Thursday, March 29, 2012

i seek and find You

last week i flew across the country to atlanta, ga for a retreat/conference with 450 fellow adoptive mamas. 
my sweet friend, pauline, traveled with me. 
we met a little over a year ago after many joint friends tried to get us together because of our adoptions. we both have 3 boys, of similar ages, and we both adopted a little girl from ethiopia.  
after we met, we found ourselves at many of the same baseball games and a friendship was formed. it was soo much fun getting to know her even more. 
i adore her
 (especially when she rubs my back on the plane as i think i'm dying from motion sickness).
 i threw up after the second flight and during the third. and while sitting between unknowns (pauline and i were separated on that flight). 
thank you to the kind stranger seated behind me who took me seriously when i told him he could rub my back when i get sick. ha!  he did!
 and it worked. for a few minutes anyway.
 when i get sick, i have a hard time over-coming the symptoms....foggy head, upset belly, etc, which makes it difficult to concentrate and focus.  
thank you again, my friend, for holding my hand the whole weekend! :0)

me and pauline

i planned this trip for about 6 months. 
i had no expectations. 
but once we got settled into the retreat i began to realize the over-whelming number of mamas who have/are struggling right along with me after their kiddos came home.
 and i got a little frustrated.
 i have been wishing, for a year now, that i would have been more informed about what was to come when we brought aregash home.
 people always said it was "hard" (which is such an understatement for many/most of us), but never gave examples of what we may go through.  
i have been in touch with lots of other moms who have had similar experiences, but here i was....face-to-face with hundreds of them who are struggling. 
and we have no answers. 
 within the first day of the retreat i felt disappointment. 
waiting-moms would ask me how our transition went and i told a little of my struggles, without telling too much, only to have their eyes glaze over. 
i began to turn to pauline when people asked so she could share HER story.
 that's the kind they wanted to hear.
 i was distraught.....for myself and the other many many mommies who were desperately needing guidance in this hard place.

the posse' :0) lori, chari, my sweet friend deena (friends through the process, but first time meeting) & pauline

--friendships forming--marisa and suellen--

 i had a good time. 
i met many amazing women, stayed up wayyyy too late, ate too much, prayed a lot, spent lots of money on treasures, and worshiped with 450 other mommies.  
it was said that roughly 1,100 children were represented by the women who attended.
 eleven hundred babes have/will have families.

worship--like none other

we listened to several speakers who had amazing stories to tell, but the one who sticks in my head, is an adult adoptee from Korea. 
she was adopted as an infant and has an amazing story to tell. 
she reminded me, again, how these little brains of these little people are changed when they are placed and moved from one place to the next. 
how their little brains, in utero, can be changed when a birth-mom has to think about the fact that she cannot keep her child.
 how every. single. one. 
of these children has come from a hard place, no matter how happy that child may appear. and how they need to be loved. 
even when it's hard to love them.
 even when we don't particularly like them. 
all the time.....for them to grow up and be healthy individuals.....we need to always love them. 
she said this with tears. 
with such a heart. 
because she IS one of those little people. 
she understands....and she can help US to understand.
 adoption is beautiful. but mostly, adoption is painful. 
it is one loss after another for the child. 
and then hopefully that child finds the love that he/she deserves and needs soo badly in a family to help make them whole again. 
and the loss comes again when they are old enough to understand where they came from.
 it's up to us to nurture and love. 
and then love some more.

meeting my friend and fellow AP, meredith--she's soo lovely

when i left the retreat i was pretty overwhelmed.
 there were soooo many women there. there were soo many unanswered questions. i was realllllly tired and not even close to feeling like myself due to illness.
 and now i've had a few days to ponder and really sit back and look at what happened. 
i had the opportunity to meet, share stories, and cry with many different friends.
 i loved my time worshiping with these amazing women of god. 
i took away bits and pieces of what the different speakers said. 
i prayed for and was prayed over. 
and i came home feeling closer to god than i have in months. 
my heart is healing. 
and i've had a revelation. 
there was a reason i felt the need to go.
 because it was god's way of bringing me back to him. 
i had drifted away and there was a wall.
 i had lost sight of him, my faith in him was close to none, and my life was feeling pretty dark. 
satan had me right where he wanted me. 
it's the reason i fell ill even though i flew across the world a year ago without being sick. 
he didn't want me to find find the lord. 
and i did. 
he told me lies while i was there. 
and i believed him.
 and then i found my faith again. 
and god brought me back home without as much as an upset stomach. 
my faith waivered, but his grace is bigger than that. 
his forgiveness is never-ending.
 his love for me is unfathomable. 
he made ME beautifully and wonderfully. 
and i believe it again. 
and even though this last year has been "hard" and i haven't even begun to understand why it is so, i now truly believe again, and have faith, that i was meant to be her mommy. 
she is broken.
 i am broken.
 and our father will heal us both.....while we have each other. 
he reminds me that i need not turn to others, but run to him when i'm in need.
not to call that next friend and tell of my troubles or trials.....
but to get on my knees and  ask him for guidance.

4:30 am....waiting in our hotel lobby for the shuttle----cool place!!

i read a short story recently of a man who questioned god because his week had gone horribly wrong. 
god kindly responded that the things that happened were his way of protecting his son. things aren't always the way we see them. and having expectations of anyone, but especially god, always lands us in heartache. 
he loves us.
 every single one of us.
 when we are at our weakest and damaged. 
he loves us.
 his grace is enough and i'm covered in his love. 
his grace is enough for me.

waiting for our next flight to go home-tired mamas
thank you god for your unfailing love.
even when i'm a mess.
even when i forget you are number one in my life.
even when darkness overcomes me.

i always find you again.
or rather....
you find me.
and pull me close.

i crawl up in your lap as your little child.
i feel your breath and your hand on my head.
i feel your love.
i love you

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Princess and the Frog........birthday

AREGASH turns 4!!!

this was a very important day,
as most birthdays are.
i'm pretty sure that she thought she would be a grown-up 
by the time she turned four.

birthday morning starts with a gift from her brothers.

we gave her a choice of any place to eat and because she doesn't know the name of businesses, she just chose pizza. 
 so pizza ranch it was.  
they announced to the entire restaurant that it was her birthday and invited everyone to sing to her.  
the gal got her name right, but it got really quiet when it came to that part of the song.....and then some giggles.

after i let her "party" in the hat i thought of all the lice going around the schools. ugh.

more gifts from her adoring family

after months and months of waiting to turn four so she could have her ears pierced, she almost forgot 
that today was the day.

heading into the mall to have her ears pierced......a year-long promise

her brothers made it pretty special. 
 cole even ran through the mall to get her a cute sucker 
for after.

we had been really honest about the pain that comes with this so i think she was pretty well prepared.
 there were no tears, but i could tell that she was holding back
 just a bit.  
she complains about the tenderness now, which makes me happy that we waited until now to do it.


 we had a great afternoon celebrating her birthday, but there was still a cake to be made.
there's always smiles when a person gets to make their own cake, right? 
well, until there is no choice. :)

her blue for the bottom cake

i really wanted to make the perfect, extravagant cake 
for aregash.
i've done my share of great cakes for her brothers and i wanted this to be special.
so frosting is ready and cakes are divided in half and filled with pudding.

pudding filling...yummo!

 and then she wanted to take MY picture.
anyone who makes cakes knows what a process it is.
there is soo much more to do.
 and the party was the next day.
i usually divvy up the work between three days.
not this time.

frosting the bottom cakes

when aregash said she wanted a frog cake i wasn't sure where it came from 
(maybe because her favs color is green?),
 but i intended to give her one HOPP'N cake.
i don't like using fondant on my cakes because it tastes horrible and people have to pick it off anyway, 
BUT, i wanted to do this for her.
so i stewed about it for a week and begged everyone i could think of to do it for me. :0)
i have to say....
it was kind of fun and i think it ended up being the best part of the cake!

side view...not finished

he's missing something.....but what?

