Wednesday, July 31, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Family reunion shenanigans.  We spent this past weekend in Georgia for Lance's family reunion... and these people don't mess around.  There were about 70 family members in all, ranging from ages 3 to 86.  We pretty much eat and laugh all weekend and play ridiculous games (hence, the above photo).  Never a dull moment, I tell ya.  Full post coming soon:)

2) Road trips with this guy.  Lance and I decided to take the long way home on Sunday... we detoured deep into the Appalachains.  Curvy mountain roads... windows rolled down... fresh produce stands... amazing weather... yummy dinner... and the best company a girl could ever ask for:)

3) Georgia peaches and a new book.  We brought home some Georgia peaches from our above mentioned road trip and they.are.divine.  Nothing beats a Georgia peach.  I also recently picked up Mindy Kaling's book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)... I've only read the first 20 pages or so and I'm already laughing out loud... so hilarious.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies:

Friday, July 26, 2013

dear baby girl {letters from the heart}

Dear baby girl,
The past few weeks were filled with appointments and new information... TB tests and fingerprints... more paperwork and more notarizing... the whole process seems to be never-ending, but each step puts us closer and closer to bringing you home... and that, sweet girl, is awesome.
Last week we learned some new information about your living situation.  It wasn't necessarily good or bad information...just new.  This was your mama's first real test in motherhood... I suddenly felt so small and inadequate to care for such a precious gift as yourself. I suspect that this feeling will only magnify as I learn to mother and care for you everyday. 
My daily prayers for your care and protection have quickly turned into desperate pleas.  While I fret and worry about your every moment, God gently reminds me that He is your true Protector.  He has been faithful to protect and care for you up utnil now, just as He will be faithful to care and protect you in the days to come. 
Your daddy and I have picked out your nursery furniture and I find myself daydreaming about greeting you every morning in your new crib... scooping you up in your footed pjs and carrying you downstairs... snuggling for morning cartoons... giggling as we make heart-shaped pancakes... The idea of it all makes my heart burst with joy. 
This weekend your daddy and I are driving to Georgia for daddy's family reunion... I can't wait for you to meet all of these people that already love you so much... they are dying to give you hugs and kisses, as are all of mama's family.  You are already one very loved little girl. 
Hurry home princess.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) God's provision.  Lance and I continue to be amazed at how the Lord continues to provide for us every step of the way through this adoption process.  This week we needed to send in approximately $6,000 in various adoption fees... which happens to be almost exactly how much we have brought in so far with our fundraising efforts.  We are over 20% of our total goal already.  So amazed by the generosity of His people.

2) Cooler weather.  Yesterday the high in Louisville was 80 degrees.  It.was.incredible.  For a second I almost thought it was fall.  I promise I'm not wishing away summer... but if we could get a few more days with these cooler temps, that would be awesome.

3) Dossier DONE.  I think for real this time.  We are mailing in a few more last minute documents and our dossier payment fees TODAY.  This means that our paperwork should be going out to Uganda NEXT WEEK people.  This makes me very, very happy.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

top ten :: nursery favorites

Confession: I've been pinning nursery ideas like crazy lately.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you're probably completely over all of my navy and pink pins.  Yeah... sorry about that.  Here are a few of my favorite nursery looks right now...

Any of these strike your fancy??  I'm kind of obsessed with all of them.  Linking up this week with Angie at Many Little Blessings.

Monday, July 22, 2013

summer salad series :: grandma's salad

I never really used to like salads... I mean... all those healthy vegetables and crunchy green leaves and stuff... meh. Well, turns out... I actually do like salads... I'm just not a big fan of iceberg lettuce.  Gross... seriously, it tastes like crunchy water.

As long as I steer clear of the iceberg lettuce, I'm actually quite the salad lover... who'd have thought?  (definitely not my mother).

Recently I've been perfecting the perfect make-at-home-salad, and I think I've just about got it.  Back in the day, I told you guys about this simple summer salad recipe here.  This was my Grandma Esther's recipe, and everyone on my mom's side of the family still swear by it.  PS... Have I mentioned that my Grandma had her very own cooking show before??  It was called Fiesta with Esther...  adorable, right?  She could cook anything... even in a dress and heels... with a cute apron of course:)

Grandma Esther's salad really only requires 5 items... lettuce (I usually use spinach), tomatoes, an onion, Canola oil, and Lawry's season salt.  Actually, truth be told, the lettuce is even optional.  It's the tomatoes and onion that are the winning combination here... they work like magic together with the season salt and canola oil.

But come on... who really wants a tomato-onion salad?  Here are my favorite ingredients lately... spinach, tomato, sweet onion, mushrooms, yellow tomatoes, and prosciutto & mozzarella.... mmmmm.  I am usually just making this for myself and Lance, so I'll use a big handful of spinach, a whole tomato (sometimes 2), just a few slices from my onion, 2 large mushrooms, and whatever else I'm craving that day.  You can honestly add whatever you want to this salad, as long as you have the tomatoes and onion.

I'm kind of obsessed with this Boar's Head prosciutto and mozzarella right now... it's delectable.  It also tastes pretty dang rad over plain tomato slices.

Once you've added all of your salad ingredients, sprinkle the Lawry's season salt and stir in some of the canola oil.  Start small, then decide if you want to add more after you've stirred everything up.

You really can't go wrong with this salad.  The canola oil and season salt don't overpower your veggies and everything tastes so fresh.  It's the perfect-make-at-home-salad.  Go ahead... try it:)  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) TB tests.  Or rather the fact that I don't actually have TB.  As part of our adoption process Lance and I had to get TB skin tests on Monday morning... and my skin test was positive... not cool.  So, they whisked me away, put me in a gown and ordered some chest x-rays, pronto.  Thankfully my x-rays came back negative... yay for being TB-free.

2) Pretty views.  I have some photo sessions this weekend, and I'm super excited to use a new location.  There's a beautiful orchard not too far across the river... should make for some pretty pictures!!

3) Fabric inspiration.  I stumbled across this lovely bolt of fabric while wandering around Hobby Lobby the other day.  I bought a yard because I simply couldn't resist.  Thinking this pattern would look pretty rad on a rocking char in baby girl's room:)

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

i like to spray paint.

I love spray paint.  

It comes in an array of colors... you can spray pain just about anything... and the best part??  The results are practically instantaneous.  Love it.

A few months ago I bought several hanging plants to fancy up our backyard a bit... but the plastic pots that they came in were kind of bland.  I didn't want to spend a bunch more money replacing all of the pots... so... in comes spray paint!!! 

I carefully took the plants out of all of their containers so I could prep the pots for painting.  I have no idea what these plants are called... I completely forgot.  I consider it a huge accomplishment that they are all still alive;)

I took the containers to the side of the house and spray painted them one by one... the whole process took about 30 minutes for 6 containers.  I went with a bold lime green that I've used before on some other outdoor projects.  I love this color.

What a difference!!  I love how the green pops!!!  No more bland here.

I think even the chickens like it:)

Now I just need to focus on keeping the plants alive...

Monday, July 15, 2013

weekend festivities {babies & rock'n'roll}

This past weekend was spectacular.  It was filled with productivity and spontaneity all in one... 

Friday night I finally got to meet sweet baby Rowan... and he did not disappoint.  He is simply precious.  Now... if I can just convince his mama and daddy to not move away to France this year...

On Saturday Lance and I made a last minute decision to head over to Louisville's own music festival, Forecastle... and we were SO glad we did.  So many great bands all in one place.  

We listened to Mona, The Alabama Shakes, Joy Formidable, Matt & Kim, and The Black Keys.  I've always been a fan of Joy Formidable, and the lead singer is perfection.  She's this tiny little thing with an incredible voice... and she smashed her guitar at the end of the concert... which was totally awesome.

Then we headed over to the Red Bull stage for Matt & Kim.  BEST.LIVE.SHOW.EVER.  They were incredibly entertaining.  Lance and I have both been fans of their music for a while now... but after seeing them live, I'm slightly obsessed.  And Kim's the drummer... which makes her a badass in my book.  So, so good.

Forecastle is hosted every year at the Waterfront in Louisville... and Saturday's weather provided the absolute best backdrop ever.  We had a stunning sunset overlooking the Ohio River... gorgeous.

We had a relaxing Sunday morning with fresh eggs and veggies... oh, and some burnt breakfast sausage patties... oops.  Good thing the eggs tasted good:)

Then, probably the highlight of our weekend was adoption paperwork.  For any of you that have been following along in our adoption journey know that I've shed more than a few tears over the amount of adoption paperwork we have.  It's insane.  But we are so, so close.  Yesterday we met with a friend's mom who agreed to notarize all of our documents... and she did... all.bleepin'.ninty-six.of.them.  I kid you not.  That was not an over exaggeration.  We notarized 96 documents yesterday.  But, good news... we are mailing out our dossier this week!!!!

So yes.  All in all I'd say we had an absolutely spectacular weekend.

How about you??

Friday, July 12, 2013

dear baby girl {letters from the heart}

Dear baby girl,

We are still anxiously awaiting the day we will get to fly on a plane to meet you.  Everyday we get just a little bit closer.

Today your daddy and I went to the doctor for a general check up and blood tests, which is one of our final requirements for our paperwork.  Typically your mama is not a fan of needles or blood work... but today, I didn't flinch.  Your sweet little face is quite the motivator.

The doctor we visited today was completely new to us.  Up until now, we really haven't had a primary physician in Louisville.  We didn't know a thing about him, except that he was less than a mile from the house and could schedule our appointment within a week of calling.  We arrived at the doctor's office only to find out that Dr. Gray travels to Uganda every.single.year.  I know, right?  He goes with his church once a year for medical missions and to help with other various needs.  I found myself almost in tears this morning as I showed your photo to some of the nurses and front desk girls.  They ooooed and ahhhhed over your cuteness (as everyone does) and my heart almost burst with joy.  I love how God continues to remind me time and time again that He has planned our little family long before we did.

