Thursday, June 30, 2011

Father's Day 2011

My Dad.
My Hero.

This year has been very busy for many reasons. Getting downtime with my family hasn't been as easy as it usually is. I miss vacations at the beach with my family. So I soak in the moments we do have and cherish them. 

We lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years. One thing Chi-town is known for is it's deep dish pizza. YUM!
(note: Save yourself the anxiety and do not look up the fat content & calorie count if you eat deep dish!!!)

Per dad's request, we headed down towards Disney to Giordanos for some Chicago flavor!

After dinner we headed to Downtown Disney to walk off some of the 20 lbs we had just ate in cheese!!!  HAHA! The weather was threatening the typical Florida afternoon/evening storms. We were afraid we'd get water logged, but instead, the clouds just made from some neat pics without the rain drops!
The Lego store had new creations on display. Last time they had a bunch of cool Transformer Lego sculptures. This time it was TOY STORY! Oh how I love Disney's Toy Story movies!!!
Buzz Lightyear is taking Woody to INFINITY AND BEYOND!!! These sculptures are AMAZING!!! All Legos!
And this Dragon!!!
The fam checking out Michael's new phone's photos of the Lego sculptures.


Ghiradelli Ice Cream!!! Dad's FAVORITE!!! Quite frankly, it's one of mine too! I find this kind of funny because my dad and I are A LOT alike. One of our "things" is that we don't typically like fancy ice cream. Get us the cheap vanilla flavors at the grocery or lets run out for good 'ol Dairy Queen soft serve and we're happy as can be! So for us to love fancy ice cream...highly unusual. LOL

Ice cream on the patio watching the sun set over the lake, but if you looked the opposite direction it was dark as night with thunder clouds. 
After ice cream we found a HUGE toy store. Disney has this way of making you turn into a kid again. Tim IMMEDIATELY found the Star Wars section. Earlier in the parking lot he had seen this little boy with a light saber (sp?!?!), turned to me, and said, "Is it wrong that I wish I had one of those?" HILARIOUS! Note to self....Christmas idea! haha!
"ELF" taking a pic with the Pooh Elf

Then the last place we found was this store loaded with JUST Christmas!!! Dad found this Winnie the Pooh dressed up as an ELF!!! Gotta love my dad...HE'S THE BEST! This may just seem like a stuffed animal to most, but it's significant to me as it relates to me as my parent's daughter. My whole life among our family, my nickname has been "Erika Pooh". Then, on the day I was born, one of dad's coworkers was skipping down the hospital halls chanting, "Mike had an ELF today! Mike had an ELF today!" See, my name first name is Erika, middle name Lynn, and last name started with a "F"...E.L.F. So there-in-lies my other nickname...ELF. As much as I love my married last name, sometimes I miss my maiden name.

We had a wonderful evening with my family celebrating my dad! I think my dad is an amazing man! He has taught me so much. One of the most significant life lessons dad has taught me is to be a servant leader. Do the jobs people refuse and do them well. Never delegate a task you do not know how to do yourself and be willing to help those who are assigned. Always give credit and not take the credit. Be the leader whom inspires you.

 MOST IMPORTANTLY, seek God first in all decisions at work and at home. 

My Father.
My Hero.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Moved Deeply - Turn to Stone

I was reminded last week by my brother of something I did as a kid. 

He said I would turn on MTV and just stand in front of the TV and dance. Through the years I never became a great dancer and probably nothing more than average, but have always loved dance.

One of my favorite shows is "So You Think You Can Dance".

To me, it's not just steps on a floor but a story. An emotion. An art.

I'm especially moved by the genre of Contemporary. If I could be a child again I'd ask for dance lessons and grow towards mastering Contemporary. I've often thought about taking dance lessons now to learn the fundamentals and hopefully be good enough to move on to Contemporary. 

What is holding me back???
A. It can be expensive.
B. I'm almost 35.
C. It takes time.
D. BIGGEST FEAR: What if I am a disaster???

