Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where does the time go????

My baby turned one today!!! I've had my cry and am now in disbelief that the year has gone by so quickly. Evan and I have spent the last 24 hours reminiscing about the day Livi was born and the old saying is true and amazing. I have forgotten all the bad, painful stuff. I remember it hurting like the dickens and all the other unpleasantries of labor and delivery. But the sheer miracle of seeing our baby girl for the first time and knowing that she was healthy wipes out all that other yucky stuff. Here are a couple pictures...then and now.

First time to hold her

First few days at home

Christmas '08

Check out that belly! She is SO little, but eats twice what her three-year old sister does. I used to have that metabolism!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick post

Just a quick post regarding my sonogram this morning. The tech searched and searched, but could not find the same anomaly she saw two weeks ago. Praise God! We are so relieved and I truly feel happy, for the first time since hearing the scary news that we might lose our baby. The heart rate was a strong 171 and there is even a hint at what the sex may be, but we are going to keep that one secret until we know for sure. It's still pretty early to know 100%.

Anyway, thank you for your prayers and concern. More proof that God hears our prayers and while we were at peace with whatever God decided, we are elated that He has chosen to heal our baby.

Gotta scoot. Mia has a choir concert at church tonight. Got to make her beautiful...I mean, more beautiful.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I've got to stop

Googling, that it. I am information junky. I love to google, scan articles, message boards...anything that will give me an idea of what I am dealing with. When we were adopting, I read happy ending stories and not-so-happy ending stories about adopting and drove myself crazy. When I was pregnant with Olivia, I was on the internet a million times a day looking up every new symptom, worrying myself sick about if I would know when I was in labor. (Oh man, did I know!!!!) So, this latest development is no different. Google cystic hygroma and you will be bombarded with a lot of medical jargon, but even more sad stories of babies not surviving. Not what I need to see! What's almost more disturbing than that is the number of people that choose to end their pregnancies once they find out that their baby will most likely have a disability, like Down's or Turner's. I've never raised a child with a disability and I am certain it is no easy task, however, I could never choose to end their life because it might be complicated. Perhaps I am being insensitive here, but this hits at my core pro-life nerve.

Whoa...better stop myself before I get on my soap box! Yep, too late. I'm already there!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We've got some good news...and some scary news!

Of course, good news ALWAYS comes first. The good news is, God has blessed us again and we are expecting another baby. I am about nine weeks and wanted to wait to make the announcement until I had my first doctor's visit and sono, which was this morning. Thus, the scary news. My anxiety quickly went away as soon as the tech turned up the volume so we could hear the heartbeat...a strong 179. Yea! However, I watched the tech as she kept going back over the same thing. Apparently Evan did too, because he asked if everything looked ok. Unfortunately, there is fluid behind our baby's head and neck. Neither one of us knew what this meant, but we knew it wasn't super news when we were taken to an exam room where, after the tech and the nurse whispered, were told that my doctor would be in shortly to speak with us. My techy hubby whipped out my new IPOD touch (super cool birthday present to me!!!) and started googling what the cause could be. *Note - googling can cause serious alarm! Anyway, my doctor eventually came in and after looking at the sono pictures told us that while it is still really early to try and determine anything based on a sono (love the CYA), if it is anything, it is most likely a cystic hygroma. Once again, techy hubby started furiously googling! :) My doctor told me that this is usually caused by a chromosomal anomaly which could lead to various diagnoses. I could miscarry. The baby could have something called Turner's syndrome, Noonan syndrome or trisomies 13, 18 or 21. Can you tell I have been googling?? By the way, trisomy 21 is also known as Down's syndrom. Learn something new everyday! Anyway, it is still really early and even if our baby does have a cystic hygroma, there are cases where they are not caused by chromosomal anomalies and just go away without any complications. So we are praying, and asking everyone we know to pray, for our tiny little baby. God is awesome and is in total control of this situation. We are trusting that He will take care of our baby and make this hygroma, or whatever it is, go away.

I go back in two weeks for another sono to see if anything else can be determined. If it still appears to be a cystic hygroma, my doctor will refer me to a high-risk OB and we will go from there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Say a prayer for this family!

Their surprise baby (conceived after adopting their gorgeous son!) decided to throw them another surprise and come into this world this morning...a full two months before her due date. So far, she is doing well despite her early arrival. Say a prayer and then jump over to their blog to let them know you are praying.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She's walking!!

I tried to get video tonight, but by the time I got the camera out, she was tired and frustrated. However, my baby is walking! And she isn't even 11 months yet!!!! She's been cruising the furniture for about two months. Then, she started taking a couple of steps before falling or sitting down. Today she started walking across the living room, turning and walking the other direction. Of course, it's bittersweet. It's one of MANY milestones to come and we are so grateful that she is healthy and developing well. But I can't get over the lump in my throat brought on by the fact that my baby is walking and nearly a year old! Why does it have to go so fast????

Hopefully I can get a video tomorrow. She really is so adorable 'cause she is SO tiny.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's over

And we are SO doomed!

Today's election

Watch the video, think and pray about who you will vote for today. This is a touchy subject for many, but as a woman that has struggled to become a Mom, given birth to a healthy baby and recently lost a baby, I cannot imagine how anyone can still vote for a person that thinks this is ok. There are so many options for women out there and while I know abortion can seem like the “quick” fix that many are looking for, I ask you to speak with these women years later and see if it was indeed, the quick fix they thought it was.

I will give you fair warning. The video is VERY graphic and disturbing. You do have the option of skipping this portion, although I hope you won’t. Sometimes we need images burned into our memories. And while I don’t know if all of these images are the result of abortions, you can imagine what a baby might look like after being bathed in a saline solution to end his or her life. Or what he or she might look like after having his or her limbs ripped from their body. And let’s not mention what those precious little heads look like after a partial-birth abortion.

Go Tech!!!!

Mia gettin' in a pre-game nap with Daddy!!!!

Olivia is ready for the game!!!!!


My beautiful butterflies!!!!!!!!!!

Not a lot goin' on

Nothing much going on. I have been busy, although when I think about it, I can't really tell you what with. I gave my friend a housewarming on Saturday and despite having to listen to the 60 something liberal go on and on and on and on about how HER generation fought for OUR (womens) freedom, it went great. Hmmmmmmmm, I don't recall my parent's generation fighting for anything other than greater access to LSD. Oh wait, of course. She is referring to the right for women to legally murder their unborn babies!!! I got it!!!! Now, the ole' Jessie would have jumped all over and not backed down until we were in a screaming match. However, Jessie has grown up and learned that despite your best arguments, you will not win these people over. So, I packed up my stuff and got the heck out of there before the ole' Jessie was awakened by this woman's utter stupidity. My friend, however, did not back down and lit into her after I left. Wish I could have been there! Of course, the other issue here is - who goes into someone's house and begins telling that person, "You should be grateful. You have no idea what MY generation did for you." Blah, blah, blah!!!

Sorry to bore you with my rant. I will say that I am SOOOOO happy that today is election day and am just praying it will not be drawn out like it was 8 years ago. I have heard a lot people say they are worried about the outcome. I'm not. I have prepared myself for the worst case scenario and in case you are new to my blog...that would be Obama winning. Anyway, I am prepared. Am I happy? No flippin' way! However, like everything else in my life...this is so out of my hands and in the hands of my creator.

On a sweet note. Mia has been asking a LOT lately about Jesus and if He is in her heart. Well, in the van last night, our conversation went like this:

"Mama, Daddy married you and you married him back and then y'all went to heaven."
"Yes, we are married but we aren't in heaven. Heaven is where you go when you die if you have Jesus in your heart."
"Do I have Jesus in MY heart???"
***Quick, silent prayer was offered here that I would say something right.***
"Yes, but when you get older you will have to ask Him to stay."

Now, don't judge my theology. I am working with a VERY perceptive three-year old here. I want her know the truth, but not worry her into making an ignorant decision at too young an age. On a side note, she thinks being married is heaven. Awwwwwwwww!!!!!

Alright, enough of my babble. Here are some recent pictures of my girls. Oh, how I love my girls!!!

Mia LOVES playing dress-up. She comes up with some interesting combos!!!

Livi's new favorite toy!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm having one of those days....

It's one of those days where I am enjoying toys scattered across my living room floor and not so concerned with laundry, dishes, dirty bathrooms, etc. Part of this is out of necessity. My physical therapist worked me so hard yesterday that I can barely walk. Part of it is because of an email I received this morning. A friend was asking about adoption and what agency we used. As usual, I replied with a very long email about why we chose our agency and our experience. I am sure I supplied way more information than this person ever intended on receiving, but it was a reminder on where we have been and what we have been through to get where we are. Does that make sense? Too often I get caught up on the unimportant things -
"Is my house clean?"
"What laundry do I need to do today?"
"Are all the toys picked up and put in their assigned places?

Instead, I should be asking myself -
"Did I tickle Mia today until she screamed?"
"Did I play Barbies until I thought I would cry with boredom"
"Did I show Olivia how to build a tower only to knock it down?"
"Did I read the same book over and over and over again even though I had a filthy kitchen?"

You get the idea and probably know where I am coming from. My children are going to remember the fun stuff, not a spotlessly clean house or drawers filled with clean laundry. These years pass all to quickly and I need to remind myself daily of that. I can clean and do laundry later!!! Now, if you will excuse me. I have a daughter to tickle!

Friday, October 17, 2008


There is nothing like seeing a glowing, radiant expectant Mom with a cute, preggo belly and then hearing that her due date is what yours would have been. I have intentionally made myself forget what week I would have been to keep myself from constantly thinking, "What if....?" However, I don't think I will ever be able to forget the due date.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The best, and worst of having a cold

Hands down, the worst part of having a cold (for me) is the never-ending throat tickles that comes at the end of a cold that will last for weeks. You (I) have the urge to cough, but of course, it doesn't help. So you (I) cough for 5 - 10 minutes, accomplishing nothing unless you think peeing your pants is an accomplisment. Another lovely side effect of having been bladder control!!!

The best part of having a cold is when the congestion is FINALLY starting to go away and what's that....can I actually taste something???? It's ever so faint, I don't want to get my hopes up. But, yes...I think I can taste it and it is the best tasting thing I have ever had. Ok, the best thing in at least a week. Is it because the sense of smell and taste have a nice little siesta that everything is better??? Who knows. I am just going to enjoy tasting my coffee and smelling again. Correction...smelling everything around me. I hope I don't smell!!!! :) At least now I can tell. You're welcome.

It should be mentioned that Livi is also happy that I can smell again. No more sitting in poop waiting for her big sister to inform Mommy that Livi stinks.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Little Livi is growing...a little!

Livi had her 9 month check-up today and while she is growing, she is taking her sweet time. Here are her latest measurements:
Weight - 14.8 lbs. Length - 26 1/2 inches Head - 45 cm.

That puts her in the 5th percentile for weight, 25th for length and 95th for head!!!!! She may be tiny, but she's got brains.

Developmentally, she is right on target and perhaps, even a little ahead. Or perhaps, that's the proud Mama in me. At any rate, she is getting so big and it breaks just a little piece of my heart. Seriously, where does the time go? Even this week has flown by. Anyway, back to little bit. She is crawling, but of course, she has her own style. She sits on her bottom, puts her hands down and scoots. Not as fast as crawling, but she gets around. She is WAY more interested in walking and is "cruising" the furniture. Very scary!!! This is the stage Mia was in when she fell in our room and hit her head. Not a big deal, except she was 'asleep' within five minutes and not really stirring. You guessed it, off to the ER we went. Of course, she was awake and fine by the time we got there.

Ok, back to Livi. She has got the sweetest little voice and I will definitely have to post some video in the coming days. She isn't really saying anything other than "Da Da" and "Mmmma Mmmmma", but all her other little words are so cute. Of course, the best news is she is finally warming up to Evan. From day one, she has been Mama's girl and wanted very little to do with her Daddy. (That's what I get for wanting a Mama's boy!!!) Within the last month or so, she has really developed a love for him that has just melted him. She gets SO excited when he gets home from work. As soon as she hears his voice, she starts squealing and bouncing. Of course, none of this has gone unnoticed by the green-eyed monster in our house. She does her best to interfere. Evan, however, is about the happiest man alive. He loves "his" girls, as he calls us.

This is such a wonderful time in our lives. Yes, I am severely sleep deprived and a little irritated that I can't seem to keep my house clean. (Ok...a LOT irritated!!!) But I have to remind myself that the months and years are passing so quickly. I want to cherish this time that I longed for for so many years! I am so thankful for my family and especially thankful that I am able to stay at home with my girls. It's not always easy, but so worth it.

Well, on that sappy note. (Can you say HORMONAL????) Here are so recent pictures of Livi.

She looks so funny walking because she is so little!

Her version of crawling.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mia and Obama

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Maybe we're doing something right!

Last night, as we were saying prayers with Mia, her Daddy and I were reduced to tears. She and I made a prayer list last week complete with pictures and stickers (Can you tell I used to teach preschool????) so she could join us in praying for specific things. She wanted Daddy to pray for "her" list first, then me and then, barely able to keep her eyes open, she starts her prayers. Hearing her thank God for her food, toys, the sky, etc. is sweet. But hearing her pray for specific things..."God make Granddaddy's leg feel better." "God make Ava's Granny feel better." Ohhhhhhhhhhh my goodness!!! Then she put her hand on my head and said, "God, thank you for Mommy and thank you for making her feel better." ***I had a really bad backache last week and when she asked if I was feeling better, I told her I had asked God to make me better and He did.*** Then, she put her hand on Evan's head and prayed for him as well. At this point, I remembered sitting in that very room, a little over three years ago, praying for a baby and birth family that we had never met, but were leaving the next morning to do just that.

I kissed my sweet girl goodnight, forgot about the temper tantrums she "blessed" me with earlier in the day and thanked God that maybe, just maybe we have done something right.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I never thought...

You ever stop and think about where you are in life...where you have been...where you hope to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? No, I am not having a midlife crisis. I just got to thinking about all of things that I thought would never happen. It started the other night when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in window at church. Good gravy (Mmmmm, gravy!!!!), when did I get fat? Of course, I know the answer to that question. It lies in between those parentheses. However, it got me to thinking about all the things I thought would never happen.

"I'll never be fat!!!!"
Ahhhh, famous last words of a genetically predisposed to being fat, girl that LOVES to eat and HATES exercise. God love her, my Mom tried to warn me. I come from a family, on both sides, of, ahem, big boned folks that would most likely put "eat" down as a hobby. I remember being a teenager, walking through the living room and Mom pointing out that I was starting to put on a few pounds. I would scoff and utter those words which now burn in my ears, "Ugh, I will never be fat." I was never size 2 skinny, and to be honest, never wanted to be. I had curves baby! I was super proud of my 36-28-36 dimensions. Little did I know that your metabolism slows down in your early 20s and only goes downhill from there. I should have listened to you Mom!!!

"Ewwwww! I'd never go out with him!"
Him, of course, being my husband. We've known each other for 18 years now and let me tell you, it was so not love at first sight. Of course, is there such a thing when you are 12 years old? He was self-prescribed nerd and I was way-too cool to hang with him. Sure, I could be his friend and be nice to him in band (ok, we were both nerds!), but like, talk to him in the hall...NOT!!!! Then came high school and all new issues. To say I loathed him would be putting it mildly. I seriously begged my older, crazy brother to beat him up at one point because he had made me so mad. For a solid year, I wanted NOTHING to do with him and prayed he would move away. Then came my junior year, his senior and I spent the first 6 weeks of school out with pneumonia. Well, I'll be darned if he didn't start being nice to me. Jerk!!! Like, I can't hate you if you are going to be all nice to me and say things like, "I've been praying for you." and "I'd be happy to help you get caught up on your assignments." I refuse to use a cliche here, but you can probably figure out how it turned out. Hmmmm??? Perhaps a future posting on our courtship.

"I'll never be a Mom"
That one was hard. All I had ever wanted in life was to get married and start popping out babies. I love babies, always have. My Mom tells me I used to try and take babies out of strollers when I was little. Mom would turn her back for one second, only to turn back around to a horrified Mother and little Jessica trying to hold the baby. So, when the babies didn't start popping out, I took it rather hard. Really hard. Of course, I am able to look back now and see God's hand in EVERYTHING and while I don't typically claim to understand the way God works, I do know that had I started popping out babies, I wouldn't have my Mia. And that thought is unimaginable.

"I'll never be pregnant"
This too was a hard one to swallow. Adopting Mia definitely filled that void of not being a Mother, but not having the whole pregnancy experience left me a little wanting. I tried to make peace with it, and on some levels, I truly believe I did. But there was always that bit of curiosity, wondering what it would be like. I still can't believe that God blessed me with Olivia. Being pregnant was miserable at times, but ohhhh so worth it.

"I'll never do THAT!"
There are oh so many things that could fall into this category.
"I will never count to three with my children." Did it! And it doesn't work!

"I could never go a day without showering." Do it frequently!

"I'd never use the TV as a babysitter for my child." Praise the Lord for PBS!

"Ugh, who gives Dr Pepper to a toddler?" Parents that really love their child and want to expose them to the best life has to offer!

"I'd never drive a minivan." After years of begging, I finally have my minivan and I LOVE it!!!

"I'd never dress my kids in second hand clothes." Let me tell you about some of latest finds at the JBF sale.

And my my Mom. It was more of a making fun of her. I would catch her rubbing her chin upwards and knew she was searching for those stiff, dark hairs that only OLD women get. I would then, of course, mimic her with a grossly exaggerated expression. Well guess who now has those lovely old lady hairs??? And to repay me for my kindness, they are not just on my chin, but on my neck, face and chest. Yipppppeeee! Lesson here - don't ever make fun on your Mom!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home sick

Mia is staying the night with her Granny and Granddaddy...and is perfectly fine. She was so excited to hear that she was staying the night with them and not coming home with us. I am the one that is home sick for my baby to the point that I am actually nauseous. Ok, I admit...that might be the super greasy burger and onion rings I had at dinner. At any rate, I miss my little girl. I am so thankful that she has wonderful grandparents that spoil her rotten and she is so comfortable with them that she is basically pushing us out the door. I just don't do well being away from her. I know it's good for her, and something I missed out on with my grandparents. I stayed the night with them from time to time, but they were NOT the spoiling type. Mia managed to watch or partially watch 4 movies from the time we got there until Evan and I left (which was only three hours) and Granddaddy was talking about more. Mia's dinner consisted of alternating between graham crackers, a sucker, spaghetti O's, french fries and Granny's coke. No doubt she will be up later than I will tonight and will love every second. In the meantime, I'll swallow the lump forming in my throat and busy myself with tasks hard to do with Mia around.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The rest of the story....

We had to stop by Evan's office on the way out of town, which was out of the way - by the way! He had taken our digital camera to work the day before and forgotten to bring it home. We got the camera, ran through a McDonald's drive and headed towards Amarillo for the 2nd time in one week. It was an exciting, and nerve-wracking drive. Would we be coming home with a baby? Would this end in heart-break? For us? For J and A? If we did come home with a baby, where would she sleep? We had NOTHING ready. I had a few sleepers and bottles I had bought just in case of a quick match, but nothing had been washed. I didn't even have diapers!!!!!!

We got to Amarillo a little after noon and even though we were starving, we headed straight for the hospital. It had been nearly 9 hours since they first called us and we wanted to see if Mia had arrived yet. We found out where we needed to go and met J, his Mom and A's Mom in the waiting room. This was the first time we had met the Moms - AWKWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, we were perfectly content to sit in the waiting room, but J wanted us to come back to see A. I wasn't sure that was what she wanted, so I asked him to double-check with her. She said it was ok, so we headed back. There were also a few family friends there, so we got acquainted with everyone and took a few pictures. A was nearly completed dilated when we got there, but was really sleepy. So as she slept (and progressed), we visited with everyone. A was so funny. She would wake up and comment that she couldn't feel her legs due to the epidural. She would try so hard to lift her legs and when she would, we could see Mia moving around.

At around 3:30, A asked us all to leave the room, with the exception of J. We retreated to the waiting room to wait. Eventually, A's Mom couldn't stand not knowing what was going on, so she decided to wait outside the room. A few minutes after 4:30, we saw a nursery bed being wheeled away from A's room. Inside it was a tiny baby wrapped in a foil looking blanket turned on her side looking straight at us. She went by so fast, all I noticed what that there was a baby there. But Evan saw her eyes, locked in his direction. He immediately fell in love!

A few minutes later, Shirley came out, crying. She said that the cord had been wrapped around Mia's neck, that she was really blue and that they wanted to get her to the NICU right away. I asked how A was doing and she said she was tired, but ok. We began praying for Mia, and for J and A too. J came out a few minutes later with red was obvious he had been crying. He sat down by us and told us how beautiful Mia was. He then asked if we were really ready to be parents and I think we mumbled something like, "Uhhh, yeah, sure." He said he wished he was and broke down.

A's Mom said she was going to go to the NICU and asked if we wanted to go. We were so concerned about over-stepping our bounds and not interfering in anyway, we wanted her to check with J and A first. This was THEIR baby, not ours. They gave the go ahead and so we got to see Mia for the first time. This is her first picture. One hour and 6 minutes after she was born. Not that anyone was counting!

We took the picture back to A so she could see as she wasn't allowed out of bed yet. Evan took J back to their apartment so he could get some stuff for A while I stayed with A. She was so tired, she slept most of the time but woke up every once in a while and we would talk. She woke up once and out of the blue, asked me how much weight I thought she had lost! Too funny! By the time Evan and J got back, it was late and we had not even had dinner yet. We left, grabbed some Taco Bell and headed to our hotel to crash. we spent the next day visiting with J and A at the hospital, spent a little time in the NICU with Mia although we had not held or touched her. She wasn't ours!!!

Everything seemed to be going ok until Saturday, when A was discharged from the hospital. Mia wasn't ready to leave yet and A had a hard time leaving the hospital without her. They asked us to take them home. The drive to their apartment was very tense and very quiet. They had told us that they wanted us to come in and hang out, even though we felt like they needed time alone. Once we got to their apartment, they began getting settled and there was very little visiting. A did show me a few things that she and her Mom had bought for Mia. We talked a little more about the entrustment ceremony. Finally, when the tension became too much, we left. We knew something was up and our hopes were beginning to fade.

Sunday morning we woke up less than chipper. Everything on the TV was talking about a storm named Katrina headed towards New Orleans. However, we were dealing with our own storm in Amarillo, Texas. We spoke with our social worker fairly early in the day and she said that J and A had called her late the night before, completely freaked out. Reality was setting in and they were not sure if they could go through with the adoption. Hmmmm, exactly what we had sensed when we left their apartment. She said that they really needed to see us with Mia as they were having a hard time envisioning us as her parents. We agreed to meet them later at the hospital and talk. We got to the hospital, fully expecting J and A to tell us, "Sorry, but we just can't go through with it." And to be perfectly honest, while we would have been disappointed, we completely understood. That has got to be the most gut-wrenching decision a person can make. Once we all sat down in the waiting room, A told us about the previous night. About how they stayed up most of the night trying to think of a way to keep Mia, but they always worked their way back to their original reasons for choosing adoption. So, they were going to move forward and wanted us to visit Mia with them. We told A that we had visited Mia a few times, which they had given us permission to do and she seemed shocked that we had not held her. I told her that she was not ours to hold.

A and I went back to the NICU first. She showed me how to scrub in and gown up. A took Mia's temperature and then told me that I needed to change her diaper. Yikes!!! Changing a newborn is hard enough, but you add in an IV and other wires..oh, and her birthmother standing there watching your every move. Can you say nerve racking???? I got her cleaned up and A said, "Good job Mom!" A few minutes later, the nurse brought a bottle over to A. She handed it to me and gave me the go ahead to feed her. After I fed her, J came back and said that Evan was looking mighty sad out in the hallway. I offered to step out so Evan could come back, but A said that Evan and I should have some time with Mia and just us. J and A left and a few minutes later, Evan came back. He sat down in a rocking chair and handed Mia to him. It was such a precious time for us. We were feeling more confident that J and A were going to follow through with their plan to place Mia with us and we finally allowed ourselves a little bit of excitement. I don't know how long we were back there, but after a while, I felt like I needed to leave and let A come back. During this time, one of the nurses had been getting stuff ready for a bath for Mia. I hung out in the hall with J while Evan and A gave Mia a bath together. After they were done, A told me that Evan talked Mia's ear off the whole time they were bathing her. At one point, Evan was joking about Mia having hair on her back and A said, "Don't let your Daddy tease you like that!" WOW!!! We took them back home and went to meet our parents (who had arrived earlier in the day) and Evan's cousin for dinner. We were on cloud nine and couldn't wait to tell everyone about our afternoon.

Monday, August 29th - Our social worker called in the morning to let us know that Mia was going to be discharged. However, it would most likely be late afternoon, early evening. Argh! We were planning on driving straight home after the entrustment ceremony and did not want to drive all night. We asked her to beg, plead...whatever it took to get her discharged earlier so we would not be on the road so late. She promised to try, so we waited for her call. A little while later she called back to tell us that she could be discharged whenever we were ready. Woo-hoo, we were more than ready. We met J, A and the social worker at the hospital and while we signed our paperwork (and handed over a big check!), J and A spent a few more minutes with Mia. Once we were done, J and A signed their paperwork and then came back to the NICU where the nurses gave discharge instructions. Before we knew it, it was time to go.

