Saturday Seven (on Monday)

1. I watched this interview between Michelle Obama & Matt Lauer the other day. I don’t take in a lot of news or politics so I have not heard many interviews with her. I’ll be totally honest and tell you I found the link because of a blogger mentioning that the First Lady wore a $34 dress from H&M during the interview.  I just wanted to see her outfit. I really have no comments on what she said but, oh my goodness, Matt Lauer is annoying.

2. D went to the Desiring God Pastor’s conference a couple weeks ago and was able to hear Francis Chan (among many others) speak. He picked up these for the boys and even got one of them signed by the author. Super cool.

3. D2 had his Valentine’s Day party at school on Friday (I’m not sure why it isn’t today). He had to write his name on 25 valentines in order to pass them out to his classmates and teachers. On Thursday evening, when we were trying to get the last few done, he sighed and said, “I wish I didn’t have so many friends.

I bought printable valentines on Etsy this year.

4. At last week’s appointment with our adoption worker, we found out that the boys adoption could be completed as early as June! I’m really excited for this possibility. I have been hoping that things would be complete by September so we could enroll D in kindergarten with his new last name.

5. The worker also asked us what we planned to name the boys. We are keeping their first names the same but changing their middle and last. We had not talked about it enough to be able to give her an answer last week but it is fun coming up with some ideas.

6. In case you need something else to occupy your time, ladies, let me introduce you to Everybody, Everwear. The pick a clothing item each month and bloggers post pictures of the outfits they come up with. You can link-click your heart out. Enjoy!

7. I popped into Whole Foods yesterday (a store I kind of hate but is a necessary evil for some gluten-free staples) . The peppy cashier asked me, “Do you have any fun plans for tomorrow?” My thought: “What? Why does she want to know about my Monday? Oh, its Valentine’s Day.” Needless to say, Valentine’s Day was not at the forefront of my mind. I figured I better do something for the boys (all three of them) and, luckily, there were Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the Walgreen’s next to Whole Foods. Two boxes, wrapped in red tissue paper. Done. And, yes, I did let my kids eat cookies for breakfast this morning.

Saturday Seven

Ready for some light reading? There has been a lot going on and my brain isn’t ready to put any of my more serious thoughts into blog format yet.

1. Continuing with my goal to make one new recipe a week, Thursday night we had rosemary-lemon chicken (inspired by this recipe) and honey-mustard carrots (inspired by this recipe). I have to say inspired by because I didn’t follow either recipe exactly.

With the chicken, I had a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloin. I cut them into small size pieces (think chicken nugget size), tossed them with olive oil, the juice from half a lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, and four small cloves of minced garlic. On a lightly greased baking sheet, I stuck them under the broiler for 10-12 minutes.

For the carrots, I didn’t have Dijon mustard, just honey Dijon. I boiled about 25 baby carrots in water for 15 minutes, drained the water out, melted one tablespoon butter mixed with a tablespoon of honey mustard. Tossed the carrots in and added a small amount of water. I turned the heat way up to make the honey mustard/butter/water combo more saucy. I didn’t add sugar like the recipe suggested.

I liked the chicken and carrots a lot. I served it all with some wild rice from Trader Joe’s. D told me he was glad he didn’t live in an Asian country (I guess he didn’t like the rice). The boys didn’t love it but that was not shocking.

2. D2 and I had a little talk last night (after dinner led to some bad behavior) about eating foods that we don’t love. We talked about how being in a family means sometimes we eat foods that are not our favorite, like when Mommy eats hot dogs because her boys love them. I realized that they still don’t totally understand what a family is even though we have explained that a few times. Still something we are working on.

3. We had our first meeting with our adoption worker this week. It was pretty uneventful but I am so glad to get the process started. She estimated 4-6 months to have things completed. I promptly called our doctor’s office after she left to schedule physicals (required for by D & I to complete things). The woman on the phone said the soonest she could get me in was February 28th. What?!? I told her we were trying to get physicals to complete adoption paperwork and she somehow found appointments on February 4th and 7th. So, I guess that is called playing the “adoption-card.”

