Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dear Ella

Dear Ella,

We just celebrated your third birthday. It is cliche when I say it, but it truly feels like last week that we brought you home from the hospital. I cannot fathom how quickly these past few years have gone by. It brings a tear to my eye thinking I only have fifteen more of these with you, I want to savor every moment I have with you.

There is something about you, girl. You brighten our home in such a special way. Each moment you walk down the stairs with your crazy hair, and that pink blankie you light up the room. You wake up with a smile on your face, begging for snuggles. How can we resist you?

You are sweet, dainty, and girly; everything I have ever hoped my daughter would be. You are also stubborn, so very strong willed. You will fight for what you want for such a long time (which can really wear a momma out). I know that God gave you a fighter's spirit. You do not like to be alone, you love to be surrounded by people. You set up tea parties and insist the boys use their manners while you serve them. You check for fairies in the fairy garden, play with your princesses, babies, and books. You sing, and dance and give us a show. You giggle and squirm when we tickle you. You also tackle and wrestle your brothers and dribble a basketball.

You are deathly afraid of worms, turtles, and the chick-fil-a cow (which is adorable). You are so incredibly sassy when not getting your way. You and Micah have such a unique relationship. He adores you and you, him. You two can fight like cats and dogs, then work it out within seconds. Josiah will usually give you whatever you ask of him, I do believe he's a bit smitten as well.

What I most love about you is how you have such a nurturing spirit. You have mothered Caleb nearly as much as I have. You feed him, coddle him and watch his every move. When he cries you rush to him trying to soothe him. You find him copious amounts of toys to keep him entertained. The same way you love him, he loves you too. You rush to his side as he whimpers and the moment he sees you he smiles. He watches you all day, and will nearly break his neck to follow your every move. You are an amazing sister.

You have such a kind and gentle spirit. I am so amazed at how God gave you such a spirit of gentleness. You are so enchanting. We have been so blessed to have you in our family. We pray that your bright spirit continues to light up the rest of the world. We love you, adore you and cannot wait to see what God has in store for you. Girl, you are something special. Thanks be to God for letting me be your mommy!

Your Mommy

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Easter 2014

Just now getting these photos together! A few memories from Easter of this year.

This picture makes my heart so happy. I just missed it, but Jo ran around giving his eggs to the little kids who didn't have many. He so slyly slipped an egg in his cousin's basked. The look on his face….melt a momma's heart. 

We spent the day at church and with James parents, our friends and their sweet girls, and some cousins. It was a nice, quite day. Perfect to remember how blessed we are to serve a God who conquered death through resurrection!

It was a very happy Easter indeed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fajita & Feta Salad

I've said it before…I really love salads! 
I've decided to become more creative in how I dress them up.
My latest creation is a Fajita & Feta….yum…..yum….yum!
After Cinco De Mayo's fajitas I had some left over pepper, onions, mushrooms and pico de gallo. The fajita steak was gone, but I wanted to use up the delicious veggies (I can never let a veggie go to waste!).
I decided to throw them on top of a nice spring mix and voila….delicioso! (Do you like what I did there? With the spanish and all??)

To make it you'll need…

Arugala Spring Mix Lettuce Mix (Costco baby!)
Feta Cheese
Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Onion (cooked in a hot skillet with some oil)
Pico De Gallo (equal parts of tomato, red onion, and cilantro….drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Drizzle of Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

This would be so amazing with avocado and grilled chicken. If I were making this for dinner I would add some corn, grilled chicken, and avocado….that would really "beef" it up.

You should try it….seriously…make fajitas the night before and then make this the next day. You will thank me!

Yum Yum Yum….Delicioso! Sorry to go all Dora the Explorer on you.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Miss My Son's Mother

I miss my son's mother.

It has been a really rough few months with Caleb's birthparents. Our experience at the hospital was something that completely changed me and James. We saw total sacrifice, true sorrow, and hope. We wept with them and promised to take care of their son. We left the hospital thinking that we would have a really open adoption with them. Phone calls, pictures, and visits were all on the agenda; my agenda.

We didn't hear from his birthparents for the first 3 weeks of Caleb's life. I was really surprised and confused, but I knew that she needed space and time to heal. When we finally did her from her she told me she went through a period of depression and apologized for not calling sooner. I reassured her that she needed not apologize to us for anything. We spoke briefly about how he was doing and how they were doing.

