Our growing family

Our growing family

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas pictures...

I was hopeful on Sunday morning that we would be able to get at least ONE family picture by the Christmas tree at church. If you have children then you know about the daunting task of trying to get all of your children to look at the camera at the same time and perhaps even smile at the same time too! Our sweet friend, Cathy Coker, took a few pictures for us and we are so thankful. We actually had a few of them turn out really well! I was so excited when I saw several pictures of our precious family looking and smiling at the camera AT THE SAME TIME...it's the little things that make this mommy happy nowadays!!! Happy Monday everyone:)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In LOVE...

Last Friday we welcomed our third bundle of joy into the world. Preston Tucker was born on December 2, 2011 at 5:49pm. We are all absolutely in LOVE with him. Leah and Jay Tyler have been so sweet and attentive to Preston. They love to kiss him and hold him. It has honestly been just a sweet time of adjusting as a family of five. Preston is a very content, sweet baby and he seems to love all the noise and commotion at our house (not that he really has a choice!)

I love the stages all of my kiddies are in right now. I love...

*the way Jay Tyler sings the ABC song...abcdefg...qrs...lmnop...next time sing with me

*when Leah snuggles with me on the couch and says "I love you to the moon and back"

*how Leah and Jay Tyler both stop playing just to check on baby Preston and make sure he is ok

I'm sure hard days are coming but for today I will savor these precious moments!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our camping adventure...

This post is LONG overdue ... I found our pictures from camping and realized that I had wanted to blog about our adventure but then life got busy and I forgot. Sorry for the 6 week delay...

For the second year in a row, we have gone camping over Labor Day weekend with friends at Davidson River campground in Pisgah National Forest. We discovered last year that we LOVED camping as a family and wanted to make it an annual event. So this year we got a bigger campsite and camped with some of our best friends for four days and nights. We had 10 adults and 7 kiddies (all age 4 and under) on our campsite. Each day was FULL of excitement, laughter, good food, and just a little bit of crying...I mean with 7 kiddies, one of them is bound to be unhappy right?!?

We slept in a tent, roasted marshmellows by the fire, and even enjoyed a little adult time playing games at night once all of the kiddies went to sleep. We also went to SLIDING ROCK and both of my brave and daring kiddies went down the cold, wet rock with daddy! Leah liked it so much that she went down at least a dozen times with Todd before he was worn out! On another day, we went hiking and saw a beautiful waterfall! Jay Tyler absolutely LOVED the whole camping experience. He was right by daddy's side while Todd was building camp fires, cooking, or exploring nature. We are already looking forward to our camping adventure next year...with more kiddies in tow:)

Leah Bear turns 4!

I really can't believe that I have a four year old today...I can honestly remember almost every moment and little detail of the day that Leah was born in the hospital four years ago. I remember holding her for the first time and being amazed at the beauty God had created through Todd and myself. Leah is our first born child and our only daughter. She holds a special place in my heart because she was the first to teach me about unconditional love, grace, and sacrifice as a mother. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with the ability to stay home with Leah and Jay Tyler over the last two years and watch them learn and grow on a daily basis.

I love how Leah laughs and giggles at the smallest things in life. I love the way she cares for Jay Tyler and helps him do "big boy" things on a daily basis. I love to hear her pray for her friends and family. I love to watch her play with her babies and pretend to be their teacher or mother. I love that I get to watch first hand when she learns something new or has a new experience. I love when she wants me to hold her and play with her hair. The past four years have been full of love, laughter, and great memories. I look forward to watching Leah grow into the beautiful young woman God has designed her to be!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Adoption update...

Well, it has been awhile since I actually posted any updates on our adoption...NOT because we aren't still in love with our precious "Baby Ethiopia" but because we don't have anything new and exciting to report to everyone. We are still on the waiting list and moving VERY slowly up towards the top.

Our current numbers are...
#25 for boys 0-12 months old
#28 for girls 0-12 months old
#8 for boys 12-24 months old
#14 for girls 12-24 months old

The courts are closed in Ethiopia right now due to the rainy season over there and they will remain closed until October. This will probably cause things to SLOW DOWN even more. We are simply trusting in God's timing for our family right now and trying not to worry about the details. Baby Preston is due to arrive around December 2nd and we are hoping and praying hard that "Baby Ethiopia" will arrive before the end of next year. For now, we are still saving, saving, saving and spending precious time with our little ones before they grow up too quickly!

We greatly appreciate all of your questions, concerns, and most importantly prayers. We are truly blessed to have so many friends and family members that are praying for our adoption journey and "Baby Ethiopia".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vacation...part 2!

On Wednesday night, we left Delaware and headed half way home. We stopped in Norfolk, Virginia and spent the night in a hotel. We woke up bright and early on Thursday morning and headed to the zoo in Norfolk. We had a great time but IT WAS HOT!!! We rode the train around the zoo and checked out all of the animals. We left around lunch time and headed back to South Carolina. We got home around 6pm. We had to quickly unpack and repack our luggage because at 5am on Friday morning we were off again for another adventure...this time in Florida! Todd's uncle Mike retired from the post office after 40 years of service and we wanted to be there to celebrate with him and most of Todd's family. It was a fun weekend in Orlando, Florida with lots of family. We were definitely excited about sleeping in our own beds on Sunday night. It was a great ten days with lots of adventures but "There's no place like HOME"!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vacation...part 1

We went on vacation for ten days and traveled through 7 states. Our first stop was in Lewes, Delaware. We stayed there from Saturday - Wednesday night. My mom's best friend, Bobbi, lives up there and invited us to stay at her beach condo. We really enjoyed our time up there and look forward to going back again some day!

The beach was very calm and relaxing. Todd and the kiddies enjoyed playing in the sand and collecting beautiful rocks. They even found a few surprises in the water.

Leah is telling Jay Tyler about all of the historic things she learned about Lewes, Delaware in the book she got at the book store.

There was a great park right near the beach condo that we played at one morning while we were there. Mommy and daddy enjoyed the big swing too!

We went on a "tour" of the Overfalls boat near the park too! The kiddies loved exploring the boat.

We enjoyed being spoiled by Mr. Drake too. He had juice boxes for us, showed us how to look for crabs in the marsh, and fed us icecream:)

Mr. Dean took us on a beautiful boat ride while we were there too. Todd and I enjoyed the peaceful water while the kiddies ate and then took naps on the boat. Thanks Mr. Dean!

Stayed tuned for the next part of our trip...the Virginia zoo!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The American Dream...

Big house, white picket fence, two nice cars, money in the bank, 2.5 kids...this is what we as Americans live for right?...what makes us happy right?...after all, this IS the American Dream right? That is what Todd and I thought for several years until last summer...

Todd and I have never had what some might call a BIG house or really nice cars but we definitely don't live in the pits either. We have always had money in the bank for "just in case". We never had specific conversations about needing or wanting the "American Dream" but somehow before we even blinked we had it in just five short years of marriage. Last summer on our anniversary trip, we began discussing what we had "accomplished" in our marriage so far and we both mentioned the "material things" in our lives that most couples in America have by at least their 30's. Of course, we also mentioned our two adorable HEALTHY children too! On the outside, most people would say "We had it all!" but somehow we felt like something was missing...this life was TOO EASY...our "things" were not making us THAT happy.

A month later, Todd and I both started reading VERY CHALLENGING books that tested everything we had ever done or thought about our lives. Todd began reading RADICAL by David Platt and I began reading RED LETTERS by Tom Davis. We quickly realized that we wanted and needed more than the "American Dream". We felt that as Americans and most definitely as Christians that we needed and wanted more in our life...we wanted to help others and be changed through and by it! We wanted our children to grow up living out the ole' saying "It is better to give than receive." We wanted our children to see God's love through not only our words but our actions too! Two months later, God called us on our adoption journey to Ethiopia. We have learned in less than a year that adoption is not for the weary...it is a long and emotional road. We have not even seen our sweet child's face but already tears have been shed for him/her...sacrifices have been made to bring our child home...questions have been answered over and over again about why and how...this is OUR new American Dream! We don't want "things" to define us anymore but what we do and say for Christ.

This past week I have thought a lot about the "stuff" we have in America and how much we take even the little things for granted. We are cleaning out all of our "stuff" and making room for the two new little ones coming into our lives in the next year or so and we are selling as much as we can to raise money for our adoption. We have so much "stuff" just sitting at our house...not being used...we didn't even remember some of the things we had boxed up in our attic. Why do we hold onto "stuff"...do we think it defines who we are...do it make us greater the more we have? I watched a video about the drought happening in Africa...specifically in Ethiopia right now. The video showed women literally unsure how they were going to feed their children today or any day in the future. They were thirsty for just one glass of water. They had no house or job. Children lost their parents to famine and disease. It broke my heart and literally made me sick to my stomach. I have never gone a day of my life without food, water, clothes, shelter...and yet often I say "we don't have enough money". We have plenty of money! Our children never worry over their basis needs.

My hope is that OUR new "American Dream" will be to serve others first and foremost...to give to those in need instead of spending unnecessary money on ourselves...to teach our children the value of loving others despite their economic status or race...for life to never be "too easy" again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We have a name!!!

So our little boy has a name now!!! PRESTON TUCKER DUFRIES:) Ironically, he will be named after a Florida baseball player in this year's college world series. Go Gamecocks! Todd and I watched ALL of the games at the college world series this year. There was a really good player on the Florida gators team named Preston Tucker. Everytime we both heard his name, we would look at each other and say that we really liked his name and how it sounded. We both agreed that if we had a boy then that would be HIS name too! There was one little hiccup...we also have close family friends who have a son named Preston as well. We felt like we needed to make sure they didn't mind us using the name and it wouldn't be ackward for them. So, a few weekends ago we asked them and they were fine with us using the name...YAY!!! So, PRESTON TUCKER DUFRIES will arrive sometime at the beginning of December.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jay Tyler turns 2!

It is so hard to believe that my little man turned 2 yesterday. It just seems like we brought him home from the hospital. Jay Tyler has brought so much joy, adventure, and a little mischief:) into our lives over the last two years. We love him so much! We partied hard on Saturday and Sunday with so many friends and family members!