You Blink and Summer is Gone …

Like everything these days it seems like I blink and our summer is over … we are back to school, as of yesterday. Fun times I tell you. No, really, it is good to get back into a routine.

So, looking back … here is some of our summer fun.

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We enjoyed lots of time at the pool …

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when we weren’t playing baseball or …

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attending summer dance intensives.

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We hosted an awesome foreign exchange student from France. His name was Florian and the kids had an absolute blast with him (as did many of their friends).

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Ava Mae competed at KAR’s National Title Competition in Biloxi, Mississippi.

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Bonus … we stayed on the beach and Lexi got to bring along one of her best friends who she rarely gets to spend time with anymore.

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When we got back from Nationals, Ava Mae found out she was going on pointe! (with one of her best friends)

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We lost two members of our furry family … (rest in peace Smokin and Binxee – you are greatly missed) and we gained two new kittens (Snowflake and Binxee II).

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We celebrated (a lot) … my husband turned Fifty …

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My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by a weekend away at a wonderful B&B in the North Carolina mountains. (Thanks to my parents for watching our kids!) Of course our kids had just as much fun hanging out with their grandparents …

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Just one of the great places they took them over the weekend.

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And, Devin turned 14 years old!

Wow … looking back we had a jam packed full of experiences summer! Excited now for what the new school year ahead holds!!

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A Year Later {the aftermath of a failed adoption}

One year ago I stood in an orphanage in Latvia, with my husband, and said “good-bye”.

Good-bye to a child we thought would become our daughter.

We had found this child on an orphan hosting website almost one year to the day.

And, just a few months before, that very orphanage had been the site of a joyous reunion with this child.

I remember saying good-bye … not being able to hold back tears, feeling like the room was closing in on me, and not being able to breathe. “Why God” is all I could say.

This last year has been a roller coaster of emotion … you do not come out of a failed adoption and ever go back to “normal”.

There are days I wished we would have found Miranda at a younger age – when the government would not have allowed her to just say “no” to adoption and be able to return to Latvia before we finalized.

And, as we almost knew would happen just a few short days after being happy to return to Latvia, our girl was letting us know it was the worst decision of her life. Yet, it was too late.

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So, here we are one year later. And, while for most of our friends, Miranda has become a distant memory, she remains on our minds every day.

All we can say is “God’s plan is not our own”. And, while in a perfect world she would be in our arms, we know we do not live in a perfect world. Instead, we “chat” with Miranda about once a week. Thankful she was able to spend her summer with a wonderful missionary in Riga. Thankful that though Miranda has dropped out of school and is no longer in an orphanage, she was found a home to stay in, by this missionary. Miranda has also enrolled in a cosmetology school and loves it!

Yet, when the messages come in “I want to come and live with you again” – “You are my only family that has ever loved me” – it is hard … and the emotional roller coaster continues.

Some days it seems like this was all a dream. Other days the reality is right there when I wake up and find a message from Miranda on my phone.

I won’t lie … there are times when I wonder what it would be like to not be drowning in adoption debt. Debt we would not have, had our adoption finalized.

And, life goes on, Miranda will turn 17 this weekend. Not really a child anymore … especially not in Latvia. I am thankful that we were able to give her a Sweet “16” Birthday party last year before her return – the only party she had ever had for her birthday.

There is no “happy” ending … at least not in our eyes but, we know there is a bigger plan. So, we will cling to the positive news we get from Miranda and say a prayer for her every night, for this girl who still calls us Mom and Dad.

Fall Bucket List {2014}

Fall Bucket List

Fall arrives tonight!! This is absolutely my favorite time of year … the colorful leaves, the cooler temps, the smell of chili cooking on the stove, pumpkins, apples, and the holidays approaching.  It makes me feel so alive in the Fall … maybe it is the cooler temps or maybe it is all the time we get to sit in front of the fireplace on cold evenings.

Also, love that Fall is the time of year we take to really reflect back on everything in our lives and the things we have to be thankful for … and we do all that as we soak in the beauty around us with the changing leaves, the beautifully decorated front porches with their pumpkins and mums, and the smells that fall brings …

Truly, what’s not to love?

Here is a peek at our Fall Bucket List for 2014. So excited we have fall break in just two weeks and get to mark some of them off of our list!

