Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Since we share custody of Tammy with her dad "N" we do an every other holiday arrangement. Last year "N" had Tammy for Thanksgiving and we had her for Christmas. So this year we had her on Thanksgiving and it was "N"'s year for Christmas. So we celebrated our Christmas on Christmas Eve instead.

Our family traditions include playing games on Christmas Eve (which this year was the 23rd for us). Jacob was working so it was just Tammy and I. It's hard to play board games when there is only 2 people (normally we do board games). So instead we opted to play some games on the Wii. Our favorite game to play when it is just Tammy and I is Guitar Hero World Tour (which was Tammy's Christmas present last year).

Tammy rockin' out to Bon Jovi.

We opened gifts after Jacob woke up the next morning.

We started with our stockings.Tammy's is a cross-stitched one that I made for her last year (she is a cat lover, so her's is cats). I am going to start on the ones for Jacob and I (with the move and all I didn't get to it this year, but now that we are settled I will be starting on Jacob's next week). Eventually we will all have one that is cross-stitched. Each takes a really long time so I work on it when I can. I hope that someday soon I get to do one for a new addition. Even the dog has a stocking. Sirius was very excited about his stocking. He got all sorts of new treats.

I was very excited about one of my stocking stuffers. A UTAH UTES T-shirt!!!! YAY!!! I also got a tri-pod which I was very excited about. I had one but it wouldn't hold the weight of my camera when I had the larger lens on it. I also got some cake decorating tools that I can't wait to use. :D (Ignore my hair, I had just gotten out of the shower)

Jacob was very excited about his present. A BYU Cougars T-Shirt! We both sported our team spirit the next day by wearing our new shirts (wish we had gotten a picture!). He also got a George Foreman grill, he has been wanting one of those, and he got a new laptop for school. (His old one kept dying, he needed a new one, and since he is starting school next week, now was a good time to get it)
Tammy was very excited about her new camera! We got a killer deal on it. She has been using my old one which was not a good one at all (read, 3.6 megapixel, which when we got it 6+ years ago was a good camera, this new ones is 12.2). So she was very excited about this new one. She also got an artist drawing set (she loves to draw) and got a new pair of boots.

We ended the day with another family tradition. Every year (at least the years we were in Utah visiting, but now that we are living here again, it will be every year) we go to "C"'s house on Christmas Eve (this is before we do games at our house). "C" is Tammy's aunt on her dad's side and a good friend on mine. They do several Christmas stories and a present exchange. Such fun times. It was then time to take Tammy back to her dad's. Sorry, no pictures from "C"'s house, I didn't take my camera.

The next day Jacob and I went to his mom's house for Christmas dinner with most of his family. We stopped by my brother's afterwards and visited with them for awhile. Sorry no pictures from there either. I've been slacking on my camera duties I guess.

It was a great Christmas!
Our family, Christmas Eve 2009. This was actually my favorite picture. I thought it was funny that the dog wanted to be in on it too. Do you see him sitting there on the couch?

We have been invited to a couple of friends houses for New Years. We were going to have my family over but had to postpone that. If the weather cooperates we may just got over to my friend Jill's house for some games. Or to Rebecca's for festivities there, or maybe both! We'll see. It's been snowing like crazy here!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I will blog in the next day or two about our Christmas festivities, but for now, we just wanted to say, Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This year we decided to make Gingerbread houses. I had done this several years ago and it was a complete flop, but we decided to try it again. It worked better this time. In the end the roof on my house fell in, but it was fun anyway!
Jacob's one request was ribbon candy. So we got that and the kits that they sell in the store.

Here are the finished products:

Jacob's (if you look closely, you can see on the side of his blue roof he did a white Y for BYU):

Tammy's (she thought it was funny that her windows were "bleeding" red from the gel she used. Said it looked like the windows were crying. Silly girl!) :
Mine (notice my roof is red, GO UTES!):

Next year I think we will try it with making our own gingerbread and frosting (didn't really like the royal frosting the kits came with. It was hard to use and didn't want to dry, at all, which is why the roof on mine fell in!). I'll tell you one thing, it was fun, but not easy at all! I definately have new respect for those who build those amazing gingerbread houses for the Gingerbread village at the festival of trees every year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

UFCF meeting update

The rep. from UFCF just left. Everything went great! We start the classes on the 7th of Jan. and in the meantime we have the initial application to fill out. Soo exciting! We are still with our agency, just feel this is something we need to do too.
In other news, all of our Christmas cards and letters are mailed. At least to the people I had addresses for. We attempted making ginger bread houses yesterday. Will post about that tomorrow. Hubby is at work, Tammy is at her dad's (since her siblings are there today, she wanted to see them, I'm picking her up tomorrow night). Time for a nice relaxing night at home alone. I'm going to be making bread for our neighbor gifts. :D Got some honey bears to go with.

