Monday, November 29, 2010

My First GIVEAWAY!!!! - Infinity Scarf!!

*This Giveaway Is Now Closed*

Good morning y'all!!! {I know that makes me sound southern, but I'm really from the northwest and just a wannabe southerner ;)}

I know, I know....Thanksgiving weekend is over and you're all feeling just a little depressed to be back at work and in your normal routine again...right?!?  C'mon...admit it!!!  I'm seeing the posts ALL OVER facebook! 


I'm here to make your day cheery and BRIGHT again....with a GIVEAWAY!!  My very FIRST giveaway, in fact!  Courtesy of my sassy, fashionable, and oh-so-crafty sister at Vintage Dutch Girl!!!  Ms. VDG is giving YOU the opportunity to win a classy yet trendy houndstooth infinity scarf!  Oh I'm SO not kidding!  Take a looksie at this beauty!!!

Wouldn't you just LOVE to have that cozied up around your neck on a cold blistery winter's eve???  Actually...maybe a blistery morning so people can actually see it!  =)  Hmm...kinda wishing I could enter my OWN giveaway...but its breaking my own I'm reserving this one JUST FOR YOU!!!

Here's how to ENTER:
{please leave a separate comment for each entry, and please leave your email address so I don't have to chase you down to contact you, okie dokie?!?  pretty please??}

1. {Mandatory Entry} Become a follower of my blog and leave me a comment that you either have become one, or that you already are (bonus points if you already ARE a follower...doesn't give you an extra entry...but a smile in my heart =)!!  Then go to Vintage Dutch Girl's ETSY site and let me know which item is your FAVE!!!  Once you have done that (simply because I want to be your friend...not to just be used to get a free scarf, right?!?) can have ADDITIONAL entries by doing the following:

2. Visit Vintage Dutch Girl's fab blog, become a follower, and come back and leave me a comment that are (or already are)!!

3. Visit Vintage Dutch Girl's ETSY site and "heart" her shop, then come back and tell me that you did!

4. Blog, Tweent, or FB about this giveaway then come back and tell me that you did (with the link please) and get one entry for each thing you did!

That's a total of SIX entries if you REALLY want to get in on this amazing opportunity!!! =)  This giveaway goes on for one week, so next Monday (Dec. 6th 2010) I will be drawing a winner.  You're WELCOME.  =)

***UPDATE***  Because I was lame and forgot to post a reminder about this giveaway, I am extending the giveaway.  You can now enter until Monday night and I will draw a name Tuesday morning.  This auction will close December 6th at 11:59PM =)

As IF this couldn't get better!!!  I know not each and every one of you will win this adorable scarf...but you CAN score one for yourself!!!  Ms. VDG is also hosting a killer sale on her Etsy site today for Cyber Monday and she is offering each of YOU an added discount FOR TODAY ONLY!  For my readers, she has offered this great deal:

Buy TWO infinity scarves and get 20% OFF!!!  Use this coupon code at checkout: BUY2GET20're welcome!  THAT should help get you into the holiday spirit...right?!?  Blessings to YOU this holiday season!!!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

O' Christmas Tree!

With my husband's crazy work schedule, we have had the "Christmas Tree Day" marked on our calendar for months now.  You  only think I'm kidding!  I have been looking forward to today for quite some time now! 

This morning put a smile on my face: peeks of sunshine, my baby making improvements {health wise - sniffles and a remaining cough}, some SLEEP...  But as if things couldn't get better...Shaun and Jodi asked to come WITH us!  Umm...YES PLEASE! 

In the past, Christmas tree shopping was a family affair...but since we BOTH come from large families, its felt a little lonesome out there with just the three of us.  THIS was exciting!!!  So they met us at our hosue to follow us to our three-year-running favorite tree farm!

We left right after church and thought we would give Monkey Man a nap afterwards...but he kinda fell asleep in the car.  The cat-nap was the puuurrrfect timing and made him last the rest of the day - yippee!!

Santa hat + snowsuit + binky makes for one cozy snooze!

Does a face get more perfect?!?

 Then it was OFF to find the perfect tree...

Shaun and his little princess!

The Angel baby herself - Miss Ryanne!  WHAT a beauty, huh?!?

Monkey wanted to explore it all...ON HIS OWN!

"Is this the one??"

Hide & Seek in the trees =)

We found our perfect tree!

So different from anything we've chosen in years past, but I'm likin' it!

