Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Honored To Be Apart of an Amazing Journey

I have to say that when we were living in Louisville I had a pretty amazing support system.The Mr. and I didn't grow up in Louisville so we were essentially at square one in the making friends department when we got married (and who am I kidding we are there now too). We joined Northeast Christian Church pretty soon after we got married. If you are currently looking for a church home in the Louisville area NECC is definitely a place worth looking at. We joined a couples small group in hopes to meet people that we could call friends and essentially go through life with. While we loved our couples group it just didn't work and we decided to break off into a men's group and women's group. Our ladies group grew beyond the initial couples small group ladies and is still holding strong. That group of girls were truly people who I was, and still am able to call on for anything. As a group we experienced child birth, new jobs, relationships, friendships, death, forgiveness, love, support and the list goes on and on. I can honestly say that the one thing I miss the most about living in Louisville is that small group of ladies and the church that we called home. 

When one of my small group members initially approached me about helping her in a significant journey in her life I was a little hesitant. Her sweet family is looking to expand and is currently in the domestic adoption process. First just let me start off by telling you how amazing this girl is, Alison and her family are awesome. They love Jesus, are raising their little girl with strong Christian values and morals, work hard in both their careers, relationships, and communities, and from my experience with Alison she is beautiful, smart, graceful, and genuinely cares for those who cross her path. I can't say enough about her. 

Alison is one of my blog followers as well and knows how much I loved doing digital designs. A part of the adoption process includes putting together an Adoption Profile Book for birth mothers to look at to help them determine a family for their little ones. It maybe one of the most important parts of the process. The Adoption Profile Book is your first impression, and with some agencies only impression that you will have to give expecting parents. It is essentially a small glance into the lives of the adoptive parents, and most of the time the birth mother will select a family for her baby based solely off the Adoption Profile books. Alison has entrusted me with this most critical part of their adoption process, no pressure at all! 

Front Cover 

Seriously, though she did the hard work. There are so many details that need to be included so that a birth mother gets a proper impression. Alison wrote all the information that is included in the book and found all the right pictures that she wanted to be included. My part was really easy. I just had to take all her hard work and make it into something that represented who the Seward Family is and hopefully help a birth mother connect with their family, and ultimately choose them to adopt their baby. 

I just did all of the digital work. Once I completed the design and layout I uploaded it onto my favorite site for printing books, Blurb. Now the waiting game occurs. Alison order the books and they will begin anxiously awaiting a birth mother to select them. The timeline varies from person to person as to how long this wait time maybe. 

I wanted to take the time to blog about this incredible honor that I received. I was very nervous because it is such a huge part of the adoption process. I loved every minute of completing this task, and learned so much about the process along the way. I fully believe that God sometimes places children on this Earth for people and sometimes he requires you to go and find them. My final thought for this post is that you would join me in praying for Alison, her family, and the birth mother out there that may select her family. Pray for the child that will come into their family. Alison, thank you so much for letting me be a part of this journey and I can't wait to see the end result! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Happiest Place on Earth

Every year we take a family beach vacation. Family meaning that my little immediate family (the Mr., dictator, and BayBay), my parents (L and B), and my brother's family (Uncle Bug, Aunt Em, Jude, and YaYa Bell aka Layla). This year we changed it up from our usual spot of Panama City Beach to Vero Beach (another post to follow). Vero is close enough to Orlando that we thought it would be a spectacular idea to take the kids to Disney World for just a day. We flew into Orlando so it worked out perfectly to begin vacation there.

I am so thankful that we decided to do this. Elin is currently in the all things princesses stage (does it really ever end?). She is obsessed! In fact that is basically all she plays with all day, everyday. She has two type of princess figurines the mommy figurines  (as she has named them) and the baby figurines (these are located at the checkout at Wal-Mart, but be advised you may have to go to 20 different Wal-Marts to find them, yep, that mom). Her favorite princess currently is Punzel in her words, however, it changes daily sometimes hourly. We dress up as a princess, we play with princesses, we watch princess movies, the girl is obsessed. Needless to say her agenda for Disney consisted of finding the princesses. 

Just for the record I did not plan this Disney trip, my mom did, so the blog post will not be filled with planning a Disney trip. I do know that she used a travel agent and that it was easy to set up the Magic Bands and Fast Passes. From all the blogs I have read it also appears that travel agent is the way to go, they usually can save you a little money in the long run. The Magic Bands were something new to us. The Mr. and I went to Disney right before we got married and the Fast Pass was the big thing then. Now they have these cute little bands that have everything connected to them, your hotel room, your tickets, your Fast Pass, your Photo Pass, basically everything you need is on that Magic Band. My experience in the planning process consisted of selecting the Magic Band colors, and selecting the Fast Pass activities. I did not know this but when you initially make your Fast Pass selections you can only pick 3, as you complete the activities you can then add more, make sure you just download the App before you go. 

