Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My little girl is growing up. Last week Alyssa insisted I remove the nightlight from her room. “Four-year-olds need a cozy dark room, mama” she said. I thought it was all talk (she is very brave in theory – not so much in practice) and that within a few minutes she’d be asking me to plug it back in. But no! She slept well all night in what is now a very dark room, and has slept without it every night since. She’s even planned out how she’s going to remove the nightlights from the rooms she sleeps in at her grandmas’ homes. I know it seems like such a small thing, but for some reason it really made me emotional. I have loved every stage of our children’s lives so far. I know I’ll love the next stages too. But the passing of each stage brings us one step closer to the day when she’ll leave us to start a life of her own. I’m even dreading school. In just 9 short months she’ll be starting kindergarten and I’ll never again get to be with her all day every day. Some people probably think that I’m cheating our children by refusing to put them in preschool, but these years go by so quickly that I couldn’t bear giving them up any sooner than I have to. I love my sweet girl. I love how responsible and grown-up she is becoming, but I don’t love the fact that she doesn’t need me quite as much as she used to.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It’s still technically Thanksgiving weekend – at least for another fifteen minutes – so I’ll add to my blog a list of a few things I’m thankful for…
I’m thankful for a church that preaches the Truth. For preachers there who are faithful to call me to obedience, even when I’m not all that willing to hear it. For Gus, who reminded me today that I can’t really have fellowship with God unless I’m routinely confessing my sin.
I’m thankful to live in a place where Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean bundling up from head to toe. Where we can enjoy a sunny day at the park in shorts and t-shirts when most of the rest of the country is dealing with snow.
I’m thankful for Christmas decorations, which thanks to a compromise involving artificial trees and real wreaths, allows me to enjoy them from this Friday until the end of December. For a husband who indulges my love of all things Christmas by carefully hanging lights from every peak and corner of our home. Who then also remembers to turn them on and off each night.
I’m thankful for a boy and a girl who truly love their mama, and who are now old enough to say so without solicitation. Who make me laugh each and every day – even when they’re in trouble!
I’m thankful for a little girl very far away who someday will love us as much as we already love her. For a God Who is present “everywhere that man can be,” including the orphanage where she’s waiting for us.
I’m thankful for my big truck that faithfully shuttles us wherever we need to go. For Costco, Target and Baja Fresh, where it takes us most frequently.
I’m thankful for free babysitting in the form of grandparents, aunts and uncles, all within a 10 minute drive. For the lessons our kiddos learn from each of them, and the deficiencies in our parenting that those lessons help fill.
I’m thankful for nice bed-sheets, non-fat milk, tangerines, denim, Coke Zero, digital cameras, prayer, e-mail, Tylenol, my wedding, bean and cheese burritos, Romans, Tivo, and a million other things big and small that together make me one of the most blessed of women.
None of these things do I deserve, and yet most of them I take for granted. Even on Thursday I was so busy with Thanksgiving that I neglected to really give thanks. So, this little list is a case of “better late than never.”

Saturday, November 18, 2006

One of these days we'll have two little girls in this girly little room, so Alyssa got a new "step bed" for her birthday. The kiddos spent the night at grandma and grandpa's last night so Dan and I were up late (even for us!) painting and reconfiguring her closet, assembling the beds, and then putting it all back together so we could suprize her with it this morning. Her reaction was every bit as precious as we hoped, and she and Parker spent all day climbing up and around the new "toy." We knew that it was a hit when she asked to take her nap 2 1/2 hours before her normal nap time! Now all we need is another little girl body to fill the 2nd bunk!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I know many of you read this blog for adoption news and I haven’t written on the subject lately. “Why?” you ask…because there’s not much of anything to share. We’re still waiting for a referral. It’s been almost 4 months now since we’ve been on the waiting list (a year and 4 months since we started this crazy process!) and I try hard not to dwell on it, but I honestly go to sleep every night and wake every morning with that little girl we don’t even know on my mind. I mostly wonder how old she is and what she looks like. I guess because her age at referral will really influence our family dynamic – will we be caring for an infant or getting to know a toddler? And also because those are the two pieces of information we’ll be getting next. Once we have her picture and know her birthday I’ll probably start to wonder about what she’s like, who is taking care of her, under what circumstances was she given up, how she’ll fit into our family, etc. I’ll also probably get anxious about all the changes she’ll make between the time she’s referred to us and the time we get to pick her up. I never dreamt quite how much God would teach me about patience and trusting His timing through this process. I pray that I’m actually learning the lessons so that He won’t have to tack on any more! At this point we’re 2nd on the waiting list and also 2nd on the list for a girl 0-24 months. According to our adoption agency there may be some more children available in the next few weeks, but even they don’t know the sex, age or medical condition of those kids until the paperwork is actually in hand. It also seems like boys are plentiful and girls are not. So pray for patience! Alyssa’s birthday is coming up and she was pretty sure she would have a little sister in time for her party. We’re trying to manage her expectations but we’re all ready to see our new special girl – this mama most of all!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I loved Disneyland before we had kids, but it just keeps getting more and more fun! Alyssa and Parker are now old enough to know exactly what they want to do and see. We have annual passes so we really have routine now. Their new favorite is the rollercoaster in ToonTown. Parker is just barely tall enough and it's always touch and go whether we're going to get laughs or tears, but even on the teary rides he's smiling and telling you how much fun it was within 5 seconds of the coaster stopping. Of course, Autopia will always be one of our staples. This trip was even more exciting in that there was a little collision in front of us. The bumpers of the cars got stuck together so we got to walk out (see Parker below) - a real treat if you're two! Teacups are also a highlight - especially when your kids aren't yet strong enough to make them really spin. Alyssa was thrilled to find Ariel! She got to tell her all about the Little Mermaid party she's having for her 4th birthday this week. Parker still isn't too sure about the characters. He'll talk about them all day long, but when push comes to shove he prefers to keep his distance.

I thought I'd also include a couple pictures of another trip to the Magic Kingdom we took in September, if for no other reason than to make our friend Pecadillo ( jealous. Our dear friends J~ and L~ were able to get us into Club 33, an exclusive private club stashed away above New Orleans Square. You'd never know it's there except for the unassuming door pictured below. The food was incredible - to rival any fancy restaurant I've ever been too - and the service, well I'll just say that we were there for 3 hours and were never in need of anything. It's the only place in Disneyland where you can order alcohol, which almost prompted me to order a glass of wine, but I much prefer grape juice! We also had a great view of the Fantasmic fireworks show on the little balcony adjacent to our table. On top of all of that though, the highlight was just being somewhere that most people don't get to go and where we may never be able to go again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I love my little blog. It’s a fun fad, but I think the whole concept might just stick around. I love getting to share pictures of my precious babies with our friends around the country, across the street, and around the world. I love that they all know where we are in the adoption process without having to explain it over and over in person. I love having a place to vent my joys, my frustrations, my hopes, my thoughts about my God. I love my new blog friends and the odd way we’ve gotten to know each other via almost no direct communication. I would love my blog even if no one ever read what I wrote, but it’s also fun to see my site meter climb and see those dots accumulate, representing hits from all over. I love getting comments and trying to guess who those guests are who don’t leave comments. I love my readers – all of them, and hope that one day I might get to meet more of them in person. So thanks for participating in this little part of my life and for “listening” to all my ramblings today, over the past few months and for all the months to come.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Marathons are fun!? Dan ran his second marathon on Sunday, and it caused all of us to wonder why in the world people do these things. Never mind that it was easily 85 degrees, there is nothing about it that looked enjoyable. My dear husband admirably finished, though he admitted that quitting sounded like a good idea around mile 3. The only exercise I enjoy involves two skis, some snow, and a chair to sit in every 5 minutes or so. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea of running 26.2 miles. I have horrible memories from Junior High of that sinking, sick-to-your-stomach feeling every time I caught wind of the rumor that we'd be running a mile in P.E. Catch that: a mile. A mile is the farthest I've ever run at one time. Now I imagine that if my children were in real danger I could run 3 marathons to save them, but only something that catastrophic could motivate me to exert that amount of energy. Dan's ability to set aside his pain to press on for hours at a time, refusing to give up, adds one more to the list of things I love about him. I truly admire his fortitude of mind and body. I just don't think I'll be joining him.

We waited for Dan at miles 16 and 20... He was pretty glad to see his little cheering section! The kids provided much need encouragment and ran with him for a while. Of course, they're convinced that they ran a marathon too!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Two year-old boys are so fun! Or at least mine is! People always talk about the terrible twos. Well, Parker definitely is becoming more independent as he approaches the two-and-a-half year mark, but I think he’s even more enjoyable than he was at two-and-a-half weeks. Every stage so far, with both Parker and Alyssa, has been better than the last. When I was pregnant with Parker I was pretty sure he was a boy, but even when they confirmed it with an ultrasound I couldn’t imagine what life with a boy would be like. I had no brothers growing up – just one sister – and Dan and I both kind of thought that we would also be a family of girls. I didn’t know what I would do with a boy. They really are so different! From the time he was old enough to sit up he’s been interested almost exclusively in “boy” toys: cars, balls, trains, guns, while Alyssa has always been a nurturer, much preferring her dolls to any of the boy stuff we were careful to have around. I mention all this now just because I’ve been having so much fun with him lately! Of course I enjoy Alyssa too. I appreciate how smart, considerate, observant, conscientious, beautiful and sensitive to correction she is. She already seems so grown up! But I knew I would love being a “girl mommy.” I never imagined how much I could love a little guy. Parker is very much a mama’s boy. Maybe it’s because he’s the baby, but loves being with me, and that of course is endearing. He also loves his sister. I can see that in time they might start to get on each other’s nerves, but for now at least he really hates to be away from her. Together they love to put on little concerts for us. They each have a little guitar and will stand on their stage (a bamboo rug in our living room) and perform all their Sunday School songs. Alyssa is usually the leader, but Parker sings with all his heart. He knows the motions, attempts to sing all the words and really shouts it out when it comes to a part he knows well. He’s also a great talker. He has an unusually long tongue so some of his pronunciations are still hard to understand, but he doesn’t give up. Sometimes when I just don’t get what he’s trying to say, I’ll say “okay buddy” or “sounds good son,” but somehow he always knows that I’m faking it and he’ll continue to repeat himself until I get it. Fortunately, Alyssa is a great translator and can help me out if I’m really lost. Parker is a great sport. He’s quick to share and doesn’t usually complain if someone steals his toy. My little boy is still very little, which I love! At almost 2 ½ he’s still wearing some 6-12 month shorts. He loves to climb and jump, which is entertaining but a little scary at times. One day a few months ago I found him sitting on TOP of our upright piano, deftly using the keyboard and music rack as steps. He was strictly instructed about the danger of that stunt and hasn’t repeated it, but I did find him recently on top of his dresser. I guess I’ll need to watch him a little more carefully! I love the way he asks for “just a one” and “Please no consequences mama.” There are just so many little things about him that bring a smile to my face. Now I can’t imagine life without a two-year-old boy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One of these days I promise I'm actually going to write something again, but for now, aren't Dorothy and the King of the Forrest adorable? We had such a great time Tuesday night trick-or-treating at our neighbors and playing the in bounce house and box city at Grace Baptist's Fall Festival. Since then the kids have sorted, counted and traded their candy at least 2 dozen times. They were also pretty excited that Gaga Margie (my mom) showed up as Glinda and that baby Linclon transformed into a scarecrow.