Friday, August 26, 2011

missing ethiopia today

i can't stop thinking about ethiopia the last few days. not sure what it is, maybe just God's way of reminding me not to forget the sights, smells and people that impacted my life 5 months ago. on days like this, i find myself flipping through our pictures more frequently and praying for the country: for those who are unable to put food on the table for their babies, for the friends we met there, and for all the fatherless children.

aside from obviously bringing our sweet boy home, i'm still not sure how God is going to use our time in ethiopia for His glory in the future, but i sure hope He will!

it's no secret that we'd love to go back to ethiopia, for missions and/or to adopt again, but we're still praying about the how and when of such things. although after looking at these pictures one more time, i sure hope it's soon!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

prayers for our friends

my heart is breaking today for our friends, jon and bethany meacham. we have known them since our college days at the university of kentucky, and jon was one of ryan's groomsmen in our wedding. we have had the joy of walking alongside them in recent months as they strive to adopt a little boy and a little girl from the democratic republic of the congo.

unfortunately, after having a referral for a little boy fall through a couple months ago, they also got the terrible news last night that their referred daughter passed away 4 days ago. i can only imagine the pain and heartbreak that they are going through, as they will now no longer get to bring this sweet child into their family. however, the Lord is more than faithful and i know He is sustaining them through this heartbreak.

if you think of it, please stop by their blog and read their post regarding their loss. it was such an encouragement to me to see that despite this trying time, they are walking out their faith by leaning into the Lord and choosing to continue to trust Him. please lift them up as they grieve.

“for i am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -romans 8:38

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

some really cute kids :)

in june, my sister and i decided to get some pictures taken of our kiddos together. a local photographer was running a special, and so we thought we should take advantage of it. here are some of my favorites:

*this picture reminds me of this verse: "how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to zion, 'your God reigns." -isaiah 52:7

*i think their both pretty stinkin' cute, but maybe i'm a little biased

*i can't believe our little charlotte was only 6 weeks old in these pictures, and now she's already 13 weeks old. she's already changed so much!!

*i love that we were able to finally give nana some shots of all her grandkids together :)

*love this one of all my sister's kids

*isn't this such a typical ethiopian face with the raised eyebrows? any other adoptive mom's get this face from their ethiopian kiddos? we get it all the time!

*love this little girl so much

these pictures will definitely be treasured by us for years to come!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

a new look!

ok, as promised, my blog has finally received a new look and is no longer having technical difficulties!! tell me what you think of the new look :)

personally, i love it and once again appreciate the quick and awesome job by kreated by kelsey. if your blog needs a face lift, i'd suggest checking her stuff out! she's got some super cute pre-made blog templates and also will personalize your blog to your liking.

thanks so much, kelsey!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

confessions friday

so it's friday and i think it's time for me to join in on the confessions friday fun. here goes nothing!

*i confess that lately i don't even slap on any makeup at all most days. in fact, i'm lucky if i get out of my pajamas and do something decent with my hair! so, that means if you decide to show up at my house unannounced, don't be surprised if i look scary when i answer the door! flip flops and a little lip gloss really are about as good as it gets on most days :)

*i confess that about once a week, i do usually decide to put on makeup and normal clothes just to take the kids to t@rget. not because i necessarily need anything, but mostly just so i can have a bit of my former t@rget loving self back and because i just need to get out of the house. lately i've been reading a lot {i know i'm way behind, but i just started "the help" and LOVE it!} so i like to peruse the book aisles, check out the kids sale clothes, and hit up the new fresh market our store just got.

*i confess that on said t@rget trips, greer now immediately asks, "snack?" upon me placing him in the cart before entering the store. whoops. i guess i started a bad habit with the whole bribing him with a little treat from the snack bar thing so i can prolong my shopping adventure!

*i confess that for the first time in about a year, i've actually cooked for our family about 4 out of 5 weeknights for the last 3 weeks. that's a major record for me! i enjoy cooking but just never really had time or the desire to put in the prep work that it takes.

*i confess that because of my latest cooking spree, i actually unearthed my crock pot and used it for the second time ever! we got it as a wedding gift, and i used it once to cook for ryan while we were engaged. that meal didn't go so well, so i haven't pulled it out since. after a serious cleaning, i've truly learned to love and respect the crock pot now :)

*i confess that i need some more healthy and yummy crock pot recipes so if you've got any, let me know. if they're good, ryan and greer will be forever grateful!!

*i confess that i'm actually writing this thursday night and am exhausted, so that's all i've got for today.

tgif y'all!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

at the hospital with charlotte

here are some of my favorite photos from the couple of days we spent in the hospital following charlotte's birth:

*my sister, jennifer, aka - auntie diva {or "deba" as greer affectionately calls her} meeting little miss charley.

*ryan's brother, uncle zachary, loving on charlotte and meeting her too.

*my dad, aka - pawpaw hanging with charlotte.

*charlotte's first photo shoot. {no, we didn't purchase any of the ridiculously expensive hospital pictures so we just took our own!} the adorable quilt she's laying on was made for her by my mom.

*ryan's parents, mimi and poppy, gazing at our girl.

*the grandmas checking out charley.

*greer's first time meeting charlotte and our first moments as a family of 4!!!

*i was so happy to be with my favorite little boy again and for him to finally meet his little sister he had heard so much about.

*daddy with his 2 kiddos finally!

i actually really enjoyed our stay at the hospital. the nurses were amazing and it was such a blessing to know that charlotte was in great hands for a few hours in the night so we could catch up on much needed sleep. since i had charlotte at 8:49 pm, we didn't actually get settled into a room until around 11:00 pm following her delivery. i was starving after not having anything to eat since dinner the night before so i enjoyed a delicious meal of frosted flakes and then we settled in for the night. i had the best and deepest sleep i can remember ever having, even with getting up every couple of hours to feed charlotte.

although it's been 12 weeks already since she was first born, i can still so vividly remember every time the nurses brought her into the room. despite being exhausted, i mainly remember being beyond excited to see her and kept feeling like i could not get a good enough look at her! after 9 months of her baking in my oven, i just wanted to take in every last detail of her...her petite little hands, her long toes, and all that wild hair!! i was overwhelmed once again by how much i could love another person i just met, but i'm confident that only God could design such a deep and overwhelming love.

when we were released from the hospital that monday morning i was somewhat terrified to go home. despite fostering R and P, and taking care of greer, neither ryan or i had ever been that hands on with a such a tiny little person!! it seemed like her carseat completely swallowed her, and i was nervous every time we hit a tiny bump that something bad would happen to her. everyone kept telling us not to worry too much because she wasn't that fragile but it took some time for that to actually sink in :)

we are so thankful for all our sweet friends and family who came to the hospital to meet charlotte and to encourage us while we were there. it made those couple days truly special and ones we will cherish for a long time!

Monday, August 15, 2011

stop the traffic

you may have noticed the link on the top left of my blog that says, "stop the traffic". i hope you've already checked it out, but if not, here's my shameless plug for you to do so :)

stop the traffic is a 5K run/walk that my church is hosting on october 8 @ 9:00 a.m., here in louisville, ky. the idea behind the race is to raise money and awareness in an easy way to help stop human trafficking in our backyard and worldwide. the event website definitely has a lot more information if you're interested, but please know that all proceeds from the event will go to help benefit these 3 very worthy charities in their work to abolish modern day slavery:

*Catholic Charities' program called "Rescue & Restore" that helps educate and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking

*Scarlet Hope which is an organization that ministers to women in the sex industry. {my mother-in-law has been involved with this amazing ministry for the past few months. this great organization is showing Jesus' love in easy ways, like providing meals and a shoulder to lean on, for women employed by local strip clubs.}

*Not for Sale who is working to abolish slavery in the US and worldwide. there is a great documentary i saw awhile back on this organization, and they are definitely a worthy cause!

just like it's very easy to ignore the global orphan crisis, it's also very easy to brush these kind of problems under the rug, but let's not. i know that God's heart is closely aligned to caring for people who are hurting and destitute, so our hearts should be too.

if you want to get involved by running in the race, volunteering, or donating, please let me know or check out the website here:

thanks ahead of time for getting involved and for helping STOP THE TRAFFIC!!!

Not For Sale | Shadowhands from Not For Sale Campaign on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

everything went great!

greer's surgery went great on thursday and he is just about back to his normal self! thanks for praying for our family. we could definitely feel your prayers as the day went so smoothly.

despite all my concerns, the time leading up to the surgery was fine and none of greer's food issues really came into play. we woke him up at 5:00 am the morning to get the only real meal he was allowed prior to surgery. although, we were also given clearance by the anesthesiologist to give him jello and other clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to his appointment, so he also ate a 2nd breakfast complete with tons of jello and sprite. i'm not sure he knew what to think but he definitely enjoyed it!