I think I should mention that his birthparents are homeless. Bouncing from hotel to hotel, just trying to survive. They are so intelligent and yet so conflicted. They struggle to maintain a stable lifestyle. They are sweet, compassionate, smart, and kind…they just struggle.

As the weeks went on phone calls were incredibly sparse. A quick call here, and text there…nothing ever too deep. They were trying to make it from day to day, just keep it together. My case worker calls it living "crisis to crisis". They only called when in "crisis mode". My heart was incredibly heavy after each phone call. I was constantly worried about them; their safely, security, and happiness.

Then, the calls began to become more and more frequent; crisis to crisis. They were really starting to panic. They were running out of money and connections in Colorado and becoming desperate for a way out. They needed to go back to Florida. The phone call I received telling me they were leaving Colorado and heading to Florida was extremely heartbreaking. I hung the phone up and began to weep.

They have been in Florida for over a month now and I have only spoken to her once. Yesterday was Mother's Day and I thought about her all day. I prayed for her, that she was happy and that she felt loved. I called her and sent her a photo of the gorgeous son she created. I wanted her to know that yesterday wasn't just for me, but it was for her too. She loved Caleb before I did. She was his mother first. She is kind, gentle, caring, loving and generous and I miss her.

I long for her to know about every first Caleb has; for her to hear his sweet giggle. That is what I want, but I know that she needs time and space to heal. I know that she loves Caleb and wants to hear about everything, but her heart can't handle it. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult yesterday may have been for her, but her decision did not go unnoticed. Our lives are better with Caleb in it. Yesterday was one of the best Mother's Days I've had yet. I can thank her for that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Splurge vs. Save

A few months back I wandered into Lululemon with my sister-in-law. She is an avid runner and swears by their pants. She insisted I tried them on and generously offered to buy me a pair (I know…she's amazing!). I tried them on, loved them, but they didn't have the exact right pair in the store for me. So I opted to go for a gorgeous zip-up top instead (I know, I'm spoiled by her!).

I have still been swooning over their pants, but at $92 it just wasn't happening! The other day I stumbled across a Groupon for some pants that looked really similar, only they claimed to be "slimming". They had added a bit more tummy control to the top and most mom's love a little tummy control.

So I decided the price was much more manageable at $20 and I ordered a pair. I LOVE them. Seriously, they are actually flattering, and to me, feel more comfortable than the lululemon ones!

If you are looking for a great Splurge vs Save….here it is folks!

You can find the Lululemon pants here and the Bally pants here.

**I was asked to write this post for a Splurge vs. Save campaign for Credit Card Insider, check them out @**

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WIW: Minty Lace

I am so ready for warmer weather, and thankfully things are starting to warm up and bloom around here. Spring is officially here! 

What better to wear than mint and white, right?

Lace Tee- Tobi
White Jeans- Gap
Gold Heels- Target

I found this website Tobi, and I must say I would only wear about 5% of the items listed on the site; but those few items are fabulous! I was able to snag this lace tee for $9.

I feel really weird posing for these photos, doesn't it just feel so unnatural? Whenever I find a pic where I am standing normally it just looks even more unnatural. Haha, oh well….hello spring!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feta, Lime & Bacon Salad

In this house we eat a lot of salads. At least one night a week we will eat it as our dinner, and I eat one nearly every day for lunch. I really, really, really heart them.

I've had to come up with "man pleasing" salads in order to get James to really come to love them too. I thought I might share my wealth of delicious salad ideas with you too!

Today I'll share my new obsession the Feta, Lime & Bacon salad.

2 heads Butter Lettuce
10 Cherry Tomatos, halved
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1 cup Frozen Corn
1/2 cup Feta Cheese
1/2 cup Diced Bacon, or bacon bits
1 Avocado
3 Tbs Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
{Add 2 grilled chicken breasts for a really filling dinner)

I never measure anything so those amounts are really up to you. When I do 2 heads of the lettuce it will feed our entire family (5 eaters). Last night I added grilled chicken and it was SO amazing and really filling!
Just toss everything in a bowl and top with the olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. It is so so yummy!

This salad is so fresh tasting and has a really creamy texture despite not having a creamy dressing on top. It is light and tangy, and zesty. It's the perfect summer salad!

So there ya have it….I have literally eaten this salad every day for at least a week. I just can't get enough of it. But, like I said….I really love salads!