Saturday, February 28, 2015

{iPhone Rewind} :: February

It's birthday month, so that means LOTS of fun treats and free stuff! My inbox was full of fun offers...mostly for food, but who doesn't like free food?? :)

Is there such a thing as too much sweet tea? I had lunch with my sister-in-law at McAlister's {which automatically means sweet tea} and then my sweet husband brought me a Sonic sweet tea at work. No complaints from me!

My sweet co-worker brought me this beautiful orchid for my birthday! Now I just have to be sure I keep it alive :)

You're never too old to enjoy a fun Valentine! A sweet co-worker gave this to me...her nieces love princesses, so it was fitting that she handed out princess Valentines at work. #coworkerlove

Lunch of champions! Hey, when you are running out of time AND have a coupon for a soft pretzel, you take it! #dontjudge

Love mirror notes from my Valentine :)

For Valentine's Day, I made Mike a chipboard card that outlined the ABC's of why I love him. I really need to be better about encouraging him and offering words of affirmation, so I thought this would be a fun way to tell him why I love him :)

February 27th was Shine a Light on Slavery Day. The purpose was to raise awareness for modern day slavery. Let's do more than draw an "x" and tweet; we can get involved here or here

From ice and freezing rain to thunder sleet and snow...the last week of February was a mess! The down side to working for a bank and living within a mile of your office is that you don't get to stay home when the weather is bad. So this was as close to a "snow day" as I got: staring longingly at the snow from the window of my boss' office.

And because Texans don't know how to handle the snow...this is the result. #yikes

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Matching Phase

The next step of our embryo adoption journey is the matching phase...this is the really exciting part, as it is the phase of our journey where Nightlight "matches" us with genetic families!

As part of our application process, we had to create a family profile, basically introducing ourselves to potential genetic families. We decided to do a Shutterfly book, because we thought it would be the best way to show families who were are. This book is sitting on our shelf, and we're excited to share this with our little ones in the future, as we share with them the story of how they joined our family.

So now do you want to give us your babies?? :) {jk. sort of...}

Nightlight shows our family profile to potential families, and they have the option of choosing us first. If a family likes our profile and could see themselves donating their embryos to us, then we receive a profile about them. We then have the option of accepting or declining the match. Part of why we chose Nightlight is because of how well they try to match genetic families with adoptive families, based on religious backgrounds, family preferences, and adoption preferences {open, semi-open, closed}.

We're excited to see the family God has waiting for us!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentines Day in Fort Worth

This weekend, we headed out to Fort Worth for a fun weekend away! We spent the afternoon at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. We enjoyed an IMAX movie, the Planetarium, and a few of the exhibits. It was a lot smaller than we thought it was, but it was still fun.

We had found a Priceline deal for a downtown hotel, and we were right across the street from the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to walk through the garden and the few blocks to Sundance Square.

Might as well be tourists :)

We had not made any reservations for dinner, so we took a chance that we could get in to one of the restaurants without too bad a wait. We ended up at Taco Diner and enjoyed yummy Mexican food on the patio. It was the perfect evening out with my Valentine!

Friday, February 13, 2015

High Five for Friday!

{one} This gem arrived in the mail a couple of days ago, and I couldn't wait to start reading it! I am part of Christine's book launch team again {so excited!}, so you may hear me talk about it a lot between now and March 3 {the original release date...but you can go get it on Amazon now!} :)  I LOVED her first book, and I am really looking forward to reading her words of wisdom in this one.

{two} Speaking of books, sweet Laura bought me this book for my birthday, and I am really enjoying it! She's an interesting writer, and I appreciate how she talks about making your home, wherever you live. Since we probably won't be buying a house anytime soon, it's good to be reminded to not waste time wishing for something else, and that I can make our rentals feel like home {without spending a ton of money}.


{three} Yesterday we had an impromptu lunch date. We were texting back and forth, and I decided I would rather talk face to face. We were both free for lunch, so Pei Wei it was! I am so thankful that I can have impromptu lunch dates with my hubby. They fill my love tank, for sure :)

{four} I'm looking forward to a 3-day weekend {thank you bank holidays, once again}! It's the last one for another few months, so I have to take advantage of the blessing of time off :)

{five} Mike and I are headed to Fort Worth this weekend for Valentine's Day. We are planning to hit a museum, walk around Sundance Square, and enjoy a fun dinner. We thought it would be a fun little getaway, and I am excited about touring around a bit with my love! 

Happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Embryo Adoption :: Home Study

Because we chose to do our embryo adoption through an agency {we chose Nightlight's Snowflake Program}, we were required to do a home study. Many times throughout the process, it was difficult for us to understand why we had to prove that we would be fit parents. We absolutely understand why home studies are in place {we wouldn't advocate for anything different}; but it was just another hardship in the infertility journey, knowing that we had to jump through some ridiculous hoops to prove that we weren't crazy.

We were given 2 options: a traditional domestic/international adoption study, or an embryo adoption-specific study. Since our adoption is so unique, we decided to move forward with the embryo adoption-specific home study. We knew we would need the education piece, more than anything. We will face many of the same issues as a traditional adoptive family, but there are also a number of issues that will be unique to our situation. We knew we would need all the help we could get! 

Our home study took about 3 months to complete. It could have been done sooner, but we started right before the holidays, which just slowed a number of things down. But even still, we were thankful that our home study didn't take longer than it did.

First there was paperwork...
  • Personal profile forms
  • 4-6 page autobiographies
  • SAFE questionnaires
  • Reference list
  • Employer information release forms
  • Financial statement
  • Copies of last year's income tax return
  • Proof of medical insurance coverage
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate
  • Certified copies of birth certificates
There was the background/medical checks...
  • FBI clearance checks {including fingerprinting*}
  • DMV driving record verifications
  • Physicals with our doctor

*So I found out you could get your fingerprints done for no charge {score!} at the county jail. Because our schedule was so busy, we decided to go at the crazy hour of 6am. I just figured there was a clerk that would help us; I had no idea that we would actually have to go inside the central booking station. Like, right there, looking at the people they put in holding cells overnight. We'll just say that we stuck out like sore thumbs. Good times. At least the officer was very sweet and wished us all the best in our adoption journey :)

The certifications and education...

And finally the home visit...

Our home evaluation worker was awesome! We had a Skype call with her, and then she came out for a home visit. When she came out, she observed our home and we underwent individual and joint interviews. The up side to the embryo adoption-specific study was that our home visit was less strict than in a traditional study. The reason being because we would not have children immediately in the home, since we would experience pregnancy first. She still had to come see where we lived to be sure we would be bringing a child into an overall safe environment. 

All ready for our home study :)

The home visit was the final piece of the process. Once she came out for a home visit and provided her professional write up, we received our official home study approval! We were deemed normal and safe enough to be parents...such a relief :)

Next step: the matching phase!

{30 Before 30} :: A Recap

Well, I am officially 30!  :)

This was a fun list to work through, and I am so glad I decided to do it. While I wasn't able to complete everything, I am thankful for the ones I was able to cross of my list! 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16
17 // 18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 // 29 // 30

Not too bad, considering my list was fairly ambitious for 1 year :)

The Ones I Didn't Cross Off the List {Before 30}
1. Sell Something I Have Made: I have a dream/hope to open an Etsy shop one day. Because I love crafting and DIY, and I just think it would be fun! I don't know exactly what this will look like, but it's definitely on my radar for the future...

3. Refinish a Piece of Furniture: I already have the piece picked out, I just have to do it. It's my childhood dresser that I want to paint to match a nursery someday :)

13. Take a Cooking Class: I still would like to do this, and we all know I could probably use this, as my cooking skills are not exactly spectacular. These can be expensive though, so if you hear of any good {less expensive} ones, let me know!

17. Become a Mom: I blogged about this yesterday.

18. Write My Will: This will definitely happen when we have kiddos. 

20. Pay for the Person Behind Me in the Drive-Thru: I realized that I am rarely in a drive-thru anymore. I could maybe count on one hand the number of times I have been through one since my Crohn's diagnosis. So maybe I will still do this one, if I happen to be in a drive-thru anytime soon :)

27. Go Hunting with my Dad: There was really only one opportunity for me to do this last year, but I chose to have a girls weekend with my mom instead of going hunting with the guys. But I still would like to experience it with my dad!

28. Read Through my Archaeological Bible: I made it through part of it, just not all of it before I turned 30. Call me a nerd, but I think it's SO interesting!


I am not by nature an adventurous person. I don't have this crazy exciting and uber-interesting life. But as I sit back and look at both my reverse bucket list and my {30 Before 30} list, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. I have had the opportunity for some really fun and amazing adventures, and I am so thankful for the gifts of family, friends, and community.

I am genuinely excited about my 30s, and I look forward to what the Lord has for us next. Every day is a gift, and I pray that I use the time I am given to love others well and praise the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{30 Before 30} :: Become a Mom

This. Sigh.

No, this is not a post where I announce that we're pregnant {but oh how I wish it was!} Instead, this is a post that I write with a twinge of sadness and a weary heart. I was not able to cross this off my list like I so desperately wanted and prayed for...

This is actually what first prompted my {30 Before 30} list. While the idea of a bucket list was fun {and I enjoyed crossing these items off my list}, I really created it because I needed some projects on which to focus my attention. I really didn't care that much about the items on my list, in and of themselves, I just needed some distractions from the struggle we were facing to grow our family.

Some of the items on my list were even related to this one {Sell something I have made (for a stay-at-home-mom business)...Refinish a piece of furniture (for a nursery)...Write my will (to include children)...}   

Today I am a few days past 30, and I am still praying and waiting...

I realize that lots of women don't have their first babies until well into their 30s; it's not about checking an item off a bucket list or even worrying about my biological clock. The journey to becoming parents, for us, has been a long and heartbreaking struggle. One that has been such an intimate and arduous struggle that has rocked our world the past 2.5 years.

It has been 30 {long} months and counting. So since it didn't happen before 30, here's to becoming a mom in my 30s...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello 30!

I had a really fun birthday weekend, and it was a great way to usher in my thirties! :)

We headed to iFly on Saturday morning, and I loved getting the chance to try out indoor skydiving. We were supposed to meet Mike's parents for lunch, but we were done a lot sooner than we thought, so we headed to Starbucks with Ben, Lindsay and PK to hang out for a bit. Little did I know that we were stalling for time :)

We headed over to my in-laws' and when I walked in, I was greeted by my sweet family! Mike had arranged a surprise lunch with my family and best friend, and it was perfect :)

Mike had Panera bread ready {my favorite}, Lindsay made the most amazing Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate cake {another favorite}, and I loved getting to have lunch with some of my favorite people. 

Mike had also asked everyone to write a sweet birthday note, and he compiled them into a fun Shutterfly book for me. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift that I will treasure forever. He even did a page for Sasha that was awesome :)

Hehe :)

And then I got to spend the rest of my birthday weekend with my parents! We played games, went to dinner at Rockfish, and they were able to go to church with us too. I really could not have asked for a more perfect way to enter my thirties.

Hello 30! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

{30 Before 30} :: Go {Indoor} Skydiving

I have always wanted to go skydiving. Something about jumping out of a plane sounded absolutely fantastic to me.

And then I turned 29, felt less adventurous, and got a little more sense in my brain. {Plus I heard a horrific story about a girl whose parachute didn't open...but she survived}. So my excitement turned into hesitation. Around the same time, iFLY opened in Frisco, and I knew I had my solution. All the thrill and fun of skydiving with a fraction of the risk. Sign me up!

My sweet husband bought my flight for my birthday, and I think it was fitting to go {indoor} skydiving on my 30th birthday! :)

And because videos are super fun...for your viewing pleasure:

LOVE my sweet cheering gallery!! It was so much fun and was a great birthday present from my love! :)