Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well. After spending most of yesterday morning with a perpetual feeling of motion sickness, I called the doctor to see if it was normal and also OK for me to live with these symptoms for the duration of the antibiotics (3 weeks). He said it was not. We might try something different next cycle, but for now I'm getting my taste buds back. Slowly. I'm realizing this because I ate an apple from a bag that I had all but given up as disgusting, and it tasted good. All other apples I've eaten from this bag (bought after starting the pills) tasted awful. So maybe it wasn't the apples.

A couple of weeks ago, we opened a new bank account at a new bank. Our bank, with whom we have banked (individually, and then later as a couple) for DECADES, decided to drop their free checking option and start charging people fees if their checking account dropped below $500. FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! I think that's unreasonable. If I'm going to let that much money sit anywhere, it's going to be in a savings account or some other interest-bearing account that is meant for piling up cash. (Our checking account WAS interest bearing, and we would have totally switched it to not interest bearing to get free checking, but there was no option for that. Come on, people. A checking account is for MONEY THAT YOU INTEND TO SPEND. Duh.)

Anyway, after a few months of shifting money around so as to avoid the evil fee snatchers, we decided we'd had enough of that nonsense and switched banks. Almost. We are in the process of switching bills and deposits and automatic stuff over and OMG I never knew how much work it is to switch accounts. Ugh. But worth it.

Take THAT, mean old bank.

In the meantime, we decided to buy a new (to us) car. We traded in our always-needs-a-repair van for another car, which I think I may come to regret in the cargo category. But my husband insists that we can trade the other car in for the van I actually WANT in about two years. Something to look forward to...

Buying a car when half of your money is in a new account where you can't actually access any of it easily because you haven't yet received your checks and debit cards and the other half of the money is in the account that is currently paying all of your OTHER bills...well, it was not exactly smart timing.

We finally figured out all the financial issues and had money transferred into the bill-handling account (old bank) where it still sits, today, a full ten days after giving our debit card number for the deposit and a full week after arriving with a check for the difference and driving away with the car. I'm not really sure what to make of that. Perhaps they don't want our money?

That, indeed, would be a welcome change.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Long, long month

Ugh. I hate January. It's such a let down. With the holidays over and the cold intensifying and school canceling for snow every other day, it's just LONG.

To make it even MORE exciting, I'm five days into a three-week course of antibiotics related to a fertility issue, and I'm being hit with several of the unpleasant side-effects, including dizziness, change in taste, lack of appetite and a faint but constant feeling of nausea. Now, not only am I supposed to avoid dairy and sweets and carbs, but they are pretty much the only thing I WANT to eat because they tend to be the strongest in flavor. I feel the need to use flavor to counteract the weirdness in my taste buds and lack of appetite.

At least I'm not constantly thinking about food...

The good news is that we are all over our recent colds. That has made playing outside a little more fun. So let's end this dreary post with some photos to cheer it up, OK?

Olivia wanted to "write" her name with the shovel in the currently-absent neighbor's driveway. I helped.
Sledding is more fun without a constantly-running nose.

Olivia has a new big-girl booster seat. She fits it quite well. I thought it would work OK for car naps too.
But maybe it isn't quite as suited for car naps as the previous car seat!

Happy Monday, I hope!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Till the cows come home...

I think I may have mentioned a new diet that my doctor recommended to keep the endometriosis at bay while we try to conceive. The last few weeks I have slowly implemented some of the recommendations...more veggies and grains, fewer sweets. But I was a little confused on the guidelines and what was expected. So I called and asked the nurse.

I am making good changes, but it is not enough. The most important dietary change I need to make is to give up dairy.


No. I'm serious. Dairy is my life. I grew up on a dairy farm. My Dad milked cows twice a day, every day, for 27 years. I drank the stuff raw, shaking it up before pouring to mix in the cream that had settled at top. I LOVE MILK. I still drink at least three cups a day, and usually more. It is my comfort food. Milk with meals. Milk with snacks. CHEESE. Oh, dear heavens...the cheese!

But, as it turns out, endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that flares up with increases in estrogen. And, it seems that milk is the leading dietary estrogen source. Milk. My beloved milk.

So. It looks like I will be milk free for the next couple of years, unless we get pregnant before then (please God!). I have to learn all about other dietary sources of calcium and such.

I am SO not ready for this!

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's Monday morning, and the boys I watch showed up sleep-deprived today. There is no one to blame...sometimes kids wake up and can't fall back asleep. I understand that as well as anyone. I just know that it spells trouble for us around mid-morning.

But, for the moment, all three kids are playing pretend games happily in Olivia's room. It's not exactly quiet, but it's peaceful. For now.

My brain has been in overdrive this week. Samantha's situation weighs heavily on my mind. I keep feeling like I should call her, but I don't know how much is too much contact. Maybe she needs to hear from a supportive voice. Maybe she just wants to be left alone. So I sit in indecision.

In the meantime, I vacillate between feelings of sorrow for her and sorrow for us. It's entirely selfish, but ever since she announced her pregnancy, I have entertained visions of a second dark-eyed, curly-headed beauty occupying a space in our family. Now I feel adrift...as if our adoption wait is futile and endless. It shouldn't feel any different than it did a month ago, before we knew of Samantha's pregnancy. But it does.

This next month we must make some sort of decision. Our homestudy expires at the end of February. We have been "active" and waiting with this agency for two years. There is no forseeable end anymore.

There is another agency in this state whom we have considered in the past...an agency that provides quick placements (6-12 months). They reportedly do a great job of counseling for the birth parents, before and after the placement. We had expected to sign on with them before we got Olivia's referral so unexpectedly. But then, when we were researching our adoption avenues for #2, we ruled them out as too expensive.

I'm wondering now if it may be worth it.

We have to put our heads together and discuss how to proceed. I just don't like this drifty feeling. It feels like we've had a number of near-misses on finding our own adoption match in two years, and meanwhile there has been no movement from our agency. It's time for movement.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I spoke with Samantha this afternoon. She feels awful, as expected post-surgery. But her doctors say the surgery was successful and that she should have a smooth recovery. Her heart may take awhile to heal. Please keep those prayers coming...

Last night, we visited Samantha in the hospital. Olivia was a balm to her wounded spirit. She asked about the wires and tubes, and we told her that "Miss Samantha has sickness in her belly and the doctor has to go in and fix it."

Olivia: "Can I say a prayer and ask Jesus to take away Miss Samantha's sick?"
Samantha: "Of course you can. I would love you to say a prayer for me."
Olivia: "Ok! Jesus, will you please make Miss Samantha's sick go away so she can feel all better?"
Samantha: "Oh, that's so sweet!"
Olivia: "Can I say Trey's Prayer? (Singing to tune of Frere Jacque) God Our Father, God Our Father, He's So Good, He's So Good..."

(She also followed that with our "superman" meal prayer, which is also sung. She was in full-on praying mode.)

Needless to say, she was the bright spot in Samantha's day. In mine too. She ended the evening by giving Samantha a dozen hugs and kisses. I think it was just what Samantha needed.


This morning, due to some severe complications, Samantha lost the baby in her womb...and her womb. She had hoped to get her life together and be a Mom again, perhaps to this baby, or to another in the future. Instead, she lost her baby and her ability to bear children.

Samantha is twenty three.

I hope and pray that she can continue to move forward with her life. She had plans to continue her education, to get her own apartment, to leave her abusive situation. Now I'm afraid that she'll slip into depression and dependence and will take a few steps backward, instead of forward.

