Friday, October 31, 2008

Check Back Tomorrow

What is it with me and moving during the month of November while trying to blog every day? I'm going to try my hand at NaBloPoMo again this year because last year the Starbucks gift card that I won was so totally worth every minute of blogging.

Check back tomorrow. I'm sure there will be some Halloween treats. I am trying to get Garrett to take a short nap before we head over to Jordan Landing with some friends to trick-or-treat. Then we're off to the church Harvest Festival. For now, I'm off to pack a box or two and wonder if my little guy is stripping off his diaper once again...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Kid Really Cracks Me Up

Garrett's nap today was cut a bit short. After hearing him stir, I checked the video monitor to make sure he had repositioned and gone back to sleep. He had but I noticed a suspicious crack where a diaper should have been.

I contemplated whether or not to let him sleep and deal with the waste repercussions later. In fact, this is the exact decision I landed on but I just couldn't let the moment pass me by. I had to try to take a picture of it. And, as I snuck out with my camera in hand, he stirred, saw me, and that was the end of that.

But I really feel like the picture is worth a thousand words and maybe, even, a thousand naps. Okay so no, nothing is worth a thousand naps.

So, in honor of the fact that I have posted twice today, I think you should all leave a comment with a caption for this photo. It will certainly be making an appearance in my son's scrapbook. You never know, your caption could grace the pages of his album.

Additionally, if we could keep the knowledge of this picture to ourselves when my son hits his teenage years, I'd really appreciate it.

Quiet Time & Crib Attacks

A few years ago I heard a woman speak on tithing your time to the Lord. I'll be honest, some months it is difficult for me to tithe my money to the Lord. I do it faithfully but 10% of my time? Well, that's another story. That's almost two and a half hours a day. But this particular woman gets up in the morning and offers her first fruits to the Lord. For TWO & A HALF HOURS. It's not that I couldn't spend that much time in quiet time with my Savior but I don't think it is logistically possible. Unless, of course, I wake up hours before my toddler in which case I'd be so tired I'd probably put his clothes on backward and forget that he needs his diaper changed regularly.

Nevertheless, several months ago, I talked about this in Sunday school. I didn't say that we ought to be tithing our time, I simply explained it in principle. And I talked about how, when at all possible, it should be our first fruits, not the last thing we think about before we turn the lamp off at night. Then I promptly forgot my own advice. For awhile I became the person who scurried through a few verses in between brushing my teeth and falling fast asleep.

Until about a month ago. I have begun getting up before the rest of my family. It's still dark and it's chilly and I really, really like my sleep. But I can't help but see the value in dedicating my day to the Lord. My son usually wakes up around the same time in the mornings. This is helpful. I set my alarm for 45 minutes before he typically wakes up. I've been blessed with a kid who is happy to entertain himself in his crib for awhile in the mornings so even if he wakes up before I'm done, I have no problem finishing. I spend about 20 minutes in prayer. Then I read through a chapter of the Bible. Then I go back through the chapter I just read and I pick out key verses and write these down in my prayer journal. If I still have time when all of that is said and done, I read a few pages or a chapter in one of the many nonfiction Christian books I have lying around here.

And I am loving this time. Don't get me wrong. I do not love it when the alarm goes off. In fact, I do not love it so much that last Saturday I turned it off and went back to sleep. But once I am awake, well, then I love it. Since the installation of this new way of studying my Bible I have made it through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians--one chapter at a time. I take Sundays off. Well, I mean, I don't actually take them off. Right now we get to church at 9:00 and I leave at approximately 2:45 after my rehearsal is finished. But I take them off from getting up early and having a quiet time.

I didn't know how much I would enjoy a quiet home and 45 uninterrupted minutes with the Lord. And oh how I recommend it.
Yesterday Garrett managed to get his legs stuck between the rungs of his crib. He's done this once before, when he was a tiny little guy. This time, I truly thought I was going to have to saw through the rungs to free his right leg. Or lather it with butter. Or call the fire department. He was screaming bloody murder and I was trying everything. Eventually I managed to communicate that he needed to lay on his side so that I could try it from a different angle. After painstakingly wiggling his chubby leg and making a millimeter at a time of progress, his leg popped free. And there were the biggest red marks on that poor thigh. The crying stopped and a look flickered across his face. It was a look that said, "Mommy, you are my hero. I will never disobey you ever again because you have saved my precious little life."

I intend to remind him of this for years to come.

"Garrett, you'd better listen to me. Remember that one time that I saved you from the horrible baby eating crib monster?"

And he will nod and say, "Yes, Mommy. I remember. Please accept my humble apology."

And I will. Because that's just how mother's are supposed to be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Humble Is My New Middle Name

Last night we went out with a couple for the first time. It was their first time meeting Garrett and, wouldn't you know, he had refused to take a nap. He was in pretty good spirits but he got bored quickly. After we'd finished eating, I let him sit on my lap. He wanted ice out of my water cup and sticking his hands in my cup to fish out cubes was keeping him entertained. I was a little horrified at what these people might be thinking about my parenting skills but I figured that was better than having to leave because our two-year-old had had enough of Chili's.

Then he spilled the water in my lap. Let me tell you that the glass was more than half full--and that's not just an optimistic view of the situation. There also happened to be a whole lot of ice and it just so happened to pool in a not so ice friendly area. I felt like I was slowly dying, from the lowest point of my torso up. When we were finally able to shift Garrett from my lap to Troy's I stood up. The woman we were with commented, "Now see, the cool part about that is it really does look like you wet your pants."

