Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fort Wayne, IN

Shortly after we arrived in Michigan, the four of us took a mini road trip to go visit some good friends of ours -- the Allens. They are great for many reasons.

They let us show up on a few days notice.
They've always been naturally comfortable for us to be around (if that makes sense).
We can talk for hours and hours and hours -- and too often do/did.
We were neighbors for a couple years, Samantha's beginning years, and they were a huge support to us during that time.
They're cute people with cute kids.
They are generous and kind.
Jeff did our family pictures while we were in Utah -- hello GREAT -- and captured one of my all time favorite pictures of me holding Samantha. Very candid. Very beautiful.
MaryIrene was always just a few steps away and would frequently dropped everything to help me out.
We laugh a lot.
They are strong, faithful, fun, extremely talented, and plain wonderful people.

It was fun to reconnect after a couple years, and it really didn't feel like it had been that long. I have decided that I believe that is the test of true friendship...when you can be any distance away, not talk for awhile, but when you reconnect, it's as if you were where you were the last time you were together. (Woa, say that last clause 10 times as fast as you can! It's a doozey.)

Playing on the Allen's "playground" as Callie calls any swingset.
Elliot, Sam, MaryIrene, Sammy, Callie

Love this picture (other than me really needing to redo Callie's hair)!

The Allen's moved shortly after I came back to Utah with Callie. Had they been in Utah that last year, they would have been best buds, I can tell.

Waiting for our food at O'something. It was a great restaurant, but seeing that I don't remember the name, I guess I won't be frequenting it again any time soon. Kids eat free!

At a real park this time. This was a pretty fun swing. The way it was cut out from a tire made it easy for Sammy to sit in. I think this was her first swing ride not in an infant swing. It was pretty cute.

Some handicap-friendly parks have these kinds of swings. They really are nice for Sammy. It really makes a huge difference using these swings and the infant ones. It gets really hard the longer she gets to get her in those infant swings. So, these help with that a, it's just age appropriate and that's always appreciated.

Awww. Elliot and Callie would have been best buds too -- or at least Callie would have thought so.

Isn't she cute?

Elliot took this picture for us. Elliot, the six year old.
Thanks guys! It was a fun trip. Hope to see you again in another 2 years!

Pure Michigan

I love this place! We are happily enjoying the sun, the water, the family, and the friends. I could really stay here forever...not sure how Marcus feels about fact, I think I'm pretty sure how he feels about that. That's just all together too bad -- for me.
Years ago, the Michigan theme was "Yes Michigan...the feeling's forever." I still have the little jingle run through my mind from time to time. But now, it's "Pure Michigan." It works, but I miss the jingle.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthday Party

This past Friday, we had a birthday party for Samantha and her cousin, Alex. Samantha and Alex are only 2 days a part. Samantha's original due date was July 12, 2006. Once they decided to induce me, that bumped her up to June 23. Alex's due date was earlier...I'm not sure when...but he was late -- and I think he entered this world substantially later than my sister was hoping for. Oh but it all works out right?

This year, for Samantha's cake, I was stumped. What do I make her this year? When Marcus suggested a schoolbus (since she rode the bus during her first full year of school), I knew that was it. How perfect. So a schoolbus the girl got...with wheels, little friends in the windows, a stop sign, and all.

I went with a poundcake and your basic buttercream frosting. I'm not sure I'll do that again. The frosting was good, but I wasn't sold on the cake. It just didn't taste as good as my yellow cake -- but I didn't have that recipe with me so I had to try something new. This cake was really fun for me to make.

Alex is really into bugs...and lately, he's all about spiders. Aren't these cupcakes so cute? Good work Lisa. Alex recently found a spider that was rather large. I saw the pictures and that was enough for me thank you very much. Anyway, he had Lisa put it in a jar. He had to take it with him wherever they went -- to the grocery store, to the library, by his bed when he slept. And, he named him PJ Karate. Lisa released him back into the wild a few days later. Spiders. Very fitting for his birthday this year.

"Happy Birthday to you..."

Opening up her gifts -- with help from Callie. Ian and parts of Lindsay are seen in this picture too. I have to say it's been really fun to be with my neice and nephew. They love Samantha and Callie so much. They are so gentle and kind...and rough and playful...all at the right times. We are having a lot of fun. I'll really miss these great kids. Lindsay plays with Callie all day. It's great. She'll do anything Callie asks her. I'm sure it makes Linds feel important -- and it should. And with Samantha, they just treat her so so well. I love it. I really really do. She's just their little cousin who they've prayed for for years and thought about and loved...and now they are just enjoying time being with her. It's really great stuff.

Ok, so here's some angles of the cake. It ended up being a tad too orange for what I was going for, but whatever. The girly poo got a cake, right? And there's different shades of the yellow/orange color within the schoolbus I'm pretty sure I'm ok on this one. Marcus was most excited about the stop sign that stuck out. I'm glad little things like that excite him. It makes me job a whole lot easier.

