Saturday, April 21, 2012

Random Photo, Take 97

Photo 96 was from Paris 2006, with my STINT Team, one of our many "band shots" we took around the city. 

Here's 97. 
 

High-Hat Cupcake "Date"

This week, we had a fun at-home date night.  Matt found this picture on Pinterest, and he's been wanting to make these things for weeks:  





Well, we gave it a good try... and had fun in the process.  That's what's important, right? 

My first collage.  Thanks for the tip, Brooke. Look forward to playing with this more!
It was definitely a fun (and fairly inexpensive) date night.  We had one little oops with the almond extract (cough:::Matt), so they aren't really as tasty as I thought they would be. 

Our finished product.  *Disclaimer: Matt says this was the worst-looking one.
But Matt likes them and wants to try them again later.  My opinion is that we should leave the hi-hat cupcakes to Martha and Bakearella

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Baby

Dear Son/Daughter, 

At this point, only God knows when we will get to meet you.  He knows whether or not you are growing inside your birth mother's womb, already born, or not in existence yet.  He knows all of the circumstances surrounding your life and the reasons He will choose us to be your parents.  

You are already so very loved!  My heart aches to hold you, to name you, to know you and to watch you grow. It will be so wonderful to learn your personality, your talents, and your quirks.  It will be amazing to finally see your eyes, your nose, your cheeks, your lips, your fingers and toes.  It's hard to wrap my mind around sometimes.  

We don't have a due date.  We don't know when to expect you, but we know it will be when God orchestrates it.  Through this whole journey so far, the timing has been anything but 'normal'.  And that's okay.  Because this whole time, we have known that even when plans didn't go as we wanted them or as we thought was best, it didn't change the fact that YOU are our chosen child.  You are the child God has meant for us to have all along.  

We can't wait to meet you!  We love you so much already!

Love, 
Mommy & Daddy


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Restaurant.com Fundraiser

CoupAide Adoption Fundraising

Another awesome fundraiser that's going on right now-- spend $20 for a $50 Gift Card to Restaurant.com.  We get $10 for each one purchased.  These make great gifts and are eligible all over the country at over 18,000 restaurants.  

Also, on Facebook, if you "LIKE" their page, and leave a comment/post with our last name, you could help us win a Prize package from them which includes some great adoption resources and even some cash towards our adoption.  We have appreciated all the help so far but still need lots of votes.  Please help us spread the word. 

Mary Kay Fundraiser

When we lived in Texas, I had the honor of working with Misti Bauman on a Cares event.  Since then, we have kept in touch, and she has graciously offered to do an adoption fundraiser for us!  

So, if you need some Mary Kay or could use some or could give some as a gift, order from her!  Leave our name in the comments.  She will take care of shipping it to you ASAP, and she's giving us all of her proceeds!  

I also have an "evite" I can send you if you want to make sure to order the right way.  Just leave your email in the comments, and I'll get one to you ASAP. 
 
Thanks Misti!  

 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Final Home Study Approval!

This has been the longest week EVER!  All things considered, I'm amazed that we stayed sane this week.  

Matt just worked 8 days straight.  We had a huge Cares event last weekend, and 2 out of the 4 of the people in my office have been out at least 2 days this week.  


Aside from that, we've been expecting/hoping for our Final Home Study approval all week.  I checked my email like 4 times more than normal (which is already a lot, if I'm being honest!).  

March 1st we got news that we were moving forward with our home study.  I didn't realize that it was so involved to finish everything off.  We had to redo a bunch of paperwork.  Then, when everything was done and sent from one office to the state office, it got lost in the mail.  A lot of originals that HAVE to be in the file for the state were in that packet, so we had to get that stuff redone.  

Our last paper was mailed last Wednesday, but we knew the office was closed for Good Friday.  So, we thought it would be Monday.  

Didn't hear anything on Monday.  

Tuesday--emailed our Social Worker who said she was missing one reference. 

Wednesday--our Social Worker emailed us saying she had contacted the missing reference and asked her to resend the reference.  Checked with my friend, and she had mailed it on Tuesday (again).  

Thursday--I email the social worker to see if she's gotten the last reference. She did!  She has to have a final conversation with the state director and says it might be today.  If not today, then maybe Friday.  If not Friday, we'd have to wait a week because the state director goes on vacation.  

Friday--wait ALLLLLLLLLLLL day. Crazy busy at work but still hoping the day would be made perfect by getting our approval.  Text back and forth with Matt while he's on the road to Liberty for the weekend.  Leave work at 5 bummed that we didn't hear.  Talk with neighbors and tell them we were really hoping to hear today but didn't. 

Friday at 5:55 PM, check my email, and there it is: "you are approved".  

Praise the LORD for His perfect timing.    
 
Praise the Lord for our social worker and her knowing that it would have been hard to wait so much longer!!  

347 days of home-study is FAR from normal.  Even 6 weeks like it's been since March 1st is kinda long.  However, it was His plan for us.  

Praying it won't be too long of a wait until we meet our chosen child!!!  "Average" is 9 months, but we are hoping since our home-study was crazy long, God might give us grace in having our wait be shorter. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Credit Card DEBT FREE!

Source
We cut up our credit cards in 2009, after we used them to buy our plane tickets to Thailand.  BUT, there was still a hefty combined balance at that point... 

A combined balance that equaled more than the cost of a car... more than a year at each of our private colleges... more than one of us made in a year.  A HEFTY combined balance.  

First, we paid off our personal loan (also taken out for us to move to Thailand.) 
Second, we paid off our smaller credit card. 
And last week, we paid off our largest, LAST credit card!!! 

We are officially credit-card-debt-free! 


We did it in our own way.  Not exactly Dave Ramsey style.  But we did learn some things from his class, that we halfway took in 2009. (Remember?)  

These are some specific things we did to knock out our credit card debt. (And you can too!)
  • Spent less money than we made.  Not too easy at first.  Took some getting used to. (Shocker!)
  • Both got second jobs. (This was hard for awhile, not gonna lie.) 
  • Got together an emergency fund.
  • Cut WAY back on eating out. (We both LOVE eating out and still do occasionally but not near what we used to. We also went through a few slumps in this area but with Matt's leadership, got better.) 
  • Became a Cares team. 
  • Cancelled our Cable. 
  • Cancelled our Internet. (Thankfully, we can get the apartment's free wi-fi!)
  • Sold our body for medical research. (Well, Matt did.) 
  • Put "extra" money (like school loan 'refunds', bonuses, babysitting money, gifts) toward debt. 
  • Refinanced car loan for much lower interest than our credit card interest.  Put the 'extra' toward credit card.  
Even with the new car and student loans for Matt's grad school, our net worth has increased due to us getting the credit cards paid off.  The next step will be the cars (mine first, then Matt's), then Matt's student loans.  


Bottom line is: if we can do it, you can do it!  Talk to us if you have any questions.  We are both big advocates of not using credit cards anymore.  And so are both of my sisters!  Go Tyndall girls!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Random Photo, Take 96

Kristin got it right!  Picture 95 was from Gatlinburg Summer Project, Summer 2002.  From left to right: Ginger (from Marshall), me, Millicent (from Meredith), Michelle (Cru staff), Tiffany (from Clemson), Elizabeth (from Duke), and a "space" for Shanda (from EKU). Loved that summer and love those girls. 

Here is Picture 96.  Only a few more to go. 

 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tupperware Fundraiser

One thing that's been really cool about the process of adoption--and fundraising for adoption--is the people you meet who help along the way.  We have been approached by many people who have given donations or wanted to help us do a fundraiser.  

The Tupperware Fundraiser is the next in line.  Kimberly Cook is a new friend who we haven't even met yet (but we both know her husband from different circles), and she has offered to do this Tupperware Fundraiser for us.  

You can participate two ways:
  1. Order Tupperware products here.  40% goes to our adoption fund!  
  2. Help us as a "Seller".  Get some catalogs and orders together yourself for this fundraiser.  Whoever gets the most orders will win a prize pack from Tupperware. 
  3. Spread the word about this fundraiser. :)
There is a Facebook event for more information. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Random Photo, Take 95

Photo 94 was Hailey Drew at the January wedding shower for Zebediah & Valerie. Cutie pie is almost 1 year old. How can that be!?

Here's 95:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This Adoption by the Numbers

Source
6,741 dollars raised towards our adoption. 
6 fundraising events so far.
22 days since our "missing" packet was mailed from Myrtle Beach to Columbia. (Now considered lost.)
33 days since we heard we could move forward with our home study.
1,000 dollars paid out for our marketing fee. 
167 days since we were told "not right now" again.
1,000 dollars paid out for our home study. 
307 days since we were told "not right now".
3 meetings/interviews with our social worker. 
4 profile books made to introduce ourselves to expectant parents. 
300 dollars paid out for adoption training. 
340 days since we attended Bethany's adoption training. 
500 dollars paid out for the formal application fee.
515 days since we went to Bethany's informational meeting.
50 dollars paid out for preliminary application.
576 days since we decided to pursue adoption.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Random Photo, Take 94

Pic 93 was from the May 2009, and it is a lovely picture of Mom and Beth Gladden.  

Here is Photo 94: