We had to do a little rearranging to make room for our Christmas tree and after moving the bookcase where Gabe's books were, we decided to make them more accessible by placing them on the shelf closest to the ground. And now Gabe can be found pulling books out, piling them up and perusing through them at his leisure.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Ordinary Hero has also added a coffee mug and a really splendid Christmas ornament to their selection of items adoptive families can earn money from.
So buy now.... or never at all!! Just joking, you can buy later and benefit Ordinary Hero anytime you want!
Monday, November 29, 2010
I love traditions; family traditions, annual events with friends, holiday traditions, lots of types of traditions. So Friday we were all super excited to head on out on our 4 (2nd for Gabe) annual Christmas tree hunt. Whilst the tree farm we visited this year wasn't as festive or full of trees as the farm we usually we visit we had a fabulous, albeit cold time!
First and Second Runner Ups
And while it wasn't quite the Griswold moment that it was in years passed, we found one that we loved and now that it is up and decorated... it's definitely the LaGorga Family Christmas tree of 2010.
In front of the tree before it was chopped down. And no my hair is not that big, it was a really windy, cold day.
My two loves
Secure in the stand and strung with lights!
(on a side note, I always remember getting the tree in the stand growing up as being a debacle every year. The trunk was never straight resulting in a crooked tree and so many 'tries' before somehow my dad managing to get it stand up straight. However, Matt has never had any problem at all getting the tree in the stand and up straight in a very timely fashion. I think he might be a Christmas tree whisper.)
And the finished product (sans tinsel)! Beautiful as always!
The Alma Mater Christmas ornaments. Matt's may be on top but the mine is prettier!
My favorite ornament.... purchased after Christmas in 2007 from Pier 1 for $2.00.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The weird thing was we didn't host Thanksgiving here this year. No leftovers, no crazy chaos in our little house; it was truly just a little odd. However, the good thing was we had such a wonderful time visiting and eating with family. But the bad thing; I forgot to take my camera to both Thanksgiving dinners. I could NOT believe it.
Friday afternoon we switched up one of our Christmas traditions to better accommodate our time and Gabriel's eye surgery this upcoming Friday. Can you guess what we did?
You can? Great! You can't? Stay tuned for tomorrow!!
And then just a little reminder: our Ordinary Hero t-shirt fundraiser has only 2 days left! For each t-shirt you buy, Ordinary Hero mails $10 directly to our adoption account. 10 shirts = 100 dollars! 25 shirts = $250 dollars!! And for the 3 adoptive families that sell the most t-shirts, Ordinary Hero will double what they earned!!! (Just remember if you do buy a shirt put Aaron & Meredith LaGorga in the notes to seller to ensure we get credit for your shirt order)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The second thought that took me by surprise was one of the things that for which I was grateful. You see my list looked a lot like this:
- My faith and religion
- my family
- my friends
- life group
- classic literature
- warm boots
- Harry Potter
- Gabe's therapists and doctors
- my church
and my list went on and on. But my list included one word that I never thought I'd be thankful for and that word was infertility. It surprised me as I wrote it down and I had to ask myself, "are you really thankful for infertility?" But unbeknown st to me I am. While infertility has brought me intense pain, it has also brought immense joy.
First infertility brought me Gabe. And while Gabe was not born from me, he is part of me. Gabriel is the light of my (and Matt's) life and I can't imagine life without him. He was meant to be ours, and without infertility he may never have made it home to our arms
Infertility changed my marriage. And made it stronger. I never knew how much compassion Matt had until he had to hold me for hours on end as I cried. I never knew how strong he was until he held me together when I was falling apart on my own. It's doubtful that our marriage would be as strong, as deep or as rock solid as it is now had we not encountered infertility. Maybe it would be but I suppose we'll never know.
Being infertile and having my hopes and dreams ripped from my heart and soul changed my relationship with God. Now, God is more than enough... then, well I loved God but he wasn't my center, my rock like He is now.
And infertility brought me the deepest, truest and sweetest friendships I could ever imagine. While growing up I never heard about people not being able to get pregnant. Sure, I heard about people getting pregnant when they didn't want to but for someone to not be able to get pregnant - unheard of!
Then I grew up and realized that life doesn't happen the way you think it will. That even though marriage followed love, baby doesn't always follow marriage. I thought I was alone and while I'd never want anyone to feel the pain I've felt God didn't leave me lonely. He equipped me with friends, sisters who know what I've been through because they've been there too. They know when to talk, when to listen or when to just hold a hand. Without infertility these girls would be my friends. With infertility they're my sisters, for life.
