25 October 2015

Halloween 2015

Because somethings are so cute, they need to be documented :)  Amelia's 2015 Halloween Costume has definitely been one of my favorites thus far.  We have been to three different Halloween type events this weekend and people kept stopping us to get her photo.  My little suffragette, or "So-fra-gette," as Amelia calls it.

"Men make the moral code and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs."
-Emmaline Pankurst

03 July 2015

Because some times I love something so much, I have to blog about it.

Does anyone even still read this blog? lol
I'm still so mad at google for the loss of my blog domain but honestly it's whatever.
So I never read articles that people post on Facebook, like never.
There are always 15 different links and ads that you have to get through to even get to the article and then it's dated from like 2008 so it isn't even relevant anymore.  Either that or the comment sections of the articles make me literally sick and sad so I just really never go there anymore.
Until tonight.
I am in a couple of Adoption Forums or groups on Facebook and tonight someone posted an article and I seriously felt led to read it.
I am so glad that I did.
I'm not going to send you to the article because of said ads and links but I will copy and paste it here.
This article spoke to me.  It had me crying and smiling and feeling all of the feelings.  This article is just everything.  When Adam and I were going through Amelia's adoption process it felt like we were going through it completely alone. I love this so much.
Here it is:

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son's school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.
It doesn't matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.
Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn't in God's plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin's neighbor's friend. Maybe you ignored them.
Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that's what we do, isn't it?
I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes -- but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.
I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes -- so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.
I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.
I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.
Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby's room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.
I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.
And I know about the follow-up visits, when you hadn't slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.
And I've seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what's being promised and what's not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.
I've seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that's emerging. I've seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn't have to go through with this. I've seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments -- while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.
I've seen you look down into a newborn infant's eyes, wondering if he's really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.
And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.
I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.
I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn't even know you were holding for months. Months.
I've seen you meet your child's birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I've seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile ... people who love him because he's one of them. I've seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he's shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.
I've seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things -- but you can't protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.
I've seen you at the doctor's office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little spaces don't turn into big problems later on.
I've seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?
I've seen you wonder how you'll react the first time you hear the dreaded, "You're not my real mom." And I've seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I've seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being that it is the other way around.
But most of all, I want you to know that I've seen you look into your child's eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that's just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter -- and whose loss would be like the loss of yourself.
I wrote this piece after reading an essay by Lea Grover titled "Dear Less-Than-Perfect Mom." The post by Lea was wonderful, and it made me think about us moms who found our sweet babies through adoption, and how we face unique challenges. I hope you enjoy it, whether you are the parent of an adopted child or not.

15 August 2014

the time i shaved my head

things i can't understand #mikebrown

As I write this, there is a "Peaceful Protester" standing less than one minute down the street asking for Justice for Mike Brown.
These are photos from a city not 15 minutes away from my house right now....

First of all, let me say, I can't even begin to understand everything that is going on with the whole situation that is happening here in St. Louis.  I know that it's heartbreaking. I know that it makes me sad every second that I see something about it online or the television.  I was in complete shock when I saw with my own eyes, down the street, as I drove home from work today... heartbreaking my friends.
I hate that this has become a race thing... and it has. I have heard comments from people in public that make me want to throw up.  Apparently, they don't see my precious little brown baby at my side.  
I had someone really close to me say, "Well, if you saw those two men walking down the street, wouldn't you be scared?"
No, no I wouldn't.  I see people like that everyday walking into my school, kissing their kiddos goodbye as they leave the building for the day.  To me, that's a dad.  That's someones son.  That is a man who has a family and people love them.
I am soooooo color-blind.  I just don't see what some people see I guess.  
My good friend Katie wrote a post about white privilege, it's eye-opening; its amazing.  It has brought so many feelings to light for me.  (Please go read it)
Just like Katie mentions in her post, many questions were brought to our attention during the countless home-studies and social worker visits before and during our adoption process of Amelia.  These questions all circled around the one resounding theme "Are you prepared to raise a black child in your white home?"
Of course we can!!
We have hundreds of books on trans-racial adoption and children's books with titles like "The Skin I'm In."  I had done a ton of research and even took a class on caring for Amelia's hair type.  Most of her baby dolls and toys are light-skinned to match her.  We have plenty of close friends and a church family full of color surrounding Amelia. 
But being the peace-loving, hippy mind-set girl that I am I was never prepared for things like this.  Katie put it into perspective for me with this one post.  One day, someone will immediately judge my daughter just because of her skin color. One day, when she isn't walking through a store and holding hands with her white mother and her white father.
Again, I have no idea what really happened this past weekend in Ferguson.  No one REALLY knows quite yet.  I do know that violence is never the answer.  HATE is NEVER the answer.
My heart is sad.
Please keep the STL in your prayers friends.
Here's a little photo from a shoot Amelia was in this past month...

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate
only love can do that."


20 January 2014

My Friend Martin.

You know he is my favorite.  You know he is my hero.  I listen to his speeches in my spare time and revel in the fact that his heart for Jesus was so BIG.  Today I am leaving you with my favorite excerpt from my favorite speech:

"But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right.  It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love.  I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."
And he transformed the situation by giving a new definition of greatness. And you know how he said it? He said, "Now brethren, I can't give you greatness. And really, I can't make you first." This is what Jesus said to James and John. "You must earn it. True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness. And the right hand and the left are not mine to give, they belong to those who are prepared." 
And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great,  because everybody can serve.  You don't have to have a college degree to serve.  You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace,  a soul generated by love.  And you can be that servant.
I know a man—and I just want to talk about him a minute, and maybe you will discover who I'm talking about as I go down the way because he was a great one. And he just went about serving. He was born in an obscure village, the child of a poor peasant woman. And then he grew up in still another obscure village, where he worked as a carpenter until he was thirty years old.  Then for three years, he just got on his feet, and he was an itinerant preacher. And he went about doing some things. He didn't have much. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family.  He never owned a house. He never went to college. He never visited a big city. He never went two hundred miles from where he was born. He did none of the usual things that the world would associate with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. They called him a rabble-rouser. They called him a troublemaker. They said he was an agitator.  He practiced civil disobedience; he broke injunctions. And so he was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. And the irony of it all is that his friends turned him over to them.  One of his closest friends denied him. Another of his friends turned him over to his enemies. And while he was dying, the people who killed him gambled for his clothing, the only possession that he had in the world. When he was dead he was buried in a borrowed tomb, through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today he stands as the most influential figure that ever entered human history. All of the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man on this earth  as much as that one solitary life. His name may be a familiar one.  But today I can hear them talking about him. Every now and then somebody says, "He's King of Kings."  And again I can hear somebody saying, "He's Lord of Lords." Somewhere else I can hear somebody saying, "In Christ there is no East nor West." And then they go on and talk about, "In Him there's no North and South, but one great Fellowship of Love throughout the whole wide world." He didn't have anything.  He just went around serving and doing good.
This morning, you can be on his right hand and his left hand if you serve.  It's the only way in.
Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator—that something that we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.  And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. 
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. 
I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. 
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. 
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. 
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. 
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. 
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.  I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that's all I want to say.
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world."

13 January 2014

DIY Fridays.

Hey guys!! I just wanted to let you all know that among other things, I do post some pretty sweet DIY projects over on Mini (my other blog) each Friday.  Last Friday, Amelia and I made these adorable paper straw necklaces.  Head on over to Mini to see the full tutorial!! 


12 January 2014

The Living Room

As you may or may not know, my little family moved into a new house this fall.  It has taken a LONG time to get things even starting to look the way we want it.  This house is amazing but it needed a lot of work (which honestly was a prerequisite for me.  I love a project).  So, at the very end of October we moved everything from our condo into the basement of this house We also set up a bed for Adam and I and Amelia's crib in the basement and we each had one box that we basically lived out of for about a month and a half while construction was going on our upstairs.  We redid the floors (twice!  They installed the wrong floor the first time around), reacousticed the ceilings, all new light fixtures, all new appliances, new vents, and had the entire inside painted white.
As soon as we got the upstairs back in working order, a sewer pipe in our front yard burst causing our basement to flood (with a ton of our stuff still down there).  So yeah, it's slowly but surely coming together.  Today I thought I would give you a peek into our living room before and after.

This the living room before.  It was beige and carpeted. The room is huge and the owner before  had it laid out kind of weird.  He had a living room space and then in the back of the room he had an antique hoosier cabinet used as a bar of sorts.  We knew we wanted to use that extra back space as a dining room. Here is it so far:

So as you can see we wanted to have our whole house flow with the Mid-Century Modern feel that we both love so much.  The paint, flooring, and positioning of furniture really opened up this space and brightened it as well.  I am still working on some art to hang on that back blank wall by the dining room table and some more art behind the television but other than that, this room is pretty close to being perfect in my eyes.  Here are some closer up images:

I still have so many projects planned for our home and I am so excited to be able to share it all with you through the process.
Any art ideas for my blank walls?  I would love to hear them!!