Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Libby: Third Grader No More

Yes, school did let out almost a month ago. 
Yes, I'm almost a month late posting this. 
It may be that I've been oober busy, 
or it may be that I've been in denial about the fact that I have an almost fourth grader living in my house 
and eating my cookies. 

Either way, third grade is officially over for the Libster. 
Here are some year-end thought from the girl who made me a mom: 

Oh, how I love this daughter of mine. 

Wanna see how much she's grown? 
Check out our first grade and second grade breakdowns. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

We've hit the Summer wall.

At this point, we're about four weeks into Summer. 
And it's happened--
we've hit the Summer wall. 

The newness has worn off. 
We're no longer waking up ready to go at 6:30 in the AM. 
We're watching too much TV because it's hotter than the sun and the mosquitoes are ready to turn us into a virtual buffet the minute we step outside. 

And this mom has had enough. 

With Dad teaching Summer school this summer, I knew this would happen. 
The kids get bored, which I hate. 
We've read just about everything there is to read at the library. 
We've played Yahtzee so many times that I'm one step away from hearing dice rolling in my dreams. 
We've water-colored 'til our little fingers look like prunes and there is no more paper to be found. 
We've played pretend and dress up. 
We're all Candy Land and puzzles and Barbie-d out. 

We've cleaned and braided and colored. 

And we still have about seven weeks to go. 


Help a mom out. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stitch Fix June: My Second Fix

Happy happy happy day:
my second Stitch Fix has arrived!

Not sure what Stitch Fix is? 
No problem. 
 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 when I placed my order for my first fix
I was able to leave a specific note for the whomever might be styling this one. 
I requested tops, reminded her that it's all kinds of  hot here in Mississippi, 
and asked for some Aztec or other fun prints in this fix. 

And she listened.
She also took a peek at my styling board on Pinterest. 
How do I know? 
Well, she told me. 

Each box comes with a personal note from your stylist, along with a card with some tips on how to style each piece. Love these personal touches. 

Without further adieu, let's dive on in and see what this fix brought way: 

Item #1: Pomelo brand Indianan Graphic Print Mixed Material Tee {$44}

This is one of the pieces I'd pinned on my style board on Pinterest, and I was so excited to see a version of it in my box.  This shirt is a great example of the quality of Stitch Fix pieces. 
It feels SO GOOD! 
The front is so soft, and the back is so breezy. 
This shirt is a for sure keeper. 
Welcome to my life, new shirt that I want to wear every day from now until October. 

Item #1: Mystree Malvern Embroidered Loose Peplum Knit Shirt {$28}

This shirt was also on my Pinterest board.
 LOVE the look. 
LOVE the details. 
LOVE how comfortable and soft it is.
LOVE the price (Less than $30? Yes, please.) 
Don't so much love the fact that she can see every inch of my bra. 
And if you think the front's bad, you see the back. 
Now I know what you're thinking-- it involves a cami. 
However, it's just way too hot for all of that. 
I'm gonna try this one with a cami just to satisfy my inner voice, but it's probably going back. 
*Insert sad face here.*

Item #1: 41Hawthorn brand Ivy Abstract Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse {$68}

This shirt is confirmation of the fact that Stitch Fix has my sizing and fit and style down to a tee. 
I love everything about this one--- except for the colors. 
It's just a little too busy for me,
 and I wonder about that pattern going out of style sooner than later. 
In fact, I texted a picture of this one to the bestie, and she said it looked as though the shirt was wearing me instead of me wearing the shirt. 
I have to say that I agree. 
Again, Stitch Fix didn't drop the ball; there are just things I like better than this one, 
so it's going back. 

Item #1: 41Hawthorn Colibri Arrow Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse {$48}

Love everything about this one. 
It's very lightweight. 
It's a little longer, which I love. 
It fits like a dream.
And the print is just fun. 
I love how I could wear it with colored jeans or regular jeans or black pants. 
Also love the black and white. 
Seeing as how I currently don't have anything else like this in my closet and a good bit of Stitch Fix credit left, this one is a keeper. 

Item #1: 41Hawthorn Maddison Geo Print Belted Shirt Dress {$78}

I'll be honest with you--- I was a little skeptical about this one at first. 
And while I'm not going to keep it, I do like it a whole lot more on than I did in the box. 
I tend to shy away from things that tie around the waist, as I never feel as though they are flattering. 
However, this one really isn't that bad, and I seriously debated keeping it. 
It'd be a great year round dress-- would be cute with boots, tights, flats, or wedges. 
I actually let Lee make the final call on this one, 
and we agreed that something about it just wasn't quite right on me. 
However, I wish I could keep this neckline-- love it. 

Overall Thoughts?

Again, I think Stitch Fix has nailed my sizing and overall style. 
I'm actually very impressed, because anyone who has ever shopped with me
 will tell you just how very picky I am.
 I am a girl who knows what I like and doesn't buy things I don't absolutely love. 
If you're thinking about trying Stitch Fix, I 100% say GO FOR IT! 
Nothing beats being able to try the items on in the comfort of my own home with the right shoes, accessories, etc. while no one is digging through my purse on the floor of a dressing room with bad lighting. 
I also love how, in the rare event that I need to think about it, I can sleep on it before making my final decision and know that the clothes won't be gone in the meantime. 

Wanna join in on the fun? 
I'd love to refer you. 
Simply follow this link to sign up. 
And let me know if you have any questions. 
I'll be watching the comments and will answer any questions there 
in case others have the same thoughts or concerns. 

And again, thank you, Libby for taking my pictures. 
You're the best nine-year-old photographer I know. 

And if you're loving any of the jewelry in these pics, hop on over to my Noonday Collection website and get a closer look. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Community: Where I Find Mine

We're created for it. 
We long for it. 
We need it. 

And I don't have it.

At least, I don't have it where I live. 
Lee and I are somewhat stuck-- we live in one town (meaning our house is here) and really LIVE in another town (meaning we go to church, work (Lee), preschool (Hollyn), and dance there). 
Hard to keep up? 
Yup, I think it's pretty complicated too. 

As a result, we have very little community where we live-- no people to live life with, share our burdens and joys with, and help along this road we call life. 

And it's hard. 

It's lonely. 

It's basically no fun at all.

And our house? 
It's not selling. 

And honestly, I'm not sure that I really see it selling any time too soon. 

Thankfully, God knows my needs. 
He hears my prayers, and although He doesn't always answer them in the way I initially intended (aka OPERATION SELL THIS HOUSE), He DOES answer them.

And He has met my need for community... in a way I never expected. 

When I first became a Noonday Ambassador, 'a close group of friends who understand my heart' was nowhere on the list of what I thought I'd find while working with Noonday. 
In fact, I somewhat expected the opposite. 
A large group of girls working together? 
I expected drama. 
But that's not what I got. 

These women? 
They are amazing. 
They inspire me. 
They support me. 
They encourage me. 
They hold me accountable. 
They love me. 
And I love them. 

And although it's a little unconventional, seeing as how we aren't neighbors in the traditional sense of the word, THESE are my people. 

These are the girls I call when I need help, 
when I can't see clearly, 
when I need reminding of just how big and how good and how mighty our God is. 

Do I wish they lived closer?
Could I possibly love them any more if they did? 
Absolutely not. 

Community may not always look the way you expect. 
It may not fit into the mold you expect it to fit in. 
But God hears our prayers and meets our needs....even in ways we least expect. 

Today, I'm joining my precious friend Rachel and linking up with Community Brew. Of all the link ups, this one is my favorite. 
Join us? 

community brew link up

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The beach is different with kids.

The beach is different with kids. 
It's as simple and complicated as that. 

No more closing my eyes and drifting away into a sweet, sunburn slumber. 
No more floating on a rift and staring up at the sun until I am in a sun and sand daze.
No more throwing a beach towel and a good book in a bag and heading out. 

Nope, nope, nope. 

Now I roll out with no less that fifty pounds o' goodies. 
Things like sunscreen with ALL the SPF, enough snacks to feed a small army, and every beach toy known to man find their way into my beach bag. 

My eyes are on overdrive-- constantly watching. 
Constantly counting kiddos. 
Constantly reapplying all the sunscreen to all their many, many parts. 

The beach is still fun. 
It's still relaxing. 

But these days, my joy comes from watching them rather than from my own time spent sunning. 

