Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Goals Recap

Each year I make goals. Several years ago I was very good at documenting our goals for the world. It was a great measurement and helped hold me accountable. Life has gotten busier and I've scaled back on my goals. This past year we set very specific goals as a family and had them up in the kitchen all year long. It was different than previous years because I didn't update you each month. However, I did take stock every day when I got dinner ready because they were staring at me!
My word for the year was obedient and Jarrod's was open. We did not complete each goal, but only because many of them changed! Here's our recap...

1. We did NOT complete the foster process, but probably would have had we not had a baby dropped into our laps. This goal probably should have been more bold and said, "adopt a baby". We nailed that goal!

2. We did not meet with an investment expert in March. We were a little behind on our financial goals in March and pushed it off until April. And then we got the call that we were going to adopt and put everything on hold to save funds for the adoption! Thank goodness! We now have retirement and kids college going but were thankful to be able to put that goal on hold to fund our adoption.

3. Scheduling intentional fun time as a couple and a family was crucial this year because of the chaos we experienced. We weren't exceptional at it, but we did do it and were mindful of it even in the most difficult of seasons. I'd say we did have one fun family day/time each month and probably about that for couple time too. We did have one weekend away without the kids, one night away without the kids, and one week of family vacation this year. Add to that multiple trips to the zoo, a few outdoor concerts, food trucks, and some movie nights at home, and I'd said it was a very fun year!

4. We challenged ourselves to meet each week to go over the budget, calendar, adoption forms, and schedule fun. We didn't do this EVERY week, but we did do it most weeks and it was incredibly helpful. Some weeks were more challenging but we did have on the calendar once a week to meet. We added in going over the menu plan at this meeting, which was incredibly beneficial after adding a second child with Jarrod in school!

Jarrod's Goals
1. He's taking 9 hours during the semester, took 6 over the summer, and 3 during this January term. He's on point to graduate in May of 2016! We had to have a come to Jesus meeting about this, but it happened and lit a fire under him!

2. Jarrod wanted to get good grades. He takes school (this time around) very seriously. However, when our daughter was born right in the middle of him taking 6 hours of class, we re-evaluated his desire to get straight As. Getting good grades is important, learning and taking this seriously is important, however, getting straight As cannot be the goal. Graduating and still having a healthy family relationship needs to be the goal. We re-evaluated this goal and he STILL got straight As last semester!

Leanne's Goals
1. I did walk most days. I probably walked 350 days this past year, but I didn't track it. This year I plan to make the same goal and track it using the Way of Life app. I'm already obsessed with it. I've walked at least 2 miles every day of 2015 so far!

2. I fundraised by MAY thanks to incredible donations from incredible people. It was SUCH a relief to have the fundraising done when we were focusing on bringing our daughter home. An incredible blessing!

3. Figuring out my next journey wasn't clear at the time. I wasn't sure if that meant quitting my job, adopting a child, picking up a new hobby, or adding in a new routine. I felt stuck and needed to get unstuck. Adding our daughter to our family got me unstuck in so many ways. I got a new job, have new routines, and have created a new rhythm for life that feels much more healthy. Life is still crazy, but in different ways.

I look forward to sharing our goals for 2015 soon!
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Baptism Invitations and ideas!

I've intentionally kept Sister's name off the blog for privacy's sake. However, today I'm going to share - Sister's name is Eloise Catherine. We call her Ellie, Sister, Ellie Cake, Ellie Cate, and Eloise, said in a very sing-songy voice. That has nothing to do with today's post...

When we were expecting Eloise, we knew that scheduling her baptism would be a challenge. I work in one church and work on Sunday mornings. Jarrod works at another church and works on Sunday mornings. Our dear friend and baby match-maker is a pastor and also works on Sundays at a 3rd church. Eloise's birth family is dedicated to a church and are busy on Sunday mornings. Baptizing our baby on a Sunday morning seemed impossible.

However, as United Methodists, we believe in baptism done in corporate worship. It is a sacrament meant to be done in community. It is not intended to be a private or secret event, but rather is a covenant between a community and a family. We firmly believe in being surrounded by friends and family as we commit to raising our child in the church. We love the liturgy that creates a covenant between the community and the family that together we will support each other to raise that baby to know Christ.

