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Rather than try to give you excuses again to why I have been gone so long, I will just tell you what we have done since my last post.

1.Moved from our basement dwelling into our new home (10 days before Christmas). This required us to rent a UHaul load and unload our boxes stored in a friend’s garage (just the two of us), move all of our furniture from a storage unit, move the rest of our stuff from the basement.  Clean the basement. I think this is the hardest move we have made yet.  Thanks to our friends who helped us out.

2.Set up house…you know what that involves…unpacking, unpacking and more unpacking…as well as… organizing, moving more boxes.

3.Decorated for Christmas, finished buying and wrapping presents, and baked fun Christmas treats.

4.Huge snow storm.  Started the day we began our move.  Couldn’t move our cars for two weeks.  Snow was over our bumpers.  Thank goodness Brandon’s office is only 4 blocks away.

5.Had Christmas, my parents came, my brother and sis-in-law came.

6.Turned 34…Brandon threw me a surprise party in our new house.

7.Eyob turned 2….we threw him a party.  Since he was only home a month before his first birthday we didn’t have a party last year.

8.Brandon turned 35….I took him out for a surprise dinner. I was so excited to actually surprise him for once.

9.Lots of baking and cooking going on. Making up for the months with no oven.

10.Lots of enjoying our own home and the wood heat.  What is it with men and their wood supply.  Brandon is seriously obsessed about how much wood we have in our wood shed.  There isn’t enough ever.  He even came home early tonight to chop some wood. 

11.Started some new crochet projects…had my mom teach me how to read a pattern. 

12.Made four New Year’s resolutions… 1. Keep it simple…..in keeping with that 2. Floss my teeth….3. Wash my face….4.Above all keep it simple…Doing pretty good so far.

13.Stayed at home more in the last 6 weeks than I have in I can’t remember how long.  I am actually loving it.

14.Started walking in the morning again.  This neighborhood is a little sketchy in the dark so I carry my mace, but also pray my way around it for 45 minutes.  So glad to be back into that routine. 

15.Read a couple of new books in front of my woodstove.

16.Enjoying having dvr again…you know recording shows to watch later.  So glad to be done with the commercials.

17.Had our first family movie night last night….watched Kung Fu Panda…ate popcorn and candy curled up together on the livingroom floor. Yes, we used our new big pillows mom!  I can’t believe we haven’t done this before.  It was so much fun.  Can’t get “Kung Fu Fighting” out of my head now though.

18.Brandon’s parents visited this past weekend.  We had a blast. So good to see you both.

19.Made 3 dozen muffins, 15 dozen cookies, 2 dozen granola bars, and five dinners today. How’s that for a big day.  Oh yah and did a boat load of laundry that I need to go fold.  Found some great recipes that I will post soon.

20.Got involved in a new blog project that will launch tomorrow. So check back for details.

Pictures to come soon.

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In my quest to become less wasteful, I have stumbled upon frugality and it seems that these two actually go hand in hand.  Dictionary.com describes being frugal as being economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing…. wait for it…… not wasteful.  I am learning that when you make a decision or commitment to be less wasteful, you also make the decision to be more frugal. 

The first area that I am working on is being frugal with my money and that has led me on an interesting journey into the world of “frugal mommy blogs” and couponing.  So let me just say, I never thought I would EVER clip a coupon let alone use one, but I tell you what ….now that I have started, I almost can’t stop…. the deals are actually quite fun to find. 

 I am also realizing that deal hunting and couponing take some planning and a little work, especially when you are new at it like I am.  But by checking out blogs of women who coupon and doing the “deals” that they do, I am beginning to catch on and I am really enjoying myself.  It is becoming a hobby, it is also causing me to make menus, grocery lists, and to keep track of where my money is going… because I really want to see how little I can spend. 

One of the important things about couponing that I have had to learn is that stockpiling is key… no not planning for the end of the world, but creating a storehouse of supplies so that you are not forced to by products that you need at the store when they are high priced, but actually buying them when they are as cheap as you can get them, even when you may not need them at the time and saving them until you do.  I had never thought about this before but grocery stores make their money when you come into them without a list, looking for that one thing that you “need” and walk out with 50 dollars of stuff you may or may not need just because you saw it.  Usually that thing you needed isn’t on sale when you need it, so not only do you pay full price for it, you also pay full price for the impulse buys you made while in the store to get that one item. I did that so much before.  It is vital to purchase things you may not need at the time for rock bottom prices so that you aren’t paying top dollar later.  I struggled with this at first, especially because I was trying to eliminate “stuff” and wasn’t really sure how that all tied together.  However, as I started to see the concept written out on other peoples blogs and read about their successes in fugality, I have become a believer.  Buying things that you don’t need yet at low prices frees up money to spend on things that aren’t as easy to find a coupon for; things like fruit and veggies.  Understand?

The other thing that I have learned is the importance of planning my meals out of the food I already have and to actually make a menu and a list.  This takes a little more time, but eliminates those wasteful trips to the grocery store two hours before dinner because you forgot one ingredient and end up coming home with a trunk full of stuff.  I don’t know about you but when three o’clock rolls around and I don’t have anything planned for dinner and I am already tired from a day with the boys, I am so tempted to just eat out or just run to the store for something “fast.” 

I could go on and on, but I think I will let some of the blogs that I have come across speak for themselves. The first blog I found was Freebies4mom.  She has lists of things you can get for free, sweepstakes to enter, product reviews, etc.  From there I found, MoneySavingMom.  She also lists out things you can get for free, deals that she has found at grocery or drugstores.  She has a great description or how-to on the drugstore game (more on that in another post).  MoneySavingMom also has a lot of good advice about being frugal in general.  The next blogs that I found are other deal making blogs… The”Cents”ibleSawyer, SisterlySavings, and MommySnacks.  I check these alot for suggestions on what coupons to use and where.  If you are interested in all of this start with some of these sites.  Look around at what they offer and follow their blogrolls to other people who have advise on couponing and being frugal.

  All of the items pictured here were part of one of the first, big frugal shopping trips I took.  I had a list of stores to hit and what to get and what coupons to use.  Everything you see here was either free or under 50 cents.  Yes, it is a lot of non- perishables and not a lot of food, but remember stocking up on things you will need at low low prices allows you to have cash free to buy the things that you need that you really can’t stock up on.  Literally, I paid pennies for this stuff.  All stuff I will use.  Bring on the M&Ms.

  Total out of pocket for this…2.48.  Without coupons I would have paid 16.78.  A few of the items actually made me money.

Ok… so… lots of info.  Check out the blogs and keep checking back here as I detail more in upcoming posts.

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So this has been a pretty uneventful week…..  I did some major house cleaning. All the way down to cleaning the trim and it felt really good to just dig into it.  THe boys have steadily been feeling better which has been nice.  Eyob is doing better physically everyday and has been sleeping through the night for the last week.  It is awesome, however, it seems like when one sleeps the others wake up.  AHHH!!!  We are still waiting on test results to find out what is going on with all the poop.  Hopefully, we will know something soon! 

For Christmas, Brandon gave me a gift cert. for a mani/pedi combo at a local spa so yesterday I cashed it in and spent two very relaxing hours getting pampered. It was so nice.  He also gave me some  cash and I got to do a little shopping which was also fun. SHopping alone for myself…. AHHHHH..  My hubby is great isn’t he.

When I first started blogging almost a year ago I seemed to think in terms of blogging.  I was always thinking.. this would make a good blog post or I could write about that.  Well, since bringing Eyob home I haven’t really felt like that, I am sure for good reason, but I have missed that feeling… that swirling around in my brain.  Blogging for me is more than a way of keeping in touch with family and friends, it has been a way to process thoughts, use my brain, to practice writing, and an outlet for my heart.  Anyway, I have been thinking about a bunch of different posts that I am going to write over the next couple of weeks so I thought I would give you a quick synopsis of what is coming up on Further Up and Deeper In.

Book Reviews-  Henri Nouwen’s Turn My Mourning Into Dancing (get this book!!!!)  I can’t wait to talk about this book!  More on Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World–  I have learned so much that I am looking forward to passing on. Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth–  Oprah’s Book club choice for the month and the subject of an online class she will be teaching over the next few weeks.  THis book is the fastest selling book in the world right now.  WHy????  One question I have about the book (many more that I will write about in it’s own post) but….. is this book so “close” to the TRUTH that it is causing or going to cause people to miss Christ?  The Shack by William P Young…… This novel/allegory is making it’s way around the US and changing lives… I want to see what the hype is all about. Maybe you will too.

****   I was thinking about all that I have learned about Eyob in the last 3 months and then remembered the old book or  poem… Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten…. and I thought I might have fun doing a serious of posts on what I know about….????

I am going to be getting back to Wordless Wednesday.  More pics…

I have never been “Tagged” so I thought I would do my own and tag a few of my blogging buddies… so look out friends.

Reflections on Adoption…

and more…. so keep checking back….

 Also, a blogging friend who reached out to me during those first dark weeks when we got home from Ethiopia with Eyob, just returned from getting her little man.  I thought you might be interested in reading about some of her experiences.  I was telling her in an email that her posts take me right back to ET and Hannah’s Hope.  I can still taste, smell, and feel it in my heart.  Reading her words and about her experiences make my long for ET deeply.  Read her posts and enjoy.

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depression, any kind really, but specifically Post Adoption Depression (PAD) or Post Adoption Blues (PAD as it is sometimes called, is that it doesn’t make sense.  You have worked hard to bring this child home, you have waited many months, sometimes years, spent lots of money and you have chosen this child and when he/she arrives you don’t feel like you thought you would.  To the outsider, your depression seems strange, foreign, and even stupid or silly.  To you it seems……. real and startling and scary. I have only experienced situational depression one other time in my life, that I know of, and that was during an awful time in our marriage… in a lot of ways that depression made “sense.”  This PAD stuff doesn’t.  

The thing about depression is that it isn’t rational.  I can hear all the things that people are saying, “Don’t forget this is a spiritual battle and Satan doesn’t want you to be successful.” or “Remember Eyob’s grief is greater and more important at this time then yours.”  or “God is using this experience to make you into the person he wants you to be.”  ALL, and I really do mean ALL, good and true words.  Words that, if heard through a cloud of depression, really only sound like words.  I know the truth behind these statements and statements like them.  I have seen God work in my life and I “know” in my head that He will prevail again, but the thing about depression…. is that it doesn’t always feel like that.  Yes, yes, I know that feelings are not everything and often they aren’t even true, but the thing is they are real and they do affect me (us).  Not dealing with them is where we get into trouble. 

The thing about PAD is that it is unpredictable.  Some days I feel good, like I can cope or more than cope and other days… WHAM!!!! I don’t want to cope and I don’t want to get out of bed. (Fortunately, I am the person who always does what they are “supposed to do” and most people, especially my little men frown on staying in bed all day, so arise I do.)  Sometimes the cloud hovers all day and sometimes it is lifted after a simple conversation with my husband or a friend.  It is the unpredictability about it that is hard.  Most of the time it doesn’t really have anything to do with Eyob. 

The thing about PAD is that it doesn’t look the same for everyone, but is actually experienced by more adoptive parents than I ever really thought possible.  One article I read said that PAD affects more than 65% of adopting mothers.  In 1999, the author, surveyed 1300 adopting parents to see how widespread PAD really was and this is what she found…..  “77% of survey participants with PAD reported that they suffered their symptoms from two months to over one year with 45% suffering for six months or more. 85% of sufferers reported that their depression affected their health in some way (serious weight gain/loss was followed by sleep disturbances and headaches), 70% felt that PADS had interfered with smooth transitions and bonding with their new children.   Wow!!! Can you believe it?  SO why is it that I have never heard of this before now…. I am guessing it is because most people, if they are like me, feel ashamed that they aren’t “handling” what should be an amazingly, beautiful time as well as they expected themselves to or as others expected them too.  Maybe some people don’t even realize that what they are dealing with is real or they don’t know how to give voice to what they are feeling.

Well, in effort to “deal” with my feelings I am going to continue to blog about what I am going through and how I am getting through it.  For today, getting “through it” involved research.  Below you will find links to several articles that I have found regarding PAD.  I hope you find them interesting and informative. 

By the way, those of you out there who have given me much needed words of wisdom and prayers… thank you and just because I am feeling the things I am feeling doesn’t mean that I am not reading and heeding the things you are saying. 

Article– @ A Mother’s Charm

Article– @Adoptive Families

Article– @ Adoptive Families Association of BC

Article

Article-@International Heral Tribune

Article-@ WCBSTV

Book– on Amazon.com 

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It is amazing what verbalizing or writing your feelings does to give you perspective, especially when you are feeling lost or confused.  Blogging has been that for me through this move to Utah, the adoption process and now as we dig into learning how to be parents to a child we don’t know.   Writing my post last week about PAD was very freeing, it gave me a place to voice my hurt and it helped me gain some insight into what I was feeling.  It also provided some good advice from others who are going through similar circumstances and others who just know what it is like to be in that dark place. 

I spent sometime, today, talking to a fellow mom who has also recently adopted from Ethiopia and has struggled with some similar things.  She gave me some suggestions on things we could do to help with the bonding process, shared some of her experiences with her daughter, and then said something that I think God has been saying to me as well, “Traci, I think you just need to act out love and the feelings will come.”  Thank you Jen.

My parents also sent me this devotional “clip” from Henry Nouwen that has provided some encouragment to “just do it”, Henry Nouwen said, “Sometimes we have to “step over” our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on. The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there. Then we become the “offended one,” “the forgotten one,” or the “discarded one.” Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them. It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on.” 

It defiently hit home.  I have a tendency to get “stuck” in negative emotions and act as if I belong there.  I think God is calling me to leave them behind and move on.  Sure the adoption experience isn’t what I thought it would be and Eyob hasn’t acted the way I expected him to act, but instead of sinking into the mire and making my bed there, I think I am ready to walk through it.  I know that it will be easy to slip back into the negative feelings so please continue to pray for us as I know you have been. Thanks all of you!

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the life

Check out the new blog by my cousin Katie…  she is quite the gal… currently in North Carolina with a mission organization called SIM.  She is getting the training she needs in preparation for heading overseas next year.

Pray that God would strategically place her in the country He wants her in. 

I can’t wait to hear Katie’s “notes from the field”.

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Blog Community

As you will notice I have updated my blog to include links to a lot more sites.  They include people I know who have blogs, people I feel like I know, but don’t actually, and websites that I frequent or thought you might be interested in related to adoption and Ethiopia.

The online community is amazing and offers so much in the way of information that I almost can’t take it all in.  The blogging community has an intricate way of connecting people who have never met, but may have something in common.  For example, through my best buddy Jenn’s blog, I met my new friend Natalie, who is also adopting from Ethiopia, through her I found the Ethiopia or Bust blog and from there I found the Full House, Full Hands, Full Hearts, the list could go on and on with the names of people I have never met, but who are providing me with support and information regarding adoption in general and Ethiopian adoption in particular.  

If you have never tried blogging you might find out it has something to offer you.  WordPress and BlogSpot offer free services that are easy to start and maintain.  Or maybe start with checking out some of the bloggers I have mentioned and follow the trail from there….. you never know where it might lead.

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