Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free Christmas card contest!!

Check out my Facebook page! Just share the picture and comment to be entered into a drawing for 50 free custom photo cards.

Gina Roots is a dear adoption friend who is designing custom Christmas photo cards to raise money for her African mission trip. She and her husband are leading a trip to Uganda and Kenya to love on orphans this summer. Gina has 2 adopted children from Ethiopia and 3 biological children. Her family was a mentor family for Ryan and I through our adoption journey. Please consider usifng her this Holiday season.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Children's HopeChest Child Sponsorship

These are the faces of 10 beautiful children in Ethiopia that I am matching with Sponsors. I have partnered with Children's Hopechest, a trustworthy organization, making a huge impact on the lives of children living in poverty. Children's Hopechest has partnered with the Kechene School, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where children in the community can come to connect with the staff, have a safe place to play, to receive schooling, and physical, medical, spiritual and emotional support. Ryan and I sponsor a seven year old girl, named Tadeleche, who comes to the Kechene Care Point. My long-term goal is to go to the Kechene Care point to meet all of the children and serve to meet their needs. I have a personal friend who is traveling to Ethiopia to deliver care packages to the sponsored children. She will hand deliver a t-shirt with bubbles, stickers, toothpaste and toothbrush wrapped inside, to our sponsored child. I write Tadeleche a monthly letter and we are anxiously awaiting to hear from her. My hope is to be able to hug her one day and tell her that we love her and have been praying for her.
I am hoping to find 10 people who are willing to be sponsors. A sponsorship cost $34 per month. Perhaps, this Holiday season you and your family can include this in your charitable giving? Perhaps, you have been waiting for an opportunity like this. Perhaps, you start a sponsorship today and then travel with me to Ethiopia to meet your sponsored child one day....There are so many possibilities and I hope you will consider them.

If you are interested in sponsoring please respond and I will give you all of the details! Also, please feel free to share this with friends or family who might be interested.
Thank you for your time!
Love you all,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine Article!

We are so excited to share the article that the Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine published this month.
We are thankful that they are featuring our story of adoption.
Happy National Adoption Month Everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine!

Photographs by Steve Poisall, The Gallery Studios, Tampa (813) 254-9575 (800) 317-2479

I was honored when I received a call from Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine asking me to be their November Women Extraordinaire. Although I do not find myself "extraordinaire", I graciously accepted their offer. The month of November is National Adoption Awareness month and the magazine editor was given our blog by a sorority sister of mine. Honestly, I will pretty much do anything to advocate for orphans and adoption. I have prayed for ways to share our wonderful miracle of adoption and I believe this is just one way that God has opened a door for us to share. Bottom line is that ADOPTION ROCKS and I want everyone to know it! I'm excited to see the November issue when it hits stands next week! I'll be sure to come back and share the link.

Check out my facebook status for the link to the behind the scene photos and a couple of the professional photos that didn't make the magazine.

With Love Always,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Footage of our darling baby boys!

I am catching up on some post that I never published today!!!
I'm in the mood for blogging! Let's hope this last!!
Thanks for following our story!

Our family blog is basically the boys scrap book!
Here are some videos from the last few months:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1 year ago....

I can't help but to open up my I-photo and browse through the pictures that were imported 1 year ago. 1 year ago I remember spending a lot of time at the Yebsabi Guest House in Ethiopia. I was there alone, 6 months pregnant, caring for our 4 month old baby Easton. About this time I was completely stressed because my Visa had expired and I was given 10 days to leave Ethiopia. We prayed that I would leave, with Easton in my arms, to travel home. My US Embassy appointment wasn't scheduled for another 2 weeks but we knew this "problem" was just apart of God's plan. Each day I was becoming more and more lonely and homesick. I had been in Ethiopia for over 60 days and although my Husband, Mom, Dad and best friend had come during June and July, I was by myself for the month of August. The Lord worked a miracle and Easton and I had an Embassy Appointment on August 19th. We traveled home the next day. Here are some of my precious pictures from a year ago in Ethiopia~

Remembering the days in Ethiopia make me hug Easton just a little tighter and kiss him a few more times today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chicken Florentine Bake- My 1st Blogged Recipe

