March 31, 2015


Yesterday afternoon, Silas fell asleep on my chest for the first time in a long time. I laid there soaking it in, feeling his heart beat on top of mine. This kid's heart beats so in sync with mine that sometimes I forget he grew in another mama's belly. I never forget her. I just sometimes forget that Silas hasn't always been a part of me. He hasn't always been mine. 

I began imagining what it would have been like to have had him growing in me. I don't feel any lack in our relationship because we missed out on that time together, but there's a part of me that does grieve for that time. Not because we lack a connection, but because I know he has a connection to another mom too. 

I started to wonder...if I could have grown him in my own womb and given birth to him myself, would I have? 

Well, sure, if he could still be the same Silas that he is now. But, the reality is, he would be a different kid if he had been born to me. And, I don't want a different kid.  

So, my grief is drowned in the depths of my gratitude. 

Gratitude for his birthmom, who carried and cared so well for my baby for 9 months and then selflessly gave him the life she wanted him to that did not include her. My privilege is her pain. And her connection to Silas does not diminish mine. In fact, I think it strengthens it, because I carry with me every day the knowledge that he could belong to someone else. And yet, he's mine.

And my gratitude for a God who breathed a deep desire for adoption into my heart long ago, before infertility was something I even knew could be a reality. For a God who gently guided us through our pain down the road that led to Silas. For a God who redeems and restores and who causes all things to work together for good.

I feel this overwhelming gratitude daily, and I often ask Silas in these moments, "How did I get you?" and "Why do I get to be your mama?" 

I live every day in awe that he is mine.

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March 15, 2015

Created For Care

This last weekend, I was in Georgia at the Created For Care retreat for adoptive moms.  I am still processing everything I experienced there. It was so life-giving for me to be among so many women who have the same heart for adoption. I left feeling so encouraged and empowered, knowing there is this incredibly strong and courageous group of women walking a road so similar to mine. I am so thankful for the relationships I was able to form in such a short amount of time. I felt instantly bonded to so many of these women and know that there were lifetime friendships that began over the weekend. If only we all lived closer!

My friend Lauren and I flew out to Atlanta together and met up with several people we have connected with through Instagram, Facebook, and blogs.  Meeting them and others in real life was better than I could have hoped for, as I loved all of them even more in person. What a blessing and an honor it is to walk this road with these women. When my heart is heavy with the burden of infertility, or when I have a difficult encounter with someone who just doesn't get adoption, all I have to do is picture the faces of these friends...and I feel strengthened. These are some of the strongest women I have every known, enduring trials with grace and dignity and rejoicing in the beauty God brings from ashes. They get it, and I am forever grateful that God has given me these incredible friends to journey with.
After the retreat, we took a little detour to the Coca-Cola museum on the way to the airport. I highly recommend the Created For Care retreat. If you ever get the opportunity to go, do it! I can't wait to go again next year.
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March 1, 2015

Five Years

Five years ago today, my grandpa went to be with Jesus. I miss him everyday. Not many people are so lucky as to have a grandpa like mine.

Silas has figured out how to open the doors in our house by himself, and his favorite place to enter is the bathroom, of course. Over the course of today, Silas dropped three full rolls of toilet paper in the toilet and one full roll of paper towels. I couldn't help but laugh, thinking about how proud his great grandpa would be of him. He honored him well with his orneriness today. My grandpa was, after all, the most ornery and mischievous of them all.
Let's zoom in, just to prove my point.
I love you Grandpa!
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February 14, 2015

Adventures in Co-Sleeping

Nick left for Portland on Wednesday night, so Silas and I are living it up on our own these next few days. Seeing as how I'm used to having a warm body nearby when I sleep at night, I thought I'd have Silas sleep with me while Nick is gone. When I was ready to go to bed that first night, I snuck into Silas's room and pulled him out of his crib, barely waking him. As we laid down together, I was pleasantly surprised to have him go right back to sleep there next to me. This was going to work out beautifully. A couple minutes later, he scooted a little closer to me and snuggled his little body up next to mine. Perfection. And then a couple more minutes later, he decided that he still wasn't close enough and squeezed his feet in to rest between my knees. And then his hands to rest between my arm and my body. And just to reassure me that he was there, he started squeezing my arm gently and patting me over and over again. Stop the cuteness! Only, he didn't stop there. He still wasn't close enough. So, he sat up, readjusted himself and laid back down with his head on my chest. And now, we could fall asleep. And so we did.

It wasn't long before I was awakened to have the same process of events happening all over again. We managed to fall back asleep again, once he had adjusted himself to his liking, and I figured we had finally pushed passed the hard (but so so adorable) part and would now have a good nights sleep.

I was wrong.

At 12:30, I had to call it. At that point, Silas once again sat up to readjust himself, and this time slammed the back of his head down as hard as he could on my face. Which didn't seem to phase him, but I was certain that my nose was broken and was reaching up to check for blood (not dramatic at all). I decided that we would probably both sleep much better if we were in our own separate beds. So, I reluctantly returned him to his crib, where he happily snuggled up to Belle and fell right back to sleep.

So, maybe we aren't going to be co-sleepers anytime soon. But seriously, having a ridiculously cuddly child is a problem I'm thrilled to have....because it's really not a problem at all. And, I do think I'm going to give it one more try before Nick gets home. We'll see how that goes. 

To prove he's a cuddle monster and also totally expressionless (wink face)...(I need some blog emoticons)....
If he's sitting on our lap or laying on us, it's pretty much always because he has climbed up on the couch or chair specifically to snuggle with us.
He had never met this girl....didn't know her at all...
 He barely knew her...
He also loves to cuddle with his dogs...
Who wouldn't want to sleep with this squishiness?....
Oh yeah...his dad.
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February 6, 2015

Swenson Christmas...Now That It's February

Well, now that it's February, let's talk about Christmas again. Like I said, our Christmas this year was actually three Christmases, so this is the last and final post on the topic....hallelujah! This was the Christmas with my immediate side of the family. So, here's some pictures, and we'll wrap this up with a few highlights.
*My brother-in-law Sean's new cat shirt
*Nerf Guns
*There's a black and white picture up there with four of us busting up laughing on the couch next to my brother-in-law, Ben. That hilarious moment was courtesy of my sister Amy, who exclaimed the instant Ben opened his present, "Oh he loves it!" It was funny....but maybe you had to be there.
*There's a couple other pictures of my sister Kristina and me laughing hysterically. Sean shot Kristina in the face with the nerf gun, which was also one of those funny things you probably had to be there for.
*Silas and Trevor and more toys than they know what to do with
*Printed out pictures of presents, because even when we celebrate Christmas two weeks after Christmas, we still buy presents the day of, then print pictures of what is coming.

This is a really cool family we've got.
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February 3, 2015

Keep Calm and Eat Cake

So Silas is 17 months (how the crap did that happen?), and the topic of our next child is a more common discussion these days. We are still undecided as to the route we are going to take for said child, but something dawned on me the other day. When an imaginary biological child comes to my mind, it is always a girl. I literally have no imagination for a biological son. And it makes sense, because I have a living, breathing, dreamboat of a baby who has far exceeded my wildest dreams and imagination for a son.
I do not know what the future holds for our family. I learned a long time ago that that part of our life is out of my control. What I do know is this....I already have the VERY best family. Anything else is just icing on an already delicious cake.
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January 28, 2015

We're in a Video!

Over the summer, our church interviewed us for a video they were doing with campus updates. I kept wanting to post it but couldn't figure out how to post just our portion of the video instead of the full 10 minute one (there was a story from each of our 5 church campuses). I eventually gave up, because I couldn't figure it out. But then, this morning, when I sat down to my computer, the video just popped up out of the blue....just our portion. So weird! So, I guess I'm posting it now. This is obviously an extremely short, very condensed version of our story, which is far more complex and emotional than the video lets on. We had to share our story plus something about how our church helped us along in the adoption process all in under two minutes. We did our best, but they had to edit out some of what we shared of our story. I'm still happy with how it turned out, and I think they included the most important parts. Also, Silas's hair has quadrupled in size since this video was made!
A little disclaimer....the intro of the video makes it sound like we did fost-adopt. We didn't, but other families in our church have.
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January 18, 2015

Turlock Christmas

Christmas round two took place in Turlock with Nick's side of the family. We always enjoy the cooler weather, the long walks, and all the time we have to relax when we are there. Silas had fun visiting the park and getting ALL the attention. His grandparents love to show him off!
Our Christmas celebration was fun, even though we were missing Nick's sister Alyssa. Nick's grandma was able to join us though, so we got a fun picture with four generations of Kinniers. Also, Silas got more cars, so he was in heaven once again.
Nick and I decided to take advantage of the live in babysitters at the house and got away for a night on our own. We went to a town called Murphys for the night and stayed at a cute little bed and breakfast.  We stopped at several quaint mountain towns along the way, including Columbia, a historic Gold Rush town. We considered touring some caverns and even drove out to one. But, as we were waiting in line to buy the tickets, we decided that sitting in a coffee shop and reading sounded much more enjoyable. That's a luxury we rarely get to experience together anymore. It was a good choice.
Alright! Part two of this trilogy is done.
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