Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Party Planning...

Check out Heartfelt by Trinity Ridge for all your photography needs: Especially you, NWA!

The M-man turns the big 0-5 this weekend..

I have my sweet "Where has the time gone..LOL" post coming soon.

It will probably blow your mind and force you to submit me for Mom of the Year (or not)

But today? I'm making my list and checking it twice:

Cake mix
Food coloring
White Chocolate flavoring
Cupcake liners
Superhero scrapbook paper for Cupcake wrappers
Picks for cupcake toppers
Mini waterbottles
Tape. Lots of tape.
Those cute little mini ice-cream thingys
My Party Pants.

That about covers it ;-)

Don't forget! Your $5 (or more) donations get you entered into our Awesome Basket of Kitchen Love Giveaway! Only 14 days left!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

31 Families of Hope!

Today you can find me over at Reaching Hearts for their "31 Families of HOPE" series as I talk a little about our adoption journey!


If you are joining us from 31 Nuggets, Welcome!!!  Feel free to look around and while you're here please check out our Giveaway going on right now and consider partnering with us as we journey to our next child...and if that isn't incentive enough? The prize isn't too bad either ;-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big-Fun-Amazing Announcement!

That's right!!

We are ready to announce some amazing news!

We are officially working on our SECOND adoption!

I wish I could sit down over coffee with you and go back and start at the very beginning.

Sitting in the orphanage where we were thanking the caretakers for so fully loving our son.

Feeling those pangs in our spirit.

Trying to brush them off--yet recognizing that God was doing something in those moments...

You see, we hadn't been thinking about a second adoption so quickly.

Frankly?  Our finances don't currently line up....

But we came home and inquired anyways... As it would turn out, there were children WAITING for families.


We were a family who had chosen to adopt older for that very reason. We believed a child was WAITING for us at that moment.

And so we prayed. And worried (okay, that was just me). And contemplated. And talked to our Social Worker. And were told we'd have to wait... Then told we wouldn't...

And before long?

Every door had opened up for us to jump back in!

I can't divulge too much more than that right now...only to say that we anticipate this second adoption might go significantly faster than the first.

I'm filled with joy and excitement. Anticipation and worry. All those things I remember from those first days.. years ago.

But this time around, I've got a few lesson in Patience and Pursuit under my belt. I'm no expert (for sure) but I'm a few lessons closer than I was before!

We would love your prayers and partnership (as our village) as we re-join this crazy world.

  • We are believing for miracles in our finances and in this journey to our SECOND baby!!

  • We are believing that God is going before us and preparing us (and our children) for this new "real"

  • We are believing that we have what it takes to withstand the roller-coaster-like-journey that we know adoption can be...

  • We are trusting that God has impressed on us to jump in and therefore He will make us ready!

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement as we venture into the [slightly less] unknown!

P.S. If you're wondering, Marvel prefers a brother. Or another dog. (because of course he does)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Sunday Share!

Today I have a special edition of Sunday Share!

I am so excited to be featured on The R House in their Blessed by Adoption series!

Go show me some love over there and stay around! The R House is an awesome website and Mrs. R honors all the important points in the triad (birthfamily, children, adoptive family), speaks openly about the beauty of open adoptions and celebrates adoption and all it's blessings!  I am so inspired by all the stories I have read and am so excited to be part of that series today!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mommy Guilt

I knew it was coming.

I mean, it was unlikely that I was going to be the exception to the rule....

The truth is?

I work full-time.

Sometimes I have to travel (though not often--and not far).

And even with a flexible schedule, there are things that I just. can't. get. out. of.

So what does that mean?

It means that I missed Marvel's first field trip.

It means that Marvel is part of the exclusive "after-care" crew whose parents aren't waiting in the pick-up lane at 3pm.

It means that I can't volunteer in his classroom like some moms can.

Or help decorate the bulletin boards (??).

And it often means that I am the last mom signing up for food for the Thanksgiving Feast, or Grandparents Day (don't even get me started on the guilt they smooshed all over me for that one...) or their Israel song celebration (again. ?)

But all of that? I could deal with.

I could hold my head high when picking Marvel up 10 minutes before the $1/minute after-after care starts.

I could smile on my way out the door as I pass the volunteering mommas on their way in.

I could even sleep at night knowing I didn't sign-up to bring anything for Israel-song-grandparent-thanksgiving-feast-day.

But missing a school production?

With all the costumes? The song and dance? The smiling faces as kids see their parents in the crowds?

That has almost destroyed me.

I'm swimming in Mommy-guilt, ya'll.

You see, I have a commitment with work at an event 2 hours away.

And Marvel's production? Is at 9:30 in the morning (why do they keep doing this to me??)...

The Husband has graciously offered to go in my place, video the whole thing, cheer and even bring a dish for the celebration afterwards...

And I'll take him up on all of the above.

But?  I should be there.

Tearing up because my baby is singing some ridiculous song on stage.

Laughing and visiting with all the other moms during the refreshments after.

Hugging and cheering when the announce Marvel's name and he comes running down to me.

Because I'm the momma.

And that's what we do.

And even though I knew I would --at some point-- suffer the wrath of mommy guilt?

It doesn't make it any easier.....

Tell me this won't scar my child forever please??

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Share

I read some amazing blogs.

Some that I agree with, Some that I don't.

But regardless their perspectives are important and valid and every week let's be honest periodically on Sunday Share, I want to point you in the direction of those blogs that I was gripped by during the week!

If you need a good "shake your head" adoption moment, you should head over to Rage Against The Minivan and watch the video posted here!  While it made me laugh, the truth is that I would hope that in the midst of the humor it brings to reality some of the insensitive things that are often chunked at transracial familes.  She also has a couple links to posts about things you can say as alternatives ;-)  Good stuff here, friends!

Next is an awesome post from One Thankful Mom about the special sleep needs of our children from hard places. This one hit me in the gut since it has been our greatest area of need since bringing Marvel home! Great thoughts!

Finally Kelly over at My Overthinking wrote a post that had me thinking all week about opportunities I might be missing in my life....Ya'll should check out The Word In Mandarin  

Over here? We're gearing up for a busy week of swim lessons, birthday parties, soccer games and a quick family trip.  Whew!! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tools of Transition: The Schedule

For the introduction to this series, click Here!

As many of you know, Marvel is our first little one.

Needless to say, these were unchartered waters.

We were are a little green when it comes to the whole "parenting" thing. And then, the icing on the cake?

We jumped into the pool in the deep end.

By adopting an older child and taking the poor thing halfway around the world to navigate everything from language to cultural norms to family....Nice.

But, after reading so much literature and speaking with so many people who had been 'there', I knew that structure would be key. 

Flexible. Adjustable. Compromising.

And yet... Unchanging. Solid. And Dependable.


For us? It was important that Marvel have some control over the schedule and be able to refer back to it often.  There was a season, right after we got home, when I was able to stay home with him so this schedule became quickly integrated into our lives. We started the day off by looking at the schedule to see "what was first" and it wasn't long before several times a day, Marvel would come running into the room say "First this, then this, then this!" 

It was obvious that structure gave him peace and helped him feel in control of what was happening.

We used laminated pictures with velcro backs to indicate individual items.

There are two velcro strips on the board that the pictures can adhere to and a variety of activities to put on the board!

Many of Marvel's favorite things on the schedule included tv (go figure), book time, and learning time.

As you can see, below the schedule there are folders for each day (except Friday when we did field trips) with workbooks in them. During those first few months, we were strategic in what we learned each day and each learning time was rewarded with a sticker!  

Now? Marvel is in school all day and rarely desires additional learning time in the evenings. But when he does (usually on the weekends) he will go through his folders and pick out a workbook to go through on his own!

I think that the best part of our calendar/learning time system was the foundation it laid for Marvel. Now, when he's bored on a Sunday afternoon (and is out of tv minutes) he often goes to look at the calendar to see what comes next and will fill any empty minutes with things like puzzles, books, and learning time!


The other piece of structure that-- we realized very quickly-- would be important to Marvel is the Responsibility Chart

Marvel came from a living situation in which chores were obviously part of his reality. He very quickly began taking on little bits of responsibility each day without us even prompting.

The first was his desire to care for Moses, our dog.

Marvel really wanted to take care of Moses, thus his daily chore became feeding and watering Moses and letting him in/out as needed. The rest of the days had rotating "chores" like helping with laundry, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning his room, and cleaning the backyard.  

The chart was built for longterm use and the idea of adding additional chores as well as additional children to the mix. We really only use the top week and rotate there as necessary but I am hopeful this Responsibility Chart has a long life in our family!!

Finally talking about surprised and changes to the schedule were and still are really important for Marvel to be able to process and deal with what happened next.

One example of a [really recent] time this was made completely evident was when school was out of session one day but they had an optional child-care. I hadn't really prepared Marvel for the fact that his teacher, classroom routine and basically everything "normal" was going to be different. 

That was a big big big mistake. 

It reminded me that even though Marvel seems so well-adapted at times, we have to be consistent in the way we handle new situations because his little mind and body are still processing so much!!

In our world, structure has been a glue that has held us together at times!!! Definitely an important tool!!

Stay tuned for the next edition of Tools of Transition!