Thursday, May 12, 2016

I Hate Fold Out Doors

Yep, I'm not going to lie. I REALLY HATE fold out doors. Closet doors should be easy to keep shut and these atrocities seem to be open constantly. Especially when it's your pantry doors. I love my kitchen. LOVE IT. However, the doors on my pantry made me crazy because they seemed to beckon my children to them..."sneak food here, little children, and make lots of messes" (insert creepy, whispery voice). See? Now you can agree with me, these had to go. What's funny to me is that I hate these white doors, yet pursued a white kitchen. I even painted the doors to try and boost my kitchen appeal which was only met with sadness and the feeling of failure. But hey, it was a nice try. And yes, I do know that the sign 'Kitchen' is off centered. Character, people. LOL. So, because my parents were staying with us for a short time while they purchased their land in Wyoming, they got to help me redo these wretched doors. Like many of my ideas, my dad and husband were very resistant. However, because I usually get what I want, I struck fear in both of them using my FAVORITE word phrase, "Alright, no problem. I'll just do it myself." Not sure why, but this usually ignites action. Huh. Anyhoo, here it is.

This was the attempt at doing a helpful color splash with notsogreat results. Then, because I LOVE bead board and wanted to have a balanced look in my kitchen, I told my dad I wanted to put it on top of the fold out doors. He looked at me like I was crazy and sighed, knowing that unless he proves to me that it won't work, I'll continue to haggle him about it. (Wait, this cannot be where my children get it!? GASP!?) So we went ahead, bought the extra panel of bead board, and went about adhering it to the top of the doors. Guess What!? IT WORKED! Liquid nails and some finishing nails around the exterior secured those panels really well. The doors are heavy. I didn't want them just hanging open, so we bought the stronger magnetic cabinet door latches and put one on each door and added a door stop on the top of the frame to catch the doors and latch them closed. I know that the barn door style is in and I had originally wanted the doors to slide. Big problems there. I have zero room for them to slide without hitting a fridge or going past the wall and having a child run into the door and rip the door off the wall and whatever else could happen there. LOL you know exactly what I'm saying there. We got hinges and attached the doors this way and because I ran into the same astronomical pricing for barn door handles, I had to find a different option. Home Depot had decorative garage door handles...$12 for the pair!? YES, THANK YOU!? Otherwise I was on my beloved amazon, only to find that the cheapest 8" handles were around $36 for ONE handle...again, choke, cough, sputter. Even if I had the money to do that, I still wouldn't. Decorative Garage Door handles it is! Thanks, Home Depot!?

So you can see again the difference the Primer looks next to the Shoji White. Still amazes me. There yah have it. My pantry door make over. 

You Painted That??

We moved into our new house in 2013 and I was in love with it from the moment we walked in. I will also say that I love the people we purchased it from, though our decorating colors were very different. I don't think this is out of the ordinary, but I was definitely looking forward to putting my own stamp on our home and making it my own. There was A LOT of painting since 2 primary colors, red and yellow, were all over the house. These two colors make me hyperventilate. In fact, I HATE these colors. I love splashes of color, but whole walls sent me running to the garage in a few panic attacks when I wasn't able to get everything painted when I wanted to. Again, let me tell you, I like splashes of these colors. I LOVE COLOR. But anyway, more on that later when I show you the other room transformations. Today is our Kitchen! (please excuse the mess)

Our home was built in 1995, so we still have the original everythings. Including the original cabinets. They are oak and very well made, but definitely DATED. (My mom loved them and begged me not to mess with them. Clear red flags of dated pieces lol!) They were also DARK. And while I have a very open floor plan, the kitchen was very dark. We are only the 3rd owners of our beautiful home, so I'm actually honored to know that anything that has been done has been done pretty well.
 And I'll go ahead and throw this out there: I HATE OAK CABINETS. I remember my Grandma having them in her kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE my Gran. I just hated her kitchen cabinets because it always felt like you walked into a dungeon when you were helping her cook anything. However, the one good thing about oak cabinets is that you never really can see when they're dirty. Coffee is a hidden offender as well as grubby little fingers who didn't bother to wash before opening any of the doors. I know there was hardware on them at one time before we moved in because you can see the holes in the corners. I will also say how much I love the layout of my kitchen. I can see directly into the family room and out to the back yard. I have plenty of cabinet space as well as counter space. Yes, I LOVE my counter-tops. They are in fact, granite tiles. I have always thought they were gray, black, and white, but I have since learned that there is also specks of green. To be totally honest, I still don't see it. I don't love my sink...I have recently been a little obsessed with Fixer Upper and LOVELOVELOVE Chip and Joanna Gaines. So now I want a farm sink. Thanks a lot Fixer Upper!? But until I have $12,000 to do a counter remodel, mine will have to do. Also, please forgive the mess. I wasn't intending on blogging my kitchen remodel, but because so many have asked how I've done it and were shocked THAT I've done it, these are the pictures I had taken during the chaos. Keep in mind that it would have taken me a lot less time had I not been homeschooling 4 children at the time and getting ready for Christmas company while taking on this kitchen project. On the other hand, that was my deadline, so I was bustin' my butt!

