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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Soup & Baby Swings

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for enjoyable coworkers. No everybody can say that they enjoy all the people they work with, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to say I work on a team of really great people. They are all good at the jobs and fun people to be around…it’s a great combination. 

I’m thankful for a fun husband. He keeps things really interesting around here…in a good way. Us girls never stop laughing at all his shenanigans.

I’m thankful for soup. In the wintertime, nothing quite hits the spot like a hot bowl of soup. Chili, Clam chowder, corn chowder…you name, I’ve been eating it!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for baby swings. I forgot just how much of a life-saver a baby swing can be to a not-so-happy baby. Once in a while Baby N gets a little cranky and if all else fails, it seems like the baby swing is just what the doctor ordered. It's also in my office much of the day, so it's nice to have a little office companion.

I'm thankful for the new Apple earbuds. I got the newly redesigned earbuds with my iPhone upgrade a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely love them compared to the first model. I always purchased different earbuds to avoid wearing the Apple brand, but after giving these new ones a shot, I'm sticking with them!

I'm thankful for Superbowl energy. The Superbowl is back in Phoenix this year and you can definitely feel the energy in the city. From the different activities to celebrities visiting hospitals to everything going on around the stadium, it's a good time to be a Phoenician.

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Helpful App

This post will be a totally random one, but there's an app we love, so I thought I'd share it since I have nothing to post about. I'm not sure if we have previously discussed this app on the blog, but there's an app that we love around our house. It's called Myfitnesspal. It's an incredibly helpful way to track what you're eating/drinking. You add your meals and snacks, and it will tell you how many calories you consumed, and even cooler yet, all your macros (protein, fat, carbs), as well as vitamins, etc.

To add food, you can either enter it manually, search for it in the database, or scan the food's barcode and it finds it for you in the database. It then shows up on the day's food log. It makes it really easy and quick to add food.

Our favorite thing about the app is it's ability to track your macros for the day. Once you add your food, you can see the break down of your protein, fat and carbs for the day. This can be really helpful for people in the CF community, since they often don't only need extra calories, but extra fat as well, it can help keep you on track.

It's a helpful tool to help gain weight, lose weight, and maintain weight. If you're looking to keep dips on what you're eating and what kind of calories and nutrition you're consuming, this is a quick and easy way to do it! Check it out!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Gluten Free Brownies & Meat Patties

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for gluten free brownies. I’ve been gluten free since the summer, and while gluten free brownies aren’t quite as good as regular brownies, they really hit the spot…pretty much all the time.

I’m thankful for sleep. Two nights ago Ronnie agreed to take all the feedings for the night, so I got some much needed sleep. The best part was I decided to get the shut eye in Mckenna’s bed (Baby N sleeps in our room, and still likes to scream after many feedings). It was really, really nice to snuggle her all night long.

I’m thankful for good fitness role models. My parents are both very active (always have been) and Ronnie’s mom has been working out a lot for the last few years. I am so thankful that Mckenna not only sees us as fitness examples, but that she sees others in her life living that way. Not to mention her uncles and aunts also lead active lifestyles! Hopefully she assumes there’s no other way to be, and by default is active herself!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful sugar free flavored coffee syrups. I've been using my milk frothed daily since receiving it for Christmas, but just started adding syrups to the hot cup of joe for a more latte kind of a feel. I've never been a big coffee syrup kind of a guy before, but since I'm trying to control my sweet tooth, the carmel and vanilla flavored lattes seem to do the trick. And at 30 calories a drink, they are okay for my waist line as well :)

I'm thankful for the Mckenna's loving heart. Although I admit that sometimes her love can be a little overwhelming for Mandi, Baby N or myself, I'd much rather have it on that extreme end than the other. I love her random kisses, followed by an "I love you". Makes me feel like I'm not totally blowing it as her dad.

