Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jesus Take the Wheel

I don't think this is what Carrie Underwood's song had in mind...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Michigan Ave with our 6th and 3rd graders!

BFF Weekend Part 3

I love watching The Rehab Addict with Nicole Curtis. We drove past a couple of homes Nicole rebuilt and one that is in the process of being rehabbed.

BFF Weekend Part 2

Day Two, we walked some more! We talked a LOT!!!

On Day Two, we had to deal with some issues surrounding other people who are so confused and suspicious of our friendship. How can a man and woman be best friends? They have to be sleeping together. Actually, we can be best friends and not lovers. We do love each other but we also respect ourselves, my husband, and our friendship enough to no cross that line. He's truly my brother from another mother.

BFF Weekend Part 1

I flew out of Chicago and headed to Minneapolis for a BFF Weekend. We walked and walked and walked. And talked the whole time. You would think that spending almost four days together would have resulted in talking downtime. Nope. Not us.

Theme Days

It was a fun summer in the office! We had two theme days: Black & White Day and Hawaiian Day. We tend to dress very casual - jeans, shorts, athletic wear, etc - when the students are not present.

State Meet

Motor Mouth wrapped up the Long Course season with a relay at the State Meet. I asked him to take these selfies while he waited for his race. That's his team State Meet shirt.

Angriest Boy in Chicago

Heehee! Motor Mouth was SO angry with me. I don't even remember what he wanted in the store that I said no to. He was NOT pleased at all. I just couldn't resist when I saw the name in that DVD!

Fire Pit

Love our little fire pit. Summer nights in our backyard with the moonlight and, yes, stars in the city sky, is just divine. I love sitting out there with the kids and J. Sometimes, just J and I hang out with with a glass of spirits and just chill.

Easy Summer Evening

Loving the family time at Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion. Weather was perfect for an evening of jazz music on the lawn followed by dinner at Park Grill.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1 Day to 15 Years

On our wedding day, people kept asking me if I was nervous. The ladies at the hair salon, the ladies that did my make up, the ladies at the bridal salon where I dressed. At first, I was taken aback. Why would I be nervous?
I knew the man I was marrying. I knew why I was marrying J and not the four other men that had asked me to marry them. I knew J's belief system, his family and their belief system, and I knew how much fun we had together. I knew he was hardworking, kind, edgy. I knew his family liked me, I liked them, and my family liked him. I knew that I had asked him all the hard questions and trusted his answers.
I knew that a man that would wipe my snotty nose with his bare fingers would lovingly care for our children and that he would take care of me through the icky life stuff. I knew how he treated me and how I felt when I was with him. I knew that I had told him my worst transgressions years before and he had stuck around. I knew that I would be enough for him.
No, I wasn't nervous. I was happy, calm, and at peace. I was marrying my best friend. How awesome was that?

Monday, August 4, 2014

2 Days to 15 Years

The Proposal

J and I were best friends since Nov. 1995. In May of 1999, we both went to his little sister's high school graduation. Actually, J's dad paid us to work the graduation party by doing the decorating, setting up, catering, etc.
J's dad had one of his pilots fly J back to Missouri, where J lived at the time. He had to get back to produce a graduation ceremony there. I went along for the plane ride. I had heard that this pilot had had a few plane crashes and I was feeling adventurous.
Sitting in the back of the plane, J and I talked about our ideal weddings. I assumed we were going to marry other people b/c J refused to leave the town he was living in (and I was kinda dating someone else). I was willing to live anywhere with J except for that one town. We were deadlocked.
The next day I was still in Tulsa. J called and spoke to his dad for a LONG time!!! FINALLY, it was my turn to talk to J.
J: "I worked it out with my dad. I'm moving back to Tulsa at the end of the month and I'm going to work for him."
Me: "That's awesome! I'm so happy for you!!!"
J: "I told my dad we love each other and we want to get married."
Me: "You did????!!!!"
J: "Yeah. I gotta go do this graduation. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
And THAT was my marriage proposal and how J and I went from being best friends to being engaged over a phone call.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

3 Days to 15 Years

I Knew
I knew J was the one b/c of two things. 

1: In 1996, J's cousin was colossally mean to me. I was crying and telling J what she had said. J reached up, wiped my nose with his bare fingers and continued to listen to me tell my tale of woe. No man had ever done that for me. That's love!

2: In 1998, J and I reunited after almost 3 years. Towards the end of that week, J held me. When I was in his arms, I felt like I was home. That I belonged in J’s arms. I literally remember thinking: "I've come home."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

4 Days to 15 Years


"There is a mixed race baby at the hospital. Do you want it?" It was 5:10 pm on Monday, March 20 and I had just received a call from our adoption agency director. 
"Yes. I'll confirm with J but the answer is yes." Sight unseen. Gender unknown. Didn't matter. This was our baby.

We met the most beautiful baby girl the next morning. She was, and is, perfect. Little Miss Mini Me completed our family.