Monday, December 21, 2009

UFCF meeting

Just wanted to update really quick before heading to bed. We have a meeting with a rep. from the UFCF (Utah Foster Care Foundation) tomorrow afternoon (well Tuesday afternoon so technically that's today since it's 12:30 in the morning, but I haven't been to sleep yet, so it's still tomorrow to me). We were apprehensive about going this route again after what happened with "I" but we feel like this is something we need to pursue. We are in a different state then where we were with "I" and hubby isn't full time military anymore, so maybe it will be different this time. For whatever reason, whether this is how our child is going to come to us, we don't know. But we feel we need to do this, so we are. If all goes well we will start the adoption/foster care classes, and then will go through the paperwork for them and will get licensed with the state. We shouldn't need to do a lot of paperwork since our paperwork (Background checks and such) are so recent with our agency. We were told that if the background checks were more then 6 months old we would need to do them again. Our Utah ones are only a couple months old but our federal ones are a little older than that. So we'll see. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teen Living

Kaylynn (Tammy's "baby") in the crib in our nursery.

Tammy taking care of her baby doll. She dressed the baby in some of her old clothes.

Tammy is in 9th grade this year and is taking Teen Living. Part of this class is about Teenage Pregnancy. For 5 days the kids in class experience a little of what it's like to be a teen parent. The school has 20 mechanical babies, but they have 100 students. So not all the kids get a mechanical baby. I kind of wish Tammy had gotten one but she didn't.

Instead we went and bought a baby doll and filled it with weights. For 5 days, they had to take care of this baby doll as if it was an actual baby. They had schedules they had to keep the baby on. If they were in a car, the baby had to be in a car seat, etc. If they went out with friends, they had to "hire a baby sitter". They had to keep log books about the "baby's" schedule. Tammy got creative and bad a 10 page scrapbook.
Oh, and they weren't just baby dolls, they had to fill the dolls with weights so that the baby dolls actually weighed what a newborn would, between 5-7 lbs.

Tammy's named her baby, Kaylynn Elizabeth. Kaylynn weighed in at just under 7 lbs. Tammy actually said, and I quote, "at least you didn't have a 7 lb. newborn mom." You're right Tammy, you were 7 lbs. 12 ozs. ;o)

Saturday we went to the mall and Walmart and did some Christmas shopping. Tammy had to put Kaylynn in a carseat (luckily we have one) and a stroller (we have a carseat stroller combo). At the mall, most people thought "the baby" was mine (we had the carseat in the stroller since it's a combo, and placed a blanket over the carseat so no one was able to see that there was a baby doll in there and not an actual baby. While I was in one particularly crowed store and Tammy was waiting at the entrance for me while I paid, several people gave her dirty looks.

She hated every minute of it. I on the other hand, think it's a great program. I took Teen Living in school too, but we had eggs that we had to take care of. Tammy's dad "N" had a bag of flour. I'm glad they are doing baby dolls that weigh as much as an actual newborn. Wish we had gotten more pictures. I didn't take pictures of the scrapbook Tammy made either. I hope they get them back so I can share those. She did a great job!

Monday, December 14, 2009

PCMC's Festival of Trees

So the day after my birthday we decorated our tree. The day after that, we went to the Festival of Trees at the Southtowne Expo Center. Gorgeous beautiful displays as always. All of the displays and trees are donated to the festival and the proceeds go to Primary Children's Medical Center.

There were soooo many trees. The expo center is 243,000 sq feet, and it was full of displays, trees, and goodies! Warms my heart to know that all the many people there were supporting such a worthy cause. Every year it is amazing, and this year was no exception.
Such a wide variety of displays, goodies, wreaths, quilts, gingerbread houses, and of course trees. There were:
I loved the Warm Fuzzy tree!
Very unique trees, everything from Robots, to hand carved wood trees, to soda can trees.
Harry Potter trees, complete with Sorting hats, Gryffindor colors, broom sticks and of course, Harry. ;o)
Tons of University of Utah UTES trees! (YAY!!! I'm a UTES fan, hubby is a BYU fan)
There was even a tree decorated BYU style.
I love what the sign says, in case you can't read it, it says, 14 years old, 34 surgeries in his lifetime, 8 procedures from 2008-2009, 10 discs removed, 2 rods inserted in his spine, Total 100% BYU fan. (Even though I'm a Utes fan, I just loved this tree. So sweet!)
There were a lot of displays. All of them were touching, unique, and stunning!
I love the Quilt displays. So much work and love goes into every stitch. Gorgeous!
The Gingerbread Village is always a crowd pleaser. Can you tell why?

