Friday, July 24, 2009

I Won!!

I feel terrible that I have neglected to share with you the WONDERFUL item I won a few months back!! This is my first time to win something from a blog!! Andrea of Lil' Munchkindoodle made M this fabulous reusable sandwich bag! Her little name is on it and I can't wait for her to use it at Sonshine School this fall! Thank you SOO much Andrea!! Check out Andrea's other super cute things here!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Fave Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I had one for breakfast, 2 for a snack, or was it three, another one for a snack and I still haven't even had dinner yet! I'm in trouble!! If you like a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside kind of cookie, these are for you!

Chocolate Chip Cookies---my mixture of a few different recipes

2 sticks butter (the REAL stuff), softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 heaping tsp. dark chocolate cocoa powder (like Hershey's Special Dark)
1 pkg chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugars and eggs together with an electric mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Add flour, soda, salt and cocoa, mixing just until blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon on an ungreased, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, transfer to cooking rack. Store in airtight container.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

11 Months and Sweet Violet

It's hard to fathom that my little baby girl is 11 months old today! I can't imagine life without her! She makes me so happy! Can't believe a month from today my little one will be a year old!! Life flies by!

M got a beautiful new cousin yesterday with tons of hair, and we got a new niece!! Violet Lane is gorgeous and is the perfect addition to my brother's family! I think big sis Vivian will have so much fun!! We're super excited!!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Dallas Weekend

Watching the ice skaters at the Galleria...she loved watching all of the kids

At the Rangers game
M in her cap from Daddy! Yes, she did get called "Buddy" b/c she looked like a boy in her blue cap:) She was still super cute, though!!
After the game with Mommy
After the game with Daddy...she was falling asleep on the way back to the car.

We decided to take a long weekend and get out of town to the Dallas area. We stayed in The Colony at a nice 2 month old Residence Inn....those are my favorite with a baby! We pretty much always go for a suite-type of hotel now that we have M. It was great, because we could put her to bed and then stay up late and watch TV in the other room. It also had a full kitchen, which was great for her meals.

We had fun eating, shopping (Ikea, Galleria, Central Market (where we got some GREAT video footage of M dancing to a live band), Home Goods, etc.), exploring some new areas, eating some more, and attending a Texas Rangers game! This was M's first baseball game! They were playing the Twins, which just so happened to be Josh's first game back in 1986! She loved clapping and people-watching!

Wish I could share all of the pictures from our fun weekend. Soon, very soon!! We really had a great time and M did great! I am so thankful she is such a great traveler!

Now, we look forward to meeting M's new cousin, Violet, tomorrow!!!

On a side note, thank you for all of the sweet comments and encouraging words on my last post. I am so thankful for the great support system that we (and M) have!! I hope that you will continue to support the voiceless little ones out there, because it's all about THEM!!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts on my heart: Ways I didn't know I'd be touched through foster adoption

M's two new "teefers"
Styling some of Nan Nan's sunglasses on the 3rd of July
M's favorite place to be...standing against the ottoman, attempting to grab the remotes.

Watching Daddy play guitar during Family Fun Night at OC

It's been a weird past few months, working through M's adoption. I talk openly about a lot of it, the things that don't interfere with M's privacy and her story, to anyone who will listen. But, there are lots of things that I don't share, that have really been on my mind lately. I share the fact that her adoption will likely be finalized in September, I share that we fostered her first and fell in love and knew that God intended us to have her forever. But, what I don't share with just everyone are some of the behind-the-scenes emotions.

It's amazing how Josh and I have gotten where we are. What started as a struggle to get pregnant, going through miscarriage, fertility treatments and then the choice to foster earlier on in life than planned, with the intention of still having a biological child, but loving on some other babies in the meantime, led us to the adoption of our first child, who we love more than words could ever express (like that super long sentence:)). God really had to tear us down to get us to the point where we are now. I was one who never thought that adoption would be for me. I was supportive of others, I was supportive of it for myself as a "last resort," but I never planned on falling in love with the idea, more than the idea carrying my "own child" myself. That being said, God is still working on me throughout this process.

We hear so often what not to tell expectant mothers, but rarely, if ever, do we hear of things not to tell expectant (adoptive or foster) mothers. I'm writing these things, realizing that I had to truly be torn apart to be built back up and convicted of path my life is taking. A few years ago, I thought the things like I'm about to share frustration with. But, after living it and being torn down, I can say that I truly have a different view.

Old self:
I could never be a foster parent...I could never give that child would just be too hard for me.

New self:
I'm not on this earth to serve myself or my own emotions. I can sacrifice my own emotions to provide a loving and stable home to an innocent child. Christ has called me to a larger life than my own.

Old self:
Adoption would be a last resort for me; I'd much rather have my "own" child.

New self:
I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity to adopt MY child. To raise a child with a loving family, the opportunity to know Christ, and to love this child no less than I'd ever love a biological child.

Old self:
I would never want to foster or adopt because there is so much red-tape and training and invasion of privacy.

New self:
A few weeks, months or even years are worth every minute, to love a child, who is alone, otherwise. There is no amount of red tape that I wouldn't go through to keep my little M forever. She is worth every last homestudy, financial statement, reference letter, physical, home visit, travel request, interview, etc.

I have been humbled the past few years by all of my preconceived ideals about family and what that would look like for us. I am SOOO amazingly thankful for that! I thank God every day that he humbled me in that area. I am thankful for infertility, I'm thankful for our pregnancy loss, I am thankful for the red tape. Through the heartache, nights of crying myself to sleep, failed fertility treatments, and other emotional roller coasters, I can come out on the other side and truly say, THANK YOU, GOD!!

I know this is my calling, but with every calling I think there also comes a little hesitation. I feel like I've had to give up a lot to get to where I am. Most days I am at peace with that, but there are those moments where I struggle. There are times that I realize I am giving up the ability to tell friends and family that I'm pregnant, or wear maternity clothes or hear my child's heartbeat, or find out the sex during an ultrasound. There are times that I get teary-eyed, realizing I've missed out on the first 3 1/2 weeks of my precious baby's life. I get tears in my eyes, not knowing where my precious baby was for those 3 1/2 weeks...did her foster family love her? There are times when I get hurt that people can't see beyond the color of my baby's skin. There are times I am saddened by the stereo-types placed on my child. There are times that I worry where are future children will come from. There are times that I feel like I don't fit in with others in conversation or phases of life.

However, even through it all, I still have the greatest sense of peace, because IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!! It's about the baby who I hold in my arms every day and forget that I didn't give birth to. It's about the baby who calls me "momma." It's about the baby, who I look down at and forget that she's a different color until I see my bright white skin against hers and for a split second, think she has a tan (this really did happen!!). It's about the baby who I long for people to see as I do, as WE do, as OUR baby. It's about the baby that God has graciously given to me.

HE has broken me down. HE has lifted me up to a new place. HE has taught me it's NOT about NEVER has been. It has always been about HIM and my service to Him. Thank you, God, for breaking me and shattering all of the hopes I thought I needed and allowing me to realize it's about YOU!!!