Bring Bennet Home

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I know this is late, but we were at Super Summer last week and on Father's Day. So here's my tribute to three of the men in my life. The three generations of Daddys in my life could not be any more different! But I've learned so many lessons from my Papa, Dad and husband in their own ways.

To say I adore my Papa would be a massive understatement. He is strong, quiet and faithful. He works hard, too hard these days. He loves his family and is a beautiful picture of a servant. He would literally give you the shirt off your back if he thought you needed it. He has been the two and three year olds teacher for more then 30 years at his church. He has been such a constant in my life and for that I'm eturnally grateful. God gave me the best Papa in the world and I'd be willing to argue that fact with anyone who thinks their's is any better.

My Dad and I have not always had a great relationship. He is hard for me to love and I'm hard for him too. But I have learned to be honest, work hard and do what I say I'm going to from my Dad. He may not have been able to love me like I needed him to but he always made sure we had what we needed, even at his expense or comfort. I'm thankful that my Dad and the example he has set for me, both good and bad
God gave my babies the BEST Daddy in the whole world! He continually shows us unconditional love. He takes so much from me without complaining. He is tender and patient with Tucker. He tears up with every kiss from our sweet boy. He reminds me daily of what real love looks like even when I don't show it well. I prayed for my husband for years before I met him and his ability to be a good Dad was amongst my requests but I could not have assembled a better Daddy.

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #6

We got our re-application packet today in the mail! Things are getting so very real. My heart just feels so full every time I think of our Tootsie. On and off throughout the day I'm reminded that soon our family of three will add a fourth. Sometimes it's in excited anticipation, other times it's wondering how I will manage with two babies only 20 months apart and other its just a sweet peace that fills my heart to know that I'm going to get to be a momma of two. Lately the big brother has been giving me a run for my money because he's decided sleep is overrated. I find myself to be short and easily frustrated with my current two boys and I wonder how adding another will work. But I know that this sweet baby was made to be ours, just like Tucker was, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will make it because we have to and because God doesn't give us more then we can handle.
Our Birth Mom, K, STILL has not been to the doctor and it's making me really anxious. I don't know why she's putting off going, but we are waiting to make this adoption public knowledge until we have a due date and know that things are ok. Because of the anticipation of making our big announcement and (lets be honest) my lack of control over the situation her not going has been weighing heavy on my mind. I want to know Tootsie is ok and things are looking good. I want to know K is doing well and making good choices. I want to hear a sweet little heartbeat. I want to know when we can expect this blessing to arrive. I want to know when we get to find out if Tuck will have a little brother or sister. I want to plan another nursery. All of these things are just that...wants. I know God is in control of this situation and I need to trust Him. I know He's capable of keeping Tootsie safe regardless of K or anything doctors can do. I know all of this is part of His plan. But it does make me question K and why she isn't going. In my scariest moments I wonder if she's even pregnant or if she was just using us for something. I hate that I don't feel like I can trust her word. All we can do is keep encouraging her to go to the doctor and get the ball rolling. She needs to see us be consistent and see us loving her as well as the babies she's placed in our lives.
I think that's really all that's going on. We are heading to Falls Creek next week and after we get home we are really going to get rolling in our re-application process. A home study update, grant applications and fundraising! Any fundraiser ideas from my blog friends would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Long Days

Today is one of those days. A long night has made way into a long day. I'm having to remind myself over and over that the days may be long, but the years are short. I'm trying to have a good attitude and be patient with a clingy, whiney baby but I'm tired and grippy too. Today I'd like to just disappear and sleep and do nothing by myself. Recuperating from a long week at camp is always rough, but with a 14 month old it's near impossible. And Falls Creek is looming next week, so we'll get to do this all over again then. He wants to read the same books over and over. He wants me within his sights at all times. He needs to eat, poop and sleep but needs my assistance in all of those things.
I'm trying to remember what a blessing Tucker is, that motherhood is, but it's hard. I'm trying to remember I asked for this, no begged for it. And most of all I'm trying to be grateful. But today is a long day. already.

