Making Many Memories

Everyday we are Making Many Memories that we will treasure forever.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Nevaeh

Sometimes it seems hard to believe that
it has already been 4 years.

4 years since sitting on this bench at Disneyland's California Adventure




when we got the call that brought 
you into our lives.



























You still love to watch this video I made for you
in December 2008 when were weren't sure how much longer you would be with us.

video


And this one from April 2009 when you started doing unsupervised visits
and weekend visits with your birth parents.


video


And this one from July 2009 right before court when we thought you 
would be leaving us for good.


video

I am still in awe of the miracle that occurred and the 
sacrifice that your birth mom and dad made
by allowing us to adopt you.

Last Gotcha Day was one of the best days every
because I finally knew that there would be many, many more celebrations to come.

This day will always hold a special place in my heart 
my sweet little girl.


HAPPY GOTCHA DAY







Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gotcha Day Tradition

First I would like to say a big
THANK YOU 
to all who donated or shared our iPad 2 give-away so far.

It is still going on until December 15th and you can click here to enter and 
see all the great gifts you could receive with only a $5.00 donation 
or sharing on your blog or Facebook page.

But I also wanted to share with you a great opportunity
you have to make really cute scrapbook pages 
and cards by using this amazing software

This new version  just came out last month 
and it is sooo fun to use.

Plus, if you purchase it using the code STMMMS69334 
you receive $10 off and a $10 coupon to use on digital paper kits 
and you receive 4 entries into our iPad give-away 
because every time the software is purchased using 
STMMMS69334
We receive $20 towards our adoption.

My Memories also has a fun Facebook page and blog
where they have challenges and contest.

This weeks contest is called Family Traditions
and I have entered our tradition of going to Disneyland every year 
on December 13th because that is Nevaeh's Gotcha Day.


If you would like to read more about this fun day that we had
you can go here .


The other thing I love about this company is you can use
the digital paper they offer for free or 
other kits you can find for free all over the internet.
Right now they have this free kit called Santa



Below you fill find some of the other
stuff I have been doing this past month while learning
to use this new program.






















































The layouts above our my first attempt
at making my very own personalized Christmas Cards.

Another plus is that I can upload these layouts to 
any of the popular printing companies:
Shutterful, Snapwish, Winkflash, Picaboo, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and on and on.

And at Costco I can print out a 12x12 page and stick it in a regular scrapbook.
I can even add embellishments after it is printed.

The list of possibilities are endless.

It would make my day if you would share
this wonderful opportunity with others.

Then they can become obsessed with digital scrapbooking too :)


Friday, November 18, 2011

All I Really Want for Christmas ...

Today is National Adoption Day...

Today as you think about what your 
plans are for Thanksgiving and for Christmas...

Today think about what it might be like
if all you wanted was a family to 
eat Thanksgiving dinner with
or wake up to on Christmas morning...

Today give words of encouragement 
to those who have decided to 
add a new member to their family
instead of telling them how hard it will be...

Today find out how you can help 
those who have been abandoned by their families
or those who are trying to adopt or foster them...

Today as you think about how grateful you are
for everything you have....

Today go out and make a difference...

Because all they really want for Christmas
is a FAMILY






All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for, but there's just one thing I need


All I really want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And It's okay if they're not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's alright, 'Cause so am I


Well, I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
Maybe next time I write you I'll be at home


'Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need


All I really want for Christmas



All I really want for Christmas


 is a family...... 

I am so grateful that this will
be the last Thanksgiving and Christmas that our little one
will have to spend in an institution.

Because all we want for Christmas is for her to part of our family.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween with Daddy B

I'm afraid I haven't been very good about keeping up on my personal blog. The adoption has kind of taken up any extra time that I seem to have.

But today I took Nevaeh for her visit with her birth dad, Daddy B, and I wanted to make sure I blogged about it before I forgot.

You see, birth parent visits are getting harder for me. Especially now that I am so busy with the new adoption. Nevaeh was supposed to see Daddy B on her birthday but I forgot to even call him. It happens to be my son, Jared's, birthday too and I just got busy. Plus Daddy B works odd hours and I would always remember to call him when he was at work. So unfortunately, 1 month went by after her birthday without a phone call from us. I was actually a little afraid to call. I was feeling pretty guilty.

But when I did call, Daddy B made we remember why it is I want Nevaeh to still have a relationship with her. He apologized for not calling us. He told me he had lost his job and his phone had been turned off around her birthday. I told him I would love to bring her for Halloween so he could see her in her cute costume.

So we showed up at the local McDonald's, 15 minutes late like usual (although this time it was because I was picking up really cute pictures of her to give to him). He was waiting for her with open arms and presents.























I really dont' care if he brings presents because I know that he doesn't have any extra money. But the fact that he makes an effort to be part of her life and brings things he thinks she would be interested in really impresses me.

When we got there I asked if he wanted lunch and he said he had already eaten. He then gave me a gift card to McDonald's that his mother wanted us to have. And he kept thanking me for taking the time to bring Nevaeh to see him.

This is a completely different type of visit than what we have with Mommy M, birth mom. As a matter of fact, we did visit with her before Nevaeh's birthday, on Mommy M's birthday, and I choose not to blog about it :(  So I am so excited to see that now that Mommy M is out of Daddy B's life he is not selfish at all and really cares about Nevaeh.

They spent some time putting the puzzle he brought for her together.















































And of course Nevaeh's favorite part was being pushed around in the highchair like it was a ride at Disneyland.
























So although my day was super busy and on the way there I was grumbling to myself about having to fit this visit into my day, I am so glad that we went. Because this child is loved by so many people. And I always want her to know that.  Even if it means making me feel awkward or inconvenienced at times.

























As a side note, I did try to call Mommy M to get her pictures to her but her phone has been disconnected again too. But that relationship still needs a lot of help. The next phone call with her will probably be an uncomfortable one as I have decided she has to meet us in a public place from now on. She has too many people in and out of her life and I think some of them do drugs, as she may be doing again due to very rapid weight loss. So meeting her at her apartment or driving her in my car is not an option anymore. I'm sure that is not going to go over well with her but I can't chance it.

And speaking of awkward, Daddy B asked for our address today. He was saying how he wanted to be able to send a card to Nevaeh in case he didn't have a phone again. Not real sure how I feel about that one. I skirted the issue by saying I would text it to him later.

Sometimes I feel so alone in this open adoption relationship thing. It is very different than your typical open adoption. These people have served time in prison. They have substance abuse issues. Just not feeling real comfortable about letting them know where we live. But how do you keep a good relationship and tell someone that?

So after our visit today we came home and went trick or treating. Nevaeh had a blast and Steve and I had a hard time keeping up with her. It will be very interesting next year when we are trying to keep up with two of them. We might have to recruit the older brothers to help out.
























Happy Halloween







Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FREE Digital Scrapbooking Software Give Away

Hi Fellow Bloggers

Just wanted to let you in 
on a FREE Give Away I am doing over
at

See the beautiful invitation I made for Nevaeh's 
Birthday Party below




























Want to be able to make really cute stuff just like it?

Want it to be fast, easy and painless and possibly FREE?

Well 
What are you waiting for?

Go read all about it on my other blog :)

Oh 

and if you figure you don't every win anything but 
are interested in just purchasing it 
I have a great deal on that toooo.






Saturday, July 23, 2011

We are Expecting - Another Daughter

We are excited to announce that we will be adding another daughter to our family.

We would love for you to follow along on our 

journey to bring our little one home.

Just go here

and becoming a follower

or sign up to receive emails.

I will not be posting much about the adoption process on this blog.

It will remain our family blog.

Hope you come and join us :)

It is going to be a journey of a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Photo Books of our Life

I love making digital photo books.

I don't necessarily have a favorite company 
that I use.

I'm afraid I am not very loyal.

I go where the deals are.

I love that I can share my books with people on-line.

I love that I can make them as simple or as complicated as I want.

These books are not in any particular order.

I do have my favorites.

I love Nevaeh's Tinkerbell Party,

her Yellow Shoes Book and the one

I made for her birth parents.

I love her adoption day one too but
I am making another one that includes her
sealing day as well.

I will be adding more to this page as I finish them.






















Link to Christmas Book

Link to Halloween Book

Link to My Yellow Shoes Book

Link to Birth Parent's Book

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Daddy B - Father's Day Visit

Have I ever mentioned that this open adoption thing is hard?
So you might ask...

Why do you do it then?


Sometimes, I am not sure.
Sometimes,I think it would be so much easier to just pretend she doesn't have "other" family.
Sometimes, things are awkward 
and sometimes they just drive me crazy.


I haven't written much about our visit lately because 
there has been so much "Drama" in B and M's lives.

Today I came to the conclusion once again that 
Daddy B is so much more together and in love with this little girl 
than Mommy M.



I really don't mind bringing her to visit him.
He spends his whole time playing with her.


And she loves hanging out with him



Today we even picked up Grandma N
and Nevaeh had a great time playing with her hat.


Plus, Daddy B brought her a Kung Fu Panda Bear.

