Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not-So-Happy Halloween

I still hope YOU had a great one though!
...more to follow.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Phone Call With K

Number crunching has been taken to a whole new level this week!  We're hitting record levels of referrals over here folks (in fact, Kiersten told me on the phone that this might have been the busiest week of her career in that aspect - WOW!  More on that later...)

If you're not my friend on FB, you might be wondering what kind of movement we're talking about here! you know, our official October number was 21.  We are now UNofficially (only unofficial because it hasn't come out of the mouths of an AGCI staff member) number 13!!!  And pretty much all of this has happened in the last two-ish weeks. 

I know, cRaZy right?!?! =)

So just for you number crunchers (or my sanity, you'll never know!!)...the wait time for a baby girl has decressed from 10 months, to 9 1/2 months to 9 months (for the last couple families) with 5 referrals a month.  If it continues at that rate we can expect to receive a referral by late January or early February.  But for those of you still praying with me for my Christmas miracle...have hope!  Our listkeeper herself (Traci, THANK YOU) just made the jump from #14 to #2 in about FIVE WEEKS!  So...miracles DO happen and we will NOT stop praying.  But that being said...I REALLY DO feel at peace with God's timing here.  I would be THRILLED to get a referral before (or around ;) Christmas...but if we have to wait until January, I am really truly okay with that.  God and I have had our talks...and He's got this folks!  =)

Nearing the top ten has put me on a whole 'nother TIER of excitement over here - I don't think I can even describe it!

I've taken the first steps towards figuring out our International Pediatrician this week.  I contacted a friend of ours who brought home their daughter in January to get the name of the pediatrician they used.  We had talked about it before, and this doc comes highly recommended both from AGCI and our social worker as I already knew that was who I wanted to go with.  Janice was MORE than helpful with all her information (thank you SO much girlfriend!).  So yesterday I sent an email to them asking for as much information as possible, making sure they are still taking referrals, and giving them a time estimate of when we can realistically expect a referral.  I got a response today and it sounds like I have everything in order!  At this point all I have to do is contact them when we DO get a referral and email them all the information we receive from AGCI (including pictures) for them to examine.  Then they will do a 30-45 minute phone call consultation with us.  Makes me giddy just thinking about it ;)

But after completing THAT, I started going a little stir-crazy thinking about what a WHIRLWIND it will be after we see Lil Miss' face for the first time!  So I decided to call Kiersten (our caseworker).  She, of course, was busy with other stuff (probably referrals because we just heard of a BUNCH MORE!!! =) so I left a message of when would be the best time to talk. 

TODAY my mind was at the peak of excitement.  I waited anxiously by my computer hoping for some more referral news, but not sure if I could take any more of it this week!  (Who am I kidding, yes I can!!!)  And then I realized that with my head in the clouds, seeing K's name on my caller ID might put me into a frenzy (and an unnecessary one at that)!  So I tried her one more time.  "Hello, AGCI, Kiersten speaking!"  WOW, didn't expect that! 

It was SO good to get to speak to her.  She answered all our questions and assured us that we have everything in line right now for our referral, we just have to continue to wait.  I, of course, informed K of Hub's time off in December and told her that it would be a GREAT time for a referral!!  ;)  She laughed and assured me she was the be-all, end-all in the decision and she would see what she could do to coordinate with the Ethiopian government (haha, SEE how helpful she is! =)!! 

BUT since YOU all are following me along on this journey, I thought you might also be interested in what we get to look forward to! =)  So here's a little explanation after what I talked about with K!

- After we officially accept the referral (sign all the documents, International Pediatrician consult, ect.)...the time frame between that and our first trip (the court date) will be anywhere from two - three months.  K said they (the courts) have been actually been handing out court dates pretty quickly, they are just a little further out than they used to be, so that's what the wait is there.
- MAY have been hearing rumors about ET switching to ONE court date, and it sounds like that is CORRECT!  AGCI already has 3 families that are scheduled for one court date.  Although they haven't had a family go through that yet, they assume THIS is how it will look like:
            - In the morning: birth family goes to court and gives testimony and judge will review that
               and all the other documents in place.
            - In the afternoon: adoptive parents (that's US!) goes to court for testimony and final hearing.
            - POSSIBLY at the end we will get the opportunity to MEET the birth family.
- K did say that, as always, there is a possibility we won't pass court on the first try.  The judge has, in a way, a CHECKLIST that has to be complete before they can declare the child legally ours.  If he or she can't check off one thing on the checklist, they need to reschedule us to do so.  Don't worry...we won't have to travel again if that's the case...we will just be checked off the list =)  Make sense? 

