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Book Club Free Month

book clubThis month we start our “new year” for book club. It will be the beginning of our 5th year together. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to start a book club. You can read more about that at Book Club!. So this month we had a free month to read what we wanted while deciding the format for the 5th year. Summer months are the best to read in. Bedtime no longer applies to myself in summertime. I have no idea how my brain deduced this because there are still 5 am feedings for B, 2 am potty wake ups for O, and 7 am wakeup calls, but in the summer it completely doesn’t matter. Needless to say when we decided to do a “book free month” in July, I was stoked! So far I have read the first three Harry Potters (for the fourth time), the third book in the Divergent Series (btw-that was a big fat ”meh”), and I am doing an ongoing book study of The Connected Child (more on this later). Last week I had about 20 pages left in the 3rd HP and I kept putting it down because I didn’t want it to end. Typically if I have even 50 pages left in a decent book by golly I am staying up until 2am to finish it. I am always sad to finish HP3 though, I love reading this book and it never disappoints. I could go on and on about that but I digress.  I actually just wanted to publish all the books from our four book club years. We usually have a family book exchange party in December so there are only 11 books per year but for some reason there is olnly 10 in the third year. I thought about highlighting the books I really loved but realized that I love them all. A book becomes so much more when you get to talk about it with a great group of ladies! Happy Reading!!!



Titles of the first year of book club:

Olive Kitteridge-Elizabeth Strout

What is the What-Dave Eggers

The Pilot’s Wife-Anita Shreve

Sarah’s Key-Tatiana de Rosnay

Still Alice-Lisa Genova

The Lace Reader-Brunonia Barry

Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

Their Eyes were watching God-Zora Neale Hurston

Across the Universe-Beth Revis

Room-Emma Donaghue

Remains of the Day-Kazuo Ishiguro

Titles of the second year:

Wuthering Heights-Emily Bronte

To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee

Little Bee-Chris Cleave

Ender’s Game-Orson Scott Card

Shiver-Maggie Stiefvater

The Girl that Chased the Moon-Sarah Addison Allen

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time-Mark Haddon

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-Mary Ann Shaffer

Something Borrowed-Emily Giffin

People of the Book-Geraldine Brooks

Defending Jacob-William Landay

Titles of the third year:

The Happiness Project-Gretchen Rubin

The Devil in the White City-Erik Larson

Portrait of a Lady-Henry James

The Fault in our Stars-John Green

Wasted-Mark Johnson

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks-Rebecca Skloot

Shanghai Girls-Lisa See

The Long Earth-Stephen Baxter

Wild-Cheryl Strayed

The Handmaid’s Tale-Margaret Atwwod

Titles of the fourth year:

The Wicked Girls-Alex Marwood

These is my words-Nancy Turner

Sirens of Titan-Kurt Vonnegut

Rebecca-Daphne Du Maurier

And the Mountains Echoed-Khaled Hosseini

Labor Day-Joyce Maynard

January First-Michael Schofield

Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein

And Then There Were None-Agatha Christie

Losing my virginity- Richard Branson




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Rookie Mistake

I made a rookie mistake today. A rookie mommy mistake. Several actually. We went and met Nate for lunch and afterwards got a carwash. The kids were being so good, I got duped. Duped into thinking that they could handle a run to Homegoods. I have been craving some decorating time and figured a short run to Homegoods could “scratch the itch”. So I preemptively took Owen to the bathroom as soon as we walked into the store. That plan didn’t work. We ended up in the bathroom 4 more times. That’s right, 5 total! There were two clean up missions (not number 1) and two recon missions, Towmater was missing. (Don’t worry, Towmater was found.) In between the bathroom trips the little one decided it was a good time to spit up. Twice. Full on move the cart over the spit up so no one slips until an employee can clean it up kind of spit up. And the most annoying part of all…I wore jeans. Carrying an infant car seat + 6 month old + 3 year old (all at semi-separate times) back and forth to the bathroom makes for quite the workout. But I made it through without tears or yelling. So I figure I did OK. Not great but OK. Just when you think your getting good at this mommy thing something like this happens and you remember. You are not in control, but I will not be duped again by those innocent faces, at least not for the next two days…


Our Adoption

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Visiting Baeya’s Birthparents

This past weekend we headed down to Beaumont, TX to visit Baeya’s birthparents. I haven’t spoken a lot about them because I want to respect their privacy, but also did not want to miss this opportunity to share with everyone what open adoption can look like. I haven’t spoken a ton about open adoption either except on a few blogs including, A Letter to the Birthparents, Adoption Seminar, and Fritzel Number 4. Basically my relationship with Baeya’s birthparents have been primarily via text message. We speak weekly for the most part and its mainly updating on our lives and pictures. I want Baeya to have the opportunity to tell her own story to whomever she wants so I will just say that her birthparents are happily together with a son. He looks and sounds just like Baeya! Such a cutie!

