Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's Been Far Too Long.....

So much has happened since I have last posted. :)  If you remember my last post I was asking for donations for a double carseat/stroller combo.  Well, thanks to everyone that gave, we were able to raise enough money to purchase that for one of our teen moms at Oak House!  She was SO grateful for the gift and it was so fun to suprise her!  Brittany is such a special girl!  She was at GW for about 10 months and in January gave birth to 2 beautiful boys!  Those babies became her world and she is an amazing mom!  It's so fun to watch her be mommy to those boys.  This month Brittany successfully graduated the program and moved back home with mom!! WooHoo!! Brittany, keep doing what you're doing!  You're awesome and I miss you like crazy!

 On May 9th our sweet Paisley Grace turned 2!  I can hardly believe that my baby is 2 already.  Time just goes by so very fast!  We waited to celebrate with Dustin's family until our visit home over Memorial Day.  Erin made her an awesome rainbow cake and she loved every last bite!  She is just getting so big and talking more and more each day!

Then on June 4th we completed our last day as Houseparents at Gateway Woods.  After 5 years of houseparenting, we felt like God was telling us that our time at Gateway was coming to an end.  Back in January we accepted a position at The New Beginnings in Cape Coral, Florida!!  What a change it has been!  I miss GW, I miss Oak House, I miss our friends, I miss our church!  But I know that this is where God wants us and that excited me!  It has been different and hard to adjust to this new life.  We have been going, going, going and now we are kind of just going slow.  And that's ok....it's just different.  And we are a little over an hour from my parents house.  How wonderful is that!!  It's incredible!  

This has been our home for the last 5 years and we have grown so much here!  2 of our babies were born here, birthdays were celebrated, we had good times, we had hard times.  I wouldn't trade it for anything!  :)
But I am missing this girl SO very much!  I would consider her one of my very best friends. My hope is that one day 1200 miles won't separate us!!
This is where we call home now and it's starting to feel like home more and more each day!  Pray for us!  Pray for our kids!  We are excited to join a new mission field and try to reach out to moms that are hurting in the name of Jesus!  What an opportunity we have been given!  

Friday, January 17, 2014

An Opportunity to Serve

Hey everyone!
As you probably know, I work with pregnant teens at Gateway Woods. These girls are usually underprivileged and lacking in basic necessities needed to raise children. Other, less tangible things such as financial stability, food on the table, and unconditional love are often lacking as well.

Gateway is able to provide for their needs but many times these girls are thrown a baby shower due to generous families, foster parents, or caseworkers. Right now, one of our residents is expecting twins in February but there is no one able to provide anything for her.  She has done very well preparing for her kids through Gateway’s clothing room and rifling though resale shops but she is lacking some major things.

We would really like to offer her something to make the road ahead a little easier and we feel that she would benefit from a double car seat and stroller combo. The stroller we are looking at is a Graco  amounting to $334.95.

While we never wish to condone lifestyles that led to unplanned pregnancies, we are obligated as members of Christ’s Church to show these girls His mercy, love, and compassion. This certainly does not always mean a monetary gift but right now we would love to show these characteristics in a tangible way.

We entreat you to prayerfully consider donating for this resident and pray that her heart would continue to soften and be malleable in the Potter’s hands.

Thank you living out Mark 16:15 with us!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Paisley Grace is One!!! :)

On Thursday, May 9th, our sweet little Paisley Grace turned one.  Oh how the time has flown by!!  I mean...seriously, where does it go!  It seems like yesterday we brought this baby girl home from the hospital.  She has provided us with such joy, laughes, smiles....and sometimes frustrations. :)  This little girl is an ornery one!  Her favorite place to try and sneak to is the bathroom.  She LOVES to play in the toilet.  EWWW!!  She goes to the doctor on Thursday, so we will find out her stats then and I will try to remember and post them! :)  Happy Birthday, baby girl!!  We love you and are so blessed by your life!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


So, alot has happened since I have posted.  I always tell myself I'm going to update the blog, but somehow get busy and forget.  If life would just slow down a bit that would be great!

I guess our biggest change is where we are at with Gateway Woods.  Last May, after Paisley was born, we found ourselves a bit overwhelmed.  Having 4 kids and one being a newborn was alot.  As a new mom, it was hard for me to find time to give to my children and the residents like they needed.  We prayed and talked with others about stepping down from the full-time position and becoming alternates again.  We knew that we wanted to get through the summer, because summer is a hard and we have experienced taking over a house in the summer and it is just so busy.  So we wanted to make this transition when school started.  The end of August we officially became alternate houseparents again!  We were still in the Hickory House, so that was nice to be able to be still familiar with the kids.  We loved this new/old role.  We were still able to do what we felt God was leading us to do, but could gather ourselves a little better and learn how to handle it all with four kids.

During our time of alternating again, we had some tough girls.  It was hard.  Seeing how they were so unwilling to accept the help and wanting to help so bad.  Wanting them to see Jesus through us and hoping that they would change.  The months passed and December rolled around and we were on duty for a 9 day stretch....that's a tough one....one of our girls that had been giving us trouble for quite sometime ended up having to leave, and not in such a pleasant way.  It was hard. Hard to see her go, hard to deal with what had happened.  Just plain hard.  A few days after that happened, we received an email from our boss saying that he wanted to talk with us.  Well, I knew what he wanted right away.  The house parents at Oak House (pregnant teen and teen mom house) were leaving.  They had just announced this decision, so I knew that they would be looking for replacements.  Well, let me tell you, that was the LAST thing that I wanted to do.  We had just went back to alternating 4 months before and were loving the alternating life.  I complained to Dustin and said I wasn't going to do it, I didn't want to do double duty (alternate for 2 houses), and didn't want people to leave!!  The next morning, God convicted me.  I just felt the Holy Spirit asking me why I was not even thinking about just praying about it.  Just pray.  I knew that we needed to pray but was scared at what the answer would be.  We went off duty a few days before Christmas and were going to be spending time traveling and being with family.  I didn't even want to think of making a decision until we came back home.  But God had other plans.  I would come up with an excuse and God would say...now is that a reason you should say no?  Time after time, all the reasons why we didn't want to go back full-time was because of selfish reasons.  During our two years of full-time at Hickory House, we had felt a passion for the pregnant girls.  Could this be God's way of leading us where we wanted to go.  It seemed like to be of a coincidence.  We felt this is where we were supposed to serve.  So, we accepted the full-time position at the Oak House.

In late January we moved, again, for the third time since coming to Gateway.  :) That was one of the reasons why I didn't want to take the position and you know, God was with us.  The move didn't seem nearly as bad.  We had so much help from friends and family, that it went so smooth.  We are adjusting to our apartment, which is almost identical to the Hickory House apartment but just a little bigger!  We have adjusted really well to the girls and have the first of 4 babies due in 1 week.  Let me clarify, they aren't all due at the same time.  One is due in April, one in July (twins) and one in August.  But this will be the first baby that is born while we are full-time here.  So....let the adventure begin I guess! :)

Our kids are growing up so fast.  Liberty is 7 and in First Grade.  Oh how time flies so fast.  She is a little smartie pants and loves to learn.  It's so fun watching her learn new things! :) Caden is 6 now, and in Kindergarten.  He love it as well and is learning so much.  Back when he was in preschool, I thought that things were going to come a little slower for him, but then one day, it just clicked.  He loves to learn and learns so quickly.  Josie is 3 and is full of so much life and energy.  She is in love with princesses and is a different princess each week or even day.  She is so excited to start preschool in the fall!  And my little Paisley Grace is 11 months.  I can NOT believe that in one short month my baby will be ONE!  She gets around by crawling and is pulling her self up.  Not really walking around stuff, but I'm fine with that.  She can take her time! :)  She doesn't have any teeth yet, but I can see 2 right under the surface of her gums, so hopefully they will come soon!

I'm on the computer in the Oak House office, so I don't have any of my pictures, maybe later tonight I will put some up on the blog.  But for now, I will have to sign off.  I need to start getting supper together.  Hope you all enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!! (A Day Late :) )

Merry Christmas!!
Love, Dustin & Mandy
Liberty 7, Caden 5, Josie 2.5, and Paisley 7months

We pray that you had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a most blessed New Year!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Month....Already

So, my little Paisley Grace is turned one month yesterday.  Time goes by so fast.  She continues to be such a good baby.  Sleeps about 6-7 hours a night and is content most of the time she is awake.  The Lord has truly blessed us.  Liberty, Caden, and Josie continue to adjust well.  Liberty is such a wonderful help and will run and get me anything I need whenever I need it.  Caden is such a sweet boy with Paisley.  The other day she was laying on our bed while we were getting ready for the day and Caden crawled in bed with her and just gently rubbed her head.  He is going to be such a great big brother.  Josie loves her baby sister too!  Although sometimes she would rather be Paisley than herself. :)  She loves to sit in Paisley's carseat and loves to tell me to call her Paisley.  Life at Gateway continues to go well.  It is now summer, so life gets a little bit busier, but so far things are going good!  Our days have their ups and downs, but seeing small progress in the lives of these teenagers makes all the hard days worth it!  So, for now we will keep doing what God has called us to do and rejoice in each day!  I pray that you all can do the same in your lives.  Doesn't it feel great to serve such an awesome God! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012


On Wednesday, May 9th, we welcomed our precious Paisley Grace.  She was our smallest bundle and weighed in at 5lbs 11oz and was 19.5 in long.  Paisley was 2 weeks and 1 day early.  The week before she was born I went in for a regular appointment and my belly was measuring small.  Dr. Kennedy decided she wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure that Paisley was growing like she should be.  To make a long story short, during the ultrasound Paisley needed to do 3 things to "pass".  She only did 2.  So, they brought me in the next day to perform another ultrasound.  They told me that if she didn't pass again that they would induce me right then.  Well, she passed, but barely.  So, Dr. Kennedy told me that she wanted to keep a close eye one us.  She scheduled us to come in twice weekly instead on once, and one of those appointments would be an ultrasound.  So, I went in Tuesday the 8th and had another ultrasound.  Well, little Miss Paisley Grace didn't pass for the second time.  So, Dr. Kennedy said that she would really like for me to be induced the following day.  It wasn't critical, but she didn't want to take any chances and since I was nearly 38 weeks, she felt comfortable with bringing Paisley into this world a little early.  I was excited!  I was so uncomfortable and all these ultrasounds were just making me anxious.  So on Wednesday morning, we got to the hospital at 7:30am to start the induction.  I was dilated to 1cm, but my cervix was still pretty high.  She they gave me cervidal ( I think, or something similar to that) and said that should soften my cervix and start contractions.  They were right! :)  I started contracting about an hour later.  At first they weren't bad, but they were starting to get uncomfortable pretty quick.  So at about 11am they came in and checked me and I was 3 - 3.5 cm and told me I could have my epidural as soon as my first bag of fluids was in.  That didn't take very long and by 11;30 I had my epidural.  And boy was it a strong one!  At first I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but soon I couldn't even feel that.  So at about 2:30pm they came in and checked me and shut my epidural off for about an hour.  I was dilated to 4cm at this point.  An hour later they came and turned it back on and at this point I was starting to feel more pressure.  At 4pm, I was really starting to feel the urge to push.  They had checked me at 3:45 and I hadn't really made any change.  Maybe a 1/2 cm or so.  Well, they checked me at 4:10 pm and I was complete and ready to push.  BUT my doctor was about 15 minutes away.  YIKES!!!  How was I going to hold this baby in for that long?!  Well, it took concentration, but I was able to breathe through each contraction and hold that baby in! :)  My doctor arrived at 4:25pm and "suited" up!  I pushed twice and little Paisley Grace entered the world at 4:41pm! :)  So, my labor started out kinda slow, but by the end it went so fast!  I am doing really well and have healed the fasted this time around than with any of my other kids!  Which is super nice since I have 3 more little ones to take care of!  So that is the story of how little Paisley Grace joined our family!  We are enjoying her so much already!  Libby, Caden and Josie just can't quite get enough of her!  :)