Wednesday, April 16, 2014

There was this day back in September.......

September 17th to be exact.

It wasn't one of my Tuesday's to work so I dropped Georgia off at pre-school and drove downtown...to Jefferson street.  There are two important things on Jefferson.

St. Mary's hospital, where Georgia was born and....
Catholic Charities,

our adoption agency.

I went to the latter.

And I met with a social worker about starting the adoption process for a second child.  Yes. Yes I did.

Chris and I decided last spring that we'd table adoption talk and putting pressure on ourselves to make a decision until the fall (we kind of always follow that pattern I guess).  Then of course, like it always does, fall crept up on us.  We didn't feel peace with saying we were done with kids.  We didn't feel peace saying we wanted more kids.  We didn't feel peace.

Last time we felt like that we started the adoption process one step at a time.  So that's what we decided to do this time too.  One. Step. At. A. Time.

Our social worker assured me that was a perfectly healthy way to go about it.  She'd done the same thing.

So I sat in that waiting room...........


And I took a picture to document it.  I promise I wasn't angry.  Just scared.

And my meeting went well.  And I walked out of there with all the paper-work that I needed to get this done and the assurance that a second adoption would be much less paper-work and "we could pretty much have your profile ready to show potential parents in less than a month."

And cue the nausea.

I took that paper work and stared at it for a week.  And Chris and I had lots of conversations that never got finished because we didn't know how to finish them.

One step at a time.

The next Tuesday I dropped our medical clearance paper-work off at the doctor's.


And then I started asking God for signs that we should do this.  Even though I'm not a big 'need a sign person.'

Whatever.  Who isn't a 'need a sign person'?

And that day this article from Adoptive Families screamed into my inbox totally unsolicited.  And an hour later this post showed up in my Facebook feed from a kids website here in town.


And then of course there was just the nagging feeling that wouldn't go away that maybe, just maybe, we should do this.

But still we waited a bit.  Chris got a new job, things were crazy for me at my job, Christmas was coming (in about a month and a half--but still….it seemed like a good excuse to stall), and we were……..scared.  Scared of doing it all over again.  And by "it" I mean it all.  A newborn, adoption, meeting another family, re-defining our own family, and in the midst of it all thinking about how this would and could affect Georgia….a factor that we didn't have to consider the first time around.  And when you're adopting as the way to add to your family there are a lot more moving parts that your oldest will be exposed to--moving parts that can feel scary.

But in January we told our social worker, 'let's get this going.' She came out and updated our home-study, we got fingerprinted (again), we answered essay questions, and I created another profile book.

And today….I turned it in!

And we are officially on the waiting list as prospective adoptive parents….for a second time.

And we are just so excited.
To see what is before us, how this will change us, how this will grow our little girl who is absolutely ready to be a big sister, and what adoption will be like the second time around.

We know more about adoption now…..so ignorance is bliss doesn't apply anymore……I suppose.  We're concerned that maybe we won't get to have as open of an adoption this time as we do with Georgia's birth mom…..but maybe we will….hopefully we will.  We worry that we'll have to wait a long time compared to Georgia's adoption--where we didn't wait at all……but maybe we won't.  There is no typical in adoption so we have to pretend that it's the first time a little bit.

I'll keep you updated here and there when there's something to update and just like the first time we did this and the years that have followed I love to answer questions about and talk about adoption--so never hesitate to ask something if you're curious.

Thanks for being excited with us!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Palm Springs.

Chris and I headed to Palm Springs for four days this week.  Such an amazing little city; from the heat, to the mountains, to the perfectly preserved sixties architecture, to the colors everywhere, to the views, to the……everything.  We had an amazing time and I think I could get excited about going back to California just about anyday!
I'm addicted to searching the travel sites for deals at unique hotels…..the Saguaro did not disappoint.  It's a remodeled Holiday Inn from long ago and it's just so pretty!
We drove up to Joshua Tree National Park for the morning one day.  My parents made sure we always stopped at any National Park we were within a few hours of growing up and thankfully Chris is on-board with that plan too.  It's probably the most breath-taking national park I've been in yet.  The rocks look like they're from a movie set, the views are perfection, the trails are easy to maneuver, and the landscape is my favorite…...
On our last night we had dinner reservations at a really nice place, but at the last minute I asked Chris if he'd ever heard of this weird place in the desert about ninety minutes from our hotel called Salvation Mountain.  He laughed and said, 'Yeah--oddly enough--I noticed that the creator of it died about a month ago and pictures of it were all over Instagram.  It looks crazy."

"Wanna go?" I asked.

