February 23, 2012

WISDOM in POTTY TRAINING

After a failed attempt to do so last summer, three weeks ago I began to potty train my 3 year old daughter.  The first week felt like a total loss.  The second week I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  And this week has been literally accident-free!

During the last few weeks, I have done a lot of reading about the best way to go about training my daughter.  And to be honest, I took a little bit of advice from various sources, but ultimately I had to rely heavily on my intuition as a mother and the fact that I know my daughter better than any "expert" before I really started to see results.

This has been a huge learning experience for me.  I feel like I can accomplish anything right about now, and I still have a ways to go before I feel like my daughter is completely trained.  So, I decided to share the wisdom I have gained, and hopefully it will be of some help to any parent that may be reading this.

ATTITUDE

I believe potty training is only as successful as your attitude.  I dare say the majority of your success is based almost entirely upon your ability to remain calm and cheerful and patient.  In order to do this, you must be prepared for this process to suck.  Even if it isn't as bad as you think, it is better to be pleasantly surprised than hopelessly discouraged.  The sooner I made up my mind to just embrace the horribleness of it all, the easier it was for me to accept accidents and the sweeter the pee looked in the potty.

COMMUNICATE

Your ultimate goal is to teach your child how to recognize the feeling of needing to use the potty and then going to the potty to do so.  

After a week full of accidents, I realized my daughter wasn't connecting the dots, and it dawned on me that I never communicated to her what she was suppose to do.  I thought I was by rushing her to the potty every time she started to pee, but the verbal communication was not there. 

I started to ask my daughter, "Where do you go when you need to pee/poo?"  At first I had to tell her the answer, but eventually she easily answered, "The potty!"  All day long, every few minutes or so, I asked her this question so she cognitively understood what this entire process was all about.

I believe most problems in life arise from a lack of verbal communication, and potty training is no exception.

DITCH THE UNDIES

During the first week of training, my daughter pranced around our house in a T-shirt and underwear.  I had read virtually everywhere that this was good training attire.  At the beginning of the second week, two people told me to ditch the undies, and even though it seemed weird at first, it worked.  I immediately saw success, and I attribute it to my daughter having one less thing to do before she went potty.  Instead of quickly pulling down the undies and quickly sitting on the potty, all she had to do was sit.  Ditching the undies simplified the process.

It was at this point in time that I decided to

DO THINGS IN STAGES

Stage One:  No undies and potty always in the same room
Stage Two:  Undies on and potty always in the same room
Stage Three:  Undies on and potty in the bathroom
Stage Four:  Undies on, pants on, potty in the bathroom

This may seem excessive to some people, but for my daughter taking things slow and giving her time to master everything one by one has really helped her be successful on a regular basis.  And, I'd rather take things slow and be successful than push my agenda on her and have accidents every day.

BEING IN PUBLIC

Of course, mastering the art of peeing in the potty at home is one thing.  Not having an accident in public is another.  Everything I read said to not do anything for a few days, and to be hermits until your child is trained.  Well, because my daughter wasn't completely trained in a few days, I had to interrupt the process every once in awhile.  And when we were out in public I put my daughter in a diaper, but the minute we got home she was back to her undies {or no undies depending on the stage}.  So long as I was consistent when it came to being at home versus not being at home, I felt okay about the interruptions.

Now that we're on stage four, I'm attempting to take her out in public with her undies on.  We'll take short drives or go to a restaurant and order our food to go.  All the while, I am asking her if she needs to go potty, and because our trips thus far have been short, if she expresses the need to go I always tell her we're almost home.

Another hurdle with being in public is public restrooms.  My daughter is currently using her own potty, so one of the things I am going to introduce to her soon is the big potty.  Because she does such a great job of letting me know when she needs to pee, once she is willing and able to go on the big potty being in public won't feel so daunting to me.

Any advice about being in public?

BEDTIME

I let my daughter wear just her PJs or PJs and undies to bed for a week, and she consistently woke up wet.  So, after a lot of thought, my husband and I decided to have her wear Pull-Ups at night until she starts waking up dry.  I don't refer to them as Pull-Ups. I call them her underwear just like I do her real underwear.  I honestly don't think she realizes the difference because one morning she told me she needed to use the potty shortly after she woke up and was still wearing her Pull-Up. If she thought it was diaper, she would've just gone in the Pull-Up.  I know Pull-Ups have a bad reputation for deterring the entire process, but for my daughter it works.

