Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Books While We Wait - February 2014 edition

As you know, we are buying a new children's book each month while we wait. Since the original post has gotten rather long to keep reposting, I'm trying something different.  I will still update the original list and have added a link near the header, but each month I will only post about the new book.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link and review the other ones :)

Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury

This book is one someone recommended on our Facebook page.  This touching and sweet book with wonderful illustrations is a great reminder to moms of how fast our kiddos grow up and to treasure each "last" just like we treasure the firsts.  It also does a great job letting kids know how much they are loved and why we want to hold them longer :)  My son loved looking at the pictures and spotting how the boy (and his dog) grew up together.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Week of Summer (vacation photo overload)

We returned home on Sunday after spending a week in Florida... escaping the winter for a week of sunshine and 80 degree weather.  It didn't bother me a bit that we completely missed a big storm at home. 

We didn't visit theme parks... at all.  Even though we were in Orlando for part of the trip.  We visited Disneyland a little over a year ago and we wanted to do something else.  Plus my husband had a work convention down there (the reason for scheduling the trip) so he would have missed out on any theme park fun.  Instead our goal was relaxing and escaping winter.  I think we accomplished that!

We loved spending time with extended family that were also down there, playing at the beach and in the pool with our kiddo, and of course enjoying the warm weather.

We went to the beach twice, once at Lover's Key which was a great place to find sea shells and then again near Fort Myers Beach to watch a sunset.

Speaking of sunsets, we also took a sunset cruise which was lots of fun.  We even saw a dolphin swim near the cruise boat, though no photo proof I'm afraid.

Another favorite was visiting some nature preserves with great walking trails.  We saw an alligator (far away from the trail with binoculars though the kiddo didn't spot it), wild hogs and so many beautiful birds at Six Mile Cyprus Preserve and then saw a few manatees at Manatee Park.

Every day also included time in the pool -- one of the advantages in staying with my wonderful in-laws.

At the end of the week, we spent some special time with Dad at his convention which happened to also have a kids hang out with bouncy houses and was at a hotel with a ship and alligators inside... our 5 year old was impressed!

It was a great trip but we are very glad to be home on our gravelly road.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five Minute Fridays: Garden

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: Garden


My 5 year old had a question about the garden.

Not the garden in the backyard covered in 2 feet of snow.

At preschool they had been reading about creation and the first garden.

"In the garden before the fruit and having to leave, could they [Adam and Eve] leave if they wanted to?"

In all honesty the question caught be off guard, coming at me in the midst of so many other unrelated questions (how many days is a million minutes?).  I answered the best I could.  I told him I wasn't sure... I said I thought they probably could leave, but that God made the garden so wonderful they wouldn't have wanted to leave.

I didn't think more about the conversation until I saw this prompt.

Pondering it further, it hit me.  God gives us the best part of the first garden -- His Presence.  But so often I don't take full advantage of his garden gift.  He is always ready to meet me where I'm at with His love, regardless of the season, in the midst of my mess, or the crazy of the day.

Now as I gaze out at my snow covered garden, longing for the days of spring to return, I can use it as one more way to remind myself He is near, His presence is love, and all I need to do is walk in to His garden.


Today, I am linking once again with the passionate and loving Five Minute Friday community, hosted each week by Lisa-Jo Baker. As I mentioned prompt for this post was “garden” but for an extra special reason. Please click on garden and head over to and read about a beautiful opportunity to make a difference in the world, starting with a garden…

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quick Valentines

This year I decided to combine our Valentine's cards to family with the thank yous from kiddo's birthday (since we were behind on getting thank yous sent).  It meant we had a lot more cards to make than usual...

preschool made valentines

We ended up making two types of cards over the course of a week that were both simple and quick.

making cards from kids art projects
The quickest were ones involved using an existing project from preschool.  He'd come home with four or five spin art coffee filters painted mostly with blue and yellow paint (they used a salad spinner).  We kept his favorite one and then cut hearts out of the rest. He glued the hearts to construction paper cards.  Simple and cute.

easy preschooler valentines
Another day I'd found a sheet of pink and purple heart stickers to use on cards.  Since he had no interest in using hearts of those particular colors and the stickers peeled off paper without ripping, we decided to use them to trace hearts.  He even used the outsides of the sticker sheets to as template for tracing.  He also seemed to really enjoy making these and had great fun making cards for specific friends who came to his birthday party.  My favorites ones were the cards he made using his friends' favorite colors and included a fun drawing for them inside :)

Do you make valentines or thank you cards with your kids?  It certainly was fun for us at our house on the gravelly road.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I admit, some days I'm a bit green

This is a post I was tempted not to publish but I want to be honest so here it goes...

Some days I'm a bit green...I'm not talking Christmas green or upset stomach green.  Unfortunately I'm talking about green with envy.

As a waiting adoptive mom, I find myself fighting envy from time to time.  When someone announces a pregnancy.  After getting to hold a newborn baby.  These I'm used to dealing with...

Lately though its when another waiting adoptive family gets picked by an expectant mom.

As our wait gets longer, more often families who are finally getting their wonderful news about a new family member have actually waited less time than us.  I know that this wait is not an orderly line.  They are not budging in front of us.  But it sort of feels that way.

The agency we are using has a Waiting Families page with online profiles of their waiting adoptive families listed by state.  Well, when someone has a pending placement (picked by an expectant mom) or a placement (child is home with them), their name/profile is shaded grey.  I admit, I stalk the list for our state from time to time. 

I generally have a pretty good idea which families were added "the list" before or after ours.  I struggle the most when I see a family go to "pending" right after I know a mom was in looking at profiles, that she looked at ours and picked them.

But its not us against them.

I remind myself that we are all waiting adoptive families on unique journeys that God has laid out for us.

God's love, goodness, blessing and answered prayers are not things that suffer scarcity.  And while I don't understand "whys" behind so many things, I remind myself He in Infinite and I am finite.

In all reality, there is nothing I can DO that will shorten our wait.  It will happen In His Time.

And as I continue to hold tight to the Joy of this journey, pausing in thankfulness, and praying for a right heart, I am better equipped to silence the voices of envy that rise up inside.

Find Joy in the Journey

Please continue to pray for us.  This wait wears me down and I need to work to remain connected to His Strength.  As our next homestudy renewal approaches this spring, we are praying about increasing the age we are homestudy approved for and possibly adding foster-to-adopt.  There's a lot more involved than I can share here so I'm just going to ask for your prayers as we keep moving forward, that we give careful thought to the paths before us so that we stay on the one God has marked for us. Thanks!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekend Fun

cousin fun
We had visitors at our home on the gravelly road for the day on Saturday.  The cousins had lots of fun and the adults had a nice visit too.  Its been a while since kiddo's stuffed animals have gotten so much love in one day :)  

monopoly family game night
Sunday evening we declared it family game night.  Dad decided to introduce Monopoly.  It went quite well for being his first time playing the game, and he's already asked when we can play it again.  He was less than enthused about the longish set-up but thought it was quite funny when Dad had to pay big fines to Mom.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Write

I'm participating in Five Minute Fridays again this week hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  Come join us!  This weeks prompt is Write


Sometimes I just need to write.  My head if full, with thoughts crashing around like a jar full of marbles.  Writing allows me to sort through it all, maybe not make sense of it all, but usually calm the crazy and find some peace.

For years and years, when my heart is full or heavy, I've written my prayers in journals, sifting through my fears and joys, making sense of the day.  Some of those pages of prayer in high school were written in colored pens in crazy shapes and others full of teenage fears and worries.

That writing in journals continues.  Some pages of the journal are filled with lists of praise, recognizing the many blessings that fill my days.  Other pages are collections of favorite verses and bits of encouragement from sermons or readings.  The pages that are the most powerful remain the ones when I pour out my heart to the Father in prayers and letters, often late at night when sleep eludes me.  He so often meets me in the writing, filling me with Peace the only He can give.

Of course I write here too.  My place to share about our Life on the Gravelly Road.  Writing our journey, joys and memories of this adventure we are on.  And sometimes when I'm brave, I share some of those late night, heart on paper writings here too.


Five Minute Friday

Monday, February 3, 2014

Birthday Party Fun (Photo Overload)

I realized I hadn't posted birthday pictures from our son's 5th birthday party a few weeks ago... so here you go!

We celebrated with family and friends with a super hero themed birthday party (I'll try to post party planning details too eventually).  We even had super hero themed shirts for the three of us.

getting ready for a super hero birthday
He was so excited for the party to start that he was asking if it was time yet every minute or two, so I gave him some yarn and told him to decorate his room like spiderman had a battle in there.  It turned out great and gave me a chance to finish decorating for his party.  He also decided he needed batman cape as well but did not like that socks were required.

batman birthday cake
 He picked out lunch -- pizza, green yogurt, pink lemonade and fruit.  And yes we made the cake again this year... a batman cake. 

super hero party fun
There were also some fun activities for the kids to do -- super hero costumes and decorating super masks to were the most popular.

Of course he was blessed with presents and enjoyed trying them out as well.

On his actual birthday, we decorated his door and measured him on the family height ruler (per tradition).  We also had fun going sledding (trying out one of his birthday gifts).  I think the birthday boy had a great weekend!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


We went sledding as a family near our house to try out his new birthday present.  Here's a short clip of some of the fun.  Turn up your sound so you can hear his "yee-haw".

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Still here...

I have a number of posts in draft mode and several nearly finished, but the last week I've been fighting some technical issues tied to how I normally edit and post photos.  I'm hoping to have it resolved soon or find a less cumbersome workaround than the alternative I've used for the last handful of posts.

Of course I could just post without pictures but that's not nearly as fun, especially since the post I'm looking forward to finishing is about my son's birthday party, which wouldn't be the same without pics!

So as we enter a new month with hopefully some warmer winter weather (I'm frankly tired of all the dangerous below zero temps) and a few less school cancellations, there may be a number of fun posts coming... or maybe just very wordy posts that require a bit of imagination :)

Thanks for continuing to visit Life on the Gravelly Road!

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