Friday Fave Five- March 11

FFF birds on a wire

Every Friday, Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story hosts Friday Fave Five. Participants share five favorites from the week in an  effort to focus our thoughts on our blessings.

1. Spring Weather  We had one last snow last Friday and it was lovely.


I took the pups out for a hike along the river and got some lovely pictures.  But now it’s sunny and in the 60s & 70s and we’ve been to the park nearly every day this week.  Absolutely wonderful.

2. Sewing  My friend’s daughter is learning to make a quilt and she came over this week to baste her backing-batting-front together.  It looks so lovely and I’m so proud of her for working so hard on it. Unfortunately I didn’t snag a photo but will try to get a good one when we finish up the binding.

3. Audio Books  I’m not much of an auditory learner but in all the craziness of life I haven’t been able to keep up with my reading like I’d like to.  So I started borrowing audio books from the library (you can even download them to your phone/tablet via the OverDrive app) and even purchased a few on my iBooks account.  This way I can ‘read’ a book while doing dishes or driving to and from appointments.  I love it!  And the kidlets love it too- they’ve already listened to Paddington and an unabridged version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. I’ve borrowed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the library to listen to next.

4. Swimming  A friend invited me to swim at a local aquatic center with her.  The moment I hit the water my soul was refreshed. Swimming is the only sport I’ve ever been any good at and it’s the one exercise that makes me feel invigorated WHILE I’m doing it.  So grateful to have been reintroduced to it.

5. Sweet Puppies  They bring so much joy to our life, despite their constant need to be taken to the bathroom and their propensity to chew ev.ree.thing. Par for the course for a 100+ pound puppy, I suppose.  Each month they seem to get better, so that’s progress.  🙂 Ape will be 9 months old this week!


Ape (8 months) & Shep (1 year)

Does anyone know where our puppies’ names come from? (HINT: the kids named them)

What are some favorites from your week?


Winter Refresh


Kicking off Wellness Wednesdays with a 3-Day Refresh from Beachbody. I’m not a Beachbody rep or coach– just a customer who really loves their products.

I did the 3-Day Refresh last January and really enjoyed it.  Definitely a good thing to use to break through those pesky weightless plateaus and kick-start your healthy eating routines.

It’s a really easy program to follow.  I started yesterday and felt super full all afternoon– couldn’t even eat my afternoon snack. So, yay.  Day 2 is usually the hardest for me on these things so I’m focusing to push through today, knowing that how great I will feel when I wake up Friday morning will be totally worth the self discipline needed today.

Little Warrior’s OT got cancelled for today so that means an extra 2-3 hours of time for me to be productive! Whoo hoo! I’ll be using those extra hours to plan all the food for the 21 Day Fix I’ll be starting on Monday. And also, you know… doing dishes and laundry. 😉

Word of the Year 2015: JOY

Baby, it’s cold outside.

jan 1 weather

It’s cold and clear and I’m not feeling well (the endo is raising its vicious head these days and I think I’ve got the black lung)

black lung giphy

so while my husband played with the kids in the playroom, I curled up with some coffee by the fire.

coffee 2015

The Princess got me this mug for Christmas with her very own money. Melt my heart. ❤


As I snuggled up by the fire, I transferred all the pictures from my phone to my computer (2500 of them… yikes…). I was struck with the themes and emotions I felt watching them upload.

My word of the year for 2014 was Health.  As the photos flipped through, there were countless pictures of fitness.  Despite feeling ill today, I’ve made dramatic strides in my health this year and am proud of how far I’ve come.  25 pounds gone, more strength and better sleep.


So, yay.  I improved financial, physical, and spiritual health this year.  I have been loving the study my bible study is doing- it’s been a key source of spiritual health for me.

that i may know him

I’m so grateful for these ladies who have taken me in and loved me and encouraged me in my faith.  Time in the Word has been a source of strength to weather this year.

