Thursday, December 30, 2010

oliver





my son turns 4 on sunday.  

because his birthday falls a mere week after christmas, the pomp and circumstance surrounding it always seems to get downplayed.  thankfully, my son is the type of kid who could really care less.  

so when i was trying to figure out what i should blog about this week, i was shocked i hadn't already started a birthday blog for oz.  cuz in case you didn't notice, this year part of my blogging resolution was to write birthday blogs for the people closest to me.  again on one hand i felt bad that i hadn't thought to write one for oz, but on the other hand i think in some ways i was fearful that i wouldn't have much to say.

if i could sum up my son in one word, besides adorable, handsome, smart, funny, sensitive and a wee bit eccentric, it would be easy.  oz is easy.  now don't get me wrong, he has his moments-- most of which are in public or around family friends, but at home oz is pretty darn near perfect.  while lily demands most of our attention with her daily shenanigans, oz tends to lay low on the radar.  no issues with clothes, or pooping or attitude-- he has the occasional food challenges, but for the most part he's busy tooling around playing with his toys.  

ever since lily started kindergarten, oz and i have fallen into a really neat routine.  after we drop off lily, we come home, put tali down and then it's just me and him for a solid two hours.  first he'll want to watch mighty machines or cars for an hour and then before i know it he'll be off the couch running his cars or playing trains quietly.  he is so easily entertained and has a crazy long attention span.  his little mind is so different than mine. his infatuation with moving machinery amazes me.  but at the same time he's satisfied taking cooking equipment out of the drawer and making machines out of them.  i'm always amazed at how a can opener suddenly becomes a helicopter rescuing a chip clip.  

having a firstborn that requires so much emotional energy can be exhausting.  being with lily makes me appreciate the simplicity that comes with oz.  he's always down to cuddle me, and almost never talks back.  he's pretty intuitive for an almost four year old-- if he feels like i'm upset he'll say 'mom' and i'll look over at him just giving me just the biggest smile.  he's just checkin in, giving me exactly what i need at that moment.  his sensitivity floors me.  i always joke that even though it can't be easy being in between two girls, someday he'll be thankful for what a good husband it made him. 

i guess when i was worried i wouldn't have much to say, it's because i can sometimes equate less words with less love.  but the reality is, most days i would take five boys if they were all like him.  i can only hope and pray that our simple, constant, loving ride continues.  my heart overflows for that boy, and i'm so thankful for the unique love we have.  

even though you hate pictures, still won't utter a word to lily's kindergarten teacher, claim the elevators were your favorite part of our last vacation, eat a bagel with cream cheese for dinner most nights and exhaustingly need to know how everything works, i still marvel at how much i learn from you.  your patience with lily is humbling and your tenderness toward tali makes me swoon.  i love how comfortable you are in your own skin.






and so oz, even though you tell me every day you don't want to grow up, in a couple days you'll be four.  but just so you know, even when your 44, you will still always, always be my baby boy.  i love you oliver and i can't thank you enough for being the unwavering radiance in my world.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

happy



last friday night we loaded up lil and oz and headed downtown to the SLO christmas parade.  we found our seats on the curb and cuddled up as the floats began.  it was a parade like any other until this one float came up. i don't even know what it was for, maybe boy scouts or something.  all i know is that there were lots of little 6-9 year old boys on bike's.  it was un-remarkable until, peddling up, came a boy on one of those recumbent bikes.  he was riding right along the edge getting high fives from all the kids sitting on the curb.  he was pretty stoked cruising through town high fivin' it up.  i smiled as i watched and as he rode by i looked up and a few feet behind him was his mom who had this look of sheer joy on her face.  if you could bundle up a heart bursting with pride and joy and satisfaction, it was being displayed on her face.  this would have been something i probably wouldn't even have noticed if i hadn't first recognized the boy.  i've seen him around parks, the elks, the kids museum- all the places i often frequent.  i don't know what his physical disability is, but something about his legs is severely compromised.  just to walk looks like a struggle. so for him to be able to ride a bike just might be a small miracle.  the irony is that every time i see this boy like i did that night, he is always smiling and running and laughing- even if it is a struggle.

but tonight was different.  tonight he was like every other boy he was riding around with.  tonight his mom saw him with his friends and amongst the people and no one was staring, or laughing or wondering what was wrong with him. tonight he was 'normal.'  i've heard it said that when you have a child with disabilities whether it be mental or physical, it will always be harder for the parent then the child.  as parents we have this crazy overwhelming desire to see our kids thriving, succeeding, healthy and most of all, happy.

that night i also was sitting with a few couples who had just had their first child.  they were taking pictures, and smiling, attentive to every need or want their baby had.  it made me remember those days. i guess in a way i'm still in them with tali, but there is nothing like your firstborn.  with the first, you see everything.  you watch, you study, you just marvel.  i don't think any of us had the foresight to know how crazy in love we would be.

reading this the other day helped me put it all into words, 'their hearts were wrung with anguish, the anguish of having children, a vulnerability as astonishing as the capacity for love that parenthood brings, in a cuff link set all it's own...'