I'm thankful for frozen meat patties. I take full advantage of all of the frozen meat at Costco. Lately, I've been eating turkey burgers and salmon patties by the pound. Paired with a few heaping cups of vegetables and some hot sauce, it makes the perfect lunch or dinner for me!

What are you thankful for today?  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Sidelines

We had a fun-filled weekend with Ronnie's mom and brother up to visit. Since they came up from Tucson, his other brother and wife (newlyweds, woot woot) were also around much of the weekend. It was a fun way to spend the weekend, and of course Mckenna loved every second of their visit.

The real highlight for me, however, was getting to go cheer on my mom and her friend, Patty, run the Arizona Rock 'n Roll half marathon. It was on Sunday morning. Ronnie's mom was nice enough to watch Neylin so Mckenna, Ronnie and I could all race around with my dad in his car and catch them at points along the course. We got to see them at the start, missed them at mile 5 because they were blowing their goal time out of the water, caught them at mile 8, and again at the end. We drove around like maniacs tracking their progress and navigating all the road closures. I have never "watched" a race that way, and man, it's fun.

It was also another great opportunity to brainwash Mckenna in all things running. Running just to run sounds kind of boring. But knowing that people who run often get to go to a super-charged environment where men, women and children all cheer them on sounds a bit more appealing. The cute part was hearing Mckenna continue to chant some of the cheers we heard, long after the race was over. I think getting to drink a gatorade from Nana was the major highlight...gosh it's almost too easy to brainwash a 3 year old! Ha! By the end of the day she was asking about doing a race herself.

The major highlight of the morning was the fact that it was my mom's friend's first race of any kind, and they planned to run/walk it. Neither had run more than 6-9 miles before the race. Yet, they freaking rocked it! They didn't walk at all, and finished 20-minutes faster than their projected finish time.

How insanely packed is this start? Runners couldn't even all fit in the corrals!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Picked-up & Sweating

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for help. My mom and dad have been so sweet to chip in and help watch Mckenna and Baby N whenever needed (or whenever not needed, but just to give a little break). I cannot thank them enough for lightening our load more often than they have to.

I’m thankful for “I love you.” Mckenna randomly says “I love you” to me, several times a day. It never, ever gets old. In fact, my heart always explodes a little each time she thinks to say it. I often wonder what spurs it on because it is truly very random, but whatever triggers her little mind to say it, I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for a picked up house. I’m a bit of neat freak…not so much a clean freak, but a neat freak. I function best when our house is picked up, but, as anyone knows, a house with a toddler can come undone very, very quickly. Every evening Ronnie and I take 10-20 minutes to pick up so that we end the day, and start the next, in a little less chaos. There is nothing like a house that is picked up!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for sweating. I've been pushing hard at the gym lately and the best reminder that I'm making progress is when I have to stop my workout due to my eyes burning. Those of you with CF know the feeling of pure salt water being poured into your eyes, and under these circumstances, it's awesome!

I'm thankful for the "winter" weather. I've been walking home from the gym after the sun goes down a couple times a week and no sweatshirt has been required. There is a fantastic crispness in the air that actually feels like a perfect compliment to my sweaty body after my HIIT class.

I'm thankful for my milk frother. I'm back on a pretty strict nutrition plan, but that doesn't mean my sweet tooth is gone. To satisfy that sweet tooth, I've been making "lattes" at night and throwing them back as I decompress for the day. Sometimes I add sugar-free sweetener and sometimes I do not. Either way, it tastes deeeeelish!

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Character Trumps Talent"

Yesterday at church the pastor gave one of those sermons that rang a little bell in my mommy heart. The pastor was talking about David, and the fact that he was chosen to be king, even though he wasn't the most talented. The pastor said a phrase that made my heart leap:

"In God's eyes, character always trumps talent."

