Monday, September 29, 2014

They showed that goal who's boss.



They did it. 
Oh, I'm so proud of them. 
My two girls read a grand total of 100 books 
during the month of September 
to help bring their sister home. 

And you know what? 
It really wasn't that hard. 
We are readers. 
We read several books a day during a regular month. 
Libby literally reads at least one book a day
and keeps the school librarian on her toes. 

And Hollyn? 
She's learning to love reading too. 

I'm go glad my girls share my love for books. 
I'm even MORE glad that their share my love for their sister. 

Did you pledge to donate for every book they read? 
Would like to pledge? 
It's not too late. 
You can pledge or simply make a donation-- 
whatever amount will be so greatly appreciated. 

With things taking longer than anticipated, 
we've had several unexpected fees come our way lately. 
And we're already working to raise what we'll need to time to 
travel so that we'll be sitting on go when that moment arrives.

Every penny matters. 
Every dollar counts. 

And each donation brings us one step closer to being fully funded. 
Oh, what a glorious day that will be. 

If you'd like to participate in this fundraiser, 
just head on over to www.gofundme.com/turningpagesforemily

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
Hugs and high fives for everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A whole year.



A year ago today, I saw my daughter's face for the very first time. 
She was about fifteen months old then. 
I remember worrying about the day I'd see her face. 
Maybe worrying isn't quite the right word, 
but there was the tiniest drop of fear in my head 
when I thought about how I'd feel when I first saw her. 
Would I know she was mine? 
Would there be an instant connection? 
Would seeing her face only confirm that we were right where God wants us? 
Yes. 
Yes. 
And yes. 

All of those. 
I saw her little face and looked into her big brown eyes, and I knew. 
I knew every day for three months before we were actually able to legally accept her referral 
that she was mine. 
I didn't need a piece of paper or a ruling from a judge. 
I just knew. 

It's been a long year. 
My family won't be complete until our girl is home. 
There will always be something missing until she's here, in her bed, in her room, with her family. 

I've cried for her. 
I longed for her. 
My arms have physically ached for her. 
And I feel like I've been pregnant....for seventeen and a half months. 

We still have several steps to complete before Emily is home with us. 
And it just breaks my heart-- all the time that she is spending without her family.
I'm sad for me, I'm sad for us, but most of all, I'm sad for her. 

It's not that we are anything special. 
We'd loud....really, really loud. 
We're messy. 
Sometimes we eat corndogs for dinner. 
But we ARE a family, and my girl, she needs one of those. 

I knew adoption would be hard. 
I wasn't blinded by gotcha day videos or unrealistic in terms of our unknown timeline. 
But I never had a clue just what this waiting would do to my heart. 

But God is good. 
He knows when I'm at my breaking point, and He chooses these exact moments to send good news and updates and new pictures of the most precious little chocolate face our way. 

The picture we got last week? 
She's so big. 
She looks so good. 
And she's smiling. 
That's the first smile we've seen. 
She's so beautiful. 
And she looks so much like mine....because she is. 

My prayer today? 
Where do I even begin? 
I pray that God will protect her. 
That she'll know just how much we love her and how we can't wait to have her home with us. 
I pray for her foster parents, the ones filling in for us. 
I pray for days to seem like minutes until we're together. 
And I pray again and again for not another year to pass before she's here. 

It's been a whole year, and my heart has felt every minute of every hour without my Emily. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Joy Comes in the Morning


I know, I know. 
Where have I been, right? 
Well, it's been a long month, both in terms of being busy and have a lot of my mind and heart. 
Fourth grade math homework is about the be the death of us all, 
and some things I'm still processing before sharing them with the world. 

But for today, I have some happy news. 




Friends, meet Amanda. 
She is my kind of people. 
She's a Noonday ambassador as well, and we t-totally bonded this Summer in Rwanda. 
She loves big, dreams big, and wants to serve big. 
And she's recently started a series on her blog to offer weekly encouragement. 
Women encouraging other women. 
And today, she featuring me and my happy happy news that I received this weekend. 

Head on over to her blog, read today's post, and stay a while. 
She's amazing in so many ways, 
and I can't wait to share her with you. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crazy Crazy Crazy



Things have been all kinds of crazy lately. 

Between sickness, 
big fat out of town dental visits, 
worrying about friends and family who are struggling with various things, 
missing my girl terribly, 
trying to establish a back-to-school routine, 
a birthday (more to come on this soon), 
and just life in general, 
it's been all I can do lately to keep my head above water. 

All that to say, 
this too shall pass. 
Jesus said so, 
and I'm believing Him on this one--- 
partly because He hasn't failed me yet,
 and partly because my other option is to pull the covers over my head in bed 
and stay there indefinitely. 
And let's be honest, 
even though that sounds kinda nice, 
who has time for THAT?

More to come on soon on the biggest surprise about adoption so far and Libby turning ten. 
Come back soon, mkay? 



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stitch Fix July and August: My Fourth and Fifth Fixes


First things first, have you heard about Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is a site that pairs you with  your own personal stylist. 
You schedule a box to come to your door, insert your style likes and dislikes, and wait patiently (or not so patiently if you're like me) for your first five items to arrive at your door. 
There is a $20 styling fee, but if you keep even one item, that $20 is applied to your total.
Don't like anything? No problem. Just send all five items back in the prepaid envelope. 
Love it all? Keep it and take 25% off of your total. 

Okay, so now that we've covered the bases, let's cover the fixes, as in fix 4 and fix 5. 

Confession:  I didn't love fix 4. In fact, I almost didn't post it with you. 
I was in a funk the day we took these pics, and I'm just not loving them. 
But, for the sake of being transparent with you, I'm sharing them nonetheless. 



For this fix, I was pretty vague in my requests. 
I'm usually pretty specific, directing my stylist in terms of what I'm hoping for. 
But, since this was my fourth fix, I felt like they had a pretty good handle on my style and wanted to give them a little more freedom, so I just told them I was really digging the Boho look and loving all things Anthropologie (I mean, aren't we all?). 

Let's see what Katie, my stylist for this fix, came up with:



Item #1: PIXLEY brand Indianan Chevron Print Mixed Material Tee {$44}

So I really do like this shirt. 
It's cute and fun and fits well. 
However, you may recall that they sent me almost an identical top in my second fix
So, while I really did like this one, I just didn't feel like I needed two of them, you know? 
So, this one went back.  




Item #2: TART brand Noell 3/4 Sleeve French Terry Shift Dress {$88}

I liked the colors and stripes on this one, but I felt like it was too short and unflattering. 
The cut of the arms was off....and so was the price. 
While I didn't hate this one, I didn't like it nearly enough to keep it. 
Needless to say, this one went back.



Item #3: RENEE C brand Rosenberg Dip-Dye Cross-Front Top {$54}

This was another I didn't hate. 
I liked fit and felt like it was flattering for the most part. 
I loved the sleeve length (we all know that 3/4 sleeves are my all-time favorite). 
It was very soft and obviously very well made. 
Unfortunately, I just wasn't a fan of the tie-dye look, 
and I just couldn't say for sure that this would be a piece I'd gravitate towards in my closet. 
Unfortunately, this one went back as well. 



Item #4: JUST BLACK brand Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean {$78}

Stitch Fix, enough with the ankle zip. 
Please no. 
And white jeans? 
This mom doesn't think so....neither do my thighs, 
which would barely fit into these suckers. 
Back they went. 




Item #5: LA MADE brand Lou Striped Hi-Lo Dress {$138}

A few things to mention about this one:

1. Try not to be jealous of my killer tan; I know it's a bit intimidating. 

2. I did mention in my note to my stylist for this fix that I'd like to try something hi-lo, so I was excited to see this one in my box.

Now about this dress---
the bottom line is twenty pounds ago, I would have loved it. 
However, this curvy post-baby body of mine is just not rocking it. 

