Plexus Slim

Thursday, November 16, 2017


November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and every year I ponder our family's journey.  Over the past 12+ years we've seen changes, transformations, growth, frustration, amazing advances in technology and management.... things have come a loooooooong way since my own dad was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic when I was in Junior High School (back in the day when you sharpened your metal needle before injections and a finger poke seemed to take a chunk of your finger with it each time).  The BIG thing we've learned along the way is that there is no guarantees: you can do everything precisely right and something can (and usually will) go downhill.... much like in the video up there of Gracie's AMAZING ride yesterday.  It was nearly picture perfect, right up through her last jump... the landing, however, was monumental, just not in the way you'd like it to be.  We've watched over and over to see if we could see what caused her tumble, all to no avail.  It was a near perfect jump; maybe she looked down for a split second, causing everything to adjust mid-air and her to land back in her saddle a bit too far forward causing both her and her horse to end up unbalanced and ultimately for her to end up "diving" to the ground.  But you know what?  Just like with Type 1 Diabetes, she collected herself, hopped back up, dusted herself off, and climbed right back on to her horse to finish her ride.  That is what Warriors do.... they finish well and strong, no matter the struggles they face along the way.

Most all of you know our story: Gracie was 14 months old when she was Diagnosed with T1D; a mere baby.  She'd gotten the chicken pox vaccination 6 or so weeks earlier, then ended up with chicken pox the same night her baby sister was born.  She never bounced back from that, matter of fact, she seemed to get weaker over the following 3 weeks.  She had NO stamina, and I'd find her sound asleep in the middle of the floor after playing for half an hour.  She was drinking water like crazy, eating non-stop, going thru diapers like nothing I'd ever experienced (even requiring middle of the night baths and bed changes because of it)...then one night, after finding her soaked yet again, she was so weak she couldn't even hold her little head up on her own.  Bathed and swaddled in fresh PJs, she laid on my chest for the rest of the night, sleeping, while I was afraid to lay her down not knowing what was wrong.  There were no typical signs of sickness... no fever, no cold symptoms, no sore throat or tugging at ears, nothing you look for in a baby.  Early the next morning, the doctor sent her for lab work trying to figure it all out as well.  As I sat in the exam room for what seemed like hours (but was actually only about 40 minutes) holding my limp, lethargic baby, I feared the absolute worst.  So many things went through my mind, everything horrible, but never once did I think "diabetes".  The doctor walked in, knelt down in front of me and said two little words that turned our world upside down...."She's diabetic".  The tears flowed hot, burning tracks down my cheeks.  Relief washed over me.... she wasn't dying (Well, at that very moment, that was a very real possibility had we not caught this right then, but I didn't realize that).  A week in the pediatric ICU, lots of education for Craig and I, too much to actually wrap our minds around, and she was sent home.  A new "normal" had begun.  A new life full of testing, injections, counting and monitoring everything she ate, monitoring all her toddler activities, no longer able to sleep through the night again due to multiple night time testing, poking her tiny baby fingers to get drops of blood numerous times a day... all just to keep her alive and healthy.  Within a few months we'd fallen into a new "normal" without really realizing.  A normal that entailed learning to roll with the punches on a daily basis, learning to finally understand that change is to be expected moment to moment, and that once you think you've figured it all out, you'll be thrown for a loop again because maybe it's a full moon and that's going to cause blood sugar issues (yes, believe it or not, it actually does.  Just ask any T1 parent).  Over the next decade however, we rode the ups and downs and adjusted with every rolling change and tweak that needed to be made.  We made it through the toddler years, the pre-school age, all of early childhood and just about into the teen years.  Ebbs and Flows of T1 can be rough and each phase of life has it's own challenges.  We were preparing for the challenge of T1D in the teen years, when we once again heard those same two little words that would cause our world to upend itself yet again....