This is something that we know, right? Growing up in church that's something that you kind of know. We all understand the value of good moral character. But people rarely phrase it in a way that is so obvious. That little catch phrase set off bells in my heart and mind. I am forever keeping my ears open for little phrases that are easy to plant in Mckenna's brain. For example, "God is always good," or "no matter what you do, I still love you" (from a book, it's a good one if you haven't read it). With the attention span of a gnat, she doesn't always have time to listen to me preach, but when she does, I like to leave her with a little nugget at the end that she can remember (in case she forgets all the rest...which I'm 99.99% sure she does). "Character trumps talent," is one I will hold onto and start pulling out to embed in her brain. Yes, I fully support brainwashing your kids!

It's easy as parents to emphasize doing a good job. From the time our kids are born we are encouraging them crawl quickly, start walking, speak well. And I don't care who you are, moms, we always feel a sense of pride when our kid tackles a skill, and even more thrilled if we know they did it the fastest or the best. Admit it moms...it's ok, no one is surprised! It's bad even when they're infants, but I found as soon as Mckenna entered preschool, I had to fight to urge to push her a bit to help her be good at all the skills they were working on in school. And not because I shouldn't help her with skills, that's what parents should do, but because I knew it wasn't coming from a place that was totally kosher. It was less about tackling it for HER sake, and more about tackling it so she wasn't "that kid" in class. Ha! Mckenna is a smart cookie, but I wouldn't say she's the "best" in her class at most things. Somewhere deep in my mommy heart I found having to fight the desire for her to be the best. The sermon was an incredible reminder of what matters. And I couldn't help but get a flash image in my brain of Mckenna's report cards. The feedback is always that she is pretty good when it comes to the skills, but great when it comes to helping others, manners, etc. The teacher has said she's always the first to thank parent helpers; she's known by most of the parents in the school because she approaches all of them to make conversation; and she's always eager to help peers.


When her little report cards came home, it always made my heart happy that she was loving and kind at school (She knows I ask her teach at the end of each day if she was a good listener, loving, kind and had a happy heart). But this sermon was a great reminder to always keep that in focus, and to actually verbalize that focus to her... and them let the skills fall where they may (to some extent, obviously you have to try your hardest and practice...but beyond that...ours hearts should be satisfied).

Anyways, there's really not a great point to the blog. No hard hitting final points. Just a little insight into my ever-evolving mommy brain and heart...it's a scary place in there sometimes ;-)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Life Lately: A Photo Recap

I'm sure I'm not the only one that got back to work after the holidays feeling like my head was spinning; it was all a dream; and that I needed a vacation from my vacation!

Life lately has been beautiful chaos.

Between Mckenna, Baby N, and holiday festivities, it has been exhausting but incredibly fun. We are so blessed to have such amazing immediate and extended families to spend the holidays with.

Here's what our life is looking like lately:

Mckenna has continued to be so sweet and loving to Baby N. She would snuggle her all day if we let her...or I should say if N let her!

Of course we put out cookies and milk for Santa, as well as reindeer food (muddy buddies). The cookies and reindeer food were made by Mckenna, Nana, and Papi when she got to spend all morning at their house doing Christmas crafts and baking. Oh and Mckenna insisted on leaving Santa a present, consisting of candy!

Christmas morning...looking like a sleepy new mommy, baby wearing and all.

It doesn't snow in Phoenix, so Mckenna decided to make her own with styrofoam from one of the Christmas gifts boxes...it was just as fun to clean up as it looks! She "helped". 

Mckenna got her first haircut from Auntie Shay - one of our best friends. She felt pretty special.

She also didn't realize she was just as Auntie Shay's house. Instead she thought it was a full-service spa and requested her nails to be painted as well.

Christmas gifts included a lot of supplies for the kitchen she got for her birthday...Thankfully these cookies don't pack as many calories as all those Christmas cookies.

Mckenna got to get up to watch the ball drop. Considering she kept asking when it would drop, after it dropped, I think she found it underwhelming.

Mckenna came with me to transport Baby N to one of her visits...clearly she found waiting really fun!

