Thursday, January 31, 2008

Look what I made

I made this Mei Tai carrier last week one day. I was planning to buy one, but didn't want to spend the money (they can be pricey) so I decided to make one instead. I think it turned out great.

Just before bed last night I finally thought to ask The Designer to take a couple of pics before he went to bed. I see in the pics that the straps aren't all flat, like they are supposed to be, but you get the idea.

I already bought some more fabric to make some more. I have had a couple of people order one, so I will get to working on those as well.

Super Princess

It's settling down around here

It is winter in Michigan, for sure! Lil Bugs school has been cancelled due to icy roads. We have been cooped up in the house for a few days now and we are driving one another bananas!

Lil Princess had the flu for a few days. She needed extra TLC. Lil Bug didn't get to release her energy at school as normal. She needed extra TLC. I am only one person with only two arms. I can only give 100% attention to one babe at a time. Do you see where I am going with this? :) It has been interesting, to say the least.

Princess is feeling MUCH better and actually slept pretty well last night with no vomiting or diarrhea (sorry if that was TMI). Last evening I brought Bug to her Grandma & Bumpa's house so she is one VERY happy girl getting all sorts of one-on-one attention. Life is settling down again, and I like that.

**UPDATE** Oh No! Just got a call from Grandma and Lil Bug...she was up all night puking. :( Maybe we are not settling down afterall.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm here with random thoughts

There is so much I want to say, but the words aren't forming. Maybe I'll make a list.

* I'm sad for a friend. A very dear friend seems to have temporarily lost track of where she is heading in life. I believe deep down inside she knows the way, but I feel helpless in guiding her. I pray often for her and I have faith that she will find her way back. In the meantime, she has found dangerous ways of dealing with the stuff she encounters while being off track. I'm sad! :(

* Poor Lil Princess had a flu bug last night. While I was at work she vomited 9 times. She did it again another 4 or 5 after I got home, but she seems better now. She hasn't eaten much yet, so that will be the true test, I guess. I sure hope she is better. There is few things worse than watching a baby with dry heaves.

* Work seems better this semester. This is our 3rd week (out of 15). So far I have only had a couple of students drop. Overall, the students seem responsive, interested, and attentive. For the first time in a LONG time, there isn't one student who really stands out as a red flag. What a relief! One thing that I have this semester, that I didn't have before is a program that allows met to see the computer screens of each of the students while they are working. They are aware that I have that option and it has made a HUGE difference. I love technology!

* We leave for Florida next week and I am so excited. I am looking forward to sandy beaches, sunshine and relaxation. Please pray that everyone is healed from their head colds and that the flu bug doesn't appear in anyone else...we need to be healthy to have the most fun in Florida.

* My good friend is meeting with her SW today to receive their completed home study this morning. I can hardly stand it, I am so excited for her. She already has her eye (and heart) on a couple of cuties in Ohio. If all works out, she may have her kiddos home by summer...I'm praying!!!

* I started sewing again last week. I wanted to buy a Mei Tai for Lil Princess for traveling because the carrier I had for her (a hand-me-down) was not comfortable at all to wear. I looked online and realized the price for Mei Tais so I decided to make one on my was a little ambitious for me, but I succeeded...I have a great carrier that Princess LOVES to be in. I enjoyed it so much that I bought more fabric to make more. A friend already ordered one and if that one goes as well as the first, I might make more to sell...we'll see. Anyway, I haven't taken a pic of myself with Princess in the carrier on me yet. When I do, I will share it here. Hopefully that will be later today or tomorrow.

I suppose I should go take a shower and try to wake up a bit more. Both girls are now awake and ready for the day. It amazes me that children can be up half the night and still act like they had a full nights sleep and as an adult, it nearly wrecks ya! Strange, huh?

Monday, January 21, 2008

This is what it is all about

Lil Princess and Lil Bug are fast becoming best friends. I have to keep an eye on Lil Bug so that she isn't too rough with Lil Princess. Today, they were playing and as you can see, the result was music to my ears.

Never mind the messy house or the fact that Lil Bug has a t-shirt on over her regular shirt and it is inside out (she was dressing herself!). This is what it is all about...being there to catch these precious moments on video. I have to admit, I have watched this video tons of times today and it makes me laugh every time. I adore these two beautiful little girls!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, B!!!

I can hardly believe it, but it was one year ago today that baby B was born. One year ago today that we received a call from our adoption agency informing us that, "our" daughter was born. One year ago today that we knew our world had just changed.

If you have been reading my blog, you are fully aware that wasn't "our" baby. Baby B was raised by her incredible mom and her dad. The parents that God intended her to be raised by.

I'm so proud of S. There is so much coercion and stress surrounding adoption and for a young girl without a lot of support, it would have been "easy" for her to be pressured into something she didn't want. She realized after a few weeks without her daughter in her arms (she was in interim care) that she could be and would be a great mom. She learned she couldn't live without her daughter. She learned she had the right to take her baby girl home and she did.

It is strange to put into words, but I miss B. I am glad she isn't my daughter because she is exactly where she is supposed to be, but for the couple of weeks she was in interim care and I visited her frequently, I loved that baby with a mothers love. I held her, fed her, kissed her, sang to her, prayed over her, rocked her to sleep...all the things a mommy does for their child. But, she wasn't mine and I knew that when I was doing those things. I knew that S could parent and should parent. When I reflect back, I think I even knew she would parent...but at the time I didn't let my mind go there.

I feel honored that I had those few weeks with B. I feel blessed that she came into my life, if only for a moment. I know that happened for a reason, but I may never know why in this lifetime and I am ok with that. (I think I have an idea as to why, however)

Since I don't have the chance to tell her to her face, I will say it here:

Happy 1st birthday, B. May God bless you all of your days. All my love, The Professor

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bug has her first crush and other funny stuff!

My Lil Bug has been making me laugh like a crazy woman lately. I wanted to share a few of her funnies lately.

When she was born she had spinal closure surgery due to her Spina Bifida. She is becoming more aware of her body now and she has noticed that there is "something" back there on her back that is different. So, lately she has been telling me, "Mommy, my butt cracked!" How do you not laugh at that???

When we were praying for her PaPa D before and during his heart surgery on Monday, she said, "Why does PaPa D have a broken heart?" So sweet!

We have DVR and my girls don't watch TV much (or so I thought). The other day the TV was on in the background and Bug and I were sitting on the floor playing Chutes and Ladders and suddenly she stops and yells, "THAT. IS. MY. CHAD! Look Mommy, LOOK MOMMY!" She was referring to Chad on the Alltel commercial. Who knew she has a HUGE crush on him. She even was "reading" the Sunday paper and found a print ad and wanted me to cut it out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

life and death, the irony

Monday morning my dad had heart surgery....again. I would have to double check with him on the official numbers, but he has had something like 3 massive heart attacks, a couple "regular" heart attacks, quadruple bypass, stents placed 2 or 3 times, and 2 difibrilators. The man seriously has 9 lives. The surgery was a success. He is home and resting already. Praise God.

I was thinking of the irony of his life today. As a teenager I recall my mom and dad having a VERY rocky relationship. When I was 16 they divorced. During my teenage years, my father was suicidal. I remember him telling me often that his life meant nothing and he might as well just end it. It was had to hear and even now, it is hard to write. However, I also remember getting to a point where it was so hard to hear, I kind of wished he would do it.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I love my dad. I would have been devastated, shattered if he would have taken his own life or died from consequences of his bad heart. For someone who has never known a suicidal person, let me paint you a picture so maybe (hopefully) you don't think I am as terrible as the above sounded. To me it was like ripping off a hurts. The slower you try to rip it off, the harder it is to handle it usually. It pulls one hair at a time and eventually you get so tired of the drawn out pain, you want to just rip it off so you can start to tend to your wounds.

That was how I was...the emotional drain on me, as a teenager, hearing on a regular basis that "life isn't worth living," and "get me a gun, I'm really done," and more was too much. For a long time I hurt, but then, somehow in my young, inexperienced mind, I thought that if he would finally just do it, I could grieve, heal and move on. I know now that the healing and moving on would have been a long road, but at the time, it seemed so simple to me, really.

In contrast, here he is today, much healthier mentally, but so frail phsyically, battling heart disease head on. He has been doing so for nearly 25 years now. As far as I know he no longer entertains the idea of ending his own life but instead he begs for another day, another week, another year from his doctors.

Praise God that he came through this last surgery well. We have been told for the past 15 or so years that "he probably won't make it through the next procedure." But, as a follower of Christ, I know that the doctors aren't the author of life, God is.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

I had never considered this before adopting

I thought alot about what it would be like to be a mother of two children before we even started the adoption process. Growing from a family of three to four seemed like a no-brainer, the natural thing to do.

I'm going to take you back a minute now, before I get to the point of this post.

Lil Bug was only 7 or 8 months old when we attended our very first adoption information meeting. When she was that age, she was very much like every other child that age. She could sit up by herself. She was cooing and making adorable baby noises. To look at her, she looked like every other baby. Unless I told someone, they never knew she had a significant birth defect.

At that time, I knew what having a baby was like and I was sure it would be easy enough to have two. I never really thought about the future much though. I mean, I dreamed of our future as a family together doing the big stuff, school, vacations, etc., but I never thought about the day-to-day activities that make up life.

It wasn't until Bug got to the walking age that it became visually apparent that she was different from other children her age. Different from what society expected a child of her age to be. As my friends kids all began to walk (there were several of us who had children around the same time) the realization fell on me that physically, she was going to be a little bit more work than my friends' children would be. While their toddlers were off toddling around, Grace had to be carried or placed in a stroller. I never wanted Lil Bug to miss out on any healthy, "normal" childhood activity, however, so if we were in a play setting where all the other children were toddling around, I would bend over, holding her tiny little hands and support her in exploring this vast world. I would spend hours a day bending over her, holding her hands and it was about then that I started having back problems. The pain was so bad at times that I even gave in and made an appointment with the dr. to figure out if there was relief. He was sad to inform me that this is a common complaint from parents of physically handicapped children and that it doesn't really get better as they get least not for a LONG while.

As Lil Bug grew and began to use her walker, that helped me some. She was more independent, which meant a little less carrying her around. However, there was a learning curve and she is unable to use her walker outdoors during the snowy months. The icy sidewalks are her demise.

Now to the point of this post...I had never considered that physically my body might not be able to handle a second child very easily. I knew I could love a second child. I knew we could provide for a second child. I knew that I wanted a second child. I just didn't know that I might be brought to the brink of what my physical body could handle with a second child.

Lil Bug is about 33 pounds. That is not huge, but I'm not huge and I need to carry her often. You should see me when we go to MOPS, for example. I park in the handicap parking, but that is still a fairly lengthy distance from the building. I then load up my right arm with a diaper bag for each of the girls, my planner and my binder. I then carry Lil Bug in that same arm. I walk around to the other side of the car and pick up Lil Princess in her carseat carrier with my left arm. By now I am managing about 55-60 pounds of stuff (darn near 1/2 my weight!) and then, the topper...I have to bend down and pick up Lil Bugs walker, which I had strategically balanced against the tire of the first side of the car. I haul all of this about 60 feet, somehow manage to get the door open and once inside, nearing exhaustion, I try to drop all the things not likely to break (such as my children!) and regroup.

That scenario is not uncommon. It looks like that when we go to the bank, the grocery store (unless I can find a dry, nearby cart), the children's museum (which doesn't have handicap parking!), the zoo, and basically any errands we chose to tackle.

It has been suggested to me that I just do those activities and errands once The Designer gets home from work or on the weekends. Great plan, but here is the flaw. Often times he is not home until 6:30 or later (most things are closed by then). Also, I will not be a prisoner in my home. I hate being confined to these four walls and I do not believe that is what God has planned for my life.

I think we are adjusting well to being a family of four. I think our family is amazing and I would not trade it for one millisecond of my life. However, the one thing that I had never considered while planning to grow or family from three to four is the physical toll my body would take.

My body is tired, plain and simple!

Disclaimer: I had a conversation with my friend last night and we were talking about her future children...I told her that I think we are done because physically I don't think I can handle more. She told me that she completely understands how hard it is (she has 3 children, including 1 set of twins) and yet she is planning on more (possibly multiples again as she is doing fertility treatments again). So, before I get reprimanded, I will acknowledge that it is physically demanding on all parents, not just parents of handicapped children. This whole post is about me personally...not comparing my life to others, just recognizing MY limitations.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who brought the "skinny pant" back?

I'm serious! Who was it? They should NOT be the "in" thing ever again...and yet, lookie there...the "skinny pant" is back!

Most people don't look good in them and no one feels comfy in them, so, why-oh-why, did they reappear?

Who ever made this genious decision should really be punished!

The Candidate Match Game

For those that aren't sure which politician they are most aligned with, this is interesting. I am not staunch republican, but I am pretty conservative. It is only 11 questions, so take it. You maybe be surprised. I was!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Different playing fields

When I was a young teacher, I had a very strong willed, opinionated high school senior once tell me that anyone that believed in God and considered themselves Christians were weak souled individuals who didn't have a mind of their own. He knew that I was a Christian, so it was essentially a personal attack.