Last fall Sarah (16 years old) hadn't been feeling all that great since recovering from walking pneumonia earlier that spring.  We'd treated each symptom as they appeared, not really giving it much thought, but she just wasn't fully recovering... matter of fact, she seemed to be getting worse.  Off to the doctor again.  The doctor agreed that something was up, so she ran some lab work.  Like me, she was expecting to see results showing inflammation issues; she was blindsided when she saw that Sarah was actually T1D.  That was not a phone call she wanted to make, but make it she did...."Dawn, I don't really know how to say this; I'm completely shocked myself.  Sarah has T1 Diabetes".  WOW!  How is this happening?????  I could almost feel a physical slap across my face as those words hit me.  My mind started spinning; only this time it wasn't with unknowns, it was with all that we actually know about life with T1D and how on earth was I going to tell our sweet 16 year old daughter, that with just 2 little words her life was forever changed.  I texted Craig who was a footage with Sarah at that particular moment.  We let her blissfully enjoy the game.... no reason to ruin a sweet father/daughter date.  But when she asked me at dinner if the doctor had called, I knew there was no putting it off.  I had to tell her the truth, "yes, she called.  I'm sorry sweetie, but you have T1D."  NO NO NO NO NO NO.... that was all she could say as the tears flowed freely.

Here we are, over 12 years down the road from Gracie's diagnosis as a baby and over a year on this same journey with Sarah as a teenager heading into life as an independent young lady.  I'd be lying if I told y'all that it was pretty easy to deal with all this, that we just keep chugging along as normal.  Our normal is not what most others would say is a normal life.... but it's a beautiful life.  We choose to keep our sense of humor in all of this, to not drown in self-pity (which can be a challenge some days), to stay very real, and to support and encourage others through their own challenges.  Our life is about numbers, and trust me that can be a challenge in and of itself.  Craig nor I have truly slept thru the night in over a dozen years, as we are up checking on the girls every couple of hours.  If you think that is overboard, think again.... T1D kids can easily slip away during night from low blood sugar that goes un-noticed till morning.  Packing for a day trip (let alone a vacation) is no small task with all the extra things you must bring along "Just in case".  Not to mention all the extra stops along the way for much needed bathroom and snack breaks (T1D kids drink more water than "normal").  A simple cold or virus can easily land them in the hospital.  iPhones are not indulgences, they are medical devices and lifelines.  Sleeping in isn't laziness, it's necessary at times due to being up for hours in the middle of the night managing blood sugar (which one reason I'm so thankful we homeschool and have the flexibility to adjust our school day schedule easily).  Normal?  It truly is only a setting on my clothes dryer.  But I LOVE my life and my role as a T1 Mom to two amazing Warrior Princesses.  They battle to stay alive and healthy every single day.  They face every challenge head on with the confidence and knowledge that God is 1- in control, they aren't and 2- God knows what's going on because He is the Master Architect of our lives and has a perfect plan according to His perfect Design.

That video up at the top is the perfect example of life with Type 1 Diabetes.... smooth sailing, everything going as planned...then BAM!  You get thrown for a loop.  What you choose to do at that moment sets the course for the rest of your journey.  I hope we all do what Gracie did; Get back up, dust ourselves off, and finish the ride with grace and courage.

 My two Warrior Princesses with their two four-legged encouragers ;)
 Even after a rough ride... it's best to get back in the saddle and finish your ride strong :)
Sisters... readings like this are a beautiful site to behold.  Too bad they don't always look this perfect ;)  Funny sidetone: you know you're a T1D parent when the words "are you high?" come out of your mouth, directed at your teenagers, on a regular basis.... and you're talking about their blood sugar, but people around you truly give you the strangest looks when they hear you ask that so point blank.  Seriously funny EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Oh, My Vintage Loving Heart.....


Oh my word๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. Seriously, can this get any cuter???  Yes, I ordered mine today and can't wait till it arrives. The October warmer of the month is this sweet little pickup with working lights. The pumpkins in the back are removable for year-round decor. I'm going to have it displayed with my vintage Shasta styled trailer warmer, enjoying coordinating scents to mingle in the air and lift my spirit. This can be yours as well, and it's 10% off this month. You just can't beat that!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Annual Day of Indulgence...

