Wednesday, May 28, 2008

500 Festivities and Long Weekend

Well, this weekend I had my crack at princessness and I must admit, I had a lot of fun. Riding on the float was a complete hoot and I stood up there and smiled and waved, it was crazy but fun! The kids were the most fun part because they were in some stands near the end of the parade with their nanny and they were yelling and screaming and jumping up and down yelling "Hi Mommy!" - seriously, made my day.

The rest of the weekend was fine, but long. Normally, I would like that, but this weekend, without D, was just long. I much prefer the weeks because the time goes by a bit faster. I have about 3 weeks until I see him and I can't wait!

I am going to try to attach a video or 2 of my experience on the float, let's see how it goes...playing with my new Flip here. The first is of me spotting the kids, it is quite wiggly as I was laughing at them and the float was moving, so beware. The second one is of one of the really good bands that played, at least some of their music.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Cute and Sad

Well, because those who read this know me, at least for the most part, or could easily figure out who I am, I thought I would put some faces to the stories here.

This is a picture of the kids and I at the airport last summer on one of our now-bankrupt cheap flights with Skybus... while it is literally impossible to capture a good picture of everyone, this is a start at least that you can see all of our faces (minus D who was snapping the photo).

We will be flying this summer a couple of times, the first to RI where D is doing his training, I will go out by myself once and then the kids and I will all go together over the 4th of July weekend. I can't wait! Then Doodle, Meesta, D and I will leave for Cambodia and poor Shenzy will have to stay behind, which makes me sad, but she would not enjoy it and it would make the rest of us fairly miserable, plus the almost $2K ticket price...well, that sealed the deal that she would stay back. I WILL buy her lots of fabulous gifts though...

The sad of my note is that Steven Curtis Chapman, who has been a wonderful supporter of adoption, both domestic and international, has had terrible loss. His youngest daughter Maria, who they adopted from China, was killed in an accident in their own driveway. It is truly tragic and makes me so sad for them. If you would like to read more, here is the site that shows some cute YouTube memories. It is actually the one thing that propelled me to go ahead and post some pictures. Life is short, make and share memories when you can. In fact, one memory I have is of December 2005 when a good friend of mine, Wendy, who works for Steven's Foundation, called and asked if Doodle and Meesta (Shenzy was too little), would be willing to sing in Steven's Christmas Concert Tour in Indy. We of course jumped at the chance, and they joined several other children who were adopted from foster care on stage at Conseco Fieldhouse to sing a beautiful song with Steven. It was a memory I will cherish forever and I sat there bawling like a baby at the beauty of it all and of the fullness of my life. I will post a picture of it when I find one.

And, in honor of Maria, here is a picture of our China-born daughter, Shenzy, who brings such joy and delight I cannot imagine my life without her.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist

Well, this has been quite the week in our household, with D leaving, my great uncle's passing, school winding down for the kids, and for me as well for the quarter. D has not called since Monday evening and I am not sure when I will hear from him again, we just continue to pray that he can tolerate whatever he is enduring.

On the CC front, I had an awesome happening a while ago that I have not yet blogged about, but think I shall now as several upcoming events involve this happening. A month or so ago, I was notified that I had received a National Jefferson Service Award through my employer and that it involved publicity for our organization (Tabitha USA) as well as a trip to the national awards in D.C. in June and, here is the kicker (and if you did not know where I lived before, this will be a dead-giveaway - and speaking of which, since I am not really anonymous anyway, I am going to start sharing some pictures) I get to ride on a float in the Indy 500 Parade. Yep, that will be me, waving atop my employer's float, doing the elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist wave like a proper princess...ah hem. I was so very excited about this, until the Parade committee refused to allow me to take Doodle and Meesta, kids must be 10 and mine are but 7. SO, they will be hanging with my nanny and her husband at his employers' place of business along the parade route (which is fabulously convenient) and her daughters (who have donated their own money to Tabitha over the years) will be smiling and waving on the float with me.

So, that will be me, atop the float, waving like a goober, but hopefully having fun!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Fine But Don't Reply...