It was freezing. And cold. And wet. And to top it all off I looked like I'd wet my pants. It was super special. The best part was when I got to walk out of the restaurant several minutes later. If only I'd been wearing the Special Sunglasses. Then, truly, the ensemble would have been complete.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rings & Things

This morning, as I was changing Garrett's diaper, he made a gagging sound and shrieked, "Bad poopie!" You know it's awful when the producer starts making comments.

Yesterday I was waiting to pick up my prescription at WalMart. I had decided to return for it at a later time--when my eyes were less covered in hideous sunglasses. There was some sort of problem with our insurance card and their computer so it took forever. While I was waiting a girl came up to drop off her prescription. She put her left hand on the counter and I immediately noticed the gorgeous and, might I add, humongous rock on her ring finger. I glanced at her and thought that she looked very young. This is not unusual in these parts so I didn't think much about it. Plus, I've been mistaken for a high schooler as recently as a couple of years ago so I'm not really one to talk. But then. Then I heard the following conversation...

Pharmacist: Have you filled here before?
Girl with incredible diamond covered ring: Oh yeah.
Pharmacist: Okay, date of birth?
Girl with incredible diamond covered ring: May 18, 1992 (Honestly I cannot remember the month and day because I was too busy trying not to pass out over the year.)

It didn't take me long to do the math. I was born in 81. That makes me eleven years older than this woman. I mean girl. I mean teenager. That makes her SIXTEEN!

And I should not be judging. I mean, it could have been a family heirloom. On her left ring finger. It could have been a figment of my imagination. There are so many logical explanations for why a sixteen year old (unless her birthday was in November or December in which case she is fifteen) is married. Alright, truthfully, I didn't want to stare hard enough to detect a wedding band so, for all I know, it's just an engagement ring. Engagements break off all the time. I should know. But I was completely beside myself. I wanted to yell for my husband, who was corralling my son in the hair product section, to, "Get over here and get a load of this! ONLY IN UTAH!" I did not. I refrained. Tell me that it is custom in these parts to give your daughters ridiculously large diamond rings for their sixteenth birthdays and then insist that they wear them on their left ring fingers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eyelid Bumpies...Or Something

My eyes have been bothering me off and on for two months. It's been really obnoxious, sometimes painful, and has left me in a state of wearing my glasses almost exclusively. I hate my glasses. They're about eight years old and the prescription is wrong.

To make an incredibly long story short, the pediatrician said I had viral conjunctivitis. No, I do not regularly see a pediatrician but Garrett's doctor's appointment just happened to coincide with the first signs that something was wrong with my eyes. She said it would run its course. The general physician, about a month later, said that since it hadn't gone away, it was probably bacterial conjunctivitis and he put me on an antibiotic. Today I saw an optometrist and, after an extensive eye exam, was told I have upper eyelid conjunctivitis. I've never even heard of this before and, apparently, it is exclusive to contact lens wearers. Nifty.

She flipped my eyelids up (I shudder just thinking about it) and determined that there are bumps covering them. These, obviously, become irritated by the chunk of plastic in my eye and rebel by producing mass amounts of eye discharge, also known as sleep, eye boogers, puss, etc. She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory eye drop and said she'd see me in two weeks.

Well, she actually said that someone else would see me in two weeks. Today was her last day. This made me very upset because I really liked her. Part of the reason that I let this little problem go so long without seeing an eye doctor is because I hate finding new people. I still have my hair done by the same woman who has done it since I was seven. Yes, she lives in Ramona. Yes, that means I only get my hair done when I am in San Diego. If I had the same health insurance I would probably try to plan illnesses so that I could keep all my same doctors. But I sucked it up and got myself an optometrist in Utah and she went and had today be her last day. But her other office is downtown so I'm considering just following her there. It's not like I typically have eye problems that last for two months. It's not like I can't drive downtown in the event that I need my eyes looked at.

Anyway. So I had the full on eye exam. I had the full on blast your eyeballs with air. I had the full on dilation so that she could make sure that the rest of my eye looked okay, lids not withstanding. Problem is, I didn't have any sunglasses with me. Note to self: Never, ever, leave home without your sunglasses. Ever, ever. Because this is what will happen to you.

I had to slip hideous fake sunglass thingies behind my actual glasses to drive home. This in and of itself would not be so terrible. Terrible, yes, but not so terrible. What was so terrible was the fact that I had to take the prescription to WalMart. I had to walk from my car to the doors of WalMart looking like this. And then I had to walk back. I kid you not. And people were, indeed, staring at me. And I was thinking that the world might just come to an end right then and there on account of the fact that my own level of humiliation was enough to send it spinning off of its axis.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


There is no God like Jehovah! There is no God like Jehovah. There is no God like Jehovah. There is no God like Jehovah! Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds! Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call. Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee! And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

I am undone. Unworthy. Unzipped--to say the very least. Exposed. Humbled and awed. I see miracles in my life all the time. Some people explain them away as coincidences. I, in fact, find myself doing this very thing from time to time. Our fee to list with our particular adoption organization is 2,500 dollars. Of course, there are other fees. Legal fees. Potential medical fees. Travel costs. But the initial fee is 2,500 dollars. Keep that in mind. It becomes very important later on in this story.

When we were in Oregon we were incredibly blessed by some friends of my husband's family. We've entered into this adoption on faith and faith alone. Some people can pay ten or twenty thousand dollars for a child and not think twice about it. We are not those people. We are the kind of people who still own our home in southern California. We are the people who send 550 dollars back each month to cover the difference between what we rent it out for and what our mortgage actually is. We are the kind of people who decided that it was important for me to be home with our son when we moved to Utah. So we are the kind of people who happen to be kind of poor. Don't get me wrong, we can afford to eat. We can even afford cable and wireless Internet. But we don't have a surplus of cash lying around waiting to finance an adoption. So, about a month ago, we were blessed mightily by friends. I've met them three times now. They came to my wedding. They came to our rescue when our car broke down in southern Washington several years ago. And they came to my mother-in-law's birthday dinner in September. Just before they left, we found a check for 500 dollars sitting on our luggage.

