Friday, August 30, 2013

dear baby girl {letters from the heart}

Dear baby girl,

This week your daddy and I got our immunization shots for Uganda.  Your daddy had to get 4 shots, and mama had to get 6... 3 in one arm and 3 in the other.  And I'll just be honest... your mama has never been a big fan of shots and needles... but for you... anything.  I would get a thousand shots if it brought me that much closer to bringing you home sweet girl.

Your daddy put together the crib that Gigi and Hayhay got you... and it's beautiful.  Seeing that crib up in your room fills my heart with gladness.  I long for the mornings that we greet one another in that very room, with you in that very crib.  Who knows how long you'll tolerate a crib though... rumor has it you're already walking!  I can't wait to chase you around this house:)

Everyday we anticipate meeting you... holding you... protecting you... We can hardly stand the distance and continue to hope and pray that we will travel soon.  It's true what they say... the waiting really is the hardest part.  Hurry home sweet girl, hurry home.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

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

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Mini frapuchinos.  I mean, seriously... how cute, no?  Last week at Target I got this adorable mini sample of Starbuck's new vanilla frapuchino.  It was delish.  I think I'll be ordering the full size version next time:)

2) Fresh veggies.  Tis the season for fresh summer veggies!!  Our tomatoes are coming in at full force, we have tons of fresh Indiana corn, and plenty of squash and zucchini... which means lots of yummy salads, tomato and bacon sandwiches, and veggie omelets:)  I pretty much put corn in everything these days.

3) A CRIB!!!  That's right!!  The crib is here and up!!  Lance put the crib together a few weeks ago and I'm in love.  There are plenty of other things we hope to do in the nursery soon, but to know that our sweet baby girl has a bed makes my heart so 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:

Monday, August 26, 2013

weekend festivities {nashville edition}

This weekend involved a quick road trip down to Nashville, TN to see my very best friend since 3rd grade... 

She and I go wayyyyy back... from barbies to cheerleading tryouts... from high school choir to college road trips... we've been through thick and thin and I was deliriously excited to see her.

But let's be honest... the real reason I traveled to Nashville was to see this little guy.  Jack.  Aka, the cutest little dude I've ever seen.  Those blue eyes will simply steal your heart.  The last time I visited Nashville was for Christi's baby shower... so it was high time for me to finally meet little Jack.  I was sure to give him plenty of Auntie Julia kisses:)

Christi and I also made sure to get some grown-up time on the weekend agenda too... nothing says grown-up time like brunch and bloody mary's, no?  It was my first time eating at Mack & Kate's in Franklin, TN and I'm a major fan.

We also headed out to a fun little event, Red, White & Brew... hosted by the Community Foundation of Nashville.  I'm always game for a "battle of the food trucks" event... seriously... brilliant.

Saturday night was spent by ordering pizza and watching Pitch Perfect (aka, probably my absolute favorite movie right now)... Christi hadn't seen it yet, which I deemed a major travesty.

But no doubt, this little man stole the show this weekend.  Ridiculously cute.  Can hardly handle it.

What about you?  What did you do this weekend??

Thursday, August 22, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

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

This Thursday I am thankful for...

Generous, generous love from friends and family.  As Lance and I have been rasing funds for our adoption, I continue to be amazed at the incredible generosity of others.  This entire process has been extremely humbling for both Lance and I (in so many ways)... specifically financially.  I am still so surprised and humbled when I get an email notifying us of an Etsy sale... friends that we haven't talked to in years are reaching out asking how they can be a part of our adoption... people that we don't even know are praying for us... we have received checks in the mail, from friends near and far... Honestly, I don't think I will ever be able to put our gratefulness into words.  It's this love that is helping to bring our baby girl home... and that generosity continues to amaze me day after day.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

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, August 21, 2013

top ten :: take aways from the state fair

The Kentucky State Fair is in town this week.  Lance and I have said every single year that we've lived here that we are going to go... but we never seemed to make it happen... until this year.  The fairgrounds are literally less than 5 miles from our house and this past Friday I was in desperate need of some fried food and cotton candy.  So... we met up with some friends of ours and had our first Kentucky State Fair experience.  It did not disappoint.

I forgot how awesome the fair was.  The lights, the smells, the sounds, the fried food... I mean, really... you can't beat it.  A few thoughts on the fair...

1) Corn dogs are a perfectly acceptable dinner.

2) Riding the "scrambler" after above mentioned corn dog dinner is probably not the best idea.

3) Fair games are deceptive.  
They always look so easy... but really you're about to drop loads of cash for a giant over-sized sock monkey.

4) And who doesn't need a giant over-sized sock monkey?!?

5) The bigger the beard, the bigger the turkey leg.
Oh, and apparently you can put anything on a stick at the fair.  We will pay big money for food on sticks and bonus points if it's fried.

 6) Really, anything goes at the fair.  
Record size pumpkin??  Yep.  Got it.

7) Cotton candy is a non-negotiable. 

 8) You should never trust a ride that can be completely put up and taken down in only a few hours time by a 16 year old.

9) Unless of course, it's a ferris wheel.
(Actually, I'll be honest here... I rarely follow rule #8... I'm a sucker for a good fair ride.) 

 10) The view is always better from the top of a ferris wheel.

Have you been to the fair lately?  Any of you Kentuckians heading out to the Kentucky state fair this week?  If so, be sure to get a corn dog.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

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

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Front porch deliveries.  Specifically ones that come in really big heavy boxes from Babies 'R' Us!!!  That's right, you guessed it... that giant box contains our baby girl's crib!!!  And thanks to Gigi and HayHay we have already received both the crib AND the dresser that we registered for!  I am beyond stoked to get these upstairs and set up in our sweet girl's room.

2) Pink spray paint.  Speaking of her room... I'm having to show some serious self-control so I don't spray paint everything pink... no, really.  I'm in love with this Valspar color and we all know how I feel about spray paint...

3) This man.  I am so thankful that I am able to journey through this whole process with him.  I look forward to parenting with him.  I know he will be the most incredible father, and I feel completely blessed that I get to witness it all.

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:


Monday, August 12, 2013

cinnamon toothpicks & birthdays.

When I was in kindergarten my dad drove me to school every single day.   And every single day we would chew on cinnamon toothpicks. I felt so grown up... sitting in the front seat with my dad, with a toothpick in my mouth... just like him.
You don't see many cinnamon toothpicks on the shelves these days.  They are apparently pretty hard to come by.  One time when I was about 5 or 6 I tried to make my very own handmade cinamon toothpicks.  I found some kind of cinamon-scented potpouri oil, and figured I could just dip a bunch of toothpicks in there and voila!  Yeah... that didn't work out so well.  I was left with red, burning lines on the sides of my mouth.  I looked like the Joker.  My parents asked what the heck I had been doing and I'm pretty sure I tried to make something up... just like when I cut my own bangs.

But I digress...

There's something about those cinnamon toothpicks that still evoke a memory for me.  And it never fails... anytime I see cinnamon toothpicks I think fondly of the times my dad drove me to school everyday... having him all to myself... just me and my daddy.  Even then, at a mere 5 years old, I knew that he didn't buy those toothpicks just for him... they were for me too.  He thought those moments were just as special as I did.  I always knew how special I was to him...

And now... nearly 27 years later, I still know.  My dad has always showered my sister and I with a selfless love that I am forever grateful for.  He loves and supports me and Lance in so many ways.  He loves my husband as his own son, and that simple act warms my heart to the very core.  He adores his future granddaughter as if he has known her from the very beginning... he spends hours before and after work each day making the most beautiful creations to donate to our adoption fund... just to help bring our baby girl home that much faster.  I get simply giddy with anticipation knowing that our baby girl will have the most amazing Papa ever.

Dad- happy birthday.  Thanks for being the most incredible father a girl could ever ask for.  I am forever grateful for all you have done and continue to do.  And thanks for the cinnamon toothpicks.  I love you.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

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

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Handmade cuteness.  Like, seriously.  Are these not the ABSOLUTE cutest outfits you have ever seen?!?!  And they were handmade by a friend of mine that I went to high school with.  HANDMADE PEOPLE.  These arrived very unexpectedly in my mailbox last Thursday, and it was such a delightful surprise.  I started crying when I saw baby girl's name actually on something.  Once again, the "realness" of it all hit me like a tidal wave.  And don't even get me started on those bloomers...

2) Milkshakes at work.  Nothing helps you get through the work day like an afternoon strawberry milkshake.  Last week our plant manager bought everyone in the office milkshakes and it was the perfect pick-me-up to a super busy day.  Sometimes it's the smallest things.

3) Getting home before dark.  The beginning of every month is always my busiest for work... which often means working until 8:00 and 9:00 at night.  So, I always love those first few days when things start to slow down enough for me to leave the office at a much more normal hour... aka, daylight.  I don't know what I'm going to do in the winter...

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, August 6, 2013

black family reunion 2013

Last weekend Lance and I traveled to Georgia for the annual Black Family Reunion.  And this family doesn't mess around when it comes to reunions.  It is seeped in tradition, laughter, food, and fun.  I look forward to it every year.  Lance's family has a knack for making anyone feel loved and welcomed.... college roommates, childhood friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, fianc├ęs, and all of us in-laws (or out-laws, rather:) 

There are so many things that I love about these reunions... but here are some of my favorites...

1) tradition...
Lance's family started this reunion in 1988... one year after Nanny Black passed away.  Lance's dad was 1 of 8 siblings and after Nanny passed away they wanted to make sure they carried on the tradition of family year after year, no matter how many miles or much time passed by.  This year marked the 25th Black Family Reunion... and I think we had a grand total of 70 people this year.  Told you.  This is serious stuff.

2) golf tourney.
Every year a big group heads out to the golf course on Saturday... teams are strategically selected the night before, and the previous year's winning team gets to defend their title.  And every year one team wins the trophy and another team "wins" the cow patty.  This is serious business people.

 3) pool time.
While all the golfers are out sweatin' it up on the green, the rest of us spend the day lounging by the pool.  The pool festivities includes magazine reading, an intense diving board competition, crazy pool games, and lots of finger foods.  

4) food. food. food.
Speaking of food... Did I mention that we eat a little bit at these reunions?  It feels like this is all we do... and I'm not complaining.  A reunion in Georgia means awesome southern home-cooked food all.weekend.long.

 5) pictures.
We take a few pictures over the weekend.  Just a couple.  None of which are incriminating... none.

6) cookies.
As in "face the cookie."  We play ridiculous games on Saturday night... one of which is the infamous "Minute to Win it" game, "face the cookie." My sister-in-law is a pro at this game... obviously. 

7) sister-in-laws
Speaking of sister-in-laws.. I love these girls.  Lance is extremely close to both of his brothers and I am so thankful to have these two girls as my sisters:)  All six of of us went to college together in Troy, so our friendships started even before our marriages.

 8) memories.
Reunions are all about memories... remembering old ones and making new ones... and sometimes digging memories out of the depths of your high school glory days:)  Before we left we went through Lance's mom's garage looking for some stuff we never moved with us to Kentucky... and lo' and behold... looky what we uncovered... ALL 3 of the boys high school jerseys.  And even more amazing is that they all still fit... not sure if they could fit pads under there though...

 9) spoon game.
Aka, the-most-hilarious-game-I've-ever-witnessed-in-my-entire-life-game.  Seriously... hilarious.  Most of my pictures from this game are far too incriminating to post online, if that tells you anything.  If you're still dying to know more, I explained things in a little more detail in last year's reunion post.  Just take my word for it... hysterical. 

 10) these goobers.
These two little munchkins are one of my favorite parts of these trips, hands down.  Our nieces Jocelyn and Gabbie keep us in stitches... and they are beyond excited about their new baby cousin and keep asking if she's home yet:)  I love it.

Packing up is always our least favorite part... but it always helps when you have good help:)  The girls made sure everything was securely fastened for our ride home.  Another reunion for the books.  Can't wait until next year!

Monday, August 5, 2013

embracing august {monthly goals}

First of all... can you freakin' believe it's already AUGUST?!?!  I know... me either.

That being said... I also I'm pretty impressed that I've kept up with this whole month goal thing so far this year...  this definitely seems to be the best fit for me.  I like the idea of having just a small handful of things to focus on each month... and I like that if I fail epicly on some of my goals, I can simply move on the next month.  No hard feelings.  I might repeat those same goals the next month... or I might not.  It's a no-pressure relationship... me and my goals.   Nevertheless... here is how I'll be embracing the month of August...

fundraise. fundraise. fundraise.
I apologize to those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram and are constantly bombarded with my shameless attempts to corral you to our Etsy shop or our new coffee fundraiser.  Okay, okay... that was a weak attempt of an apology... because really that was just another subliminal message to get you shopping.  I mean... you probably want to go check both sites out right now... you know... do a little browsing... a little buying... a little help-lance-and-julia-bring-home-their-baby-girl-shopping....

finish // photo editing.
I have majorly slowed down my photography gig for a while... I've stopped taking wedding bookings for a bit so I can adjust to my new job and focus on adoption stuff.  But even though the photography calendar is clear for a little while... my editing to-do list is not.  I am hoping to finish editing some mini-sessions this week.  This is a big goal considering it's a busy work week as well... but I desperately want to get these sessions out the door.  Photos in hand = happy clients!!

find time // to create.
I couldn't even tell you the last time I actually sat down to do something creative... (spray painting doesn't count).  I desperately need to get some creative time this month.  I would love, love, love to catch up on some scrapbooking... perhaps make some more jewelry for the Etsy shop... or maybe even work on some fun projects for baby girl's room...  The goal is to create something... anything.

fixate on // truth.
Last month one of my goals was to memorize scripture.  I didn't do so great on that one.  So I'm going to give it another go this month.  I want to fill my mind and heart with truth.  I see the need for this even more as I so easily am pulled into the "what ifs" of adoption.  When my mind is consumed with fear and worry, I want His truth to shine through... to push through the webs of lies and fear so that I can only hear His faithful promises.

What about you?  What are you focusing on this month?
In case you're interested... or super bored at work... here are my previous monthly goals: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay, June, and July.