Friday, August 28, 2009

4th Birthday Party!!

It's been almost 2 weeks since Aleeyah's birthday party in Oklahoma and she is technically 4 years old and 2 weeks today! I can't believe she is already 4. For some reason, that number hit a little hard this year. It's like when she turned 3, she was still just a toddler, but 4 means one more year until school.

I think she enjoyed her birthday party very much! She is still talking about it and keeps asking when she is going to turn 5. I keep telling her that she has to finish being 4 first.

Before I go into the birthday party festivities, I first have to give a shout out to my sis-in-law. She rocks! For many years now, she has been in the one in the kitchen with me during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and has helped me plan Aleeyah's birthday parties. A life saver. She makes some fabulous cakes! She made 3 out of 4 birthday cakes so far (they were in Florida for her 3rd birthday or else it probably would have been all her cakes).

Here is:

Year #1


Year #2


I always enjoy designing them with her, but this year I told her it was all in her hands, but that I wanted to do fondant circles on white frosting.

And this is what she came up with:



We've always broke it out where she does most of all the cake and I work mostly on the fondant. I love working with that stuff, but I loved working with clay as a kid.

Isn't it fabulous?!?!

Like I said, she rocks!

We had Aleeyah's party in Oklahoma again this year. We were looking forward to seeing some friends and family we haven't seen in a while and hang out pool side with them, but it takes a lot of extra work to plan a party out of state. Thankfully, Lauren, loves parties as much as I do and was there to assist me with in-state details. We got everything we could do, done and all that needed to happen next was get to Oklahoma.

Chris had to work on Friday, so we had to make a late night trip. We didn't get into the OKC area until almost 2:00am. We were pooped. It was especially hard knowing that we would have to turn right back around on Sunday afternoon to make the drive back.

Well, we were about 30 minutes out from the house with 5 more hours to go, when it hit me that we forgot something. Aleeyah's bathing suit. For her swim party. The one that just happen to match her party oh-so-well. In August. The end of the swimming suit season. Most swimsuits gone.

What did I do?

I didn't want to drive back home and add an extra hour to our drive as it was already 8:00pm, so I called Lauren for help again. She graciously said she would head out to try and find one (with my new nephew). She called again at 9:56pm (after hitting several, and I mean several, stores) to ask which one I would approve of. We narrowed them down and she came home with a couple for me to look at.

We got to their house, picked one, and headed to bed. Exhausted.

The next morning we began the birthday party extravaganza. The party wasn't until later in the afternoon-so it gave us some time to work on the cake, get ready to go, and head out for some last minute details, then head to the facility.

2:00pm was showtime!












































(sorry, for picture overload, but I couldn't narrow them down anymore!)

We had a great time!

Thanks to all that came!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Little JAG Cheerleader

Last night, I worked on a craft project to post for Wednesday's Craft Table over on Jagged Edge Boutique. The project I was working on was a crayon apron.




(see more pictures here)

I love crafting stuff, but it has deemed quite the challenge when it comes to Aleeyah and myself. Not necessarily because she wants the stuff I make, but because I want to give her the things I make. She just gets SO excited when I make stuff and it makes me want to give them to her. Thankfully, she is very good about understanding when I say it's for somebody else. Except for she is catching on and keeps asking if it is for Mason (her newest cousin).

Chris makes jokes about how God knew that I needed a little girl to get giddy about all things girly and he is probably right. When I show Chris something I've just made, he says , "cool" without a capital C nor an exclamation point. I love him, but most of the time we don't get excited about the same things. Aleeyah on the other hand, will get excited with me over the littlest things-which I LOVE. She's my girly-girl that doesn't mind getting her hands dirty.

So far, our new endeavor has been going well. I've been in the mist of trying to get some other projects done that were asked for before we "opened" Jagged Edge Boutique. And of course, getting all that done in between moving and planning a 4 year old's Birthday party created another challenge. We are getting settled in now though and the party was this last weekend in Oklahoma.

I'm excited to be able to start making some steps forward in making our adoption plans, a reality.

To steal one lovely lady's quote on her bio page:

When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say “I used everything you gave me” ~Erma Bombeck

Friday, August 14, 2009

To my Peet


Four years ago, at 10:30am, you were brought into the world 3 weeks early. Weighing in at 6 lbs 8 oz. and 19 1/2 inches long, you felt so tiny in our arms. We had been waiting for that day for a very long time, but we couldn't prepare ourselves for the feelings that overcame us when you looked at us for the first time with your big, beautiful eyes. The same eyes that have shared every emotion that you are feeling since the day you were born. The same eyes that can quickly break your daddy when you want something. I imagine that by time you read this, you will have mastered this trick and wouldn't be able to county how many times it worked.

You have brought your daddy and me SO much joy to our lives. Our love was strong and deep before you were born, but you brought our love to another level we never knew we had and we continue to be amazed by you daily. Love you baby girl.

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These are a few quotes taken from letters and cards we received when you were born:

"Every first experience that you accomplish will be recorded and will bring endless joy to your parents. Welcome to this world full of love for you." --Great Aunt Janine, Katie, and Missy

"When you awake at 2am, you haven't showered in days and your hubby is snoring asleep in the next room, remember she is going to be your best friend and spending this special time with her will fill your heart with love. Cherish it." --Kari Sweatt

"The love in your heart that you can give, is more than you can give in one lifetime." --Grandma Donna

"You will love her more than anything else in the world" --Lisa Smith

"May God bless you both during this wonderful time in your life! She will be a true blessing for everyone" --Aunt Lauren

"We love you all forever and a day." --Mimi and Papa

"May all your wishes and dreams come true plus much more." --Peepaw and Cody

"Always look to God in happiness, sadness, frustration, and love." --Amber and Rickey

"Get ready and let the "fun" begin! May the Lord's hand always be on your sweet baby girl!" --Richard and Brenda

"You guys made one of the most beautiful peoples I've ever seen before!" --Uncle Josh

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Here are some fun facts about you right now:

**You have a few different nicknames and these are just a few--Your daddy has called you gooey buns since your first month of life. We were watching an episode of CSI and they were investigating at a cinnamon roll company named Gooey Buns. It was perfect representation for all those diapers you went through. Your Uncle Nathan nicknamed you Leelee and is commonly used by your Mimi and here and there from your momma. Peet comes from me and it throws most people off, but some times you even correct me if I call you something different. Peet comes from me calling you sweetie, then sweetie pea, then sweetie peet, then just peet. So in case, you are still wondering-there ya have it.

**You are a smarty pants and LOVE to learn new things. Your most recent achievement includes learning where your phalanges, metatarsals, tarsals, clavicle, skull, rib cage, femur, and patella are within a couple of days. You are still working on the others.

**When you are really sleepy, you play with your hair.

**You call your freckles, polka dots and the one on your belly, freckle belly.

**Your favorite song is still the ABC song.

**You love toys that have lots of parts to separate, organize, make patterns, etc.

**One of your favorite things to do is when we go on a frog hunts at night with me and your daddy.

**You call every kid you see, your friend.

**You have been caught more times then I can count, eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon.

**The way you say refrigerator still cracks me and your daddy up so we fail at correcting it. Chig-arator.

**You think the word explode is rumbode. So around a week ago, you got really upset and were crying saying that your drink rumbode.

Happy 4th Birthday!!!!!!


See Birthday Countdown from last year for more pics or watch the video below.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's a "girl brain" kind of thing...

Next month on the 17th will mark a year since we announced that adoption had been on our hearts for several months. We announced our plans and hopes of where we would be in a year. We did this because we knew adoption fund raising ideas and the discussions of the adoption would arise and we didn't want it to come as a surprise.

This last year has brought some big changes in our lives, but not quite in the areas we had anticipated. Definitely things to get excited about and other things to be not so excited over. There have been a whole mill of emotions involving our plans to adopt.

How will we do as parents of two?
Is Aleeyah ready for a sibling?
How could we possibly afford the adoption costs?
Are we making the best choice for everyone involved-both ourselves and the child?
Is this what GOD wants for our lives?
How could we possibly afford the adoption costs?
Is this what God wants for our lives?
How could we possibly....

So many emotions. So many thoughts. So many questions.

So many doubts.

I've doubted whether or not it really is God's plan for us because it hasn't come easy even at such an early stage. I've doubted whether we should be parents of two. I've doubted how we are going to come up with the money while still trying to give in other areas, pay for Chris' schooling, and take care of other daily finances.

Doubt. Doubt. Doubt.

And boy does satan like a good dose of doubt.

When I really look at it, I believe with everything in my heart that we will make good parents of two. We have enough love to give for even more. And I really believe that Aleeyah would make a wonderful sister.

I also believe that God put it on our hearts for a reason and not that we just thought it was a cool idea. I think HE brought me to a place of compassion and desire to help in Africa. And I also think there is a reason why my uterus has not longed to birth any more children even though I always thought I'd be a mom of 3 biological children, but my heart is joyous over the thought of adoption.

A sort of peace came about our decision when two of my closest friends asked me what was holding us back--what would need to change for the next step? I didn't have to think for the answer. No reason to. I knew exactly what my answer was.

Finances. That's it.

If the finances were there, I'd be running to the adoption agency (figuratively, that is :) it's a bit far away!)

For me, the answer to that question showed me where we stand. It shows where we have come emotionally over the decision. God has granted us a year to really think about our decision so far and we haven't taken it lightly.

Chris and I chose to wait until after we were married for 5 years before having Aleeyah. Again, God granted us that time to really think about our goals and decisions. Was it always easy to wait? No. Did at times I just want to get started? Yes. BUT I still stand to this day with the emotional peace that came with knowing that we were 100% ready for her to be a part of our family.

It's been pointed out to me that maybe adoption isn't God's plan for our life since it's been an emotional roller coaster and the financial side of it hasn't come together. It's easy to believe that. It's easy to think that if God wanted this for our lives then He would make it known by handing us everything with little effort on our own part--then and only then would we truly know it was His will.

And there has been times in this journey were my understanding has wavered and I've believed that very thing.

Chris hasn't. He's cool headed like that.

But me...I have a "girl brain" (that's for you Jess!). It happens.

Then I stop to think about how God used our years of being childless to teach us and grow us and how I couldn't be more happy than to have followed His direction in bringing Aleeyah into the world. I see how He has already began making these changes again in our lives before we become parents of two. Chris is finally able to go back to school and will be graduating with his Masters within the next year and a half. Aleeyah will be headed to school next year-allowing me to start working on figuring out what I'm going to do when I grow up. BUT more importantly, He's molding our hearts and preparing them for another journey.

And when I'm still teetering on the brink of doubt, I try to think about Paul's ministry. I don't think anyone could say that Paul had it easy after he decided to follow God's direction and will. He wasn't just handed each mission packaged up with a silver bow, but one thing remained throughout-God was by his side.

When I look in the right direction, I see God at work, setting things and ideas into place for our family and plans. I see Him putting people in place, to give me support and encouragement through my bouts of doubt. I feel Him present in what may be a very long journey.

Though doubt and impatience lurks around the corner, I have faith that He is providing means now in some disguised ways and that like Paul, it won't always be easy, but He will guide, protect, and deliver us.


On a side note, but totally related, A dear friend of mind sent me THIS link a couple of days ago as some encouragement. It was some much needed inspiration and encouragement to live by faith instead of on the pathway of doubt.

Then this evening she provided THIS link. Words just cannot describe.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy 9..scratch that..10 year anniversary love!

Last year on our wedding anniversary, I wrote this blog post and video.

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Nine years ago today, Chris and I stood barefoot in front of all our friends, family, and God and committed our lives to each other. It was a very hot day in August and the wedding was outside, but we all had a great time! After 9 years, I don't remember what we told each other exactly, but I do know that I love him more now than what I ever thought I could.

We met in June 1996 and he officially became my boyfriend on July 13, 1996. I was a young 15 years old and he was about to turn 18. I cannot say that we were inseparable until just months before he was to leave for Harding University. Before that we only saw each other a couple of times a week at church. He left for Harding and as much as we wanted things to workout us, our family, and our friends all had our share of doubts. His time at Harding was hard for us and I was going through the hardest time in my life with family stuff. We could only talk to once a week on the phone, but we always had letters going to each other through snail mail (a time when not everyone had cell phones, computers, internet, email, and instant messaging). I remember getting in trouble on more than one occasion for racking up the long distance phone bill. Sorry Dad!!! He eventually returned home and continued his education at a local university. I remember knowing in my heart that if we could make it through a long distance relationship at such a young age then we can make it through anything!

Shortly after I graduated high school, on August 7, 1999 we got married. I remember many people in our lives that told us that we would never make it. That we wouldn't last more than a few years. And honestly, seeing a young couple getting married so early in their lives, I don't know that I wouldn't have thought that very thing myself. But what we have together is more than the average marriage these days.

Since our marriage, Chris has worked night jobs or jobs that required travel off and on until just recently. I see now how God used our time apart prior to our marriage to prepare us for what was to come. Our bond remains strong no matter where Chris is, but I have thoroughly enjoyed him being home all the time now!

Of course, 5 years into our marriage, God gave us our little Aleeyah. We feel so blessed that we were able to have our first 5 years together to really get to know each other more as husband and wife, but feel even more blessed to have her in our lives. Chris has become a great husband to me and a wonderful father to our baby girl!

Hope you enjoy the slideshow of our 12 years together!



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And a year later, I feel the same about my "old" man. In fact, this year has been amazing. Since he is no longer traveling in his job, we have really got to feel the full effect of being a family and ever more grateful for him for SO many reasons.

Our hearts are still young and in love and nothing makes us feel more in love than laughing together. He is still the one that I love spending the most time with (him and my girl, that is). He never complains about having to work so that we will be provided for and so that Aleeyah and I can spend these early years of her life together. He is so enthusiastic about getting his Master's degree so that not only can we be taken care of long term, but so that we can set our children up for a more financially stable future. He lets me thing short term while he thinks long term.

He can sometimes be hard to break because he is shy (most people just think he's angry or not friendly), but once that's broken you might often wonder who the 13 year old kid is inside that 31 year old body and (most days :) ) I love that about him--I think it even makes him a better father. Just so young at heart!

I love him more than the words on this blog will ever be able to describe.

As the saying goes,

We don't always have it all together, but together we have it all!
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