They have a huge heart for people in ministry. I felt blessed. Humbled. Undone. Unworthy. We put their money, as well as the money Troy made for speaking at his dad's church that weekend, into the account I opened strictly as an adoption fund.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I knew this in the back of my head but I certainly wasn't expecting anything. Today our church recognized our ministry. A member of our church made an announcement and called Troy and me forward. (Side note: I'm still having eye problems and think I may be allergic to my contacts. I have an appointment with an optometrist tomorrow and I've been wearing my glasses almost exclusively. BOY was I glad I'd decided to put my contacts in this morning. I am certainly glad I wasn't paraded in front of the congregation in my eight year old glasses.) We went forward and, at this point, I was expecting a gift certificate to a restaurant or Cold Stone or something. Which would have been perfectly wonderful and incredibly appreciated. Instead, Jim started talking about how the congregation had decided to help us with our adoption and that they had collected...and okay so at this point I'm thinking there might be a couple hundred dollars in that envelope and I'm starting to feel really overwhelmed by the church's generosity...two thousand dollars.


Our church is not that big. Our church is not brimming with millionaires. We have only been here for eleven months. But our church is filled with incredible people. Our church makes us feel like, where ministry itself and personal relationships are concerned, we've been here for much longer than a year. Our church serves a big God.

500 dollars from a family friend + 2,000 dollars from our extremely generous church body= 2,500 dollars which just happens to be that listing fee that I told you about back at the beginning.

And, because I am a silly woman, I had a hard time holding back my tears. I managed to regain composure after just a couple tears squeaked out of my eyes but I was overwhelmed. Blessed. Unworthy. Undone.

This is not a coincidence. This is a big, giant, almighty God patting us on the back and saying, "I said I'd provide. Here is your filing fee. It's a free gift from me through my people."

Most of the people who read my blog are fellow believers. I praise God for you and for the ministries that you have in your churches across this nation. But to those who may have stumbled across this blog and don't necessarily believe in my big, giant, almighty God, let this be a testament to his existence. TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED dollars was donated to us in the course of a month. This just happens to be the very number we needed to move to the next step of this journey. If you don't believe in miracles, that's okay, but you really ought to start keeping an eye out for those God ordained coincidences.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Drum Set

I think the drum set may be smaller than I anticipated. It just arrived in a not so big box weighing nine pounds. I kind of want to open it just to make sure there are actually drums and a guitar in there and that it's not just a box of oxygen. But it's all sealed nicely and ready made for ease of moving in three weeks. I'd have to reseal it and I kind of don't want to but--oh alright, I just have to. I have to open it just to make sure.

I'll be back.

Okay so it's ridiculously tiny but you know what, so is my kid. He's two. He'll be in love with his Tom Thumb sized drum set. And I won't have to designate one of the rooms as the music studio. I think it will fit in a corner somewhere just fine. I resisted the urge to build it and let him have it after his nap.

But I'm going to have a problem making it until Christmas, I just know it. So what do you think...Thanksgiving present? Veteran's Day? Election Day?

Oh alright, I'll wait until Christmas.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two Stories & A Tip

My little guy isn't the best talker in the world. His attempts at complete sentences are generally three words and I must decipher them. But he gets his point across. Generally I am amazed at what those points are sometimes. Yesterday morning we were laying in my bed together and we had a little chat about his pacifier. I explained to him that he isn't a baby anymore so he isn't going to get to have his paci quite as much. (We had it down to bed, car and couch but whenever he wasn't on the bed, in the car or on the couch, he was begging to have it anyway.) I'm really trying to limit his time spent with it to his bed and occasionally in the car or on the couch. As I explained to him that big boys don't need pacifiers the following conversation occurred.

Me: Big boys don't have pacifiers.
Garrett: Bob? (Bob is my grandfather)
Me: No silly, Grandpa Bob doesn't suck on a paci.
Garrett: Daddy?
Me: Now have you ever seen Daddy sucking on a pacifier?
Garrett: No. Rapaw? (His evolving word for Grandpa)
Me: You goof, Grandpa would look so silly with a paci.
Garrett: (Changing the subject) Bob. Home. Eat. Fly. (Translated: We went to Grandpa Bob's house and had dinner and Garrett played with a toy plane.)
Me: Yes, we did. Do you like Grandpa Bob?
Garrett: Yeah.
Me: Do you remember the lady who used to live with Grandpa Bob?
Garrett: Yeah. Sit. (At this point he shoved his fingers up his nose. Then he took them out and pointed to my ceiling.) Jesus.

My grandmother died in February when Garrett was 18 months old. She spent her last months sitting in a chair on oxygen. I've told him that she passed away and maybe I said she was with Jesus in heaven at some point. But he remembered that she used to sit, had tubes up her nose, and is now up in the sky somewhere.

Me: She loved you very, very much.
Garrett: Yeah. Up Jesus.
Today I went to get my flu shot. Garrett had the flu mist in September. I told him that we needed to stop so that mommy could get a shot. He started to cry. I explained that he didn't have to get one, only I did. As the nurse prepared to give it to me, he started whimpering.

Me: Garrett, you don't have to get one. Just mommy.
Garrett: Mommy.
Me: Right. Not Garrett.
Garrett: No.

