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.    

Winter:
* 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.

Spring:
* 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.

Summer:
* 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!

Fall:
* 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)

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MY FAMILY TO YOURS! 

December 30, 2011

Foto Friday- Christmas

Every year I say that it was the best Christmas evah.  I mean it every single year.  But this year was A to the Mazing.  The kids thought everything was so magical.  We did four Christmases in 3 days and there was not a single bit of family drama at any of them (now that I have never been able to say!)  We hosted two of those and they were fabulous times of having family together.  And y'all, hubby even cleaned the whole house by himself before hosting his family while I ran last minute Christmas errands.  I kid you not, it was all very Mary Poppins.  So, before the New Year approaches, I wanted to share some of our Christmas pictures.


My mom's house.  Classic Overachiever.  Maker of all things beautiful and matchy.  I love her.

Sadie and Daddy

My cute mom and sweet step-dad trying to make all seven of their grandchildren sit still for 22 seconds.

Me and the sexy man I married.

Christmas Eve after church

the outtake

Miles and aunt Kennethia




Kamron's side of the fam.

Christmas Morning!

Her first American Girl doll.

Papaw Johnny blowing up the giant flying fish that he got for Noah.  Unfortunately, it was missing half the pieces and is on it's way back to flying fish return heaven.
 
I never want to forget how cute they look in footed pj's on Christmas morning.

 The boys playing with their Uncle Bradley.

My whole maternal side only missing a few cousins.  I think it will be awesome to have two brown kids in this picture next year :-)

This is what happens when you celebrate Christmas a little too hard!
Happy New Year!  May 2012 be full of awesome.

