Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Thank you for your concerns. We are safe and were fortunate enough to watch the storms pass over us. My heart breaks for the families who lost everything in the tornados. I can't imagine waiting to pick up my child from school and waiting all night. The thought alone is paralyzing. Like you, we huddled around the tv and hugged our girls a little tighter as we watched the devastation.
Prayers are needed. Okies are strong, resilient and God fearing. I couldn't be more proud to call it Home.
Text "Red Cross" to 90999

Monday, May 13, 2013

Here we are!

I missed this here ol' blog! Life has been speeding by and I am ready to sit back down at my computer and freeze time for just a bit while looking through my camera.
We have been adjusting to the new life of a family of four. Life has been amazing, but good Lord I'm tired! Berkley is doing great and Isabelle is a perfect big sister, which has made this whole transition easier. Berkley is slowly coming off her medicine, which can make for a rough couple of days, but other than that she is such a happy, sweet baby!

I had such a great day celebrating Mother's Day and I was given the precious gift of sleep!! (Thank you again, Mr. T and Berkley. You guys are awesome.) As soon as I woke up, I was greeted by a naked toddler wearing a tiara and sparkly shoes....Motherhood is awesome.

We did go visit Berkley's birth mom, M, which was great. Mother's day is such a day of celebration around here, but after visiting M, I realized how painful of a day it can be for a lot of women. For M, it is a day of regrets, brokenness, and pain. The look on her face when she saw Berkley broke me. She knows that she made a great decision by giving Berkley a home that she couldn't provide, but it still hurts. She has done the most selfless, self sacrificing thing that I have ever witnessed and it breaks my heart. She loves Berkley in a different way than I could ever imagine and I am so glad she does.  She will always be Berkley's first mom and we are so happy that she didn't take the easy way out. We will always love her for making that tough decision.
Me and my gals

Oh man, my heart just explodes for these two. 

I left her alone for ONE minute and the princess fairy placed a crown on her head. That's what big sisters are for, right? 

My little baby has become the best big sister that I could ever imagine. She makes me forget what it was like when it just three of us. She instantly fell in love and included her baby siter in EVERYTHING. 

Our first family hike.
Stay a little more up to date with our family adventures and follow me on Instagram: anotherstepmel

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Parental Rights

We have had quite the adjustment with a family of four. Berkley is doing a ton better (thank you for all your sweet words!) and we are loving the adjustment, but change is always a little tough for me. Do you know what makes a newborn adjustment awesome? A baby that only wakes up ONCE during the night. It's awesome. I think we are finally getting payback for her (literally) screaming for 2 weeks straight. She is now eating a ton during the day and sleeping it off at night. She is still tiny, but she is growing strong. We went for a 3 week checkup to go over her medicine routine and she weighed a whopping 6lbs 2oz. She's tiny but mighty.
 Through all of this, we have been trying to keep Isabelle's schedule normal. She does swimming lessons on Saturday and that has become her second favorite thing to do.
 Her first favorite thing to do....hold her sister.
 Thank God for grandparents. Mr. T's parents came in town so we could enjoy a night out with country music (Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley) beer and a little alone time with my hot date. Perfect.

Tomorrow at 10:30 Berkley's birth mom will stand in front of a judge and sign away any rights she has for Berkley. I am terrified. Not that she won't sign them, but I am scared for the emotions she is going to have during that time. I can't imagine doing a more selfless thing in my life. Her strength amazes me. She has been seeking professional help for her addictions and she is doing awesome, but she is also tons of support. We hope to be that support for her and we hope that she lets us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

So What!

So What Wednesday
This week I am saying So What!:
-That I haven't slept in a little over 2 weeks. My eyes are officially blood shot, but we get to take our little lady home from the hospital TODAY so that makes it all worth it.
-I need to buy Visine for my bloodshot eyes, but I have a weird thing with visine and I think that only pot heads buy it and I don't want to be judged when I go get it. I am no pot head, although my eyes would tell you something different.
-Mr. T and I have tickets to see Miranda Lambert on Saturday and we are so excited about it! Hopefully a night away is just what the doctor ordered.
-I am still trying to get on the whole "Downton Abbey" bandwagon. I am getting better with it, but still not seeing the hype. However, I do want an english accent and a giant castle. With electricity please.
-That I am all out of SO what's! My brain is working at about 50%, but hopefully I will be back in full force soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 6

Sunday started out perfectly! Mr T. And I left the hospital after a night with Berkley and went to pick up Isabelle at my moms house for some church. It's a really weird feeling being at church with one of your daughters while the other daughter is stuck in a hospital bed. We needed to keep our lives sort of normal for Isabelle and Sunday means donuts and church to her, so we tried to focus on the positive and do our Sunday thing.
Church always feels like such a "safe place" and this Sunday was no different. After a great service, we headed out for a nice run. Throughout this entire stressful process running has become my meditation and peaceful time. I will definitely blog about that all later, but I will say that I have had some awesome experiences on my runs lately.