REFUSING TO GO

Because we had been down this road before, my daughter fought potty training with all her might.  She didn't have an accident or go to the potty AT ALL until 2:00p one afternoon.  She held it in FOR HOURS just so she wouldn't have deal with the change.  One stubborn cookie I created let me tell you!

What did I do?  I began taking things away and turning things off.  No TV on.  No toys out.  And, the thing she hated most:  no yellow blankie.  I learned that as soon as there wasn't anything to distract her from going potty, the sooner she would go.  The idea to turn things off and take things away was inspiration from above because it worked like a charm.  Within minutes, she was going potty and I immediately gave her back her things because I wanted her to associate losing privileges with not going potty.

REWARDS

What did I reward my daughter with?  Hershey Kisses.  She loves them, but rarely eats them.  In fact, before our potty training began I think she had only had one her entire life.  In other words, getting a Kiss every time she peed in the potty was a big deal.

I learned that I needed to make the reward as enticing as possible because I have a smart kid, and she knew a crappy bribe when she saw one.  No pun intended.

MAKE IT A BIG DEAL

Each and every time my daughter had a success, it was a BIG DEAL.  We clapped, we hugged, we looked at the pee in awe.  And, most importantly, we called Dad at work to let him know about the good news.  No matter what kind of mood my daughter was in before she had a success, she was ELATED afterwards.

And, don't worry about having to fake through this being a big deal.  It IS a big deal and if you're anything like me, you'll be just as elated as your child if not more so.

BE EASY ON YOURSELF

I can't tell you how many times I felt like a complete and utter failure.  After reading story after story about parents whose kids were potty trained in 3 days and knowing my daughter would be nowhere near trained in probably a month, I often wondered what I was doing wrong.  I constantly had to remind myself that things were okay and that everything would fall into place eventually.  My husband was a great support, and always told me what a great job I was doing.  He always told me how proud he was of me.  And pretty soon I stopped beating myself up because, in the end, I was doing the best that I knew how.

Ok, there's my wisdom on potty training.  I hope it helped someone out there.  And, please do share any tips or secrets you may have because the more wisdom I have the better!

February 22, 2012

INSTAGRAM wednesday: the RULER of the HOUSE

This little contraption has been the source of many emotions for me lately:  joy, stress, happiness, complete and utter despair.  You name it, I've felt it.


It's amazing how something so small can have such influence!

{This post is linked up with iPPP}

February 21, 2012

GUEST blogger: EMMY MOM

One of the things I enjoy blogging about is photography.  It's amazing how pictures have the ability to transport us to different times and memories.  They are so important!  They are the reason I started my weekly INSTAGRAM wednesday posts.  It's also why I included photography as one of the topics someone could write about when I put out a call for guest posters.

Insert, EMMY MOM.  

Emily is a very talented photographer and I was thrilled when she offered to write about her experiences.  Thanks so much, Emily!

...

I am so happy to be guest posting on Emily's blog.  Anyone with a name like Emily has to be awesome right? 

 I am a professional photographer, a very very part-time hardly-works-at-all photographer, but hey it's a start, and really it's perfect for me right now. When I graduated high school my parents said they would buy me any camera I wanted. I looked at all the cameras, the small ones that could almost slide in your pocket (it was film days still they could only be so small) or the big ones that looked like professional cameras. And that is what I wanted. Not really sure why.  I think I thought it would make me look cool.  So I picked the Canon Rebel G-- film camera. I loved the way the pictures looked but I think I mostly kept it safe staying in auto mode. Time passed, digital came around and it was awesome just being able to shoot, but my digital camera was slow and would take a few seconds before you could snap the next shot, which does not work when trying to photograph kids. So my husband and in-laws pooled together and got me a Canon Rebel G Xti- digital.

The first few days I had it I shot over 500 pictures. I was hooked.

(one of those 500 pictures I took that first day)

I went to the library and checked out books. I watched tutorials online.  And finally I started switching the dial over to the M on the camera. There were a lot of flops, a lot of times where I wondered what I was doing.