I've been gone for a few days and am catching up on the DVR.

Travis Wall has become one of my FAV choreographers and this piece moved me to tears.

I just think Dance can express so much. I LOOOVE this piece.

So all you momma's who have little ones who like to dance...if you can, what a gift to give them classes. Kera, I love that Kayden & Emery love dance and continue to grow in dance. Maybe one day I'll be honored to point at the TV and say, "That's my niece!" and be moved to tears.

I hope our children one day will love to dance. 

We'll be supportive every step of the way!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Voice



Tim was listening to the youtube video that I posted about the concert

UM, needless to say, I WILL NOT BE SEEN on the TV show "The Voice"!!!

Oh my word! We are dying laughing!!!

Do I sound like this in church??? 

How embarrassing!!!

Ok, it's totally funny. 

Happy Sabbath Everyone

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Concert and Loving Flats!

When Becca (my sister-in-law) and I saw Matt Kearney and Owl City were coming to town, we knew we FINALLY had a spring concert on our hands!

Last night we headed down to Downtown Disney's House of Blues
Tim was a trooper as he literally had just gotten off the plane from Boston, rushed over to meet us, and spent the evening at a concert. 
We love summer concerts!
Yesterday I decided I would pick up a blow dryer and actually do something with my hair...MAJOR for me. I NEVER fix my hair...usually a good air dry is as good as it gets. I also thought I'd switch things up and wear some fun neutral leather platform wedges. I'm 5'9 and Tim is 6'4. With the wedges we were AMAZON people! Made seeing the bands MUCH EASIER.  However, after a couple hours, I was CLEARLY reminded why I rarely wear heals or anything more than a flat. 

The Reiners went with the Freelands
My "little" brother Michael. He's my younger brother by 4 years, but I LOVE spending time with him! I can honestly tell you that Michael Derek is one of my best friends! LOVE YOU TONS MICHAEL DEREK!
Michael's amazing wife Becca! She is awesome! She's teeny tiny so I had to hunker down in this pic. 
I did a little squat action to make us look the same height...Insert BURNING THIGHS! But hey, we did great at disguising our difference in height...we were impressed with ourselves! haha!
Matt Kearney was AMAZING! If you have a chance to go see him, you really should. He got off the stage and went through the crowd. So cool!

Owl City was very good too. I think we may have been some of the older fans...lots of screaming teenagers. LOL Are we now "those people"???!?!? haha! Owl City is a really great group to run to. They are definitely on the playlist. Here's a pretty fantastic fact about them: they are a Christian group but have hit the mainstream secular world. Even though this was a secular concert they still sang Christian music...LOVE THAT! 

Here is one of my FAVORITE worship songs with Owl City's spin on it.

Ok, now DO NOT JUDGE our voices singing at the top of our lungs, but this is one of my FAV songs they wrote and probably the one song people recognize if they do not know Owl City.
HILARIOUS...I sound TERRIBLE singing!!! Note to self, do NOT volunteer for song service at church!!!! LOL

Last night was so much fun! Next time, I'm sticking with comfort...FLATS! Love that I live so close to my brother so that we can do things like this. 

What fun events do you have planned for your summer?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Keep Looking At Lilypie

FOREWARNING: Scatterbrained thoughts lie ahead!!! LOL

Recently, I noticed our Lilypie timeline.

7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.

That would be the amount of time since we officially started our adoption journey. When I look at the time logged on Lilypie I find myself shocked at how fast the time has flown by. In those 7 months we have had Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's, Birthdays, a Ski Trip, and Mother's day.

I also can't help but think in terms of "pregnancy" and how I am feeling at this moment in our journey. I see on Facebook expecting mothers posting ultrasound pictures, pregnancy announcements, growing bellies, and professional maternity photography sessions. I sincerely love and enjoy hearing all the news and following along on their journey.

I will be 35 this year and we've been married for nearly 3 years so I am often asked when we're going to have a baby. I share our EXCITING NEWS of our little bub and that we are adopting and find that people are either really excited, offer words of caution, or appear to feel awkward. The words of caution and awkwardness are definitely things I had not anticipated. Some people are even so bold as to ask, "Can you not have kids on your own?". I am still struggling with what the right answer to this is, but to us adoption is not a second best option. Even if our first born was biological, God has placed this in our hearts and we do feel called to adopt. We are bubbling over with excitement so I guess we'll make up those differences! HA! HA!

PLEASE KNOW what I am about to say is not that biological pregnancy is easy, because I am certain it is not. Especially after seeing some of the very difficult challenges friends and family have faced in their pregnancies. What I can say is that if this was "traditional" we'd have our first born in our home in a little over 1 month. Instead, we have an empty bedroom that stores all those things you don't know what to do with so you close the door and pretend it's not messy. It's a silent room that screams "empty". We both hear it.
(Um, totally not our empty space LOL !!! It's too clean.  It just looked so much more nice than the mess we have in our space right now. I couldn't bring myself to publicly humiliate us by showing a REAL photo of our spare bedroom.)

Furthermore, we have only been on the waitlist for one month with at least 11 more months to go and potentially 17 more months depending on government changes. I find the timeline difficult given the need in our birth country, but also am so thankful for an agency and country who are making certain our children are not the product of trafficking.

When you hear me say or write "journey" it is just that for me...A JOURNEY. We feel a connection to our birth country though we have never been there. I feel a connection to other families also in the process with our agency though we've never met. As time passes this connection grows.

This is our "pregnancy". Our "maternity clothes" and connection are different, but our bond is growing. Never in my wildest dreams did I know a little bub halfway around the world would or could teach us so much AND we haven't even met! Quite frankly, I don't believe they have been conceived yet. God's weaving our lives already.

When most momma's are about to deliver, we're at the beginning of a VERY LONG wait full of many uncertainties.

 I know there are so many lessons to be learned as God continues to teach us along the way. I know our path is God's will. I know our family has already been planned long before even Tim and I were born. I know God provides. I know, "All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord."

 But sometimes, on days like today, I struggle.

7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day

1 month on the waiting family list

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday = Funday and Some Yummy Recipes!!!

Is Chloe bear adorable or what!?!? She has her summer scarf on!

Today started with the usual laundry (BLAH), coupon clipping, and grocery shopping UNTIL 
I stumbled upon an amazing blog recipe at MUNCHKIN MUNCHIES!!!

Strawberry Lemonade Scones Drizzled with Lemon Curd
(I mean....the name says it all...TDF!!!)

Tim was out golfing so I figured this evening I would make a light dinner followed by this heavenly deliciousness!

For dinner I made a spring mix salad with beets, olives, and feta. I then made our dressing with lemons, olive oil and dill weed. This is our FAVORITE summer salad!
Oh how I love the colors!
We're primarily vegetarian so I cooked up some veggie Big Franks. I was hungry so I had to take a little nibble. Looking at the pic, not sure why I couldn't wait! haha!

So now for the dessert........Promise, it's not hard.

I found a recipe for Lemon Curd at :

Then this morning I found the Strawberry Lemonade Scones recipe over at Munchkin Munchies:

For both the lemon curd and the scones, I used fresh lemons (Oh how I L.O.V.E. fresh lemons!!!).
Um, how GINORMOUS are those strawberries!?!?! 
Sooooo Good!!!

Heavenly deliciousness ready for the oven!

Here's what they will look like when you pull them out of the oven. Flaky on the outside and moist on the inside. Sue's at Munchkin Munchies are much prettier, but I will give them another shot FOR SURE!!! This recipe is now a staple in our home!

Now my "drizzle" wasn't nearly as pretty as Munchkin Munchies, but it tasted soooo good!
I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to each plate. 

