Sunday, January 31, 2010


365 days ago we met our son's mother for the very first time. It's hard to believe an entire year has gone by since that last day of January, 2009. It's hard to believe that exactly four weeks later our boy was born. It's hard to believe that in exactly four weeks he'll be one. And it's hard to believe all that has transpired in that amount of time.

Matthew's bio mom was staying at a maternity house. Across the street lived her friend. She saw us touring the home and waved. Matthew's mother, who has always been referred to here as Jennifer, waved back, pointed to us and said, "These are my baby's parents!"

It's been 365 amazing days of loving that baby with everything we have. Thank you for walking this road with us and loving our boy.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I cheated.

I'm a cheater.

In the interest of laying it all out there and being totally honest on my blog, I feel the need to tell you. Confession is the first step to healing. I cheated, after 21 years.

I walked into the salon and sat on the couch. Glancing at my surroundings, I examined the gas fireplace, declined a beverage, noticed the magazine rack, and realized that the somewhat guilty feeling I had must be a small fraction of the way people feel when they plot an affair. I was called back and my good judgement began to wane, ever so slightly. The shampoo bowl was different--kind of fancy. Fancy isn't bad, I told myself. The stylist was young. Very young. Too young for me. I was robbing the cradle. Soon she had me talking, easy, comfortable. And then she massaged the shampoo into my scalp and it wasn't that I forgot about Nancy--how could I after 21 years--it's just that it felt so good the memories of those two decades began to fade.



I heard the words but I rationalized them away. You live 750 miles away! But I was faithful for two years of this long distance relationship. You haven't had your hair cut in five months! It's time. I'm just weak. Weakness. She just had knee surgery and can't cut your hair when you're in California! I...well...yes. That is why I strayed.

And when it was over my hair felt so healthy, so good, so fresh and clean that I didn't feel guilty. Nancy has cut my hair since I was seven. She did all but one of my updos for formal dances. She did my hair for my wedding. She did my hair for my brother's wedding. She gave me all my perms and all my highlights. She gave Garrett his first haircut. When I moved to Utah I refused to find a new stylist. I visit San Diego enough that I haven't needed to. But then she went and had knee surgery and I just didn't feel like I could go another few months without having her fix the mop I was growing.

So I cheated. I broke down. I had my hair cut in Utah. Oh the horror of seeing it in writing.

*This post is in no way meant to diminish the pain and guilt felt by those who have been involved in or scarred by actual affairs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eleven Months

Dear One,

You're sitting in your high chair shoveling small bites of pizza (one of your favorites) into your mouth. You alternate between throwing a piece on the floor--your newest and most annoying excellent game--and cramming one into your mouth. It's astounding what you can do with two and half teeth. The bottom two are all the way in, albeit a bit crooked, and you've sprouted a top one. It's off to the side so at this point you can still say that all you want for your birthday is your two front teeth. I realize that's generally a Christmas wish and a request typically used for permanent teeth but there isn't a rule that says you can't ask for baby teeth for your birthday.

Your birthday. Next month you will turn one and that's just not even a situation I can wrap my head around. At times these eleven months have flown with the speed of a jet and yet, in some ways, it seems a very long time since that day in late February when we first laid eyes on you.

You walk everywhere now. Crawling is still your quickest mode of transportation but you can easily take fifteen to twenty steps without falling. Both hands are always either pulled way up by your face or straight out, for balance. Sometimes it looks like you might start flapping them in hopes of taking flight. Always, always, you have this smug looks that seems to say, "Yeah. I'm big now. I'm walking. You want an autograph?" And I kind of do. Your brother was easily thirteen months old before he walked with the efficiency that you do at exactly eleven. So, yeah, it's a little impressive to me. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you took three steps on Christmas Eve and here you are walking like a champion a month later.

I think you'll attempt to master the motor skills long before you decide to tackle the verbal ones. Just like when your brother was a baby, you care a lot more about learning how to get into stuff than you do about sitting down and having a conversation. This month, in addition to "mama" and "dada" you've added "uh oh" and "Bah!" (Beck) to your verbal repertoire. You also have some kind of unintelligible babble sound that you yell when you want Garrett's attention. It sounds nothing like "Garrett" but it's the same every time.

Your favorite times of day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kid, you'd eat all day long if we'd let you. You're still getting the occasional jar of baby food but, for the most part, you want to eat what we're eating. This month your bio dad came to visit for two days and he could not believe your ability to gnaw on an apple slice while we took turns shoveling bites of blueberry baby food into your mouth. He marveled that you were going to appear on an episode of Man vs. Food some day. Later that night you wolfed down some of his french fries along with several bites of my pancakes. Just one meal in the life of a boy who loves himself some food.

I don't know what is going to happen over the course of the next three months, what events might transpire that will shape your future. What I do know is that God has known each day from the very beginning. Psalm 139:13-16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

This time next month I'll be singing you Happy Birthday. It's been an incredible eleven months. I love you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Are you getting sick and tired of reading about the conversations I have with The Rock Star? I sure hope not because I've got another funny one. He fell asleep in the car yesterday on the way home from the train museum. Whenever he takes a nap it takes him considerable time to fall asleep at night. We put him in our bed to start off because his brother wasn't asleep yet and we didn't want them keeping each other awake.

Our bedroom is directly over the family room and after quite some time I heard a giant thud. Did he fall out of bed? I asked Troy. Is he still not asleep? What's going on up there? I often ask Troy questions that he cannot possible know the answer to. I happen to think it is one of my most charming character flaws traits. I got up and headed to the top of the stairs.

G: (standing next to the bed, throwing stuffed animals and pillows onto it, and whispering) I don't know. You should get back in bed, Puppy. It's time to go to sleep. It is nighttime. (Suddenly he caught a glimpse of me and struggled to get quickly back into bed.)
Me: What are you doing?
G: I just want to put my head down here. (It cracks me up how three-year-olds often answer the question with something that makes no sense.)
Me: You need to go to sleep, Dude. It's really late. (I notice that his blanket sleeper is unzipped all the way to his foot.) Why are your jammies unzipped?
G: Um. Just because I was showing Puppy my ankles.

Oh to be three. To suddenly get the crazy idea that your stuffed puppy needs to see your ankles, and then to act on your impulse.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day at the Museum

I sometimes hate that my sister moved to Logan. Also, it should be pointed out that she's not my real sister. I feel the need to explain that because, given the twelve year age difference, I didn't want anyone thinking my parents were, like, eleven when they started having kids. Anyway, she's like a sister where neither one of us knew the other one existed until we were 38 and 26. Kind of like that scene at the end of The Joy Luck Club where June Woo finally meets her twin sisters and it's like they've always known each other even though they've been separated by years and, in their case, a giant ocean.


We discovered the really awesome fact that even though we live two hours away from each other, we can meet in the middle and then no one is spending a total of four hours in the car with a three-and-a-half-year-old repeating, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" and a not quite one-year-old continually pushing the button on a Winnie-the-Pooh toy that incessantly makes animal sounds. And by no one I mean me. Her kids are all old enough to know better than to make ribbit noises for hours on end.

So last month we met at a plane museum and today we went to a train museum. First we had lunch and then we headed over. The Rock Star had a blast playing with old train parts and hanging out with her two youngest kids--whom he loves dearly. We pushed Little Buddy around and talked. At one point, we walked through a door and Garrett ran up to a man on a cell phone. He touched his leg and the man turned to look at the small creature who was acting as though he knew him. When he turned and faced Garrett, the smaller of the two got a look of horror on his face and jumped back several feet. The man smiled and continued his conversation. Garrett, who did you think that was? I questioned. He usually understands boundaries and doesn't practically hug the legs of strangers.

"A statue." He replied, awkward, perhaps somewhat embarrassed.

The man chuckled. I burst into laughter. There were several mannequins and statues of conductors and the like hanging around the museum so it wasn't a giant leap. It happened hours ago and I still find myself giggling when I think of it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peppercorn Steak vs. Hot Dog

This was my brother's facebook status from last night: Got home to my wife making me peppercorn steak with sweet onion marmalade, homemade mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Yep, I had a great end to my day.

This was my response: You guys are like a weird marital cooking show. You run on some bizarre cable channel and I find myself oddly addicted. The food sounds good but it just seems so complicated compared to the hot dogs, french fries, and pineapple that we ate for dinner.

It's not that I can't cook. I can. That is to say, I can follow a recipe as well as the next girl. I don't make Beouf Bourguignon on a regular basis ever, but I don't burn water--at least, not usually. I can make homemade mashed potatoes. I can make asparagus. And I often do. I can make peppercorn steak. I very likely would never put sweet onion marmalade on it on account of the fact that I think Satan exists primarily by his crop of onions. They are harvested in the pit of hell, I tell ya. Okay, actually, I've started cooking more with onions in the past few years but they have got to be cooked so well that they resemble an overdone noodle.

But really, I just want to bring your attention to the level of marital bliss that those two have going on. Heather cooks with sweet onion marmalade and Jon is so excited about it when he gets home from work that he has to facebook about it. Can I get a collective "ahhhh"? I know, right?
So yeah, we seriously had hot dogs for dinner last night. In my defense, we were watching the Saints game before heading out to church for Bible study, they were Super Special Dogs which means that they had dill pickles, tomatoes and cheese all over them, and we were having an incredibly rare picnic on the floor. It should also be noted that Little Buddy did not have a hot dog.

It isn't that I don't make steak (okay, I rarely do, Garrett can't chew it), potatoes and asparagus, it just struck me as funny, the polar opposite meals we ate last night. Heather knew that the way to her man's heart was peppercorn steak with sweet onion marmalade. I knew that the way to my man's heart was a hot dog. Yes, in this case, my man is three feet tall and can't eat in the family room without a towel under him.

I miss Jon and Heather. I miss getting to see them all newlywed-like. But I'm glad for facebook. Otherwise how would I ever know what my brother ate for dinner last night? Also, I'm glad they are lovey dovey cooking meals and staring at each other over a candlelit table. Um. The candlelit table part was emphasis mine, entirely. I have no idea if it even happened like that. Still, it makes me happy.

You know what might make you all happy? Another dialogue with the hilarious Rock Star. To go along with this peppercorn steak verses hot dog blog. From dinner last night:

G: Mommy. I am going to eat another bite of my watermelon now.
Me: That's pineapple, honey.
G: Um. Yeah. I know.
Me: Okay.
G: I just like to call it watermelon.
Me: (laughing) That might cause some confusion at some point.
G: (stabbing a piece of pineapple) Now I am going to put you in my mouth Mr. Watermelon.
Me: (under my breath) Pineapple.
G: (exasperated) Mommy. I know! It's just for fun.
Me: You're a weird kid.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kids Say The Darndest Things

On the way home from church today we passed by a high school.

G: Did you go to high school once?
Me: Yes, I did.
G: But now you're just a really old lady?
Me: (laughing) Um, yeah. Now I'm a very old lady of 28.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Response...

First, to all of you who have been praying for us, thank you. The visit went very well.

Now to the subject of today's blog:

To my knowledge, I've never deleted a blog comment before. At least, never because the comment was completely hurtful. There's a first for everything. Last night I got home and had a gaggle of new comments, most of them on yesterday's post. There was one that was posted on Matthew's Story: Nutshell Version. It was posted anonymously so I couldn't leave it there and respond directly to the person. It was clear that the writer hadn't spent a great deal of time on this blog but, in the wake of an evening with BF, it was like a knife being twisted into my soul. The sentence that really got to me began with the phrase, "If, God forbid, you do win in court..." and the rest of the comment was riddled with accusations.

And I deleted it.

I'm sitting in the window of our living room. The Rock Star is bundled up in snow clothes and he's playing in the yard with a handful of other children. I just heard him ask an older boy if he'd ever been to the North Pole. His sweet voice was dripping with innocence. I silently begged the older boy not to tell. I smiled as the boy said something about polar bears living there and left it at that. Don't take my son's innocence. Don't make him jaded. Don't let on that there is a world out there--a world where people use anonymous comments to wound people.

I didn't delete the nasty comment that I received today. I was in a better mood. Truthfully, instead of sending me into tears, it made me laugh out loud. There are a lot of things I don't post on my blog. I haven't given any details about Matthew's birth father because it isn't fair. It isn't fair to Matthew to list all of the reasons why we think he's better off here. It also isn't fair to bash somebody in a situation where he is unable to defend himself. It's kind of like leaving anonymous accusations on a personal blog. Sure, I can type out a long rebuttal but I can't directly address the person who hides behind the power of "anonymous". I digress. Oh how I'd love to list the reasons for my own selfish gain. I'd love to stand up for myself but I'm not going to.

What I will say is that my "white" child (although, to be truthful, he's really more of a peachy color) has spent plenty of time with Matthew's birth father. Not seeing him this weekend had nothing to do with whatever color he may or may not be. I would never think of skin color as the factor that makes a custody dispute emotional and potentially tense. Second, I rarely carry a purse. Third, it is not my desire to keep my child away from his FATHER. His MOTHER placed him with us, begged us to fight for him and, without going into detail, we have since had that decision more than validated by other reputable sources. And still, we have initiated visits where we are trying to respect the birth father, where we are trying to go beyond what we are required to do in favor of what we think we ought to do.

Who do I think I am? I'm a mother who has been praying every single day for nearly eleven months that God's will would prevail, that the judge would rule in Matthew's very best interest, that every decision I make is honoring and glorifying to my personal Lord and Savior. I'm a Christian who has dedicated my life to my husband, my children, my ministry. I fail. Every. Single. Day. I am forgiven. Every. Single. Day. That's who I think I am. I'm incredibly sorry that I've somehow made you ashamed to have adopted.

As for yesterday's deleted comment, the only thing I can offer in response is that you don't know even a fraction of the details of this situation. Yes, I am sure that Matthew would have bonded to you or to a social worker or to a mama bear in the wilderness. Babies bond to their primary care giver. I understand that. That's really neither here nor there. Matthew bonded to us. He bonded to us because we are who his MOTHER wants him with. We've found ourselves caught between the strong desires of his biological parents--and only careful consideration of the facts in this case has led us to our course of action (facts that we will not fully divulge even if we think it might make us look better).

That being said, we care a great deal about both of his biological parents and that is why we ask for prayer. We have agonized over our decisions knowing that one parent will be hurt by whatever we do. We did not choose to get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since we ended up here anyway, the best we can do is wrap our arms around the baby who got wedged there as well. At the end of the day the only side we can choose is Matthew's. My husband has actually said he welcomes the court case because he wants someone impartial to render the final verdict. We want what's best for Matthew even more than we want what's best for his father, or mother, or for US. Though we think we have been fair in our assessment of all the relevant and unshared details of this case, we realize it is impossible to be impartial after nearly eleven months of having bonded with Matthew. The best we can do is love and protect him until a court decides which birth parent will have their wishes honored.

I don't know what our anonymous accusers would have had us do. Do they wish we had walked away when this suddenly and surprisingly became a contested adoption? Should we have washed our hands of this and allowed him to be placed in foster care while the two sides fought over his future? I know you can't please everyone, so we're just trying to do what's right by Matthew.

Which is why we ask for regular prayer. FOR MATTHEW. This week's special request was for peace, respect, and everyone putting aside their differences for him. That request was definitely granted. As for his future, we're not asking God to rubber stamp our wishes but to move His sovereign hand for Matthew's best regardless of what that does to us or anyone else.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Thank you Jessica, Divine Mrs D, Ravenna Girls, Sara & Mike, Anonymouse, Jenn, Amber, Misty, Shauna & Sally, Heidi, Staples, Tracy, Kerry, Terri, Michelle, Kevin & Karsie, Veronica, Stephanie, Brenda, Sabrina, Justin & Abi, Lindy, Sharon, Maritza, Mindy, Miranda, Mom, Joanna, Karen, Keri, Valerie, Christy & Jeremy, Breathing Moss, Audrey, Matt & Michelle, Sarah, J'Lene & Dave, Grandma J, Lynne, Amy, Courtney, Jana, Michelle, all the anonymous posters, and anyone else who has been praying but didn't comment!

Your prayers mean so much to us.

Tonight went well. Initially, Matthew screamed his head off and it was tense and he was very unhappy about being held by his father and he only wanted daddy or mommy. Eventually, he settled down and he was happy. He let his BF hold him. He smiled. He laughed. The situation was peaceful. We will be seeing him again tomorrow around 10:30. That meeting will probably last 3-4 hours.

Again, thank you for your prayers. We ask that you would continue to lift us up.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We Need Your Prayers

Okay. So. The BF is coming tomorrow. He is leaving on Saturday. I was going to set up another prayer list but he'll be here for like 28 hours and that would mean 168 increments of ten minutes, many of them in the wee hours of the morning, and that's all just too insane and out of control. And it would be crazy to ask someone to pray at, like, 3:15 am. And it's a really long time, y'all. And it's overwhelming. And. All. That. Jazz.

But we are still desperate for your prayers. If you think of us between the hours of 2:30 MST on Friday and 6:00 MST on Saturday, please lift us up in prayer. In fact, if you wouldn't mind leaving a comment and letting us know that you'll be praying, that would be incredible. It will be good to know that we have five or ten or two hundred people going before the throne on our behalf.

Things you can pray for:

1. BF is bringing his cousin. We don't know this man and it will be a little interesting to have the added dynamic of another human being thrown into this awesome party we've already got going on. Pray that his presence is helpful and not hurtful to the experience.

2. Pray that all goes well with their flight and their hotel.

3. Pray that Matthew will be himself. That he would be happy but also show his BF that he has angry/crabby/sobbing moments as well. He is incredibly attached to both Troy and me but he would make himself a permanent fixture on my body if given the opportunity. I want BF to see how attached he is and then I want that knowledge to be processed positively and not negatively.

4. Pray for Garrett. He will be staying with good friends (who he is VERY comfortable with) on Friday afternoon/evening as well as on Saturday. We've tried to keep him as UNinformed as possible this time because it seems that Garrett processes the situation negatively. Please pray that he has a great weekend, behaves properly and doesn't experience anxiety.

5. Pray that all of us would be respectful, kind, and loving to one another. And, most of all, that we would be safe.

6. Pray that we would see the BF the way God sees him, that we would love him the way God loves him, that we would not be easily offended, and that Christ will be seen through us.

7. Pray that we would have a peace that passes understanding. I have peace as I write this but who knows what will happen tomorrow. Heck, who knows what will happen ten minutes from now.

8. If you feel so led, pray for a miracle. Pray that his heart is radically changed. Pray that he realizes that allowing Matthew to be here with us is not abandonment but, rather, the greatest gift he could give him.

Additionally, you can pray for anything that pops into your mind. We are so thankful for your faithfulness to our incredibly long and drawn out adoption process. We could not be doing this without your financial contributions and your prayers. We have felt them. We need them. If you have been praying and will pray for us tomorrow and Saturday, please consider leaving a comment or dropping me an email so that we can use your name when we thank God for you.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

And, really, if you wanted to link to this post on your own blog, encouraging others to lift up us in prayer, well, I certainly wouldn't complain about that. We need ALL the prayers we can get.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Break Up

Last night I bundled up under a blanket on the couch and turned on The Biggest Loser. Then I asked Troy if he could get me a bowl of ice cream with a side of sugar cookie. He brought it to me and, as I shoveled a delicious bite into my mouth I looked at him. "Jillian is very disappointed in me. She's breaking up with me right now."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Morning

Once upon a time I had grand plans of Hollywood or Broadway, of grad school and agents. I'd be on the cover of People, Vanity Fair, and Horse & Rider Ladies Home Journal. I'd win an Oscar, an Emmy and probably a Tony--for good measure. Nights would be filled with parties, charity events, glasses of expensive wine. Nevermind the fact that I hate wine.

Side note. I tried red wine once. I did not like it. Having the knowledge that a person is either a red wine person or a white wine person, I stated, "Hmm. I must be a white wine kind of girl." Months later I had the opportunity to try white wine. Then I declared, "Hmm. I must be a no wine kind of girl." Bleck.

Anyway. Days would be filled with the glamorous joys of life on the set. I'd never want for money. I'd have so much, in fact, that I would give most of it away to my favorite charities. These were my dreams. If I wasn't working on a project, I'd get up in the morning and my cook would serve me something piping hot and delicious. Then I'd be off to do some shopping with my best friend *insert newest "It" girl here*. We'd have some kind of fancy salad and mineral water for lunch and I'd hurry home to get ready for the benefit dinner I had scheduled for that evening. It would be a glamorous life, but someone had to live it.

This morning I got up and made The Rock Star an omelet and a bagel for breakfast. I am not an actress but I am a cook. It takes the boy forever and an hour to eat in the morning so we dashed out the door--nine minutes late--and headed to the aquarium. It was field trip day at preschool. I hit the lights right and was only three minutes late. I am not an actress but I am a chauffeur. Little Buddy and The Rock Star enjoyed the morning at the aquarium. The boys loved the rays (or, as Garrett calls them, the Flappy Things), the octopus, and the jellies. Initially, Garrett was terrified of the crocodiles but then he got over it. Oh wait. Have I not told the story of the time I convinced him that he was going to be fed to a member of the crocodilia family? Hmmm. I'll have to do that sometime. Let's just say that it wasn't my finest moment as a mother and I'm still reaping what I sowed.

On our way out, the only exit is through the gift shop, mind you, Garrett decided he absolutely had to have a stuffed eel. When I told him no he wandered right to the brink of a meltdown. "I have to have this. It's my best. I love him!" (Really good thing three-year-olds don't get married, by the way). So this is what I said...

"Okay. Sure. I'll buy you that. And then when we get home we are going to get rid of all your other stuffed animals. I'll put elephant and ducky and puppy and all the rest into the trash but you can have your new eel." For the record, he considered it long enough for me to start to worry just a bit. I continued, "You won't have any of the animals you love but you'll have a new eel." He put it back. I'm not an actress but I make a great reverse psychologist.

We went to McDonald's so The Rock Star could play, exercise, get out some of that energy. I'm not an actress, I'm a personal trainer.

We stopped at the library and checked out bunches of books and a couple DVDs. I'm a librarian or a teacher or something.

It's a far cry from being best friends with the newest "It" girl, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Loss

It was just a game. Sure, it was a game of major importance, but it was still just a game. That, however, didn't stop me from crying my eyes out when it was over.

It only took a few moments for me to realize that the floodgates didn't open on account of the fact that Nate Kaeding is a total headcase when it comes to playoffs against the Jets.

Matthew will sit for awhile and watch a little bit of a game. That, coupled with the fact that he's a stout little guy, has led me to refer to him, often, as Sproles. (2031 draft, here we come!) So, last night, Troy took off early with The Rock Star because we had a meeting at church that he needed to get ready for. As the final minutes of the game ticked away and I began to see the smallest glimmer of hope, despite Kaeding's three missed field goals (only one of which was understandable), Little Buddy sat on my lap. He was wearing a bolt shirt, staring at the television, happily kicking his chubby little legs. Then the Jets converted on 4th down and inches and it was over.

And I wondered if Matthew would ever watch another Charger game with me. When next season rolls around will he be here for me to dress in San Diego bolt clothing? Will I still be watching his growth charts and referring to him as Sproles? Lately, I hadn't really cried over the thought of losing him. I'd lost sleep, sure, but the crippling emotion hadn't escaped by way of my tear ducts. So I found it slightly jarring that I was bawling over a football game. Truthfully, I audibly called myself stupid for such a ridiculous display when I hadn't had a good cry over Matthew in some time. And that's when it hit me that I was crying over Matthew. I cannot imagine next football season without him. He is tied so tightly into my every single day way of life that my own muscles, sinews, and Sunday afternoons won't know what to do if he isn't here.

I fought tears later, in the halls at church, as I told Troy that I cried when they lost. He laughed and said he wasn't overly surprised--such is my loyalty to my Chargers. But then I explained why it upset me so much, why I needed them to keep winning, why it's the little things in life, like watching football with my baby, that keep me fighting. I told him that I just had to watch football next autumn with my 18-month-old. He looked me in the eyes and with absolute assurance in his voice replied, "You will."

He doesn't know. He couldn't possibly. But his confidence in that moment filled me with hope. When we were left alone in the hallway, I pulled Matthew close to me until his soft brown baby cheek rested on mine. "Promise me you'll watch football with me next fall. Promise!"

"Da. Ba. Ooh," He said with a grin.

"I'm just going to take that as a yes," I replied. "And you can't go back on your word. A promise is a promise."

No one feels worse about the Chargers losing that game yesterday than the Chargers themselves. It wasn't all Kaeding's fault (although, certainly, the game would have been different had he made even one of those field goals), the team played like hot headed high schoolers. Still, no one feels more loss over a season being over than they do. But if there was a person who needed them to keep winning it was me. If there is another person who is feeling great loss over the end of a season it is me. Oh alright, to be fair, I probably come after all the people who placed bets on the game and lost.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In Need of Peace

There have been people who have said that they've seen an incredible faith displayed by our family throughout the past ten and a half months. I'm just here to say that there has also been incredible doubt.

Doubt, initially, that we were doing the right thing.
Doubt in the legal system.
Doubt that we would win.
Doubt that we would lose.
Doubt that I'd survive this.

But doubt that my Lord is in this thing with us, never.

On a bad day, I'm fighting fear.

I'm afraid because I've heard my God say no before. And I know that if he says no there will be a reason--a very important reason--why. But knowing it and feeling it are two very different things. Living it, another thing altogether. I'm panicking under the weight of what I'll do if the answer to this child staying in our family is, simply, no.

I shouldn't panic. It is not the Lord's will for me to panic. Anxiety is not trusting in my Savior with all my heart. I trust that he knows the plans he has for me. I trust that they are plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I trust that some day, regardless of the outcome, it will all be okay. But I'm caught wondering how. I know, intellectually, that if we lose him I will keep breathing. I just can't comprehend how my lungs would possibly remember how to function. There would be so much trauma to my heart that I fear my lungs would be devastatingly compromised.

But I do believe that there would be a peace that passed all understanding. My Savior, who defied death, said himself, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."*

On a good day I allow myself to imagine us standing before a judge in Utah as he finalizes our adoption, as he gives validation to what we already know: We are a family. On a good day I picture Matthew when he is Garrett's age. In my imagination I see him propel himself into our bed on a lazy morning. I see his curly head poke up out of the covers. He grins and burrows into my side, "Can I cuddle, Mommy?"

On a good day I see a vision of him at ten, diving under the Christmas tree for his last present. I see him at sixteen, smiling behind the wheel of a car. I see myself hyperventilating but that's really neither here nor there. I see him with a diploma. I see him on his wedding day and I long to dance with him. And then I see him holding my grandchild. On a good day, my dreams are full of hope and opportunity.

On a good day I am not worried about his birth father visiting next weekend. I'm not afraid of what will happen. I'm not the least bit concerned that he's bringing a family member with him. I'm not scared about how he'll react when Matthew smiles a gummy grin at Troy and shouts, "Dada!" On a good day I believe that it will all be okay.

But last night I lost sleep thinking about what could happen. Last night I was afraid. Last night, I had doubts. Last night, as I fitfully tried to sleep, I prayed for Matthew and, eventually, I prayed for sleep to consume me. And finally, at 2:00 am, with my mind still reeling in a thousand directions, I rested.

*John 16:33

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's A Habit I Can't Quit

Wow. Seems a lot of you want to join me in my relocation to Incline Village, Nevada. But you know, I kind of feel like I was being a bit greedy and extravagant. The property is amazing, the private beach is breathtaking, the grounds are glorious. But maybe I'd be almost as happy in this.

But guess what? Neither of those homes, worth millions and millions of dollars, would ever warm my heart like this next one. Sure, it isn't lake front. Sure, it isn't in Incline. Sure it's small and falling apart and a whole slew of other things beginning with the fact that it's pea green and ending with the fact that, well, it's pea green, but it's mine.

And by mine I mean not mine at all. I don't own it. My parents don't even own it. But it owns me.

That's my brother and me on our first trip to Tahoe. The man is my father. He's behind the mustache somewhere. I don't know how many times I've been to Tahoe since. I could count but it would require all of my fingers and most, if not all, of my toes and I just don't have time for that. Why would I want a 35,000,000 dollar lake front house when I could have a pea soup converted garage where I lost my very first tooth.
Yes, that's me. Yes, I know I look like a little boy. Yes, the hair looked much cuter when it was curled. Yes, the tooth fairy found me even in that remote little cabin. Yes, I was quite worried that she wouldn't.
We went back. I draped myself over my brother, a pose I would continue to do well into my teenage years. I'm really not sure why. It was weird. Once he started looking the same age as me and people started mistaking us for a couple on several occasions, I stopped this nonsense. I didn't need to add fuel to the repulsive and inappropriate fire.

We went back and went back and went back and Tahoe became an addiction. She's like a drug I can't quit. I can go a year without visiting. I can go two. But try to get me into a third year and I start convulsing on the couch, begging for a hit.Oh, look at that, I was at least only somewhat draped over Jon in that photo. Although, I'm sure you're hardly looking at where my arms are. Indeed, my face had been swallowed by a mask and snorkel. It's okay. I survived. So did my brother. We bear only a few scars from the fated day when our masks ate us.

If we don't get to use the cabin this summer, I'm going to put a tent up in the yard and refuse to take it down. That's how badly I want to go back. It's been a year and a half. I'm practically dying from withdrawal.

So while my heart might not be quite as warm if I owned one of those million dollars homes, and even if I still had to drive by my pea cabin every now and then, I'd certainly enjoy entertaining if I had one. I'd get my fix every, single, day when I looked out the window. I'd smell pine and swim in icy waters and raft the Truckee. And I think, on some small scale, the world would be a better place.

So are you still with me? My bank account is waiting...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moving to Incline

If anyone has 35,000,000 dollars lying around, I'd be mighty appreciative if you'd just, well, give it to me. That way I could pay off all of our legal fees, put both of my children through college and still have a little left over to buy

Look at all 25 pictures. It has a pool inside. I'm not entirely sure why I'd need an indoor pool when the shores of Tahoe are right outside but, well, winter. For starters. It has ten bathrooms. Ten! Nine rooms. Eight acres. You know, come to think of it, 7,000 square feet is a little much for my humble little family of four. But I'd share with my friends and extended family. I'm really nice like that.

So, email me and I'll send you my bank account number. You can deposit the 35,000,000 whenever you get a chance.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I've been trying to upload a video of The Rock Star saying that he wants to be a paleontologist, among other things, all day long but I just can't get it to work. It doesn't fail, it just continues to "try" to upload.

In the meantime, I checked my facebook page and a friend had sent me a link. Turns out, Colt McCoy just got engaged.


Now two people have to meet sudden and untimely deaths for our love story to play out.*

*I'm just clarifying, for all the world (oh, okay, for the seven or so readers who check my blog on a bimonthly basis), that I love my husband. I would be ridiculously inconsolable for a considerable amount of time if he were to ever meet a sudden and untimely death. I would likely beg my parents to let me move back in with them for an undefined amount of time while I tried to get my act together. I would certainly not be attempting to dissolve Colt McCoy's marriage. I probably wouldn't even be watching football and you know how inconsolable I'd have to be to swear off football. Anyway, just for the record. Just so you know I'm not serious. If, by some chance, you thought, for even a split second, that I'd rather be married to a Longhorn.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Brother Boys

Troy has Mondays off and one of my favorite things is snuggling under the covers with my boys on a lazy Monday morning. The Rock Star has started playing this "game" with his brother. He pulls the covers over his face and laughs hysterically as Matthew repeatedly clocks him in the head as he tries to get to the brother under the cover. Matthew, hearing Garrett cackling, begins to shriek with laughter. The more one laughs the more the other laughs.

And my heart is happy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Corruption by Chipmunks

The Rock Star has taken to singing Beyonce's Single Ladies and it might not be my proudest moment as a parent. I alternate between thinking it's borderline hysterical and thinking it's appalling. The fence I sit on is thin, marginal, nearly nonexistent.

In my car, if the radio is on, we listen to K-Love almost exclusively. When Garrett was born I decided to keep it mainly on that station because I knew he wasn't going to hear any questionable words or content I wasn't ready to explain. I didn't factor in Alvin and the Chipmunks. When my parents were here we took The Rock Star to see the squeakquel. Now, don't get me wrong, I thought it was hilarious when those little critters started singing that song. But then, I think just about anything is funnier in a chipmunk voice. It might be a character flaw. I just don't exactly want my three-year-old son getting in touch with his inner Beyonce. I don't, actually, want him to have an inner Beyonce. But you try not to smile as you watch your little boy dance around the kitchen belting "Oh oh oh!" For the record, white boy cannot dance. His idea of rhythmic movement is to fling his hands up over his head and dart erratically from side to side. I have no idea where he gets his inability to shimmy and shake. Troy is a regular Fred Astaire and my moves are the epitome of grace and light. (I'm just going to clear my throat and move on from that little white lie before I am forced to explain, in all truthfulness, that Troy and I could possibly be the worst dancing duo in the history of mankind.)

Anyway, his lyrics sound like this, "All hingle wadies. All hingle wadies. All hingle wadies. If you wike it put a ring on it. Put a ring on it. Oh oh oh!"

I mean, I guess I'm glad he's learning young that the institution of marriage is an important one. There is a silver lining, right? No? Stupid chipmunks! Although, to be fair, we all enjoyed the movie and give it two enthusiastic children's thumbs up.

So yesterday he went with his daddy to visit an elderly church member. On their way home Troy bought him a Happy Meal. We rarely buy Happy Meals. Usually we order off the dollar menu and call it a day. He was delighted to get his Happy Meal because it came with a little chipmunk. He got Theodore, whom he adorably refers to as "E-Dore." Troy decided to bring me home some lunch as well and, because Garrett was so in love with E-Dore, Troy bought me a Happy Meal so that we could get another chipmunk. (It was a crazy splurge kind of lunch.) My Happy Meal came with Alvin. If you push the top of his head he says, "Hello, Gorgeous." Except that Garrett spent all afternoon and evening insisting that he was saying, "Hello, Georgia."

Seriously, it was like he was a rock star addressing his adoring crowd at a sports arena in Atlanta. Probably he was getting ready to sing his cover of Single Ladies. The lights dimmed. The crowd silenced and suddenly, there was my three-year-old, my rock star, yelling out, "Hellllllo Georgia! How's everybody doing tonight? Oh oh oh!"

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Real McCoy

In the event that Troy meets a sudden and untimely death, he's given me permission to marry Colt McCoy. There is the little matter of a five year age difference--the one where I turn 30 only days after Colt turns 25 but you win some and you lose some.

And really, I'd be an awesome NFL wife. I'd be all, "Colt! What were you thinking? You had a clear path to the end zone!" And he'd be all, "Lady, calm down!" I might have to renege my contract to marry Colt (in the event that Troy meets a sudden and untimely death) if he is drafted by the Raiders, however. Then, and only then, this deal would be off. Well, and if Colt doesn't want to marry the poor widow with two children. I guess he'd probably have to be alright with it, too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cry For Mercy

I was reading in the psalms.

Psalm 6:3 "My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?"

It gets better. The LORD hears his cry for mercy. Yahweh accepts his prayer. But it doesn't negate that fact that the psalmist's soul was in anguish. It doesn't change the fact that he cried out, "How long?"

I'm crying out but I'm clinging to verse 9. I'm rejoicing in the fact that he hears my cries for mercy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Shoulda Named Him Ross

When I was only two I wanted to be a neonatal nurse. It was a big word for a little person. Today, when he climbed into the car after preschool, The Rock Star informed me that he wants to be a paleontologist. Pronounced pay-e-on-ta-gehst, of course. I guess preschool was all about dinosaurs today. When the teacher opened the car door she said, "Tell mom what you did today." She's never said anything like that so I figured that, whatever it was, it was a big deal to Garrett. He grinned at me.

"We dug up dinohors and I want to be a payeontagehst when I get bigger."

Me: You do? Wow!
Miss S: He had fun today.
G: Yeah! I learned all about dinohors!

Later I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, just so I could hear the way he said the six syllable word. (I've asked him about 100 times since. He may change his mind just so he can stop saying it.)

G: I want to be a hire highter and an ambulance man and a payeontagehst.
Me: Maybe you should pick just one.
G: (with distress in his voice) But I really want to be all those guys.
Me: Okay. That's fine. You can change careers a lot.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Audition

It has nothing to do with the fact that I just read Marley & Me. It couldn't possibly. Life is just better with a dog a big ole canine that runs and swims and fetches and walks on a leash golden retriever. I know, Marley was a Labrador. But, come on, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, there isn't a whole lot of difference. Longer hair on the golden. Barrel chest on the lab. And that's about it.

I refer to this character as my first born whenever I'm wrestling him on the floor. When the boys get a little rough with him, and Beck just lies there like he would if we'd ever taught him to play dead, I tell them to leave my oldest son alone. What? He has my eyes and you can't deny that our hair is almost the exact same color. He almost always sports that dopey grin. And don't even get me started on the fact that his muzzle is starting to gray. I will forever be in denial. His chin was always a little white. It matched his left rear paw--also white.

We drove a couple of hours to pick him up. We couldn't afford pure bred golden retrievers in San Diego. We'd been married for three months and I was desperate not only for a puppy but for a puppy who would be good with our unborn unconceived children. The puppies we were going to look at were on sale. The breeder had welcomed a litter of twelve. Anyone who knows anything about breeding knows that a litter of eight males and four females is a bummer. I wanted a female. She had three males left and she'd lowered the price considerably. They were already eleven weeks old. A purebred golden retriever puppy with papers for $300 dollars in southern California six years ago was practically a steal. I decided a male would be fine.

We discussed names on the drive up.

Troy made me promise that I would choose. He knew he couldn't pick one and we knew we didn't need three golden retriever puppies. (Oh the humanity!) I gave him my word. Of the three puppies that were left, one was the runt. He was teeny, frail looking, less energetic than the other two. Cute as he was and cute as my husband--always shorter than everyone--was holding him, I didn't want the runt. I wanted a good, healthy pup. So, while my husband cuddled with Tiny, I set to choosing between the remaining two. I instantly knew which one I wanted. He was a little thicker than the other. He was, dare I say, a little cuter. Every time I reached down for him, he ran away, disinterested. I'd approach from the other side of the cage. The other puppy would sprint up, leap into the air, crash on top of the one I was trying so hard to grab, and wag his tail in a desperate 180 degree semi circle. Finally, I shoved him to the side and picked up my puppy. I stuck my face in his. I examined him from every side. I tried to cuddle with him. He squirmed and wiggled and shot between my arms and back into the cage where he spent some quality time licking himself. We talked price and paperwork with the owner.

The other puppy--the one I didn't want--was leaping and yapping and wagging and doing everything in his power to get my attention. Always impressed by a good audition I reached down and scooped him up mid sentence. He instantly snuggled into my arms as if to say, "Finally. Now I can relax." His body went limp. He closed his eyes. I held him out to examine him. His muzzle was less defined but, as I contemplated the subtle decline, he stuck his tongue out and kissed me. I didn't choose Beck. He chose me.

I dropped him back in the cage while we paid and she signed the paperwork. When it was time to collect our puppy her daughter cried and her son jumped into the cage. All three puppies leaped on him and wagged their tails. He lifted mine up from the cage. From the back it was hard to tell if he'd grabbed the right dog.

"Is that the one we decided on?" I questioned.

He grabbed Beck's back left foot. "Yeah. See." He tweaked the foot so that I could see. "He's got a white foot."

A white foot? On my pure bred golden retriever? I didn't know such a thing existed. I almost put him back on account of his white foot. But then he smiled, knowing that his brilliant audition had won our affection. He'd watched as one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine of his brothers and sisters had been chosen before him. Finally it was his turn. I couldn't put him back because of one white paw.

Now, as he lounges at my feet gnawing on a raw hide with his back feet sprawled out behind him--something most puppies grow out of and a position we call the flying squirrel--I can see that one white foot. It matches his graying muzzle even though it's been like that since he was born. It belongs on the best dog. I can't believe my puppy--my first born--is beginning to gray at six. Although the average golden retriever only lives to be 10 or 12 and cancer is increasingly common among the breed so his very best years are behind him.

He sits. He stays. He heels--sort of. He let's Matthew pull out his hair. He only kind of rolls his eyes when Garrett rides him like a pony. He doesn't eat our cat although we had to gate off the litter box because his poop was a different story. He goes sledding. He walks on a leash. He responds to Beck, Becks, Beckster, Buddy, and recently out of the mouth of Garrett, Becky. But never Beckham, his given name, because we just never use it. I asked Garrett who Beckham is and he said, "I don't know." I would have taken my dog or a really good soccer player as an answer but my three-year-old doesn't know. I followed it up with, Who is Beck? And he responded, "my dog," as though I was a total idiot. We'd stopped at the pet store on the way home to pick up a few essentials. We let him choose a toy. He couldn't be deterred from the stuffed soccer ball. Hence his name. He is a good dog.

I cannot think of a 300 dollars more well spent than the cash we handed that woman in exchange for her puppy. I can't imagine where we'd be if I'd ignored his audition.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sleep Talking

I had been asleep for about 15 minutes when I heard it. Two squawks came ringing across our video monitor. I've mentioned our monitor before and explained that it is the best thing ever. I don't think I've ever given credit where credit is due, however. My good friend, Jenni, purchased the monitor for us when I was pregnant with The Rock Star. Jenni just had her first baby, a girl, who is now five days old. (Congratulations Jenni! I hope you have a monitor that's just as amazing.) So, last night, I hear the squawks followed by the quietest whisper. "It's okay, Buddy. Mommy will come get us. Just wait. Mommy will take care of us." There was a long pause and I realized that the baby had simply fussed in his sleep. Garrett, however, continued to whisper. "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy where are you?" Then he started to cry. I opened their door and called him out to me. He came from the direction of the monitor so I can only assume that he was standing under it (it's mounted to the wall) calling for me, knowing that I could hear him. We stood in the hall for a minute and I realized he was basically sleep walking. I told him to go into my room so we didn't wake his brother up. He misjudged the frame of the door and his head bounced off the metal square. He began wailing.

Me: (scooping him into my arms) Are you okay?
G: I want my mommy.
Me: I'm right here.
G: I just really want my mommy, please.
Me: Garrett. It's me. It's mommy. Are you okay?
G: Yeeeeah.
Me: Alright. Let's go back to bed.
G: I want my mom!
Me: Well, will I do in a pinch?

He was completely asleep the entire time. That or he had a major head injury and, well, I saw him hit. It wasn't that hard.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Toilet Bowl

This blog should be titled Livin' in a Toilet Bowl. Because, folks, I've got my head in one often enough. Seriously. Vomit is a post label and I use it way too much. I threw up. Again. But the really weird thing was that I only threw up one time. I cannot even remember the last time I only threw up once. I don't even know for sure if such a time exists. Last night I felt just fine until about 9:00. I swallowed some knock off Pepto Bismal with great hopes that it would stave off any vomit. At 10:00 I started to shiver and at 10:10 I yakked. Let me just say that Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas do not taste nearly as good coming up as they do going down. Oh how my throat burned. I wanted to reach my hand down my esophagus and tear it out. Anyway, right there, in the middle of my enchilada sauce barf was a perfect pink circle of Regular Strength Stomach Relief. (I am aware of the fact that that is just way too much information.) But maybe--just maybe--enough of it got in there to do the trick. Or maybe I just got lucky last night.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas In Photos

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010. Two thousand ten? Twenty ten? Two zero one zero?
Anyway. Christmas has come and gone.

The Rock Star is finished performing with his preschool class. He might have been my favorite pine tree ever.
And he's finished singing with the Sunday schoolers during the night of the Christmas play.

Our church Christmas Eve service has come and gone and no one knows that Little Buddy was throwing one of the biggest tantrums in the history of the world right before we took our family picture. Well, okay, so now you know. I hate keeping secrets. It's stressful.

And so I know he looks grumpy but at least he isn't screaming bloody murder.
Christmas is over. We've opened our presents. We've had our lazy morning opening stockings and our late and leisurely breakfast. We've spent the late morning and early afternoon opening the rest of our gifts. Matthew has opened his Move and Crawl Ball.

The Rock Star has discovered his trash truck.

My parents have come. And gone. They are somewhere near Barstow on their way back to warmer weather. I'll let you in on a little secret--since secrets are stressful and all--this is my new favorite picture of my mom and her grandson.
My dad built Garrett another snow cave. He brought him snow shoes and the two clomped around the yard together. They had a camp out. They went sledding. And ice skating. And he gave him extra popcorn at the movies.
My mom and I did way too much shopping. We had peppermint mochas. We ate too many cookies. We remembered what it's like to live closer than twelve hours away from each other. We took a picture in the door of the snow cave because we're dorks like that.

My parents left this morning. Garrett hates it when they leave. He kept begging me to let him go with them. It was sad. So we took him sledding.
He had a jacket when we started. Then he had a hissy about being hot. He went sledding with his daddy. He went sledding with his mommy. He went sledding with his buddy.
I went sledding.

Contrary to what you're probably thinking, I stuck the landing.