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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Our Christmas Card 2017

I would like to announce that while it took every ounce of energy and self control in me, we did not put up any Christmas decorations or lights until 2 pm on Thanksgiving Day! Seeing beautifully decorated trees and stockings hung on the mantle as I scroll through IG has giving me the itch to start decorating but I had to give my cute little Thanksgiving decorations a chance. But now that Turkey Day has come and gone, it is full on Christmas season over here! We took our family pictures in October with Jennifer Rudolph (Austin friends, if you aren't using her, call her asap!) and pretty much ordered our cards the day we got our photos back. Once again, we are using my favorite favorite favorite online company, Shutterfly! This is our 4th year in a row using them for Christmas cards and I swear they keep rolling out new features that make me love them even more. I wish I could have used about 35 pictures in our card but I figured no one cares about my kiddos precious little faces as much as I do but I love being able to search by number of pictures, theme, and even color to choose my card! It could not have been easier to click last years addresses, add a few more, and put our  new addresses on all of the envelopes. I have sweet spot for scallops so this year chose scalloped edges and how stinking cute is the plaid on the back of the card?! Shutterfly will even stamp and ship your cards for you and although I still haven't taken advantage of that yet, I am thinking it is in the cards for future Christmases. Christmas cards are one of my favorite parts of the season. I get to keep up with family and friends on social media but there is something about a beautiful card sent snail mail that gives me all of the feels. We hang up the 100+ cards we receive and love being surrounded by our people during the holidays, even if it is just a picture. We also spend time praying for each card in the New Year and save the cards until the next year.

So if you aren't super OCD and basically want to order Christmas cards in July, you still have time! Shutterfly has amazing deals going on right now and production/shipping is quick! While you're ordering cards, you can also stock up on gifts for teachers, grandparents, and special friends... stockings, ornaments, photo books, and more. You know I have been faithfully working on our Hart Family yearbook throughout the whole year. Can't wait to show you all in the New Year! Happy shopping friends.

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P.S. Send me your Christmas cards! I only have 3 hanging so far and that is including ours hehe.

Thank you Shutterfly for partnering with me on this holiday post!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Scootin' and Stylin' in the Evenflo Sibby

How on earth is my third baby ONE?! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was frantically trying to figure out this motherhood thing with Ford (and years later, not sure if I have figured it out!). Turning one is pretty big in terms of all of the "stuff" that comes along with have a baby. Trading in barefoot and naked toes for walking shoes, going cold turkey on formula and bottles (praise God, pay raise!), and time to pack away the infant carseat (luckily we have the Evenflo SafeMax for Gideon). We do preschool drop off 3 days a week (Ford 3 days, Lucy 2) and everyday is a toss up on whether or not Lucy will want to sit in the stroller or walk and if Gideon will throw a fit about being strapped in and angry that he's not running with the big kids. I love our double stroller but it is a pain to get in and out of the car quickly so I keep it in our garage for walks but most mornings I need something quick, light, and easy to get us into preschool in time before they shut the doors and you have to embarrassingly walk your kid to the front office. I am so excited to announce a new member of our family, the Evenflo Sibby travel system. First of all, I LOVE the colors... Ford and Lucy always talk about mommy's favorite colors being gray and black. Yay for baby items that don't scream "I have a baby" in pastels and primary colors. It is super sleek and folds up easily which is great for those mornings we are rushing into preschool. My favorite part of our new stroller is the ride-along board that connects to the back of the stroller and folds up when I don't need it. This is perfect for Lucy who wants to run and be independent but her little legs can't always handle the walk to the park or from the parking lot into a store but she is too much of a "big girl" to want to sit in the stroller. I've owned a handful of strollers in my 4 years of motherhood and nothing irks me more than the below basket being microscopic but the Evenflo Sibby has an oversized basket below, perfect for snacks, my purse, water bottles, and the 1 million other things we take every where we go. Gideon sits up quite a bit taller in the Sibby which he loves, Mister I Want To Be Big.

We are lucky to live around the block from an amazing park (mamas... completely shaded, separate playgrounds for bigs and littles, and nice bathrooms with running water...score!) and are there at least 3-4 times a week. Just like those crazy mornings getting into preschool, the Evenflo Sibby has been perfect for walking to the park with Ford on his scooter and Gideon and Lucy riding in the stroller. The last thing I need is for my kiddos to see me cursing a giant stroller that won't fold down or move easily so I am grateful for the light weight, easy to maneuver, and pretty Sibby. Oh and if Gideon should ever decide to sleep on the go, the Evenflo Sibby completely reclines and it is nice and dark for a snooze al fresco (also makes a great mobile diaper changing station).

