Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Three.

THREE years of squeezes
THREE years of fun
THREE years of "Love yous!"
with you, little one.


THREE years of laughter
THREE years of joy
THREE years of happy
with you, baby boy. 


THREE years of crib sheets
THREE years of glee, 
THREE years of time-flying
(oh, how are you THREE?!)


THREE years of "Up, Moms!"
THREE years of hugs
THREE years of smiles
with you, snuggle bug


THREE years of kisses
THREE years of delight
THREE years of cherishing
you, little light. 


Harrison Robert, my beautiful little light, Happy 3rd Birthday! There are no words to describe the absolute joy you bring to our lives, and I am thankful for you every minute of every day. You have been an absolutely DELIGHTFUL 2-year-old! Thank you for being the joy-filled, fun-loving, hilarious, entertaining, adorable baby boy that you are. Here's to another amazing year with you, sweet boy. As you so often say, I love you soooooo much! 

With All My Heart, 

Momma 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Cheers to the Weekend, TGIF Edition

Shooooooooey!!!

Between baseball games and practices, gymnastics x2, school volunteering, kindergarten registration, two adoption fundraising cookie orders, an in-school field trip, a Wacky Wednesday theme day, playdates, preschool graduation pictures, a tennis match, Pure Barre, a husband who was out of town from Tuesday morning until Friday night, laundry, dishes, cleaning, and, oh yeah, LIFE, well, let's just say I'm thrilled it's the weekend. I could definitely use one of these, even if that meant foregoing a perfectly comfortable bed and crashing in a chair (but only after trashing my room, of course ;) :



A quick list of things I'm saying CHEERS to this week/end: 
 
Kindergarten registration. My sweet Raleigh Jane is all signed up and ready to go to kindergarten, as of yesterday. I swear it was last week that I was registering Banks for kindergarten and now Rals will be joining him at FMES. I was so, SO proud of my little lady yesterday. While she tends to be initially shy, she was so sweet and warm to everyone she met and absolutely rocked her assessment. Way to go, Raleigh! Next stop, kindergarten!






Fun preschool days. This week, Harrison had an in-school field trip (a reptile exhibit featuring Mr. Miller the turtle and Cornelius the snake) and Raleigh had Wacky Wednesday the same day. They were so excited!


A kid who looooooves to read. It makes my momma heart sooooo happy to see the love my Banks has for reading! If the kid isn't outside playing a sport, you will absolutely find him reading. He is flying through books these days, and it is so fun to watch! He even reads in line while waiting for the bus (as shown in the pic his sweet teacher posted in the class journal app)

 

25 more school days until summer break!. 'Nuff said.

Cookie orders. I had two cookie orders for this weekend, one of which I finished up yesterday and the other of which will be finished today. Whew! Even though it is time consuming, I love knowing that each cookie is bringing us funds to bring our daughter home from China AND that the cookies are for such special celebrations in my customer's lives. Here, an order for sweet boy's 1st birthday party this weekend: 






And that's all I've got in me for today! My hub should be arriving back from Vegas shortly before 9:00 pm, and you will find us vegged out on our couch (probably asleep ;) ) for the night, if you're looking for us. Tomorrow will be a morning of soccer games and baseball practices, with the rest of the weekend wide open for whatever we see fit. Hooray! 

Y'all have a great one, and I'll be back on Tuesday with a *special* post. :)  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wee One Wednesday: The Unwelcome GIFT of Waiting

Recently, an invaluable friend sent me the most amazing article about waiting. It was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time. She is truly a gift, this incredible friend of mine.   

There were so many beautiful truths from the article, entitled "The Unwelcome Gift of Waiting." So many statements that tugged at my heart. So many sentiments that I needed to read and process and truly understand. Because waiting, while hard, I now know is an unavoidable gift. 

As the author points out, 

It's hardest to wait when I am uncertain about the outcome. 

Ain't that the truth! So often, along our adoption journey, I have thought, "Man! This would be so much easier if I knew how things would look at the end of it all! If I knew that everything would be okay." 

But you know what? To rush through the waiting, to already know the outcome, robs me of a great opportunity to exercise my faith. To truly believe in God's plan, to know that His work is perfect, and that He, not I, deserve to know how things will play out.  

But admittedly, as the author notes, 

...often God seems silent when I'm waiting. I have no idea whether he'll ever answer my prayer, so it feels like I'm waiting in the dark.

And that, right there, is where my faith is tested. When God is silent. When He is forcing me to wait. I, selfishly, want to quicken the wait. To get to the end. To see how it all plays out. But that is not what He wants. He wants me to wait and have patience and trust in Him. 

Because, as the author reiterates, at the end of the day, 

God knows what I need. I do not. He sees the future. I cannot. His perspective is eternal. Mine is not.

So. I must wait. 

And yet, in the waiting, a beautiful thing is happening. My relationship with Jesus is deepening, growing richer. I am using the stillness of the wait to give to others in every way I can, encouraging them in their battles, in their waiting, in their stillness. I am trying to minister to those who need it, all to share the beauty that is Jesus Christ. To not only deepen my faith, but that of others as well.  

Because here's the kicker. Here's the statement that makes my breath catch and my heart race. Here is the lesson that brings me to my knees:

Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait. 

Adoption is not a sprint. It is a marathon. It is a slow journey, one in which the road may fork, the path may twist, the trek may seem endless, and the finish line may be unclear. But the beauty of the endurance being built on this endeavor -- Well, it is an unexpected, beautiful gift that has been bestowed upon me. 

Waiting is not easy. But it will be worth it.  


Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14.

Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Spring Break Recap

The ONLY reason I am glad to see Spring Break come to a close is because it means we are that much closer to summer break...29 school days, to be exact. But I truly soaked up our nine days off from our regular routine, making the most of all the unstructured time with my little Lus. We took a couple of short trips and had a fun staycation in between. Here, a look at what we did during SB2K17: 

Day 1: We were off and running, well driving, actually, as the first day of Spring Break arrived. We headed to Charleston for a long weekend with family. Three of my siblings live in Charleston, and another sibling was visiting there as her Spring Break came to a close, so we were able to all get together (along with my parents!) for some BLOMPS fun! We were just missing one sib. :( But regardless, we had a great time! The first afternoon, we headed out to Charles Towne Landing, which is a beautiful, historic state park. We let the 10 kids loose while enjoying the natural habitat zoo, exploring a replica sailing ship, and just generally running wild. :) It was really fun, and we ended the day with takeout at my (step)brother's house before we all parted ways for the night. 





Day 2: Because four of the dads were golfing this day, we moms decided to do a little picnic at the beach that afternoon. Before that, though, my trio and their sweet cousin loaded up for a fun golf cart ride and morning at the coolest neighborhood park.




After naps, it was beach time! Even though it was not exactly blazing hot, and was actually pretty windy, it didn't stop the kids from immediately running full-speed into the ocean, where they splashed and jumped until finally realizing it was *chilly* and requested to change into their spare clothes. Then, they played in the sand while we mommas enjoyed a little wine and apps. Finally, we headed back to my brother's for a cookout before calling it a day. 







Day 3: My #LuCrew headed home on this day so that my hub could get back to work. The kiddos and I made the most of our first day back, hitting up a really cute putt-putt place right here in the Mill! It was really fun! Two of the four of us got holes-in-one (not me). One of the four of us hit our ball in the water and had to borrow her son's ball for the remainder of the round (me). Ha!




 

Day 4: We deemed this water play day since it was sunny and a glorious 80 degrees! But first, cupcakes! I took the kiddos to our favorite local cupcake shop where I let them have cupcakes...for lunch. :) 



Later on, I let them play in our little inflatable pool and water table for hours, allowing me to lounge nearby and catch some rays. Win-win! 



That night, my hub and I headed out for a date night. There is this AWESOME town center that is being constructed just a few miles from where we live. It is going to house retail, restaurant, and residential spaces, and we are so excited about it all! It just so happened that the first restaurant opened on this night; so, my hub and I made our way over for the opening. We were able to dine outside, with really pretty water views directly behind us and the loveliest evening temperatures. The drinks were good, the food was tasty, and the company was divine. :) 


Day 5: We had a few to-dos to check off this day, including haircuts for the boys at our favorite children's salon and Easter prep in the form of egg dyeing. Fun for all ages! 




We also wanted to continue to take advantage of the glorious weather, so we headed right outside of our neighborhood to our Springs Farm Market for some homemade strawberry ice cream. Yum!  Then, we headed home for a little 5:00 pm run through the sprinklers. 




Days 6 and 7: It was time to hit the road again, only this time we headed to our Nana and Pop's in Aiken, South Carolina. Every year, my father "in law," my hub, and my Banks go fishing, which is Pop's passion. He has some lake property, and a big, shiny, new camper; so, the guys were pumped to spend two nights there, fishing to their heart's content. It is SUCH a special tradition with wonderful memories being made with Pop, doing what he loves best! 




Meanwhile, Raleigh, Harrison, and I arrived to stay with Nana while the boys were off on their fishing adventure. We had lots of fun, which included visiting an adorable splash pad, dyeing Easter eggs with cousins, and having cousin Easter egg hunts. :)






Day 8: The boys arrived back to Aiken this day, and our little Lu Crew headed back home late afternoon. Luckily, we didn't miss the Easter bunny, who visited while the kiddos were sleeping to fill their baskets and hide their eggs.  


Day 9: The last day of Spring Break meant that EASTER HAD ARRIVED. He has risen!! The kiddos awoke to find their baskets and then beelined to the backyward for the egg hunt. Some were happier than others about this. :) 



We then enjoyed our traditional daddy-made Sunday breakfast, put on our Easter gear, and headed to our beloved church for an awesome Easter service. It was just lovely. We enjoyed a non-traditional Easter meal of fried chicken, peas, and mashed potatoes and gravy. What...that's not what the rest of all you good ol' Southerners eat for Easter lunch? ;) For us, it was imperfectly perfect. :) We spent the afternoon playing outside and closed out the day with our Sunday family viewing of AFV, which actually turned into watching this amazing Disney Nature program (a precursor to a movie coming out called Born in China (!!!!) ;) as AFV wasn't on. Finally, we hit the sack to get ready for reality bright and early. Bleh! ;)



All in all, it was a fantastic week spent with the ones we love. Thanks for the memories, Spring Break 2017! <3 Next stop, summer break!