Saturday, July 12, 2014

GETTING BACK TO CRAFTY

The house is currently silent.  This morning we hosted Mason's birthday party, and I can't believe so much time has passed that he is already turning three.  He partied and ate too much sugar all morning with friends and relatives and we were successfully able to get him to take a nap this afternoon, so I thought I would take a minute to show you a project I did a few days ago - one that gets back to my Craftnight roots.

This project is a direct result of me being a hoarder.  It starts like this.  I moved into this house just over four years ago. Prior to that, Byron and I lived in the townhouse I lived in when I was single.  It was just after we got married (over 6 years ago) that we got our dog Minnie.  And sometime when she was a puppy, she chewed up some throw pillows.  Those pillows, until recently, were in my basement.  WHO KEEPS CHEWED UP PILLOWS IN THEIR BASEMENT FOR SIX YEARS?  Oh right, me, Katie, the hoarder.

So anyway, I came across these pillows recently, and thank the Lord I convinced myself to throw away the chewed up pillow covers.  But the inserts...well I surely could find something to do with them, right?  Spoiler alert:  I did (see above).

I spent the first year of Mason's life taking photos of him weekly, each time on a different background.  This left me with a lot of fabric left over, just waiting for the right project to come along.  Enter this fabric:

I cut that sucker up, sewed it into some new pillow covers, and voila!  Enter style and softness to my front porch.  Next time we want to take a sit on the porch (yes, another slightly inappropriate inside joke within my family) we'll be nice and comfy.


Monday, July 7, 2014

FIREWORKS

This isn't really a Fourth of July recap, but rather too many pictures of my adorable baby.  On the third of July, we got together with our neighbors who have a little boy just a little bit older than Mason.  They are best buddies.  We just did a few little snakes and sparklers, because apparently those are the only type of legal "fireworks" there are.  But either way, I knew the little boys would have a ball, so I grabbed my camera and tried to catch the magic.  I just love experiencing new things with our boy.
These boys.  Here they are looking at the first snakes to emerge.  What is going to happen?!?!?!

 This is the one where I told them to scream.  Ha!  Oh, and Byron is totally faking.
Mason's first sparkler.
And this is the one where I told the boys to give each other a hug.  Kellen went in for it, and Mason, well, he wanted no part.




Oh, that kid!  Now right about here, something hilarious happened.  I was looking through the 200+ pictures I took (in 15 minutes, I KNOW!) and in pictures like the two right above this, I turn to whoever is next to me and say "Look at that face!"  Not long after that, I was looking at them with Mason and with the exact same tone and inflection he turned to Byron and I and said "Look at that face!"  I'm sure parents everywhere experience this, but it was one of the first times that he repeated me and it totally caught me off guard.  (To be fair, probably the first thing he repeated that I say was "Oh, crap!"  Whoops.)  But anyway, I just can't help it.  LOOK AT THAT FACE, PEOPLE!  Have you ever seen anything cuter?  I have not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

PAPERWORK

This is us, moments after putting our form in the mail!
It's called the I-600A, the application for advance processing of orphan petition.  And as of last Friday, ours is officially in the mail.  Gathering the information for this filing wasn't too intense - not like gathering the past 7 years of financial records and notarizing multiple copies of every official document ever - but one of the requirements for filing this petition was our completed home study.  And after waiting several months and finally getting those last signatures, it came in the mail last week.

It feels awesome to cross yet another step in this process off our list, but I won't lie - this one feels a bit insignificant.  I do understand its importance, but here is our current reality.  This paperwork will get processed, and they will make an appointment for us to get fingerprinted.  The bummer here is that we've already been fingerprinted once, and I'm not quite sure why all the fingerprinting people can't just share.  But that aside, we'll get fingerprinted.  Let's say it takes a couple of weeks for them to process our application and make our appointment.  Then it will take another few weeks for them to analyze our results, at which point they will send us our approval.  Best case scenario this will be completed in a month, but more realistically, I'm expecting two.  And then, only then, will we get to file yet another paperwork that will finally finally put us on the waiting list.

The other stressful thing about this all is making sure we are filling out these documents correctly.  We double (triple) checked everything, but I still get that same feeling when submitting important documentation - did I fill everything out correctly?  It's definitely a source of anxiety for me.

So keep us in your prayers.  We knew when we signed up for this that we'd be running a marathon, not a sprint.  We are anxiously awaiting our next, slightly bigger goal, which is to get on that waiting list to get our chance to meet our little one!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HIS BOAT

I hear him say "Come pull my boat, Mama" and I look over to see this.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

THE ADOPTION GARAGE SALE RESULTS

This post has been floating around in my head for awhile now.  I know many of you are curious how our garage sale went, and I want to share it with you...it has just been hard to find the right words.  So I'm going to attempt to walk you through it - the whole thing.  But just know, the only thing I know for sure is that God showed up.

