How I battle Mom Guilt

I think most moms struggle with that little feeling of guilt. Some may feel it when they are working, others while they are working out, or maybe when you are treating yourself to a girls night … or just when sitting in your car before going in. Ya know, its just so quiet in the car, you’re alone, so peaceful, and you know that as soon as you walk in the door the chaos is gonna hit you upside the head. I don’t think “Mom Guilt” is a totally bad thing. I think it can be used a tool in our lives, like a measuring stick instead of a bat that we use to beat ourselves up.

Here are somethings I tend to beat myself up about:

My temper = Mom Guilt

The baseball bat tells me no other mom loses their temper. All the other moms are sweet and well spoken.

Time away from my kids = Mom Guilt

The baseball bat reminds me that in order for me to leave them I have to ask someone else to step in. And this means “inconveniencing” my friends and family, and failing my kids.

My phone = Mom Guilt

Here the baseball bat tells me that other kids are better, smarter, and funnier than mine. Along with the fact that I can easily just swipe right out of reality on any of these social platforms and forget about needing to make dinner.

So obviously the baseball bat is not my friend. It does not build me up. It does not help me. The bat hurts me, and it actually makes me a worse mom, and a lesser version of myself.

If I were to take a measuring stick to these areas of guilt instead I would get this…

My Temper: I know for a fact other moms lose their tempers. I know that I am working on mine…Thanks counseling! I know that I am quick to ask for forgiveness and that my kids often don’t even remember the last time I yelled…I mean asked them to clean their ever loving rooms.

Time Away from my kids: This one is tough for me. I really do hate asking others to step in and watch my kids but you know what?! Jesse and I just got back from a trip yesterday and the kids were gone with friends all weekend and they had the best time. I don’t think they missed us at all! And the best part was the hugs, smiles and kisses we got when we picked them up. Also, the fact that Jesse and I got 3 nights away was magical!

My phone: So I know that I am on it too much. In fact just last night Zeke totally called me out. We finished a movie and I immediately grabbed it, he noticed and said just that. So this is me measuring the fact that, yes, I am on it too much and need to make some changes.

So friends, lets put down our bats and take a step back. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we are bloodied and bruised. We can, however, step back and measure ourselves not against one another but measuring ourselves against the moms we want to be. No shame, no guilt just trying everyday to press on and be the best for those we love!

Being alone with this guy helps me to refocus so I can be better for him, me and the three we left at home!

Happy New Year 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I cannot wait to see what 2018 and the Lord have in store for me, my family and here on my little corner of the internet! I have some big goals and a road map in place to get me there, now I need to be brave enough to take the necessary steps.

2017 was a fun year in our house:

Jesse and I went skydiving for my birthday

We went to Disneyland for spring break and got to visit our California family

Tent Camped and the quickly upgraded our tent to “Poppy” Pop-Up Camper

I went to RISE with my Cousin Melissa, and saw my hero Rachel Hollis

Got a matching tattoo with Melissa

Jesse and I ran away to Disney World ALONE

Zoe got Sister Locs and all my hair woes are now GONE

My sister Michelle visited before moving to Germany

DISNEY WORLD as a family, where we basically moved there

Visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with the kids!

Loved all things Summer: swimming, Schlitterbahn, TBARMcamps, beach trip, and lake trip

I started blogging more

We hung out with friends, and really dove into our community

We dated more and communicated better

Built furniture and rearranged our house

Wore matching Christmas Jammies

And rested like it was our J-O-B

So here are some of my resolutions, goals, oh I don’t know what to call them but here is what I am striving for in 2018:

Do my 5 minute journal EVERYDAY

Drink more water than coffee

Read my Bible daily

Write more

Be Present with my fam = less time scrolling on my phone

Slow to anger and Quick to Love

To work out because I am ABLE to move my body and because I enjoy it

I find that having something to narrow your focus, to hone in on improving yourself, you need a very specific idea. No fluff around it or extra stuff to get caught up in. This year I picked a word that I could focus on. A single word that will help me remember who I want to be and where I want 2018 so lead me. My word for the year is COURAGE. I want to stop worrying about what others think of me and that takes Courage. I want to speak to women and share what the Lord has done and that takes Courage. I want to love my kids and husband with all that I am even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, and for me, you guessed it takes Courage. So this year that’s what I’ll be focusing on being brave, and courageous!

What about you? What are your goals? Do you have a word? Or a focus? I want to hear it! Let’s keep each other accountable this year!

The Date Night That Ended in Tears

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Last week Titus and I met up with a few of his classmates and his teacher to watch the movie WONDER. Their class read the book earlier this year, and they wanted to see the movie all together. Obviously I was game for that, I read Wonder a few years ago and loved the storyIt was an opportunity to have a nice night out for me and my sweet boy.

Titus is our middle child. He was our baby for a long time and when Zoe came home his role as the “baby” was shifted. He and Zoe compete for attention quite a bit, they are both entertainers, both super funny and both very competitive. All that to say, he doesn’t get a lot of the one on one time or attention he craves. So this was a great opportunity for us.

A Theatre Pic is a must…Or did you even go?!

WONDER is about a little boy with Craniofacial that starts public school for the first time in 5th grade. His family is fiercely protective about his feelings, but they know that this is the right next step for their family. Auggie (the main character) knows that yes, he looks different, and yes, others notice and often stare. But as a family, they just hope that no one will be ugly to him. His family’s  life revolves all around him, and at one point in the older sister in the movie says, “My family is the earth and our life revolves around the Sun (son).” That line hit me right in the gut.

 

A few weeks ago I sat with Titus and Zeke at lunch, surrounded by other friends and parents Titus (my little performer) made a joke, “No one even sees Zeke, or me anymore. They all only see Zoe.” I deflected and joked with him, smiling nervously, while crying inside, “Did he really feel this way?! CRAP!” His little joke replayed in my mind as soon as I heard the sister say that. You see I know the truth, our life was flipped upside down the moment Zoe landed in Texas. Not in a terrible way, but our family shifted. We all started learning a new language, we have seen a whole slew of doctors and specialists, we have had fits and learning curves, and our lives have revolved around a lot of these things.

 

All the way home I choked back tears while we talked about the movie what he liked best, how it was different from the book, who our favorite character was, and so on. When we pulled up in our driveway I looked at my second born and confronted all those feelings. “Titus, do you feel like our life revolves around Zoe? Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you know how much I love you and how special you are to me?” It was a talk that I hated having to have. I cried so much and so did he. We made a deal, “Titus next time you are feeling invisible or really need my attention, put your hands on each side of my face and tell me you need me. I need your help! Ok?!” We hugged and I kissed his sweet face. One of my biggest goals in raising these three kids is that they see me recognize my faults, and see me ask for their forgiveness. If I teach them nothing else I want them to know how to humble themselves, ask for forgiveness and press on. Also I want to teach them to Love God and Love Others but you get me right?!

 

So why tell you this? Because it’s hard. Mothering three very different kids is tough work. And I guess I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. This is tough, but it matters! 

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These 3…I hope they know how hard I am trying!

Wait…I am adopted?!

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My Dad and Me! 

As November ends so does the #adoptionawarenessmonth movement. This movement is so meaningful for my family and I, and I love getting to be a part of it. To see friends change their profile pictures and share their stories about how adoption has changed their lives is so special.

My view of adoption drastically changed when we started the process of adopting Zoe. I had so many questions; Would we love her the same as the boys? Would she be treated differently by our family members? Would she feel different? How would our families react to this new family member?

In an early conversation with my little sister Kim, I was expressing a few of these to her and I said, “Kim, no one in our family has done this before. How will I know that she’s going to be accepted and loved the same?” In her young wise voice she said, “Jeanette, you know that we are basically adopted right? You do remember that Denver (Dad) is not our biological dad, right?”

You see my biological dad, Jim, passed away when I was just four years old. Denver, my “stepdad” came into my life and never left. He became our Dad when I was six. His siblings and mother didn’t blink an eye at him marrying a widow with three young girls. He loved my mom and showed it best by loving her girls, my big sister Michelle, Me, and Kimberly. 

I often forget that this is our story, that a man who is not my own flesh and blood loves me so deeply and for that I am so thankful. It is by his example that I knew I could walk this road and love this little girl as deeply as he loved me. So no, I wasn’t the trailblazer in my family. My dad was, and he did it so well.

Adoption comes from hurt, brokenness, and often death. It never starts as a pretty thing, but it can change the world. I know Zoe’s world looks a lot different, and I know that my own life looks a lot different that what it could’ve. I am so thankful that Lord doesn’t leave us fatherless and alone. He cares and He makes a way. I have seen it in my daughter’s eyes and in the way that I see my own Dad. Love makes a family!

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Our Family *missing my brother Norman* 

Take in the scenery

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I am not sure how one little stretch of road could mean so much to me! But this stretch, it gets me ever time!!

This stretch of road means so much to me. I can barely walk down it without tearing up. There are large pictures of adopted children and posters that say, “RUN FOR MORE” and “YOU DID IT”.

Why? Because at the end of this stretch is the finish line of a half marathon and 5K that benefits adoptive families. Chosen is the organization that puts it on and we ran with them for two years while in the process of adopting Zoe. These people became our friends, our support and really they became like our family. We are huge fans of Chosen in the way they have help us in the past and how they continue to lend their support to so many adoptive families!

Back when Chosen had a marathon (2013) I ran that with our team. Team Tapley Ever After had 15 or so people running for purpose, these friends trained with us and really put their money where their mouth was. Training (suffering) together is real love and there are many memories that I can recall fondly. This stretch of road signified the end of a MARATHON! 26.2 miles! The girls I ran the whole thing with slowed down a bit and allowed me (without my knowledge) to sprint this part out alone. Tears streaming down my face, it signified so much more than the finish of a race. It signified the finish of this incredibly difficult journey, and that my family wasn’t alone in it thanks to our family, friends and Chosen.

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Team Tapley Ever After! Blood, sweat and tears and all the memories!

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Just a few pics from the 2014 Chosen Race and those who ran for Tapley Ever After

The following year was a really tough time in our adoption process. Team Tapley Ever After showed up again, and this time with around 25 people supporting us and running with us! As I ran this stretch of road I began crying out to the Lord that we wouldn’t need to do this for our family again; that next year we could support a different family. Begging Him that next year at this race, Zoe would be home. It wasn’t as beautiful as the year before but it was desperation, asking Him to show me where the finish line would be. It would be 10 months later that Zoe finally arrived home.

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2015 Tapley Family at the Chosen Race

And just two months after arriving home in America, Zoe stood at the finish line placing finisher medals around the necks of those having run for a cause much greater than themselves. It was in that moment surrounded by some of my amazingly sweet friends I realized how significant that was. We were finally on the other side of the finish line, and now it was our turn to cheer for those that we running that hard race, to support them as the finished, and to love them through their struggles.

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Yesterday was the third year that Zoe was able to medal the finishers, and it never gets old. Seeing people cross the finish line is so incredible. They have just accomplished so much, some run in strong, proud of how they performed, some run in dog tired and beat up (that course is NO JOKE!), others run in full of emotion and my heart understands! The finish line of this particular race is really just an awesome and meaningful place.

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Zoe giving a well deserved medal to a finisher! 2017 Chosen Race

Isn’t that us just day to day? Some days I finish and think “Wow I OWNED today! Really! Great Job Jeanette!!” Other days I barely finish the day awake because of how tired I am and then there are the days when I have just too many emotions to even function. I think more than anything this sweet stretch of road reminds me that I am not alone. God is lending His ever present ear to me, I have friends at the finish line cheering me on, reminding me that I am strong enough to finish well.

So my thought is this… How can we do this better? Can we look up from our own race, as tired as we may be, and encourage someone? YES! Can we see that they may be struggling and help them? YES! Can we even grasp that at the end of our race (or challenge) that we will be able to support someone is a whole new way? I Think YES!

So look up, and reach your hand to either be supported or be supportive. And while your eyes are up, take in the scenery it’s a beautiful world we live in!

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One of my favorite views!

 

 

How my life changed with 2 friends, a book and the gym!

I am a HUGE fan of women’s bible studies, and as I admitted in my 10 Things you don’t know about me I have just this week finished and completed my first Bible study book ever! My Pastor Dad and Bible Study leading mother are so proud I am sure.

Anyway, I love the idea of gathering together, growing, stretching and making new friends. When I moved to Texas from Alaska 5 years ago I was super lonely. I knew one other family and that was it. We left our home, our family, and our church just like we believed God had told us to, and we were here in Texas alone. One day, in a mess of emotions, I told my Jesse just how low I was feeling. There had been so many changes. Alaska to Texas, no family, I had just sent my first born off to kindergarten, Jesse was working a new schedule that we weren’t used to, and honestly was just desperate for community. We started going to a small church, and I started at a new gym. Titus and I started going to MOPS and we joined other mommy and me groups. I was so in need of friendship. I know that I function better when I’m connected to others. The gym of all places was where I found those people who I would soon call friends.

There was this crazy pretty blonde that taught most of the classes that I was able to go to. As I began to get into the routine I got to know some more of the people around me, and the pretty blonde, her name is Lindsay, and I started to talk a little and she invited me to a Bible study that she led right there in the gym. After Wednesday’s body pump or cycle class we would meet in the childcare room, sit on the floor, and she would lead a small group of sweaty women. That group quickly became my friends. It was beautiful and so real. There was one day when I was loading  Titus into the car and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, “WOAH!” I thought, “I look rough! How in the world have I made friends looking like this?!” That’s when I knew these people were solid. Then one day standing over a cycle bike one of these sweet girls, Holly, handed me a book, “Read this! Jeanette, it’ll change your life!” I giggled, I love to read but how could a book change my life?!

The beautiful blonde you see is OBVIOUSLY Lindsay and That lovely lady with the beautiful smile is Holly. Who would’ve thought that God could change my life with two friends and a gym membership!?!

I dove into the book, Kisses From Katie, head first. I was reading, devouring this young girl’s story and about half way through the book I shut it and looked up at Jesse and I quote, “Jesse, I think we need to adopt or like sponsor a 100 children in Africa.” He calmly told me to, in his words, “pump the brakes,” finish the book and see how it ends. But I felt that quiet tug. The Lord whispered, “I called you to be a mom. There are a TON of babies with no mom. What are you going to do about it?!” Let me rewind a bit here and tell you that when I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up I would answer very firmly, ” A mom.”
So, Jesse and I talked a little bit more and he told me he’d pray about it. Classic husband just trying to appease his wife. A few days later he looked at me and said, “A girl right?! What would we name her?”

BOOM there it was. We jumped into this world of adoption.

Ok now back to the bible study, the girls in that group were some of the first people I told about this new venture. They were the first ones praying for her, and in Bible study we were going through the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” Lindsay would dive into each of the hero’s listed story. Over and over in Hebrews 11 it is said “By Faith that ____” and so often these heros of the bible- Sarah, Abraham, Enoch, Noah- followed the Lord blindly doing the craziest things. So often they didn’t even get to see His finished work. Noah built the ark, a boat that he had no idea what that even was and he followed God’s CRAZY specific instructions for like 100 years all by faith.

As we went through this I was so glad that God was calling me to something easy and short. I really can’t help but laugh. From the time we said YES we will adopt, to the day Zoe was actually in America and in my arms was almost 3 years. Now that’s not as long as some others waited and by far not the longest process I’ve ever heard of, but it was long and grueling and hard.

 By Faith, I believed the Lord called me to this.

 By Faith I knew he wouldn’t fail me.

 By Faith I knew that He had a better plan for this little girl I would get to call my own.

After the Bible study had ended and changed, as seasons do, those girls were still my go to people. And near the end of our process when circumstances were hard and my faith weary it was that group that stood by my side. It was them that held my weak arms up and wouldn’t let me give in. They said, “We are with you to the end” and they were. And they still are!

We have some beautiful photos that were taken at the airport and it was a freaking party. Zoe can and will tell you now that she came home sad, and confused, BUT she will also tell you there were a lot of people there to celebrate her homecoming. That is because it wasn’t just my victory or my family’s victory it was all of ours, Zoe was an orphan no more!! That group had expanded my heart, and my reach. Those women cried with me, and prayed, and gave, and connected me with new people. And my favorite part is that it all started on the floor of a child care room in a gym. In a place where we sat, with little to no makeup, and we were real and open with each other. That, guys, is the key. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Be a friend.

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This is only half the people! That was a party!! I love looking back at these faces. I see so much JOY!!

Where can you be real today? How can you meet a friend right where she is? What can you do to open yourself up now to find community? I know that it’s not easy and I know that it’s terrifying to walk into new places and not know anyone, but what if today you were just a little bit braver? What could that look like? Let’s be bold and full of faith together!

Disney World in a Nut Shell

Oh my goodness, I feel like I haven’t sat behind my computer in ages. Mostly because I haven’t! We got home on last Monday from a ten day family vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth, DISNEY WORLD.

We met ALL the Princesses. Merida was one of my favorites

I have decided that I am no better than a child while walking down Main Street USA gazing up at Cinderella’s castle with stars in my eyes. You can just feel the joy, the magic, and the happiness. It just makes me smile, and to experience it this time with all three of our kids just added to the experience. I have a little video of the kids walking around the corner and seeing the castle for the first time and Zoe’s mouth literally falls open. It was so much fun! I wanted to use this post to share just a few of our favorite things about this trip:     **In no particular order!**

Disney World 2017


  1. We tried to set the kids up for the character interactions as best we could. We used a really neat Disney Animated Encyclopedia and had the characters sign their page, but on each page before we left we wrote down questions for the kids to ask the characters. We wanted to keep the experience more than just an autograph and a photo. I was really proud and excited when the boys would ask the questions and do their best to keep the conversation going. One of my favorites was when Titus asked Mickey, “When are you going to propose to Minnie?!” then he followed it with, “If you don’t she’s going to find another mouse.” Mickey made it so much fun and we all giggled about it the rest of the day.
  2. Bippity Boppity Boutique, somehow Zoe found out about this on YouTube Kids. We planned this to be her birthday present and she was so excited. It also worked at that when we scheduled the appointment (last minute… because it was on me to set this up, not Jesse) there was availability at the Castle. So in we go; she changes into a beautiful little gown and I cry because I’m seeing this girl grow up before my very eyes. I know that some day soon I’ll be helping her into a wedding gown and my heart just cannot handle that! Then she gets hair and makeup and her nails painted and she’s just soaking it all up and loving every minute. I loved this time alone with her because I was able to take a step back and really see her. My beautiful little girl who has overcome so much. She’s a fighter with the glitz and glamour of a princess.

  3. One day while we were walking around Jesse said, “I am going to thank or say hi to every cast member (the people who work for Disney) by name.” So he did, and the boys and I followed suit. It was so funny to hear Zeke yell, “Thanks Bob” randomly while we were in line or after we were handed food. I hope it helped our boys to overcome some fear of talking to adults and I really hope that it gave the Cast Members a little bit of a smile.
  4. As we walked into the Magic Kingdom one day, a Cast Member walked up to Zoe (who was wearing a her princess dress) and asked for her autograph. She signed her name and then curtseyed. It was SO cute!
  5. One of my favorite characters to meet was Chewbacca. We took some pictures and he was observant and noticed Jesse and me signing to Zoe. He looked to Jesse and asked *In sign language* if she was deaf. Jesse responded Yes, and then Chewbacca asked Zoe what her name was. She was so shocked to see him signing she just smiled SO SO big. It was so neat and Jesse caught it all on video. Here’s the Link Chewy Signing.

    He gives the best hugs!!

  6. Titus is by far our most timid kid when it comes to rides. He straight up jumped off of one in DisneyLand and didn’t even care! So when it came to some of the big rides, like Expedition Everest he was nervous. In just a casual conversation he mentioned being nervous to a cast member and she said, “Go try, if you do it I’ll get you a Mickey Ice Cream bar.” That ice cream bar gave him the courage he needed and he did it!! He went to her and she paid up, she was so excited with him and it was just so neat to see her invested with him.

We ate pizza while sitting in the grass at our hotel. We laughed over silly jokes that weren’t really funny. We played, we walked A LOT, and we were together non-stop. We watched our boys interpret for their sister, and watched their eyes light up during the fireworks. But that doesn’t mean it was always magical; I called one child a snotty brat, two of our kids had a fist fight in line, and one of them was the maddest princess of all time. Ten days was a long time to be gone but I think it was so good for us to be in “the bubble” with each other. The outside world didn’t matter. It was just us five with some Princesses, some Jedi’s and a Mouse.

A dream come true! MOANA!!!!

What I Have Learned in the Last Two Years

What I have learned in the two years since Zoe came home:

Well real quick, if we are new friends let me give you the story. Almost five years ago my husband and I whole heartedly jumped into the adoption process for a little girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We received her picture with very little information about her other than the fact that she was deaf. We said yes and then waited and fought for her for the next year and a half. Zoe Danielle came home August 18, 2015. For me to say that she is the sweetest little fire cracker is an understatement. To say that she changed our family for the best is an understatement. To say that the past five years were easy would be a lie straight from the devil himself. So here are some things that I have learned:

My family looks different. We were prepared for some off looks or sideways glances when Zoe came home. I mean we are a multiracial family and in we walk signing, or widely gesturing. Sometimes Jesse and I will try to dissect the reason for the stares, but really most the time we just smile and then kindly ignore. So my lesson from this is, “Get over it Jeanette. Yes, you look different. Maybe those people think you are giving them off looks because you keep smiling at them. Stop being a weirdo!”

People will ask you LOTS of questions. In these moments I am almost thankful that Zoe cannot hear the things people will ask. I am a fairly open book and we LOVE to tell our adoption story. But, asking how much she cost or if her real mom is dead isn’t the best way to get me to open up. I LOVE when people ask me where is she from or simply ask about our story. These are things that are not only appropriate, but so much fun to talk about. My lesson from this: People ask dumb questions. Sometimes I can laugh them off, sometimes I just ignore them.

You will feel abandoned. Let me be totally real. Our community rallied around us in the most amazing way. We had meals delivered to our front door for weeks. We had groceries brought to us, we had cookies delivered, we had people come and just sit with us. We also had the most amazingly fun and lovely Adoption Shower. We were loved on real good. When all of that faded, the newness wore off, and life just started again, it got real quiet around here. That’s a little hard to admit because I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings, but I want to be honest. I felt so lonely. The dust settled and life was looking and feeling a bit more normalISH. We were forming a family, teaching a language, learning a language, all the while teaching and showing Zoe love and trust. It was hard and exhausting and I don’t think I knew the words I needed to even begin to ask for help. I just felt alone. My lesson from this: If you feel alone you are not: text, call, ask, and even beg someone to let you come over and if they say yes then you better go! I realize looking back that I was scared to act on our new normal or to impose our new normal onto our friends. I am so thankful that I had a friend that realized I was being a hermit and sort of forced Zoe and me out of the house and into the functioning part of our new world.

Play is the language of all kids. I love watching Zoe play with her group of friends. She can be bossy and that always makes me cringe but they are all playing the same thing and only a few of them know sign language or know more than just a few words. But off they go playing and having fun. I love the girls that she has surrounded herself with, they are kind and so accepting. Zoe tends to make friends everywhere we go and I watch her walk up to new kids, reach her hand out and shake then wave them (or drag them) over to start a new game. It never fails that they just follow her, and join into whatever world she’s got going on. I tend to be nervous for her, or for the new friend: Is Zoe being too bossy, will the new friend understand that Zoe is deaf and will that new friend be kind? For the most part it’s yes to all of the above. My Lesson from this: As long as kids are not raised by jerks they will be kind. We have been around a very few jerk-y kids but they haven’t fazed Zoe one bit!

My last lesson is this…

This is hard. Adopting, the process, the becoming a new version of our family… it’s all super hard work. Some days I would lay in bed exhausted, doubting how worth it it was. Then days like the other morning when Zoe came in and laid directly on top of me, snuggled up and dozed off when I know in the deep places of my heart how right this is. My lesson from this: If it came easy you wouldn’t appreciate it. There were times she wouldn’t let me snuggle her, there were times I didn’t want to snuggle her. But years later here we are snuggled up, with consistent “I love you’s”

Two years ago we left the airport with a new daughter. She looked terrified and weary but she was mine. I had ached and longed for this girl. My arms were finally around her and I was  never letting her go. She is a Tapley through and through; loud, sassy, funny and even super tall. She is gracious to me in my short-comings and her gratitude is off the charts. I can truly say that with this little girl in my life and in our family I am a better mom.

On a quick side note, let me tell you one more story: We as a family are huge Disney fans, and this past Spring Break we went to Disneyland. While standing in line for a ride, I looked over at Zeke (10) and Titus (8) and asked them what their favorite core memory (From the Pixar movie INSIDE OUT) was. Keep in mind we are in Disneyland, we had just met Mickey! Without even thinking they both said in unison, “The day Zoe came home.” My heart smiled and I remembered that while we were in the waiting process of bringing Zoe home I worried that we would be “messing up our family” or the boys would get less of us because of her or that she wouldn’t like them or they wouldn’t like her or the countless other fears I had that made no sense! I am so thankful we messed our family up. I am so thankful we look different.