*I* have noticed that court seems to be going a lot smoother since the two-trip policy has been in place.  K says she has seen some multiple appointments, but that over all things are going very smoothly and efficiently.

- After court approval we go back home, and the wait until we return will most likely be 4-6 weeks (most families it has been right around 4 - YAY!!!).  During this time the staff waits for the official court decree (which CAN take a while), get our child's passport, schedule the US Embassy medical appointment, and the Visa appointment...  So you can see there is a LOT that takes place during that short time!
- The entire time frame between referral and the second trip is estimated to be 3-5 months!  K did say that 5 months is currently what they are seeing...but I also know that what they are looking at currently, are families who received referrals during the court hopefully (and probably - according to some friends) we should be closer to the 3 month range.  YAY!!! 

So ANYWHO!!!  There's an adoption update for you, if there ever WAS one!  =)  Please continue praying...we are getting excited as its actually starting to feel CLOSE and REAL!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Prayer Request

It's hard not to be thankful for everything that has been going on in our lives this last week or so.  I truly feel blessed.  And its hard not to let my excitement bubble over and leak all over everyone! 

The room transformation is on schedule and going great...
Nursery plans are in gear and will be put into action soon...
Our good friends Justin and Niki just got their referral and I can't stop smiling...
Movement on the girl's list has been ASTOUNDING lately...
Got to spend a couple days at my brother's house in Portland loving on his family...
The holidays are rapidly approaching...
Finances are improving...

The list goes on and on...and the smiles come easily.

But INside there's a battle going on.  Through this excitement, satan is trying to find ways to discourage me.  Now that I have finally come to terms with God's timing in this adoption process and truly feel at peace with it...anxiety about things so completely out of my control is starting to set in now that this wait is coming to a close.  It frustrates me.  It angers me.  It's hard to come out and say, in all honesty.  But I recognize it for what it is. 

See...when our little girl is finally placed in our arms and comes home, that makes one less orphan in the world.  The devil despises that.  So I know that he is trying to sneak that discouragment in there.  I don't want to let him.

Please pray for me as I am fighting this battle of discouragement.  The end is near...the light is at the end of the tunnel...our adoption WILL come to a close and we WILL finally have our Lil Miss.

I think this picture so beautifully illustrates our journey because its not JUST about the light at the end of the tunnel (although we are very excited to get there), but also about the journey getting there.  Its a beautiful journey.  Even in the difficulties, God has been there holding our hand and He's had something to teach us every step of the way.  I wouldn't take a moment of it back, even if I could, because He has taught me so much.  I know He'll carry me through the end.

P.S. A special thanks to my VERY loved AGCI family for talking me through my anxieties, reassuring me, encouraging me, and praying me onward!  You words are CHERISHED!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Anthropologie-Inspired Guest Tutorial!!!!!

I am PLEASED to introduce you to my friend Ashlee!!!

Ashlee has been a friend of mine since high school when we cheered together.  Since graduation she has moved from state to state while I moved hours from our hometown.  Although we haven't SEEN each other since, its been fun playing catch-up through facebook and emails. 

Ashlee always has been one of the most naturally creative people I know.  It was no surprise to me that the girl who used to make the best football posters and hair accessories was now using her gifts to create baby gifts and wedding veils and shower curtains and much, much more!  So with great pleasure, I will hand it over to...


Meet me: Ashlee Vega, an Etsy fanatic, 3-month newlywed, cat lover, continuous craft dreamer and retail feen. My sewing machine is named Big Bertha, I consider her a member of my family.

I love Megan’s blog. I’m thinking of creating a blog of my own, we’ll see how this guest tutorial goes. I’m not sure if I’ll have the time and love (leftover from Big Bertha) to put into a well-oiled blog though.

I met Megan in high school; we actually both used to cheer together. Ode to the good ol’ days. I don’t actually remember the first time we met, but I’m sure it was love at first sight :) We quickly became friends. I wish we would have been avid crafters back then!

I created an Etsy page simply to share my love! I’ve gotten into making baby clothes because I’m about to be an auntie to a little girl, who I’m sure will be adorable. All of my crafts are a testament to my life: wedding (7-29-10), cooking (I went through one of those phases), baby (not mine, a niece), home (or apt)! I admit, I’m a little all over the place, but I like it that way.

