Friday, May 5, 2017

A Love Letter to my Gluten-Loving Spouse

An Open Love Letter to my Gluten-Loving Spouse

We married before either of us knew about my Celiac Disease. I remember the days we ate french bread and frolicked through the park, until I had to run in a desperate search for a bathroom. Oh, those were the years.

I have memories of going out to eat with our friends, and by the time we got home my stomach was so swollen without us knowing why. But oh, how we laughed and giggled over the fact that I looked like I was nine months pregnant. Life was a simple time back then. Eat, Get Sick. Repeat.

But in all seriousness, you loved me through pain and fear of my symptoms and walked with me through my diagnoses and changes in diet. Here we are now, a decade later, living gluten-free and I don't know that I ever said thank you.

Thank you for never making me feel less than.  Thank you for never expressing that I was an inconvenience, not once. You never blamed me or showed frustration when certain restaurants weren't an option.

Over the years I have watched you get excited for me when a food label indicates that it is gluten-free. I have sat at the kitchen counter while you prepared gluten-free pancakes and ate them as if they were the fluffy clouds of awesomeness. You ignored the fact that they were a little more dense and a little too grainy in texture and had a taste that leaves you questioning the reason for the main ingredient.

You often bring a smile to my face when you come home from the grocery store, eager to show me a new gluten-free product you found. You have embraced this bump in the road, this adaption to life wholeheartedly and I love you so much for it!

You show me your love when you buy those crazy expensive donuts just so I can have a fun change in my breakfast routine. I notice the efforts you make when you grab that box off the shelf and read the ingredients like a warrior who is ready for battle. Who would have thought watching you read ingredients would be so romantic?

I appreciate your efforts more than you will ever know.  You have embraced this aspect in my life and now in the lives of our children with out skipping a beat, without any complaint that things should be different. I hope you know that you have impressed me all these years.  I love so many things about who you are, one of them is how you show love for our family through loving this Celiac.

I love you.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Portland Mom's Blog: Just Say No to Summer Guilt

You can find my guest blog post here:

Portland Mom's Blog: 6 Tips that Allow Mom to Enjoy Family Vacations Too

You can find my guest blog post here:

Portland Mom's Blog: 6 Tips that Allow Mom to Enjoy Family Vacations Too

You can find my guest blog post here:

Portland Mom's Blog: My Special Needs Daughter is an Every Day Princess

You can find my guest blog post here:

Portland Mom's Blog: Why I dress My Kids in Matching Outfits

You can find my guest post here:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Racial Mirrors: Who Do They See?

This topic has been on my heart lately. I wrote this piece for my column, Spilled Milk, in the Fostering Families Today magazine July/Aug 2016 issue. You can get your subscription HERE.

Racial Mirrors: Who do they see?

My five-year-old son was holding my hand as we walked down the sidewalk on the busy street so he could get his first big boy hair cut. I was determined to walk into that barber shop with confidence, because I knew that if I was going to show my son that he could embrace this part of who he is, I should to feel comfortable too. I think I was nervous about being judged as the white, adoptive, mom who hadn’t done this before. Aren’t we all, when we step into a new part of parenting? 

We first became a transracial family five-years ago, when our son came to us just before his first birthday, I immediately started learning about hair styles and skin care products. I started scanning the toy aisle for any African-American toys I could find for him. Books with diversity in their illustrations made their way into my shopping cart. I will never forget my excitement the year that I found a black angel for the top of our Christmas tree. I was eager to fill my house with items that my son could identify with, but I know even more now, that parenting a child of a different race involved so much more than that. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Portland Mom's Blog- How I Connect with My Kids Before School


You can find my blog post here: 

Portland Mom's Blog

I am happy to share that I am now a contributing writer for the Portland Mom's Blog! Over the next six months I get to share blog posts about motherhood! I am so excited to connect with this audience! 

You can follow along and find their social media outlets at:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Garbage Truck Birthday Party

My youngest son is obsessed with anything related to garbage. He loves the garbage trucks, squeels with joy when it is garbage day at our house and even steals his sisters tiny toys and puts them in socks, you know- garbage bags. :)

So we of course had to throw him a garbage truck themed birthday party. Here are some ideas for you! Enjoy!