But the more I shot, the more it clicked and the more I loved it.


Then I offered to take a friends family picture. My heart raced and I shook the first ten minutes of the shoot.  I even "cheated" halfway through the shoot putting in the camera on automatic mode as my nerves won out.


But I kept at it and then I stopped shooting for free and started charging- which in itself felt like a huge leap, saying- yes my work is good enough that you should pay me for it.


But I love it.  When I get out there and engage with the clients, working with the different personalities, the different wants and wishes and when I come back and show them a product that they love and are so happy with, it feels good.


It is why I do it.

And now, with little ones and having recently moved to a new area I have put it on the back burner a bit.  And that is okay as I don't want it to become something I have to do, but always be something that I love to do.

You can find Emily on her blog

 
At her photography website Emily Kathryn Photo  

And on Twitter @Emmymom2

February 20, 2012

MUSIC mondays: my DAUGHTER'S {current} FAVE

My daughter goes through stages when she absolutely loves certain songs, and right now that song is





She can even sing the chorus word for word:

"There is no home like the one you've got 'cause that home belongs to you."

This song is on repeat often in our house, so thankfully it's a pretty decent song for me to listen to as well.

Be sure to check it out, bot the movie Bolt {which is a great movie for kids} and Barking at the Moon.

February 18, 2012

SUPER STALKER sunday

Welcome to this week's SUPER STALKER SUNDAY hop!

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WHAT IS SUPER STALK SUNDAY?

Glad you asked.  Super Stalker Sunday is a weekly blog hop hosted by

Mariah of Formula Mom

As you know, blog hops are a great way to meet other bloggers, socialize and gain followers.  We created this hop as a way for you to connect with other bloggers via RSS Feed, Google Friend Connect, E-mail Subscribers, Facebook Fans, Twitter followers and the new Google+.

HOW TO SUPER STALK

Follow each hostess at least one way.  Remember to leave a comment too.  As hostesses, we're committed to returning the follows, but please be patient with us as we are busy mamas.  It may take us a few days to return the visit and follow.  Since all hostesses use the same linky, you only have to link up once, but your link will appear on all our blogs.

After you follow the hostesses, follow the featured blogger and at least four other blogs listed above you on the linky.  Of course, you're welcome to follow more than just four if you'd like.

Keep in mind that many bloggers will be phasing out GFC in the coming weeks, so be sure you're following everyone another way as well.

Remember:  You will only get as much as you give.  The more blogs you can visit, the more visits you will gain in return.

While we encourage sharing our button to spread the word on this fabulous blog hop, it is not required. However, it is appreciated.  :)

THIS WEEK'S FEATURE BLOGGER IS

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{In other words, ME!}

Thanks to the ladies that host this great blog hop.  I am so thrilled to the featured blogger of the week and hope I can meet some new people and find some great new blogs to follow.

If you would like to be a featured blogger, being shared with more than 32,000 combined followers between the hosts of this hop, please link up! At the end of each week we will select a blog via Random.Org to be the featured blog for the following week. The featured blogger will be emailed by Tuesday morning. Please be sure to check your spam folders! This linky will remain open until 3:00PM EST on Monday! Go ahead, stalk up a storm!


February 17, 2012

SUMMER camp

I think it is really easy these days to stay inside.  With the all the advances of technology, it seems as though one can take care of almost anything without stepping foot outside.

I've never been a real outdoorsy person.  I don't like that about myself, so I'm hoping I don't pass that trait on to my daughter.  So far, I think I'm doing just fine as she adores being outside.  Then again, she did ask me the other day if she could check her e-mail.  She's three. 

When I heard about the summer camp giveaway at Catalina Island Camps from the SITS girls, I was immediately interested.  Not only was it a generous giveaway (valued at $3000), but the chance of a lifetime for any child.  The activities involved in this camp {which is located just 22 miles from LA) include kayaking, power boat activities, outdoor cooking, gardening and composting, group activities and photo journalism.

All of these activities {believe me, I just named a few, there are tons more}, promote health and exercise, but also practical skills like learning how to cook outside and gardening.  Exposure to activities like this will surely stay with a person their whole life and hopefully encourage healthy, eco-friendly living all the time. 