I am a firm believer that gifts from the heart are 100 times better than store-bought gifts, and that’s my ultimate goal—gifts from the heart. It’s exciting for me to know that my creations are being shared all around the country!

{p.s. I love custom orders.}

The ruffle curtain totorial came from my love for Anthropologie. This shower curtain is just ah-dor-ah-ble!  BUT I'm not a huge fan of the colors or the pricetag. So I figured I could make one of my own. I contemplated whether or not to post on my Etsy page, I mean--it's cute, but how cute? Much to my surprise, it got a ton of pageviews and I sold it quickly. (Perhaps I've created a bit of a niche market on Etsy.)

I think people who buy my product probably don't want to make it. So, why not create a tutorial for the crazy DIY-ers out there? Onto making another curtain I go, this time plum colors for me.

Good luck, it comes with a lot of patience and probably a full afternoon. But bask in the beauty of your creation and saving some money. Let me know how it turns out.
Supplies necessary:

Marking chalk
3 colors of thread to match your variations
14 total yards of fabric
Patience (not shown in image)

Step #1:

Draw out your blueprint. My blueprint is for 10 ruffled panels. At this step, you will decide how many yards you need of each color. You will need four yards for your liner and one yard for the top ruffle. One ruffle = 1 yard. 2 ruffles = 2 yards.
Step #2:

Go to your local fabric store, aka crafter’s heaven. You will pick 6 different colors making sure to create a great variation. It helps to have a designer as a husband who specializes in color  =)

Step #3:

Make sure to wash and dry all of your fabric. It will shrink just from the steam in the bathroom from the shower. Your fabric will most likely come out wrinkly, but it doesn’t matter because it will fall out with the next shower steam.

Step #4: 

Create your liner. This liner should measure 72” x 72”. Straight stitch together in middle with machine. Turn 3 edges in toward the wrong side, the fourth edge will be the top where you will attach step #4. I use a zigzag stitch for the finished turns, I’m not really sure why but I like it.

Step #5:

Make your tab for your curtain rod, measures 4.25”.  You’re basically creating a large casing here. Turn the short ends for a clean look. Attach like a basic casing: iron long ends in and sew to top of unfinished edge. If you don’t have a rod you can easily slide into, you’ll want to make button holes for your shower rings.

Step #6:

Ruffle time! Cut your ruffles into 10.5” height x 108” length (the length is one yard past the length of the regular curtain, this will allow you to create the ruffles). You don’t need to be perfect in your cutting or turning of edges because it’s all going to ruffle.

Step #7:

Turn all edges of your ruffles. I use a straight stitch here. This is where you will spend most of your time. I don’t iron my edges like I should nor do I use pins, I just don’t have the patience. But, like I said, it’s not going to matter much at all.

Step #8:

Phew! Now that that’s over, you will stitch a long stitch here. I change my stitch to be as long as possible (at 9). Leave your beginning and end open. You will pull one of the strings in order to make a ruffle. It may help to have a cat in the background at this point to aid in your patience.

Step #9:

Now you can add your ruffles to your liner. Mark your liner on the wrong side(the side with all of the seams) every 7 inches. This will let the ruffles overlap about 3 inches.

Step #10:

Sew your ruffles on to the liner with a straight stitch. I don’t like the raw edge to show. So I flip the ruffle up facing with the finished up closest to the top of the curtain. Don’t worry about them being 100% straight, they’re ruffles—they’re supposed to be ruffly =) I may use five or so straight pins here for my sanity.

Step #11:

Take a hot shower and the wrinkles will fall out. Ask your cat to pose so you can share your masterpiece.

THANK YOU Ashlee!!!  I think that would look PERFECT in my bathroom =)

If YOU TOO think this shower curtain would be an amazing addition to your house, but you don't have the time/energy/skills to make it happen, then hop on over to Ashlee's Boutique on Etsy and purchase one for yourself!  And while you're there, check out her lovely collection of goodies...from wreaths, to pajamas, to baby clothes, to hair accessories...this girl has got it all!!!  And HURRY, because RIGHT NOW all her Halloween goodies are 25% off!!! 

AND!!!!  As an extra bonus for my lovely readers (that's YOU) she is offering any of you 20% a purchase when you mention you're from "Domesticated Diva" in your purchase!  Don't miss this amazing opportunity!

Thanks again Ash!  It was a PLEASURE to share your talent with others (and learn from you while I was at it ;)!!!


