Friday, December 28, 2007

Chicks Rule!

We had our friends Jimmy and Melissa over for a much-needed night of fun and to break in our new game: Scene It--The Music Edition. The menu included meatballs, spinach dip, buffalo chicken dip, cheese balls, marinated olives...yum yum (oh and to top it off... hot wassail and peppermint and white chocolate mousse in chocolate cups)

I may never eat again.

But, I must report that it was the chicks against the dudes and -- YES -- we stomped 'em...all while getting questions like "what was the middle name of the hairdresser that worked for Tina Turner's 2nd cousin from 1984 - 1986? Meanwhile, the men were offered mind-numbing challenges like "Name the band that sung "Celebration." Hello. Kool in the Gang. Puhleeze.

But we got 'em even after all the smack they were talking before the game. We girls have some mad music trivia skillz, I tell ya.

Gifts were exchanged, babies were fed, laughter was shared and fun was had. A very good night indeed.

:-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Once Upon a Time...

...there was this little boy who dreamed of being a big brother. With eager anticipation, the thought bubble above his head contained images of wrestling matches in the yard, endless touch football games and Transformer-inspired battles with plastic figurines. In the little boy's mind, a brother evened the score...providing an additional man for his team in the child versus parent arena. Clad in matching jerseys they would present a united front when tackling the tough issues like bedtime, brushing of teeth and trying suspicious foods.

And the day finally came when a little brother was placed in his arms and, although the little boy was elated, those thought-bubble images seemed out of reach. "This small person cannot do anything for himself," he thought. "How can we be a team? he can't even hold his head up." Although he'd never admit it, a thin wave of disappointment washed over his mind. It would be a long, long time before he truly got to be a big brother.

Or so he thought.

Day by day, he helped his Mom and Dad take care of this littlest of people that had entered their lives. Whether fetching the diapers or speaking softly to the baby in the sweetest of tones, his role suddenly became clear. "I don't have to be able to play with him in order for us to be brothers," he mused. It was then that he realized that he could be a big helper and, along the way, show him love that only a big brother can show.

And so it happened. Little by little, a bond was being formed. The little boy who dreamed of being a big brother was doing a fine job in his new role and the admiration in the big blue eyes of his little brother grew more evident with each smile and each coo he uttered in return.

One night at dinner, the big brother was eating his meal and heard the cry of the little brother in the adjoining room. Without hesitation, he dropped his fork and ran in and gently replaced the pacifier that had fallen from the baby's lips. The crying ceased and, with uplifted shoulders and a sense of accomplishment, the big brother returned.

"That's what big brothers are for, Mom," he proudly declared.

And his Mom smiled a great big smile as one happy tear rolled down her cheek.


Whoever loves his brother lives in the light,
and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
~1 John 2:10

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Think I'm Gonna Rename This Blog...

...the Adventures of The Bumbling Mommy

or...

...Learning As I Go.

If I had a dime for everything I am learning about parenthood as the mother of a newborn, well, I'd have a whole lotta dimes, my friends.

Now, I assure you, getting your first taste of parenthood at the two-year old level was no cake walk. It came with its own share of challenges including how not to FREAK OUT when your son--who has only been home for a week--pushes his rocking horse down the stairs and into the wall. And, instead of nuzzling and bottle preparation, I jumped head first into a need for discipline and guiding a child (who didn't understand my language) on the relationship between sharp metal thingies and light sockets.

I did a lot of praying, I did.

But this time, it's an entirely different process. This child has needs that have to be met. That's it. He gets hungry, lets me know about it in a sudden, shrill, demanding way and I feed him. He has a wet diaper and I change it. He is tired and I rock him to sleep. There is no need to discipline or explain the finer points of the "inside" versus the "outside" voice. He is fully reliant upon us for every need. In some ways this can be a bit overwhelming but, in others, it is quite refreshing.

But, boy am I learning as I go along. I've been "christened" by the poop uzi and the pee fountain. I've learned that all those cutie-patootie outfits don't mean a hill o' beans at 3:30 in the morning when his diaper has leaked and he needs something else to wear. In the dark, instead of choosing between the precious green gown with the fuzzy yellow duck or the soft blue sleeper with the ABC's on the front, I grab the first thing my hand comes across in his drawer. And, to top it all off, I finally have a system for keeping bottles clean and no longer feel like a failure if he cries a little.

But, for all the things I'm somewhat "mastering" (using that in the loosest sense of the term, of course) there are plenty of things I'm working on. Gingerly putting little arms in and out of long-sleeve sleepers is still a challenge as I try to keep him from looking like he's in a straight-jacket. Keeping track of pacifiers is an ongoing mission as is having sufficient diapers/wipes stashed around our home for "emergencies." I'm learning about the delicate balance between jumping to action every time he cries and letting him try to self-soothe...but not for too long.

Most of all, I'm learning that the gaze of a three-week old while you're feeding him is one of the most heartwarming exchanges I've ever experienced. And, I'm thankful every day for this gift we've been given...this miracle that has befallen our family...stretching our boundaries and capacities to love, nurture, adapt and care for something so small.

Yes, I'm learning as I go but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

J., the Wonder Boy

Our youngest has been a real trooper with the amount of visitors we have been blessed with over the past few days. In fact, we're thinking about installing one of those suspended swinging doors on the front and requiring folks to utter "Howdy, Pardner" as they come through the door.

Kidding.

A little.

Our child has slept soundly through kids running through the house, adults laughing, vacuums running...you name it. He is a champ! A very wise lady told me to not alter our schedules/routines or noise level to accommodate him and she was right. He is so sweet and calm and PATIENT. He's patient as Mommy tries her best to get little bent arms to straighten out into sleeves of sweet little sleeping gowns. He's patient as I change his diaper for the umpteeth time or take yet another picture of him sleeping. He's really a wonderful baby.

It's a really weird feeling in our household right now. It feels as if we've already had our Christmas...yet it's still a couple days away. This really has been the most exciting, special holiday of our lives.

And I know in my heart...there are so many more to come.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Letters of Gratitude

(click image to enlarge)

We interrupt this blog for a special report....

Three-week old J. woke only once Thursday night for a feeding (at 3:30am) and last night snoozed soundly for a stretch from midnight til 5:00am.

Let the praises ring. :-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Stand Amazed...

...at the power that 4 tiny fingers and a thumb have as they grasp my pinkie finger during a feeding. Can your heart actually melt? I think mine did.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Christmas Tour of Home-- Abbrieviated!

Over at Boo Mama's blog, she hosted a Tour of Homes the other day. I really wanted to participate on time but, as you know, we had to get ready for J. coming home the next day!

Most of the preparation for getting ready for the holidays centered around quickly converting a guest room into a nursery! Here is how it turned out...I love this room. The colors make me happy!





I got these canvas bins at Lowe's for $2.00 each... you know me and my organizational-tool weakness. I had to have them! Had no idea how I was going to use them but, by golly, I was walking out of there with some $2.00 baskets!

Here's a couple more pics from the house:





And, of course, I couldn't let an entire post go without telling you that my son D. has had two GREAT days at school since Jacob arrived... that makes me so very happy! And...I couldn't NOT post a pic of the new little one:

"Hello everybody! Love, J...."


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Cutest, Sweetest Baby in the Whole Wide World

OK, I know a majority of the folks that read this blog are parents... so please don't take this the wrong way... but this baby is the cutest, sweetest baby in the whole wide world! :-) (I know, I know...Mommy bias!)

I had to post some pictures because, well, he is just so darned sweet! (that and the threats of bodily harm offered up by some very, um, dedicated readers. :-)

I know this will change later, but I was actually happy to have ZERO hours sleep last night. There may have been a dozing moment or two, but I now know the true meaning of "sleeping with one eye open!" I expected to stare at him all night long and, well, I did just that. Every whimper, every little grunt or cry, my eyes would fling open and I'd reach over and rub his tummy or tell him how much I love him. Zero hours sleep was something I had been waiting for.

As for J., he's doing really well... a bit gassy at times... but he's a wonderfully content baby. He especially loves lying on our stomachs and, yes, it has afforded me plenty of neck sugar for the takin'!

Without further adieu............


Welcome home, J.!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

J. is Home!!!



We drove in to find this sweet display by our friends Melissa and Jimmy. Waiting in the driveway were two very eager sets of grandparents........


