Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It sure was merry.

You know it's time to blog when your husband mentions you haven't posted anything in a while.
The truth is-- I've been enjoying. 
All the time together, games played, present discovering, family togetherness---
 I've been enjoying all of it. 

 This Christmas has been one of the best we've had in a long time, if not ever. 
Between the good news we've received for family members in sticky health situations
 to the way the girls played together ever-so-sweetly
 to the upcoming trip to meet little sister--
 it truly has been the most wonderful time of the year. 

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

'Tis the Season

Well, hello there!
Guess who forgot she had a blog...
Okay, that's not true. 
What it is true is life...just life. 
Things have been crazy busy here lately-- like far more crazy than the normal crazy we typically beat to around here. 

Several extended family members are battling some pretty big stuff health wise. 
That combined with adoption, Christmas, and the busiest time of the year Noonday wise have left me with no time to spare. 

AND-- did you hear the big news????
I'm headed to Congo to meet our daughter in January!
She won't be coming home with me (still no idea about when that might happen), 
but I will be meeting her and caring for her and loving her like crazy next month!
Needless to say, there's a lot that goes into a trip like that. 
More to come on this soon. 

But for now, I just wanted to leave you with a picture of Hollyn 
from last week's preschool Christmas program. 
Is there anything cuter than a group of preschool kids singing Christmas songs? 
I think not. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dear Halloween, Thanks for being good to us.

Dear Halloween,

I just wanted to take a little minute to say thanks for being so good to us this year.
We enjoyed every minute of your candy corn, pumpkin spice, costume wearing, Hocus Pocus watching, haunted house, trick-or-treat goodness. Don't tell the others, but you're my favorite holiday. Everyone else is like, 'Oh, Christmas, come quickly!', and I'm over here like, 'Halloween, I miss you already'. Until next year, dear friend.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Shake it off.

Oh, I love this girl.
Look at her-- she just radiates fun and adventure and creativity. 

She has such a fun style, and her independence is growing a little more each and every day. 

Fourth grade and ten-- they've been whole new worlds for us. 
For you see, my girl is growing up. 

We've seeing in all avenues of her life-- 
her abilities, her thinking, her friends--
everything is changing. 

And change can be hard sometimes. 

But, I've said it 100 times before, and I'll say it again:
this girl was made for something special. 

There is only one Libby. 
And I'm so glad she's mine. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

There are no words for that.

We all know that an average pregnancy lasts for nine months. 
We also know that in a total of eighteen months, 
a woman can carry and give birth to two full-term babies. 

Well, today is the eighteen month anniversary of the day we began our adoption process. 
That means that I could have given birth to not one but two babies by today. 

And yet our daughter is nowhere near close to being home. 

When I wake up tomorrow,
 I will officially have been waiting longer for Emily to come home
 than I did for both Hollyn and Libby combined. 

Oh, how I long for her. 

It's funny the words we say
 and how we never ever think about how they will affect the people around us. 
I remember countless times when I was pregnant that I verbally wished for my pregnancies to end, for my daughter to just be here already, because nine whole months of waiting was such a long time. 
And it did feel like a long time, especially with Hollyn, 
whose pregnancy was discovered within days. 

I've heard several women say these words in the past few weeks, 
completely unaware of the wait I am currently facing. 
Don't get me wrong-- those women have every reason to be ready for life outside of the womb to begin with their children. 
They long to see their little faces and snuggle them and watch them sleep and begin to uncover their little personalities. 
I so get that. 
Their words were not meant to hurt; they were meant to imply that they are excited. 
Their are words out there that so clearly express what they are feeling-- 
anxious, anticipation, nervous, joyful-- just to name a few. 

But eighteen months of waiting for my daughter?
There are no words for that. 

And the worst part? 
There are so many mamas out there who have been waiting so much longer than I have. 

Adoption is hard. 
Waiting is hard. 
Watching my daughter grow up in pictures without a family is hard. 

Would I do it again? 
Am I willing to wait as long as I have to to bring our Emily home? 
With bells on. 
Am I good at waiting? 
Is it fun? 
Negative, Ghost Rider. 

Here's to a Friday night spent catching up on good TV, drowning my sorrows in Trader Joe's pumpkin flavored awesomeness, and attempting to stare a hole through the picture of my daughter on my phone. 

And here's to praying there is no 'thirty-six months waiting' in our future. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stitch Fix October: My Seventh Fix and What Happened to Fix #6

Oh. My. Stars. 

