Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun finds for the people on your Christmas list.

If you haven't heard of uncommon goods, stop reading and go there now... well maybe wait until you get to the end of this post, but either way do it quick. I love this shop and all the fun finds.

Here are some of my favorites from the latest catalogue:

I LOVE these heads. I think they would look amazing in a modern boy's room/nursery.

I bought these socks for Libby in the jewel tones seen here as well as the pastel version. I LOVE them! so cute and very durable with little to no fading from washing.

The veterinarian in me couldn't resist these super cool pet blue prints. For most dog and cat breeds including mutts! I think these would look tres chic in a man's office.

Personalized family pillows! What a great idea for a cool chair. I love that you can include your pets too.

This is on my personal wish list. I love soup and a sandwich but there aren't any good plates so you wind up having to carry the bowl then the plate, plus your drink. This tray solves that problem beautifully.

I think these faux cork candles are fantastic! we're not big wine drinkers but I think they would add so much ambiance to a wine and cheese party or just a grown up get together.

These whiskey stones are a great idea for the man in your life. I know love the idea of the soapstone keeping the scotch cold w/o watering it down.

Must see movie

Apparently this movie came out in 2009 but I only heard of it recently thanks to Netflix and I finally watched it last night. The lead role is played by who I consider to be the most beautiful woman in the world, Ethiopian born model Liya Kebede.

Desert Flower is about the life of Somali born supermodel Waris Dirie. She was a victim of female genital mutilation at age 3 and was to be married at 10 or 11 to an old man in her village to become his 4th wife. Instead of succumbing to that fate she walked across the desert to Mogadishu to her grandmother's house. She then went to work as a maid for her aunt in London became homeless and then went on to become a supermodel who advocates against female circumsision.
Apparently some EIGHT THOUSAND little girls have the entirety of their genitalia cut off a DAY. Typically using rusty/dull razor blades the tissue is removed and then they are sewn up until they are married at which time their husband uses a knife to cut open the scar tissue to consumate the marriage. Many girls die from the proceedure either at the time of the surgery from blood loss or at child birth due to complications from the mutilation.
Sadly though I knew that FGM was in practice I had NO idea that it was still practiced in such numbers. I highly recommend everyone watch the film to find out ways you can help stop this practice.

Cowboys and Indians

This year for Halloween Ezra wanted to dress up as John Wayne his favorite cowboy.

Luckily Michael obliged me and wore the indian head dress I found in the stockyards for $4.00!!
We decided to try Boo at the Zoo this year but Ezra totally freaked out b/c of the huge numbers of people there and the fact that there were some scary costumes.  He refused to let me put him down for the first hour he was so scared.  A clear indication that he still has lots of healing to do b/c of his sensory processing disorder.  My arms quickly became tired so Daddy turned into the official pack mule carrying both kiddos.
Sadly I had to put a flower over Libby's face since we have to wait until she's adopted to show her off :(

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What adoptive parents want YOU to know about adoption

I read this post on a fellow America World family's blog and I just thought it was fantastic and I had to share it here. To read the post directly from the Wade's blog click HERE. Otherwise just read below.  In my version I've included my own 2 cents in red.

The longer we wait for our referral, the less and less people seem to know what to say to us. So, inspired by this quote, I reached out to my friends in the adoptive community.

"The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?"
- Laura Bush

Seventeen waiting mothers
(plus one extra) chimed in on what we Do and Don't want you to say to us about adoption. Here is an abbreviated and anonymous collection of our thoughts.

The Words That HURT Us:

"The worst is when people say " oh when you get your kid watch out you will probably get pregnant, then you will have your own.""

"...most people don't say anything at all- I'm sure it's because they
don't know what to say. But to me, that's one of the most painful ways to
respond. I want to talk about it. It is real to us and I want it to be real to
them too (especially to the people we are closest with). To not bring it up is
to both deny the pain of what we're going through and to deny the reality that there really will be a child for us at some point. Can you imagine someone going through a pregnancy with their friends and family never asking how they are doing or how the baby is doing?"

" very least favorite thing to hear goes something like this: "Well, why don't you just try to get pregnant" or "Are you sure you don't want to just have 'one of your own'" or "Are you going to try to get pregnant now?" "You should get checked out, it might be an easy fix". I could go on but I'm starting to make myself angry :) The problem doesn't lie in whether or not we can become pregnant. The problem lies in the assumption. The assumption that since it is a harder and longer journey to our Ethiopian
child, we would want to 'take the easy road and just get pregnant'. That a
biological child would be more desirable."

