Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sleddin'...."Southern Style"

I should have known that things wouldn't go exactly as planned this weekend. The plan was to get up this morning and get started on Joy's bedroom makeover, right after breakfast.

Instead after our chocolate gravy and toast, we went to (plan B)...out to play! Yesterday and last night, we received freezing rain, sleet, ice, and snow. The weather just couldn't make up its mind, so we got it all and it just sort of packed together and mostly we just have packed down icy roads around us with a little dusting of snow over it.

We say every year that we are going to get a sled for that "one time a year" that we do get snow, but we procrastinate and so today, we still hadn't bought our new sled. Instead of worrying about what we didn't have....we just started looking around here, in the storage shed and garage....and Pop's garage. We came up with a political campaign sign that made a great sled and we did find a little round lid type sled that we must have picked up somewhere one year. But the real find was my daddy's little creative sled....his concrete mixer! He and Jason got it all fixed up and attached to the 4-wheeler and....voila....instead sled...."Southern Style".

At first, Joy tried sledding down the hill on the sign.

Then on the little round sled.

That was fun enough.!

But, we discovered the real fun was in being pulled in the concrete mixer sled behind the 4-wheeler. Because of the ice, it was quite the ride!

Even I got in on the fun (although you won't see any pictures of me on it...I had the camera and was having to hang on dearly). Jason pulled Joy and me all through the fields behind our house and down the back gravel roads! We did have a tumble and the concrete mixer landed on top of me with me landing on top of Joy. I don't think Joy knew whether to laugh or cry until I started laughing! Now, I'm starting to get a little stiff and sore.....I may not be able to walk tomorrow and the day after, but it was fun today!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day and stay warm! :)

Now time to get to prepping a bedroom to paint......

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Planning the Kids' Bedroom Makeovers

Finally! We think we have a weekend that we can actually begin the kids' bedroom makeovers. So far, there's been something going on every weekend, to keep us from getting started. However, there has been a deviation from the original plans. We won't be doing anything to Colt's room. He's decided that he'd prefer to stay put in his room and not do anything to it. Joy is getting the spare (or guest bedroom) and Luke is getting Joy's present room. So that means only two rooms to redo....instead of three....for now anyway.

We are starting this weekend with Joy's bedroom, (at least painting it).

Joy received the bedding she was wanting for Christmas, so the inspiration for her bedroom makeover came from this bedding set. As you can see, it has several colors in it, but we will be pulling out the aqua and brown mostly with accents of pink.

She will finally be getting a full size bed.....the bed I received as a gift from my parents on my 12th birthday! However, we are going to paint it white. It has a dresser that matches it, but she wants to use the dresser she has now instead (which is already white).

For a long time, Joy has talked about having a ballet barre in her room with mirrors behind it, so we are going to try to incorporate that into the new bedroom. We bought the supplies for Jason to make her one.

And this is a piece you probably never seen before. I don't recall ever showing a picture of this armoire on my blog before. We paid $50 for it. My cousin was having a garage sale. It was the end of the day and she didn't want to take it back inside. I convinced Jason we needed it and he brought it home and even hauled it upstairs to it's resting spot. I don't think he's ever liked this piece but I always have. However, I've always intended to do something different to it, because I have never been a big fan of dark wood, really. So now, guess who else loves it? Yep....Joy loves it and asked could she please have it in her room. So it will get a makeover too.

And right now, that's what we have to begin Joy's room, so we'll see where it takes us!

Next on the list is little Luke's room. I've had this bedding picked out since before Christmas, actually before Thanksgiving, I believe. We have been told on a couple of different occasions that he LOVES cars and loves riding in cars (which is a really good thing because he'll do alot of!). So here's his bedding:

My dad insists that he needs a car bed. I'm not sure if that is going to happen yet or not. That will depend on if I can find one used because they're more expensive new than I thought new and with travel expenses to China coming in the future, this won't be an option. So, I'm on the lookout for a used twin size blue car bed (Little Tykes). If that doesn't pan out, Jason will just build him a twin bed.

I purchased these vehicle/construction prints to frame for his room. I loved the bright colors and thought it went so well with the bedding.

And speaking of frames, I'm thinking red accents (that's his favorite color and they say he loves bright colors). You all know how much I love red, so this made me very happy too! Also Dan of Yesterday Once More (remember his letter giveaway?), got in touch with us and told us he wanted to do letters for Luke's room as a gift! What a sweet thing to do! We thank you so much, Dan!