Y'all, he is the SWEET, SWEET, sweetest thing I have ever seen. This self-professed "not-so-much-of-a-baby-person" is head over heels in love.


There is so much to tell you and I promise to load the REAL pics you're wanting. To tide you over, here is a picture of him in the hospital (yes, I've been holding out...but I wanted to wait until it was OFFICIAL).


Pics and stories to come... but, for now, there is some sweet baby sugar waiting for me downstairs!


Love,


One Very Happy Mama


Welcome Home, Baby Boy!


Monday, December 17, 2007

We're Here, Folks

LESS than 24 hours. In fact, about 11 hours from now we'll be leaving to get him. TO BRING HOME OUR SON.

Can you believe it???

Was it not just yesterday when he was born? Was it not an hour ago when I was so upset at the thought of our waiting time being extended by three days?

Well, all that is in the past. Tomorrow at noon we'll meet our caseworkers to finish up paperwork and then, about 30 minutes later, the foster parents will arrive.

I can hardly stand it.

I don't know when I'll update but rest assured I will. Or someone will. Thank you for your prayers, support and companionship on this brief but exciting journey. And now, as I continue doen the path as a mother a TWO, please stick around for what I'm sure will be an interesting sequel.

:-)

Jacob..... it's almost time!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Boy's Prayer: December 15, 2007

"Dear God,

We just love you so much, God. Please watch over us for a good night's sleep. And God, please be with the lady that carried baby Jacob in her tummy. What's her name, Mommy? (I remind him of her name) Yes, God, just watch over her and make her feel better, God. And please be with baby Jacob, God. We love you and, oh yeah, please be with sick people and with baby Jacob.

Watch over us for a good night's sleep.

Amen."

-- there's really nothing I can add to that, you know?

What I Wouldn't Give...

J.,

What I wouldn't give to have you here right now. It's a cold night with sheets of rain pouring down outside and the soft glow of the lamp in your room makes everything feel so cozy. How I wish you were in my arms, all safe and warm as I rock you back and forth in the glider.

Tuesday will come.

But what I wouldn't give to have you here on this night.

Love,
Mama

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Worthwhile Journey

ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk

ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk

ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk

ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk....

...and so it went on, the clacking sound of wheel against rail, grinding mile after mile. Outside the small window lie of blanket of frozen white as far as the eye could see. A seemingly endless carpet of untouched snow...mile...ka-duh-thunk....after mile...ka-duh-thunk....

We boarded the train at exactly midnight. It was very Casablanca-like as billows of steam wafted up from grates in the sidewalk as we slowly approached the tracks. Our apprehension must have been evident. Here we were, in a foreign country, being placed on a train in the middle of the night with no one to translate along our 31-hour journey. It was the dead of winter in Moscow, Russia and we were going to meet our son. They could have told us that train was bound for Jupiter and we would have still hopped on (proof still that hope can get you through just about anything.)

In our little passenger cabin, we were either too warm, too cold, hungry, sleepy or too tired and anxious to sleep. Ill-prepared for this surprise mode of transportation, we boarded the train with a small bag of clothes, no books or snacks and a couple of styrofoam plates of meat and cheese we had purchased in haste near the train station (that we kept refrigerated by pressing them up to the window glass).

But what I remember most--even more than the uncomfortable bathrooms and thick black coffee swimming with coffee grounds--was the rhythmic drumming of the train as it ambled along the tracks. 900 miles of a slow, persistent rumbling...often lulling me in and out of a dreamlike state. We did finally reach our station and disembarked, hand-in-hand, to go and meet our new child.

Why do I remember this so vividly tonight? Well, hubs and I took D. to Stone Mountain for their Christmas Village. We ate yummy soup in a warm bread bowl, gawked at beautiful trees wrapped with a blue gazillion tiny little light bulbs and saw The Polar Express in 4-D complete with snow pouring from the ceiling...an effect that caused such delight in the life of my five-year old, hard-to-impress-anymore son that it brought tears to my eyes.

But, to cap off the evening, we took the train ride around the base of the mountain. We chose the outdoor train car and snuggled up as a threesome to look at the scenery as the train slowly made its way through the park. At one point, the slow ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk of the train transported me back to the winter of 2004. The cold, crisp air blowing on my face took me back to that frozen countryside we viewed mile after mile. Only this time, I glanced over beside me and found a wide-eyed little boy singing the "fa-la-la-la-la" chorus of Deck the Halls....having the time of his life.

Tears filled my eyes again as I realized the symbolism of the moment.

Here we are, days away from meeting our new son and we're sitting on a train, in the cold listening to the all-too-familiar sounds of wheel against rail. We are now a party of three, anxious and waiting...eagerly anticipating what lies ahead in the unfamiliar territory of a family with more than one child.

But we're together...and we're nearing the station where we'll get off, hand-in-hand, and venture towards our new life and the newest member of our family.

It's a worthwhile journey indeed.



Friday's Feast: December 14, 2007


Appetizer: Make up a word and give us its definition.

--hyperanxietilated-- the feeling I am experiencing as I wait to bring our baby boy home Tuesday! (hyper...anxious...and elated all at the same time! :-)

Soup: What is currently your favorite song?


"Restore To Me" by Mac Powell (of Third Day) and Candi Pearson-Shelton. It's beautiful, meaningful and is one that I sing fifty-leven times a day.

Salad: What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

--For there to be a family of four sitting around our Christmas tree this year.

Main Course: Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.


--it'd have to be the scent of vanilla. Before she died, my Mom fell in love with vanilla everything...perfumes/body sprays, air fresheners, candles. One sniff of vanilla and the memories come flooding back.

Dessert: Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?


--I'm not one for Communist-type censorship, but if I had my way...Howard Stern would never make it on the air. To me, he's crude and vulgar... although I'd have to say that the Jerry Springer Show wouldn't be a bad one to vote off the island, either!

***********************************

To check out other feasts, click here. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Update! Update!

I broke down and called the foster mother tonight. I had to...I couldn't wait a minute longer.

Her first words to me: "You, my dear, are the luckiest woman in the world. He is a WONNNNNNN-derful baby."

I simply can't convey what that did for my heart. Not that a fussy baby or a not-so-perfect baby would be any less of a joy for me. But, in a strange way, I was "proud" of him for doing so well after the transitions he's been through.

She indicated that he's a great sleeper and that he is so often content to just hang out watching everyone. She described his fingers as "long, piano-playing fingers" and said that he has the cutest, longest legs that kick out as she tries to button his sleepers... on his last visit he was right at 8 pounds and 22.5 inches long.

I just can't describe the longing I felt in my heart. She said she wants me to be with him more than anything but that she would certainly be sobbing when it came time for us to take him home. I assured her that they would always be a part of his life story...his angels.

She then kidded that she takes him to her ladies' "circle" at church and that they're sewing a diaper bag and blankets, etc. for him to take with him. God bless this couple for taking such good care of our child. Her comment was "he may never remember us, but I want him to know that while he was with us he was warm, safe and very loved."

In this situation, who could ask for more?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ode to a Hot December Day

Oh the weather outside is frightful
And though some think it's delightful
I'm checkin' forecasts for snow
It says no, it says no, it says no

Well it doesn't show signs of stoppin
Record temps we are a' toppin
I wish it were 10 below
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

When we finally kiss goodnight
I'm a-wipin' sweat from my brow
Don't you dare try to hold me tight
It's too hot to be doin that now

Oh the fire is slowly dying
We don't have one, I was lyin
Up north is where I should go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

***************************************
Written in honor of our SEVENTY-SEVEN degree day outside. It's December 11th, folks. I need sweater weather!

One Week! One Week!

7 days from today, J. will arrive.

7 days from today, our lives will forever change. I've heard more than once (actually more than 100 times) in the past month that "I have no idea how much my life is going to change with two children."

I can only imagine.

I'm sure there will be jealousy, attempts to get attention by the oldest, unexplainable crying by the youngest and moments of panic and exhaustion on our parts. I know there will probably come a time when a lack of sleep will cause me to feel both physically and emotionally drained and I'll think back on these last seven days and wonder why I was so anxious to get to the sleepness nights that accompany a newborn. I'm pretty sure there will be times when D. needs something and I'm in the middle of changing a diaper or getting J. to sleep and I'll feel torn while trying to meet the needs of two children.

These things I know.

I also know that, arriving in seven days, is a little pair of chubby knees that will grow up and get boo-boos that need to be kissed. I know that there is an older brother who will finally have a sibling...providing him with the coveted "Big Brother" title he's wanted for so long. There will be four people in our car instead of an empty seat next to D. in the back. There will be twice the giggles, twice the bedtime prayers and twice the "I love you, Mommy's." And, with two comes the security of knowing that Daniel will have a sibling with which he can share life. Yes, there will be a five-year age difference...but that gap will most likely seem smaller and smaller as the years go by.

Having two children will be a challenge and, believe me, is not something we've gone into lightly. We have waited and we have prayed and, in seven short days, our family will welcome our newest member.

I couldn't be more excited.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Boys 1, Mom 0

Well, I lost the battle of the inflatables.

Hubs and I have been in an ongoing discussion about whether or not we will have inflatable Christmas thingies in our front yard this year. He wants them (for D., of course) and I do not....make that, DID not.

Call me Scrooge, Grinch, what have you...I just am not a big fan of the blow up snowman or Santa Clause--both of which now call my front yard their temporary home. My dear hubby argues that kids love them and why shouldn't we do it for our son? I do understand that and that is the main reason I gave in. I guess my beef is that they are EVERYwhere. And, I just wanted to do something a little different. Oh well.

The main point of contention came when I agreed to the snowman, off to the side a bit, but no Santa. Let a girl ease into the idea, you know. Apparently hubs FORGOT our compromise. As I descended the stairs this evening, I spotted the jolly ol' man in all of his illuminated red glory right in the smack dab middle of our front island nearest the road.

And, of course, when I mention it to my hubby, he responds (in an UNwhispered voice), "OK, we'll take Santa down, Mommy." Yeah sure, make Mom the "heavy." I might as well have declared there is no Christmas right then and there because the look on my son's face was pure horror.

As much as I like to imagine that having another child will give me someone for "my team," I am not that naive. Next Christmas, it will be three against one and our front yard will probably look like a new reality show "Inflatable Nation."

I'm gonna need some of that "special" egg nog, if you know what I mean.

With Fondest Seasonal Greetings I Remain,

The Mommy That Wanted to Kill Santa Clause

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Twenty Six Miles

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the boy
And never ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You'd be his if only he would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
Thats the time you miss him most of all


*****************************************
Dear J.,

Twenty-six miles separate us tonight.

And, as I sit here at midnight, wide awake while my other boys are fast asleep, I know that I should be resting, too.

Everyone says so.

But I can't.

Sleep eludes me.

My anxious thoughts fatigue me.

I walk by your nursery and stand in the doorway in awe that, just a few short weeks ago, the only inhabitants of that lavender-colored room were a white iron bed and a nightstand. Now, its warm khaki-colored walls await a young boy whose life with his new family will begin a week from Tuesday. A rocker sits patiently, ready to play its role in late-night lullabies, a plush brown teddy bear awaits his roomate, and a tub full of freshly-washed, cute-as-can-be sleepers wait to be slept in.

I want more than anything to feel your tiny fingers grasping one of mine. I wonder if you are asleep right now or if you're on your way back to sleep after a midnight feeding. I wonder if you have any idea that, twenty six miles away from you sits a woman whose heart has an empty spot...an empty spot just about your size. And she waits... and does not sleep... and stresses about finding a dresser for your clothes (even though she's been assured it doesn't matter)...and she prays for you continually.

She waits...

just twenty six miles away.

Sleep tight.

Love, Mama

Thursday, December 06, 2007

J. Update

J. went to the pediatrician yesterday and all was good. I didn't get much info...but the good news is that his heart murmur was no longer detected and he's "doing beautifully."

That does a mama's heart good.

Laughter is Medicinal, You Know

This is the one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. My friend Ann-Marie posted this video last month and I wanted to share it to help you get through the stress of the holiday season :-)

It's a good thing I've never performed dance moves in inappropriate places like the office or anything. I'm much too classsssssssy for that. Right, Burnsie?

Check it out, ya'll. It's pretty darned funny.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Plans They Are a Changin'

Today has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least.

The countdown to bringing J. home has been altered a bit...I wasn't OK with it today but I am now. Instead of bringing him home on Saturday the 15th we must now wait until Tuesday the 18th. Three days may not seem like a big deal but, to us, it is an eternity. With every day inching by as if on little bitty caterpillar feet, waiting three more days seemed interminable.

But it's OK.

The reason is that the birthmother has 14 consecutive 24-hour periods in which to change her mind. The end of that period is 8:00pm on Friday, the 14th. Because it is a Friday night, she could submit a petition and the agency not receive it until Monday morning. If we were to pick him up Saturday, there is still a risk that it could be reversed.

Soooooooo.....I am sad. I'm disappointed that my "10 days til J. countdown" today has changed to 13. But, in the big picture, it does not matter. He is in a loving foster home being oooed and gooed over by a lovely lady. And, as much as I wish that lady were me, I feel in my heart that we are doing the right thing. We are waiting until he is legally free to protect the heart of our 5-year old that wants more than anything to be a big brother. To see that ripped away from him would be the end of me for sure.

So...turn back your countdown clocks a bit and join with us in gratitude that we even have this opportunity. There is a reason for everything and this reason is pretty practical. We brought our first child home at 27 MONTHS old and he's the love of our life.

Three days will not kill me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Who Overlooks an Award?


I did not mean to! It was so kindly bestowed to me by a fellow blogger, Beth, and I was most appreciative! What I did not do at the time was turn around and award it to another blogger. And truthfully, there are so many that I admire it was hard to choose!

The award is the "You Rock the Crib" award which I think is pretty darned cute.

Now, without further ado, I would like to pass along this award to:

Cindy at Still His Girl. This lady inspires me every day and has no idea. Whether lending an encouraging word or regaling us with stories of her loving relationship with both her husband and her girls... I have enjoyed her blog from the first day I stumbled upon it. Cindy, YOU ROCK.
and

Kristie at The 4 Sullivans. This chick is loving the Lord and parenting her children half a world away as a missionary in Russia. Folks, you know I've been there more than once and cannot imagine how difficult it would be to raise children in another country...but she and her hubby are doing it and doing it well. Kristie, YOU ROCK.

Check out their blogs and you will be blessed time and time again. I pinky swear.
"Twas Eleven More Days of Waiting and this is what I see....
no guest room is set-up
and no dresser for the mound of baby clothes"

Monday, December 03, 2007


"Twas Twelve More Days of Waiting, and this is what I see....
.....mounds of baby clothes but no dresser!"

(Sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas.
You don't get this high-level blog content just anywhere, folks!)



Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Night Like Tonight

The sound of a downpour outside is beckoning me to find my bed, crawl under the warm covers and drift off into a peaceful sleep. The soft glow of the lights on our tree downstairs echo the lights decking our bannisters and stair railings. The sound of Josh Groban crooning "The First Noel" wafts out of our bedroom where my husband, with his swollen sprained ankle, is sound asleep.

My 5-year old is also deep into his sleep after a barrage of questioning at bedtime. His first and last question was: "Mommy, does Santa Claus live in Utah?" The question led to a deep discussion about the travel patterns of Santa's sleigh and a probe into why China gets to have Christmas before we do.

As I type, I notice all the streaks of paint on my hands. These swatches of paint are the result of wooden letters spelling "J - A - C - O - B" being painted for a baby boy's nursery.

A veil of exhaustion falls over my eyes as I struggle to type these last words.

A new week begins tomorrow and we will be down to 12 days until he comes home.

12 days... think we can do it? Think we can be ready?

Ready or not....here he comes!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

400

This is my 400th post to this blog. So, I shall do the traditional "400 things about me" post now.

1. You didn't really think I would list 400 things did you? :-)

I don't even KNOW 400 things about myself. But, what I do know is we're going to have a sweet baby boy in about 14 days! THAT'S when I'll discover 400 things I didn't know about babies, I assure you!

Well, the birthmother left the hospital today and was understandably emotional. The irony of our emotions yesterday really struck me. I cried last night fearing she had changed her mind. She was crying because she hadn't.... This little creature, so small and unknowing, has already made a significant impact on the hearts of many.

And so, I wait.

