Friday, October 21, 2011

Yup, I Decorated with a Sharpie

I know everyone is trying to design on a dime these days, but when you are living on one income, you really have to make a penny (or ugly lamp) stretch. I kind of hate these combo floor lamps from Wal-Mart.  They look like they belong in my college dorm.  However, we have only 3 windows in this house, no overhead lighting, and no money to buy new lamps, so I have to make them work.

First I tried to pop off the plastic globe on top of the lamp and put on one of my favorite white drum shade.  I didn't take a picture of it because it was just too ugly.

Then I remembered this post where Sherry used sharpie on a cup, and I thought, "Hey, why not?"  I whipped up a stencil using an index card, based on my all time favorite stencil used in the JDC Office (Emily is a creative genius).  I had to adapt the pattern a bit to fit the cylindrical shape of my plastic lamp.

Much to my delight, it worked!  Bonus - I already had a teal sharpie!


I am in love.  Or at least, as Ron Swanson would say, "She'll do.  She'll do just fine."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bethany Christian Services Benefit Fundraiser

Next week, Herb and I have the honor of speaking at the annual benefit fundraiser for Bethany Christian Services.  We are so excited to share our story.   If there is time, they are also going to share our special video.  If you live in the central PA area, please consider yourself invited!!

:: Breakfast & Silent Auction :: 
Thursday, October 27, 2011, 8am 
Calvary Church, Lancaster

:: Dinner Banquet & Silent Auction :: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 6:30pm
Spring Garden Conference Center, Middletown

To RSVP to this {free} event, please call 717-399-3213 or email

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Boxes still clutter corners and my brain is going to explode from lack of organization soon, and yet on Sunday night, I could not suppress my need to create any longer.  Thus, my first DIY project in our new home!

"Look Herb, someone typewritered on our wall!"

"Typrewritered? Seriously?" Herb asked.

That's the best way I can describe the font called 1942 Report, one of my favorites!

I have to give credit to my friend Steph, who has the quote in her nursery, and also note that it comes from one of my favorite songs, How He Loves {with some artistic liberties taken}.

I like this quote above our bed for several reasons...
1. It has the word love in it.  {In the song, the line is "If grace is an ocean we're all sinking."}
2. The word love applies to Herb and I, but also is a daily reminder to me about how much God loves us, too.
3.  I really wanted to put a vinyl quote above our bed because we have a huge king size bed so I needed something that could take up a large space, but that could also be created on the cheap. Since I already had all the materials on hand from other vinyl projects (here, here, and here), this was essentially free!

First, I designed the lettering using 1942 Report font in Sure Cuts A Lot.  I cut the words at 5 inches on the Cricut.  I ended up using about 12 sheets of 6"x12" black matte vinyl.  If you are cutting vinyl on a Cricut, set the speed to 2, the pressure to 3, and the blade depth to 3.   This will cut the vinyl without cutting the backing.

Black vinyl is available at craft stores, and costs about $10 for two 12"x24" pieces.  I bought my vinyl from H and H Sign Supply.  You can get black vinyl {or just about any other color} and it costs $3 for a 12"x36" piece.  If you Google around, you might be able to find a coupon code, too.

Also, you should know, if you are making your own wall quote, you also need to buy transfer tape.  Once your vinyl is cut, you peel away the negative space so your word alone is still on the backing.  Next you lay transfer tape over the vinyl, peel away the backing, and place the transfer tape and vinyl word on the wall.  Gently remove the transfer tape, and ta-da!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Walking, Talking, and Scribbling

Today Levi is 14 months old.  And although I said I was not going to do monthly updates anymore, I realized since his birthday and the craziness that ensued over the next few weeks, I have not recorded a number of milestones that I don't want to forget.

Levi started walking the day before his first birthday.  He took two steps alone and then decided it was too much work.  Around the end of September he started being able to take four or five steps, but still favored crawling to walking.  

His younger cousin Joelle started walking when she was 8 months old, and so I think seeing her helps keep Levi motivated.  At this point he walks awesomely just holding my hand, and tonight walked really really fast all the way from his changing table to the bathtub (he still loves water!).

He started really babbling a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't until moving day that I realized sometimes he is actually saying words, and it's not just a coincidence...  

Melody was watching Levi the night we moved crammed our furniture into the new place.  During dinner she said, "Chris can you pass the bread?" Excited, arms flapping, Levi exclaimed, "Bread, bread, bread, yeah!!"  So, I'm going to count that as his first word.  (13 months old)

He pretty consistently says hi, bye, bread, juice, daddy, mommy, baby (whenever he sees a picture of himself), cheese (as in the picture taking, not the food).  Some other words I'm pretty convinced he's said, though only once, were Josh, Jocelyn, red, and Grandpa.

Levi is ALL about playing outside in his Cozy Coupe.  He hasn't figured out how to make it go by himself, but that's not an issue since there are several neighbor kids at the new place who love pushing him around our parking lot (oh yeah, we have a parking lot!).

He had his first major fever two weeks ago.  After several tests and a doctor visit, the only thing we can chalk it up to is teething - apparently canines are way worse than molars for this little guy.  He was consistently rocking a temperature of 102 for four days, and one night it even spiked to 104!

He has learned how to scribble. Look at his leg in the above picture. Enough said.

And finally, I need to record this for future embarrassment and black mail - Levi giggles when he gets baby powder sprinkled on his man parts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Parenthood

Today marks the first anniversary of our parenthood (read about last year here).

