Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sick Boy

So Garrett has bronchitis and has been coughing up a storm since a couple days ago. On Wednesday morning he woke up with a fever at 4:45 and never went back to sleep. Last night he was in my bed because of all the coughing fits. He woke me up twice an hour all night long. I was hoping to get a few good night's of sleep before returning to the wonders of sleepless newborn nights. Garrett, apparently, thought I needed to have some dress rehearsals.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ready and Waiting

I'm here. (Here as in San Diego). I'm ready. I'm waiting.

It's not fun driving 785 miles all alone with nothing but a squirmy toddler for entertainment.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm Leaving Tomorrow!

I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow!

I plan to drive down to Hurricane, Utah after church tomorrow. I'll stay the night with my great aunt and uncle and then drive to San Diego on Monday. Garrett will be with me and Troy will fly out later so that he doesn't burn vacation time waiting for the metaphorical pot to boil.

I'm kind of super stinking excited. Of the bouncing off the walls variety.

I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm leaving tomorrow!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Mouse

This afternoon I was looking for a book in the office. Garrett climbed up into the computer chair and was watching the pictures scrolling through on the screen saver. When I heard him begin to push the buttons on the keyboard I said, without looking up, "Do not push the buttons!" The clacking ceased but, a few moments later, I heard click click click clicking. Again I said, "Do not push the buttons!" After the words were out of my mouth I realized my mistake. He wasn't pushing the buttons on the keyboard anymore, he was clicking the mouse. I looked up and said, "Don't click the mouse either. Take your hands off the mouse." He looked down quickly and then shifted his gaze to my face. Wrinkling his nose he reprimanded me.

"It not a mouse, mommy."

Through my giggles I explained to him that that which he was clicking is referred to as a mouse even though it is not a fuzzy little rodent.

Being a mom is the best. I don't think a day goes by where I don't laugh.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Didn't Start the...

...Fire. No we didn't light it but we tried to fight it.

Yesterday I tried to burn down my kitchen.

You think I'm being dramatic, don't you? Let me ask you something, when someone is being overdramatic, does her husband come to the rescue with the fire extinguisher?

It started innocently enough. I was throwing dinner together for my family. We had to hurry because we had to leave twenty minutes later to get to our small group Bible study. I heated up refried beans, flipped Garrett's quesadilla, and threw a couple of tostada shells into the toaster oven. As I multi tasked I suddenly realized that I smelled burning. Swiveling my head to the right I saw that my tostada shells were a yucky shade of brown. I yanked the door of the toaster oven open and that's when the smoke started billowing out.

Garrett is deathly afraid of the smoke detector so I started fanning the smoke. Apparently, the sudden abundance of oxygen made the heat very happy and, quickly, a flicker appeared in the center of one of the shells. I yelled to Troy, who was standing by the table, "It's on fire!" He darted over and, since the flicker was really little, we both blew on it. The flicker quickly became a flame which quickly became a decent sized fire pouring out of my toaster oven. Within about two seconds it was licking the underside of the cabinets.

Troy darted to the pantry, yanked out the fire extinguisher, pointed and shot. In one quick motion, the fire was out and my counters were covered with a fine film of powder that I am still trying to clean up. Garrett, who was watching the whole ordeal with wide eyes from his chair quietly asked, "You okay, Mommy?"

I'm okay. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the toaster oven.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hockit Tockit

This kid. Sigh. He melts my whole heart into a puddle of mommy mush. Last week he insisted that we get "Baby Matthew" a Valentine present. I let him choose between five little stuffed puppies and he chose the one with baby blue spots. I put it in the Pack n' Play and every now and then Garrett checks on it, always informs me that it's for Matthew, but never touches it.

