Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rumors of my demise - Premature

It is less than a week from Christmas and I believe this has been my longest absence from blogging.  I just watched Julie and Julia last night and it had me thinking about my negligence on my own dear blog.  The past 2 months have flown by and my days continue to get shorter and shorter.  So, for my own memory when I review this in years to come, what have I been up to?

Work, it remains a very tenuous place right now, scheduled to cut 5500 jobs over the next 2 years, hoping and praying that mine is not one of them.  Even though I now telework, the atmosphere there is very negative, too many changes, too much insecurity, too little trust of the people and new restrictions, all add up to not so positive of an environment.  I am hoping it can turn itself around, but I guess time will tell.

School, well, I finished another quarter, probably my hardest thus far because it had the most nasty of all statistics classes.  I rejoiced big time when it was over.  I am already in Week 2 of my next quarter and I am so very very sick of school.  I am ready for it to be over big time.  I only have 3 quarters left of coursework, so by the end of this coming summer, I will only have my dissertation to complete, then, PhD BABY!!!!!  I have a serious lack of desire right now though, am just trying to soldier on and remember I am almost done.

Family, everyone is doing well.  The kids are doing awesome in school, hubby is doing wonderfully at his new job down here, and all is generally good.  We are leaving on our cruise in just over a week and we are all excited about it:)!

I will try not to be so long - or so boring in the future:)

Life is This Good

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Statistics and Cruising

Statistics and Cruising, the two terms do NOT go together, but are both on my mind.  I have just finished Week 4 of my 8th quarter for school.  I am a bit overwhelmed as there is a great deal of reading to do and a 5-credit hour statistics course.  Ugghhh.  I had stats in my master's degree program and didn't like it then, and deal with statistics on a daily basis, but in coordination with many statisticians who are rather brilliant.  So, I am surviving, barely.

On the fun side, we have booked a cruise for a bit of fun in the sun!  Woo Hoo!!!  We all are rather ready for some fun and we are going to have it right after Christmas.  We have booked a cruise that will have us gloriously unencumbered and unstressed for 5 nights and 6 days!  We are all very excited.  This has led me into extreme vigilance regarding what I eat and how much I exercise as I would prefer to weigh at least 15 pounds less before we go, but I will not let that deter the amount of fun I have.

Just wanted to check in, we are all healthy and doing well and I believe are NOT going to be getting the H1N1 vaccine, I am just not comfortable with it.  Lots of reasons, but it is based on both my gut and a fair bit of research. 

All for now, life is definitely this good!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kiva Reloan X 2 = Feels Good

I just logged into my Kiva to see if I had any funds that had been repaid so that I could reloan them, and I did, I had enough to do two $25 loans!  Awesome feeling to know that I am being a part of something so powerful and life-altering!  A feel good moment for me in the midst of continued turmoil in my work life and increasing dread at doing my school work (yet I shall persevere!).

I am reading Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's new book, Half the Sky, and it is just awesome, inspiring, motivating, and beautiful.  I won't say more right now as it is, for me, almost a religious experience to read this book and I just need to absorb it all.  The stories of evil and hope, successe and failures, are the real stories that should be spread, not what some narcissitic celebrity is doing on any given day.  I want to ditch my work and my school work and sit and read and read, but alas, I must be responsible.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Change is The Only Constant

I feel like I am at a crossroads of sorts. I am reminding myself frequently that I am on the path that I feel God is leading me down. Sometimes I want to jump ship and dive headfirst into my future career...but I know that I must learn how to swim and dive properly (finish my PhD), after buying all the proper equipment (finish paying off all my debt), before I take off on my daring adventure (working within the NGO world).

These feelings are intensified by the fact that my employer continues to make big changes that leave my future there unknown. The economy and regulatory changes are requiring that business be done differently, and that differently is still being defined. While I feel somewhat comfortable that I am okay for now, who knows what the future holds.

For now, I must try to be a good mom to be kids, wife to my husband, friend to those I value, employee to my company, and student to my educational institution. This should leave me content enough, but there is just a nagging need to do more that I can't seem to quiet.

Just my thoughts for now...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

This has truly been one of those really great weekends. Sighhhhh of relaxation and relief. We had some good friends stop for a surprise lunch on their way down south and then we had some good friends come and spend he night with us and hang for 2 days. It was all rather divine. The kids have had a great weekend and even the dog behaved. Thank you God.

I really don't wish for Tuesday...back to school and back to work. I begin my 8th quarter of my PhD and this will be a rough one as I have a rather challenging stats class plus my research focus and another class. This degree will definitely have been earned.

I hope the weekend has been just as lovely to all of my internet friends!

Life is indeed this good,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Applications Being Accepted

Well, things have finally settled down around the CC household. But, let us recap, if for my future memory's failure if nothing else. It has been quite a busy spring and summer. We had:

(1)D's graduation from seminary and all the parties, pomp and circumstance that followed that.

(2)Rather all-inclusive (making it sound resort-like) work project that left me with just enough hours to try to live as well as work

(3)More coursework as I forge ahead to get my PhD tattoo

(4)MOVING to a new town, 2 hours away from our nearest family or friends

(5)Getting to know a new church family and having them all over to our new house...4 meals on 4 nights

(6)Getting cherubs used to the new place and getting them registered and prepared for their new school

(7)Getting new everything arranged and determined (doctors, hairdressers - still need one, banks, gyms, and on and on)

Now that the above is mostly done and over with, I realized that I need some FRIENDS down here. Casual acquaintances, yes, these I have made through church, and they have sufficed for now; but, I stopped for a minute the other day and realized I was a bit lonely for adult female, near my age, chit chat and socialization. I am not looking to make the best friend I ever had down here, I know our stay will likely only be 3 years here, but it would be divine to have someone I could go and get coffee with, someone who understands the challenges of work and motherhood, someone who might like to shop every now and again. I need a girl friend. So, I am not going to sit around and wallow in this, I am going to try to do something about it. So, my current plan is to try to get involved in the kid's school and maybe even the PTO (if you know me well, and are reading this...shut it), perhaps a women's bible study, or finally, put an ad in the local newspaper: friend needed for slightly neurotic, over-committed, impatient working mother of 3 who also happens to be in school (really, I will find time to hang out and chat). I sound delightful don't I?!

