Tuesday, August 26, 2014


We are getting so close to becoming certified. We have just one class left, our physicals, CPR/First Aid, and the rest of our Home Study. Part 2 of our Home Study is scheduled in just a few weeks. 

Tonight in class I learned several eye opening Foster facts. Did you know that there are over 400,000 children in the United States Foster Care system? Did you know that 60,000 are in California? In San Joaquin County, where I live, there are over 1,400 Foster children. 

I asked the social worker tonight what the average length of time is from certification to placement. She replied, "Same day. Definitely within that week". Shocked me. I was expecting weeks or even a few months for some reason. But, she said they have so many children and not enough Foster families. 

If you feel like you can give a child or children a loving, nurturing home, I urge you to consider becoming a Foster parent. The difference you could make in a life is profound and the effects are limitless. One of the reasons I did NOT want to become a Foster parent is because I know I am the kind of person to get attached. But guess what. These kids need someone who will be attached. They need someone who loves them that much. We are hoping to adopt, but we are planning to go through the Foster system. It doesn't always work out the way you expect, and I know I will be heartbroken if a child is removed from my home... but I need to love them with my whole heart anyway, and support them returning to their bio families if that is what the court sees as best. This will be hard. It might be the hardest thing I've ever done, but I cannot deny the strong feeling I have to move forward in this direction. If we can make a difference in someone's life, even for a short time, then I feel, it is worth it.

I believe in God. I believe that He inspires us to do things sometimes that might be out of our comfort zones, but I know that if we listen to those promptings, there are huge blessings that await us. It might take some courage and will take some faith, but if we do what He asks of us, we cannot fail. 

One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Nephi 3:7  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

As a Foster parent, you might have hard days, but the good will outweigh the bad. If you are called to do this work, help will be available, from a loving Heavenly Father, who is just a prayer away to social workers, counselors, friends, and other supporters. If you're thinking about it, I encourage you to do something about it. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This just got real. We have officially completed the first part of our foster/adoption process, our PRIDE training with the Positive Parenting group. We have learned so much in the last 6 weeks, and have made so many improvements in our home. We just got back from our family reunion (so fun, more on that later), and then with Girls Camp next week, I'm kind of in survival mode right now. Then, we can tackle fingerprints, physicals, our next set of classes, and the home study. One thing we did to get ready, is order the boys' bunk beds. We're all pretty excited about that. 

Anyway, keep us in your prayers, and really all those precious children in the foster system. We hope to make a positive difference!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Little Announcement

I don't feel quite ready to share this, but I also feel the need to document our journey, both for myself and for those who may also be going through this process or considering it.

Anthony and I have decided to become foster parents with the intent of eventually adopting. It's interesting because Anthony and I talked about our desires to adopt before we even got married. It just so happened that we conceived almost right away and had Landon a year after our wedding, and 19 months after that, Harper arrived. My heart was turned to adoption when Harper was about a year and half. So, it's been 3 years that I've had this weighing heavily on my heart and mind, and due to various circumstances and strong, unceasing feelings that I've had, we felt the need to start now.

It's been three weeks since we attended our first class. I am taking notes diligently, soaking up every bit of information I can, and applying what I'm learning in our family. Our teacher is a marriage and family therapist, and has been amazing. We are learning so much and have made positive changes in our home already.

We met with our case worker for the first time on Tuesday in our home. That made it seem so real! Like, we are seriously doing this! Now we have paperwork to tackle, fingerprints, physicals, more classes, and then our home study. This process could take 6 weeks and it could take 8 months.

We are well-aware that this is not going to be easy, but I feel a calmness and peace that I can't describe. I have prayed constantly for direction, and have felt Heavenly Father guiding me every step of the way. I know He has a plan. I'm not sure what it is, but I will continue to go forward with faith. It just so happens that the agency we decided to go with is just 2 miles from our home and is also faith based. We have already been given so much support.

We are asking family and friends to also be supportive. How can you support us? Understand that we are aware this will be hard. We understand there are many uncertainties, but we ask that you be positive. To quote Scott Simon, "There are times that the adoption process is exhausting and painful and makes you want to scream. But, I am told, so does childbirth".

We feel strongly that this will be worth whatever sacrifices or difficulties we might face. Our family has a lot of love to give. We are hoping to adopt, but, in the mean time, if we can bless the life of a child, even temporarily, our efforts will be worth it. Of course, our hearts will break if our first placement doesn't end up being permanent. Of course, we will get attached. But, isn't that what these kids need? Someone who is attached and loves them unconditionally?

We are always accepting good thoughts, positives vibes, and lots of prayers. We would love your support on this journey.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome Fall

I am so excited for Fall this year! Baking everything pumpkin, wearing boots, scarves, and comfy sweaters, watching General conference, fall photo shoots with all the beautiful color changes, Harper's 4th birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. It's going to be a fun, busy season. 

We kicked Fall off in the Matthews household making some delicious chocolate chip pumpkin oatmeal cookies. We actually made them for our Young Women personal progress planning night. I was recently called as YW's president in my ward. I'm still in shock, but it's been really fun. 

Harper and I went to Elk Grove's Fall Festival yesterday with some good friends. It was so nice to have some one on one time with Harper and he had so much fun. Harper is the biggest animal lover I know, so he was in Heaven at the petting zoo. I just love this sweet, gentle boy so much.

