Saturday, December 27, 2008

Still here...

It has been a rough four weeks.  My dog's death really hit me harder than I expected and I didn't do the best job dealing with it.  Then both of my little girls ended up with ear infections.  Just as we recovered from that and as I was trying to get myself out of my depressed fog and try to focus on Christmas....the stomach flu hit.  All of us.  All four of us.  Oh my... 
Somehow, I managed to pull it all together and went on a whirlwind last weekend to wrap and bake and clean to prepare for Christmas.  I didn't think I was going to pull it off, but with very limited sleep, I did it.  
We actually had a very enjoyable Christmas holiday and thank God, we were all healthy by then. I am so grateful for that.  So, now I am trying to again get a handle on things like the laundry back- up and the fact that I can't see my living room floor due to the embarassing excess of toys for two very lucky little girls.  
I will try to get back into a regular routine for my blog in the new year.  
Hope everyone had a very blessed Christmas holiday!  

Monday, December 1, 2008

A sad good-bye

For those of you who are animal lovers, I'm sure you can relate to and understand my sadness today.  My 11 year old golden retriever recently was diagnosed with a form of cancer that could not be treated. He was just the best dog. He was loyal, active, gentle, great with children, and a great companion. He was with me through some low times and some high times.  I got him when he was about 12 weeks old.  He reached a point in his illness yesterday which was the sign we were waiting for, and I was insistent from the moment of his diagnosis and prognosis that he not be allowed to suffer at all.  So today my dad brought him to the vet for me and said good-bye while he had a peaceful ending.  I offered to bring him trying to be courageous, but was secretly grateful for my dad being the stronger one to be the one to have to bring him for that last vet visit.  

I know he had a great life.  He was treated very well and had a lot of fun.  I swear at times he would smile at me.  :)   

Good-bye, Teddy.  Thanks for a great 11 and a 1/2 years.  

Not Me Monday

Here is another of my Not Me Monday posts inspired by MckMama's blog.  
After reading mine, be sure to go to her page to read her's and check the other links out as well! 

This past week, I did Not read the first and second book of the Twilight series.  I am Not completely obsessed now with the series and did Not already start reading the third book.  I absolutely do Not feel like I'm sixteen again!  haha

I did Not overly rely on my husband being home for the long weekend to spend so much time with the girls so that I could read.  

I did Not do a little happy dance when I realized that there was still some pumpkin pie left from Thanksgiving. 

I do Not still have boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations all over my dining room waiting for me to put things out.  At least it is only the first of December and I still have time. 

So what did you Not do this past week? 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Off to a flying stop...

After so much praying, thinking, and discussions over the past year, my husband and I finally came to the decision that God meant for us to have a third child.  We decided that a domestic infant adoption was the best choice for us. A good friend who I was talking with recently told me about a friend of hers who had the best experience with an adoption facilitator.  I stopped believing in coincidences a long time ago and view everything now as part of God's plan, even the small details in life. 

So once we came to the decision to adopt, it just seemed like God was guiding us to apply with this adoption facilitator.  We were so excited about starting this new journey for our family and relieved that we felt that God was sending us in the right direction.  We mailed the initial application last week.  

I received an email two days ago from them regretfully informing me that they prefer not to work with the state that we live in.  Not that they couldn't, but due to some restrictions in our state, they choose not to work with prospective adoptive parents from here.  
I read the email three times just to make sure I understood it and each time I read it, my heart felt a little heavier.  

We are planning to call them to just clarify exactly what restrictions they are talking about.  
Then we will decide how to proceed from there in choosing another facilitator or agency.  
As my husband said, we are off to a flying stop.  ugh

At first I moped and felt sad. Then I started second guessing everything.  
Then I took a minute and thought about how I am choosing to live my life.  God is in control and it is His plan. Not mine.  Instead of seeing this "flying stop" as a bad thing, I have chosen to see it as simply another guiding force from God to send us in the right direction for the plans He has for me and my family.  

This positive attitude and strong faith thing doesn't come easy, but it is such a powerful way to shape my thinking and hopefully help me be the person He wants me to be.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day of thanksgiving, I decided to post about things that I am thankful for in my life.  I thank God everyday in my prayers for all of these things.  I'm sure I've forgotten something to add to my list, which shows me just how blessed I am and how many things I am so thankful to have in my life.  

What I am thankful for...
  • my two most wonderful blessings, Princess and Precious
  • my husband
  • my family
  • my faith in God and my trust in His plan for me
  • our good health overall
  • my husband's job and work ethic that allows me to be a sahm
  • a house to live in that we have made a home
  • food to eat
  • clothes to wear
  • people in our lives who have helped and supported us through challenging times
  • people in our lives who work with Princess and Precious to help them overcome delays and challenges 
  • an optimistic outlook 
  • smiles and laughter in my heart and in my home
I hope you have many things to be thankful for today. 

If you have a chance, check out Angie's blog today.  It really made me think and changed how I started my day.  It also made me a little extra grateful for being able to write the list above. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A fever and pie, and some music too!

We've had a busy kind of day here today.  Princess woke up really early and very hyper.  Not a good thing.  Whenever she has been that hyper in the past, she has always gotten sick later that day.  It is a strange thing her body does.  I, unfortunately, just wasn't making the connection earlier in the day.  It wasn't until around lunch time that I noticed she had suddenly become very quiet and was just sitting.  Not the usual Princess we know and love.  She also didn't want to eat anything for lunch.  Sure enough she had a fever by that point.  So, we are just hoping and praying that it is a 24 hour thing and she will be better by the morning.  She is just so excited about going to her grandparent's house (my parents) for Thanksgiving dinner.  I want her to be able to enjoy it and feel good.  

This of course sets into motion the usual "on guard" stance my husband and I take waiting for Precious to then come down with whatever illness Princess picked up at school.  oh boy..... And Precious doesn't seem to just get over things as quickly as Princess.   With prayers said and fingers crossed, hopefully Precious will stay healthy and fine.  Last November, Precious ended up in the hospital with pneumonia after catching a cold that Princess gave her.  

I did manage to bake a pie today.  It wasn't easy since Precious decided to be clingy or I should say more clingy than usual.  It is a walnut, cranberry, and white chocolate pie for tomorrow. Yummy!   Last night while watching the Biggest Loser, I was able to make my cranberry chutney and tomorrow morning I will put together a green bean dish that my family enjoys.  I wish I could do more to help my mom with the dinner, but with two little ones it isn't easy.  

I figured out today how to post a playlist of music at the bottom of my blog.  It is all Christmas music.  I totally took the idea from Cassandra's blog.  Hope she doesn't mind!  I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to do it, but couldn't help myself.  There is something about Christmas music that is cathartic for me.  I love it.  Even the more somber tunes make my heart a little lighter.  I did post the playlist in such a way that the reader has to turn it on to hear it just in case anyone prefers not to hear the music. I found out that I could even post it that way by reading Jen's blog.  So, thank you Jen for that bit of information.  This blogging thing is still very new for me and I am learning as I go.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Princess

My beautiful, little Princess.  Here is another "chapter" in her story. 

Princess was placed with us from the state system at four months old.  The first time we saw her at the foster home, she was dressed all in pink and had the most beautiful blue eyes. Looking back on it, there was definitely a sadness to them.  But that day, all I saw was my little girl.  My baby. I was so overwhelmed and honestly think I was in shock.  I just could not believe my dream was coming true.  We met Princess for that first time five days after getting the initial call from the social worker.  My feet still had not touched the ground, I was so excited and anxious and nervous.  
During the course of those five days, my husband and I narrowed our name choices to two with one being kind of a spunky name and the other being kind of a calm name.  So on the drive to the foster home for that first visit, we decided that we would pick the name based on her behavior and temperment.  She was so calm so we went with the second choice.  Boy oh boy... if only I had known that the calmness most likely was her withdrawal due to neglect in the foster home.  The spunky name definitely would have fit her better, but I convince myself now that the more "calm" name we gave her is something to strive for in our future. haha

Princess was exposed to drugs and alcohol and cigarettes while she was in utero.  We were told this from the initial phone call.  However, we were also told that she was very healthy and from the social worker's prediction, Princess had no lasting effects from her exposure.  If only I knew then what I know now....

Princess was also exposed to domestic violence in utero, but it was testing positive for drugs at birth that warranted the involvement from dcf.  She was released from the hospital and placed into a foster home with an older woman who specifically took in babies, specifically exposed babies.  That impressed me and comforted me that this woman had done this for years and Princess would undoubtedly benefit from all of that experience.  oh how wrong I was....
It was the only foster home our little girl was in and once it became evident that parental rights were going to be terminated, we got the phone call to start the adoption process. It was such a whirlwind.  We received the initial call on a Friday and met Princess for the first time the following Tuesday.  We took her for a weekend visit that Friday through Sunday.  We had to bring her back to the foster home on Sunday.  It was an incredibly difficult thing to do after having her in our home for three days. Then, we saw her again at a doctor's appointment that next Tuesday and the social worker brought her to us for good on Wednesday.

Twelve days from the initial phone call to her being permanently placed in our home under a "preadoptive" license.  Twelve very fast, very overwhelming days.  My husband and I went from being by ourselves praying and hoping for a baby to becoming parents in twelve days.  I went from being a full time elementary school teacher to a stay at home mom in twelve days.  We had a crib and a changing table/dresser and a bassinet in the house....just because.  We had gotten the nursery "set up" in a bare minimum way to take pictures to add to the photo book we had to submit during the licensing process.  In twelve days through the generosity of family, friends, and my co-workers we filled our house with a ton of stuff ranging from clothes, diapers, toys, and bottles.  I have often looked back on that whirlwind time and still get a smile on my face from the generosity that was shown to us.  I also get an ache in the pit of my stomach wishing I could go back and do it over.  Of course, life doesn't work like that. 

What would I do differently?  I would have read so much more- about drug exposed babies, sensory issues, and most importantly attachment parenting of an adopted baby.  I would have been focused on all of those things rather than on whether we had toys for her to play with.  I would have held her all the time.... literally.  I would have worn her in a wrap or a sling.  I would not have so easily put her down because she pushed away from me and I wanted to do what would make her "happy".  I would have attempted to breastfeed her.  (I didn't even know that was possible until recently.) I would not have let anyone else hold her for a very long time. I would have done infant massage with her and would have gotten a co-sleeper for our room. Oh, if only I had known.  I completely realize that none of these things would have guaranteed that we would not be dealing with some of the issues we have now, but I think it definitely would have helped.  

What I would not change is adopting her.  She is my answer to prayer, my miracle (my first miracle), one of my many blessings!  I love her beyond words I could express, even with all of the challenges she and I face together on a daily basis.  I strongly believe that God gives me what He thinks I can handle. I often joke that sometimes I think he has too high an opinion on what/how much I can handle, but I trust He knows what he is doing.  I also trust that we are now on the right path in getting her the help that she needs.  
I will tell more about that in a future post.