Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Fourth Graders (and the baby I snuck in the 4th grade room)

Well, first, thank you to all of you who prayed our time with 4th graders would go well yesterday.  I am pleased to say I had a delightful time and I think the girls might have learned something about Jesus as well!  E had about 10 boys and I had 7 a room in the early childhood room.  Thank goodness, they brought in big kid tables and chairs.  They also brought in games appropriate for 4th graders instead of preschoolers but you wouldn't have known.  Our kiddos were immediately attracted to the preschool toys-dressing up as princesses and firemen, crouching around the train table, and roaring with the dinosaur action figures.  It's like the toys took them back six years and they were 4 again.  Lucky for us, they remembered how to read and respond just in time.

I have to admit to you I was super nervous.  My strength is not elementary kids.  Don't get me wrong--I love kids.  Of a certain age.  Namely, the baby age. I admit it. I am a baby person.  Any baby within ear or eyeshot? I'm  there!  I will soothe her, cuddle him, walk her up and down the hallway til we're both exhausted.  But 4th graders? Well, they're just not as comfortable to me.  They have some key differences.  Namely, they talk.  A lot. And they have opinions other than those expressed by a wailing cry or a dramatic tantrum.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be up to the task of overseeing seven 4th grade girls on their quest through the book of Mark.  But the Holy Spirit totally came through big time and the girls and I also felt at home.  And my college student who helped? Cool as a cucumber--you would assume she's a seasoned teacher instead of a sophomore in college.  In the span of two hours, the nine of us ate pizza, played an ice breaker, took a nature walk, went through the book of Mark in a serious group Bible study and made fun, get-to-know you pages.

When we finished our study, as the girls were making their get-to-know-you pages, I looked across the hall and heard and saw the screams of one of my favorite one-year-old cuties. She was bawling at the top of her lungs and the baby-sitters looked desperate.  So, knowing my strengths and the fact that my young ladies were content and making fun crafts, I did what any baby-loving, control freak would do.  I marched myself across the hall and grabbed her, without as much as asking! Yup, I took Cutie pie in my arms.  You see, this particular Cutie happens to be attached to me on Sundays. We spend every Sunday snuggling during church. So I knew I could get her to calm down and since they were a little short-handed in the nursery, they were happy to let me take her. Cutie and I went back to the fourth graders, chatted it up, and she laid out on my shoulder, exhausted. So I guess you could say I got the best of both worlds--I found out just how enjoyable ten year olds can be and I was rewarded with a baby!  And if you are wondering, the baby's momma was totes fine when I told her I took her on a little elementary school journey.

  A note on the get-to-know-you pages.  They were perfect examples of why I am falling in love with 4th grade.  I wish I would have taken a picture. I asked them all "one thing I know about Jesus" and "one thing I want to know about Jesus." Friends, I am tickled to tell you one of our sweet young women wrote a great piece about what she knew about Jesus.  And when it came to what she wanted to know, wouldn't you know that ten year old darling wanted to know Jesus' wardrobe choices? I died laughing. Hysterical.  We start so young, don't we?

I don't know if we'll get to the tunics and sandals Jesus wore but I do think we'll all learn a little about his character and how he affects our lives. In one night, I went from nervous to pumped.  I think it will be a great semester.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Little Man Monday

Hello Little IC,

I missed writing to you last Monday. It was my birthday and Dad took me out to dinner. We enjoyed Thai food and adult conversation.  Birthdays are fun at 28 but I can't wait to help you plan parties for your birthdays. That will be WAY more fun than celebrating my own birthday.  I kept wondering, Little IC, how many more birthdays I would share without knowing you, without being your mom in person instead of just in my heart.  I don't know the answer to that, Little IC, and no one does except our Heavenly Father.  Rest assured we will celebrate big and make up for lost time when you get here.

Dad and I are going to get fingerprints soon so we can get closer to coming to get you.  Basically they will make images of the tips of our fingers. This is the last step before we wait in a long line to meet you.  I can't wait to see the tips of your fingers.  I will kiss them and we will play itsy bitsy spider and come up with all kinds of ways to celebrate your little fingers.

