Monday, October 27, 2008

January 20, 1927 - October 26, 2008

Be free of lung cancer. Run with Jesus.
I love you Grandpa.

You will forever be missed and eternally loved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photo Caption Request

What would you title this photo?

I just love that my husband is nearing an old-ish age and yet he looks so young.
What a handsome couple we are!
Yes, I say handsome because it's a better picture of Husband than it is of me.
That's not our house in the background.
We're both wearing a Broncos jacket, believe it or not. And no, the Broncos didn't win on Monday night football this week.
We were headed to the pumpkin patch when my dad captured this picture while he was sitting in his car.

Friday, October 17, 2008

For the love of French and my sister Celine

When I first started learning the French language in 8th grade, I instantly loved it and had a dream of going to Paris.

All through highschool I was a sucker for anything that had a picture of the Eiffel tower, anything that said ooh la-la and told everyone of my future life as a Parisian.
I was enamored with Celine Dion and first bought her French albums and listened to them non-stop. I memorized several songs in French and tried to impress my friends.

In college I took a couple courses to keep me going.

Then, in 2001, my husband took me to Paris!
It was a dream come true (literally!).

Though, I highly recommend not going to Paris or any other romantic country that you'd love to spend alllll day touring while you are 5 months pregnant. Not good.
My ankles swelled up so big I had to have a wheelchair at one point! And does anyone have any energy to walk around les rues while pregnant? All I wanted to to do was sit in my hotel or at the very least sit in a cafe somewhere and just people watch.

But I bucked up, said good bye to my ankles and saw all the things any good tourist was supposed to see. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph, Notre dam, Mont Saint-Michel, the Mona Lisa, etc etc etc.

I loved France and we can't wait to take the girls there someday.

So anyway, since Celine Dion has the best set of pipes of anyone I know, yes ANYONE, and since she speaks French, and since she is drop dead gorgeous, I instantly fell in love with her, too. I fall in love quite easily, apparently.

Yea, I know. She's from Canada, not France. I know that's what you are all thinking. But her first tongue is French and that's kind of like being from my beloved country of France. Well it is in my head, anyway.

I have all of her albums. French and English.
In 2006 my husband and I went to Vegas to see her perform! I was inches away from her!

Here we are having dinner before hand.

It was incredible and the choreography was done by Mia Michaels and the whole show was out of this world amazing.

See, I told you...I was INCHES away from her!
Okay, well you know what? Actually, I was only about 50 feet away from her during the show because my husband managed to score us some radically close seats in Vegas. It was absolutely fabulous to see her and hear her sooooo close up and personal. We almost exchanged phone numbers right then and there.

And for Christmas 2007 I got tickets in my stocking to see Celine perform here in Portland for October 16, 2008.

Yeah, that was last night!

Here we are all dressed up in our purple clothes. aawwww so cute.

I wore these gorgeous shoes.
The show was amazing and the Rose Garden was the perfect place to have it. the stage was in the middle so every seat was a great seat.
The lights...the volume...the singer!
Ah. It was wonderful.
Thanks, hun, for the tickets.
Thanks, mom, for watching the kids.
Thanks, Celine, for picking me up this afternoon for a latte. You buy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Be warned...I'm starting to get transparent.

Everything in life is so easy.
Getting married? No problem.
Having a baby? Piece of cake.
Relationships? Easy breezy.

Adoption? Nothin' hard about it!

{Insert sounds of car brakes and painful screeching}

Yes, adoption is wonderful, but there are hard things about it that I don't know how to handle.

It's not easy.

Of course, I didn't expect it to be easy, I really didn't. So I'm not sitting here with my jaw on the ground being slapped silly with reality. I knew I'd be in for a world of unknowns. It's just that, well, I didn't know exactly what to expect. So I'm kind of wingin' it.

I knew that getting married would have it's challenging moments.
I knew having a baby would bring tough changes.
I know that relationships and friendships take work.
Life is hard.

