Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take that little brother...

Oh L, you can walk now?  Big deal.  I've got a new, faster way to get around.  xoxo Your Big Brother.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday on Thanksgiving

To my dear little boys,

Do you remember our last Thanksgiving?  Just a year ago - Miles, you were running everywhere and into everything.  Come to think of it, not much has changed.  Liam, this was about the time you decided that staying inside of my tummy seemed like about the best idea ever.  It was also about the time that I was vehemently disagreeing with you. 
Today Facebook and TweetDeck are littered with messages of Thanks...lists of things people are thankful for. 
My hope for you...that you will live your lives with a grateful heart.  That you will appreciate the life that has been handed to you.  It won't be easy.  It won't be fair.  But it will always be what it is meant to be.  Embrace it.  Not just on Thanksgiving, and not just when it is amazing.  Embrace it when it is hard to do so.  Learn to love what is yours and let go of what is not.
I realize this is easy for me to say.  I have so much to be thankful for.  For a healthy family.  For my own health.  For your health.  For a warm home, and a job that I love.  For parents, brothers, and in-laws that are supportive and loving.  And of course for you.
For your smiles and your laughter.  For your sense of humor.  For your tiny little hands and feet that work so well.  For all of the things you know and want to know.  For your entrance into my life - both in such different ways - both in beautiful ways.  For social workers, birth mothers, adoption agencies, nurses and doctors.  And for epidurals.  For carseats that guarantee your safety.  For coats and hats that keep you warm.  For cars and trucks that totally make your day.
Today, like everyday, I am thankful for you. 

Love you forever,
Your Mom xoxox

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - you scratch my back....I'll scratch your's

a little perspective

Sunday night I went to bed mad.  I mean really mad.  So mad I couldn't sleep.  I felt wronged and a little betrayed.  I was planning how I was going to resolve this "issue".  By the time I woke up Monday morning I had calmed down a bit, but I was still feeling pretty sorry for myself. 
Then I got a little perspective.

I went to school and found out that my coworker had just lost a grandmother.
A little perspective.
One of my best friends found out she has ANOTHER nasty cancerous tumor.
A little perspective.
I visited my friend who is now a single mom trying to figure out how to raise her son on her own and make a living as an artist.
A little perspective.
I heard on the radio that my son's birth country had been attacked by a neighboring country - killing three marines and two civilians.
A little perspective.
What was I so mad about?  Turns out it doesn't really matter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Liam's Unofficial 1st Birthday

Today we celebrated Liam's 1st birthday with Dustin's Family.  It is actually 2 weeks before his actual birthday and so it it sort of snuck up on me.  None of it seemed like a huge deal - just another birthday to me....until I sat down to download the pictures. 
I can't believe it is already close to a year.  I just got this incredible tug of intense sadness. 
Mostly for myself.
A little bit for Liam.
And a little bit for a couple of my friends who have children on the other side of the globe that will or have celebrate(d) their 1st birthday while their parents wait patiently here for them to come home.
But mostly for myself.
Because when I have a pity party I like to keep it simple.
This is it.  It's been a year.  I have to process this. 
Don't get too excited though little boy....because techincally you are still just 11 months and 1 week, 6 days, and 18 hours old.
Because last time I checked...THAT does not equal one year.

Miles waiting for the dishing of the cake.

How big is Liam??

Let's get this party started.

A very silly cousin Wyatt


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Right now I think two is a pretty terrific number.

Why you ask?
Because this week big things have been happening in our household....big things that pretty much amount to...
Two talkers
Two kissers
Two huggers
Two climbers
Two dancers
Two singers
AND  of course two walkers......

Two definitely equals double the fun....
(And some would say double trouble, but I'd like to live in parental bliss for just a few more moments.)

Behold: incredibly poor video quality ahead because yours truly (a.k.a. Mom of the Year) has been sucking all of the camcorder juice out of the video recorder for her classroom projects - therefore leaving us to use the point and shoot camera the first time our son ever took substantial steps.  This will just have to do Liam....sorry. (I'd imagine we're going to be seeing a lot of walking from you eventually anyways.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for my friend Katie - who is always willing to trade family photo shoots with me - capturing my family.

That's right, I'm finally unveiling some of the pictures....except for one.  My absolute favorite I'm keeping close the the chest for Christmas you'll have to stay tuned. :)

But these others?  I can't wait to distribute them around my house.  And after this post...I am so thankful to have such beautiful documentation of my family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do a conservative pastor, the Khmer Rouge, and I have in common?

Absolutely nothing, except that last Thursday night we were all in a room together. 
The result?  Not good.

A little history:  I bought tickets for a fundraising dinner that one of my ex-students was putting on for her senior show (in college) (yes, I realize this shows my age).  It was a beautiful dinner and art auction that she had put so much work into.  It also raised money for a WONDERFUL cause - Rapha House - a rehabilitation house for victims of sex trafficking.  I was so proud of my old student and what she was doing.  She had done such a beautiful job.  And nothing I'm about to say effects how I felt about the night as a I felt about this fantastic event.

But that wasn't it.
It was the speaker.
I have a beef to pick with him.  Actually I have MANY beefs to pick with him after that night, but I want to limit it to just one that has stuck with me for many days now.
The man brought up the Khmer Rouge. 
Don't get me wrong....I think that human awareness of this horrific event is SO IMPORTANT.  I think that humans should be educated on historical injustices and acts of terrible genocide and that we shouldn't act blind to it.  I would venture to say that half of you don't even know what the Khmer Rouge is, because I didn't know about it until recently.  I think we SHOULD know and I think we SHOULD remember.  However, last Thursday night was hard for me to swallow. 
First of all, he said he was telling us about, and showing us these horrific images because he wanted us to see how people in that country value human life.  Well, I hate to tell you mister, but you could really show images like that about nearly every country - including ours.
Now let me put my soapbox away for a moment so that I can tell you more about what went down.

At first I gave the man the benefit of the doubt and tried really hard to follow him.  He was so hard to follow.  My tender little heart and pacifistic soul hiccuped in pain as he talked about not only the victims of sex trafficking, but also of this mass genocide that took place the decade before I was born. 

Then he dropped a bomb on me. 
Do you remember me mister?  I had the cute little peep toe shoes with my conservative black pant and sweater combo?  The mom at the second table that already had tears running down her face? 

This is how it went:
Man: Okay, now I want to warn you that these images are not cool. (Those were seriously his words.)  Like, if you have a weak stomach, you may want to look away.
Me: Silently push away my dessert with a mental commitment to not look.
Man: Here is a slide that shows an entire wall consisting of the people killed during the Khmer Rouge.  The killers took a photo of each person before they killed them as documentation.
Me: **hiccup**
Man: Here on this other wall (next slide) are pictures of all of the children they killed.
Me: **silently** WHHHAAAATTTTT  THE (*&$#(*&@?!?!?! (don't look, don't look, don't look.)
Man: Here we took a close up of one of the children....a little boy about 1.
Me: (I catch a glimpse) my throat tightens, and I clench my jaw - I can tell I'm reaching the point of no return.
Man:  Here is another picture that really got to me.  Here you can see a mother.
Me:  nooooooooo.
Man: And you can tell it is a mother because of the tiny little baby she is holding (fake cough).
Me: Sheer and utter horror.  Like serious soul-crushing sadness beyond anything I could handle in public.

What did I do?  I got up and left as discretely as I could (here I should point out again that I was positioned in the front and center of the crowd.)  With tears streaming down my face and me biting the inside of my cheek, I speed-walking to the closest bathroom.  I sat down in one of the stalls and WAILED.  Not just tiny little hiccups, but Large, Heeving, Sobs.  People came and went, but I sat in there an sobbed shamelessly...with nothing but my cute little peep toes visible to the outside world. 

I sobbed for that mother.
I sobbed because I have no guaranteed way of protecting my own children.
I sobbed because one of them looked a little like Miles.
I sobbed because I feel undeservingly lucky.
I sobbed because I was mad at that man for deciding he needed to use scare tactics to promote an organization that I already had so much compassion for.
I sobbed for his pregnant wife that had yet to realize how much she was going to love her little one, and how impossible it would make it for her to look at those images.
I sobbed because sometimes I'm a big baby that can't handle the truth.

Monday, November 15, 2010

on being "cute"...

I am surrounded by people that try EXTENSIVELY all day to be cute.  My students are careful to do things that would make them appear cute to each other and to the opposite sex.  Sometimes these things are actually pretty obnoxious.  I have coworkers that refuse to do anything that would even sort of maybe in the slightest way embarrass them.  Even people that I walk past in in the mall are working really hard to be attractive - with their tight little sweat pants and furry boots.
And then there is my son - who I observed eating Cheerios this morning.  That was cute.  Effortless.  Popping in one Cheerio at a time into his tiny mouth, his pointer finger lingering in there as he sucked off the sweet honey residue.  Looking at me with big blue eyes like eating a pile of Cheerios was the best gift I could ever give him.
When do we stop being just naturally cute?  When in our lives did we decide that we had to start trying?  Why is it no longer effortless?
I can tell you that if Dustin started eating Cheerios that way I would be deeply disturbed. :)

another great photo by Katie Zeller

Thursday, November 4, 2010

little boy...

Dear little boy...
This morning when you blew kisses I was so excited, only to find out that according to your dad "you've been doing it for awhile."  Then when I was on my way to work and your dad called me to tell me that I had just missed you saying "nana" a.k.a. "banana" for the first time.
Seriously?  Two big blows in one morning little boy?  I KNOW that I've been working too much.  I KNOW that you are going to keep growing up without me there to watch every step. But today as I packed to leave for a multi-day conference, all I could think about was how close you were to walking and how I was going to miss that too.  I totally overreacted and cried.  Right there, like a big pathetic mess, I cried because I felt like you didn't need me.  I thought we had a deal.....

And then you took two steps.  Just for me.  I was the only one that saw it.  It was just between us, and I think I will hold it close to my heart for a tiny bit. 

Much better little boy. You sure have good timing.

photo courtesy of Katie Zeller

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday....the somersault...

Notice how we NEVER let go of the CARS book? 

And just because I couldn't NOT post this picture... 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

10.  The way Miles loves to sign "I Love You" and how he always puts my hand over his because he wants me to shape his fingers since he can't do it on his own....and he doesn't ever just want to say it with one hand...because why would you, when you COULD say it with both?
9.  The way Liam claps - with his mouth wide open and no inhibition.

8.  Miles wants to sing "Johnny Apple Seed" EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for our prayer at dinner.

7.  When I read to Liam at night and he insists on "sharing" his pacifier with me by shoving it into my mouth and then laughing at the hilarity of it.

6.  Miles' in infatuation with loading the dishwasher and vacuuming.

5.  The endearing gap between Liam's top two teeth.

4.  Miles' impressive shoe lacing talent.

3.  Liam's impression of an airplane and fish.

2.  Little feet coming over to my side of the bed right before my alarm goes off.

1.  Baby Hands....nuf said.

And I want to leave you with this picture of my oldest son and the snack he "fixed" himself this weekend after I had left the kitchen for 30 seconds.  They say fish are a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids.