Saturday, December 3, 2011

Girlfriend's Trading Post

In my pursuit to write something each day, I find myself struggling with topics. I was so used to writing about adoption that I thought when that part of our life seemed to be ending, I wouldn't have anything left to say. Part of me thinks that was probably a little bit of Satan's influence. I also realize that at times, it was hard to have so many people knowing your business. I have a hard time sugar coating things, but sometimes the realness is great to put down but hard to be asked about. Many times when I wrote, I felt like I was writing to myself, not realizing how many people read it. Then, when someone in public would question me about something I had written, I would be shocked...that someone read it, that someone cared, that someone had more questions.

I will never forget getting into an elevator in Nashville and a lady smiling at me. I thought, "oh, she's in a good mood" As I turned around to press the floor I was going to, she said, "your the adventures of breagirl lady, I love your blog" Yeah, it was creepy. Kind of nice, but creepy.

Anyhoo, in my pursuit to start writing again, I've decided to share my perspective on random things until I get back into the habit of writing each day. My sweet MIL Barbara is really encouraging me to write stories about Joshua, but I don't want to neglect the other kids (trust me, writing about Joshua is a full time job) but I might throw a few of those in there from time to time. For now though, I'll be writing random stuff. So here's my random topic of the day:

Girlfriends Trading Post

Now, I've been on facebook for a while. I've been on many boards where people sell stuff (New and Used Gymboree, Matilda Jane Addicts, and many other random ones). This was the first time I was on one for people who buy and sell stuff in the city where I live, Hendersonville. At first, I was honestly a little shocked at the concept because I felt like it could directly impact a lot of local businesses (consignment sales, used furniture stores, etc) and then you start to realize that people are going to use it whether you like it or not, so I started paying attention. I even started selling a few things. That's when I realized these women (including me) are nuts. Seriously insane (I say this with a smile on my face). So, here's the scoop on Girlfriends Trading Post.

Created by a friend of mine at church, she was looking for a way for local families to be able to buy, sell and trade stuff here in our area. Dealing with craigslist and ebay can sometimes be a nightmare, especially having people come to your home that you really don't know. She solved all those issues with this group. So far, I have only bought one thing, which I can't mention as they are Christmas gifts for my kids, but I have been selling like a fool the last few days. I've never seen stuff sell so quick in my life...and at great prices.

My husband is convinced you could crap in a bag and someone would buy it on there. I've seen people list cars, furniture, coupons, clothing...I'm pretty sure if you have it in your home, someone has one or wants one on GTP. Now, here's the best parts. The meet ups. Target has become THE go to spot for doing the "exchange". I get tickled when I am running to Target and see 30 cars at the outer limits of the parking lot with their trunks open. It seriously looks like these women are doing some major drug trafficking in the parking lot. Can't you picture these ladies in trench coats peddling watches that are underneath?

The few times I have met up, this is typically how the exchange goes. Yes, we know what the other person is driving, but we still question, "could this be them?" You smile at the other person, hoping to get a warm response and then you do this, "are you the one with the Christmas lights?" mime. I'm sure it's hysterical to someone watching. Pop the trunk, check out the goods, exchange the goods for cash (exact change please) and drive away with a few extra bucks. I typically drive straight to Starbucks to unload at least $5 of what I just made on a drink and my other new passion, the cranberry bliss bar.

Man, that thing is good. Really, really good. And, they are only available from November until January. It's a very exciting day for me when those suckers come out. They are the reason I will soon be selling my size 8 jeans on GTP because I will have gained so much weight.

Well, that's my rambling for the day. Be sure you check out the trading post and beware, you'll start to sell so much stuff, you might just sell off your hubby or children :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fast Car

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

Man, every time I hear this song, it brings back memories. Memories of cruising Rivergate mall in my friend Cheryl's VW bug convertible singing at the top of our lungs, memories of listening to this song on "Love Songs" on the radio and wishing I could get away from the most recent boyfriend who had broke my heart, memories of being in college and having this on a mixed tape, yes tape.

So, this is Angie V. For those old schoolers to this blog, she has been mentioned before. A lot. We've been friends since I was 19 years old. We met at a Barbie collectors meeting. Yep, Barbies. I had a collecting bug when I was around 16 and that was when Holiday Barbies were THE thing that people lined up Toys R Us to buy. My sweet Granny was one of those ladies who fought to get me the holiday doll each year. Now as a parent, I personally don't line up for anything, but I truly appreciated that she did that for me.

When a local collectibles store announced in 1999 that they were going to start a club for people that collected Barbies, I was in. I was the first person at the meeting and was a nervous wreck. I knew NO ONE. Now, anyone that knows me knows I don't have a problem talking to anyone, even a wall, but I will admit looking back I was NERVOUS. As people started filing in, I became even more nervous as no one was sitting near me. I felt like the kid who is last to be picked in gym.

Well, guess who was late? Yep, Angie V. Guess where the only seat in the whole room was left? I bet you've figured it out. Neither one of us realized we would become the best of friends when we met that night. Neither one of us realized that she would be there when Granny died, when I had each of my children, that she would be at the airport when we stepped off the plane with Joshua. We also didn't realize I would be there when she lost her mom, Ms. Pat three years ago yesterday.

I'll never forget that day. We had just hung up from a quick chat (which we typically did about 6 times a day) and I had just kissed Jonathan goodbye as he ran to the store for milk. He got in the car and pulled away when the phone rang again. Looking at caller id, I saw it was Angie and laughed because I knew in our typical fashion, she had forgotten to tell me something. When I answered the phone with a "what did you forget!", I'll never forget her voice when she said, frantically, "Brea, I think my mom is dead"

When I think back to that night, those next few days, watching Angie struggle through the shock of loosing her sweet mother, I am reminded of how much I wanted to take my friend's pain away. I almost wished I could take Ms. Pat's place so that I didn't have to see the pain in everyone's eyes. I felt guilty missing her when I knew my pain of missing her was nothing compared to the grief Angie felt. And every time, I think of it, I think of Angie's voice saying it over and over again. Here's a picture of Ms. Pat along with Angie and her sisters, Margaret and Lisa

On November 20th, it happened again.

I grew up with Chris. We met when he transferred to our high school. He instantly became part of our group of friends and I was so excited when he starting dating my best friend since 6th grade, Kim. Chris' home instantly became the hang out spot. Someone in our group was always dating someone in his circle of guy friends, so we would hang out at his house, the guys playing pool downstairs and all the girls piled up in Chris' mom's bed. Sandra, Chris' mom, wanted to know everything about us. She wanted to know who we hung out with and why, who we were dating and why, where we were in our relationship with Christ. I bit my nails (have since I was 2) and I remember she always wore press on nails that she painted bright red.

After Jonathan and I married, we actually bought some property from Ms. Sandra that was right next to her home. We built our second house there. Anna would be playing outside and Sandra would walk over to chat. Anna says she remembers just swinging with Sandra in Sandra's back yard. She loved my children and still loved me. I remember sitting on her bed a few years after we married, answering the same questions: how was my marriage, how many children we wanted and so much more. She truly was interested and listened. Thinking back, I realize that back in high school, sometimes I think Ms. Sandra knew more about me than my own mother. Here's Chris with Sandra (man, I love this pic)
 Here's Laura with Sandra:
Here's some fun pictures of Kim and I. Yes, the first is from eighth grade (I think). Second is from our awesome trip to see NKOTB in Chicago:

As years have gone by, I've actually developed a very sweet friendship with Chris' younger sister, Laura. When she and her hubby Josh decided they wanted to add to their family through adoption, she called me. As we talked adoption, we also became friends. Sweet friends. It was nice to find someone as crazy as me that got adoption, especially transracial adoption. As time went on, I don't think I ever told Sandra what her children meant to me. I wish I had. I think she probably knew.

November 11th, Sandra was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. After a successful surgery four days later, things looked promising and Sandra was even moved to start therapies on Saturday, the 19th. On Sunday, the phone rang. I had been asleep with a migraine and had just woke up. As the phone rang, Jonathan told me something was going on with Sandra but he hadn't wanted to wake me. I saw that it was Kim and immediately asked her "what is going on with Sandra?" Kim said, "Brea, she died" in the faintest whisper. I was stunned. stunned. As I asked her what happened, I just couldn't believe this was happening. Sandra had a blood clot that took her very quickly. Chris and Laura's mom was gone.

Again, as I watched their faces over the next few days, I immediately wanted to take away their pain. I can't explain how it feels to be a friend watching your dear friends suffer. It didn't then and it still doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem possible that at 34 and 29 years old, Chris and Laura have lost their mother. Even as I type this, I'm not sure how long it will take for it to sink in. Again, I feel guilty missing her knowing that it sounds so silly when I know that I can't hold a candle to how much they miss her. I want to heal their hearts, I want their mom back.

