Dear Mom and Dad

Back to Grasp the Love

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m not going to be writing here for awhile. Maybe never again. I’m going back to Grasp the Love. For now.

I still have things to say, memories to share, funny things the kids say to write down. But I can’t do it here.

In the beginning, after we lost you, I needed to see pictures of you, and hear your voice and “write” to you. It was comforting and healing for me.

But lately, the past few months or so, it’s gotten harder to see pictures, to hear your voice and to write to you.

Because if I’m being real, which as you know I need to be, what I would really say to you is that it completely sucks to not have you in our life. That I’m pissed as hell that you went on that boat trip. That I am so sad when I think about the days to come. That I hate “writing” you, because it’s just a reminder of losing you.

And maybe it’s just that time of the month, or I’m overly tired, or whatever. But it is what it is.  So I’m not sure if I’ll be back here. I’m not sure if I’ll combine the posts from this blog with Grasp the Love.  But I’ll keep writing because not only do I enjoy it, but it does bring healing, and you were my biggest fans and would want me to keep journaling our life.

I love you. I miss you. More than words can say.

{If you’ve been reading along with Dear Mom and Dad, I hope you’ll join me over at Grasp the Love. You can subscribe via email there too.}

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Free bird (and sister and dog)

Dear Mom and Dad,

Yesterday was a good day.

Ed came home.


And best of all, Tracy, the kids and I drove to Pierre to pickup Nellie!


We got to Aberdeen and after picking her up some groceries, went to her apartment where Charlie dog was waiting! (He’s been at a friends house. Hasn’t been waiting alone this whole time ;))

Oh but wait.

First we had a dance/tickle party.









Hee hee.

And then Pat sent Nellie a text with a link to a video.

Free bird baby.

Which was made even funnier by the fact that ten minutes prior Jim had called and asked Nellie if we were driving down the highway listening to Free Bird. Hahaha.

The kids weren’t too impressed with that song. So anyway, after dropping off nellies stuff we went to the hotel and did a little swimming. Nellie and I then got our hair cut/colored. And the I brought her and the kids back to her place where the first (but definitely not the last) sleepover at aunt nellies was about to begin!

The kids have been so excited and talking about it for days! They will probably also be talking about their tummy aches for days… You should have seen the junk food they got for the sleepover!

It was around 7pm when I dropped them off and so Tracy and I decided to go to a movie. And I was sound asleep by 10pm and slept the whole night! Thank you Jesus (and aunt Nellie!)

Today Nellie has lots of meetings and things to take care of. One not so good thing is we found out she can’t get a work permit for at least 3 months, maybe longer. She can still work, just can’t drive there. This DUI court is a pretty strict program. Her PO (probation officer) showed up last night to check on her! (Curfew is 8pm) She is thankful for that though and this opportunity God has given her!

You would be so proud of her. All day long yesterday I kept imagining you there with us.

(Family and friends, thanks for your prayers. Now, more than ever they are needed as Nellie starts this new journey!)


All This Time by Britt Nicole

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Crazy for gators

Dear Mom and Dad,

On Wednesday (December 19th) of our Florida trip everyone was finally feeling better! We were excited for this day as it was time to check out of our hotel in Orlando and head to Tampa!

Since our Tuesday was pretty much a flop of a day, we decided to go to Gatorland on our way to Tampa. Pat had been telling everyone that he wanted to wrestle a gator.

Gatorland was where the magic happened for us. Sure, Disney World was great, but I guess you can say we’re just Gatorland type of people. Gators, snakes, spiders, birds, swampland, lookout towers…what more could you ask for!

{And it also didn’t cost us a month’s salary so you gotta like that.}






{My darling husband volunteered me to hold this boa.}


{And then we came across Cuddles. But he wasn’t real. He sure looked real though. We came up to him and there was a little old man there freaking out cause he thought it was real.}


{This is as close as we got to wrestling any gators.}



{My girl is so awesome she could hold him with one hand. :) }


{Caleb wasn’t interested in going by himself.}


{But he sure liked this guy. And that guy like him too it seemed!}


{An albino gator.}


{Gator nuggets. Go ahead, say it with me, “Taste like chicken.”}


{We got to feed the gators hot dogs and these birds were stalking us.They were really good at stealing the gators snack!}





{Fish were hungry too!}


{So cool! You can buy bird seed sticks so the birds will land on you. This was even before Pat had a seed stick though. He’s just so lovable I guess!}


{Or maybe they just wanted his money?}



{The kids weren’t too sure about this. The birds’ claws were a little pokey and there were so many it was a little overwhelming.}




{And to finish off our day we bought a family picture. There is a baby boa around my and Angel’s neck.  That stinker kept crawling higher and higher up my face so that is really me talking through me teeth, “Hurry and take the picture!” It was pretty cool though.}


Definitely a great day at Gatorland!

