Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I’m Off to the Community Center Gym….

for the first time in about 6 months. 

I may not make it back out alive. 


If I do, it ain’t gonna be pretty.  I am not a hot-looking worker-outer.  I do not “glisten.”  I sweat like a man, my hair frizzes out, and I get puffy and red.  I’m pretty sure mothers want to shield their young children’s eyes when I walk by. 


If it weren’t for the tv and magazines there, I wouldn’t be going.

I am already looking forward to getting it over with, getting home, and gettin’ cozy with Ryan Seacrest and then the Extreme Couponing girls.

I am pretty much the coolest person I know.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Week of Good Things

I am so thankful this week for these things: 

{1} We found out Monday that our house appraised for $6,000 less than our offer price.  We thought for a few days that the sellers weren’t going to take our new (revised) offer, but they did – so we are now paying $6,000 less than we were planning on and our closing costs will still be paid.  To say this is a blessing is a huge understatement. 

{2} We took a trip to PA to visit Chris’s family, and when I arrived home, the book One Thousand Gifts was waiting for me from a very special person. :) 

The writing style is a little hard to get used to, and honestly a little overwhelming at times, but I am learning so much and it is making me think.  I love books that make me do that.

{3} God starting to grow my music “studio” before we have even moved into our house.  I currently only have 2 students, due to our current living situation (I travel to their home).  I already have a 3rd lined up once we move and possibly a fourth.  My goal has been (once we moved) to be able to pay for gas money with the money I make from lessons.  I definitely think this will be a possibility now.

{4} This morning my legs were super itchy after the shower, so I rubbed lotion on them.  Within about 30 seconds I had a rash and hives all over my legs, butt, and even on the top and bottom of my feet!  I am not thankful this happened, per se, but I am thankful that I live in a place where I can easily get someone to go to CVS for me and buy my Benadryl.  Not everyone is so fortunate (side note:  if you want to be reminded of all you have, check out this post by Lara.  It humbled me to no end.  There is a growing part of us that just wants to give up everything here and move somewhere where we can make a bigger impact for God.  That is a post for another day….but that post certainly puts life into perspective.)

{5} Easter activities all weekend long: Good Friday service tonight, backyard egg hunt for Luke and a fun Easter event with friends tomorrow afternoon, and services and lunch with family on Easter Sunday.  This was our boy last year on Easter Sunday….

easter weekend 141

I can’t wait to put the pictures side by side to compare how much he has changed!

{6} I reached 200 followers today!  It was so exciting to see that number.  I am honored and blessed to have each of you following along on life’s journey with me.  I am so glad to have you here.

Last but not least, I am most thankful for:

{7} The death and resurrection of Jesus.

Without Him, we are nothing.  He is the Light of the world and the hope of my life.  I am so thankful that I serve a risen Savior!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Adoption Update

Hey everybody!  Wow, this week really got away from me!  I wanted to pop on and give an adoption update, half for my own memory and half for those of you who might be interested in seeing how the process works.  I’ve also had a couple friends ask me IRL so I figured it might be best to post here! 

The adoption meeting went really well; we’re both very glad that we went.  We got to meet our social worker, Allyson, in person, as well as 3 other prospective adoptive couples and a mom who has already adopted 3 kids who was there as a real-life resource.  We got a lot of questions answered and a big info packet to take home.  We were also struck with how much more complicated this process really is than we thought!  In a nutshell, there are three main ways to adopt (at least in CT), and here they are WAY over-simplified:

- International adoption.  This is probably self-explanatory, right? It can take several years and anywhere from $20-40,000.  We have decided against this, at least for our first adoption.

- Domestic private adoption.  I had originally figured this was the only other option besides international.  You select an agency, who then finds the child/birth mom that is the best match for you.  Often the birth mom can choose your family specifically based on a “scrapbook” that you make about yourselves.  Also can cost between $20-40,000. 

- Adoption through state foster care/DCF.  This process (which we were previously unaware of), comes with a lot of perks.  The adopted child gets a free college tuition at any state school, free medical care, and the whole process is FREE.  That’s right, FREE.  The major downside is that, unlike in international or domestic private cases, when the child comes home with you, they are not legally “yours” yet.  They are still considered a foster child/ward of the state until the parent(s) have finally given up all legal rights.  For people like us, DCF would only place a child in our home that they feel is “reasonably certain” to be adoptable.  However, sometimes the birth parent(s) change their minds, in which case (obviously) the child has to go back.  Although they try to expedite this process, it can take months or even years. 

Our first home study visit with Allyson isn’t until the middle of June, after we’re all settled into our new house.  Obviously, we have a lot of thinking to do!  Do we try to raise thousands and thousands of dollars and have to be concerned about where the money will come from, but have the peace of mind of knowing that when we bring our baby home, it’s ours?  Or do we have the peace of mind in knowing that our adoption is paid for (and our child will have free college down the road!), but possibly go through the heartbreak of having a child have to leave our home? 

