Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2.5 Weeks until the Move!

Our days in the South are dwindling, and we are busy, busy, busy. Last week Will and I spent 6 days apart. He was in NYC from Monday - Wednesday on our apartment hunt, and I was in Tuscaloosa from Thursday - Saturday for a wedding. I thought I'd update on a few important things going on with us, especially because so many of you have been praying for us and checking in (which means so much!)

1. Apartment: We found an apartment! We put a deposit down with a broker, but Will has to fly back up next week to sign the lease. He compared his apartment hunting experience to a Seinfeld episode. He saw about 15 apartments and we narrowed it down to two options. We ended up going with an apartment that I LOVE (3 bedrooms in a PERFECT location) but it is on the second floor and does not have laundry. At the end of the day, we figured out we were going to have to compromise on a few things and there wasn't a "dream apartment" with all of my non-negotiable items, unless we were willing to pay way too much. With that said, I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY excited about the one we got! I'll post pictures when we move in. 

2. Israel's School. So, pre-k applications closed in NYC a few weeks ago, and I have heard a lot of conflicting information about what I need to be doing right now to get on a waitlist or beg for a spot somewhere. I was given instructions to call each school to see if they are handicap accessible. There's a cute little pre-k only 2 blocks from our apartment, but it is on the second floor. Anyways, long story short - after talking with about 6 people over two hours, I learned that I can't do anything in advance. Once we get to NYC we can drop off all of Israel's IEP/School stuff from Alabama, with our proof of residence and then we will be assigned a placement officer after he is re-evaluated. So keep praying for this! It's a different world in NYC and the system is really complicated. I'm hopeful that he can still get in a preschool somewhere, but if not he will at least get therapy services. I NEED this to happen! :)

3. Fundraising/Support. We are making progress thanks to the generous partnerships from our friends and a few churches. We are believing BIG in God's faithfulness to provide for our needs. (Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out our website). 

4. Packing Up. Packing is coming along! I've been majorly purging stuff for the last few weeks, and we are having another yard sale this weekend. After that, I'm calling a local thrift store to pick up the leftovers!! I've had a few people come over to watch the kids so I can focus on packing, and that has been a tremendous help. 

All in all, we are getting really excited about the move and this next season. Of course, I cried today when I dropped Israel off at daycare because I love UCP so much and I can't imagine those wonderful people not being a part of our life every day anymore!! I'm trying not to think about the people and places we are losing but thinking that we are GAINING more friends/stand-in family. We already have a trip planned back to Alabama this fall for a wedding, and we have some friends who have scheduled a visit up to us this summer. We know this is not good-bye, but "see ya!" and that makes it easier. Ready or not...we are Brooklyn bound in less than 3 weeks!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

This year for Mother's Day my husband OUTDID himself!!! He gave me a night ALONE at a beautiful local Bed and Breakfast hotel. He came home on a Tuesday night and sent me out the door. I went to the grocery store, got some ice cream and headed to check in.

I read a book by the pool, watched cable TV (The Duggars and Married at First Sight), read a book, and enjoyed the ice cream. I got to sleep through the night!!!! (One of my children does not sleep through the night so I'm up several times a night with that child). I was able to take a bath that night and a long shower in the morning... uninterrupted and not rushed. PRAISES!!!! I even had about an hour of reading my Bible and praying. What a treat!

In the morning Will dropped Israel off at school and he and Edith came to eat the fancy breakfast with me. It was so special. I checked out around 8:30, so it was just a quick "getaway" but so, so refreshing. I posted about it on social media and all the mamas I know gave their support that this was indeed a great gift!

For the actual day of Mother's Day, Will got me flowers and a beautiful letter. I'm so thankful for a family that is worth serving all year long, and that he led the charge to make me feel loved and special. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Friends Visit!

Our dear friends came to visit us! This was the third time Hewan and Makenzie have come to visit (see trip #1 when they were babies, and trip #2 when they were toddlers). We wanted to get in one more visit before we moved too far away for one of these trips!

Each trip has always coincided with Will's school. He's always gone working on PhD stuff so it works out that we can have mama time and playdates! It is really fun and refreshing for me. We always hang with my BFF Brittany, and this time her son "D" was home from Ethiopia too!

Let me stop for a moment right here. Going to the park with Israel is always a challenge. He can't play like a typical kid and sometimes he gets frustrated and I worry about him being left out. These kids fought over who could walk him around the train playground! He giggled so hard and these kids were SO SWEET to him. It makes me cry looking back at how happy he was right here. He's not always happy at the park and these pictures of him grinning just burst my heart.

I just love these kiddos and the families they represent. What an amazing honor that we have three miracle stories of adoption, all together!

I have to say, that in addition to the fact that adoption and Ethiopia bring our three families together, Britt and Makenzie are two of my favorite mamas in the world. They have been such an encouragement to me in the hardest and rawest moments of motherhood. They have supported me and cried with me, validated me and affirmed me when I have felt like a big failure! They have seen my kids when they are hard to love and yet they love us and cheer for us. Not every friendship is like that, and I'm thankful to have two mama friends (and more!) who have decided to sit in the trenches with me. I'm so grateful for that!! Adoption motherhood is not easy, even if it looks like from my posts that it is a perfect and easy life. It's hard some days and I'm thankful for the wisdom and encouragement from other moms! I know that distance will not sever these ties, so even in NYC expect phone calls ladies! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Trusting God with Israel's Future in NYC

I have to admit that when I think about our move to NYC, one of my biggest sources of anxiety is worrying about Israel. This last week was really hard on me for several reasons, but the weight of Israel's needs seemed to press on me. I've felt overwhelmed and sad at times.

Here's the areas that I would LOVE your prayer:

1. Housing. Finding an apartment that would be accessible for Israel or that I could manage getting into by myself and the kids. We may find a walk-up that I could still handle carrying Israel, a stroller, laundry/groceries and have Edie walk with me. I'd love a first-floor apartment or a building with an elevator. Please pray with me for an accessible home. Also, I'm really praying big for a 3 bedroom because of Israel's sleep issues. He doesn't sleep through the night and I don't want him to wake Edith. Will is going to NYC May 11-13 so please pray for his time to be productive and we can find the perfect apartment!

2. Preschool. I met with his IEP team in Alabama Friday and they have done everything possible to help me have a full plan to bring to NYC. We still have to find a preschool that Israel will thrive in. Not every school is handicap accessible. I spoke for about 25 minutes to a NYC School Board Hotline, and they said that the first round of preschool applications has closed, but we can get on a waiting list for schools near our home when we find it. We will have to call each school and see if it is one that Israel could access (no stairs to the classroom or elevator). Once we find the right school we will have to figure out a new IEP. It's going to be my summer project and it can be a complicated legal process. I'm really praying that this will be a smooth transition and that God is already preparing the perfect inclusive classroom for Israel. I hope that he will be with "typically developing" same-age peers and that he has an incredible therapy team! Please pray for this with us.

3. Changes. Finally, our little man can definitely tell that things are changing. We're selling furniture and decorations, rearranging the house a bit, and under a lot of stress. He knows. He's starting to act out a little and I think it is because he cannot process what is going on. Please pray for peace for him and for lots of patience for us!

Ultimately, we are reminding ourselves of God's faithfulness to us and to Israel. We are confident that God is leading us to Crossroads Christian Church, and that if God is leading us, then He has a perfect plan for Israel too. We know that God loves Israel even more than we do! We are trusting God that even though we can not see the big picture or the future yet, we know that God has been so faithful and detailed in our past.

One of my friends in NYC sent me a picture of this park in Bay Ridge. It is handicap accessible and just two blocks from where our church meets! This was an encouragement to my heart after a heavy week. I can't wait to explore the city and see all of the resources that our family can enjoy!

**And it's not to say that we're not prayerful for Edith's transition, but God has been SO GRACIOUS to us in her sweet disposition and flexibility. We're hopeful that she will do great in the move.**

Friday, May 1, 2015

Edie & Her Dog-Dog(s)

Edie girl LOVES her Dog-Dogs.

Back in November, we went to visit my sister Sarah in North Carolina. My niece Ella had the original Dog-Dog (with the black tag on it's ears). Edith immediately clung to Dog-Dog and was inseparable for the entire visit. I knew it would be a traumatic separation, so I went to the local Big Lots, where Ella had just received hers a week before. We bought an identical Dog-Dog for $10 and surprised Edith when we returned to Alabama. She was SO excited. (Side note, it was Will's idea to just go ahead and get one for her. I was thinking we could get it for her for Christmas, but Will wanted to spoil her and give it to her right away!)

We returned a few weeks later for the holidays, and Edith brought HER Dog-Dog but found the original one too! She carried BOTH dogs around the whole trip, and sweet Ella (age 8) decided to generously give the dog to Edie because Ella knew how much Edith loved it. How sweet is that?!

Since then, Edith has carried both Dog-Dogs around. She feeds them, gives them drink, plays with them, sleeps with them, and loves them. She is the sweetest little caregiver and playmate and I love it! Here's some pictures (mainly taken on my phone) of Edie and her best buds.

Love this precious girl and her Dog-Dogs!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Edie Visits Dad at Work

About once a week I try to stop by with Edith to visit Will at work. This usually happens when Israel is at therapy or school, and we are trying to fill a little time until we can pick him up. We only stay for a few minutes, but Edith starts shouting "Dada!" as soon as we pull into the parking lot. She takes off running as soon as she's out of the van and heads straight to his office. She has her favorite parts of his office - pressing the buttons on his printer, sitting in his office chair and doodling, and playing with dry erase markers on the Engage whiteboard. She is such a spunky kid and it's so funny to watch her walk confidently around the church office. I was a pastor's kid too, and I remember thinking that my dad owned the church. There's something about Edie's swagger in the office that makes me think she is a true PK too! Ha!

We love our quick visits with Dada, even if they are a bit distracting for him! Sorry not sorry Dada!

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