After the shot was administered I said...

Me: Okay, come all. We're all done.
Garrett: No! Me!
Me: Oh, you want one now?
Garrett: Yes!
Me: You don't need one. Come on. (As we walk into the hall he starts to cry.) Are you crying because you want a shot.
Garrett: Yeah.
Me: You're a weird kid.

And every nurse and doctor within earshot started laughing hysterically.
Tip For the Day on Dealing with Infertile People: If you ever find yourself unexpectedly pregnant and you tell someone that you know has struggled or is struggling to have a child OR if you make the announcement in a room full of people where someone may be infertile, do not emphasize the part about how it is unexpected. God works in very different ways in the lives of his people. Some people cannot have children and others can have them as easily as ordering something from a catalogue. And those of us who can't just order a pregnancy as easily as we order pizza try not to burst into tears when we hear that someone turned up pregnant without even trying. But when the extremely fertile ooze on and on about how, "We just were not expecting this and it came as quite a surprise and we don't even know how it happened," it's all the barren can do not to want to orchestrate a lynching. So if this happens and you feel the need to announce that the life inside you was unplanned, simply state it as such. To continue on and on is ridiculous. And you know how it happened. Birth control failure or not. You know how it happened. That's just my advice. You can take it or leave it. But I do suggest taking it to avoid being unexpectedly throttled.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh Amy

Oh if only I had known that Amy Grant would be in Wendover on Saturday night, I would have tried desperately to find someone in my church who is as big a fan as I am. I would have begged that person to come with me. I would have driven the two hours, seen the concert, driven back and still been up for church in the morning. I really really would have.

I realize that many of you are making fun of me now but I've seen Amy Grant twice and I pretty much love her. Deal with it.

Yesterday Was A Bad Day

Yesterday was a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day. And I broke several rules in the Pastor's Wife Handbook. I didn't commit murder or throw my middle finger in someone's face--but I contemplated it. I've been long stripped of my halo so I'm sure that my room in heaven has been moved to the dungeon. That is, if God worked that way and if heaven had dungeons. Luckily for me I'm saved by grace.

It all started when, in the middle of my Morning Quiet Time with God, it popped into my head that I had never transferred our large chunk of money that goes toward our taxes each month. I looked in the check book, didn't see the transfer, and wondered how our finances were so desperate if there should have been an additional large amount in there. I was edgy. I was emotional. And our car, which has been in and out of the shop because the air conditioner doesn't want to work, had been dropped off again the previous night. I got the call that it would be between 200-300 dollars to fix it. Thus far the warranty has covered everything. Apparently our warranty didn't cover the tube that was leaking. So I called the warranty company. I was reading my paperwork and it certainly seemed that it should have been covered. The first guy, John at Century Service, gave me the run around as he tried to explain it to me. I asked for his supervisor. Then I left a message. I used words and phrases like verbiage, jargon and integrity of your company. I may have used them in coherent sentences. I may not have. I was so incensed that I'm not sure I was thinking clearly.

My son, who was clearly picking up on my own stress, decided to have the fit to end all fits. He, probably searching for security when his caregiver had clearly lost all ability to reason, begged for his pacifier. I'm trying to break him of having it as often as he begs for it so I refused to give in to his demands. He sobbed and screamed and tears flooded down his little face. I tried holding him. I tried distracting him. He continued to cry. And then the phone rang. It was Steve. (At least I think that's what he said his name was. And that name is not changed to protect the innocent.)Let me just tell you that I am not sure I have ever dealt with a more condescending and arrogant mongrel in my life. Granted, I had left a scathing message on his voice mail. Granted, I was not being the picture of sweetness and light during our conversation. Granted, it ended up being explained that I was, indeed, wrong. But it was the way he explained to me that I was wrong that really got me. Honestly, his words were spouting legal drivel but his tone was saying, "Hey, lady, you are quite possibly the dumbest person I have ever spoken to. Clearly you dropped out of high school after your freshman year. Clearly you've never even stepped foot on a college campus. Clearly you didn't spend three years of your life working for a radiator company. Clearly you are a complete idiot and I blame that, in large part, on the fact that you pack more estrogen than testosterone and were born as, forgive me, the weaker sex."

I wanted to scream at his tone of voice. I wanted to demand that he stop talking to me like I was his five-year-old daughter. I wanted to...well...I wanted to throw my middle finger in his face. That might have been the better solution because he wouldn't have been able to see it. I mean, I suppose I could have said, "You can't see me but I'm flipping you off right now." Which would have been really mature. But what I did instead, because I'm an eight-year-old masquerading as a pastor's wife, was shove that phone right up to the mouth of my tantrum throwing toddler and let him scream right into it. For about ten seconds. And as I brought the phone back up to my own level I could still hear Steve from Century Warranty Services yapping with misogynistic undertones. So I simply hung up on him.

And then I was so disappointed in myself. I was in the shackles of money and other stresses of the day. My child had snot pouring out of his face and was beside himself. He was having a temper tantrum but I wasn't handling it. It's not even that I wasn't handling it well. I flat out wasn't handling it. I had just resorted to elementary tactics of dealing with an adult situation. If I could have pulled Steve's hair and kicked him in the groin, I probably would have. So I started to sob. This, incidentally, made my son stop. I lifted him up onto the counter top and I told him we needed to pray. As I bawled through a prayer about forgiveness for my actions and peace over our finances, I realized what a pair my son and I were. He with his tantrum over a pacifier and me with my tantrum over money.

