Friday, June 28, 2013

The First Miracle

Guess what happened?!?  I asked for help selling cards and you came to the rescue!  You viewed my shop, purchased cards, and shared the link.  As of this post we have raised $498.50 for our adoption!

That in itself is MUCH to celebrate.  We are a quarter of the way to our goal to completely sell out the Spectrum of Amber Etsy shop and add $2,000 to our adoption fund!

However, it gets so much better...

This week we sent in our first check to our adoption agency.  The check we wrote was for $500.  Five hundred dollars.  Only $1.50 more than what money came in through the Etsy shop this week!

Talk about God our PROVIDER!

No coincidence can explain that.  So many different people ordered different items and different quantities.  There would be no way on earth to plan it so that it came within 2 dollars of the money we needed this week.  Absolutely...hands down...a God thing.  

THANK YOU for being part of the miracle.  You are putting smiles on our faces!

(And if you want to make it a miracle of abundant provision, you have until midnight to purchase one card to push us over the $500 mark!  Then we can say God gave us even MORE than we needed this week!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thank You!

The Spit-Up Game Onesie

Thank you, faithful readers, for taking action on Monday's blog!  Since that post, our family has been able to transfer over $300 to our adoption fund as of tonight.  Glory and praise to God!  He is doing great things!

Here's some interesting data - since I first posted links to my Etsy shop on Monday, the store has had 303 visitors.  With a quick calculation, that means the store is averaging a dollar per visitor.  Permit me for a moment to do some more math.  I know, I know - it's SUMMER!  But I'll do the math and you can just read about it...

I need to sell about $1,700 more to completely sell out of everything in my shop and add a total of $2,000 to our adoption fund.  If the Etsy shop is averaging a dollar per visitor, we need 1,700 more people to walk through its virtual doors.

I'd be so honored if you could post a link to my Etsy shop on your Facebook page or mention it in your blog to help increase the traffic.  And please PRAY that God would move in even bigger ways to move every last card off the shelf.  And don't forget about the fun onesies, either!  I'm including a picture so you can see their cuteness (only to be outdone by the cuteness of my friend's daughter who is the model).

Here is the link for you to copy and paste:

If you need help linking the shop, just give me a shout and I'll walk you through the process.  Again, THANK YOU for your prayers and support.  I feel so small in light of your kindness and generosity.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Little Something Goes a Long Way

We are in the process of preparing our home, hearts, and finances for another adoption.  Since January we have been financially preparing to adopt again by aggressively tucking away every penny in order to reach our goal of having a fully-funded adoption account in one year. 

To help us reach our goal, I've decided to sell off all of my Spectrum of Amber inventory.  Did you know I started a business in 2009?  It was a wonderful, creative endeavor that ushered me into a new chapter of life.  However, since becoming a mom I have learned how very little free time I have now (read: none).  I hope to pick up my business dream again in a few years when life settles down a bit, but for now I can use the blessing of the business to bring another child into our home.  Will you help?

My business was mostly focused on cards I printed from my photography, but I also designed a hilarious onesie that I had printed up too.  My items are available on Etsy.  Would you take a moment to look at my Etsy shop and see if there is anything you could use?  I've had a lot of people buy the card sets and give them away as gifts for teachers, coworkers, gift exchanges, etc.  You'll have to check out the bird house card too.  I had a realtor buy some of those to give away to her clients upon the purchase of their new home!  So please check it out, perhaps there is something for you there.

And would you also consider posting a link to this blog post or one of the Etsy shop links below on your blog or Facebook page?  My hope is to sell out of EVERYTHING, thus adding $2,000 to our adoption fund.  That would be amazing.

Thank you so much for considering doing a little something.  Together our little somethings will go a long way...all the way to Ethiopia.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

3 + 1 = 4

Our family is pursuing another adoption!

We are so excited to announce that it is our intention to grow our family again through adoption!  We had a wonderful, wonderful experience adopting Feven, and our family has been so blessed by her presence.  Daily I am amazed at this incredible child God created.  

There are some knowns and quite a few unknowns at this point.  We are open to one or two children (same as last time) and we want to adopt again from Ethiopia.  Our age window is a little broader than last time and we are not specifying gender.  These parameters leave a lot of room for surprises!  :)

Surprises seem to be a common theme in adoption.  When we began our first adoption, we were planning to adopt from Peru or Bolivia, and we were thinking of adopting twins.  When all was said and done we ended up with one child - a girl! - from Ethiopia.  So as we begin this next adoption focused on adopting another child (or children) from Ethiopia, we understand that the path we have begun may lead us to a place or a child that we didn't initially expect!  We look forward to traveling along this path in the next few years and seeing who we can welcome into our family.

As with our last adoption, we will keep praying that we will not be needed.  The desire of our hearts is that every child would be raised with their biological parents in a safe, loving, healthy home environment where all of their needs are met.  If this cannot be the case for a child, we have told God, "bring 'em our way!"  So now we wait again with open arms, ready to love.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feven's New Kitchen!

We spent all of naptime Friday putting the finishing touches on Feven's kitchen.  Here is what it looked like before we added her cooking toys.  The "sink" is a small metal bowl we bought for about $0.20 at the thrift store.  The faucet was purchased on Craig's List for $5 and the stovetop burners are spray-painted cds.  The burners are sitting more to the left because we're still hoping to find some old knobs to mount on the right side of the stove so Feven can "turn on" her burners.  

This is what her kitchen looked like when we added the pots, pans, dishes, food, and an actual kids' oven mitt I found at the thrift store!

When Feven woke up we went in her room and told her we had a surprise for her.  We opened her bedroom door and she could see the kitchen down the hallway.  She said, "Ooooooh!" and went right for it. 

The first priority was chocolate chip cookies.  (They were delicious)

One piece of equipment that fascinated her was the battery-powered mixing bowl.  While using it she exclaimed, "How 'bout that!"  Here is a video clip that shows her using the mixer.

All in all it was a HUGE success.  I think that since Friday, the kitchen is the only toy that she's used!  She has cooked a lot of things including spinach muffins, coffee, pizza, cucumber hot dogs, corn, pear soup, ice cream cones, and lots and lots of cookies. 

What a fun project this turned out to be!  Here is one final look at the before and after:

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Sneak Peek at Feven's Birthday Present

Zac and I have been spending nearly every spare minute working on building a kitchen for Feven as her Second Birthday present.  On her actual birthday we gave her some of the play food and cooking equipment, but the REAL present is yet to be delivered.

We plan on presenting her with the kitchen after her nap today, but I couldn't wait and just HAD to show you pictures of it in process!  It is turning out to be very cute.  I'm so glad that a friend of mine suggested this project to me - it has been fun building it and I know Feven is going to absolutely love playing with it!

Per some internet ideas and directions, we started with an old entertainment center.  We got this one from Craig's List for $10.  The guy we purchased it from was so kind he even loaded it up and delivered it to our home when he realized how small our vehicle was!  Here is a picture of the "before" (although in this photo we have already taken off the doors...and cut out a hole for the sink!). 

We tried to sand it down well so the paint would stick.  We were partially successful.  I imagine there will be some scrapes after Feven starts playing with it, but I'm trying to tell myself it will be okay.  We didn't build this to be a pristine mini-kitchen that sits for show in our living room; we built it to be a fun, well-used toy!

Once we primed the entertainment center, it really started transforming!  We had leftover primer from various other paint projects, so it added no additional cost to this project.

We painted the left upper and lower cabinets all white to be the refrigerator.  The center cabinet is black for the oven and has a gray cook-top above it.  We used some leftover paint from our bathroom to paint the walls surrounding the sink/cook-top area a blue-green color.

Here you can see the shelves back in the refrigerator.  It's really transforming!

There are a lot of things I'm already loving about this kitchen, but my favorite is the picture that we chose for above the sink.  We found an old frame at the thrift store, painted it, and framed this picture to make it look like it's a window.  When Feven stands at her kitchen sink, she will be looking out of her "window" at a view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  I'm thrilled to infuse another part of her life with her birth heritage.  I think this picture also shows the blend of high-rise city and countryside well.

 Here is the picture hanging above the sink area.  Isn't that fun?!?

And here is my man, working hard on putting the hardware back on the doors.  I'm grateful for his knowledge and leadership in this project.  He patiently taught me how to use some of his power tools and talked me through tasks I hadn't done before.  An unexpected bonus of this project was the time he and I got to spend together working in the garage. 

Tune in Monday for some photos of the finished project and Feven receiving her gift! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Few Feven-isms

1.) She is obsessed with ants when we play outside.  She likes to pick them up and "hug'em."  I've noticed that the ants are very still while they are on her fingertip.  I think it has something to do with the amount of pressure she uses to pick them up...

2.) One day Zac was taking out Feven's hairstyle before bedtime and he said, "You know, I think she has really healthy hair."*  Ever since that time, Feven has been smooshing her hands into her hair, rubbing them around and remarking, "Helfy Hair!  Helfy Hair!"

*If that isn't a comment from a sweet, doting father aware of African hair care, I don't know what is.

3.) Feven is in and out of the bathroom while we get ready in the morning and has become very interested in deodorant.  Recently she was given some hand-me-down toys and in the collection was a purple plastic cylindrical bottle.  You guessed it, she thought it was deodorant.  You can find her throughout the day lifting her arm up like a pro and putting on her "deodent"

4.) In the last few days we have removed her booster chair and have been letting her sit on a regular chair at the kitchen table.  We are teaching her to say, "May I be excused?" when she is done eating and wants to leave the table.  She has actually caught on quite well and is so proud of herself when she says it.  The only problem is that the sentence, "May I be excused?" comes out sounding to me like, "happy juice."  My first instinct is to think she's asking for more juice.  I'll catch on soon...