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Easter Baskets

So we went back and forth on the whole Easter Basket thing…and decided to do them after all.  We just don’t want bunnies and eggs and candy to take over this season that is meant to celebrate the fact that JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD…so we are trying to be careful…especially when deciding what our family traditions will be.

On the nights we do our “family-style” dinners in the dining room we each do an ornament for our lent tree and read the bible story that goes along with it.  The kids are at the ages where they are really getting into it more and even are recognizing the stories from church, reading their kids Bibles and from this cool Bible app they all like.  We also make a big deal about Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and going to church and celebrating that Christ is Risen.

So…with all of that I wasn’t sure if we needed to even do an Easter Basket (hey, can’t we just wake up Easter morning and be excited to celebrate by getting dressed up and having a good meal and going to church to praise God?) but Wes and I talked it over and decided to keep the tradition we both had in our families of having an Easter basket from the Easter Bunny our parents.

Since Bo is due in 3 weeks… I’ve needed to go ahead and do both the Easter baskets (and plan ahead for Rand and Philip’s Birthday’s which could be within a week or two of Bo’s arrival).

Don’t tell the boys, but here’s what their baskets have:

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African Bolga Baskets from artisans in Ghana – I love these baskets and use them in the house to store toys, trips to farmer’s market, etc. so not just for Easter!  I went with the 12″ ones.  I think you could go much smaller if your kiddo is under 5 years old.

New Organic Pajamas – Wen especially needed some, so I got the boys all some coordinating ones (Wen prefers short sleeves, the others like long sleeved ones) but these Hannah Andersson ones are so soft and thick and also are on sale HALF PRICE on Zulily!!!

Tshirts – Wen and Rand both are in need for Spring.  I got them each one locally at Bump and Baby, but you can also get them online here.  I’ve been trying to get better quality, organic (when possible) and thicker materials so that each purchase can potentially make it through 4 hand-me-downs (one of the many perks of having 4 boys).

Personalized Cash boxes – seems random, but now that we have a 12 year old we need to teach the boys the principles of tithing and “Give, Save, Spend” and they each need a place to keep their birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year and allowance (any suggestions on starting this???) money.

Eggs – I like these Eco Eggs.  They are non-toxic, plant-based and able to be composted vs. the petroleum-based toxic plastic eggs that are made in China that you see everywhere.  I got some last year at Whole Foods but now they are also on Amazon too.  We have been trying to avoid (without going insane) bringing anything plastic into the house – especially plastics made in China which are incredibly toxic and unreliable.

Easter Grass – Tim’s Real Organic Easter Basket Grass.  We found this last year at Whole Foods but have also seen online.  Same as the eggs – instead of the petroleum-based plastic stuff this is REAL grass and 100% chemical free. Read the story about it!  Both the grass and the eggs are Made in the USA.

Egg fillers – We’ll go easy on the candy, but when we do have sweets, we like anything made by YumEarth and Annie’s.  Also, I have been collecting some little stickers and tattoos to put in the eggs as well.

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Welcome 2016

Apologies for not blogging lately – if you want to know a little of what’s been going on, follow me on instagram here for now!

We are doing well – I can’t believe we will have been home a month next week.  Even the past 10 days here have been so different and we’ve seen so many changes and can tell that Wen feels so much more at ease than he did the first 10 days home.  Last weekend some good friends came over to play – 2 families – 7 kids total and he did great.  I was amazed at the kind words and sharing that went on.  Wen even let the other visiting boys play with his Lego toys – it probably helped that the other kids were so sweet to him and would ask his permission!

Here’s the crew…

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plus there are 3 more on the way!  2 more boys and ONE girl.  I just love all of these kids (and their parents too!) So thankful we can continue to get them together as they grow up.

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And for a recap of the last few weeks before we bid 2015 goodbye…

We had a great day at DUKE.  We were super-impressed with the spinal clinic docs and couldn’t believe how efficient the day was.  We saw 4 specialists, met briefly with the physical therapy team who set us up with someone to help with Wen’s wheelchair, met with a social worker about medical coverage, etc. and they even sent a translator to help us ask Wen some specific questions during our meetings with the doctors!  During one of our meetings with the doctor, the wheelchair tech showed up, took Wen’s wheelchair out into the hall and took it apart and re-adjusted it to fit better for the time being.

We go back at the end of January for some larger tests in urology and neurology but overall Wen is in good health and the only major decisions to make right now are some orthopedic options.  Also, as it turns out, Wen does not have Spina Bifida as his file said, but was actually born with something more rare – Caudal Regression Syndrome/Sacral Agenesis.  You can read about it here.

At Duke we could tell the doctors were pretty amazed by Wen and all he does, how good his English is, how well-adjusted he is and how he manages his disability without complaints or obstacles.  We continue to be amazed daily.

Other than the Ironman (“transformer” as Wen calls it, we’re gonna have to show him the Ironman movie) and Star Wars figurines he was given as Christmas gifts from the clinic, the highlight for him was getting to go see where Uncle Sam and Aunt CeCe live in Raleigh and meet their new pup Banksy.  If you want to see cuter and clearer photos of him – check out his very own instagram feed here.

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We did a lot of fun things to celebrate Christmas.  The boys loved going to the Aberdeen Christmas parade,

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and having our own special tea party followed by the event of setting up the Nativity

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The Nativity is Rand’s favorite thing to do at Christmas.  We’re hoping Wen and Philip will love it too.  They all loved playing with the “play nativity set” too…you can order it on Amazon.  This one was given to us when Rand had his first Christmas and it’s the first thing he asks for us to bring out (usually at Thanksgiving!)

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Philip especially got into setting it up and learning who was who.

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On Christmas Eve, Rand and Philip were in the Nativity scene at our church.  They were both shepherds.  Rand wore the same headpiece from last year – a cut up old golf shirt that was his “Grandpa Hank’s” – makes me smile to see it.  Philip’s was a last minute “Ikea hack” haha…I think I’ll need to dig out another heirloom if they are going to be shepherds again next year!

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After church on Christmas Eve, the family came over for dinner at our house!  After everyone left and the boys went to sleep, Santa showed up.

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A lot of people have asked me this Christmas if we do “Santa” and the answer is yes, however, pretty much everything my kids know (or think they know) about Santa is learned from books, movies or school (i.e. the world).  We don’t bring him up or talk about him at all.  In fact, early in the season, I heard someone ask Rand what was on his Christmas list and he shrugged and said he’d “get what he’d get” type answer (but really he just hadn’t thought about it because we don’t talk about it).  We don’t really have an answer on what is “best” to do and we don’t want our kids being the ones who burst their friends bubbles and shout out “SANTA’S NOT REAL” so for now, we just glaze over it throughout the season and make a bigger deal about what actually is THE BIG DEAL – THE BIRTH OF CHRIST!

We do talk about Santa if the kids have a question – for example, Rand said to me one day (when he wasn’t on his best behavior), “Mom, if I’m not a good listener then Santa won’t bring me any presents, will he?” which drives me CRAZY that they get told this elsewhere…we went through the same thing last year…our answer is the same: “No, you will get presents on Christmas because we love you regardless of how you behave.  God loved us so much he sent us the gift of Jesus to save us from our sin when we didn’t deserve it!  But in our family, we try to behave and be good listeners because we love God and want to be like Jesus.”  While Santa will show up at the Smith house to help celebrate Jesus’ birthday, he will not be tolerated as the disciplinary tool for the season!!!!  On that note, we made sure the best gift the kids got came from us…hey, I also don’t like to give Santa all the credit:)  As their only gift from mom and dad (and as an attempt for some more new family bonding) we’re driving down to Florida very soon to go to Legoland and the Magic Kingdom!

I didn’t take enough photos on Christmas day, but this was a sweet one from Raleigh – we went and had lunch with Wes’ extended family and all the kids were so welcoming to Wen.  They are always awesome with the younger kids, but I was really blown away by how they just played with him as if he’d always been in the family.  What a Christmas gift it was for this mama to see.

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We spent some fun time with my side of the family (I need to upload those photos still, sorry!) and then have really been hanging out around the house.  We’ve had several successful movie night with Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

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We built one fire before it started feeling like summer here in North Carolina.

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The boys have spent a lot of time outside playing – Wen can pretty much ride any of the toys somehow and he loves to hit golf balls and play baseball.