4. I have this friend, Katie. She is really cool and younger than me. A few weeks ago, while shopping Old Navy’s 40%-off-clearance-items-deal for the boys, I saw a cute red, gingham shirt (like the one pictured) in the women’s section. I though, “Katie would wear that and look so cute. I’d look like a farmer.” But I bought it anyway since it was about $5. I ran into Katie a few days later and she was wearing a blue-version of the shirt and looking oh-so-cute. So, when she came over the other night, I bravely tried out my shirt for the first time. She approved but I think I still look at bit like a farmer in it.

5. I’m still looking for the “perfect bag” (really stupid, silly problem…I know). After searching Etsy, I’m a bit worried that a cotton, fabric bag won’t hold up for my lifestyle (toting fruit snacks, water bottles, etc.) I saw a new bag from Fossil on jill gg’s good life for less and that got me curious.

(one, two, three & four)

I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $40 on a bag (and that was in my childless-working-full-time days). But I think a really good bag would be something I could use for a long time. I hoping for sales from Fossil. Maybe some online coupons. A generous donor (just kidding). Any of these four would be fantastic.

6. Kelly’s Korner did a link-up yesterday asking people to share a link to their adoption story. And yesterday, I saw this great post on adoption as well – she is a total inspiration to me. I love hearing other’s stories and learning from other adoptive families.

7. I’ll close with this. Wednesday, night I was approached by A with the question, “Mommy, you be Spider-mahn?”

Can’t say no to that.

Saturday Seven

1. I do have my first memory verse done. I made a little song for it and was able to memorize it quite easily. Here is my next one:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1, ESV)

2. Both D and I related to this article from Paul Tripp this week. I keep feeling the need to re-read it.

The task is way bigger than our ability us as parents, but we are not our children’s messiah, and we are not left to the resources of our own character, wisdom, and strength.

3. The main reason why I need to be reminded of this article often is because we have some boundary pushing going on here. I’m not sure if it is just that the boys are more comfortable or what exactly is going on. My guess is they are acting their age. The most recent frustration is that simple instructions (like “Put on your coat”) are being met with “Why?” or “No.” (both said with a hint of attitude) or just a flat our refusal to follow instructions. As you can imagine, this is getting pretty exhausting and I spend a lot of time feeling like the bad guy. I keep talking to them about respect but I’m not sure I’m explaining it well. Any thoughts? Really, I’m open to suggestions.

4. And as much work as they are, they are just ever so cute and fun…

What could be more fun than a laundry basket & a blanket? Well, let me tell you. Having your mom and dad either carry or push you around in a laundry basket is pure delight. There are literally hundreds of toys in this house. This activity occupied them for about forty-five minutes. And I’m counting it as a workout.

5. Remember my whole goal of one-new-recipe a week. Well, this week I marinated chicken is something I had not used before. And that is going to have to count. I do have a roast planned for this week that I have not tried before though.

6. We are waiting on pins and needles for Baby Slagel to arrive. I realize that I didn’t share any of the photos here from the shower we threw for him and his momma back in November (it was the same day we met the boys for the first time). Here are just a few…

7. In talking with Marcia about the diaper bag she picked up for her little man, I told her I needed a bigger bag to tote around matchbox cars, hand sanitizer, quick activities and a plethora of snacks. Here are a few from Etsy that might just work…

(found here, here & here)

Saturday Seven

1. I have to admit something. I stopped reading the blog that hosts 7 Quick Takes Friday a long time ago. There is nothing wrong with it but it just didn’t make it when I cut my blogroll by fifty-percent. But I like doing these short, quick posts every-once in a while so I kept participating but it felt wrong. Thus, for 2011, the Saturday Seven is born.

2. I almost didn’t even want to look back at last year’s resolutions. I already know they were not all accomplished but here is a run-down:

  • Become parents: done. And I don’t think we are doing too bad a job (but I’m always open to learning how to do it better)
  • Read thru the Bible: Not so much. I read half of the Old Testament and the Gospels. It just did not happen this year.
  • Eat at home: Mostly done. We enjoyed our CSA this summer but it was way more food than we could handle. I still need to figure out how to cook for four people, including one with a food intolerance (me) and three with very limited food preferences.
  • Read five books: Well, I did not read all the ones I listed but I did read To Kill a Mockingbird, I’m Down, Cringe, Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood, The Help, Growing Up Black in White, The Girl in the Orange Dress, and The Connected Child. Plus, a lot of children’s books (notable mentions go to Grace for President, Corduroy, The Hello, Goodbye Window, The Jesus Storybook Bible and Bear Snores On).
  • Get in shape: Hah! Our elliptical machine stopped working and we gladly said goodbye to it last week via Freecycle. I ran like four times. I took many walks pushing a two-year-old and large baby this summer. But, no, I did not get in shape.