Wish me luck!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

All 3 Off

All 3 of my cherubs are off to school. I have a range of emotions flowing, including, but not limited to the following: joy, fear, relief, trepidation, pride, worry, and adoration for my brave kids. They have embraced this new school with gusto and were only claiming to be a little bit nervous. I had the luxury of going to the same school, with the same people, from kindergarten through high school, and some even to undergrad as well. I can't understand what they are facing, but I love their approach, they are brave and adventurous.

Good luck sweeties!!!!!

Life is This Good

Friday, August 07, 2009

From the Mountains to Kindergarten

In an effort to try to eek some fun out of this busy summer..and no, moving is not fun, we have been on a quick getaway to Tennessee. We really are not into country music or anything like that, but we do love beautiful areas and love log cabins, so we thought it would be a good little trip. I booked a gorgeous cabin for us to stay in and we thought we would just putz around, see the sites in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and view some wildlife in the mountains.

Well, our cabin was gorgeous. But, it was flanked in a "rental cabin community" filled with probably 60 other gorgeous cabins, and while it was not really loud or bothersome, it took some of the seclusion out of our vacation festivities. And Pigeon Forge, for us, was a huge disappointment. The shows were overpriced in our opinion and all there were were repeat shops of cheap souvenirs and pancake houses. We spent a good deal of time at one of the kids entertainment facilities called The Track and we played putt-putt and rode rides and ran go-carts. So, this was the most fun for the kids. The most fun for the adults was the hot tub, enough said there.

As for Gatlinburg, it also was filled with things that just don't really interest us and yes, we probably should have done more homework on the place to know in advance we probably would not jive well with it, but it was a quick and easy vacation and we did not over plan. We did go up in one of the sky lifts though and that was fun for all of us to experience. I am a bit nervous of heights so I had to do some mental therapy with myself, but no crisis:). All in all, it was certainly not the best vacation ever, but it was not horrible either and I am very grateful that we were able to get away and relax for a few days, it was needed and we are blessed to have the resources to do so.

We are back now though and Miss Shenzy just had her assessment for early entry into kindergarten (she is too young by 28 days) and she passed with flying colors! Wooooo Hoooo! I was standing outside of the assessment door and was actually getting a bit nervous because I could not hear her answers to several of the questions and I had no idea what she said. I did have a moment of PTSD when I heard the tester because she was asking questions much like I had to when I was a neuropsychometrist ($15 word, I know). I hated being a neuropsychometrist with a burning passion and I made people cry on a daily basis, mostly those with a traumatic brain injury or organic brain was not cool, and to top it off, I was making $28,000/year with my master's degree...yeah, I didn't make it a year...and I sold out to big pharma and LOVE my job (most days)! Sorry, I digressed, but anyway, back to Shenzy, oh yes, she did fabulously and the assessor came out and said, well, I normally don't tell people, but she is solidly ready and I will call the school and have them call you on Monday!

So, we have only until next Thursday and then all 3 cherubs will be back in school, full time as Kindergarten down here is all day. We also signed them up for gymnastics today and tried to call for scouts, etc, etc...reestablishing your family in a new location is not a quick and easy task!

I am excited by this, I guess a tiny bit sad that my youngest is heading off to kindergarten, but I know she is ready and needs that challenge that school will bring her.

Life is This Good,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Angel on Earth

I know I have written about my great-grandma before, but, here I go again. My great-grandparents were the solid foundation for my youth. My mom was very young when she had me and she worked tirelessly, multiple jobs, to provide me with everything she never had. I was dressed nicely, in gymnastics, multiple dance classes, played sports, went out with friends, and on and on. Guess who took me to all of these things, who raised me in large portion...yep, my great-grandparents. They loved me beyond measure and even though they had lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I always felt extra-special to them because I was with them so much.

My grandpa had his issues, including chain-smoking, a bit of cleptomania, and prostate and memory issues at the end...but he was a very loving man and he doted on me, perhaps to the extreme. I cannot remember a single softball game that I had that he did not attend, and I played every summer, even through college. After his health declined to the point that walking to the bleachers was tough, he and grandma would get to the field early enough to park along a fence in the outfield and would honk for me when I got a good hit or made a good play (I pitched).

Grandma was a housewife that married wayyyy to young and never worked outside the home. However, I have never met a more frugal, thrifty, and creative woman who always managed to make her own spending money and never failed to try to give it to me. Grandma and I have this special relationship to this day. She nicknamed me Poodie at about 1 week old and she and most of my family still call me this to this day. Grandma taught me so much, things books and education never can.

I visited Grandma yesterday when I was back in my hometown (which is now more than 3 hours from our current home). She will be 92 in September and I make it a priority to see her when I am in town, unfortunately, it is not often enough for her or for me. Her daughter, my grandma (with whom I am not nearly as close...some issues there), was there at the nursing home where Grandma has lived for about 4 years now when I got there with my 3 cherubs. It was nice to see her, but in the beginning she didn't know who I was for a few seconds, but then you could see the recognition hit her eyes and she smiled. She was not having a very good day my grandma said and within minutes, my great-grandma was crying that it was so good to see me and the kids. Grandma also told me that she had been crying earlier because they had made her eat lunch and it is hard for her to swallow and so she found the nursing home staff to be mean. Seeing my great-grandma cry, for any reason, was heart wrenching and all I wanted to do was take away her pain.

I sit here trying to come to terms with the circle of life and how child-like my grandma is now and wishing I was there for her like she was for me when I was the helpless one. She still has my unconditional love and my prayers every single day, but she doesn't have my presence and for that my heart is heavy. I am not in a position where I can quit my job and care for her full-time, but I kind of wish we lived in a society where this was expected and just happened within families as it does in many Asian cultures.

My great-grandma is truly my angel on earth, her love and kindness, her hospitality to all those who entered her home, her laugh, her gentle nature, her amazing cooking, every single thing about her and how she always was brings me happiness. It is very hard for me to reconcile her current being, one I know she is not happy in most of the time, with how she wants to be and how unfair this part of life really is. I don't want my grandma to go, although I know it is inevitable that we all will pass on some day. But, I also don't want her to suffer. An emotional paradox. For now, I will remember that twinkle of remembrance and happiness that she rewards me with when I get to see her and I will cherish her for everything that she symbolizes to me.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Come On Down!!!!!

We have moved. It was exhausting and stressful, but we love it down here. We are abut 2 hours south of where we used to live and there is a slight, but noticeable, difference in culture. The house we are in is probably more than 2x larger than the one we were in before, so that in and of itself makes this a marvelous situation. But wait, there is more!

The people in our new church have truly embraced us with open arms and there is plenty of growth that can be accomplished as this church has been through some trying times and just needs a good leader, and my hubster is that. We have already done our first mission project with them and we, along with the kids, had a really fun time.

I am now officially a teleworker and I could not possibly love it more. I will actually love it more when my desk arrives at the end of the week, until then though I will happily remain on the my HOME! This working from home thing is going to literally change my life. Dramatic, yes. But true. Already I have enjoyed my evenings more, and feel, in general, less stressed even though we are still in the throes of unpacking and trying to get settled. The hustle and bustle of getting myself ready, kids ready, everybody fed and out the door so that I could make it to work on time was exhausting and I guess after 7 years of doing that with the kids I was a bit spent in the energy department.

School is going to hopefully get accomplished quicker because I have more time back in each day. This should allow me to get that PhD tattoo on my hiney a bit sooner, which will in turn save me a lot of money! I am looking forward to really buckling down and getting it DONE. This semester has not really been a very bad one assignment wise, so I should be embracing this and working on research, but for now I am going to try to get all the way unpacked and settled so that my brain is not competing for tasks on the to-do list.

We signed up at the local YMCA and it is very nice. Should allow the whole fam to get some exercise and spend time together having fun in the pool! Also should allow me to continue on the weight loss journey that has been at a stale mate for almost 2 months now - but the good news is that I have not gained!

We have enjoyed having visitors already in the first week. We are looking forward to our 4th visitor in a little over a week tomorrow and then the 5th and 6th on Tuesday I hope!

That's the update for now...the kiddos are back in our old stomping grounds for VBS this week so we are going to miss them a ton!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Best Dad

I got the raw end of the stick when it came to fathers. I mean, as I have grown up, I have come to realize that my life would have been worse if I had had a mean or abusive father, but I just had no father. There were times when this was awkward or made me feel like an oddball, but in general I must admit that I had a fine upbrining sans a male parent. My mom did an amazing job of putting me first and making sure that I had all the love that one parent can give.

However, I knew that I wanted to have kids, and I knew without a doubt that whoever my spouse was, they had to be a good dad. On this day, Father's Day, I pondered this while sitting through our last church service at our current church, where we have been now for 9 1/2 years. That is a long time! D preached and did a fantastic job but the day definitely has left me contemplative.

So what makes D such a good dad? First and foremost, he loves his wife. He shows it to me and to our children by the way he treats me, talks to me, looks at me, and loves me. He believes that he can only be the best dad to our kids if he and I are in the right place with our relationship. Secondly, he is a very dedicated dad. He loves his children immensely and in no way considers his alone time with them "babysitting" as I have heard some men refer to their solo childcare duties. He does a good job of being strict and teaching the kids what they need to know in order to be successful in this world and being fun and helping them explore the world.

So cheers to my favorite man in the world, my best friend, my partner in parenting, and truly the best person I know.

Happy Father's Day D! Thank you for being you.

Love, CC

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mish Mash

My goodness, it has been a while since I have journaled here. That is 99% due to my job and the rather intense project that I was on for a good while. However, our work was worth it and not only was the FDA impressed with our company and how prepared and transparent we were, they expressed that our presentation should be the "model" for all pharma companies when they go to advisory committee meetings. How is that for a nice warm fuzzy? However, said work was exhausting, mentally draining, kept me away from my family, made it hard to get my homework done, and even caused me a bit of personal heartache. But it is done and hopefully it will result in adolescents with serious mental illness, namely bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, to have increased treatment options which they desperately need.

Back home now and trying to be in the groove, but we are moving that makes "normal" a bit tricky. D has been fantastic and been holding down the homestead and packing whilst I have been toiling at work. The movers arrive on July 2, so I have exactly 2 weeks to get everything packed and ready to go. This includes my office at work...uggghhh. But, this means that I will be working from home from that point forward as our new place is 2 hours from my office. And that, my friends, is a fantastic and beautiful thing. I have calculated that I will gain at a minimum, 2.5 hours back of my life EACH DAY!!!! This will make a radical difference in my days, hopefully making me a lot less rushed and stressed. My office is literally one door away from my bedroom and my coworkers won't care how my hair or outfit look! I will likely have more time to write my thoughts here for sure:)

This morning, we will head down our children's hospital because Meesta has outpatient eye surgery. While I know he will be fine in my cognitive brain, my emotional brain is rather worried about them putting him under, the negative effects of them "slipping" and nicking his tear duct or eye, you get it, all the typical parental worries. He is doing well with his nerves, if only I can hold mine together and not make him nervous.

All for now....reminding myself that life is this good...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reminding myself

*Warning, rambling post*...(very much like a paper I just finished)

Okay, I am reminding myself that I am going to get this darned degree and I need to stop doubting myself. I am not going to lie, it is hard, much harder than I thought it would be. The pressure between a stressful job (more so right now), trying to be a good mom and wife, trying very hard to lose weight and treat myself better, puting my school work as a priority just does not fit in. But here's the thing...I do not like to NOT do well. So, I am finding myself inhaling a lot lately, clenching my teeth, and trying to remind myself that this too shall pass.

Today is mother's day...commercial holiday, would rather it not come around. Since the time that I became a mother, my husband has worked for the church and is not home on Mother's Day morning, and so it is not your typical mom wakes up to breakfast in bed, yadda yadda. It is a normal day, one in which I remind myself (in between nagging them to hurry up, etc.) of just how incredibly blessed I am by these gifts from God. I do think of their first moms and always pray that if they are living, that they know in their hearts how loved, cherished and well cared for their little beings are, that they never worry about their security and whether they are safe, that they know they are being educated in the best schools, that they have wonderful healthcare, that they are tucked in each night with hugs and kisses by a mom and dad who adore their very existance. I hope they know how grateful we are.

