Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It'll Be 3 Days In Paradise

We're taking off this afternoon for a whirlwind trip to San Diego. The plan is for us to spend the night with my great aunt and uncle in Hurricane, Utah. Tomorrow morning we will finish the trip to San Diego. We'll be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then make the same stop on the way home, arriving back here next Tuesday.

Then we'll have a very busy two weeks of well kid check ups and the start of preschool and a bunch of meetings. Then we'll fly back to San Diego. The kids and me will be there for two weeks as we partake in wedding festivities and then as I attempt to not make a fool out of myself as I speak at the women's retreat.

But this trip...this trip is for my reunion. The only other official business we have is that Troy and I bought nose bleed seats to see Wicked. Yes, I've seen it twice already. Yes, I pretty much adore it and haven't grown tired of it at all. Yes, I know, we can't justify even nose bleed seats to the theatre except that the tickets are my birthday present.

I may be a bit quiet for the next week but I promise to return and regale you with stories of my reunion. Names will be changed to protect any cheerleaders who show up in their high school uniform, people who've come into money and choose to spend it getting sloshed at the bar, or any individuals who still party with each other on Friday nights and then have hangovers all weekend before returning to work on Monday morning at the handbag kiosk inside of North County Fair*.

I'm looking forward to it. I'm just sort of excited to see what some of my classmates have been up to over the past ten years. Maybe some of them live really exotic lifestyles that don't include systematically working their way through the Disney archives.

See you next week.

*I was going for comedic effect. Truly. I would never judge someone for working at a handbag kiosk. I don't even work. I sit on my derriere all day long eating ice cream and updating my blog. Sure, I have kids but they generally raise themselves. I just put an open box of cereal on the table and stock the fridge with cans of Red Bull and let them fend for themselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tarzan

Three-year-olds are not old enough to watch the opening of Tarzan. If you're thinking that I should have known this, you'd be wrong. I've never seen Tarzan. It came out the year I graduated from high school which wasn't exactly the height of my Disney movie watching years. Then there was the little matter of what can only be known as The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse Massacre. When Disneyland gutted the Robinson's house and made it the Tarzan Treehouse, well, I had no respect for the film. It was guilty by association.

When Troy and I were newly married, my aunt and uncle bestowed dozens of children's movies upon us for any future Doozleberry's. We've been working our way through them with The Rock Star.

Last night we were one minute and fifty seconds into the movie when an adorable little baby gorilla found himself on the losing end of a battle with a leopard. They dove into the bushes to avoid cartoon carnage but I could tell by the way the mother gorilla was mourning that Pee Wee Gorilla was no more. I thought my barely three-year-old might not pick up on it.



But he was watching the leopard chase the baby with a great deal of interest and, when he jumped into the bush and the leopard closely followed, all Hades broke out on my couch.

G: Oh no, mommmmmmmy! He ATE him!
Me: Oh did he? (You try thinking up something clever while simultaneously realizing that your son's idea of how the world works has just been shattered.)
G: Yeeeeesssss! Ohwahahwhashahahahahsfsjfksfhwuhhwuerhwhasaaahhhhh! OOhhhhhhhhh. No. Wahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha. AAAAHHHHHHHH!

He yelled the above line while sobbing his sweet, innocent little head off. I had been on the floor with Little Buddy and I flew to my older son's side. He buried his wet face onto my chest. I tried explaining that the Mama Gorilla would get a new baby. I decided not to explain the bloody paw prints in Tarzan's treehouse. I said the gorilla was just playing in the bushes. With the leopard. Why? Because I am not above lying fibbing stretching the truth to stop the sorrow pouring from my baby's eyes.

He stopped.

"Then where is he?"

"Oh. Um. Right there." Because by then the song had ended and another baby appeared. It was, you know, a completely different color than the first but that didn't seem to phase The Rock Star.

"Are you sure that's the same baby?"

"Pretty sure." Or not. Not at all the same. That first baby gorilla is nothing but bones lying in a heap under a bush. Luckily someone called and Troy relayed the story in time for him to explain that another bad scene was coming. We told Garrett it was over.

What is wrong with Disney? Seriously. Dead mothers strewn about. Gorilla bodies everywhere. Intact families no where to be seen. Evil Siamese cats. Is there no end to the madness?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finally! The Video

And then the world was a happier place because my video uploaded. I hope I didn't build it up so much that you now cry giant tears of disappointment. If nothing else, you now get to watch Little Buddy sleep. Frankly, there just isn't anything in the world more adorable than that.

video

Sleepy Jumper

I've been trying off and on all morning to get a video to load. Blogger keeps telling me that my request could not be processed but offers no explanation as to why. I'm very sad.

This morning, when I stepped out of the shower, I realized that it was very quiet coming from the vicinity of the jumper. I peered around the corner and saw Matthew. He was sound asleep inside. My heart did flip flop pitter patters and then burst open with love for him--as is often the case when I watch my babies sleep. Then, without warning, he started jumping.

Asleep.

The kid was still asleep. I ran to grab the camera to take some video because it was the cutest thing. In the video, Matthew bounces a couple of times and then stops. He is asleep the entire time. Then he bounces some more. Then he stops for about thirty seconds. He is out cold. Finally, I whisper, "Hey, Matthew." I was trying to see if I could startle him enough to start jumping again--in his sleep. He doesn't move. Then I whisper, "Hey, Buddy..." His head shoots up, eyes wide open, and he begins jumping again. Happily. And exactly as if he'd never fallen asleep at all.

It's so cute. I desperately wish I could get stupid blogger to upload my video...or give me a clue as to why it won't.

Training

This is a disgusting post. Read it at your own risk and don't even try to say I didn't warn you.


Poop. That's what we're talking about today on my blog because, well, it's a major focal point of our lives right now. I apologize. It's just that when you have a three-year-old and an almost six-month-old (no, I did not just write that because it is impossible!) you're knee deep in poo and you can't even pretend that you aren't.


The Rock Star basically potty trained himself right around the time we brought Matthew home. I'd tried and tried, from the time he turned two, with relatively no luck. When Matthew we found out we were getting Matthew and Garrett would no longer be the baby, he started using the potty and never looked back. Except, that is, with poop.


I tried everything. I tried bribing him with handfuls of jellybeans. I tried buying him the book The Potty Train and changing it to The Poop Train when we read it. I tried gently coaxing him. I tried sternly explaining to him that big boys put their poop in the potty and only babies use diapers. Still, he begged me for a Pull-Up. I tried refusing to give him a Pull-Up. He relieved his colon in his underwear. That is extreme fun. At one point, he started pooping in the backyard which was inappropriate and disgusting--although, the dog didn't think so.


G: Mommy. I pooped.
Me: Where?
G: In the yard.
Me: WHERE IN THE YARD?
G: Right--hey...it was here a minute ago.
Me: Right there?
G: Yeah. I left it here.
Me: Did the dog eat it?
(Enter Beck, licking his chops)


Garrett lived in his Pull-Ups, even though he only needed one once a day. On his birthday I put him in underwear. I said he was big now and he could tell me when he needed a Pull-Up. Every time he said he needed one I encouraged him to poop on the potty. I'll give you three jellybeans. No. I'll buy you a Happy Meal. No. I'll buy you a house on a private beach in Malibu. Which part of my NO! are you not understanding, mother? I handed him a Pull-Up. We did that for several days and then a package arrived in the mail from my mom. It was full of little presents and he was allowed to open one every time he pooped on the toilet.


For about a week the bag of presents hung in the bathroom, staring at The Rock Star. He wasn't interested. Until one day when, for some reason, he climbed up on the toilet and gave it a present. I still don't know what finally convinced him that it would be a good idea. I think those little presents were whispering sweet nothings into his ears. In return for his deposit, he chose a gift out of the bag from my parents.


And the rest was history. Wonderful, fabulous, non Pull-Up wearing history.


He's opened packages of Fruit Snacks. He's opened new toothbrushes. He's found Tic Tacs and Cheetos and a small tambourine. Diapers are done. Mostly. I'll have some on our road trip, just in case. Speaking of which, I am not looking forward to our first road trip in underwear. Our first trip where we stop every five seconds so Garrett can go potty.


But yeah, we've only got one person in this house who needs diapers. My oldest most certainly goes "Poop on the toyet."


Thanks, Mom. I couldn't have done it without you. Well, I mean, I hope I could have, eventually, I hope I wouldn't have been bribing my teenage son with jellybeans and beach houses in Malibu.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In A Nutshell

What have I been up to since 1999? You mean, besides inventing Post-Its? Let's see. I obtained a degree in Theatre from Point Loma Nazarene University. I graduated three classes short of an additional degree in English Education. I married a pastor. I wanted to be a mom. It took awhile. While I was waiting I worked in an office doing accounts receivable. Then The Rock Star was born. Then I taught Drama. Then we moved to Utah. I became a stay at home mom and I really wanted another baby. So we started an adoption process. Little Buddy was placed in our home but his adoption is being challenged. Did I forget anything particularly major?
I'm not a CEO or an attorney. I don't even have a master's degree. So what am I proud of accomplishing during the past ten years? Well, mostly, this:

My family.




