Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
(Holiday Card by the amazing Ink Lane Design)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gift Giving Guide For: The Crafter

I can't even believe that it's already December! 
I know I say it every year but this year seriously FLEW by. I don't know how it happens, but every year goes by faster than the last. 
Christmas is only a little over two weeks away! Since there's no sense in fighting it, I decided to put together a little gift giving guide for your favorite crafter!
Most of these are items are ones that I currently have and love, and some are things that are on my personal wishlist. Let's jump right in...

Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut recently came out with their new machine, the Explore Air 2. It basically has all the same features as the original Explore Air, but, it can cut and write up to 2 times faster! And it comes in three fun colors, mint, light pink and light blue. (Mint is my personal favorite.)

If you're going to get a Cricut machine or already have a Cricut machine, these gold tools are a must. It's no secret that I love all things gold and these tools are no exception. They are gorgeous and just as functional as they are beautiful. (These were actually wrapped up under the tree for me last Christmas from my Mr.)

A glue gun is a must for any crafter. This glue gun, unlike most, has two heat settings, making it ideal for all crafts! The silicone mat is an awesome feature. My whole crafting career prior to getting this glue gun included a paper plate or some form of scraps under my gun. The mat is not only functional, but a lot nicer to look at than an old paper plate covered in glue. 

This has quickly become one of my favorite crafting tools. It was a gift I bought for myself last Christmas on Black Friday. With it you can create your own gorgeous foil creations right at home!

If you're going to get the foil applicator, you have to get the foil! It comes in so many gorgeous colors, it's hard to choose, I recommend just buying a bundle!

This is such a staple that most crafters already have one (or in my case, several), but sometimes it's nice to have a cute one! When I saw this one, I knew it had to be added to my stash!

So, this is one of the items that I don't currently have, but I have ALL the heart eyed emoji's for. I currently have a mint color vintage typewriter that I bought online, it's not entirely functional though. I love that this one has that vintage look but is modern and functional!

So this is a silly little item that could even just work as a stocking stuffer but it's something I recently bought myself on a whim and have been having so much fun with! I know you've seen those little yarn pom poms everywhere, well these little guys help you make them! They make it so fun and easy (and it's also weirdly therapeutic) and the pom poms are a great addition to any craft project! I've even been using them in all my gift wrapping lately and it adds a fun little touch. 

Every crafter needs a great printer and not only is this one a powerhouse... it's GOLD!
I originally bought this printer for my wedding, before I had decided to go ahead and book a photobooth. It has been so nice to have an easy to use photo printer at home for random little projects. I especially love that I can print directly from my phone!

This is one of my absolute favorite crafting tools. It is one that I didn't realize was missing in my life until I got it and then wondered how I did things before I had it! Not only does it perfect set eyelets, it has become my go-to hole puncher as well with two different size options built right in! It is a great versatile tool that everyone needs in their arsenal.

American Crafts Gold Mini Stapler

This is another one I didn't know I needed until I bought. It's design makes it easy to grab and use while your other hand my not be free. The mini staples aren't as obtrusive as a standard sized staple which I love. It's also gold which obviously makes me love it that much more. 

And that rounds out my gift guide! 
I hope you enjoyed it! What is on your wish list this year?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Danica's Adoption Story: Part Four // Q & A

Welcome back to my adoption series featuring none other than my best friend Danica! Today she will be answering some questions she has received both about her adoption and adoption in general. 
(If you missed the rest of the series you can find parts one, two and three here.)
This post is just questions that people may have emailed me or that I have gotten in the past that may help others understand adoption better. I don’t mind talking about my adoption at all and I’m glad that you guys had some questions, seriously I’ve gotten some weird ones. My favorites are mostly, “Who do you call your parents?” or something like, “Are you and your brother born from the same mom and adopted into the same family?” Come on what are those chances….

Bonnie asks:

Do you think that subconsciously you have ever had trouble being in committed relationships because you were adopted?

I don’t think I have the issue that some may deal with being ‘unwanted’. I was always raised to believe that my birth mom was UNSELFISH enough to give me up for adoption because she realized that she was not in a place in her life to support me and give me the ‘best life I could have’ I solemnly believe that giving up a baby for adoption must be one of the hardest things that a women may ever have to do but at the same time it in incredibly unselfish of her. I don’t think I have a problem committing because of abandonment because of my adoption at all. I can see how other people might have an issue if they were raised to believe that they were “unwanted” or “unloved.”

I’d like to know if you have any thoughts on why some people who are adopted feel that they MUST find their birth parents and others could go either way. 

I know some people who want nothing to do with their birth parents and I completely understand that. With some people they might not be as open about their adoption but I think it has to be an individual choice. Some people are just curious about it, and just want to see what’s out there, like myself and other people wouldn’t even dare to think about that because of some feelings they might have towards them for how they were raised. I know there are some sites out there, but I think the best and most efficient way that I’ve found to start a search for them is through a private investigator. Some people may have the feeling of HAVING to find them for personal reasons. I think this is a ‘to each their own’ answer but everyone has different feelings about adoption.

Outside of the blog world, do you have trouble opening up to people about your true feelings about being adopted?

I honestly love talking about adoption and how I was adopted and how it is an option for people. Many people tell me well, I want to have ‘my own kids’ and sometimes that stings, but at the same time, I understand that. I am blessed to have the life I have and am forever grateful for my birth mom giving me the opportunity that I have now to be able to the live the life I have lived thus far. I really would love to advocate for adoption and think that it’s a great thing that many couples don’t take advantage of. I also think there is some kind of stigma that is associated with adoption, like you will get a drug baby, some baby with diseases or a homeless baby, which isn’t true. There is also a stigma that you can only adopt out of the country. I’m not saying that everyone should adopt, but I do think there needs to be more education available to those who are even considering it, because I feel like people just don’t know enough.

I would also just appreciate any general advice to people like me who are not adopted in how to better understand BFs and GFs who are adopted. I mean, as far as things you should say or ask about and things you shouldn’t say or ask about–if anything. 

I think every case is different, both me and Shea have no problem discussing our adoption but at the same time I also know some people who it’s very personal and I feel like if the person wants to talk about it, they will. I know it’s hard to understand but at the same time, it’s all depends on how they were raised to view adoption and how much information they have. I wouldn’t mind any questions, but try to limit the ones that would have the possibility to hurt their feelings like, “Why didn’t your birth parents want you?” or, “Why were you given up for adoption?” and “Are you a crack baby?” (classic one) I would ask more feeling questions, like, “How does it make you feel that you are adopted?” or you can always just say that you think it’s cool. Don’t be scared to ask, because they might like to talk about it, but just make sure that they want to and don’t mind discussing it.

The Running Lamintor asks:

How should a parent begin the process of “telling” the child that he/she was adopted?

Personally, I think it’s best that the child adopted knows from birth, or there might be a feeling of ‘secrecy’ that could potentially hurt the relationship and family in the long term. If you are raising a child that is adopted, there is NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF at all. God placed that child in your life for a reason, and it’s a blessing. I think that a child should know from the beginning and that it should be celebrated, not a weird secret. It definitely made me understand adoption and why I was adopted better.

Does being adopted ever make you feel different from other kids in terms of relationship with parents? If so, in what way?

I have never felt any different at all. I have always felt like we had a good relationship when I was growing up and to me, being adopted wasn’t weird because it was never treated like it was a weird thing.

Jessica asks

Do you think if your parents had older birth children, you would have been adversely affected?

Honestly, I don’t know. I wonder about that too, and if I would have different feelings towards them, but with how I was raised and how everything worked out for me and my family I think even if they had older children it wouldn’t have bothered me.

Joanna asks:

I was just wondering about your birth mother and father. Do you talk to them? Stay in touch, etc?

Since I haven’t met them, I don’t talk to them but I would like to have some kind of relationship with them. I think it would be interesting to them to see what my life is like and I would love to know what they are like. I wonder if we would have the same sense of humor or look alike, I would love to come in contact with them.

Did your adoptive parents name you Danica or did your birth mother? Do you know why you were named that?

My dad actually named me Danica. My birth mom never named me, but in her honor I would love to name one of my children with her name because of the selfish thing she did for me. I was named Danica because my dad liked it. My dad named me and my mom named my brother, who was also adopted and was from another birth mom. Danica means morning star. I love my name and I honestly could do a whole post on how great unique names are.

Susan asks:

What do your adoptive parents think of you looking/considering looking for your real parents?

When my mom was alive, she always told me that if I wanted to find them that she would have no problem with that and it would be interesting to see what they were like. She said when the time was right they would come up. I haven’t really had an in depth conversation with my dad about it, but I wouldn’t think that he would have an issue with it either. My parents were always open about my birth parents and I know that they know I wouldn’t be going out to find them for the wrong reasons.

