Saturday, March 31, 2012

DTE 4 Months (2 weeks ago)

On March 18, we hit our 4 month mark of our dossier being sent to Ethiopia.  I like to celebrate every milestone but sometimes my heart celebrates before my blog.

We've been house-sitting for the past few weeks so getting a link added to our chain has been difficult. Anyway, I had a few moments today so here is our latest chain.  My verse... 

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger sword?" Romans 8:35


We know that nothing can separate us from Christ's love...what an amazing truth. The kind of truth I hang tight to through this journey.

Currently those receiving referrals have been waiting for 18-24 months. We think we will wait longer than that. We don't worry about that though--we trust in the love of Christ, the love that is so promised to us that nothing can separate us from it.  Not even a super long wait from our little man. And even better? Nothing can separate him from Christ's love either.

The picture could be better but the chain's looking pretty cute, eh? I like how it's developing but I won't be sad to see the end of it some day:).

Only 2 more weeks til I get to add another link to this thing!!

P.S. **On a side note, we have a dear friend whose toddler daughter is in ICU. Please pray for her total healing, as well as perseverance and peace for her family.**

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Surprise for Mom (and Me!)

Alternately titled: How I Accidentally Spent Another Spring Break in Chicago

My mom had her birthday two Mondays ago. I planned to surprise my mom by heading her direction last Saturday, taking her to coffee, getting pedicures, and finishing the afternoon with a late lunch. It was sure to be lovely. I was excited.

But then.

On Friday, my coworker had a situation arise and she was unable to take a work trip to Chicago. I was told it would be great if I could go but no pressure. And I mean, who turns down a work trip to Chicago? Who? Not me, I say!!


Well, you know, I had this big surprise for my mom's birthday. I'll will just admit I am not too great at birthdays. In my head, I am fantastic. But in real life, well, my plans don't always work out.  So I was determined to have this fabulous pampering day for my mom.  So, I said I couldn't go. Ugh. I wanted to go! But no! 

At which point, the department in charge of the trip let me know that the room they had reserved for me had two beds and why don't I just take my mom?

Why don't I just take my mom? What? To Chicago? With 16 hours notice? Really?


I texted my mom and asked if she wanted to do it and after a few texts back and forth, it was decided: we would drive to Chicago on Saturday, stay Saturday and Sunday, and drive home Monday.

So much for the pedicure--she was about to get a whole weekend!

Mom rolled into town at 9 am and, around 10, we were off! I drove the whole way and it may or may not have been one of those "officially feel like an adult" moments.  I drove and my mom navigated.  We listened to a lot of hits radio on satellite. We did not ever get lost. And at about 6, we arrived at the hotel.  

Lucky for me, one of my nearest and dearest lives in Chicago and was already planning a girls' evening out.  She invited us to tag along and we obliged. After checking in, eating a chocolate chip cookie at the hotel, and applying quick makeup touch up, we were off.

To the big city. WHERE I DROVE.

People, I have never, ever driven in the city before. And somehow I navigated with ease. Well, I should say my mom navigated and I drove with serious purpose.  We arrived on time, no problem. I got to see Miss Melissa's new home. I should have taken pictures but I was a little focused on getting us to dinner. So, please trust me: it is lovely. I can't wait to stay there.

We went to dinner, five ladies, out on the town.  The host tried to tell us he gave away our table but his grin said otherwise. We ate stir fry at a place called Flat Top until I thought I was going to burst.  I did not burst. Do not fear.  Then, we bid goodbye to two of our ladies and somehow I didn't grab a pic.  Sad day! So, we headed, just the three of us, to Rise for drinks.  And we DID manage to get a picture there:

We don't look half bad for being in the car for seven hours, eh?? And yes, I look like my momma. And my dad. I got great genes from both.  But that's another post. 

We hugged Mel, thanked her for a great evening in the city, and headed back to our hotel in the burbs at relatively decent hour. We were both asleep before midnight. I'd call it a win.

Sunday, my mother convinced me to get up and go running. Because she is not only cooler than me, she's also more motivated.  So we ran, had coffee, and before you knew it, it was time for me to work.

Because you know, I was actually there to work.  We had hundreds of students and their families interested in Mizzou. And lots of them wanted to be nurses. So, I was busy. It was delightful. And as the event was ending a few hours later, I looked over at a familiar looking family, only to realize it was my cousins!!

Yes. My mom's cousin Judy and her daughter Amy popped in from Wisconsin for the evening.  It was absolutely fabulous.  Judy is kind of like mom's pseudo-sister, so I feel pretty lucky that God saw to it she was able to attend the impromptu birthday celebration.

I changed clothes and we did what ladies do best: we hit. the. mall.  Oh yes we did.  I may have made some purchases. And I may have been pretty happy about said purchases. I may have even made a purchase for my man. Plus, I needed a swim suit so we could go hot tubbin (a favorite pass time for both my mom and me). And I may have even found a new swimsuit for summer that I love--and I didn't even try it on. We managed to fit a LOT of shopping into about an hour.  

Which, of course, meant it was time to eat. I had never been to Maggiano's Little Italy but let me tell you, I will be going back. The portions are huge. We ate until literally all I could say, over and over again, was "I hurt."  That was in between the laughter and tears, because, let's be real: when four women together, there are almost always laughter and tears. And we got a lovely pic. Our waitress had done this a few times, as evidenced by how nicely she arranged the table for us:

Yeah. We're not related at all. Oh yes. Yes we are.  It was such a neat surprise to have them come play with us for the evening.  We bid them adieu back to Wisconsin and the mama and I did what everyone loves to do when you feel so stuffed it hurts.

We put on swim suits.

Well, really though, there is almost no time I will turn down a hot tub. We relaxed. We laughed some more. I would say we cried some more but I am not my  mother's daughter in that way-- the woman rarely cries. Like ever.  Whereas this girl? If you haven't seen me cry, well, we probably haven't met in person.  It's a daily activity. Happy, sad, annoyed, I bring the tears. So after tubbin it for a while, we headed back to the room. Mom crashed. I put on real clothes and went to hang out with some co-workers.  Here they are:


Aren't they cute? It was Katherine's birthday. Katherine is 4th from the left. And she turned 23 so we're not even going to talk about what a young one she is.  We did a count down and yelled for her. And then the hotel manager may have come and asked us to be quiet.

Or maybe he didn't.

But he probably did.

On to Monday...I woke up right at 8 and the blessing of being able to sleep til 8 on a Monday was a great gift in and of itself. We ran again, because my mom is a workout slave driver. We grabbed coffee, and we headed out for more shopping.

Oh did we shop. Crate and Barrel was just a delight. I got a hand towel that can only be described as made specifically for our family. It is apple green and black and brown and has pictures of coffee beans and french presses.  Eeee!!

We went to the Container Store and left overwhelmed, as always.  We decided we needed to make one more stop because there was one place neither of us had ever been that we'd both been dying to go:

That's right. We went to IKEA. If you don't hear the heavenly chorus at hearing the name, you clearly haven't been there.

IKEA can be a little overwhelming but luckily for us, we looked completely overwhelmed and a lovely sales associate came over and gave us a ton of tips. Armed with our new knowledge, we trekked through the store, stopping to ponder at its magnificence.

I tried to figure out how to get this couch into my Camry:


It stayed in the store but I may be back with a vengeance. I haven't forgotten about you, couch!!

I also purchased a ton of this material to use for curtains for our French doors so the neighbors will stop complaining. We have received no actual complaints but E is convinced they are staring at us. Eh, who cares?  We should also have some left over material for pillows for the new couch. You heard me.

So, 2 1/2 hours later, we ate lunch at their cafe and lamented our departure.  We arrived home way later than we thought we would but our new love for IKEA was totally worth it.

So the best part? Had I planned for weeks and months, I wouldn't have been able to pull this off. Our schedules are nuts.  It just never would have happened. And God knew that. So he just busted a move and rocked our worlds with a surprise trip to Chicago.

I couldn't have been more surprised. Or more pleased.  Or more thankful.

Happy birthday, Mom!! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Little Man Monday

Hello, Sweet Dear!!

I hope you are resting safely and sweetly if you are around these days.  Tonight, your dad and I are doing something we rarely do: nothing at all!! We are just sitting on our couch, watching people sing on TV, and eating popcorn. It's quite the relaxing evening. I hope you like popcorn, Mister, because we are big fans. It's such a nice treat to sit as a family and munch on the crunchy treat. If you have a different favorite, we'll just have to add it to our repertoire.

Speaking of eating, I've been wondering what your eating habits will be like. Several bloggy friends this week have talked about their kiddos and their eating habits. Will you only like sugary sweetness? Will you not like sweets at all? Will you eat veggies like your mom and dad? Word on the street is they are an acquired taste. Never fear--we'll help you acquire that. Some of your dad and my favorites are asparagus and broccoli. We'll be patient as you learn the different foods of our lifestyle.  Whatever you eat, however you eat it, we'll learn patience and we'll grown together as we figure it out. I also have plans to try out my skills at Ethiopian recipes. Just like I'll be patient with you on the veggies, you're going to have to be patient with me on the Ethiopian cooking. I'll try my hardest--I promise.

Little man, we got word this week that our journey to you will be a little longer. Don't worry-we're not giving up. We're praying for you and thinking of you. It's true--we don't know if you're even alive yet. That doesn't deter us a bit! We are so pumped to be your parents.

Welp, little guy, I am off to grab another handful of popcorn. I love you much. Thanks for sharing our special Monday with us. We can't wait til we all share it together in person.


Mom and Dad

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Your Roll

Why I decided that in place of grad school this spring I needed to be busy EACH and EVERY evening after work completely evades my memory about this time of the semester.  I love to be busy. And, um, I hate it. Except I don't at all.

Bachelor finally ended this week. My watch group is delightful and we had quite the feast to celebrate the end of the most controversial Bachelor ever. Soup! Sandwich ring! Veggies! Champagne! My dear Ashley brought some champagne and put one in the fridge for later. Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Yeah, so I went to make a smoothie on Thursday morning and this is what I found.

Surprise! You can't leave champagne in the freezer for four days.

And yes that is strawberry Andre.

And no, you may not judge unless you have tasted it.
Anywho, it's bittersweet that the show is over but since Ben truly did look like Francine from the children's book series "Arthur" I'm sort of over it. I will miss my ladies but we'll reconvene in May to watch Emily and 25 crazy men. Ashley has tried to champion a "Dancing With the Stars" watch party to no one's amusement but Ashley's.

She also is forcing me to go to Titanic in 3D against my will so don't be surprised if I am blogging soon about how delightful our watch party is for "Dancing."
Ashley is very convincing.

Did I mention she brings champagne? And fondue on occasion?
So, aside from the watch party Mondays, I have been a busy, 4th grade girls Bible study, adult women's Bible study, the whole shebang.  We know this adoption thing is slow so I guess subconsciously I have been speeding up everything else in my life.

Hyperspeed to be exact.
But, all the speeding up in the world can't make up for the email we got yesterday.  Guess what, friends?

Ethiopian adoption wait times for our agency have SLOWED DOWN.


Now's here's the thing. We've known they were slowing down. All you have to do is take a quick look at our unofficial list with our agency to realize things aren't moving in the fast lane. But it's a totally different thing to get an email confirming that dreaded suspicion.

Yesterday's email delayed the wait time from 10-18 months to 18-24 months. We know this isn't the last of it either. The email also mentioned the belief that this dreaded slow down will keep, well, slowing down.