And that is how I can be grateful for infertility. A beautiful son, a wonderful marriage and husband, a deep relationship with God and sisters are all reasons why infertility made my list of things I'm thankful for.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
How can I look at this and not be grateful?!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Things You Can Do to help orphans started here and here and while the first 6 ways I gave you to help the orphan are invaluable, the three I leave you with today will completely rock your world, knock your socks off, and any other cliche that you can think of along these lines.
- Visit the orphans wherever they live. They may live in a group home for adolescents two cities over or live in an orphanage 5,000 miles away where food and clean water are scarce. Go with your family or friends, church or outside organization. There are quite a number of non-profits that provide opportunities to go on missions trips. Hate to travel? There are many opportunities in your area to visit children in need. Contact your local homeless shelter, department of children and family services or salvation army for opportunities to reach out to orphans in your neighborhood.
- Answer the call to adopt. Wow! Did I just throw that out there? Yes, this is the BIG one, the one where you put yourself out there, invest of yourself, your family and your money to 'save' an orphan. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isiah 1:17 But from what you invest, you get so much more in return. God believes in adoption and He calls His people to help the fatherless. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. Matthew 18:5 Don't get me wrong adoption is hard; you're taking a leap into the unknown and are not always sure where you'll land. But adoption is worth it. God granted me the greatest desires of my heart through adoption. You don't have the money to adopt? Unless you're a super star most people don't have all the money needed to adopt but God will provide it for you. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 God will show you ways to raise the money needed to bring your child home. Fundraising, saving, bank loans are just a few of the avenues you can follow to raise money to bring home your child.
- Assemble your church and start an orphan ministry. Whether your church is big or small, there is so much you can do when God's people come together for His cause. People can't believe that with the size of the church that I belong to that there isn't an orphan ministry. Hopefully I (with the help of some friends) will be able to change that. Does your church have an orphan ministry? Feel free to share your experience and any tips? Want to start an Orphan ministry? Here's where I found some good information: Hope for Orphans
Monday, November 22, 2010
- Length: 33 1/2 inches (90th percentile)
- Weight: 27 pounds (80th percentile)
Nobody can say that Gabriel isn't growing and thriving with those big boy statistics!
In other news, Ordinary Hero released a coffee mug with their signature phrase "Change the World For One." And I love it!!! If I made a Christmas list, this would certainly be on it... below magic wand but above pony [smile]. And the even cooler part; if you're shopping at Ordinary Hero to support an adoption this month, the adoptive family you support receives $5 from every coffee mug! $5 for coffee mugs, $10 for shirts.... what a great fundraiser. Thanks to everyone who's supported our adoption through the Ordinary Hero fundraiser (and any other fundraiser). And if you still want to shop, click here and don't forget to put Aaron and Meredith LaGorga in the notes to seller!!
And then I will leave you with some plain old Gabe cuteness! Not only does Gabe give kisses to me, his Daddy and anyone else he feels like surprising... he thinks a whole lot of the handsome boy in the mirror.
Friday, November 19, 2010
***warning: not a typical blog post. You may learn to more about me than you ever wanted to know, hehe***
Last night I felt like Barney on HIMYM because every few minutes I just kept thinking that this is legen-dary. And it truly was. Last night brought the beginning of the end of my 13(?) year love affair of Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 premiered last night (this morning?) and I just had to be there. Joining me was my lovely and cohort in midnight movie premiers Megan and my other delightful friends Sarah and Sam, and Meg's just as delightful friend Sarah. Besides me and Meg, the other girls had yet to be to a midnight premier of this magnitude... or maybe any magnitude. And yes, I'm quite certain Sam left wondering exactly how she became friends with someone quite so in love with a fictional world.
Although I'm not quite sure it's fictional [smile].
While it also premiered in IMAX and 3-d we knew we had to see it in the original 2-d format. That's what we'd seen HP 1 - 6 in, it felt dishonest to view a premier in anything but 2-d.Meeting at Champs at 7:30 seemed like a good idea until we arrived at Crocker Park and people were already entering the theater. Sarah, Sam and Sarah dined in Champs and Meg and I received our food to go and ate in line at the theater. And miraculously, yes miraculously, we were the 1st patrons of theater 13 in line.
