Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Quick Update

Life has been pretty fast paced lately, but I'll take it! I have been staying super busy between work and my church duties. I'm teaching 2-year-olds on both Wednesday nights as well as Sunday mornings now. I love it, but boy is it keeping me busy! I put in several hours a week preparing crafts and activities. But I love every bit of it! I'm so glad God is using me to teach tiny minds about His love for them. My kids are able to tell their parents what they are learning, which makes my heart smile! :)

Brandon and I have been getting over the Fall crud. We caught it in Gatlinburg, and everyone I know has had it I think. Yuck! Luckily I think we are on the mend!

We've been so blessed lately in so many aspects. We've had the priveledge of getting to know some new friends, who we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with. It is so wonderful to have friends that we can just hang out and watch a movie or play a game with. They have been true blessings to us! I think God knew how badly I needed that.

We are really looking forward to the next couple of weeks. This weekend, we are heading to the Haunted Woods in Hendersonville with the aforementioned friends. I can't tell you how excited I am! We haven't been to a haunted house in a couple of years, but we love them! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! Our friends were also able to get us all a really great deal on Predators tickets for next week's game! Brandon and I have never been to a Predators game, so we are super excited about that!

I am loving every moment of Fall this year, but I am already dreading the holidays. I can't believe the "Holidays" will start in just over a month :( I am NOT ready for it! I am dreading the stress of trying to fit everyone in around our schedules, and I'm dreading Christmas, as usual. I try to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas, but it's just plain depressing. Yet another Christmas with no little ones to shop for. It is incredibly difficult to just have to walk right past the toy section, something most parents take for granted.

I've also been busy on some crafts. I've started making my Christmas cards and some other crafts. I'll make a post about them later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5

I've written this post about 5 times now, and every time I save it with the intentions of adding pictures, but I just haven't gotten around to it! So here's the pictureless post. I'll do a photo post later!

Has it really been 5 years since we got married? It can't be! Where has the time gone? I remember my wedding day like it were yesterday. And it truly was the best day of my life.



We enjoyed a wonderful 4 days in Gatlinburg to celebrate. Pictures to follow. We drove up early Friday morning and eventually found our cabin, but not before detouring ALL THE WAY up the mountain and turning around in some dude's driveway. Thanks, Dude. It was a cute little cabin, completely secluded and right in the middle of the woods. So relaxing! We went down to the strip and walked for a while Friday afternoon, stopped for lunch at a little Pizzeria, and then went to the grocery store before heading back to the cabin to relax in the hot tub on the deck.



Saturday, we got up and had a cup of coffee on the porch, fixed some bacon and biscuits for breakfast, and headed out. We drove up to Cade's Cove and spent a good part of the day touring it. On our way back, we had lunch and then did some more shopping in Gatlinburg. That evening, we went into Pigeon Forge and had dinner at Bennett's BBQ...so yummy! Then we went to the Titanic museum. That was so awesome! Definitely worth the money!



Sunday, Brandon was coming down with a cold, so we spent the day at the cabin. The weather was amazingly perfect- low 70's. He drove down the mountain and picked up some sandwiches from Subway for lunch and brought them back. We set up a table on the deck and had a cute little lunch and then played a pathetic game of Scrabble. (I swear...we are NOT 80!) Later that evening, we got all gussied up and went to dinner at The Alamo Steakhouse, which was really good, but not worth the price. I'd recommend the Chop House over it any day. Then we, yet again, walked around downtown. I was on a hunt for Pixie Stix for one of my best friends, which I did not find. All those candy shops and not one Pixie Stick! BUT, we did find Candy Cigarettes...and bought 10 boxes.



That night we sat out on the deck til after midnight. It was perfectly clear, and I think you could see every star God created! We had some really good conversation, as well. I definitely cherish those :)


Overall, with the exception of Brandon getting sick and sharing it with me, it was an excellent weekend. I cannot believe it's been 5 years! I can't wait to see what the next 5 years hold!




Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homemade Glitter Christmas Ornaments









I know most of us don't want to admit it, but Christmas is only a few months away! Wow! So, I'm getting started on some Christmas projects, and I just thought I'd share some of them with you. This one is a SUPER easy way to make handmade ornaments.

What you need:
Plastic or paper towels to protect your work surface
A plastic cup with a mouth narrow enough so the ornament can sit on top
Glass or clear plastic Christmas ornaments
Glitter It! glue
Extra fine glitter (don't go for the cheap stuff here...extra fine or polyester glitter is the way to go)
Water/vinegar mix
Piece of paper to catch extra glitter
1. Remove the cap of the ornament and wash out the inside with the vinegar/water mix. Rinse well and allow it to dry.




2. Pour a decent amount of Glitter It! glue into the ornament (don't worry- you are going to reuse the extra, so don't fret about wasting it).