That being said, we began discussing Eloise's baptism before she was even born. We knew we wanted our dear friend to have a significant role. We knew we wanted her birth family to be there, if they desired. We knew we wanted our friends to be there - many of our friends work in churches on Sunday mornings. And we knew we wanted our baby baptized in the local church. We wanted as many folks from the local church to be there. We wanted it to be a big huge worship service, honoring God, and celebrating Eloise.

We scheduled Eloise's baptism for Wesley's birthday weekend in the afternoon. It meant that family that needed to travel could come for just one weekend and get Wesley's birthday and Eloise's baptism all in one shot. It is a time and day that is somewhat convenient for everyone we know that works in the church. It's proving to be a slightly chaotic weekend because Jarrod's in a January semester class this week and next. But we're making it work, even in the midst of the threat of terrible weather.

Following Eloise's baptism we are celebrating with friends and family at a great Methodist tradition - a potluck! We're making chili, corn bread, and will have cakes - one for Wesley's birthday and one for Eloise's baptism. The color scheme for the party is pink and gold. I fell in love with this color palette and created this invitation. I'm incredibly excited about how they turned out! We will decorate with pink and gold balloons, frames with pictures of our family, and cake!

I'm sure I'll share more pictures after the weekend extravaganza is over! Ellie will be wearing our family baptismal gown for the service and changing into something more comfortable for the potluck. Wesley will likely wear a Super Wes t-shirt because I'm picking my battles with him. :-)
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Merry Christmas

Yesterday was Epiphany in the church and the official end to the Christmas season. Advent is the 4 weeks prior to Christmas and helps us prepare for the coming of the Christ-child. We then celebrate Christmastide from Christmas day for the following 12 days. Because Christmas just ended yesterday, this post isn't late at all...

This is the first year that I designed the cards completely from scratch myself. Typically I take the photos and edit them but then use shutterfly.com or zazzle.com. Check out the cards we've done in years past: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. This year I wanted more room for changes and creativity. I designed them and then had them printed at vistaprint.com for like 60% off. I got high quality, matte paper and LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I don't think I'll ever use a company to design my cards again! I also designed Sister's baptism invitations. I'll share those later this week because I'm super excited about how they turned out!
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015


It was not my intention to go silent for the entire month of December! Things have been busy and I didn't have much to update. Life has been chugging along and we're making it.

January is already proving to be an incredibly busy month! We've already set goals, planned vacations, and have a 3rd birthday and baptism extravaganza this coming weekend! December feels like a world away, but a lot happened! There are plenty of precious pictures of my little ones to share with you!

Here's what happened in December:

  • We had a Christmas party and went to a Christmas parade with our church friends.
  • We watched Christmas movies as a family! We saw Rudolph, Elf, Toy Story Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, 

  • I baked a ton of cookies and participated in two cookie exchanges. On a completely unrelated note, we went through 5 pounds (!) of butter this month!
  • We saw Santa! Sister slept through the entire meeting and Wes was skeptical. But it happened! We went to the same place we took Wesley for his first and second Christmases. So this was his 3rd trip to the same Santa! Here's our first experience in 2012

  • Jarrod finished his semester with straight As!
  • Jarrod turned 33!
  • We celebrated Christmas Eve Eve at my church as a family.
  • Wesley got a tummy bug and was down for the count on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - it was terribly sad!
  • Wesley was over the tummy bug for about 15 minutes before coming down with the flu. We all got the shot, but he still ended up with flu A. We got him started on meds immediately and he was only sick for 4 days. It was a rough break for Wesley!
  • Eloise began sitting up like a champion! She's not rolling or crawling much, but I imagine as soon as she gets out of her helmet (in the next 2 weeks!) she'll become extremely mobile! 
Overall, it was a wonderful month. The sickness was incredibly rough but I feel very fortunate that no one else caught it. It was very disappointing to have Wesley sick for Christmas eve and Christmas day. We had a lot of beautiful things planned as a family - focusing on experiences rather than physical gifts. But this year we didn't really get to do much by way of experiences the week surrounding Christmas. I think Wesley feels like he completely missed the entire holiday. Hopefully next year will be healthy and even better! 
I already have several posts planned for January, so hopefully I'll be sharing more soon! 
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