Angelo was a little like Hagrid; keeper of the line at Regal Cinema's [smile]. This picture was taken before we begged him to check our tickets early and let us go before he called the rest of theater 13. We worked our wizarding magic, because he did. Or he was just afraid of our obsessiveness. Either way it worked... and we were in the SEAT of CHAMPIONS.
Sarah, Sam, Me, Meg, Sarah
And the need for taking lots of pictures ensued.
In case you don't know HP (gasp!) we are standing with Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter's nemesis.
We also found Victor Krum and Luna Lovegood. I think they did a splendid job getting into character... and yes, Megan and I do ask perfect strangers to take their pictures with us. And then proceed to cheer for them throughout the whole 2 hours of waiting in the theater. We're just that awesome.
Sam and Muggle Sarah are part of my life group from church. I'm certain they will never look at me the same after last night (this morning?).
The movie was magical (yes, I note the play on words) and I can hardly believe that I have to wait until July 15 to see part 2. And that will be even more bittersweet than part 1, because it will be the end... but I'm certainly sure not the end of my love for all things Harry Potter.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday morning Gabe and I woke up early, but I guess waking up at 6:15 can no longer be considered early when it's part of your daily routine. Dang that time change!!
After doing our usual Monday morning stuff we headed over to my parents house to use their telephone for our 2nd official conference call with AGCI. But this time we weren't talking with someone in Portland, we were talking to our homestudy coordinator located in Cincinnatti!! After about 45 minutes of talking, reviewing and asking questions our homestudy call is now in the books!
And now comes more of the filling out paperwork, lots of reading, lots of copy making, hurry-up- and-get-it-done-part so that we can interview with our homestudy case worker.
I love that there are now more things to do than figuring out how to raise the funds for our adoption. And we now have lists to compile and complete, things to check off, phone calls to make, books to read, - lots to do! And each time I'm able to put a check mark next to something on our list I feel one step closer to bringing our baby home.
Monday evening came and Matt called to say that class was released early and he was on his way home. And thank heavens for that! Because had he not come home early, I would have been asleep when he came home and we would have never met our friend.
Our 'friend' the bat. As Matt and I were sitting in the living room something flew down the stairs. In my sleepy stupor I didn't really even notice until Matt asked me what it was... and it was a bat! Eeek!!! It perched itself on my curtains and took up residency. Unsure what to do, I scooped up Gabe off the couch and covered him in my arms with blankets while Matt opened up our front door and grabbed the broom.
Yes, a broom.
Well, a little chaos insued while Matt tried to shoo the bat outside and I laughed hysterically in my nervous state. Eventually the bat made it outside, definately not on his own power and was shortly scooped up by one of the neighborhood cats.
Ugh! Eeek! Eh! A bat.
And then Tuesday brought physical therapy for Gabe and the most ridiculous trip to the supermarket. I wanted chili seasoning and couldn't find it anywhere. I thought it should be in the spices and seasonings aisle but Giant Eagle thought it belonged between canned fruit and boxed potatoes. I'm unsure of the reasoning behind that, but I eventually found it and can now make dinner for Matt tomorrow!
Our Giant Eagle trip through off Gabe's nap schedule a little bit and he decided to not take a nap at all. Gabe was going strong all afternoon, not seeming to feel any negative fall out from waking up at 6:15 and skipping nap time. Until I walked out of the kitchen to give Gabe another helping of dinner and found this:
Gabe fell asleep in his highchair. Please note his milk cup and the fact that he puts it in the little circle part of his high chair right where it belongs. Yes, he's a little neurotic like his Mama! Not only did Gabe fall asleep in his high chair he remained sleeping while I washed his face and hands, changed his diapers, took off his clothes and put him in his jammies.
Physical thereapy + 0 nap = 1 tired baby Gaby
And then today our caseworker from DCFS is coming to do the home inspection to renew our homestudy, the car needs an oil change, lots of errands and I have to figure out how to get crayon off the wall!
Just another day in the life of a SAHM and her cute little boy! At least there's only 39 hours to the premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 (yes I'm disturbingly excited!)
Don't forget to leave a comment here to win bead for life bracelets!!