With a little help from Grandma, who I called to make Garrett's tantrum stop--it had started up again--as well as The Pioneer Woman and her delicious candy cookie concoction, we survived until nap time. Wait, had I mentioned that this all happened before nap time? We had lunch. We baked because chocolate fixes everything and then I put Garrett down. I sat down to get to the bottom of why our check book was so low if I had never transferred that money. And there, hiding as the last entry on the previous page, was the transfer.

And it made the 250 dollars spent on the car seem like a smaller problem. A problem, still, but not epic. Not the colossal earth shattering situation I had made it out to be. It made the other stresses of the day seem slightly less taut. It made Condescending Steve seem it didn't. I'm still upset with Steve. I don't take kindly to someone thinking less of me because I am a woman. And I'm upset with myself because I only succeeded in fueling his gross misunderstanding of females.

But I think God orchestrated the missing tax money. I think that, while I was alone with him, he threw a curve ball of thought into my head knowing that I would overlook the final entry on the previous page. He knew that, with the way my day would go, finding that amount in the afternoon would bring more joy than the candy cookie concoctions.

And that's saying something.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mom of the Year or Headache of the Year

So I'm pretty much asking to be deemed completely and totally insane. This little drum set and electronic guitar have just been purchased from Ebay and will be arriving at my house sometime in the not so distant future. On Christmas morning my two-year-old music lover will find them waiting for him. Because I am crazy. Because I want to encourage his love for music. Because, apparently, the idea of a toddler banging incessantly on a set of drums sounds like fun to me. Given the fact that he would probably destroy the guitar, we may wait to give him that particular portion of the "Am I an awesome mom or what" gift.

Here are the particulars of the guitar. We'd much prefer for him to learn to play the acoustic guitar but it came with the drums. What are you gonna do?

22" Length, 7 1/2" Width
Four electronic guitar rhythms
Realistic electronic guitar sounds
Different rhythm transition
Real steel strings
Dynamic built-in amplifier
Tremolo Bar
V-shaped neck
Shoulder Strap
Auto power off

Here are the Drum Set Features:
Age: 3+ (Gasp! He'll be seven months shy of 3. I hope he doesn't swallow one of the tom toms!)
1 Brass drum
1 Small tom tom
1 Large tom tom
3 Mini tom tom
1 Cymbal
1 Pedal Drum
2 Drum sticks.
1 Chair

I got all of this, including shipping and handling for $39.99 and all I have to do is find space for it and, well, buy stock in Excedrin for what is sure to become a nonstop, pounding headache. But I cannot tell you how excited this is going to make that child.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dream Lori Is On Crack

I have extremely strange dreams. If you want the truth of the matter, I think everyone has strange dreams but I remember mine.

Last night I had a dream that I was turning in all of my adoption paperwork. Instead of mailing it, I actually flew out to California to hand deliver it. For some reason Garrett, my mom and my brother's fiancee went with me. I was supposed to give them all of our paperwork as well as a giant baggie of Kix cereal. I gave them everything and one of the women looked at me as though I was a complete idiot. She then explained to me, with a sharp tone, that I was supposed to bring WHITE corn Kix. I'd never heard of WHITE corn Kix (is there such thing?) but I was super apologetic and all, "Please don't let this keep us from us being accepted into your program!" And the woman was like, "Go get the right kind and I might be able to overlook it." So on the way to the store we all decided we were starving. We went to a food court and I ordered a milkshake and a burger from and In & Out (which happens to be what I ate during the lunch break at our meeting). Heather and my mom ordered and then, suddenly, people from the other eating establishments in the food court started bringing us tons and tons of food and saying we couldn't leave until we ate it all. So then I freaked out because I had to get back to the organization with my box of appropriately colored Kix.

So I ask, am I going to be having bizarre dreams where I am somehow inadequate for the next however long it takes to get a baby?

And then, if you haven't seen this or this, you have to watch them. I don't care if you love or hate Palin. This is just f-u-n-n-y stuff.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Little Drummer Boy

This morning was difficult. For reasons unknown to me, my child decided that he did not want to get up when it was time for church. I opened his door at 8:00 and he was still asleep. This valley remains dark in the morning for what seems like forever before the sun decides to pop over the Wasatch mountains. (Wasatch range? Front? I've been here almost a year but some things remain foreign.) On top of that, my son's room faces west so it stays darker longer. He stirred and I picked him up. He proceeded to cuddle into my arms, content to snuggle for the rest of eternity. Why, oh why, does he choose hurried church mornings to do the one thing I would love most for him to do on any other morning? We cuddled for a few minutes and, when I went to get his clothes, I left him on our bed, wrapped in a fuzzy throw. I packed his diaper bag and picked out church attire and headed back into my room. His eyes were tiny slits. He was barely hanging on to consciousness.

I managed to get him dressed and fed and, when we finally headed out the door, he nearly fell asleep in the car. I began to think he was getting sick. At church he wanted me to hold him. With his head on my shoulder he almost fell asleep again. I thought it might be best to keep him with me in my adult class but thought I would try to get him to go to his class. He wasn't warm. He had no signs of a cold. He wasn't vomiting. So I started toward the 2's & 3's room.

Me: Let's go to Sunday school now. Would you like to play with toys?
Garrett: No Mommy.
Me: Well, let's just go in there and see what we find, okay?
Garrett: NO Mommy.

And then he clung harder to my jacket. As I opened the door to his room I sent out a warning.

Me: He is really clingy and tired this morning. I might have to take him with me to Sunday school.
Miss Karena: Hi Garrett! We saved the drum for you.

And there in his class room was an old coffee can covered in paper. A rope was attached to it and there were two sticks. She held it out for him and he squirmed out of my arms, grabbed the drum and immediately began banging on the top of it. He saw that I was still there and pointed at the door. "Mommy, here!" So I turned and walked out. And he never shed a tear.

He loves music. He loves the piano. He loves the guitar. But oh how he loves drums most of all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jacob and 2 Women

Troy and I are attending the Married Sunday School class. Currently we're studying couples of the Bible and tomorrow we're doing Jacob, Leah and Rachel. And yeah, I know, that's more about a threesome (but not in that kind of way) and less about a couple but I'm excited anyway. We haven't done our homework--again--because someone in this relationship left the book in his office. Even though the pastor and his wife have been horrible homework slackers, I remember flipping ahead in the book and reading about Jacob, Rachel and Leah. And it seemed that, like a lot of people I've heard speak on the subject, the author tends to think Leah was a wonderful, upstanding wife and Rachel was a giant crybaby. But Leah and I have nothing in common. Rachel, on the other hand, I can relate to.

Rich Mullins sang a song called Jacob and 2 Women and I fell in love with it while we were in Israel back in 2005.

Jacob he loved Rachel and Rachel she loved him
And Leah was just there for dramatic effect
Well it's right there in the Bible so it must not be a sin
But it sure does seem like an awful dirty trick
And her sky is just a petal pressed in a book of a memory
Of the time he thought he loved her and they kissed
And her friends say "Ah he's a devil"
But she says "No he is a dream"
This is the world as best as I can remember it
Now Jacob got two women and a whole house full of kids
And he schemed his way back to the promised land
And he finds it's one thing to win 'em
And it's another to keep 'em content
When he knows that he is only just one man
And his sky's an empty bottle and when he's drunk the ocean dry
Well he sails off three sheets to some reckless wind
And his friends say "Ain't it awful"
And he says "No I think it's fine"
And this is the world as best as I can remember it
Now Rachel's weeping for the children
That she thought she could not bear
And she bears a sorrow that she cannot hide
And she wishes she was with them
But she just looks and they're not there
Seems that love comes for just a moment
And then it passes on by
And her sky is just a bandit
Swinging at the end of a hangman's noose
'Cause he stole the moon and must be made to pay for it
And her friends say "My that's tragic"
She says "Especially for the moon"
And this is the world as best as I can remember it

Looking back, one of the last days in Israel may have been my emotional rock bottom in terms of dealing with infertility. Maybe it had something to do with being halfway around the world. Maybe it was just the fact that I had believed I was pregnant for the entire trip only to find out, at the very end, that I wasn't. And as I tried desperately not to let the rest of our group know that I felt like I was dying inside, I put my headphones on, leaned my head against the side of the tour bus, looked out at Jerusalem as we drove and heard the words Now Rachel's weeping for the children that she thought she could not bear and she bears a sorrow that she cannot hide. And in that moment Rachel and I became kindred spirits, separated by forever and a day.

I have loved studying the women in the Bible who couldn't have children. But many of them--Hannah and Elizabeth come to mind--come across as being so holy that I have a hard time identifying with them. They are perfect role models but, when I felt like I needed someone I could relate to, I turned to the story of Rachel.

Genesis 30:1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!" I certainly know about jealousy and I certainly know about feeling like I might just die without a child. And I don't have a sister who popped out seven kids before I managed to have even one.

Genesis 30:22-24 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, "God has taken away my disgrace." She named him Joseph, and said, "May the LORD add to me another son." And when he did add to her another son, much later, she died in childbirth.

It kind of makes me glad that it would take a great fluke of nature for me to die in childbirth with an adopted child. Because I often feel like Rachel. And I know that Rachel was jealous. And I know she stole her father's gods. And I know she's not a hero and she was kind of bratty. But she's so real. For that I defend her. I don't condone jealousy or thievery but I understand infertility. I understand childbirth. I know how her heart must have swelled when she saw Joseph running around Haran in his little tunic. It probably felt a lot like mine feels when I look at my own toddler bouncing around the house in his Thomas the Tank pajamas. I've heard people criticize her request for a second son. But as I await the day when someone will surrender her child into my arms, I understand that request all too well. I understand Rachel.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Garrett's Aunt Heather

I remember the day I first met Heather. We all went out to eat (it might have been a Chili's) and I was uncomfortable. It isn't that Heather made me feel uncomfortable it's just that I always felt weird meeting Jon's girlfriends. That's not to say that he's had twelve hundred of them or anything but the few that he's had always made me feel awkward at first. You see, I kind of have a strange personality. That is to say that, if we don't hit it off, a little of me might go a long way. If you know me you're nodding. Admit it. In any case, with the exception of my middle school years I've always cared a lot about my brother. Even when we were little and I spent a great deal of time hitting him, I also liked him. So it was always important to me to find a balance of being myself but not being too much of myself when I met my brother's girlfriends. The plan was that if they stuck around long enough, I'd increase the Lori dosage over time.

It's not that I'm obnoxious. I happen to think I'm a lovely person. But I'm weird. I'm artsy and loud and I love nothing more than to make people laugh. So, in order to not mortify my brother, I try to be slightly less artsy, a bit more quiet and crack a few less jokes when I'm meeting his new leading lady.

So we had dinner. Heather was quiet and I was wondering if I would ever be able to introduce this nice, quiet girl to my real self. I also remember thinking that I had better be able to because this was the girl he would marry. I really and truly thought that the very first time I met her. She was just different from the other people he had dated. And not different like, "So, what is Jon's new girlfriend like?" Well, she's...different. She was different like, Yeah, I could see her marrying my brother and raising my nieces and nephews one day. Different. In a good way.