It also makes me question how people go through a loss like this without faith. As I watched Kim, Chris and Laura at the funeral home, it really struck me at how strong they were. Yes, they are SO sad and miss her so much, but their strength can only be provided as something God given. Watching them process this grief, it has reminded me so much of what is truly important.

As I spent some time with Laura yesterday, I was once again reminded that the stuff of this world is just not important. As she, Angie V and I talked over lunch, it struck me how much both of them reminded me of their mothers. I know both Ms. Pat and Ms. Sandra would be so incredibly proud of their children and how they have processed their losses.

All that to say, I will remember so many things about those days right after Sandra died, but I will never forget Kimberly's voice when she called. The impact her beautiful voice would have on me. How much I would hurt for my friends. How much it would remind me of Angie loosing Ms. Pat. How much it would put my life back in perspective.

Laura encouraged me to write again, and I think it's time. It's time to start putting my thoughts down into something tangible, if for no other reason, so my kids can look back and see what an insane nut I was. I hope my kids speak the beautiful words that Chris and Laura spoke about their mother last week, "Well done, Mom, well done"

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

Thursday, November 10, 2011


My friend Laura reference this blog on facebook today: and I have to say it's one of the most refreshing posts I've read in a while.

I spent a lot of time in the word this weekend, thinking and praying about the path my life is on. There are so many things that came to mind and I thought I would share a few with you:

1. Friendships: I find myself looking at the people I surround myself with and trying to figure out what God commands of us in these relationships. I want to be surrounded by people who are real and have the same values as me. I find that even though I don't mind confrontation, many times I am a total pushover and maybe don't speak my mind when I disagree with something simply because I don't have the energy to confront. I really want to get back to the basics of finding true, God centered relationships. The Lord has put many people in my path that are just that for me, but many times I think I get watered down on surface friends which in turn makes me slack on those true friendships. It's something I'm committed to working on.

2. My marriage: Jonathan is such a wonderful man, but I know I have seriously taken him for granted the last few years. With all the changes of selling the consignment sale, starting a new business, dealing with some emotional issues, etc. he has constantly been right there holding my hand and yet I have totally taken it for granted. Like the blog post above, I find that many times, I am so exhausted by life that at the end of the day, he is the one in the kitchen cooking dinner just so I can have some peace and quiet and not hear "mommy!" for 30 minutes. As I look around, I realize that this is so rare and I need to appreciate it more.

3. My children: I find that sometimes I spend more time being frustrated with them that I rob them of joy in the little things. I want to be more committed to getting down in the floor and playing with them, turning off the tv, and teaching them. No, I have no interest in home schooling, but I can still teach them by reading to them more, singing, and doing some fun worksheets and working on art. It's not that I totally neglect it, but I do certainly look forward to mother's day out and naptime more than I probably should.

4. My family: Again, this is an area that I struggle with in time management. I was thinking the other day about how little I've seen my sweet nephew, Baden. He's already 6 months old and I feel like I have missed so much. I need to make more time to just sit down with them.

5. Giving: Although we tithe like clockwork, sponsor a ton of kids internationally, etc., I think some of this has just become "habit". I want to make an effort to do something out of the box if for no other reason to teach our children. It's time to stop filling our house with stuff and getting back to the basics. We are doing some serious fall cleaning and I hope to literally be able to show the kids how giving stuff away truly impacts others.

So that's where I am right now...I know I will continue to struggle but it helps to have some accountability partners to remind me when I am slipping backwards instead of stepping forward.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What are YOU doing this weekend?