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10 years

10 years.

It seems like forever. And it seems like yesterday.

God has redeemed. God has healed. God has blessed.

To Him be the glory.

For when we were still sinners – Jesus demonstrated His love for us and died for us – so that we can have eternal life – and abundant life in the days he’s given us.

We are thankful.


{December 31st, 2002}

pat and missy ocean

{December 21, 2012}
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No mother of the year award for me

Dear Mom and Dad,

Tuesday (December 18th) of our vacation brought the stomach flu to Pat (perhaps too many Krispy kremes?), and Angel with a fever, aches and bad cough and Caleb still with a lingering cough.  At about 11:00 am we headed out to walk around Old Towne which was right next to our hotel. It’s a little area of shops and carnival rides, and we hoped the fresh air would help both kids feel a little better.

Unfortunately not a lot was open. The rides didn’t open until 4:00 pm but we found a few shops open. I found some cheap Florida souvenirs and Leana and Angel found a little shop to make a bobble head video.


So awesome!

Pat headed back to the room to rest and Jim and Leana decided to take a spin (literally) on the Vomatron.


It was the funniest thing ever. They were both screaming like crazy.  Here, I’ll let you listen.

Jim and I were gonna go on the sling shot (he’s my bungee jump buddy) but after seeing someone else do the sling shot and then Jim and Leana doing the Vomatron we decided to pass on the sling shot.

We ate lunch – yes Jim and Leana are hard-core! They ate pizza after riding the Vomatron! They had to get going for home and the kids and I headed back to our room for some rest time. Angel was still feeling pretty crummy. We did rest a little bit, but being in a new place was just too exciting, even with being sick.

Around 4:30-5:00 pm I decided to go find a walk-in clinic. Angel’s temperature was getting higher, her cough worse, and I was hoping to maybe get something to knock it out of her. On the way to the doctor I changed my mind. I’m so indecisive and I perhaps overreact sometimes when the kids are sick. So I decided instead to run to the grocery store, pick up some Tylenol (please please have grape chewables!), some good fruits and veggies for supper and lots of orange juice.

Around 8:00 pm, Angel was feeling a little better and the kids were going stir crazy. Mama might have been going crazy too. Daddy was still sleeping. I decided to drive the kids back over to Old Towne and see if we could ride a few of the kiddie rides. They were pretty bummed earlier in the day about not being able to ride.

There weren’t many to ride, 4 or 5 I think. But the kids were loving it. It was just the break we needed.




And then Caleb saw the Tilt-A-Whirl. And wanted to go on it. At first I said no because I thought it would be too vomit inducing scary. But then I saw that the height requirement was only 38″. And I remembered back to the good old days of riding it at the state fair and thinking it was awesome.

I decided that we should go ahead and go on it because the kids had gotten bored with the other little kiddie rides. But then Caleb said it was going to be too scary. And me, being the wonderful mom that I am, convinced him that it would not be too scary. I heard these words come out of my mouth, “If it was going to be scary they wouldn’t let you go on it.”


We were the only ones on the ride and I just prayed and prayed that it wouldn’t be too scary. The ride started and our car started twirling. And twirling and twirling and twirling. I told the kids, “If you scream it won’t be as scary!” as I screamed my lungs out. Angel looked at me like I’d lost my mind and tried to scream as her eyes spoke volumes of fear. Caleb was huddled into a little ball, pressed against me as tight as he could, crying out for it to stop.

For a moment, in between screams, I tried to convince him that this was fun! But who was I kidding? I was about ready to throw up myself.

I started waving at the ride lady so she would stop the ride but she was staring off into space. I assume dreaming of days when she didn’t have to witness the torture of children by their dim-witted mothers. So for a good twenty two minutes my poor kids were subjected to the Tilt-A-Whirl from hell.

