Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make Mine a Malt

I have quite a quirky quirk.  Or in my husband's words, "The most disgusting habit on the planet!"

When I'm stressed, sad, irritated, exhausted, etc., or just have 'the urge,' I don't reach for a Bud Light or a Marlboro.  

I don't go out gambling or partying with the girls...

I come in and reach for the Malt Vinegar...

 and take a few chugs.  

And I feel oh so very refreshed and rejuvenated.

... Tonight my friends, was a double shot kind of night!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Vote for Mr. Perry!!!

He will win TONS of amazing prizes, plus, will be featured on the cover of Birmingham Kids and Family Magazine.  

You can vote up to three times EVERY day!!

Just take a quick minute to register at the top of the page, then vote away by clicking the yellow 'vote now' button.  

And... if you want to be my very, very best friend forever... sweet talk your friends into voting too!

Thanks...times ten billion!! :D

(And, FYI- I have tried about eight times to post with the button in the middle... no such luck!)

Monday, February 27, 2012


“If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.” 

- Andrew Mason

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

VERY Urgent Prayer Requests

I awoke this morning and did what I always do… I rolled over and turned off my alarm clock (on my Iphone) and checked all my messages/Facebook groups.)  I immediately knew something was either way right or way bad when I saw that I had 14 updates to my adoption group.  I clicked and read the most devastating news.  

The lady’s post read:
I just want to let everyone know that we got some devastating news today about our baby.  We got a call from Nancy Fox, the President of AIAA, this evening.  Han’s foster mom is going to adopt her.  She has had her since she was two weeks old, and she just fell in love.  She has decided she can’t give her up.  So here we are.  I am numb at this point.  I can’t believe that, after all this time, this is how it will end.  I know in my heart that it is probably the best thing for Han, but that doesn’t make the pain and the loss any less.  I would appreciate all your prayers as we try to process this and deal with our grief.  This group has been such a lifeline to me, but I guess I’ll be signing off for a while until we decide where to go from here.

Seriously, my heart broke on the spot for her.  This very fear is one of the biggest reasons Justin and I chose international adoption.  In the US, the birth parents just have so many rights and you hear of a situation like this happening all the time. But, not in the international adoption world and not the foster parents. 

Justin and I know first hand how heartbreaking it is to give up a child’s FILE, let alone, be matched with her, wait for over a YEAR AND A HALF to bring her home, and then have someone tell us we can’t because someone else loves her and wants her too.  I just don’t have any words to explain my grief for this family.  Please join me in praying that in some way, God will be glorified through this tragedy and that this sweet family will find peace and healing through God’s mercy and grace. 

It wasn’t an hour later that I took Perry to Grandmomma and Grandaddy’s house, where she told me of another heartbreaking story.  A close family friend of ours/hers was riding four-wheelers with his grandson yesterday when the grandson had a wreck.  The grandfather was trying to dodge the grandson, causing him to wreck as well.  The grandson was able to find help, call 911, etc, but by the time the grandfather was airlifted to UAB, it was too late.  He passed away yesterday evening.  This family is so young, and I can’t imagine the heartache that the Grandmother is going to have to face as a new widow.  Also, please pray for the very young grandson.  I can’t imagine the load he now has to bear.  Even though we all know it was an accident and absolutely no one’s fault, I can imagine it will be very difficult for this young boy who has lost one of his biggest buddies. 

Then, after I got home from school (after a five hour lockdown at school due to a crazy runaway...), I took a scalding hot shower and went to play with the computer for about 15 minutes before P got home.  That's where I found a heartbreaking post from my blog friend, Beth.  She was also waiting to bring home her Hope Isabella.  I don't know under what circumstances this tragedy comes, but I do know that her heart is breaking in two as for whatever reason, she will no longer have the opportunity to be her Forever Mommy.  

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Friday, February 17, 2012

Short, SWEET, and Quite Complete...

I wanted to give a quick rundown of yesterday, although I actually have a really long post that may or may not ever get published as I wanted to remember every single detail of what happened. You know, just in case! ;)

Basically, out of the clear blue yonder, our agency called us with a direct referral. Of an ADORABLE little TEENY TINY thing!

Unfortunately, Justin and I know how excruciating it is to have to turn down a file. We have poured over this one and are feeling very confident about it. (Did I mention she is SOOO cute?!) I will submit the medical files to our IAC (International Adoption Clinic) today for second and maybe even third opinions.

I know some people would prefer not to announce that they have only been given a referral. (I know some people end up having to turn down three and four files before finding their son or daughter.) :(  Me? I’d like everyone to know so that we can be covered in as much prayer as possible in order to make the decision God wants us to make. Whatever decision we make, we want it to be God’s will for her life and ours. And as much as it makes me cringe to even write this, my biggest prayer is that we say “No” if that is what God is leading us to say.

I’m also praying for understanding of her medical issues. I am a first grade teacher. Chicken Pox is over my head…. Please pray that our doctors/pediatricians are knowledgeable of her medical needs and that they can explain them to us in ways we can understand and grasp them. It is scary relying on someone else’s understanding.

Ok? Got all that? Above all, please pray for God’s will in both her life and ours. I can’t wait to give a follow up. Happy Friday!!!

Did I mention she is ADORABLE?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Life in Bullets

Anyone else feel like they can’t keep up with their own life? That is SO me right now. I hope to catch up on some blogging next week. My evenings are slightly less chaotic next week…
• I am teaching baton lessons again! SO fun!! I had my first lesson with my new little one last night. She’s adorable and has BIG things ahead of her!!

• I am chaperoning a Valentine’s Dance this afternoon. Does anyone know how adorable first graders look all dressed up in HIGH heels? Too cute!! Some of them even have dates!

• P has a photo shoot with Birmingham Kids Magazine tomorrow. It’s a voting thing. If he wins, he will get to be on the cover and win a TON of uber cool prizes. I will most likely be asking for your vote (please oh please) in the next week or so.

• I GOT TO PHOTOGRAPH A BIRTH THIS WEEK!!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how AMAZING it was!! I even ended up helping the Mommy push… for almost 2 ½ hours! (Ya’ll- My arms and back are STILL sore! I have no idea how my Mom is a Labor/Delivery nurse! Makes me double triple octoquafriple thankful for my unrealistic birthing experience of 6 minutes and 2 pushes…

• I am doing a maternity shoot Saturday and a newborn shoot next week. LOVE photography and building my portfolio! Can’t wait to share from all these sessions. Just gotta get some editing done. You know, in all my free time.

• I am judging a pageant this Sunday! I will not say when or where as to not give away anything but I’m SO excited. I’ve always been a big pageant girl so I’m expecting it to be so much fun being on the other side of the stage.

• Justin and I are having date night to watch The Vow this Saturday evening. (Totally his choice of movie. I LOVE that he LOVES hopeless romantic films!!)

• I ordered a basket several weeks ago to do a photo shoot with. I’m SOOOO excited that it will finally ship out next Monday. Then, I just gotta wait for some pretty weather to do what I have in mind. Again- I feel like a four year old waiting for her birthday party. It’s going to be SO cute- I hope.

• Valentine’s Day! Party at school. P is going to come join in on the fun!

• Taxes! We have an appointment this Wednesday. Justin and I always love tax season b/c we typically get to put some money into savings! Woo Hoo!!

• I am going to Royal Family Kids Camp this summer. (It is a camp for children in the foster system who have been abused or neglected.) I am also on the RFKC fundraising committee. (I feel like a fundraising queen! I fundraise in my school life, church life, and home life!) We have an auction at church Saturday night to help raise money and it sounds like it is going to be SO fun!!!

• We also have a very special birthday party to go to Saturday afternoon. I of course cannot wait to take some special photos.

