October 22, 2012

Disney- Part 1

Last week was amazing!  Our family spent the week at the happiest place on Earth as ambassadors for Global Resort Homes.  (more on that later)  It was our first time to Disney and we were beside ourselves with excitement!

Our big kids rode every roller coaster in 3 theme parks and have not stopped talking about and making lists of what their favorite rides were.  We also took my mom on vacation with us, which was awesome.  I just loved getting to spend so much time with her.

We spent two days at Magic Kingdom, and one day each at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Sea World.  Last night, I uploaded all of the pictures I took from our trip and realized that I took over 400 photos- I just couldn't help myself.  I wanted to capture how much fun the kids were having.  Everyone always said that Disney is magical- but I didn't realize just how incredible it would be until I experienced it for myself.  Now I can't wait to go back!   

I think we picked the right time of year to go- it wasn't too crowded and we never had to wait in line more than 20 minutes for anything.  Our kids woke up this morning bouncing off the walls because they couldn't wait to go to school and talk about their trip during sharing time.  I think I'm going to pretend that I'm at school and share with you!

We totally got photo bombed by that guy behind Sadie and Kamron on Splash Mountain!

I think I've now seen enough 3-D shows to last me a lifetime

Kamron looks like he's going to take that fist, turn sideways, and clock Mickey in the jaw.

I love my mom.  Also, Lord, please let me age as well as my mother.
Dance party with Goofy

Apparently, fighting the evil emperor Zurg is very stressful for Noah

Sadie got to introduce The Little Mermaid show!

Meeting Lightning McQueen is the highlight of Miles' life. 
 He doesn't go anywhere without his little McQueen car.


Noah has a major map obsession.
It's hard work shutting down the park!

October 17, 2012

The Goodbye Baby

As an adoptive parent, I recognize that no two adoption stories are the same.  Even siblings adopted by the same families will internalize their lives differently.  No two birthmothers will feel the same, just as no two adoptive mothers will feel or experience the journey in the same way.  There's no hard and fast formula for how adopted children will feel.  However, as a mama to an adopted son, I love reading perspectives from adult adoptees- both the good stories and the hard stories.  I think there is something awesome that happens when we listen to other's stories so that we can come to a place where we all do the best we can for our children. 

Elaine Pinkerton (who wrote the book The Goodbye Baby: A Diary About Adoption) is guest posting today about how she felt as an adopted child growing up in a home where adoption was never discussed.  I think that the lessons that she shares are so valuable and so today, I'm giving her my platform to share her story in the hopes that we can all learn something.  Make sure that you read to the end- she shares her top ten things she wants every adoptive parent to know.

From Elaine:

I am an adult adoptee who took many years to overcome the wounds of adoption. Through re-reading the diaries that I kept from 1950-1990, I was able to find healing. There was the “myth” I’d invented about myself and there were the facts; the truth was somewhere in between.

 Harvesting my journals resulted in The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption, and it also inspired me to recommend a list of ten things I would suggest to every adoptive parent. 


            Sixty years ago, toward the end of WWII, a five-year-old girl was left on the doorstep of strangers. Her mother left her there because she couldn’t feed or house her child, and also, suspected the girl, because she wasn’t a good enough daughter. Miraculously, the strangers turned out to be wonderful new parents. They’d been looking for a little girl just like her. Along with her birth brother, nearly two years old and part of the deal, the girl went from rags to riches. Though the term meant nothing at the time, she had been “adopted.”

            A happy ending? Well, it seemed so until the girl went to school. Immediately she noticed that the other children all had their original parents. She pretended that her mother was her “real” mother and tried desperately to be good enough. Her greatest fear was that she might be returned to the foster homes she’d endured when her original mother couldn’t keep her.

            Outwardly, life was so much better now that she should have been rejoicing. Her new parents did not really want to talk about why they adopted her. She was afraid to ask when her real mother would be coming back to get her. Possibly she would never come back, and it would be because she wasn’t a good enough daughter.  The little girl grew up carrying that shameful secret in her heart.

            On her tenth birthday, the little girl received a diary. It had a lock and key and lines for writing anything she wanted. By now it seemed to the girl that the kind, nurturing parents were new “real parents.” Never mind that she had many questions about life with her birth mother. If that mother gave her away, there must have been a reason. Deep down, no matter what the new parents told her, she believed it was all her fault. She was somehow inferior, not smart or pretty enough, just not OK. Since she couldn’t speak about the shameful secret, she took to expressing these thoughts in her diary.

            With the little blank book, she didn’t have to pretend to be someone she wasn’t. The diary was her best friend, her confidant, a place she could store her feelings. It was so very helpful—Always there, always ready to listen—never judging or disapproving -- A place where she was always welcome. So comforting were the diaries that when the girl became a teenager, and later a wife and mother, a grandmother, and then a widow, she continued filling up book after book. At some point in the distant future, she knew she would burn the diaries, toss them into the ocean or maybe bury them in an arroyo. 

            But wait! The diaries might contain something valuable—a certain confession, insight, lament or situation. Gathered into a book, selected excerpts could provide a guidebook for others who’d been adopted. Now a senior citizen, the girl resolved to harvest her journals, to transcribe passages that cried out to her. All of the mistakes, the bad decisions, the obsessions, the wrong thinking would be put on the table and examined.

           Just as she resolved that her personal history was worth writing, she was blindsided. The deaths of her biological father, her adoptive parents, and then her husband pushed aside the diary project. It was almost too much to bear, and for several years she lived inside her grief.

            Only one journey would lead the girl to a healing. She had to go back and actually READ the diaries.  As the girl scoured the past, an amazing thing happened. She came to realize that there was nothing insurmountable about her personal drama. It was all part of being human. At last she could forgive herself and even begin to get over “growing up adopted.” She could quit acting out a role and start really living her life.


Fact: My original mother and father, married during the chaos of WWII,  were not “parent material.”

Fact: I was adopted after the war by parents who gave me a wonderful life.

Fact: I was afraid to ask about my original parents, thinking I might be “sent back.”

Fact:  After losing my birthfather, my adoptive parents, and my husband, I felt newly abandoned and wondered how I could keep on living.

Fact: I found a way to finally get over my self, a version of Elaine that kept me locked into old patterns. To my amazement, I became the heroine of my own life.

Ten things every adoptive parent should know

  1. LOVE is always the answer.
  2. REPLY to even the most difficult questions.
  3. LAUGH with your child.
  4. KEEP your expectations high but never make your child feel “not good enough.”
  5. AVOID comparisons with other children who were NOT adopted.
  6. TELL your little one, if he or she asks, why he was adopted.
  7. Even if the birthparents were not good people, BE HONEST. You might say, “they weren’t good parent material” or they “lacked the skills” to raise a child or "they just weren't ready"
  8. SHARE your hobbies and passions.
  9. READ to your child every day.
  10. ENCOURAGE your child to express him/herself in art, writing, music or dance. 
Elain Pinkerton



October 10, 2012

Here a pic, there a pic

A little snapshot of all the happenings in our family...

The kids hiking in what will be their future backyard!

Sadie and baby cousin, Harper

My cute mama.

October 09, 2012

This One Time In The Bathroom...

DISCLAIMER:  If you are here for my usual posts about my cute children, Jesus, or caring for orphans- you may want to skip this one.  This is not that post.  You have been warned.

Did you ever stop to think that some of the best stories involving toddlers always start out, "This one time, in the bathroom..."

This is one of those.

This one time in the bathroom...

Miles and I were grocery shopping yesterday.  We were making our way through the produce section when he started announcing to the whole store that he had to ummm... go.  We swerved our enormous car cart toward the bathroom and he skipped in.  There were two stalls.  One was occupied so we closed ourselves into the other one. 

It only took about 2.4 seconds to hear "it" coming from the next stall.

