Monday, August 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our little house has come a long way since we moved in 5+ years ago....

When we first bought it, it was a lot of things...clean, 'sturdy' (as the men said...), cute, and pink.  Very, very pink.  Everything was pink.

A little old lady had lived here alone, for a very long time.

Hence the pink.

We weren't a fan.

So we worked our booties off making this house a home.

Just when we thought we were done - we I thought of another project.

What have we done?!
New flooring throughout the whole house (twice in some rooms!)
New kitchen cabinets & appliances
Paint/wall coverings in every room
Remodeled both bathrooms completely
Added 'home office area' in kitchen/dining room
New front & back doors
New windows
Finished off the garage
Finished off the breezeway
New light fixtures throughout
Countless outdoor odd-jobs
...all of that, in 5 years!

And 80% of this was done by Jake & his brother.

I made my man work like crazy.  If I can speak for both of us (and I will speak for both of us...) now that the work is behind us, we're so pleased with this little house of ours.

There are still a few more projects to go...but most will wait until next summer, after we've gotten used to little feet, early bedtimes, and new routines.  I would list the projects here, but I haven't talked to Jake about all of them yet :)  I don't want him to have a fit while he reads this at work....!

All of this to say - thanks, Jake.  For doing all of this for me.  Because I know you'd live in a shack.  Thanks for going above & beyond for your lady.  I DO appreciate all of it.

Look how far this place has come!  Love you :)

One Thing I Know For Sure: We're never going to want to leave this place.  If only it were in a different town.....

Sunday, August 28, 2011


She takes my breath away!

Melts my heart!

What a beauty!  An absolute doll!

No - she's not ours.  She can't be.  She lives in a completely different country than Carter.

Practically impossible.


Recently - I had a scare.

Some of the regions of Russia have stopped adopting to Americans.  I don't get it, either - that's just how international adoption goes, I guess.

Immediately, I thought of Alice.  And as I frantically looked her up on Reece's Rainbow - I realized that her region would not be affected by this.

Phew!  She's still adoptable.

But...she's been waiting so - so long.  Where is this girls mommy?

Remember this post that I did a few months back?  If not - go back and read it.

One of the girls - Carlene - has found a forever home.  She has a family coming to get her.

But Alice and Lilly are still waiting.

Why does Alice keep getting looked over?  Why is nobody choosing her?

Lord - you know who this girls mommy is - move in her heart right now.  Speak to her loud & clear!  May she not rest until she realizes that this is her daughter!  And speak to her daddy!  Open his heart!

Move, Lord!  Move!

One Thing I Know For Sure:  I'm praying you home, sweet girl.  Keep holding on!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Today is yard work day.

I'm not complaining - it's a gorgeous day for yard work.  Cool, breezy, but still sunny enough for an end-of-the-summer tan :)

Remember that post I did about our beautiful flowers?


That was before we realized that we could be traveling to Carter's country in the fall.  That was when we thought his country would be closed for months.

That was before the crazy paper chase.

The paper chase is over, and now we're working our buns off to ready our house for the new addition.

Trimming trees, cutting weeds (no - not 'pulling'.  no - these weeds require 'cutting'.), rototilling...but we had fun doing it.  Moses had fun 'helping'.

Our time together is sweet - even if we're working our buns off.

Because we know that soon - very soon, it won't just be the two of us.  So we're taking advantage of every moment we have, before our lives change forever.

So - apologies to our neighbors, for having to look at all those weeds (no - they're not trees.  they're weeds).  We've been a bit busy :)  And weeds are always the last thing on my mind.

One Thing I Know For Sure: All this yard work makes me wonder what else we can work on before Carter gets home...hmm....!  I'm making a mental list now :)

Don't forget to go here, click on the link at the bottom, and order some Scentsy product to help bring Caleb home!  

Friday, August 26, 2011


I love scentsy.  Absolutely love it.

It's perfect for us...because I'm a candle lighter.  Not just for the ambiance, but also because it covers up whatever smell seems to be haunting our home for the day.  French Onion Soup from last night, wet dog, or even stinky garbage.

Jake, on the other hand, doesn't care for candles.

Okay, he hates them.

Yes, I know, hate is a strong word - but it's true.

He says they make the house hot.

He's quirky and I love him.

Back to Scentsy.  If you have no idea what this is - you need to check it out!  You purchase the scentsy warmers in any size.  I have the Full-Size Warmer and the Wall Plug-In.  Then you choose your scent, and purchase the bricks.

