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}


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.


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.


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.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

October 5th, 2008.

That's the date when my friend Karen wrote me a Facebook message in regards to the very first blog post I ever wrote as we began the adoption process.  Karen and I grew up at the same school and church.  Our parents were friends and although we were a couple years apart we often found ourselves in the same circles, social events, and family outings.  For a long time we had Memorial Day picnics every year together at a park near her house and I'd frequently head back home with her afterwards to play.  We'd camp at Labor Day together with other families, we attended the same youth group events, and we went to summer camp together one year.

Exhibit A.  On the bus to camp.  Please don't be jealous of my hair.  Be jealous of Karen's.  I'm sure I was…..obviously.

And then the normal thing happened; we got older, went to different colleges, she settled in Georgia, and I stayed here in Michigan and we really lost touch for a long time.  We'd still hear about each other now and then because our parents remained friends but that was the extent of what I knew about Karen and vice-a-versa.  But infertility and adoption have a way of bonding people and that's just what happened, back in October of 2008 when she sent me a message.  

From there, I have a string of messages spanning almost six years that chronicle both of our journey's through adoption, the immense struggles that come with it, her contested adoption and then joyfully her finalized adoption, the blessing of open adoption, marriage, raising babies, and everything else that you'd expect to find in letters between good friends.  And somewhere in that six years I'd say we became great friends, confidants, and cheer leaders for each other.  I love that we can read the progression of this relationship too--it's saved for us on Facebook. And to read it and skim through all of the conversations we've had is one of the most encouraging things I can think of in recent years.  

When I look at the picture of us above; so young…'s amazing to think of all the life that's been lived since that July day in 1987 and how it circled back around in October of 2008 to reconnect us.  Since her adoption was finalized last March we've been dying to see each other.  Last weekend it finally happened!

G and I flew down to Georgia and spent the weekend with Karen and her cutie Asher.  We went to the Georgia aquarium, did a little shopping, sat on the couch and talked and laughed about the "good-old-days," cooked dinners, and just enjoyed not having a keyboard between us.

I'm so thankful for everything that adoption has brought into my life……and Karen is definitely one of those things that I hold dear.  Can't wait to see her again soon!!

Oh--and while we were in Georgia, Karen discovered this deep dark secret about me…..she wanted to make sure I shared it with all of you; those who only know me from Internet land.  She says I'll rock your world………

Watch the video.
And have a happy, happy Tuesday!

Our Last Name from Maggie Terryn on Vimeo.

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