Monday, September 26, 2011


This weekend was a weekend to celebrate!!!

We had already had plans to celebrate Olivia's 2nd birthday this weekend, but throughout the week, I kept getting calls from family asking if it was alright to bring Destiny a little something too.

Before the parenting judging stones are thrown, since Olivia's so young and still doesn't grasp the concept of what a birthday is, I said it would be no problem. In the future, we'll make sure that each child feels special on their special day. This was a one time special day.

On Thursday evening, David and I talked and decided to go ahead and make it a Happy 2nd Birthday/Welcome Home party! I called my cake connections and asked if they could possibly bring me an extra cake for Destiny and we ran out to get more appropriate party plates since Elmo isn't exactly saying "Welcome Home!"

We told Destiny on Friday that we were going to have a Welcome home party and of course, she was beyond excited. Especially when I told her she was going to get gifts.

This girl was ecstatic all day.

We decided a while back to keep birthdays just family since we live so close to both our families and have close relationships to both. Also, my sisterwives Nic and Amy are always invited since they are so close to my kids and see them on a daily basis. We had over forty people there with just family. It was crazy.

Overall, everyone's reactions and responses to Destiny were amazing. I even got teary eyed at one point when our entire family yelled "Welcome Home Destiny!!!" That little girl stood there looking like she was about to burst into tears (good tears), so I cried for her.

I think its safe to say that everyone is in love with her already and she can already feel the love. Later that night after the party, we were playing with the mountains of toys they got and she said...

"I never knew so many people loved me!!!"

Teary eyed moment number two for the evening.

Olivia of course was overwhelmed, but she always is with birthday parties. This year was really no different than her first birthday last year.

The girls got so much stuff, it was ridiculous. Our living room looked like Christmas morning. To be honest, I told David I think they are going to be disappointed at Christmas, because Santa could never afford to bring all the stuff they got! Our house is officially been taken over by Barbie, dress up, and Disney Princesses.

They've been playing non stop since.

Here's my last heartbreaking moment for today....

Last weekend when Destiny was over visiting us, we started talking about birthdays and how Olivia had a birthday coming up. She asked me what kind of birthday party Olivia was going to have and I told her "Elmo." Naturally, I next asked her what kind of party she wanted this year. She stopped and thought for a moment and said "I want a family party this year!" I almost burst into tears right there in front of her. What six year old says I want a family party???

It took almost seven years, but that little girl got a family party better than she could have ever imagined. She informed me, it was "the best day ever!"

I can't wait to see how she reacts to Disney World next week!

Yep, it's all a ploy to make her love us forever!

I'm just kidding, Disney World has been in the works for months now. She just happened to get lucky and come just in time for it.

Welcome Home Destiny! I love you so much already. You have no idea the void you filled in our little family and in my heart. I know its been a long road for you to get to us, but God made you for us I know. You fit in so perfectly, it's scary. Remember that you have to live here forever...I won't ever let you leave now that your here.


Happy Birthday Olivia Kate!!! You keep me on my toes, but I wouldn't have it any other way. You'll always be the one who made me a mommy and that will always give you a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to watch you grow and see the person you become. It will be something special I know. I love you forever and always, baby girl!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Forever Family

Where to begin????

These past couple of days have been non stop. It's taking me time to get use to two kids. I'm sure its easier than getting use to two kids when one is a newborn. Regardless, I'm still worn out by the end of the night. My google reader is in the triple digits and I haven't been on Pinterest in four days....I told you it was bad! : )

First, I wanted to say Thank you so much for all the sweet words and encouragement. I've wanted to sit down and say thank you to each of you (that includes those of you on fb), but my life has been taken over by 1st grade homework and I'm giving all my attention right now to both girls. Also, when we first started this journey, I was a little worried about having to scramble to get stuff for any child that walked through our door, but Nicole repeatedly reassured me that it would all be taken care of whenever that time came. She was right and the outpouring of people calling to ask to help us out has been mind blowing. I cannot say thank you enough!!!!

So I guess I should give all the details and the exciting news.

For an official introduction, meet Destiny....

She's six.
In the 1st grade.
Loves the colors pink and purple, but not really blue.
She loves barbies, anything princess, art, Sparkles her unicorn, and her name on anything!
She is very smart.
She likes to read and rocks at addition & subtraction.
And she's an awesome big sister to her new little sister.

Yes, the exciting news is that we are going to be Destiny's forever home!!!!

Our caseworker came by last night to sign over temporary custody to us and to check on all of us with how things were going. After sitting down with David and I for a minute, Destiny took her back to show the caseworker her new room. While in there, they talked and the case worker informed her that she would not be going back to her old house and that we were going to be her forever Mommy and Daddy. We were honestly a little surprised because we only knew bits and pieces of her case and didn't know how well the chances were of her getting to stay for good. Since she was only with us for 24 hours before that, she only asked once how long she was going to stay with us. The only way I knew to answer her question at the time was that I would let her stay as long as I possibly could. She was initially a little sad about not going back to her old home, but she quickly got excited about all that comes with a new family.

She is really excited to be a big sister!!! I must say that two days into the job, she's doing awesome. I was honestly a little concerned over the weekend because she didn't seem to have anything to do with Olivia, but I assumed (and confirmed) its because she's never been around children that small. However, the moment we talked about being a big sister and her big sister duties, she hasn't left her side. To the point its almost too much, but I know that's completely normal for her age. Her Aunt Nic bought her the Big Sister shirt and she was ecstatic over it. She asked to put it on immediately and I've promised to wash it so she can wear it Saturday for Olivia's birthday party. Her and Olivia are also sharing a room and so far, so good. Olivia has actually started sleeping better since Destiny's been in there.

(I know this is an awful picture, but I was trying to sneak it without them noticing and its too sweet to not post)

A lot of people have asked about Olivia and I am being completely honest when I say she's doing wonderfully so far. She adores Destiny and of course wants to be right by her side constantly. Destiny is doing great so far with obliging her. Honestly, Olivia's behavior has improved greatly over the last few days. I know it might sound crazy to some, but I think she really was lonely without a sibling. She's even started playing by herself, which is something I thought she would NEVER do. Yes, she does have moments that she won't share. I'll be honest that right now, its kinda one of those things we buy one of something, we get the other one too. We know that's not behavior we want to keep promoting, but its hard to tell them both no since their lives are both changing so much. Her and I still have a good bit of one on one time during the day while Destiny is in school, but we're going to have to work on one on one time with her and David and vise versa with Destiny.

I know them fighting will come in time, but right now, its still new and exciting.

The only "problems" we are having with Destiny are that she does a few anxiety issues. In her situation, its normal and expected. We're her third home within four months. It's going to take a while for her to realize that she's not going anywhere. We're starting her in some therapy to work on those issues. It's not extremely bad when she's at home, but does seem to be a problem at school. I've already meet with her teacher and we're working on things. I'll be completely honest and say I didn't get a great first impression from her teacher. I realize that she has a class of 15 other kids, but I felt like saying "give her a little break!" The teacher is familiar with what's going on, so I felt like she was being a little hard on her. Some of the stuff she complained about (like how she got too many paper towels after washing her hands....seriously she said that was an issue) I felt like were a little dumb. Whatever she's doing that she shouldn't, all you have to say is Destiny and she immediately stops. After talking with her last foster mom and being with her for a few days now, I personally don't think its serious issues that cannot be worked out with a little help. From what I'm getting from the teacher, her anxiety has already seemed to improve since being in our home just a couple of days.

She's extremely smart and regardless of her anxiety issues in the classroom and missing over half of her kindergarten year, she's doing great academically. The teacher has no concerns over where she's heading academic wise.

Yes, we got permission from our caseworker to homeschool her as soon as we have the parental rights terminated. We're going to try to hang in there till Christmas break and may start after the new year. Due to her anxiety issues at school, it might actually benefit her greatly. It will help her a lot to know that we are always going to be with her. Our caseworker (whose not necessarily a homeschool supporter) actually suggested to go for it after hearing what the teacher said at the meeting. If it seems like things aren't getting better at school, we'll go ahead a pull her out as soon as we get the tpr.

