September 30, 2013

Sweet Caroline Turns Three

A moment to gush over my little girl...

She turned 3 on Sunday and she is a firecracker! She is funny, actually, she is witty. She doesn't know she is being funny, but the way her mind works is so quick.

She loves twirling and we do it often. She loves dressing up and when she and her girl friends play its so loud and squeally. When Sam and his buds play its Lego's and so quiet (and that, by the way, is pretty awesome), but the squeals are fun too! Her vocabulary is out of this world.

She is a snuggler!

She wants to be older than she is or just wants to do everything when Sam does it, but I love how old she is now. She says, so and so "is my best friend." We don't really speak about friends by rank, so I asked her who else was her best friend and she listed off almost everyone she knows including "Jesus and God." She cares intensely for people.

She loves painting and chalk and her daddy. They go on dates and she gets this very grown up air about her when she reminds me that "no, mom, I have a DATE with daddy in the morning"

She LOVES Rufus, much to his chagrin. If I don't say "Caroline, please get off the dog" at least 5 times a day, its shocking.

Completely unprompted, she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She uses my stethoscope from PT school and she puts it on my belly and says, "mom your heart sounds good, but you need a pill"

Oh, I just love her so much. God has blessed us with Caroline.

Peace Out,

 Michele

August 25, 2013

Summa Tiiime

I was looking back and I haven't updated since June! Oh my goodness so much has happened since then!


  • We went to Tennessee to visit my family which was so great! I love my family and they are always there for us. Of course the kids had a blast hanging with their cousins, setting off fireworks and going on adventures in the woods.
  • We went to the mountains. Oh man, I love Breck in the the summer. We went panning for gold and visited our dear friends. There was a rodeo and Sam and Caroline did the Sheep Scramble. Every time we go the kids beg to go on the gondola. We ride it up, walk around, then ride it down. Its thrilling.
  • Swimming! We have a pool walking distance from the house. Both kids made HUGE strides in swimming this summer. So much so that Sam did his first mini-triathlon. It was the freaking cutest thing ever! He finished and the next day was like, "mom, I want to do another one. When is the next one?" Caroline is becoming a fish as well! Sam better watch out next summer.
  • Camping. We went up to Breck again later and camped with some good friends who have a pull-behind camper big enough to house both of our families (They have 3 kids). I have never been so warm while camping and I never want to camp in anything else. I have been wholly spoiled. They had a bathroom IN the camper. AWE. SOME.
  • Now brace yourselves...this is big... I watched all of the Harry Potter movies. I know! (as you can see my summer has been a non-stop thrill ride). I have never read the books nor seen the movies, so I figured I'd watch the movies first so I wouldn't hate them, and then read the books. They were actually really fun and I didn't feel like I needed to take a shower afterwards, so there's that. It took me a few months, but it was worth it.
  • Sam started Kindergarten. He is going 1/2 day everyday and he is loving it. Caroline is not so excited, but I'm trying to spend really intentional time with her while he is gone.
  • Adoption update: NOTHING. Seriously, not a thing. I will do my best not to be a whiner, but I hate HATE not being able to plan. I'm not even a huge planner, but at least with China, I knew where I was in line. This is completely random. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year. My goal is actually not to think about it. Of course I pray about it, but I don't want to question God's goodness nor his perfect timing. Living in the moment vs. in the future is very tough right now, but I'm getting better at it. I do have times, though, where I am just frustrated with it. I feel like now would be a great time, but ultimately I want God's plan, not mine. And some of you might be thinking, "didn't you just turn in your book in like april or may?" Answer: Yes, and aren't you great at math, it has only been 4 or 5 months, but it feels like FOREVERRRR. And you're like, "you're killing me smalls!" (did you see what I did there? with the reference to the movie? I'm very quick that way).
So, if you are prompted at all to pray for us in this area, here's a few ideas:
  • That I would live in the present, not the future
  • That God would prepare our family for whatever he has planned
  • That I would be patient
  • That His plan would come about sooner than later
Thanks!


Peace Out,
Michele

June 24, 2013

OoooooooK-LA-HOMA!

You sang the title, didn't you? And probably the next few and then no one really knows the words after that, you just start making words up.

The old me is very passive. Life tends to happen to me, I don't make life happen. That is, until I married Luke. Luke, as you might know, is a "doer". So when I was looking into the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach in Oklahoma, the old me would have said, "three day training required? hmmm, no, this agency is not for us. I mean we don't even know anyone who lives there. We've never even BEEN there. How can we go to a training there? THATSCRAZYTALK! Stay in Colorado. Its safe here. Passive...yes." So you may be surprised (or maybe not) that this past week, our family hopped on a plane to Oklahoma.

It may sound silly, but God is so patient and is really starting at ground zero with me when it comes to stepping out in faith. It is really difficult for me! My initial reaction is, so many times, a quick and thoughtless, "no." No thanks, God, I'll stay here where its safe. God is bringing me to a place where I can say, "ok. not super sure where we are going here and certainly not sure how we are going to get there, but here we go, and ok lets take one step at a time."

I may not see whats around the corner or through the next door, but I am relying on my sweet shepherd to lead the way!

So, Oklahoma is actually not ugly. I thought it would be. Let me clarify. Tulsa is not ugly. I can not speak to the rest of the state. There is red dirt and oil pump things and lakes and ponds. There are cows and horses, and green rolling hills. It kind of looks like middle Tennessee. There are a lot of Mazzio's Pizza joints. They are really terrible. Someone could make a killing if they put a good pizza place in there. I'm sure there's one somewhere in town.

The adoption workshop was held at a church. There was childcare for the kids on site. It was really put together well. There were no pointless sessions, and they mixed it up as well. There were sessions on tax credits and the legal adoption process, we also heard from adoptive parents, birth moms, young adopted kids, and older adopted kids. We heard from people who adopted many different races, who waited a long time, who waited a short time, and who adopted special needs kids. One of the main things I took away was that this is not a traditional adoption agency. It is a ministry to women. They find families for babies. Their goal is whatever these moms want to do. They counsel them, support them and help them accomplish their goals regardless of if they choose to parent or not.

We as adoptive parents are also expected to maintain a supportive presence in these women's lives. Not because we have to or are required to, but because its the right thing to do. That is going to look different circumstantially, but it is what this ministry strives for: to restore these women and show them Jesus.

Overall, it was such a great weekend. It was encouraging and a reality check. I am so glad that we got to go, meet with other adopting families and learn more about this ministry that we get to be a part of.

Peace Out,
Michele

June 16, 2013

Next Step: Training In Oklahoma

So, here's the deal: I'm sick. I have had a fever since yesterday and every bone in my body hurts. My skin hurts. Then, I take 200 mg of Ibuprofen and it has totally taken the edge off. Most of you probably would head straight there, but I really don't like taking meds. I'm still baking, but not aching. Look at that-I'm well enough to bust out a mad rhyme.

All that to say, I am sitting here in bed and I have ample time to update you on our progress. I haven't looked back at my last post, but to bring you up to speed:


  • We have turned in our life book, home study, etc. Everything is set and birth moms have access to look at our book if we meet their criteria. 
  • There is quite a bit of required reading, which at first was annoying, but now I find that it is so helpful. The books aren't crazy long and each provides a different perspective. I have learned a lot through them. The books dispel a ton of common myths about open adoption and adoption in general. 
  • This week, we head to Tulsa for our required workshop. It is about 3 days and it is boot camp for adoption. For example, we will hear about the legal process in OK, interracial families, relationships with birth moms, etc. 
I have been to Oklahoma exactly one time while driving to TN. Thanks to the signs off I-40, I have been appraised of the various celebrities from the Sooner State. We are flying to Oklahoma, so if anyone has any ideas for things to do with our kids that only takes a few hours, let me know!

Please keep praying for birth moms who might be considering our family!


Peace Out,

Michele

April 14, 2013

Things Pinterest Has Taught Me (oh, there are many)

Things Pinterest has taught me:


  • I should read Harry Potter and watch all the movies and look for all the crazy details that make everything come full circle...like a winner
  • I am not, nor will I ever be creative on my own, and thats ok
  • I need a chicken coop on my 1/16th of an acre
  • If you are going to look super skinny, its best to have HUGE perky boobs. Makes you look much skinnier
  • Cats and dogs. Dogs and cats. They say the darndest things!
  • People are super obsessed with baking and exercise
  • Sewing is easy! I swear! That's why I bought a sewing machine on a whim! And the creativity and fashion sense comes with the purchase. True story.
  • I should be doing at home science experiments, feeding my kids only "real food," and making sure they have the book of Galatians memorized by the end of the week
So what has Pinterest taught you?


Peace Out,
Michele

March 10, 2013

Chuggin' Along: an adoption update

So here we are again with our adoption journey. What a crazy ride it has been so far! I feel like I need to update the ole' blog so I don't forget this stuff.

Between the time that we were looking at the in-state agency and now, we were introduced to another agency. It is out of state, but after researching them and what they do, and how they do it, we decided to head in that direction. I got on their website, and before I filled out anything, I called to make sure they were accepting applications. Thank goodness they were, so we sent it in before things changed. A week or so later (after an interview via skype) we were accepted. Then we received word from our international agency that we needed to update our international home study. This was in December. Luke and I had a very long talk about China.

From the beginning of our marriage, we thought that we would adopt a child, and that child would be from China. The time lines are just getting longer and right now, to adopt a non-special needs child, we are looking at 8-10 years. Caroline would be almost done with elementary school. The child would essentially be an only child. Now, as we have decided to seek out domestic options, we are faced with literally closing the book on this part of the journey. So after much prayer and peace from God, we did just that. Officially.

At the same time that occurred, we transferred our international home study to a domestic home study. We also made our Life Book that birth mothers look at to see if they want to consider our family for their child. Both of those things will arrive at the out of state agency in the next week or so. Then they start showing us to birth moms whose criteria we meet.

We have no idea how long or short this will be. We have no idea what God will do in our life during this section of the journey. We do know that we are sitting squarely in his hands and we are excited for what he has to teach us!

We will be praying for all the birth moms who look at our book and consider us for their child. That they would make good and healthy choices and that God would work in their lives to bring the moms closer to him. Please feel free to join us, as we covet any and all prayers!

Oh, and here's some irony (I think its irony, at least)...no more than a year ago, we were dead set against domestic adoption and especially against open adoption. I mean adamantly against (for our family, not as a rule). I remember praying, "lord, please don't ask us to do domestic adoption." And now, we are so excited! Funny how God changes things.

Peace Out,
Michele

January 26, 2013

This One's for the Kiddo's

I haven't written down too much about the fun stuff my kids are up to, so without further ado...

Sam: You have memorized a 65 page book, cover to cover, in a few weeks. I think you might be a genius or maybe I'm just amazed because I'm pretty sure I could NEVER do that! After a rough start to the beginning of 4 year preschool, you are starting to enjoy it again. I like the way you are loyal. How Ms. Tushka's way of doing things is always compared to Ms. Amy's. How your friend Ada from Ms. Amy's class, and who is now in your class, is who you prefer to play with at recess. So far you are not the biggest fan of change, but I'm hoping that it becomes easier as you begin elementary school (which totally freaks me out, that you are starting kindergarten. crazy). Along with your sweetness is still your tendency to volcano, and to get in that rut for a little while. As you are growing and maturing its becoming less frequent, but I'm really praying you start to learn to cope! I'm putting that in here because if you ever do read this, I want you to know that you were not a perfect child and that is ok. It just illustrates for you that even at such an age, you had a need for a savior. You will climb anything, flip your body over anything, try anything that ends in "ball". You are trying out Taekwondo now and you seem to really like it. You pick at your sister and at the same time love her very much.

Caroline: You have a nickname: Caroline the Destroyer. I think its because of your endless curiosity. "If I pull this, will it break?" "What will happen if I open and squeeze the super glue?" "I want a snack. I'm sure if I just climb up this chair and pull hard enough..." Needless to say, you keep us on our toes. You speak so clearly, its sometimes hard to remember that you are barely 2 1/2 years old. I tend to expect more from you than I did from Sam at the same age, but you get a lot of privileges that Sam didn't get at your age. You love dress up a TON. You have seen only one Disney movie, but I think you could name most of the princesses and know which dresses go with each. You are afraid of the dark and of being alone (just like me :)). You are fiercely independent. You WILL do it. I love that about you-you're endless confidence. I hope you never lose that. I want so badly to protect you from growing up and knowing how cruelly society can judge you. Don't you dare ever forget how awesome you know you are.

Big smooooooch.

Mama Bear: Out. Peace Y'all.

January 2, 2013

Not My Baby Story

The craziest thing happened the last Thursday in December. We decided to do a family Christmas dinner (aka-mom didn't want to make dinner and if I did, there was nothing thawed.) at Salsa Brava. Yum! As it is close to Christmas, there is a lot going on that I waited the last minute to do, so I was excited to get the evening to do some last minute shopping. That's the reason I almost ignored the call I got from my friend Rachel as we pulled in the parking lot. Not because I typically ignore calls, but I thought she was probably calling to ask a question about something I could call her back about after dinner, but then I thought, "hmmmm, better answer just in case." You see Rachel was 37 weeks pregnant and her husband was in New York working, so I thought I'd check it out just in case. So glad that I did...

"Michele, I'm at home now, but my water broke at Target, and I need to go to the hospital. Can you come get Mailyn and take me? I could possibly drive myself..." Then I cut her off. Of course she is not driving herself to the hospital, but that is totally her: "no worries. I can get there myself." crazy woman.

So we burn rubber over to her place, switch out kids and car seats, climb into the Yukon, and we are off! The whole way there all I could think about was my 2nd labor and delivery trip to the hospital. It was fast and I was furious. Other cars probably thought I had been abducted I was screaming so much. All I hear from everyone is how fast 2nd babies come so I was expecting this one to be the same. However, no screaming, no big contractions. I was wondering if Rachel had recently converted to Scientology and was just going to Grace Chapel as a front. All was calm.

We get to the hospital. Check in. Yep. Water broke. Relieved that she hadn't just been peeing on herself for the last hour. We stay. We monitor. We wait. We wait. Wait...wait...wait. Its about 10pm at this point, I have already eaten dinner. We settle in for the night.

Now, a word on the couches that you sleep on at hospitals: they are not the same as the beds. When I was having my kids, Luke was always up on the bed sitting next to me and I thought this was odd, but now I know why. A reminder that Dads/helpers are not the patient, but sleep on those couches long enough and you might be!

Oh look, Burn Notice! We watched about 3 episodes. Nothing. Around 2am she decides to get an epidural. Contractions are speeding up and lets not let them get crazy. This whole time, I'm thinking, good thing I have my video camera in my purse from Sam's Christmas program at school earlier today because that is the only way the husband is going to see this birth.

A word on epidurals: Its not the same watching as it is getting. Obviously not as painful for me. However, sweet Rachel turned white almost threw up and nearly passed out. White as a sheet, and kept saying "I AM going to throw up!" What does the nurse procure? kidney bean basins. Tiny ricochet basins that just redirect the spew. Now I am not proud of this next part, but I hid. Behind the nurse. I kept holding Rachel's hand, but her eyes were closed, and I hid behind the poor nurse during Threat Level: orange, on the throw up scale. I didn't have a change of cloths! The nurses can grab extra scrubs! Also, there is something called "sympathy nausea".  As Rachel recovered (and PTL) did NOT throw up, the room got REALLY hot for me. She was fine, but I quickly made my way to the couch/bed and took my sweat shirt off. It passed, but not quickly enough for my human shield nurse to ask if I was ok.

Then, we went to sleep. Not really sleep because of the incessant beeping and checking etc, but by the time 7am wound around, I had about 3 hours of sleep. No baby. Five centimeters. Seriously? huh. Will have to rethink 2nd baby theory. All this time, Cole has been desperately trying to get back from New York. The first flight he could get was at 630 am eastern time. Putting him in Denver at 11:30am and at the hospital at 1pm.

We wake up. We visit with Rachel's sister-in-law and daughter. We watch a movie. Finally we get a call that Cole has landed. Then Rachel starts getting uncomfortable. She's telling me that there is A LOT of pressure. All this time, no one is checking her because no one wants to progress it. Cole calls, he is stuck in traffic. You have got to be kidding me. Rachel is saying that she really feels a lot of pressure and that pushing is in the near future. Another call, Cole is 10 minutes away. Cross your legs lady, he's almost here!

Finally after 20 hours from the start of this crazy day, Cole literally and somewhat frantically runs through the door. Cheers go up! Lets do this! A flurry of nurses and the doctor rush in after him with everything all set up.  I stick around for them to check her. I need closure before I head out...and she is 9.5cm. So happy that Cole is there for the birth of his son, but at the same time, a little sad for myself! I know, I know, this is where my part of the story ends, but selfishly, it would have been awesome to see him come out! Also, a little scarring. But awesome for sure!

Looking back on it, it was such a crazy, unexpected amazing day! Not many women get to experience this side of childbirth and although the couch was hard and the sleep was scarce, I loved it!

Peace Out,
Michele