his surgery was scheduled for 1:45 pm at the outpatient center of our local children's hospital. we were asked to check-in around 1:00 pm, so we got there in plenty of time since we did not want to be late. unfortunately, it wasn't until we arrived at the hospital that they informed us that the doctor was running extremely late himself. in fact, around 1:15 pm, we found out that the other family in the waiting room with us was there for a surgery at 11:45 pm with the same doctor. knowing that greer was already super hungry and that we know had several extra hours to wait, i wasn't very excited at this news, but greer did great! we played in the toy room, cruised the halls of the hospital in his little car, and even got him to take about an hour nap on his daddy's shoulder while we waited.

around 4:00 pm the nurses finally called us back to our room so that greer could get in his little hospital gown and drink some "silly juice" prior to being taken back.

the nurses told us that the silly juice would induce an amnesia-like state so that he wouldn't remember being separated from us or being put to sleep. hearing that relieved some of our fears and the medicine had us cracking up once it started taking effect. greer was laughing hysterically, blowing spit bubbles, saying "cheese" over and over again, and being hilarious overall. at one point i thought, he was going to fall off the bed because ryan was having such a hard time holding on to him! here he is being his crazy self :)

once they took him back for surgery, it was only about an hour before he was all done and already awake in recovery. he was super groggy and grouchy, but that was to be expected. we got to take him home after about 30 minutes in recovery and he slept in the car for most of the trip home. as soon as we got home, he woke up and was ready to eat. he pretty much ate until the cows came home and then was more than ready for bed!!

overall, the day went as smoothly as i could ask. ryan and i were both obviously relieved that his first surgery experience was over and were thankful for the Lord's protection of him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

surgery tomorrow

this little cutie is headed to surgery tomorrow :(

nothing major...just taking care of some male issues that weren't taken care of when he was born in ethiopia. i'm definitely a nervous momma tonight and am praying that tomorrow goes perfectly!!

if you think of it, we'd appreciate your prayers too. i'm praying especially for the surgeon, for our little guy's recovery, and for a smooth day tomorrow prior to the surgery. greer still has some food related issues that we're dealing with {examples - NEVER being "full" and constantly asking "more PLEASE!", and throwing a fit if you ever deny him food - even if he just ate}, so the thought of him not being able to eat all day leading up to his surgery at 3:00 pm really worry me. he can eat his last solids at 5:45 am tomorrow morning, so we're planning on getting him up around 5:00 am for a super early breakfast. i'm also praying that somehow he'll understand that we aren't denying him food just to be mean but only because we have to :(

thanks for praying for our little g-man!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

charlotte's birth day

since i was too out of it to record charlotte's birth right afterwards, i thought i'd try to share it now while i can remember everything. here goes nothing:

on thursday, may 19th, ryan and i headed to labor and delivery after work because i was pretty sure my water was leaking. after about 3 hours in l & d getting monitored, we were sent home around 10 p.m. after being told it was a false alarm. when we left the hospital that night, i was totally bummed. we had left the house in frenzy, grabbing all the bags i had packed and getting greer squared away with my in-laws. it was pretty much just as i had always pictured charlotte's birth, but i guess it just wasn't meant to be.

the next morning, greer and i met some friends at the zoo. after walking the hills and pushing the stroller all morning, i knew that my previous inkling of my water leaking was correct. i didn't want to have another false alarm though so i tried to put off going back to the hospital since i wasn't having any contractions yet. that evening at about 8:00 pm, ryan finally convinced me to go back. although that time, we decided not to even take our bags or anything since the likelihood of me really being in labor was so slim in our minds.

when we got to labor & delivery, i felt like i was having a little bit of deja vu. we got checked in and they began monitor me again. i wasn't having any contractions, {no surprise to me!} but after another check, they said that my water was indeed leaking! that news really began to sink in when the nurse told me that they'd be moving me to a l & d room and that i wouldn't be leaving the hospital until our little girl had finally arrived!! whoops, leave it to us to not really have all our stuff when we really needed it :)

we got moved to our room and began furiously calling and texting all our family and friends to let them know the news. that night the nurse told us to settle in and get some sleep because the action was most likely not going to happen until the next day. however, around 11:00 p.m., they began giving me pitocin, making it not so easy to sleep. in fact, i'm pretty sure that i didn't sleep more than 30 minutes all night combined! meanwhile, ryan was completely zonked out over on the rollout couch. in fact, at one point, i actually launched some ice pellets at him to get him to stop snoring!!