These were so fun to put together. Party favors with candy and tattoos and treats inside. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fostering Families Today magazine column!


I am beyond excited to share with you that starting in the May/June 2016 issue I will be find my column in the Fostering Families Today magazine!

I am so honored that they asked me and I can't wait to connect with the readers. I have already started working on article ideas and praying about what subjects I should touch on. As most of you know I am a very reflective writer and love to advocate for support and connection among parents.

So, be sure to get your subscription going in either print or digital. You can find more details at

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Doc McStuffin Themed Birthday Party

Our foster daughter of six months was turning 5 years old and loved the cartoon show Doc McStuffins! She was about to leave our home with her brother and we were so glad we could celebrate with her before she left! I had a lot of fun putting this together for her. I hope you enjoy and get some great inspiration! 

Our very happy birthday girl! She moved into our home right before we celebrated two of our kiddos birthday parties and was very much looking forward to her own party. She wanted to dress up and had such a good time! Oh I miss her so. 

All of our Doc McStuffin's themed food! 

Disneyland Road Trip: Large Family Adventure!

I am so excited to share with you all of my tips and tricks as I planned our first family trip to Disneyland! We took 8 days, (2 driving from Oregon, 4 Park Days, 2 driving home).
Our kids were ages 8, 6, 5, 5, 4.


I made snack containers for each of us!
 I added a variety of snacks that would not go bad like fruit, or get too messy, like applesauce etc...

We included all GF friendly snacks: 
Cheetos, Popcorn, Whole grain chips, fruit snacks, Dry cereal, Pretzels, Larabars and cookies. 

Everyone had their own snacks with their own name on it. The idea was that  they could pick and choose what they were in the mood to eat at the time and eventually make their way through the tub.

The plan was to put them under their seat so they would have them with in reach as we stopped for breaks. However, our suburban was getting the check up for our trip weeks before and it turns out we needed a new engine! WHAT?! Yep that wasn't my favorite piece of news. SO thankfully we had our second 8 passenger vehicle available and squeezed into it. So my plan for room got tight real quick.

What I would do different:
Put 7 of the same snacks in each tub, this way we can condense tubs when empty and just pass around one tub as needed. We ended up having to store most of them in the back because of space issues. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: From Carrie at Reading to Know

Last weekend I attended the Called to Love conference for foster and adoptive moms in Silverton, Oregon. It was a wonderful, reflective time away and I was blessed to have my book, What Led Me to You, at a table.

One lady chatted with me and we bonded over the fact that both of our names are Carrie! :) She bought my book and started reading it that night. She connected with me the next day because she realized we had a connection more than just our names. We had been through similar trauma.

After returning home from the weekend I got an email from this mama and she let me know that writes book reviews! Who knew? So she passed on this book review that is from her heart as she reflects on her own story and her response to What Led Me to You.

I have to say it brought me much joy knowing that God used our story and what we went through to touch this woman's life and help her share something that she had been holding onto all of these years. God is good. I am so passionate about connecting with other parents, and it is my hope that our story will help them feel less alone in their own journey. So it was such an honor to meet this sweet lady. :)

Here is her book review:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Review: Fostering Families Today magazine

Fostering Families Today magazine is such a great resource for Foster Parents. 
I am honored to have had a voice in their magazine over the last several years. 

So today I am thrilled to share with you Fostering Families Today's 
book review for What Led Me to You in their Sept/Oct 2015 issue. 

Be sure to check out their magazine and find out how you can get a hard copy or an online version: 

A subscription to Fostering Families Today magazine would be a great gift idea for the foster parent in your life! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Photo Ledge- Afternoon DIY

I am excited to share with you my latest project...Photo Ledge for my entry way!

We moved into our house over two years ago and I was eager for decorations to get up on the wall. So the BEFORE picture is what we looked at...and I loved it! However, as the years went on and the rest of the decor in the house came together I realized that the black frames were not meshing well with my new love of lightening up the house by using, natural colors, whites, and blues. 