I think most of you know that I constantly have my hands in about 3 million different projects. I can't stand to sit still and I love a good challenge. That's why Candy and I started buying out children's boutiques a few years ago. At first, we were just buying out overstock from local children's boutiques and then word of mouth spread and suddenly, we were picking up overstock from boutiques all over the U.S. Then the economy went into the crapper and lots of our favorite stores closed their doors because suddenly high end children's clothing was not at the top of anyone's list of priorities. It forced Candy and I to reevaluate if we would continue buying and if so, at what price. At that point, we started buying Gymboree and people at the sales really seemed to love that. A few weeks ago, a great opportunity fell into our lap and we couldn't resist. $97,000 of high end boutique children's clothing. We were pumped until it arrived 7 days after we planned meaning we didn't have time to get it tagged for Encores North. So, here we sit with 2 huge pallets of children's clothing that we don't want to sit on. We tossed around a few ideas and decided that ultimately we wanted to give our friends the first opportunity to shop it. Candy works full time and I have the crew so we couldn't figure out the best way to do this and that's when we decided to do another yard sale. You see, three years ago when we were in the process of adopting our fifth child, we had this amazing yard sale where we sold all this new with tag boutique clothing for one set price. It went amazingly well! So, we are doing it again. This Saturday, October 29th from 7am-2pm we are having a MASSIVE yard sale. We will have random crap like any yard sale, but we will also have over 1000 pieces of new with tags children's boutique clothing. The best part? It's all $5 per piece. Yep, $5. Dress? $5. Pants? $5. 3 Piece Set? $15. There are some amazing deals here. Boys and girls, mainly sizes 2T-girls 16 and boys 20. Brands like ELand, Trish Scully, Baby Lulu, SPUDZ, Le Top, etc. etc. It is a mix of all seasons, but definitely heavier on Spring/Summer. Want to be the first to shop? We need LOTS of help this week. We are trying to get everything on hangers, organized, and ready to sell. Our goal is to have everything organized by sex and size on racks so it will be easy to shop. It will be held in my driveway and garage and although it will be cold, it will be worth it, I promise. I'll be updating this throughout the week with pics, so definitely check and TELL YOUR FRIENDS! We want this stuff GONE so our men will not be mad that our garages are FULL! More details to come, but get ready to get your shop on :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

No Promises...

I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching the last few weeks. A lot has changed for me in the last year and many events forced me to put a lot of things on the back burner, but recently, I've been trying to gain some perspective and putting the truly important stuff first. The stuff that brings me joy.

When I used to blog a lot, it was mainly about adoption which is something I am still very passionate about, but I sort of relate it to this: when the twins were born, I found a ton of support through the multiples club as no one else truly got it like other moms of multiples. Then, one day you realize that clubs like that aren't really necessary anymore because they stop being "twins" so much and become two individual people who have their own voices and can decide what they want to wear. The friendships I made around the twins have continued to this day, but my need for a social outlet only for other twin/triplet moms definitely left as they got older. The same with adoption. The friendships I have made while going through the process two times are lifelong friendships, many of which, I can't imagine not having in my life, but I cherish those relationships now because they are amazing women and we have adoption in common, not that we sit around and only talk adoption.

So, that brings me back to my blog. I think for some time I didn't want to blog anymore because I didn't have something earth shattering to say about adoption, but as I have really focused more on what's important, I think it might be time to step back in this arena and talk about my life in general. I have a lot of stories, laughs, pics, etc. to share and I'm just making sure that by saying I am going to start blogging again, it's not something on my ever growing list that I don't follow through on.

What have I been doing the last year? Well, raising kids. Anna turned 13 in September which officially means we both want to kill each other pretty much non-stop. I am very thankful that she truly is a good girl with great values and an awesome relationship with the Lord, but every time I see her roll her eyes at me when I tell her to do something, I'm reminded that it's totally payback from how I treated my mom (who also probably wanted to kill me). Isaac and Luke are getting ready to be 10. Watching the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 brought back so many memories of me being on bed rest and watching in horror what was going on in the world around us. Both boys play basketball and love art and wear a size 7 men's shoe. Yep, they are going to be giants!

Mary Elizabeth turned 4 in August. She has enough personality to fill a gym and J and I always laugh how "everybody knows Mary" She makes anyone smile with her toothy grin, pink glasses and sassy outfits. She loves playing pretend with anyone who pays her attention. Just last week, Joshua had her on a pretend leash telling her to lap up her water from a water bowl (actually a tupperware container he had somehow gotten out of the cabinets that are child locked). She loves going to mothers day out 2 days a week. Joshua turned 2 in May. I'm not sure there are adequate words to describe him except to say the boy has my heart and although he makes me want to scream every day, one look with those beautiful eyes or him simply saying "love u mommy" makes me melt. Hands down, he is the wildest of the bunch and can make anyone laugh.

