and there you have it…


July 2015

5 things I’ve learned “in the waiting period”

This was originally intended to be a very different kind of post.

Under normal circumstances we don’t know if our profile is being viewed. It could have been shown 100 times already (not likely). We only find out if we’re picked. There are however, “special cases.” Sometimes they do not have the amount of books they’d like to show for a certain situation.  Sometimes you requested being asked first about certain circumstances. These we get emails about. There’s been more of these than I’d expected. However, we didn’t feel any of them were ones we should submit for until last week. Last week’s email felt almost too good to be true. A little girl due to be born soon (all we knew was before September for sure) circumstances something we were totally ok with.

I cannot begin to tell you how I excited I was. Just reading the email. Waiting around for hours for Bycemaster to get home. Then sending the email saying put us out there! Most of this process has seemed surreal. I know eventually there will be a baby. I know this. But there is so much waiting. In every step of the process. When you are waiting with no end in sight, it’s hard to believe the end is just around the corner. Even though it could be.

But for us it was not this corner. I’ve been obsessively checking our email for days. This morning I got an email saying we weren’t chosen. We did not tell the kids about submitting at all. We knew what has happened was a very real possibility. So it’s a quietly mournful morning over here. Upon reflection here a few things we’ve gleaned from this waiting process so far.

5 things I’ve learned in “the waiting period”

1) Some days waiting is easy.

You hear it’s hard. The waiting is so hard. It’s the hardest part. That’s all we’ve heard. But there are some days it is easy. Days go by and it’s not been agony. Then there are days like the past few where you know something is close, but you don’t even know when you will know anything. And then there’s todays. It’s hard.

2) You’re not as ready as you think you are. 

We’ve gotten so much stuff for Baby Girl Byce. We’ve washed and folded clothes, set up pack n plays, gotten car seats. Then OMG IT COULD BE TOMORROW! And you realize how unprepared you really are. We still need to set up a hospital plan for our current kids. I need to figure out what I’ll pack in our stay bags (what do you wear to something like this!?) I don’t have the Lact-Aid nursing system I’d already done research on, but never purchased. I haven’t even given any thoughts to what we want to give to the birth mother. So many more things.

3) Longer waits are better for grants.

We’ve only gotten 1 grant application all the way to submission. The rest are in various stages of not done yet. But even the 1 that is in would not have mattered for this baby. The current one was a minimum of 90 days past deadline to even find out. And grants only pay out before placement, if you even get any. After placement, you’re pretty much screwed. I have renewed motivation to get the rest of the applications in ASAP. Any takers on references? We’re gonna need some more.

4) Things don’t always turn out like you thought.

So this lesson has really been in process longer than just the waiting process. The whole adoption process from picking an agency to being in waiting has not been like I’d originally envisioned. But see I’ve been envisioning this since long before anything in my current life. I also never envisioned my current life. And my current life rocks. This process has morphed and changed so much from my preconceived notions. But there is peace it’s as it’s supposed to be. This is what it looks like for us, not me, us. That’s important and so much better.

5) Good people are gold.

Bleeding off the last point. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. What dreams I may have are not meant for ME, just me, all about me. We are all connected and the dreams we have are also meant for the people our lives intertwine with. We are are all in this together. I could write a whole post about this one. From the gifts to support to prayers you are all so important. Having people super excited with you at even the chance of a placement is gold. Having not a single person say well don’t get your hopes up, is gold. Knowing there are so many of you praying for us in this journey, is gold. You all are gold.

I am sad and disappointed I’m not gonna lie. I’m also grateful I allowed myself to be excited that this could be it, it really could have been. Ups and downs are part of life. Someone who has been in waiting is super happy and excited this morning. This is a loss, but it is not a death. There’s a little balm in a loss that is someone else’s gain. Maybe next time it will be our gain.

10 things you’ll always find in the pantry…well my pantry

it’s fun day Monday! Let’s play a little game. I read a recipe post a while back that claimed it was a recipe you could make out of staples, no shopping needed, you should have it all in your pantry! I don’t even remember what the ingredients were now. But I can tell you they were NOT in my pantry. Ever since I’ve been kinda curious. What do people keep in their pantries? I mean I know what I keep in mine. However, I am well aware that 1)everyone is different and 2)I’m not what most would consider ‘normal.’

So humor me. Satisfy a little unwarranted curiosity on my part. I’ll list 10 things that you can always (or almost always) find in my pantry and you list yours in the comments or on Facebook. Come on…It’ll be fun!

Here are mine.

1) Beans – always black beans, often others as well


2) Rice – gotta fill those kids up somehow

3) Canned tomatoes – they seem to be in every recipe and go BOGO pretty often

4) Nuts – walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews

5) Canned corn – same as tomatoes

6) Black olives – pizza, quesadillas, rice and beans, right out of the can, we go through a lot


7) Popcorn kernels – Orville Redenbacher’s are non-GMO! (you know to balance all the totally GMO canned corn out…) Also that pinterest thing, about popping kernels in a paper bag in the microwave, totally works.

8) Oats – we use oats for EVERYTHING here

9) Peanut butter – always have to have an extra jar of peanut butter or almond butter or sun butter…

yeah it’s just like that….except minus the jelly…we like honey over here, but that’s in the cupboard, not the pantry 😉

10) Olive oil – gotta stock up on that stuff when it’s BOGO

And there you have it! That was actually a little harder than I thought it was going to be. I had to check ALL my pantry shelves. Geez, making me work on a Monday morning. What gives? Your turn, go to work!

What’s always in your pantry?

week 4 of meals is here!

It’s recipe time again! Finally delivering the promised week 4 of meals. If you missed them, here are weeks 1, 2, and 3.

1. Curry AKA Coconut Milk Soup to my children

Curry is a nice one to clean out the veggies in your fridge, I’ve had curry with just about any veggie in it. But if I’m picking favorites I like 1 white onion, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper and about half a pound of fresh green beans all sliced. If we have it, the kids find it fun to have bamboo in it since they’ve seen it on their nature hikes.

The Thai kitchen green curry paste is my favorite and all the recipe instructions are right one the bottle! The bottle calls for a can of coconut milk and brown sugar for the base, we’ve also used the Original Silk Coconut milk instead of the can and brown sugar successfully. The kids like to drink the coconut milk (and I like it for my iced chai lattes!) so it’s usually sitting in my fridge. Serve with rice.

2. Spaghetti

This is probably a staple on your menu already. It’s an easy throw together meal that’s usually already in the pantry even if I’m needing to go to the store. We use any kind of noodles we have on hand.

Barilla makes a good gluten free pasta that I can easily and cheaply stock on Publix’s BOGO sales. It’s one of the few not made from GMO corn. Gluten free usually means A LOT of corn products, we try to keep to nonGMO corn where we can.

One note on cooking gluten free pasta, SET A TIMER! They over cook and turn to mush very easily.

3. Fried rice

Here’s a way to clean out that leftover rice from your curry night. You need to use leftover rice or it’s too sticky. I tried the freezer method, once. I’m not going to even explain it. Use leftover rice. 2-3 days old is best.

I put a few tablespoons of this coconut oil in the pan with a few drops of sesame oil. Let it heat up and then add whatever veggies we are having.

Diced onions, celery and mushrooms is a favorite of the adults. The diced vegetable medley of my childhood (peas, carrots, corn, and lima beans) is the kids’ preference. While the veggies are softening up, scramble 4 eggs in a separate pan. After the veggies are soft add the leftover rice and about 1/4 cup of braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative).

Saute it all together till warm and mixed in chopped scrambled eggs right before serving.

4. Grilled Sandwiches

Sandwiches for dinner is usually met with a groan. However, if I throw them on the flat top they’re everybody’s favorite!

Ham or turkey lunchmeat a slice of cheese for those that can have it and pickles. Easy peasy.

5. Shrimp and grits

This is not usually one anyone will even attempt diary free, but we all eat it diary free, it’s still good.

