Sunday, February 28, 2010


Dear ONE,

A year. One whole year. Three hundred and sixty five days. Twelve months. It has been an amazing journey and, though I would sure like to change the circumstances, I wouldn't trade a moment of the time we've had with you. A year ago today you locked your deep, dark eyes on mine in the operating room. Every day, when I go to get you out of your crib, your eyes find mine and you break into the biggest grin. Now, three teeth greet me where there used to be only gums. Number four and five are right behind.
I splurged. I had a gift card and I bought you an ensemble for your special day. I asked your brother if we needed the hat. He insisted that we did. Surprisingly, you left it on.
We dedicated you to the Lord today. We were still counting your brother's age in weeks when we had him dedicated. We've been waiting and hoping for a finalized adoption to dedicate you. Well, we decided that we will pray for you every single day regardless of whether you are being raised in our home or not. And, as we've been doing, for every day that you are in our home, we will bring you up in knowledge of the Lord. Since your birthday fell on a Sunday we decided to do it on your special day. Pastor Chris performed the dedication and he, along with Daddy, Garrett and I, prayed over you.
While we were in California we had a birthday party for you.
You, um, enjoyed your cake...
Some of our close friends and our family members in southern California came to celebrate. It was a very special day. Since we'd already had your birthday party, we had our good friends over today for lunch and cupcakes.
You, um, enjoyed your cupcake...

Then you opened a few presents before crashing for an afternoon nap.

I love you. I love the way you toddle around. I love that your new "thing" is to turn around in circles as though you're a five-year-old who is trying to make himself dizzy. I love your precious curls, your chubby cheeks and your stout little body. I love that you are so tiny that it shocks everyone when you take off and walk with ease. I love it when you lay your head on my chest and grin at the world around you, safe in my arms. I love that you have a total of 4 words and one of them is Garrett (DitDit). I love the way you squeal, giggle, squawk, babble and coo. I love that you stand up in the middle of a room by first getting into a bug-like tripod and then suddenly flailing your upper body straight up. I love you--all of you. I love each and every finger and toe with every fiber of my being.

Happy Birthday. I'm hoping and praying for the blessing of celebrating many, many more with you.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

What I Found In My Food

What's the grossest thing you've ever found in your food?

So. The other night we went out to dinner with our associate pastor and his family. We went here. Let me just start off by saying that it was delicious and I certainly intend to return. Our family got a stuffed pizza with mushrooms on the entire thing, olives on half and pepperoni on the other half. When it came out I discovered what a stuffed pizza actually is. This pizza was a thin layer of crust on the bottom with a thin layer of crust on the top. The top crust had a thin layer of sauce. Inside the two crusts was the thickest layer of mozzarella, ever maybe, and all of our delicious toppings. I'm of the mindset that just about everything tastes better with cheese. Things that usually have cheese taste better with more cheese. This pizza was seriously good. We had a gift card so it cost us next to nothing which is even better.

Before the pizza came, I wanted a salad. When I got my salad I put a little of it on a separate plate for Garrett. He happily started eating and I chatted a bit before shoveling a bite of salad into my mouth.

Holly: Oh. You're eating a hair.
Me: (reaching up to grab said hair which I suddenly felt between my lips) I hope it's mine.

At that point I started to pull the hair out of my mouth, between pursed lips. I met resistance. That cannot be a good sign. "Nope. Not mine." I said as I pulled a tiny hairball, which was wrapped around another item, out of my mouth. There were collective moans and groans at the table and I felt myself starting to come down with a raging case of the willies. I spat the remaining bite of salad into a napkin--as politely as one can spit into a napkin while simultaneously trying not to gag. Holly and I examined the hairy clump. Initially we thought we saw a wing. Upon further inspection I was unsure whether it was actually a wing or a small piece of plastic. There also seemed to be something fuzzy involved. A bit of fabric? The fuzzy body belonging to the wing? I'll never know. In any case, the object was tightly wound with hair.

We flagged the waiter and I said, "I'm not really sure what this is, exactly, but I don't really think I want to eat it." He was pretty mortified and took the salad away--although the rest of it was probably fine. In a matter of moments my new and much improved salad arrived followed, later, by the delicious pizza. And, I have to say, the pizza more than made up for the hairy fuzzy winged plastic piece that I'd tried to eat.

Chris later regaled us with the story of the bug he found in a frozen burrito. So, what kinds of gross things have you found in your food?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The Rock Star has a BIG imagination. It's so big, in fact, that often when he prays he includes, "Thank you, God, for giving me such a big magation."

He has good verbal skills. He has a fantastic memory when it comes to recalling stories or details of events that happened to him.

But he's been struggling with letter recognition and knowing what letters certain words start with, even when we continuously go over specific letters or words. Take yesterday, for example. I showed him an A and a K and repeatedly explained which was which. After a few minutes of him repeating after me I showed him the A. What letter is this? "Um. I don't know." Sigh. Which of these two letters is the A? He pointed to the K. Later, when I showed him two A's and a K and asked which was different he knew it isn't a recognition issue. I continued showing him two of one letter and one of another and he passed with flying colors. Then I showed him two F's and an X. Which one doesn't belong? He picked up one of the F's. Are you sure? "Yes." He replied. Why? "Because this one isn't an X." So I can drill A's and K's into his head for five minutes and he can't repeat the name of one but he knows X off the top of his head? Hmmm. Perplexing.

A couple of days ago we had the following conversation.

Me: What does daddy start with?
G: A "D"!
Me: Very good! What does mommy start with?
G: A "M"! (I haven't started explaining the difference between "a" and "an")
Me: Good. What does Matthew start with?
G: Also a "M"!
Me: Yes it does! What does Beck start with?
G: Um...I don't know.
Me: Buh. Buh. Buh. What letter makes a buh sound?
G: I know! Beck starts with pineapple!

Um. What?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You're Going Places, Baby

Thanks Crayl at Beyond Black & White.

"This award means you're really going places, Baby. You'll still be blogging about your great adventures 10 years from now, and I'll still be reading them."

The rules are that in order to accept this award, I have to express where I think my life will be in 10 years.

Man. If you'd asked me, when I was 18, where I thought I'd be in 10 years I never would have said Utah. I might have guessed that I'd be married with a couple of kids but I probably would have said that marriage would be to this hot guy I had my eye on in Psychology class. I'm not kidding when I say that he literally did not know I existed. Still, my plan was to woo him and wed him. The kids, they would have been conceived on the first try and would have pretty much popped out while I slept. I would have had one of them at 23 and one at 25 and now I would be contemplating whether or not there should be a third. I would bake cookies for my pastor's wife. If you'd told me that I would be one I would have laughed in your face and said something along the lines of how that doesn't fit into my plans. At 18 I still had grand ideas of spending my life signing autographs. So to say where I think I'll be 10 years from now seems impossibly difficult.

I hope that I will have grown tremendously. I hope that my faith is unwavering and that my knowledge of the Lord is expanded. After all, I'll be barrelling toward forty. My oldest son will be 13. My youngest son will be almost 11 and I hope he is celebrating his eleventh birthday with us, wherever we are. As for more children, I doubt it but you never know. I hope I'm no longer changing anyone's diapers. I don't know where we'll be living and ministering--though I hope in a decade we've begun to pull ourselves out of the financial mess we're in. I hope we've been able to stop the bleeding caused by the legal system and The Great Housing Debacle of 2007. Oh market, if only I'd had future vision. I hope we've paid back our adoption loan and are no longer making payments to any attorneys. Maybe I'll be thinking about how I want to take my husband on a cruise for his 50th birthday--which will only be a year and a few months away. If I could snap my fingers and make it all happen, I'd have a speaking ministry. My dog will be dead. He'd be 16 otherwise and that is really old for a golden retriever. Perhaps we'll have a new dog who sits at my feet while I write. I will probably have survived several more trials. I know I won't have it altogether. My thirteen-year-old will remind me of that every day.
If you blog on a regular basis and you have the desire to predict where you might be in ten years, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, February 22, 2010


For Valentine's Day, Troy bought me the Rascal Flatts Greatest Hits Volume 1 cd. We've been listening to it and, the other day, The Rock Star cracked me up. One of my favorites on the album is Mayberry.

G: (singing) I miss Mayberry, sittin' on the porch with a blueberry.
Me: (laugh)
G: What's funny?
Me: Nothing.
G: (singing) Where ev-thing is black and white. Na na. Na na. I miss blueberry.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Wild Animal Park

My mom and I took the boys to The Wild Animal. As always, The Rock Star had a blast jumping on the lily pads.

The boys fell in love with this goat. I'm certain that Matthew thought it was his dog because this is exactly how he stands over Beck whenever he gets the chance.
Garrett said he wanted to take the goat home. He followed it around the petting zoo and kept telling me how much he loved the goat and how badly he wanted it. I'm sure the animal park wouldn't have cared one single bit if I just stole a goat right out from their noses.

The boys had fun playing on the toys down in the Cool Zone. I know it doesn't look like Matthew had any fun in this particular picture but if one of them wasn't frowning whenever I tried to get a shot of the two of them then you would all die from the sheer cuteness. They do it for you protection, I assure you.

We also saw some animals while we there. We saw a gorilla, lorikeets, meerkats, etc. We also saw the lions. Even though this particular lion was only a few inches away from the boys, she didn't look like she wanted to eat them. The skunk on a leash on the hill, however, was a totally different story. She wanted some skunk for lunch in the worst way.

After only a few hours (thank goodness we have passes) Garrett asked if we could go home. I thought something had to be wrong with him. Sure enough, he was running a nice fever by the afternoon. Both boys fought fevers for portions of a couple of the days that we were there. They never really had any other symptoms--other than slightly runny noses--and I never caught it. Apparently my sons can drape their feverish bodies all over me and I don't catch it. But, you know, if someone gets a stomach bug in Nebraska I'm likely to start throwing up.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Visit In Photos

Pictures from The Wild Animal Park and Matthew's birthday party (early) are still coming. For now, enjoy a smorgasbord of photos...

For example: The Rock Star learns to climb a tree. Funny thing about The Rock Star. Yesterday he watched the first Alvin and the Chipmunks. In the movie, someone says, "You're a rock star. You're supposed to spoiled." Garrett heard this and, knowing that his moniker is "The Rock Star" started informing his father and me of the revelation. With sheer excitement he smiled, "I'm supposed to be spoiled!"

The Rock Star hangs out with his Papa. And I can't be completely sure but it looks like, maybe, in this picture, The Rock Star scratches his bum.

The Rock Star sleeps on his Grandma. This is incredibly rare and demonstrates just how worn out he got.

We met Austin Powers.
Really, it's my brother. His poor wife. Oh wait, this is what he really looks like. The Rock Star plays Wii with his aunt and uncle.

The boys hang out with their great grandparents.

P.S. Julie, send me pictures so that I can post, "The boys play with their cousins."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sea World Meltdown

When The Rock Star's preschool went to the aquarium last month, he fell in love with the rays or, as he likes to call them, the flappy things. My brother, who's worked for Sea World for years, got us free tickets to the park while we were in San Diego. I promised Garrett that he'd get to see the flappy things. From the freeway he spotted Journey to Atlantis and declared that he was going to ride it. I tried to prepare him for the inevitable letdown that would come when he stood under the measurement stick. Watching his face, so full of joy, fall instantly when we declared him too short was heartbreaking. To say that he entered into a contract between him and a very foul mood would be an understatement.

First, we headed to the Tide Pools.

The Rock Star tolerated them for a few minutes before begging to go see the Flappy Things.
Garrett was in heaven. He did not want to leave. I told him I would come back for him. Usually this kind of reverse psychology still works on him but I underestimated the pull of the flappy things. He waved goodbye to me, told me he'd catch up with me later, and hoisted himself back up onto the wall. My parents, brother and Little Buddy went to the seals and sea lions. I let him stay for a couple more minutes and then informed him that we needed to go find everyone else. When he wouldn't budge, I picked him up.

Seriously. To say that all hell broke lose would be an understatement. He went crazy. He started kicking me, hitting me, clawing at my hands, flailing about with his arms flapping as if independent from his body. As I walked through the park he screamed, "Let me go! Put me down! You're hurting me." It must have seemed like I was kidnapping him. Everyone--and I do mean everyone--stopped and stared. Some people pointed. I had half a mind to ask the pointers if they honestly thought they were helping my situation. I refrained. Finally, he screamed, "Mommy you are really hurting me! Put me down!"

I did.

That was a mistake. He took off running the other direction at full speed. I ducked behind a wall thinking that he would stop when he couldn't see me. He didn't. He just kept running. I took off after him at a full sprint. He ran past the crowd of gawkers and pointers. I ran after the crowd of gawkers and pointers. I caught up to him and picked him up. "Put me down!" I walked back past the gawkers, pointers and, now, laughers. I reached an unpopulated area of the park and I plopped him down on a little grassy hill. I pointed at him and told him to follow me and, under no circumstances, to run. My blood pressure had to have been at record high. I couldn't even open the rest of my hand. My thumb, middle, ring and pinky fingers were in a fist and as we walked, my pointer finger stayed straight. He walked beside me and, eventually, he started smacking my pointed finger with his hand. "Stop pointing at me, Naughty Lady." I focused only on breathing steadily. "Can you hear me, Naughty Lady?"

I strongly considered taking him to the car where the two of us would spend the rest of the day. Luckily, I found my parents and gave him to them. I took a few minutes to lower my blood pressure and my dad exchanged words with his grandson.

And he was an angel for the rest of the day. Grandpa has some kind of crazy persuasive power over him.

He watched the Sea Lion and Otter show and the Shamu show. He declared that he is going to ride Shamu some day.
We saw the manatees, the sharks, the penguins, the polar bears, the belugas, the dolphins, the fish and, at the end of the day, the flappy things again--complete with no tantrum when it was time to leave.

We played in the kiddie zone. He rode the rides that he was tall enough for. He did not have a meltdown when he discovered that the pirate boat was closed. He handled it like a man.

At the end of the day my dad bought a funnel cake and we all shared it. The Rock Star fell asleep in the car at about 5:00. I tried desperately to get him to wake up when we got home. I couldn't. Finally, I put him to bed. He woke up at 5:45 the next morning. Thirteen hours of sleep. Crazy. As for Little Buddy, well, he slept at Sea World...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cemetery Visit

February 10 was the second anniversary of my grandma's death. It hardly seems possible that she's been gone that long, hardly seems possible that two years of my life have come and gone since that day, hardly seems possible that I still miss her as much as I do. I spent the 10th hanging out with my grandparents on my dad's side and then having dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. But first I went to Rosecrans. I'd never been.

Well, I'd been. I'd seen the cemetery before but not since she's been there. I'd never seen her memorial. I told Garrett that we were going to a place so that we could remember Grandma Betty. I did not tell him that her ashes were there. That would have been a really big and potentially traumatizing thing to expect a three-year-old to deal with. We got there and walked up to her plaque. I figured I'd be a little emotional. I mean, I can get choked up looking at the head stone of a total stranger and wondering what happened in between the dates. I find myself pondering what the dash stands for and who mourns when they think of that person. I warned Garrett that I might cry but it would be a good cry. It would be because I missed my grandma. I showed my sons where she was and lifted Garrett so he could put his hands on her stone. Then he asked me if we could "remember" all the other people that were there. I told him that we didn't know the other people but he could walk down the sidewalk if he wanted to. That wasn't the best idea because he wanted to take each and every flower that he found. "Mommy, can I take this one?" No. "This one?" No. And so on. Finally I asked him if he wanted to play in the car while mommy and Matthew "remembered" Grandma. That sounded like the best idea ever, apparently.