His 4th molar finally popped through over the weekend! 12 months and 12 teeth, insane.

So as we head into Thanksgiving week, I am not only thankful for baby products like the Evenflo Sibby that make my life a whole lot easier, but I am thankful for sweet little moments with kiddos. The days are long (boy oh boy are they long) but the years are entirely too short. These moments of swinging on the tire swing and sliding down the big slide together are fleeting. There will be a day when they no longer fit in my lap, nor want to be in my lap, and my hands will feel absolutely empty without a stroller to push or a hand to hold. I can't even wrap my head around there being a time where my kids drive themselves to school and put themselves to sleep. I want to press into these moments before they are a distant memory that I wish I could return to. The beautiful mess of motherhood. Happy Thanksgiving friends!

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Thank you to Evenflo for partnering with me on this post!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


•O N E• One year ago this evening, we were mourning the loss of the daughter we thought we would be bringing into our family and God was already at work, bringing Gideon Aaron into this world at the exact time I declared to my friends “I just want a call that a baby is born and i am sure I️t will be a boy”. November 7th, 2016 I was not his mama yet but oh my has this boy stolen my heart in the past year. Happy birthday Gideon Aaron, a strong and mighty warrior who has been touching and changing lives since the day you were born. May your story stand to glorify God and be a light in this dark world. We are SO lucky to be your parents!
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!" -Psalm 30:11-12

My Ebenezer Stone

James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 doesn't make sense without recognizing that God adopted us into his family. He adopted us out of death and into His Kingdom of everlasting love and life, the greatest form of adoption there ever was. Worship in it's purest form is caring for orphans in the eyes of the Lord. Adoption shouldn't be our plan B if natural fertility doesn't work...we weren't God's plan B. Our Heavenly Father delights in our adoption of those orphans in widows, we are displaying the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I wrote the words above on my blog on November 1st, 2012. I sat in church on Orphan Sunday convicted by the Holy Spirit in a way I had never felt His presence. We had been married a year and a half and on the drive home from church, my husband and I looked at each other and knew that adoption would be a part of our story and how we grew our family. Two weeks later we got pregnant with our first son and when he was a year old, we got pregnant with our daughter. Over those combined two years, I prayed a confusing prayer. God did you really call us to adoption? Did I hear that incorrectly? We wanted to be obedient not only to what we are called to as believers but what we felt God call our family specifically to. And what did God tell us? Be patient. Trust me. Keep praying, I am not finished with your story. I remember it clearly. I heard a song where the lyrics read "You had a purpose, a rescue plan for me to move from orphan, to move from enemy, adopted in your blessed royalty." (My King Forever by Jimmy McNeal). I stared down at my 4 month old daughter while my 2 year old son toddled around. It was time. 

Through research and prayer, my husband and I signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants to start the journey of bringing home our third baby through adoption. We spent months preparing our home study, curating our family profile book that would be shown to expectant mamas looking to place their babies with an adoptive families, and praying. The world thought we were crazy, expanding our family with two young children, but we knew God was faithful. I quickly realized how little control I had over this process and felt like God was using this time to strip me of my control idol. My deep desire and need to know exactly what is happening and how it will ultimately unfold (parenting in general has done such a great job of slowly chipping away at idol!). One thing I have to remind hopeful/future adoptive parents and even the everyday person is that adoption comes out of sin and brokenness. We saw things and learned things that we can never unsee. Things that most of the world is sheltered from and ignorant to. A bold prayer we had prayed at the beginning of the process was being answered. God break our hearts for what breaks yours. 

July 5th, 2016 we got the call. We had been matched with an expectant mama, who I will call M, who was pregnant with a baby girl due November 10th. We were overjoyed! A sister for my daughter. We spent the next 4 months preparing our home and hearts for another baby and loving on M. One thing that no one ever talks about in adoption is expectant moms. They are scared, vulnerable, brave, emotional....loving on M was easy but foreign. There isn't any other relationship I had to compare it to but I made it my goal to love her well and show her who Jesus was. It was the first time since we started our adoption that it wasn't about the baby. It was about the mama. The woman who was carrying what could be our daughter, hundreds of miles away from where we lived. And it was beautiful. We Skyped, texted, talked on the phone, got to know each other, laughed when we compared how similar our sassy daughters were, prayed together, and we made plans to be family. I loved, and still love M so hard. 