December 28, 2011

Life List

It's the season of New Year's Resolutions.  This year, I'm not making resolutions because I never seem to follow through with them.  Instead, this year, I'm making a list of things that I want to do, see, learn and accomplish in my life.  Here are 100 things that I'd like to start working toward.  I hope that I can cross lots of these off in the next year.  (I'll update this from time to time with my progress!)
  1. learn to speak a foreign language fluently
  2. apply to be on The Amazing Race
  3. record my grandmothers telling me their life stories and how they met and fell in love with my grandfathers
  4. learn to focus on health instead of weight loss
  5. travel to at least 10 foreign countries that I've never been to
  6. go to midwifery school and spend at least a year using those skills in a 3rd work country
  7. write a book
  8. be on a talk show as a guest
  9. learn to knit
  10. read something by Charles Dickens
  11. get rid of my children's outgrown clothes
  12. move one last time to a home that I will live in forever
  13. enter and run in a half marathon and actually RUN the whole way
  14. stay in a hut over the ocean in Tahiti
  15. renew my wedding vows on my 20th anniversary in Hawaii
  16. take a road trip in an RV and visit as many National Parks as I can in a month
  17. continue having a weekend retreat with my girlfriends annually
  18. continue going to at least one conference a year that is just for me and my writing "career"
  19. learn how to dress for my body type
  20. stop drinking diet Pepsi... again
  21. start my own non-profit organization and get a great board of directors
  22. take a cooking class
  23. visit Washington DC and do the tourist thing 
  24. learn how to make my Mamaw's sourdough bread
  25. learn how to make my Granny's pulled cream candy
  26. find a church that I am in love with and pour myself into it
  27. learn how to accessorize
  28. take a dance class of any kind so that I am not self conscious about dancing in public
  29. learn how to coupon and meal plan
  30. have my own garden
  31. grow fruit trees in my backyard
  32. find an excercise that I actually like and commit to do it daily
  33. have built in book cases
  34. get laser hair removal on my eyebrows
  35. get very drunk in Las Vegas with my husband, visit a wedding chapel and make a big scene
  36. fly in a helicopter
  37. learn how to scuba dive
  38. float in the Dead Sea
  39. snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
  40. learn colligraphy
  41. go vegetarian
  42. be completely debt free with the exception of our home
  43. learn how to use power tools and then build something
  44. actually print all my digital pictures and scrapbook them
  45. meet a sitting president
  46. read the entire Bible
  47. get a job when the kids go to school with some sort of global health or global missions organization
  48. become a CASA advocate for children
  49. go on a series of mission trips to minister to missionaries to help them ward off burnout
  50. learn how to play Tiny Dancer and Piano Man on the piano
  51. learn how to play a few tunes on the guitar so I can have a common interest with my hubby
  52. read Anna Karinina
  53. convert all of the home movies from my childhood to digital
  54. study yoga and learn to meditate
  55. go to Disney Land
  56. sleep under the stars with nothing but a sleeping bag
  57. ride in a hot air balloon
  58. complete Christine's sexperiment sex challenge
  59. go to the Smithsonian
  60. complete a triathalon
  61. go to intergenerational church camp with my children
  62. own a vacation home that we can share with our friends and family
  63. eat at In And Out Burger
  64. have a living room with enough seating so that my entire family can sit down all at one time
  65. sing a song at karaoke
  66. get a masters degree
  67. have an actual defined muscle somewhere (anywhere!) on my body
  68. publish something where my name with be in print
  69. go on a safari
  70. get naked under a waterfall
  71. join a book club
  72. learn to accept compliments gracefully
  73. learn to make jelly and how to can vegetables
  74. do 5 pullups in a row
  75. see a play on Broadway in NYC
  76. learn how to take really good pictures
  77. be a more attentive wife
  78. learn how to fold fancy napkins
  79. create a grant to help other families afford adoption
  80. walk on the Great Wall of China
  81. see U2 in concert
  82. have a garage that I can park a car in
  83. tithe a full 10%
  84. learn how to correctly fill in a US map with all those darn tiny New England states
  85. find a form of seafood that I can stomach
  86. see the Everglades
  87. eat brunch at Brennan's in New Orleans
  88. hug a chimpanzee
  89. own a pair of really awesome red high heels
  90. go to a taping of a sitcom
  91. read something I've written in front of an audience
  92. learn a card trick
  93. learn a good joke that I can tell in public
  94. ride on a train that has sleeping quarters and a dinner car
  95. climb a volcano
  96. go to the summer Olympics
  97. go to a wine tasting and stomp on grapes like the scene from I Love Lucy
  98. become a regular blood donor
  99. make a time capsule and bury it
  100. go to a New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square 

December 27, 2011

Phil

Santa must have thought that the Terry kids were extra good this year because he took their request of getting a guinea pig seriously.  Christmas morning they bounded down the steps to find this:

They got a guinea pig.  It was as if all of their dreams came true.  Our newest little family member's name is Phil.  Miles calls him "refill".  I'm pretty sure he can't hear the difference in the two words!  Phil is a rescue-rescue pet.  He was originally bought at a pet store and then returned.  Then a great little couple rescued him from the returned pet center.  But they were both youth ministers and didn't have enough time to give Phil all the attention that he deserved.  So Santa got Phil from them and dropped him off at our house.  You can tell that Phil was taken great care of.  He's enormous and is sweet as candy.  We are thankful that his other homes loved him well because he is making the perfect pet for our children.

My husband says that the only thing that could have made Phil any better is if his name was Steve.  For some crazy reason, Kamron has always wanted a pet named Steve.  But Phil is pretty dang close.  In fact, I'm glad he came with such a cute little name!  Phil Terry.  Kinda has a certain ring to it.  Kamron has given him the middle name of McCrakin but we won't explain that one to the children.  Phil McCrackin. Get it.  Yeah- that's how my husband's brain works.  I'm so proud.  

For the last 2 days, this has been the scene.  Sadie has been a Phil hog.