Our caseworker is guaranteeing that parental rights will be terminated. There has not been one visitation and not one attempt since she's been in care. I'm not going to ever share too much on here of what happened in the past. We have shared with family and close friends her story. Last night as I laid in bed reading her entire case file, the only feelings I had were anger. My heart breaks for all she's been through, but I also realize that if she hadn't been through all that, she wouldn't now be here with us. Yes, we're being open about her being adopted. She jumped in the car today after school and said "guess what? I'm adopted just like.....!" I explained that yes, she was, but it won't be official till we go see the judge. She also got to meet and play with Josie & Gabe this afternoon and we talked about how they are adopted too!

Overall, things are going wonderfully. Almost too well. She's adjusting much better than anyone imagined. David and I aren't completely counting all our eggs before they hatch, and honestly, on guard waiting for that moment when the poop hits the fan. We know its coming. It has to happen for her to heal and move on. Until then, we're enjoying our two girls and that we're suddenly a family of four.

I must say, that for the first time in a long time, I finally feel like my world is complete.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For most, it was just another Tuesday....

But this Tuesday changes her life and ours forever.

(pic via her former foster mom's facebook-I'm sure she doesn't mind my stealing it)

This sweet little face moved in with us this evening.

No, I haven't said anything to anyone because its honestly been a little of a whirlwind.

Less than 24 hours after I posted my last post about how disappointing it was because the last group didn't work out, we got a call for her.

Turns out, she's been with a foster friend of ours and living literally 5 minutes from our front door the last four months. Due to some personal and health issues with family, they needed to have her removed from their home. They felt like they could no longer provide the attention she needed. In my eyes, it was such a selfless decision for her foster parent to make and I have so much respect for them making that hard decision. I cannot imagine being in their shoes.

She came over a couple of times over the weekend, for us to know each other a little. Our caseworker (who is also hers) told us to talk it over and give her an answer on Monday.

Honestly, it was as close to love at first sight as we Mabreys get to and we knew that night we wanted to keep her.

I can I tell you that my heart has broken several times over the course of the past few days. The stories and some of the stuff she's said is heart breaking. Watching her say goodbye and taking her away from the only family she's known the last four months, has to be the hardest thing I've ever witnessed. I honestly wasn't prepared for how hard it was going to be emotionally.

Watching a little girl bawl and cry out "when will I ever get to go home? I just want to go home." will bring me to tears no matter how hard I try to not cry in front of her. Later, when David got home, I snuck away for a moment and just let it all out.

I cannot tell you how many times I've cried for her these past few days. For this little girl that I've only even known about for four days.

She the sweetest child and only wants to please.

Olivia adores her and follows her around constantly.

She's not entirely free for adoption yet. From what we've been told, however, things are looking good for rights to be terminated. Our caseworker comes over tomorrow to give us all the details and sign over temporary custody to us. We do know she has a court date in October.

After a emotionally hard afternoon, we got into a groove and the rest of the evening went well. In fact, it went close to perfect. I couldn't have asked for things to go any better.

I have so much more to share, but that's all for now. I'm tired and ready for bed. I have to be up early for the real car pool line.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I've been kinda down in the dumps these past couple of weeks.

After we came home that Monday, I'll be honest, I was disappointed. I know in my heart, things were not meant to be, but still in the days after, it was harder than I expected. We fully expected to come home that day and start a new chapter in our life. We were literally ready to bring them home that day.

I have a room already decorated for two little boys that now, I honestly sometimes wonder, will it ever be filled? (We had a extra bed in Olivia's room for some time now, so it doesn't seem so strange in her room). I've honestly walked by the "boys room" a couple of times and it brings me to tears. I finally just closed the door because I hate looking, at what feels like, such a empty room for now.

A couple of days after we returned home, I looked at David and asked "what do we do now?" We had spent the month before preparing ourselves for a new life. And as odd as it may seem to adjust our lives for kids that never even came to live with us, I feel like its taken a few weeks to adjust to how our life will continue to be the same, for now.

Right after all that, we had more disappointing news...David took another pay cut at work. (he had to take one at the beginning of summer). There was an immediate "OMGosh WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?!?!" It seemed like that I would have to go back to work for now. I even started looking for jobs and applied to a few places, but I was crushed.

Though I know its not the end of the world. I walked around the next couple of weeks very angry. Angry at David's work, for expecting more hours to be put in, still expecting holidays to be spent working, but yet, not paying us what we feel like its worth.

It hurt that we had waited years till we were financially in a better situation to start a family. For the specific reason that I could stay home. Though it may not seem like it to others, it felt like we had sacrificed a lot just to have them now take it away.

Even more though, I walked around angry at myself.

I felt like I had totally taken these last two years for granted. Time after time, I complained about being stuck with her 24/7/365 and hardly ever getting a break. Time after time, I told her "one minute" or "mommy needs to do this right now" when she would pull my hand and ask me to sit down and play. Time after time, I would say no thanks when friends would invite us to go do special activities like go to the park or pumpkin patch, just because I didn't feel like dealing with her out in public.

And now, it seemed like it was all quickly coming to an end. It felt like it was over.

I always assumed that I would be at home with her until I decided otherwise. I always counted my down my time at home in years, but now it seemed they were being counted down in days.

You would think that I would have automatically picked her up and held her tighter, but oddly enough, I found myself continuing to get frustrated with her or still telling her "not right now." I guess I was taking my anger out on her.

Over the weekend though, we got into our 1,658 conversation about our finances and what we planned on doing. After he explained some stuff to me (most of the time, waffle house math doesn't make sense to me) and told me for the 1, 658 that we would be okay and I didn't need to run out to find a job anytime soon, I finally felt like I let my self breathe for the first time in weeks.

And after weeks of walking around feeling sorry for myself, I woke up Monday with a new attitude and a heart filled with gratitude for all that God has blessed us with.

I'm thankful that my husband still has a job in these tough economic times.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend every waking moment with this little girl, who yes can be a handful at times, but who showers me with her sweet kisses all day long and whose cleverness amazes me everyday.

I'm grateful for the friends who God has placed in my life these past few years. Especially the ones who show up on your door step, with a coffee in their hands and allow me to literally cry on their shoulder and offer you what little have to help you out. Those who remind me that friendship isn't a "what can you do for me?" relationship, but "I'll do whatever I can for you" and not expect anything in return. Even when I haven't always deserved it.

I woke up and decided that though it might not be the start of a life I imagined a few weeks ago, its going to be the start of a life that's more focused on the simple stuff. We are going to be okay and we have plenty to survive even while I continue to stay home. I won't be getting a new pair of boots this fall or Olivia might not get a lot for Christmas this year, but I will get to be home with my baby everyday.

I get a second chance to sit on the floor and play with when she asks or to read to her before her nap, not just before bedtime. I get a second chance to truly appreciate the opportunity I've been given and not wasting the moments in my day with trying to keep my house clean.

I decided last night that Wednesday are going to be our special date days for her and I. I kept it simple and decided to start by going to the park. When we first got there, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a single other kid there. Even during the school year, there is always at least one other kid & parent there. When we walked up to the playground, Olivia kept asking "where they go?" and "they go bye bye?" Instead of parking my butt on the nearest bench like I normally do, I stayed and played with her. We climbed, we went down the slide about a hundred times, we ran circles around the playground equipment. I didn't once have to tell her to "go play," she played because I was there playing.

My heart melted when she pulled me over to the smallest slide at one point and asked me to go down. I started going down and she ran to the side of it and grabbed my hand to help me down the slide. Just like I do for her when she goes down the tallest. I never loved that child as much as I did at that moment.

It was such a reminder of how observant she is of me. How her attitude these past couple of weeks has been nothing but a reflection of my own. It was a reminder that though I don't have the other children in my life like I planned, I do still have her and I cannot sit around waiting for other children that may or may not ever come. I only get one shot with her and I better take advantage of every moment I can.

This post seems like its going every where, but I really just want it to be a reminder to myself how grateful am for these two and every moment I have with them. They are my life and soul. They make my world go round. Regardless of all that has happened (or hasn't happened), at the end of the day, I still have them next to me.

Sorry again for being all over the place. It's just where my heart has been lately.

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday! : )

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bookclub: Starbucks style

I've failed to mention it in awhile, but our book club is still going strong. We're actually about to finish up our second year and head into our third. Which is kinda crazy now that I think about it....

This month was Nicole's month to host and she decided that she wanted to do something different and have it at Starbucks. Which, I guess if you know her, its not that big of a surprise. It was however, the first time our bookclub ventured outside of someone's home.

Just last week, Nicole mentioned she was hoping it was a little cooler, so we could all sit on the patio. Little did we know that tropical storm Lee would be passing through just a few days later and give us our first taste of fall. So, the weather ended up being just right for our first outside bookclub meeting. It was a little overcast and a little windy, so it was perfect for everyone to go from frappichinos to actual hot coffees.

Except Gina....she's still anti coffee and went for a smoothie instead.

We still love her though.

Especially since she finished the book this month. She's been saying we were going to kick her out since she hadn't finished a book in months. She redeemed herself this month.

I realize that these pictures are horrible, but I only had my point and shoot. Did you know you have to be very careful when taking pictures anywhere near a Starbucks?

I learned the hard way with my cousins one year after Christmas. So, I was afraid to pull my camera out and get good picks, even though we were outside and away from the eyes of the coffee makers. Having a Starbucks employee yell and jump across the counter to grab your camera once is enough for me. Anyways...

Amy made cupcakes and they were delicious. I won't lie, I ate two.

And honestly debated out loud with licking the cream cheese icing off the rest because I'm classy like that.

This months pick was The Hunger Games.

It was pretty unaimous that everyone enjoyed it. Everyone actually finished it (first time in months) and most had gone on to read the second and even third in the series. I took me a couple of weeks to get through the second, but I'm now into the third.

It's definitely a different story, but completely fascinating all at the same time.

I took pictures of other people in book club, but none turned out, so you get to see these two dorks! : ) Get a laugh at how they spelled Nic's name and I know Amy is going to yell at me for posting a pic with squinty eyes. (Love you Amers!)

I love my book club. I honestly wish we could meet every week, even though I know we wouldn't be able to get through a book a week. And meeting outside was a hit. I think we may start a new tradition (weather permitting).

I know I say it every time, but if you don't have a bookclub...find one or create one.

It's food for the soul.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pinterest Fail

About a month ago, I found a idea on pinterest where someone had filled a glass candle holder with coffee beans and a vanilla candle. I shared my find with Nicole and we lucked up since that week, hobby lobby happened to have their candle holders and candles 50% off.


Though, the set up didn't have as strong as smell as I thought it would, I still loved the way it looked and have been burning it ever since.

During nap yesterday, I had everything checked off my "to do" list for the day and decided to sit down and finish book two of the Hunger Games series. The ac was off, the windows were open, and I lit all the candles in the house to get that Fall smell. I was going to enjoy our first fall afternoon.

Fast forward a couple of hours and while I'm fixing dinner, I keep smelling something burning. Naturally, I keep thinking its something I'm cooking though I can't figure out what it is. A few pieces of food had fell next to the gas burners when I was pouring them into the pot, so I kept telling myself that was it even though they didn't look to be burning too bad.

We get through dinner and I start to clean up while David and Olivia go off to play. While cleaning up Olivia's seat at the table, I look up to notice that my coffee candle is engulfed in flames and the entire mantle was minutes from being engulfed in flames too.

I screamed for David and of course, he came in to save the day and was able to get it blown out with only a few ashes and sparks on his face. Thank goodness he wears glasses.

He wasn't too happy with me and my coffee candle at that moment.

Evidently, coffee beans don't melt....they catch fire.

I just feel I should let y'all know. Consider it a PSA.

If you try the coffee candle idea from pinterest, don't let the candle burn too close to the coffee beans.

You've been warned.

I've personally been banned from any coffee candles in the near future.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Friday night, we got to do something we hadn't done in years...we spent Friday night under the lights. In particular, we spent it at our old stomping grounds.

A little history, David and I were the football player/cheerleader couple in our class. Cheesy, I know.

Our senior year, our football team was actually really good. Good enough to go all the way to the state championships. We didn't win the ultimate title, but there were a lot of odds stacked against us that game(and that's a whole different post). Regardless, that infamous season has remained with anyone who was there to witness it. Its often is reminisced by classmates that we run into around town, parents that spent every Friday night on the bleachers, and anyone else that was there to see our little team go all the way. It was the first time it happened in the history of the school and the last time since.

A couple of months ago, David got a call from one of his old teammates. One of the guys we graduated with, is actually the head coach now and they are trying to get up support for the current team. They decided to have a cookout and recognition ceremony the first game of the season, for the guys from that still talked about football season. David really wanted to go, even though he was in bed sick almost 24 straight hours before.

