Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where Has It Gone?

Time, that is. Where has the time gone?! It feels like 2014 lasted about five minutes. I am not nearly as eager to say goodbye to this year as I was last year. Everything we did this year was a first for us, because we experienced everything as new parents. Everything from holidays, like fourth of July and Christmas, to the small stuff, like finding time to shower, it was all new. Parenthood literally changes every single aspect of your life. The way you eat. "Can/will Squeaks eat this too, or should I cook something else for dinner?" The way you manage time. "Is she going to sleep long enough for me to finish this blog post and still have time to fold laundry?" The way you view the world. "You sneeze near my kid, I'll kick you in the shin." Everything changes. It has been awesome and continues to be awesome, and challenging, and fun, and frustrating, and....awesome. I look forward to 2015 being just as, if not more, awesome. We have a few big things coming up. Squeaks' first birthday is less than two weeks away. Our finalization in court should take place in the next few months (finally!). And a few more surprises around the corner. God is the master of surprises. I look forward to writing about it all!

I enjoyed reviewing our year via photo last year, so here we go again. Although, there is most definitely a theme on my Instagram feed these days.
January. Our beautiful daughter was born!
February. We enjoyed time together, and Josh got to take six weeks off work!
March. I turned 29 and Squeaks continued to grow at the speed of light.
April. We celebrated Squeaks' first Easter and the search for breast milk donors continued.
May. I celebrated my second first Mother's Day, and we celebrated the awesome moms who raised Josh and I.
June. We celebrated all the big strong men in our lives, spent lots of time outside, and celebrated Josh's mom's 50th birthday with an 80's theme party.
July. Squeaks first fourth of July! Lots of swimming, family, and Disneyland. We also celebrated 8 years of marriage, but forgot to photograph it. lol!
August. More swimming, exploring the world, and movie nights at church.
September. Our first family road trip to Santa Rosa/San Fransisco. And, of course, more Disneyland!
October. Josh's 31st birthday, the pumpkin patch, and Squeaks' first Halloween.
November. We celebrated my mom's 55th birthday, Evelyn's second birthday, and Squeaks' first Thanksgiving. Lots to be thankful for!
December. Squeak's first Christmas and the end to a truly blessed year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Let's Do It Again!

Beautiful exhaustion. What a day. 

I won't lie. I have battled stress the past few weeks. The pressure to absorb as much joy as I can, experience every detail, make as many memories as possible on Squeak's first Christmas was overwhelming. In the end, I had to let it go. And when it came right down to it, letting it go helped it happen. Our girl is growing insanely fast. How blessed am I to be "stressed" about experiencing as much happiness with her as I possibly can!? Silly Kristen. Pretty sure I could stress over just about anything. Must work on that. I just don't want to miss a moment. Especially when it comes to milestones. I want to see her face light up, hear every laugh, experience every first with her. The more I loosened my grip on "perfection" the more perfect it got. Fantastic, fun, lovely, sweet imperfection. 

Having our first Christmas with a child made gift giving difficult this year, monetarily and just finding time to shop/craft. Gifts were simple. Simple was very well received. I love simple. I'm not saying we didn't put thought into the gifts we gave, just that my usual grip on perfection lightened. In fact we didn't even wrap Squeak's presents. They were a weird shape to start with, and we knew she'd get plenty of paper-ripping time at our family gatherings. No hours of handmade/hand painted/made-from-scratch. Even though I missed the crafting, because I'm a creative person, it can get to be a bit much when you're hand making twenty different gifts for twenty different people. This year I let Shuttefly and Etsy "make" a few gifts, and they turned out great! 

We spent Christmas Eve at Josh's Grandma's house (Nana Sue). She always puts out an awesome spread. Beautiful table, yummy food, and fun English traditions like crackers and figgy pudding. We had a blast watching Squeaks try to bounce an orange instead of open presents. She got lots of cute gifts including a handmade sock monkey and knit hat from her Aunt Kim and Uncle Ben, fun toys and dolls, and lots of cute cloths. The next morning, Squeaks stayed in her awesome Christmas jammies (a gift from my parents) as we did our little family Christmas at home. I got the best new robe ever. Josh loved his hand engraved money clip, and Squeaks wheeled around her learning walker (that's right, walker!) laughing as she went. We had scrambled eggs, and read from Luke about the Son of God born to a teenage mother and an adoptive father, born to die for our sins. We got dressed, packed the car with gifts, and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house (Josh's parents). Josh's mom and sister loved their Reverent Creations necklaces, and Josh's dad was very pleased with his Game Stop gift card. Squeaks got toys and clothes galore, I got super comfy Toms, and Josh got a cash contribution to the crazy fancy Blu Ray player he's saving up for. After emerging from the swarm of kisses, hugs, and wrapping paper, Squeaks slept briefly on the way to Grammy and Grampy's house (my parents) where we were again engulfed in kisses, hugs, and gifts. My mom (from whom I inherit my craftiness) was very happy to open her new circle cutter and straight pins (her's were so old they barely went through fabric). My dad, always searching for the perfect cup of coffee, loved his selection of Raven's Brew. My mom made the most beautiful little doll for Squeaks, I got an awesome necklace from Reverent Creations to add to my collection, and Josh got the coolest pocket watch ever. After another brief nap on the way to Aunt Patty and Uncle Tommy's house (where we were joined by both Josh's and my parents, and the rest of our extended family), I lost sight of our daughter for an hour or so as she was sucked into a squealing, cuddling, cloud of happy relatives. She emerged giggling and smelling like a mixture of every perfume worn by the female members of our family, and even a little cologne from some strong baby hugging men. We ate, did our traditional white elephant gift exchange, laughed until our stomachs hurt, and watched some truly awesome home movies of my husband and his cousins as kids dancing and singing very enthusiastically. So cute it should have been illegal.

 A truly lovely day. Lovely doesn't do it justice really. Beautiful, blessed, happy, God filled...a day we've looked forward to for a long time. Our first Christmas as parents. Our daughter's first Christmas. Our daughter...that doesn't get old. Merry sins-paid-for, blessed-beyond-belief, grace-filled Christmas!

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

This movie is a tradition for us. My parents came over the weekend before Christmas and we all got our couch on.

Nana Sue's house for Christmas Eve. She always sets a beautiful table, complete with English crackers.

Vivey loved her gifts and we all loved spending time with family.
Can't. Stop. Laughing. Who knew a screen door could be so entertaining?!

Enjoying Christmas morning in her Christmas jammies.
Opening gifts at Grammy and Grampy's house. The bag of lemons in the kitchen was a huge hit too.
Love the doll my mom made her. She hand painted the face, and my dad made a little cradle.
She definitely doesn't get enough attention. Ha!
My favorite ladies.
Merry Christmas from our family to your's. God is good!

Monday, December 22, 2014


I'm sharing this because....it needs to be shared. I know it doesn't apply to our adoption....but it needs to be shared. Read it. Apply it to how you think of others. Apply it to how you think family is created.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Inevitable Is Soon Upon Us

One more month until we have a ONE YEAR OLD!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Raise Your Hand

Adoptive mommas, raise your hand if you....

Have ever felt heartbroken, proud, and unworthy all at the same time.
Think about and pray for your child's birth family daily.
Sometimes forget you didn't give birth to your child, then feel guilty for forgetting, then feel proud.
Wonder and sometimes even worry about your child's future because of the way the media and popular culture portray adoption.
Feel like you're taking credit for something you shouldn't when people say your child is beautiful, and you say "thank you".
Watch your child and wonder how much of their personality is inherited and how much is from your nurturing.
Envy your child's birth mother because she got to feel them grow, and will have a connection with your child that you can never have.
Are super protective of your child's connection to their birth family.
Feel overwhelmingly sad and humbled to be chosen to raise another woman's child.
Swell with pride when you tell the beautiful story of your child's entrance into your family.
Hope and pray you live up to the honor you've been chosen for.
Look forward to the day when your child can fully comprehend how intensely adoption is love.
Read and study the adoption stories of other families trying to prepare yourself for any and every question your child could ever have.
Have an all consuming love for another person and the child she gave birth to.
Thank God daily for our adoption into His family through Christ, for the example it sets, and how it drives you.

You are not alone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Warm and Fuzzies

I know some super talented people! My friends Angie and Kim, who also happen to be sisters, have started an amazing little business that is fast becoming not so little. Kim was adopted into Angie's family, and Angie adopted three beautiful little miracles last year (all at the same time!). Adoption is in this family's veins. These lovely sisters founded Reverent Creations. They make necklaces that are guaranteed to give you the warm and fuzzies. Each design is beautifully created with inspiring scripture, sentiment, and lyrics. Not only do they include uplifting messages, but the quality of their product is awesome. I was hesitant at first to order one only for the fact that Squeaks likes to pull necklaces. Hard. But so far my beautiful new necklace is taking it like a champ. She even got it in her mouth once when I wasn't looking, and while it was a bit soggy after, it dried out nicely and still looks like new. 

Since adoption is a big part of their lives, Angie and Kim have included some beautiful adoption designs to choose from. And as a BIG added bonus, a purchase through their site this Friday can help a child in the foster system have a much happier Christmas. I'm also hoping at some point to host a giveaway of one of their beautiful designs. Until then, go buy necklaces, lot's of necklaces, and give them to the wonderful women in your life.

P.S. They just started making some seriously mouth watering Christmas ornaments too. Just sayin'.

Follow Reverent Creations on Facebook and Instagram for new designs and sales.

I ordered a custom necklace for my mom's birthday, and she loved it! "All is grace" is one of her favorite truths. And while I was at it, I had to get myself a little something. I ordered one with "It is well with my soul" on it (my favorite hymn) and now they carry it in their regular stock! So you can thank me for that later.
Mom enjoying her birthday gift.
*UPDATE: Reverent Creations was able to raise over $400.00 to put toward Christmas presents for foster kids! Hooray!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dec. Adoption Love Link-up: Words

I am not what you would call "politically correct". I would consider myself polite and appropriate, but generally the term "politically correct" makes me tense. In my experience people who strive for political correctness tend to be overly sensitive, always looking for a reason to get bent out of shape over off hand comments. 

However, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that words are powerful things. Appropriate verbiage is a must in many situations. Adoption is one of those situations for me. Hence, this month's Adoption Love Link-Up topic:

What are your views on appropriate adoption language? (examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved?

As always, I look forward to your responses. Please don't feel like you have to address my examples specifically.

I've also decided to make the link-up a little simpler for myself. Ya-know, decrease that stress and all. First, the blog roll on the link-up page will be continual from now on. Those of you who linked up previously and no longer see your link, it's because the blog roll restarted every month, not because I deleted your link (unless you broke the rules). Also, if you linked directly to a specific post instead of your homepage, you might want to change that. From now on, if you choose to write about this month's topic, please back-link to this post and leave a comment below. Lastly, this month's link-up question was posted a little late. That was on purpose. All topic questions will be posted on the first of the month instead of this weird randomness, posting sometime mid-endish of the month. Thanks for sticking with me while I work out the kinks!
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