Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ABC's...and Pickles too!

Being a mom can be so fun, so frustrating, and so rewarding...even at the same time!  I know all you moms out there know exactly what I'm talking about.

My Hollywood has a stubborn streak to him.  He gets it from both of us (but mostly his dad).  Lately his stubbornness has been in reference to learning his ABC's.  I was convinced for months that my four year old didn't know his ABC's and therefore have been pushing him with working on it.  Shortly after our friends convinced us to try Netflix (completely unrelated to his ABC's) and we discovered Super Why (completely related)...I learned that he in fact DID know his ABC's.  It really shouldn't have come as such a shock to a mother of a boy who went from not talking to full sentences at 2 1/2.  And yet...I still have not quite figured out the magic trick to get past the stubbornness.

But alas, I can relax knowing my kid can go to Kindergarden fully able to say his ABC's (note to self...we need to figure out what we're doing for Kindergarden).

So yes, it is a bit frustrating when my little man will only recite the alphabet up to a "G" and then end his song with "and pickles too all done" (don't ask)?  Yes.  But maybe it just makes it all the more rewarding when he makes it all the way to "Z" and wants to do it again.  But even if it didn't, this kid's crazy expressions would make it all worth it... =)

I love you, crazy!


Monday, May 20, 2013

That Sweet Face

Two years ago this very day, my life changed again.  Our world got turned upside down, and all because of the presence of one spectacular little lady.  Two years ago, my heart beat out of its chest and then stopped all together when I saw my daughter's sweet face for the very first time.

She was five months old and tiny as a baby bird.  She was sound asleep when the special mothers led us to her and she opened her eyes just to gaze right into mine.  Words can justly describe a moment like that.  It feels almost magical.

This girl may epitomize the word "diva".  She may wear me out and drive me batty at times.  But I can't imagine my life without her in it.  I love her with every ounce of my being and she is absolutely, 100% worth the wait.

Nothing about adoption is easy.  But with a good support system around you and the Lord to ground you and carry you through the impossibly hard times...it is not only possible, but a huge blessing.  My life is better not only because she is in it, but because of the journey God brought us on to make her a part of our family and the people He placed around us in the process.  It is a life altering journey.  And it is absolutely worth it.

If you are on the fence about whether you should dive into adoption....what's holding you back?  What is keeping you from uninhibitedly jumping in?  Don't let it be fear of the unknown.  Do your research.  Find families who have gone through the process and ask questions.  And pray about whether this is where God is leading you.  There are countless kids around the world and here in the states who don't have a family to call their own.  EVERY child deserves a family to call their own.  Every one.


You can read every detail about our Meetcha Day HERE or click on the "Travel Journal" tag (look at the categories on the right side bar) and read all our posts from Ethiopia.  Or for a summery of the adoption experience please watch our adoption video HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Daughter of the King

Never forget my sweet girl....you are a princess!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Trip to Nashville, Y'all!!!

I know, I know...I've been promising details of this trip for, like, ever now!  I mean for crying out loud, we've been home a month already!  But in that month our entire family has been sick three times, including an ambulance ride to Children's ER.  Is that a good enough excuse to be a little behind on posts?  I hope so...because if not, I don't know what is!  LOL!

So.  Nashville.  Everyone asks us...why Nashville?  You mean, besides my obsession with music and my love of the south (or my mental picture of the south, considering that was my first time actually GOING)???  Well, since we started the adoption process we have had a growing group of friends in the Kentucky-Tennessee area that we have been dying to meet (admittedly, I probably wanted to more than my husband).  We needed a break.  It was a good time to take off work.  We wanted a family vacation.  We wanted affordable.  We wanted warmer weather.  Nashville!

(Not so) patiently waiting for the flight, and getting settled in our seats (our flight left at 6am).

Hollywood's first flight....he was a little excited!

Thank GOODNESS for the iPad

We were blessed with AMAZING weather while we were there.  Just one crazy rainstorm/thunderstorm and the rest was sun-sun-sun!!!  We even got some tan lines (yes, including my little Ethiopian)!

For the first half of the trip we stayed with the B family, who we originally met during our first trip in Ethiopia.  Our dear friends were the ones who blessed us by recording and photographing the moment we met our sweet Cocoa for the first time.  If we hadn't instantly bonded over breakfast that first morning I would have still forever had a connection with Teresa and her amazing family after listening to her sweet southern accent on our "Meetcha Day" video over and over again.  As soon as Teresa heard we were coming she offered us a place to stay (southern hospitality is no joke) at their beautiful home right in Nashville.

They were AMAZING hosts.  Their oldest son offered up his room graciously to our family of four.  They gave us free reign of the kitchen, fed us some traditional southern BBQ, and introduced us to their dearest friends.  There was never a moment we felt in their way or out of place - they just welcomed us into the family with open arms!  Even our kids grew so fond of them, offering up hugs and kisses without hesitation.  It just melted me!  =)

In front of their house

The kids with Teresa's sweet daughter, who was from the same orphanage as Cocoa

Playing in the culdesac

What several days with no nap looks like =)
Saturday, the B family decided to give us a real taste of life in Nashville and took us to a game at Vanderbilt.  I know this will confuse every member of my family considering I have hated sports my entire life....but I can't exactly deny my husband and children adventures like this just because they aren't my favorite.  Plus - you can't top a free game in an open stadium on a sunny afternoon!  Some popcorn, pizza, and hefty water bottles and we were set!  That was....until Hollywood started getting a headache from the heat...and then I knew we had to get our fam out of the sun for a little.

That evening, we had the AMAZING opportunity to got out for an Ethiopian dinner with our amazing AGCI family.  Most of the families lived right within the Nashville area, but two dear ladies, Meredith and Cortney, came all the way from Knoxville to meet us!  Although I have ZERO pictures from that evening (due to two very cranky kids demanding our constant attention) we did have a wonderful time visiting with these lovely families.

The second half of our trip we stayed with the R family over in Spring Hill (south of Nashville).  I met Ashley through our community group of AGCI families on Facebook.  They ended up adopting with another agency (you can read their amazing story here), but thankfully stayed a part of the group and we have stayed connected through our common passion of advocating for orphans.

Ashley and her sweet family took us all over the Spring Hill and Franklin area.  We ate at multiple restaurants, visited parks, and shopped downtown.  They opened up their home to us, organized fun play dates with multiple families, and even purchased a pool to ease us Seattle folk into their 80 degree spring weather. Talk about awesome hosts!!!  And as if that wasn't MORE than enough...they also picked us up and took us to the airport.  Oh my goodness guys....we're so grateful words aren't enough!

Ashley and Makenzie's sweet girls!

Splish Splash!  Fun in the sun!
Some Ethiopian sass from Makenzie's adorable little lady!

Hollywood finally joining in on the fun
Some Instagram Fun =)
Makenzie and her adorable family (who I also met through AGCI) met up with us on several occasions throughout the week as well as inviting us into their home and giving us a tour of East Nashville.  It was fun to have friends all over the Nashville area to show us the best of the best!   And we are so grateful they took the time out of their busy schedule to welcome us to Nashville and let us get to know them a little better.

On Friday, we got a very unique opportunity to meet up with some very special friends whom I have known for a long time, but never met in person until this trip.  This is kind of a crazy story, are you ready?  We met about 5 years ago on babycenter.com when we were all trying to start a family.  My husband and I were at a point that we were ready for kids, but we wanted to surprise our family and friends with the news.  But until there was news to share, I needed a place where I could share my excitement, concerns, and ask questions....and that's when I met these amazing ladies.  It started out as just conversation but grew into deep, meaningful friendships.  Our group grew quite big over the years and we're spread all over the United States and even Australia!  They are some of the best friends a girl could ask for - they let me vent without judging, they have been an emotional support system through every adventure our family has gone on, and I am so blessed to have them in my lives.  SOOOO....when these two awesome ladies from Kentucky were willing to come MEET ME in Nashville, I jumped at the chance!  So finally we got to hug and talk face to face and see each other's precious kids.  SUCH an amazing day.  So THANK YOU Amber and Jenn for making the drive.  It means the world to me.

At the Opry Mall and Rainforest Cafe and a huge thanks to my hubby for graciously watching the kids so we could chat and for actually capturing a photo with everyone smiling!!!  Amazing!

We also had the pleasure of meeting the J and G families on Sunday.  When they heard our family was coming into town they invited us to join them for their joint family dinner, after a tour of the Brentwood/Nolensville area, of course.

Kristi and her family I met through her well-known blog.  Back when we were researching the Ethiopian adoption process, I stumbled upon her blog and Gotcha Day video for Lucy Lane and that was how we were introduced to AGCI!  Kristi welcomed us into her home and gave us the grand tour of her 1800's farmhouse (so cute, and so amazing).  And then her sweet husband offered to watch the kids so that Kristi could drive us around town!

Candi and her family hosted our three families for dinner!  I also met them through the AGCI community and Candi was one of the first to send me photos of our sweet Cocoa at Hannah's Hope (since their family traveled in March, and we didn't go until May).  They gave us our first glimpse of Cocoa's smile....I will NEVER be able to thank them enough for that!!!

It was a house full of laughter and good food - they had quite a spread of southern BBQ and sweet tea (which I have grown to LOVE by the way).  And we were so blessed that we could join the G's in celebrating their kiddos' Gotcha Day as well as Candi's husband's birthday.

Breaking out the cake

At the end of the night we realized it might be wise to get a pic of all the ladies =)
Out of the entire week we had one afternoon with nothing scheduled.  I was a little worried about what we were going to do, but it ended up being SUCH a fun day!  We found ourselves downtown just walking around.  Even though I am not a big city girl and never will be, I do enjoy being a tourist every now and then.  There was some event going on so the streets were packed, but we still had so much fun.

So on top of meeting all these amazing families for the first time, we also got the opportunity to meet up with my cousin, who moved to Nashville last year.  It was so fun to see her in her environment!  Nashville so fits her personality!  Necia took us out to a fun southern restaurant, Jim 'N Nicks, which is well known for their life-altering cheesey biscuits.  If you haven't tried them, you must!  Soooo good!  The kids just LOVED seeing mommy's cousin...she's kind of awesome and always a hit with the kids =)  And then she took us back to her apartment so we could see her part of town and chat for a while.  SO glad it worked for us to get together because it was SUCH a fun evening.

Well!  That about sums up a pretty awesome week!  Have YOU been to Nashville?  What do YOU think?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My First Fix!!!

You may have heard me hint at my excitement on facebook for a while now.  Or maybe you are just hearing about it now.  But I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first Fix.  STITCH Fix that is.  A few of my bloggy friends have been posting about this fun and convenient online service for some time now and I am finally jumping on the bandwagon!

So what is Stitch Fix, you ask?  When you sign up for Stitch Fix, you get assigned a personal shopper who goes through your style profile, Pinterest, and Blog (or whatever you share with them) to personally pick out five clothing and accessory items to send to your home.

As a mom, this service is a LIFESEND!  You all know I looooove fashion....but with two high energy kids, it is next to impossible to get some shopping in.  So I either end up making quick decisions that I often regret or get nothing new for my wardrobe at all.  This leads me feeling frumpy and out of style.  An easy trap to fall into as a mom, am I right?

So how does it work?  Follow this link to sign up.  There is a little bit of a waiting list (not long though) and then Stitch Fix will send you an email to fill out your style profile.  They ask a lot of detailed questions about what size you wear, what style you like (with picture examples), how much you like to spend.  You also have the option to share links to your Pinterest page and your blog, which I could imagine really help them get to know your personality and unique flair.

Yes, I will admit I was wondering how well they would really "get me" based on my online information...but I think they did an excellent job with my first Fix.  Take a look for yourself!

My first item was this multi strand gold and red necklace.  Red is not a color I normally would choose for myself, but at first glance I absolutely loved it!  One of the things that makes this so fun =)  Not hard to see that it fits great.  The only thing holding me back is that I usually stick to cheap jewelry because I use it as my statement piece.  Is this classic enough that I would use it for years to come and therefore worth the investment?  Hmm...I'd love your thoughts!!!

My second item was this polka dot chambray blouse.  I specifically told them I was wanting a chambray blouse and this is just perfect!  The polka dots make it stand out from every other one out there (which I love) and it was just the perfect fit.  It was a little more than I would like to spend on a blouse...but I have such a hard time finding the right fit on me that this one, I think, is worth it (plus I had saved up a little knowing I wanted to invest in some staples for my wardrobe).

The third was this navy blouse with a sailboat print.  I love the bow at the neckline and the lightweight texture.  It's just perfect for the cool springs we tend to have here in Seattle (I say "tend" because just yesterday we were the hottest state in the nation....can't say that every day ever around here).  However, sailboats aren't really my thing (no offense for those of you who love them) and I happen to have two blouses very similar.  So I think I'm going to pass on this one.

The next two here are this red dolman top and black stretch skinnies.  The top is a great lightweight sweater fabric and the shape is beautiful.  I feel a little self-conscious about how tight it hugs my mommy pooch though...what do you think?  It's really a lovely piece but I worry that maybe its a little out of season.  Both the color and fabric seem perfect for the fall/winter....but maybe not right now as we're easing into the warmer weather.  However, I was SO excited when I saw the black skinnies because I happen to have worn a hole into mine just this weekend at the hospital (THAT'S a story for later).  These are so stretchy and comfortable.  They are the perfect length and fit great in the legs...but the waist was just a little too loose and they kept sliding down giving me that saggy crotch look.   =(  Not a fan of that...  So I'm passing on the pants, but still undecided on the top...

Out of everything in the box (which was awesome packaging by the way, including two examples of how to wear each piece) my very favorite is the chambray blouse.  It is exactly what I was hoping for and I was so excited I had to try it out a couple of ways...which one is your favorite???

And if YOU want to try out Stitch Fix yourself, just simply click HERE to sign up and get started.  And if you sign up through my link, I even get a credit towards my next fix!  So you'd be helping this girl out too =)