3. Rotate the ornament in circles, coating the entire inside with glue, tilting it more with each rotation, working your way to the neck of the ball. Be sure to coat the neck. Pour the excess into a cup (I didn't have a plastic cup, but I suggest one). 4. Set the ornament upside-down on the top of the cup and allow all of the excess glue to drain. I drained mine for about a minute. This glue is not fast drying, so don't worry about that.



5. Pour a generous amount of glitter into the ornament. Again, you're going to capture the excess on a piece of paper so don't worry about wasting.



6. Rotate the ornament just like you did with the glue, being sure to coat the entire inside with glitter. Add more glitter if needed. Let the excess glitter fall out onto the paper.

You now have a pretty, homemade Christmas ornament! I was really pleased with how these turned out, and they were so easy. There is so much more you can do with them, and I plan on playing around with some ideas. I'll post what I come up with. I definitely want to try cutting out letters with vinyl on my Cricut and personalizing them. This would make a perfect gift for my coworkers. It's cheap, easy, and fast.


Glitter It is supposed to be used with glass ornaments, but I also tried plastic and it worked just as well.

Happy Crafting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Safe Haven

With all of the news stories that make my blood boil about mothers who abandon or murder their unwanted newborns, I'm sure we've all asked the question "WHY?" I know I have. The most recent story is that of 25-year old Lindsey Lowe, who hid her pregnancy, gave birth to twin boys on the toilet, held their mouths and noses until they were dead, and then threw them in a laundry basket and covered them with a towel.

I don't think we will ever understand what was going through her mind when she committed the horrific act. But I do think women need to be better educated on their options. Not only the option of giving them up for adoption, but even the option of Tennessee's Safe Haven law.

Every state has a Safe Haven law. If you haven't heard about it, it's a law that makes hospitals, police, and fire stations a safe place to leave your newborn baby that is up to 72 hours old. You can literally walk in, hand over the infant, and walk out. No paperwork. No signatures. No questions asked.

It's not the ideal situation, because then the baby literally becomes a "John Doe" and no one will ever know his or her medical history. But, it is a MUCH better option than the alternate.

I looked up a few web pages on the Safe Haven law, and I thought I'd share them with you. Feel free to share them on your blogs or wherever. Women need to know about this. Maybe more children will have a chance at life.

http://www.safeplacefornewborns.org/

http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/safehaven.cfm

http://www.safehaven.tv/states/tennessee/

The mothers may not want these babies. But someone out there does.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Year

Well, we have officially been on the waiting list for one year today, and our update is complete for another year. I'm so glad it's over with! I never expected the update to be so mentally and emotionally draining. It was almost as stressful as the initial process. But, next year we'll have a better idea of what the update itself entails (IF they don't change the process again like they did this time!). Our agency has had several staff changes, including our social worker. I am really happy with that change. Our first social worker was nice, but she never had much time for us, we always felt rushed, and we always felt like she was judging us, or like we were inferior. Our new social worker didn't make us feel that way at all! Today was our first time meeting her, and she was super nice.

She took a very brief tour of the house (much less detailed than last time) and then we talked for about an hour. We went over our service plan and made sure nothing had changed, which it hasn't. We even had an opportunity to voice some things we were unhappy with about the agency. She assured us that she would try to keep in contact with us (last year, once we were approved, we didn't hear one word from our agency unless we contacted them). She said they are actually supposed to contact the families once every three months and check in. I told her that we just wanted to know from time to time whether anyone has seen our profiles or not. I certainly don't want her to call me every time someone is looking at us, because that would be disheartening, but our biggest question over the last year was, "has anyone even seen our profile?" So, she is going to try and make that contact with us this year.

Over the last year, we also often questioned where we sat in the stack of profiles. Meaning, were we one of thousands of waiting families? How many families were there? We learned that our agency currently has 46 profiles, including those in Kentucky. That makes me feel better. It's good to know that we're not in a library of profiles just collecting dust. It helps to know the statistics, because now we have a better understanding of what our odds are.

In some ways, I can't believe it's already been a year. In others, it seems like this next year will never pass. I'm dreading Christmas because, once again, we will (more than likely) be without a baby. That's been the hardest part of the holidays for me for the last 4 years. But, we are hoping and praying that this will be the year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

I dropped off our completed packet of paperwork for our annual update today. Now, we wait for our social worker to contact us to set up a time for the home visit (side note: it seems ridiculous to me that we have to do that EVERY YEAR). It seems like all we do is wait. Wait for the baby. Wait for this or that to come back. Wait for so-and-so to complete paperwork for us. Wait on the agency to do their part. Wait for the baby. Anyone who knows me, knows I am NOT good at waiting. But, that's just the game. Hurry up and wait.

