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Adoption China Trip Motherhood

China – Day 3


We both kind of had a rough night of sleep, we got moving around 7:30am. We made some coffee and oatmeal in our hotel room, it was nice to eat something warm! We then packed up and headed down to the lobby to wait for a shuttle to the airport. It was so fun to see that it was snowing just a little when we left Beijing!

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See those bags, you can’t buy eye bags that good, these were earned 😉


The Lobby of our hotel was gorgeous! As is almost everything we’ve seen in China so far!


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We were both really looking forward to getting into Changsha and rearranging our bags! These heavy backpacks are for the birds, man! My shoulders feel bruised! 🙁

We did finally make it to the airport, got our boarding passes, made it through security and even had a little time to spare! The airport wasn’t too hard to navigate, we did have a moment of panic when we discovered Ashleigh left her wallet at the ticket counter. Thank goodness it was still there when we went back!

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This was our plane, ready to take us to Changsha!


We got settled on our flight, it was a huge plane and wasn’t nearly full! They allowed NO electronics what so ever, so we played Phase 10 🙂 Then, they brought us a hot meal!!! No airline in the US does that free of charge! The chicken and rice really hit the spot, our energy was renewed!


Once we landed in Changsha, we made our way down to the baggage claim and found our bags. We realized then, that we were the only white people anywhere to be seen. And that hasn’t changed so far. I saw a middle eastern man on the elevator, but otherwise, everyone we’ve seen has been Asian. Many people stare at us, I don’t mind really. You can see that they are curious. They have all been kind and welcoming to us so far. We both are really loving our time here!


Anyway, our guide picked us up and drove us to our hotel about an hour from the Airport. The drive was nice, we got to see some farms and then the hustle and bustle of the city! They building here are SO TALL, like nothing I’ve ever seen! From what I can tell, most of them are apartments. Changsha has a population of 7 million!!! No wonder the traffic is so crazy here! (Still nothing compared to African traffic)


Once we checked in to our hotel, our guide helped us cross the street (run and pray you don’t get hit) to the market! We grabbed some snacks for Rosie, noodles for us and bottled water. Ashleigh got cabbage leaves, the guide thought she was nuts ( nursing moms know what these were for )


Our guide and I walking around the market!


We also hit up the Starbucks before heading back to our hotel! Ash and I are trying hard to reset our internal clocks. This jet lag stuff is HARD!!! I feel sleepy ALL.THE.TIME.


We went down and exchanged some money, we will need to exchange more tomorrow to pay the fees in province. I really like Chinese money, it’s quite pretty, I must remember to bring some home too!

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More pictures of the lobby…. just stunning!!!!


My only complaint about our room is the bathroom. There is a HUGE mirror in the shower…. ummmm no thank you! I don’t need to see all that while I shower! LOL!

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Another busy and awesome day in the books! We have everything ready to go for the morning, we will meet the guide at 9:45am to head to the civil affairs office to pick up Rosie! I can’t believe it’s finally here, the day I’ve waited 8 months for! I’ve been told by Orphanage staff that she is ready for me too, I’m not sure exactly what that means, but hopefully she’ll do okay tomorrow. Her whole world is changing, please keep praying for her!

That’s all for now folks….. Tomorrow is ROSIE DAY!



Adoption China Trip Motherhood

China – Day 1 & 2

One of the things I regret most from my trip to Africa to pick up Noah, was that I didn’t keep a journal or blog any of time there. I really wish I had that to look back on. So I am going to do it while I am China! You guys can keep up with us, and I will have a diary of sorts.

For example, once we checked into our hotel in Beijing, I remembered that I get a “travelers vertigo” on long flights. It’s not fun. 🙁

Anyway, Ash (my sister who came with me) and I are trying desperately to stay awake for a bit longer, so we don’t wake up at 3am.




Friday – December 25th

We left for the airport at 4:45 am, and to my surprise, I was really calm. I have had quite a sense of peace leading up to this trip, and I was thankful it stayed with me as we prepared to go. We picked up Ash and arrived at about 5:20am. We got our two checked bags taken care of, hit the potties, Starbucks and headed to our gate to get seat assignments. We were thankful to be sitting together and the flight to Chicago was easy and uneventful! We had almost 4 hours to kill in Chicago, but it went surprisingly fast! We hung out, got lunch (at 9:30am) and I had another coffee.

