Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trial Parenting v2.2

Well, we made it through another weekend of trial parenting. Each time we take it up a notch, so to speak.  Last weekend was no exception.  We were asked to watch two delightful little ones for two nights and two days while Mom and Dad helped with a youth trip. We gladly accepted! 

 Highlights of the weekend included:

*a dance party to the Safety Dance, one of my favorite songs of all time

*hearing the girls sing our church's new family worship album.  I'm telling you now, if you haven't heard kids sing to Jesus at the top of your lungs, you haven't experienced a true, pure blessing.  I may have cried a little

*eating popsicles in pajamas on the front lawn

*eating s'mores in pajamas on the front lawn

*drinking coffee at the park while the girls played their little hearts out

 *putting the tiniest piggies in the tiniest hairs on the tiniest heads

 *watching the girls mimmic me and give each other pigtails!  My oh my. If there's anything I'm terrified of about being a mother, it's the mimic factor.  Having my kids mimic my sin back to me on a daily basis? More terrifying than anything else about parenting.

*praying every night for mama and daddy and anything else that came to their minds.

Just in case you think we had zero problems and all went completely according to plan, I have to tell you a little story.  During dinner Friday night I had Little Girl in the high chair while I was cutting pizza and putting it on their plates.  I hear Hubs tell her to get down and I look over just in time to see her squatting on the high chair and relieving herself while standing on the tray of the high chair! Yes, friends, our little lover girl stood on her high chair and peed.  Well, we got her down, changed her, cleaned up, and life went on.  It was the biggest surprise I've ever had during dinner, though!

We also noticed that it's easy not to talk to each other around kiddos.  Sure, we talk.  And we are around each other. But we had to consciously think about talking TO each other.  Parents, any suggestions? We are definitely going to have to learn how to be parents and somehow be husband and wife all at the same time.

All in all, I would call it a success.  We love the kiddos. We love being fake parents.  Thanks, friends, for letting us keep your precious gems.  We can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meet Gabby

**Please note: we realize how crazy this makes us.  But that's what we love about our little family--that we are the same kind of crazy**

Sleepless nights, timed feedings, wondering if the madness will ever end.  We're there.

No, Gabby is not our new child.  Well, in the sense you may be thinking.  Gabriela Philip is our new puppy.  (Hubs just HAD to put Philip as a name--even when we found out our new pup was going to be a Lady Dog).  Gabby entered our lives two weeks ago, shortly after our home study visit.  She is currently a nine week old boxer puppy.  Her favorite activities are chewing on her Tiger (she's already a Mizzou fan), sleeping any time but during the night, snuggling on the couch, driving Rigo crazy, and running around in the back yard.  Her least favorite activities are being barked at by Rigo, sleeping during the night, being on a leash. She hasn't quite figured that one out yet.

In the two weeks we've had her, Gabby has gone from being smaller to taller than Rigo.  Rigo is kind of an old man, and he's not completely amused by our new addition.  They are making strides, however, and we think they will be friends in no time.  Our goal: to have a bff for Rigo so he's not so alone on that day down the road when we become parents.  Oh yeah, and Hubs has always wanted a big dog.  Enjoy some pics of our new girl:

 Please note how Rodrigo is no where near her.  This is not an accident on his part.

 Trying to be civil.

 Trying to train her in the art of fashion like her older brother.

 We have a lot of pictures of her sleeping.  Let me assure you she does a lot more than sleep--we just have to chase after her when she's moving.

Yes, she's our cute little girl

 Adjusting to the harness

 Holding her favorite toy but looking a little guilty

We're looking forward to nights we can sleep more but we couldn't be happier to have added to our family before we add to our family!

Friday, July 22, 2011

In The Meantime...

We are "trial parenting" again this weekend. I can't wait to share more of our fun, but in the meantime, please enjoy this link, originally posted on the Girl Talk blog, then posted to me by Ashley.  And if you haven't read Russell Moore's book, "Adopted for Life," put it on your list!

An Open Letter to an Unborn Baby by Russell Moore

Can't wait to catch you all up soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Print

  We bought our house almost exactly a year ago, knowing it needed some updates.  New paint colors in every room was one of our requests.  As new homeowners tend to do, we got ambitious.  In about one weekend, with the help of my parents, we painted our living room, kitchen, and bedroom.  Then, you may guess, we lost steam.  We painted the bathroom this winter but our desire to paint our spare bedroom and office got overshadowed by life.  We just didn't have time and we had bigger issues--like new flooring in every room.  So, a year passed and we didn't repaint the rooms.  These rooms, you must know, were no "builder beige."  No, the spare room, or the IC room as it's come to be known, is a delightful color we've called "Smurf."  Whatever you are thinking in your head, I promise you, it looked worse.  We had gray renters carpet in there that made it even brighter and when we would bring people in, the first thing they would say was, "Woah!"