Whew! I’m hoping to be back this evening with my Favorite Photo Friday pic!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Again, I feel like I'm always saying this, this post is taken directly from another friend's blog.  In an effort to do as much as I can to help, I wanted to repost in hopes that some of my readers might be able to help or have a connection to some help.

Amanda from Starfish Foster Home needs help in the most immediate kind of way.
She has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and upon further testing, it has become clear that she needs to get the very best care – in the US or Europe. Do you or does anyone you know serve as a senior administrator at a top quality cancer center?

Please take a moment to read the note below from the Starfish Board of Directors and see if you, or someone you know, can help Amanda, a woman who has selflessly dedicated the last 7 years of her life to caring for the least of these in China. To date, Amanda and her team at Starfish Foster home have have taken care of 168 children, arranged more than 190 surgeries and had 72 international adoptions.
Amanda needs our help, not for her babies this time, for herself. I pray that all of us in the adoption community will do all we can to spread the word – to find her to a top-level cancer center, where she can get the very best care.
From the Starfish Board of Directors; Tuesday end of day EST, Feb 7th, 2012,
Dear Starfish Friends and Family,

As you know, our Executive Director and beloved friend Amanda has cancer, and is in great need of immediate, top quality medical care.
We need to get her to a modern facility/hospital in the United States or Europe as soon as possible. We are urgently asking each of you for a very specific kind of help.
If you or someone you know has contact with a top senior level administrator at a quality cancer center, please let us know immediately. We need to know if they would be willing to let Amanda come and receive the complicated care she needs – pro bono – as their way of helping a person who has given the past 7 years of her life saving hundreds of babies through donated, medical care. Perhaps they would be willing to now do the same for her. This can only be the very highest level of hospital contact – we are short on time and need answers immediately.
If you, or someone you know, has this kind of highest level connection to a top cancer care center, please contact Patrick McLaughlin as soon as possible, at:
917-494-7691 or — any time of the day or night — time is of the essence.

Sincere thanks,
Patrick and the Starfish Board

For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17
PS- Jodi, if you are reading this, please email me your email or blog address at  When I clicked on your name from the comments, it didn't take me anywhere.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The {L} Word- I Heart Faces

My little one has always (and still does) channeled his inner French when he gives away his kisses.

And this Momma, couldn't be happier he shows the L word the way he does!



Eeeek!!! I'm SO excited for that little guy and his amazing new family!!!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5: 14-15

Monday, February 6, 2012


Not only do I want this blog to be about documenting daily life for my family, but I also want to do all I can to advocate for orphan's around the world.  This was on a friend's blog this morning and I just couldn't not share him with ya'll.  If you think you might be little Gus' forever family or know someone else who might be, please don't hesitate to contact Lifeline.  Just click on his photo below for more info.

This little guy is still waiting for his family to find him.

His file is with Lifeline and will return to the shared list at the end of this week if a family does not come forward for him. I (Stephanie) can speak personally of Lifeline. We LOVE them and consider them to be one of the very best adoption agencies out there.

Lifeline just received an update on Gus and he seems to be doing so well. They also received some videos of him walking. Hold on to your hearts, ladies… this little guy is too sweet for words.

Please help spread the word about Gus. He is one and his special need is dwarfism.

And he needs a mama and baba.

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40

{thankful for}

*the passion God has given me to advocate for orphans
*a date night with Justin to look forward to this week

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wait for the Lord

I know a lot of ya’ll are wondering about the adoption. (Me too!) I try not to always ramble on about it, even though, please rest assured, it is on my mind 24/7.  Also, I want to document all my feelings and emotions so that one day I can look back and truly remember how I felt during certain chapters of our journey.

We have been told to expect a direct referral by May (a phone call), though that was back at the beginning of December when EP’s (emigration permits) were suppose to reset on Jan. 1. We have since been told that the ministry will not begin issuing EP's again until Feb 1...which we still haven't heard of any being issued, but we are trusting and praying that they start assigning them this month. Basically, this effects us because since they aren't letting children leave the country right now, that also means they aren't really referring many children either.  This means, more children being placed in baby homes instead of the preferred foster care system.  Don’t ask me the logic behind all this. I can’t find any.

