Saturday, October 27, 2012

Adoption Love Lingo

For a while now I have been wanting to blog about adoption, especially our story. But I feel strongly that before I get to our story in particular I need to do my part to try to educate and inform others about the topic. I feel strongly about helping misinformed people be more informed, unaware loved ones aware, about what adoption is REALLY like in this day and age. But before I get started, I want to make it clear that NOBODY, EVER has offended us in how they ask questions or make comments. We just are not the "panties in a wad" type of people about this topic...and it is just my heart to help others understand the beauty in this act of love. I am going to focus on 2 basic things here: Terminology and Types.

Terminology and the "Why"

There are certain terms that have been used for decades that are slowly making their way out of adoption lingo. The first and foremost phrase I want to correct is a birth parent "giving up" their child or "putting up" the child for adoption. These phrases make it seem like the birth parent is heartless, and does not love their child. These phrases originated from early American Immigration days, where there were literally thousands of orphaned children roaming the streets of New York. A reformer Charles Loring Brace came up with the idea to round up these "street urchins" and take them to towns by train and literally "put the child up" on the train station waiting platform and see who would be willing to take in a child. If you want to read more about this, you can either google "orphan train", or visit this website.
For obvious reasons this carries a negative connotation. If you want to speak properly about adoption today, then use the following instead: A birth parent "made an adoption plan", or "lovingly chose a family", or "unselfishly blessed their child with a loving home." Birth parents are brave! They a) chose to carry that child to full term, b) debated internally for months about what would be best for their child, and c) carefully and prayerfully chose a family for their child. If you want to understand this better...visit and watch the video. Being a birth parent is a very difficult and beautiful thing. I watched our birth mother ache with love for her child that she carried for 9 months...I promise you, these brave women LOVE their children.

Instead of "real parent", please use "birth parent" or "biological parent." Believe you me, I am as real a mom as I can be...I change his diapers, feed him, and adore his every move. We are his real parents.

Instead of asking why she didn't "keep him", instead ask why she was unable to parent. Or don't. It is Jake's story to tell someday...and it is our job to teach him about his adoption journey. We are choosing to introduce adoption into our everyday terminology, and read him children's books specifically written for adopted children. And the common thread throughout every conversation we will have, either with him, or with others about him, is this: God's plan for your life is intentionally beautiful. He chose you for a special purpose and put you in the family He wanted you in. Your birth mother will always love you, no doubt. But we love you too and are so blessed by you being in our family!

Instead of "Does he ever see her?", which we get a lot....use "How often will your family visit with Jake's birth mother?" We want Jake to understand the adoption triad. We don't ever want him growing up wondering about his origins. Have you ever watched "October Baby?" If you have, then you will see why openness in adoption is so much better for the adoptee. I have no fears, doubts or qualms that Jake will ever be confused as to who his "real parents" are.

Which leads into the types.....

This simply means that the child was adopted here in America. He/she was born here and adopted here.

This means that the child was born in another country, and is being adopted and brought here by the adoptive parents.

This means that the entire adoption process was mediated and facilitated by an adoption agency. All parties can rest assured that they are fully protected and all parties best interests are kept in mind.

Private or Identified
This term is used to describe a situation in which a birth parent and an adoptive couple are put into contact and a lawyer is hired to carry out the legal aspect of the adoption.

Foster To Adopt
This means exactly what it says...a family can either foster the child temporarily, or foster to adopt that child.

This just means that the child was born in a different state than he or she was adopted into.

This term is used to describe an adoption where the birth parents and adoptive parents are kept anonymous. This is the way adoption used to be....and sometimes, unfortunately, still is.

This means that the birth parents and adoptive parents are in contact in some form or fashion. The child who grows up in an open adoption never has to wonder about their origin. They have all the legal information and contact information they need to discover their story. Studies have proven time and again that this is far healthier for the adopted child both emotionally and psychologically.

I hope this helps to give you an idea of adoption in a nutshell. If nothing else, you can at least sound informed when the topic comes up, and help to correct the negative ideas about adoption that still float around out there. There are things that we DO love to hear when Jake is brought up in conversation.
For example: "He looks like ya'll." You know what? God is good, and he sure does. But even if he had purple hair and yellow polka-dotted skin, he is still ours. And we love him!
All I know is this: This beautiful woman carefully weighed her options, overcame a TON of odds, and made eternal, life-altering choices at a very young age. She is the hero who turned 9 months into a lifetime, and turned me into the mother of my own infant child. My love for her is unlike any love I have ever felt. We will always love, pray for, and cherish this brave young woman.

I leave you with this:

Ephesians 1:3-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[a] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Candy Corn Onesie

I saw a photo on Pinterest for this project, but didn't bother to follow directions. I don't even think I opened the link...I just repinned the photo for the fun idea. Right after Jake was born, my friend and I got together to dip-dye onesies for our new little babies, so I had some leftover dye. They just so happened to be the two colors I needed for Jake's Fall Candy Corn Onesie.

Step 1
Gather supplies. You will need a white onesie, liquid RIT brand dye, salt, hot water, a bowl, a spoon and an old towel to soak up stains, as well as a drying rack if you have one.
Step 2
Fill the bowl with hot water, dissolve some salt, and add the orange dye. Mix well.

Step 3
Holding the onesie at the shoulders, slowly dip it in evenly across until it reaches the armpit area. Leave in for a couple seconds then slowly pull it back out. Allow to drip, then lay on the old towel.

 Step 4
Add the red dye to the dark yellow, and it makes a nice deep red-orange. Mix well.

Step 5
Holding the onesie at the shoulders, dip evenly and slowly until the red reaches the waist area. Let it sit for a few seconds then slowly pull the onesie out.

Step 6
Just put on a drying rack with the old towel underneath to catch drips. The bottle instructions will tell you to rinse the onesie, wash the onesie. DO NOT DO THAT. It will bleed it all together....clearly this project is a one-time wear for a photo-op, and that's it.

Step 7
Get your adorable baby in a good mood and dress him/her and take a million photos just to get a few good ones! EASY! (Mine had the hiccups...oh well.)
What is THAT?!?


You mean this isn't REAL candy corn???

I just can't seem to get rid of these love handles!

But I'm still still love me ;)

My sweet son...Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Son is 3 Months Old Already?!?

This has literally been the fastest 3 months of my life! I guess after all you really know is the waiting game...once the gift is bestowed upon you time is bound to fly by. Part of me wants to push pause and not let him get any bigger, just hold him close and smell his sweet face. But the other part of me knows there is so much coming up to enjoy...his first steps, words, etc. So I have vowed to enjoy every single day for what it is...every stage for what it holds. All I know is this...this child is beautiful, sweet, fun, and a perfect fit for our family. Happy 3 months little Jake Everett!

Compare to the last two milestones

He is getting a little chubbier, losing some hair, but still in 0-3 month clothes. Compared to other babies he is a little small (8th percentile)...but looking back at these photos he is growing perfectly! He is literally a couple days from rolling over...he keeps trying to do that. He squeals and smiles and "talks with us." Enjoy his little little chub-nugget!


Friday, October 19, 2012

And the Winner Is......

Congratulations go to Elizabeth Bruffey who just won 1 free hour of Interior Design consulting by me!

Current project: DFW Design Giveaway ...
Drawing results
Selected project: DFW Design Giveaway

The project is already locked.

1: hour
Elizabeth B



I can't wait to come and help, so take a look at the services and have a plan so that your time is well-spent.

  • Use-What-You-Have Makeover
  • Paint Color Selections
  • Staging Your Home for Sale
  • Organizing
  • Nursery Design
  • Holiday Decorating
  • Consultation
  • Window Treatment Design
  • Fabric Coordinating
  • Accessorizing
  • Floral Arranging
See you soon!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Favorite Fall Soup

Well, I have been on Pinterest for well over a year now, and have pinned several recipes that my family has tried and either loved or not. My cousin Katy lived with us this past year, which was AWESOME. It gave me a female companion who is witty and wise and fun...since we are pretty much all boys around here. But she also got the brunt of a couple things: our adoption process, bless her heart (people....adoption is not for the faint of heart or the lazy, but OH it is so worth it), and my cooking experiments, double bless her heart. I do plan to go in and create three separate foodie boards on my Pinterest for recipes we loved, and one for recipes we tried and just didn't love, and one for recipes we have yet to try.

Today I want to share with you MY version of a pinterest recipe, found here, that we have tweaked and made our own. The link I just embedded is not MY version of the recipe, though. I will list mine below. My boys LOVE this. The reason I changed the recipe is twofold: I like a little more liquid in my soup, as well as veggie chunks, and the boys absolutely REFUSE to eat a meatless meal. Bacon alone is not enough meat, ha! Stayton saw me cooking it the first time and said "Well I don't know what this is, but I'm about to tear it up!" Now, I know a couple of my family and friends will ask how I cook like this with a new baby....but it is really simple. During his afternoon nap I chop veggies and such. The early prep is out of the way, and once Daddy gets home to hold Jake, I get to cookin'! Ok, here is our version:

Ale and Cheddar Soup

Servings: Makes 5 servings
Total Time: 1 hour or so


1 package of bacon, cooked, and torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 bag of frozen chopped onions
3 stalks of celery, diced
5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 tsp minced garlic from jar
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 bottle of ale (beer)
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
cayenne to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite-size chunks


1. Cook the bacon however you choose, saving most of the grease. Allow to cool and tear into chunks.
2. In a large soup pot, pour the bacon grease you saved into it and add the onion, celery and jalapeno. Cook until tender, about 10 min.
3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the butter and let it melt and get bubbly. Then sprinkle flour and let it cook until it turns golden brown, which is about 2-3 minutes.

5. Add a bottle of beer, we chose Heineken just because...also add the bacon, chicken, and broth and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire and cheese, stirring until all is melted together.

7. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper until you love it. Also pop some good 'ole Texas Toast into the oven and get it nice and crispy like a giant semi-soft crouton. (Is Texas Toast sold in other states? Is it called Texas Toast there? Boy howdy, Texas Toast is something to be proud of.)

8. Serve and enjoy...and those herbs you didn't use all of in the recipe? Hang to dry for next time! Save money, remember??
MMMMmmm...I hope you like our version of this delicious comfort food! More recipes to come!

Also, lastly, don't forget to sign up for my giveaway if you live in DFW! Contest ends Friday at 4!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First ever Giveaway! DFW check it out....

Well I decided to do my first ever giveaway...there will be more. But for now while I have a tiny babe I have to keep it local. You will understand why in a bit.

Locals, Heads UP! That's a TON of people, ya'll! Dallas is the 9th largest city in the US with a population of  1,223,229. But the entire DFW metroplex is enormous!! We are talking about 20 counties here, with a combined population of 10 million peeps!!

This giveaway is for a FREE 1-hour Interior Design consultation which can include, but is not limited to:

  • Use-What-You-Have Makeover
  • Paint Color Selections
  • Staging Your Home for Sale
  • Organizing
  • Nursery Design
  • Holiday Decorating
  • Consultation
  • Window Treatment Design
  • Fabric Coordinating
  • Accessorizing
  • Floral Arranging

Here are the rules: 
Comment on this post telling me your email address...Only post if you are truly interested and if you live in the DFW area. Contest will close Friday, October 19 at 4:00 p.m. I will post the winner selected at random and email to set up the appointment. 1-hour time limit, any exceeding time will be charged my hourly rate.

~Peace~ And good luck!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Top Ten for Ten Years Together

Happy 10th Anniversary!

It's true that I don't brag on my husband enough whether it is to his face or to others. What better day to do so than on the day we celebrate a decade of marriage! So here goes my Top Ten Favorites about my man...
Also, below is a video of photos from our years together set to the tune of "In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man" by Alanis Morissette. If more men like Anthony existed, then I am convinced that this world would be a much better place and divorces would be unnecessary. My favorite lyrics from this song are what remind me of Anthony:

"When you do what you do to provide 
How you land in the soft as you fortify 

This is in praise of the vulnerable man 
Why won’t you lead the rest of your cavalry home

You, with your eyes mix strength with abandon 
You with your new kind of heroism 

To the grace that it takes to melt on through 

This is a Thank You for letting me in
This is in praise of the vulnerable man 
Why won’t you lead the rest of your cavalry home"

I love you Anthony!

Top Ten

1. He literally rushes home to see us. He loves his job, but he can't get enough of us.

2. He randomly does things to help around the house. Random weeknight? Dishes...check. Random football Sunday? Laundry folded...check. He's just sweet like that.

3. He works so hard so that I can raise our boys whole-heartedly. Not only that, but he edifies me in my new "Career" by telling me how good I am at it and how happy it makes him to see this new phase of life unfold.

4. The sleepless nights of having a newborn have been totally a piece of cake all because of him. He gives me every Friday night to sleep all night in the sunroom, secluded, uninterrupted. And wakes me late the next morning with "Sleepyhead...your breakfast is in the microwave." He seriously cooks me breakfast a LOT, which just so happens to be my favorite meal of the day.

