Monday, December 22, 2008

Good Birthday, Great Husband

I turned 30 last week. It's been a really good year, a lot has happened and I'm looking forward to growing into my 30's. Kevin had a couple of things planned for my birthday last Thursday. I knew that we had to be somewhere at a certain time, and when we got in the car and he told me the name of the town, I thought for sure I had guessed our destination.

Highland Park doesn't have much going on by way of nightlife, so I was fairly certain that we were heading to the dance studio for some lessons. While Kevin has this unexplained penchant for dancing (even at the most inopportune times), I am one of those very inhibited people who feels completely self-conscious on a dance floor. When I told him that I "knew" we were going to the dance studio and to please tell me what kind of dance lessons that we were taking, his face said that I had guessed right. He told me we were taking Salsa lessons, and I started to get very nervous. I assured him that I thought it would be fun, but I was just a little tense in anticipation.

We parked and were walking down the street towards the studio and Kevin said, "I just wish you could relax before we go in there." He stepped inside a shop and I followed him in and realized we were in a cute little day spa. When he walked up to the counter and told him that he had an appointment for his wife to get a massage, I was so relieved I couldn't stop myself from crying a little! It was such a nice and relaxing hour, a wonderful surprise and indulgence.

Afterwards we went to a restaurant in New Brunswick called Delta's. They serve true Southern Soul-Food. It was wonderfully fried and familiar. Our favorite was the fried alligator that we had as an appetizer. Here are a couple of not great pictures we took with Kevin's phone at the restaurant.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby on the Way...Really

Most people who read this blog have heard the news already, but I thought I would write an update to our Adoption post from several months ago. After completing the 3-month Fost/Adopt class, the Home Study, the mountain of paperwork, and the Home Inspection, a little surprise came our way in the form of a conversation with our fertility doctor. One round of IVF later and we find ourselves 14 weeks pregnant this week!

Kevin and I had a very definite infertility diagnosis about 8 months ago. We were extremely disappointed, of course, but not devastated. We had confidence that God had a child for us through some means and that it may not be the way we expected. Since we were already underway with the adoption when we found out, we just decided to put everything into that. We were not interested in the costly fertility treatments and we let our doctor know.
We had a follow up appointment with our doctor on the same day as our adoption home study, and we went preparing to close that door. Instead, he offered us an opportunity to participate in a research study that would give us a round of IVF at no cost to us. We were completely stunned and told him that we would talk about it and let him know. I think we both immediately wanted to jump on the opportunity, and that is what we did.

It's hard to describe our feelings on this and explain why we decided to go through with it when we were so sure that fertility treatment was not for us. Maybe having it handed to us on a silver platter was part of the appeal. We had already resigned ourselves to the fact that we would never experience childbirth, and we were sad. I think that if our diagnosis wasn't so certain, it may have been more of a choice for us, but as it was, we decided very quickly that we were being given a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So, no details about the treatment and procedures over the last 4 months, but I will say that I cherished every moment of it, oddly enough. We knew that whatever the outcome was, we would be OK and God would have his way. We consider this whole experience such a gratuitous gift from God, completely undeserved.

Here is an early ultrasound picture from 8 weeks. We are due mid-June. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O (Silver Tinsel) Tannenbaum

We put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving, here it is. Yes, silver all year round, this tree is a Christmas miracle..

Friday, October 24, 2008

For the love of your Mercedes, man!

This is just a funny little story that has since turned into a bitter memory for Kevin. On Saturday we went to a little town in NJ, Clinton, just to walk around and peruse their cute little boutiques. We had parallel parked the Jeep in between a couple of cars (a mighty fine job, Kevin) and we were back in the car looking at our map of where to go next.

The space in front of us was open by this time and a (very) old man in a (very) nice Mercedes pulled up and began what I could tell was destined to be a (very) bad parallel parking job. Just as the words "he's not going to make it" departed from my lips, he smacked into us. I giggled and Kevin gawked as he pulled up for another try. He went at it again with the same gusto and smacked us a second time, but now he was decently in his space. By this time I was outright laughing and Kevin started to roll down his window in anticipation of a "sorry about that" wave or something. Nope, he just got out of the car and wobbled off down the road without a backwards glance. That's life in the big city for you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Family Hero

Most families have ways that they define their members, like, "the wild one" or "the bright one." Sometimes the titles are more descriptive of their occupation like, "the family doctor," or "the family NFL Linebacker." We have those in our family as well (ok, no NFL Linebackers), but recently one of our members made a decision that put him in a league that few belong to.

When Austin decided to leave college and join the Army, I can't say that the family was thrilled. After all, the American Dream is to be educated, employed, married, a homeowner, have 2.6 kids and a Cockapoo, right? I think I can speak for the family when I say that we all wanted the very best for Austin, which in our minds did not include putting his life on the line--for any cause. What we might not have understood was that a soldier is often born inside a man first, even before the first day of boot camp. I know that is what happened in Austin and I am proud of him. I'm proud that he has decided to do something so important, something that most people are afraid of.

Sometimes we look at these young guys enlisting in the military and we think, "they don't know what they are signing up for," or "he is too young to understand the dangers." But really, what they do is to define bravery for us. Every reference of bravery that I can think of from the bible describes a military hero. They...he, Austin, believes in a cause, or at least his role in the cause, so completely that he willingly becomes the defender. He puts his body in front of a man with a gun and faces him so that his family won't ever have to. He may not have understood completely what signing those enlistment papers would mean, but who of us ever does know where we will end up after we take a step of faith? Austin joined the military confident that this was to be his contribution to the world, and I know he still believes that--I believe that.

So, we've called him a lot of names over the years--sweet and maybe not so sweet. To call him our family hero is a name that I think he will wear well. Austin has such an intensity of focus in his calling that he will see it through with excellence. I recognize this in other men and women who have stepped out of the crowd to serve others. Not a civilian like the rest of us, Austin has the weight of his country on his shoulders, but he is strong--God is strong for him.

Austin, I was just thinking about you a lot today, this being a day to remember heros. We love you, we pray for you everyday, we are grateful that you fight for us. Be vigilant, you can rest when you come home. We can't wait to have you on this side of the world again, see you very soon!

(Austin is the 3rd from the left)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Waiting Room

Court suggested some baby room pictures, so here they are! I call it the waiting room because I have a hard time imagining what it will be like when a baby lives here. Right now it's the most quiet and still room in the house. It's very small, it's hard to get a good picture of it...

Friday, August 15, 2008


We’ve gotten so many emails and Facebook posts asking if we are pregnant, adopting, fostering—or what? Someone recently even asked me what part of China our baby was coming from. So, I thought I would allay any rumors by writing a little about the process we have been through since we anticipate introducing you to baby Pounds very soon.

The decision to adopt came long ago, even before Kevin and I knew each other. I must have been 13 or 14 when I told my parents that I was not going to have children “of my own” but that I was going to adopt a little girl from China and name her Emma (my favorite Jane Austen book). My mom will remember when I ardently urged her to consider adopting a baby herself!

The details have changed since then, but not the heart that God gave us to adopt a child. I think I had a conversation with Kevin early on in our dating relationship about my intention, and ever since then it has been in his heart as well.

Fast forward 7 years of marriage, and here we are very close to having a baby “of our own.” The journey has been almost a year in the making from our first research and inquiries at adoption agencies, to our decision to adopt from DYFS (NJ’s child welfare system).

Going through DYFS means that any child that we get will be coming from a potential or actual abusive/neglectful situation. It also means that we will be taking the baby on a fostering basis at first with the intent to adopt. DYFS created a program for these babies who will most likely need permanent adoptive homes, and so they place them with people like us who would like to adopt them if their mother is not able to rehabilitate.

Kevin and I believe that the best place for a child to be is with his or her biological parent, as long as it is a safe environment. With that in mind, we will be praying for the biological mother to change her life and make sacrifices so that she can get her baby back. However, we also know that this hardly ever happens and that the baby that we receive will most likely need a permanent home with us. The risk is still there, but we hope that we can bless and help the biological parent any way that we can.

So, that’s the condensed version. As of this past Friday our home study and inspection have been approved and we are officially in wait mode. It could literally be any day now, we are trying to be patient!

Now for the fun details: we don't know the gender, we don't know the race, we won't be able to change their name until the adoption is final, the adoption won't be finalized sooner than 12 months, we do know that it will be a baby under 3 months old.

Thank you so much for your prayers and inquiries, we hope to have a new story to tell very soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Original Pippin

We have a great dog. I had a dream last night that made me laugh at my lofty opinion of him.

In my dream, Kevin and I lived in an apartment community. One day I was walking around outside and I found a little lost puppy that looked like a baby Pippin. On his collar I found 2 tags: one said the puppy's name, and the other had this inscription:

"This dog is believed to be the direct descendant of the original Pippin."

After talking to some neighbors, I realized that while Pippin had been sowing his wild oats among the neighborhood, his offspring had been so widely approved of that a new breed was born.

I would like to introduce to you... the Original Pippin:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Citified Foraging

After our home inspection on Monday, our social worker told us that if we had any travel or entertainment plans for the near future, we had better do it this weekend. I had been wanting to check out some local organic farms, so I broadened my search area a little so we could get further out of town for a night. We jumped in the car on Friday evening and headed North towards the Catskills in NY, Pippin in tow.

We were just so glad to be out of New Brunswick for a couple of days, we always comment how, the tension just melts away the further we drive. Saturday morning we first drove to a remote farm in some tiny town not on the map where they raised grass fed beef, pork and chickens. The farmer was British, married to a Southerner, formerly an investment banker who said he just wanted to do something a little more "labor intensive." He had a little farm stand in a red barn where he sold frozen cuts of meat, eggs, and honey.

He pointed us to a dairy farm just down the road and we headed there next. This was great, we thought they would have some kind of store or something, but it was basically just the farm with a small processing plant. We lucked out and met the owner's daughter and she agreed to give us a tour of the farm/plant. Did you know that homogenized milk could be the cause of a lot of people's lactose intolerance? She gave us some unhomoginized milk in a glass bottle--so good. We also learned that the milk that comes out of the cow is first separated into cream and skim milk, and then the cream is added back to the skim milk to create 1% and 2%. She loaded us up with ice cream, chocolate milk, butter, and their very popular label of drinkable yogurt. Moooo

On our way to our next stop we passed a vineyard and took a detour. It was a small family owned winery and we walked around briefly and bought some of their table white wine. It was very scenic.

Our last destination was a creamery and farm that made their own cheeses. We watched some of the cheese making process behind a glass wall and sampled their 9 types of cheese. We bought a couple that resemble Parmesan and sharp cheddar and also some swiss chard from their garden. After Pippin was nearly attacked by the farm pheasants, we ran for the car.

It was such a great trip, we had a leisurely pace and came home laden with organic food. Check out this book, if you are interested The Omnivore's Dilemma, In it, he lists a great website where you can find organic farms near you:

Thursday, July 31, 2008


From July 21-26, we had our first "Urban Plunge" with the Point Church in New Brunswick. It was one part mission trip, one part urban education, and one part retreat with approximately 50 teens and college students from Georgia, California, and NJ involved. Basically we took all the community service stuff we do as a congregation and "super-sized" it for a week. They dove in head first by helping with New Brunswick's PlaySAFE program (think 200 hyper kids in a gym), Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen, and running a huge block party. So many of the at-risk kids in our community got a glimpse of how much Jesus loves them and I cannot wait to see the long-term ripple effects of this week. During the week we saw 5 kids embrace Jesus as their Savior.

For me one of the most gratifying moments happened a few days later. I have a good friend who I've been talking to about Jesus for almost 2 years. He's had a tough life and has confessed to having trust issues with God and people. Many people from the Point have loved and served him, and the week at Urban Plunge was the final push he needed. He told me outside of Starbucks just a few days ago that he had given his life to Jesus. Seeing the faith in action of so many people convinced him more than anything that God was worth trusting. God is good!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Blog

In preparation for our new Pounds family member, we have taken the first step in creating a blog. Now, let's see if we'll be faithful to it...