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This is where it got good! They called us up to the gate right before we boarded, and handed us two new boarding passes. For FIRST CLASS!!!! We were both in shock! Once we got settled on board, I quickly figured out that it was a friend of mine who got us the upgrade! We were so flipping excited and it was an awesome experience! We got goodie bags, TONS of food, and our seats could lay down flat for sleeping!

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We were able to eat, then we both passed out for about the next 8 hours! We were awake here and there, but the flight did not feel like a 13 hour flight at all! We woke up for the last two hours, had breakfast, freshened up and prepared to land in China!IMG_6557 IMG_6539

Once we got off the plane, it was COLD!!! We made our way through immigration, then down to baggage claim, and exchanged just a little money before we left the airport. The only part we had a bit of trouble with was finding the shuttle bus to the Hotel. It took us about 10 minutes, and some awkward exchanges with airport staff, but we spotted the shuttle and made it over to our hotel.

The Langham Hotel is beautiful! Our room is really nice, and feels really fancy compared to the hotels we usually stay at in the US 🙂

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We will leave here mid-morning tomorrow (Sunday), and catch our final flight to Changsha!

Don’t forget, we are 13 hours ahead of eastern time in the US. So we are actually on day 2 of our trip!

I’m looking forward to getting settled in Changsha, and prep for Rosie! One more day!!!!!


Thank you for all your prayers and support, we are definitely feeling them!




(please excuse bad grammar or typos….I’m tired!)

Adoption Kid Stuff Motherhood Popular Posts

Toddler Corner- Room Sharing – This Gathered Nest


I thought it would be fun to share with you guys how we arranged Rosie’s little nook in the corner of our room! Eventually she will move into the “girls” room where her two big sisters are. But for now, we plan to co-sleep if she wants to, and we want to keep her close either way! This set-up would work really well if you are just crunched for space and needed to have a kiddo in your room. Just substitute her toddler bed for a crib!


On her bed, we have two throw pillows from Target, and one from Ikea. Her sweet little doll is handmade and is from Becky at JustPlainBecky on Etsy. She’s a fellow adoptive mama and I just adore these little dolls she makes! You can custom order them to look just like your kiddo if you want too! The quilt on her bed may just be my favorite thing in her entire room area!!! It’s a Cotton Muslin Quilt from Little Unicorn and it is THE SOFTEST thing ever. So perfect for little ones!


I made this letter R initial for her wall, all with supplies from Hobby Lobby, as a matter of fact, the girls loved it so much, they wanted one too! I’ve got a quick DIY tutorial on that coming in the next week!

The flower wreath, dresser and bed are all from Ikea! Clearly, we love Ikea! Her peach blanket and wood sign are both from Target!


Eventually, I plan to paint this dresser. I just can’t seem to decide what color/colors I want to do! I plan to hunt down some cute knobs too!


We got Rosie this sweet little toddler backpack for our time in China, and for her to keep her goodies in on the LONG plane ride home! The panda is from Zulily and the doll is a Corolle doll that I got for her on Amazon pretty much the day we decided to pursue her adoption 🙂 The book, I Love You like Crazy Cakes, is one of my favorite adoption related children’s book and I can’t wait to snuggle up with Miss Rosie in the bed and read it to her.

I leave for China on Christmas Day and I am SO ready to go and bring our sweet girl home to her forever family! I hope she loves her little nook area as much as I do. It makes me smile every morning when I wake up!



Homeschool Kid Stuff

Life of Fred – Review


Today I am sharing about the Life of Fred Elementary Math Curriculum! I have heard so many good things about it and was really excited when Educents reached out to me about trying it! As you may know, if you watch our Youtube channel, my oldest really doesn’t care much for math. I think a lot of kids are that way, I know I was 🙂

Learning math in a way that is applicable to real life situations can be really beneficial for kids who don’t love math, or have a hard time grasping different concepts.

That is where Life of Fred really fits in well to our curriculum choices. It’s a series of books, written about a guy named Fred Gauss. Each chapter covers a different aspect of Fred’s life, and the ways he encounters math in daily life! The stories are short and funny, and then at the end of each chapter your child answers a few questions to make sure they understood what they needed to from that lesson. It’s really kind of genius, in my opinion. So many math curriculums just show your child a concept and then hope with repetition it will “stick”. I think Life of Fred really works well to help my girls see ways in which they would actually apply that concept in everyday life!


The series we have is the Elementary series (10 books ), which cover math up until the 4th grade. You can purchase the books individually, or in sets.

They recommend no matter grade level your child is (up to 4th grade) that they begin using the first book, Apples. That is what we are currently using.


The best part for me is that I can read the story to both my first and third grader, then hand them each a pencil and paper, and they answer the questions at the end. From time to time I do have one of the girls read the story as well. Y’all know I love any kind of curriculum that can be done with multiple children! It really saves time for us mamas who are homeschooling a group of kiddos at one time.


Since the books are not consumable, I can continue to use them for all my kids as they move up in grade levels, which is really nice! A one time purchase, that works for all my kids! If you are in a homeschool co-op, this would be a fun curriculum to use for lots of kids of varying ages too!

Here is an example of what concepts your kids are working on in the first book, Apples.

  • Numbers that Add to 7
  • Circles
  • Ellipses
  • Reading 6:00 on a Clock
  • 5 + ? = 7
  • Days of the Week
  • Leap Years
  • Spelling February
  • 15 Degrees Below Zero (–15º)
  • Counting by Fives
  • 3x + 4x = 7x
  • ante meridiem (a.m.)
  • One Million
  • Squares
  • The “There Are Zero . . .” Game
  • Sets
  • the Popularity of Zero
  • Triangles
  • ? (not equal)
  • x + 4 = 7
  • One Thousand
  • Counting by Hundreds
  • Reading 3:05 on a Clock
  • Rectangles


 I just can’t say enough good things about Life of Fred, and I would honestly recommend it to anyone homeschooling, whether your kids are great at math, or not 🙂 Anything we can do as parent’s to make learning fun, is a win in my book!

Like I mentioned above, this product came from Educents, and they have TONS of other products I am hoping to try soon! The Life of Fred beginners reading series looks like a great way to introduce reading concepts to the boys (who are 4 and 2) and don’t forget, if your kids are past 4th grade math, that the Life of Fred books come in an intermediate series too! The next product I plan to purchase is the Times Tales DVD, which helps your kiddos learn multiplication in a fun and engaging way! Let me know if you’d like to see a review of that product as well!

Be sure to head over to and check out all the great products they offer!

***Disclaimer: Thank you so much to Educents for sponsoring this post, as always, my opinions and content are my own!

Kid Stuff Motherhood Uncategorized

Advent and Kids Kindness Calendar | This Gathered Nest

Every year I try to come up with some new and fun ways for our kids to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. We want to help them learn how much better it is to give instead of receive, and when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, how truly special and meaningful that makes Christmas.

One thing we always do is some kind of Advent calendar, usually using the Jesus Storybook Bible. This year I found this Advent Journey that was created by another adoptive mama! All the proceeds from this advent are going towards their adoption costs, talk about a win-win!


I also found a random act of kindness calendar on Pinterest and thought it would be fun to modify it and update it to work for our family! I really want my children to become cheerful and glad givers, as well as focusing more this season on Jesus, which is what we are really celebrating. Feel free to download this calendar if you think your family could use it too! (excuse any errors, I made it very quickly so we could started tomorrow!)

Kindness Calendar

Kids Kindness Calendar

Another thing we do is make a seasonal bucket list. We typically do this for Summer, Fall and Christmas. I go through and make a list of all the things we would like to do that season and we just plug them into our calendar where we can! We never make it all the way through the list, but it does help me to not let time get away from me. In years past, I would dream up all these things we could do and yet they would never happen. At least in my house, if it’s not on the calendar, it rarely happens!
Here are some examples of what I put on our list this year:

  1. Christmas Light ( The speedway and a town near us that does a big display) We usually stop for coffee and hot chocolate on the way!
  2. Zoo Lights
  3. Movie Nights with PJ’s and Popcorn
  4. Ice Skating
  5. Snow Tubing
  6. Christmas at Great Wolf Lodge (it’s free!)
  7. Making and delivering treats for friends and neighbors

Those are a few examples of the things we hope to do this Christmas season. Of course, packing for China and preparing our home for Rosie are going to take some time as well, so we don’t pressure ourselves to do every little thing. But it’s a good blueprint! 🙂

I’d love to hear what traditions you have started with your family, or if you have ones you plan to start this year!

I pray you all have a blessed and Merry Christmas!





Hello sweet friends!

We had a wonderful time this past weekend at our Pancake fundraiser, it was so nice to see so many friends and even a stranger or two! It helped bring us closer to our goal, and what we need to get to Rosie!

We are still about 4k short, and we’re hoping to travel in less than 5 weeks!!! It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time! We have just two fundraisers left, and we are praying we can raise what we need in this short time frame.

When my sweet friend showed me this fundraiser I just knew we had to do it! I think it’s really fun and different than what we’ve done in the past. If y’all remember, we did puzzles for the boys, and for a $5 donation, we wrote your name on the back. Now they each have a gorgeous puzzle with all the names of the people who have prayed and loved them home!

We’d LOVE for Rosie to have something similar, and I think doing a TAG her BAG will be such a beautiful visual reminder of all those who love her!

So, how does it work?


For a donation of ANY amount, we will write (tag) your name(s) on this bag in black marker. This is a piece of luggage we have for Rosie. It’s going to carry donations for her orphanage across the ocean, and then it will be a keepsake bag for her. We plan to fill it with special things for her, like keepsakes we plan to purchase for her in China while we are there. And just like the boys’ puzzle, it will serve as a visual reminder that she is loved by so many people.



As you can see, I wrote “Love Won” on the bag. This phrase has been on my heart the last few days as I think about what’s about to happen. Her birth country doesn’t value her life, simply because she’s been blessed with Down Syndrome. Her fate could have easily been life in an institution, or death. But God used His people to change her story, to write a different ending. LOVE WON.

I get chills just thinking about what God has done for us and for our darling Rosie. Our lives are forever changed and we are grateful beyond measure <3

Ok, so just to reiterate, a donation of ANY amount will get your name on her bag! Just click that donate button below, and enter the amount you want to give! Easy peasy! Just be sure to leave in the info box of your donation if there are any other names (kids names etc) that you want me to add!


***We know not everyone has the ability to donate, and if that is you, please email me and I will put your name on the bag without a donation***

This will run until Wednesday, November 25th @ midnight!

Thank you all so much for supporting our family, and helping us to bring our daughter home. We are grateful you’ve allowed God to use you for His glory, another of His precious children will have a family and it’s because of people like YOU! God Bless You!!!

Homeschool Kid Stuff Popular Posts

Homeschool & Playroom Tour!


 I’ve been meaning to do a tour of our Homeschool/Playroom for a while now, however I was hesitant. There are so many things I still want to do in this room and changes I want to make. But I figure almost every room in our house is “in progress” so why not just share where we are at right now 🙂 It works great for us and we are so grateful to have the extra space to be able to put this together!

As you can see in the photos, we have split the room into two areas, the left is the Homeschool side and the right is the playroom. We put a baby gate up to separate the spaces, and keep the littles out of the school books 🙂 This room is a finished in garage, which was like this when we bought the house, the only change we have made is the paint color, which I want to change again, lol!


2- Kallax Shelving Units

1- 8 Cube Kallax Shelving Unit

We have three different cube units from Ikea which serve to store our curriculum, books, manipulatives and other supplies.

Our whiteboard is from Amazon, the giant gold “B” is from Hobby Lobby 🙂


Ikea Linnmon Table Top and Legs

This is our computer area, where the kids do math, typing and and any other activities we need the computer or internet for. We found a great Playlist on Youtube that coordinates with our history curriculum so sometimes we watch topical videos on the laptop. You’ll also see our whiteboard for All About Reading. I prefer to use a separate whiteboard for the AAR stuff.


This is my desk area, it’s another table top and legs from Ikea.


Now we move over to the Playroom side of the room! These awesome prints hang about our sofa. They are from Gracelaced, and they are the watercolor Fruits of the Spirit. The wood piece in the middle is from Hobby Lobby. I’m telling ya’ they have the best stuff and if you wait for the 50% off sales, it’s super affordable and cute!


And now we have the play area! We have really pared this down…we keep only what fits in this area and anything else has to go! We have 4 kids (soon to be 5) so they spend most of their time playing games with each other anyway. The small green table and stools are from Ikea! The toy box was from Target at least 3 years ago, I found it on clearance for a steal!

Mammut Table

Mammut Stool

Trofast Frame


Lastly, we have our storage closet… this is where I keep all our games, craft supplies, and extra curriculum that we aren’t using at the moment. This is also where I store our finished work for record keeping purposes. Both shelves in the closet are really old, and I’m not sure where they are from 🙂


I hope you enjoyed this quick peek into our Homeschool/Playroom. Right now this is working really well for us 🙂

Below is the video tour of the room if you’d like to see that as well!