I wait to lay eyes on our little boy. I wait to show him his room with the bright red bird on the wall and rock him back and forth gently as I gaze at his itty bitty fingers and toes. I wait to see D. proudly don his "I'm the Big Brother" shirt which has lain dormant in his closet for who knows how long. I wait to kiss that sweet little spot on the back of his neck (you know, where the best source of neck sugar can be found). I wait to tell him the story of an unselfish love that brought him into our family. And, I wait to show him an unconditional love... one that he can carry with him for the rest of his life.

I wait...........

Friday, November 30, 2007

Guess what?

she signed.

THE PAPERS HAVE BEEN SIGNED.

:: deep exhale.............................. ::

This has been the longest day of my life. Honestly. She was supposed to sign around 5pm and we got the call that everything was O.K. at 10:00pm! 5 hours.... I thought I was going to lose it at 7:30pm. That was my breaking point. Panic, tears, the works. I carried my cell phone around in my hand like it was a life support apparatus and each time it would ring I would jump through my skin.

But, it went well. Here are the stats:

birth weight: 8 lb. 2 ounces
height: 21.5 inches long
hair: blonde fuzz
eyes: blue
caseworker's remark: he is as cute as he can be.... :-)

He will be discharged tomorrow into interim care during our wait. I know it will be rough but, folks, we made it through a 3-month wait between trips to Russia with D. I'm guessing 14 days won't be quite as bad.

Check in with me after 3 days and we'll test that last statement. [grin]

Wishing a Day Away

I know that it is never wise
To wish that time would fly
Before you know it
Years have passed
Remembering makes you sigh........

But just for once I'd like to ask
For the hours to melt away
My heart is begging
To know the outcome
Of what will happen today

I'm trusting in God to keep me sane
As minutes tick by like days
I know for sure
That no matter what
He's deserving of my praise...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Goodnight..........

I am turning it in.

What a day! November 29... our second son was born November 29. It still seems surreal. My heart is yearning to hold him and to fix his bottle and kiss that sweet little spot on the back of his neck. It's been an agonizing day but one I will never forget.

I simply cannot go to bed without saying:

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear J.
Happy Birthday to you...........

Goodnight sweet boy.

It's a Boy!

He's here, folks! We got the call about a little while ago and he had been born within the hour...so he's probably been here about 2 hours!

We won't know a lot tonight except that they said he is "a chunk!" They hadn't weighed him when they called us but the hospital was estimating 8 lb. 9 ounces... a chunk of love, I tell ya!

Now...we wait the 24 hours until she signs the papers. Some of that is supposed to be sleep time which, remarkably, I might be able to do tonight knowing that the delivery went O.K.

Who am I kidding?

Tonight and tomorrow will probably be the longest 24 hours of my life. But...I am thrilled. Beyond words. My son is one step closer to being home... I could not be more excited.

Hurry home, J.

It's 2:15pm and....

....I have a captive audience.

Let's see... the weather sure is beautiful today. I had a good chicken salad for lunch today with this yummy bacon dressing. Did I tell you we got the garland up on our balcony last night? Nothing came in the mail today but junk mail and flyers. You know, I think the stock market will be on its way back up soon. Have I ever told you that I love the color red?

Now, was there anything else you wanted an update on?

Hmmm....

oh, yeah, I almost forgot. No baby news yet. [sly grin]

It's 10:45am...

I just spoke to the agency and the birthmother called them this morning to tell them they had broken her water and started the pitocin to induce... so it will most probably be sometime this evening? It really depends on her body responds.

So, we wait...

More from Baby Watch 2007 later...please stay tuned!

It's 7:00am....

...and still no word.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Swirling, Twirling Thoughts

It's one of those nights.

One of those nights? There is no other night like this. This is the night that our son is being born. And here I sit, fingertips nervously tap, tap, tapping away at these black keys... trying their best to share my thoughts with you.

What is happening right now? Is there someone there to hold her hand and tell her everything will be alright? Is the room brightly lit or serenely dim? Are the beeps of the fetal monitor comforting to her or does it make her sad? Do the nurses know about her adoption plan and are they treating her with gentleness? Will there be a stork taped to her door like the other rooms signaling the arrival of "Baby Boy?" What is she feeling right now...right at this very moment?

I imagine it to be a mixture of every emotion I've ever felt... like different colors squeezed onto a palette. The colors blend together making swirling patterns... much like the patterns of thought running rampant through my mind.

Swirling, twirling thoughts of gladness, excitement, trepidation...emotions both anxious and elated.

Yes, it is one of those nights.

She's At the Hospital!

S. had her doctor's appointment this afternoon and they have admitted her for inducement! They said she is only at 1cm so it could be a VERY LONG time...but, we are getting closer!

I know it's a bit confusing, but here is the basic timeline we're dealing with as you keep us and the birth family in your prayers:

Day of Birth-- most likely tomorrow
Day after delivery--signing papers to terminate parental rights
When leaving hopsital, J. will be discharged to an interim care family
(14) consecutive 24-hour periods (14 days) after signing... he's ours!
Day after 14 day period expires-- J. comes home!

So, you can see how the basic timeline works. This of course all hinges on the birthmother following through with the adoption plan.

I am praying for her right now. I hope that she is comfortable and that her mind has some degree of peace about the situation. I pray that J. has a smooth transition into this world and that he will soon be safe in our arms...

Finishing Touches

All the last touches....

Surfactant in his lungs so he can breathe properly,
calcium and collagen and a dash of creativity.

A sense of humor perhaps,
or maybe an endless well of the deepest thoughts or ideas.

His femur needs to be a wee bit longer,
his heart able to beat alone a smidge stronger,
his eyes prepared to see the love pouring forth
from anxious family and friends...an ocular rainbow.

Anatomy, physiology, and spirit
combine to create the underpinnings of a boy.

A dark water world, for now his cocoon,
the canvas upon which the final finishing touches
glide breathlessly across forehead, lips, and cheek,

brush held,

just as he's held,

in the very hands of God Himself.


~Carolynn Clarke
__________________________________________________________

The beautiful poem above was written for our soon-to-be son J. Carolynn is a very dear friend whose path crossed mine during our adoption journey to Russia a few years ago. Her gift for writing is unsurpassed-- as you can see from the amazing way in which she described what our son is experiencing in these last days before being born.

Thank you Carolynn for putting into words the medical miracle of creating life, for putting these agonizing days of waiting into perspective and for being an amazing source of support. I cherish your friendship.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To Our Big-Brother-to-Be

Dear D.,

Your Daddy and I have been sharing with you stories this week... stories of when we were preparing to bring YOU home over four years ago. We want to do this so that, as you see us racing about getting J.'s room ready, you'll know that we did the same thing just weeks before we got your "call."

I couldn't believe it was happening--we were becoming parents for the first time. And, waiting for the call to go and get you was painstaking. We had already flown to Russia to meet you three months prior so now we were simply waiting on a court date. The days turned into months (milleniums in my heart) as we waited and prepared.

First, you needed a room. This was not your ordinary "baby" room. You were two years old at the time so crib sets and rattles were replaced by bunk beds and dump trucks. How much fun I had decorating your first room! I found the matching brick red bedspreads and relished finding just the right picture for the wall. Your daddy thought I was crazy but I would not turn off the lamp in your room until I could tuck you safely in bed. In some ways, that light staying on kept me going as if it were a beacon in the night...calling you home.

Just as friends and family are giving us gifts for J., they gave us presents for you, too. Just before we brought you home, I had a wonderful "baby" shower and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of those who were almost as eager to meet you as we were. Books, toys, and clothes were wrapped with your name. Every one talked about you and how they couldn't wait for us to bring you home.

In the same way, we are preparing for another member of our family to arrive. Just like they did for you, family and friends are helping us get ready for your baby brother. I'm sure it is a bit overwhelming for you as you see our attention drawn elsewhere. It is going to be a big adjustment for us all as we learn to grow as a family and discover the best way to care for this exciting addition into our lives.

But you know what? You are going to be the best big brother J. could ask for. Your heart is big and your dream to have a "brudder" is finally coming true. We will learn together about bottles and rattles and just the right thing to do to make your brother smile. But the one thing I will not let you forget... you make me smile. In big ways and little ways every single day, your sparkling brown eyes and mischieveous grin are the reason I WANT to be a parent again.

Thank you for being the joy in our hearts, the first pitter-patter we heard on our floors and for opening your heart to make room for baby J.

You are an awesome kid.

Love,
Mama

Monday, November 26, 2007

Things of Which I'm Certain

As the big event draws near, I am absolutely certain of the following:

  • That I'm not sure if I should have capitalized the word "which" in the title of this post
  • My house can not be in a bigger degree of disarray
  • Moms feel very strongly about whether or not I should use a wipe warmer
  • Stress is a very real thing and no amount of homemade oatmeal cookie dough can fix it
  • Homemade oatmeal cookie dough feels like a lead weight in your stomach if you eat it for lunch
  • I don't even really like oatmeal cookies
  • I put up my first artificial Christmas tree and it did not ruin my life
  • Artificial trees are easy to decorate...don't like where a little limb is? Bend it!
  • Little boy overalls are about the cutest darned thing I've ever laid my hands on
  • My newborn-child-to-be has more clothes than I do
  • I am not kidding
  • I may not make it through this week without one good panic attack
  • Waiting for a baby to be born is much like the old adage "a watched pot never boils"
  • My house may never be clean again
  • It finally feels like winter is giving us a sneak preview today
  • I do not like wet leaves
  • In two weeks, I will most likely be the mother of a baby boy
  • Life is good

You should see my "List of Things of Which I'm NOT Certain." Blogger's data storage limits would prevent me from posting it here. Suffice it to say. I do not know much.

I do know I'm grateful if you're reading this. The Week of Birth has finally arrived. Now, we wait for Call #1: The "Going Into Labor" call.

Breathe, Katie. Breathe.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

You may Want to Grab A Snack, Folks...

...before I launch into a post after having been without internet since Tuesday. FOUR DAYS without bloggy access during one of the. most. stressful. times. of. my. life. Four 24-hour periods without a computer or email or my blog. Yes folks, I do realize there are greater tragedies that could befall me-- BUT I missed you guys. I needed you guys this week. I had Thanksgiving thoughts to share. (now I've forgotten them) I had moments of panic. (luckily, I've forgotten them, too)

I will tell you I've had an unbelievable range of emotions this week. Our days were filled with true THANKS-GIVING, I assure you. But, in "Honest Abe" fashion, I feel compelled to share the other feelings that popped up on Katie's Wheel of Frenzied, Alternating Emotions this week. Here we go (I'm serious about grabbing a snack, folks):

THANKFUL.....I am grateful above all other things. I am grateful to have an excuse to be "eating for two" during my "most-favoritist" holiday of the year. I am thankful to be experiencing the anticipation of a baby's arrival. I have sniffed baby lotions, stroked soft blankets and oohed and gooed over all things miniature this week. I am grateful to have spent four days with a family that truly enjoyed each other's company. The laughter, tears and silliness that permeated my inlaws' home was comforting. Watching football, sitting in a circle in their living room telling stories of recent happenings, and working together to create a bountiful Thanksgiving meal that belonged in a church fellowship hall instead of a small kitchen in south Alabama. For the togetherness we felt, for the family with whom I could not spend the day but for which I am equally grateful... and for the enjoyment of being a "pregnant" Mom during such an exciting time of year, I am THANKFUL.

ANXIOUS.....for all the reasons mentioned above, I am anxious for the "due date" to arrive and for us to leap with Olympic ability the hurdles before us. The birth and the emotions S. will go through. The time in between the birth and the signing of the papers when futures will be deliberated and emotions released. Then, if those two are passed, the "I-can't-imagine-how-long-it-will-seem" 14-day waiting period in which the birthparents could change their mind(s). For the moment when we will receive the call that the vigil is over and he is ours, I am anxious. I am also anxiously awaiting the car that will take the drive down our road...appearing just beyond the trees carrying our newborn child. For that singular moment and many other reasons, I have felt ANXIOUS this week.

COMPASSIONATE.....I feel an overwhelming sense of compassion for the birthmother, S. Having met her and searched her big blue eyes for a sense of resolve and understanding, I feel as if we are in this together--although, at this point, that couldn't be further from the truth. We are going through very different emotions, yet both wanting only one thing...what's best for that little boy. I hurt for her heart and for what kind of feelings she must be working through. As I sat around a large table eating fifty-six kinds of food, I thought about what kind of Thanksgiving she was having and if she and J. (the birthfather) got to share that holiday together due to conflicts in the family. I want to whisper to her in some sort of trans-parental whisper..."I am here for you in my heart. I pray for you as the hours stretch through the days and I want you to know it will all be O.K." That is one of the feelings I am having this week.

SELFISH.....As sympathetic I am for this new person in my life, I have battled feelings of selfishness as well. "Please do not break my heart or the heart of my family and friends," I think on a daily basis. I so desperately want her to make the right choice for that child which, selfishly, I believe to be signing the papers and letting us bring this precious creature into our family. I want her to know every heart that is beating wildly with ours...eagerly awaiting news that the process of bringing Jacob home is complete. I want her to know we painted the nursery today and how cute he will look in that outfit with the little yellow duck on the pocket. I want her to know these things because I somehow think that would make her decision easier. That is why I have felt selfish this week.

FEARFUL.....My husband's arms enveloped me today as we surveyed the finished Christmas tree in our living room. "I am scared," I told him. "I know, " he replied. Nothing more was said.

Nothing more was needed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have missed you this week and the comments help me more than you know. Just the little "I'm here" messages let me know that there are those (many of whom don't know me or my family) that care about this child and about this adoption. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Once again, I am thankful. Humbled, even. Guess we can add that one to the list. (smile)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Where Do I Find the Words....

...to express what happened in our lives today?

All I can say is a meeting between two couples took place today and God was very much there. I know no other way to describe it.

J. (the birthfather) and S. (the birthmother) were two people that we felt like we had known our entire lives. J's first words were "I have to tell you I've never been this nervous in my life. I didn't sleep at all last night." We all chuckled because none of us had. What was supposed to have been a "to bed early" kind of evening turned into a sleepless one as I mulled over the facets of our profile--the one with which these strangers had become so familiar.

In his opening comments, J. broke into tears and excused himself from the meeting for a few moments. In a nutshell, he explained (mainly directing his comments to my husband in a "man-to-man, father-to-father" sorta way) that he had chosen us because he felt that we could give this child the parents--mainly the father--he never had. They held hands tightly as they discussed their troubled past and all the ways they hoped that this adoption would prevent the same thing from happening to their child. I can't express the respect and the bond that I felt with them at that moment.

We were amazed to discover the process that occurred in their selection of our profile. J. had first taken the stack of profiles and, after careful deliberation, had selected us. Without informing S. of which couple he had chosen, he gave them to her. After reading through them, she chose ours as well. Upon learning this, they decided to give them to her parents who, amazingly, also chose us after reading the stories of the different families presented. If ever I have been humbled by the handiwork of God...it was then.

As we grew more comfortable with each other, we talked about our lives, our passions, our families and our faith. The last one is the one that provided the most poignant memory from today. J. looked my husband square in the eye and said "I have never been much of a church person but I have just started going to the church where my Dad went before he died. Tell me about your faith and what you believe."

Knowing full well this was the most important question of the day, Keith leaned in and proceeded to deliver the most unbelievable testimony I'd ever heard. Tears welled up in his eyes as he talked about his love for the Lord and all the ways we had seen his hand in our lives. If nothing else folks, today we had an upfront and unmistakable opportunity to share our faith. That in itself was worth the trip.

A piece of exciting news was that S. goes for her dr. appointment tomorrow to find out if/when she will be induced. As you can imagine, we are anxious to hear the outcome.

Without going into every detail about the meeting (mainly because we are in the middle of getting ready for our final home study visit tomorrow) I will leave you with this:

Six people met in the back corner of a restaurant today. Two were caseworkers who had planned on having to facilitate a pre-birth meeting between two very nervous couples. Instead, the conversation flowed, tears and laughter were shared and stories both tragic and uplifting were relayed. A hopeful couple on the brink of having a dream come true listened to the struggles of a couple whose biggest decision of their lives is looming. Blue eyes locked upon brown searching for acceptance, forgiveness, trust and empathy.

All were found.

Hugs were exchanged, a bond was formed and God was honored.

Regardless of the outcome, I am forever changed by the meeting we had today. My heart is full and my faith is renewed. Thank you God for this most precious opportunity. And, if you are reading this, thank you for caring and sharing in this amazing journey.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's Not All About Me

A coworker and I used to have this mantra we'd shoot back and forth to each other in jest..."It's All About Me." I have used that as a joke for some time; however, in this particular circumstance--meeting birthparents who have chosen us to raise their child--it's no joke. In this situation, it couldn't be LESS about me.

As I've mentioned, I've been struggling with anxiety and nerves as we move ever closer to the possibility of adopting our second child. Well, today I listened to a message at church that changed the way that I will choose to view this entire process.

Our pastor was addressing broken dreams and how we deal with the disappointment, hurt and oftentimes despair that soon follow. This sermon could not have come at a better time. He spoke of his encounters with individuals who have had their dreams ripped from them and yet their faith remained strong. In fact, one of the most powerful points of the message was to "avoid the pitfall of wrapping our faith in God around the fulfillment of our dreams..." Isn't that an easy trap to fall into sometimes?

Using statements from this morning's message, I'm determined to "let God do to me what seems good to Him...it's not MY will, but THY will be done."

So, here is my prayer about this adoption:

"God I trust you no matter what happens tomorrow or in the next few weeks as this process unfolds. God, not my dreams, but your will be done. I will receive whatever comes as coming from the hands of my Heavenly Father. Thank you, God, for continuing to pursue me when I wasn't worthy and for loving me when I wasn't very deserving."

And then, we closed by singing Matt Redman's song "Never Let Go." I found out that he wrote this song after his wife had miscarried. It is not simply an anthem written by a Christian to whom nothing bad has happened. I sing it (and play it here on my blog) as encouragement for my anxious soul..........

"And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no you never let go
Through the calm
And through the storm

Oh no you never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no you never let go

Lord, you never let go of me........."

I will keep you posted on our meeting. Thank you for all the prayers!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart

Since May 2004, I have been a walkin', talkin' billboard for adoption. And I always will be.

But, I must tell ya. These past few days have been killer. For some reason, this afternoon finds me nervous, anxious, and about to crawl outta my skin. Our meeting with the birthparents who chose us is Monday. I have never been as worried about a meeting in my life. To us, it feels like the biggest, most important job interview ever. But that's not all...

What I am most anxious about is not being in control of the situation. Folks, this is hard for a control freak. You know, the whole NOT being in control thing. My leg is bouncin a mile a minute and my head is spinning thinking about all the changes that our family could undergo ... in a matter of weeks!

Holy crib sheets, Batman.

So, we wait. We pray. I eat sugar cookies.

Did I mention I'm a stress eater?

Oh yeah, back to the adoption.

I picked out a bedding set, ya'll. And it really is the cutest. bedding thing. ever. And I have been folding little onesies and such. Oh the sweetness of a warm, fuzzy sleeper. I never took myself as one who would coo over pajamas with ducks on the feet. I actually cooed . . . outloud . . . in Babys 'R Us. I'm a goner.

:: big, deep sigh ::

Is this really happening? It may be stressful, but it sure has been fun getting ready.

More on Monday. You know, following THE meeting.

:: breathe......................... ::

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh To Have the Wisdom of a 12-year Old

Christian radio station KSBJ FM 89.3. has posted this on their website. This is a call they received on-air. Click below to listen:

http://www.ksbj.org/eblogs/morningShow/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/logan-calf-story.mp3

It's not very long but oh so touching ... if you haven't heard this, please listen.

Hello Insomnia, My Name is Katie

OK, am I preparing for the sleepless nights that accompany the arrival of an infant? I'm supposed to be soaking up every last ounce of a full night's sleep that I can. But, noooo-sir-ee, here I am at 1:45 in the a.m. wide awake.

My husband is nestled all safe in his bed while visions of sugarplums dance in his head. And my son? Fast asleep for hours and hours now.

So, what does one do when one has complete silence and a house "to herself?" Catch up on Tivo'd shows? Give herself a pedi while polishing off a bowl fo American Idol Birthday Cake ice cream? (yes, it was an impulse buy if ever there were one) Oh no...the self-proclaimed freak in me decided to go down and "clean out" what will become our Guest Quarters in the basement. (In case you're wondering, I capitalized Guest Quarters to make it seem more appealing than "The Room You Stick Comp'ny In Down in the Basement")

As usual, I digress.

The BOXES upon BOXES of S-T-U-F-F pouring out of the closet in the soon-to-be "G.Q." was appalling. You know the closet I labeled as the place where I dumped all the things we don't have a place for? Well, folks...it's because this one was already taken. FULL. No Vacancy for the potpourri of items that we don't have a place for but don't wanna toss.

So, I started digging. I can't possibly describe the vast array of things I discovered. But, to give you just a hint of what I uncovered....here's a sampling from one of the boxes:

  • 3 spools of thread
  • 2 extension cords
  • 1 DVD movie of our first visits with Daniel --for which I have been searching for forty forevers!!
  • an iron frog paperweight
  • 4 pairs of scrapbooking scissors
  • an anniversary card I gave Keith in 1999
  • Box o' Shout Wipes
  • Fifty-leven pens and markers
  • fabric from when my sister-in-law Tonia and I were going to be all craftsy-like and make those dry mixes in a Bell jar for Christmas gifts...oh yes, those were the days.
  • My Christmas Card list from 2002
  • and....a stick of gum

    Y'all, I simply cannot deal with such matters. I want desperately to have a place for everything and this concoction of loose items was about more than this stressed-out-woman could handle. I made pile after pile and left it as a "to be continued" project. You know, because sorting and tossing and putting that many diverse things away in one night can wreak havoc on a frazzled Mom's already fragile psyche.
  • So, I brought the DVD of Daniel's first days upstairs and popped it in. Oh my goodness gracious...look how small he was. The video footage of our time in the orpahange brought tears to my eyes. (Yes, I know...you're thinking "Katie? Cry? No way!")

    Yes way.

    After sobbing for the duration of his video, I got up and climbed the stairs to Daniel's room. There he was, outside the covers acting like he has even an ounce of meat on his bones to keep him warm, (which he does not) and sleeping peacefully.

    Daniel, if you're reading this years from now I want you to know something. The love I feel in my heart for you overwhelms me at times. Watching you just now, I had the urge to protect you from anything that might make you sad or hurt you in the future. I wanted to wake you up and talk about Transformers and all the things that make you tick right now. I wanted to hold you and tell you what a difference you've made in my life.

    I also wanted to reassure you that, even though there will soon be another child in our hearts, he could never replace or dim the feelings I have for you. You are our "first born." You are the reason my heart knows the true meaning of unconditional love. You are my son... and I couldn't love you more.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    All Things Baby and Such

    Y'all, I just have no idea what I'm doin. God willing, I am having a baby in less than a month! I have been nesting like a maniac, too. What in the blue moon would possess me to completely rearrange the contents of my entire kitchen (cabinets, drawers, and all).

    Sidenote to sis-in-law ... do you remember helping me fill all those cabinets? Yeah, um, that's what it looked like. :-)

    Call me crazy, but I want this house to be as organized as possible when he gets here. So I have one less thing to worry about while I'm trying to figure out how you feed something so small. That and how in the hey doodle to get the buttons on those button-up-the-leg onesie thingies to line up so I don't always have the one button left that signifies I did it wrong and I have to start over.

    They don't call me Anal Annie for nothin', folks.

    So, I cleaned out the guest room closet (a.k.a. Dumping Ground For All Things We Don't Have A Place For) and now it's piled up in the hallway. That is until I find a new D.G.F.A.T.W.D.H.A.P.F.) Last night I hung some of the clothes I've gotten for him in the closet and it's just too darned sweet for words. For an admitted "not-really-a-baby-person" person, there's something about little bitty clothes hanging there that does something to you. I was folding Daniel's clothes at the same time and they looked simply GINORMOUS in comparison.

    As Turkey Day appraoches, we're trying to wrap up a lot of the details of our home study update (medical visits, fingerprints, vet check, pediatrician check, financial update, yada yada yada....) I must say, our home has been STUDIED so much in the past four years (this is our third official home study since our last one expired) that we oughta have a plaque to put at our front door. You know the ones they put in front of older homes to proclaim they're antebellum and such? Why not a plaque that reads "This Home is Certified To Be Free of All Non-Parental Vibes" or something?