"Ummmmmmmm.    Ooooooooooooh."  all sing songy and breathy- followed by grunting, tooting and "Ohhhhhhh, GOD!"

It was very hard to tell if the person in the stall next to us was having an orgasm or having difficulty dropping the kids off at the pool. 

Miles is incredibly slow in the bathroom.  When he sits on the toilet, he prefers to look around, take inventory or his surroundings, rub on the toilet paper, see how many times he can kick his feet before his shoes fall of etc.  This time was no different. 

The moaning and groaning from our neighbor continued.  At times it was euphoric.  At other times I felt like the woman probably needed an enema. 

I was hoping that if I didn't call attention to it that Miles wouldn't notice. 

"Ahhhhhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhh.  Oh lordy.  Awwwwwwww."

"Mom, what's she doing oba deah?"  Miles said loudly.  I gave him that look with my eyes that I thought screamed, "SHUT UP!  DO NOT SAY A WORD ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT PARTITION!  DO YOU HEAR ME?  SILENCE!!!!!!"

His interpretation of what my look said was, "MOM IS NOT GOING TO ANSWER ME SO I BETTER ASK THE WOMEN NEXT DOOR HERSELF."

"HEY!  I'm poopin'" he said.  "You poopin'?"

Shoot me now.

No response from the woman.  In fact, she just kept groaning like the woman in those old Herbal Essence Shampoo Commercials.  I'll admit, I was very curious and I opened Miles' stall and pretended like I needed a paper towel and on my way to the paper towels I peeked in the crack in the stall to see if the woman really was getting busy or having some sort of conniption.  (Really, I'm not a perv- if that was happening next to you I'd dare you  not to look.)  From the tiny sliver or her I saw, I didn't think she was doing anything too crazy.

I walked back in the stall and told Miles to get down to business and wrap it up.  He assured me that he was trying and made the appropriate strained facial expressions.  Still, it was taking him a long time.

She continued making noise, but her "ahhhhhs" turned into "uhhhhhhhh".  I finally deduced that she was not having an orgasm.  I then decided she was either about to give birth in the toilet or pass an elephant out of her butt.

Miles continued to try to strike up a conversation while I said things like "leave her alone sweetie" in a voice that sounded more like that girl in the exorcist than the calm voice I ALWAYS use when speaking with my children (insert sarcasm here).  It was getting really awkward in there. 

"Ummmmmmmm"  Heavy breathing.  "Oooooooooohhhhhhh."  More heavy breathing.

Finally, I told Miles that I didn't care if he was done or not, it was time to go.

He flushed the toilet and started saying to her, "I'm doooooooone.  You doooooooone?"

Still no words from her. 

I took him to the sink and washed his hands and got him a paper towel.  And no lie- the woman busted out singing Amazing Grace.  Amazing Freaking Grace.  On the toilet.  After all that.  Or maybe she got the elephant out and she was so glad that God delivered her through it she needed to bust out in praise.  I don't know.  All I know is that stuff got weird in there and I am definitely watching the news tonight to see if she's on there.  The headline will either be, "Woman caught doing the "George Michael's" in the bathroom of grocery" or "First human ever to give birth to an elephant happened today in Louisville, KY!"

I hope that this never happens to you.  Or if it does, I hope that you figure out a way to handle it better than I did.  Either way, I've devised a flow chart to help you in the off chance you ever find yourself in this situation and you need to figure out what is going on in the stall next to you.

  And there you go.  You're welcome.

October 06, 2012

Unimportant Randomness

*A certain little boy that I've been bragging on a lot lately absolutely lost his chit toward the end of the week.  Don't you love how our kids do this to us?  On Thursday said child woke up mad and only got madder.  He may have taken a red permanent marker and drawn all over the walls and on his brother's favorite pillow pet.  He may have also kicked the neighbor and made her run home screaming.  He may have also looked at me when he went to time out for the 300th time in a day and said, "So!  I like it when you put me in time out!  So there!"  He may have been put in bed for the night at 6:45 pm for that little outburst.  Somehow he survived to see another day and is slowly coming back to normal. 

Who?  Me?

*  I have lots of people ask me if I am still doing Nutrisystem.  The answer is no.  After nearly 17 weeks on it, I had to stop doing it over the summer.  My stomach issues got so bad that I felt like I could barely eat anything and I'd thrown up so much NS, that none of it sounded good anymore.  For over a year and a half, everything I was eating seemed to make me feel sick.  Losing weight helped me feel better overall, but my innards still were killing me every time I put a bite in my body. 

I started seeing doctors in March trying to figure out what in the world was going on with my body and heard everything from "We think you have ovarian cancer" to "Your gall bladder seems to be dysfunctional."  I had 4 scans, 3 ultrasounds, a colonoscopy and an endoscopy and everything checked out okay with the exception of inflammation in my stomach and intestines.  FINALLY, a GI doctor said, I think you have a lactose intolerance, a gluten intolerance and IBS.  IBS is TMI, I know.  With her help, I radically changed my diet about 2 months ago and lo and behold, I don't go to bed in pain every single night.  I didn't want to go gluten free.  I kind of like gluten (ok, I LOVE gluten)  I'm so sick of trendy gluten free people and I didn't want to be one of them.  But I finally conceded that if it helped, I was ready to give up all the wheat and flour that I love so dearly. 

After two months without it, if I sneak a cracker or a bite of macaroni, I can literally lay down and watch my stomach blow up like a basketball.  Anyway- I feel so much better.  And I think that this whole thing agrees with me.  Since January when I started with Nutrisystem and now doing no gluten and no dairy- I've lost 25 pounds.  I get that lots of people can lose that in a month, but I'm slow and it took me 10! It's awkward to pose in front of the camera with no kids in front of me, but here's my before and after.  (Actually, it's not fully an after because I'm still going)  Also- I wear too many cardigan type sweaters.  I need a style intervention!


   *  Sadie is beginning a new business venture.  She's making earrings out of string.  She's planning on selling them for 30 cents a pair.  I'm trying to explain profit margins to her to no avail.

*  Noah scored TWO goals this morning!

* Earlier in the week,  a political surveyor called and Kamron (for some crazy reason) actually took 25 minutes to answer all of her questions. At the end of the call, this is what I heard him saying.
"We live in Simpsonville.... Simpsonville... SIMPSONVILLE.... Simp- son-ville.... No! Simpsonville!... Like Bart Simpson- plus ville... No- not BartSimpsonville! Seriously? Take off the Bart! Who lives in BartSimpsonville?!?"  Oy vey.

*  Miles knocked his head on the bleachers at the park the other day.  He couldn't stop crying and in an effort to calm him down Kamron started rubbing the back of Miles' head and said, "Wait a minute!  Something's happening back here!  Something's coming out of your head!"  He secretly pulled a guitar pick out of his pocket and convinced Miles that he pulled it out of the back of his head.  He quickly forgot that his head hurt and is now convinced that he produces guitar picks like a Pez Dispenser.  Our whole family is in on the trick- even the grandparents- and we now constantly pull picks out of the back of his head and he thinks he's magic.  I wonder how long we can keep this up?
"Ta- da!  Plastic comes out of my head!"
*We've had about a million meetings with the builders who will be building our new house!  My main takeaway so far?  Light switches and door knobs are stupidly expensive.  But overall, designing is super fun and we are still so pumped about breaking ground in the next couple of months!  And no, I don't think we'll get divorced over this (Why in the world does everyone say, "OMG!  You'll end up divorced if you build a house?")  Seriously- that's the first thing everyone says.  For now, I think it's all going to be okay- but ask me again in 3 months and we'll see :-)
* That's our lives in a nutshell this week!  Have a great weekend!

October 03, 2012

I'm A Sweet Boy and I'm A Good Boy

There are so many things about adoption that are so stinkin' worth it.  When you think about it, yes, the hard parts are really hard.  But the amazing things?  They are amazing to the billionth degree. 

When Miles had been home for about 9 months he came up to me (when we'd been going through an especially rough patch) and put his hand on my face and said, "You a good boy, mommy.  You special here."  He was telling me what had been told to him dozens and dozens of times.  That was the first time that we could actually see that all those truths that we had been telling him about himself were starting to ring true enough to him that he could not only see them in himself, but could pick them out in others as well.

He was beginning to leave behind those feelings of being scared, abandoned and unworthy and filling up with the notion that he was precious.  Over time, that just got stronger and stronger and those truths became more of the norm instead of the exception.  Some of the moments when we see it click are so profound that it really is like a light bulb goes off.

Yesterday, I had a terrible allergy attack and had to take a Benadryl in the middle of the day.  That meant that Miles and I spent a lot of time on the couch hanging out.  He sometimes loves it when Mommy doesn't feel good because it means that I am still and present (something that I hate to say doesn't happen as often as I would like).  When you have many hours on the couch to pass, sometimes you have to resort to creative ways to fill the time.  We passed the afternoon by making videos.  There were videos about Miles talking about what he's doing at school and videos where he talks about playing with his friends and videos of him singing every song he knows off the radio.

As we were goofing off making videos, I asked him "What does adoption mean?"  I figured that he'd spout of one of the millions of rote phrases we say around here- "It means we are a family forever" "It means that there are lots of ways to make a family" etc.  But what he said, showed me how deeply those truths that we fill him with about his worth and his value and how precious he is to us have finally taken permanent residence in his heart.  He said, "It means mommy taked me for Congo and brought me home for her sweet boy.  And I'm a good boy." 

Yes, Miles.  You are. (97% of the time!)  You really are!  And I'm so glad that you believe it!  I know that I've probably said it before, but there are very few things in my life that are more rewarding than watching this child heal and become whole.  It's like witnessing a new miracle each and every day.  Worth every. single. minute. 

October 01, 2012

Mugshot Monday

I was putting Noah's jacket on him this morning as I sent him out to catch the bus.  "I've got soooooo much to share today at sharing time!" he said excitedly as he stuck his arms in the arm holes and replayed our weekend. He's right- it was an awesomely busy weekend! 

On Friday night, we had lots of "old" friends over for a dinner party.  When Kamron and I met, he was in a band called Throttle- which was a group of 22 year old boys with too much time on their hands and dreams of being rock and roll stars.  The big rock star dream didn't quite work out, but over the years, we've all stayed great friends.  Us gals in the group went from being those boy's girlfriends to being their wives and the mothers of their children.  Now when those guys get together to jam- there are 22 of us and we are severely outnumbered by all of our children!  It's fun to have friends that knew you when you were young and dumb and who still love you when you're old and boring!  Unfortunately, I forgot to get out my camera, but if I could paint you a picture, it would be of our tiny house overflowing with cute kids running at full speed full of chocolate and wielding glow sticks while their dad's relive the glory days and play music just a little too loud down in the basement.

Then Saturday was full of playing and watching soccer games.

After the game, Noah, who NEVER wants to have his picture made said, "Hey!  Take a picture of this!" 
Creepy much?
Then, on Saturday night, the mister and his band played at a military benefit.  He acquired some miniature roadies in the parking lot...
...and one of the kids became a dancing machine during the show...

There was ice cream...
...and a trip to the park where the children decided that it was their goal to catch a minnow using nothing but their hands.  Thirty minutes later, they determined that it couldn't be done...
And after a crazy weekend, there was hair that needed redoing.  I'm the one that does hair around here, but sometimes I enlist some help with the drying!
I'd be lying if I said that I didn't breath a little sigh of relief contentment when everyone left for school this morning.  The weekends are awesome- but so are those few fleeting moments of silence that come after the bus rolls away on Monday morning!
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