While I know I'll spend the day in awe of the way God's perfect plan has unfolded, and the way my son loves his momma, I can't help but think of the pain that this anniversary brings for others.

But praise God, there is hope as well.

Dear sweet Levi,

In just one short year, you have touched so many lives.  You are teaching me unconditional love, faith, trust, and patience.  I can believe that a year has passed since you came into our lives because I can't remember (and don't want to) what life was like before you.  It seems a world away.  Spending every day with you is a blessing so great and being called "mommy" is the best privileged of all.

Today is your "Gotcha Day," but I don't think we'll celebrate it in the way that some adoptive families do.  There will be no parties, balloons, or circus animals.  However, as you grow older, I want to spend this day talking with you about your first family, answering your questions about adoption, and telling you about the huge hole in our lives that you filled.

I'll tell you about the day we found out you existed, and the morning we found out you were born.  I'll show you the email through which we were contacted, and video of the first moment we met.  We'll look at pictures upon pictures (at this point, we have over 1,000 of just you!).  We'll talk about all the prayers that have been answered, and the beautiful relationship between God and his children that your adoption demonstrates.  I just can't wait till you're old enough to understand all of these things (although I'm surely not rushing things along).

I love you so much.  Happy October 12th.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our First Anniversary

I'd been thinking about it all weekend, but not sure what I wanted to write about the anniversary of the day I became a mom.  As I mulled around some ideas, my thoughts were pleasantly interrupted by an email from  Jen.  She wanted to say "happy anniversary" (how thoughtful!) and shared two poems with me.  One written just over a year ago around the time of Levi's birth, and the other written just today.

Jen is such a talented writer.  As you read, you may notice how sensitive and personal her thoughts are, but because we both love the transparency of open adoption, she gave me permission to share her thoughts with you.

A beautiful family
So promising and new
This is what I have come to think of
Every time I see you

A troubled beginning forgotten
In the light of a better tomorrow
Surrounded by love and opportunity
No room for fear or sorrow

I hope and pray that one day you see
That this truly was no sacrifice
Though it may have hurt to let you go
Their joy, to me, was worth that price

You were no mistake or accident
God blessed us all with your life for this
A family is no longer missing a piece
And you will end every day with a hug and kiss

Some days are still quite hard for me
Sometimes I begin to worry
I wonder if you will come to hate me
Or if your memory of us will be faded and blurry

I pray that as you grow
In both maturity and years
That you will find your place in this world
And this gift you were given will become clear

A little boy with the wonderful fortune
Of not just one family, but two
One the Lord chose to bring you to the earth
And one to experience the delight of raising you

Jen, your openness, bravery, and love never ceases to amaze me.  I always hoped for the most open of adoptions, and prayed to be chosen by someone who I could build a relationship with.  You are the answer to so many prayers.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Um, Probably

On Tuesday, Levi and I celebrated Jen's birthday by having lunch with she and Savannah.  We ate at Ruby Tuesday's (which, unfortunately, was mediocre).  It turns out that at noon on a Tuesday, the majority of Ruby Tuesday customers are senior senior citizens.  As in, so senior you wonder how they even drove there.

Needless to say, Jen and I were both trying to be sensitive to how messy and noisy the kids were.  Overall, they did a good job, so we were really surprised when a fellow (elderly) patron walked up to our table as we were finishing up.

Savannah and Jen were sitting on one side of the both, Levi and I on the other, but the kids had been shuttling back and forth the whole time.

So the lady addressed Jen and said, "I just have to tell you, you are such a good mother."

Jen blushed, but eeked out a "Thanks."  I was so happy that Jen got such a nice compliment; I feel the same way, but I don't think she gives herself enough credit sometimes!

Then almost-four-year-old Savannah piped up and said, "What's your name?"

The old lady sweetly replied, "Ella.  Is this your little brother?"

Jen and I looked at each other with mild panic on our faces.  Not so much because we were worried about what Savannah would say, but probably more because we've never had to "explain ourselves" before.  I would have been happy to tell Miss Ella about the wonderful aspects of open adoption, but I wasn't sure if Jen was ready to talk so openly about it with strangers.  And judging by the look on her face, Jen was either a) still blushing from being called a good mom or b) thinking the same thing I was.

After some thinking on Savannah's part, she finally answered Ella's question. "Um...probably!"

Jen and I lost it.  We laughed so hard, and poor Elderly Ella was probably wondering what was so funny.  So then she asks both Jen and I, "Well whose son is he?"

And without missing a beat, we replied, "Both of ours."

In hindsight, she probably thought we were lesbians.

At this point, Elderly Ella got the drift and left us alone, and I informed Jen that this WOULD be going on the blog.

A few minutes later, Savannah, Levi, and I headed to the bathroom while Jen gathered up our things at the table.  Mr. Elderly Ella stopped us, unaware of our encounter with his wife, and said to me, "These kids are so good!"

"Thanks, I think so, too!" I answered.

"So are they brother and sister?"  Mr. Elderly Ella asked.


"So they're yours?"

I just avoided his question and said, "Yeah, they are really good kids," and walked away.

I think Jen and I need to come up with some clever comebacks or answers to questions the next time things come up like this.  I LOVE telling people about adoption and how special our open situation is.  Plus, it usually makes for a really good story, too!