Thursday, February 28, 2013

Waiting for the Reveal

As I scrolled through Facebook today, a few friends' statuses sparked a chord with me.  Specifically the few moms I know who are sitting at the top of a waitlist right now, longing for that life-changing call to find out the little person(s) God has waiting for them.  Although I don't mind distancing myself from those all too familiar emotions most of the time, this week the memories are coming back like a flood.  It's still hard to believe that two years have passed since we walked in their shoes, cried their tears, and prayed their prayers.

One week before Cocoa's referral

God's timing in these cases never cease to amaze me.  I look forward to the day I get to rejoice with each of these families celebrating their referrals and hear how God used every detail of their adoption journey for His glory.

Our referral call
On the day we received Cocoa's referral, I remember listening to our case worker on the phone and crying as she shared details of our daughter's story that were so beautiful and intricate, only He could have written it.  Even recently it dawned on me how beautiful the timing of her referral was.  I hadn't connected the pieces of the puzzle at the time, but it was just three years earlier that we were also in a waiting phase.  I'm not sure I have shared that part of our story here before...

In the summer of 2007, after four and a half years of marriage, my husband and I decided that we felt ready to start our family.  It never crossed my mind that it might not happen right away.  After several months of trying, we found out we were pregnant!  Although I was bursting at the seams to tell everyone we knew, we decided to wait until we were a little further along.  Days before we about to announce the great news to our family, I started bleeding.  After a lengthy visit to the doctor and several tests later, they called me to confirm I was having a miscarriage.  We both took the weekend off work to mourn our loss, only telling our employers.

I know many people think we are crazier than heck for keeping that from our families at the time...but you have to understand that we were about to surprise them with awesome news and that this was going to be the first grandchild on my husband's side of the family!   I couldn't bear to ruin the surprise with the news of a miscarriage.

So fast forward to February 2008 when we had just moved into our fixer upper and waiting for God to say "YES" to bringing a child into this world.  I'm sure you can imagine the overwhelming emotions when we got another positive pregnancy test.  We were a little more cautious with our excitement the second time around, but, that being said, I knew I couldn't go through another miscarriage without the support of our family so we decided to share our news almost immediately.

One week before Hollywood was born
Photo Credit: Heather Cowill Photography

It may seem insignificant to some - but I find it really beautiful that exactly two years later we were ending our wait to see our daughter.  That two years after finding out I was going to be a MAMA for the first time, I found out I was going to be a mama for the second time.  Only God could time that so beautifully.

The first picture we ever saw of our daughter - 2 months old, 6 pounds

February 28 may be our Referralversary (haha love that, don't you?)....but I am celebrating BOTH my kids today and the wonderful journey God brought us on to both of them.  My heart is so thankful I have those two crazy kids to call my own.

Photo Credit: Mike Fiechtner Photography

This February we are also in a waiting season.  While I won't compare it to anything like finding out you are becoming a parent (get it out of your head because that is not happening right now)...we are waiting for God to reveal to what is next for our family and discern what His dreams and desires are for our lives.  Somedays are easier than others, but as I reflect on God's perfect timing the last two times in my makes it a lot easier to trust His perfect plan this time around too!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Breaking Out of the Funk

(This was supposed to post on Friday...oopsy!)

I've been in kind of a funk lately.  Creatively and...well, every other way imaginable I guess.  I know there are several causes for this:

For one, we have hardly been out of the house at all this year.  I think we've actually been sick more than we've been healthy with one thing or another.  Cooped up in a house with two little kids who feel crummy is no fun.  But on the bright side -- mama hasn't been sick!!!  Sure makes it a lot easier to take care of them!

Two, we haven't had a real date night since a certain lifesaver came over and watched the kids so we could get our Christmas shopping done.  Does that count as a date?  I'm not sure...but it involved me and the Hubs minus the kids so close enough for me.  But on the bright side???  We have a whole WEEKEND to ourselves coming up thanks to some awesome grandparents and a 30th birthday to celebrate!!  (Not MINE, thank goodness.....not ready to round that bend yet ;)

Three, is the weather.  I think this one goes without explaining for anyone who knows me personally...but for those of you who don't - Seattle weather blows.  Grey sky, clouds, rain, little sun.  I'm working REALLY hard on not complaining about it...but I know it affects my mood.  AND the amount of time me and the kids can be outside (or want to).  Bright side?  Vacation.  Soon.  (I hope...)

Four has to do with work.  Lots and lots of work.  Not for me...(I sit on the couch eating bon bons all day, remember?) for my hubby.  It's great for our bank account, but not always for our relationship.  At the end of the day with two active kids I'm exhausted.  At the end of a long work day, he's exhausted.  Therefore there's a little bit of snippy attitude going on over here.  Bright side?  Kid-free weekend coming up!

Five, is probably the most significant.  Devotions.  Or lack there of.  I seriously struggle with getting in some daily quiet time with God.  When I do...that time is so precious and so uplifting and really sets the tone for the day.  So why is it so hard to commit to it?  Why is this a struggle for me?  I really don't know.  Bright side?  I'm sure soooo many of you have awesome tips on how to improve that, right?  I'm hoping so - lay them on me!!!!  Bright side number dos?  "Jesus Calling" is an awesome devotional.  Thanks to my mom-in-law for that precious gift!

So there you have reasons for my funk laid out plainly for all to see.  Maybe getting it off my chest is what I need to break out of it.  But regardless what I know to be true is that what lies on the other side of a funk is something wonderful...and I am trying to take in whatever God is teaching me and look forward to whatever He has in store for me around that next bend.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Belated Winter Wonderland

If you've been following me on Facebook, you probably know I've had sick kids crawling all over me and consuming my time this past week.  I won't go into the gory details - but believe me, you're not missing out.  This post was started so long ago I can't seem to wrap my mind around where I was when I started writing I'm starting over!

Last week (or was it the week before?), our family took a much needed vacation up in the snowy mountains of Whistler, BC.  My parents have a time share just outside the upper village where they had an extra bedroom for us to use.  We were thrilled with the invite and jumped at the chance to experience some snowy fun with our kids, since Seattle seemed to miss out on anything more than a winter dusting this year.  Just over a four hour drive from our home, (give or take depending on the wait at the border) Whistler was the perfect way to get a break from our routine without breaking the bank.

We left on Thursday morning with our ride packed to the brim and stocked with snacks, cartoons, and books for the littles.  You know, normal road trip material.  Our plan was to take a potty break/leg stretch at my parents' (about a halfway point) and drive the rest of the way together...but they decided last minute to head up early and get in some skiing before we arrived.  It all worked out marvelously as the kids were very into their movie at that point so we just kept on going!  We didn't stop until lunch time, when the kids were complaining about sore bums and mama needed a potty break.  At the first sign of an A&W we pulled over and got out (how very Canadian, right?).

I have some pretty picky eaters on my hands so they didn't eat much more than french fries and some apple juice, but they were excited and ready to get back in the car and go the rest of the way up the mountain to see grandpa and grandma....and more importantly, the SNOW!  I was amazed how much the scenery around us changed in the next half hour.  We went from kinda cold to literally freezing and surrounded by a winter wonderland - it was so beautiful!  We calculated that the last time we were in these mountains was nearly 9 years ago, celebrating 6 months married!  WOAH!

Although SO much had changed in Whistler (to the point it was almost unrecognizable) in the last 9 years, thankfully the condo was simple enough to find.  We arrived maybe 15 minutes before my parents and then the fun began!!!

It didn't take long for us to bundle up and head outdoors into Whistler village.  First stop was the grocery store to stock up on food for the long weekend.  We split up the staples, and while waiting in line to pay, Grandma and Grandma informed us that there was now an awesome playground just minutes from there - how exciting!  The ladies took the kids while the gentlemen brought our groceries back to the condo and put them away.

This playground was seriously awesome!  Although the compacted snow all around it made it quite slick so it wasn't long before the kids were freezing and ready to head back.  We hadn't exactly dressed them for snow play.  So it was back to the condo we went, fixed up a delicious dinner of hamburgers, salad, and chicken nuggets for the littles.  After that, the kids begged us to take them in the pool (indoor/outdoor)...but it was so cold that evening that by the time we got down there they were happy to go in the hot tub instead.

My parents had mentioned wanting to go to the village afterwards, but when we looked at the clock we realized we were already past bedtime AND Cocoa had missed her nap today.  We decided to take advantage of the time away though, and got out the stroller for Hollywood, and I put Cocoa in the Ergo and we headed out into the cold.  We really just wanted to get some exercise and see the village....but we couldn't help ourselves when we walked past the chocolate factory and popped in for some caramel/chocolate covered apples...mmm!  Of course by then, Cocoa had fallen FAST asleep in my arms (after literally fighting me to get her in the Ergo in the first place).  But it turned out it wasn't a problem at all.  When we arrived back at the condo, Hollywood said he was soooooo tired and Cocoa transferred into the pack and play without argument (thankfully we had planned ahead and put their pajamas on under their winter coats before we went out).

The Olympic Rings

My precious SLEEPING baby...these moments are way to rare!!

Back at the condo, she didn't even blink as I took off her winter gear!!!

Sleeping arrangements worked out better than I had imagined.  Grandpa and Grandma, of course, claimed the master suite (it was only fair considering they paid for it =).  It included a king size bed and attached bathroom.  The guest room, where we stayed had a queen size bed and just enough room to put the pack and play for Cocoa Puff.  We probably could have put Hollywood on the floor and tripped over him in the middle of the night, but he was SO EXCITED that the couch pulled out into a bed and BEGGED to sleep there.  He really had to talk us into it... ;)  We also had our own bathroom just next door.

I was a tad concerned about our lil man sleeping on the hide-a-bed because last time he slept in a bed without a railing he fell off at 6am and woke the whole house up screaming.  I put the edge of a chair against the bed when it was pulled out...but he really did great.  Every night we put him down on our bed and then transferred him to the hide-a-bed when the adults were ready to go to sleep.

The following morning, my parents wanted to get some more skiing in, this time at the Olympic Village.  They had heard about a great sledding area right near the lodge, so we decided to follow them up there and do our own thing and then meet back at the condo.  It was totally worth it.  Right at the base of those HUGE ski jumps you see on the Olympics they cut into the hills some great sledding paths.  Most of them were simple slopes, but a couple had jumps (that daddy had to try out, of course).  Much to our surprise, our fearless adventurers were absolutely terrified.  They LOVED the snow, but they did not want to go down that hill a second time.  We still had fun playing in the snow, but it wasn't very long before our little man was in dire need of a bathroom.  We walked up the hill to the lodge, and Cocoa and mommy played in the piles of snow while the boys searched out a bathroom.

After they got back out, they were more interested in climbing the "mountain" (the pile of snow outside the lodge) than they were sledding, but we just had fun with it.  Of course the underprepared parents over here had horrible gloves for the wee one and it wasn't long before she was crying "cooooooolll!!!!"  We talked little mister into going inside, warming up, and getting some lunch.

Daddy ordered mommy and Cocoa some coconut curry soup to split while Hollywood devoured probably the most amazing blueberry muffin on planet earth.  Then it was back out into the snow for a couple minutes before heading back for a nap for Cocoa.

Grandpa and Grandma arrived back at the condo during Cocoa's nap.  After warming up, mom and I wanted to head out and explore the village a bit.  With my husband's blessing, we took off, grabbed some coffee from Starbucks, and walked around.  We found some awesome clothes, but all of it was completely out of my price range.  It was still fun though.  And I found some warm fleece gloves for my baby girl that matched her new winter coat.

When we got back to the condo, we found out Grandpa was starting to feel pretty crummy.  The kids were sad to have to keep their distance from him, but it was for the best.  Whatever he had, did NOT sound good.  After some yummy steaks for dinner, we did the hot tub thing and put the kids down for bed.  Since my dad was in bed coughing his lungs up, mom offered to stay and watch after the kids so we could get out for a little bit!  We weren't going to turn down that offer.  We didn't do anything but walk around and have a good chat, but it was good to get even a short break from the kids and be just us for a bit.  Those days are rare lately.

After a lazy Saturday morning, Grandpa asked if we wanted to walk up to Blackcomb village with them and check out a soup and sandwich shop there for lunch.  It sounded like a good break from PB&J so we bundled up and headed out...Hollywood rode in the stroller (which he is quickly growing too tall for), and Cocoa went back and forth between daddy's shoulders and mommy's arms (her favorite places to be....can I hear a huge "awwwww" =).  Before heading that way though, Grandma wanted to stop into the toy shop and treat each of the kids to a treat.  Hollywood picked out a garbage truck and blue airplane and Cocoa chose a purple My Little Pony that came with a baby butterfly.  Made. Their. Day.  Grandma also bought some dice and a new game for something entertaining to do back at the condo tonight.

It surprised me how busy the shop was at lunch, but it probably shouldn't have.  It was in an ideal location for skiers and snowboarders to take a break and warm up for a bit.  Hubs and I both built an awesome sandwich, which we each shared bites of with Cocoa.  Hollywood refused anything but a muffin, but that was okay.  There was another little baby there that Cocoa was oooing and awwwing over while we ate and chatted.  Afterwards we leisurely walked back to the condo to put our little lady down for a snooze.

During her nap (and Grandpas), we broke out the new game "Pick Two".  It kind of reminds me of a mix of crossword and scrabble....but it was so fun it surprised me!!!!  It was fast paced and just a little competitive.  Hubs won almost every game, not surprisingly, but we all enjoyed it so much!  After Cocoa woke up the kids BEGGED to go into the pool so we headed on downstairs with them.

For dinner, Grandpa and Grandma wanted to take us to a new restaurant in the village, but when we arrived it was so busy they said the earliest they could get us in was 9:30!!!  So we went next door.  G&G got some burgers and Hubs and I got to try some yummy stir fries.  We were all happy.

We took our time heading back to the condo, trying to wear out the worked!  They were SO ready for bed when we got back.  As soon as they crashed we got back to our games =)

The next morning we had to be checked out quite early so we quickly took showers and got to packing.  But before making the long drive home, we decided to all take one more walk around the village (which mainly led us to the playground for the kids) and stop at a burger joint for lunch.  With tummies full of food and eyes full of tears, we loaded the kids in their car seats, started a movie, and back down the mountain we went.  Hollywood couldn't stop crying, so we promised a stop at the other Grandpa and Grandma's before heading home.  That did it!

There was an insanely long wait at the border which made for some majorly crabby kids.  But a new movie and some snacks mostly fixed the problem.  Thankfully I also had some Mad Libs in the glove compartment for our entertainment.  After we crossed back into the United States, we had a little trouble getting ahold of my Hub's parents...which made me concerned we may have to break our promise to little man.  Thankfully they called us back (they were just outside) and told us to come on over.  This was also about the time that my boy started complaining about a tummy ache and was the start to a long week of disgusting mom duties.  (Enough said, right?)  We ended up staying over there past dinner time waiting for his tummy to settle a little bit.  Our beds were a welcome sight that night.  =) it didn't end on the best note...but it really was a great trip and we are so thankful we took the time to head up into the snow to make some final winter memories!

So tell me friends...where is your favorite winter retreat???


P.S. ALL of these photos were taken on my iPhone, so please excuse the quality.  I was just not in the mood to tote my bulky DSLR around the snowy mountains.  Follow me in Instagram for peeks into our daily routine and follow Cocoa's hair care journey.  For instance, if you had been following me the last couple would have had some sneak peeks of these pictures!  =)  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday: Things I Love

Valentine's Day isn't exactly a highly celebrated event in this house...but it took even a further backseat this year.  We recently returned home from a mini vacation to Whistler, BC (which you can catch glimpses of if you are following me in Instagram or Facebook) and since then we have been battling one thing after the other.  Yep - both kids are sick...and new symptoms keep popping up so I don't think the end is in sight yet.  As if that wasn't enough of a reason, my hubby turns the big 3-0 next week, and assuming we both aren't hacking up our lungs, my parents are supposed to take the kids so we can have a weekend of sleeping in (yep, sounds heavenly, doesn't it?)  Not to mention we're planning an actual vacation (airplane and all) so the funds are being set aside for that.

So...I'll save the money on flowers and chocolates and diamond jewelry (do people actually do that for Valentine's?) and virtually share with you some of the things I love in the fashion world right now.  The top ten things that are calling my name and inspiring me (and you can see much more of that on Pinterest, where all these photos have been pinned by moi).

1. Cat Eye and Red Lips
This is my GO TO look and the quickest one for me to do, not to mention it works well with my porcelain skin.  If you aren't in the practice of using liquid liner (or a creme liner) it might take some getting used to...but there are TONS of pins on Pinterest giving you a step-by-step for this easy yet glamorous look.  And the red lips - they're just the icing on the cake.  But nothing makes me feel put together (even on the days I haven't had time to brush my hair) like some red lipstick.


2. Soft Vintage Curls
I'm sure it's no shock that I love the "Old Hollywood" look and these soft waves and ringlets are the perfect way to achieve that look.  Once you figure out the right way to set your curls, it really doesn't take much time at all (especially when you apply your cat eye and red lipstick as it cools).  

3. Pastels and Lace
I already hinted to you about my obsession with pastels in my post about the inspiration for my creative space remodel.  Blushing pink and mint green being at the top of my list for my pastel picks.  But add lace into the mix and you have the epitome of feminine.  It's no surprise that I'm a girly girl, and I love nothing more than getting dressed up!

4. Icey Blonde Locks
I've been trying to find the time to switch up my look with a new hairstyle for months now.  It has been SOOOOO long since I've been platinum blonde, and I must admit, it's calling my name.  The cost and time of the upkeep is the only thing holding my back but I WILL find a way to incorporate some blonde SOMEhow!! 

5. Pleated Skirts
These pleats are feminine and flirty and just my style!  And I love how they can be easily paired with a simple tee for a classy and sophisticated look...and easy to pull off for a busy mom!  I've seen these all over in all different lengths and depending on what top you pair with it it can go from pretty casual to glam!

6. Hi-Low Hemlines
I've been drooling over these since last summer but after Cassadee Pope's incredible performance on The Voice wearing this stunning number, I FELL IN LOVE!  I know there are some pretty risque versions of this look out in stores, but I think these three nailed it on the head in terms of modesty and style.

7. Texture and Layers
I love to incorporate lots of texture and layers into my look with scarves, jewelry, or different fabrics.  It adds some visual interest and intrigue.  It also gives a unique touch to any outfit and shows off a little of your personality!  

8. A Touch of Sparkle
It's right there in my title - This Domesticated Diva.  What diva doesn't add a little sparkle whenever she can???  But obviously we all know there's a huge difference between body glitter and a little touch here or there.  Maybe I couldn't differentiate the two back in my cheerleading days...but rest assured, I can now.  And here's a couple perfect examples of just the right touch of sparkle!

9. A Pop of Color
I'm a hairstylist.  An artist, in my own sense.  I NEEEED color.  I thrive off color.  So an all neutral or black and white ensemble???  That's just not me.  But add a simple pop of color and I'm a happy camper!  I know many of you can pull of neutrals with style and grace.  Maybe it's my porcelain skin or the dull shade of red in my hair right now...but that is just not my thing!  Even if it is something as simple as some bright peek-a-boo strands or funky makes a huge difference in my world.

10. Infinity Scarves
Yes, I know not everyone can pull them off.  My mom, for one, insists they make her look like she has no neck.  Her words, not mine.  But with two little kids looking for anything to pull (I have holes in the hemlines of all my tanks to prove it, not to mention a pile of jewelry for my husband to fix) infinity scarves have proved to be a lifesaver for me.  Especially for someone who has a constantly cold neck.  And when you live in Washington...that often INCLUDES the summer months.

Vintage Dutch Girl (my sister in law) made this one for me - super cozy, inexpensive, and she has a wide variety of fabrics to choose from!  See for yourself!

My favorite scarf from Fashionable Scarves, which you may have read about a time or two on here.    Great cause and beautiful don't want to miss out on owning one (or several) of these!
So tell me ladies (and gents)....what has been your fashion inspiration so far this year?!?