Friday, January 6, 2012

Fancy Framing

(In an effort to update my blog a bit more regularly, I'm trying out the Blogger app on my iPhone. Probably old news to most folks, but as I'm new to the iPhone, the app is totally new to me! Please excuse any typos or formatting errors.)

When we purchased our current home, we planned on it being an investment property. We got a fantastic deal in a growing community, so nearly five years ago, we were immediately set to make a profit. Almost as soon as we closed, the market tanked, and retail development in our area halted. Property values haven't increased, and the market -- particularly in our area -- has only gotten worse.

Despite that, we're at the end of our five-year plan, and our family has grown in such a way that we've totally maxed out our space. Sure, with some creative organization, and with the relinquishment of my hobby room, we could live here for a while longer, but we're far from church and friends, we're on the backside of road construction between home and James' office, and we want a bit more out of our "forever" home. The time has come to list and sell. The house isn't on the market yet, but it will be soon.

In an effort to make our house show better, we snagged a new-to-us sectional and chair at a thrift store, pieces covered with neutral, kid-friendly fabric that fit better in the space. We got them for a steal! Then, inspired by the Thrifty Decor Chick, I've been "shopping the house," pulling together pieces I already own and reconfiguring them in attractive ways. I'm most pleased with what I've done with the metal hanging rack I snagged at a thrift store for $7 four years ago. I hung it over an otherwise boring mantle, and I used it to frame a canvas of our most recent family picture. Antique books, a free clock, and clearance tchotchkes round out the display. This might be my favorite home decor effort to date!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Because You Can't Backdate a Baby (A Wrap-up of Sorts)

I'm notorious for backdating posts, setting aside my very busy life for a while to catch the blog up with all our goings-on. But you can't backdate a baby, or the finalization of an adoption, or the progression of terminal cancer, or the decision to begin homeschooling again, or Christmas. So, I won't. I'll allow the space in this blog to remain to mark the overwhelming spiral that has been my life of late, and here at the very end of 2011, I'll look ahead and plan to stay more in touch with the blogosphere, documenting our nonsense for all who care to keep track.

2011 has been a doozy of a year. James and I were discussing recently that this year our friends have taken it upon their sweet selves to bring us meals on five different occasions for entirely different needs. For someone who doesn't like to ask for nor receive help from other people, that might indicate just how overwhelming our year has been. For a solid week, I've been dedicating daily time to this post -- this one right here -- trying to bullet point all our year, but a week later, I was only able to list our year through June, so I ditched that effort in favor of this very quick update.

Our year was busy and overwhelming. We decided to adopt, we got pregnant, we were matched with a newborn seven weeks after our initial application, my mom got cancer and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, I traveled to New York City with my friend Marcie, my pregnancy progressed and I indulged my insane nesting compulsions, I attended school full-time, I finished my degree with concentrations in English Literature and Sociology, we enclosed part of our game room to make way for baby, we spent a week in Florida with our friends Marcie and Tobey, we drove from Texas to Iowa to buy a Dodge Sprinter (a van large enough for our growing family), I continued to help lead the infertility/pregnancy loss support ministry at my church, we finalized Elleigh's adoption, we had a baby (hello, Piper!), we celebrated birthdays and holidays, we used season passes to a nearby water park, We traveled to Oklahoma and throughout Texas a number of times, I assisted my sister-in-law as she labored with my newest little nephew, my mom underwent prophylactic brain radiation and had an awful reaction to it (spending a touch-and-go week in the ICU), we traveled to speak on a parent panel at our adoption agency, we were invited to lead the Foster/Adoption ministry at our church, I began homeschooling Bub again, and then we celebrated Christmas. Whew. I know I'm leaving some stuff out, and even this is just the big stuff. This doesn't even begin to cover the neverending laundry pile that five children generate.

And that's the other thing: FIVE CHILDREN. Our Christmas card last year featured our little family of five. Five total. Now, we have five children! Our family has grown so much in one year's time that I couldn't even bring myself to go buy stamps for this year's cards. I chuckle thinking back to my 2011 resolution post, the one I posted right after a "failed" adoption. I wrote, "All along, though, as we've discussed and prayed about this specific opportunity for adoption, we've prayed for God's perfect will to be done. That is still our prayer. We're trusting her decision to parent is His plan, and in that, He has a better plan to satisfy the longing that remains in our hearts. We were sure hopeful, though, that a little set of sweet baby twins was part of His plan to redeem the years of heartache and loss... I'm hopeful 2011 will prove to be a year of growth and blessing in the family way." Clearly, I had NO IDEA what God had in store.

I still don't.

I feel hopeful here at the beginning of 2012. Though I'm in survival mode right now, still nursing constantly, still not sleeping through the night, I feel like there are good things on the horizon. Of course, there are those not-so-good things, too -- there always are -- but regardless of what's coming my way -- good or bad -- I know the Lord is constant and in control. We're open to more family growth, but we're very likely not pursuing another child this year at all. I need some sleep! We are hoping to sell our current house in favor of a "forever" house, but with the market as it is, that will take some serious miracles. Then, with regards to my mom, she still has cancer, and it's still considered terminal, but she's feeling healthy and her most current scans look really good. I'm hopeful she'll live through all of 2012.

Whatever the year holds for us, I pray your year is amazing,
full of all manner of good things.

Blessings to you and yours...

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