I knew it was in the middle of no-where.  According to Yelp, it was indeed crazy, kind of scary to drive to, in the middle of no-where (mmmm….horror movie nowhere), and basically into Mexico, but not-to-be-missed if you had it in you.  It's being heralded as the largest outdoor folk-art installation in America and with the recent death of the artist, various groups are trying hard to find ways to preserve it.

We cancelled our reservations, got food at a drive-thru and headed out. Such a fun adventure!  When we made it to border patrol we knew it was true….it was out there.   As we were getting closer we were sure we'd missed it……we hadn't passed another car for miles on a two lane road out into the desert and then…..we came upon random groupings of trailers, bombed out buildings, meandering locals, stray animals, and a small little sign that indicated we were at least in the right "city." We drove a little more.  Chris looked at me with that look that said, "Dude….we need to turn around."

And then, around a bend there it was.  This incredible fifty foot man-made adobe clay mountain painted the most vibrant colors rising out of the most desolate desert.
The artist, Leonard Knight, built this as a tribute to God.  It is painted with Bible verses, flowers, a yellow brick road, and trees.  He built little grottos and a maze of rooms off to one side that are full of  relics and pictures.  
Currently, you can climb all over it.  However, I'm guessing that if it gets more popular that will end, sadly.  It's pretty slippery, made of clay and straw, and it's a mystery what actually makes the "mountain."  
There are a few trailers camped at the site that I assume are people who are now taking care of Leonard's work.  They use donated paint (they encourage you to bring a gallon out there with you) and make repairs as needed.  We didn't see any of them while we were there--but I could hear them talking--and I assume making sure that this work of art was being treated with care.
If you're ever anywhere near Palm Springs and you appreciate folk art and off-the-beaten-path destinations this is a must-do….no matter what your beliefs are.  It's an amazing piece of America with an incredible air of mystery about it.

I'm so thankful for a husband that likes to do crazy stuff like this.  Heading out to see it ranks right up there with some of the most fun we've had together.

Thanks for such a fun week Palm Springs!  You know how to have a good time!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Powder Room Mini Makeover

We've lived in our house a bit over a year now and the rooms are coming together, I'm figuring out where I want stuff, what I want to do, and how much money I want to spend.  I have this little 1/2 bath, or we could call it a powder room to sound extra crazy, off my mudroom and I really wanted to put bold wall paper in it.

I ordered some, it came wrinkled and the company told me it's a common problem.  I ordered some more, it was old school paper that I had to paste myself; not having that. I found some more I liked; it cost $400 for one 5x10 wall--not happening.  So in the meantime while I hunt down something I love and basically puts itself up I ordered some removable decals from Etsy for about $30.

Before………oh so inspiring.


Going up--it literally took me about 20 minutes.  I'd step back after a few, fix crooked ones, change the places of a few to fill in gaps, and not lose it (which I'm sure would have happened with wall-paper).


After.  It's a pretty simple transformation, and will do just fine for a while.
Also--it's really hard to take nice pictures when a toilet is involved.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello Dolly!


We were planning on taking Georgia to the American Girl Doll store in Chicago for her fifth birthday this year.  In mid-Feburary she told us she didn't want to go, but that she wanted to have a 'kid' party.  We hadn't done that yet and frankly, it sounded way less expensive and surprisingly more relaxing than taking a trip to Chicago for the weekend.  So I jumped on that opportunity.

We narrowed our theme down to a -doll birthday party- where everyone could bring their favorite doll and we'd do some 'doll and me' stuff.  It was so much fun!  And honestly….. it was really easy to put together.  I searched on Pinterest for some ideas and found one, just one, other party like this.  I take no credit for what we did at our party--these were all someone else's ideas.  I just wish I'd bookmarked the site so I could give credit where credit is due.


We had the girls stand in front of a streamer backdrop with their dolls and Georgia as they arrived…..



and then they decorated some picture frames while we printed off the pictures.



At the end of the party, after the frames had dried, we put their pictures in them to take home. 



We made 'doll & me' bracelets….the doll ones out of pipe-cleaners to keep it simple.





And before the girls went home we filled snack bags from a 'girl sized' and 'doll sized' buffet.  A regular sized snack for the girls and a doll sized snack for the dolls.



Tiny Prints sent me these cute little adhesive tags to seal the bags with.  I love the colors and how easy it made it to fasten the treat bags.  The girls could do this part all on their own which is always a bonus.  



It's still hard for me to believe that this little girl is five.  Life is a whoosh……a good one……but sometimes a hard one to accept none-the-less.  Memories like this weekend though are good ones to store up and think about when life feels just so fast.  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

One Whole Hand.

