Monday, April 29, 2013


On Friday, Olivia had her first ever professional hair appointment. Shampoo first.

Waiting for the stylist to comb and dry her hair.

The stylist use the straightening iron, then gave her a trim.

Olivia is rocking her new (temporary) 'do.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Infertility Awareness Week

I believe all of us were created with some sort of purpose in mind. I'm not talking about a specific, predestined set of roles...more like a designed set of strengths and gifts that allow us to be a very important part of the overall puzzle that constitutes life in our corner of the world.

I always believed that part of that purpose, for me, would be wrapped up in forming young lives under the title of "Mom". From the time I was very small, I knew I would have kids one day. I am a part of a large family and assumed that chaos and tiny feet would be a part of my life forever.

So, when infertility became the label by which we were defined, life just sort of stood still. What was the direction? What was the purpose? Why were we doomed to suffer the injustice of a sterile existence?

That last statement is complete hogwash, and I have the clarity to realize that now. None of us, regardless of our marital status or condition of our reproductive organs, are doomed to a sterile existence. There is no such thing. God can bring life of all sorts through the authentic living of our vocations and the use of our gifts for Him.

But. Women were created with an organ specifically designed to foster and sustain new human life. An entire organ dedicated specifically to that purpose. It is no mistake that for many women, the cross of infertility can become an existential crisis.

Now, two adoption experiences and 5.5 years of hands-on-mothering experience later, I rarely even think of infertility. It is a vague shadow of a past life that allows me to empathize with those in the throes of infertility, but it doesn't consume any of my personal reflection time. Now, my thoughts are turned to the needs of my own two rapidly-growing kids and my responsibility toward those forgotten kids still bouncing around in foster care, in need of permanence. Whether or not we jump into that fray is yet to be determined or even discussed. But the thought of future growth in our family is not limited by (or even influenced by) our infertility. The fertility of our union will be determined by how God leads us to use our gifts and talents, as a couple, in the Church and in our world. The possibilities are endless.

This post brought to you by the fact that it is National Infertility Awareness Week, which got me thinking about such things. Awareness does that to you, I guess.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Martin is nine months old today. I can hardly believe it.
And he's very excited to show off the teeth he grew this month.

Oh yeah. I'm a big boy now.

What's that? Why yes, I AM the cutest boy!

He just started eating finger foods.

Very happy to be able to feed himself.

The face he makes when he has solid food in his mouth.

His new skill is crawling...everywhere. "Please, please, please can I chew on this chair?"

Close up of the new teeth!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Some happy things

This has been a terrible week from a national perspective. So let's focus on some happy things happening right here in our house...

Martin learned to push himself to sitting position:

And then he perfected his maimed crab crawl.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Odd (wo)man out

I teach the FertilityCare System, and I am a part of a Diocesan-wide group of NFP teachers who get together regularly to figure out how better to offer our services and expand programming. And such.

Which is not the point of this post. The point is that I've been doing this for years...since before I was married, before I knew we had infertility issues, before we adopted the kids. And I've been doing it continuously. So these people have walked with me through all of that.

At the same time, I have walked with them. Through their planned pregnancies, their unexpected pregnancies, their multiple-birth pregnancies, and through miscarriages.

In other words, in a large group of NFP-teaching women, I am the sole representative of the infertility camp.

Last night, one of these ladies announced that she's expecting their fifth child.

Years ago, before Olivia, a pregnancy announcement would cause me secret physical pain. More recently, before Martin, such an announcement would cause longing for another baby to call my own.

Now, I greet baby announcements with joy for the new little life and empathy for the parents about to embark upon sleepless infanthood once again.

No pain. No emptiness. No longing.

It's weird to be in this place, where pregnancy is not expected or even hoped for. Where joy is found in knowing that God created our little family in a rather unconventional way, and that we are perfect just as we are. Where openness to life means being comfortable as a family of four and letting God have complete control over when and whether we will have more children. Where we know how very blessed we are to have two very special and delightful kids in our lives.

Where infertility can no longer steal our joy because it no longer defines us.

God has truly blessed us.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It was a chilly day on the beach...

So. Vacation. Let me first say that a 14-hour road trip with small kids is not fun. Not. Fun. However, we did it. We survived. And then we settled in for a week of fun in the warm sun. Warm. Hahahahahaha! Well, it started out warm. Palm Sunday got into the 70s. But it was windy. And the wind was coming off of the gulf, so our glasses were quickly covered in salty water and it was impossible to see. And Martin hated the wind. And then it got cold and windy. For three whole days.
Cold. And also windy.
We spent those three days doing things that were non-beach related, mostly. Although Olivia made it down to the beach nearly every day with one of us for at least an hour or so. She didn't mind the cold if we just gave her some buckets and let her play in the sand. But since it was so freezy cold, we went to a movie on Monday.  (Oz, which turned out to be rather loud and scarier than I would have expected from a PG movie.) On Tuesday we spent the entire day at WonderWorks, which is just a really expensive Children's Museum. Olivia loved it. She especially liked the ropes course. She was rather good at it.

Death-defying balancing act, except for the harness.
Thursday and Friday finally brought some decent beach weather. Thursday was also our day to take a pirate cruise, which was perfect for Olivia's age group.


A family of pirates
Olivia enjoyed the beach very much, cold or warm. When we wouldn't let her in the water, she just busied herself with the task of moving sand from here to there or picking up sea shells.
Olivia and her ever-present sand bucket.

Friday was the perfect beach day. The wind had finally died down and it was warm, so we ventured out to the beach as a family.
Martin re-affirms his hatred for water touching any part of his body.

Dry sand, however, is a perfectly acceptable medium for playtime.

Mommy puts her feet in the water as Martin looks skeptically at the waves.

Olivia is not at all afraid to get wet.
Overall, a very nice week. Although it was colder than normal, the sky was bright and clear all week, allowing Olivia to get quite a tan. The kid absolutely soaks in the sun. Martin took lots of naps and woke up every day at 6 a.m., sharp. Joe and I are completely worn out from vacation and from driving with kids and from the horrible excuse for a mattress on the bed in our rental house bedroom.
Back saver. Liars.
This photo represents our somewhat-successful attempt to make the bed sleep-able. We pulled the two twin mattresses off of the roll-away beds in the garage and put them on top of the bed. We actually slept a little better for the rest of the week. And then the owners of our rental showed up (and stayed in their own vacation house next door) and decided to replace the mattress on our last day there. So we had a brand-new and much better mattress for our last night.

Oh, and then there was this. There are these planes that fly over the beach pulling advertisement banners. This was the one we kept seeing. Classy, no?
I wonder how many Spring Breakers now regret falling prey to this advertisement.

And that was Spring Break 2013. It may have been a bit chilly on the beach, but it was snowing at home. So, overall, we win Spring Break. Hooray!


Also, I had scheduled this to post on Saturday, March 23rd, but blogger did something weird and it didn't post. The day we left for vacation, Martin turned 8 months old.

This little guy is eight months old.

He was giving me his Elvis lip. I missed it by a millisecond. But still, cute.

Such a big boy! *Sniff*