Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tax Returns, Adoption and Other Stuff
We sent in our taxes two months ago and recently received a request for more verification before they release our adoption tax credit. Big surprise there. From what I have read, that has been pretty normal for most people trying to claim the adoption tax credit. So we sent in the verification and continue to wait.
We are getting excited about our Congo adoption. The girls and I are planning how their room will be set up when we start making the house ready for a new baby (or two). We have always planned on adopting two children from the DRC at one time. However, we had my brother in law and sister in law's kids living with for three weeks and that has us questioning whether it would be wise for us to adopt more than one at a time. We'll see what happens. We are open to two, but are not sure we will specify that we want more than one...make sense?
Also, if anyone has suggestions for a good agency to get your home study through in Minnesota, please let me know. We are looking, but haven't decided on one yet.
We found out that our neighborhood has a neighborhood garage sale planned for early in August, so we are planning on having our Adoption Garage Sale at the same time. I've started sorting through stuff and have a pile that is growing. We are excited and antsy to be moving on with this adoption! I want to hold my baby (or babies)!
Grace and Hope are growing like weeds...well, mostly Grace is growing like a weed. Hope is growing, but at a slower, steadier pace. Grace grew out of all her pants seemingly overnight in February, and when we bought her new pants, she only fit in them for about a month before moving on to the next size. Sadly, though, she still won't be able to hand down her month-old pants to her younger sister, because even in that short amount of time, she wore right through them. Ah well. Eventually, Hope will be thrilled that she doesn't get many hand-me-downs from her sister.
We've decided to continue school throughout the summer, though at a more relaxed pace. We missed a full month of school when we moved and the kids just get so BORED without school. On the days I have declared "No School" days, Grace inevitably begs to have some schoolwork to do in the afternoon and Hope is just restless and a tad bit crazy. So we will continue going through workbooks, reading A LOT, and playing educational games as much as we can. We are hoping Nana can come down for a day and teach a watercolor painting class. The kids would eat it up! 
We've recently joined a new church that is pastored by one of my husband's old friends from college. It is a small church about twenty minutes from our house. For such a small church, there are a lot of children and our kids love being able to play with so many friends at church. It has been a bit of an adjustment as it is much different than the big church we were members of in Louisville, but the change has been good for us and is growing and stretching us in ways we were not expecting. It has been amazing to watch this church change and grow a lot in the last few months. There is a love of scripture and a growing love of the Gospel. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We Are Still Alive

Our lives have changed SO much in the last two months! We moved across the country (again), to a place where we basically knew no one, though extended family is only a couple hours away now. Everything is different. Our house, Steve's work schedule, our church, our daily schedule, the grocery stores (don't get me started on that one), the people/culture here, we're in a totally different kind of neighborhood (definitely a good change), have no close friends nearby, and the list goes on and on. I think we were in a bit of culture shock for the first few weeks. Our bodies revolted against the move to a new climate/state and we were constantly sick the first three weeks we lived here.
Thankfully, we are starting to get into a routine and are finally feeling a little more at home in our new town. I can find my way around fairly easily, a huge blessing for my directionally challenged brain. I have not yet figured out a good strategy for grocery shopping, but I'm working on it.
 We are thoroughly enjoying our new home, which is three times bigger than our last house. The first day we lived here, I hardly even saw the girls. I just heard their voices as they moved from one part of the house to another, exploring every nook and cranny. Pictures of the new house will be forthcoming, but I wanted to get a couple rooms painted and decorated before showing everyone the house. We bought a rather dated 1950's ranch house with 3,000 sq. feet. Yay! The space is amazing. I have pretty much unpacked all of my kitchen and still have empty cupboards. Just last week, I realized that there were drawers in my kitchen that I had never even opened! Our basement has been taken over by all the boxes we have yet to unpack, but the main living area of our house is coming together and feeling more and more like home all the time.
We are currently having our taxes done and are excited about possibly starting the ball rolling once again on our Congo adoptions! I have not yet restarted my Etsy shop because I haven't unpacked my craft stuff yet, but hopefully in the next few weeks, I'll get to that. The girls keep talking about their "brothers". They cannot wait until we are able to bring their new siblings home. Maybe this year or next year. Lord willing, it will be soon. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Countdown Has Begun

14 days. That's all the time we have left in Louisville before we head for our new home in Minnesota. Well, our temporary new home at least. We can't close on our new house until mid-February, so we will be staying in temporary housing for a few weeks. The mixed emotions of moving are becoming more intense as our time here grows shorter. We are so excited to finally be moving, buying a much bigger house, and living in a much better neighborhood, but with all that comes the huge sadness of leaving our beloved Immanuel Baptist Church and all our friends here.
The girls and I were given an unexpected blessing of being able to spend an extra day with one of my closest friends this week. Though the cause of this extra time was not fun- a broken furnace and a gas leak scare- we just loved spending the day with our friends. We are going to miss them SO much. My favorite baby boy gave me lots of smiles and hugs that day too-another added blessing. :)
This week will be spent packing and cleaning and trying to cram in some more time with friends. It feels like it has taken forever to get to this point, but I am pretty sure that from here on out, the time is going to FLY.
Once we are finally in our new home, we will hopefully have more to say about our Congo adoptions, but at this point, that is on the back burner as we are gearing up to move across the country. I've been following a few blogs of other people adopting from the Congo and have been encouraged by the progress in their adoptions. Lord willing, we will get things moving soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Steve got the job in Minnesota!!!!!!!
It's been a bit crazy over here the last little while. We finally sold our house in late November. Yay! Thankfully, the new owner is allowing us to remain on the property and rent from him until we are ready to move to Minnesota.
 In December, we finally received word that Steve had, in fact, gotten the job, so the day after Christmas, we headed for Minnesota to do some house hunting. Can I just say that house hunting is a tad stressful? For our family, the most important part of the house is the kitchen/ dining area and we are looking for a house we can comfortably live in for the foreseeable future, so we wanted to at least like that part of the house we will buy. Let me just say, WOW. Who knew so many people thought of the kitchen as an afterthought? Seriously, some of the kitchens we saw looked like they had just been thrown together after the rest of the house was finished. Yikes.
After two days of house hunting, Steve and I were both hit with an awful stomach bug. I have never been so sick in my entire life. We are still feeling the effects of the stomach bug in that food just isn't as appealing as it once was and we get full a lot faster now.
Anyways, we found a house we both love and put in an offer. In typical "Minnesota nice" fashion, instead of asking the sellers to respond in a certain time frame ("We could ask them for a specific date, but we just don't do that"), the sellers are given "reasonable time" to respond. Which could, of course, mean anything. We are definitely hoping to get this house, but have our eyes on other houses hitting the market just in case. If we get this house, we are hoping that we will be able to move in early February and I can't wait to start painting and decorating. :)
On the adoption front, DRCongo's elections are over, and while they were not perfect, things seem to be settling down. As soon as possible after we move, we will be having our home study redone and then will send in our dossier and get on the waiting list. The kids are having a hard time understanding how long it could be before we get their "brothers from Africa". Grace is convinced we are getting two boys. They seem to think that as soon as we move, Steve and I will go pick the new kids up. Sadly, it won't be quite that fast.  But I think we will finally get the ball rolling and be able to get on the waiting list. I read this article yesterday. Life in DRCongo is hard. We are praying that God would bring our babies home quickly.