I got a recipe card and sample at our local Publix for Chicken Florentine! I made some changes but you can find the original recipe here. This is a labor intensive meal but completely worth it. It was deliciously yummy! We had this as a special dinner to celebrate Easton's Forever Day, July 21, 2010. This is the day that we passed Ethiopian Courts and Easton was placed in our arms forever. Such sweet memories I have. It's probably not a weekday dinner but more of a special occasion for our family!
*I doubled the recipe-I froze half of it to have a quick meal in 2 weeks.
Ingredients: (for DOUBLE)
Chicken Breast (I used 4 large breast, probably should have used 5)
1 package of sliced mushrooms (I used baby portabella)
2 8 oz fresh mozzarella
1 jar of sun dried tomatoes
2 frozen creamed spinach
2 Philadelphia Cooking Cream (I used regular but the Italian one would be better)
2 16oz gnocchi pasta
2 can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 red peper
3 cups whole milk
2 large egg
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 350
2. Preparation: dice the red pepper, slice the chicken into bite size pieces, shred the mozzarella cheese.
4. Saute' the red pepper and mushrooms for about 6 minutes. Add in the artichokes (I broke these apart as they sauteed) and sun dried tomato (I used 1/3 of the jar, I probably should have used half the jar, depends on your taste). Mix together and cook for about 10 minutes.
5. In another pan cook the chicken. I used olive oil and seasoned with Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper. Cook until brown edges. 6. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking boil water for the gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi as package describes.
7. Add chicken to the vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes.

8. Transfer everything into a large bowl. Add Gnocchi pasta, 8oz of mozzerella cheese, philadelphia cooking cream, milk, and eggs- mix well
9. At this point I put half into another bowl to cool before I put it in a ziplock bag for the freezer. Pour into casserole dish to bake. Cover with aluminum foil.
10. Bake for 25 minutes covered
11. Uncover and top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

That's it! Add some garlic bread and enjoy this complete meal!
*Please comment or email me if you have questions. This is the first time I've posted a recipe and directions. Hopefully, it makes sense!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our Engagement~

6 years ago Ryan and I were suppose to go to the Sarasota Boat Parade with some friends. He was working at Carmax in Tampa and called me on his way down to Bradenton. I was at my parent's house and he came to pick me up. When I got in the car he told me he wanted to go out to the beach to watch the sunset before the party. I agreed and off we went. I remember calling my friend Nikki when Ryan ran into the gas station to grab a drink. When I told her of the last minute change in plans she asked me if I thought something might be up? I said no but my mind began to race. We arrived at Bradenton Beach just minutes before the sunset. Ryan went to his trunk and got out his guitar, at that moment I knew this wasn't just a romantic sunset. We went and sat down on the sand and Ryan started playing our song "Making Memories of Us" by Keith Urban on his guitar. I sang along with the biggest smile on my face, fighting back tears at the thought of what was happening. When he finished he asked me to stand up. He then retrieved a small maroon jewelry box out of his guitar case. Honestly, I can't remember his exact words but I know "Will you Marry Me?" was in there!! I remember saying "YES" repeatedly, slipping the diamond ring on my finger and wrapping my arms around his neck. It was a beautiful moment, a beautiful surprise, and a beautiful way to start our marriage.
Come to find out Ryan had taken my parents to breakfast a week prior to ask their blessings. Ryan's parents had known of his plan all along. I remember frantically calling all of my friends and family afterwards to share our news. We ended our engagement night with dinner at the Sandbar restaurant on Anna Maria Island.

There was a family, who I will never know their names, that was staying in a condo overlooking us. They snapped pictures of us from their balcony and came down to be the 1st ones to congratulate us. Here are the images they emailed me! I am so thankful that they were there to capture the moment.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Father's Day

Ryan is an amazing father. I am incredibly blessed to have him as my husband and our children's father. Our journey to parenthood was less than easy but through the journey I have seen a transformation into the selfless, passionate father he is today. Tomorrow, July 2nd will be 6 years from the day we got engaged. Never would I have imagined that God would have sent us to Africa for our first child and give birth to our 2nd son just months after returning home. It all is joyful and I am so thankful to have Ryan leading our family. Ryan is a man of God and is a wonderful example for our boys to follow. Seeing Ryan have a heart for orphans has made me fall even more in love with him. I can only imagine how God is going to use Ryan for his glory.
Ryan, thank you for your love and sacrifice!
Our first babies:

Ryan's 1st Moment as a father:

1st time feeding Easton a bottle:

1st time bathing Easton at our Guest House in Addis Ababa:

Maternity Pictures:

1st Picture of Ryan with both of his boys:

1st picture at home with Easton and Preston:

Baby Bjorn with Preston:

Baby Bjorn with Easton:

1st Christmas:

Nap time with Preston:

Helping Easton walk:

Easton's 1st time on a swing:

Easton's 1st time on a slide:

Sleeping Easton:

Ryan's mini-me:

Easton's 1st time on a horse:

Playing chase:

Ryan's 1st Father's Day:

Joy, Pure Joy!!!

Beach Picture:

1st time in Pennsylvania to meet Ryan's extended Family: