Hill family 2015

My Grandparents have been married for fifty years, and that's a giant deal. So, all twelve of their decedents and their spouses (seventeen total) took the week off of work and traveled to spend time together in the beautiful mountains of Asheville. There's an animal park here with snuggling otters and handsome red wolves. We're eating elaborate home-made meals, catching fire flies, and photo bombing each other as often as we can get away with it. Mostly, though we're playing games around large tables and taking lots of deep breaths outside. Family is that group of wonderful, obnoxious, beautiful humans that you love more than the rest of the humans on earth, and I'm thankful for mine.


more adoption paperwork

We had our first in-person meeting with the Social Worker here in Norfolk. Again, this is a step toward becoming foster parents, so that if my step-cousins end up needing a home, we're ready to get them to Virginia the most painless way the system has. We met at her office in Downtown Norfolk, and appreciated her pleasant, informative, no-nonsense approach to the children and the situation. By no fault of the woman here in Norfolk, she came into the meeting not knowing that the boys' mother had passed away. They (she and the worker in Arizona) had been communicating, and she had e-mails sent after their mother's death, but it was never mentioned and came as quite a shock. Of course, that changes the whole situation (no chance of that reunification), but she asked us for everything we knew, and gave us a lot of good information about the whole foster care process. We handed her a pile of paperwork, and she gave us three times the paperwork back to fill out.

So, the road rolls onward. This round includes all of our finances, background checks, physical health, and driving records etc. We have a couple of weeks before our next meeting with her, which will be our home safety evaluation (home study) and will (obviously) take place inside our home. We have to have individual interviews, and the next one will be my individual interview, as well as the home evaluation, so she's scheduling it when Matt's at work.

On the pregnancy front, I'm sixteen weeks today and get to hear the heartbeat (again) on Monday. Looking forward to finding out the gender of this Nowak baby in less than a month!


paperwork for the adoption

Our first home study meeting is planned for this coming Tuesday, so we've been filling out mounds of paperwork and trying to keep cookie crumbs off all the official documents. The paperwork is the process for us to become foster parents, because the boys are in foster care in Arizona, and the easiest way to transfer them through the states is from one foster family to another. So, this meeting is really nothing. I mean, technically, we could fail the interviews or something, but I imagine that would be hard to do. This interview is just a step forward.

We feel mostly blind going into the first meeting, like we're stepping through the hoops they place in front of us until they either say, "The fathers got their sons." or "The foster family was a better resource." or "You're going to have 4 babies this year (Christian included)."

Pray that Matt and I will be sensitive to what the Lord has for our family. There are lots of children who need families, and we're certainly not called to give them all homes, but these boys were dropped in our laps, and Matt has been praying for years that God will give us the children that no one else wants.


one yellow couch

Yellow couches are like kittens. If I see one, and it's homeless, I must give it a home. In an unlike kittens move, if the couch gets grimy and icky and smells like a dog, I must remove it from my home. So, we had one yellow, tufted couch, and then we got a second one. Now we're back to one, and it's the same one as the original one, so you know, you end where you begin. But, updated living room shot. The stuff on the walls between the windows is only place holder stuff. I'll tear it all off the walls this summer, guaranteed.

free highchair

Twelve things on the shelves above the high chair are second-hand. I'm happy to find beautiful, used treasures. I go to the thrift store probably twice a month in search of one of these treasures. You know, something that's so cheap you know it's mislabeled and you would have paid way too much for it, on account of how beautiful it is.

This last time, we went to three thrift stores in a row. First, the Union Mission thrift store which had so many good books it was ridiculous, and Matt and I piled them on until we had 24 books, which we paid six worthwhile dollars for. Loading our car up with Homer Price, Caddie Woodlawn, My Side of the Mountain, Little House in the Big Woods, etc. etc. etc. felt like a steal already.

The second thrift store was a no go, which is the risk you run thrift store shopping. Sometimes there's nothing worth taking home.

The third thrift store was a Salvation Army, and Matt found the pair of shoes that had spurred this trip in the first place. I walked out to the car with nothing, my picky style and small budget limiting my success. That was when the magic happened. Across the parking lot, someone from my church saw my pregnant self making its way to the car. Her kindness propelled her over to us and she said, "We were just about to donate some baby stuff; A high chair, if you want to take a look."

I'm so picky.

I feel like since baby gets a fresh start on life, it might as well only have adorable things. Adorable things tend to be wooden, not plastic, have no batteries, and preferably be hand-made. I almost said, "Aw, no thanks." cause I'd hate to offend someone by not liking their stuff, but instead I said, "Is the high chair wooden?" I fully expected it not to be. Most high chairs aren't.

But that day, the high chair was wooden, in great shape, with fancy detachable parts, underseat storage, a name brand that's apparently impressive, and free. Doesn't it look at home in our kitchen? If only thrifting were always that agreeable.


adult cousins at the zoo

The Norfolk Zoo was lively when my Vermont cousins were in town. It was their first trip to a zoo, and the animals were in rare form. They were animalistic in every sense of the word. The lion was roaring, the giraffes were humping, and the monkey peed on the glass while we looked on. It was also 98 degrees, so we were icky sweaty and way sleepy by the time we rolled back through the front gate. I kept the pictures PG. You're welcome.


christmas day

Our baby was due on January 17th, or at least that's the date that they told me when I first called my OBGYN. All they used for that date was the first day of my last period, but last pregnancy they only changed my due date by one day later on.

When we entered the room for the ultrasound, the woman told me she would try an external ultrasound first, but that at eight weeks sometimes they'll have to do an internal ultrasound to really see the baby. As soon as she started, she changed her tune, "Oh. We're fine. You're fine. I'm going to measure this baby, but you're farther than eight weeks along."

But I couldn't be. I had had a period eight weeks before. After measuring the baby, she gave us the good news, "You're twelve weeks today! Due on Christmas Day."

 If you handed me a calendar and said, "There are three hundred and sixty-five days this year, and one of them is the day your baby will be born. You can't choose which day it will be born, but go ahead and pick the one day you'd prefer your baby wasn't due on."

Easy peasy. No-brainer. Christmas Day is the most unideal day to be born.

BUT I'd rather all of my babies were born on Christmas than not born at all.

It turns out something internally is bleeding, which is what I mistook for a period eight weeks ago. The doctor said it's not something to worry about unless it gets bigger and I bleed again (which I haven't, so that's good).

A four week jump!! I couldn't ask for anything better! It makes everything make so much more sense. I've been so tired, smell sensitive, and having to use the bathroom ten times a day. Oh, there's a three inch child sitting in my body.

Due this year! Since I already gave birth once this year, we've met our deductible, and this baby will be free if it makes it out before January. Also, the technician said she was pretty sure we're having a boy, but it's too early to make the official announcement. So.... Jack? Gabriel? Charlotte?... Either way, we'll get to meet you this year!!