Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The "Tell Your Story Giveaway"

I am so excited to finally let you all in on the awesome giveaway we have been planning for the past month!!

Before I share the details, I want to explain the name and why we decided to go with this perticular giveaway.

We knew we wanted to do some sort of giveaway, but we didn't know what. We contemplated an Ipad, but then one evening the idea for this fundraiser hit me!

As you know, I have been extremely stressed lately with school and have not been the most pleasant person to live with (You are amazing Ryan Maxwell!)

One thing that helps me through the really tough days is when I take a break from everything, go over to our little shelf, take out our shutterfly photo books, and look through them. It never fails to lift my spirits and change my attitude from one of poor me, boo hoo, to Come what may, my God is good and this life He's given me is crazy beautiful!

For those of you who do not know, I am a Shutterfly addict! I have six other books that are completed, but are just waiting till we have the money to order them.

There are two main reasons why I love Shutterlfy so much...

#1 I am a photo junkie!! I had to break Landon's first year into three albums because I took at least 10 pictures for every day of his existence.

My camera is practically a part of me.

I really think for the first couple months of his life Landon believed his mama had one huge black eye that zoomed in and out (poor child)

Shutterfly gives me a way to organize and document every memory and it is SO easy!!

#2 Shutterfly believes every person has a story worth telling and I agree wholeheartedly!!

The shutterfly motto is "Tell Your Story" I love that!! We only get one precious life to live on this Earth so lets make it count and lets capture each beautiful moment so that we never forget how truly blessed we are.

How do you do that you ask?

Well we want to help!!

If you help us tell our story by playing a role in bringing our boys home, we want to help you tell your story!

Here's how it's going to work...

Donation Amounts: 

$10 - 1 Entry

$25 - 5 Entries

$50 - 10 Entries 

$100 - 30 Entries

$500 - 250 Entries

 For every entry, your name will be entered into our Giveaway and
on June 7th we will post a video (hopefully) of the three winners chosen through Random.org.

The First name that is chosen will win (drum roll!!!!!!)

A Canon Rebel T4i!! This camera is AMAZING!!!

You can read more about it HERE


The Second name chosen will receive a $100 Shutterfly gift card!!
And the Third name chosen will receive a $50 Shutterfly gift card!!
So many great ways to start telling your story!!! 

 Please Share on FB, Twitter or your blog!! This also counts as an Entry! 
Just leave a comment below telling us where you shared and your name will be entered.
Tax Deductible Donations can be made to our Family Sponsorship Page at: REECE'S RAINBOW
Please send your receipt to: nnmaxwell03@gmail.com
Donations can also be made in person, or through Paypal. 

Remember this giveaway will end on June 7th so don't wait to place your entries!!!
Will you help us reach our goal and bring our boys home so that their story can finally be told?

April update and photo dump

Hello dear blog, It has been too long! I have tried to write a couple posts lately, but my brain has just been too fried.

The past couple weeks have been brutal for me. I am so close to finishing school, but the amount of work that needs to be done and the time I actually have to get it accomplished is daunting.

Nevertheless, I am awake early this morning and the the sound of the birds rejoicing outside and the smell of the earth after it rained all night is positively renewing. God is teaching me that my perception of my life and circumstances relies so much on the attitude that I choose to have. I can either choose to let my circumstances overshadow my God or I can choose to allow my God to overshadow all of my circumstances (thank you pastor Kurt :)

School is stressful and I am so ready to be done (two weeks baby!), but everything on the adoption front is going very well. We are at the point now where we can't really "do" anything until we get our fingerprinting appointment date.

Sunday night we checked, checked, and rechecked our documents one last time for any mistakes, arranged them in the correct order making sure we had EVERYTHING, kissed them, prayed over them, and then yesterday we took them to the post office to send them to another Reece's Rainbow family that will deliver them to our Eastern Europe (we are not allowed to disclose our boys country yet) facilitators on May 13th when they travel to go adopt their precious one.

You may think that we are overexaggerating our affection for that stack of documents, but please understand that pile represents so many answered prayers I could just cry looking at it. Although invisible to the naked eye, those docs are covered in our blood, sweat, and tears. There were so many times that I doubted we would ever be able to get everything done.

God is SO faithful!! Praise You Jesus!!

Ryan and I laid our hands on them and thanked and praised God for His faithfulness. We asked Him to protect and watch over them and the family that is delivering them for us. Those of you who have never undergone the adoption process may be confused so let me explain. These documents make up what is called our "dossier". Our dossier consists of 35 documents including medical statements from our doctors, financial records, employment statements from Ryan's work, power of attorney's, our beloved home study, and so much more. Our dossier is what matters to our boys' country. It is what they will look at when deciding if we should be allowed to adopt two of their children. They are extremely picky. Every t must be crossed, every single i must be dotted, every date correct, everything must be notarized, every notary stamp must be in the right place, nothing smudged or crossed out, and then everything must be apostilled by the secretary of state in the state which it was issued (yeah, it was alot!). It truly was a joyous evening of celebration in our home!! I told Ryan that I was nervous about sending it away, but never have I been so glad to get anything out of our home haha.

So now we wait... and we fundraise!!

Because of the cost of plane tickets and just finding out that we will have to purchase them for both Ivan and Levi as well (even if they sit in our laps the whole way home!) we will need to raise more than we originally planned.

God willing, we will be launching our awesome giveaway tomorrow! You will not want to miss out, so be on the look out!!

But for now, I think today seems like a good day for a photo dump of life in the Maxwell home (someday I will be able to say house :) this weekend.


On Friday we FINALLY got some of the Spring weather we've been waiting for.

Landon loved being able to have the door open. He didn't crawl outside unless I was out there, but he just sat and watched the world.

 Once Ryan got home we walked to the mall.

We brought Landon to the play area for the first time. He loved it!!

Saturday I got home from a baby shower and found a hysterical husband screaming about a helicopter landing by our apartment. He told me I just missed it taking off. A couple minutes later it came back so Ryan grabbed Landon and we ran outside to get a closer look. Turns out it was giving tour rides all weekend. Ryan was like a giddy little boy haha

Landon didn't quite know what to think of it

Later that day we walked to the park.

Pure JOY!

 Worked up an appetite playing hard

I love how he crosses his legs when he eats haha

Normal activity for a Sunday afternoon.

Can you tell he adores his papa?

Landon's OT told us to try walking with him, but just letting him hold onto a pen or something so he still feels secure, but has to do all the work himself... yeah, he nailed it :D

We'll have a walker in no time!

A couple wobbles, but he didn't fall once!

Someone is awfully proud of themselves!

 He is just like his mama and must stick his tongue out to concentrate haha!

We are so proud of our little man!! Hard to believe those chubber legs used to be in the 3rd percentile.

We will never take our miracle for granted.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Remember to check out our giveaway launch tomorrow!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Snow Days!

We have had a crazy couple of days!!

Who would of thought in mid April we would be stranded due to a blizzard??

Church was cancelled on Sunday and we postponed our Premier Design Jewelry party fundraiser so Ryan and I settled in for a cozy, lazy day at home.

I took advantage of the extra time to focus on school. I set a timer and didn't come out of our bedroom for 3 hours. It practically killed me!! I hate hearing the laughter and comotion in the other room and not being able to be a part of it, but with only a couple weeks left before I graduate, I knew I had to focus. School seems even less appealing when your baby is pounding on the door because he knows your inside though.

Okay so maybe I snuck out a couple times to capture some memories :)

Quality time with papa

Ryan put his hat on him so he looked like an artist :)
After I finished with school we decided to break out the snowpants and embark on an adventure!

The plan was to put Landon down and get some beautiful pictures, but he screamed the second he wasn't in my arms.

We're not going anywhere for a while!
 Good adventure! Time to go in, make brownies, snuggle on the couch and watch movies.

We declared yesterday as another snowday in the Maxwell home. The daycare was closed and Ryan decided driving to work wasn't worth the hassle and the risk so we soaked in another blessed day of family focused fun.

Landon had much more fun outside today since the wind wasn't blowing snow in his face.

I played with Landon while Ryan shoveled out our car.

 We looked up from our snow wall every now and then to cheer him on!!

In April!!

My mind is blown :D I told Ryan that these pictures are priceless. We will always remember and talk about the Bismarck blizzard in April 2013.

Thumbs up!! Way to go babe!!

Landon played hard and by the time we brought him in, laid him down, and got our snow gear off, we looked over and he was out :)
 The past two days have been so beautiful. We've not really accomplished much, but I've been reminded of what life is all about.

It's the little things...

It's not watching the clock and just laying on the floor playing together.

It's having no where to go and being completely present right where you are at.

It's taking the time to help your neighbor.

It's being in awe of God's creation and astounded at the power and beauty He displays. It's always there to behold, but usually we're to busy rushing around to stop and take it in.

I look at these pictures and my heart is overflowed with joy. I see my son experiencing the world for the first time. I see him exploring and taking everything in, but the thing that is the most beautiful to me is that he knows he is safe to do these things.

The wind blows and he cries and nestles himself into his father.

He plays in the snow with his truck, but looks up every couple of seconds to make sure mama is nearby.

He knows in our love he is safe to explore and grow.

This is the kind of life that every child deserves.

My heart breaks when I realize that our Ivan and Levi have never had anyone to show them how beautiful the world is. By the time we get to them, they will have spent six years in a crib.
 Jesus said that He was sent to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). So why do we think that he's okay with us living our comfortable lives while little children are wasting away in their prisons? How can we be okay with that?

Sorry, it's pretty impossible for me to write a post without letting my passion for the oppressed show through in some form or another.

Our life is good now.... oh it's so good!

I know there are many people that think we are really going to screw up our life by bringing Ivan and Levi into our home and family.

I will not deny for a second that our life will get more difficult. Any family that goes from three to five is going to face hard challenges, but no amount of difficulty seems harder to me than children not knowing love and never having the chance to experience a family and what it feels like to belong.

So to all of the blinded people out there, I lovingly say... "You'll see."

I pray someday you'll truly see and you're eyes will be opened to what love truly looks like. I pray someday a light will come on for you when you look at our pictures and you see hope ignite in Ivan and Levi's eyes. I pray you will begin to understand why we are choosing them when you watch their healing happen through this blog.

And to my boys, my precious boys I say, Hold on lovies! We have more than enough love for you in our family.

I can't wait for all of the adventures that we will have together.

You belong here.

Papa and I made you blankies this past weekend. We hope you like them! You're still growing hearts my loves. When you are finally home we will take a picture of you two sitting on your beds with all of the hearts that helped bring you home in the background.

It will be beyond beautiful!!

 Quick update!

Our USCIS application has been sent so we should be getting our fingerprinting dates soon. We have already had our fingerprints done, but this time we will need to go all the way to Fargo to get them done again. Once they have our more extensive background check results, we will receive our approval soon after :)

I just sent our $7,000 grant check to Reece's Rainbow so our FSP should be taking a jump soon :)

We will be launching a giveaway on our blog hopefully sometime this week!

I am in the throws of finals and would appreciate all the prayers I can get. I need to receive good grades in the 4 classes I am taking right now in order to graduate and receive my degree this coming May!!!

As always, life is crazy, but OH so beautiful!!

Thank you for sharing in our journey :)