Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wee One Wednesday: It's No Joke

I am not a funny person. 

But often, when I talk about our adoption, about adding a fourth child to our family, I will inevitably crack, "We are already living in a circus. What's one more? Let's just add to our crazy and chaotic and exhausting life!"

But the truth is, our adoption is not a joke to me. It's the furthest thing from it. It is me, it is us, trying to follow God's will. 

Can I preach for a minute? Be totally honest for a minute? 

If it weren't for my strong faith, for our strong faith, I don't know that we would be adopting. 

This is totally a God thing, y'all. 

One of my most favorite Bible verses is 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27. 

Here's the thing: my hub and I have been given SO much, all to the glory of God. We have a roof over our heads, with space for our little family and more; we have a pantry stocked with food; we have heat and AC and healthy water at our disposal; we live in a wonderful, supportive, loving, safe neighborhood; we have access to good schools and good healthcare; we are citizens of a free country; we are active members of a fantastic church; we have more love in our hearts for our children than we know what to do with; and we have the time and resources to provide fun and recreation and discipline and socialization and life-giving moments for our babies. For whatever reason, God has chosen to bless us with these things. 

And y'all? I've said it before and I'll say it again: we have ONE life. What are we choosing to do with this one wild and precious life?

All jokes aside, we are choosing to adopt because we want to. Because our daughter is waiting for us. Because there will be one less orphan in the world. Because we are hers and she is ours. Because God calls us to do so. Because we have more than we deserve. Because we love her already.

So, circus? Yes. Yes, we will be. But we will be the happiest, craziest, loudest, wildest, most faith-filled circus you ever did see. Our monkeys will grow up together--they'll have each other long after we're gone, and each other is the greatest gift we can give each of them. 

And that's no joke.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, On Monday Edition

A quick CHEERS post today, as the weather has been GLORIOUS and we are in recovery mode from a busy last week/end (hence, the delayed post). Here's what we are saying CHEERS to: 

Haircuts. For the boys, at least. A little snip here, a little snip there and they are looking fresh and clean. And momma is on tap for some salon time next week. Woohoo!

Future Falcons. Banks had a BLAST during his first night as a "Future Falcon" football player for our high school. He loved running through the tunnel and onto the field and rocking his new shirt. :) 

Coffee. For whatever reason, Harrison was up and crying a few different nights last week, which means disrupted sleep for momma, a little extra crabbiness for Harrison, and extra coffee on tap. 

Sweater vests in the summer. Last week, Raleigh decided she wanted to get Harrison ready for the day all on her own (unbeknownst to me!). This meant that they came  walkin' down stairs together, him rocking a sweater vest and shorts combo she was so proud to have chosen. :) 

Adoption progress. I am finding that this process is a hurry-up-and-wait type thing. We have compiled and gathered all our forms and sent the necessary portion off to Homeland Security and now we are waiting to hear we have been approved. So, we wait. And then will be the next step, and then we will wait some. Wash, rinse, repeat...

Surprise parties. Over the weekend, we traveled to Georgia (after a pit stop in Aiken for the night to stay with Nana and Pop) to surprise my brother "in law" at his 40th birthday party. He was totally surprised and it was a lot of fun getting to spend the day with family and friends while celebrating his 40 years. And I even got to make some cookies for the event, which I designed around four of his favorite things: being a Veteran, cheering on the Clemson Tigers, watching "Andy Griffith," and playing poker. :) 

Tennis. I have taken to the courts a couple of times over the last week and forgot how much fun it was to play! Although I've never played formally on a team or anything, I took a couple of lessons as a child and have played a little here and there for fun from time to time--but it has been years since I have been back on the courts. Last week, one of my girlfriends and I played a singles match and it was SO fun! Then, last night, my hub and I played doubles with another friend and her hubby, and again, it was a blast! I can't wait to get back out there again ASAP and hopefully make it a regular new hobby!

Magazine modeling debuts. Last year, Raleigh and a few of her sweet friends were selected to model for a Halloween spread in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Well, last week it finally came out. And the pics are adorable, as is the awesome party styling by the one and only Anders Ruff. So fun!