**************************************************
My sister-in-law gave us this Johnny Jumper when Garrett was tiny. I hung it in the doorway of my bathroom so that I could shower without him screaming at me. He liked it alright for about a month of his life but he and the jumper were never truly inseparable. Matthew, on the other hand, would jump for hours and hours and, well, weeks...probably. Thank you, Julie, for giving us this jumper three years ago.

video

He jumps and jumps and jumps and then he does this.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ten Years

My reunion is next weekend and last night, as I thought about it, I almost started hyperventilating. It had nothing to do with the reunion itself, mind you. But, as I was lying there in the Salt Lake county heat with a fan blowing straight onto my shoulders it really hit me. This is not a two year reunion. It's not even a five or six year reunion. This is TEN years. When I graduated from high school, if I'd looked back ten years I would have been gazing at a seven-year-old. A whole lot happens between 7 and 17.

A whole lot happens between 17 and 27.

Maybe that is what has me so disturbed. Perhaps it seems impossible that ten whole years have gone by when I remember them all so clearly. I remember graduating. I can acutely recall that tingly feeling of nostalgia and angst and excitement all rolled into a ball and placed somewhere underneath my mortarboard. We all said we'd be back for the reunion. Even then, as I said the words, I wondered why so many people don't go to theirs. I figured there had to be some truth to the statement that after ten years of growth and change have happened, you just don't care. But even as I figured on that, I couldn't believe I'd ever reach that point in my own life. Truthfully, I debated. I live two states away, it costs a crudload of money I don't have, and it was planned for three weeks before I have to be back in California for my brother's wedding. Obviously a reunion doesn't hold a candle to my only sibling getting married. But in the end I had to decide to go. In the end, I'm very protective of my seventeen-year-old self. That girl would have walked right up to me and slapped me in the face if I decided not to go. (Okay, she was not a slapper but she definitely would have been all passive aggressive on me.) That girl would have asked me if my word meant nothing.

But I wish I hadn't made that promise to her because she didn't realize how it was going to make me feel. She didn't comprehend that, ten years later, the idea of a high school reunion would make me feel so old. She had no idea what it meant to be barrelling toward 30. She didn't know that she'd be lying in bed with her husband next to her and her boys asleep across the hall wondering how it went from lockers and swim meets and football games and slumber parties and English class to wedding vows and diapers and mashed carrots and legal fees. That seventeen-year-old had no idea that the thought of a TEN year reunion could induce hives. The 27-year-old is hoping that all the other 17 and 18 turned 27 and 28-year-olds are grappling with it the same way. She's hoping that this seems somewhat overwhelming for everyone. She's secretly hoping that everyone else is as old and frumpy as she is.

And she's wondering if she ought to go on an eight day fast and then conjure up some story about inventing post-its.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peanuts

Lately, I've been addicted to roasted peanuts. That's really neither here nor there, I just felt like sharing. I bought a jar for our road trip to Oregon--thinking that would be a good way to get protein into The Rock Star while we were trekking. I ended up devouring most of the jar. Last week I bought another jar for our road trip to California which we'll be taking next week. Given that it's currently half full, I'm thinking it won't survive until we leave next Wednesday. See how I did that there? See how I said it was half full and not half empty? That does not give you insight into whether I'm an optimist or a pessimist. Truth be told, I'm neither. I like to think of myself as an Ideal Realist. Hint: That's so not a real thing.

But it's exactly what I am. A basic working definition of idealism is the act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal form. The definition of realism is the inclination towards literal truth and pragmatism. I'm totally inclined to see things the way they are and the way they have been. Therefore, I highly doubt that both of my boys will be angelic little cherubs on our peanutless road trip next week. But! (You're not even supposed to start a sentence with that word, let alone make it a sentence all by itself! Red pen clad English teachers would convulse if they could only see me now. Anyway.) But! I envision a road trip where they are peaceful from start to finish--my kids, that is, not the English teachers. While I assume the worst (realist) I hope for the best (idealist).

That's so not even what I started writing about though. What I wanted to know is if you've ever had completely bizarre cravings pop up out of the middle of nowhere. And they do not count if your unborn child was demanding venison or Pop Rocks or jalapenos or laundry detergent. No, seriously, I've heard of that happening. But pregnancy doesn't count. No unborn children going on here. Just a somewhat sudden and incredibly odd attraction to roasted peanuts. For real, I'm considering asking this jar out on a date. Yes, of course I'm consuming them as I type. We're in a relationship.

So what things can you suddenly just not live without?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rough Day

Garrett flipped a trash can over and climbed on top so that he could talk to the kids on the other side of the fence. Sometime during this excursion he suffered a rather large sliver in his hand. I removed it with a needle but not before he went completely crazy and I had to put him in a leg lock. Once removed, he insisted on a Band-Aid and, even though there wasn't a speck of blood, I obliged. Once the Band-Aid was safely in place, he looked up and said, "Mommy, I've had a really rough day."

I know, kid. I know. Some days I feel like I've been put into a leg lock so that someone can dig around my hand with a needle, too. Then I'm released simply because there are bills that need paying. I pulled him into a hug and mumbled into his head, "I'm sorry you've had a rough day." I decided not to mention that one day there would also be bills.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Zoo

We went to the zoo today with the other pastor's wife and her girls. We learned that Little Spuddy is the same size as an infant gorilla. Although, his arms are slightly shorter.

Doesn't it look like I have three hands growing off of my right arm? Holly's oldest was helping me. And we discovered that Garrett is the same size as a juvenile gorilla. So, essentially, I could make a swap with a mama gorilla. I wonder if she'd notice a difference. I don't think things would change much around here. Except that I do have Garrett mostly toilet trained. I might miss that.
The Rock Star channeled his inner spider on the rope web.

And the little spudster finally fell asleep.

The little orangutan slept too. Or, well, vegged. Her daddy slept as well. Under a sheet. It was the funniest thing ever. Okay. Not ever. Not even close, probably. But it was funny. Baby orangutan really entertains herself. That would be nice. Maybe I could trade her for Matthew. Occasionally. On Tuesdays and every other weekend.

The new baby giraffe was especially adorable. I wouldn't trade either of my boys for him though. I don't have a bed big enough. And, while he'd fit through the doors for now, I feel that would be short lived. But oh is he ever a cutie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Get Me Outta This Mess

The Rock Star's newest phrase is, "Get me outta this mess." I have no idea how he came up with it.

Last week, when he flipped out at swimming lessons (another story for another time) he looked at me and, with crazy lunatic eyes, screeched, "Get me outta this mess!"

If he's in time out...

"Get me outta this mess!"

If he's stuck in his car seat for a moment too long when we pull into the driveway...

"Get me outta this mess, please."

It's always used when he is powerless to control his own situation. I'm wondering if I ought to start praying this way (although, of course, with more reverence than Garrett usually musters).

Dear God,
I'm generally sick and tired of dealing with this messy legal situation. Please get me outta this mess.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meeting Him

To all of you who were lifting us up in prayer, THANK YOU! All I can say is that we felt them. We could not have hoped for a better meeting. While, of course, it was awkward initially and tense at some moments, everyone was respectful and even nice to one another.

We didn't discuss the court case.

We didn't ask him to sign away his rights and he didn't ask us to give him custody. We left that to the lawyers. Certainly we are still on opposite sides of the battle but I think ground was gained in the department of mutual respect.

We were supposed to end at 2:00. And that's when the social worker left. We ended up dropping him off at the airport at a little before 4:00. We picked up Garrett on our way to the airport and let them meet each other--because he wanted to meet our son. We felt comfortable enough with him to extend our time and take him to the airport ourselves.

It was an enormous comfort when, at one point, he said, "You guys are good people." The fact that he no longer views us as psychotic baby stealers is a real relief. Like I've been saying all along, I have no idea what on earth is going to happen here. I still believe God wants us fighting for this child. I still believe that our home is the best place for him. But at least, for the moment, we have a cordial relationship with his birth father.

Thank you for your prayers. And, please, keep lifting us up.

Deep in the dark of despair
Deep in my heart there's a prayer
That faith will reign over fear
That courage and strength will be mine

My heart is heavy I don't understand
Yet I know my life is in your hands
I realize that I am incapable
Of changing alone the impossible
But I believe in miracles
Together our voices will rise

We are not powerless in the face of fear
As one we will stand and make our voices clear
When God's people pray things will change
When God's people pray all the earth will obey
My faith can't be shaken because I have seen
The amazing, miraculous happens
When God's people pray

Our defense in danger
Our light in the midst of life
Our strength in the weakest moment
Our hope through the night, the night
All things are possible when we let go
Let go of what we can't control

When God's people pray things will change
When God's people pray all the earth will obey
My faith can't be shaken because I have seen
The amazing, miraculous happens
When God's people pray

The peace that we need will only come when we get on our knees

When God's people pray you know things will change
When God's people pray all the earth will obey
My faith can't be shaken because I have seen
The amazing, miraculous happens
When God's people pray

-Crystal Lewis

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three Hours of Prayer

****UPDATED AGAIN****Just for your information, we've decided not to have Garrett there with us. The situation is likely going to be more tense than we had originally hoped and we feel that we need to keep him away from the meeting. Please continue to lift him up in prayer. We can see the effect that the past 5.5 months of stress have had on him. Troy and I could use a lot of prayer as well. We are feeling incredibly taxed emotionally.

***UPDATED*** You guys are awesome. In less than 18 hours all of the slots were filled. If you would still like to be added to the "official" list, just let me know and I will add you to whatever slot you'd prefer. If you'd like to pray earlier or later, let me know what time and I will extend the hours. Of course, you can just pray without being added to list if you'd like. Again--I am so thankful for you!

Saturday.

We meet BF on Saturday.

I'm more than just a little apprehensive about the whole situation. Here is where you can help. The plan is that we will meet him at a local church from 12:00 pm-2:00 pm mountain time*. We are attempting to work out the details. We actually had them all worked out two weeks ago but then his flight wasn't scheduled to arrive until after we had planned to start the meeting so, on Monday, we were, in a sense, back to the drawing board. We're hoping and praying that he is at the meeting point by noon because the facilitator can only stay until 2:00. Garrett will be there for at least part of the time. I have a friend who will be on sight and available to take Garrett at any point.

I would love it if I could have someone dedicated to actively pray for us during every minute of that meeting. I'd also love to start the prayer a little early and extend a little later than the scheduled meeting time. The Lord has blessed me with so many wonderful readers and I thought that, maybe, you would want to sign up to pray for ten minutes on Saturday. (Of course if you want to pray longer, that would be perfectly wonderful.)

Things to pray for: Safety and security of all involved. We are particularly worried about how this will effect Garrett. Pray that BF might do a 180 degree turn in his view of us as Matthew's parents. Pray that, by the grace of God, BF might see Christ in us. Pray that the logistics of his arrival work out. Pray that Matthew will behave in such a way that BF sees that he is happy, healthy and well adjusted but also realizes the challenges involved in having a baby. Pray that we would be honoring of BF as Matthew's natural father. Of course, please pray for anything else that you can think of.

If you are interested in being a part of this prayer time, please leave a comment and tell me what time(s) you would like me to put you down for. I will fill in the time slots by updating this blog entry. If you want to pray but someone has already signed up for the time you wanted, please sign up to pray then anyway. Truly this is a "the more the merrier" kind of situation.

If you do not know how to comment, click on the bottom of this entry where it says "comments". Then, select anonymous. Please put time slot you will be praying and then your name so that I know who you are. If you want to pray anonymously that is fine but I'd really love to know who you are. If, after this lesson, you still can't figure out how to comment, please email me with your time and I will add it onto my blog.

Troy and I will be praying extensively between now and Saturday. However, it may be a little difficult for us to "pray without ceasing" while we are navigating the waters of meeting BF. Please join us in three hours of ceaseless prayer for Matthew. And thank you.

Three Hours of Prayer
11:00 MST-- Sarah

11:30 MST-- Marcus & Piper
11:40 MST-- Sabrina, Heather
11:50 MST-- Ginny
12:00 MST-- Jayni
12:10 MST-- Maritza, Lynnae
12:20 MST-- Jo
12:30 MST-- Kelli & David
12:40 MST-- Jamie, Jana
12:50 MST-- Jon & Mary Lou
1:00 MST-- Heidi, J'Lene
1:10 MST-- Raine
1:20 MST-- Verna
1:30 MST-- Krista
1:40 MST-- Heather & Nick
1:50 MST-- Ashby
2:00 MST-- Trish
2:10 MST-- Jon & Heather
2:20 MST-- Laura

*For those who don't know, Mountain time is one hour ahead of Pacific time (i.e. when it is 1:00 here in Utah it is noon PST) It is one hour behind Central time and two hours behind Eastern time. Hope that helps. :-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sweet Kiss

I want to make a clarification. I said, in an earlier post, that Jaiya John had no religious upbringing. Er, well, I said something along those lines. He was raised in the Catholic church. He just didn't make mention of it until page 156. And I, uh, hadn't gotten that far. I am now about fifteen pages from the end and, for the most part, Black Baby White Hands has been an incredible tool for me regarding our transracial family.

Today, at the pool, Garrett and Matthew were both wedged into a blow up ring. If the ring had been pink instead of blue they would have looked a lot like Neapolitan ice cream. It was adorable and they were having a blast. Garrett was actually letting Matthew gnaw on his finger although he did refer to it as biting. I pulled them around the pool. For a moment, I turned my head away to navigate through eleven million kids. When I glanced back, I caught Garrett giving Matthew the most gentle kiss--right on the top of his head.

It melted my heart.

I cannot lose that baby. I cannot. I. Cannot. For I simply cannot grieve the loss of my son while picking up the pieces of my other son's shattered heart.

I generally live in denial. Leave it to a three-year-old's sweet kiss to yank me jarringly out of my ignorant bliss. We meet BF on Saturday. Please pray for us. We really need it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Day Away

I pulled off one the best surprise dates in our history. To start, I convinced Troy that we were doing something together as a family and that he couldn't make any plans for our anniversary. Secretly, I had lined up childcare for the entire day. Missy--who has done so very much for us already--stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park. It should be mentioned that the bases were loaded and she, thus, scored the grand slam of being an awesome friend. I then told Troy to meet me at the church at 10:20. We had to have two cars at the church because our date would end just before my ministry team meeting started--at 7:00. I explained that I had to run an errand.

The back of the car was secretly packed with everything we needed for the day and I told Troy to wear a t-shirt and shorts. "We'll see you soon," I shouted. Lying? Fibbing? Sure. But I prefer to call it Prepping for the surprise. I dropped the boys off at Missy's and headed to the church. When he pulled up and walked over to the car a puzzled look crossed his face.

"There aren't any boys back there." Empty car seats smiled at him.

"There sure aren't." Was my reply.

(Aren't is one of those words that if you say it enough you start wondering if it's even a word. Another thing like that: my name. And now back to our regularly scheduled program.)

Then we drove to Raging Waters.

But let me explain. See, Troy and I had never been to a water park together and we'd always wanted to go. It was just something that never happened. Then we had kids and there are just certain places you don't take infants. Bars, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and water parks, to name a few.

So we spent the day at a water park. We got there around 10:45. We rode all but one of the slides--several of them multiple times. We relaxed in the lazy river. We floated in the wave pool. We laid out in the sun. And time was not interrupted by yelps of, "MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY I neeeeeeeed youuuuu!" Nor was it disturbed by shrieks of "waaaahhhh!" Which can only be translated as, "I neeeeed formula or I will die right this instant!" It was him and me. Just him and me. The way it was on that day six years ago. Well, I mean, that was him and me and 398 other people but they brought gifts so who's counting?

At one point we checked the time, thinking it had to be around 3:30. It was 1:58. We remarked that we thought time was supposed to fly when you were having fun. But really, I think some sort of phenomena occurred whereby the fact that we were unneeded by any other human at that moment actually slowed the rotation of our world on its axis. This, I might add, is the definition of bliss.

We left a little earlier than I'd planned and had soup, salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden for dinner. It's been a long time since I've had an entire day where I didn't have to share my husband. Magical might describe it. Wonderful. Peaceful. Fantastic.

Apparently, as icing on the cake, my sons actually behaved! Today it was back to business as usual. Garrett pooped on the potty! And I'd be lying if I said that I didn't almost take a picture I was so darn proud.

It sure is nice when you can have a day completely out of the ordinary. A day where the highlight is not the fecal matter of a three-year-old. Yesterday was that kind of a day for me. I love my children. If it's possible, I might even love their poop. Although, everything about that sentence seems disturbing and wrong. But, man, do I ever love my husband.

A special thanks to my three grandparents who sent us anniversary money and funded our fantastic day. I considered putting it into the adoption fund and having homemade spaghetti for dinner but decided that we both needed time together. Time away. Time to lay on a lounge chair and contemplate the slight breeze as it washed over us. Time, for just half a day, not to think about poop.

Monday, August 10, 2009

VI

Two years ago I wrote this. And I posted this which I had written before I maintained a blog. Last year I wrote this. This year, well, this year I don't even know what to say.

It's true. I miss that first year. I miss the butterflies and weak kneedness of it all. I wish I could have bottled that crazy desire I had to be standing by Troy's side every minute of every day. I should have videotaped the fireworks. I probably ought to have, at least, taken a picture of my knight when he rode in on a white stallion. That was back when it was all fun and games and What movie do you want to see? and Wanna get away for the weekend? and lingerie.

On occasion, I am hit with the smell of aftershave and it propels me back into that first year. It seemed like our biggest dilemma was what to make for dinner or, very rarely, how to learn to coexist with all that weirdness under one roof. Obviously, there are times when I wish, for just one day, I could time travel. Perhaps, just for a few moments, I could feel butterflies flapping around in the pit of my stomach and catch a glimpse of that white stallion.

You see, we had to sell that horse--and the shining armor--to pay for fertility treatment. Six years later, we're not living in the middle of a fairytale. Six years later it's vomit and legal fees and Let's not start a movie, I'm exhausted and Wanna get away for five minutes? I'll wrangle the children if you want to squeeze in a shower! and Hanes Her Way underwear that I've probably had since before Garrett was born.

Once I asked Troy if he missed the days of feeling butterflies in the pit of his stomach when he saw me. He pulled me into a kiss and then, "Sometimes," he whispered, "I still do." The fact of the matter is that I do too. On very rare occasions. If, say, I've been away and the plane lands and I look down at the shiny mechanics of the baggage claim and see him waiting for me. I'd be lying if I said my stomach didn't flip. But, for the most part, those flops have been replaced with comfort.

Comfort. A good pair of Hanes Her Way underwear. An old dog lying in front of a fireplace. The familiar smell of a cabin returned to in the summers and left as autumn draws near. The arm around the waist. The one that doesn't neccessarily elicit the misfiring of nerve endings anymore but brings a calm assurance of the fact that I am deeply loved. Comfort in the memories of six years of marriage. Comfort in the smiles of our boys and the endured pain we've felt bringing them into this family. Comfort in watching all that water rushing under the bridge.

I was madly in love with my husband on the day I married him. But I was playing in the breakers. Now I swim with him in the deep blue sea of life, love and affection. It's fun playing in the waves but past them is where it all really begins. It is mysteriously calm and comfortable but there is a depth, an understanding, a delicate dance of sand and water and life. Out here the sky touches the ocean and we swim toward the horizon. Out here, it seems, we don't exist without the other.

Some days I wish I could tap into that initial firework explosion. But only for a moment. Because the truth is, I wouldn't trade the vomit for the firework show. I wouldn't change the pain of making our family because then I wouldn't have the smiles that greet us in the morning. I wouldn't even want to be able to go catch a movie if it meant that I'd miss the contented look on my husband's face while he sleeps. The truth is, I love it this way.

The dynamics have surely changed. But what remains is that I am madly in love with the man that I married six years ago. Sometimes, when I've got a kid under each arm, ten bills in one hand and a broom in the other, I catch sight of that man walking through the door after work and I turn my head to one side. I wonder, is this real? Because, you see, everything I've dreamed of is suddenly right before my eyes.

Happy anniversary, Troy. I love you. Ever so much more now then I did six years ago.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Humilitation

Troy and I are looking for a new church.

This is a problem because he is employed by our current church. However, we can no longer show our faces there. Why? We're raising a disgusting little hooligan boy and we can no longer subject the good people at our church to his behavior. That's why. He is all testosterone and bugs and worms and skinned knees. I think I've mentioned before that sometime during the whole toilet training extravaganza he decided it was a good idea to water the lawn with his potty.

We've tried explaining to him that he is not allowed to do this other places. For the most part, he complies. Today, as I walked toward the childcare room at church I was greeted with the feminine face of a little nursery helper. "Uh. Garrett just did something really weird."

Assuming he had danced on the table or yelped I'm a rock star! or something equally odd I asked, rather uninterestedly, "What?"

"He peed on the grass."

Oh for the love of Peter, Paul, Moses, and the Mother Mary herself. You have got to be kidding me. We've told him not to do this anywhere except the privacy of his own backyard. For that matter we've tried discouraging the use of even our own lawn. So he chooses to drop trou and whiz in the play yard at church. Does he not realize who his father is?

If there had been a rock big enough I would certainly have gathered my entire family around me and climbed under it. There wasn't, so I'm back where I started. Anyone know a good church in the area? And then, as a follow up question, is anyone hiring?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Crayons

I've been a little stressed lately because some of the 12,000,000 people involved in our case are attempting to make this a race issue. White state. White mother. White father. White brother. Black Matthew. We just don't see it that way. These are my sons.
One happens to be African-American. I'll teach him about that heritage. But I'm not going to make this a race issue. I'm not gonna spend my life being a color.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh That Baby

No, the sound effects heard in this video are not, actually, bodily functions. I feel like it's pretty obvious but thought I should clarify on the off chance that you maybe thought they were.

video

This morning The Rock Star put a hard hat on Little Buddy. And see, Little Buddy loved it but, well, he looked like a bobble head doll and we thought it probably wasn't the best idea to have the weight of a hard hat on the neck of a 5 month old. So we took it away. And Matthew cried. So Troy gave him this instead. Then he was happy. The end.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Birthday Suit

This morning, we were slightly confused when The Rock Star wandered into our room wearing absolutely nothing. We discovered his underwear buried under the sheets in his bed. Garrett is three. His underwear fits rather snugly. So you can imagine my amusement when I asked him why he was naked and he replied, "My underwear just kind of fell off while I was sleeping."

Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Garrett & Jesus

On Sunday, after I set up the table for communion, Garrett was fiddling with one of the bread lids.

Me: No, no, no! Don't do that, Garrett. This is something really special for Jesus.
G: (His eyes widened with the excitement of Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one) Jesus is coming today?

And except for the fact that I believe there are still a whole lot of lost that need reaching, in that moment, I wanted nothing more than for my three-year-old to see Jesus in the flesh that very moment. Later that day, he got in a hefty amount of trouble. He'd found a cough drop and asked me if he could eat it. I'd said no. He'd eaten it anyway. As Troy talked to him about what he'd done and what he needed to do, Garrett looked up at the ceiling and began, "Sorry Jesu-" stopping mid sentence he shifted his eyes down and stared at his chest. He started over, "Sorry Jesus in my heart."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Black Baby White Hands

We didn't go looking for an African-American baby. But then, we didn't go looking for something else either. We were open to any ethnicity. The pigment of our baby's skin hardly mattered to us. It was rather exciting to wonder if we'd be chosen by a birth mother carrying an Asian daughter or a Caucasian son or some other wonderful combination of heritage.

When we were chosen by an African-American woman I knew that I wanted to prepare myself for what that might mean. What would he feel like being the one cookie in a family of Oreo frosting centers? Would he resent it when we all compared our tans and deemed him the winner every single time? What would it be like for him to blatantly and obviously flow with a different set of genes than his older, whiter brother?

I wanted to learn what to do and what not to do before we ever brought that boy home. But, I barely had enough time to prepare for the fact that we were going to get him. The month between being chosen and sitting in the operating room waiting for him to be cut from his mother was consumed with all the nesting and preparation that most women fill half a year with.

I'll start when we get home. After all, he has the same basic needs as my firstborn had. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Repeat.

I wanted to start collecting literature on raising a transracial child so that I would be prepared for his different needs as he developed. But what with all the lawyers and court dates and general stress of all that's happened on top of all the poopy diapers and baths and daily grinds, it just didn't happen.

Until now. I want to be well educated on how to best care for this child. I have all the love in the world and that works great for now. It will probably work great for several years--and I'm hoping I have that long with him. But it won't be all that matters when he's eight or eleven or fifteen. Likely, he will see our racial divide and he'll have needs. I want to be able to nurture those questions or concerns. I want him to feel that his blackness is something to be embraced and not something to hide under the blanket of a white family.

I'm reading essays and articles online. I've got a list of books I can check out from the library. And I'm reading two books. One of them is Black Baby White Hands: A View From the Crib. The book is Jaiya John's autobiography. It is his story. It will not be Matthew's because, as John says, "Six billion variations of perspective are what make humankind so volatile." We all have a different perspective. We all have a different experience. There are parts of John's story that I will not take with me into parenting my child. His lack of a religious upbringing certainly shaped him. Hopefully, Matthew's introduction and instruction in our faith will mold him a different way. But there are pieces of Jaiya John's story that I am so thankful for--pieces that give me another perspective on race.

I want to do right by both of my sons. I want them to be brothers. I want one to know his heritage. I want to see how far the apple falls from the tree. I want the other to know his heritage, as well. I accept that he may grow off of an apricot branch that is entwined with those of an apple tree and land, nevertheless, at the base of the apricot tree. What matters to me is not that one piece of fruit is an apple and the other an apricot. What matters is that both are fruit. They are completely different, but they need the same things to grow.

I hope that, by educating myself, Matthew learns that it's a marvelous thing being an apricot. I hope he doesn't feel like he has to be an apple. But, secretly, I hope that when he falls, he lands at the base of the apple tree--accepted and comfortable with being an apricot but thankful for growing so close to the apples.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why I'm Allergic to Utah

I'm allergic to Utah.

And that statement is so not figurative. I'm honestly, truthfully, full blown allergic to Utah.

Or, that is, the air here or something that resides here or blooms here. I really don't know. What I do know is that for a full year I've been having an allergic reaction to this state. It all began a year ago when I thought I had conjunctivitis. One year and a lot of drops later, it was determined that I have Chronic Allergic Conjunctivitis and, according to the Ophthalmologist, it's being aggravated by, in a word, Utah.

The dry climate, the wind, something in this valley is making my eyes go crazy. I've switched contact solution. I've switched (for more than a few pretty pennies) contact brands. I've tried various drops. I've seen the eye doctor enough in the last ten months to qualify us as a dating couple. I've bought new glasses out of sheer necessity. I wouldn't wear the old ones in public unless my eyes were actively spewing goo. Now that I've become a part time contact wearer and part time glasses wearer, owning a pair with my current prescription was imperative.

I'm not having an outbreak of chronic allergic conjunctivitis at the moment. But still, I pop my contacts out in the evening, throw an anti-inflammatory drop in, attempt to hold my tears at bay as my eyes burn with all the wretched dryness of this state, put my glasses on, go to bed--eventually, wake up, put a wetting drop in my eye, and spend the rest of the day poking my pinkie finger into the corners to remove the goo that is pooling there. It's all very glamorous.

And it's making me absolutely insane.

My eye doctor thinks that because of the time of year we moved here, whatever it is that is waging war on my eyes wasn't blooming or the air was different. He thinks that last summer it reared it's ugly head and has done such a number on my eyes that the bumps living on my lids never fully disappear. Then, whenever it blooms or, well, whatever it does, the bumps flare up again.

They crust and goo and it's really quite unpleasant. And then there are the days where the conjunctivitis comes out of remission and it's a real party. There's twice as much crust and goo and we throw some serious watering and stinging and blurry vision in.

When I figure out what it is...we are going to have some serious words.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update on Retreat Speaking

Do you want an update on the status of my speaking engagement in September? What do you mean not really? I'm going to tell you anyway. I am speaking four times. I have three of them completed in outline form. (Of course, I have to go over them a whole bunch between now and then). The final "talk" is in the early research and development stages. I have just under two months so I am finally starting to feel like I have a handle on things. I've only been working on these since February. Sheesh. I so totally need to get my act together. For some reason it's difficult to find time to work on them. Could have something to do with the two small children in the house. In any case, I am now hopeful that I won't just be standing up there in front of a bunch of women going, "Well, it sounded like a good idea back in January. Since I have nothing prepared, let's play Duck, Duck, Goose. Or Red Rover. Your choice."

Blog coming soon: Why I'm allergic to Utah.