Friday, July 30, 2010


GREAT news... Olivia was finally able to swim as of yesterday!!! She is of course elated! And we are so thankful she healed so well and so quickly compared to how it was expected to be.

We had a special guest yesterday who hung out with us for a good part of the day. He and Davids got along well and played some Stratego after swimming...

Braeden and Liam had fun using my camera to take pictures around the house - Braeden took this one of me...

In the late afternoon we headed to Give Kids the World Village. AMAZING place! They allow kids and their families to stay for free during Make a Wish or similar trips to Orlando, and that's the least of what they do. They are run by simply HUNDREDS of wonderful volunteers! The things they have put in place for families is simply incredible! I just can't say enough about this place!!!! We were so blessed to stay here for a week in Aug of 2008 when Olivia had a Make a Wish trip here. Being a former wish family enables us to come visit anytime we like, which means... when we visit Grandma and Grandpa we visit GKTW!

The biggest thing about Give Kids is... you CAN'T spend money here. There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING you can buy, everything is FREE. Just amazing!

We first hit the ice cream parlor for the first course of our dinner...

You may laugh, but actually Give Kids is known for "ice cream for breakfast." Their parlor is open from 7:30 am - 9:00 pm. We ate breakfast here one day on our wish trip. I tried to get the kids to do it more than once, I mean, really, how often can you say you ate ice cream for breakfast!? BUT, the kids didn't WANT to!!! They wanted to go to the Gingerbread House Restaurant there instead, go figure!

After some ice cream, we played in the Castle of Miracles...

Found Olivia's paver we had put in to remember our trip... (She always has to get a photo here!)

Played at Amberville where there are tons of video and other kinds of games, remote control boats, trains, etc...

Then it was time for Winter Wonderland. Each night at GKTW is "themed" and this night was Winter Wonderland! That meant, Christmas music, a storytelling area where the kids got a free new book, horse drawn carriage rides (we didn't have time this time for that), a parade, and of course, a visit with Santa himself...

They also each got to choose a gift (toy) from Santa!!! They got some amazing things! Braeden choose this GI Joe vehicle and figure...

And of course there was lots of food: snow cones, cotton candy...

popcorn, and cookies to decorate yourself...

We rode the carousel...

And visited with Mayor Clayton...

and of course the penguin! :)

A great great day!!!
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Counting Down

We've now headed East to Orlando for the last part of Davids visit with us. We'll be here until the 2nd, he leaves the 1st. It's hard to count down. The kids and I are going to miss him and I know that he is realizing how short his time here is.

I can't talk about whether or not he's "found a family" until it's an official process that has begun, but know that God is working in this situation and I can't wait until I'm at a point where I can share more!

Tuesday we started our day at Downtown Disney. We ate at TRex...

did a little shopping... and played at the lego store...

Then we made our way to our rental house. I started a few years ago finding rental houses for trips rather than hotels. SO MUCH cheaper, and even better since you don't have to worry about the kids being super quiet, you have a whole kitchen to eat in and save money with, and I've found ones with their own pools...

Of course Braeden would rather hunt for little creatures to befriend...

The house we are staying in this time has five bedrooms, two of which are master suites, in addition to being in a gated community and having it's own pool.

Yesterday we spent the day at the house, trying to get the internet to work (after over two hours of someone here working it finally does!), and then headed to Universal City Walk for dinner at the Hard Rock...

and to see Blue Man Group...

Both were awesome and the kids had a blast! I think Liam could've done without Blue Man, he was a little scared but intrigued, but otherwise it was great! Today we have a special visitor for most of the day and then are heading out to Give Kids the World Village tonight. I SIMPLY LOVE that place! It's become like a second home to us since Olivia took her Wish trip there in Aug of 08. We love it!
Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two More Days in Sunshine

The last two days were also filled with sunny fun...

Breakfast at Krispy Kreme-

Building UFOs at Lowe*s-

Some ice skating at the mall-

While Liam hung out on the sidelines with mom and Grandpa-

Swimming at a local water park/pool area-

(He was dancing and singing!!!) :)

Braeden actually rode the water slide three times... that's huge for my non-rider!

And tomorrow will bring Chuck E Cheese, swimming, and the Ramona and Beezus movie! :)
Saturday, July 24, 2010

In the Mail

Finally I have application number two to my adoption agency ready to go!!! It was quite a whirlwind getting everything done and compiled in the few days following Olivia's release from the hospital and when we left for Florida. I was awaiting two documents to come by mail and they finally arrived yesterday. I made sure everything was in order and took it to a copy store today. I had to mail one complete original and one copy of the entire application... all 68 pages! So there are now 136 pages in a manilla envelope ready to go first thing Monday! So excited to get it sent and continue this process!!!

Two New Designs

I've had the wonderful opportunity to be able to create two new blog designs through Blogs With Purpose recently!

Deb from Chosen Ones is also a single mom. She adopted her beautiful two year old son domestically and is in process now of adopting a gorgeous little girl from Uganda. Visit her and give her a shout! :)

And Amy from James 1:27 Family is mom to two bio sons, one son through foster care adoption and one daughter from Uganda. Love this blog too!!!

Thank you both for your support and love to keep up with your posts!!!
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Soaking Up the Sun

We made it to Florida! I love how amazingly well my kids do on car trips! It makes things so easy! They did great!!!

We drove a lot the first day and our trip was about an hour longer than it should have been. There was a portion where we drove literally 5 miles in an hour! I couldn't believe it! When we got to the "problem" there was a semi sitting with it's lights on just past an exit, where construction had narrowed the highway to one lane, and two police cars were near the truck with their lights on. That's it. So EVERYONE had to exit and then get back on the highway past the overpass. Unreal.

We drove just past Atlanta and spent the night at a hotel. Great hotel, except for the fact that I had promised the kids a "treat" from the vending machines and had only a one and a ten and they had no change for my ten at the front desk. Really??? Then, there was NO ice in the ice machine! And, after we swam for about an hour (from around 8:30-9:30pm), realized that there wall sign said the pool closed at 9!? Weird, but at least they hadn't kicked us out!

I used my one dollar bill and bought a pack of microwave popcorn from the machine which the kids thought was pretty cool.

We had a good (free) breakfast and hit the road the next day, making it into Clearwater in a good amount of time.

Today I took the kids to the pool where my parents live (condo). Olivia sat and read, finishing up Percy Jackson and the Olympians book number 3! The boys and I had a blast!

After heading home and changing, Olivia and I then ran a couple errands and I took her for ice cream. I feel so bad that she can't join in the swimming! But we're going ice skating soon (it's supposed to rain in the next few days) and she LOVES that!

After dinner, I took the boys to the beach...

We had great weather today and soaked up a lot of sun! Davids and I are a bit red, but nothing too bad, and we had lots of fun!!! Off to Krispy Kreme in the morning and we'll see what the weather brings tomorrow...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Off and Away

Bright and early tomorrow morning we're on our way to Florida! We'll be spending time with my parents and Davids will be leaving from Orlando while we're out of town, on the 1st. I think he's really had a great time, he absolutely loved spending time with my friend's 13 year old son, but had lots of fun here as well. :) Even though we had a couple rough times working through some parenting issues, he's done really well! I can't imagine the transition that is to come so very far in distance and culture and relationships and learn what a family and parent is about, all at the same time and in such an upfront way. It would be too much for many of us I'm sure. We still have not found a family yet who is interested in potentially adopting this amazing young man. If you are interested in more info or know someone who may be, please email me!

Today Olivia went to see her doctors in Chicago and all looks good. Her abdominal area started itching yesterday and she was afraid that that meant it was getting worse. I assured her that meant it was getting BETTER and she was thrilled. She hasn't taken any meds prior to having her area cleaned and repacked as she had been, and is feeling better daily. She was given the "all clear" on riding rides, but if we go on water rides we're to try to tape saran wrap over it to keep the water and chemicals out. So, no swimming, but she was more worried about the rides so is pretty psyched about that. :)

The first 6 days we'll be at my parents' in Clearwater, FL. We then have rented a house with a pool in Orlando for 6 days (SO much cheaper than a hotel!!! And we rented a two master suite, plus 3 addl bedroom home!). While there we'll do a day at Magic Kingdom with Davids, some time at Downtown Disney, time at Give Kids the World Village, tickets for all of us and Davids to see Blue Man Group, and a day at Universal after Davids leaves. We'll then be back in Clearwater for the remaining 9 or so days prior to coming back. We've had to rearrange things due to Olivia's hospitalization and will do a day at Busch Gardens once we're back in Clearwater. My Vegas trip with a friend during this time was cancelled. :( Just too much going on with Olivia and everything. But that's ok.

And... BIG news... I'll be having my first giveaway starting August 1!!! I've been given some AWESOME donations and you will LOVE what is up for grabs!!! If you'd like to donate something, I would be humbly appreciative, just email me!
Sunday, July 18, 2010


Just a reminder, or info if you're new here...

I am currently doing three fundraisers to help with costs of bringing home an orphan from Hong Kong.

You can check out my other blog Blogs With Purpose (button on the left) to get a great blog redesign and not only help my fundraising, but another family's as well!!!

I still have quite a few necklaces I've made for sale (link at the top of page under the header) and will be adding more after our Florida trip.

And, if you go to Just Love Coffee (button on the left side) and make a purchase, a great portion will go toward our adoption as well!!!

Thanks to those of you who have so far donated, purchased, and supported through prayer!!! I'm hard at work on application number 2 for our adoption agency and hope to send it within the week!!! :)

Camera Needed

One of those times where your child cries for help, but instead you simply MUST grab a camera first!!!

Only Braeden could manage to get his head stuck in a chair!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Hair!

A friend recommended a new 'do to try for summer! Olivia LOVES it! And mom loves how easy (and inexpensive it was to do!) The fact that it will last 3-4 weeks certainly doesn't hurt either! LOL See the big cheesy smile...

But oh how old she looks!

It was hilarious though. Someone came over to do her hair into cornrows first and then showed me how to "latch hook" the hair into the rows. Olivia touched it and said, "That doesn't feel like real hair?" We told her no, it wasn't. She said, "I'm going to be wearing FAKE hair?!" It was so funny!!!

She really loves it though! I think it's fun for her to have hair that "flows" and moves when she does. Much different than her little afro!

In other news... Olivia is feeling better every day. Her stomach area was pretty sore today and I talked to her about the very reason that mom kept asking her yesterday to slow down, take it easy, not bend over so much, etc. She feels great in the rest of her body finally and wants to get up and go as usual. I keep reminding her that her stomach still needs a lot of healing to be back to "normal." Guess she learned that in a very real way today! And so funny... we went to her local pediatrician today for a follow up and when I told him that she was in a little more pain today he said, "A little too much activity yesterday huh?" :) It was hilarious! She and I just looked at each other and grinned! So now she at least heard it from two people and not JUST mom! LOL

Olivia is still getting oral antibiotics every eight hours (Yep, EVERY eight hours) and is getting her wound unpacked, cleaned, repacked and bandaged twice a day. She takes Tylenol with codeine about half an hour before getting it done as it HURTS. Poor thing. Monday we go to her doctors in Chicago for them to check her over as well. I'm waiting until then to ask more about swimming in Florida (we are now hoping to leave on Tuesday - supposed to have left two days ago originally), and especially about riding rides at Disney, etc. I think she's more concerned about the rides at this point than the swimming! :) Hoping it's healed even more by Monday and they'll have a good guess at what to look for to let us know when each will be ok to try.

What a trooper!
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weekend Fun

Well, prior to Olivia ending up at the hospital, we had a really great time visiting our friends and hanging out! :)

We went to a local park where some kids put on two plays... a few of these kids were simply amazing young actors!

Had some fun in the yard...

Hit the local zoo...

Ate at our very favorite ice cream place!

Davids discovered a love for HUGE hot dogs from Sam's... he downed two of these monsters!

Hung out at a park that was just amazing...

Went to a live production of Grease, which my kids have never even heard of before... (now they sing the songs constantly!)

Took Olivia and Davids for an awesome time in the sky in the young pilot's program...

Made some great crafts...

Went to our first live baseball game as a family...

And of course then ended up at the hospital... but so thankful for how that all turned out!!! :)

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you