Celebrating Easter

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inked by Lindsay

Having a little one made this Easter especially memorable. Ellie is just now realizing how fun toys can be, and I had a blast filling her Easter basket with little toys, pacifiers, and bunny ears. The whole family celebrated Christ’s resurrection together at church, and then we had a fabulous Whole 30-approved lunch (yep, we’re doing it again. You can read about our first experience here) at my parent’s house. Ellie hit the Easter basket jackpot at Gigi’s, where she modeled some new shades for our upcoming trip to the beach. ;)

Easter makes me more grateful than Thanksgiving. It’s a fresh reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, and adopting our daughter gave me a whole new perspective on our adoption into Christ’s family. Adoption isn’t an easy process– it takes a toll emotionally, physically, financially. It wasn’t an easy process for our Father, either. But the beauty born from adoption makes the process worth it, and I’m eternally grateful for the sacrifice that allowed me to be adopted into God’s family.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

 

Newborn Favorite Things

Newborn-Fav-Thingsinked by Lindsay

Now that E is a little over two months, I feel like we’re finally hitting our groove. I’m learning how to do things with one hand and am adjusting to living on a three-hour schedule. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

E is such a good baby. Like, really good. If she could just get the hang of sleeping through the night, we’d be set! Despite her great demeanor, there are a few products that have made our lives a little easier. I thought I’d give a list of some of my favorite things for the newborn stage now that it’s almost over. I could cry about that, but who am I kidding– I already have. ;)

1. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash – This shampoo smells amazing, is all-natural, and sensitive enough for E’s skin.
2. Little Hip Squeaks Headbands – If you follow me on Instagram, you know E wears one of these just about everyday. They’re adjustable and grow with baby.
3. Little Hip Squeaks Mess Cloths – These are my favorite burp cloths. They’re absorbent and come in great prints! And, LHS just released their spring collection with new prints and colors. Love them all!
4. Gerber Side-Snap Shirts – These are the best. E was so tiny when she was born that dressing her really freaked me out. Having one less thing to pull over her head made dressing her easier– especially with spit up and blow-out diapers.
5. Wubbanub Pacifier – We gave E an Avent Soothie pacifier from day one and she loved it. My mom bought her one of these in the hospital gift shop and they are amazing! The stuffed animal helps hold the paci in and gives baby something to squeeze.
6. Fisher Price Snugamonkey Swing – E loves this swing. Loves. I put her in it when I workout in the mornings, and she smiles at the mobile the whole time. And bonus- the music isn’t completely obnoxious. ;)

A few other things I love include our Britax carseat, Honest Company diapers, and our Montessori mobile. What were your favorite things during the newborn stage?

My Daughter is a Mother

Ellieinked by Holly

My daughter became a mother four weeks ago.  I still wake up some mornings and slowly remember that I’m a grandmother!  Well, actually, I’m a Gigi.  Most people have nine months to prepare, have baby showers, and set up a nursery.  But not everyone–some do it a little differently. I like to think some do it even more wonderfully!

You see, for our family, it was more like a two month long pregnancy test.  We were hopeful but we weren’t positive it would be happening until they put that teeny tiny beautiful bundle of blessing into their car and brought her home.  And at that point, there was squealing and crying… not from the teeny tiny bundle but from the Gigi, Pops and all the excited aunties!  When we got the call that Chris and Lindsay were on their way home from the hospital, the first order of business included a trip to Target.  Formula, diapers and wipes needed to be purchased ASAP!  Oh and a bassinette! Gigi might have thrown in a few more baby items for good measure.  Auntie Alissa rushed to Carters for some teeny tiny sleepers for our teeny tiny blessing (have I mentioned she was teeny tiny?!).

We went to their house and anxiously awaited their arrival so we could meet our teeny tiny blessing for the first time!  Oh, she was amazing!.Perfection, really.  As they took her out of that seemingly giant car seat, there were more tears and hugs!

Next, I watched my daughter become a mother.  And just as my mother and mother-in-law taught me, I had the wonderful privilege of teaching my daughter.  I found myself saying things like “Always put her in tshirt.”  Why? Because my mother insisted a tshirt be on my babies.  It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, make sure you put her in a tshirt.  And I said things like “My mother helped give all my babies their first bath, would you like me to help bathe her?”  And then I showed my son how to burp her.  And again, it was how my mother taught me to burp my babies.   I’ve also recalled all the ways Steve’s mother helped and the things I learned from her.  I vividly recall her standing in our apartment, showing my how to pat and sway and soothe our very fussy firstborn.  She had a magic touch with the fussy ones. Steve’s mother always told me that she didn’t allow her children to scream because screaming is for emergencies.  And so I taught my children that we do not scream unless blood is flowing or stranger danger or some other sort of impending doom.

There was plenty of advice given by the mothers.  Sometimes I chose to smile, say thank you and then ignore.  I’m sure the cycle will continue as I give advice and she smiles, thanks me and then chooses to do it a better way.  And that’s ok because my daughter has become a very good mother.1497700_10153740456020425_2099941909_n 1557510_10153740456180425_1720454061_n 1531913_10153740456430425_1402601763_nPhotos courtesy of Sara Corona

An Adoption Story

inked by Lindsay

It’d be a little narcissistic to think that anyone missed our blogging, so I’m not going to apologize for the hiatus, but I will explain why we haven’t posted in a few months. It’s a good reason, I promise. :)

Two months ago, Chris and I were contacted out of the blue about an opportunity to adopt a baby girl. We were initially shocked, but we knew this was orchestrated by God and we wanted to at least explore the opportunity. Long story short, we worked with an agency to start and finish our home study in a little over two weeks, and then we waited for the birth. When we got the call, we went to the hospital and met our precious baby and waited a little more. We brought her home on a Thursday afternoon and became her parents on the following Friday afternoon. We are completely and totally in love with her!

We laugh when we think about how little we knew and understood about adoption two months ago as compared to our understanding today. We had NO idea what we were getting into and the emotional rollercoaster that the following months would bring. I won’t go into many details about our sweet girl’s birth or time at the hospital, but I will say that it was the most exhilarating and life-changing week of my life. We never could have fully prepared for it, and we are still recovering from it.

Even though I didn’t give birth to our sweet baby, I feel like I gave birth, just without the physical ramifications. Our social worker said this is normal, and referred to it as an “emotional labor.” I really can’t describe it any better than that. The tirade of emotions we felt at the hospital and bringing our baby home have subsided, and now we’re processing the joy (and sleeplessness) of being new parents.

And let me tell you, this is what we were made for. As I rock our bright-eyed newborn in the wee hours of the morning, I am so overwhelmed with love and contentment. She is the absolute love of our lives.

I’ll back up a little further and tell you about how the adoption came about. Chris and I have dealt with infertility for the last year and a half. We started fertility treatments last summer, and after a failed attempt we were emotionally drained and frustrated. Our official diagnosis is unexplained infertility. I was downright angry. Angry at God, angry at my body, angry at every pregnant woman I saw, angry at the world. I felt overlooked and completely abandoned by God.

But oh my goodness, friends, our God is good. Only He could take the ugliness and deep pain of infertility and transform it into the most beautiful, redemptive story. Only He could took my angry, bitter heart and fill it with love, contentment, and joy.

In September, you might recall that we took a family trip to the beach. On our last day there, Chris and I took a long walk and talked about our hopes and dreams for family and if they’d ever be realized. We cried together about our frustration towards the failed fertility treatments and decided to start praying about adopting. We had always been interested in adopting since we first starting dating, but never imagined pursuing adoption so soon in our marriage.

Chris didn’t know this at the time, but as we prayed for guidance in whether or not to pursue adoption, I prayed specifically that God would open a completely unexpected door to adopt. After trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t sure that I had the emotional stamina to wait years to adopt, and I was praying for a miracle.

And God provided. Just one month later we received the call about our sweet girl. Two months later we had her in our arms. Simply miraculous– I’ve never witnessed such a blatant answer to prayer.

Last year was the hardest of my life. Each month was another reminder of our failed attempts to conceive. Another reminder of a God who overlooked me.

But God had other plans. He blessed us with the most perfect gift, and through the adoption of our precious daughter, my faith has been completely transformed. Our adoption journey has taught me so much about my adoption in Christ. God views me as an heir to His kingdom– He loves me as much as His son. I never comprehended this– in fact, I doubted His love for me. Our daughter has opened my eyes to God’s love for me and best of all, His love for our daughter. We have been redeemed.

