"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."
-Anonymous

Friday, February 24, 2012

7



Here is my new favorite book:
(at least for right now...)


This book is so darn good! It was life changing for me (sort of).  I am so inspired by it (most of the time).  I hope to change the way I live my life because of this book (until I lose my motivation).  But seriously, this book was just what I needed (and continue to need).  If you read my last post, you know I am feeling like life is crazy and days are hectic.  This book was written for people like me who need the book version of a slap in the face to "wake up!"  

Jen Hatmaker decided that her life was a bit "too much."  Too much food, waste, spending, and of course, too much stress.  She felt "trapped in the machine of excess."  She decided to take seven months of her life (and that of her family) and make some serious changes.  What followed was amazing. Every month, Jen focused on one change.   Jen would only "eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places (sounds easier than it is!)".  She eliminated the use of seven media types, gave away seven things each day for one month, adopted seven green habits, and observed seven sacred pauses throughout each day.

Jen Hatmaker is an awesome writer (at least in this book she is...to be honest, this is the only book I've ever read of hers...I'll be reading her others soon!). Her book reads like her diary for the seven months that she was conducting this "experiment."  She is so stinkin funny!
Here is an example of her writing on DAY 1 of her seven foods month...she gave up coffee...
"Dear coffee:  I miss you already.  We're just on a break.  Don't worry.  They say if you love something, set it free; and if it comes back to you, then it was truly addicted to you in the first place.  Hold onto that.  Mark it down: Jen/Java reunion in thirty days.  Be strong."

On a more serious note, the book explores the real problem with having so much excess.  We are all trapped to some degree.  The bottom line of this book is, "Would Jesus overindulge on garbage food while climbing out of a debt hole from buying things He couldn't afford to keep up with neighbors He couldn't impress?"  "...consider what Jesus' version of rich, blessed, and generous might look like in your life."
Well said Jen.

This weekend I plan to re-read parts of the book again in an effort to embed it's main message in my weak brain.  Please let me know if you have read this book (or any of Jen Hatmaker's other books).  
It would be awesome to hear your thoughts!
P.S.  One of my little goals for 2012 is to not buy myself ANY clothes...It is February 24th and I am still going strong...still trying to figure out if adoption fundraiser t-shirts count...and scarves... clearly they are accessories and NOT clothes, right?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where do I begin?

I am not even sure where to begin this post.  I have been out of the habit of blogging for so long, that I don't know how to jump back in.  My goal in writing this blog has always been to connect with other adoptive moms.  It has been amazing to get to "know" so many of you.  I am not sure who is still reading this, but please know that I still follow your blogs regularly and love to hear updates about your families!  Another goal of mine is to use this blog as a sort of scrapbook of our family memories.  Gone are the days when I would haul out the paper, cutting tools, stickers, etc. and create beautiful scrapbooks.  Now, I am lucky to have a few minutes to sit at my computer and type up a few thoughts to remember the moments in our lives.
With that said, I have decided to make blogging a priority again.  I have so much to share.  I have a great project that I have been working on (seems like forever!) that I can't wait to tell you all about.  I have LOTS of super cool recipes to share (I may do a weekly Pinterest shout out), and I really want to keep documenting our adoption journey.  There is one thing I have learned throughout our adoption experience...adoption isn't something that you "do" and then move on from.  Adoption is something that will be a part of your family life at all times...there will continue to be ups and downs, challenges to muddle through, and new situations that need to be addressed as your child grows and matures.  I treasure the advice and experiences that I read about on other blogs.  I can only hope that sharing some of our experiences might help another family in "blog world" somewhere!

In an effort to catch you all up, here is a little family update...
Grace was very into Valentine's Day this year.  She was decked out in her sweet shirt from my friend Kim.  You can order one of these super cool shirts HERE.  Kim and her family are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia and are (patiently ;)?) waiting for a court date...
Don't you love these Valentines?  My inspiration came from a fellow blog buddy (Gayla) a whole year ago!  When I saw her son's valentine last year, I knew that we would copy her this year.  They turned out so cute.  They really looked 3D.  

One of the reasons that I have been so busy and off of my computer:
Alyssa's dance team made it to "state" and headed to a big dance team competition.  It was a ton of fun for her, but a little freaky for her mom who had to send her on a bus for two nights in a hotel with a bunch of high school girls!  Of course, I was not far behind and it was a fun for her dad and me to watch the competition and to focus on her team's success without her siblings in tow (thanks grandma and grandpa!).