She has carried him around in a little blanket for hours and hours on end.  It's kind of a Fern and Wilbur relationship.  She says they are BFFs.  Sometimes she lets her brothers have a turn.  Noah just rubs him and rubs him.  It blows my mind how these wild and crazy boys become so tender around Phil. 
If there is any evidence of how far Miles has come and what a testament to how intensive therapy can actually work- here it is:


A year ago, an animal in our house would have sent Miles off the deep end.  Holding one would have been out of the question.  It would have meant an emergency session with his therapist and me calling and begging for sedatives for both of us.   Now look at him.  Loving and enjoying an animal with no anxiety and experiencing a meaningful connection with it!  It's a Christmas miracle. (Actually, it is not a miracle.  It is the result of almost two years of hard hard hard work, but you get the point.  It's a BIG deal!)

And truly- how could you resist this adorable little face and darling cowlick?  Ahhh, we can't.  We are madly in love. 

December 25, 2011

December 23, 2011

I was almost funny

I finally decided last night that I should start to wrap some presents.  Hubby was sitting in the living room chair talking on the phone.  I was wrapping my nephew's How Do Dinosaur's Laugh Out Loud book.  Do you know this series?  We love 'em.  Anyway, it is a lift the flap book where they make jokes and you lift the flap to see the punchline.  They were all very corny and dinosaur-y.  At that moment, I had a stroke of genius.  I came up with the most wonderful dinosaur joke known to man.

I looked at Kamron who was wrapping up his phone conversation.  The second he said "bye", I decided to deliver it.  Now, keep in mind, I am not very funny and I am a HORRIBLE joke teller.  So I had a little nervous thing going on trying to deliver this joke to make sure it was as funny as it was in my head.  And in my head it was HI-larious. 

I opened my mouth to speak and here's what came out, "Hey, Kamron.  What do you call it when a dinosaur has trouble ummmm "performing"............  EREPTILE disfunction!  I died laughing.   

Seriously, y'all.  I thought at that moment that I was the most brilliant comic who had ever lived.  I saw this joke as being my big break.  First it would turn into something of a phenomenon, like the Bloggess' Beyonce the Chicken.  Then Ellen DeGeneres would catch wind of me and invite me to be on her show.   Then Leno and before you know it, everyone would know that Megan Terry had now coined the term ereptile dysfunction and I would be known as the queen of dinosaur sex jokes.

And then it happened.... Kamron said, "I'll bet if you google that, some really funny comedy bits would come up."  WHAT!?!?!  How could there be comedy bits about it?  I just made it up.  Me and all my comedic genius.  Surely, no one else could have come up with something so freaking hilarious.

I tiptoed to the computer and typed in ereptile dysfunction.  Google changed my search to erectile.  I took that as a good sign!  I mean, if google didn't recognize ereptile dysfunction than I MUST have made it up.  But then I saw it.  A single line from Urban Dictionary that says, "Ereptile Dysfunction- dinosaur impotence".  My heart just sank.  No Ellen Show.  No world wide fame on Leno.  No "Megan Terry, dinosaur sexologist" on my business cards.  Dammit.  In fact, I'm so late to the dinosaur impotence party, that there are already mugs and t-shirts and cartoons with the EREPTILE DYSFUNCTION slogan on them.  Grrrrrr.

Oh well.  It was fun to think that for once in my life I'd been clever, even it was just for a fleeting moment. :-)

December 21, 2011

A Very Country Christmas

God must have been feeling really spunky on the day that he created my dad.  He's a very complicated yet simple kind of man.  He's the kind of guy that could go missing in the woods and survive there communing with wolves and living off of berries for about 20 years.  I think that Hank Williams' "Country Boy Can Survive" was written about my dad. 

My kids adore him.  Papaw Johnny is one of their favorite people and his farm is their very favorite place in the world.  But y'all, my dad was lacking the Christmas spirit.  Since he and my mom divorced over 10 years ago, he's never had a Christmas tree.  We set out to remedy that on what we are dubbing...

 Team Real Tree.  And yes, that's my dad with ketchup all over his shirt. 
 It's one of the thousands of reasons that I love him.  How cute is he?

We took off hiking through the woods in search of the perfect tree...

Sadie fell in love with this little twig of a tree sprouting up out of the ground and had to have it for her room. 

We kept looking and looking for the perfect tree for my dad and his simply country boy taste.  At last, one little Charlie Brown like tree called to us from the woods.  It was bare on one side and spindly on the bottom.  It was perfect.  Papaw Johnny took the saw and performed a little tree removal surgery.

 I love how he obliges when I say ,"Look up here and smile!" while he's hard at work.  Then it was time to haul the tree and the tired little one back to the house.

We got that tree back to the house and stuck it in a five gallon bucket full of rocks as a tree holder.  We are nothing if not classy people.  That is, if classy equals resourceful.  A few strings of lights and some discount ornaments later, and we brought that little tree to life and brought the Christmas spirit to Papaw Johnny's house.

  Pure perfection.  Sometimes it's the little things that make Christmas brilliant and meaningful.


December 20, 2011

6, 7, and 8

Christmas Kindness is in full swing.  I think we've hit our stride and the kids are eager to find out what projects we are doing when they wake up in the morning.  Every time I post about this, I feel like I need to say that I'm not writing about these things to be "braggy".  That is the last thing that I want to do.  I just know that there are other families doing similar things and it's great to share ideas on how we can get our kids involved in serving.  I first saw the idea about kids doing random acts of kindness on another blog and the whole thing spiraled from there- so the Internet can be a great tool for things like this!  It's been so good for our children (and me!) to do this year after year.  After all- if we don't teach them, how will they know? 

Day 6:  On the sixth day we went to one of our local nursing homes and helped to pass out ice cream sandwiches to the residents there.  I don't know what it is, but people who don't always get to see children around, get super excited about having little ones in their presence.  Going to the nursing home is always one of my favorite things that we do because it reminds me that it doesn't cost a thing to brighten someone's day.  More than anything, people just want to be loved on and to feel like they matter.  Noah was our hugger.  Miles was the smiler and Sadie was the server.  I love how they each develop their own ways to give back that perfectly match their own little personalities.



Day 7:  The seventh day brought a trip to the animal shelter.  This is always the kids favorite thing to do.  We went through our cabinets and gathered up supplies that they needed (old towels, blankets, cleaning products) and delivered them.  The littles LOVE to play with animals.  They could do this every single day if I'd let them.  Sadie and Noah want to be a vets or farmers when they grow up so this is the perfect project for them. 
Sadie and her BFF petting on this little dog with a disfigured leg.  They were madly in love.


Day 8:  The hope is that if we just show them the way enough, our children will figure out how to be loving and giving on their own.  This morning I walked into the kitchen to this:
Someone took it upon herself to wash the dishes WITHOUT being asked!  Hallelujah!  Just when I think that 8 is the new 13, she goes and does something like this to surprise me.  She said that today's Christmas kindness was for me.  *sigh* I'm not a good receiver (something I'm working on) so I deemed that we still had some Christmas kindness to share for the day.

Because today is low key and we don't plan on leaving the house, I let the kids pick a charity to donate to.  They love to look over my shoulder when I read other blogs and they love looking at pictures of other people's children.  They especially love looking at pictures of the Blocks (links to the recent post about the needs at the orphanage) so we chose to make a small contribution to the orphanage that they work with in Guatemala.  They are at capacity but won't turn children away.  They need more space to keep serving the children that show up on their doorstep.  They are doing amazing work.  If you want to help them or learn more about their ministry, you can visit The Eagle's Nest website. 
 
**If you are not a friend of Millions of Miles on Facebook, I'd recommend liking the page.  On one of the upcoming days of Christmas Kindness I will be giving away a copy of Kisses From Katie to one of our FB friends.  I LOVE being kind to you :-)

Do you have room?

Originally posted 12/6/2010

I put up my nativity set that I got in Congo last night. My children got out their nativity set to play with. Noah took all of the nativity people and tried to fit them on to his aircraft carrier toy. He said he was playing "Noah's Ark." He told me that all of the people wouldn't fit on the boat. I noticed that the one he left off the boat was the baby Jesus. There just wasn't room for him.


Just like the first Christmas. No one could make room for Jesus and he was born in a barn. The Christ child! There was no room for the Messiah! I can hardly bear the thought of my king being born in a barn and put inside a feeding trough. How easy is it for us to say that without a doubt we would have taken in the pregnant Mary? But would you really?

"Wait!" I'd like to think I would scream, "I have room! Come and let Jesus be born here!" But if Mary and Joseph had taken me up on that offer, would I have really done it? Or would I have said, "Well... actually, it's kinda cramped in here. And we have our routine and you might get in the way of that a little. Oh, and by the way- we all snore. You know, come to think of it, we're really pretty comfortable here just as we are. Are you sure you want to stay here? We don't have a lot of money and our TV is very small. If you went down the street, they'd probably let you stay there and their house is way bigger and they have a lot of money. You might really be more comfortable somewhere else. I'll tell you what- here. Here's a few dollars. Good luck. I really do think someone else could accomodate you better. And if they can't, well... I'm just sorry. It's just not a good time for me. You understand, right?"

Meanwhile, Jesus gets born in a barn...

And meanwhile, millions of children all over the world go without families because we tell ourselves the very same excuses. What are we doing about that? What are YOU doing about that? Are you telling yourself that it is someone else's problem? Are you saying that surely someone out there will take in these children who has a bigger house, more money, and more time? What if they don't? Excuses. We are full of them. Myself included. A 5 and a 6 year old set of sisters needing a family have been on my mind lately. I've stared at their pictures almost every morning for nearly a month. I can't shake them. I found myself praying for them by name at the alter yesterday. I heard myself saying, "God, please soften the heart of a family who would take these two precious girls in. I'd sure love to have them as my daughters, but God, I'm just not sure that person is supposed to me right now because we're just out of room and not ready to start that now." If God would have talked to me right then, he would have probably said, "Meg- those are all great excuses, but did you ever stop to think that you're heart is the one I'm softening?" How many times do we throw our excuses around? All the while, they wait...


 Ty



They wait all alone. Hungry. Lonely. Scared. Hurting. They wait because we think we don't have enough room. Or the nicest house. Or have enough money to complete the process. Or, or, or...

So before you and I judge the innkeeper, are we making room in the inn? I know that not everyone is supposed to or needs to adopt. But are you supporting an adoptive family who is making room? Are you sponsoring a child? Or are you making excuses? My prayer this Christmas season, is that as I reflect on the birth of Christ, I look around my inn and see the things that I have made room for. I pray that the "things" that I have made room for will lose their value. I pray that in letting those things go, I will realize just how much "room" I have, not only in my home, but in my heart.

...Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'


"Then they are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then HE will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'  -Matthew 25:33-40 The Message Bible

December 19, 2011

Oh, Monday

A little rundown of all the happenings in our home over the last few days...

*  One of the boys had a weird accident yesterday.  I won't tell you which one it is, because they may be embarrassed when they are adults and realize that their mom broadcast this all over the Internet. It was Miles.  I was in the bathroom drying my hair and Miles was sitting on the toilet.  All of a sudden he starts shrieking, "MY EYE!  MY EYE!"  I panicked since his eyelids are still full of stitches from surgery last week so I ran over to check and see if he'd popped any stitches.  When I got to him, he had pee dripping down his forehead running in a stream down to his eyes.  The boy had peed on his own face.  From a sitting position.  I do not know how this happened, but it was gross.  At times like these he is my husband's son and I lay no claim to him :-)

*  Noah's school play was magnificent.  There were about 40 kids all singing off key and performing their little hearts out.  Noah's only line of "V is for virgin" was a huge hit and he delivered it like a champ.  Throughout all of these weeks of virgin talk, he has surprisingly never asked what a virgin is.  I kept trying to decide what I would say if that happened and couldn't come up with anything good.  I was tossing around the idea of explaining olive oil creation tactics or non-alcoholic beverages.  Why don't they put these things in the parenting manuals?






* I had a little mom melt down yesterday.  We had a couple of free hours yesterday afternoon and I thought that it would be the perfect window of time to make some Christmas cutout cookies.  I suggested it to the kids who all enthusiastically said, "WooHoo!  We want to make cookies.  You are the best mom ever for coming up with such awesome things for us to do!"  Not really, but they did want to make cookies.  So I spent a ton of time mixing up the dough and scrubbing all the remnants of playdough off of the cookie cutters.  I put out what seemed like a half a bag of flour all over the kitchen table and called in the troops.  Noah immediately picked up a container of sprinkles and in his haste to figure out how to get the top off, dumped the entire thing on the floor.  Green sprinkles balls bouncing and rolling all over the floor.  I smiled and shrugged that one off and we started rolling out the dough.  We have two rolling pins and three kids.  You do the math.  It quickly spiraled out of control with one constantly feeling left out because they didn't have a rolling pin. 

I finally rolled out the dough and handed over the cutters.  They each picked up a cookie cutter, cut out one cookie and decided that they no longer wanted to make cookies and that they wanted to go play instead.  They all ran away from the table and there I stood with smoke coming out of my ears.  I went ballistic.  I *may* have even immaturely told my children that I would never ever ever plan anything fun for them to do ever again in their whole lives and they would grow up to be old people who never got to do anything fun.  I *may* have started banging dishes around to wake up my napping husband so that I was not alone in my anger.  Only he didn't take the dishes slamming seriously and stayed in bed.  Probably a smart move on his part.  I just loooooove my passive aggressiveness.  I put a few crappy looking cookies on the cookie sheet and put them in the oven with no sprinkles or chocolate chip eyeballs and no Christmas joy.  I scooped up the rest of the dough and slammed it into a bowl and jammed it in the refrigerator.  I wiped up flour until I thought that I'd have enough flour paste to make a salt dough map of the whole world in correct proportions.  I swept up green sprinkle balls for what I was sure was at least 5 hours.  I muttered under my breath about ungrateful kids and other such nonsense.

When those sad looking little cookies came out of the oven everyone suddenly became interested.  I went all Little Red Hen on their a$$es and didn't let them have any.  (I finally caved at bedtime and shared my cookies)  Dude.  Sometimes trying to be a good mom just does NOT pay off.  It just proves my theory that no good can come from trying to be "that" mom who bakes beautifully decorated cookies with her children.  That mom sucks.  I digress.

*  How do you like our new look?  Lauren at LC Designs redid my blog for me.  She was awesome to work with and I'm a little bit in love with the new design.  Also- we now have a different comment form if you want to leave comments.  It will make it easier for me to reply to comments, etc.  Did you know that comments make bloggers just stupid happy?  They do.  Just sayin'.

*  My mom and Sadie and I went to see the Nutcracker on Saturday night.  It was my first time to see the ballet as an adult and Sadie's first time ever.  It was pure magic!  I'm hoping that we can make this a new Christmas tradition.

*  I told my husband that all I want for Christmas is for him to clean out my kitchen cabinets so that an avalanche does not occur every time one of the doors is opened.  For mother's day, I got new pots and pans (because nothing says "We love you, mom" like further enslavement to the kitchen!) and instead of passing on the old pans, there are now two sets shoved into a cabinet built for one.  I just can't bring myself to tackle it which is evidenced by the fact that my cabinets look like this: 

*Note: no cookware was harmed in the making of this photo. 
 My aunts probably just looked at this and said, "Oh my.  She's turned into her granny!"

*  My children are upstairs playing school right now.  I can hear Sadie telling her "students" that they will get F's if they are not quiet and the boys screaming out "Yes ma'am!  We'll be good!"  It is quickly making me forget the pee on the face and the cookie making incident yesterday.  Thank God.  They may actually make it til Christmas after all.

December 17, 2011

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

On the sixth day of Christmas Kindness we made dinner to deliver to our great friends who have been going through a lot over the last 6 months and (including having a pace maker put in this week).   Having meals delivered to me is one of my love languages.  I know when things are hectic and people are ill, the last thing you want to do is grocery shop and prepare a meal.  Many, many times I've had my socks blessed off with a crock pot full of yumminess or a casserole of some sort while we're going through a tough time. 

My kids are usually great little helpers (they help make messes, help spill things, etc.) in the kitchen.  But, in the spirit of Christmas Kindness, they jumped in and helped me make dinner to bless our friends with.  I decided to make one of my favorite casseroles.  It is one that I usually only make on Christmas morning.  Thus, we've dubbed it Christmas Breakfast Casserole.

Christmas Breakfast Casserole.  A food photographer I am not, but you get the point :-)
Over the years, I've tweaked the recipe here and there until it is now something that we all love and look forward to on Christmas morning.  My favorite thing about it is that I can make it ahead on Christmas Eve and pop it in the oven to bake on Christmas morning.  I don't know about you, but I have enough going on that morning, that I don't have time to make a hot breakfast from scratch.  This recipe is the best of both worlds!

Megan's Christmas Breakfast Casserole:

4 eggs
6 slices of bread (I think that cheap, thin sandwich bread works best)
1 3/4 cups of milk
1 pound of sausage (browned and crumbled)
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
*optional- add bell peppers and onions to taste

Directions:
1.  Mix eggs, milk, sausage, cheese, salt and pepper together in a medium sized bowl.
2.  Cut all the bread into small cubes.
3. Add the bread cubes to the egg mixture and stir until all the bread is evenly coated.
4.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan
5. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight  *I have cooked it right away after mixing and it doesn't set up as well.  I would chill it for as long as you can even if you can't refrigerate overnight)
6.  Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

When I make this, I almost always pair it with hashbrowns casserole.  My favorite hashbrown casserole recipe is a knockoff of a Cracker Barrel recipe that is delish. You can find it HERE.
Enjoy!



   My boys tearing it up in the kitchen.

December 16, 2011

Lending Your Voice: A Chat with Willie Garson

National adoption month came and went.  I have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, I think that there are so many children who need to find families and so we should be talking about it and "promoting" adoption.  I also think that most posts that I saw about adoption month were a little Rah Rah without the balance of saying that adoption is tough.  It is traumatic and painful.  So let's just agree that it is all of those things- hard and wonderful, challenging and worthwhile, difficult and amazing.  As an adoptive parent who has been through the hard (and still goes through the hard) I can still say without a doubt that adopting our son is the most amazing thing that has every happened to our family.  I'd take all the pain and the transition and the worry and the therapy again anyday because for us the benefits and the love outweighed all the other things and it made our family stronger.

I think that in the world of celebrity adoption, especially, it's difficult to get the full story.  We see celebrities adopt and there is never mention of the plight of orphans or the pain that children go through to become adopted.  The voices of those families get reduced down to photo ops and paint an unrealistic picture of adoption.  That's why I'm glad that there are celebrities out there, like Willie Garson, who are not only painting realistic pictures, but who are lending their voice to advocate for children who desperately need families.

Willie Garson
You may know Willie from his role of Mozzie in the current hit show White Collar.  If you go a little farther back, you may recognize (and LOVE) him from role in Sex In The City where he played Carrie's male BFF, Standford Blatch. Or you may know him from the other billion roles he's had on television and film over the years. But you may not know that his favorite role he's ever played in his life is Dad.  Willie adopted his son, Nathen, from the LA county foster care system in 2010.  Nathen was 8 at the time and the two had an instant connection.  What I love most about Willie is that he recognizes that adoption is an emotional two way street but stands firm on the fact that adopting a child and creating a family where there once was none, has been the most rewarding thing that he could ever do with his life.

He's now lending his voice, in conjunction with the National Adoption Day Coalition, to help advocate for children in foster care.  I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Willie Garson to help him spread his message that every child deserves to have a loving and stable home.

The Interview:

What circumstances led you to decide that adopton was the right choice for you?
Willie: I was in a relationship for a long time, and she didn’t want to have kids, which is fine, that’s people’s choice. After that relationship ended I realized, ‘What am I waiting for? I don’t care if I ever get married, but I know I want a kid.’


The Alliance for Children’s Rights, a kids’ advocacy group in L.A. and member of the National Adoption Day Coalition, is one of my charities. So, when I decided to adopt I worked with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Westside Children’s Center, who guided me through the adoption process.

Finish this statement, "I chose to adopt from foster care because…"

Willie: I knew a baby wasn’t right for my lifestyle; I’m an actor, we’re gypsies. Many children in the foster care system are older, and through no fault of their own have a harder time finding a permanent family. By adopting a child from foster care, you can make such an impact on that child’s life. I can see in my son Nathen’s eyes that it means something different when he calls me ‘dad.’

What was the hardest part in transitioning Nathen into your family? How did you work to overcome those obstacles and help him understand permanency after being in the system?


Willie: The hardest things for us were all emotional; Nathen knows his family, he knows his former foster homes, he knew kids at his old school, and on and on. While logistically it was easier as he knew what he liked to eat, washed himself, etc., there were times when I knew he didn’t believe this was permanent. We just dealt with it every day, with a LOT of promises KEPT, never broken...but that's good advice for any parent.



What do you think are the biggest myths surrounding children in foster care and how to you work to dispel them.

Willie:
Myth: Only married couples can adopt.

Fact: I am a single working actor, and a loving father trying to be a good role model for Nathen. With my paternal clock ‘ticking’, so to speak, I reached a point in my life where I realized that having a child was something I didn’t want to postpone until I was married.


Myth: Children in foster care have too much ‘baggage.’


Fact: Most children in foster care have been through something negative or traumatic in their early lives, but they are not ‘damaged goods,’ they are children. These children may have never experienced a loving, stable home. Nathen for instance, was withdrawn and had some behavioral issues, but in less than a year in a nurturing and stable home with me he has blossomed into an outgoing and stellar student. He is very social and enjoys his time playing baseball, learning karate, and playing music with me. Nathen and I were meant to be a family.

What has been the most unexpected reward of adopting out of foster care. Was it different than you expected?

Willie: There are countless unexpected rewards, but that's true of every parent. Just to see Nathen get more secure and confident is reward enough, but we are partners in this adventure, we take care of each other.


What was the process like to make Nathen your son? Was he legally available for adoption when you met or did you foster first and then make the decision to adopt? How was the process emotionally for you?

Willie: I met Nathen at an L.A. adoption fair in Oct. 2008. Instantly I knew he was, ‘my kid.’ Nathen was legally available for adoption. From the beginning to end, it took only 20 months for us to finalize his adoption.


There was definitely an emotional roller coaster, but the strength actually came from Nathen himself, as I would imagine it comes from every kid...they adapt more easily than we do.


No matter their age, every child needs a loving home.

What do you think are the best ways for people who maybe aren't interested in being foster parents or adopting from foster care, to still reach out to children in the system?

Willie: Become an adoption advocate and help raise awareness of the 107,000 children in foster care waiting for their forever families. There are a number of ways to get involved by contacting organizations such as CASA, or you can get involved, like I did, by supporting some of the National Adoption Day coalition members who are working to find homes for children in foster care every day.



Thank you so much to Willie Garson, for lending his voice and his platform to do so much for the children in foster care and for taking the time to answer my questions (and for his honesty about the tough parts as well as the unbelievable blessings!). For more information of the National Adoption Day coalition (which works to advocate and find families for foster children) please visit their website.

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