J and A had decided to have the entrustment ceremony at a park near the hospital. Mia rode with them in the social worker's car. Once at the park, our parents finally met J, A and their Moms. The ceremony was short, but unbelievably sweet...and heartbreaking. Our social worker read some scripture, prayed and gave us an opportunity to say something. We had written a letter to J and A. I knew I would not be able to read it, so Evan read, but barely made it through. Once he finished, it was time for A to place Mia in my arms. By this time, everyone is not just crying, but sobbing. I had so many emotions running through my mind. While I was happy to finally be a Mom, my heart was breaking for J and A. I felt like stopping the whole thing and saying, "Wait, are you really sure about this?" However, the decision had been made and she placed Mia in my arms. I will never, ever forget the sound of J and A's sobs and how they collapsed in each other's arms while Evan and I stood there, awkwardly holding our new daughter. After a bit, we took some pictures, hugged on each other and then it was time to go home. We walked back to our car, promising to call when we got home and to basically give Mia anything under the moon. They said goodbye to Mia, hugged us again, told us they loved us, and that was it. We left.

After a quick dinner before leaving town, we started towards home. We only had to stop once to change and feed Mia. We had to make many other stops for Evan's Mom, who was driving behind us. Being home that first night with Mia was so surreal, and sooo hard. She was up most of the night, crying. At around 3 or 4 in the morning, it hit me that this was the first time in her existence that she was not with A and my heart broke all over again.

Over the next few days, we bonded and eventually became more confident in our roles as Mom and Dad. Now, three years later, we feel immensely blessed to have such a healthy, beautiful daughter. In addition to our beautiful daughter, we have gained an extended family, J, A and their families. We love them dearly and cannot imagine not having them in our family.

So, that's it. That's her story, more or less. I love to tell her story because I feel like it is such a testimony of God's grace and provision. God's timing is always perfect. Everything had to happen at just the right time for J and A to contact Buckner, for us to finally be ready, for us to hit it off and be "matched." God is SO awesome!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Three years ago, continued

Ok, let me first speak to those that are in the process of adopting your first child. Please, please, please get out a little notebook of some sort (right now!!!) and start journaling. I was very particular about journaling once we got the "call" and during the next week until we brought Mia home, but I really wish I would have journaled more during our wait. I am so proud that I at least had the brains to journal what I did because it's the little details that I want to pass on to Mia.

So, back to Mia's story.............

We were up at 4 am on Monday, August 22 and left the house at 5 am for Amarillo. (Those that have made the drive know what a THRILLING drive it is...NOT!!!!) We arrived in Amarillo at 10:15 and called Evan's cousin, Kevin, up to let him know we were in town and decided to meet for lunch. Unfortunately, we were so nervous about our meeting with the birth parents that we were horrible company. I remember staring at my lunch, not saying a word. After lunch, we went to our hotel to rest and pace the floor. Ok, ok...I paced the floor. Evan laid on the bed and watched TV. Trust me, I paced enough for the both of us.

We left the hotel at 2:15 for our 2:30 meeting. Before we left the hotel parking lot, we prayed (again!). After we prayed, we felt energized and renewed about our decision and sped to the church. Of course, being that Amarillo is small and it only takes 4 1/2 minutes to get ANYWHERE in town, we got to the church early. We circled the church a few times to kill time and Evan even had the foresight to get a picture of the church just in case this match worked and our daughter wanted to see where we met her birth parents one day. We met J and A in a Sunday school room with the maternity case worker. J and A were finishing up their lunch from Wendy's. When we walked in the room, J was playing horribly on an old piano and A was chomping away on some fries. They both seemed as nervous as we were, if that was even possible. We spent the next 2 1/2 hours talking about ourselves. J and A already had a rough idea about us from the profile, but of course, wanted to know more. We got to hear about their lives (a rough sketch) and why they were choosing to place their baby for adoption. The social worker brought up the issue of the name, Mia, and A went into a long explanation about why they chose the name and how it would mean a lot if she could keep it as some part of her name. I was smiling the whole time she was talking and couldn't wait to tell her that we were keeping the name. They were so excited. We did tell them that we would like to pick the middle name and when we told them we thought 'Grace' would be pretty, they agreed. We talked a lot about open adoption and what we thought that relationship would look like for us. We made an open adoption plan and talked about plans for the birth and hospital visits. Now, keep in mind, this was only our first match meeting. Most of these things are discussed later. However, since A was due in less than two weeks, we knew we had to get this stuff worked out if they decided to choose us. We went from the church to Chili's for dinner WITHOUT the social worker. I begged her to come, however, she wanted us to spend some time with just J and A. In retrospect, I am SO glad we did that because it gave us a chance to be a little more "us" without the agency looking over our shoulder. After dinner, we took J and A home and made plans to meet the next day.

We talked to A at 11 the next morning and decided we would go to their apartment for a while. We talked about the entrustment ceremony, then went to a local bakery for coffee. We visited a while longer and then it was time to take them home, and for us to head back home. A told us she had a Dr's appointment the next day and would give us a call later in the evening to let us know how it went. Remember, at this point, we did not know if it was a match. We said goodbye, hugged and headed home. The whole way home, all we could talk about was the possibility of bringing a baby home soon. We were scared, but VERY excited!

August 24 - Back to reality, back to work. All of our friends at work were so excited for us and we kept trying to bring everyone back to reality. This was not a done deal. They might not choose us. They might decide to parent. It was so obvious that they loved this little baby named Mia and the decision to place her for adoption was killing them. After work, we went to orchestra rehearsal at church and rushed home to call A. A said she had not felt well all day and had a Dr's appointment with an eye doctor. However, she had an OB appointment the next day and would call to tell us how it went. That was a good sign!!!! Maybe we were it.

August 25 - We were woken up at 3:51 am by the phone. It was J calling from the back of an ambulance. A's water broke and they were on their way to the hospital. J said we better get on the road if we wanted to be there in time! We jumped up and started running around the house like crazy people trying to get ready. We threw stuff in bags, called our parents to let them know what was going on and left the house a little after 5 am. As we were leaving, we found that a newspaper had been delivered to our house. This was strange, because we did not have a subscription. However, anytime anything big happens in our family...marriage, birth, death, etc., my Dad always buys a paper to save so we will always know what was going on the day of said event. Hmmmm, perhaps a sign from God that our daughter was going to be born that day?????

Ok, I am sorry, but I have to continue this later. There are four more days to write about and I am TIRED!!!!

To be continued....again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Three years ago today

Even as I am writing this, it's hard to believe that it has been three years. It was three years ago today that our social worker called me at work and said that there was a birth family with a baby due in two weeks. It was three years ago today that our lives would be changed forever.

That day started like any other day. Got up, got ready for work, dreaded going to work and longed for a day when my workday would consist of staying home with my own babies. Before I left the house, I knelt in the living room and prayed for the usual stuff - health and safety for my family, patience for me to deal with twelve one-year olds and oh, by the way God, could you please give us a baby soon???? We had been in the adoption process for well over year. Not waiting, mind you. But taking our sweet time getting all the required paperwork, training, etc. done. If it had been up to me, I would had it all completed in 24 hours. However, my hubby, being the brilliant man he is, knew it was my lifelong dream to be a stay-at-home Mom and knew that when we began the process, me quitting work would have made it impossible for us financially. So, he worked overtime and took the time to get our finances in better shape so that when the call did come, there would be no hesistation about me quitting. Anyway, we were in the last leg of approval, only lacking our last home visit from our social worker and then we would be put in the "book", and that was scheduled for the following week.

I finished up with an amen and headed to work. My day was pretty typical...twelve, crazy one years olds that needed to be fed, changed, entertained, redirected and most importantly, loved. Then, at about 11:15, the assistant director came in and said I had a phone call from Buckner. I just assumed this had something to do with our upcoming home visit and went to the office to take the call so I could actually hear and have a thought. (Remember, there were twelve one year olds in the room!!!) When I got to the phone, it wasn't our social worker on the phone, but the maternity caseworker, Rachel, telling me the impossible. There was a birth family in Amarillo that was due in TWO WEEKS!!!!. They came to the agency late in the pregnancy and after looking at all the waiting families, didn't feel a "match" with any of them. Rachel knew that while we weren't "approved" yet, we would be by the due date and wanted to know if she could show them our profile. There were some issues and red-flags regarding this birth family, so I told her I would have to call Evan and let her know. I got off the phone and started bawling. Partly because I could not believe everything I had just been told, and partly because I KNEW what Evan's response would be when I told him everything the social worker had told me. I pulled myself together to call Evan at work to relay the information and see what he thought. Of course, his immediate response was, "No way!" However, he told me that he would pray about it. I spent my lunchbreak talking with my coworkers/friends, reading my Bible I just happened to take with me that day :) and praying. Evan called me back and said that he could not concentrate at work and was headed home. I couldn't concentrate either but did not have that flexibility!!! When I was finally able to get home from work, we had a LOT of talking and praying to do. We had a lot to consider and Evan did not want to jump feet first into the first situation thrown our way if it did not feel right. Of course, I would have said yes immediately, but knew he would take his sweet time thinking and praying. After spending the evening and into the night discussing, we decided that there was no harm in having our profile shown to the prospective birth family. If it wasn't meant to be, God could still close the door. But if we were not even open to showing our profile, would we be closing the door for God to do something amazing?

We called the social worker first thing the next morning and told her that we were ok with our profile being shown. She was planning on flying to Amarillo that Saturday to do some counseling with couple and wanted to know if we could get together more pictures to take and show them. (Those that have worked with Buckner know they give you very little room for pictures on your initial profile!) We agreed and she said she would fax us the information they had on the birth parents and baby. Our social worker, Carol, got in touch with us and said on the off-chance that the birth family would like us and want to meet us, we would need to be officially "approved" before we had a match meething. So, she moved our home visit up to Sunday. Like most going through the adoption process, we assumed we needed our house "white glove" clean and absolutely perfect. Soooo, on Saturday we went to required training at Buckner stoppping to get copies of pictures to send to Amarillo on the way. While Evan drove, I quickly labled and added descriptions to the pictures. Once at Buckner, we spoke with Rachel a little more and she said we needed to go ahead and make plans to head to Amarillo on the following Monday to meet the birth parents. We spent the rest of the day getting our house ready for the home visit with the help of our family, trying not to get our hopes up.

On Sunday, we had our home visit and while our social worker tried to keep it generic, it was hard because we already had a potential match. During the meeting, we found out that the birth mother was having a girl and that she and the birth father had already named her, Mia. Carol knew how strongly I felt about naming our child and told us that if this did turn out to be a match, that the birth parents were really in love with this name and wanted to talk to the prospective adoptive parents about keeping it as part of her name, somehow. As soon as we heard the name, we both fell in love with it. Up to this point, we had not been able to agree on a girl's name, but suddenly agreed that Mia was the most beautiful name we had ever heard. Carol was thrilled to hear this, but we made her promise to keep her lips sealed as we wanted to tell the birth parents ourselves. Once Carol left, we headed to Target to register, something Evan told me I could not do until we were officially "approved." After registering, we headed home to pack and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! We stayed up well into the night, sitting in the room that we had set aside for our baby praying. Not just for the possibility of finally becoming parents, but for the health and safety of this baby named Mia, whether she was meant to be ours or not. Praying for the birth parents as we could not imagine the agony that they were going through. And praying for our meeting with them. We could not imagine anything more awkward!!!

To be continued......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not what I intended to write about

First and foremost, thank you for all of your prayers and encouraging messages. Many were confused and alarmed by my previous post and after reading it myself, it did sound a little tragic. Unfortunately, that is how it turned out. We discovered last week, much to our surprise, that I was pregnant. I had been having some symptoms that were a little familiar and decided to take a pregnancy test, more as a joke than anything. Imagine our surprise when it came up positive!!!! Livi is only 7 months, I am still nursing and my cycles are a little screwy. Anyway, despite our shock, we were excited. We had been telling one another that we were done with two kids, but I think deep down, another one would not be so bad.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I was about to leave the house to meet K for a lunch/playdate and needed to pee before leaving. I think you all know where this is headed. Yep, I was spotting. I had been having some slight cramps off and on for the past few days, but remembered having that with Livi and did not think too much about it. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, they had subsided and I was feeling really good. I started to panic and resisted the urge to go buy another test. Anyway, I called my doctor's office and the nurse said I would feel much better if I came in. There is nothing they could do, and since I was only 5 weeks, a sono might not be conclusive. Well, I called K and told her what was going on. I was planning on telling her the good news at lunch, but instead had to tell her all of this. Being the AWESOME friend that she is, she offered to keep Mia while I went to the doctor. I was so relieved because juggling two at the doctors is tough and I knew Mia had been looking forward to playing with her three B's all morning. By the time I got to the doctor, I was bleeding pretty heavily. (Sorry if TMI!) I was trying SO hard to hold it together and doing a pretty good job until Evan called to check on me and said he was praying for me. What is it about that phrase, "I'm praying for you" that always sends us into sobs? Anyway, before the sonogram tech started, she told me that since I was only 5 weeks, they might not see anything, even if I was pregnant. I told her that I pretty much knew how this .was going to play out. Besides, I had my first sono with Livi at 5 weeks and there was a little something to see. Of course, as soon as we were done and she didn't show me anything, I knew. I went back to the waiting room to wait for my doctor to talk to me. I was eventually called back to an exam room to wait some more. I completely lost it at this point. And then, I saw it. My doctor is a Christian lady and has scriptures all over her office - VERY awesome. Well, in this particular exam that I had been in MANY times. There was a calendar on the wall and the scripture for August was Mark 5:19.

"Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."

Wow! The tears immediately stopped. My heavenly Father reminded me in that instance of just how richly blessed I am. I have two, healthy children. The best husband in the world. A wonderful family. Awesome friends. I get to be a stay-at-home Mom. I have food in my house. I have a house. I am healthy. And I have a Savior that died for me so that I would not spend eternity in hell, which is what I deserve.

Of course we are sad. And I have waves of crying. I've never lost a baby before and while I was only 5 weeks, I already loved that little life inside me. When my doctor came in, she told me that they did not see anything on the sono but that it could just be too early. I told her that I was bleeding quite a bit and she told me that I was most likely miscarrying. During all of this, Livi was being her usual happy, smiley self. My doctor was talking about how sweet she was and trying to comfort me. I hugged Livi and said, "How can I be upset? Look what I have."

I KNOW how blessed I am to have two children. There were many, many years when I thought I would never experience the joy of being a mother. And even after we adopted Mia, there was still this little part in me that hurt a little every time I saw a pregnant lady, or heard of someone's new pregnancy. Having Livi honestly completed me, and if we never have anymore children - adoption or birth - I really am ok with that. After all....

The Lord has done great things for me and shown me more mercy than I deserve!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pray for peace, please!

There is something going on in our lives right now, and while I am not ready to share the specifics, I would like to ask all of my blog buddies to pray for me. I am worried, fearful, name it. I know that God does not give us a spirit of fear and I really believe that satan has found a toe-hold and is having a grand 'ole time at my expense. I am even worrying in my dreams! I know that this particular situation is out of my hands and all I can do is pray. However, it's those quiet moments that the worry begins to creep back into my mind and it starts all over again.

Sorry to leave you hanging. I promise details will come soon. I am just not ready.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oh happy day!

I know I am an oddity (understatement of the year!) but I am SO excited that football is back. Grant it, it's only preseason, but it's here. College games on Saturdays, games after church on Sundays, Sunday night Monday night football for me, no cable!...and high school games on Friday nights.

Oh yea, I love me some football!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I survived!!!!

Ahhhh, the peace that is coming from my house right now is wonderful. It's not quiet, but so much nicer than it was 24 hours ago. There is no Wii in the background, no talking over the Wii, no girls fighting, no 12 year old explaining his jokes to me, no baby screaming for attention...just the washing machine going and my oldest watching Curious George. Ahhhhhh!!! Honestly, those of you that have more than 2 kids, how do you do it? I saw a friend at church this morning who has 5 and wants more and I just looked at her like, "You must have a screw loose in that pretty head of yours!" I know, they typically come to you gradually and in most situations are not over half grown when you get them. Once we were finally in bed last night, my husband mumbled to me that he was definitely fine with two kids, no more. I told him that I would still like to adopt older kids in a few years from CPS. Of course, he thinks I am insane. While it was chaotic and LOUD, it was fun. The older ones are at the age where you can joke and be sarcastic with them. And the two girls played so much together, that I felt like I actually got a break. Except to break up the occasional cat fights. Just a preview of what is to come with my girls in a couple years. Yea!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

All better

Yea!!! I am all better. Whatever the funk was, I am over it. Those are the times when I think there might be a little bipolar hanging out in my brain. I can have days like that, and then days like today..I am incredibly happy, almost on a high. Which, considering I have five children in my house right now, is a miracle in itself. We have our two nephews and niece until tomorrow evening which will either be tons of fun or the birth-control we need to convince that we really are ok with just two kids! The nephews are great...10 and 12 and pretty much self-sufficient. My niece, who will be 5 next month, plays really well with Mia. That is, until Mia decided to pick up a really heavy plastic mug and whack her on the head. That sent the niece into sobs and begging to go home. Yep, should be a fun weekend. Of course, Olivia has this bewildered look on her face like, "What happened? Where did all these LOUD kids come from?"

