February 28, 2012

Overcoming Depression

My youngest sister Andrea started battling depression when she was around 13. Only those in our immediate family (and eventually just a few extended family members) knew about her struggle. It actually wasn't until later in her journey that she acknowledged that it was indeed depression. The word has such a stigma. However, Andrea's healing came when she became truthful with herself about what was going on.

Long story short, the turning point for my sister came at a youth camp that our student ministry was attending. Andrea's depression often manifested itself in physical symptoms. She had been to doctors and had every test run, but nothing was showing up. At the camp, the speaker (who obviously didn't know my sister) was leading a prayer/response time and said out of the blue, "Some of you are dealing with stomach issues. Some of you are battling depression and haven't told anyone." God used that moment to help my sister correlate the two, and since then she has been sharing her story with others.

Andrea writes for her school newspaper, and a friend suggested they do a story about it. A local news anchor saw the story and then asked my sister if she could feature her on our local news. Andrea wants anyone and everyone to know that there is HOPE in the Lord. He is the only One who can bring healing and victory over this!

We are SO PROUD of Andrea and we are confident that God will use this story to bring those who are hurting to Himself. As my sister said in the story, "This is the perfect example of showing that the world can't satisfy you."

Click here to see the story.

STUFF Videos

Pause my playlist to hear the videos.

Okay.....one of my favorite things are the "stuff _____ say" videos. If you find one that resonates with you, there's nothing funnier. After watching a few of these, I really do think I'm going to make one about Southern/Christian Mommy Bloggers. I just think it would be hilarious. I'm terrified people would think it wasn't funny, but I do believe I've studied this "culture" for awhile now - ha!

Here are three that CRACK ME UP. I laughed out loud so many times!

February 24, 2012

Dance, Ballerina, Dance!

I mentioned that Evy has started dance class, and I'm so excited to share the pictures! I took a ton, but Evy looked absolutely adorable and I couldn't help myself! She was so, so precious.

What a beautiful little ballerina!

February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Isaac!

We were so happy to help celebrate Little Friend Isaac's birthday recently! Kristal did such an amazing job with the decor, activities, and food. It was a low-key, fun time with friends, which is just what the kids (and MOMS!) needed!

We made crayon art - so much fun!


Liam and Ellie were bonding.

There's the birthday boy!

Kristal's brother Jake came by to visit! Kristal, Jake and I went to youth group at church together growing up, so it's hilarious for me to watch "Uncle Jake" bonding with all of these toddlers. Haha! Liam LOVED him!

This picture could have a MILLION caption options! Haha!

Isaac opening the airplane we gave him. He's obsessed with helicopters but I couldn't find one! It was so cute because immediately when he opened it, he said "Hock!!" (his word for helicopter). :)

The card we gave him made a fire engine sound - another one of Isaac's favorite things. :)


Happy Birthday, Isaac!

February 21, 2012

Evy's Birthday Interview - Three Years Old

Pause my playlist to hear the video.

I saw an idea on Pinterest that I just loved. You ask your kids the same questions on their birthdays each year (starting when they're 3), and you can watch how they grow and change over the years. I think this will become a precious family tradition for us. So here is Miss Evy Kate's Third Birthday Interview!


Just some miscellaneous thoughts today......

-I'm not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I read the Hunger Games books (all three of them) in about 4 days! I just couldn't put them down! I am COUNTING DOWN until the first movie comes out.  I was disappointed in the ending of the series, but mainly because it simply lacked complexity and details. Kristal said this too, but I feel like the author just totally lost motivation at the end. I was thinking to myself, "I really think Suzanne Collins got tired." Ha! I don't dislike who Katniss ended up with; in fact I was really pleased. However, after investing in three books' worth of details and layers, I was just craving more of a slam-dunk finish. Will this keep me from seeing every movie probably multiple times? Absolutely not. :)

-This fits nicely with my thoughts above, but I found this on Pinterest and LOVED it!

-My sister is still dating her boyfriend, but I felt bad about blogging about her personal life, so I took down the post about it. :) They're still really happy and everything is great!

-I'm sure there are a lot of things I should be doing right now as my kids nap, but I am just SITTING. I read/listened to my daily Bible reading and now I'm just letting myself be. It's so nice every once and awhile.

-My friend Courtney gave me some Amish bread starter and I just completed the process. I made my first homemade bread EVER and it was DELICIOUS! I was shocked, because I just didn't think it was going to work. Granted, all that was required was for me to mush the bag of starter for several days, add some basic ingredients to the bag, mush some more, and then bake. But I have a mental block when it comes to things with yeast in them. I am just convinced it's going to be a disaster. But this wasn't! I made cinnamon bread and it was just perfect and yummy. SO proud of myself! Now I want to branch out and try to make just a plain homemade bread - you know the kind that all of the domestic, "I love to bake" type of people make? Where do I start with that? Any tips would be great!

-Who watches Once Upon a Time? I know I was probably in the minority, but I was REALLY drawn into the Belle/Rumplestiltskin storyline! I was rooting for them so, so much and thought they were so sweet together. I just loved that twist. What did y'all think?

-I promised myself that for the first time, I wouldn't watch the Bachelor this season (I think I've said this before?). But now I've gotten sucked in for some reason. I use it as background noise while I fold clothes so I don't feel like I'm completely wasting my time....??