Daddy got to work!

Tag-teamin' it!

Why so grumpy Mr. Pouty-face?

*MELT*  Isn't he the CUTEST?!?  ;)

Watch carefully Lil Man...this will be your job someday!

Watching and longing for the "Choo choo"

FINALLY they found their perfect tree too ;)  Just funny...cuz Jodi was mentioning how picky I was earlier ;)
  Who knows how long that took....Shaun drug us all the way through the mud to save a buck...but we were game! =)  After Monkey has been drooling after the choo-choo (which drove past us 17,000 times just to intice him!) daddy caved and spoiled the Lil Man...which made me smile =)

A treat from daddy...CHOO CHOO!!!!

JUST because you have a Santa doesn't mean you can sit in Santa's CHAIR!! =)

He was REALLY enjoying this cookie - I promise!!  Just too big of a bite =)

Home at last...yay for PB&J!

Thank you Shaun, Jodi, and Ryanne for making our annual tradition a little EXTRA special this year!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not What I Expected

As I sit here on Thanksgiving Day, running off 3 hours of sleep, missing the family turkey dinner, and taking care of my sick heart is smiling as I am being reminded that not only do I have everything I need right here, but that I have been abundantly blessed beyond that!  My stomach may be empty, but my heart is FULL!

Celebrating single digits!!

Pumpkin Bars for BREAKFAST anyone???
Sometimes things don't turn out the way we expect.  Sometimes not at all.  It's so easy to praise God with a thankful heart when everything is going right, but what about when everything goes wrong (or so it seems)?  For me it is a constant CHOICE to find joy in every situation and be thankful.  Because really...we have so much!  But I am sad to say that I do not excell in that area - in fact, many times I fail.  But I am learning!  I think God is using these not-so-perfect scenerios to slowly (and I mean slowly...have I mentioned before I'm not perfect?) change my heart and help me realize that sometimes the big picture is SO much bigger than what encircles me at that moment. 

How to entertain a sick kid?  Kitchen sink!
So even though my Thanksgiving was far from perfect, let me count my blessings:
1. Sick baby {ahem, toddler} = snuggle baby
2. Let's face it, movie days are fun!!
3. We're number nine!
4. When you're far from home on a holiday, you realize what truly great friends you have. {Thank you everyone who offered to have me join your family's Thanksgiving meal.  Please don't be offended that I didn't take you up on was for your own safety - believe me!}
5. Fresh fallen snow {which has since melted, oh well}.
6. My car is running GREAT right now WITH new tires {let me just say this is a complete 180 since last week}.
7. Have I mentioned we're number NINE?!?
8. Warm pumpkin bars for breakfast. {WITH cream cheese frosting - don't judge!  I missed Thanksgiving!!!}
9. I have the almost-happiest sick toddler ever!
10. We're FREAKIN' NUMBER NINE!!!!!!

Okay, so I may have counted the same thing a couple several times...but REALLY!  It's still a long shot...but we just COULD know our baby's face next time we head up to see family!! 

So next time you find yourself in a not-so-perfect situation, stop pouting like me, take a look around, and count your blessings.  You'll be surprised how many you see if you just look for them!

Hope y'all had a very happy Thanksgiving!

On to the Christmas decorations...did anyone know that you can actually get ICE CUBES in your SNOW GLOBES???  This was new to me...  Apparently 17 degrees is just TOO COLD for these puppies:


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful it hurts.

Do you remember as a little kid sitting with your parents around the dinner table for Thanksgiving and taking turns sharing what you are thankful for?  Simplistic in nature, I always spouted out things that seemed so obvious - family, house, food, clothes...

I think all Americans are very aware that those obvious basic needs are not met in many third world countries.  But as the twenty-something degree weather outside leaks under my front door and makes me shiver, it is still so easy to push that from my mind and stress about getting everything packed so we can travel home for the big Thanksgiving feast my mother is preparing.

Although I hate forgetting, for even a moment, how very blessed I am...sometimes I wish I could go back to that childhood naivety...because sometimes it just hurts too bad.  It hurts to think that across the world my daughter might be suffering from hunger pains.  That the woman that carries/carried her won't have enough blankets to keep her family warm at night.  That my daughter could be sitting in an orphanage crying herself to sleep because she thinks she has no one who loves her.

But even when she is finally home and in my arms...even when I can be sure that someone will always be there to soothe her fears, and keep her warm and fed...I still know that there are millions of children just like her...just like my daughter who need a home, who need food, who need a family.  And it breaks. my. heart. 