That was what I just got, "Fine but don't reply" in a text message a little bit ago from D. We had spoken yesterday evening and he told me that others who had prior military training that were there had told their significant others not to expect anything for 2 weeks. 2 WEEKS!!!!! That is insane. I am desperately trying to get a grip, but I am guessing that he sent the text this morning as they were perhaps confiscating their phones or instructing them that they were not allowed to use them or something? Otherwise, if he had it on vibrate, why would it matter if I responded and he saw it later when he got back to his room. I know I am likely overanalyzing this, but that is my best guess. His phone, they probably have it. Grrr.

On a bit of a brighter note (trying to be positive here folks), D said that some of the others were having people come for their graduation, even though the very next day he has an all-day Chaplains retreat. So, I immediately booked the trip. This will just be for me, as the kids and I are all going over the 4th of July weekend. I probably won't get to spend that much time with him, but 10 minutes will be worth it. I can only describe it as a sensation like there is not enough oxygen in my space, that is what his absence feels like. Emotions are so physically tied to our bodies that it is fascinating.

I am soooo close to being done for the quarter with my classes, this is the last week and I am going to have all assignments turned in by Wednesday - can't wait.

Okay, all for now, I am now left with fine but don't reply and will resort to praying that he is up to it all, which I know he is, but praying that he know that we are fine here and despite my emotions, the kids are well taken care of and we are managing.



Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today Was THE DAY

Well, today was the day that my better half flew off for 9 weeks. Now, at face value this seems like a long time, and it is, and I am emotionally reacting this way. However, I am cognitively reminding myself that it is not 15 months as many families are being subjected to, so I do know it could be much worse.

The Day:
*Woke at 3:00, helped D finish his last minute stuff, went to the car, watched my handsome husband carry our adorable sleeping children to the car, one by one, so tenderly and gentle that I could see how hard this was for him too with every fibre of his being.

*Drove to the airport, tears flowing freely the whole way for me

*Said goodbye to my best friend and had to drive our kids home through rainshowers that only existed in my eyes, but could have benefited from the windshield wipers! The kids did sooo good - they had upset time the night before with him.

*We all went back to bed upon returning home and woke up about 7:00

*Decided all the sheets needed washed, things were not smelling fresh, so stripped all 4 beds (obviously out of my mind) and have proceeded to wash and dry and put sheets back on beds during all of my time at home today

*Had to get everyone ready for the funeral of my great uncle, drove to the town (~1 hour away), funeral, cemetery

*Went and had van washed, went to grocery store, came home, more laundry, fixed supper, went and got D's truck from the church and brought it home (crying all the while)

*Gave the kids baths, finished with beds (seriously, what was I thinking!), read 2 books (Bats at the Beach and I love you Stinky Face), prayers, and now they are hopefully snoozing

I have homework to do. I feel so lonely and lost without D. It is ridiculous as he is home very little most of the time b/c of school and the church, but I guess just knowing that he will be home to sleep and I have access to him if needed helps his absence normally. I have cried buckets, ridiculous I tell you, and my darling children have been absolutely incredible. Doodle is mothering me instead of the other way around and Shenzy keeps telling me to take a deep breath, which is what I tell them when they are crying, and by golly, it does help. Meesta is just walking cautiously, not sure how to react and I can't blame him. I am embarrassed by this extreme emotion, but when it decides to crop up, I am having a difficult time keeping it at bay. Thank God for my children. Time and routine will make this survivable, but right now it really sucks.

Day 1. Only 63 more days to go. I do covet your prayers.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 More Sleeps

I have 2 more sleeps with D before he takes off on his journey to becoming a military man. Every time I truly consider his absence for this long, I get a catch in my throat and my nose begins to burn. The kids are really having a hard time with it.

