May 28, 2009

Chunk o' Cheese

You see, at the Chunk o' Cheese (our nickname for this joint) it doesn't matter how old you are - because it's where a kid can be a kid.

Even if you're 35. Or 2. Or 18 months...

Met there today with ma' M3 Sister Friends so the kiddos could have a play-date (ok, so WE could have a play-date...) and did it up CEC style...Pizza, laughing, soda, laughing, games, laughing, and pictures - more laughing. Sigh....

Love them, love them, love them.

Aren't these children gorgeous! (Especially that one in the middle drinking from his sippy cup...?? My oh my...I do believe I'm partial to boys by the name of Quint.

Such amazing little kids...I love them so much!

May 27, 2009

If it makes you happy...

There just aren't enough things, it sometimes seems, to make us truly happy. Not enough to make us feel how blessed we are. Not enough to remind us of all the beauty that we have.

Maybe that's why our picnic visit to our local Arboretum today was so unique. From the minute we walked through the gate at the opening of the park - from the moment we found ourselves surrounded by the most amazing flowers and lush green grass...water, birds chirping...and about 72 degrees of blue skies - it was just happiness.

Maybe because we felt good and were both in good moods...

Maybe because it was a gloriously gorgeous day and the breeze was heavenly...

Maybe because flowers just make you want to break out in song...

Maybe because sharing a PB&J with Quint in the middle of flower paradise was the absolute top for me...

I don't know - but the combination was right on - and it left me feeling euphorically happy for the rest of the day. Left me loving spring and welcoming summer. Left me feeling so much love for my little man and all the ways he's growing up. Loving seeing the world through his eyes - and the wonder he has for the simple things.

There just aren't enough of those days to spread around - but when they, do I love squeezing them tight to my heart so I can remember them on the not so good ones.

Eventually, we had to head home and take a nap (ahem, both of us). Luckily, when we woke up, AB had arrived home from work and we made our way our to our favorite Cajun shack for dinner. We ate outside on their patio - with the warm sun and the beautiful evening breeze. Following that with a trip around the corner to our favorite book store where we browsed around for awhile (and got some great deals). Then stopped for an ice cream cone on the way home with our best boy!

I don't say it often - but it was a perfect day.

I love those...

** If you have a local Arboretum, (if you're not sure, Google it) do yourself a favor and take a day to visit. Kiddos under three are usually free and entry cost is minimal. Take a picnic lunch, someone you love, and a camera with plenty of battery juice. You will not regret it.

May 26, 2009

It was so awkward that I actually dreamt about it...

OMG - did you watch it???

I cringed through 99% of the 1 hour and 18 minutes of hellish programming.

I could feel my stomach tense up everytime they were talking. Could actually feel myself trying to unclench.

I've watched on and off for a few years - and have probably seen all but a couple of the episodes.

Mostly, I've always been taken aback by her tone. The tone she takes with her husband and the tone she takes with her family. It has put me off to the point that I will say "I can't listen to her mouth anymore".

And sometimes, her toilet attitude and dominant nature have been a sharp reality check for me - because I too, struggle with a strong sense of "my way or the highway" and over-organizing our life. She and I ride the same Princess Express occasionally...

But all I felt last night was pity and sadness. And the strongest urge to yell at the screen of my television "for God's sake you two...cancel the show...get a're life is about to fall apart permanently...pull the plug and fix your family before it's too late!!!!"

All I kept hearing from them was "for the kids, for the kids, for the kids". Guess what? The kids I'm guessing, don't care about material things. They care about their parents being together, I bet, a whole lot more than they care about a farmhouse stalked by the "P" people. (See show for Kate's stupid explanation of why they call them that. Lame.)

That birthday party was PAINFUL to watch. Since when does Kate laugh and banter so much? Never in the last three years since I've been watching. It was just weird and put on and forced. And when J showed up? omg. Kill me now. Put me out of my viewer misery. The awkward interaction was enough to make me want to chew on a pillow.

The couch conversations at the end? Don't get me started - it was just so upsetting. What the frig happened to these people? What happened to "whatever happens, it's our life and we love our crazy life" blah blah blah?? They've clearly had a brush (or full on hug) with infidelity - use it as a wake up call and come out better for it! Since they won't reveal what has happened - and they are painfully cryptic about the state of their relationship - we just have to guess.

Even though we've already seen Jon get his hair plugged live? Already seen the kids potty train? Already seen Kate's before and after tummy tuck shots? Already watched her berate Aunt Jodie over gum? Already seen her be-head Jon over a coupon? Come on. And so now this is off-limits? Too much info? Give me a fat break!

I'm afraid they might have already "ended" things a while ago - and for some reason, the network and these out of touch parents - have decided to have millions of viewers stick around to watch the actual unraveling of a family, piece by tattered broken piece.

All I can say is: in shocking poor taste, completely sad, and a shameful disservice to those kids.

What are the chances this is all a publicity stunt since they were losing audiences after Table for 1.2. came out (and subsequently other large clan family shows) Since people were getting fed up with their high-profile, celebrity status - and deciding they were no longer a "normal" family trying to get by (and thus not deserving of their show and status anymore)?

What did you think of the show last night?

May 19, 2009

So late, so soon...

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
~ Dr. Seuss

If you were someone who once said to me "don't worry - time will pass and soon this will all be behind you" - thank you - you were right. It is...

And if you once said to me "hang on to this moment, because it will be gone before you can blink an eye" - you were right. It is gone.

I know I was there - because I look at the pictures and I recall the sights and smells, and sounds...and feelings. I just can't believe it was a whole year ago. 365 days ago.

He's been with us longer than he was with his birth parents, longer than he was in custody of the police officer that found him, longer than he was cared for by his orphanage nannies. He's been a part of us, and with us, and living life with us for a year. Oddly, that sounds like a long time - but I know better. Because I've just lived that year...and it was infinitely shorter than I expected it to be.

And longer too.

Do you know what's hard about it? Running the gambit of emotions that this journey has provided - day in and out. Living for the here and now, and reaching for the future, and dragging my feet away from the past. Away from the baby gurgles, and the sweet smell of his new baby skin, and from the sweet laughter that he gave me that very first day while I reached out to take him for the first time. Slipping into the past - those little sounds he made, the way he reached up to be held, and the feeling of his little body snuggled against me.

He was everything I never knew I wanted. A boy. A boy! I was eating, breathing, and living for a little girl - and then he showed up and changed my world.

One day it was a seed in my heart - calling me to Africa - terrifying me. The next day, we were packing for our trip. The next day we were stretching out our arms to snuggle the most amazing baby boy we'd ever met.

And the next day, he was already home for a year. Already in our arms for a year.

So late, so soon...

There are days I look into his huge brown eyes, and my heart melts back to that day I reached for him. Looking into those same eyes, searching for our connection. And there it was...ready, willing to love me back - even though I had already commissioned myself to jumping in front of a truck to protect him. He was willing...loving me and letting me love him. More than I had ever hoped for in a son. In a child...

I've never been one to tell people only the good. I have to be transparent about the frailty that parenting my son has left me with. About wearing my heart around the tiny frame of a little boy. About wanting to hide in the closet on the bad days, and wanting to shout with love and joy on the good ones. About wanting to take every drop of him in, and sometimes, wanting to get in the car and keep on truckin'.

Still...he's here and he has been for a whole year.

So late, so soon...

And I'd like to think that in that time since I first took his hand and snuggled him close to me - that we've taught each other so much more than either of us expected.

He expected to be fed, bathed, and looked after. What he got was two parents who eagerly anticipate his every need. Who love and dote on him, who cherish and adore him. Who laugh with him, and sometimes even cry with him. Who hate to see him hurting, and love to see him smile. He got a family and in it, the comfort and security to become whoever he wants to be and to grow and change under the umbrella of our protection and profound love for him.

We expected to be parents. To get a baby and join the "Mom and Dad" club, and finally get to know what it's like to have a little one running around. And we did get that. But that is the surface of a very deep well of emotions and benefits. We finally understood the vast difference between loving yourself, and loving your child. We got unconditional love and a daily dose of heavy reality. We got a lifetime subscription to being the proudest parents to walk the planet. We got the sweetest smiles, kisses, hugs, and snuggles. We finally had our "aha" moment - finally understood - finally got it - this was what it meant to love someone so deep in your being you would do anything for them. All other love seemed to pale in the brilliant comparison of the love we have for him.

And loving him, and getting to know him is going by so fast. So fast it hurts sometimes. Hurts to have to say goodbye to the small stages of his budding life. To see him change so much - and knowing at the same time, that love and trust are what have given him such dramatic change in the past year.

And we've changed too. So much it's hard to believe. From a self-professed princess, to a struggling new mom - trying to find her way down the long rabbit hole of selflessness. Living for another person, and always trying to anticipate his needs before he even knows them. Loving him and putting my heart completely on the line to see him nurtured and growing.

People say "you're so brave", "what a great thing you did for him", "what a blessing to rescue him", "you're his heroes to come and save him from a life of being an orphan".

Can I tell you?

We're not heroes. We're selfish people who wanted to have children. Who wanted to have a family. Who wanted Christmas to be more than a ham and some presents we didn't even need. We're not brave. We didn't rescue him.

He rescued us.

And any adoptive parent out there can feel that sentence to the core of their being.

Adoption is not for the "strong" or for the "special family". Adoption is for anyone who understands that love means the extensive selfless giving of yourself. Extending grace, compassion, and understanding.

And when you do - you find that the great thing you set out to do for someone else, is really happening for you. To you.

He's the great thing - and he happened to us.

Thank God - thank God...thank God...

Just tears now...

You can read about our Gotcha Day for Quint by clicking the link below:
Gotcha Day

May 18, 2009

The day my hot mess of a head of hair got the better of me...

While looking in the mirror this morning (puffy eyes, gray roots, etc. etc.) I remembered that you sometimes have to have a little "come to Jesus meeting" with yourself...

Me: "Self?"

Self: "Yes?"

Me: "Why does our hair suck so bad?"

Self: "I was just thinking the same thing - I love how we think alike" (snort)

Me: "If I knew how to cut my own hair, I would do it right now..."

Self: "Maybe we could Google it?"

Me: "Umm...well, we could - but then I'd have to shave my head after we're done - cuz that's how bad it would be - ya feel me?"

Self: "Yeppers"

Me: "Why does it look like my roots are freaking 3 inches too long, I have too much gray hair, the tips are burnt to a crisp, and it's all jaggedy...?"

Self: "Ahem. Because it is all those things."

Me: "Right." Taps fingers on counter...

Self: "What if her?"

Me: Sigh. "We should...we should definitely call her"

Self: "I mean, we like her...she's affordable...she's funny and a good story teller...and she's always up to the challenge of this shamble of hair we bring in.."

Me: "But it's been like, since last summer...and everytime I feel so guilty that I let so much time pass...and I feel like I have to give 77 excuses why I haven't been to see her in so long. You know?"

Self: ........

Me: "You know?"

Self: ........(under're a hot mess, her)

And so I did.

May 16, 2009

Stats...snort giggle snort

If you're not laughing, you should be...

May 15, 2009

It's Like Totally...a

Rad Prom Flashback Extravaganza...

Jen over at Blissfully Caffeinated challenged us to post our, like, totally awesome prom pics, and so I was like "ok" and she was like "ok" and I was all "this is rad" and she was like "I know, it's totallllllly rad".

And so here we go.

First of all - that dress is still like totally way cool But the dripping over-sized bow is kind of grody, (definition: really, really gross) But I was majorly lame and broke all the rules of my private high school anyway (not really - just this one). You see, you couldn't wear anything above the knee - but I was a transplant - coming in from public school to a very small private school. So I was like "I'm totally not wearing a granny dress", and so my mom was all "what about this one with the bow - it looks longer than it is" and I was all "Mom, you're like totally wicked to the max". Notice how high above the knee that dress is? Loved that dress...