Thursday, October 21, 2010


Have any guesses???
Are you EXCITED for tomorrow like I am????
You should be... =)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Perfect Pumpkin

(kinda, maybe, sorta...I guess!)

...close enough! =)

P.S.!!!!  Two days until my ah-maz-ing GUEST TUTORIAL!!!!
Curious yet...?
Check back TOMOROW for a sneak peek!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's To Come!!!

I am SO excited to share with you all on FRIDAY my first GUEST BLOGGER!!!!  My precious friend has put together an ah-maz-ing tutorial for you guys...I'm drooling just thinking about it. ;)

So count down the days...mark it on your ARE NOT going to want to miss this!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Story Time!!! ...Plus ANOTHER New Recipe! =)

Isn't every day a story time over at my blog?? =)

But really...Monkey is loving his books lately.  So much, in fact, that he has gotten bored of the books in our house.  Since funds are strictly going to the adoption lately, we thought we would head over to the library.  I LOVE how fun it is for Monks.  He gets SO excited picking out book after book after book....and especially excited when he sees one he recognizes (from a previous trip)!

This is just ONE of the ways I catch Monkey enjoying his books just warms my heart!

This particular book is his CARS book.  Ever since his major sickness (the one when we had to purchase a nebulizer to get his breathing under control) and we watched this movie 7 times that week (no joke!) he has been mildly obsessed with CARS!

His other famous reading position is leaning against one of the couches or chairs in the living room, flipping through pages.  It must be perfect eye level for him...because its where he plays with his cars, his choo choo train, everything! =)

This child really melts my heart!

Later that night for dinner, I tried a new recipe from my WIPHAN cookbook (which I am LOVING by the way...nothing better than a bunch of moms YOU love and respect sharing THEIR favorite recipes and then a bunch of moms THEY love and respect shairng THEIR favorite recipes....AMAZING cookbook!!!  Head over there now to pick one up for yourself!!!  ...And don't forget that the proceeds are going to a GREAT cause!!  WIPHAN stands for WIdows and orPHANs....their whole mission is to "equip widows and orphans for a productive future life, offering hope to the hopeless through the love of Jesus Christ".  This is an AMAZING ministry in Zambia doing great things - please support them!). 

ANYWAY....the recipe was called Balsamic Chicken!  I was very unsure how all the intense flavors were going to come together into one dish, but it was amazingly delicious!!  The hardest part was figuring out what to pair it with, but being low on groceries we just made white rice.  After tasting the chicken now, I would suggest pairing it with some roasted red potatoes, or something like that...but was SOOO unbelievably good.  I had that look of nervousness as Hubs took his first bite, but his oooing and awwwing made it ALL worth the uncertainty!  {insert pat on my back for trying something new} =P

Just to let you know, I've got something exciting for you to look forward to on my blog in the next little bit!  I will be featuring my first GUEST BLOGGER!!!!  I am so excited!  This is an amazing friend of mine from way back when (I kinda feel like I'm old enough to say that now, lol!) and she is going to be doing an anthropologie-inspired tutorial for you!  *I* am so excited to see this for myself and share it with all of YOU!  So stay tuned, you won't want to miss this.
Till next time!!!


Sunday, October 17, 2010


Sometimes I get so tired of my routine, of my daily grind.  It can be so monotonous.  It's not that I don't enjoy being with my son.  Even when he's whining or yelling "no" repeatedly at me or clinging to me for some constant entertainment, I can't stop feeling thankful for his presence in my life. 

I feel the same way about my husband.  Sometimes I yell at him and complain and go to mope in a corner only to imagine my life without him and I can't help but go crawling back.  My boys bring so much joy to my life...sometimes I feel like they are my glue that holds me together.

I remember all too well the heartbreak when the doctor broke the news of my miscarriage.  I know that's nothing like the feeling mothers go through when they lose a child who they have held in their arms, kissed their face, and sang them lullabies.  But its close enough that I feel its had a permanent impact on my life.

I have no idea what its like to lose your husband, only to be left with that lonely ache inside and needing to parent your children on your own...or left alone in a big empty house.  But I do know what its like to see your husband rolled away on a stretcher not knowing how serious his condition is.  I have no idea what its like to have your husband, whom you love dearly, ask for a divorce and go through custody battles for your children.  But I do know what it's like to have your husband gone for days (and sometimes weeks) at a time, and being left to do it ALL by yourself.