Seeing Hollyn sit in the water, little green floaties bobbing up and down, up and down brings a smile to face. 
And watching Libby find and treasure every. single. shell.--- that's pure joy, people. 

But the greatest beach joy these days? 
Oh, that's easy---
watching my girls love the heck out of it the same way I do. 
Takes the cake with every splashing wave. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sunburns, Good Reads, and Best Friends

Last week was perfection. 
I ignored my emails and focused on the sun, the sand, the water, and the best friend. 

When your best friend just so happens to live at the beach, what's a girl to do but make the absolute most of it about twice a year? 

We laughed, stayed up way too late, and lived in our swimsuits. 
We overdosed on Sonic slushes (peach vanilla and atomic lemon for the win). 
I read until my heart was content. 
We sobbed our way through' The Fault in Our Stars' sans kiddos.
We danced in the car way too much and ate way too much frozen yogurt. 

In a world full of rushing and responsibilities, 
it was exactly what I needed to tackle what is almost year #2 of the adoption process and all of the areas of my life that continue to be in a constant state of limbo. 

It was all kinds of wonderful.
Now the big question is...


Sunday, June 15, 2014

To Those Without Fathers on Father's Day

Note: This post is different than my usual posts. It won't be funny, won't mention Africa, and certainly does NOT include a recipe for cake batter dip. If you're only here for one of those reasons, come back tomorrow.  However, albeit out of my blogging norm, I felt like this needed to be said. And maybe you're the one who needs to hear it. 

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that the girls and I spent the past week visiting my best friend and her kiddos. My best friend just happens to live very near to the beach. 

And while I love almost everything about the beach, the way your skin feels sticky on the ride home, the seagulls and all of their obnoxiousness, and the way the sand sticks to your body and finds its way into your shoes and every crevice of your car, there is one thing that I simply don't love. 

You see, the beach will always and forever remind me of my dad. 
(Let it be said, that in this post, I'm talking about my biological dad, not my stepfather whom I usually am referring to when I say that word.)

Thinking about him used to hurt. 
To put it mildly, he wasn't everything America has led us to believe that a father should be. 
In fact, he was very few of those things. 

I think I can count on one hand the good memories I have of him, and I'm pretty sure a few of those aren't really my memories at all, but are instead bit of pieces that someone told me somewhere along the way.  I'm just as sure that I never really knew him and that I'll never have the chance, seeing as how he died the summer after Hollyn was born. 
At that point, we hadn't spoken in over seventeen years.

And Father's Day used to find me wallowing in a giant pit of self pity and stuffing my face with M&M's...and peanut butter...and probably the majority of a bag of mint Oreo's. For years it was a hard day, a day filled with disappointments, heartaches, and should have been's. But then again, an attempt to watch 'Father of the Bride', or a trip to the park to witness a dad pushing his little girl on the swing, or a father daughter dance at a wedding has always had the same effect. 

Not having a dad is hard. 
Having a dad who fails you may be even harder. 

Maybe your dad disappointed you too. 
Maybe he died, unexpectedly or after years of battling disease or illness. 
Maybe he's still alive but your relationship is not. 
Whatever the reason may be, if you don't have a dad on Father's Day, or any day for that matter, I'm sorry. 

Every girl deserves a dad. 
And not just a dad but a good dad....
the kind of dad who will take care of you and comfort you and listen to you and love you in spite of all of your imperfections.

But, unfortunately, not every girl has that. 

And, while I still have my moments where it hurts, I want to tell you something that I wish someone had told me long, long ago. 

Are you ready, precious one? 

Your father's actions or lack of action or words or lack of words, they don't define you. 

I am so much more than my dad's shortcomings in the fatherhood department. 

I am worth more than all of his bad decisions, all the words he left unspoken, and all the ways he failed. 

And just because he never loved me the way I think a father should doesn't mean that someone else can't. 

I am so much more than a girl living without the all-American dad. 

And you are too. 

Parents mess up. 
They make mistakes. 
They don't always get it right. 

But we aren't our parents. 

And all though my Earthly father never lived up to my expectations, 
my Heavenly father--He loves the heck of me. 