The jacket was removable - but I had been blessed with a certain, shall we say...voluptuous upper body area...more so than most all the girls in my grade. So the jacket was in place to protect the harmony and the sanctity of all those overly excitable boys I sat in the vicinity of. (Or so said my Dad...) You might think I'm playing - but listen up hosers...that was some serious action under that "jacket", eh, and I dared not remove it for fear of adolescent mauling - for which I was quite frankly terrified. I did later remove the jacket (and nothing else! what kind of girl do you take me for? - barf me out!) and felt so scandalous. Bwah ha!

When pastels were the coolest thing to hit the mall - this, like major mall chick was heading for black. Because we all know, what? That black thins you out. That's right. And for some GOD FORSAKEN REASON, I thought I was fat. Cough. (If the me from then could like totally see the me from now - but I digress) My date obliged and even threw in a turtle neck for extra measure - in white. Just to show we were, um...Erasure-ish new wave-ish. I thought about wearing my wrist full of rubber bracelets or my tricked out puffy paint stone-washed jean jacket - but it would have ruined it, totally.

Before you think I'm a dweeb-o-rama - let me just point out that posting this pic is in no way helping out my paninaro (See Pet Shop Boys). Though I still have this dress in a tub of other long buried prom dresses (whose pics shall remain un-posted) - I couldn't get a THIGH BONE into it anymore. Sob. I should have kept gettin' physical with Olivia Newton John all these years, instead of playing around for hours with my Rubik Cube. Lame. Never could solve it.

But how much do I love my hair?!?! I mean, first of all - it went down to my waist - and I hot curled it to be all like...curly and like gorgeous. And those bangs would not have been shaken down by a bulldozer. That's some serious Aqua Net skills going on there. Gawd, I'm smokin!

What can I tell you about my date - all I remember of D was that he was kinda cute and really funny, too cocky - and super flirty. He was the bomb for like, a week. He asked me, I said yes - and we had fun. Except for the unwelcome groping that I had not planned on, nor did I particularly want. We ended up at the mall or something and totally ditched our other group. There was no dancing - because we went to private school, so I didn't get to bust out my break-dancing moves. Sucked. I watched that movie over and over to get my routine down just right...I even brought a little tuft of cardboard to spin on. Sigh... forward almost 20 years later and come to find out - the best part about my date?

He's now a doctor, and single and a little bit cuter. Cocky boy turns hunky doctor - Bodacious.

Well, I guess I better like totally get back to being a couch potato and like, veg out. I was totally spazzing when I saw Jenn's post - she was like a total hottie back in the day and like, married her prom date. Like for SURE! You should check it out and give her a visit, eh?

Love Jenn...she's like so rad.

May 11, 2009

I Still Believe

In June of 2005, Anton and I began a journey to adopt a little baby girl from China. Four years have passed and we've certainly been learning during that time about patience, acceptance, grief, and longing.

It has been particularly hard on us lately - to realize how far from those first days of the adoption process for Keira we have journeyed - only to still not have her home with us.

But as I was driving to church yesterday, a favorite song of mine came on by Jeremy Camp called "I Still Believe". I was weeping before I could stop myself - realizing that despite longing for Keira for well over 1,460 days, I still believe in the faithfulness of the Lord to bring her home to us. Someway, somehow...someday...

Knowing that His timing is perfect and that had Keira come home when we planned, Quint would not have come home at all. The timing would have been wrong. Knowing and trusting that through our pain and longing, God's faithfulness has proven true over and over again in our lives. Just look at our beautiful son!

Despite not knowing how everything will work out - when we will actually see her face, hold her, touch her, comfort her...and bring her home to her beautiful little room - I still believe in His word...and His promises.

Even when all hope seems gone, I still believe...

May 10, 2009

Momma, Mom, Ma, Mommy, Mother

Those are the names I have called her for years and years...

And she makes all of them sound good!

I love you, Mom

You're sunshine in my life and you make me laugh so hard I piddle myself

But you knew that already, didn't you?

There's no one I'd rather spend 5 hours on the phone with
talking about a whole lot of everything

Happy Mother's Day to the best of the best (that's you, ma...)


May 8, 2009

Fish Lens


No So Happy

Love it.