{Switzerland} Mürren and Gimmelwald

After a good night’s sleep in Zurich, we hopped aboard the Swiss rail system and went from Zurich to Bern, Bern to Interlaken, and then took a regional train up the mountain to our home base of Lauterbrunnen. The town of Lauterbrunnen is situated in a valley of the Swiss Alps, surrounded by the peaks of the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch (Young Woman, Ogre, and Monk) on one side, and the beautiful towns of Murren and Gimmelwald high above on the other. When you look down through the valley, you see beautiful waterfalls made from the melting Alpine snow. Honestly, look at this place:

Swiss20

We’ll come back to the Valley in the next post! Our first priority was to eat as fast as we could and then head up the town of Mürren. We used the Swiss Flexi Pass to get around Switzerland, which was good for any 3 days over a 4-day period. Since we activated our passes that morning in Zürich, we wanted to take advantage of that day of travel to take the cable car up to Grütschalp and then the train over to Mürren. (Just a travel tip for those planning to go to Switzerland: I never could quite get my head around the Swiss rail system till we were there and actually using it. You hop on and off whatever train you need, and on your first trip the day you use it, you write in what day it is, and that activates it for the day. A person then comes around and checks your pass to make sure your date is written on there.)

Swiss21

Mürren is quite the hub for winter sports, and when I tell you we were the only people not in ski gear, I’m not joking. Many people take another cable car all the way up the Schilthorn where there are some great winter sport parks, or up to the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant that is famous for the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Given our news of adoption and the resulting tight budget, we opted to not shell out all the extra cash that a ride up there would require. But it’s ok, because staying down in Mürren was plenty spectacular! Here I am posing with my new friends Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

photo 2We loved just walking through the streets of Mürren. It was also our starting point for our hike down to Gimmelwald. We stopped at this little fountain and refilled our water bottles with some ice cold Alpine water, something that costs like $3 a bottle back in the States. You’ve got nothing on this, bottled Evian.
Swiss22 These signs were all around town; they pointed you toward various areas and gave you an estimated walking time. The local senior citizens walk these trails and their time is used as a gauge for how long it takes to get from point to point. Swiss23 These next few photos are ones we snapped as we walked down the streets of Mürren to get to the trail to Gimmelwald:Swiss24 Swiss25We don’t get a lot of snow in Alabama, and we had a lot of fun throwing snow balls at each other. Swiss26Sing it with me: “Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me. Small and white, clean and bright, you look happy to meet me…”
Swiss27
Swiss28

Swiss32 I love this photo of the bright red wooden shoes hanging on the side of this house. My friend Tara told me that traditionally there is one for each family member. Love that.Swiss29 The hike from Mürren to Gimmelwald was one of the most spectacular things we have ever seen with our own eyes. 
Swiss31 Swiss33photo 1Swiss30As we approached the village, it honestly looked like something from folklore. There are only 130 residents who live here, and it is not accessible by roads. There are only 2 ways to get here, by either taking the train to Lauterbrunnen, the bus to Stechelburg, and then the cable car up to where it sits at 4,500 feet. OR, take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, the train to Mürren, and then the 45 minute hike down to here.
Swiss36
I of course have the tendency to pet random animals on each and every trip we take, so when we met these friends as we entered Gimmelwald, I had to say hello!
Swiss32 copy“Guten tag, sheep!” Swiss34

This little guy is an award-winner, and its owners even posted information about him. Or her. I don’t remember, but if you happen to find this post and know its name because you’ve been to Gimmelwald, can you post it in the comments?photo 3 I don’t know if this is just Bernese tradition, or if it’s leftover from Christmas, but most of the homes in the region had their windowsills decorated with pine boughs and cones, candles, and gnomes. Which is incredibly charming, you know?Swiss35When I wake up in the morning and look outside, I see 3 empty lots. When the 130 people who live here wake up in the morning and look outside, they see this. I guess the view makes up for how remote it is! Swiss37 These are about half of the houses. Each one holds two families (they are divided right down the middle), and they are only allowed to paint their shutters brown or green to maintain the traditional look of the village.Swiss38Hiking down the Alps makes ya thirsty. Pension Gimmelwald is a great place to stay if you are sleeping in town, but it’s got a great little restaurant too. We were the only people there that day (and not just at the restaurant…the English ex-pat who was working there for the season was the only other person we saw in the whole town), and we had this little perch all to ourself.
Swiss39