He is also very excited for summertime. He desperately wants to swim in his pool but, as it is about 35 degrees outside during the afternoons, I inform him that he must wait until the summer months. He opens his green eyes wide, looks me square in the face, and asks sweetly, "Summertime come now?" I wish. I explain that right now it is wintertime and summertime will be here when it gets here because time tables make no sense to my toddler. Then he tells me that when it is summertime he will swim in his pool. "Baby Matthew play in pool, too!" I don't have the heart to explain the finer points of a four-month old's motor skills, I just relish in the fact that my son is, at least, daydream sharing.

We installed both carseats so that Garrett would get used to the idea that Matthew is a real live baby and, at least at this point all systems appear to be a go and, with hope and a prayer, he will really be coming home with us. I thought it would prepare a jealous toddler for the world ending catastrophe that is about to befall him. It's not working. Instead, he questions me all the time about where he is and why he isn't in his carseat. He's also seen the suitcase and knows that generally means California and GeeGee and Papa's house. This afternoon he got it in his head that we were going there right now and he started crying when we pulled into our driveway after having lunch with friends. I told him we'd see GeeGee and Papa soon and he replied, "Go pick up baby Matthew now!"

I plan to remind him of this very exchange sometime later in his childhood when I am separating the boys from an inevitable bloodbath.

And Garrett says hockit tockit instead of hot chocolate, which just makes him that much cuter.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Boy

Tonight, as we were heading out for our Valentine's Day date, I grabbed the mail. There was an envelope from The Organization We're Adopting From and I tore it open.

Here's the thing. I'm really good at reading fetal ultrasounds. Garrett had himself about a zillion of them and I can now look at just about anyone's baby and explain what I'm seeing, even without a point of reference. But this, well, I just can't decide if we're looking at a side profile of the baby with that bulbous thing being a fist or part of the umbilical cord or if it's more of a, "Here's your first look at your son's scrotum!" kind of shot. I don't think a body can possibly contort to where it is both. I'm choosing to believe it's a facial profile but, I just can't be sure. We were sent two pictures but the other one is less clear, even, then the one I posted.

In any case, this is the first glimpse we have seen of the baby. According to the letter we received from Anne* at The Organization We're Adopting From*, Jennifer* asked her to, "Please send Troy and Lori these pictures of their son."

I can't stop staring at the picture. I kind of want to hold it and rock it and kiss it and love it. And I wanted to share it with you and thank you all for joining us on this incredible journey.

*As always, names have been changed.

Valentine's Day

Before Troy, it seemed like a chore to fall in love. After awhile I just had so many memories with a person that I probably loved him. I certainly cared about him. In any case, I didn't want him to meet an untimely or particularly hideous death. Obviously, if that happened, I'd miss the guy. This must be what love is, I thought. I waited for butterflies. I waited for fireworks. I waited for the moment when I would feel completely incomplete without him.

And I waited.

When Troy began showing an interest in me, and I in him, it was sudden, like thunder rumbling through the sky. I think that is often the way it is when friends fall in love. You go through life, completely platonic until, suddenly, you think you might actually die without the person. Instantly I could barely concentrate on my homework. I could barely see the stars through the firework haze. I probably couldn't even hold a conversation unless it was focused on my true love.

Now, while I think I can focus on a conversation, I feel the same way. I think Valentine's Day should be every day. I don't particularly think that we should celebrate our love once a year and, in fact, I can only vaguely remember Valentines past. What I remember is my husband's face sitting across from me on our first date. I remember his smile on our wedding day. I remember his voice in my ear when my son was born. These are my Valentine's days. These are the moments I won't forget, the moments I see our love staring back at me in his expression.

He is my rock. My everything. My husband. The father of my child(ren). My heart.

Happy 7th Valentine's Day, Troy. I love you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spirit of Adoption

When I was in high school I went to Mexico on a mission trip. As part of our outreach, a group of us did service projects at a neighboring orphanage. Of course, this also included playing with the kids. One day, as my peers ran through the yard playing games, I walked through the bedrooms--alone. I wondered what it would be like to grow up there, where the ratio of adults to children seemed like eleven million to one. I thought about how, in a room full of ten other kids, they probably still felt so lonely. We could barely communicate with them and yet, they seemed so eager just to sit in our presence. As I walked through the maze of bedrooms, certain I was hopelessly lost, I heard a soft cry coming from several walls over. Quickly brushing through rooms of blue hand-me-down comforters and lone dressers--of which each boy probably had one drawer to call his own, I searched for the soul belonging to that cry. The nearer I got the louder the cry became until I burst through a door and skidded to a halt when I saw her. She was sitting in the middle of the crib, fat tears dripping down her precious face. Naked except for the bulging diaper, she saw me and reached her hands to me. I approached slowly. I could barely communicate with the women who ran the orphanage and I certainly didn't want to undermine their authority if she was supposed to be napping. But it yanked my soul knowing, deep down, that the women had their hands completely full with all the other children. And me, well, my arms were holding nothing. My hands were, at the moment, completely free. So I picked her up.

In some ways, that one act of picking up that one child shaped me forever. I didn't know where to find the necessary diaper changing materials so, for a few minutes, I simply held her. I wiped her tears away and the sight of my white hand against her brown skin made me think of the exquisite color palette we are painted with. I whispered to her in limited and broken Spanish. I spoke to her in English. I mostly babbled some form of baby talk. She frowned. Hard. I went to find a worker. When I did, the woman motioned for me to follow. She took the baby and, while she changed her, I managed to mutter enough Spanish and she managed to mutter enough English for me to figure out that the baby's name was Anna (Ona) and she had just turned uno. My breath caught in my throat. I was young but I knew enough to know that she was extremely behind developmentally. A result, I'm sure, of having to spend a great deal of time in a crib. She was the youngest child they had there and the orphanage wasn't well equipped for infants or toddlers. While I know she was loved and cared for by the workers, who were extremely generous and wonderful women, she never received much one on one time. Once changed, she was thrust, with a smile from the woman, back into my arms.

That's where she stayed. She clung to me like a baby monkey. Her eyes were glued to my face almost constantly. But still, the frown. And then I did something to make her giggle. The frown didn't reverse, it simply shook up and down as she laughed. I realized then that she wasn't frowning. She was smiling, upside down. I still wonder if she didn't get smiled at enough to know the difference.

Over the course of my time there, Anna and I became virtually inseparable. And, when it was time to leave for good, the lump in my throat felt more like I'd swallowed a grapefruit. She clung to me and sobbed as they tried to take her away. I pulled her arms off of me and shoved her toward the worker in a way that, to a one-year-old, suggested that I, too, was rejecting her. Then I spun on my heels and climbed on the bus. Looking out the window I saw her reaching her arms toward the vehicle, mouth open in a loud wail. I couldn't control the tears flowing down my face and I really didn't try. It felt like someone had reached into my chest and squished my heart in his fist so that parts of it were sticking out between his fingers but the majority of it was simply thundering against his palm. I couldn't breathe.

I was in high school. While I was certainly capable of raising a child, it was far from ideal. Not to mention the fact that you can't just take babies from Mexican orphanages and, even if you could, the government might frown on a high schooler doing so. But in our tears I knew that she needed me and I knew that I loved her.

And I think I knew then that I could love a child born not of my flesh but of my heart, instead. Years before infertility plagued me, I knew that I could unconditionally love someone else's son or daughter. I knew that ethnicity and gender and circumstance didn't matter. I was in high school. I hadn't learned most of what I know now. I wasn't a mother. Still, I knew from the moment I saw her in that crib that I could have loved Anna forever.

When we returned the next year I learned that she'd been reunited with her mother. Of course that was good news. But I ached because I'd longed to see her again. My heart was saddened by the fact that I had loved her for a whole year and would never get the chance to see her again. I have loved Anna for many, many years now. Though we will never, ever, be reunited, separated as we are by cultures and miles and years, I am so thankful that she tugged on my heart in that crib. So thankful that, in her outstretched arms, the Lord used her to grant me the spirit of adoption.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If You Think Adoptive Mothers Don't Nest, Well, You'd Be Wrong.

