Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Time for a new blog

When I began "the fabric of cotton" blog I really wanted to document our adoption and what was going on in our life with traveling to Ethiopia. It was a very special time in my life but I feel like it's been a few years and I need a change. Adoption has a VERY special place in my heart and of course motherhood is my day to day life but I want to create a new blog with more of a focus on design, DIY, shopping finds & living on a budget when it comes to décor. It's something that I love to do & although I'm not very tech savvy I'm gonna give it my best shot.
New blog, new name...when I think of it you'll see it on FB. I'm at a loss for now so I'd take suggestions!

Working with a few friends lately and doing design is something I'm really excited about so hopefully I will get a few followers and from time to time be some type of inspiration to make your home look more fun, inviting, comfortable & stylish.

For those looking for great inspiration my top 7 blogs with design are as follows:







Happy Wednesday to you all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"The Most Precious Jewels You'll Ever Have Around Your Neck are the Arms of Your Children"

Here are a few wonderful thoughts from a message I listened to on motherhood from John MacArthur... (Hannah: A Godly Mother

The Highest calling a woman will ever know -

The Most important relationship in a family is between mother and father. What you communicate about that dominates their thinking (love, sin, forgiveness, understanding, virtue, honesty, integrity)

Are you faithful to live what you believe? Your spiritual devotion is communicated to your children

A women finds security in husband's love because he demonstrated love to her (God in His providence balanced things - absence of anxiety and frustration so she can give self to children and not always fight to attract her husband)

She (Hannah) had a right heavenly relationship. She knew where to go with a problem - right to the Lord. She wanted a child so desperately to give to God.

Children are NOT an Intrusion to your life / schedule -
Characterized by Prayer -
A Woman of Promise, made to the Lord (Give the child to God, from where he came)

* Such great reminders as I am in the trenches of child rearing. The days are long and full of training & it's easy to forget what an important job being a mother is (and WHO I need to be).

Friday, December 26, 2014

3 Years Today

It was Dec 26, 2011 that Joe and I boarded a plane to Washington DC, spent the night and caught the only flight out on Dec 27th to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet our daughter Iris. Although it's been a long 3 years and in some ways it feels like she was always here, I remember each moment of that trip extremely well.
We were terrified and excited at the same time! It was the first time away from Blake which was very hard. It was the first time meeting our girl who we had seen in pictures and prayed for and expected for years...yet nerve wracking not knowing what to expect.
That trip went as well as it possibly could have. We met incredible people and bonded with the families who were experiencing the same thing. Our court date was not until Jan 2 so we brought in the new year in a way I'll never forget. I will forever treasure that trip in my heart.

This is the picture we got of Iris when she left her orphanage and came to Acacia Village where she would first meet us. God was so faithful to bring her to us! How she has brightened up our lives!

We had yet to hold and hug our little girl when we saw these pictures and I remember the longing of just wanting to get on a plane and go meet her at that exact moment. It felt eternal till we could get her...and here we are, 3 years later. I had no idea how much I needed her. It's incredible how God works in our lives, isn't it?

Iris Michele, you are truly a gift from God and we love you!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9 Years!

October 1st, 2005 we said I do. It was such a beautiful day! How the years have flown by - Joe has stuck by my side through 4 miscarriages, 2 births, two trips to Ethiopia for International Adoption, a move across the country, new jobs, new house, 3 kids that are three and under....thanks for being my loyal and faithful love Joe!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A special day

Rewind 3 years ago to September 10th, 2011 and I remember it like yesterday. It was a cool day in Illinois and I was taking Blake for a walk. We had been waiting for months / years for a referral from Ethiopia. I got the call. We didn't know if we'd get a boy or girl so when she said "it's a girl" I about died. A dream come true. Her name was Tarikwa unknown...that's the last name they give orphans there until the adoption is complete. She was never unknown though to the Lord!
I still remember looking at her photos for the first time, it was finally real! She was so beautiful!!!

Telling her the story today I got choked up and realized just how incredible it is that from a village on another continent God brought her here. To me. To our family. It still just amazes me. God knew she needed us, we needed her (especially Blake!) and He was so gracious to us. I had no idea why all those miscarriages were happening - then I look at her face & thank Him for putting all the pieces together.

Monday, August 25, 2014

1 (Very tiring) Year!

At this time last year I was in the hospital, Rachel by my side, for an entire night preparing for labor. Sawyer was nice and toasty in my womb and didn't want to come out. A week past my due date and they had to soften the ol' cervix, causing me to be awake much of the night. I remember Amy coming by as well, we chatted a bit then it was just Rachel and me, trying to get a little rest before life got much busier than ever before.
I don't even remember what time he was born, is that horrible or what? I think it was late morning/early afternoon. That's #3 for you, little details are a blur. It was the best labor though, compared to Blake it was a walk in the park & I had the most incredible midwife who made it fun and relaxed. Well, as good as labor can possibly be.

NOTHING was as scary as driving home with 3 kids in the car (we picked up Blake and Iris from my parents house) and thinking how in the world are we going to do this? A newborn and two toddlers just felt so overwhelming to me. Those early days were HARD. Having meals brought to me was a huge help. Having Celeste pick up my kids and take them to a fun play date was awesome. Having my mom come over almost every day for 2 weeks to take Blake and Iris on a walk was incredible. Having family near by for support made all the difference.

It's been a hard year. Good, but lots of changes & lots of sacrifice. I've always thought of Sawyer as a slice of heaven, I didn't know with my history of miscarriages that I'd ever get to experience pregnancy after Blake so it was a gift to have Sawyer this way. I knew that perhaps I wanted to try for one more and although I have asked myself plenty of times was this really the best timing??? I know God has brought Joe and I through this to strengthen us, show us our weakness & reliance on Him with such a huge task of raising kids!

He makes me laugh and smile each day and I can't kiss and cuddle him enough. If I could have looked into time the afternoon that I had my second miscarriage & I sat alone & the quiet just killed me and wondered if I would ever be a this night, celebrating Sawyer, my 3rd child's life - wow, God has given me more than I ever thought possible. Happy Birthday Sawyer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh Happy Day

It was your typical Tuesday, running around target getting a few things but something changed. Something was different. I was in the back of the store looking at sheets (of course I was) and then the magical words came out of Iris's mouth "I have to go poo poo". Now I know I've shared probably more than anyone cares about my poop woes, but honestly when you live this stuff day in and day out for a good year, it's hard to not be swallowed up in the madness.
Okay, so I run like a mad person to the bathroom, holding Sawyer, pushing a cart, yelling out please Iris, hold in your shadoobee & SHE DID IT. She held it till the right time, went on the toilet, wiped it like a normal person & we were done. This was the first time she's used a public toilet with no fear, no hesitation, telling me she had to go...I wish I could take some sort of credit, but honestly it's a complete and utter miracle.
This is the girl who would stand and take a dump on my floor. This is the girl who would scream and throw a fit when I suggest trying the toilet. She has now stayed clean for church, an Ikea run & Target with no sign of letting up in the future.
We've had a great couple of weeks here and there in the past, so I'm trying to not get my hopes up, but I've never had her tell me she's had to go so often, get it out without an accident & not be horribly upset by the experience. I'm LOVING this & finally seeing a light at the end of a VERY LONG TUNNEL.

One Very Tired but Thrilled Mother...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life lately

It's been a busy couple of weeks, not a lot of excitement but always crazy and amusing. Blake continues to show us symptoms of sensory processing disorder and how helpful OT would be... hopefully next month we can begin that. (Waiting on other factors - it's never easy!) Iris has determined that she wants to be in diapers for eternity...
I've had glimmers of hope since buying her a Minnie toilet that cheers her on, but she's still afraid at times and even with the help of miralax continues to hold it in with sheer will power. It's really quite astounding. We will have a good day followed with a bad one, or a good morning followed with hours of holding it and her refusing. Mom 0, Iris 1. I'm truly at a loss.
Sawyer is sweet but oh so clingy. Blake and Iris were never like this (although I didn't know Iris at 10 months but I'm sure it wouldn't be this bad!) and I find it very challenging to get anything done unless he is napping. It's sweet to see more interaction though between the siblings. They are starting to enjoy his presence lately which is fun to watch.

Thanks to my parents Joe and I have had a few opportunities to go on dates lately, which is a dream come true. It's been a really nice summer with VBS, swimming & time with family and friends. Each morning when I wake up and look out my sweet little yard and the cute faces around the table, I thank the Lord to be in a house in Clearwater. I'm blessed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A few of my favorite things

Favorite candle of the moment = Kohl's Sonoma "Lemonade Stand". It's amazing & only 5$ for a little one(free when you get their coupons in the mail) & I've bought a lot of candles. This one is seriously winning. So, so good.

Best home décor right now = is HomeGoods. Hands down this is my favorite place to stop in during the week when I feel like I just have to mentally escape. There is always a little item that makes my heart skip a beat. Just watching other people buy stuff there is fun. I just have to be careful because it quickly becomes a place that makes me discontent...but it's just filled to the brim with beautiful stuff.

My new craft = find a branch, knot some yarn on it & suddenly I love the bohemian look of this. I blame pinterest of course, but I'm kind of hooked.

Favorite way to spend a morning is at my brother and sister in law's pool, hanging out with my nieces and nephews, watching Iris and Blake learning to swim & enjoying the company.

Of course my dad is my favorite pastor/teacher but best sermon I've listened to online lately is John MacArthur on the Danger of Loving Money ( So good, so convicting & really opened my eyes. Again, I have to say my dad is so wonderful too & I'm loving his teaching on the Psalms, especially on overcoming fear!

If you are looking for a delicious summer salad my favorite is mixed greens, strawberry, feta cheese, glazed almonds & rotisserie chicken. For the dressing just pour a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle some sugar on top. Toss & serve with Bagel chips. Yum.

There ya have it, a little round up of useful information in life. A happy summer to you!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

SPD & Me

It's been a bit of rocky road here at the Cotton's. Hard to believe since I always come across so calm and peaceful right? (seriously kidding there). Dealing with some difficult issues since we began our journey as parents back in 2010...
It has become quite apparent to us in the last few months that we think Blake has sensory processing disorder or at least some sensory issues that need to be addressed.  "Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function smoothly in daily life."  It is a bit of an umbrella term to cover a variety of neurological disabilities. Occupational therapy is a great help and we are hopeful to dive into that soon as well as other activities you can do at home, a sensory diet which includes activities that strengthen neurological development and improve self help skills. (Pinterest comes through for me yet again with hundreds of ideas and information overload... for anyone interested my Blake pins are growing by the hour).

It has been difficult but I'm hopeful with the right tools we can make some progress and get life to be a bit easier for our sweet son.
Iris is so perfect for Blake - they fight like cats and dogs but they adore each other and she is so good to him! She continually brings him out of his shell, keeps him happy, lets him get his way, goes with the flow even though her world has changed a bit due to this all - I'm so proud of my girl. Her potty training has gone down the crapper (pun intended) but I think with a new plan we are working on per our pediatrician she will be back on track in a month or so. One can hope! As long as Sawyer isn't potty trained before her we're good.
Oh my sweet Sawyer, he is letting his good ol' sin nature shine through lately. He wants to be held ALL the time, extremely clingy and cranky but I'm gonna go out on a limb and blame 85% of this on his front tooth breaking through. Regardless, home boy is making life tough. (Blake NEVER acted different when he got teeth in so this is new to me and I don't like it!)

A week ago my hubby became Yep, 42 never looked so good. We celebrated by going to the beach. Too bad my sister and her family got in a car accident on the way and there went my good mood, but they were not seriously injured so that was a relief.
Life has just felt overwhelming on all fronts, but God is gracious because I know it could be so much worse. Financial stress? Check. Parenting stress? Check. My ever constant struggle to be a godly wife? Check. Thankful for the Lord's grace, His forgiveness, and His mercy as I learn what love truly means.
So if you spot a grey hair on my head soon or I look a bit extra frazzled, just glance me that sweet pity look and I know that I have at least one reader. Ha!