Everything is more fun with company, right?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

2014 was definitely a slower blogging year around here but that doesn't mean that we didn't have a lot going on...I'm afraid it was just the opposite!! I apologize for not keeping up on here as much as I need to, but I certainly hope to post more than 123 blogs in 2015 (we posted 356 in 2009!!). Thank you all for your continued support. 

Here's the best that I can remember from 2015 with links to many of the highlights...

January- Being hospitalized right up to December 23rd of 2013 combined with the holiday celebrations, I found myself struggling with maintaining consistency with my workouts. Entering the new year, I was focused on getting back into my routine and eager for what 2014 would bring. We were also doing a TON of experimenting with the Vitamix blender we got for Christmas and Mandi was preparing for her first ever full-marathon, which she of course NAILED!!

CysticLife: We were awarded a contract by PCORI to establish a patient-centered research community for cystic fibrosis which drove much of what we did in 2014. We also started working with a new development team that allowed us to push forward at a faster pace!


February- I celebrated my 34 birthday in a very quite way as usual (birthdays have never been a big deal to me). Meanwhile, Mandi wrote about what a large impact strangers can have on our lives and the impact we can make for them. We also moved forward with a completed a "kitchen remodel" of sorts after we decided that we needed a new refrigerator. I took a retrospective look on how much time I devote to taking care of cystic fibrosis.

CysticLife: The contract period for PCORI began and we were off to the races! A big part of the job began as we started to move CysticLife.org to a different framework to keep up with the demands of our growing community.

March- Taking full advantage of classes offered at the local community center, we enrolled Mckenna in her first dance class. On a not so bright note, I lost a friend from the CF community who I spent many weeks with in the hospital down in Tucson. And in possibly the strangest story of 2014, I actually managed to get an earwig stuck in my actual ear!

CysticLife: We were knee-deep in getting an advisory board established to help guide us on the PCORI contract.

April- April started off with some disappointment as we learned that the last two embryos we had did not implant after transfer, but we also reflected on the gift we have already been given. I started attending Man Church as my softball games were scheduled during one of my usual bible study times. We also enrolled Mckenna into some ISR safety swimming classes as we are around many pools during the summer.

CysticLife: Due to the overwhelming response by the CL community to serve on the CL research advisory board, we also established a research ambassador program to take advantage of the passion around research in the CF community!

May- I spent half of May in the hospital and a torn pleural adhesion could have been one of the contributing factors. I missed a family vacation as a result, but as I noted, life often comes down to the choices we make. Mandi and I also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary!

CysticLife: Work continued on the CL site to capture member experiences that could be turned into research. A governance structure was also established to help guide the CL Research Advisory Board.

June- We took our annual family trip to Rocky Point, Mexico and had a blast as usual. I also started a new weight lifting routine. Vertex also revealed the results of its big DDF508 study which resulted in some enlightening conversations as I encouraged the community to "proceed with caution".  

CysticLife: A ton of work was being done behind the scenes on CL 2.0 which will update the look and features of the CysticLife site. It's a big job!

July- We spent the July 4th weekend camping, so I had to figure out a way to get my treatments done without electricity - enter the power inverter! Mckenna took a big step in her life as we converted her crib to a big girl bed! Mandi reflected on a sermon that really resonated with her and decided I was not defective ;)

CysticLife: We launched Snap Polls on CysticLife.org as a better way to provide feedback more quickly.

August- In what may have been the most widely read and shared post of 2014, I pleaded with Vertex to provide Kalydeco to a couple of girls in Arkansas who were in desperate need of it. I also shared that my lungs aren't big fans of strong scents, an thought shared by many. We also had a family trip to Hawaii!

CysticLife: August was full of tightening up loose ends on various small projects that we had been working on.

September- We decided to pursue another IVF cycle after another failed attempt with donated embryos that were gifted to us and asked for prayers from the community. There were many posts during this time updating all of you on the progress of the cycle as well as specific prayer requests. One Republic featured a CF patient in a music video that reminded me of who was really responsible for me being the man I am today

CysticLife: A lot of talk around Patient Powered Registries and how CL could support one on the site for the benefit of each individual member and the research community at large.

October- We found out that we were pregnant a week into October, but very soon after had an unfortunate turn of events when we lost that pregnancy. That experience only strengthened our desire to become foster parents and we were thrilled to be able to complete the classes necessary in the third week of October. We also had a great Halloween!

CysticLife: The CysticLife Research Advisory Board was busy examining the over 40 research questions submitted by the CL community and choosing the top 5 that could be turned into exciting research.

November- I went into the Hole and Mandi and Mckenna took off for Florida to hang out with Grammy! Mandi was "single-mommying" it for much of the month. We continued to take the necessary steps to become licensed foster parents and little did we know that our very first placement would be born this month.

CysticLife: We opened up research question scoring on CysticLife and the response was fantastic. The CL community really got behind a couple of key questions!

December- We got our foster care license and felt like we were at the top of a roller coaster about to take the plunge. Within 48 hours we had our first placement, Baby N, and she has been such a blessing to have around. The biggest blessing of all however has been witnessing Mckenna's heart throughout this process.

CysticLife: After the CL community scored an exercise vs. traditional airway clearance technique the highest, we immediately put together an Exercise Research Committee to help guide us as we move forward with the research.

Most viewed blogs this year: 

I want to take this time to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules and checking in on us from time to time. This year, we saw RSBR reach almost 1.5 million views. It's still mind blowing to me that we have even had 1! I'm so humbled by how many of you continually leave comments of encouragement and support. You've seen our family change in big ways and are always there to lend a few tips and tricks when we need them. 

Again, thank you, thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a safe and happy New Year and I'll see you guys in 2014.

Love from my family to yours,
Ronnie

Monday, December 22, 2014

An Unforeseen Blessing

Ronnie and I started down the path to become a foster family because we felt the call on our hearts. We knew it was right for us. We knew God was calling us to it. We knew that by following His call that there would be hard times and abundant blessings.

One of the biggest unforeseen blessings has been seeing Mckenna's heart through this process. We knew that God gifted Mckenna uniquely. We knew that God made Mckenna a compassionate, loving, kind-spirited heart. We knew that he made her incredibly social. We knew that she was given a heart for people, big and small. But to see that all used to care for a tiny, precious baby over the last week and a half has been one of the biggest blessings. I have been so proud of her. There is no doubt that it has to be hard to share your parents after 3+ years of having them to yourself. It can't be easy to be woken up by cries. It must be frustrating to have to wait for your normal morning snuggles because Baby N needs to finish her feeding. But you would never know it. Cries are responded to with compassion; loving rubs, sweet words, and a binky in her mouth. Waiting time is filled with baby talk and hand holding, just to be close to her. To watch Mckenna lay next to Baby N, sweetly stroke her tiny head and tell her how much she loves her is nothing short of heart melting. To hear her ask her if she misses her mommy and daddy when she cries makes it ever apparent that she is always thinking about her needs, deeper than the physical.

I am so thankful that over the last week we have seen that caring for babies isn't only a call on our hearts, but placed on Mckenna's heart as well!!

Praise God! He sure creates family perfectly fit for each other!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sharpe: Family of 4...for now!

We officially got our foster license on Tuesday, and within 48 hours had a call about our first placement. We were so excited to jump in the car and pick up little baby N at the hospital. When I say little, I mean little. She came home with us at a whopping 4lbs 4oz. That's right. 4lbs 4oz. She is the smallest baby I have ever held, and has the sweetest little face.

The only person who adores baby N more than me and Ronnie is Mckenna. God provided all of us with the best first placement! N is so small that Mckenna can hold her very comfortably. It's a good thing God makes babies durable because Mckenna doesn't leave her alone. It is so heartwarming to watch Mckenna love on N. My heart bursts watching her hold and speak to her. When she's crying, you hear Mckenna saying, "I know, I know, sweet pea. I know, sugar. It's ok. It's ok." I love it!