This weekend, I'm excited to have a 3 day weekend! Of course, I'm always excited when I get a 3 day weekend. I'm going to start on the wall border for the baby's room. I've already taped it off. I'm hand painting it. Don't get excited...I am NOT an artist (I can't even draw an even stick figure without one arm being longer than the other). It's going to mimic one of the patterns on the crib bumper. I'll show pics when it's done. It'll take a while. Lots and lots of little bitty dots.

I got the changing table painted last weekend. It looks much better! Now we just need a crib and a dresser :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Starstruck



I am definitely one of those people that fumbles whenever I see someone famous. This morning, I got to do the coolest thing, and I'm still starstruck so I thought I'd share ;)






Steven Curtis Chapman was a guest on 94.1 The Fish this morning. If you don't know, Steven is this guy:



He's an amazing Christian Music artist whose been around for ages. If you don't listen to Christian music, you'll probably remember him as the one whose 5-year-old chinese adopted daughter, Maria, was tragically killed in the family's driveway a few years ago when their teenage son was backing out of the driveway. Horrible story!


Anyway, he is also the person who started Show Hope, the organization that has given us the $5,000 grant for our adoption. Well, when I heard him this morning on the radio, I called in and got the priviledge to thank him personally for starting Show Hope, and for making our adoption possible. I have to say, he was the nicest person! And, yes, I did cry....oops!


Ok, so this probably isn't a big deal to most people, but like I said, I get starstruck very easily! :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

For this post, words aren't necessary. Just watch these 2 videos:


This one

and

This one

Monday, July 25, 2011

God's Calling

This is long, so bear with me....

Are you one of those people who know beyond the shadow of a doubt what God has called you to do? Or are you one of those people who have always wondered, but you go back and forth and have never felt that affirmation? For me, I'm the first.

From the time I was little bitty, like three, I've known I was supposed to work with kids. Of course I had the natural maternal, nurturing trait, but I knew I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. I remember walking around with a baby doll on my hip at all times, strapping them in the seatbelt in the car, making my mom babysit while I was at school, and putting them to sleep in their "crib" (aka a box with a blanket in it). But, I also remember taking stacks of old forms from mom's work and putting them neatly organized in folders and notebooks. I would sit all my dolls and stuffed animals on the couch or in the floor and play school. I made assignments. I stood at the front of the room, taped a piece of paper on the wall, and wrote "lessons." I even remember putting my dolls in timeout! So, I've never struggled to understand God's will for me in that aspect.

However, I'm still figuring out what that will looks like. I'm 27, and I work full time in an office shuffling paper. I never finished college, and I could BEAT myself for it now. It haunts me daily, because now, I can't afford to finish. I take 1 class at a time, hoping to finish someday. But, lately, God has been speaking volumes to me. See, I always assumed that because I felt called to teach, that I had to go through college and teach in a daycare or public school setting. I felt that if I wasn't teaching as a career, I wasn't fulfilling His calling. He's been showing me how wrong I was!

I've taught in my church's preschool for 8 years now. I love every second of it. In December 2009, when we were ready to quit trying to get pregnant but hadn't yet decided to adopt, I was in a very dark place. I was angry at God, and depressed, feeling hopeless. So, I quit childcare. I took almost a year off. It just became entirely too difficult to take care of everone else's kids. I became bitter toward the parents. So, I took a break.

In August 2010, my dear friend Shannon called and said she needed a co-teacher on Wednesday nights and asked if I wanted to help her. So, only to help her, I agreed. I was in a better place, and ready to face kids again. I took that job as a volunteer (Wed. night employees used to be paid, but due to the economy they had stopped paying). Unbeknownst to me, the first night I came back, we were told they were starting to pay again! Just a little blessing from God for being obedient, I believe. Then, earlier this year, our coordinator at church asked for help on Sunday mornings as well, so I accepted...again, just to help her. I didn't really want to. For the past several months, I've been working both hours on Sunday mornings. A few months in, I felt God telling me I needed to volunteer to teach a Sunday School class this Fall. I argued with him on that one for a bit. I didn't want to...I was hating having to get up early on my day off to drive all the way to church. I missed my lazy Sundays! But, I finally threw my hands up and said, "Fine, God. I'll do it." So, I told our coordinator that I wanted to teach, but that I wanted to have the same class on Wed nights and Sunday mornings. When I first told her that, I really didn't want to do it. But, I knew I had to.

Over the last few weeks of preparing for it, God has totally changed my heart. He has given me the heart I need to do this, and I cannot WAIT! I am so excited. I haven't been this excited about teaching in a long time, because I've been too focused on feeling....what's the word....apprehensive....sad....downright bitter. Through all of this, God has shown me that just because I don't teach full time doesn't mean I can't fulfill His calling on my life. He has shown me that by being obedient and seeking him with all my heart, I AM fulfilling His calling on my life!

I've come to realize lately that if I were teaching full time, I may become tired and burnt out. If that were to happen, I would be ineffective. But, by simply teaching at church, and loving the little ones like Jesus does, I am fulfilling His calling and more!

So, remember, if you know what your calling is, don't assume it has to be your career or your entire life...you can fulfill it in a number of ways!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Show Hope

I got home from work yesterday, and it was already after 6:00. I had an appointment right after work, which ended up being a huge waste of time. I was starving, it was a rough day, and we had to be at the town hall for a city meeting by 7:00. I was pretty tired and grouchy. I wanted to eat, and our only options were McDonald's or Taco Bell, and in light of my efforts this week, I wasn't happy about either one, and I was in a huge hurry to eat and get to the meeting. Right before we left for the meeting, I noticed the stack of mail on the counter, so as I waited for Brandon to get his shoes on, I started shuffling through it. Halfway through the stack I saw an envelope from Show Hope (www.showhope.org). I thought, "well, here's our denial letter." I had sent our application in several months ago for an adoption grant, but we had already been denied by a couple of other grants. We never get grants of any kind, so I immediately got frustrated.

But, much to my amazement, the letter said we will receive $5,000. $5,000!

Aside from what we already are in debt for with the adoption, we will have to pay another $7,000-$8,500 (rates are going up, but we don't know how much just yet) upon placement, we have to pay for our own attorney, AND any travel costs incurred should we receive an out-of-town or out-of-state referral. So, five grand will take an enormous strain off of us! This means we will only have to pay $2,000-$3,000 upon placement! God is SO good! Brandon and I have been struggling with feeling like God doesn't care...like he's just overlooking us, so it was like God was saying, "I'm right here, and I haven't forgotten about you!" Thank you, Jesus! I immedately started screaming and crying and jumping up and down. Now, in the big picture, $5,000 is only a fraction of the cost of an adoption, but it still will make an entire world of difference for us to know that that is $5,000 more that we will NOT have to go into debt for! PRAISE THE LORD! :)

It also makes the remaining amount seem MUCH more attainable. I need to get started on some more fundraisers. Wouldn't it be awesome if we didn't have to pay ANYTHING at placement?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One step forward

On Monday I randomly decided to get up and go to the gym. We joined Anytime Fitness back in March, and I love it there. I did GREAT for about a month. But, I don't have the best pair of walking shoes, and I have a flatter foot, so I started having some pains in my feet and calves. I got to where I could only walk for 10 minutes before I had to stop. Not having the money for shoes, I "took a few days off." Ok, more like a few months :/ So Monday I got up and went before work. I really enjoyed it. It was really quiet. Only 2 other people there and no staff at that hour, which I like. So, I've gone every day this week and I'm planning to go tomorrow and Friday, too.

Is it bad that my only thought is, "how long will this last?"

Heat




I'm ready for Fall......

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Update and BIRTHDAYS!

I'm still alive! Because I know that you are so enthralled in my exciting life that you just couldn't WAIT for my next post! ;)

We recently celebrated both mine and Brandon's birthdays! I am now 27 and he is 29. It's hard to believe how fast time flies! Speaking of birthdays, I'm starting to plan Brandon's big 30th birthday bash! Ok, Ok...bash may not be the best word. We're not exactly partiers. BUT, I plan on making his day very exciting nonetheless! I've pretty much settled on a theme, IF I can get one major detail worked out. If not, I'll have to choose another theme. Yes, I'm one of those. I HAVE to have a theme for any party I throw. I can't stand buying plates with birthday hats that just say "Happy Birthday" on them. Brandon rarely reads my blog, but because he may snoop at some point before his birthday, I don't want to divulge too many details. I had thought about a video game theme, since he loves his stupid video games and I found these adorable cupcakes:




but I decided a video game theme would be really difficult. No one we know other than Brandon really likes video games, so a video-game related activity was out, and finding decoration ideas for it was....well...unsuccessful. So, I've got another good idea that is easy to personalize, yet easy to find stuff for, too. No, it's not a Luau, although Brandon would look hysterical in a grass skirt and coconuts....*scratches chin in thought*


For my birthday, we went to the drive in and saw Cars 2 and Pirates of the Carribean. I slept through the 2nd feature. On Brandon's birthday, we met my parents and his parents at Red Robin for dinner. I love that at RR on your bday, your meal is free. Sweet!


In other exciting news, I got my Cuttlebug! That was my birthday gift, thanks to a good sale, a coupon, and a gift card. If you're not a scrapbooker, this is a Cuttlebug:



It's an embossing and die cut machine. You buy little embossing folders for it and it makes plain cardstock into textured paper. Which, if you're not a crafter, probably sounds boring. It does this:

Anywho, that's about all that's been going on lately. With heat in the upper 90's/low 100's, I've pretty much stayed inside.






