Last week Matt and I hosted a Easter Brunch at our place for all our families. We planned on having it outside in our patio area but it was just too wet. So we moved the party indoors. If you didn’t know we live at a Christian Campground run by my brother in law. It is a beautiful 40 acres that includes an industrial kitchen and dinning hall. Since our house is on the smaller side it makes it soooo nice to have such a great alternative when we host. Seriously I don’t know what I am going to do when we move and I no longer have 4 ovens and a walk in fridge. It makes hosting a large group so easy.

I had these fence board backdrops from our last women’s retreat and thought my “He Is Risen” sign from Hobby Lobby would look so cute with some paper flowers. The paper flower patterns I also had from women’s retreat.

        

Lily and mommy 🙂

I kept the drinks simple cucumber water, coffee and this delicious Pineapple Orange Punch I made for Lily’s birthday.

What’s an Easter brunch without carrot cutlery 🙂

I saw this idea to use vintage doilies as a table runner a long time ago on Pinterest and always wanted to do it. Well this was my chance. This wasn’t even half of my vintage doily collection, I think I have a problem. My doilies are a mix of garage sale, thrift store and then some were given to me. There were Matt’s great grandmas, my grandmas, and my Aunt and my great great Aunts doilies mixed in the runner. I love using such sentimental pieces.

Brunch was brought to us by the Pioneer Woman haha 🙂 I made her Quiche recipe, Overnight Cinnamon Baked French Toast and drinks everyone else brought a dish to share. It was so nice!

My mom made the cutest fruit platter!!!

My husband Matt is so much fun. I love being his wife! He planned an Easter Egg for all skill levels. Here are all of our hunters.

The second she found out there was candy in those eggs she was done hunting.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!!

In my last post I shared about my new perspective on suffering. God gave me a new view into the world of suffering and disappointment. Today there has been another shift in my thinking/perspective I wanted to share.

There was more to our recently failed adoption that just the birth mom changing her mind. Sadly we were lied to and taken advantage of and a few hotel rooms were trashed. And without oversharing too much personal information I wanted to share honestly some of the thoughts and feelings I had the days and weeks following our sad news.

Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head

  • I want to call her and give her a piece of my mindA gentle, calm voice reminded me that I am a follower of Christ and to remember that she knows that and she is going to remember the way we treated her. Regardless of what she did or didn’t do. It doesn’t change the call on my life to love her. Yes I was upset but “in your anger do not sin”. I was sad, disappointed and hurt but what would telling her off accomplish? I loved her and thought we shared something incredibly special. I sound like a creepy ex there haha but I think you get what I am saying.
  • She should be ashamed of herself: Anyone heard or said that a time of two? I am guilty of saying it and thinking it also. Then as quickly as that thought/accusation came to me so did this question. Do I really want anyone to feel shame? No way!! I know what it’s like to feel shame and I wouldn’t wish that for anyone.
  • Why us? Why do we have to go through this?: If not us then who? Who should go through this? This one is tough but for now I am trusting God with all my “Why’s”. Now I’m sounding a lot like Lily 🙂 The “Why” stage has begun with her and everything is why right now. I wonder if God gets annoyed at me asking why all the time.
  • We have to spend so much money and go through so much just to have a baby!! Now this one I rolled around in for a while. Had a pity party and cried, honestly I will probably always wonder and question this. The new perspective didn’t come to me very quickly but when it did oh boy. All that changed in that statement was one word. Simply change “have” to “get”. We get to fight for a baby, we got to fight for this little boy, fight for his mom, fight for a family. Now we have a new little person to pray for. He may not be ours but he is still God’s.

Never in my life have I been given such valuable gifts. I can’t see them and it’s hard to explain them but they are there. They are in my soul and my mind. For me infertility and adoption have stretched my heart and mind into places of faith and trust that I didn’t know existed. For an emotional and anxious girl like me let me tell you it is a BIG DEAL.

This whole experience has been painful, hard, upsetting, confusing and the list goes on. But there is something else that means more than anything. It is what I am clinging to and finding hope in every single day. It was the fact that this was no surprise to God. He knew what was going to happen and he watched over us and protected us every step of the way.

Thank you to everyone who has walked this journey with us. You might have found yourself saying and thinking some of the things I did. Thank you for the protection you have over our family. You supported, prayed, encouraged and suffered right along side of us during this process. We felt your love and are better for it!

 

 

-Written January 2017 but never posted-

Lately I have felt exhausted, emotionally and physically. The holidays were wonderful but filled with a lot of new and exciting but challenging things for our family.

I shared awhile ago that we were ready to grow our family again through adoption. Well we decided it was time to find a lawyer and start the legal part so when we did find a birth mom we would be ready to go. A week before Christmas I received an unexpected phone call about a birth mom who wanted to place her child for adoption and we matched what she was looking for. This was a surprise to us since we hadn’t even made a profile or had been actively putting ourselves out there yet. We were planning on standing outside of an abortion clinic with a sign saying “Are you pregnant, freaking out? We can help, We are ready to adopt”. This is a whole other blog post…coming soon.

Within a week of the phone call we met the birth mom at Starbucks and each shared our stories. We told her about our desire to have lots of children and that adoption was the avenue God told us to take. We liked her, actually we loved her. Seeing her bravery and selflessness to choose adoption was amazing.  Matt and I both felt that this was our next child. She is due in February and we are preparing our hearts and our home for this little miracle.

 Going through the adoption process is such an unpredictable ride, you never know whats going to be around the next corner and I am praying with all my heart that she doesn’t change her mind. But she might…and I have to be OK with that. I am trying to stay positive and trust God with the growth of our family but let me tell you it isn’t easy. But we do have HOPE because we have seen what God has done in the past, how he brought Lily to us. I am standing firm on his promise of providing for us, loving us, wanting the best for us, and his desire to give his children good gifts.

But then there is the waiting…I’ve heard about it but haven’t experienced it until now. There were long painful years where we waited for God to open the doors for us to pursue parenthood. Once we started the process, Lily came to us just a month later. There was no meeting a birth mom and waiting. No nine months of feeling anxious that she could call it all off at any moment.

– March 2017 –

Above is a post I was writing while we waited for the birth of our son. We prayed and hoped he would be ours but in the end the birth mom changed her mind. Our hearts hurt when we found out and we are still trying to work through all of the emotions and feelings that come with it.

The night we found out we were shocked and disappointed because we had heard from someone else in her town that she was no longer pregnant. She hadn’t told us she had given birth but was still receiving help. Immediately Proverbs 3:5-6 came to me and I began repeating it over and over in my head and my heart. It’s no coincidence it’s on the sign I had made for his room. God’s grace and his promise of “trusting in him with all our hearts” was giving us hope and life as we faced a messy situation with lots of unknowns.

As the days unfolded after we got this sad news the Holy Spirit gave me a gift and a reminder of something I had not thought about in a long time. Several years ago I worked at a retreat for post abortive women and men. It was a weekend where they got to grieve the loss of their aborted babies. That doesn’t sound heavy at all right?! I mean it was amazing and full of healing but also very draining and hard to watch others relive such pain. I’m telling you all of this because there was an exercise that we do on the first night where we drink from a cup that symbolizes Christ’s suffering. This principal of suffering is found throughout scripture but here a few verses that stand out to me.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:13

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:18

Our suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus went through he was rejected, betrayed, and then killed. Although we didn’t go through rejection or betrayal to the degree that he did, we were suffering.

This was huge for me!! In all the years we were unable to have kids and suffering I never once had that perspective. I went through waves of emotion with God. I questioned him, argued with him, was mad at him and then I would see his purpose and plan through the waiting. Obviously I was all over the place in those years of waiting. But never once did I see what He was giving me in my suffering. This suffering has been a gift and I am so grateful for a Father who gives good gifts! It’s so weird to talk about suffering as a gift. Currently I am not sure how to put into words why I feel it is such a gift but I do. I know what scripture says about suffering and hardship and what it produces in our life. But I am trying to figure out what I feel about it. What does keep coming to me though is how God defies logic and what we think is a horrible situation and unfair or unjust he says no it’s actually a good thing.

For those of you who are struggling to grow your family and are confused, sad and upset, I am sorry and I know exactly how you feel. I’m sure everything I said is probably really annoying to you. I know when I was in the midst of our struggle to have kids I hated reading and hearing stuff like this. Allow yourself to grieve but don’t let bitterness take root in your heart. God is writing your story and it will be an AMAZING one!

 

Our little darling Lily turned Two! What an amazing two years it has been! A couple of months before her birthday I asked her what kind of party she wanted and there was no denying it was going to be ELMO. I had more fun planning this day than I think anything ever in my history of party planning haha. Lily is so much fun and notices everything now so I wanted her Elmo party to be extra special.

So I went to work! My initial go to for planning anything is Pinterest and holy smokes there was more Elmo/Sesame Street party ideas than I could have ever imagined. My next stops were Amazon and Etsy.

We used the camp kitchen/dining hall again. It is so nice to have a commercial kitchen and enough space for everything. We were so lucky the rain stopped and it was a beautiful day!

The Decor

Of course Dorthy made an appearance 🙂

What’s a party without a larger than life Elmo

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I have a lot of pictures of Lily. I thought why not print them out and display as many as I can! I had so much fun looking back through the last year and printing these. I also printed out Lily quotes from my word swag app. I am going to make a book of these to remember all her funny little sayings.

Drinks

Menu

Mr. Noodles Pasta Salad, Grouch’s Gross Grapes, Grover’s Garden Veggies, Mr Hoopers Chicken Nuggets & Counts Grilled Cool Wraps (courtesy of Chick Fil A)

And then there’s my work of art 🙂 I am definitely not Buddy the Cake Boss but I did have a lot of fun with the Elmo cake and Cookie Monster Cupcakes.

Games 

Favors & Friends

Lily’s skirt…she kept pulling it up all day, I was cracking up 🙂

And that’s a wrap! We had the best day celebrating our little love!

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Lily’s Shirt 

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

Custom Backdrop Poster

Merry Christmas! Every year I say I can’t believe it’s Christmas time and here I go again. I can’t believe it’s Christmas time. I am extra excited about Christmas this year because Lily is excited about it. She is 22 months old and notices everything. It’s so fun watching her little face light up and get excited about the holiday.

Today I have a fun little DIY for you especially if you have littles in the house. I have seen this on Pinterest and decided I would make one for our house. I decided to laminate all the pieces so they last through the years. It’s really affordable and easy so here we go.

Here’s what you will need!

-Black and orange construction paper

-Circle Cutters or a cup works great

-Ribbon or paper for scarf

-Tape and museum putty (I used the museum putty to attach all the snowman pieces to the door)

I bought these circle cutters from Creative Memories years ago and am so happy I did. I use them all the time.

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This ribbon is amazing!! It’s like a real scarf and it was 60% off which makes it even better.

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Future snowman 🙂

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It was done in less than a 30 minutes. My favorite kind of craft easy and cheap.