It takes a village…

5 beds, 5 mattresses needed.  On facebook I posted  “In the market for 3-4 twin mattresses ASAP any suggestions of great places to get them?”  Within the day we had 5 mattresses donated for all of the kids!

Here are just a few of the members of our village that participated in the “Great Mattress Round-Up of 2012″…

First stop was a pick up from Tina’s house.  Tina was my Sunday school teacher/mentor/role model from 4th grade-always!!  She is beautifully loyal to her family & teaches everyone she comes in contact with how to care about & love one another.  Can’t wait for the kids to be able to meet her!!

Tina & Delani!

The second stop was to our friend Kathy.  Kathy is a mom of 3 boys, she is smart, dependable & honest!  We got to be roommates last year at youth camp & I have never seen a better attitude on someone after chasing teens all day in 100+ degree weather!!  I will definitely be calling her daily for advice when the kids arrive!

Kathy!

Last stop was the Jessica and Jordan.  Jessica & Jordan have two precious kids & they are excited about their new friends coming home from Colombia!  Great having friends who are constantly encouraging us through their family &  teaching their kids about adoption.

Jessica and her kids!

Also we got a new member to our village this past week…

Introducing our precious niece!

Sweet baby girl!

She is gorgeous & we already love her a ridiculous amount!!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Pity party…

Pity parties are so easy to get into…especially a pity party for one.  You are the guest of honor, it’s all about you, attire “old basketball shorts & a stained t-shirt”, food “hot pocket for one”, theme “Pathetic”, pandora station: “Sarah McLachlan”.

Mother’s Day is this week.  A full day that reminds me of my most sensitive failures as a woman:

  • Barren
  • Husband can’t be a father: a man that God has blessed with a heart of love, compassion and integrity
  • Our parents can’t be grandparents: they are fun & fabulous and are ready to delight in their grandkids
  • Sisters & brothers aren’t aunts & uncles: they are going to definitely be the “cool” aunts & uncles, they are all creative & kind-hearted

We are so blessed.  We live in the United States of America.  We have a wonderful family that surrounds us in love.  We have friends that are loyal and a constant encouragement.  We have good health.  We have a safe home.  All of our basic human needs are met. We have a firm belief in our faith & are confident on where we will spend eternity.  We have been blessed with the opportunity of adoption.

But all it takes is one holiday to focus all of my jealousy & frustration on the unfairness of life.  A well-placed Hallmark Mother’s Day commercial can rip a hole in my armor.  The part of the service when the pastor calls all of the mothers to stand brings me to tears.  The “when are you going to be a mom” comment that is sure to come that day; grin and bear it.

I will get through this day. I will remember my blessings. I will take the emotional flood that will surely come that day and pour it into prayer for my waiting children.  I will celebrate with my friends who are moms, hope with my friends who are waiting for children, grieve with my friends who have lost children & love children who need a mom.

Life is too short; invest in people not in pity.  I will also change my pandora station to “Latin pop”…aka time to dance!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

The office…

Here are the after pictures of the office…

The office complete!!

I love the wall of books!

Books encompass the whole wall…

Some shelf details…

Bottom shelves have kid’s books & old milk baskets. I am going to make some sturdy bags to tie into the baskets for shoe drop-offs. That way the mess stays contained & I can just wash the bags when they get dirty.

Tyler built this great dog house, using a broken door from another kennel. It’s a LOT more attractive, really contains the dog hair, & gave us more counter space to put the printer on.

Loving all of the file drawers, card catalogs, and old sewing drawers I have been finding at garage sales lately!

Some fun office accessories. Tyler’s graduation shoes, paper pinwheels & a picture of fly-fishing fun.

A look from the kitchen.

A look from the backyard.

