Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our first Christmas eve

So it's not technically our first Christmas eve because really it's BB's fourth and LB's third, but it is the first year that both of our sweet, smart, strong boys have been able to grasp what Christmas is. All season we've talked about Jesus's birth, how Mary is Jesus's mommy, he was born in a manger/stable/barn. We have talked about how Joseph was Jesus's earthly father and how God was his heavenly father. I've used the words adoptive father to describe Joseph, but it's hard to continue that metaphor since BB has a birthdad, an earthly father, and a heavenly father. I wouldn't exactly describe God as a birthfather, though, would you? But that's not really my point.

We have also talked a little bit about Santa Claus. I don't see any harm in entertaining a Santa Claus, as long as the main focus of Christmas is on Jesus. Maybe someday I'll be convicted otherwise, but as of today we are going with both. This is really my point.

So tonight was the first time we really "played Santa" for the boys. We set out the stockings for Santa to fill, put out cookies, coaxed the kids to actually fall asleep, which wasn't easy, and then fill the tree with some presents for them and for us and Granny. It made me so happy! I'm thinking this is probably the last Christmas we will actually get to sleep without having to corral BB back into his room at different points during the night. In fact, this might even be an issue tonight.

Last night at 2:30 a.m. (yep, I realize night is not a.m., just go with me on this one), Granny found BB curled up in a chair in the living room sleeping. We have no idea how long he was there, but she put him back into his bed and he slept until 7. So there was some discussion this evening about when to put the gifts out - before going to bed or before the boys waking up. As of 10:pm the gifts are out, so we'll see.

We had the boys each choose a cookie to leave for Santa. BB carefully selected a gingerbread man and placed it, well, gingerly on the plate. Then it was LB's turn. "LB, would you like to pick a cookie for Santa Claus?" He sure did. He grabbed a gingerbread cookie from the tin and promptly bit its head off. As the grown ups tee-hee'd at LB's exuberance, BB began to tear up. He was sad because his little brother had eaten part of Santa's cookie. I was so sorry not to have gotten that exchange on video!

After the boys were in bed, one of whom was asleep, the other unknown, we were getting ready to go to bed when I realized the cookie plate was gone. "Where are the cookies," I asked? Randy had put them away. I looked at him like he was from outer space and said, "Are you kidding? How will they know Santa got the cookies?" From there we had to stage the cookie ingestion. I took a gingerbread out and bit off its head just like my son. Then Randy ate the arm. Then, aw what the heck, ate the whole thing and left out some crumbs. Now that's the way to make sure Santa ate his cookies! (What are we going to do if he really comes and we've eaten his snack?)

So it remains to be seen what happens tomorrow. One of the great things about Granny's house is that Randy and I get to sleep in in the mornings while Granny tends to the little ones. But we don't want to miss their little faces tomorrow! I told Granny to hold them off as long as she could and then come get us. I will have the video camera out this time!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fair is fair.

This morning I was pouring milk for the boys, one in a short cup and one in a tall cup. The tall cup actually had less milk in it because I planned to give it to LB and he doesn't drink as much milk as his big bro.

When I got to the couch where they were sitting I gave both cups to BB so he could decide which cup he wanted. He started to go for the short cup, then held the two up together. Noticing one cup was bigger than the other, he gave the short cup, the one with more milk, to the little guy.

All is fair in love and brotherhood!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Now for something that might actually be interesting!

It's weird to go from a blog about infertility and the quest for parenting to a blog about daily life with a toddler and a preschooler. Many times I feel like I have nothing interesting to say anymore besides BB did this and LB did that. See the pictures of my boys, aren't they cute? I'm tired, we moved, etc.

Now that our son BB by adoption is 3, a lot of the things which at first were adoption issues are now just parenting issues. Adoption does not really affect us day to day so there usually isn't anything really interesting to blog about on that front. But I'm having a hard adoption day today and thought I'd put it out there into cyberspace.

For someone who is just beginning to consider open adoption, it might seem strange to hear that you're likely more likely to want more contact with your child's birth parents than you get. I've always heard that and was thankful that it wasn't our experience. I have been very happy with the amount of contact we have had with BB's birthmom. I have not been satisfied with the level of openness with his birthdad. This has nothing to do with how I feel about him, because I really feel fine, thanks, but I so wish we could catch up with him sometime and that hasn't worked out yet.

I get it. It can be hard for birth parents. I would imagine that especially for the dad, who did not carry the baby and may not even have been a part of the pregnancy, to want to or understand how best to be a part of that child's life. In our case we saw BB's birth dad when BB was 2 months old and haven't seen him since. But I feel like I must point out that I don't believe that this stems from a lack of feeling on his part. I know how much he cares for BB and the life we try to provide for him. Fortunately, with the magic of Facebook we are able to keep in touch on some level, though, and I am so thankful for that! He is our Facebook friend and so are some of his family, giving BB a nice little extended family on Facebook. But nothing beats the face-to-face visit for sure.

So I am not too surprised to find out that it doesn't look good to meet up with him this trip. It was a possibility but is not coming to fruition. I understand we all have busy lives now apart from each other and it's difficult to coordinate. But I also feel like BB is getting to the age where he understands a lot more and will some day figure out that he has a birthmother in his life but not a birth dad. The more time that passes the more concerned I become that we will not see BB's birth dad in person again.

What I was not prepared for is the likelihood of our not meeting up with BB's birthmom this time, either, also due to changing life circumstances. This brings me a great deal of anxiety. I know it's been just this once, but what if this is an indication of things to come? What if she is out of our lives now? I'm trying not to let my mind go there, but I can't help it. I want what is best for BB and I think that means regular visits with his birthmom. Plus, I like her and want to see her, too. Selfish me.

Up to now we've had what I think is an ideal relationship with BB's birthmom. Randy's mom lives fairly close to her so we've been able to see her each time we've come to visit. There have been many opportunities for the boys and I to hang here for a week at a time which has made it very easy to continue visits. Last Christmas she came to our home and took our couch back with her for some new furniture. She was with us the weekend before LB was born and came to family pictures. We have had many chances to get to know each other and for her to spend time with BB.

I think I'm being dramatic about our relationship possibly being over, but it's how I've been feeling and I wanted to get that down "on paper." My guess is that this trip is just a bust in terms of trying to catch birthparents, but that the next time will work out better. It's the first time things haven't gone as planned. (As planned in my mind at least.) And it's only Monday which means that we could still work something out this week. I hope so.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pink's owner has been found!

They live down the street. The woman who called me to ask if I had lost the dog told me that her neighbor across the street took the dog in for the night on Tuesday and took it for a walk the next day to see if anyone recognized her. They did! I'm not sure why she was missing her tag, or why her owners weren't looking for her, but I'm so happy to find out she is taken care of. She was a very lovely dog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet doggy.

Ever see Annie? There's a song she sings when a stray dog finds her and decides they belong together.

Dumb dog, why are you following me?
You're as dumb as they come, dog,
Why don't you just let me be?
I ain't gonna feed you - ain't got a scrap for you,
Need you - don't give a 'rap for you
Dumb dog! Dumber than they come, Dog!
You're the most presuming dog that a human could know.

Ugh. The other day we met a sweet doggie we call "Pink" because she wears a pink, rhinestone-studded collar that currently has no tag attached. I am beginning to be afraid that her owner ripped the tag off and let her loose in our neighborhood hoping that someone will take her in.

She had been following a neighbor who was hoping we were the owners. The boys were so excited about the dog and she was so friendly and pretty, that I decided with some trepidation to keep her in the back yard until we found her owner. Pink and the boys played joyfully in the back yard for awhile before the humans and I went in for lunch and left Pink outside. She jumped the fence and was gone.

"Oh well," I thought, "we certainly don't need a dog!" but the longer she was gone I started to worry about her and miss her. After lunch BB and I were sitting on the couch and he said, "I miss doggy." I told him I missed her too and that she had gone to find her family.

The next thing I know I hear whimpering and scratching at the door, and lo and behold, Pink had jumped back over the fence and wanted to come in. So I let the stinker in. She happily sniffed around and let the boys play with her. I took pictures. Then I put her back outside in order to make some signs to put up.

I made several haphazard signs to put up, and left Pink in the yard while the boys and I went to post them. When we got to our second stop, here she comes running by, having escaped again. I went ahead and left the signs thinking at least I would know if someone was looking for her. No calls. Well, I did get one call, but it was someone asking if we'd lost a dog. And let me say, this is no dumb dog. She grabbed one of BB's shoes when she left our house and carried it half way down the street. I think she was trying to return the shoe.

She didn't come back. After the boys woke up from their naps BB said, "Where did my doggy go?" and LB said, "Cant see her. Mommy, give dog this bell? My can't see her." Think they fell in love just a little? Think I did?

I told Randy all about it and he was just as happy to come home to a house sans dog. Part of me was glad that she didn't return, but part of me was hoping she would. This was Monday.

So last night when I returned from BSF and was preparing lunches for my guys, Randy looks out the back door and says, "We have a visitor."

I am beginning to worry about this dog. I really hope she is just jumping her owner's fence like she jumps ours. I just wish I could know for sure so I wouldn't worry about her. She is obviously a loved dog, seems to have been recently groomed, and is SO good with kids. BB liked to pry her mouth open to look at her teeth! She is also a young dog. Not necessarily a puppy, but maybe a tween? Ha.

We don't need a dog. Can I say that again?

What do you think I should do if this dog keeps returning - attach a note to her like a homing pigeon? That's laughable. Message in a bottle?

I really hope she does not come back again tonight. Or do I?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something to say.

My big kid has something to share. dvffrrrr5%Er5u4ef57fF$FX scssaa gveddef bbbbbnnneeeeeqqqqqq

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Well I survived. Ooh, golly it has been a painful day! There's nothing like illness or injury to make me realize how much I take health for granted.

I was able to fall asleep last night despite considerable pain in my back. I slept soundly until 3:45 when a sharp pain woke me up and discomfort did not allow me to go to sleep for about an hour. I woke up with Randy at 5:55 and waited for my turn in the shower. When I stood up there was no change from last night and I kept asking myself how I could possibly expect to be able to do an assessment today and carry in all my equipment.

In the shower I propped my elbows up on a shelf so that I could relax my back and I slipped, wrenching my back and leaving me in tears. But you know what, it felt better after that so maybe I inadvertently adjusted my spine! OK, well not completely better as I had bad pain several times after that and went back and forth about 10 times as to whether I should try to do the assessment. Eventually I settled on going and Randy packed the car for me.

Less than 2 hours later I arrived at my former chiropractor's office and he was able to get me in for an adjustment. I was still hurting after that, but considerably less. I was a little hunched over but able to walk without much pain.

I did the assessment and it went great! It was a really neat experience. I had a student help me bring in my instruments as an educational assignment. For lack of other facilities we had to do the assessment in the room with this student's teacher and assistant teacher and they were amazed by this student's musical abilities. So was I! It was really fun and obvious that this student should qualify for services. The teacher helped me carry all my gear back to the car and I made it safely home.

So tomorrow I have to parent again after a 36 hour break, and I have a feeling there will be a whole lot of Dora going on while my back continues to recover. I have an appointment with a local chiropractor on Friday so I can get back on track. He is also a physical therapist, and I have a feeling some PT will be in my future.

Three unrelated items of interest:
1) My talented, sweet and beautiful friend and fellow music therapist became engaged last night! Congratulations, Stefanie and Greg!
2) Don't read My Sister's Keeper if you're not in the mood for a good cry.
3) You can get kicked out of groups if you don't attend regularly enough, and it feels a lot like rejection.
4) There is cake downstairs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not my best day.

Today was rough. This morning as I awaited the FedEx with our closing documents in it and went back and forth on whether I was going to make it to MOPS after the FedEx arrived, I cracked a toenail on my right foot with the closet door. Ouch.

We made it to MOPS an hour late, and worth it I must say, only for us to get home and have two little boys refuse to nap. I had to take them to a lovely friend's house at 3:15 for her to care for them while we had the closing docs notarized, so they really needed a nap, especially sweet LB who still really needs that afternoon nap.

By the time I resigned to the fact that they would not have a nap today, my back had gone out and I could barely walk. I got them in the car with significant pain and lamaze breathing (and no, not for its traditional purpose) and waddled up to my friends door with the boys. I crept along to the notary and to Office Depot, for I am supposed to conduct a music therapy assessment tomorrow and I needed to laminate some pictures, and again somewhat miraculously made it back to the car.

My back hurts so much and practically every step is excruciating. Tomorrow is the best day for me to do this assessment, so prayerfully I can get to the chiropractor beforehand. I know most normal people would cancel that assessment, but I just can't bring myself to. However, if this is not significantly better in the morning I don't know how I can possibly manage.

This day is yucky. Thank God for my dear husband who picked up the boys, fed them dinner, fed me dinner,and is now preparing to take them to school in the morning for picture day. Ugh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saying goodbye to the old house

Last Saturday Randy and I dropped our boys off at a drop-in day care for the day and trekked up to our old house to do some last minute cleaning and to pack of the last of our stuff.

People have asked me if I missed our old stomping ground and I wasn't really sure how to respond. Mostly I miss my friends, choir, and church home. I wasn't really missing the city itself. Until we went back. It's so beautiful and full of character there. We've moved to a much bigger city in a mostly non-University environment and it's just not the same. (Of course it's not the same, it's a different city!)

We ate lunch with our dear MOH Jennifer and watched the Red River Rivalry on the big screen. We then went to the house. It was the first time I had been back for 7 weeks or so, and it was emotional.

First I saw the fence that we recently put up to keep the boys in the yard when we played outside. Then the grassy spot where I took BB's Halloween pictures the day LB arrived surprisingly. Ugh. That made my heart ache. Then the fence where we used to wait for sweet Zaylin to come to our house. Then when she would leave BB would cry, "Zaylin away!" We don't have any neighbors here who come walking through our backyard to come play.

Then into the house where we first lived as husband and wife, the living room where we had our first kiss, the room formerly known as yellow where we brought BB home. The home where LB developed and grew in utero and where we brought him after he was born. We spent years of joy and heartache in that home and this was the last time I would see it.I mourned appropriately and engaged in more than my share of sentimentality.

As we left for the last time and I watched the garage door close slowly, shutting all of our history inside, I became very sad. But then I realized how blessed we are to be leaving that place all together as a family. It's a much happier occasion than leaving a home where your parents had lived and died, a room where your child slept the night before going to Jesus suddenly, or a home where your ex-husband or ex-wife still live. I decided not to feel sorry for myself at that point.

When we got home it really felt like home, while just hours before the old house still seemed like home. "It's nice to be home," I said, and realized what that meant.

Bye-bye Winecup Hollow. Thanks!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sweet big brother.

Here is a transcript of a conversation I heard today.

LB was crying a little bit and standing under the table.

BB: "What happened?"
No answer.
BB: "You bump you head in there?"
LB: "Es."
BB (in a sympathetic voice): "Awww. Sally make you feel better," as he brought Sally the car to his little brother.

Be still my heart.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Muddy day

These guys had some fun playing in the mud the other day. Mostly LB got muddy, as you can see, but BB enjoyed feeding him leaves like a giraffe.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Going back to work.

Well, sort of.

Once upon a time I was a music therapist. I had a few clients and was performing assessments for a local school district. Then out of the blue one day we learned that we would be adoptive parents in two weeks! I had to somewhat frantically find therapists to serve my clients and one assessment. That was almost exactly three years ago and I haven't worked a lick since. Well, not in the music therapy world at least.

Last week I received a call from the school district asking if I would be available to do an assessment. Although I'm available, we've moved! But we're about 1.5 hours away. But after some prayer and consideration I decided that if they didn't mind a therapist who was 90 miles away, that I would be happy to do the assessment. I'm hired!

I put together a proposal for services and emailed that baby out just now. I would imagine I would get out to see this student next week and write up my results over the course of a few days. Writing a proposal was fun. It was nice to use my brain in that way again. Also, I consulted with a friend and fellow therapist with whom I used to work, and we had a nice afternoon doing business together.

So I'm not planning for a full-time retreat to therapy, because honestly, it's a very giving profession and a lot of my giving is required for my two little boys, but an assessment or consult here or there would be welcome.

Back to work!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Curious Georges

Found this picture the other day and had to share it. The boys were looking out the window at the family of "diwwos" (armadillos) that lived at our house for awhile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The adventures of Good-Enough Mom!

OK, the whole Supermom thing is a myth, but of course I already knew that. My new superhero name above needs to be more clever. Anyone have any ideas? Good-Enough Mom doesn't really flow well.

I am good enough because being a mom is a 24-7 job and who can do that well 100% of the time? Last night we were up from 1:30 to 3:30 with a very sleepy and still-getting-adjusted 3-year-old. Then this morning we had several disasters and went through almost a whole roll of paper towels cleaning up messes. I am good enough because the disasters are nearly forgotten and I have 2 boys resting upstairs.

I am good enough because even when I eat snacks for meals my children still get most food groups at most meals. They usually have clothes on and usually are pretty interested in life. They only bite each other once in awhile and a lot of times they even act like they love each other. Most of the time it looks like I love them, too, but even when I'm scowling at the backs of their heads in the double stroller at Sea World after one younger brother who shall remain nameless refused to wear shoes, I'm still good enough.

So we're back online after a few weeks of intermittent internet service, so maybe I'll start posting more. I've found that with Facebook I haven't posted as much on this blogeroo. Sorry. (Gilly......)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 5 - My Superpower!

My superpower is remembering the phone number of the pediatrician's office while a citizen (BB) is screaming in my ear having been stung 3 times by a wasp.

He's fine. I have him "grown up juice" as a treat (caffeine free diet Coke). Now he sleeps.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 3 - sidekicks

Superheroes usually have sidekicks, right? Well, I guess Spiderman doesn't, and Superman doesn't, but Batman does. Maybe Batman is the only one with a sidekick, so that kind of blows my theory.

But they all have tools, right? Like Batman has those little sharp bat thingies to throw, Superman has a cape, etc. So I shouldn't feel badly about not being able to do everything on my own.

This Supermom has Curious George.

My daily realization - I can do everything! Just not all at once.

Can I get an amen?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Supermom Plan - Day 2

It's the Sabbath. Supermom gets a day off and functions as a mere mortal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 1 - Supermom Plan

OK, folks, summer's over. And (gasp) you can actually sense that from the weather in Texas these past few days! It has been rainy and cool. We haven't seen rain like this for months and months, and it is a welcome change. But actually now I'm ready to get these boys outside again.

The house is eerily quiet. I guess Supermom would figure out why.

Supermom's telepathic powers would have told her that while she was, er..., "resting" (you know, in the room of rest) the superkids had gone outside in the front yard on their own.

All is well on "Planet Mom" (stealing this title from MOPS)

Currently my definition of "Supermom" of two toddlers is that everyone is alive and relatively full at the end of the day. I know that Supermom is a myth and I can settle for "good enough mom," but that doesn't mean I can't make some improvements.

Improvement need area #1 - activities for my super gifted, rambunctious, curious, busy big kid.
Improvement need area #2 - a little more organizing and a little less facebook

That's not too much to think about for a start, right?

OK, I'm thinking about it.

Still thinking...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Neeto speedo.

Oh for heaven's sake give me a break - I'm tired.

I found my local knitting store. It's called Yarnivore. Although I've never been there before, how clever is the name Yarnivore? Get it? People who count on yarn for survival. OK yes, I lived happily before learning to knit, but it sure has helped me remain calm during all this moving business. Even though really Randy has done most of the hard work, it is emotionally stressful to move to a new city. I've sort of felt like knitting can be a constant weaving together of my two homes, old and new.

First I knit small projects like pot holders and drink cozies. I knit a coin purse, a sunglass case, and then a scarf. I asked some seasoned knitters about what I should learn for my next project and they suggested hats. So for the past month I've knit 5 hats! Four in my soft, purply Malabrigo from Gauge, and one in an orange from Michael's. I must say there is no comparison between a yarn sold at Michael's and one at a speciality yarn shop. I'm now totally hooked on the good stuff.

Then my nice friend Carly at Gauge helped me pick out a new project - a felted purse in a gorgeous wool blend called Noro Kureyon. This would certainly make a scratchy hat but a cool purse. I'm almost finished.

A few days ago I had the boys at my wonderful mother-in-law's house for a few days. One of those days I took BB to visit his birthmom while I ran an errand to give them some quality alone time. I looked up the local knitting store and ended up walking out of there with an extremely soft and yummy chenille blend called Touch Me. Ooh, it's luxurious. I would like to swaddle myself in it and stay that way for a long winter's nap. The project must remain nameless, but I can't wait to finish it!

So I'm a knitting fiend these days. I'm hoping maybe it will help me lose a bit of weight because I'll be knitting instead of eating chocolate? Hmmmm. Maybe.

I'll post a picture of my WIP someday soon.

(And no, I'm not planning on knitting a speedo. Never you fear.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I love my two boys!

But I'm hiding from them right now. LB has hit the "terrible twos" and things have gone haywire. Add that to not knowing where we are going to live in two weeks, I'm a little stressed. So that means "bye bye responsibility" for me as I let Randy work while I play Scrabble, Puzzle Spot, and Spot the Difference on Facebook. Best go relieve that sweet man.

Ah, here is BB. Let's see what he has to say:


We just officially didn't get the house we liked, but we expected that anyway.

BB says, "my turn my turn my turn." Here he is:


Monday, August 10, 2009

Moving thoughts.

No, not like emotionally stirring, but "moving" as a verb. We're still moving. Tomorrow we go visit with a realtor to look at rental properties. We decided that there was surely not enough time to prepare our home for the market, put it on the market, sell it, close on it, find a new place, close on it, move into it, and start work on the 8th. So a year lease will give us the chance to get to know the area and try out a neighborhood before committing to it.

I lived in a rental house once. It was yellow on the outside and had wallpaper in the basement that was designed to look like a forest scene complete with deer. This is my preconceived notion of what a rental house looks like. Not pretty. But it was a roof, complete with a deer, and it kept us cool and then warm while we waited to move.

Stress looks funny on me. I don't really feel stressed, and I don't tend to worry about things. But I do shut down in some ways, and then flare up when little things bug me. Little things like toddlers who won't listen, and 100+ degree weather all summer, and when I drop my last blueberry on the kitchen floor. Then I FREAK OUT! Also not pretty. So if you speak with me and I seem calm and happy about the move, it's an act. Well not really. I am excited about it. I think it will be fun. I will miss my friends and our life here, but we will build a new one in a new town soon. But it obviously is stressful, whether that stress manifests all the time or just an opportune moments.

Randy's new job will pay for the move! This is great for us. It means we really don't have to pack before they come, and the moving company will pack and move us. Unfortunately it will only pay for one move and of course we'll likely move out of the rental house in a year. But we'll go there when we get there, yeah?

So off we go tomorrow to find us a humble abode. I'll let you know what we come up with.

More brotherly love.

My boys are having chasing racing time in the hallway. One pretends to fall and says, "Help." The other one comes and helps the first up. Or the fallen one will say, "hand," and the other helps him up. They are also feeding each other animal crackers and saying, "thank you." We are so blessed!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Brothers love each other

Hello, cuteness. Tonight we had "movie night" and watched Finding Nemo. A little bit into the movie Randy pointed out that BB had filled the back of his toy train with popcorn and had climbed up into the chair with his little bro. I caught a video and some pictures.

These guys adore one another. They fight just like close siblings, too. Now LB is getting pretty beefy he can pull his big brother over and BB does not like the turn-about. Fair play! They are getting to be a handful, but a cute little bundle all the same. Here are some photos of tonight's movie night.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


LB wears Papa Bruce's ice cream hat.

LB and Mommy at a Rockies game. Spurs next. (Yes, I know, different sports!)

BB loves music. And Daddy.

The boys babysit.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We're moving!

If you'd have told me less than two months ago that this would be our last summer here (at least for now), I'd have either told you, "No way!" or bit you. (Biting is the primary mode of retaliation at our house these days.) A move couldn't have been farther off the radar. In fact we pretty much had an agreement never to leave our current city, we love it so much! But alas, we are moving next month.

It's amazing how God has orchestrated this move. It's really been seamless so far. We adjusted well to the idea that Randy would be looking for work, and we figured it wouldn't be long before he would start interviewing here. He called on some contacts, sent out letters and resumes, and spent most of each work day looking for work. He talked to his former (and now future) colleagues at a company he used to work for, and went down to talk to them a little more.

It happened to be perfect timing, as the company had a new client and some major needs they needed filled. Randy was the perfect fit and they hoped he would consider returning. We went down to look at neighborhoods last week, told them Monday that we'd be willing to move for the right offer, and heard today that a nice offer is in the works. On Saturday and Sunday we prayed and discussed the move. In our prayer time on Saturday I voiced the bold request that if this was not a good move for our family, that Randy would hear back from one of the local companies to which he sent a reume. He did. They said, "We're sorry, but for our present needs there were applicants that were more closely aligned to this position at this time." Not that this was on its own "a sign," but it did make me giggle a little. Apparently I didn't voice my prayer specifically enough.

Do I believe that God has a plan for us at our next gig? Yes! Do I think this would be the only decision God would bless? Not necessarily. But doors have certainly been wide open on this, and we are excited to proceed. The job and the company sound like they were created for Randy. We might not be willing to move for just an average job, but it seems to me that this one is too good to give up. So we go.

We won't have time to sell our home if we were to look to buy another right away, so we'll likely rent a home for awhile. Our friend David, who knows everybody in Texas I think, referred us to a lovely and accomplished realtor who he knows. We spoke with her today and there is a good chance I'll also be attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) with her in the fall. We'll have to cancel our spot at the local Mother's Day Out program the boys are registered for next month, but we'll look for another one when we get settled. Then I have to figure out what to do with myself during that time. Unpack, perhaps?

Well, we wanted a little bit bigger house, but we certainly didn't expect to be buying one 90 miles from our current home! Oh well, we'll take it. It's not going to be easy, but I know God will provide for us in the way of a new church and new friends. Most importantly, He will always be with us no matter where we reside.

Packing, eh? Yikes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Easter 2009

This is a random picture, isn't it? I've posted it for a specific purpose.

We might be moving.


Um, yeah. We'll see. Without giving too many specifics on the blog, because some deluded part of my brain thinks that if I don't give out specific personal information regularly on my blog then no one can "track us down" and show up on our doorstep asking for a clean place to stay, I'll just say that Randy is waiting to hear from a job in a town south of where we are now in Texas. It's a perfectly lovely town, in my uneducated opinion. But it's not our town. We love our town.

I moved here in 2000 and I feel like God kind of swept me up and healed me here. There are many things to do and we have a wonderful church family and friends. Although we don't have family here (or there), we are close enough to Randy's mom to drive there in one shot without much trouble. We're also near Randy's brother's wife's parents so we get to catch Amy and Brad when they come to town. It's nice.

Mixed feelings for sure. We love it here - did I mention that? We love our home and neighborhood. But mostly we love each other, so wherever we live we'll still be a family. That's the most important thing. So perhaps you can be praying that God would clearly reveal His will regarding Randy's job situation and where we should live. We'd appreciate that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peas in a pod.

About three years ago Randy and I took a step of faith and painted our study a cheery yellow color to welcome the baby we expected to receive through the blessing of adoption. We weren't matched with a baby and we had just been through years of fertility struggles and treatments that left us feeling like we'd never have a child. We were feeling excited yet a little silly painting a baby's room for a child we didn't know when to expect.

When LB was born we knew that the boys would eventually share a room, but we had no idea when that would be. As LB had many nap issues that would have kept BB awake, we put it off indefinitely. That was fine by me, because then it felt like the kids were still babies and I didn't have to face the fact that one day they will be independent from us (hopefully, of course).

But alas, the day is here. Randy needs a new job and needs a better place to work when he's home than the dining room table. For about a year now we've had a "blueprint" for how the furniture should go. Now it's going there. When BB was still a baby and I was pregnant with LB I bought some shelving at Linens and Things. It's been sitting in the corner for almost three years.

We know the guys can sleep peacefully together, at least after 30 minutes of screaming, "Night night!" at each other, so hopefully this will work out beautifully. The boys are having a bath right now and Randy is putting together their room. So far I'm doing OK emotionally. I wish I'd taken one last picture of BB in his room, but sometimes it's better to just rip off the band-aid, eh? We'll see how it goes tonight. I'll surely take a picture of them in their new room.

They're going to grow up some day, might as well have a study again while it's happening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Karen and Bob are parents!

Hooray! It's been a crazy 3 years for my dear, wonderful, warm, funny friends, and today they became a family of four! Just add water (and a lot of paperwork and prayers).

Please see their amazing story on their blog, for full coverage.

Congratulations Miller family of four!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I have an amazing family, and it is getting bigger and bigger every year!

I was raised with one brother named Kirk. Kirk or Kirker-Boy, whichever you prefer. We have a mom and a dad who have been happily married for decades. We grew up in California and Iowa and had a wonderful and warm upbringing.

We'll gloss over my first marriage, even though I love and respect my ex-husband's family tremendously. They were a wonderful family for almost 4 years.

My brother married a cool chick and I got her family, too. She has a sister who now lives in our home town and two parents who very generously donated their timeshare in Kawai for our honeymoon when Randy and I married. We don't get to see them very often, but when we do it's always fun and interesting.

My brother and sister-in-law now have three boys ages 9, 6, and 3. What fun for us and our boys!

Then I married Randy and found a new mother- and father-in-law, two brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, one niece and a nephew. Randy's younger brother and his wife went on to have a baby boy. That makes 5 nephews and one niece for me. Cha-ching!

Anyone who has followed my blog knows a little bit of what we went through to increase our family of two. With the addition of our first child we adopted not only a son but his biological family, too. This is where things really get interesting! WIthout giving out too much information about people who may or may not want to be a "poster family" for open adoption, we now have BB's birthmom and birthdad's families in our lives, too. These are big, expanding families including a great-grandmother who is on Facebook! It's very cool. Also aunts, uncles, a sibling, and cousins for BB.

Today Randy and I spoke in a nearlywed/newlywed Sunday school class at church to talk about "adjusting to parenting." One of the things we talk about is open adoption. People always think it's a little weird and really, I can see where they're coming from. It isn't the first picture that comes to mind when one envisions a family. Mommy, Daddy, and birthfamilies. But it isn't actually that different from many other families with step-families.

So there you have it. I have a big ol' family just like a lot of families out there. Mine is stupendous and I feel so blessed to have them.

Two sons.
Mom and Dad.
Brother and sister-in-law.
Mother-in-law and father-in-law
Brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
5 nephews, 1 niece, 1 future-nephew-in-law-in-law (SILs sis's son in utero)
BB's birthmom and family
BB's birthdad and family

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


BB loves salt and pepper. Not to eat, mind you, but to pour out wherever he can. It can be almost pathological at times! He also licks ketchup bottle tops, but that's another story. And the cat food...oh, never mind.

So the other day I watched him pour salt into coffee that had gone cold. The cup was only about 1/3 full so I blew it off and left it sitting there on the breakfast table.

Twenty or so minutes later Randy was working on the computer in the other room and had a cup of coffee. I took a big swig and noticed it was quite salty! I started to laugh and Randy wondered aloud what I was laughing at. I asked him, "Does this coffee taste funny to you?" He said he had drunk about 1/2 of it and yes, it tasted a little strange. He had drunk the salted coffee BB made.

Let me tell you - it wasn't good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ride de bus

This week is Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church. I am volunteering at the registration table and somehow was appointed to "MC" the worship rally by introducing the band and drumming up excitement for the missions offering. It's been a fun week and although my job/s aren't really that taxing, getting two toddlers back and forth and then into bed for naps has been taxing (or taxi-ing). We are all pretty beat.

The kids are too young to really participate in VBS, but they go to the nurseries for child care and play all morning. There are lots of fun things for them to do and watch. However, what makes their day all worthwhile, especially BB, is the bus we take from the parking area to the building and back again.

The first time we got on the bus on Tuesday, each boy sat in their own seat and was mesmerized by the bus. BB had ridden buses before, with Grandma and with me, but this was the first trip for his own seat. LB sat there with his eyes as wide as saucers and an amused grin on his face. It was so cute. When we left the building after VBS and BB saw the bus he repeatedly said, "Ride de bus, ride de bus." Today when I picked him up from his room he said, "Go home. Ride de bus," and made a silly run for the bus. Again, so stinkin' cute. So this is what BB is up to this week.

Ride de bus!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TV day.

I'm not feeling well today. I think it's allergies, but my throat is really scratchy and I'm very tired. I've let my kids watch too much TV today, and I don't have a problem with that. Should I? Wait - don't answer that. It's not like I had them watching Jerry Springer or anything!

My boys love Word World, Curious George, Elmo, and Super Why. PBS much?

I'm just acknowledging that I am way human and feel like a lazy bum today.

We did play outside earlier, too. It's like a million degrees outside now. Naptime is over, now what to watch...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Puppies and babies are cute. Fuzzy ducklings and sparkly flip-flops are cute.

This morning as I was driving around, our local radio station was talking about how some of its listeners celebrated their 100th birthdays. Some played golf, once woman in a pink suit had a birthday party at McDonald's, and one served meals at a soup kitchen. (Well, I made that one up.) The radio personnel viewed pictures of these listeners. One female DJ repeatedly said, "It's the cutest thing I've ever seen." Over and over again. It started to irritate my sensibilities.

How come each of these centenarians was described as being "cute"? Do we usually describe adult birthday revelers as being so cute? I found it a little offensive. I'm not easily offended, but by the time I heard this three or four times I wanted to call the radio station and complain. I have no idea if I'll want to be called cute when I'm 100, but I don't think so. Maybe if I'm wearing some sparkly flip-flops or am holding my great-grandchild. It seemed patronizing in these cases, though.

One time my mom and I were out somewhere and observed a daughter and elderly mother together. The daughter talked to her mom like she was a little child. I know sometimes older adults have dementia and need extra explanation for some things, but I think you can give someone simple instructions without expressions like "criss-cross applesauce" and "come on now, little fella."

I need to see these birthday pictures. Maybe they really are all "the cutest thing I've ever seen." I'll let you know.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Jealous, much?

I still get jealous of other women who are pregnant. It really makes no sense. I have two precious sons, and there was a time I wasn't sure we'd ever have children of our own. I'm so thrilled with my two sweethearts. My two boys are 1.5 and 2.5 and almost more of a handful than I can manage. We went through more than one straight year getting very little sleep, and it's all I can do to get these guys out of the house.

What do I want with a baby? Do I want a baby? I'm honestly not sure. I believe that I would be content with never having another child and with never having a little girl. I believe if we ever were to be expecting another baby I would be able to get totally on board with that, too, and be excited.

But if I'm so content, then why do I still get jealous when I hear a new pregnancy announced? Is it the attention the mom-to-be gets? Does it remind me of the days when hearing these announcements was devastating and make me hurt all over again? I don't think so. Is it because God has put the desire in my heart for another child or because I'm romanticizing pregnancy and babyhood?

I often wonder if fertile women feel this way, or if this is just an IF thing. Can you tell me? If you're a super-conceiver do you still feel envious of others' pregnancies? If so, when did this go away? Please tell me it will go away. I much prefer content to jealously.

If you think I'm crazy, believe me that's nothing that hasn't crossed my mind a million times before. Just keep that to yourself. ;o)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Famous friend!

This is my very very lovely friend Annie who saved a million dollars on groceries in 2008. Well, less than that, but still! We're so proud of her. Hope this link works. I think you'll need to cut and paste.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Adoption loss.

My heart is heavy today for some sweet friends who have experienced an adoption loss. It's a weird kind of loss because there usually is no physical death but the death of a dream of parenting a very real child is devastating. Especially after the losses affiliated with infertility.

What do you say in this situation? I'll tell you what you do NOT say, and that is "This was not meant to be." This may seem comforting, but the fact is that many times it has felt "meant to be" for weeks or months. It usually looks like God's hand was on the match and there was no indication that it wouldn't work out. The family banks their hopes and dreams on this baby, names the baby, and loves the baby even if they have not met. If they have met it can be even harder in that you have a real live baby to picture in your arms forever. And then you're left empty handed and broken hearted.

This is the time to rally around the prospective adoptive parents. I thank God that this is what is happening in this case! Allow the couple to grieve this loss. Although the baby was not legally theirs, in their hearts the baby was. It is a very real loss even without a physical death. Don't expect the couple to "snap out of it" quickly, to be ready to move on to another match right away (although they may be), or expect them to be strong for you. They can't. If it seems like they are, they may be faking it and will let down sooner or later (hopefully sooner). But don't push. Let them know you are there to listen when they are ready. Offer to bring a meal. Leave a meal on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and run if you have to, if they don't yet feel like talking. (Tell me if you do that so I can find out how that goes.) Pray.

Whew. I know the sadness I am feeling for this couple in no way begins to match their feelings. I know I keep rehashing this in my mind, but this is not my loss. I don't think my friends are blog readers, but if they are, then know that I love you and will continue to pray for your hearts and the lives of everyone involved.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Love-hate relationship.

BB has a love-hate relationship with mustard. On the one hand, he requests it when we have hot dogs, which frankly, we eat about every other day for a meal. (Well, little boys do, I usually don't.)

On the other hand, yesterday morning I went to a BSF intro class (Bible Study Fellowship). I attended for years until the boys came, then I took a break. I got a babysitter for the morning and attended the class. When I got home from BSF the boys were watching "Monsters Inc." on DVD. Sometimes BB is afraid of it, but he didn't seem to be yesterday. He will say, "scared" and fake shake if he is, so I was confident he was doing OK.

Well after a few minutes as I was preparing their lunch (NOT hot dogs), BB came running from the back room saying, "Mustard coming. Scared." He substitutes the word "mustard" for "monsters." It's pretty freakin' hilarious. He keeps saying it today and I just egg him along. It's so cute. He's not really scared, he's just playing, but I guess under the right (wrong) circumstances mustard can be scary. Like on a freshly laundered white top or chasing after you from a dark room.

Mustard. Love it. (In both senses of the word.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Food for thought.

Is it considered bad manners for me to have fished my lunch out of a soup I'm preparing to take to friends tonight? I used a clean ladle and ate it out of my own individual bowl.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How's the chocolate fast going?

Today I heard myself say out loud, "I don't have to eat it, just because it's there." I was going for the Hershey's kisses I received for serving in the children's area on Mother's Day. I was thinking if I just ate them all right away they wouldn't be a temptation any more and I wouldn't have chocolate in the house to eat every day.

I gave up chocolate for Lent because I felt like I was going for the choc before going to the Lord for comfort. I decided not to keep fattening chocolate in the house after Easter, but to indulge if I felt like it when I went out to dinner or to a birthday party or some festival. I do still buy dark chocolate because I can be satisfied by a square of it with some raw almonds and it's supposed to be good for me. I buy Weight Watchers fudge bars because I heart them and they are only 50 calories each and very satisfying. And um, I did buy some Kashi cookies because Thelma fed me one at the retreat and it was so satisfying.

So I'm not going ape with the no chocolate thing now, but I do find myself less tempted by it and able to realize when I'm going for it out of habit instead of because I'm hungry for a sweet treat. I even passed up most of the chocolate pie you sent, Frances, but the piece I did have was most delicious as usual.

And I had a hot fudge sundae at McDonald's the other night...

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm glad yesterday is over.

Although it's really not. It is 10:45 which makes it still Mother's Day, but lest I don't have time to post tomorrow I thought I'd spew forth some thoughts.

Mother's Day is hard for so many people. It's hard for women who long for children with empty arms, the men who love them, women and men who have had a mother die or are estranged for some reason, and people who have lost children, to name a few. It used to be hard for me and I know it's very hard on some of my friends right now. So it was a highly charged day and I'm ready for a run-of-the-mill Monday.

This morning I sat with a friend going through IF and other health issues and watched as the woman sitting next to her rubbed her obviously pregnant belly and had her husband put his hand on the baby as they made goo-goo eyes at each other. I very clearly remembered how it felt to be my friend and I just wanted to throw my arm around her, point at the other woman and yell, "Hellooo?? Can you get a rooooom?" Ugh. But I also know that that couple were rejoicing together and have no reason to consider why that display might have stung an IF woman just a tad. But I figured it must have. It reminded me of my other sweet friends dreaming of a) a future Mother's Day with a baby in her arms, or at least b) tomorrow.

I worked in the children's area at church today. Many mothers did not want to serve on Mother's Day, which I understand, but I just felt so blessed to be a mother today that I didn't mind missing a church service to help out. I was in the baby room with 3 other moms and we had some fun, too. Plus we got chocolate for serving on this day, so it was worth it. I didn't feel like I needed a big to-do for the day, because my sweet boys and husband are so sweet every day.

We went out to dinner to a local restaurant where there is a fenced-in playground for the kids, (No, not McDonald's, although I did dine there the other night much to my Diane's chagrin) and enjoyed a quasi-relaxing dinner outside. Then we came home and I finished watching "Kit Kittridge: An American Girl." It was a good day and I'm glad tomorrow is coming soon. Like in one hour and 4 minutes. Must. Go. To. Sleep.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Top 10 things about my mom!

