Day 4 & 5 #knittogetherbyadoption

Why? That’s a good question. Why do we foster? That can probably be answered differently depending on the day, or honestly, my mood. What first peaked my interest into the foster care world was the equal need between my arms needing the weight of a baby and a baby needing the security of my arms. God opened the doors of fostering both by paving the way to our being licensed and by opening the doors of our hearts. I’d be crazy to look back on this journey and think anything less than this being the plan all along.
When Baby A came home I realized that I spent a lot of time preparing for something impossible to prepare for. The love I felt for her was intense and instantaneous. I realized, looking at her that first night, that her all of 3 day old self knew more brokenness than most adults. I was about to see God build beauty from brokenness.
I’d like to put on my rosy glasses and think that the dimpled hands and chubby thighs keep me in foster care but the reality is the brokenness, abuse, pain… and hope keep me here. This system is terribly flawed towards our children and it’s quietly become my mission to stand in the gap for our kids. There’s a burning desire in my heart to love them well. To teach them their worth. To give them connection, attachment, trust, and unconditional love. To let them be little.
Day 5 of #knittogetherbyadoption asks about RAISING AWARENESS.
On of the things I’m most passionate about is teaching people the MANY ways to get involved in foster care. Before we were licensed I’ll be honest – I didn’t know much about foster care or the depth of the need. When we went to get involved it was as foster parents because I was unaware of the many avenues we could have served prior to feeling lead to grow our family this way.
Firstly, let me tell you we are NOT any better, different, more special, etc. AND we experience no less pain over the trauma of our kids than anyone else would. I do believe you have to have a calling to foster. It’s a job and its tough – no doubt about that. BUT everyone IS called to serve and there are so many ways in which to serve these beautiful children.
A few ways to immediately serve is volunteering a couple hours a month to mentoring kids. Depending on their ages you may be grabbing coffee and chatting, helping with homework, helping job search, throwing around a basketball, reading books, or snuggling the youngest of these. One of the ways we, as a family, have been served is through meals when a new babe comes. The first week especially is tough. Not only is the family adjusting but you spend A TON of time on the phone between social workers, getting the kids medical insurance set up, etc. There’s a lot of “business” to get done in that first week which takes precious bonding time away. When a meal is brought over I can’t tell you how blessed we feel!
Donating to the county, Foster Family Agencies, group homes, etc. is also a great way to get involved. Most of the time kids are taken out of a dangerous situation quickly. Most kids come into care with what’s on their back. Some maybe have a trash bag with a couple things. Hopefully they fit. Aside from bringing in clothes, toys, or toiletries, there are amazing organizations fighting for foster kids to have a little normalcy. Together We Rise is one of our family’s favorite organizations. You can buy and decorate packs from them. Their packs are duffle bags and they come with a teddy bear, blanket, and a few other things for the kids. More times than not a child is moved with a trash bag. Shame would be a good way to describe this but Together We Rise helps eliminate that. They truly are an incredible organization! PLUS the decorating parties are a blast! 
There’s seriously a way for EVERYONE to get involved in serving these children. After all, in 5,10,15 years, these children are the adults of our society. They need us now. Whether you can give an hour a week, an hour a month, or an hour a year, every minute of your time is worth SO much for these kids! AND I guarantee you’ll feel more blessed at the end than anything!

As always, please reach out if you need resources on how to get involved in your area!

Home for the Holidays

I can’t believe this year is nearly over! The holidays sure snuck up on us this year. We had a few projects on the “Must Be Done By Christmas” list but our sweet babies had other plans and I think the list has hardly been touched.
A couple things that are getting done are:
1.    The house is being painted next week! If only I can choose a color!
2.    We are putting in new baseboards to at least the bottom story
3.    The fireplace is being redone or refaced!
4.    Wainscoting is going up in the dining room
5.    The drapes are FINALLY going up on the bottom story after it’s painted! I officially have my hands on them!
6.    The hutch is being repainted
I am soo excited to get a few of these things checked off the list now that we’ve somewhat found our groove and routine with the kids. I’m so thankful for this sweet holiday time with them but I sure am excited to make our house more of our home!