When we first decided to adopt, even before we had told anyone, I started having the idea that we should do a garage sale. I began saving a few things of ours, and my parents were in the process of moving so they conveniently dropped things off to us over the winter, but starting out I knew I didn't exactly have much inventory to do a whole garage sale.  So a few months ahead of time, I began to ask people for donations.  This can be a little uncomfortable, asking people for help, but I kept telling myself that I don't expect anything from people but I want to open myself up to their generosity.  Little by little the word spread, and I would receive a box here and there.  Here and there became more frequently, and by the time the garage sale started I literally (I mean literally...not exaggerating here) had filled up SIX GARAGE STALLS worth of items.  That happened a few ways:

  • Twice I thought I was going to pick up just a few items and my generous friends had almost an entire garage stall full with things for us.
  • I received a text with a donation from someone I had never met before.
  • People showed up to shop with donations at the same time.
I attempted to keep track of how many donations I received, but I lost track.  I think it was 35+.  My friends came over multiple times to help me price and organize items.  Mostly I think they were there just to calm my nerves.  Neighbors just happened to have additional tables that I borrowed at the eleventh hour.  Inventory-wise, it was crazy, but somehow we were prepared.  Still I thought...would people come?

In preparation, I had organized my neighbors to all have garage sales together, so there were about six other stops in my neighborhood.  There was a Craigslist ad for that.  I created my own Craigslist ad.  My neighborhood had a Facebook event. I had my own Facebook event.  We put an ad in at the radio station, and I posted signs in our neighborhood.  I regularly posted teasers to my Facebook event to showcase the inventory we had (which also resulted in a few presales which I was not anticipating, but was awesome).  And still I thought...would people come?

People definitely came.  My sale was to run from 7 AM to 4 PM both Friday and Saturday.  And in the freezing cold temperatures at 6:30 AM on Friday morning, I had my first official customer.  The Friday shoppers were steady the whole day long.  You Friday garage salers are an amazing group of people, truly fascinating.  I am usually blind to this culture, since I'm always at work on Fridays, but watching people garage sale is a bonus.  Dare I say I love you?  Let's just try to move on from this.  So the people came, and the people bought.  We sold furniture.  Baby items.  Books.  DVDs.  Clothes.  Toys. Electronics.  EVERYTHING!  It was incredible.

Saturday was definitely more relaxed.  I think our first customer came around 8 AM, and though the customers were pretty steady until about 2:30, there were definitely fewer.  But you know what?  These customers bought things, too.  In fact, one customer who had come twice on Friday to buy and then haul away a dresser, returned on Saturday just to give Byron a gift card to take me out to dinner.  Some people were so compassionate with us when they learned our story.

I'm sure I am leaving out many details, but I think that covers most.  So this is where I'm going to tell you the actual amount we made at the garage sale.  I will say that we did receive a few very generous donations, but when all was said and done, we made in the neighborhood of $5100.  FIVE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Can you believe it?  I hardly could.  And here's why.

Initially I had set my goal at $2000.  Quite honestly, I would have been happy if we had made $200, but I set this goal with God and I wanted him to know I was dreaming big (see the irony now?).  The crazy thing is that when we were doing the garage sale, we knew we had two payments that would be due very soon - one for $4300 and one for $890, or $5190 total. So you see what God did there?  He not only blew our minds but he provided EXACTLY what we needed.  At the exact time we needed it.  He is so amazing.

And really, he didn't stop there.  The best analogy I feel explains this is the feeding of the 5000.  Because after God totally showed up, there were 12 baskets of food left over.  In our case, there were two garage stalls worth of inventory left over. Which gets handed over to my girlfriend to do the exact same thing next weekend.

So thank you to any of you who donated your items to us, your time, prayed for us, shopped with us, or just thought about us. I feel like I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many people that I may never be able to repay.  No, I will never be able to repay.  And the truth is, I don't think people expect me to.  This is God's blessing and God's grace at work.  Right here.  Right now.  In our lives.

