Tuesday, December 31, 2013

goals for 2014

just to document on here - i'd love to complete these in the upcoming year. in no particular order:

1. get a job yay! i'm working for butler health systems as the practice manager for a dermatology clinic
2. go to the pittsburgh symphony - delayed, since we had a blizzard the night we were supposed to go on a date night. went with a girlfriend last weekend! we saw all that jazz and it was such a fun night out
3. take chris to the point we went for a weekend that happened to be the three rivers art festival - we both loved it and chris had a great time seeing the point for the first time.
4. read to lincoln more than just at bedtime - we've been reading at every nap, and just in the mornings when we hang out. this will change when he's at daycare, i know, too.
5. participate in six ten-on-10 projects
6. volunteer somewhere
7. complete two YouVersion bible plans or the single bible-in-a-year
8. move out of my parents' house - whether to rent or buy - we have a place to go! can't wait for May 17th, the big move day when we can finally sleep in our own bed.
9. read 12 books - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Jan 2014), Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (March 2014), How to Raise Chickens by Christine Heinrichs (March 2014), Welcome to Scranton by Greg Halpin (April 2014) House of Glass (April 2014) The Fault in Our Stars (April 2014) The Explicit Gospel (May 2014)
10. get my PA driver's license i got this the first week in january! yay!
11. register both vehicles in PA - got the mazda done, paperwork is taking FOR-EV-ER for the jetta.
12. invite a friend to church
13. cook a vegan meal that my dad likes i made vegan sloppy joes. he'll deny it to the day he dies, but he liked it enough to have seconds.
14. take lincoln to the carnegie children's museum ok, we didn't go to the carnegie children's, but we went to the pittsburgh children's museum and had a blast. i WILL be blogging about this.
15. take 5 instagram photos a week
16. take 5 "big-girl camera" photos a week
17. print lincoln's photos every month
18. take three walks a week
19. wake up before 6am, even if i don't have a job - i've started doing this already!
20. visit the national aviary on the north side
21. take lincoln camping with chris, even if it's in the back yard
22. organize mom's pantry - done!
23. pray for my husband on a daily basis
24. blog about all of these as they're worked on or completed

so that's not a ton, actually. but it's things i want to work on - whether it's small or will take the whole year - and i think i could do. wanna keep me accountable? go for it! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013


It's 10:20pm on a Sunday night.

The neighbors are out back laughing and hollering and all I can think of is that it's 10:20 at night and they should be more courteous than that. They should know my boy is sleeping and that it's a Sunday night and we have to work tomorrow- and this is acceptable. This is how most people would feel at 10:20 at night on a Sunday while their neighbors had a party. Most people would lie in bed irritated and wonder how long they would go on like this, and wonder (possibly out loud to her husband), "when do you think we should ask them to pipe down?"...

But you know what? They aren't fighting. They aren't hurting anyone. They are laughing. They are enjoying each other. That's what we should all do more often, even at 10:20 on a Sunday evening. My boy would sleep through it even if he were down there in the midst of all that commotion; they aren't hurting his sleep, and quite frankly, they won't affect mine. Because as soon as I finish this, I'll be able to close my eyes and be happy that they're enjoying their Sunday. At 10:20pm.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

still real

isn't he the best?

he's starting to smile in response to us.
and likes when i play with his play gym (he can't quite reach it yet).

oh, and today i got spit up on for the first time. i'd had drool. and poo. and pee. but projectile spit-up? now i can say "check" to that one as well. and you know what? i think there's still some spit up milk in the carpet in his room that i didn't clean up because i was too busy changing him and washing him up and getting milk out of my hair.

i'm learning to survive with things off-schedule for me. literal schedule, like he wants to eat 30 minutes early, and "my" schedule, like there's dishes in the sink that may or may not have been there since monday (hint, hint, husband...) or his diaper trash can is overflowing. or that yesterday i put actual pants on for the first time all week--that part is glad to go back to work next week.

there's other new things, too. like this new budget. we'd been planning for his insurance and paying for daycare... we just hoped we'd have had the entire adoption paid for by now. we're close, trust me. closer than we thought we'd be at this point. but we still have a couple thousand dollars more to save, and we aren't able to put as much of our own money towards it anymore.