We wait some more. Patiently as we can, anyway. If you recall, when we started this process almost exactly a year ago, we thought it would take 1-2 years total. But you know what happens when you tell God your plans...he laughs.

No, you know, I take that back. I don't think God is laughing. I think he deeply cares for all of us in the wait. But I also think I have so much more to learn that it's perfectly fine that he's given me more time to learn it. Do I love that I may turn 30 and not have my little man at home with me? Well, no. I don't. But I also have a strange peace about it.

And really, what more can I ask for?

More strawberry Andre, I guess.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Little Man Monday

Hi Sweet, Sweet Little Man,

It's been a few weeks.  Momma has been a busy girl!  Your dad and I have a big film festival we help with and last week we were still recovering. Plus, last Monday was your dad's birthday party.  Our "family" here in our town threw him a little surprise party. Can you guess how old your dad is?

He is 30! Can you believe it? I hope we can count to 30 together very soon.  I do pray that the Lord works in your life and you will be able to look back at 30 and see the wondrous places He has taken you, just like I know your dad can say.

This week the flowers are poking out of the ground and I am finally wearing sandals. It's warm, Little Man! We think winter might officially be over. This week we had daylight savings time where we spring our clocks forward an hour. Little Guy, as hard as it is to get up and go to church an hour early, I have to say I don't even know how we will do it when you are here. At first, you will be on a whole different time frame. We'll do our best to help you adjust--we know you are going to make some big sacrifices to be a part of our family and the time change is just the beginning of it. We are praying the Lord will heal you and help you to feel a part of our little family in a timely fashion.  No pun intended. A pun is a joke, just so you know. Your dad makes some bad ones. Don't worry-we'll roll our eyes together at him.

Oh Little Man, there are so many things to say and there just aren't enough words. Your grandma came to visit this weekend. We went to a diaper party and learned about cloth. If you are wearing diapers when you join our family, I am pretty sure your little bum will be covered in cloth. It was definitely an educational experience to learn so much about the different diaper options.

I know your grandma wasn't too exited about diapers (she'll get used to it:)) but she is excited to snuggle you and dress you in adorable little man clothes. It's kind of something we're both looking forward to, if we're honest. We're both big fans of the idea of dressing you up.

Welp, little guy, Dad and I are headed to bed soon. My love for you will never end Can't wait to see a picture of your beautiful days. The days and the months may go by before I do but I will never get less excited.

Much, Much love,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Say Hello To My Little Friend Oscar

Well, the cold is wearing off, I almost have a voice back, and I am basically caught up at work. I think that means it's time to get back to blogging and to catch you up on what I've been doing for the past week.

You see, there's this festival in our town. It's called the True/False film festival. And I am addicted.  Or entrenched. Or whatever the verb is that means you look forward to an event but end up giving so much of yourself that you need to recover for almost a full week when it's over.

Yep. That's my relationship with True/False.

It started innocently enough. A few years ago, I saw a couple of films. I loved them. I decided to volunteer for the fest, since Eric's work at the time was a sponsor and he'd be busy the whole time actually doing work.

The next year, we both volunteered.

Then last year, we got asked to step it up a notch: to manage a venue.  We were promised it would be the smallest venue. It basically ran itself. We'd learn as we went- no big deal really.

And it was fairly painless.  But when the fest decided to end its relationship with that venue they found a new home for us. And this home was the largest venue True/False had ever, ever had for an entire fest.  Yes, we would be responsible for 1732 seats. 

Woah, doggy.

Eric and I have a knack for doing things all the way. We knew we loved each other five years ago so we got married after knowing each other for nine months. We jumped right in.

We bought our house in one day after one viewing and after not having looked at any other homes.
I'm just saying--when we decide to do something, we go after it. Full force. No halfway.

And so it was without a second thought that we agreed to take three days off work, devote our lives to documentary film, and head up the largest venue the fest had ever run.