We still have no idea where we are moving to and I am now at the point that I had reached during our adoption struggle with Doodle and Meesta - I don't want to go to church because people ask me and given my own emotional struggle with all of this, it sends me close to tears and brings my frustrations back to the surface. I went this morning, this happened, and so I chose not to go back to evening service to hear D preach. I just couldn't do it. I finished a 10-page paper that is due Monday by midnight (early for me!!), and am now sitting down getting ready to do some work-work as this is a very busy week there as well. We should know this week though - praying for sooner rather than later!

I wish all the Mother's who read this a great day and to all my friends who are not mothers but who act so very lovingly to kids around them (thinking of you Nik...! - especially to our kids), thank you for what you do. May you know that you are showing God's love to them through your care and nurturing.

AND, to any gentlemanly readers out there...thanks for loving the mommas!

Life is this good,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Turn the Page

I grew up in the 70s with a pretty hip mom and so I know ALL the words to all the Fleetwood Mac and Bob Seager songs out there. I still have a thing for 70s music. Lately, the words of Bob Seager's song, Turn the Page, has been floating between my ears. You see, I am in major transition mode right now. We are about to turn the page on one whole chapter of our life as a couple and as a family and while change is exhilarating, it is also scary.

We still don't know where we are moving but have a hint that if it is where it is currently intended, it would be too far for me to drive to work. This means telecommuting to work. I have been wanting this, looking very forward to it, but now that it is upon me, I do worry a bit about isolation. Despite my lack of chat here, I am a rather social person. I like witty banter, intellectual stimulation with people, and in general really like to hear others' perspectives. While all of this will be possible teleworking, it will just be different. And, it is very likely that from this move on, I will not work within the confines of a traditional office for a long time. Just pondering how it will be, that's all. It is a transition.

I am beginning to realize how much I am going to miss all of the people at our current church. D has worked there for 9 1/2 years now and we have been there since it was just D and I, sans cherubs. This was the church that saw us through a very long and dark year while trying to adopt Doodle and Meesta. This is the church where I feel comfortable and truly enjoy the people. We will be moving to a place where we know NOT A SOUL. Scary and exciting.

This will be the furthest I have technically lived away from my family and while I am going to be okay with it, I am worried about my mom. She loves to be with us. She drives an hour to come see us almost every weekend and if this move is the one, it will be likely at least 2-3 hours' (depending on where it is) drive for her to come and see us. She will take it hard.

I am both excited and nervous for D as this will be a big transition for him. I know he is ready though and am excited to see him spread his wings and truly show the gift that God has given him. I am a bit nervous that this new congregation might think I am a more "traditional" pastor's wife and have expectations of me. I hope that they understand my work and school commitments on top of my wife and mom priorities (always most important).

So, I guess I am just processing here. Big things on the horizon and without the actual knowledge of WHERE (which is really frustrating and downright upsetting to me at this point...and we already know we won't know anything this week...charming, huh?!) it is hard to process all of this in my already full and stressed peabrain.

I want to make this move as positive as I can for everyone, especially the kids, so bear with me as I use this as my venting location. I am excited, but also nervous, and feel unable to prepare as I should be able to due to the "secrecy" that is being made regarding these appointments. Also, work is a bit of a nightmare and I am attempting to survive it and keep up with my schoolwork and so actually think after reviewing all of this, I should seriously get some xana* in my system. I think it might be best for all!

On a positive and non-pensive note, nobody in my family has the swine flu (rather over hyped by the media if you ask me), I have a great job, I have the opportunity to further my education, we bought property and a garage (odd, I know) this past week so have a "home base" of sorts to store our stuff, we are healthy and happy. Go inner Pollyanna!!!

OK, all for now!

Life indeed is this good...and I must remember nothing really good is ever easy...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Setting a Goal Date

Sorry I have been so quiet lately, lots of work and little time always seem to be the culprit. I am currently at a residency for my PhD program and it has emphasized the need for me to set a goal date for getting my PhD DONE! It is estimated that this program is costing me $70/day. That, my friends, is a lot of money. Therefore, I don't want to spend any more than I have to!

So, stating here and now, I want to be done with it all, including my dissertation by summer 2011. This might mean I won't walk across the stage to receive my PhD until the January graduation, I don't believe I would be paying tuition during that time. My university only graduates people in January and July, so unless a miracle happens, I likely won't complete my dissertation until summer of 2011. While this sounds like a long time, in reality I know it will FLY BY! I can do my 2 primary research projects between now and next summer when my course work will end and then spend that year completing my dissertation. You might have to remind me of my positive mantra during that time period....I CAN DO IT!

On the home front, we are still without a clue as to where D will be assigned a church. On the one hand I am stressed a great deal about it, but on the other, I know there is a plan from God above and that D is truly doing his life's work so it will all work out. "To worry is to show a lack of faith in God" quoting this is much easier than my practicing it though!

Work is too busy still and I have never done this type of project before and there are a lot of players, including my G&D friend G (that is the good part of the project). Rapid timeline, crazy structure, stakes high = FUN....? This is when I thank God for my good job and buckle down to endure.

The kids are doing great as is D - who will be done with his MDiv in 2 short weeks! They are my reason for everything and I miss them so much since I am not with them until tomorrow.

OK, that is the update for now. Goal set, now I know what I must achieve.

Life is truly This GOOD!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Thing You Do

Right now is one of those incredibly stressful times for me for multiple reasons, including, but in no means limited to the following: TOO MUCH WORK, transitioning the nonprofit, no idea where we are moving to and when exactly, school work and not making the progress I want on the research component, homework for my classes in school that never seems to end, lack of exercise, and on and on. Pleasant, huh?! I honestly try not to be a negative nelly, so I am sitting here trying to decompress and I am thinking of a humorous aspect of each of my family members that makes me smile.

Shenzy: She gives ear massages. Ever heard of this speciality? Neither had we, but she is a riot and it is not uncommon for her to be giving D an ear massage as she stands on her bed during prayer time, totally focused on her task at hand and oblivious to the oddity of this behavior. She looks like a professional and takes her task very seriously. She invented this, but it cracks me up every time I picture her doing this to him. She is the most passionate child when it comes to her love and she freely shares it with D and I and we are very blessed to be the recipients of it. She is a pint-sized package of power and while she is definitely overwhelming at times, it is amazing how well she has bonded with us and loves us. She has phrases of an adult (clean ones...come on now) and is truly a riot to converse with, she is 4 going on 24!

