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.