-HOWEVER. Do you want to know a show that's NOT a waste of time? SMASH.

Have y'all been watching it? I. am. in. love. Probably because it shows the world of Broadway as it probably is in real life. What it's like for a show to be written from the ground up, and what's it's like for the actors and all of those in the process. I think Katherine McPhee is doing a great job. And I've downloaded several of the songs (released as singles) on my iTunes! One more thing - I really like Debra Messing, and it's great to see her on TV again. I just love the whole thing!

I could probably go on but I'll stop there. :) More picture posts and updates to come!

February 17, 2012

Protecting the Sacred

Ironically, I had this post planned for tonight and the timing is really perfect. I had someone mention that I don't talk about Liam the way I talk about Evy, or I don't blog about him as much; you get the picture. So it's very fitting that I was planning on giving our four month update tonight.

Liam has been with us almost exactly four months now, and that's so hard for me to believe! There has been a tremendous amount of emotions to process. A tremendous amount. I think Kurt and I have chosen to process a lot of those emotions very privately, and that's why there hasn't been a lot of discussion about it on my blog. I've come to realize that the way I blog and how Kurt and I choose to handle things isn't going to please everyone and that's okay! It really is okay. But I'll get back to that in a minute.

So four months home! I've heard that around 5 months is when a LOT of families feel the shift into normalcy. Every day has been so encouraging with Liam! Here are some highlights:

-We went to the doctor for Liam's 18 month appointment. He has grown two inches taller and has gained two pounds since his visit in November! He looked so cute sitting in Kurt's lap at the appointment in just his diaper. He has the cutest little profile and was just looking around, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! Ha!

-While at the doctor, we talked about his language development. We are SO PROUD of how much receptive language Liam has! He can follow simple tasks ("Go get your blanket and show Daddy!" or "Go get your diaper!") and he also responds by nodding or shaking his head when I ask him questions! So we know he is doing GREAT in that department.

-As far as his verbal skills, he only has about 3 consistent words or sounds that he'll make, and the average at this age is around 10 words. We aren't the type of parents that are obsessed with stats or percentages, but it's a good tool to gauge his progress. Our pediatrician (who we love!), said that at two years old, the average is 50 words, but he'll be pleased if Liam has around 20. We're not underestimating him, but we're allowing for the fact that he hasn't known English long at ALL (and he's still doing great!).

-He has really attached to his blanket! I washed it for him and came up to him today and said "Leeler, I washed your blanket for you, Buddy!" He put his little face in it and just burrowed into my shoulder! It was the cutest thing in the world.

-He is still my cuddly love at night. I still rock him every night before bed, and I can just feel him relax. I love it so much! This is also when we spend a lot of time just looking at each other. It's really, really special.

-Liam still loves church and literally runs in to his class each time! He also breaks into a huge grin when I arrive to pick him up, which makes me so happy.

-We call Liam our little wind-up toy. He just pitters around the house and runs so cute and fast! It's been so fun to hear little boy "sounds" in our house!

Kurt and I truly can't remember what life was like before Liam in a lot of ways. I can see Kurt and Liam really growing in their relationship, and that's precious to watch. Also, I can't explain it, but I feel like we're all relaxing into the family of four thing.

Maybe one of the reasons that I don't "gush" as much on my blog about Liam is because I'm still in disbelief that he's here, with me, and no one can take him away. I spent a year with fear in the back of my mind that something would go wrong and I'd get a call telling me that we couldn't have him. Now that he's here with us, I'm still processing it in a lot of ways. It's like having a newborn. When I first came home with Evy, I didn't want anything to do with the outside world. I wanted to hole up and just protect all of us. It felt sacred in a lot of ways. And that's what's happening with Liam right now. To me, he's still my newborn. I'm still processing and protecting the sacred thing that occurred on October 18th in Seoul, when Liam's precious foster father handed him to me. It's just been an instinctual response that I'm not ready to gush a bunch of HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY posts or commentary. It's not because I'm not happy or because I don't love my son!!!!!! It's because I'm still in the "sanctity of a newborn" phase in a lot of ways.

I'm just asking everyone to remember that this is my experience and my story and my life to blog about in the way I see fit, and in a way that feels comfortable to me. I'm asking that people not make judgments or assumptions about the love I have for my children. I'm asking that if you see a smaller amount of blog posts about one of my kids, or more about another, or a different amount of pictures, or whatever, PLEASE don't read more into that. Err on the side of grace and understanding and let our family become our family.

I still appreciate y'all's prayers and support so, so much. At four months into our time at home with Liam, we are still amazed at what God has done. We think back to our time in Seoul and are just now able to talk in-depth about what occurred there because it was so precious. I am so honored to be Liam's mother. I wonder to myself every single day what his birth parents are doing; what they look like. My heart is so full when I look at Liam and I know that I get to be his Mommy forever. When he runs around our house with ease (because it's his home now and he knows every square inch), I don't take that for granted. When he sits down to go outside and says "Shoe" to me, I don't take that for granted. And when he bows his head to pray each night with a pleased little smile on his face, God knows I do NOT take that for granted! Each moment is so special. Sometimes I blog about them. And sometimes, like Mary when she gave birth to Jesus, I just ponder them and keep them in my heart.

Thankfully and with much gratitude for both of my beautiful children,
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