Saturday, December 31, 2011

365 Choices.

I'm not usually the 'New Years Resolution' kind of girl.  Probably has something to do with needing to commit to something for longer than 2 days.  I'm not great with commitment - I start something, fully intending to finish it.  Like a good book.  I love to read.  I love to sit down under a warm blanket with a good book.  Do I ever do this?  No.  Never.  Because halfway through, I let other things get in the way...and the book goes completely unfinished.  Then guilt sets in.  Yes, I'm serious.  Unfinished book guilt.  "If I were a grown up, I would finish this."  or  "If I were more cultured, I would read this to the end.".  Ridiculous, but scarily true.

This year, I'm going to do it.  I'm going to resolve to make some changes.  Easy, good changes.  Changes that are actually attainable.  And once I hit the 'publish' button here, then it's out there for the whole world (well - the 200 or so that read along) - and then there's no going back.  Because how embarrassing would it be to be caught with unread books lying around my house after I resolved to read cover to cover?  Humiliating, I'm sure.

My Walk.
+Praying for my guy each day.  I fail at this most days.  No more.  
+Speaking positively.  I can be a bit of a negative nancy.  I think it's because those negative things are what stick out from my day - so that's what I talk about.  Fail.  
+Giving more time to the Lord.  Spending more time in His word.  Being intentional about it.  With a little boy running around - I need to be intentional.  

My Blog.
+Since this is the 'scrapbook' of our lives, I need to be intentional about spending time here.  Make it count.  And then walk away.  No - I don't spend hours here...usually just an hour or so during nap time.  But even that has become a bit too much.
+Aside from our own 'scrapbook' - I want to use this blog to honor Christ.  I'm not sure what that looks like yet - but I want it to be a sacred, holy place.

My Family.
+Praying together more.  Instead of a quickie prayer before each meal - a true, honest, heart-felt one.  
+Forming mission-minded kids.  Yes - Carter has been home less than 2 months.  And yes, the learning starts now.  We have several families in our church whose kids are constantly reaching out to help others. Others in their neighborhood - others across the world.  I want kids like that.  But it doesn't just happen.  It requires work - and I'm willing to do what I need to.  
+Growing in the word - together.  Carter included.  He'll know it - and he'll know that we love it, by watching us study it. 

My Home.
+How about forgetting about perfection and just striving for 'good'?  More time with the little boy, and the big boy.  Win-win.  
+Making real meals.  Enjoying myself while I do it.  There will be burnt meals, there will be 'interesting' flavors...but it will be real food, enjoyed by the fam.  
+Keeping the home a safe, spirit-filled watching what I say and how I say it.  By making sure the movies, TV, & music in this home are honoring.  By choosing wisely the people that we allow into our home.  By welcoming Christ into our day, every day.  
+Waiting to turn on the TV until nap time.  Most days, I succeed.  I don't want my kids to see me sacked out on the couch.  I don't want my butt glued to that spot - eyes on the tv.  I've seen so many mamas do this - and I refuse.  

See the problem?  That tilted frame.  I will not let the fact that it's ALWAYS slightly crooked drive me nuts!
My Dog. 
+Yes, my dog.  He gets neglected now that little boy is home.  And I feel bad about it.  I'll be making sure this guy gets the love & attention he needs.  A treat here, some extra pets there....because he's family, too.

+Reading a book.  I'm starting with one, people.  Cover to cover - no stinkin' excuses.  Got a good suggestion?  Let me know what you like to read.  Under 400 pages, please :)
+Feeling okay about where I am.  Knowing that I'm a work in progress.
+Spending more time working with little boy.  On all kinds of things.

Feeling overwhelmed?  I am.  A little.  I know that I will fail at so many of these things.  A year from now  - many of these things will be on my 2013 list....I just know it.  And that's okay - because I'm a work in progress, remember?!  I'll do what I can, when I can.  And that's good enough for me.


A friend recently emailed and invited us to dinner with him and his wife.  He said he was celebrating a big milestone anniversary, and he wanted us there.  It wasn't until later that we found out what they were celebrating.

7,500 days of marriage.  And for each day, he gave her a penny.  When he pulled out that big jar - I couldn't help but think that each penny represented a memory.  A meal at the table.  A day in the life.  The birthdays.  The Christmases.  The bedtime tuck-ins.  The arguments.  The good times.  The bad times.

Each penny represented a choice.  A choice of blessing or cursing.  A choice of positive or negative.  A choice of worry or worship.  A choice of joy or bitterness.  A choice.

7,500 choices, actually.

And it reminded me that each day - I have a choice.  You have a choice.  What will I choose?  Somedays, I'll choose wrong.  And I'll go to bed sad and hurt.  But the good news....?  The next day, I have a brand new choice.  

A brand new shiny penny, which I can choose to spend however I wish.


2012...filled with 365 choices.

One Thing I Know For Sure: All resolutions aside - I'm choosing wisely, this year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Jake's Gift :)

If you remember, I mentioned in this post that I stink at buying gifts.  Remember...?!  The 'Back Buddy'...?!  Yep.  Stink at it.  

But this year, I did okay.  With some help from Carter, of course.  Because really - who can resist a practically-naked little boy in overalls?!

The gift of photography.  My favorite :)

This is mid-way through one of his famous 'sassy sniffs'

Carter & I took these photos on our dining room table.  Seems ridiculous, I know.  Our garage is finished off - and that's where I usually have our studio set up.  But there is no heater right now.  And no heat + Wisconsin + December = Freezing.

Which means that during nap one day - a day that I knew Jake wasn't stopping home for lunch - I moved the studio inside.  Not an easy task.  A backdrop stand, the heavy roll of white paper, 2 light stands and soft boxes, all the props, my tripod...all while trying to keep one eye on the driveway, looking for Jake's car.

It also required some extra sneakiness on my part.  Like saving the files in a folder named 'Scrapping Ideas' - because surely Jake wouldn't look in a folder that had something to do with scrapbooking.  

I 'do' photography - and I like it.  Sometimes.  The problem with photography, is that you will never get it perfect.  There is no such thing as the perfect photo.  Ever.  

And that drives me crazy.  I critique each photo I take.

These are great, because they subject is the cutest boy on the planet.  Okay, well - maybe one of the cutest boys on the planet.  But if these were for a client, I'd be wanting to fix this, or photoshop that, or change this.  And once that client leaves - I'm left with whatever is on my camera.  There is really no going back. So while I'm editing - it doesn't matter how much I say 'UGH - I should have taken this photo from that angle!' - well, too sad.  There is no going back.

So for now, I'll enjoy snapping photos of this boy.  And we'll leave it at that.  Because I have 3 years to make up for - 3 years of life, and this boy only has a few photos.  That means there will be lots of photos in his future.  Lots.

And I think he's okay with that.

Oh - and how did Jake like the gift?  Well...he was a sloppy mess of tears.

Home run, for sure.

Way to go, Carter B :)

One Thing I Know For Sure: Nothing cuter than a boy in overalls.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Review!

Christmas is over - and the New Year is upon us.  I can't help but think about what 2012 might bring for our little family.  2011 was a whirlwind, for sure.

How was your Christmas?  I hope it was perfect.  Ours was...well, as close to perfect as it could possibly be.  Pretty great.  Carter did great traveling to the 6 celebrations spread over 4 days.  He was happy as a clam - even on very little sleep.

He opened each gift knowing that there was something inside.  And once he got to that 'something' - well, he went back to the paper :)  Because that's what toddlers do.

Each year at my Grandma's house, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus...He is the reason, after all.

Jesus let Carter dig in on his cake, too :)

See the laughter?  The fun?  A little boy brings a whole new element to Christmas.

He loves all his gifts - but this new little car is pretty great.  Fun to ride around in, right?!  Fun to walk all over the house?

Ha.  Carter likes to sit inside, and open and close the door.  Whatever makes him happy :)

Christmas Eve at church was a little emotional.  It was a good time to reflect on the past year - reflect on the meaning of Christmas - and give our boy some extra lovins.

Carter ate Cheerios through most of the service - so I'm not sure how much reflecting he did...but it was good.

When it's all over - and we look back on the past week of celebrations, I have one hope.  Not that Carter liked his gifts - not that he enjoyed all the food.  No.  I hope that Carter knows that he is well loved, extremely cared for, and abundantly blessed.

Because he is.  Because we are, by our Father.  Loved - cared for - blessed.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Abundantly blessed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Article & A Blog :)

Hope your Christmas was fantastic - ours was, for sure.  Full.  But fantastic.  I'll post a catch-up post in a day or two.  Until then - I have a few really great reads for you :)

Remember the article I wrote for the (very small) local newspaper?  Well - my grandma suggested that I submit it to the (much larger) local newspaper.  I did, and they decided to do a full length story about Carter.

It was in the paper on Christmas day....but you can read it HERE :)


Do you remember these posts?  I feel like I've linked to them here a hundred times.  But please, read them if you haven't yet.  Every single time I do, they make me cry like a baby.  Because it reminds me that God had a plan for our little boy.  A plan to bring him home where he belongs.

