A Savior Is Born

Sunday, November 29, 2015





Amidst the hustle and bustle, let us remember the real reason for this season.


A Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 28, 2015


(my sweet hubby set the table for me while I chased the kids around the house…)

Hi Friends…I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by loved ones and friends. We sure did and are still enjoying all the yummy leftovers and desserts! :-)

Now that things have settled down…I thought Id' sit down and write about our holiday and share a few photos while the memories are fresh on my mind.  Several months ago we offered to host Thanksgiving at our house, so we have been looking forward to having everyone come in town for the holidays.  We try and rotate the holidays between my family and the hubby's each year and so this year it was our turn to spend it with my hubby's family.  

On the morning of …the kids woke up so excited and couldn't wait for their cousins, aunt and uncle to arrive.  The hubby's sister, Amy, and her family were driving in that morning. We were sad that the hubby's other sister, Teresa and her family couldn't make it this year.  It's a long trip for them to get here and they have a lot going on right now--so we completely understand why they couldn't make it this year.  My in-law's, Pop and Janet, arrived the day before and spent the night with us.  The kids  had fun getting to hang out with them before their cousins came to town. 

Once everyone made it to our house…we added the final touches to all the food items in the kitchen and finished setting the table before sitting down for our Thanksgiving meal together.  I'm so grateful to my sweet mother-in-law and the hubby for all their help in the kitchen…I kept having to chase Tay-Tay and Gavin around the house and trying to get them ready amidst the meal prepping --so they were so much help while I tended to the kids.  They even set the table and ironed the napkins.  It was definitely a group effort that morning getting everything ready for our Thanksgiving meal.  But it all came together so nicely and our meal was wonderful. 


A little personal side story about the china we used for our Thanksgiving meal.  As we sat down to finally eat our meal, I got a little teary eyed when I looked at the pretty dishes.  This china is the combined collection that was passed down to me from my grandmother, Katie Bishop, and her mother (my great-grandmother) Oni Lee.  It's the Johnson Brothers Friendly Village pattern. I cherish it and have kept it safely tucked away in my china hutch since inheriting it.  They both had their own personal set and it's the first time I've used it since my grandmother passed away in 2013.  I remember using these same dishes at all of our family get-together's at Nanny and Granddaddy's house when I was a little girl.  

These dishes bring back so many special holiday memories I was blessed to share with my parents, brothers, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins…many of whom are sadly no longer with us.  But they especially bring back fond memories of my time I shared with my grandmother, Nanny.  I can vividly recall her standing over her sink in her kitchen and very carefully washing her china after our Thanksgiving meals while she and I would be chit-chatting about life and other things.  I could tell by the way she would ever so gently wash and dry these dishes after our Thanksgiving meals that they meant so much to her.  

And so after the hubby said the prayer and blessed our meal, I couldn't help but feel my grandmother nearby.  And I'd like to think she was smiling down from heaven and so happy that her china was being used for our special Thanksgiving meal-- just as we did all those years ago in her home when she and Granddaddy hosted Thanksgiving. 




My hubby with his parents, sister and brother-n-law and our niece


Noah and his cousins


These two getting a treat with their Sprite and Root Beer ;-)


Our nephew, Will…enjoying his Thanksgiving meal


After our meal…Noah performed a few songs on his recorder for everyone.  He did a really great job and we all were so proud of him.  




Aunt Amy and Noah having a deep conversation about life and other stuff.  :-)


We had a really nice visit with my hubby's family.  I'm so thankful for them and that they were able to make the trip  and spend this Thanksgiving holiday with us. I so missed seeing my parents, brothers, and their families for this holiday--but am looking forward to getting together with them in a few weeks for the Christmas holidays.   And speaking of Christmas, we've been having so much fun getting the house all decorated for the holidays. The kids are all excited about Nick the Elf's arrival and making their wish lists for Santa Claus. ;-)   



It's definitely our favorite time of the year and a special time to remember the Savior and all He has done for us. 

Here's a precious video we like to show the kids at the beginning of December to help remind them about the real meaning of Christmas…

 

FOUR

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


On Saturday, Gavin turned 4 and we had such a fun time celebrating his special day.  Since he and Taylor are still so little, we only do a small, intimate family celebration together.  When they're a bit older and in school--we'll do the big party shindig with friend invites.  But for now, we're enjoying just celebrating their birthdays as a family.  Gavin's grandparents and aunts/uncles and cousins were so sweet to send him presents and cards for his birthday--he so enjoyed opening their presents and listening to us read their sweet cards to him.  I'm so grateful that my children have such loving grandparents and aunts and uncles who make them feel so special and loved.  It makes such a difference in their lives and means so much to them.  




