Friday, January 30, 2015

Maybe It's Not Right

Here's the thing. Adoption is amazing and incredible. It's beautiful and I feel so blessed. Maybe it's right for you...maybe it's not. I wrote my thoughts about that issue here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ya know...Whatevs

"Just going for a bike ride. Ya big deal. Whatevs," says Sammy as she pedals her new bike alongside Callie! Thanks to Julie Matsushima, Sammy has her brand new bike and is LOVING are we.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Home Town Pride

I've got it...that home town pride. Anything that has to do with Detroit and it's surrounding suburban cities, I'm all over it. I married into driving a Honda, so though I cheated on my city, my heart was in the right place. I know I live in Sharks Territory, but I'll always cheer for the Red Wings. I'll always have a soft spot for the Lions would could never seem to win...and the Pistons whose reign of glory I witnessed during their Bad Boys, Back to Back era. Aside from sports, I feel knit into my home town. I haven't lived there in a long time now, but when I hear about things going on there, my ears perk up and I pay attention.

It has made me wonder if it's important at all for Callie and Micah to feel connected to their birth place. Do I only care about Detroit because it was such a part of my growing up? Or would I always wonder about it...even if we moved away when I was little? I don't know. But I have found that Callie has a curiosity about her birth place. Her ears also perk up when she hears about or sees pictures from where she was born. And so, I wrote an article about it for Because who knows? Maybe it does really matter.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Perfect Princess

On Sunday Sammy and Callie came home with these CTR crowns. Rarely does Sammy allow something on her head. And when it's there, it doesn't stay on too long. But she kept this on for about 2 hours. And I thought she looked so cute. Normally I'm in awe of those crystal blue eyes. But in this picture, it's those lips. Since she was born, she's always had rosy pretty, so perfect.

At times I've looked at her and wondered what she would be like if she were just an average 8 year old. What would she look like? The truth is, she would look very similar, however with a larger head, her features would be a different. And I wonder. I wonder what she would say to me. I wonder what she would do on her free time. I wonder what would be important to her and what would make her laugh. Those things I don't know, and won't know, right now. I look forward to the day when I do know those things, but then I wonder about that. What will our relationship be like? I'm sure it'll be incredible...but our relationship is so much based on her daily needs. Will I know how to not take care of her? Will I be able to just sit and talk to her? Yep. I will. And it'll be great.

Until then, what I do know is that she's amazing. I do know she has gorgeous, gentle eyes and beautiful, happy lips. She needs to eat soon after she wakes up, but is patient and will wait until other things get done. She enjoys being with other people. She will follow Callie and Micah around just to be with them. Colin is her dearest friend. She has an infectious laugh and has very ticklish legs. She likes a good massage and is able to truly relax when someone takes the time to rub her muscles loose. She gets excited by whipped cream, chocolate almonds, and marshmallows. Her fingers curl inward. She has a little bump on the side of her skull. She has a small birth mark on her leg. And she is an angel in a little girl body. These are things I know. And these are things I love.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Real Imprints

After my article on, I received an email from the creator of She asked if I would be willing to share my story, more in depth, on their website. 

I spend a lot of time writing, but for some reason i twas difficult for me to get our story down. I think part of it is because I'm so used to writing for ... 500 - 1,000 words...that to really put down our story was a challenge. But I loved doing it. And I love the website. It's story after story of hope filled testimony, and I love it. So I was honored to be asked to join with the others who have shared their personal experiences.

Part One can be read here. It's more about Samantha.
Part Two can be read here. It's focus is on how Samantha led us to adoption.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

All Better

After a night of throwing up...looks like the punkin is on the mend.
She slept in until nearly 9am! A little pale, but lookin' good.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Callie is SEVEN

Our Callie girl is 7 and I can hardly believe it!

Once she was this

Now she is this

Celebrating Callie's birthday started the night before when Marcus and I snuck in while she slept and hung balloons from her ceiling...a tradition she loves!