Which brings me to the coveted referral emails… Since we are on the special needs waiting list, Holt also sends out emails featuring several children from different countries awaiting adoption. We could also get matched this way. (This is, for all said purposes, just another “shared list” of children.) Those emails were flooding into our inbox from June (when we started) until about September (when we fell in love with a little girl who turned out not to be ours.) Since turning down that sweet girl’s file, the emails have all but stopped.

I’m trying not to be impatient and obsessive, but knowing that our daughter could come through our email at any given time is starting to weigh on me. Literally, every time my phone buzzes that a new email has come in, I immediately check to see if it’s Holt. 99% of the time, it either isn’t Holt, or it is Holt with a referral email that only features children from other countries. At that time, I either think or verbally say, “Uh- Stupid email…” while also getting a little frustrated at myself for getting SO excited every time I get a new email. Do ya’ll have any idea how many emails I get a day?! Times that by a bit of frustration and discouragement every time one hits the inbox…

Since January is over, we are HOPEFULLY down to only four months of having to wait for a match. I have some adorable little skirts and hair bows that I’m DYING to try on an adorable little almond eyed beauty. It doesn’t help that every time I try to give them a test run on P, he downright refuses and says, “Uh- Mommy! Skuts are for gurs!” Same thing goes for head bands, hair bows, or anything pink...

"Uhg!" to Justin for brainwashing our little boy…

Until we see Ruby- Grace's beautiful face, I am hanging onto each and everyone one of His comforting words:

Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

{thankful for}

*God’s comforting and assuring words
*Ruby Grace’s birth mommy, who has chosen life and love for our precious little one.  She will never know how much her sacrifice has already blessed our family.

Friday, February 3, 2012

HUGE Blog Sale on Ruby's Auction Blog!!

Happy Friday everyone!  I did some major closet cleaning and decided to sell some of my gently used (or brand new) clothing on Ruby's Auction Blog.  Head on over to take a look.  Be sure to click "Older Posts" at the bottom to make sure you've seen everything.  There is a WHOLE LOT!!

A (very small) sneak peak:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

LOVING that today is February 1, meaning Korea is set to reset EP’s (emigration permits) today!!! (They were also set to do this January 1, but backed out for reasons no one knows.) PRAYING they followed through today and referrals will start once again flooding in. We are SO beyond ready to know who our sweet Ruby-Grace is!!!

LOVING a new blog adventure:

If you remember a while back, I posted some of my goals for the New Year, one of which being that I really wanted to focus on keeping my house cleaner and more organized. I also really want to work a little more on our home’s décor. Our house is nice and furnished, but at the same time, I feel like I’m just now finding my style, and now, I’m trying to find affordable cheap ways to bring those visions to life.

That’s where you come in. The blog world is so neat to me because I’ve been able to hop on a blog, hear someone mention another blog, hop on that blog, hear that blogger mention another blog, etc. etc. and before I know it, I’m reading the blog of someone who lives in New Zealand. In the past few months, I’ve also had a few followers email me to ask if I was open to them doing a guest post on Heart & Seoul. I’ve politely dismissed the idea before, simply because I didn’t feel like I was bloggy enough to host a series of guest posts (and not that I really do now), but at the same time, I’ve kind of been wanting some of you to do guest posts so that my followers can see how cool ya’ll are!! Am I clear as mud on this one?

So- If you are at all interested in writing a guest post for Heart & Seoul, send me an email at My requests are simple. The theme is going to be Parade of Homes. (SO fun, right?!) I’d like my guest bloggers to write about their home, how they decorate, where they shop for decor, and any DIY/décor tips you might have for decorating on a budget. Of course, the more photos the better! I am planning on starting the Parade of Homes posts with our home the first week of March and, depending on how many people are interested, I will schedule guest posts accordingly.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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