Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Friday, December 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1. It's Friday... so I'll "quick take-it" but I still have so many blog posts that are swimming in my head. I need to write about Advent Prayer Buddies... I love Prayer Buddies for so many reasons and I want to "talk" about it. I also want to get some thoughts out about our family.... do we stop at two? Do we move on to three? .... adoption makes these questions different (well, it's still in God's hands) than being open to God's will of conception.

2. I love new starts so I wholeheartedly embrace the new year... "resolutions" and all. I also know that the new year brings Lent which is one of my favorite times of the liturgical calendar. It really helps me slow down and focus. More on this later.

3. Blogging... I've done it off and on... but the practice feels right in this moment. I am glad I've taken time to use this as an outlet.

4. Blogs. I just reviewed my FAVORITES list on my computer. It's time for some housekeeping. My BFF sent me some lovely blogs like Holly Mathis and Life in the Fun Lane. I can spend hours looking at beautiful pictures of their perfect homes... but then I find myself wishing after what isn't me-- a picture perfect Pinterest-type life. My life is messy but full. And I like my life. My point in this blabbing is that it's time to get rid of the blog reading that doesn't fill up my Happy Bucket (term used in my Godson's K class!). If it doesn't enrich me and make me feel closer to my family, more calm, less needy, and closer to Jesus... than why waste my time. Right? I know... that seems simple but the art of coveting is something I struggle with every day.

5. I need to work on not judging others. I do w/o thought. I make comments in my mind about how I'd do things differently. It's something that really seperates me from who I want to be... a kinder, more loving person.

6. I miss my parents already. It's amazing how grand-babies make me want to be near them more.

7. I am so excited and happy for a fellow adoptive family! I don't even know CS's real name... but I know her well from internet land. I prayed for her family during advent. She shared yesterday that they unlikely has happened... they received a referral for the young boy whom they will soon call a son. This will be their second son from the same orphanage in South America. It's been a long journey and I know their hearts are singing with joy. And how exciting that little J will now have a forever family.

PS... here's my favorite current snapshot of the babies... Betsy makes MJ look so much bigger. Oh, my heart swells with love for them!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

So sad

Christmas posts to come.... but this needs to be posted first.

I am so sad. Betsy's birthmom is in jail/prison (I really don't know the difference... when do you say prison vs jail? does it really matter).

This dark cloud has been hanging over my head for a week and a half.

She'd been "clean and sober" for a year and a half. She'd been working a program, back in college, she had a car... she saw a future for herself.

Unfortunately, after the placement of Betsy at birth, she started to struggle. She didn't seek counseling that was recommended.

I had seen some "red flags". We prayed for her regularly. But I think I knew something was wrong.

On December 14th, the birth mom's mother called me and shared the news. She'd been arrested for burglary, possession, and trafficking, and since this was her third offense, she would be looking at maximum sentences.

Ugh. It pains me to write this.

Betsy's birth mom has two daughters. One of them, Sammy, she's been raising. Her other daughter, Maddy, lives with Maddy's father. Prayers for these innocent two little girls are needed. I know that Betsy will have to learn the truth someday that her birth mom was addicted to drugs but I also know that Betsy is in a loving and secure home. Her bio sisters still face daily turmoil and this is upsetting.

So, that's where "I've been"... sorting through Advent and Christmas with this dark cloud on me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Edit note:  I started this post first thing Friday morning... and I am just now finishing it.  So much for the "free time" I thought I'd have today.  haha!

I have so many blog posts floating in my head... and I may have some free time later so I thought I'd do Seven Quick Takes and perhaps come back and blab longer :)
1.  Thanks to Joy Beyond the Cross, I've been diligant about my St. Andrew Novena... and I have already seen some amazing things happen.  More on that later... but I am so grateful for the direction given by M at JBTC. It has been a wonderful addition to advent.

2.  Christmas Celebrations!  I love this time of the year but it gets so busy!  This week I was able to go see my Godson in his Advent play.  He's a kindergartener  and got to "play" a wiseman.  So sweet.  And look at the cute Mary and Joseph!  I really try not to project into the future with my girls... I like to enjoy the stage that they are in but I couldn't help think about them in their first advent play.  So cute!

3.  Prayer buddy... I know you don't know me but I am thinking of you, praying for you, and mentally rooting you on! 

4.  What I don't love about this time of the year is colds and flus.  Both girls seem to be sick.  Mary Jane has a major cold she's fighting.  Betsy seems a little off too.  I hate seeing my girls sick.

5.  Back to Christmas Celebrations... or holiday celebrations as it may be.  I feel so blessed to have such a group of dynamic women in my adoption circle.  We met for dinner this week after having a three month hiatus due to conflicts.  We couldn't be more diverse.... Me-  a Catholic and conservative when it comes to politics, K a liberal convert to Judiasm, S  a Scientoligist (yes... she really is!), O a former model who led the most jet-setting life I've ever know  and who's husband is in the entertainment industry.... Oscars and all, L a Jewish Special Ed Teacher, and an A Evangelical Psychologist.    We have joked that we sound like a bad joke.... "A Catholic, a Jew, and a Scientoligist walk into a room...".  Anyway, I've known them for three years.  They've challenged me in ways that have made me grow in my own faith.  And they've been tremendous supporters as we've gone through adoption.  While I often yearn for a community of like-minded Catholic mothers, I am completely blessed by our motely crew of adoption minded mothers.

6.  My BFF called me crying hysterically today.  I thought something tragic happened.  Well... it did... at least in her world.  She failed her Gestational Diabetes test.  She was devasted.  This is her third baby and she's never had a problem until this pregnancy.  While from a medical standpoint, I am not terribly concerned, I am concerned for her and how she's handling the news.  I hate to say she's just being hormonal... this has scared her and I will be praying for her to be blessed with calm as she readjusts her life to deal with this diagnosis.

7.  Christmas break is here!!  The mister (a teacher) just finished his last class.  Three weeks of US!  That's worth celebrating!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Good weekend

We are back to a family of four!

Last week, my parents and auntie, and then my sister and her husband arrived to help us celebrate Mary Jane's first birthday.  It was fun but it was a full house! 

On Saturday we hosted approximately 40 people who love Mary Jane and celebrated her first year with us.  It was so much fun... but so much work. My best friend throws the most beautiful birthday parties for her kiddos... and I have a renewed respect for her efforts!! 

Here's a few pics of our special day:

This picture was created by MJ!  Isn't it funny!  It would make a great Avatar photo for a site that I want to hide my face!

John asked me to wear my safari hat (authentic... from Africa) since it was a safari themed party.

MJ's new giant zebra named... Debra! (the British pronounce zebra w/a soft e.... hence, Debra the Zebra!)

My sweet girl!

Forget bounce houses... we let the kiddos play with two of our bunnies... they were so happy!

My family

MJ trying cake.  She wasn't impressed. I guess not feeding her sugar for the last year has payed off!

And here's her favorite new toy.  She loves it!!  I am so surprised she can get her little leg over it to ride it... but she does and then she GRINS!

Such a good day... so many good friends... and so many expectant friends.  Of our close circle of friends, we have four of the five expecting babies this Spring.  What a blessing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Cut and Pasted "birth story" from The Bump)

Happy birthday to my sweet MJ (a different sort of birth story)..

I am an adoptive mama and today I celebrate my baby's first birthday.

Our journey to Mary Jane was long. Twenty two months after we initiated our adoption search we finally met our baby girl on December 7th. We had three failed matches. One of the matches we had nearly boarded the airplane... the baby was born and we were sure she was ours... but she wasn't so our hearts broke a bit and we waited longer.

My "water broke" on December 2nd when we got a surprise phone call that a young woman was going to be induced on December 6th. Would we "want" this child? Of course! And so we began to prepare for the next three and half days.

On December 6th we drove two hours to go to the hospital where our daughter would be born. We met my daughter's birth grandfather and we met with social workers and lawyers. We did not get to meet my daughter's birth mom. She asked that we not meet. It was crazy to know that my daughter was waiting to be born yet I could not meet the woman who brought her into this world.

The induction was slow and labor did not progress. We waited 24 hours and were told it would still be several hours. At 5 pm on December 7th we took a nap in our hotel room. At 8:45 PM our phone rang. A nurse named Rebecca called and said I was about to be a mom! Those were the sweetest words ever spoken.

We woke up, rushed to grab our hospital bags, and left the hotel. I was giddy. I wanted to shout to the hotel clerk that I was going to be a mommy in just moments.

The car ride to the hospital was cold and quiet. We prayed for the baby. We prayed for the birth mom. And we prayerd for us. We were scared.

At the hospital, the nurse met us and whisked us into a nursery where there were no babies. We sat there. We were told to rush to the hospital because she was pushing. Well, she pushed and pushed for nearly three hours.

We paced as we could her her screams and cries. It was awful yet joyous. What a mix of emotions. Finally, I could tell she was nearly there. I was grinning ear to ear knowing that our baby would be here in moments. My husband was scared and didn't understand how I could be smiling while our birth mom was screaming.

Finally, the screams stopped. Moments later our nurse walked down the hall with a new person. A daughter she yelled!

Mary Jane was here. We met her three minutes post-birth. I cut her cord. We watched as the nurses cleaned her and stabilized her. She didn't cry at first but soon began wailing.

She was here and our live was forever changed. What a blessing adoption is!

And because I am too tired/lazy to post pics, here's a link to our Christmas pics (including our three month old Betsy!...also an adoption blessing)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tough weekend

What started out as a wonderful weekend turned into a scary and humbling weekend.

We had our family pictures taken on Saturday morning.  It was cold but lovely.  We had them taken at the site where our wedding reception was held five short years ago. While it was so nice to return, it was shocking to see the damage to the property from the recent CA wind storm.  Old trees were toppled over.  Quite sad. 

I'll share pics as soon as I have them!

Now on the the horrible part of our weekend.   Under my supervision, poor Betsy took a fall off the changing table.  I'd read and always heard that more falls happen from the changing table.  I'd always said I'd be careful but this Saturday I was in a rush and wasn't careful.  I didn't leave her alone but the accident happened when I reached into the closet above her. 

She is fine but it was a harrowing experience.  We went the ER and were there until midnight.   Thankfully she just bruised herself... nothing else.

It scared me silly.  I am still a little shaken.  We just love her so much and are so happy she is ours and safe. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Happy Friday!
1.  Quick take one... this is my first Seven Quick Takes!  Seriously.  I love reading them but as my few followers know I am not a regular blogger.  I am hoping this exercise during Lent may help me choose to either be one... or not!  Anyway, that's my first quick take!
2.  Tomorrow is family picture day for us.  We are having this new and rising photographer take our pictures.  We are coupling it with a first birthday pic session for MJ.  I just sent the mister out to buy balloons for MJ's first pictures.  As much as I love seeing pics of my girls, I always grimace at seeing my photos.  I really need to do two things:  get back on the 40 by 40 wagon AND get over my self.  My body has survived cancer x 3 and I am strong.  I hate listening to other women who are beautiful and strong but may not be "magazine perfect berate themselves.  I need to remember that!

3.  Prayer buddy.... I am going to write a proper introduction soon :)  You are probably reading this blog trying to piece it together.  For what it's worth, you are welcome to see more on the blog the mister maintains.  You can at least get pics of us, our bunnies, and last but not least our two girls.  WARNING:  Mister has a quirky sense of humor and an undeniable propensity to talk sports. 

4.  I LOVE being a mommy.  I can't believe there was a time in my life that I wondered if it was my calling or not.  I think those feelings were actually a defense mechanism because I figured I'd never be able to birth a child.  Regardless, it's the best thing in the world.

5.  (Reread #4 first).  Betsy is testing me in a way that is beyond tough.  I know this is just a phase but her incessant crying and screaming is TOUGH on this mama and daddy.  Our pediatrician doesn't think it's true colic.  I am treating her with a probiotoc.  I don't think it's working.  I could definitely use prayers on this one.... to be gentle and kind and patient with my sweet baby girl even when she's been screaming for 20 minutes.  I can't tell you how many Hail Mary's I've prayed to keep calm.  I know this will pass but it is a stresser in my life right now.

6.  More on this later but how are you suppose to know when you are through having babies if you don't do it the conventional way.  Adoption leaves that door wide open... sort of.  This is a tough one for me.  More on this later.

7.  I am in the throws of birthday party land!  Yea.... next Saturday is MJ's first birthday!  I am so excited!  I am also so overwhelmed.  So much to do.  So much.... pics to print, book to make, video to make/edit, menu to make, doljabi to create, house to clean, guests to arrive early... so much but so much fun.  What a blessing. 

For other quick takes, See Jen's blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nostalgia and pain

I am still feeling the effects of the Santa Ana winds.  Poor Mary Jane has not felt well for the past 24 hours.  It hurts me to see her so sad and grumpy. 

That said, I wanted to  make sure to document my nostalgia this week.

One year ago we left Thanksgiving dinner early.  It was planned but the departure left me in tears.  The hubby's family decided they were ungifting the money they'd given us for adoption and wanted it repaid. 

While I understand their decision (too much to detail here), it was a blow to the gut.  And said gut had been sucker-punched too often in the previous ten weeks.  Three failed adoption matches and countless dollars lost.  It was more than we could fathom.

So we planned a little get away.  Our hope was to just enjoy each other.  Everyone kept saying that we needed to enjoy life as a couple before we became parents.  Those words stung since there was not date for us to become parents.  However the Mister convinced me that we should get out of town.  It was much needed.   

So we retreated to Santa Barbara.  It's strange.  SB is close... two hours away yet neither of us have spent much time in SB. 

We booked a room at the Upham Hotel which is one of the oldest inns in SB.  It was quaint in a good way (you know... sometimes quaint means shabby w/o chic). 

Here's a picture or two:

Sorry for the blurriness...

We were not in a good place.  The only positive thing that I can say about last Fall is that we were leaning on one another the way married people should in tough times.  I think we both questioned God and his plan at times.  It was rough.  All we wanted was to be able to be a mom and a dad.  And in those days, our hope was lost.

We enjoyed Santa Barbara and the Upham Hotel as much as two sad saps hoping for something that seemed intangible could.  We saw Tangled (the Mister's BIL has credits in the movie...) and had nice dinners out.  We played Scrabble and sipped cocoa.  We admired the hotel's Christmas tree which was already assembled.  It was nice but we felt vacant.

What we didn't know is that God's perfect and unfailing plan was about to be revealed to us in a way we never anticipated.  We could have never guessed in a matter of two weeks we would have our baby girl.  We never thought we'd end up with a Korean daughter (domestic adoptions are rare for Asian families.)  We could have never guessed that it would be a friend that led us to our birth family. 

Life is mysterious and wonderful.  And God is great. 

I know when I was waiting I never wanted to hear "in God's time".  But now more than ever that saying rings true.  I wish I could hug all of my IF, TTCing, and wanting-to-adopt sisters in the world and remind them that this is all in God's wonderful hands.  It really is and I am a testament to that fact.

Our Mary Jane could not be more right for our family. She is mine and I am hers.  There's no doubt that this was His divine plan. 

As strange as it sounds I get nostalgic for that empty pain we felt last year.  It is that pain that reminds me to be grateful for our gifts this year.  It reminds me of who I need to be in service to God and others.  That pain will always have a special place in my heart as a reminder of God's call to trust. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Santa Ana winds = Not a happy mama

Sure, the CA weather is great... but when  the infamous Santa Ana winds, the same winds that contribute to fire storms, visit, I am not happy. 

I feel yucky.

And that disappoints me.  Today is the first day of Advent.  I'd like to blog about it.

Today is the last day of a long weekend with Daddy and babies, and I'd rather play.

Today I received my Advent Prayer Buddy!!  And I'd rather talk about Advent Prayer Buddies and the like.

Unfortunately I've been in slow motion all day.  Mary Jane also is suffering.  So is Daddy.    Betsy's slept well and seems to be fairing okay.

On the upside, we made it through the new translations in Mass just fine.  Father J joked a bit about doing better than he expected.  He did very well. 

Speaking of Mass, I've been a little stressed managing two under a year old while John lectors.   It's tough to be present in Mass, be prayerful in Mass, and wrangle a toddler and keep a three month old quiet.  I am NOT complaining... just talking about my new juggling routine.   (For the record, Betsy did not do well... her colic really acted up and either John and I had her out of Mass for the better part of today's service.  Mary Jane did well though!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Peace be with you.... and Advent Prayer Buddies, etc.

Peace be with you...
And also with you.

Feels like the end of an era.  A new translation of the Mass.   While I don't have strong views about the actual change of the Mass I do feel frustrated that money and time dedicated to the change. 

I am always conflicted when I criticize the Church... but this feels wrong. 

At a time when the country and the Church could use discipleship and positive programming, I hate that the energy, money, and time were spent in revamping and translating the Mass. 

Perhaps it's an LA thing... but I get a little jealous of the easy access my Protestant friends have to positive programs in their churches and examples of positive role models.  I've attended some MOPS meetings, and while I've been welcomed, I do feel out of place.  By definition, MOPS is not an evangelical or Protestant group but in our area it definitely is both.  I love the positive support and Christian love these moms extend one another. I just wish for this sort of community among Catholic moms.  It's just where I am in my life.

I recently spent a little time searching beyond my parish and found  nothing that was similar to MOPS.   I could use the positive reinforcement of good Christian role moms.  I must say that I get the most positive energy right now from reading Catholic mom blogs.  They've inspired me any many ways.

I guess my point about the change in translation of Mass is that it won't provide for me what I've been searching for... a deeper community of Catholic faith... especially among moms.


I am so excited to partake in Advent Prayer Buddies.  I was part of the Easter exchange. It really provided me with what I yearned for.  A sense of belonging and support.  Although I don't know the women involved, it felt good to be praying with purpose for someone else.  It made my world feel a little smaller which is always nice.


In an effort to be a better Advent Prayer Buddy, I am also dedicating myself to blogging more.  I still have to finish my letter to Mary Jane.  I need share more about Betsy.  I also look forward to using the blog to document my journey to become healthier.   Of course there will be first birthday preparations for MJ to talk about too! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mary Jane's Letter Part 2

Again, very over due. Mary Jane will soon be 11 months! And she has a baby sister, Betsy Jo!

So, back to my love letter.

Dearest Mary Jane,

Once we returned to the hotel, we talked about what we should do. We decided one last meal out as a DINK (dual income, no kids) dinner was in order. Victorville is full of chains. As you get to know your parents, you’ll know we love local culture and chains aren’t always our favorite (or atleast mine!).

We chose to eat at Outback Steakhouse. When we arrived, we noticed a big sign on the door. It was closing at 8 PM for a staff Christmas party. We checked our watch and realized that we had plenty of time. It was only 6 PM. We both splurged and order a cocktail and some sort of Surf and Turf.

We tried to have meaningful conversations but we really didn’t enjoy the meal much. We were just so anxious to meet you. Know remember, we didn’t know if you were Mary Jane or Charlie. We also weren’t sure what you’d look like. And most important, we knew anything could happen and all we wanted to do was meet YOU!

Once we got back to the hotel, we both got ready for bed . We called the hospital one more time to check on Miss Gabby but we were told it was fine for us to sleep.

I am not sure how we possibly slept but we did. When I woke before seven, I called again to check on Miss Gabby. We were so anxious. I was surprised to hear that little progress was made and it would be mid afternoon before you were born.

We ate breakfast at the hotel, showered up and tried to decide what to do for the next several hours. We talked about seeing a movie (I think we would have chosen Date Night… Daddy would not have enjoyed it!) Ultimately we chose to go to a Regional Park.

We drove out and weren’t sure what we’d do. We were excited when the ranger told us that beavers had built a dam. We’d picked up Subway lunch so we first had lunch. Then we explored to find the beavers. Well, you can’t see beavers during the day but we did see the impressive dam they built. We hiked around the park . We saw some horses and a pond. Again, though, it was surreal because all we cared about was our future with you! (We look forward to taking you there and hiking around too!)

We returned to the hotel and called the hospital again. No real changes. This was our version of labor I guess!

We spent the afternoon in our room and in the hotel lobby playing scrabble and reading magazines. It was quite chilly and they hotel was decorated for Christmas. They also had the fireplace going so it was quite cozy. But we were still anxious and thinking of you!

Finally we went back to our room. I called the hospital and they thought you were still hours away from arriving so we decided to go to sleep at 6:30 pm. We both took Tylenol PM and went to sleep.

RING RING. RING RING. At 8:30, a nurse named Rebecca called and asked if I was Jill. She said our baby would be here shortly.

It is hard to be aroused out of sleep. We were both excited, scared, excited and more scared. We changed, grabbed cameras and were out of the room by 8:45.

I was so worried that we wouldn’t get there in time. I wanted to be there as soon as I could for you.

Daddy and I barely spoke in the car. Finally one of us decided we should pray so we said a few prayers. I know we said a Hail Mary.

We arrived at the hospital. Got out. It was so cold and my heart was racing.

We rushed into the entry and asked to be led into Labor and Delivery. Rebecca met us in the waiting area. Soon you’d be in our arms!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mary Jane's First Visit to UCLA

While she's a bit sleepy (ok, a whole lot of sleepy) in this photo, she did appreciate her first visit to the Westwood campus.  She made the trip all over the vast UCLA campus and did manage to get in a few Zs here.  Hopefully in 17 years, I'll be giving her the campus tour as a future Bruin!
Oops, wrong blog.  Hi, Jill!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tick tock....

Blogging take time.  I've had little time!

Actually, I am struggling with the overwhelming need to manage social media and blogs.  I don't want it to be such a time suck.  I need to re-evaluate what is important to me and stick to it.  I find I read some less than encouraging blogs in a voyeuristic manner... what are they doing...blah blah blah.  The truth is I am happier when I surround myself with positive and upbeat reinforcements.    That said, I do think this blog as a journal is healthy and reinforcing to me. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My long overdue letter to Mary Jane...

Dearest Mary Jane:

It’s been 148 days since I first held you in my arms.  It seems like you’ve been part of my life forever. Yet I also know what it felt like to want to meet you so badly.

In this letter, I want to recount what meeting you and your first few days was like for me.

First off, we had very little warning that you were on the way to us.  Most mommas get nine months to prepare.  Although we’d been waiting and praying for a baby for nearly two years, we only learned that you were coming to us on December 1st

The call that came to us telling us that you were on the way to meet us came from my friend, Shannon.  She spoke to Mr. James.  He wanted to tell us that Miss Gabby was going to have a baby and would be at the hospital on December 6th.  We immediately said we’d be there (we did some fast paperwork and calls to important people that would help us) and then we began packing.

Mr. James told us that Miss Gabby was checking into the hospital in the morning on Monday, December 6th.  Since we knew that you would not be born for many hours, momma and dad decided to go to work for a few hours and then drive to the hospital.  Needless to say, neither of us did much work but we did think of you!

Victorville Valley Community Hospital is about two hours from momma’s work place.  We arrived at the hospital we called to talk to the social worker.  She wasn’t available so we sat and waited for her.  During the wait, Mr. James called us.  He asked if he could meet us.  We were so happy.   We wanted to see what Mr. James looked like since we knew you’d look like him.  We also wanted to hear all about Miss Gabby. 

Mr. James greeted us in the lobby of the hospital.  He is a warm and gentle man with a very kind spirit.  He shared stories about Miss Gabby.  He told us how smart Miss Gabby is and how she wants to go to school at UCLA.  He told us a story about how she was approached by photographers when she was young because she was so beautiful.  But most important, he told us about her faith.  Miss Gabby was responsible for bringing her whole family to their church. Their family had been Buddhist but Miss Gabby “met” Jesus and decided that he was her savior.  Through her bible study and faith, she introduced her dad, Mr. James, and her mom, Miss Lisa, to Christianity. 

Mr. James told us how Miss Gabby wants you to be raised in a Christian home and learn to love Jesus just like she does.  We promised Mr. James that we’d take you to church and expose you to our faith (so no complaints on Sundays!).

Mr. James also told us that it would be many hours, perhaps another day before Miss Gabby would have you.  He needed to drive home, and we stayed back to meet the social worker. 

When we met the social worker, she was wearing reindeer antlers.  All throughout the meeting, the hospital staff decorated the Christmas tree in the lobby.  I was so excited that I’d soon be meeting you, and the distraction of the decorations, I barely remember anything we discussed.  I just knew that the social worker had what she needed from us… and that there didn’t seem to be any worries for us.

After leaving the social worker, we went and returned to our hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn.  We’d checked in earlier (in between waiting our first stop at the hospital and our return to meet Mr. James). 

More to come later.... it's time to get some sleep.
I love you baby girl.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Alleluia! Easter is here!

My first Easter as a momma......  what a blessing.  Mary Jane was an angel throughout mass (is mass capitaloized?!  I never know...).  We got to see our families during Holy week and Easter.  It was wonderful. 

I'll do a Lent recap tomorrow.... but until then, here's some pictures of Easter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slow going....

Maybe slow going is what I wish I was doing.  Lent is almost over and I feel like I've been on a treadmill.
This is the first Lenten season (and soon to be Holy Week) that I've lived as a mother. 

All of my good intentions seem to be jumbled up and not coming to fruition. 

The one thing that I have been good about is praying daily.  And praying the Rosary.  Oh, and I have been doing reflections with The Word Among Us.

Why???? Well, it's easy to do when I have a sleepy girl in my arms.  It's part of our night time ritual.

I never intended to say a rosary w/Mary Jane every night, but that's what lulls her to sleep and it keeps me in a good state of mind.  It definitely centers me.

J is teaching confirmation tonight (we alternate weeks).  It's sort of nice to be home with a sleeping baby.  I should probably get housework or something done but instead I am going to work with some new professional pictures we took w/my entire family :) 

One last random thought....  The Word Among Us.  I sort of equate it to USA TODAY.  Not terribly meaty... but what a perfect reflection for an overtired mom.  Seriously. It's light and not too long so I can commit to keeping my eyes open just long enough to read through it, pray and reflect. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We have a potential adoption match.... and I have let myself be consumed with worry and doubt.
It's hard not too... but isn't that the story of life! 
I keep refocusing on Lent and reflections, and I've been praying alot both for peace of mind and for my prayer buddy!  But doubt and worry keeps creeping back in.

I must say knowing that I have a prayer buddy praying for me during Lent has been powerful.  When we learned of the potential match and I was sick to my stomach with worry.  But I keep reminding myself of what I know is true--- that this is all in God's hands and that I have a powerful support system, many of whom are praying for us.

So, what can I share about the match...

Just a little... the expetant mom's name is Jenn and I ask anyone that is willing to pray for Jenn during this difficult time.

Jenn seems very certain of her adoption plan.

Jenn is due in early September.

That's all for now.  Peace by with you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lent reflections

A week and a half into my Lenten journey... I've had a few "a-ha moments" (for the record, I refuse to credit Oprah for the term "a-ha moments"... more on my love/dislike... really dislike opinion of O later):

  • God makes connections where we least expect them.  Both in my teaching of Confirmation and in my general life, I've had a few moments that helped me string together what I was suppose to be learning.  One of the more powerful connections is coming from getting acquainted with  the blog of the Prayer Buddy for whom I am praying.  Several posts she's written have spoken to me in a way that I really needed a reflection.  I know that God brought me to her/her blog to learn and hear Him.  
  • Prayer is powerful.  Just knowing that someone in the world, my Prayer Buddy, is praying for me has made my more difficult moments seem less stressful.  It helps keep me in check.  I know that people have always kept my intentions close to their heart... whether it be with my cancer journey or my adoption journey.... aunts, mom, friends have all prayed for me/us.  But having someone that "doesn't have to" pray for me is powerful.
  • Grumpy old men have hearts!  Okay, that's an over-simplification of what I am feeling/thinking but it captures the gist.  There's a man at church who've I've always thought to be grumpy and controversial.  He always opposes changes (like a consolidation of masses a few years back that was necessary).  He switched churches in protest.   He's a smart man... a professor.  I've always judged him. I realize now that I did and should not have done so (regardless!).  His kind gesture last Sunday warmed my heart.  I realize now that he is passionate about his faith and wants to share it.  He may have a grumpy exterior but he's got a warm heart!
Well, MJ is out for a walk w/John so I need to skedaddle and get some chores done.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Letting Go and Letting God.

Every night, I spend some time in prayer as I am rocking Mary Jane.  Our routine is this:
Change her into her jammies (I love snuggling her in clean jammies), she cries, I rock her, I sing her a long song which says good night to all of our family, all of our animals, and all of the stuffed animals, and then, once she is snoozing, I spend some time in prayer.  Some nights I say a Rosary.  Other nights, I say a decade of a Rosary and other prayers.  I use this time to pray for my Lenten Prayer buddy and to pray for myself as well as other family and friends.

Tonight the phrase "Let go and let God" came to me while I was praying. I never have really used that phrase.  I hadn't heard it recently.  I came to me in a divine way and I knew just what it meant.

This week has been hard on the adoption front.   We have had three "ideal" situations present themselves but prove that they weren't meant for us.  I felt much love in knowing that my Lenten Prayer Buddy has been praying for me both as a mom and as a woman wanting to adopt again.  Up until today, knowing that someone out in the world was helping carry me through prayer helped me. 

But tonight is different.  I am alone.  John is tutoring at the local university.  And I was feeling bummed.

And then out of nowhere (well, not out of no where) I "heard" myself say Let Go and Let God.  It made sense.  It is my reminder that only God knows when and if I will have another child.  It is God reminding me of my precious gift in my arms.  How can I waste time wanting and not trusting in God's plan?  The time I waste is taken from Mary Jane.  Wow!  That's some perspective. 

So moving forward... or at least this week, I am going to concentrate on letting go of my worries and concerns about when adoption will happen again and I will trust in God's plan.  Whatever it is will be perfect. 
Just looking at Mary Jane is a reminder that God's plan is perfect. The three babies we planned on adopting weren't for us... but Mary Jane is God's perfect child for US.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday.  I work in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays.  And wow... it's been tough.  My door has been revolving with women coming into complain about each other.  (I hate office drama!  It's a waste of time!)  It's been super challenging for me.  I hate resolving conflict.  What I'd like to say, is GROW UP!  AND STOP WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME!  No one is innocent in the office conflict so take ownership and move on. 

I am not sure why I shared that..... Okay, I was sharing to put in place where my mind was.

So, we had an interfaith Lenten service at work.  Usually it's just our hospital priest.  He's not the hospital chaplain but rather he calls on our hospital and offers services.  So this  year I was surprised that it was interfaith.  I was also put off that the service was longer than usual.  I NEEDED TO GET BACK TO MY OFFICE AND DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS! 

For the first three or four minutes, my mind was buzzing.  I was irritated that I couldn't just say a quick prayer, get ashes and get on with my day.  (I know.... wrong but I am being honest). 

I finally opened my ears and heard the homily.  I had dismissed it because it wasn't "the priest".  The homily was lovely and discussed DISTRACTIONS!  I felt like it was spoken just for me.  I am letting distractions come between me and God.

I hadn't used the word DISTRACTION when preparing for this Lenten journey but it summarizes how I feel.  I am focusing on family and keeping myself healthy.  I am slowing down.  Simplifying.  In other words, I  am striving to rid myself of distractions.

I am really excited that I renewed my subscription to The Word Among Us.
It really is a great way for me to stay centered during Lent.  It reminds me of my mission and goals.  To live a life closer to God. 

Mary Jane is crying.  Time to go simplify her life :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charlie Sheen and Mardi Gras

Boy, don't the two seem to go together?!  Loud and raucous?!

With all seriousness, the Charlie Sheen thing is driving me crazy.  He clearly has issues.  I hate that the media is providing him a platform for his voice.  Every time I hear another report about him, I cringe.  Why feed the monster?   

Oddly, I met a camera man from his show during Academic Decathlon.  The camera man eluded to the craziness.  The camera man had also worked on Frasier and said it was night and day.  While he was grateful for his long standing job, he said it was just a job.  Where as Frasier was enjoyable and he missed it.

Moving onto Mardi Gras.  I sort of don't like it.  I have my own struggles... and a day that encourages me to indulge excessively seems down right silly.  So instead I am spending "Fat Tuesday" preparing for Lent.  Getting my home in order so that I can be focused on all the areas of my life that need attention.  I can bless myself with slowing down and concentrating in the important stuff.

In a similar vein to preparing for lent, slowing down, and simplifying in the name of Jesus, read Clover Lane's post on questions to ask.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby girl gets mama sick

Argh!  So, those who know me know that my immune system stinks at times.  I've been through cancer treatments (times three...or four... depends how you count!) and it's wreaked havoc on my immune system.

So, why am I surprised that I am now sick?  Considering that I've snuggled and kissed on my sweet Mary Jane all weekend? 

I am surprised because she's too sweet to pass along germs.  They are pint sized germs, right?! 

Regardless I am bummed. I can't be the mom  I want to be when I am sick. 

I am also bummed because Lent starts on Wednesday and I am looking forward to six weeks of discipline in all parts of my life.  Being sick at the beginning is tough. 

Off topic--- why do people at church think it's okay to touch MJ's hands and face.  Most of these people are sweet old ladies...  but I worry about germs.  I am nice about it but I'd like to say "Hands off!".
(I think I am cranky!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby girl is sick

Mary Jane is sick with a cold.  No fun. 

Of course, John and I are hypersensitive to her sniffles.  The last runny nose she had landed her in the hospital for four days.  What a first Christmas! 

She's sleeping now but I am unsure if we should take her with sniffles to Mass or not.   We are going to the 10 AM instead of 8 AM since we are meeting the Confirmation Kids. 

John gets seriously sad when she's upset.  And boy was she upset and not feeling well last night.  Hope today is a better day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

First family picture

No, I am not talking about the US's first family.... I am talking about us!

This photo was taken by Rebecca, the nurse that was with us when we met Mary Jane.  Rebecca was a wonderful nurse, so caring, and supportive of adoption.  Apparently, though, she is not much of a photographer.  haha! 

(Notice John's gloves!  In standard hospital procedure, they offered gloves to us.  He was confused and took them.  I couldn't wait to have my warm skin touch Mary Jane's skin.) 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My love...

So what... I am a day late but that only means my love is a day stronger for my dear husband, John.
Our computer(s) are on the fritz so my pics are limited.  But the above picture is taken from our adoption profile booklet.  I especially like the bottom photo. It's probably the first real conversation we had as a married couple.  We were just married in the church and made it through the crowds.  I can tell by our expressions that we were be "us".  No pretenses.  No posing for pictures. It's a geniune US picture and I treasure it. 

I love my hubby.  It's so easy to get caught up in the things he may fall a little short on.  He's not a fix it guy like my dad but he's the most intelligent man I know.  He may have a short memory and forget little things but his heart is gold.

It's been a real pleasure watching him fall into daddy role.  He is patient and kind.  He lights up when he comes home.  His heart is a little bigger... if that's possible.

I picked well.  I am lucky.  I love My John.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Time's a tickin'

I still need to sit down and write Mary Jane's birth story.  I was watching television yesterday and saw a birth.  It sent chills down my spine.  I so remember the screams of pain, the yelling of nurses, and the tense moments before Mary Jane was born. 

Alas, John's been sick so I am doing round the clock baby care... not much time for anything else.

Well, anything but a baby shower today.  We are excited to go to a friend's baby shower.  It's amazing how much more fun these things are now that I have my own little bundle to love on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Epic fail?

Huge meal at Carl's Jr. 

Really?  Yes, really.  Why would I gorge at Carl's? 

I can't really explain it.  I have been on a food binge and it needs to stop.  I hope by putting it in print, I'll get back on the health train.  Wootwoot!!! 

So, here are my goals:

1-  Lose 5 lbs by the beginning of Lent.
2-  Lose 10 lbs during Lent.
3-  Lose 10 lbs from Lent to my birthday.



Doable.  More carrots please.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

B.O.B. - The stroller and not Big Boy

Those that knew my pre-John, know that my BFF and I had the world's largest, and most wonderful cat named Bob.  Although we did not name him (he was a pound kitty), the name was quite fitting.  I realize that I really need to scan pics of Bob since he was in a pre-digital era.  Good kitty.

But I am not writing about Bob the Cat, rather, we acquired a new toy.... a B.O.B.  aka as Beast of Burden.  The BOB is a heavy duty, serious jogging stroller.  I've been stalking CL to find one on sale and we finally did!

No jogging yet.  Not sure if my body will ever be much on jogging but hiking and desert walking are definitely in the future.  It will be our heavy duty stroller.  My coveted City Select will be my day to day stroller.

Either way, Mary Jane will learn to love the outdoors :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eight weeks ago....

I know I still need to write my account of the night Mary Jane was born and we met.... in time, I'll put my thoughts to word... but until then....

Eight weeks ago.

John and I were exhausted.  We were sitting in a hospital room. It was a shared room but no one else was sharing our space.  However, we were told that we could not creep into the additional space in case it was needed. 

So we huddled and shared an uncomfortable bed and chair.  The room was very warm.  And dry.  And small.  We were hungry.  The breakfast of cold oatmeal and soggy toast was delicious to the two of us. 

We were so tired because we did not sleep a wink.  We really weren't sure what we were suppose to do with this little creature.  We knew to love her but were we allowed to sleep?  When she made noise, we both would jump.  When she needed to feed, we both held her. 

We had not slept since the night before but none of this mattered. 

We had our little girl.  Mary Jane was here. She was small and so reliant on big people.  We held her and talked to her and told her how much we loved her.  We still weren't quite sure who she was except we knew she was part of us.

The day was a long day.  It was a tough day.  Her birth grandparents and great grandparents came to visit Mary Jane.  Seeing her was warming to them but the pain that they felt was palpable.  They love Mary Jane just like we love Mary Jane. 

There was nothing more important eight weeks ago than knowing our baby girl had found us. 

Mary Jane is here!

She's here.

She's the light of our days and the chorus of our nights.  We are in love and I can't wait to share more :)