Sunday, October 28, 2012


Sandy is her name.
And from what we hear she is not nice!
If you don't already know we live at the "Jersey Shore" somewhat close to Atlantic City to give you a better idea.
Since Friday our family has been preparing for what they are calling Frankenstorm...
aka Hurricane Sandy.
A 900 mile wide Hurricane that will eventually meet up with a cold front coming down from Canada.
Some are saying this has the ingredients for a perfect storm.
We've stocked up on bottled water, PB&J, bread, milk, ice, and non-perishable snacks for the kids to keep them entertained.
We are being told to prepare to lose our electricity for 7-10 days.
On Friday our kids school was already sending out the automated calls that they are closed Monday and Tuesday this week.
Mr. Three works in one of the Casino's in AC and they have been mandatory evacuated and will be closed today, as well as Monday and Tuesday.
All of the barrier islands surrounding us have also been evacuated and they have stopped toll collection on both the GSP and AC Expressway.
For now we plan to ride out this storm at home and have stocked up on the essentials to get us through the next few days.
This morning we enjoyed worship with our church family, had a quick lunch, and then came home and put away all of our outside furniture and tied down what was too big to put away.
So if you don't see me in the world of twitter//facebook//blogger you know why!
Pray for a quick, pain free, and non-messy storm here in Jersey for us, thanks guys!sdf

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remember that time when I was on TV...

I'm foregoing Fun Friday this week to tell you a story that I guarantee to be hilarious!
It involve's the saying below...

Apparently I didn't get this memo above.
I'll explain...
You see I already have a husband so I'm not out looking to meet my Mr. Right, and I've got three small kids so sweatpants have kind of become a fashion statement in my life along with stained t-shirts and messy hair!
My hair is never done, and makeup only goes on if I have a pre-planned event for the day lol!
Which brings me to my most recent embarrassing story.
Ready?  Here we go!
Remember that time I left the house to run to the post office?
You know just a quick trip to mail a letter...completely innocent!
So I hopped in the car still dressed in my physical therapy outfit {aka} sweats, a t-shirt, no makeup, and messy, messy hair.
Just a quick trip to mail a letter- I didn't even think twice.
Lo and behold we pull up to said post office and there is the local news station with their cameras out and ready for an interview because our local post office is closing.
As I walk up they began to approach me and ask how I felt about this branch closing.
I didn't even know they were closing but managed to spout off my feelings on this topic then got back into the car with my husband.
That's when the hyperventilation and panicking began.
No makeup.
Eyebrows NOT done... in like weeks-eek!
Messy, frizzy, windblown hair, not even a swipe of chap stick or dab of lip gloss people.
I mean come on!
Remember when you were little and your mom told you to always leave the house looking your best because you never know who you might run into?
Well played mom, well played.
On the plus size my kids think I am now some sort of celebrity :)
I swear this stuff could only happen to me!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

3 months

Yesterday marked three months since my stroke.
Finally yesterday came the good news I have been waiting a long time for.
This is something that has been weighing heavy on me lately, stressing me out and making my anxiety shoot through the roof!
 I passed a test, in a series of tests, that will allow me to start driving again...hopefully within the next couple of weeks!
Do you know how hard it has been to not drive for the past 3 months?
The last time I drove was the morning of my stroke when I drove myself to work.
It has been incredibly hard on both myself and my husband...can we say stressor?

I held back because I wasn't sure if I was ready to write about how I was horribly afraid of failing.
I wasn't sure I could handle another disappointment, another setback.
I wasn't ready for the pointing of fingers, the others feeling bad for me, the more time of no independence.
Because that is what happens when you have a stroke.
Your life as you once knew it is gone.
You can no longer do anything for yourself, or anyone else.
Forget about PTA meetings, your children's clubs/activities, gatherings with all goes out the window.
We had each of our kids signed up for an activity this fall that we had to pull out of because of me.
Yes I am thankful for being here today and I am forever grateful for Him for keeping me here but life is just not.the.same.
Your life as you knew it will be forever changed-or at least drastically changed for the next few years.
That is how long it takes for your brain to heal from such a traumatic event.
It fills me with anxiety just thinking about everything my body has been through.

