Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is it wrong??

Let's just be honest. There is no way that my little kiddos are going to make it to watch the big ole' ball drop tonight.

Sure, they really want to and sure I understand the excitement but come on...really...

I heard this morning about a family that re-enacts New Years every year around 8pm. Actually, I guess that wouldn't really be re-enacting...more like foretelling.

Whatever - you get the point.

The bottom line is that they can't let the kids stay up until midnight so at 8pm every year they create lots of fan fare and count down. The only saving grace is that the kids in that family can't yet tell time.

Unfortunately, mine can. Hmm...

I'll admit, I'm seriously considering changing all the clocks in my house right around 7pm...New Years might come early to our house this year! :)

Any ideas how I can get Dick Clark to drop a huge crystal ball around 8pm? :)

Happy New Years everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where Oh Where Have My Comments Gone??

Now, I know that you probably didn't notice. Honestly, I didn't even notice. However, my bloggy friend Flamingo Mama noticed that my comments have disappeared from my posts.


I have no idea where they went. Truthfully, not too many of you are big on the comments anyway, but still I LOVE to hear what you have to say (most of the time):)!

To those sweet friends out there who love to encouarage me through comments, please know that I am working on the problem.

If I ever get it sorted out I hope you'll drop me a line!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Rewards of Being Mommy...

After a conversation about adoption, the topic of kids came up while riding in the car today.

Ayden: “Hey, Brekyn; how many kids do you want to have someday?”

Brekyn: “I guess I want 2 kids.”

Mommy: “Ayden, how many kids do you want?”

Ayden: “None.”

Mommy: “You don’t want any kids Ayden?”

Ayden: “Nope…no kids…no wife…cuz I’m gonna live with you forever.”

Mommy: “Ayden, why do you want to live with me forever? Is it because I’m so cool and you love me so much?”

Ayden: “NO MOM! It’s cuz I love my bed with the trundle underneath.”


And they say being a mom is a thankless job?


Somewhere deep down I’m sure he really loves me…after-all, who picked out the bed with the trundle?!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Silent Night

Today I am enjoying the crazyness that comes when you put 17 people into a home together.

I am incredibly grateful to have a family to gather with each Christmas however; I'll be the first to admit that when you bring this many people together life happens.

Kids throw up, potatoes need to be peeled, cookies need to be made, presents need to be wrapped, sheets need to be changed, airport runs need to be made.

Life gets crazy.

Today I am humming this song in my head as I peel a million potatoes.

May God also remind you of the glorious reason for this season.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Really don't want to pack...

Really need to pack...

Leaving town soon...

Nothing done yet and a list a mile long...

Can anyone say coffee?

Hmm...that's a good idea!

Thanks to my Mommy friends at church I now have a Starbucks gift card!

Okay, really need to go.

I'll get around to packing soon enough.

Uggh again...

Right now I think that Starbucks is calling.

Love you all and please pray for safe travels if you think to.

As one of my friends recently reminded me; "The Griswolds are travelling again!"

Wouldn't it just be nice if family would come visit us? (Hint, Hint...)!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just got home from the Mom's Group that I co-lead at my church. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this group of ladies who live life transparently.

There's no dress up and do your hair and act like life is always perfect.

Nope. It's real.

Kids sick, fights with my husband, snot on my shoulder kind of real.

And I love it.

I love each one of these ladies because they constantly remind me that God is in the midst of everything. Every part of every day.

Today, I got to our annual Christmas party and I had forgotten to come up with a devotional.

Go figure...

The tables were set, the centerpieces were softly dimming with the glow of candles, the Christmas lights were lit and the the food was overflowing...Yup; everything on my list was done.

Except the devotion.


Such a little slip up but it really hit home to me.

Even better; when my sweet sisters heard about my forgetfulness, one of them said,
"Oh, I've got a devotion."

She then proceeded to tell us the following message that she had read earlier in the week:

Sitting in the Middle of My Mess
Glynnis Whitwer

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.” Luke 10:38-39 (NIV)

I tend to consider myself a "Martha" type personality. And I don't mean Martha Stewart. By this time in December, that Martha probably has her hand-made cards mailed out, 10 batches of candy made and gift-wrapped, and her entire home decorated.

No, I'm nothing like Martha Stewart. In fact, last year I didn’t even manage to decorate the tree. It got put up and because it was pre-lit, it had lights. I managed to put a few gifts under it before Christmas. That only happened because my dear children kept looking at me with those big hopeful eyes, asking when I was going to wrap SOMETHING. But that was it.

Last Christmas ended one of the most stressful years of my life. I'm thankful nothing devastating happened to my family. But the demands on my time exceeded my available time. When that happens, I get behind ... on everything. So I spend lots of time just trying to keep my head above water.

Back to being a Martha. If you know the Luke chapter 10 story of Martha and her sister Mary, that's the Martha I'm talking about. And it's not a flattering comparison. That Martha had the privilege of hostessing Jesus. Jesus actually came to her house. Instead of sitting at His feet like her sister Mary did, Martha worked and actually complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping her enough.

Jesus gently chided Martha, and affirmed Mary's choice to sit and spend time with Him in the middle of all the work that had to be done. I remember the day clearly last December when I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus. Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can "treat" myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going, home-based business checked for orders, etc.

Normally, by the time I've done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected - much like what happened to Martha.

But not that day. That day I sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers strewn over every surface, a lunch box left on the counter from the day before, breakfast dishes everywhere, jackets from yesterday, blankets that had been left on the couch, dog fur forming balls, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up. And I won.

I sat in the middle of my mess, and spent time with Jesus. I pictured Him sitting across the table from me. It was pure pleasure ... and the mess amazingly faded from my view. My stress melted away, and I felt renewed.

This Christmas, whether you've gotten your house decorated or not, whether you've mailed out cards or not ... Jesus has come to your house for a visit. I had such a good time sitting in the middle of my mess with Jesus last year, I’m planning on doing it again. Will you join us?

Oh, I needed to hear this.