A hot chocolate for me…photo 4And a cold glass of Rugenbräu for Zack. I mean, can you believe this place? Swiss40

And we could connect to their free Wifi and FaceTime with our Li’l Bit! Oh my gosh, we missed this little goose so much.

photo 2

As I said above, we were pretty much the only people in town that day. The people who live here work hard in the fields, preserving their very traditional way of life. Since they spend their days farming, a daily commute to Gimmelwald isn’t very practical, and the residents are smart enough to see how catering to tourists can be incredibly lucrative, The Honestly Shop was created! It’s the first unattended self-service shop in Europe. It’s filled with Swiss flags, locally made goods, even a few antiques! To purchase something…Swiss91You take an envelope and write down the items you’re buying, then leave your money inside. I love that Zack felt he should take advantage of the “comments” section. And I also love that the envelopes are stamped instead of printed. Honest to goodness, this is the most charming place on the planet of Earth. I totally get why Rick Steves is obsessed with this place. Swiss90A little more of Gimmelwald…
Swiss41 Swiss42

photo 3I can’t suggest these two little places on the map enough! If you’re using Lauterbrunnen as base like we did, it’s a really amazing half-day or so. I hope and pray we have the opportunity to return, it is without a doubt one of most incredible places we will ever see.

Next post: our time in Lauterbrunnen, and more specifically, the wonderful people we met there!

May 2015 Birmingham Craft Night at West Elm

So excited to share details of the next Craft Night with you guys. I wanted us to make something that was a nod to summertime, which is of course the perfect time to travel! So if you join us on May 28th at West Elm Birmingham, you’ll be crafting your own luggage ID tag: BirminghamCraftNight_luggagetags11174919_832500946834256_5313680917979001146_n Tickets are available now, and you must register through Eventbrite in advance! Click HERE to reserve your spot with us! There are two sessions, one at 6:00pm and one at 7:30pm, and tickets were sold before we even announced the craft, so sign up today! And check out this beautiful assortment of leather I ordered straight from Texas for us to work with. I love all of these colors!

{Switzerland} Zürich

Last month, Zack and I went to Europe. Which is about the worst financial decision an adopting couple can make. So let me just start with the quick version of how this trip came into fruition. Basically, when we met with our agency last fall, we were told it’d be a couple years before they started accepting families into their India program. So we were sitting on top of all of these airline miles, and decided that if we were still a couple years out from adopting, let’s just have one “final hurrah,” cash in our miles, and haul off to Europe. I even won a contest from Rail Europe that paid for my entire rail travel, and my parents and Zack parents gifted us with enough cash to cover hotels and spending money. (We are REALLY cheap when we travel, so we can make those dollars stretch really far!). How did we decide on Switzerland? I called off all the places that our airline miles would cover a roundtrip to and from and told Zack to “just pick.” He picked Switzerland. I didn’t protest.Swiss2014 Oh, how in a perfect world we would have tossed this vacation aside when, just 5 weeks before we were set to leave, God handed up the opportunity to be our agency’s pilot family for India. That Christmas cash would have been so much better spent on agency fees! But we were too far in. Non-refundable airline miles had been redeemed, hotels had been paid for, and my Facebook friends and myself spent too much time voting on the Rail Europe contest for us to back out. (Haha.) We considered it though, believe me we did. I cried and cried over this trip. It wasn’t until meeting our program director 10 days before departure that she finally told me to just enjoy this opportunity and time away with Zack. The next few years were going to be pretty crazy. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.10.18 PMSo March 10th came, and we boarded a flight to Dallas, then JFK, then Zürich!

Swiss1aWhat a beautiful, clean, bright city! The prices here are truly outrageous, but you get what you pay for: the high taxes keep this city in absolutely spectacular shape. The 1000-year old churches don’t look a day over 500!

