December 31, 2011

What A Year It's Been!

Wowza!  If 2010 was the year of craptasticness, then 2011 was the year of healing.  After adoption and attachment disorders rocked our world, rocked my marriage and rocked our entire sense of what made us a family in 2010, I think that this was the year that we put ourselves back together and learned how to love and how to have fun together again.  It truly was a healing year for everyone.  For that, I am so grateful.  This time last year, I really felt like it all could have gone either way and thankfully, it went in a way that kept us all in tact and stronger than ever before. Here's a little look back on our year.    

* Miles got dreadlocks that only lasted about 2 months before we all got frustrated
* We attempted to move our giant dog into the house.  This also didn't last long as the kids stressed her all the way out.
* With your help, our annual vacation raffle raised $10,000 for people in DRC and Haiti. Y'all rock my socks off.
* I spent some one on one time with Noah and he learned a whole lot about dinosaurs
* We celebrated Miles being in our family for an entire year.

* I got called fat on the Internet and freaked all the way out.  Then I won an award for my freak out as I was named a Blog Her Voice of the Year for that post..
* Hubby and I went on our first vacation ever sans kids.  We rekindled the romance in Hawaii.  It was 12 kinds of awesome.
* I got a hamster stuck in my hair.
* We saw MAJOR improvements in our attachment and therapy with Miles. 
* I asked plaguing questions including some regarding moldy butt soap.
I turned 30.  Uh-huh, yes I did.

* We got a visit from the guardian ad litem and my children discussed boogers with her.
* Sadie kicked serious butt in karate.
* We spent the whole summer in the blowup pool in the backyard.
* We took the whole family to Mexico and it was also 12 kinds of awesome.
* Sadie got mono, we fostered 2 kitties and I talked about all the things I was in love with this year.
* Miles turned 3 years old and became a citizen!

* We announced that we are beginning the adoption process again for a daughter (from foster care)!
* Noah turned 5.
* Sadie turned 8.
* All three kids started school (at three different schools!)
* I met Bob Harper and Guilianna Rancic and my boob came out of my dress.
* My husband won an award- Best financial advisor in Shelby County.  GO Kamron!
* We took a weekend trip to Chicago and had a blast.
* I had my first mammogram and a cancer scare.

And now here we go into 2012- a year full of promise.  A year where we will hopefully add another child to our flock and make many more memories as a family of 6.  But first, a look back on the most buzzed about, commented on and most viewed posts of 2011. Enjoy.

THE ANATOMY OF A HAIRCUT:  ...Then come the foils. Oh my Lord. Whoever decided that putting tin foil on one's head while coloring one's hair must have been high. That is the only explanation. And we DO IT happily! And we feel like we are PAMPERING ourselves! Putting on aluminum helmets in the name of pampering? Maybe we are the ones who are high. I'm just sayin'.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? ...It seems to me that everywhere I turn, people are getting and giving more and more rules about how to be good advocates for people in the third world. In some ways, I think that this is really good. The masses are being educated about how to help without being harmful. We are learning to be mindful and respectful of culture, local economies, etc. But on the flip side, I now have no idea of what to do. All I hear is that pretty much every single humanitarian act that people do, actually hurts more and creates more bad policy than if regular people just did nothing. It seems that the more I learn and the more that I study poverty, that there is really nothing left to do because it all seems wrong.

FOR THE CLAIRE DUNPHY'S AND NOT THE CLAIRE HUXTABLE'S: ...I'm the mom who forgets to take snacks to the soccer game and the mom who forgets to send in a toy on toy day at school and all other matter of things that make my kids feel crummy. I'm the mom who looks at the floor with last nights dinner all over it where the kids dropped it and thinks, "I signed up to be a stay at home mom. Not a maid." I always envisioned myself spending hours reading books with my kids and making healthy lunches to send to school and doing craft projects all the time and somehow, after life has pulled me in all it's other directions, those other things just don't get done. And they are the ones that are most important.

THE COST OF THE ROYAL WEDDING... WHAT IF?  ...WHAT IF... instead of spending $800,000 on the royal flowers... 320 houses were built for families displaced by the earthquake in Haiti.  What would that look like?

RULES FOR BOYS:  ...#8. You are not trying to kill anything in the toilet when you pee. It is not necessary to shoot so hard that it splashes. Pee is not short for torPEEdo.

400 POSTS- OPRAH MADE ME THINK:  ...Because someone is gay, does that mean that they have less of a heart for God? Or because a woman is an unwed mother does that mean that her family is less pleasing to God? I think not. I think that the ultimate reason that each of us is created is because there is something unique in each person that delights God. I think that all the circumstances that bring us to each point in life, create that uniqueness in us that brings pleasure to Him. He created those things in us for his delight for a reason. Even though we don't always understand different lifestyles, cultures, or behaviors- doesn't mean that they are wrong or that they separate us from God. I think that God created YOU to be YOU and man's judgement is inconsequential. When the church becomes a place where ALL people are truly welcomed and valued, only then do I feel like we are carrying out the true mission of the church to bring ALL the world to know Him.

THEM BOTH GOOD: ...People outside the adoption world often don't understand why people adopting internationally don't adopt "our own" children (meaning American children). I've heard families (and even heard myself say) that at least in America there is a system. There is a foundation in place to make sure that children are fed, have access to schools, etc. While it is argued that children in third world countries would often face death or starvation in an orphanage if they were not adopted. I'm mad that I ever heard myself utter those words. At the root of adoption- families are created. It doesn't matter where the child is from. It doesn't matter that the child had and opportunity to go to school or not. It doesn't matter that the child had access to free and reduced lunch or not. It simply doesn't matter. Just because a child could go to school, doesn't mean that the fundamental need to be a part of a family goes away. Essentially what I am trying to say is that this hierarchy is ridiculous. All of these children deserve a FAMILY.

RAISING HUMAN BEINGS AND LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DUGGARS ...I'm just as guilty as the next person at sometimes looking at my children and thinking that I need a break or that I need to do "something more" with my life. We've been tricked into thinking that being a mother is not enough. We've been told so many times that money, success and happiness can't happen with too many children in tow. But what if we took a step back and remembered that our source of joy comes in our community and relationships with other people? What if we remembered that the world's definition of success is not the same as God's definition? What if we remembered that the lives of the children we are entrusted with matter more than all the other "stuff"? What would that look like? Would that look like the pure joy that Michelle Duggar has for raising children? What if that wasn't so radical? What if delighting in each creation was the norm, instead of the exception?

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT RACE...I think so many times as "white Americans" we feel like we aren't allowed to talk about "black people". Or we pretend that we are all the same. And while yes- it is SO important to teach our children that our hearts and capabilities and human nature ARE the same- that there are some differences in culture and lifestyle and looks that we need to respect, appreciate, accept and celebrate. Kids need to know how to handle themselves and make sense of the situation when they encounter other people that don't look like them. I can not tell you how many times children (and adults) come up to Miles and rub his hair and say something like, "Wow! His hair feels weird! Why does his hair feel weird?" I think that we are failing our children by not pointing out that differences are what make us unique! We are not talking to them about how skin, hair, noses and eyes can look different across different cultures. We are not teaching them that the white standard of beauty is not always the right standard of beauty. We have worried so much about being politically correct that we have neglected to teach our children that unique looks and cultures are something to celebrate! We fear talking about race because we are afraid of looking racist.

OMG, WTF, SOB AND OTHER THREE LETTER WORDS I WANT TO SCREAM : ...I have very thick hair. Typically, in between cuts, I'll pick up my thinning shears and pull some of the heaviness out of my hair. It was time to do that little trick on my reddish atrocity. I thought that I picked up the thinning scissors. In error, I picked up the regular scissors and proceeded to cut a giant chunk out of the side of my hair. (mistake number 4). It was very, very horrible. I may have panicked a bit. I mean, first the God forsaken color and then this- the cut heard round the neighborhood. In my panic, I thought, I can salvage this! If only I thin out the chunk, it won't be as noticeable! (Mistake number 357)


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