Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Note to my Former Self....

I'm not one of those people who is obsessed with time travel.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fascinating notion and I loved the "Back to the Future" series as a kid, but I just don't really think it's a wise idea {you know, if it was possible}.  I think we have to experience what we just shapes us into the person we are supposed to become.  

With that said, if I could go back in time to, say, one year ago when we placed our application to Children's Hope International in the mail with a prayer that moving forward with this adoption was the right thing to do for our family, I would definitely have a few things to tell myself! {Whew! Sorry about the run-on sentence!} I would probably tell myself the following:

July 31, 2010

Dear Jen:

Congratulations!  You have just taken the first step toward your child in Ethiopia!  Are you alarmed that I said child and not children?!  Funny thing, you think right now that there is a number of young siblings that are in need of a home.  However, in a few months, you are going to realize that the need in Ethiopia {at least according to the referrals coming out of your agency} is more prevalent for a single child.  In fact, you and Trev will open your preference as wide as your agency will allow in March {keeping in mind that your child has to be around one year younger than Camden}.  Surprised?!  I bet!

In regards to your emotions, hold are about to embark on a roller coaster of emotions that you aren't even capable of imagining right now.  No, that's not an insult.  Rather, this journey is going to stretch you well beyond where you've ever been stretched.  Don't be scared...much of what you are about to experience is awesome!  You'll get to be a part of the adoption community and make amazing friends who are going through the same emotions as you.  You'll see pictures and watch video of adopted children being united with their forever families.  Yes, those are available now, but you don't realize quite yet just how important they are going to be for your soul.  In those down times when it feels like you will NEVER get to see the face of that sweet child that you dream about, those little connections will pull you through to a place where you are okay with the wait.

You are about to learn what it means to truly surrender to Christ.  Yes, you believe right now that you have been obedient to his calling in your life, but that will be tested in an amazing way!  You will see what it means to truly surrender to Him!  Please know that you are following Christ's will in an area where you are NOT IN CONTROL.  Aside from patience, this is the biggest lesson that you will learn in the upcoming year.  God's got your child {or children...there still is a teeny chance there will be two} in HIS HANDS and, although it will be hard for you to swallow, there is nothing you can do but rest in His promise that He cares for His own.


P.S. Can you believe we STILL haven't gotten our referral?!  Hang on,'s inevitably coming soon!!

Wonder what this letter will say next year!! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Young Love

Oh, Kinley Marsh...

My boy has his 4-year-old heart set on you! 
Last week, when I was holding newborn baby Liv, Camden had this conversation with his Nana:

Cam: Nana, when I marry Kinley, we're gonna have a baby like that.
Nana: Oh, really?
Cam: Yep, do you think my baby's gonna be a boy or a girl? Huh, Nana, a boy or a girl?
Nana: Well, Camden, probably a girl; everyone in our family has a girl first.
Cam: Oh, ok.
Nana: What are you going to name her?
Cam: {without missing a beat} Eva, like on Wall-E. And, she {pointing at me} won't be my mom anymore.
Nana: Sure, she will.  She will always be your mommy like I am her mommy. 
Cam: Oh.
Nana: Where are you and Kinley and Eva going to live?
Cam: With Josh and Katie {Kinley's parents}
Nana: Well, that's not really how it have to go to college and get a job so you can buy your own house to live in.  What kind of a job are you going to get?
Cam: Well, for Halloween, I'm going to be an army man.

Oh, that boy!  It's always something!
{Since then, he has told me several times that he is going to be Iron Man when he grows up.  Saving the world is a noble profession, I suppose.}

P.S. Also on this trip on a particularly trying day for Mr. Camden, I asked him to get off the floor of Dillards and he yelled "You're ruining my life!!"  Is it just me or is this kid a little beyond his 4 years?!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flowers In Her Hair...

Remember this 'lil sweetie?! 

Ah, Baby Liv.  My heart misses her badly, even though it's only been 5 days since we left Jeff City to come home and even though I will see her again when we go visit in 10 more days.  She is the first born of my brother and Amy...there's just something about that first born!

Brandon and Amy didn't find out baby Liv's gender beforehand {I call this MAJOR will-power!}, so it was a BIG mystery.  To be honest, I was convinced that baby Liv was really going to be a boy!  So, when she made her appearance, it wasn't long before I decided that I needed to get that girl accessorized.  So, the last several days, I've been whipping up these sweet little flowers {and bows} for her hair:

I put each of these on clips so that she can wear them on a headband for now and clipped in her hair later.











Because I rarely attempt any craft without a tutorial, I linked a tutorial for each flower to their titles; you know, just in case you get the flower craft bug! :)

And last, but not least...

every baby needs a minky taggie lovie!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Olive Claire Campbell

My new niece!

Born at St. Mary's Hospital
Jefferson City, Missouri
July 19th, 2011
8 lbs. 8 oz.
20 inches

To my brother, Brandon and his wife, Amy

One proud daddy with his two sisters

Camden and Melia are thrilled she's here, too!

Sweet Little Liv

I finally got to give her the quilt I made her!  My kids lovingly call it the "Angry Birds" quilt.:)

I think she likes it!



Hi, friends!  My friend, Erin, over at Worthy of the Prize Ministries is doing a giveaway of one of my custom shirts. :)  Erin has been a huge supporter of our adoption through her ministry and is a total God-send!

If you win, you can choose from a custom birthday shirt:

or an Adoption Rocks shirt:

Click here to find out how to enter. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Photo Session with the Kids

All I wanted was ONE good picture of my two children together...




Now I just need to decide how I like it edited. :)



Thursday, July 14, 2011

About a Boy

Just look at this kid...
My Camden, my one and only son {for now}...he melts my heart with that grin {even when he makes me want to pull my hair out}! 

He's a yellow...motivated by fun! 

According to the Motive Matters personality test, Mr. Camden's intrinsic motivation for fun makes up about 80% of his personality.

Which is why when I try to take a picture of him, it often ends up like this...

But, this week, Trev and I saw a different side to our son.  He cares SO MUCH about people!  He has this amazing capacity for making sure that everyone is having as much fun as him and if they aren't, he does what he can to change it.

Several times this week, this 4 year old had the intuition to know when High School students were uncomfortable or lonely and that was NOT ok with him.  One evening, we were sitting in a session and Camden noticed a boy {who tends to be alone a lot} by himself.  He asked me if he could go talk to him, and I told him that was ok.  So, he went and sat beside the boy and had the sweetest little conversation with him.  This happened several times with different teenagers, but it was in that moment that I was overcome with emotion for this little guy.  He has the BIGGEST heart and, boy, do we have a giant responsibility to make sure that he maintains that love and care for others. 

What an amazing personality God has given our son!  I pray fervently that he always wholeheartedly loves the Lord and that we foster his God-given gifts and talents in such a way that Christ is glorified through our boy fulfilling his calling in this life.

We love you, buddy, and we thank God for your boisterous personality!  We know God has BIG things planned for you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Craft Week-Day Five {Name Signs}

We had the priviledge of hanging out with our friends, The Stricklands, last week for a day and a half.  Amber and I used to work together at good ole' Target back in the day.  Hands down, my favorite shifts were when we worked together! 

Well, we sort-of lost track of each other when she and her hubby moved away, but reconnected about a year ago.  I am SO GLAD God placed us back in each other's lives.  Even though we live four hours from each other, we easily pick up where we've left off each time!

Chris and Amber JUST joined us on our agency's wait list yesterday at #50 and, since I knew that was coming, I wanted to make a little something for them as a "congrats" for completing that crazy amount of invasive paperwork {that we in the adoption world know as The Dossier}.  So, on Wednesday, when their kiddos hung out at our house {while Amber and Chris went to Joplin to volunteer with Operation Blessing}, I dragged the girls downstairs to make a name sign for each of them as well as one for Strickland-to-be, Chloe.

For this project, we used 3/4 inch thick pieces of plywood, cut to 4x12", scrapbook paper {cut with my Cricut, using my Sure Cuts a Lot software}, Mod Podge, and Ribbon.

I had all of this in my stash, so this project was FREE!! :)

The girls were more than thrilled with how their new signs turned out. :)

These two kinda like each other! ;)  They played for hours and hours as if they've known each other forever {Melia even cried when she left!}.  I love that these two sweet girls will always be bound together by the fact that they are both big sisters to siblings from Ethiopia!

I also need to mention that my big FAIL of the day was not making a sign for the boys.  They were totally oblivious while we were making them {I'm pretty sure they were crashing cars, biting each other with their dinosaurs, or something else adorably "boyish"}, but when they saw them, they were sad that their big sisters has such cool crafts and they didn't.

They were pretty much over it by bedtime, though, cuz, let's face it, what 3-4-5 year old boys aren't totally pumped for a mega-sleepover?!
How cute are they?!

P.S. This week's posts have been so much fun for me...I hope you've enjoyed them, too!  I've been cranking out projects like crazy this week, too...maybe a craft week {take II} is in the works!:)