Friday, January 1, 2016

It's a...

Just in time for the holidays we found out the gender of our sweet addition! Since finding out there is a baby in mommy's tummy, Landon has been convinced he is get a baby sister. So much so, if you asked him if the baby was a boy or girl, he would ALWAYS answer "girl." Again, when asked if he was going to get a baby sister or baby brother, he would ALWAYS answer, "sister." Well, the day arrived for us to find out the gender and we decided to make Landon apart of the experience. The ultrasound technician pointed to the screen and said, "It's a boy," to which Landon responded, "no, baby sister." Oh dear... not the reaction we had anticipated!

Tt has been over a month now since we found out we are having another little boy, and Landon still has not given up the idea that he is getting a little sister... He still corrects me if I mention something about his baby brother, he even announced to family that he was getting a baby sister over FaceTime (oops!) However, despite his persistence, I believe he will be very happy with a little brother. Landon is so high energy that another little boy in the house might be exactly what he needs! 

We decided to make our Christmas cards into a cute was of announcing the baby's gender to friends and family, my bother graciously took pictures for us and I am so happy with the outcome!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pregnancy Update

I have been been failing miserably as a blogger lately... Pregnancy hormones and fatigue have gotten the best of me. As you know, we had to put the adoption on hold because of an unexpected pregnancy. I am now 19 weeks pregnant and starting to feel like a normal human being again. I am still in shock and and awe that God blessed us with this pregnancy the day before we were supposed to be sent to matching through the county for our adoption. God's is always on time, never late, and never ever early.

Hubby and I spent the last year of our lives preparing our hearts and home for an adopted child. Finding out I was pregnant gave me such great joy and peace and yet, apart of me has been grieving for this adoption that I had spent countless hours preparing for. Now please don't read this wrong, I am overjoyed to be pregnant, I wanted so badly to be able to carry and nurse another baby again. But deep down, I had to grieve the loss of an adoption. Yet, our journey with adoption is not done, just on hold until we figure out what is next for our family. 

Just like the process to adopt had me in constant prayer and study for direction and strength, this pregnancy has kept me in this place of complete trust and faith in God. My pregnancy with Landon was easy, I hardly had any morning sickness no major aches or pains, and at 38 weeks I went into labor. This time around things are a little different. At 7 weeks pregnant I started experiencing sever cramping and light bleeding, after 4 hours in urgent care we got to see the baby's heartbeat and were reassured that everything was okay. Just for safe measure the doctor had me taking things easy until the cramping went away. At 8 weeks I saw my OB who took me off all forms of exercise and lifting. By my 10 week informational appointment the cramping and bleeding had started again. I saw an on-call doctor who causally informed me that everything was fine but I could miscarry at any time and they might need to put me on bed rest (really lady?). All of this had me in a tailspin. I was stressed and worried and felt that my last chance at having a baby might be taken from me at any moment. 

Once again, my loving and faithful husband pointed me back to the goodness of God. Meditating on the character of God and the knowledge of His perfect (not easy) plan. At my 12 weeks appointment my midwife (whom I love) also seemed concerned at the state of my pregnancy and suggested I continue to take it easy. However, by my 16 week appointment my midwife felt comfortable allowing me to go on short, easy walks and also permitted prenatal yoga stretches. I am now 19 weeks pregnant and feeling considerably good. We continue to pray for a healthy baby and for a full term pregnancy. As always, I would love and appreciate your prayers. Despite all the emotional ups and downs we have experience over the last few years, I can honestly say I am thankful for the trials and grateful I was given an opportunity for my faith to be grown!

We find out next week the gender of the baby, just in time for Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

We have exciting news!!!

As many of you know we have been trying to expand our family for the past 3 years. After 2 years of trying for another baby we sought a diagnosis and fertility treatment. We did not have much success with the treatments and decided to expand our family through adoption. We have been in the process to adopt through the foster system for about a year now. We recently finished the home study interviews and have been anxiously anticipating being sent to matching. We expected to have a baby in our arms as soon as September.

Well, I am shocked and excited to announce that on August 5th we found out I am pregnant. 
Yes PREGNANT!!! What?!?!?!

The back story... Our decision to adopt was one we believe was God inspired. There are many beautiful ways to expand ones family but we believe God had directed us towards adoption, specifically adoption through the foster care system. It took me months to be comfortable with this idea and only recently have I felt ready for our baby and the potential heartache one can experience when adopting through the foster system. Only recently have I felt confident in God's plan for us, only recently have I truly believed we could handle all things through Christ who IS our strength. By the beginning of August the paperwork was complete, the home study was weeks away from being approved and we could have our baby as soon as September! On August 5th I looked at my calendar and realized I was late for my period... what? I am NEVER late. After much internal debate I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. This can't be right... I turned over the packaging and read the expiration date: July 2015. It expired a month ago... Well of course it did, I hadn't purchased pregnancy tests in over a year! I found another one, this one wasn't expired. So I did what you are not supposed to do, I drank a bunch of water so I could take another test. Another positive. After a series of emotions consisting of; shock, fear, joy with tears, frustration, joy again, unbelief, and finally joy with a lot of tears, I dropped down on my knees and thanked God for this gift I never thought I would experience again.

The very next morning I received a call from our adoption worker, she was excited to inform us that our home study had moved along quicker than expected, was approved and moved to matching!! With tears of joy and confusion I had to inform her that just last night I found our I am pregnant, that we had stopped "trying" for a baby well over 6 months ago and yet somehow I am pregnant. She sweetly congratulated me and informed me that she would pull us from matching and put our file on hold until after the baby is born. (The county's policy is that you wait until the baby is at least 6 months old before they can place another child in your home.)

According to most doctors, if we wanted another biological child IVF should be our plan of action. And yet, God chose to bless us with another biological child the night before we were supposed to be sent to matching. What an awesome and wonderful God we serve, there is no denying that God blessed us with this pregnancy, that this was God's doing. That only God could have made this pregnancy happen. The timing is too perfect and too precise to be a coincidence.
All glory and honor be to God!!! 

We do not know why God chose to bless us at this time and in this way, I don't know why we went through years of heartache and hardship but I know God is good, His timing is perfect, and His plan is awesome, no matter what the outcome. The last year has been a growing and stretching time for our family, not only have we grown stronger in our relationships with each other, our faith, joy and trust in God has been strengthened. We still have a heart for adoption, that has not changed. We do not know what the next few years will look like for our family, our plan is to take things one step at a time keeping our eyes on God and trusting in His perfect plan.  

We got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time this week. 
Here is a little video.
Thank you all for your prayers and support over the last few years!!
God heard our prayers and answered them in an unexpected way!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

For the Love of Food

Last week hubby and I ventured to San Francisco to visit my sister and her fiancé. My sisters fiancé is currently attending the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, and this guy loves food! The perfect guide to have when in search of excellent food and drink. Our first night in the city they took us to a one star Michelin restaurant call Flour and Water. Ummmm... amazing! If you are ever in the city, you need to go here! The food was amazing, the homemade pasta was tender and delicious, the wood-fired pizzas melt in your mouth and the ambiance was comfortable and casual, and all for a
reasonable price.

After dinner we ventured to the Tenderloin to visit a speakeasy called Burbon and Branch. Burbon and Branch is an actual speakeasy from the Prohibition era in the 1920's, it was open illegally from 1921 to 1933. In keeping with the original atmosphere, you must make reservations ahead of time and provide a password (given to you when you make your reservation) in order to get in. You are then ushered to your table, given a menu of hand-crafted cocktails and asked to follow a series of house rules. The whole experience is fun, authentic and worthwhile if you are ever in the city!

As you can imagine the next few days were filled with good food and even better company, we traveled to Napa for wine tastings, walked the city, ate clam chowder, walked through Grace Cathedral, and even visited a roof-top restaurant on our last night in the city.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Human Experiment

Last night I watched a documentary on Netflix call "The Human Experiment." It was both eye opening and chilling as it described how untested chemicals have infiltrated our homes, food and bodies. Shocking statistics about the rise in autism, cancer and infertility were revealed and discussed. Seeing that we have been trying to get pregnant again since L was born (about 3 years), the issue of infertility strikes a cord with me. I was astonished to hear that since 1988 there has been a 49% increase in infertility in women under 25!!!! "The Human Experiment" suggests that the chemicals we are surrounded by daily may be having a profound impact on these growing statistics.

As a mommy, I want to give my child the best chance to succeed at life. As parents, we consider the neighborhood we live in, the school our children attend, activities to involve our children in and even the food we consume. But do we consider the chair we sit in, the cup we drink out of, the makeup we wear and the cleaning products we use. All of these things contain untested and potentially unsafe chemicals. If you are feeling outraged, you are not alone!

In our household we have started making changes in the foods we purchase and some of the products we use. We have started replacing some medicines with essential oils, using homemade cleaners and hand soap, and changed our pesticide methods (I still can't just deal with spiders and ants). However, is it enough??? Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring and considering the products we purchase and how they might be affecting our health.

The Human Experiment has a webpage that has a section dedicated to finding safer products for your home and family. The products listed on their website have been tested and found to be better options.

Here is the link:

If you have made the switch to safer products I would love to hear about what you are using and why!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Homestudy Part II

Last week we wrapped up the last part of the home study with my one-on-one interview with our adoption worker. Another huge stepping stone in the process! Our adoption worker is very kind, and seems to understand my personality well, she is happy to answer any questions or concerns we may have, and I have never felt rushed or brushed aside.

Questions she asked consisted of a variety of things, ranging from childhood experiences and relationship to our fertility. Below is a more extensive list of questions asked:

She asked me a series of questions concerning my childhood, including but not limited to; relationship with my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. And yes, I did have to provide names of each of my cousins, a fairly extensive list ;-) Methods of discipline used by my parents, any instances of abuse, schooling, extra curricular activities, and the level of support I received.

She asked about my relationship with my husband, my siblings, my parents, friends, neighbors, about our church, religion, our involvement in community, the medications I am currently taking, and any past surgeries.

Of course, she asked about our fertility journey, how I felt when I was given the diagnosis of secondary infertility, if we had support from family and friends, what my emotions were when we were diagnosed vs. today, and lastly, if I am still pursuing fertility treatment (just a note, Riverside County asks that you are not seeking fertility treatment if you are in the process to adopt).

She asked me what my biggest fears were regarding adopting, and how I dealt with those fears. (Ummm... God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and encouragement from my husband to turn towards God!)

Family Support 
Lastly she asked me about what my family thinks about our decision to adopt, if they were supportive, and what their concerns may be.

The interview lasted about 2 hours, after which she informed me she should have the final home study written and on her supervisors desk by mid August. At which point her supervisor will review and approved (about a 2 week process) and then submit to matching. Matching is who will, true to the name, match us with our baby!

This is a brief summary of how matching works (to my knowledge). Matching will get to know our family based on the home study our adoption worker submits. Once a child comes into the system on the adoption track, matching will then filter through the adoptive families looking for a "match" (based on the things the family is or is not willing to accept), matching will then compile a list of usually five families that are a best "match" for the child. Usually those that are on the top of the list are those families that have been waiting the longest. Our adoption worker believes we will be waiting for a match for between 2-8 months, this is her best guess based on her experience. However, there is still a possibility we could get a call the day after our home study has been approved. We just have no idea! Ahhhhhh!

Prayer Requests
Please join us as we pray for the baby that God has for our family, the bio-mommy/family of that baby, and the social worker our baby will be assigned to.

The county social workers are assigned both kids tracked for temporary foster care and kids tracked for adoption, they often will only have 1-2 adoption cases a year, therefore, they are sometimes unfamiliar with the adoption process. I have also been told some of the social workers can be difficult to work with, they often have large case loads and do not take time to be kind. Kindness often comforts my heart, please join us as we pray for a social worker that is kind, patient, and ultimately, is going to do what it takes to keep our baby in our home (however, I will excuse the lack of kindness and patience for the latter ;-)

Adoption Timeline
Orientation Class - September 26, 2014
Submitted Application to County & CCL - November 1, 2014
County Preliminary Interview - January 21, 2015
Parenting/Training Classes - March 12th, 2015
CCL Pre-Licensing Inspection - March 18, 2015
Exit Interview - June 3, 2015 
Home Study Interview Part I - July 7, 2015 
Home Study Interview Part II - July 23, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

$20 DIY Outdoor Rug

After much searching, online and in-stores, for an affordable outdoor rug, I decided to attempt to make my own. I did a little research and found it is fairly simple to paint a rug! I discovered a reasonably priced 6x8 ft indoor/outdoor rug at Home Depot online and picked it up in-store for free. The rug is thin and lightweight but works well for an outdoor space. There are many beautiful DIY painted rugs online, but I was going for something I could complete in an hour or two, not two to three days. So I decided on a simple stripe pattern. 

I used painters tape to mark out my lines. 

After one coat of paint. 
I used Annie Sloan chalk paint (a mix of Old White and Graphite) 
but I am sure any paint would work well! 

After two coats of paint. 

And here is the finished product! 

Cost Breakdown: 
$17.87 + tax for the rug
I used paint that we had on hand

For less than $20 and about 1.5 hrs of time I have a new outdoor rug!! 
Pair it with my DIY couches and you can build yourself a comfortable outdoor living space on a budget!