We spent time with Baeya’s birthparents, paternal birth grandmother, and brother on Saturday. I have honestly been waiting for the jealousy to rear its ugly head, but I am very happy to say, it never did! At least not yet. Seeing Baeya’s birthmother hug and kiss on her and tell her how much she missed her was emotional and beautiful. I am so happy that we are apart of each others lives. I have thought about this day for 7 months. Baeya was her adorably dimpled self and definitely acted very comfortable with them if she didn’t recognize them. We got some pictures and had a great time meeting her other brother.  We left Beaumont feeling positive about the future. The fact that Baeya can call them up anytime or visit. The fact that she has them in her life to explain why they made this hard decision, that they love her and always will, and other important things like medical information. Adoption is never going to be easy on any child but at least I can feel comfortable knowing she will have answers to questions that other children of adoption may never find.

So far this open adoption experience has been a very positive one. I can’t wait to continue getting to know Baeya’s birthparents. They are wonderful people and we are so blessed to have them in our lives.








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College Reunion

It’s been 10 years since I graduated with my bachelors. At 18 years old I went to college. I was very naive and ridiculously gullible. Nate can attest. I had lived in quite the little bubble growing up. When I was a senior in high school I remember saying that my goal was to go to a college that I didn’t know anyone. Well I ended up 30 minutes from home at North Texas with a high school friend as my roommate. I was accepted at my other two schools Oklahoma Christian and Univ. Of Oklahoma and I am not exactly sure why I chickened out of going to OU (my favored school). But after that first semester of UNT I knew that was not the place for me. In November of my freshman year Nate and I broke up and my papaw passed away. I remember laying in bed in my dorm room thinking why didn’t I go to OU. That next morning I woke up and tried to figure out how I could reapply. Turns out you are accepted for the whole school year so within days I had told my parents I wanted to switch and set it up with OU that I would be there in January. I was scared to death but just knew without a doubt that’s what I was supposed to do. One of the best decisions I ever made. College changed me big time. More specifically all my roommates, my friends, social work classes, changed me. My views on religion, politics, life, did a complete overhaul. I was definitely not the person I wanted to be back then but it molded me into the person I am today. I got to attend the wedding of my college roommate yesterday. She is one of the most fearless and full of life people I know. She was walked down the aisle by another BFF from college and it was beautiful. The groom is yet another friend from college days so it felt pretty much like a reunion with all of the guests. I had the best time seeing all these familiar faces and hearing about their new paths. Love them so much for being good friends then and now. Wish I had gotten more pictures!





Our Adoption

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Adoption Day


I previously shared with everyone in a blog, Baeya’a “Official” Adoption Day that we were headed to the courthouse in Dallas to finalize Baeya’s adoption. Thought I should do a follow-up to let y’all know how things went.

We arrived at the courthouse to meet our attorney that the adoption agency had recommended. When we went into the courtroom the judge entered a few minutes later. He asked everyone to stand and swear that we would all tell the truth. There were several other families there for adoption hearings and more. We were the first to be called up by the judge. Our attorney asked what Nate’s full name was and then proceeded to ask several questions to which Nate answered yes and no. The questions included odd things like, “Do you understand that Baeya will be apart of your family for the rest of your lives?” Ummm. Yea, I think we’ve got that part. And other questions like, ” Have you completed a home study with your adoption agency and passed?” Check. When Nate finished answering the questions, our attorney asked me my full name and if I agreed with all the answers that Nate had given. Once that was over the judge ruled that we were a family and came off the bench to get a pic with us, which was nice and we were told doesn’t always happen.

So now…We are done. Done with seminars, trainings, book reports (yes, this happened), social worker visits (even though we loved her dearly), support groups, doctor reports, and monthly reports. Lucky for us, we have several friends that have adopted and will continue to be as much apart of the adoption community as we can. I believe that adoption is one of the most beautiful physical representations of God’s love and hope that our story, Baeya’s story, will continue to encourage others to consider open adoption and orphan care. Here are some pictures taken by my very dear friend Caroline, who was very brave and brought her camera to the court when we were told it wasn’t allowed. Turns out security let her right through after making her take everything out of her camera bag! She is an amazing birth photographer so just in case you are interested and/or would like to see more of her amazing photographs check out http://www.carolinecarmackblog.com/.

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I completely forgot to give credit to my other wonderful friend Elizabeth who took the Easter pictures that were on Baeya’s “Official” Adoption Day and did an awesome job of capturing Owen and Baeya’s personalities. You can check her out on facebook at Simply E3 Photography and Design.