Marlene asks:

Would you consider adopting a child?

Yes! I would. I think it would be great, it just depends on whatever God wants for me and my husband.

And that's it! We have made it to the end of Danica's Adoption Story. I can't thank her enough for sharing it with us. Don't forget to check out her blog, to learn a little more about her. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Danica's Adoption: Part Three // Her Thoughts on Adoption

It's time for part three of Danica's adoption series! (If you missed it, here is part one and part two.) Today we will be sharing Danica's thoughts about adoption and why she think it worked well for her family and her. So, let's begin...
I think a lot of people think that adoption is only adopting drug babies, problem babies, or children that have gone through foster care, which isn’t true. I was a completely healthy, albeit small, baby and was adopted into a loving home. My birth mom never contacted my parents to ask for me back, there were never any issues with her or my birth family. I know that could have been a possibility, but it hasn’t happened yet… :)

When I was growing up, most people honestly couldn’t believe I was adopted. I looked like my family and had the same attitude and mannerisms as my mother. Now, I am JUST. LIKE. MY. MOM. It was never a ‘weird’ thing to talk about with my friends either. Surprisingly enough, one of my best friends is also adopted. We sometimes talk about it, and our feelings, but like me, she has known her entire life that she was adopted. She also harbors no bad feelings towards either sets of her parents. It’s a fun bond that we share together and it’s also nice to talk about our adoptions together.

I never, ever felt different than other kids. I never felt like I had a different relationship with my parents or different family setting. I think the openness that my parents had helped this, and I also never felt unwanted, or uncommitted too. I never felt abandoned or like my birth parents didn’t love me or want me and that’s why they ‘gave me up’. They were mature enough to realize that they couldn’t provide the best life for me and wanted to give me a chance at a better life. That is why they gave me up for adoption.

The best part about adoption is that I was openly welcomed into a family that I wasn’t biologically part of. I NEVER felt unaccepted, or questioned if I was suppose to be there. Granted, I grew up with my family, grandparents and cousins that all loved me unconditionally and I think that always made me feel welcome and loved. I was a part of my family unconditionally. I think that has made the biggest difference for me.

I wasn’t born into a family, I don’t know my exact heritage, or family tree, but at the same time that doesn’t make me less of a person, or question why I’m here or what I’m doing without my original family. I have always thought of my adoptive family as my one and only family. I would like to meet my birth parents one day if I get the opportunity. I understand that they might not even want to be in communication with me at the same time. I feel that the only important thing that I would need to possibly get from them is my families medical history for any genetic diseases that I might be exposed too. If they would like to communicate than that’s also great.

Thank you again Danica for sharing your story. Our next post in the series, Danica does a Q & A all about her adoption.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

World Adoption Day

Last year I shed a little light on National Adoption Day. This year, we're going even bigger, and focusing on World Adoption Day. 
 What is World Adoption Day?
 Look at some of the people showing their support!
 I knew I had to get involved, and I became an ambassador myself!
The goal is to use World Adoption Day to bring awareness to the power and beauty of family brought together through adoption, how great is that?!


Danica's Adoption: Part Two // Growing Up Adopted

Today we are diving into part two of Danica's adoption story. (If you missed it, here is part one.) Today we are discussing what it was like for Danica growing up adopted. Let's jump right in, shall we.
I think that how my family addressed my adoption is what made my adoption special and made it work as a family as well. If I adopt, as my parents did, I could never imagine keeping a secret like that from my child, and being adopted, I don’t think that that would have been a good idea. I think if my parents told me “when I was old enough to truly understand”, or at some milestone birthday it would have had a different effect on me. I also am glad it wasn’t a secret because then I feel like I could have resented the process or being adopted. Since I knew from day one, I have never thought about resenting adoption or my birth parents or parents.

My parents thought that me knowing I was adopted was an important part in my life. I am really thankful that my parents told me and I have never once questioned or been mad at my birth mom for ‘giving me up’. I have always been told that my birth mom knew that she couldn’t give me the ‘best life’ and the most opportunity, so she decided that adoption was a better option for her at the time, instead of keeping me. I totally agree with her decision and see her reasoning. I don’t think that “giving me up” is a good way to look at being adopted and why should you be angry about someone giving you a better chance at a life? I don’t think adoption is because someone didn’t ‘want you’, it’s because they were wise and unselfish enough to let you go.

