it's good to be back

well, it has been almost six months since i have been on here. it feels good to be writing again :)

some family updates:

elyza turned 3 in may! how in the world did that happen!?
nolan will be 18 months old in a few days - wow!
we are all moved and settled into our little house in west akron. we absolutely love it here! 
nate started working at Open M.
summer has been jam-packed with lots of fun things!
nate and i's 6-year wedding anniversary is on sunday <3
and the biggest news we have been waiting to share is: we are becoming foster parents! :)

let me share a few more details on that last sentence :)

for as long as i have known nate, we both have been extremely passionate about foster care and adoption, and we always knew this was something we wanted to do. before having nolan, we actually started classes at summit county to begin our licensure to become foster-to-adopt parents, but i felt a longing in my heart to have another biological baby. since noley was born, foster care and adoption has been something we have continued to feel led to pursue. a few months ago, we started talking more seriously about starting this journey and went to an info meeting at an adoption agency in cuyahoga falls. after a lot of prayer, we felt that this was the time to begin the process! originally we were going to adopt through the private infant program, but as we continued to discuss all of our options and ask (MANY) questions, we felt God stirring in our hearts to pursue foster care and eventually adopt through this. yes, it is going to be crazy hard; yes, it will be very emotional to say goodbye; yes, there are a million reasons not to; but the thought of getting to love on a little child during a very traumatic time in their lives is our passion and joy behind saying "yes" to this calling. 

we are in a national foster-care crisis right now. here are some statistics:

  • May 15, 2017 CLEVELAND, Ohio - "More than 2,000 children in Cuyahoga County are in foster care, the highest number since 2011 -- and the primary reason is the opioid crisis, officials say."
  • January 10, 2017 Akron, Ohio - "Thanks in part to the heroin epidemic, Summit County Children Services last year saw a nearly 50-percent jump in new custody cases. The number of new custody cases, in which children are removed from their homes, increased from an average of 78 per month in 2015 to 113 per month in 2016. The number of children in custody rose from 601 each month to 687."
  • May 7, 2017 Portage County - "Portage County Children Services is in crisis. As the opioid and heroin epidemic sweeps across Ohio, local agencies like Portage County Job and Family Services are seeing a dramatic influx in "secondhand victims" — the children of addicts. Since the beginning of 2017, 70 children have been taken into the custody or removed from a situation by Portage County Children's services. In March alone, 40 children from across the county were taken in.As of late April, PCCS had more than 200 children in its custody — an increase of 50 compared with the same time last year. "We haven't had more than 200 kids in a decade," said Tammy Devine, Portage Children Services Agency administrator. "We've taken in the same amount of kids in three months that we took in during eight months last year. And it's mostly because of heroin ... Six years ago when I started working here, the residential treatment centers were begging for kids, basically. Now, they're so full, they're turning away kids. It's unbelievable. I've been doing child welfare for 30 years now and I've never seen anything like this." "
  • September 2016 Columbus, Ohio "Child welfare advocates in Ohio say children have become the "invisible victims" of the opioid crisis as more kids are put into foster care and funding for children services agencies falls short. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio has some 14,000 children in agency custody. That's a nearly 13 percent increase since the end of 2012"
  • The need for foster and foster to adopt homes is great. There are about 415,000 children in foster care in the United States that need a safe and loving home. What does 415,000 look like? 415,000 foster children would fill the stadiums for the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavs, Ohio State, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds and still 30,000 children would not have a seat! That is a lot of children that need homes.
we are getting close to being half way through our home study process. it has been intense, but i know it will be worth it in the end! once we are approved and our training is complete (end of September), we could be called with a placement the next day, or it could be a few months. we are so excited to see who God brings to our home!

we ask for your prayers during this time and we will keep you all updated on this journey!


he's O N E!

happy first birthday, nolan samuel!

we have been on a crazy journey over this last year, but i can't imagine our lives without our sweet boy. 
he completes our family in ways i never thought possible.

this year hasn't exactly been the easiest... honestly, this past year has probably been the hardest of my life. with the struggles of mild postpartum depression and other health issues, while trying to be a mom of two under two, i feel like i barely made it through these last 365 days. sure, on the outside, i could fake i was happy and good, but deep down i knew i wasn't me. i guess i just kept blaming so many emotions and feelings on the fact that i was exhausted from raising two kids. but there was more going on, and i just didn't want to admit it or ask for help. 

now coming out on the other side, finally starting to find myself again as an individual and as a mother, i can see that i was facing quite a giant on my own. 

when i think back on nolan's birth and over this last year, my eyes almost instantly fill with tears. my heart feels so heavy... i missed out on so much. sure i was "there", but i wasn't really. the bond i now have with nolan took a long time to build. it breaks my heart! but what i do know now is that we are stronger than ever, getting healthier than ever, and even though i can't go back in time, i am thankful for where we are today.

what a year!

guys, this little boy is INCREDIBLE!

nolan, you are our happy morning person. our destructive explorer. our quiet, cuddly boy. you love balls, music, dogs, and toilet paper. you smile biggest when you see your daddy. elyza makes you laugh the hardest. your mee-mee (blankie) is your favorite possession. and by far, you have THE cutest toothy smile.

i can't wait to watch you continue to grow from our baby into a little boy. i pray that you never stop exploring (aka - destroying haha) the world around you and that you passionately pursue what you love and desire. you will always be my little man man :)



watch noley grow!

clearly i have fallen behind on blogging and keeping up with nolan's monthly photos. life's been a little crazy to say the least :) but i am finally caught up on his photos and had to share. can't believe how much he is growing and changing!


fall is here!

fall is finally here! cool nights, sunny afternoons, the smell of leaves, pumpkins, and lots of apple goodies :) oh, how i love this season! this past sunday afternoon, we started a new family tradition and went apple picking together. we had an absolute blast. elyza loved carrying around her basket and babydoll, and looking for "little" apples. nolan was beyond excited to sit in the middle of grass and get to grab handfuls. nate and i just kept smiling at each other saying, this is crazy, but we are having the best of times <3