Thursday, September 25, 2014


Gavin & Rachel's story is not your typical.  This big smile came through tears..... yet it is also God breathed miracle after miracle.  Read more about their story....
 We have been at this adoption journey for years now and when we learned that our Congolese kids (boy and girl toddlers) would not be coming home anytime soon, we decided to try a domestic adoption.  We signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants and got all of our paperwork finished in about a month (we were a little impatient to get a baby).  The Lord worked miracles to get us our financing. We were matched with the first birth mom we showed our profile to.  For six months we prayed for her and her baby.  A week before her due date, she disappeared.  We were heartbroken and grieved the loss of that little baby but we knew that Gods plan is always good.

We seriously prayed about maybe not trying to adopt another baby.  Things in the Congo were starting to look more positive and we did not want to overwhelm ourselves.  In the end, we could not deny that when we started this domestic adoption journey, it was God directed.  We knew it was something He wanted us to do and we did not want to give up.

So we started showing our profile again.  We got quite a few “no’s” and we were feeling a little discouraged.  Then a special birth mother came along that we felt immediately drawn to.  We hoped and prayed that she would love us as much as we loved her.  She looked at our profile and also felt a connection.  We met her shortly after she picked us and we were matched.  She was expecting a girl in four short weeks!

Over the next few weeks, we had the privilege to develop a very special relationship with the birth mom.  We are so thankful to God that we got the chance to get to know the woman who made such a selfless decision for her baby.  A week early, our sweet baby girl was born.  Our time at the hospital was beautiful and our homecoming was wonderful.  Our little Native American princess could not have made us any happier.  We know that she is the little girl God had planned for us…He just wanted to take us on a bit of a journey to get there.

Through this journey, we learned that adoption is not about us…its about the children.  We went through some awful things in our domestic adoption and are still suffering the separation of our Congolese kids.  None of that matters!  There is no amount of heartache or suffering we would not endure for our kids.  In the end, I don’t even remember the last 9 months trying to adopt a baby.  All we see is our little princess.

Thank you Dawn & Jason for all your support through the whole journey.  I don’t know what I would have done without your scripture passages, wise words, and your long phone conversations.


 AND GUESS WHAT???  CONGRATULATIONS- AGAIN because now they are expecting another miracle in about 8 months.  Their Congolese children do have passports, and we are praying they will have them home and safe in their arms SOON!  LOVE your story...and your inspiration to me as a consultant.  Those times are tough...doubts come....BUT GOD!!!!


CALL 813-360-7368

***Note that there will be a slight increase in pricing as of October 1st so if you want to get in before that happens contact me ASAP!!!  We are working hard to ensure the best experiences for all of our clients and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Road Tripping with a large family

 Today's pictures brought to you by our 2014 vacation :).  We have had a lot of people ask us how we manage to road trip with a large family.  I would love to say that at all times only wholesome talk comes out of our mouths, our children are complete angels, and I never want to throw myself from the speed! 
 But that would be a lie.  This is a child protesting right here.....  ;). 
 So here's the deal.  We did actually splurge and buy a new DVD player for this trip.  It actually has 2 screens- one in front that we rigged up to hang where the former one was- actually we attached it to it.  Crazy, cheap, and yes true!  The 2nd screen is in the 3rd row attached to the car seat in front of it.  Yes - well it works. 
 We actually don't usually watch a lot of movies, typically one maybe 2 a day.....but in all reality by the 3rd day of traveling on our way to Iowa- we were like.  WHO CARES???  STICK IN A MOVIE FAST!!!  HA!  Because it is reality. 
 Jason did do different CD's for us to listen to- by doing worship mix CD's, a Disney mix, and a random song mix.  You may ask- what would be on the random song mix?  Well, because we don't listen to "regular radio" if you like only JOYFM our children don't really know a lot of "other songs" than Christian Music.  They do know things like Cotton Eyed Joe, Eye of The Tiger, and a few other random songs.  So Jason put those all on one CD too. 

Actually we had a long list of songs the kids requested written on our white board before we left.  That way we could vote what songs we wanted. 
 So we listened to those, watched a few movies, and played a few games like - can we find all the states on license plates.  Also things like guessing games- animal, mineral, plant or very educational games where we throw out random questions to see if our kids know the answers like how many strips are on the American flag and what do they represent?
 If our road trip is only 12-15 hours we drive it all at once and get it over with.....however when it is closer to 24 this one was we broke it down into 3 days.  So we can spread it out, still not travel all of their waking hours, and be able to sleep well.  We typically get up at 6am, get going and out of the hotel or house by around 8am....on the road until dinner. 
 We definitely PREFER to stop at someone's home as this is much more fun to actually get to see friends, family- or whoever is crazy enough to take our family in!!!  :)  Nothing like crashing someone's house to get to know them up close and personal! 
 This is what I look like while road trippin!  SERIOUSLY!!!  NOT A JOKE!
 Of course road tripping is also great for family closeness ;).  Personalities shine bright when you are in the car together for long periods of time.  Sometimes that is fun and sometimes not so much.  Michael had a few hard times - it was as if he couldn't fall asleep in his car seat and he got upset about it, and let all of us know. 

