Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall in Boston (Family Photos 2013)

If you know me at all then you probably know that I am obsessed with photos. I think it is such a simple way to document your life. I am also 100% addicted to lifestyle family photography. After the first time we got our engagement photos back and saw how our pictures told such a beautiful story of our love for each other, Sears and Picture People lost my business forever. There is just something so special about the candid, intimate moments a lifestyle photographer can capture.

We try to get professional photos taken once a year, mainly for Christmas cards. This year was especially important to me because of where we live. We love that we get to live in Boston. I always want to remember how breathtaking this city is and how happy we are living here. One day these moments will pass and I am sure we will live somewhere else, but now we will never ever forget. {And a huge thank you to Nicole Baas Photography for giving us our favorite photos yet!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month! I wanted to take an opportunity to tell you my very own adoption story and why I think adoption in the United States is so important. Let's take a trip down memory lane for some not so great childhood memories pre-adoption:

My brothers and I were born into a very unstable home. My mother was a whore and my father was a drug dealer. We would go days without food because my mother was MIA and my father was constantly strung out on the couch. My older brother did his best to care for us, but you can only do so much with an empty refrigerator. On the days my parents were around, my father would beat our mom and send her to her room. He would make my brothers and I watch pornography on the couch together and try to touch us inappropriately during. We were abused physically, sexually and mentally but that was all we ever knew. Our view of what "love" was had been severely distorted. 

One day a big white van pulled up to our house. These people got out and tried to pull us away from our parents. I remember there was a lot of shouting and kicking- we were doing our hardest to get out of their grip. These people kept saying things to us like "We're taking you to a better home. You're safe now" but how did we know the difference? No matter how many horrible things our parents had done to us, they were all we had ever known and our world was crumbling as they dragged us out of our home. 

We spent years in the foster care system. Some houses were good, most houses were not so good. Older brothers of the foster home we were in touched me inappropriately and told me if I told anyone they would hurt me or my brothers. Other families told us we couldn't eat dinner with them because we weren't apart of the family. We had to wait until they were finished and then we could come eat the leftovers from the 'real family dinner'. Nobody wanted to keep us so we got used to keeping our suitcases packed and moving from house to  house. The only good thing was that they kept my two brothers and I together, which was rare. We were a team and as long as I had them, I felt like I could make it to the next doorstep we were dropped off to.

One day we arrived at a very different home. There was a mom, dad and even an older girl. They were nice. They included us in family dinners, bought us new clothes and even said words like "love" a lot! I did not know what the word love meant, but it felt nice when they said it. We waited for the day we would be moved out, but it never happened. The nice man and woman told us we could call them Mom and Dad if we wanted and that they were going to keep us forever if that sounded okay to us. We felt like this was a dream! Someone finally wanted us, all of us!

We had a lot of baggage to work through, but for the first time ever, somebody was helping us carry the load. We went through years of counselling to work through the memories that haunted our little minds. My new mom made me stand in the mirror and tell myself I was pretty. It took a long long time before I believed it. No little girl should ever have to go through the sick, self esteem ruining things I had to face. But thank God some nice family from a small town in Indiana took an interest in us. We worked through our issues together and I learned what a 'family' really was.

Please don't feel sorry for me. That's not what this is about. I was dealt a rough hand in the beginning of my life, but it has shaped me into the woman I am today and I am stronger because of those battles. I am sharing this story to talk about how grateful I am that we were able to have a second chance. My parents could have chosen to adopt from Africa or China, but they chose us. Three abused kids from a tiny town in Ohio. I don't even like thinking about what life would have been for us if they wouldn't have found us. Maybe we would have lived our entire life in the foster care system. Maybe we would have ended up just like our biological parents. 

I just wonder why we feel such a need to go elsewhere for adoption. I am not saying it's wrong to adopt a child from another country. I welcome the idea and am so happy for those lucky kids. But did you know that over 500,000 kids need homes right here in America? I was once apart of that number, but thank God my parents chose us. My heart will always be here, in the United States foster system, and I hope you would consider it too if you are thinking of adopting.

Happy National Adoption Month! Thanks to adoption I was able to have the kind of childhood every kid deserves, just a little later in the game. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

10 Things I Love About You

My Sweetest Justin,

Has it been two years of marriage already? Where does time run away to? When I was little I wanted the years to fly by so fast. I wanted to be a grown up, married to my very own prince charming, maybe have a couple of kids and then I wanted the clock to stop. Growing old was my biggest fear, until I met you. I don't need to freeze time, anymore. Being married to you presents a new adventure every day and instead of fearing what the future looks like, I welcome it because I get to go through it with you. There are days I want to karate chop you in the shins, but for the most part I feel overwhelmed by the amount of love my heart carries for you.

 There are so many things I love about you, but I decided to write a short list of some of my favorites:

1. The way I catch you staring at me and when I ask you what you are looking at you always say "I was just checking out how beautiful you are"

2. The way you make me laugh so hard, I have to catch my breath after.

3. How much you love God.

4. The flowers you always bring home. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I didn't have a fresh bouquet of flowers in the house. {I had to stop posting pictures on various social media sites because I didn't want people to get annoyed. :p} Such a sweet gesture and not one bouquet goes unappreciated.

5. You always take my side because I am never wrong even when I am probably wrong.

6. You are usually the one to say you are sorry first when we have an argument.

7. 92% of our date night activities include shopping, but you never complain.

8. How much you love our dog.

9. The way you tell me every detail about your day and are genuinely excited to hear about mine.

10. The way you love me so unconditionally even on the days I don't feel like I deserve it.

I love you so much, Justin. You are my Marshall Eriksen. The whipped cream and cinnamon to my hot cocoa. You're my rock. You are the guy that I have been dreaming about since I was little and I feel so lucky to have found you. I can't wait to see what the rest of our life together holds, but for now let's take it one day at a time. I don't want to blink and miss it all, because you know that's how life works. Happy second anniversary honey. I love you more than I could ever tell you, but I will never stop trying.

Cannot wait to celebrate with you tonight!

Your Girl