Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s Fall Ya’ll!

Fall is my favorite season of the year! By the time September or October rolls around I am craving cooler weather... I am craving a break from the heat that is so smothering in our North Carolina summers...
We have been enjoying this fall so far! Our front door is adorned with a wreath covered in fall foilage. I have baked my husband his all-time favorite dessert, pumpkin pie, not once, but twice! We have spent our afternoons at the park, in the backyard, on walks... Enjoying these last few weeks of perfect weather!
This past Saturday while I was sleeping after a night shift, Matthew took Ainsley to a pumpkin patch with some friends of ours. They picked out some pumpkins for us to decorate and carve at home! Here of some pictures of her cuteness that day!
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So now that we had the pumpkins it was time to decorate them! While Matthew got his and Ainsley's pumpkins ready for carving (cutting the top off, or that "hat" as Ainsley calls it, and then gutting it) I set Ainsley up with one of the big pumpkins and some fingerpaints. I got the idea from the Young House Love blog and knew as soon as I saw it that it was something I wanted to do with Ainsley this year. I used duct tape instead of painter's tape just because I had it on hand... but the painter's tape would probably work better. Basically, you just cut the tape into the shapes you want, stick it to the pumpkin, and let the kiddo go at it with finger paints (preferably the washable, non-toxic kind). She had no problems getting excited and digging in! She had a blast... well, until she decided to take a taste of the paint... guess it was pretty nasty because it made her cry... good thing it's non-toxic!
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When Matthew was done prepping the pumpkins we washed Ainsley’s hands (and arms, stomach, hair, chest, etc…) and he helped Ainsley carve her first jack-o-lantern! I have to say, it was pretty darn cute, and she had a blast!!
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Of course, Matthew and I didn’t miss out on the fun… So here are the carved pumpkins all finished, lit up, and ready for Halloween!!
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And our little pumpkin family…
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Here’s Ainsley this morning posing with her pumpkins, after the painted one was allowed to dry overnight…
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and here’s the other side of the painted one….
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I hope that you all have been enjoying this beautiful time of year as much as we have!!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Homestudy update!

Omiheavens people!! We are 2/3's of the way done with our homestudy!! We have had 2 out of the 3 meetings with our social worker so far and only have 1 more to go less than a week away!! So far we have basically just spent a lot of time gathering paperwork and telling her a LOT about ourselves. Where we're from, about our families, our finances, our marriage, our childhoods, our parenting styles, etc.

This coming week she's coming to our house (the past 2 meetings have been at her's) and we'll finish off our interviews and give her free reign to look through our home!!

When we are finished with the homestudy and our social worker finishes the write up we only have 1 thing left to do before being waitlisted. There's a form for US immigration called the I600a that we will have to fill out and we have to get fingerprinted, again.  Then, hopefull within a few weeks, they will send us approval and we will be on the waitlist!! I'm guesstimating in my very un-expert opinion that we may be waitlisted by January!!

Are you kidding me!?!?! Holy cow... just typing that gives me goose bumps... seriously...

From then, the average wait time for a referral is 3 to 6 months!! That means that our children are most likely alive right now!! Either in the womb of the precious mother who is carrying them, or even already born! Or maybe they've been around for quite some time now!! We have no idea and the anticipation is making me crazy!!

On that note, please please be praying for our 2 sweet kiddos. We know very little about them, but we know that our Father knows every hair on their head. The little that we do know is that no matter where they are now, that they either have been recently, or will be very soon, orphaned. That they either have already experienced great loss and tragedy, or that they will.

You see, as wonderful of a thing as adoption is... It is only wonderful in the shadow of the tragedy that came before it. In Uganda that is a mother who has or will either lose her life, or who is very scared and overwhelmed with this new little life she's been given, and has or is going to make a life altering and heart breaking decision to give her child up for adoption.

Before a child can be adopted... they must be orphaned... and THAT is heart wrenching.

So please pray for our children. That God will protect them and comfort them, no matter what their current circumstances are.

So anyways... We're coming right along...

1 more day = 1 day closer!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thankful

and Overwhelmed....

That's how we're feeling right now.

We knew when we started this process that it was going to be long and it was going to be expensive.

We've seen God provide for our friends and for other people we've encountered who have taken this journey ahead of us. We were and are confident that He would do it for us as well.

However, the way in which He has provided the most recent chunk of money knocked the wind out of us and brought us to tears.... literally.

Before Ainsley was born both Matthew and I worked in the Emergency Department at Duke. He was a patient advocate, I was working there part time as a nurse on top of my full time position in the MICU. After Ainsley was born I went to part time and stayed in the MICU and Matthew got transfered to another department. However, to say that we both loved our time there and loved the people would be an understatement... seriously. We made friends there who are some of our most trusted here in NC and we really feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to build those relationships.

One of our friends we made during our time there is another nurse named Terry. Terry is an awesome nurse and he also takes lunch orders for take out almost every day which makes him and instant friend :) Not to mention Terry and his wife can throw one awesome party. Their house looks like it's straight out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and they have a "winter solstice" party there every year that everyone looks forward to attending.

Well after Terry heard about us doing the yardsale to raise money for the adoption he and his wife came up with an idea to host a dinner party at their house for 8 people. This dinner will include everything from cocktails to desert, and knowing them, it will be amazing! They decided to raffle off tickets to this dinner to the staff in the ED and give us the money from it!

When we heard about his plan Matthew was speechless and I cried (shocker, I know). It was just so kind, selfless and thoughtful.

Then Matthew comes home last night with an envelope containing $566.00!! 

I mean seriously... I'm crying as I'm typing this.

So even though I'm not sure Terry has ever even looked at this blog....

                   Dear Terry and Catherine,
                              Thank you is not enough to explain how much you have touched our hearts with your generosity. Your creativity and willingness to use your gifts and talents as amazing hosts, to open your home, to take your own time and energy all to help us with the costs associated with our adoption is overwhelming to us. To say we are grateful just isn't enough. To show our gratitude we are going to make sure that you both get regular babysitting rights for all 3 kids when we get them home ;) We are thankful for what you have done for us and we are thankful to call you friends.
                                             Love; Matthew, Julie and Ainsley


                   Dear Emergency Department Staff,
                              Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and generosity you have shown us over these past several months. Because of you we had tons of truckloads of goods for our yardsale, and now your participation in the fundraiser by the Kelly's has blessed us beyond what we could ever say. Thank you for your kindess and thank you for your friendships. We love you guys!
                                                               Love; Matthew, Julie and Ainsley



Monday, October 10, 2011

18 Months of Wonderfulness!!

I wish there was a way to describe how this little girl has changed our life...

I wish I could somehow put into words the joy she brings to our lives every.single.day....

Before you have children others will tell you....
                      "Oh be ready before you decide to have kids because EVERYTHING changes..." (usually NOT said in a positive way)
                      "Forget about sleeping in, or going on dates, or just the two of you because you'll never have that again."
                      "Kids are EXPENSIVE...so be prepared."

The truth is... Ainlsey HAS changed our world. She has turned it completely upside down. We can't do ANYTHING without thinking about her first... We can rarely even go to the bathroom by ourselves unless the other one is around to play with her while we do, and even then sometimes she'll sneak up on us. We have had to watch our finances closer than we ever have, not only because she can be expensive, but also because I cut down from essentially working 2 jobs (1 full time and 1 part time) to only working 1 job part time.

But I can tell you what's also true.... In fact, I would stretch to say its "truer" (I am uncertain if that is actually a word ;) )... Life was good before Ainsley... Life is BETTER with her.

There is NO ONE in the world who is less of a morning person than I am... but I tell you what, when you wake up to chubby little fingers poking your forehead saying "Mama! Mamaaaaaa!!!" and opening your eyes to those sweet cheeks and bedhead in footy pajamas... Ohhhhh... just rip my heart out! Even if it is 6 am (although, admittedly, it is a little bit better when done at 7:15 ;) )

As far as our marriage... Ainsley doesn't take away from our relationship... She adds to it! We get to spend awesome quality time together in the evenings after she goes to bed... I mean, I love sleeping and all, but even I'm not in bed at 8pm when she lays down.

And with expenses... like I said, we have seen a cut in pay and an increase in output, but really, who cares?? Seriously! We have 20 channels on our basic cable and that's just fine... I don't even miss my HGTV if you can believe it! I've had to be much more careful with our groceries and we don't eat out as much... but it does nothing to decrease our quality of life.

Here's some pictures as of lately with our sweet girl!! Be prepared for cuteness overload..... It very well may melt your computer :)

Ainsley and her friend Elizabeth playing in her play house that Grammie and Paps got her!
Ainsley's version of a sandbox I guess!

The whole play area... We couldn't just put it on the ground because our backyard is basically one huge hill... So they had to build a leveled out play area to put her new house and slide on.

She LOVES to slide... word on the street is that this is what she does the whole time in church nursery as well!

The muscle behind all the work!! Matthew and his dad, affectionally known as Paps, worked their tooshies off to make a fun area for our sweet girl!

You should also know that Ainsley is a gifted artist... You can start placing bids on her artwork if your would like! I imagine it will be worth millions by the time she hits kindergarten!



I'm sorry, but is it not adorable how she crosses her feet at the ankles?!?!

Those eyelashes... Those lips.... Those sweet hands.... They slay me....

Precious
I know that all too soon the baby knuckle dimples will be gone... :(



This little girl is more of a gift, and more precious, and more valued than any of those other things could ever be. We take more joy in being her parents than anyone could have prepared us for.

More than all that though... being a "Mama" to sweet Ainsley has given me a very small glimpse into the love that God has for His children. When my heart fills with joy seeing her play with a toy we got her, I'm reminded of the joy that God must have when He sees us enjoy His good gifts (Ainsley being one of those!). When my heart tugs a bit when I see her fall down and hurt herself, I'm reminded of the broken heart of the Father when He sees His children hurting.

I'm also reminded that all over the world there are 147 million children who are orphans who are loved by God. They have no one to tuck them in at night. No one to pick them up when they fall down. No one to buy them toys to play with. No one to crawl into bed with in the morning and wake by whispering "Mama" or "Dada." May God burden the hearts of His people to be mother and fathers to these children.