The other part of the planning that I did was deciding on what to do with the kids stroller wise. We have a double stroller but I NEVER travel with it when we are flying. Typically when we travel we just take the umbrella strollers with us and they do the trick. Disney was a new ballgame, lots of walking and sunshine (we knew BayBay would need some shade). My sister in law had told us that there are companies that you can rent strollers, pack in plays, car seats, etc. from and she recommended that we go with this option (she has a 4 and 6 year old and they still use the double stroller, easiest way to keep up with your kids in a large crowd).  I looked at the Disney strollers but they just didn't seem to work for Baylor, they are hard and plastic, and look like a pain to push. I looked at two different stroller companies:


Both companies carry the same types of strollers. We went with Magic Stroller simply because they were maybe $5.00 cheaper (our stroller had a little more wear and tear on it than my brother and sister in law, they have always rented from Orlando Stroller, probably why ours was cheaper). The nice thing about renting a stroller from one of these companies is that a.) you don't have to worry about anything happening to your stroller at the airport b.) it is there when you check in to your hotel and you just return to the same place c.) they are nice strollers (whoever thought of this idea was a genius). Just make sure when you are renting the stroller that you include the rain cover, its free, and you never know when its going to rain in Florida. Also I know black is more attractive but we went with a color and it was easy to pick out in the stroller parking area. If you do go with black make sure you bring something to tie to your stroller the workers do move the strollers in the area to keep them tidy and make room. 

Magic Stroller

Orlando Stroller

We were in Orlando for one night and one day. We stayed at Disney's Coronado Springs. It wasn't anything to write home about, probably hadn't been updated in 20 years, but it had a comfy bed and a decent breakfast. We didn't get to enjoy the pool, but my brother and sister in law (they had been there for a week) said that the pool was pretty awesome. The hotel itself was huge. Note to all those first time Disney people, make sure you ask the front desk for your "First Time at Disney" button. I did not know this but luckily my sister in law is an experienced Disney goer and made sure that Elin and Baylor both got their buttons. Elin wore hers around with pride all day, nearly impossible to get it off of her because she loved it so much (on a side note we are still wearing our Disney Magic Band, love toddlers). 

YaYa Bell and Jude at breakfast

Since we were only doing Disney for a day we went with Magic Kingdom as our park of choice. Magic Kingdom is perfect for a little girl who loves princesses. Our Fast Passes for the day pretty much consisted of meeting Mickey and the Princesses. As usual upon arrival you are blown away with the beauty of Magic Kingdom. Nothing screams Disney like a castle. Elin loved it and was in awe. Our first Fast Pass was pretty much as soon as we entered Magic Kingdom. 

Check this link for shirt info (side note she can even get tall man sizes)

We hit the ground running and started with a visit to Rapunzel and friend (which happened to be Princess Tiana, one of Elin's favorites, loves NOLA like mom and dad). I think it is safe to say that Elin was star struck. I feel like she was thinking "wait, they really exist?" Obviously the people who are playing these princesses are amazing at their job, they stay in character no matter what circumstances they face. Rapunzel was perfect hugged Elin, talked to her about being a princess, and really made her first meet and greet a great experience. Elin was just as excited to see Tiana, and apparently she is a rare find. 

In true Disney fashion we had to go on Its a Small World, this was Elin's first real ride (pretty sure it is everyones first ride at Disney). She was mesmerized by the whole thing. The whole ride she was saying and pointing "mom look, dad did you see that?" It was also a nice break from the Florida heat on 4th of July weekend. 

Merida was our next stop. Merida is probably Elin's second favorite princess after Rapunzel (she is definitely my favorite, the Mr. thinks she's pretty awesome too) she was just as starstruck. Merida's little area is nicely set up because they have a little table for kids to color while you wait in line. Disney truly knows how to do things the right way. 

Showing Merida her muscles

Elin's beautiful artwork

We had a quick lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace (TIP: If you are staying for the week, do the meal plan), and then headed out to see Mickey. Now when I was a kid I remember you had to search the park high and low to find that silly mouse. Now they have a nice little set up, and I definitely recommend a Fast Pass for Mickey because the regular line was super long (TIP: Ana and Elsa were not at Magic Kingdom, but if you plan to see them Fast Pass them as well the line was 120 minutes long the day we were there, YIKES). This Mickey was very unique, he talked! We were very taken a back by that and equally as surprised when Elin decided to hug him. I think Baylor was just trying to figure out what it was because he just kept giving Mickey the stare down! 

Jungle Cruise

Disney is an exhausting day, and while I can't wait to go back (hoping to do the Disney cruise) I am glad that we had the beach to look forward too. We left the park at 5:00 and definitely were all exhausted and ready for a break. I am not the person to talk to if you are planning a week long trip, but I can say it was worth every second of watching your child form life long memories. I am pretty sure Elin has asked us "can we go to Mickey's house?" everyday since our visit. Disney is way more fun with your kids! We are counting down the days until we can go again!