As we stepped off the ride I was anticipating the local authorities to be there to take me away to mother boot camp. But thankfully, there was just the ride lady, oblivious to my children’s trauma. Despite the fact that Angel still wasn’t feeling 100% she was being quite the trooper. But poor Caleb cried for a few minutes and I felt like crying too.

So we went back to the hotel room, and since I wasn’t going to win mother of the year award anyway, we finished off the Krispy Kremes and watched our fifth hour of Cartoon Network for the day. It turned out to be a good memory-making day after all!

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Because a list is just easier

Dear Mom and Dad,

1. I need to finish my Florida vacation posts. I have lots of pictures to share and lots of fun stories too. If you consider eating 4000 calories a day and sitting on the beach fun. We certainly did.

2. We are almost moved out of the apartment. There is one more small load left, which I will get tomorrow when I finish up cleaning. We have our walk through on Monday morning and we’ll hand in our keys then. I feel like I should say it’s bittersweet to move out of the apartment but that would be a lie. There’s nothing bitter about it, it’s all sweet.

3. Our new house is a complete disaster. Thanks to Grama Barb, most things in our kitchen are put away, but everything else is still in boxes. I just found my shampoo and conditioner this morning (and we’ve been there 3 nights). Now that we are out of the apartment, we can concentrate on getting settled. And finding our socks. It’s cold without socks!

4. We have a fireplace in our new place. Which I thought was pretty awesome. Until Pat turned it on last night and it smelled gassy and I had a little bit of a freak out. I don’t know if he figured out why I was freaking out but after turning it off he went upstairs and found the carbon monoxide detector and plugged it in. I hate looking at that stupid thing. But I’m thankful we have it.

5. The kids will not be going back to preschool next week. This is very bittersweet for us. Unfortunately it’s a financial decision, mostly, but it’s also because we are going to start home schooling. We have a little area in the family room that will be our school area and I found an awesome desk at a consignment shop the other day. I know it won’t be easy, but I pray that God will give us all the strength we need to endure each other! : )  We will miss the kid’s teachers and friends and moms of friends so much. My heart hurts when the kids talk about school or teachers or friends – which they do almost every day.  But we’ll take it a day at a time and always be listening for the Lord’s leading.

6. We have trees at our new house. And not only trees, but full-grown trees. This is so awesome to us because it’s been over ten years since we’ve lived anywhere with trees. In one of the trees out front there is a whole family of birds living in it. This morning we were outside and they were all chirping away. So very cool.

7. In ten days we get to go pickup Nellie from Pierre and bring her home! Yahoo! Yippee! Yeah! She still be “stuck” in Aberdeen for a year, but at least we’ll be able to talk on the phone whenever we want! And we can go visit her whenever we want! Caleb “calls” her on the phone all the time and tells her to come home now – it’s so sweet!

8. So far the kids are loving having their own bedroom. Granted, it’s only been three days. But so far they have slept through the night all three nights! I was a little worried because lately Caleb has been waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and he always needs to wake me up to “help” him. But he’s either been too tired since we’ve moved, or else he just doesn’t want to climb down off the top bunk (he was on the lower bunk at the apartment).  Tonight Pat and the kids are supposed to be working on getting their rooms put together and getting all their toys and clothes put away.

9. We were at Disney World, waiting in line for Angel to meet Merida. She found this:

angel snail 

It’s a snail. A teenie tiny snail. After finding it she exclaimed loudly (ok she yelled), “BEST DAY EVER!!”  Really? We just spend a month’s salary to go to Disney World and finding a tiny snail makes it best day ever? Yep. That’s my girl!  

10. Caleb turned four when we were in Florida. I felt a little bad for him because the whole Florida, Disney World thing overshadowed his birthday. But I don’t think he really cared because his uncle Jim and aunt Leana got him Wreck It Ralph hands.

caleb hands

(Seriously, best picture ever!)

Don’t be alarmed if you hear my children say, “Why are your hands so freakishly big?”  They might also say, “Why are you so freakishly annoying?” Or the best one – which they did not get from the movie I might add – “Why is your butt so freakishly big?”

HAHAHA! It’s a good thing they have good role models as teachers to help fix some of the things they learn at home.

Oh wait. (See number five.)

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There’s no crying in Disney world

Dear Mom and Dad,

I should be sleeping but Angel woke up two hours ago with a fever, cough, sore throat…(please pray for our girl!). I’ve been laying here praying and now can’t fall asleep. Today we were planning to go to Sea World so I pray she can recover quickly. She was so looking forward to seeing Shamu!

It’s our own fault she’s sick. It was super hot and we let them run thru sprinklers at Disney even thou we didnt have change of clothes. Right at that time the temperature dropped and it got really cloudy! Ug! It was nice that it wasnt so hot but the kids were freezing then!

Unfortunately our day started out on a sad note. Well first it was happy… Jim and Leana showed up! Yeah! The kids were so excited! And then it got really happy… We went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Not the breakfast of champions but close! And then it was finally off to Magic Kingdom.

After parking we could take the tram or the ferry to magic kingdom. Caleb picked the ferry and I didn’t even think twice. Until we got closer and I remembered a ferry is a boat. And we hadn’t stepped close to a boat since June 12.

I prayed for strength and we climbed to the top level. The kids were so excited. I went and stood by (hid behind) Jim cause I didn’t want to ruin the kids excitement. But I couldn’t stop the tears.

So many memories of you. So sad because we couldn’t have you with us. I laid my head against Jim and he said, ” first time on a boat?” I nodded my head yes and he said, “me too.”

Thank you Lord I wasn’t crazy. I was so thankful to be there with Jim. And then as I cried buckets of tears Leana came and gave me a hug. Oh we miss them so much- it was so good to be together again!

We docked and I resolved to get my crap together. After all its Disney! There’s no crying in Disney!

I didn’t bring the computer and my hand is getting very sore from typing on my phone. So the rest will be brief (uh huh sure).

We spent the first two hours walking around in a complete daze. But then we got the hang of the fast passes, spent our savings on lunch and hit the ground running! The kids did pretty good considering how hot it was and all the walking and the 400 million other people!

Here’s some pictures from our day!








Our good friends the Shemons! Such a joy to run into them! Kim is a dear friend and was our adoption social worker- she’s the one God used to help bring our Angel to us!



Angel found this snail. She then exclaimed loudly, “best day ever!!!”. Seriously? That tiny snail is why it’s the best day ever? Hahaha. We should have just spend the day at the beach! :)


Meeting Merida. The look on Meridas face when she saw Angels hair was priceless!



The chicken dance!


Still dancing! This was how Angel looked all day – clinging to Auntie Leana’s hand!







Turns out there is crying in Disney. When you’re cold and hungry and mom and dad refuse to but another $12 bag of popcorn and your sister keeps touching you and hello! It’s your birthday! We didn’t forget Caleb’s birthday but it was a little overshadowed by the whole Disney thing. So we found a Texas Roadhouse close by and promised Caleb a ride on the saddle. And I’ll share more about Caleb’s birthday next time!

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Happy birthday videos that will also work well for birth control

Dear Holly,

As you know, today is your birthday. I thought it would be cute to have the kids record a sweet birthday greeting for you.  I came to this conclusion as we were sitting in the car wash. Well it was too dark so as soon as we were done the kids wanted to record their message. So I did what any normal mom would do (not) and handed them the phone.

Have you seen this on Pinterest?



I didn’t think it was funny at all. And not at all applicable to my life. I’m sure that no one ever thinks that about our family. And I’m sure after you watch these videos you are going to call us up and ask if Angel and Caleb can come live with you forever, right?!

{I am just teasing. I’m sick. I’m tired. And I’m about ready to scream from all the poop, toodie, diaper, pee and butt talk. But I really am just teasing. I wouldn’t give my kids away for all the money in the world. Maybe all the money and all the chocolate, but not all the money.  Haha, again I’m teasing. Ok, I’m off to take more NyQuil. Enjoy the show!}

Happy birthday Hols. We love you to the moon and back. We are so proud of you. We think you are the most awesomest person in the entire world. And as you’ll see in the card you get today, we checked. :) You really are the most awesomest! And I’m pretty sure you are a better user of adjectives than I am too!

Enjoy your special day!

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12 things

In honor of 12-12-12, which is almost over, a list of 12.

1. Cabo got to meet Santa this year.


Seriously, how cute is he!!

2. Caleb is star of the week this week at school. Here is his star of the week board…


I guess he forgot about his other sister and two brothers!

3. My friend Bonnie delivered this to me tonight.


It’s a dragonfly ornement inspired by the story of the dragonfly. She has created a beautiful poem to go along with it.

The colors symbolize Mom and Dad’s birth stones and then pink is for the crown they recieved upon their homecoming.

So beautiful. I know it’s supposed to be an ornament but i might find another home for it so I can admire it all year!

4. Angel was writing letters and I told her that I bet she could spell and write ten words. Sure enough she did.


5. Three days and counting.


And our vacation might start early because we might get bad weather Saturday which means we might drive to Omaha Friday night. We’ll see, but regardless we would appreciate your prayers!

6.Tree hugger.


7. Our house is in complete chaos. Most of the kids toys are packed up to move so they don’t have anything to play with. There are boxes and crap everywhere. I refuse to buy groceries so that we can use as much of what we have as possible which means we are having some interesting meals. The kids are a wreck, especially angel with the lack of schedule and all the chaos. While we are very much looking forward to our trip we are also looking forward to getting home so we can move and get settled.

8. I think I od’d on NyQuil. I’m feeling a little tipsy. I’ve had a cough and sore throat for a few days and I do want to be sick on vacation!

9. See this handsome dude…


That’s Omar, our Godson and he was our foster son for a year too. They live about an hour from Orlando so we’re gonna drive over Sunday and see him and his brother and grama and grandpa. Can’t wait!

10. Any thoughts on traveling with a 5 year old and almost 4 year old. We have games on the kindle and hopefully will get a few movies, but I don’t know if I want theirs faces stuck in that for 5 hours (2 in airport, 3 in air).

11. It’s harder than I thought to come up with 12 things. Perhaps it’s the excessive amounts of NyQuil that is impairing my thoughts?

12. Last but certainly not least, it’s Hollys birthday tomorrow!!

Holly, be forewarned when you open your present tomorrow there’s something kinda creepy in the box. But it reminded me of you. Not in a creepy way, but a good way!

12.2. I didn’t forget. 12-12-12 is six months since that day in June. All day as the minutes ticked by. I thought of where I was and what we were doing. I’m sure it’ll probably always be like that.

But we cling to the promises of Gods love.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Whew! I made. And now I’m going to crash and not even proof this. Living on the edge.

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Packing up Christmas

Dear Mom and Dad,

We weren’t going to decorate this year for Christmas. Not only because I was just not feeling like decorating, but also because we’ll be gone for 10 days. But then the kids started asking and we decided it would be worth it to decorate.

And it was. I don’t think I snapped one picture – even of their 2012 ornaments – but it was a great time. With our little apartment our decorations were definitely scaled down. But it was nice.

Well then we found an awesome little house to rent and decided to move the day after we get back from Florida. Hello! This means that we have started packing up our things so that we’ll be all set to go when we get back.

This also means that we packed up Christmas.

The kids and I tackled it on Friday and as we were taking down the ornaments, talking about each one and enjoying each one, Caleb started to get sad. I told them that Lord willing, next year we’ll be in our new house and we’ll be able to really decorate for Christmas!

He said his most favorite line, “But it’s going to take too long!”

He’s so sweet.

We then had a really good conversation about Christmas and what Christmas is really about. One of the reasons I had originally wanted to not decorate this year was because our life has changed so much. I think our hearts have been changed even more than we could have imagined. And I thought that without Christmas decorations we could better emphasize to the kids the true meaning of why we celebrate. 

Turns out putting the Christmas decorations up, and then taking them down early provided a really great opportunity to talk about Jesus, His birthday, why He came and why we celebrate. And also why we even decorate in the first place.

Last year some time Pat brought home a humongous roll of thick paper. {Stay with me, this goes with the story.} I thought he was crazy but he thought it would be great for the kids to color and draw on. That hubby of mine is one smart cookie. We’ve used it alot and after taking down the Christmas decorations we decided to make the world’s tallest Christmas tree.

We waited for Daddy to get home and then created our 2012 Christmas tree!


So in more ways than one, it’s a very different Christmas around our house this year.  But one thing that hasn’t changed is the Reason we celebrate and our awe of God’s love!

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