I hope that I am able to post another adoption update soon.  We are in the midst of a ridiculously long process, and even though we've completed training and paid money and sent in vast amounts of paperwork, we are still 1-2 months away from being placed at the bottom of the waiting list.  So if you could pray with us that things would go smoothly and that all the right things would happen, we would appreciate it.  We are on God's timing, so we are not anxious, but we still just love to experience more little wins than little setbacks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

VIRTUAL SHOPPING

We are saving pretty aggressively for this adoption, which means any spending beyond necessities and birthdays is virtually non-existent.  But IF I were to go on a shopping spree right now, here's what would end up coming home with me.
First up, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush.  I am obsessed with makeup lately.  Which is funny, really, because I generally have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to putting on makeup.  However, I have channelled my inner teenager and have been watching YouTube videos about makeup like nobody's business.  I may need an intervention here.  But anyway, one thing I've learned from my research is that this is basically the blush of all blushes here.  So of course, I want to try it.  I believe the color I have here is called Captivating.  How fun is that?
And while I'm on the topic of beauty products, here is another one I've been wanting to try - NYX Butter Gloss in Apple Strudel.  I am not generally a lip color gal (mostly because I'm insecure) but these seem to be a light and sheer option.  And since I'm feeling bolder with my makeup choices, I thought I could venture out just a smidge.  I am expecting this to be more like a lip gloss than a lip stick.  I guess if I ever get it I'll let you know (though this is pretty inexpensive so there is a chance I could make the exception and try this one!).
Moving on to a home related item, isn't this shelf just the cutest?  It's the Universal Expert Beech Wood shelf from West Elm. (On a side note, do you remember the episode of Friends where Rachel and Ross are obsessed with Pottery Barn and they keep telling Phoebe they have bought antiques from the time period of Yore?  Ross says something like "It's the rustic bird cage, large."  I just reminded myself of him telling you what that product was called.  I could have gone on to say it was the "small".  I will just go ahead and say what you are all thinking.  Dork.  There, that's better, and let's move on.)  I am picturing it under my cabinets right next to my coffee pot, with my sugar bowl on top and my two favorite coffee mugs hanging underneath.  I am desperately trying to curb counter clutter.  Hopefully this would help me and not just give me another surface to stack stuff on.  Regardless, it is simply adorable!
Up next is this darling jacket.  Apparently, Loft now has a new brand they carry called Lou & Grey.  It is basically the brand of my dreams.  It's a cross between work appropriate and casual in a light color palette that works on us pale girls.  If I wear black I always fear I look like Wednesday Addams.  And additionally, I was just thinking I would like a jacket nearly identical to this one, and the next day poof it appears on the internet available for purchase.  So we can infer here that I possibly have magical powers and if you'd like me to imagine anything for you, I happily will.  I kid, I kid.  Did I mention I am getting over a cold?  That could be the reason that I am so odd today.  That, or it's just my normal.
Here is the last item in my virtual shopping bag.  It's a beeswax candle.  I had actually heard recently that beeswax candles can help relieve allergies.  Is that true?  I have no idea but I have crazy allergies that are going to start bothering me in about a month (right about the time the weather gets BEATIFUL.  Yeah, thanks for that, nose.)  I am always up for trying things that will help me find relief from my itchy eyes.  They are the worst.  This particular candle is probably more than I would actually spend, um, ever, but the packaging was cute.  And since this shopping trip is purely virtual, I can do that.

So those are my picks.  Have I inspired you to try any of them?  Or maybe put together a list of your own?  If so, have fun and happy shopping.  I will tell you we are in the middle of preparing for the world's largest garage sale (okay, exaggerating a bit).  It is our first fundraiser for our adoption and though it might kill me, I'm super excited about it and will give an update on how it went in a couple of weeks.  Right now, I'm just praying for no rain and for people to show up!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

OUR EASTER

We had a jam-packed Easter weekend, full of some really great family time.  By Sunday night, we were exhausted!  I don't have a lot of words to describe everything, but here is a quick recap.

Friday night, I honestly don't remember.  Nothing too special, I guess.

Saturday morning we did errands and played at the park.

Saturday night our niece Jessica got married.  The wedding was at Hoyt Sherman Place and the reception was at West End Salvage.  It was all very "them."  Mason did so well during the wedding and reception, though he did have help from his favorite big cousins...and Angry Birds.  Three of our nephews stayed over with us that night, so yes, it was me in the house with five guys.

Sunday morning Byron took the big boys to help him set up at church, then we enjoyed a nice service.

Sunday afternoon we had an Easter meal with Byron's family, and we left stuffed.

Sunday night we made lunch with my parents and celebrated my mom's birthday with Cheesecake Factory dessert.  We left even more stuffed.

I didn't get many good pictures of the weekend in general, but I did manage to get some really great pictures of the boy. And we really just want to look at those pictures and say how handsome he is, right?
Okay okay I know that's a lot of photos.  But he just makes my heart soar!  He is a little boy that is constantly on the move, so these action shots really represent him.  And while I'm sharing photos, here's one I took of the birthday girl.  Isn't she beautiful?