We've been blessed with an incredible church family that has gone to the ends of the world to help
and we are forever grateful for them.
This whole process has really showed us the love others have for us.
Not just our church family but our work families, friends, relatives, and neighbors have all come together for our sake.
It's amazing!
The outpouring of meals, rides, babysitters, prayers, the phone calls, the text messages, the emails just the way everyone has reached out to us and for us is simply incredible.
We have truly been blessed beyond anything I could possibly imagine.
Today is my last physical therapy session as well, as I will be graduating from the program.
That is another highlight in my life right now!
While I am still not back to work and still have some intense work to do with my ot program I am grateful to be where I am at today.
What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Recap

Oh hey there Monday...when the heck did you get here?
Feel free to pack up your stuff and move on because I am just.not.ready for you!
This weekend seriously went too fast.
Sorry this is getting out so late but time just got away from me!
We entertained family, had some home cooked yummy spanish dinners, movie nights, worship, haircuts for all the kids, play time at the park and with our neighbors, and an almost trip to the emergency room!
All in all I would say it was a good weekend- minus the ginormous boo-boo on kid #2's head :(
Thankfully his school pictures were already taken  :)
What were you up to this weekend?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Friday

Hey there ya'll!
That's me trying to do my best southern expression on this Fun Friday!
I'll stop creeping you out now....
 we've got rain all day here in Jersey and it doesn't look like it's ending any time soon.
I'm okay with that, I feel like I'm due for a day on the couch under the blankets watching t.v.
Probably watching LMN oh how I love LMN!!

Today's Fun Friday will be dedicated to all things funny....
I have developed a slight obsession with those ecards that everybody has been posting on their social media.
My name is Erica and I'm obsessed with ecards and LMN!
I just think they are hilarious, like literally they make me LOL.
Sometimes it causes Mr. Three to give me weird looks as I'm laughing hysterically at my iphone.
So today I'm posting my fav's here for you all to see.
I would love to see your fav ecards or just link up with things that make you laugh.
Hey it's Friday, do whatevs you want and enjoy your weekend!
Catch ya later alligator!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Embrace the Camera

Today is Embrace the Camera thanks to the amazing Emily!
2 out of 3 kids got in the picture with me this week, not too shabby!
P.S. Thanks for the photobomb Ayden :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Mess

Because of all the raw emotions stirred up inside of me I have a feeling the next few days will contain some soul-searching {and hopefully finding} posts.
Now if you read this post you know there was a conference this past weekend that rocked my socks off.
I've been thinking about this unfiltered business.
The art of putting out there only the good, clean, non-messy parts of my life can be deceiving.
And while they do happen they are few and far between.
Just this morning while changing our almost 2 year old Aaron's diaper he mastered the "reach around" if you know what I mean...and if you don't I'll elaborate.
He got poop on his hand.
A big ole' gob of it. 
True story.
Right now I just noticed there's a half a banana on the floor out of the peel just chillin' on the carpet.
Real life.
And right now the baby is still napping this late because I don't feel like playing my chances at the 50/50 that he will actually wake up happy.  It doesn't happen all that often!
Some nights my kids have breakfast for dinner because it's quick and easy to clean up...
cereal, milk, bowl, done!
The clean up is even easier too.

This is real life people.
There is no curtain call, and everyday is a new, messy adventure.
But do you know what?
I have a choice.
A choice to see all of this as a blessing or as a burden.
I'm choosing a blessing.
I know this won't last forever.
Eventually {and hopefully} everyone will sleep an entire night in their own beds, there will be no more diaper changing mishaps, and the teething will have stopped!
I know one day when our children have children Mr. Three and I will sitting around saying
  "Remember when..."
Don't get me wrong most days I don't embrace this crazy lifestyle of living right just enough to keep my head above the water with 3 little guys at home.
But I also know this won't last forever, it won't always be this way.
Most days are still about survival in our house.
However we need//choose to get a job done is how it gets done.
My life may be messy, unorganized, filled with poop and tears, but this is my life.
We are beyond blessed with 3 healthy boys who can run, jump, play, and make those messes 
that I love :)
Some parent's don't have what we have.
Some parent's don't get the chances that we have.
This is the path He wants me to be on.
This is the path I want and need to be.
Every night I thank the Lord for all that we have been given-even on the really hard days when I feel like a failure.
Ever since I was a little girl the one thing I've dreamed about is being a mom.
Heck I was still playing with dolls until way too late in middle school.
And not just any mom, but a great mom.
A proactive, involved, supportive-no-matter-what mom.
So I guess what I am trying to say here is even though it may seem like everything is spic and span 
and smelling like febreeze-oh how I love the smell of Febreeze- in our house 
that my friends.
Right now I've got 6 loads of laundry to fold, dinner to cook, bath's to give, and homework to accomplish. 
Tonight I'll order in dinner because I've got no energy to cook-but you better believe my kids and I will pile around our dinner table and talk about our days.
Who did what, what they learned, who they ate lunch with, what was their most favorite part of their day etc.
We'll thank the Lord for the food we have, enjoy lots of smiles,  have some belly laughs, a few spills too, but most of all there will be love.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Influenced from Afar