1. She always sees the best in people.
2. She's a total techie mom and spoils me with nifty high-tech gifts!
3. She loves her career and her students but I've never felt like that means family is second best.
4. She especially loves spending time outdoors (and indoors) with her grandsons. Even though it took us years to be parents I always knew that she would be just as thrilled by the 4th (and 5th) grandsons as she was with the first 3!
5. She asks me for advice and lets me know she appreciates my perspective.
6. When we're together she always provides her family with the treats we love like raspberries and ice cream.
7. She is a great cook and makes tasty, healthy meals. After Andrew was born she made me some wonderful meals and shopped for healthy treats like granola with berries.
8. She is a great model of spending quality time with her family.
9. She taught me to knit and we cracked up about all the mistakes I made.
10. She's a great clothes-shopping partner! We zip zip zip through the store leaving piles of clothes in our wake, then go eat. We prefer eating.

There are so many more I couldn't possibly list them all. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you so much!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Did you know???

You can use 2 drops of olive oil to moisturize your hands and cuticles, and to pat on your face as a 100% natural alternative to commercial skin care products? Not only is it non-greasy, which you would probably not expect, but you won't smell like an Italian kitchen afterwards. In fact the smell of a small quantity of olive oil like that is absolutely lovely and I am so excited about it! I bet Miriam knew that, being the Italian beauty that she is!

You can also use olive oil on a cotton ball to remove eye makeup. People who know me know that I don't often wear makeup, but that's mostly because I HATE taking it off at the end of the day. I'd rather just not go there. But now this new information has me revved up about natural beauty care products. Maybe I'll have eyes more often. (Everybody has eyes, right, Karen?)

Where did I learn these amazing things? From the Bible! Well, Ginger Garrett learned them from the Bible (I'm sure she was not the first), shared them in her book Beauty Secrets of the Bible, and gave me a copy last weekend at a Hannah's Prayer Infertility and Loss Ministry retreat. There are several other household items that are perfect beauty products, but I haven't time to rave all about those right now. Olive oil! Who knew?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last night I had the strangest dream.

Nothing about a row boat and a trip to China, but a strangely real dream.

I dreamt I was a pregnant mom considering adoption for her baby. I met the prospective adoptive parents and I showed off my belly. I thought they would want to see their baby growing. I gave a profile and even lifted my shirt over the belly for them to "see" their child. I was so proud, and I knew the prospective adoptive parents must be so glad that their wait was almost over. They left.

In the next part of my dream I was gripped with sadness about how I would have to give up my baby. "Maybe I could raise the baby," I thought. But then I realized that the adoptive parents were counting on this baby being theirs. I felt like I owed it to them to place the baby with them. What was I going to do?

I think in this dream I was both the pregnant mom and the prospective adoptive mom. It was heartbreaking as the pregnant mom, thinking I now had to give up my baby because the adoptive parents were so happy and I'd already agreed to the adoption. I felt like I owed it to them.

Writing this makes me want to cry. I don't believe our situation was like this, but I can now understand why some birthmothers feel like they've been coerced into giving up their baby for adoption. Notice I'm not using "Positive Adoption Language?" Because in my dream it felt like I was giving up the baby, not placing the baby into someone else's arms to raise. It makes me feel better as an adoptive parent to say "placed the baby for adoption" because then I get to feel like this was her choice and not something she felt she had to do. Am I kidding myself?

So that was weird. I hope I never have that dream again. Now that I'm a mom by both birth and adoption I can understand a little more what K must have gone through loving our baby with all her heart and yet letting him go to us. It was a vivid dream, although I know I really have NO idea how a birthmom feels after placing her baby.

Over the past few years my blog has changed a lot, so I don't know if I still have any firstmothers/birthmothers who read. But if I do, know that I'm not saying I know how you feel. Maybe in my dream I experienced one of the emotions you may have also felt at some point, but that doesn't give me much experience in this area. Please know that I respect you and respect that you may have some emotions about adoption that an adoptive mom like me wouldn't necessarily think fit my picture about the miracle I see adoption to have been for us. I think we can really learn from each other.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cool poem I got today in my email.

By Carol Wimmer (widely mis-attributed to Maya Angelou)

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Monday, April 20, 2009


How long did it take you to fall in love with your spouse? For some it may have been very soon after you met. For others it may have taken months. For yet others years or even decades. I would imagine most people are somewhere in the middle of "soon" and decades. Imagine if you were so excited to be married some day and how you might cook up some fantasies about what that would be like. Then imagine you met your current spouse and for various reasons needed to marry him right away. Can you imagine being married to someone after having known them for just 48 hours? What if in addition to marrying your whole schedule was changed and you weren't able to get out much. Trapped! Maybe he snores and you wake up endless times during the night and wonder, "What have I done?"

I'm reading a book called "The post-adoption blues: Overcoming the challenges of adoption" by Karen Foli and John Thompson. As a result of this reading (and as a result of watching two neat friends who are new adoptive parents and soon-to-be adoptive parents), I've been thinking about why it was hard to be a new adoptive parent. The gist of the book is that we enter parenthood with certain expectations that may or may not be met, or may or may not even be reasonable.

One example of an expectation that may or may not be met is instant bonding with our new child. We expect because we waited so long for a baby that all of the wonderful feelings of motherhood or parenthood will hit us the minute we pick up the sweet innocent creature. We picture ourselves nurturing the baby through long nights, receiving sweet smiles in a month or two, and showing off our baby to everyone who will look. We know it's going to be challenging and we're going to be sleep deprived and our whole lives are going to be turned upside down. Or do we? We do, but we don't quite.

I would say I loved BB from the minute I held him. I did. I had chosen to love him because we were adopting him. But I wasn't in love with him. I didn't long for him when I was away. Nor was I in any way prepared as to how he would change our lives and our marriage. I had no idea how scared and empty I would feel in the middle of the night when it seemed like the only thing I would really ever know again was this tiny, helpless, screaming, hurting baby. He just took over. Babies do that. I didn't know I would feel like my husband and I were separated because we didn't spend as much time together as we had before baby.

In addition, in our adoptive relationship I really did feel like he was so alien to me. I had not birthed him, had not felt him move and shift in my womb, had not talked to him in the middle of the afternoon as he cooked, and had not known him before October 26th, 2006. Then on October 28th he was everything and required my every attention. Sometimes it felt like to much. I never really thought we'd made a mistake, but sometimes in the middle of the night for a moment it did feel like that. Why had we totally interrupted our lives for a person we didn't even know? I'd married a stranger and promised to love him forever. It was weird. And hard. And wonderful. I'm so glad we did it. But I imagine it is a little bit like entering into an arranged marriage. I know without a doubt that BB and I bonded at about 6 weeks of age when that sweet boy screamed in my arms in the middle of what seemed like a sound slumber. From that minute I would have easily given my life for his. Before that minute I probably would have, too, but I might have had to talk myself into it.

An example of unreasonable expectation is figuring that since we worked so hard to become a parent, because maybe we're older or because we anticipated parenting so excitedly, that we should be the best parents ever. Talk about unrealistic! I know how I feel when my plans are thwarted. I feel angry and resentful. The other day I was expecting to see "after" pictures of makeovers at the end of Rachael Ray and what I got instead was a 30 minute monotone weather report. I was livid - and for something so petty! But as irrationally angry as I was, it had nothing to do with me as a person or with my abilities. It's not that I expected to be a perfect parent, but I didn't expect to hear myself say, "I can't wait to drop off my baby at childcare," or "I just need an hour to myself!" or "Shut up - stop crying!" Then when I did say those things I felt guilty for being a bad mom. I should be a great mom because I wanted it so much. I was doing it wrong, and if I made a mistake, it meant that I was not good enough.

I kind of hope my new adoptive parent friends and my expecting by adoption friend don't read this because I might cause mass hysteria. But, this was my reality. It might not be theirs, it might not be yours, but it sure began to feel like reality to me as soon as we returned home from the 4 hour drive from Dallas with Alien Baby in the car with us.

Hours of therapy have taught me that good enough is good enough when it comes to parenting! Can I get an Amen? This is an interesting book, "The post-adoption blues," but a lot of it is catered to international adoption, kinship adoption, and foster-care adoption where your "baby" may be an older child with a difficult past. Not that infant babies don't have grief and loss, but those hurts aren't as clearly manifested when they are a newborn. By the time they're two like BB you have no idea if their issues are adoption issues or toddler/school-aged/fill-in-the-blank-here issues.

Adoptive parenting is just like regular old parenting with an additional dimension. We have our unique issues, but so does parenting any other child in our home. It's a wild ride, parenting, isn't it? Wheeee!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lost and Found

I found this note the other day when I was throwing away some old papers. It was from a student I taught when I student taught (sounds like a tongue twister).

Dear Mss. Schandredge I think your
Are good musician! Your very cool! Your
A very good music person! And
your very funny!

