Hello, Is Anyone Out There?


Is anyone out there?

It’s been so long since I posted and yet it seems like just yesterday.

I’m not sure I even remember how to post anymore.

Since March I’ve sat down at the computer many times to write but it just didn’t happen. Maybe next week I’ll write. Maybe next month I’ll write because my heart won’t hurt so much. Well before you know its six months later and your heart still hurts.

Now please don’t call the authorities on me or send out the counselors.

I’ve got plenty to be happy and thankful for. My children and my husband make me laugh and smile every single day. Really its every single hour.

I’m here to say that its possible to move on but still have a tiny place in your heart that will always be sad. I think that’s the way it is for anyone who’s experienced a death. And for me it was the death of a dream, of a family member I had already placed deep into my heart.

Who knows what the future holds for us but I do want you to know that I’m here and experiencing life and its joys and I think I’m just about ready to start sharing with you again.

After all, how else am I going to remember that my daughter called my tummy squishy and my personal favorite lately…

Mom, take off your sunglasses.

OK. Why?

I want to see all those crinkles by your eyes.

(Sigh) Do you want to know who put a lot of those crinkles there?




Yes you. With the help of your brothers.

Maybe you should put your sunglasses back on so we don’t see the crinkles.

Sounds like a plan.

My Lifetime Movie Life

There are times when I feel like my life is being filmed for a TV movie of the week for the Lifetime Channel.

And this is one of those times.

Two days before Valentine’s Day we received word from the federal attorneys that our adoption agency was being shut down.

As in goodbye, kaput, all gone, no more.

And our money that we had turned in?

It was also goodbye, kaput, all gone, no more.

Thousands and thousands of dollars.

We were informed that if we had received a referral the government would help us finish the adoption process.

We were literally next on the list to receive a referral.

So that leaves us, and one hundred other families, with no adoption to follow through with and federal attorneys who say it’s completely up to us if we want to try and get some of our money back. They can’t help us. They are going to keep us up to date on legal proceedings but helping us with money? Nope. Can’t do. Not our area folks.

See, just like a Lifetime movie.

But sadly there’s no Tom Selleck or Dana Delaney character who’s about to sweep in and take our case.

Believe me when I say I had no humor about this situation when it first happened.

I almost instantly became physically ill with a severe cold and eventually lost my voice.

I blame it on all the crying. and the crying. and the crying.

I had to run a Valentine’s Day party for my son in the initial midst of this and all I really wanted to do was run out of there and sit on the couch watching movies and eating girl scout cookies.

(Don’t even get me started on how many girls can go to camp this year because of my cookie intake in the last 3 weeks).

Even though adoption is something I had wanted to do my whole life, it’s not a decision my husband and I came to easy. There were miscarriages, heart to heart talks, and a long process to get us to the point of actually moving forward with the idea.

I have grumbled with God. Several times.

But God is funny.

Right before we’ve had big losses, I’ve always been offered a job, seemingly out of nowhere. I accept the job and with days to go before my start date something major will happen.

I think it’s God’s way of keeping me moving forward and having a different focus.

I also think I’m never going to take another job in my life. Seems like I might be able to head off some of these life moments.

OK, not true.

But if we win the lottery I might just stick to that thinking.

So I started my new job.

God said, “You think you’ve got problems? Go tutor these homeless kids and then tell me about your problems.”

My new job is tutoring elementary aged kids who are homeless. All of those words should never go together in a sentence but sadly they do.

They are homeless – some sleep in their cars at night, some have beds some of the time until an uncle gets angry and they sleep on the lawn that night with their mom, and some live in shelters.

But I tell you what. They are amazing, beautiful kids. They have the best smiles. They are so eager to learn. They are so happy. They have struggles yes, but they have joy.

And so I take my cue on living life from some 8 year olds who have it much tougher than me.

The past 3 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions but I feel good about where I am going with this whole life experience.

We are not quite sure what our next step is but that’s okay.We’ve got each other and we’ve got a roof over our heads.

