Thursday, April 28, 2011

Proud Wife!!

I am such a proud wife today!! Evan is currently attending his last class EVER of law school... I can hardly believe it! We have had a crazy three years but because of GOD's faithfulness to our family and Evan's hard work and perseverance, the light at the end of the tunnel is shining SO brightly!! :) Of course, he will still have to take finals and the bar exam before he officially becomes an attorney but he has accomplished so much already and I just want to take this opportunity to reminisce, to remember what GOD has brought us through in the past three years and to tell Evan how VERY proud I am of him! :)

On August 25, 2008, Evan started law school. He was a full-time student and his law school had a rule that first year students were not allowed to have a job of any kind. We were engaged and I was working as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Pfizer, Inc. He was living in a one bedroom apartment and I was living with my parents so we could save money for a downpayment on a house. We were super busy because I traveled a lot with my job and he was ALWAYS studying.


We made it through the first semester successfully and rewarded ourselves with a precious little puppy at Christmas time. We named him Jack. A few weeks later, we bought a house. We weren't getting married until May, but the house that we wanted needed a total overhaul so we bought it and started the remodel.



And then, on January 30, 2009, a month after we purchased our first home, several weeks into our remodel and less than four months before our wedding... I was laid off. A few weeks after that, I had to return my company (and only) car.

Thankfully, I was given a severance package and we were able to continue to make our monthly mortgage payments, etc.

In May, Evan finished his first year strong and we got married exactly one week later. When we returned from our honeymoon, we were both looking for jobs and sharing a car to drive to job interviews. Evan finally found a part time position as a law clerk in the late summer and I was hired (by the hospital that I currently work for) in September 2009, almost eight months after I was laid off and literally at the END of our money. A few weeks after that, we were able to buy a second car.


However, the position that I was hired for was sort of an experimental position and I was told that they would reevaluate and consider making the position permanent in six months. Until the position was permanent, they were not able to give me benefits- such as health insurance. Evan was only working part time (because of school) so he couldn't get insurance through his job. Thankfully, we were able to receive health insurance through my previous job for up to 15 months after I was laid off.

The 15 months (of insurance) ended and we had to go on a temporary (emergency only) insurance plan. And six months after I was hired at the new job (and it was time for that "reevaluation"), the hospital was for sale.... and not only was my job uncertain but every hospital employee's job became uncertain. I was told that it wasn't a good time to make my job permanent and things would just continue as they were. But we were in desperate need of real health insurance, so we prayed A LOT and I explained our situation to my boss and (Praise the LORD) my job was made permanent... and we began receiving real health insurance!

And then Evan began his third and final year of law school... and GOD brought Seth into our lives and we started a whole new journey with new challenges and rewards that you already know all about :)


The last three years have literally been a roller coaster but I wouldn't change a thing. We have learned to depend on GOD for all of our needs and He has taken care of us every SINGLE time. We have become closer as a couple through all of the craziness that we have been through and SOMEHOW, Evan has had a successful law school career through all of the stress! haha

Evan, I am SO proud of you. I could never have done all that you have done! You have worked so hard and slept so little in the past three years and still managed to be a GREAT husband and now you are a GREAT dad too!! Thank you for all that you do for our family... you are amazing!! One big milestone down today, and I can't wait to celebrate with you on graduation day and the day you pass the bar! :)




Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend and Coconut Cake

We couldn't have asked for a better "first holiday as a family"!!

On Friday night, we went to the Good Friday service at our church. On Saturday morning, there was another sweet baby shower for Seth (more on that in the next few days)! On Saturday afternoon we went to see the Easter Bunny... Seth wasn't exactly a fan... but the pictures are hilarious and I'm sure they'll be a family favorite for years to come! haha On Saturday night, we dyed Easter eggs and on Sunday morning the Easter Bunny came to see Seth (and Jack) before we went to church! After church, we had lunch and an egg hunt with my family at my grandparents' house and finally, we ended our weekend with dinner with Evan's parents! :)

Here are a few pictures from our weekend!

Waiting in line to meet the Easter Bunny... at this point, he was still smiling! ha!


Dyeing Easter eggs...


I think it's safe to say we enjoyed ourselves :)



So, I bought Seth's Easter basket a month or so ago and had it monogrammed. Then I decided that Jack needed a little Easter basket too, so I started looking for one to coordinate with Seth's... and I found one with the EXACT same pattern that was made by the EXACT same company at a pet store and it was already filled with dog toys and treats!!! I was SO excited... I realize you probably don't care but I just had to share my excitement! haha



This was Seth's first Easter basket of the day... little did he know that he was going to get THREE more!! haha My parents and grandparents and Evan's parents all gave him one too!! Thank goodness he isn't spoiled :)







My siblings and grandparents!


My siblings and parents!


My mom made Easter baskets for all three of us! :)


Checking out basket #2 (from Gigi and Papa) and #3 (from Mammaw and Pappaw)... with a little help from a nosey "big brother"! :)



"Hunting" for eggs!




And... Easter basket #4 from Honee and Pop! :)


A little snuggle time with Pop before dinner!


Here is the recipe for a delicious and super super simple coconut cake! My family has been making this for as long as I can remember! For Easter, you can dye the coconut green (like grass) and put jelly beans on top (for eggs) but it makes a great quick dessert any day of the year!

Coconut Cake

Ingredients:
1 box white cake mix
1 can Cream of Coconut
1 tub Cool Whip
1 pkg. shredded coconut

Directions:
Bake the white cake according to directions on the box. When the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes all over it and pour the can of Cream of Coconut over the cake. Cool cake completely. Frost the (cooled) cake with Cool Whip and top with shredded coconut!

Y'all, this cake is SOOOO easy and SOOOO good! If you haven't ever made it before, you definitely should! :)

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Wow. That was a LONG post but I had a lot to share! :) What a blessing for our first holiday with Seth to be Easter, the day that we celebrate Christ's sacrifice and our adoption into His family! Have a GREAT week! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend!

Although I have had a FABULOUS five weeks off from work to be home with my precious Seth, I had to go back to work on Monday! :( I have been dreading this week for a long time so I wanted to have a really fun weekend to get my mind off of going back to work!

On Saturday morning, we went to an Easter egg hunt/festival at the Clinton Presidential Library and then we spent the afternoon at the zoo! On Sunday, some of my best friends from college gave Seth a beautiful baby shower! It was definitely a very special and memorable weekend! :)


I am SO thankful to have such wonderful friends that have been so supportive of our adoption and SO sweet to their new "nephew"! I distinctly remember taking a picture with all of them but it must have been taken with one of their cameras because I can't find it on mine! :(


How cute are these???


It was so much fun to have Seth at the shower to help open the gifts!


Seth, Jillian Francis and Me...


funny story... As an adoptive parent, it is very important to know that your child has bonded with you. We are confident that Seth is bonding well and he definitely knows we are his parents at this point... However, it was still a good feeling to see him burst into tears when Evan walked into the room holding Jillian! haha I know it sounds terrible to say that it was a good feeling to see him cry but it meant so much to us for him to be jealous because HIS DADDY was holding another baby! :)

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Also, does anyone know how to edit photos in iphoto on a Mac (like putting a heart over Seth's face)? I can't seem to figure it out! I would appreciate any tips you can give me so that I can finally start putting pictures of the front of his body on here! Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seth's Room

I am SO excited to finally be able to share these pictures!! We have been working on Seth's room since we finished our adoption training in November and praying the whole time that GOD would give us the baby boy to go with it! :)

I got the rug and the fabric for his bedding, pillows and draperies from Polka Tot Designs. They made the crib sheet, crib skirt, blanket and changing pad cover for me and my grandma made the draperies and the pillows! I decided that because of his age and size, I would do pillows (that could be removed from the crib when he is in it) instead of bumper pads.




This dresser was originally my mom's dresser when she was a little girl and it was white. Then it became my sister's dresser when she was a little girl (still white). It became my dresser when I was in college (painted black) and then it became the dresser in one of our guest bedrooms when Evan and I got married. Now it is blue with green polka dot knobs for Seth's room!











Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

Thank you SO much for all of the sweet words and congratulations on our new addition! We are LOVING life and we just feel so thankful and blessed to be Seth's parents! Speaking of Seth, I promised to answer any questions you had so... He is 14 months old and I will be going back to work (since Evan is still in law school) but I am staying home with him for a month right now... and I will be so sad when this precious month comes to an end! :(

As you have probably noticed, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately (especially of new recipes) since I've been busy trying to get this whole mom thing figured out! :) But I did cook a new and SUPER easy recipe last night that even Seth was able to enjoy!

Fettuccine Alfredo


Ingredients:
8 oz. uncooked fettuccine (I used spinach fettuccine)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1/8 t. ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:
Cook and drain fettuccine. Place in a serving bowl. Meanwhile, combine butter and whipping cream in a saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts. Stir in cheese and next 3 ingredients; add nutmeg, if desired. Pour sauce over hot fettuccine; toss well. Serve immediately.

-Evan and I had a salad with our fettuccine and Seth had green beans with his :)

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And a few pictures for fun.... we went to Garvan Woodland Gardens this past weekend and I made sure to take a picture of Seth's backside so I could put it on the blog! haha Also.... I have read a few blogs of people in similar situations and some of them photoshop a heart over the child's face in pictures... so I may start doing that... if I can figure out how :) Anyway, here are my sweet boys!


Happy Tuesday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lots To Talk About

Recently I have found that I have LOTS to talk about but no time to talk about it... And I get more and more impressed each day with all of the mommy bloggers out there! :)

As you know, we have been parents for about two weeks now and it has been the most wonderful AND most exhausting two weeks of my life!!

Since I wrote the "Our Adoption Story" post, a LOT has happened!! Without going into detail, I will just say that GOD answered so many prayers and completely took care of so many frustrating situations and in the end our family of three was brought together in perfect timing! GOD is SO good!! :)

We had a little ceremony with our son's foster family, our families and a few other close friends and people that have been involved in the whole process with us. It was a beautiful time of celebration of our son's life and GOD's provision and blessing in all of our lives.

A few days after he was transitioned into our home, we took a family vacation to NYC!! We planned the vacation a while ago, hoping that he would be placed with us in time to go! So, obviously we were thrilled that he was able to join us (another answered prayer)! :)

We've decided to name him Seth Clayton Bell. We chose the name Seth because it means "Appointed" and we felt like (considering our story) that GOD truly "appointed" him to our family and we chose Clayton because it is Evan's middle name and I LOVE that he is named after his daddy! :)

And (I hate this part) I can't really post pictures on here (unless he isn't looking at the camera) until the adoption is finalized which will most likely be about six months from now. Sorry :( He's a cutie though and I can't wait to show him to you then!! :) The good news is that I am almost ready to show you pictures of his room... just a few more finishing touches!

Also, I've been thinking about starting a new blog to talk about mommy/family/daily life things and leave "Dinner Bells" for recipes only... but I am also considering just adding that stuff into this blog (which is kind of what I have been doing lately)... Which would you prefer?

Thanks for being patient with me during this busy and exciting time! And please let me know if you have any questions about our adoption, adoption in general or anything you think I have left out! :)

And finally... here are the few pictures that I can share!

These first few are from the ceremony/celebration that we had with his foster family:


Evan's mom "Honey" tied these on our mailbox :)


My mom "Gigi" made this for our front door :)


big brother Jack...


They LOVE each other :)


And two from our trip to NYC... The first is obviously the Statue of Liberty and the second was taken at the world's largest Build-A-Bear Workshop!