I don't really think dead people can hear us when we talk to them but it didn't stop me. I introduced Matthew to my Grandma for the first time. I held him up and he put his little hands on her plaque. Then I started to cry. After I wiped the tears from my eyes, I put him in his car seat and got Garrett out to say goodbye. Holding him up again (she's in the second row from the top of the wall) he asked me a question.

G: Mommy, can I talk to Grandma Betty?
Me: Sure.
G: Can she hear me?
Me: Well, I'm not sure how that works but you can say whatever you want.
G: (Ridiculously loud...screaming, even) HI GRANDMA BETTY! I LOVE YOU! I MISS YOU! (Switching to a whisper) Do you think she heard me all the way in heaven?
Me: Yes. I do.
Truly, I think all the dead in that entire cemetery heard him. I started laughing but since I'd already cried a little the tears welled up--confused whether I was happy or sad--and all the months that she held on to life so she could see her first great-grandson, so she could see him have his first Christmas, so she could be at his first birthday party came flooding to the surface and the tears spilled over. She'll never know how thankful I am that she held on for all of those moments, and so many more. And I don't know that Garrett will ever know what a tremendous role he played in her life. Hers is a stone with a dash that I am proud to have been a part of. As my tears spilled over Garrett, who was in my arms, asked me why I was crying. I miss Grandma, I replied as I wiped one away.

"Oh mommy," my tenderhearted boy whispered, "it's okay." And he reached up and wiped away another. He cracks me up. He cares for me. He's special that son of mine.

Oh, and he can raise my blood pressure to the boiling point but that's a blog for another time...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Numbers: Return Trip

11.7= The number of hours it took to get from San Diego to Salt Lake City.

7.5= The number of hours we did in the first day.

4.2= The number of hours we did in the second day.

30 ish= The number of minutes I spent stopped dead on the 15 just south of the speedway in Vegas/spent taking a detour with my dad on my cell phone directing me. Apparently there was some sort of hazmat situation and the road was closed. It was high times. I ended up following the other cars that had driven through the center divide and flipping a U onto 15 south. Then I paralleled the 15 for awhile before getting back on past the hazmat disaster.

16= The number of hours we spent at my great aunt and uncle's in southern Utah.

2 (maybe less)= The number of minutes Matthew cried on the entire trip.

32= The number of times Garrett said, "Are we to my Auntie's house yet?" or "Are we in Utah?" or "Are we in our Utah yet?" Note: Our Utah is equivalent to Salt Lake. Also Note: I thought 32 was a vast improvement to the 11,000,000 times he asked if we were in California yet.

3= The number of times we stopped (not counting the 16 hour break).

2= The number of times the boys got out of the car (again, not counting the break). One of the times that I got gas we were about ten minutes from my aunt's so I filled up and got back on the road super quick.

10= The number of minutes I spent being totally humiliated by the fact that, in my hurry, I had shoved my card into the cash slot of a gas payment machine. I dug through my stuff, located my tweezers, attempted to remove it that way, and then had to go get help anyway. Embarrassing...yeah.

0= The number of movies Garrett watched. Total. Including our trip down to San Diego. We have a rule that Garrett can watch one movie on a long car ride. We take the player but we do not suggest that he watch something. If he asks, he can have one movie. If he doesn't ask, we suggest reading books, playing with toys, singing along to the music, looking out his window, etc. Well, he didn't ask. Way to go!

2= The number of hours that Garrett slept.

5 ish= The number of hours that Matthew slept.

100%= The percentage of heart swelling pride I feel for my children and their amazing car riding abilities.