This recipe is the closest to what I make, we just omit the cheese and use Earth Balance for the butter. It barely feeds all of us (meaning everyone gets 1 serving, but wants 2!) I should really double that recipe, but shrimp is expensive! Turkey bacon works as well.

It’s super yummy, I think I need to put it on next weeks menu, mmmmmm.

6. Black bean bake

This was the recipe that originally inspired this meal. I must say I have never used the artichoke hearts or brussel sprouts…not something we usually have lying around. I have added leftover chicken and BBQ sauce. I have also put whatever vegetable is about to turn in my fridge in it.

So really I just usually follow the spirit of this recipe, black beans and an oven. The rest is up to you!

7. Quinoa and Sweet Potato chilli

I’m being kind to all you structured rule followers for this one. I know some of you cringe and curse me with all my throw a little of this in and a little of that and mix for an indefinite period of time!

This meal comes from this recipe and I do what it says, exactly.

So there you have it! The 4th and final week of meals. I hope you’ve found some your family can enjoy as well.

Breif adoption update! Lots of you have been asking. We appreciate the interest! There isn’t anything new to tell at the moment. We are still in waiting, learning to be comfortable with the ambiguity of tomorrow or next year! We are preparing little things here and there, reading our homework and gathering baby things.

A big THANK YOU to those who have donated baby items, to date things received or in transit for baby girl Byce include a car seat and base (within the 5 year mark), cloth diapers, socks, shoes and clothes, clothes and more clothes! Enough to last the first few years!

We have also received enough for our match fee when the time comes. We are working toward the big one, placement fee. Your generosity has been overwhelming and such a blessing. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you that have given your money, baby things and prayers! I cannot express enough how much of a blessing you all are to our family. I personally am looking forward to telling baby girl Byce about all of you and how God used a whole village to bring her to her forever home.

a 9 year old boy and fireworks

Just so you know I have not forgotten about the final week of menus. It’s still coming, I promise! There’s just been more important things commandeering my attention like more birthdays!

We celebrated our own 9 year old this week. It’s his last year before double digits. That somehow seems significant, like he’s on the cusp of childhood even though I know he’s only 9. He already seems like he’s ‘pulled away’ from the others developmentally. He’s in a whole new category and as always with a first child we are in unknown waters with him, again. We’re figuring this out together buddy!


I took the kids and his best friend to the science center to celebrate (Thank you Nana and Papa for birthday passes!) He loved this tree history, had to read every single event the tree had lived through in its 300+ years of life. Yes I just had to ask him how old the tree was. He gave me actual years. I gave you approximates, your welcome.


EARTHQUAKE SIMULATOR!!! I told them to act scared. One wasn’t acting and ran away when it started moving.


But we pulled her into the hurricane simulator with us. She loved it. Wind force of about 70 in this pic. Hair is flying!

Proof Bycemaster is an active father. See the look of pure joy on his face? Can you see what he is holding? Not something he would even know existed if I was a single parent. ALL my children love these things and I LOVE having an active partner in this whole parenting experiment.
IMG_3569It came with a table. But the non pro wrestling fans are all why? Why a table? Are they going to break bread together?! The suspense is killing me. TELL ME WHY?


So The Big Show could break the table with Andre the Giant. Now you know.

He also got loads of cash and the 2016 National Geographic Kid’s almanac, which he stayed up late reading that very night. That love comes from my side. I love that he’s got interest from both of us and lots completely unique to him thrown in.

But with a birthday so close to a national firework holiday, how can there not be a little fireworks? I actually took the camera off dummy mode for these. First real attempt. I was having fun documenting them having fun, that’s what counts….right? 🙂


That face. I mean really, he makes the picture.


Then we discovered the camera could do this. She was very excited.


Just a little competition going on. Let me see the picture mommy! Let me see it!


I promise you his hair was not on fire. I just really liked this one.


Then we discovered that our neighbors may or may not be pyros. But we enjoyed a full half hour of these lovelies from the comfort of my own balcony. After all the birthday fun, it was much appreciated.

IMG_3609Happy Birthday America.

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