Although the holidays have come and gone, I know the celebrations and weeks to follow are a painful time for so many, and friends, I completely relate to those who dread the family gatherings and can only dread another year of loss. I pray that you will experience God’s redemption and His unending love for His children. Even in our frustration, pain, and unfulfilled expectations, His love and His promises are true. Praise God– He is the Father to the fatherless!

Please join us in welcoming our new bundle of joy to the family– our best gift ever. :)IMG_1454

Life Lately

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As much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong. I thought schedules would slow down with the new year, but somehow they’ve become busier?

BUT, there’s a twinkling light at the end of the tunnel and we just might have a few weeks of peace and quiet soon.

The past few weeks have been a blur of festivals, church events, dinners with friends, a special visit from my college friends, and even a Red’s game. And lots and lots of honeycrisp apples.

The visit with old friends was like balm for my soul. We’ve been blessed with wonderful post-college friendships in Dayton (oddly enough, many of them are with people we went to college with but didn’t know in college), but there’s something to be said about the friends you’ve lived with, fought with, danced with, survived break-ups with, got married with, and so on. The friends who pass you a granola bar when you’re cranky out of hunger. The ones that require no censorship, because let’s be honest, if they put up with you in a dorm room, they can put up with you anywhere. The ones that text you at work to let you know they helped themselves to your wardrobe.

We joked about how hard it is to make friends after college, and we attribute it to no longer living, breathing, sleeping, studying, doing everything with the same group once college is over. But to be honest, I like my post-college independence and wouldn’t want to go back.

That’s why I’m equally grateful for the community of friends (and family, but that’s a given) that we’ve found here in post-grad life. We may not get to comfort each other through break-ups or after a bad exam grade or have dance parties in the bathroom, but we do get to support each other through marital ups and downs, job and grad school woes, ministry opportunities, parenting dilemmas, and whatever else.

It’s all about growing where you’re planted, right?

Hip Hop, Bowties, and TGIF

inked by Lindsay

I wanted to title this post “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend,” but I didn’t think my mom would appreciate the R. Kelly reference. She doesn’t seem to have an affinity for hip hop like the rest of us.

Anyway, our sweet friend Tuttibella was kind enough to ask me to write a guest post on marriage advice for her adorable blog. Because, you know, now that I’ve been married for 3 years I’m a total expert, just ask Chris. ;) Along with our boy toys, Emily and I attended Tuttibella’s wedding in July and it was absolutely gorgeous. She was a beautiful bride and added so many fun touches to personalize her special day. For instance, she handmade bowties for all of her male guests to wear at the ceremony. photo(6)How cute is that?! She also served breakfast for dinner. I always knew I liked that girl.

You can read my guest post here.

Happy weekend! And for all you other hip hop lovers, baby I’m ’bouta have me some fun.

Peace Out, Summer

photo(4)^^Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp all DAY^^ photo(1) photo(2)^^Last minute Red’s game with friends^^ photo(3)^^We took Charlie to a local dog park and it was SO FUN. He was exhausted on our way home^^

inked by Lindsay

August is almost over, and I’m feeling some guilt for not being sad about it.

Every year it’s the same story. Come January, I’m dying for sunlight, spring/summer activities, and longer days, so I know I’ll regret this post on December 26. But I’m just kind of done with summer. It was fun while it lasted, but it was crazy hectic, and I think (hope? pray?) our schedule will slow down a little with the new school year.

The fall will bring Chris’ very last semester of grad school, and he’s convinced that I’ll willingly watch OSU football games now that we’ve watched a few seasons of Friday Night Lights. Unfortunately for Chris, Tim Riggins wasn’t on the OSU roster the last time I checked (side note: I’d like to aspire to be Tami Taylor in my next life. She’s almost as awesome as Olivia Pope, but less adulterous).

I do, however, plan to celebrate my first school-less autumn in 20 years by making several trips to our local fruit farm with Charlie for all things apple-related, lighting every cinnamon spice candle I can get my hands on, cursing the huge trees in our yard when it’s time to spend a full weekend raking, and living in sweatshirts and boots.

Raise your pumpkin spice lattes to a new season!

photo(5)…and may your long weekend be as relaxing and carefree as this^^