Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Bucket List {Sweet Summertime}

Sweet Summertime

For several years now,
I've been tossing around the idea
of putting together an "official" Summer Bucket List.
Well, I believe the time has come!

For me, Summer begins when schools let out.
And for me, that was yesterday.
(Oh! And do I have some AWESOME photos to share!)
I've got some really awesome things that I want to do this summer
and since I don't really have an extended vacation planned
I'm hoping to check off at least one item per week.

1. Do a Carnival themed photo shoot.
2. Try a new recipe out on my Grandparents 
with the help of Grandpa's new grill :).
3. Eat nothing but fresh peaches for dinner.
(Actually did that one last night!)

4. Watch a fireworks show.
5. Get up early on a Saturday morning
and visit the Farmer's Market with my mama and my camera.
(I'll be sharing the photos soon!)

6. Take a sunset walk along the East side 
of the Illinois River with my camera.
7. Take a day trip to Chicago.
(I went with my cousins...we had a blast!)
8. Get some sun on my glow-in-the-dark legs.
(I officially have tan lines from my converse all stars!)
9. Have a Smoothie King date with my cousin.
10. Share some watermelon and bing cherries 
with my YMCA kiddos on a picnic.
(This is my annual Fourth of July tradition!)

11. Make an ice cream sandwich cake for a family gathering.
12. Watch a sunset from Fondulac Drive.
13. Enjoy some fried squash and zucchini and corn on the cob.
14. Have a special dinner for my mother's birthday.
15.Have an outdoor movie night.

What are your plans for the summer?
Have you made an official summer bucket list?

I would love to hear your plans! :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

When I Miss You {Dedicated to Xander}


What do I do when I miss you? Why, that's a silly question. I eat and I sleep and I go out and I stay up late and I watch the stars and I do my homework and I procrastinate and I write and I make things and I speak and I stay quiet and I draw and I make mistakes and I do good things and I do awful things and I take naps and I stay in and I laugh and I smile and I cry and I hurt and I am completely, utterly, one-hundred-percent me. I've missed you so greatly and for so long that it's part of my identity. There isn't a moment that I don't long for you. Every day of my life is me needing your presence, lightly covered with all of these bits and pieces.
I do everything when I miss you.
                                                                                                           - Author Unknown

When I found this quote online, I knew I had to dedicate it to Xander.

This precious little boy was in our lives for just over a year
and then the court system returned him to his biological mother.

The year we had Xander 
and the years following his departure have made me who I am:
a childless mother.

Before Xander, I didn't know it was possible to be a mother
without fostering, adopting, and/or birthing a child.
I have always loved children
but Xander completely changed me.

In addition to strengthening my nurturing side,
he also turned me into a Mama Bear.
I was fiercely protective of him, and - to an extent - still am.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
Sometime when I'm in public, I do a double-take
because I think I have spotted him.
I refuse to forget him
and/or the impact he had on my life.

Xander will be three this year. 
He's no longer a baby. 
And he may not be apart of our daily lives anymore,
but near or afar, he's still our baby.

My dear cousin, Candace, was Xander's foster mother 
and she was very generous and gracious to share him with me. 

As painful as his departure has been for me, 
it doesn't slightly compare to what she has gone through. 

Candace, I want you to know every time I think about Xan, 
I say a prayer for you as well. 
I still believe that he was part of our lives for a reason 
and that God still has his young life in His very capable hands.

Xander, I pray you grow up knowing 
that there are people both in and outside of your everyday world 
that care deeply about you. 
People who support you and will love you 
no matter what.

 I pray you grow up to know Jesus personally.
There is no love stronger or more faithful than the Love of God.
Furthermore, I pray that you grow up to know the Truth of His Word.
It will be a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path.
If you hide its words in your heart,
you will succeed farther than you ever could possibly imagine. 

Xander, I believe you are a gift from God
and still thank Him for you everyday.

I love you, Sweet Boy.
Wherever you are, I hope you know that.

I found a new book that I wish I could read to you: Xander's Panda Party.


You can read more about Xander here.