It was fun while it lasted, the student teaching business. Maybe I'll get another one of these notes someday in the future.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

Finally Easter Sunday! What can I say other than thank God for this blessed day.

Randy and I both worshipped in the Exaltation Choir and Orchestra this morning. I stared at the back of his head the whole time because there were so many people in choir today that I stood way to the left rather than more toward the middle where I usually do with the rest of the Soprano 2s. I can't explain how powerful it was to be in that assembly this morning. We sang our faces off and now my jaw hurts. I could not sing loudly enough to praise God the way I would have liked.

There is so much I could say about the meaning of Easter. However, I think it's going to have to wait until later because I'm just about d-o-n-e after today. I'll just type out some of the lyrics to one of our songs this morning. Happy Easter!

...For everyone knows, in three days He rose,
Now and forever to redeem you and me.

He lives! He Lives! Conquered the grave, covered our sin.
He lives! He Lives! Death could not hold the promise within.
He lives.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It is Finished.

Today is Good Friday. I'm not sure why historically this day is called Good Friday, so someone feel free to chime in. All I know is that "Good Friday" is the day we recognize the merciless death of Jesus on the cross. A death preordained by God so that no one but Him could have stopped it. Which He didn't. That is amazing grace and I'm so thankful.

The first time I observed Good Friday was about 8 years ago before Randy and I became engaged. I took the day off work as my optional holiday and had begun a fast at lunch the day before. I remember eating that sandwich and chips overlooking a beautiful Texas valley down near Gonzales, Texas. I was working as a music therapist and I was down that way treating clients. I had never fasted for 24 hours before, and it was hard. I'm a big eater. But I took that time I would have spent working and eating (a lot) to pray and read the Bible's accounts of the death of Jesus. OK, I also went to a Jennifer Knapp concert, but it wasn't that great since we could smell the delicious aroma of barbecue in the background. Out steaks never tasted so good the next evening as we gathered at my brother and sister-in-law's house with my whole family. Poor Randy. (Totally just kidding.)

How religious was I? How pious! Not really, actually. I don't feel that it is required to observe Good Friday, nor that it is required to fast that day. But personally, I chose to do so in order to really consider the sacrifice He made for me when he died a criminal's death on the cross. Since then I have not "religiously" observed Good Friday. I'm not even sure I've ever fasted that day since that time. I just finished a grilled cheese sandwich with potato rounds and have my Diet Coke by my side right this minute.

The Bible tells us not to walk around looking famished when we fast, lest someone asks what's wrong and we appear to feel self-righteous about the big sacrifice of food. Nothing, NOTHING compares to the sacrifice Jesus made on that day. He is GOD. He could have called an oodle of angelic beings to minister to Him on the cross as he hung there tortured and bleeding. But had He done so, there would have been no Easter, now would there? But more importantly, there would be no salvation, and that is a fate I can't imagine. Actually, I could try to imagine it, because I spent a lot of years running off.

This morning I sat down with my Bible and read the four Gospels' accounts of Jesus's death. What was impressed upon me this morning was the following verse: "Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two" (Luke 23:45). The sun, the bright burning sun, was darkened. Not by the passing of the moon over it, but by God Himself. The sun was darkened as the Son died. A similar verse is in the books of Mark (15:38) and Matthew (27:51).

The veil is figuratively the divider which separated man from God. Temple sacrifices were given on the inner side of this veil, accessible only by a select few (one?). The tearing of this sheath illustrated that once and for all, man was no longer separated from God because Jesus is the final blood sacrifice. Thus, John writes, "So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."

It is finished. That's it - no more sacrifice necessary. What a tender mercy! Can you imagine having to sacrifice an animal as a sin offering each time we sin? I'm not talking murder and adultery, either. God's standard is perfection and He knows we can't compete with that! So Jesus - perfection in human form - is it. The final blood sacrifice. I already said that, right? Gee, I wonder why.

So what. So I want to observe the day that this happened so many years ago. What can I possibly give up that would reach the level of sacrifice God made for me? ME! That's crazy. I know I'm pretty cool and can get a laugh or two, but compared to a sinless Jesus I look like a flea, a pest.

It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A special day.

I love Easter. Since I became a Christian 12 years ago Easter has held so much more meaning to me than just plastic eggs filled with candy. When I lived at the VA in Topeka, Kansas doing my music therapy internship I was the accompanist at a Methodist church and took part in their Ash Wedesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. I'm not much of a denominationalist, a word I think I just made up, as I am as some of my friends have on their Facebook accounts a "Jesus Luva'." Love that. But it was fun to experience the structure of the Methodist church that Easter. It was especially fun to go through the Wendy's drive-through with a cross ashed into my forehead.

Before I had a church home I visited other churches on Easter. Just for fun, let's see - somewhere in Cali when I was a kiddo, Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Iowa, Cathedral of Praise in South Carolina, a random church I visited in Colorado, Timberland Church in Colorado, and Otterbein United Methodist in Kansas. Since then I have spent the last 9 Easters at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas where I have been a member for about as long. Amazing. I can't believe I've lived in Austin for that long for one, and I can't believe I've been a member of the same church for that many years!

So today was a Palm Sunday service where we heard about all of the pomp and circumstance under which Jesus entered Jerusalem less than a week before He was crucified. How amazing is this? He prances into town on a smelly, dirty, donkey, as humble as can be, and receives a hero's welcome! Less than one week later he is hanging on the cross dying a criminal's death. No one stepped in to try to save him, his own very best friends denied they even knew him, and he was mercilessly tortured for hours upon hours. Where were his loyal subjects then?

What the heck does this have to do with me in the 21st century? Well for one thing, it's easy for me in my human failings to praise God on a Sunday and ignore him on a Tuesday. When I put other things like television and internet before time with Him, I'm not declaring my unending love for him like I promised I would on Sunday morning as I sang in the God-blessed HPBC Exaltation Choir. I'm not trying to be impossible on myself expecting that I should be praising God every minute of every day, although in heaven I will! I am so thankful that God found me worthy enough in Christ, not because I'm all that but because Jesus is all that, that I still receive His eternal blessings. And let me tell you, I have been blessed. Yes, even before we had children, before I had Randy, before I was even born, I have been blessed.

I was going to blog about the after-church activities, but I think I won't today. I missed Ash Wednesday somehow, it slipped right past me. But I think I'll chronicle my thoughts about the rest of this week's big events - Good Friday and praise God, Easter Sunday. So if you're interested in these kinds of things, stay tuned. If you're not, stay tuned anyway. It's fun here.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm a great mom!

When things are going well. I give lots of encouragement and specific praise, I genuinely adore my children when they are being, well, adorable, and nobody has been seriously hurt yet so I must do a decent job of protecting them from harm. But being a good parent has a lot more to it. I need to stay calm when they are freaking out, in control when I don't think I can take any more whining, and act gracefully when my plans change due to illness, fatigue, or other needs.

That being said, I don't think I am in the running for "Parent of the Year" today. We went to Chik-Fil-A after ladies' Bible study with our friends Rachel and Hudson (2). Upon pulling into the parking lot I realized that I did not have my purse or any money. Rachel agreed to spot us. We went in and LB and I ordered at the counter. I thought I'd seen BB go into the kids' play area, so I was unconcerned.

After I had ordered and went to find BB, I heard a woman's voice say, "Is this one yours?" There I found my son sitting at her table enjoying their waffle fries. He had started to go outside and she went to get him. I was embarrassed, but everyone was OK so I tried to be graceful about the whole deal. We found our table and I walked away to get high chairs. When I turned to return to the table I saw LB with his hand trapped in the play-area door while a nice businessman went to help him. LB was screaming one of those silent screams where I knew he was going to wail at any moment, so I lightly covered his mouth to protect my ears. So then I'm caught silencing my toddler because in my negligence he got his fingers pinched in a heavy door.

Oh, man, call the police and take me in.

Fortunately I was well fed emotionally before this all occurred, so I was able to see past my own embarrassment and not be too hard on myself. Maybe that's not my problem, though, as I let my kids traipse about Chik-Fil-A unaccompanied. All's well that ends well, the kids are in the bath and washing the CFA experience right off of them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet friends

This is BB's sweet friend from across the greenbelt. Couldn't you just eat them up? When they see each other both of them squeal and run toward each other. Then when they get close she runs the other way. It's adorable. This sweet friend is about to be a big sister to twin girls. Whenever I need my little girl fix I know where to go!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I shopped!

I went for a quick shopping trip yesterday to Ann Taylor. I love the pants there, there and can always find some that I love, but I was looking for tops yesterday. We were going out to dinner with some friends and I couldn't find anything in my closet full of clothes that I wanted to wear. We were to leave at 6:00, so at 3:30 I decided to go for a shop. Of course I went straight to the sale rack and actually found several tops that I bought. There was a jacket that I tried on last time I was there that had gone on sale, so I bought that, too.

I'm like a gorilla. I have long arms. It's hard for me to find jackets because the sleeves are usually too short. I had to buy a large to fit my arms, but the medium fit better around the middle. I think 3/4 length sleeves are in style, but not if they are supposed to be long. I'm not sure if 7/8 length sleeves are in.

After my trip to Ann Taylor I went to Steinmart and bought some shoes. I found some red peep-toe pumps that were tres chic, and a pair of animal print with gold rings on the top that were also very cute, but went with the basic blue pumps to match the 3 blue tops I bought. I must branch out on my color choices! I couldn't justify the red shoes, since I'm trying to buy more versatile ones. Can I wear red shoes with a patterned blue top? Maybe so.

See - I can shop when I'm in the mood. I guess it helps some to be alone so I don't act silly with my shopping partner. When we went to buy my maid-of-honor's bridesmaid's dress she and I couldn't settle down. We picked up PJs, bathing suits, boas and said to each other, "How about this? How about this?" Fortunately we had a third friend with us who sternly instructed, "Focus, you two." We found her a nice dress.

Voila. A new outfit and dinner out at PF Chang's with friends. It was fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Goings on

Uh...not much. I'm confused right now. Sometimes when LB take a long nap I get disoriented because I'm so used to the 45 minute nap. What will I do with myself? I've already started tonight's dinner in the crock pot, I've done my Bible study, messed around on Facebook, figured out what I'm going to try to bring to book club tonight, and now this. I feel like I'm forgetting something.

Some people might say I'm forgetting about keeping house. Hey - that's a novel idea. I do have some house cleaning to do. I think I'll just sit here instead.

Tonight's book club reading is "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. It was a good book, but I preferred "Knit 2" - the sequel to a book I passionately adored that made me laugh and cry out loud, "The Friday Night Knitting Club." I felt like a doofus thinking about recommending this book to the group because from what I've gathered so far, this is a pretty serious reading group. When I told my friend Diane that I joined a book club, she asked if it was the kind of book club where you actually read the book. It is.

When one of the members asked me last month what book I would like to read, I was struck dumb. I'm an educated woman, but my reading tastes are more toward the escape reading than the Serious Reading. I thought I'd wait to see what the trend in books is before I suggest a Danielle Steele as I'd joked about last time. Hopefully they knew it was a joke.

So that's it. My profound post of the day. See you around.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Worked it out.

We took BB to visit his birthmom on Monday. We dropped him off, went "shopping" and had lunch at Pei Wei. We picked him up a few hours later and went back to Granny's. I think the visit went well, although I was not there to see, K said they'd had fun and BB gave her a kiss good-bye. Then he said, "Doh. Dat dare door" and pointed toward that there door. Where did he get this grammar, Thelma? I certainly don't know!

It was hard to leave him there. Not because I was worried about his safety or well-being, but because I was nervous about his emotions and feelings. How much does a 2-year-old understand about birthmoms and adoption and growing in K's tummy? Would he think we were taking him back to K and going home without him? Would he think that LB was going to live with Granny and he was going to live with K? Am I making too much of this? Probably. But it is what it is.

About, face!

I'm a terrible shopper. I wasn't always like this. I used to love to shop. Going to the mall was what I wanted to do when I visited friends in California. My chic Grandma and my mom used to take me shopping and they both have great taste. I even modeled clothing in a few fashion shows when I was a teen. But now when I go I end up not trying anything on because I can't be bothered to take off my shoes. I touch some clothes, walk slowly through the store, and slowly out of the store. I want to drink coffee instead. It makes me kind of sad that I don't like to shop, because I feel like I want to like to shop but just don't. I'd love a personal stylist to tell me what to try on. I do like to shop with my mom, though. We go into one store, usually a Dillard's-type or Ann Taylor, try on about everything in our sizes, buy some stuff and go eat. But my mom lives too far away.


What am I still doing up?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Or not.

I heart open adoption. It rocks. Our BB will never wonder who he looks like, he can ask his first mom about his birth and about her decision to place him for adoption, and I get to feel good about being a conduit between her and him. It's healthy for BB, healthy for his birth parents, and healthy for us, too.

But it's hard. It requires work. Things run smoothly but they still have to be run. There is really no relaxed meeting between us. It's hard for K before a visit. She has to work through some of her "issues" with adoption every time. It's hard for me to try to read her emotions and protect them when BB is shy around her or clings to me and calls me Mommy. Sometimes plans fall through, like today. Just before we were to leave K called and said she wasn't feel well, and neither was BB. To protect their privacy I'll leave it at that, but apparently they're connected because they had the same symptoms.

I was kind of a bear after working this out. A lot of the planning and preparation falls on me. K and I coordinate where we are going to meet, then I spend days telling BB, "You grew in K's tummy and she didn't feel like she could parent a child, so she chose Mommy and Daddy to be your mommy and daddy. We're going to visit K tomorrow!" Right now BB is likely too little to understand that we had plans today that had to be postponed, but some day he will get it. That will be hard, too. Parenting is hard that way, adoption or not. Our children will face disappointment and we will try to help them through.

So I'm a little emotionally drained. No, not as much as K must be, having to cancel a visit with her son (it doesn't happen often), but still weary. I'm hoping we'll work out a second try for Monday if everyone is feeling better.

For the record, I think BB is feeling a little better. I hope K is, too.

Where a kid can be a kid.

I've been to the infamous Chuck E Cheese, but our kiddos haven't. We may go there this evening for dinner with BBs bmama. Right now he is taking a very long nap, though, so we'll be a little later gettin' gone than we had planned.

So I'm talking about a huge rat while my good good friends Karen and Bob are in St. Petersburg about to meet their daughter tomorrow! Would you please pray for them and for their future child/ren and their family in Russia? I will!

Waiting for Sleepy Sleeperson.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunshine and roses.

Being a mom is fun. It's hard and sometimes seems impossible, but it is certainly an adventure. Everyone knows it's not always sunshine and roses, but this week pretty much is. Sunshine and basil, rather, but you catch my drift.

In a university town like ours Spring Break is a big deal. Much of the town clears out and the rest watch longingly. This year the weather has cooperated perfectly. It gets very hot in Texas in the summer, so hot that many times I just want to stay inside. But sometimes when everything aligns, like now, the March weather in the Hill Country is perfection. When people started talking about spring break in like, Januaray, I didn't think it would be much of one for me. Spring break for me means BB is not in school 2 days a week, we don't have our Thursday morning Bible study that we love, there is no choir, and everything is up to me.

On Monday the boys and I met a friend for lunch at a restaurant near our home that has an outdoor play area. The kids played as we ate, it was a beautiful day, and I got some social interaction with a pal. Bliss. Then, shock of shock, LB took a 3 plus hour nap. This is my 45-minute napper so 3+ hours is unheard of. I don't think he's slept so long during the day since he was first born and had jaundice that made him sleepy. So I had the whole afternoon to get some things done and I got some alone time with BB, which is rare.

Yesterday we walked about 100 yards through the greenbelt and joined our friends at their wading pool. The boys splashed and played in the water with some other littles, ate frozen blueberries, drew on the ground with sidewalk chalk, and looked adorable. I got to sit on my bottom and just watch. We came home and LB took another 3 plus hour nap. (Yes, he seems well.)

Today we went and met Randy for lunch on campus where he works. We showed off the kids to his coworkers, watched turtles and doggies at the pond, and had pizza in a restaurant that was practically empty so that the little boys could just roam around. Apart from a very dirty pull-up and no changing table, it was the perfect early afternoon. The guys are asleep now (or at least quiet now).

I think this is the best week I've had with my boys since BB was born. They are getting big enough to play well together and play independently, they have words to tell me what they need, and they are the cutest kids I've ever seen. The weather is the best I've ever remembered, and I'm practically in heaven. This weekend we are hoping to hook up with BB's birthmama for an afternoon and then next week we have "Daddy" home.

God has blessed me for sure. He blesses us in the hard times, too, but it's harder to see when you're in the thick of it. I praise Him for his every renewed mercies. If it's this good on earth right now, I can't imagine what the future has in store in His kingdom.