all this to say, we're blessed. we have another garage sale next week to raise funds, and have a gal at church helping us by letting us sell her scarves. use the code "Lincoln" and we both win! we get a percent of the sales, and you get free shipping! sweet. as always, i've got a paypal donation button on my right sidebar if that suits you better.

so excited. i think i'll even get a scarf! there's a floral one calling my name :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


i typed it all up one-handed on facebook, sharing the news with everyone. it's good news. and it was worth the time it took, because you were sitting in my other arm. sleeping soundly, occasionally slipping me a sleepy grin, trying to battle sleep after downing 4 ounces.

today we got the news we'd been waiting for.
you're officially "eligible for adoption".
that's code word for you're on your way to becoming part of our family on paper, not just in our hearts.

you smell like a mixture of baby shampoo and similac burps, and i can't stop kissing your chubby cheeks.

i'm so proud to be your momma and can't wait to share this journey and this incredible story of god working in all of our lives with you. of how amazing your birth mom is and what a strong person she is. of the hearts you've touched and the people who've been praying for you-- people who don't even know you, or us, for that matter. of how adoption is the perfect picture of the gospel in real life. it's the most tangible evidence of love that we can take part in, and we are now a part of it.

we are so glad you were chosen for us, little one.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

when a phone call changes everything, parts 2, 3, 4

not 12 hours after i posted my last blog, we received a phone call. a phone call that our birth mom was going into labor and wanted us in the hospital with her. that's right. the same woman who'd not returned calls or texts. for. two. weeks. she wanted us at the hospital with her. so, in shock, we hurried home, packed our bags, loaded the car, and drove for four and a half hours.

as you saw in my last post, we were in the process of mourning her already. we had some good conversation in that four hour drive, and were prepared to go up and minister to our birthmom no matter the outcome of this day or week. we don't know why we didn't hear from her for two weeks, where she was, if she was even safe. but in that moment, she asked for us. she asked if we were ready for our baby, if we were excited, but most importantly-- she wanted us there. so we were ready to be there for her

we made it to the hospital by about 3pm and were able to go into her room. she was nice. she was offering me hair tips. she said she had some baby clothes she'd like our baby to have. she was in pain, because, well, she was in labor. but she would smile with us and have conversations with us. it was just us with her. me, chris, the caseworker, and the birthmom. she delivered Remy very late in the evening, at almost 11pm. we were there, still just the four of us (along with the birthing team, of course). i was able to, for the first time in my life, watch the miracle of birth. i was the first person to hold Remy after they cleaned her up. she hardly cried at all- we thought she was the perfect baby. her big brown eyes scanned the room, seeming to take everything in. she was a whopping 5 lbs, so teeny tiny.

we left the hospital at about 1:30 in the morning. i only slept from 2:00-5:30 because i was so anxious to get back to the hospital and hold our daughter again. we knew we couldn't do that right away, because we'd be waiting to hear from our caseworker about how the day would play out. our birthmom's family would be visiting her in the hospital this day.


let's go ahead and just title this section "when a phone call changes everything, part 3", shall we?

after wasting the day away, trying to take naps, shopping for last-minute baby supplies at target, dinner at buffalo wild wings, and finally perusing the baby section at a book store, we received another call from our caseworker. this was not a good one. this phone call told us a lot of information. actually, it's a summation of about three different phone conversations. i don't remember when they all happened. there was a call that said she was leaning towards parenting, which we were (relatively) okay with-- remember we came down to support the birthmom from the beginning, right? but then came the call that was the most painful because it dredged up anger inside of me. it made me lose my caring side for our birthmom. it showed me my idols and my need to control and how fake i was towards myself when i said i was just there for to support the birthmom.

i don't yet feel comfortable discussing this on the internet, but the end of that story is that the state ended up taking Remy. they took her brother and sister, as well.

and we healed. we survived the loss of our baby thanks to the prayers of our friends and family, the proper mourning procedures, and time off work. we could feel the covering of the holy spirit, and that's the only way that we came out on the other side as well as we did.


part 4... since we're here, let's wrap this up properly, what say ye?

everyone who's been through this, whether from the parenting side, or the birthing side, or the caseworkers or the homestudy coordinators... everyone says adoption is an emotional rollercoaster. and it is. four days after we got back in town from our failed adoption, we received a call that we had been matched with another birthmom. we are currently waiting for our son our daughter to be born, in the next week or so!

i'm still in shock. but super excited. and cautiously optimistic. as we know more than many who go through the adoption process, the birthmom has the right to change her mind at any time. she has the right to parent her child. any time we get with the baby is a gift. and if we end up parenting, it's the ultimate gift from that birthmom. we're hopeful this time though. it's looking good. and of course, i'll let you know how it goes, whether it's good or bad.