the next morning, my contractions had begun getting a bit stronger but were still pretty mild overall. i was more tired at that point than i was in pain, but my mom and sister came by for a visit giving me a little burst of energy. since i was bed-bound, we all just chatted and watched a crazy amount of tv coverage about the predicted doomsday. while the thought of delivering a baby seemed pretty scary at the time, i also didn't want the world to end before i could meet her :)

around noon, the nurse told me that i could go ahead and get my epidural. i still wasn't in an unbearable amount of pain but since i knew i wanted one, i went ahead and got it. after it kicked in, i'm pretty sure that i began feeling the best i had in 9 months! i was finally feeling good enough to get some rest, and later even had a brief visit from my mother-in-law and little greer. it was so good to see him since we didn't really leave the night before anticipating to be away from each other for a couple days.

some time around 4:30 pm, the nurse came in and told me that my doctor was not very happy with the progress i was making. she cranked up my pitocin again {as she had been doing about every half an hour} and told me that they were giving me until 5:00 pm to make some progress or they were going to go ahead with a c-section since my water had been broken so long. when we heard that news, we were majorly bummed. i hadn't progressed at all since i was admitted to the hospital the night before so we were thinking that a c-section was imminent. i had never had surgery before so the thought of having an unexpected major surgery was terrifying. ryan and i prayed, and asked a few friends and family to pray as well.

around 5:00 pm, the nurse came back in for another progress check and we were expecting the worse. much to everyone's surprise, i had progressed more than double what i was before!! we were so happy and praised the Lord for not having to worry about a c-section afterall.

the next few hours were basically a blur. the time passed quickly and i knew the big event was about to take place. around 7:30 pm, the nurse came in to tell me that we were going to begin pushing shortly. i was panic stricken but beyond excited to know that miss charley was about ready to make her appearance. the nurses began filing in the room around a quarter to 8:00 pm, and the time had finally come.

ryan and my mom were both in the room with me, and ready to help coach me through the pushing. ryan may have taken the word "coach" too literally though :) more about that on another day! the pushing was tiring and pretty darn intense, but i was obviously motivated by the end result so it was bearable. {big props to you mommas who do it without an epidural!!} after about 50 minutes of pushing, our long-awaited charlotte reese arrived at 8:49 pm. She was 7 lbs, 11 ounces and 19.25" long.

seeing her for the first time was such an amazing high! i can seriously only equate it to the first time we walked in greer's nursery in ethiopia and saw him standing in the crib waiting for us. it was such a rush that i immediately forgot about the not so fun parts of pregnancy {like those 4 months of yacking daily!} and labor {i'll spare you the not-so-blogworthy details!!}.

here are some pictures from our first moments with our little charley girl:

*this was ryan's first good look at her. i think i was still crying too hard to really see her at this point!

*my first time holding her!!

*i don't think i've ever been so happy to hear a baby crying :)

*charlotte's first weigh in. by the way, please check out that cone head!!
we were more than smitten with her right off the bat, and things have not changed yet!

Monday, August 8, 2011

i'm BACK!

that's right...i'm blogging! can you believe it?? {if any one is still out there...bueller?}

i had no clue that it has been over 2 months since i've blogged! while one part of me is sad that i've neglected this little bloggy so badly, the other can't really apologize since i've spent every waking hour in the last few months kissing babies!! MY babies, that is :)

one word can easily sum up my last few months, and that is JOY. {the other word is diapers}

time has flown though. i can't believe that our little charlotte is now quickly approaching 3 months old. much less that greer has already been home 4+ months! i feel like i have so much to fill you in on! don't worry, i have many pictures of my 2 cuties to come :)

we are blessed beyond measure, and parenting both of our kiddos is everything and more than i dreamed it would be. sure there are days that are tough...especially in the beginning when i was adjusting to parenting 2 little ones, but thankfully, the good days are by far outweighing the bad! i love being home with the kids and filling my days with obnoxiously loud toys, dancing around to silly kids' songs, and strolling around the neighborhood with our ginormous bus of a stroller.

as weird as it would have seemed a few months ago, there are many days now where i don't even crack open my computer. however, since my memory is less than stellar and because i miss all you, i've decided to try to dedicate myself to blogging some again. i love just putting to paper the keyboard all the things rolling around in my head, especially when i go several hours out the day with no real adult conversation! plus, i really want to be able to use this blog to look back on how much my kids have grown and changed, and also how God has moved within our family over the years.

so, all that being said, let's consider this a new chapter for good ole' flip flops and lip gloss. no more wishing, waiting, hoping and praying for my son in ethiopia or my daughter in the womb. all the sweeneys are now accounted for and right where i like them...TOGETHER!

{ps - please excuse my technical difficulties on the blog header. i'm under construction and should be getting revamped in the next week or so.}