  • Apple Picking
  • A Visit to the Pumpkin Farm
  • Decorating our House for Fall
  • Corn Maze
  • Hike to Gather Fall Leaves
  • Carving Pumpkins
  • Making Hot Apple Cider
  • Baking Lots of Pumpkin Goodies
  • Opening Up the House to Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Weather
  • Trick-or-Treating

So what is on your Fall Bucket List? Linking up today with the SITS Girls Blogging Challenge … check out their post and all the fun links to everyone’s bucket list and add your own.

Hornswoggle : A Book Review

Hornswoggle Book Review

Recently I had the opportunity to review a new book by author, Trip Hughes. The name of the books is Hornswoggle. It is a sweet story about a young girl named, Eden who purchases a mysterious egg from a peculiar little shop in the orchard near her home. Shortly after a dragon hatches from the egg but, this dragon is not like any other dragon. All attempts to help the dragon learn to fly fail as Eden discovers that not everyone’s gifts are the same, and a deep friendship is born.

Hornswoggle Book Review

The illustrations are wonderful!

“Although he did not look like other dragons, and could not act like other dragons, even though he could not fly, he was still a very special dragon.

Hornswoggle was her dragon, and she knew that they would have big adventures.”

My children absolutely loved this story! It is written well and the illustrations are adorable. A great book based on the scripture Jeremiah 29:11. I feel this book would make a great addition to any home or a great gift, think Christmas!

Hornswoggle Book ReviewAvailable for purchase at Barnes & Noble.

Going Ons {April 2014}


Wow … another month has just flown by. I wish I had more time to keep my blog updated but, there are just not enough hours in the day! So, I have decided my goal will be to update once a month with a review of our “going ons”. {Pictured above – spring has sprung!}

{Ballet picture week … so glad this is done and behind us}


{We got a new black kitty named Binx}


{Our Classical Conversations school wrapped up with a fun dinner and awards night}


{The girls performed as part of a trio in their choir spring musical}


{A quick trip to Asheville to spend Easter with my family}


{Lexi performed a short dance piece for her GA’s skit night}


{Devin enjoyed some great baseball games with his middle school team}


{Crunch time for these two girls – as they spent countless hours rehearsing for their dance competition}


{Lexi graduated from GA’s … on to middle school}

Disney {2014}

Our Walt Disney World last minute vacation did not disappoint … beautiful weather, amazing hotel room with a spectacular view of Epcot and firework. We could not have asked for a more wonderful, last minute, time away. It was a great time in warm weather after a crazy winter!

{View from hotel room}
{My husband and son were able to take in a Braves Spring Training game}
{Fish n Chips in Great Britain in Epcot}

Going Ons {March 2014}

Here’s what we have been up to …

Spring means our lives seem to get crazier and crazier … it gets worse as the kids get older and we have more commitments. 

Wish I had more time to blog everything we do but, there are just never enough hours in the day. So a quick look into our going ons …

Ava Mae donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love … she loves the new hairstyle and I am finally getting how to create a professional looking ballet bun with little hair to work with.


Devin got braces … he really wanted to wait until he was old enough for Invisaligns but, we convinced him to go ahead and get it over with. He seems to be adjusting well. Two in braces … so glad Ava Mae is still a few years off. Braces are EXPENSIVE!


Lexi is working so hard with her very good friend and dance bud, Ellie, to prepare for their duo in an upcoming dance competition. They are learning lots … most importantly … they are finding out the hard work and dedication that must go in to preparing for a dance competition. It is nothing like the small snippet they see on Dance Moms.


In other news, our yard is finally back to good condition – lots of clean up from the horrible storm that literally blew through a few weeks ago. The insurance adjuster finally made it out and our fence has been repaired!


Classical Conversations (our hybrid school) is finishing up and the kids are working hard on their 24 weeks of memory work. We are proofing now … Devin is going for Memory Master and the girls are going for Jr. Memory Master. We are happy to be returning to CC again next year. Devin and Lexi will move into Challenge A. Ava Mae will continue in Foundations and I look forward to tutoring the Masters class.

And, surprise, we are wrapping up our month by heading off on an early Spring Break to Walt Disney World. {My husband’s boss gave up his spot, at a conference in Disney} Looking forward to some spring like temps in Florida and spending a few days in the parks.