Meesta came to me this evening before D got home and was very mopey, just wanting to be held and very close to tears saying he was going to miss his daddy. He then went and got a box, put his favorite stuffed monkey in it and his favorite new team roster poster and brought them to me, saying they were for daddy to take with him. My heart literally needed mopped up off the floor. I explained that daddy would not have much room and that maybe he should just choose one (allowing him to keep the monkey that I know he would truly miss and would be such a sacrifice - but one he was happy to make), so he chose the roster and hid it among D's shirts that were sitting there for packing.

I told D of that story when he got home and I think it is really causing him some emotional angst as well as he is such a great dad and he will miss them more than he even realizes I am sure.

On an even less positive note, my great uncle passed away yesterday morning, his wife found him on the floor unresponsive in the morning. He was only 69. Sad, very sad. He is the youngest of my great-grandma's children and they only told her today. He very faithfully visited her and she will miss him so very much.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE, we are having FAMILY DAY tomorrow (minus the trip to go to the funeral showing, although that is certainly about family). Shenzy has a speech appointment and we will all go (keeping kids home from school - teachers approved and they already took their Friday tests today), then Doodle gets to get her ears pierced - the little lady is so very excited! Then we will have lunch on the town, run last minute errands, go the showing, have some sort of supper, and then settle down for a family night of movies and cuddles.

D's flight leaves at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. Please pray for his safety and my sanity. He is my best friend and I will miss him for my own selfish reasons, but also for our kids, this will be a struggle. BUT, I will be positive (I promise - this will be my outlet for woes) and will have more patience than normal and be more understanding and we will have FUN and do cool things - it will be a big priority for me.

All for now as I am rambling on. I am off to finish my homework so I have no more due until Saturday night.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Grateful Mom

Today has been a busy day, for Mother's Day (a day early), D did a lot of honey-do projects that I have been asking for and that was fabulous. We followed that with a family outing to the minor league baseball team in our area where it was Scout Night and our little scout got to go out to the field, and he loved that. We all ate way too much and spent too much money on bad - yet tasty - food. We are home now, D is writing a sermon and I have just finished up homework and I am thinking about Mother's Day.

I just reconnected with a friend who had endured the hardships of our Cambodian adoptions (both of us having adopted twins from the same orphanage). She lives in a nearby state and we had always thought we would raise our kids to know each other. Well, life happens and we grew apart and I had not talked to her for over a year when the earthquake happened a few weeks ago and I started thinking of her a lot. I felt like God was telling me to get in touch with her - so I finally found her on Friday. A lot has happened in the last year and she is now divorced, and while sad, it is probably a good thing for her and her children, a healthier and happier environment. All of this to say, I am reflecting on children and loss and Mother's Day.

I know that Mother's Day is largely a commercial enterprise for businesses, especially in the United States. But the day signifies that I am among the league of women who are called Mother (sometimes MOMMMEEEE, sometimes mama). I did not come about this title through the traditional route, rather it was a blessing bestowed on me through the gift of the first mother, the birth mother. I honestly don't think about the birth parents too much, our children are so much OUR CHILDREN that it rarely crosses my mind that they did not start out with us. But, the fact is that they didn't, someone else carried them and nourished them in the beginning of their lives. Someone else made the decision that they could not parent them and unselfishly decided that they wanted better for them than they could provide at that time. Those decisions allowed me to become Mom to the most amazing children on the planet.

So, I wanted to take this moment to thank these women for their gifts of Doodle, Meesta and Shenzy, without them my life would be very different and much more empty. I love them without reserve and hope you somehow know that they are cared for, treasured, held, educated, corrected, played with, laughed with, (sometimes yelled at), kissed, hugged, nourished, cultured, and loved to the very fiber of their beings on a daily basis. We are blessed beyond belief.

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends who are mothers and to all those who have mothered you, in whatever way.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Humanitarian Crisis in Burma

Watch out - 2 posts in 1 day! I could not let this situation go unnoticed by my friends. The situation in Burma is serious and it is scary. Serious crimes against humanity are under play right now, right next to my beloved Cambodia, and the international community wants to help, but they are being turned away. What is to be done? Do we sit by and let hundreds of thousands of people die from starvation, dehydration and disease? How can we? We may be an earth divided by continents and countries with political stratifications that will forever be beyond my comprehension; however, when natural disaster strikes and people are in need, we come together. Our world is like a big fractious family, but when necessary, we can pull together.