Wednesday, June 22, 2011

27



Yep. I'm 27 today. Wow. Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I turned 16! We don't have any major plans for my birthday. My parents are cooking out this evening, so that will be fun. Brandon took the weekend off this weekend so he could be with me. I'm not sure what we'll do with a whole 2 days together (which is rare in our house), but I'm sure I'll love every moment of having him home :)



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Living Like No One Else

We started doing the Dave Ramsey plan this month. I've been begging Brandon to do it with me for MONTHS now, and he finally went along with it to appease me. The first of the month, we sat down at the kitchen table for the first time EVER and wrote out our budget...down to the dollar. And now, halfway through the month, we've paid half of our first credit card off! How amazing that feels! Brandon told me this morning that he's really getting into it and it's getting him excited. Who knew I'd be right? :P

We're not taking Dave's classes right now, but we're following the plan. I already had "Total Money Makeover," so I just ordered the workbook to go along with it. And my sweet friend, Emily, was kind enough to mail me her mp3 audio of all of the classes, so we can just listen to them. Thanks, Emily!

Funny thing is, we've had a couple of people actually laugh at us for doing it. They won't be laughing long! I love getting the last laugh!

In Adoption News: nada. I get frustrated sometimes because I don't hear a word from our agency. I really wish they'd at least call to see how we're handling the wait and such. But they don't. I'm hoping and praying the Lord blesses what we're doing financially and provides that last payment for the adoption.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Disappeared

I promise I haven't disappeared. It's been a while, I know. Fact of the matter is, I just haven't had much to talk about. No adoption news at all.

We had a good Memorial Day weekend. I hope yours was good as well. I spent most of it at the pool. My best friend, Jennifer, was kind enough to let us come to her husband's old apartments and swim with them. (I might add that since they just got married, his lease wasn't up yet) It was nice to be outside instead of stuck in the house. It made me realize just how badly I want a pool, and why I miss apartment life.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Saturday, I'm spending a few hours at the Smyrna pool, and then Saturday night Jennifer and I are having GIRLS NIGHT! I am super excited!

Anyway, that's pretty much it...nothing exciting on the home front. Just life as usual!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pantry Overhaul




My pantry is an endless disaster area. Every couple of months I have to pull everything out, purge expired foods, and re"organize" it. AKA: Put everything back neatly. However, in a week or two, it looks like a tornado blew through it again. (A certain husband is NOT good at actually putting things in the right spot). So, I decided it was time to actually organize it. I still have some work to do to it, but this is a start!





Before.....








After.......










I bought 2 3-tier spice racks at Walmart for $3.67/each. Instead of spices, I am using them for my canned goods so I can easily see what I have.







I had this plastic bin laying around, so I used it to stick our small items like popcorn, oatmeal, and pouches of rice and such. I need a few more of these bins.





This is my favorite part. I got this set of 3 shelves at Wally World for around $5. They're easy to hang, perfect for baggies and such, and I LOVE that my syrup bottles and such are no longer lost in the back of the pantry!!




























Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day is a Drag...Sort Of

I know, what kind of person thinks Mother's Day is a drag? Well, if you have ever experienced infertility or the intense wait for motherhood, then you know what I mean.

I have a wonderful mother, whom I adore. She is my everything. We weren't all that close growing up, but now that I'm older, I realize that she really did know what she was talking about. She wasn't as dumb as I thought she was, and she certainly wasn't out to ruin my life! Thanks, Mom! :)

However, while I am super thankful for my mother, this day brings a ton of sadness for me. Every year it gets a little harder. This year, I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep the day away. But, instead, I had to go to church and care for the kids...of mothers....kids who not only were dressed up for Mom, but were busy making all sorts of crafts to take home to their Mommies. And I got to help! That might make me sound a little bitter, but for me, it is very tough to be around a bunch of kids who are so excited about their moms. All the moms at church received a long stem red rose. Not me! People would tell the women around me "Happy Mother's Day!" then they would look at me and just keep going...because I'm not a "mom" yet. One lady even had the guts to say "We'll tell you Happy Mothers Day in a year or two or three or whenever!" Ok, ok, I know she meant well, but OUCH! On Mother's Day, I find myself not only feeling extremely sad and lonely, but I find myself almost feeling angry towards all the mothers. All these young moms dressed nice, talking about what nice things their kids did for them....gag! Oh, and I must stay away from Facebook on this day!!! Nothing but posts about their breakfasts in bed, their flowers, and the cute little cards their kids hand colored for them.

I know I sound like a crab, but those who have been in these shoes can understand.

I also spend a lot of time on MD thinking about birthmoms...those women who so selflessly gave their child life and then surrendered that life to someone else who might otherwise not be able to celebrate such holidays. I feel like birthmoms are overlooked on MD, and they shouldn't be. They are the ultimate example of what a mother is! They put their child first, no matter what it costs them. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a birthmom on MD. I think about moms of international adoptions...women who have a child, but they have no clue where in the world (literally) their child lives, if they're happy and ok, or what kind of people they are growing into. I know this day must be excruciating for them.

Difference between me and them is, one day, I'll be a mom and MD will no longer be painful for me. For those birthmoms, MD will always be painful.

Anyway, I wish all the Mommies a Happy MD, and if you are waiting to be a mommy, or if you are a birthmom, know that you are not forgotten on this day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We're On The Web!

We've been in the process of having our profile listed on the Bethany website as a waiting family. We've been on the waiting list since September, but that just means that our physical profile book was available in Bethany's office for viewing. Being listed on the website means it can be viewed nationwide. We are hoping that this will help more birthmoms see our profile, thus shortening our wait time. As a Bethany policy, being listed on the website also means that we must be willing to travel out of state to receive our baby, since parents in other states can see our profile. Therefore, we could be receiving a referral from anywhere in the country! This is exciting, but stressful at the same time. Adoption laws are different in each state, and if we get a referral from another state, it's a possibility that we will need to travel to that state for up to 2 weeks before bringing the baby home (FYI: You can't leave the state with a child until the court says they are yours!). And, any out of state travel expenses are not included in our adoption fees. BOOO. But, we will do whatever is necessary to bring our little one home, and we trust that God WILL provide when that time comes!!

Check out our online profile here!

My Best Friend's Wedding

My best friend got married on Sunday! I am so excited for her!



It was a CRAZY busy weekend. Jennifer and her baby girl, Abby, stayed the night with me the night before the wedding. That was a blast! We were up bright and early Sunday morning to get ready for the big day! I even did her hair for her, and I must say, I am quite impressed with myself considering I have NEVER done anyone else's hair before. Ever.







Michael and Jennifer, I love you so very much! Jenn, you have been the best friend I have had in a long time, and I am so thankful for you! Michael, I am so glad Jennifer found you. I can see how happy she is. You better take care of her! :-) I'm always here for you guys if you need anything! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!














Friday, April 8, 2011

When You're Angry at God

Why do we really get angry with God? And is it ok? I know I've touched on it before, but this is such a heavy subject, and one which I know plenty about. I think we all do. I have struggled with anger toward God for quite some time, and I still do from time to time. As excited as I am about our adoption, and as anxious as I am to meet our little one, I still have moments where I can't help but feel angry toward God. I still grieve the loss that comes with infertility. And sometimes I feel guilty for it, as if being sad about infertility means I'm ungrateful for the little one coming our way. And that isn't the case at all. I can honestly say that I look forward to having a birthmom in our life, and teaching our child what love truly means. But, that doesn't take away the sting of knowing that I can't carry my child; of knowing I'll never feel him or her kick or move. And, sometimes, I still feel angry. Especially when I hear that someone else I know is pregnant. It may be someone who is unwed or didn't want kids. It may be someone who I think doesn't deserve a child for various reasons. It may be someone who got pregnant as soon as they tried. And, it may be someone who has struggled with infertility and finally got pregnant. That last one is the hardest for me, because you'd think that I would be happy for them, seeing as I know how hard it is, but I'm not...I want to know why it worked for them, but not me! Anyway, my point here is that it is ok, and quite normal to be angry with God. Even Jeremiah was mad at God! (Jeremiah 20). And let's not forget Job! The tricky part is how we handle that anger. I fully believe in talking to God about our feelings....be honest. He knows, anyway, so what's the big deal? But, while you're letting God know how angry you are, try to keep in mind that He is still God. He is still on the throne. Don't curse him. Forgive Him, and move on as best you can. Trust me, I know how hard that is. But my anger toward God is finally starting to draw me closer to Him, because if He still loves me after I've been so angry with Him, then I truly know that there is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. Check out this post about Jeremiah.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Project Nursery has Commenced!




This weekend, we finally started painting the nursery!! This is such an exciting project for me! I have been dreaming for YEARS about how I would decorate my baby's nursery. I always knew I wanted something unique...definitely not a solid color. When we started the adoption process, I went back and forth debating on what to do. Decorate the nursery a neutral color? Not decorate at all and wait until the baby comes home? When should I start? We finally decided to go ahead and start decorating it while we were waiting for several reasons. For one thing, it is theraputic for me...I need something to keep me busy, and it helps me know that there will be a baby in there....eventually. And mainly because once the baby comes home, the last thing we want to do is spend our time decorating. We want to soak up every second holding and loving our little one as possible.








We chose to do a light green color, and we will be adding a chair rail and doing stripes on the bottom half of the walls with the light green and a slightly darker green. Hopefully it turns out to look the way it looks in my head!












This is the first coat, minus some cutting in at the top. The lighting makes it look more lime green than it is, but the next picture looks more like the actual color.





Brandon hard at work :) I am loving the color!