PCMC is very near and dear to our family. Because of PCMC we have our Valerie. Valerie is our neice (Jacob's sisters daughter). She was born with a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Prognosis for children born with this condition is not good. Survival rate from the many surgeries that the babies need is not high. But Heavenly Father knew Valerie had some work to do here. And she is a fighter. Firey red head for sure! We have been so blessed to have her these past 7 years. And even though we know our time with her is drawing closed and she will soon be called home, we have cherished every moment with her.
It is for this reason that I decorated a tree the year after she was born. I hand cross stitched little tiny teddy bear ornaments (each took about 30 hours to do and it was worth it) and did bears of all kinds all over the tree. It was donated to the Festival. That Christmas was the last Christmas we spent in Utah. Jacob was in basic training for the Army at the time. So I was not able to continue doing trees. But now that we are back, I can do trees again. I didn't have the opportunity to do one this year since we didn't get here until September (this year there was a waiting list for people to donate trees). But I have already started next years. And while we were visiting the festival this year we talked to the Executive Director and gave her our information for when she does next years list. I can't wait! Valerie will be 8 next year, so the tree will be all white. I just pray, that she will be there to see it, and if the Lord sees fit to bless us with another year with her, she will be. We love you Valerie!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Decorating the tree

So the day after my birthday is always the day we put up the tree (although I'll admit that last year I was too excited about Christmas that we put it up the day after Thanksgiving, and that was only because we spent all of Thanksgiving at our friends house -since we lived in New Mexico at the time we weren't near family, but we got to spend it with our awesome friends the O'Hara's, we've known them since right around the time we moved to Kansas many moons ago, 6 years to be exact, they happened to be the same unit as us, so when the unit got moved from KS to NM, both our family and their family ended up going. They are now in Germany and we miss them!)

Anyhow, sorry, off topic there. ;o) Since I was a little girl all I can remember is Christmas going up the day after Thanksgiving, so when it came time for my birthday (which is only a week after Thanksgiving) my birthday was always filled with Christmas decorations everywhere and everyone walked around talking about Christmas. In fact I have an old home video of my 4th? birthday where out of the 30 minute video, 20 minutes are of my dad video taping the Christmas decorations.
(O.k., I'm sure my birthday was about me when I was little and not all about Christmas, but to a 4 year old... just sayin')

So Jacob vowed when we got married that my birthday would always be seperate from Christmas. Even though we haven't stuck to that, and sometimes put the decorations up way before my birthday (like last year). This year we just didn't get around to it until the day after. It was such a fun night.

While I was out getting Tammy from school Jacob got out the tree. I spent the next hour "fluffing" the tree. You know, so there were few open spots. ;o) Later that evening, after dinner, we started decorating. I took some of the pictures, Tammy took some (Jacob's afraid of my camera, hehehe)
First, we start with our empty tree:

Next we plug it in to make sure the lights work:

Next comes the decorations:

Anyone notice on the right hand side there, Harry Potter with his invisibility cloak? ;o)

Jacob, jammin' out to Christmas music:

Our tree from the outside (we have added a little more to the outside, I need to go out and take another picture, plus, it snowed, a lot, so it looks so pretty!)

And the finished product:

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but Christmas, is a really really close second!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So I've been trying to catch up on my posts since I didn't blog much in the way of our lives posts in November. I'm only a little over a week behind so that's not too bad.

Last Wednesday was my 31st birthday. My dad called to wish me a Happy Birthday and asked me how it feels to be 31. My response? Just like 30, which was just like 29. ;o) Although it is a little weird to say I'm 31.

Anyhow, I had a great day! Since we are saving for our adoption (we have what we need to give the agency, and the lawyers fees, but we're still saving just in case anything comes up). I didn't want to go anywhere or get any special presents (although I did get some Stampin Up goodies a few weeks before, so we'll call that my present). But I did want to just hang out as a family. So that is just what we did. We went to get Tammy from school, came home, hung out for a bit, then Jacob and Tammy went to the store to get me a cake (normally I decorate the cakes in our family, but since it was my birthday, Jacob wanted to get one so I wouldn't have to make my own cake).

