Monday, August 29, 2016

DIY Crib Sheet

I bought a crib sheet on Etsy for an insane $40 but let myself splurge because baby #3 will get lots of hand me downs. I figured I'd just have 1 nice crib sheet and find a neutral one at Target as backup because I couldn't stand the thought of spending another $40 on a sheet. Well... I was perusing Hobby Lobby and saw the exact fabric of the crib sheet on sale for $4 a yard. I quickly got the idea in my head that I could make my own and searched on Pinterest for a tutorial. I found this amazing and easy tutorial, bought my fabric, and was on my way. If you follow me on Snapchat (ruthiehart1) you get to see a lot of my embroidery projects but I am in no way a seamstress of any kind. I dusted off my sewing machine that is so old and basic and found that it was pretty easy to relearn, thanks to embroidery. Anyway, if you can sew a semi straight line, you can do this folks. And if I can do it, you can do it! 

Supplies
2 yards cotton fabric 
3/8in knit elastic
Fabric Scissors
1 Safety pin
Measuring tape
Sewing pins
Sewing machine


Cut your fabric 69" long, leaving the tag/edges on the side (approximately 45")


Fold in half twice (hot dog/hamburger or vice versus, one of each)


Go to the corner that has 4 separate flaps of fabric...aka no folds. For me it was bottom right. If you need help figuring this out, scroll down 2 pictures to see what it will look like once you cut)


Trace an 8"x8" square on the top flap of fabric


Cut out the 8"x8" square (you can dispose of the square)

 

Your fabric should end up looking like this


Fold the bottom corner of each of the 4 corners to meet the outer corner (think of a crib sheet now to help you understand how it will work... lots of visualizing for me! This will cover each corner of the crib mattress)


Pin the fabrics together (you should have the wrong side of the fabric on top). Do this for each of the 4 corners


Sew a straight line along the edges and then a zig zag to keep the seam from ripping. Repeat for all 4 corners. 



Fold down 1/4' of the fabric around the entire crib sheet. It is such a small mesurement, no need to be super precise. 


Then iron another 1/2" fold around the whole sheet. This is where your elastic will be encased. 


NOT PICTURED: Stick two sewing pins 2" apart along the fold to remind you not to sew that 2". This is where you will fish your elastic through. Sew a straight line along the edge of the 1/2" fold. 

Measure 62" of your elastic and mark it. Do not cut. 


Attach a long safety pin to the end of the elastic (not the end with the mark) and fish it through the edge of the crib sheet. This is what took me the longest. Once you get all the way around, you will have that 2" gap and a couple inches of elastic left over. 


Sew the elastic together at the end of 1 side and the 62" mark (pull it away from the crib sheet fabric). I made a couple of messy zig zag stitches to get it tight. 

NOT PICTURED: Sew the 2" portion of the crib sheet that is open. 


I played with the elastic a little and moved it evenly around the crib sheet. 

And wah-la! You are done!



I actually also made matching bumpers for the crib,...still can't believe they are fully intact and not ripped to shreds. To say I am proud of myself is an understatement!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Adoption Family Profile Book

Thank you all for your love, support, congratulations, prayers, comments, messages, and pure excitement from the recent post on our adoption! It still very surreal that we are bringing home our baby girl in a little over 2 months. Unless you've adopted before or have someone close to you that did, the process is all unknown... like it was to us just a couple of months ago. Today I am going to share our family profile book with you, the thing our birth family got to see and chose us based on. I want to give you a little back info on how this all works so you can follow along.

Once we were home study approved (the long process of paperwork, clearances, finger prints, interviews, references, home visits with a licensed social worker), we started working on our family profile book. It is basically a snapshot scrapbook into our family life and what is shown to birth families when they are choosing an adoptive family for their child. We were emailed cases by our adoption consultant and were able to review information such as pregnancy records/info, family, medical history, interviews with social workers, costs of the adoption etc. The amount of information varied by agency (we worked with multiple agencies through Christian Adoption Consultants) so sometimes it was really detailed information and maybe even a picture of the expectant mama and sometimes it was just basic information. So from there, we decided whether or not we wanted to present our family profile book to this expectant mama. We probably saw 25+ cases in the 5 months we waited but said no to a lot of them based on the due date of the babies (we were out of the country in July). On average, an expectant mother/family will see 3-5 profile books that fit any criteria she had (maybe she wanted a family with no kids in their home already, a certain religion/faith affiliation, a certain state, certain race, etc). Along with our family profile book, we wrote a personal letter to the birth mama each time we presented. I am still in shock that we only presented our profile twice before getting matched on our third time. And when I say present, I don't mean that we are face to face with the birth parents. There is no contact until a family is matched and the adoption case worker is the one who walks with the birth family during her pregnancy and shows her the profile books. 

If you ask any of my family or friends to describe me, they would all use the word creative. I live to craft, create, design, and use my hands so making our book was so much fun! I wanted to share our entire book with you guys because I found it SO helpful to read other family's books as we were creating ours. To say I spent a lot of time on it would be an understatement. It consumed me for a few weeks but in a good way. I got to dig through old pictures of me and Jon pre babies (wow we look so energized and refreshed), take pictures of our home, and we jointly wrote out the blurbs on each page. Thank God for Pinterest because I was able to find some awesome adoption blogs that shared their family profile books and gave tips and recommendations. Crazy enough, Pinterest is where I found this tutorial on creating a family profile book by Susan our adoption consultant. I stayed up one night reading every single post on her blog, emailed her, and signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants within 2 weeks.  I also have a few friends who have adopted in the past 1-2 years that shared their books with me. I do not know how we would have gotten this far without having people go before us and that is exactly what I want to do for the friends who will go after us. 

Family profile books are typically no more than 20 pages long. Ours is 8x11 and we ordered soft cover because we needed 20+. Soft cover made it easier to mail as well. Sometimes agencies require specific details to be included in your family profile book so if you are an adoptive family, be sure to confirm with your agency first. I partnered with Shutterfly to create our books and I can't begin to tell you how our partnership has blessed our family throughout our adoption. The Shutterfly interface is so incredibly easy and user friendly, I made probably 300 edits over the month it took me to create and had absolutely no issues. I am already up to date on our 2016 family yearbook in Shutterfly and can't wait to create birth announcements for our sweet baby girl this fall!

I still say to myself multiple times a day, I can't believe she chose us. I know the text is small so if you are needing further guidance on creating a profile book (or want to talk adoption/have questions), email me! Without further adieu, here is our family profile book. 
















Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ford's Birthday List

Ford turned 3 last week and is having a blast with all of his new birthday goodies! I felt extra excited for his birthday this year because it was the first time that he knew what was happening. He knew he was another year older, he knew we were going to celebrate, etc. His 1st and 2nd birthdays were fun nonetheless but he totally had no clue what was going on. All of the sudden Ford's imagination is growing and he is all about pretend play. He has showed interest in dressing up when we are at friend's houses and he loves doing things that grown ups do. Because he's had a blast with his gifts, I wanted to share some ideas because a few months ago I was at a loss for what to get him. He got gifts from us, family, and a few friends. Lucy is loving Ford's birthday too, she gets to play with all of his toys!


Theo Klein Service Car Station- Jon found this kids mechanics car probably a year ago online and has been waiting to get it for Ford. To say Ford loves it is an understatement! Every morning he comes down and says "Okay I am going to work on my car, the XYZ is broken". Jon is in heaven. And Lucy loves it too! It also has a little spot to store matchbox cars and a ramp for racing them. Seriously hours of entertainment. My mom let us borrow a giant box of my brother's matchbox cars and they are loving them (Lucy has been sleeping with 2 orange cars every night). Ford has such an engineer's brain but this would be such a fun gift for any little boy (or girl!).

Melissa and Doug Chef Costume- Ford had this costume on at a play gym we go to a couple of weeks ago and it just killed me. It was adorable. He has loved playing in his play kitchen upstairs since he was 1 year old and now loves to play restaurant, grocery store, and waiter. 

Melissa and Doug Police Officer Costume- if you know anything about Ford, you'd know he is a rule follower (I am totally not complaining!). My sister got him this police costume and he loves it! He tells me he has to go write tickets when people are bad or not following the rules... which is what he does with Lucy all the time. 

Perfection Game- my mom has the original Perfection game at her house and Ford loves playing with it! It gets him every time. One of his besties got him the newer, mini version and it is perfect for him! He loves board games. 

Little Critter Books- my mom saved all of the books I read growing up and gave them to me when I had Ford. We have two pretty worn out Little Critter books that are his favorite, along with a Little Critter stuffed animal he sleeps with every night. I love how the books always have a little lesson or feel good story so I picked up about 8 from Half Price Books for $1.99 each. 

Cootie Game- Ford and his cousin Embry love playing Cootie at my parents house and at the lakehouse, it keeps them busy for hours. He was so excited to get his own set from his Uncle James. 

Doctor Kit- to go along with the pretend play, Ford got a new doctor's kit from his great Gram and Papa. He has always loved a random toy stethoscope we have and when he brought it to Lucy's well check a few weeks ago, I thought a new doctor kit would be perfect. 

Some other things he got and loves are: a big box of dinosaurs that I got off of a garage sale site, a velcro catch ball set, a bubble gun, a water rocket, and a couple of crafty things (stickers, etc). It was a fun birthday for Ford!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Truth Ink

Graphic tees are all the rage these days. I probably see at least 5 a day on Facebook or Instagram that I say to myself, "Yep I need that". Whether they are printed with sayings about motherhood, working out, or Jesus, I love me some graphic tees. I started following Truth Ink Apparel a couple of months ago when a neighbor of mine posted a picture of her sweet 3 and 5 year old girls wearing Christian graphic tees and I instantly fell in love with all of their encouraging, faith based items. I ordered Jon a custom made shirt from them for Father's Day....

(and if you don't know what Jesus rap is... check out Lecrae or Trip Lee)


Looking cute and loving Jesus, amen?

Well I finally got my hands on my own tank from Truth Ink and I couldn't love it any more. So many of the shirts are not only faith based but encourage you to keep your body healthy (I am eyeing a tank that says Mommin' Is My Cardio). Jesus and fitness are two of my favorite things hehe. 

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8



You can shop Truth Ink Apparel on their websiteInstagram or Facebook and be sure to pop on over to my Instagram account for a GIVEAWAY!



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ford is THREE!


Oh my gosh I am not gonna lie. My heart is all over the place as I type this post. I am so excited and happy to celebrate my big 3 year old boy but kind of mourning the fact that baby hood is GONE. I mean, Ford really hasn't been a baby for a long time... he's been potty trained over a year, talks like  5th grader, and isn't exactly baby sized but something about 3 feels so different. So old. We are in a really good stage with Ford right now. Terrible 2's didn't hit us too hard so I am hoping that the Three-nager in him is mild too. If you have ever been around Ford in real life your heart was probably stolen in an instant. He is so kind, gentle, sweet, emotional, funny, goofy, and lovey. He is such a typical first born which I love. He follows the rules, listens, and obeys (I know I'll be singing a different tune with Lucy ha!). He is sensitive and snuggly, sometimes I hold him and just think about how happy he will make a woman one day. He is starting to become a lot more imaginative, which is saying a lot for him because he is very literal. He has such an engineers brain. He loves building things, fixing things, solving problems, and helping us do every day tasks. We got him this kids service car station for his birthday where you can change brake pads, oil, flat tires...I know he and Jon are going to have a blast! 

Ford is an incredible big brother and I've always thought that he'd be perfect for a bunch of little sisters... God is cool. He talks about his new baby sister all the time and tells me he wants to feed her bottles all by himself. He loves doing things by himself... brushing his teeth, going to the bathroom, showering. Gosh I feel like I am going to blink and he'll be helping me reach things in the tall cabinets. I can't even put into words how much I love my son. Something I pray for him every day is that God would use him to do something big. It is a scary prayer to pray because I know there will be a day where Ford leaves the nest but I trust Him. Ford was named after Nehemiah who was brave, dedicated, and obedient to God's calling on His life. Will God call Ford to go on mission in a 3rd world country? Or will He call him ministry? To book writing? To adoption? To justice for sex trafficking victims? 3 year old Ford has so many talents and such a big voice that I know 23 and 33 and 43 year old Ford will be incredible. 

Today we plan on going to Chuck E Cheese and then out to dinner with our family to celebrate our big boy. Oh I just love him!

Now for some fun, Ford over the years. 

2013
(You can read Ford's birth story here.)

2014

2015





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sharing Birthday Joy

I cannot believe tomorrow we will have a 3 year old! Well if we are getting technical, he won't turn 3 until 11;46 pm but none the less, wow time flies. We decided not to throw Ford a birthday party this year and just do something fun as a family for a few reasons. First off, Ford is so easily entertained and amused by the littlest things (y'all should have seen him with a scarf last week at story time) and I know will appreciate whatever we do. I know there will be many years to come where he is begging for a party at an inflatable playhouse or little gym... cue dollar signs... so we are going to hold off as long as we can. Second, we wanted to do something extra special to teach him about service on his birthday. I am a part of a foster/adoptive mamas group here in Austin and another mama posted about an organization called Sharing Birthday Joy. Families, groups, companies, and even individuals can sponsor and create a birthday part for children who are either homeless or in the foster care system. These children are experiencing brokeness, change, neglect, heartache, and even abuse, so this organization exists to recognize and spread joy to these kiddos on their birthdays. You can sign up for certain themed parties or simply create a party box of your choice. We chose to create 2 boxes, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse. Ford and I had the best time going to Dollar Tree, Target, and Wal Mart to collect all of our supplies. He helped me pick cake flavors, goodie bag treats, snacks, and stickers. We talked a lot about how these fun things were for children who didn't have a mommy and daddy like us or who wouldn't be able to celebrate their birthday this year. We set up an assembly line when we got home to stuff the goodie bags, add ribbon, and organize our party supplies. We wrapped up our supplies in big boxes and are going to deliver them on Friday. Jon and I decided that no matter if we are having a party for our kids or not, we want to create a birthday box with Sharing Birthday Joy for each of their birthdays. What an awesome way to teach your children about serving those less fortunate while doing something FUN.

If you want to know more about how you can create a birthday party for a homeless or foster child, check out Sharing Birthday Joy for more information. If you aren't local to Austin but would like to support this organization, you can donate directly here







Monday, August 8, 2016

We're Growing Again!


We have been bursting at the seams, ready to share this great joy with you. Our family has been MATCHED with a sweet expectant mama and will be welcoming a baby girl to our crew later this fall! We/she is due November 10th and right on track for a full term baby/delivery. We got "the call" at 6pm on Tuesday July 5th and by the grace of God, we were all together. Jon had day tripped to Dallas and was set to be in Houston the next morning bright and early so we got to be together and with the kids. It's hard to put into words how I felt that evening, I thought it would feel similar to finding out I was pregnant but it was different and incredible. So you probably have questions surrounding our match. We will share as much as we can without sharing some sacred details of our baby's story that we will keep within our family to share with her when she is older. Thank you for understanding and respecting the fact that I won't be sharing intimate details or answering certain questions.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" -James 1:17

So now you can see why I've been so absent on my blog lately (plus vacation, summer, crazy summer). Things have been emotional... joy, fear, excitement... we've been feeling all of the emotions. I always heard people say adoption was hard and I just didn't understand it until now. Adoption comes out of brokenness and we are getting to see that pain firsthand. There has been so much I've wanted to say but those conversations have happened between me and God. What I do want to say to you all is that if you know someone who is adopting... pray for them. Pray for their hearts to stay steadfast to the promises of God, pray for their future birth mother to have support, protection, and love, and pray for their baby. I feel like over the past few months God has grown me and stretched me in ways I would have never grown had we not gone through this adoption process. I now have a clear understanding of my adoption into God's family. A spiritual orphan saved by the Cross of Christ. And I am so thankful for that.

So back to baby Hart #3. We have been working with Christian Adoption Consultants and cannot imagine going through adoption without the love and support of our consultant and the CAC community. Basically CAC has relationships with agencies and attorneys in adoption friendly states all over the US. Adoption friendly means that the required time before relinquishment is allowed is 48-72 hours. So yes you can adopt in all states but the waiting period for relinquishment differs by state. We have been matched with an agency in Las Vegas and will be traveling to Nevada when our baby is born in November. Because we are doing an out of state adoption, we will be staying in the state for 2-3 weeks post placement while some legal contracts are approved, etc. We haven't made concrete travel plans (and can't really until we get the call) but most likely Jon and I will be traveling alone when she is born and Ford and Lucy will join us a few days later with my parents. If you are in Vegas, you'll have to let me know of some fun things to do with 3 kids under 3 that don't involve glitter or casinos :).