Anyway....after a great Sunday afternoon we headed back up to the hospital to check on our gal. We were immediately brought back to reality when the nurse said that Berkley didn't have a great morning and her score was a 12. (They score her a few times a day for withdrawal signs. The lower the score the better. We walked into the hospital at a 12-14, but lately we had been at 2's and 4's. So to get a 12 again, after 5 days, was devastating.)

They decided to put her back on a medication that might make her sleepy, but then she wouldn't be uncomfortable. Thankfully, that has worked! Last night her highest score was a 6 and today she has been around 1! She is more alert and eating great and slowly gaining weight. She is a fighter and has reached EVERY goal that the doctor has set for her.

The doctor said that he wants to watch her a few more nights, but that we should be able to go home by Wednesday! Such great news!
We are not out of the clear quite yet, and once she comes home she will continue a detox plan until she is completely off of all medication, but we are just ready to have her home again!
Thank you for your prayers and support! I cannot thank you enough!! 
We have been doing a lot of this lately. Holding/ipad-ing. Mr. T is watching every Shark Tank that's ever been made and I just started Season 1 of Downton Abbey. (I have only watched 2 episodes and I'm not hooked yet. Don't you worry though... I will give it a little more time!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 4

We are still in the hospital. She is not doing so hot when the methadone wears off and so they are giving her some medication to help her sleep so she's not awake and in pain. They will wean her off the sleep medication before she can go home.
Mr. T and I took a break last night and went home to sleep while my mom stayed with Berkley at the hospital. It was a nice break, but we were ready to get back with her!

Isabelle keeps asking when Berkley is coming home because she can't come visit her while she is in the NICU and I have a feeling Berkley is ready to be home as well! We are praying for a speedy recovery, but we definitely don't want to leave the hospital if she's not ready. Thank you all for your sweet words and support! For more pics, follow me on Instagram at: anotherstepmel

Friday, April 5, 2013

We're a family of 4!

Berkley Nichole
Born March 23, 2013.
She is beautiful and perfect.

I'm so sorry if you follow me on Instagram and you got a glimpse of our newest member and then heard nothing more. Life with Berkley has been a whole new adventure and much more than we could have planned for. We are so excited that we were chosen to be her parents and our hearts have grown twice in size since we met her. She is such a blessing to our lives!

Let me start out by saying that Berkley's birth mother is an amazing, strong, courageous young woman. She has had a tough life and is fighting some addictions, but we know that she is strong enough to win. That being said, Berkley was born addicted to Methadone. We were aware that her Birth mom was taking Methadone to fight her long addiction to pain killers. Because she was pregnant, she could not quit her addictions cold turkey without the possibility of a miscarriage. Doctors told her that methadone was the best alternative. It would not cause any serious side effects, but they did warn that the baby would withdrawal when she was born and that it wouldn't be pretty. Methadone is not the same as Methanthetamine. I can't tell you all of the specifics about it, but google can. It is taken daily which makes the withdrawals that much tougher. We were warned that Methadone is the "best" drug to be on for babies if you are choosing, but that the withdrawals are the worst to watch because it was taken regularly.
We prepared ourselves.
We knew that 90% of babies born to mothers on methadone go through some sort of withdrawal, but we prayed to be in the 10%.
Then we prayed. And we prayed hard.
I didn't talk about the entire adoption process on here, because it was too hard and I didn't know what to expect. I also didn't want to hear judgement about Berkley's birth mom because we have gotten really close with her and we love her like a sister now.
 I regret that I didn't write about it now, because I know that this blog is a great source of therapy for me and can help others, but at that time I just couldn't bring myself to accept the fact that my daughter would be born addicted to drugs.

When she was born, everything was perfect. We spent three days in the hospital waiting for signs of withdrawal, but we saw none. She was doing great. We thought we had made it out of the "zone" and we were now safe. That our baby had beat the odds.
We were wrong.
The night we brought her home, she didn't sleep at all. We told ourselves that this is just what newborns do, but I think Mr. T and I both knew that something wasn't right. She was crying and she wasn't consolable. Her cry was different then other cries (high pitched) and she seemed really uncomfortable. Then morning would come and she would seem okay. She would sleep most of the day and so we just thought maybe she had her days and nights messed up.
We were in denial.
This went on for a few days and then things took a turn for the worse. The crying became an almost all day thing and we were exhausted and felt helpless. Our doctor prescribed medication that might help her, but it didn't. She was getting no relief and was clearly in pain.
So on Wednesday night, We checked back into the hospital.
We are here now and the doctors have her back on Methadone and will wean her slowly off. She is doing much better, but every day is a new struggle. We are fully relying on the Lord at this point and know that He loves her more than we can imagine and we are resting in His peace.
It's hard.
There are a lot of tears.
I want my family of four to be able to just do life together.
Isabelle misses her sister.
I miss my baby not looking "sick" in a hospital bed.
We're exhausted.
But we are filled with Joy.
We know that this is the war that the Lord has us fighting and we know that this is exactly where we are supposed to be. We are glad to know that we can be here for her during this time, but our hearts are broken for the MILLIONS of other kids that are fighting battles, like Berkleys, alone. We know that she will be fine, we just pray that it will be soon.
Please, rejoice with us in this awesome new blessing that we have been given and please pray with us that she is healed quickly and comfortably.
I promise to update you now daily.
She needs your prayers. Please.

Philippians 4:6- "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So What!

So What Wednesday
This week I am saying, So What!:
-That I am breaking out like a 15 year old because my hormones/stress levels are going crazy. This adoption stuff is a lot harder than I thought.
-That I get really pissed annoyed when a woman says, "Oh, you're adopting? That's awesome, because you don't have to do all the hard stuff with a pregnancy." Okay, I've been pregnant and it is hard. And now, I've gone through the adoption process and for me it is so.much.harder. Holy loss of control batman! We have 2 weeks to go and time seems to be creeping by.
-That I have also heard a lot lately, "God won't give you more than you can handle". Which I believe is total baloney. I don't know if you have read the bible or not, but that's not the case at all...The bible DOES say that when we are broken down and can take NO MORE that the strength of God will be seen and I am standing on that promise. So let's go on ahead and quit saying that little phrase. Or at least to me...when I'm sensitive, hormonal and exhausted.
-On a less Debbie Downer note... So what that Isabelle is getting crazy competitive like her mama. She makes me race the cars when we are driving and when she was racing her older cousin and he was winning (he's 7!) she laid in the middle of the street and screamed and cried. It made me laugh (on the inside) because I am was the same way.
- That I am already getting nervous about March Madness. With Kentucky stinking it up and us getting a #1 seed,  I am feeling like the Jayhawks are getting all their MoJo together.
-That I worked on the "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chant with Isabelle for TWO days, yet she still told her babysitter "GO AGGIES!" (Dang Mr. T.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

S*$t that Isabelle says...

Can you tell that her smile is fake? Mr. T told her to smile or she would have to sit on the Easter Bunny's lap...this is the smile we got. Parenting is all about threats, right? 

While I was putting away her laundry and bending down, apparently I had a little plumber crack going on:
Isabelle: "Ha! Daddy, look at that bum hangin' out!"

Immediately after going down the slide and she let a huge toot out:
Me: "Isabelle, do you need to potty?"
Isabelle: "No, I'm just tooting. No big deal."

Me trying to kiss her after a run:
"NO MOMMY! No kisses, until you get that sweat off!"

While racing her friend at the park:
Isabelle: "See ya sucka!"
Me: "Where did you learn that?"
Isabelle: "Bubba (her cousin), he's a funny little guy."

While walking through the stores and seeing manequins:
Isabelle: "Oh no! What happened to their heads?! They fell off!"

Monday, March 11, 2013

The worst Monday...

I hate the spring forward time change. Sure, it's exciting to be in "spring time", but I hate losing a precious hour of sleep. Plus, it's still cold outside. Barf.
My spin class still starts at 5:15 a.m., even though my body feels like it's 4:15. Double barf.
The good part about the time change? It hasn't hit Isabelle yet. She is still fast asleep which means I can watch country music videos (a favorite past time of mine) while drinking my coffee in silence.
 These guys don't make too much noise during my shows. And yes, that is how my dog ALWAYS sleeps.
I just realized I drank an entire pot of coffee by myself so hopefully I make it through the afternoon without a major crash. We shall see.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Life in Pictures

We have been busy lately enjoying the spring like weather and getting outside as often as possible...

 I love the way she mimics her cousin. She looks up to him in every way.
 I love the way that he looks after his baby cousin. He will make sure she is never in danger...but always keeps her on her toes.


Just a little calm before the storm.

