Friday, January 16, 2015

Rowan's 1st Ornament

This has been weighing on my heart for a while now and I didn't want to say anything for fear of stirring up drama or fear that others will think I'm being too sensitive. But I'm sorry, I just can't keep it in.

Every year, Eric and I get the kids their own special ornament. We try to find something special that reminds us of them. For example, this year Marlee got a play kitchen ornament because that's what she has played with literally all year long! With this being Rowan's first Christmas we wanted to get him something special too! The thing we decided on was to get him a baby! After all he is our sweet baby! :) So I was so excited when I went into the huge Christmas Ornament store to pick him out the perfect ornament. This particular store is known for having really cool ornaments and personalizing them with names and the date.

Side note, another thing that Eric and I do every year is get a family ornament. That way, when the kids grow up and take all of their ornaments we will have something left to put on our tree. :)

As I walked into the store and scanned the ornaments my smile and excitement quickly turned to sadness. I was sad because out of the hundreds of ornaments that they offered, all of the people in EVERY.SINGLE.ORNAMENT. was white. In case you don't know me, this isn't what my family looks like. Eric and I are both white, but we have two beautiful black babies. I walked around the entire store and scanned every little ornament and found nothing.

Luckily my husband ended up calling at the PERFECT time saying that he had a surprise for me in the car (It was Starbucks of course) so that diffused the situation a little, or at least kept me from falling a part in their happy little store.  I also ran into my sister in the store and explained everything to her and so we decided that we would get the same ornament.

There are times like these when it really sinks in that we live in a society that thinks mostly white. If you don't believe me, the next time you go to Walmart or Target take a look in the Barbie Aisle or the baby doll aisle. What color are the majority of the babies?

Please hear me. I'm not saying my daughter won't ever play with a white baby doll or that my son won't have little white action figures. It just hurts a little to walk down the aisle with them and only see a few out of hundreds of babies, barbies, or action figures that look like them.  It also makes me wonder what's going on inside the head of my precious daughter. She hears all the time that she is so beautiful and special, yet she walks down the aisle to see all of these adorable babies and beautiful barbies that don't even share the same skin color as her. It just confirms that my job is so important as a mom to make sure that she knows WHO created her and that no matter what society or anyone thinks or says, she was fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

Although this was such a deep, tough thing to go through we were still able to find the perfect ornament for our sweet Rowan! :) I purchased this from Etsy and the artist did an amazing job! :) JCB Design Studio!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Intentional community

One of the things, since becoming a mom that I really stink at is being intentional when it comes to community. It's so easy for me to spend the kids nap time blogging, reading, cleaning, cooking, watching television, surfing Facebook... so many things. Not that there is anything wrong with any of these things, however most of them I do alone. Also I should add the disclaimer that there is NOTHING wrong with needing alone, quiet time. Sometimes we fill our plates with so much that we neglect alone time and this can be just as much of a problem.

I've come to realize that God really desires for us to be in community with one another. Many amazing things happen through community. I made a list for myself of why I need community. Maybe this will encourage some of you to be more intention with making friendships.

1. I don't have to carry my burdens alone. When I am vulnerable with one others I lessen my burdens by sharing them with my dear friends who commit to praying for me.

2. I am able to see life's struggles through fresh eyes. Sometimes I tend to make things into a bigger deal than they actually are. When I can honestly share these things with a friend that person may see something that could be helpful that I may have overlooked or didn't think of.

3. We can inspire one another to love and good works. We all have that friend who inspires us to be a better person. With this type of person I usually walk away from my time with them wanting to do more.

4. They keep me humble. This one is the hardest for me. No one likes for other people to know that they aren't really the perfect person they portray themselves to be on their Facebook or Instagram. When I am in community, I open myself up to being vulnerable with my friends and allow myself to be seen for who I really am. Imperfect. This allows for me to receive support and feedback from those who desire for me to be the best person that I can be. It also allows for me to grow as a person and as someone who desires to be more like Jesus.

A verse I love that talks about community is Hebrews 10:24-25:

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another all the more as we see the day drawing nearer." 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Psalm 121:2

Yesterday I had one of those days when you start to wonder, "is this really my life". It started out with me having 30 mins to get two children dressed, fed and in the car for our 20 minute ride to the doctor. Than all craziness broke loose at the doctors office. I ended up holding Rowan in one arm trying to bounce him up and down so he would stop crying and Marlee in the other arm trying to calm her down. The poor doctor just kept right on beat despite my craziness and calmly and very quietly told me that Marlee had an ear infection and I needed to follow these specific steps. Unfortunately, all I heard was Marlee has an ear infection. Anything past that was all screams. I heard nothing else.

We finally made it out of the doctor office (room number 3, to be exact) and went back out to the waiting room. This is when Marlee decided that she needed to be comforted by a complete stranger. She decided to crawl up in this sweet lady's lap, meanwhile I had to pick my jaw up off the floor because my EXTREMELY shy girl was now cuddling with a COMPLETE stranger. After I apologized and told Marlee it was time to go, Marlee of course refused and I had to pry my screaming toddler from the strangers arm all the while Rowan is screaming his sweet little head off in his car seat.