Once you get it home - you plug in the warmer, put a few pieces on the warmer, and your house will smell like a dream in no time.

Why am I telling you all of this?!  Because a friend of mine sells Scentsy, and she's started a fundraising party for our friends, Ben & Juli Prevost.  Remember the Prevost family?  They're adopting a three year old boy from China, who also happens to have Down Syndrome.  They're traveling in the next few months, and are still trying to raise the rest of sweet Caleb's ransom money.

The party starts NOW - and it's waiting for you to make the first purchase!  The scents to choose from are limitless - from "Paradise Punch" to "Sharp Dressed Man" to "Sticky Cinnamon Bun" to "Lucky In Love"...there are sure to be several that would smell great in your home!

Nervous about ordering a scented product online, because your computer doesn't have 'scratch&sniff'?  No worries - each scent has its own detailed explanation!

At least stop over to browse!  I'm getting a Scentsy Buddy for Carter!  We'll bring it with us when we visit the orphanage (with the Baked Apple Pie scent pack inside) and then we'll use the Baked Apple Pie bricks in our Scentsy warmer once we get home!  So our home will already smell familiar to Carter.

Also - if you're a family that might be traveling soon - I would look at the travel tins!  I plan to bring a few for our apartment in Eastern Europe - never know what it might smell like before we get there!  These tins are wickless/flameless.  Just pop 'em open and the place will smell great!

Okay - there's my Scentsy plug :)  Please - go and purchase for the Prevost Family, and for Carter's buddy Caleb :)

Click Here to be directed to the Prevost's Scentsy Fundraiser Page!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Can't wait to get Carter's Scentsy Buddy!!

By The the new blog header and side tags?  I was bored.  :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Fundraising is tough.

So, so tough.

You can't possibly understand it unless you've done it.

And we have.

We were SO blessed by our church family, and our benefit raised over $21,000.

Sadly - it just doesn't always happen like that.  In fact, it almost never happens like that.

This family has about $3,800 left to go, and they will be traveling in weeks.

WEEKS to raise almost $4,000.

They're not just asking for - it's way more exciting than that!!

They are offering some fantastic gifts!

Please - go to their blog, donate, and comment on the gifts that you'd like an option at!

I'm going for that adorable camel fossil bag.  It will be perfect to use as my carry-on and purse in Carter's country!

It's totally mine!

Okay, maybe not.  But it could be!

You say you don't know this family?  You've never met them?


Trust me, they don't mind :)

Go - Give - Share - ACT, church!  Act!!

If you can't give - pray.  Pray that the funds come in.  I know they will!  It's all for this sweetie - waiting for his momma & poppa to come and kiss him up!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Go look at those awesome gifts!  But don't put in options for the fossil purse :)  Because it's MINE!!!

Pray, Friends...

Everything is going fine for us - great, actually!

I'm asking that you would just pray.  Pray for someone I love very, very much.

Someone who is hurting, grieving a loss, and frustrated beyond belief.

It's hard to find the words to say - so I just listen.

I know God listens, too.

Pray, friends.  For someone whose heart is hurting.

That's all I can say right now.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Prayer is works!  Pray!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Home Again

Our vacation is over - we pulled in the driveway before lunchtime, and if you looked around our house right now, you might not even know we were just on a week long vacation in the sticks.  Laundry is almost done, everything is unpacked, and we are back to our Saturday routine.

We couldn't have asked for a better week.  August in the north woods of Wisconsin - it almost always delivers.  The weather was perfect, the puppies behaved themselves, and the camaraderie was extraordinary.

Last year, I was almost obsessive about catching that perfect shot of the bald eagles as they dove toward the water for their morning snack.  It consumed me.  Not this year.  No way.  Instead of running for the camera, I sat back and enjoyed them.  I heard their wings push the air out of the way as they flapped right overhead.  I listened to their young scream at them, begging for food...and watched on as the mother insisted that it was time for them to learn how to do their own fishing.

I missed out on all of that last year.

I won't bore you with an hour long slideshow of our vacation - but here are some of the highlights :)

Jake doing some solo fishing.
Not incredibly successful - but when you're up north, it really doesn't matter.

These dogs are serious about their pontoon boating.

We did some nighttime muskie fishing...also not hugely successful.
But - it was so ridiculously peaceful on the lake at night.

No - this is not a muskrat carrying away Moses' toy.
It's cousin Calvin, showing up Moses in a game of fetch.
It's not Moses' fault - he had some paw problems all week.
Lots of limping, licking, and lounging for him.
Praying it won't require a vet visit....

Goodbye, lake house.  Goodbye, nighttime fires.  Goodbye, Bible reading on the eerily quiet morning lake.  Goodbye, pb&j pudgie pies.  Goodbye, bald eagles.  Goodbye, loons.  

Goodbye, vacation.


Now that I'm done wallowing in self pity because it's back to reality - there are some exciting things to share.

First - we received news that our Dossier was delivered & signed for in Carter's country!  That means that right now, it's being translated, and will be submitted soon.  After it's submitted, we can expect to travel in about 4-5 weeks.  

That's very, very soon.

Oh my.  


We also got a surprise email while on vacation.  It was from a friend who was at Carter's orphanage earlier in the summer.  She was going back through her photos and found one of Carter, that never got sent to us.

Isn't he the cutest?  I guess we'll need to buy him some sunglasses :)

Notice the blue & red towel that he's sitting on?  It's the same one in his Reece's Rainbow photo.  

The girl he's sitting with is 'Lucy', also listed on Reece's Rainbow.    

Is Lucy's momma out there?  I know she is.  This girl needs her momma.  Look at how sweet she is!  I would love to see this girl in a few short weeks, and whisper to her that her momma is coming for her.  

Where are you, Lucy's momma??  


Speaking of photos, there has been a very disturbing one circling the Reece's Rainbow community this week.  Thank GOD - this girl has a momma coming for her very soon.  But there are more like her - JUST like her, wasting away.  

This girl is 11 years old.

She weighs 10 pounds.  

Lord, have mercy.  

My heart rejoices that this 11 year old, 10 pound girl has a forever family.  I'm praying they make it to her on time.  

How on earth has she held on for this long?   Most of us would have given up years ago.

As my heart rejoices, it also aches.  I know that there are so many more just like her, but they are locked away - behind closed doors, hidden from the world.  They might never be reached.  Ever.  

Pray, church.  Pray that God would move.  He always does.  


With that, I'm off to tackle my Saturday.  And make a list.  A travel list.

I can't believe we're close enough for a travel list....!!!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Vacations are great...but so is sleeping in your own bed :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When did this happen?!

It's amazing how it happens.  Almost over night.

Blink, and you'll miss it.

This is how I remember them.  Chubby cheeks, high-pitched voices (except for Josie...!), and kisses on the cheek.

Seriously, when did this change?

No longer interested in dolls & dress up - unless 'dress up' involves a trip to the mall.

No more reading books on my lap, because they've got more important things to do - like spend time with girlfriends.

I know - we grew up, too.  But this is crazy.  Just crazy.

As one aunt put it  - all of the kids are at a reproductive age.  Didn't want to think of it that way....but okay.  :)

I'm the oldest cousin in my family - I was 12 when the next cousin, Jacob, was born.

Well this stinks, I used to think.  Everyone else gets cousins their own age.  Playmates.  Pals.

Not me.  I've just got a bunch of kids for cousins.

Boy was I wrong.  What a treat to watch these kids grow into 'real people'.

Drivers license's, girlfriends (no boyfriends yet - I don't think...!), cell phones...unreal.

I feel like Jake & I have a unique relationship with these kids.  We love them like crazy.  I feel like we're close - but I wish we were closer.  And now that they're older, it just seems 'too late'.  I wish I could have done more - been there more - spent more time just being together.  Not because of a birthday or holiday, but just because spending time together is special.

And as much as we feel as though we've dropped the ball...we also know that we've loved these kids so much.

And now they're in the same place we were.  Much older cousins (okay, second cousins) to a much younger cousin.  And we wonder - what if they just don't 'get' Carter?  What if the bond isn't there like it was for us, because they don't understand his Down syndrome?

Until I had a conversation with one of these guys.  After spending the week on a missions trip, working with kids with special needs, he said "Those kids changed my life - it makes me 10x more excited to get Carter home!!".

Okay.  So he gets it.  Completely.  And I have total faith that the others will get it too, once they meet our sweet boy.



He doesn't know it - but this boy has my heart.

He took it when I first met him as a newborn, and I just haven't taken it back.  He still greets me with hugs, and just a few weeks ago when he left my house - a kiss on the cheek.  He sits on my lap.  He puts his arm around me.  And it makes me feel like we've got something special.  I'm not fooling myself - I know he's this way with everyone.  But a girl can dream, right?!

When I first got my drivers license, I took him to a local drive-in restaurant, Ardy & Ed's.  Root beer is their specialty, and I knew this 4 year old guy would love to sit in the car and drink an ice cold root beer.  One thing led to another, and it turned into a lesson (from me) in burping.  One of my finer moments?  Maybe not.  But a special memory for me, nonetheless.

This guy got his license a few months ago.  He texted me with the exciting news...and said "when I'm around...I'll take you to Ardy & Ed's for a root beer.".   My heart melted.   He remembers.

What a guy.

A lesson learned for us....not to waste a single minute building memories.  Every day is an opportunity.  Every moment is a chance to love.

Wish I would have chosen to love on all of these kids more.  The opportunities are almost gone.  What I wouldn't give for a few more opportunities.

Then I think...what if they forget about me?  What if they move on with their lives, and I'm just that cousin that used to do fun things with them?  I don't really want to think about that.

Because really - truly - we love these kids with a ridiculous, crazy, unreal kind of love.
Wishing we would have shown it more.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  It's never too late, I guess....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I'm Up To...

This week, I've been crazy busy.

This has been my view...

Our sides are sore from laughing at things like this....

And we've made sure to do plenty of this...

Mixed with lots of this, too...

It's been a rough week....


These photos are from last year, and I wrote this post a week ago, to be posted today...just for you :)  Because I'm just having too much fun to be blogging!  

*Note to my future, post-vacation the laundry NOW!  Don't kid yourself into thinking it will be easier to wait a few days!!!

One Thing I Know For Sure:  *sigh*.....   :)

Friday, August 12, 2011


Look at those eyes.

Most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.

Okay, maybe I'm biased.

But soon...I won't have to look at a photo to look into our boy's eyes.

I'll see him face to face.

We're so close.  

Because our dossier has been

It's hard to believe that since April 1st, we've filled out, notarized, and apostilled over 35 documents - completed our home study - and sent our documents to Carter's country.

And now - all of our hard work is in an airplane, headed to Eastern Europe.

When will we travel?  I don't know.  When will they get the dossier submitted?  I don't know.  When will it land in Eastern Europe?  I don't know.  

All I know, is that we're so, so close.

Words can't even express this feeling - freedom - peace - excitement - it's incredible.  I imagine this is how it feels in the days and weeks before a mommy goes into labor.

Except instead of stretch marks, I have paper cuts.


This whole process has been one adventure after another, and today was no exception!  I left work at noon, and planned to meet a friend at 1:00 to drive down to Madison.  Everything was great until about 12:30 when we got a call from someone with Reece's Rainbow about one of our documents.  It was the notary sheet of our I-171H - it was notarized before the I-171H was issued!  Well that just won't cut it!  So, we quickly called our best, most favorite notary, Carol, and she said she would do it for us! Then, Jake called the ladies doing the apostilling, and they said they would re-apostille the entire thing (instead of just adding the I-171H like they had planned to do).  So - I made it to our meeting place by 1:07 and we were on our way!

We made it to Madison, and had an inadvertent little walk around the capital :)  No - we weren't lost, just enjoying the scenery :)

Lisa found the office we needed, and everything worked out perfectly!

Picking up those documents was an amazing feeling.  I can't even believe we're DONE.  Incredible.  Surreal.  Crazy.

I was a fruitcake about that white envelope the entire ride home. I kept asking Rachel if they were still sitting there in the back seat.  I thought about buckling them in - but realized I might wrinkle one of them :) We were all paranoid about spilling a soda on them - which is totally illogical, because they were on the other side of the car.  But I just kept thinking that I would bust out laughing with my soda in my hand, and it would fly into the backseat, all over the documents :)  Ha.

They made it home, safe & sound.  They're resting, now (at Fedex) - because tomorrow they have a very, very long trip ahead of them.

Because they're headed to Eastern Europe.

Oh my word.

Pray - please.  That they get there safely, that they would be perfect as they are, that they would be translated and submitted quickly and smoothly....pray!!


When is the appropriate time to thank everyone who has given of their time?  Is it now?  Is this when we tell everyone how grateful we are for their sacrifice?

I don't know.

How do you even thank people that have stayed up late into the night pleading with God for our boy?  Or people who whisper his name while they work, or include him in their night time prayers with their kids?

How do you thank people who gave financially, so that Carter could come home?  How do you tell people 'thank you' for giving over $22,000?