I have a lot of empathy for women who have had that kind of loss.  I've had enough of a taste of it to pray I never experience it first hand.

I think its so easy to complain about the situation I am in sometimes, whatever it may be in that moment.  But thank you LORD that you gave me the life you did!  Thank you for my supportive and hard-working husband.  Thank you for my adorable and affection son.  Thank you for a loving and devoted family.  And thank you for incredible friends.  Even in the struggles of my day-to-day grind, I don't think I'd have it any other way!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just an idea!!!

Earlier this week I was responsible for providing treats for our couple's Growth Group.  Well, I planned the perfect week for it because I happened to spend the entire DAY OF painting with my mom!  Yeah...what was I thinking? 

So I scrounged around until I found a box of cake mix in my cupboards (rare, because I almost always bake from scratch...not by choice, but for money saving reasons...hubby's idea =).  Devil's Cake...YUM!  Made 'em into little cupcakes, frosted all pretty and topped with some Halloween Candy!  Fast, easy, and pretty...what do you think???

Have any fun & easy ideas YOU'RE willing to share?  Pass 'em on!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Glimpse of Inspiration

You wanna know what inspires me?  What keeps me up dreaming of color pallettes at 2am?  You might not be able to tell, but we live in a fixer upper.  We've been at it for...woah, almost THREE years now!  No wonder I dream of peacock feathers and far away exotic lands! 

You see, I've always got a room I'm working on.  Our latest project is our master bedroom. 

When we bought this house, it had a TINY dining room.  Like...we couldn't fit our dining room table.  And then down this dark and dreary hall was a master bedroom with the only entrance to the back yard.  Well, let's just say the layout made NO sense with kiddos in our near future (I got pregnant with Lil Man right around the time we moved know how they say when you stop trying you get pregnant?  That was JUST the case for us...the fixer upper was a distraction from my daily temps and ovulation charts and...well, that may be TMI...).  SO!  We tore down the walls (and yes, I actually had something to do with it ;) and let the dining room flow into the master bedroom creating one big space for our dining room.  I LOVE it!  Probably the best decision we made in this house (that and the kitchen, thank you Monica!) because it opened EVERYTHING up! also brought us down to two bedrooms.  Fine at the time, but now with Lil Miss on the way, and two tiny rooms...we were DEFINATELY in need of an expansion. 

Fortunately, the previous owner had done the work of the expansion before we bought the house from him, only he had expanded to make a shop in the back.  It was/is attatched to the house, but the only entrance was from the great outdoors....and it was lined floor to ceiling in shelving and cabinets for tools and...well, junk that he left behind for us.  (Can't tell you how many days and runs to the dump it took to clear that space out!) 

Well, it has taken a LOT of work to get us thus far!  We my husband raised the floor up seven inches, tore down all previous drywall and insulation (because it was YUCK) and re-did it ALL!  Of course he had to add a door to the INSIDE of the house, and seal up the one to the exterior and put a few windows in...BUT!  It's finally starting to look like a room!

SO...back to design.  Since we've started from scratch, I can do WHATEVER I WANT (budget allowing) in this room!  Its so exciting, but a little overwhelming too!  Good thing I have a good friend of mine (Monica) who is an interior designer!  She has been a HUGE help in this whole house!  Although I have a great idea of what I want, I tend to OVERFLOW with ideas...and well, if we combined every idea I had it could become VERY busy and overwhelming.  (You see why I'm up into the wee hours of the morning?)  Thanks to many, many, many talks with Monica, she has helped me reel in my ideas and organize my thoughts to create a cheery, romantic, serene, royal, and tranquil space.  I hope.  It's still not finished, obviously.

Since my facebook friends have been getting some random posts leaving them questioning my thoughts, I thought I would give a glimpse into my design inspiration, a "teaser" so to speak!  But too bad for'll have to wait for the finished product (or close to...since things never quite seem to get finished around here) to get the whole picture! 
Of course if you come over, I'll gladly show you our progress ;)

***Small disclaimer: I don't know where ANY of these photos are from, since I have been just randomly saving things to my computer throughout the months! =D 

You excited to see how all my crazy ideas come together into ONE room???  You can probably guess my color pallette, but for the rest you'll have to keep checking back!  Sooner or later the room HAS to be finished and then I'll do the big reveal!

OH!  And if anyone knows where I can find some affordable chandeliers....old brass ones I can refinish makes me even HAPPIER, but really anything at all, please let me know! =D