Things have been crazy lately. 
Crazy in a good way for the most part, but crazy nonetheless. 
I'm loving Hollyn being in pre-school until noon every day. 
She has so much fun and is learning all kinds of new things (girl can write her name like a champ), and I'm able to work on Noonday and adoption without feeling the guilt of not engaging her every minute. It's a wonderful win-win for us, especially with the Holiday shopping season and our homestudy renewal both in full-on go mode. 

But, let's pause from all that for a minute to chat about Stitch Fix

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. 
They do NOT pay me to write these posts; I just do that because it's fun and sometimes brings referral credit my way, which I think we can all agree is wonderful.

So, if you do recall, Fix 4 was not my favorite. 
Fix 5 was redeeming and won me over with that super cute top. 
And then came Fix 6-- it was awful. 
Totally not my style, so much to the point that I  didn't even take pics and possible said things like 'Please do better next time or peace out' in my review. 

That brings us to Fix 7: 

I was happy to have Jinnah as my stylist again. 
I think we're really starting to get somewhere. 
That has to be hard, you know-- picking out clothes for someone you've never met or even seen in real life. 
But, Jinnah did really well this fix, and EVERYTHING has fit like a dream-- how they manage that is beyond me, but I'm certainly not complaining. 

Item #1: MYSTREE BRAND Finna Quilted Jacket  {$78}

I have to admit that when I saw the words 'quilted jacket' on my account, I was a little skeptical. 
Not usually a fan of the quilting, but I think this piece is so cute! 
It fit really well, looked super cute left open, and was very comfortable and well-made. 
Unfortunately, I have a solid jacket that is very similar to this and couldn't justify keeping it. 
I may or may not still be somewhat sad about this. 

Item #2: SKIES ARE BLUE BRAND Praxton Detail Split Neck Blouse {$48}

I think this top is really classy. 
It fits great and will be perfect with jeans or dressy black pants or a skirt for church. 
I also have nothing like this in my closet and think this piece is great for three of the four seasons because of the color. 
Status: Kept and planning to wear it to church this coming Sunday. 

Item #3: MAVI BRAND Freida Ankle Length Skinny Jeans {$118}

I actually suggested that Stitch Fix send me some ankle length jeans because ankle length for the rest of the world is just about perfect on my five feet even self. 
This fit perfectly, were really soft, and were the perfect length. 
However, I just kept a pair of black pants in Fix 5, so these went back. 

Item #4: LEVEL 99 BRAND Rik Cropped Ankle Zip Skinny Jean {$128}

These were hands down the most comfortable, soft jeans I have ever put on my body. 
However, I recently bought a pair on crazy big sale at the Gap and can't get past the zipper. 
I think that's a really cute look on tall, skinny people. 
I, however, am neither of those things. 
So back these went. 

Item #5: SWEET RAIN Toma Floral Print Short-Sleeve Blouse {$44}

I think this blouse is adorable. 
Love how feminine it is and don't own anything floral, so this one was a keeper. 


Stitch Fix is fun. 
I love getting mail and trying on new clothes in my own home with my own shoes, jeans, and accessories. 
I look forward to getting the boxes-- it kind makes it feel like Christmas once or twice a month. 
If I keep an item or find a new style I'd like to try, that's great too. 
I would HIGHLY recommend you try it. 
It's great for the busy mom who don't want the drama that is a toddler in a dressing room or for the woman who is trying to find some new, fun pieces that stretch her current style, or for the girl like me who lives over an hour away from the nearest mall. 
Welcome to life in small town Mississippi. 

Can I also say that a Stitch Fix gift card is at the top of my Christmas list? 
Because it is. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And then she was ten.

Oh, my Libby. 
I just can't believe it. 
I know they say that the days drag on and the years fly by, but seriously? 

It's gonna take some time for me to wrap my mind around 
the  idea of a decade. 

You, my precious girl, are the epitome of special.

You are 
the most creative, 
girl that I know. 

And even though you sometimes make three kinds of crazy, 
I wouldn't trade YOU,  my Libby, for anything in the whole wide world. 

You, my girl, were made for something very, very special, 
and I simply can't wait to see what all God has in store for you. 
If He could just keep you little a little longer, 
I'd be all kinds of happy. 

Here's to hoping year ten is the best year yet. 

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? 
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? 
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.