September 25, 2018

She is OURS!!!

Introducing Brinna Louise Allred with her very happy family of seven!

She is legally and officially ours and we are beyond thrilled and relieved to have that be so!

She has been a light in our family ever since she joined us at two days old straight from the hospital. (I am hoping to write her story of joining our family soon.)

As soon as she entered our home, she entered our hearts. We have been smitten by her these past 13 months. Even with all the unknowns of foster care, all along the spirit has whispered so much peace to me that we would be adopting her. Having that day finally come was amazing!

We gathered at the court house with some of our family and good friends. It meant so much to have the support of loving people there with us to celebrate this happy day.

The adoption went smoothly. Each member of our family said their name for the judge.

Eric and I were sworn in.

Under oath, we answered the questions that led to the judge proclaiming Brinna adopted.


September 24, 2018

a weekend

My body was aching all weekend from the new chemo, but the kids keep me going. 

I took Perry to his first baseball game of the season on Saturday morning. Wow, was it hot at 8am. His hitting is improving so much this year! I love to see his progress from season to season.

While I had Perry at baseball, Eric took the rest of the kids to the boys’ soccer game. I heard it was a good game and they came away with a tie! This picture is not from that morning, but I love these handsome boys.

E and I really try to go on a date each weekend. They have not been very exciting dates lately because we just go last minute to grab a simple dinner if I’m feeling up to it, but B is usually our tag along and we love that.

These kapla blocks are really one of my favorite toys. They were so pricy, but so worth it! This is Layla’s latest display on our entryway table.

Sunday was the primary program at church. For whatever reason, our ward didn’t have a practice on Saturday and quite honestly I didn’t even realize it was going to be the program until Friday. There wasn’t really any communication this year. Or maybe I missed it. So Layla had a super short window to memorize her part, but she totally did it. She said her part beautifully on Sunday and was so proud. Perry also practiced his part at home and did it well with his primary teacher’s help during sacrament meeting. Because there wasn’t a Saturday practice, Perry wasn’t as prepared for the program. A few songs after he did his part, he was having a difficult time up there in front of everyone, so Eric snuck up there and took him out. But I am so proud of my two primary kids and the part they played in contributing to a beautiful program. 

We don’t see my parents nearly as often as we should, but they had us over for dinner last night. For no particular reason, it was a really nice evening. Layla and my mom sorted through a box of my grandma’s frogs. Layla was in heaven with this activity with her grandma. 

Perry’s bum hardly left the electric wheelchair—he loves driving that thing around the house. He even took his baby sister for a ride.

It was a simple, but nice weekend.

September 22, 2018

seven a.m. freewrite

It's a Saturday morning, almost 7 am, and our house is quiet. I know my kids will be waking up soon, but I wanted to take advantage of this rare moment, in which I am feeling decent enough to sit in a chair AND the kids are still sleeping, to type at the computer.

My body has been aching these last few days from my new chemo. Aching I tell you! I tried to take a bath because soaking in hot water definitely helps, but the tub in our house is actually only long enough for me to extend my legs fully if I'm sitting up so it's slightly frustrating when my, feet, ankles, knees, and back all want to be in the water at the same time. This is the first time I've regretted the fact that we did not put in a hot tub out back with our pool.

I took the boys to soccer practice the other day and I did not sweat when I stood outside. It was actually a cool, comfortable temperature and my heart leaped a bit that maybe the end of the Arizona hot season was in sight. I felt hopeful at least.

The desk that I am sitting it right now is littered in 9th grade papers, folders, headphones, and an ipod charger. Kyler has insane amounts of homework each night, but I am so proud of how he is managing it all and learning so much. We keep telling him this will be his hardest year and then his class load will get easier to manage each year. This kid has a thing for his headphones and music. Somedays it drives me crazy and I have to ask him to take those things out of his ears and other days I bite my tongue and let him do what works for him.

It is now seven am and I need to step away from the computer and start my day. There are baseball and soccer games today. There is a house that is crying out for someone to clean it up. And I'm hoping that we squeeze in a trip to Bahama bucks or a even a date night if I'm feeling well enough the rest of the day.

September 15, 2018

Perry's baptism

It was such a special day. Perry was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

We tried really hard to prepare Perry for this important decision. We talked about baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost as often as we could. We read the Book of Mormon to him (though we didn’t quite finish before his baptism). It’s so hard sometimes to know how much he understands. Communication can be tricky. I know some things were confusing to him. But he did tell me that he knew baptism was important and he was happy to get baptized. 

We gathered at the stake center so we could start the baptism at 10am and be done by 10:30am. We knew Perry would do best if we kept it short and we had our own program separate from the other child in our ward getting baptized that day. Everyone was very accommodating to his needs and it worked out perfectly.

We were so grateful for the family and friends that came to support Perry. The room was filled! And it meant so much to our family to be surrounded by people who we love and to feel their support. I wish I had a picture of everyone!

The program was short and sweet. Kyler and Kacin each gave the perfect talks. Perry did well when it was time to go into the water. His arm and foot came up the first time so he had to be baptized again. When he came up out of the water the second time, he asked so sweetly “I did it?”

Layla had a special job to do, too. While Eric and Perry were changing back into their regular clothes, she announced to everyone to write a note for Perry and passed out markers and notecards. I was proud of her for speaking in front of such a big crowd. She took her job very seriously.

After the baptism, we invited everyone back to our house for food. I had a few angel friends who had asked ahead of time what they could do to help.  Normally, I would have graciously declined any help, but my head kept telling me to accept the help this time. I’m so glad I did and I am so thankful for kind, thoughtful people. They brought cookies, cut up fruit, and helped me get everything set up. One of them even took these pictures, including a few of the people there.

Perry was so excited to come back to our house to watch his movie. I put together a video on iMovie with pictures of him and music. We had that video playing on the tv while everyone was here. When I first put it together the video was over 30 minutes long! I have way too many pictures of my cute kids. I worked on it some more and was able to bring it down to half the time. 

We tried to do a photo shoot with Perry (twice actually). Jacqui was so kind to take his pictures! The first time the sun was too bright in his eyes. The second time, we met at the temple at the end of the day and he was super crabby about the whole thing. His smiles were fake and forced and he just wanted that tie off. This picture pretty much sums up how it went.

Jacqui was able to get a few other sweet pictures of him. (Thank you, Jacqui!) We totally put my phone in the Book of Mormon to get this first picture. Ha!

A tradition in our family when you turn 8 and get baptized is to receive your own nice set of scriptures. We took Perry a few weeks earlier to pick out his scriptures and case. Eric said a few words and presented his scriptures to him on Sunday before church. (Grammie gave him those tic tacs, as well as a few other things, he is clutching to put in his scripture case. He was excited to bring them to church and share with his friends.)

We are so very proud of Perry and happy for him that he was able to be baptized and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a perfect day.