Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I woke up to my husband standing over me with a tray, serving me breakfast in bed. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the yummy deliciousness that he made, but I was still trying to wake up and didn't think about it till after I was done. He made me Fluffy Cheese filled Crepe's with fresh strawberries and whipped topping on top. I know, fruit and cheese right? But the cheese was actually a combination of Cream Cheese and Ricotta Cheese (the cream cheese gives a sweet taste to the ricotta). I was surprised at how yummy it was. I should have known though, everything Jacob makes is delicious. :o)

He gave me a sweet card (he apologized for buying it, he said that he didn't want me to make my own card and Tammy is at her Dad's right now so he couldn't have her make it for him, too funny). And a box of each of my favorite treats (he said he wanted to get me a box of chocolates but since I am allergic to tree nuts it's hard to find a box of chocolates that won't land me in the hospital, wouldn't that be a fun Mother's Day).

On the way to church Tammy called. It was so good to hear voice, I talk to her all the time, but I still love it. School is going fine and she can't wait to come back in a couple of weeks. Sharing custody long distance sure isn't easy. Which is why we decided to move back to Utah. I know how hard it is to grow up in the Army moving around (and we didn't even move around a lot when I was growing up). It has been nice for Tammy to not have to move around and change schools, but it sure will be wonderful to be with her soon. Jacob called his mom before church and after church I got to talk to my mom and my stepmom.

Church was great. We all got an envelope with a small booklet by Elder Boyd K. Packer entitled Blessings on the Hand of Women, a Dove Chocolate bar (no nuts! Yay!) and a bookmark. The bishop explained that if we looked at our bookmarks we would see a poem, and at the bottom of the poem initials. The initials represented the member of the bishopric who wrote the poem. The one I got was written by Brother Gray who is the 1st counselor in the bishopric.

Daughter, Sister, Wife, and Mother,
unique and precious not like another,

Into the mirror tis what you see,
A woman loving sweet and heavenly,

Daughter from Heaven, most precious divine,
Cherished above all, Eternal without time,

Sister to Sister, a bond that is strong,
Tears and laughter, enduring love long

A companion to cleave unto you his wife,
Enduring hard trials, Brings Eternal Life,

A mother is more than these combined,
She is loving, patient, longsuffering, Kind.

There was a power outage in the church building that morning so meetings were all delayed by 30 minutes. By the time our first meeting started it was already 1:30 (it's supposed to start at 1), so the bishop announced that we would only have our first meeting (sacrament) and then our third meeting (priesthood and relief society, primary would be shortened to a half hour for classes and a half hour for sharing time). So we actually left the church by 3:30.

When we got home it was my night to cook but since it was Mother's Day, Jacob cooked for me. He made breaded chicken (baked), real mashed potatoes, green beans and country gravy. Soo yummy! So, that was my Mother's Day. It was a very hard day not having Tammy with me, the only thing that kept me from crying was that she called me, and then also knowing that next Mother's Day I would be with her.

I wanted to say, to all the Mothers, Birthmothers - who make the ultimate sacrifice for their children, Sister's, Daughter's, Wives, Friends, Teachers, Happy Mother's Day (a day late).

Speaking of wonderful Birthmoms. When my friend Carly (who is Tammy's Aunt on her Dad's side, and is like a sister to me, in fact, normally I don't say she is my friend, normally I say she is my sister) found out that Jacob and I had been approved for adoption she gave me a link to her cousins blog. He and his wife had just adopted. The wife put together a beautiful video dedication to their birthmom. She used pictures of the baby's birth and a beautiful song written by another adoptive mother and sung by their birthmom's sister. Beautiful photos, amazing story, trully wonderful birthmom, gorgeous song. Here is the link on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncZ42LHHpGo

I wanted to leave you with pictures of the cards I made for my mom and Jacob's mom for Mother's Day. We mailed them out on Thursday so I don't know if they have gotten them yet. I haven't made the one for my stepmom yet, my creative mojo is taking a vacation or something, because when I sit down to make it I just can't get inspiration. But, I'm determined to make it today and mail it out to her tomorrow.

For Jacob's mom:

For my mom:

For details on both cards, you can check my crafting blog: http://mystampingworld.blogspot.com/2009/05/mothers-day-cards.html

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mid-90's in May!

This is our first spring/summer in New Mexico. We aren't used to it being the beginning of May and the temps already being in the mid-90's during the day. I mean it's almost 11:30 p.m. right now and it's in the 80's outside. I'm sure we'll get used to it.

Jacob has been working hard in the yard after he gets home from work each day and I have been taking the dog on daily walks, which I had been doing before, but the walks are getting longer and longer.
I have also been spending my time making Mother's Day cards (I'll share those on Sunday) and trying out the editting program that came with my camera (and of course housework and all the other things a stay at home wife does). I came across a blog that gives tips on photography. In this blog the author mentioned a store in SLC that offers classes for free on photography. Everything from how to use your DSLR camera, to how to work with various lighting and how to be creative in a photo session. And oh so much more. All for free! I still have a lot to learn about my camera. So when we move back to Utah I will be signing up for these classes. It'll be so fun to learn all the techniques and in's and out's. Until then I'm on my own with the good ole' trial and error learning. I'm not doing too badly.

