We were both born and raised in Arkansas just a few miles apart. We met in 2009 at a birthday party Ben threw for Mandy's sister Erin, but didn't start dating until Erin set us up as dates for her wedding in 2012.
Mandy teaches 3rd grade and Ben teaches 9th grade English. Both of us love getting our students excited about reading and putting the perfect books into their hands. Stories of all kinds- from books and movies to video games- will be a huge part of our family's life.
We share our home with three lively dogs- Riley, Stella, and Atlas. They are equal parts rocket dog and couch potato. They love chew toys, riding on our boat, and laying by the fire.
Both sides of our family live nearby, so we get together often to celebrate holidays and birthdays (there are a lot of those!). We also have close friends, who are like family, that live in Dallas, but come visit several times a year.
We have considered adoption throughout our entire marriage and we believe that now is the time!
We live in a suburban neighborhood with parks and lakes within walking distance. We have neighbors with young children and several friends with children who live nearby. We live on one of the lakes and love to spend time on our deck with friends and family, cooking out. Our backyard is large- the perfect play space for kids and dogs!
Our community has a wide variety of parks, libraries, and other attractions that are family-friendly and fun.
I am, by nature, an extremely organized person. I keep our home and social schedules on track. While Ben does most (ok, all) of the cooking, I help him by doing some of the prep work and cleaning up the kitchen. In our three years of marriage, Ben's laid back personality has rubbed off on me and I have learned the value of relaxing and enjoying a more unstructured day. I have to say I'm much happier for it!
I've been around children since I was 9 years old as an oldest cousin, a babysitter, and now as a 3rd grade teacher. I love seeing the wonder and excitement in a child's eyes when he or she discovers something new. As a parent, I hope to give our future child many experiences, whether through a good book, travel, or exploring our own community.
We attend a church with about 200 members. Many of the members have grown their families through adoption. We are excited and blessed to be a part of a community that celebrates adoption!
Besides the fact that I cook (and I do love doing that) I feel I am very much the listener and mediator within our relationship. I am always able to take a situation and calmly analyze from all sides and then work to a solution that is good for both of us. I also love experiencing new things and am not afraid of trying anything new. I love a good story, whether it comes from a book, movie, or video game. I think I will be a good parent because I will not be afraid to let my child try new things and be right there with them as have new and first experiences. I will absolutely love story time and hope to foster a love for a good story, from any source, within my child. I believe dinner time will become a special tradition in our house as I cannot wait to have a little sous chef in the kitchen with me.