Monday, March 28, 2011

Expecting Parents: Swaddle Designs on Zulily!

If you're expecting, which I know LOTS of us are or know someone who is, check out the Swaddle Designs sale on Zulily today.... this was my FAVORITE stuff when Hannah was a newborn and infant!

I'm a sucker for a great deal and I have no problem stocking up on this stuff so it's ready and waiting to welcome home our next sweet baby(ies) ;-)

** Hurry~ It's going fast!**
We've had a pretty emotionally draining couple of weeks so last week we planned an impromptu road-trip to spend some time with family... and we're still here :-) We haven't done much besides eat and shop but it seems to be just what the doctor ordered... and God, too I'm sure ;-) We needed some time to refresh, regroup, revitalize, and reconnect.

When I first started this blog, I promised myself that I wouldn't fall into the trap of writing emotional-yet-cryptic blog posts; the "this is so hard but it's personal so just pray for us" type posts. Granted, these are sometimes necessary depending on the situation, but I expect honesty of myself and I feel like I've fallen into that trap in the past few months...

 I'm so sorry for that :-(

We have been in the process of trying to bring home our next precious baby(ies) for only 5 months now (by pursuing private adoption) but oh-so-much has happened in that time.... and it's time we share our story, thus far with you; our support, the one's who "get it", our friends and our family.

Joey and I are headed out for dinner and some shopping together tonight while Hannah has a great time with her grandparents and uncle and we'll be heading home tomorrow.

Please stay tuned.....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"I Don't Want My Children To Be Happy...."

A friend passed this amazing blog post on to me this afternoon and I wanted to share it with you. I'll copy and paste my favorite lines as a teaser but make sure you head over to It's Almost Naptime and read the whole post, too!

...My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Expectant Parents; Don't Miss This :-)

I know that SO many of you, our blog-friends :-) are expecting through pregnancy or adoption so I thought I would pass this on! We learned SUPER fast that the most important thing to have on hand when you're trying to adopt is an infant carseat and stroller. This is an AMAZING deal on a Britax Infant Carrier and Stroller and since Britax is one of the best baby brands out there, I suggest you take advantage of this deal... it's valid today only so don't wait.

(Click on the carseat picture and you'll be taken to my coupon blog so you can get in on the deal!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lord, Where Are You Going?

I read this in today's Desiring God devotional and thought it was worth sharing... I know I needed these reminders today!

What are you more concerned about today: where Jesus is leading you, or whether you really trust him? I can tell you what Jesus is most concerned about: your trust.

When Jesus informed the disciples that he was going away and that they could not follow him where he was going (John 13:33), Peter asked the natural question, “Lord, where are you going” (John 13:34)? But Jesus didn’t answer with the kind information I imagine Peter was looking for at that moment.

Jesus Knew, But Didn't Answer

Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen and why. He knew where he was going. He knew that the church age would bridge his first and second coming. He knew this age would be much longer and harder than any of those men would comprehend.

But he also knew that most of those details still would not yet make sense to them. They would understand later. But before he would bring more clarity about his will for their lives, they would need their presumptions, false conceptions, and self-confidence to crumble. They would need to believe in his power and faithfulness at a much deeper level.

Jesus Doesn't Share Our Urgency

Frequently Jesus doesn’t share our urgency for us to know exactly what he’s doing or where he’s leading us. His reasons for withholding that information are always good. His will for us is our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). And what that usually means is some form of “believe in…me (John 14:1). Jesus is your Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

A benefit of being a sheep is that you don’t need to know the way. You just need to trust your Shepherd.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

White Chicken Chili

I know I've posted this before but I just made my Mom and Dad's White Chicken Chili for the first time last night and it was a HUGE hit! If you haven't tried it yet, you should.... you'll love it :-)

White Chicken Chili

* 8 Chicken breast halves (boneless, skinless), cooked & chopped
(I used a shredded Rotisserie chicken but Daddy said he used 4 cans of cubed chicken and loved how it turned out)
* 4 cans (15 oz) Great Northern Beans
* 2 medium onions, finely chopped
* 6 cloves minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
* 9 oz. chopped green chili's
* 2 tsp. cumin
* 1 tsp. oregano
* 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
* 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese

~ Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender
~ Stir in green chili's and remaining spices
~ Add chicken, beans, and broth
~ Simmer 30 minutes
~ Turn off heat, stir in cheese
~ Serve topped with a bit of shredded cheese and/ or a dollop of sour cream
~ Freezes well!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Faith, Trust, Patience... and Giving Up.

