Monday, March 31, 2014

Little Man Monday

Hi Darling,

I can't even begin to tell you how often you are in my thoughts. This is the first one of these I've written from my office when your picture was sitting there, right next to me, as I type. It's so surreal to me that you are a person. A little man with thoughts and experiences. I know this isn't the first time I've expressed this. It's just still almost hard to believe. It's always in my thoughts.

This week or next week, all our "official" paperwork that brings us closer to you should finally be on your continent and in your country instead of in ours! Hooray! Oh, IC, I just can't even tell you what a relief that is. Hopefully soon it will be us in place of the paperwork. We're sure hoping we get the clearance to meet you soon. Soon is relative, I know. But I just can't wait to look into your eyes and touch your hands and give you a hug.

I've been working on getting our house ready for you. Not too ready, mind you. I want to meet you before we work on your room. But I did buy a night light last week. It matched and was on sale. And every little guy needs a night light. Every big guy needs a night light. Ask your Dad:). I keep looking at sheets and things for your bed but I'm waiting until we get to spend time together to do too much more. As Dad and I watched TV last night, we reflected on how you'll be sleeping in the room next door soon. It's just wild.

We went to the zoo this weekend. My favorite exhibit, the penguins and puffins, is closed. They won't be back on display until 2015. It was a big moment to realize the next time we see the penguins and puffins in the zoo you will be home with us, walking the paths and enjoying the animals. We hope you like the zoo as much as we do. It's kind of one of our favorite things. This past time, we saw elephants screeching. Never have I heard such a noise! I look forward to seeing all these things all over again for the first time with you.

You better believe as soon as we get the word we will be on a plane to look into your eyes and promise you we'll be yours forever. Can't wait!

All my love,


Monday, March 24, 2014

Created for Care

A few weekends ago, I went to a retreat for adoptive moms. I was super excited. And also a little worried. Because, you know, I am a mama with no kids at home. I was a little worried I would be the only mama who was "retreating" from her zero children. I mean, not worried enough to not go. I wanted to experience what everyone had been talking about and meet other mamas who have been where I am going. Plus, we are really hoping to bring something like this closer to our home for mamas from our local area. So I was going but worried.

I had an 11-hour drive for my local mama friends to reassure me and scold me for my negative thoughts.

So we arrived and I was ready just to learn, listen, and live life with other mamas.

I was immediately struck by how beautiful the lodge was where the retreat was held. I mean, you want to talk about an oasis. So, so pretty.

When you check in at C4C (cause they're cool and have an acronym), you get a name tag with your name and the country your kiddo/kiddos came from. So, I got a sweet Ethiopian flag on my name tag. And also, I quickly decided I needed a shirt that said, "Africa has my heart." Because it does. 

Only my friend, Liz, also decided she needed the shirt. So we both put it on and took a picture. You can't see Liz's but you'll have to trust her shirt matches mine.

As soon as the retreat sessions started, I knew I was in the right place. There were three kind of breakout sessions: sessions meant to equip you (called Be Love), sessions meant to refresh you emotionally (Be Loved), and sessions meant to help you connect with God (Beloved). I tried to hit a lot of the equipping sessions. You know, because I am about to be a mom for the first time in my whole life and he's seven and I'm totally overwhelmed (I'm told all new moms feel this way, whether their child is a newborn or 15).

So, I went to breakout sessions and listened to moms with tears in their eyes share how hard and wonderful this journey is, all at once. I saw moms hug each other and pat each other on the knee knowingly and share how sometimes the hardest thing is how alone you feel.

Which is my biggest concern. Except, I know I'm not alone. I've been promised this by so many mamas going before me, all over the country and in my back yard, promising they'll be by my side with coffee and chocolate (and maybe even some wine) when the circumstances require it.

It was such a blessing to sit at dinner with women I'd prayed for but never met. To hug my friends that I've felt so close to but only from across a screen. I can't even tell you what this meant. 

Beth Guckenberger (remember her? From this post?) was our keynote. Her knowledge of the Bible and heart for orphans just lights me up. And of course I've heard her 3 times in 1.5 years. So yeah. I feel like God just keeps placing her in my path. I got some awesome worship time and great words from the word, if you know what I mean.  

But of course it wasn't all serious. Sometimes you just have to put on a crazy costume and take a picture with your girls.

Or several pictures. Whatever. It was so fun to be silly and enjoy each other's company. 

So after a long, full day I went to bed, full and heart-happy.

And then I woke up with a stomach bug at 2am. Yeah. Not my favorite. Especially because my sweet bedmate and I had just met earlier in the day. Oh man. Hi, dear adoptive mama friend. What's that? You thought when you got away from your six kids you would have a vomit-free weekend? So sorry to ruin that for you.

But seriously.  My roommates were so kind to take care of me and help me make it to morning.

And then I had to skip some sessions. You know, for rest.

I was down but I was not about to be out! I got myself around and headed back for some afternoon sessions. And, of course, more photos with these chicks:

Because seriously? When you get a weekend with the girls, you go for it, even if you lie on the ground to rest while everyone else chats.

