Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What do you do with your Christmas cards?

If you are friends with me in real life, you know that I love a Christmas card! If you've been following my blog for a while, you may have seen my post last year of our Christmas scrapbook.
For the record... NO, I do not love a scrapbook, although my last 2 posts may lead you to believe that I do. However, I do love the memories that pictures bring about.
So, I titled this post... What do you do with your Christmas cards?
Throw them away, stash them in a drawer, or attempt to hang on to them yet just like the sock in the dryer they just seem to disappear.
Well, here's what I am currently doing with mine (just our family card not every card you receive).
I have a scrapbook and I just add to it every year.
I said this is what I am "currently" doing because I like to keep my options open. I use tape instead of glue just in case I decide to switch to something different than the scrapbook in the future.
Keys to success (because if you are friends with me, you KNOW that I am the most unorganized person on the planet)!
** Keep it simple! Who cares if your writing is sloppy or you just stuck some pictures in the photo sleeves? You can always change it in the future if you want to. But for post-Christmas fatigue sake... just stick the cards in there and write Merry Christmas somewhere :)

** Use the Bare Minimum! As you will see, I only put our Christmas card and the kids pictures with Santa in the album. If you start trying to add ALL of your Christmas photos from that year, you may only complete 1 or 2 years :)
I'd love to hear your ideas on what you do with your family Christmas cards!
Oh and for the future, if you'd like to receive a card from us, just send me your address! I'd love to exchange!








Sunday, December 29, 2013

1 year of Collages!! Complete!

In January 2013, I made a goal to complete one collage for each month of the year!
I am excited to say that I DID IT!
Obviously, I got a little better at it as time went one :)
I think this is probably the first "New Year's goal" I have ever completed.
Thanks for bearing with me each month as I posted one of these! All for the sake of the blog book of course.
I plan to do this again in 2014 because it was super easy and I love the outcome!
Anybody want to join me in doing this? Send me a message if so!
Typically, I would just scroll back through my iphone pictures at the end of the month and put them all together for a collage (easy cheesy).
So, here it is!
2013 in Collages

Highlights in Nov.
lots of tough brother love :) and MSU football!
Family pictures
Chip turned 2 months old
Lots of snuggling


December was SO busy.
Here are a few highlights!
Blackburn Christmas Party
Riding the train around the park looking at Christmas lights
Tacky Christmas party with our small group! (so much fun!!)
Miller got a tractor for Christmas
The boys visiting Santa
Chip turned 3 months old
The boys Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Family picture on Christmas Eve

So there it is! 1 year of collages with the Blackburns :)
A lot can happen in one year! It amazes me to go from just finding out I was pregnant to my sweet boys sitting on Santa's lap!
It's been a great year! Looking forward to 2014.

Lee and I are beginning to think of goals for 2014. What are some of your goals?
My 2 so far:
Finish reading through the Bible
Complete another year of collages

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Establishing a new normal

Well... My maternity leave is over. I went back to work last Tuesday. It's time for us to begin establishing a "new normal."
Since chip arrived in September, we have been tucked away in our home, recovering and bonding with him. Isn't it funny how all people with newborns do this? We tuck away. And for some reason, the world totally understands it. In fact, I get this question a lot... "Are y'all getting out any yet?"
In the adoption world, this sort of "lifestyle" for the first few months is known as "cocooning."
While I was home on maternity leave, I couldn't help but compare the things I was doing with what we will try to accomplish once Malachi is home. I want to point out a few things so that once Malachi comes home and we are "cocooning" (even though he isn't a newborn) you will understand what we are trying to accomplish.

Before Chip was born, all he knew was the womb. He didn't understand his new "world."
Malachi, too, will have a "new world" when he comes home. All he will have known before that is the "orphanage world."
So we will cocoon to help comfort him with all the changes in his physical environment. Slowly introducing him to things outside of our home.

In the womb, Chip probably knew my voice, and that I provided his physical needs such as comfort and food. But he didn't fully know me. He didn't know my face, my smell, etc. If he was passed around to 10 different people on day one, and nobody spoke, he probably wouldn't know whether it was his mom holding him or not.
So I am teaching him that I'm "mama." And honestly, I can tell that there has been improvement in this bond. I comfort him when he cries, I provide food when he's hungry, I change his diaper, and I talk to him and show affection. He is getting to know me and understand that I am his mother. Other people like grandparents change and feed him at times, but Lee and I provide the majority of his care.