Noah picked out Gavin's birthday cake and cupcakes…I thought it was so sweet.  And when we were at the grocery store---he told the lady at the bakery exactly what he wanted the message to say and what colors he wanted.  :-)  Gavin loved it!!


Tay--Tay did, too…she was eyeing the cupcakes the minute we pulled them out…I could tell she was ready to get her hands on them and start licking the icing off of them!! ;-)  That girl's a stinker!!








He had so much fun opening all of his presents….



Daddy had fun trying on Gavin's IronMan gear...








Gavin giving his bubba a big hug after he opened up the present Noah gave him…


Oh how we love our little brown eyed fella…it's hard to believe he's 4 now. I got a little emotional when I was looking back through these photos because I was thinking how far we've come with Gavin. It's been such an emotional journey with his adoption.  It just seems like yesterday when the social worker first brought him to our doorstep little over 3 years ago.  We were embarking on this new journey as foster parents and had no idea what to expect --and he was this scared, quiet, mature beyond his years, 9-month old baby who was scared to death staring back at us... it was just so heartbreaking.  


[ Gavin - 9 months old - on the day he first arrived in our home ]

We fell fast and hard in love with this precious baby boy of ours from the minute we became his foster family and we just felt in our hearts he was meant to be our son.  We also felt that if we had to fight for him when it came time to proceed with an adoption we would…and sadly, as most of you already know our story, we did have to fight to keep our son, but thankfully--after a 14- month long protracted battle against the state of Texas, we won our court battle, and were able to save him from languishing in the state's foster care system and legally adopt our son. 

He is without a doubt a prayer answered to our family and I thank God every single day for allowing me to be his mother.  He teaches me daily how to be more Christlike by his tender heart and peaceful spirit. 

How grateful I am that we were able to share this special 4th birthday with you my dear son. We love with all our hearts!!  And we look forward to sharing many, many more fun birthdays with you.

hugs and kisses,

mama

The blessing of Adoption

Monday, November 23, 2015


I will forever be grateful for the gift of motherhood and for the women who sacrificed so much to bring our children into this world and place them for adoption.  

November is national adoption month -- a time to raise awareness about adoption and help encourage families to open their hearts and homes to children who are currently in foster care awaiting to be adopted.  It is also a time for those families who have adopted to reflect on how adoption has blessed their lives and share their stories.  

To read more about our adoption journey, click here.

xo,
jennifer


THREE

Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Our sweet Taylor Elizabeth turned 3 earlier this month and we had so much fun celebrating her special day. Since Gavin and Taylor are still so young...we've decided until they're a bit older--we're just doing family birthday celebrations until they're 5. She had been so sick with a fever and runny nose all week leading up to it, I was worried that she was not going to feel up to doing much on her birthday...but the morning of--she woke up ready to put on her party dress and was all excited to have her birthday party.

I had flown the night before to Dallas for a quick trip to see some of my oldest childhood friends that I haven't seen in over twenty years for a little "girls weekend" reunion, but I was back on a plane headed home early that next morning so we could celebrate Taylor's birthday.  The hubby called me early that morning before I boarded my plane and shared a video of he and Taylor--apparently she had awoken him bright and early and was ready to start her birthday party at 5am. :-)

As soon as I walked in the door after driving home from the airport...Taylor and the boys greeted me at the door all excited and she was wearing her pretty yellow princess dress that her grandma, KiKi had bought her for birthday. She screamed out in excitement, "Mommy!! Mommy!! It's Happy Birthday time...It's Happy Birthday time!!"  

And so I told the boys to take her back to the playroom so Daddy and I could get the table all set up in the kitchen and then we'd call them in when it was all ready....











She needed a little help from Bubba with blowing out the candles...


















She had a wonderful birthday filled with lots of laughter and squeals of excitement.  Oh how we love our little princess and feel so blessed to have her in our life.  She brings so much laughter, love and joy in our lives every single day.  What a blessing she is to our family.  We love you baby girl so very, very much and we look forward to watching you grow and blossom into womanhood over the years.


Jody came around the corner later that evening and found baby girl sitting on the kitchen counter enjoying the last bit of her birthday cupcakes.  And by enjoying them, I mean licking the tops off every single one of them.  

Definitely one of those priceless moments we'll cherish forever…