Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Unveiling Our New Website

Three years have passed since we were first approved to adopt, so we thought it would be a good idea to freshen up our website and book with new photos and stories. I think expectant parents want to see what we look like now and for us to share our new adventures. My fear is meeting someone in person and they think, "you look nothing like your photos." Our website and book are mostly likely our first impression.

I have been working on our new adoption website and wanted it to look clean without a lot of distractions and to be easy to navigate. I found a great template on Weebly and scratched our Wordpress site. Honestly, Wordpress gave me a headache. Sorry to the Wordpress lovers. Weebly was really easy to use and I was able to achieve the look that we wanted. After I signed-up for the Weebly Starter plan, I was able to direct our domain name to the Weebly site. Directing the domain name took a few chats with tech support and waiting for the new site to load on the network. I know, I sound like a Weebly commercial. 

It was worth it, we are live!  Unveiling our new website...

Our Blogspot website has longer versions of our life for those that want to know more. Our new website links to those stories. We also updated the look of the Blogspot site to coordinate with the Weebly site. Sometimes, I amaze myself.

While I am on a roll, I updated this blog's look too. It's a little more modern and streamlined. You'll still be able to read all your favorite posts.

Our next project is updating our book that is shared with expectant parents thinking about adoption. It basically needs to be a combination of the two websites. Not too long, not too short and it should be personal. Guess what I did over Labor Day weekend?

We hope you love our new look! Please feel free to contact us or share our story.  Thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Say Cheese!

So, I told you all about the family reunion that we attended recently. While we were there, one of our cousins, Lisa is a photographer and had voluteered to photograph all the events at the reunion. Lisa had also offered family portrait sessions for a small fee. I jumped on that. We have been thinking about getting new photos done for our various adoption materials. The grounds of our hotel were beautiful, we brought nice clothes, so why not? Sign us up.

Lisa is based out of Iowa and her company is Lis Sto Photography. So if you live in the Greater Dubuque and Davenport areas of Iowa and need some gorgeous photos taken, please contact her. She does it all! Her photos are fun, fresh, full of energy and tell your story.

Here's the funny thing, we've never really had a professional photo session before. We were married when we were 20 and our awesome friend, Scott captured every moment beautifully. He was probably 18 at the time. Since then, friends have taken pictures of us, but we have never hired a photographer.

photo credit: Scott Nash

I admit that I was a bit nervous and hoping I wouldn't look too stiff.  So we went had a beer before our shoot. What?!! We needed to loosen up a little.  I tend to worry about the stupidest things. Lisa and her trusty "assistant", Mike were super cool, professional and put us a ease. Marlon had already geeked out with Mike about Star Wars and comics the day before, so we just had to stop them from talking long enough for us to take some photos. We told them they were for our adoption and how we would be using them, the only thing left was for us to smile!

The photos are awesome! We can't thank Lisa enough for our lovely photos and for sharing our story on her Facebook page. Who knows, maybe at the next reunion she can take our photos of a family of three.

If you or someone that you know is thinking about making an adoption plan. Please feel free to contact us or share our story. Thank you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Exploring My Roots

Marlon and I recently attended a national family reunion in Richmond, VA and I was elected president of the organization. I am truly honored.

My grandma and I started going to these reunions together in 2008. Grandma used to go with granddaddy before he passed away. I told her I'd go with her. It's a national reunion so you meet cousins from all over the United States. The first one that we attended was in Savannah, GA. Grandma and I flew to Savannah, shared a room and signed up for all the events. We got dressed up and I curled her hair in the bathroom before we went out. We came back to the hotel room in the evening with her cousins that she hadn't seen in 50 years and I would listen to them laugh and tell stories about when they were growing up. It's a memory that I will treasure the rest of my life. When we came back from the reunion and told the rest of the family that we had such a grand time, they all wanted to go to the next one in Nashville, TN. Fast forward to this year's reunion in Richmond, VA.

Bus Tour in Savannah, GA July 2008

Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN July 2011
The current president of the association called me earlier this year asking me if I wanted to be nominated as president for the next term. I was surprised. I've enjoyed attending the reunions and I am interested in history, but me? I asked what it involved and told her I would have to think about it. One of my hesitations was our adoption. Would I have time to be involved in the organization if we were to become matched and parents.  Would adoption seem weird to the members because the organization is based on preserving genealogy? I thought about it and really wanted to do it for my grandma. The association is very important to her and I want to honor her heritage and mine. I accepted the nomination and was voted in as president at the reunion in July. Grandma wasn't able to make the trip, she's 90 now, but I know she is very proud of me.

The reunion was a lot of fun. I was a nervous wreck for about half of it knowing I had to do the invocation and a speech.  After full days of tours, dinners and mingling, I was up half night the tweaking my speeches.  I am an open book and happily write my blog, but to actually have to talk in front of a group of people, cousins or not, is not my strong suit. If I commit to something, I commit 100%. So, I made my speeches.

Boarding for the Colonials and Cannonballs tour!
Richmond, VA July 2014
An interesting little note, our ancestor that first came to America had lost both of his parents by the age of 10. Before she passed away, his mother had asked a group of Quakers to take care of him. Sounds kind of like an adoption. We don't have a lot of details of what happened after his mother passed and when he came to America at around the age of 20, but someone was looking out for him.

Hanging out with Richard Henry Lee
and Thomas Jefferson. "Tom" and I are
both third presidents.
All the cousins were so welcoming and enthusiastic about me becoming president. Everyone was also very supportive of our adoption and asking how they could help us. I am truly fortunate.  I want to do a good job for them and the association. The past president has done an excellent job for 12 years, so I am filling big shoes.  It's exciting! I am planning the next reunion in three years in Charleston, SC. The board has great ideas on how to increase membership and bring the organization to the next generation.  I hope I can lead them all the way! I've made so many new, wonderful friends in the last month. I am truly honored to be a part of this family.

Frances/Emma "Belmead" and
originally the land of our ancestor.

If you or someone that you know is thinking about making an adoption plan. Please feel free to contact us or share our story. Thank you.