Callie's not much of a morning person, but she woke up so happy! She had NO problem getting ready for school or smiling for pictures. Look at her. She was beaming!

I was excited to come into her classroom to bring the birthday treat. When I came, they sung this cute song about making a cake and blowing out the candles. It was cute. And, no surprise, she loved it. As a side note, I love Ms. Borrelli. She's such a great teacher and Callie really likes her. I feel so blessed that Callie has had her 2 years in a row...kindergarten and 1st grade.

So here's the deal. We can't bring treats to school for birthdays anymore. I have mixed feelings about this, but it does provide awesome opportunities. This year Callie wanted to bring a balloon for everyone. I decided we could do that, and was actually kind of excited myself. But here's the thing to remember if you ever decide to bring 30 helium balloons into a classroom. They take a lot of space in a car! I didn't even think about that. When I picked them up, I almost couldn't fit Micah back into the van. Luckily, I did. And I got the balloons to the classroom, much to everyone's delight!

Sophia, Mattea, and Callie

Even string cheese is more exciting on your birthday.

Pre-party Goofy Faces!

On Monday night we had a few visitors including Callie's new cousin, Liam. We were surprised when they showed up and honored to be the first party he attended.

Callie chose chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Then we decided to add a little orange to the frosting. It was a little too strong, but she liked it a lot. 
What I like a lot is that it looks like Colin is a cut-out set on top of Callie's head. That's funny.

Bummer for we were eating dinner, she threw up all over the floor. Well, actually bummer for Annie because she was sitting there by her. Sammy spent the cake-eating period on the couch watching everyone else.

See, up above there are 2 children stuffing their faces with processed food, too much sugar, and hydrogenated oil. This is the traditional birthday. Below...pale, sad, staring birthday fun. This was moments before she threw up again. We did a lot of laundry that night.

Analisa and Alex participated in the birthday fun too. Analisa called and Callie decided skype would be better. It was.

Our birthday crew, minus Mommy Photographer. Even sick Sammy is wrapped up in a blanket, and Micah is 1/2 in the picture.

 I love my birthday girl!

Earlier while we were frosting her cake, Marcus decided to do a little teasing.
"Oh no Callie! We forgot to get you any presents!"
She looked at me with a little worry on her face. "It's true Callie, I'm so sorry. I've been so busy getting things together for your class and tonight." I went along with it for a bit. But Marcus kept carrying it on. Then Callie came up to me and whispered, "Just tell Daddy he can just give me a lot of hugs and kisses for my present." We both thought that was pretty great. She did get a ton of hugs and kisses...and some presents.

Later that night when she was going to bed, I asked Callie if she had a great day. She said, "Kind of." I was so surprised. She had been floating high all day long. "Just kind of?" And then she explained and it was so sweet. "It's my birthday and everyone is supposed to be happy. But Sammy is sick. I feel so bad for her."

Our 7 year old is one sweetheart. She still is made of fire, but there certainly is some sugar in there too.

Love you Callie! You make my days bright!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Mothers in My Life, and Open Adoption

I am so blessed to have an incredible mom. She has ALWAYS been my biggest fan. Largely because of her, I have been able to accomplish so much in my life. She has given me a drive to do whatever I set my mind to. And all those things I do are a very important part of my life. I'm so grateful that she instilled this sense of strength in me.

I've had other women in my life who have supported what my mom was able to teach me...young women leaders, friend's moms, extended family members. I'm so grateful for all those women in my life who mothered me along the way.

So when people worry about open adoption and what that means, how it can be confusing to have two mothers, I think about my life. I was surrounded by love, by those who had my best interest in mind. Why would I want to shut out people who love my children and have their best interest in mind as well?