Well, this same sweet friend, Carin, has done another blog post about Carter.  Read it here.  Nothing could have done this mama's heart more good than to see those two ornaments hanging on their tree, side by side.

Full circle, people.  Full circle.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Welcome home, little boy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Friend

Praying your Christmas is overwhelmingly blessed.

Not because of presents.  But because of Christ's love, family love, and a little friend love, too.


Merry Christmas, to you, sweet blog friend.  Merry Christmas.

Thanks for reading along - thanks for supporting us - thanks for praying for us - thanks for being you.  

One Thing I Know For Sure: Merry, indeed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Few Last Minutes Details...

The last week has been crazy.  So crazy busy.  I hate that.  Busy - ick.  I crave nights that include nothing more than sitting on the floor with our boy - laughing at his expressions, watching him learn new things.  And instead - we've been busy.  In the morning I usually ask Jake 'whats up for tonight?!'.  When he says 'uhh...nothing!' it's like winning the lottery.

Maybe 2012 will be filled with a whole lot of 'nothing' nights.


Every night after bath time, we all snuggle up on the couch until bedtime.  This is my favorite time of the day.  Everyone is together - we chatter about our day, we laugh at Carter laughing at himself, and we quiet down for the night.  We talk about how far Carter has come - how he's developing such a sweet personality - and we tell him how much we love him.

And he giggles.  He laughs.  We don't know why - we have no idea what he's laughing at - but he sits on our laps, and he laughs.

And we think it's pretty great.


Every day - I have the privilege of scooping this little boy out of his crib and into my arms.

Some days, he melts right into me and it feels like he would snuggle for hours.  Other days, he wants to get down so he can take on the world.  Either way, I am so blessed to be this boy's mama.  I'm so blessed that the Lord chose me.  And I'm so, so blessed that Carter is okay with that.


We have a busy, busy week.  There's that word again.  Busy.  I see a New Year's Resolution coming on.  Anyhow...where was I...?!

Oh yea - busy week.  Lots of Christmas get-togethers spread out over 4 days.  We're excited about every single one...but can I just say that as excited as we were to be 'home by Christmas'...this could possibly be the worst time to come home.  Working on attachment is hard when you have to be going non stop.  It's not that we don't want to go to all of these things - it's just that we'll have to work extra hard and be more intentional about giving him the care that he needs.  And it also means that we might have to 're-do' some things, or 'un-do' some things after Christmas is over.

I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we get there. You know, when life is less busy :)


The other day some ladies that I love very much came over for a visit!  These women love Christ, they love His people, and they love to love.  Ever been around people like that?!  It's pretty refreshing.  Exhilarating, even.

Carter enjoyed it, too :)

This kid enjoys life, for sure.

Nothing sweeter.


I'm totally changing subjects here.

I stink at buying Christmas gifts.  Royally stink.  I'm not exaggerating - not in the slightest.  I LOVE buying them - and each time, I think I'm buying the perfect gift.  And then - flop.

Last year, I thought this was the perfect gift for Jake.

What is it?!  Why, it's the back buddy!  As I look at it now, I realize the stupidity of this.  My thought (and really, it's the thought that counts - isn't it?!) was that this would be perfect because Jake is always complaining that his back hurts.  I honestly expected a big hug and a 'wow - way to think of the perfect gift!' on Christmas morning.  Ha.  I'm pretty sure it ended in a spat that continually came up until the summer.  It was the family joke at each Christmas get-together.  Only I wasn't laughing :)

Let me just say that Jake found out about this gift several days before Christmas.  Despite the fact that I used my mom's Amazon account, so that Jake wouldn't find out.  That backfired.  Why would I have to be so secretive about it?!  Because Jake ALWAYS finds out.  He ALWAYS spoils his gifts.  Always.

But this year - well, this year I'm pretty sure that I stinkin' hit it out of the park.  Home run, for sure.  And since he hasn't figured it out yet, I think we're in the clear.  I'll update here after Christmas....  :)


The next post you see here will be our Christmas post.  Hard to believe, really.  Until then - be blessed!  Abundantly - fully - completely blessed.

And share some love.  Carter does!

One Thing Carter Knows For Sure: There's no place like home for the holidays....!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The holiday madness has begun - in fact, it's in full swing.  Now that I stop and look at the calendar...I see it's almost over, actually.  I better get moving on those last minute gifts....!  Songs like this, and this, and even this have been playing nonstop in the Gibson house.  On a side note - did you know that 'Carol of the Bells' is actually Ukrainian?  Wikipedia's kind of interesting.  Anyhow....Christmas will be over before we know it, and stores will be filled with all their pastel Easter gear.  Gag.  Unless it's a cute scarf or a baby blanket, I hate pastels.  Moving on...

Christmas in our house has never been so....Christmas-y.  Not because we have gone the 'Clark Griswald' route.  Ha...quite the opposite, actually.  Christmasy because we're celebrating Christmas the way it should be celebrated.  I love reflecting on Christ's birth, because it eventually led to the cross.  I love learning from Mary's obedience and faith.  No - I'm not Catholic, but Mary deserves some serious props!  I love hearing about Joseph trusting God.  I love pondering about God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Really, I love Christmas.

Beyond the 'real' meaning of Christmas, I love so many other things about it.  I love tradition.  I love remembering memories.  I love pulling out my favorite, beloved decorations year after year.

Not gonna find this at Target!  And that's exactly why I LOVE it.

This tiny little tree is probably one of my favorites.  Also won't be found in any stores :)

My grandparents give out an ornament to each family member every Christmas.  Sometimes it means something - like the piano I got while I was taking lessons.  And sometimes, they're just for fun, like the year my ornament was a green sparkly ice cream cone.  Well...maybe they were hinting that I needed to go on a diet.  I digress.

From my Great Grandma (G.G.) when I was 2 years old.

But either way - they hold tremendous meaning in this house.

This is one that I made for my Grandma G.G., and it was given back to me the Christmas after she died.  

And every year - I hang these ornaments with such care...wondering what I would ever do if one of them broke.

Our wedding ornament...just in case we ever forget how much we love each other :)

Not because I'm placing the value of Christmas in material things - but because some day, I want to sit down with my kids, and show them the tradition of Christmas.  Show them the value in gifts given with love.

This one was handmade by Jake when he was just a little guy :)
It's hung on the tree with a big, red, twisted paper clip!

Well, this year we have added a new ornament to the tree.  One that will also carry tremendous meaning, not just for Jake & I - but for all of our kids.  Because it was purchased in Ukraine - while we were there to bring home our boy.  

Yes - it really has all the pieces inside :)

And every year, when Carter hangs this special ornament on our tree - we will remind him of how loved he is, how loved he was before we even met him, and how much more his Savior loves him.  We'll remind him of the value of his past - his story, and also the bright future that he has ahead of him.

All of that in an ornament?  Yep.  Because all of that emotion, all of that affirmation - it's all found in tradition.  It sometimes requires no words.  Year after year, Christmas after Christmas, it will be there.  Front & center.  And he'll know.  He'll know that he's valued.  He'll know he's loved.  And no matter how many times we will tell him these things - sometimes traditions like this speak louder.

One Thing I Know For Sure: 5 days and counting until our first Christmas with our boy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pop Til You Drop :)

A few days ago, Carter and I enjoyed a family tradition.

The making of the popcorn ball.

Watching all that popcorn pop :)
Well - I guess it depends how you would define 'tradition'.  We haven't done it every year.  Or even every other year.  It's been a while since we've made these ridiculously tasty treats.  But for some reason, in my mind, it's a special tradition.

Never had a popcorn ball?  Its a real treat - popcorn (basically, best snack food ever) and sugar.  Really, what could be better?!  And when the sugar is colored to look all Christmasy and special, well - it's a tasty tradition in the making.

All that yummy, sugary popcorn, ready to be shaped into balls :)
Watching my Grannie in the kitchen is like watching an artist create a masterpiece.  She moves from this counter to the stove, back to that counter, and over to the sink.  It's like she has it choreographed.  She knows exactly what to do (well, except when she stops and says 'when am I supposed to put that vanilla in, again?!') and she does it well.  Watching her in the kitchen - in her element - is like experiencing a little bit of magic.

Let me just insert - this said 'magic' does not happen in my kitchen.  Ever.  Sigh.

Showing Carter how to play with the sticky popcorn :)
We did a very scientific experiment with Carter - Jake & I have been suspicious that Carter doesn't like foods that are green in color.  Since coming home, he has refused pretty much anything green - peas, beans, etc.  Well - it was proved in our experiment.  Devoured the red popcorn, and wouldn't touch the green popcorn.  Okay, then.

The finished product - ready to be ripped open and eaten :)

After making about 50 popcorn balls, I'd say our popcorn ball making day was a success.  And now, it's a tradition.


I found this photo from the last time we made popcorn balls.  I was a senior in high school, and little Jacob boy was 7.

Can I just Grannie looks more beautiful now than she did then.
I think that's called 'aging gracefully' :)
Pretty cute, huh?!

One Thing I Know For Sure: I've had bits of red & green sugar stuck in my teeth ever since.  Nothing like it :)

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