Ford will have just turned 3 and Lucy will be 18 months when our baby is born, 3 kids in 3 years. I know it will be hard and I know chaos is to come but this is what God has for me. I have full confidence that He will give me what I need to not only survive, but thrive. Energy, sleep, finances, babysitters, meals, community... it may not be an over abundance because then that wouldn't leave any room for His power would it? Call me crazy but I keep telling myself this time will be easier and I have reason to believe that it will. I won't have just had a C section and I won't be breastfeeding which were 2 of the hardest parts of adjusting to a new baby for me. I may be putting my foot in my mouth in a few months but hey, one can hope right?

Everyday I tell God, "You didn't have to do this, but you did". His providence has been so evident and incredible throughout our adoption process and specifically our match. Friends, don't discount the fact that God is working everything together for the good of the kingdom. He doesn't waste the waiting period, the pain, and even the joy. This baby was hand picked by a KING for our family and I cannot wait to meet her face to face.


"Not to us, Lord, not to us but to you be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1 

Please keep praying y'all. For us, our birth mother, and our sweet baby girl. Ford and Lucy are so excited, we can't wait to further complete our family through adoption.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

FanningFiesta in Cancun

I am writing this in bed, past my bedtime but I have the energy and words to blog so I gotta go for it. We just got back from our family summer vacation to Cancun, Mexico and I am so exhausted but my heart is full. Instead of doing big Christmas gifts each year, my parents gift us some sort of trip and it has been such a fun tradition the past few years. We've done Mexico, South Padre, Colorado, and Mexico again. In fact we talked this week about possibilities for next years trip and it looks like something mountain-y will be the winner. It is just so darn hot in Austin June-September and escaping the heat is so ideal. Back to our trip. We took a direct 2 hour flight (Southwest) from Austin to Cancun, took a private shuttle, and were at our hotel by 2pm on Saturday. We stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo which is technically in Riveria Maya but it was only about 30 minutes from the airport. The resort was spot on for families with kids, seriously I could go make this whole post about all they have for kids (while still doing a great job of catering to adults). They had a wave pool, lazy river, big shaded outdoor playground, kids pool, pirate ship/waterslide/splash pad area, nightly shows and events for kids, and a kids club that unfortunately our kids couldn't participate in because they aren't 4 but it looked so cute. In addition to all of that, the kids rode a merry go round on site, had their faces painted, did a pinata, and had balloon animals made. Ford and his cousin Embry had a BLAST! I think this weekend will be quite the withdrawl for him. We ate our little hearts out (the food wasn't the best but not the worst of resorts we've stayed at)... my kids ate pizza, hot dogs, fries, and ice cream almost every meal. You'd think that having napping kids would complicate things but it was actually really nice to lay Lucy down for 2 naps and Ford down for 1 because Jon and I took turns laying down ourselves. It was nice to be out of the sun, take a snooze, or play games on our phones. Our group was a total of 16... our family of 12 and then a family we've known for 20 years, it was so much fun! There were so many extra sets of hands which is seriously the only way to vacation with kids. Ford kept papa busy wanting him to throw him in the air, swim in the waves, etc. To be honest, Lucy was a bit of a handful... she is just very fiesty these days and to top it off, is cutting some major teeth so she was a little high maintenance but still had so much fun getting loved on by so many. I kind of forgot how hard this age is (15 months)... she thinks she's a big girl but can't really talk much and gets verrrry frustrated when she doesn't get what she wants. Don't we all Lucy girl? We were there a total of 5 nights and one of the nights Jon and I got to sneak away to a hibachi restaurant for dinner alone which was much needed after sleeping in a full bed together inches away from our 2 kids. Overall there was lots of awesome family time.. if you haven't noticed, I am very close with my parents and siblings, it is the biggest blessing in my life. The trip was basically a trip with my best friends and we had so much fun. We over ate, over sunned, and some of us (definitely not this lightweight) over drank. 


















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