I was most struck, though, by my emotions as pictures from this summer and fall started popping up.  So many fun family outings captured as memories.  But instead of joy at seeing these great days, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach remembering how hard those times were. Oh, that was the day that this child screamed for 2 hours straight when we got home, or the day that child hit someone with a folding chair, etc etc.

See, these past 6 months have been tough.  We’re doing a lot better, but man was it hard. We’ve had such great support and I’m so grateful for that.  And we’ve got great insurance to help with the costs of all the various therapies my kids need. Most of all, I’m grateful I’ve got such an amazing husband walking this path with me. He’s truly been my rock this Fall.  Not to mention, he’s smokin’ hot. Bonus! 😉

autumn walk

This was actually a great day! Yay, happy memory! 🙂


There have been some really good times, too.  Times that bring hope to keep me going. Hope that we might some day have normal, regulated kids.

But it’s been a dark time for me.  Emotionally, I’ve failed to be healthy in 2014.

george michael sad giphy

And let’s be real here, there’s not a lot of understanding for parents with traumatized kids. Because unless you’ve walked the road, you don’t get it.  And I can’t expect you to.   You don’t realize why we can’t get a baby sitter so we can get a break (hello there, abandonment issues… let’s aggravate them by leaving the child at bed time- tots brill), or why we have to have crazy strict boundaries (or someone will get hurt, or save a container of pee in their room, or whatever).

I wonder, sometimes, if my neighbors think we have a medieval torture chamber in the basement because of all the crying and wailing that comes from our home.  But no, I just asked my kid to get a pair of socks so we could go to the park.  45 minutes of melt down screaming because I asked the child do something that removed them from being in the same room as me (this was during the 3 week long post-Halloween everything-is-scary minefield).

haloween giphy

Or the 20 minute howl fest, accompanied by frantic running back and forth along the hall, after the tiniest paper cut in the history of mankind.  Said child later declined a band aid for it.

eye roll giphy

It was a hoot, in retrospect. Not so much in the midst of it, wondering if the neighbors would call CPS or something over my poor, dear child’s paper cut.  But afterwards I laughed with great gusto sharing the story with my bible study friends (Who, incidentally, have never once told me it was normal or brushed the trauma under the table.  They’re kind of amazing like that.)

But there has also been success.  Little Warrior went to get a hair cut and did not cry at all!  2 years in the making- most of the credit goes to finding an awesome barber out here willing to patiently work through it every 4 weeks (we tip him well…).  And also thanks to a quick phone call to Bapa right before we went in– to “make him brave”.  🙂


He was so proud of himself.  🙂


The Princess has had a great attitude this year. I’ve been so proud of how much she’s grown in maturity and what a sweet heart she has.  She did this puzzle all by herself!!!  So, so proud!

the princess puzzle

She was pretty proud of herself, too. 🙂


So, please don’t think it was all bad this year.  We had good times to celebrate. Especially their adoption in April!  I love them each so dearly.  It’s just been hard to move so many times and be so far away from our families.  And I don’t share this to have a huge pity party- though I sure do throw an awesome pity party!- but to encourage others in the trenches.  Fostering and Adopting traumatized kids is HARD WORK.  We need open and loving channels to share about it and I want people to know what they are getting themselves into BEFORE they start the process.  Because in this amazing adoption movement we see happening, my biggest fear is the lack of honest education about the trials people will face as they enter the wonderful world of loving the the precious little ones who’ve been hurt by the world.

kids need love


Going in to the new year, I’m determined to pull out of this funk.  The kids are slowly regulating and that’s finally allowing me to come out of overdrive and start healing myself.

To that end, we’ve decided, after much prayer and thought, to put The Princess in school.  While it’s academically best to homeschool her, as a family system it’s too draining  on me and I really need the break it will provide.  I did the math, and with her in school and Little Warrior in preK I will have TWELVE hours a week ALL TO MYSELF.  As opposed to the 50 minutes a week I’d get to sit in my car by myself while waiting for Princess at ballet when Little Warrior was in preK.  Add in the hour they’d be in Sunday School each week and I’d usually get about 2 hours a week kid free (any true introvert knows that sitting in a sermon is great, and a blessing in spiritual development, but you’re not really alone).

