Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good for Him

"I’m not a masochist, though I once tried to be because I believed God and men required it of me."

This quote comes from a woman (Heart) who used to be a part of a popular right-wing patriarchal movement. It could have come from any woman, though, who has ever felt put down by her family, the man in her life, her father, brother or her church. Any woman who feels put down, or the need to put themselves down because they feel lesser than another person makes me cringe. Bolstering each other up in love, now that's the ticket.

So, why did I write this? Well, today I read that Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) because of their treatment of women. Good for him. Really. Good for him.

It was a big reason why I left the SBC a long, long time ago...


WFMW: Hide the Flax seed

I remembered the other day a useful thing I used to do with Flax seed... so, I thought I'd post it here for Works for me Wednesday!! Please go check out the other useful posts. :)

Flax seed... I like to grind it up with a coffee grinder and keep it in the fridge. Then, when I'm making spaghetti sauce or other recipes, I pull some out and put it in the sauce.

Yes, I hide the good stuff in the sauce. :) It adds a bit of a nutty flavor, fiber and Omega-3 and other good stuff to your food, and it is barely noticeable. I haven't done this in awhile, but I'm going to go back to it. I think it would mix in well with other things, like meatloaf (I make mine with ground turkey), goulash, lasagna, etc.

It may not work for everyone, but it does work for me! :)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

I a princess

Lil M in her own rocking chair... with Meow and Bunny... in her pretty dress. :) "I a princess, Mommy" hahaha



Lil M had her very first ever swim lesson today!! Auntie Ellen and I both were able to get into the water and help her... it was an all girl class, of maybe 5 babies. :) Lil M got to learn

how to kick,
climb out of the pool,
jump to Mommy off the side out of the pool after 3 seconds,
scoop her hands in the water to swim toward the frog toy she got to play with,
float on her back,
and float on her belly with a noodle float.

She needs lots more practice, of course, but she got a chance to try all those things! That was very cool. She was especially good at climbing out of the pool. :)

Then we had lunch after swimming... Here's a pic of Auntie Ellen with Lil M when we went to get chai lattes. :)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adventures with Alice and some day Little Sis too!: "CHALLENGING THE HORRORS OF ADOPTION"

I like adoption posts, and this is a good one.

Adventures with Alice and some day Little Sis too!: "CHALLENGING THE HORRORS OF ADOPTION"

It's a great post from a fellow adoptive Mama. :) It is encouraging to me. And, of course, I have some thoughts on the topic. My thoughts are based on the comments to the article she posted.

Adoption is not bad, negative, evil, less than,.... neither are our children. They are good and kind and empathetic and loving.

Does adoption cause pain? Yes. So does almost every other thing in our lives in some way or another. We live in a fallen world. But it doesn't mean that they are destined to have awful lives. Most of our children grow up to live very happy, healthy, productive lives.

I feel like I need to add that I do not like the premise of the movie Orphan (which is what the link and article above are about). And when I read the comments on the article, it disturbs me even more. **Most of this rant is not geared toward this movie, it is really about how people choose to hurt and judge each other.

Some people are just so insensitive to other people's feelings and needs. And to tell people that it is wrong to have their own feelings about a movie is just not right. Some adoptees might not like it. Some might not care. But it should be OK to share those feelings because it helps us all to process. And if it convinces even one person to be more sensitive to the needs of our adopted children, then it is important.

But, some seem to say that it is wrong to say something about a movie when there are more important things to deal with... like the ability to get their own birth-family information and feel like they were ripped off because they can't...or because they have a new name. While I can understand the intense frustration, it has nothing to do with this particular movie or the negative it represents.

IMO, stories of an adoptee being evil because they were adopted OR of an person is bad so they were not good enough to stay with their biological family is just crap. Yes, it is fiction. And, some people might write and think these things because of their own innate fears, or hurts... but it puts way too much pressure on our children and those that adoption affects... Tries to make adoption out to be a bad thing. It is not. Could it be better? Yes. Would it be nice if we were in the Garden again and didn't have to worry about such hurts and things as disruptions of families for any reason? YES. But, adoption serves a purpose and, personally, I'm grateful for that.

We're not all cookie cutter replicas of each other. And, if this movie hurts our adoptees or keeps someone from adopting, then that makes me sad. Do I think the movie needs to be banned, no. But I do believe peoples' feelings need to be respected.