Anyway, read this if you choose from Andrew Sullivan, it spoke to me. We have strife over oil, let us have some strife over this. The UN food has not been allowed to be distributed and flights and visas are being denied. Help is needed in the most urgent of ways.

I always think, education is the key. So, let's at least be aware of the situation.


Stimulate the Economy

I must admit, I have been doing my fair share to stimulate the economy recently. You would think I would be too busy to shop, but somehow I do manage. We did receive our economic stimulus package today and so I decided to help the economy a bit.

What did I purchase?

I got this nifty little gadget: The Flip (in white/orange)

What's better, I bought my Flip through and Best Buy(if you have not already, please sign up, it is such an easy way to help a charity while shopping online), where not only was it on sale for $129.99, but also a portion of my purchase will be donated to Tabitha USA (my favorite charity). I should have it in just a few days - I am so excited!

I think the Flip will allow me to very easily and quickly (always key) to take videos of the kids and the like and send to D while he is away from us and this summer when we go to Cambodia without Shenzy, we can take little clips daily and send to her back at home. I think it is going to become our favorite little tool.

I have also purchased several (6) of these necklaces that are made out of recycled magazines and the like from families who otherwise would be in the Cambodian massive dump. It is an awesome program and the ladies at Lotus Jayne have procured some cool items along with the necklaces that help those in Cambodia to live better lives that are made out of unusual products, such as recycled bombs and other unique items. They are a smaller operation than Tabitha, but I like their products and what they are doing and I like to spread the wealth and opportunities of the organizations I support. I am going to keep one necklace for myself, then give one each to my mom and D's mom as they are both ladies who will appreciate what the meaning as well as two more to some friends and one to my nanny - because she makes it all possible and she will appreciate it too.

So, I am just saying...I am doing my part!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Degree Comes in Handy

There are days when I really value my clinical psychology degree, and the past 24 hours have been indicative of that opinion.

First, I cannot believe that Indiana had me up until after midnight waiting to see if the gap would close all the way and Obama would win. I was so pulling for him and I did my part. I even went to a rally at a friend's house on Saturday (interesting experience) and listened to Jessica Lange discuss her experiences and why she supported Barack (although actresses/actors are not really those whose opinions I value). I did get to hear Barack's campaign COO, Betsy Myers, and she was fantastic! She was the formerly in the Clinton White House (and I read her sister is Dee Dee Myers, Clinton's first press secretary) and then she served as executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She was intelligent, articulate, and just the kind of person that makes me feel even more solid in my support of Obama, I was impressed with her. However, this was all to say - how did we not do it Indiana! We came close, but I was so disappointed. I think the political differences are most clearly displayed regarding the gas tax and gimmicks somehow won out.

Anyway - this to say that Indiana needs some psychological therapy (tongue in cheek here people, work with me).

Then, do you have those encounters where the person with whom you are corresponding, in whatever realm, is obviously a few fries short of a happy meal... I had one of those instances today and it just makes me glad to have the perspective I do. I do diagnose people as a hobby of sorts. It is bad at work because I work with several psychiatrists and some other master's level folks and we do this. Yeah, we might tell you that we don't, but we can't help it. Now, don't get me wrong, we are diagnosable ourselves, and we admit to that, we are probably the worst offenders even, but somehow we remain functional:) Confession time: I have a touch of OCD and some rather annoying compulsive checking behaviors...good times.

On other notes, work is crazy busy, school is slowing down a little bit and only 2 more weeks in the quarter (then 1 week off....yippee), and D embarks on his journey in a mere 10 days... The kids are good, we have been doing field trips with their school (remind me to tell you about those) and D and I went and presented about Cambodian New Year to about 50 1st graders - it was a hoot to say the least! We took Cambodian fruit, rice with chopsticks, and some pictures. A good time was had by all.

Life is This Good!