Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Maytag Man

Monday, our washing machine finally kicked the bucket. It had been limping along, leaking water since we got home. Not really washing clothes, more like swishing them in soapy water. So we went in to our local appliance store. That is where we met the Maytag Man, Jerry. He was a second generation appliance guy (for lack of a better word). We felt like we had stepped into a different era. Jerry wore the blue coveralls that you would associate with Maytag, but sadly, not the hat. He was probably in his 60's or early 70's with white hair carefully combed with some sort of pomade. He knew everything there was to know about appliances and genuinely seemed to love the way that they worked. And he happily told me more than I ever wanted to know about the machines, frequently peppering his knowledge with advice and anecdotes. I found out how his dad died and that his wife wanted all her appliances and car to match her sister's. He treated me like I didn't really know anything about washers (which is true) and explained things to the minutest detail. He told us not to bother paying until he had delivered the goods in case he died before it got to us. (that's how I heard the story about his dad). That afternoon he brought over our dryer (by himself!) and manhandled it down the stairs. He apologized that he couldn't bring the washer alone anymore since he had had his knee replaced a few years ago, but he had a fellow to help him with it. He made sure to wipe the tires of his dolly so that he wouldn't track dirt in the house-he"just wouldn't feel right about that". Today I was told that he would arrive shortly after 10 with my washer. Sure enough, 10:02 came and he was pulling into the front yard with his fella to help-another guy as old as himself and politely dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans with a belt. He brought dog biscuits for my dog and was not in the least bit intimidated by Roscoe's size. I've never bought a washer before. And never had one this fancy. The two old gentlemen were nearly chortling with glee as they (ironically?) welcomed me to the "technological age".

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts from the backseat

Yesterday we were driving down the road when Aidan loudly bursts out, "Mom what does a **** mean?" (a particularly choice word) Umm, where did you hear that? "It's on that bumper-sticker." (Thanks Dude in the green car who doesn't want anyone to mess with him and feels the need to display that for all to see) Really trying not to laugh at the incongruity of what we have just heard coming from our 9 year old, Chris and I try to explain that that word can really mean lots of things. None of which is acceptable. But the point of using such language is to make a strong statement in a crude, offensive way...etc. Feeling that we have done our best to explain the inappropriateness of such a word, (and the use of it by our children) and expounded sufficiently enough, we finished the topic only to hear a sweet little 6 year old voice from the backseat say, "Well Aidan, now you know what **** means".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today I was driving home from the library lost in thought about Chloe's birthday party. Okay, I know I have 24 days until her birthday, but these things take planning. Anyway, as I was driving, I noticed a woman walking along the sidewalk. She was dressed in gray, bulky, mannish sweats, and she was limping. Not a little limp, but one where one whole side of her body dragged as she walked. Her face looked weathered and worn and I was instantly struck by the difference in her life and mine. I was comfortably driving in my car with the heated seat on, healthy and well cared for. My body is without handicap from either birth or accident. How different my life would look if I had been born into a less privileged set of shoes. And I am thankful. But at the same time, a little ashamed. Because sometimes I spend more time and energy thinking about things that make my life better and less time devoted to making someone else's life better. My hope though,is that as I continue to walk through life, my heart will be consumed with less of me and become more like the One who created me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Aidan is playing his first season in club soccer. And since we arrived here late, the only spot available for him was on a U11 team. Completely undeterred by the difference in size and strength, our scrappy little boy has been playing his heart out. Often on the sidelines when we are chatting with other parents they ask which boy is ours and we reply-that little guy; the one who keeps getting knocked over. But everytime, Aidan pops back up and throws himself back in the game which is earning him reputation among the other parents for being so tough. And now, there is a whole orchestra of "Go Aidan!" as he runs across the field.

Aidan was really proud of the nickname "Kaka" that the coaches from the British Soccer Camp dubbed him with last season. (not so much for playing soccer with Brazilian like finesse but more because of the hair)

Four guys on him and he still manages to push through a hole to shoot and score!

But as proud as I am of his soccer playing self, I am most delighted with the person that he consistently shows himself to be. Full of integrity and thoughtfulness, with a giving and generous heart. We had a garage sale a couple of weeks ago and Aidan was trying to raise money for a remote controlled helicopter that he has had his eye on so he was trying to sell his old skateboard. There was a a young hispanic boy who had his eye on the skateboard, but his father told him they couldn't spend the $5 for it. When I turned around a few minutes later, Aidan was kneeling by his skateboard peeling off the price sticker and giving the skateboard to the little boy. Athletic skills are over emphasized and highly sought after, but a man of character is priceless.

Friday, October 22, 2010


This morning I got up before the sun and headed to Denver for a benefit breakfast I had been invited to by a new friend from my soccer team. I didn't feel intimidated when she casually mentioned her nonprofit. But, um, by "her" she really meant "Her"-like as in, "I am the Executive Director". I'm sitting at the table, appropriately dressed in business casual, nibbling on my bagel and lox with a side of green capers (which I am thinking looks suspiciously like something my rabbit would have left behind although, much tastier) and fortifying myself with a cup of coffee AND tea. The lawyers surrounding me at the table make friendly small talk and offer validation of the "hard work" of my role as a stay at home mom in the way that only working professionals who have careers and not kids can. (yep, if anybody at the table throws up or needs to use the bathroom, I'm your girl.--thought, not spoken.) The benefit was for an organization called Seeking Common Ground and the idea is to bridge the gaps that religion, social status, and history, etc would dictate for our path. My legs dangling above the ground in the adult sized chair, I listened to eager voices of change and friendships between white and black South Africans, Jew and Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian-neighbors except for a wall. The thoughts and actions of people inspired to make a difference and "use the brick they had been given to make a step instead of a stumbling block". I was thinking over the meeting as I was driving home to do the laundry and chaperone on a 1st grade field trip. I thought maybe I was the only one going home who had the urge to shout "slugbug" and hit the ceiling everytime I saw a VW Beetle thanks to the usual cacophony from the backseat. And as I arrived home to a locked door and had to shimmy under the garage door while climbing over boxes, I imagined the lawyers at the table with me, sneaking peaks at their cell phones under the white tablecloth, doing the same. The image didn't fit. But for a moment, an hour and a half, we shared something more than a table and the cream cheese. We shared some common ground. And had the same thought planted that an ordinary person could make a difference. My ordinary seemed extra ordinary compared to the PHD's and awards around me. But maybe, there is a chance for this laundry-doing, meal-making, bathroom-cleaning Momma to take her very ordinariness and make a difference as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


When I first got my camera, Chloe was my patient, willing model for hours of picture taking. In retrospect, I should have spread those days out longer as it appears my sweet littlest one has become tired of patiently posing. But these are just as fun because here you get to see the quirky, zany side of our Chloe.
Taking a moment to pause and shoot the mountains because they at least, were not wiggling.
One last try...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Fall is my favorite time of year in Colorado. Eager to experience the arrival of fall we headed out to Estes Park on Sunday. We managed the swirly curvy ride with minimal car sickness in the backseat. Chris and the kids explored while they waited for me to finish taking pictures so we could go out for the promised (bribe) of ice cream.

Chris loved this pic because he thought it looked like the tree was on fire.

It was hard to meter this picture correctly because the elk is in the shadow and the sign is white so I just gave up and snapped the shot.

Monday, September 13, 2010

There and Back Again

By Bilbo Baggins. Nah, not really by Bilbo. I'm plagiarizing from a hobbit. Hurray, Chris has a job! Soon he'll be among the working again and off of the mean all of the hard work he has been doing on the house. But seriously I am going to miss my favorite companion. Even though there have been days when I wanted to shoo him out of my hair and my routines, I've gotten used to having the guy around. Sigh. He's going to be working at a company that had actually offered him a job previously a few years ago. They were very excited to find that he was back in town and sent him an offer before he barely had time to change out of his interview clothes. He's going to be working as a Senior Engineer Project Manager doing something engineeringish and project managerly. We are grateful.

In other news, Aidan and Chloe have both started school and soccer. They are loving the casual atmosphere and learning environment. Roscoe has a fierce onesided rivalry with the neighborhood bunnies. Yesterday he sat and longingly looked out the window and tried several times to communicate with me that he wanted to go out front and chase the plump little morsel. Finally, frustrated, he went and got the plastic container we dish his food out in (which he often brings to us when he's hungry) and put it on the windowsill in the direct path of the bunny.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Between Here and There

I have meant to update this blog so much more often but the internet connection that we are borrowing (with permission this time ;) from our neighbors is sketchy and temperamental. But let's see, where did I leave off? We safely arrived in Lafayette. We soon discovered complications we were not expecting. Like the fact that the mold remediation company did not completely remove the mold in Aidan's room. Which in turn led to dismantling all of the newly finished Sheetrock. One thing led to another and to sum it up, Aidan's room in the basement is being completely dismantled and we are planning on redoing the room to conform to safety standards and make it to code which it was not previously. We are in the process of trying to get our $$ back from the mold company. So far, it has been over a month of emails and calls without any return contact from them. Frustrating. We also discovered that our new washer had been broken in our absence...Chris ran over a rock with our lawnmower and broke that...then part of the fence fell over...and Roscoe had to get treated for a bacterial infection in his ear... Chris doesn't have a job yet. But he has been busy working around the house and the kids are enjoying having two stay at home parents.

Waiting has never been my favorite thing. In fact, I loved sprinting because you could see the finish line from the starting line and the only goal was to get there as hard and fast as possible. I think that I live much of my life that way. And so waiting is hard. Especially when I can't see the finish line or even know where the finish line is. I think that I have gotten better over the years. But I still feel a bit like Chloe when she is so impatient to finish eating and go play that she stands at the table and wiggles, dances and hops on one foot. We are waiting for Chris to find a job and have a little more definition on the "Here". And in the meantime I have been trying to focus on enjoying the simple things like chilly mornings with warm tea. Painting. Drying the clothes on a clothesline. Coffee with my hubby. Colorado wildflowers and hikes in the mountains. And I confess that if I had written this blog earlier last month it would have breathed with more thankfulness to be back in Colorado. And I still am. I'm delighted to walk outside and see the mountains every single day. But in all honesty, the waiting is beginning to feel more burdensome. I guess I need to practice more long runs. =)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Beginnings

I haven't blogged for a while so it's definitely time for an update. Remember that part where I said that I felt like things were percolating like a coffee pot? Well, change was definitely in the air. Before school got out, my little Chloe started talking about moving again. My ears perked up because she did the same thing before our sojourn to Texas. Chris was getting that itchy restless feeling at work and I had been prepping the house to get ready to return it to our landlords. So we started thinking that maybe Chris' job was going to transfer us. ( Haha.) In the midst of it all, we got a call that our renter in CO had abandoned our house and left a mess (!) in his wake. June was spent figuring that whole mess out with a couple of trips to Colorado by Chris and I. But finally we did, and the kids and I finished a marathon trip to Colorado fueled by the need to get our house ready for the next occupant. So hours were spent in the car and then more hours working on the house during which I conquered my fear of the weedeater and miter saw ( I could be hired by a contractor at this point. I felt like a mixture of Wonderwoman and Tim the Toolman-not sure what THAT costume would look like!) The kids and I had literally just left for our trip home when Chris called to let me know that he had just been laid off. His company awarded his dedication and move across the country with much less loyalty in the form of budget cuts. Now that's just peachy.

The good news is that our house is now ready for it's next occupants. The surprising news is that it will be us. In a week and change we will be saying our last goodbyes to the fire ants and humidity and concrete. But also to friends and memories. So the joy of going home is tempered with some sadness and questions.

I thought it was ironic that my last post was about when we moved to Colorado the first time and how we had watched God move in that situation. Here we are again. Heading to Colorado without a job and waiting for the way to be made clear. Ahh, a life full of adventure. I'll (try to) keep you posted. =)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Last day of May to publish a new post

I thought it was about time to post something new. Sitting here munching my baby carrots didn't give me much inspiration so I just decided to post some pics:

Our little Chloe recently received her orange belt in TaeKwonDo! We were all so proud and celebrated with an orange poke cake.

Here's Aidan receiving his 3rd grade awards for being a smarty pants and good citizen. Although they didn't use the actual term "smarty pants". In my opinion they should have.


We took this pic for Chris for his birthday. There were water moccasins swimming in the water behind us. So we threw dirt clods in the water to scare them to the other side while we raced down to snap the pic. None of us have a great love for snakes. And while Aidan has a normal boys' fascination with reptiles, he still prefers to his distance from the poisonous ones!
Not much new on the adoption front. Some days I feel so close. Like a coffee pot percolating and I'm just sure that something amazing is going to bubble up soon. Then on other days I feel so far from knowing which way to go that I'm sure I wouldn't be able to find my way out of a wet paper bag. In the meantime, I am trying to not focus too much on the big picture that I miss the little amazing moments all around me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A few years ago we had one of those big life altering events when Chris was laid off from work. And so we were thrown into the loop of trying to figure out what the next, and right, step was for us to take. At the time we were living in Stillwater. And since the job market for mechanical engineers in Stillwater is quite small, the options there were nonexistent. But just knowing that we were not going to stay didn't exactly illuminate the path to take. I remember doing everything I could to speed up the process. Gathering friends and family for prayer meetings. Researching, praying, fasting, analyzing and (I confess, pestering my sweet, patient husband). As if I searched for The Answer hard enough, we would find it sooner. One night just after our friends were leaving from another prayer time, Chris suddenly started laughing. God had given him a picture of me. He said that he saw me sitting in the passenger seat of a car, with my legs sticking out over the seat because they weren't long enough to reach the floor. And I was furiously and intently working over one of those toy, plastic steering wheels. (You know, the ones that fit over your legs and you can turn the wheel and pull on the gearshift and turn the plastic yellow key?). There I was yanking on the steering wheel and plastic controls, pushing buttons...and there is God sitting next to me in the driver's seat. And my dear husband is laughing because he said that God had given me the toy to occupy myself so that I would just shut up and let Him drive. (And yet, He is smiling because that is the way He made me) Our departure from Stillwater did happen, and in a beautiful way that was completely out of our hands and orchestrated the entire way by Someone much larger than us.

Here I am again with several events going on right now that I want to demand to fit into my time frame. And for some reason the memory of that story has been coming to my mind. Hmm. I'm doing a bit better this time. Keeping my mouth shut when I want to make circumstances come about, trying for patience and trusting in a time frame that is not my own. Well, okay, so I may be yanking on the steering wheel a wee bit. What was it that the wise little green dude said? "Patience, young one."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Still Waiting

This silly computer keeps eating my posts and this is the third time that I am trying to finish this post! Today we went to the adoption conference. We sat on our bums for 6 hours, ate Jason's Deli for lunch (A word about the cookie--wouldn't have made it as a cookie in Mrs. Fields kitchen!), watched some videos and listened to people's stories. I admit that I was hoping for thunder and lightning and a word from the heavens. No kidding, it did thunder and lightning, but it was only a brief storm and no word from the heavens, that I heard anyways. We talked to some agencies but the only definitive thing we walked away with was a huge glossy mountain of papers and brochures. The biggest question we have been asking and trying to answer is how did you know That Child or That Country was yours? And you know how when you are waiting to fall in love, and so you ask everyone you know who is already in love, how they knew? How they knew that their person was The One? And the answer you get is--you just know. Completely unhelpful. Not at all practically applicable. We want to be able to do something. To make Something happen. But you can't. Not until you actually fall in love. That's how we feel, waiting...waiting to fall in love.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Pics

This is my favorite picture of Chloe right now. I have lots of pictures where she is posing and her hair is perfectly in place. But this one captures her personality. This sweet, impish, sassy, hilarious little girl that we have. Who delights in her world as Daddy's sweetheart, Mommy's girl, and Aidan's princess.

And Aidan, our kind and caring, thoughtful little boy whose life is a treasure. My coffee date buddy and adventure junkie. My handsome oldest son who takes his job seriously as hero, best friend, and advocate for his little sis. Who fulfills his role so well that Chloe once remarked that she wanted a million more brothers since Bubba is so wonderful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Boy #123456

When we first started talking about adopting seriously I spent a lot of time on the internet researching stuff and looking for listings. One day I ended up on a site for Uzbekistan with a listing of waiting children. No names or pictures of the kids, just numbers. I was reading through when one little boy's story grabbed my heart. He was 7. And the little blurb said that he was in remission from leukemia. And that he had watched all of his friends being adopted one by one. But he was hard to place because of his medical history and the fact that he is Roma heritage. (Romanian gypsy and very discriminated against in that part of the world). One sweet little boy who had already been through so much more than any child should have to suffer. I sat on the floor in my kitchen and cried for an hour. Up until that point I had taken for granted that any child we adopted would be healthy and beautiful and brilliant like Aidan and Chloe. (possibly I'm a bit biased =)) It didn't really occur to me to think otherwise. And here I was, on the kitchen floor, my heart breaking for a little boy that I had never met. And I wrestled with the idea. Would I be willing to love someone knowing on the outset that their life may end or be a struggle? What if they had cancer or a sickness or a disease? What if opening our hearts to love was going to bring us unimaginable suffering and heartbreak through the suffering of our child? Wouldn't it be easier not to? And heart says that no child should have to go through that kind of pain alone. And if that was the only thing that we could give, that you will be loved and not alone, than the gift is worth the cost.

PS, this could have just as easily been written by Chris. (minus the crying on the floor, as he responded in just the same way. In fact, with less hesitation than me) And secondly, I started praying for the little guy that God would give him a home and when I checked back the next week his listing was gone.

PPS, through the whole experience, I felt like I came away with a more sobering view of adoption. I am a bit of a romantic and prone to imagine only the most beautiful scenarios (think Anne of Green Gables). I felt like I was asked, 'Would you be willing, even if it was hard? Harder than anything you could imagine. Would you still be willing?' My answer is yes. Yes, I'm scared, but still, yes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Okay fine, I'll go

A few months ago we started attending a small group called Orphan's Hope. The sweet, helpful people immediately suggested that we attend a adoption seminar coming up in April. I smiled and nodded noncommitedly while thinking that I didn't want to go and I already knew I wanted to adopt so it wasn't for me anyway. I'm not sure why my immediate reaction was strongly against going-it just was. The cost is only 20 dollars with lunch and childcare provided, so that wasn't it. Well, time passes and every new friend we met adoption related somehow or another mentioned or suggested that we attend this seminar. Hmm. I even told Chris as (I was tossing another brochure provided by a well meaning source onto the floor of the car) that I didn't know why people kept bringing up this thing because I just didn't want to go. ("Okay", was his response, by the way) So here I am again tonight when a Facebook friend's link leads me to the info that our church in CO is hosting the exact same seminar (If You Were Mine-it's a video thing)... Hmm. Okay fine, we'll go. April 10. I'm not exactly sure why we should be going. Maybe it's nothing, but maybe, it's something.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rainy Day Thoughts

Today was one of those dreary rainy days where it rains from the morning to the evening without stopping. Not a thunderstorm, but a steady cold drizzle. The perfect kind of day for sharing coffee with a friend and baking orange rolls. And thinking about what to write next on our blog. I kept waiting to update until I had something concrete to share, but then I remembered that one of my reasons for starting this blog was my curiosity about how others have gone from points A to Z and all the steps in between. (In regards to adoption) So here we are at step A and a half. Apparently the first thing to do is to decide where to adopt from before you can really contact an agency and begin the mountains of paperwork and monies involved. The options are international, domestic (where you are chosen by a pregnant mother to be her child's family) and adoption from foster care. We do know that we are thinking an older child--as long as they are younger than Chloe (6) so that rules out the domestic. This is where we are stuck.

If international-where? I wanted to adopt from Romania, but they are closed to international adoptions now. We looked into Afganistan, but that's out because sharia law forbids non muslims from adopting their children.

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of hours on a Sunday looking through the Texas foster care system. We are specifically looking for an older than baby, because we know that most adoptees request babies. And the older one often get overlooked. I was scrolling through the lists looking for a connection or something and it broke my heart. There were so many kids, much much older than we feel like we can successfully parent and integrate into our family at this point. Who were in foster care because of an already disadvantaged position and at 14, 15, 16 almost ready to be on their own, without a family. I stopped looking and started crying and climbed into my husband's arms. We felt helpless because the need is so great and we can't take them all. We had to settle in our minds that a drop in the bucket, no matter how tiny, still causes ripples that can change the world...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Little History

Since Chris is on a business trip to Canada, I can now sit here and think deep thoughts without interruption. Although, I already had some coffee today and since I don't want to be up all night, I am going to forgo the distinct pleasure of writing and thinking deep thoughts while drinking coffee.

So I thought a little history might be in order for anyone who is surprised by our adoption decree. Even when Chris and I were dating, adoption was something that we have talked about. And through the years it was something that we mentioned as a "someday maybe". But as time went on, the idea grew more nebulous and less powerful. We have been (and are) absolutely, perfectly and completely happy with the two kids that God has already given us. And it was our choice not to have any more. (We have NO desire to live through another pregnancy). But we have always felt like we had space in our family and hearts for more (nebulous again).

A few months ago, a seemingly random decision to go to a church we had visited a few times before, set in motion a series of events and "coincidences" that opened our thoughts and hearts to the idea that this was something we needed to do, now.

So here we are now, peeking over the edge and wondering exactly how to take the very first concrete step. We are a little nervous. (We did after all get turned down to adopt a dog in Boulder.) But very excited...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My very first post

I feel a little bit like the girl in Julie&Julia starting a new blog. (Although, I do not have an obsession with Julia Child or French cooking.) But I am starting a conversation without knowing what the outcome will be. Okay so this blog stuff is harder than it looks, especially with your husband sitting next to you offering random and strange suggestions and opinions about the content of your writings. Which is not at all in the least bit helpful, I might add. So rather than attempting to figure out the best way to say what I am thinking, I am going to just spit it out and let the mess be what it may. (At which point the husband offers his best sound effects) We are pregnant. Well, not really in a literal sense of the word. More in the metaphorically sense of the word. The start of our story is less important (and more winding and meandering than I feel like documenting here) than the journey. So our big news is that we have decided to pursue adopting. And this blog (hopefully) is going cataloge our thoughts and feelings and steps along the way.