Parenting Mini Me is hard!!! You can't phone it in with her. You can't make stuff up. Mini Me will call you on things. She asks questions that make you question your long-held belief systems. She challenges you, not to be rude, but to fully understand the concepts and processes. At the same time, Mini Me is a sweet, delightful treasure.

Everyone needs a Mini Me in their lives

Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Days to 15 Years


We had to prove to immigration that we had a bona fide relationship. Seeing as we went from being best friends to being engaged (on a phone call), and this was more than a decade before selfies, we didn't have the typical bf-gf pics, etc. So, J and I brought a file box filled with wedding cards & Xmas cards to us from friends and family, emails, pics. It was a nerve-wracking experience watching the immigration agent go through EVERY piece of paper we brought. Fortunately, they fell for it and we were good!!! LoL!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

6 Days to 15 Years

Dreams Do Come True
Motor Mouth was born on Sunday, March 23. Motor Mouth was, and is, our little blessing. He is the answer to countless prayers by J and me and by those in our lives. Motor Mouth is a reminder that the answer to our prayers might be no because God's got an even better plan for us!!!

When Motor Mouth was born, the love that was poured out on us by our friends, Sunday School class, co-workers, family, neighbors, and new friends was overwhelming. To this day, I can name all of our wonderful people and tell you how great they were to us with kind words, visits, gifts, emotional support, and prayers when we couldn't pray for ourselves.

So many of our FB friends were pulled along on our infertility and adoption journey. And now, they get to see pics and hear stories about the child they prayed and believed would come into our lives.

“So I prophesied to my dead dreams like God told me to. And I commanded life to come into my heart's desire. And that inner dream God gave me lived and rose up fully manifested.” 
- Ezekiel 37 paraphrase

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

7 Days to 15 Years

The Day the World Fell Apart

It felt like we were in a courtroom and had been handed a death sentence. J held my hand as I sobbed uncontrollably while an infertility doc told us we would never have biological children. It was a death sentence for our dreams that included a family.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

8 Days to 15 Years

Elope Already!

This post is in honor of my sister's birthday today. My sister visited us in Tulsa, helped me pick out my wedding dress and shoes, etc. She bought a bridesmaid dress that, as it so happened, cost more than my wedding dress...

The Monday she flew home, J and I looked at each other and decided to get married that Friday. She was not able to return for our wedding. Fortunately, she attends many weddings and dress up events so she was able to use that dress several times.

We eloped with a twist!

Our family knew we were getting married – we told our parents on the Wednesday and our siblings on the Thursday. J’s parents walked me “down the aisle” and we got married. It was just the minister, Orlando Juarez, and his wife, the camera guy, Shawn Mitchell, the photographer, a guy we found at Camera Gallery, and J’s parents. That was it. And it was perfect for us!

Monday, July 28, 2014

9 Days to 15 Years


It is a tradition in my mother's family to write a letter to the girl's parents, asking for her hand in marriage. We still have the letter my grandfather wrote for my grandmother's hand in marriage. My dad wrote for my mom.

J wrote a letter, asking for my hand in marriage. He wrote it by himself. It was honest and eloquent. In true J fashion, he picked out the perfect stationary. When the letter was complete, he FedEx'd it to my parents in Canada.

My parents were very happy to receive the letter. They wrote a letter back and we were free to plan our wedding!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

10 Days to 15 Years

Wedding Planning FAIL!!!

We were planning our wedding while driving around Texas, providing ground support for Js dad's helicopter crew. J's 17-year old sister was with us and went into a store while we waited in the vehicle.

As you know, J is an event and production force. We were ARGUING about some outrageous thing he wanted to incorporate (maybe building a gazebo by the pond or the rental of the grand piano that was to accompany the opera singers - and of course, he wanted a 12-ft grand...??!!). All we both remember is me yelling: "FINE!!! Do whatever the hell you want to! You're going to do it anyway!!!" - just as his innocent little sister got back in.

There was complete silence for the next hour. That is, until J got a SPEEDING TICKET!!!
(Anyone know the statute of limitations on an unpaid traffic ticket in Texas...?)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

11 Days to 15 Years

Most Memorable...

One anniversary, J told me he had to stop by the chapel before we head to dinner b/c he had to finish set up for an event and could I help him. I often help so I didn't think twice. We get to the Grace Church Chapel and we walk in....

There is a light shining down on the most beautiful bouquet of red roses. (Still not clued in.) J says the flowers are for me. He proceeds to give me a box of Kleenex and says I'll need it. (So confused.)

All of a sudden, a movie starts playing on this huge screen with a montage of our lives together and with Motor Mouth. It was like being in a movie theatre with us as the feature film! I BAWLED!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

12 Days to 15 Years


About 3 years ago, J and I were done!!! We were dividing up kids, dishes, and furniture. 

At one point, we looked at each other and said: "I'm so angry with you but I love you and you are my best friend and I can't imagine living without you."