Thursday, December 13, 2012

We Are One Step Closer

This past week we were able to send off our first payment for our adoption. Already God is providing in amazing ways, and it is so exciting I have to share.

We needed a "small" (and by small I mean small in the grand scheme of adoption, but not so small to us penny pinchers) amount to complete our official application, and pay for mandatory training classes. After finding out the only training class available in the next five months was January 5th, and to secure our spot we needed to make our first payment asap, we scraped together all the money we had been saving so far. Yesterday I went to the bank, and wouldn't ya know it, we had $16.43 over what we needed. How amazing is our God?! I am in tears right now as I think of how He provides. He knows what we need, when we need it, and I am so excited we get to play a part in His master plan.

Living an extraordinary life for God may stretch us beyond what we thought possible, but the rewards are oh so worth it. That doesn't mean we are to live comfortable lives, avoiding as much pain as possible. God wants, no longs, to give us what is best, and how can He if we refuse to follow His lead, wherever that may take us. We have only begun our adoption process and already God has done extraordinary things.

Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouragement. It means so much to have so many family and friends stand behind us. We couldn't do it without you.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magical Christmas Pictures

I realize it's been awhile since I've blogged. Life is crazy as usual, and I have been very busy editing pictures... other peoples pictures. It is such a blessing and an honor to have so many people want me to take their photograph. After finally deciding to start charging for my long time hobby, I had no idea I would be so busy. It truly is a blessing, but I need to find some kind of balance. Lots of taking and editing others pictures means I have less time and desire to capture my own family, not-to-mention every night after the kids go to bed, all I do is edit. I will learn. Thankfully, I have a very patient, understanding, and supportive husband.

The kids and I were able to spend over a week at my parents' house in anticipation for a friend's wedding (yes, I got to be the photographer). I wanted to practice a technique I had long been wanting to try, so of course, I solicited the help of my adorable children. Things didn't go exactly how I had envisioned them... I will show you what I mean.

First, Owen wouldn't sit still, so 98% of his pictures are blurry. This is the best I could get.


Still adorable even with a dirty face.


Then I tried Grace... Oh my.  I thought I would be artsy and drape a scarf around her to make her eyes pop, but all it did was make her look like Virgin Mary, or according to Grace, "I look like Little Red Riding Hood." And this girl has quite the knack for funny faces.







And the both of them...


Next, my mom and sister jumped in to try and help. Things didn't go much better. Grace was upset and wouldn't smile or take her blanket out of her mouth, and Owen had managed to get food all over his shirt, so I just took it off.




I did manage to get a few good ones, and one even made it onto our Christmas card. While frustrating at the time, I got some good laughs after uploading the pictures.






I will admit to bribing them with chocolate chips and getting to play with the Kindle Fire afterwards.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption: Our Journey Begins

I don't really know where to start this post. The topic has long been close to my heart, and I hope to convey in mere words what God has cultivated over many years.

Joe and I have decided to add to our family through adoption.

As many of you know, my brothers were adopted. Both were abandoned as infants and joined our family when they were about six months old. I can’t imagine growing up without them as part of our family. But there are many children out there who aren’t as lucky, who don’t have a family to call their own.

I have felt the pull of adoption since my brothers joined our family, and now that I am finally “old enough,” Joe and I have decided to take the necessary steps to bring a child into our home to call him/her our own. I have no idea where the money is going to come from or what other challenges we will face, but I am excited to see what God will do.

I will be honest and admit I have fears… What if the child doesn’t bond with us? What if the mother decides to keep the child at the last minute? What if he or she has a genetic or medical condition? However, God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), and I am going to trust him. He has never failed me and He never will. I can’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly, but I can cling to His promise that even if…  He will give me the strength to make it through.

After much prayer, research, and discussion, we have decided to adopt domestically. At this point, all we know is that it will be a private adoption through Bethany Christian Services. Joe just received his bonus from work, so we now have enough money right now to officially apply (Woo-hoo!).

To continue to grow our adoption fund, I have decided to dedicate the profits from my photography business. If you want to check out my work, go to my photography blog: www.ashleymogfordphotography.blogspot.com or my photography Facebook page.




All the siblings at my brother's graduation. Look how little Grace is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

The rain has officially come to stay.  I actually don't hate the rain. Hot chocolate tastes better on a cold rainy day. A good book, and a snuggly blanket are comforting (thoughts/dreams) when it's raining. However, rain also means we stay inside a lot more, which also means I hear, "I don't know what to do," a lot more often. When I hear this, it's time to get creative. Okay, I admit, sometimes I do cave and let them watch Netflix, but only sometimes. Last week I was inspired by a pin I had seen on pinterest about painting with colored shaving cream. I actually remember doing something similar as a kid, although it may have been homemade bath crayons now that I think about it. My mom was awesome. We did stuff like this all the time before pinterest... but I diverge. Back to the rainy-day activity. All I did was take a muffin tin, fill it with shaving cream, add a few drops of food coloring to each compartments, and voila, homemade fun.


I let the kids paint to their hearts content; in the bathtub of course. I think Grace couldn't believe I was actually letting her paint the walls because she kept asking me if she could paint another spot and squealing a bit when I answered yes every time. Of course, being a mom whose hobby is photography, I took pictures.




Monday, October 29, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch


While I was busy having fun at our churches women's retreat, Joe and a couple other dads whose wives were hanging with me, took the kids to the pumpkin patch. It was the highlight of the weekend. How do I know for sure... I heard about it the SECOND I walked in the door.

I am sad I missed out this year, but I made Joe take my camera so I could relive it through pictures. He did pretty well.




Thanks Joe for watching the kids and letting me get away for the weekend. I had such a great time. I stayed up way too late, ate way too much, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of some wonderful ladies. So wish I could have had one more day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pool Party

While shopping at Goodwill a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a brand new inflatable pool via a Target donation. Of course it was early October and raining like pitchforks and hammer handles outside (yes, that is an actually saying), and so explains the inflatable pool at Goodwill. Of course I had to snag it. Grace hasn't yet grasped the concept of delayed gratification, so I feared I would be hearing, "can we go swimming in our pool" until July. I came up with a great solution and inflated it in the middle of the living room. There was no water involved, but the kids still had a blast.




Friday, October 26, 2012

Beautiful Ada

I had the privilege of photographing a dear friend's beautiful baby and had to share with you all.

It was really hard to pick a favorite, but I'd have to say that this one is it. Daddy's hand and the sweet sleeping face is priceless.


Precious little feet


Another one of my favs




Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken. It's what's for dinner.

Randomly, every-once-and-awhile, I will think, "This would be interesting to blog about. I could be like one of those cool blogs that people pin over and over again on Pinterest because I took the time to write down something I did to save time and/or money and someone else thought it was amazing." Does anyone else think ever think that, or am I just weird?
So I decided to blog about something that may, or may not be amazing... it's at least interesting.

Did you know you can feed a family of four dinner for a (work)week with one rotisserie chicken? Okay and a few other ingredients; think Stone Soup. It is a great time and money saver. Monday I made a trip to Costco and bought a whole chicken for $4.99. For $5, I got enough meat for the whole week. That's awesome.

Day 1: Chicken and Pasta Caprese Salad
 
Photo courtesy of annies-eats.com

Make caprese salad, add noodles and shredded chicken. That's it. You can eat it both warm or cold. The kids like it cold, while Joe and I like it warmed up a bit better.

Day 2: Pad Thai
 
Photo courtesy of ec-padthai.com

This one seems complicated, but after making it a few times, it really isn't that hard. It may not be the most healthy meal, but is by far my families favorite and will continue to be on our menu every now and then because it's too good not to.
Sauce:
2 oz tamarind paste*
4 Tbs fish sauce
4 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs white vinegar


1-2 tsp peanut or olive oil
4 tsp minced garlic
8 oz rice noodles (pre-soaked)
shredded chicken to liking
4 whole eggs
6 oz bean sprouts
1/2 - 1 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside

In a skillet combine enough peanut or olive oil to coat the bottom and 4 tsp minced garlic. Saute for a minute or so. Add rice noodles, chicken, and sauce. Rice noodles must be pre-soaked before use or they won't be soft enough. This can be the tricky part. I usually get the sauce to boil then turn the heat to low. You want your noodles soft, but not soggy. Cook until the sauce is completely incorperated into the noodles.
While the noodles are stewing, cook 4 eggs in a separate pan.
Add eggs, bean sprouts, 1/2-1 cup crushed peanuts, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to your skillet once the noodles are done cooking. We don't like spicy things around the Mogford household but the cayenne pepper is key to great flavor. If you like things on the spicy side, just add more cayenne.

* I have never been able to find tamarind paste so I use a substitute of equal parts white vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.

Day 3: Chicken Tacos
 
Photo courtesy of mychocolatetherapy.com
 
Instead of beef, I used the rotisserie chicken in my regular tacos.

Day 4: Chicken and Dumpling Soup













This is another one of my families favorites, and it sure saves time when you don't have to pre-cook the chicken. I found the recipe here.
 
Day 5: Leftovers
We had a ton of soup and caprese salad left over. Sometimes we have Pad Thai leftovers, but it doesn't usually last till dinner the next night.


So there you have it, a work weeks worth of meals with one rotisserie chicken.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Family Reunion: The McLeods

My Grandpa McLeod celebrated his 80th birthday this past month. Everyone who could make it, traveled to Lincoln City for a birthday celebration/family reunion. I grew up going to McLeod family reunions every few years, and I always looked forward to them. I didn't often get to see my cousins, and it was always a time of good food and family fun. As all families do, we've had our share of differences, but this years reunion went off magnificiantly. Thanks Grandpa for turning eighty and for showing us how good life can be. I love you Papa Jim.

Doesn't he make 80 look good?


Grace dancing for a captive audience and loving every minute of it.
Owen didn't mind the spotlight either
 

Playing with cousin Meilan. My kids both adored her.


Almost everyone at the dinner table

Mmmmm "smovies"

The whole clan