5. He models a great work ethic and sets high standards and expectations for our boys. Well, at least for Stayton at this point. ;) He graduates December 14 from Dallas Baptist University with his MBA. So proud!

6. We have some really important things in common to make marriage work: a) We are both flaming extroverts. He loves people and conversation just as much as me! b) We both are early-to-bed, early-to-rise people. c) We both are consistent with our weekly men's and women's Bible studies. So important!

7. He loves music, and church, and worship, and God. All of these things were high on my "Husband Must-Have" list.

8. When we have guests in our home, he proudly gives them "The Tour"...showing off my art pieces along the way. Talk about edification! He is so proud of his family.

9. He is just as stubborn as me...if not more. We each have quick-wit and don't put up with much from each other. We don't really fight at us weird... But I'm being serious when I say we argue more just to give each other a hard time with a smile on our faces than we argue "for real."

10. Lastly, he is such a family man. That movie "Family Man" has always been a family favorite. (Maybe because his favorite pretty actress is Tea Leoni??) We watch that movie more frequently than any other, except maybe Juno. Both movies get quoted quite a bit around here.

Take a moment to tell your loved ones how important they are to you today in honor of us! And enjoy the video below...

*Thank you Eric Bird for your technological expertise! Couldn't have posted this post without you! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Design Tips You Can Handle

I have been wanting to create a post that can help my friends and family make the most of their home with what they already have. So I came up with a list of design tips that I generally keep in mind when I am decorating. There are certainly exceptions to the rules, but these can be used as "rules of thumb", if you will. Some of the images are from my own home, and some are from rooms I have never been in before, in which case I will cite the website for you. But the main idea here is to share some principles and elements of design with you, not actual work I have done.

So, let's get started!

Warm vs. Cool

For starters, decide whether a warm color palette or a cool color palette is more your style. Your home will have a nice flow to it if you stick with one or the other with coordinating neutrals.
Even neutrals such as greys or tans have warm or cool undertones. Here is an image of greys that show the difference between warm greys and cool greys.
Warm                                                             Cool

Paint Color Combinations

Once you have decided on the overall feel you want in your home, it's time to choose a paint color scheme to fit. I have taken some photos of my most commonly specified paint color combinations. You can see below how the color groupings fit either a warm or a cool feel.
Warm with bold pops of color


Warm Neutrals

Warm with soothing amber pop of color

Cool palette

Cluster Objects in Odds

What I mean by this is to accessorize your mantles, shelves and bookcases using small clusters of odd numbers. This is a rule that has many many exceptions, but is a good general rule of thumb. A common exception would be when a pair of objects are sold together. In this case you would find a way to use them symmetrically rather than in a cluster. I will explain more about that below.
As you can see in the image above, the white accents are clustered in threes. It feels balanced and gives an ambiance of charm.

The images above are from my own home. Some clusters are in threes and some are in fives. When you cluster in even numbers, it just doesn't feel right. It's difficult to explain....

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

This is another topic that is simply a matter of preference. When objects are sold in pairs, it is best to decorate with them using symmetry. Symmetry simply means objects are placed in such a way that they seem to be mirror images or have exceptional balance. Here is a perfect example of symmetry from Elle magazine.
Some people (who, by nature are more organized and linear-sequential in personality) prefer symmetry. Some people (who, by nature are maybe not so structured) prefer asymmetry in design. Others, like myself, who are a mix of both personalities, prefer a mix of both symmetry and asymmetry in the home. Here is an example of asymmetry.
And for those who like a mix of both, like myself, here is an example of that.

Don't Always "Match"

Lastly for today, don't make the common furniture-buying mistake of buying the whole room as a set. Stores that sell whole ROOMS are a no-no in my opinion. A room looks more cozy and eclectic when the furniture does NOT match. You did read that right. Stop always matching everything! Even fabrics don't have to match. Coordinate...don't match.

The image above is a perfect example that it is ok to mix styles of furniture together. This room has such a nice eclectic feeling. It really makes the visitor to the space feel as though the designer spent years collecting well-loved objects in order to create their dream space.
Above is yet another example showing how you can mix different styles very well. This room mixes contemporary and traditional furniture, giving a nice feeling of modern luxury with pieces of historical value as well.

Remember, I did not create all of the spaces above. The images are cited in the captions. The idea behind this post is simply to educate you on some design basics. If you have questions, just ask me!

I hope you create lovely spaces in your home, and that if you are unable to do call upon me to help. I absolutely LOVE design, and it really makes me happy to help create lovely spaces for you.