Another reason I wanted to change this entryway look was every time I shut the door the frames that were hanging before tilted from one side to another. They never hung perfectly straight. :(  I was constantly looking at crooked pictures or adjusting their direction.

So I stared at that entry wall for several months before having time and my plan put together. And now that it is done I am happy to share it with you~

Here is our BEFORE and AFTER look and I am in love with it.

With having a large family, it is simply too hard to choose which photos to put up. What I LOVE about the photo ledge is how easy I can change the direction of a frame, add a new photo or even a new frame all together. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

DIY Homework Station

I am so behind on our vacation posts from this summer but wanted to share my excitement with you from my little DIY project!

This next year I will have four of my five kids in all day school and at the same school! It is going to be much different from this last year when I had kids with so many different start and stop times at three different schools.

So I am getting a little excited about how my routine at home will look. Last year I left every hour to pick someone up or drop them off or to take them to therapy. all of my day dreaming about this year coming up I did a little bit of prep work. Lets just say I am sure I looked like a crazy lady stalking the school supply isle at the store with supply lists for four kids. It is a good thing I went during a quiet time or things could have been rough for the other shoppers.

After bringing home, what felt like the entire school supply section I sorted (with the help of my two oldest girls who are organizers after my own heart) and we stuffed each backpack with their needed supplies.

Then came the fun part... 
Our own little organization station for homework folders, library books, and permission slips. 

I found this at my local office supply store and I did a little happy dance in the store when I saw that it had exactly five sections for my five kids. (Our two foster kids are expected to return to parent before the fall, and are not in school this next year.)

I was tempted to spray paint it white and I still might do that later on but for now it is perfect. I added their names in Sharpie and am so pleased with how it turned out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Guest Blog Post at God-Sized Dreams

It was such an honor to have the opportunity to share my story, my heart, with the God-Sized Dreams audience today! Be sure to head over there and read how God walked my family through the unexpected.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Magazine Article: Trigger Day

I have had the privilege of working with Fostering Families Today magazine over the last few years. They included my article, Trigger Day in their July/August 2015 issue of the magazine. It is my hope that this article will connect and relate to other foster parents who are also living in the trenches.

You can read my article below:

You can find copies and subscription information to Fostering Families Today magazine at

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: from Jessica Good at

Jessica Good, wrote a sincere book review for my book, What Led Me to You at She really captured so much of what I was hoping would come across in the book and I am so honored that she took the time to share her heart with all of you!

You can find the full review here:

To read more from Jessica, check out her blog:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview: Adoption Reflections Radio Show

It was an honor to share my story with the Adoption Reflections radio show, located in Colorado. 
If you missed it you can listen to it HERE

It is about an hour long…I get introduced about about five minutes in, as you click on the link above.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My guest post on Not Alone

What an honor to be able to share an excerpt of my book with the Not Alone audience. 

You can find it here! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My book is here!

This is such a fun moment! I got to hold my proof copy in my hands yesterday and it looked amazing! So, I am happy to announce that my memoir, What Led Me to You, How a mother's faith and family grew in ways she never expected is finally here!

Get your copy today!

Here are a few more pictures! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Busy Bee....

.....has been working hard!

We are close to publication! Soon, What Led Me To You will be available on and a few other places!

 These last few weeks have been busy for our family. Not only with all of the chaos that comes with having seven little kids at home but I have been spending the late night hours and nap times getting this going.

I am adding the finishing touches to the interior and working on the cover design! I have been blessed to have a few amazing, talented people work with me as we pull the last finishing touches together.

So check in now and then because I hope to soon announce that we are finished!

I am so excited and terrified. Is it bad that my eye is twitching? :)

So just a quick note today before I run out the door to take the littles to preschool.

Much love.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Certificate of Merit

Look what came in the mail today!

Last month I found out that I made the top 15 finalists for the Deep River Book's Writer's contest for my manuscript, What Led Me To You!

How fun to get the actual certificate in the mail today.

Keep your eyes open for more publishing announcements to come!  :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

African-American Hair Care Week #3

My sweet girl wanted a pony tail this week.

Bath time went great, her hair has been staying soft and untangled for the most part.