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The boys play and play and play together.  Our noise level is UP and there is always some type of fun shenanigan going on with the 3 of them…

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The costumes come out all the time

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Philip continues to keep us laughing.  His most recent line of choice when you tell him something or he gets something he wants is, “That’s what I’m talking about!”

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It’s been really fun to see them all play together and have so much fun.  Our house last Christmastime was so quiet with just Rand and this year it has exploded with noise, and laughter and JOY.  I have to say it was the best Christmas yet for me.  I’m just so happy to have all my boys home to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday and to welcome 2016.

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LOA!!!!!!!

On Monday, we got our “soft LOA” (Letter of Acceptance)!  I would have posted sooner, but we were rushing around to finish up our I-800 paperwork which can be filed once the hard copy of the LOA arrives via mail or email probably next week – but we wanted to be ready in case it came this week!  Anywhere we can cut off a day or so or overnight something, we do…every day counts!

I remember when we got our LOA for Philip and how quickly things went after that step.  There are quite a few steps (back and forth between US Immigration, China, Our Agency, The Consulate, etc.) that happen next – it’s confusing but thankfully some adoptive mamas who have come before have made guides for those of us like me…it can make your head spin the first time AND apparently the second time too if you’re preggers and can’t remember what you did just 8 months ago…

Also, it was encouraging news that our agency said it may not be impossible for us to be with WenXuan in China for his birthday!  So please pray with us that we can be there with him by November 28th.  Also, please be praying about Rand and Philip staying behind this time.  That is what I lose the most sleep over right now!

These two boys can’t wait for their older brother to be home with them!

Philip and Rand

(photo by Meredith Macy Photography)

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More news…

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(Photo cred: Meredith Macy Photography)

 

We are still waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China – this is the last major approval before we get our travel approval and we think we should get it in the next few weeks (based on the time it is currently taking other adoptive families to receive it).  Once we have our LOA we will travel within 3 months to China – it was exactly 3 months with Philip’s adoption.

In the meantime…the Lord has blessed us with a miracle…a baby!  We were surprised to find out I was pregnant and my due date is April 2nd.  We had an ultrasound today and it looked a LOT like it is probably a boy but we will keep you posted on that since it is really to early to tell “officially.”

We told the boys this afternoon and they were really excited.  Rand can’t stop smiling and talking about “the baby in mommy’s bump.”  We told WenXuan a little over a week ago (through a contact/friend who was visiting the orphanage) – since he’s our oldest, we thought he should get to know first!

Throughout our adoption journeys I’ve been asked the question a lot… “do you think you’ll ever have another baby?” While sometimes this catches me off guard as not really anyone’s business, I usually try not to be offended and share what’s true:   I have always had a desire to have more biological children and I believe that desire is from the Lord.  I have prayed “Lord, if a baby is not something you have in store for us, if you would take that desire away”…and the desire has never gone away.  Sure, it has taken to the back-burner lately as all we’ve been able to think about are Philip, WenXuan and also some really special kiddos we know about in China and are praying for the Lord to send them families, but the desire of having another baby has always been there.

We had help with Rand and our doctors told us it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant without help, but that it was probably unlikely.  For the past few years, we’ve just left that up to the Lord to decide for us and truly have believed that if HE wants us to have another baby that HE will guide us to the help we need or make it happen!

I do think the Lord also knows me so well and my heart for adventure, even though I never expected my next adventure would be adding THREE children to my family in 1 year!!!!  But we are up for the challenge and have never felt so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  A little over 5 years ago I remember being so sad that we didn’t have any children and now am experiencing the overflowing joy of knowing we will be a family of 6 by April – it is truly incredible.

And we know what everyone is thinking…who knows what that crazy Smith family is going to tell us next time they say they have news!?

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Loved and Redeemed

“For God SO LOVED the world (that means all of us, folks!) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Today I am thankful that God SO LOVED US that we ARE redeemed of our sin, through Christ, and can have a relationship with Him now and forever.  A perfect song for today…I think…

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!!!

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Happy New Year…and Happy Anniversary

Happy New Year to everyone!  We are “staying in” this year and trying to get well.  Up until Christmas Eve I thought I was immune to the stomach bug, but as it turns out, stomach-bug immunity is not a superpower that I posses after all.  Which means that my sweet mother-in-law’s oyster stew is off the hook as the culprit since Wes and Rand clearly had what I did a few days later…

Rand has been watching Santa Paws on rerun and I fear we have not done our job in teaching him the true meaning of Christmas.  How do I know this?  Today he picked up a Noah’s Ark book and pointed to a white-bearded Noah and said “Ho Ho Ho!”  Time for a little less Christmas and a little more Jesus around here.