How do I thank young girls who love us and our boy so much?  How do I thank those girls who, in their childlike faith, have cried out to God on behalf of Carter?  They've given up time in their valuable summer months to make things for our boy...because they love him so, so much.  How do we thank them?

What about our family?  How can we possibly thank them?  They've put up with us (we've been a bit unbearable the last few months) - and assure us that "it's okay - you're under a lot of stress".  They are so, so good to us.  How can we ever thank them?

And my husband.  I don't even know how to thank him.  He said 'yes' - when his flesh wanted to run the other way.  He said 'yes', over and over again.  When I was starting to think this might not happen now - he said "No - I'm calling someone about a homestudy.  Tomorrow." - and he did.   He was totally obedient to the Lord - and he lead our family through this so beautifully.  How can I thank him for that?

Thank you - thank you - thank you.  If you have whispered a single prayer - given a penny - offered one word of encouragement.  Thank you.

I wish I could do it bigger & better.

Praying that the Lord would bless each of you in an incredible, impossible way.

Because that's the only way I know how to say thank you.


This sounds like the end of our journey - but it's not.  This is just the beginning.  A trip to Eastern Europe is on the horizon....and we need prayer.  The truth is, there are so many things that could go wrong.  Please, continue to lift us up in prayer.  Whisper our names to the Father - please.

Yes - I place huge emphasis on prayer, because God hears us.  I know that he does.  And he loves it when we talk with Him.  He loves it when we share our hearts with Him.

So when you do - would you remember us?

We're so, so grateful.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  "God hears 'amen' wherever you are"

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Now that I can breath after all that Golden Ticket excitement, I have more to say!  I never said I was a woman of few words :)

What a thrill.  God showed up - as he has throughout our entire process.  Every step of the way, we've seen his hand of provision, protection, and promise.  This process has grown our faith in ways we never, ever expected.  We trust, we believe, we ask, we receive, we we never have before.

For me - the trust is what has changed the most.  Not that I didn't trust him before, but he's been so good in showing me how trustworthy he really is.  And to be honest, I've never really had to trust in him like this before.  It's an interesting place to be in - this place where 'if God doesn't show up, then this is over'.  It's a place I've never been before.  And it's a place where really, really incredible lessons are learned.

What if God hadn't worked this out?  What if we were going to go on vacation on Saturday without this paperwork completed?

I have that post written already.  I wrote it yesterday, because we were pretty sure it wasn't going to happen.

And we were okay with that.

Because we prayed.  We asked.  We trusted.  And we were certain that God knew what was best for us.

Does he ever.

Yes - we're giddy with excitement.  That's to be expected, right?  But win or lose, yes or no, up or down, in or out....we trust him.


I did a photo shoot this week, amidst all the craziness.  A beautiful of her life!

The whole world in front of her - her whole life ahead of her.

I couldn't help but think of my own senior year, and how much potential I probably had.  I also wondered what my reaction would have been if someone had told my 18-year-old-self what my life would be like in 8 years.

Ha.  I'm sure I would have told them that they're absolutely nuts.

I would have told them "In 8 years, I'm going to be living in New York City - or Los Angeles - or anywhere but here!  And I'm going to be filthy rich, and drive a BMW.  And I'll have a huge house with a pool and a hot tub and a espresso bar and a million bedrooms and a cleaning lady...."


It was a fun shoot, because she was bubbly, positive, and sweet.  Not many high school seniors like that these days.


I got the sweetest phone call after my 'golden ticket' post.  It was my grannie.  She was crying.  :)

She said "I'm sorry I'm crying...I'm just so happy...!".

It totally melted my heart.

Remember when I said that we have the best, most supportive family?!  That's what I'm talking about.

Love it.


Our vacation.  I guess I haven't really talked a whole lot about it, because of all the excitement.

We'll leave on Saturday, and come home whenever we feel like it.

Well - actually, we have to be out on the following Saturday.  So I guess that's when we'll come home :)

I cannot wait to just get out of here!  Swimming with Moses (or in my Moses swim...I'm not a huge fan of lake swimming...long story...).  Late night camp fires.  Fishing off the dock.  Or the boat :)  Making pudgie pies (pb&j are my fav!).  Coffee in the morning.  A book by the lake.  Lots of laughter with people we love.

Cannot wait.  


So - tomorrow at 1:00p I'll drive down to Madison with a friend, and pick up all those documents.  And then -we'll be ready to ship 'em out!

Hasn't quite hit me yet.

