Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Very Merry Mila Christmas


This year’s Christmas celebrations were busier than ever. But we had a blast! This is just a glimpse of Squeals and the fam her first Christmas with us.

It all started on Christmas Eve with brunch at “the other Taylor’s”, but before Mila went to hang with her brood of boy cousins, she needed to open one of her Christmas presents a little early. See the boys were the reason she got this gift in the first place so we wanted her to break it in with them. I’ve learned to gauge all gifts that Mila receives by watching her play with other kid’s toys, (it’s a good test to see if she will actually play with something or not before purchasing). Since we could not get her off of this one at Thanksgiving…

we thought she needed this one for Christmas. The “kee-cah” (kitty cat) helmet was a bonus. I could not resist.

Once she had her own scooter, (that’s “keeta” in Squealy language), we were off to start the festivities. We had some good food, family fun, and presents.


(The Pepto and air freshener was a gift from one of the boys that I hope my sister-in-law explains on her blog. Hilarious!!!)

Our first Christmas Eve with Mila ended at my mom’s house visiting her Bibi, “John-John” and a few other good old friends. More food, more presents, more fun, and we were done. We got a couple hours of sleep and then we started all over again…

Wow, I just noticed that last pic caught the father-daughter fro combo. I’ve been told by many, “She’s got her Daddy’s hair”, and I guess this picture actually proves it!!

Speaking of hair… this is what I woke up to Christmas morning. A Christmas Stache!! He must have been mistaken, this was not on my Christmas list this year.

If you know my husband at all, you know he has never been lacking in the fun and jokes department. So my immediate reaction to this was, “Tell me you are not planning on wearing it like that for Christmas?” My mind is racing through all the awesome family photos I had planned for the day, with Dylan… and his handlebar mustache.

Thankfully this look was meant to humor me only, and was taken care of by a few strokes of the razor shortly after this lovely pic was taken.

When Mila woke on Christmas morning she opened the rest of her presents including her rain boots and bumble bee backpack, which she of course had to model in front of the mirror…

and then her Papa and Leepy came by for a visit. We took the first of many family photos, ate some food, and opened presents. The tent/tunnel combo was, and still is, quite a hit.

Then we were off to Memaw and Pop’s for more food and fun…

some Dirty Santa,


yet another family photo,

more presents,


and the most exciting present of all,


the box!

Mila got a 30 minute nap in route to our final destination at Aunt Carmen and Uncle David’s. Here we had more food, more fun, lots of love, more Dirty Santa, some Squealy dancing, and one last family photo to wrap up the evening.

And just like that…Christmas is over. Another year, gone. It was a good one, and I’d have to vote this our best Christmas yet. Mila had a ton of fun, not enough sleep, and we all ate way too much food. I took way to many pictures, but ended up with some really good ones that I hope will help tell the story of our first Christmas with our baby girl. She was quite the party-starter, she danced ’til she dropped, she gave away lots of hugs and kisses, and she LOVES her family. And so do I.  How blessed we are to have so many people to love, and to love us in return.


“We’ve been in line for over an hour, please just sit on Santa.”


Yesterday, Mila and I braved a trip to what my family lovingly calls the “Gag”eria. I normally avoid the entire area like the plague this time of year, but this dreaded trip was for one purpose, and one purpose only, the infamous first visit to Santa.

  • Sidenote: Our family is going to do the whole Santa thing a little different than most. We want this season to be about Jesus, not a big chubby fella with a beard and a red suit. He does make this time of year fun for little ones, but more importantly than the presents and flying reindeer, we want our children to understand why we celebrate at Christmas time. A little baby born a long time ago that changed the world, our lives personally, and prayerfully theirs as well. I won’t go into all of our thoughts on the subject in this post, because it could go on and on, and there is a different story that needs to be told today. Our family will still participate in holiday festivities, but we desire to just keep them in their proper place.

Now, back to my story. One of the must-haves in my mind for our child’s first Christmas with us, is that comical toddler picture with Santa. I thought it may go bad, but you never know, Mila loves almost everybody. ALMOST.

Squeals seemed very excited as we waited in line to sit on the big guy’s lap. We don’t talk about Santa, so she really had no idea who he was until we got there. Once I told her we were there to see Santa, she kept repeating his name, like she does mine, and almost everyone, or everything else that she wants or needs. “Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa!!” Yes, she is quite a repeater, pushing me to my limits at times, but anywho, that’s a story for another day as well.

Here’s the anticipation/excitement part of our morning. Things are about to head south.

When we got all the way to the front of the line, and were next to sit on this stranger’s lap, her look of excitement turned to shear terror. She started climbing up my legs and crying. I knew this was not going to be pretty. Maybe this is wrong, but I just thought the picture would be cute, even if she was crying. Not to mention we’d been there for over an hour…we were getting a picture). So, as a line of about 30-40 people looked on, I attempted to place my screaming child onto Santa’s unwelcoming lap. I’m having flashbacks of the Santa scene in A Christmas Story. “Hooooo, Hooooo, Ho!…”.