It does not surprise me that adoptees may feel like they were reason they aren't in their first family. But to sensationalize that is just disgusting to me. No wonder people talk about adoption in hushed tones. If you aren't involved in adoption, it might not make sense why it is so important to adoption-affect families to raise up against this type of movie. I guess it would be nice to be in that perfect little world, with that perfect little family... (or maybe not.) But this is real life, and frankly, no family is perfect regardless of how it is formed. But I'll take mine over someone elses any day. And, I'll fight for it, too.

In the end.. I'm just tired of people always judging others for being different or having something different than they have. Why does it mean that what I have is less than what you or they have or vice versa?

Really. We're all just trying to muddle our way through this world. Why be so mean to each other?


WFMW: Talk to someone

I'm sort of having "one of those days" today... just in a mood. And I've determined (yet again) that what works for me is to find someone to talk to. In this case, it was someone I wouldn't have even thought to talk to necessarily, but they were really encouraging.

So, I encourage you to get out there and talk to someone if you're having a bad day. Oh, and go check out Works For Me Wednesday.


What to do

So, I haven't been writing as much lately... I think it has to do with the fact that my boss found my blog. And read the whole thing. Not that I had it super locked down, but I guess I didn't figure it'd be that easy to find by my name. So, now I'm not sure what to do. I am having sort of a hard time writing because of it.

For example, I really want to write about how I'm not motivated these days. And, not only that, but I have no idea what is next on my plate. I guess it's sort of like marathon let down. When you train and train for a marathon, then run said marathon, you can get the 'marathon let down' afterward because that goal is accomplished and you have nothing else on the horizon. That's me, I think. I'm super goal-oriented. I mean, some people might call it something else, but really that's what I am. I do not know what it is like to not have a goal.

And, right now, even though I want to have a 2nd child, it's not a pressing goal. Mainly due to funds... and, so, that's leaving me feeling like I have no big goal right now. I could try to go back to get an MBA or a different higher degree. Maybe law. But, then that'd take time away from Lil M.

I could go back to marathons... but, I'm so not motivated right now (oh, and I'm registered for 2 fall marathons. yeah right). It's harder than I thought it would be with Lil M... to run, that is. I don't like "having" to run on the treadmill every time. But if I don't, I don't have anyone to watch Mia... or I have to take her in the running stroller. Which is harder for me than I'd like it to be. It's heavy. Oh, it's a nice stroller... I'm not complaining about that. But it's not like it used to be when I could just throw on some shoes and run out the door. It's getting me down. And, my running friends are pretty flip about it. Just go run, they say. OK. You run with a 35+ lb stroller/baby and let me know how often you want to go.

Anyway. I guess whoever reads will just have to realize that I'm human and if they judge me, so be it. Otherwise, I"ll have to shut this one down and start over. And, I don't really feel like doing that.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Your Story Matters

So, my girlfriend Kristen is having a Your Story Matters Party today... (over here at PajamaMama) Please go visit her and the others! Their stories are amazing and wonderful.

So, I thought I'd participate.

My story seems so long. But for some reason recently, I feel it necessary to talk, write and share what I can so that others might be able to find that something special in their own selves and their own lives, too. If you just want the synopsis and not to have to read the whole thing, here is is: I felt very unlovable for most of my life and I believe that God doesn't want me to feel that way any more. I had to learn it the hard way, through life experiences. God loved me first. (ps. This is highly likely not a big revelation for anyone else but me, and so I sort of feel foolish even writing about it like it's a big deal... but since it has been important in my life, and I wanted to contribute to "Your Story Matters", I'm going to share parts of my story...again.)

...I want to say it started way back when I was a kid, myself. My parents married, divorced, married again (and again and again)... I do not begrudge their decisions, but their decisions did have an impact on my life. There was a huge portion of my teen and adult life where I felt like if no one could love my mother, who could love me? I felt very unlovable. (and as my friend Ellen and I have determined... feeling unlovable is a huge problem, it seems, these days... think about it. If you don't feel loved, how do you feel worthy or good about yourself? The likeliness is that you probably don't. And if you don't feel lovable, how can you, yourself, love someone else? Not to mention love yourself??)

