Saturday, July 28, 2012

Iris has been home three months, soon she'll be with us longer than Acacia Village in Ethiopia. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel at a loss with what to say when people compliment their adopted child on how cute they are. I don't feel like I can take credit of course for her looks, and I always just say thanks, but sometimes it seems wierd to say it when it has nothing to do with me.

Joe and I caught a few minutes of a new tv show on Oxygen called "I'm having their baby" and it's all about adoption. They used Bethany as the agency with one story & although it was interesting I didn't think they painted the best picture of the beauty of adoption. It made me come away thinking how relieved I was in doing International adoption after you see what can happen on the domestic front.

I'm so glad Iris came to us the way she did. It was so completely out of our hands & most days I just look at her thinking what a miracle this life is in our lives. The days are challenging with her behavior, but there is such as sweet little girl in there who is slowly but surely emerging a little more each day. It's a joy to see her come out of her shell of being scared to having fun and feeling secure. Then there are those moments where Blake gives her a kiss and my heart just melts. Those moments are much sweeter than when Iris bites Blake (help - she just started doing this!)

Each day is an adventure!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Now what?

I really thought July would be the month we pack our bags and start our new adventure as permanent Floridians. However, no job has opened yet for Joe, the short sale process is lengthy and drawn out due to this being the second round with a new realtor & so we wait. As much as I want to just leave it's not like when I was single and moved to park city (Gurnee area)with no job or car...just a little bit in savings & yet with that leap of faith I got a great job and made two years of great memories with my friend Kristi. Now it seems irresponsible with the duties of a family to pick up and's so hard though to really look into employment from across the country and not be present for things that open up. More than anything I need contentment as I daily have the task of raising two one year olds without the presence and support of family and close friends down the street. Being in a one bedroom condo (and that all important den!)as a family of four is not exactly a cake walk either. I know that the Lord can open doors and close them, so please pray that God would provide a perfect job for Joe (or really less than perfect is ok too!) so that we can be where we feel led to raise our family. Once our place closes that would mean an immediate move which would be great as we'd appreciate your prayers that the selling process would not be at a stand still.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A lovely day for the Fair...oh contrare!

We thought we'd try something different, do something special. What a mistake it ended up being! The Kane County Fair said they started at 8am, so there we were by 9am ready for the action. Instead, what we found were a few foreigners looking at cattle. Yep. Okay, maybe more than a few, but certainly nothing to do with children. All the rides didn't open till 12 come to find out. So what do we fill the time with? After paying a hefty sum to get in we debated getting our money back and just going home, but that cursed drive was behind us and I was not ready to get back in the car yet!

I thought I had a good plan by driving over to Naperville, but after already driving almost an hour to where we were, then driving a solid 20 min. further only to be 15 more minutes away, I lost it we turned back around and ended up at McDonalds to kill some time.
When we finally arrived back at the fair, Blake could only go on one ride. (don't you think if he's in my lap he should be able to do more than that?) The merry go round. So we tried that out after I gracefully mounted the horse while Blake was not all that happy about the ride of his non choice.
Iris only cared about the little strappy part on the stroller where Blake usually sits. The girl obsessed with trying to click it shut the entire time we were out. "Look over here Iris, there's a bunny! Look over here at the cow!" No, face down - conquering the stroller seat buckle like it was an olympic sport.

The highlight was getting a balloon for Blake, only to have it blow away as Joe put it in the back seat and I opened the other door to put Iris in the car ...a sad little boy in the parking lot waved "bye bye balloon"....that was the funniest part of the day.
We both realized by the time we were done today we could have just gone downtown for the same amount of driving & money...oh well, ya live and learn! We have one spare ticket token from the rides hanging in their nursery as a bleak reminder of our attempt at a fun day :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Never Forget

As I struggle with my days of training Blake and Iris I try to remind myself this was not always my life! I don't ever want to forget how long it took to get to this place. I daily try to remind myself of the years that I longed for a baby and only felt sadness and heartbreak.
When women complained or talked about how hard life was with little ones I had no sympathy...I remember thinking I will never utter a word of grumbling, if only I was a mom. The Lord has been faithful to me, but I have not always been grateful like I should be!
I think it's easy once you have a baby or two to forget the pain and loss you once felt. The days turn into months and before you know it, infertility or miscarriage feels like a previous life. I don't want my heart hardened though torwards a world of hurting women because that was me not long ago.

It's almost 3 months that Iris has been home with us from Ethiopia. Felt like a mountain climbed going through the process and all there was to do, but I'm so glad we did it. Ladies, I know pregnancy sometimes feels like the first choice, but it doesn't need to be that way. There are million of babies out there that need the love of a mother and father and so if you really want to be a mom, maybe the Lord has something different for you, an amazing road to lead you into motherhood that you may not have ever planned for.

Blake is 21 months old and each time I look at him I'm reminded of my doctor appointments that I went in thinking will he be alive? He always was. I'm astounded that God gave me a son. I didn't deserve him or Iris, and yet they are gifts from him. The Lord doesn't always do things in the timing or way we'd see fit ...but if He did then I would not have the family that I do. I'd be missing out and I would not even know it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The dark guest

No, I'm not talking about Joe (hee hee)...I'm talking about my struggle to be easily angered. What it is about caring for children that bring out the worst in a person? Of course I struggled with anger long before I was a mother, but it has become a more constant struggle in the last few months than ever before. Hopefully I am not alone and others can be encouraged or reminded of these good verses.