I leave you all with my favorite thing about New Year’s…it’s my brother’s anniversary.  Happy Anniversary James & Samantha!

Samantha & James : the celebration from Inkspot Crow Films on Vimeo.

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Easter People

When my father died suddenly in 2005, my mother wrote:

This I do know: Hank always said that we ARE an “Easter people” and I cling to that truth as well as the hope of being with him again.  Psalm 115:16 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death (homecoming) of His saints.”  Though our hearts are breaking, we remember that we are truly an “Easter people” as we cling to the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ through his resurrection.

While my Easter memories include dying easter eggs with my little brothers, egg hunts at my grandparents, peeps (bunnies, chicks…either way they are especially good if they are left out of the package for a day or so…), watching the black drape fall and ringing the bells at the Easter Vigil at All Saints in Winter Park, FL and now at Emmanuel in Southern Pines, my most memorable Easter was the celebration of my father’s life on March 5, 2005.  And another on September 13 last  year at my sweet grandmother’s funeral.

I have a lot of photos from Easter I was going to share, but I think it is only fitting to share with you that, this Easter season, we also celebrated the life of Wes’ grandmother Margaret Smith.  Yesterday, Wes and I began the day with these deviled eggs for breakfast (a running joke Wes had with his family and grandmother) and then headed up to Raleigh to Forest Hills Baptist Church to celebrate her life.  We ended the day at Raleigh Memorial Cemetery, where Wes’ father and maternal grandfather are also buried.

Yesterday, and always, we are Easter People.

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Friday Photo Flashback

I couldn’t sleep much last night. Partly because Wes has a cough, but mostly because I was bursting with thankfulness. And this morning I remembered I forgot to post a photo on Friday. So the thankfulness carries over to this week’s “flashback” – from the Fall of 2002 (I know one of the photos says 2003, but it was 2002!) when I was studying abroad in Italy. I felt so blessed that my 76-year-old grandparents scheduled a trip to coincide with my study abroad so they could come and visit me!

Here we are traveling in Switzerland on top of the Jungfrau (westernmost and highest peak of the Bernese Swiss Alps)…I’ve never been anywhere else where I’ve felt so high up.
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And this is one of my all-time favorite photos of Bebo & Geah (aka Fritz & Betty)
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One of the last days they were there we did a blitz tour of Rome. Here’s a photo of Bebo and me at the Trevi fountain right after I tossed in a coin and a wish.
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PSALM 100

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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A Definition of Love

While there are lots of definitions of LOVE out there (especially this month), I really liked this one from Dr. Tim Kimmel:

“Love is the commitment of my will

to your needs and best interests,

regardless of the cost.”

Ever seen that one on a Hallmark card?  I am currently in the middle of Dr. Kimmel’s study “Grace Based Parenting” and he suggests that parents use this definition of love to “help us choose the right thing to do when dealing with your children.  It helps you make hard choices and it encourages you when the cost of loving is high.”  I couldn’t agree more but I think I could apply it to a lot more than just dealing with Rand!

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You’re ours to love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Although the Lord had planted the desire in us to have children long ago, Wes and I never knew how much we could love until Rand was born. I know it sounds cliche to say this, but it really does feel like we celebrate love every day and, quoting a new Dave Barnes song that we dedicate to Rand this Valentine’s Day…

You’re mine to love
We have all been waitin’ on you
You’re mine to love
Come into these open arms
It took some time to wait it out
But I see it now, you’re worth all the dreaming of
You’re mine to love

So go download it on iTunes right now!!!

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Aunt MD

When Rand was born, the Lord made it clear to us that our step-sister, Mary Devon, was to be Rand’s Godmother and thankfully, she said YES!  Leading up to Rand’s baptism, Wes and I both agreed to pray for the Lord to show us who to ask to be his Godmother – we prayed for someone who would encourage Rand in his faith and shower him with love and quality time as he grows (instead of just the usual presents, etc.).

Fast forward 9 months…

Aunt Mary Devon (or “Aunt MD” as we call her in a song we sing to Rand) has been such a blessing to us, but especially to Rand.  Of course, it helps that she is also a brilliant pediatrician and we hope that her residency will be nearby so we can see her often!

She has already shared her love of running and the outdoors with Rand.  She comes by (usually at a time when I’m most needing a break myself!) and takes Rand for walks around the village of Pinehurst.  Here they are when Rand was about 2.5 months old getting ready for a post-walk bath.

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Hanging out after dinner one night
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Story time

and Rand’s 1st Christmas

So, I’m not writing this without agenda.  Mary Devon is SINGLE and (whether she likes it or not), I’m submitting her to Kelly’s Korner…a Christian blog with a fantastic plan to help connect our favorite single friends.  So, if you’re reading this, and you know a great guy (he HAS to like kids or, at least, Rand) then contact me or connect with Mary Devon on Facebook.

Other facts you might need to know:  Mary Devon is 31, has no children/has never been married but has a fun extended family as well as a super-cool Godson.  She’s athletic, organized and one of the most caring people I know…which makes sense that she’ll begin her Pediatric residency soon (location TBD!) but her current homebase is here in the Pinehurst, NC area.

For all you singles out there who are reading this too…don’t be discouraged.  Wes and I both know what it is like to have to wait patiently on the Lord.  The good thing is that we can firmly rely on the promise the Lord makes to us:

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

 

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Good news, a giveaway

Where do I begin…tonight was a blast. First, we got to do our usual bedtime routine for Rand. Here’s Rand in his sleep sack ready to hit the sack, and me ready for a fun dinner out with the girls followed by…

A book launch party! My talented friend Rachel Hernandez wrote “My Secret Angel and Me” – a well-written beautifully illustrated book that is also a great tool for parents to teach their children the gospel story of Christmas, and it even touches on Santa (you could say it is the Christian version of an Elf on the Shelf type book). Brilliant.  Not to mention, the book itself is a work of art by Ashley Adorno (Rachel’s sister-in-law).  I can’t stop reading it.  It’s already sold out online, but here’s a list of retail locations who will ship one to you…or even better…just keep reading…

So you may wonder…what’s Rach doing in this picture? She is signing a copy of the book & angel set for a Paper Road reader!!! This book set will be our very first giveaway (hopefully more to come). Here’s how to enter:

1. Post a comment briefly telling why you want the book OR who you’d gift it to

For additional entries (one for each additional comment), post in the comment section that you have done any of the following:

2. “Share” this post on facebook (see bottom for link) and then post a comment that you shared it

3. Tweet the post, and post a comment that you tweeted it

4. Mention/link to the giveaway in your blog and post your blog link in comments

There will be a random drawing done at the end of the day on Monday, December 5th so start blogging & commenting!

I’m so excited that Rachel’s book is our first fun giveaway.  When I moved to Pinehurst, Rachel and I were introduced because her mom and my mother-in-law are friends.  Rach invited me to join a bible study she was starting in her home and even though I barely knew her, I went.  So did a bunch of other girls – none of us knew each other, but all were asked by Rachel, who was lead by the Holy Spirit  (She invited a girl she met at mother’s morning out and another was standing in line near Rachel at Chick-fil-a)!  Now, 3 years later, we are all still great friends and the bible study is still going.

11 super sweet ladies…would you believe that between all of us there are TWENTY-FIVE KIDS?!  (some still in utero) What’s in that Moore Co. water?

Speaking of kids…Rand had on his Tim Tebow jersey today in support of his favorite football player.

And here he is working on his Heisman pose…

Wes and I wish there were a lot more Tim Tebows out there. He inspires us to be bold in our faith.  CHECK IT OUT. (note: I fast forwarded and linked to the last of the interview, but feel free to start it over and listen to the whole clip)

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Have I told you yet?

I’m thankful for Harris Teeter Express.