DTC- What’s next and what the heck does DTC mean???


So we announced that we were DTC last night! Which is huge news for us, but of course it left many wondering…. what the heck is DTC???

In the adoption world, acronyms are very common. It’s how we talk to each other…like truckers on a CB, we understand each other perfectly! However it leaves friends and family doing a slow clap wondering that the heck they are clapping for.

We’re working on our third adoption, and the acronyms have been different for each one, really. Just depends where you are adopting from. Here is the breakdown of the ones we have used and will use for our adoption of Rosie! This way, when we are all jumping up and down for TA, you’ll know what we mean (and no, it’s NOT that)

LOI- Letter of Intent, the letter you write to China telling them why you want to adopt said child

PA- Pre-Approval, China says yes to your LOI

HS- Homestudy, self explanatory I think 🙂

Dossier- This is stack of many documents from birth certificates, marriage certificates, financial statements etc. It’s your baby while you are waiting for your new baby 🙂

i800a- You send your HS to the US government and ask to bring a foreign child into the country, you are then given a fingerprinting date and wait for approval

DTC- Dossier to China, that baby has been authenticated and sealed and on it’s way via snail mail to China! Your life for the past 4-6 months just left the country!

LID- Log in date, China logs your dossier into the system

LOA/LSC- Letter of Approval or Letter Seeking Confirmation, the wait for this is a long one. China takes your dossier, translates it, and then matches you with the child you have PA for, and gives their approval for the adoption.

I800- not to be confused with the i800a, this is now where you ask the government to adopt this specific child that China gave your LOA for.

GUZ- this gets a tad confusing but deals with a number you need form the national visa center, showing your case is with the Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

DS260- Online application for your child’s American visa.

Article 5- your paperwork is dropped off at the US Consulate in China, it’s picked up about 2 weeks later after they look it all over and approve it.

TA- Travel approval!!! China says COME GET YOUR LOVEBUG!!!!

CA- Consulate appointment, after you get TA you then need to request a CA. This appointment date determines when you are okay to travel.

Whew!!! Did you make it through all that?!?! It’s a lot to remember, but it’s the only thing you have to hold onto while you’re waiting for your child to come home. Which is why we adoptive parents savor every step that is completed! We are at the DTC point of the process, and are praying for a fast LID!!! If we get it quickly, then we can hopefully travel in early January. That’s if all those other steps happen in the average time frame…it’s the one time in your life you pray to be average 🙂

Thank you all for following along this journey with us, and we will keep you updated as we progress through the steps!



Kid Stuff

Kiwi Crate – Love it or Leave it?


My kids have been getting a kiwi crate for about 6 months now, and I though I would share our thoughts on this subscription service! I chose this one for the girls because to be honest, I’m not crafty, like at all really. But my girls LOVE doing crafty things and I thought this may be a way for them to have new and fun things to make, without me wasting my life on yet another Pinterest FAIL!

The girls get so excited when that little green box arrives in the mail and the begging to open it is never ending!

There are usually two activities in each box. You can choose a box for just one child, or add siblings. Which we did, and they send you age appropriate crafts. Most require very little parent help, which was a selling point for me. With two toddlers running around, it’s nice to let the girls go in the school room and craft away, and I just peek in to make sure they are doing okay.


This month was a homemade lemonade stand and it was SO cute! Came with all the supplies they needed! A cute chalk board, a cash register, and play money was included too!

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The only thing they needed help with was folding the box that held the calculator… although I think with a little more patience they could have done that themselves too.

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I did pull out my laminating machine and laminate the dollar bills so they would last longer in this house 🙂 If your kids are gentle players, then that step isn’t necessary 😉

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All in all, the crafting took about 45 minutes, and has provided HOURS of play afterward! I call that #winning

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In case you didn’t guess it already, this is definitely a LOVE it item for us!


If you are interested in trying out Kiwi Crate, here are the logistics!

***They have 4 different crates to choose from, based on your child’s age, to ensure you get age appropriate activities. It ranges from age 3-16+

****The cost starts at $16.95, and adding a sibling is $9.95

****I love that you can suspend your subscription if you need to for a month or two!

If you use my referral link, you’ll get a $10 credit! (Full disclosure, I get a $10 credit too!)

If you try it out, let me know! I’d love to know what you think 🙂