Only a few people showed, which we kinda expect, but David and the guys still got their ten seconds of fame on the fifty yard line.

I was blown away though at how much things had changed in the eleven years since we've been there. It was all kinda bittersweet.

This was the visitors side right before the boys were getting ready to run out of the field.

Our side wasn't looking much better.

In all the years we played, I cannot remember a time kicking off to an empty stadium.

Maybe it's the momma in me now, but my heart broke for those boys on the field. They may not be the best team in the state, but they practice in the 100 degree heat just like everyone else for hours, and no body was there to show their support.

David's parents came too and the first question they asked..."where are the parents?"

My parents, nor those of our teammates, ever missed a game. Our parents were always our biggest supporters and believe me, there was not enough people in the stands to equal even one parent for all the boys on the team. It was pretty pitiful. Like I said, my heart was breaking for those boys (and cheerleaders).

It was also Olivia's first football game and I was surprised with how long she lasted. She was of course in awe of the band.

I can say that there was some improvement since we've been there....the band is sounding a lot better these days.

I use to spend my game nights standing in that exact spot. It seems so long ago now.

Unfortunately, the visiting team scored on the first kickoff. Its never a good sign when the score board looks less than a minute in the game.
Things didn't get much better after that.

We planned to make it till half time, but Olivia couldn't hold out. It was hot and she spent a good hour before the game playing with other players kids. Yes, it was weird that out of the players there, we had the youngest kid and it still seems strange we're all old enough to have kids.

Thankfully, by half time, the stands were looking a little fuller.

I can say that going made me miss Friday nights. There's just something about spending those nights under the lights. Not just for the kids, but the parents also. No, I don't want to be back in high school, but it would be fun to go as a parent one day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Evidently, I'm in that group....

Awhile back, a friend mentioned her husband and her were going to try to get tickets for Cirque Du Soleil when it came through town. It was something David and I had talked several times about going to, but tickets always seemed out of our price range. She mentioned they got really good deals through Goldstar and were hoping to get a good deal again, so I told her let me know if she found one and we'd be interested. Sure enough, she called last week and said they had a great deal going on. So, we decided to eat ramon noodles all week (just kidding) and go for it.

After roping Amy into keeping my kid for a second time this week, we set off last night for our first Cirque Du Soleil experience.


The one thing I've always heard about any Cirque Du Soleil show is that you either love it, or hate it.

Evidently, I'm closer to the later.

I cannot say that I completely hated it and that it was a waste of money, but I honestly cannot say that I thought it was the greatest thing I've ever seen.

David however loved it. He thought it was awesome.

His opinion is that I was warped from Nicole's opinion of it and had already went into the show with the mind set that I wasn't going to like it.

I told him that I didn't think that was necessarily true....its just that Nicole and I have very similar personalities and we have the same odd likes and dislikes, so I'm thinking that's why I felt about it the way I did, not necessarily what she told me about it.

I thought the theatrical aspect of it was as beautiful as everyone says it is. I loved the lights, the music, the costumes. They all were truly spectacular, but as I was sitting there, I kept thinking it wasn't as impressive as people make it out to be. I was waiting to have my life changed from it the way people talk about it. Maybe I just have really high expectations nowadays? I guess I was just expecting much more.

Also, the main entertainment of the show was the clowns and they had a very slapstick comedy routine, and that's just not my cup of tea. On the way home, David and I were talking about it and I told him that as I was sitting there watching them, I was telling myself in my head "that's funny" but it wasn't funny enough to make me laugh out loud. David thought it was hilarious. Maybe its a guy thing?

Would I go again? I told David yes, I would go see a different show. Would I recommend it? Yes, I think its something everyone has to see for themselves to decide if they love it or not. However, its not as life changing as I expected it to be. Anyone else seen it? How did you like it?

For my birthday a few weeks ago, David surprised me with tickets to Wicked when it comes into town at the end of September. I am super excited about it, because I've heard nothing but good things about it. For some reason, I already feel certain I'm going to love it!

***I have no actual pictures because you weren't allowed cameras and I noticed them snatching them from people a couple of times! I was too scared to risk it!***