I did get to go to the signature session of the weekend, called "Date with God." It lived up to they hype. I got a little over an hour to experience different stations and share some quiet time with God. It happened to be in a room with dozens of other women but it definitely didn't feel like it. I wish I could explain it to you. But it's pretty much a post in and of itself. And even then it is hard to explain. There are stations and different activities, all of which are meant to help you share time in the word and in prayer. It was a beautiful time for just the two of us. 

After dinner, the mamas from my agency all got together for a group photo. It was amazing to see so many moms I'd prayed for and watched for the past three years. And to finally be the one who was being asked the questions about their referral and their process. Finally!!

Aren't we a pretty bunch? And pretty sweet and kind, too, if I do say so myself. I mean, the rest of them, of course.

So yeah, there was a stomach bug. And some skipping sessions. But in general it was amazing. And so many of  my mama friends said, "We'll see you next year--can't wait to hear how attachment is going!"

Oh my heart.

So thankful for a weekend with adoptive mamas. Can't wait to do it again. Sans stomach bug next time, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stitch Fix: My First Experience

I am no fashion blogger.

I am no fashion anything.

But I mentioned on Facebook a while back I was getting my first Stitch Fix box and it sparked some interested. I promised I would follow up once I got my first box so that's what I am up to today. If you have zero interest in mail-order fashion, pass this post on by. No offense on my part.

For those of you who don't know, Stitch Fix is a fun way to get clothing items in the mail. For $20, a stylist will choose five pieces for you and mail them to you. That $20 goes towards the price of any item in your box, should you choose to keep it.  You fill out a style profile ahead of time, giving examples of fashions you like and don't like, how adventurous you are, and what you think is reasonable price-wise.  The brands are boutique-style, unknown but very cute.

Because Stitch Fix is getting popular, I had to wait a few weeks for my first box after I ordered it. It came last night and I was SO excited. I tried to follow the rules and try on each piece with items already in my closet. And I made E take pictures. He played along well, though he kind of thought my fashion show was ridiculous. So in no particular order, here are my pieces and assessment

3/4 Sleeve Studded Top

You can't tell it in the photo but the top is sheer. It's a long shirt, which I really liked. It's not something I would normally pick out but I did like it. It was E's favorite piece. For a sheer top, however, the price tag (close to $60) was a little much for my taste.

Chevron Cardigan

Pay no attention to how very messy my house is! I know I'm about five years late but this was the very first time I tried on an asymmetrical cardigan. Also, first cardigan without buttons. It has a very loose knit and I could see myself wearing it all summer. It's versatile. And the price was right around $60, which for a sweater, I thought was mostly reasonable.  It's probably more than I would spend regularly but for a piece I could wear through a whole season in lots of versatile ways, I decided I could splurge.

Striped Fit and Flair Skirt

I liked this skirt but couldn't figure out if I would wear it regularly. You can't tell in the photo but it is a little fancier than I wear on a daily basis. If it were jersey, this might have been my favorite. The fit was amazing but it was maybe just a tad long, making it hit a weird place on my legs. Overall liked it but E mad a good point that it looked like something you could get jut about anywhere. My reason for getting a fix was trying to get pieces that were out of the ordinary.

Colorblock Dress

You guys. I LOVED this dress. I LOVED it. I like the colors. I liked the way it was flowy and fun. I could see it in the box as my new dress to wear to summer weddings. The price was not quite $70, which I felt was good for a go-to summer wedding dress. I loved it. You know what I didn't love? How it was falling off on top. I could have fit a whole other person in the arm holes. Oh I wanted to keep it. I did. But fit matters more than anything else (thanks, bestie, for that smart advice). And so I had to send it back. With a super frowny face and a bit of a grumpy attitude.

 Tribal Print Tank

I feel like this is a little second verse, same as the first. I loved this print. LOVE turquoise. I was so excited about this in the box. But it was a little sheer so I had to wear a tank under it and I thought it was falling off my shoulders, which was highlighted by the tank underneath. Plus this one's price (a little over $50) was a little much for me to wear a tank top.

Bottom Line

I thought my stylist did a pretty great job of picking pieces I liked. The fit wasn't amazing on some of the pieces and I definitely expect a perfect fit if I'm going to pay full price. Or at all really! The price was a little more than I expected on some of the pieces but others seemed to more reasonable. I kind of expected a few less-expensive items since that was on my profile but several of my pieces were more than what I requested.

So what did I keep? Well, if I would have kept all five pieces, I would have received 25% off my whole purchase. But since two of the pieces didn't fit well, that wasn't an option for me. So I kept the coral cardi and I am so excited to wear it this weekend.

The joy of Stitch Fix is the more your stylist "fixes" you, the more they "get" your style. So I am hoping Fix #2 has more pieces that I love in fit and style. And yes, I'm excited to have my next fix!!

If you are interested in Stitch Fix, you can sign up here.  I'm excited to say I think it will become something I look forward to doing a few times a year.