Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Words...

I am asking you to please lift this family up in prayer. They faithfully attend our church. They have just lost a 2.5 year fight for the finalization of their adoption and will lose their 2.5 year old baby-girl in 30 short days when they relinquish her to her birth-father.

My heart is broken for this sweet family. I can't imagine what I would be feeling if we lost our baby-girl, who is the same age as Waverley. I don't know how you could possibly move on from this without the strength and power of the Lord to guide you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

Did you have a favorite food growing up that you requested for birthdays or special occasions? This is mine; My Mom's Beef Stroganoff... Oh my goodness is this yummy!




1.5-2 Pounds Sirloin tip, sliced thinly
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
Sliced muchrooms, canned or fresh (as much as you like)
1/2 cup water
16 ounces sour cream

* Saute meat in a little oil
* Add all but the sour cream and simmer one hour
* Fold in sour cream just before serving
* Serve over rice or egg noodles

I made this last night... it's always yummy but never tastes as good as when my Mom makes it :-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Juno Baby

Look what came in the mail today!! About a month ago I signed up for this free DVD, not completely trusting that I would receive it... and today I did! The one we received is "Juno's Rhythm Adventure" and since the Mom who created the Juno series is a composer, I'm expecting some great new kids' music.

A card was enclosed with the DVD and says that other Moms can get the free DVD, as well! If you want to get one go to http://hearditfromamom.com/junobaby/index.php?fb=f7d9ed13db



Let me know if you request one and I'll let you know soon how we like ours :-)

Update: We LOVE it! We don't let Hannah watch a lot of TV but she has been transfixed for 20 minutes so far... great music, great lessons, and lots of color! Go order yours... for a gift, stocking stuffer or to tuck away for a future baby. We'll be ordering more Juno Baby movies :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

MIKESCHAIR - Let The Waters Rise



Everyone worships in their own unique way. Some worship through prayer, some through song, some through teaching, and in many other ways. I worship through song and I always have. This song is so powerful and it has become my prayers this week. The waters will rise and rise and rise but God will not let us drown... and for that, I'm so thankful!

Have a wonderful Fall weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet Earth

Are there certain scents that you associate with a memory, either good or bad?

I had spinal fusion surgery when I was 13 years old to correct Scoliosis. Thankfully, I don't remember a lot of my week-long hospital stay but one thing has stuck with me all these years; the smell of the lotion my mom was wearing when she stood next to my hospital bed and I was sick to my stomach from the pain medicine the nurses gave me. I don't know what lotion it was but every time I smell something even remotely close, I feel sick to my stomach. I know my mom, and I know that she has impeccable taste in perfumes and lotions so I don't doubt that it would have smelled good to me under different circumstances. I associate that smell with the awful memories of Scoliosis surgery and hospitals.

There are good smells, too. When we were going through our first "wait" for a baby, I was teaching high school English so I got home from work at 3:30 every day. I would spend time in the afternoons when I had the house to myself reading my Bible or devotional, and spending time with God. I would always light the same candle; Wicks N' More's Sweet Earth. I associate the sweet smell of that candle with the peace that overwhelms you when you've just finished pouring your heart out to God. That kind of peace can ONLY come from God and if you've felt it then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, give it a try... it's incredible.

My point is that I have been searching all week for a sense of peace. I've spent so much time with God and have just been waiting for that peace that passes all understanding. I walked through my kitchen today and caught a whiff of that Sweet Earth candle and I was pulled back to a few years ago and was reminded of that peace. It overwhelmed me. God gave me that undeniable sense of peace through my sense of smell.



I know that so many of you are waiting. I've loved hearing from you this week. Have you spent time with God? I mean, really spent time with Him? Is there anything that pulls you back and reminds you of His promises? Maybe it's a person, a verse, a smell, a special place in your home that you set aside for quiet time. Whatever it is, make it present in your life so you are always surrounded by God's promises and His peace that passes understanding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby on the Brain

Looks like I'm not the only one in this house with babies on the brain! Hannah spent the greater part of last night thumbing through her American Girl doll magazine and made sure that her Bitty Baby picked out some fun accessories for Christmas... she melts my heart! (Notice the smile.... that's a new one :-) And the shirt; well that's just representative of how our day went yesterday. Putting a shirt on under the shrug was just not a battle I cared to fight. Hello toddler-hood!)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baked Chicken with Greek Flavors

This recipe is from my mom... and it's super easy! Enjoy!