More on the trip to come later. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recipients of a multitude of prayers

Click here to view these pictures larger

Things We've Been Doing

See. I told you I'd be MIA for awhile. I've still got three days left here in San Diego. Here is a list of things we've done so far.

1. Went to a hearing. Not much happened.
2. While we were there, my parents took The Rock Star to the Zoo.
3. Went shopping with my mom for Matthew's birthday party stuff.
4. While we were shopping, Troy, Garrett and Matthew hung out with my brother.
5. Had Matthew's birthday party (3 weeks early so we could celebrate with extended family and friends).
6. Went to church.
7. Watched Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl. Yeah! I could only have been happier if the Chargers had won.
8. Went to lunch and a movie with my mom.
9. Garrett & Matthew played with their aunt and cousins while my mom and I were out.
10. Went to the Wild Animal Park with the boys and my mom.

It's been great. Even if my poor baby is teething and fighting off some kind of cold that now seems to have started plaguing the eldest. (The cold, that is, not the teething.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Road Trip

Road trip by the numbers...

12= The number of hours it took to get from Salt Lake to San Diego.

1= The number of hours we stopped for dinner (we made really good time!).

1= The number of hours Matthew slept during the first seven hours of the trip.

4.5= The number of hours Matthew slept during the last five hours of the trip.

2= The number of horrible accidents we were almost in. One would NOT have been my fault. The other, well, I would have been at fault but I would have gone to my grave--which may have happened--blaming the tire that was stretching across my lane.

11,000,000= The number of times Garrett asked, "Are we in California yet?"

2= The number of minutes Matthew cried on the entire trip.

4= The number of stops we made. Three of these were ten minutes or less.

Overall, it was a great road trip and the boys did incredibly well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Life & Love

Being a pastor's wife can be...interesting. Last night a dear woman in our church passed away. It was expected so while we are sad, we are rejoicing that she is with the Lord. Unfortunately, Troy had a raging fever and could not go to the nursing home where she was to be with her husband. Double unfortunately, our associate pastor was busy running the youth group so Troy couldn't send him in the middle of his lesson. This woman had a special place in my heart and I knew that her husband needed someone so I volunteered to go. I was a little apprehensive about going--I've never gone to be with the grieving like that before. So I called for reinforcements and the previous pastor of our church and his wife went with me. (THANK YOU!)

As I was preparing to leave, The Rock Star begged me to take him. He'd picked up on enough of the conversation to realize that she'd died--although, the concept is still a little difficult for him to comprehend. Heck, I think the concept is still a little difficult to me to comprehend sometimes.

G: What happened to Miss Flora?
Me: She went to be with Jesus.
G: Why?
Me: Because Jesus wanted to see her really, really bad.

That pacified him and I told him he needed to stay home and take care of his sick daddy for me.

The night went fine. I'm sure I could have been more comforting, more spiritual, more of something but in the end I just kind of listened and hugged and tried my best. That's what Troy told me to do so if it was all wrong, I blame him. Well, actually, the hug part was my idea. I'm a hugger. She was there and it was the first time in my 28 years that I'd actually seen a person in that state. Her husband and I agreed that she would have been glad to know she was my first.

This morning Troy left to meet her husband at the funeral home. Garrett asked him why he was meeting him and he replied that Mr. Roger needed someone to be with him. He walked out the door.

G: I'm so sad that Miss Flora died.
Me: Yeah. Me too, Buddy.
G: It's so sad that Mr. Roger doesn't have Miss Flora to love anymore.

Honestly, I can't remember if that is exactly what he said but it's close. I was so busy kissing his head and telling him what a sweet boy he is to remember it word for word. He has a tender heart, that one. I think he will grow up and love someone fiercely, protectively, wildly and tenderly. I think it will make me incredibly proud.

First he'll turn into a teenager. His room will smell and he'll think I'm the dumbest person on the planet. But then, if I'm lucky, he'll love someone like that.

I'm heading out of town tomorrow. Posting will be sparce. Have a happy early February.