3. Things that did happen in 2010 that I did not predict:

  • I got my nose pierced (after wanting to do so for nearly 10 years).
  • We bought a mini-van. We are now one of many, many silver mini-vans on the streets of the suburbs of Detroit.
  • We cared for six children in our home – five boys and one little girl. I didn’t expect to have this many placements our first year of foster parenting. And I didn’t expect to love being a mom to a little girl so much (after years of saying I only wanted boys, M changed my mind).
  • Enrolling a child in preschool at the private school my husband and I attended. Eating my words.

4. Goals for 2011…

  • A new wall color for the living room, hallway and kitchen
  • Finally watch the tutorial DVD that came with my camera
  • Memorize 24 Bible verses
  • Connected and happy boys
  • More prayer, more Bible reading, more journaling/writing
  • Cook one new recipe per week

5. Some things I am really looking forward to in 2011…

  • The arrival of my best friend’s baby boy (any time now!)
  • A new niece in March…or February 🙂
  • Preschool soccer games
  • Reading books on our new iPad (I’ve already started with Same Kind of Different as Me). Our house is being overtaken by books – I am happy to have this space saving way to read.

6. My favorite television shows of 2010: Mad Men, Parenthood, 30 Rock and Modern Family. My favorite movie on 2010: The Social Network (although, most others didn’t stand a chance because I could not stay awake for them).

7. Here is my first verse for 2011…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Style Friday

In honor of National Adoption Month, I have an adoption-themed Style Friday. I’ve mentioned before some of the work my friend Heather has done for us. She is this amazing blend of organized and super creative. Usually you don’t find those characteristics in the same person. She opened up her Etsy shop, pipe|up, a few months back. I can’t wait for the day when we get to mail out one of these.

(That is Heather & Ross’ little girl, Analiese, serving as the lovely model).

Her shop has great options for birth announcements, holiday cards and lots more. Besides being really talented, Heather is a loyal friend and has been incredibly supportive. Make sure to keep pipe|up in mind for all of life’s celebrations.

 

Style Friday

I watched about half of the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. A few of my favorite shows won big awards. I thought Jimmy Falon was pretty good. I thought Tina Fey was robbed (but, I’ll admit, I overly identify with Liz Lemon so I think Tina should win just about everything). I probably watch too much TV. My viewing goes in spurts though since we don’t have cable and rely on Hulu and Netflix to catch up on shows. I’m usually a season or so behind on things but I’ve come to prefer watching shows on DVD without the commercials and all the waiting to find out what happens next week.

I don’t have a lot of patience, you see, which is why I prefer television to movies these days. It takes a really good movie to hold my attention.

But this is a post about fashion. There were lots of navy blue dresses worn on that evening and I loved them all. Julie Bowen was definitely my favorite but all the ladies in navy looked just lovely.

As lovely as these dresses are, navy is pretty safe and I appreciate someone who takes a fashion risk.

I saw all these ladies pop up on “worst dressed” lists but I have to disagree. It is nice to see something besides the norm and each of these ladies have the personality to pull it off. Perhaps the most “talked about” dress was January Jones. It grew on me the more I saw it. We can’t expect her to dress like Ms. Betty Draper all the time.

So there you have it: a fashion opinion from someone who spends most of her week in black yoga pants and a t-shirt. Usually accented with a bit of spit-up or food stains. I’m not complaining. The thought of walking a red carpet is just terrifying to me and I’m content to live vicariously through these women a few award shows a year. I’m quite happy in my world.

*Photos from InStyle

7 Quick Takes Friday

Total randomness…

1. I wanted to say something about Dr. Laura last week. I used to listen to her show. The more I listened to her, the more I disagreed and the angrier I got. After hearing the conversation with the caller that caused all the controversy last week, I’m really glad I stopped listening to her a long time ago. Anyway, this kid really says it all:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2J_e1e_zXk]

2. Maybe you like Dr. Laura but you don’t like what she said. Does this discredit her authority to you? She has written a lot of books that many people like. Last year, I had interaction with a well-known pastor that caused me to stop listening to his sermons and reading his books. I’m guessing I agree with him on the about 90% of things but this one thing really irked me. Maybe I’m too hard on people. I would hope people would grant me more grace than I’ve extended. Sometimes I’m really stingy and selective about forgiveness and mercy. Anyone else have this problem? It is probably time for me to reconsider my take on this guy.

3. We are working on a wall in our room to put pictures of all the kiddos that come into our lives through foster care. We are planning to do this on the wall opposite of our bed. It will have three picture ledges and I thought it would be nice to incorporate some verses. Thankfully, I have an incredibly talented friend who was able to work this out for us. Check out Heather’s new Etsy shop, pipe | up, for all your creativity needs.

4. We are working on a third verse for this project. D says it has to be something from the New Testament. Any suggestions?

5. D sent me this gem from Desiring God today. And I also really excited that I finally figured out how to post videos on the blog.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbS6XsY85dI]

6. I stumbled on Joel Dewberry’s Modern Meadow line this week and think I’ve finally settled on some fabrics for bedding for the crib. Right now, the crib is in the blue room but it may move back to the yellow room at some point. I’m planning a double-sided crib skirt that can be rotated based on which room it is in at the time. Here are my favorites from the line:

7. I’m ready for the fall. I love jackets and sweaters and scarves. I bought a classic wardrobe staple with my Gap Groupon: a new jean jacket. Gap has their models wearing these jackets with jeans, which I find awkward. I’ve opted to wear it with a dress or khakis. Anyone else find anything fun with their Gap Groupon? There was not much that interested when I was in the store this week. The style there seems to have changed quite a bit.

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

Style Friday

I think I have mentioned before how much I enjoy my co-workers. They are fun and make work so enjoyable. We are a small non-profit with an all female staff and mostly female volunteers. The other staff women have children around my age and two of them are nurses. Besides our moms, they are the best resource for all my kid-related questions. I get child-rearing advice from them in exchange for providing them answers to their computer related questions. No, I’m not an IT professional but they seem to think I am.

In my “youthfulness,” I’ve mentioned that we might want to expand our dress code at work to include jeans. The clients we serve are young (usually under 25). After thinking about it some more (and after one of our volunteers brought it up), we voted at our little staff meeting on Tuesday to allow “work appropriate denim” in the dress code. I was so excited that I spent one of the kids’ nap times this week designing “work appropriate denim” looks for each of them on Polyvore.

For our boss, the Executive Director…

For yours truly, the Director of Advancement…

For our resident foodie and Director of Client Services…

And for our Nurse Manager, who actually wears scrubs to work but I didn’t want to leave her out…

What a stylish group. Of course, I did not take into consideration the cost of any of these pieces while designing the looks. All the bags in these sets are well over $1,000. As one co-worker put it, this was like playing grown-up paper dolls. You may notice there is drink ware in each of the sets. We like to match of coffee mugs at work to our outfits. I know two the sets have wine glasses (we do not drink wine at work) but that was just a little something fun for me and my foodie-mentor.

All the talk at work about denim got me thinking about Levi’s new jeans I had heard about on a style blog. I stopped in at Levi’s this week to have them measure me and determine my “Curve ID”.  One of their Curve ID Fit Experts (i.e. the 17 year old girl working there) determined me somewhere between the Demi Curve and Bold Curve. After trying on a few pairs, I fell in love with a pair of Demi Curve Straight leg jeans. I didn’t buy them but added them to my wish list.  I tried on the skinny cut as well and they just looked a little too harsh. This is starting to sound like an ad for Levi’s. Maybe they will send me a free pair.

Anyway, playing around on Polyvore brought me back to my high school years when I dreamed of going into the fashion industry. I’m sure glad I ended up in a job that is much more rewarding and gave me the opportunity to hang out with such wonderful women.

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I’m very thankful that God gave me a passion for foster care and adoption (and kids, in general, really). But that said, that passion for me can at some times turn into a total obsession to a point where I can’t think about much else. I sometimes worry that I talk about it too much and that I’m driving people crazy. It also makes me think that anything I read or take in should fall into these categories: foster care, adoption, orphans, attachment issues, trans-racial families or other related topics. My brain sometimes feels like it is going to burst with statistics and I even sometimes find myself browsing photo-listings of waiting children trying to figure out how to put a sibling set of six kids from Arkansas into our house. I’m feeling like I might need a bit of a break from all this information. And thus, the next six takes will be non-child/foster care/adoption related.

2. D and I enjoy watching Last Comic Standing which is usually on for a short time in the summer. We are totally through all the available seasons of Mad Men. We finished The Wire (D’s second time through). Nothing else we really want to watch is out of DVD yet. This really makes it sound like we watch a lot of TV but it is usually limited to an hour to a hour and a half at night after M is in bed and during T’s last feeding (usually around 11pm). I cannot really find anything else we want to watch right now but maybe that just means we should read some books. Last night we ended up watching the ridiculousness that is LeBron James which just made me annoyed and then totally bored.

3. Speaking of reading, I asked for suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. I picked up this one at the library this week but the next two on my list are The Help and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I’m excited for some lighter summer reading.

4. D and I have continued to read through the Bible this year as well. I’m about 10-15 days behind in my schedule but I think D has stayed on track with his. I’m giving myself until January 15, 2011 to finish, which I think is fair considering the craziness of our lives this year. Reading through the Bible this way has given me some insight into books I would like to study more in the future, specifically Job.

5. I purchased a mid-century-ish dresser on Craigslist this week for $30. I’m hoping to refinish it with a stain and add new knobs but that depends on the state it is in after I sand it down. If a new stain is not an option, I’ll probably paint it white and it will end up in one of the kids room’s. I’m going to follow the tutorial from Young House Love. And I will definitely be adding some fun liners to the drawers.

6. Last night we headed out to Toys R’ Us to pick up a birthday gift for our favorite, red-headed three year old girl. It was a little challenging for me because I wanted something that wasn’t covered in Disney Princesses.  Seriously, did you know there is a Disney Princess Baseball Bat. That doesn’t even make sense. I’m not completely against this stuff but I really do not like buying it. After I spent some time voicing my anti-Princess thoughts to D, we found something that I think will be a fun summer activity for our niece.

7. And now, a mini-Style Friday:

{1} Something to finish of the bathroom makeover (Red Poppy & Sunshine print) {2} This would look perfect on our bed & show off our Michigan Pride (Wool Felt Michigan pillow) {3} Something to add to the kid’s room (Peace Be Still print) {4} Pretty little things to wear with summer dresses (Carousel Earrings)

*Hosted at Conversion Diary

Style Friday

Last year, I had started getting things ready for the kids’ room. We kept the paint as it was (Warm Muffin by Behr), I bought this print and was gifted this alphabet one. I thought I had some direction with where I wanted to go with the room.

And, suddenly, S arrived. And I don’t think he cared at all what the room looked like. We bought a new bed while he was with us because it offered some versatility. It can either be a single bed or bunk bed (depending on how it set up). We also have this crib which can convert to a toddler bed and a friend lent us a cradle. We are pretty much covered for sleeping arrangements for whatever combination of kiddos come into our lives.

I am confident that nesting is not something brought on by pregnancy hormones but just something that women do when they are expecting a child. The room has worked well for so far but I cannot help but want it to be perfect and warm for the kids as long as they are with us and for any future kiddos.

This week, the room was on Ohdeedoh as a “Good Question.” I did get some good ideas there (as well as a lot of people’s opinions on foster parenting). The room needs to be gender neutral and flexible. I think I’m going to use orange and turquoise/aqua blue as accents in the room.

This week I found a few things at Target that I’m going to use. The bedding looks really, really boring in this picture from but it is really cute in person. And I love these orange dot sheets. I may just buy another set and make the crib skirt out of the flat sheet.

I have found a few cute pillows on Etsy that I think I will buy and switch out based on the kiddos with us at the time. The ones not in use can be use in the reading corner that is going into our basement (but that is a separate post).

(From Livin4Prim & PersnickityPelican)

I’m still looking for a rug, blankets (in aqua/turquoise) and curtains to help block out the light during nap time. I have some ideas for closet storage and organization as well. But, of course, all of this will happen in stages due to time and budget constraints. I’m open to suggestions!