I'll share more pics as we make progress!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Bittersweet Moments

Yesterday, I was working in the nursery at church. I was placed in the overflow room, and I ended up with only 1 baby, a 10-month-old little boy. I had to work both the Sunday School hour and the Worship hour, so I got to give him plenty of attention, which he loved. During the second hour, he got fussy, so I turned on some lullaby music and started rocking him. He was out cold in no time. He slept on my shoulder for a solid hour, with one arm around my neck, and the other holding tightly onto my shirt. It was the sweetest time, and I couldn't help but thank God for giving me that precious time. But, at the same time, it was sad. Bittersweet. I couldn't help but think how I have to give this child back to his parents, and how I can't wait to be able to do that with my child. I will try to remember that at 3am when I'm trying to get my kid to sleep. :) I used to teach Sunday School and Wednesday nights, but I quit doing both right before we decided to adopt. It simply got too difficult working with kids all the time. I found myself resenting the parents and distancing myself from the kids, which was even harder because I love working with kids so much. At that time, I was in a place where we were realizing that the fertility treatments weren't working, and that we really may not be able to conceive. It was a really hard reality for us, and even harder to say out loud. We were at rock bottom and didn't know what we were going to do. I couldn't bear the thought of going through life childless, and Brandon wasn't interested in adoption at that point. I got to the point where every week when I left my class at church, I would cry all the way home. I wanted to be that parent that came to pick my child up. I wanted to be the one that they squealed and ran for. I wanted to be the one the cried for. So, I quit. Then last August, God started pulling me back into service. He gave me my time to grieve. My sweet friend Shannon called me and asked if I would help her on Wednesday nights. I couldn't say no! I've been teaching with her since August, and I love it. Last week, I got a call from our childcare coordinator asking if I could help out each week for a few months until she found some regulars to help out. I felt like God was calling me to do this, so I said yes. Now, I'm not sure if I'll continue doing it after those 2 months are up or not....we'll just see how it goes. Hopefully it won't be emotionally too much. But, I feel like God has given me some time to deal with our loss and come to terms with things, and now he's telling me it's time to stand up and get back in the swing of things. We still grieve and we still hurt. I still get sad sometimes that I won't be carrying my child myself, and the waiting is incredibly hard, but I know this is where God wants me. I feel like he is giving me this opportunity to serve without a long-term commitment. It may sound odd, but I'm really thankful. I'm so glad that God gave us that time to grieve. It has made me realize that God really does know that we hurt, and that he empathizes with us. It makes me realize that He really has been there all along, even though it hasn't felt like it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Rant on YouTube Bullying



This is kind of a random rant on the ridiculous bullying that takes place on YouTube, as well as other internet sites. It astounds me how crude people are.




Have you heard of Rebecca Black?

Her YouTube music video, "Friday," went viral last month with over a million views. And it isn't because the song is good. I'll be honest. It's terrible. Really, really terrible. BUT, she is a 13-year-old girl! You can see the video here. In a recent interview on Good Morning America, Rebecca was asked what comments were the worst. One commentor told her "she should cut herself," and another viewer told her she should "get an eating disorder so she would be pretty."
Seriously?? Why, oh, WHY would you say that to someone? And of all people, a 13-year-old girl? Teens have enough pressure on them already without comments like that.
Then there's the YouTuber, Nichole337. (Yes, I have a small obsession with Youtube...don't judge me). You can see Nichole's channel here.
I won't even try to choose one of her comments as an example, but just scroll through 1 page of comments, and you will see plenty of perfect examples of pure hatred.
Bullying has become such a huge issue. When I was a kid, bullying meant someone threatened to beat you up after school...but none of us ever actually went. I got called plenty of names as a kid. But I don't think I ever heard someone threaten someone's life or tell them they are worthless. When did we as human beings begin thinking that we are better than anyone?
The big question here is, what should be done about it? Should people really continue to be allowed to post such horrid things? Where is that line between freedom of speech and hate?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas
















I made chicken enchiladas for the first time today. They turned out great! Brandon even liked them, and he doesn't like much of anything. I'll post the link to the recipe below because I don't feel like typing it up :-)

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Beef-or-Chicken-Enchiladas/Detail.aspx

You can also check out my video of the process here :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

KEDS Are Back!

I just felt the need to express my excitement that Keds are coming back! I loved these shoes when I was a kid. I had probably 10 colors, or so it seems, and I loved em! I bought a pair today for $8 at Target (ok, so they're wannabe Keds, but still), and I am ecstatic! It doesn't take much to please me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Sickness Strikes

Sickness has taken up residence at our house. I don't really remember the last time I felt THIS sick. Thursday I was fine. Friday I woke up with a little scratchy throat and by noon Friday I felt like death, and it hasn't gotten any better. I came home Friday night after dinner at my mom's that I couldn't taste, took some Nyquil and a bath and went to bed. But, alas, the Nyquil had no effect. It normally knocks me out, but I tossed and turned ALL NIGHT Friday night. I slept maybe 1 hour. maybe. Which stinks because I had to get up at 6am this morning to pick up one of my best friends for the Encores and More Consignment Sale! (I realize I should've skipped it, but these sales only come a few times a year, and I was super stoked because this was my first time!)