Gotta scoot. I'll be sure and post pictures and let you know our decision - Do we want more kids, or are we good!!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Name Change

The paranoid side of me came out tonight and I decided I did not like my surname included in my title, thus, the name change. Besides, I like this one better.

Ugh...I've got the blahs

Ever feel like that? Not really upset about anything in general, just kinda down. Maybe it's my depression rearing it's ugly head along with PMS. Not sure. There have been a few things come up over the last couple of days that have upset me. (Sorry, no details!) Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I have nothing to be upset about. I mean, look at how the Lord has blessed me. Where do I get off being down about ANYTHING? Ugh...another wave of BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'm sure I will be over by tomorrow. I think I am mainly bummed because I finally felt like I was coming out of my post-partum, hormonal funk that I have been in since Olivia's birth and then WAMMO, I turn into this super grumpy, overly sensitive not-so-nice wife or Mommy. *****Side note - Do I use caps too much???***** Anyway, sorry to be such a downer. Guess I thought it might help to write about it. Nope...still grumpy. :) I promise a cheerier post tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A very happy anniversary!

I can hardly believe that ten years ago today, we said "I do." There were many that told us we were too young, that we should just live together for a while. Several told us that we should enjoy the wedded bliss while it lasted because by the second or third year, we would be tired of each other. Well, I am happy to report that ten years later, we are more in love and happier than we have ever been. The past ten years have not come without challenges, however, we were serious when we said our vows, "...for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live." Here are some secrets that make our marriage work.

1) Never go to bed angry. Not with each other, or anyone for that matter. I have sign in my kitchen that says, "Never go to bed angry...stay and fight." We have done that plenty of times but before we go to sleep, we always make sure we have resolved whatever the issue is. There have been several times that we stayed up so late that we had to call into work the next morning!!! But, we went to sleep happy with one another.

2) Never, ever, ever use the "D" word. Not even as a joke. Divorce is not an option for us. It doesn't matter how rough things get for us, leaving is not an answer. Before we got married, our pastor wanted us to go to some premarital counseling and it was during this counseling that she told us that you don't even joke about leaving. To which I replied, "Oh, I would kill him before I would leave him." She thought I was joking, but Evan said, "No, she is quite serious." I think she was a leery of me after that session.

3) Talk, talk and talk some more. We talk about EVERYTHING. I mean, everything! Probably about some things that people don't even talk to themselves about. My point is, you have to communicate, even when it hurts. My parents, who have been married 37 years, don't do this too well. They are happy, but their communication skills are a bit lacking. It drives me crazy when my Mom says, "Oh, your Dad doesn't know about *whatever*, so don't tell him." Or, she will tell me that I should keep certain things from Evan. WRONG! I love talking to Evan, sharing my thoughts, dreams, funny things that happened during my day. There are many nights that we will lay in bed, in the dark...just talking until the wee hours of the morning. We used to do that when we were dating, except it was in his car in front of my house, although I still don't think our parents believed we were "just talking." OK, there probably was a little smooching thrown in there!!!

4) Keep God first in your marriage. We are not always the best at doing this, but we do try. Pray together, volunteer at church together, do a Bible study together, play in the church orchestra together (that's us!)...anything. We have leaned so much on our faith during our marriage and seen God work in so many different ways. From closing doors on jobs and out of state moves to opening doors to new jobs, new homes and eventually, new babies!

5) Finally, make time for one another. That's definitely harder these days due to the fact that our children run the house, however, I can tell when we aren't making that a priority. Things just don't feel right. That's usually when we call the Grandparents and go out, even if it's just for coffee. Or, we stay up until the wee hours of the night catching up on what's going on in our lives.

Speaking of children running the house, it has taken me ALL day to finish this post. I better scoot. My hubby is taking me out to dinner to celebrate this wonderful day. I am looking forward to almost uninterrupted, adult conversation. Mia is staying with Granny and Granddaddy, but Livi has to go with us. However, we can usually talk over her. Usually!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adopt and you will get pregnant!

Raise your hand if you have ever heard this. Now, smack yourself silly if you have ever had the audacity to utter this phrase! I hate it when people say this. It's painful. It stirs up old emotions that you THOUGHT you had made peace with. It implies that adopting will somehow cure your PCOS, endometriosis and defective uterus. Nevermind the fact that it RARELY happens!!!

It was because of this phrase that we dreaded telling people that we were pregnant even though we were thrilled beyond all belief. I'm not one to really care what people think or say, but I did not want to hear all the "I told you so" comments that I KNEW were going to be thrust my way. It's as if people were discounting Mia and her amazing adoption somehow. I know, that probably doesn't make sense but it's how it felt. And then I was met with something else, people trying to explain to me in an earthly way - a.k.a., no mention of God, why we were now pregnant. "Oh, you just needed to relax." "Your motherly instincts with Mia prompted your body to work just the right way." Blah, blah, blah! How about, God. Period.

When I look back at how both of our children came to be, I am in awe of God and HIS perfect timing. Only He knows the hows, whys and whens of our lives and when you get down to it, isn't that all that matters???

Now, repeat after me:

"I (state your name), will never, ever tell someone the BS line..."You know, as soon as you adopt, you will get pregnant." In addition, I will never, ever tell someone, "There's a crazy lady with the blogspot title 'The Jackson Four' that adopted and then got pregnant."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Does this happen to anyone else???

First and foremost, I am a Christian. However, I feel I am not a very good Christian. I don't read my Bible like I should, I don't have a quiet time everyday like I should, I am horrible at scripture memorization. I do pray, but more often than not, I typically fall asleep before I finish. Periodically, I try REALLY hard to do better at the above things. I'll read my Bible, memorize a verse or two, etc. And then....Satan attacks me. He finds ways to make me irritable, he steals my joy, old "issues" creep back get the idea. I have talked to my hubby about this and he said the same thing happens to him and that the best way around it is continue what I am doing because if I give up, I am giving Satan exactly what he wants - a Christian by name only.

Anyway, I was just curious if anyone else experienced this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Magic Eraser

Most that know me know that I am bit OCD when it comes to cleaning. I am very particular about my house and try my best to keep it clean, even if no one is coming over. Of the many chores I force upon myself, mopping is a biggy. I try to do it at least once a week (although I would do it more if I could!) and when I do, I use really, really hot water boiled on the stove in an effort to get it extra clean. So, imagine my horror when I spilled something the other day and went to wipe it up with a damp papertowel only to discover that the papertowel came up black. ARGHHHHH!!! Are you freakin' kidding me??? How could my floors be that dirty? Especially since I had just mopped the day before. I decided that an 'ole fashion scrubbing was in order, complete with stiff brush and REALLY sore knees. After doing about a quarter of the dining room, I discovered that the Magic Eraser I was using to get up scuff marks was doing a MUCH better job and I wasn't getting blisters like I was from the scrub brush. My hubby saw me scrubbing and said there had been an article in Popular Mechanics describing how the Magic Eraser works and that it only made sense that it clean the floor better than the scrub brush I was using. Apparently these miraculous little sponges are made from something called melamine foam. See below info from Wikipedia -

Melamine foam is a foam-like material consisting of a formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer. The foam, because of its microporous properties, may remove otherwise "uncleanable" external markings from relatively smooth surfaces. For example, it can remove crayon, magic marker, and grease from painted walls, wood finishings, and grime from hub caps.

The open cell foam is not only microporous, but its polymeric substance is also extremely hard, meaning that it works like sandpaper but on a smaller scale, getting into tiny grooves and pits in the subject being cleaned. On a larger scale, the material feels soft. Because the bubbles interconnect, its structure is more like a maze of fibreglass strands than like the array of separate bubbles in, for example, styrofoam.

The substance needs to be dampened to work properly. It does break down rather rapidly, so a given block of foam generally lasts only a single intensive scrubbing session, though it can be used repeatedly for much smaller marks.

While the name-brand "Magic Eraser" is made by Mr. Clean (Procter & Gamble), the foam itself is manufactured in Germany by BASF under the name "Basotect" and was already a common product before this new use was discovered. Other companies have also begun marketing it for its cleaning properties, either under other names, like Coralite Ultimate Sponge, or as a generic product.

Melamine foam has been used for over 20 years as insulation for both pipes and ductwork. It also has a long history as a soundproofing material for projects like studios, sounds stages and auditoriums.

So, I got rid of the brush and bucket and magically erased the dirt from my kitchen and dining room floors. I couldn't believe the difference it made! My floor looks better than it did brand new although while on my hands and knees, I discovered that I really dislike our vinyl flooring. It's a really porous, thus the reason it attracted so much dirt, and I really think it's made to look a little dirty in spots. Of course, on one hand, that is great. It's obviously done a great job concealing the dirt for the last few years, however, it makes it hard to tell what needs to be scrubbed harder, or just left alone.

I think I am going to start a letter writing campaign to Proctor and Gamble to come out with a "Magic Eraser" mop. My floors may be cleaner, but my knees and back are KILLING me!!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Infertility - I have not forgotten your pain!

Since entering the blog world, I have enjoyed reading other blogs, mainly those involving adoption and infertility. I love reading how God has brought families together through adoption, especially open adoption...something near and dear to my heart. However, it's the blogs about infertility that stir up old wounds and break my heart for those that are living with the IF curse.

I remember that pain. I remember crying so hard over the possibility that I might never be able to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mother that I would want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I remember avoiding baby showers. I remember coming up with excuses as to why I could not visit family and friends in the hospital following the births of their children. I remember skipping church on Mother's day, Father's day and baby dedication days. I remember cursing Johnson Baby commercials that talked about how having a baby changes everything. I remember walking through the baby departments at stores hoping that one day, I would be buying something for MY baby. I remember my family trying to shield me from news stories about women dumping their babies in trash dumpsters because they knew it would hurt me. I remember the countless comments from family, friends and even complete strangers as to how we could solve our little problem. I remember feeling like the reproductive endocrinologist (let's call him Dr. Doo-Doo! Kriss knows who I am talking about!!!) held my future in his hands and instead of seeing my pain, he saw dollar signs and a new Lexus. I remember the pain of realizing that if I ever wanted to become a mother, it was going to cost me big bucks and even more emotionally.

I also remember the day Evan said he was ready to look into adoption. I had been ready for a while, but he wanted to consider additional IF treatments and had said that if we did adopt, he did not want to go into debt for it. I remember him coming home from work and telling me that we had gone into debt for a lot worse stuff and that if it was God's will for us to adopt, then HE would provide a way. I remember all the paperwork, home study visits, required training and reading that we had to complete to be approved to be parents. I remember the bitterness that most people we knew that were parents did not have to go through any of this. They simply got pregnant!

And I will always, always, always, always remember the day I was at work and my director came to tell me that there was someone named Rachel on the phone from Buckner. My heart stopped because I knew she was the maternity counselor. I remember every detail of that phone call and how as she gave me the information of the prospective birth parents, I cried on the inside because I knew there were too many "red-flags" for Evan to consider meeting them. I remember him FINALLY telling me (after several hours of him praying about it) that we should meet them and if it wasn't God's will, then He would close that door. To use a cliche, the rest is history. Four days after we met Mia's birth family, Mia was born and our dream of becoming parents finally happened. It didn't happen how we planned, and I thank God everyday that it didn't. When I look back at all the negative pregnancy tests, the perfectly timed intercourse because the OV predictor kit said it was time, the IUI that didn't work - I realize that had we conceived, we wouldn't have Mia.

Infertility sucks big time and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Nor would I force the adoption issue on someone that is not ready to look into it as a way to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. However, my heart breaks every time I hear someone say they are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in the hopes that they can have a "child of their own." Perhaps it was the adoption etiquette training we received at Buckner that has made me a bit touchy about that phrase, but any adoptive parent will tell you that ALL of their children are their own, regardless of how they came to be.

So, to all those that are struggling with infertility...I feel your pain. If you know someone that is struggling with it, keep your mouth shut. Trust me, they have already heard or read anything you are going to say to them about how to get pregnant. And don't you dare throw the, "adopt and you will get pregnant" line at them. That's another touchy one for me that I will most definitely blog about another day! However, I have rambled long enough for today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why? Why?? Why???

That is a common question in our house these days. Mia has entered into that lovely part of childhood that no matter what you say, she asks, "Why??" It is driving me up the wall. Evan deals with it better than I do. When she asks "Why?", he explains whatever she is asking to the point that she is the one annoyed. Like, "why is it too late for chocolate?" He breaks into a discertation about the effects chocolate have someone's ability to sleep and the decay it can cause to teeth while sleeping. I use the 'ole, "because I said so" excuse which gets me another "Why?" She knows it is annoying too because when I really start to get aggravated she will erupt into, "Why why why why why why why why why..." and then starts giggling. There have been many cute phases in her nearly three years, and I am sure there are more to come, however, I hope this one passes REALLY, REALLY quickly. Don't you dare ask why!!!!

So much going on

Whew, this past week has been crazy. Let's start with a week ago today, when Evan hurt his shoulder. Best we can tell, he did when he was playing with Mia and threw her up over his shoulder. It was pretty sore and by Wednesday afternoon, he was miserable. I told him to go to Carenow since it was so late in the day and all they were able to do was tell him that nothing was broken and to go get an MRI in 5 days if it was not better. He went on into work Thursday morning but had to come home because the pain was so bad. I decided to take him to the ER in the hopes that they would do a CT or MRI to find out if he had torn his rotator cuff. No such luck there. They did another X-ray and told us the same thing, no broken bones but he did need to see an orthopedic surgeon. The rest of Thursday was spent with him passed out on pain meds. Fun!

We got up early on the 4th to head to East Texas to see my Dad's family. I was ready to cancel our day trip, but Evan said he felt well enough to go since the day would only consist of sitting around and visiting with family. I am so glad we were able to go since it had been a year since we were out there. Mia has grown up so much and none of them had seen Livi yet. Mia had a ball playing with my cousin's daughter. They rode my Uncle's horse, played outside, chased name it. I tell you, that girl was made for the country. She was not scared of riding the horse by herself, even if her Daddy and I were. Of course, Olivia was cute and smiley for everyone. My Uncle threatened to keep both my girls and told them they could come back anytime they wanted. Funny, I remember him telling me that when I was little. Both girls were so exhausted, they were asleep before we hit the interstate and stayed asleep for the entire 2 hour drive home. How wonderful to have a quiet car ride to actually talk to Evan. We took advantage of the quiet to FINALLY decide what to do for our anniversary. We decided that we would spend the weekend at the Gaylord. We'll leave Mia with my parents for one night, and then go get her for the 2nd night. I know the Gaylord has a lot going on this summer that I know she would enjoy. Besides, I don't think I could be away from her for more than one night. Anyway, we got home around 9:30 to discover our neighbors setting off fireworks in the street. This, of course, woke the girls up. Argh!!!

So excited to see her cousin!

Whoa, Mia!

She's a natural!!!!

Three little cowgirls!

Olivia and Uncle Doug

Saturday consisted of Evan sleeping most of the day, thanks again to Vicodin. Poor guy has really been hurting. I was determined to find a firework show because we had missed it the last two nights and Mia was really excited about them this year. We found one being put on by my MIL's HOA of all places, so we headed to her neighborhood. Crowds are so not my thing and I could think of a million other places I would rather been, but once the fireworks started and I saw Mia's and Olivia's reactions, it was worth it. They absolutely LOVED them! I knew Mia would, but we were surprised how interested Livi was.

Ready for fireworks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She said, "WOW!!!" after every one!!

Sunday was Olivia's baby dedication at church, which meant we had to be up and out the door earlier than usual. Fortunately, I had ironed and gotten everything ready Saturday afternoon which turned out to be a good thing since we overslept. However, we still made it on time. I was a little upset because my brother and some other families did not make the effort to come, however, we were happy to have to the family with us that we did. Livi was adorable, as usual, and did not sleep through her dedication like big 'sis did. I still can't believe how blessed I am to have two children, especially after all the years I avoided baby dedications because they were too painful. God is SO good! I'll have to upload pics later. None of ours turned out very good :( so I am hoping my friend got some better shots.

Oh, back to Evan's shoulder. He saw the surgeon yesterday afternoon and she is concerned that is might be something more severe than just a sprained shoulder so he goes today for an MRI. Hopefully we will hear within a couple of days what exactly we are dealing with. It is feeling better, so hopefully it isn't anything too severe.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What to do???

Our anniversary is this month and while we usually just mark this occasion by a nice dinner out, this is a biggy. It's our tenth! Naturally, we want to do something a little bit bigger than dinner at Saltgrass, but we cannot decide what. Here are our dilemmas:

1) Whatever we do, we have to take Olivia with us as I am still nursing. Now, I did have a great milk supply in the freezer but recently discovered that my milk does not store well. Something about a fat enzyme causing it to break down really fast, thus spoiling. Anyway, since I have not pumped regularly in a while ('cause I thought I had a nice stash!), when I pump, I never get more than 3 ounces. Therefore, little bit has to go with us. Secretly, that is ok with me because I am not so sure I am ready to leave her anywhere...even for dinner.

2) If you take one daughter, you might as well take the other one. Maybe... We're still debating that one.

3) Since we have to take little bit, getting out of town via car is a little difficult since sweet little Livi turns into super cranky Livi when she is stuck in the car for anything longer than a trip to the grocery store. Soooo, hubby doesn't want to go too far lest we all need a stiff drink once we arrive at our destination.

4) Can't afford to fly anywhere.

5) If we do take both girls, we need to do something toddler friendly. That means no bed and breakfasts, no antique shops, no get the idea.

To be honest, I am perfectly fine celebrating our anniversary as a family. I mean, I would never dreamed I would be the proud Mama to two beautiful girls when I said my vows ten years ago. And the fact that we tried so hard and for so long to grow our family, just makes having them there all the more special.

Anyway, if anyone has a fabulous idea, please feel free to pass it along. Here are things we thought of, but one or both of us has rejected.

Camping - Too freakin' hot and all the state parks that have cabins are booked. Of course, if someone wants to give us an air conditioned camper for an anniversary gift, we would not complain!!

Padre Island - Too long of a drive

Arizona to see Evan's family and the Grand Canyon - Not really the romantic scenario I've played in my head. Plus, airfare this short of notice is too expensive.

A long weekend at the Great Wolf - If we can't think of anything else, we will most likely do this. It's close and they do have the water park which I know Mia would LOVE. Plus, hubby has promised some spa time for me while he watched the girls.

Any ideas???????????????

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sick babies and new schedules

While I am really not sure who, if anybody reads this, it gives me an outlet to write - something I have always secretly enjoyed, so write I shall.

The last week has been full of sickness, new schedules and more sickness. Mia came down with a bug on Father's day. Nothing major. Her only symptoms were a low-grade fever and a clear, runny nose. Within 24 hours, she was fine. Then on Monday, my sweet little Livi caught and was officially sick for the first time. Her fever got a little higher than big 'sis's, so I took her to the doctor on Tuesday to make sure it wasn't an ear infection...something big 'sis was VERY prone to at this age. Everything checked out ok, so back home we went. By Wednesday, everyone was well but after a few days of anything goes, which is what needs to happen when your babies are sick, Mia was really acting out and I was at the end of my rope. Evan and I had been talking a LOT lately about her behavior and ways we could modify it without screaming and threatening spankings all the time. We talked about it and decided that we should try a stricter schedule. I mean, she has always had a schedule, but it was really more of a, "Ya feel like a snack? Let's get a snack." type of schedule. So, I put all those years of preschool teaching to work and came up with a schedule for us that is broken up into 30 minute increments. I prayed over it Wednesday night and decided that Thursday would be inauguration day. All I can say is WOW!!!! We had an awesome day. Not only was Mia better behaved, but I had also created time during the day for Mommy chores, so by the time I went to bed Thursday night, I felt like I had not only done a great job with Mia, but gotten so much accomplished around the house. Friday was also a great day, so it looks like we may be on to something. Maybe....

Of course, I knew things were going way too smoothly on Sunday. The house was clean, I was caught up on all the laundry, Mia was behaving better and even little Livi was sleeping through the night. I had not felt well all day Saturday and figured I was coming down with the same stuff the girls' had. We spent most of Sunday at my parents' helping them unpack and get stuff done. We went to dinner in the evening and my tummy just didn't feel well. By the time we got home, it was really hurting. We got the girls to bed and decided to watch Juno. (I'll post about it later seeing as how it would be close to my heart.) Anyway, about 20 minutes into it, I had to run to the bathroom. I kept that up off and on all night and when Evan's alarm went off Monday morning, I told him I thought I had fever and needed him to stay home from work. Boy, was I glad he did. My fever got up to 101 and I stayed sick until late afternoon. Fortunately, the bug only lasted through Monday and by Tuesday, I was pretty much back to normal. Of course, the house is no longer clean, the laundry is piling up and Mia's behavior is starting to get a little wacky again. I now seem to have the cold the girls had last week (when it rains, it pours) and have yet to get back to our wonderful schedule. However, I know when we do, we will all feel and act so much better.

Ok, just reread everything and Mia gets lots of blogtime and Livi gets what...three sentences. Poor baby. It stinks to be the second-born. Here is what Livi is doing these days: rolling over and moving all over the place, sitting up and playing like a big girl, cracking herself up with her toys and my absolute favorite...she shakes her head from side to side when she is laying down or still in my arms after nursing her. She does it purely for a reaction, which we of course happily oblige her with. Oh, she is such a sweet baby. It's hard to believe her Daddy would do this.

But, he did! He calls her Yoda because her ears stick out...a little, not a lot. Anyway, I told him to find a picture last night for her baby dedication at church and when I got out of the shower, this is what awaited to me. Needless to say, we aren't using this picture, but I will be printing it out for her baby book!

Alright, I can hear it now. What about Mia??? Here is a picture of her too.

Alright, that's all I got for tonight. I'm off to bed to dream about days to come when I can take cold medication again!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, expectant Dads, birth fathers and men that fill the role of Dad when they don't have to. I am honoring three men on this Father's Day.

First, my own Dad. To say that I was a Daddy's girl growing up would be an understatement. I was a HUGE Daddy's girl. Anywhere he went, anything he did, I was right there with him. He has always made me feel special, beautiful and I always knew that no matter what, he would always love me. We had a secret handshake for years that I have long since forgotten, there were many mornings I woke up to notes he left me before he left for work and I knew that he meant every word. On top of his love and affection for me, I saw every day how much he loves my Mom. I believe the fact that he was (and is) such a doting Father is the reason why I was a very picky dater and married the man I did. I knew how a man was supposed to treat a lady and would not settle for anything less. Even though I am all grown up, I will forever be his little girl.

Second, my daughter's birth father, Jon. Here is a man that made the unselfish decision to place his daughter for adoption. In all of our preparation for adoption, a lot of attention if put on the birth mother and no one really talked about the birth father and his role. Sadly, part of that is because they are not involved. But Jon was and is. I will never, ever forget the tears and pain he showed right after Mia was born. He came out to the waiting room and said she was the most beautiful baby he had ever seen. He asked us if we were ready to be parents and we mumbled something like, "Sure!" at which point he put his head in this hands, started crying and said he wished he was. During the next four days, we saw just how much this birth father loved his little girl and wanted the best for her. Since her birth, he made an effort to stay involved in her life and always shows her how much he loves her.

Finally, my husband and my little girls' Daddy. Shortly after we started dating, we began talking about marriage, kids and what we would name our children. There was never a doubt in my mind that he would be an unbelievable father. And when becoming parents proved more difficult for us, he was there for me. He cried with me, prayed with me and supported me when I said I didn't want to do anymore infertility treatment and thought adoption was the route we should go. When our first daughter, Mia, was born there were some complications at birth and we were standing at the hall door when the NICU team rolled her down the hall. All I saw was a baby, wrapped in this foil looking blanket. But he saw her tiny little face peeking out with her eyes wide open. Even though we did not know for sure if we were going to get to be her Mom and Dad, he fell head over heels in love. While she was in the NICU, he prayed over her and promised anything under the moon if she would get better. No one is really prepared to be a parent, but given we only had a week to prepare, he amazed me at the way he stepped up. Then, when we found out I was pregnant, he was overjoyed at the idea of having another baby, but immediately, his heart was concerned for Mia and immediately became aware of how us having a biological child might affect her one day. When we found out it was another girl, you never saw a man so happy. Two Daddy's girls, could it get any better??? He took such good care of me during the pregnancy, talked and thumped Livi because he thought it was funny that she would kick me so hard when he did. When it came time for delivery, once again, I was amazed at this amazing man I had married. He was so supportive, so concerned and so utterly happy. He has proven to me what I knew nearly 14 years ago when we were in high school - he is an awesome Daddy. He knows what it takes to be a good Dad and goes above and beyond that.

Remember to tell your Dad or even someone else's Dad tomorrow what a great job they are doing, or have done.