Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ethan Timothy Ciccone

Monday, December 1, 2014 @ 12:51 AM Ethan Timothy Ciccone made his debut into this world.  He was welcomed by Mommy, Daddy, Big brothers, Caleb & Josiah & Big Sister, Samantha.  His weight was 8 lbs 7 oz & he measured 23" long.  It's no mystery why mommy's tummy was so large, carrying all 23" of this baby boy.

The Lord has answered our prayer as He kept this baby healthy, & strong & safe.  We pray that His hand will continue to be upon Ethan as he grows to know the love our Heavenly Father has for us all.

Smiling for the camera

Mommy time

Daddy, back to poopy diapers

Daddy time

All 23" of his height, sticking out of the baby blanket

It's not easy being tall!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Answered prayer

We had our final ultrasound yesterday afternoon to check the location of my placenta.  Back on week 20 of this pregnancy, we had been told that the placenta was too close to the 'baby chute' for baby to be born naturally and on the baby's schedule.  So, we've been watching it ever since via ultrasound to see if it had grown out of the way.

I was not thrilled with the thought of having to take this baby out via c section or before the baby was ready, but I also understood that if it meant a safe and healthy birth day for baby and I, then that was ok.

Leading up to yesterday's ultrasound, my prayer was for clarity and absolute decisiveness as the doctor looked at the ultrasound to determine if we could just 'wait' on baby or if we would need to schedule the birth day.  I wanted to see an astonished look of certainty as the doctor saw what he saw, either a placenta impeding birth or a placenta amazingly far away from that 'baby chute'.

The look on the doctors face when he saw the screen was awesome.  He says, "your placenta is so far away from the 'baby chute' (of course he used the medical terms) I can't even tell how far".  I looked at Tim, tears in my eyes and knew instantly that God had answered my prayer.  He knew what I needed to hear and see & He gave me a doctor who was real enough to show astonishment and that 'scratch your head' belief.

I asked questions about what we were looking at, where is baby, how big is baby, is baby in the birthing position, is that the head?  It was so fun!

So, we have a 6 lb 9 oz baby already & baby is in the correct position to be born, but not close to making it's way down that 'baby chute'.  Praise The Lord the 'chute' is clear.

Now it's the wait and see when baby decides to make the grand entry into the loving arms of all of us.  In the waiting time, I'll enjoy the kicks and elbows and pressure on my bladder.

Thank you Lord for answering my prayers and giving me the certainty and clarity through the doctors decisiveness and astonishment!  Now, please bring baby out soon!!!  👶. We're more ready than we've been for any other child you've given us.
Baby having morning coffee!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Twins update...

Finally got up the nerve to ask the caseworker for an update on the twins, Ke'Ron and Ke'Mari, who were our foster sons for 18 months when we were in KS.  They were just 27 months when we were able to transition them into their Grannies home, but have had no contact or update since then (March).
We talk about them often and miss their antics in our family, but have trusted and found peace in knowing they are with biological family and being loved.

We still miss them and will always hold a place in our hearts for them, it was reassuring to hear they are doing GREAT, thriving in the daycare and looking forward to being adopted by the Granny we moved them to.  I will count this a 'win' for them, and continue to pray for God to be present in their lives.  Selfishly, I would love to see them both in eternity with Jesus, and sadly, I believe that will be my next opportunity.

Fostering is tough work, but such a privilege and honor to be entrusted with our most valuable resource.

We will always love you, twins!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The joys keep coming

Just when I think God couldn't surprise me with anything else, something pops up.  The 1st few days of walking the boys to school, I noticed that 1/2 way there, we got to walk by some fabulously fragrant lilac bushes.  Those flowers bring memories of Tim and I's 1st date, walking around my childhood neighborhood.  I smile and just thank God for a small, but meaningful reminder to me that He cares about the little things.

The 1st week in our new home, our neighbor mowed our parkway grass for us & invited us to the monthly block party with the neighbors.  God knows I desire community and relationships with those around me, and he has put some great, divers people right around me.  What a great welcome and feeling.

I just love how God has used each place we've loved and person we've loved to prepare us for the 'task' at hand.  I am not sure yet what my 'task' for the Kingdom is here, in Chicago, but I am enjoying the process of learning and waiting on Him for His guidance.

Here's to enjoying the adventures and cherishing the chaos!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Already building a New Addition...

Just 6.5 months after moving to Chicago, we plan to have our new addition complete!  November 29, 2014 is the 'scheduled' completion date, but we all know how due dates go, especially with your 1st delivery!

 What?  Bambino #4?  How'd you manage that?  Adopting so soon, after moving across state lines?  Already jumped into Fostering in Illinois?  (Just one of many responses from family when we let them in on our surprise).

Our excited friend, Kellynne, someone who has known our family for 12 years
Well, actually, God's plan is always miraculous, exciting and often times surprising.

So, via FaceTime, early Thursday, April 10, 2014, I called Tim, already commuting to Chicago, to show him this.... 
I had to buy the one with words & highest accuracy %.

After arguing with me about having time to sit down to listen to me for a minute, Tim's response was Priceless.  'Who's is that?'  'What does that mean?'  'Awesome, what do we do now?'  'Really?'  'How did that happen?'  (Those were the questions that echoed in our minds for the next several weeks)
Maria @ 7 weeks...wondering why we've been given this opportunity & what God is up to??

Here is a little excerpt from the conversations between Maria and the Nurse Practitioner, Lab Technicians, Ultrasound Tech and finally the Doctor...
Nurse Practitioner:  You don't understand...My body doesn't do this...I mean, the doctors always told us there was nothing 'wrong', but come on, let's be realistic here, this HAS GOT TO BE Something Else!  

Lab Technicians:  Just so you know, I'm deathly afraid of needles, so don't get mad at me, but there will be deep breathing, but I won't pass out, don't worry - I'm just a baby.  See, I have a LIST of why I am very happy to never be pregnant, or give birth...

Ultrasound Tech:  Now, that white spot on the screen you're saying is a baby, could be something else, right?  Let's look at all the angles, I mean, what ELSE could it be?  There COULD BE another rationale for why I feel so wiped out, nauseous, FAT...

Doctor:  Are you sure that's a heartbeat?  I mean, maybe I ate something funny.  Could you explain that?  I have no idea what you're talking about.  I mean, I have 3 kids, but you don't understand...I've not dreamed of this, or prepared, or read ANYTHING.

I was really just trying to be sure everyone was thinking 'outside the box' regarding this whole pregnancy 'diagnosis'.  Let's be realistic here...We've been married for 17 years & have not prevented pregnancies.

The confirmation by medical professionals and continued symptoms of unexplained exhaustion, and inability to keep up my usual pace, forced Maria to SIT DOWN and allow others to be a much needed helping hand (although they had no idea why I needed more than usual help).

Samantha & Mommy trying to keep up our workout schedule, but finding it necessary for pre-workout snacks.

Ouch, just had a blood of the MANY pains I've NEVER looked forward to.
Jimmy John's to the rescue of the 'starving' pregnant Mom at Josiah's Field day in the park.

Mommy @ 21 Weeks

Our Responses:  Caleb - 'Awesome'; Josiah - 'Cool'; Maria - 'No clue'; Samantha - 'Baby'; Tim - 'What?, How?'

Even with Bambino #4 on the way, arriving around November 29, 2014, we will still have our much needed to space to host family and friends who dare to visit us.

So, book your Chicago stay, at Ciccone Bed & Breakfast.  Lots of excitement around here!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

We are living in Chicago...

We've arrived in our new home in Chicago, IL.  The boys started their new school today.  This move is going so well & God is really providing more than we need or could've asked for.  Caleb was able to begin his 1st day at Mary Gage Peterson Elementary by 10:40 a.m. and joined his class in Gym class, after dropping off his backpack and meeting his new teacher MR. Barbercheck, exciting for him to have a male teacher.  Josiah was able to begin his 1st day at 10:40 a.m and joined his class, in their room during 'circle time', so all the students were seated on the floor, with his teacher, Ms. Rivas.  She is about my age, a kind speaking woman and seemingly happy.  We are so thankful for what seems to be a great start to their 1st day. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Goodbye my big boys!

Since we moved the twins to their Grannies house, many people ask if I'm ok.  To this I respond with these imperfect words...

They screamed and cried for me, 'mommy', it was as heart wrenching as you would imagine it being.  God is giving me many great reminders of His faithfulness through this adventure.  Their Granny doesn't want me to see them because they get so upset when I leave.  That is hard for me too, because it makes me feel like she doesn't appreciate what I've done for the boys and she doesn't like me.  And yes, I'm OK.  My hope is in The Lord, not on earthly things & I know He has and will be my comfort and guide throughout my life of following Him.  Thank you for your prayers, that is truly the best support.

My prayer for the twins has turned to the next Godly person that will enter their life and lead them into a relationship with Him.  There seems to not be a Godly presence in their immediate family, but God can send someone, I pray earnestly that He will.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

30 days...

We have put on our notice to have the twins moved and because of the length of time they have been with our family. The agency has 30 days (instead of 2 weeks) to find an appropriate place for them,  this decision comes after many attempts and over a year and a half of waiting,praying and hoping for their bio family to do what is necessary to have them.  We are weary from the lack of encouragement and support we have felt and most recently the unsubstantiated accusations of unknowing and graceless strangers.

We pray too that these boys will be protected and loved for all of their days.


She is simply getting grown up!!

Josiah in a snow globe

Of course you would, that's my boy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Craigslist 1st...

In this time of transition and emotions all over the place, God sent me a sweet note through a stranger via craigslist...

I love the bean bag...I wish I had room for it. But I just wanted to tell you--you have a beautiful family! So much love in that picture!! May you be blessed in all you do!
:)Sarah Canaday

Wow, that was the nicest response from craigslist I've ever received! You are so thoughtful,

Hi Maria,
We all need some positivity and encouragement. I was literally brought to tears by the joy in that picture. I think it's important as women to reach out to one another. It seems like we all go through life pretending we don't need our "village"--I've learned to be open to new friendships, or even just the opportunity to encourage a stranger :)

This is the picture she was referring to...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here we goooooo......

The kids and I took a surprise trip to Chicago to be with him during the decision time and announcement of the new Director of Youth Ministry for the Covenant, this past weekend...well, actually, the kids and I drove Saturday, after Caleb's basketball game (we left at 4:15 p.m. from KC), and we came home Sunday after lunch.

Here is a link to a few pictures that were taken as Tim and our family was introduced to the youth workers at Youth Worker Connection 2014 in Chicago.

Our trip was the beginning of another great chapter on this adventure, as we serve God in a new capacity from Chicago.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Oh the joys...

And I mean that in a non sarcastic tone of voice.  These are a few of my joys in life...
Our friend, Tyriq, working alongside Samantha during our Wednesday night High 5 program, at church.

Caleb, once again, showing me up in the baking category!

Josiah, showing love to his Dad by constructing 'DAD' with bristle blocks.

KR, post surgery to repair his umbilical hernia. (Purposefully anonymized). Quite a trooper.

KM with his picked out, stylin' Afro, instead of Napfro, thanks to encouragement from my friend, TJ!

All these pictures say, I love the adventure I've been entrusted with on this earth & am grateful for the things I am given to do for the furthering of God's eternal kingdom.  Before I lose anyone, as you think, 'I could never do that', or, 'she's amazing', let me set you straight by telling you no one pictured here is perfect or even in a good mood, every day!  We all have our moments & are still learning on this adventure, but we all live in the grace and knowledge that God loves us & our main objective in life is to do our best, through His strength.

We Can Do It!! (Pretty sure the Bible says that too, check it out...Phillipians 4:13) - I had to verify that was the correct reference...FYI 😜

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


To blog or to facebook, that's the question...So, shout out some feedback, I want to know.

Here I am, thinking out loud. 

Blogging is a great place to share more personal information, that maybe the 'general' public (friends only), want to read on facebook. 

I love seeing people's pictures on facebook & I often times find great encouragement from reading shared blog posts, articles, etc. from friend's pages on facebook.

Often times I click on shared blogposts & find the stories so perfectly in tune with my life, that I then go back to those people's pages and look for more posts to read...when I have time.

My blog is something that people have to actively seek out to read, so if they are here, they want to know what's going on...the details, not just the cute picture of my sweet and only daughter standing in the snow.

I feel like I can share more personal thoughts via my blog, because I won't be 'throwing' them in everyone's face on facebook - no pun intended, for reals!

So, I think it's good for me to blog & share our life with our family & friends near & far who want to know what's going on.  I know I love a good update from my friends & family...that's why Christmas card season is one of my favorites!  Keep 'em comin'...

I've tried and tried and tried....(lots of trying) to keep a journal...prayer journal, life event journal, baby journal, baby book (I'm so typical with this one).  Technically I'm 'suppose' to keep up lifebooks for the foster kids, but who has time for that?  If only they would pay me to foster, then maybe I would have time...although then I'd have to give up my sweet job, working with fun people & getting out of the house regularly to have adult conversation.

Maybe blogging will help relieve those people who call me & then can't get off the phone because I just like tlaking to someone who actually responds and isn't asking me to do something for them.  Blogging is still a one way communication (unless you post comments back to me), but I'm getting my thoughts out at least.

It seems more socially acceptable to share my thoughts with my computer screen, than to just talk to myself all day long (honestly, this happens both audibly and just psychotically in my own little head)

Do you have any thoughts on this?  Do you like blog reading?  Is it a waste of time?