Please hear me when I say that I'm not looking for sympathy. 
These hurts of mine have long since healed. 
But there was a time when I felt alone. 
My friends? 
They all had dads. 
I didn't think they'd understand or relate. 
And I can't help but think there's someone else out there who doesn't exactly look forward to Father's Day and who is intentionally avoiding Facebook and Instagram today for fear of possibly drowning in all of the Father's Days posts. After all, my wounds may have healed, but it will do me no good whatsoever to try to pry them back open. 

At this point in life, at the ripe old age of thirty-four, I'm happy. 
I'm so grateful for all of my friends who have dads who love them unconditionally. 
I'm grateful for my husband who is teaching my girls what it means to have a real father. 
And I'm grateful for all of the people in my life who have loved me the way my biological dad never could.

And maybe I did get my sense of humor, my artistic ability,  and my nose from him. 
But my heart? 
That's all Mom. 

And I just wanted to say thank you to my dear friend and role model, Wynne Elder, for encouraging me to be brave and bold and to speak the truth. The truth is important, and some things simply need to be said. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tiny dancers unite.

You know how some mothers are emotional about things like graduation or birthdays 
or the last days of schools? 
Well, I'm the mom who is emotional about dance recital. 

There is just something so special about watching my girls perform. 

It slays me to see them so grown up and so independent. 

I'm not holding their little chubby hands or standing close by. 

They don't need me to be; they've got this. 

That time they are on stage, watching them up there looking so confident, it does something to my heart. 

It's one of my finest mom moments. 

Not because they're doing anything that a million other little girls around the world are doing this time of year.....

....simply because they're mine. 

And I love them as big as the sky, ripped tights, tap shoes (or no tap shoes-- way to pull that one off, Hollyn), and glitter eye shadow aside.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Waiting is so not my jam.

This is the face of a girl who is bad at waiting. 

I'm a tough kid. 
I can handle the bad news. 
I can handle disappointment. 
In fact, there are very few things that I honestly believe I cannot handle. 
But waiting?
I'm so bad at waiting. 

I've been known to get totally consumed with the 'what if's' and 'why not's' 
and can throw one heck of a pity party. 

I'm terrible at not knowing. 
I like to have a plan. 
I like to know what's coming. 
I like to know what to expect. 
And not knowing? 
Well, to put it mildly, it's not fun. 

And my life lately has been one vast sea of waiting that stretches way farther than the eye can see.

Our house is still for sale. 
That sign in our yard has been staring at me for almost a year now.
Will it sell? 
Will we move? 
We certainly want to move. 
We live so many parts of our lives in a nearby town rather than in the one we live in. 
Will we finally get to move there? 
Will it be in time for Libby to start the fourth grade there? 
Or we will spend fourth grade here, in this town in this house? 
 Will we spend another year living in limbo?
Will we spend another year constantly on the road with the daily back and forth? 
I so hope no.

And what about my job? 
I quit my teaching job three years ago knowing that God was calling me to something else, something bigger, something that will help those in need around the world. 
I'm willing. 
I listening. 
I walked away from my career. 
And now I'm waiting....
waiting for the right fit and the right opportunity. 
And while I love staying home with Hollyn and hope to spend time at home with Emily when she comes home, I'm not content staying home forever.
 I want to do more. 
I so want to learn what God has in store for me. 
But for now, I'm simply just waiting. 

And then there's our adoption. 
Oh, our adoption. 
Adoption is the ultimate waiting game. 
I remember when we first started to feel God leading us towards adoption. 
I wasn't scared about the money or the unknowns or the health concerns or the race issue-- it was the waiting that scared me. 
I am simply not good at waiting. 
And in adoption, so much of what you do is wait. 
We really have no idea how long we will wait. 
Each country and each case and each child-- the wait is never the same. 
Will we travel next Summer? 
What if it's not until next Fall? 
And what if it's not until WINTER? 
Will I have enough time to prepare? 
Will I have the help I need with my kids while I'm gone? 
How long will I have to be gone? 
No answers for any of these questions-- just more waiting. 

Waiting and I--- we're just not friends. 
It make my stomach hurt (clearly not enough to step away from the M&M's, but still).
It makes me grumpy. 
It makes me cry tears of frustration and leads me to pray and pray and pray--
 the same prayer over and over. 
I want God's will to be done, whatever that is. 
I would just love an extra dose of peace and patience until we know just what His will for us may be.