Isn't it funny how God can so easily keep up humble through our children? The poor lady could see the exhaustion and frustration on my face and asked if I needed help, and me being me (stubborn and prideful), declined. So of course on the way out the door Marlee trips and starts the screaming all over again.

Maybe at this point you think I'm being a little dramatic and trying to make the story sound more interesting.. NO. I'm not.

The day continued on with a 20 minute car ride where Rowan screamed THE. ENTIRE. WAY. HOME!!!!! The poor man at Starbucks told me I needed 2 extra shots in my vanilla soy latte..probably because he could hear Rowan screaming in the background.

Needless to say, yesterday was probably one of the worst and hardest days I have had as a parent. The scary thing is, I know there will be more days like it.

To make the day worse, I also had to cancel plans with two good friends that I was looking forward to seeing.

As soon as Eric got home I literally met him at the door with the kids and locked myself in the room upstairs and bawled my little eyes out. It was funny because while I was crying i kept thinking "gosh, i just feel so unprepared and like I have no clue what I'm doing or how I'm going to muster up the courage to do it all over again tomorrow". I told you, kids are such a great way to keep up humble.

Well, I'm here to tell you I made it through. Here I am, almost 24 hours later and God has given me a new strength and the ability to face a new day. A couple weeks ago my friends wrote this verse down for me in my Bible Study and I have come to love it.

"No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven & earth & mountains." Psalm 121:2

I love it because it pretty much sums up how I am physically able to continue on. It's not because of my own strength or ability, it's because of God. Oh and I love the last part where they make sure that you remember that this is the same God who made the heaven, earth and mountains. So in case you may think, he's not qualified to provide that type of strength, think again. He made the heaven, earth and mountains, so I'm pretty sure He's got you covered! :) 

Thursday, March 06, 2014


Sorry I have been missing the last few weeks. Just to be honest, the blog is going to be taking the back burner for a little while so that I can be 100% present for Rowan and Marlee. Every once in a while I get lucky and their naps will coincide and normally that's my time to vent out all my ramblings. However, these past few weeks, nap time has turned into either me sitting on the couch staring at the wall wandering how such a tiny person can make such a HUGE impact or me sprinting around the house trying to finish different tasks before one of the kids makes a peep. Let's just be honest, the last few days it's been more of the first one.  :) Multiple kids is exhausting, ya'll. Phew...

I wanted to share one of the things that the Lord has been teaching me lately.  That is the lesson of generosity. Since we have been back from FL with Rowan I have literally had my calendar PACKED full with ladies who want to take time out of their busy schedules to bless us with food, gifts, or fellowship. I have literally been flabbergasted! At first I was like, aw.. this is nice that people are doing all this special stuff for us, but now going on week 3, ladies are STILL coming over to drop off food or just to stop in because they know that motherhood can be lonely. Ya'll this has totally been my "wow" moment. It's struck something deep within me bringing to the surface that I am just not that generous.

I have had so many friends get married, have babies, move to a new house, get a new job... tons of special celebrations and I celebrated with them, but mostly within my comfort zone. Meaning, if it was convenient and didn't hurt too much than I was good. I would stick within my comfortable amount for gifts, make sure that my time wasn't too effected and honestly, sometimes even overlook the person and their celebrations all together, claiming that I was too busy, didn't know them well enough or whatever other justification I could come up with. I have missed so many opportunities to bless others solely because of my selfishness.

I just wanted you all to know that if you have made us food, bought us food, bought us clothes, diapers, toys, blankets, wipes, or come over and hung out with us despite my two year old whining and my baby boy crying, I want to say thank you. Thank you for driving at rush hour 40 minutes from your house to come in and sit on my floor and talk about life. You have really touched my heart and been a part of God teaching me that I need to be more generous with my money, time, and talents. I'm so grateful that we get to do life together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rowan Ryan, you are so worth it

**I'm just going to warn you. It's 4am, so this post may be slightly more sarcastic than my usual.

Right now I am about chest eyeball deep in the baby do's and don'ts . For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about let me enlighten you. Or maybe there are some of you who are choosing to block this terrible confusing time period out of your life. If this is you, let me remind you. :)

The other day after I took Rowan to the doctor I was explaining to Eric how confusing doctors advice can be during the newborn years of a child's life. For example one piece of advice he so kindly gave.

My question: When do I need to give him more formula? (That's a good question, right?)
His response: Oh this is an easy one to answer. He'll let you know when he wants more. Insert my sleep deprived glare at the doctor and jaw dropping, "seriously, that didn't answer my question at all" look. Last time I checked Rowan doesn't talk, so how is he going to "let me know"? Oh you mean by his crying? Well, that's going to be a little difficult because little man cries about 18 out of 24 hours. Guess that means he's REALLY hungry.