    So, I forge on. I review diaper disposal systems and take the cover of my stroller to the dry cleaners. I read the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting a Baby Out of the Blue in Three Weeks" (ok, so I fudged on the title a smidge but you get the idea) and I pray.

    I pray for the birthmother who has a very hard decision in front of her. I pray that she won't meet me in person next Monday and immediately change her mind. I pray that I won't pass out in a stress-induced state on the WAY to said meeting which would not present a most "together" front for our team.

    But most of all...I pray for that baby. If he ends up in our home or doesn't...I pray that he will be safe, and warm and showered with kisses...and that he will always know that he is loved.

    That is my biggest prayer of all.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    I'm Building It Anyway...

    I have been on a hiatus of sorts. I apologize for my unexcused absence...but I couldn't quite put into words what has been going on. I somehow found the words when I heard a song on the way home from church today.

    We got it... THE CALL. Those of you who have checked in here over the past couple years know that we have been trying to adopt...waiting to be chosen by a birthmother...praying, wishing....dreaming of opening our hearts and home to another child.

    Then it happened. The phone rang and the caller I.D. displayed the name of our adoption agency. My heart lept into my throat and I answered-- cautiously optimistic that this could be the call we had waited so long to receive.

    It was.

    "You have been selected..."

    The words still ring in my ears.

    My heart started beating furiously as the details unfolded. The birthmother is due at the end of November (Yep. In a matter of WEEKS, y'all...) and.............. it's a BOY.

    Tears poured down my cheeks and I listened intently. We are scheduled to meet with the birthparents next week and then it will be a matter of waiting for the birth and for the waiting period (14 days) to make sure they don't change their mind after the baby is born. Frankly, that scares me to death. But, I firmly believe if this is the child that God has chosen for our family...it will work out. But, it's still a narrow tightrope of emotions that I have walked since we got the call.

    Which leads me to the song.

    Our friends and family have displayed a range of reactions to our news. All are thrilled beyond belief but, of course, many are worried that we might have our hearts broken if it falls through. I was leaning on the side of guarding my heart as well. Fearful of buying anything or getting the nursery ready. What if everything is in place and she changes her mind? I feared my heart might never recover.

    Until this afternoon. Martina McBride's new song, "Anyway" came on the radio as I was driving. The lyrics spoke to me more than I can explain:

    "You can spend your whole life building
    Something from nothin'
    One storm can come
    And blow it all away

    Build it anyway

    You can chase a dream
    That seems so out of reach
    And you know it might not
    Ever come your way

    Dream it anyway

    God is great
    But sometimes life ain't good
    And when I pray
    It doesn't always turn out
    Like I think it should

    But I do it anyway.........."

    ****************************
    I broke into sobs as I realized that this is the only chance I may ever have to experience a true "pregnancy." We adopted our first son at age 2 and it was wonderful in an entirely different way. This time will be unique in that we will be learning about formula and feeding and crib assembly. If I DON'T prepare now then I will be missing out on the joy of anticipation...the excitement of folding little bity footed pajama-thingies and marveling at the size of itty bitty clothes.

    Yes, she could change her mind. But I want to be prepared in case she doesn't. I want to dream anyway...I want to love anyway... I want to decorate and fold baby blankets and "nest" anyway....

    I can't believe it finally could be happening... I hope you'll come along on this journey with me.

    :-), Katie

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Catching Up

    Alabama/LSU - well, the Tide DID roll and I haven't been that proud of our boys in a long time. They played their hearts out and both sides gave us a great football game to watch. It was an emotional roller coaster being there in the stands and, unfortunately, a late fumble cost us the game. But, I was thrilled to watch them play...the Crimson Tide made us proud!

    Dog Tired-- I am in the middle of a twelve-week intensive dog training...but, I kid myself about the dog being trained. It's really ME that's getting trained! My German instructor intimidates the bajeebies outta me but it seems to be working. Our golden retriever pays attention to everything I do...we still have a ways to go but it does seem to be getting us on the right track.

    Not All Roses-- a friend of mine wrote to me awhile back about only talking about the "pretty things" on my blog. Well, today has not been pretty with my 5-year old. He has talked back, gotten angry, pouted, given me the "ugly face" (which consists of a crinkled up nose and pouted out cheeks) all because he hasn't gotten his way. What's driving me looney lately is his constant "You LIKE it when I get in trouble..." or "You LIKE treating me like a baby!" or...the classic "You LIKE when I don't get to have fun!" Oh yeah, I love being the bad guy all the time... Everything is fine now that he's had a nap and had time to "cool off." But, I have discovered something. My getting mad at Daniel and talking in a raised voice (aka "yelling!")does nothing. What really gets his attention is when I stay calm, cool and collected. It drives him crazy. Hopefully, one of these days he'll recognize it as gentleness and that I really DO care about him more than I could ever put into words. One can only hope.

    Balance-- OK, so I had to write about this one in verse:

    Juggling all my many hats
    Can drive a girl insane
    And why I feel so torn sometimes
    Can be hard to explain

    It's all a game of balance
    priorities and such
    Knowing when I'm doing too little
    And when I'm doing too much

    The many responsibilities
    Can pull and nag at me
    But when I really think about it
    It's pretty plain to see

    That all the different hats I wear
    I wear with pride indeed
    I'm blessed beyond belief, my friends
    It's a wonderful life I lead!

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Sweet Home Alabama


    We're headed to Alabama in just a little while. This weekend is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, games of the year so far. In the realm of college football, this would be a HUGE win for us... Our new coach's old team is coming to town. LSU fans always make it interesting...even WHEN they're not out for blood. They're loud and crazy and it makes for a fun day whenever we play them at home. So..... that makes this weekend even bigger.

    We can't wait.

    The game is at 4:00 on Saturday but I'm sure my hubby will have us there at dawn-thirty to make sure we get a spot to tailgate. We'll then spend the days with friends eating ribs, watching other games and getting ready to cheer louder than we have in a very. long. time.

    To non-football fans, it sounds a little over the top. Perhaps even a little shallow. But, having grown up in a family of loyal sports fans-- and then MARRYING one-- this has become a fun tradition for our family. We've developed a close network of friends who share our passion and this is one of our favorite times of the year. A sunshiny-fall day, the sounds of the drumline practicing, cheers of fans as they walk by and little A's painted on the faces of boys who dream of being out on the field one day. It's the feeling that you're a part of something bigger than yourself...a day when a stadium full of people are rooting for their team of choice.

    It's big.

    It's fun.

    It's Game Day in Tuscaloosa.
    And, believe it or not, it's not really about whether we win or not. It's singing the fight song and high-fiving on good plays and sharing the loss if it happens. In the end, it IS only a game. But don't tell our boys that just yet. Because the Tigers are coming to town with one goal in mind... victory. And we'll be waiting for them.

    Roll Tide!

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Halloween Memories

    (click image to enlarge)

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Merry Hallowsgiving

    ...or shall I say "Happy HalloThanksmas"...

    I woke up this morning to my favorite radio station playing "Jingle Bells." JINGLE BELLS. That was followed by "Deck the Halls" and capped off with a rousing rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!"

    What in the everlovin world are they doing playing Christmas music??? That stresses me out, y'all. FIRST of all, it's Halloween. That means it is still October. Say it with me, "OCT----TOBBBB-BER." Jeesh.

    My friend Stacey and I were chuckling the other day about how much we still love this time of year because our "holiday planning" is still full of hope and promise. Those homemade gifts we want to make are still possible and all those nifty little ways we want to organize for the hectic holiday season can still be put into place. I can still be organized (yes!) and creative (oh! yeah!) when it comes to giftwrapping and if I wanted to bake my special-what-I'm-known-for holiday cake for all my friends and neighbors, I still have time. Of course, I'm not actually KNOWN for baking anything...so that could be a problem. BUT...because it's only OCTOBER, I still have time to learn how to bake something-special-that-I-could-possibly-become-known-for. The season is full of possibility, it is! Right?

    But not if I wake up to "Silent Night."

    Because, if I wake up to the song "Silent Night" playing on the radio, it's HERE. Christmas. And that means that I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it and that stresses me out because THIS is the year I was gonna be on TOP of the game, yessirree I was. I was going to pull out that "Countdown to Christmas" planner I bought years ago, dust it off and use it this year. REALLY use it.

