Monday, September 15, 2014

Adoption Update | Late Summer

As I mentioned in this June blog post,  I'm making a more concerted effort to document the adoption process this time around--not only for me (I enjoy rereading old posts from time-to-time), but also for people who might be interested in learning about how private domestic adoption works.

Here's what I've done since the last update:


  • CREATED AN ADOPTIMIST PROFILE | Recently, our attorney told us about Adoptimist. She said several of her clients have connected with prospective birth parents, thanks to Adoptimist. I created a free profile for now and may upgrade to a paying subscription in the future.   

  • SHARED PASS ALONG CARDS | A big thanks to those of you who have requested cards. I thought we might have one or two people ask...but so far, 15 of you (awesome folks that you are!) have requested cards. Even a few college students are posting them on their campus bulletin boards--thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • PURCHASED A FACEBOOK TIMELINE TEMPLATE | The Facebook timeline, pictured at the top of this post, is available from this Etsy seller. (All photos in the timeline were taken by Mindy Newton of Mindy Newton Photography.)
And here's what I want to do going forward:

  • PREPARE THE NURSERY | I'm fairly certain that we're going to keep all of the existing nursery furniture (crib, rocker, changing table), but I'd like to repaint the walls, change the bedding and drapes, and display some new art. Oh, and hang a few pom poms from the ceiling. I adore them!
  • SHARE | Continue to tell others about our adoption dreams, both in person and online.
  • PRAY | We've been praying for a baby girl since we started the process, but we'll continue to pray and hope and wish and plan (reminds me of that Wishing and Hoping song in "My Best Friend's Wedding") until our daughter joins our family.
I also have a few adoption-related stories to tell you, but I'll save them for a separate post--coming soon!

Friday, September 5, 2014


playing with a new macro band for my iPhone from Photojojo.

eating gobs of fresh fruit--pineapple, peaches, pears.

writing posts for my new Wordpress blog, which I hope to roll out this winter.

running on Thursday mornings (when I am kiddo-less for close to two hours).

discovering that the CR2 (raw) files from my new Canon camera cannot be edited in my current versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.  Enter Adobe Creative Cloud!

laughing at this blog post Brian shared with me.

singing "Let It Go" several times a day. ("Frozen" is Noah's favorite movie right now.)

picnicking several times a week in our local parks.

dancing to Bean's Roller Coaster remix with the littles.

reading The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind and Jo Frost's Toddler Rules.

wondering if Nicholas Sparks will have a new book out this fall. (I hope so!)

feeling grateful for the friendships I've formed through Mountain Moms and Little Folks.

looking forward to CreativeLive's Photo Week 2014, an online event with tons of FREE photography classes, which will be held September 15-20.  

What's {currently} happening in your world?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer List 2014 Update

Each summer, I love creating a Summer List. It gets me excited about the season--about being outside more and soaking up the sunshine and frolicking in water and enjoying time with family and friends.

For the past two summers, I've completed nearly everything on my list. (Here's a look at my 2012 list and my 2013 list.)

And then this summer happened. Things came up I hadn't anticipated. God sent a few large curveballs in my direction. My priorities quickly shifted, and I had to make choices about how I was going to use my free time.

Truth be told, because I'm a Type-A person, that didn't sit well with me--at least initially. I yearn to do, do, do and go, go, go, checking items off my list and accomplishing as much as possible. I get older (and hopefully, wiser), I'm learning to breathe...and just recognize that "it is what it is." I'm learning to be grateful for what I do accomplish, instead of focusing on what I don't get done.

Here's a look at what I did this summer:

1 | Get my Nikon D700 repaired and shoot away!
Check! I did get my Nikon camera fixed, but then I sold it--along with ALL of my Nikon lenses and gear. A few weeks later, I bought a Canon 5D Mark III! Yep, you read that right: This summer, I made the HUGE leap (well, huge for me!) from Nikon to Canon, and I'm really happy I did.

2 | Finish sewing 6 pillows for the family room couches.
Still to be done. I'm slightly embarrassed to write this, but the truth is, I made one pillow cover and it looked s-o-o ridiculous that I promptly packed up my sewing supplies and moved on to the next project on my summer list. Then, a few weeks ago, I asked a seamstress how much she would charge to sew six pillow covers and she said $60. I know that's A LOT of money, but I just may take her up on it, so I'll have some pillows on my couches before say, next summer.