 There was a really interesting performance by a San Francisco based theater group. Harper was fascinated. We got to mingle with the performers afterwards and overall, it was a pretty fun day. I already had a very good impression of Elk Grove. It's super family oriented, which is way different from Stockton. We have thought about possibly moving there at some point.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Oh, instagram. You make me so lazy. I really feel like my kids should have pictures that are larger and better quality than 8 megapixels. And I call myself a photographer. Pshhh. My goal is to whip out my nikon more with the boys. I put so much work into client photos, not just taking them, but hours and hours of editing because I want them to have something clear and beautiful that they can display, in any size, on their walls. I love that our little cellphones can take pictures and with apps like instagram, afterglow, and VSCO cam, you have tons of different editing options, but it's time for me to get my act together and put in the time to take more pictures of the kids with my actual camera.

Yesterday, I had the most amazing session with my friend's parents. They've been married over 40 years, and I honestly have never seen a couple more in love. I laughed so much with the two of them during our session and teared up at several of the photos after. Love is so beautiful, especially after 40 years, 7 kids, and 14 grandkids. You can see more of their sweet session on my photography blog.
In the mean time, before I cut back, here's our life lately, according to instagram:

Harper pushing his girl, Makayla, through the aisles of Trader Joe's while she snacks on mango gummies. What a life :)

The cutest babes I know hanging out on the asparagus tunnel.

Ms. Sophie and me! Love this pretty girl and she actually loved me that day. Win!

Last week, I photographed the wedding of a very dear friend, Camille. Such a beautiful bride, and I could not be more happy for her and Edzekiel. After 9 years, it's about time they were hitched.

Hoodlums in the women's locker room at the gym.

Found a picture of me as a kid at my aunt's a few weeks ago and realized that I have a mini-me too! I mean, we already knew how much Harper looks like Anthony.

And here's Landon doing his weekend shopping and looking fabulous. I just love these boys.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Food Docs

I've been kind of obsessed with food documentaries lately. Just in the last few weeks, I've watched King Corn, Vegecated, Food Matters, and Forks over Knives. I studied nutrition in college and have always been really fascinated with it, despite my lack of self control when it comes to sugar. But I am way more motivated to eat better after watching these documentaries! The boys even tuned in and learned a thing or two.

Landon is pretty fascinated with the human body in general and is always asking about how different foods affect it. We were at a birthday party recently and someone gave him a fruit punch. He ran up to me and said, "Mommy, does this have red food dye in it?" I told him it did, but to go ahead and drink it anyway. Later we had the talk about sometime foods and anytime foods.

I can't tell you how much better I feel though by cutting certain foods out and eating a mostly plant based diet. My energy levels have been steady throughout the day and I just feel lighter and cleaner. If you have the time to just watch one documentary, watch Forks Over Knives. It is fascinating and could change your life.

Funny story//
I cut out meat recently and hadn't had it in weeks. Yesterday I went to Togo's and asked what their vegetarian options were. The manager literally spent about 10 minutes with me explaining all the different options I had. Very gracious of him considering there were like 40 people in line. After learning about all my choices, I went with a vegetarian salad, then asked for the baked potato soup. The manager gave me a kind of funny look, but went ahead and processed my order. I sat down, ate my salad (it was good), then took a bite of the baked potato soup. It was basically the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. I quickly took another bite, then another, then another, then I looked up at Anthony and said, "This has bacon". He was like, "Oh, shoot. Well, take it back". I felt reeeally bad, but I didn't take it back. It tasted too good freaking amazing.

So, I guess I'm not a vegetarian, but I will be making every effort to "eat meat sparingly". On a serious note, I think if we all ate less meat, there wouldn't be these factory farms that abuse animals so horrifically. :(

We've been eating pretty well around here though. More time spent in the kitchen, yes, but it's been fun.

We spent a few hours with my neighbors the other day. They have so many fruits and veggies planted in their backyard garden and I can't wait to start mine!

We are so ready for Summer! These are some "valentime" flowers the boys picked for me on our walk home the other day. So in love with these fellas :)

And here they are watering the lawn yesterday. It was gorgeous out!

On Saturday night, they fell asleep on the way to dinner. We woke them up, brought them into the restaurant, and they fell right back asleep on me! It was barely 7. They ended up sleeping all through dinner and stayed asleep until 9:00 the next day. Haha. I couldn't believe it! We got some crazy looks. People probably thought they were drugged.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Star Student

Landon is Star of the Week in preschool this week, which means we get to bring snacks, toys from home, and create a poster of pictures and all the things he loves. His teachers gave us a survey to fill out that will be shared with the class. I asked Landon each of the questions tonight as he colored pixar cars for his poster. Here are his word for word responses:

I love: to play my preschool learning games on the computer, Jason, my family. I love when I'm the star student, Grandma Ruth, and Lightening McQueen.
My birthday is: April 10th.
I am special because: I'm good to Daddy and Mommy and Harper.
My favorite book is: The Human Body book, especially the bones
My favorite food is: cheeseburgers
When I grow up I want to be: a police officer knight
My favorite color is: green, orange, and blue
My favorite thing to do is: drink water because I want to be strong and super fast to be a police officer
Tell us about your family: Mommy takes pictures. Daddy goes to work. Harper goes potty, and I go to preschool.

He asked why I was laughing as I wrote out that last one. Landon gets straight to the point. I love him so much. Last night, I kept him up for about an hour after Harper fell asleep, for some one on one time. We looked at pictures of him as a baby, watched his ultrasound video, and talked a LOT. He's like mommy... he can talk foreverrrr. He asked why we wanted a boy baby after he was born when they already had a boy baby. I told him Heavenly Father chooses that and wanted him to have a brother. I said if he wants a sister, he'll have to talk to Heavenly Father about that. Right away, he folded his arms and prayed, "Heavenly Father, help us to be good and can I please have a sister and a sister and a sister and a sister? In the name of Jesus Christ, amen".

I told him he just asked for four sisters. He said, "No, I didn't. I asked four times because I weally, weally, weally want a sister.