Many people have different ideas about adoption and I know some people are totally against it, don’t understand it, and whatever your thoughts may be, the way that I was raised worked the best for my situation and made me understand and realize what a great thing adoption is and how great it can be for any family.

Around our house there were books that explained adoption in ‘kid terms’. My parents would read me these books if I chose and I think this is what helped me understand at a very small age. These books might have had me come up with questions, and the questions were always answered to the best of my parents abilities and their knowledge. It was very open topic to talk about. They were always also willing to talk to me about it at any time. I feel like this really allowed me to understand that it was a good thing and it’s not that my birth parents didn’t want me, but that they chose to give me a ‘better life’ because they couldn’t offer me that. Nothing was ‘my fault’ about my adoption, and I wasn’t adopted because my birth parents didn’t want me.

I think that is a great way to view adoption, and I think my adoption also was very easy to deal with because my parents never tried to hide anything from me. Another thing that was important to our family was that we always celebrated my brother’s and my “Adoption Day.” It was celebrated on the day that we were legally adopted into the family. Back when we were in school both my parents would take off from work, and we would do whatever the Adoption Day person wanted to do. We would eat whatever they wanted to eat, go do fun things, like Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Beach, Mini Golf, Bowling, surfing (My brother is a hardcore surfer). I even remember making my entire family wear purple because it was my favorite color that day. Strange, but true! It was a day dedicated to the adopted person.

A lot of great memories were made on these days, and it was almost like a 2nd birthday because we would get cards and small gifts. I think it was also important to celebrate the day because it brought recognition to the fact that we were adopted, and my parents were so happy to have me and my brother that they celebrated it. Looking back, that is why my Adoption Day (January 23) is always so special to me. It was the day I officially became a part of my family and it was to be celebrated!

I think by growing up in a home where adoption was accepted and that I always knew I was adopted really helped me understand the concept. I also think that having really open parents who were willing to talk about the process and who explained to me that adoption wasn’t because I was ‘unwanted’ but because God wanted me elsewhere was also very important. My entire family and all my friends always knew that I was adopted, which I also think was a wise decision. I’m glad my parents didn’t tell me when I turned 16, or 10 or something like that, and it was always just a known fact for as long as I can remember.

I think it was because of my ‘open’ adoption that I don’t have any resentment towards my parents about adopting me, or my birth parents about giving me up for adoption. I could see how people could harbor these feelings if it was sprung on them that they were adopted.

In the next post, Danica will be sharing her personal thoughts on adoption and how she feels that adoption has affected her and how she deals with some of the questions that she gets on occasion. Thanks again Danica for sharing your story with us!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Danica's Adoption: Part One // The "Why"

People often don't believe me when I say that I'm adopted. Maybe it's because my brother (who is not adopted) is also a redhead, and people say we look alike. 
Or maybe because people say that me and my adoptive mom look alike. 
(I don't see it... she's obviously way prettier.)
But what people really don't believe is that my best friend Danica is also adopted. I don't know how it happened, and its not the reason that we became friends, but it is definitely a cool perk. It's nice having someone that can so easily relate. Even though our stories are very different, at the heart of them, they are the same. 

Way back in 2009 Danica did an "Adoption April" series for her blog. She broke her adoption into four parts which I will be doing as well; The "Why", Growing up Adopted, Her Thoughts on Adoption and lastly, a Q & A. Let's start with some introductions...
Hi! I'm Danica, and have known Shea for over 15 years! One thing we've always had in common and discussed is the fact that we are both adopted. It's been awesome having someone so close to me who also asks many of the same questions regarding biological and adopted families. We've both been there for each other through finding our birth moms and even though we come from very different "stories" the love we've both experienced throughout our life is the same. Adoption is an amazing thing and I'm lucky that it's something my best friend and I have in common!

The first topic I wanted to touch on was the reason why I was adopted in the first place. A little back story on my family is necessary since I will be talking about them.

My mom passed away after a four-year battle with breast cancer on April 6, 2006. I know my mom would have loved the fact that I’m sharing my story with so many people. I have a younger brother whom I will refer to as “T”. My father and I currently have a very strained relationship, but before my mom passed things were fine. My family used to be the “perfect” nuclear family, according to many standards. My parents were always happy, and we were more than blessed in the community where I grew up. I grew up in a Christian home and went through a Christian K-12 school system. So that’s a little background of the fam, now onto why I was adopted.

First and most obvious, my parents couldn’t have children. I have been told that not having children of her ‘own’ was one of my mom’s biggest ‘regrets’ in her short life. My parents tried a lot of different ways of getting pregnant but my mom’s body wouldn’t allow her to produce a child, and she had to have a complete hysterectomy in her twenties. They began to look into other options.

I think this is why whenever I stumble onto a blog about a woman trying to get pregnant I feel a twinge of pain in my heart. Sometimes I think maybe this is how my own mom felt while struggling with the fact that she could not get pregnant. I couldn’t imagine when everyone else around you is having children, and you want to have one so badly, how much your heart must ache. It would be miserable, and I feel like I can understand the pain some might be dealing with because I remember my mom telling me about the pain it caused her. I can’t imagine wanting something so bad and knowing it won’t happen for you like you planned. My mom told me sometimes she felt like she failed but I knew she hadn’t. I knew that the struggle she endured only made her a stronger person.

When they realized my mom couldn’t get pregnant, my parents then decided to explore adoption. The fees associated with adoption are costly, and I am glad my parents could afford it at the time. One of the first steps in their adoption process was to create books. Prospective parents created these photo books to ‘show/share’ with birth mothers that you are legitimate people. The books also described their hobbies, the church they were involved with and had pictures of them and their dogs. It is a glimpse into the prospective parents lives. I have seen these books and they are fun to look through. I couldn’t imagine being pregnant and looking through the books and wondering “if my baby would fit in” with this family, but it gives you a sense to the family, their beliefs, their story, and their extended family.

My parents were on the waiting list for a baby for quite some time. They prayed about getting a child. They hoped. They waited. They had no idea when and if they would ever get a child to adopt.

My mom was shopping at Costco when my aunt called her. The adoption agency had called my aunt to tell her that they had a baby waiting for my mom at the hospital. That baby was me. My mom was shocked. There was no talk of her and my dad getting a baby anytime soon. They didn’t have any names picked out. They were not prepared for me, but they were still so excited to have me.

After my mom passed away, my grandpa let me listen to the the voicemail she left for him, and it will forever be etched in my memory. Since then somehow it was eaten on the machine, but I will never, ever forget her voice on that message. The love that oozed from her tone, the excitement, the nervousness. It was all there, and it was all about me, being able to go home with her and my dad, and the beginning of a family.

I was born close to where I grew up and was incredibly small when I was born so they had to make sure that I was healthy and okay to go home. I will get into why it was a surprise when I talk all about my birth parents later but my parents were surprised but so happy that they finally had a baby.

Adoption allowed them to have the joy of having a child, even if I came to them in a non-traditional way. My parents’ prayers had been answered and they were surprised and shocked all at the same time. Now they had a baby to take care of. In the whirlwind of events that had taken place, their lives had completely changed. Though I was originally named Baby Girl Anderson, my parents quickly picked out my name from a list they had compiled for the past years while trying to have a child. I have two birth certificates, and one literally says my first name is Baby and my Middle name is Girl and my last name is Anderson.

My parents took me home from the hospital and I lived with them for a year and a half before being officially adopted on January 23, 1987. In order to make everything official you have to go down to a courthouse and sign paperwork and take vows in front of a judge. Obviously I was too little to remember my own adoption, but I do remember my brother’s adoption and traveling to the courthouse.

After the papers were signed, I legally was my parents ‘child’. Though my adoption day made it ‘legal’, I consider myself to be my parents child from the day I entered their life and we became a family back on the day I was born at the hospital.

In the next post, Danica will discuss what it was like for her growing up adopted. Thank you for sharing your story with us Danica!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

National Adoption Month

Happy November! And more importantly... Happy National Adoption Month!
If you didn't already know, I, myself, am adopted and, as I'm sure you can imagine, adoption is something very near and dear to my heart. Ironically, my best friend Danica is also adopted! While our adoption stories are very different, it has been nice to have someone with a similar journey. I've shared a bit of my story, but this year, I've asked Danica to share hers as well and, thankfully, she agreed! Stay tuned to hear about her adoption story!

There are so many great resources if you are looking into adoption or just would like to know more about it. A good place to start is As always, if you have any questions about my adoption journey, or adoption in general, feel free to reach out to me!

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