August 3, 2012

Free Fancy Fonts!

Hello friends!  I hope you have a fun weekend planned!  Tonight I'm with my mama (she had foot surgery this morning, but she's doing great), tomorrow night I've got an awesome concert to attend, and Sunday... who knows.  

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy some of my new favorite fonts.  Why do fonts make me so happy?!?  I remember the first time I saw a "cursive" font on a computer, I couldn't wait to type a letter to my mom, because I was convinced  she wouldn't know that computers were capable of cursive, and thus be left to believe that my 2nd grade penmanship had greatly improved.   

Sometimes the best part about a font is simply it's name.  "Horseshoes & Lemonade"... amazing.

So here you go folks; these suckers are free!  



August 2, 2012

Adoption, blogging, and a DIY

I think it's time for an adoption update... although there's not much to report.   A key player left town for 2 weeks and a paper that we need to move forward is now (6 weeks later than expected) still not in our hands...   As many adoptive mamas will tell you, this process produces a constant wave of emotions- wavering between panic, rage, sadness, hope, and disappointment... and then when you do get good news at all-out craze of pure joy.  As a kid, I used to have a dream that I was running through the woods and somebody was chasing me.  Strangely though, the woods were lit up by a light so bright that I had a hard time seeing anything. It was like staring into the sun.  As I ran, I had to shield my eyes and squint and I just knew that at any moment I was going to run into something or fall on a tree root I hadn't seen. On top of my visual impairment, my body felt like it was running in slow motion.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't make it move faster. I was breathing heavily and giving it all my effort but I just couldn't move any faster. It felt like I was trying to run in a river against the current.  Today, that's how life feels.  I feel like time is chasing me and while it can see just fine and move as freely as it always has, I am desperately trying to stay ahead of it but can't.  I'm worn out, unsure of what's ahead, and moving (despite how hard I try) at a snail's pace.

However, despite this, I have a peace.  A peace that God is in control and even though I don't understand, I don't have to. While the frustrations and sadness and anger float near the top, peace runs deep. Very deep. And for that I am thankful.

I also have hope.  I have hope that she will be here by Christmas.  While I feel like hope is dangerous (because I don't want to be let down), it's also necessary.  So will you hope with me?  Will you hope that my baby is here soooon?  And if you are one who prays, would you pray that God will break through, perform a miracle, and bring this child home?  Will you also pray that Abiella feels our love and is filled with supernatural joy, and that her health would be blessed and that her little body would continue to grow stronger and stronger?

You readers are wonderful, and I appreciate all the warm comments and loving encouragement you have sent us throughout this process. I'm so thankful for you and the creative outlet this blogging world provides. I love that I can sit down and write about anything from debuting on BET to adoption. What a gift!

Much Love,

PS: My beautiful, amazing, wonderful, super-talented sister Maddie is one of the reasons I gathered my guts and started this here blog. She's hilarious and fun and one text from her can have me laughing all day long. This week she has an amazing series going on right now and I may or may not have taken over her blog for the day.  Want a cheap and easy DIY?  Go see what hangs in my living room HERE.

August 1, 2012

Surprise Parties

For about three years, my friends and I have been addicted to surprise parties.

We've thrown surprise parties for the following reasons:

1) Two people had top ten hits in foreign countries at the same time… thus, it was necessary we have a Norwegian and Canadian themed surprise party.  Duh.

2) One friend got a new job. 

3) Another thought he was going to a bbq for his wife’s work… and then we hopped out of the woods and held him hostage at a cabin for 48 hours. (It was his 30th bday… and we had already celebrated it once… so it was the ULTIMATE surprise)

4) Another thought he was going to watch a game with a buddy and then we all parked at a nearby church and jumped out from behind the friend's kitchen counter.  (It was his 27th bday)

5) Three ladies turned 30 in the same summer (they knew we were celebrating but the events were a surprise.)

6) Another friend turned 30.  He may or may not have been greeted in the drive with a live mariachi band.

7) A friend moved away (for the 2nd time)… and thus, needed to be surprised on the balcony of a local restaurant... obviously.

8) (Insert a few more birthdays here)

9) The most elaborate surprise I've been involved in thus far, was when we surprised my sister for her 30th on Martha's Vineyard.  That involved planes, ferries and automobiles. Casually walking into a random pub on an island to find your aunt and two sisters (who live in 3 different states) sitting there...Amazing...

10) And then most recently....a  surprise engagement party. (As in, the party ran up a hill to greet the newly engaged couple thirty seconds after the proposal... don't worry the groom planned it; we didn't just bust-in on their special moment or anything.) That surprise was truly epic and I can't believe none of us spilled the beans.

Soooo... what I'm trying to tell you is that surprise parties are awesome and you should plan one immediately.  New job?  Surprise party.  New dog? Surprise party. New member of a gym? Why not? Surprise them.

And just because I love you (and can identify with Kristen Wiig's character, Sue, SOOO much) I just spent half an hour tracking down this video for you.  The next five minutes of your life just got a little more awesome. You're welcome.


July 31, 2012

Lindsay from Trial by Sapphire

Guys I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  A few months ago I stumbled upon Trial by Sapphire and was instantly hooked.  Lindsay is smart, funny, kind, beautiful and inspirational.  Today she's sharing her experience as a CASA.  Don't know what a CASA is?  Keep reading...


Hello, Two Hoots and a Holler readers!  My name is Lindsay, and I'm the dame behind Trial By Sapphire, a lifestyle blog about lessons learned, balancing my life as a modern hippie, volunteerism, and how awesome life is.  I don't have a niche really, but I'm having fun documenting how I live the best life for me.  Come on over, and let's have some fun, yes?  Yes.


"You can't live a perfect day without doing something 
for someone who will never be able to repay you."
-- John Wooden

I am so excited that Mae invited me over to share my experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)!  A long-term volunteer opportunity like this is very complex, but today, I want to give you the basics and share a bit about my experience.  It may be something you're interested in!

WHAT: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
A CASA is an adult who is assigned to a foster child in the juvenile dependency system.  It is the CASA's responsibility to objectively gather information from key players in the child's life (foster parents, teachers, relatives, biological parents, sport instructors, etc.) and advocate for the best permanent plan.

WHO: An adult with an open heart and time to dedicate to a foster child and juvenile court processes.
Due to the confidential nature of this volunteer work, a CASA must be responsible, thorough, compassionate, open-minded, diligent, and available to visit with the case child 2-4 times per month.  (That can be as little as 4 hours per month!)

WHERE: Anywhere in the United States!
You can search for the CASA program in your area HERE.

WHEN: Anytime.
Organizations that interview, screen, and train CASAs have information and training sessions throughout the year.  Similar to starting a job working with children, CASAs must pass a background check and be finger printed.  Due to the rotation of training sessions, I had four months from applying to starting training.

WHY: There are thousands of children in the system who really need the help of an advocate.  
We all remember how difficult those younger years were, but imagine being moved from home to home, school to school, never knowing if you'll be adopted or just age out of the system at 18.  Their situations are complex, and having an adult who can decipher all the moving parts and simply be a voice for them means that they know they are noticed, heard, and loved.

With my training buddy, Barbara, at CASA Graduation 2009

 MY STORY (extremely abridged!):
My first "big kid" volunteer job was working as an aide in a preschool for Autistic children when I was 16.  After that, every volunteer job I pursued was focused on children.  As I got older, I knew I wanted to be a CASA, but I was waiting until I knew I had the time and energy to dedicate to it.

I was a CASA with Voices For Children (VFC) in San Diego, CA, from November 2009 to October 2011.  I was assigned to a bright two-year-old who I will call Joy.  She was born to two very young parents who were not on speaking terms and in some trouble with the law.

During my time as her CASA, I came to know her foster parents (also her relatives), her aunts, her biological parents, her daycare provider, and her preschool teachers.  They enriched my life in unexpected ways and taught me more about who I want to be as a mother one day.  I was reminded how fortunate I was to have the childhood that I did, but I also learned that love thrives in all places, not just for "picture perfect" families.  Joy and I would talk about Elmo, her friends at school, cupcake parties, Tinkerbell, and her trips to SeaWorld. She excelled in preschool.  She loved to tell people: "You're beautiful."

Appearing in juvenile dependency court is less stressful than it sounds.  I attended three court hearings which required three court reports (all reviewed and approved by my VFC program supervisor).  Court hearings include only a small group, and it's all behind closed doors.  Due to her young age, Joy attended few hearings.

Being a CASA stirred new levels of emotions in me.  My heart broke for Joy when her father was fatally shot.  I was angry when her mom didn't show up for a scheduled visit.  I was frustrated when I sat in an important meeting listening to people discuss who should have custody of her and why.  I worried that I wouldn't be permitted to stay on her case until the end when I found out I was moving to Texas.  (Luckily, I did get to stay on the case for the remaining four months and checked in via phone!)  But it wasn't all negative, not even close.  I felt loved when Joy thanked me for things.  I felt successful when I overcame a few toddler melt-downs.  I felt infinitely proud when she was adopted by her relatives who now have full custody of her (and thank me for my hard work every single time I talk to them).

I was a busy CASA.  I worked a full-time job, did two musical productions, sang for a few other gigs, got married, maintained family and social life, and moved my married life to another state!  But it was all worth it.

For the sake of confidentiality, I cannot tell you names or show you pictures.  In fact, we never took pictures together.  I only have her school photos.  In two months, Joy will be five years old.  As she gets older and starts to understand how her life is "different" from her friends', I hope she will also understand how loved she is and that her past doesn't dictate her future.  And just like she tells me when we talk on the phone, I hope she knows that she is beautiful.

If you have any questions about my time as a CASA, please feel free to comment below or e-mail me at  Mae, thank you for letting me share such an important life experience of mine on your blog today!
Lindsay, you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your experience!!!
Now go give Lindsay some love!

July 30, 2012

Mom, Downton, Bruce, and Gymnastics.

Sean's mom came into town this weekend and it was such a blast having her at the house.  We ate great food, spent a ton of time on the porch, watched lots of Downton Abbey, and zoomed around to all of our favorite spots in town.  I always love searching through old books, so on Sunday we went to McKay's, and wowza- have you ever seen so many used books??

I got these two books... one of which was only 5 cents.  5 cents!!! 

Sean came home with some great music, including Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska on vinyl.  Amen? Amen.

This morning, after a hearty breakfast at one of our favorite diners, we took mom back to the airport.  So sad. Right now, she's probably soaring towards New England, 30,000 feet above one of your heads :) Wave to her will ya? We miss her already.

How was your weekend?  Have you been watching the Olympics?!?? Are you ready for this? I'm about to drop some major information on you...Our cable is out and can't be fixed for 7 days!!!! S-E-V-E-N  D-A-Y-S-S-S..... If you sense my panic about missing the gymnastics, you'd be correct.  Guess I'll be watching it on my laptop, or consistently inviting myself over to friends' houses.  Oh me...

That's all I've got for today...

Time to brew that second pot of coffee...