I did pretty good at the sale. I got several small items for a super good price. I love buying baby things. It makes me feel like there's something to look forward to. All in all it was a fun day, even though I felt icky.

I've been on the couch the rest of the day, and am about to take some more Nyquil (in hopes that it works this time) and get to bed.

I'm super bummed because I really wanted to do something fun with the hubby this weekend since we're both off on monday (President's Day), but it looks like I'll be stuck on the couch for the next few days. Boo! :(

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Brandon and I never do much for Valentine's Day. As Brandon says, "why do we need a specific day to tell each other we love each other when we can do it every day?" Maybe that's his male way of saying "I hate Valentine's Day," and making it sound sweet. But hey, it works. We usually will either go out to eat or just cook a nice dinner at home. This year we opted for a $5 pizza and a movie, and it was perfect! :) Neither of us have been feeling good (I think it's from being pent up in the stinkin house so much this winter!), so we were perfectly happy relaxing on the couch. We never do Valentine's Day gifts, but I did take the time to make him something. I'll post on that later when I can post a pic.

Tonight, I'm headed to church to teach my precious kiddos! I always look forward to Wednesdays. I love hanging out with them, and I adore seeing them learn about Jesus. There's just nothing sweeter in the world!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Much Needed Update!

I think this might be the longest I've gone without blogging! Honestly, I just haven't had much to blog about lately. But I'm going to try to do better!

Truth is, I've kinda gone into a depression lately. I'm not usually the depressed type so I'm not really sure how to handle it. We've been struggling financially for the last 3 months (mainly thanks to NES for their 2 months of $300 electric bills), so we've literally been stuck in the house doing nothing but watching TV and playing board games. Then there's this ridiculous weather, which keeps us locked up even more. Then there's this heartbreaking wait for a baby.

I'm struggling with a few things as far as the wait goes. One thing is how certain family members really don't seem to support our adoption. It seems like they could care less. They never ask about it or mention it, and if we mention ANYTHING related to it, they change the subject. The other day, Brandon was telling someone that we were trying to pick out our crib and that we were getting ready to start on the nursery. The response he got was, "Oh, that's nice. "

I know I shouldn't let it get to me, but it does. My mom and dad support us completely, and I think that's because they struggled with infertility for 18 years, so they know exactly what we are going through. No one else understands.

Which brings me to my next struggle. I feel like absolutely NO ONE understands how I feel or what this is like. I've got some great friends who are really supportive, and they try, but this is one of those things you can't possibly understand unless you have been there. And it's a very, very lonely feeling. Most of the time, I feel like there is no one I can talk to about this. There's no one who understands WHY we want to buy baby things or paint the nursery. And it gets old trying to explain it over and over again.

So, I guess I'm just having a little pity party. Which isn't like me. So, I'm clinging to God as hard as I know how right now, depending on Him to get me through it. I'm headed to church this morning (I haven't been on a Sunday in FOREVER because Brandon always has to work and I hate going alone), hoping for an encouraging word. Prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Wee Bit Busy

So, I’ve totally fallen off the blogging bandwagon lately. But in my defense, life has been NUTS! I need to do some serious blog updating, and I’ll try to do that this weekend.

Life has been crazy busy lately, and I’m actually loving it. It passes the time. Most of you know I started a new job in November, and it is a thousand times busier than my previous one, and I LOVE that. And, the first of the year brought some changes with it. For starters, we’re doing the whole lifestyle change…for real this time. You can check out my other blog for details.

I also had a goal for the year of making Bible reading part of my daily schedule (I am so incredibly terrible about this). I’ve been going through the “One Year Bible Devotional,” and I love it. I’ve only missed 2 days so far, so not too shabby. I spend my lunch hour doing my devotional. I’ll blog more about that later.

I started reading Breaking Dawn again a few weeks ago since I never did finish it the first time, but it’s taking me a LOT longer this time.

School has started, and I have to say, I have NO idea how people can work full time, raise kids, AND go to school full time. I take 1 class at a time, and it’s killing me! It takes up so much of my time! Maybe I’m just bad at time management….

We’ve also been working on some very minor home updates. So, between home updates, school, a new job, fitting in exercise and daily Bible reading, and everything else…well, you can imagine. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

As far as the adoption goes, no, we haven’t heard anything. I did email our social worker last week because I had a question for her, and, quite frankly, I was just having a hard time. We literally haven’t hear one single word from our agency since we were approved. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I find that very frustrating. It’s as if they’ve forgotten us. And when we contact them, all we get is, “hang in there…it will happen.” I told her I was finding myself constantly wondering if anyone had seen our profile yet, and all she said was, “we show the profiles as often as we can.” Irritating.

I suppose this entry is plenty long enough for now J Have a good day!