Friday, August 22, 2014

Ode to Max in Pictures

 I realized I have a whole bunch of random Max pictures that I haven't even posted yet. 
 So here they are in all their Max glory!   

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Families Supporting Adoption Conference : Of One Heart

I know I've said this before, but I always wanted to help out with the FSA Committee ever since we adopted our son.  I was so flattered when I was asked to head up the Conference this year.  I had no idea how much time and work went into putting something like this together!  But it will be worth it in the end as we are having a great turn out so far and we anticipate we will see our registration numbers go up within the next month or so dramatically.  I love the theme that kept coming to my mind - Of One Heart.  It came from the scripture in Moses 7: 18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. Having an open adoption is all about coming together and being Of One Heart and in so doing having "no poor among them".  To me that means all feel loved and lifted by the adoption experience and journey.  It sounds so pretty doesn't it, but the reality is it takes work by all parties to create that unity.  There are tears, frustrations, sadness, grief, joys, relief, satisfaction, peace, and a whole slew of words to describe the journey of adoption.  However I feel the end result can always end up as a blessing for all as the goal Of One Heart is sought for.  My hope with this conference is that all who attend will leave feeling inspired to do something to strengthen or improve their adoption relationships and to come closer together as well as leave with a new sense of what being Of One Heart can do for them.  I pray we can fulfill this purpose amongst all the to do list that seem to be never ending in the process of putting this event together.  Please feel free to share this flyer and pass the word along so we can help spread adoption awareness and strengthen families!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

House Update

Well things have come to a good stopping point in our house.  The biggest accomplishment is that it is completely livable and it is so much easier to keep clean!   That is my favorite part.  I really invested in getting things organized and getting ride of a TON of stuff!  How does one accumulate so much crap?  I didn't really go through and document all my organizing things I've done as that would have taken way too much time so instead I will refer you to the best organizing website ever -  I ended up doing her program and I think one of the biggest things I got from it was my organizing style.  I tended to go practical with organizing ie get the cheapest thing possible but realized that I am more motivated to keep things organized when everything is ascetically pleasing - which tends to cost more money, but money well spent because everything goes right back to where it belongs.   The only room left that needs some help is the laundry room.  I'm still working on little projects here and there and at some point we will finish the baseboards, board and baton, framing in the windows, painting the kitchen cabinets and crown molding.... to name a few.  So here we are now...
One of our favorite places.... the playroom.  And I must say I haven't found something I didn't love from the Land of Nod.... how does that place have so much cool stuff?

I thought about taking some time to make this room all nice and pretty, but the truth is it get's messed up in a blink of an eye so I figured it was fine the way it was.
 I am in love with our teepee
 Here is the heart of our home.  Max wanted to make sure he got in every picture I took of this room. We read, play, and hangout here most the time.  Funny thing is we hardly watch tv at all in this room.  Sometimes I think I should just get rid of that big black thing on the wall.
You may have noticed my quote isn't complete - they ran out of T's and E's
 And this boy was more than happy to smile for the camera

 This is probably my favorite room in the house.  We don't spend too much time in here but I am constantly
raiding my book shelves for a new book to read.  I love that they have doors too keep dust and little kid hands out.  And how in the world did I score to mismatch chairs that are the same design at a fraction of the cost of the originals.  What would I do without Downeast Home?  All I need to finish this room off is a coffee table.  I will know it when I see it I guess.... for now I haven't' found one.
 Who would have thought how some little vinyl heart stickers would make me smile so much! oh and our stairs... I originally wanted to put a runner on them but they are too pretty to do that too. And once the board and baton is done.... oh boy will it look top notch

 Max was begging to use my camera - I consented and here is one he got.... not bad for a 4 year old
 Another favorite part of this room - My beautiful new piano!! How I've wanted a piano for so long.  I always thought I would paint one but this one is too pretty I don't want to touch it.  Piano lessons start next month!!  So excited for that.
 This room is pretty much the same - I have no idea when we will ever get around to those cabinets. The project is do daunting!   I love the idea of going two tones, but we may just opt for white. 
This is where I keep most of our home organized!  Having this space figured out keeps the papers at bay the receipts from getting lost and my trusty schedule to keep me on task!  This area has changed the way I run my day to day activities. Thanks to -  I stole most all her office ideas and it has made such a difference.  Some favorite things about this space - see those colorful folders - I moved a bunch of my file cabinet stuff that I access regularly to there and what a difference that has made! 
 This is where I organize all my mail and papers!  It's a life saver.  
Who knew how helpful labeling things would be too!
This is where we put all our incoming and out going receipts and mail.  I have my weekly and monthly routines listed out next to it with a small cork board to put any important papers.  You should really see the inside of my drawers.... but they are kind of messy and I didn't want to bother with a picture.

So that's most the place right now.... still more to do with the Max's room - mine is pretty much done.  So we are on our way, but we are taking a break from the house and we just hired an agricultural landscaper, Justin Rohner, who is going to work with us for the next year to turn our dead/dying backyard into a food producing beauty!  It's called Agriscaping and we will be starting our yard plan next week!!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

365 Days of D

I can't believe it's been a year!  How has it been a year already?  I've written this blog post over and over in my head and now that I am actually writing it, it's hard to know where to start.  I can't even begin to explain let alone express the emotional roller coaster this process has been and yet here I am and I feel okay.... with everything.  Having this sweet/hard child in our home has brought me to one of my lowest points in my life and yet, somehow, I have been lifted to a higher plain than I was before all of this started.  It's like the great blessing that came from this adversity more than compensates for the cost of going through it.... if that makes sense.   I have also felt this promise fulfilled,  "When we obey the commandments of the Lord and serve His children unselfishly, the natural consequence is power from God—power to do more than we can do by ourselves. Our insights, our talents, our abilities are expanded because we receive strength and power from the Lord." - Richard G. Scott.  I was drowning before our little D came into our home, and I knew it, but I didn't know how to get out of it.  Having D pushed me down even more and I have never felt the loss of control as I have going through this process.  I was drowning because I realized I didn't understand Christ's Atonement.  Most of all, I didn't feel worthy of his Atonement because I would make the same mistakes over and over and over again.  A friend of mine shared this talk with me:  by Brad Wilcox and it changed me and it changed the way I viewed Christ and who He is in my life.  I started to trust Him more with the things I had to bear and as I turned more and more towards Him and stopped trying to do it all on my own.  I have started to overcome things and make changes in my life that were preventing me from growing before.   I'm not sure if this all making sense, but what I'm getting at is this.   I wouldn't change anything. I am better learning how trials really are for our profit and learning.... if we let them.  I remember in the movie the Blind Side how someone told the women who took in a child off the streets how she will change his life and help him and her response was something along the lines of no.... he's changed me.  This experience has been one of the best and worst ones in my life, but it was worth it.  We will probably have in for a month or two more and we will have to say our goodbyes. Will we do it again?  Not sure yet.... we are going to take a break till next year and will revisit the idea. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Little Max

Max is so fun at his age.  He is full of imaginative ideas and loves talking constantly about legos, cars, construction, and other random tangents that cross his mind.  It's so fun to read a story to him and talk with him about it and see him apply it to the world around him.  I can't get over how he just absorbs so much information.   We are working on getting routines down and teaching Max how to do house chores.  I love seeing him feel proud of himself and his little accomplishments he makes. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

15 months!

Our little D is 15 months old.  Some fun facts about D. He loves to eat.... literally.  He wants to eat all the time.  Merrill said one day after church he woke up and the first thing as soon has his head came off of Merrill's shoulder he signed food.  We had a good laugh about that because he has a hollow leg or something.  His all time favorite thing to eat are bananas.  I will have to get a picture of it but he packs his cheeks full of bananas, hardly able to keep it all in, and will proceed to sign for more bananas.  He gets very irritated if we don't give him his own bowl and utensil to eat like us.  In the end he ends up as the picture below.  He is also walking like a champ now.  He prefers it over crawling these days.  From time to time we get little glimpse of him trying to talk from time to time.  He says Dada, Thank You, Mama, and some other random words.  He is so cute with his long hair and curls, so cute he is often mistaken for a girl.  We have loved our time with little D.  He will be going home soon.... when we can't say the date for sure but it's coming.  In the meantime we are trying to get all the hugs and cuddles we can.

 It really is a shame I can't show you more of these pictures of him on the bed and walking because they are so stinkin cute.  You really are missing out...

Friday, July 11, 2014


I'm working, ever so working, on getting some kind of routine down in this house.  One thing I am really trying to put more energy into is being 100 percent present with Max on a daily basis.  To do this I am trying out this spark box idea I got from a friend.  It's still in the early stages and I'm working on getting this thing down better.  In the meantime we are getting some more time with the two of us and I love it.  Here was one of our little activities.

 Max made the one with the little tiny smile on it - darling

Max's new favorite face to make for pictures