My sister-in-law, Missy, bought a cute little accent to go with his car/transportation/vehicle themed bedroom right before Christmas, but I don't want to reveal it all just yet, but it's coming together.

I have a few ideas floating around in my head for the rest of his room, but that's exactly what it is....floating around and not concrete I'll share more as we get to it.

That's the plan for the makeovers and I'm ready to see them start becoming reality now! So let the bedroom makeovers begin!

Oh yeah, someone asked about how our upstairs bathroom was coming's STILL NOT FINISHED....we just kind of stopped with the holidays and haven't gotten back into the mode of finishing it yet. I promise to share it when we finally get it done!

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great Wednesday! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Joy's First Dance Solo

Saturday, Joy performed her very first dance solo to Selena Gomez's "Tell Me Something I Don't Know". She performed in spite of having stomach problems and said she was very nervous. This was more of a practice competition. There were judges to critique, but it was more of a mock competition on a smaller scale with parents present....a chance to get the nerves worked out so they'll be ready for "the real thing"

We took this picture after we got home. The boots definitely weren't part of the costume...she just had them on here! lol! I'm still not used to all that makeup either! She just looks way too grown up for this mom's heart! I guess I can handle it for 3 times a year! The whole time I was putting it on her (they have specific makeup color/style requirements), she let me know how much she didn't like makeup! We'll see how long that lasts! :)

We were very proud of our little brown eyed girl! ! (You have to be patient at the beginning....there's a bit of a lead in waiting for her to start so we filled in with Brown-Eyed Girl). I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Faithful Fridays - "Peace"

I know it's been awhile since I've done a Faithful Fridays post, so I thought this was a good day to share this story with you.

In December, our family was one of the families asked to participate in the advent portion of our church service that took place every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. On our Sunday (the one right before Christmas), we lit the candle of peace. Colt lit the candle; Joy read scripture; I read definitions of peace and said a few words; and Jason gave a testimony of peace in our familiy's lives concerning the adoption (with a little humor thrown in). Then he led in prayer.

I'd like to share with you all here the story he told that day (with a few more details added by me and told in my words).

I honestly would love to have a houseful of kids. However, a long time ago I came to the point in my life of not worrying about what I couldn't change and to just turn it over to God, and be thankful for what I have and trust His perfect will. Now Joy had been praying for a sister or brother for quite sometime and wasn't shy about mentioning it often. I knew that God would either give me complete peace that we were done (adding to our family) OR he would have to let Jason know we weren't....BUT.....what I wasn't going to do was to try to persuade Jason. It would definitely have to come straight from God to Jason! :)

Well.....from time to time, Jason and I have discussions (just in the course of a day) about our responsibilities as Christians such as being good examples, taking on certain tasks, standing up for something, etc.. From time to time, I would hear Jason tell a family (that was expecting a child)..."That's great, Christians really should have more children. Our society needs more children raised in Christian families". Believe me, I was taking note! Being one to take advantage of every opportunity, I would usually say, Yes, we should. He would always joke away about being "too old".

One particular evening, our whole family was hanging out in our bedroom just talking. Colt had just gotten in from work and was in there talking with us, and Joy was piled up in the bed with us. Colt's conversation geared in the direction of Amber's mom (Amber is his girlfriend), expecting her 9th child. Jason said, "it" again, "That's good...Christian families should have more children if possible." Well, this time I said, "Yes, they should, so why don't we add to our family?" He stammered around a bit with the "too old" stuff and said well the "younger folks should." I said, "Don't you think God can decide that instead of us?" Joy chimed in with the fact that we weren't too old (and she's pretty convincing). I believe Colt even said something about us having a point there and told us the age of Amber's parents and something about double standards! lol! We talked lightly about adopting and the ages we could adopt instead of beginning with an infant as well as the countries from which we would consider adopting IF we adopted. We joked and laughed, but the seed was planted. And we went to bed.

Over, the next couple of days, I guess you could say the seed was watered. I could tell Jason was thinking on things because he would randomly say something about how he would want to make sure he was healthy IF we adopted because he wanted to be around to see the kid grow up...(stuff like that). I just let him talk.....and listened. :)

Then the miracle happened! Jason came in from work a couple of days after that and told me to "check out the adoption thing". "If they say I'm not too old and I check out to be physically okay, we'll just proceed with the adoption process and see what God does." I didn't waste any time! In fact, little did he know that I had already been researching and asking questions, getting the requirements and financial aspects together....(getting my ducks in a row).