Meesta: He is a neat pack rat. I can't even be frustrated with it because it is honestly funny. If you were to enter his room, it is often picture perfect - but that is the surface level picture. He has always been a bit of a pack-rat, but has so many clean aspects like the perfect bed he makes every day, his deal not necessarily ours. However, knowing we are moving soon, I have been trying to pitch and sort as I have some time and last Saturday was such a day and his room was the destination. I threw away almost 2 BAGS (large trash bags, mind you) of just junk that was below the surface...broken toys stuffed here and there, papers, and on and on. Just thinking of it makes me smile for some reason, the kid is a riot. When asked why he didn't just throw stuff away, he said he didn't know, he was usually just in a hurry - for that I blame MYSELF as I pretty much rush them to hurry up at least once a day. When he holds my hand, in public, I melt inside that my little man is still not embarrassed to do this, that makes my mouth and heart smile.

Doodle: Every time I think of her laugh I smile, the girl has an infectious laugh. She is starting to show her spunk and as much as I am disapproving of the homework tossing situation, it makes me smile that she is spunky enough and has the gumption to outright toss her homework, IN HER CLASSROOM. She is much more complex than she seems. One memory of her that always makes me smile is when we were walking into the airport after landing in Cambodia last summer, right after she has had one of her worst grand mal seizures as we were landing...during which Meesta also had an accident, she was more worried about him and was comforting him instead of having any concern for her own self and what she had just endured. Her heart is huge and she is just beautiful to look at, enough to make anyone smile:)

D: Just knowing he is by my side makes me smile. He makes everything right and is always trying to lighten my mood and knows how to make me smile. He gets me...and loves me anyway...and is my safe place always. I love to see him interacting with our kids, which is something I never had growing up, and it heals that spot in my heart just a bit each time. He is the best person I know and I am so blessed to have him, and for that, I smile!

There, therapy for free after 11 at night. Can't beat that, and I feel better and am just about ready to go to bed. I do ask for your prayers as our family waits for our placement with the church. Our move has hit me harder since I now know who will be moving into our house, kind of like an eviction notice and the panic of where we are going is rising in me like a flood. I know that I need to have faith and realize that we will get where we are supposed to go and that we will be blessed to meet all new people with unique personalities and interests that will enrich our lives, but now that it is here, it is a bit overwhelming. This is where my driven, type A personality is a handicap!

Life is this good and I need to remember it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trying Not to Judge

I found myself in a position where I was uncomfortable with my own thoughts. I was very judgmental.

Following the dental appointments of last week with Dr. G, she recommended that I get the kids a specific electric toothbrush. Well, I try to be compliant, so before dance class, we popped into our local CVS to get said toothbrushes. After weaving through the maze of about 12 bazillion choices (seriously, I know competition is good and all but way too many choices and options), I take my 3 cherubs and procured toothbrushes to the counter to pay. In line in front of me was a rail thin lady who had a little baby, probably 9 months old or so in her cart, sleep outfit on, no coat, but hat (v. chilly out that day). She was checking out her goods...a 24-case of Old Milwaukee beer and a 2-pack of pregnancy tests.

Here is where I began my judgemental process....uggghhh!!! Now, it could be that neither or only one of those purchases were intended for her consumption/use. Who knows? But me, I found myself judging her including where she lived, who the father was, how cared for this child was, what social services she was getting money from, and on and on... Shocking how quickly and how in depth I took my little mental judgemental tirade in the span of a minute or two, but I did.

By admitting this, I am hopeful that I will try to stop myself the next time I head down this path. Hopefully, this lady was not both pregnant and intent on downing the case of beer. Hopefully the child she had already is well cared for and the lack of a coat on a chilly day was an oversight. Hopefully she is capable of supporting herself or her partner is supporting his family. Hopefully there is love and stability and the snapshot of the purchases actually speaks nothing of the situation.

Working on myself all the time, I am not to judge as I do not wish for others to judge me!!

I am a work in progress...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy 8th Doodle and Meesta!!

I would never have believed anyone who told me just how in love I would be when I held our children for the first time. It is an experience and emotion that is beyond words. We met and bonded for 3 weeks with our Doodle and Meesta during this time 7 years ago. This note is my reminiscing about that time...7 years ago right now.

Our story had begun to unfold a year before this when we had had enough of negative pregnancy tests (should have bought stock) and decided to proceed with our intentions to adopt internationally whether we had a bio child or not. We sent off an application, filled out immense and intruding volumes of paperwork and sent more money than we had off to various agencies and offices, and prayed that God would give us the child meant for our family. Fast forward several months and on October 20, 2001, we were given the referral of the most amazing and awesome baby girl living in an orphanage in Cambodia. We accepted her sight unseen and could not have been happier. Eleven days later, I received a phone call on October 31, 2001 from our adoption agency and she asked if I was sitting down. I immediately panicked and was worried something was wrong half way around the world. I was reassured that Doodle was fine, but they had news to share...the paperwork had been mixed up (and from everything we learned later, this is no surprise) and our daughter had a twin brother. She wanted to know whether we would want to accept his referral as well because if not, then they wanted to try to find a family that would take them both so they could stay together. Well, fortunately, we had applied to adopt 2 children anyway (God is in control...), and without any consultation with my darling husband, I start crying and tell her OF COURSE!!!! She said she would send over Meesta's picture and information...the torture was waiting to contact D and for him to get to a computer so we could both open the picture at the same time. We did and fell instantly in love with a rather unhappy and somewhat unhealthy looking baby boy who became our Meesta.

Two short months later, our dream of becoming their parents was slowed by the US government and their issuance of a moratorium on all adoptions from Cambodia due to the very greedy, sneaky and unethical actions by several. They essentially told all parents waiting to adopt from there to try another country...bu bye... Well, we did not go away quite so easily and I think they were shocked by the outrage and persistance of this group of amazing and unique families as we used the internet as a tool to bond, lobby, and eventually secure the finalization of most of our adoptions through simple persistance, annoyance, hard work, and I know prayer. We even marched in Washington D.C.!

During this waiting time, we were seeing movement and were even told that we were in "Group 2" so our adoption was going to be investigated (serious allegations of child trafficking in what was the Wild West of Adoptions in Cambodia so we were to understand). We made the decision to take leaves of absences from our jobs if needed, paid our bills for 3 months, and to take off to spend our children's first birthday with them, March 18, 2002. It was to change our lives forever. Seeing the poverty of Cambodia was humbling and in many ways made me ashamed of my life back in the States, we had so much and these people had so very little, at least materially and often times basic needs-wise as well. So unfair when the only difference happened to be where we were born. I am happy to report though that after traveling back to Cambodia now for almost 7 years now, things are improving! But, I digress...Our 3 weeks in Cambodia with our children were overwhelming as we tried to acclimate to becoming parents to these almost year-old babies who did not understand us, know our smell, and we did not know their ways - what they liked, didn't like, how to comfort them, make them laugh... All of this while in an unknown culture halfway from our comfort zone. To say it was a growing experience is an understatement. It was also a strengthening time for D and I as we tacked situations over this entire process that could have left "us" in ruins if we didn't have such a good friendship in addition to the love. In just 3 short weeks, we moved a couple of times, from the nice nice Micasa - to a guest house where we were staying next door to a mercinary (not kidding) who was tracking down Khmer Rouge fighters in the jungles and laying on a mattress on the floor with an AC unit that literally was blowing ants on us if we turned it on. The kitchen in this guest house...let's just say we never ate anything coming out of there...and the cats outside that called lustfully all was more than I could handle. We moved then into the Golden Gate and all was well.

We celebrated the twins' birthday back at the Micasa in the room of another adoptive family and the room was full of other adoptive parents we had met online with their kiddos. It was one of those moments I will never in my entire life forget. Our family couldn't be with us to celebrate this, but this new group had become a family and were there to help us celebrate. What fun and sadness all at the same time. As by this point, we knew our case was not going to be reviewed within the next 3 months and therefore we knew we were going to have to go back home to Indiana, without our children. I will never regret going and bonding with our kids during this time. It was hell taking them back to the orphanage to leave them (we had returned a few times to keep the kids acclamated just in case this happened). I can't recall another situation in my life where my heart literally hurt like this and hope I never do again. The pond that was about 20 feet from where our children were in the open-air orphanage with stairs down to it was a constant nightmare for me over the next 6 months while we waited for the call to come back. When we left they were getting pretty mobile and I had horrible images of them being curious and crawling away and drowning. We left on an airplane with a few other families whose adoptions had been completed and they were going home WITH their children, not easy for us. The hug I received from Rachel, one of the moms flying home that I had come to know over the internet was truly one of the best and most sincere hugs I had ever felt, I will remember it always.

But after being there with them, there was no government in the world that could have kept us from our children. We would have moved to Cambodia if that is what it required, but fortunately it did not come to that. I definitely left my heart in Cambodia in April 2002...came home and proceeded to gain about 50 pounds...but was able to return to finally bring home Meesta and Doodle forever. They were indeed worth the fight and I adore them and who they are and who they are becoming. It is an honor to be their mom and as we mark their 8th birthday, I stand in awe of how far we have come as a family. It has been an honor and 97% joy with 3% challenges raising them over the last almost 7 years (or more like 80/s0...). I am grateful for the gift God has given us in these amazing little people. They are beautiful little people and we love love LOVE being their forever mom and dad. Happy 8th Birthday Babes!!!

Love, Mom

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Remember That Time in Second Grade...

Prepare yourself for the understatement of the century, PARENTING. IS. HARD.

Okay, so my last post told you all of our struggles with Doodle and math, yadda yadda. Well, I went back, reread it and still agree with most of it. Here's how the last few days have played out...

Doodle had her math test last Friday, and guess what, she got 100%!!!!! We worked so hard and she tried so hard and it paid off, awesome! We even went out to Thai to celebrate, but were v. disappointed to find out that our favorite local Thai restaurant had gone out of business, big bummer. Oops, I digress.... so, worked hard = success, although she was taken aside by the teacher and while Doodle did all of the work herself, I believe there were mild prompts by the teacher. Nice weekend is had by all.

Monday afternoon, pre-scheduled meeting with the teacher to determine how she is falling so behind in math. The long and the short of it all is that Doodle is a bit more, um, shall we say, astute, in playing us all than I would have EVER guessed. Without going into the gory details, the bottom line is that we had no idea what she was working on in math because she was LYING about what homework she had to do on her assignment sheet that we sign EVERY NIGHT and was saying she only had to do math facts. AND, as if that little fact was not enough, the homework that she was supposed to be doing every other night, she was THROWING IT AWAY..IN THE TRASH..IN HER CLASSROOM. You could have blown me away with a feather I was so surprised. This is why she was so lost in math and why we were so lost as to what was going on in her class for math.

When brought into the room with mom, dad and the teacher, the kid had to fess up. You could tell she was rather terrified, but she did not break down. We got into the details, at least to the greatest extent that we are likely going to get, as to why later. I made her apologize to the teacher for being dishonest and we are dealing with the rest at home. I asked her why and she said she just had too much homework. I think that translates into two things, the homework is hard and I don't want to do it and I just want to play.

Now, the other aspect of this is that I think our girl has a learning challenge, likely dyslexia, but that is not confirmed. The new Indiana law is that they must undergo a variety of interventions first and then, the school will test them. I informed the teacher last night that it was time for testing, we have played along, but she gets quite a bit of individual attention in this classroom and so her other grades are decent, but without that individual attention, I don't think they would be as good. She just learns differently and requires more 1X1 time. I told the teacher we would pay and have the testing done and get this....the school will NOT ACCEPT IT. I have a master's degree in clinical psychology, I used to be a neuropsychometrist...I know that a licensed psychologist - in coordination with a neuropsychometrist would conduct the appropriate, and perhaps even more detailed assessment of our child and that the school should be grateful that we are concerned, we care, are willing to pay, etc. I could go on and on!

Anyway, we are trying to get everything in place so we don't have to start from square one with her in a new school system this fall, as we are very likely moving in June...!

All of this to state, our Doodle is much more creative and daring than we have given her credit for in the past. The child strapped them on and did as she pleased. She figured out the teacher was not really seeing what she wrote down nor was she checking, nothing was being said by the teacher about her not turning in math homework, and so this was working out for her, sort of.

Our trust has indeed been shattered for a good while and she will have to regain that over time. But, I am hoping that we can laugh about this in the future and joke about that time in second grade when Doodle threw her homework away...

Life is still THIS GOOD,

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Computer Time and Family Happenings

I wish I could be grounded from the computer. I calculated that yesterday, Wednesday, I was literally on the computer approximately 12 hours. That is just too much, and I don't think that more than 30 minutes were from fun. Ugghhh. It is no wonder that I struggle to get enough (okay, who am I kidding...ANY) exercise lately!

Work is very intense right now, lots of projects and lots of responsibility - but I am not complaining, I have a great job and I like it. Nuff said.

Eating has been wretched since everyone here was sick as could be. I have such a trend of doing well, getting on a roll and then when something happens to throw me off the path, it takes me far too long to get back on that roll. Lesson to self - every bite is an opportunity to do things the right and healthy way!

School is back, Quarter 6 has begun and it will be a busy one. One class involves nonprofit finance and budgeting - not my forte'.

Doodle is struggling mightily with school, specifically math. The reasons are numerous and I am very frustrated about it all. The thing is, I am falling even more madly in love of this kid and I am respecting her determination. We are working very closely together for HOURS every evening and she is just hanging in there and truly trying. I would have long before given up and cried out of frustration and while we have both been close to this once, she has so earned my admiration and respect for her efforts. It is so easy to forget the challenges she has faced in her little life because she is such a joy all of the time, but at times like this I have to remind myself to step back and see how far she has come in her almost 8 years of life (not that her math struggles make her less of a joy). She was born into an orphan life in a third world country, survived that with the most pleasant of personalities, and then had the next kick with having epilepsy. Seriously, she could use a break. But, D and I will not give up, she is a smart kiddo and has the biggest heart and best personality and is such a great little person. We will make it work, one way or another. I need to pray about this more...

OHHHH, how could I forget, this week D passed a HUGE hurdle within his path to becoming a Navy chaplain!!!!!! I am so incredibly proud of him and am glad that others are seeing just how attune to God's will he seems to be and how meant for this journey he truly is. What this means for us as a family is that we very likely will be moving somewhere (who knows where) within our state likely in June... Now, while this causes me some angst, it is still a very good thing!

I think that I am doing better at praying for God's will...and not my wants, but man is that a struggle. Does this mean that I am SLOWLY growing spiritually? I hope so as I have felt very stagnant while D has been in seminary.

Wishing all the best as the weather finally starts to warm up around here - so refreshing!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quarter 5 In The Bag

I was a little unsure that I was going to be able to pull everything off since my last post. The last week and a half have truly been a struggle for me with waaayyy too much going on and then a sick hubbie and son. But, belaboring the negatives does no good, so suffice it to say, I am one more quarter closer to getting my post hole digger (aka, PhD)! There are lots of jokes about what about PhD means, one my faves is pretty huge debt - now that is the truth!

In the midst of completing my final two huge projects for my courses, both of which had stacked 30% of the grade on the final pressure there or anything, I had to get the house in tip top shape because my empolyer was sending over a video crew yesterday afternoon to get some footage of me, interview me, and generally just seeing me interact with my family for the Jefferson Award because I am about to pass the torch to the new National winner at an upcoming luncheon. While so nice, seriously, in the midst of it all it just added to the stress of the timing; however, our house looks fantastic and I don't have to now spend my relaxing week cleaning it! I do however, have lots of plans for my week of down time. I am going to get all my paperwork caught up for Tabitha and get everything transitioned and shipped off to the new President who will be taking on all of the administration for the organization. That will relieve a TON of pressure for me, but I have been too busy to even get that accomplished. I am going to get our taxes all together and off to the accountant and hopefully do the same for Tabitha. I will be exercising and cooking - hopefully putting some yummy soups in the freezer for quick and easy healthy meals.

On a completely separate note, my good friend Carrie delivered her triplets yesterday, and yes, you read that right, triplets. This will be a challenging road for them, but she has a wonderful support system, fabulous husband and parents and amazing friends, such as yours truly, who plan to help as much as possible. All the babies are doing well and that is a true blessing. Also, any day now, my internet friend, Heather, who has a little Jingdezhen blessing like our Shenzy, is expected to get good news about her daughter awaiting her in China, Calliandra.

And while in no way attempting or even planning any sort of adoption, as I do earnestly believe we are through, I have happened upon THE NAME that I would pick for any future child to enter our life - NOT THAT THIS IS EVEN PLANNED, IT IS NOT, but we would name the child...Lawson. I love this name, boy or girl, it would not matter - who knows what the fake internet name would be...but the child would be named Lawson, isn't that so cool?!

For now all is good and I am going to ENJOY my weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If You Want Something Done and a Rant

Have you heard the old saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person? It is true. Although I don't always grasp the concept and understand how and why it works, I know it does.

January was a relatively slow month for me here in CC world (aside from Geneva trip), one in which I wasted a ton of time, getting done what absolutely had to get done, but not advancing on any things that SHOULD get done. The only rationale is that I was not busy enough, pathetic, but true.

So, February is shaping up to kick me in the rear, with a pointed toe boot. My work work has picked up in a somewhat dramatic fashion, I am in the final 2 weeks of my 5th quarter in school - so all the final projects are due very soon and I need to get seriously focused on my research so I am not in school for 10 years, the kids activities continue to grow, I need to transition all the Tabitha stuff to our new President, and I am trying to focus on exercising MORE and eating better and less. AND, the real rub is that I need to do all of the above and try to be nice to everyone around me:).

HOWEVER, I shall get all of the above done, hopefully while retaining a somewhat pleasant personality, because I need to be uber busy to be productive, I guess that is just my style. But when I make my to do list every day, the list is not getting shorter...

On a complete aside, I am almost speechless by the situation of the octuplets. I watched the interview with Ann Curry (who I adore) last night and then there was more flap about it on the news this morning - added info - to add to the absurdity. The bottom line for me, if you have the capability to care for these children, then the more power to you; however, she does not. I might feel a bit differently if she were adopting these children out of foster care and had a deliberate plan in place - but even then, they would not LET her adopt those children even out of foster care because you have to show FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY for taking care of them. We have adopted, we know the invasive, irritating, and yet responsible checks that are done to an adoptive family. Why are they not required in a situation like this??

The ethical decisions made by her medical treatment team are questionable at best, and her decision to agree (and likely encourage) all of the embryos to be implanted demonstrates her lack of rationale thinking and basic common sense. And come on, those lips and her appearance are striking resemblances to Angelina Jolie...yet she denies any work...hmmm. Newsflash: AJ has millions and millions of dollars at her disposal to care for her children.

OK, off my soapbox for now, as mentioned above, way too much to do, not enough time.

I am thankful for my business, it means my kids are healthy and active, my job is thriving, my brain is being educated, my husband likes me company...most of the time, and my friends are the best:).


Monday, February 02, 2009

Back to Basics

With the new year, also comes the refocus on my eating habits. While I have still maintained the emphasis on trying to eat as much organic food as possible, I am still slipping in other areas, such as too many carbs and just too much in general and not enough green stuff. So, today, February 2, marks my renewed committment to a healthier lifestyle. I read some literature from Dr. Joel Fuhrman over the weekend that makes sense, both from a common perspective and from a scientific one. So, I shall make my goal to follow his words of advice as closely as possible. I really want to finally shed my adoption gain - hey, pregnancy is NOT the only way to gain weight, I can attest! I will move my body more and will pay close attention to what I put in my mouth.

On this same thread of thought, my dear husband found a Wii Fit and bought it for me. I had really wanted one. Cursed thing told me I was 54 fitness-wise! So, it will be an added tool for me to move my body more. I did 30 minutes worth of activities on it Saturday, alas nothing yesterday with church twice, my mom visiting, and homework due by midnight. However, I am motivated beyond, so here goes!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

We have SNOOWWWW and lots of it! The schools are closed, I am not able to make it to the office and we are snuggled in for hot chocolate, teleconference calls (mine for work), cartoons, Mexican train dominoes, and some Wii! I was as excited as the kids were when I saw all the snow and learned of the school closure. And Harbour, the newfie extraordinaire, has had more fun than any dog should be allowed running and cavorting in the snow.

The fireplace is burning logs and I am working while listening to its crackling and feeling its warmth. Other than D not being home (he can walk to his work in our backyard, albeit through a foot of snow), there is not a thing in the world that I would complain about.

I am thankful for this warm home, my health, my family's health, our safety, my job and the ability I have to work remotely, and our ability to provide food and security to our family.

All is well:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Geneva and Back and Hope Springs Forth

So, since I last wrote, I have finally made my way to Europe and back. I had a trip for work to Geneva to our affiliate and D went with me and it was a nice get away. My company has a very large multi-drug resistant TB project that I have volunteered to help out with regarding communications and that was the reason for my trip. The nongovernmental organization (NGO) link with private companies is such a powerful union and I think that this will likely be my future direction in some way or another, who knows? The lady who leads it agreed to be a mentor of sorts regarding my research, so that is a very beneficial aspect of the trip.

What was missing from the trip? For the first 3 days, our luggage. Continental did NOT get high marks at all. My colleague who also traveled for the same purpose with Continental also had lost luggage, but for him it was only a day. And the kids. I miss them terribly after about 3 days.

But, that was the trip, I have been to Geneva, it is a fun city with wayyyy to many people who smoke, but lovely rosti, wine, cheese, and lovely little sandwiches. I made some nice acquaintances and who knows what the future will hold.

As for today, Harbour got "fixed" yesterday, so I stayed home with her today as she was not supposed to be alone and then Miss Shenzy had a fever and a nasty cough, so I am home with both of them today. I am 2 days late in sending in an assignment for school, I have jet lag, but we just inaugurated Obama as president and I find myself so incredibly hopeful for our nation and our reputation around the world. I have watched the events unfold today and was inspired by his speech, and loved the benediction given.

I have hope for the future of my non-Caucasian children, I think today truly marks a new chapter in our country. I don't like Obama because of his skin color, but for what he stands for and the hope he has inspired in so many. However, his advancement makes it possible for those who come after him to have a little bit less of a struggle because of skin color. Thank you President Obama for following the path so many blazed before you and for taking it further than anyone else has been able to before, on behalf of my children, thank you! I will pray daily for your safety, for your wisdom and for the health and safety of your whole family.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

2009 Here We Go

I find it hard to comprehend that 2008 has come and gone. It was a significant year for our family, primarily with D being gone for 9 weeks and our adventure of taking Doodle and Meesta back to their birth country. There were lots of positive financial moves forward and that will only continue to improve this year. School has been successful for all members of our family with Doodle taking a bit of adjusting to second grade, but eventually everything smoothing out before Christmas break. The only major negative was the lack of progress towards my weight loss and cholesterol reduction goals.

2009, what do I expect:
*Improved health through the following measures:
  • Weight loss of at least 25 pounds
  • Exercise a minimum of 2x/week (hopefully more)
  • Decreased LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol numbers to within normal limits

*Continued success with school:

  • At least one Knowledge Area Module (KAM) completed, hopefully 2
  • No grade less than a B achieved (still holding on to 4.0 for now...)
  • Almost all classes completed for PhD, just about 3 will remain hopefully and the dissertation
  • Attend at least 1 residency
  • CELEBRATE D graduating from seminary in May!!!!

*Successful move:

  • 2009, mid-year, we will likely be moving, my goal is to make it as pain-free and stress-free for the kiddos, make it a fun and special event for them
  • take time off from work for the move as needed, the kids will need both D and I to be fully present as much as possible


  • Maintain it and look for opportunities to use my degree and interests to the fullest extent possible within my company (see upcoming trip to Geneva!! later in the week)

Well, those are my plans for 2009 in a nutshell. I pray mostly for health and happiness for us all, including my entire family and friends. And, this year I also pray that I will find more ways to be a good friend to others, to be an instrument of God, and to be a more present wife and mom.

Here's to 2009!