Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chicago, baby!

Last Friday Bug, Princess, my mom and I loaded up the Murano and drove down to Chicago. We went there for the purpose of meeting some of my adoption board buddies. In addition, we planned some other fun things to do.

Princess is NOT a good car traveler. In fact, she hates it so much that she screams until she throws up (I know, not a good picture!). So, when we made it all the way to Chicago (about a 3.5 hour drive) on Friday with no vomit, we were elated! We spent the day at Navy Pier and then went and played at Dave & Busters. It was late when we left there and headed for our hotel. Apparently the last 30 minutes in the car was just too much and she screamed until she got sick all over everything. Bug was so tired that she fell asleep on the way and after listening to Princess cry for a good period of time I looked back and saw that she was plugging her ears in her sleep. Then, after much frustration, she muttered, "will you please give that kid a bottle?" Again, while still asleep. My mom and I were very amused.

Princess slept TERRIBLE on Friday night. She was awake at least once an hour and most hours she was up 2-3 times. By morning I was delirious. We got our goodies packed up and headed over to Joy's house for the first annual AT get together. It was a great time and I was able to meet (in person) many of the ladies I chat with online and their beautiful babies. There were 5 adopted babies in all and 2 more children. If Princess was feeling better and more social, it would have been a better experience, but we still had fun. Bug made friends with Jane (age 7) and they played great!

After another sleepless night in Chicago we took it easy Sunday morning. Later in the day we headed over to visit with my sister and my two nieces. I haven't seen them since last summer and it was their first time meeting Princess. The girls really enjoyed playing with their cousins! It was nice to see Brenda too. We aren't super close (ok, who am I kidding? We aren't close at all!) but it is still nice to see her.

Sunday night my mom took on Princess duty and although we were all staying in the same small hotel room, I was able to get a tiny bit more sleep, which did wonders for me. We took the girls swimming at the hotel pool and then packed up and headed out. About 1.5 hours into our journey home Princess woke up and coincidentally we were right by Michigan City, which has a large outlet mall so, we HAD to stop and shop. A couple of hours and a few bargains later we buckled back into the car and headed home. We arrived back in Grand Rapids around 9pm.

This morning I got the girls all cleaned up and dressed and we headed to the medi-center (the pediatrician was on vacation today) and 3 hours later we had a diagnosis of yet another double ear infection. This is the third one Princess has had in as many months. But, we have drugs, so she should begin feeling better real soon.

Princes and Jack...aren't they cute? Look at how they are holding hands!

These are the AT girls...Jane, Bug, Princess and Edith

Here are the AT girls and the babes.

The babies!!! Oh so yummy and cute!

Bug and her buddy, Jane

Sunday, June 15, 2008

12 years!

Twelve years ago today The Designer and I walked down the aisle and said our vows. We were young, both only 19. We had no clue what life held for us down the road. It didn't matter. We had each other and we had God and that was all we needed.

As I sit here, watching the minutes pass until our anniversary is over, I thought I might write a letter to the girl that said her vows that day. I have a few things I think she should know.

June 15, 1996

Dear self-

Today you are making a life changing decision. You are committing yourself to the man you have loved for the past 3 years and will love for the rest of your life. "Life" sure does sound like a long time, doesn't it? But do not fear. Time time passes (much too) quickly. Before you know it, you will be married for 12 years and have a couple beautiful daughters to be chasing around.

You will have good days and you will have bad days. Really enjoy those good days. Remember the little details in those days. Remember what it smells like, what it feels like, what it looks like. You will need those memories to help you through the tough days. I would like to tell you there aren't tough days, but there are. I wish I could tell you there aren't many, at least, but that is not true either. There ARE tough days. Even so, you will survive because you have your best friend by your side every step of the way.

When you and your hubby decide to up and move 1200 miles away from any soul you ever knew, don't worry. It all works out great! You WILL love the life you created in Denver. Again, enjoy it because it doesn't last long. Soon enough you will be back home with family surrounding you wanting to know every last detail of your supposedly personal lives.

Enjoy your time before having children. Don't sweat it when you learn about your infertility. Your blessings will come. Enjoy the time trying *grin* Enjoy the dates. Enjoy the alone time. Enjoy the connection.

Soon enough children will come and most things change. You will not get as much alone time with your best friend. Instead, the alone time will be replaced with children's laughter and scraped knees, and singing children's Bible songs. It is at this time that one of the coolest things will happen. You will get to see your husband become a father. You will get to see him bring your children joy. You will get to see your kids (you will have two, by the way) cherish every moment with him. You will laugh with your kids. You will cry with your kids. You will get angry with your kids, but no matter what the experience, you are not alone...your best friend is always with you.

If things seem complicated, scary or overwhelming now, I want you to know that it will get even crazier...but you will survived. I promise you that. Although you are making a life commitment to this man, it is a commitment that you will be happy you made for the rest of your life.

Now, run off and enjoy that wedding. In 12 years you will barely remember the details, but you will sure enjoy showing the wedding pictures to your children. They will enjoy laughing at you because no matter how pretty you feel right now...that dress is NOT going to stay "in" fashion forever and you will look life a goof. :)

Peace out!


My heart broke today

This morning I was reminded that I am the blessed parent of a special needs child. Nobody pointed at her. Nobody said anything harsh or rude. Nobody did anything at all. This is what happened...

We were on our way to church. Bug loves to "write" and draw so we always have a handy-dandy (aka a notebook) and some colored pencils so she can express herself. As soon as she was buckled into her carseat, she reached for her goodies and then promptly asked me to draw a picture of Grandma Shi. (a brief history...Grandma Shi is The Designers maternal step grandmother. She is in hospice care, dying from COPD and pneumonia.) I made a feeble attempt at drawing her and handed it back to Bug, asking if it looked like her. She laughed and said, "NOPE!"

I explained that although I tried to draw her good, drawing is not one of the things God made me really good at. I then went on to explain that daddy's good at drawing buildings and people. My gifts are teaching and relating to people. I asked her what she was good at.

That is the moment that my heart broke. I mean, literally time stopped, tears welled and it hit me once again...I'm parenting a beautiful creature that happens to have a physical impairment.

Bug has a great number of things that she is gifted in. It is easy to see that already. For one, she charms the socks of everyone she meets. She is very intelligent. She has a great love for reading and I think that ultimately that will be a gift of hers as well. She could have said her gifts were a number of things. But, Bug didn't hestitate at all, instead she said quietly mustered the courage to say, "I'm not good at walking. I try so hard and I just fall down. My legs don't work."

I froze. I needed to say something, but nothing was coming to me. I looked over at The Designer and he was welling with tears too. Praise God, because He quickly gave me the words to speak to my dear daughter. This is what God gave me to say to her, "Bug, you ARE good at walking. You just have to use tools to make you good at it. Daddy is GREAT at drawing, but he needs a pencil to do his job. The pencil is his tool. I am good at teaching, but I need textbooks to do my job. The books are my tools. You are a good walker, but you need a walker or crutches to walk. The walker and your crutches are your tools."

I looked back at my sweet, innocent little Bug in the backseat, hoping that she heard me, understood me. When I looked, she was all smiles. She said, "I AM a good walker, I just have to use my tools!"

I know this is not the end of these conversations. But, for today, I thank God for helping me have the words and strength to build my little girls self esteem.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh, yummy!

So, I just finished listing my new creation on Etsy (darling bibs!) and decided to go promote them in the Etsy chatrooms. While in there, I "window" shopped through the other shops and came across DelectableDelights. Take a look at those yummies! They will make you drool.

If you aren't already doing so, go shop on Etsy. You can buy handmade products and find lovely, one of a kind goodies to give as gifts or spoil yourself with.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lovely day outside

Yesterday was the first day about a week that it wasn't raining with severe weather. We took advantage by first taking a walk (girls in the wagon) to the bank to make our deposit. When we got home we just played in the front yard. Take a look...


Look how big I am!

Gorgeous Bug!

Scrunchy face


This is the "I'm not happy" look. We see it more and more lately. :) If you look cloesly you can see that she is trying very hard to not smile right about then.


Self-portrait of Bug and I

Princess has 2 teeth on the top and 2 teeth on the bottom. She also has the next top 2 and the next bottom 2 teeth coming in. Soon enough she will have 8 teeth...whoa!

Friday, June 6, 2008

I want to move

We moved to Michigan just weeks before Lil Bug was born. In August it will be 4 years. You would think that I would be over it by now, wouldn't you? Well, guess what? I'm not.

We moved to Colorado in 1998. We didn't know a single soul. We had no jobs. We had no place to live. We had no worries. No responsibilities. Nothing...it was AWESOME! It didn't take long for Colorado to feel like home to us. Both the Designer and I were able to spread our wings and grow there. We had breathing room, away from our families.

We loved it there. We had no intention of moving back here. God had different plans. When we decided to pursue fertility treatments, we both looked at each other and we just knew that we had to move back to Michigan. We didn't know why and neither one of us really wanted to except that we wanted our children to be close to family. It was just the right thing to do. So we made plans and we moved back.

We were happy to be here and it is WONDERFUL to be close to family. We have built-in free babysitters whenever we want. The girls get to know their grandparents, aunties and uncles. They love spending time with the family.

Even with all of that in mind, I would love to move back to Denver. I have mentioned it to the Designer lately and he just laughs me off. He doesn't think it is possible right now. He said, "maybe when the girls are grown." *sigh* He thinks that I would regret moving because then the girls wouldn't have their immediate family nearby and he might be right. I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that I miss Denver. I miss my old job (not that I would be working if I lived there anyways). I miss my friends. I miss the weather (a lot!). I miss the big city. I miss the culture and the dynamics. I miss the mountains. I miss a lot.

It is so tempting because the Designer has a job back there whenever he wants it. The school I taught at said they would take me back in a heartbeat if/when I am ready to move and work again. That is the major reason people don't move far away...it is hard to start over. But, for us, it wouldn't be starting over it would be picking up where we left off.

I don't know if we will ever move back, but if I had my way we definitely would.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What I needed to know

For some reason I was laying in bed this morning thinking about when I was pregnant with Lil Bug. I don't often think about that time because it was so stressful. But this morning it dawned on me that it didn't have to be so stressful. It didn't have to be so scary.

As you all know, we had difficulty conceiving a child and were only able to do so with medical assistance. When we were finally pregnant, we were relieved. We thought the worst was behind us.

We learned about the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus at 20 weeks gestation. That means we had 1/2 of our pregnancy to worry about our little blessing. We asked a TON of questions. We saw a lot of specialists, both in Colorado and in California. We had the best of the best assigned to us. We were told both extreme possibilities. We were supposedly prepared.

They warned me that Bug wouldn't walk. They warned me that she would be severely delayed cognitively. They warned me that she might never speak. I never, for one minute, accepted their warnings and often responded, "My God is bigger than your science. He is our physician."

There is one thing that they never told me, however. One thing that had me nearly paralyzed with fear. One thing that I was too afraid to even ask, to even talk to The Designer about. What could it be, you ask?

I had no idea if my baby...the one with excessive fluid on her brain, the one with severe defects on her back, the one I had been taking such good care of during my entire pregnancy...I wondered if she would look "normal." Would she have a huge head? Would she look like the other babies in the nursery?

This might seem shallow. This might seem trivial compared to the other things. But, it was my fear. Not once, during the 5 months of medical prodding, poking, analyzing, did any doctor assure me that I would still just be having a baby...like every other mother in the delivery ward.

I needed to know that. That one piece of information could have saved me a lot of stress.

So, if you happen upon my blog because you are pregnant with a blessing who happens to have Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus and in case you were wondering...your baby will look perfectly normal. Don't waste energy worrying about that.

(Please know that even if Bug looked like an alien, I would have loved her with every ounce of me...I never for once worried about that. My fear was more based on how others would respond to and accept her.)