Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday, Brooks!

Today is our baby Brooks's first birthday. 
 
My prayer today is that he feels special. I don't know whether or not the photo album we sent a couple of weeks ago was given to him yet or not, I don't know whether or not his birthday was acknowledged by the orphanage or not, and I don't know whether or not he got some extra hugs and love from his caregivers today. My heart aches to know, but I'm, unfortunately, not privileged enough to know that information yet. 

I do know that more than 7,000 miles away, his forever family had him on their minds all day. I do know that we prayed for and celebrated him. And, most importantly, I do know that his Heavenly Father was there with him in our absence. And that just has to be enough for now.

So, how do you celebrate a baby who is halfway around the world and doesn't even know you exist yet?

You send balloons "to China" of course! 


video



And then you let your older kids dive into a cake in his honor.


And then you buy ALL THE BABY THINGS at Target.

And you end the day by calling USCIS to check on the status of your I800 application...and you REJOICE because it was approved three days ago! HUGE progress, y'all! HUGE!

I've also had Brooks's birthmom in my mind a lot today, and I can't help but wonder how gut-wrenching this day must be for her. A year ago today, she gave birth to the most perfect and precious little baby that she knew she couldn't parent, and what loss and grief she must be feeling today as she remembers their first few moments together. Although I'll likely never know her name or her story, I do pray that she feels comforted to know that her baby is in good care and has a forever family just ACHING and RACING to get to him. I pray she knows that he is loved deeply and that we will spend the rest of our lives showing him the love and power of a family. She made an incredibly brave choice, and even though I'm not privy to knowing her reasoning behind her decisions, one year ago today she chose LIFE for our boy. We will share this child always, and in some strange and cosmic way, we will always be connected. I will never stop being grateful to her for not terminating her pregnancy and giving her son a chance for a future, even if it is not a future he will share with her physically.

So, that's what we did today. And you'd better believe that we will do his second birthday BIG to make up for it. :) 

TGIF, friends! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Eight on the Eighth: A Life Lately Recap

Okay, y'all...forgive my absence here. For the last two weeks, we've gone into sprint mode around here with visa applications, a quick lake getaway, the start of a new school year, and just general September craziness. So, a couple quick things to share with you all...

ONE 

We are resting on the adoption paperwork front...for a hot nanosecond.

Our visa applications went out last week, our I800 application (immigration forms) went out two weeks ago, and our latest agency invoice was sent to the grant director for disbursement. Check, check, check. For now, we breathe. At this point, nothing can happen until we get our I800 approval and the grant money is received by our agency. At that point, we should know our travel dates...EEEEK! I cannot WAIT to start a countdown to baby boy!

TWO

We sent summer out in style with a quick little jaunt up to the lakehouse for one last getaway as a family of four. It was a sweet, sweet time in our favorite place. I didn't take all that many pictures because I really tried to keep my thoughts and mind present with my family and keep the social media and temptations of the phone away, but I grabbed just a couple to share. :)
This view...it just never gets old, y'all.

We are in the middle of a marriage series at church, and each week, we are getting "homework." This week, we were supposed to go on a date. Ummm, okay. Can't argue with church, right? We got away for a quick bite of Arkansas BBQ on Saturday afternoon. 

Fishing with Doc! Caught a "whopper!"

Loved spying on my boys while they were fishing one morning...total Forrest Gump moment. ;) I can't believe I'll have THREE boys to spy on next summer! 

Major growth from the kids - they actually SWAM IN THE LAKE! 

THREE

The day after we returned from the lake, we started a brand new year of school! 
These kids had a great first week and are LOVING their new teachers and classes! 

We have a Thursday afternoon slurpee tradition...I think I was the happiest of the three of us to see it return! 

FOUR


Monday night, our t-shirt fundraiser closed, and I am blown away to share that we raised $1,400 to put toward our orphanage donation! We sold just shy of 100 shirts, and for being a second round of orders, we couldn't believe the success! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who supported!

FIVE

Okay, I can't get this post published without shouting out the Noonday sale section. I know, I know...painful self-promotion. BUT IT'S REALLY NOT! I want to point out a few of my absolute favorite pieces that are on CRAZY sale right now so you can grab them up before they're gone forever! These are items that will not be reordered and they WILL sell out QUICKLY!
These are two of my classic favorites for the James Avery or very traditional girl. The Monaco bracelet on the left was originally $38 and is now LESS THAN $15! Ummm, hello perfect gift for the mother-in-law who has everything! And the Octagon Hoops are under $25! These are my GO-TO earrings that basically go with anything.


Ohhh, Chennai Crossbody, let me count the ways I love you. You make me HANDS FREE, you are a gorgeous color pop, and you have a REMOVABLE tassel...be still my heart! This handmade beauty was just marked down from $125 to $84.99...more than 30% off. Yes, PLEASE. And the Nakato Necklace...it's a hand-rolled gorgeous statement pieces that is just $20.99 right now. Let me assure you, this one will be GONE FAST!


And lastly...two of my FAVORITES are this month's guest specials, and I have a trunk show open through the 23rd! If you pick up a couple of gifts or sale items and your cart totals $60+, shoot me an email and let me enter your order with one (or both) of these special deals! Sale items + trunk show specials = happy wallet. TOO GOOD, Y'ALL.

Check it all out HERE.

 SIX

This guy. I think he's been having a little bit of a tough time with the fact that most of his friends went to Kindergarten and he doesn't see them all that much anymore. I think he's also a little bit nervous about getting a baby brother, and he's been very cuddly and clingy lately. Tonight, I was tucking him in bed around 7:45 and mentioned I might go on a walk. He didn't seem very tired, so I asked if he wanted to go with me, and he just about flew out of his bed. We walked around the neighborhood, talked about his new TK class, and he relished the one-on-one time. I didn't get much exercise, but I think he needed the time more than I needed the calorie burn. :)

We watched a family of ducks sitting on the edge of the lake here for a while, and it was so interesting to me that he kept talking about the white duck sitting with all the brown ducks. He kept asking why he was with them when he "didn't match." It was such a great opportunity to hear his perspective. I was so tempted to immediately jump in and pull out all the cliches about how we don't have to look alike to love each other or be accepted, but I somehow mustered the self-control to just listen instead. Children are amazing you guys. Carter proceeded to make up a story about how the brown ducks found the white duck when he was swimming alone because he was lost. He thinks the brown ducks asked him if he needed help, and the white duck said he doesn't have a family, so the brown ducks take care of him. He then looked up at me and said, "They're kinda like us, huh?" I asked him what he meant, and he said, "That's why Brooks is in China waiting for us. He needs us to take care of him, right, Mom? Because he needs a family?"

Cue the ugly cry.

Are adoption hormones a thing? Some people called waiting adoptive families "paper pregnant." I think that's kind of odd, so I've never used that term, but I'm totally feeling the emotional roller coaster lately. Dang you, five year-old! ;)

SEVEN and EIGHT

If you're still reading, props to you. It's the first week of school, I walked over 3 miles today running around our preschool building like a crazy lady. and I'm going to call six out of the eight good for now. The Eight on the Eighth title sounded so much better than six on the eighth...so we're keeping it,but I'm spent. y'all. 

Night!    
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