When they got back from the store Jacob made us dinner (he loves to cook). I wanted Shrimp Spaghetti. So that's what he made. Basically it's spaghetti noodles with breaded shrimp on top and a cocktail sauce (we mix that with tomato sauce to cut down on the spicy), sounds gross, I know, that was the first thing I thought. "C" and "T" (Tammy's dad's brother and sister-in-law) are the ones that first made it for me when I was pregnant. Now it's one of our family favorites. He also did cheese bread and my favorite veggie combo, creamed corn mixed with french style green beans.

While eatting we watched the movie Baby Mama. None of us had seen it before, but it's a cute movie, we all really liked it! Then we played a game on the Wii, then it was time for cake! Tammy and Jacob both know my favorite colors are purple and green.
So when they found this cake: Tammy wanted it to not have blue and yellow flowers (even though I was fine with that), they wanted purple (so sweet!). So when they got the cake they also bought a tube of purple frosting. So Tammy started taking off the blue and yellow flowers.

Doing this gave her, what she called a leperchaun finger, cause it was green. ;o) Then she decorated the cake.

This was the finished product. She didn't like it, I loved it!

It was a great birthday! :o)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why I chose to parent

I recently read a blog post by someone saying that they felt that a teenager who chooses to parent her child is making a selfish decision. Someone else said that it ruins the life of the baby and the teen mom. Here’s the thing, I’m 31, and my daughter is 14. So yes, I was a teenage mother. Let me start by saying Tammy’s father “N” is a great man. It took us years, but we are finally to the point, after all the hurt, mean words, hate (yes, I said hate), after everything, we are friends. We are good friends. That being said, here is my story.
I was 15 when I got pregnant. I was with someone who I thought I loved and who I thought loved me. When we thought I might be pregnant we had a conversation about what we would do if I was. We decided to get married. So even before I knew for sure I was pregnant I/we had decided to parent. Fast forward a few weeks. I found out that this guy who said he loved me and wanted to marry me, had been unfaithful (with someone I couldn't stand no less). That same day I started having some pains in my stomach, and I called the Dr. They asked if I could be pregnant. I said yes, they said I needed to come in immediately because I could be having a miscarriage or it could be an ectopic pregnancy. So my boyfriend called his work, told them he would be a little late and took me to the Dr. I walked in, they had me to go to the lab to take the test. We sat there waiting for the results. He asked if I could forgive him. I said I didn’t know but that I would try. He said he didn’t have an excuse but please, forgive him. I told him that I couldn't marry someone that I couldn't trust. He cried and said he understood. I told him that if he could prove to me that I could trust him, we could get married after the baby was born. He said he would prove it to me. I don’t know what made me say this next part, but I told him that I needed to break up with him for a while. He was crushed. Right after this the nurse came out and called me over telling me that the test was positive and I was pregnant. She took us both back to the Dr. so the Dr. could make sure everything was o.k. Everything was fine, perfectly healthy. The pain was probably just stress. “N” cried the whole time. The Dr. left the room for a minute and “N” said he had to go to work and asked if I could get a ride with my mom or something.

So there I sat in the Dr. office, no boyfriend, a baby on the way. And now, I had to tell my mom. I called her and asked her if she could come get me. When she got there I couldn't look at her. I just blurted out, Mom, I’m pregnant. She was shocked. She hugged me, and I ran to the car. After she got in she asked me what happened and where was “N”. I told her we broke up and I cried and cried. I decided I had made a terrible mistake and I called his work, he wasn’t there, he had called in and said he wasn’t coming, so I went to “N”’s brother’s house because that’s where he was staying at the time. He wasn’t there either. His brother “T” was there and he invited me in to wait. His wife “C” walked in, dropped her bags that she was carrying, dropped to her knees and said, you’re pregnant. I nodded and cried some more. “N” came home shortly after and asked what I was doing there. “T” and “C” told him they knew. He was angry that I had told them, I explained that I hadn’t, they had guessed.