I love Christmas, but sometimes I'm so busy preparing and checking things off my list that I forget to just sit and remember You.

Thank you for this sweet reminder and for meeting us in the midst of all of our messes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome Home Sweet Girl

This was actually written last night...I just didn't get to posting it:)

Today was a day to remember.

It was one year ago today that our precious little Elle came home to us. We celebrated her first birthday this past weekend and we looked with great enthusiasm toward this special day.

A year ago it was rainy and cold, but it didn't matter what the weather was like outside.

In my heart I felt the same joy and awe I had felt on the days when I first gave birth to my sons.
Our daughter was finally home and we were blessed.

And yet; this year was different.

Unlike last year; today we didn't spend the day on the couch cuddling our precious new gift.

Instead, we spent the day in the courtroom.

You see, today we sat with nervous hearts and sweaty hands waiting and wondering what the Lord would do.

A few months ago we found out that Elle's birthfather might choose to fight to get Elle back.

Needless to say, our hearts were anxious as we waited and prayed - unknowing if he would choose to show up at court to contest the adoption.

And yet, through it all we always felt God's peace.

I got very little sleep last night and I finally decided to crawl out of bed to put my thoughts onto paper. Here is what I wrote:

"My precious daughter,

On the eve of one of the most crucial nights of my life, I sit here with pen in hand and think of you.

Though Satan is trying to shake me and my stomach is growing weak, I think of a few things and I realize the Truth.

The Truth is that I know too much.

Here’s what I know:

I know that one year ago my world was forever changed when I held you in my arms and called you my daughter.

I know that when I look into your eyes I see a little girl who calls me Mama.

I know that we may not have the same hair or the same skin, but we share the same heart.

I know that God worked miracles to bring you into this world and many more miracles to bring you into our family.

I know that when you laugh, you calm my fears.

I know that when you cry, I calm your tears.

I know that it is I who has taught you many things.

I know that you have taught me many more.

I know that you were never unwanted, unloved, unplanned or uncared for.

I know that in your eyes I see the future.

I see your first steps, first school day, first prom and first boyfriend.

I see your first dorm room, first breakup; graduation and wedding day.

My stomach is still twisted and my heart is heavy but I know one thing.

I know that God Himself gave you to me.

God made you my daughter when He created this world and you will never be anything but that.
I love you my sweet little Elle.

That I know.

Your Mommy"

And so, today I share our joy with you.

It's the same joy we shared a year ago on this very exact day.

Today our baby girl came home to us!

Her name is Elle and she is our daughter!!

Sure, she's been my daughter all along, but today the judge has also agreed and no one has chosen to contest it!

Welcome Home Sweet Little Girl!

We're so glad you're here and we're praising the God who brought you to us!

Little things...

I've just come to accept the fact that I am a bit different.

Little things excite me...sometimes REALLY excite me!

Well, today let me share my simple joy with you!

Drumroll please....dum, dum dum....

You got's milk!

Now, before you begin dreaming about Bessie and and all her friends, let me say that I don't like milk at all...nope...not a bit.

But today I'm praising God for milk.

You see...milk is much better than this:

Well, maybe better isn't the right word.

Maybe I should say that milk is much CHEAPER than formula.

A gallon of milk: $4

A container of formula: $30!!

And so, today we are celebrating that the last drop of formula was used up and we have successfully switched little Elle over to Bessie's best!

Praise God for Bessie!!

Whatever cow produces formula should be shot with golden bullets.

*Legal Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the making of this blog.* :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dumb Coffee Cakes

How long can it take to make a few dumb little coffee cakes?

You see, times being what they are, I decided that this year I would attempt to join the ranks of the domestically inclined and give it a shot at making some cute little cakes for the sweet nursery workers who help me out countless times each week at church.

Just a sweet little coffee cake.


Who could know that such a dumb little cake could take just as long to cook in the oven as a full size cake!

Come on, it's the size of my wallet for crying out loud!

Hours later I only had three little cakes made (oh wait, nope...that one just broke when I tried to get it out of the dish). Great...back down to two!

Well, at least Brekyn and I had fun together!

And, if there could be a lining on this story, I would have to say it is the simple fact that my son now believes it is imperative that the first thing you do when making a coffee cake is get a fresh cup of coffee brewing.

Seriously, go ahead and ask him...

"Brekyn, what's the first thing you do for coffee cake?"

"Get a cup of coffee!"

Some people drink wine when they cook...I drink coffee and now my three year old thinks the entire world does also!:)

Amen. Project successfully completed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A 'Honeymoon' to Remember...

Ten years ago a crazy young couple exchanged vows, packed up the Uhaul and headed toward their new life in the South. Though I realize the years that have passed every time I look into a mirror; it’s still hard to believe that Donn and I have been married for almost a decade!

About a year ago, we decided that after 10 years it was about time we had a “proper” honeymoon. You see, when we got married, we literally had 5 days to hold a rehearsal dinner, pack up all our belongings, commit our lives to one another and then drive all the way from NY to NC – WOOOOSH! Needless to say, it was a crazy 5 days and our “honeymoon” became a stop-over on the coast of Maryland as we journeyed toward our new life.

So, last anniversary we began saving our pennies and researching our perfect honeymoon spot. I can’t tell you how excited we were when we found an amazing Mexican resort. We started tucking dollars away in the old coffee can and we dreamed of our “10 Year Honeymoon”.

But then something happened…As God has a way of doing; plans changed.

After a few months I started feeling like God might be saying that I should go on a mission trip. It’s been years since I’ve gone on a mission trip and I am a firm believer in missions.

About the same time, Donn started to feel God tugging at his heart about going on a mission trip.
When the fateful night hit when we both realized that we were having these feelings; our decision was made.

Our “Honeymoon” would be a missions trip instead of a Mexican Resort (we never did do much the “normal” way anyhow).

After much prayer and research, God has led us to a trip that we are both certain is where we are supposed to be. And so; from March 5th-14th Donn and I will bypass the Mexican Fiesta and head to sunny Liberia instead!

As you all know; we have a huge heart for adoption (and for Africa in particular) and on this trip we will be travelling with local believers to serve in an orphanage of over 450 kids (The Daniel Hoover Orphanage in Monrovia). Our main role will be to collect data on the children in the orphanage so that we can come back to the states and start trying to find homes for these kids (working in conjunction with the local adoption agency – Christian Adoption Services).

Currently, the orphanage does not have the resources to collect information on so many children and, of the 450+ kids, we only know specifics on 40 of them. I personally will be meeting with kids to find out their interests and hobbies and to compile a sort of “scrapbook” of their lives, dreams, medical conditions etc.

While there; another crew will be helping with repair projects and VBS ministry and of course, Donn will be doing some good ole’ fashioned sports ministry with the kids!

And so; the part you’ve all been waiting for… The price tag. Gulp.

Yup; it’s a big one…$6000 to be exact. Of the Six Thousand dollars, Five Thousand covers airfare alone. The remaining $1000 is to cover transportation in Liberia, food, lodging and supplies to make the orphanage repairs. Donn and I have already tucked away $700 toward the trip.

Coming off the heels of having just adopted Elle a year ago; we really questioned whether or not we could take on another support raising effort. A few times we decided that it was too much and the trip was not meant to be. But, every time those thoughts crept in; God completely reassured us that this IS IN FACT His will for us. We actually believe it so strongly that we think we would be living in disobedience if we didn’t take this leap of faith.

We know the economy is terrible and this is a tough time for everyone. We know that you may not be in a position to financially help us out; BUT we also know that God is bigger than any finances. We’ve seen the blessing that an adopted child is to a family and we know that we are being called to minster to these little blessings who are living in an orphanage far away.

Would you please pray for this trip? Pray, pray, pray. Please pray for planning, protection, changed lives and hearts and efficiency in accomplishing the tasks at hand.Would you also consider whether or not you are able to give any amount toward this effort? Last year we saw God raise $20,000 to bring our daughter home to us. Think of the countless children that will have the chance at a “home” because of the information we are able to collect on their behalf!

Donn and I can’t thank you enough for being a part of our life and of this new adventure! Yippee for a honeymoon to remember! Just to set the mood, I am planning on taking along some rose petals and maybe even a mint for Donn’s pillow!

Donn and Cyndie

Please make checks payable to:
Matthews United Methodist Church (with Liberia in the ‘Memo’)

Please also enclose a note with our names on it to ensure it makes it to the proper account

Send payments to:
Matthews United Methodist Church / Attn: Elizabeth Beardsley
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC 28105

All donations are tax-deductible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There's No Place Like Home...

Because I am ridiculously busy trying to perfect a miniature coffee cake to give away to all the amazing nursery workers at my church; I decided that today I will give you a glimpse into my Christmas Home!:)

According to my friends I actually have a tick when it comes to decorating. Apparently my voice squeals, my eyes get huge and I look like I have a 'tick' when the word decorating is mentioned.

Personally, I think that maybe I just need new friends (just kidding girls)!:)

Nevertheless, I've had fun this year and thanks to some amazing sales at AC Moore; I am loving my front porch!

More on the dumb coffee cakes later...uggh!:)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Mother's Life... be a Mom! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Flashing Neon Sign...

I have often wished that God would give me a neon sign.

You know what I mean; the kind of sign you see when you go to a pizza place.

They sit in the outside window and flash ‘OPEN’ for the world to see. That’s the kind of sign I need.

Although, instead of flashing open, I have wished that God would use the light to answer my questions.

“God, do you really want me to go on this vacation?” or, “God, how much should we spend to fix up our house?”

In my unrealistic “CyndieLand” the light would then flash away like a magic 8-ball and tell me exactly what the Lord desired.

“No, Cyndie; don’t plan a Tahitian getaway this Christmas.”


Not too realistic.

You see, the truth is; the Lord doesn’t reveal himself in flashing neon signs.

A burning bush; maybe…neon signs…not so much.

But, God does want to reveal Himself to us. He’s not trying to be some mysterious figure that we can’t get to know.

In Luke 1:34, Mary asked the angel, “How can I have a baby, I am a virgin?”

Man, I bet Mary could have used a flashing neon sign at that point in her life.

Her whole world was just dumped upside down and she is left sitting there facing the angel who just delivered the most insane news.

But, notice what she did?

Mary didn’t retreat to some back corner, or even go to the local pizzeria in search of a neon sign from the Lord.

No; she simply asked. “How can I have a baby, I am a virgin?”

When I read that I couldn’t help but think about how complicated we often make our relationship with the Lord.

When life is getting confusing and I need God’s guidance, do I automatically go before the Lord and ask for answers? Do I pick up His Word (which is His guidance to us) and search it until I find what He wants for me?

Unfortunately, I think that far too often I am busy looking for the neon sign instead of going to the source.

The thing is; God wants to answer us. He wants to be a part of each and every breath we breathe. Let’s take a little advice from Mary and remember that sometimes it is best to simply go before our Lord and ask the tough questions that are on our hearts.

What questions do you have for God today?

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Christmas Conversations"

In the tradition of deep thoughts and highly intelligent conversations that seem to occur at our house; I bring you another installment of "Christmas Conversations."

Ayden (sitting at the breakfast table):
"Mom, I don't believe in Santa."

"You don't?"

"Naaa...he's not real."

"You sure about that?"

"I already know Mom. Santa's not real, Elves aren't real, dancing snowmen aren't real....Oh; and talking watermelons aren't real."


Talking Watermelons huh?

"Ayden, when have you ever seen a talking watermelon with Santa?"

"Oh, I haven't....just saying they're not real is all."

Good to know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Part 1

So, as I said before, we celebrated Christmas with Donn's family while in NY over Thanksgiving. We won't be able to make it to NY again for Christmas this year so this was the next best option.

We had a great time with family and some incredible cooking (Thanks Mom!)

Here's a few pics of the celebration!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Family Fun!

