Numbers and Letters

I completely overlooked posting a First Friday update last week, as we were heading down to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and I had a ton on my mind. I was hoping for a phone call, an email, something to tell us that our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) had been issued. I was also working for the majority of the day, and had to help Chris with some Tobu stuff before we could get on the road. I also braided my whole head to try and have some beachy waves for the weekend. Oh, and I had to drop something off at my parents’ house. So… I just completely forgot.IMG_20150703_114953491_HDR The beach was a great trip. We stayed Friday through Monday, and the long weekend was just what we all needed. It was full of family, friends, great weather, love music, fireworks, and food. What more could we ask for? Oh, and on Monday we finally got word that our LSC/ Letter Of Approval (LOA) is on it’s way! Yes! It only took 41 days. 41 very quick, but equally long days, if that’s possible.

Austin built his first sand castle, and loved holding sparklers. He brought his football and basketball everywhere we went, and asked to go to the beach every single day. I think he loved having lots of time with us, and he was not a happy camper come Tuesday when he had to go back to “school.”

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So, as for adoption updates. Lots of things happened last week. We were moved from “in review” to “to be matched”. And on Monday we found out se have soft LOA, which means our approval is heading to our agency right now! It should be on US soil this week! Next for us, is US immigration stuff. Visas, and getting our boy approved to be adopted here. From the timeframes we’re seeing of those going before us, it looks like we can expect to travel in 8-12 weeks! Yes, that’s white a range, but it just depends on if there are any hold ups, typos, holidays, etc. But, September is looking very likely, now, and we are so excited! And just to secure a September date, we went and bought ourselves some concert tickets for our anniversary. The concert is on 9/23, so, I’m willing to bet we will be given dates that overlap it! I think a little China trip is worth missing the concert, though! 😉 We can see the light at the end of this long tunnel. Please be praying that things move smoothly and quickly as we progress! To celebrate (and hopefully help our nannies prepare our son for travel), we had a toy airplane sent to the orphanage.

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So in the next 8-12 weeks, we have to finish some education, figure out our travel stuff, finish (we’ve barely started) the boys’ new room, and do our best to prepare our little family for the big change that’s coming. That, and raise about $10,000. That’s, like $1000 a week, y’all. Holy guacamole. Where do we even start? Well, tomorrow we are having another Moe’s dinner, so hopefully that helps a bit. I have this weird feeling that we won’t have nearly the turnout that we got last time, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to come eat with us, please stop by! You don’t even have to bring the flyer this time. And we’ll do another Moe’s dinner next month, and one in September if we’re still here.  We are not doing a yard sale this weekend, but the next few weekends we definitely will be. We’re still selling puzzle pieces, hoping and praying for a grant, and you will soon see us asking if anyone has hotel and airline miles they can donate to us. We’ve also been selling random things here and there, and I am working a wedding in August. But we’re running out of ideas… and time, for that matter. Not that we’re complaining. The sooner we can bring our little guy home, the better!

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Here are our First Friday Funding Figures, on this second Tuesday of July. We’re 72% there, folks. It’s hard not to stress about that remaining 28%, but honestly I know we will be fine. The Lord will provide a way for our little family to be together, I have no doubt!

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image009 (1)image008On a completely different note, Chris’ disc golf store is open for business! Please check it out! We’ve got two birthday parties this Saturday, and some of our favorite folks are in town, so we’ll visit with them on Sunday. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to mention…. Guess it will have to wait until the next post!

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Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

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2nd Annual OCC Shoebox Packing Party

Please excuse the tardiness of this post. The draft has been sitting here, waiting for me to upload some pictures.

Our 2nd annual shoebox packing party for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child was a huge success. Friends and neighbors collected enough items to pack 85 boxes! That blew last year’s 46 out of the water! And these were well packed boxes, y’all. It was so cool. As the table started to clear off, someone new would show up with more goodies. This was quite an operation, and we loved doing it! Please pray with us that these boxes are a huge blessing to the children who receive them. I hope each box goes exactly to who needs it.

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always the drummer

always the drummer

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loaded up and ready to go!

loaded up and ready to go!

I love Operation Christmas Child, and hope to continue this tradition!

A Fun Long Weekend

I know this post is a bit tardy, but we got home late on Monday, and I had lots to catch up on yesterday. Then today, I had to go work uptown, and had some family time (I’ll post about that- hopefully tomorrow). This is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write.

Last Thursday, we had planned to work, and then head out to Myrtle Beach at the end of the day. That way we could have a full Friday down there, and make the most of the time we had. We were taking Monday off, too, so this was to be the longest getaway we’d taken in a while. Well, Thursday Morning, we got a call from the daycare that Austin was sick, so he came home. We ended up finishing our work up early and heading out mid-afternoon. THat was nice, because we were able to get into the beach early enough to have dinner with Chris’ parents, which made the trip seem even longer and more full. Unfortunately, we were all a little under the weather for the first couple of days.

This extra-long weekend was jam packed with family and fun. We ate lots of good food and had lots of laughs. Friday, after spending the morning at Chris’ grandparents’ house, we tried to nap, and then headed out to the Market Commons, where there was a “block party” going on. We ate and walked around, and finally ended up in front of the stage. Once we were in earshot of the band, Austin headed that way, twisting, and dancing, and clapping, and smiling. Once he found the stage, though, he was stuck! He planted himself in front of the band and was absolutely mesmerized. The band was awesome about it, and brought him up on stage to bang on the drums. They even gave him a drumstick to keep. It was awesome, and everyone was watching with smiles on their faces.

After that, we stopped by our favorite beach bar to say hi to our friend who bartends there, and then we made our way out to the beach. It was amazing. The beach was full of families and friends having a great time. There were sparklers and glow sticks everywhere, and patriotic music playing. Folks were hanging out on the balconies of the hotels along the beach, and you could see fireworks in every direction. Austin fell asleep in the stroller, so we didn’t really get a reaction from him when the fireworks went up. Oh well. Maybe next year. It was still warm, and full of fun energy, and Chris and I got to hold hands on the beach with our sleeping kiddo, surrounded by squeals, laughter, and colors shooting across the sky. Doesn’t get any better than that. Except, maybe coming back in the future with a bigger, somewhat older brood. And maybe friends.

Saturday was spent mostly with family, but Chris and I did get a chance to leave Austin with his grandparents and go have dinner. It was as touristy a dinner as we could get- at Medieval Times! We were cheering for the blue knight, who was very good, but alas, was not the night’s victor. We had fun, though. The food was good, and everyone around us was into it, which made it more fun.We had a great time.

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Sunday, I got to get to know some of Chris’ family that I had never met before. We actually went and visited Brenda at her job on Saturday, but Sunday we could hang out more and meet uncle Mac. Chris’ parents took us out to eat at Cracker Barrel (one of my guilty pleasures!) where we met and talked – getting to catch up/get to know each other, laugh at Austin’s silliness, and chow down. It was great. That evening, we made the most of our built in baby sitters again. Chris and I went out to hear some live music at the Boathouse, which is somewhere we try to stop on every summer visit. 1ga5GD.AuSt.78When we got back, Austin was having a great time running around and being tickled. He was riled up and squealing at the top of his lungs, and collapsing in giggles and hearty belly laughs. Love.

Monday was a beach day, before saying goodbye to everyone and hitting the road. It was lovely.

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Aaaannndd…. That was our extra long weekend in a nutshell. I’m tired. Hitting the sack. Nitey nite.

Crazy Good

Aside

As Memorial Day weekend was approaching, Chris and I were keeping our fingers crossed that our uncommonly clear calendar was going to stay that way. With all the meetings and goings-on around here lately, a three-day weekend with nothing on the agenda sounded uh-maaaa-zing. I had visions of trips to the park, and getting fro-yo, and lazy afternoon naps in my head. I saw me in a hammock… I don’t know where, but I saw it. Ha. Continue reading

Classroom Valentines

Aside

Last Valentine’s Day, Austin was still at his nanny/sitter, so we didn’t make any valentines to give anybody. But this year, since he’s at a daycare, we got to do something a little fun! Austin didn’t really do much, admittedly, but he will still be spreading the love. Even though he has been at his daycare all year, we still don’t know any of the parents of the other kids in his class. I’m hoping we can build some relationships with them in the coming weeks and months. I think this will be one way to connect to them. Fingers crossed!

I had some really cute ideas, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money on trinkets and supplies. Also, I didn’t even think about these until Monday, and didn’t have a ton of time to get crafty. Hopefully, I’ll be more ahead of the game next year, before Austin is too old to want me to help him make arts and crafts gifts for his friends and teachers. I hope he doesn’t want to buy candy and stick it to a paper Disney card… I have nothing against any kids who do that, but I have always been into the creative details, and I think that would hurt my feelings, that my son is more into Cars or whatever, than making crafts at home with me. Oh well. We’ll climb that mountain if and when it comes. For now, I get to make things, and I’ll take what I can get! Admittedly, I would have liked to get more creative with these, but I am still pleased with how they turned out. I keep reminding myself that it’s the thought that counts!

I decided, since the parents of Austin’s classmates may not actually know who “Austin” is when they get these valentines, that I’d include his picture so they could put a face with a name. I’m hoping, that next week (and beyond), as kids come and go throughout the day, Austin will hear people use his name more and more. Maybe as we pick up our kids at the same time, we will start to talk, and these little Valentines will help break the ice. I pray they will!

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This is the front and back of what I attached to each package.

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Simple but cute, right? I think so.

I was hoping to find some small hand creams, or something that would be a nice, inexpensive gift, but unfortunately, my grocery store had nothing to choose from. So, I grabbed some Food Lion (grocery store) gift cards. While at the register, I had the last-minute thought to grab some gum as well, and this is what I put together for Austin’s teachers. They are small (only $5 gift cards), but I think they are fun, and hope they are enjoyed.

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Austin has two teachers in his classroom, so I got a minty gum and a fruity one. Hope that fits!

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Finished and Assembled

So, I enjoyed that. Surprise, surprise. Finding toddler-friendly treats to fit the bill made the task more fun for me. You know I’m already thinking about future Valentine’s Day projects!

I hope somebody sends lots of love to you today! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Family Valentines

One of our friends (and neighbors) invited us to make some Valentines for boys’ daddies this past weekend. It was something I have not done with Austin, yet, and it was fun! Let me tell you, our friend was a brave woman to let  a wiggly 6-month old and two mobile toddlers play with paint in her dining/play room. She provided paint, pens, paper, confetti, ribbon, and canvas.

It was last-minute, and I didn’t have time to scour the internets for fantastic ideas, but I think Austin’s canvas turned out pretty darn cute.

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The plan was to slip it into Chris’ laptop bag on Thursday night so that he would get it when he arrived at work on Valentine’s day, but then I remembered- he’s taking the day off to spend with me! While Austin is at daycare, we are going to spend the day just the two of us, so we don’t have to pay a sitter or deal with crowds on Friday night. So then I thought I’d just sneak it in tonight, and he’d have it at work on Thursday. But we’ve been “snowed-in”, and Chris’ office will be closed tomorrow. Soooo, Daddy got an early gift from his little bitty Valentine. It came with a card:

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The painting was fun, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to make some more things with his hand prints, so we made a couple more Valentines to send to our immediate families.

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I just love them! I might keep one for myself…..