So Santa says to me, “I don’t think this is going to work… you are going to have to sit with her.” So, we sat. Well, I sat, and she did her best to get as far away from dear ole Santa as she could. The picture lady snapped a few shots and showed them to me. Ugh, they were less than desirable. She asked if I wanted to give her a minute to compose herself, and try again. So I did.

The second time around was not much better, but at least this time, I was smiling and not wrestling to keep her on my lap. This was the best of about 10 or 12 shots, and the look on her face says it all. She was thrilled, let me tell you. But we got our pic!

After all this “fun”, I thought I would treat her to her first ride on the carousel to try and get her mind off the previous trauma. She had pointed at it in excitement the first time we passed by so I thought this would be a winner. She stayed excited all the way up to the last minute when we got ready to get on the reindeer. She would not get near Prancer for anything. She just screamed, and clung to me as tightly as she could. You can’t exactly get off the carousel in the middle of the ride, so we stood by the deer going up and down, and waited for this “fun” to end.

At this point, I’m wishing there was someone there with me, because you just feel a little awkward standing on a carousel in the middle of the Galleria food court at lunch time, holding your terrified child. When we got off the ride, the nice lady running the thing took a picture for me to prove that I had at least tried to do something fun for my child this holiday season. :O) Again, her face is saying, “Seriously, you thought I’d like this, what were you thinking?”. And my face says, “Stick a fork in me, ’cause I’m DONE.”

Will the real Mila Mae please stand up?


She’s always been Mila to us, but on Thursday, Mila legally became Mila Mae Taylor. Until then, on paper at least, she was Jenny Okoko Taylor, but now we can officially say, she’s Mila Mae! Whoo-hoo! And of course, as with everything Mila does, it was quite a show.

She charmed Judge Fuhrmeister from the start, and even worked her way behind the bench. Some clown noses and a sweetheart of a judge, coupled with the mad talent of Mrs. Allison Lewis made for some super cute pics.

Allison and Josh’s son, Micah (Mila’s best man-friend), became Micah this day too…I see a possible future for these two :O). Mila’s obSESSED!

Allison had planned a dinner at Shane’s Rib Shack to celebrate afterwards. I wasn’t crazy about the name of the place, but the food was AMAZING! And, they donated 20% of the proceeds to Christian World Adoption. Pretty sweet! Here she is, hamming it up with Ryan and Lauren.

We had dinner and played our fave Wii games with good friends Friday night , and then came home to attempt Mila sleeping in her  bed… across the room from ours. Yes, we broke down Megabed. Sad! I think the referral of our new addition got me thinkin’ it may be time to at least try to start moving Squeals in the direction of her own room. The thought of two adults, two kids, and two dogs all sleeping in one room was about to give me hives, so I thought we’d attempt the transition. So far, so good, well, let’s make that okay. We’re all a little sleep deprived, and she is a little unhappy at bedtime, but, we are going to try to stick with it and see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted.

The Taylor fam started off Saturday with a 1st birthday party, and sadly, I forgot my camera 😦 . But we got to hang out with some good old friends that we love, and then we ended the evening with dinner at our house, with some good new friends that we love.

And I’m not 100% positive, but I think someone cloned Jackson. Meet Jack’s long lost twin, Boaz. Mila was a bit confused at who was who, and so was I, at times. Isn’t the resemblance uncanny?

Today wrapped up a busy weekend with a bang. We got to watch two more dear friends get baptized. It was quite a tear-jerker. We are so blessed to know you two and be a part of your lives. We send all our love to you on this special day. And tonight, our small group had the pleasure of getting to love on a family in East Lake, and have a little Christmas party for their kids. Awesome, but busy weekend full of special people and events, and Mommy’s whipped. I’m praying Mila sleeps through the night ;o).

“He sets the lonely in families” Psalm 68:6


We are overjoyed to introduce the newest addition to the Taylor Family….

Hudson Taylor

I don’t even know where to start. We are in shock, amazed, so thankful and soooo excited, giddy in fact, that this little one has been entrusted to us. A boy. Wouldn’t have thunk it. God had different plans than we did, but that is nothing new. They always turn out to be what is best and I must say, I already can’t imagine it being any other way.

So this is how it went down. Saturday, we loaded up the car at the crack of dawn, well, 9 o’clock, but that’s early for the 3 of us to do anything, especially on a Saturday. We made it to Heardmont Park to get our pictures made for a calendar of the Faces of Adoption in Birmingham. It’s a fundraiser for a friend of a friend’s adoption. It was cold as ice, and Mila was in shock at all of us making funny faces and shouting at her to smile, but overall it went well. And Allison caught some cute pics despite the frigidity. (My spell check did not ding me on that one, so I’m going with it.)

Then we headed home to try and eat some lunch and get Mila down for her nap. I had a photo session of my own and a Christmas get-together that day, which is way more than the norm for this homebody. When we got to the house, I went to my computer to shoot a quick email to my afternoon session’s mommy, and I saw the words,

“Carrie and Dylan, There is a week old baby boy who was abandonned. I know you want a girl, but please confirm.” In a state of total shock, I turned to Dylan and read it out loud. Now that’ll rock your Saturday morning.

Over the next 30 minutes we were able to get in touch with the lawyer who assisted us with our adoption of Mila, and she told us that she does not know anything except that he is adoptable, and he needs a home asap. We don’t have any medical info, health history, or any idea of what caused him to be abandoned at just a few days old. But what we do have, is a God who puts things in front of us, who gives us strength and faith we could never muster up on our own, and who guides us down the path that He knows is best for us. So, we answer, “Yes, he has a new home in the Taylor house”. And like that, we become parents…again. Of course there is much legal mumbo jumbo to be taken care of, but as far as loving him, and him being part of our family…it’s done.

Amazingly, within one day, he is out of the orphanage and in the arms of Mama Josephine. This is the same family who took care of Mila her last four months in Congo. He is now in a much better place than he was, but it is still rough. He will be loved on, and fed, and will have access to medical treatment if needed. This is huge.

  • Please pray with us for his health, as DR Congo has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world,
  • And his safety, as the elections going on there now are causing quite a ruckus.
  • And praise God with us for this precious baby boy He has chosen for this family! 

An Early Christmas Gift


Dylan and I are so excited to be able to share that yesterday, we got the referral for our next child. He is not what we expected, but it feels so perfect and we are so, so excited! Yes, it’s is a bouncing baby BOY!!! What? I know. We were thinking girl, but once we saw him, there was no going back. He had Taylor written all over him.

Unfortunately I will have to start password protecting any posts that relate to him, like we did with Mila until she was home. So, for the next few months if you see password protected post,s and would like to have access to them, you can email me, or post a comment and I will gladly send you the password. I plan to keep posting Mila Squeals updates as usual.

Life has been moving pretty fast since we heard the good news yesterday. Uuuugh, this is so hard not to just tell it all, but I will. Very soon. He’s precious and tiny and I can’t wait to be able to show everyone I know his sweet picture.

Stay tuned for some updates on the newest Baby Taylor.

Wow, it’s been a minute.


On this day, 9 years ago, I married my best friend and partner in this thing called life. I cannot believe how the time has flown, but more than that, I cannot believe how much grace has been poured out on this marriage by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dylan always says, “A lot of people lost money on this one”, meaning that we should not have lasted. But we have. And there is no way to explain it, except God’s grace. The first 5 years of our marriage were outside of redemption, and at times things got more than a little hairy (and I don’t mean Dylan’s fro). These last four, have been filled with us learning to love like the Father’s loved us, and watching each other be His work in progress. It is so cool to look back and see how much God has changed each of us, and we know He’ll continue. To mold us… everyday… into something that looks less like us, and more like Himself. Praise be to God, our Father, for our marriage, for our roles as Mommy and Daddy to this little sassy thing we call Mila Mae, and most of all for the gift of being called children of God. Happy Anniversary to my bestest friend! I love you, more than words.

This one looks like it’s from the Dark Ages, and I guess it sort of is. I found this file randomly, and don’t have a scanner to scan my actual wedding photos :(.

‘Til we’re called home. I love you babe.

Christmas Decorating D-O-N-E Done.


So I decided to do something a little different this year with our Christmas decor. Our home has a formal living and dining room, and this is where our fireplace is.  We love our den/kitchen room and spend the majority of our time there, which means we don’t get to enjoy the pretty decorated mantle much at all. So I changed things up a bit, and only decorated our main living space. We have some pretty cool built-ins that have an odd opening that the prior home owners used for their TV. It was a bit of a strange setup since they had one of the old tube televisions jutting right out into the walkway, and i t’s been a challenge to decorate around. But this year, that awkward space actually came in handy. It became my mantle and faux fireplace. What do you think?

Mila loves all the lights and the “fire” gives off the coolest and rather realistic orange glow. We’re diggin’ it. Every year I hate taking the decorations down. I guess we could leave them up all year, we do live in Alabama. :O) There’s just something about the lighting that makes the house so warm and cozy.

And this has nothing to do with Christmas, but I had to throw it in here. I just wanted to share Mila’s beautiful “I just woke up” face, in her “pEEg” jammies this morning giving Minnie, (or “Mickey” as she calls her), a ride in the Barbie car. Stop it.