Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kaiya's New Toy

Kaiya got her very own DVD player for the car thanks to some generous "Welcome Home" gifts for Kaiya from our friends. Kaiya thanks you and mommy thanks you!!! Is she cute or WHAT???

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Before and After

It is almost impossible to put in to words, or pictures, or videos the miracle we have experienced over the past 2 months. I can't believe I have had only 2 months with this little angel. She is etched so deeply into my heart that I can't describe it.

The changes we have gotten to see have been breath taking. It hasn't really been that Kaiya has CHANGED. From the minute I met Kaiya I saw HER inside there. She was always there. She just needed a chance. For 2 months we have watched her emerge...

2 Months Ago....

A Few Nights Ago....

I have watched her literally learn to eat and drink and sit and walk and giggle and give kisses. I have watched her laugh so hard she snorted water out her sweet little button nose. I have seen her tackle her Daddy with gusto and give him big slobbery smooches. I have seen her get tiny little fat rolls on her knees. Never has chubbiness given me such glee. From a girl who couldn't walk well to a girl who races into mommy's arms every day- I have watched her become who she was always supposed to be. Adoption is a miracle in motion.... Kaiya Rain Zhen is our miracle every day.

Angel :0)

How I want to live....

"Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions.

Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.

Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God.

Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.

Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.

Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies.

Enjoy the journey.

Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.

Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God.

Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating.

Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks.

Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself.

Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion! "

~Mark Batterson Book: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

I just saw this on my friend Amy's blog and HAD to steal it. I mean WHOA! This is soooo how I want to live my life. Maybe I need to read this book. I have never heard of it. Anyone out there who has read it? Anyway- regardless- awesome quote. Thanks for sharing Amy.

:0) Angel

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For the love of all things Kaiya...

With all this cuteness how could I not share?? Here is my precious Kaiya. I especially love when you can see that perfect little dimple next to her sweet little nose. She is completely wonderful.

Monday, July 28, 2008


As some of you know, Red Letters Campaign is partnering with Children’s Hopechest to launch orphan care in Ethiopia for 1000+ children! This will include supporting Hanna's Orphan Home.

We are crazy excited to help these children. We are currently in the fundraising stage of things… It costs a significant amount of money to get Children’s Hope Chest up and running in a new country. Red Letters Campaign (RLC) is committed to helping raise some of these funds and being an active part of getting things going.

There are a few ways we plan to help to do this, but you will have to wait until September to find out all the details. ;0) What we need right now are DONATIONS of GOODS!

Do you make something or own a fun store or business??? Would you be interested in donating to the fundraising efforts of RLC? All donations will be used in a Project Ethiopia Raffle Fundraiser or auction. If you have any items you can donate, please contact Amy at Also, feel free to contact Amy with any questions.

Anyone who donates for the RLC cause will get some great publicity from the RLC website. It's a great way for you to help a good cause while getting free advertisement for your business. We will also take donations of services (photography sessions) or vacation time (week at a condo). Please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions. We want to hear from you. This is gonna be REALLY cool if we get lots of great donations.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!! We are excited to get this going.



Friday, July 25, 2008

What's working for me...

So now that I have 3 kiddos I am doing everything I can to simplify life and keep things going smoothly. Parenting 3 kids, homeschooling a 9 year old who's first day of school EVER was a year and a half ago, helping run RLC.... well let's just say I need to cut corners when I can. So I am always thinking about what will make our lives run more efficiently. So I just thought I would share a few things that are working for us right now.

This is our new schedule. I found that remembering what 3 different kids and 2 adults should be doing at any given moment was more than my poor little brain could handle. This schedule was made in word. It is just a guideline and hardly ever gets followed to a T but it really helps.

I can take one glance at it and get a general idea of what we should be doing. YAY for that! Any time the schedule changes I can just go in a make a few changes. Then we just print out new ones. I have them posted all over the house so we can see them whenever we need to check something.

On the tutoring side this handy piece of software is wonderful. It covers grades 1-5 in all subjects... math, reading, spelling, phonics, social studies, etc.. Kaitlyn and Zoe have been using the program every day. It has all kinds of interactive exercises. They think it's fun. I think it's AWESOME! ;0)
Here is the girls work station. That is my old lap top. The screen went out on it. So for Kaitlyn's birthday we bought a nice monitor to hook up to it and it works fine for their school stuff. NICE!
Love these bags. My buddy Ilene gave me this hint. My family loves steamed veggies but momma hates cooking them and washing the dishes involved. So just stick your fresh or frozen veggies in this handy bag then stick it in the microwave. TA DA!!! Yummy veggies and no mess. Ahhhhhhhh..... nice. Yes, I know it's not the best solution to stick my veggies in plastic and zap it but work with me here. It's better than no veggies.
This idea I got from my mom in law. I got SOOOOOO sick and tired of dealing with the constant mess in my kids drawers. I also got tired of the discussions about what matched and didn't match. UGHHHH!!
SOOOOOO now when I put laundry away it is put away by outfit in bags like this. Each bag is an outfit down to the undies. I also do swim suits and pajamas that way. NO MORE ISSUE! The girls have all their bags and they can choose whatever they want and it's ALWAYS cute. This also makes packing for trips a snap. I say, "Girls, go grab 7 bags with clothes, 4 with pajamas and 2 with swimsuits." DONE! Ohhhhh yeah.

This is our new little friend. We have named her "Rosie" after the robot maid on "The Jetsons." This is our roomba. One of the things that was driving me nuts and taking up a lot of time was sweeping and vacuuming. NO MORE! Rosie does all that for me now. Just push go and she scoots all around cleaning my floors. LOVING IT! I use her twice a day most days. She can go on my hardwoods, rugs and tile without help. She does my whole downstairs. She doesn't get sticky stuff that is really ground in but gets almost all the crumbs. I just go with a little wet paper towel for any stuck on yogurt or such. They have one that will mop and scrub tile and hardwood.... oooohhhhhh.... maybe from Santa???

The other thing that was driving me crazy was dishes. I have resisted paper stuff cause of the cost and trash but I have given in. We are doing paper everything right now. It saves me about an hour a day of rinsing, washing and putting up. We went to Costco and stocked up. I am LOVING this. I don't know how long we will do this but for now it is helping big time.

The other thing that was driving me nuts was that Kaitlyn could not serve herself well with the way we were set up. So we cleaned out a lower cabinet and put a baby lock that Kaiya can't manage easily. Now Kaitlyn and Zoe can easily get lots of things for themselves. We also have a stool in the kitchen that helps Kaitlyn be able to reach the microwave and sink to wash hands and dishes or get water.

So anyway... there are a few things that are working for us. What's working for you? If you have a great idea you want to share with us other mommas why not post about it?? You can link here. Can't wait to hear your ideas for how to make this momma thing work.

:0) Angel

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Girls Only! (and baby Thomas)

This past weekend was GIRLS ONLY weekend with Holly and Wendi. Well..... girls only AND baby Thomas. LOL! We just hung out at Wendi's and had a blast being girly girls. We got pedicures, went to Japaneros for some AMAZING food and even hung at Whole Foods for way too long. YES! We hang at Whole Foods for fun. ;0) It was a wonderful weekend. I am so thankful that the three of us have wonderful families and husbands that value our time together. Every time I get to hang out with these ladies I come away a little bit better for it. I come home more prepared to be the momma I want to be and loving my hubby for loving me.

I can't imagine my life without Holly and Wendi in it. Love you girls. Angel