Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lake Livingston vacation

We were so blessed!  This Sunday through Wednesday we headed to Lake Livingston with Eric's extended family.  His mom invited us to come hang out with Eric's mom, sister, brother, and 3 sets of aunts/uncles and cousins.  It was a great time!  We got there Sunday after church and enjoyed breathing fresh air, swimming in the lake, resting in the hammock, fishing, and just spending time together.  I had my computer but wasn't on it like I usually am at home.  I read 2 books in 3 days.  Prayed a lot and was able to pour into my kids about God's beautiful creation!  It was so sweet on Tuesday morning when Cara asked her Nana if she wanted to go to the big porch over the dock and 'look at God's beautiful creation with her.'  Nana thought it was just too cute :)

I have more pictures, but can you believe I forgot my camera!  I have to download the other batch from Clara's camera soon.  On Monday we went and his mom rented us a boat for 2 hours!  We lucked out because most of the extended family was heading home that afternoon, and when we showed up to rent, they were there.  We found out later they were usually closed on Mondays, but they cut us a deal and let us rent for a couple hours and we had a blast!  Here are some pictures:
Cara ready to hit the waves.
This was pretty much Micah's face the last half of the boat trip, and part of the week. He was exhausted and didn't get enough rest, but he still had a great time!  He ended up falling asleep the last 20 minutes of the ride.

First time for Mommy and Cara to take a turn.

Cara took a turn by herself. She loved it, I wouldn't let Uncle Sparky go too fast, but she had a blast.

Just pushing off

Micah and Mommy

Cara, Aunt Amanda and Uncle Greg!

Anna entertaining all the adults.

Nana (Eric's mom), Uncle Greg, Aunt Amanda, Eric, Micah
Cara, Misty & Anna on the porch over the dock. We had a great time at Lake Livingston, thanks Clara!!

Anna and Aunt Joanie hanging in the hammock

Playing some pool.

Anna flirting with Uncle Sparky (Eric's uncle).

Greg, Amanda and Cameron (our cousin).

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Monday, June 27, 2011

3rd Cousins?

My 2nd (?) cousin Erin and her 2 boys Garrett and Braden drove down from College Station to visit on Friday. Can you believe we met via facebook? My dad's cousin Nancie 'introduced' us on facebook. We are the oldest girls for both of our biological fathers and we have a lot in common. She drove down to donate a bunch of items for our garage sale, learn some tips about blogger (and she taught me about Picasa) and we got to chit chat and let the kids play all day. Can you believe she let Eric and I stay at her house (while she was out of town) for the bonfire 10 year anniversary without ever meeting me?
We've really hit it off and I'm so glad we know each other now. Her little sister Linsey is pretty cool too :). And Linsey just got married in April to Erin's husband's little brother--how fun is that?? Can't wait to see if her babies look just like Erins. We didn't take pictures until they were getting ready to leave. Garrett (the dark haired one) and Cara are only 2 months apart. Braden (the blonde) is 7. Both boys were in awe of Eric's 'cool car.' :)

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Mother's Day Tea at CEC

I figured I'd go back and blog all the things I missed blogging back in early/late spring. I downloaded Picasa tonight (thanks Erin Stutts!) and it is SO easy! :) So, here are pictures of our Mother's Day Tea at Cara's preschool. It was fun to have a part of her day spent with her class. I just loved her teachers (and so did she!!!). This is Ms. Barbara, Cara adores this lady. Micah does too, as she used to walk Cara out to the van at carpool. He asked for her every time.

This is Ms. Christina. She is the artsy-est, craftiest, person I know. She loves the kids and loves helping them create. We found out after school let out that she lives in our neighborhood. Cara is so happy we'll get to see her around!
This is one of the super cute things she made me at school for Mother's day. The roses are her curled up hand prints and the leaves are her fingerprints. This is one of the super cute things she made me at school for Mother's day. The roses are her curled up hand prints and the leaves are her fingerprints.

Me and my girl waiting for our lunch. The teachers of all the classes served a yummy lunch and dessert.

The kids were so cute. Her teachers taught them a little poem and they were reciting it here for all the mommies :)

I was triply blessed this mother's day. My three kiddos fill my heart with gladness! :)

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poor little man and a few books

I could tell Micah wasn't himself.  Yesterday at a friends house, he wanted to lay on me instead of play and he felt slightly warm.  Then this morning he woke up running a fever.  His nose has been running the past week or so, but it's been all clear.  He had started a cough.  Eric took him to the doctor today while I started my new book study at church (looking forward to it, it looks like it's going to be so good--more on that...) and sure enough, he has an ear infection and bronchitis.  That may sound HUGE, but it doesn't scare me.  My poor kids with my poor lungs.  If they even think about having a runny nose, they get bronchitis.  So, we're on an antibiotic and the nebulizer.  Anna is getting over her double ear infection (which took me a few days to figure out that was the issue instead of just teething).  She is a much happier camper these days now that we figured that out.  

I've been reading a few books lately and thought I'd share them with you.  The book I started today for my new book study at church is by Tim Kimmel: Raising Kids for True Greatness.  

I can't wait to dig into these chapters.  This is such a struggle for me.  Wanting my kids to be successful by the world's standards vs. seeking after God's plan for their life.  Not my own. Super excited to read this and to discuss it each week with the women at church.

Before that I read this book with a friend.  Lysa TerKeurst: Made to Crave.  You might recognize her name, she's the president of Proverbs 31 ministries.  It's a super quick read and it will change your LIFE!

Since reading it, starting working out and watching what I eat (using My Fitness Pal) around June 1st I've lost 7.5 pounds.  The book just really makes sense and changes how you see food, what you crave, and your relationship with God.

Also on my bedside table is this book.  R. C. Sproul Jr.: When You Rise Up.  I've only read the first couple of chapters, and I'm still getting into it.  I borrowed it from a friend and it seems to have a good message so far.

A month or two ago I finished this book, David Goetz: Death By Suburb.  I enjoyed it, it was a super easy read, very conversational, but I wish he would have gone deeper.  Most of the 'keeping up with the Jones'" issues he has, or thinks America has, I don't necessarily deal with (that's what happens when you set a budget and stick with it....for the most part).  But, he has some great ideas and suggestions for bringing it back to scripture.

Those are just my thoughts :).  We had our homestudy today and it went well.  Thank you all for praying, we felt them!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Orange Leaf

If you're friends with me on facebook, you saw that we had an adoption fundraiser at a local frozen yogurt shop.  I've had a relationship with the owner of Orange Leaf for a few months.  They advertised with Tot 2 Tot, and did a deal with Juice in the City, one of my firsts.  The owner is super nice and when the idea popped in my head  to have a few local businesses help with our adoption, they were the first one I thought of.

I emailed her and asked if she'd be interested in donating to our fund if we advertised a certain date and she emailed me back immediately and said YES!  What a blessing.  She emailed last night and said that she heard there were tons of people there and we are blessed to have so many friends.  We couldn't agree more, thank you so much!  The numbers came in and there was $800 in the receipt jar from people we knew or who chose to donate to our cause!  They have a $100 check waiting for us to pick up tomorrow.  Thank you to all who went in and had some frozen yogurt yesterday.  We appreciate it!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

T-Shirts for Sale!

(You can check out all this information on our T-Shirt Fundraiser page here)
After meeting with our 't-shirt guy' here in Katy (the one Eric uses for all his band needs), we knew God's hand was in this.  T-shirt guy (we'll call him S)  has an adopted daughter, his wife is adopted, and he's even attended our church from time to time!  He's beating every quote we've received from online fundraising companies by HALF!  Eric went and met with him and took our original design.  He really liked it, but, because he's been in the t-shirt business for many many years, he had some suggestions.  The house on the outside will be too boxy and and make the shirt stick out funny.  So we came home and tweaked it and submitted the above design.  

We are very pleased with it and hope you are too!  He doesn't have to change anything, and thus we save even more design fees.  However, like we've mentioned in the past, we are planning to do this adoption without going into debt, so we'd like pre-orders for the shirts.  We'll be ordering in batches, and our first order will be due July 15th.  This will give us time to get the shirts in before our garage sale on July 23rd.  We need a minimum of 36 shirts for each order.  

Friends have asked if we can get kids size shirts.  Ours will be available in Youth M and L and Adult S, M, L, XL, and XXL (if you need an adult XS, he said order a youth L).  We can't go smaller than that or the design on the adult shirts would like ridiculously small.  He is offering us both Ash Grey and Light Pink colors, which is more than we hoped for!  The shirts will be $20 each and if you are not in the Katy area, we will ship them to you!  

A little about the design.  We figure everyone knows why we chose the shape of Africa :).  Inside of the shape of Africa are the words to Psalm 68:5-6a, "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.  God settles the solitary in a home."

We liked this verse as it speaks to the character of God.  He is the ultimate father of the fatherless.  And He has plans for the orphans.  We get to participate in His plan for the child that He has hand picked for us, and for that we are grateful.  

One Love.  One Home.
This saying just kind of came to us.  We were thinking on quite a few scriptures, all surrounding God's love for us and our complete undeserving-ness (is that a word??) of it!  That His is the ONE LOVE that we can cling to, through everything, that is pure and holy and Perfect!  There is no human being on this earth that has perfect love.  Here are some of the main scriptures we felt appropriate.
1 John 4:7-21 (God is Love)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:1-2
 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Ephesians 1:5-10
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ,according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

We are all the same here on this earth.  All sinners, bought with a price, God's love lavished on us, even when we don't deserve it, called to bring glory to His name.  Not our own.  So we are responding to this call out of humble servant hood, as well as excitement.  He has blessed us with friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers that have answered the call to help us care for the orphan, and we are beyond blessed!  That is where One Home came from--it only takes one home to make a difference in the life of one, or more, children.  We just have to answer the call and respond with obedience. 

We praise God that you have chosen to help our journey, when we know there are so many needs and so many hurting right now.  Thank you!!


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My big girl turns 5 today!

Eric and I had a date night last night (thanks to my mom spending the night) and went to dinner.  We were talking about how 5 years ago tonight I was in the hospital to start my induction with Cara.  I've been thinking over the past few weeks how different my philosophy on parenting, raising girls vs. boys, treating children with respect (yes, they learn to do it from somewhere!), etc has changed so greatly in just 5 years.  How I thought when she was VERY young how hard it was and that it would be so much easier when she wasn't a baby anymore.  I remember crying like a baby the day my mom left after a week of staying and helping with her.  Then, when Micah was 3 days old and Cara went to preschool, Eric and I looked at each other and thought, "why were we ever upset when Cara was a baby, the newborn phase is one of the easiest!" (minus the sleep deprivation). Then I thought, when I was breastfeeding and making all her food, and let her cry it out and she was sleeping through the night, that I had it all figured out.  Boy was I ever wrong.  I can give tips and tricks all day long, but in the end, the thing I have to stay focused on is living in the Spirit.  All day long.  And that's hard.  But this little silly princess makes it a lot easier sometimes.....

My girl is such a 'little mommy' and we (Eric, me, all our friends) comment on it.  She likes to take care of things.  She has a baby, a dolly, a daughter, a couple bears, a pillow pet unicorn and 2 daughter unicorns, a Shamu and others that sleep in her bed (mostly at the foot) all night.  She arranges them just so, then covers them up with some old baby blankets.  She likes playing "mommy and daddy" or "Brother and sister" (did you know that was a game!) haha.  She likes to help me when Micah or Anna is fussy.  She also likes our 'secret special' times when the little ones are napping, as she's grown out of that for the most part.  Though there are those treasured days when I can get a nap out of all 3 at once :).  
(silly girl eating a cupcake for Eric's birthday last week)
She still loves princesses.  She told me the day after her Cinderella 4th birthday party last year that when she turned 5 she wanted to have an Ariel party. She didn't change her mind all year, so we did it up big.  We have always had parties at home, but we figured we'd do a big party this year, and she knew exactly what she wanted (a bowling Ariel party).  We went to Times Square and she had a blast.  I have to give props to my best bud Val who came over until way too late helping me make the icing and ice the Ariel cake and cupcakes.  That's a friend for you.  Also to my mother in law who made the cute party favor boxes, and my sis who made the cupcake toppers.  I did print the labels ;)  And do the invitations.  And bake the cakes.  Yes, 2, the first one didn't come out! :).  

Playing with some of our best friend's kids.  They might as well be brothers and sisters!
Trying to soothe Anna, she was fussy....obviously!! :)

I just love this sweet girl.  Today, Eric, my mom and I are taking all 3 to Splashway Waterpark.  We got half price tickets on Juice In The City last month and she is beyond thrilled that we get to go somewhere on her actual birthday.  She's been telling people all day Saturday and Sunday that she had her party but she is still 4 until Monday.  That's when she turns 5 and then she's going to the water park. Love my sweetness.    We'll post more birthday party pictures later.

Our Mother's Day tea at preschool

Cara--we pray blessings over you each and every year!  We are blessed to be your earthly parents, and we love the joy and grace you've learned from your heavenly Father so far.  We are looking forward to the day when we can call you 'sister' in the faith.  You have such a sweet spirit, and love unconditionally.  We pray Psalm 28:7 over you today, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him" 
We can't wait to make you a big sister again!  You are so beautiful and special.
Love, Mommy & Daddy
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