I wish I could convey just how unlovable I actually felt, and I didn't even really know it consciously all the time. Hindsight is definitely 20/20.

So, therein began a lot of life mistakes on my own part. I went through my 20's being hurt and hurting others. There was so much that happened, it would take all day to tell you, so suffice to say, it was just a long journey of unhappy relationships that God didn't really want me to be in.... Until the culmination of a 3-year relationship with someone who cheated on me (for 2.5 of those years!!)...and, that... woke me up. Literally. Woke.Me.Up.

And, I realized that I deserve to be loved. (this was a huge realization for me.) I mean really loved. Not someone's second best. Not someone's emotional whipping girl... not someone's play thing.

I didn't and don't know how to make that happen, but God did. Not only do I deserve to be loved, but I am lovable. I don't have to be miserable. I don't have to just date anyone that walks through the door, just because they are there. I don't have to disrespect my own life and feelings (to put someone else in a place in my life where they don't have the right to be if that's not what God wants).

I can be with someone who is good and kind and who loves me for me.

I also deserve to love. God wants me to be happy, too. Wow. Really?! It is OK to be happy. To find that special someone or something to fill your life. So, I chose to start my family through adoption. I wanted a child or children. I realized that I was called to have a family of my own. That I have a right to be a Mom, just like anyone else. (singleness, past mistakes, and all.) I was just called to do it a little differently. And, that is OK.

I don't have all the answers, but I do know that if my life had worked out the way "it should have" in my 20's I wouldn't have the life and love I do have today. And I wouldn't trade my life today. I can't imagine not being Lil M's Mommy.

That being said, I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and fears of being a Mom, too. Thankfully, these have lessened over time (through prayer, and amazing friends and familial support!)

When I first became a Mommy I went through my own emotional (post-adoption) changes. Wow. I didn't know that could happen. (which, for me, seemed to stem back to the being unlovable part.) I have found people don't talk about that stuff very much. The fears of going back to work. Screwing up your child somehow. Attachment. Learning. Losing your old life and self. Losing yourself period. Losing your mind. LOL Ever feeling "normal" again. All this has taken time to work through, for me anyway, emotionally... but I do feel like I'm OK now and that Lil M and I are OK. whew. ;) That was also huge for me.

So, please don't write to me thinking that I'm not OK now. Because I'm better than I've ever been. :)

What I have learned is that while my life "did" change, and I did gain a new sense of myself, who I am, what I want, and that I do matter. I really think that God wanted me to learn that. That I'm allowed to have my own life and family. And to be happy.

We are called to be in relationship. For me, I believe we are called to be in relationship with our own selves, our friends and family, and most importantly, our God (and for some, marriage). Some of us go through life wondering how that is possible. We feel unworthy. But God doesn't want us to feel that way.

God wants us to know HE LOVED US FIRST and will always love us, no matter what. That is so comforting to me, because even when my own parents let me down, I can lean on the one parent that matters most - God. And, no matter if some people find that cheesy or out there (or mean, but I'm not trying to be)... I believe it with all my heart. People are fallible. It is fact. We are important, though. And our lives are important. No matter where we are in that life or what we are going through.

I want to post a link that Kristin posted, because Lauren's story is SO amazing. Her own realization of God and her life is just beyond beautiful to me. And even though our stories are vastly different, her sentiment is the same.

I believe that Your (My) story matters. It is important for us to share with each other the joys and struggles we go through so we don't feel so alone. It's too hard to go it alone. I mean, to feel totally alone... married or single.

I'm not alone. You aren't alone either. Really. God is here. I'm here. Your friends are here. Your family is here. Find someone you can talk to and connect with. It's THAT important. :)

Blessings and Peace.

Monday, July 13, 2009

MMM - It Takes Two

So, this week I have my nephew, C, all week! :) It is the first time he's ever stayed more than 2 days with me. That is awesome. So, my Motivate Me Monday thought is how I'm going handle two of everything this week?!

C is 9 years old and he is going to basketball camp this week. Actually, it is half day basketball and half day sports camp... Lil M is in daycare (DC) still, of course. Which means I have to drive to two different locations in the morning before work and to pick them both up after work.

Yesterday I made a whole pot of pinto beans (sans meat), and so I figure dinner is covered for at least a couple of days this week. But I do need to go to the store today to get a few extra items for us. Like bread and lunch meat. Dinners ideas for this week, so far: spaghetti, beans/rice, burritos, turkey-meatloaf, and probably chicken and noodles.

I don't have to make Lil M's lunches, but I do have to have something for C to take each day. So, gotta plan that. I already wrote down 5 dinner ideas for us. Today I will make up 4 more days worth of lunch stuff (except actually making the sandwiches).

I've got some paints and playdo that I think I will let the kiddos play with tonight! C wants to go to the park, and I've already talked to my friend MK about dinner... So, I figure I've got at least 3 days worth of fun stuff planned for us.

This doesn't include bath times, teeth brushing, the dogs...but I guess it's got me motivated today to try to keep up with everything this week. I just hope his basketball/sports camp goes well. He seemed to think it was cool this morning. So, let's see!

And it's got me wondering how having two would be in the long-term...


Friday, July 10, 2009

Build up, not Tear Down

A long, long time ago..... OK, at the end of 2004, I decided to move forward with adoption. Many of you have followed the story here for some time... (here's the synopsis, in case you haven't) I applied for a singles slot in December 2004 and was accepted the first week of January of 2005. My dossier was complete by September of 2005 and sent to China, where I was logged in on Halloween, Oct 31, 2005. I received my referral of my daughter the first week of May 2007. Flew to get her June 2007, and the adoption was final June 19, 2007. We were home on June 28. Our first holiday was the 4th of July, Independence Day. :)

I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental tonight, for some reason. Maybe it is because my own Mom wrote to me the other day and told me she was proud of me. (i about died of shock)... and that she could tell I was a good Mom. It was one of the nicest things anyone's ever said. And was huge, since it came from my own Mom. (don't get me wrong, people have told me i'm a good mom, but to hear it from your own mother, is just amazing!) She was proud I put myself through school, bought my own house, went to China.

So, it got me thinking... plus I was watching those wife swap shows tonight... about family and about us Moms. Some get a bum rap. Some get put on a pedestal. Some get treated like dirt. Some treat their kids like dirt. ALL of which, makes me terribly sad.

What has this world come to that we are all SO MEAN to each other all the time???? Why should the compliments and proud moments be shocking? Why are the failing/mean/hateful moments always so prominent?

There have been so many times I've felt like a failure, and I know others have and do, too. But why?! Why don't we have the support we need to thrive?

And, more importantly, are we going to repeat history? Are WE going to be the support our children need to THRIVE? Because, I for one, want to be that support. For my daughter, for my sister, for my friends, for my Mom, for my Dad, for my brother...

I want to be able to walk through life knowing I didn't treat people so badly that they only ever felt torn town. I want to build others up. Do you want to build others up?

How do we do that? Well, first, the Word of God helps us build others up. God is our first example of LOVE and kindness. But if you don't want to get too Biblical, then just start looking at your own behavior. It starts with you and me.

Take one week to write down all interactions with people... your co-workers, your friends, your sister, brother, daughter, son, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend. Were you nice? Genuinely nice? Did you poke fun...that wasn't really kind? Did you inadvertently (or on purpose) hurt someone? Did you fix it? Or at least try? Did you use harsh words? Did you yell? Did you cut someone off on the road? Did they yell?

I urge you to take that list of moments and see how you could have handled them differently the next time. The next time someone comes and asks you to do something you don't want to do. Be kind. Really. Be kind. You don't want someone yelling at you, right?

It always comes back to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and mind. And your neighbor as yourself.

So, if you wouldn't want someone to be snippy, snarky, crappy, crabby, rude, hateful, to you... then please remember to approach them with: LOVE THEM AS YOURSELF, as your guide. We can't fix all relationships (or non-relationships) with people, but we can react out of a place of loving them as we would love ourselves. And in that, I believe, we can help others get out of the hate-hate action-reaction that so permeates our culture.

I wrote the other day that we need to "cherish" our children. And we do. This doesn't mean that I believe that there are no consequences for bad behavior or letting them get away with things they ought not do. But it does mean paying attention, spending time with them, teaching them they way they should go... being present... and LOVE THEM AS YOURSELF. :)



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WFMW: Working Mamas

A fellow adoptive Mama (and online friend) is going back to work soon. She is wondering what kind of advice us working moms have for her... Which made me think about my own life and how Lil M and I have adjusted after TWO YEARS of being home together! :D ::big.huge.grin::

First, I can hardly believe it's been two years already! And I mean that. It has gone by with lightning speed!! Of course, when we first got home, I wasn't sure how anything would go, and I certainly couldn't imagine two years down the road! LOL.

So, here's my advice for any new Mom going back to work...

1. Let the guilt go. Really. I'm the queen of feeling guilty over every little thing. Gotta let that go. If you want to work, or need to work, it is OK. Look at the positive, they will learn all kinds of neat things, make friends and know that you are Mommy regardless. You aren't going to do yourself or your son or daughter any good feeling guilty all the time. It will show. So, take a deep breath and shake it off.

2. For any new parent, but especially adoptive parents, take the first entire year (yes, I said year) to focus on your child and your/their attachment. Go home and hold them. Carry them around. Wear them in a sling. Cherish them. This will alleviate any guilt you have, too, because if you are making an effort to really cherish the time you have together you will be able to let yourself do other things. And, it is OK to do other things sometime! Work being one of them.

3. Take at least 15 minutes each day for yourself. I'd say an hour, but let's be realistic. Go grab that cup of coffee. Savor it. Go sit on the porch. Savor it. Go listen to the birds or run or walk or do whatever it is that it important for you to unwind. Prayer is always good. Just sit. Allow yourself that few minutes to unwind.

4. Don't worry about every little thing... cleanliness is next to Godliness for sure, but if something doesn't get done, don't sweat it. The laundry can wait until the weekend. It will not kill you to not vacuum every single day. There will be toys. There will be messes. Who cares? The first year you will be focusing on your child, remember? And what is more important really? They are. :)

5. Ok, so the truth be told, it is hard for most of us not to feel guilty going back to work. That probably doesn't even depend on your child's age. But if you're like me, you might go crazy at home all day by yourself!! But it will get easier. Especially, if you are in a good work environment. So, if you're not... try to find somewhere that you can feel good about yourself, your family and your job. That really is important. I didn't have that when I went back to work, and I'm SO glad I have that now. It just makes my life so much better. And a happy Mama is a good Mama. Remember that. :)

6. Some additional thoughts that help me: I try to make dinners ahead, plan meals, stock up on things that I know I will eventually need so I don't have to run out to get something when I am feeling stressed or tired from working all day. Freeze milk. Have that extra pack of diapers on hand, or have some cloth ones, too. I used both, that way if I was ever low on packaged ones I could use them as backup. I also just liked cloth, but that's me. :) Oh, and when you take them to daycare/school - drop and run! Don't dawdle. Tell them you love them and will be back!! Ksses and hugs and LEAVE. Otherwise, it just makes it too hard for both of you. IMO.

7. You NEED a support system. If you don't have one, be on the lookout for one. :) One of my dearest friends is someone I met after I went back to work. Other moms in similar situations are invaluable!!! So is your family and friends. Do not be afraid to ask for help. (if you're like me, that's very hard, but you need to do it sometimes!!)

8. Trust your instincts. When you become a parent, I think that you second guess yourself a lot more than before... it's new... especially when you go back to work. Should I be at work? Should I be at home? Will they love me less? Is their daycare/school OK? What about their day provider? If you don't trust your daycare provider, that's not good. Find someone you trust. If it doesn't feel right, or something feels off... trust your instincts. This goes for food and sleeping and holding and everything else. We don't get a book on how to do all this... it is OK to trust yourself.

9. Get enough sleep. Now, I know this seems impossible sometimes. But get sleep when you can. It is extremely important to get enough rest. The first year of daycare/school is going to be tough because they bring home lots of germs. We were sick on and off the whole first year!! It sucked. But it would have been even worse if I hadn't taken the time to get some rest.

10. Love your children. That's what it comes down to really. Isn't that always the case? Regardless of how you became a parent...when or why... you're a parent now. So, if you really focus on love, the rest will come. :) Trust me, time flies...


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Sorry I've been absent for a week or more... didn't really feel like I had a lot to write about... Lil M is doing great... here are a couple updates, should be in red/wh/blue but she was in a pink mood!! lol