Oh my gosh.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: Madison, here we come!!  :)

I've Got a Golden Ticket....!

It came.

It came.


Today, we got our
It came!

We weren't even expecting it!  Our case worker said she'd call us as soon as she got the documents that she was waiting on.  Jake and I talked around 1:00 today, and we said "well...we didn't quite make it...bummer...".  Then I checked our email when I got home, and out of the blue - there it was!!!

It came!!!!!

Do you understand that this is a near-miracle?  Everything that needed to happen, did.  Everything we were waiting on came thru.  Everything worked out perfectly.  Miraculous!!

It came!


So, what's next?

Tomorrow after work, I'll drive down to Madison with the copy of the golden ticket.  I'll have them apostille the golden ticket while I wait (which in itself is amazing...), and then grab the rest of our finished documents!

Then I'll (very, very, carefully...!) drive all those precious documents home - and we'll send them out to Carter's country!!!!!!!

One Thing I Know For Sure: It came!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let Him Play!

Way to go, Hobbton community.  Beautiful to see a community - a high school - a team, reach out and love Brett like he deserves to be loved!

Sure - it stinks that he can't play.  But rules are rules, I guess.

Way to go, Hobbton.  Way to go!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Love to see people lovin'.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Since Sunday Night...

I've been emailing, calling, a crazy woman.

Here's what has happened.

On Monday
+All of our documents made it to Madison, thanks to Jill!
+Our USCIS case worker called and said she STILL has not received the requested documents that we mailed to her on Saturday.  The post office said it would be there on Monday!  She said there is a new policy that states that she cannot print our golden ticket until she has her supervisor sign off.  And she said he won't sign off on a digital copy.
+I realized that I didn't email our 'document checker' (Luda) in Carter's country a few of our documents.  I'm not sure what happened - they just totally slipped thru the cracks.  The problem is they are all being apostilled!  So I quickly emailed those documents to her!!  Big no-no!!

On Tuesday 
+The ladies doing the apostilling called and said our documents WILL be ready by Friday for sure, probably even tomorrow!!  Amazing!!!
+Jake asked the apostille ladies if they would make a big exception for us.  We need to have our golden ticket apostilled - but we don't have it yet.  ALL of our dossier must be sent together, so we can't just send it later.  Jake said "If my wife were to bring that golden ticket document when she comes down to pick up the apostilling, would you apostille that document while she waits?!".  They said YES!
+Our USCIS case worker said she still doesn't have those documents she's waiting on (I'm sure they're in a mailroom somewhere!)...but she (and her supervisor!) will make an exception and send us a digital copy of the golden ticket, so we can take that copy when I go pick up the apostilling!


Don't stop praying!!  In order to send our dossier before we leave for vacation on Saturday, we still need the following things to happen:
+Our USCIS case worker needs to receive our documents that she's waiting on, and send us the digital copy of the golden ticket (by Thursday morning)
+We need to make it down to Madison (safely!), and have favor with all of those ladies to apostille that last document while I wait
+Luda needs to approve our last few documents so we don't have to redo them, and then reapostille them...because that would really stink!

Keep praying, friends!!!!

One Thing I Know For Sure: this is a wild ride....!!!

Monday, August 08, 2011

So Stinkin' Close....

See this big binder?

Well we have a bit of a love-hate relationship.

Soon, we won't have to use this binder any more.

Because we are so - so - SO close to sending out our dossier.  SO close.

Today, a dear, sweet friend - Jill B. (Elijah & Jonathan's Mama!) spent 5 hours in the car...for us.

I still can't believe it!

Let me start at the beginning.

Last night, after talking to someone who knows way more about this process than we do, we realized that it would be maybe slightly possible for us to send out our dossier before we leave for vacation on Saturday.

So we had to decide whether we would just wait a bit longer until after we got home from vacation, or try to squeeze it all in before we left.

We opted to squeeze.

The first step was to get .one.last.document. notarized.  On Sunday night.  At 7:00pm.

Almost seems impossible.  But - someone who works at the church that I work for is a notary.  And we somehow managed to get a hold of her.  And she happened to be at church - with her stamp.

Then, we called Jill B. - and I think we said something like "okay...are you SURE you want to drive all the way to Madison tomorrow...just for us?!".  She didn't even hesitate!  "Yep - I'll be glad to do it - it'll be fun!".  Okay, then!