So, flash forward to this summer. We installed a light laminate into our bedrooms, and suddenly, the paint was tolerable. More than tolerable, in fact, we decided we would think about keeping it.  We are adopting a baby boy, after all, so blue would be more than acceptable.  With new flooring, it looked less Smurf and more playful.  We decided not to decide but were leaning toward keeping it the blue we thought we hated. Hold that thought.

One of the cool things about adopting, and keeping an adoption blog, is getting to know other people who are or have been in our shoes.  One such couple is the Hale Family at Love is Waiting.  We've been following their blog for a while, purchasing t-shirts to help them on their journey, and praying for their Little Man Arthur.  They just got to meet Arthur this summer, in fact, and he will make his journey home soon.  We feel blessed to keep up with their story (they are also the people we stole the puzzle idea from and their names will hang in our little man's room when he comes home). So, they have an amazing store, which you should visit if you like helping adoptive families.  They did a cool giveaway for families who are adopting from Ethiopia this week.  They have a print that the talented Heather created, and they gave it away to families who commented and were adopting from Ethiopia. The print has an awesome Ethiopian minibus with the symbol on the ET flag carrying suitcases on top.  See for yourself how cool this print is here.  I had looked at getting it before but since we weren't sure about IC's room yet, I'd held off.  Well, it came in the mail this week and I held off tears.  Guess how perfectly it fits in the IC room?  The colors are, amazingly, identical.


And people out there doubt God's sovereignty:).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Potter Mania

You may know I am a Harry Potter fanatic.

The kind that has read all the books. Twice. And wants to read them again.

The kind that stopped watching the middle movies because they were leaving too much out but returned triumphantly to find I loved them just the same.

The kind who goes to the 12:01 premiere of new films (now that I'm watching them again).  Not the kind, however, who dresses up for the films. That's an extreme I don't know.

The kind who live-tweets the premiers with photos and commentary.

You may or may not have heard the final installment of the Harry Potter series arrived in theaters at 12:01 July 15. Naturally, Hubs and I also arrived at theaters at 12:01 July 15. That's a lie. We got there at 9:10 p.m. and hung out with the Potterheads for three hours.  It was a joyous occasion. If you've never been to a midnight showing, the atmosphere is almost indescribable.  There's a sense of camaraderie you don't get at the matinee.  We laugh together. We cry together. We cheer together.  And, as BooMama would say, I clapped my hands in glee more than once.  I typically think of the clapping hands thing as a southern thing but apparently, no, all people can enjoy the spontaneous joy-clap.  It was just delightful.  I will be sad not to share the joy with the other crazies anymore.  Because I feel sorry for anyone who didn't get to see the mania, I am bringing the mania to you.  Enjoy the photos.

Me, preparing to see Harry while I was at my office that day.  The hat belonged to my executive assistant.  I have no idea why he had this hat in the office but I was happy to entertain him by wearing it.

Two young men dressed at Death Eaters in the parking lot.

Hermione and Mad-Eye.  Never mind that Mad-Eye died in the last movie.  Whoops, Spoiler alert!

I am pretty sure this friend just wanted an excuse to face paint. And who can blame her, really?

Luna Lovegood and her father, I believe.

And finally, Hubs and I getting ready for the film.  How fun that they made special Harry Potter 3d glasses for the occasion?  Psyched, I tell you.  Totally psyched.

Lest you be thinking, oh Jess, this is what everyone does, I took it a step further.  Yes, I went on the local news on a G+  chat to share my reactions on the film.  If you're thinking I sound a little out of it, just remember, I had had about three hours of sleep.

The Potter journey is over but it was a great time.  I can't wait to read the books to my kids.  Until then, I guess I'll hide my freak flag back in my pocket til I find a new reason to fly it:).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011






Four years ago, I married my sweet husband.  Who knew we'd be where we are today?  We definitely didn't plan on living where we do or adopting a child when we said "I do." What a blessing that God knew all of these things already.

We're celebrating tonight with dinner alone, away from dishes and puppies, paperwork and electronic devices.  We celebrated this morning by putting new windshield wipers on my car. Because nothing says love like car parts.

So yes, we're off to celebrate.  And thanks, Jaime, for the photos! My sorority did a free photo shoot for alums. I couldn't have imagined how great these would be! Jaime, you have a true talent!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Check Another Off the List

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed over us and with us for our home study visit yesterday.  Our social worker arrived at 10:30 and by 1:00 p.m. we breathed a sigh of relief.  Our second home study visit was complete.  Successfully complete.  As many of you (especially Hubs) had reminded me, our home tour lasted approximately five minutes and did not include any opening of drawers, cabinets, garages, checking of baseboards, or any form of white gloves.  She did a little look for our smoke detector, fire extinguisher, and emergency contact list.  And, as quickly as it had started, it was complete.

We each had 1 hour interviews, explaining our beliefs on family, parenting, discipline, marriage, and so much more.  It was a good chance for us to share and discuss.  If you've been to our house, you'll know there's only one sitting area.  While one of us interviewed, the other sat in our room.  I went second and spent that time listening to our church's worship album and reading "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore.  I'll most likely post more on that book later.  I got to do a little praying as well.  I would say that time was just as helpful for me as the home study was.  By 1:00 p.m. we celebrated with a nap.

So, where do we go from here?  Well, we're still waiting on that ONE document.  The one.  It should be here soon.  I'll, of course, post a blog of praise as soon as it's here.  Then, we have about four more documents to get before we submit this whole pile to the powers that be in ET.  It could be two to four months or a little longer.  We also have more money to save/raise. It's nice to have one more thing checked off our "to-do" list.  Thanks for your support during this journey!

Friday, July 8, 2011

When Live Gives You Anxiety, Turn it into a Wreath

Tomorrow, I open my trench coat to society.  I mean, tomorrow our social worker comes to visit us and tour our home.  No trench coats will be involved. Still, being a perfectionist has its downfalls during adoption.  Hubs looks at our house and sees two people who love each other and who want to parent a child in need, a loving home with plenty of resources and everything necessary.  I pray that's what everyone else sees, too.  What I see sometimes, however (and this is the anxiety part) is a floor that's not perfectly clean, a dryer full of laundry that needs folding, scratches on our leather sofa, and anything else that's 'imperfect.' When our neighbors drive too fast, I worry it will give the wrong impression.  When I can't get every last coffee ground off the stove where they have spilled after this morning's pick-me-up, I fret.  I know.  I know.

1 Pet 5:8 "Cast all your anxieties on Him, for he cares for you."

I get it. In my head.  My heart though, my heart worries.  So, I double-check the ring around the bathtub, scrubbing it meticulously one more time.  I tidy up the spare room one more time, hoping it will be filled soon with the Little One we're desperately preparing for.  I rearrange all the paperwork one more time.

And I know that sometimes, this perfectly represents my faith.  I want to "do" instead of just "be."  The floors of my heart will never be tidy enough for God.  I can take all the toothpaste off my sink, but I can't take the marks of sin off my heart.  Yet, God doesn't see that.  He sees Jesus.  He sees that I have imperfections. I can't fix them.  But oh do I try.  Salvation can never be achieved through actions and yet, I still feel like I have something to prove.  God says, you've either accepted my gift or you haven't.  Stop worrying about trying to prove it to me.  And same goes with our home study.  I know, somehow, the toothpaste won't make the difference between being able to parent our IC and not.  We've done what was asked of us. We now wait, hoping to rest assured in the promise that if you've done what's needed, hoping to learn a lot along the way.  I'll keep you posted.

I didn't mean to get all Jesus-y on you. What I wanted to show you was, in my anxiety, I spruced up my door with a beautiful new wreath.  I am not crafty, by any means, but I saw an adorable wreath on Pinterest, and I decided to recreate it.  So, with the help of my delightful bestie, I found some summery flowers, a wreath, some acrylic paint, and numbers at Hobby Lobby.  I combined these things with scissors, a paintbrush, and a glue gun and VOILA! I am now crafty.  Or I at least have a cool new wreath to make my door pretty and distract me for an hour.  I give you the finished product:

I'm pleased as punch.

If you're wondering where this home study visit is in the general time frame of our adoption, we have one more and then we'll move toward finishing our dossier.  It's still a ways away, though.  A ways.

I'll keep you posted on tomorrow, but if you are the praying type, please pray for tomorrow's home study to be a great experience for us.  And as always, pray for orphans everywhere and for the Ethiopian government to speed up their handiwork to allow their kiddos families in a quicker time frame.

Thanks for your prayers.  They mean more than you'll know

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deer, Driving, and Delicious Desserts

*Alternately titled "how I spent my weekend"

Hubs and I both happened to have the 4th of July off.  We knew we needed to clean our home for the home study visit on Saturday (more about that later) but we really wanted to get away.  This desire to get away came mainly from knowing we won't have a "true" vacation this summer.  Between my new job and saving for the IC (that's Imaginary Child--the name for the yet-to-be-known little addition) we just really need to spend this summer at home.  So, our major vacay happened this weekend.  By major vacay, I mean we spent Friday night at the Muny with my parents and then spent the rest of the weekend in their Small Town.

Friday, the Muny was, well, warm.  Yes, really warm.  My parents have season tickets and it just happened to be my dad's birthday, so we joined them for a delightful picnic and the warmest version of Kiss Me Kate I've ever seen.  To be fair, I'd never seen Kiss Me Kate.  So it could have been 14 degrees and it would have been the warmest I've ever seen.  But it really was warm.  My parents are picnic connoisseurs and my dad's birthday picnic included ribs, two kinds of potato salad, three kinds of chips, two kinds of wine, fruit, yogurt, and things I am sure I'm forgetting.  We could have fed half of the Muny patrons.  But we didn't.  We ate and ate and ate just the four of us.  I gave my dad an appropriately cheesy singing birthday card.  And after we finished our time at the Muny, we drove.

Straight into a deer.

Well, actually, the deer drove straight into us.  Yes, we were turning a dark and scary curve at super-low speeds when, out of the woods, Bambi popped up.  She was not deterred by seeing three cars in a row.  So, brave soul that she was, she ran directly into our car.  Her little face was right in our driver's side window and we heard her "thunk" into the door.  Now, it's midnight in the middle of nowhere, and we're following my parents and have no cell service and no shoulder on the road.  So do we stop?  No, no we do not.  But we slowed down enough for my parents to wonder.  When we all got cell service, they called to check up on us. After hearing our story, they stopped at a side road to check the damage.  Would you believe we only had a golfball-sized dent where her sweet hoof hit our door?  Believe it, friends.  There was definitely dirt smudged away where she landed.  I am going to assume, for my own benefit, that she lived happily ever after.

Saturday will be described in the best, shortest way possible: private lake. Friends. Rest. Sun. Great food.  Cake pops.

What's that you say? Cake pops? Yes!!

Because I've had so many people ask me (and despite the length of this post) I'm going to share my secret recipe.  You caught me, it's not a secret at all.  You can go to Bakerella, MckMama, and I'm sure a billion other people who have cake pop recipes.  But here's mine.

Step 1: Bake a cake.  Any cake will do.  Like white cake? Great.  Want to make it from scratch? You're crazy, but ok.  I happened to make a box of white cake from the store.  Exactly as the directions asked.  Except for me, I baked it in two pans: half the mix, I dyed blue.  The other half red.  Because, what says America more than red, white, and blue fatty goodness?  Nothing.  Except maybe deer.

Step 2: Crumble cake into tiny little pieces.  Wait for cake to cool or it will burn like the fire of a thousand suns on your fingers.  Not that I know from experience. Wait. Yes, I do.

Step 3: Mix icing (I am into the store-bought variety right now) into your cake balls.  Know that it does not matter what kind.  Whatever kind you like to eat, make that kind.  I made white and then added food coloring.  You want to mix the cake and icing completely (you might need to use your hands) until it's just one mush blob.

Step 4: Form into small(ish) balls, lay on wax paper, and freeze for about an hour or until they are hard and very cold and very tightly congealed.

Step 5: Heat the stuff you plan to cover it with.  Options include almond bark, Hersheys white chocolate candies, and my new favorite, something called Candi Quick.  Don't heat it too much or it will get dry.  If you heat it too much, add oil.  Do not add water, do not add milk, only add oil.  Trust me on this one.  Also, if you plan to add food coloring, only add oil based.  Trust me on this one.  Water based will make you sad.  Once it's heated, put a stick in your cake ball (now it's officially a cake pop) and dip in Candi Quick.  Tap all the excess off.  Add sprinkles if you want.  Dry sitting up and don't let them touch. I've found a shallow vase to work, but if you have styrofoam that would be the best, I imagine.

Step 6: Share with your friends and show them how cool and crafty you are.

If your cake balls stop sticking to the sticks or start falling into the Candi Quick, put them back in the freezer til they get colder.

The final result? A big hit at the lake with the kiddos.

Delish.  I've spent too much time on the weekend and we're not even to Sunday. So I'm off.  Talk soon!