-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!

/Sources/

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.

My Sister in Law Emily is having her first baby, a little boy! A couple weeks ago I co hosted her shower with my other sister in law Kate. We had it at a fantastic restaurant. If you are in the Sacramento area check out Cafeteria 15l. Make sure you get the Truffle Tater Tots.

My inspiration was The Giving Tree, Emily’s favorite children’s book.

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 Invitation: The shop I ordered these from was amazing! She created a diaper raffle card for me and these advice cards. She was quick and professional.

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Each guest went home with a tree

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Auntie’s Ashley and Kate with the guest of honor. We can not wait to meet this little guy!

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–Sources–

The Giving Tree 

Giving Tree Cake: My amazing talented friend Ashley

Giving Tree Wood Sign

Moss

Succulents/Home Depot

Tree Sappling Favors

Invitation, Diaper Raffle Cards, Advice Cards

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Hey, Happy Friday! Well I’m 18 days into my Living With Less challenge and I thought I would give you an update on how things are going! Surprisingly things are going really well. I have had a few moments where I felt weak but I got through them, praise God. I have only been to target once in 18 days and I’m telling you it must be a record.

Unsubscribing to a lot of the stores I get emails from really helped. For the most part I haven’t gone into stores except the grocery store. Well maybe the Rack one time but I only gave Matt some ideas on what to get me for Christmas :). I was telling Matt the old me would have probably bought this amazing leopard jacket I saw on my Nordstrom card. But I don’t have the card anymore and so that wasn’t even an option. As silly as this sounds it was really hard for me to cut up that card. I feel great about it now but at the time it wasn’t easy. It weirds me out that it was that hard for me to do. I think it shows what power “stuff” had over me and what being current or trendy meant to me to. Don’t get me wrong I am all about being current and trendy because I love fashion but not at the price I was paying for it.

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this so I’m just going to say it because I try and be transparent but it’s still a little scary/sad to admit. But when I would buy something on that Nordstrom card I knew I shouldn’t and that it was wrong so I would hide it from Matt. I would leave it in my car or tuck it back in the closet. Well, there I said it. Hiding anything from your spouse is wrong but yet I did it. I’m happy to say I won’t be doing that anymore.

I recently read Rachel Cruz’s book Love Your Life Not Theirs and it really influenced my decision to cut up that card and stop all spending for a month. She has such great insight into the comparisons that are hard to face in this social media culture. Something she said in the comparison chapter really stuck with me.

“Comparisons will not only steal our joy but our paychecks as well. If we don’t get comparison living under control we will constantly spend money just trying to keep up.”

All I wanted to do was give an update on my Living With Less experiment and here I am oversharing and confessing. I hope this helps someone out there who might be stuck in the same situation I was, spending money I didn’t have so I could be relevant, cool or on trend.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.