i never knew how vulnerable having children would make me.  i also never knew how my desire for them to be happy would supersede everything.  what i've been realizing is that when i think about my kids being happy, i have these preconceived notions about what it should look like.  naturally the first thing would be good health, that they would also be smart, attractive, find a career, love and one day a family.  ideally they would experience as little hurt and pain and injustice as possible.
but when i stop and think about my own life and think about what has brought me the most joy and happiness, the one thing that has shaped my life more than my parents or life experiences, i recognize it wasn't any sort of choice i made or path i took.  it was the day i realized i was made for so much more.  the day that i took that leap of faith setting in motion a chain of events that singlehandedly gave me EVERYTHING i treasure and hold dear to today.  it was the day i came to know jesus.

i see him when i look into my babies eyes. i experience his mercy when i feel the touch of my husband. and when i take the time to see the face looking back at me in the mirror i am reminded that its truly by grace alone that i have been granted the greatest joy and peace and happiness i could ever want.  how could i not want that same thing for my children?

so god please forgive me for seeking temporal worldly things for my kids.  forgive me for esteeming my ideas of happiness over your salvation.  remind me that when i lay my head down to pray at night that i would merely pray for you to grant them the grace that you have, and continue to afford me.

selah.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

in process part 2

i was looking back at my writings from the last few months.  it's crazy to think how much has changed even since i wrote this.  for me, this journey has had such a steep learning curve.  it seems like everyday i'm presented with a different situation or comment or appointment.  i wrote this after a weekend up at brandon's parents house.  

July 17, 2010

we went up to b's parents house this last weekend.  it was good to get away and have the time to spend with them. we went up with the intention of telling them that we were officially in the adoption process.  i was anxious about bringing it up, even though they know its something we've talked about, i just wasn't sure how they would react to it actually happening.  when the time finally came, thankfully, they were exceedingly happy and supportive.  yet the day before was what really proved to be the most difficult.  

we were hanging out at b's parents neighbor/friends house.  they have a pool and offered us to come and use it.  they weren't home, but their daughter was visiting.  she was in her early 40's and as b and her got caught up a bit she of course asked if we were going to have more children.  after explaining that we were done birthing children, b told her we were going to adopt.  she was really surprised. she went on to ask where and when, and as we told her she kind of  began to withdraw.  after a few minutes she motioned to lily, oz and t playing and said, 'i don't know why you would want to mess with what you've got?'  
i'll admit i was totally taken back.  i ended up just kind of shirking it off, and expressing that its something we've always wanted to do.

later, i found myself really upset.  i kept recounting the conversation and thinking what i should have said.  looking back i wanted to say, 'oh i'm sorry, i didn't realize my family was wrapped up in a little leave it to beaver aryan bow.'  or maybe something like 'are you kidding me, you don't even know my kids.  they are totally crazy.  my daughter has at least one huge meltdown a day about clothes, my son won't eat anything but cheerios and rations out  smiles, and the verdict isn't even in on tali.  the thing is, the moment all three of my kids were conceived we were already messing with what we got.'  



the truth is, you have no idea what you are going to get, biological children or adopted. 

it's not like we haven't thought about what it will mean to bring in another child from another country.  we are becoming increasingly aware that adoption is not all unicorns and fairy tales.  i know its going to be hard, and i know he could have some serious issues, but that's the risk you take... and for us, its totally worth it.  and today that's all that matters.  

later i emailed all that to lealah and this was what she came back with...brilliant.

email from lea--
'So good to get your email. I felt like you were right here for a minute. I miss you when you're gone, like my little life source is clouded over. I understand what you're saying about the adoption stuff. Its funny how people relate their fears to you as fact. I'm so sorry you had to take that in. Its meant to discourage for sure and what pains me is knowing that people only do it because of their own fears about life. We're realists hollsy and people who just meet you aren't going to see that right away. They wanna make judgements about your life, your family. They don't wanna think that its quite possible you've already weighed the pros and cons of this decision. People want to say something revalatory not to shed light but rather seem righteous and all knowing. The reality is you've already thought about the good bad and ugly of adoption. What more is I think you and I both have come to realize that having children really has nothing to do with us and our happiness, that really, truly its all about them. Adoption is sacrifice and people can't understand why you'd ever wanna sacrifice for someone else that's not your flesh and blood. Why you'd ever compromise your happiness, that you'd temp fate per se. The fact is, god does this with us each and every day. He adopted us in, he chooses to love us, he sacrificed everything for us, for what: for the heartache and pain we bring him every day...doubting his love for us, living in fear, feeling anxious about life, so on and so forth. God knows he chose us, not for what we could bring to him but what he could bring to us. Its really quite beautiful and humbling. So yes, people do people things. What's precious is we have each other. You're my sister through the simple fact that god adopted us both into the same family. Why wouldn't we want to replicate that?!'

leave it lealah to lay it all out.  all my frustrations and feelings about the situation couldn't have been put into words more clearly.  i love that sometimes we really have the same mind.  

since then i have experienced several more situations like the above.  i know i have many more to come.  but in the meantime i really feel like god has given me grace for comments such as those.  i know firsthand what's its like to say something without thinking, i do it almost every day


when it comes to adoption, every person has their own opinion or experience.  its not like there's this pat formula that everybody follows.  there is much trial and error and different personalities and pasts.  my intention in writing this wasn't to slam this woman or all the people out there that may have made stupid comments, it was more of time to get across our heart and mind behind adoption.  i know we will be faced with many more situations and challenges, i guess all we can do is pray. pray that god gives us not what we want, but what we need.  its times like these that i find such great comfort knowing that god knew, that the day our son was born that we would be his forever home.  and that ultimately gives me more peace than anyone or anything this world could offer.  




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

goodbye girls

i was quite a bit older than my friends when you finally made your entrance.  i had been waiting, and waiting.

and

waiting.

like all middle school girls, i quickly realized popularity came from one tangible place.

the ta-ta's.

then one day you broke through like a seed bursting into a beautiful sunflower.  well maybe not so much a sunflower as a miniature rose.  in any event i kept waiting for you to make that significant spurt, but much like samantha baker on her 16th birthday,  i realized this was going to be one area god would not be generous with me with.

i won't lie and say it wasn't painful. getting messages written on calculators reading 55378008 (yes upside on a calculator its spells boobless- this was our version of texting) or overhearing, 'she's cute, but she's totally flat.'

flat...

the dreaded word of a high school girl.

and then one day i grew up, and realized guys aren't only interested in boobs.  (actually they are. in fact its ALL they are interested in, but if you are a young reader, i at least did my due diligence).

i got married, got pregnant (yes in that order) and one day i woke up, looked down and thought, 'so this is what all the fuss was about!'

yes, you were huge, beautiful, ginormous, buoyant and....

milky.

that's right.

leaking.  milk.  already.


and there wasn't even a baby.

though this was just the beginning of looks can be deceiving, it sure was enough to make any girl wonder what it would be like...

once the baby came, you began to change even more!  it was miraculous.  truly.  i came home from the hospital and within three days, i seriously was rivaling pam (minus the blond hair and botox).  when b caught sight of you, he practically passed out, but as he went in for a feel, he realized once again... you were not made for him.  hard as rocks and once again... the dreaded leak.

but then you regulated yourself, and we settled into a nice, confident size.  more than proportionate- generous even, and really just lovely.  hearing words like 'rack' instead of 'flat' or 'bijoingas' instead of 'flapjacks' was like music to my ears. you truly were a sight.

and so as our journey comes to a close, i just want to say--we had a good run thelma and louise, you ebbed and flowed so beautifully these last five years of pregnancy and nursing.  you fed my babies and loved my husband in a way he never thought he'd know.  you gave me a glimpse into a life i never thought i'd know...

and so now my little jahoobies, its time to say good bye.  as tali takes her final sips, we bid you farewell.  we've had an amazing run.  and though my badoinkies will once again deflate, i'll remember these years as the best of my life.

au revoir, girls... au revoir.

Friday, November 5, 2010

orphan sunday

sometimes i'm convinced that b and i became missionaries just by watching a video.  

even though one would hope this isn't entirely true, there is no doubt that there is great power in those little 5-8 minute videos set to music.  the images, the words, the music, all have an almost intoxicating effect on me.  and though i would never wish that anyone would make an emotional decision based on a movie, i do want to acknowledge their power.  


the reason i'm posting this video isn't to make you feel guilty or weepy, its to make you aware.  aware that the statistics are staggering.  aware that there is a real, concrete need, and i feel, responsibility.  a responsibility for people everywhere to know what is going on outside our white picket fences.  
this next sunday is orphan sunday.  as anna reminded me yesterday in her blog 'children don't get to choose the life they are born into.'  i know adoption isn't for everyone, there are times when i doubt whether or not its for me. but i do know this-- at the risk of sounding cheesy i will say that god LOVES these children.  like really loves them.  and there is no reason why each pair of piercing brown eyes you see in this video should not have a mom or dad that loves, cherishes, provides for and adores them.  

this video was made by a local couple here in SLO who brought their baby boy home two years ago. they made it for the agency we are using for our adoption and much of the footage is shot where our son will come from. 

its all kinds of AMAZING.  but i'm just warning you, it brings the tears in a big way.  tears of joy mostly, tears of  pain, but for me, mostly tears of anticipation.  i cannot wait to hold him.  

in any event, brace yourself.  its beautiful.



'one adoption won't change the world, but it will change the world for one child.' 
                                                                                   -AAI mission statement

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on a balcony in summer air

the first time i laid eyes on him i was skateboarding to a party with my boyfriend.  i didn't think much about it when we were introduced later in the night.  in the days that followed i put two and two together that they worked together as i went to meet my boyfriend after he got off work.  we exchanged hello's and off we went.

it wasn't till he started coming round for lunch that things changed.

he claims i made excuses to bus the outside tables while he ate. i claim that it was my job, and i'm no slacker.
but the truth was, something clicked.  something physical at least.  who can resist a boy with white blond hair and eyes the color of the bluest sky?  he quickly became known as CCS 2, simply because i was dating CCS 1.

CCS (central coast surfboards) 1 and i were going nowhere very slowly.  he was not interested in being 'tied down' to anything serious and i was rebounding from a failed three year high school boyfriend.  so when CCS 2 invited me to go on a hike, i hesitated for merely a second.

strangely, i remember quite a bit about that trek up bishops.  i remember that he told me he loved surfing and mountain biking and that he had an interesting, and sometimes strained relationship with his mom.  he remembers i took my shirt off and hiked in my sports bra (strangely he can't remember anything we talked about).

i also remember that night i came home and he had left three messages for me.  all of them cute and disheveled.   i remember feeling like samantha baker as she waited for jake ryan to call.

of course i'll never forget the first time he took me to his house.  i was shocked.  never had i seen a house, let alone a college boy's house, so strikingly clean. counters wiped, bed made with hospital corners, and all of his shirts folded like the GAP does.

we got real serious, real fast.

i quickly found out that as much as brandon loved surfing and girls, he loved smoking weed.  it took me longer than it should have to realize that it would someday be our demise.  but in the meantime i held fast to 'if you can't win em, join em.'  let's just say i really sucked at being a stoner.

our first year was filled with sweet notes under my doorstep and on my windshield.  flowers for no reason at all, and long drives holding hands as we listened to music that moved us.  there was no doubt i had fallen head over heels for a tow headed boy from santa cruz.

i remember the first time i realized i was falling in love.  he took me home to meet his parents.  his only warning was, 'my dad is a cop, my mom hated my last girlfriend and my brother is developmentally disabled.' i was prepared for a long, challenging weekend.  but instead, as he navigated his way through the mountain roads to his childhood home, i started to see a side of b i hadn't yet.  the brandon i saw that weekend was the brandon i knew that i would marry.  sure it helped he was stone cold sober, but to see his respect and admiration for his parents made me realize that he would someday love his own family that much.

the next year was scattered with some really fun times.  but as the year came to a close, the down's began to far outweigh the ups, and both of us knew that something had to give.

i was living downtown with a bunch of girls from high school at the time.  my best friend was gone for the summer and i started working at uptown espresso. b would spend the night at my place, while i would wake up at the crack, and open the shop.  b would roll out of bed, smoke a bowl and skateboard down to uptown for a coffee. my once sweet and romantic boyfriend was becoming increasingly annoying.  i couldn't compete with the smoking.  meanwhile, i began to spend more time with my new friend lealah and her boyfriend (now husband) jon.  i saw something in their life that i desperately wanted.  it wasn't just the stability, it was the peace. no changes i tried to implement in my own life or b's for that matter would last.  i began to feel a pull towards something bigger and greater.  so one sunday, i drove over to b's house as he was getting ready to take a load to the dump.  we joke now that i dumped him at the dump. even though at the time it was one of the hardest decisions i ever had to make, it ultimately proved to be one of the best.

b and i took about six months apart to really work on ourselves.  b got rid of his bong, threw his pipe out the window and finally ditched my biggest competition.

it was a hard six months, but so necessary.  b found a faith that he knew fleetingly as a kid, but now in his early 20's was finally able to find his identity in.  i found what i had been looking for my entire life-- a faith in something way bigger than myself or my boyfriend. our journey's were separate, but real.  we went from drinking, smoking, and having sex to nothing.  there were months when we didn't even hug, cuz it was just that hard. we started hanging round more with the "christian's" as we sought to redefine our idea of fun.  slowly but surely, god poured his grace upon us until one day we found ourselves at a private table at the gardens of avila.

and then before i knew it, you got down on your knees, carefully removed the shoes i had colored with a sharpie on the way to dinner, and began to wash my feet.  you shared that this act was a symbol of your love for me.  that you would always serve, love, cherish and protect me.  that as you wash my feet clean we are reminded again of how we have been washed clean and forgiven. that we have been given, by grace, a new start and a new beginning.  and will. you. marry. me?

b, i love that you smell like lemonade in the summer time, and that you call me at least once a day to check in. i love that just last week you cried when our social worker talked to us about our future son, and i love that even after 8 years i still laugh with you every single day.


thank you for being my very best friend.  i love you b.  today and always.  happy anniversary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

and then she was one

i remember it was a sunny day.  


part of me was craving the marine layer.  but it was fall, and the fall in october in los osos always delivers.  not only was it sunny and bright, but it was the middle of the day.  not the morning to get organized, or late afternoon to think about dinner and bedtimes, but smack dab in the middle of laundry, lunchtime, two anxious toddlers and now seven pounds of newborness. 



all i wanted to do was wave a wand and have it all disappear.  the raging pain when i sat down, the demands and cries of the older ones, and the chaos of a house full of guests.  i wanted to lay on the couch alone and let her breathe on my neck while i lost myself somewhere east of eden.

instead i grimaced as i stood, placed the baby in her bouncy seat for what i knew would be the first of too many times, and clocked into the life of my 2.5 and 4 year old.

the day i brought tali home was a hard one.  

to say i was under prepared for three kids would be an understatement.  people kept telling me the change from 2 to 3 is manageable, and really not much different than two.  i'm still pretty sure they were wrong. three kids means you don't fit in most cars, you get invited way less places, and the realization that most of america was designed for a family of four.  

i don't remember much of that first week. there was a lot of trial and error.  it felt like there were too many needs. so many so, that there really was no time for wants. it felt oppressive, and like a haze had descended upon fearn ave. and just when i was beginning to think this was my new reality, one night it clicked.  dinner wasn't chaotic and the kids weren't being babysat by the tv.  we had music on, fall was in the air, and it felt like everyone i finally took a deep breath.  


i was reminded of that night when i turned our calender to october and saw this picture.


  

the other day i saw a baby that small and i suddenly felt light headed and short of breath.  not in a fearful way, but in an exciting sort of way.  since i'm not a baby person, it was weird for me to want to reach out and hold that newborn.  i thought of tali and her little hats and hunched over back and slanted eyes and flailing hands, and i thought, i might actually miss that.

i knew tali would be the last baby i would birth.  as i mentioned, b and i are not newborn sort of people.  we like a good 12 months or so under their belt.  consequentially, i find myself in uncharted territory to have these feelings of sadness over her growing up.  i've always been a what's next sort of parent.  no time to wallow in what has left, the future is just going to be better. but now i find myself telling tali almost daily that i want to fold her back up, put her back in my tummy and do it all over again, cuz she really is JUST. THAT. CUTE.

when i tell people i like her the best or that she's the cutest, they just laugh awkwardly -- and think to themselves 'you are really not supposed to say those sort of things.'  and even though i think i feel that way, don't ever try and tell me she's the cutest, cuz my momma bear will come out claw you for calling my other kids second best.  shelley said it staright to me one day. she told me i don't really love tali more, its just that she can't talk or move much and she's really cute, and the fact that she is going to be my last birthed child creates a unique sentimentality.  it was nice to have that clarity cuz i'm pretty sure your not supposed to have favorites.

so tali june, this little post is for you.  you have brought me more joy than i knew i contained.  i can't imagine life without you.  the fullness you bring my heart as we spoon each morning for your first nurse of the day, the way you light up when i walk in the room, and even the way you pinch the back of my arm till i bruise.  you are your own crazy minitaure person and i pray i'll really be able to relish every moment, of every day i have with you.

you have my heart junebug, today and always.  






Friday, October 8, 2010

first comes love...

this last summer b and i were part of two weddings.  



two very different weddings.  

it had been a long time since we had been in weddings.  it seemed like our first three years of marriage were sprinkled with them every few months.  so much so, that i think we got a bit jaded.  i found myself more caught up in the trivialities of the bridesmaid dresses, the flowers, the food, etc instead of the actual celebration itself.

i got married when i was 23 years old.  to say i understood what i was embarking upon would be a vast understatement.  three months before i graduated from college i found myself engaged with a fiance who was anticipating a wedding a mere six months away.  i threw myself right into the planning.  at the time, i'm sure if someone asked me if i knew what marriage meant and the commitment i was making i would've said yes.   but it really wasn't until just recently that i began to get a sense of an even bigger meaning.



about a week before my good friend jenny's wedding i had this crazy dream. 


i was standing out in front of a high school friend's house that had a huge courtyard in front of it.  jenny and jonathon came around the corner in a black car. they parked and started walking up the courtyard.  they didn't know i was there, and as far as i could tell no one else was around.  they were holding hands as they walked the lengthy and winding pathway to the front door.  suddenly on either side of them these angelic beings appeared and began to sing.  not like hear comes the bride, but a sort of heavenly chorus-- a melody that brings you to your knees in awe, something that doesn't happen this side of heaven.  jenny and jonathon just kept walking as these angels surrounded them almost not really noticing.  i, however was blown away.  


i never have dreams like that. my dreams usually involve my teeth dissolving, or the odd flying dream and once in awhile a good LSD dream (those acronyms our known by only a select few).  so to have this crazy spiritual dream that really was just normal enough to be potentially real, i knew it had to mean something. 


the crazy thing was, was that in the dream i knew it wasn't so much about jenny and jonathon.  cuz it has always been obvious that god was pleased with their union. i, on the other hand was privileged to understand what it really meant as i stood watching them walk amongst these angels.  it was as though for the first time in my life i saw how much god LOVES marriage.  


god loves marriage.


saying that god loves marriage to some of you may sound pretty strange, to others of you its totally obvious.  the way god and jesus talk about marriage in the bible leaves very little room for interpretation.  god esteems it in a way that is almost supernatural.  it is something to be treasured and protected at all cost.  when brandon and i made our vows we included the phrase, 'i will never divorce you.'  at the time making that vow to one another, our family, friends, and god honestly didn't seem that crazy.  we were in love, why would we ever get divorced?


but time goes on, and life gets a lot harder. kids, money, temptations - all of it can seem suffocating.  its been hard to see our friends struggle, its been even harder to walk through our own struggles.  


but after that dream, and with a little help from the ol' love dare, i feel like god has given me a picture of marriage like i've never known.  in that dream, to see god so pleased and so glorified in 'man's union' humbled me.  as a christian, it is our life ambition to glorify god, to know that he is glorified in marriage is revelatory to me.  it inspires and encourages me...  and especially challenges me.  so as i embark upon eight years with brandon, i want to celebrate not only our milestone, but marriage itself and how it can glorify the god we serve.


watch out, i may just slap an ol 'i love my wife' bumper sticker on b's honda.  cuz that's totally hot.  and i'm just that crazy.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

in process

i've been wondering for awhile when i'd finally feel ready to share this with y'all. it feels strange to sum you guys up as 'you all.' cuz as i've written before, i'm not sure who a lot of you are.

but i do know this--

some of you are my closest friends. friends who know what i've written before i've even written it. some of you are friends i've known forever, and maybe we don't talk everyday, but we've shared an intimacy that could never be broken. and then some of you are people i've known since i was a kid, who maybe i haven't talked to since then, but we are connected nonetheless through our past. and then there are those of you whom i've never met, or don't know at all, but find yourself here from time to time. and so here i am, ready to share with you what's been taking up a lot of my writing time, and really, just time in general.


i wrote this a few months back...


june.

for a long time, it felt like this long, far off month that would probably never come. then one day i woke up, and it was june 6th and i thought, i guess this is finally the day.

i guess it felt like there should be some sort of ribbon cutting ceremony, or i should've spent the day fasting and praying, or at the least told my husband i finally sent the email. but i didn't.

its not like it was a haste decision. brandon and i have known for a long time that our family wasn't complete. like most decisions, we weighed a lot. how would this impact our kids? how would it impact our community? how would it impact our marriage? or harder, are we good enough? are we holy, or perfect, or together enough to take this on?

and though more often than not the answer was no, we pressed on. like all things there is an unspoken measure of faith that we could never began to describe. we can think it, plan it, picture it, but in the end the call has been made, the email has been sent.

the process begins.'

the rodgers family is officially in process.

the adoption process.

i finally realized it was time when it occurred to me that the secretary at my son's school knew, and my neighbor who i barely speak to found out, and when the lady at the post office looked at me knowingly as i brought her yet more correspondence.

for a long time i felt super guarded about it. even though i would tell people if they asked, i rarely volunteered the information. i found myself torn when someone would ask, 'so, are you guys done???' cuz on one hand we are done, as in, i'm done birthing children, but is our family complete? ... no. so an explanation would eventually ensue and somehow complete strangers came to know that we were adopting.

it was strange for me to have this secret, cuz if you know me at all, i'm pretty much an open book (as if this blog wasn't evidence enough). but something about this felt different. when i spoke to emily about it for the first time, i felt like i finally got some clarity. when i finished telling her, she told me it reminded her of when the shepherds came to visit after jesus's birth. obviously not in the sense that i'm anywhere close to mary, and our son is the savior of the world, but more so in these words, 'but mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.' (luke 2:19). even though it was crazy exciting for mary, she wasn't jumping from the rooftops proclaiming the news. and for once, that's how i felt. this was just our thing... at least for a little while.

but as we got further along and more was required, i realized the time had come. we are only 4 months in, and its way more (paper)work, and appointments, and just general time than i could've imagined. but with each new form, or email, or fax we know we are one step closer to finalizing our family, and that makes it sooo worth it.

so from time to time i will update you on what's happening with this. at one time i thought i would create a separate blog for the adoption with lealah (who is also adopting-she's just a wee bit behind us), but who am i kidding, i can barely keep this one up! and she's got like 6 jobs and 2 kids of her own. time is not abundant for either of us. one day maybe...

in the meantime there will be bits and pieces, here and there. i will share some of our triumphs, and failures, and our heartbreaks and victories. if you can find it in your heart, i ask only one thing, please pray for us. for him. for lily, ozzy and tali. as all of our worlds begin to change... this is, hands down, the biggest leap of faith we have ever taken and we will need support like we've never known.

thank you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

now i wish this was called webster

i know i've been a bit out of the loop lately. you'll have to trust me... i have been writing. i really have. and i'm super excited to share with you more about what's been happening with me (as if that's more possible, right?) anyway, its gonna be a bit longer. but i think you'll like it. i really do.

in the meantime, i'm getting back to some tickled to meet you tuesdays... or wednesdays, or whatever day i can get it out.

now that school's in full swing, i've been thinking a bit about my own school days. i remember each year i turned a year older, my dad upped my curfew about a half hour. this proved to be very effective for all the tv i watched. now thursdays, i could watch the cosby show, and a different world. exciting stuff huh?!

but i'm not gonna bore you with my psycho-analysis on why the cosby show could've been the greatest show of all time. instead, we are going to focus on a one hit wonder that aired every monday night on nbc for 4 sweet years.

one word.

ALF.












no, that's not what he looked like, i just couldn't resist

i just **googled** the show and got waaay more information about it than i could've ever wanted on wikipedia. now i feel not only embarrassed, but overwhelmed at the depth behind a funny puppet dude. i'm kind of starting to wonder if vicki was even real after reading this. all i know is i definitely side with this quote... 'fusco (the puppeteer) was secretive about his character up until the series premiere. during the shows production, fusco refused to acknowledge that the puppet ALF was anything other than an alien. all involved with the production were cautioned not to give away any of ALF's secrets.'
that's pretty hard core. i love a good thespian who won't break character.

then i read this quote, 'cast interviews since the show ended have revealed a few details about making the series: to make room for the puppeteers, the entire set was built on a raised platform with dozens of trapdoors in the floor. the trapdoors had to be reset multiple times, sometimes during a single scene, forcing them to shoot each episode over the course of several hours and without a studio audience.'
imagine spending an afternoon at one of those tapings...

and then this, 'the production of ALF was technically difficult and demanding. all four lead actors – Max Wright (Willie Tanner), Anne Schedeen (Kate Tanner), Andrea Elson (Lynn Tanner) and Ben Hertzberg, also known as Benji Gregory (Brian Tanner) – have conceded a high level of tension on the set.'
surprise, surprise.


which didn't shock me when i finished with this, 'in the series finale ALF is about to be rescued by
other survivors of his home planet, but is instead captured by the American military, and the viewer is left to ponder ALF's ultimate fate. this was not supposed to be the finale, as the original airing ended on a "To Be Continued" note. the producers supposedly had a verbal agreement with NBC to get at least one more episode to resolve the cliffhanger. NBC never made good on the deal, and the series was canceled. however, the story was concluded in the TV-movie project ALF.'

so i know that's way more information than you ever wanted to know about that fuzzy buddy. but after all this, i now know that if i had to choose one fictional character i would adopt into my extended family, it would definitely be ALF. simply because ET is so 1982, and vicki is a total freak-- even if she is now an OB nurse and went to college with one of my friends.

so with that said, i wanna know, which fictional character would you choose to adopt into your extended family to make gatherings more interesting?


oh and i'm pretty sure i'm gonna get this tattoo...













