Life Lately :: The Most Busy-iest Time of the Year

Well, my last post was way too long ago. So long good intentions. Since the last time I posted anything on the blog, we have begun a new adoption process, bought a new house, moved, begun renting out our old house, celebrated Thanksgiving in Florida, vacationed in New York City, and now we are counting down the days until Christmas! It's been a lot. Throw our feisty 15 month old in the mix and it's been downright chaos. But now I've got a few minutes to actually sit down and collect a few thoughts, so here it goes...

New Adoption Process:

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A few months ago, we began praying through switching from being on hold in the Ethiopia program to actively pursing a child from Haiti. Ethiopia is closed to international adoption now, like, completely, but since we hadn't made a decision we were technically still in that program at our agency. I tell you all of this to say that it wasn't a decision of stay with Ethiopia or go somewhere else, somewhere else was the only option, and we've identified somewhere else as Haiti. 

Now we are officially a Haiti family! We don't have a lot of concrete information because it's a long process. I can tell how much we've mellowed out since we began this whole international adoption journey four years ago because we really don't talk about it that much. We know how long the process is, and it's taxing for sure. We also know that people are so kind to pray with us and for us, and it's sometimes difficult to not have any new news. From what we understand, it'll still be several years before we're able to bring home a child from Haiti, so we won't be doing that many updates since it's a lot of waiting. But, believe me, if there's news, you'll probably hear me shouting it from the rooftops! 

Please pray for us as we are still healing from Ethiopia and have our hearts cautiously set on a new place and new people to love.

Our New Home:

We have had our eye on the cutest little corner of Birmingham for over a year. There are two streets that have newer homes (10 years-ish) that are truly made to look old. They fit in with the 1920s and 1930s bungalows that border them and they are just so dreamy. We actually had a contract on the house behind us earlier this year, but it fell through, which ended up being for the best! We didn't really mean to move, but when we saw our house, we just couldn't resist. It was actually featured in Southern Living in 2009 and just encapsulates everything that we love! It's definitely a house we're going to have to grow into, but we are so happy to be settled for a very long while. 

Becoming Landlords:

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When we bought our first home four years ago, we knew that someday we'd love to keep it as an income property. Our proximity to UAB is more than ideal for students and employees of the medical community. The only thing is, with a growing family, me not working full-time, and just busy life, we didn't know that it was actually possible to make that dream a reality. Once we fell in love with our new house, we began exploring ways that we could actually buy it, and renting out our current home as extra income proved to be the best way. After talking it over with a lot of people who are smarter than us, our first home is officially for lease! We are excited about this new adventure - and if you know anyone looking to rent a super cute house in Birmingham, send them our way.

Jetsetting to NYC:

If you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know that Jason and I love ourselves some New York City. We try to go at least once a year, but when Brighten came along, that became a little harder. We were determined to make it there this year, though, and so we did!

We also had the privilege of my sister, Carlee, vacationing with us, which was just such a joy! She was a huge help with Brighten, a friend to hang out with, and always in for some good laughs. Navigating the Big Apple with a toddler was much different that past trips, but we truly had a blast.

And just to keep things interesting, the day after we got home from NYC, we closed on our new house!

Turkey Day in Florida:

My parents downsized pretty significantly earlier this year. They sold their 3,800 square foot home in Destin and moved up to a cute little condo in Bluewater Bay (just North of Destin). Now their view is of a golf course, they have zero yard work, and lots less to take care of. I'm so happy for them. They also renovated said condo this summer and they were so excited host their first holiday there. Since we are hosting Christmas in our new house, they wanted to host Thanksgiving. 

Let's just say that Jason and I ended most days (and afternoons) (okay, and mid-mornings) passed out asleep in their living room. It was so nice to have so many extra hands with Brighten! At one point I apologized to my dad for falling asleep so many times and he said, "Don't apologize, you look like you're a parent of a toddler!" 

We also got to go on a fun date, complete with eating dinner at 9:30 - AT NIGHT, do lots of Christmas shopping with my sisters and brother-in-law, and really enjoy some relaxing time as a family! I'm always so thankful for my family, but getting to spend extended time with them is just the greatest. 

What's next:

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So, that's a lot of stuff that's happened in the last quarter of the year. What's next for us? Well, Jason is taking off the last two weeks of the year (all the praise hands!) and we are hosting Christmas in our new home. We are also working hard on booking clients for next year for both A Morales Production and The Storie Co. Being a small business owner has been the most fun and I'm so thankful for the opportunity. 

Other than building our businesses, spending lots of time together, and doing lots and lots of paperwork for our Haiti adoption, we are calling 2018 "The Year of Being." We've had so much transition over the last 18 months and we can feel God tugging on our hearts to find contentment where we are. It's been so much fun getting to be parents for the first time, watch our daughter grow, start a new business, move to a new house, become landlords, travel to some really cool places, and begin and end several adoption processes. God has been so faithful in the good and the bad, and it's because of Him that we are able to rest in stillness in the coming year. 

But as we all know, things have a funny way of not going as planned, so we'll see what actually happens in 2018 :) Stay tuned, whatever happens it'll be a fun adventure!

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