April 18, 2014

Good Friday

"Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen rainbows."
-George Matheson

A woman stopped me at the beach last week.  I was cleaning the sand off of Silas, getting ready to leave. She tentatively approached me, afraid of offending me, and asked if she could talk to me about adoption. (I guess it's pretty obvious that Silas is adopted.) She told me that she and her husband have been dealing with infertility and are thinking of switching gears to adoption. She shared her heartache and the physical and emotional pain she has experienced in her infertility journey. I told her we also walked that road and how I know those feelings well. She expressed genuine surprise and relief at hearing that someone actually understood what she's going through. Infertility is such an isolating experience, and I could sense how alone she feels. But I also saw hope and excitement in her eyes, as she heard our story and saw for herself how beautiful adoption is and that she is not alone in her struggle.  I gave her my information and I haven't stopped praying for her since. 

And there it was....glory in my cross and value in my thorns.

My worst days as a parent are a thousand times better than my best days dealing with infertility.  The sleepless nights are far more bearable than the many nights I cried myself to sleep, only to have to wake up to the same reality again. There are definitely hard days with parenting, but our infertility journey puts those days into perspective.  Just like every other parent, we have to deal with the sleep training and the crying and the baby who won't nap, or who wakes up every hour of the night or who just needs to be held all day. And I'm sure that the list will get longer and harder as he gets older.  And this all could seem so terribly mundane and tiring and HARD, if I had not been given the time to realize just how badly I wanted it. The days of struggle have made me grateful...more grateful than I would have been without them.

Through my tears, I have seen rainbows.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world."
Galations 6:14

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April 9, 2014

Coffee/Wine Bar

We have this little patch of wall, right between the pantry where our kitchen ends and the doorway that opens up into our living room.  It's kind of an awkward size space, so we have played around with different things there since we moved in.  A little while ago, I discovered that our wine rack fits perfectly in the space, so we have had that sitting there since.  But, the wall above the rack was pretty blah, and needed some sprucing up.  Nick found a bunch of reclaimed wood on craigslist, and it sits in our garage waiting for inspiration to strike.  Well, inspiration struck recently, and Nick decided to piece together some of the wood to create the perfect shelves.  We made a little coffee bar on top of the wine rack and put coffee/tea related items on the shelves.  Nick also drilled some hooks into the lower shelf so that we could hang mugs from it.  And voila, we've got ourselves a wine/coffee bar.  Come pick your poison.
I am also happy to report that our backyard is blooming, which means I get to have fresh flowers all around our house!

This is the espresso maker that we have.  I've never had a cup of espresso from it, but I have steamed many cups of milk with it, and it's never done me wrong.  And, Nick says the espresso is excellent.  So, I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice, but more affordable option.  And it is now $60 cheaper than it was when I bought it!

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April 7, 2014

Some Baby Favorites

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

I thought I would do a post about some of our favorite baby items so far in Silas's first 7 months.  I'm not including any of the essentials, like a stroller and a car seat. (But, if you are looking for a recommendation, I love mine!) These are just some items that we have found very useful.

1) Evenflo Johnny Jump Up Doorway Jumper--This is probably the favorite for all of us.  Silas loves his jumper.  And, when I am rushing around in the morning trying to get ready, I love it too.  Nothing can keep him occupied longer than jumping around in this thing.

2) VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker--This one goes right along with #1 for Silas.  He is not walking yet, so he doesn't use this as a walker, but he LOVES playing with this while he is in his jumper.  He can reach everything easily that way. There are a lot of fun features on it, and it teaches colors, shapes and numbers. We set it in front of him, and he plays to his hearts content.

3) myBaby Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector--This is great for nap time and nighttime.  There are 3 different lullabies and 3 different sounds (ocean, rain and heartbeat) plus 3 different projections.  Silas loves to watch the different projections on the ceiling, and the music and sounds are soothing for him and for us. (We have this travel one too, so at night, we usually have one in the nursery with Silas and one on in our room too.)

4) Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer--This thing has come in handy from day one. We used it as a bottle warmer for a while, until we realized that Silas doesn't really care what temperature his bottle is, he just wants it NOW! But, now we are using it as a baby food maker, and it is so great!  It steams and purees all in the same bowl, making the whole process fast and the clean up super easy. I am loving making baby food thanks to this handy appliance.

5) WubbaNub--You can get this cute little pacifier with just about any animal you want.  We got this particular one because it looks like our Belle, and I am always on the lookout for things that remind us of her.  (Silas also has the giraffe.)  Aside from the cute factor, these pacifiers are very functional.  Silas has been able to grab ahold of the stuffed animal since birth, so it helped him get the pacifier back in his mouth if he lost it.  They are also great in the car, because if you have to reach back to put the pacifier back in baby's mouth, it's easy to find.  

6) Infantino Squeeze Station--We just started using this, and I am having so much fun with it.  After we've made the baby food in our food maker (see #4), I use this little mechanism to get the baby food into pouches.  This is so much cheaper than buying the already made pouches in the store, and Silas prefers these pouches over eating from a spoon.  To go along with it, I also have this and this.

7) Sakura Bloom Pure Baby Sling--I love this and am so sad that it is getting very little use these days.  I used it almost daily when Silas was still small enough to not kill my back.  He got way too heavy way too fast. (Why do they have to grow up?)  There are some alternative ways to wear this for older children though that I want to try, because it is so cute, and I am just not ready to put it away yet.