This also includes getting our pictures printed for the new “baby wall” we have going on in a hallway upstairs. Our Christmas pictures turned out amazing of the kids and I can’t wait to get that wall started! I’ve come to learn in the last few years of owning a home that the projects are NEVERending! But that’s part of the fun to!

Together We Rise

I have loved the organization Together We Rise since before we even started talking about foster care. The thought of packing up the few things I want into a trash bag made me sick… I’d soon find out just how sick it made me.
They say that you never really understand something until you live it or see it firsthand. Of course this always rings true when the moment comes for you to experience something first hand. When the moment came for me, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Let me start by telling you the mission behind this organization. They have a goal of changing the look of the infamous “trash bag.” They strive to give kids in foster care duffle bags to take their stuff with them in when they move. Not only are they giving these kids duffle bags, but they are giving them hand made bags. You see, companies, individuals, whoever really can buy the bags from Together We Rise and decorate them to their liking for the kids. Then the organization adds a blanket and teddy bear to the bag and takes them to the county and FFA’s like Olive Crest to give to the kids in their care. Baby “A” came from the hospital so her belongings came in a clear bag the hospital discharged her with. Baby “J” came with a trash bag. When I saw this my heart broke in half. Here you have this scared little kid dragging a trash bag with his things in it. I experienced a feeling I hope to never feel again and it gave me a passion and fire for Together We Rise.
The following day, our FFA Case Manager came by with 2, beautifully decorated duffle bags from Together We Rise. They were filled cute designs hand drawn by someone that will probabaly never meet my children but I say to you now… You made a difference for them! “J” was soo excited about his bag! He carried it around for the rest of the day.
I strongly encourage you to look into this organization! They are local to us, based out of Brea, CA and their hearts are in the right place. I feel like people are so quick to say they could never be foster parents and I truly believe God has to place this journey on your heart bevasue it is gruling and brutal at times, however, EVERYONE can help these kids in one way or another. There is a vicious cycle with kids in foster care and there aren’t enough homes to change the cycle as a whole but there are so many other ways to wrap your arms around these kids! The LITTLEST things mean the world to these children and you will be making such a difference. Whether its taking part in an event through organziations like Together We Rise, making blankets for group homes and welcome centers, donating toys and books to the county or FFA’s, or many other ways, it all makes a difference! Big or small!

From this mama’s heart, Together We Rise I thank you! You’ve made an impact on my children and are making such an impact on the kids lives that you touch!

Opening a New Chapter

Well it’s definitely been a while since I’ve been on to write a post! A lot has happened to our little family the last past few months. As you probably know, Ryan and I became certified to foster-to-adopt. We had our final certification walk through of the house on September 30th and planned to wait (patiently?) for the two weeks the county takes to file our license. Welp, God had other plans for us! We went to dinner after our walk through and got a call from an LA County social worker asking if we’d take a placement of a precious baby girl that was just born. We prayed, talked for all of 5 seconds, and accepted the placement! Baby “A” came to us 2 days later. What a whirlwind!
We had 2 beautiful weeks to “ease into parenting” when we got another call for a placement. Actually, to clarify, we had received 4 calls within the time “A” was placed with us until the phone call I’m talking about now. For one reason or another we didn’t accept those placements… until this call came. The road to accepting this placement was long, tiring, emotional, and eventual, joyful. To shorten a long and still raw story, Baby “J” came to our home exactly, to the day, one month after “A” arrived. We could not feel more blessed to be loving on these babies. In the midst of pain and brokenness we’ve experienced God’s grace in a whole new light. He has taught us lessons we’d rather not have learned but blessed our hearts and our family far more than we could have imagined.

