Monday, March 30, 2015

Currently | March

Welcoming Baby Cole, our newest nephew, who was born on March 14. 

Big sister Zoey adores her baby brother.

Reading Call the Midwife. (I purposely bought the paperback version--instead of the Kindle edition--because I wanted to be able to share it with my mom/sisters/friends when I'm finished with it.)

Holding our 10 baby chicks who are almost three weeks old. (I'm hearing tweet tweet, tweet tweet as I type this sentence.)

Hunting for Easter eggs. (Noah is having a ball this year!)

Going to church on Saturday nights now. Sitting in a pew for about half of the Mass, then playing in the "crying room" for the rest of the time. Oh, and eating at Taco Tree beforehand.

Making shamrock shakes with Noah. He wanted to watch the YouTube video over and over and over, so I had to cut him off after the seventh run.   

Appreciating the 400+ views of our adoption video. (Thank you, friends and family, for sharing the link!)

Listening to Meghan Trainor and Bruno Mars and Sam Smith on Pandora. Am I sixteen again?!

Counting down the days until my "Mama getaway!"

Watching the Downton Abbey season finale. (Looking forward to the last season...and a movie, maybe?!)

Reciting lines from Finding Nemo like "Keep swimming!"   

Utilizing a babysitter to help with Noah while Brian takes two multi-day classes (chainsaw and confined space). 

Making bird treats with bagels and peanut butter and bird seed.

Tracking my steps with my Fitbit Charge. My record so far is 16,679. Most days, though, I'm pacing around the house around 10:00 pm trying to reach my goal of 10,000 steps.

Editing photos from a friend's 40th birthday party.  

Emailing friends of friends regarding adoption. Answering questions and sharing info and enjoying helping others.

Trying out Mooyah, a burger/fry/shake joint in Rocklin. Their shakes are seriously amazing, and I love that their restaurants are kid-friendly (two thumbs up for the chalkboard wall).

Playing with Melissa and Doug repositionable stickers. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) 

Struggling to go meatless on Fridays. Breakfast and lunch are fairly easy, but dinner is kicking my butt. Any vegetarian or fish dinner ideas?

Devouring sweet strawberries after dipping them in vanilla yogurt and rolling them in brown sugar. 

Breaking out shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. Boy do I love living in California!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Carreras Family

My friend Mindy and I have known each other for years. We first met at church when we were 10 or 11 years old, then later became good friends while teaching elementary school together.

And even though I no longer teach with her, I see her at birthday parties and play dates--and even an occasional Bunco get-together!

In January, Mindy asked me to take photographs of her family and I was beyond flattered. And nervous. But I agreed to do it and I'm so glad I did.

I had so much fun capturing this beautiful family of four!

Thank you, Carreras Family!

Love & Light,

Monday, March 23, 2015

AE Story Kit | Gatherings Layout

The day after Christmas, I signed up for Ali Edwards' Story Kit subscription, intent on making at least one scrapbook layout a month this year.

In January/February, I made two layouts using Ali Edwards' "Firsts" kit.

This month, I created a Christmas tree page using the second story kit. It features papers/chipboard stickers/thread from the "gatherings" kit. (Exceptions: The star is from the am/pm kit, and the red ribbon with pom-poms is from my stash.)

At my dad's family's Christmas gathering last year, I hung a simple photo backdrop outside (thanks, Preston, for your help with the streamers!), and set out some paper props on a nearby table.

Brian helped encourage everyone to get in front of the camera. Even my dad posed for a picture!

As you likely guessed, I was behind the lens for most of the photos, but I couldn't pass up the chance to pose with a few of my favorite female family members, even if I did look like Rudolph in a few of them.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to include both a TON of pictures and A LOT of journaling in this layout. To do so, I glued all of the photos to a piece of red 12x12 card stock and then trimmed it down. From there, I adhered the red card stock tree to the kraft card stock, but only at the top.

That allowed me to flip the tree up, where I added word art cards and journaling.

For the past 25+ years, we've gathered either in the Sacramento area or the Bay area to celebrate Christmas together. What started as the "Sabel" Family Christmas now includes the Keys, Kovarik, Harless, and Meredith families. We generally gather the Saturday before Christmas, but this year (2014), we celebrated at my parents' house two days after Christmas. No matter when or where we gather, we have a great time! There's always food, presents, picture-taking, and lots of chatting and hugs! I SO LOVE these gatherings!

