Monday, September 24, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin

Believe it or not... the following decorations for our house were initiated by LEE!! He has been bugging me to do this. He even picked out the location in our house :) So sweet! So tonight... we drew, cut, strung, taped and measured.

We have some sweet, sweet friends THE SMITH'S who did something similar to this. Their agency gives out official numbers so they used that to countdown (They're number 1 for a little boy right now!!). They have loved on us throughout our entire adoption journey. Lee saw theirs in their kitchen. He LOVED it and has always wanted to do something similiar. We decided since our agency says we will be waiting 18-24 months that we would just take one circle off every month. We get to take number 24 down in a few days :))) Obviously, with the uncertainties in international adoption this is not a "for sure" thing that we will get Malachi in 24 months or less... but we are praying and will love moving one month closer to him!
We decided to do "zig-zags" because that's how the Smith's had theirs and it looked great.

Check it out :)

After we hung it, we were both just standing back proudly looking at it. I said "Lee.... it makes an "M."
Lee said "it sure does!" We both just smiled really big. There was something reassuring and confirming about that small, small detail.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Then and Now - Beach Series

Lee and I have been making yearly trips to Gulf Shores, Alabama since we were small children (obviously not always together). Below is a picture of our first trip together. This picture was taken one year after we had been dating. I was 18 yrs old and Lee was 17.

We have made several trips to the beach together in dating life with our families and a few trips in married life. Last week we made our first vacation to Gulf Shores as a family of 3! We knew this trip would be different having Miller in tow, but we were excited to see him on the beach.

One night on vacation, I was picking up toys out of the tub and placing them all around the edges of the tub when suddenly I stepped back... looked at the tub all lined with toys and began to chuckle. I thought to myself "my how things have changed."

To many of you moms, the following statements will be a trip down memory lane. For Lee and I - they are comical and sweet all wrapped together.

Beach Trips THEN and NOW:

  • FROM a tub lined with candles TO a tub lined with toys.
  • FROM sand in my toes TO sand in my..... bathing suit.
  • FROM choosing a swimsuit that Lee would think was cute TO choosing a swimsuit with the best coverage for holding, swimming and running after a baby.
  • FROM relaxing strolls along the beach TO literally pulling a wagon with a baby in it along the beach.
  • FROM choosing a nice restaurant TO "oh we can't go there, it has white table cloths -- look for somewhere that has an outdoor sandbox and a good kids menu."
  • FROM laying out on the beach ALL day TO up and down from the condo for nap times.
  • FROM only dipping in the water to cool off TO sitting where the waves crash for hours because that's where the baby wants to be.
  • FROM just getting the night started at 9 pm TO retiring for the day.
  • FROM wiping sweat TO wiping snot.
  • FROM looking through clean, glass balcony doors TO looking through face/finger smudged balcony doors.
  • FROM complaining about have to pay a security deposit TO Lee saying "yeah, we probably won't get that deposit back" as Miller breaks the remote, slams into the glass doors (with the helmet on) and throws his toys on the glass coffee table - all within 10 minutes.
We wouldn't trade it for the world! Our trip was definitely different, but it was also RICHER with our little man in tow. No doubt... there were several  some "I really think I am going to scream" moments! Some of my selfishness was revealed, as always. And there are things that Lee and I missed about being on vacation just the two of us. But the truth is.... we know that our children will only be little for a little while and oh too soon we will reverse to vacations where it is only Lee and I. :(

We cannot wait to take Malachi to the beach. We discussed him often while we were there! We imagined him and Miller playing together. I hope Malachi is a better "beach napper" than Miller (who just plain refused to sleep on the beach). Below are some pictures of us doing everything in our power to get that child to sleep so we could enjoy the sun!

Yes... that is Lee pulling Miller along the beach :) We actually took a really long stroll pulling him. We all enjoyed it! The wagon was easy to pull on the packed sand.

A back view. The float was actually VERY great at keeping Miller in the shade... we had just almost finished riding in this pic so no more shade!

Don't hate! We did what we had to do!! Yes... we pulled him like this TOO!

Boo Yaaa!! Baby is asleep. The ENTIRE beach now thinks we are crazy but we don't care because it was a success.... He slept for 15 WHOLE MINUTES!! :)


Like I said.... life is different  :)) but RICHER!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Expanding Our Knowledge - Beach Series

           There is something sweet and funny about being on vacation (physically and mentally). The mental vacation allows you time to think about things that you have absolutely no time to ponder on a daily basis. I noticed this when sometime along the middle of vacation our conversations switched from things like finances to "why is the ocean salty?" Below is a list of the questions we discussed - just for fun :) Also a little competition between Lee and I. Of course all the answers come from google :))

Question 1
  • CONTEXT: Lee and I were sitting outside eating at Shrimp Basket. I noticed the salt shakers had rice in them... which I see this all the time. But this time I asked out loud to Lee "why do they put rice in salt shakers?" Lee began talking about how the rice absorbs moisture etc. etc. I listened to him, smiled, then laughed and said "where did you hear that?" He responded "I don't know, but I am telling you I am right." His answer sounded goofy to me. He then said, "well, what do you think they do it for?" I stared at the salt shaker and came up with the best answer I could think of.... "because it keeps the salt from pouring out too fast :) "
    • Question: "why do they put rice in salt shakers?"
    • Abby thinks "keeps salt from pouring out too quickly"
    • Lee thinks "moisture"
    • Correct Answer:  Rice absorbs moisture and keeps salt from clumping. You will see it in just about every restaraunt (outside) in humid climates, unless the restaraunt changes the salt shakers daily.
    • Lee - 1      Abby - 0
Question 2
  • CONTEXT: We were sitting on the balcony eating dinner (around 6 p.m.) watching the people swim in the ocean. Lee states "I was always out of the ocean by this time of day when I was younger." Me: "why?" Lee: "SHARK FEEDING TIME!" Looking at me like "duh." I smiled and said, "Lee, that's probably just what your parents told you so they could get you out and go eat!"
    • Question: What time do the sharks feed?
    • Lee thinks "early morning and evening"
    • I think "ANY time!"
    • Correct Answer: They can feed anytime but generally they feed at dusk and dawn. I call that a TIE!
    • Lee - 2     Abby - 1
Question 3
  • CONTEXT: Sitting on balcony, Lee says very enthusiastically and seriously "Abby, did you just see that fish? It had WINGS. I promise."  Is it even necessary to type my response??? :))
    • Question: Does Gulf Shores have flying fish?
    • Lee thinks "yes!"
    • Abby "those were fins you saw and the fish was merely jumping!"
    • Correct Answer: Per google - there are 8 different species of flying fish in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 50 worldwide.
    • Lee - 3     Abby - 1
Question 4
  • CONTEXT: Sitting on balcony, Lee points to the ocean and says "oh my gosh! That was a sting ray jumping out of the water." This came about an hour after the flying fish so I said, "really? Lee. Come on." He said, "look for yourself." Nothing ever jumped when I was looking. "Lee sting rays don't jump out of the dang water!"
    • Question: Do sting rays jump out of the water?
    • Correct Answer: yes :(   At this point - Lee is grinning from ear to ear at this competition.
    • Lee - 4      Abby - 1
Question 5
  • CONTEXT: Me... pondering.... "I wonder why the ocean is salty?" Lee responds, "it's from the rocks." Me... pausing... thinking.... rocks??
    • no need to drag this out..... He was RIGHT! It's from dang rocks!!!
Okay. I quit. :) I lost 5 to 1 and only scored because we tied. Lee just said, "Abby, if I say the sky is falling you better duck." :)

Glad we could expand your wealth of useless knowledge along with us!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shoes for Ukraine

This is the second half of my post Help put shoes on their feet.

A sweet co-worker of mine, Gray Pace, is helping lead a mission trip to Odessa, Ukraine on October 19th-27th. Gray is currently helping fundraise money to build a transition home for orphaned girls. This transition home is called Hope House 2 (part of World Hope Ukraine), and it will house girls who have aged out of adoption :(  These girls have aged out of the opportunity to have a forever family with an adoptive mom and dad. They will now be raised in the transition home until they reach an age where they are "sent out into the world on their own" so to speak. This particular mission trip will center around assisting with construction of the transition home, as well as ministering to orphaned girls who live in Hope House 1.

A few weeks ago, Gray was sharing with me about the mission trip. She stated that she REALLY desires to buy each girl a Russian Bible and a pair of shoes once she gets there. I asked her  how much that would cost and she said around $30 per girl. I then asked "would you accept 30$ from people and use that money specifically to buy shoes and Bibles?" She replied "absolutely!"
Gray has approximately 20 orphaned girls that she wants to buy Bibles and shoes for. If the Lord prompts you to give... would you? Help change the world for one girl across the world who is searching for hope.

If you would like to give, just contact me and I can give you details... or if you know Gray, just go directly to her :))

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25: 37-40

A Quick Rewind

Last week ended in a whirlwind. I confused some people about Miller's helmet, while other friends were left reading about my wreck on this blog followed by a "p.s. I'm done with my phone for a week :)" I guess you could say I left a lot of "loose ends." I will attempt to clear those up on this post.


The confusion came with these P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S cookies made by Rhiannon Bethea.

Seriously. She is so talented! Aren't they adorable?!
Anyway. I know we are getting close to helmet graduation, but can't ever say "for sure" when it will be. After his last appointment in August, I decided to go ahead and order the cookies from Rhiannon "just in case" he graduated! Rhiannon likes to have a 2 week heads up, so pre-planning an unknown graduation date is tricky.
I got the cookies on Monday of last week.
On Tuesday, I wrecked on the way to the appointment :( the cookies survived the wreck! Needless to say - we missed the appointment.
On Wednesday - Lee took Miller to his helmet visit (with the cookies in tow). They loved the cookies and Miller didn't graduate from his helmet. I would give more details, but my sweet, sweet husband is a "man of few words" so those 2 sentences are virtually all I learned about the helmet visit :)
His next appointment is next Tuesday! Will keep you updated.

Totally and completely my fault. I smashed into an innocent car. I was blessed that the guy I hit was nice and was more worried about me and Miller than himself or his poor car.
My car is totaled (it was old and not worth a WHOLE lot anyway).
We are praying and trying to make the best financial decision we can, so you will probably be seeing me in Lee's big truck for the next few months! Love the truck... don't love to drive it, but I am willing!

The beach trip was so good. I have a few blog posts to follow about the trip.

We are finally on the waiting list!!! Yay! Our agency tells us to expect an 18 to 24 month wait before a referral. I feel like we have just buckled in for a REALLY long car ride :)
This blog will continue to be a look into our adoption journey and I am sure other topics will come and go as we continue to live life (i.e. Miller's helmet :))

Thanks for following and encouraging us in this wild and crazy journey.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


My definition of being unplugged - to disconnect from social media and/or socialization with others outside my immediate family for a period of time.

Facebook. Email. Texting. Twitter. The list goes on and on for the different forms of social media we engulf ourselves in daily. It's entertaining. It's addicting. It keeps us up to date on the latest. It is downright exhausting at times. Before I brush my teeth in the mornings I have already checked my email, responded to any late night texts, and skimmed through Facebook seeing how late you stayed up, pictures of your kids, and your plans for the day. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy it. At least most of the time.

But still... I crave silence. Not just physical silence, as in a quiet house (ok maybe I crave that some too :)). But to truly disengage from the world and to allow my mind to rest. Seriously. This has become a foreign concept to me. My mind is constantly running 100 mph. Lee would argue that it runs more like 200 mph. Lee once read the book, "For Men Only" which is a book about how women think. :-) Lee said that in one chapter the author contrasts the way men and women think. He used the example of a computer. For men, they pull up one browser at a time. They completely close out of that window/browser before they switch to another. Symbolizing that men think about one thing at a time.
Women, on the other hand, open multiples browsers at once and instead of closing out of them, we just minimize them and switch to another.. and another... and another. All while the previous browsers are still open. This symbolizes how women think of MULTIPLE things at the same time.
Lee sometimes looks at me and says, "Abby, how many browsers do you have going??" He knows me too well.

Anyway. I say all this to say that I am long overdue for a mental detox!

On Tuesday morning, I woke up and bustled around getting ready for Miller's helmet visit. We were running late. What should Miller wear? Oh this outfit looks cute. He needs shoes too. I need to pack his bag. Diapers. Paci. Extra outfit. Don't forget the sippy cup. Grab the helmet cookies. Crank the car so it's not hot. Make sure to bring your purse so we can run by hobby lobby and wal mart on our way home. What groceries do we need? Dang I need to change Miller's diaper before we leave. Miller finish your oatmeal then drink your milk in the car. Buckle him in.
Ah. Finally pulling out and headed to the helmet visit. I need to make sure I call the photography lady later today. I can't believe we are running late. Crap. Miller is pouring the sippy cup all over his outfit!

Then it happened.

I smashed right into the innocent car sitting at the red light! Air bags deployed. I lost my breath for a moment. Scared. Shocked. Gathering my thoughts. Instantly remembered that my precious son was sitting in the backseat. I turned to look for him. There he sat. Perfectly ok.

Relief. Guilt. Embarrassment. Thankfulness.

Miller and I were ok and the guy we hit was fine too. His car was pretty banged up though :(

Abby. Slow. Down.
The rush is devastating. It hurts you, Miller, Lee and others. The results of my crazy busy thinking were devastating. The evidence was tangible. I smashed into that guy because physically I was operating a vehicle, but mentally I was thinking of 10 other things.

Slow. Down.

I'm not saying that to think of multiple things at once is always bad. In fact, that's how God crafted women... Distinctively different than men. But the rush of my mind has become a lifestyle. I have forgotten what it is like to be still. So that is what I am going to attempt to do. Rest my mind over the next 5 days.
We are headed to the beach this afternoon and won't return til Tuesday. I have pledged to Lee to put away my phone for the vacation. No phone calls. No texts. No other forms of social media. Just me, him, Miller and the Lord. I am praying that our time at the beach is refreshing!

The car wreck was just the icing on the cake. I actually started typing this blog at the beginning of August.

On a happy note! Our Dossier has officially landed in Ethiopia!! Eeek!

9/06/1212:02 AMADDIS ABABA 99999, ETOn FedEx vehicle for delivery

Officially been waiting: 6 days! It's a start :)

Have a great week! Thanks for following! See y'all next week :)