* How ever many you want; Frozen chicken breasts
* Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing
* Cherry tomatoes
* Feta Cheese
* Greek Olives- without pits

~ Thaw frozen chicken in a Ziploc while marinating in Red Wine Vinaigrette.
~When chicken is thawed, place marinated chicken in a baking dish and top with Feta, sliced tomatoes & Green Olives (you choose how much of each... I use lots of all three :-))
~ Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes

Done... and fabulous!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hurry Up And Wait

I'll be honest people; I've had adoption on my mind this week! When you're in the middle of what we call the 'waiting process' you can't help but wonder about the future and what God might have up His sleeve. We are so unbelievably thankful for our bahy-girl (yeah, I know she's technically a toddler but I prefer to live in denial) but we also know that our family is not yet complete. This makes the waiting process just as difficult as the first time around. The only difference is that our arms aren't empty this time and we like to think that we can afford to be a little more patient.... theoretically. Unfortunately, the human takes over at times and the waiting becomes excruciating.

I spent some time this morning reading through my first blog and was struck by some of my thoughts and how similar they are to what I'm feeling now. Waiting on God's perfect timing is one of the most difficult things for me because, well I think my own timing is pretty darn good! Needless-to-say, God has proven to me time and time again that HIS timing alone is more than sufficient.

I thought I would back-flash today to an entry I wrote in September of 2008:



My Mom sent me a book this week called "You're Late Again, Lord! The Impatient Woman's Guide to Waiting." I've turned this tiny little book into my devotional for a while. I've only just started it, but the author's main point seems to be that God doesn't want us to learn patience when we are faced with a time of waiting, He wants us to wait with a purpose. His purpose might be different for various situations but waiting with a purpose gives us reason; some answer as to why we might be waiting.

I've thought a lot this week about God's purpose for making us wait for a baby.... I haven't come up with anything yet. Unfortunately, this probably means I have a little more waiting to do, huh?

My struggles this week aren't much different than usual, they're just seemingly magnified lately. I wake up every morning and I think "this could be the day!" I figure, eventually the day will come when my morning ritual will ring true. Every time my phone rings I think, "could this be the call?" Again, eventually the day will come when it WILL be the call.

I do my best to avoid going into the nursery... it's not that it hurts too much, it's just that I dream too much when I'm in there. I imagine a tiny little body warming the crisp new sheet covering the crib mattress. I pretend that the smell that permeates the room is baby powder and Neutrogena baby shampoo, instead of new paint and the sour smell of new furniture. I sit in the rocking chair and imagine that our precious baby is asleep in my arms and I would rather spend the night sleeping in the chair than risk waking him or her. Ok... it does hurt too much. As a matter of fact, instead of being filled with hope and anticipation of the day we bring our baby home, I'm filled with confusion and anger that we don't have one already.

Maybe that's the purpose of my wait; Could it be that God wants me to see that only He can fill me with everlasting hope; not a baby? Only He can fill our lives with promise. I pretend to understand and live out His promises but how do I really do this? How do I turn my pain, frustration, and anxiety into purpose?

Looks like I have some more work to do.

* I wrote that entry on September 13, 2008. Unbeknown to us, our baby-girl was born on September 22 and we brought her home on October 3. How great is our God?

I am SO thankful for this reminder today. We truly don't know what God us up to but He always promises to be our greatest reward for the struggles we are going through. Looking back now, I can see the purpose and reason in our frustration and the truth is, I would do it again in a second for all of the the lessons learned and for the end result; Hannah. It makes today's wait and the struggles that come with it a little bit easier.

I think I'm going to go dig up that book now! Are you waiting for something? A job, a baby, a husband... it's a great book to help pass the time!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Coupon' is a verb!

Some of you know how much I love to 'coupon'. Today's trip to CVS proves why and how much I love it!

Hannah and I ventured into CVS today to take advantage of the $3 Purex 3 in 1 coupon that was in this weekends paper and CVS's B1G1 free deal. Remember, at CVS you can use TWO coupons even if one item is free! On my way up to the counter with my 6 things of Purex 3 in 1, a woman who works at CVS hurried up behind me and said, " Excuse me! I see that you have a coupon notebook... you HAVE to come check out our 90% off aisle!" Well you don't have to ask me twice! I turned the corner and entered coupon heaven!! Here's the DL on what I left with:



6- Purex 3 in 1's
1- 2 pack Born Free bottles
1- 3 pack Playtex bottles
1- Shania Twain perfume
1- Lucky perfume
2- Gilette body washes (travel size)
1- Axe spray (travel size)
23- tooth brushes (Oral-B, Colgate, REACH, CVS, GUM)
2- hi lighters
1- math pack (calculator, protractor, pencil, etc)
3- pens
3- cookbooks


IN- STORE SAVINGS: $179
TOTAL SPENT (after lots of coupons): $21

Needless to say, what an amazing trip to CVS! I'm thinking stocking stuffers, Operation Christmas Child boxes, and stock-pile :-)

Have you found an incredible deal lately? Want to learn more about couponing? If there's enough interest, I'll do a mini-lesson soon :-)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

I'm on a recipe roll... join in if you have one to share!

I got the recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Tacos from our previous pastor's wife and they have become a family-favorite!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

3-4 frozen chicken breasts
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can Rotel (or 1 small jar of salsa)
1 packet taco seasoning

~Sometime in the morning, place all ingredients in the crock pot (yes, even the frozen chicken breasts). Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

~ Sometime in the afternoon, use a fork to shred chicken. Re-cover and continue cooking on low for a few more hours.

~ Serve taco mixture over flour or corn tortillas with garnish such as rice, cheese, sour cream, avacado, or salsa.

* For a quicker cooking time, cook on high for 4-6 hours.

ENJOY!

Grogg- It's a drink

My favorite time of year is Fall! I love the leaves changing (well, depending on where you live), pumpkins on front porches, beautiful apples in the grocery stores, breeze that smells like Fall, and the promise of the upcoming Holiday season! What I don't look forward to is Winter but I'll save that for another day... a downer day.

For me, Grogg is a signature favorite of mine and I don't really believe that Fall is here until that first pot is simmering on the stove. My Mom makes Grogg every fall and winter and not only does it smell spicy and cinnamony and wonderful but it tastes heavenly! I thought I'd share the recipe so you can try it for yourself... I promise you'll be hooked!
Grogg (From my Mom's kitchen :-))

1 cup orange juice
1 cup ginger ale (or sierra mist or sprite)
1 cup strong brewed tea
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves

~ Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer. Serve hot.

YUM!! I'm drinking some right now... let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Types of Adoption

I think it's important to explain the various facets of adoption, since it will be a re-occurring topic on our blog. There are 2 types of adoption:

1) An Agency-Assisted Adoption- This is how we brought Hannah home. We signed up with an agency, essentially giving them full responsibility for finding moms (she isn't a birth mom until she gives birth and places her baby) and presenting our family to them. They were with us from the beginning; home study, matching us with Hannah's birth-parents, legal paperwork, and placing Hannah in our home.

2) A Private Adoption- When a family learns of a mom through a family member, friend, or friend of a friend... of a friend... of a friend :-). In this case, the family and the mom will attain an attorney who will assist them in the legal process. The relationship between the family and the mom is built privately.

There are 3 sub-categories of adoption that define the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth-parents;

1) A closed adoption- There is no communication between the adoptive family and the birth-parents after placement. This type of adoption is most common today in international adoptions where there is little or no information about the child's birth-parents.

2) A semi-open adoption- In a semi-open adoption, communication between the adoptive family and the birth-family happens through mediation (either through the adoption agency or a social-worker); All personal information is kept private (phone number, address, email address, last names), in most cases. Have you seen any episodes of MTV's Teen Mom? Caitlin & Tyler have a semi-open adoption with Carly & her parents.

3) An open adoption- In an open adoption, there is personal communication between the adoptive family and the birth-parents through phone calls, emails, mail, and visits. The 'openness' of this adoption is agreed to by both parties.

Whether an adoption is closed, semi-open, or open is completely dependent of every situation, and they're all different. One is not better than another.

We have an open relationship with Hannah's birth-family. We communicate with them through mail, letters, pictures, email, phone calls, and visits, when possible. We feel strongly that Hannah should have full access to her biological roots and we have been truly blessed by our relationship with them. We will always be able to tell Hannah about the love her birth-family has for her, not because they've told us, but because we've seen their love for her firsthand.

We are praying for an open adoption this second time around. Though we've signed up with an agency here in Kansas City, we feel strongly that our next baby (or babies) could come to us through a private adoption... we can only pray that we remain open to the plan that God has for us this second time around. As much as I love my own plans for my life, God has proven to me over and over again that His plan is better than my own. After all, that's what He promises...

Jeremiah 29:11

"I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

Mmmm... don't you just love it when Jesus talks right to your heart?

The Beginning

Bear with me while I catch up those who might not know our story... here's the quick version :)

Joey and I met in college at the church he had been attending since grade-school. We met through a friend and though I thought he was cute, I really didn't like him at first... I even stood him up the first time he asked me out. Yes, I know that's mean and I understand that I'm making myself sound incredibly bad... it's just part of the story.

After 9 months, I finally showed up at our first date (actually, he picked me up at work and I really had no way out) and that was 6 years ago. We dated for 1.5 years, were engaged for another 1.5 and were married on a beautiful June day surrounded by family and friends. Joey is an incredible husband and I still think he's super good-looking, too!


We decided to start building our family pretty soon after getting married. Honestly, the Pill made me even more crazy than I am normally (tough to imagine, right? ;-)) so Joey made the executive decision that I would not take it anymore and that we would officially be 'not trying not to get pregnant.'

We 'didn't try not to get pregnant' for a year and realized that nothing was happening so we began talking to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). That was 4 years ago. Have you struggled with infertility? Then I'm sure you are familiar with these bless-ed terms; charting, basil body temp, CM, DH, and so many more. If you are finding yourself Googling any of those terms, lucky you :-)


Fast forward another year (now we've been married for 2 years and have been 'not trying not to' for 1.5); We've both always wanted to adopt and now, with no medical reason why we're not achieving pregnancy, we begin the process of finding an adoption agency. Our search leads us to a wonderful local Christian agency. Our home study began in May, 2008 and ended in July, 2008. We had been told by our agency to expect to wait about a year to bring home a baby.


We brought our precious baby girl home on October 3, 2008.... after only 3 months of waiting. Hannah was 11 days old and more perfect than any baby we could have created together... she is our miracle!








Hannah turned 2 in September... oh how time flies! She is an amazing child; she commands the attention in a room, keeps us laughing with her incredible sense of humor, and her infectious personality causes people to remember her after having only met her once. We know without a shadow of a doubt that God has amazingly huge plans for this little girls life.... and we are blessed beyond belief to be along for the ride! The fact that God CHOSE us out of all of the couples in the world to be this child's parents brings me to my knees in thankfulness each and every day.

We moved in June of 2009 We love our new home and have found a support group of friends that we could never have imagined. We started feeling a tug at our hearts a few months ago to start the adoption process again. Keep in mind, we still have no medical explanation as to why we have 'not been not trying' for this long and have not gotten pregnant. What we DO know is that there is a Biblical and Spiritual explanation; our family is supposed to be built through adoption... and we could not be more thrilled with the perfect plan that God has for us.

We are beyond excited to invite you all to join us in the journey of adding another miracle (or miracles!) to our family. We completed our home study in August 2010 and are now just waiting to see how God brings our next precious child (or children) to us.

If the process of adoption is new to you or if you have a question, please please please never hesitate to ask! This blog will be a smorgasbord of updates on our adoption process, flashbacks to our first experience and bringing Hannah home, stories from our daily lives, couponing tips, and just my thoughts on random things... I promise there will be plenty to read and now that we're caught up, I'd love to know about you; feel free to leave comments and email me along the way (as long as you're nice :-))!