But who can look at this face and not smile? Even on minimal sleep and a cling-bot attached to your leg?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #5

Since we found out about our little Tootsie Roll names have been running through my head all the time. I've read movie credits, eves dropped on peoples conversations in restaurants, scanned The Bump and even downloaded a baby naming app for my phone. We asked our Birth Mom to chose Tucker's middle name so he would have a name from each of us and we are planning on doing the same for this baby. We also think we'll stick with the last name as a first name theme. If you can call that a theme. But for now, here are some of the front runners for first names:
Raley/Ralie (like the chapel at OBU, where Chris & I met while at Super Summer)
The -ie's are to keep the theme of my sisters and niece who all end that way. We will have to see about the spellings.
Smith (Chris's Grandmother's maiden name)

Suggestions are welcome! As are ways you could make fun of any of these names. We want to be prepared.

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #4

As the reality sets in of having two babies twenty months apart I go back and forth between super excited and a little panicked about how I will handle two at once. Simple things like going to Wal-Mart and getting two babies out of the car and in a basket and manage to shop. I'm not sure what that will look like. Or driving to Purcell by ourselves. If Baby #2 is anything like it's big brother who HATED his car seat for most of his life I don't know that we'll all make it. Or getting some where on time. I'm not very good at this yet with just Tuck. Now we're adding another person to get fed, clothed and packed.
We also had some goals we wanted Tucker to have accomplished before another baby came along. The main one was to have Tucker potty trained by two years old, but now will have to be moved up. He needs to be totally done by 20 months to keep from having two in diapers at the same time. We'll see. (Tips about this would be much appreciated!)
I know all of these things will take care of themselves because they will have to. We will have to. But it's just overwhelming as I think through daily life. How do you hold one and chase another? When Tucker was a baby I just held him nearly all the time, but that won't be the case with our little Tootsie Roll.

Cute Story: My sweet Emrie asked about when we'd get to meet the baby and I said around Christmas and she said, "Well I am ready to see that little Tootsie Roll." Love that little spunky miss!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #3

Dear Baby,
Yesterday was a life changing day in our family. Your Birth Mom, K, called to asked if your Daddy and I if we would parent you. The response of my heart was immediately yes. How could we not? It doesn't feel like an option to me. It feels like this is how our family was supposed to be built. It feels like the most natural thing in the world.
I am your Momma. What a blessing you already are to my heart! I love you already. Just knowing I will get to be your Momma makes me love you completely. I already feel protective of you and your little life. It worries me that my body isn't the one protecting you for the next six months and with every breath I breathe a prayer over you and K as she does what I cannot. I am excited to hear your little heart beat and see you in ultrasound pictures. There is much we don't know about you and six months is a long time to wait to know you. I'm jealous that I won't know you until the day you make your grand entrance into the world, but you have already made your way into our family, into our hearts. We are honored to get to be your parents and blessed beyond measure that K chose us again. What a privilege adoption is and words can't describe how it feels to know someone thinks you deserve to parent two of their children. We pray that we will do a good job!
You have a big brother who will be crazy about you! You are only 20 months younger then him so you will grow up together. I pray that you will be best friends someday and have a special bond that's just yours. I can't wait to watch him fall in love with you!
Your Daddy is such a great Dad! He is head over heels about you and will teach you all kinds of great things.
I'm anxious to know if Tucker will have a little brother or a sister. I couldn't pick a preference at all. There are so many great things about either one. I'm thankful our Father already has that taken care of. If you are a little girl, your Daddy will be putty in your hands the day you are born. I will strive to be a good example of what a woman should be for you. I will try to live out a life of love, submission and character before you so that one day you will grow into a Godly woman, wife and mother. If you are a baby boy, you have a father will be the perfect mentor for you as you grow up into a man. He will teach you what it looks like to be a Godly husband and father. We are all lucky to have him in our lives. I will love you always and try to give you confidence to be independent and a gracious leader. What a precious place a son holds in his Mother's heart!
Many prayers I'm already praying over your life and future! Thank you for making me a Momma again and for filling a place in our hearts that was made JUST for YOU! You are not an accident and your place in our family could not have been filled by anyone but you. You are special and perfect and already loved so much!

Love you!

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #2

Telling Our Families: McKenzie's Side
We are planning to go to my Mom's house this Thursday and so I wanted to wait and tell my family in person that we were going to become a family of four in December. I thought all afternoon about a creative way to make the big announcement. I thought of phrases for t-shirts, I thought of videos, books, and various other craft projects. I even went to Wal-Mart and browsed the craft section. But nothing seemed to be what I wanted.
Chris was busy all day yesterday at the Church and didn't get home until after 9 last night. So I had no one to be excited with or process everything with. I needed someone to talk to about stuff. I wanted someone to be excited with. And let's face it, I can't keep a secret from my fam! So I caved and skyped my mom and sisters and told them the big news. Kinda anti-climactic but it was still fun. Then this morning I called my Nana & my Dad and told them. Everyone reacted in much the same way we did. Like we knew it was coming, but also with some hesitancy. It's hard to trust someone who hasn't proven trustworthy with something so huge. But I think as the days go by the excitement will build and the hesitancy will decrease.
Today Cassie told Emrie that she was going to have a new baby cousin and asked her what she thought we should name it. Emrie said, Tootsie Roll. So from here on out I think that's what we'll call it. It's kinda fitting! At least until we have a sex and a name. She's so funny! I can't wait to watch her love another cousin like she loves her Tucky-Doo! Cassie has made today so fun. We've been texting back and forth all day. I love having sisters to share big stuff like this with. She also provided some much needed reassurance! It's like she just knew I needed to hear someone say they thought everything would work out perfectly, just like last time!
As I laid in bed last night I got more and more excited. I began to think possible names and woke up even more excited this morning. December is a long time away! I think the three week pregnancy might of been the way to go!

Chamber Free

As of last week I am no longer the Sayre Chamber of Commerce Director! HOORAY!!!
It was just too hard with Tucker and there were a lot of issues with the position. It's a good thing! I get to just be a momma and I couldn't be more excited. I want to add some structure to our life so days don't pass without me doing anything productive as easily.
Some of my stay at home goals are: daily walks, a daily chore list, learn to coupon & continue to help Chris do ministry.

Tucker's excited to be unemployed too!

