Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bookworm Stuff.

Writer's block.  I kind of have it.  I have all these bits and pieces of stuff I want to say rolling around in my head but no coherent way to type them all out and have them be sensible.  I think I have about ten or twelve draft posts stuck in my computer begging to be finished, just begging. But I'm not ready to oblige them yet.  So I've been reading a little more lately. It helps to get my writing brain going.  And frankly, the long winter days call for a little reading, right? I figured, if I'm always looking for new books to read--you are too--I think, I hope.  

So, here's nine of my favorite books of all time that I've read and some that I've re-read multiple times and will continue to do so.  

1. Bittersweet  I think I daresay this is my favorite book.  It's written by Shauna Niequist and is perfection in the way that she describes the everyday of life and what you learn from the beauty of it, as well as the pain. She gives language to situations that are sometimes hard to find the right words for. You can pick up this book and read a chapter right smack in the middle of it.  Each chapter is something new and you don't have to read all of them to find meaning int he book.  I can't even loan mine out anymore because it's so underlined and starred and highlighted with personal thoughts.  And on top of all that--her writing style is so easy and fluid and fun to read that you feel like you're sitting at a cozy book store with your friend talking about life.

2. French Kids Eat Everything I've never read a book that has taught me so much about parenting and feeding your kids.  You can see my thoughts in detail about this book here.

3.The Historian This book tells the story of two professors who go in search of the real Dracula.  It's mysterious, so descriptive, chocked full of history, picturesque in the way it describes small Eastern block towns of Europe, and hard to put down.  It's been around longer than all the other vampire stories and is great for anyone who needs something a little more heady than Twilight (although--I'm not knocking those--I love me some Cullen's like the rest of America).

4. The Lake of Dead Languages Set at a private prep school for girls that concentrates on a classical education where some of the students take ancient rituals and ceremonies a bit too far.  This book is a great story as well as pretty educational in terms of ancient Roman customs.

5. Girl Meets God I read this a long time ago and was just reminded of it again by a friend.  The style of the writing is similar to Bittersweet--my first choice above--and Cold Tangerines--my selection below.  This book is a memoir that tells the story of one girls search for a meaningful faith and how she weaves together the faith she was born into--Judaism--with that of Christianity.  It's fairly unconventional in terms of what she comes to realize and a great book to get you thinking about your own faith and faith in general.

6. Cold Tangerines Another amazing read by Shauna Niequist.  This one however, focuses on living your life to the fullest and appreciating all of the little things times a thousand and how they make your life richer.  Read it!

7. The Night Villa This book is similar in feel to The Lake of Dead Languages--it's the same author--who clearly loves ancient Rome and spring solstices and pagan rites and rituals--and that's fine by me, because she writes about them so well and so educationally.  This one is actually set in Italy however and tells the tale of a Roman slave girl.

8. Rigged Love Ben Mezrich books! He wrote the book Bringing Down the House about card counting in Vegas and Accidental Billionaires which turned into the movie The Social Network. This one is about the oil industry on Wall Street and its origins in Dubai.  So crazy and interesting! When they make this into a movie it's going to look like one big frat party.

9. The Baby Trail I had to leave my bed while I was reading this book on a regular basis because I laughed so hard--I didn't want to wake up my husband.  This is the only book I ever read about infertility while Chris and I were trying to have a baby--and it's crap chick lit at that--not even a real medically sound responsible book.  But.....the way the main character describes all of the medical procedures she endures and emotional roller coaster riding she does while trying to conceive is so hilarious and nail on the head for anyone going through it themselves.  And's exaggerated....and outrageous.....and I never did any illegal drugs while trying to conceive--although the way some of them made me feel they should have been illegal--but it's still a riot and about time someone wrote a humorous book on the subject!

So, those are my nine that popped into my head when I thought of my favorite books to read.  I realize they're a little all over the board......I don't really have a type.  What are yours?  What else should I read?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter To-Do's.

I think it's safe to say we've officially hit the longest stretch of the year....mid January to mid-March. It's at least eight years long.  I go in and out of loving it--an excuse to stay cozy in the house, nest a bit, finish projects, cook, watch movies, not feel like a sloth if it's noon and I haven't showered yet, and the whole hunkering down bit--and hating it.  I'm trying really hard to hard to love it.  I do every year.  And mostly I'm successful.  However it doesn't help when your three old, out of the blue--on her own accord, starts saying we should move to Florida so we can always be warm.  It's hard to argue with that when it's 1 degree outside. 

But we're not moving anytime soon.  I'm still working on our move two months ago and the projects I want to finish. 

Here's our 1/2 bath off the mudroom.  That big wall staring right at you--I'm going to wallpaper that baby like it's 1985.  Something good.  I just need to start looking. 

I'm still collecting stuff for this gallery wall.  It comes together little by little.  There's a few things in the mail and some more brainstorming that needs to happen.  By the end of the winter doldrums--this will be finished. 

Georgia has this fabulous play loft at the top of the stairs.  I have some plans.  I've ordered a lot of paper lanterns and honeycomb balls from Oriental Trading.  I need to put them together  and hang them in one corner and work on my husband for what I want to hang in the other corner.  It could be cool--I just need to win him over to the cool side.  I think I have it in me. 

My front sitting room...a hem...parlor.  I'm in need of a whole bunch more Ikea frames to finish a project I've started on the other walls--they just haven't been in stock the last few times my mom has gone to get them for me.  Ikea--don't you dare discontinue them before I'm done. 

What are your winter to-do's?  The way I see it, you've got two solid months to knock 'em out and then they'll be suffocated by spring/summer to-do's.  The kind that involve garden hoses, top soil, sidewalk chalk, and deck stain, not frames, wall paper, and tissue paper party decorations.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

No Clothing Challenge

Please note.  I don't feel like this accurately portrays my problem. It's just a glimpse. 

Let me be clear.  I am not naked as I write this. Nor do I plan on becoming so in the immediate future as the title of this post suggests.  There are no nudist colonies in my future. But I'm proposing a challenge to myself and to anyone else that wants to join me in a "no clothing challenge."  A no "new" clothing challenge.  Clothes are my vice.  Like really my vice.  Some people collect tech gadgets and are in line at five a.m. two weeks before the new iPad comes out, some people collect jewelry, some people have toys like boats and jet skis and expensive bikes.  I collect clothes. And I'm not picky.  I'd like to have a dress from Target as much as a dress from BCBG.  Heck....if I see something cute at the grocery store I can work it into our food budget. is a horrible website for me to know's criminal how easy it is for me to just, whoops, I bought a shirt.  Or I wander over to ModCloth's sale section and find something that I don't have and I probably for sure need--and that's it--once I get this one thing my winter clothing selection will be complete.  And it doesn't stop with me.  I also love to buy clothes for Georgia.  It's just so easy.  Cute tights at Target?  Check.  A vintage inspired t-shirt on Etsy?  Check. Crewcuts clearance pants?  Check. Do you ever wonder who actually clicks on the Facebook sidebar ads because they see a pair of shoes?  I do.

It's so stupid.  Really.  And you know stupid it is?  I'm even tempted to buy cool work out clothes.  I DON'T work out.  And for the few times a month year I get a hankering to do it, I've got plenty of them to meet those needs.

In fact, in addition to a (big) closet full of clothes,  I have three full wardrobe boxes in my basement that I haven't unpacked since our move two months ago.  To make myself feel better for one moment I'll also state for the record, that I don't really get rid of clothes, so some of what I'm talking about is over ten years old.  But still.

Therefore, I've decided to challenge myself to no new clothes until my daughter turns four at the end of March.  I know--I could go longer--lots of people do.  But I don't want to sabotage this challenge before I even start.  And when I say no new clothes--I mean it.  Not for me.  Not for Georgia.  Chris is exempt--he's much more reasonable to begin with, so if he needs a new work shirt, he deserves it.

I read about someone else doing a "no clothing challenge" and they committed to no new clothes, except essentials, until March?  What are essentials that you don't already have that you wouldn't be able to make it without until March?  I'm good on underwear, socks, shoes, and coats.  I mean really?  I suppose if I got invited to a White House dinner for mid-February I'd need to go get a new dress--that would be an essential.....but I'm confused as to the other.  (And for the record Michelle O'Bama--I am fairly open me.)

This is seriously going to put a cramp on my Target trips.  Because Target?  Target is enemy #1 when it comes to new clothes.  I'm like a moth to a flame when I see those Mossimo cardigans in every color on sale for $8, or their guest designer collections, or when their maxi dresses start showing up for spring break, or when I see their shoes................gotta stop.

Anyone with me here?  Anyone? And even if it's not clothes for you....what could be your "no __________ challenge"?

I think personal challenges like this are good.  Sure, in the grand scheme of world events they are trite and pie-in-the-sky and fairly inconsequential. But they are good for you personally because they help to curb a habit that isn't a great one.  And when you curb one bad habit, others will follow.  Hopefully.

So here I go.  Keep me in check.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

So I guess we're into stuffed animal hoarding here.

One of them was getting out of line so Georgia quickly let them know what was up.  I think it was probably Mary Todd Lincoln over there against the wall.  You know how she's a little off.  And whose three year old has a Mary Todd Lincoln doll anyway?

Anyway--just stopping by to say Happy Monday!  Lots of DIY's coming up over on Mom Colored Glasses in the next couple of weeks so we've been working on those today with a Little Red Riding Hood puppet show for the troops above thrown in there too.  Georgia is always my 'helpful' assistant!


I swear Georgia was happier than this picture indicates.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

News. The Best News.

Last Friday I posted this.  I spent the rest of the weekend crying on and off.  I spent the early part of this week crying on and off. And a lot of yesterday, the day of their hearing, crying on and off.  And to be honest, I've spent a lot of time since last February when this situation first arose crying on and off. And in the midst of those tears and on either side of them I prayed, like a mad woman, for this situation to be resolved in a way that would be best for Asher.

And all over the world, and I love that I can say world--because I know it's true, people were praying their hearts out for Asher and his mommy and daddy.  Thousands of people, many of them who don't even know Karen and Aaron and will never meet them cried out for them and their amazing little boy.  They prayed that what was best for Asher would be done; pleading with God that what would be best for Asher would be that he'd stay with Karen and Aaron.

And today.  January 10th.  An amazing judge ruled that what would be best for Asher is for Karen and Aaron to be his parents for the rest of his life.  He belonged with them.

There really are no words to describe how I feel about this ruling.  Elated? Relieved? Thankful? Overcome with emotion?  They're all true.  But they just don't feel......good enough.....descriptive enough.  And I think that's how it is when something is that good.  It takes the words out of your mouth and reduces you to a shaking, sobbing, laughing, mess in the Subway parking lot while you're picking up lunch and people walk by you wondering what's wrong with the crazy woman in the white car.

I can never say thank-you enough to everyone that took up this burden and inquired about it over and over, the stories you've shared with me about people you know and that I don't asking about it, the comments I've read on so many of your Facebook walls after you shared Asher's story that were brimming over with love and support and sadness and faith, the e-mails I've received from adoptive mamas who I've never met who've been in this situation offering a listening ear, and ultimately....the prayers.

The prayers have blown me away.  It's been one of the defining moments in my life. To see so many people come together for this amazing family and hurt for them when they probably didn't even know them was life altering for me and taught me so much about what it means to pray without ceasing and to have faith in a God who is bigger than legal precedent and a judicial system that is so frequently frustrating and illogical.

I'll leave you with Karen's Facebook status tonight.......

It’s over! We won! Asher is ours!!!

The Lord so graciously went before us today. He gave us a wise judge who cares about the law. He spared all of our witnesses from the horrible task of having to testify. He granted us an immediate decision - a dismissal - from the judge, within 20 minutes of when the hearing began.

We celebrate so many victories today, the greatest being the Lord’s presence in our lives. We always knew we were called to be parents - and today that was reaffirmed for us in mighty ways. We’ve seen friends, families…even strangers come together on our behalf collectively pounding down the gates of Heaven through prayer and petition. We’ve experienced 12 days of AWESOMENESS with Asher…and locked precious moments from each of those days deep down in our hearts to carry with us always.

And above all, we believe that the Lord has been glorified in mighty ways…glorified by your response to us…glorified by the final outcome…and most importantly, glorified in the praises we hope you’ll shout to the heavens when you read this post.

Psalm 118:15
Shouts of JOY and VICTORY resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done MIGHTY things!

Monday, January 7, 2013


A word about Friday's post.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support so so many of you have shown for my friend Karen and the sad and very difficult situation she is up against when it comes to the adoption of her son.  The sheer quantity of shares, I lost count at thirty and beyond, and many of your heart-felt comments are a support that was definitely felt.  

I understand that there are many differing viewpoints within the adoptive community and I believe that sharing them, when it is done respectfully--especially about something as raw and sensitive as this topic was, is a learning opportunity for everyone.  I am an adoptive mom who is part of a very open adoption, and therefore, I am proudly an advocate for adoptive parents and birth parents who are working together to provide the most loving, stable, and healthy environment for their children.  And while differences of opinion are a natural and normal and healthy part of life, it is difficult for me to entertain them on this site when they are mean-spirited and cutting.  

So again, thank you to those people who were able engage in a conversation in this space in a productive and kind way--even if we all don't agree with everything we have to say and even when every detail can't be shared.  And most importantly, thank you for the prayers for peace and support you have extended towards my friend.   

When I can, I will relay how this situation turns out.  As you can imagine there are so many details and things always take longer than one would hope.  But in the mean-time, those prayers for peace and guidance and for Asher are coveted without end.  

One of my favorite songs is below.  There's no video for it.  The words speak for themselves. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

For Asher.

This is a hard post.  I wish I wasn't writing it.  I hate what it means.

But I love who it's for.

My friend Karen.  Her husband Aaron.  And their amazing son Asher.

They brought him home from the hospital right after he was born.  His amazing birth mom picked Karen and Aaron to be his mommy and daddy.....because she her infinite wisdom that her son deserved a mom and a dad who loved each other like crazy, were ready to be parents, who could make the sacrifices necessary to fulfill that role, and had prayed and yearned for him for so many years.

He'd grown in their hearts.  He was meant to be theirs.

Karen, Aaron, and Asher have an incredible relationship with Asher's birth-mom.  It's perfect.  It's a beautiful picture of domestic adoption and how it can work and be amazing for everyone involved.  It's what I have with my own daughter's birth mom.  It's what I so desperately hope for others I know walking the road of domestic adoption.

Is it always this way for everyone?  No.
Is it always best for it to be this way in all domestic adoptions? No.

But in this is.....and it's so refreshing.
It builds up the name of adoption.
And Asher, and his parents, and his birth mom are thriving because of it.  Asher's birth mom is another example of an incredibly strong, selfless woman who was able to hold her baby, look deep into his eyes and know that parenting a baby is about more than how it makes YOU's about what is best for the baby; both immediately and in the distant future.  She was able to see beyond her own pain, her own sacrifice, her own discomfort...........and see so clearly what her baby needed.

He needed Karen and Aaron.


Last week, Karen posted this on her Facebook wall:

This is a difficult post to write…but something about it feels like the right thing to do. So many of you have reached out with such heartfelt notes and prayers - even though many of you do not know what you are praying for. We are blessed to call you all friends…and with that, ask you to join us on a prayer journey as we continue our “12 days of Awesomeness” with Asher.

On February 2nd, 2012 our world was shaken upside down. Asher’s birth father began taking steps to put a stop to our adoption. Over the course of many months of confusion and answerless questions…it was confirmed that his intention was to take physical custody of Asher.
While we believe that we have a strong case - and that God created US to be Asher’s parents…we cannot overlook the reality that birth parents are HIGHLY favored in the eyes of the courts. And so, with that…we humbly request your prayers over our family.
On January 9th, our case will go before the courts for them to decide the fate of our son’s future. We are not welcome in the court room and so we will be represented by a team of three lawyers, Susan and her father (who is also a lawyer).
Until then - we’ve decided that enough tears have been shed, enough time has been wasted. In our house - we will spend the next 12 days celebrating life, celebrating joy, celebrating our time with Asher. It may or may not be coming to an end…but we will have NO REGRETS. This little life saved our hearts…and we are blessed just by having known and loved him. We firmly believe that the Lord’s hand has been in this since day one…and He will finish it in such a way that His name will be glorified by all who are touched by our story. We are confident that He love us, loves Asher and knows what is best for all of us.

There are so many fragile emotions and our extended family certainly also bears a significant burden. Would you please pray for our family? Would you please remember Susan, as she champions our case for us? She is our special gift throughout this story - and we fall more in love with her every moment. Would you lift up our team of lawyers and they form strategy and present our family to the judge? Would you pray for Asher’s birth father? That his heart would be changed…and yet that somehow, in the end of this, an opportunity for Asher to know him and love him would remain? Would you pray for all of these things?

We love you, friends. We thank you for remembering us and for reaching out to us so kindly. In everything, we have no fear. To God be the glory.

Karen (on behalf of Aaron, too)

Since I learned about this last February nothing, NOTHING has consumed more of my thoughts and prayers and tears than Karen and her family and their son.

He's just over a year old now.  To him, mommy and daddy are Karen and Aaron.  Always have been.  

The thought that someone who has never met Asher or his parents can now step in and ask for full physical custody is gut-wrenching and so very sad.

I don't write this to scare people away from domestic adoption.  Clearly, from what I write here on a regular basis, I believe it is amazing--I celebrate it regularly.  I've experienced that.  Karen has experienced it too, in the relationship she has with Asher's birth mom.

I write it because I believe that the name of adoption needs to be protected when something threatens to tarnish it.  I believe that when we see social injustice we should work to make it better.  By telling Asher's story, by asking you to share this post over and over so that everyone you can think of knows about it and in turn defends adoption and stands up for the best interest of children even when it's really hard, by asking you to pray without ceasing for this little boy and his family........I am working the best way that I know how.

Are there situations where birth parents change their mind right before a baby is born or shortly there- after and decide to parent their children and it's okay and works out, although it is extremely painful for the adoptive parents involved?  Of course.  This post is not about bashing reasonable birth-parent rights.   They must have them. It's about preserving what is best for a child in one particular situation.  And to reiterate what Karen and Aaron believe about this.........

It may or may not be coming to an end…but we will have NO REGRETS. This little life saved our hearts…and we are blessed just by having known and loved him. We firmly believe that the Lord’s hand has been in this since day one…and He will finish it in such a way that His name will be glorified by all who are touched by our story. We are confident that He love us, loves Asher and knows what is best for all of us.

As an adoptive mom--as a mom--I believe it's right and necessary to speak up when you feel an injustice is present.  Especially one that effects those who can't speak for themselves; our children.  Won't you please spread Asher's story, pray for this family, and become a valiant defender of adoption when it is right for kids?

Adoption needs this victory on January 9th.
Karen and Aaron need this victory on January 9th.

Asher needs this victory FOREVER.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I Like Adoption.

Georgia watched this video with me. And she was quiet.  And you know what's so incredible about little kids?  They don't really know yet what is 'weird' or 'different' or what's 'normal.'  And they don't get squeamish about things that are uncomfortable like adults do.  She did ask me once why one of the kids didn't have arms.  I told her.  She just said, "Oh," and kept watching. And at the end........

"I'm adopted just like those kids. I like adoption."  

I had tears in my eyes and I kissed her head and said, "I like it too."

The title of the video is so obvious that it's just what comes out of your mouth if you really 'get' adoption.  Even when adoption is so hard and painful.  The family in this video knows that ten-fold....and they adoption.  

Georgia's adoption is really very different from the ones portrayed here and I wouldn't necessarily describe her adoption as what saved her life in a literal way nor that by being adopted she was escaping what the kids in the family above were escaping.  But the message is still there.  

Adoption is something to be liked.  It's amazing in ways that other things just can't be amazing.  And it's videos like this that I hope people watch, and even if they're not directly impacted by adoption will make them believe that adoption is something to be celebrated and supported and talked about in a positive light.  

I like adoption.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Your mom is coming.

We did New Year's Eve with lots of kids this year. Sometimes that just feels good, and for me, I have some of the best memories of hanging out with friends while the adults hung out upstairs--memories that I believe all kids need and love.  We'd run and scream and shriek through the basement or between bedrooms upstairs, doors slamming, huge thumps as we jumped off the beds, and loud crashes as bins of toys got poured out haphazardly all over bedroom floors. Inevitably the parents would each take turns coming up to reprimand us every twenty minutes or so when it started to sound like mutiny was imminent or someone started crying.  It was the best.  

And last night, when the basement doors had slammed one too many times for me to ignore I headed down.  One of Georgia's friends hurled open the door as I approached the bottom of the stairs, took one look at me, and yelled a word of warning into the basement, "Georgia, your mom is better stop doing that." I laughed.  Because that?  That kind of childhood, word-of-warning, camaraderie at parties is the stuff that kids remember and laugh about.  And I laughed because I felt like I'd earned some mom stripes in that moment.  Someone warned the others that a "mom" was coming.  Me.  The big terrible scary mom. 

We made pizzas, ate chocolate cake, strung snack necklaces, the kids watched a movie, the grown-ups played a game and stood around the kitchen island and talked, the kids chased each other, we laughed, and we had a great New Year's.  A perfect way to send out 2012 and welcome 2013.  

One of the most amazing little artists around!

All settled in for a Tinker Bell movie.

These two are incapable of taking a picture together where they don't look like they're squeezing the life out of each other.  

Happy New Year to you!

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