Monday, February 4, 2013

when a phone call changes everything

I know I've been away quite a while. I've been busy preparing for a new addition to our family. With our agency, once we receive a call and are matched, we're advised to stay off of social media sites and blogs for a number of reasons. I may go into that another time. For now, our story.

On January 2nd, 2013, Chris and I received a call that changed our lives. We were selected by a birthmom to be adoptive parents to her baby girl. Within moments of the call, there were hugs, tears of happiness, phone calls letting family and friends know, and a feeling that our family would finally be complete. I remember at church the following Sunday, Matt Chandler said one of his favorite phrases, talking about how your life can change with a phone call. Thing is, he usually means that for something bad, like a cancer diagnosis or the death of a loved one. As Chris and I held hands, we smiled at each other, knowing that good life changes can come from those phone calls, too.

The weeks that followed were full of emotion, both good and bad. At baby showers from friends that were as excited as we were, we received gifts of baby girl clothes that I meticulously washed and folded into her dresser. We decided on a name—Rosemarie Lillian Slay, but she’d go by Remy. Everyone loved her, but no one more than Chris and me. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends. She was going to come home to a welcoming family.

Her nursery was perfect. Friends came over to help with the finishing touches, hanging decorations, and deciding on the perfect location for the bookcase. Her bedding was set, gender-neutral, of course, since it was picked out before we knew that we’d be having a girl. But since then, we’d added pink. Her changing pad cover. The giraffe piggy bank. The “A daughter is a gift…” sign that was given to us at our baby shower.

Anyone who knew our story would ask if we had an update every time they saw us, and most of the time we did. First it was that we were going to meet the birth mom. Then it was how that meeting went. Then it was that she’s expected to go into labor “any day”. Then she started dilating and was in a lot of pain. Our caseworker went over the emergency plan, in case she didn’t make it through that weekend and ended up in the ER in labor. There was even a day when she was meeting with our caseworker and wanted to talk with us. To us, that was an answered prayer. We’d prayed for more of a relationship with her, and this looked like the beginning of it. But a couple of days passed. Then a week. Then a week and a half.

No one could reach her.
And fear surrounded our household.
Had she changed her mind? Gone into labor and freaked out? Or was she simply sleeping and not doing well at getting back with people at the adoption agency?

It was an afternoon when another caseworker was visiting her city, and stopped by her house to check in on her in person. She wasn’t home, so they left a message with the birth father. We don't know if that message didn't reach her, or if she chose to not call the agency back. It's a tough part of the story that may always remain unknown, unless God chooses to reveal that to us.


She had a closet full of clothes.
She had a decorated nursery.
She had a name.
She had a loving family to come home to.

This time, that family wasn't us


So what do we do now? We continue on. We know we're supposed to adopt a baby. We trust this agency. We will move forward. Truth be told, we've been mourning the loss of Remy a little more every day we didn't hear from the birthmom. We'll continue to raise money (still have about $5000 left to raise if you're feeling generous-- please see the donation button on my sidebar). We'll pray together. We'll struggle well in community. We'll never pretend this didn't happen, though. I read a statistic that approximately 20% of domestic infant adoptions end in failed plans. If we had to be one of the failed adoptions in order to better share our story with people who come to us for guidance, then I'm happy to have gone through this heartbreak. I love being a resource and a face of adoption in my group of friends, in my community. This adds a layer of depth to the story and a piece of truth that adoption is not easy. We never had ideal dreams that it would be easy or that it would lack heartache. We hoped and prayed that it wouldn't happen to us, but God chose us to endure this pain.

And we will.

And we will still pursue adoption.
Our baby is out there, somewhere, waiting to be born and come home to our arms.