    Because, you see. It's still OCTOBER. I am going to switch the radio station, reprogram my brain to my favorite season, autumn, which is still gloriously presenting itself outside my door. I will banish the stressful thoughts of holiday-prep inadequacy and enjoy the rest of my Fall without falling into the way-too-early preholiday madness.

    I will.

    I promise.

    I must.

    I will not look up a single recipe for "Festive Holiday Bundt Recipes for Dummies"...well, at least not until tomorrow. Cause then folks it will be November.

    And you know what that means...

    GAME ON.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Letters of Gratitude

    I have decided that I would like to use this space to write a letter of gratitude every now and then. There are people I come in contact with every day that do things big and small... each having their own impact on my life. Some of these people will never see this...and some not for a long time...but that does not matter. The acknowledgement is the important part to me.

    This letter is for Steve Rountree and Debbie Burns:


    Monday, October 29, 2007

    Glorious Day

    Today is a glorious day

    Not for any particular reason

    Maybe it's the crystal clear,
    cool Fall-ish weather outside...

    or the fact that I don't hurt anywhere on my body

    and my house is straightened (for the most part)

    and my dog is by my side chewing on her tennis ball...

    Perhaps it's the joy of the light
    pouring in the glass on my front door

    Or the sound of a lawnmower in the distance...

    I can't seem to pinpoint the exact source
    of my contentment today

    I just know it's with me

    I know there will be some not-so-good days ahead
    They are a part of the natural, cyclical rhythm of life...

    But today is a good one.

    I am content.

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    A Passion for Fashion? Not Really.

    OK, so my post about 80's trends coming back made me think. As much as I loathe everything that is the 80's (well, except for John Hughes films, Trapper Keepers and the song "More Than Words" by Extreme)...

    ...but I digress.

    I started thinking about other decades ...would I have liked those any better?

    The Roaring 20's for instance...I think I would have liked this era (style-wise, that is). I love that look...the hair, the dresses, the long strands of pearls and the great shoes. Of course, the custom was to keep your chest looking as flat as possible to portray equality with men at the time...unfortunately, I couldn't pull that off if I tried. I do love the flapper-style, though!

    And possibly the the 50's... when I think of the 50's I think of sock hops, poodle skirts and those little tin-foil-packed meatloaf TV dinners with the bright green peas. I imagine Leave it to Beaver-esque moments and tiny waistlines. Again, a style I probably couldn't pull off!

    Then, there are the 60's... it wasn't all Woodstock, I know. But the 60's conjure up the hippiest of images. Long, stringy hair and pychadellic colors. The true cliche of a peace-lovin, groovy decade. What's funny is neither of my parents looked like that in the 60's but that's what I think of for those years. And the Twiggy look? Puh-leeze.

    In some ways, I am a child of the 70's. But, just that, a child. My Mom dressed me for many of those years so I'm not quite sure what being a teenager dressing during that time was like. All I can say is I loved the Bee Gee's and I could get a wing going in my hair (subsequently frozen in time with a can of hair spray) as good as the next person. But bell bottoms? Nothankyouverymuch. No sir-ee. :-)

    I don't know. I think style and fashion are something I've never been too keen on because I always seem to catch up just as "they" (whoever they may be) are moving on to the next big thing. But the fact that 80's fashions are back in vogue? This is one style train I'll be glad to miss.

    THIS time around.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Gag Me With a Spoon

    OK, so I thought I'd run to the store tonight to find an outfit for a trip I'm taking to visit my sis in Tampa tomorrow. I'm none too pleased with my current selection of clothing and thought one new outfit wouldn't hurt.

    But hurt it did.

    I know we've had this 80's retro trend going on for some time now. But folks, please. We must stop the insanity. And quick.

    The clothes that I saw on the racks this evening were, shall I say, AWFUL. Boxy, big-shouldered tunic-type shirts in pale pastel colored stripes (of course with a hint of gold yarn running through it. Blech.) One shirt/vest/combo-thingie I picked up looked like something comedian Paula Poundstone would wear...or better, yet, it would be part of the wardrobe for the female-gym-teacher-who-hates-men in a cheesy 80's movie. What are the fashion folks thinking?

    Pink speckled boxy print with silver thread accents.

    Puffy purple purses with a metallic buckle. (It was painful for me to even type that)

    As I walked through one particular store and surveyed the damage, er, I mean INVENTORY, I was transported back to my junior year in high school. "Ooh, this black and white horizontally-striped tunic would look super great with those new stirrup pants I bought and my black flats."

    Perish the thought.

    All I ask for is something with a dart here or there. Some sort of shirt item that might actually make me look like I have a waist even if I don't. This is 2007, people. Did the fashion trend in the 1970's suddenly revert to poodle skirts? No. And for good reason.

    I guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. For my flight tomorrow I'll don my best pair of Jordache jeans and a Coca-Cola shirt with the stiff white collar. With a Goody comb in my back pocket, I will be ready to take on the world. Perhaps I'll even start daydreaming about Rob Lowe or Ricky Schroeder again.

    One never knows...

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Relief

    Drip
    Drop

    Drip

    Sprinkle

    Rain..........................................

    ahhhhhh

    desperately needed

    let it pour


    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Contentment

    Today was a great day.

    I was able to go to a wonderful church and worship my Lord freely. Afterwards, my family enjoyed lunch then went home to kick back and rest. We all retreated for a Sunday afternoon nap and I nestled into my new favorite spot: a twin bed in my son's room. It's an extra bed tucked snugly beneath a set of windows. My new Sunday ritual is to lie down, open up the window and let a mixture of warm sun and cool breezes lull me to sleep.

    As I drifted off into a cozy nap, I felt a strong breeze blow in as it carried crunchy leaves down the driveway and across the front yard. The distant sound of children's laughter, a dog or two barking and my son's deep breathing on the adjacent bed made me feel safe and confirmed the fact that I am wholly and deeply blessed.

    The rest of the day was equally delightful: shopping with a friend, dinner with my "men" and curling up on the couch to watch a movie with my hubby.

    I couldn't ask for more.

    Savior I come,

    quiet my soul,

    remember...



    Friday, October 19, 2007

    Friday's Feast: October 19, 2007


    Appetizer: If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?
    I'd be a Golden Retriever...fun-loving and generally happy... and always one to chase a tennis ball!

    Soup: What does the color purple make you think of?
    I would like for my answer to be "nobility" or something much more culturally well-rounded than my actual first thought/response: BARNEY.


    Salad: Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?
    With involvement of five year old boy......1 hour at least

    Without involvement of five year old boy......... 30 minutes

    Main Course: How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?

    Unfortunately, I only have two. My Mom was an only child and my Dad had one brother... I wish we were closer but we really only see each other at weddings and funerals... I wish that weren't the case because we are close in age and get along well.

    Dessert: Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for. (Example: SFO = Sweet Funny Otter)

    My initials are KTB........ Kangaroos Tote Babies :-)

    *******************************************************************************
    To do your own feast or to check out how others responded, click HERE.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Addiction # 457

    Hello. My name is Katie and I am addicted to Sharpie pens.

    "Hello, Katie." (the people in the circle of chairs chant back to me)

    I am addicted, ya'll. I love Sharpies more than just about any kind of office supply. And, that's saying a lot. Now they've come out with the little Sharpies that hang off a keyring and you have them at your disposal at all time.

    (Katie purrs)

    When did I become addicted to office supplies? I'm drawn to the writing utensil section of Office Depot like moth to flame...like white on rice...like...well, you get my point. Gel pens, ballpoints, big pens, little pens, colored markers, crayons and big pads of white paper. Oh my goodness. It's enough to get my heart racing.

    Just the other day, I bought my 5-year old a brand new box of crayolas...the 64 variety with all the metallics and beauties like "cornflower blue" and "magenta." I have to admit that I've used them almost as much as he has. I love, love, love doodling, coloring, drawing. Sigh....

    But, the little Sharpies take the cake. Give me some Sharpie pens and blank file folders and it might as well be Christmas morn.

    I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee pens. Pens, pens, pens......


    Don't worry. I scare me sometimes, too.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Happy Fall, Y'all

    (click image to enlarge)