When Callie was born, my friend, Heather, gave me this poem. I have it posted in my article and briefly share my feelings about it. Thank you Heather for the gift 7 years ago. I love it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Everyday Life

Ya know...just reading a magazine and having a picnic under the table. We're chill like that.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goodness and Wheels

I love Christmas. It's an exciting time. I love giving's my love language...or service. I'm confused because to me giving gifts can be service. So who knows what I am, but I love to give gifts. Boom. There you have it. And I start thinking about people and what I want to do for them starting around July. There are 2 main reasons to think Christmas in July.

1. I get excited and it makes me happy.

2. Because if I can get things done earlier, than there's no rush at the end. I get to enjoy the season and feel the spirit of the season so much more. And that makes me happy.

So, back in July, I was thinking about our kidlets. Callie. I knew she'd been enjoying scooters. Though she had never asked for one, I thought she would love it. Micah. He needed a bike. I regret that we didn't get Callie on a bike sooner and didn't want to make that mistake again. I was looking at a Strider Bike. Sammy. This wasn't a Christmas thought, but since we're talking about wheels, we've been wanting to get her a bike that costs roughly $4,500. But that purchase would require a lot more thought and planning.

Fast forward.

November: I went to Savers looking for a large mirror. As I walked around, I saw a scooter for $4.99! Are you kidding me?! Immediately that sucker was purchased and hidden in the garage. It was a little scuffed up, but it worked great. Yes, I tested it out in the store to make sure. I'm just kind of thrilled about the amazing deal and for whoever decided to donate it instead of trashing it...and donating it to really the only second-hand store I go to! (I have a thing about Good Will and only go to Savers in this area. That's another topic though)

December: I was very determined to get Micah a Strider bike. A new bike store opened by our house and I even talked to the guy about it. I was ready. Then our car needed about $700 in repairs. Regrettably, I went back to the store and told him I wouldn't be ordering a bike. I was so sad. On Christmas Eve my friend, Christine, sent me a text. "Will you be home later tonight? We have something we want to drop off." I was expecting a plate of cookies or some other Christmas treat, but what did I see when I opened the door?! A wrapped up Strider Bike! I was floored. Marcus and I were speechless, just staring at each other wide eyed!

January: Today we received another delivery. You guessed it. Sammy's new BIKE! WHAT? Well, new to us anyway. Years ago I was contacted by a publisher and asked to read a book and write a review. For the Love of Aimee was written by Julie Matsushima, Aimee's grandmother, and touched my heart. Aimee is so much like Sammy I felt like much of what she wrote were words from my own heart. Years later, Julie and I met. We used Sweatin' for Sammy to raise awareness and money for an all accessible park being built in San Jose, a project that Julie is heading up through the Rotary Club of San Jose. Julie had bought the bike for Aimee, and since Aimee doesn't use it anymore...she thought of Sammy. Her son just drove down from Modesto and delivered it! The bike, new, is roughly $4,500. Used, they could get at least 1/2. It's old, but it's in good shape. They gave this to us. Gifted it over to another little girl who will use it just like Aimee did. And I'm...just so grateful. I'm looking forward to our family walks together, where Sammy can ride along...not just sit in her wheelchair.

These pictures are from a couple years ago. Callie and I went to Sammy's class for a party and Callie was able to push Sammy on the bike and LOVED it! The new bike doesn't have this high back on it. It will fit her size just perfectly! I can't wait to use her new bike with her in will certainly be coming in the near future.

Here's the thing. We can get good deals all over the place. If I went to the store and was given free bikes, that would be awesome. But it means so much more when there is love and friendship behind it. My heart is so full of love and gratitude for our friends, but also for people in general. There is so much good in the world, and I'm lucky to be a recipient of that goodness. I hope that I can be the source of that goodness for others too.

Life is so so good.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

BYU v. Santa Clara

Nothing says New Year like taking the family to a BYU basketball game. This is the first game we've attended together as a family, and I would call it a success. The kids were really looking forward to it all week. Micah slept through the first half. Callie played on Marcus' Kindle then drew pictures the rest of the time. Sammy played with her shoelaces. And BYU won. Perfect game.


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