almost done....and a lily pad

and when i decided to do an amazing cake i knew it had to be more than one layer......
so the top cakes were filled with strawberry pudding 
(per A's request).
when they were stacked it seemed a little lot tall. and the cake was super moist,
which is great for taste, 
but not for construction.

ready for the second layer

 the frog topped off the cake......
and that's where the problems began.
it was wayyyy too heavy.
i set this cake on top of the blue-bottom cake.
everything began to slide.

and then i removed the top portion from the bottom portion---see fingerprints

and then the inevitable happened.
and the tears.
and then the ugly cry.
8.5 hours later.
i was tired.
i was done.
the bottom cake was ruined too.
and my hubby said he was going to buy a cake at the store.
if you know me, you'll know that wasn't happening.
i love him soo much for just letting me sob into his shirt.
i left the room for awhile.
i came back and apologized.
i added a pound of frosting to the bottom cake.
it wasn't pretty. 
and it wasn't my best. 
 but it was frosted. 
and then i cried myself to sleep.

my failure

the next morning i woke up and started decorating.
here's the FROG (very well known as the damn frog)
i kinda like him.
i think i'll keep him......seriously. :0)

i was pretty pleased with myself.
if anything else i had a pretty cool frog..

his backside

and the finished product..........

all done


 the birthday girl with her cake......
which she adored.

....he has fangs to keep his "roof" up

 i think she's happy

time to pin the tongue on the frog! 

she picked out her birthday dress cause it looked "froggy"

 got it!!!!  maybe peeked just a little. :0)

and the pinata......
can you believe we found a frog??

the loot.
no candy in this pinata.......
lots of fun bugs and frogs!

time to blow the candles out.

and all the friends and cousins.

little friend makeda

best buddies, reece & keira

she had a great time which makes me feel like i hit a home run as a mama.
i have always been known for making things over-complicated,
but i would do anything for my kids.
and when it truly came down to it i think i just really wanted to please her.

thing doesn't take much.
that's what i love about my kids (most of the time),
is that we raised them to be appreciative for the little things.
and she is no exception.

birthdays are a time for me to do something really special for each one of my children.

this year has been one of the most difficult i've ever had and i guess i felt like i could make up for all of the "hard" in just one day.
when in reality the fact that we are a family,
 and we have each other, and we have love
should really just be enough.
and it is.
lesson learned again.

HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY little girl!!!
i am excited for every new day with you....
even when it's NOT your birthday.

i love you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All about Aregash

i told myself i was going to keep up better on my blog. i haven't done such a great job.  there are always soo many things to write about....good and's sometimes overwhelming. 
 i have been encouraged again recently to write my story of adoption here and it's been rolling around in my head, but i think i'm ready.  although, not this post. :0)  sorry. 
this week is a busy one with aregash's birthday being on friday, and her party on saturday.  that's where my mind is right now.  
but i'll share a few updated pictures.  
everyone loves that....right? :0)

remember how i said i was going to get to the frames on the wall?  well, it's done. 
completed the end of january as i promised myself....
for aregash's forever family party we had with friends
 (which i still need to post about).  
and here is it. finally.

last weekend aregash and mommy had a girls' night out with my friend, lauren, and her daughter, eliza.  
we went to dinner and then to the disney on ice show. 
 a big first for aregash.  
she's always asking me for a "date night", but because i'm with her every day alone, she usually gets the last date.
i'm soo glad we did it.
she loved it!!!

all ready to go!!

the smile says it all

little mermaid is her favorite.....she's never seen the movie, but pretty excited about it.

peter of mommy's favorites from childhood

and then there's just a typical day of being creative. 
 she's quite the imaginative little one.
here she's telling Smoke not to knock over her beds that she built.'s all about pirates and legos
i love that she loves the boys' toys

"take my picture mommy!"

today we had to miss our MOPS group because zachary is home sick.  but it gives me a little extra time to work on the FROG cake aregash has been asking for for her birthday.  
coming up......a frog made from fondant.  
wish me luck!!

more stories next week.
promise. :0)

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