It really got me to thinking on a couple of different things. First, I didn't appreciate anyone, especially a student, making personal attacks against me. I had never experienced that before and so I to learn if and how I would deal with it. Second, it was my first realization that I wasn't in West Michigan (Bible belt of Michigan) any more.

You see, where I grew up, there was nearly a church on every corner and then a couple more in the middle of the blocks. There are literally churches everywhere you go. Sure, there are a number of different denominations, but basically all Christian. I grew up in a secluded, sheltered area. My parents never went to church, but the majority of people around me did and I did (with the neighbors) from when I was about the age of 5 on.

I love my God with a fierce love. My hearts desire to do His will and please Him. So, when someone is telling me to my face that I am weak and cannot think for myself because I love my God, I was hurt. It was then that I really understood that not everyone believes in my loving, compassionate God. I was saddened by this fact. Not because I felt I was right and they were wrong but becasue IF I was right, I would never see some of these people again after our lives on Earth are done.

Living in Denver really made me aware just how ungodly our nation is. In the area I lived (North Denver) it was about 97% unchurched. That is astounding to a little country girl who grew up in a town with a billion churches. It also made me aware that I cannot expect some people to be held to the same moral standards that I have held myself to. I means that when I disagree with someone on a spiritual issue, if they are not Christian I cannot just simply say, "because the Bible says so." That means nothing to someone who doesn't believe the Bible to begin with.

Coming from two different spiritual perspectives makes for an uneven playing field when in a discussion/arguement. You can't just rely on faith when making a point because the other person doesn't share the same faith. It's's very, very hard!

Breaking Free-Part 1

I am so excited to have started my second Beth Moore study. This one is called Breaking Free. It is an intense 11 week study that helps Christians break free of oppressions in our lives.

Last night was the first one and although she had an entire video filled with incredible things, there was one thing that really stood out to me. It was her 6th point..."God sees the potential of His children and appoints the experiences necessary for them to fulfill their destinies (Judges 6:11-16).

For those that know me personally and for those that have read some of my "story" here on my blog, you know that a lot of good and not so good things have happened in our lives in the past 4 years. I personally think I have done a great job not letting things get me down, but it is so reassuring to know that God "appoints experiences" to make me the Godly woman he wants me to be.

I am not a loose feather just floating around in the wind. I am a person that God knows intimiately. He knows his plans for me even when I haven't a clue.

Thank you, God!

Monday, January 7, 2008

No ER for us right now!

We have had vist after visit after visit to our local hospital. In fact, we have made many friends while Lil Bug has stayed there and when we return to visit our friends who are still there, the nurses and staff recognize us...they're like extended family.

With that said, we have not had an extended stay in the hospital since Jan. 8, 2007. That was the last time Lil Bug had brain surgery. Tomorrow will be a 1 year anniversary of that date and let me just tell you, it has been a splendid year staying OUT of the hospital.

Yesterday afternoon Bug had some very strange bowel movements. I won't go into explicit detail, but I will say that it included coffee-groundish type "stuff." I know from past experiences that is not a good sign. She had two BM's like that, so I figured we were heading to the ER to figure out what was going on. The concern with coffee groundish substand in BM's is that there is a bleed somewhere higher up in the digestive tract.

After some discussion with the dr. on call, it was determined that we could stay home! YAY! He did advise that there is a bug going around that she might have and suggested we only give her clear liquids for the remainder of the night as this bug eventually progresses into vomiting. So, we hunkered down, fully expecting the worst when we went to bed last night.

When we awoke this morning to a little, "Mommy! I'm awake! Come get me!" I quickly realized that we never were awakend during the night and therefore, we made it through without any vomiting. Today Lil Bug is acting and feeling just fine.

Praise God, I believe he answered all the prayers that were sent up last night and the sick-bug quickly left our house!

Please pray for my friends

When Grace was about 7 months old, she started in a group physical therapy class. I made friends with the other moms in the group because, like me, they have a special needs child and before them, I didn't really know anyone else with a special child.

One of the moms I befriended was Julie. She is an amazing single mom to Olivia, a beautiful little girl. Some of the children in the group were born with physical or emotional conditions. Sadly a few of the children developed their disabilities because of another persons fault. Olivia's special needs are a byproduct of the latter.

While at a daycare she was violently shaken. She was only 5 months old. She is now 4 years old. The daycare provider was found guilty and is doing her time, but has developed lung cancer, which has since spread to her brain.

She has requested to be released from prison so she can die peacefully at home. Julie was forced to go back to court to address this dreadful day once again as she tries to move forward.

Here is an article from the front page of the GR Press yesterday. It has pics of Olivia and tells the details of the story. Please pray for Julie, Olivia, the daycare provider and her family as they await a decision about her possible release.

Look what I bought! :)

This is something I have wanted for about 6 months, but I had to save money to get it. Of course, this time of year all exercise equipment is on sale, so I was able to buy it.


It came mostly assembled, but there were some minor assembly steps and The Designer took care of those for me last night.

I have been on it twice and it feels SOOOO good.

I leave for Florida one month from yesterday! Only one month to attempt to get my booty in shape. We all know that 1 month isn't enough time, but this I do know...when I leave for Florida on Feb. 6, I will have had 1 months worth of time on my new elliptical and that will make me feel good! :)

By the way, from what I recall, losing about 1 to 1.5 pounds a week is considered a healthy rate of loss, yes? Please let me know if I am way off. I know I won't lose the 10 pounds I should lose before I go to Florida, but I would love to have a good start on it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Missing the sunshine

I don't mind winter. Actually, let me try that again...I don't mind SNOW (kind of even like it), but I hate cold. Hate it!

One of the things we do to beat the seasonal blues is go to a hotel here in town to lay around the pool and swim a few times during the winter. We opted to spend our New Years Eve with the girls at the hotel this year. It was the first time Princess has been swimming in a pool. She loves her baths and splashes around, so I figured she would love the pool too. I wasn't disappointed. She loved it!









Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ok, another Bug prayer

I know, I just posted about a cute Lil Bug prayer from last night, but this is too funny to not share.

The Designer was putting her down to bed. They were saying their prayers and he said, "who would you like to bless?" She responded:

"N" (we always pray for N!) :)

"Steve" (from Blues Clues)

and here is the kicker,

"the man from your work who gave me the brown M&M"

Tell me that didn't make you smile! :D

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sweet Lil Bug

As I was laying Lil Bug down for bed tonight, we were saying our prayers together. She was doing her "God bless...and she lists person after person after person...sometimes she elaborates on certain people. For example, my sisters boyfriend injured his hand a while back and she still prays for healing for his hand. Anyway, tonight she prayed, "...and God bless Lucky." She then opened her eyes and said with utmost pride, "mommy, I prayed for Lucky because he doesn't have hands to pray for himself!" I just love this age!!!!

By the way, in case you haven't figured it out, Lucky is our 110 pound yellow Labrador retriever. :)

Ironic, I suppose

Ok, so my last post was about drama and how I don't seek it, yet after my day today, one may challenge me on that thought. Believe me when I say that I was not seeking drama when I woke up this morning, but the drama sure did follow me regardless.

I am a member of a newer adoption board. It is a private board (just learned that recently). Generally, it is a decent board, and the women are all friendly. Being that it is an adoption board, I have been thinking a lot lately that the board doesn't really address some of the main topics/issues that surround adoption. Only a couple of members are not aparents or waiting aparents, which obviously gives a different tone to the board to begin with. However, I still think that we can and should discuss trends, ethics, questions, concerns, etc. even if there are few first moms and adoptees to chime in.

I posted what I believe to have been a nonthreatening post. A post that documented my thoughts and concerns. The whole purpose of my post was to suggest that we talk about the deeper issues relating to adoption, but in a loving, respectful way. I honestly felt as though everyone else was able to state their thoughts/opinions (most of which were questioning my motives, etc.), but I was not allowed to have my thoughts without being judged by others.

I spent the majority of the day feeling like I had to defend my thoughts and reiterate that I was not attacking anyone personally. I really, truly did not have any one person in mind when I posted, but apparently something had happened not long ago involving one member in particular and so my post really struck a cord with her. Although I am sorry she was feeling bad, I do not feel that I owe an apology to someone who perceived an attack that was not real. I do believe she should apologize to me for her hurtful attacks, but I am not sure that will happen. I am not sure she believes me that I was not attacking her.

As this person responded and attacked me, I was offended and hurt. I doubt many people will understand why I was hurt, and that is ok, I is my pain, my feelings. It is just so frustrating that it is ok for someone to blantantly attack me and I am judged by so many for some perceived attack that didn't even exist.


Now, 74 comments later, I am tired! Emotionally drained. Exhausted. All I wanted to do today was have a conversation about adoption with women who are involved in adoption. A conversation with women who I know are educated, smart, caring women. I do believe having some of these deep conversations with them will help me grow, help them grow and generally speaking, help the board move in a direction that is beneficial to all.

All I really have left to say now is that I really hope that tomorrow goes better than today.

Good night, friends.