The week before baby girl was due, I knew something was going on when I hadn't heard from M for a few days. I reached out to our social worker who hadn't heard from her either. Friday November 4th at 12:30pm is when we got the call. M had birthed a beautiful and healthy baby girl the night before and couldn't place her for adoption. My knees buckled and I started heaving. I had never known devastation and heartbreak like this and it was one of the only times I've ever seen my husband cry too. I felt sad, alone, and so fragile but never angry. Those next 2 days were a blur. We had a slew of friends and family come over to drop off meals, pray with us, pickup our kiddos, and with each new face I saw, the whimpering tears would start flowing. We never saw it coming, our social worker kept telling us this was "the best case scenario" and she knew M would go through with the plan. We didn't protect our hearts and loved with reckless abandon and I am so glad we did. I talked to M two days after we got the call and she couldn't stop telling me she was sorry. I felt so much peace and calmness talking with her. This was not my baby, it was hers. There had been a plan but nothing was promised. This was always her choice to make, never mine. I had so much joy that this beautiful baby girl would not experience the trauma of leaving her biological mother. She would grow up with biological siblings and parents who loved her so much that they couldn't do what everyone thought she should do. My joy, my peace, and my delight was not of my own conjuring. It was the power of Christ in me. "This wasn't supposed to happen". Yes Ruthie it was. This was your story all along. Those 4 months were predestined by God for me to tell M about Jesus! To pray for her heart and for her salvation and that she trusts in her Creator, our God. And she did! That conversation I had with her, 3 days after her daughter was born, she told me something that continues to be the biggest source of encouragement to me in my walk with the Lord. It was that my husband and I reminded her who God was and that He was for her. We had never exchanged last names before and I told her what we had planned on naming the baby girl, Penny Grace Hart, and she said, "Ruthie you are not going to believe this! Can I send you a picture of baby girl?". I cried tears of joy when I looked at M's daughter and immediately noticed the large heart shaped birth mark on her leg, dark and 100% visible. The Hart family was always meant to be a part of this little girl's story. 

The next day, November 7th, 2016, I posted this on social media, asking for prayers and privacy with the announcement of our failed adoption. I had an overwhelming sense of peace that Monday morning and could feel the Lord helping me pickup the pieces of my heart and put them back together. I could smile knowing that He is sovereign, He is good, and His ways our higher than mine. 

That evening I had a group of girlfriends come over to cheer me up with chocolate and girl talk. There were lots of tears but so many laughs and I told them that once we start back up the adoption process, I wanted to get a call that a baby had already been born. I couldn't bear the thought of going through 4 months of waiting in limbo or another failed adoption. Oh and I was sure it would be a boy because right upstairs I had spent the past 4 months decorating an adorable room for our daughter. God is just funny like that, right? Little did I know what God was up to that very evening. 

Tuesday November 8th, 2016 at 2pm. My kiddos were napping and a call from our social worker popped up and I instantly started the word vomit. I don't think I ever took a breath explaining to her how I felt the Lord healing me in such a miraculous way. I felt Him near me and inside of me. Psalm 103 tells us that God has compassion for us and those few days it was overwhelming how strongly I felt it. The moment I finally stopped talking she asked me, "Ruthie are you sitting down?" which of course the answer was no, I was pacing around, excited at the thought of feeling whole again. She told me to go get Jon who happened to be working from home downstairs and the next few hours were again, a blur. 

"There was a baby born last night"

"It is a boy"


"Are you interested?"

"Can you Skype with the birth mom?"

And the tears were flowing. Not the same tears we had cried 4 days before but tears of elation and of truth. God promised He wouldn't leave us, He is making all things new. That evening we wrote a letter to this boy's birth mom and she was shown our family profile scrapbook. Thursday she chose us to be her son's parents. Friday she signed relinquishment and we were on an airplane to get our baby. 7 days. God created the world in 7 days and in 7 days we lost a daughter and gained a son. This was all a part of His plan. The broken road to lead us to our son. Jesus you sit at the right hand side of God on your throne and are King of Kings. You are powerful, glorious, and worthy of all praise. You are a God who suffers with us. A God who came down to earth, took on human flesh, lived the perfect life, and died the perfect death. You suffered in a way that I can't seem to wrap my head around and you did it for me. And for my son, and for M and her daughter. You died so you can walk alongside of me in my suffering because you have been there. I will never again underestimate your power and what you can accomplish through your people. Sometimes you do greater things through people than with people. You told me 3 times to name our son Gideon. A strong and mighty warrior. Gideon Aaron, you are my Ebenezer stone. 

Here is a video we put together about the whirlwind journey to our son Gideon...

Ruthie Hart

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