Okay, so you can see that I have a lot of kitchen to cover. We had had someone come in to give us a quote on what it'd cost to have our kitchen cabinets painted...the grand total was about $1200. How about NO. First of all, we still have to refinish our hardwood floors to the tune of the same number and my rule is that if I can do it myself, look out, I WILL. These words strike fear in my husband because he's not always sure how I will accomplish a project or how much it will cost him. I figure that no matter what, it's not going to be a grand. While asking questions for what the professional would use, I gleaned that ONLY Sherwin Williams paint will do. And for those of you biting your nails from anxiety, wanting to know, OMG DID YOU HAVE TO SAND THOSE!? NO. I did not. In fact I also learned that you don't have to sand down cabinets anymore. This was huge for me because I don't have the time either. Let's be honest, WHO DOES!? Admittedly, I did have to sand a few parts simply because of normal wear and tear and white shows more flaws. Plus when we took the crown molding off the tops, there were a few holes I had to fill and scuffs I didn't even know were there because oak hides a lot! So what did I use to get the cabinets ready? Instead of sanding, we used Sherwin Williams M1-paint Deglosser and Prepaint Cleaner. Hubby and I took the cabinet doors off and started by scrubbing them with steel wool. Then I took paint clothes and just wiped them down. That was a task all in itself because we have so many doors. Now, because I have NEVER done anything like this in my entire life (even while helping my parents when we'd move into fixer upper homes growing up), I wanted to make sure this was something I could do and have it turn out right. The kitchen is a place that EVERYONE sees, so it must be done properly or I'll be out my own costs and paying a pro to come I started with the 3 upper cabinets on the catch-all desk area. Then after talking with the professionals at Sherwin Williams, I had to get a quality primer so that the paint would stick and the sheen would be correct. I like a little gloss, but knew that I didn't want too glossy so I wouldn't need sunglasses while cooking. I used Sherwin Williams Multipurpose Primer and you can see the difference in the picture below. The door on the right only has 2 coats of primer and the door on the left has the primer with 1 coat of the white paint on it. Huge difference, right?

 When I began my quest for what I wanted in my kitchen, I fell in love with the white cabinets and cottage look. However, I needed something durable and a white that wasn't going to blind me every time I walked downstairs. I also wanted paint that I could keep clean without having to repaint any time we used the kitchen. Children are REALLY hard on kitchens. I was on pinterest a little too much, but found Shoji White. There's at least 40 shades of white and I also had to keep in mind that I didn't want there to be a yellow tinge (obvious reasons there) and I have gray walls...and super white to choose a white shade? Seriously?! It's white for crying out loud, but I found out quickly that it was really an important decision.

 So when I went into Sherwin Williams, I was expecting that I'd been spending a lot of money and having to buy A LOT of paint. I expected to purchase at least 2-3 cans of white since my kitchen has a lot of doors. You're not going to believe this, but I only bought one can of the primer and one can of Sherwin Williams Proclassic interior acrylic latex paint. GUESS WHAT!? I STILL HAVE ALMOST HALF THE CAN LEFT! I couldn't believe it. I wasn't skimpy on the coats either. I bought the foam rollers and rolled both the primer and the paint on. I used a brush for some of the grooves of the doors, but when applying the 2nd coat of primer, I used the roller so I would avoid brush strokes. Since the doors turned out to my satisfaction, I began tearing apart the rest of the kitchen. Holy hot mess, Batman. Yikes.

 The microwave was also really low, so when we took off the crown molding, I had my husband raise the microwave 4 inches so I could use the back burners without burning my arms. I feel like it gave the kitchen a bit more character and dimension by doing this. Plus I haven't burned myself since's a beautiful thing.

Alright, before I get any input, let me just say that I don't care about the inside of my cabinets. I don't have any glass front doors, so I didn't feel that it was necessary for the inside to be painted. Also, we didn't have a paint sprayer, so it would have been way more hassle than I could have imagined. Therefore, painting the inside was discussed and vetoed. If someone is looking in my cabinets to criticize whether or not the inside of my cabinet is painted, we can't be friends. LOL.
As you can see, it was definitely a process.

 Oh my gosh, I have never really had a project so time consuming like this before. I've taken on painting rooms and doing themes, but this was tedious, EXHAUSTING, & sucked the life out of me by the end of 2 weeks.
 Progress would have been a lot faster if I could have just focused on this for a whole week, but running kids to sports, schooling, and general house stuff, yowzers, it took longer than I wanted.
 I also had decided that I wasn't going to paint the outside of my cabinets, other than the front, because I had decided to do bead board. I LOVE BEAD BOARD. I love the look, I think it adds great texture to boring cabinets, and I've always wanted to use it. So I talked my husband into putting it on. He wasn't so sure putting it on the sides of the cabinets would turn out how I was hoping, but like a good sport, he went along with it.

Here he is helping me as I was clapping in excitement that it was looking EXACTLY how I had hoped!!! Look how GREAT this looks!!! The trim really shows the difference in the whites that I used.
So, if you notice the hardware...if I may make a suggestion: DON'T BUY IT IN THE STORES! Holy crap, it was between $4-$6 (or more if you have expensive taste) FOR INDIVIDUAL HANDLES!? UNREAL!? I mean, maybe I should have been prepared for that, but I wasn't. My best friend said to check out amazon. This was in my pre-amazon days of sadness, before I knew the joy of amazon and amazon prime. SAVED MY SANITY. I purchased our hardware for $2/piece with free shipping. HALLELUJAH.

I also wanted to dress up the space with a curtain that would make the area pop. On a whim, I went to Walmart to see what kind of brighter fabric I could find and saw this granny apple green with the white lines and thought, "Meh, I'll give it a shot." I was laughing when I hung it up because it was exactly what I wanted and I bought the fabric for $2/yard. 

All in all, I spent $25 for the primer. $69 for the SW paint. $12 for the Deglosser. $10 for rollers and roller sponges. $8 for rags. $50 for hardware. $5 for curtain fabric. So around $200 (including tax) for everything. See? If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!!!

Mama's happiness? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Go Fund Me...a new way of fundraising

Well...I have a confession: I'm stuck. I'm at a point where I honestly hate Facebook & it frustrates me that there's not a lot I can do without getting back on there. Many have said, "Just get back on for a short while & post your gofundme on there & get more donors." Ugh...super discouraging when my spirit & heart rebel at the very notion.

I was rereading our own story of how Josh's adoption process unfolded in this beautiful, amazing story. And the words I wrote to encourage others seem almost alien to me & as though someone else is encouraging me. It's been a rough month of feeling so disconnected & so busy with paperwork, feeling like...God, is this really going to happen? Our DEAR friend encouraged me in such a way that as I read these words, I knew they were scripture, but I heard them as though Jesus sat across from me, hot cup of coffee in hand, & spoke to my bruised heart.

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NLT)

Wow. Straight to my heart...

DON'T GIVE UP. Don't be discouraged. BE Strong & courageous. Strong...what does strong look like right now? It looks like me not trying so hard to make something actually take that step back & allow God to do His thing...not mine. What does courageous look like? It looks like strapping on my spiritual armor & overcoming the thoughts that assail my heart, telling me it's too hard, I heard the Lord wrong, & accepting defeat. No, I can be courageous by taking those thoughts captive & determining to follow the Lord when it doesn't make sense what we are trying to accomplish. I'm courageous when I decide to TRUST the Lord's calling.

So can you. Adoption is that one situation that doesn't make sense to anyone. LOL it is a God-given desire that is unbelievably hard & beautiful. It gives one pause to think how intimate each scripture is when God calls us sons & daughters, that we are ADOPTED. It's such a hard hard process, one that means we are willing to sacrifice because we want that child. We ache for that child. We are anxiously looking & waiting for that child. OUR CHILD. The ones not born of my womb, but absolutely planted deep in my heart. There IS NO DIFFERENCE. I look at all my children & I can't imagine life without them. They are all MINE. Their skin color makes no difference to me. And this waiting for our children yet to come home is TOUGH! All we can do is prepare. Dream. Hope. PRAY.