**do yourself a favor and do not google image ALF. its pretty intense.**

Monday, August 23, 2010

kinderwonder

every fall i get this feeling.

i look around my church and i see these kids with their parents and its all to familiar. not familiar in the sense that i've experienced it, but familiar in the sense that i know how fast it will be here.

i know i'm supposed to be all choked up about my firstborn starting kindergarten, but for some reason i've skipped all her schooling and gone straight to college. i don't know what it is about these kids that makes me cry my eyes out. the fact that they have made it this far? the fact that they are at church with their parents still? the fact that they want God to be a part of their college experience? whatever the case, it gets me every year...
and this year... the stakes are higher.

because....

its that time. you've read them before. i'm pretty sure all mom bloggers are required to write one. but this is my first, obligatory kindergarten post.

this wednesday, lily pearl rodgers will march her way two blocks up the road and begin her school career.

as most of you know, i got a pretty good size sentimental bone in this ol body of mine. i get sappy like the best of them. the baby girl, our firstborn, my goose is beginning a totally new season of her life. everyone always tells you how fast it flies by, and you laugh politely not feeling that way at all, and then all of the sudden you wake up one day, and pack a lunch and drop her off.

she's someone now, outside of you.

and that's a feeling i know i will never get used to. i remember the first time i realized that lily actually had an identity, a life, experiences outside of me. it was stupid, it was about a pretzel-- i wrote this about it:

she is two years old. it's not like she doesn't have any sort of life outside me... but the other day I was struck by something she said. we were on the rodgers houseboat just hanging out. b's mom, shelley, started to get some snacks out... hummus, carrots, crackers, pretzels etc... I asked lily if she wanted some carrots or crackers (two staples in her diet) and she said, ' no, I want those'- pointing to the pretzels. i thought, that's funny, since she is not the most daring eater, why would she want those skinny looking pretzel sticks- they don't even look interesting. so i pointed to the bag and said, 'these, are you sure?' she quickly said, 'yes- i want those ones.' so i hand her the bag and she pulls one out. just before she takes a bite, she pauses and looks up at me and in a real matter of fact way she says , 'i have these at preschool.'it was a simple as that, and i was just struck. to think she experienced something outside of our little world was so baffling to me. not only did she experience it, she liked it- and i wasn't even there to share it. i know it seems silly, and really pretty inconsequential. but for the first time in my life with lily, i kind of felt like an outsider. somehow i know it won't be the last time. just a reminder, i suppose, to cherish the mundane- even if it means a new type of cracker- it's still just ours.

that was 3 short years ago. since then, she's had many more experiences like that. some were big, some were little, but as her mom, i've known at least in part about the majority of them. though i try to be that ever-present available figure in her life, the reality is i have 2 other kids to chase after. 2 other kids to shine that magnifying glass on. its not easy having to miss stuff, or not being available in the way i always thought i would be-- she's my baby after all. she's the only one that had my sole affection for so long-- 19 months to be precise.


even though she makes me crazy most days, with her incessant wardrobe changes and snotty attitude, every once in awhile i'll catch a glimpse of what was. just yesterday in fact, as she was laying in the bath, her hair was wet and slicked back to her head, almost giving the appearance of no hair. i was busy reading a book and she called my name to have me look at her go underwater. i looked up and for just a split second with her wet hair, all i saw was her face.

this face










and i remembered.

i remembered sleepless nights, pacing the downstairs, begging for sleep.
and then not long after, losing sleep --worrying about how she didn't eat, or why she couldn't poop, or why she seemed so different than other kids.

but i also remembered this...









she was the only one who got this.

she was my first and last in so many ways.

our bond is tight, sometimes strangulation sort of tight.

so with that said. i bid you farewell in many ways LP. i pray and hope that you will always want to share with me. whether its about your first crush, your new favorite book, or the first time your heart gets broken, i am your mom and i love you like you'll never know. i know you'll do great on wednesday.

and for the record, i'll always remember us like this....











oh, and monarch grove elementary, i know you do this every year with dozens of kids. though this year may not seem any different to you, it is to me. i'm trusting you with the best thing that ever happened to me.

don't let me down.

and good luck.

your gonna need it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

dolphins

once upon a time there was a six year old girl.

this little girl loved sports. this was strange cuz her parents could really care less about athletics, and her only sibling was to much older to really have a major impact on her.
when she was eight years old, her best friend 'dared' her to try a contest taking place during recess. since she was never one to back down from a dare, she walked over to the basketball courts where the contest was taking place. she wrote her name down and waited in line. when it was her turn, an edelrly man handed her a basketball and told her to try and throw it into the basket. since she had never played basketball before she wasn't exactly sure what to do, but knew that somehow she would have to get it into the net. so she dropped the ball down and threw it up underhand - also known as granny style. much to her surprise the ball went in the net. she had to do it 10 more times and ended up making 8 of the 10. a few minutes later that same gentleman told her she had won the contest.
the little girl was shocked.
for at the wee age of 8 she experienced for the first time what it felt like to be good at something. she went on to compete county wide where she took second. thus launching her little know basketball career. she continued to compete in the contests for the next few years, winning at the school and then county level almost every time. when she was 10 she got her big break and made it all the way to the Los Angeles Semi -State Finals, where she heartbreakingly took second.
the little girl quickly realized that she loved basketball. she would go to the recreation department almost every day after school and practice shooting. she would sleep with her basketball and watched micheal jordan religiously. basketball was her world, her everything.
by the time she was 9, she began to realize that athletics came easy to her. why not mix it up? after a brief AYSO soccer career, she decided to take it to the next level.
since her second love was the SF 49ers, which she also watched religiously every sunday with her dad and brother, she thought maybe she'd try her hand at football. the adults around her just kind of laughed at the idea, and strung her along in the expectation the phase would pass.
but this little girl was very stubborn.
and so when she saw signs for pop warner youth football, she threw a massive fit until her mom walked her over to the sign-ups. the good ol boys had a good laugh at the idea and humored her mom-- secretly hoping it couldn't be-- surely there must be something in the rules about girls not playing!
yet they were wrong, and it was then and there that a skinny little girl called holly richmond became the first girl in SLO county to play pop warner football.












with that sweet tale, i'm dying to know....

'what about your childhood wouldn't most people guess?'


Monday, August 2, 2010

make out mountain

sorry if you've missed me.
i wish i could say i've been to busy makin love like p diddy, but instead i've been busy being in the most beautiful wedding of all time (besides my own) and trying to ferberize my 9 month old.
what can i say, life gets busy.
but oh, oh how i have missed thee...

and though i haven't been hittin the sugar shack as much as i want to, i will say i have been thinking a bit about makin out.

see it always comes back to running.

i realized the other day as i was running in slo that this dang town is sooooo full of memories. on a whim, i headed over the jennifer st bridge, and huffed my way up terrace hill, and when i reached the plateau, the memories came a floddin.'
for those of you who aren't lucky enough to call yourself slo locals.... you might not know that terrace hill is where it ALL went down. since slo is such a small town, there wasn't like old cornfields or abandoned barns for us wily high-schoolers to drink our beer in-- instead we devised a 'hill' that was just difficult enough to climb up to stave off those bored coppers roaming the streets. every few months or so from the years 1993-1997 we would receive 'word' that something was gonna shake down on ol t-hill. so we'd round up some fuzzy navel and our best v-neck and make the trek. when we'd finally reach the top, instead of marveling at the beautiful town below us, we'd try and scope out who was makin out with who, and where the liquor was (we were a classy bunch).
anyway, the general debauchery would continue until we saw those little flashlights makin their way up the path. word would hit, and we would scatter like leaves in the wind-- we'd be trickling down the sides of terrace hill, running through brush, tripping over rocks, all just to avod the 5-o. later we'd call each other and tell of our escape, and who we made it with. other times we'd hear of the not so luckies that landed the dreaded MIP. in any event terrace hill was a big part of my high school experience....
but that's not where i got busted.

3 words: laguna lake park.

now let me just preface by saying there are many places to 'park' in slo in the back of your boyfriends parents 4-runner. laguna lake is not one of them.
picture it: me, 1996. tired of the old make-out spots, me and a boy we'll call 'gunner' decide to mix it up. we start driving around and make our way over to the glorified pond lake. we drive around to the back, past the park, and find a spot. one thing leads to the next (as it does quickly in high school) and before i know it we're in it thick. and not seconds after we round second base, a little light flashes in those factory tinted windows. at first we just ignore it, prolly just a car driving by, but then the light becomes brighter, and is accompanied by knocking and a deep voice. suddenly we become very aware that someone is trying to get our attention, and short of feeling like we're in the sequel to scream, i scrounge to find my shirt as gunner rolls down a window.
officer: 'good evening. what are you doing here?'
gunner: 'oh, just hanging out.'
officer: 'just hanging out huh? are you alone?' as he flashes his light to the back of the car and sees me holding a shirt up across my chest. 'hmm, i see.'
gunner: 'we were a just hanging out, i promise,' as his voice starts to quake and moves an octave higher.
officer: 'do your parents know where you are?' the dreaded words. for the love, please don't call our parents.
after what seemed like an eternity he finally said, 'alright, you kids run along home now, i don't want to see you over here again, you got that?'
a resounding 'yes sir!'
we got our clothes rearranged and gunner started the car.
'whew, that was close huh?' he said.
'yeah, kinda scary. my heart was pounding!' i confessed.
after a minute, i looked over at him and said, 'well, should we head to the airport viewing lot?'
and off we went. you can't stop hormones teenage love, just ask jake ryan.











so with that said, please do tell...

'where is your hometown's best make-out spot?'

or... for the brave few--

'have you ever been caught in the act?'