Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MSW almost done!

It's official folks... I am DONE with classes for my MSW! I only have 3 weeks left of my internship, and then I will be able to obtain my "certificate of completion" until I can actually have my hands on my diploma in August. Back in January, we decided that I would do a very part-time extended placement, thinking I would finish in June. Midway through the semester we figured out it was best for our family to increase my time at work so I could just go ahead and finish! Therefore, I wasn't eligible to graduate in May because I didn't register for graduation earlier, so I will technically graduate in August. That's okay though... I'm almost a Master of Social Work! :)

I am very pleased to say that I made all As in my courses! My favorite class was the psychopathology course I took this semester. I think there is a huge difference in the depth of knowledge from a BSW to a MSW, so I'm really thankful I was able to invest in the education. I can't thank my husband, my friends and family enough for supporting me through this. I'm excited to see what is ahead and hopeful that I will pass the licensure exam this fall when I am eligible! Woo hoo!! It is seriously by God's grace that we have made it through this past year. He is so faithful and I credit the Lord for helping me have the discipline and attention span to write papers and manage time.

This time last year I was just beginning to prepare for my MSW program, and I was unsure of what was ahead- but knew it would take a lot of sacrifice and discipline. How fast a year goes! God is faithful!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shout Out: The Hall Family

Good Morning all!  Let me introduce myself. My name is Ashley and my husband and have been married for a year and a half. Anyone who knows Jake and I know that we both have dreamed of the day we would have a child. Because of this, children were always a topic of discussion during our dating years, and when we got married we couldn't wait to start trying to conceive. During this time we had several red flags letting us know something just wasn't quite right. After visiting my doctor and a battery of tests we got the diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure. We had a 1 in 100,000 chance of conceiving on our own, and IVF was not an option. Jake and I had always talked about adoption and thought we would adopt...just after we had biological children. After the diagnosis and lots of prayer we quickly knew that this was Gods way of letting us know he had a different and wonderful plan for us. Adoption. Would you follow our story? We need your prayers! Prayers for both of our hears as adoption has already proved to be quite an emotional roller coaster. We need prayers that God would provide financially for our adoption. and please be praying for our birth mother. I just know she is out there somewhere, and she either has already had to start thinking about making a very hard decision or she will be in the future. I cant imagine being on . 

If you would like to follow our story and get links to way you can help us fundraise, please visit:



For the next several days, we have a live auction! Please consider joining the fun! 
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Mama Snuggles

I have to complain a little bit, because Edie is not the snuggler she once was. She is so busy these days that it is hard to get her to snuggle! Even when she is nursing she is kicking her legs and trying to look around. The other day she woke up early from her nap. I was able to nurse her and she fell asleep in my arms on the couch. It was a rare treat!


Israel, on the other hand, has always been our cuddly boy. He will always rest his head on your shoulder after you get him out of his crib. He is especially snuggly at night after Edith has gone to bed, before we put him down. The other night I just held him on the couch for a while. He's the best kid ever.



I am so thankful for my two blessings! I can't believe Israel is as big as he is now... looking at these pictures it seems like yesterday that he was able to fit in my arms like Edith does. I treasure these sweet kids so much!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter weekend! Will preached at church, and his parents drove down to spend the day with us.





After church, we went to Oxford to an event that our friends' family put on. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and Israel got to have the bounce house all to himself (well, with his parents) during the Easter Egg hunt!



GaGa and Pop came home and hung out for a while. It's so nice being close to family! After they left, we took a family walk, spent some time on the swings outside, and let the kids open their shared basket. The plastic eggs and bubble gun were the winners!








I just have to say that having a holiday to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus is so necessary and refreshing. He is risen indeed!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Doing Restorative Work

I had a really encouraging moment on Tuesday night. It was our GPS graduation night, which is where the prospective foster parents who have been going through 10 weeks of training are commissioned to the next stage of the process. One of the foster parents spoke to the workers in the room and thanked us for devoting our lives and making the sacrifices and investments (time, education, etc) to do God's restorative work in the lives of children. He said that we were a part of God's redemptive plan on earth, by helping children in difficult situations and being a picture of the gospel here.

I've heard my husband and many others preach on the value of work, and how our work can be used for God's glory. Honestly, I've struggled with my role as a working mom, and wondered what is the best for my children. I've really, really enjoyed my job and my children are doing great at daycare - they are there part-time and I can see the benefits to our family. There are certainly challenges with being a working mom, like staying up late fixing daycare bottles and folding laundry at 6 am. It does take sacrifice on our entire family for me to do my internship and to complete this master's program.

I was very encouraged, though, to be affirmed that what I am doing is worth it. I am investing in something bigger than myself, and I am taking part in God's restorative work. Although my children are my first ministry, I am able to use my skills and gifts for God's glory in and outside of my home. I know this is a privilege! I'm thankful for a supportive husband, a fantastic daycare, and the grace from the Lord to work in my life. It is amazing to look back and see how the pieces of the puzzle have been formed and are starting to make a picture. God is so good, so faithful, so sovereign! I do not know the next steps, but I know that He is working in my life and that His purpose is bigger than mine. I'm excited and eager to see what is ahead. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snack Time & A Bunny Fail

Edie is just now getting into puffs and yogurt melts. The other day I just put a few on the floor and let the kids go after it.









And then I put bunny ears on them. And they hated it. But I thought it was hilarious!






Nothing says Happy Easter like a screaming kid in bunny ears!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We Like to Meet GaGa & Pops at the Mall

Will's parents live around 2 hours north of us, but we often meet them at the Gadsden mall, which is just 35 minutes from us, and 1 hour and 15 minutes from their house. It's not exactly a fair distance, but when you consider that we have two kiddos, it makes it a little more equal :). It's nice to have a meeting place that we can spend a few hours with them every once in a while. No need to pack up for an entire weekend, but we all still get our family fix!

We met GaGa and Pop in March for dinner at the mall. We love the Gadsden Mall because it has a carousel!



The kids and I met GaGa on my birthday (April 1) for a few hours! GaGa treated me to some new clothes, and she entertained the kids in the dressing room! Of course, Israel rode the carousel. This time we also discovered the toy cars in another section that the kids thoroughly enjoyed!

Can you believe this cuteness? Israel is hugging Edie. 





To top it all off... GaGa made me a homemade cookie cake for my birthday! Happy 27 indeed. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Israel Rode a Horse

Back in... February? We went to a birthday party for our friends' son at a horse farm. It was seriously the best birthday party we've ever been to! Israel did AWESOME with the horses and for the first time, I felt like he fit in with the kids. There was horse riding, a hayride, cupcake eating, and then the other kids went fishing, but we headed home at that point. Both kids were well-behaved and we drove home in shock at how well the outing was! Thank you Monroes for inviting us to Tucker's party! It was so much fun!










What a fun day for us. I'm so thankful for the really good days!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Edith: Eight Months Old

Dear Edie,
Our sweet “Edie Bat” – you are the best and craziest girl I know. You make me laugh so much at your adventurous and determined spirit. You are into everything now! You are crawling and rolling into every corner of the house, and if there is something you want, you go after it! You have the funniest crawl as you look like an inchworm. You use your head and feet and stick your bottom in the air as you go.






You are shaping up to be pretty resilient. You have endured a few bruise-worthy mishaps from your brother’s strategic aim during some toy-throwing. The other day he threw something at you, you cried, and when I came in there to respond, he looked at you, looked at me, and then hit you for tattling on him. I’m sorry babe… but it did make me laugh a little. You and Israel are already having classic sibling relationships: sometimes you are best friends, sometimes you pester each other. I’m so glad that you have each other though! You love smiling at each other in the backseat of the car, and you love the same toys (at the same time).


In addition to crawling, your other milestone this month is teeth! You popped a bottom tooth out, and you’ve really done pretty well with it. You also had an ear infection at the same time, so you have been on an antibiotic. I was very relieved that your fussiness and need to nurse 3-4 times a night was related to an ear infection! Once you had medicine, you became the precious, silly girl we know once more.


Making Messes Like It's Her Job
You are still going to daycare, but now you are going 3 days a week instead of two. To be honest, you’ve received a few report cards that indicated you were a little high maintenance. This is when the “Edie P” or “Diva Princess” version of you comes out. You typically are a very happy girl, and although you’ve shown some separation anxiety in the last month, you do well with others aside from me. You always light up when you see me or your dad, and every morning when we get you out of your crib you kick your legs fast and your face lights up! We love that you are such a happy girl!


Therapy waiting room fun
You still have 2-3 naps per day, and you are eating babyfood. We have tried a few “solid” foods that you have chewed up a little, like soft carrots. You also LOVE puffs or cheerios. I can put a handful of cheerios on your high chair and you will be entertained for 30 minutes. You are still nursing several times a day, and I give you a “dream feed” at night when I go to bed, around 9:30/10. You aren’t nursing as long during the day, but that is mainly because you are so busy and get distracted very easily. You love your paci, and we keep at least 2 in your crib because sometimes you like to take one out and put the other in.



We can’t wait to see your personality continue to show. You’re so loved, little girl.

Love,

Mama
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