I did use a lot of oils!!!  If you have kiddos get car sick - peppermint behind the ears, and on the stomach works wonders!!!  We brought dramamine in case, but never used it.  This coming from the mom of a couple of children who usually get car sick and we usually have to stop several times.  After riding through Missouri as well and still not getting car sick.  We would never go on another road trip without my peppermint!!! 

Other benefits- peppermint in confined spaces will help clear up  those passages of those who have allergy issues (like myself), and will help keep you awake while driving!!!  DOUBLE BENEFIT!
 When Michael was having some huge issues and screaming- peace and calming along with Cedarwood really helped- me and him!!! 
 EAR PLUGS are a great tool when you feel you are going to lose it.  Just a side note of course.  But next road trip I am ordering a car diffuser as well! 
 Our kiddos did do great!  They usually do.  We all lived to tell about it, and had a great vacation. 
 THIS was a small tenderloin.  OH MY GOODNESS I miss this!!!!  YUMMY!!  My kids were laughing that you picked up a phone to order.  He he he he....  They need to know what the classics are!!! 
Other things that help with road tripping- snacks & water!  We usually don't buy bottled water, but for the sake of road trips we do.  We also pack toys - they each get a bag to pack what they want in it.  We get new paperback cheap books to take, along with some coloring books, paper, and cheapest crayons I can find.  Sometimes if I am really crazy I go to a dollar section and pick some fun cheap stuff to entertain the kids- little toy, stickers, fun pens, etc. 

So there you have it- how it really is....  :) 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our Iowa vacation!

 Hello Everyone!!!  So things are back in the swing and we have started home school again.  I know I am once again behind on my blogging which really is sad because I miss it!!!  I sooo need to find a time of the day that works better for me to blog.  Evenings have become a little more crazy because of some needs of my babies.  So I am going to keep working on that. 

For now- enjoy pics of our Iowa trip.  The above picture is us at a Culver's.  Now if you have never been to Culver's - I am so very sorry!  ;)  They have amazing frozen custard, yummy food, and well let's say I love cheese curds as well!!!  I know not healthy which is why it is probably a good thing the nearest one to us is an hour away! 
 The rest of the pictures are from the state fair.  We decided that we would enjoy going to the state fair on our trip.  It brought back fun memories for me and Jason as we had gone together a few times over the years. 
 You don't realize how much you miss real pork chops until you move south where fish, crawfish, and other specialties are great, but their pork chops tend to be well......whimpy!!!  Sorry no offense.  It's ok I understand that Iowa is huge on pork production, and corn.  Other places not so much. 
 So it is a typical fair with loads to fact there are more pictures to come as well. 
 Lots of corn and you forget that there are literally hundreds of kinds of corn!!!  Yep, tru fact.  Squash, egg plant, and all those veggies. 
 Here is their ice sculptures- crazy that it was an alligator considering there are none in Iowa. 
 Now this....this is something that everyone in Iowa knows about- the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow!!!
 They do different "themes" every year.  They also sculpt different breeds of cows so they are different most years too. 
 This year was Field of Dreams :)... and yes the entire thing is made of butter!  Now my question is - how many Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls could you make with all that butter???  :)
 Live bees....  cool to see.  Of course my husband wants to do bees here one day.  Ummm.....not sure how I feel about that.  It makes me very scared.  BUT I would love the honey. 
 Yes, we did lots of random pictures because I made them!  He he he he he
 A giant chicken....  and Matthew....
 Now why do these pictures not correct themselves?  Anyone know how to do that?  If so let me know I obviously need some help.  THANKS!!! 

So this is the tallest stalk of corn ever (replica).  As you can see it is crazy tall!!!!  At the fair they always have this years tallest stalks which is fun too. 
 This just tells a little about the tallest stalk. 
 We ate at the Iowa Pork Association because as you can tell I just wanted to eat all the good Iowa Pork!!!  YUMMY!!!!!! 
 :) pork this time, but we need to get chewing!!!
 The following is a unique display for younger kiddos and you did all these various activities and they would trade you seeds for the toy corn, then you would feed that to the cows and pigs, and get pork.  Things like that and showed some of the processes that take place to get food to the grocery store.  Jonathan isn't happy in the above picture- not sure why?
 We all followed them around as they did their activities. 

 What cute chicks!

 Look how cute my babies in a huge tractor tire! 

 Go Joanna go! 
 My cute farmers....

 Learning how to milk a cow.  Which is what my grandfather actually did for many many many years.  My dad grew up milking cows. 
 Taking your food to trade in at the markets. 
That's a wrap for Michael!!  But he was soo cute!!!

Hoping someone out there still reads my blog :).  Will be posting more pictures and posts soon!  Feels good and hoping I can encourage others too.  OR at least give you a smile!