Friday, September 28, 2012

First Decree!

Posted by Angie at 9:07 AM 19 comments
Today, I am interrupting the scheduled nursery post... share...

...that Wednesday night we received our first decree!

Praise be to God!

The first decree means that the judge has sifted through our mountains of paperwork, Levi's mountains of paperwork, and decided that my husband and I will be Levi's parents!

Levi, looking all grown up on the morning we received the first decree
 As you can imagine, when we got the e-mail late Wednesday, we were overjoyed and overwhelmed.

What's next?  After an undetermined "waiting" period, we receive a final decree.  This makes the judge's first decree legal and binding forever.  That final decree will be submitted to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which will issue us a visa appointment.  We will travel to Taiwan for that appointment.  AH!  The short story is that most families travel to Taiwan about 1 month after the first decree.

What can you do?  Pray that things will continue to move quickly and smoothly.  Specifically, we are submitting a "waiver" from that would allow us to get the final decree next week.  Some judges will accept a waiver, some will not.  Please pray that our judge will accept ours so we can get a final decree soon!  We are coming baby boy!!

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Decorate on a Dime: Nursery Style

Posted by Angie at 9:21 AM 1 comments
On Monday I revealed Levi's nursery with the promise that I would soon blog about how we skimped on spending without skimping on cuteness!  Here are my "Lucky Seven" tips that I learned in this process.

DIY Art:  Dabbling in arts and crafts not only adds a personal touch to a nursery, but it can also yield beautiful pieces for a fraction of the cost!  My "tree art" and the personalized cartoons drawn by a friend add color and life to neutral walls.

Frames 50% off:  Speaking of walls, I never buy frames full price.  Nope--never!  Craft stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michaels) constantly run their frames 50% off...and their websites usually have coupons too!

Use What You Have:  See the bedspread, bed frame, end tables, lamps, and lamp shades in the pictures?  We owned it all "pre-Levi" and made it work in the nursery!  A little blue paint and a stencil brightened up the lap shade.  A few extra pillows tied the blue into the bed.  Look around and use what you might be surprised how much you like it in the room! 

Ask for Practical Gifts:  Crib, crib mattress, and changing table: purchased by my mother.  Quilt with Levi's name on it and stuffed dinosaur: baby shower gifts.  Ikea chair and shelves: purchased with baby shower money....which relates to my next point...

Use "Gifted" Money Wisely:  My husband had one thing he wanted in the nursery: a comfortable chair.  We searched and searched for something that fit our budget, the room, and our desire for durability.  This was an item we were willing to spend on...but not too much!  After all, we have countless diapers and formula containers looming in our future ;-)  When we found this chair at Ikea, with it's slight bounce, cozy footrest, and washable cover, we knew it was the one for us!    

Sew: Whip out the sewing machine or bribe a friend who has one!  My mom helped me make pillows, ties, curtains, and bed skirts for a fraction of the cost.  Instead of buying a $100+ bedding set, I purchased three dinosaur sheets and used one for the fabric accents throughout the room.

And finally, Don't Fear a Change in Plans:  After looking at dozens of baskets for the changing table at numerous stores, I became incredibly frustrated.  I envisioned adorable wicker baskets on the shelves, but couldn't find any that were the right size!  Some too tall, some too small, almost all way out of budget.  I wasn't willing to spend $20 for a basket to hold diapers!  Finally, I "saw" these white plastic buckets.  I had probably wandered past them at least 5 times at various stores.  After measuring them, I discovered they were the PERFECT dimensions...not an inch wasted!  And the price?  Less than $4 each.  I love how they look in the nursery with the cotton ribbons tied on.  Lesson learned--don't be so wedded to one idea that you miss out on other just as awesome options!

On Friday I'll conclude this nursery series with one last look at the inspiration behind it...a "their take/my take" kind of post.  How are your nurseries coming together?  Do you love the way they look?  Or are you still pinning away ideas on your pinterest boards for the future?

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nursery Reveal!

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 2 comments
The nursery!  I have been working on it for months, dreaming about it for longer.  Completed on a tight budget with a whole lot of love, I am thrilled to announce it is almost complete!  Since the room will not be officially finished until we return from Taiwan with a few things, I decided to reveal it now.  
Welcome to our darling son's nursery... 
Welcome to Levi's Room!
Looking left
Looking center
Looking right
The room is really long, so I am going to share it in chunks.  After walking in the door, this is what you see to the left, the crib!
We received the crib (and matching changing table) from my mom, purchased at Target.  The artwork above it was drawn by a friend, which I blogged about here!
Close up of the crib...and dinosaur sheet!
Crib skirt sewn by me and my mother
Levi's view

One last look at this side of the room.

And now, the other side of the room!
Book ledges, changing table, and bouncing chair.  Curtain is the same fabric as the dust ruffle of the crib.
Book ledges are actually photo ledges from Ikea!
Changing table with plastic bins from Target. 
Changing pad!  I bought an extra dinosaur crib sheet, which we cut up to use the fabric as accents throughout the room.
Bouncing blue chair from Ikea
Last look at this side of the room!  Eventually, we will hang our Leaves of Love tree above the changing table.  In the top branches, are the fingerprints of family and friends.  In the roots, we plan to have the nannies, staff, and volunteers of His Hands place their prints and messages.

Other little details...
Haley finds the room quite comfortable.
The flag bunting came from one of Levi's baby showers...more on those soon!
My "tree masterpieces" and a little stuffed dino from my brother-in-law.
Blue dinosaurs on the lampshades, stenciled by me.
Whew!  That's a lot of pictures!

We spent very little money putting this together.  Stay tuned on Wednesday for "Part 2," which is a breakdown of "How to Decorate on a Dime: Nursery Style."

For those of you who got excited by my blogging absence, that we might be traveling...I'm so sorry!  I wish we were in Taiwan too, but nope, I just had a super busy week.  Please join us in prayer that we will receive our decrees soon!  It literally could be any day now.  This mama is ready to TRAVEL!!  And this nursery is ready for a BABY!

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slightly behind...

Posted by Angie at 10:27 AM 3 comments
Oh life.  You keep me busy.  I have several "big" blog posts that are half-written.  Lots of pictures that need to be cropped.  Some pictures that need to be taken.  Are you ready to see...

Our (almost) finished nursery?

A classic blue baby shower?

A travel themed baby shower?

A(nother) special gift we purchased for Levi's first mother (first one revealled here)?

Yeah, I'm ready to show you those posts too.  So ready that they all have been started, but none of them finished.  So excuse me for a bit while I write them all up and get those pictures ready.  Be back Monday?  For now, enjoy this picture, one of our favorite "September" pictures of Levi...and us, in the picture taped within the book.

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Please join us in prayer that we will receive our decrees soon!  This mama is ready to TRAVEL!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September His Hands Families

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 0 comments
In late August, this happened...
{all pictures from His Hands Taiwan facebook page}
And then, this past weekend, two more families met their daughters!
Kelly and Kerrigan
Emily and Lilly
And boy, have they been having fun in Taiwan...

Maybe this will be the week we get our first decree???

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Please join us in prayer that we will receive our decrees soon!  This mama is ready to TRAVEL!!

July 2011 Babies: 
A Referral Story 
Another His Hands Family Created! 

August Baby: 
August His Hands Baby 

October Baby:
Movin' On Up 

November Baby:
A November Cutie  

December Baby:

January 2012 Baby:

April Baby:

June and July Babies

Friday, September 7, 2012

May Date

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 0 comments
Adoption involves a lot of waiting!  To help pass the time, I planned 12 dates for my husband and I.  Some are goofy, some are sweet, all are inexpensive (many are free).  So far we have enjoyed our adventures, in our August date, September date, October date, November date, December date, and January Date, February Date, March Date, and April Date.

May is one of my favorite months.  We got married in May, classes end in May, summer arrives in it!  So, this May I planned a date to try reward us after a long semester of work.  Once again, it was inspired by this date over at Love Actually-the blog.  Here is the date card.
I wasn't sure how Future Papa would feel about it, but we had a great time!  We watched The Conspirators and really enjoyed it.  We had actually had an "unofficial" slumber party earlier in the week, sleeping on our (much cooler) living room floor when our air conditioner broke, so we skipped that part.  In sum, it was a fun break from the routine!

Happy Weekend!

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Smiling Levi

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 2 comments
Levi wants to know...

Have you smiled today?

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Please join us in prayer that we will receive our decrees soon!  This mama is ready to TRAVEL!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August Swap

Posted by Angie at 7:28 PM 0 comments
Friends for Adoption is a "buddy system" that links adopting families together so that they can encourage each other through the twists and turns of the process.  Each month, you and your Friend send and receive encouragements (with a $15.00 limit) in the mail.  This post is about my gift to Brooke.  Even though my husband and I are saving up for our own adoption, we believe we should support others financially, with prayer, and with encouragement as we are able.  Find out more about Friends for Adoption, including how to sign up, here

Oh hello August, where did you come from?  And now you are gone?  This past month, I saw the perfect necklace for Brooke.  Essentially, it's something I would love, so I hoped she would too!  Even though Brooke's anniversary was months ago, I couldn't resist purchasing this perfect little item--a beautiful, hand-stamped necklace from Distinctively Ivy.

After learning the exact anniversary date from her husband (thanks Mike!) I ordered the necklace and sent it straight to Brooke.  Isn't it pretty?

In the midst of motherhood, I figured she might like a little reminder of the day that started her new life as a wife.  

And do you want to see what she got me?  Check out her blog!

Much love,
Blessed Mama

Want to catch up on our past swaps?  Need some gift ideas?  Here's the July's 2011 swap, August swap, September swap, October Swap,  November Swap, December Swap, January 2012 swap, February swap, March swap, April swap, May swap, June swap, and July swap.
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