And I'm so ready to dance in the rain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So What Wednesday

So What Wednesday
This week I am saying, So What!:
-That I am DYING for a new blog design (thanks Shannon for the heads up with Jess' Blog designs. I am so going to use her) but I don't want to get it started until I have pictures of our NEW baby to add to my little treasures. 5 more weeks!
-That 5 weeks sounds like an eternity. This whole adoption thing is a LOT tougher than my pregnancy with Isabelle.
-That we are going to an adoption conference this weekend at our church and Jen Hatmaker will be speaking. Her book,"Interrupted" is amazing and she is hilarious. I am ready to pick up and move to Austin so that we can be besties.
- That Noonday's New Spring Line is beautiful and the stories behind each and every one of the new items is even more beautiful. I am going to be broke very soon (Sorry about that Mr. T).
-That I'm the only human that didn't watch the Oscars or even care a little about who won. Lately, I have only been watching kid movies and so I don't even know most of the people or movie titles to stay relevant. I DO know that I loved Jennifer Lawrence before people found out that she was funny. Hello, she can shoot a bow and arrow like a boss.
-That I am a 28 year old, married, mom in the suburbs and I just said, "Like a Boss". Please still be my friend.

Monday, February 25, 2013

To my old man:

Happy 30th birthday old geez. Thank you for robbing the cradle and agreeing to marry me...I'm so glad you're not into trophy wives but more into grumpy moms who wear yoga pants (sorry 'bout that). 
  You always take care of me, think of sweet gestures (HELLO! Coffee each morning!) and you keep me and my smart/inappropriate mouth out of many fights and jail time. I owe you everything.
Sure, you may be old and fall asleep at 8:30 but I think it's cute that you pretend like you never were asleep. The random laughs that you throw out totally throw me off.
Sure, you may be old and not want a raging 30th birthday party, but that's what I love about you. You deserve a low key, intimate, birthday. (Also, your 40th birthday is just around the corner so we can always party it up then...here's to breaking hips!)
Sure, you may be old but you can still look hot wearing 3D glasses to watch a little Top Gun.
Sure, you may be old but I appreciate that you made that teenager on his skateboard go pick up the trash that he threw down in the neighborhood. My mother earth loving hippy ways are rubbing off on you!
 Sure, you may be old and CHOOSE to do a half marathon for your birthday, but you killed that half marathon. Prime age baby!!

Sure, you may be old but you're still a bad ass.

I love you. To the moon and back.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I don't hate the snow. I don't love the cold, but I don't hate the snow. When I lived in Kansas, I did get sick of it but since I have moved back to Oklahoma...I kinda miss it.
It makes everything so quiet and beautiful. It MAKES you slow down. It turns adults into children again by begging for an impromptu snowball fight.

 Yes, that's grapes for eyes and a carrot for a nose. Who really has a coal, a corncob pipe and a button just laying around? Not I.  

I have been hoping for some snow to come around because Isabelle has yet to see any (that she can remember). I was right, she had a blast splashing around (it was wet snow, since it was 60 degrees yesterday) running in the slush and throwing snow balls into the air.
I am so thankful for days like this.

So What!

Come on over and Link Up. It'll be a blast.
So What Wednesday
This week I am saying, SO What!:
-That I am getting a little bit sad about selling my car. It's just too small for this growing little family and it's time to step up to get a mama bear car. I feel so responsible.
Also, if you're in the market for an Infiniti G35, let me know.
-That Isabelle's "toddler music" station on Pandora plays A LOT of Bob Marley. Seriously, Bob Marley as kids music? And Isabelle loves it. Seriously.
-I have not gotten on board with this whole Downton Abbey thing. I have no idea what it is and up until this week I thought it was called DOWNTOWN Abbey. For now, I'll stick with my "Real Housewives", they have more than enough drama for me.
-It makes me laugh inside every time I tell someone that "we are expecting" and they ask when I'm due and I say April. They always look at my unpregnant belly and get a weird look. It's really confusing to them and really hilarious to me. Read more about us HERE
-That I am officially (FINALLY) getting baby fever. It took me a while to really want a tiny baby and not just a toddler. Now I am really, really ready for a tiny little baby and everything that comes with that.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend in Pictures

It's a Monday and we got little to no sleep last night due to Isabelle's coughing (Thanks Mr. T for cowboying up and being the best Dad ever and taking care of her), which means I don't want to talk a whole lot so let's just check out the awesome weekend without a ton of words. Deal?
A friendly game of Bingo with my nephew and Isabelle. (Don't worry, those aren't their wine glasses).
 Spot the golden doodle. He's the best, right? Oh yeah, follow me on instagram (anotherstepmel) if you want to see some of these pics before they make it on the ol' blog.
We attended Isabelle's friends' birthday party. It was a blast and made Isabelle exhausted...win, win.  (That blur is us. We were super fast.)

Happy Presidents Day! Now get out there and enjoy all those discounts in celebration of George Washington's birthday....what's more American than that?!