At many of the Christmas gatherings in the past, we've taken a group photo of everyone in attendance.  This past year was no exception. On this layout, in the area under the tree (on the kraft-colored card stock), I'm planning to display a group photo from 2014, along with any others I can find on my computer or obtain from family. (Mom & Aunts: If you have access to any group Christmas photos from the past, will you please send them my way?  Thank you!)

What gatherings have you documented lately?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Noah's 3rd Birthday Party

At the moment, I have 73 blog posts in my drafts folder. Eeek! (In all fairness, a quarter of those posts are completed and just waiting to be published on my new Wordpress site.)

Because of this, occasionally a draft post slips under the radar and doesn't get out in a timely fashion. Like this one about Noah's birthday party, which was held in early January. 

I wrote the letter that follows to Noah the day after his party, but just hadn't gotten around to editing any photos from the event. You can't have a blog post without a photo to accompany it. At least not in my little corner of the web. 

Dear Noah,

Yesterday, we celebrated your birthday among family and good friends.

We played at an indoor playground in Auburn, sliding down slides, jumping on trampolines, climbing through tunnels and throwing foam balls.

Even the big kids (the adults) got into the action!

You were running around in (what else?) your Jake costume and a Jake party hat.

It's not a party unless you're wearing a party hat, right, Noah?

You devoured a slice of pepperoni pizza, a little bit of "Jake" cake, and some vanilla ice cream.

We sang "Happy Birthday" to you, and you sang right along with us with a huge grin on your face.

You tore open your presents like a boss (you had lots of practice the week of Christmas!), and delighted in receiving more new toys.

Your favorite, I think, was the "Jake" spyglass from your grandma and grandpa.  (It's now March and you still love that thing!)

Daddy and I surprised you with a John Deere ride-on tractor (all your Dad's idea) and your very own trumpet

Seeing you so happy brought me much happiness.  Love you, sweet boy!


P.S. This was the first birthday party we've held in a location other than our home. I loved it for many reasons: 1) I didn't have to rush to take down all of our Christmas stuff: the tree, the decorations, the cards, etc. 2) I didn't have to clean our home. 3) I didn't have to think about the menu at all. Just buy the cake, some ice cream, and a few candles. 4) I spent less money on decorations. 5) There was very little clean-up, and once we walked out of the playground, we were completely done. No tables to take down, no folding chairs to put away, no dishes to be washed. 6) But most importantly, Noah had fun, Brian and I had fun, and our friends and family had fun. Outsourcing for the win!

*This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click on any link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission--with no extra cost to you--which helps to keep my blog humming along. Thanks, in advance, for your support!   

Friday, March 6, 2015

Adoption Update | Winter

As I mentioned back in this June blog post,  I'm making a more concerted effort this time around to document the adoption process--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 in September:

  • UPGRADED to a paying subscription on Adoptimist. (Adoptimist is no longer offering free profiles.)  
  • MAILED out more pass-along cards to friends. (Thanks to those of you who requested them!)
  • SHARED with our priest that we're looking to adopt after a fellow parishioner mentioned to me that there was a woman in the church considering adoption. 
  • ANSWERED questions from friends and acquaintances and friends-of-friends who are interested in pursuing domestic adoption. (I'm always willing to share what I know with others who are thinking about adoption or want some advice about how to navigate the process. If you have questions, email me at:
  • PAINTED the nursery walls gray. I can't take any credit--it was all Brian! (Thanks, Babe!)
  • WORKING with a videographer to create a 3-minute video about us and why we want to adopt again. To be honest, I'd much rather be behind the camera than in front of it, but I see the value in a birth mother or birth parents being able to view us on screen and hear us tell our story. (When the video is completed--hopefully in the next few weeks--I'll be sharing it here on my blog as well as on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook.) 
  •  DECORATING the nursery. I know some of you might be thinking, But wait, you haven't adopted the baby yet. You haven't even matched yet. I totally hear you. My husband thinks I'm a little nuts, too. Smile. But I just know in my heart that it will happen. And right now, decorating the nursery is helping me to prepare for our daughter's arrival--whenever and however that may come. Even though I've never met her, with each purchase I make, with each picture frame I set up, with each outfit I hang up in the closet, she's growing more and more in my heart.
THANK YOU all for your continued support of our dream to adopt a baby girl. Truly!

On days when I'm feeling slightly discouraged, I pull out the pages of supportive and loving Facebook comments you left for me back in early June--when I first announced our desire to adopt again--and I re-read every. single. kind. word. 

Your thoughtful and sweet comments always bring a smile to my face, and remind me how many people are praying for us and supporting us and pulling for us and loving us through this process.

I think Paul Coelho had it right when he wrote: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it."

Huge hugs,

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