3 | Complete our adoption website.
Check! I put a lot of time and effort into our website, and I'm pleased with it. Hopefully, it will help us connect with more birth parents. 

4 | Start a photo journal, adding one new photo per week.
Still to be done. I didn't get around to creating a photo journal this summer, but I want to make it a priority this fall. 

5 | Visit Oregon with Brian's family.
Check! We loved visiting Bandon, Oregon.  What a beautiful town!

6 | Indulge in a massage.
Still to be done. The gift certificate (from my thoughtful hubby) is riding around in my purse, and I'm hoping to cash it in soon.

7 | Host a play date with friends.
Check! We spent lots of time with friends--at our home, their homes and several local parks.

8 | Go on at least one date per month with Brian.
Check! And we have an August date scheduled for this weekend.  (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

9 | Hike with family and/or friends.

10 | Attend a county fair. 
Check! The photo above was taken at the Nevada County Fair earlier this month.  

11 | Swim with Noah.
Check! We swam at several friends' houses and at two local pools.    

12 | Finish an article about search and rescue dogs and submit to a magazine. 
Check! I'm still waiting to hear whether my article has been accepted.

13 | Create a scrapbook layout about Noah's name.
Check! If you missed it, you can view it here

14 | Explore how to build a free little library for our neighborhood (with help from Brian).
Still to be done. I've pinned ideas to a Pinterest board and I hope to make this a reality in our neighborhood in 2015.

Your turn: What did you see/do/experience/eat/create this summer?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

On My Nightstand

I titled this post "On My Nightstand," but the truth is, my books and magazines reside on my tall dresser. That way, little hands can't touch them or rip them or accidentally write on them--if say, they happen to get their hands on a pencil somehow.

Here's a look at what I'm reading right now:

A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book
This is a fun book to flip through, what with its assortment of beautiful photographs and unique DIY projects. I'll definitely browse through it again when I need a creative jump start.
The Conscious Parent
I learned about this book and its author, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday show. I've only read the first few chapters, but I'm intrigued by some of her parenting ideas. In particular, I'm drawn to her beliefs that in order to be good parents, we must examine 1) who we are; 2) how we were raised; and 3) how we want to interact with our children.

The Orphan Train
I've had a hard time getting into this book. I keep picking it up, reading a few pages, and then setting it back down and moving onto another book. 

Parents magazine 
I don't subscribe to very many magazines, but this is one that I consistently enjoy reading.  

Me Before You
I know it's not technically on my nightstand, but I'm currently reading this Kindle book on my phone. Of all the books I listed here, it is my go-to read right now.  I'm 40% in and loving it!

What's on your nightstand right now?

*This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click on a link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission, which helps to keep my blog humming along.  Thanks for your support!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


This month, I'm playing along with Susannah Conway's August Break 2014.  What is it all about? Essentially, it's an invitation to take ONE photo a day all this month.

It's rare that I participate in a photo challenge, but I loved that this one a) includes a daily email with visual goodness (aka beautiful images) and a few photo tips.; b) basically has no rules (think: anything goes!); c) has a decent size community of women and men (1500+) participating.

I learned about #augustbreak2014 from Ali Edwards, but I've been a fan of Susannah Conway since reading her book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart.

Have you read it? It's part memoir, part creative journal, and I loved it. Maybe I should use the present tense: I love it.  It lives on my iPhone in the Kindle application, and even now, two years later, I go back and reread sections of it and try out some of the exercises.

I could go on and on about Ms. Conway's book, but let's get back to the August Break.

It's only the first week of the month (we'll see how long I make it), but I'm enjoying documenting my everyday life. My goal each day is simple: To snap a photo, edit it (if I have time), and post it to Instagram.

Here's a look at the first five photos I've shared.

 August 1 | Our niece, Zoey

 August 2 | Jelly Beadz

 August 3 | Cousin Love (theme: window)

 August 4 | Orange Toys (theme: orange)


August 5 | Hello Praying Mantis (theme: three)

Want to play along, too?

Instagram: Use the hashtag, #augustbreak2014.

Flickr: August Break Flickr group

If you're sharing your photos on your blog (like I'm doing here), be sure to add your blog to this blog roll

Happy shooting and sharing!

*This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click on a link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission, which helps to keep my blog humming along.  Thanks, in advance, for your support!
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