I felt empty and abandoned. I had almost no support and I knew I was pretty much on my own, especially when the next day at school I saw “N” holding hands with the girl he had cheated with, I knew I was on my own. This girl had convinced him that because I broke up with him, I had cheated on him (which I didn't, but that's neither here nor there). My mom didn’t know what to say to me (after all, what do you say to your daughter when she tells you she’s pregnant). My whole family didn’t know what to say, or what to do (my mom and my whole family were supportive, they just didn't know what to say). My school asked me to go to a teen mom school and leave the regular high school. I told my bishop. He never once did he said anything to me about LDSFS or adoption. The only person who did in fact was “C”. One day she asked me if there was any way that “N”’s claims where true, was there a way this baby wasn’t his. She said that if there was any way the baby wasn’t his and I told her now, she would support me no matter what the DNA tests showed. I had been faithful and yes, the baby was definitely his. She asked me if I had thought about what I would do, did I want to parent, or place the baby for adoption. The ONLY thing I knew about adoption was what you see in the movies, where when you get pregnant, you get sent away, some nun takes your baby and you never see him or her again (silly to think that is what adoption is, I know) So having no one to talk to about adoption and what it was actually all about, I told her I wanted to parent, she said o.k. whatever she needed to do, she would do. Looking back on it, I think a part of me was hopeful that “N” would come back and we would get married and be a happy family. This was not what happened. “N” and I had tried to be friends, that lasted for about a week. Over the next several months I ran into “N” a few times. Each time we fought. Each time I got so upset I almost miscarried. I didn’t start showing until I was 6 and a half months along so all sorts of rumors were going around that I wasn’t actually pregnant. That didn’t help matters any.

Shortly after having Tammy I moved out of my mom’s house. I ended up leaving school because I had to work full-time to pay the bills, put a roof over our heads, and food in our mouths. (I went back a few years later and got my diploma.) When my friends were going to prom, I was changing diapers. When my friends were walking across the stage at graduation, I was planning a 1 yr olds party. When my friends were out dating and getting married, I was hoping and praying there would be someone out there who would actually want to be with me for me, and except Tammy as their own. And not want to be with me because they thought I was "easy" (trust me, I ran into plenty of guys like that, one even admitted that he wanted to "date" me for that reason).
Having said all that, do I think my life was ruined? I know it wasn’t. It changed me in so many ways. Do I think her life was ruined? No. Ask her, she will tell you no. Would her life be different if I had placed her? Yes, absolutely. For one, she would actually be baptized now and would have an eternal family. Not to mention she would not have to go back and forth between her parents all the time (thank goodness we get along, that isn't normal though, most teen parents, don't and the kids see that fighting, it took us years, and I do mean years, to become friend again though.) Every decision we make changes what could have been. Do I think I was selfish for choosing to parent her? No.
I made the decision I felt was best for my daughter and me with the information I had. Having no one to talk to about adoption (remember, I didn't even know LDSFS existed), I chose what I thought was best. There are two things I wish were different. When I had Tammy and chose to parent her, I was “active” in my church, but I wasn’t ACTIVE in church. I went to church every Sunday, but that was it. I didn’t have a testimony of the Gospel. I didn’t care about Temple Marriage. I didn’t care about any of it. I went through the motions. That was it. It wasn’t until years later that I actually gained a testimony. Tammy isn’t baptized in the church. Her dad and I have joint custody of her, and because we have joint custody we both have to give permission for Tammy to be baptized. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that “N” was willing to consent to her being baptized. Tammy is now at that age where she doesn’t know if she wants to be baptized into the church, so she isn’t baptized. She also is not sealed to Jacob and I. In our church we believe that Family's can be together forever, this is commonly known as sealing. Not only is Tammy not sealed to us, she isn’t sealed to anyone. This breaks my heart.
Is single parenting for everyone? No. Is teen marriage for everyone? No. Is Adoption for everyone? No. Each person has to make the decision they feel is best for them and their child. To say teen moms are selfish, or that I’m selfish for choosing to parent is unfair. You don’t know me, you don’t know what my circumstances were at the time I made my decision. To say that a birth mom is taking the easy way out (I've heard this before) is completely and utterly false. I have a lot of birth mom friends. Trust me, it's not easy. If you think it's easy, you obviously don't know a birth mom. It is probably one of the hardest things, anyone on the earth has to do.
I have only shared a small portion of my story, I don’t feel I need to share the rest. Someday, when we are chosen by a Birth Mom, or when a Birth Mom is considering us, if she has questions and wants to know more, I’ll tell her.

Sorry this was so long, I just felt this needed to be said.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

I just had to post pictures of our snow fall! Last year when we were in New Mexico (very southern New Mexico, almost to the Texas border) we were praying for snow. Somehow it just doesn't feel like Christmas to me without snow. The most we ever got was a light (and I do mean light) dusting of snow the day after Christmas. It really looked like someone had sprinkled powdered sugar on our lawn.
This is the sadness that was our snowfall last year when we lived in New Mexico. (Incidentally, some of my friends who live there tell me that this year they have already gotten 7 inches in some areas.

This is our snow fall today. Note that it's still snowing. So ya, hubby was out later shoveling again. ;o) We really need to get a snowblower or something. Note the fire hydrant on the corner is over halfway covered. Love it!! It's crazy, but I love it! It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS!