The Value of Building Memories

IMG_0807

I don’t know about you, but when the daily routine gets to be too routine, I grow quite tired of it. In order for me not to grow cantankerous, I need to do things a little out of the ordinary. Fun things. Like take my family to the fair.

We went to the Kentucky State Fair last week. There, I watched my daughter’s eyes light up when she saw the goats and pigs and cows. She loved petting the lambs and just running around the farm animals in general.

Even our son, strapped in his stroller, was interested in his surroundings and took an interest in the dog shows and the flying motorcycles.

The food was way overpriced and tasted like crap, but it broke up the daily grind. It afforded the family quality time together outside of the house.

Something I’m learning is to always go out and do things with the family as much as you can. That way, when we look back on it all, we’ll know we really experienced life together with every opportunity offered.

Join my Facebook Author Page for more fun!

The Things That Make Me Happiest

how_to_make_boneless_chicken_wings_1

It’s only Tuesday. And for most of us who hate our jobs, that’s like saying, “You’ve got a thousand more years before you get to sit down and relax.”

Well, I find that if you take a moment to jot down the things that make you happiest, and then every day until the weekend you do a couple of those things, it makes your work week much more bearable. A dark tunnel isn’t so scary if you see the light at the end of it.

So here’s a list of things that make me happiest.

  1. My wife and kids: My wife’s loving words, my daughters contagious laugh, and our son (still a foster) not crying if he falls down as he’s learning to walk.
  2. Ruffles’ Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream potato chips
  3. Pixar/Disney movies – especially the ones that make me cry.
  4. Finishing a new book every week, because that means I’m actually enjoying the art of reading a lot.
  5. Boneless buffalo wings so hot your nose runs and your eyes water, making your plate a soppy mess.
  6. Pizza where the mozzarella is so discernible you’d think you were eating a block of warm, melted cheese.
  7. Ice cream that’s so creamy you’d swear the cow stirred the milk herself.
  8. Random trips to Starbucks with the family and getting a big honkin’ frappuccino with whipped cream.
  9. Good ideas for new books to write. Because those are mine alone and I get excited about the prospect of writing a new book.
  10. When my dogs go potty on the grass right away.
  11. Those limited edition Oreo’s they have out now (especially cotton candy flavored).
  12. Reading your comments below my blog posts.
  13. My new website (andrewtoybooks) which is still in development.

Share some of the things that make you happiest below and have a great rest of the week!

Baby A. is Officially Ours

11053691_451150641760475_8000524778489925718_nIt finally happened. It’s a done deal. If I had pixie dust and only needed to think up a happy thought to fly, today would by my happy thought.

Today, Sarabeth and I took our foster daughter to the courthouse one last time to solemnly swear to be Baby A.’s legal and official parents forever.

At 10:05 this morning, “Baby A.” officially became Katherine Anne Toy.

In the year and a half we’ve had her, I’ve never felt like she wasn’t our daughter, but now, it’s 100% official.

All I can say is, Katherine, as your dad, I will do my best to give you the life you’ve always deserved, full of happiness, love, and lots and lots of dancing!

Mom and I love you very much. We always will.

Get more updates on Kat and her foster brother on my Facebook Author Page

11693961_10207466994937239_5690274194707290519_n

My Daughter’s Life Will Change In Just Two Days

Adoption-words

…As will mine.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had Baby A. for a year and a half! Since she arrived in our home from the hospital, the house has been louder, more joyful, filled with laughs, and it’s been much, much messier!

Sure, there’s been some bad days where my temper has gotten the better of me, or my patience ran out.

But I wouldn’t give up a single minute with my foster daughter.

And in just two days, she will be, officially and forever known as our daughter.

Sarabeth and I can’t possibly be more happy and proud of our little girl. Every day she surprises us with something new that’s she’s learned and cracks us up over something she does.

Our daughter has become the greatest little person I have even known.

July 22, her adoption day, cannot possibly come fast enough.

Now I need to stop writing about it because otherwise I can’t stop crying!

No, life isn’t perfect. There are many things we’d like to change, many more miles to cross to reach certain goals, and many struggles yet to overcome, but when it comes to our daughter, nothing can possibly give us more joy and satisfaction.

Keep updated on our Adoption Day by following my Facebook Page!

How We Got Engaged

slide12July 19, 2008, seven years ago today, lives were changed.

Plans were altered.

Questions were asked.

It was unlikely that Sarabeth and I would ever meet – me from California, she from Florida. The chances were slim at best.

We didn’t meet on either coast as one might think, but in the middle of God’s country, Colorado Springs where we met at school.

It took me maybe two weeks at most to ask her out. But like all good things, our everyday courtship ended and I had to go back home to California and she back to Florida. We dated each other from our prospective hometowns for a year and a half.

That’s eighteen months with over 3,000 miles between us.

It wasn’t easy. I hate talking on the phone to begin with, and at some point I gave up and dumped Sarabeth.

Worst mistake ever.

I don’t know how or why she ever accepted me back when I came to visit her on her birthday. But I’m glad she did.

I made many promises that I was going to propose to her, but every time, I found some excuse or another to put it off again and again.

I had moved up to Seattle to work at a camp early in 2008 (almost as northwest of the continental country as one can get, while Sarabeth was almost as southeast as one could get).

She came to visit me on July 18 and that night I told her I couldn’t propose to her yet. I needed to wait.

Again.

Maybe around Christmas.

To her, a snail could crawl from Florida to Washington quicker than I was going to propose.

I picked her up from her hotel the next morning to bring her to the camp I was working at to show her around campus. I was wearing a raggedy shirt that she had expressed disinterest in at some point in our relationship. After all, I had no reason to dress up.

The chapel was first on our tour. Before we reached it, one of my colleagues came out and said I had an important call to take. So I passed my girlfriend off to him and asked him to take her to the chapel and I’ll meet her there in a few minutes.

I ran to the offices not to take a call, but to shed my raggedy shirt, and put on a nice button down I had purchased and checked for the trillionth time that the box was still in the breast pocket. I removed it and clamped it tightly in my sweaty hand.

While this was happening, my colleague led her to the chapel where she found a video of me projected onto the big screen talking about how much I love her and how glad I was that she was there. Then video ended with me saying, “Now, I have just one question to ask you…”

And right below the screen I walked in through the door with the ring in my hand while John Mclaughlin’s “So Close filled the chapel through the speakers.

I asked the question. She said yes.

We sat on the steps and talked and laughed and made plans for the rest of our lives.

“I have just one more surprise for you,” I said.

I then led her down to the camp’s lakeside as the morning sun danced in its reflection, and there on the sand was a table set up with flowers, two chairs, and a couple of servers (the camp cooks) ready to take our breakfast order.

Our own private breakfast on the lake.

And lots of pancakes – she loves pancakes.

But I knew our engagement anniversary would be celebrated for years to come, and I wanted to set a tradition. So later I took her to our favorite restaurant, Cheesecake Factory in downtown Seattle. It was a good choice because so far there has been a Cheesecake Factory in every state we’ve lived in.

Well, this year, Cheesecake Factory is being postponed until Wednesday the 22nd. We’re taking our daughter to celebrate her adoption day and our foster son.

Traditions are meant to be tweaked.

As long as they’re still shared with the ones you love.

Adoption Week is here!! Follow my Facebook Page for updates!

Adoption Update (Enter A Hundred Exclamation Points Here)

IMG_0820

I’m sitting at work on the phone with a customer and, just now, I get a text from Sarabeth:

“Adoption Date!!!!!!!!! July 22 @ 9:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, friends. After having Baby A. be a part of our home for the last 548 wonderful days, she will now officially be recognized as a Toy by the state and the world.

Sitting here at work at my desk, it’s very hard not to break down and cry right now.

Next week, we will be revealing Baby A.’s real name and so much more! Keep checking back for updates.

July 22nd 2015: The best day of our lives so far…

Follow the adoption updates closely here!

Adoption Update

11393186_10207077293354943_1340687581005535639_n

Good news. Extraordinary news.

Incredible, exciting, jubilant, fantastic, exquisite news!

We had out first adoption social worker visit last week. Not a foster care social worker, but an ADOPTION worker. We have now officially begun the process of adopting Baby A.!! (The real name of which we’ll reveal at the time of adoption.)

At seventeen and a half months, Baby A. is doing wonderful. She is growing fast and learning even faster. She laughs a lot and sleeps through the night (mostly), and really loves to be tickled. She just recently overcame her fear of the bucket swing at the local park, loves to slide down the biggest and fastest slides, and is always anxious to go outside for a walk or splash around in the bathtub.

She’s also learning to be a really good big sister to Baby B. – whose case is being audited so we can get him into the adoption process quicker.

So when will we get to sign the official adoption papers? The worker said it could take up to ninety days for everything to be finalized, so we’re hoping sometime in September.

That feels like waiting for Christmas 2019. But in the meantime, we’re anxious to have her belong to us officially. Sarabeth and I cannot possibly be any happier to have her in our lives and in our home, as we couldn’t possibly imagine a better daughter.

For more updates, join my Facebook Author Page here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,580 other followers