Yes, that is the message I give everyone on this day every year. I'm blessed with a family that not only understands, but encourages me to fully enjoy my day. 

I began by hitting a couple of Drive-thrus for important ingredients to make the day complete...Sonic, for a diet cherry coke with lime, McDonalds for a small frappe (not enough time for Starbucks), and Dunkin Donuts for donuts, not only for me but for the family. Then, it's home to tuck in for the day. 

Once home and tucked away, I get online and wait for my Living Proof Live simulcast to start. This year's theme was "Captivate" and let me tell you, I was captivated from the start. God speaks to my heart each year thru this simulcast and this year was no different. My heart was pierced with His message. He even blessed me with this sweet notebook just for this occasion.  Seriously, I found it abandoned on a shelf at Walmart, and went back to the school supply section to see if there were any others and there was nothing even remotely like it. God knows how I love sweet and pretty things like this and I just know He gave it to me (after I paid $2 of course;). 

Something y'all need to know about me is that this truly is one of my very favorite days each year. I honestly look forward to it for months. I prepare my space the night before so it's enjoyable and not distracting, I choose my clothes which always consists of the official conference tee shirt;), I quiet my spirit and pray that God speaks to my soul and that I can hear His voice. You'd better bet that I fully engage in this simulcast. I sing when the worship team is on stage, I speak out loud when Beth Moore asks us to repeat or read something, I pray when she prays, and I jot down notes like crazy of everything I don't want to forget. Anyone looking in my window might think I've lost my mind;)
God is powerful. He meets us where we are. We can count on Him at all times and in all things. He will never loosen His hold on us and He will never abandon us. When we are struggling to hear His voice in our heart, He's breathing love into our souls. The message today was exactly what I needed. I feel like God spoke to me face to face, and for that I am beyond blessed. 

My lunch wasn't my normal indulgence of Slim Chicken with fried pickles. That just wasn't going to work today. Taco Bell it was ;)

Yup, this is why my kids get so embarassed๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. I'm on my feet, singing praises to God. 

It's been a day of drawing near to my Lord and Savior in a way I wish I could everyday. It's been such a blessing and I'm so thankful that my family encourages my indulgence like they do:)  I'll leave y'all with the video that opened the first session of this year's simulcast...heart-achingly beautiful.  Be Thou My Vision by Audrey Assad.  ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Baby Isn't A Baby Anymore.....

How does it happen?  You close your eyes for a bit, only to open them and realize time has flown by. That has happened to me yet again....Hannah turned 12 years old today❤️❤️❤️

I think back to the day she was born; the baby who kept trying to come early suddenly wanted to stay put. Hurricane Katrina was happening hundreds of miles to our south, I was watching the news coverage from my hospital bed...since there was a delay for my C-section and I'd already re-arranged the room more to my liking๐Ÿ˜‚. They finally wheeled me down the hall to have this child, but she wasn't having any of it that day. Seriously, she slipped from their grasp three times and they finally brought the vacuum out to get her here. That was a good indication of her personality...she is wired to do things in her own way and in her own time. But, boy was she precious!  A tiny little thing with the longest eyelashes I'd ever seen. Beautiful soft blonde curls and rosebud lips...she looked like she belonged on display in the window of American Girl...matter of fact, she was so little that she actually fit into some of the girls Bitty Baby clothes ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Hannah has always been our free spirit; the child who can melt my heart at any moment in time. She is smart and sassy, fierce and fearless, a heart of gold behind a veneer of steel. She has her own style and marches to her own beat....and I wouldn't change a single thing about her, not even her feisty red-headed temper. 

