Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What a Difference a Year Can Make…

Last year at this time my life looked very different!  Maybe not so much from the outside (we still live in the same house and it’s still the three of us), but inwardly so much has changed for our family. 


A year ago, we had begun the journey to adopt and had started meeting with our social worker.  We knew it would be a long road and there were many nights I cried to Chris about how badly I wanted another child to love.  He would gently ask me if I wanted to carry the baby or just love the baby and the answer was always just to love it. I really never thought I’d get pregnant again because we were so committed to and excited about adoption. 




This year we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little GIRL.  Now I cry all the time out of happiness because I can’t believe how overwhelmingly blessed we are to be given a son and a daughter.  None of the other couples we met in our adoption classes have been able to adopt yet…so most likely, we would still be waiting, too.  God is so good.



A year ago, we were just beginning to scratch the surface of Luke’s developmental delays.  Everything was becoming more and more apparent and the pieces were fitting together like a big scary puzzle that I didn't want to see finished.  Again, there were nights filled with crying and terrifying Google searches.  I had SO much fear for his future and his brain progress and his speech and his eating habits.  His future felt very dark and scary to me.  I felt so overwhelmed.


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In the last year, we’ve met with multiple doctors and specialists and Luke began Birth to Three in February. Now, a year later, he is enrolled in a fabulous preschool right down the street with two amazingly qualified teachers and sees an OT and a speech therapist at school as well. Every single person who knows Luke has commented on how much he is improving – I feel like my little boy is just blossoming before me in every way! He still struggles with eating but I just take my little victories as they come! Maybe someday I’ll do a more detailed post about his progress but for now I see his future as bright and happy. He may not ever be the smartest kid in his classes, but he is a joy to be around and that is more important to me! God is so good.



Last year, my husband had a different position at the same company – but he didn’t really love it.  He had an extremely difficult co-worker that he spent the majority of each day with, one-on-one.  Without going into too much detail, this man shared many, many things about his personal life and habits that Chris would rather not have ever heard – not to mention all day, every day.   Chris worked super hard and excelled at his job but wanted something more challenging for his brain, not to mention a different work environment. 


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A year later,  he has been promoted (in July) to a position much more suited to his personality and talents.  He has his own office, a wonderful new boss, and several people working under him.  It’s a stressful job, many times, with longer hours, but he is so much happier.  Plus we get to see him at work!  We were never able to do that before!  God is so good.


The one constant throughout the past twelve months has been the precious love of my faithful Savior.   I have ever so much to be thankful for! 

This verse was printed on our wedding programs but it’s just as meaningful to me today as it was over six year ago:

“Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” {Ephesians 3:20-21}

Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving, friends! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thrifty Finds–October and November

I haven’t posted much of my thrifting finds lately, because most of it has been Christmas presents for other people that read this blog! :) Chris and I decided that with Olivia coming right after the holidays, we were cutting back on Christmas this year.  We’ve opted out of some gift exchanges and for others we are openly doing thrift-store finds or homemade gifts.  It’s actually been a lot of fun – I like having an excuse to go thrifting!  lol

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve been picking up lately for myself:

Assorted frames {$4.50 for all 4} for Livi’s nursery – her room is going to be neutral-girly…

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My friend Sara found the flower one for me (clearly the print will be going) but honestly I’m not sure if I want to save it for Livi’s room or keep it for myself and make into a memo board for the kitchen!  lol  I’ll have to see… ;)


Here’s the pretty girly detail on the two left frames:

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I popped into T.J. Maxx a month or two ago and found this little “O” {$.79} and pretty thank-you notes for after she is born {$2.50} in the clearance aisle. 

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Oh how I love those red stickers!  The more the better!  Does anyone else peel to the bottom to see how much they saved off the original price?  Or is that just me?  lol

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Found these today at the Salvation Army 1/2 price sale {along with the big white frame above}.  Old-school Tupperware cups were 29 cents each, the mini whisk was 25 cents, and the vintage orange cup was a quarter, too.  We had those Tupperware cups for years when I was a kid – anyone else?  They’ve seen better days but if they don’t clean up well I’ll just give them to Luke for his bath.  lol

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Last night I went to Goodwill and was SOOOO excited to find this old-school Coca-Cola basket!  It’s not wood (that would be amazing) – it’s the thick plastic kind that would have held cups to go through a big dishwasher in a restaurant.  Maybe this one’s former life was at a hotdog stand?  It has about a million layers of dirt on it but that’s nothing a good scrub can’t fix.  It was only $1.99 and I’m so excited to put it in Luke’s room!

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Nothing too exciting, but Luke will be thrilled with these – 99 cents for all three sheets. 

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Last but not least, we had a family photo shoot for Christmas cards on Sunday and I used these items as props – the tree was $7 and change on sale at JoAnn’s and the “Merry” cutout is currently $1.50 at Michaels.  Cute, right?! Excited to use these this year in the house. 

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If only I could get paid to shop at thrift stores and bargain hunt!  A girl can dream! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

I am happy to announce that the winner of the Operation Christmas Child Giveaway is #1 - Kathy! In all the giveaways I've done, I can't say that number 1 has ever won - the random generator doesn't usually seem to like it!  LOL  So congratulations Kathy! :)  I was so happy to see the comments of those of you packing Christmas boxes - children are blessed by your generosity!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Operation Christmas Child GIVEAWAY!

I have to admit, you guys – I’m a little jealous I can’t enter to win this!  lol  But it is an honor to help spread the word about this amazing organization, and I’m happy that one of you will get a fun package in the mail!

We’ll get to the giveaway in just a minute, but first, a little about Operation Christmas Child.  This is a project near and dear to my heart!  It is an outreach of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and development program run by Franklin Graham, son of the one and only Billy Graham.  The mission of OCC is “to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

In a nutshell, every November people around the world pack a shoebox with toys, treats, and educational supplies for children in developing countries around the world.  They are distributed to the children by Christmas, and for many children this is the only gift they receive for the holiday. 

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You can choose the gender and age range of the child you’d like to buy for.  Chris and I typically choose 10-14 year old boy, just because we figure it’s probably the least shopped-for category.   We usually make it a date night – we’ll shop for the gifts, then go to Starbucks afterward! 

Here’s an example of what’s going in one of our boxes this year:

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Mini soccer ball {with an air pump}
Practice kicker for soccer ball {can you tell my husband was a soccer player?!}
Sketchpad with colored pencils, regular pencils, and a sharpener
Silly string
Washcloth, and bar of soap {not pictured}

There’s a whole list of packing ideas (and what’s not allowed to be packed) on the OCC website. 

Our church is accepting the boxes this Sunday morning, but you can use this finder on their website to find a packing location near you!  If you have additional questions about how to pack a shoebox, check out their FAQ page (please feel free to ask me a question in the comments or via e-mail, as well!). 

It is SUCH an amazing idea and I literally can’t sit through one of their videos in church without bawling my eyes out.  The kids get SO excited to see their gifts!  It is so, so precious. 


To help spread the word about OCC, they sent me a giveaway package to send on to one of you!  Here’s what one lucky person will be getting in the mail:

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- An OCC t-shirt {second picture shows the back}.  This is a thin gray material with pretty scroll designs on it (definitely for a woman, sorry guys!).  Size L but I’m really short and it wasn’t that big on me! 

- A SIGNED, Limited Deluxe Edition “Christmas with Scotty McCreery” magazine, PLUS his new Christmas CD AND a 2013 Scotty calendar {hellooooo any American Idol fans out there?!!}**

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- Two OCC ornaments for your tree this year {one for you and one for a friend; pics below show front and back}

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So fun, right?! 

All you have to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment on this post discussing anything you want about OCC.  Your comment can be anything from “I’ve never heard of this org before but it sounds awesome!” to “We do this every year and we always put ____ in our boxes.” 

Seriously, as long as your comment has something to do with OCC, you will be entered to win!  The giveaway closes on Monday night. 

In the meantime, it’s not too late to fill a shoebox and get it out!  A child will be so blessed by your generosity! :)


**The Scotty magazine came to me a little scratched in the box but the CD looks to be just fine.  I was tempted to play it and test it out but I refrained. lol.  Just wanted to give full disclosure!**

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I’m Loving Wednesday

{1} Electricity! 

In my last post, I mentioned that we were in the midst of Hurricane Sandy here in CT.  Well, about 2 hours after typing that, we did lose power - from Monday to Friday.  The first few days weren’t so horrible, but then the temperatures dropped and I started to get really scared.  We were helped by so many generous friends with generators and made it through the dark week!  As I type this post, “Storm Athena” is swirling around outside but I’m not as scared of it {although honestly I still think we’ll lose power again}. Currently, though, my house is warm and cozy and lit and I am SO thankful for it while it lasts!

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So today I’m baking and making sure all our laundry is caught up.  Last year my mom traded me this bread machine for a big basket I was selling at my yard sale.  This thing is literally about 20 years old {we used it when I was a kid} but it still works great!  Today I’m trying a new recipe – Cinnamon Raisin Bread – and I can’t wait to eat it!  Hoping I have power tomorrow so I can have cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast!  Yum. 


{2} Deals and Steals

Does anyone else get super excited about Target holiday clearances?  I LOVE them.  Stuff gets to 90% off just because it was branded for the holiday and you can get great deals on stuff if you look beyond the packaging!  I’ve been shopping these sales for years and don’t plan on stopping soon. ;)

For instance, these Butterfinger pumpkins {one of Chris’s faves} were only 10 cents a package, as were the M&M packs – which will be perfect for making pretzel kisses over the holidays.

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I also found these items at a different Target for 30 cents each – cute little brown bags, adorable baker’s twine {for holiday wrapping!} and cute apple tissue paper to use for Luke’s teacher gifts.  Love!

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{3} Apples

I normally like eating apples, but this pregnancy I just can’t get enough of them!  We have a local orchard about 10 minutes from the house and today I stopped into their store to pick up some so we’d have fruit to eat during the storm.  These were some of the last of the Macs they had for the season {my faves!}.  I love them plain or dipped in a little natural peanut butter.  Delish.  There is SUCH a difference in local, fresh fruit as compared to fruit from the supermarket!

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{4} Paint decision- done!

I finally decided on a paint color for Livi’s room!  The color is called “London Fog” by Benjamin Moore.  It’s the one on the left in that super creepy photo below.  lol  It’s hard to describe – it’s a little beige, a little gray, with almost a faint hint of sparkle and purple mixed in (I sound crazy, I know). 

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I was inspired to use it after seeing it used on the blog Dear Lillie.  I think it will be perfect for my girl’s neutral room – Chris is going to paint the weekend before Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to get in there and get decorating!! :)

There’s my scatterbrained list for this week!  Even though I’m not loving what happened last night – I really believed that Governor Romney would have been the perfect person to turn our country around fiscally – I’m loving that I serve a great God who is above all!

Have a wonderful rest of your week, everyone!

Linking up with Jamie today!