And click here for our Ordinary Hero t-shirt fundraiser!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
3 Intangible Things You Can Do:
1.) Pray. Pray everyday for the orphans; make a specific time each day to pray for an orphan; every time you brush your teeth, when you wash the dishes, etc. Go to an adoption waiting child's list, print off a picture and pray daily for that specific child. Pray by yourself, with your community group or organize a church wide prayer vigil to pray for the fatherless.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
2.) Speak up for the orphans. Remember that picture you printed out to pray over, carry that child's photo with you wherever you go, show people his picture, ask people to pray for this child and advocate for someone to adopt him.
There are over 500,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and these children need people to advocate for them. Contact your local children's welfare department and ask what you need to do to become a court appointed child advocate.
3.) Support people that support orphans. Help foster parents around the house, throw an adoption shower for a family adopting an older child, encourage and pray for foster parents and parents in the midst of adopting.
This past week at church a complete stranger, I mean someone I don't ever recognize seeing at church before stopped me as I made my way back to teach Sunday School and told me they were praying for our adoption. Those few words from pretty much a stranger meant so much to me and the encouragement I felt from them was like a balm to my soul. Never be surprised by the strength of kind words.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wow!!! 200 posts!!! Who knew I had that much to say? Obviously Matt does as I talk his ear off most of the time and so do my lovelies, 3 of whom I was blessed to see today and one of whom I just spent 15 hours with watching Harry Potter.
Yes, 15 hours... 15 hours and 3 minutes to be precise as that is exact length of all 6 Harry Potter movies combined. And that is not quite long enough to talk about all things Harry Potter as I have thought of at least 5 different things to talk to Meg about since she has left. At least we'll have plenty of time to talk before the midnight release of HP 7 P1 Thursday night!
So that is what I did today: spent lots of time with my lovelies watching Harry Potter while Matt spent the day Gabe wrangling; taking him on errands, for walks and even to dinner. I am obviously blessed with the most fantastic husband ever who would not begrudge me one single minute of Harry Potter while he kept up with our very active, very rolly almost 15 month old!
I love my husband and my baby and my lovelies and Harry Potter! There are lots of other things I love as well.
Things like generosity, kindness from strangers and giving back. A woman I totally admire and not just because she is an adoptive mama but because she lives her faith out loud and loves God with all her soul spent time putting together a "Give Gifts Give Life" Christmas list. In a post that will be written at a later time you will read about my feelings of trying to keep materialism (or at least most of it) out of Christmas but how can you not want to buy, give or receive gifts that can help change lives.
And since I loved her list and I share with you things that I love (Matt, Gabe, my lovelies, Harry - all listed about, hehe) I figured I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't share this as well. So here you go: Give Gifts that Give Life.
There is one organization that exemplifies the idea of buying something that will change someones life and I absolutely love them! Absolutely! It's Bead for Life. But since it's late and I'm tired I'll let you go to their website and read all about them.
After you read all about Bead for Life come back here, leave a comment on this post and be entered to win a surprise from Bead for Life.
Yes, you read that correctly. I'm having my first giveaway! How fun!!! And you'll be winning something and then wearing something that will change the life of a Ugandan woman and her family. I wear them almost everyday because they are just that fabulous.
So comment... and win!!! And the more comments, the more winners!! Like I said before, how fun!!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Every morning he seems to wake up a little bit bigger. And each day Gabe marvels us with everything he's doing and learning. And by marvels, sometimes I mean exhausts by us having to chase after him! But I love it!! I love watching him beat the schizencephaly odds and burn his trail in life.
So the 2 updates of note:1.) After numerous calls, messages and 'chats' with the many offices at the Cole Eye Institute all of the insurance bumps were ironed out and Gabe's next eye surgery is scheduled for Friday December 3. I think that I called the doctors enough times to be considered a stalker but since I was never charged with a crime [smile] and my harassment paid off in them getting their act together we'll call my stalker-ish behavior a success. You can only push a mama so far before she demands (commands??) progress!!
2.) Along with scheduling eye surgery Gabriel hit another milestone this week. He had his first infection and prescription for antibiotics. It's not really anything to celebrate except for the fact that he was nine days shy of 15 months before he was ever sick enough to need medicine! The sanitizer queen wins again!
Monday, November 8, 2010
While the number of orphans continues to rise, the fact that God calls us to care for them is unwavering:
You want to help, but don't know how? Well, here's three tangible things you can do to help an orphan.
- Provide for the needs of an orphan: Find a reputable organization* and be linked up with an orphanage to support. You can donate to a general fund at the orphanage or give for specific reasons (food, shoes, learning materials, toys, medicine...) Can you sacrifice your new sweater, Starbucks or Browns tickets to help provide for an orphan?
- Protect the orphan. There are so many orphans and not nearly enough orphanages. Could you or your organization raise money to build an orphanage? Building an orphanage in a 3rd world country is so much less expensive than trying to build anytype of building in the USA. Can you donate to this cause and give children a place to sleep, grow and play?
- Give, give, give to organizations* that support orphans. Orphans and orphanages have daily costs to live on just like we do. Could you give regularly to a reputable organization that provides continual care to orphans?
*some reputable organizations that I know: HelpOrphans.org, 147 Million Orphans ShaohannahsHope.org, LifeSongForOrphans.org, Ordinary Hero Foundation
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Please, pause the music at the bottom and watch this. It's obviously about Orphan Sunday but it's also thought provoking and powerful. Listen to the words of the song along with reading what's on the video... if it doesn't hurt your heart just a little, convict your spirit just a bit, make you much greater for the blessings in your life, then you may want to stop reading this blog entirely.
Yes, this blog will remain a journal of our life as a family and our journey's through adoption. It will still be loaded with pictures of our first miracle, Gabriel and talk about things mundane like Harry Potter, recipes and my favorite YouTube videos.
But there will be a new edge to this blog as God continues to ignite my spirit on fire for His children; the worlds orphans. And I have lots of thoughts jumbled up in my head that I'm sure will spill out into this blog. Too many thoughts combined with a lot of ideas... my poor husband never imagined this when we were married. But I know he wouldn't change a thing. Right, Matt? [SMILE]
In the past year or so I became reacquanted with a former high school classmate whom God has also given a passion for orphans... and I think together we are going to go to new heights to find help for the orphan. I can't wait to see what the future brings!
Now please, pause the music below, make sure your speakers are on and be convicted with me.
It is my hope that God is working on your heart like He is mine. Because only then will we be able to make a difference in the lives of these children.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
- World wide: 145 million to 163 million
- Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
- 2,102,400 more children become orphans in Africa each year
- 5,000,000 orphans in Ethiopia alone
- 70,000 orphans in Asia
- 123,000 orphans in the United States (children in foster care waiting for adoption)
Those numbers are mindblowing; there are that many children that need a warm meal, place to call home and most importantly people to call their family. Sometimes when I think of all those children, it seems hopeless. I wonder if it'll ever change and if what I do will ever make a difference. But then I remember that together we can make a difference. If 7% of the 2 billion proclaiming Christians adopted an orphan, there would be no more orphans. How's that for hope!
**statistics compiled from unicef.org and showhope.org
If you're here to see our shirt sale, click here!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
“Orphan Sunday... what an amazing opportunity for Christ's Bride to show her love for her Savior."
-Doug Sauder, President, 4KIDS of South Florida
Each day preceding Orphan Sunday and then throughout the month of November, I will give you easy and tangible ways that you can stand up for the fatherless.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
In honor of National Adoption month, coupled with the fact that they know just how hard it is to find all that money needed to bring your child home, Ordinary Hero is providing a t-shirt fundraiser for all adoptive parents.
I love this foundation; the desperation they feel to help rescue orphans, the duty they feel to aid their fellow citizens and their deep passion for adoption. Adoption seems to run in the family of the founder Kelly as she has adopted one son from Ethiopia and one of her sisters adopted a little girl from Ethiopia while another sister is waiting to bring her son home. So, yep they have a passion for bringing orphans home.
And they KNOW how hard it is to raise that $30,000. Yes, it seems ungodly that it costs that much to bring home an 'unwanted' child but I know it is worth it. Whether you bring home an orphan from Russia or Ghana or adopt domestically from your state, it may be expensive but it is so worth it.
So here's the plan: for every t-shirt bought from Ordinary Hero where Meredith LaGorga or Aaron LaGorga is in the "add special instructions to the seller" box they will send $10 directly to AGCI to put in our adoption account.
Some of their shirts:
Love this one:
And I'm pretty sure that this will be one of Gabe's 3 presents this year:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I could write something so mushy and gushy that you'd either laugh, cry or become green with envy but instead, I'll just wish Matt a happy birthday and go back to making his meatballs. Matt's requested birthday dinner is homemade meatballs and rigatoni's; he's definately itallian. And I do make the most fabulous meatballs :)