Thursday, May 27, 2010

So in the past week...

I got home to a housefull of kids rarin' to go on Sunday night! Woo Hoo!! Talk about "hit the ground running!". Buck stayed in LA for the "business" part of his trip, while I came home to my little monkeys. I posted this on Facebook too, but there really is nothing better than coming down the escalator at the airport to people who are really, truly, genuinely excited to see you. And that my children were. :) Awesome.

Anyhooo...the rest of the week, I worked on Tuesday, made it to 2 kids dance classes with poor Tater feeling under the weather, then the puking started at--wouldn't you know--2 AM. He couldn't puke at 2 in the afternoon. So it was one of those clean up, get him back to sleep, puke, clean up, get him back to sleep, etc. etc. until he fell off to blissful un-puking sleep at about 7 AM, just in time for the big siblings to wake up! One of my recurring thoughts was "I did NOT sign up for single motherhood!" To the moms that do it day in and day out--you are my heroes. Seriously.

Wednesday we ran, ran, ran, loved the weather, got the sprinkler out, bought some new super soaker water guns (man are those things AWESOME!!), then did some running around to double baseball practices. Whew! We ate dinner at 7pm. Poor Max (who we seriously think may have a hollow leg for all he eats at AGE 7!!) kept asking so sweetly "Mom, do you think we'll have time for dinner before bed?"

Today I had the pleasure of meeting friends to talk about the joys of international adoption, and to help them maybe start to walk through the process a little bit. What a blessing and opportunity this is! I will be doing the same thing on Sunday at our church, and am so excited to share our journey, and most of all, hopefully help others create their own adoption journey. One of the most important things that I share with people is that even though it seems HUGE and probably daunting, and maybe even overwhelming at first, it is 100% totally do-able. I am not a list-maker, I am not organized, I am not anyone super-special, and I most certainly am not the most qualified person to be leading anyone through the path of international adoption. But I was open, and I was willing--and my friend Ally (mom to 9--hello! you listen when this lady talks!) shared this one with me--"God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called". So there you go. My week in a nutshell.

Also, blogger was holding my blog hostage and I couldn't log on for 2 days! What's up with that? I think for 2 seconds I have some of this technology stuff figured out and then they do that to me. Crazy. Have a beautiful Friday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

California Dreamin...

So the last time Buck and I took an alone trip was to Cali as I told Tim and Melissa this weekend, they are about the only reason I voluntarily leave my children without my husband home. I truly love them.
Our pathetic attempt at a self-portrait on the plane...

Buck got REALLY creative and had my favorite, favorite, favorite food in the entire universe FLOWN out to California--that would be Giordano's deep-dish pizza. Yep, Chicago pizza in Los Angeles. It was Melissa's first experience and it was a hit. Way to go Buck. Big points for him. Big. :)

The closest Buck will probably EVER get to driving an Aston Martin. Yep, that's a kinda fancy expensive little car there. Sitting in Melissa's parents' garage. It's her mom's everyday car. I told her I wanted her to see my mini-van where the breaks squeak. :)

Enjoying a little quiet time in Paradise (also known as Melissa's parents' backyard). Fun times...

Seriously 2 of our most favorite people in the whole wide world. Love them love them love them. Oh and the dog too. :) Great weekend, great friends, great memories.
Somehow in the goofing around with the pictures, I deleted my signature. Oops. I'm smart like that. While I loved the time away, it was so good to be home and back to my monkeys. It's where I'm supposed to be. Ready for my last day of work on Friday. My last weekend of call over Memorial Day weekend. Crazy to imagine, but good. And thankfully, miraculously (and thanks to my string-pulling business partner) I have an appointment with a neurologist a week from Wednesday. I'm planning on turning over a new leaf in more ways than just on the job front. We shall see! Much love to all~Laura Joy

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last Day of Preschool

We say goodbye to another year of preschool. Thankfully she has one more year of preschool left, because even at the end of year celebration this year, I was a crying fool! Sweet girl...

With Miss Heidi, who put up with lots of broken glasses this year! :)

Zoe was apparently very moved by the song "Thank you, God, For Making Me Me". Funny enough, I sang that song in Vacation Bible School when I was little. Maybe I'm not that old after all...wait...yes I am.

Charlie needed a picture in here too...he's saying "Peace out to preschool, Dudes!"

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fun Times...

Yep have just had one of those weeks. You know? Where you are pretty sure you're not going to win Mother of Year?

Yeah...Zoe went across the street and was playing with some neighborhood kids for probably half an hour before I even noticed she was not in the house. When things like this happen (rarely but she is pretty fearless so they do occasionally happen!), one of the first things that crosses my mind is "I probably won't be putting THAT in this year's post-placement report!" I'm kidding. Sort of.

Then I lost it with Max who couldn't find his baseball socks. Seriously, why should I yell at a super good kid? About baseball socks? Hold it together, lady! I lose stuff ALL THE TIME. I apologized, I asked for forgiveness, and I hope and pray that he gets that I just have a short fuse.

Tate ate a leftover red velvet cupcake (made as a celebration treat for our small group)--as an appetizer because he wouldn't stop screaming before dinner--and do you know what smeared red velvet cupcake looks like on very pale chubby legs? A very weird rash/skin condition. So when I took him to Charlie's baseball practice tonight and we were playing on the playground with lots of other kiddos running around, I'm pretty sure they all wanted their kids to stay away from the red legged, likely contagious baby. Goodness gracious.

Also, Tate is obsessed with several very funny things. Vests. He has a fleece vest that he wore this winter and any time he finds it laying around anywhere (drawer, closet, laundry), he must wear it NOW, all day. So he has been known to wear it on 80 degree days. Whatever. I'm all about picking battles, especially when it comes to clothing. But I sort of "hid" the fleece vest. But guess what he discovered? The kids' Awana vests. They are pretty ugly, 1950's-looking things that button up the front and have sewn-on patches on them. But he found it and had to wear that all day today. So in addition to his weirdo looking red legs, he had the Awana vest over his Gap one-piece. Seriously, I take my children out in public like this. He is also obsessed with a toy drill that he continually puts in any open orifice of anyone standing near him. Consider yourself warned.

Buck and I are heading West, really West, for a nice long weekend this weekend. I wasn't really looking forward to it, because let's be honest, leaving 4 kids and getting them ready for baseball games, birthday parties, and dance pictures is actually more stressful than just staying home and doing it all myself! But now I am getting more "into" it and am feeling ready to relax a little. Hopefully I will remember the camera this time we visit our beautiful friends Tim and Melissa and there will be some photographic proof of our trip...we shall see. Much love~

Friday, May 14, 2010

Looking up...

I do believe that things may be looking up. Not that they were entirely looking down but I may be feeling a little better. I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until I started not feeling so bad. So anyone else out there live with migraines? Mercy me, I think we need a support group. I think our spouses need a support group too. And then I think our friends need a support group too, because I think they don't know what to do with us. I am pretty sure my 3 closest friends thought I was depressed or going off the deep end when truly all I wanted to do was pull my head off the top of my body because it just plain hurt ALL THE TIME. Yes, it's true, a pretty-much-constant-headache can cause one to be a little emotional. But I know depressed, and I promise you (and them!) it wasn't depression. It was PAIN.

Living with migraines is miserable. Miserable. No other way to describe it. I've had migraines since I was 20. Started in college, after the stress of finals was over. I guess I could count myself as somewhat lucky, in that I didn't get a headache until the stress was done. But man, it would be a doozy. And the family history of migraines spans pretty much every single woman on my mom's side. I remember vividly the times when my parents' bedroom door would be closed, shades drawn and my dad would be whispering "Mommy's got a headache, we need to go downstairs and be quiet." Now the legacy continues. Zoe asking me gently, "Mommy, can I rub your head to make it better?"

So after getting 2-3 BAD headaches a week, I finally decided to call a neurologist. Guess what they said? Maybe we can see you in July. Hmmm. Well, the wonderful doctor I work with decided to try one other medication to get me through until July. And guess what? It is working! I am very cautiously optimistic and do feel some unusual side effects, but have had 1 headache in 2 weeks. I am thrilled with that, but being the headache pessimist that I am, I continue to take 1 day at a time. My body has always responded physically to stressors that are happening in my life and let's just say I have a few going on right now. So I know that is a big part of it. I am continuing to exercise as best I can--kickboxing is great stress relief!--but I am looking forward to some of the external stressors being eliminated so I can focus a little more on the internal, and getting things "right" again. So...migraines in a nutshell. There you go.

It's the year of the baby!

You know in China, they have the Year of the Dragon, the Year of the Tiger, etc. Actually one of my children was born in the Year of the Rat...I can't remember which one, but I'm glad I don't believe in that stuff because I'd hate to base my life around being born in the Year of the Rat. I digress...

So I declare 2010 the Year of the Baby. The baby boom has officially begun. In the past few weeks, not only has it been raining cats and dogs around Iowa (not literally but you know what I mean) but it's also been raining babies! I just have to say...

Welcome to the world,

Baby Sela Marie

Baby Paizley Renee

Baby Stella Marie

Baby Ali Grace

Baby Harper Rae

Baby Owen Robert and

Baby Warner Louis!!!

And if you would, PLEASE join me in praying for successful court dates for two fellow adoptive moms. Tesi and Zach have their court date for their two boys NEXT WEEK in Ethiopia, and Amy and Josh have their court date for their baby girl in Ethiopia June 1. Thank you!

It's the Year of the Baby, and I couldn't be happier for all these families and their new children. Not that I'm joining in the fun, but I'm certainly joining in the praises being lifted for new life and anxiously awaiting the arrival of even more little ones (my women's group ladies--whom I affectionately call the "Who's Pregnant Now? Group")-- Kristin and Sarah L. Plus other dear friends: Sarah S, Jen, Amber, Emily, Rosalyn, Heather, Shannon and Paige...Toldja! It's the Year of the Baby! Love it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Thoughts

My life feels a little random these days so here are some random thoughts to go along with it...

I know I've mentioned this before, but there are times when if someone just happened to walk into our house at just the right moment, they may overhear some of the craziest things come out of our mouths--even if taken in context they sound funny! Here are a couple favorites of late:

"Tate, please take the drill out of your ear."

"Zoe, hands out of Mommy's shirt...NOW!"

"No, Max, I have no idea how much precipitation is anticipated. NO, I will not call Channel 13 and ask."

"Everyone needs to sit down, don't talk and eat your dinner. Now...tell me about your day." (My poor children are probably so stinkin' confused!)

Let me also say how very grateful I am that I learned that--at least for now--"naughty words" consist of the following:
the "s" word=stupid (gasp! we don't say that at our house!)
the "b" word= butt (we use "bottom" or "tush") :)
or the worst of all...
the "f" word= fat (just an unkind word, in my opinion!)
Don't know how much longer these will be the worst things that these innocent little ears hear, but I am glad for it while it lasts!

I also do have some things heavy on my heart, and just see a lot of hurt, discontent, and downright tragedy going the world and right in our own backyards. My heart hurts for this, and I know that what hurts us, hurts the heart of God as well. The Creator of the universe hurts for us.

"I look up to the mountains--does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade." Psalm 121: 2-5

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This, and then this, and then this, and then this...

You are hereby witnessing my very first moment as a mother. Overwhelming joy, relief that it was OVER (I don't know what I was thinking, that anything was over once the baby was out!), my first instant in finding out that I had a SON. This is where it all started...and then this...
Less than 2 years later, here we go again. Again--joy like I've never known. Joy in knowing that I really could love another little person as much as I loved that first little person! Joy in discovering that even though we had a matched set with our two sweet little boys, that their personalities and God-given makeups could be so very different. Oh, things were so very different that second time around, in so many ways! And then this...

A sweet girl to add to all that boy-ness. Just what God had in mind for us. Finding out that mothering a daughter isn't all that different from mothering a son, except there are a lot more hair accessories involved. Learning that just because your child didn't grow inside you doesn't mean that the mother-love you have isn't as physical and primal as if they had. Maybe even a little more because of your overwhelming desire to protect them from the tragic circumstances they have already had to overcome. Discovering that a baby can be one of the bravest people you know. Hearing everyone tell you how "lucky" that baby is to be in your family, when you know the truth--YOU are the blessed one to be her mama. And then this...

Oh, sweet baby boy. Still my baby boy. Tate, which means "he who brings happiness". Right on, baby! So. Much. Joy. Mothering this 4th babe means cuddles, bumps on the head, more cuddles, and finding out that yet again, another boy doesn't mean a replica of the other two. Nurturing 4 little souls, having them entrusted to my care, watching them learn, seeing their minds work, hugs, kisses, funny words and phrases, memorable moments, teachable moments, and love love love love. I am humbled God chose me to be the mother to these precious gifts. I am thankful. More than I could ask for or imagine...

1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord granted me my request."

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ready for something new!

Anyone else suffer from spring fever? I think I get it every year. When it's time for the end of the school year (man, I hope my kids don't get that from me...I struggled so hard with that every single time finals would come around!). When it's time to play outside, when I want to be moving on, gettin' goin', open the windows, let the fresh air in--literally and figuratively!

I am quickly coming to the end of my time in regular practice as a midwife. This is obviously bittersweet--and hard for me to adequately express although I probably will spill my guts at some point--but the time is coming. I have no doubt it is the right decision. The right decision isn't always the easy decision or the one we necessarily want to make. But here I go! Diving into the world of semi-retirement. A dear friend, Kristin, and I are in the same boat and we are leaning on each other so much in our happy/sad moments of mourning the loss of some freedom and personal fulfillment that comes from having professional satisfaction, while knowing that our children and we will all benefit so much from us being home.

I know God has big plans in store for me (and for you, Kristin!) doubt in my mind. Jumping off the career path for the time being is a leap of faith in so many ways. To me, it's saying "God, I trust that when and if the time is right for me to come back into this chosen calling, You will make a way for it to happen. If not, I trust You will make that clear to me as well." I humbly accept your prayers as I wrestle through these next few weeks of transition with my job and with my family. I know there will be tears--newborn cries and probably a midwife's tears as well. I am blessed to be in this position. I know that, and am thankful. I am thankful for the rock of God's word as well--these words from Isaiah are so exciting to me!

Isaiah 43:18-19: "But forget all that--it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Wonder what He's got in store? Can't wait to find out!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Dobbins!

May 1, 2010--an absolutely picture-perfect, heaven-sent day for a wedding. Congratulations to Melissa and Eric Dobbins! My sister Melissa was married last Saturday, and there were too many pictures for my little blog to accommodate so a collage was the only way to go otherwise there would have been 5 posts worth of pictures! The happy couple is there in the middle (the gal in the white dress maybe gave it away...that would be the bride and groom!), the children all behaved relatively well (thank you, Lord!) and beautiful memories were made. When we were walking out of the ceremony, Zoe held my hand, looked up at me, lifted up her little shoulders with the biggest smile and said "That was great!" It was so sweet, like, "wow, I didn't know what I've been missing all this time by not going to weddings!" ha! The bride was lovely, the whole day relaxed and enjoyed by family...just the way a wedding should be. Love was in the air! Much love to each of you~

p.s. if you click on the photo collage, it should pop up so you can see the pictures a little better--otherwise just get out your magnifying glass! :)

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