Little Man, I just can't wait to be your mom.  I am sure you will be a pistol, as my mom would say.  We'll have our battles.  I am guessing you will have quite the strong will.  If you don't start out that way, you'll learn it soon enough from your dad.  Just kidding. I'm the stubborn one.  Still, knowing I will get to be your mom through the good and the bad will be the only thing keeping me going on this long wait.

I love you, Little IC.  Til Next Monday,


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Excitement, or lack thereof

I think you have every right to know that my life as a 28 year old is much more exciting than it was at 27. That is, if you believe excitement is a Friday night filled with watching "Whitney" (which I can't recommend, because of both its laugh track and hearing one of the most vulgar jokes I've heard on prime time TV in its content) on DVR followed by an 8:30 bed time.  I can't make this stuff up people.  It does, I suppose, make it a little better that I watched "Parenthood" on my computer til 9:30 instead of crashing straight to sleep.  Right? Right??

Well anyway, apparently I needed that sleep because I woke up at the ripe hour of 9:30 a.m. and felt refreshed but not like I had overslept. I have always been one who needs a lot of sleep so this was no surprise to me, the twelve hour weekend slumber. Hubs, on the other hand, is always shocked by how much I can sleep.  He woke up about 6:30 and started playing with the puppies.  Friends, I have a puppy story to tell but I am honestly not sure how many readers out there can handle it.  It's hilarious and disgusting all at the same time. If you are not into hilariously disgusting, I recommend you skip down, I'll give you some asterisks so you can see when the story ends.

*****(this is the beginning, not the ending, obvs)*****

Yesterday, I thought I saw Gabby carrying some underthings of mine in her mouth.  When I went to grab them from her, they were gone.  I had a strange suspicion that she didn't hide them under the bed.  Mostly because our bed doesn't have a frame so you pretty much can't get under it.  It is on the floor.  Anywho, I just felt maybe, just maybe, she had swallowed them.  But, of course, I couldn't prove it.  So, I mentioned it to the Hubs and left it at that.

Flash forward to 7am this morning while I am sleeping.  I get this tap on my shoulder from E, who explains to me the reason the water is running in the bathtub is because he has been washing his hands and feet, due to the gross scenario I am about to give you.  Mind you, I was so asleep I didn't hear the water run. I did hear him apologize, though.  Kind but unnecessary to the girl who can sleep through almost anything.

Anyway, apparently, while they were running laps in the yard, Gabs went into "the position" and hubs looked over to see not a regular deuce, as he had expected, but a pair of panties wrapped in a deuce.  Ew.  So, he goes to grab them from her but he was too late, she started to EAT THEM AGAIN!!  Seriously, people, my mind is not this gross.  I can't make this up.  So, he has to grab them out of her throat, where they are 2/3 of the way down, and pull them out of her mouth, covered in her own poop.  If the story stopped there, that would be funny right? Hubs would wash up and we'd all have had a good laugh.  But no.

She goes into "the position" again and lo and behold, a sock comes out with this mess.  He goes to grab it and girlfriend SWALLOWS it before he can get it away from her.  So now, we are waiting for a poop-covered men's dress sock to come out.  Again. The good news is she is completely fine and all the  socks and underpants seem to be passing through her just fine.  Plus, this gave me a reason to buy a new rubbermaid stacking container--to get more clean socks and underpants off the floor of our closet.

But I had no idea this was even a scenario to worry about when we got a bigger dog.  Guess I know now.  Whoops!

***You can read again***

So, after my sluggish 9:30 wake up, my maitre' d, also known as the husband (have I mentioned how awesome he is because if not, I should really be reprimanded), brought be French toast and coffee, in preparation for our seven miler.  I milled around and delayed as long as I could, but I eventually made my way to the door in my running clothes.

An hour and half later, we had run 7 miles, walked a half a mile, stretched, and were feeling awesome. We are training for the St. Jude Half Marathon, and I think we are putting the St. Louis full on our calendar, to run for As Our Own. I look forward to sharing more about this later, but this post is already long.

So after my first pumpkin latte of the season and a trip to purchase a Rubbermaid container as a direct result of "the incident" we are now at home, resting comfortably and getting ready for a nap.  Because, you know, 12 hours of sleep just isn't enough for a 24 hour period.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why I'm Going to Hang Out with 4th Graders

We just finished dinner with two college kids we met approximately one week ago. What would bring together a married couple in their late twenties and two college students who didn't know each other?

Jesus.  Pure and simple.  Oh yeah. And free food (for the college students, anyway).

We are so excited to be leading a fourth grade small group this winter.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

The last time I regularly worked with 4th graders was 2002.

The last time Hubs worked with 4th graders was never.

Oh yes, we have some experience over the summer with Kids Club, but nothing consistent.

People, this is going to get good.

My co-leader and I will be leading from Tim Keller's "King's Cross" while Hubs and his co-leader will be leading from James (the book of the Bible, not the name of the co-leader).  Hubs is excited to be creating his own curriculum.  He was not as enthused when I reminded him that he could not teach an entire lesson on Martin Luther and the reformation and he probably shouldn't use the words paradox or "debtor's ethic."  And yet, I am pretty sure he's gonna be great at it.

The thing is, we know when God stretches us the most, he also shows up in big ways.  So yes, if you think of us next Wednesday, say a little prayer for our 20 9-and 10-year-old kiddos learning about Jesus with us.

Adoption Update: We have an appointment to have our "biometrics" taken on October 12.  In regular English, we are getting fingerprinted.  Hooray!  People, this is the last step before our paperwork makes the jaunt to the mighty continent of Africa and stays there for a long while.  Wahoo!!

Off to catch up on Thursday night TV. DVR is a glorious thing--I can  converse with college kids and still have all my shows waiting for me.  I'm off...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Birthday Recap

I know you've all been waiting on pins and needles to read exactly what TV shows we watched for my big day.  Because, you know, everyone gets so excited for the big 2-8 celebration.  Well, you will be happy to know we changed our tune a little and we actually went out to dinner.  Seriously.  I know.  But it was a special day and E had a great day at work, too, so we enjoyed Thai food and happy hour beverages at our favorite Thai restaurant.  And then. AND THEN.  We got "The King's Speech" from Redbox. People, it was epic. Except for the fact that my administrative assistant told me the kids say epic means totally horrible. I tried to protest but he promises this is the new slang.  If this is true, it was not epic. It was the opposite of epic.

Speaking of work, I am in the middle of a big time in our office. That big said, my portion of the big time includes putting together multiple page, giant spreadsheets.  So really, the most exciting part of my big work project is deciding on my cutest shoes for the day (which no one else will see) and listening to Zero 7 on Pandora.  And yet, somehow, I am making great progress and truly like what I am doing.

In other news, Gabby went to the vet today. She is 28 pounds at 4 months old.  She is the cutest puppy I have ever owned.  And this is not a dis to Rigo--we adopted him at a year old.  Newest photo of Gabs...

Yes, she is a beaut. And she loves socks. And underpants. As evidenced by the pairs I keep finding her frolicking in the yard with.

And friends, I know this has nothing to do with anything and it's not the highest quality but I have to show you anyway.  How great is this photo!?

Have a great midweek! I'll be watching new TV shows and eating tuna casserole.  It's no King's Speech and Thai food but it will do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In a mere matter of hours, the clock will strike 12:01 and it will officially be September 19--the day of my birth.  What am I doing for my birthday? Well I firmly believe in the Dave Barry quote, "There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11." So yes, Hubs and I plan to have a lovely night at home watching whatever TV sounds good.  And my best friend and I will do dinner Tuesday, just to celebrate another year of our friendship.

The lovely thing about parents (or at least my parents) is that it doesn't matter how old you get, they still celebrate like you're five.  The difference is, when I was five, I asked for Barbies. No, I don't remember but if I were a guessing woman, I would say I asked for Barbies. I do remember my fifth birthday. I had just gotten my pink plastic frame glasses and was wearing them as I held up a full hand, proudly displaying all five fingers, to show I was officially one hand old.  I was so old.  Anyway, I am not five any more.  I am out of fingers. And toes.  And thus, my birthday request from my parents have gotten a little more practical.  I requested a new laundry separating tote. One with lift out baskets, four dividers, and caster wheels.  Kind of like this.

Well, actually, it's exactly like that. From Target.  I couldn't be happier. Or older.  But seriously, I can lift out my laundry, one load at a time. and I can WASH the baskets. It's amazing.

My parents didn't stop there, though. They knew my love of organization. So, when they came up for the football game yesterday, they also brought more organizational hoopla.  I am now the proud owner of plastic stackable recycling bins. They have a new home in my garage and make everything sharper and more sorted.  Seriously, for a girl who loves organization, nothing says "I'm 28!" more than a laundry sorter and recycling sorters.

Because they spoil me so, I also got some Pampered Chef display dishes. And some great earrings.  And a kick-tail tailgate (see what I did there!).  The joy of all of it really was seeing them and celebrating with the family I've loved and had from the very beginning.  I am blessed. Blessed beyond imagine. I am getting closer and closer to my blog title being obsolete.  And yet, I march on, each year better than the one before it.

So tomorrow, I will open my eyes (God-willing) and celebrate one more day in one more year of blessings, knowing that whatever happens, it's because God thinks it's best for me.

Thank you to Mom and Dad for a fabulous beginning, a foundation in Jesus Christ, and for loving and supporting me each and every moment to this day.

Thank you to my dear, dear husband for making me feel special, loved, and grounded each year we spend together.

And thank you to God for letting me have each day.

I'm off to watch the rest of the Emmys.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some stuff and other stuff

Work is keeping me incredibly busy this week. Just call me the dream dasher. I am prepping clinical applications so I can tell 55 students they get to start nursing school and countless others that they have to employ their backup plan.  Unfortunately.  Luckily for me, I just returned from a conference. It was really perfect timing, reminding me of why I do what I do and why it makes a difference.  Anyway, my apologies for the slow season on the blog--I've needed the mental rest at home.

Currently, I am getting no mental rest. Remember that cute puppy I introduced a few weeks ago? Well, she's a three month old, 25 pound puppy now and she is FULL of mischief.  Hubs and I are watching some Survivor show but mostly, we are shooing her off the couch.  And then the chair. And then the couch. And get it.  She has a bed but she has no interest in the bed. She really just wants to get on our furniture. I might be ok with that if she hadn't already put a few serious scratches in our beautiful red leather chair.  This whole discipline thing is tough. I feel like I have a toddler who walks on four legs. Everything else seems to match up pretty well--we are potty training and cleaning up a lot of potty. She doesn't express her feelings in words only in sounds and cries. She does things solely to show her stubborn will. She whines when she doesn't get her way.  But the biggest one of all--she's so cute it makes it hard to discipline her sometimes.  Good thing we get a trial run at this with a puppy.

On the adoption front, the government sent us a letter letting us know they got our request. It was exciting to open the letter addressed from homeland security.  Then it was a bit of a letdown to read it and realize it just confirmed we sent them a request.  I guess we'll keep waiting.  It seems like we're gonna get to do a lot of that the next couple of years.

Lucky for us, we have a puppy to train during that time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Man Monday

Well Hello Little IC,

I can't believe it's been a week since we talked already!  The days are going by really quickly, which is good I guess.  It makes the waiting time fly by.  We'll see if I'm singing that tune in a year or two.  I think of you so often as I go about my day and week.  Today the news was talking about new cartoon research and I wonder what kind of cartoons you will like.  Will you be a fan of Diego like me or will you be more like your dad and like the busier, action-packed type?

This weekend we watched Uncle Pete run a half marathon. We took the puppies and our friends Ashley and Addy came too.  I am hoping you will like Addy.  She's a pretty great bud of ours. She came over yesterday, too, and tried to learn how to walk around the house.  Gabby gave her a scare when she scratched her but don't worry, IC, I think she's ok.  We are going to continue to train Gabby.  She doesn't understand yet how delicate little ones are.  I promise to teach her.

Dad and I have been going for a lot of runs lately.  We love to run and we wonder whether you will like running too.  I saw a woman at the race pushing a stroller on her run.  It looked like a lot of work but if you'll come with me, I promise to push you in the stroller as best I can.  Dad and I love to run together but I know it will be much more fun when you can run with us. I look foward to the days you can run alongside instead of in a stroller.  I wonder if you'll be into it.  Whatever you like, Little Man, we'll support you.  It doesn't have to be running:).

Little IC, I hope you know how crazy thrilled we are to be planning you into our lives. We pray for you and your start to life.   We pray you will know how much we love you, even before we get a chance to say it to your face.

Take care, Little Man.  I love you so much.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Little Man Monday

Hello IC,

Tis true, it's not really Monday. Your letter is coming on Tuesday this week because it was Labor Day on Monday. To most people this means the beginning of fall and a day off work. To our family it signifies a big family reunion at your Great Grandma's house.  We had a fun time and I got to talk a lot about you--about what we've done so far on our path to you and our plans for when you arrive home.  You have a pretty great extended family, IC, and I know you're going to fit right in.  They are so excited to see you come home to us and they want to know every detail of the process.  I can't wait to show them your picture, when we finally know who you are:).

We also got to go to a Tigers Game this weekend, Little Man. As much as I like football and plan to teach you to like it too, it was just too hot. We would have had to come home with you straight away so it's best you weren't there.  It won't be too many more football seasons until I can deck you out in Mizzou gear.  I know you'll look great in black and gold.  I got to teach the girls behind me some of the Mizzou traditions and it will be so fun to teach them to you, too.

Little Man, as fall comes I so look forward to the many falls we will share together.  Fall is a great time for kids and I think you'll fall in love with it, too.  Someday in the not too distant future, we'll carve pumpkins and jump in leaves and take nice crisp walks in the evening air. Until then, IC, I think of you often and pray for you to know how dearly we love you and how badly we crave for you to be a part of our family.

Even if it's two or three years, IC, we know it's not that long.  We love you.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'd Lose My Head...

I was one of those kids in grade school who was lucky to make it home with my homework. More than once, my mom or dad (shout-out to my dad for the three years he was Mr. Mom while he finished seminary) had to come to school with my textbook, permission slip, lunch box, or track spikes. In fact, once they made a speedy trip to Linn, the town we'd played basketball in the night before, to pick up a backpack I had left. Side note in full disclosure: I did not play basketball. I kept stats. Yup. Don't be fooled by my running: I was the stat--keeper for most high school sports. I digress...

 Amazingly, I've gotten through two college degrees and four years of marriage with most of my wits (and my paperwork) about me still. Yes, I may misplace my debit card once (or five times) a week. And I may wander aimlessly through the mall parking lot looking for my car. For the most part, though, the scatterbrain has grown up. That's the thing about adoption, though--even pieces of you you think have grown up can reappear in the kid version.

 Hubs and I received our finalized home study in the mail two nights ago. Friends, if you have not been around adoption much, I will let you know: it is a pretty big deal. We've spent a good part of 5-6 months gathering paperwork and having meetings for this exact reason. I jumped for joy! We decided we would go together to Fed Ex to express ship our USCIS paperwork (the thing the US gov't approves to say we can adopt from out of the country) on Wednesday morning. I packed up my stuff the night before, paperwork and all. We woke up super early with the hopes of having a nice coffee/ quiet time together after we mailed off the pieces of our baby. And trust me, it kind of feels like you're mailing off pieces of your baby.

 So we get to Fed Ex, I pull out my binder, and here's where I have to explain to you that, as grown up as I feel, as ready to be a mom as I think I am, and as together as I'd like you to believe I can be, I left the USCIS paper and our cover letter on the microwave, where I had asked Hubs to sign them the night before. We had two choices: we could come back later or we could print them off and fill them out again. Hubs wanted to go with the former but I was not about to leave that store without a receipt showing my paperwork was on its way to being with the US government. Fifteen minutes, three printouts, and twelve dollars later, everything we needed was in an envelope and on its way. Adios, Baby, we'll see you in 6-12 weeks.

 So yes, our USCIS is on its way. For those adoption gurus who are wondering, my check, the home study, and the birth/marriage certificates WERE in my binder so we at least had those ready to go. The lesson I keep learning is no matter how much I plan this thing, I am really, really not in control. And that is, in the end, a good thing.

 For those wondering where this leaves us in the timeline of adoption, we have to wait for the US to give us a fingerprinting appointment. We don't know how long this will take. Then they will send us back the equivalent of a permission slip. We will take our permission slip, every other paper we've been hoarding, and lots more money, and mail it to Ethiopia by way of Virginia. Then, more waiting. And support-raising. And if you're wondering about that, God continues to bless us through kind people in ways we never, ever expect. Right now, the time frame is 10-16 months to referral but we have NO idea what it will look like in terms of real time for us. We're just excited to have one more step down and we look forward to receiving our "permission slip" as soon as we can.

 I promise not to lose it.