Random Thoughts on his Fourth Birthday

Birthday's are great aren't they?  Well, at least when you are a kid.  I love celebrating our kid's birthdays.  Thus far we've kept things simple, the kids choose the dinner menu, we play game, open gifts and celebrate.

But for our boys who have joined our family through adoption, I find that the day carries a bit more weight.  We still have a great time. We celebrate together and have the same traditions.

As a mom though, I wonder what their birth day was like.  What their little baby faces looked like, what time of day they were born, how small their feet were.  I think of their birth mothers and am grateful, no matter the story of how they came to our family. Their first mother's chose life for them and that is an amazing gift.

GH is four today.  I have been thinking of his first mom, I will write her a letter and send it off wondering if someday she will get it, we light a candle in her honor.  

Miss A thinks when he turns four he will start to talk.  For her, she rationalizes his lack of communication with him still being a baby and for the past couple birthday's she keeps thinking he will start communicating more when he turns the next age.

Last birthday, I was sure that it would be the last birthday he wouldn't know what was going on.  I'm a bit sad, he still doesn't understand.  While this year he knows the Happy Birthday song, the concept is still not understandable for him.  But we will celebrate him even though he doesn't understand and some day when he understands what his birthday is we will throw the biggest birthday party ever.



Road Trip

It's been a bit quiet around here, much quieter than I expected. We've been road tripping around the Midwest, making stops in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. I had grand plans to blog and make humorous live tweets from the road as we travel with 4 kids. Lots of great memories were made but little time for blogging. 

Dave and I are both from the Midwest originally but due to the craziness of this season of life we don't make it back to visit family as much as we'd like.  I love Colorado to pieces, but something about the rolling hills and meticulously lined fields of crops makes me feel at home.  It was refreshing.

My time "off" gave me lots of time to brainstorm new ideas, I'm anxious to sit and write and share some new things, including road trip tips just in time for summer.  I'm also itching to get my hands on some blank coffee mugs to do some new paintings. 
What do you love about where you are from? What makes it feel like home?


On Love...and Pizza

Last night we ordered taco pizza and pulled out the photo albums. The old photo albums.  Pictures and memories from when we met, when we dated, when he sang a song in a staircase and proposed.  Memories from our engagement, our "I do's", our first apartment and our quaint little first house.  They feel like a lifetime ago.

It was a lifetime ago, 4 little lifetimes ago. It will be 10 years in August, and maybe for that fact alone I'm left reflecting on the past 10 years, how we've changed, how our family has been knit together, how our marriage has changed. 

Can I tell you a secret?  Marriage: it's no stroll in the park.  But neither is anything worth doing, right? 

So we've been thinking on the past and the now.  We've remembered how we were "young and in love", as they say.  Now, we are older... and still in love. But the glimmer of young love and excitement has dulled a bit in the midst of sometimes not working as a team, family, work, and struggles in parenting.  Over time, we had allowed all the "urgent" to make things between us foggy.  We had forgotten to really "date" each other.

To be honest, we both came to marriage with varying expectations and very few solid communication skills. The first year and the ninth year have been the most difficult.  The first year, well, because we had little communication or conflict resolution skills.  The ninth, because over the years we've forgotten to work as a team, to communicate, to treat each other like we were in love.   

And the last 8 months. They've been the most difficult.  I've questioned what happened, where I went wrong. We hit pretty close to bottom.


We pressed in and pressed forward.  More committed to each other, more committed to Christ.  The flaws of not communicating and not working as a team were apparent. We see them clearly now and want to fix them. We are remembering what it's like to date each other again, to consider each other first and to treat each other like we love each other. 

Our love for each other never stopped...but we stopped acting like it sometimes. 

What I'm learning is that whether it's in marriage, or parenting (adoption!), that "feeling" of love isn't always there. Sometimes love needs unearthed and brushed off and polished.  That, friends, is hard work.  But it is work that is definitely worth the time and effort.   

We made a commitment to each other.  At the time we were young and likely a bit na├»ve.  But we are still here, we are still working, and we are seeing beauty from a mess.  From dirt and tarnish, we are seeing a glimmer. 

It's redemption, friends.  God taking a crumbled mess and bringing truth and life to it.  The last few months--they've been better than ever.

Not easy, of course.  But intentional.


Friday: For the Home Edition

I've been purusing Pinterest for organizing ideas for the new house (T-25 days!).  So today's Friday Favorites are all ideas for the home.

Sleeping:: I LOVE that we have an Ikea not too far away and it gives me opportunity for many fun organizing ideas.  This trundle bed is something we are seriously considering. It's a long story, but GH doesn't sleep well his bed is on the floor of our room, there are many ways this works for us now and likely in the foreseeable future he will remain in our room for safety reasons, so this trundle bed idea seems right up our alley:: from Ikea Hackers

Shoes:: This idea for shoe organizing intrigues me, but how well does it actually work?  I love the idea of having the shoes off the ground, they always get kicked around and piled up.  Here's another similar idea but with shelves :: from Ikea Hackers

Books:: Check out these ideas for home libraries.  The pipe shelving definitely caught my eye:: from Tip Junkie 

Kitchen:: Does anyone have these pullout pantry shelves?  They look pretty amazing:: from Remodeling la Casa

What are your favorite remodeling, organizing or home decorating links? 
In case you missed it, make sure to check out the #etsyswap2014 post from yesterday. You should definitely check out the link up as well because I was introduced to SO many amazing bloggers and Etsy shops yesterday.

Another Everyday Summit update for you as well, I have these new airplane prints in the shop.  Something a little different than what's been there and I had SO much fun drawing them. 

Have a great weekend!



Ya'll I had so much fun with this Etsy Swap.  First of all thanks to Meg and Amy for pulling this all together. What a blast!

I LOVED the surprise gifting and had a blast shopping for my giftee, Katy at Change is My Only Constant (she also just opened a new Etsy shop!). It was also kind of fun reading her blog and watching her Instagram to secretly get ideas for her gift.  I will let her tell you what I put in her box and I'm going share the fun things in mine.

And when my package arrived, it kind of felt like Christmas.  Jess did such a great job!  First, she has a cute little Etsy shop, which I'm glad to be introduced to, there was an adorable little panda sticker was in my package from her shop.  Isn't he cute?

And then this beauty.  

I love it and it's totally my style.  The color is great, Miss A wanted to claim it for herself but I didn't allow that. :)

And then this ring from Artisan Tree.  Isn't it fabulous?  I wear it...a lot.

Make sure to head over to Rivers and Roads or Taking Steps Home to see other fun gift giving stories.  Maybe next time you can join in on the fun too!



Hey friends!

I wanted to share something new I've been using.  Have you heard of this app?  Ibotta.  I've been using it for several months now and it's a great way to earn cash while you shop.

How it works:
Download the Ibotta app.  After you sign up, for free, you can select a store where you will be shopping.  Currently they have several grocery retailers, some hardware stores, baby stores, a few restaurants and more.  Thus far, we have only used it for grocery purchases.

Browse through the qualifying purchases for that particular store.  For instance, last week we were buying coconut milk and they were offering $1 rebate.  Each item has different activities for you to do to "earn" the rebate.  It may be taking a poll (1 question), watching a short advertisement, posting to Facebook or reading a recipe that would contain the product you are buying.  It's not a long drawn out process, it's super fast. 

After you purchase the product, scan the barcode and take a picture of you receipt to verify your purchase, then submit.  I usually get approval within a day.  Easy as that. 

You can keep earning and cash out to PayPal or a Starbucks gift card when you earn $5. There are other cash out options available too. I've earned $16 over the last few months but that's without really working at it and because I'm using it on items I am already going to purchase it's not costing us any extra. 

They have bonuses available, currently they have a milk bonus, when you redeem any 2 Any Brand milk rebates you earn an extra $.50 bonus. 

If you use on of my referral links to sign up, if you receive your first rebate within the first 10 days you will earn a $2 bonus!  And you may have a recent receipt with a product you've already purchased just waiting to be redeemed (just make sure it was purchased in the time frame indicated on the product page).  Using my referral link will also give me a little earning to, so thanks in advance! 

Do you have convenient ways to save or earn a little extra cash?


Friday Favorites.

Can you believe it's the last Friday in March?  Where did the month go?  Here are some fun links for your Friday!

To eat:: I've been drooling over grain free waffle recipes lately, like this one.  I'm hoping to get a waffle maker soon.  Do you have a waffle maker?  I'd love to hear from you if you have one you love :: from Food Renegade

For the home:: I'm loving these spring decorating ideas! :: from Whipperberry

Road trippin':: Okay, what's your best road trip tips?  We have a big one coming up, the Big 3 tend to be great travelers, but I'm always open to new ideas.  While we always eat a bit differently when traveling and that's okay, for our health and our attitudes ;) I like to try to keep car snacks more "normal". I loved these easy healthy travel snacks and here is a huge list of road trip activities for kids :: from Eat Your Beets and It's Always Autumn
I have some new mugs in my Everyday Summit Etsy Shop

And, and...
Don't forget Morgan at The True Life of KMK is giving away one of my Chevron Mug giveaway!

So tell me, waffle makers? Road trip tips?  I want to hear from you today.

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