I took a picture of a tree in my back yard with the sun peaking through.
The lighting was alright, but I wanted to try to tweak the colors just slightly and make some stand out more then others. After a minute or so of back and forth, do I like this, no, do I like that, no, do I like this, yes, I came up with this. It's the same image, just a slight tweaking of the colors.
As another example, here is a picture I took of Tammy on Easter Sunday

The sun really made the colors more faded, so I tweaked the colors. (I also used the air brush tool to fix a few Ahem, inperfections on her chin and cheek -Tammy hates the word blemish or zit or pimple)

I have to say, I love this program I have. It came with my camera so I didn't pay anything for it. And it serves it's purpose. :o)

Oh, and as a house buying update, we are putting an offer in on a house tomorrow morning. We'll see if we get it or not. It's an awesome house, in a fantastic neighborhood for a fabulous price. We have some competition from other bidders so we'll see. Wish us luck!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Moving on

We decided to cancel the contract for the home we wanted to buy. There are at least 6 code violations on the home that would have to be fixed before VA would approved the home loan. The seller owns two homes and desperately needs to sell this one. While we love this house, he doesn't have the money to make the repairs, (the repairs will be at least $15K) and we wouldn't be allowed to. VA won't allow us to do those repairs. So, we have to walk away. We love that house and are sad to let it go, but we have no other choice. We pray that the seller will be able to find someone soon. It really is a great house.

So, we are back to square 1 on the house hunting journey. I know we'll find the right one soon. We have a couple of prospects so we'll see. :)

Church today was awesome! It was the first time I have been to our ward in about a month. A month ago was conference, we listened to it from home on the internet, the next Sunday was Easter and we were back home in Utah visiting family (we went to church with Jacob's mom). The next Sunday we were traveling back from Utah (I know, probably not the best day to travel, the day before was Joe and Teresa's wedding and so Sunday was the day we had to travel. Don't worry, we listened to conference again, we downloaded it from the internet to Jacob's zune, so it was almost like church. O.k. not really, but at least we got some spiritual enlightenment). That next Sunday Jacob went to church but I stayed home. I wasn't feeling well that day. So even though I wasn't feeling 100% today I still wanted to go. It was really good. It was fast and testimony meeting in Sacrament. I always love Fast Sunday. The spirit is so strong, I mean, it normally is, but there is just something about fast and testimony meeting that is special.

Sunday School was awesome. So was Releif Society. In Releif Society they have a good news moment where everyone can share their good news. I was so excited to share with everyone that we have officially been approved for adoption. Some of them already knew through emails and of course Facebook. But it was so great to know that they are all just as excited for us as we are. I love our ward! It'll be sad to leave it when we move, but that's the great thing about the gospel, it's the same no matter where you go. Yes, sometimes you find a ward that is friendlier then your last ward, but the gospel is always the same. Of course, in our case we have been so blessed to be able to belong to two wonderful wards in our time in the military. The friendships we made while in Kansas (we were there for 5 years) will last for many, many, many years and so will the friendships we have made here.

We are having a service auction for Enrichment next month. I need to decide what service I will donate. I'm trying to decide between a making a donating a craft item, or donating a family photo session. Hmmmm..... decisions, decisions.......

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wo's of house hunting

(I apologize ahead of time for how long this is)
I knew that house hunting/home buying would be stressful, but I didn't know how stressful. We aren't moving back to Utah until the end of the summer but while we were in Utah last month we decided to look and see what was out there. We did a find a couple, one was already under contract by the time we were able to put in a bid, another wasn't in the best neighborhood, and the other one, well, we put an offer in and then realized that the bank wouldn't accept a VA loan (which we are doing) so we decided to pull the offer. Well, the one thing that did become clear to us is that we needed to look at getting a house now. With a closing the end of June it would be good timing since we are moving back in Sept. My mom said that she could go over and paint and take care of the lawn for us in those two months that it would be vacant.

So we decided to keep looking. We found one that would be perfect for us, one that we wouldn't have to do any renovations to right off but that we could update little by little to match our tastes. Most of the rooms all we would need to do is paint (some not even that because we like the colors that are currently in some of the rooms) and we could move right in. The kitchen and bathrooms could be updated as time goes on and we decide what it is that we want where. For example the kitchen, we would live with it the way it is for awhile which would then allow us the time to figure out that it would be nice to have a cabinet in this area, or the stove would go great here and so on. Well, we put in an offer, the seller counter-offered and we accepted the counter offer. Fast forward to today, our home inspection. If there is one thing I have learned from my love of HGTV shows it's never, ever buy a home without a home inspection, they cost a few hundred dollars, but they can save so much money in the long run. Case in point, most of our inspection didn't find anything major. There is a door that seperates the kitchen from the basement, the striker plate is missing, easy fix. There is no gutter plate to catch the rain coming through the gutter from the roof, another easy fix. The report goes on and on with simple and easy fixes. Easy fixes aren't deal breakers, some of the not so easy fixes weren't deal breakers. We could live with most of the report and just fix them after we move in.

Now here is where getting the inspection is a good idea. The roof...... Now this house is a mostly flat roof (reminds me a little of a lot of the homes down here in New Mexico). The roof has a slight pitch to it, but not much. Roofs like this are supposed to be tar and gravel or rolled roofing. This house however has a 3 tab shingled roof. Not good. Not only that but it appears that there is only one layer of said shingling which is not up to code. The inspector can tell you how many years you have left before you have to replace the roof. If he had said a few years, we would have been good. But he said a big fat resounding ZERO. That's right, the roof needs to be replaced like, yesterday. So we are going back to the sellers and asking them to replace the roof (to which the inspector said that it has to be a professional job because of the type of roof it is). If they don't agree then we will have to withdrawl our offer and cancel the contract. We don't want to cancel because this house, even with all the other flaws it has, would be perfect for us. I mean, there is no such thing as a perfect house. Even newly built homes have issues. But we can't buy a house knowing that we would have to pay close to $10,000 dollars to fix the roof before we can even move into it. Not to mention, VA probably wouldn't approve it with the roof the way it is anyway.

So if the sellers don't want to fix it then it's back to the drawing board for us and we go in search of a different house. Here's hoping they say they will fix it. But even if they don't, I know the right house will come when the time is right whether it's this house or not.