Saturday, July 22, 2017

good intentions

Back at the end of May when school first let out, I couldn't have been more excited for summer vacation.  Sleeping in and spending lazy days outside sounded pretty good to me.
But then life happened, our schedule filled up with "stuff" and things didn't go according to plan.   Now here we are, a mere 18 days before school is ready to start.

Haaaaappy summer.
I just feel bad that the kids haven't had a very exciting summer.  Don't get me wrong, we've done fun things and they've enjoyed spending quality time with friends.  But I can't tell you how many times the kids have asked what we're doing for Make It Monday and I've replied "We're making a trip to Walmart because we're out of milk" or they have wanted to go to the pool and we've had a movie day instead.  It just feels so... lame.

If you can't tell, my "Mom Guilt" is running rampant.  Why is it so hard for me to get my life together?  Will I ever become disciplined enough to stick to a schedule?  And for Pete's sake, when will I learn to stop buying bananas?!
Adulting is hard. I found this meme the other day and thought it was appropriate:

Ha!
Anyway, here is what we have been doing this summer!
Back in June we met up with some friends at one of our favorite parks.  Holliday park is awesome because there are tons of trails, several large playgrounds, a new splash park, and a river to explore.





We picked cherries from our cherry tree.  Ironically, none of us even like cherries!  But they're fun to pick.


My grandpa was visiting from Idaho and stopped by to see us.  It was so great catching up with him over dinner.  It was the kids' first time meeting him and they adored him!


Our town does their 4th of July celebration the weekend before Independence Day.   Each year they hold a 5K and this time our church was in charge of manning one of the water stations.  While I ran the race, the rest of the family got to hand out water.  The kids LOVED it.


I ran with my friend, Kelsey.  I wish I had a better picture of us!  We actually run together at least once a week.  She keeps me fit.  Seriously, look at my time :)


Love this fan club of mine.


The following day we checked out the parade.  I wouldn't consider myself to be a parade snob, but it was quite possibly the lamest one I've seen.  The most exciting part was a giant tractor.  BUT, the experience was worth it because we spent the afternoon with good friends and that's always fun.


This boy is something else.  His favorite movie right now is The Lorax and he watches it daily.


Despite his consistent movie-watching routine, he knows how to keep me on my toes.


One gorgeous Sunday afternoon we took a little family hike.  The girls wanted to climb every fallen log and Jackson wanted to cross every bridge he saw.  Being out in nature is good for the soul.




Summer has grown particularly fond of Roscoe lately.  It's amazing how much their relationship has evolved in the last year.  Out of all of the kids, she was the most timid around him.  Now they're BFFs.


I guess he can stay.  But I will never get used to the constant shedding.  Or wet dog smell.


We finally got the left over yard sale items out of our garage.  It feels so good to be able to park in there again!  It's the little things.

We've been getting an unusual amount of rain lately so we ventured to the pet store for Take a Trip Tuesday.  The kids had a blast playing with the puppies, particularly a little Pomeranian-Huskey mix named Ridley.




One nice thing about school almost starting is the school supplies.  Kylie and I probably shouldn't wander the aisles at Target together anymore because we both want to take home all of the colorful sticky notes, mechanical pencils, and decorative notebooks.  We settled on planners :)
Hers says "You Got This"


Don't be too fooled by mine.  Yes, I would consider myself a go-getter.... just not at 5:45 in the morning when my son decides to start his day.  I'm hoping his new clock will help with that!  It's programmed to turn green when Jack is allowed to wake up Mom and Dad.  Green means go!


I guess we have had an eventful summer!  "Life" is still happening -- my dishwasher eats my stuff and the kids' bathroom could use some attention...



...but pretty soon the kids will be back in school, things will slow down, and I'll wonder where the time went.  The girls find out on Wednesday who their new teachers will be and they can hardly wait.  If their teachers are as good as the ones they had last year, we'll be sitting pretty.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

humbled

About a month ago, I lay in bed one night brainstorming ways that we could fund our adoption.  How the heck were we going to come up with $25,000?  I was feeling completely overwhelmed and began to wonder for the millionth time if we were doing the right thing.

Later, I stumbled across an article written by Julie Gumm, a woman who is a big proponent of debt-free adoption.  She once heard Dave Ramsey say on his radio show that there is not ONE example in the Bible of God calling someone to do something without providing the means to do it.

That really struck me.  I've known that to be true but I never thought of it in terms of adoption.  Josh and I both feel very strongly that we have been called to adopt.  Sure, we would be far more prepared 5 years from now to adopt a child, but God has been preparing us to adopt right now.

After reading that, Josh and I put our heads together and began to brainstorm creative ways to fund our adoption.  Our puzzle fundraiser was already under way but we knew we would need more help than that.  A friend of mine was preparing for a cross-country move and asked if I would be interested in receiving donated items for a yard sale.

{Pause}.  I have never held a yard sale in. my. life.  I make it a point to purge my house of junk on a very regular basis just so I don't have to host a yard sale.