That was three years ago.

She came into the room, post delivery, to see Garrett when he was born in July of 2006 and I knew that anyone my brother would feel comfortable parading through a delivery room, anyone who would enter a delivery room of her own accord, anyone I would allow to see me in such an exhausted, gnarly state, was definitely a keeper. And so we asked her if we could call her Aunt Heather. I said that I didn't want Garrett to be confused if he called her Heather and then, one day, we told him that he had to start calling her Aunt Heather. But, really, I think it was more for me than anyone. Jon wouldn't dare break up with Garrett's Aunt Heather, right? It was my insurance policy. My fool proof way of insisting that my brother marry her. She'd seen my personality and she'd seen my personality on pregnancy and she still seemed to be alright with being in my presence. And because I love my brother I've never had an interest in hating his wife and I certainly don't have an interest in his wife hating me.

I love Heather. It turns out that she's not really quiet. I love the way she makes my brother smile. I love the way she loves my son as much as my brother does. I love that she makes ridiculous home videos with us. I love that she is close to her family and that she gets along so well with mine. I love that she's competitive when she plays board games despite the fact that this is one of the things that drives me most crazy about my brother. Although, to be fair, she's not nearly as cocky as he is. I love that the four of us--Jon, Heather, Troy and myself--have a subcategory of our relationship that is based almost entirely on making fun of one another. This includes but is not limited to laughing so hard I almost wet my pants on the way home from Black Angus because Heather said something about a piggy or, I don't even remember, I just know we were all making fun of her and she took it well. I just love her.

And that day when we first met is just a distant memory of a time when, even though I had a suspicion that this would be the one, we didn't know what the future would hold. Congratulations Jon & Heather!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Spitter

My kid is a spitter.

It all started when he began noticing that we spit after we brush our teeth. He decided that he needed to spit also. He'd stand in front of the sink and imitate exactly what we do. Trouble is, he stands only as tall as the cabinet underneath the sink. My cabinets started getting spit baths. And this led to my toddler misunderstanding social skills in a mighty way.

He started spitting everywhere. He spits his chewed up food out. This is especially fun when he decides he's finished with his Kudos bar and, while on an airplane, spits mangled chocolate down the front of him instead of swallowing. He spits bath water. He empties a bucket full of dog toys and spits milk into it at my parents house.

It's a problem. We're working on it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Week

I apologize but I haven't had time to blog. I don't have time now either because there is a very tired little squirt who needs to go to sleep in this room. I promise to catch you all up on the happenings of my life when I get back to Salt Lake. Where, apparently, it snowed today. So I may or may not actually board the plane on Wednesday. Why leave the sunny beautiful landscape of America's Finest City for the snowy chill of Utah? Except that Troy is already back there and I kind of like him. And I kinda like our church, too.

Let me just mention a couple of things:

When the adoption organization discovered that Troy is a pastor, they pretty much accepted us on the spot. I think we bypassed some of the questions such as, "Are there dead bodies buried in your yard?" Simply based on the fact that Troy probably wouldn't have been hired by a legitimate church if there were.

My brother got engaged. This is good because Heather and Jon had already been dating for several months when I announced that I was pregnant with Garrett and we've been referring to her as Aunt Heather ever since. This is also good because if they had ever broken up instead of getting engaged, I would have strongly considered keeping Heather and giving my brother a scrapbook to remember me by.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Tale of Mimmo and Mimmy

When Allison and I were preparing for the retreat, she stopped by to drop off the prayer journals, which needed wrapping. Her youngest two kids, Kimberly and Timothy were with her. Most people at our church refer to them, affectionately, as Kimmy and Timmo. Apparently, this includes my son. Awhile after they'd gone, he came to me yelling about Mimmo. I had no idea what on earth he was saying. I finally figured it out when he ran to the front window, looked out and pointed down the street screaming, "Mimmo!"

Me: Oh! Timmo?
G: Yeah.
Me: You want to play with Timmo?
G: Yeah. Mimmy.
Me: And Kimmy?
G: Yeah. Mommy.
Me: Me? (Pointing to my chest)
G: No. Mimmo Mimmy Mommy.
Me: You'll see them again. I promise.

Today I had to see the doctor because of a lingering conjunctivitis that is driving me crazy. Usually I take the kid with me and just keep an eye on his antics. I figured that what with my eyes being the one thing that the doctor was going to be looking at, I'd better see if I could get someone to watch Garrett. Since Mimmo and Mimmy and their mommy live about three minutes from the doctor I asked if she could watch him for a half hour. Thankfully, she could. When I picked him up I was glad that he shrieked my name in glee because I was starting to think he wanted to be recognized as the seventh member of their family. But when we got in the car and drove down the street he mournfully wailed, "Mim!" I guess it doesn't matter to Garrett that he's seven years younger than Tim, he just might be his best friend.

Monday, October 6, 2008


During our quiet time on Saturday morning, I sat in front of one of the many gas fireplaces our cabin had to offer. We were up in the mountains and it was gray, rainy and cold. I studied a few of the verses in Philippians. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I have a difficult time with this one. I'm a worry wart by nature. Anxious might as well be my middle name. And right now I'm particularly uneasy about a myriad of things including but not limited to adoption, moving (did I mention we're going to move to a house a little closer to the church?), a friend, etcetera, etcetera, etcetra. As I sat and watched the flames of the fire I remembered something.

The last night that we were in Oregon, just as I opened the door to the room we were sharing with our toddler, one of Garrett's cousins went running past and the commotion woke my son up. He'd gone to bed before us and the noise, coupled with waking in an unfamiliar room, scared him. Usually if Garrett wakes up at night, Troy goes to lay him back down. For some reason he will go immediately back to sleep if Troy is the one who goes into his room. If I go in, he clings to me like a baby gorilla and sobs mournfully if I try to pry myself from his vice grip. It's just easier to have Troy do it. But Troy was in the bathroom and I was standing two feet away so I walked over to him and tried to lay him back down. He cried and cried and wouldn't loosen his fingers from my pajama top. I held him and walked to the bed. I laid down and Garrett nestled in tight, completely calm and completely quiet. He wanted, desperately, to stay with me. My son is rarely still and cuddling is even more rare. I cherished the moment as I waited for Troy to finish brushing his teeth. Garrett was anxious--afraid, even--but the second that he knew I was there, his fears vanished. I would protect him. I would love him. I would bring peace.

As I gazed at that fire I thought about how much more my God loves me than I love my son. His capacity to love is infinitely greater than my own. And with my son curled tightly into my side, his soft hair tickling my chin, his sweet breath slowly exhaling onto my neck, I delighted in my ability to calm him. How much more does my heavenly Father rejoice when I come to him, lay my anxiety at his feet, and fold tightly into his protective arms?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We're Going to the Other Side

I have the spiritual gift of administration. I find this less than thrilling. Defined as the special ability God gives to some to steer the body toward the accomplishment of God-given goals and directives by planning, organizing and supervising others, I think it makes me sound like a clipboard wielding, pocket protector wearing, glasses creeping dangerously close to the tip of my nose, accountant type. Some people have the gift of evangelism and can proclaim the gospel of salvation so effectively that people respond to Christ through their leading. Others have the gift of hospitality and provide an open home to those in need of food, lodging and fellowship. Still others are blessed with the gift of exhortation and can strengthen the weary Christian through encouragement and comfort. I'd be pretty thrilled with one of those. But, we do not choose our spiritual gift and God has granted me the knack for organizing and planning.

So I organize and I plan.

As you are well aware, for the past four or five months I've been organizing the women's retreat along with another woman who, thankfully, has the gift of exhortation. I think we would have been up a metaphorical creek without a paddle if we'd both been exhorters or, God forbid, if we'd both been administrators. I think we worked really well as a team. I thought of details like booking a 7,000 square foot mansion of a cabin and planning the meals while she thought of important details like our quiet times and bringing Kleenex and a wee bit o' flexibility.

I planned on administrating. Being the pastor's wife and one of the two retreat organizers, I figured I'd show up, talk on Friday night, make sure everything ran smoothly and be there to provide hugs, counsel and fellowship to the women God chose to speak to. I prayed continuously for God to give me the words to say, the words that would permeate the souls of the women there, and that he would speak to them through worship, quiet time, and the other two speakers. I overlooked the part where He would speak to me.

I almost thought about the retreat as something for other people, an area I was serving in for the spiritual growth of those he called to attend. God spoke to me through my own talk. He spoke to me through the talks of others. And he certainly spoke to me through the quiet times. On Friday night I talked about Mark 4:35-41 and how we need to trust the Lord in our own storms. I talked about having faith that God will get us across the lake, whether by calming the storm or by riding it with us. By Saturday night I was broken, pruned, clay in the hands of the potter; reminded, in mighty ways, that I assuredly do not have it all figured out. When given a total of two and a half uninterrupted hours of quiet time with the Lord and when given two days away from a toddler and the demands of every day life, things become more difficult to ignore. The stressors that I've shoved in the diaper bag for safe keeping while I run from one thing to another become unavoidable. And the pastor's wife, the one with the gift of keeping things running smoothly, the one who, by design, is there to decidedly not fall apart, starts to cry. And all the things she said about trust, all the things she said about how God is taking her to the other side of the lake, all the things she thought she knew became the things that needed to permeate her soul most of all.

I think I did alright as a speaker. I think I talked too fast at the beginning but I feel confident in how I delivered the meat of the message. I wore my cute earrings and my good jeans and I probably looked like I have it mostly together. I started off feeling nervous and shaky but, after saying a quick prayer in my head as I opened my bible to read the scripture, God gave me a confidence I hardly suspected was there, lying somewhere under the surface. But by this morning I confessed that I felt like a bit of a fraud. On Friday I had talked about complete and total surrender to the Lord's will but, through the course of the weekend, I had uncovered areas of my life that remain unrelinquished.

I don't have it all figured out and by now I've learned that I never will. But I know what is promised in Philippians chapter 1, "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Like I said on Friday night, I'm still working out my faith on a daily basis. I'm still trying to understand just how big God is. I'm still trying to stop confining him to the little box I often put him in. God is still carrying out the good work began in me. And I'm still trying to figure him out.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yes, He's Mine

Please read this blog on adoption. We haven't adopted yet but I've already been fielding questions like this.

Person: I didn't know you were adopting.
Me: Yeah. We hope to be able to bring another child into our home sometime next year.
Person: Now, is Garrett yours?
Me: He's our biological son, yes.

In my head, "No. He isn't mine. We rent him from the neighbors when we go to church or on family outings. Of course he's mine. Just as an adopted child will be."

Eleven Gajillion Things to Finish

Our trip to Oregon is over. Garrett had a blast and a half playing with his cousins. Now we're back and I'm going crazy trying to tie up loose retreat ends. I've got to pack and get things in the car and make a sign and wrap a gift and write some thank you notes and pay bills and clean part of this house before I leave in 2o some hours. I promise that I will be back to my normal blogging self as soon as I finish retreating and attending my adoption meeting. Until then, take care. Enjoy life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the crashing economy.