Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Family Photos - April 2013 - H&M Photo

It is really embarrassing that I haven't posted these before now! Back in April, two of our friends who have a photography business took some photos for us. I was just around 20 weeks and had found out that I was having a girl! 

I love these pictures and I'm glad we had another opportunity to capture Israel's sweetness!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grad School: One Semester Down!

I'm so thankful that my first semester of grad school is behind me! AND I completed it being very pregnant! Woo hoo!

This feels like a huge accomplishment in many ways. The main one, of course, being that I have been LARGELY pregnant the whole time of classes, and that I have been able to do so well being 5 years removed from undergrad. The Lord has shown His favor this summer and I am so grateful. I am reminded that I love learning and that it is a privilege to go back to school! I am really excited about getting my Master of Social Work and hope that the next two semesters will be just as great.

The rumors are that the summer is the hardest of the three semesters for my program, because you're taking 4 classes (12 hours) in 8 weeks time. There was an assignment due almost every day. I had to stay on top of the work and really manage time well. Remember the whole faithfulness not excellence speech? Yeah, well I had to remind myself of that often. Even up to the end I felt like the final assignments I turned in weren't my best quality, yet I was able to turn them in and keep my priorities straight. I must give a grand shout out to my husband who was my number one encourager and support system. He's such a blessing to let me go to school now, amidst this crazy season! Also, my friend Laura kept Israel during my cohort class one day, and my mother-in-law who kept Israel twice so I could work on school. Seriously, it takes a village to raise kids AND go to grad school! :)

So, I have 3 weeks of break until my fall classes start on August 21. Will leaves this week for classes in Nashville and comes back next week. I'm 37 weeks pregnant, and during my 3 week break I'll have a baby! Woo hoo! Sounds like a vacation, right? :)

To celebrate my summer accomplishment I'm finishing off the Anne of Green Gables series. I've been reading them all summer at night to give myself a brain break. So far, Anne of the Island was my favorite book in the series. Ahhh Anne and Gilbert. I'm pretty much done "nesting" and don't want to risk going into labor early while Will is away, so there won't be much exercising or exerting myself while he's gone!

What do you like to do to reward yourself for hard work? 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Edith's Nursery

Edith's nursery used to be my sewing room. I know, what a crazy idea to have a whole room dedicated to sewing/crafting. I used to be really into that kind of stuff before becoming a mom. Here are some "before" pictures:

We are so blessed by the generosity of others for providing for our needs for Edith! Here's her nursery now:

  So... the ironing board. For now it stays. When she crawls, it will go. But it is nice to have it set up all the time because Will and I used the iron very often. Edith's cloth diapers are in the white basket next to the window. I also painted the bow holder to match her bedding. I really wanted to get a pink blackout curtain but went with the green because it was more practical. I know that my kids won't always have separate bedrooms so I couldn't justify a pink curtain when a green one would be more gender-neutral for later.

 This was my dresser growing up. Edith actually only has 3 of these drawers... the rest of them house all my random home goods and craft supplies that I don't have another home for. The wire basket on the left holds blankets and hooded towels. She's got PLENTY of those! :) The green basket on top of it holds burp cloths and bibs.

 Sorry for the funky shadows from the ceiling fan light! As you can see, I kept part of the desk and covered it so I could have access to my sewing machine. I didn't want to put it up completely. The hanging pom poms are borrowed from my friend Beth. As you can see, I painted the shelves that previously hung in my sewing room to a cute shade of pink called "Daddy's Girl."

 We are borrowing this beautiful crib from some church members. Also, my sister-in-law is letting us use this beautiful Pottery Barn "penelope" bedding! I love it. I ordered the monogrammed letters online and painted them hot pink.

I don't know what to do with those cords/that TV. We aren't really tv people. But I don't want to get rid of it yet. It was in the room before when it was a sewing room. It may go. The wreath on the door is courtesy of my bff Leigh and I'm intending on making a sign with Edith's name on it to bring to the hospital. The dress on the door is probably what Edith will come home from the hospital in, if I don't forget it on the back of the door. That would be very likely to happen because I always do things like that!

So, there's her nursery! I really like it. I like the shelves and the fact that so much of what we used to decorate and prepare for Edith was given by others... such a reminder of God's faithfulness and provision.

Check out Israel's nursery here

Friday, July 19, 2013

We're Having a Yard Sale

Hey local Alabama friends... we're having a yard sale tomorrow from 7-12 am at our house. If you're local, you probably know where we live because our address is constantly posted in the church newsletter for events with college students :).

It is a bit weird doing a non-adoption yard sale. This is our fourth yard sale experience, but the first 3 were raising money for our adoption! Now, we're raising money to.... pay off all of the medical bills we have acquired this summer, pay tuition this fall, pay for Edith's birth, etc etc. You get the picture. Life is expensive, and selling junk treasures is a way to help!

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pregnancy Update

So... I'm 35 weeks! Only 4 more weeks until Edith is here. Which is really awesome and scary at the same time!

I'm very ready to not be pregnant anymore. I am very swollen and not sleeping well, which is typical of pregnant women. I am definitely thankful to have been given this pregnancy experience because I know that it is not an opportunity every woman has. I am also thankful that I know my daughter is developing well and that we have not had any complications this entire pregnancy. Aside from back pains and typical discomfort, I am able to function and do life as normal... just a lot slower paced.

At this point Edith's room is completely finished, and we have done everything we need to get ready for her. The carseat is washed and ready (not in the car yet), bottles are washed, hospital bag has been packed a little, and the family has a "plan" for when baby comes.

At 35 weeks, I am well aware that Edith could be here soon. Two of my friends were due 3 days apart from me (one 3 days before me with twins, and one friend due 3 days after me) and they both had their kids on July 14.

We have officially scheduled an induction for August 13, which is when I am 39 weeks pregnant. I mentioned this before, but Will is going to be out of town for over a week until August 8, and then I start fall grad school classes on August 21. We are praying that the Lord will be gracious and sovereign in Edith's arrival! No matter what, in less than a month and life will be very different. In the next month my plan is to finish my summer grad classes, read at least ONE book on breastfeeding, and get a pedicure for my cankles and toes. :)

Any last-minute tips from veteran mamas? What are your must-haves for a hospital bag?

**It is with a sober heart that I write this update. One of my precious friends who walked along this pregnancy journey with me, and was due just days after me, has delivered her daughter and the daughter has gone to be with Jesus. I am humbled and heartbroken for this precious friend and her family. Please pray my friend and her family. I don't understand why this world is so broken and that we have to experience firsthand the sadness of loss. All I can say is come quickly, Lord Jesus.**

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No Answers (again)

I don't like to post much about Israel's health needs here except for general things. I've mentioned that he has special needs, and that we have a pretty involved therapy schedule at times.

This summer we've seen a LOT of specialists and doctors, and we aren't really any closer to figuring out how to best define Israel's needs. I really thought we'd be at a different place now, and that we would have a label to identify with. I really wanted it. My husband Will was afraid that a label would be too defining, and that there would be stigma and hardships ahead. Either way, we love our little boy and think he is perfectly and wonderfully made. We just want to know what makes him tick and how to best advocate for him.

But after all of these appointments, and many, many trips to the doctor, lots of miles put on the car traveling to physicians and LOTS of money spent... we're no closer. No new answers. We've kind of ruled out things, but nothing is certain.

On the flip side, we ARE seeing progress in our boy. I recently wrote about how his pincer grasp has finally come about, and that he is doing a great job with self-feeding! I'm so proud of him and we remain hopeful that he will make progress.

All this to say? It's hard. It is hard not knowing answers. It is hard being in the unknown place still, and to look ahead and not know what the future will look like. I dream that Israel will walk and crawl and run and play sports. Do I know when those things will happen? No. Do I know why those things aren't happening yet? No.

So we're at a place where we are, again, setting our desires for answers aside. We just have to trust God's sovereignty and know that there is a reason that we are in this unknown season. We're choosing to not pursue additional specialists right now unless we have to.

What do I want from our support system? Just to walk beside us. Affirm us in hoping but acknowledge that it is hard too. Help us out. Give me grace when it is hard for me to celebrate your kid's milestones.... but don't be afraid to tell me about how fantastic your kid is, because I want to share your joy too. Pray for us.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12: 12

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Small but Big Things

Two big things have really clicked in Israel lately. I mentioned them in this post, but I want to explain how amazing they really are.

First of all, Israel has started to reach for things. It started with reaching for me on Mother's Day, and I am so thankful for that! Now he reaches for people he wants and toys/areas of the room he wants to go to! It is SO nice to have a glimpse into what he is thinking. He isn't saying words yet, so it is great to know what he wants. I'm so thankful! We're still working on sign language but he mainly just smiles at me when I do it to him. He loves his Baby Einstein sign language video and his speech therapist works with him on signing too. Hopefully we'll have some more insight into my sweet boy's thoughts soon. He sure is vocal, for all the babbling he does! I'm sure when he finally does use words we will never stop hearing them.

Second, he FINALLY seems to have a pincer grasp! He can finally pick up small things like goldfish. It is awesome. You have NO IDEA how awesome, actually! He still needs help with meals but he is able to get some bites on his own, and that is so helpful for all of us. It is also really nice now to give him a snack and watch him feed himself. I am so incredibly proud.

I'm so proud! It is really awesome to finally see some progress in communication and self-feeding, after such a long road. It just shows that it is worth it to have hope and to trust God's timing. He's going to make progress and we are so thankful to watch Israel's story play out. To God be the glory.
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Second Baby

I'd always heard there was a difference between the way you prepare for your first and your subsequent kids. As I was waiting (2.5 years) for Israel's arrival, there was not much else that I thought about some days. I daydreamed about what our future would look like as parents long before we got Israel's referral and knew that we'd have a little boy in our home.

With Israel's adoption, I would find myself just wandering into his nursery, even if I didn't have a reason to go in there. His nursery was ready MONTHS before we even got his referral, let alone his arrival! I felt like our life was in a constant hold as we tried not to plan too much in the future, because we didn't know when we'd get our baby, or how life could change when he came.

Things are a bit different this time. Granted, we didn't ache and anticipate Edith's arrival for years, like we did for Israel. Edith was a bit of a surprise blessing, and now we can clearly see God's sovereign timing as we look ahead to her arrival in August. With Israel, I just wanted him home RIGHT THEN, and now I can say that I am enjoying this pregnancy, and that nine months is just enough time to anticipate and prepare for her. I am excited that she will come in August and I look forward to finishing the summer by soaking in time with my family of three.

Having a child at home has changed my perspective a bit. I am excited about Edith and LOVE shopping for pink and girly things for her. I'm enjoying getting a pink and green nursery together but don't feel the pressure to hand make everything, and most of our decorations and bedding (even the crib) are borrowed. I don't feel like I have to have every gadget or baby item that is recommended for new moms. I know that life will continue to go on when she arrives and that the idea that your life can just stop for a few weeks won't be there this time (no cocooning this time!!! Grad school waits for no one).

Maybe I'm a bit idealistic about life-after-Edith, but I think that we will find our new normal, that we will make our transitions, and that whatever happens, will happen. I am not stressed about it right now and I know that she WILL survive the newborn stage and that we can make it through sleep deprivation. There are definitely things that scare me (umm delivery and breastfeeding!) but I know that women do those things all the time!

I've also found that my anticipation makes me a little sad for Israel and our relationship. I just want to snuggle him extra long and be more intentional about our time together, because pretty soon there will be another baby to divide my attention. I know every mama wrestles with this when adding to the family; I just hope that I can help Israel transition and that he will feel secure when we add Edith to the mix.Yet, I know it will work out and he won't even remember this season! It will seem to him that Edith was always there. 

So I'm sitting here, with my last few weeks of quiet before Edith comes, and I have a peaceful heart. I know that God is faithful and that things will come together. Some sweet friends of mine threw me a baby sprinkle, and I feel like I am all set on clothes and blankets and girl stuff for Edith. I know things are about to change a lot,  but in the meantime, I'm just going to focus on my first baby and my awesome husband....because that's the season I'm in right now.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Baby Sprinkle for Edith

A few weeks ago, my precious girl friends here threw me a baby 'sprinkle' which is a Southern term for a mini-shower. It was held at my favorite local coffee shop and was a "milk and cookies" themed shower!

The invitation

Milk and cookies setup. They had 3 different types of milk and lots of cookies! 
Will's sister, my mom, me, and my mother-in-law. Those are 2 of my sweet nieces!

With my beautiful hostesses who are precious, generous friends! The two girls on the left, Brittany and Beth have provided 95% of my maternity clothes (including the dress I'm wearing here). I'm so thankful for them!

My mom and my niece Lottie helping examine the gifts. I love the "Edith Joy" banner that they hung. I'm thinking of bringing it to the hospital!

Art for Edith's room!

All in all, it was a perfect "sprinkle" and I felt spoiled by my close friends who gave so generously and thoughtfully. I had so much fun sorting the girly, frilly things that I received! I'm so thankful for God's provision for our daughter.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Date Day

I have plenty of things I need to blog about, including Edith's nursery, our sweet baby shower, a trip to the lake, etc... but first I have to tell you about the amazing day that we had yesterday.

Tuesdays and Thursdays Israel goes to daycare, and I spend that whole time doing schoolwork. Thankfully, this week is a slower week of school (after taking 3 tests + writing 2 papers last week). I still had a paper to write and a project to start, but Will and I decided to spend the day together. He took the day off of work since he was gone all last week on a mission trip. He also had to study though, so we started our day by dropping Israel off at school and heading to Panera. We had a gift card so we enjoyed a tasty breakfast and studied together! It felt like college days!

After about 3 hours of productivity we went by Target, where I found some new pjs and a robe to wear in the hospital. How is it that I never buy pajamas? All of mine seem so old and gross and I didn't want to be taking pictures in them.

After that, we went to the MOVIES yall! At 12:00! We saw the new Superman movie, which was exactly what I expected it to be... a bit cheesy, a lot of action, etc. It was just fun to be at the movies with my husband!

We finished our date day with some Starbucks and a little more studying before we picked up Israel from school. I was able to accomplish everything on my school to-do list, and Will was able to get a lot done too.

It was such a fun day and I'm so thankful that my husband truly is my best friend. It is such a pleasure to live life together, and it was really nice to have a day alone before life gets even crazier than it is now!

Have you had any date days lately?
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