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!

Screenshot 2015-09-15 at 11.00.13 PM

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.

IMG_20150915_141852750 IMG_20150915_141821615 IMG_20150915_141746276 IMG_20150727_212513 IMG_20150914_212950 IMG_20150831_172310

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!

IMG_20150901_171253623

IMG_20150821_103042572 IMG_20150822_181601990

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!

IMG_1964 (1) IMG_1969 IMG_1968 IMG_1967 IMG_1966 IMG_20150902_215217622 IMG_20150902_215224481 IMG_20150902_221936629_HDR

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!

IMG_20150904_180715931_HDR

There were a couple Myrtle Beach trips.

IMG_20150907_132830157_HDRIMG_20150907_134506443IMG_20150907_140107666

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.

IMG_20150912_173915274 IMG_20150912_215407176

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

IMG_20150822_115518738_HDRIMG_8535

IMG_20150903_082729
IMG_20150903_083943346IMG_20150903_084903084_HDRIMG_20150903_090257002_HDRIMG_20150821_172129

Advertisements

Some Updates

This post is going to be all over the place. I have pictures that I should have posted weeks ago, but I’ve been working all hours, and honestly have put lots of other things before my blog. And that’s ok. It’s not the way to be a good blogger, but I have a life to live, and I am going to live it! 🙂

So, the last UNCC Football event, was another chance to raise some adoption funds, and our good friend Steve tagged along for it. It was a good time, and I enjoyed getting to know the other volunteers. I got to work as a cashier alongside Chris, this time. He’s a hard worker! Who knew! 😉

silliness. always silliness.

silliness. always silliness.

holy corndog!

holy corndog!

I started a new women’s group at church, and am enjoying getting to know these women. We meet at the neighborhood right next to mine. Next week, while Chris is out of town, the ladies will be meeting at my house. Love that they were flexible enough to shift so I could take care of Austin and still have some fellowship! Love these ladies already!

Last week we made another quick trip to the beach. We enjoyed the beach, and enjoyed the family time. I’m so glad we were able to squeeze in another trip before the summertime weather fades away.

WP_20141004_012

I can’t remember if I shared that we have applied to another adoption agency, and are feeling really good about it. The communication so far has been great, and they really try to equip you as parents, so that you are better prepared for some of the things that come along with an adoption. We’ve been talking with our case worker, and feel like they will really be working with us and for us here. I’m excited to be getting the ball rolling again (yet again!). I’m also realizing that we have a short 12-15 months to raise a LOT of money. So we need to tighten our belts and kick the fundraising into high gear. I foresee a yard sale in the not too distant future. I know I missed a First Friday Fundraising Update, but I need to revamp it now to fit the new agency. There will be an update in November.

Speaking of fundraising, the Chosen Charlotte race is just 8 days away! My new work schedule/commute has really put a damper on my running, but I’m excited to do what I can at this race with our team! I’m also looking forward to meeting adoptive families and their supporters. I think we’ll be able to make some good connections. And I’m hoping that will start tonight! We are hosting a BBQ dinner for the adoptive families who are running the race. I think at least 5 families will be joining us. I’m really hoping we can share stories, form friendships, and be able to support each other through our adoptions and beyond.

Twofer

I had written a post about last weekend, and have not been able to post it. Aside from my new schedule and feeling crazy busy with my new commute, work, a new women’s group, and normal happenings here, to add to it I left the power cord for my Chromebook in Myrtle Beach. Oh, you didn’t know we went to the beach? That’s because my Chromebook has been dead and I haven’t been able to provide any of the updates I’ve wanted to! I tried to use my phone to post, but once I hit “publish” it just sat there, stalled. That was incredibly frustrating.

So, with this post, you get the one I had written, and also some additional updates. A sort of Two-fer… I’m not even going to edit my first post. You’ll get it as is. or.. as was?

Last weekend was a Myrtle Beach weekend for us. We took Friday off of work, and headed down Thursday night after dinner. We time it like that so we can have a full day down there the next day, and because Austin will sleep in the car during the 3 hour drive down. So Thursday evening, after a pizza dinner with friends, we cleaned up, packed up, and hit the road.
The trip started out like any other trip down. We go about every six weeks to visit family, so we’ve got the routine down. Well, a little over an hour into our trip, I hear Austin’s paci pop out of his mouth, and something that sounded…. Wet. So I turned on the light and looked back at my sleeping child, just in time to see him throw up. A lot. So we pulled over at the nearest gas station, cleaned up the kid, his car seat, and the car, changed his clothes, and got back on the road. That pit stop cost us some time though. A little bit later- it happens again. We stop and get everything clean. At this point, all of Austin’s spare clothes are buried under our luggage, so he’s riding in a diaper. We hit the road, and it happens a third time. The gas station we pull over at this time is not open, so we head to another. This time, after Austin and everything else were cleaned up, we think to put a catch-all bib on him. Good thing. He threw up twice more on the way down. Around the 4th time, our little trooper starts to cry. I just wish there wasn’t so much stuff crammed in our backseat, so I can sit with him. I reach back and hold his hand. Finally, we arrive at our destination, and just as we pull up, he throws up for the sixth and final time of the night.

It was a long drive.
The next two mornings, Austin throws up at breakfast, but was fine the rest of the day. We decide it’s his milk, and throw it out. We get on with the trip.
Friday we have lunch with Chris’ mom, visit his dad who is recovering from surgery, and head to the beach. It’s overcast and super windy. After about an hour, we decide it’s too chilly to stay, but Austin had fun playing in the sand while we were there. We had dinner with Chris’ mom, and Austin was really into watching the pianist at the restaurant. The next day, at Chris’ grandma’s, Austin plays with their piano.

All in all, it was a good trip. We had lots of family time, and even met up with a friend we had made on our cruise. Chris’ aunt gave us a ton of handcrafted jewelry to sell to help us raise funds for our adoption. we ate lots of good food, and just tried to make the most of our time down there. Even so, it’s always good to be back home. We’re heading back down in just two short weeks… A short trip, but hopefully a good one.

WP_20140919_045

He stole my seaweed salad, but at least his appetite was back!

WP_20140920_003

Double Rainbow!

WP_20140919_007WP_20140919_019WP_20140919_026WP_20140921_011WP_20140922_011WP_20140922_025WP_20140922_056

And so that was last weekend. Eventful. And the rest of the week was just plain busy. Busy for both Chris and I at work. I got to have lunch with my mom one day while she was working uptown, so that was a nice break. We dined at The Capital Grille and it was delicious!

WP_20140923_003 WP_20140923_004

Wednesday night was my first night with my new Life Group. This time it’s a women’s group, and this was their second meeting. I am hoping and praying that fellowship with these women will really help me to deepen and strengthen my relationship with the Lord, and that good relationships with these women will form as well. They seem like a great bunch of ladies, and I’m already feeling good about the book we are reading – A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. It’s good timing for this book, because I feel like lately my prayers have been repetitive and stagnant, and we have a lot to be prying about.

It was one of those weeks where I was easily annoyed, and little things happened every day that made the week drag on and on. I couldn’t be happier that it is Friday. It’s been a tough week for both Chris and I. But we have been trying to smile through the setbacks and disappointments. We’ve been doing lots of group hugs with Austin, which always makes us laugh.

Tomorrow we are volunteering with UNCC Football again, to raise more funds for our adoption. I hope it’s a good time. The weather should be much nicer than last time, and we are picking up a good, fun guy that we don’t get to see often enough. I hope to remember to take some pictures this time. 🙂

Have a great weekend y’all. I hope to be able to post again soon, but we shall see. At least we’re going back to Myrtle Beach in another 10 days or so. I think I can survive without my Chromebook until then…

Busyness

We have been slammed. So incredibly busy! We have done so much that I have not updated you on. I’m slapping myself on the wrists for that one. So, this post is going to have some updates, some pictures, and hopefully not be too lengthy. I don’t even have the time to get down to the level of detail that I’d like to, but I’m going to fill you in, none the less.

First- the cruise! Our friends Brian & Shamin were getting married on a cruise ship, and Chris was a groomsman in the wedding. Chris’ parents and sister and brother-in-law all gathered in Charleston for the wedding on the cruise ship, too, which was nice. The wedding and reception were fun- short and sweet. Then, the non sailing folk debarked, and we continued on to the Bahamas! While on the boat, we swam, took dance lessons, sang karaoke, ate (a lot!), went to an art auction, shopped, saw a comedy show, hung out in the casino, and hung around with our friends from the wedding. In the Bahamas we shopped, beached, toured a brewery, and rode around an island on a scooter! We met some folks there who were on a different cruise ship, and we met up with them in both ports. They were from Myrtle beach, and we hope to see them again when we head down there to visit. We had a great time.

WP_20140902_017 WP_20140904_012 WP_20140902_025 WP_20140902_001 WP_20140902_004 WP_20140902_011 IMG_20140902_084250_286 IMG_20140830_170240_530 IMG_20140902_165455_555 WP_20140901_003

Second- UNCC Football Game. We served in the concession stands almost two weeks ago, and had a great time. Our friend Stephen rode up with us, and we met our friends Josh, Jess, and Ana there. Together with folks who were raising money for missions trips, we served food and beverages (lots of beverages!) on that sweltering hot day. It wasn’t as busy as we were expecting, it was super hot, and our team blew the other team out of the water. All in all, we had fun, met some cool folks, and enjoyed each other’s company. We’re signed up to do it again the weekend after next. Who wants to join us?

10649955_10152653527869029_6358827804397089700_n Last week was Chris & my anniversary. 4 years! We took the day off and dropped Austin off at daycare so that we could spend the day together. We went for a trail run/hike, had a great lunch outside on a beautiful day, got massages, and did a little shopping. We ended the night with wine and cheese, and cake that our neighbors had given us. It was a perfect day!

10662071_10152382293753811_3706958345110136605_o

Last Saturday, Chris did a workout with some guys from church, which included exercise and fellowship. He got to meet some new people, and feel strengthened in more ways than one! On Sunday, we had a cookout at our house to give our friends, Matt & Jen an opportunity to garner support for the long-term missions work they plan to do in Japan. I had marinated 3 tri tips, and we had three trays of drumsticks. Chris and my dad handled the grilling. Our friends all brought a side, and we had tons of food. The house was full of old friends and new, and lots of kiddos! It was a fun time. Afterwards, we spent some time doing some much-needed catch-up with Matt & Jen, who are only in town from California for a couple of weeks. We miss them, and it was so great to have them here. Be sure to check them our, and sign up for their newsletter.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 at 9.16.21 AM Screenshot 2014-09-19 at 9.15.18 AM

This week I started working in the office again. It’s been an adjustment. I’ve had to be up early every day, instead of being able to saunter down the stairs in my PJs and log on. I’ve had to get dressed up (and buy clothes), put make-up on, wear heels. I haven’t been able to do laundry, grocery shop, or run (which is not good for the Chosen Race in 5 short weeks!), but I know I’ll get used to it. I have been carpooling with my friend, Lisa, from my neighborhood, which has been nice. It’s helping with the expenses of paying for gas and parking, and also giving us time to just chat and talk about life (read: our kids). I’ve been drinking way more coffee than normal, but hope that after another week or so of this, I can start feeling normal with this routine and cut that back. We’ll see!

what happens when we walk in the door after a long day.

what happens when we walk in the door after a long day.

Tuesday night, we went to LifeGroup Connect at our church to try to get connected to new LifeGroups. This time, Chris and I split up, looking for Men’s and Women’s groups. I found mine, and Chris is still hoping to get plugged in. I look forward to getting to know the new group of ladies, and growing with them in our walk.

And last night we had pizza with friends before hitting the road to Myrtle Beach. We left after Austin’s bedtime and hoped that he would sleep the whole ride down… Well, this is a whole ‘nother post in itself, but it didn’t go down quite like that. Austin threw up in the car 1/3 of the way down. And didn’t stop until his last (read: sixth) round of heaving in the driveway of our destination. Oy.

And I think that’s it! Oh wait- no, it’s not. In my last post, I told you that we were still going back and forth with our adoption agency about the language of our contract. Well, we couldn’t come to terms, so we are no longer moving forward with that agency. We (read: Chris) have been talking with folks at other agencies, and we’ve been praying about our next steps. We have found that the social worker who did our home study in SC is now employed by one of the agencies we were considering. After talking with her, we have found that our education would be accepted there, and they can build on our completed DSS home study to save us time. It’s a Christian agency, and we are feeling like this is the route we should head down. We’d appreciate your prayer around that!

We’ve been like little Energizer bunnies over here. Or like little Austins… Lord knows he keeps going and going…!  He is awesome and brings us so much joy and laughter. It’s really amazing how much he is learning and growing. I’m hoping that this weekend gives us a little time for just rest and family. And I’m hoping that when we get back to the grind, we’ll have time to just slow down a bit, even though our calendar is already filling up. I’m just thankful that we have maintained our sanity during this crazy time for us. Wonder how long we can keep it up….?

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…

WP_20140817_004 WP_20140817_011 WP_20140817_007

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.

WP_20140817_022 WP_20140817_016

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

WP_20140817_025 WP_20140817_027WP_20140817_030

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

WP_20140817_034

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.

WP_20140817_045 WP_20140817_038

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…

Lake’n It

A while back there was an internet coupon for a pontoon rental, and  some neighbors decided to purchase it with us. It entitled us to four hours on Lake Norman, and we figured we could go just the four of us, or bring the kiddos, or bring more friends. It got tucked away until later in the summer.

Well, those neighbors moved away, sadly, and the coupon will be expiring soon. So we reached out to a few friends to see if anyone wanted to join us on the lack, and we booked our time. Unfortunately, when today rolled around, nobody could make it out to join us. Sad! But Chris and i decided to make a date of it. 

After a morning of working on the townhouse, doing some repairs that the inspector said should be fixed before closing, we headed up to the lake, just the two of us. We got there a little later than planned, but were going to make the most of the time. We came wearing our bathing suits, armed with Jersey Mike’s subs and Lime-a-ritas. And it was glorious.

WP_20140813_014 WP_20140813_013

 

 

The sun was shining, but there were beautiful puffy clouds providing cover intermittently. It wasn’t crazy hot, and the water was pretty quiet. I guess that’s the great thing about going during the middle of the week. It wasn’t crowded at all!WP_20140813_010 WP_20140813_012 WP_20140813_009

I even got in the water. Chris said my face looked like Austin’s when we pour water over his head in the bath. Lol. I mean, he is my child… But it wasn’t terrible. The water was warm enough, gentle enough, and I could handle it for a little while- even if I was clinging to the ladder on the back of the boat. All in all, I’m glad today worked out the way it did. With all of our business, Austin being sick, and Chris being away from home, this was exactly what we needed. We had a wonderful time jamming out to classic rock, pointing out amazing homes, and talking about our future. We have decided we would love to retire on a lake so that all of our kids and grandkids will make excuses to come and visit us. Hehe. If I sit still enough, I can still feel the motion of the boat rocking. And that is only after 3 hours on the boat. We’ll be going on a cruise at the end of the month for our friends’ wedding, and I’m sure I’ll feel that sensation for a week after that!

WP_20140813_002

I loved it. The lake > the beach. Just my opinion. Once we docked (or whatever you call it) we rushed off to get Austin before 6, and went and shared a heaping plate of nachos at one of our favorite Mexican spots near home. All in all, GREAT day!! Now I am off to bed. Back to busy life tomorrow!

Popsicles

Last weekend, when Austin was sick and not eating or drinking, I asked Chris to bring home popsicles, hoping we could cleverly disguise some hydration. But he wouldn’t touch them. Until Sunday evening. That night, we had all of this probiotic, kefir popsicle goodness.

WP_20140810_006

Here he was testing it out. 

WP_20140810_015

and the verdict is in! He likes it!

WP_20140810_008WP_20140810_020

I mean, come on. The cuteness. Just. Too. Much. Cuteness. 

He kept saying “cold” which sounds more like, “Coh?”. But then he’d take another big bite. And every so often, he’d have a full body shiver. It was hilarious. And the next night started off with another one, but after that, he ate like a champ again. Popsicles for the win!