And man was it hard. And fun. And hard. I already said that? Whoops.But seriously, I believe in the power of documentary to tell stories and change lives. And to see lives you might not otherwise be privy to. 

I believe in our little town and its ability to transform itself from a perfect college town to an artsy, documentary haven.
I would say we learned a lot in our first year managing Jesse Hall. And I think our marriage grew stronger. We were understaffed and a little overworked and somehow we managed to love each other and not kill each other. I'd call it a success, yes?

Before you start thinking that I am the only one who thinks this festival is cool, I have to tell you, it's not just a Missouri thing. The fest draws filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world. It is sponsored by HBO and the Academy of Motion Pictures to name a couple of big names. Yes, that academy. And James Franco and Morgan Spurlock both made appearances. I only saw one of the two. No, sadly, it wasn't Jim. Very sadly. We bring in some of the biggest names in documentary each year and many academy award winners come to see us before they win big. And in the case of this year's film, after. We'll get to that in a minute, though.

It's not all about the films, either. It's also about the art, the scene, the parade, and so much more. This year, there was a venue called the Picturehouse. Six giant screens hung from the sky and played video portraits of people from our town. It was kind of like Harry Potter, where the portraits come to life. Here's a still shot of what it looked like, to give you an idea.

Please note it was way cooler in real life. I told Eric I wanted to do this in our house but on a smaller scale.  His response?
"So you want a digital picture frame?"

Oh he is a clever one.  Moving on...

Because we were "in charge" (aka the ones responsible if something went wrong. And things, did indeed, go wrong) we really didn't get to see any films. I take that back. We got to see Morgan Spurlock's newest venture about ComiCon. Oh my goodness it was fun. It follows several people on their way to ComiCon. One of those people is Holly.  Holly makes costumes in her garage and hopes to make it as a big-time costume designer. She took costumes to ComiCon she had made to look like the video game Mass Effect. She also brought her rockin Costume to the viewing of her film. And what do nerds like me do? We get photos with that stuff, duh!!

Holly was super nice and very accommodating to all of the geeks who wanted pictures with her. Myself included. And yes, she looks intimidating here but she was actually just putting on her game face. Pun intended.

There were lots of other films I wanted to see but didn't get to. Films like Bully and These Birds Walk and Searching for Sugar Man and 1/2 Revolution. By far, though, the one I most missed getting to watch was Undefeated.

It may sound familiar. It won the Oscar a few weeks ago (I told you we'd get back to that). Plus, one of the two filmmakers was a Mizzou grad and you could tell he was glad to be back.  Each film has a Q&A at the end, typically with the filmmaker(s). In the Q&A for Undefeated the filmmakers said they wanted to introduce the audience to a new member of their posse.  And then they brought him out.
His name was Oscar.
The rest of the Q&A may or may not have been eclipsed by the small, heavy, gold statue at the front of the stage. People were taking pictures of it and eventually, TJ and Daniel even let people pass it around. 

It was a good hour after they started the Q&A that we were finally ushering the final few patrons out the doors. Since it was our last film of the fest, our volunteers were getting a little nostalgic. Plus, the film and filmmakers were awesome. So they asked if those of us who were still there could grab a photo with them. The filmmakers possibly being the most down-to-earth guys I've ever met were more than happy to stick around. So we gathered around in the lobby, ready to take a picture. TJ pulls something out of a camera bag and hands it to me.

And I look down, only to see the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature being placed into my hands.


So, I did what any normal, documentary-loving kid would do. I lost my breath, asked if they were serious, and posed with pride for my now-favorite picture of the festival.

Yes, it is as heavy as they always say it is. 

This picture was taking by one of Daniel's (guy on far right--filmmaker) fraternity buddies from college. Then, he handed me his phone and asked if I'd take a picture of them. Fun times. 

Because at the end of the day, documentary film lovers really are just one big family. 

And I am pretty glad I got a family photo with TJ, Dan, and Oscar.

See you next year, True/False. I need 11 months to rest.