Alyssa was also busy with more dancing of a different kind...The school's Snow Ball dance was this month.  There is nothing cuter than a bunch of freshman all dressed up for a formal dance.  It was fun to talk to the moms of boys who explained that their kids just figured out what they were going to wear at the last minute.  The girls, meanwhile, have been planning their outfits and accessories for a LONG time.  I think Alyssa tried on more dresses for this dance than I did when selecting my wedding dress.

Alyssa continues to bring us joy.  She is such a busy girl.  She dances countless hours each week at the dance studio and the high school, yet she continues to be an excellent student and wonderful daughter.  I am still waiting for the icky teenager stuff to hit, but so far we are nothing but blessed by Alyssa.

Drew has been busy with sports of all sorts.  He and his basketball team are traveling all around to tournaments and are really starting to come together as a team.  Drew has such a great attitude about staying busy.  He never complains about going to practice or having to do nothing but homework after school so that he can get done before practice.  In addition to basketball, he plays indoor baseball once a week (I guess this is to stay "fresh" for the real baseball season to start?), and goes to a speed camp twice a week (I have no explanation for this except that some parents seem to think this is good for kids to get faster and more agile...I am just happy that Drew (who loves to be active) gets a chance to run around and play inside during the dead of winter).


What do I say about Bryce?  Well, he is as creative as ever.  This picture was taken because he wanted me to take it and print it out so that he could draw his body with  "six pack abs"  and boxing gloves...OK.  Enough said.  He loves to create, build things, and is really into the book series The Series of  Unfortunate Events. The reader in me gets so excited when I walk into a room and see him snuggled up with a book!  I can't help but hug him and say (with so much joy) "look at you...you are a reader like me now!!!"  I can only hope that this love of reading will stick.  
Bryce is also playing basketball on a tournament team.  It is pretty cute to see a bunch of third grade boys playing basketball...



And then there's Grace.  She continues to amaze everyone she meets.  She is so stinkin smart.  I can take no credit for this, as I had very little to do with it.  She loves to do "homework" when the big kids are working on their homework.  She will plop down and write all sorts of words by sounding them out.  She seems to have a love of learning.  We recently signed her up for kindergarten for next year and she was beaming with pride.  She is READY to go now!  She looks forward to being at the same school as her brother Bryce.
For now, she goes to preschool three mornings a week.  She has a nice class and a wonderful preschool teacher.  One extra cool thing about her school is that they have a "sister" school in Ethiopia!  How cool is that?  They recently collected donations and supplies to send to the school kids in Ethiopia.  Love it!
Grace thought it was pretty cool that one of the wise men had skin like hers!

My husband Doug get very little attention on this blog, yet this post could not be written without him.  He is such a great guy.  Here he is on the day that Grace came home...note how little she was a year and a half ago!  Doug has been super busy with work.  He is traveling all around the country all the time, yet does an amazing job of staying involved in all the kids' activities and performances.  He works hard all day and then spends all night doing kid stuff, and then finds time to workout almost every day (I do hate that part because I feel like a lump compared to him!).  
During this month of love and Valentine's Day, I would be remiss to not mention my love for my husband.  I recently needed to spend some time in the hospital (another reason for lack of blogging) and he was so awesome.  I had some nasty stuff going on and felt like crap (I may write more about this another time....trying to erase the memory from my mind for now).  One of the things that I remember clearly from the ER, was that holding my husband's hand brought me comfort.  Real comfort.  I am so blessed to have a great family, four beautiful kids, and one really great husband.  Even though Doug and I made a truce this Valentine's Day to not buy gifts for each other, and to not really do much of anything to celebrate, it was enough to know that we have each other.  Hopefully even though we don't show a ton of outward public displays of affection and go on a ton of dates, our kids will know what love looks like and how to be there for one another through good times and bad.  


So, there you have it.  This is what has kept me busy the past month or so.  Now that I feel I am caught up, I can start blogging about other fun stuff, projects, giveaways, etc.
Stay tuned for more to come... SOON!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fashion Plates


Here is a little secret for you...I am not a good "player."  I don't love to play games with Grace during the day.  I don't love to play with stuffed animals.  I don't love to play preschool board games.  I realize that I need to do these things, but I don't love it.  So...I started to think about how, as a kid, I must have liked to play, right?  I thought about what some of my favorite toys were.  Enter "Fashion Plates."  I doubt there are many of you reading this that will know what I am talking about, but I can remember spending tons of time creating what I thought would be the coolest "outfits" with these low tech plastic templates.  Just think, this was popular before Project Runway (which I do love).  
To make a long story short, I ordered some vintage Fashion Plates from Ebay (I'll never tell how much I spent).  Today I introduced Grace to fashion "design."  She seems to really like it.  She also seems to have a great eye for fashion from the late 70's and early 80's.  We'll see where this takes us...