And that's it for now! We have a busy week ahead with dentist appointments, playdates, meeting new preschool teachers, gymnastics, flag football practices, packing for a special trip, and more! No rest for the weary, right?! Be back soon! Have a good one!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Happiness is...

To fight off the Monday blues, a little list of things that make me happy at this stage of my life: 

Fresh flowers
Date nights with my hub
Life Group
My children laughing together
Fragrant candles
Warm laundry
Cucumber vodka in the summer
Cookie dough 
Friday nights on the couch
Pure Barre
Baby snuggles
Momma dates with my kiddos
Banks' passion for football
A clean house
Photodocumenting my days
Girl weekends
Quiet time in the mornings
Reading blogs
Beach days
Crab legs and mashed potatoes
Haircuts for me
Painted nails
A good book
Raleigh's ringlets
Early bedtimes
Amazon Prime
Doing nice things for others
Red wine in the Fall
Good music
Board games
Feeling healthy
Andy Stanley's sermons
Singing in the car alone 
Harrison's personality
Clemson Tigers
Pumpkin-spiced anything
Being outdoors
Meek cheeks
Lazy Sundays
Christmas music
My village

Take that, Monday! I feel better already. :) 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, Hello First Grade Edition

Whelp. Our school year has officially started! And with it, alarm clocks, packed lunches, signed folders, and a quieter, lonelier (albeit more productive) home. Although Raleigh and Harrison won't go to school until after Labor Day, Banks began first grade on Monday and hasn't looked back! So. Here's what we're saying CHEERS to this week/end:

A great first week in first grade. Banks had an awesome week! We drove him to school on Monday morning, and I walked him in (although he asked to ride the bus on the first morning of school when he goes to second grade next year). Initially, a little piece of my heart broke when, as we started walking into the school, he shimmied his little hand out of mine. I stopped to talk to a friend for a moment and he kept walking. Siiiiiiigh. But then!!! Oh, but then, I saw him stopped, halfway down the hallway, looking for me. As I caught back up to him he grabbed tightly around my arm and then re-grabbed my hand. Heart mended! I know it won't always be this way, but for now, I will hold his hand every chance I get! Then, he walked straight into his class and was greeted with a big smile and a "Hi Banks!" from his new teacher. With that, the school year began. We are hoping for a great year!

Downtime with the little two. Raleigh, Harrison, and I have been taking it easy this week while at home, which has included plenty of outdoor play and picnics, reading, snuggling, etc. It has been a nice, slow introduction back into the early school schedule.

Gymnastics fun. Raleigh is really loving gymnastics so far and had another great class earlier this week. Then, we came home and practiced cartwheels and handstands in the back yard, with ol' Momma here even throwing a front handspring or two. Not sure I could whip the back handspring or tuck back out after so many years of retirement ;) but it sure is fun reliving the old days with my girl!

Tupperware success. Have I mentioned before a time or two how much I adore our village--the people who love us for all our faults, who are walking alongside us and doing this life thing together? Last Friday, a wonderful group of women gathered for an awesome evening of Tupperware partying, with proceeds going toward our adoption fundraising. Y'all. My dear friend Jenna outdid herself. There were all kinds of prizes and incentives (e.g., four floor seat tickets to the "I Love the 90s" concert--as in Color Me Bad, Vanilla Ice, Salt 'N Peppa, and more, coming together for 90s rad-ness). :) What's more, she had 38 boxes of donuts ready and waiting for each of us mommas to take home, so that breakfast would be easily served for our kiddos in the morning following our night of Tupperware shenanigans. 

Additionally, my amazing friend, Emily, launched a pre-sale of a gorgeous, brand new Reece Blaire bracelet we designed together, "The Luton." Emily and Kaitlyn, the owners of Reece Blaire, so kindly and selflessly offered to create the bracelet and have all proceeds go directly toward our adoption. I'll talk more about this gorgeous piece in a future post, but y'all, it brings tears to my eyes seeing how many people are rallying around us to help bring our girl home. I love you all with all my heart! 

Future Falcons. As of tonight, Banks is officially a "Future Falcon." The high school we are zoned for is located directly next to our neighborhood--it's where he took his football camp this summer. They have a program for kids who love football (umm...hello, Banks!) to basically become junior members of the Varsity team. They will be assigned a senior player for the season and will get a tshirt to wear with their player's number on the back. At all home games, they will get to run out of the tunnnel and onto the field with the players, even having their names announced over the loud speaker. Later in the season, they will get to play in a flag football. You could say Banks is just a leeeeeeeetle excited about it! So, tonight, we'll be heading to the Nation Ford High School football game. And here's an added bonus: they are playing MY old high school rival, the Irmo Yellow Jackets. Ha! It should be a fun family affair. :) 

And with that, TGIF! We will be spending a little time with Clay's brother and my sister "in law" this weekend while they are in town for business, heading to a birthday pool party on Sunday afternoon, and I'll have my first Sunday morning with my new little kiddo LifeGroup at church-hooray! Other than that, we are plan free and happy as can be. :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

'Twas The Night Before School

'Twas the night before school
And all through the town
New bookbags were ready
The beds all turned down.

Supplies had been purchased
And school lunches made
Before the moon rose,
One last night of play.

Alarm clocks were set 
And kids got in bed
As memories of summer
Danced through their heads.

It's time for a new year
of learning and fun
New friends and new teachers
It's all just begun!

So dream well, my sweet babies, 
And please always know 
My heart will be with you
Wherever you go.

First Grade or bust! Let's do this thing, Bankster! 

With All My Heart,


Friday, August 12, 2016

Cheers to the Weekend, So Long Summer Edition

I'll get in at least one blog post per week if it kills me! Whew. Every spare minute this week has been taken up with baking and decorating138 back-to-school cookies for local friends and neighbors to give to their new teachers once school starts back next week. It has taken forrrrrrevvvvvverrrrr but I know so many very deserving teachers will enjoy their surprise treats next week. :)

Anywho. A quick post to hightlight what I'm CHEERSing this week/end:

Girls lake/mountain weekend. Last weekend, six girlfriends and I headed to our friend, Jenna's, parents' lake/mountain house in Tennessee. I don't think we could have had a better time. Her parents spoiled us with fireside breakfast and dinner on Saturday and we spent the rest of the day boating and hiking and tubing and relaxing and laughing harder than I've laughed in a long time. It was so, so fun and so good for the soul. A few pics from our adventures:  


Gymnastics. My Raleigh Jane decided she wanted to do gymnastics instead of dance this year. So, earlier this week, Rals had her first class and it was a hit! She loved it, did really well, and was so happy to see one of her buddies is in her class! It's been really fun to watch the women's gymnastics this week with her, too, and see so many amazing athletes bring home the gold. :)

1st grade. As I mentioned, Banks returns to school next week. So. Yesterday, we got to go meet his new teacher, take her a personalized cookie bundle, and then stop for a Momma (ice cream) Date on the way home. It's going to be a great year!

1st birthdays. My precious nephew, Wilson, turns the big 0-1 tomorrow. We are sending all our love and well-wishes that he has a monsterific time at his party. We don't know what we ever did without this sweet boy! 

Week o' fun. Because this was our last week of summer, we wanted to squeeze in as much fun as possible! This meant some fun crafting, a family football game, a playroom slumber party, a family night at the pool, and a super fun evening at our Greenway last night, where there were food trucks, live music, face painting, games for the kids, and more. We saw so many sweet friends of all ages there and had a great time! 

Tupperware par-tay. Say what?! You read that right! I am PUMPED for the AWESOME Tupperware party one of my nearest and dearest (fist bump to you, Jenna <3) is throwing as an adoption fundraiser for us tonight. Y'all. She has working so hard to pull this shindig together and has all kinds of awesome surprises planned. And there is a big turnout expected (35+) of lots of awesome women. I cannot WAIT!!! Love you so much, Jenna. We are so, so blessed to have you and your amazing family in our lives. Now, let's party, Tupperware style!

And on that note, we are off to kick off our last weekend of summer! Have a great one!