After reading over website, I decided I really wanted to enter this giveaway, but then I realized that I didn't have any child/tween/teenager in my life that fit the age requirement (the camp is for boys and girls entering 2nd - 11th grades), so figured I couldn't enter the contest.  I was then informed by the lovely ladies at SITS that I could still enter and if I won, the prize would go to an underprivileged child in the LA area.

I'm so excited about this giveaway.  Thanks to the SITS girls and Catalina Island Camps for this amazing opportunity!

February 16, 2012

be MEAN {sometimes}

There are many things that go on in my life that make me remember my unofficial motto:

"Choose your battles wisely."

More often than not, I will let annoying things that other people say or do just go because when all is said and done, it doesn't matter.  I have been taught my entire life to be a nice person, give service when needed and to treat others the way I want to be treated.  And, in general, I truly believe more people need to be tolerant of differences and overall more friendly.

But, there are exceptions to everything, including being nice.

I read a blog written by a girl named Lisa that is dealing with infertility issues.  Lisa and her husband recently moved to a new area, and she made the decision to keep her infertility to herself when she meets new people.

One day, while reading this blog, Lisa wrote about an experience she had when she had to completely hold her tongue.  She had just met a new girl in her neighborhood that made the remark that her life {meaning Lisa's life} would be much better if she had children.

Lisa chose to just nod her head and let the remark slide.

As I read what this perfect stranger had said to Lisa, I was appalled.  I was floored that someone would make such a suggestion to anyone, let alone a person she just met.

I was also floored by the comments the post generated.  Everyone was praising her behavior and that she made the right decision by not saying anything  

First of all, saying someone's life would be better if they had children is just a dumb thing to say.  A statement like that can only be said by a person that is completely void of any knowledge of life existing outside her own.  News flash Fertile Myrtle, just because you do the deed, doesn't mean you plant a seed.

Second of all, it was a mean and inconsiderate thing to say.  And because she chose to say it to a complete stranger tells me that she's learned she can say things like that and get away with it.  And, one of the primary reasons why she gets away with it is because people let her by not saying anything to the contrary. 

Can you imagine how this girl would've felt had Lisa explained that she wants nothing more than to be a mother, but that she is unable to conceive?  Yes, she'd have to share some personal details of her life in order to put this girl in her place, but at the same time she could have taught this ignorant girl a valuable lesson in manners and open-mindedness.

I'm all for being a good, nice person, and like I said before I let a lot of things go.  But, for crying out loud, when people say something that is down right wrong or offensive or just something they shouldn't say at all, call them on it.  Standing up for yourself does not mean you're a bad, awful, mean person.  If you don't say anything, people will continue to behave the same way, and you will continue to have to put up with it.

Obviously, everyone sees battles differently.  This is a battle I would've fought.  Lisa chose not to.

What do you think?

February 15, 2012

INSTAGRAM wednesday: DINNER

I'm always on the look out for easy dinners, especially the kind that include a lot of veggies.


Potato bar for dinner?  Yes please!

{This photo is linked with iPPP}

February 14, 2012

GIFTS from MY DAUGHTER

Exactly three years ago today, I woke up at 7:00a.  As I looked around the room and noticed it was light outside it hit me:  I had slept through the night.  I frantically sat up and looked at my 4 week old daughter sleeping soundly in her bassinet just a short distance from me.

On that day, my daughter gave me the greatest Valentine's Day present of all by sleeping through the night.   And, once I  knew she was breathing and totally fine, I was able to lay back down in bed and enjoy a few more hours of bliss.

My daughter gave me two other great presents for Valentine's Day this year.  On Sunday, we went to church {I was tempted to skip, believe me} and we decided at the last minute to sit in the chapel.  As church began, my daughter sat quietly on her daddy's lap and I was able to keep her entertained with books and treats all throughout the meeting.  She was so well-behaved I almost couldn't believe it.  

Yesterday, we started week two of potty training.  My daughter is fighting the change with all her might.  I sincerely believe she knows what to do, she just doesn't want to do it.  This is totally in character for her, and I knew she would not be one of those kids trained in a few days.  

Anyway, Monday morning rolled around.  I put her in just a T-shirt and waited for her to have an accident so I could quickly run her to her potty.  I've learned that putting her on the potty every 10, 20, 30 minutes only leads to a complete meltdown, so our strategy is to catch her in the act and go from there.  After hours of being awake and no accidents I knew my daughter was getting close to not being able to hold it anymore.  As I watched her cross her legs and look completely rigid as she walked around the house, I wondered when she was going to let it go and stop fighting the change.

Then, as I was cleaning up after lunch, she said, "I wanna go potty."  I said, "Ok."  She then sat on her potty and went.  She was so excited, and I was so excited.  We hugged for a long time.  It was great progress, another milestone.  We called my husband at work to share the great news, and for a split second, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Because Valentine's Day is all about expressing love to those you care most about, I find it ironic that my daughter chooses this time of year to be at her best or to hit certain milestones.  I can't help but love this holiday more and more.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2012

MUSIC mondays: TIM MYERS

Thanks to a very kind and loving aunt and uncle that bought her the movie twice {the first copy was stolen}, my daughter went through a Hotel for Dogs phase.  She seriously couldn't get enough of the movie, and I appeased her probably more than I should have by letting her watch or at least listen to it almost every day.

During that fun phase, I learned that Hotel for Dogs had some pretty killer tunes in it.  So, of course, I had to do some research to find out who sang my favorite song in the film.

After a brief Google search and a few clicks in iTunes, I was the proud owner of the song


by TIM MYERS from the album THE GOOD LIFE.


The song plays during your typical montage movie scene, when you see the characters doing various things.  It also is playing during a good time for the characters, when things in their lives are starting to click or fall into place. 

It's a very happy song with fun lyrics that remind me that there is beauty all around.

What do you think of the song?

February 10, 2012

my PERFECTLY POSH review

Every once in awhile, you have to be a bit shameless.  I kicked my shame to the gutter last week when I e-mailed my husband's cousin Andrew.  Andrew is part of a team that started a new company called PERFECTLY POSH.  In my e-mail, I {shamelessly} asked Andrew to send me a few of his favorite Posh products so I could try them out and eventually review on my blog.

Just a few days later, my Posh products arrived, and the minute I opened my perfectly packaged products I was immediately impressed.  Everything smelled so wonderful.  I also LOVED, LOVED the design of the products.  Everything had a very modern, whimsical touch, and exactly up my design alley.

Before trying out my products, I looked over the website and did learn that they do not do any animal testing, which is very important to me.  Major bonus.

The website in general is very visually appealing, however a bit wordy, especially when you look at certain products.  While it's important to see what ingredients are used in products, I don't think it needs to be all there, especially on the product's home page.  If were up to me, when a customer clicks on a product to view, I'd list the major ingredients {the things that make the product POSH}, a brief summary of what the product is, how it is used, etc., and the price.

Speaking of prices, I had to look at the catalog to view any prices.  The catalog is set up so it functions as if you were looking at a real catalog.  I had to do a lot of zooming in and out which made for a lengthy experience.

Okay, now on to the FUN part of my review....


Here's what I received:  
{All pictures below are courtesy of Perfectly Posh}

The HEALER {$12}
I found this product really interesting.  I'd never seen shea butter packaged like a lip balm.  I immediately liked this product because I have very dry skin and constantly have to carry lotion with me.  I liked The Healer because it's packaged in such a way that it is easy to carry with me in my purse and I don't have the worry about it accidentally spilling.  


CHUNK! {$9}
Or, a huge-a bar of soap in the Feng Shoap scent.
Again, loved the packaging.  It was a struggle for me to throw it away.
So far I like this bar soap.  I am used to the super cheap bar soaps I get at the store, and my skin always felt dry when I got out of the shower.  Um, not so much with this soap.  It is very moisturizing and this scent isn't too girlie, so my husband has no problems using it.  I will admit that the soap is a little bit too big for my taste.  Despite the fact that I have abnormally small hands, I think most people would find that they drop the soap at least two times.  Or, maybe it really is just me.


HANDLE {$12}
in the Tart Tootie scent
This is lotion that looks like a round bar of soap.  I absolutely have never seen anything like this, and I thought the product was ok.  It was a little greasy on my hands, but that may have been because I used it like I would a bar of soap and perhaps put too much on my hands.  Overall, as a person that loves to find new things, this product is definitely up there in uniqueness.  As a consumer, I just don't see the point and don't think I'd ever buy it.  Any Posh customers out there wanna tell me if they like this product?


SLATHER {$17}
in the Lemon Rice scent
I'm a huge fan of body butters, but I rarely use them in lieu of body lotion simply because they are so greasy. But I decided to totally go for it when I first tried Slather by using it in replace of my after shower lotion.  I was utterly floored with how much I liked this product.  My hands didn't feel greasy at all.  I was seriously amazed.  I absolutely loved the scent.  I'm a huge fan of citrus scents, but know they can sometimes be overwhelming.  The lemon rice scent definitely has citrus in it, but the rice balances it out, making it bearable for me to smell all day long.  Plus, a little bit goes a long way, so one jar will last me awhile.  Major fan of this product!


in the Whip Me Up scent
Okay, I'm not a bath person, so I wasn't super excited about trying this product, but went with it anyway.  First impressions is that is smelled FANTASTIC - both while it sat on my counter before I used it and during my bath.  My skin continued to smell great hours after my bath.  Major bonus.  The size of the ball itself is pretty big, and the packaging says you can break it up or use it all at once.  I found wanting to break it up {otherwise, you only get one bath out of it}, but didn't like how it got crumbly and a bit messy when I broke it into pieces {not to mention it wasn't too easy to break in the first place}.  So, I would prefer to see this product a bit smaller, maybe sold in 3 or 4 pieces.  Overall, I did like this product!


Last, I got a Lovey Dovey Gift Set {$29}.
It came with a heart shaped bombinator, a massage mud and three heart shaped soaps.  Okay, I'll admit, I haven't used the massage mud because I haven't bribed my husband into giving me a massage yet.  But, I'll keep you posted.  The heart shaped soaps are just too cute to use, and I'll probably use them for decoration in my daughter's bathroom.  I did use the heart shaped bombinator, and it had a very musky scent.  I'm not a fan of musk scents, but if you are, I think you'd like this product.  I was impressed with the fact that my body was still soft and smooth hours after my bath {and yes, I did take ANOTHER bath in preparation for this post}.  I was also impressed with how long the scent lasts.  I smelled like musk all day long, no joke!  The scent definitely lasts, and that is a major bonus in my book.  And, probably what my daughter liked most about it all, was that it turned the bath water completely pink.  I seriously looked like I was bathing in Kool-Aid.  Overall, a fun, romantic gift set that couples could enjoy on those special occasions.

To sum it all up, I really enjoyed these products.  I was pleasantly surprised by most of them, and will continue to use what I {shamelessly} received til the last drop!  And, I'm really grateful to Andrew for sending them to me and for being open to this review.

I'm really curious to know what my readers think of this post, and the products in general.  Would any of you be interested in purchasing from Perfectly Posh?  What do you think of the prices?  Have you visited their website and have become intrigued?

Because Posh is a multi-level marketing {MLM} business, you have to purchase the products from an independent consultant {which I am not}, and some people aren't into those type of businesses, or don't like not being able to buy products online or at a store.  I relate to feelings like that, but also am very inspired by people that are their own boss, and like how MLM businesses give that opportunity to so many people that otherwise wouldn't have the chance.

Definitely leave a comment.  I'm curious to know your thoughts!

February 9, 2012

Q & A: on ADOTPION

Meet my cousin Alicia, and her husband Steve and their two sons Jack {right} and Kaleb {left}.
For the past year, this sweet, young family has been through all the ups and downs that go along with wanting to adopt a child, and I decided I wanted to share their story.  


Here are the few questions I asked Alicia about her family's adoption journey.

...

What circumstances in your life brought you to the decision to adopt?

On January 8, 2008, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy after being on bedrest for 3 months. During both of my pregnancies I was restricted to bedrest, but this pregnancy was more strict. At 6 months I was dialated to a five and was given two choices:  lay on my left side until 38 weeks or get sewn up! I was able to keep him cookin until 37 weeks, and we were so blessed when our healthy, 8 lb baby arrived.