 "If He wants something to happen, He will make it happen. If I may, even though it looks like that's the best way to get the word out, it's a "chariot". "Some trust in chariots...but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. My point is, trust Him. I pray you have peace with His timing and answer. Love that song, "if there's a road I should follow, help me find it. If I should be still, give me peace for the moment." You have great faith! Let it grow." (Thank you, my sweet Sister.)

May we TRUST in the Lord, our God.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A year...Already?

Yikes, so clearly I've been WAY too lax on my blogging. Truth be told, I've been a bit busy, so I do apologize for the last year getting away from me. However, now that my kids are all in bed, hubby is reading, and I've got a few moments, I thought I'd at least update you all.

2015 started out with a bang...and not a hooray kind of bang, but a are down. "And another one bites the dust..." we all got the respiratory influenza. IT.WAS.AWFUL. Rob must've brought it home from work because on December 19th, he was feeling pretty crummy...and to my horror, so was Josh. Both running a high fever. SERIOUSLY. And, like every domino effect, it was like I woke up to another kid coughing and high fever. I was waiting patiently for my turn. Fortunately, I was not lucky enough to just get the flu, but a raging sinus infection more intense than I have ever had in my entire impromptu date night for my hubby and I as we sat in the ER lobby. Anyway, that lovely little sick stint lasted until the end of January when Josh was sick again, but we didn't find out until the beginning of February that we all had RSV. I'm telling you, FIESTA AT THE RIGGINS. Josh narrowly avoided being admitted to the hospital when he barely got his pulse ox up above 90...since we haven't had RSV, I had NO IDEA that it could even happen to children older than 3. Poor Joshy, he got to spend his 3rd birthday sick. But it meant that there wasn't a whole lot of hype around here. He's gotten so big. He's 43lbs of solid muscle and WAY too smart for his own good. I believe that having older siblings contributes to most of his word usage...such as when I asked him what I smelled...referring to the stank following him, he responded,"I don't smell anysing mommy. Das you!" For which I shook my head and said,"No, I'm pretty sure you pooped." That's when he turned to look me in the eye and with an attitude cock of his head,"Mommy, das ridiculous." LOL Wow, Its a good thing he is so dang cute, it could get real ugly real fast in our house with that kind of sass.

My kids are GROWING LIKE CRAZY!!!!
Oh my gosh. We are in the throes of puberty. Yeah, seems like that couldn't be true, but according to studies, kids are hitting puberty faster and EARLIER. Wanna see my husband have a meltdown? Relating why I'm going shopping and what I'm shopping for has been hilarious watching his reactions. Apparently he wasn't ready for all this growing up stuff either!!! My oldest, Natty, has been a complete FISH this year. She has been apart of a local swim team and has completely knocked it out of the water...pun intended! She's been exploding in awesomeness with her form. She is built like her mama, poor thing. Short, but FAST. Her breast stroke and butterfly are her strongest strokes and she's amazed her coaches as well. I don't know anything about swimming, except not to do it with sharks or dangerous animals...but watching her improve has been so amazing. I'm always shocked at how smart she is. Not because I think any of my children are dumb or unintelligent, but her ability academically is incredible for a 10yr old. The sass has been taken to a whole new level and I'm fairly certain that if I ever died or was incapable of being mom, that she could take of. She's basically sure she could too, and often likes to practice her skills on her need to mention how much they HATE it...LOL

My precious Isannah is almost as tall as me. Seriously, shes only 4in shorter than me and her shoes are almost my size. I can't wait to have the ability of not knowing which clothes are mine and which ones are hers...well, not really, but kind of. She is also grown into such an amazing girl. People often think that she's the older sister because she is so much taller than Natty. Its a bit rough on big sis to be mistaken all the time, but Isannah is so gracious that she will usually grab Natty and they giggle. Good grief, I remember when they were so little and I'd long for the day that they could get their own breakfasts and they could do their own laundry. Thank God I have arrived because my girls are there. In fact, they'll be getting their CPR and babysitting certifications soon and honestly, I look at them and think they are more reliable than most 16yr olds. Isannah is so talented with art. She can take chalk and draw that most amazing pictures. She's learning Spanish and is picking it up like nothing doing. She also has a guinea pig that is definitely HER animal. As soon as Cozy hears Isannah talking, Cozy starts calling out. Cozy is like a living toupee...and for whatever reason, Isannah LOVES that thing. My girls still play with their little Calico Critters and baby dolls...and the infamous American Girl Dolls. I watch them and hear them playing and my heart just aches...not much longer and they will have grown out of these items. And I just pray, Dear Lord, please, let them remain little girls awhile longer...when I watch them I see the precious innocence of life.

And then there's Duncan. I say this in a completely loving I laugh...and I'm sure you do to. This boy...MAN, he is ALL BOY. Last week we had to bring him in for hand surgery because he tired to be less of himself by severing his extender tendon in his left index finger. He was called 'The Karate Chop heard round the world' by a few of the nurses who informed us that many of the surgical staff came in to see the damage this kid had done on his hand. He not only severed his tendon, he sliced off the top of his knuckle and the knife went into his finger was a bad day for mom, who was finally having a lunch date with my oldest brother for my birthday in Cherry Creek (NOT close to Grandmas). It was a rough day for grandma too since she had specifically told him that he was not allowed to karate chop any tree branches, that his job was using the clippers to safely cut off the smaller branches...the ninja master snuck back into the kitchen while Grandma was tending to the smallest Riggins and proceeded to whack with all his might. He was sure he had cut off his mom didn't believe he had done such a good whack until she caught sight of the gash and called me in a sing songy voice so Duncan didn't continue to freak out. It was quite the ordeal. Needless to say, we got to go to Children's and visit awhile. Then back last week for surgery. He is all put back together, but will be in a cast. Its amazing to me how people make it their business to parent for me as my child has a cast on...  At any rate, Dunc has had his fair share of learning what it means to LISTEN AND OBEY...and I'm not sure it's sinking in since he felt that he was perfectly capable of climbing our tree in the back yard. WOW. Thank God I've got plenty of hair dye because I've definitely gotten a few more grays.

Most of you know that we moved to a smaller area north of Denver. I LOVE OUR COMMUNITY. It sounds really strange to admit that since it's basically a po-dunk little farming town, but I do. I love it. I love our neighbors...yep, even the CRAZY woman that waltzed into my house uninvited 3 times. I still lock our front door for good measure since she has nothing better to do than watch our house like a hawk. I suppose the good thing there is that we are REALLY interesting (cough cough) and I'll never have to worry about an actual burglar because she will have seen it all! Back to loving my neighbors, they've all taken on this kind of extended family feeling. We are involved to some degree with empty nesters, new grandbabies, problem teenagers, new boyfriends, and of course, meeting the neighbors that happen to be from the same area my husband's family is from. That was a hilarious conversation. I never had that in Greeley, so coming here has been a very refreshing experience. I love that my kids can ride their bikes to their friends house 2 blocks away and I know almost every family they could come in contact with.

Oh, I even had the honor of being asked to accept the position as the jump coach for the local middle school. It may not seem like a real 'honor,' but it was for me. I LOVED TRACK. I LIVED for it. And the interesting thing was I didn't really know how much I missed track until I walked out into the jump pits and began teaching my middle schoolers how to facilitate long and high jumps. Obviously, there was no coach given example for the long took me about 2 weeks to really walk INto the actual sand. What most of you may not know is that I have had 5 surgeries on my right knee. When I was a freshman in high school, I was getting ready for a regional track meet. I was a good long jumper. I had a very good personal mark...but I was cocky and wanted to prove to my coach that I could place in the top 10. The sand wasn't raked, my body was fatigued from a long practice, and I jumped off the wrong foot. So when I landed in the sand, my right foot went into the sand lip, my ankle wentto the right, but my knee went to the left and somehow my body kept going. Apparently, you can make an 'S' shape with your leg. I tore my MCL, ACL, and did a lot of damage in there. Sadly, the hospital wasn't really up to snuff in little Park Rapids and they told my parents nothing was wrong...after a few falls down the stairs, a trampoline accident, and major pain, my parents took me to Fargo, ND to see a specialist and I promptly had surgery in Jan of 1997. That graft lasted me until Duncan was 18mos or so and he was running around our island in our kitchen. I jumped off a kitchen chair and felt it snap. Like an old weather worn rubber band on a Sunday newspaper...NOT happy. I had had  a scope done a year prior to that because I had major swelling and my surgeon had warned me that I had a year left...he nailed it...almost to the day. But when he got in there, there was a cyst that had formed and he had to attach my new ACL in a different way using a 4in titanium screw through my femur. Yay, lots of fun. Since the long jump pit is where it all began, I find immense humor that I'm coaching kids in it. But where my true passion lay is in the high jump pit. I know, I'm 5'4"...high jump? Yep. I can jump my height...LOL It was SHEER DELIGHT as my jumpers taunted me like I wasn't for real. These kids are actually as tall as I am and VERY intent on showing up the coach. So when I actually jumped the boys entry height for meets without a problem, their jaws dropping made my day. The greatest part of this job has been pouring life into these kids. Watching their faces light up with the smallest word of praise and being their biggest fan. I've seen one girl who would cry if you looked at her wrong blossom into a girl who has self esteem. They have made my day by telling me,"Coach, I just want you to watch me do this, I do better when you are watching." Some of the boys are too much and its given me a VERY good idea of what I have to look forward to with my own sons. Holy dramatic. I swear, I think boys are the dramatic ones. Girls may be sass-tastic, but the boys are VERY dramatic. But the girls have been a joy because they too, are giving me amazing glimpses of what I need to be aware of.

