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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Quiet Time



It has been COLD here this past week and will continue into next week it looks like. So we have had to get creative with our days since the park and backyard are not able to be a part of the day. The girls have been enjoying snuggling in the bean bag chairs and reading books. The blanket always lures Oscar in, which Chloe just loves. During this time they actually did this for 30 minutes without getting out of their chairs. Of course I had to read aloud several of their
selections to keep their attention.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Gracious

We have had to begin to cage in our almost 3 year old child. Why... you ask.
Well Vivi has gotten into the habit of coming out of her room early in the morning, clicking on lights and helping herself to anything she wants...food in the fridge, the contents of my purse...you name it. This morning I found her in the dark kitchen (after I had taken down the gate) doing this:

I have to say her resourcefulness in getting a little chair and climbing up to fish marshmallows out of the bread box is pretty impressive. But she has broken glass this week, eaten things she doesn't need to have, drank juice boxes, emptied my wallet...it is out of control. With that hair and disposition, it is like living with a wild animal! :)

So out comes the old trusty baby gate. Billy had the great idea of instead of gating her room which is what we had been doing, resulting in her screaming in the morning and waking the whole house, was to gate the hallway. This allows her into our room and our bathroom but not into the other parts of the house when she can't be supervised. It also keeps Isaac from wandering into our bedroom in the middle of the night to lay on our floor as he has gotten in the habit of doing. This is dangerous with Billy having to get up at 3:30 to go to work. We never know where he is in the room in the dark!

I thought this solution was brilliant until I saw Vivi doing this today:


Yes, that is her costume chest.
All I can say is good grief.
Honey, let's face it. We are outwited.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adoption Agency Training Day

This Saturday (weather permitting) we will be going to our adoption agency again to speak on Transracial Adoption. We have done this half a dozen times now, but I thought this time I would like to get your thoughts on what you were feeling facing the decision to adopt a black or biracial child, what were your fears, concerns. Why did you choose to stay with your own race for your adoption or why were you open to going outside of your race? And what would you have wanted to hear from a couple already parenting an African American child?



We talk about how two main fears (among many) can permeate couples making this decision. 1) How would I know how to parent a black child when none of our family members are black and we belong to a white church, neighborhood, etc. Along with this goes How would I know how to do their hair, teach them about their culture. and 2) what would my family think?

Billy answers with "well I don't know what it is like to be a girl either and that doesn't mean I can't have a daughter." They always like this one!



We address both of these with personal examples and ways we have seen these issues work themselves out with our friends who have also adopted transracially. We also talk about society's reaction to a white parent with a black child. Somehow we have come to accept that people will adopt a caucasian child, you will hear things like, you don't have to bring up they were adopted much, they look just like you..even if they don't! And as a culture it is acceptable to adopt children from another country, particularly asian children because we all know about "all those poor orphans" who need a home. But we have convinced ourselves that the parenting of black children can only be done WELL by black parents. I am convinced this myth is the very reason why so many couples shy way from this particular race.



We then talk about the need for more couples within the adoption agency to be willing to adopt a child of color. I have said it here before but with most agencies for every 10 couples wanting a white child, there might be 2 couples willing to parent a black child. This just does not leave a fair dynamic for those birthmothers who want choices in who will raise their child.



So, that being said...please hit me with your best information!! I am praying THIS meeting will result in hearts being changed!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gallery of Costumes


Princess Tiana and Dr. Isaac

I took these photos of the kids today in some costumes they got for Christmas and I realized I hadn't posted my photo gallery of Vivi in her princess dresses. This is not an exhaustive list. She has about 3 more that aren't shown here. Enjoy!!



Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White


Pink Fairy and Tinker Bell


Cinderella and Queen


And my personal favorite...




Dorothy and Toto!


In February, my Mom and I are taking Vivi to a Princess Party at a convention center. I marked the date with cinderella stickers on the calendar. :) Word has it that over 500 girls come to this, all dressed in their Princess regalia. Vivi will be going as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She has her dress, fancy silver sandals, and a tiara all set to go. At the convention there will be stories read by "real" Disney Princesses as well as stations for the little girls to get their hair and nails done. There will also be vendors selling LOTS of girly things. We are very excited about this!! And her birthday this year will be an intimate Princess tea with just a few little girls and her brother, birthsister, and 2 cousins of course! 8 kids total, our smallest party yet. But it is at a froo froo tea party place and will of course involve dressing up- her favorite thing to do. She will love it. She is my girly girl, for sure. Stay tuned for princess convention photos in 2 weeks!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Check out my husband's timely post over at Goggy Coffee.
Pure genius, if you ask me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baby Bottles for Life

Today is the day that many churches honor the choice of life for the unborn. Here is a description of of what this day means and how it originated off of Focus on the Family's website.
Our pastor mentioned it at church and told us that we could go to the atrium and pick up a baby bottle to fill with change and cash for our local pregnancy center. I counseled at a pregnancy center in college for a semester. One of the greatest tools these centers can have is an ultrasound machine to show women that what is in their uterus is not a "mass of cells" but an actual human being.
After the service, we went with the kids to pick up a baby bottle and I told the women at the booth that this day is especially important to us because our children were adopted. The lady had a big grin and hugged me and said "thank you, thank you- you are the reason we do what we do!" Now, normally being thanked for adopting my children sounds trite and offensive. We have maintained that we adopted because that was God's calling for us to become parents. But today, it didn't bother me. I felt a feeling of gratitude to God for the gift of our children. Because the fact is, with many adoptive families, the reason our children are ours is because they were the result of an unplanned pregnancy. And we all know the choices their birthmothers had. When we feel grateful to their birthmothers for them, we are not thanking them for "gifting" us with our children. God did that. We are thanking them for choosing life. Choosing life by choosing to carry them to full term, knowing their hearts would break when they would place them in the arms of another. They set aside their own pain, both physical and emotional to see that their child was given a chance. You see, there may be many, many unwanted pregnancies each year. But there are NO unwanted children. Someone wants them.
We celebrate LIFE today.
And I am thankful for the many women who give their time at pregnancy centers helping others who face unplanned pregnancies, and providing resources for them to make choosing life over death a little easier.
We will fill our baby bottle and take it back to church in 2 weeks.
Isaac started it by emptying his piggy bank. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I need an opinion...

I will be ordering Vivi a custom birthday outfit this year off of Etsy. This is the last year she will be my baby girl as 3 seems to be the end of the baby years. Four year olds are preschoolers! Gasp! The shirt I order will have a big number "3" on it and my dilemma is that I don't know if the fabric should be polka dots as that had been her dress pattern for her 1st and 2nd birthdays. The polka dot fabric would be 183 below.

Or if I should go with the trendy and oh-so-cute zebra or giraffe print as shown here (34 or 35)..
Never having been one to keep up with the trends, I still find this to be irresistible.
If I went with the zebra, the outfit would look like this:
How cute is that?!!
I also love the idea of the giraffe print.
But polka dots have been our tradition.
I don't know what to do...
Help!!

I love my Paigey

Look at how gorgeous this girl is becoming!! I was her childhood nanny (beginning when she was 4 and her brother was 8 weeks old!). She was my little jr. bridesmaid in our wedding, so cute!!Anyway, she has continued to be the joy of my life. She will be fourteen in April. What a beauty!

But besides the fact that she is so adorable, she is really becoming a woman of character, strength, and integrity. I hope as a teen Vivi exibits a lot of Paige's same qualities...maybe less eye make-up though. ;) J/K Paige!! She is very popular at school but does not fall into the traps that her peer group does of having a foul mouth, doing things with the opposite sex that are unwholesome, and generally acting up as teen girls and boys often do. Now, I am not claiming she is perfect- she is hopelessly flawed like the rest of us. But at a very young age, she struggles with who she wants to be and she takes on topics beyond her years. She has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even once standing up to a whole group of friends that were going to see a rated R movie. She stood her ground and said she wouldn't go in. And they followed her to a different move. That is just the kind of person she is. Here is another example. On Monday, she posted this on her blog:



"Recently on MySpace two girls were promoting a website called abort.73.com which is against abortion. Another girl posted a bulletin telling them to stop because, 'getting an abortion is like stepping on a bug, the baby wasn't even formed yet.' YET. EXACTLY. God has plans for that baby!! He put that baby on the earth for a REASON. What if that was the baby that was going to cure cancer? Besides if you are having sex and you don't want a baby, that's yourrr problem! Pay the consequneces for your actions! Man up!"

Wow. What can I say? I am just so proud of her convictions. I had a conversation with her a summer or two ago about abortion and she said that some of her girlfriends had said they would have them, because they couldn't see "giving up" a baby to adoption. I informed her of what the procedure entails and of course she was shocked, as anyone with the proper information should be! And I told her if every woman agreed with that mindset, my two children wouldn't be here.
Sadly, the facts are that most abortions occur when the baby is formed. There is a heart beat, there are fingers and toes. It is sad but true. And recently I saw a clip about how Houston is currently building the 2nd largest abortion clinic in the world. Right here in our own state. You can see the information about that on this website: http://www.bound4life.com/. It is a great organization comprised of young adults who do silent protests and marches with their mouths bound with red tape. Sure beats the abortion protestesters who shout and scream and flash ugly images. I could see Paige joining in this. She has just the right amount of spunk and fire in her to really use her life and her voice for something BIG. Maybe not this cause, but there will be others that she can take on. I just know that someday she will.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What?!

Okay, you know sometimes on this blog I need to just vent.
Today is that day. Excuse the cynicism ahead of time. It just has to come out sometimes.

This cute little flashback of baby Vivi giving her annoyed face is to represent how I feel right now. I have a major pet peeve when it comes to cyber social networking like FB, and it is people who come out of the woodwork and now want something from you...as in you have not seen them face to face in over 10 years and they are suddenly pregnant and want to invite you to their baby shower. Now, truly I love baby showers as much as the next gal...really I do...those little outfits and the beautiful packages get me every time! It is all just so sweet. But what I don't like is having a person whom I was out of touch with already by the time I married, so not only was she not at my wedding, but I certainly was not at hers; come out of no where and want to invite me and every person she has ever known to her baby shower because she is pregnant with her first born. Okay I know that was a major run-on...but I'm venting, so stay with me. This person has never met my children, she has no idea where I live, she has no clue as to what my life has been like for the past 10 years. We haven't even officially "caught up" with each other on FB. We don't go to the same church anymore, we don't run with any of the same friends. And we have not spoken or seen each other since at least the year 2000, I would say. Yet I am supposed to want to show up at her party with a blue gift bag and a package of newborn diapers. What?! I am not sure I even know her husband's name. What is it about getting pregnant with your first child that makes people think that every person around them should be so delighted that they want to shower them with gifts? It is just craziness.


Okay...tell me I am not alone here in this very frustrating aspect of cyber social networking, or just poor social etiquette And believe me, ignoring the request for my address has not worked. After 3 personal requests, I gave in and sent it. Guess I can be looking forward to a baby blue colored envelope showing up in my mailbox in the next few weeks. Will I be RSVPing? Hmmm...let me think about that one.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nana's Birthday Surprise



Tomorrow Billy's Mom turns 60 years old! We celebrated this milestone birthday by surprising her in Houston. We were waiting at a restaurant with cake and balloons when she walked in. Billy's sister was able to leave work early to be there too.


The next day we took the kids to Incredible Pizza.

They enjoyed the fun with their Nana and Aunt Beth.




Our gift to Nana was a craft time of painting a birdhouse and a bird feeder gazebo. The kids used brown paint and then Vivi accented hers with pink and Isaac had light green.

They turned out so cute! She will be able to hang them in her yard.




Below is a little movie of some video clips I took of the weekend.

Happy Birthday, Nana!!


video

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Rough Patch

Tonight Billy cracked me up when he said in all seriousness, "I think Vivi and I are at a rough patch in our relationship." like they are a couple having to work through some issues! I am still laughing at this one, but after the day we had with our little darling- I could see where he was coming from. Father and daughter were at each other ALL day and here is the run-down of why:
~Vivi awoke at approximately 5:30, on a Sunday- Billy's only full day off.
And she wanted a show and a cup of milk. Pronto.
~During her bath before church she rubbed bath foam all over her head and face after the hot water had already run out. So Billy had to boil water and mix it with cool water just to rinse her off.
~During lunch, she refused to eat anything but 3 bites of corn and her entire drink. Then she peed in her pants on her way to the potty.
~She didn't take a nap and just when we were settling in to watch a movie, out she comes- too late to put her back. She proceeds to climb on us, use toy doctor equipment on us and generally beg for everything and anything.
~she puts princess shoes on and lets herself out into the backyard with no coat, un beknowst to us as we are folding laundry. While outside she turns the faucet on and gets all wet.
~she screams and cries when Billy scolds her and reopens a wound on her hand and proceeds to bleed all over her bed post. I guess blood doesn't make her squeamish.
~She takes 3 different apples out of the fruit bowl and takes two bites out of each, placing them back in the fruit bowl- bite side down to be discovered hours later.
~We noticed that half the jar of dog treats were gone. Lovely...hopefully neither of the dogs gets a tummy ache tonight.
~She ate all her dinner (one would think SO after lunch) but cries and pouts about getting her teeth brushed. She then tantrums that she is not permitted to sleep in her tent tonight and proceeds to scream long after we leave the room.
But alas, she is quiet...and sleeping...
where she wants to be.
Good grief.
Billy said "she just doesn't do what I tell her to do." I said "she doesn't do what anyone tells her to do and I promise you honey, one day this will pay off big time for her. " :)
All joking aside, she is my sweet girl and most days does obey. We have had a few DVD casualties, some rotting fruit, and an advent calendar that did NOT make it to the 25th... we were warned by her birthmother that this would likely be her personality. Boy is it. I mean her birth sister's nickname is "Sassy". That should have tipped us off! But of course we believed with proper parenting and a firm hand we would get her in line in no time. It is days like this that make me wonder who is winning this battle of the wills? I think nature is winning out on nurture. Sleep well, princess.
5:30 a.m. comes all too quickly in this house!
I think her birth family will enjoy receiving the hand on the hip photo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

almost there from Laurie on Vimeo.

Billy got an Ipod docking station alarm clock for Christmas and he downloaded "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog movie that Vivi calls "Tinana". It has become a daily thing for them to dance in our room to the song. Here is Vivi doing her number in her dance leotard!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Furball at my feet

I haven't been taking many pictures lately. This new year has gotten off on a very busy start and my mind is preoccupied on a lot of things. But I had to share this, my sweet sweet Oscar. This dog is my heartbeat. Everywhere I go, there he is.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Letting Go

**Wow, with all of the pregnancy announcements popping up like hotcakes on Facebook...this post could NOT have come at a better time in my life. I should have known the new year brings new life! P.S. Thanks for the shout outs on your blogs, Jennifer and Michael over at Tapestry! It is always a blessing to know that people care about what I write!**


Often the start of a new year, brings on resolutions. In the past I always focused on several things I wanted to change about myself or my circumstances and would set out feverishly to accomplish my goals, usually entailing eating better, excercising and losing weight. This year I just didn't have it in me. The thought occurred to me that I am just plain sick of focusing on me. I can too quickly become my own idol. I get tired of always being a project, tired of talking about finances, goals, and plans..all the things that I want to accomplish in a new year. And ultimately am reminded of all my past failures on those journeys to a "new year and a new me"... whatever that means. It is a re-run that will never shut off.

Today's sermon at church was one of the best I have heard in a long time. It was perfect for the beginning of a new year and so timely in what has been whirling around in my brain lately. Our pastor taught on the story of Abraham sacrificing his only son Isaac as a call to what God had commanded him to do. He had to resolve to let go of his fears and desires, and he trusted that in the end, God would provide. He even told his son "God will provide the sacrifice." Our pastor, Chuck Swindoll, spoke about how going into a new year that there may be many things we are clinging to and have been for a long time. Whether that be material possessions, job security, dealing with the death of a loved one or a terminal illness. He spoke to me when he said that maybe you need to let go of a dream you have held to for a long time. He said "dreams die tragically." I immediately began to tear up.

For as long as I can remember ya'll know I wanted to be a mom. Only I thought that would happen the way it does for everyone else- through conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. I believed it was my greatest calling and accomplishment as a woman to be given the privilege of ushering new life into this world. My body would finally do something right instead of always being my nemesis as it has been since I was a child. I was never able to skate, turn cartwheels, cheer lead, do gymnastics, run a marathon, or even fit in a tiny pair of jeans! My body always worked against me. I thought well one day I'll be excited to wear baggy shirts and these hips will come in handy in childbearing! But no. My body couldn't even do that. And this has been a dream unfulfilled that I have clung to bitterly for years. Sure, the sting of it is not always there. I have made peace with God about how He chose to bring my children to me. I even feel deep, deep gratitude for His love in caring so deeply about my heart's desire to mother that he brought a daughter to me as a newborn, and allowing me to witness her entrance into this world. And I feel immense pride when I see Isaac's sweet brown face and I know there is no way he could have ever come from my body and been this perfect.

But when I see a woman, swollen around the middle, glowing with the mystery of what is inside her...when I hear about the excitement that her mother has in welcoming a new grandchild into the fold... when I think about breastfeeding and all it's ups and downs- I feel the sting, and it is sharp and comes without warning. It is the pain of a dream unfulfilled. You see for me there will never be a big "Guess What?" announcement that brings joy and excitement to those I share it with. If and when we announce that God will be blessing us with another member of the family, unlike pregnancy, this is seen as a choice. And it is. It takes much planning and requires lots of paperwork. Nevertheless, when the day comes that we begin the process all over again, the questions will swirl..."are you sure this is the right time? Do you have room? How will you support another one? Aren't you content with the two you have? How will you pay for the adoption? How?....Why?....When?" You see this is the reaction most common amongst those of us who build our family through adoption. And likely there will not be a convenient 40 weeks to figure that all out! There will be no one bringing balloons and flowers to the hospital to welcome our little one into the world and family. Only one dear friend came for Vivi. Oh they were invited, mind you. But we faced that one alone. Why? Because of the "what if's" I suppose. What if the birthmother doesn't place? What if it is awkward meeting the birth family? What if? Hey we asked ourselves those very questions...but would not have missed those moments for the world. And I know stating these words stem from selfish desires and possibly offends. The fact is we all have let down the ones we love in one way or another. I am all too guilty of that very thing. I thank my Lord for His forgiveness in my own shortcomings that I too may forgive others.

But, these are the dreams that died when I didn't birth my children. Those are the memories we don't have.
Today with the help of my pastor who asked those of us who were clutching tightly to something we just couldn't let go to stand, I stood... and I sobbed. Billy stood too for his own life's burdens and many more in the congregation stood. We stood in unison for those things that have been our baggage to bear in this world. And we stood as a symbol that today we needed to release them.

Today, friends... I chose to release mine. I will never carry life inside of me. I will never get to tell my husband "it's a boy!" with a little blue onesie in a paper bag. Instead we have come to wait by the phone anxious to hear at the same time if our dreams will come true, and when. God spoke to my heart today that I needed to let that go. And I did. I released it with all the broken dreams and fantasies I had built up in my own heart. And I let in pure joy for the gift of life and the promise of eternity that I have been given.

A harpist played "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." Here are the lyrics that stood out to me today:
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!

Ocean depth of happy rest...may my joy and peace be as deep as the ocean as I let go of sin and sadness. Joy for me is a constant thing I have to tap into. Happiness is based on circumstance, but joy is based on my position in Christ. It can never be taken from me. This new year I resolve to live with JOY. Immeasurable joy. My prayer for each of you faithful readers and my new comers...who have made it this far in this LONG post...is that you too experience JOY this year. We can fight the good fight together in this mission. And I just bet this is one new year's resolution that we will conquer!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Change

What'cha gonna do with the 36 cents

Sticky with Coke on your floorboard

When a woman on the street is huddle in the cold On a sidewalk vent trying to keep warm

Do you call her over hand her the change Ask her a story ask her her name

Or do you tell yourself

You're just a fool

Just a fool to believe you can change the world

You're just a fool

Just a fool to believe you can change the world

What'cha gonna do when you're watching t.v.

And an ad comes on Yeah you know the kind

Flashin' up pictures of a child in need

For a dime a day you can save a life

Do you call the number reach out a hand

Or do you change the channel call it a scam

Or do you tell yourself

You're just a fool

Just a fool to believe you can change the world

Don't you listen to them when they say

You're just a fool

Just a fool You believe you can change the world

Oh the smallest thing can make all the difference

Love is alive

Don't listen to them when they say

You're just a fool

Just a fool You believe you can change the world

The worlds so big it could break your heart

And you just wanna help

But not sure where to start

so you close your eyes

Send up a prayer into the dark

You're just a fool

Just a fool You believe you can change the world

Don't listen to them when they say

Youre just a fool

Just a fool you believe You can change the world

Oh the smallest thing can all the difference

Love is alive

Don't listen to them when they say

You're just a fool

Just a fool You believe you can change the world

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our Year in Review-2009

January- Martin Luther King Jr. parade in downtown Dallas.

February...love any chance to love on my family!

March- Vivi potty trained within a week of turning 2 years old.


April- Easter!

May- Spring photo shoot


June- summertime begins!

July- vacation to Pensacola, Fl


August- Isaac starts Pre-k!

September- Billy turned 30 years old in Galveston


October- A Bride Princess and Buzz Lightyear

November- Thanksgiving in our new home

December- Our annual Santa hat photos.

What a blessed year it was. Our kids grew WAY to fast. I cannot believe that I no longer have babies but a little boy and a little girl. Where has the time gone? We look forward to this new year and all the many joys it will bring.