You're running out of time to predict Matthew's birthday. If you want a chance for free coffee, click here!
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Last week, when I started trying to catch up on Garrett's scrapbook, I was way back in May of 2008. Although, after reading your comments, I felt less like I was unforgivably behind and more like I was ahead of most of the gang. In any case, I am proud to report that this afternoon I put the finishing touches on 2008. Since I'm not planning on dedicating an entire page to January, this means that I am all caught up. Although, I am planning on putting together some adoption information pages for the beginning of Matthew's book since Garrett has pages of pregnancy pictures in his. And I haven't even begun thinking about that endeavor.

I had a mini panic attack of sorts last night. I decided that if Jennifer called me right then and said I needed to get my butt to California it would probably take me at least an hour and a half to get out of the house. It freaked me out when I realized that she could very well have this baby two weeks early and I probably wouldn't get to the hospital until Matthew was several hours old and I'd never forgive myself. This morning, in order to ease the trauma that the administrator in me was causing, I got everything ready for the dog and cat. Now I won't have to worry about them if we have to jet out of town.

It's incredibly weird to have your baby being born 700 miles away from you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scrapbooking/Blogging

It's just that I was waaaay behind on scrapbooking. That's why I've been a blogging slacker this past week. Not only have I been dealing with lawyers and packing suitcases and lining up dog and cat sitters and trying to do our taxes, I've also been trying to catch up on Garrett's scrapbook because, otherwise, I fear it may never happen. I've heard stories about going from one to two children. And I'm scared of it! I may never sleep again. The world might spin crazily out of orbit. Two kids is hard. Two kids is twice as many as I'm used to.

Two kids require two baths and two outfits (or, if Matthew produces the volume of spit-up that Garrett did, eight or nine outfits) and two breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Two kids, while history proves that it can be done, is a scary sort of situation. So I have to get back to scrapbooking or Garrett will wonder what happened right around the time he turned two and why there are suddenly no more pages of his pictures.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

For your chance for Free Java click here.
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Last night, at a special church service, my friend, Christy, gave me the sweetest gift. I've always said that I thought my family might end up multi-colored. Therefore, Jesus Loves the Little Children would, naturally, have to be our theme song. It seems that Christy, knowing this "theme song idea" has had something up her sleeve for quite some time and, yesterday, she took her daughter and Kimmie to Build-A-Bear.

First, it must be said that I adore Jessica and Kimberly and wouldn't hesitate to raise them as my own daughters if for some bizarre reason the situation ever presented itself. In fact, I've often considered just taking them from their parents and raising them as my own for the fun of it. But "kidnapper" isn't really something I want to put on my resume so I genuinely shy away from such shenanigans.

Anyway, when I got to the church last night they were bouncing off the walls to give me my present. Or Matthew's present. Or the family's present. Whatever. Currently he's residing in the pack n' play but we'll see where he ends up. I wouldn't be surprised to find him nestled in with my son one of these nights because Garrett has been eyeing him with a great deal of interest. The bear's shirt says, "It's a boy." He has not one but two hearts sown up inside of him. Each girl got to put their own heart in. I actually love the fact that he has two hearts because it makes me think of my heart and Jennifer's heart, both loving Matthew in our own inexplicable ways. We will both love him so differently but I think a child growing up with the fierce love of two mothers is one lucky kid.

Last, but certainly not least, he sings Jesus Loves the Little Children or, rather, Jess and Kimmie sing it. They had to sing fast because they were only given ten seconds. I love that, when it gets to the part about red and yellow, black and white, I'm about to be halfway there.

video
Also, I never really told the story about Garrett vomiting his guts out for hours the first night we were in San Diego. Suffice it to say, it was gross. And he only wanted his, "Papa." Which was weird. Right? I mean, aren't kids supposed to want their mommies when they're puking out their noses? Anyway, it started in the car on the way home from dinner after we got picked up at the airport. He tells us the story at least once a day. Usually seventy-eight point five times. "Mommy. Barf out my nose. Hurt me so bad. Gee-Gee's car a mess."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Muskrat Love

Don't forget to take part in the Java Giveaway by guessing Matthew's birthday and measurements!!!

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I could get used to this adoption thing. My baby was ultrasounded today and I didn't have to drink anything. My bladder was not full to the brim. I did not have to worry about accidentally whizzing all over the technician. I didn't have to go about my day with the top of my pants wet from ultrasound goop. It was a good day.

Of course, there is the little matter of many, many thousands of dollars to put it all into perspective. Thank goodness for my grandparents and their interest free loan!

The gender was closely examined. Apparently there is, "no mistaking that it's a boy." Jennifer called and said, "I have a picture of your son." When Anne from The Organization We're Adopting From called to tell me that Jennifer was going to have an ultrasound and they would confirm that she was, indeed, carrying around a male fetus, I almost shouted, "No, I don't want to know!" But, then I realized that we are completely planning for a boy so, if it happened to be a girl, I'd probably want to know. That and the fact that we just mailed our legal documents stating that the baby would be named Matthew. I wouldn't really want a daughter going through life with that name. But that's how much I love the delivery room surprise at the end of the hideous labor and delivery part*. In this case though, I kind of think that the, Hey, I'm giving you my baby in four weeks part was surprise enough.

You want to know what has a 28 day gestational period? A muskrat. I'm a stinkin' muskrat. Unless, of course, you count the endless months we've been wanting this baby and then, well, I'm more like an elephant.

I'm ready. Muskrat pregnancy and all. I'm ready to hold that sweet little guy and listen to him squeak and smell his newborn scent and adore his itty bitty toes and his teeny fingers. I simply cannot wait...

And I have to say, I feel a nickname coming on. Muskrat Matt. It's certainly better than Garrett the Ferret.


*Again, as I've stated before, my labor was 25 hours long and only 4 hours of it really sucked. And, y'all know I'd do it again in a heart beat. I'd definitely give Jennifer the day off and give birth to Matthew if it was possible.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lost & Found

Don't forget to predict Matthew's birthday and measurements for the chance to win a Starbucks gift card!

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Last Sunday, while at church, I lost my son.

My mom, dad and I were all in the general vicinity of each other and Garrett was standing there. Suddenly my dad asked where he was. We looked around and didn't see him. Then we all took off in different directions. I quickly swept the foyer and, when I didn't find him, I dashed out to the playground thinking that he might have taken himself to the slides. He wasn't there so I ran back into the sanctuary and scanned the stage, sure I'd find him climbing around by the drums. I didn't see him there, either. I saw my parents still running around, Garrettless, and I started to get a little worried. As more and more people began searching and coming up empty handed I became more and more scared that he'd somehow been taken. After about five minutes went by and there had been an announcement made over the sound system to be on the lookout for him, he still wasn't found. I ran into the parking lot and felt the emotions rise. My mom saw me and told me not to cry because we would find him. Thirty long seconds later I heard the call that he'd been found.

And don't tell me I should have checked the drum set because I did! It's just that my previous church's drum set is a lot bigger and in a cage and everything is much taller than my son. Before I called the police and actually went into cardiac arrest, he started banging on them and the sound person heard him.

I felt relief rush over me and then, my son, who had no idea that what he'd just done had almost given me a heart attack, got an ear full about how that really scared Mommy.

Today, that sweet little guy looked at me and matter of factly declared, "Want my baby Matthew now." It was as though he was simply asking for a cookie or a bath or his daily viewing of Cars. And I wondered if the boy has a single clue as to what he's really getting himself into...

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Today I was doing some figuring. From the day that we started actively attempting to conceive the baby who would eventually be Garrett until the day we welcomed him into our arms was 688 days. We had started trying to conceive him on September 1, 2004 and he was born on July 20, 2006. We started trying to conceive our second child on April 1, 2007. In May of 2008 we decided to switch our focus to adoption. Matthew is due on February 27. So, if he is born on his due date, it will be 699 days from start to finish. I find the numbers to be almost eerily close to one another. I also find myself hoping she delivers eleven days early.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Chance For Free Java



I've decided to do my very first giveaway on this blog. I've never done a giveaway before because I am nothing if not super duper poor. I'm still monetarily challenged but I thought it would be really fun--for me. It will be a very small giveaway because, well, I have ridiculously small blue outfits to buy.

So here's how it will work. You leave a comment on this blog entry. Guess the date and time that the baby will be born. Also guess the baby's weight and length. One winner will receive a $5 dollar Starbucks gift card for getting the closest to the correct birthday. If more than one person chooses the same correct day, the time will come into play. Another winner will receive a $5 dollar Starbucks gift card for correctly guessing the baby's weight. If more than one person chooses the same correct weight, then we will factor the length in. For kicks throw in head circumference, hair or no hair, and eye color (hey, there are a few African-American's with light eyes) in case there is still a need for a tie breaker. I'm posting this entry now because she could always go into labor early. There's always a chance that someone will choose February 3 and be correct. Although, for all our sake's I hope that doesn't happen. I know $5 is no big deal, but neither is commenting with a few pieces of information.

Okay, friends, guess away. Winners will be announced at a later date. Feel free to hound me if it's suddenly August and you haven't heard anything. I might be really tired. I might drink all the Starbucks myself. And, oh, if you happen to hate Starbucks, guess anyway, you can always find someone who will take that gift card off your hands. By the way, the actual due date is February 27. And yes, you can comment even if you don't have a blog of your own.

If Jennifer decides not to give us her unborn child, you will forget we had this little chat. If you are one of the rightful winners, you will understand that me sending you a Starbucks card would only cause me greater inner turmoil. Instead you will come over to my house--I don't care if flying is involved--and mop my tears up off the floor.

What's In A Name

We understand that Jennifer could change her mind. But we feel like we have no choice but to prepare for this baby the same way we'd prepare if I found out that I, myself, was eight months pregnant. After all, there are never really any guarantees. So yesterday, when we boarded the plane, my son and I had a conversation.

Garrett: My baby?
Me: Where is your baby?
Garrett: Dat lady's tummy.
Me: That's right.
Garrett: Want my baby now!
Me: Your baby needs to cook a little longer.

Not long after, he fell asleep. When he woke up in a groggy state he searched my face and then said, "Want my baby." Me too, buddy. Me too.

It's a weird sort of thing, this business of adoption. Part of me wanted to get home as soon as possible so that I could set up the Pack n' Play--where the baby will sleep for his first few months, wash tiny onesies, and get out the baby bathtub. All of me wanted to glue myself to Jennifer's side so that I wouldn't spend another minute away from him. Leaving my child--even if he isn't actually mine yet--seemed somehow heart wrenching. In a way I want the last eight months back. I want to rewind back to May when we first started our adoption process (and coincidentally* when Jennifer conceived our son) and pray, specifically, for him every single day. But, in a way, I want the next few weeks to fly so that he and I are never separated again.

He is our Gift of God.

When we filed with The Organization We're Adopting From, I went all maniacal on my husband and was like, "Dude, we have to pick a name right now! What if we get picked right away and we don't have a name? It would be the end of the world and meteors would rain down and oh the humanity!" Our girl name was no problem. It's been in place since the middle of my pregnancy with Garrett. Our boy name, on the other hand, was completely undecided. Somehow I convinced my husband to look at names with me, however premature and psychotic I was being. After quite some time we had it narrowed down to three but that is where we were stuck.

But one of them meant Gift of God. Because he will be our treasure, our joy, our gift sent from above and our gift handed to us by his birth mother, we chose that one. Meaning Beloved, he will share his middle name with his father.

Our second son (unless, of course, he's actually a she) will be given the name:

Matthew David


*Coincidence?!?! I think not. "Looking back I see the lead of love..."