teaching them the ways of the court

we are a family of tennis players. my mom taught my brother and i when we were kids and we often have family tournaments and wonderful afternoons of laughter enjoying each other.

the kids have loved learning to play and we've been spending wonderful mornings playing together at the local courts.

i can't wait to someday have them join in the family tournaments and be able to carry on our tennis transitions.


the fair in town {lone rider}

the kids look forward to the fair every summer, and our house is only a few blocks from the annual fairgrounds.

 last year, emery didn't even get out of the stroller. this year? i should never have brought the stroller...she wanted nothing to do with sitting around. my gal wanted to try every.single.ride.
we were most surprised when she hoped on the little train all by herself (because we were out of tickets for brothers to ride with her :) and she was all smiles.
big brother, on the other hand, was like a worried old man, hovering over her, waving, and telling her to keep her hands inside the train :)

it was adorable.

but the highlight, was a fish named "squirmy," won at the ping-pong ball game. he promptly died 3 days later, but we have since replaced him with "squirmy #2." i'm morbid and hope "squirmy #2" bites the dust soon. fish and i don't get along :)


friends {the truest blessing}

friends are of the truest blessings in life.
it is such a treasure to have dear friends to walk side by side in life, and have them understand the adoption journey in ways other families don't.
siblings who have different shades of skin and features that are shaped differently is typical to us. it's the way our family is supposed to be. i often forget we are multi-cultural until someone points it out. i love being with other families who are beautifully blended like us.

(the highlight of our day together...the overspray from giant fountains)


mini vacation {beachTuff coming soon}

foster had one request for his birthday: a beach day.
my husband couldn't take the day off of work, so the kids and i threw some food in the car, a few buckets and shovels and headed to the closest beach we could find (which happened to be atlantic city...slightly over commercialized as you will see from the giant billboards everywhere :)

last year, miss emery was very fearful of the water. she cried when waves came close and stayed miles away from any wet substance potentially hitting her toes.

this year?? well, i'll let the pictures speak for themselves :)

these are the only 3 pictures i have of the birthday boy from our trip. he literally NEVER stops moving and pictures aren't high on his priority list. the only thing that took him out of project mode was the world championship sand sculpting event. it was amazing to see them working!!

as a side note, we took very few things to the beach, but even traveling light made it nearly impossible to get our gang and stuff to the beach. i opted for the running strolling thinking it would roll nicely...not so. it was all i could muster to get us to the shoreline...let alone the TWO bathroom breaks we took and trekked all the way back to the boardwalk.

our difficulty getting to the beach made me that much more excited for the incredible beach caddy that my sister in law is working on!! clint's dad invented a beach chair that would double as a caddy over 20 years ago...and now, his sister, Julie, is making that dream a reality!! her company name is beachTuff and is soon to be a household name!!
the caddy not only carries all of the beach necessities (chairs, toys, food, junk, etc) but it converts to a beach chair and the base has a built in water sprayer and cooler!!
i've been honored to be working with the beachTuff marketing team as one of the writers on the beachTuff blog and doing pinterest research.
take a peek and spread the news! the trek to the beach will never be the same once these babies hit the sand!!


our comfort level {she & i}

we've been having long nights around here.
she cries a lot in her sleep, searching for my voice.
a few words from me comfort her back to slumber.
i often marvel at how her restless sleep is so similar to my restless days.
i often whine to myself and feel the pain of my restless nature while my Creator waits to comfort me, if only i would call out to Him. instead, i often distract myself with my phone, or food or the busyness of life...distractions that don't bring any true relief.

she receives comfort better than i.
she is an amazing example of calling out and trusting the voice of comfort will come.
she starts each day fresh and new and each day i learn so much from her.       



Real Friends {Know Your Heart}

the mailman brought me a giant box of love yesterday.
filled with beautiful japanese crafting and stationary supplies, washi tape (!!!!!) trinkets and candies and tote bags, the kids and i studied each item as if it were buried treasure. a dress for Emmy made her squeal with delight.
the internet is a real place, my friends. i know, i know, it's a cyber world and it's not real. filters make life look pretty when in reality laundry and clutter are everywhere. but real people are here. and some are brave enough to be real about life and motherhhood and the challenge of playing the many roles each of us are called to play with excellence. amongst the filters and hub-bub i've found real inspiration. real friends. and this box of love is from someone i've never met. never spoke words to. but she knows my heart and hears my story. i often think of her and pray for her as she goes through her day. shed tears at her courage and been inspired to love deeper and with greater passion by the way she lives her life. she's been a constant voice of encouragement, even back in the early days before Emmy came home and my heart was broken from missing her. this friend is of the dearest kind.
thank you for filling a box of love for us, sweet @skippee. you are the sweetest of all treasures.