Secret Tootsie Roll Blog #1

About a month ago we went on a vacation to Tyler, Texas. We stayed at a condo in the woods outside of town (with horrible cell phone reception) and just did a whole lot of nothing. The only week we were going to be able to get away coincided with the Golf State Tournament, which Coach Gordon and the Eagles happened to qualify for. But I needed a vacation so it worked out that my sisters and I could go from Saturday-Tuesday morning and Chris would come late Tuesday night. It was a great time to get away and spend uninterrupted time with two of my favorite sets of people. On that Tuesday, Tucker and I were alone at the condo for most of the day. That afternoon I was feeding Tucker a snack when my phone rang. It was our Birth Mom, K. This was not altogether surprising because we had made plans to see her on our way home on Saturday. I had horrible service and could barely make out what she was saying. She told me that she had just found out she was pregnant again! I couldn't believe it! But before I could ask any questions I lost her and was unable to get back in touch with her. This would be her third pregnancy in 30 months. Baby #1 turned two yesterday, Tucker (baby #2) is thirteen months old, and now a third. My heart broke for K to be back in this situation. At the same time I was freaking out because I thought she was calling to ask if we would take Baby #3. I couldn't imagine why else she would be calling me THE day she found out she was pregnant again. Chris and I discussed it and just felt like if that's what she wanted then we would do whatever necessary to parent that baby as well. We knew we wanted to adopt again, but we didn't think it would so soon or with the same birth mom. I waited for her to call me back and she never did. I was a mess. Alone in a condo in Texas facing such uncertainty. After four or five hours I finally called her back. We talked a while and I just point blank asked her if she was planning to parent Baby #3. She said yes. I was disappointed, but understood... kinda. At the time, K was living in OKC and baby #1 was living in Lawton with family and had been for several months. My heart had been heavy for Baby #1 for several weeks and I had almost called our case worker at DPAS to see if she thought there was anyway we could talk to K about us adopting Baby #1. That Saturday I got to visit more with K and hear her plans. They were big plans that I knew probably wouldn't happen. Days and weeks went by and my heart and prayers remained heavy for Baby #1, Baby #3 & K. I look at Tucker and think of them daily. I also wondered how Tucker would feel later in life that his Birth Mom had kept Babies #1 & #3 so close together. I prayed for protection of his heart in those days and for wisdom in how Chris and I would handle those questions.
Yesterday was Baby #1's second birthday. Tucker and I had a day at home planned. Yesterday I was on the phone with my mom and Tuck was playing. I missed a call from a 405 number. I didn't think much about it. Almost immediately a voicemail showed up and then a text. The text asked me to call back, which I knew then was K. When I finished talking to my mom I listened to the voicemail and it was our DPAS case worker. I then realized K was with Dierdra. I immediately called back without giving myself time to speculate what was about to happen. I talked to both K and DIerdra. K asked if we would consider adopting Baby #3. My immediate response was hesitant. K has proved to be untrustworthy in the past 15 months that we have known her and she isn't due for six more months. A lot can happen in six months. We talked and I asked some questions and she continued to tell me reasons she wanted to place again. This was MUCH different from the first conversation I had with K on March 24, 2010. I wasn't emotional this time. I wasn't even all that surprised. I called Chris and, of course, we told her we would be honored to not only be allowed to adopt another child, but for it to be a half sibling of Tucker is more then we even dared to hope for. Later in the afternoon K called back and we discussed some more details and thoughts. Much of what happened last time will be the plan for this pregnancy/delivery. Again a huge blessing! Tuck and Baby #3 have different fathers, but both are African American so the new baby should look a lot like Tuck. Yay! Because I think he's THE cutest!!!
Please be in prayer for K! Some specifics: She just moved back to Lawton from OKC. Pray things fall into place for her. She has a place to stay, but no job or car. Pray for her health and for the health of the baby. Before she knew she was pregnant she turned 21 and the baby was exposed to alcohol, pot & cocaine. Pray that the baby will be protected/healed from these exposures without long term problems. She did give me her word she has stopped and won't drink or do drugs again. Pray for Baby #1 as she continues to live a life of unstablilty and constant change. Pray for her to be loved and taken care of. Pray for us as we wait and trust K to make good choices. Pray that Tucker would adjust easily and we will be the best parents we can to both of these blessings.
We are beyond excited and so honored that K not only trusts us with one of her children, but two! We'll keep you posted as things develop!

Monday, June 6, 2011


What works for us in disciplining Tucker?
Well that is definitely a work in progress. I'd love to tell you that he's the perfect child and no disciplining is necessary, but we all know that's not true. We started with slapping his hand when he touched things he wasn't supposed to and that worked well for a while. He learned to stay out of plants and stuff like that. But he's tough so I felt like I was having to slap really hard to get his attention after a while. Lately we are using time outs more because it seems to bother him more to be taken out of the action then to be swatted. It's hard to do at home because there's no one else to get in his way, but we're trying to be really strict at home so he will not throw fits in public when he is in trouble. It's hard. I had no idea how soon you really have to jump on this stuff. We are just trying things and keeping what seems to work and leaving the rest. Different days, different things work.

Do we plan to adopt again?
ABSOLUTELY! Adoption has been the biggest blessing and show of God's sovereignty I've ever witnessed. Here's where we are right now. We want more children and fairly soon. We want Tuck and baby #2 to be close in age so we don't want to wait too long. Especially because there are no timelines with infertility or adoption. A little background on our infertility that lead us to adopt Tuck... We never were officially diagnosed with infertility or really told why we weren't conceiving. So we plan to go to a specialist and have tests run to see if there's a way we could have biological children or not. We are really fine either way, I just need to know. The peace of mind that "I could possibly be pregnant this month" every month would be really nice. And if there are some minor things we can try we may do those. We don't want to go as far as IVF or anything like that. All of that being said we want to adopt again no matter what. Depending on how the fertility specialist goes will decide the time line. And I really would love for the next baby we adopt to also be brown so they would have that to bond over as well. I think that is important down the road.

All time favorite picture of Tucker?
This is hard! He's so stinkin' cute! I narrowed it down to top three.

Most recent favorite

At one year old

And as a newborn
It's really hard to look back through all of his pictures and choose because he's changed so much and his personality has developed so much. I love a lot of them for a lot of reasons.

That's what you wanted to know. Keep the questions coming if you have more.