The same will be with Malachi. He will not instantaneously understand that we are his parents. This bond will take time. This bond will begin to form just as it has with Chip. It will begin to form as we become his caregivers. We will comfort him when he cries, provide food when he's hungry, change his diaper and show affection. The difference in "cocooning" with Chip and Malachi from this standpoint, is that Lee and I will be the ONLY ones to do the above things for Malachi until he has bonded well and understands that we are his parents. Unlike with Chip, friends and family won't be able to provide Malachi's basic needs at first because Lee and I will be trying hard to get Malachi to attach to us. We arent saying you cant be around him. We are just saying that if a need arises, like if he starts crying, rather than you attempting to comfort him... We ask that you simply pass him over to us to provide comfort. This is best for him. We hope you aren't offended. But his NEEDS will have to come before our WANTS. We can't wait for the day that he is well attached and you can hold and cuddle him! We are praying for that day!!! Trust me! :)   
Unlike Chip... Prior to us, Malachi may have had multiple caregivers (his birth parents, orphanage workers, etc). And he probably won't understand attachment because he has never been emotionally attached to one human for his needs. So if we allow different people to constantly provide his needs, then we essentially haven't changed his world that much. To establish our role as parents in his life, he needs to understand that we are his primary caregivers. He needs to look to us for comfort and provision.
Normally, we see a baby that is willing to "go to anybody" as a positive thing. We think the baby is being "friendly."
Please make this mental note... There is a difference between a "friendly baby" and a baby that goes to everyone because that child is not attached to any ONE human, and to that child, essentially all adults are the same.

With Chip, we have been tucked away in our home for several weeks. Stir craziness has definitely set in. But it has been great for bonding.
Most people stay in their home because a newborn hasn't had shots yet and has a weak immune system. Not to mention pure physical exhaustion from lack of sleep. It's easy to say "this baby is still too young to get out for social gatherings."
However, Malachi may be almost 2 yrs old when we are "cocooning" with him. We will stay tucked away in our home until we feel like he is ready to venture out. Remember, Malachi's entire world has changed and he will probably be overwhelmed. Before arriving home with us, more than likely he will have spent months within the walls of an orphanage. So a birthday party or football game may be slightly overwhelming to him. We don't want him being totally freaked out and scared to death. He's not a newborn who has "no normal." And we will venture out according to what we feel he is prepared for. So please don't be offended if we do something one day, then have to say "no" to your offer on another day. We will venture to our tolerance too :)

In light, we pray that in the same way family and friends have supported our "cocooning" with Chip, that you will also support our "cocooning" with Malachi. I pray that you understand the similarities and differences.

I am confident that our cocooning stage with Malachi is still several years down the road so we will have to re-visit this. But I wanted to jot down some thoughts while I am fresh in the maternity leave season with Chip.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The month of October

The month of October in the Blackburn Household
* First trip to church since Chip's arrival (success)
* Roasting marshmallows with cousins
*Miller with little brother
*Halloween fun with Big Brother Dino and baby dino hatching from his egg
*Ergo riding in the beautiful fall weather
*Chip turned 1 month old :(
*Miller getting Ice Cream from the Ice Cream Truck
* Miller riding a pony at the MS State Fair
* Squirrel Hunting with JayJay & Daddy

The month of October has consisted of sleepless nights, lots of coffee, beautiful weather, snuggling with babies, football and simply adjusting to life as a family of 4.

People ask how life with 2 kiddos is going.
It's good.
It's MORE.
More chaos. More demanding. More laundry. More mouths to feed.
More joy. More snuggles. More love. More smiles.
It's simply more.

People ask about adoption.
Thank you!
We love it when people engage in conversation about our journey to Malachi.
Although I haven't talked about adoption much lately on this here little blog, we are STILL adopting.
We are STILL waiting on our little man.
And we think about it daily.
Adoption is very much part of our everyday life.
I stalk our agency's Facebook page.
I constantly read blog posts from other mother's who are also in the adoption process.
We chat with local friends who are adopting or have adopted.
We are involved in the orphan ministry at our church.
We have not forgotten the orphan. Not just our son, but orphans at large.

I ache to have my son no longer be called an orphan.
The month of October in our adoption process has been... well... hard for me.
I haven't posted our "number" in a few months because we haven't moved spots. And if we have moved any spots, it has been backwards (because other people ahead of us have changed their requests). So, I guess I'm kinda pouting.
That's okay huh?

You may be thinking the same thing that we often hear from others when we talk about our adoption.
"Well.. at least you've got other stuff, like welcoming another child into the family to keep you busy."
This is So. True.
We are beyond thankful that the Lord has allowed us to grow our family in the wait.
And this has helped keep me sane.


Can I explain to you what Lee and I refer to as "The Void?"
Almost 3 years ago (November 17, 2010), God planted the vision of a child in our hearts.
A child that we now call "Malachi"
God graciously gave us a longing for this child. A void in our hearts until he is home.
This void is both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing is that it keeps us seeking, waiting, longing... desperate for our boy.
A curse because the void is painful.

And no matter how many children God gives us, they cannot fill the void for Malachi.
We still long for him.
We still WANT him.
Only Malachi can fill that specific void.

We had voids for Miller and Chip too. It just looked different.
The moment I found out I was pregnant, I desired that child.
Not in the way that I "desired" to have children before becoming pregnant.
But a deep longing to hold the child that was in my belly.
And nothing could replace that child.
Women weep over miscarriages.
Babies they don't even "know"
Because the moment that child is placed in your heart... you are never. ever. the same.

And this mama's heart LOVES my babies that are home.
I LONG for my baby(ies) that are not home yet!

:) yes... I made that plural!!

And... the news has a "Pro Choice" rally on right now.
These people are wearing shirts that say
"Abortion on demand and without apology."

My. Heart. Aches.

I literally drive past the obnoxious PINK abortion clinic every. single. morning. on my way to work.
And every morning... my heart hurts for the unborn babies...and their mothers.

This world is rough, y'all.
So thankful that this world is not my home!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Better late than never... September collage

September Collage
Better late than never :)
We have been busy since the month of September!  But September was a good one! We welcomed our sweet little Chip into the world.
These pictures have all been seen before, but I wanted to keep my collages going.
** Last date night before Chip's arrival
** Lee and I in the hospital waiting on little man
**Proud Big Brother the day Chip came home from hospital
**Another sweet baby laying on the lamb
** Chip's newborn photo session
** First picture of Chip after he was born!!
We are loving life as a family of 4.
Chip is doing well. He is slowly but surely stretching out the length of time he sleeps at night.
We are pretty sleep deprived but functional thanks to daycare for Miller and coffee!
A huge thank you to everyone who has brought us meals!! It has been such a BLESSING!
I hope to increase my blogging once I am slightly more rested. I have a few posts swirling around in my head :)
Have a Great Week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Mama, come snuggle me."

I confessed in a blog post that I am not the best house keeper. I do a "decent" job but my house is by no means constantly spotless. 
I've been working on it.
One "method" that works for us is to clean up living room and kitchen after dinner/before bed. It gives me a jump start on the next day. If we by chance are unable to do this, I find myself trying to catch up the next day. 

Lee and I say all the time "Miller can destroy a room in 2 seconds." 
It's a true statement.
This picture was taken a few days after being home with Chip.
Our living room was cleaned the night before.

This morning I was re-captivated by the story of Mary and Martha. 
This story is so common that I need not dive into it in much detail. 
Luke 10:38-40 tells the story.
Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet listening to Him. 
Martha is rushing around the house hosting, cleaning and preparing. 
Martha gets mad because Mary isn't helping so she asks Jesus "don't you even care that she's just sitting there? Tell her to help me!" 
And I'm sure to Martha's shock... Jesus rebukes her. He tells her that she is worried about all these other things, yet only one thing matters... Him. 
And Mary has focused on Him. 

I'm Martha.

I desire to be Mary. But it's hard. So very hard. 

Last night, dinner ended. Lee began installing our new tv. Miller was running around like a wild man, jumping on boxes, dragging stuff through the house, and pulling out Tupperware. 
I loaded/unloaded dishes. Baby needs to be fed. Millers diaper needs to be changed. Lee asks if I can help him. Back to the kitchen after that. Tomorrow is Tuesday so all the trash cans need to be emptied, and taken out to the road. Lee can you do that? Prepare the bottles for the night. Change Chip's clothes. "Mama, I want to watch a movie on the bed." Perfect. Movie is in. Miller is happy. Chip is napping. Now to finish cleaning. 
I walk through my bedroom with 200 things on my mind to finish up before bedtime. 
He looks at me. Pacifier covering his mouth. He pats the empty spot beside him... "come snuggle me, Mama." 
Sweet.. I think. "in a minute, baby." I keep cleaning. Surely I can get all this done in only a few minutes. The chores keep piling. I forget. 30 minutes goes by. The house is chaotic again. 
30 more minutes goes by.
I hear a tiny voice call from the bedroom "come on Mama." 
I look around the kitchen and living room. It's still a wreck. A war rages. "I just don't have time to snuggle tonight" comes one voice. 
Yet another whispers, "he won't be little long." 
I look at Lee. I put down the towel. "I'm going to lay with him." 
Lee follows. 
We snuggled with our 2 year old. 
I'm glad we did. 

The dishes will be dirty again tomorrow. The house will need to be cleaned. None of that will ever end. 
Yet Miller, is one day closer to leaving our household. 
And on that day... I will wish that a 2 year old would interrupt my cleaning to snuggle. 

I context of Mary and Martha.
My days on Earth are numbered. 
Today I stand one day closer to eternity than yesterday.
My house is still the same. Chores today. Chores tomorrow. I will never completely conquer them.

But I must choose to "snuggle with Jesus." To stop. And sit. And learn from Him. 
So that when I see Him face to face, I don't meet a stranger. 
But I embrace someone that I KNOW! 
It's vital that I sit.
My eternity depends on it. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Introducing our son, Chip!

Our Journey to Meeting Chip
(in pictures because that's all you really care about anyway :))
January 11, 2013
Lee and I found out that I was pregnant!
This was my first journal entry (written Jan. 15) to Chip.
Psalm 139:13-16 was heavy on my heart.
God already KNEW this child.

February 2013

Revealed our pregnancy news to family and friends.


"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward."
Psalm 127:3
 March 19, 2013

We had been praying about boy and girl names.
We got a boy name.
No girl name.
The first time I mentioned the name "Chip" to Lee.
Yes, we later had a more "serious" discussion :))

Journal entry on March 19th.
April 16, 2013
We found out his gender!
 16 weeks pregnant


Miller will have a little brother!!

May - September

Let the preparation begin...


 September 17, 2013
Last date night before little man arrives!

late night BLOG POST the night before delivery because I couldn't sleep :)

September 18, 2013
The day we FINALLY met our son!!

His hat waiting on him. Picture taken around 6:30 in the morning.

Eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Lee's twitter "texts" immediately after he was born!
Wish we could have seen everyone when they got the text that Chip had finally arrived!

 The first picture we sent to friends/family.
Taken while I was holding him for the first time :)

 Lee holding both boys for the first time!

"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are children born in one's youth."
Psalm 127:4

Be still my heart, be still.
Headed home from the hospital. Sept. 20, 2013

Newborn Photo Sneak Peeks


People ask how we are doing.
We are so good!
We are in love with our new little one.
Our hearts are... full.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We are having a baby tomorrow!!

Excitement abounds!

A son of the one True King will take his first breath of life tomorrow!

I cannot wait!

What a precious blessing of life God has entrusted us with!

And yes, I'm laying awake in bed because I cannot sleep! Too much on our minds!

Pray for us all! Just for God's loving hand to be upon us as we go through the next day of getting little man here safely!

For those of you following my twitter feed- you may get some random texts like my nurses hair color :))
The explanation is that it was part of a contest!
When Miller was born, we had a simple "guess the Birth weight" contest at work and the winner got a gift card.

So we "spiced" it up a bit this time and had 10 random but objective questions for Chip's birth.

My co-workers filled these out about 2 (or 3) weeks ago! A few of the questions are already answered.

Look... If you want people to participate in something, all you have to do is make the prize a gift card to a restaurant! I swear those forms were filled out and returned to me in like 2 or 3 days by 2 different departments :))
Their gift card is just to Subway, but that's a hot location in the hospital!

Anyway. I need to go to bed! Lee is insisting! And he's wise!

Here is a copy of the questions they had for the contest... Just for those of you curious! Some could have been "educated" guesses and others were totally random!

Chip's Birth Contest

1) hair will be:
no hair

2) labor (water break-delivery) will last:
0-6 hrs
7-12 hours
Greater than 12 hours

3) he will weigh:
more than miller
less than
same 7.13

4) his first cry will be:
immediately after birth 0-2 min
3-5 minutes after birth
won't cry til longer than 5 min after birth

5) time of birth:
12am- 7:59 am
8am-3:59 pm

6) abby's IV placement:

7) Delivery Nurse hair color:

8) day of week:

9) delivery room #

10) Millers first reaction:
Big smile
Blank stare

Tie breaker: birth weight without going over

This was a picture from our last little date night tonight before baby Chip arrives!

And lastly, this is a picture of part of my first journal entry to Chip. No one even knew we were pregnant yet :))
We have clung to this scripture this whole pregnancy!

Ok. For real. I'm done now :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Little Man's Name Is.....


Our new little man's name will be....
Chip Lee
We love his little name!
I guess this is our "official" announcement of the name, although we haven't really kept it a secret like we did with Miller.
Keeping the name a secret until the baby is here is actually probably the best way to go in my opinion! But that's another blog post, another day.
I think I will post pictures as I answer some common questions we get with regards to his name.

Just look at those sweet plates that some co-workers gave us!
Love them!!

Why did you not use an "M" name? You have Miller and Malachi.
 We just didn't. We did not intentionally use "M"s in the first place, it just sort of happened. So we didn't feel obligated to stick with "M."
Plus, who knows whether or not we will have more kiddos :)
 Isn't Miller's middle name "Lee"?
Yep! Sure is!
This is probably the "hottest" topic when it comes to Chip's name.
Be prepared to have your "social norm" socks knocked off!
We have decided to give all of our boys the same middle name.
Their father's name!
Catch your breath. It's really okay!
We like it! We have extensive reasons for this decision and honestly, many of the reasons are much too intimate/personal/deep whatever you want to call it to announce on this little blog.
It was not a "lazy" decision.
It was actually a very deeply thought about decision.
So, just to clarify.
We have a:
Miller Lee
Chip Lee
And will have a Malachi Lee one day!

It actually really cracks me up with regards to social norms.
The first question I posted above "why didn't you name them all with the same first initial?"
When people ask that, they're almost like "I cannot believe you didn't give him an "M" name!"
And honestly, what significance does the first initial have?

But then you say "we are naming them all after their father instead" and I swear people's mouths hit the floor. Literally.
Same initials = socially normal
Same middle name = socially ABnormal

We will take the latter. Our family doesn't fit the social norm anyway :)
Whew. Now I am off my soap box, promise!

 Where did y'all get the name Chip from?
This is a multi-layered answer.
We did NOT name him after our pastor - Chip Henderson.
We also did  NOT name him after the popular NFL coach - Chip Kelly (although Lee would like to claim that at times)!
Both of those men are great, but that's just honestly not where we came up with the name.
Our search for names began shortly after I found out I was pregnant.
With Miller and Malachi, the names came fast and easy.
Lee and I don't have a roster of names we like, so literally we were starting from scratch.
Over the course of the next few months, we would name off both boy and girl names and neither of us liked any of them. I literally don't think we said one single name out loud more than once before we discussed the name "Chip."
In March, I just began praying for God to give us a name. At that time we still didn't know if he was a boy or girl.
I don't remember exactly when it was, but I think it was when I was driving down the road one day. The name Chip popped into my head. As soon as it did, I had a gut feeling that would be the name (even though we didn't know gender yet).
I mentioned the name to Lee and he said that he liked it a lot. He mentioned some references to the name Chip from his childhood and said he had always liked the name.
March 19th I wrote in Chip's journal telling him that if he was a boy we would name him Chip Lee Blackburn after his daddy. If he was a girl, we still didn't have a name.
April 18th we found out he was a boy.
We never discussed another name.
It was always just Chip.
Chip's wreath for the hospital.
Is his name just "Chip" or is Chip a nickname?
The name Chip is commonly a nickname used in reference to the phrase
"chip off the old block" which means "like his father."
It is common for people to give their son the exact name as their father and then call them Chip. Much like a "Junior" or a "Trip"
But our little guy is just Chip.
We can't wait to meet our little man!
He should be here in a week or so!