I tell you all the time G……you have to stop getting so old on me. It hurts and makes me cry…..and is wonderful all at the same time.  To see the amazing person you're turning into is incredible.  And to think that your dad and I get to be privy to that on a daily basis is the most fantastic honor ever bestowed on us.  


But when I think about the fact that next year you're in school full time….it takes my breath away.  You'll always be my baby--but you're a big now kid….a tried and true really big girl with amazing thoughts and opinions and a sense of humor and embarrassment and just……..big.


Being your mom feels like what I was born to do and being able to do it these last five years has been nothing less than what I thought it would be…..only one thousand times more.

Happy fifth birthday baby-doll.
You're 'one whole hand today' and I couldn't be happier that I get to be your mom.
Love you forever.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ms. Carroll {Three Thoughts}

First:

She was my humanities teacher my senior year of high school.  Hands down my favorite class--ever.  I would take it right now if given the chance.  In fact, I still have my binder from the class and used different ideas from it when I taught middle school history for nine years.  She made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher.  Sometimes class was dynamic and creative, and sometimes it was a just a "normal" day and we had to take notes or have a discussion on writers from the Enlightenment.  Regardless, the enthusiasm she infused into whatever she was doing made you want to be right there…in her class….doing whatever she asked you to do….because she made learning…..magical.  And I know, that sounds so cliche and so 'dangerous minds-esque' (minus Michelle Pfieffer and gangs) but it's true, and I know that, because to this day I can recall in more detail things about her class and what I learned there than almost any other class I've ever taken.

She helped me be who I am today, career wise, and I'm so thankful for that inspiration.

Second:

As I face the dreaded school decision for Georgia I find myself constantly second-guessing what I should do, where she should go, why I even have to send her to school, why we can't find a yurt somewhere where I can keep her all to myself, and other rational ideas in that same vein.  We have a phenomenal, just amazing, school down our street that she'll probably go to.  We have another great school choice where she's gone to pre-school for the last two years.  I feel torn.  However, when I really think about it honestly, what I'm truly torn about is school in general.  Having her be somewhere else for the first time more than she's with me is hard.  Really, truly hard for me.  Just like it is for most moms….at least us first-timers.  I didn't think it'd be that way for me.  I've spent more time in a school over the last fourteen years myself than anywhere else…..mostly loving every minute of it (even the hard minutes).  I thought it'd be more exciting for me versus kick-in-the-gut-can't-breathe.  But alas, it's the latter.

Third:

I spend a good deal of time at work in teacher's classrooms observing them.  And I love being there because the teachers I work with are simply incredible.  I miss having my own classroom every day and when I'm in theirs I can easily take myself back to the days when the classroom was mine.  I loved having that little microcosm of the school to foster and cultivate and grow.  So now, when I'm in other teacher's rooms I thoroughly enjoy seeing kids learning from them, laughing with them, looking up to them, and just being happy to be right there with them.  Some of their students will remember them forever.  As a teacher, you never know when you're going to be someone's Ms. Carroll.

******************

As I was doing some observations yesterday I had an epiphany.  These amazing teachers that I work with, the amazing teachers I had growing up like Ms. Carroll, the inspiration that is in store for students within the walls of a school……..Georgia is right there……about to cross the threshold into a land where she might meet 'that' educator who will excite her about math or art or music or a foreign language or social work or occupational therapy, or, or, or…….She's going to have that opportunity so soon and that is a good, good thing.  Something that makes my sad-don't-grow-up-so-fast mama heart feel a little better. 

She's getting closer to meeting her Ms. Carroll….and that makes me happy for her.  

Are there things about school that are hard and tough life lessons?  Of course.  There is to every facet of life.  But right now…..I'm choosing to think about those amazing teachers….the ones I've had, the ones I know, the ones I work with, and the ones that are waiting to meet my incredible five year old.  If the idea of school starting for your baby is feeling a bit suffocating take a minute to remember your Ms. Carroll--it might be just what you need.  


First day of pre-school back in 2012.  The real deal….coming soon….and we'll be excited!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ordinary Days

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives. 


Such striving may seem admirable, 
but it is a way of foolishness. 
Help them instead to find the wonder 
and the marvel of an ordinary life.  


Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. 



Show them how to cry
when pets and people die. 


Show them the infinite pleasure 
in the touch of a hand. 


And make the ordinary come alive for them. 


The extraordinary will take care of itself. 



--William Martin

********

Came across this beautiful thought today on a friends Instagram feed and fell in love.  I don't need a lot of evidence to fall more in love with ordinary days than I already am……the thousands of memories I have of them will do just fine.  They convince me that I want more and more of them.  

There's really no such thing as too much ordinary.  For anyone.  


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