12 years old!  The Baby of the baby. She still enjoys snuggling with me, telling me all her dreams, falling asleep as she lays on top of me like she's done since she was tiny. She loves curling up to watch movies and eat popcorn with me, or just hanging out wherever I'm working...and if there's any furry four-legged critter nearby, her life is complete at that moment. I adore this child of mine; my last one, and may I say she perfectly fills the "baby of the family" role like nobody else could๐Ÿ˜. So much like me yet so much an original. Our Hannah Irene ❤️❤️❤️








Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another Sad Goodbye....And A Sweet Hello...

My mom's dog Teddy has been a part of our lives for about 15 years. He was a rescue Mom picked at our local shelter when she was looking for a smaller dog to keep my grandma company after losing her sweet little yorkie. There was just something about this little boy that spoke to Mom as she was looking in each kennel. If I remember right, she took him to the groomer before bringing him home because nobody could really tell what he was at that point....he looked like a teddy bear; hence his name, Teddy. 

I'm not sure if Tess remembers a time before Teddy, but I know my younger three do not. He was not exactly a playmate, but he loved their attention...especially when they would sneak him some treats. I'm sure they would all say they remember him being Mamo's constant companion. He was always by her side or on her lap. She would sit him on her scooter and take him around the yard. And, when she was still able to walk with the assistance of a walker, she'd set him on the fold down seat of that walker and they'd walk everywhere around the house and yard, tossing out bread crumbs for the birds and squirrels. Teddy was a part of our family and we all loved him dearly....but yesterday, we had to say goodbye. 

We have known the time was near. He was well over 16 years old, after all.  But, that doesn't mean it was any easier. He'd been declining over the past year, rapidly over this spring and summer. He made it clear yesterday that he was ready to make his final journey across the rainbow bridge. We prayed over him, thanking God for blessing us with him for so many years, we told him what a good boy he was and how he'd done such a good job. We told him that it was okay for him to close his eyes and rest, knowing he'd open them again and see Mamo waiting for him. And then...he was gone. 

The emptiness and loneliness was overwhelming for Mom. It occurred to her that for the very first time ever, she had nobody to take care of. It was a very empty feeling. I'd already been giving thought to her next companion, unbeknownst to her. And, I'd talked with a dear friend about it earlier while the girls were taking care of Wendy Loo and Mom was enjoying looking at all the horses. Another dog was pretty much out of the question...winter (translated into snowy and icy) is not an easy time for Mom and walking a dog 2-3 times a day was a worry for Craig and I. We did not want to chance her falling. I suggested a cat. I had in mind a full grown cat; one who loves snuggles and someone to talk to him...but Mom was thinking more along the lines of a little one that could grow a close bond with her as she grows up. I had that one covered as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back out to the barn we went, to meet little Miss Pearyle. The petite little girl of the last litter, Goodles (the way too "easy" mama cat at the barn) had. It was an instant match:)  Mom was taking her home. Hannah and Gracie suggested Joy for her middle name which not only suit her perfectly, but also seemed perfect for her new role...she was bringing joy back into Mom's days. 

The girls adore Pearyle Joy. They spent the night to "help her transition" to life away from her mama and litter mates. Pretty easy transition since she's the center of attention and already a bit spoiled;). We made a stop at Petco to get some know, a pink litter box, litter, scratching post, and TOYS. And once home she settled right in. 

Mom is smiling, laughing even. This little one is living up to her name and has brought joy back. She's been quickly initiated into the world of "baby" which was a bit shocking after so many years with sweet, "old" Teddy, who pretty much slept all the time. We didn't want to say goodbye to such a good boy like Teddy, but we are so thankful to welcome little Pearyle Joy into the family. 








Monday, August 14, 2017

The Missing Piece....

Have you ever looked at your family as a jigsaw puzzle?  Every member is an odd shape, but when fit together with the rest of the family, it's a perfectly snug fit.  But, what happens when you try to force pieces into spaces they don't belong, or worse yet, you lose pieces?  The puzzle is never whole and the picture ends up skewed.  Sadly, that is a perfect demonstration of many families today.