As you can see, it’s a reallllly hard decision.  We had both thought DCF would be best for us, but after talking to Allyson on Wednesday night on the phone and finding out the DCF route could take years, I’m not so certain anymore.  Chris keeps reminding me that God knows exactly what child is out there for us, and the road we take is insignificant to Him, really.  In other words, we are 100% sure that God wants us to adopt, so He’s going to work it out one way or the other.  I keep telling myself that, but it still stresses me out to feel that I have to make the right first choice! 

So, that’s pretty much where we’re at right now – waiting for our first home study visit and praying hard over this initial first decision.  We are still total newbies at this adoption thing and if you feel led to pray for us, we would really appreciate it!  

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  I’m taking a few days off from the blog so I’ll see you next week! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Miscellany Monday {11}

{1} I got out by myself yesterday afternoon while Luke was napping and went to our local outlets.  I was there for about 4 hours, and while I did spend about half an hour or so getting a bunch of stuff in OshGosh for Luke, the rest of the time was spent trying on and looking at clothes for me.  And I ended up with 4 items.  FOUR. 

The problem is both that a) unless I’m at a super-skinny weight, which I’m totally not right now, I have a reaaaallly hard time finding clothes to fit my body type, and b) I’m cheap frugal.  I can’t pay full-price for anything (unless it’s food, basically), so by the time I finally find clothes on sale or clearance and lug them back to the dressing room, then I have to start the battle all over again and hope and pray something fits my weird body.  It’s really, really awesome and fun.  I would much rather dress my house than myself! haha

Anyway, the things I DID get I’m really happy about: two basics and two fun items.  I had 20% off coupons in addition to the sales, so that really helped.  Purple’s really not my favorite color like it probably seems, but it looks good with my green eyes (does that sound snotty?  lol I hope not!) and unfortunately pink (which IS my favorite color) doesn’t do my pale skin any favors.

april 2011 035  april 2011 037

{Denim skirt $16 Old Navy; purple tunic $13.42 Ann Taylor Loft; black boyfriend cardi $10.99 Old Navy; purple-striped summer scarf $14.16 J. Crew.}

{2} As crappy as all this rain has been lately in New England, I can’t really complain because Luke has been sleeping like a champ. He was waking up a LOT at 5:45 but when it’s cloudy out he’ll sleep til 6:30 and today it was TEN AFTER SEVEN! It felt like I’d died and woke up………….well, like the rest of the normal world. :)  Also helping are the room-darkening shades we bought at Target last year.  Best money we ever spent. 


{3} I am literally incapable of brushing my teeth without looking like a rabid animal.  As in, I NEVER look like this woman:

I never realized it was a problem until college in the dorms and I realized all the other girls were brushing neatly and there was no foam coming out of their mouths.  I try really hard but even my husband is less messy than me. Yeah I know this is truly random but it surprises me about myself. hahaha!


{4} Speaking of rabid animals (wow, I started with outlet shopping and look how far I’ve come on a tangent! haha), I sorta felt like one yesterday.  My mom and I got in her Tahoe and went to pick through our neighbor’s pile of junk that is getting picked-up on Tuesday by the town crew.  We made off with a really nice 3-wheel stroller (I need a new one since Luke’s doesn’t fit him – it’s a long story), a kid’s easel, and a picnic table.  We also hauled away a brown bamboo Pier 1 rug with a suspicious pee-spot that my mom insisted was too cute to leave in the junk pile.  It WAS adorable, but I didn’t want to take it (even I have limits to my frugalness! haha), but she insisted that she’ll scrub it outside for me with Lysol.  I could not stop laughing the whole time we were out there in their front yard.  I just couldn’t get over how ridiculous we must look – total reality tv fodder. ;) Oh and did I mention they had dinner guests? Oh yeah, baby!  I can only imagine the conversation at the table:

“Ummm, do you realize there’s two women digging through your trash like it’s Christmas morning?

“Oh yeah, don’t mind them, it’s just the family up the road!” 

hahahaha (In our defense, she DID tell my mom we could take stuff if we wanted. ;)

Here is a pic of the picnic table (the rest of the stuff is in the shed and I’m way too lazy and cold to walk out there right now!)

april 2011 038

{5} Today I’m just staying home - making chocolate-chip scones for Chris’s breakfasts and doing laundry and cleaning.  35 days and counting til we move!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) We just got word last night that the sellers are going to fix 2 of the 3 things we asked them to in the house.  I’m not complaining at all because they could have said “no” to all 3.  That is saving us several hundred dollars – whoo hoo! :) Oh and the adoption meeting went really well – I will update sometime this week about that. 


Happy Monday, everyone! :)

P.S. My friend and sponsor Darlene is having a sale on her site right now! Lots of paper is on sale and there is free USA shipping!  Click here to check out her blog and here for her actual site. 


Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And So We Begin…

We are going to adopt. 


We are going to adopt!!!!!


Wow, that feels amazing to actually type! :) I alluded to it in my last post, but only briefly mentioned it.  So, let me back-up……. 