It's been a while since Nevaeh has seen Daddy B.
(Part of the Drama)

So she didn't go running into his arms as usual.
It didn't take long for her to warm up to him but I made
the mistake of calling him Daddy once and
she stopped and looked at me funny and then said
"that's not my daddy, that's Daddy B..."

There was a huge blowup on Valentine's Day over how she addressed them.
Let's just say "more drama" and leave it at that.

After visiting with Daddy B we went to take food to
Mommy M.
I won't go into detail about our visit with her.
I thought about it and it just wouldn't be fair for me to
post her problems on an open blog.

But trust me...
The woman drives me crazy with so much DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!!!!!

And so I go back to thinking about the whole open adoption thing.

It's hard on me.
I don't like "DRAMA".

But in the end it still feels right.
And in the end there is a little girl who knows she is loved by so many.
And sometimes we do things we hate for the people we love even if it means dealing with the DRAMA.




Monday, June 13, 2011

Angels Foster Care 5K

I participated in my first 5K on Saturday.


I did not make very good time because I kept stopping to 
take pictures.



View of the course from the bridge.


I really had no idea how seriously some people take their
5K's.



The first runner crossed the finish line in just under 16 minutes.
I hadn't even made it to the bridge or the 1 mile marker
by that time.



The course was at Liberty Park in San Diego.
There were some really neat places to take pictures.
Behind Nevaeh is a huge ship.


And these full size cannons.



There was great free food
along with giant sized stuffed pancake people.




Nevaeh had a great time on the free bounce house
and slide.



Of course going down head first was the best part.




Then we were off to impress the football players.



Don't let the pink outfit and bows fool you.
Nevaeh can hold her own when it comes to playing any game that involves a ball.




But this, this is the reason why we came.
It wasn't to try and beat our best time at a 5K.
It wasn't for the beautiful scenery or ocean breeze.
Nor the free food and entertainment.
It was to support an organization that brought me
the best gift I could ever have.

Thanks to these ladies and all their hard work,
babies all over San Diego County will be safe tonight.
They will be placed in loving homes
while their parents try and get their act together
or while CPS figures out they got it wrong.
(that is what happened with our first placement)

Foster Care is a broken system. 
One that needs so much repairing.

But with all it's faults, 
there are still people like Cathy and Rachel
who work tirelessly to ensure
that these babies are safe and loved
while the grown ups figure out the rest.

Next year
our whole family will be involved.
Want to join us? 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who Are You Thinking About Today - The Unloved

It was very interesting to me that today, 
I happened upon a post by Nie Nie asking

Considering that there is so much doom and gloom in the world, 
(especially today since it is suppose to be the end of the world) 

I wanted to focus on the reality that I live in and the pure joy and beauty I have found from it.

I wanted to focus on all the wonderful families who have touched my life 
and changed if for good ever since I first started following the 



After following them I was hooked on learning more about other
and the children who are orphaned because they have "special needs".

For the past week I have been following the Cox Family.
The are in U country right now meeting their new princess for the first time.
I wake up every morning to see if there is a new post
and cry along with them as they experience the joy of adoption.



I love reading Julia's blog and feeling her pain and passion 
as she desperately tries to tell people of the condition that 
these orphans live in and then being able to follow 
along and see first hand the change that one little boy
has gone through because he is now loved.



I was also lead to Patti's blog
where I have learned so much about children with Down Syndrome
and the joy they bring to their families everyday.

I am also impressed more and more each day by the dedication and
determination of Cathy at Angels Foster Family Network.
And by all who work with her to unsure the safety of foster babies.

This is my life. 
These are the people that inspire me.

Others may go through life complaining and saying how
horrible the world is and asking where is the love and 
compassion today?

Well, I have found it.

I am living in this blog world.

I am rejoicing with these people 
when there becomes one less orphan 
in the world.

And these are the reason I was inspired to start

So I could somehow try and raise awareness and funds
for these very "Special" children.

This is who I am thinking about today.
This is who I think about everyday.
And I will continue to think about them 
until there are Orphans No More.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two New Blogs

Hi Followers :)

I am excited to announce that I have launched two new blogs. The first blog is Pretty Princess Preschool . This blog is for anyone with toddlers, preschoolers or even young elementary age children. I will be posting wonderful fun ideas several times a week. There will be lots of free ideas too with links to other free sites. There will also be lots of ideas using the products I am selling to raise funds for orphans in Easter Europe and for foster care children.