Then I delivered the findings to him. The cost associated with the adoption process alone was enough to scare us! My how that had changed over the years. But, that's just one of those mountains that God can move with faith. So, we agreed that we would just proceed, trust God for all avenues, and if doors opened, we would walk through. That if in fact, God wanted this for us, all would fall in place. My first thought was to just keep quiet about this until we found out if we were complete qualified, were approved, and could swing the finances (somehow), BUT I felt the Lord wanted me to be transparent and share. It would be a testimony to Him as to what He would do.

And boy did God move. There's no doubt in my mind that God gave us complete peace in trusting Him to guide us through and provide along the way. I know His timing is perfect because Luke was our son waiting on the other side of the world for us (just as was Colt). God knew the moment he was born the family to which he belonged...he just had to get us ready. I'm amazed at what God's done and what He's still doing, as he guides us on this journey to Luke.

My favorite definition of peace (taken from Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language) favorite dictionary:

PEACE - Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquility; calmness; quiet of conscience.

I think alot of us can identify with needing that kind of peace in this world of uncertainities, no matter what your situation. And ONLY GOD can give that kind of peace.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

300 is the Number....

I was thinking the other day just how long it had been since I've done any type of a giveaway. I think it's about that time.

Since most of you are covered in snow (which I really would love to take a little off your hands), I'm sure spring is sounding really good to you about now. So, I've decided that my giveaway will be in someway related to spring. It's all still in the works.

So...I'm really close to 300 in two different ways. This is my 278th post (and I'm trying to post more these days). I have 285 followers at the time I'm writing this I figure whichever comes first....300 posts, or 300 followers, I'll announce my giveaway!

And speaking of giveaways, I want to tell you about a really cute one from a new fellow blogger, and friend from the Country Sampler Forum. Aren't these letters just so cute? I'm picturing them hanging in Luke's new room (toddler boy style)!

Okay, I know when you all go over there and sign up, it makes my chances of winning alot slimmer......but that's okay because I know you're really enjoy Dan's blog and I wanted to introduce it to those of you that haven't found it yet! :) Oh, and you'll have to scroll down two or three posts to see the giveaway! Dan's home will be featured in the Country Sampler's upcoming home tour edition. He has a few pics posted on his sidebar of the photo shoot. His home and decorating is just gorgeous! You won't be disappointed, I promise! So click on over to Yesterday Once More!

And my long time friend from the Country Sampler Forum, Lynn, has FINALLY started her own blog too. Lynn is such a sweet, kind, lady! She has the nicest things to say about everybody! Her son and my brother were both serving in Iraq at the same time, and we came to know each other quite well during that time. Her blog is called Country Heart and Roses. Check it out! You'll love visiting Lynn too! She loves her home and family and it shows through her posts!

And last, but not least, I'd just like to take time to thank you all for the kind comments that you never cease to leave and especially the prayers and encouraging words on the journey to Luke. I really, really, do appreciate each and every one!

Have a great Thursday! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We are officially DTC!

If you remember this post, I explained how excited we were to have our dossier, minus the one waiting document, sent to Xiaoqing (our adoption agency's coordinator). Well....the last document from The Assistant Stork arrived to Xiaoqing yesterday (1/18/10), and being the angel she is, our dossier was sent to China the same day! This lady is wonderful! That makes us officially DTC! Yes....our dossier is on its way to China!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the prayers! I am so very thankful and excited (bet you couldn't tell)!. I know the Lord is in control and bringing us through each and every step of this journey to Luke. I feel His presence so much in this.

Now we're waiting for those next three sweet letters...(music to our ears).....LID........:)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Picnik(ing) is Fun...

I'm probably way behind the game here.....but I recently was introduced to a really fun website. It is especially fun if you like photography and then like to improve on your know brush them up or enhance them. Even though I haven't bit the bullet and joined (which is VERY reasonable by the way), I plan to do so. I have just enjoyed the free features for now. After joining you have many more options under the premium feature (membership).

For free, you can choose various frames, touch up effects, print texts, improve the quality and tone of your pictures, and more. One of my favorites here lately has been playing around with the pencil sketch option. I just love trying different photos and seeing how it turns out with the pencil sketch option.

I thought I'd share a few of the photos on which I used the pencil sketch. First I'll show you the original picture, then the pencil sketched picture.

Colt and Joy...

Joy and Christina...

Jason and me...

So if you have a few minutes to spare, check it out, by just clicking here.

Treat yourself to a photography picnik. It really is fun and you'll be ever so impressed with what you can do.....and it's easy too!

Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Step Closer....