We had such a great time celebrating with family in NY.

Of course, most people just celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, but not us.

Nope; we celebrated tons of stuff.

The celebration began with a birthday party for my sweet 7 year old Ayden on Wednesday!


We had a wonderful time and Daddy showed off his skills making the cake.
I know...I know...

Moms are supposed to make cakes. Truthfully, I am doing the world a favor by passing off my cake making responsibilty to my Studly Hubbie.

I mean REALLY! Who can beat this cake?

And, of course, in true family tradition, Ayden decided that it was time he cut his own birthday cake. I was about the same age when I declared that I would cut my own Strawberry Shortcake cake.

I must admit, Ayden did a great job...well, until he cut his own piece out.

He decided that since it was his cake and his party, he should get the entire front of the cake as his piece.

Nice try kid.

Not gonna happen:)!

Happy Birthday Ayden!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Christmas Story...

Let me just set the stage a bit here:

The snow is gently falling outside.

The entire family is gathered around the fireplace to read the Christmas story together (we celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving with Donn’s family).

Nana is sitting with the kids all around her reading the Christmas story and stopping at key moments to ask the kids some questions.

“Ayden, what is Christmas? Where was Jesus born?” etc. etc.

Finally it comes to Brekyn’s turn.

“Brekyn, what were the shepherds watching?” Nana inquired.

“TV” Brekyn responded.


You know how they say the cobblers kids don’t have shoes?

Does that mean that the youth pastor’s kids don’t know what a shepherd is?


Tis the season!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nick's Homecoming

We arrived home from a wonderful Thanksgiving with family (which I will talk more about in coming days) but we quickly learned of some very sad news.

My dear friend Tammy (one of my "Front Porch" ministry sisters) has lost her son Nick in his battle against cancer. Months ago I asked for your prayers for Nick and his amazing family and today I beg for your prayers.
We rejoice in knowing that Nick is finally pain free and with the Lord but our hearts are broken to be left behind.

Please visit Tammy's blog and remember her family in your prayers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it still seems a bit early, but we are travelling to see family for Thanksgiving and I expect that my posts will be pretty scattered for the next week.

If I can, I'll try to post some pics of our adventures but I'm heading into the land of "dial up" (GASP!!!) so I can't promise anything:)!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the blessing of family. I know I am planning on soaking up every last minute of our precious family moments (even the moments during the car ride)!


Friday, November 21, 2008

My poor birthday boy...

Well, this is it...the kickoff to a birthday week that I fear may last far too long.

You see, my little Ayden is turning 7 on Sunday (gulp)...For those of you who are quickly doing addition and long division in your heads to figure out how old that makes me; SHAME ON YOU!

We're all in this together ya'll!

Now back to my story....

Well, let's just say that Ayden was not going to be doing much for his birthday this year.

We don't do big friend parties every year. I'm just not that good.

However, this year, we were going to wait until Thanksgiving to celebrate Ayden's big day (while we're with all the family).

The problem is that I began feeling a little bad.

Poor little party on his big celebration until almost a week later...that's torture to a 7 year old.

So, I planned a little dinner for Sunday. Just a few close friends out to lunch. Sure, that will be nice!

Oh yea, and there's that fundraiser for a local ministry at the kids playplace tonight!!

Ooohh...I wonder if we could go to that and label it part of the Ayden Birthday festivities!

And wouldn't you just know it; a good friend called yesterday to ask me to babysit her 7 year old son on Saturday afternoon.

How convenient!

"Wow Ayden! Mommy's invited a little friend over to play for your birthday!"

And I thought this poor child would sit home sad on his birthday weekend.

I guess it just goes to show that sometimes planning nothing at all is the best gift!:) (Sort of).

Happy Birthday my sweet Ayden! Mommy loves you forever!

Also: Happy Birthday to Ayden's ya-ya (whose official birthday was yesterday)! I love you Mom!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All because...

Most of the world would have greatly underestimated her abilities.

To many people she would just be looked at as the little girl who lived next door.

“She’s too young to really do anything significant…"

"Give her a few years and maybe then she’ll make an impact.”

Oh, how wrong we can be.

Her name alone should have clued us in…. ‘HOPE’.

She would, in fact, be just that….Hope.

Just a few years ago, Hope was just another little girl.

A girl with beautiful sunset red hair and a personality that could light up a room.

A cheerleader, a sister, a daughter.

But then one day Hope found out that she had an illness… An illness that, despite all medical advances, was unbeatable.

Hope’s days were numbered.

I wonder what many of us would have done in the same situation.

I wonder if I would crawl under the covers and drown myself in a sea of self-pity….

I wonder.

But Hope didn’t do that.

Hope found her purpose.

When asked by the Make-A-Wish Foundation what one wish she wanted before she died, Hope took the world by surprise.

She didn’t want to swim with dolphins.

She didn’t want to see Disney World.

She didn’t want anything for herself.

What did she want?

She wanted others’ dreams to come true.

Hope Stout made a wish that the other 155 kids whose names were on the Make-A-Wish waiting-list would have their wishes granted.

A wish that had a price tag of over 1 million dollars.

But Hope would not be deferred.

Such self-sacrifice is not often seen in our world.

So often we are too busy thinking about our lives to take the time to look at those around us.

Hope was not too busy to look around.

In her last days Hope Stout changed countless lives.

She changed the lives of the children whose wishes were granted.

She changed the lives of the families who gave up Christmas presents to donate to this cause.

She changed the lives of each one of us that knew her.

And I am not even one of those.

I never had the opportunity to meet Hope, but I personally will never forget the selfless act that she gave to our community when she raised over a million dollars for others.

Hope has changed my life and she continues to change lives years after her earthly death.

And again I say;

Most of the world would have greatly underestimated her abilities.

To many people she would just be looked at as the little girl who lived next door.

But HOPE would not be deferred.

What HOPE can you give today?

If a 12 year old girl can change the world in just a few weeks…what can God do through you?

Sidenote: We never got to know Hope personally, but Hope’s parents have been a blessed addition to our familiy over the last few months. If you look at the pictures in the slideshow from yesterday, it is Hope’s Mom and Dad that you will see with Ayden and Brekyn.

In honor of Hope, her parents have started the MARCH FORTH WITH HOPE FOUNDATION

'March Forth With Hope' donates money to families who are experiencing terminal illnesses. Please click here to learn how you can become involved in this ministry.

Hope’s story has already been published (it is the book you’ve seen in my sidebar for months now).

Currently a movie is also being filmed of this incredible story. It is set to be released in December of 2009.

All because Hope would not be deferred.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Adventures

Well, we're home and getting back into life again.

The weekend was incredible and the Lord was very present. I pray that the teens hold firm to the lessons they learned this weekend.

While we were away the kids were taken care of by some amazing friends.

Elle was with our incredible neighbor, Maryann (who is truly like family to us). Apparently Elle spent the weekend with a stomach bug yet Maryann was still smiling when I got home (now that's love)!

Meanwhile, the boys were our other friends, Stuart and Shelby, and I can't tell you how many stories I've heard about their weekend adventures.

In Ayden's words; "Mom! They are the coolest people ever! Can I stay longer?"

We can't thank these amazing friends enough! We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

The slideshow below is of the boys' adventures over the weekend. Sorry I don't have any pictures of Elle...surprisingly enough it's not too fun to take pictures of a sick little girl!:)

Monday, November 17, 2008


Home safe and sound...Amazing weekend!

Can't wait to tell you about it.

Unfortunately, internet is down AGAIN...

Hopefully we'll be up and running in the next few days.:(

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just another quiet weekend....

Yup, it's gonna be another quiet weekend around here.

Nothing much going on.

Maybe I'll sleep in a little late on Saturday, enjoy a big quiet breakfast and catch up on my reading...

Oh wait...

Maybe not.

Maybe I'll go on a youth retreat with 297 teens instead.

Hmm...sleep in late.

Kinda doubt it.

Last year we ran out of beds in my cabin.

I got nominated to sleep on the floor.

What ever happened to respect your elders ya'll!

Yea, whatever!

You know the weirdest thing...I'm actually excited!

I know most of you think I'm insane (okay, I know I am) but I look forward to this weekend all year.

I remember the days when our youth retreats were a few kids at a beach house.

Now the Lord has us in a place where our youth group needs to rent an entire camp to fit us all.


Sure, it's crazy and chaotic and stinks to high heaven at times but I wouldn't have it any other way!

So, if you think of us this weekend, please say a prayer.

Pray for safe travels and safety for the teens and counselors.

Also, pray for the three kiddos that will be hanging out with some amazing friends this weekend (Thank you Shelby and Maryann!! You're amazing!)

I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to share on Monday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And this my friends...


You know it's never good when it begins with Ahhh!!!

Well, let's just say it's one of those days.

One of my children (who shall remain nameless) woke up at 5am to use the potty!

Yippee!! That's good right?

Sure, except that he decided he didn't want to go to the potty alone. Therefore, he went and woke up a particular brother and the two of them trapsed into our bathroom wide awake at 5am.

I don't know about you but in our house this falls into the unforgiveable sin category.

"No, you may not be awake! Close your eyes and go back to sleep!"

"But Mom, I'm on the potty!"

"I don't care...go to sleep there...just don't wake me up at 5am!"

Of course, I then followed up with the wide eyes and serious tone of "AND NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO DON'T WAKE UP YOUR SISTER!"

However, as we can all tell (by my grouchy mood) said child did wake up said sister (by singing the theme song to Barney nonetheless) and before I knew it my day had begun.

As punishment for waking up too early and disturbing his sister, Mommy took away cartoons for the day.

Oh good!

Brilliant Mommy!!

Now we have a grouchy mommy, who's tired beyond belief, and a grouchy kid who I can't even send away to watch cartoons for a few minutes.

And this my friends is why mommys shouldn't be awoken at 5am....

It's never a good thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Ache...

Have you ever ached so deeply for a lost friend?

Have you ever wondered if they will ever see the Truth?

Have you ever doubted whether or not you’re doing enough?

Have you ever felt your heart drop when you watch someone live in absolute desperation?

Today a dear friend sat at our table and spoke of the “void” that consumes his heart.

Such a precious, dear friend who has walked a terribly dark and lonely road and longs to be at the end BUT won’t turn His heart over to the Lord.

Oh Lord, I pray that you would meet this brother where He’s at.

Be real in His life…Be the air he breathes and the arms that embrace him in his sadness.

Dry his tears with a stroke of your hand and breathe hope into his life.

We cry out to you for our friend.

Monday, November 10, 2008

By Your Side

This song has been out for a few months but I just stopped and listened to the words the other day.

It is my new favorite song and it has given me strength as I pray over the many "stresses" I am feeling in life right now.

I hope you can take the time to soak it in.

By Your Side
By: Tenth Avenue North

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Confession...

My son wears his underwear backwards.

That’s my confession.

In all actuality, my son is brilliant.

You see, this is the same son who took forever to potty train and is just now getting the hang of it.

I went out and bought all the coolest boy undies I could find.

Lightning McQueen, Shrek, Thomas the Tank Engine…you name it – we got it.

But, the undie makers are not so smart.

You see, on every pair of underwear they put the big picture across the bum.

Sure, maybe no one else has ever noticed that before; but to my brilliant 3 year old, that is just dumb.

The more I think about it, the more I agree with my child prodigy.

The first time we put the undies on Brekyn, he looked down and said, “Where’s Shrek?”


I tried to convince him that having Shrek smack dab across his bum is pretty cool, but he wasn’t buying it.

And so I gave up.

This is what I’ve realized when it comes to being a mom.

You pick your battles daily.

In my current situation, it seems pointless to fight this battle.

I’m still basking in the glory of finally having a child who will independently use the potty.

And so…my son wears his underwear backwards…who cares if his butt cheek hangs a little out the side?

You got a problem with it?

Come on; tell me what battles you’ve chosen not to fight!

I dare you!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God is still God...

I don't know many things this morning...

I have many concerns and many doubts...


I know one thing...

I know THE ONE thing.

I know I am a daughter of The King and I know that no matter what the days ahead of us hold, that fact will never change.

I find great comfort in this song today...

It doesn't matter what happens in the world around us...

God is still God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



Today I ask that you don't spend time reading my blog.

Today I ask that you click over to a bloggy friend of mine (Carisa) and read her last two posts.

I sense God in many ways on this day and I am constantly reminded that He is in control.

Carisa and her husband Frank moved from suburbia to inner city Philadelphia where they serve God in the heart of the drug and gang culture. They are a young family with 2 children and one on the way. Our body needs to come together to pray today.


Monday, November 3, 2008

The Price of Beauty...

In the past two weeks I have come to a realization regarding my beautiful daughter's hair.

White people think it's gorgeous...
"Ahhh!!! Look at her beautiful hair!"
"Ooohh...she's so cute!"

I had decided I was doing a pretty good job of handling the somewhat difficult curls.

Pat myself on the back and convince myself I had this all figured out.

Then I ran into some of my black friends....


"Uhhh....Cyndie...are you serious?"

"You've got to be kidding me..."

Oh, and then there was the all-telling "uuuuhhhhh" that I've now heard twice this week.


And so I gave it my best shot and still struggled with mastering my daughters locks without making her look like a clown.

My neighbor had finally seen enough and yesterday she showed up with brush in hand and determination to train me.

Lord have mercy.

Have you ever seen an African American woman comb an African American child's hair?

All the sympathy I'd been having as my daughter would scream her head off just went right out the window!

There apparently ain't no mercy when it comes to taming these locks!!

An hour later, after screaming like we've never seen before, Elle emerged with beautiful hair and no tangles.

And I'm supposed to have time to do this daily?
Hmm...praise God the other two are boys! :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Little Pretty...

Can you believe how big this pretty little girl is getting?

She can now wear ponytails (though they're more like a little puff) and she woke up yesterday with 3 teeth (no, I'm not kidding).

I guess that explains the rough few days we've had here!:)

Funny thing is...2 of her teeth weren't even front teeth...they're canines!:)

Just in time for Halloween I guess.

As soon as I can get a good picture I'll be certain to let you all see!:)

Have a great weekend!

We'll be spending ours with Speed Racer, Batman and a beautiful little vampire cowgirl.:)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Dear Ole' Dad...

I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to you than this...

I love you!!

More posts below...I have a few today.

What do ya' say?

Let me just get right to the point.

My Studly Hubbie and I are going on a missions trip to Liberia in March of 09 and we’d love for you to come along!

What do ya’ say?

We will be joining the ministry known as ACFI in Liberia and heading to an orphanage that is home to over 400 kids! While there our main objective will be to love on the kids. We also hope to provide some medical assistance (if the Lord raises up the proper people for this) and we are also planning on helping secure a warehouse that the orphanage has on site as well as assist in some educational needs of the orphanage.

Liberia is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and the Atlantic Ocean. As of 2008, the nation is estimated to be home to 3,489,072 people and covers 43,000 square miles.

Liberia is a culture with an unemployment rate of 85%. Food and basic living needs are scarce. The most recent civil war ended in Liberia in 2003 (and the country is now secure) but the fighting left the country absolutely devastated in many ways.

Donn and I know that the Lord has called us to participate in this trip. We will be travelling from March 5-14th and we’d love to have you pray about joining us. Anyone (skilled or not) is welcome to join.

Specifically, we are still praying for a doctor, nurse or paramedic to join the team as well as a skilled building contractor who could help lead those of us who are less than skilled. You don’t need to live near us to join us on this trip…it is a combination of people from many churches.

Please pray about it!

Comment me or let me know if you are interested in more info.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FREE Starbucks!!!

Want a Free Starbucks Cappuccino?

Click the link below and Enjoy!!
Good until the 31st only at Barnes and Noble Starbucks.
I've been three times this week:)!

Daddy's Mad Skills...

It is 100% Daddy's deal to carve a cool pumpkin each year.
Mommy's more interested in the pictures and pumpkin seeds than anything else.

Presenting the 2008 Coolest Pumpkins:

Ayden wanted a Speed Racer Helmet

Brekyn wanted Spider Man
Give it a year or two and I can't wait to see Daddy do a princess for Elle!:)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Ayden came home today with an assignment: ‘Be Responsible.’

“Mom, I need to be responsible…what should I do?”

“Umm…excuse me son while I contain myself and make a quick mental list of all the projects I have yet to complete today.”

Okay, I really said… “Hmm…let me think.”

“I know! I really need the kitchen vacuumed still! Do you think you could be responsible and do that?”

“Sure! That sounds fun!” Ayden screamed as he ran off toward the closet to retrieve the vacuum.

A few minutes later I came out into the kitchen to find this…

“Umm, Ayden…Are you cold?”

“No Mom. I’m just being responsible…oh, and the vacuum was way too loud but I took care of that!”

Hey, whatever it takes right?

All I know is that my kitchen floor is finally cleaned!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Well, I think it's official. My children will definitely need counseling.

You see, desperate times call for desperate measures, and after a year and a half of fighting this potty battle with Brekyn, I was absolutely desperate for success.

You've already heard about the great time I spent on the bathroom floor back on Tuesday.

Once that adventure was over, I then had to convince my stubborn little guy that the toilet really is a fun place to sit!

I moved the potty into the family room and plopped it down in front of the TV and asked Brekyn what movie he wanted to watch.

"You can watch any movie you want Brekyn...the only catch is that you have to sit on the potty the entire movie."

To most kids that would have been good enough incentive, but not to my little Brekyn.

Nope, apparently in his little world, sitting on the potty just isn't worth a movie.

As I struggled to convince Brekyn that he did in fact want to sit on this exciting plastic pee-pee device, he began crying his head off...

"No mommy! I don't want to!"

And then Super Ayden swept in.

Ayden began rubbing Brekyn's back and telling him how exciting it is to use the potty.

That's when I got the idea!

"Hey Brekyn!! How about if Ayden sits right next to you while you sit on the potty?!"

Ayden immediately jumps in and says, "Sure Brek...I'll sit by you!"

To which Brekyn responds...

"Will you take your pants off too?"

Ayden's eyes got huge as he looked at me as if to say, "MOM - WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"


I thought it was a brilliant idea!


Ayden and I finally reached an agreement when I said that he could keep his boxers on.

Hey, think what you may about me... all I know is that Brekyn's been in dry undies for three days now!!


Way to sacrifice for the team, Ayden!! Mommy loves you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pregnancy Q&A...

Nope, I'm not pregnant; but I must say that this is just truly hysterical and I had to share it with all those mom's out there!

Pregnancy Q & A

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational. A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word 'alimony' means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Fun!

Nope, I'm not referring to potty training...

We'll likely get back to that thrilling saga tomorrow...

Instead, let me share with you pictures of our weekend together at the pumpkin patch - no potty included!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Tile Floor...

I sat on the cold bathroom floor for an hour and a half today...


Nope, I'm not sick...

Nope, it's not something I just felt like doing.

It's just the culmination of a year and a half of unsuccessfully potty training a little boy.

I decided I had enough today. After an hour of dealing with the tears over why the potty is so scary, my little boy and I had a breakthrough as we sat in the bathroom, held hands and prayed for Jesus to help.

Sometimes I wish God would answer prayers immediately.

I must admit that after an hour of the floor I was having a very heated conversation with God in my mind...I won't grace you with all the details of that little chat, but I will say that it was deep.

Nevertheless, a full hour and a half later my sweet little son smiled as he pushed out a tiny, tiny little drop.

I was doing cartwheels and somersalts and he looked at me throughly confused and said,

"Why are you so excited mom?"

Oh son, if only you understood how much my butt hurts from sitting on this tile. I'm no spring chicken you know!

Please pray...obviously I think it takes more than one drop to actually declare that my son is potty trained...we seem to have a ways to go! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

My life...

I have done a lot of thinking lately.

A few days ago I posted the poem written by Nadine Stair about what she would do differently if she could live her life over. See here if you haven't yet read that.

Recently I have caught myself thinking about that a lot.

Why is it that we write these poems at the end of our lives?

Why do we wait until our bodies are frail and our earthly time is ending?

If we can take anything away from the advice of these poems, doesn't it seem that we should take each day captive and live it to the fullest NOW!

I've decided that I'm not willing to wait until the end of my life to write this poem.

I'm writing it now.

At the age of 31, with hopefully many years ahead of me, I am going to try to live this life NOW.

If the Lord allows me to live until I'm 100 I hope that I will look back and realize that I lived life exactly like I wanted to.

My personal poem is below:

If I had my life to live over…
I would laugh more at my children’s jokes and not overlook their “problems” as insignificant.
I would never miss the chance to hug my husband when he entered the door after a long day.
I would spend more time building pillow forts instead of scrubbing the kitchen floor.
I would learn to run.
I would never be too busy to be a friend.

If I had my life to live over…
I would pick more wildflowers.
I would bake more goodies.
I wouldn’t think so much about “messes” but think more about “moments.”
I would cook a five course meal that actually tasted edible.
I would stand beside the ocean and breathe the scent in without worrying about my hair getting frizzy.

I would catch more fireflies.
I would hug more orphans and wipe more tears.
I would worry less about schedules and more about opportunities.

I would live life out loud and never be ashamed.
I would look at each day as new and let go of the past.
I would live life passionately and not sweat the little things.
I would follow my dreams and not believe the ‘lies’ that I am too old, too young, too poor or too rich.
I would never let the words “I love you” be far from my lips.

Yes; if I had my life to live over…
I would breathe it all in and savor every ounce.
I would hug more, love more, smile more and laugh more.
I would live more.

What would you do if you had your life to live over?
Why not start today?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blogging Monster...

Today I'm playing the blogging monster card...

He's jumped up and bit me and my reaction must be to take a break and fight back.

Of course, I suppose since I even posted this blog stating that I'm not going to blog today; I kind-of negated myself.

Oh well...

I won't be posting today...sort of. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What would you do?

If I had my life to live over…
I’d dare to make more mistakes…
I’d be sillier, take fewer things seriously…
I’d take more chances, take more trips,
Climb more mountains, swim more rivers…
I’d eat more ice cream and less beans…
I’d have perhaps, more actual troubles
and fewer imaginary ones.

Yes, if I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
And stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
Ride more merry-go-rounds
And pick more daisies…

Nadine Stair (Age 85)

If you had your life to live over; what would you do differently?
It’s never too late to start!

Monday, October 13, 2008

And so I ask you...

...what good is having your very own blog if you can't brag about your amazingly beautiful children on it?

We finally got pictures taken of the kids that turned out decent:)!

Don't you just love it when people force you to ooooh and aahhh over their kids? :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Price of Fame!!

I must apologize for disappointing my faithful 3 yesterday.

You see, it's just been crazy around here since I won my big award!

The paparazzi have been swarming and the reporters and agents haven't stopped calling.
Combine that with my personal trainer appointments and my botox injections and it's just been a zoo!

The price of fame I tell ya....what can I say?

Well; maybe not so much...

I haven't actually signed any autographs since my big award acceptance, but I was in the grocery store the other day and the cashier recognized me!

Does that count for anything?

Oooh...and the gas meter man told me I had beautiful gold eyes!

Hmm...never been told I had gold eyes by a gas man before!:) That's gotta mean something!

So, maybe the truth is actually that I spent yesterday cleaning my house and folding laundry and I just wasn't quite sure how to make that sound glamorous for you all.

I wonder if Brittany Spears folds her own laundry?

Wait...did I just compare myself to Brittany Spears??!

Oh Lord, please pray for me...the gas man's comments must be going to my head!

Happy Friday Ya'll!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Don't be jealous...

If you come by my house today, please don’t be surprised to find a red carpet leading up to my door while I prance around the house in my old prom gown (Oh my, now there’s a picture!)!

You see, all of those secret wishes I once had of being Miss America (see here if you’ve forgotten) have now resurfaced as I checked my email this morning to find out that I am now the prestigious winner of the Smile Blog Award!
Oh, be still my heart! (Please excuse me as I wipe back the tears)…

This will go right to the top of my ridiculously long accolades pile.

Like the time I won the stuffed elephant for the writing contest in second grade (I believe I wrote a poem that mentioned both my mother and the garden hose in the same sentence)! Genius I tell you!!! Sheer Genius!!

Oh yes, and then there was the time when I won the senior superlative award for the biggest drama queen (actually I believe the title was “complainer”)…the prize was a beautiful pacifier that I now have sitting on my mantle (well, maybe not).

Nevertheless, I will now say that I accept this honor of being an accomplished blog writer and I will take my responsibilities with the utmost of seriousness. I intend to use this platform to fight world hunger and maybe make a push for free Swiss Cake Rolls each time a person enters the grocery store.

I will change the world, I tell you!!! CHANGE THE WORLD!

I want to thank all of the little people who have made me what I am today (wiping a tear from my eye).

Ahhh yes; Mr. Foster, my PE teacher in first grade…Oh, Mr. Foster…where would I be today if it weren’t for you teaching me how to do a somersault.

And who can forget the “DragonLady” (as we affectionately referred to her) who drove my school bus each morning. Her loud screams and crude jokes taught me to have thick skin as I face this big, bad, ugly world.

And of course, then there’s the sweet Mr. C; my high school Vice Principal who wrongly accused me of setting off the fire alarm and costing the school money…Oh, (sob, sob) sweet Mr. C; how you shaped and molded me into the person I am today.

Oh, don’t worry…I will never forget all of the little people in my life…You may never have the opportunity to reach the status of success that I have reached, but you will always remain in my heart.

And so , with a slight wave of my hand as my beautiful sequin dress shimmers in the sunlight I say; “Thank You for this highest of all honors.”

Please now; don’t be jealous.

Your day will come too. :)
FYI: This entire post was obviously written with a high amount of sarcasm...though I must say "thank you" to my sweet friend 'Flamingo Mama' for presenting me with this honor.
Apparently I'm now supposed to award some other blogs with this high honor....Hmm...that seems like a blog for another day!
Ooohhh...I've got you on the edge of your seats, don't I?!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Birthday To Remember...

It figures. ..

You see, if you’ve followed our lives for any amount of time, I think you would agree that we don’t do things in the “normal” fashion.

Nope. We seem to march to the beat of our own little drum.

It really isn’t intentional. Just seems to be the way our life goes.

SO, this next story should come as no surprise.

The big plan this past weekend was to take Eden (our live-in high-schooler) to Charleston to celebrate her 18th birthday.

I mean really; how much better can an 18th birthday get than to spend it clopping down cobblestone streets on the back of a horse drawn carriage or shopping through the old fashioned marketplace.

We had dreamed of this weekend for the past month (our first mistake).

The first part of the day seemed wonderful. The kids were surprisingly compliant. Our feisty little Brekyn just wanted to hold our hand all day and stayed right by our side. Elle handled the lack of normal naps well and life seemed dandy! We saw Charleston by carriage ride and did a little “Christmas” shopping. We sat by the water and ate a picnic lunch… All was well!

As part of the big day, we had found a great Japanese Hibachi Restaurant to go to for dinner. Eden walked in and got a huge smile on her face when she realized that hibachi meant they actually cooked the meal right in front of you. She had never been to anything like this and I was thrilled that we could share it with her.

We sat down at our big table … and then Elle got tired.

We spent the first 20 minutes trying to calm Elle down as she screamed her head off. The stares began from those around us and I finally offered to take Elle for a walk outside.
Up and down the street..back and forth…Elle finally stopped crying and I headed back into the restaurant.

The minute I sat down, little Elle decided that was not her favorite plan and she began screaming again.

At this point Donn decided that Elle needed some teething medicine so I agreed to go to the car to get it. Only thing is…the car was about 8 blocks away. You see, in Charleston, you park your car and walk everywhere.

Sooooo, I trapsed back to the car in the fastest pace I could manage; the entire time praying that I would have a good attitude and that I wouldn ‘t miss seeing the Hibachi chef.
Completely out of breath, I rushed back into the restaurant to see that Elle had fallen asleep finally. Donn then looked at me with his dimpled little smile and said, “I guess we don’t need the medicine.”

To which I said something to the degree of, “Oh noooo…this little girl is taking this medicine whether she wants it or not!”

I obviously then realized how dumb it would be to wake up a sleeping baby just to give her the medicine that I had labored over retrieving, so I sat down and was surprised to realize that the great Hibachi Chef had still not come to our table!
Okay, so obviously this restaurant has horribly slow service, but in my current circumstance I guess it was a blessing.

I looked to my left and saw my sweet Brekyn sitting on Eden’s lap and I began to comment on how happy I was that we were going to get to enjoy the meal now.

I then heard a scream from my left as Brekyn’s eyes got huge and he began spewing chunks of who knows what from his mouth (sorry , there’s just no pretty way to say that). Great thing is….remember, I said that Brekyn was sitting on Eden’s lap!

And so, long story short, we rushed out of the Hibachi restaurant (never receiving our meal) with the birthday girl covered in nasty puke and still having to pay a bill of $30 for sweet teas and some broth!

After showering off we then spent the remainder of the night sitting in the hotel room watching the Discovery channel.

Oh, be still my soul. Don’t you just want to spend your birthday with us?

Oh, come on…you know you do!

Happy 18th birthday Eden! Welcome to the family!
Addendum: It just gets better! I just got a phone call from Eden's school where she is throwing up. There's nothing better than a birthday at our house!