Well, I think I've hit the more interesting things that have happened in the last while. I've got several more posts since I wanted to show off Dunc's pinewood derby stuff. This was his second year competing. Last year he was the pack Champ, unfortunately this year his truck kind of tanked. It was a hard lesson since he was at the top last year, but a good lesson nonetheless!!

As you can see, I have added a gofundme link. We are still not where we need to be financially with our adoption fees. Man, and it has been a STRUGGLE hitting that year mark. Updates are NOT cheap and its almost like salt in an open wound...waiting is such a difficult thing. Especially when there are no absolutes. I have so much respect and admiration for people who wait for 3-5YEARS for international adoptions...Lord have mercy, your poor hearts. Its hard because we know that it's worth the wait...just doesn't make the wait any easier. I am praying for God's peace to be heavily guarding your hearts and minds as you wait...for I am in the very same boat...I'm so happy to have someone like you to sit by! Maybe we can encourage each other.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Resurrection Day


I'm not sure when the shift happened,...a year or so...maybe 2 years ago? Anyway, Rob and I decided that we were going to gradually pull our kids away from the mainstream hype of the Easter traditions with GOBS of candy and forgetting the real meaning behind Easter. In fact, we've stopped using 'Easter' and began using 'Resurrection Day' instead. Because, for us, that IS the real meaning behind this day. Its not about the Easter bunny or Cadbery eggs (although they've my favorite for as long as I can remember) or egg hunts. Its about Jesus and his magnificent work on the Cross. The last couple of years Rob and I have also made an appoint to watch The Passion Of the Christ as well. This year we watched it on Good Friday and each year, this movie hits me at different points and in different ways. Last year was a sob fest. This year I saw particular parts deep in my gut as I watched from almost a mom-perspective. Regardless of where I am in my relationship with Jesus, this reminder of how much He loved all of us, is overwhelming and completely humbling. Now, I know the different opinions on this movie, but the fact still remains that this movie is a really good representation of this event. I was listening to a sermon and the speaker mentioned that they had wished that there was a way that this movie had portrayed the grace more, but that it still held the reverence. I agree. The love and grace that Jesus's impossible to really wrap our minds around what He did and WHY. Makes me all teary thinking about this and the depth of sacrifice and love. WOW. So the idea that my children would be more influenced by a stupid rabbit and finding candy-filled eggs as opposed to embracing the Love Christ showed for them....oh my gosh, tear my hair out of my head. Just not okay with me. Don't get me wrong, we allowed our children to be spoiled by grandma and grandpa and the fun activity of finding eggs, but we read the story of Jesus and make sure every year that our kids KNOW why Easter is so important. I want to clarify that I'm not writing this because I'm a super Christian or have an agenda to ram what we believe down anyone's has been a real conviction for both Rob and for me. And its hard not to follow the crowd because the easter bunny is 'just for fun.' The struggle I have is not that it is fun to do a sugar rush activity~ it's that life isn't about 'fun,' it's so much more than that and I'd feel like I had done my children a horrific disservice by not guiding them back to the Savior that loved them so much that He died and ROSE again, so they could have eternal life in God.

With all that said, we took a few pictures of the day

We even got to spend the day with one of my best friends. 

 And even though Rob wasn't feeling entirely 'photogenic' (SHOCKER), I still got a few good ones.

My mom even got in on her very first selfie was a lot of fun. LOL


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Whoops, I Did It Again...

I keep forgetting that I need to keep going with latest and greatest moments in our household. I think its because I have 4 small children that keep me busy enough that if I don't stay focused, whatever task I had set out to do gets forgotten. Oh well, so with that, I wanted to congratulate and praise my two girls. To their daddy & me, they are Nobel Peace Prize WINNERS. They are completely amazing little girls that give so generously with something they have an abundance of: HAIR!!!
That's correct, their hair! A few years ago, my girls had seen a few of their friends come into school and since I'm friends with these moms, I had asked where their daughter's hair had vanished to. Locks of Love was the word around the halls. So my girls had wanted to cut their hair and asked what Locks of Love was and so we looked it up online. Now, 8 years ago I had donated 17inches to LOL also and it was such a rewarding experience. (Rob had a conniption and heart attack when I walked in with a pixie hair cut...I can laugh now, but I think I may have cried at one point because I'd never cut more than 2 inches off my hair prior to this cut.) I think I'll eventually do it again. So I was very familiar with the organization and felt very good about the girls looking at this organization as a worthy cause. We picked a date and time and the girls chopped their hair for 'little kids with cancer.' (for a quick glance back, click on this link! Goldylocks and a Whole lotta Hair)

It has grown out A LOT since then, and even though people tried to warn us that their hair wouldn't grow back curly or it would somehow grow back tainted (SUCH ridiculousness!!!), it's absolutely as beautiful now as it ever was...if not even curlier than before. But we were again at a point where it was becoming a lot to handle and for some odd reason, they didn't want mom coming in to comb out their ever increasing rat-filled wet locks. And because it was SO long and SO thick for Isannah, it was absolutely unmanageable for her little arms. You can see how long their hair was! Isannah has very thick, heavy hair. Natty's hair is just as long, but much finer and doesn't seem to knot up the way Isannah's does. But still, its a scream fest whenever I have to go in with a comb and untangle the mess.

Isannah was the first to decide that she wanted to donate her hair again. We live in a different town now, and while I LOVED Christy, it would be a significant hike to go up there again. But looking back, we may have to make an appointment because Christy just rocks. It was about 12 hours after Nan's haircut that big sis decided that she also wanted in on the action. Much to her father's dismay, she chose to have a pixie haircut. Its VERY short...but with naturally curly hair like ours, a super short cut could be very BAD. I had to hold my breath because my oldest child is JUST like her mama...when she decides on something, come hell or high water, she's not backing down. Hair is one grows back...I'd rather she experience all that she wants with supervision and learning how to love her hair. It's literally JUST hair. And with locks like ours, its hard to have a bad cut every time. And it grows out relatively daddy gave the final thumbs up and we headed out to the salon for some major snipping.

 And then Natty went for it! I have to admit...this was the most hair I had ever seen my child have cut off...except for that ONE time when she was about 2yrs old, found scissors, and was quietly cutting her hair in a wedge and cutting Isannah's hair in a chunk kind of way...I was at the gym. Their father said that they were playing quietly and I said that was a dead give-away that something was NOT right. It was a bad day for the household. LOL

I'm seriously so proud of my girls. I'm not sure I would have done what they have when I was 8 and 9 years old. I find that when a child wants to give of themselves in such a generous and loving way, why would I stop them?

Oh my gosh, looking back a month or so, it's making me laugh at HOW SHORT Natty's hair was! When we got home, Rob was soon to follow and I was choking back giggles because his face was one of utter shock as well. I had been told, "Please don't let her go too short." But like I stated before, this is what Natty wanted. We looked at several 'pixie' haircuts and because of her curly mass, I had to convince her that she needed more of a Meg Ryan haircut because of the obvious~ Meg can make any haircut look super amazing and she has curly hair! And so this is what we ended up with. I think next time we may go to a salon with a little bit younger taste. However, I think she looks ADORABLE...and both of them look so grown up.

While in the midst of putting together our family book for our adoption process, I noticed the picture I posted up top on this blogpost...I miss her long hair...but I know she enjoys the freedom to take a shower without the drawn out process of doing her hair. Isannah's length is just long enough that its cute, but not as short, but still allows her the freedom to have it up and to enjoy the length without dread locks forming. Our water bills certainly display the water conservation of shorter hair! All in all, I think this will probably become the norm~ grow out hair, donate again. I LOVE this norm. It's one that REEKS of beautiful, GENEROUS hearts.

 Natty donated 17inches and Isannah donated 10inches

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When You Least Expect It

I didn't think that I'd have much time to update my blog, but since I have a few minutes, I thought I'd encourage that one reader that is searching for something to read regarding the craziness that happens when you decide to engage in an adoption journey. Yes, its a wild roller coster ride of twists and turns, ups and downs, and you feel like you're going to throw up sometimes. But see, the cool thing is that you're completely safe, belted in with God's plan. Its when you come unbelted, mid twist, from God's plan and things get real UGLY, REAL FAST.

This time around Rob and I have been very specific in our prayers about being in the middle of God's will. When it comes down to it, the best way I can say this is: I'd much rather be on a roller coster ride IN God's will than outside of God's will. In fact, I can't think of anything more frightening. And quite frankly, the reality is is that it's not just my heart or my husband's heart that will be effected by this monumental effects EVERY single one of my four more little hearts that are waiting for instruction and discipleship from Rob and I. Timing is crucial and because we are within the three year mark, our fees are considerably less than they were with Josh. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration...the fees for Colorado are less than they were, but unfortunately, still more than we have and require enormous faith. Its strange though, this time around, we know we are in God's will, but the rate that He answers is somewhat overwhelming! What a silly thing to say? Uhm, I beg to differ. Aren't there times that you think, alright, I'm going to pray for this particular thing and hope that God answers you within a month...preferably within a week...but then it happens in hours and it sends you reeling like...HOLY CRAP!? This is exactly what happened with us this time around.

I have felt for a few months that time was coming up to the leaping off point. But for me, I need my husband to lead in this I began to pray. I prayed for timing, I prayed for direction, I prayed for the Lord to direct my husband's decisions and give him Godly wisdom. I did this specifically in a hardcore chunk on a Sunday. God answered that evening! I play the 'well, maybe that was more me than God' card and began to think...nahhh...that couldn't have possibly been an answer so soon. On Monday, our friends giving us money to cover our application fees. HUGE. And again, I play my card again and doubt God's goodness. (Don't ask me why!? I don't know...I just doubt sometimes okay!? I don't take the obvious and accept it obvious!?) We decided that we'd wait for our tax refund and see what happens to cover the biggest fees due now...huh...weird...we had more than enough. But we had to pay for a few other things and would be about $1000 short. Okay Lord, if this is the way, and we are to walk in it...I guess I better start looking for dropped money on the ground...envelop of money in the door...right?

One of our best friends had called and said, "We feel lead to back you guys 100% with where God is leading you on this adoption journey. Be watching the mail." Oh...okay, wow...thank you! All I could think was...these are very good friends and I'm so blessed that they'd feel so strongly. Its been my experience in the past that whenever anyone says, 'hey yeah! This is awesome, we support you!' its more like, crap now we feel guilty and out of obligation to the slip of the tongue, we'll send you $15 in the mail. Please hear my heart on this...any gift is wonderful and we are so very grateful, because it is a blessing... but its hard to accept when it seems more like a sympathy gift or one given out of obligation, rather than wanting to give because you really want to. These friends have NEVER made us feel this way EVER, and we actually consider them to be our family, but because I'm also not friends with Brad and Angelina Jolie, I consider a support gift to be in the range of $25-$50. Yeah...God humbled me as I sifted through the mail and found their sweet card. I opened it up and out fell a $1000 check. I almost fell to the ground weeping. Just that morning I had asked God to give me the faith to walk in His will and to rest in the Hope that He gives me because He loves me. This was almost too much to bear. Man, when God pours out blessing, He does it so lavishly...and always when you least expect it.

Which is also irritating. Why do we even entertain the idea that God would do something and we'd 'least expect it'??  I've been a christian for a long time. I've only really matured in my faith in the last 3 years. If I'm praying in faith, and I have an intimate relationship with the Lord, why would I even NOT expect the Lord not follow through? I have read that verse in Philippians 4:13 where is says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." about a million times...but it wasn't until recently that it hit me while listening to a sermon through Bethel Church. The speaker said that if this verse says that I can do ALL things through Christ and it's Christ who strengthens me...well, that means I have to be weak. I have to be weak so that Christ can strengthen me...Christ will be my strength...I have to trust him if I'm going to be weak and know that He's my strength...and I have to be weak...awe crap...I don't want to be weak!? Being weak is such a struggle for me because that means I have to build my faith and intimacy with Christ. I'll be willingly and INTENTIONALLY putting myself into  situations where I have no other option BUT to trust. That's a lot. And God put that into practice the moment we chose to follow Him down the adoption path again.

Maybe that's one reason that our adoption journey is such a faith builder...we have to be willing to be weak so that Christ can make us strong...He can be our strength. So if you are just beginning the journey or you are in the middle of one and wondering if God has, He hasn't. He IS your STRENGTH. And He's not about to let you forget this when you least expect Him to show you? Awesome! Prepare to get your socks rocked!