I am very happy to say that the very last piece of documentation that makes up our dossier (our I800-A - Immigration Approval) is on its way to The Assistant Stork (a courier that helps adoptive families) to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy!

All of the rest of our documents that we've been working on since October....gathering them from various sources, having them notarized, certified and authenticated, are now on their way to Xiaoqing (our agency coordinator) to await the above last piece of documentation that will be sent directly to them by The Assistant Stork (overnight Fed-Ex I might add....not wasting time here)! :)

We are VERY excited about this, to say the least. It puts us one step closer to Luke. If you're not familiar with the adoption journey to China, this is a huge accomplishment. This means we prepared our dossier in about 2 1/2 months. This can take much more time, even 6 months to gather everything for some folks depending on their paperwork. This entails ordering certified copies of documents such as birth certificates and marriage certificates, having the homestudy completed, clearances with the local police, Immigration fingerprinting and clearance, employment letters and records, financial records, passport information, and medical exams and clearance. After you have each of these gathered and prepared, each one has to be notarized, then sent to our State Capitol for certification, then sent to the Chinese Embassy to be authenticated. Not until then is the dossier ready to be sent to China. Whew!

All along our goal has been to push, push, push and have our dossier ready to be sent to China in January. Then we can officially say we are DTC (Dossier To China). We still have a chance of being logged in before January's end, which was another goal. This is being LID (logged in date). Adoptive parents hang on each of these stats, believe me!

So now maybe this clears up why we were so excited over this little Fed-Ex envelope! It was a big ordeal and accomplishment!

But you can be sure that I will definately let you all know when we are officially DTC and LID! We still really want to be traveling by June to bring Luke home for good......if not before! Jason still says he has a feeling we will travel before then, but I don't know.....

Thanks for hanging with me and sharing our excitement! You have no idea how much it helps with the wait! I appreciate all the visits and comments so much!

Yes, Joy, it REALLY is on its way! :)

Blessings to you all!
~ Tammy ~

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Don't Laugh....

....especially those of you that are used to feet of snow!

We really hoped for snow when we had the chance on Thursday! If we ever get snow, it is January or February, and the occasional early March snow. Of course, all the kids around here were hoping. And yes, schools were closed. (Remember I said don't laugh). Although poor Joy, one of the disadvantages of homeschooling is that your mean old homeschooling teacher doesn't let you off completely! :)

Okay, are you ready for it?

We got a good dusting....maybe 1/2 an inch! You have to get a little creative but you CAN play in 1/2 an inch! And so we did.

We had to scrape snow off the tops of fences, cars, sidewalks, boats and bird feeders just to get enough to make a snowball, but we did!

So, you folks with feet of snow and that are tired of it (especially shoveling it), I wish we could take some of it off your hands. Just some of it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Today is my Mama's 66th birthday......born January 8th, 1944.

We plan to celebrate with family this evening at Applebee's. This year she didn't request a cake, but buttermilk I'm off to make buttermilk pie in just a few minutes! She has passed along the love for this pie to Colt also, so he will be very happy to learn this was the requested dessert for tonight!

I'm very blessed to have the Mama that I have. She poured her whole heart into raising her kids and being there for us, and I'm so glad she did. I am the person I am today because of her guidance and wisdom and pointing me in the right direction (along with daddy). She was and is a wonderful mother. I'm very thankful she is MY mother.

Seeing as I grew up singing and dancing to Elvis records (thanks to Mama too), it's appropriate that she shares a birthday with is also the day Elvis Presley was born.

Another distinctive thing that happens (alot of the time) on this day is that we have snow. It's funny but in our area (south) if we have snow around here, it usually happens on or around my mom's birthday or around Joy or Colt's birthday. Today we still have snow on the ground from yesterday and it is COLD!

So to my Mama........Happy Birthday.......I love you!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Colt and Amber......3 Years

I remember well the evening when Colt slipped in the pew beside me at church and playingly said, "I met a girl today......she's pretty and she can sing!" "You've got to meet her".

I did.

That was a little over 3 years ago.

They first met at "Meet You at the Pole". They were both there to perform music at the flagpole (where students gather around the flagpole on a designated day to pray and sing).....she to sing and he to play the guitar.

And here they still are 3 years later........

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2009

I wonder........could this possibly be a little thing called love?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

You'll Be In My Heart

What does a mommy do when she has only a handful of pictures of her son (in China) during this long hard wait?

She makes a movie so she can watch it over and over!

........and over and over.

I'm trying hard to get the hang of this movie making thing (with the help of my hubby). I hope you enjoy it.