Sometimes it's so easy to see what we will be gaining through this journey...and even what our daughter is gaining.  But let us NEVER forget the loss that she (and millions more like her) will have to endure before she gets to that point.  And the loss that her birth family will experience.  In that way sometimes I am thankful that it hurts...because that's what drives me to want to do more and to never forget.  To make a difference, even if it is just one child at at time.

This Thanksgiving, I am still thankful for the same things that I have been thankful for year after year - family, friends, a home, food, warmth, shelter, love, my church, clothes...but this year, I am especially thankful that God chose to bring us on this journey!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks!

Today we are filled with:

...and lifting our eyes to heaven with THANKS...

We got some exciting news....

What?!?  Need a closer view!!??!!

We are {unofficially} Number 9!!!

We are overjoyed and SO filled with wonder and gratefulness this THANKSGIVING!!! 

Just what mama dreamed for...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper Pregnancy

Something is going on in my little girl's world right now.  I don't know what, or if I will ever find out...but I know that God has knit our hearts together, even now.

After 15 months of being paper pregnant, I'm officially convinced that I am more hormonal now than during my pregnancy with Lil Man.

This weekend I have been a mess.  Emotionally, there is pure excitement going on in my heart...but my body and my heart seem a little disconnected at the moment.  I can count four separate times during this past weekend that I have burst into tears for no apparent reason.  SERIOUSLY.

The first time it happened was shortly after my niece's first birthday party (13th).  I remember sitting and watching her open her gifts and eat her cake with a huge smile!  It was such a beautiful celebration!  Afterwards, I was sitting with my mom and my sisters and my nieces.  ALL the boys had moved downstairs to watch sports and we were enjoying some girl conversation for a change (the boys just SLIGHTLY outnumber the girls in our family)!  I smiled to myself picturing our little sweetie there.  The party was over...we were all getting ready to go look at my brother's house that is being mom asked me a question...and I burst into tears!  I don't know where it came from, I wasn't feeling all that emotional...but it was like this BOMB went off as water came spewing from my eyes!  Fortunately my mom is a cryer and she understands!  =)

The second time was the following day at church (14th).  Some girls were doing a lyrical dance to "How great is our God" prior to the sermon and I was sitting there watching and POOF!!!  Tears STREAMING down my face!  This was the UGLY cry people!  No tissue either!  Just an eye-rolling husband and a giggling mom on either side of me.  After I stopped the flood, I headed to the bathroom to gather some tissue for the next explosion...

The third time was on the way to take our car to the shop (15th).  I was literally MID-conversation about THE CAR when it happened AGAIN!!!  This time there was no eye-rolling, but pure concern coming from my husband!  What on earth has gotten into his wife?!?

The fourth time was AT the repair shop (15th).  NO idea...

WIERD, huh?  On top of that....Saturday night/Sunday morning my mom and I BOTH had a dream about Lil Miss!  My mom dreamed that it was our referral day and woke up just plain GIDDY.  I dreamed that I was holding her and looking into her wide eyes (and she had looong lashes) and kissing that huge grin =)  Then I set her down and she started crawling.  Someone else picked her up and she cried and reached for her mama again and I was thinking how great she was attaching to me. 

I mean...there's just GOT to be something going on, right?!?  I'm ready.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday...and Since...

As many of you know (as in...anyone who reads my blog or involved in the adoption world) Sunday was Orphan Sunday.  I was so pumped up to have our church be a part of this movement that is sweeping the nation.  SO excited!  When our church contacted us and asked to interview us for a 3 minute video for Orphan Sunday I was nervous (and still excited) but willing to let God use me however He wanted. 

The interview was about an hour long, and needed to be cut into 3 minutes!  I was curious what they would keep, and what they would cut, and how people would respond.  The whole thing had me a little bit nervous ;)

So how did it go? 

I have no idea!

I SAW the video...but I didn't hear a word of it.  Lil Man came down with a croup-y sounding cough on Friday night that had us up all night and worried.  Although our pediatrician's office was unable to fit us in on Saturday, we thought he was feeling a lot better.  Even Sunday morning he woke up coughing, but happy.  So off to church we went, determined that nothing was going to keep us from being there.

You see, we knew the devil was at work in so many ways.  Friends across the country who were asked to speak were plagued with doubt, struck with illnesses, and experiencing technical glitches.  The adoptive families who are advocating for those left behind are a VERY passionate bunch...go ahead and browse through my blog list if you don't believe me!  satan knows that (and he doesn't even deserve a capital "s").  I knew our family's illnesses was his way of discouraging us.

We got to church fine...and then I had no idea where I was suppossed to be.  Soon I found who I was suppossed to talk to and all was fine.  But then Monkey started SCREAMING.  Literally.  I RAN out of there and into the cry room with my poor boy.  I think maybe having all the people around him and everyone talking on TOP of him already not feeling well just threw him into a frenzy.  The three of us sat in the cry room for the service.  We tried EVERYTHING to calm him...but he was so upset he started coughing non-stop.  So while our video played, I listened to my poor baby scream in my ear.  It didn't take long for us to figure out this was NOT working.  So hubby...who hasn't even been able to be at church for the last four weeks because of work...took Monks home while I stayed and prayed for a ride. 

Hubs said Lil Man was out in all but 30 seconds in the car.  And then he slept for over 4 hours.  Yeah.  I'll get back to that soon.

So I snuck into the back of church to listen to the rest of the sermon and worship before heading to the back of church to answer questions.  It was very encouraging to see such a great response.  People asking about mission trips, and child sponsorships, and sharing THEIR stories!  It was such a blessing to witness.  But on the back burner, I was dying to get home and care for Monkey.  Thankfully some friends stepped up and gave me a ride (means the world to me ladies!).

At home, Monkey was sound asleep...but his behavior in church had me worried.  This was NOT the little boy I knew!  So I called the nurse's hotline at his pediatrician's office and started grilling them.  The triage nurse really recommended bringing him to Children's Hospital to be seen, even though we had an appointment scheduled with his doc in the morning.

We waited for our sweetie to wake up and then we headed out.  The entire drive he was coughing and hacking and wheezing and sneezing and just sounded plain sad.  My heart broke!  Thankfully we live VERY near to a Children's and they got us in in TEN MINUTES!  Amazing, huh?

Does his expression make you just wanna cry?  My mama heart HURTS!

Well our worries were confirmed.  They put him on a steroid for the Croup (even though it was MOSTLY cleared up by this point) and said he was having an asthma attack (he's been treated for asthma-like symptoms twice before, and both his parents had severe childhood asthma...odds be against him).  They started him on an inhaler, but even after a half hour, his oxygen saturation level was only at a 93.  Repeat treatment.  No change.  So then they put him on an hour-long nebulizer treatment.  UGH!  He cries during the entire 15 minutes at home, I was just a LITTLE worried about this!  Fortunately they also handed us a portable dvd player and some cartoons to watch.  Lil Man stuck it out like a pro, even though he was teary almost the entire hour as I pinned him on my lap.  =(  Finally they took his vitals again and his oxygen was up to a 97-98 and we were good to go....WITH a pile of medications to treat him with. 

Sorry for the blurry-ness...cell phone pic!

Just finished the Neb

Waiting for the doc to give us the results

SO done with cartoons =(
The visit was about 3 1/2 hours and we didn't have lunch or dinner.  After arriving back in town at about 9pm, we swung by Jack In The Box for some food.  My Lil Man was ALREADY showing huge improvement as he scarfed down several of my french fries and his milk and gabbered the rest of the way home.  Once there, the talking hoarse as his throat was, we cringed with every word (he screamed every time the doctor or nurses TOUCHED him - no exaggeration).  He ran and ran and ran until about 10pm when he CRASHED. 

Early the next morning (which was 11am since Monks slept that long) we had his appointment with his pediatrician who stated that she wasn't quite ready to diagnose him as asthmatic YET.  She DID give me a lot of information on Childhood Asthma and told us to be prepared for the possibility, but I was happy she wasn't rushing to diagnose him.

We've been on the mend since then.  Although I am still hearing a lot of coughing and congestion, his attitude has made a 180!  He's his happy-go-lucky self during the day, but still falls apart around 6pm - I'm sure he's just EXHAUSTED from this illness.  Today was his last dose of steroids so we only have to keep up with his inhaler every 4 hours.  He hates it, but the reward system is working well for us for now =)  He's probably starting to notice that it actually helps too ;)

Anyway....all this to let you know WHY I have been MIA.  I'm back.  Kinda.  Workin' on it.  Now to bed I go - taking care of a sick kid wears on ya, you know?  =)