The blogging community was uprooted this weekend and rocked in ways one could only have imagined thanks to Influnece Conference.
Some of you may know it as #influenceconf.
At least that is how I know it.
I didn't attend this weekend but following along with those who did via social media was amazing!
The wisdom, strength, and words that came out of that conference have changed me forever.
Oh how I wished I was there after seeing all of the cutesy roommate pictures, the "come find me" pics, and the life changing worship these ladies experienced.
To be surrounded with those who understand and know where each other are coming from,
to know the struggles and the victories,
and to be able to wrap all of that in His comfort and to be brought together for His good is just amazing!
After resolving my first feelings of jealousy for those who were able to go I realized something.
This year was not for me.
I was not ready mentally, spiritually, or emotionally.
If I'm being completely honest, I thought it was a plain and simple blogging conference.
I thought you went with your lap top in hand, cute pre-planned outfits, and passed out business cards to future prospects.
I thought women sat around trading blogging secrets, and strategizing out how to get the most followers, and become profitable through their blogs.
Instead I was thrown a curve ball....a wicked curve ball.
What I thought was completely different than what actually happened.
I started seeing all of these pictures and tweets from those attending saying wonderful non-blogging related advice.
Advice that kinda rocked my world...
okay it completely rocked my world.

"Your mess can be your ministry."- Casey Wiegand.
"When God says I pick you to talk about me, it's not a burden but a privilage."- Sarah Matheny
"You never know who you will touch or who you will reach when you stop filtering Him."-Sarah Matheny

These were the three quotes from the #influenceconf chatter that really stood out to me.  
These quotes that came out of the #influenceconf feed impacted me in a way I never knew possible.
It was almost an out of body experience.
I didn't need to be there to benefit from, grow, or develop myself.
These amazing ladies were able to do it via Twitter!
They made me thirsty for more, and I couldn't wait to see the next #influenceconf hashtag to come out so I could add it to my jar of faith.
They made me want to jump out the door and go to every faith filled women's conference.
They made me want to know each and every single one of them a little bit better.
They made me want to take my beliefs to a level I never knew possible.
I know sometimes I sit down at my computer, type up a post and say to myself Oh geez, I think that's a little too heavy, or maybe I shouldn't be so open with my beliefs, or who wants to hear again about my kids?
But you know what?
That's who I am and what is on my heart that day.
If I start filtering this space then it becomes somebody else's space, not mine.
If I start trying to have the appearance I have no mess than it's not the truth.
Trust me I have got messes.  Plenty of them!
When I type a post about Him I shouldn't be worried about others' opinions but I should delight in the fact that He is using me to reach others.
When I first started on this blogging journey I had no idea where it would lead me.
I thought it was just going to be a space to document our wedding.
Then the wedding came and went and I still felt passionate about blogging so I kept going.
Here I am almost 3 years later and I am loving it more and more every day.
I love the community that is blogging.
I have met amazing people along the way, and I cannot wait to see where this road leads  me to.
So thank you to all of those that hosted, and attended Influence Conference, as well as those who kept up with social media while there because it is a weekend I know I will never forget.
Maybe next year it will lead me to Influence :)


Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Friday

Today is FUN FRIDAY friends!
A day dedicated to all things FUN.
And seriously is Friday not the most fun day of all?
At the end of a long stressful week it feels so good to wake up and say TGIF {unless your Mr. Three who works night shifts and Friday's are his Monday, boo!}
For now you can feel free to link up below, and spread the word about my very first link up!

Today's FUN FRIDAY will be dedicated to all thing Fall.
I thought it was rather appropriate since the Jersey weather finally got the memo that it is fall!
Top 10 Fun things fall...go!

1. Pumpkins & pumpkin patches
2. Festivals
3. Scarves & Boots
4. Pumpkin spiced coffee
5. Cool weather
6. Dancing colorful leaves
7. Open windows and no more ac
8. Halloween parties at our kids schools
9. Sweaters and long sleeves
10. Crock pot recipe's

Well there ya have it.
I'd love to hear your top 10 Fall Fun things so get to linkin' up!
Happy Weekend :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


When we enter motherhood we define success completely different than we did pre-kids.
For instance sans children success to me would have been pulling an all nighter and acing an exam,
finding the perfect pair of shoes to match an outfit.
Now that we have entered another phase of our life success has a different meaning.
Success is exclusively breastfeeding, potty training, overcoming separation anxiety, etc.
This past week has been a success for me because our oldest has successfully been eating the same dinners we have.
Usually I'm cooking 2, sometimes 3 different dinner a night because our kids have become so picky and I have started to cater to their wants.
Notice I said wants, not needs, but wants.
As in I know you cooked dinner but I want something different.
Sure kid, mom just slaved over a stove for an hour but I'll heat you up spaghetti and meatballs or make you a PB&J :(
This week we put a stop to that and started offering them no alternatives.
They get dinner or they get nothing.
I know it seems harsh, and I was really tentative at first.
Surprisingly they have complied and  it has been amazing!
Now I am cooking only one dinner a night, less stressed, and can rest assured that they are 
eating a nutritious dinner.
Ahhh, sometimes as mom's we have to take these wins because we don't know when we'll get another one!

P.S. Are you a 2013 bride?  Then head over to my favorite gal's blog Aunie Sauce.  I think you'll like what you see :)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'd rather...

I'd rather swim in the ocean than sunbathe on the sand.
I'd rather be happy than diet.
I'd rather join in than be a spectator.
I'd rather feel vulnerable than risk not being hurt.
I'd rather have coffee than tea.
I'd rather live out His ways than just study them.
I'd rather be silly with my kids than worry about looking silly.
I'd rather have 4 seasons than one all year round.
I'd rather fail trying than not try at all.
I'd rather know I gave something my all then just let it fizzle away.
I'd rather have dessert than a real meal any day of the week.
I'd rather wear sandals than any other footwear.
I'd rather wear sweatpants than jeans any day.
I'd rather have three beautiful, healthy kids than wear a bikini the rest of my life!
I'd rather try something new than settle.
I'd rather have a loud, noisy, messy house than a strict, unhappy house.
I'd rather ask then never know.
I'd rather read a book than watch t.v.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Fun!

As I sit here and type I've got tea in one hand a cough drop in the other.
Yup, that's right.
A cold took over our house this weekend...
On a long weekend deboot :(
Well more like a cold for the kids but a horrible sinus infection for me.
You know the kind where you feel like your head is inside of a vice or someone just punched you in the face?
Yeah.  That kind.  Not fun!
Despite everything working against us we were still determined to make the best of it...
The long weekend I mean...because let's face it doesn't every parent slightly loathe a long weekend?!
I've yet to meet the overly ecstatic parent who just wishes her children had a long weekend every weekend.
This is the real stuff people.  The nitty-gritty of it all.
Including a movie for the older boys on Sunday.
Hotel Transylvania.
Which I have to admit was cute, and funny.
Who doesn't love Kevin James and Adam Sandler...this girl right here LOVES them both!
In fact it was pretty much the same cast from Grown Ups-which our family loves-but in an animated Halloweenish movie!
Great times had all around.
Monday we decided to take a trip to the city.
And by city I mean Philadelphia.
We went to the Franklin Institute.
Now I remember going on at least one, probably two field trips to this place when I was younger and I remember it being so much bigger.
Maybe because I was only in the 3rd grade, but whatever!
Anyway about 10 minutes into our adventure a thought crossed my mind as I was trying to wrangle our two oldest boys for a photo op, and becoming more and more angry that they were not complying.
"I wonder if kids worst memories of museums are of forced pictures."
I never thought about it before.
Can we all just agree that is a horrible memory?
Okay.  Glad we're all on the same page.
They didn't want to stop and take pictures at every exhibit.
They wanted to run, play, explore, and learn.
They took in so much information and learned so many new things.
I was impressed.
So needless to say the big momma camera was put away and I spent the rest of the day trying to just enjoy my kids.
For me, and my latest medical struggle it was a bit of sensory overload to say the least, but I prevailed nonetheless.
After we were finished we headed outside to walk around and let the kids burn off more energy.
So we enjoyed $4 Cotton Candy, $4 Gatorade's and $4 hot dogs from a street vendor right outside the museum.
To which I appropriately {or inappropriately- you be the judge} said out loud, "Oh my Gosh!"
Wow, did they see us coming or what?!
Anyhow we trekked on across the street, with our $24 goodies, to a beautiful fountain that is home to the famous Philadelphia LOVE landmark where we took our pictures and enjoyed ourselves.
We took our time on the car ride home stopping at a rest stop to let the kids stretch their legs and to get Mr. Three and I a Starbucks hot chocolate.
Is there anything better than SB's Hot chocolate?!
I think not!
Followed by a quick trip to the supermarket to pick up some fixin's for dinner and back home for a nice homemade dinner.
Overall it was great!
I really tried to fend off my uglies when I felt them coming up.
I made an effort to appreciate and take in all of the moments we have together as a family of five, even on the car ride because I know these are the memories of our children.
This is what they will remember.
Car rides with mom and dad...the songs we sing, and the silly games we play!
Traveling to far away places-or in their case places that are 45 minutes away!
I want them to know that their thoughts, feelings, and emotions are important.
That they are not being overlooked, or taken for granted.
With 3 kids I feel like it's easy to get lost in our family and I never want them to feel that way.
I never want them to feel unimportant or by the way side.
I want them to remember family as being the most important.
Spending time together as a family.
And really is there anything better or more important?
I think not!

Having said all of that, I want to say a special hello to all of my new followers thanks in large part to Brie over at Sophstifunk!  I hope you guys like what you see and will continue to stick around for the long haul :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


I'm playing hookey on my own blog today because I'm being featured over on Sophistufunk!
Come by and say Hi :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Friday

For quite awhile now I have been trying to figure out a post to run every week,
with the hopes that maybe once this little blog grows a bit more I can start a linky party!
Neat idea, huh?
I mean aren't linky parties the best when you get to meet others in this community of ours?!
I think so too.
I've been racking my brain and playing around with words to see what I can come up with,
hence FUN FRIDAY was born.
A day dedicated to all things FUN.
And seriously is Friday not the most fun day of all?
At the end of a long stressful week it feels so good to wake up and say TGIF {unless your Mr. Three who works night shifts and Friday's are his Monday, boo!}
For now you can feel free to link up by leaving the link to your post in your comment!
So without further ado, the very first FUN FRIDAY.

In 2 words or less 10 favorite fun things to do//see//go:

1. Be outside
2. Be silly
3. The beach
4. Church
5. Coffee Shop
6. Eat out
7. Make Memories
8. Laugh
9.Wear sweatpants
10. Family naps

Join me, won't you?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Embracing Life

I mentioned this lovely lady yesterday and again today she has inspired me!
Far too often we are either busy capturing the moments of our children or too worried that we haven't applied makeup that morning to hop in the pictures with our kids.
The end result?
Pictures of just our kids.
No us.
For me that's a sad thought.
So I decided to Embrace the Camera with Emily today.
Here ya makeup, hair not done, and reppin' my fav baseball team the Yankees!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Life Lately

It's been a while since I have updated you on the weekly happenings around here, 
so I figured it was about time!

1. Thanks to a brilliant idea from Emily I decided to teach the boys an important lesson about money.  I wanted to emphasize keeping some and giving some.  Hence these 3 little jars were born.  When each child accomplishes a task we ask them {helping fold laundry, cleaning up, putting away our shoe pile, etc.} they earn anywhere from .25 to $1.00.  They can either decide to keep all of it, give it all away, or keep some and give some.  So far this has been very effective and the boys are always so happy to give their donations to our church on Sunday.

2. Our oldest is in first grade and this week homework officially started.  I was honestly bracing myself for.the.worst.  I have the most dreadful memories of doing homework-even in elementary school.  I have tried to make sure his "homework time" is as stress-free and noise free as possible.  Usually this means homework is done after dinner, after the baby is already asleep for the night, and after bath time.  Usually it's around 6:30-7pm in our house.  So far so good {two days in haha!}

3. I started an intimate bible study with one of my girlfriends.  I've only ever done one other bible study and that was about 2 years ago with a large group of women.  I've wanted and longed to do more but they have never fit into my full time working, 3 kids with activity,schedule.  It's just the two of us and so far it is working great because we are so comfortable with one another that it is allowing us to be really open and sincere with our feelings and thoughts on what we are studying!

4. Our oldest also had his first math test at school this week and got an 8/9 which is amazing!  I always struggled at math and he seems to really excel and enjoy the subject which I am so.thankful.for.   It's really interesting to see how our children develop as they grow older.  What subjects they enjoy, will excel at, struggle with, who they become friends with, how they treat their siblings, etc.

5. Our middle son is adjusting to pre-k extremely well and for this I am grateful too!  He is out little introvert.  You know the slow-to-warm up child?  Well Ayden is our VERY slow-to-warm up child.  Like it could take him 2 hours to warm up lol!  But so far this year he has made friends, plays with kids on the playground, and has even requested a few play dates with children in his class.  He is maturing and growing up right before our eyes and I am just in awe of it all.

6. The baby has been teething. Not like up all night teething, but snotty nose, cranky as long as he's awake teething, going through three shirts a day teething.  This poor baby has got so many boogers and baba {saliva in spanish lol}that I can't keep up with it most days-ahhhh the joys of motherhood :)

I guess that about wraps it up for now.
What's happening in your life lately?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Last week was a terrible week for me.
Emotionally, and spiritually.
Most days I'm not even sure what got into me.
I was mean, snippy, rude, and had no patience.
I let my uglies come out, big time!
I knew I needed an attitude adjustment so I prayed that He would point me in the right direction.
That He would lay what I needed most on my heart.
I was thinking something along the lines of an excerpt from the bible, a hidden message in our sermon that week, or just a simple sign.
What I got was completely different.
It wasn't a hidden message and it was not simple, that's for sure.
This week {and it's only Tuesday} my heart has been rocked.
Like seriously, rocked to it's core.
Last night I sat and watched a documentary hosted by Half the Sky on PBS.
Believe me when I say I had no idea what awaited me.
The majority of stories revolved around sex trafficking and women's oppression in other countries.

Gabrielle Union said it best, "Education for them is a safe haven.  For a few hours a day they have a safe environment."

Can you imagine that? 
What we sometimes think of as a "break" from our kids for 6 hours a day to these children is the only peace and safe place they know for 5 days a week.
And that's if the family pays for the girls to receive an education.
Most don't believe girls should receive an education because they are lesser than men.
There were teenage girls working 6 days a week selling lottery tickets to pay for their own education.
Some were selling lottery tickets as a source of income for their family and when they weren't able to sell all of their tickets they would receive physical punishment at home.
They showed brothels filled with girls ages 7 and up who were used as sex slaves.
They were sold like pieces of clothing, to men.
They were beaten and abused.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally they were torn down and treated like objects rather than people.
That was sign #1.

Then this morning on my way to therapy the lady who drives me proceeded to tell me a story of something that happened to her on Sunday.
This lady heads up Operation Christmas Child at our church and on Sunday she traveled to pick up the shoe boxes we will be filling.  
When she got to said destination there was a speaker there who was a 24 year old Russian woman.
This same woman had received an Operation Christmas Child shoe box when she was just 12 years old and  living in an orphanage.
She expressed to her audience how much she treasured her shoe box as a little girl.
How she had always longed for hair clips but living in an orphanage had never had them, and how she had to keep her hair so short because the lice was uncontrollable at times in the orphanage.
She received hair clips in her shoe box, and even though her hair was short she put in her hair.
How she wished she didn't have to share 1 toothbrush with 25 other children, and longed to brush her teeth more than once a week.
She received a toothbrush that year.
How she never felt loved in her
How she had never been hugged.
She was finally able to give a hug to the stuffed animal tucked inside her shoe box.
How the only noises you could hear at night were the creaking of the beds in the orphanage as the children would wrap their arms around themselves and rock themselves to sleep.
She thought it was truly amazing that somebody out there cared enough to send her this box.
She had never known love like that.
That was sign #2.

As I laid in my warm, clean, queen size, bed last night with hot tears streaming down my face I had a few thoughts and emotions running through me.
My biggest emotion was gratitude.
My children have three meals a day, they know where there next meal is coming from.
They know what it feels like to be hugged, to know home as a safe place, to know how love feels.
My kids have 2 different toothbrushes AND toothpaste because we have 2.5 bathrooms.
To my kids mom and dad are only known as protectors that will keep them away from anything harmful, not throw them out because they have shamed our family.
We have the resources to clothe them, feed them, take care of, and educate them.
Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically we can meet these needs, and for that I am grateful.
These were my signs.
I've been taking for granted what is right in front of me.
On days when it seems like too much work, or I want to throw in the towel
I want to remember their smiley faces, their bright and happy eyes, and their childlike attitudes.
I want to remember their innocence, the way they mispronounce words, and the messes they made because of all the toys they had!
I want to keep them this way for as long as possible.
I want to put them in a capsule and savor this time.
Because as we all know I will never get this time back.
I don't want my uglies to come out when someone doesn't hang their book bag where it belongs.
They are kids.
There will be messes, fights, little patience, unkind words, and headaches.
But I know there will also be laughter, fun, joy, fulfillment, pride, and love.