Today we completed the last step in our home study by attending our approval meeting. There are a few small things I need to send in (the paperwork never, ever ends) but our books are with our agency and ready to be shown to prospective birth parents. Even though we have been preparing for this for almost a year now, its pretty surreal to know that the waiting portion is here, and there is no control we can have over the future. God has really worked on our hearts though this process and strengthened our faith, without which this would be a very frustrating time I’m sure.
We have gotten so many questions about what exactly a “life book” is and how our agency will use it in the adoption process. These family profile books are used to help birth parents get to know potential adoptive families before any personal relationship is built. The books can be done several ways, but we chose to create a 50 page hard cover book which we had printed through Blurb. When birth moms come into the agency, they look through all the available family books that fit within their adoptive family wishes and eventually decide to move forward with one family. That family then gets a copy of the birth parents social medical history, and either agrees to continue with meeting the birth family, or declines for whatever reason.
The task of creating a book to share the personality, beliefs, and heart of our family was a daunting one, and proved to be harder than I imagined. Even as a designer by trade, finding the right words and images to convey an accurate picture of the fun and joy of our family, extended family and friends was not easy. This book is something we will treasure for the rest of our lives, as it plays a huge role in bringing home our baby, and we know it will be a part of their story and the legacy we hope to leave.
Last April we posted about our sons new big boy bed and have had so many comments and emails about how we did it! This post isn’t quite the tutorial we had initially planned on putting together, but given the time constraints on our family lately, we wanted to at least post as much detail as we had to hopefully help some of you build something similar for your loved ones! Hope you enjoy and let us know if you have any specific questions!
Nace and I have had a major heart shift over the last year or so, and part of this change revolves heavily around our finances. We were living super comfortably in our more-than-enough home, constantly comparing our Instagram feed to our neighbors’ and thinking up new ways we could update and customize our space. I’d like to say that this change happened overnight for us, but the truth is, we are still struggling with all that comes with our new adventure.
While God impressed on our hearts the freedom that could come with living debt free, our house seemed harder than ever to keep up with. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed with all that needed to be done and the abundance of space we had somehow seemed to suffocate. We wanted out. We wanted simplicity. We wanted space to breathe.
So, we began searching. We looked for months, and everything felt close but not quite right to what God had for us. To say it was a hard season doesn’t even touch on what we went through emotionally. We knew we were on the edge of something great, but the constant draw toward comfort, debt, and conformity seemed to take the life out of us at times. We walked through weeks and months feeling like our comfort, security, and marriage were under attack. But we blindly walked forward, taking one step at a time, and our faithful God led us to the light.
Last October we purchased a sweet little farm house and property. It’s not what we pursued, not what we envisioned, but it’s exactly what we needed. The road ahead is long. As you’ll see from the images below, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But our dream of living a debt-free life is now firmly in our grasp. This new home will cut our monthly mortgage by 3/4 and square footage in half and give us the freedom, simplicity, and space we were desperately searching for.
The struggle is still very real and changes from day to day. But we are learning to delight in the difficult seasons, because we know God is breaking us of our self-sufficiency and teaching us to fully rely on Him. We know that God’s timing is not a coincidence, and this change is exactly what makes our dream of adoption possible.
The original layout has a lot of potential but just won’t work for us functionally. We have begun demo to open up the living space and rearrange the bedrooms a bit. Although I change the “proposed layout” just about every day, below is the current plan we are working toward.
During Christmas break we began demo of the existing interior walls and kitchen. Let me tell ya, demo day really is pretty fun. They aren’t lying on Fixer Upper. And our son Maddax had a blast helping us. He probably said, “This is awesome!” about 12 times that day. After a weekend of hard work, we have opened up all interior walls, and the space feels so much larger.
The next year is guaranteed to hold a lot of change and discomfort for us, but we will move forward through it all, holding tightly to the promise God has planted in our hearts and on our life.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” —Jeremiah 17:7-8
Is this real life? Is my kiddo three years old? Is he running like a mad man, talking in full sentences, and acting like a grown up on occasion? Yeah, I think so. Let me go cry my eyes out for a minute. I’ll be right back…
If you don’t know Maddax personally, I’ll let you in on a little secret: he LOVES donuts. I mean, who doesn’t? But this kid will ask me every morning, without fail, if he can have one. Mind you, we have only stopped for donuts ONE time before. This is not a recurring occasion for our family, and he has really only had them a hand full of times in his life. But I guess the sugary crack of that sweet glazed dough ring has hooked him, as it has hooked the world for generations.
Thus, Dax’s Donut Shoppe was born.
Stop scrolling if you want to hear how I made the cake…
Deriving inspiration from this super pretty sprinkle cake I set out to find some blue and green sprinkles, which was actually harder than I thought. Enter etsy. Simply Baking Supplies can pretty much make any combination of colors you could ever want, and they are affordable and super great!
This cake cost us less than $10. Local bakeries (the grocery store kind) are seriously so great. I ordered a white whipped frosted cake ($5) and had them sprinkle the goods around the borders prior to pickup. Easy peasy.
To say we love plants may be an understatement. This year we bought seeds and are growing them in our office using a 24-hour light. Eventually they’ll live in our front garden. But for now? It’s safe to say we have a gardening problem. And when I say we, I mean Nace…because if I touch pretty much any plant, flower, or tree, they’ll instantly turn to mush and die. Having a green thumb is definitely not a talent I possess.
This weekend we went to Lowe’s to purchase a hedge trimmer and came out with all the pretty things instead. So we decided to at least make it productive for our followers and share how we repot succulents from store to a pretty new pot. Nace has mastered this over the last few years of trial and error with other soils, drainage systems and pots. This is the solution that has worked out really well for us keeping these hardy, but sometimes sensitive plants alive and thriving.
Check out the video below to see how we repot our succulents to allow for proper drainage eliminating stale water and root rot.
– Cactus Potting Mix
– Clay Pellets (We used ODLA pellets from Ikea, but you can find something similar at Lowe’s or Home Depot.)
– Large Succulent
– Sedum Garden Tile
If you have questions about your succulents feel free to comment below. Don’t worry, I’ll ask Nace and relay an answer back to you. ;)