We were exhausted after spending the previous 22 hours traveling. So after quick showers and naps at our hotel, we hit the town, but with no real agenda except to stay awake until at least 8:00 that night! Our first stop was the Swiss National Museum, which was incredibly enjoyable and definitely a place you shouldn’t miss. We were there during their temporary exhibit featuring old and new pieces of the art of paper-cutting and silhouettes. There was a great interactive room too where you could put on your own shadow puppet show, create silhouettes…

Swiss00

…and if you walked in front of this screen, moving silhouettes popped up that moved with the movements you were making! I was a peacock :)

Swiss01

From there we just strolled up and down each side of the river, checking out shops that looked interesting, and of course we never miss the opportunity to step into a big pretty European church. The church on the left hand side of the photo below is the Fraumünster, an Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Zürich built in the 9th century that has 5 beautiful stained glass windows made by Marc Chagall. You can see them in the photo. Too bad we wouldn’t snap photos inside; I don’t love modern art, but those windows are absolutely beautiful.

Swiss6

One of my bucket list foods is the tiny 1″ Luxumburgerli French macarons at the world-famous Sprüngli Confiserie. Wow, they did NOT disappoint. We ordered a box of 16 in ALL the flavors, I got a latte, and we sat here for over 2 hours and just talked. Truly, my dreams of Europe are mostly comprised of cafes, people-watching, pastries, and my husband. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.Swiss100Swiss3More strolling and taking in the beautiful sites…
Swiss101

Swiss10For dinner, we were lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday, which is when the Hauptbahnhof (the train station) transforms into a big farmers market with everything from handmade pastas and brined olives to authentic bahn mi, and of course lots of the typical German-influenced Swiss cuisine.

Swiss17

This is where we both would normally go crazy and eat till we were sick, but unfortunately we already were kind of sick. Maybe we picked up “something” on the plane, or maybe we had just been awake for 2 solid days, but we weren’t up for much a food adventure. (How often do you hear us say that?) I’ll be sad for the rest of my life that I missed out on this!

Swiss10-1

Swiss102Zack did order a brat and a local beer, and I was able to eat a little bit of it. Even not feeling well, it was of course amazing.

We turned in early, knowing that a good night’s sleep is just what we needed, and the next day we trained-hopped our way to the top of of Switzerland.

Swiss19Seriously America, transportation: you’re doing it wrong. Rail travel is hard to beat, and this private compartment we had in 2nd class was such a fun way to travel.

Swiss18I remember seeing the Austrian Alps for the first time in 2002, and it made such an impact on me that I can honestly say I can remember that moment like it happened to me yesterday. Zack had never seen the Alps before at all, and seeing him see something like this for the first time was just as awesome.

Next post: the Jungfrau region of the Berner Oberland!

West Elm Craft Night!

I wish I could find the words to tell you how excited I am about the next Birmingham Craft Night…the next event will be Thursday, March 26, at West Elm at the Summit! I used to drive to Atlanta just to go West Elm and they are a huge influence of my personal style, so the opportunity to work with this wonderful brand is just incredible.

Jeannie, the lovely gal who runs their social media and events, reached out to see if I wanted to collaborate on a craft that can be incorporated in an Easter table setting, and the collab is going one step further with Spark & Arrow.

Each participant will be making a set of these Easter egg place cards. We’ll be sculpting and stamping and eating cupcakes and shopping and styling, and it’s only $15 to participate! You’ll walk away with 4-6 custom created place cards for your Easter table, and a new skill to employ for every table setting after this one!

WECN1

What’s even more fun, is that the Saturday before, the girls of Spark & Arrow will be doing a live tablescape event in-store. On Saturday, March 21, stop by West Elm to see two versions of an Easter table and their live photo shoot event. Bring by your OWN dinnerware staples and let them help you incorporate your favorite dishes into a modern tablescape. How fun is that? Stay tuned to their blog and follow them on Instagram for more info!

WECN3

(L) Kamin of Spark & Arrow and myself, talking through how to incorporate the craft into the beautiful products available at West Elm. (R) I can’t wait to share with you one of my favorite crafting supplies!

Here’s all of the info for this event, including how to register:

When: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 6:30-8:00pm
Where: West Elm at the Summit, 320 Summit Blvd., 35243
Cost: $15
What’s Included: All supplies and step-by-step instruction to make your own Easter egg place “cards” plus…cupcakes. (If you don’t me yet, cupcakes are my jam.)
How to Register: Simply email me at malindakay@ymail.com (yes, that’s “ymail” and not “gmail”!) to reserve your space, and upon arrival that night you can pay with either cash, check, or credit card. Space is limited to 16 people so don’t delay!

Looking forward to another fun night of crafts, cupcakes, and conversation! Thanks so much to West Elm and Spark & Arrow for this wonderful opportunity to collaborate.

Nichols, Party of 4

If you know us, you’ve heard us talk about how much we have loved visiting this country or that country. How we loved the food, the people, the museums, the culture, etc. etc. But there is a country that has been pressed so hard onto our hearts, a country we love so much…and we have never even been there. There is no particular reason why we would be drawn to this country, but sometimes God tells you something so clearly that you know it could only be from Him.

What is it about Ind!a that I couldn’t get out of my head? The bright colors of the Holi Festival? The way it lights up at Diwali? The marigold flower chains? I mean, I’ve pinned the same photo of the Pink Palace in Jaipur on my Ind!a & Nepal Pinterest Board more than once. Wait, why do I even know about Holi, Diwali, marigold flower chains, or the Pink Palace? Why do I have a Pinterest board JUST for Ind!a and Nepal?

India

Well, God spoke India into our hearts, and this where Nichols #4 will be from. 

Years and years ago, we felt that we were called to international adoption. I actually can pinpoint it, for me at least, specifically to meeting the Hooten family, who had 2 biological sons followed by several adopted children. I just thought it was one of the most beautiful, Godly things I had ever witnessed.

We were married almost 6 years before Evie came into the picture, and had been saying for years that when our biological child turned 1, we would begin the adoption process. Well, God has a way of shooting down your plans in a way only He can. He knows timing better than we do, so we’ve learned to just trust Him and go with it. When Evie turned 1 (March 2014), we were literally in the midst of moving into a new home and of course the financial burden that came with it. We knew it wasn’t the right time, but we had a peace about that. Not to mention, the adoption agency we wanted to go through didn’t have a program for India at that time, so we just waited and prayed for God to make his timing super obvious. (Fun fact: we closed on this home one year ago to this very day! Almost to the minute that I’m typing this even. And Evie turns two this Monday!)

Last fall, I told Zack that I wanted to go to an informational meeting at Lifeline, the agency we knew we wanted for this. We expressed to them our interest in Ind!a, knowing full well that there wasn’t a chance of us being accepted into their non-existent program. But what do you know, there was a program.

It’s what called a pilot program. One family here in Alabama was pursuing their second Indian adoption. The first was with the only other agency in Alabama that does India adoptions, but this second one was through Lifeline. We left the informational meeting that night affirmed more than ever that Lifeline was the agency, excited that India was on their radar. But we also knew it would be a while, because they didn’t even officially have an Indian program. (Like, years.) We even decided try for another biological child sometime in 2015 and then hopefully when s/he was a year or so, India would be open through Lifeline, and what’s more, we’d have a couple years to get some finances in order before jumping in. Heck y’all, we even cashed in our airline miles and booked a vacation. HA! Let’s not talk about that right now, because I gave up stress/worry/anxiety for Lent, and I’m not going to hold to that if I talk about what we have planned for next month.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I got a call from a gal at Lifeline just before Christmas wanting to talk more about our interest in Ind!a. Wait, what? I kind of felt like maybe she just wanted to have a casual convo, so when we had a hard time linking up around the holidays, I didn’t think too much about it.

Last month, the conversations went from informational to hypothetical to realistic. And on January 30, 2014, at 10:13 am, as I was sitting in the car with my mom driving up to the Summit, Meredith, the program director at Lifeline said “our group has been praying, and under my direction, we would like to accept you as the pilot family for Ind!a. We are so excited for you.”

WHAT?! I cried, obvi. Because I wear my heart of my sleeve and I couldn’t help it. We had a full conversation before she even said those words, those words I will NEVER forget…and wasn’t even expecting. My mom heard them too and grabbed my hand and squeezed it, how awesome she was there to hear the news! And I’m not even sure what I said next except for some version of “we’ll be praying about it.”

We had so much to process: we still want another biological child, when is that supposed to happen? How long will this take? How much will this cost? Weren’t we supposed to begin this process a few years from now? Isn’t that what God was saying? What happened to the other family in their pilot program? Is this timing right? Needless to say, I didn’t sleep a lot that night. (BTW, I have connected with the first pilot family through the wonders of social media and her blog, and she is amazing. They are now pursuing a waiting child from China, and we are so happy for our new friends!)

Two days later, never so sure of anything in my life, I emailed our social worker with a “YES!” Two days after that we began the application process. And now here we are:

We are the Nichols, and we are actively in the process of pursuing an adoption from Ind!a.

AdoptionAnnouncement_01 (1)

We’ve been fielding some questions already from people who know, so here is a little FAQ section for you. We LOVE talking about this, because each person who hears our story also hears the story of the orphan crisis in India, a country that has meant so much to us, but now means even more.

Why are you adopting? And why Ind!a?
As Christians, why do we pursue anything of substance? Because God tugs our heart in certain directions and gives each of His children a calling. Quite simply, God has called us to Ind!a. Our entire married lives we have felt called to advocate for the unheard voices of the marginalized and impoverished (and the International Justice Mission is one of our favorite charities for this reason). Every Christian is called to orphan care in some capacity, and we feel this is the capacity to which we have been called.

As far as why India specifically, please feel free to ask us more about this in person!

So what about THIS child? YOUR child?
We don’t know yet, of course, if it will be a boy or girl, what part of India he or she will be from, or anything much more than that. But, we do know that it most likely will be a little girl, as almost 70% of the estimated 25 million orphans in Ind!a are girls.

AJ_STAT_9-660x412

We also know that our child will have a special need. The only children available to non-Indian nationals are waiting children, which means that Indian parents or those with Ind!an citizenship get (and this is hard to type) “first pick” of “healthy” babies. What “special needs” means can vary WIDELY…it can be something totally correctable, and you might never even know that at one point in his or her life, s/he was considered “special needs.” Or it is very possible that there will be some extra considerations we’ll have to make for our child during his/her life. We have a lot to pray about for this aspect of our adoption process, and we would covet your prayers too.

We also know that our little one will be, in fact, a little one! From the information our agency has gathered, India prefers for their adoptive families to maintain natural birth order. Evie will be 2 on March 2nd, so we have set “parameters” for birth to 2 years. We would be perfectly ok with a older child, but we feel that we need to “play it safe” and request what Ind!a wants. And we are totally fine with bringing home a tiny, sweet li’l bit!

How long will this process take?
If you know, please tell us! We could get a referral before the year is up, or it could be 4 years from now before we’re home with our newest Nichols. It’s not a secret that I’m not the most patient of people, so we’d love it if you could join us in praying for a quick process. There is even a small chance that s/he is already born, which means that everyday that we spend in-process is another day that our family is missing a member, and another day that s/he has to go without his/her mommy, daddy, and big sister. I can hardly stomach the thought.

Also, there are certain steps that can only move forward when we can pay for it. And that’s a nice segway to…

How much does it cost to adopt from Ind!a?
A pretty penny, folks. Here’s a breakdown:

AGENCY FEES
Application Fee: $250
Agency Fee: $6000
Orphan Care Sustainability Projects: $250
Home Study Fee: $1750
Post-Placement Services: $1950
Post-Adoption Management: $250
Shipping Costs: $360
TOTAL: $10,560 that is due in 4 equal payments of $2640 (not including $250 app fee). As the pilot family, the 4th installment is scholarshipped, bringing our total to $8170

DOSSIER PREPARATION
Citizenship and Immigration Services Fees: $890
Immigration Affidavit of Support Review Fee: $88
Ind!a Visas for 2 adults, plus Courier Fee: $350 (only option available is a 10-year visas at $175 each)
Prepare & Enrich Marriage Assessment: $35
Crossings Training: $100
NCFA Parent Training: $195
Birth Certificates & Marriage License (5 copies of each): $107
FedEx Fees (dossier sent to Ind!a): $400
Legalization of Dossier: $600
TOTAL: $2,765