8) Mixie Formula-Mixing Baby Bottle--This has been a life saver for us.  For anyone using formula, I cannot recommend this bottle enough!  These are a bit too expensive for us to use for all of our bottles, but we have 2 of these for our nighttime bottles.  At 2 am, it is so much easier to just be able to push the tab on the bottom of the bottle, shake it up and pop it in baby's mouth. No making bottles in the middle of the night….yay!  They are also great for when you are out and about.  

9) Inglesina Fast Table Chair--My aunt just got this for us, and it's been fabulous.  We pop it onto the overhang of our kitchen counter, and Silas will hang out, happily dangling his feet while we work in the kitchen.  It's also great to take with us anytime we are traveling or going to someone else's house.

Just for fun, I thought I would include a few pictures of Silas using some of the items from our favorites.
So there you have it.  Our favorite baby items.  What are some of your favorite items for baby?  I'd love to know!

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April 6, 2014

March 31, 2014

Just A Couple Things I Wanted to Share

1)First of all, read this! I bawled my eyes out when I read it (in a good way).  It's SO good!

2)Also, my friend Jen and her husband from Barren Made Beautiful are in the process of adopting their second baby! They have a couple fundraisers going on, including the selling of this shirt.
You should go buy one now!  Then we can be twins. Check out her blog for details on this and other fundraisers they are doing.

3)I haven't really mentioned it on the blog yet, but Nick and I are going to be speaking at the Choose Joy Conference on May 3rd in Laguna Hills!

There are going to be many wonderful speakers there this year, including Jen, who I just told you about. We are so excited to be a part of this event.  This is a conference for people who are dealing with infertility and/or who have adopted or desire to adopt.  We will be speaking on making the transition from infertility to adoption, which is just one of many topics that will be covered. If you have a heart for adoption and/or know the pain of infertility, you should really consider coming.  We were at last year's event, and it was so refreshing to be among people who share the same heart for adoption and many who know the pain of infertility. You can find more information, including all the speakers and topics to choose from here on the Choose Joy site.  There aren't many tickets left, so go buy yours now!

4) Lastly, I am way late to the game, but I now have a twitter account.  I am pretty sure that it will probably never be updated, but on the off chance that I post something now and then, feel free to join my other 2 followers here @finding_sunday. You definitely don't have to worry about me blowing up your feed.

That's all for now! Happy Monday!

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March 23, 2014

When God's Not There

I was recently looking back through the journal that I kept through our year and a half of infertility, leading up to starting the adoption process.* It was hard to read through it all again and remember the despair and the panic that I felt.  There was a particularly hard three months that came last fall, after we had decided we were going to switch our focus to adoption.  I threw myself into the adoption process when that time came. I was excited to get started and knew that God had called us to adoption a long time ago.  So, I was surprised and frustrated when, the deeper I got into it, the worse I felt.  Nothing about what I was doing felt right, and it got to the point where I quit working on it all together.  I felt stuck and desperate to hear God.  I begged Him for clarity.  Why would he call us to adoption, only to leave us confused and uncertain?  But, He didn't answer me.  He had abandoned me, I was sure.

Sometime during those three months of confusion, Silas was conceived.  In those three months, God began to knit my son together in another woman's womb.  He had not abandoned me.  He was creating the little life that would become mine, and He knew it. And, while I do not believe that God caused this conception to occur for my sake, I do believe that he intended Silas for us once he was conceived.  So, he had to make me wait.  And that meant withholding the "good feelings" I wanted him to give me.

God couldn't give me the feelings I wanted.  He couldn't tell me to keep trying to get pregnant, because I wasn't going to. He couldn't tell me to move forward with adoption, because my son wasn't ready for us yet.  I needed to wait, and I had no category for this. To me, God's silence meant abandonment.  I couldn't fathom it meaning that God was preparing something far better than I could have imagined.  But, that's exactly what he was doing.  And when the time was right, God made it perfectly clear, and I was released from all the confusion and angst that I had experienced during that time.  I was able to pour myself into the adoption process the way that I had wanted to all along.

I did not wait well, but God is gracious.  My son is a daily reminder of that.  And now, I look back on those three months, which were one of the lowest points of my life, with the deepest gratitude for what God was doing.

So, when God's not there, He really is.  This is something that I still have to remind myself of now, as we sort through next steps in our infertility journey.  But, waiting doesn't seem quite as scary to me now, because God is trustworthy, and I have seen that first hand.

*For some reason, I only seem to journal when things are hard. My poor children will probably find these journals when I die and think that their mother hated her life.  I don't.

March 20, 2014

Beach Day with Silas

On Friday, Silas was sitting on the floor, where the sunshine was streaming in from outside. When I moved him to a different spot without sun, he cried. So, I moved him back. He likes the sun, just like his mama. I thought it might be a good beach day, and I was feeling brave enough to venture there on my own with Silas.  I asked him how he felt about it, and he gave me two toes up, as you can see above.  So, off we went.

Silas played in the sand for a while, which actually just entailed eating it, then drank his bottle and fell fast asleep. He was the perfect little beach buddy, and we will be doing this often, so long as he doesn't start crawling soon. I fear that will be coming sooner than later.

I had a realization while laying out at the beach. When you are a transracial family, a lot of people like to look at you. It hasn't been anything negative, but we definitely draw attention. I normally don't mind the curious looks/stares, but it's kind of a different story when you're wearing a bathing suit. Needless to say, the healthy eating and the working out start this week.