apple pickin’

A couple of weeks ago we headed to the mountains with our friends… and stopped at an orchard to pick a whole lotta apples.  We had so much fun – all four of the little guys loved it and it was a fun morning.  Finishing it off with a picnic and some apple cider donuts?  Icing on the cake.  Thanks, Carlbergs, for a fun little trip!

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Pyles Family {Dossier} Day


It should arrive in VA on Thursday and will go through a few staff checks before they send it to ET. But… let’s start at the beginning. We decided to drive our dossier to Raleigh instead of mailing it (much faster and it just made me nervous to mail all of those originals we’d worked so hard on for months!). If you turn in all your papers by 10am, they’ll certify them and you can pick them up the same day at 4:30. So we got up early, woke the boys up & threw them in the car, and made it to the Secretary of State by 9:30. Here’s where we got nervous: they wouldn’t take our birth certificates because they aren’t from NC. So therefore they wouldn’t get certified. We called Elise, our family coordinator, and she said that since most states only require the Dossier Cover Sheet & Power of Attorney papers to be certified, that as long as they certified those we’d probably be fine–but that they don’t usually certify them without seeing birth certificates. However it was a good sign that they’d taken them. We prayed like crazy (my stomach was in knots!) and got back in the car. (If they didn’t certify it, we’d have to mail our BC’s to OH/FL to be state certified there then take the whole dossier back to Raleigh again–this would probably set us back about a month)


The boys HAD to throw on their fireman boots & hats with their PJ’s before getting in the car for our road trip–I like their style.

We’d planned to make it a fun family day since the STATE FAIR was in town… so Jeff took the day off and we all went for the day while we waited on our documents! We had such a good time–definitely made a lot of memories. Cullen & Lane LOVED it. We let them pick a ride to go on and they both chose a dragon roller coaster ride. I was worried they might freak out once they got on because kids ride by themselves and it’s pretty fast–but they instantly started laughing & smiling, and have been talking about it ever since. I think Jeff and I had as much fun watching them enjoy it as they did riding on it. They also loved the pig/duck/goat races, seeing baby pigs, the dancing robot, and of course the FOOD. Who wouldn’t love roasted corn and fried Oreos?! {we had to. hello.} It really was such a fun day together as a family, and the boys were so good–especially considering they had to skip a nap again. It made the day all the more memorable… how fun that it worked out for the fair to be in town when we had to make a trip to the state capital. AND, it was supposed to pour rain all day, but it only rained on us twice for about 20 minutes–I told Jeff the sun peeking through the intense storm clouds was God telling me not to worry about the documents. 😉


adrenaline junkies?!


feeding and petting the goats–they both wanted to find the little shy ones who weren’t getting much food and feed them, so cute.


Fried. Oreos. “If I die tomorrow of a heart attack, at least I die happy.”


We share a love of stuffing our faces with delicious food.

We headed back to the Secretary of State’s office and were SO thrilled to have our packet handed back to us with everything certified!!! I couldn’t stop smiling. We called Elise and she couldn’t believe it… God. is. good. We hopped in the car and headed back to Charlotte to mail everything. 162 copies later (the dossier was 80+ pages and we needed 2 full photocopies of it), we handed the package to a sweet lady at UPS, after asking her to commemorate the occasion with some photos of course. I felt like I was handing her my life with all that went into that package! 7 months of hard work, one agency change, 80+ pages, and about $12K total so far… WE DID IT!!!!!!

…and then we went home and crashed from exhaustion–after celebrating with a little champagne, of course. This certainly called for a celebration.

One BIG step closer to you, baby girl… can’t wait to hear that our dossier is on its way to Ethiopia!


Here’s to our future daughter. This will ALL be worth it when we see your sweet face!

{very} thankful thursday

Today I’m thankful for…

  • the friendship my boys share; their hilarious and sweet conversations and all the hugging and “I love you, bro bro” going on.
  • That today Cullen was differentiating between people he “loves a little bit” (preschool teachers, preschool friends) and people he “loves a lot” (close family)… and I made the “loves a lot” list. 😉
  • a steady job – this one I am choosing to be thankful for right now–it’s causing a lot of stress & discouragement lately, but we have gone through unemployment before, and I am making the choice to thank the Lord he at least has a steady paycheck.
  • footie pajamas -they never get old on little boys. yet at least.
  • sharing a Salted Caramel mocha followed by a Chick-fil-a lunch with a precious friend – that’s good stuff, friends. Maybe not good for my body, but darn good for my soul and my tastebuds.
  • that two of my closest friends became aunts again today, and one of them was to a new niece from Ethiopia! So fun to hear about their referral – it definitely brought tears!
  • that half marathon training is going well and running feels good again, instead of wanting to kill myself with each step… dramatic much?
  • that FALL is here. I know it’s cliche and everyone’s obsessed with it, but I don’t care. I love it too.
  • AND THE BIGGEST ONE…. WE FINISHED OUR DOSSIER TODAY!!! All of our documents have been approved and we can send it off next week after it gets certified! (we have big plans for a family dossier day on Monday 🙂 )

I can’t tell you what a relief this is… it’s been a long, crazy, often frustrating and draining process. I know it’ll all be worth it – but I also have to admit that last night I was laying in a heap on the floor crying because I was so DONE with all of it (my first big breakdown–had to come sometime, right?!). I thought I’d lost a crucial, very hard to acquire document and just couldn’t take any more of the craziness – but praise the Lord, I found it about two minutes after I quit crying and just asked the Lord to help me. Of course. So anyway – we are so relieved and excited to be done with it! I will let y’all know once it gets state certified and sent to AWAA – and then shortly after that it will be sent to ET and this will be our DTE date (Dossier To Ethiopia) – which is our date for the waiting list! {and the real wait begins…}

Thanking the Lord today!


What a weekend!

We had a lot of excitement this weekend –

The spaghetti luncheon was a big success and raised over $2000!!! We can’t thank everyone enough–so many sweet family friends helped, lots of wonderful people came and supported us, and Jeff’s parents and sister were so generous with putting it on for us.  Thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts. Grammie – you did an incredible job organizing everything-thank you SO much for all your time and effort!! (unfortunately I don’t have any pictures… guess we were too busy!)

This was definitely helpful in getting us closer to our big payment coming up soon (we have raised about $4500 so far!)  which is awesome because…


Our I-171 H form came in the mail while we were gone!!! We can send our dossier off to be state certified this week (or we can drive it to Raleigh which is what I want to do – and hit up the state fair while we’re at it?! BINGO.)-and then to AWAA to send to ET! I can taste the finish line! {I’ve been running around like crazy today finishing everything up so it’ll be ready to go…so glad it was a preschool day – the boys would’ve hated being dragged around!}

Oh, and we ran 8 miles together on Saturday-a personal distance record for both of us! It felt great! (and we ate a ton of pizza from Jeff’s favorite OH pizzeria that night to reward ourselves, hello)


So – lots of excitement at the Pyles household right now – but I will REALLY be celebrating soon when that dossier is out of my hands and on its way to ETHIOPIA!!! 🙂

Ohio Spaghetti Luncheon Fundraiser

Hey Ohio folks!

We are heading your way this weekend to see friends and family, & get together for a sweet fundraiser put on by the Pyles family.

WHAT: Spaghetti Luncheon – buy a plate, donate to our adoption fund! (suggested donation: $5 per plate)

WHEN: Sunday, October 7th, 1:00-3:00 PM

WHERE: Ravenna First Church of God, 237 New Milford Road

ALL proceeds go toward our adoption costs!

We’d love to see you there 🙂  We’re looking forward to catching up with everybody & sharing about our plans!

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” -John 14:18

*Some have asked how to make a tax-deductible donation, or how to donate if they can’t make it to the luncheon.  You can find that info here – and thank you SO much!  We love y’all!

Are we crazy?

Well, it’s official folks…

Jeff and I are training for a half marathon on November 17th.  

I didn’t want to call it until we’d been training for a little while… but Jeff has already surpassed his previous longest-run mark (which for both of us was a 10K/6.2 miles) and I’ll pass it this weekend.  I think we’re doing this thing.  So now we need accountability…and maybe some help.

Any tips, advice, or words of wisdom from more seasoned runners are appreciated… eeeeek!! {what am I thinking?}

*And no, I don’t think I’ll ever run a full marathon.  I lived with a marathoner in college… close enough for me 😉 (love you T!)

I have lovely friends.

Photography has definitely become a fun little hobby/creative outlet for me.  I took my first workshop because I wanted to be able to take better photos of my boys…and I got hooked.  I’m certainly no pro, but I enjoy it and love learning more about it–taking workshops, reading about it, getting to use my creative side a bit while as I’m a stay at home mom.  I’ve learned I mostly just love photos of people–families and children especially.  Hello, it’s no secret I love me some babies.  I’m not a huge landscape/scenery/nature photography kind of person, although I appreciate its beauty.  Anyway – I’ve had a few friends ask me to take some photos for them lately, which has been a lot of fun–and a great learning experience.  But seriously–do I have lovely friends, or what?  Here are just a very few of my favorites… love these dear faces.

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