I would appreciate it if all of you would post my link on your facebook pages, like my Pretty Princess Preschool Facebook page or say something on your blogs about this new blog. I love and believe in these products, Story Time Felts and Bird Rock Family (please see fundraiser page to order) and Reece's Rainbow and Angels Family Foster Network, the two causes, that I am trying to raise funds for.

I know that not everyone who reads my blog will be able to order something but by passing the word along I am sure there are many people out there who will want to.

My other new blog is http://operationorphansnomore.blogspot.com/. It will be dedicated to raising awareness for the special needs orphans featured on Reece's Rainbow. I will be helping to raise funds for specific children and families and I will be using this blog to post about fundraisers and things that are going on in that community.

This blog will go back to being my family blog.I will continue to write about Nevaeh's visits with her birth parents, which I haven't been for the past two because I was consumed with my other passion, the orphans. But I do have stuff to report on that.

I would like to thank all of you for following me on this site and for commenting when you can. It makes me feel like I am not talking to myself :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Can you really shield them from the pain?

Below is a poem that my 14-year-old son Jared wrote for his English class. Jared had just turned 11 when we got the call to foster Nevaeh. He also shares her birthday. This picture was taken the day I brought her home.







Foster Adoption

Is she right for us?
Sitting on a bench in the happiest place on earth, we received a phone call to help a child who was beaten shortly after birth,
Her parents would abuse her when she wouldn’t be quite,
Our family made a decision that we would help her with all our might.

Are we right for her?
Nevaeh entered our home as a new foster child,
Her love for us was scarcely mild,
She kicked and screamed and wanted her mommy,
And my family seemed to be turning into zombies.

Will it get better?
Nevaeh started to bond with us and we bonded with her,
Our family now loves this child for sure,
She is now calming down; she knows she’s safe with us,
Her parents are still allowed visitation so take her to them we must.

Who will keep her?
Her parents are improving and Nevaeh must now stay with them over night,
On the drive to their home our hearts beat ten times faster because of fright,
Thoughts raced through my head: Will they beat her again, will she be okay, will she still be alive to see the light of day?

One year later, Nevaeh is still visiting her parents,
The family who will keep her was still undecided,
We thought for sure Nevaeh’s biological parents would be the ones to keep her.

She IS right for us:
One day we got a phone call from Nevaeh’s new and improved parents,
They told us they would give us possession of her but they would still like visitation,
Tears in our eyes, we arrived at court,
Nevaeh is now legally ours.

We ARE right for her:
After two and a half years of waiting,
Our excitement of our new family member almost led to fainting,
Angels is the foster agency all this happened in,
And Nevaeh is the angel that we finally did win.



This picture was taken on Nevaeh's 3rd birthday and Jared's 14th birthday

Up until 2 days ago, when Jared got up in front of our church congregation to bare his testimony, I had no idea of the impact that the whole foster care process had on him. I watched this young man, wise beyond his years, get up and fight back tears as he told of his experience in the temple and the joy of knowing that Nevaeh would be a part of our family forever. 

Jared had asked me a few times during the foster process if I thought we would be able to keep Nevaeh. We had talked some about how it was very possible that she could return to live with her birth family since that was the goal of foster care. We had talked about loving her even though it would hurt to lose her. But I would always go to my room to quietly cry about the pain I felt. I know realize that my son was hiding his pain from me too. 

Foster care is such an amazing journey. There is no way you can be a good foster parent and not completely love the child that is in your care. There is no way you can know the birth parents for two years and not feel sorrow and compassion for them. There is really no way that you can shield anyone from the pain of the process. 

It is just part of the process. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Better Than the Royal Wedding

Today - April 30, 2011 -  A very special event occurred


There was no media coverage


There was no huge crowd of people


In fact, the guest were very few in numbers


But a Princess of the King of Kings


Joined by a Grandpa, a Grandma, 2 Aunts and An Uncle


a Father 


a Mother


and three handsome Princes


walked into the House of the Lord 


and became an Eternal Family.


It was a day that will live on in history.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Talk

I am so grateful for this beautiful Easter Day that I had to share with my family. My day started out a little hectic because I had been asked to give a talk in church. I know some people find this a hard task but normally I don't mind doing it. The only fear I had today was that a lot of times people come to visit on Easter Sunday and they are usually expecting to hear something profound. So I was feeling a little inadequate for that challenge. The other problem I had with today is that because 4 other wonderful women where speaking too,  we each had about 5 minutes. For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am a very wordy person so a 5 minute limit was a huge challenge for me.

I also am a procrastinator so I waited until 9:30 p.m last night to even start my talk. I finished around 11:00 p.m. (mostly because I kept getting distracted and would check my email and Facebook). But at 12:00 a.m. I woke up with my mind racing that I would have to change my talk because it wasn't me. I had kept it brief but it wasn't really what my heart was feeling. So I arose at 6:00 a.m. (that is extremely early for me as I am NOT a morning person.), took my shower and started to rewrite my talk. I needed to be to church by 8:15 a.m. and so my adorable little girl did not get her hair done this morning. I had a choice between her hair and my hair and I was not going to get up and speak in front of a whole congregation without curling my hair.

So I am posting it here for anyone who is interested in reading it. Some of you may be able to figure out what the great oak tree was and others may wonder what I am talking about. Someday I will post what it is but for right now I will just leave the talk as is.





Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,
I am humbled to being giving a talk on Easter morning and was trying to think of what I would be able to share with you that would enrich your testimony of Easter and the Savior; or be something that you may not already know. I am not sure I would really be able to accomplish that in the 5 short minutes I am suppose to speak, but I will share with you my testimony and love for the Savior and for the Easter session.
Easter is my favorite season. I love how green and clean everything looks. I love the smells that are in the air, and I love the cool weather mixed in with some warmer days. I try and soak it all in because I know that all too soon the heat will come and everything will look brown once again.
When I think of all the events that happened in the Savior’s life I think about how Easter is the most important one and President Hunter seems to agree with me when he said this:
"Without the resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles: but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph.  No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality.  He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak" 
What a blessing we have in knowing that Christ conquered both physical and spiritual death. And that because of this accomplishment we can do the same and live with Him again.
Recently, I have been reading a book by Stephen E. Robinson called “Believing Christ” and I was going to base my talk on it. Until I realized that I actually already believe Christ. I already know that I am far from perfect and yet that if I give him all my pennies he will make up the difference and I may become perfected in him (from the parable of the bicycle as told in the book) . I seem to have a different problem. One that my husband summed up quite nicely for me this morning when I asked him if he was following me down the stairs. To which he replied “I’ll follow you anywhere – until I want to go a different direction.” This seems to be the story of my life.
In April Conference 2011, D. Todd Christoffson retold a story by President Hugh B. Brown. President Brown spoke of a time when he was pruning a current bush that was trying to become a berry tree. He told about how he was the gardener and how he knew what he wanted the tree to become even if it took a lot of pruning to do so. He then told about a position in the Canadian Army that he really wanted but was turned down for. At first he was upset and questioned why and then figured out that the Lord was the gardener here and that he was going to make him what he intended him to be.

Well lately, I have been on a path to become a great oak tree. At first, I was scared to start down the path. I didn’t think I could endure all that it would take to become this great oak tree. After a while, I was getting use to the idea. I was becoming surer of myself and the path that the Lord wanted me to take. Then one day the pathway was closed and I stood in the garden confused and hurt. Why did the Lord close the pathway? Why did he make me think that I could become a great oak tree if that was not what he had really intended for me.

Now I am not unfamiliar with this way of pruning. I have been pruned this way many times before and when finished have been able to look back and see what it was the Lord was trying to do. Yet, once again I fell into my old pattern of standing and screaming in the garden. Begging with the Lord to just tell me why I wasn’t supposed to be on this path any more.  Why was I not good enough to be an oak tree? And if not an oak tree, what kind of tree was I going to become? I’m the type of person who wants to know the end of the story right now.

I am now slowing learning that when the Lord closes a pathway he wants me to stand quietly and ask “Now, where would you like me to go? What would you like me to do next?.” Instead of standing there trying to get him to change his mind.

I do not know what the Lord has in store for my future. The point is that it doesn't matter what kind of tree he wants me to become. It could be that someday he will put me back on that path and I will still become a great oak tree. The thing about an oak tree is they take forever to grow. I know because we have the scrawniest looking oak tree in our front yard that doesn’t look much bigger than it did 7 years ago when it was planted. I think I was trying to grow into the oak tree too fast.

But it doesn't matter what kind of tree I become because the willow tree and the oak tree are both allowed into the Lord’s kingdom. All I have to do is study my scriptures, say my prayers and keep the commandments and the Lord will help me become whatever it is he has planned for me.

The gospel is the good news that Christ atoned for our sins and was resurrected. Easter is a time of great joy. It is my testimony that Christ does live and that he does love each of us enough to prune us down and help us become all he wants us to be. But it would be a lot easier it we didn’t fight it. We need to believe in him enough to trust that he knows what he is doing and to follow him anywhere – even places we may not want to go. And be prepared to change our course when he wants us to.

I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for all my Savior has done for me. It is my prayer that I will continue to grow through my experiences and be able to become all he wants me to become. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.