She is a typical newborn. Loves to sleep during the day and party at night. Sleeps best when getting snuggled. And has the most adorable faces she doesn't even know she's making while she sleeps.

We transitioned pretty seamlessly to adding a new little love to our family for the time being. We have no idea how long she will stay, but we will love on her as long as we need to!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Foster License & Passionate Professionals

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful that we are officially licensed as foster parents. It was a long road (mores full of waiting than actual hard work), but we did it. We are now sitting and eagerly waiting for our first placement. I am so thankful that we are in the position to help kiddos and their families.

I’m thankful for morning snuggles. In the mornings, Mckenna and I sit on the couch and watch a show while I drink coffee and she eats cereal. I love this time together. It’s quiet, cozy, and a really special time to sit and chat while her voice still sounds tired and her eyes still looks sleepy. She’s slow moving, but cheery; snuggly, but animated. I may be tired, but I think it’s some of my favorite times together.

I’m thankful for a hard working hubby. Poor Ronnie has been swamped with work lately, but he never lets it show that he has so much on his plate, and somehow doesn’t drop any balls even with more balls to be juggling.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for checking off another box on the way to helping put a family back together. We received word a couple of days ago that we were approved for our Foster License in the state of Arizona. It's something we've been working toward since the summer, and we're thankful that we're now available to children and families who need us in their most desperate of times.

I'm thankful for passionate professionals in the CF community. I'm working on putting together an Exercise Research Committee to explore a research question picked by CysticLife.org and the response to join has been fantastic. We've received almost nothing but yeses (SP?) and are so excited to continue pushing and supporting patient-driven research. If you're at all interested in getting involved, please let me know.

I'm thankful morning PJs. We leave windows and doors open while we sleep, so in the morning, it's pretty chilly. Not Syracuse chilly, but chilly enough that a warm set of PJs feels quite nice just before that hot cup of espresso. As I type this, I'm getting eager to put them on ;)

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, December 8, 2014

From the Top of the Rollercoaster

As you have probably seen scattered here and there in posts, we are getting licensed to be foster parents. I'm not sure what we shared about this, so I'll lay it all out there...

Ronnie and I have both always felt called to fostering. We talked about it while dating and continued discussions all throughout our relationship. I have family friends who have fostered and adopted a huge family, Ronnie's cousins have fostered and adopted several kids, and we have friends who foster. We always discussed fostering "when our family is complete." Even after getting pregnant and having Mckenna, it was always "when our family is complete." Even through the first year and a half of our IVF journey to baby number two, it was "when our family is complete."

Well after our failed cycle this summer, we both felt God was saying we shouldn't put off getting licensed any longer. We had a set expectation of what our "complete" family was going to look like. And this summer I really started to think that maybe my version of our "complete" family, wasn't God's version. Perhaps our family wasn't going to be completed the way I thought. We both felt God was saying not to push off the call on our hearts for some self-imposed milestone. We aren't done trying to have biological kids, but we decided that our vision of when we would foster should be reworked. So we started the process.

We have friends and family in the area that have fostered, so we asked around and found a wonderful agency. From there it was lots of paperwork, 10 weeks of classes, lots more paperwork, a homestudy (just lots of interviews that our licensing worker writes up about us), and a home inspection by the state. It's been a long road, but I'm happy to say that as of last Thursday, our application for a license was submitted to the state, and we should hear any minute that we have our license.

Gulp.


That means this is really happening. I have to tell you...when we started this in June, it seemed like an eternity away. And when we submitted our application last week, I kind of felt like I was going to have a panic attack. You know that feeling when you are really excited to ride a roller coaster, and then when it's slowly climbing up to the peak at the beginning, your heart starts racing. With each eery "click", you can feel your stomach rise higher into your throat. Click....click....click. And then, you're at the top, looking down at the ground, and you have that moment of "oh crap..." right before you're hurled down for the most fear-filled yet thrilling ride of your life? That's pretty much exactly how it feels. This is a journey that we are stepping into knowing it will be the ride of our lives.