Your daddy and I still talk about you endlessly everyday.  We often stay up late into the night talking about what we think you will be like as we share our prayers and dreams for you.  We talk about learning to do your hair... how spoiled you will be by your grandparents... how we can't wait to snuggle with you on the couch... how your mama will need to learn how to cook... how adorable you're going to be in footed pajamas... We have even decided on your name.  I think it fits you well.  It's beautiful and strong... just as you are.

I love you sweet girl... hurry home.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) New blooms.  Last year my awesome next door neighbor gave me some peace lily (I think?) clippings from her own garden and I continue to be amazed at their survival skills.  I thought surely I killed them last year because I waited entirely too long to plant them.  Then this year I was convinced they were goners, when our chickens completely devoured them... yep- ate them down to nubs.  So, I skeptically moved them to a spot on the front porch and attempted to water them back to life.  And just look!  Lo' and behold... the most beautiful bloom you ever did see:)

2) Scanner guns.  This weekend I created a baby registry.  Yes.  A BABY REGISTRY.  I sometimes still struggle to believe this whole adoption journey is real, and that our sweet baby girl could likely be here before the holidays.  This is both completely crazy to me... and completely exhilarating.  Registering is one of those things that pulls you into reality.  It was so overwhelming, but thankfully some good friends of mine came along to help.  But wow... I mean, who knew there were so many different kinds of sippy cups?

3) Painted skies.  We have had incredibly crazy weather here in Louisville lately.  Tons of rain... like the really hard, torrential summer downpours that last like 30 minutes, but seem to happen  But I can't complain when the result is a gorgeous painted sky.  So thankful we have such a creative God!

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

top ten :: things you should buy from our etsy shop

This is an incredibly shameless plug of a post.  The entire plan being that you will see all of this amazingly awesome stuff and head directly over to the Etsy shop and purchase everything.

Absolutely everything.  

We have lots of handmade jewelry posted... and then my incredibly talented father has posted some of his gorgeous woodwork as well.  You'll find beaded necklaces, earrings, bracelets with meaning, one-of-a-kind wooden bowls, incredibly cool writing pens, and much, much more.

But the best part??

Every single penny goes to towards bringing home our sweet baby girl.  For any of you that have adopted or know a family that has gone through the adoption process know how insanely expensive the adoption journey can be.

Therefore... the shop.  

So, without further adieu... here are the top 10 things from our Etsy shop that you should go check out... (and then immediately put in your shopping cart:)

These earrings combine stunning fire agate stones with swarovski crystals... and look amazing with the Princess Agatha necklace.

This is one of my favorite bowls that my dad has made... I love how the dyed wood resembles the deep blue of the ocean.

This simple beaded bracelet makes a bold statement.  The cut of the red and black stones catches the light just right and creates the perfect amount of sparkle.

How cool is this?  What seems to be an unassuming key chain actually unscrews to reveal a small compartment that is the perfect size for your daily pills, or emergency advil.  Brilliant.

This set is probably my all-time personal favorite of jewelry that I've created.  The set includes a small card that has the scripture verse Ecclesiastes 4:12 (Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, but a cord of three strands is not easily broken.)  I have always loved this verse and how it reminds me to keep God in the center of all my relationships.  And there are matching earrings!

This gorgeous piece boasts a genuine turquoise inlay that adds just the right amount of detail.  This vase would look amazing on your coffee table or office desk.

The color combination on this necklace makes a powerful statement.  The natural green stones bring the perfect balance to all of the gold and sparkle.  Looks great paired with the Paige Trio Earrings. 

My dad makes a ton of cool pens, but this one is one of my favorites.  It has an "artillery-type" release and a riffle pen clip that makes this the perfect gift for any hunters on your list.

This colorful bracelet tells the story of Christ... each bead and stone represents a different portion of Jesus' life and death.  The three larger stones represent the 3 Wise Men and come in green, blue or pink.

This gorgeous bowl was featured in the 2012 Woodworkers International Calendar.  Yeah... my dad is pretty dang awesome.  The underside and the rim of this bowl were hand-painted to create the effect of granite or marble.  Love this piece.

So.  There you have it.  My top 10 recommendations for what you should be buying in our Etsy shop:) A big, big THANK YOU to all who have already purchased!!  Every item brings us closer to bringing our sweet baby girl home from Uganda.

You can also make tax-deductible donations through Helping Hands.  Simply select "ADOPTION" as your project category, then choose "BLACK, LANCE and JULIA" as your project. 

It would also be totally rad if you would share this info on your own blog (facebook, instagram, twitter... or whatever your social media of choice is:)  

Linking up with Many Little Blessings today!!