Friday, August 19, 2011

Cha…Cha…Cha…Changes

Oh my.  Am I the only one out there who feels like (sometimes), I’m on an amusement park ride and the tattooed carnie just sped it up WAY too fast?  My inner voice has been screaming “LET ME OFF THIS THING” for the past couple of months.  Where does time go?  How is it that the first 18 years of my life seemed endless?  I think (in my head at least), that I still feel like the 18 year-old version of myself.  The wiser, more comfortable in my own skin, more forgiving, less patient, less cute version of course.  And I think being married for 10 years without kids didn’t help in perpetuating that illusion in my mind.  It was as if I was waiting for my life to begin, while I waited for my babies to come to me.  And now that they have arrived in all their glory, someone hit the fast-forward button. 

I can remember when Cammie was a couple of months old, looking at her sweet, innocent face and just sobbing thinking about her going to school:  the thought that someone would hurt her feelings, be unkind to her, be unfair to her…the thought that a teacher might be mean to her, or not love her.  And David looking at me like - “Seriously? You are ALREADY crying about this?”   Yes – as a matter of fact I am.  Cause that’s how I roll apparently.  I stress out and worry and get myself all worked up over stuff that may or will happen in the future.  I remember as a teenager feeling knots in my stomach, for at least 2 or 3 years leading up to being in Jr. Miss my junior year in high school.  I knew it was expected of me, that I was going to have to participate in it, and every time I thought I about it, I would feel sick.  SICK.  It would keep me up at night.  How crazy is that?  And it was hard, and at moments painful, and in some ways, pretty much the horror I imagined.  But there were the unexpected joys and of course it was an experience that was truly good for me, and I would not change a thing.

And flash forward to 2011.  I have been a mess.  I’m not going to lie.  A stressed-out, bundle of nerves, essentially cray-cray, mess.  I have agonized over every single detail of Cammie starting kindergarten this fall.  Public school vs. private school?  Keep her in Montessori or transition her to traditional?  Homeschool?   I was consumed with making the right choice for her, like what I decided now would determine her future happiness for years to come. I went with my gut and didn’t enroll her in public school.  Maybe later, but I felt in my heart that it would not be a positive experience for her coming from 3 years of Montessori.  I went with my gut again and against the recommendations of her preschool teachers when I enrolled her in a local private school that uses the Direct Instruction method of teaching (which I had never heard of).  After she was accepted, we visited the school for an open house, and I had this overwhelming feeling of peace, that this was exactly where she was supposed to be. 

So everything should have been a cakewalk for me after that.  Not so much.  There’s dress codes and paperwork and vaccination requirements and placement testing and volunteering and school supplies and rules, rules, rules.  I have myself so worked up one night that Cammie is going to be kicked out within the first month.  (She’s pretty high-energy and pretty talkative and has some self-control issues – I know – a normal 5 year-old lol)  And bless my dear friend’s heart, she said to me, something that I’m sure has been said many times – but it was what I needed to hear:

“You, worrying about the future, wrecks your happiness in the present.” 

What?  All this time, all these years, I’ve been letting myself worry about things I could not change and had no control over that hadn’t even happened yet?  And it was stealing happiness that I could be experiencing? Yeah – it was life-changing advice.

Didn’t make her first day this week any easier.  I cried the night before while I was packing her lunch, her lunch, that she would eat on her own without me for the first time.  I misted up while I was making her blueberry muffins for breakfast.  And I cried when I dropped her off. 

cammiefirstday 

I did hold it together long enough to wait until I left her classroom, so she would only see me happy for her.  But David just held my hand and let me cry as we walked back to the car.  I think it lasted 10 minutes.  Not bad after 5 years of dreading this day like it was a death sentence.  And then Brody and I had a perfectly lovely day—just the 2 of us.  We went for a walk.  He discovered his shadow. 

photo

And I had time to whip up a little banner for my girl while he was napping. And I cried when I picked her up.  But that crying was more bittersweet.  She walked in the house and saw her banner and said, “Mommy, I love it so much!  This has been the best day of my life!!”  Such relief and joy that she is happy.  That she has loving teachers.  That she “didn’t miss me a bit.”  Which is just as it should be. 

photo (1)

Supplies Used:  Kari Holt’s Build a Banner Templates, In the Making Design’s Tricolor Paper Pack (all available at Jessicasprague.com) plus Martha Stewart’s Edger Doily Lace 

PS.  For a cherry on top, who doesn’t love ALL new reasons to craft?  I had SOOO much fun making her first week of of Lunchbox Love Notes!

photo (2)  photo (3)

Supplies Used:  Carina Gardner’s Affectionate Papers available at Jessicasprague.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

He is Ours!!

Holy Cow.  Let's not even speak of the time that has elapsed since we last spoke.  Just know I've thought of you often, and let's just pick up where we left off, like old friends.  I love those kinds of friends.  It doesn't matter how long you go between correspondence—time stands still :)

We got THE best news in the mail the other day!  And if you can believe it-- I actually photographed sweet Camille going to the mailbox.  First time ever.  See- (and this is completely off topic), she is obsessed with all things Scooby Doo.  (Did you know that Velma's last name was Dinkley?  I didn't!  But she does.)  I knew a Netflix DVD was coming in the mail, with her beloved Scooby Doo.  And I wanted to see her reaction.  (Upon reflection, there was no way for her to know that Scooby Doo was inside...so it MUST have been fate that we documented this day.) I was also hoping for some Whippy Cake goodness, but I was destined to have to wait another week.

Cammie pulled the mail out.  I had no IDEA what would be in the stack.  But I will say, my heart skipped a beat when I saw a large, manila envelope. 

mail1

(Framed Elements by In the Making Design – Jessica Sprague.com)

And this is what we found in that manila envelope:

cam_adoptionpaper1 cam_adoptionpaper2

 

Let me tell you.  Happy tears were shed.  Many, happy tears.  Our Brody-boy is officially ours!!  And what warmed my heart, was Cammie was just as overjoyed as I was.  We love this little fellow so much.  SO, SO grateful for his sweet birthmother, and that she chose us.  We can hardly wait to have our sweet boy sealed to us forever, a religious ceremony in our church, that binds a family together.  That will be another happy day coming in December!! 

mail2

(Frame by Kitschy Digitals at JessicaSprague.com)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

{i}NSD – International Scrapbooking Day!

Oh yeah.  We’ve got a whole day to celebrate our craft :D.  And we are going to be par-taying over at JessicaSprague.com.  So head on over Thursday night for a whole weekend full of challenges, freebies, prizes and dare I say sales??  Come shake your booty with us!  You don’t want to miss a second!!

NSD-Flyer_2010 (1)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baby {aka Spring} come back!

Where in the WORLD did Spring go?  I have been waiting with eager anticipation for the beautiful spring we usually enjoy here in NC.  We had a few days of loveliness and now… 90 plus degrees temp and POLLEN.  Everything looks like it’s covered in yellow chalk dust.   I don’t think I’ve ever seen it quite this bad. And I somehow feel responsible – like I wasn’t appreciating it enough or enjoying it enough.  Or working too much.  Taking it for granted.  Not nurturing our relationship.  I promise I’ll do better.  I promise.  I’ll hire a sitter, we’ll spend time together – just you and me.  I’ll bring the camera.  We’ll commune.  I’m on my knees.  {well, not literally on my knees because they would be yellow. But you get my sincerity, right?}  Just no more chalk dust and oven-like temps.

Amidst the yellow plumes and unpleasant air, we were still able to enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend outdoors.  Friday morning, we headed down to our family farm in Benson, NC.  {A little trivia – my mother-in-law was Miss Benson back in the day.  Sometimes we get out our tiaras and promenade ;-)}   I love this farm where her family lived, where she was born, in fact.  I love the little farm house whose ceiling is so low that I feel quite tall in there.  I love the worn, textured wood on the front porch.  And the sweet white corn from its fields!  There is a peacefulness about this place that is almost reverent.  And a “million-dollar breeze” Grandma Ivey would say.  We had a perfect day with the family!  Cammie rode the 4 wheeler with Gaga (yes – her grandmother took her out!) and her daddy, while Brody and I enjoyed swinging by the barn.  A yummy lunch followed by the first of several Egg Hunts.  I couldn’t help myself.  I think I took :gasp: like 500 pictures.  Spring has stirred in me that longing to have my camera surgically attached.  I can’t get enough!  Here are a few highlights from the day Friday:

And Sunday we all went over to my brother’s house for a de-lish dinner, some egg decorating and another hunt.  I heart family meals.  First off – the men in my family- can cook some meat – let me tell you.  My mom’s broccoli casserole, deviled eggs, and my contribution: a Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.  Have mercy.  {And curse my brother for not reminding me to take the left-over pieces home.  Curse him!}  But if I’m being honest – I had already had too many of my Easter favorites:  Cadberry Mini Eggs, Hershey Eggs, Russell Stover’s Easter Bunny, Peeps, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, all courtesy of my mom.  Yes, my mama still makes her kids Easter Baskets.  She’s the best.  And I think I need to go to some facility somewhere and detox to get the sugar out of my system.  Here are some highlights from Sunday:

Yep- it was a good holiday!  When I was with my parents picking up food on the Saturday before Easter, the cashier told me “Happy Resurrection,” as we were leaving.  I crinkled my nose – as I’m known to do, and mentioned I thought that was an odd thing to say.  If Cammie had heard her, she would have loved it.  She’s really been into talking about the concept of Resurrection, with all the deaths we’ve experienced lately.  I love to hear her express her sweet faith that we will see our loved ones again.  We had a dear friend, Catie, whom we had been praying for, for several years pass away in February.  I guess Cammie gets into the routine of our “list” of friends and loved ones we pray for, and shortly after Catie’s death, she was praying to bless Mary’s mommy (Catie’s daughter, Mary, is Cammie’s friend).  She paused because she realized that wasn’t necessary anymore, and to “save” the prayer, she completed her statement with - “that she might be resurrected,” and then expressed a desire that her family wouldn’t be sad but would feel peace.  It’s times like these, that you realize, you must be doing something right as a parent.  And as I pondered about Mary’s family, I think the cashier may have something there. The Resurrection will most definitely be a happy experience.  I’m very grateful for my Savior this Easter season!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

She’s Alive…

Yep – It’s been a LONG time since my last post.  Two and half months long.  And it feels like longer.  I guess you could say I’ve been on maternity leave ;-).  So I’m issuing a disclaimer:  This is going to be mother of a long post.  Now.  You’ve been warned.  Grab a snack, get comfy.  Here we go!
We left for Texas on January 5th, with me…sick as a dog.  I seriously don’t think I’ve been that sick in a long time.  There are not words to describe a two-day trip in the car, sick, with a 4 year old.  So I won’t.  Just know, my friend, it was hard.  And then we spent some quality time in Stephenville, TX, waiting for our birthmom to go into labor.  That Brody was a wily one.  Made us think he was on his way for almost a week.  So we hung out at the La Quinta, played video games, took a ride over to Dublin.  How could we be SO close to the home of Dr. Pepper without paying our respects?  Wow.  An experience every Dr. Pepper lover must have.  A Dr. Pepper made with the original Imperial Pure Cane Sugar formula.  drpepper copy Ah Yeah.  Does it taste different you ask?  You bet your sweet patootie.  So much smoother, perfect amount of carbonation, amazing taste.  {I don’t know about you, but I find Dr. Pepper to be TOO carbonated.  Seriously- if you can let a drink sit out opened overnight, and it still has enough carbonation to burn your nose when you drink it the next day…this is nature’s way of saying it’s too much.  And don’t get me started on Pepsi – which loses its carbonation in 10 minutes…}


Okay – back to the important stuff.  We did get the opportunity to meet our birthmom face-to-face, with some of her family, during the wait – which was incredible!  It was like meeting old friends.  These are some people I could definitely hang out with, party with.  And what a huge relief!  We were so nervous, and there was nothing to be nervous about.  The funniest thing about our meeting – when they told us they had dogs named Cammie and Brody LOL.  That’s all I needed – meant to be!  Birthmom was induced Monday morning, January 11th .  Our sweet birthmom did fantastic! – two pushes – that’s it!  Isn’t she a rock star? While waiting to see him, I got the treat of a lifetime.  A nurse took me aside and told me that the babies generally stay in their mother’s room.  And then she showed me to my own room, where I could wait to see Brody and stay with him while he was in the hospital.  To say I was over the moon, would be putting it mildly!  I got the full Mommy experience (sans the delivery!)!  About 30 minutes after he was born, my sweet, sweet boy was brought into our hospital room to meet the family.  And you guessed it, it was love at first sight.
brodyfirstpic 
I know what you’re thinking! Isn’t he divine??  This gorgeous little person looks perfect.  Perfect skin, perfect little head.  Straight from heaven and brand new.  Looking at this picture, I can remember his newborn smell.  It absolutely does NOT get better than this.  It just doesn’t.  I am so profoundly grateful for the opportunity given to me by his birthmom to hold him and bond with him so quickly after he was born.  Here are *ahem a couple of highlights from the first of many photo shoots:
newbornbrody
Once we were released from the hospital, we waited about a week and a half in Texas before we got permission to leave.  That was a LONG wait.  David had to leave Sunday morning so I was without my other half for almost a week.  All I have to say is – Thank goodness for family.  I do NOT know what I would have done without the help of my family. 
Let me start by saying that all my brothers better count their lucky stars that they landed the ladies they call wife.  These girls are beyond awesome.  My Amy is close by and would do anything for me, and does - constantly taking the Camster off my hands.  And my Stephanie is now close-by too – and loves to come and hold my baby boy {and watch Lost ;-) }.  And then there’s my Jill.  I was able to stay with my brother’s family in Allen while David was gone and let me tell you – my sister-in-law Jill – took. care. of. me.  I had my own room – with a glider to rock my sweet one in, a house full of girls -eager to hold my munchkin so I could catch a nap or take a break.  She fed me well– too well (I’m still dreaming of her Chicken Enchiladas), she took my Cammie under her wing and let her follow her all over the house talking a mile a minute as only Cammie can, asking every question imaginable – even took her to the movies.  And she was the first soul I entrusted to leave the little nugget with so Cammie and I could have some Mommy time.  The girls helped with baths and entertaining Cammie.  I’m telling you – there will never be anyway I can thank the whole family enough for helping me get through that week.  I’m so grateful for this amazing woman and the amazing family she’s raising!  I can’t imagine my own sister (if I had one) taking any better care of me. 
And then there’s my youngest brother who stepped up to the plate to drive us {an exhausted/grumpy mom, an exhausted/grumpy 4 year-old, and an exhausted/grumpy newborn} back to NC.  And I’m happy to say – our relationship survived {barely} the ultimate test. And he may eventually want to have kids after the ordeal.    But it was so sweet to drive up in my drive way to see blue ribbons tied to anything that would stand still (insert mental picture here.  I forgot to take picture!) courtesy of my dear Mother-in-law.  And my mom waiting inside to stay with me for a week and help me get acclimated.  Yep – I’m a lucky girl!  I don’t know how people make it without family support.
We are slowly adjusting to life as a family of four.  Between me getting sick again, Brody getting RSV, 5 deaths of family and friends, figuring out HOW to work again LOL, Cammie dropping out of preschool, it’s been a little bumpy.  But all worth it.  Once again, we hit the baby jackpot.  Another successful adoption :D  We feel so blessed!!  Over the next couple of months, we’ll have visits from our agency, paperwork to file with the State, but, in about 6 months’ time, we’ll be official, and this little guy will be ours forever!
bearhat
Couldn’t you just DIE over that hat?  I had to get it – there was no option.  When I saw it on Etsy – I knew it would be mine.  Oh yes, it would be mine.  Er…his.  Check out The Girly Tutu to grab one for the little nugget in your life!!
More updates to come!  I’m tired.  Consider this intermission ;-)  I’ve got to go feed Baby Bro!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So Grateful

I know I'm LONG overdue for some baby goodness posting.  We have our sweet little miracle home, and he is beyond delectable.  Seriously.  I want to eat him he's so cute and snuggly and smells divine (most of the time).  And I desperately need to record our incredible experience in bringing Mr. Brody home.

But today, I need to write about something else.  My grandfather died Saturday.  It was a call I think I've dreaded since I became an adult and started to realize how fleeting time is.  It's hard to watch your loved ones grow older.  I had this wish that Pa and Grammy would live to see my first child.  And with a ten year wait, I think I was pushing it.  Grammy had Alzheimer's and although when sweet Cammie came to us, she didn't know who I was, she was still very loving and affectionate, and enjoyed holding my little bundle.

















My grandmother passed two years ago, and I thought my heart would literally break from the ache. The ache wasn't only for the void that would be in my life.  But for that of my Pa.  Because he loved this woman immensely.  They were married for over 70 years.  And watching him at her funeral was more than I could take.  Because I knew that he had to walk out of that church, without her hand in his and go home to an empty house.  He cared for my grandmother, night and day during her sickness until he physically was unable to anymore.  And then he moved a trailer near the facility where she was, for the last months of her life.  I can't imagine how hard it must be to have the person you love most in this world not know you.  But he was so loving and attentive to her.  So I consider it a tender mercy that they had one beautiful last day together.  She knew him and she loved him.  And before he left, she touched his face and expressed her love.  And she peacefully died early the next morning.

So flash forward two years to February 13.  And the call. (just as I'm going into the ER because Brody has RSV.)  And of course, I was sad.  I loved my Pa, loved talking to him, loved hearing his stories, loved it when he pulled out the guitar to perform. 
And will I continue to miss him?  Without a doubt.  But there was also a huge part of me that was quite happy.  Bizarre?  It thrilled me to know that he was finally reunited with his sweetheart.  And just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Does it get any sweeter?  I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that the love we share in this life doesn’t end when we die.  Grateful that my family is bound to me forever.  And so grateful for the example of love, dedication and sacrifice I’ve witnessed in the lives of my grandparents. {and my parents for that matter!}  Happy Valentine’s Grammy & Pa!

This is a slideshow of his life done by my cousin, Doug Wiggins.  The music is performed and written by my grandfather, Lathan Wiggins.  The song, “Blue Moon of My Dreams” was written while he and his brother were traveling by barge to New York to start their music career.  Pa wrote this song one night in particular when he was missing a certain seventeen year-old girl back home.  Within a week, it was broadcast coast-to-coast from Radio City Music Hall.  And my grandfather left his brother Chester in New York to come home to her. His brother stayed and made a musical career and family, while Lathan came home to marry his sweetheart, Pauline.  And I am so glad he did!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm a skank.  I admit it.  I belong in a slanket. (That's QVC's version of the Snuggie - and it just sounds like something a skank would wrap up in... Seriously -WHO was the "ad genius" who came up with that name?)  Geez - I couldn't manage to squeeze in one measly post in December?  Life has been a whirlwind of work, baby preparations, Christmas preparations, and let's not forget two birthdays.  And my nerves are shot.  And I think I'm coming down with something.  Does my throat look red?  If you are in a 10 mile vicinity - how 'bout driving by and taking a quick look.  And maybe check my forehead too.  It feels hot.  Where's my mom??

So let's see - Here's a quick catch-up.  I've spent some severe quality time with Adobe InDesign.  I guess you could say we're dating.  But I'll be the first to admit, we need counseling.  Check out the fruit of my InDesign labors - Inspiration in Hand at JessicaSprague.com.  My first catalog.  Of course now that I'm done, I can find a million things I would change about the catalog, but man - I felt like I had given birth once it was complete.  70 + hours the final week.  70. Seven + Oh.    And if I didn't love my husband before...  This guy stepped up to the plate for me.  Took care of everything.  Put Cammie to bed every night.  Brought me meals and snacks and goodies while I was glued to my laptop.  Shuffled my child around to different family members so I could concentrate fully.  Held me when I sobbed that I sucked, and the catalog sucked.  Bought me my favorite Welches Sparkling Red Grape Juice to celebrate when I was finished.  Yeah - I know it.  Married a prince, I did.  And here is a page from my child:









Eeeks - it looks easy enough - but just to give you an idea - the paper alone - is 3 different sheets.  A sheet of graph paper, a layer to age, and a layer to give wrinkles, folded edges, etc. Then there's the watercolor brushwork, stitching, book backing, blah, blah, blah.  And the hyperlinks - over 400!  I'm just sayin' - it wasn't a walk in the park.  But man, what a boss I have - to give me the freedom to learn a new software and go creatively crazy.  She's the best I tell ya!  And couldn't you just die over that layout?!  Not only is Rachael Sheedy a mad-talented scrapper, she's a pretty darn awesome photographer too.  We have the best Creative Team!!

And now on to the fun stuff.  Baby!!  Walls painted, crib put together.  Let me tell you - that thing was a mother to assemble.  But I did it.  Hear me roar.  And for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of quick pics of the nursery:
Can you feel it?  I guess I kinda got a thing for owls.  I ended up taking photographs of the owl and some of the other animals in the quilt for the wall artwork.  Super easy.  Super cheap.  Just they way mama likes it!  I can hardly wait to get our sweet guy home.  And, we are about 90% sure we have arrived at a name.  And just in the nick of time.  He's due in about a week!  Brody Lee.  Mmmm  - I just love it.  And was shocked beyond belief that David agreed.  I'm so into the Scottish and Irish names, and he is so not.  But he likes it!  And it just feels right :-)   There's still that 10% wishy-washiness lingering, but I think this is the winner.  We've found several meanings for the name Brody - some I'm clinging to more than others.  "Muddy Place" I can do without - but we've also found "Builder" and "Brother".  That -  I can work with!  And Lee is beyond perfect because it honors everyone!  His birthmommy's middle name is Lee Ann.  As is Cammie's birthmom.  And it's my dad's middle name.  And David's grandmother's maiden name.  Check, check, check.

I'd say the hardest thing about adopting is the complete and total lack of control in the whole process.  It is a total process of faith.  Faith that everything will work out.  I've never considered myself a control freak...but it is so hard not knowing when this little guy will come.  We are traveling to Texas to get him.  Finally decided to drive because I have to have all the baby paraphernalia.  Pack and play, car seat, newborn clothes, 3 month clothes if he's a big boy, bottles, boppy, monitor...you see where I'm going with this.  Not to mention all our stuff, toys to keep Cammie occupied...Major packing, 2-day trip.  And when to leave??  If we wait until our sweet birthmom is in labor - can we get there in time?  And where to stay?  We need 2 bedrooms.  Do we stay near my brothers in Texas or near where the baby is born?  Is it cheaper to rent a house or condo instead of staying in a suite at a hotel?  If we commit to a month lease - what do we do if the baby has to stay in the hospital for a while or we get approval to leave really fast?  Or the adoption falls through?  And can I take care of a newborn and Cammie by myself in a place that is NOT home?  David can only be with us on the weekends.  Yeah, I'm freaking a little.  Bringing this baby  home will involve a lot of discomfort and sacrifice during the process, but the joy will outweigh it all.  Much like child birth I imagine!  But I know in my heart this is baby boy is meant to be in our home.  And I can't wait to meet him!!  Hurry, hurry Brody!!  Your family is waiting!

Stay tuned for Holiday and Birthday pics updated SOON.  For now - Happy New Year!!  May this year be a wonderful one for you and your family!!


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