If you know me already, you may be sick of hearing how obsessed I am with the new Harris Teeter Express.  I’m convinced that this new service was made just for me. Both Wes and I have determined that the $4.95 fee actually saves us money.  How is that?  I usually have at least $4.95 in coupon savings, but mostly it saves me from the extra things I suddenly need once I’m inside HT.  Eggs? Check. Bread?  Check.  Yummy cheese, new brand of yogurt, extra bottle of wine, gum, magazine, oreos…hey, they were on sale…

I am a planner.  I like to plan out what I’m going to buy and what coupons I’m going to use.  The planning usually takes up to an hour to do…then I still have to go get it and shop for it which can take an hour or longer (especially if I’m using coupons or if it’s senior discount day).  But now I just make one list.  When I’m done with the list, I just hit “order.”  Right after I delete a few things to get my total down to what I want it to be, of course.  Then I  just pull up in front of Harris Teeter at the time I chose (you can order up to 6 days ahead) and someone loads them in the car and swipes my debit card.  So far, I’ve spent less time and a lot less money grocery shopping.  What has impressed me even more:  I always get a phone call prior to my pickup time notifying me my order is ready early and asking if there is anything I forgot or would like to add!  Harris Teeter did not pay me to say any of this, I promise.  Give it a try and see for yourself.  Thank you Harris Teeter.

Okay…on to other things.  I’m guest blogging today about the Pinehurst Turkey Trot (a race sponsored by FirstHealth) over on sandhillsDig.com, so go check it out.  Thank you awesome November weather.
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Also, I’ve been meaning to post this photo of Rand and Jonathan.  It was my favorite photo from our recent trip to the mountains.  Not only is it a fun moment captured, but also wows me because I never would have imagined that my sweet friend from way back in the 5th grade would be holding my son one day.  AND that our sons would be 1 week apart AND that his wife would become a great friend of mine too.  Thank you Lord for old friends!
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Happy Birthday Wes

Happy 33rd birthday to my sweet husband Wes!  He’s one awesome husband and father.   I tried and tried to think of something that could make his day extra special but still couldn’t come up with something more fun than hanging out with Rand. Wes would tell you that even though our birthdays are in October, we’ve been celebrating and jumping for joy since April.
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“We’re thanking you, God, from a full heart, we are writing the book on your wonders.  We’re whistling, laughing and jumping for JOY.“

Psalm 9:1-3

 

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Hello from the beach

This was Rand’s first time on the beach. I think he loved it as much as a 5-month-old possibly could.  There have been a lot of firsts this week and it is only Wednesday!

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It was pretty windy on the beach which was nice because it cooled us off. Here’s Rand’s “feeling the wind on my face” look.
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And his “I just put a salty hand in my mouth look.”
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As you can see it was pretty windy, so my hair ended up ruining most of the photos.
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Rand’s other new thing is to “hug” us…we are loving it.
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Rand made his first (and second…) trip to J.B.’s Fishcamp with us.  When you eat as early as we do these days you don’t have to wait, but we went out on the dock anyway before dinner and said hello to a few of the resident Indian River manatees and had fun explaining to Bubs that he was a fourth generation J.B.’s patron.  We’ll have to go back again and get another photo without the bib, although he does look very patriotic.

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Speaking of bibs, Rand’s favorite bib was custom-made by Aunt Samantha.  I had been attempting to make some myself but when this awesome one arrived one day, I put the sewing machine away.  From now on I will celebrate the talents of my sweet sister-in-law instead.

Aunt Samantha

Speaking of talent, we are also celebrating my friend Settle Monroe and her new business Pinecone Threads.  I’m loving this birdie onesie she made.

And this adorable dress (she makes rompers for the boys).  I love the Amy Butler fabric Settle uses and the overall chic simplicity of Pinecone Threads.

I think Rand will look good in this creative  “Mater Onesie” I ordered for him.

The soft, organic burp cloths would make great new baby gifts – $6 for a special homemade gift is a pretty good deal, you could get a few…or have Settle make one to match your romper or onesie.  You can see all the different designs in Settle’s Etsy shop.

We serve a creative God who made us in His image and calls us to be creative as well. Pinecone Threads and Rand’s “R” bib are such beautiful, creative expressions. I’m a thankful witness.

This reminds me, I can’t wait to tell you about the book I’m reading…I’ll save it for another post.

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63 Years

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Happy 63rd Anniversary to my sweet grandparents Betty & Fritz who met 65 years ago when they were 19 years old at UNC-Chapel Hill (what a great Tar Heel legacy Rand could be…). The photo above was taken in 2005 at their 80th birthday party.

Grandmother is near the end of her battle with cancer and today, as I watched my grandfather lean over my grandmother’s bed to hold her hand and give her a kiss, I realized that although it is their anniversary, I am the one who they have given an anniversary gift: The gift of love and family and the example of a lasting marriage built on a foundation of faith in God.

Wes and I met when I was 19 years old and I look forward to following their lead to 63 years of marriage. Perhaps every Sept. 8th we will make a toast to their unending gift.

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Aside

Chubby goodness

Last night, after we took Rand by to visit our Geah (my grandmother), we had a fun dinner with great friends Mike & Windy.  Rand was perfect until Wes and I ignored his “I need to go to bed now” cues.  A combo of Windy’s brownies being too good to skip and us being a little too lenient (guess we’ll be the parents who let the kids stay up too late on special occasions…sorry Dr. Weisbluth).  In the middle of Rand’s meltdown, Wes commented that we had waited and prayed for Rand for so long that we didn’t mind meltdowns – we are just so thankful to have him.   (And thankful for friends like the Pratts who let us leave them with dirty dishes, ringing in their ears and spit-up on their shirts.)

I still wonder why we had to wait so long for Rand and have to catch myself from playing the “If only” game – especially now with Geah being so sick.  Although the Lord may never show us all of His reasons, He has encouraged us along the way by surprising us with two sweet friends for Rand.  Ryder was born 5 weeks before Rand and Jackson one week after.   When I look at this picture of the three best buds, it reminds me that even though our trials can be tough, we can still be surprised by His goodness.  Right now, it is goodness in the form of six chubby little lined-up legs.

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Rand, Ryder and Jackson. July 2011.

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A Hummingbird for Tally

Today was a great day.  After church we put Rand down for his nap (he has been such a good napper lately!) and enjoyed some Jersey Mikes (Turkey & Provolone Mike’s Way..yum yum) and sat out by the pool for an hour or so.  After lunch, our dear friend Tally stopped by to bring Rand a special gift and hang out some before she leaves this week to continue her amazing work in Africa.  She and the very talented Jessie Mackay will be there for a month – their fourth trip to a small village in Tanzania where they are teaching art and theology and so much more.  You can follow along on their journeys here.

A few weeks ago, I ran into Tally at the Farmers’ Market and she reminded me about Mary Oliver…so I’ve been rereading some Mary Oliver myself.  And I’m reminded of Tally and Jessie who, in Africa, have found their work.

The Hummingbird

It’s morning, and again I am that lucky person who is in it.

And again it is spring,

and there are the apple trees,

and the hummingbird in its branches.

On the green wheel of his wings

he hurries from blossom to blossom,

which is his work, that he might live.

 

He is a gatherer of the fine honey of promise,

and truly I go in envy

of the ruby fire at his throat,

and his accurate, quick tongue,

and his single-mindedness.

 

Meanwhile the knives of ambition are stirring

down there in the darkness behind my eyes

and I should go inside now to my desk and my pages.

But still I stand under the trees, happy and desolate,

wanting for myself such a satisfying coat

and brilliant work.

~ by Mary Oliver

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Quote

Blessed Emmanuel

Blessed are you, O Child of the Dawn, for your light that dapples through creation on leaves that shimmer in the morning sun and in showers of rain that wash the earth. Blessed are you for the human spirit, dappled with eternal light in its longings for love and birth and its pain-filled passions and tears. Blessed are you, O Christ, for you awaken me to life. Blessed are you for you stir me to true desire.
A Celtic Benediction by J. Phillip Newell

This benediction was put to beautiful music this morning – a farewell anthem to the Rev. Meaghan Kelly written by Samuel Hunter and commissioned by Dr. Homer Ferguson and the Emmanuel Choir. We will really miss Meaghan and Jonathan.

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Aside

Finding Truth in a Google Font

With my blog theme (Canvas – a Woo Theme for WordPress), you can customize just about anything on your site.  Really, it is way too many options for someone like myself who has a hard enough time figuring out what to order on even the most limited menu.  Given thousands of choices, there’s a real dilemma.  In a way, they could all be great, right?

So I choose my blog title font like I do my nail polish color…by its name:  COVERED BY YOUR GRACE.  Wow, a great reminder that each day of our journey (and everything I type below the header) is covered by the grace of a God who gave up His only Son so that we could have a relationship with Him.  My font is true.

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