She could use your prayers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seven for Friday

1. On Wednesday night, Olivia had a make-up class for gymnastics for one day that was missed because of snow. Many of her class opted not to make-up the class, and it was a make-up for other classes too. So she was one of six girls in this class, and she was the youngest by at least four years. There were ten-year-olds and at least one teenager. They were doing stations and practicing the fundamentals of back handsprings. And Olivia got to participate at her three-year-old level. She learned SO MUCH in just that one class from all the hands-on attention of the four instructors. AND she did her first cartwheel! She just watched the bigger girls doing them in warm-ups, and decided to go for it! She'd advance to the next level SO QUICKLY if this was the way her class went every week.

2. I'm supposed to transition to a new diet for the sake of fending off future endometriosis. I know what kinds of foods to eat, but I guess I'm just being reminded of how difficult it is to eat healthy foods in our society. Healthy foods are more expensive. And you have to buy them fresh, so more trips to the store. It's going to be a challenging lifestyle change...not because of WHAT I should eat, but HOW to get that in our house and on the plate on a regular basis.

3. It's Thursday as I write this and someone (one of the kids) is bleeding all over my new, thankfully not carpet, floor. I keep finding little streaks on the floor. I'm pretty sure it's Olivia, who has an old cut on one toe and a fresh (newly bandaged) cut on another. I finally made her wear socks to protect the Oriental rug in the living room. I worry overly much about that stupid rug and all the unpleasant child-produced filth it must be absorbing right there in the middle of the living room. I'm starting to think it might be time to suck it up and buy a cheap area rug for the living room so I can move the Oriental back to the master bedroom, where it was before we decided we couldn't live with the echo in the newly-floored living room. I'm learning that there are a lot of hidden costs in reflooring your house.

4. We have been plagued by the annual post-holiday cold this week. I'm mostly over it, but Olivia is still snotty and miserable. The evidence: We've emptied two brand-new kleenex boxes and put a dent in the supply of three more. Since Monday. Gah!

5. Sometime in the Spring last year I started getting developmental emails from Enfamil. "Your baby is 3 months old...get the best nutrition available." I'd get these every couple of months, adjusted for the fantom baby's age, with coupons and the like. I had signed up for their family rewards (or whatever it is called) program when Olivia was born specifically for these coupons. But I never returned to the site once we switched her to milk at a year. And the emails disappeared for a long time, until fantom baby apparently showed up on their radar. So I'm wondering if they just have some sort of robo program that estimates when, statistically, your next baby should arrive so they can start shoving ads at you again. I guess it's a sensible marketing concept. Except it kind of has the opposite effect for me, Ms. Infertile, who has been simultaneously waiting for a second adoption and spending time and money annihilating endometriosis in hope of a possible chance at pregnancy, someday in the vague and uncertain future. Dear Enfamil: You are not helping.

6. I miss warm weather. Winter is not even a month old and I'm already over it. I want to get outside and run. Running, by the way, has been abandoned completely. I tried it a couple of months ago. I began right before I got the evil upper-respiratory-infection-from-hell that knocked me down for the better part of two weeks, and then it got cold outside. I want to do it, though. I do. I just want to do it when the weather is not lung-stingingly cold.

7. We're going to see a movie on Sunday, and I'm overly excited about it. The last movie we saw was in January of LAST year. Yeah. I'm also excited about this particular movie. I got chills when I first saw the trailer on TV that announced that Narnia was back in theaters. Love the books. The movies have brought them to life. Much like the LOTR series, the movies have (thus far) been faithful to the spirit of the books. That doesn't happen often for books-turned-movies, in my experience.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The tornado ripping through my brain

Things at home are shockingly normal this first week of 2011. Olivia has morphed into a relatively normal child. Gone are many (not nearly all, mind you) of her hyperactive traits. She goes to bed at a decent hour, even with a few naps this week (she has a cold, a nap is often in order). It seems we've struck a relatively comfortable balance between no-nap days and nap days, and life is pretty good.

So, things here are normal. EXCEPT. Olivia's birthmom recently found out that she is pregnant. And now we've been sucked into the soap opera that is her life.

She called us as soon as she found out, crying and asking if we'd be willing to adopt this baby (of course we would!) because of the mess that her life is. I talked to her for awhile and calmed her down and told her that we were here to talk if she needed us, and that while we are totally willing to adopt the baby, we wanted her to know that it was her decision and she has time to make it.

Since then, she has calmed down, and now she thinks she wants to try to get her life together and try to parent. BUT she still wants us on board and ready to adopt in case she can't accomplish this by baby's due date in the Summer. And her life has fallen apart (major, catastrophic changes, in my perspective, anyway) at least three times in the two weeks since she first found out she was pregnant. Somehow, I don't see that pattern changing anytime soon.

I won't get into the reasons that her life is, was, and continues to be a mess. We WANT her life to change and go in a positive direction. We really, truly want that. But MAJOR changes need to take place (by her own admission) and she has almost NO support.

I referred her to the Gabriel Project in our area because, as much as I personally want to help her, I can't get THAT involved. I just can't. We love that we can have such an open and supportive relationship with Olivia's birthmother...it's important to us to keep it that way. But somehow, somewhere, there must be boundaries in this relationship that we don't cross, ever. And it's getting harder and harder to define those boundaries as we get our hearts wrapped up in a baby who might never be ours.

Here's the thing. We would be ecstatic to be able to adopt again, even more so to adopt a baby who is biologically related to our daughter. We know we could give that baby a good home and lots of love and more opportunities than Samantha is likely to be able to give. We also know that no matter how logical the choice for adoption may seem when you weigh all the factors, THIS IS HER CHILD, and she has every right to make the decision to parent or to place. We support her right to make that decision. Intellectually. Emotionally, it's a little harder to define...

So, while I want to be the one to hold her hand and help her make good decisions for herself and the baby, I can't. I'm too invested. My desire for a baby and my desire for Samantha to turn her life around...well, they are often in conflict with each other. So I'm trying to strike a balance between staying supportive and staying out of it. It's a challenge, friends. And we have seven months to ride this roller-coaster. I'm already feeling a little motion-sickness.

Adoption breaks your heart. There is always loss. But I see this joyful, well-adjusted (if a little hyperactive) child who just learned to do her first cartwheel and thinks Grandma is her own personal angel and her cousins are her best friends...a child who FITS in this family, and I realize that there's a plan in all of this and it's worth a little heart break.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday recap in photos

Here we are, back to "normal" with babysitting and a regular routine after a week-and-a-half "off". It was fun, if exhausting. The little cousins had a cold, which we caught and now have. And let me tell you...those cousin-colds pack a punch. We are dragging here, folks.

So, here's the reader's digest version of Christmas 2010.

Christmas morning, Olivia came out of her room around 6:20 and found her requested trampoline. Then she just stood on it in a daze for awhile.
One of the first gifts she opened was a microphone. And then she didn't want to open any more gifts. She was in love.

BUT THEN. She opened the guitar. And it was all over for the rest of the gifts.
Rock on! We had to bribe her to open the rest, and she eventually did. Then we got all dressed up and went to Church. In the snow. We rarely see a white Christmas here.

Christmas Day, in the afternoon, we headed to Grammy and Grampy's. A lot of fun was had and a lot of gifts were opened. Funny how one of the least expensive gifts brought some of the most fun (and laughs). Hello, Green Hornet.

A couple of days later, we had Christmas with my parents and family. There are a billion pictures with a billion faces, and since I won't show those here, you only get to see Olivia and the twins enjoying some Wii time.

After a whole week hanging with the cousins, we all trekked a few hours away to a family wedding on New Year's Day. Took a dip in the hotel pool, which was a highlight for Olivia.

The other highlight was, of course, dancing. She and her cousins did quite a bit of that.

Olivia and Daddy couldn't resist showing off her "cheer" pose. This was followed by a flip to the ground while holding Daddy's hands. It was a hit and the wedding photographers couldn't get enough!
Most of all, we just enjoyed spending time with our family and having some Christmas/New Year's fun. Happy New Year!