"I guess my advice would be to be mindful of an adoptive mom's
feelings at baby showers."

"...everyone wants to tell me about "someone they know" that got pregnant as soon as they adopted and then proceed to tell me how I shouldn't worry because "it's" going to happen for me, clearly meaning pregnancy."

"We have been waiting so long, that people have stopped asking me about it. And when I bring it up they say, "Well, I was going to ask but..." trailing off with a regretful look. To which I want to say, "But WHAT?!"

"I too, having dealt with infertility get the "don't worry, as soon as you adopt
you will get pregnant". To which I respond "I hope not! My kids are in

"The average person doesn't see that pregnancy and adoption are so very similar. My friends asked me to co-host a baby shower, without thinking that it might be an emotional issue for me. My friends ask me to go see a new baby in the hospital, without understanding that it is a loaded environment. My daughter probably won't be born in a hospital. My daughter's mother could die without ever seeing a doctor. My daughter- the one who I will raise, and love, and take to college and shop for wedding dresses with- will be born without me. I'll never hold her as a newborn. I may never know what she looked like as a newborn. That is heartbreaking. I know that it is what we asked for and I will endure that loss for my daughter. But it is something I am walking around with on my heart every day. And I wish the rest of the world would respect that right now."

"We had a good friend who asked us after a garage sale adoption fundraiser (loudly between church services), "so did you make enough money to buy your next baby yet?" Yikes! Talk about the wrong comment to make!"

"My mother has asked a couple times about how I feel about how the process is going. When I get emotional about it, she gets worried and thinks this isn't a good idea and asks me again, "why don't you want to have your own kids? (don't even get me started on the whole "own kids" thing!). It is really beyond her that I would willingly put myself through all this pain. I think she thinks there is something wrong with me...some horrible fear of pregnancy or some deep psychological issue on why I don't want to get pregnant instead of feeling God calling us to this life."

"It drives me nuts when people say we should just give up and have our own child (which we can do, adoption is a choice for us). When people say this I really want to launch into the statistics of orphans, starving children, the aids pandemic, or some other truthful, but unhelpful conversation and then ask them if I should really just give up and try to conceive."

"During one [baby shower] I was sitting by a pregnant friend (not the one the shower was for) and person after person came up and said things to her such as, "You will have your baby here before you know it!" and things like that. And all of them knew I was adopting and I couldn't help but feel a little offended that no one said anything to me. I might not have a big belly but I'm still carrying around a child in my heart and longing for the day I get to see his or her face and have him or her with me in person."
As many of the other families wrote above, one of the things we hear ALL the time is that we will probably get pregnant right after we adopt, but it is said in a way like once we get through our adoptions, our REAL child will come.  And though I'm sure it is in no way meant to come across that way, it really makes me angry b/c it's like saying my children are less special then a biological child would be, and I'm not really a REAL mom.
What frustrates me the most is that people automatically assume we are infertile and don't even ask us why we chose to adopt. 
I would love to have to chance to talk with these people about adoption and share our testimony with them to share God's call in our lives and to let them know what an AMAZING blessing adoption has been for our family. I can not imagine growing our family in any other way. 
Lastly, the other thing that makes me SUPER angry are other adoptive families who say dumb s--t.  Calling Africa a country instead of a continent, not wanting to accept a referral because a baby looked "uptight" in it's photo,  having only negative things to say about the child's birth country...  International adoption is already under a lot of scrutiny, so we do NOT need uneducated, inappropriately prepared families trying to adopt these kids and putting this stuff out there basically just fueling the fire for groups who want to shut down international adoption already.

The Words That HELP Us:

"To me, the most helpful and loving thing that people can do is to acknowledge and validate the pain we are feeling, to cry with us, and to pray for us, especially as we are in this waiting process. We just want the people in our lives to say, "We love you guys and we are so sorry that you are experiencing this pain right now. We are praying for you." That to me is so much more helpful than the person who glibly responds that we need to trust God and it's all going to work out."

"I just like it when people ask me real and honest questions. Questions like,
"So what happens next?" or "Why does it work that way?" Honest, real questions mean a lot to me. It lets me know that they are concerned."