One of the first things people say when they know you're going to foster is that they never could do it. That it has to be so hard to take a child in, bond with them, and then say goodbye. And I totally get it. I don't think I can do it either. I love kids. I love babies. You could hand me a baby tomorrow and say, "it's yours." I wouldn't think twice and love him/her like I had carried him/her for 9 months. I honestly don't know how you say goodbye to a little one that you've loved and cared for. But, I know that while I can't, I know that He can. God has placed this call on our hearts. And I know that He can walk us through the hard parts. I know that He has created each of us, Mckenna included, to be able to navigate through and flourish while carrying out this call. So while I stare from the top, panicked and scared for the plunge, I am feeling at peace knowing that God will walk us through this.

So please pray for our family as we step out in faith to carry out the most challenging, yet rewarding, journey we may ever do together. We are so excited...and scared...but more excited!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Stories & Routines

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for hot chocolate. This time of year is the time of year I crave warm, cozy drinks. Hot chocolate always fits the bill. I could drink hot chocolate all day, throw some marshmallows in there and boom, perfection.

I’m thankful for Ronnie being home. After 2.5 weeks in the hole, there is nothing more awesome than having my hubby back. Mckenna and I both missed him!

I’m thankful for sweet stories. Mckenna has become quite the storyteller, and it is adorable. The way she tells stories, the stories she tells, her sweet little giggles in the middle and at the end…they make my heart so full!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a non-traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration. I was still inpatient on Thanksgiving and I'm so thankful to my wife and daughter for making the drive down to the Hole to bring me a fantastic meal prepared by Nana. Mandi also brought a table cloth and candles to try and hide the fact we were eating on a metal picnic table outside of the hospital. It was a very special time for my family and the food was deelish!

I'm thankful for routines. I got out of the hospital the day after Thanksgiving day and spent the weekend loving up on my family and spending time with them. Come Monday, it's been all about getting back into the Sharpe routine. Whether that's work, gym, park, meals, bedtime or quality time with Mandi, I'm just so thankful to be back with my family and back into our routines.

I'm thankful that we're almost at the finish line. We started the process to become a licensed foster family many months ago, and I'm so thankful that that process will be coming to an end very soon. I believe that we learned a lot through the classes and grew as individuals and as a family.

What are you thankful for today?  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Life Lately...It's December?

Woah baby, it's already December? How did that even happen? November was a complete blur. Ronnie was in the hospital for 2.5 weeks of it. Thanksgiving came and went. And now, Christmas is roaring down the tracks. Here's what's been happening lately:

Keni and I enjoyed a trip to visit my Grammy and Disney...This is how we spent most of our day at Disney, her on my shoulder so she could see...

We visited Daddy in the Hospital a lot...and played with all his fun toys. (Don't worry, it's just Hypertonic in there when she was breathing it in)

We played doctor at home since we has medicines, hospitals, and Daddy on the brain.

We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the beautiful (Arizona) fall weather. Check out that outfit...guess who dressed herself for the bike ride.

We had our first major head bleed...which almost went unnoticed because Keni is such a tough cookie...until I found blood all over.

But don't worry, we just put her hair back into a pony tail to cover up the dried blood and went to the store...I understand that may rule me out for mom of the year!

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the hospital with Ronnie...Thanks to the hard work of my mom who prepared all the food!!

Daddy came home...with new medical toys to play with

Dr. Tinklebell made sure he was healthy as an ox

We spent lots of time with our besties

And we relished in all the beauty that was around us.

December will prove to be just as awesome...and just as much of a blur, I'm sure. I will write a longer blog on this sometime this week, but we are ALMOST at the end of the foster licensing process. Our house passed inspection on Friday and our homestudy is done and being edited. All our paperwork will be submitted to the state next week, and then we wait!