But truthfully, the thought had crossed my mind.  I just needed a little push to get going.  And my friend gave me a huge push by sending me home with van loads of stuff.  Good stuff.  Great stuff!  
{That mountain of women's clothes is all from her, many of which still had tags on them}.


The preparations continued over the next several weeks.  We collected donated items from friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers.  The kids were happy to test out the merchandise.

 

We spent countless hours sorting, cleaning, organizing, and pricing.  We eventually received so much stuff that we ran out of room in our basement.  Then we ran out of room in our garage!


Even the day before our sale people were contacting us, asking if they could drop donation items off.  We never turned anyone away and we were so moved by people's generosity.  One neighbor {whom we've never met} told her parents about our sale.  They drove 2.5 hours with a pick-up full of donations!

Finally, it was go time.  At 7:40 we received our first customer.  We still had tons of things in our basement that we hadn't even set out yet!  But that was the start of a steady stream of people.  Unbeknownst to us, our neighbors a few houses down were also doing a garage sale, which turned out to be a huge blessing because it brought in even more traffic.


I'm sure our neighbor's Facebook post had a little something to do with that too.  We had been so busy with preparations that we didn't have the time to advertise as much as we wanted to {besides putting an ad on Craigslist and hanging signs on telephone poles}.  That was really thoughtful of him.


This same neighbor and his wife spent the entire day helping at our yard sale.  Without being asked, they showed up and did whatever needed to be done.  They straightened clothes.  They manned the cashier table {which they provided}.  They brought over a bunch of grocery bags when ours ran out.  They added donation items to our sale.  They priced items I hadn't had a chance to get to yet.  They answered questions.  They helped people load things into their cars.  You name it, they did it.  I could not be more grateful to them for sweating out the day with us.  Because of them, our sale went smoothly and - bonus - we had a great time :)

Summer had been asking me for weeks if she could have a lemonade stand with her friend.  Living at the end of a cul-de-sac doesn't really provide many entrepreneurial opportunities, so she was thrilled when I told her that she could do a lemonade stand during our yard sale.



By the end of the day we were hot, sweaty, and exhausted.  Well, some of us...


But the hard work was completely worth it.  Our yard sale brought in $1,130 and every single penny of that is going toward our adoption fund.  Hooray!


This experience has been so humbling {in a good way}.  There were times when I was fighting back tears because of the goodness that people showed us.

Several people commented that they made a special effort to come to our sale just to support our cause.  Adoption had touched their lives in one way or another and they wanted to give back.

I couldn't help but feel giddy inside every time I heard the words "Keep the change."

One particular moment really touched my heart.  A woman from a nearby neighborhood walked to our sale with 3 kids in tow {one of whom was adopted from foster care} because she wanted to support our cause.  Her kids spent their little baggies of allowance money to buy small toys from our sale.  About 30 minutes after they left to go home, a van pulled up and this same woman got outShe said that her 6-year-old daughter really wanted to help our baby so she went home and picked out a toy to donate.  The toy retails at $70.

Now that is humbling.

I don't know what the future holds but this journey so far has changed me.  "Grateful" is too weak a word to express how I feel.  I'm so moved by how kind and thoughtful and giving people have been, many of whom we never would have met otherwise.  It's been amazing to see both the old and the young come together to support our family.  

Perhaps that is the most humbling part of all.  The idea that people have SO MUCH FAITH in us that they're willing to make sacrifices right along with us.  God is indeed providing.

And the blessings just keep on coming.

The day before our sale, Josh's motorcycle sold.  Although we were sad to see it go, we couldn't help but smile when we thought of how much closer we were to our adoption goal.  


Just as I was getting ready to collapse into bed, I received a message from a neighbor {again, someone I've never met}.  She was home with a sick kid so she wasn't able to come to our sale, but she really wanted to help us out.  She sells LuLaRoe and wanted to know if she could do a fundraiser for us.  

Humbled.

I truly believe that people come into your life for a reason.  Although I couldn't possibly remember all their names, I will never forget the faces of those who have given so freely of their time, resources, and means.  I'm witnessing what charity truly looks like and I'm taking notes.  Because someday my small act of kindness just might change a life.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

the 4th

Happy birthday, America!  


This year we decided to keep things pretty simple.  We kicked off our morning with a trip to Jack's Donuts.  Yum!

We finished our donuts just in time for the parade to start.  The Carmel parade never disappoints.  My favorite part {besides the bombers that occasionally pass overhead} are the photos of the vets.  I love to see that small part of history right in front of my eyes.



There were so many fun things to see!














Jackson's least favorite part of the parade was the marching bands.  Not sure why because he loves music and he's usually not sensitive to noise.


His favorite part?  The candy!




By the time the parade was over, we were all pretty hot and sweaty.  And cranky.  But it was nothing that a nap and a trip to the pool couldn't fix.




Jackson was feeling pretty brave and decided to go all the way underwater.  He popped up and said, "That was AMAZING!"

video

Since the kids aren't really big into fireworks, we skipped them this year and hung out with our neighbors instead.  All in all, it was a perfect day :)


I'm so grateful to live in this wonderful country where so many rights and privileges are ours.