spray paint crazy {trashpicked table & suitcases}

i get antsy. there are days that i need to create something or i might just implode...and given my DIY tactics, i'm not prone to having a plan.
sometimes, i love what i come up with, like this trash picked table. i found it on a nearby sidewalk a few months ago and man handled it into the van, while cars swerved past, honking in annoyance. if they only could see it now...white paint and gold "socks"...they would have cheered at my goldmine roadside find.

and then other times, i start with an idea and can't decide how to finish it, like these suitcases. so the project sits for a while...days, weeks or months. these suitcases have fallen victim to my indecisiveness. thanks to some great instagram friend suggestions, i think the bottom case will get painted a slightly darker shade of blue to ground it a bit, or maybe just the outside? or maybe redo them all in hombre shades?
uhg. poor little suitcases. i probably should have just left them all brown and vintage looking :)

celebrating foster {7th year of boyville}

7 years ago today, i became a mom.

a mom to a most fantastic and joy-filled son. he 'gets' me in ways that many other people don't and loves me unconditionally. he loves to invent and create together. he thinks outside the box and challenges me to embrace who i am as i watch his boldness. i never imagined my child would bring such truth to my life.
he is ever compassionate, honest, trustworthy and passionate about life.
i can't wait to see all this boy will conquer for God's kingdom on his wild adventures.
i'm honored to be the one to call him son.

(the awesome m&m filled cake was an idea from a friend...the kids LOVED it!! the secret? bake 4 layers of cake and cut a circle out of the middle 2 layers. fill the hole with any kind of candy you want and add the top layer of cake. the candy spills out everywhere, much to the delight of everyone :)


my on-the-fly DIY {sidewalk}

i'm really good at starting projects.
i'm sort of good at finishing projects.
and i'm an expert at throwing something together while having no idea of the correct way to accomplish it.

i thrive on figuring things out on the fly and i love learning by making mistakes doing.

my husband? #notsomuch.
he does things the right way. the real way. no shortcuts. no "figuring out on the fly."
when we are at target and i've filled the cart with wayyy to many targety items, i randomly put discarded things on any nearby shelf.
my husband? he literally carries every item back to it's appropriate shelf.

so, when it comes time to do a project, let's just say we don't always go about it the same way :)

a few weeks ago, i decided it was high time we put a walkway in front of our house. we had free pavers from a friend, so i figured it can't be too hard to dig a path and lay those babies out.

i gave all the kids shovels and we started digging. randomly. no measuring, or any idea of how to actually make a walkway. i wheel barreled loads of dirt until i couldn't walk. it was a looong day.
i gave up.

the next weekend, my sweet husband helped me finish it the right way. he taught me how to find a square edge when there isn't one and he showed me how to make a herringbone paver pattern.
he's amazing.

** our instagram feed is my new blog. feel free to say hi! @angiedweldon


little miss preschool

our little lady started preschool 3 weeks ago. we are thankful that she was accepted into a small, mini-preschool twice a week for an hour and a half. her teachers are speech therapists and the class specializes in verbal communication.

she was super nervous that first morning. very quiet and reserved. her brother clipped a 'kiss me' key chain on her backpack so anytime she felt sad at school she could kiss the bear and remember mommy is coming back soon. big brothers love her so well.

me on the other hand? i'm quite un-ready for her to be away from me. it's a short amount of time...but it feels L-O-N-G. so i fake it. we talk happily about school every so often, trying hard not to over talk it, all the while i dread every moment.

since that first day, recovery has been a process. she started reverting to previous fear based behaviors and refusing to be comforted. her nightmares have returned, so she sleeps every night on her little bed on the floor next to ours.

i can feel her despair. she cries differently. holds me tighter. sits quieter.
there is so much below the surface...real moments of grief that appear in unpredictable places.
i am blessed that she allows me to stand in the gap next to her. my child knows things about life no child should ever experience.

we do a lot of repetition when we find fear triggers. for example, we repeat her school routine over and over: "get out of car, hang up backpack, circle time, snack, games, MOMMY COMES BACK" over and over and over. she repeats "mommy comes back, mommy comes back" over and over.

her look in this shot so describes how the past few weeks have felt. when i ask her how she felt about school after the first day, she said one word: "bad."

today, her 6th day at school, she came home all smiles, telling me about a friend she sat next to at circle time and goldfish she ate at snack. she smiled and showed off her art project to brothers.
today was a good day.

we push through, even when i don't want to. even when i want to pull her out of school for another year...i know she needs to conquer this fear. i don't want to give her the injustice of living a life of fear. a warrior runs toward the battle, and in this little warrior's life, this is a very real battle we must run toward together.


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