Thankfully, life is easier with Jesus and I get on my knees daily thanking Him for being a part of my life. I would, quite literally, die without HIM.

Regularly these questions are posed to me:
How's Mother of Three?

How's the adjustment period going?

How's Amy doing?

How's English coming along?

Things settling in?

I don't mind repeating these answers multiple times because I have been blessed with people in my life who care. Thank you, God, that I have people asking me these questions. Similarly to the questions before they came home; "Any news? What's taking so long? When will they get here?" These questions showed me that I have people in my life who are thinking about me, care to ask and show genuine interest in my life. I answered these questions allllllllll the time before they got here, willingly and happily.

So I will answer the post-arrival questions willingly and happily. Thank you for asking. Things are going well.

You know how when you're walking down the hall at church or work or school and you pass someone who says "Hi, how are you?" and you reply "Fine, thanks. How are you?" and they say back "Doin' well."

No one has even stopped walking...just pat answers that every American expects to hear and say. Even if in all honesty at that moment things are really hard in life, you don't bring them up. You just smile and nod.

I was recently at a baby shower where I spent a couple hours with a handful of women whom I haven't seen in 11 months. I was asked all of the above questions about the adoption and I answered in the pat-answer type of way. "Things are going well! Adjustment period is challenging but do-able. Amy's enjoying having sister's very much! English is coming along surprisingly well and super quick. Yes, we're very happy."

Of course that's what I say. What ELSE would I say? It's all true!

But just like passing that person in the hallway, there really are hard aspects of life going on right now.

Of course. Of COURSE!

But I don't bring them every person...every time.

I will here and now.

Here are just some of the hard things we are dealing with in our home right now. I'm only listing them because

1) I want them documented
2) it's a dose of reality for those honestly interested
3) I hope to relate with other adoptive families who may be struggling with similar things

This is a partial list of things that we are working through. I need guidance and call upon God frequently.

David and I are so extremely thankful that our families are so super duper supportive and help us through the ups and downs of the transition period. We love you, family!

I sort of hate to blog the hard stuff because I want to only rave about the good stuff! Because there is more good stuff than icky stuff. Really and truly! I hope I've done a good job of communicating that in my blog this past summer. That I love LOVE LOVE my family and am so happy to have the girls home!

Okay, here we go. Challenging things we are going through:

Playing fairly (cheating, quitting, being a sore loser)
Properly controlling emotions
Laughing at others expense
Choosing a physically painful way of hugging/snuggling
Zoning out when being corrected
Fishing/testing for my reaction to lack of affection
Tone of voice
Purposely breaking things
Bonding. Bonding. Bonding.

I have been known to tell people over the past seven years (my oldest and biological daughter turned seven on Sunday) that no one can prepare themselves for the love that they will have for their children. It's indescribable. It's beyond what one could ever think they could express.

Conversely, no one could prepare me, nor could I prepare myself for the challenge of bonding with my adopted daughters. I'm going to end this post now and pick it up in a few days with the topic of bonding. Well, bonding in MY home. MY heart. It will be different for everyone, so this will be personal.

Thank you for reading about my journey. Thank you for the comments, emails, phone calls, coffee breaks, and prayers.

Life is lovely. Adoption is wonderful. I love my children.

Parenting is fabulously rewarding and amazingly demanding. Can I get an Amen?

Thank you, God, for trusting me with the task of bringing them up in the training and instruction of Your ways. Please help me do it for I can do nothing without You.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall Transformation

The Before:
My living room coffee table. Hydrangeas, purple candle.

The After:
Fall-y vase (with nothing in it). A wicker pumpkin, and two gorgeous candle sticks. This center piece actually kind of sucks. The season is early. I'll find something better for this table.

But take a look at these lovely candle sticks. DON'T look at the disgusting candles that I didn't 'hug' or take care of from last year. Those will quickly be replaced. I bought these candlesticks while shopping with Christa at Nordstrom Rack a few years ago. I pull them out about this time and leave them up all the way through Christmas. I love them.

The Before:
A shelf in the bathroom that usually holds cute little Ikea containers (one filled with sand the other of seashells) plus a photo of husband and wife.

The After:
Same little containers, now with a jack-o-lantern.
The Before:
An end-table with lamp and kinda dorky water feature that all my children love.
The After:
Added a homemade pine cone turkey craft that Amy made a couple years ago.
The Before:
A plain ol' mirror in the hallway next to the front door (for a quick looksie at my hair and lipgloss before leaving the house).

The After:
Another homemade turkey creation by Amy made from a hand-cut-out and feathers.

The Before:
Entry way wine wrack. Used also for keys/wallet/purse drop when we walk in the door. Complete with summer Easter Lilly's. I think that's what those flowers are, anyway.

The After:
Replaced mystery flowers with dried fall like cluster of...well...fall like stuff.

The Second After:
Added black cat and spider votive candle holders that I got from PartyLite when I was like 23 years old. Plus, a dish of glass candy corns.

The Before:
My black, blank stove top.

The After:
No longer blank now that it has this cute little orange pumpkiny votive holder.

The Before:
My long black table with Comfort and Joy sign.

The After:
Now with a fall-y, colorful table runner, a Happy Thanksgiving sign and pretty silk flowers. (While proofreading this, I actually should have gotten a close up of this. But now I'm lazy. Maybe you can click on it to get a closer look?)

It's fun to decorate for the different seasons. I suspect as I wander through the stores I'll want to update my decor with fresh new fall stuff. As my long legged ballerina friend said last Monday at Target: "Just make it!" But I'm not crafty. Nor motivated. Nor am I rich, so I won't be making anything OR buying anything. I will, however, be acquiring new hommade crafts as I have more children to make them!

Thanks, Brenna, for this lovely idea.

Anyone else up for exposing the insides of their homes for the world to see the Fall Transformation?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Excuse me, you're in my hoola-hoop space.

It's been a week and a half since I've last blogged.
Remember when I used to blog allllll the time!?
I used to write blogs in my head and MAKE myself wait at least a day to post them.

You know why I haven't been blogging much?

Because I am no longer the sole proprietor of my body.
Others own parts of me now. They're called my children.

Going from 1 child for 6 years to 3 children overnight did a number on my 'alone time'.
And by that I mean: eradicated it.

No, going to the bathroom doesn't count because EVEN THEN I have someones brown eyes staring back at me.

Am I complaining?
Am I slightly claustrophobic now?

I don't have that many pictures of me with my girls because I tend to be the one TAKING the pictures (hint hint, husband).
It’s almost always at least Katie, but more often than not I've usually got at least 2 on me at all times.

While watching the VP debate tonight I had Yolanta in my lap, Amy on one side of me, and Katie on the other side of me. Katie couldn't seem to get any closer than smashed up against me and asked me if she could sit on top of my head.

I said no.

While reading stories to my girls, they will caress my arms or feet or whatever part of my skin then can touch. Sometimes right down the front of my shirt. Yeah. Are you starting to get the idea here?

While getting dressed, I have many little hands and fingers threading my belt through the loops for me. Fastening my bra. Helping me put my foot in my shoe! I’m not kidding.

I can hear Mrs. Hannigan from Annie singing “Little girls, little girls, everywhere I turn I can see them…"

My Haitian babies are probably starved for loving physical contact so I lavish them with it. And Amy is probably feeling a little territorial so she makes sure to lay claim to some part of my body often.
(Side note: Yolanta is more reserved about showing physical affection in public. Sometimes I wonder if it’s an embarrassment thing or a secret message she might be trying to send me. I dunno.)

It's just another one of those adjustment things that I couldn't really and truly prepare for until I was all of a sudden living it. And here I am, all of a sudden, living the realization that my body is no longer my own. At least not during the hours of 8am-9pm.

I'm sure it won't always be like this. In fact, I KNOW it won't always be like this. They'll start to feel more secure in our love and not be so needful of my touch.
At which point I'm sure I will probably bawl.