The rest will work itself out.

And if it doesn’t, I’m sure I could hunt down Tom Selleck’s phone number from somewhere.

The Rabbits, It’s Always the Rabbits – Part 4

Read here for The Rabbits – part 1, part 2, part 3

I know what you are thinking…Again with the rabbits?

Yes, the rabbits but this time it’s different.

Unbelievably, I just bought some rabbits.

I know.

Along with the rabbits I also purchased some ducks, geese, chickens, and honeybees.

You can close your mouth now.

Thankfully I purchased these animals from the comfort of my home.

And even more thankfully, I will never ever see any of these animals in my backyard or, even better, dead on my dining room floor.

Instead of angel Christmas gifts this year, my kids, influenced greatly by my 8 year old, decided they want to buy gifts through Heifer International.


“Heifer International works with community groups in third world countries and provides them with animals which help families help themselves. They train beneficiaries in animal well-being, agroecology, water quality, gender equity, and other topics. The training enables them to care for livestock, grow crops sustainably, and further lift themselves out of poverty.

Families then share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.”

I gave each child a budget and told them they could buy whatever animals they wanted as long as we didn’t exceed our total. We went through the gift catalog on the website reading about each animal, their cost, and talked about how those animals could help someone.

They contemplated, they added and subtracted, they debated, and they discussed.

Eventually, they decided and we bought a flock of hope (chickens, geese, and ducks), honeybees, and rabbits.


Yes, rabbits.

Once we convinced Caroline that buying a pegasus horse was not an option she went with the rabbits.

The family that kills rabbits just bought rabbits.

Cue the Lion King music. Again.

This year our family has talked a lot about poverty, families that are struggling, and kids who are hungry, both locally and far away. My hope is that by exposing them to programs like Heifer International and the Angel Tree they will see themselves as part of the solution and know that they can make a difference even at just 11, 8, and 4.

Donating to Heifer International was new to our family this year but based on the kids excitement I know it will not be our last experience with them. I think this program would also be fun for a school service project, a bake sale focus, or even an animal themed birthday party.

I’m not receiving any sort of compensation from Heifer for telling you about their program. I’m only asking that once you can purchase “a pegasus” our family is notified immediately.

Winter Bingo – New on Etsy!

I’ve been working for the last few weeks on a new Winter Bingo game and it’s finally ready!

Winter Bingo is perfect for those school winter parties you are planning!

(There are no religious images used in this game)


Winter Bingo is perfect as a a cold afternoon activity!

A sample of the call cards…


Winter Bingo is perfect for all ages during the Christmas break!

Boards come in 5 x 5 boards , 3 x 3 boards, and 1 x 4 boards.


That’s 54 different boards!

All proceeds from our etsy sales go to help fund our adoption so we thank you so much!

Go on over and check out this Winter Bingo at Big D & Me Etsy.

Invest in a Woman

We are adopting.

It is a wonderful thing which our family is very excited about.

But it’s also something really sad.

It means a family couldn’t be kept together.

Either by financial reasons, illness, or death.

I will always think of the mama who isn’t celebrating birthdays, first days of school, and the first loose tooth with their child.

My child soon.

There are roughly 150 million orphans in the world.

I can’t help 150,000,000 children.

But maybe I can help prevent some kids being added to that number.

The company fashionABLE creates sustainable business for Africans so they aren’t dependent upon charity. They focus on empowering women by giving them jobs.

The women of Ethiopia have made the scarves and leather pieces that are listed for sale on the fashionABLE site.

Take a moment and watch this quick video about these beautiful women and the company they work for.

To celebrate the company’s 3rd year in business they are offering 30% off of all of their products today.

Having the opportunity to work. What a gift. Something we don’t always view that way.

Invest in a woman.

If you invest in her you will invest in her child.

I invested in a woman today.

You can too.

Halloween & Christmas Gifts Right Here

I’ve got some fun family gift ideas for you today for both Halloween and Christmas.

You’ve probably seen the PDF files for the Holiday Conversation Cards & Lunchbox Jokes in the Big D &  Me etsy shop – each set is listed for $3.95 (Halloween here, Christmas here)

But today, I’ve got something for you where all of the hard work is done.

Those same PDF files are printed and bagged for you – ready to give as a gift!

The Halloween Set


81 cards come as part of the Halloween set:

36 Conversation Cards – 31 with topics, 5 blank to create your own

36 Lunchbox Joke Cards

9 Lunchbox Halloween Messages





The Christmas Set


72 cards come as part of the Christmas  set:

36 Conversation Cards – 31 with topics, 5 blank to create your own

27 Lunchbox Joke Cards

9 Lunchbox Halloween Messages

Christmas_Conversation_Card_2  Christmas_Jokes




Each set costs $6.00 and ALL SALES go toward FUNDING OUR ADOPTION.

You can find each set here:

Halloween Conversation Cards & Lunchbox Notes – Click Here!

Christmas Conversation  Cards &  Lunchbox Notes – Click Here!

*If you live local, let me know so I can deliver and save you the shipping cost*

Thanks so much!

Adoption Letter

We have been pretty open with our kids about the adoption process we are going through – the paperwork we have to fill out, travel arrangements that are to be made, saving our money, and much more. We haven’t sat them down and laid out spreadsheets and timelines but we don’t shield them from the process either.

Well, you never know what they are picking up.

My 4 year old and I went out to check the mail the other day.

She ran ahead and said, “I’ll get the mail.”

Reaching into the mailbox she yelled, “I’ve got an adoption letter!”

“You do?”

“Yes. It says to send money and the baby will come in a crate and then we will love them forever.”

Obviously she has some things correct and others not so much.

We talked about how we are sending money to people so that they can take care of our baby right now and that yes, one day the baby will come home but on an airplane and not in a crate.

At least she has the most important part correct, “we will love them forever.”


Just like AJ

Last week I had a sinus infection which required a trip to the doctor to get some meds.

Honestly, I could have skipped the doctor, I just needed the z-pack.

My doctor was out for the week so I saw the visiting doctor.

As she was going through my file she said, “So you are writing an autobiography? Have you had an interesting life?”

What? Ah, must be wrong file.

“It says something about an adoption?”

“Ohhhhh, yes. I had to write an autobiography for the home study. No, I’m not publishing anything.”

“You have your own kids and now you are adopting? You are just like Angelina Jolie.”

Actually I could see her point. We have lips, we have breasts, we have legs, …really the comparisons could go on and on.

Except that it kind of bugged me.

We not adopting because we want to be like Angelina and Brad, we’re doing it because we have room in our hearts for another child. And I’m not so sure it’s good that everyone’s first reference for adopting should be Angelina. Maybe it should be your neighbor or friends, someone you see at your child’s school so that it doesn’t seem so strange or different to adopt.

“You are just like Angelina Jolie.”


Adoption Update #1

A few people have asked for an update on the adoption so here it is:

Paperwork and wait.


Many times.

We’ve completed our home study which required references, autobiographies, and answers to many questions.

We’ve been accepted by the agency which required a lengthy application and references.

We signed the contract with the agency which required tons of paperwork.

We are now trying to complete the dossier (large collection of paperwork about us that must be notarized, certified, and sealed by the government).

After the dossier is sent in we wait for 4 to 6 months before they match us with a child.

Once we have a face and a name we celebrate.

And then, we complete more paperwork.

It’s a lengthy process but we haven’t lost steam yet.

Hopefully the next time I up date you I can say our dossier is in the mail!

We’ve Got News…

Hold on to your hats…We’ve got news!


We are so excited to have another little person join our family!

We will share more information in a few weeks but for now I will tell you that our family has started the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.

Would you like a way to help us?

Tell everyone you know about the Big D & Me etsy shop.

Right now Father’s Day printables are for sale and make the perfect gift.


All proceeds go straight into our adoption fund!

Facebook it, Tweet it, Phone it, Email it!

Thanks so much for all of your support!