After that last document was notarized, and we knew Jill would run to Madison, we booked it home to get all of our documents ready to be apostilled.  If you've never done's a huge job!  There is a different form that needs to be filled out for each different notary.  Some people use the same notary for all their documents (that lady at the bank, or that friend from church) - but we used whoever was available when we had a document to be notarized.  Which means lots of apostille sheets.  It's really a bit of a pain.  But in about 2 hours, we got it done!  And we worked as a team...without arguing...believe it or not :)

Then we made the 20 minute drive to Jill's house to drop off all of our documents.  All of our hard work - sweat - tears...are in that little brown envelope.  It's crazy to think that's what we've been working so hard on.  Just that little stack of paper.  Well - it's not that little.  33 documents, to be exact.

We got home around 10:00pm - and totally crashed.


Now it's time to pray.  Pray like crazy.  In order for us to send out our dossier before we leave for vacation, we need....

*Our documents to be ready for me to pick up by Friday
*Our golden ticket to be in our mailbox by Friday
*Our apostilling to be done perfectly - no errors on their part!!

Pray - friends!  We know this is totally possible!


So what if the documents aren't ready by Friday?  What if the golden ticket isn't here in time?  What if the apostilling is all messed up?!

Well...that's just not going to happen.

But if it does...we just roll with it.  We've already come up with a plan a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h...and if we have to switch gears, then we will.

Either way - we're one big step closer.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Good bye, big blue binder!  Now - Pray!!!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Weekend in Review...

It started off with my favorite kind of Saturday night.

Hibachi with friends.  Lots of laughter.  Everyone telling their most laugh-evoking stories.

Then on our way home, we noticed something was following us.  A storm.

We enjoyed the storm the way I like best.  On our humble front porch, with the windows open - listening to songs like this.

Moses laying at our feet - lifting his head every so often to sniff the cold front coming in.

The sky gave us an ominous show, and just when we thought it was over, the clouds broke and the rain came, giving Moses the shower he was hoping for.

We headed inside, much to pup's dismay.  But we had this tasty peach pie waiting for us.


I won't go into detail about the beginning of our Saturday.  Lots of talk about 'should we send this to be apostilled?', and 'what if we wait to get this notarized?'.  Stress.

And with us, stress generally brings about our not-so-nice sides.  Needless to say, we were brawlin' all day.

Okay, not really brawlin' - but it wasn't all unicorns & fluffy kitties.

It's behind us.

These moments can either be used to teach us something, or be wasted.  Today - we chose to learn.  Less selfishness, and more selflessness.  Less "I'm right!" and more "I'm sorry".


The stormy night ended in my most favorite way that any night ends.

Watching a movie while tucked into bed, hearing the thunder boom & crash, snacking on popcorn (Yes, we eat popcorn in bed. Don't judge).  All the while, the cutest puppy ever is passed out in between us, paws inevitably in Jake's view of the tv.  He pops up when the phone rings in the movie, and we laugh like crazy.  Then sleep comes over him again, and his paws wind back up to their obnoxious position.

And I can't help but stop and think - this is all about to change very soon.

Soon, Carter will be tucked in with us.  Instead of watching movies like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Remember the Titans, or Blindside - we'll be dipping our buttery hands in the popcorn bowl while watching Baby Signing Times & Sesame Street.

And that's okay by me.


Sunday was another perfect day.  Church.  Believer's Baptism afterwards.

And friends.  Friends going way above and beyond the normal realm of friendship.

More on this later.

A beautiful weekend.  Hope yours was too!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Next weekend can't come soon enough :)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Waiting Game...

I strongly dislike waiting on other people.  Who are in no hurry to get us what we need.

That means no golden ticket yet.  Because we're waiting for approval of our homestudy addendum, so we can send it to our USCIS case worker.  That's ALL we need to get our golden ticket.

But I guess it's okay, because we're also waiting for approval for a good chunk of our dossier documents...and we can't send them to get apostilled until we have them approved, first.

So....we're waiting.

This is probably the difference between traveling in September vs. traveling in October.

Strongly dislike.


I have a vacation day today - yippee!  Today was going to be the day of my shower (yes - I'm having a family is so sweet in throwing me one!).  We had to postpone it until September.  It's a long story...another story about waiting on someone else!  :)  BUT - we initially wanted to have the shower in September, and thought we'd be long gone by then (in Carter's country).  So it worked out fine.

Since there is no shower to prepare for...I planned to spend time preparing all of our documents to be apostilled...but I guess I can't do that. That means I'll spend my day cleaning...doing laundry...and if I'm lucky, lunch with my sweets.  We'll see :)  Oh...and I just took a peach pie out of the oven.  The house smells all fruity & fabulous.


Someone with a little something extra works at our local grocery story.  (What's that 'something extra'? It's an extra chromosome.  He has Down syndrome, if you still didn't catch on...!).  Anyhow - he seems to be working every single time I'm there.

Today he was showing off his sword fighting skills.  He's pretty good.

I love that this place accepts him.  I'll shop here forever!

I wonder if he'll notice something extra in Carter when I bring him in one day?

He can show Carter how to sword fight.


Remember that somewhat whiny post I did a few days ago, about those people that we thought would be reaching out to us during this time, but really they're so absorbed with themselves that they've not said a word?!

Well - I think that everyone who hasn't 'fallen-all-over-us' with excitement must think that post is about them.  Because we've gotten tons of extra phone calls, emails, etc. Which has been great!!

But don't worry - if you're even taking the time to read this - it very likely does not pertain to you :)


We got a very sweet card in the mail this week, from a dear friend of Jake's family.  They, too, have been through the adoption process - domestically.  This card was filled with so many sweet, kind, encouraging words.  Would you believe this family waited 3 years from the start to the finish?!  Amazing.  And even after three years, she said "it was all worth it.".

Thanks, Lynda.  You're too sweet.  We love you!


Well...until we meet again, be blessed, sweet friends!

And enjoy the weekend!

One Thing I Know For Sure:  I'm glad my shower isn't tonight...because I'm really not having a great hair day.  Just being honest....!

Monday, August 01, 2011

I'm nesting...

I've always been a 'nester' - I've always been on the hunt for ways to make our house more 'homey'....but this week it has hit me heavy!!

I am absolutely in nesting mode.

Here's what I've been up to....

Clean Pantry - check
Organized (with new containers!) - check

Wash out cabinets - check
Replace expensive, extremely breakable plates with cheap (but very cute!) plastic kid-friendly ones - check

Making lists like crazy....and crossing stuff off!
Love lists.
I'm a list freak.

I've also been working on these two 5x7 prints for Carter's room!
That adorable backpack I received in the mail last week has sparked a love for robots.

And...I've been drooling over these things from etsy.....

Suddenly I'm obsessed with sock monkeys.  
I'm pretty sure a robot-sock monkey room wouldn't work.

Do I need this pillow?
 Absolutely not.
 But I'm nesting.
It says nest.
 I like it.

And owls.  I'm also in love with owls.
Sarah & Rachel - can you make this?!
 It's a pattern!!
I'll pay you in an ice cream date (or two)!!

Because this mommy won't need a humongous diaper bag for bottles, formula, bibs, pacifiers, etc!
Well - my purse is already huge.
So this will be perfect!!

Love this!
 And it's for chubby toddler necks, not teeny baby ones!

No - not shopping, just dreaming :)
Not doing a whole lot of shopping these days.
I don't really miss the 'gotta have this thing now!' attitude.
I guess this is part of becoming a mommy.  At some point - every mommy (or mommy to be) needs to realize that everything is not about her.  I can't spend whatever I want now - because there's someone else who needs things.  Needs...not wants :)  And I don't want to spend.  I hate spending, now!  Hate it!

Wish I would have saved all that cash I earned in High School.
Would you believe that in 2002 I was 17 and making $7.50 an hour as a barista at a cafe?
That's nuts!
Where the heck did all that money go?!


Sorry for the tangent.  I'm home alone for the night. Jake is at a meeting, and it's just me and the pup.  That means I can dawdle (and go off on tangents) on the computer as long as I want :)

AND - tonite Moses and I mowed the lawn for Jakey.  Did I mention that it's August?  And August's in Wisconsin are ridiculously hot and humid?  And I mowed the lawn?!  That means that I can probably log as much computer time as I want this week :)

Speaking of's August.  That means that now we can say 'next month we plan to travel to Eastern Europe'.  Next month.  :)  I like the sound of that.


Nope - no 'golden ticket' yet.  Soon, though.

What's a Golden Ticket?! It's what we get from the USCIS (U.S. Immigration) to tell us that we're clear to adopt a child (or 2) from Carter's Country.

When we get that Golden Ticket - we can send all of our documents to Carter's country.

That's huge.


It means we are done.  It means we'll travel within weeks.

It means we're going to get Carter.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Exactly 4 months ago today, we committed to Carter.  And we'll be there 'next month'.....   :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...