I have known for years and years (probably since middle school) that I wanted to adopt someday.   It has always been something that excited me and I’ve just known that it was going to be part of the fabric of my life.  So when I started dating Chris, we started talking about it early on.  Not everyone can picture themselves adopting, which is fine, but anybody who married me was gonna have to be on board with it. haha Thankfully, he was totally supportive and excited as well. 

So we concocted our “perfect plan” – we would have two biological kids and adopt two kids.  Best of both worlds and it would be even-steven so that nobody would feel outnumbered.  Oh, it makes me laugh just to type that out.  You know what they say about the best laid-plans! 

I’ve shared a little bit here about how difficult Luke’s birth and recovery was on me.  Partly physically, but mostly emotionally.  I told my mom in the post-op room that I hoped she liked Luke because she wasn’t getting another one!  (Although doesn’t every new mom say that at one point?!). It was a funny story for my parents to tell their friends.  

But throughout the last two years, people have made jokes about our next baby, and how I need to “at least try for a girl” (I hate that phrase – what if I had another boy??).  Each time I would say that it wasn’t happening (nicely, of course), and I think they thought over time I would get over it and get on board with having another baby. 

Well, it’s been a year and 9 months since I had Luke, and there is still no part of me that wants to be pregnant, have another c-section, and deal with that aftermath again.  It was really scary for me when I finally realized and came to terms with the fact that those feelings of wanting to get pregnant, like I had before Luke, weren’t coming back.  It’s a huge deal to have to tell your husband you don’t think you can give him another biological child.  I was scared out of my mind.  I mean, not that Chris would ever leave me, but this is a deal-breaker for lots of people, you know?  I felt like I was falling short and letting him down and I was so scared that he was going to be devastated. 

But, thank God, he wasn’t.  He is totally cool with the fact that Luke is going to be our only biological child (as of right now, knowing that God is in charge of everything).  He still says that he’d be fine with having one more together if I changed my mind, but he has promised me over and over (mostly because it took a while for me to realize he was really okay with it and not just telling me what I wanted to hear) that he still loves me and doesn’t feel like I’ve let him down.  He is passionate and excited about adoption as well, and I thank God for giving me a husband who feels so strongly about this, too. 

We both want more children, however they need to get to us, and we both agree that it is much healthier for me to be a whole and healthy (adoptive) mommy for our next baby than for me to be a (birth) mommy who feels so sad and broken inside.

So that was another reason why it was so stressful to be living with my parents all these months.  We know very little about the adoption process, but we do know that you usually start out with a home study.  Well…….the no home thing was kinda killing us.  We felt stuck, not just because we weren’t a private family, but because we felt that we couldn't even begin to start the journey to our next child until we had a place to call our own. 

Well, tomorrow night that all changes.  We are going to our first adoption meeting!  We are meeting with a state social worker and there will be four other interested families there, along with a mother who has adopted 3 kids already who will be available to talk to for real-life experience. 

I am so excited, and so nervous!! I can’t believe we are finally taking the first step to bring our next baby home.  I know it might take a while, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on the road to being a family of FOUR.  :)  I have been devouring adoption blogs and living vicariously through lots of of other couples’ experiences.  If you are reading this and you’ve adopted, or read a great blog about adoption, I would LOVE for you to let me know in the comments so that I can check it out.  We are total newbies at this!

Before I finish this verrrrry long post (ya still awake in there?! lol), I just have to share three crazy cool things that God has done for us since moving here to let us know that we are on the right track. 

First, we searched for about a month after we moved here before finding our current church, which we LOVE.  Imagine how happy we were, when after attending for about 6 weeks, we realized that our pastor and his wife adopted both of their boys and are big advocates for adoption!  We’ve already asked them some questions and I know they are going to let us pick their brains as we get deeper and deeper in. 

Second,  we attend a young couples’ Bible study through our church with 3 other couples.  We have absolutely LOVED our time with the other people in our group and are so thankful for the friends they are to us.  When we first brought up the fact that we were interested in adoption, lo and behold, ALL THREE of the other couples told us that they are interested in adoption and it’s something they’ve all talked about! I totally teared up when I heard that news. :) 

Third, I’ve read a little about home studies to know that there are certain safety features that the social workers/agencies like you to have in your house before you can adopt.  Often, I’ve seen it required where you need to have a fire extinguisher near the stove.  (So classy, right? haha) Well, we had our inspection on the house last Saturday (which went perfectly, by the way – thank you God!), and we both noticed that there is already a fire extinguisher installed in the kitchen!  We both totally missed it the first time we walked through the house, and we were both so touched by the fact that it is already installed and ready to go in the house.  It seriously felt like a little gift from God – as if He was trying to say, “This is it, guys!  This is the house you’ll adopt your next baby and bring your child home to.”  I can’t describe how amazing it felt to see that ugly red thing on the wall! haha

{If you enlarge the picture below by clicking on it, you can just see the bottom of the fire extinguisher to the left of the stove.}

more house 026

So anyway, what was supposed to be a short post ended up being super long, and I hope I didn’t bore you to death.  I’m just so excited!

Here we go! :)