Do you ever feel like you just don't want to do it anymore? That you can't handle another painful lesson, another indefinite period of uncertainty that's inevitably mixed with fear, anxiety, hurt, and what seems like the continuation of endless disappointment?

Yeah. Me too.

The verses are engraved in my heart. "Be still...", "Do not let your heart be troubled...", "I am waiting for the Lord...", "I know the plans I have for you...", and so many more. More often than not, God's Word brings me peace, and comfort, and more patience at times when a storm is raging in my heart. He calms it. He dulls the pain and though there's still an ache, it becomes bearable. Tolerable. Until the next wave...

But can I tell you something?

I'm not tolerating this. I'm not patient. I don't think I can 'bear' this anymore. And sometimes I just can't hear Him. Oh, I know He's talking to me... He just seems to be whispering when all I want Him to do is scream and yell, just like me but in a way that will help me snap out of this. In a way that will force me to listen because the problem isn't that He's whispering... it's that I'm too wrapped up in my pain and grief and frustration to really hear Him.

So what's He telling me? What in the world is the lesson I'm supposed to be learning now... please, tell me because I'll do anything I can at this moment to learn it and move on, toward His plan.

Oh wait... this IS part of the plan. As Hannah would say; "bummer".

So I've been thinking a lot about faith.... or maybe it's better to say that I've been 'learning' a lot about faith.

'Faith' is an interesting word. "Faith is trusting Him BEFORE the blessings come." Because if you don't trust before, then you really don't have faith... you're just calling the waiting part 'faith' because it sounds good. If you say that your 'faith' and 'trust' in His plan got you through when it's all said and done, you can automatically forget and negate your painful impatience, the tears of anguish that fell every time you took a shower, and the sickness that took up permanently temporary residence in the pit of your stomach.

So for me, the storm rages on but it's not just around me, it's IN me. The roller coaster doesn't stop. The tears are falling around the clock but they're not just for me. NOTHING in this process is just for me. It's for our next sweet baby(ies). For her, their first mom. For my family. So then, what about me? Where do I fit in?

I trust. I have faith. Not later when it's all said and done. I trust NOW. I have faith in HIS faithfulness. I listen. I try with everything that's in me to hear His voice.

"It's ok, daughter. Be sad. Allow yourself to feel my arms around you. Don't fight me. Cry. Scream. Throw up, even. And then, in the quiet of the still. I love you. I've got this. I'm holding you, and them, and her. You can't hold them all, but I can. Be still."

So I will. I'll be still. I'll feel and be sad and cry and scream and let the people around me who love me, love me... and I might even throw up.

But I have to let God do the rest.

Heavenly Father~ I'm trying so hard to hear you. Please don't stop talking to me. Please whisper, talk, yell, and scream.. I promise I'm listening. I promise I'm at least trying to listen above the storm that's raging right now. Wrap your loving arms us all. Give us patience. Show us your plan, Lord. Help me to just be still.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Call For Prayer

I'm sure most of you are glued to the TV this morning, as we are. We've only just begun to see the devastation in Japan and should brace ourselves... it's not over yet. Hawaii and the West coast are bracing themselves for what's headed their way... and we are praying. Praying for safety, quick recovery, for the families who have already lost loved one's.... and for those who don't know where their loved one's are.

My cousin in in Japan, friends. We've heard from him (Facebook is a blessing to our family this morning), but he's stuck and for who knows how long. This is his Facebook status this morning...

They let us back in the airport but no flights are going out. Earthquake was huge! The whole terminal shook like crazy and I was able to run outside. We stood outside for two hours while the aftershocks rolled in..6.5 magnitude. Ground kept rolling off and on for two hours. We're hoping the tsunami does not come near here.

He's ok and for that we are thankful... but we'll be relieved and able to relax when he's safely home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our Sweet Biscuit- Today's Her Birthday!

Our first 'baby' was a puppy and her name was Biscuit. Did you or do you have a first 'baby'? Then maybe you'll understand this post... I hope :-)
We got Biscuit when she was 6 weeks old and we had been married for about a year. At the time we brought her home, we had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months (the most awful 6 months when you know something is wrong but doctors won't discuss anything with you because it hasn't been a year yet... yeah, that 6 months). Biscuit was with us through the most difficult time of our lives as we tried desperately to figure out what was wrong and what the Lords plan for our family was. She was with us for 1.5 years before she passed away (I'll spare you the details but if you knew Biscuit, you know how hard her death was on us) and she passed away exactly 30 days before we brought our Hannah home.
This is an entry I wrote the day after she died and even though to some people dogs are only dogs, Biscuit was so much more than that for us... and today would be her 4th birthday. We have our sweet Bentley now but we still miss Biscuit and think about her all the time.

September 3, 2008

Our sweet Biscuit passed away this weekend. Her mischevious nature got the best of her and she died peacefully under her favorite window in her home and that is where we found her. We are such a mixture of emotions. We are overcome with sadness, frustration, shock, loneliness, and anger and in the midst of it all we are desperately grasping for understanding and peace.

We take comfort in knowing that, though we only had her for a short time, she was with us through the toughest and most difficult time in our lives. She brought us joy, laughter, and happiness when it seemed there was nothing to rejoice over. She kept us busy and distracted. She was our baby when we couldn't have one... she will forever be my first baby.

Her daddy named her perfectly and she loved him unconditionally. She knew she was safe with him and she would have gone anywhere he led her. I can only hope and pray that Joey and I can have the same trust in the direction God is leading us. He didn't take her, nor did he allow this to happen; it was an accident and we know there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. Our prayer is that God will show us His plan and that we will soon know beyond a shadow of a doubt why we could not have had her longer.

We will never be the same without her. Our home will never be the same, nor will our hearts but she impacted our lives in such a positive way that we will always remember her for her goofy bark, her crooked ear, pink nose, sweet eyes, her snuggles, her wiggle-butt, and the never-ending joy she brought to us and our home in our first years of marriage.

You were and always will be my first baby. I will never forget the many days I cried with a broken heart, you on my lap, knowing exactly what I needed; a quiet friend to hold and love, a baby. You reminded me of what it means to trust and what it means to laugh. You were here when we needed you. Thank you for being your Daddy's little girl, for greeting him when he came home each day, and for keeping his spot warm at night. I wish with all my heart that you could have met our precious baby, your little brother or sister. I know you would have protected and loved him or her with everything you had. Our children will know about you and will know how much we needed you while we waited patiently for them. You were our gift from God. I trully believe we will see you again... we love you, sweet girl!
Happy birthday, my sweet first baby! We love and miss you!
Sometimes God just knows what you need and when you need it. People are wonderful to have in your life but pets can fill a place that people just can't... especially when you're going through something as difficult and painful as infertility. Do you have a special pet in your life? I'd love to know about him or her!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Heart

She's my heart.
She's my princess.
She's getting big before my eyes...
And I never know if today will be the last day that she's my 'only baby'.
 I'm cherishing the time I have with her... and I'm enjoying every second, taking in every moment, and praying every day that God will mold her and shape her to be the big sister, young woman, friend, and daughter that He has made her to be.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Here's a GREAT recipe my mom sent me a few months ago. I made it when we had friends over for dinner and it was a huge hit!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

* 4 to 6 pieces chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
*  4 to 6 pieces Swiss cheese
*  4 to 6 pieces thin ham slices
*  1 can cream of chicken soup plus 2/3 c. milk
*  1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm fine seasoned stuffing (not cubes)
 * 1/2 stick butter

~ Mix soup and milk in bowl with whisk. Set aside.
~In a 9 x 13 inch pan, roll ham slices; top with chicken pieces.
~ Top with Swiss cheese slices.
~ Pour soup mixture over all.
~ Combine stuffing with softened butter in bowl
~  Sprinkle over top.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Cover with foil last half hour if getting to brown.