Some of the other very helpful (not really) things I've read lately are all the differing opinions of techniques and theories on how to properly care for your newborn. Here are a few examples.

1. Don't let your baby cry. If you do, your child will possibly loose part of their brain development, have ADHD as a child and not bond with you. VS. Let your child cry. This will allow them to self soothe and be happier babies overall. You on the other hand may loose your mind from their crying, but at least they'll eventually be sleeping through the night.

2. Don't lay your baby on their stomach. This will cause them to suffocate and possibly die. VS. Babies should spend most of the day on their bellies. This is great for muscle development and the shaping of their head.

3. Don't swaddle your baby. They need space to  stretch out and use their muscles. How would you like to be confined 24 hours a day. VS. Make sure to swaddle your baby. They need a barrier that prevents them from shredding their face with their newborn razor sharp nails.

4. Don't overfeed your baby. VS. You can't overfeed the baby. Forget their GIANT stomach, they will let you know when they are done eating. Okay, I've mentioned this twice. Obviously, you can tell this is something I still just don't get.

5. Don't hold your baby for too long. This will cause your baby to become totally dependent on you and turn into the adult child. You know, the one who lives in their parents basement. VS. You can't hold your baby too much. This is how you bond with your child and they need to feel comforted by your touch. Forget the fact that you can't get anything done. So go ahead and clear your schedule for the next 3 years because you are considered BUSY.

So in all seriousness now some of the best advice that I got before we had Marlee came from my sweet college roommate, Annie. She said, "A lot of people are going to give you their opinions whether you want them or not. So, just take some and leave some. Your the mom and you know what's best for your baby and family".

Well, some how 1:30am turned into 4am, so like everyone says, I should probably go sleep while the baby sleeps. Or maybe not. Maybe I should stay awake when he sleeps so that I can watch his every move and start learning his sleep behaviors which will help me further on down the road. Grr... I think I'll sleep.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Rowan's Story Part 1

Most of you know that for the last 6 months Eric and I had been actively pursuing adoption through the foster care system. After inquiring about nearly 100 children (seriously, I have all the records) we started to get really weary. We knew this was a need and honestly our search criteria was pretty open as far as age, race, gender, sibling groups, medical, physical, developmental needs. Although we were open, we weren't getting ANYTHING. Occasionally a social worker would email us back saying we're sorry this child has already been placed or due to the age of the child in your home, we feel this would not be a good placement. We were just down right sad and extremely frustrated. 

On our way to Indiana for Thanksgiving we were praying asking God to show us which path we should take. With adoption, there are so many different avenues and unfortunately with all the paperwork you kind of have to pick which avenue and push forward in that specific direction. Since we didn't feel a specific call to a county we were pretty sure that Domestic Adoption was our path. We also, didn't necessarily want a baby and knew there was a need for older child/sibling group adoption, so that's how we came to our decision to adopt through the foster care system. With all the rejection we had received we started to wonder if we had picked the right avenue and even thought that maybe this was God's way of saying we shouldn't adopt again. 

A quick back story. In September while we were in the middle of all the rejection letters from social workers. We were both feeling pretty discouarged and so unsure what exactly God wanted us to do. One day as I was reading my devotions, I read "The Lord will FIGHT for you, you have only to be silent.". So of course me being the dense person that I can be at times didn't fully grasp this statement and I actively continued to seek out child after child after child, only to be rejected once again. If only I knew back than what I know now. God was literally wanting me to be silent, not just my voice but my actions. He was fighting on my behalf and on our sweet Rowan's behalf. He was orchestrating and interweaving the lives of two completely different famlies who would forever be connected by one sweet little boy. 

Well once we arrived in Indiana, the day before Thanksgiving to be exact, Eric and I ALMOST had our worlds rocked. We received a text from a sweet friend saying that a baby girl had been born the day before and they needed a family for her. Long story short, they ended up placing her with another family and although we were very disappointed the lawyer told us of another baby that was going to be born in January. She didn't know the gender, but knew that the baby was in desperate need of a family.

After not hearing from the lawyer for several weeks we decided to reach out to her and find out if this baby was still in need of a home. The lawyer told us she was still working with the Birth mom and would get back to us with more details. Once again we didn't hear anything for several more days, than on December 11th the lawyer called back saying she had been in contact with the birth mom and she was still wanting to move forward with the adoption. She told us that she needed a commitment THAT day whether or not we were wanting to move forward with this adoption. This also meant putting forth a large amount of money, knowing that if the mom changed her mind, it would be lost. Coincidentally, this was also the SAME day that Eric came home EXCLAIMING that he had gotten a promotion at work. Coincidence??? No way! 

So after lots of prayer on December 11th we agreed to move forward and committed our portion of money that was needed for the adoption. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rowan Ryan

I have been slightly consumed with our newest addition, Rowan Ryan that I haven't had a chance to post anything for a while. I promise to start back up once we get a few days with our new little one under our belt. :)

For your viewing pleasure. :)