Friday, March 29, 2013

Lead Me To The Cross

It was my sin that nailed Him there.
He freely chose to give His life out of love for mine.
And yours.
Whether you are a believer or not...
Whether you cry out His name or mock Him out loud...
He loves you.
He loved you before you ever existed.
He loved you enough to DIE for you.
Whether you choose to have a relationship with Him or not.
His love is unfailing.  Never ceasing.
Amazing love.

Have a blessed Good Friday.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blogging: Mommy Style

I have a lot of moms tell me they are just way too busy to blog.  I get that, I really do.  That is the very reason why my number of posts from week to week (or month to month) can very so much.  Mommyhood is hard work.  I only have two and somedays I just feel like a down right mess.  Hair not combed, teeth not brushed, yoga pant wearing, non-vacuuming, laundry piling MESS!!!  We all have days like this (some of us more than others, myself included).

So how do I fit in blogging between fort building, mouth feeding, preschool teaching, grocery shopping and the many other tasks that come with the business?

In my case it is usually in the form of one of the following:

1) During nap/quiet time.
Of course this depends on my to-do list for the day or my level of exhaustion.  Some days the floor just needs to be mopped and the best time for that is nap time.  Some days I feel like I've been running non stop and simply need to relax on the couch with a good book.  Other days I multi task and fold laundry while watching some Desperate Housewives reruns or the latest episode of Nashville.  But if I am going to blog during a nap, I'm going to make the most of my precious time and try to pop out several posts and schedule them over the course of a week.

2) After bed time.
This is not my preferred method, because this is my precious one-on-one time with my husband.  He works long hours and I try to really enjoy the time that he is home and give him my full attention.  But occasionally he has a show to watch that I really could care less about, so I'll sit next to him on the couch and let my thoughts spill through my iPad.  And there is the random occasion that he has to work late, and this is a great time for me to unwind and blog for a while.

3) With a babe in my lap.
We all know there are some days that our kids won't let us out of their sight.  They cling to you like a monkey and whine in your ear.  I will try to distract them with a coloring book or by letting them pound on the piano so I can get a break for a moment...but that doesn't always work.  Of course I never get very far on a post when my littles are around, because they are my first priority.  So there are lots of interruptions for snacks and sippy cups or breaking up fights.  I usually just get a paragraph or two written or a couple photos edited.  But sometimes - that is enough to clear my head and let me get back to my mommy duties with a smile!

Well today is one of those days.  A kid-in-lap-kind-of-blogging day.  And I don't mind, as long as I'm getting these cheesy smiles instead of tears!

And hopefully someday my kids can look back over my blog (that hopefully will be made into a book?) and see that it was good for me to take some time for myself every now and then and that I was a better mommy for it.  This may be a little outlet for me - but it's all for them anyway!!! =)


Friday, March 22, 2013

Fashion Friday: What's Your Style?

Someone asked me that question the other day: what's your fashion style?  And you know what???  I didn't know how to answer it.

I think I have a pretty good sense of what I like and what I don't.  What will work on my body type and what will make me look like I'm trying to fit in with the high school crowd.  Not to say I get it perfect all the time...

But as far as what my fashion style is, I'm not sure I have a label for it!

There's the Classic Style, that I have come to appreciate.  Clean lines and sophisticated charm...what's not to love?

There's the Romantic Style.  Big bows or dainty lace.  Flowy fabrics, luxe textures, and a hint of glimmer.  It's so girly I can't help but adore it.

There's the Glam Style with sparkle and animal prints and fur which all just scream Hollywood to me!

There's the Edgy Style which speaks to the rocker deep within.  Graphic prints and leather mixed in with some flowy feminine touches just speak to me!

There's also the Casual Chic Style, which essential for the mom in me.  Practical and comfortable, yet with a touch of sass.

Of course there are many more...these are just the ones that I like to pull bits and pieces of to put together a look that is uniquely my own.  Which I think is important, and most of you would agree!  There's no fun about a simple copy cat outfit - everyone needs a dose of individuality to really pull something off.  

But how am I suppossed to put that on paper?  I think this is the best I can do.  

So there you have it, This Domesticated Diva's fashion style:

The Sometimes Casual Glamorous Romantic 
with a touch of Classic Edge

That works, right?!  ;)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Project #472

We've begun yet another project in our house.  One we have been planning on and waiting for since we moved in our house 5 years ago.  A master bathroom.  Of course, the master bedroom had to be put into place first....which we completed about two years ago, before Cocoa came home.

So why are we just now getting started with it?  Ooooh.

First of is a completely unfinished space.  No window.  No flooring.  No plumbing.  No siding.  Nada.  Which means it will cost a lot of money...which leads me to number two.

Cash.  We needed to have the money set aside before we started on the bathroom, and until now, other projects have topped the priority list.  But since we got our tax return back, we now have a chunk set aside to complete this project.

Three - storage.  As we showed the plumbers around our bathroom-to-be, it didn't take long to realize that we hadn't gone through any of this junk since we moved it!  Back in the corner (right around where the carpenter ants were taking over...yeah...long story) were boxes that we moved in and never unpacked.  Also - tool store house.  Yep - this is where all the things that don't have a home go.  And before we could get working on this space, all those things needed a home (even if that home turned out to be the Goodwill or the trash).

But now that those three things are out of the way, we have happily begun.

The plumbers spent an entire day invading my home and making a ton of racket (hear - no nap) but they got the job done and now we are ready for inspection.  After that is completed, then we can begin the flooring.  So while we are waiting for that, my hubby decided it was time for the window.

So last weekend (yep - my birthday weekend) I sat in the sun (WHAT?!?  There's SUN in Washington?!?  LOL) reading the end of Safe Haven and snuggling my babies while daddy cut a hole in our house and filled it with a window.

Bringing me right back to the summer she came home...

And you know who took THIS awesome picture?
My 4-year-old.  Future photographer on my hands??? =)

This is Hub's "you want me to smile NOW?!?" look =)

Working hard

Hole.  And yes, I forgot a picture of the window itself.  WHOOPS!
And yes, I do realize how ghetto my house looks with that lovely green trim work and overgrown bushes.  Hopefully that will be project #473...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Coffee Date!!

Fellow blogger Amy @Filled With Praise clued me in to the coffee date that MercyFound Ministries is hosting today.  My coffee is already a little cold thanks to the constant stream of distractions that come with being a mama of two little ones.  But just for you, I'll pop it in the microwave for the third time!  I wish we could be face to face and we could start this conversation with a big hug...but on the bright side, you don't have to listen to my 4-year-old and 2-year-old bickering and crying and tattling.  =)

So whether you need some fancy creamer or you like it black, grab your cup and sit down for a little mama gab sesh...okay? =)  The ladies at MercyFound Ministries asked the questions to get the ball rolling (go check it out for yourself).

1. What first drew your heart to adoption?  Who was on board first - you or your husband?

My husband and I talked about adoption long before we were married.  I don't even remember who brought it up first.  But somewhere along the line when we were planning our family, we forgot about that dream.  At the point that our good friends were in Ethiopia picking up there son, I felt God whack me over the head with a 2x4.  I remember sitting at the computer reading the entire travel journal in one sitting bawling my eyes out because I knew that is where God was leading us.  My husband came home on his lunch break to a blubbering mess, but it wasn't long after that we were submitting our application and starting the long crazy journey to our Cocoa Puff.

2. Share a couple of favorite songs on your playlist.

I am completely on board with Amy on this speaks to me like nothing else.  Once you get me started I could go on all day, so I'm going to limit it to two here.  The first is "Lead Me To The Cross", specifically the version by Francesca Battistelli.  Beautiful.  The second is "Love is Here" by Tenth Avenue North.

3. Do you have a favorite scripture?  One that is especially meaningful to you right now?

Habikuk 2:3 "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will come and will not delay."  This verse was in my kitchen throughout the adoption process and reflecting on it helped me to find peace in the wait.  Lately as we are seeking God's direction on our next steps, I find myself clinging to it once again.  God's timing is always perfect.

4. Share what country/countries you have/are adopted/adopting from, and what agency you used, if you're comfortable doing so.

Our family adopted from Ethiopia using All God's Children International.  

5. Any quirks or fun things that make you uniquely you (that you want us to know about you:))?

I was a cheerleader in high school, and even though I don't do it for sport anymore, it is something I hope never to give up completely.  I will always be my husband's and my kid's biggest cheerleader and I love to cheer others on as they go through the long adoption process.  You need a "go team go"?  Just say the word!

I play piano, but I actually can't read notes very well so I play based off of guitar chords instead!  I also have a guitar but I have no idea how to play it (but I would love to learn, will you be the one to teach me?).

Unless it is in the form of deep tissue massage, I can't handle people touching my neck.  My husband and kids will tease me by pretending they are going to choke me and if their hands even get near I turn into a crazy karate chopping ninja!

So now it's your turn!  And my coffee mug isn't even empty yet so I'm all ready to hear your answers!  Ready, set, GO! =)


Monday, March 18, 2013

Oh To Be A Boy...

Dear Hollywood,

I absolutely love days like today when the sun is shining and we get to enjoy our afternoon outside.  I love to watch your imaginative ideas come to life as you navigate us on adventure after adventure.  

It could be steering us into the raging seas on our "pirate ship" while watching out for fiery cannons.  
It could be navigating the overgrown grasses of the jungle, careful not to spook any wild animals!  
It could be escaping the Tickle Monster by pumping your legs a little extra hard on the swing.  
Or it could be paving a road out of sand dunes in the sandbox and then bombing the construction site.

Outdoors is where I see you come to life.  Your eyes get that sparkle and you are just the epitome of joy.  I hope you never outgrow your creativity and carry it with you into your adulthood.  Life is so much more enjoyable when are having fun.

Thank you for taking me on your adventures with you.

Love Always,


Friday, March 15, 2013

Hollywood Round 4

A Very Belated Birthday Post For My September Baby

Four is a big age.  I'm amazed at how we have slowly transitioned out of the tantrums of age three into a curious, independent, and loving little boy.  Hollywood (as we so lovingly nicknamed him after his Justin Bieber look-a-like photo and his obsession with cool shades) LOVES being four....and I'm sure it's not just because it's easier to show on your fingers than three is!  ;)

On the morning of his birthday, he actually slept in a little bit, much to our surprise.  I guess the staying-up-late-the-night-before-in-anticipation kind of wore him out a bit.  Shocker.  When he finally did wake, he RAN into our room exclaiming it was his birthday, and to his surprise, we had his big gift right there for him!  Even though his little sister was asleep, we decided it was okay for him to go ahead and "open" it...

A big bike for a big boy! Real pedals and all - just like he asked for! Unfortunately he spent more time sitting on it than trying it...and even to this day the pedals are a point of contention for him. Such hard work growing up!

Little sister spoiled the birthday boy as well with two brand new books that have become bedtime favorites for BOTH the munchkins! When A Dragon Moves In and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site!

Don't know WHY he does this goofy little pose every time I tell him to smile, lol!

Happy Birthday Hollywood!
We love you so very much! :)

Mike Fiechtner Photography
20 Questions Hollywood Version
{Age 4}

1. What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite toy?
New orange tool toys
3. What is your favorite fruit?
Every...all the snacks and strawberries and bananas and beans and strawberry cereal...
4. What is your favorite show?
Rocketship and Team Umizoomi
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
6. What is your favorite outfit?
Race car shirts!
7. What is your favorite game?
Airplanes game
8. What is your favorite snack?
Green cookies
9. What is your favorite animal?
Pandas and lions
10. What is your favorite song?
The baya song...the one in the car!  (He's mad that I don't know which one he means...)
11. What is your favorite book?
Race car book - its action!  Actually, I got a race car coloring book.  It's style ear.  (???)
12. Who is your best friend?
Kierra is.  But I have a baby sister.  She's not my best friend...Kierra's my best friend, I love friends! I have a lot of friends at my home.
13. What is your favorite cereal?
Strawberry cereal and color cereal (Special K and Fruit Loops)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
PLAY!  TOYS!  Lawn mowers!  Are so much fun!
15. What is your favorite drink?
16. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween...and parties!
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
Night lights.
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
I don't know...muffins!!!
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
Strawberries too.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Build rocketships with blocks.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Birthday

Yeeeeeees.  If you are a friend on FB I'm sure you are by now aware that this past week was I had my birthday.  I don't say that with any disdain for the day and I certainly do not dread the annual event.  In fact, I LOVE my birthday and all that it entails!  Who doesn't like a day to get spoiled and pampered and loved?!?  I certainly do!  I only...occasionally...get a tad bit embarrassed by all the attention.  ME?!?  I know, it must shock you.  But somewhere deep down inside is the shy little girl that used to cling to my mother's leg and look at the floor with any mention of my name.  I try my darndest to keep her at bay, but she still appears on occasion in the form of butterflies in my tummy, sweaty palms, or a beet red face.

But instead of celebrating myself right now (because really, that would be just a little weird) I want to celebrate a few ministries that inspire me to be more than be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Ordinary Hero

My love for this ministry is no secret.  Through teaming up with them for fundraising our precious Cocoa's adoption, I learned more about the heart behind this ministry.  Kelly Putty founded this organization, which started out by helping within their own community, seeking to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.  It quickly opened their eyes to needs of children around the globe.  Ordinary Hero is now involved in seasonal mission trips to Ethiopia, South Africa, and Haiti.  They put on community outreaches including Project Backpack, a Halloween event, Christmas Stocking Stuffers, and Mother's Day celebrations with Rescue Mission.  They help countless adoptive families fundraise to bring their children home.  And that just touches on the many ways they touch others' lives.  Our family was so blessed by Ordinary Hero and we will forever be grateful for their assistance in fundraising.

Steadfast Love

Again, anyone who knows me probably knows about Steadfast Love.  Our dear friends Ian and Brittany Bentley are the family behind the name, sacrificing the comforts of an American life to touch lives of the least of these in Ethiopia.  They have given it all away, in the world's eyes, to pour into the lives of orphans, street children, and women escaping a life of prostitution.  Working with Women At Risk, FashionABLE, and No Ordinary Love Ministries Children's Home, they have already made a difference for countless families in less than a year that they have lived in Addis.  Their stories about these women and children touch my heart in a way I cannot describe, due in part, I'm sure, the the hold the country of Ethiopia has on my heart.

One Child Campaign

Founded by Caleb and Becca David, this ministry facilitates short term mission trips and connects individuals with families and ministries around the world.  They partner with Steadfast Love, No Ordinary Love Ministries, Children's Hope Chest, Embracing Ethiopia, FashionABLE, Noonday Collections, and Bring Love In....just to give you a glimpse into the many ways they are impacting lives around Ethiopia and beyond.  Through child sponsorship, orphan advocacy, and mission trips I believe they are reaching their goal of breathing hope into the orphan crisis.

147 Million Orphans

This foundation was created to impact the lives of children in a positive way.  The founders, Suzanne Mayernick and Gwen Oatsvall, met during their first adoptions 9 years ago and since then have accepted the call to speak up for orphans everywhere.  With projects in Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda, and Honduras they are helping provide food, water, and medicine to those who need it.  They are showing the love of Christ and impacting many lives by providing medical clinics, water wells, and storage facilities housing food!  On top of that, the 147 Million Orphans Store aids adoptive families in their fundraising.


Latin America Child Care has been helping children since 1963.  LACC is involved in over 300 projects, affecting over 100,000 children in 31 countries, including Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Columbia....just to name a few.  Our good friends Randy and Lynne Forsyth (and their daughter Jenny) have joined the mission field and will be moving to Panama shortly (for the last several months they have been living and training in Costa Rica).  There they will be working along side the local pastors and administrators to develop future schools for the program.  They will also be assisting in the construction of a regional training center for the teachers and administrators, located in Panama City, a convenient and cost effective location for them to receive their required credential updates.  

Obviously there are many, many more ministries out there doing amazing things for God's kingdom.  I have barely scraped the surface.  These are just a few that are close to my heart.

I have many people tell me they don't feel called to adopt, but want to help in someway.  Supporting an adoptive family with prayer or financial aid is a HUGE part of that (and being a recipient of such support, I can personally tell you how appreciated it is and can take such an enormous load of stress off of you).  But as you can see, there are many organizations reaching out beyond adoption and making a difference both in our communities and globally.  I hope this can be used as a tool to get you involved in one way or another.  Educate yourself and ask God how you can make an influence and begin changing the world.  Many people are out there doing it one person at a time.  You can be part of that!  Let me know what you decide =)


Monday, March 4, 2013

My Days Lately...

A lot of my posts over the last little bit have touched on fashion, on our family vacations, on special events, and home decor.  The day to day in our household looks a little different.  The hair is disheveled.  We don't always get out of pajamas.  There are piles of laundry and dishes in the sink.  There are projects, construction crews, pesk control, and "To-Do" lists everywhere you turn.  There are blanket forts and crumbs on the floor and so much screaming I get a headache.

But I wouldn't trade it for the world!  The day to day stuff is where the memories are made!  Where bedrooms transform into the great outdoors.  Where you can camp under the stars and roast the perfect marshmallow over the fire (and it never burns!).

Where little girls can dress up as a fairy, or a princess and feed her baby the ideal combination of smushed bananas and apple juice before playing her a lullaby on her piano and shushing her to sleep.

Where toddler crafts are a blast, but so messy it gives mama a panic attack.

Where we relive every real-life moment or dream in the form of Mega-Blocks.

Yes, I wish there was a little less fighting on their part and a little more patience on mine.  I wish I was more organized and planned out my day better.  I wish there was never a night that they didn't get to kiss their daddy before closing their eyes.  I wish I was a morning person who could have a normal conversation before finishing a cup of coffee (its true - I'm a grump).

Although I am sure there will consistently be a list of improvements I would like to make in myself, I am thankful that God loves me right here where I am.  Messy, unorganized, easily frustrated little old me.  It's hard to grasp that thought sometimes while living in a world that expects me to be super mom.

My devotions this morning literally stopped me in my tracks, being that I was in the midst of writing this post...

"Don't look for affirmation in the wrong places; your own evaluations, or those of other people.  The only real source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love....When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust; it is to prepare you for face-to-face fellowship with Me throughout all eternity." 
 - Jesus Calling

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." 
- Proverbs 3:11-12

Thank you Lord for once again meeting me right where I am.  For speaking the words that I need to hear right now.  And hopefully it encourages each of you to seek affirmation from the Lord today!


{Real life photos brought to you by - the iPhone!!!  Haha...but seriously, please excuse the fuzzy and/or poorly lit photos.  It's reality right now.}

Friday, March 1, 2013

The "Dirty Thirty"

Photo Credit: Mike Fiechtner Photography
I don't know why he calls it that, I really don't.  But those are the words that come out of his mouth every time I tell someone that this past weekend he turned the big 3-0.  My husband has quite the unique sense of humor that you either get or you don't.  Either you will laugh and think he's hilarious, or he'll notice that spacey look in your eyes and know to move on.

I remember when we first started dating and a few people felt the need to warn me about his humor.  That after a while it would get old.  That he would start telling the same jokes over and over.  But God put that man in my life to make me laugh and I am so thankful I get to grow old with him!  He can make me laugh day in and day out (and guess what - those few jokes he tells over and over...they are the really funny ones that I keep forgetting the end to).  And it's those laugh lines on his face that melt me to the core.  I can just picture us, old and grey, surrounded by grandchildren laughing at their silly grandpa and all his crazy stories!

I love that man and all his crazy - in fact, I'm crazy about his crazy!  And I got to celebrate him (with JUST him) all weekend long.  Grandpa and Grandma offered to have the kids for the weekend and let us do whatever....but we opted for staying home and keeping it low key.  We got to sleeeeeeeep in our own bed (without constant interruption and early wake up calls).  We got to play GAMES (which I swear never happens anymore).  We went out for every meal and even enjoyed an afternoon movie!  We had zero schedule which may have been the cause for us driving around at 10pm trying to find an open Pho restaurant and settling for Chinese.  Haha!  It was so crazy fun to just be us with no responsibility for a little bit.

Although the thought of having an empty nest some day is so scary...but spending every day all day with the man of my dreams also makes it something to look forward to =)

Photo Credit: Mike Fiechtner Photography

Happy 30th Birthday to my one and only.
I love you! =)