Thursday, February 26, 2015

Emma's Princess Parties

We invited some of Emma's little friends over on Valentine's Day for a princess tea party.

This is my Grandma Sorbel's tea cup, and it sat at Emma's place setting.  My Grandma passed away last Valentine's Day, so this was especially sweet to me.

The princesses picked out jewels when they arrived.
Dave wrapped a series of three boxes within each other, and the princesses (and Isaac) each took turns going around in a circle and unwrapping as much as they could while the music played...that didn't last too long.  :)
It worked much better to just have a free-for-all--everyone unwrapped at once!
There were light-up wands for everyone inside the smallest box.

Happy Birthday, dear Emma!

Freeze dancing to "princess" music from "The Nutcracker" was a huge hit!

Emma loves opening presents!  She squealed as she opened every gift!

Our dear friend, Shamron, came to the party to help with the games and take pictures.  Someone snatched the camera away from her so she could be in a photo, too!  :)  Shamron gave Emma and me adorable matching heart shirts!  

Last weekend, we had our family over for dinner to celebrate Emma's birthday.

Emma put her crown right on Pop's head.  

We discovered that our little princess really doesn't love being the center of attention.  She didn't even want to blow out her candles by herself.  Of course, Isaac and Pop were ready to help.  :)

We loved celebrating our birthday girl!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Emma Victoria: 3 years old

I can't believe our precious girl is three years old.  Just three years ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night with a phone call saying that Emma's birth mother was at the hospital!  I was in Minnesota visiting my grandma and my sister.  I quickly took a shower, packed up all my things, and shook my grandma awake to tell her that the baby was on the way!  My sister and brother-in-law drove me to Missouri where we met this precious baby girl later that morning.    
Dave had a bit of a longer drive from Texas than we did from Minnesota, so he arrived a few hours after we did.  We have been in love with our girl ever since!  

At 3 years old, Emma loves....
~her brother

~her babies

~helping, cleaning, and scrubbing...with a wipe in her hand, she can't be stopped.  She will wipe down anything and everything!  (We met Dave for lunch today at Chick Fil A for Emma's birthday, and we gave her a wipe to clean her hands before we ate.  Soon, she was wiping down the walls by the booth.) :)

~snuggling, especially when she wakes up in the morning and after her nap each day

~going to Bible Study Fellowship on Wednesdays

~being independent: "I do it myself"

~cooking and baking in the kitchen

I started interviewing Isaac on his third birthday, and we continued the tradition with Emma.  

1.  What is your favorite color?  pink

2.  What is your favorite toy?  babies
3.  What is your favorite fruit?   I don't know.

4.  What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  eating cupcakes 

5.  What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  eat dinner

6.  What is your favorite thing to eat for supper?  cupcakes
(yes, this girl LOVES sweets)

7.  What is your favorite thing to drink?  water

8.  What is your favorite snack?  ??

9.  What is your favorite show?  a tiger show (Daniel Tiger)

10.  What are your favorite clothes to wear?   wear clothes to church

11. What is your favorite animal?  Lambie

12.  What is your favorite song?  "Jesus Loves Me"

13.  What is your favorite book?   It's in my room.  (I'm pretty sure it's The Wheels on the Bus)

14. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? do wrestling 

15.  What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?  dishes

16.  What is your favorite thing to do outside?  I don't play outside.

17.  What is your favorite holiday?  ??

18.  What is your favorite thing to take to bed with you each night? the one baby

19.  Where is your favorite place to go?  go on a drive

20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  like you (pointing at I think she wants to be a mommy!  I don't think there's anything she would love more.)  

And, since this blog is my scrapbook, here are a few more things I don't ever want to forget about Emma at this age.

ti-ti--Emma's word for "tutu"
shortcut--Emma's word for a haircut (and, considering I trimmed her hair a little too short last week, I think it's an appropriate term)
fridger--Emma's word for the refrigerator
cape--Emma's word for an apron
tangle--Emma's word for hair binders

Emma does not like being called anything but her name.  If I call her "princess," she says, "I am not a princess.  I Emma."  I asked if I could call her "Princess Emma," and she said, "No.  I Emma."

Emma is also in an adorable stage where she mixes up her prepositions, especially "to" and "for."  I remember when Isaac did this, and I thought it was the cutest thing.  For example, she'll say, "Isaac, give the baby for me."

A few days ago, I parked in someone's driveway, & I couldn't get the Tahoe out of park when it was time to leave.  I tried over and over and then called Dave.  He talked me through a few things to do, but I still couldn't get out of park.  Emma and I entertained ourselves in the car for a half hour while we waited for Dave to come and help us.  Of course, Dave got the Tahoe out of park on his first try.  :)  When we were driving away, Emma said, "He's a good daddy.  He's a prince!  He saved us."

Whenever Emma looks at my belly bump, she says, "The baby is hiding deep down inside you."  :)
When Isaac was just over a year old, we knew God was leading our family to adopt again.  We were matched with a birth mother expecting a baby boy in North Carolina, and we were also working on a private adoption for a baby girl who was due in the same month as the baby boy.  We ended up losing both adoptions within a week of each other.  Then, we didn't have any leads or matches for 9 months.  While 9 months isn't too long of a time, it felt like a very long time as my heart was broken.  Friends all around me were having babies, and we so longed for Isaac to have a sibling.  Some moments during those months were even harder for me than my initial infertility journey.

All of a sudden, God surprised us with a call on Valentine's Day 2012 that a birth mother in Missouri had chosen us for her daughter who was due very soon.  Emma Victoria was in our arms just six days later.  
We couldn't love this adorable three year old any more, and we are so thankful that both God and her birth family have entrusted her to us.  

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

Monday, February 16, 2015

JBF Fort Worth tips & gift card giveaway

Just Between Friends (JBF) is my favorite place to buy clothes, shoes, books, and even toys for my kids.  The majority of what my kids wear is from JBF.  Each JBF sale location throughout America has two sales each year--spring and fall.  This post is sponsored by JBF Fort Worth, which is the largest JBF sale in the nation and is coming up soon!  Since attending JBF sales for the last five years, I've figured out a few tips that make my shopping experience even better.  

Here are my top tips for shopping at JBF:

1. Search through your child's clothes ahead of time & make a list so you know exactly what you need
JBF Fort Worth is huge!  

It's held at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in downtown Fort Worth.  Being able to attend a sale this huge is a good thing, since there's a lot of selection.  But, it can also be overwhelming.  My very best tip is to go through all your child's clothes and shoes for the upcoming season before the sale and see what you really need.  You may think you'll remember, but it really helps to make a list.  Since sizing varies so much between brands, I have even measured the waistlines of pants or the outline of a shoe before going to the sale.  Then, I can use my measurements to check items at the sale to make sure they'll work.  

2.  Plan ahead to have childcare
You'll be able to shop much more efficiently if you don't have your child with you.  When my son was two years old, I took him to the sale in a wagon.  It took much longer since he needed snacks and was interested in all the toys.  :)  Trust me--you'll get more done and enjoy yourself much more if you are alone.  

3. Bring cash
Since there are so many items at a JBF sale (tutus! DVDs! costumes! books! toys!), you'll focus on your most-needed items if you bring and only spend cash.  There have been some sales where I've been so excited by all the deals that I've bought too much.  Not only do I not need more unnecessary stuff in my home, it's also not a blessing to my family if I overspend.  

Another benefit to bringing cash is that you may be able to get through the checkout line more quickly--sometimes there is one register open just for cash-paying customers.  That's usually the fastest-moving register!

4.  Bring snacks and water
Maybe this is one of my top tips because I'm 8 months pregnant, but it really does help to have some snacks and bottled water with you as you shop.  You're likely to be at a JBF sale for at least a few hours, and shopping when you're hungry or thirsty isn't much fun.  

5.  Bring a wagon, stroller, or rolling laundry basket
You'll need somewhere to stash all your great finds!  I have found that a wagon or a stroller works best for hauling all my items around the sale until I check out.  Since all the clothes are on hangars, I like to place the hangars on the stroller handle as I shop.  

There's also a secure area where you can check larger items (potty chairs, pack & plays, large toys) at the sale so you don't also have to carry those around the entire time you shop.


The JBF Fort Worth sale is open to the public Thursday, March 5 through Monday, March 9th, 2015.  See the full schedule here.  But, if you are a first-time parent or grandparent, you can register to shop before the sale opens to the public.  Even if you're not a first-time parent or grandparent, you can still get in early by volunteering or consigning (more details here).

If you are interested in a $15 JBF Fort Worth gift card, comment on this blog post by answering this question:  "What's at the top of your list for the JBF sale?" and then login to Rafflecopter below so that your entry is counted.  

(Giveaway details:  You may enter by commenting one time.  The contest will close at midnight on February 22, 2015.  The winner will be announced on February 23, 2015.  The winner must pick up the gift card at the JBF Fort Worth sale at time of shopping trip.  The winner may not be another JBF blogger and can only win once per sale.)  

Also, here's a coupon to get in free to the sale on Saturday, March 7, 2015.  You are welcome to print this as many times as you need--print for yourself, grandparents, and friends!

Happy Shopping!

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