After the pregnancy, however, I experienced terrible bleeding. At my baby’s four month checkup, I realized I shouldn't still be bleeding so much. Soon after, I had two surgeries that were suppose to stop the bleeding, but unfortunately didn’t.  After two more surgeries, I learned the placenta had grown into the uterus while I was on bedrest.  I was told I needed to have a hysterectomy. After a lot of prayer and support from my family, I went through with the hysterectomy at age 26.

 How long have you been in the adoption process and what has been the biggest challenge?

 We have been actively trying to adopt for a year now.  A lot of prayers and personal reflection went on as a couple and as individuals before we decided we wanted to go through with things. One of the hardest parts about adoption is that there are no guarantees that you will ever get a baby. When we planned our pregnancies there was so much immediate joy and satisfaction that we could bring new lives to our family.

The biggest challenge has been with finances. It is so ironic that there are so many babies/children that need good homes, but it costs anywhere from $20,000-$40,000 in order to bring those children into good homes. We are going to have an a silent auction and comedy show in the spring to raise money.
  
Do you have any preferences in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, etc.?

We would like to adopt a little girl if it is possible, but would be so happy to bring any healthy baby into our family! We do not have any preferences when it comes to race and have been told by private adoption agencies that Caucasian adoptions are the most expensive.

Have you felt support from your family and friends in your decision to adopt?

We have awesome families! Both of our extended families as well as friends have been so supportive of our decision. Some family members have expressed that fundraising may not be appropriate for our adoption costs, but Steve and I feel good about it.

What advice would you give to people wanting to adopt?

I think the first thing I would advise is to communicate with everyone you know that you are wanting to adopt. We have been told by many agencies that the majority of adoptions happen from people who know people who are pregnant or who want to adopt.  For Steve and I it has been so important just to have faith. We have had many manifestations to us that adoption is right for our family. Through all of the emotional hurdles we have been through this has been what keeps us going!

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Thanks Alicia for your answers.  Adoption has always been something I thought I may do at some point in my life, so it was good for me to read your thoughts about the entire process.  I do hope you are able to find a happy ending to this long, emotional journey.

I am excited for Alicia and Steve's upcoming silent auction.  I am going to donate custom invitations/announcements.  If any of my readers would like to donate or participate, please let me know.

February 8, 2012

INSTAGRAM wednesdays: PEN PALS

Earlier this year, I got a letter from my friend KAREN in the mail.  Her out of the blue letter reminded me how much I enjoy getting handwritten letters in the mail.  I suggested we start writing to each other via "snail mail" every once in awhile.  She thought that was a great idea.


Here's my first letter to my new PEN PAL.

{This post is linked with iPPP}

February 7, 2012

FRIENDSHIP written by ANONYMOUS

I was contacted by someone who wanted to more or less spill her guts, but wanted to remain anonymous.  And I was more than happy to host her thoughts on my blog.

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I've always wanted a sister.  I figure the closest thing to a sister would be a best friend. You know, a BFF. Everyone's got one, right?  Not me.

For some reason I've always struggled in the friend department.  I've always had friends.  Friends as in a group of girls that I got along with and we did things together all throughout high school.  Friends in college that I always hung out with. But never a true BFF that I couldn't go more than a few hours without talking to, told everything to, or went on trips with.  Stuff like that.  I have friends from high school that I still get together with and it's like time hasn't passed and it's as fun as ever.  I have friends that I've met in the last few years that I hang out with and it's fun, but I'm still waiting for that BFF. Someone that won't make fun of me for being stupid, or will make fun of me for being stupid but still love me for it.  Like a sister would.  Someone that never gets sick of me and will call just to say hi and that they miss me.

My husband has 4 sisters.  When we were engaged I kept thinking how I couldn't wait until we were married because I'd automatically have four sisters!  People who would be my friends, that I would always hang out with. That's what sisters-in-law are for, right?  Not so much.  For whatever reason they never really took a liking to me. Here we are almost 11 years later, not to mention a total of 15 kids between us all and you'd think we'd all be closer.  I couldn't wait for my kids to have cousins to play with or for me to have a babysitter that I could always count on.  I figured since I was in the family that's the way it would work.  That's how they are with each other!  Their kids are always playing together, and they're always watching each others kids.  In the meantime, I'm always searching for someone to watch mine. For some reason, we're always left out.  