Again thanks to friends & family for all of the help & support!!  Paint colors: all shelving is painted Behr, white & inserts are painted Behr, Camel.  Rug is from Pottery Barn I bought it off of Craigslist for $20.  Chair is from Pier 1, I got it for free off of Craigslist & reupholstered it (with the help of a friend) & my mom used the left over fabric for the pillow.  All decor items were gifts we had collected over the years or garage sale finds.  Thanks for visiting!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Making room…

So we do not have a large home, and making room for five more individuals got our creative juices flowing, trying to figure out any extra room that we could find.  We had a breezeway that connected the kitchen and garage.  It was a cute fun detail about the house that we did not love.  The area was very hard to keep clean, caused us to take our keys anytime we wanted to get into the garage & basically a wasted space.

So my ‘rocket-scientist’-of-a-husband had the great idea to convert the space into on office.

So here are the before/during pictures of our construction project…

Here is the breezeway before construction. Pretty gross right?!?

This was definitely a family project, Tyler & his Dad on Christmas Eve working on breezeway.

Breezeway cleaned out, facing the backyard.

Breezeway cleaned out, facing the front yard.

Frame going up.

There is my dad helping out too. We are loving that he is retired & excited about helping make room for grandkids!

One wall nearly complete.

View from the front of the house (dad working hard again)

Stopping for the night with one wall up.

Putting in the back wall with a door. Had to take the door back down & add a doggie-door.

Lucy checking out the new digs.

We have got a complete room! I am pretty sure this is the day we stopped calling this place “the breezeway” & it became “the office” 🙂

Bookshelves going up along the back wall.

Our good friend Jordan helping out on construction. Jordan was extremely helpful & we absolutely could not have done this project without his construction expertise!!

Putting up the shelves for the front wall.

Shelves & counter-top installed & done.

Bookshelves ready for detail work…

We are so thankful for the family & friends that helped out, we couldn’t have done it without you!!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Book ballerina…

Some artwork for the girl’s room…a how-to…

This picture was donated to the garage sale & I saved her because I liked the frame & the size & thought that it would be perfect in the girl’s room…with a small redo.

I had a lot of old reader’s digest books, that we simply do not have room for in the new office.  So instead of getting rid of them I decided to use them for an art project.  The first thing I did was pull off all of the book covers.  They all came off relatively cleanly if they were harder to get off I used a razor blade to get a clean cut.

Sweet baby Jacen came to help me glue all of the book covers to the old picture that was in the frame. Don’t worry all of the covers were cut before he came over to help.

Simple Elmer’s glue held all of the covers in place. I started at the bottom of the picture towards the middle so if any covers needed to be cut it would only have to happen around the edges where the imperfections would be less noticeable.

I am not much of a perfectionist so I would just use my nail to make an indention and cut as straight as possible on that line to finish off the outside of the border.

Cutting down the covers.

After covering the whole picture I had one open space where the books did not line up, luckily I still had a piece of this book left over so I just cut a strip and pieced it in.

For the next part I looked at my inspiration piece.  I used it as a guide and drew out each section of the picture (ex. leg, petal on the skirt, toe shoe, waist, etc) on white paper until I was happy with the result.

All of the pieces are separate & just fitted together like a puzzle. So not perfect but I think I got the point across 🙂

Then I modge-podged each piece onto an old book page.  Make sure you glue them down so the book page side will be facing the correct way.  I used a dictionary from the 1940’s, I love the dictionary pages because they are thin and pretty forgiving about not wrinkling up.  After the pieces were modge-podged I just cut them out.

I covered the entire piece with books to help flatten out any wrinkles, I let it sit overnight.

Before I glued the individual pieces to the book covers I added some details to a few of the pieces to add more texture to the picture.

The ballet shoes & leotard got one layer of this mixture. Enough to add a touch of color and shimmer but you are still able to see pieces of the book page underneath.

The tights got this mixture in a Chevron pattern. I just used a small brush & went slowly, again there are a lot of mistakes but really who’s going to notice 🙂

Each skirt petal got a border of teal mixture from these colors, or an outline of the ballet shoe colors or a border of the tight’s color.

Here she is nearly finished. But she looked a little bland…

Anytime paper starts to look a little flat I try to add in a fabric element.

So I added a ribbon waist for the bodice and some scrap black lace to each petal. I also filled in the ballet shoes with the chevron tights and added a black border around the legs to show some separation.

And here is the final product…

I did give the frame a small paint treatment of dry-brushing (color: Behr, teal zeal) and two coats of stain wiped on and then immediately off (stain: Minwax Ebony).

I just finished painting the office so next on the list of to-do items is finish the girl’s beds & dresser.  Then I’m off to working on the boy’s room.  Hoping creativity shows up and stays with me for the next few weeks!!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Presents…

Upon meeting Lorena (you can read about Lorena in this post), we were able to give her some presents to give to the kids until we are able to travel and bring them home.  We tried to be thoughtful and think small, since the only way we can send them to Colombia was in Lorena’s suitcase.

We sent them this “read to me” book.  The book is in English but luckily we have some amazing friends that translated it into Spanish & slowly walked us through every page so we could read it to our kids in their native language.  We got plastic luggage tags from Hobby Lobby and put a picture of us in it for the kids to hold onto.  The boys all got a watch and the girls got some homemade bows.  I really liked the idea that the kids would be able to wear something as a daily reminder that a family is waiting for them to come home.

We had a late night of translating with the Issac and Lisa. Luckily they were so patient & encouraging!!

Book, luggage tags, watches & hairbows for the niños

Pinwheel bows I made for the girls. I used the country’s flags for inspiration. The one on the left is the Colombian bow (red, blue & yellow) & the one on the right is the American bow (red, white & blue)

Yep on the back of the bow they’ll be wearing a heart that I cut out for them…*sigh

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

La Casa…

Our children are currently living at La Casa de la Madre y el Niño.  It is a beaufiful and loving environment and we are so thankful that the kids are there!  This weekend we had a unique opportunity to meet the director of La Casa.  She was in town for Gladney’s 125th anniversary celebration!

The director, Lorena, has a beautiful legacy in Colombia.  Her great grandmother opened La Casa de la Madre y el Niño: “until the foundation of the institution unwanted babies were taken to a Hospice, the founder changed this so that these children could find love, respect, a home and a chance to be a part of a family where they are welcomed with open arms.” (excerpt from La Casa’s history page).  The first thing Lorena tells us is that this is not an orphanage; this is a home for children where they are loved and cared for until they find their forever family.  She has a true passion and calling for pouring her heart out for these children and finding the right home for each child.

With Lorena, the director at La Casa

We also got to meet Lucy.  Lucy will be our saving grace once we travel to Colombia, she will help translate and walk us through the legal process while we are in the country.  I look forward to greeting her again as soon as we reach Bogotá!

With Lucy, our “everything” in Colombia. (I have looked for a word to describe how amazing her help will be while we are traveling…no such word exists!)

Please be praying for three specific things:

First, in Colombia a very popular news program has done a four-part exposé discouraging families from older-child adoption this past week.  The story was full of lies and has caused unneeded  fear in families who have already made the hard choice of placing their children up for adoption.  Please pray for protection for our children, peace for their family about their adoption, peace for the country and for the truth to outshine false accusations.

Second please pray for our paperwork to be completed as swiftly as possible.  The sooner that we are able to send our paperwork to Colombia the sooner we can have a legal right to the children and travel to bring them home.

Third please pray for the waiting children.  Lorena shared a few stories of children at La Casa.  The heartbreak that they feel while their friends are adopted into families and they sit waiting, fearful of being forgotten and not having a mom and dad to tell them that they love them.

I pray that more families open their hearts to the prospect of adoption, and I am thankful for the beautiful families that we have gotten to meet that have already taken that step.  That step to be brave, trust that God will give you the strength to face the unknown, and the ability to love in all circumstances.

“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27

At the dinnermesa,

Beth