This holiday season has been such a joy to experience with these babies. Our home projects, housecleaning, yard work, and pretty much anything and everything else we were doing prior to October 2ndhas taken a backseat and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Now going in to Christmas we are truly experiencing joy in a whole new light! These babies have changed our life and we are so incredibly thankful!



Summer Vacation

I finally got around to uploading our vacation pictures off the camera so I thought I’d share some of this summer beauty with y’all.
In the winter my family goes to Glamis, which I have always loved but in all honestly, I live for the lake in the summer. I have some of my earliest memories from the lake as well as most of my memories of my Mom and Papa together. Needless to say, I can’t wait to make memories with our babies out on the water. For Father’s Day this year, we decided to go to Lake Mead with my Papa and stepmom and were greeted with beautiful weather and perfect water. It was Ryan and I’s only planned vacation for the summer so we were fully prepared to soak up every second away.
Even though the water is super low, there is still plenty of it and we had an absolute blast!


The Month of May…

Oh the month of May! You come around every 11 months or so and each time I have had/probably will always have a different reaction and feeling on the topic. March is a busy month for us. Its full of birthdays! Literally there are 12 birthdays (including mine) between just our families not to mention friends! So it’s busy but super fun and family filled. But May holds much more for us personally even though it only has 3 real days of events. These days have held the biggest moments of our lives though.
First comes Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate the woman that is most taken for granted in our lives. My mom was my best friend. She was the lady that I told EVERYTHING to (often embarrassing or mortifying my husband… sorry babe!). She prayed for me, prayed with me, fought with me, cried with me, cried for me, laughed with me, and she loved me unconditionally. I was often made fun of in school for how close I was to my mom but to all you who said those things… I think you’re weird to so we’re even! Any ways back to Mother’s Day. If you’ve been following me online or know me in any sort of way, you already know that I lost my mom to colon cancer a couple of years ago. Obviously, along with changing my daily life, this changed the terms of my “Mother’s Day” quite a bit. It’s a different sort of day for me now. It reminds me that the most irreplaceable person in my life is gone and can’t be pampered on this day. It reminds me what I’m missing, as if I needed reminding in the first place. It reminds me of thing and moments I regret with my mom. It reminds me I can’t go back and say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” to her again. If I were writing this post last year at this time it would have looked much different. I was excited to remember my mom on Mother’s Day last year. I had different feelings and emotions. This year I’m much more sad and I’m sure, in part, that has to do with the next topic I’ll touch on.
If you read my last few posts about our infertility struggle you already know that Ryan and I have been unable to conceive and will be doing IVF soon. If you didn’t read that and would like to, click here and here. I guess I never thought we’d have this hard a time getting pregnant. Every women in my family has become pregnant before they even wanted to and no one has had issues until after they were done having kids. I never thought years would pass of us trying. I never thought I’d be getting pregnant in a doctors office instead of our bedroom (insert cover the eyes monkey emoji!). But anyways that’s part of our story and we’re rolling with it because that’s just what you have to do I guess. But I know this Mother’s Day has been on my heart becasue we so hope to be parents and I thought we’d for sure by now be celebrating with our baby. I know God has a plan for us and right now I’m drawing near to Him to get through this weekend celebrating my sweet mama friends, my step mom, and my mother in law, all while remembering the most important person in my life, my mama!
Up next for us in May is our anniversary! Yup, May 15th I said “I Do” to my handsome hubby. This year, to celebrate, we are taking a MUCH needed weekend and going to Palm Springs. I didn’t want to travel anywhere far because half of our getaway would be traveling so we’re going about an hour away to celebrate and I could be looking forward to it more! In the craziness of everyday life it is so incredibly important to put the focus back on us so our anniversary couldn’t come at a better time.