Everyone wants the pretty picture.  However, it takes effort to achieve that beauty.  It takes finding the beauty in the different; it means setting aside your idea of perfection and accepting God's perfection...even if you see it as damaged and marred.  What happens when you try to pound the wrong piece into an empty space?  It usually results in lots of frustration, along with a damage puzzle piece from all your pounding to get it to fit in.  At that point, the piece most likely won't even look right when you finally put it in the right place; the edges will be worn, the color may be faded, and there's the possibility that in all your frustration, you may actually lose that piece and not even notice it's gone until you see the gaping hole in the pretty picture.  Family is just like that.  You can not spend years pounding someone into a place they don't belong and still expect them to fit perfectly when you realize you'd been trying to keep them from their appointed place.  Truth is, you may realize all too late that you've lost them long ago.

You are not always going to agree with your family.  Kids, parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles, extended generations... The Bible tells us that we are each uniquely and wonderfully made; it doesn't say that we are all alike within our family.  The differences are what make it beautiful.

Sadly, too many families can't accept the differences.  It's ok to not see eye to eye, or to have vastly different goals and ambitions in life.  We are not little armies of familial clones.  My own four daughters couldn't be more different than night and day.  Yes, there are certain shared characteristics...the red hue in their hair, the freckles they all have regardless of my militant use of sunscreen, their opinionated spirits (even if their opinions most likely differ).  Yet the differences among them abound.  Drastically!  And, I'm ok with that.  Craig and I have never tried to fit them into a place they don't belong.  We've raised them to believe in God, to understand that they are sinners saved by the blood of Christ alone, and that their salvation and personal relationship to God is what matters most in this life and to us as their parents.  Beyond that, they have been raised to be strong, independent, and capable of taking on the life that they live.  Will Craig and I always like the path they choose?  Absolutely not; but it's at those times we sit down with them to talk about why they are making the choice they are, making sure they understand the rewards and consequences, and, especially the long term effect their choice will have.  It's also a time that we are honest about our concerns, we voice our own opinions, and yes, we tell them what we truly feel is right for them.  In the end, it's their choice and they have been raised to be strong enough to handle what comes their way.  That said, in all of this, we are sure that they know our love is unconditional and we will always be there for and with them.  When hard times come, we are there to help.  The door to our heart and our home is always open to them, without judgement.  We are not the "I told you so" parents, rather we are the "I love you and will help you pick up the pieces" parents.  (Disclaimer: yes, there have been a time or two the words "I told you so" have come out of my mouth, but even the girls will say it was most likely in a joking, albeit true, manner).

What happens when you have family that just won't stop trying to pound you into an ill-fitting spot?  You get worn down, you lose your shiny veneer, you know you don't fit in the way they think you should and end up feeling that you just don't fit in at all.  Most likely, you quietly walk away because you're exhausted from the years, decades maybe, of the constant battle.  You may end up spending a long time putting yourself back together and through that process you build up walls to guard yourself from future hurt.  Pretty soon you realize that years have gone by and you wonder if you are even missed because you've not heard from them unless it's been a dire necessity, or maybe you realize you only hear responses back from them if you've initiated contact.  Any attempt on your part to reconcile leaves you regretful because you're met with a harsh response once they realize you still won't fit into their preconceived place.  It's a vicious cycle: hurt, distance, guilt, attempted reconciliation, then the hurts starts over again.  Finally, you decide to give up.... and the family jigsaw puzzle is missing pieces; not just you, but your spouse and children as well.  Down the road, more pieces are missing as grandchildren come along.  Holidays go by with no invitations, family get togethers are held without your knowledge; you extend invitations for them to join you only to be disregarded and given pat excuses.  The message is clear: YOU DON'T BELONG

