooooooooong years of screaming at my eggs and hubbys swimmers to frekin get together!!!! 🙂 Long story short,, Once we reached the end of the 1st trimester, our adoption agency had to put our adoption on hold. and we went on to have a super healthy baby toddler, Skylar. hehe.

Now, we are finishing what we started back then. Of course we don’t know him yet, but we love him in our bones and our hearts. We are obsessed with everything boy right now. Jen Hatmaker, my favorite person that I don’t know in the universe said “You realize that when God said He sets the lonely in families, He meant it, and He doesn’t just transform the “lonely” but also the “families.” He changes us for one another. God can create a family across countries, beyond genetics, through impossible circumstances, and past reason.” A to the MEN!!!!!

We are in beginning stages, still working on application. Its been sitting in our kitchen for 6 months now. This has the potential to be the longest adoption ever. JK:) Its my goal to have paperwork done before Christmas. We have our intake interview next week and then start adoption/parenting classes the beginning of the year. Which we have already done, but have to re-do since time has passed. Help us Lawwwwwd. These classes can be brutal. In the meantime, we are doing paperwork, home study, getting physicals, fingerprints and convincing Micah that we are only adopting 1 and not 19. ??????? Bless her Lord, she wants so many kids. Makes my throat close up to think of it. I mean, in a good way.. Not that I don’t love kids, but… well … . never mind 🙂

Seriously, we would love your prayers over our family and especially over our sweet boy (YES, ITS A BOY) insert blue heart here. Please pray over him for protection over his heart, mind and body. Pray over the birth family, especially the birth mom. Pray that God would place people around her to love on her and build her up as she faces difficult circumstances. God sees her and loves her no matter what. My prayer for her.