It was super comfortable and the cut was great,
 it was just a little too clingy around my mid-section for me to commit to it. 

Do I even need to tell you that I sent this one back too? 
Because I did. 

Overall thoughts? 

This fix just wasn't my favorite. 
While it was good in theory, the prints and cuts just weren't working for me. 
There's no denying that the pieces were all very well-made and would work great for someone else. This is the first fix where I've sent everything back, which means I lost my $20 styling fee that is normally deducted from your total when you check out.
 Can we all agree that that's not cool? 
However, since Stitch Fix credit is the only way I shop these days, 
I just couldn't justify applying it to something I didn't love, didn't feel comfortable in,
 and wouldn't wear often.
However, I still believe in Stitch Fix and made a few changes when requesting fix #5. 

For the fix, I took a totally different approach when writing my notes to my stylist. 
For this one, I requested five specific items I've seen on other people's blogs or Instagram: 

Embroidered top (I actually requested just anything embroidered, but I secretly had this top in mind)

I made sure to tell my stylist that while I'd love for her to actually include these specific items in my fix, this was really more of a generalization of what my ideal fix would look like. 
I also requested Jinnah to style this fix. 
I'd heard that you can request certain stylist, and I loved the fix she put together for me in June, so I decided to request her and just see what happens. 

Well, it was an ask and you shall receive kind of fix, complete with Jinnah as my stylist. 

Here's what she put together for me: 





Item #1: RENEE C brand Magdalena 3/4 Sleeve Elastic Waist Print Dress {$68}

This dress was light and airy, had a fully lined skirt, and fit great. 
I just didn't love the print. 
Call me picky if you will, but I only buy things I LOVE, whether I'm paying via credit or not.
And this was just a little too busy for my simple style. 
This one is headed back to Stitch Fix. 




Item #2: COLLECTIVE CONCEPTS Denova Mixed Material Floral Print Blouse {$44}

Look familiar? 
It's the exact blouse I requested. 
Just like I thought, I loved the fit and cut of the one. 
Loved the soft, jersey sleeves. 
BUT, I didn't realize in the other picture that this top has a metallic sheen to it that I just couldn't embrace. 
So, while I'm glad I tried this one on and would love to get something like it in a future fix, I sent this one back too. 




Item #3: RD STYLE brand Analisa Twisted Seam Mixed Knit Sweater {$68}

Can I get some bonus points for trying this sweater on yesterday in the sweltering heat that is Mississippi in August? 
Liked the print. 
Like the cut of the front. 
Just found it a little too bulky for my body.
This one went back as well. 

Have you given up hope yet? 
Well, don't. 
I actually loved these next two pieces. 






Item #4: MARKET AND SPRUCE BRAND Xander Short Sleeve Woven Back Sweatshirt {$54}
Item #5: KUT FROM THE KLOTH Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pants {$68}

These are in fact, the exact black pants I requested, and I love them. 
While I realize you can't see too much of them here, trust me when I say they're about as good as pants can get. They have the cut of jeans and feel like leggings. 
Yes, please. 
These are staying with me. 

And this top? 
LOVE IT. 
I was a little skeptical when I peeked at my receipt before my box came and saw the word 'sweatshirt', but it's all kinds of comfortable, feminine, and fun. 
This one is mine. 

Like I've said before, I'm not so much looking for a fix with five things I can't live without. 
If I can get just one or two items I love in each box, I'm a happy girl. 
These two items made this fix well worth it, and I still have some credit to spend thanks to those of you who have signed on using my referral link
THANK YOU BEYOND THANK YOU for that, by the way!
And if you've blogged about your fix, please share a link in the comments. 
I'd love to take a look at your post!

Overall thoughts? 

Jinnah is where it's at for me, so I've requested her again for my next fix. 
I look forward to my fixes and really love trying things on at home. 
I've already scheduled my next fix, and can't wait to see what Jinnah (hopefully) picks out!

And if you made it to the end of this post, a high five is headed your way.
 Way to hang in there, buddy.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Smiling {nine reasons I'm doing it today}



1. Have you seen Taylor Swift's new video? I might have sprayed coffee all over my computer screen this morning while watching it for the fifth third time. Maybe. Possibly. I'll never tell. 

2. I'm missing Rwanda terribly these days. That trip. Those girls. That beautiful place. It was one step away from unicorns, I tell ya. I may or may not be secretly planning to go back and daydreaming daily about the land of a thousand hills. 

3. Have you checked out Dot yet? Keep your eyes on Instagram. Big things are coming. 

4. This book. It was awesome. If you love dystopian young adult fiction (which I do. And I feel no shame about it. ), then I highly recommend it. 

5. The She Reads Truth ap. Have you downloaded it yet? It's free, you know. And their study on justice? Can't possibly say enough good things about it. 

6. The hubs. It's almost his birthday. I can't believe he's about to be twenty-seven....again. 

7. These friends-- there's a visit being planned. Get excited. We sure are. 

8. Today is Stitch Fix day! Let's hope this fix is packing something fierce. 

9. Have you heard about our big plans for September? 
Looks like we'll be burying our faces in books for days....literally. 

What's making you smile these days? 
Do tell. 




Monday, August 18, 2014

Turning Pages for Emily




Children belong in families.
That's what we believe.

And our little girl is in Africa still waiting to come home.

Still waiting for a family.

Still waiting.

It's been almost a year since we first saw her face.
We still have a long way to go until she's home.
But, we aren't wasting any time.

There are changes coming to the Congolese adoption process.
And we want to be ready.

These changes could mean any number of things,
including a possible trip to Africa this Fall
and an unexpected timeline in terms of when Emily will come home.

Being a mom to a waiting child is tough.
I want to do EVERYTHING for her, and yet there are so few things I can do.

And while I can't tuck her in or hold her when she's scared or take care of her when she's sick,
I CAN work to raise the rest of the funds we'll need to bring her home.

Unexpected timelines mean unexpected expenses.
Documents expire.
Forms need updating.
You know the drill.

And we still need to raise the funds we'll need to cover our travel expenses
and a little bit of what we'll owe when we pass court.

But don't worry;
we have a plan.




Turning Pages for Emily from McCall Aldridge on Vimeo.


Will YOU join us in turning pages for Emily in September? 

We LOVE the idea of families working together to give our girl a family.


Want to be a part of Emily's story? 

Send us an email at turningpagesforemily@gmail.com,
 and we'll send you a printable page to record your pledges and the book you read.
Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to sponsor you for each book you read next month.
Choose your books and turn as many pages as you can for Emily!
Our hope is that this will get families reading and talking about adoption.

And at the end of  September,
go to www.gofundme.com/turningpagesforemily
and make your donation.

It's as simple as that.


Reading's not your thing but still want to help? 

NO PROBLEM!
You can choose to sponsor us.
Just pick an amount to donate for every book we read.
We promise to keep you posted on our progress!
You can leave your pledge in the comments on this post or send it to us in an email.
You can also help by sharing this post and our video on your blog, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.



Don't want to wait to make a difference? 

You can go to www.gofundme.com/turningpagesforemily any time between now
 and October 10th and make a donation in any amount you choose.
Every penny will be used to bring our girl to her forever home.
And no amount is too small; every dollar is one dollar closer to our girl!

We're praying God will use this fundraiser in a big way.
The minute we're done fundraising is the minute we're sitting on go to bring our girl home.

Adoption is costly,
but God is bigger than all the dollars, no matter how many zeros there are at the end of the number.
And we completely believe that He'll give us what we need to bring Emily home to her family.

Thank you in advance.
Thank you for loving our girl and us so very well.
Thank you for sacrificing for her.
Thank you for sharing your hard-earned dollars with our family.
Thank you for answering God's call to care for the orphans and those in need,
even when that looks like trips to the library and possible paper cuts.

THANK YOU.