Be careful with your family, so as not to end this way.  I look around and see so many who are hurt deeply and those wounds affect future generations.  There once was a time when families were the strong bond that held society together; now it's disintegrated into dust and destruction.  Most importantly, if this is the situation you find yourself in, don't let it destroy you.  God made you according to His perfect design and His plan for you is PERFECTION.  Don't throw away God's beautiful design to try to fit into someone else's box.  Forgive them for the hurt they've inflicted and move on.  Maybe you'll find you're called back into relation with them, maybe not (forgiveness does not always mean dusting everything under the rug and going back into toxic relationships), but focus your site on God and His plan for you, not what other's (whether they share a family tree with you or not) want you to be/do.  Live the life God created you to live.  Raise your children with grace, compassion, and kindness. For it's these things that will be passed down to future generations.  If you find yourself cut off from family due to a life of hurt, don't allow that to define who you are.  Your identity is in Christ not a history of relational dysfunction.  Allow the hurt you've endured to help you show compassion.  Be strong and courageous; strong enough to be the you that God made you to be even in the face of crushing cruelty by those who should love and accept you as you are.  Hold your head high as you remember that you are the child of the One True King.  Live your life, love your spouse, raise your children in love, and don't let the hurt of not fitting into your own family ever destroy who God wonderfully designed you to be.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This Is What Family Is....

I think that people, many times, have a romanticized idea of what family is. I mean, Hollywood either paints it idealically or as a tragic disaster in movies and TV; and whether we admit it or not, that's what most people use as their measure, even subconsciously.  Truth is, family is usually a combination of messy and beautiful, at the same time. 
I mean seriously, families are made up of humans that share many traits, but they're also very different in almost every way. Introverts, extroverts, quiet, loud, control freak, scattered, messy, neat as a pin, animal lovers, not so much animal people, artsy, analytical, financially sound, always broke, early all the time, always late, meat eaters, vegans, liberals, conservatives, sports-minded, inside only, readers, book get the idea. A family is its own little society all sharing limbs on a tree.  But the beauty to this little microcosim of society is the bonds that tie them all together. 

See the picture up there?  Tess's car broke down this afternoon in the middle of that intersection. She called me right away; problem was, I was in the middle of a hair appt. I called Craig; he was across town at the barn with the girls doing their barn chores, I called Sarah, who immediately copped a U-turn to head to her sister to help. A nice guy helped push the car out of harms way while waiting for everyone to get there. Sarah arrived first, soon followed by Craig and the two younger ones. I hurried fast as I could and arrived about half an hour after she called. I parked in the coffee shop parking lot across the street and snapped that picture as I walked over to my FAMILY. Yes...our entire family was ther, all six of us, to help one who needed help right then and there. There was no hesitation and no complaints about it. Help was needed, and help arrived in force. That is the beautiful mess which is FAMILY. 

Let me describe the last 24 hours: Sarah had locked her keys in her car at midnight last night when she went out to get her hoodie. Since she needed to be to work early today, it meant waking up Mimi so I could get the spare key. Then Tess's car breakdown today...which was drawn out by AAA giving the tow truck driver the wrong location, hence making it a two hour+ ordeal, and her still needing to get to the gym to coach tonight.  Her sister took her to work, her dad stuck with the tow truck (who incidentally wrote her address down wrong AGAIN and got lost AGAIN), and I hopefully helped to diffuse some tense moments along the way with all involved (not always succeeding, but trying nonetheless). That is the picture of a real family. It's not picture perfect, Pinterest worth, or something you'd see splashed all over Facebook and Snapchat. It's real, raw, vulnerable, and yes, even humorous...especially when the day culminates in your daughter and her boyfriend driving home, coming up on the busy intersection a block from her home, only to see her 100lb black lab having the time of his life running thru yards and darting thru traffic. YIKES!!!!!  Really not the way you want to end a totally no good, horrible, really bad day. Once you take a breath however, you look at a stupid picture of a broken down car, with your other daughter's  car behind it followed by your husband's; you see your entire family standing on the medium and you realize that you wouldn't have it any other way. Broken down cars, escaped dogs, grueling days aside, it's still a beautiful sight to behold...your crazy, chaotic family pulling together like they always do :)

P.S.  Doug was captured and is home safe and sound, all tuckered out and snoring;)


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ginger and Gracie....

