Saturday, August 31, 2013

Like Mommy, Like Meron

Someone was keeping a close eye on her mommy today as we hung out at Poppaw's house...

And when she felt comfortable - she tried it herself...

again... and again...

and AGAIN!

Way to leap Meron!

You impressed the heck outta daddy with your fearless jumping and swimming today!

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Three Ladies

Life is just BETTER when all three of my ladies are together...

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Lil' Partner

Man - I love this girl.

The circumstances that have pushed us together these past few days may not have been perfect - but I cherish ANY and ALL time spent with her.

I love you, Meron...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Once in A Lifetime...

Meron and I are flying solo right now cuz Mommy and Mebbie are up in North Carolina hanging out with this guy... that's Laura's dad up there in that pic.

About a year ago - Laura's dad was diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable liver cancer. Yes... a year ago. And he is still with us hanging out and stuff. He's that kind of fighter. And being that we are always trying to have an eternal perspective around here - we set out right off the bat to start praying for his heart, his salvation and his eternity.

And we were relentless in those prayers. We sought prayer from our small groups, our bible studies, our friends and family. Laura became an almost daily texter of scripture and prayer to him. The girls would draw him pictures, write their verses on them and send them to him. They would record voicemails of them praying for him. We were relentless.

And for good reason too...

This is a guy who LOVES our girls with all he has. A Poppaw who absolutely adores his granddaughters. It is simply awesome to watch...

And then... then there's me. Laura's dad isn't just some father-in-law to me. He is more like a dad to me. Matter of fact - I have heard it said recently and I wholeheartedly agree - if I could have chosen a dad - this is the guy I would have picked.

From the very first day I met him he has treated me with such respect and kindness. And if you utter the words:

"I love you, son."
You know whose voice I hear in my head? Yeah - you guessed it. Laura's dad's. Because he never lets me leave his house or get off the phone with him without saying that. Had it not been for him - I wouldn't have heard it.

So... you can see how much this guy means to our house... and I have considered it a true honor and privilege to be in prayer for him for the last year. A true blessing.

Well - lately this cancer crap has been hitting him hard. So Laura packed up with Mebbie and headed up there yesterday to hang with him as much as she possibly can. I knew she was in for some emotional, heavy stuff. Especially because a few days ago - her dad picked up the phone - called her mom and said:
"I wanna re-dedicate my life to Christ. How do I do that?"
Hallelujah, praise the Lord! This is the kind of thing we had been praying for!

And Laura was heading up there to be with him, to pray with him, to celebrate with him and to reassure him of the fact that he needs to have ZERO REGRETS and to only focus on his new eternal future...

So, needless to say - I knew she was in for some emotional, heavy stuff.

This evening - she posted this:

And for a while tonight - I just couldn't stop crying. Tears of joy. Of praise. Of sadness for not being there for my wife in this pivotal, once in a lifetime moment she was experiencing. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of a years worth of praying being answered with a slam dunk in our face. Cuz God is just that big. And powerful. And caring.

Meron and I head your way tomorrow Poppaw. We can't wait to see you...

Laura... you have one heck of a special daddy. And I think I speak for our entire family when I say "Thank you for sharing him with us all!"

Chasing Life

The author/illustrator of my all-time favorite comic strip - Calvin and Hobbes - drew up this gem. I love this so much...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mine! All Mine!

Mommy sent us this phone picture of Mebbie stretching out and taking up the whole bed that she usually shares with her sister at Granny's house...

Enjoy it now Mebbie - cuz we're heading that way soon!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Best Day. EVER!

Tomorrow Laura and Mebbie head up to North Carolina to visit her dad for a bit. And since Meron and I won't see the Mebster for a bit - after mommy left for a church dinner - and after baths and dinner here - we piled in the van in our jammies for some ice cream fun...

Then we met this awesome guy - who took "Ice Cream at night in our jammies" to a whole new level of fun by inviting the girls - clad in their t-shirts and boxers - back behind the counter to make their own sundaes.

What, what, what?

The girls were BEYOND PUMPED. Or as Mebbie put it:

"This was the best day ever in my life. ever."
I think she meant it too!

They literally thought they were working there. Really cool experience...

Uhhh...ya think they like ice cream?

The manager came back by - gave the girls watches - and we ended up chatting about adoption, churches and life... come to find out he and his wife are wanting to adopt too... totally love these divine interruptions in life...

We should have been at home. In bed. No, really... we should have.

But when mommy's away - the kids will play.

All three of us!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Showered With Love

Not too long ago some friends got together and showered Laura with all kinds of love in anticipation of our little dude coming home. There was good food, cool prayer cards to remind us to keep praying, and tons and tons of gifts.

They spoiled us for sure. Wipes, diapers, clothes, toys...

It all made it seem very very real that we'll have a little toddler waddling around this place again. Time to get back in that mode...

Oh yeah... and these were there too:

Uh... can you say AWESOME?!? there was a dope little Adidas track suit to go with them... i see a fun hip-hop video with his sisters in the very near future.

Thank you guys SO MUCH for caring and blessing us like you did... means the world to us that you care about our little man like this!

Can't wait for him to meet all of you!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Unplanned Date Night

Tonight Mommy and Mebbie were heading out to meet a friend for some Ethiopian cuisine. Meron is not a fan of that food - her exact words were:

"I haven't lived there in a LONG time - I don't like that food any more."
HA! You came home when you were 8 months old Meron... just a reminder... YA NEVER ATE IT THERE YOU GOOFBALL!

But I was the winner here - because her dislike of Ethiopian food turned in to an impromptu daddy-daughter date night!

We changed, hopped in the car and headed out...

Firsts top - where else? Chick-Fil-A of course. Her choice!

We split a combo meal but the best thing we shared was the conversation over dinner. This girl keeps me laughing ALL THE TIME... and she has SO MUCH LOVE in her heart...

Then we hit Publix to return last night's Redbox movie... and what the heck - daddy had a a free code in his inbox so we grabbed another one!

Next - we decided to walk around the mall while I introduced her to the fun sport of "people watching."

We ended up at Build-A-Bear though... and built a little lovable guy to send to their cousin they ADORE who just started college...

After all the people watching and bear building - we needed some dessert. So we headed across the street to the Varsity!

Meron destroyed her chocolate ice cream cone while marveling at "how huge this place is!"

Next we headed home - sleepy but filled up on fun.

And just like the Meron I know and love - she insisted on waiting for her sister (and best friend) to get home before firing up her movie.

Meron - you blessed me yet again tonight. So thankful I get to be your daddy.

She promised me we'd still go on dates even when she was in high school and beyond... I'm gonna hold her to it!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Make Him a Hoffman

Well - we're on to the next phase... but much like every piece of this process - for every one step forward - it feels like there are ten steps backwards.

And we've already hit some hurdles. But our prayers remain the same.

Every single night we gather up as a family and we pray for our little guy that we're waiting for.

And we always pray the same things:

  • God's will be done in and throughout this process
  • That Zechariah's health - his physical, spiritual and mental well-being - is good
  • That God makes him a Hoffman - RIGHT NOW. That he knows he has a family who loves him, adores him, treasures him and cannot wait for him to be here.
  • Use him now God - in his current place - for Your glory.
That's our prayer. it's simple - but it's the same prayer we have prayed for all of our kids and man if God hasn't been faithful to them all.

We love you Z! Your family won't stop praying til you're home praying with us!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fringe Benefits

Who wins when mommy has an afternoon case of "sleepy" and needs some coffe?

THESE TWO do, that's who...

Fringe benefits of being four and five and not being allowed to stay home by yourself.

Something tells me they do not mind.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The "Hold Me" Pose

i dunno why - but lately every single time I bust out the camera and take pics (which - lets be honest - is ALL the time) - I end up with a few of these...

Meron INSISTS on them. it's hilarious...

She just opens up her arms wide and says:

"Come on Mebbie..."
And her sister just comes running and jumps in to her arms. It's weird. And beautiful... all at the same time.

Girls... keep running, jumping, hugging and loving...

God made you guys SO cool!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Can You Help Cheer Mommy Up?

These girls absolutely ADORE their mommy. They care about her, they love her... and when she's down they feel her pain.

For the past year - Laura's dad - Poppaw to the rest of us - has been fighting an incredibly hard and relentless battle against cancer. We have prayed so much for him - and God has given us so many gifts in regards to it all...

But cancer sucks. And today - it was just one of those days where it had Laura down. Sad. Feeling defeated. Hurt. Angry. But mostly just sad.

And her little troopers were trying so hard to cheer her up. First they made her this sweet card (a little outta order - but awesome nonetheless):

When Meron didn't think it was working well enough - she sent me a voxer asking for some help... She was just so concerned for mommy (listen below).

When I got home we circled up around mommy - "making sure to touch her" per Mebbie's instructions - and we prayed for mommy. For her heart. For her spirit. We prayed for all of us really. Cuz mommy is like the heartbeat of our house - and when she's down... we're ALL down.

Mommy is feeling a bit better tonight. And no doubt due in large part to these little girls who wouldn't leave her side...

Thanks girls for taking such incredible care of mommy when I couldn't be there to do it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fourth Watch Warriors

DISCLAIMER: I know I posted about this on Facebook today but I freaking love this story and I am gonna record here on the 'ole blog for safekeeping for ever and ever and ever. So sorry if I am a bit redundant tonight.

This prayer card up there for Zechariah was made by some friends who threw Laura a dope baby shower recently. She brought a few extra home and Meron wanted one so of course we gave it to her.

This is Meorn's "lair." She's in the top bunk of the castle bed and she stores a lot of her stuff right there by her pillow. One of the more visible things is her brother's prayer card. Right there for all to see. Especially her. I love this...

Last night I had a pressing deadline on a project and didn't get to be part of the bedtime rituals. Meron was pretty upset about it so I promised her I'd come in and climb up and lay with her for a few minutes (one of her favorite nightly stall tactics).

Around 10:30 I cruised in there and both the girls were OUT. And when I say Meron goes out - she goes OUT. I crawled up there - gave her a big hug, squeezed her, whispered in her ear... and nothing. Just deep breathing and snoozing. I smiled as I headed out when I noticed her flashlight and her Zechie prayer card.

They looked like this:

She had positioned her little flashlight to shine right on it. I couldn't stop smiling as I flicked her light off and headed out the door.

Fast-forward to about 3:45 AM. Meron comes in our room. She seems restless - not scared or crying. Just uneasy. She climbs DIRECTLY on top of me like she likes to do and is bear hugging me. I asked her if she remembered me coming in there and she said "No.." and then I asked her what was the matter and she said:

"Nothing... I just needed to see my daddy..."
We hugged a bit and then Laura took her back to her room and got her re-settled.

She was fine the rest of the night.

Morning time went as it usually does and Mebbie and Laura dropped Meron off for school. That's when Mebbie let us in on what else had happened last night.

Some time before Meron had come in to our room - she had come down the steps from her top bunk and woke Mebbie up. This would have been shortly after the kick off of Fourth Watch.

Mebbie said Meron had Zechariah's picture in her hands and she said to Mebbie:
"This card says we are supposed to pray for our brother every night - so let's pray for him"
Then both girls proceeded to take turns and pray for Zechie - their little brother - 8,000 miles away from home.

After they finished praying is when Meron headed down to our room. She never made mention of any of this happening. She just needed some hugs.

After school Meron confirmed all of this with Laura. Tonight - I asked her what made her wake up and pray. She said:
"I just saw Zechie's face there and knew we were supposed to pray for him every night..."
I get chills thinking about it - but I really believe the Holy Spirit woke her up to pray for Zechie. And that was so overwhelming for her that she just had to come get some hugs from us...

The funny thing in all of this? Mebbie is the resident prayer warrior here. I mean - seriously - I am pretty sure she's anointed in that area with that gift. Meron even knows it - she'll go get Mebbie when prayer is needed.

Which... when ya think about it - makes this experience all the more beautiful.

Thank you so much God... for allowing us to bear witness to this kind of stuff. And for choosing to work through a tiny little innocent 5 year old who didn't hesitate to move on that urging...

We. Are. Blessed.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Daddy's Co-Worker... Clifford

The spot I work at does some work with Scholastic and Meron has seen some pics in the past of CLifford at our conference and stuff. In her mind... Daddy worked with Clifford...

A co-worker (NOT Clifford) recently sent home these stuffed animals and some books for the girls.

They were pumped! Thanks cool co-worker... you're ALMOST as dope as that JIFFY POP POPCORN PRINCESS HAT on Meron's head!

I absolutely LOVE those smiles...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Night

Pretty much losing them all... Clay Bear included.

We play hard on the weekends and it catches up fast!

Friday, August 16, 2013

She Owned It

Somebody in this house OWNED their first week of kindergarten... LIKE A BOSS!

Way to go Meron - we're super proud of ya girl!

Her thoughts about next week? Bring it on!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rockin' The New Kicks

We didn't have to buy a ton of new stuff for school (thankfully!) but one thing Meron did want was a new pair of school shoes... man I LOVED her choice!

You're looking extra fly Meron!

Her fun style really does reflect her personality... I LOVE IT!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mebbie Day 2013

Today was Mebbie Day. What's that, ya ask? Oh - that's just the day two years ago when this little cutie came to be with her family and the camp grew by one!

Our family picture was altered that day in a GREAT way!

I remember it like it was yesterday (maybe cuz I have watched this video 1,000,000 times)...

we had been praying SO hard and SO long for this girl. And then Laura walked off that escalator at the ATL airport and none of that super long wait mattered any more...

It's a super special day to us. And we celebrate it hard. The girls always get to pick where we head to have a celebration dinner...

Mebbie picked pizza at Mellow Mushroom. Her big sister approved.

This little girl was ear to ear smiling all day and night!

After the pizza - we headed home for jammies and ice cream to cap off the day.

Me thinks she likes it!

There was time for one more silly face before we all circled up and prayed HUGE prayers of thanks to God for making Mebbie - for building our family the way He did and for His undying love...

And then Mebbie dropped this little gem on us...

Mebbie... your big, big family loves you more than you can imagine girl... here's to a hundred more Mebbie Day celebrations!