Our kids all go to the same school and my kids are always asking why so and so got to play at so and so's house and they didn't.  I hear about trips they've taken together, skiing weekends, or night out at the movies that they've done together that we're never invited to.  Then there's the field trips during the summer, days at the pool and picnics at the park.  I'm not asking to be invited to EVERYTHING but don't talk about it in front of me like it's not going to bother me.  

I could be to blame.  I'm not the most social person.  I might even come off as being unfriendly at times. But it's only because I'm so self-conscious that I don't dare say anything to anyone.  Ever.  I'm always wondering what someone is thinking of me while I'm standing there talking to them. What do they think of my hair?  My clothes?  My shoes?  My face?!  Heaven forbid I actually say something because then I'll have to worry about what they think of what I said!  But, despite those feelings, it's nice to be invited to things.  If not because they want to include me, but because they want to include my kids. Their neices and nephews, right?  It's one thing for the sisters to talk about things they're doing without me, but for them to sit and talk about things that their kids have done together when my kids haven't been involved really gets to me. 
     
So, my question is, what is it about me that has made it so I can't really seem to ever find a close friend? Am I too self-conscious?  Trying too hard?  What is it about someone that makes them BFF material?  I'm really starting to wonder what exactly I'm missing, or what I'm doing wrong.  I'm so over-anxious to have a true friend that I'm over analyzing my every word! 

     When you're married with kids, it's hard to find friends.  Or at least it is for me.  I'm always wondering if my husband will get along with her husband, will my kids get along with her kids, etc. I want to make sure that my friends don't take too much time away from my family, but a girl needs friends, doesn't she?  I know I should just be myself and not worry about what everyone thinks, but it's easier said than done.

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Thoughts?

February 6, 2012

MUSIC mondays: EVERYWHERE

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered the My Memories Giveaway.  I'm happy to announce that the winner of the My Memories Suite Software is BECKY HAWS!  Congrats to Becky!

Now, moving on to my usual Monday routine.

Every once in awhile, I'll stumble upon a song that I absolutely LOVE and can't seem to stop listening to. A few months ago, that song was


by

LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE from the album 8 SONGS.


Everywhere has such a sweet melody and I love the lyrics.

I think it would make a great addition to anyone's music library.

Be sure to check out Lucy.

Want me to feature YOUR favorite song, musician, band?  Let me know.  I'm always in the market for new music!

February 3, 2012

my {P}INTERESTS

Who doesn't love Pinterest?  I sure enjoy browsing and repinning every now and then, so I thought I'd share a few of my most recent repins.

On my board {HILARIOUS}

When you're in the mood to look like a pie.

My comment, "On the days you want to look like a pie."

On my board {IF I COULD SEW...}

Pinned Image

Pinterest has definitely inspired me to want to sew.  It seems like such a useful skill and my bed is in major need of some decorative pillows.

On my board {WISDOM}

never go with a hippie to a second location - 30 rock

A quote from my favorite comedy TV show 30 Rock.

On my board {ISC, INC.}

Pinned Image

I think decorating my daughter's {aka ISC} room with her own drawings is the best idea ever.

On my board {LOVE AT HOME}

Pinned Image

I took advantage of these freebies and downloaded the ROLL WITH IT picture in an 8x10 and had it printed at Costco.  It's now in a white frame and hangs above my kitchen sink.

On my board {FOOD}

Pinned Image

Made these for dinner and they were delish.

So, there you have it.  A few of my {P}INTERESTS.

HAPPY {RE}PINNING!

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Enter my GIVEAWAY.  Don't miss out!

February 2, 2012

in my SHOPPING CART

Whenever I get any extra money {including birthday and Christmas money} I tend to think about what I should spend it on rather than what I want to spend it on.  When I told my mom I spent the money she and my dad gave me for my last birthday on a medical bill she about died of laughter.

But, that's just how I am.  I gravitate towards things I need rather than what I want.

Just take a look at the exciting things I bought last week using an AMAZON gift card.




I'll bet you wish your AMAZON shopping cart looked as fun and exciting as mine does!

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Enter my GIVEAWAY.  Don't miss out!
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