The Secret We’ve Been Keeping

Remember all those times when I alluded to something that was going on with me and Bryan that I couldn’t really share yet?

Well, If you follow me or Bryan on Facebook or Instagram, you may have gotten a clue when he posted this: adoption

With this caption–> “Adoption Training Day 1! Wish us luck!”

Yeah.

So on top of everything else we have going on what with HAVING A BABY and all, we’ve made the decision as a family to start our adoption process earlier than we had originally intended.

Adoption has always been on our radar and an ultimate plan for our family. I think on like our second date I planted the “oh hey I hope you’re cool with adoption if this works out” seed. Thankfully, Bryan was super on board. On top of wanting to adopt in the first place, I’ve always had a heart for a certain type: taking in older kids and sibling groups. The ones who usually struggle the most. the ones who are hardest to get adopted and will likely age out of the foster care system with no forever family.

This is something Bryan was also on board with. However, I always prayed that Bryan would not just “be on board,” but that this would be his thing too. I mean, there is that whole “spiritual leader of our household” factor. I knew that this was the case when I came home from work one day (pre-pregnancy) and he had submitted our general inquiry and filled out some basic paperwork to get us started. Out of the blue. Yeah, God seems to have known what he was doing with us.

We did a lot of praying, talking, and driving other adopted families nuts with questions about birth order effect, what our timing should look like, and if we should adopt after or before our first biological child. Our answer was a lot of silence.

This is pretty common with me actually. God usually doesn’t speak to me in sweet whispers and precious moments like He does with some of my peers. I never “feel led” necessarily. What I do feel is an indescribable urgency and conviction to run full speed ahead at a goal or mission until God slams that door closed and (usually much later than I’d like) gives me a peace about standing still for a minute. Bryan loves this about me. You can ask him and he’ll tell you how adorable it is when my anal-retentive, logical mind turns into irrational mush when I “feel led.”

So in this silence, we “decided” (<–lol) to just wait it out until we felt like we weren’t supposed to wait anymore.

Flash-forward to pregnancy, where we were still just, you know, waiting and stuff, when I felt that familiar conviction and urgency.

I was scrolling through Facebook at work one day, and a photo listing for Project Zero rolled through my feed. If you’re not familiar with this awesome non-profit, then please click that link. They serve to bring awareness of waiting children, usually OLDER KIDS AND SIBLING GROUPS, to families in Arkansas. This was nothing new, I saw their stuff all the time. The smiling, heartbreaking faces of kids who desired deeply to be loved forever always move me. Always. But I always say to myself that we are waiting. Until this day, when a photo of two brothers popped up. They were different. They were important to me somehow. I took a screenshot of them and “jokingly” (<–not really) sent it to Bryan with the text “I want them.”

Bryan, the one of us who is rational in these situations and NEVER takes off running without carefully considering where he is going, replies “Let’s do it.”

Our next steps involved a whirlwind of emails and calls to Christie (the co-founder of Project Zero), the boys’ adoption specialist, DHS, and the directors of The CALL in NWA.

See? Full-speed.

Our next few months involved an initial home visit with our DCFS caseworker (Who we LOVE!), lots more emails and phone calls, filling out every form in the history of the world, becoming CPR certified, and most recently, the completion of 30 hours of training. Hence the photo and caption above. (Just to put things in perspective, this is about 85% of the process. We only have 2 steps left to complete.)

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

It also involved us learning a powerful lesson: Not everyone will be supportive of us and what we’re doing.

My first reaction to the comments that we received from our shocked friends and acquaintances was anger.

Why do they care anyway? This isn’t their family.

How could she say that to someone she doesn’t even know very well?

 What gives him the right to have an opinion about what we do?

Do they really believe that we are so naive to think that this will be a cake-walk?

I realized that this came from a place of hurt. As a person who too-deeply merits validation from others, I needed positive reinforcement that we were doing the right thing. It was hard not to get indignant and want to point all of them to the multitude of Bible verses commanding us as Christians to care for the least of these. How could they not see the need, and much worse, discourage us from looking at it too?

We stopped talking about it. We didn’t tell people unless they asked, and we certainly didn’t broadcast it on any social media.

I was tired of crossing names off the list of people we could depend on when the going was sure to get tough.

The best part of training to me was that no one seemed to think we were crazy. No one batted an eye to the fact that I am 7+ months pregnant and working toward opening our home for concurrent-planning foster care. As we introduced ourselves, we made a joke about how we were apparently crazy to be doing this, and to our delight, no one seemed to get the joke.

It validated us that we were following God’s lead here. The amount of encouragement and strengthening we received in those 30 hours is priceless. And having a ridiculously sore butt after 30 hours of sitting is worth it.

We might not get those boys I saw, and I’m finally ok with that. But for whatever reason, God used them to strike that ever-familiar fire under my feet and get me, and Bryan, running. I hope we can provide a forever home for them. We already love them so much. Whatever the case, I pray continually that God will give me a peace about whatever direction His opening and closing of doors leads us.

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A Chance to Redeem Myself in the Kitchen

After my recent baking failure, I needed to prove myself worthy of the kitchen once again. My precious ego had been hurt, so I’ve been crafting culinary masterpieces and stuffing my husband full of them to stroke that ego back into its place: way too high.

In honor of labor day, I thought I’d share a recent hit amongst the fam that is totally grillable, even if you’re lame and don’t have a grill…like me.

I give you:

Finished product with words

apron

First things first, you must start with a cute apron, because why not? This is especially if you are pregnant and your belly gets into everything on the counter. Ahem.

You will need:

ingredients

All of this! Plus seasonings, plus more stuff if you want. These are pretty diverse burgers.

step 1 turkey

Start with your ground meat of choice. I used ground turkey because it’s what I had, but ground beef would be delicious!

step 2 onions

 Next, chop up some green onions.

If I had cilantro, you know that crap would have been overflowing the bowl. We’ve talked about my cilantro-love, yes? Well, sadly I was out.

step 3 cheese

Grate up some Cheddar. I used the medium variety. Be sure and save some for building the buns!

step 4 dump

Dump it all in.

step 5 cream

 

Dieters, shield your eyes. I like to add a little drizzle of cream to my burgers. Just a little I PROMISE!

step 6 combine

 

Mix it all up.

Alright, Seasonings! I added:

season season salt

Season Salt

season pepper

Black Pepper

cumin

Cumin

onion powder

Onion Powder

taco seasoning

Taco Seasoning

parsley

And Parsley!

I promise I have a really nice spice rack, but you see, I hate refilling the little canisters, so I find myself reaching for the larger supply bottles instead. But it exists!

spice rack

See??

patty forming

Use some elbow grease to mix it all together and form those patties! I could have made 4 small ones, but there are only two of us right now, so I opted to make bigger patties and just have 1 for leftovers.

grill 1

Now here’s the fun part. If you have a grill, this is the part where you throw ’em on there. I am lame and don’t have a grill, so I use my handy-dandy grill pan.

grill 3

Get them all on there and grill on each side for about 5 minutes.

grill flip

Keep flipping them at that interval until they’re done to your liking.

Alright, let’s build those buns! you can do whatever you want, I’m not the boss of you, but since these are nacho burgers I added:

sour cream

 

Sour Cream

beans1

beans

 

Refried beans. Crucify me if you wish, but these are canned (GASP!)

cheese

More shredded cheese

chips

A few tortilla chips

lettuce

 

Top it all off with lettuce and you’re done!

Alternatives include: Black beans, pico de gallo, jalapenos, black olives, CILANTRO, and whatever else your little heart desires!

Finished Product

And there ya have it! YUM!! These were delish.

Love, Alex

 

 

What We’re Wearing Wednesday (Volume 4)

What We're Wearing Wednesday

Are you ready for the most boring WWWW? Ugh.

So I haven’t posted a WWWW in liiiike 2 weeks? Yeah, 2 weeks. Y’all. Coming home from work is so much more overwhelming than I thought it would be. So much free time and like a zillion more things on the to-do list. I think I’ll be writing about it soon. Yep.

Anyway. Today I was in sweats and doing stuff on the computer for our photography company (We have new specials on fall family photos! Hit us up if you’re local!) until well past noon. I had to run some errands after that, which is the only reason I am wearing real clothes in these photos. Errands aren’t good enough to get jewelry out of me though. Sorry, errands.

Bryan


So since Bryan has to have separate work attire like a real adult, I decided to get both of his outfits, which is why this is being posted so late. WARDROBE CHANGE!

Pants: Express| Pullover: VZW Swag!

Pants: Express| Pullover: VZW Swag!

Shoes: Madden (I promise he has other dress shoes, these are juts his favorite because they're "the most comfortable.")

Shoes: Madden (I promise he has other dress shoes, these are juts his favorite because they’re “the most comfortable.”)

Look at that baby face in his badge. They haven't made him change it since  like 2006. Orange hair, smooth face, lady killer.

Look at that baby face in his badge. They haven’t made him change it since like 2006. Orange hair, smooth face, lady-killer.

T-Shirt: Concert tee from his favorite bluegrass fella, Del McCoury | Jeans: Express

T-Shirt: Concert tee from his favorite bluegrass fella, Del McCoury | Jeans: Express

Shoes: Tretorn from The Mustache Wears and Goods

Shoes: Tretorn from The Mustache Goods and Wears

Mustache Goods and Wears

Tretorn Shoes

Watch: WeWood from The Mustache Goods and Wears

Watch: WeWood from The Mustache Goods and Wears

The Mustache Goods and Wears

WeWood Watches

Alex


I’m not even kidding, you guys, I’m so over being pregnant. I am being extremely vulnerable by posting these photos. Any shred of thinking I was pretty in photos is slipping away. Ok, I’m done being lame now.

Jeans: Old Navy Maternity | Tank: Target Maternity

Jeans: Old Navy Maternity | Tank: Target Maternity

Shoes: Nine West ballet flats. Also, if any of you have ideas on how to clean these, I'm all ears. I have even tried a magic eraser I kid you not. BUT THEY'RE STILL CUTE SO WHATEVER MAN.

Shoes: Nine West ballet flats. Also, if any of you have ideas on how to clean these, I’m all ears. I have even tried a magic eraser I kid you not. BUT THEY’RE STILL CUTE SO WHATEVER MAN.

I just had to show this off because of how ridiculous it is. I am at that phase of pregnancy where, lest I have my ring cut off in the near future, I just need to take it off until post-Grady. I got this at Walmart for ( bucks and called it a day. STILL MARRIED, MAN.

I just had to show this off because of how ridiculous it is. I am at that phase of pregnancy where, lest I have my ring cut off in the near future, I just need to take it off until post-Grady. I got this at Walmart for 9 bucks and called it a day. STILL MARRIED, MAN.

And that’s all she wrote for Wednesday!

Love, Alex

What We’re Wearing Wednesday (Volume 3)

What We're Wearing Wednesday

WWWW is upon us again! 

As many of you know, I am now unemployed from the regular nine to five. Although my baby isn’t scheduled to arrive for another few months, we decided that i should come home early to get the house and our lives prepped for newness.

Now some people may have thought that unemployment might mean that today’s photos would consist of yoga pants, and if this was What We’re Wearing Tuesday, you would have been correct. However, today Bryan and I went to a studio space to do some filming for 6th and Burnside and some voice-over work for me, so real clothes were somewhat required.

Check it out!

Bryan


Shirt: Verizon...Do you really want to know where you can get it? Didn't think so.|Pants and Belt: Express|ID Badge Pull: just kidding

Shirt: Verizon…Do you really want to know where you can get it? Didn’t think so.|Pants and Belt: Express|ID Badge Pull: just kidding

Shoes: Madden

Shoes: Madden

Alex


Top: Target Maternity|Shorts: Motherhood Maternity

Top: Target Maternity|Shorts: Motherhood Maternity <– Judge me all you want, but these are the kind that pull up over your belly and I LOVE THEM.

Necklace: Jane.com

Necklace: Jane.com

Bracelet: I honestly can't remember. It was probably a gift.

Bracelet: I honestly can’t remember. It was probably a gift.

Earings: You guys, these came with the necklace and just whatever about fashion rules. I was in a hurry and I knew they matched. Allow it?

Earings: You guys, these came with the necklace and just whatever about fashion rules. I was in a hurry and I knew they matched. Allow it?

Shoes: Big Buddha. These are by far my favorite shoes EVER. I love them so much and I will probably cry actual tears when they are no longer wearable.

Shoes: Big Buddha. These are by far my favorite shoes EVER. I love them so much and I will probably cry actual tears when they are no longer wearable.