Bible Quotes on Anger

Leviticus 19:17-18
Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Nehemiah 9:17
They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,

Psalm 7:11
God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.

Psalm 4:4
In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.

Psalm 30:5
Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 37:8
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Psalm 145: 8-9
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Proverbs 14:17
A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 16:32
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 17:14-15
The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Proverbs 19:11
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 20:3
It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel

Proverbs 21:19
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.

Proverbs 22:24-25
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Proverbs 29:22
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

Proverbs 30:33
For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strif

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 Colossians 3:7-9
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Ephesians 4:25-27
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

James 1: 17-20
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

2 Timothy 2:23-24
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pinterest Love

I love me some pinterest. It's that time in the day to just escape and have a laugh or get inspired with design or cooking or photography...there is no end of possibilities. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekend Recap

Top 5 Things about our weekend in Michigan:

1. Seeing the excitement on Blake's face when he realized were staying at a hotel & his fascination with the automatic opening doors.
2. Getting to see the look on Joe's mom and dad's face when meeting Iris and seeing Blake for the first time in a long time.
3. Having an hour to myself to jog and swim at the hotel when everyone was asleep. I even got a few minutes in the hottub alone. Paradise.
4. Spending much needed time with Joe's family
5. Breaking up our boring life and getting on the road to have an adventure as a family

The 5 Lows of the weekend in Michigan:

1. Blake and Iris being crabby, tired, and not very generous with hugs or kisses for their grandparents.
2. Iris being completely insecure with a new environment and reverting back to her insecurities
3. Sleeping in the same room at the hotel and waking up to screams at midnight
4. Blake teething nonstop.
5. A long time in the car with 2 one year olds & getting stuck in traffic

All in all a great trip. So glad we went. Hoping for a week of healthy, minus Joe who is coughing up a lung every hour. Oh and Blake who doesn't want to sleep in his crib anymore, now that he has experienced hotel living for a brief time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flint: Here we come

Tomorrow morning we leave for Flint, Michigan. This will be the first time Iris meets her Cotton side of the family & we are so excited to snap some special photos for her to treasure with her grandma and grandpa & Aunt Melissa. It's also been over a year since they've seen Blake so our visit is long overdue.

There is so much to think through with packing and bringing all that we need. Hoping that the 6 hour plus car ride isn't too unbearable, especially with the overwhelming heat. Staying in a hotel will be a first time experience for Blake and Iris and hopefully this will be a fun adventure for them & I'll turn into a fly by the seat of my pants sort of girl who doesn't get stressed about anything.
(How will we sleep in one room? Where will we keep cold drinks like their juice in the hotel room? How will they behave? Will they cry for hours in the car? What if my car breaks down?, these questions simply don't cross my mind!)

Today I finally got the bloodwork done for Iris that I've been putting off since arriving back in the US with her. She was such a champ! The girl didn't scream when they stuck her and actually watched for a few seconds until she realized that it really did hurt and then the tears came. Still, I was quite impressed and glad to have it over. Can't say I'm super excited about the poop samples, but hey, I know lots of moms have done it so I won't complain.

Hope it's a fabulous weekend for everyone!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

Hope it has been a great day for everyone I know & love. So proud to be an American :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Can I just rant for a minute?

It's been a rough couple of days. Blake and Iris are going to give me gray hair VERY soon...between Blake's illness & training him and Iris how to obey, trying to get down to Florida, well, I'm kind of losing it.

There's still a contract on our place, but Joe has not been able to get anywhere with a job in Florida. It's awfully discouraging and I'm hoping that soon the Lord opens the door to a job for him.
Yesterday I finally decided to make sure it wasn't anything serious with Blake and his coughing and glad I did because the doctor felt he needed the nebulizer, antibiotics and a chest x ray that had to be done at the hospital. He did a great job, considering this was hours during his nap time, but he's already improving and hopefully will be back to his normal self soon. I kind of forget what that looks like between his ear infections, bad falls, and cough.

Last night Iris awoke at 9:30pm with high pitched screams and cries... Not sure if it was a bad dream or if the room felt hot to her (it's been SO HOT here!), but that's the first time she's done that. After soothing her for a few minutes and giving her some milk in her much loved bottle she drifted quickly back to sleep. I hope that doesn't become a regular occurence, but we'll see.

Today I thought I'd get out of the house and run to the library - bad move! Not sure what exactly happened between Blake and a little boy who was not so little, but Blake was hysterical & cried every few seconds when he looked in the general direction of this kid. We ended up leaving after only a few minutes. Poor Iris, she was such a trooper! Sitting there, playing alone and having a ball at the little mini table. The girl is an angel in public. Everyone stared at Blake and I, like can't you control your kid, and it was certainly good for my pride. In shame we left and came home, only to showcase my lack of patience until it was time to put the kids down for their nap and have some much needed time alone.

I can't do a minute of this job without the Lord's help!