12!  I might be doing a happy dance right now.

yoda happy dance giphy

As I move in to this next year, the thing I’m craving- the thing I need most- in the next year, is JOY.  So my word for 2015 is JOY.  True JOY comes only from our Father in heaven and I pray that I find that JOY and it spills out into my relationships with family and friends.  Because after the dark of this year, I could use the light found in real, gospel-centered, grace-sharing JOY.

joy pillow

I think the Lord was pressing the word JOY upon my heart long before I knew it, because I was obsessed with this Christmas pillow from the first time I saw it and I waited a month before giving in and purchasing it.  I plan on leaving it out all year as a reminder.  🙂

May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   ~Romans 15:13

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but REJOICING comes in the morning.   ~Psalm 30:5

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY,  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.   ~I Peter 1:8-9

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   ~Psalm 16:11

My lips will shout for JOY when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.    ~Psalm 71:23

Catching Up- FFF

Each Friday Susanne hosts Friday’s Fave Five where we share 5 blessings from our weeks.

FFF fall flowers

I missed last week because we had company.  My sister and nephew were out for a long weekend, which is, of course, my first fave!

1. A Lovely Visit.  The cousins love to be together.

We visited a pumpkin patch one day

pumpkin patch_2014_1

pumpkin patch_2014_2

pumpkin patch_2014_3

went apple picking another (sadly, I forgot to take any pictures because we were having so much fun) and visited Starbucks and parks daily.


Fort Smallwood has a little beach where the kids like to toss pebbles and wade in the water after running around at the park for a bit.

Relaxing and fun.

2. Speaking of Cousins, we have a new one!  Our little PAL was born last week and everyone is just SO excited. We haven’t been able to see her yet so I stole my mum‘s picture of this precious little one.  🙂

little PAL

3.  Domesticity.  We’ve been home a few days this week so I’ve gotten a lot done.  We’re caught up on the school we got behind on while family visited and I’ve cooked and baked up to wazoo. Remember how we went apple picking? Well… we may have gotten a bit carried away because we ended up with 27 pounds! So I made apple pie, tons of apple sauce, and while I was baking I figured I should make some honey whole wheat bread to go with the huge vat of minestrone soup I made.

apple pie

After sampling, I’ve concluded: 1) I make darn good pie 2) I have to change my pie recipe because.. 3) Produce on the East Coast is not nearly as flavorful as the West Coast

zg cooking

The Princess LOVES helping in the kitchen 🙂

4.  Knitting.  The weather is turning colder and my knitting is constantly with me.  Hats, fingerless gloves, vests- all being knit in abundance as I use up my stash.


Enkel Vest by Pickles

My sister decided to sneak a picture of me knitting at the pumpkin patch.  Apparently, normal people don’t do this??  😉

knitting pumpkin patch

Also, apparently I’m the only person who thinks it’s cold!  Everyone else was in short sleeves and my kids and I were bundled up in boots and sweaters.

5. Health & Fitness. A year ago I was overweight and miserable physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I’d gained nearly 40 pounds due to multiple failed fertility treatments and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  So I vowed that 2014 would be a healthy year for my family.  I still have a long way to go but I’m healthier and stronger each month, thanks mostly to my Beach Body programs (21 Day Fix and P90x3 for now.. I really want to try TurboFire and Les Mills Combat sometime soon, though!) and eating Paleo (and apple pie, of course)  I love Beach Body- it’s a fantastic company with solid products.


Left was August 2013, though I looked like this until January of 2014.  The right is a few weeks ago.  I still have a ways to go before I feel like myself again, but bit by bit I’m getting back into shape and I love it! Except today because I’m SO. SORE.  Curse you, super burpees.  😉

It’s a beautiful, sunny day so we’re finishing up school early and heading out to enjoy a hike!