Saturday, February 16, 2019

7 Quick Takes - Blogiversary, Valentines, Birthdays

Linking up with Kelly this time for another set of Quick Takes here.  My life seems to be measured by Quick Takes these days.  Two weeks into February already?  Impossible.  Lot's going on, so let's get to it.

First things first.  We survived the polar vortex!  We didn't get any snow, and we didn't get to see the rhododendron curl up tight as a soda straw, which was a great disappointment to my boys, but sure didn't hurt my feelings any.  I'm so ready for springtime.  And sunshine.  We are drowning here in southern Kentucky with almost daily rain.  We've had 4 sunny days this month so far.  Yes, I'm keeping track.  One of which did happen to land on a Sunday, and the temperature got up to a whopping 65 so we went for a walk and soaked in as much sun as we could.  A day later, the rains returned but it was still warm.  Perfect weather for herping (yes, it's a thing), so off we went to find salamanders and frogs.  The boys loved that!  I didn't get any photos because it was raining too hard, but we found spotted salamanders, mountain chorus frogs, newts, spring peepers, wood frogs, and American toads!  This past week, our dog found a copperhead (snake) but luckily didn't get bitten, and the ticks are crawling around again.  So, I guess winter is pretty close to over here in the southeast wilderness.

Our sunny Sunday.

On February 11 (the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes), this blog turned 5 years old!  Woohoo! I even wrote a blog post to celebrate but then I didn't publish it.  Instead, I put it into the stack of draft posts that I've written in the past few months that are still being prayerfully discerned before I decide to share with the world.  So much in my life has changed in these past 5 years, not the least of which is I moved to another state and now have two boys instead of two toddlers plus a new toddler.  God must be laughing up there somewhere.  I never could've predicted all the twists and turns that have come these past 5 years, and I'm so glad I had this blog to document it.  If you are one of my readers, thank you so much for coming along on the ride with me.  I hope to keep it going!

We had a fun time celebrating Valentine's day this year.  Since St. Valentine's day fell on Ash Wednesday last year, we didn't really celebrate it, but we made up for it this year.  God did his part too, by sending us a beautiful red sky that morning. Unfortunately, that was the last of the sunshine that we'll be seeing for another week, but it was nice while it lasted.

One thing I did differently for Valentine's day this year was make a little collection of "love notes" for everyone in the family.  I saw this idea on the internet and thought it was pretty cool. At the first of February, I cut out 50 paper hearts.  Each day until Valentine's day, we would write something that we love about someone in the family on a heart and hang it up in our window.  It was so fun to sit and read all our little love notes each day, and by the time February 14 arrived, we had a window full of them.  I plan to take them down now, and turn them into little booklets for each family member to keep. I think this will be a new Valentine's day tradition for us now.

For Valentine's day dinner, Tom grilled us up some yummy steaks and I made a special dessert.  I rarely make desserts these days, mostly because sugar makes my kids go ape, but also because my sons are on very restricted diets.  Coming up with something that is gluten free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, and has no artificial flavors or colorings is a challenge!  As a result, I have mostly given up on baking, and they haven't had ice cream in years.  But, I really wanted to do something special for a Valentine's day dessert, so I searched the internet for vegan desserts and found some inspiration.  After a few modifications, I came up with this.  It's a frozen dessert made with chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand), cashew crème, cranberry sorbet, and whipped coconut milk.   They absolutely loved it, and it warmed my heart to be able to give them a rare treat and see them so excited.  Learning to cook to accommodate their special diet needs has been one of my biggest challenges these past couple of years, and I hope to blog more about it soon.  It's been a lifestyle adjustment but so worth it.

And then, the next day, I had to bake a cake for our birthday boy!  I can't believe he is 8 now.  He's so amazing, and has grown up so much in the past year.  By far, the best part of this year has been re-connecting with his birthmother and for the first time ever, he talked to her on his birthday.  What a special moment that was! So many wounds are healing as a result of this relationship with her.  As I told a friend recently, our adoption story with him is now everything adoption should be.  I feel like we are living the perfect scenario.  Everyone just wants the best for our little guy and to do God's will in that.  With those kinds of attitudes, so much love can grow and God can do his work.  If you would like to read his adoption story, I blogged about it here.

There's one more birthday coming up, too.  Our little Karol Elizabeth will be remembered tomorrow. I think about my little ones living in heaven almost daily, and our boys know that they have siblings on the other side waiting for them.  It's somewhat consoling, I think, to know that we have immediate family in heaven praying for us, and to whom we can turn in difficult times.  We'll put a few candles on a cupcake tomorrow and sing Happy Birthday to Karol Elizabeth as we wrap up a week of two birthdays for two very special little souls.

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