"I like being able to educate people and be an advocate. I love when people walk away saying "Wow, I never realized there was so much to it..."

"I love when people ask questions about adoption, especially when they really seem interested."

"I just want them to say something, ask anything. I ache sometimes to share and don't know how to bring it up. There is no new news about our adoption, but I love to talk about it. About how my heart longs for my Ethiopian Children, how there isn't a night that goes by that my heart cries out to our Father in Heaven for them. It is such a silent process for those of us in the wait, but I think it is a beautiful thing to share our passion for God's children. So I would tell anyone who wants to say something or ask a question. Do it. Speak up. We would love to share!"

"I would rather have someone say something like, "I have no idea what that must have been like and how you must be feeling, but I love you and am here for you.""

"I guess I WOULD like people to acknowledge that this is hard road, a note of encouragement (not trite, easy answers), or a hug with a genuine, "let's go to lunch and you can share your struggles with me"...and then actually follow up and listen without getting that glazed look on their faces! I guess I want some support from people, even if it is a quick note to say they were thinking about us with genuine concern."

"...we have friends here in Flagstaff who brought their 9 month old son home from Ethiopia in August. This is their 2nd ET adoption as well and we have become good friends. I was at her baby shower once Makeo was home. I was overjoyed to go to the shower and celebrate with them, but for the next week, I was a mess. Irritable, moody, and quick tempered. I didn't realize what the problem was until she sent me a note. She sent me a thank you note for my shower gift, but also wrote, "I appreciate so much that you attended our shower. I KNOW how hard it must have been for you to be there knowing how much you ache to have your little one in your arms. Your friendship is so valuable to us! We are praying for you and for your referral. Thank you!" I couldn't stop crying tears of relief when I got that note. It was probably the most thoughtful note I had ever received concerning the adoption process and I felt validated that this is indeed difficult."

"The very best way one person has reacted is every.single.time she sees me she gets really excited and asks if we've heard anything yet. I always have to say no but she reassures me it WILL happen."

"Our small group also prays for us to get our referral every week. Even when I feel defeated and shrug my shoulders saying they can pray if they feel like it. They pray with such sincerity and urgency that I always end up in tears."

"I want people to acknowledge that we're adopting and even though it has taken longer then we hoped, that it will happen and that they are happy for us."
What helped me most during our first adoption was just having a support group of other adoptive parents who could actually relate to our situation.  We didn't know any other families who'd adopted so I really felt isolated a lot of the time and couldn't really connect with any other mothers because our experiences were different.  I had a friend who got pregnant and had her baby and got pregnant for baby number 2 all in the time it took for us to complete one adoption so having someone to call that knew exactly what that felt like was a blessing.  Also just reading blogs of other adoptive families and seeing their photos and videos of them with their children reaffirmed to me that there was a child at the end of the journey.
 How We Feel About The Children We Are Waiting For:

"As a Momma who has been blessed with 2 children of my womb and 2 of my heart (one of those whom I will finally meet in 3 weeks), let those who tell you such things know from my own testimony ... that ALL my children are MY children, MY OWN ... loved the same and as much as the next. Nothing different in the way I love and adore them, except the way in which the Lord brought them into our family. All of them call me Mommy and all of them are MINE ALL MINE (Well ...of course HIS first and foremost)."

"And to the lady that said "you wouldn't understand unless you have had your own" I would say, "and you can't understand the love of adoption unless YOU have experienced it". As hard as this extreme slow down in Ethiopia has been, I am still so grateful that God has called us to adoption. I am amazed every day at the miraculous way God grows a love in my heart for a child on the other side of the world. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing."

"Those people who say that it is different to have your "own," they don't
understand the tremendous blessings and gifts of being called to this journey. They may never know. So I always try to say something like, "Well this has been different, but it has been every bit as exciting, emotional, and wonderful as being pregnant. I'm so THANKFUL that I have gotten to experience this.""
Since we did matched adoption, we aren't really waiting for a child just waiting for rights to be terminated but as far as my kiddos go, with every fiber of my being I can't imagine them being anyone else's children.  They were meant to be mine and they are my flesh and blood.  I feel divinely connected to my children and can't even find words to express how I feel.  I have no biological children to know the difference if there is one, but I know that for ME adoption seems as natural as waking up in the morning and brushing my teeth, it has been a no brainer.  I've known I was meant to adopt since I was a child and the children God has placed into our lives are spectacular.

A lunch date with Ezra to the Stockyards

Today the weather was cloudy and cold but Ezra and I needed to venture out to the Fort Worth stockyards to pick up some items for his cowboy Halloween costume.

We decided to stop and eat at H3 Ranch a great steakhouse along the main stretch of the stockyards.

Ezra enjoyed coloring the kid's menu while we waited.

Then we HAD to make a stop at a new cupcake shop off of Main Street near H3 called La Bella.

Their menu of cupcakes is a page long but they only offer a few specialty items a day and the menu alternates. Luckily today they had MAPLE BACON cupcakes! They blew my mind! I couldn't believe how delicious the bacon was with the sweet buttercream. This is a must stop shop. I encourage everyone to visit and try their sweet deliciousness.

The meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas printable garland

I recently attended a Christmas sale with lots of crafts, clothes, etc. and I saw a garland with the idea of writing the meaning behind each of the 12 days of Christmas. I thought it was a great idea but wasn't about to splurge on the $28.00 garland when I could make my own. So here's what I came up with:

I wanted to share the files with you guys so you could just print out your own version and display it during the holidays.

These files are quite large so you could technically cut and paste each one on a seperate page to print them larger. I grouped them together b/c I knew I wanted them smaller (3.5 X 5) so I used photoshop and selected 8X10 for each page of 4 which rendered 3.5 X 5 size images to cut out. Hope that makes sense. I just wanted them to be larger so you guys could shrink them to whatever size you would like.

I saved this original file as a different size then the others by accident, so I couldn't put it in a group of 4, so you'll have to print this single one out seperately. I just clicked print and changed the size to 3.5 X 5 and voila!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A few digital freebies for you!

Here are 3 little printable freebies. Two are photo frames and the other can be used for invites or note cards or even to label food items for a party table. Just click on the images below to enlarge then save to you computer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Update on the kiddos

Ezra's FAVORITE song is "You are the best thing" by Ray Lamontagne. Ezra actually just calls it "best thing" as in, "Mom want the best thing, want the best thing mom" over and over and over and over and over. The second we get into the car he starts his request.
Click on the video below to hear it if you haven't already"

He also LOVES Adele. One of his favorites is "Rumor Has It". When he sings her songs he uses his "lady voice" it's soooooo darn cute!

Libby obviously hasn't expressed her musical preferences just yet. She does however have no problem letting me know when she's had enough floor play time and wants to be held which is pretty much constantly :)
Libby is quick with a smile and has the most amazing little coos and squeals. Ezra is crazy about his little sister and is already very protective of her. When her hair pieces fall off he's quick to try and put them back on. The name Ezra means "helper" and he has proven to be the epitome of that as he's been a huge help to me with Michael being gone.
Dressing a girl is a dream though my wallet is sad. I have never needed to know how to sew as badly as I do now with all the dress ideas I have in my head.
I love that we have a boy and a girl and I'm so thankful that Ezra has adjusted so well. Libby continues to grow everyday and she's such a blessing to our family.

Fun Fall printable freebie!

I love this time of year love to start decorating the house for the upcoming holiday season. Since Michael is on a short deployment I've been working more and also coming home to be a single mom so I have had to do my decorating in snips of time here and there. I finally got a wreath and most of my fireplace done and here is the end result:

(sorry for the images being so blurry, my little cheapo Wal-Mart camera is not cutting it)

I used metallic spray paint in gold, copper, and a satin black, to paint some pumpkins and made a garland for the mantle and then made some digital bunting penants which I printed out and then hung it with polished hemp.

I created a few extra penants to place on either end and also created a blank .png file so that you can add your own text and create a unique garland if you like. I wanted my penants to be large but you can simply reduce the print size of the images to add more penants to the garland.

Here are the digital files I used. Just click on the images to enlarge then save to your computer and alter the size however you wish.

Is it Super Man or Richard Simmons?

The other day I was in the kitchen and when I turned around this is what greeted me:

Ezra usually dresses up everyday as something. Typically he's either Spiderman or a cowboy, this time I wasn't sure so I asked him, "Hey Mister, who are you today?" he replied, "I'm Superman!" hmmmm.. does Superman also "sweat to the "oldies"?