I kid you not, I've never seen a cat as closely bonded to a person as Ginger is to Gracie. These pictures can't begin to show the depth of love this goofy cat has her girl, but you can get an idea❤️








Sunday, July 23, 2017


That text between Sarah and myself pretty much epitomizes my goal as a parent....make my kids roll their eyes in embarrassment. I think I achieved it yet again today๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚


Our Family Has Grown...

We've said for years that the next dog we get would be for Craig. He's always giving us all the joy of choosing and claiming our critters, we wanted him to have a turn. This weekend, his turn finally came:)

About a week after we lost our Brody Boy, one of my dearest friends messaged me about her sweet golden. She has had him since he was 5 months old but due to circumstances out of her control, she wondered if we would consider becoming his forever family. I approached Craig with this and then stepped back as he thought it over from all sides. Of course I showed him tons of pictures and videos of this sweet boy to help sweeten the deal;). Friday night (Craig's 54th birthday) he looked at me and said "Let's do it!  Can you be ready to go at 6am?"  Being the morning owl that I am (NOT) I got a twinkle in my eyes and said ABSOLUTELY!  Since I'd said not one peep to the girls about this, I had to figure out a way to get around them so they could be surprised. I enlisted Tess's help. The girls spent the night with her and Saturday gracie would hang out with her while Hannah headed to a special birthday celebration with her BFF. Craig and I got up at 3:45am to get ready and hit the road at 5am (an hour earlier than planned). We had a near 400 miles to go to get our sweet boy. 

It was such a fun journey and it was the first time in years that we'd gotten away by ourselves. We were cracking up at the names of some of the towns along the way. One in particular really took the cake....
Craig thinks I should transfer my banking to this bank ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

We arrived in southern Missouri just in time to enjoy lunch with my dear friend and her daughters. It was so awesome to see them and hug them since it's been way too long since the last time. After lunch and catching up, we headed black to her home to meet CJ. It was love at first sight!!!!

We didn't get to stay near as long as we would have like because we needed to make the almost 400 mile drive back home. But we do promise to go soon:). 

We loaded up, settled CJ in the back seat, and headed home. About two hours of our trip was tons of hills and curves...poor little boy got car sick. Once we were on flat land again, he did awesome. Perfect little traveler!!!  

Now, we had two issues at hand: 1- since the girls were kinda spread out and we weren't getting home till 8:30, how to spring the surprise and 2- sarah had actually totally guessed what was up and we wanted to keep her off her game. We ran across a barn/shed dealer on the way so we stopped to take some pictures. I sent her a few and said we ordered a cottage. It was being delivered to the farm in 15 days (we wish!). Ok so yeah...there are times it's kinda ok to lie to your children๐Ÿ˜‰
I sent her pictures to show her proof;). She bought it, albeit reservedly. 

We settled CJ at home, made arrangements for Gracie to stay with Tess again, then headed to the barn for what's turning into our weekly grill out with our barn family. We celebrated Shatara's 12th birthday, enjoyed Anne's specialty of Pinchos, and even tyedyed birthday cake:). Everyone was there except Hannah, who was living high on the hog at her BFF's birthday celebration.  

This morning, Craig let me sleep in while he got up and spent 2 hours playing outside with his boy❤️.  I can honestly say that those two ADORE each other. After that, we decided to enjoy the morning together. We went to the farmers market and Whole Foods. By noon we were finally ready to introduce the girls to CJ...

Welcome to the ark CJ, aka Captain Jaxon Samuel. Jaxon means God has been gracious; has shown favor. Samuel means God has heard. This was the name my sweet friend had given him when he was a pup. It's perfect in every way!  We chose to keep it and add Captain to it because he is Craig's little sidekick๐Ÿ˜. We truly believe that God brought him to us through my friend and her dear family. He is loved beyond measure!