OTHER U.S. ADOPTION EXPENSES
Fingerprinting for 2 adults: $100
Full medical reports for 2 adults: $200
USCIS Update: $500 (This may or may not be ultimately be required of us; we will have to pay it if our immigration expires while we are waiting to travel to Ind!a and then back home. Please pray we do not have to pay this!):
TOTAL: $800

ESTIMATED IN-COUNTRY EXPENSES WHILE IN IND!A
(Based on 10 Days In-Country)
Round-Trip Airfare for 2 Adult: $3500
One-way ticket home for our child: $1500
Translator/Guide Fees ($100/day): $1000
Accommodations in Dehli and RIPA region: $1500
Accommodations for Translator/Guide outside of Dehli: $1500
Transportation within Ind!a: $800
Food (appx. $100/day/person): $1000
TOTAL: $10,800

FIXED IN-COUNTRY EXPENSES WHILE IN IND!A
Child Care Corpus Fee: $5000 (Paid in two installments to the orphanage and covers the care of our child and court costs. This fee may vary from RIPA to RIPA. A RIPA is an Ind!an orphanage.)
Child’s Medical $275
Child’s Visa $325
Bond posted for child $1000
TOTAL: $6600

POST-ADOPTION EXPENSES
US Court Adoption: $2000
Citizenship Certificate: $420
Birth Certificate: $20
Court Costs: $80
TOTAL: $2,520

TOTAL ESTIMATED ADOPTION COSTS: $31,655

And how are you going to come up with $32K exactly?
This is a scary number. I can’t even tell you how much this makes me want to look at heaven and scream “Are you KIDDING ME God?!” But we know for a fact that God will not let this stand in the way, because our God values all life, and He honors orphan care and adoption. God is the one who told us to do this, and He’s not going to let some dollar amount stand in our way.

Our goal is ambitious: to do this adoption debt-free. In addition to being the most budget-conscious people on the planet for the next while (no offense if we don’t go out to dinner with you, we got a kid to get home), we also plan on doing lots of fundraisers. FUN fundraisers. Funraisers? We don’t want to sit here and ask for hand-outs, but rather we hope to provide ways that benefit both us and you! Birmingham Craft Night will be a big one, my cupcake/cake orders will completely be going to the adoption fund. I also do substitute teaching here in Shelby County, we have a really awesome t-shirt in the works, and we are planning a huge multi-family garage sale with the help of our friends at House Peace. There are some great grants out there, and who knows what else? There was a point in time that M. Night Shyamalan had a grant for US families pursuing Ind!a adoptions, but I don’t think that exists anymore. Too bad, because I’d love to tell our kiddo that a super awesome director helped bring him/her home!

Please stay tuned to this blog and follow us on social media for the ways you can get involved if you want to!

So what can I do?
Pray for us. Love us. Encourage us. There will be times during this process that we will struggle hard. We will have roadblocks that will discourage us and try to break us. There will be times that it will feel like it’s taking so frustratingly long to get our child home, knowing that we are helpless over here in our comfy house will our child rocks herself to sleep in an orphanage an entire world away. After we have our referral (which is when we are matched and see his/her face), it will be months before we meet him/her. I can’t imagine what I would do if someone took Evie away from us for months, and I can’t help but feel that this will give me the same gut-wrenching feeling. This child is no less our son or daughter than Evie after all! After we are all home together, the process of bonding as a family will be tough. Nothing can be done in any point of this process without prayers, love, and encouragement.

And please pray for our child. A LOT. That s/he is being loved, held, fed, taken care of. If s/he hasn’t been born yet, please pray that the birth will be safe. Please pray for the birth parents who will not experience the joy of seeing him/her grow up. Adoption is an amazing way of showing God’s love, but it’s not natural. It’s not how families were meant to be. (That is a whole blog post on its own.)

Also, if you feel like you are led to support us in bringing our child to his/her forever home, there are so many ways. Donating items to our garage sale, buying a fundraising t-shirt from us, ordering some cupcakes from Malinda, babysit Evie while we work through our mountain of paperwork, sponsoring a fundraising event…like, whatever. We’re open to whatever blessings people want to bless us with, and are appreciative and humble beyond words!

What’s next?
Our application is submitted and approved (if you’ve ever adopted before, you know that’s a milestone in its own right), and now we come up with $2640 and start to put our dossier together. A dossier is a huge file of paperwork regarding every detail of our lives: fingerprints, birth certificates, marriage license, result of our home studies, etc., which then ships to Ind!a for translation and approval. There are three agencies in Ind!a who will either approve us or reject us, so please pray with us that not only will this process go quickly, but that it will also just…go. It’s terrifying to think “what if someone over there just stamps a ‘NO!’ across our application?” so please be praying specifically for those people in India who hold the fate of our family in their hands. (Also, this is about the most simplified I can make this. It’s way more complicated than this.)

Also, we’ll be hitting up fundraising pretty hard here pretty soon. But again, we hope this will be a lot of fun, a great way to expand our community, bring awareness to adoption and orphan advocacy, and more. Got a donation to make to our garage sale? Let us know, we’ll come get it from you!

Thank you all for taking the time to read a little more about us and our family…our growing family! And thank you for the love, prayers, and support we already feel around us. We couldn’t have made it through these last 2 years of parenthood without the love our people, and there’s no way we’ll be able to make it through this process without you either.

-Zack, Malinda, and Evie June Nichols

Birmingham Craft Night – Fabric Flower Pins

I am so excited to be back with the next installment of Birmingham Craft Night! I am in awe of how much interest there was in last month’s event, and so grateful to those who attended or gave me some encouragement along the way.

This Craft Night is also supporting something VERY EXCITING in our near future. Unfortunately, I have to keep it a little quite for now (no, I’m not pregnant), but trust me when I say, it’s very awesome, and a worthy cause to say the least ;)

Anyway! This month, to brighten the cold gray winter days we’ve had lately, we will be making these pretty fabric flowers pins:

BCN-Flower3

I made these a few years ago for a Christmas Craft Bazaar at my old company, and sold out within a couple hours. I think they’re so great to accessorize an outfit or tote bag, but also make cute gift toppers and double as a gift themselves! Kind of Frenchy too, don’t you think? I heard the chorus of “this time doesn’t work for my schedule but I want to participate!” so this month I’m going to offer two nights in hopes of being conducive to the busy lives I know we all lead!

When: Friday, February 20 at 6:15 AND Sunday, February 22 at 5:30.
Where: Malinda’s house in Helena, Alabama (address provided upon registration)
Cost: $15
What’s Included: All supplies and step-by-step instruction to make your own fabric flower pin, a craft box with tissue paper for gift-giving (or for keeping!), a hand-crafted name tag waiting for you at your work station, cupcakes, and light appetizers. As a bonus and time permitting, I’ll also show how to make mini fabric flower poms as well! (I also have plenty of wine left over from the last craft night ;)
How to Register: Each class is open to 10 participants, simply email me, malindakay {at} ymail dot com (yes, Ymail, not gmail!) and let me know you’ll be there! Also please let me know if you would like to make a pink, red, or white flower. (For simplicity’s sake I’m trying to limit it to these 3 colors, but if these choices are so terrible to your own personal taste that you’re participation hangs in the balance, then I’m sure we can work something out!)

Looking forward to another fun night of crafts and conversation!

Birmingham Craft Night Wrap-Up

Last Friday night, 10 awesome women were in my dining room, sipping wine, stamping, stenciling, and Sculpey-ing. We had such a great time, and thank you so much to everyone who took this first step with me to see this dream become a reality! I enjoyed meeting those of you who I had never met, reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in years, and seeing so many familiar faces too! Additionally, I was able to make my next payment for our Costa Rica mission trip! I’m a Christian, and one things Christians love to say is, “I am blessed.” It rings very true here. Thank you all, sincerely, so very VERY much.

If you are interested in upcoming Birmingham Craft Nights, please send me an email at malindakay {at} ymail dot com and I’ll add you to the email list, or just follow me on Instagram because I’ll definitely be sharing info on upcoming Craft Nights over there!

Here are a few photos from the night: the wonderful people, the things we created, and the cupcakes we ate. Check out this post for the crafts that we made at this Craft Night, featuring beautiful photos by Spark & Arrow Creative! (And thank you sweet girls for the blog post you did on BCN!)

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

photo 2 copy

BCNphoto 3 copy

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset