Thursday, March 29, 2012

Have you seen the Lost and Found Project?

Wow. That's all I can say about this amazing project, called The Lost and Found Project. The people searching for survivors in the aftermath of the March 11th tsunami in Japan found thousands of photographs in the rubble. They brought them all to a local elementary school gymnasium, to be cleaned and restored as best as possible and hopefully returned to their rightful owners. It's an inspiring and powerful story. Be sure to check out the website for details and to read the story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Dig This


Quotes Wednesday

I just saw the new Dr. Seuss movie The Lorax this weekend in the theater, so I figured that a Seuss quote was appropriate for today. Here's one of my favorites, from i can read.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Story Teller

Bean has become a story teller lately. It's one of my favorite things about this stage with her. She loves to tell stories, and loves to draw them out. We just get out a pad of paper and a pen. She tells a story and draws it as best as a 3 year old can, and I'll write it out for her. They're simple stories that usually make very little sense. They wouldn't sell in any major bookstores. But they're the beginnings of an imaginative mind. And I can tell she knows how stories are supposed to go, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And she knows that she is the author. This early story telling makes me so happy. Here's her latest story which she titled "The Bumblebee and Monster Eat Pizza." In this story a bumblebee lives in a far far land. She's very clear about who the monster is. He smiles alot. The bumblebee and the monster eat pizza. And then the bumblebee and a princess make a necklace, and the monster took it from them. The End. Brilliant. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The New Plan

I don't know about you, but I've always been a life planner. At 8 years old I knew, just knew, that I'd be a teacher after college. As I was graduating college I knew, just knew, that I'd have two kids and a house with my then boyfriend by age 25. When none of that happened by age 25 I knew, just knew, that I'd work for a while in finance and then I'd quit and have kids and become a teacher. When that didn't happen by age 35 I knew, just knew that I'd adopt both my kids before age 40 and we'd be fully past the toddler years as we were heading over the hill. And when they were in kindergarten I could quit my finance job and get into teaching, finally. And my kids would be close in age just like me and my sister. That was the plan, revised about a thousand times. I don't know why it's taken me 37 years to realize that I don't know anything about how my life is supposed to turn out, even in the next couple of years. Life is constantly changing and evolving, mostly into something better than I had planned even with the hiccups and catastrophes along the way. Most of the travels, the things I've done, the people I've met wouldn't have happened if my original plan had worked out. I think about this every day as I watch my daughter grow up and bring us so much joy. And as we get together with the families we've met through our adoption community. My original plan didn't work out. What happened is way better.
So I am done planning. The new "plan" is no plan. It's to roll with it. What life brings me and what feels right at the time is what is meant to happen, even if it's not in the plan. 
That's why our decision to back off the adoption list for a couple of years to get on more solid financial ground feels right. This wasn't in the original or revised plan at all. It sets me way back on that plan actually. I'll be 40+ with a newborn, not a teacher for at least another 7 to 8 years or maybe never because I may just want to stay in finance forever, and my kids will be at least 5 to 6 years apart. Um, ok. So what is so darn wrong with that? NOTHING!!
I had a recent epiphany - all those things I had "planned" for so long were just pre-conceived ideas that I've had stuck in my head that have probably been limiting me from really living my life and rolling with the punches. 
I've often admired resilient people. Those people who don't seemed phased when stuff happens that sets them back a little. And I've never thought of myself as an overly resilient person. Probably because I've planned too much, and stuff happens that always pushes me off my plan. But now I think I will be more resilient. Life changes in too many unexpected ways to try to stick to a plan. In the little things day to day, and the bigger life changing things. Resilient people know that life will go on and will probably be better for the change of plans.
I'm not saying I'm abandoning my life dreams. Daydreaming about the future is one thing. But planning so much that your life revolves around future plans that you can't control and you're disappointed when it doesn't go according to the plan is another.
We made the decision to back off the adoption list for financial reasons. But once we made that decision it became crystal clear that it needed to happen that way for many more reasons. I don't know exactly what they all are yet. But somehow I just know, just know, that it's meant to happen this way. And our lives will evolve around it, in unexpected, unplanned ways.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are You A Fast Chick?

Calling all active Boston area women - join us for the Fast Chicks 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, May 5th 2012. Check the website for details and registration.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Upcycled Garden Faucet Coat Racks

Loving these upcycled coat racks using old garden faucets and reclaimed boards. Cool idea for a DIY, or buy them at The Door Stop Etsy shop. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photo of the Day - At The Carwash

I can honestly say I haven't done a driveway carwash in mid-March since I left Texas 20 years ago. This year is so drastically different than last year. Maybe it's global warming? Oh well. I'll take it. 

Are You Additive?

There's a person in my work life who has made many lives miserable. This person has been nothing but negative for everyone who works with or for him. When I think of him, I think "I am worse off for knowing him, he has taken from my life." For the last several years I have suffered under his leadership, and have lost sleep and probably years off the end of my life. That needs to change, and it will. Soon. Instead of leaving angry, I am going to leave on a good note. And I am going to make it my personal mission in life to be additive to the people I meet and the people I know in life. I may not be famous, or achieve all of the things in life that I wanted to when I was younger. And nobody is perfect. I can't be all things to all people all the time and I'll probably piss a few people off again during my life. But after my experience with this person, the one thing that I know I want to do is to be additive. I want the people I know in my lifetime to think "I am better for knowing her, she has added to my life" when they think of me. And not the other way around, like the person I've dealt with lately. That's the little contribution I want to make to the world, if nothing else. Think about it. Are you additive?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Birthday Weekend

Three years ago today I had no idea what the next day would bring. Three years ago today I didn't even know that my beautiful girl existed, that she would be born on the luckiest of days the very next day and that her birthmother would make the hardest decision of her life. And she would choose us. Our worlds were still separate, which doesn't even seem possible. Three years ago today I had no idea the blessing that was coming my way. Happy, happy lucky birthday weekend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mommy We Can Calm Our Bodies Here

Yesterday was a rare incredibly warm March day. Bean and I took advantage of our day together by hitting the beach. We kicked a ball down the beach, built a sand castle, dug for treasures, and dared each other to touch the cold ocean water. That was great in itself. But the best part of the trip was when I was sitting next to her as she was digging. I was gazing out over the landscape, taking the beauty of it, thinking how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be here with her enjoying this. I thought nothing could be better. Until she stopped digging and crawled on my lap and said "Mama, we can calm our bodies here, isn't it beautiful?" And she proceeded to sit on my lap and just relax for a good five minutes. And we enjoyed the beauty of the landscape together, and calmed our bodies together. At that moment, all of our recent financial worries we've had about me going part time vanished. It's been harder financially. No doubt. But this day at the beach with her never would have happened if I was still full time. Our little girl has learned one of very best coping skills ever, at 3 years old. Going to be beach and sitting and taking it all in is one of the best places to "calm your body." And it was calming yesterday for me and her, as opposed to the stress we were all under last year at this time. It was one of those "it's all worth it" moments for me. And I am grateful for it, and for the day with her at the beach.

Where Have You Been in the US?

Have you seen this website where you can create a map of the states you've visited? I think it's interesting. When I look at my map, I evidently need to do some traveling around the middle of the country and the Pacific Northwest to round out my American travel experience. Honestly though, I'm not sure I ever really want to see the Dakotas, Iowa, Idaho, and Kansas. I know that sounds harsh and probably totally naive, but there's so many places outside the US I'd rather visit than these states. On the other hand, I definitely want to visit Portland, Oregon, and Seattle,Washington. And eventually I'd like to venture to Alaska.
Check it out, and see what your travel map looks like. What states would you want to visit to round out your American travel experience?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Etsy Favorites Friday - Leah Giberson

I love these prints from Boston artist Leah Giberson. See more of her work at her Etsy shop, and learn more about her inspirations and thoughts by visiting her blog. I hope to see her this summer at SOWA!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quotes Wednesday

I just checked the book Cannery Row out from the library. It's one of the few John Steinbeck books I haven't read. So I figured a Steinbeck quote would be appropriate for today.

We spend our time searching for security, 
and hate it when we get it.

-John Steinbeck

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Idea Tuesday - Dry Erase Alphabet

I found this dry erase alphabet idea on Pinterest the other day, originally from Or So She Says, and One Hot Crafty Mama. It's so easy, and Bean LOVES it. All you need is a binder, dry erase markers, clear sheet protectors, and several letter pages that can be printed free from here. I printed out Bean's name and several other letters that she's picked up lately to start with rather than print the entire alphabet. She totally loves using the dry erase marker on the letter pages, more so than just printing them out and using pencils or pens. There's something fun for her about using markers, especially ones that can be erased. So she has more of an interest in tracing the letters this way.  And it was soooo easy to create! I had a binder and clear sheet protectors laying around, so I didn't even have to go the store. Just a suggestion, I use Crayola dry erase markers, which we have in the house also for a dry erase board downstairs. The Crayola version are much more kid friendly. They're not technically washable, but I've washed them out of a few outfits with no problem.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Are you American or Parisian?

Have you seen this new book Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman? For a synopsis, see this Wall Street Journal article. Are you more American in how you're raising your kids? Or more Parisian? 

I'm not sure if I'm more American or Parisian, but one of the suggestions from this book that was mentioned in the WSJ article has already worked for us. We've always had a hard time with Bean at restaurants. She's never been interested in restaurant food so she would always cause trouble, making it more annoying than enjoyable for us. The culprit? Snacks. She's always been a big snacker, preferring small snacks all day long instead of three larger meals. I actually don't think this is a bad eating strategy, and in fact if you look at most diets they suggest snacking and having smaller meals as a weight loss strategy. And I'm a big snacker. So we probably won't change this up on a regular basis.

But the snacks do fill Bean up through the day so by the time we get to dinner she's mostly full and not all that interested in eating her dinner. In the past if we've gone out to eat she would be all over us while we were eating, or trying to get out of her chair, or pitching a fit. So annoying. 

Over the last few weeks we've tried the Bringing Up Bebe Parisian strategy on the days we want to go out to dinner as a family, which is to have only one very small snack during the day in addition to meals. And no more bringing snacks to restaurants to keep her occupied while we're waiting. I bring a small notebook and a pen for her to play with instead. And all of a sudden, Bean is better at restaurants - because she's...wait for it...hungry. Last night we actually got to enjoy our food for the first time ever. Bean didn't even say a word let alone try and get out of her chair. She was too busy eating. Brilliant.

I'm pretty sure I won't agree with everything in this book and honestly I don't want Bean to act Parisian. They aren't the nicest people ever. But this one tip worked so well that I'm definitely getting the book.

Au Revoir!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Three Years Ago

Three years ago this weekend our first adoption journey unraveled completely. I'll never, ever forget that day; where I was when we got the call that the birthmother had changed her mind. My phone buzzed. I remember seeing the agency's number, looking up at my husband and thinking Oh No. We had a feeling she might change her mind. There were signs. So it wasn't a total shocker. But we had waited 12 months before we even got one match, and we were beginning to worry that we'd never get matched. That we would be the rare couple who waited on the list for years and never got picked.
Photo via Etsy

In hindsight, it's so obvious that the situation wasn't quite right. But at the time I didn't know what "right" felt like. I thought that all adoptions felt a little awkward. Now I know - when the "right" one happens, you know it. 

We had talked to this birthmother several times in the weeks prior to the unraveling. We knew she was having a baby girl. We had a name picked out (Baby "A"). We had pink onesies, and pink blankets and tiny dresses and shoes from Babys-R-Us in the nursery. We had reservations for where we would stay when we traveled to meet her and the birthmother said she wanted me with her for the birth. I was really excited for this. She wanted me to be the first to hold Baby A. 

When it all unraveled on that day three years ago and I hung up the phone and said "It's over" to my husband, I think I was so numb that I barely felt anything. My heart was already in pieces from four years of heartache, it couldn't break any further. I remember staring straight ahead, directing my husband to take me right to the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine so I could try to forget everything. When we got home I went straight up to the nursery and took out one of the pink onesies. I stared at it, willing it to come to life. And then I put it and the other baby girl things back in the Babys-R-Us bag and into the closet, to be returned later. The nursery was green again, gender neutral and bland. Pretty much reflecting how I felt. 

It took me almost two weeks to gather the emotional stability to return all the pink baby stuff to Babys-R-Us. I returned them on March 16th. On March 17th, I got to go back and buy them again, for Bean. And they did come to life. And the nursery is pink and happy and full of joy. And my heart mended back into one piece, mostly. 

My story has a happy ending. I'm not sure about Baby A's story. She's only two weeks older than Bean so her birthday is this weekend. I can't help but wonder - what's she like as a 3 year old? Does she get to have a birthday party?  Is her life as difficult as I imagine it might be given the choice her birthmother made for her? I can only hope and pray it is not, and that she is safe and warm and loved.

And I'll always think of her every year on this weekend.

Etsy Favorites Friday - Spunky Fluff

I love these hand made wooden signs from Etsy artist Spunky Fluff.

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