Lastly, the most life-changing event happened in my / our lives. I lost my mom. May 24th will never look the same again. Somedays I feel like I talked to her yesterday and other days it feels like 10 years has past. I don’t think you ever stop needing your mom but I’ll tell you, I feel like I need her now more than ever. So many changes are happening in our lives right now that I so need her and her wisdom. But God is quickly showing me that He is more than capable to handle me and my issues (and I have plenty!) and most importantly, He is the safest place to rest.
I’m so thankful for the Instagram community. I’ve made so many amazing and encouraging friends through it, one of which has been MarriageMore. I listen to their podcasts and am so grateful for them. Although I don’t know them personally I feel like I have so much in common with Mandy and have learned grace and grown as a wife through their sharing. I so recommend this to everyone! I like to listen on my way to work (although I work 2 hours away and can listen to 4 or more on my way… I try to space them out!). My husband has also really grown from these. One of our biggest problems since moving has been finding our niche. Its sooo much easier making friends in high school! My high school self would laugh at me now but it’s true! We had a church and friends and family where we used to live and it’s like starting over here. We’ve been here a year next month and we really haven’t found “our place” with in the community yet.
* Side note: we FINALLY found our forever home church out here! We initially attended a Calvary Chapel because that’s where I came from before we moved, but we couldn’t really dive in and meet people. The groups met at conflicting times with our schedule and the overall atmosphere was a little older. I loved it because I am used to the Calvary teaching but I could tell it would be difficult for us to grow there so we went back on the hunt and found our perfect place! The first Sunday there I ironically knew someone! He had worked with my mom for a few years and Ryan and I felt right at home! Praise God!   
Anyways, back to MarriageMore. I finished a podcast this morning and it really spoke to my heart. I believe it’s a couple months old, but Mandy shares a few ways she’s working to become a better wife. You guys, I’m no pro by any means, but I’ve seen through real relationships in my life that the women that work on themselves everyday ultimately end up with a better marriage, better relationships, are better moms, and are just better humans in general. I’ve been in a rut all week so I needed this encouragement.
I’ve been harsh, grumpy, impatient, annoyed, and just all around moody. My husband has shown me extra grace because he knows this week is a hard one on me, but it’s still little to no excuse. If we’re friends on Instagram, you probably saw that we’ve also been fighting with Chevy regarding our lemon. Our brand new Tahoe is a lemon and I’ve been out of a car for a couple months now. We went this week to finally pick up my new car and they brought in the wrong car! I couldn’t believe it! So now that process just got more complicated and the car we wanted of course sold so they are trying to find us another one. Anyways when it rains, it pours.
I’m telling you all this to lead up to a few things God’s placed on my heart. First of all, I love Ephesians. Ephesians 5 speaks to me in such a real way right now. Partially this is because my Bible has incredible footnotes or study notes on this passage that really breaks this down in real life terms (even though this is a super easy to understand chapter… it just adds to that meaning for me). But one verse that really stood out to me was “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ… For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…” The footnote spoke about how our example of marriage is an example of Christ’s love. It painted such a beautiful picture for me of the sanctity of marriage. Then I thought about how my bad attitude is polluting my marriage… really put things in perspective for me!
Secondly, as I listed to MarriageMore’s podcast, they were interviewing Ryan and Selena Frederick of Fierce Marriage(also amazing and I’ll talk on them soon!). Ryan and Selena told a story of a friend of theirs where the wife felt lead to better love her husband as he is not as she wants him. This is so real for me right now because women and men are just different and thank goodness! But sometimes I find myself starting to resent Ryan for what I want of him that he isn’t instead of loving all the incredible and wonderful things that he is. I know everyday that God is working in me and in Ryan. God knows what I need of Ryan and He knows what Ryan needs of me. If I show Ryan unending love and support and kindness and interest in him as a person right now, God will use that to mold his heart toward the things I need that maybe aren’t 100% there. Knowledge is power and after diving into these passages and hearing these podcasts today, I know a couple of real things to work on within myself and I’m committing to work on them. Yikes! I’ll let you know how this goes!

Hubby and Wifey

I love love love my husband… He is definitely the peanut butter to my jelly. I didn’t know what the heck this meant the first time he said it to me a few years ago and honestly (funny looking back) I was kind of offended when he said it! So with his little grin he explained that we are so different but we just aren’t as good apart as we are together… AWW! I have told him multiple times that someday when I have nothing to do (insert laugh!) I will have to come up with a less food-like comparison.
It always amazes me at how different two married people can be yet how happy they are together. On paper, Ryan and I probably wouldn’t match up as friends let alone partners in life. He is very laid back, always takes others actions as kind, he is loyal, caring, gentle, sometimes lazy (haha), quiet, and he is comfortable being comfortable. I am always going a hundred miles a minute, like things done 5 minutes before you realize there was something needing to be done, I’m a straight shooter, inpatient (mostly with myself), protective of those I love, am good at giving honest opinions (if you ask, I’ll tell), I come from a loud family, am kind, caring, and mostly uncomfortable when things feel too comfortable. So yes, we do have a couple key qualities in common but as you can see, we are mostly opposites.

I have good qualities and I know I definitely have room for improvement, as we all do! I like that we are different because I think we can learn from each other. With these differences come obstacles also. I handle situations differently than Ryan. I am assertive, which can sometimes look like impatient, and expect others to work at 100% because that is how I work for others. Ryan’s roles are so different than mine. He has the patience role fit to a T. He is the builder of our house. The one to calm me down in a storm, the one who reminds me it’s okay, the one that sees the best in others. He really is the better part of me. He’s also the one that I get to encourage to do more, be better, and remind that the sky is the limit.
Most often I see our differences come out in a disagreement. Although we really don’t argue often, when we do we are reminded almost immediately that we are two very different people. Ryan is a communicator, I am a thinker. I like to be left alone for a while were as Ryan likes to talk things through (sometimes talk things straight through the ground, haha!).

All this to say, I am constantly amazed at how opposite people can love each other so strongly, live together so well, and really make two halves whole. I often tell Ryan that I’ve always prayed to have more patience and God brought me him. He is my daily reminder of how to have patience as his example of patience is nearly perfected. Along with this, he sometimes is the source of me needing to show the patience I work so hard to have… hehe J

Our Wedding Day

Like most other people (hopefully) our wedding was one of the best days of our lives. I love planning so for me, coming up with the details of our special day was amazing. We got engaged November 20, 2013 and immediately set our wedding date at our favorite winery, Leoness Cellars. The scenery at Leoness is so incredible and more importantly, it captures both Ryan and my style which is sometimes hard to do. We are both so different. In my perfect world he would have been in cowboy boots and we’d be saying “I do” in a little white chapel somewhere in a small country town, hay bales and all. But if I was saying “I do” to Ryan, (which I was and I was pretty happy about) this wouldn’t capture him at all and he’d be super uncomfortable. So out with the boots and in with the vans, haha! Although our wedding was very different from that scenario, it was one of the best nights we’ve ever had!
About half way through our planning I hired a wedding planner. This was the best decision I made because they did everything the way I would have done it, except I didn’t do it… they did and I was just along for the ride! The Yes Girls were so organized and made sure the day ran without a hitch or at least took care of any problems before they reached me (with the help of my beautiful maid of honor). It was hard for me to hand over the reigns but I’m so glad I did, as I was able to enjoy our day. People weren’t kidding when they said the day goes by way to fast! I wanted to hit life’s pause button for a couple more hours but looking back at all our fun pictures lets me relive that special day!

Ryan and I did all the projects for the wedding… it was very DIY with help from a couple close friends, my parents (thank you papa for your patience!), Ryan’s best man and his amazing girlfriend, and my maid of honor… all the way from Colorado! Ryan even built an amazing bench that everyone signed at the wedding. We are coating it with a sealant and putting it on our front porch at home.

One big thing we wanted to achieve with our wedding was thanking each person there for joining us on this journey for the last nearly 5 years by hosting a fun night full of little details honoring the moments making up our relationship. From the moment we met, each person in the room has been there in one way or another and this was our moment to reach out and thank them for standing by us and encouraging us. We’ve been though a lot in our relationship, especially though the journey of loosing my mama, and everyone at our wedding has faced life with us. We hope everyone had a blast that day from start to finish because it was as much about you as it was about us!

  

So, come walk through our wedding day with us in the pictures below! Thank you to our friends and family that celebrated this sweet time of our lives with us!

Thank you Kate Spade for comfy flats!

Thank goodness for my step mom and maid of honors patience… So many buttons!

Oops! Forgot to paint my nails… We did it right after this picture was taken.

Michelle, you’re amazing! 

The Menu

10 fun facts about Ryan and I

Our wiener dog cake topper

Everyone signed a leaf of our tree and added a note to our bench

My beautiful Maid of Honor!

Ryan’s best man walking my step mom and flowers honoring my sweet angel mama to their seats

About 5 people came up to me after the ceremony to say Ryan had tears in his eyes when we came around the corner… I love this man!

Papa and his girl

My parents-in-law, brother and sister-in-law with Ryan and I

The original Huylers

Ryan and his dad

Ryan and his brother Steven

With my parents… Just missing my mama

Mother-in-law with her daughters-in-law

Our Best Man and Maid of Honor, Cody and Jamie

Cory and Ashley

Brother and sister-in-law, Steven and Lauren

Alex and Melissa

WooHoo time for a glass of wine!

Our yummy cake!

Can’t forget the wienies!

Father/daughter dance… The only time I cried. He was telling me how proud my mom would be… Woosh thank goodness for waterproof makeup!

Mother/son dance

For those that haven’t heard the story… My wedding band was made by Jeweler’s Touch and was my moms gold bracelet melted down and dipped to match my white gold engagement ring. They did such an amazing job getting it to look exactly how I wanted and finding a way for me to incorporate this special piece of jewelry in a usable way. I think my mom would have loved it!

Thankful Heart

Happy Thursday! This week has been and still is such a busy week and not in a fun way so I thought I’d write this post on some things I’m most thankful for!

Firstly, I am thankful for a Savior that loves me and shows His never-ending grace to this sinner. He wraps His arms around me and guides me. He is compassionate and strong and He is my best friend. He has walked with me everyday of my life and whom else can you say has done this? Who else has loved you unconditionally 100% of the time? By the grace of God I am saved and serving Him is my hearts greatest desire.

I am thankful for this man of mine puts up with my craziness with a smile on his face and I couldn’t love him more. He balances my soul and loves me without condition everyday. He displays Christ’s love to me. He allows me to run his home and serve him and this does my heart well.


I’m also thankful for these 3 wiener dogs. They drive me absolutely insane and I’m pretty sure are part baby but I adore them and their unconditional pup love. We’ve been doing better walking them at night so they are pooped out and poop less in places they aren’t supposed to… well the puppy does. The other two always go outside.

I am thankful for this house we call home. We have so many projects we want to do here but we have a beautiful home to grow our marriage and family in.


I am thankful for my sweet friends that are there to celebrate the happy times and support me in the tough times. Friends that call just to listen, laugh with me, and never judge our decisions. They are always there to support our hearts.

Lastly, (on this list) I am grateful I am this angel’s daughter. I miss her more each day and the ache in my heart grows bigger at each step in the road because I don’t get to share these things with her but I know she’s rejoicing with her Savior until I see her again. I’m thankful she instilled an intense faith in Christ into my soul. I’m thankful she prayed for my heart everyday of my life. I’m thankful she loved me until the last second of her life and mostly, I’m thankful she isn’t suffering anymore.


What things are you thankful for today?