Getting Ready, or, a Summer Update

I’ve been really bad about updating the blog. And there’s so much going on to share! I don’t quite know where to start… I will tell you though, that this will probably be mostly pictures. 🙂

Well, first, I should say that we got our Travel Approval! Our TA came in on August 27, in time to make a September Gotcha Day. Our prayers for September were answered! But, due to some circumstances, we are not travelling until October. It’s hard knowing that we could be in China RIGHT NOW, but we are still here waiting… But it’s ok. We’ll be boarding a plane to China in 21 days. Here’s hoping we make the most of our time here, but that these next three weeks go by quickly!

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While we wait, we I’ve been nesting like crazy! I just finished refinishing a dresser and nightstand that were mine as a child, to go in the boys’ new room. It was my first time attempting anything like this, and I think they turned out pretty well. The beds are put together and made up, and artwork is on the wall. We just need a few details, like a picture of our boys together to put in one of the empty frames, and we’ll be done! I think it’s coming together nicely.

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My grandparents came for a visit, which was so awesome. They were here for two wonderful weeks. It was full of conversation, food, and family. They were helping me with learning Mandarin so that I would have some useful phrases on hand while we’re in China. They also gifted us with a tour of Beijing that includes hotel, so we’re now able to sightsee a little bit of China while we are over there!

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The ladies of my small group surprised me with a shower to celebrate Evan. It was very sweet and thoughtful, and lots of fun! There was Chinese food, and Chinese lanterns, and an American Flag cookie cake. There were also fortune cookies with hand written “fortunes” that were scripture and quotes about families, children, and adoption. It was so cool! I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life, and thankful for people who are excited about Evan coming home as we are!

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As far as we can see, even with the added cost of traveling during Trade Fair, our adoption is fully funded! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us! Your support means so much to us!

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There were a couple Myrtle Beach trips.

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Chris and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last week. My parents kept Austin Friday and Saturday nights so that we could have a nice dinner on Friday (our anniversary) and go to a music festival to see our favorite band play the following day. It was awesome.

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And lastly, I’ll just say that this was the summer of trains, swimming lessons, and Okra.

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We Do Weekends

This weekend was jam-packed. We had lots to do, and we somehow managed to fit it all in and enjoy the time. This will be a more picture heavy post. Because it was a beautiful summer weekend, and that’s how I feel like rolling today.

Saturday morning we headed up to a Concord park for a surprise birthday celebration. I had partnered with the wife of the birthday boy to plan a fun event, and of course, in taking care of all that I was setting up, and making sure things were going well, I didn’t get any pictures. Part of the reason was that my hubs had my phone the whole time. I have to remember to wear deeper pocketed pants when I am working! Luckily, there was a photographer present, so hopefully I can do a follow up post to show off what we did. But, even without pictures… there was a flash mob, a candy bar, a disc golf basket, chick-fil-a, and tons of food and drink. We made a giant “30” out of pictures from the birthday boy’s life, and had all around fun. There were little ones running around and playing baby cornhole. Lots of old friends. And Josh (the birthday boy) was surprised and happy. That’s the best part of it all.

Sunday evening we had dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants, Ilios Noche. BUt at a newer location I had yet to try. It was great, as expected. We had nice conversation, and our friends’ adorable little baby made me wish that I could go back to the days of carrying a car seat into a restaurant and not having to worry about a riotous, crazy toddler. Oh well. 🙂 And of course, after promising pictures, I don’t have anyone from that either. FAIL.

There was also some lawn mowing on Saturday. And getting together adoption paperwork. And finishing up some adoption education. And that pretty much sums up Saturday.

Sunday we got up and went to church and then volunteered at the senior center, like we do every Sunday. This time, we met some family visiting one of the couples that we hold dear. That was cool. After all of that, we headed home to work on the house. Chris tackled edging, weeding fertilizing… that kind of stuff. He also hooked up my second rain barrell. Hooray!

While he was doing that, Austin and I picked veggies from our overgrown garden. He picked tomatoes, mostly the red ones, and I picked beans and peppers. He thought that was cool. I wonder if it means he’ll actually eat the tomatoes now…

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It was getting hot, and all Austin wanted to do, after picking the veggies, was to play with daddy’s tools and get in his way. So I filled up the little pool and tried to keep him occupied with water. That worked pretty well for about 10 minutes. He splashed and squealed, drank out of tupperware, poured water.. Then he decided it was fun to throw half full tupperware out of the pool, splash mommy, and just be all kinds of rambunctious.

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So I told Chris to come take a break, handed him a beer, and handed Austin a popsicle. That made everybody happy. 🙂

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After that sticky, cool, popsicle, Austin needed a bath. But first, we trimmed up his hair. And he insisted on helping.

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After the bath, we went back outside so I could water the lawn in prep for the Weed ‘n Feed. And of course, Austin got all wet all over again as he “helped” me. Stinker. When all of that work was done, Chris scooped up his boy and took him upstairs, where I later found him changed and being read to. Love those boys. And apparently Austin wanted to be like daddy in his reading glasses.

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Goober. I love that kid. 

After he went to bed, Chris and I watched a movie. A rare pleasure. It was a live-action version of an anime we enjoy, Rorouni Kenshin, and we were really impressed with how well done it was! Can’t wait for the sequel. 

So that was our busy weekend. Today I sent out our adoption package with a big check. I hit up the grocery store, did two loads of laundry, went for a run, and am still doing my day job. I hope the rest of the week isn’t this busy. But… I am looking at my calendar, and I know we have folks coming into town this weekend and a “luau” at Austin’s daycare on Tuesday. Chris has a networking event on Thursday, and I have a volunteer event on Friday, as well as a dentist appointment. Somehow we’ll find a moment to breathe. Somehow…

Alicia and the Beanstalk

Back in May, I posted about starting my summer garden and all the planting I had been doing around our home. This is the first veggie garden I have planted here, since moving from California 10 years ago. Ok, I did attempt one late last summer, but that doesn’t count. Now that I have paid more attention to the season, zones, and all that gardening stuff, it’s for real this time. I was looking back at that post, and smiling over my little shoots and sprouts. Look what they’ve become!

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sunflowers, arugula, cilantro

 

 

My beanstalks are so tall you can see them from the family room window- even after I snipped them shorter!

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I had scattered marigold seed in a corner of the garden, and they never came up. But I started seeing something growing all over the rest of the garden. I assumed my marigold seeds had been blown around, so I let them grow. Weeks later, I realized these were tomato plants, and they were everywhere! lol. Oopsie. I have no clue how that happened.

I think I mentioned before that I had put some green onion roots in a jar of water in my windowsill, after I had cut the green stalks and cooked with them. Well… they’re growing!

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And remember my scraggly butterfly bushes? They are filling out, thankfully. I guess we need to make sure we cut them back in the winter. I also think we will be moving them from the spot at the front of the yard, and replacing them with something that will stay green all year. I love them, though, and want to make sure wherever they end up, we’ll be able to see them and admire all the butterflies they attract. See! THey are doing much better- just ignore the super lush grass. 🙂

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So… what do you think? Green thumb??? huh, huh? Have I got one??

Does My Thumb Look Green to You?

Aside

I love springtime. I love the weather, and the bright green that is everywhere. Once I get adjusted to the pollen that comes with the renewal of all the greenery, it is hard to keep me from being outside. Spring in the Carolinas is short-lived, though. By the time my allergies ease up, the temperatures rise, and I am engulfed by the heat and humidity. This year, however, has been different. Spring is lingering, and I am so happy about that! There is always a long list of things I want to get done to the yard before the weather is too hot, and I never get them all done in time. The temps are inching their way up, but with a three-day weekend ahead, I am really hopeful that the majority of this list will get done this year- even with a toddler and our extremely busy schedules.

I missed the chance to capture the gorgeous rhododendrons, camellias, and irises that bloomed already. Next time, I’ll be sure to take some pictures. But here are some other’s in the front yard that are perky and bright. Our hostas came back in full force this year, and our crepe myrtle is finally filling out!

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We never pruned back our butterfly bushes in the winter, and it was hindering their growth. So I gave them a little trim.

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before

after

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Some of my Mother’s Day flowers are still holding strong, too! They are on their third trimming and vase change, and still beautiful reminders of how much I am loved and appreciated.

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And then, I had this weed garden….

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It was intense, y’all. So, so bad. Well last week, I got to work on pulling them- at least out of the little garden space I had set aside. Those pictures above are actually after I had gotten started on the weeding already. You can see the cleared space. It didn’t take me as long as I thought, but I worked hard! There were a couple of winter lettuces still in the ground, which I washed and ate up last weekend.

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I mixed in a few more bags of organic dirt, and planted the seeds, seedlings, and few plants that I had. I had started my seedlings inside months ago, but Austin kept getting a hold of them, and only a few are surviving. They were small and weak, and I’ll be surprised if all of them make it out in the elements. Fingers crossed! The plants that we had were given to us by a friend that he had started from seeds. Hopefully all the ones I got in the ground will make it and produce a variety of yumminess. He had given us several kinds of tomatoes and peppers, but it took a while for me to get them in the ground. Hopefully they perk up soon!

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In addition to my tomatoes and peppers, I put down marigold and sunflower seeds, as well as watermelon, corn, arugula, cilantro, and bean seeds. That was a week ago, and look at what I found this morning!

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watermelon

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beans

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corn

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What is it about seeing seed sprout up that is so exciting? I just LOVE it when that happens! What a little miracle.

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:11-12 NASB

a possibility

I have been struggling with whether or not to post about this. Right now, in the early, early stages of this process, and with so little information, and so much that is out of our control, I wonder if bringing it up is the right thing to do. But, I guess it can’t hurt, and we’ll take all the support we can get.

So here’s the news:

We’ve inquired about a little girl in SC that we’d like to adopt. Her caseworkers are reviewing our home study now, (along with who knows how many others,) and we won’t hear anything for several weeks. In a world where you can track the progress of your pizza delivery, waiting in silence is not an easy thing! Waiting is hard enough, but not knowing how many other families are being considered, how the case worker(s) narrow their choices, and knowing that it’s completely out of my hands at this point, makes the waiting that much harder. I definitely like to have my hands in any process or big decision in my life, but this is one that is completely beyond my control. But I know who has all the control, so, I’ll let it go, and pray, and wait. It’s in the hands of my Lord, and His will be done.

We have very little information about this precious girl, but do have her first name and a picture of her, so when we pray about this situation, we can pray for her by name and see her little face in our minds. I’m actually looking at her picture right now, and hoping. I am praying for patience, and wisdom. I am praying that our family’s hearts are being made ready for a change. I’m praying that this little girl’s heart is also being prepared. Even if it’s not our home she finally comes home to, she will be going home to somebody, and her heart needs to be made ready for them. But of course, I am hoping that our home state gives us a change.

So, while we wait, we will ready our home. Spring is finally starting to feel like Spring. We are looking forward to playdates in the park, and just playing outside with Austin, in general. He loves being outdoors. We also have lots of outdoor projects lined up for this year: landscaping the side yard, planting our veggie garden, and hopefully getting our deck and shed built. We have a bit (ok, a lot) of organizing to do inside the home too. So with lots to get done, hopefully the time will pass quickly until we hear something. Won’t you please pray with us during this time?  It would mean so much to us. And it could mean a lifetime of love for this child.

We keep going…and going…and going….

We should change our name from Martin to Energizer. As in batteries. Or more specifically, the bunny. I feel like we could be mistaken for a family of Energizer Bunnies, just drumming along, never ceasing. Except for the fact that I do get worn out, unlike said bunny. Here’s a glimpse into some of the things that have been keeping us so busy.

We’ve been doing a lot of yard work. We built a small retaining wall, and are going to back fill it, frame it with railroad ties, and make us a garden. Yeah, it’s kinda late in the season to be just getting started on this, but hey- better late than never!

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the sloped side- before

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some of the cinder block

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Austin “hanging out”

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half of the railroad ties

We are also preparing to lay a concrete slab, upon which we will place our shed. Once we’ve assembled it…

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Austin has started eating solids. It’s been fun seeing how he reacts to new foods. He likes carrots, apples, bananas. He could care less about pears. He enjoys dixie peas but not green peas. HATES green beans. Sweet potatoes are a hit. Bell pepper, not so much. On Fathers’ Day, we took my dad to get peach and strawberry ice cream, so of course, Austin got a taste. No reaction- except maybe surprise that it was cold.

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After a long week of diagnosis, saline, and force feeding, we discovered my sweet Leia had a tumor in her lungs. A huge one. We had to put her to sleep. It was so hard. I still see her and hear her footsteps all the time.

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My crazy little brother came home for a visit. His birthday was in the beginning of the trip, so we threw him a keg party. Like in college- only with better beer. My father played beer pong for the first time. It was awesome.

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We have had all three safety inspections of our home- DSS, DHEC, and the fire marshal. They say it’s safe for a kid to live here. (phew! haha.) Next up is the personal interviews with our case worker. Things are moving right along!

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Time is just flying by. I guess staying busy does that. We’ve really been enjoying the times we’ve had, though. Even if it is going by at super sonic speed. Speaking of time flying- Austin is six months old today. I just can’t believe it. This morning he fell asleep in my arms- which rarely happens anymore- so I snapped a quick pick of him sleeping. He is so precious, and no matter how much he grows, he’ll always be my precious child. My baby. 🙂

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