Friday, January 8, 2016

Embroidery Fundraiser

If you know me even a little bit, I'm sure that you know that I love to craft. My house is always a mess of the 400 crafts I'm currently working on and Evan is forever picking up after me. Bless him. I've had these four embroidery hoops in my stash of supplies forever and decided to whip out four embroideries. I already had the supplies on hand (craft supply hoarder) and so this cost me absolutely nothing. All proceeds will go towards our fundraiser to bring home our baby!

We have raised a couple thousand dollars in the past week since we announced and we are so blessed and thankful for every prayer, every t-shirt purchased, every print purchased and every donation. So, thank you, thank you! Since Etsy takes a percentage of every sale, I'm attempting to sell these hoops here first. If they're not sold by Sunday night, I'll move them to Etsy. But, if you're a Billings native, I'll deliver to you for no extra charge! If you're not, shipping is $3. Thank you so much for your support! We could not ask for a better village.

///RULES: to purchase, please e-mail me at youandusforever[at]gmail[dot]com. I'll send you a PayPal invoice and you must pay within 12-hours. If you're local, you can pay me at pickup! 

1. YAY!: four-inch hoop with pink and cream floral fabric///$10--SOLD

2. Love: six-inch hoop with vintage blue floral fabric///$16--SOLD
[ps. the red dots are not stitches, that's part of the fabric]

3. Happy heart: nine-inch hoop with polka dot fabric///$25---SOLD

4. Tune my heart: ten-inch hoop with cream and gold fabric and lace///$25---SOLD

Monday, January 4, 2016

I always wanted to be a dad

From the time I was a young boy, I knew that I wanted to be a father. I remember watching my dad love my mom and I so well, all while running his business. One of my first memories is sitting at the foot of his chair, listening to him and my mom talk about their days. I’m sure it was a pretty basic conversation, I don’t remember the specifics. What I do remember is looking at my father and thinking about how amazing I thought he was. He was so big, strong, imposing and when he spoke, you couldn’t help but listen.

I respected my dad. I loved my dad.
In high school, we had our disagreements like most sixteen-year-old boys and their dads. He thought I stayed out too late and that my hair was too long. (He didn’t appreciate the magnificence of the curl.) In those years and the years that followed, I kind of became a momma’s boy. She let me get away with way more. She was more lenient when it came to curfews and every limit that there was, she let me push it a little further. I think that in those times, I started to lose my appreciation for my father. Not because of anything that he did, but because of my own selfishness.

But, I still respected my dad. I still loved my dad.

Through years of dating Larissa, my dad was always steadily giving me advice. “Open her door,” he would instruct me. “Always make sure she gets home safely.”
At the time, it was almost an annoyance. I knew how to date. I didn’t need his input. However, I did everything that he told me to. You know why? He was right, and…

I still respected my dad. I still loved my dad.

In the summer of 2012, my wife walked into our bedroom and told me that she was pregnant. I would love to say that I jumped with joy and that I swung her around the room. I didn’t. I smiled the weakest smile that any man has ever smiled; I sat in silence and then hugged my beautiful bride and told her how excited I was.
However, in all honesty, I wasn’t excited. I was terrified. This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to wait until we were 25 before we even had the conversation. The plan was to continue going to third world countries because we had zero obligations at home. The plan was to adopt from one of those countries before we had any children of our own. The plan was to travel and be in love and not let anything get in our way. This got in our way, this baby, this unplanned inconvenience was IN OUR WAY.
It took me days to come to grips that our lives were changing forever. My emotions would go from angry to terrified to absolute jubilance. The Lord was working on my heart constantly to help me understand the magnitude of what was going to happen in just a few short months. He knew that Maddox Oliver would be one the greatest gifts I would ever be given. Eventually, I was consistently in a place of joy, I had always wanted to be a dad. I just didn’t think it was going to happen so soon and I didn’t think it was going to happen in this way.
One of the best parts of Larissa’s early pregnancy was thinking of ways to tell our parents. We debated on several different ways and decided to have them all over for dinner. We gave them cards that had a little poem on them. My brother and his wife had also just recently announced their pregnancy, so ours read.

“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Stan and Kalcy are pregnant
And we are too.”

Cheesy I know, but we thought we were cute.

If there was any question of whether or not I should have been excited, it ended in that moment. I watched my dad leap from the table and embrace my mom. I saw tears in his eyes and saw him mouth the words “thank you” to the heavens.

I respect my dad. I love my dad.

With the help of Christ, he changed me that day. He doesn’t even know it. I don’t know that I even knew it until I began to type this out. He in that moment and so many others has been an incredible father. He makes me want to be one too.
Over the last three years, I have watched my father become an amazing grandfather. He loves my son so well. He runs around and wrestles. He screams and yells ridiculous sounds and gives him ungodly amounts of snacks.

My son respects his granddad. My son loves his granddad.

This idea of adoption has been something that has been on our hearts for year. Since before we were even married. Yet, I would be lying if I didn’t say I have hesitations or worries. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t terrified. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about the fact that I was going to take a little boy or girl that isn’t my blood and try to raise them as my own. To give them a family.
But you know what? Thirty years ago, my dad fell in love with a single mom. He decided that he wanted to marry her and raise her son as his own. He wanted to give him a family. Now, my older brother and my dad will both admit that he made mistakes. They both did. However, he courageously stepped into parenting a child that was not his own. I cannot wait to wrap my arms around my new son or daughter. There are a million reasons why I can’t wait to be the dad of another child. You want to know what one of the main ones is?

I respect my dad. I love my dad.

I want to be my dad.