This was the PERFECT Florida evening breeze dessert on the patio! I'm pretty sure it's going to be the perfect breakfast in the morning too with my cup of warm (aka coffee)! LOL
Here's a little fun sidebar! Look at these cute limes! These are the first fruits from our key lime tree on the patio!!! So fun! They are really small, but smell sooo good! Can't wait for them to be normal size. 
Little Key Lime buds....precious little green stars!

Reiners keepin cool in Florida

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sabbath Morning 5K and June's Numbers

Our Zoe's Ministry 5K arrived today!!!

We woke at 5:45 am to suit up, drink a smidge of coffee (didn't sleep well because I was SOOO excited), pick up my brother and his wife, and head on down to University of Central Florida's Arena. 

BUT FIRST.........

Yep, those are our OFFICIAL June numbers we received Friday evening from AGCI.
Hmmm, the ink color seemed to be a good idea but you can't even tell! LOL

Boy - 70
Girl - 91
(0-12 months)

You say, "Erika, you look half asleep." Well, that's because I WAS! haha! Takes me a while to wake up in the mornings.

"Erika, what do the numbers mean again?"
Each month our agency will give us official waiting family numbers. There are three lists; boy, girl, siblings (we are not on the siblings list). Basically, there are 69 families ahead of us on the boy list and 90 families ahead of us on the girl list. Now, all the families do not have the same age/needs parameters. When a child is found to truly be an orphan and health status determined, our agency will begin with the #1 families to find the right match for the child. Yes, we have quite a wait ahead, but that's ok, God's timing.

Back to Zoe's 5K

To many this is where folks line up for the race. Ok, you're right. LOL
For me this meant more. This signifies the start of our waiting family time as we're only 1 month into "waiting" for our little bub. God already has our family designed and the countdown is on!
Runners and Walkers getting ready to begin race, but first the Zoe Ministry group offers prayer and ask for God's blessing on the event. LOVED that we began with prayer.

We Begin!
This is all for you little bub! 
Lovin You!

Soon to Be Proud Parents!
(The sun was killing our eyes!!!)
The last half mile of the race got emotional for me. Not in a bad way at all, but a happy way. This race was to help empower orphans in Africa. Maybe one day the causes of the orphan crisis can be remedied so that there is no longer a crisis. 

Remember how I said I hadn't slept the night before??? Well, it was catching up with me along with the fact that I was carrying a sack on my back during the run so all our things could be kept safe. I was tired.

Running Sack with a voice.

Anyway, when I was approaching the finish line I saw my brother, Becca and Tim headed for me (listen...I'm no sprinter...LOL!!! I'm kinda slow). Michael took my bag and that felt soooo good to let go of. They cheered me on. Then I saw a family. This family looked like what I envision our family to look like when God's puts us together. I began imagining what our family will look like. I got pretty choked up, but also had this burst of energy. I kept looking at this family and thinking about our bub. I finished well and shed some tears of joy. 

Sweaty and so blessed to have been a part of an amazing event! 
(Michael Derek, Becca, yours truly, and Tim)

Waiting for folks to come in on the finish line.

So get this......we decided to hang out for the raffle drawings. The VERY LAST one was for the grand prize. The MC called out, "Number 704!" I screamed out, "THAT'S BECCA!!!" So cool! She won; 2 appetizers at Logans, Pizza (can't remember to where), and several smoothies of choice from Smoothie King!!! Awesome! By the way, how cute are they!?!?! I couldn't be more excited to have Becca as a sister. Michael, you married the perfect girl! XOXO

Our USA flag above the event supporting the our bubs in Africa. Someday, this flag will also be yours, bub!

We left the event moved and feeling good. I walked a little behind and just marveled at having some of our family participate. The event was on Sabbath morning. I bet if Christ was on this earth right now in the flesh, He would have ran with us. Now that I think about it...He was there in Spirit. I know it. 

Thank you UCF for hosting us today!

Ta Ta For Now!

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Love you,
Your Parents