This week was the first week we didn't have anxiety about hair day or meltdowns over it. In fact, M was looking forward to it. We have special time while the other littles are napping and she gets to watch a movie on the counter.

Our look for this week! Super cute and girly. 
This week I was eager to give her a new part since the last two styles had her hair parted down the middle. I wanted to give her hair a break and have it in different directions. So I started with a braid centered on the top of her head with a new area parted.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Controlling the Chaos: Traveling with the littles.

Traveling with littles.

Going to the doctor with our group can be a huge adventure! :) The picture below is six of my kiddos while my oldest daughter was still in school. 

My new foster son put a bead up his nose, yep, he did.  Surprisingly, this was a first for me as a parent. It was way up there and we all had to go in, to a new doctor mind you, since he and his sister just came into my care a week earlier. 

Planning so we are early or on time: 
I have learned that the more I am rushing everyone, the more they are bound to meltdown from the stress. So for the sanity of everyone involved, I work hard to keep at a calm pace. This gives me extra time when I suddenly lose my keys while buckling everyone in the car and spend over ten minutes looking under all of their bums and carseats trying to find them; or for the times when the seatbelt has been pulled over and over by one of the kids and completely locks up and won't stretch to the buckle, and it won't retract because it is tangled in the carseat loop; or on the mornings when I hadn't even had time to look outside and I see that my car is completely frozen over. I plan in order to make time for the chaos. :)

When we arrive at our destination and sometimes even while we are driving to our appointment, I go over all of the rules before we get out of the car. I talk to the kids about walking with a buddy and staying in our group while we cross the parking lot. I remind them we have to have quiet voices in the waiting room with no fighting or fussing. I let them know that I packed a special treat and if they can do these things, then they get a treat when we get back to the car to head home. I usually keep it a surprise so the anticipation keeps them going. Otherwise they sometimes decide that it isn't worth whatever I have. :) 

Controlling the Chaos: Large Family Style

So I love a good organized system. I have lived and learned, the hard way sometimes, how to get rid of  unnecessary chaos. Below are some of our new and improved systems in place since our two new littles joined our family. Right now we have kids ages, 8, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3. Take a peek below and see how we add a little organization to our lives. :) 

One of the easiest decisions I made was to give each child a day of the week. If it is their assigned day then they get to make special choices, they get to serve snacks and meals to the other kids (one of their favorite things to do), and they get to be the line leader when it is time to go. This completely eliminated arguing over who's turn it was to do something special and fighting over every single time there was a choice to be made. 

Now they all ask, "Who's day is it?" And problem solved! With five kids we did the weekdays and my husband and I got to make choices or it was a free-for-all on the weekends, but now we have seven kids to fill seven days a week! 

Lining up to go out the door for school can be chaotic when you have tired kids.
So to eliminate the pushing and shoving I created line up spots that give each kid their own bubble space. I started after the door mat so I have the space to unlock the door before everyone piles out. The rule is that if it is their special helper day as mentioned above, then they get to be the line leader that day. The rest of the spots are free choice.  When the kids are ready with their shoes, coat, and backpack they get to go line up and I know they are ready to go. They love it and it has worked so well! This is one of my favorite ways we control the unneeded chaos. No more crowding each other, knocking each other over, there is a perfect amount of bubble space marked with painters tape on the floor.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dahlin-07: Update for our family.

For a while you can call the kids, Dahlin-07. (My husband is proud of his play on 007) Almost two weeks ago we had two new foster kids join our family. Here is my attempt to share with you how God has called us to this place, as foster parents, once again. 

My husband and I had been praying about adopting again for quite some time. We put that on hold after we learned that our son had a bio sister that was born but after she didn't come to us, we decided to officially continue the adoption process.

In December of this last year, as part of our annual giving-back gift, we were told about two kids in foster care who could use some extra gifts. So we gave the gifts, and I ended up connecting with their foster mom afterward online. We became an online support to each other but that was about it. The kids we gave gifts to were African-American siblings, a four-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. 

African-American Hair Care Week #2

Here are more of our hair care adventures….I hope you enjoy and get inspired!

This is our finished style for week #2