J and I celebrated 14 years of marriage in June. FOURTEEN. Sometimes I don't feel like I am 14, much less that I've been married that long. We joke with people and tell them "can you believe it, we actually STILL like each other" The best part? It's true. We have so much fun together and it's nice to go to bed next to your soul mate and best friend each night.

As for me, well, lots has changed for me. I sold my business, contemplated going back to college (still thinking on that one) and started a new business. I am now working for an amazing company called Matilda Jane Clothing. I had been buying their clothing for Anna and Mary Elizabeth for years and when my amazing boss asked if I might be interested in working for them, I prayed about it for a few days, God gave me an amazing sign, and I signed on the dotted line. I can't say enough great things about the company. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the product otherwise I wouldn't be selling it, but the people that make up Matilda Jane is what makes me truly passionate about my new job. The owners are awesome and very hands on with us. They truly want us to be successful and yet want to keep it an intimate, hands on type of an event for the customer. They don't want Matilda Jane to be a household name which I love. It's a very unpredictable company, but as consistent as they come and everyone working there has had my best interests at heart. I've already made some great friendships with my fellow trunk keepers and I intend to do this as long as the Lord will allow me to.

I guess that gets you up to speed on our life. We still don't have a dog (and momma doesn't want one), we still fall into bed each night dead dog tired and we still anticipate what's next for our crew, but we know who's in control and that's all that matters.

I hope to keep this going, but no promises...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

School Days

I've recently been thinking about going back to college to complete my degree. The thought of being the adult in the classroom actually makes me a little sick, simply because I remember how mean the "young adults" were to them.

When I graduated from high school, I had one thing on my mind: volleyball. I played in high school and LOVED it. When I got offered scholarships for academics AND volleyball, it was a no brainer. I was going 2 1/2 hours away from home to continue playing the sport I loved.

I was a little, shall we say, sheltered growing up. Being away from home offered me all the freedom I thought I wanted, but it also offered all the opportunities to try all the things I had never really done: drinking, going out, etc. I played my heart out when it came to volleyball, but I also drank myself to death and got involved in a relationship that was not the smartest decision. By the end of freshman year, I had lost my academic scholarship, was heartbroken, and felt like I didn't know who I was.

I spent the next two years college hopping. I went to Western KY and then came back home after I got married to J and went to Vol State. My grades drastically improved, but when I found out I was pregnant with Anna, school became the last thing I was worried about and I quit after my junior year.

Now, knowing that in 5 short years, Anna will be heading off to college, I worry that she might try to use me as an excuse to not go. I can literally hear her now saying, "that's so not far, mom didn't finish college and she turned out fine." I also worry that it could end up costing us a small fortune for me to finish and ultimately, I'm not even sure what I'll do with a degree. Secretly, I've been thinking for years about going back to school to become a nurse, but I know that's a HUGE undertaking and with having small kids at home, I'm not sure our family is ready for that.

So, that's where I am right now in regards to school. I'm just going to continue praying about where God wants me and hope that some doors or answers reveal themselves pretty soon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tomorrow's Another Day

I could start off by telling you all the reasons I haven't blogged in a while, but I figure rather than boring you with all that stuff, I'm just going to start fresh.

Today, I woke up and felt refreshed. renewed. energized. excited. You see, there are big changes coming for our family in my area of work and although some aspects of it do make me sad, this is definitely a positive change for our family. It's a decision we've been praying over for years and finally felt the time was right about 6 months ago to make a change. We took a leap of faith knowing that many wouldn't understand and the big news will be revealed by the end of next week.

I'm a little nervous about everyone's response and I'm praying that rather to jumping to conclusions, people will feel comfortable enough to come to me and talk about the changes versus starting rumors and stirring the pot. I'm praying that others will be able to see what a positive thing this is for our family. I'm praying that people will see that it was time to focus on our family more so than everyone else.

That's really a tough one for me, as I typically put myself dead last. I'm definitely a giver and would prefer someone else's happiness over my own. That's what I struggle with the most...that this decision will seem selfish and yet I realize that it was time to put myself and our family first.

All that to say, I'm not sure what tomorrow is going to bring career wise. I know that today I enjoyed just hanging with my kiddos. We went to lunch with daddy and went to Best Buy to buy a new vacuum. We played with sticks in the front yard and ate messy snacks. I didn't answer the phone one time today if it had anything to do with business. And it was good.

Tomorrow's another day, and I'm thirty anyway, so bring on the rain. Trust me, I'm ready.