Aside from my really tired eyes...I think this is a cute picture. Sammy looks so happy. I, on the other hand, am happy, just tired. I've been hit with a pretty bad cold and usually am up from 3am-6am coughing in the basement. It really hasn't been a highlight of the trip, but oh well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Turning the Big 0-4

Yes, our little Sammy Sam Sam is now FOUR. While she was eating breakfast, I thought about those first few hours with her. It was such a whirlwind of emotions and information. Life definitely changed when we met our sweet girl face to face. What a ray of sunshine she is in our lives. She's just amazing. We are currently in Michigan visiting family and friends, so it was fun to be able to celebrate with those who love her but don't get to see her as often. In this picture...and I just love that face...Sammy is with her Daddy at Keith Elementary's playground. The old school's playground has had quite the upgrade! It was fun for the girls, but such a muggy day.

Playing with the swings.

We knew we were having a party for her on Friday, but we didn't want her birthday to plass without having some kind of it was brownies, icecream, and lots of whipped cream -- her favorite!

I can't believe our baby girl is FOUR years old!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Help -- by Kathryn Stockett

The Help The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh how I loved this book for so many reasons. My one complaint -- I wanted more about Minny and Miss Celia -- I needed more closure there or something. I'm so intrigued with Miss Celia and I kept thinking she'd be more in the storyline. This is definitely the genre I like, so I was expecting to like it (and with all the feedback I've heard on it, I thought it was going to be what I expected anyway). But I love this. I loved the different narratives. I loved the characters. I loved the basic plot. I loved the suspense. I loved that I was on the edge of my seat at moments thinking, "no no no no no no!" or "That brat!" I haven't read a good book like this in a long time.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It'll Happen

So, ok, maybe it'll happen one day. Just maybe. Maybe we'll get a phone call telling us that we've been approved for adoption and that there's a baby for us. This just may happen. I called our caseworker today -- Heather Mahoney at LDS Family Services in San Jose, CA if any of you are dying to know because you HAVE to call her because there's a baby waiting for us -- to ask about the paperwork that is missing of mine. She said they are calling Sacramento to find out more information because they sent it all in together, so they're confused why they hadn't heard back. She said, "Unless your case is just somehow cursed to never get approved." I love you Heather, but that's not funny. grrr I then asked her what would happen if, say, someone found out about us from a friend of a friend, or whatever, but we weren't approved. She said that the baby would just be placed in an approved home until the background check came in. She's currently doing that for another couple. Even though nothing's really happening for us (it seems), I felt a lot of peace talking to her today.

My point is, I'm hopeful...and after being kind of sad...I was able to think a lot about Callie -- how she so perfectly came to us. God was so involved in her placement into our family. And, there's no question that that same thing is happening now. It may feel like things are taking forever or that things aren't working as WE planned (isn't that always the case?), but I believe that it's working out exactly how Heavenly Father has planned it. I have faith in that...I have faith in Him.

So, yes, it'll happen one day -- when our baby and his birth family have been prepared to connect with an addition their new family: the Marcus, Jenny, Samantha, and Callie Greens.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Callie and Caillou

As parents, we have proverbially put our foot down. Caillou and Callie can no longer be friends. That's right. It's a sad day when you have to cut off any friendship, but really now...I couldn't let this one continue.

I always thought Caillou was a nice boy. And, often he is. That's something I actually liked about him. He was a pretty good kid, and when he did get upset, there seemed to be resolution.

Recently, Callie has been moody and just pesky. She's beginning to talk back -- have I already mentioned that she tells us to "buzz off"? Yep. My 2 1/2 year old tells us to buzz off. Who are her parents anyway?! Sheesh. Do they need a lesson or two. But she's been pouting, and saying things with quite the emphatic tone, like "I don't want to!" as she crosses her arms across her chest. I'm sure to catch it on video sometime. I want her to see herself one day so when she comes to me and says "Mom, little Callie has been awfully rude lately" I can remind her of her younger years. And together I'm sure we'll laugh and laugh and...anyway. I have noticed that Callie mimics a lot of what I say. I hear her saying "ummmm" or "that's too bad" or "maybe, just try it." But I am really trying to figure out where she's getting "I don't want to!" from...I don't say it...and I know Sammy's not saying it (or is she? hmmmm).

A couple mornings ago, we were watching Caillou. He was trying to find something to wear. His daddy comes in and says, "How about this shirt Caillou?" Caillou, appalled, grabs the shirt from his father and throws it on the ground saying "I don't want this one!" Then they pick a shirt and together they smile and laugh. WHAT?! That's when I make the connection. And I notice Callie is copying Caillou. Uh-huh. No ma'am. Not in MY house is Callie going to pull something like that on me (or I mean...not anymore). And, that was the end of Caillou. I've concluded he's a little brat and I don't like his influence on my daughter.

So there you have it.
Callie still asks for him, and I just say, "Sorry, we don't watch Caillou anymore." Today while running errands, she just busted out the theme song and was so proud of herself. She even did the "do do do do do do" jingle before he says "That's me." Then she said, "I did it." Broke my heart. Sorry baby girl. It's for your own good.

Goodbye Caillou and friends -- I especially liked Clementine -- the cute little black girl that Callie always got excited about...and she loved Gilbert. That funny cat. I had never seen her laugh so hard. Ah well. Such is life.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Slip n' Slide

This past Saturday, we went over to Scotty and Annie's to enjoy a day in the summer sun. They provided us with a fantastic lunch, then we commenced the fun on the slip n' slide. It was a perfect afternoon.

I love this picture of Sammy. Look at those lips. I'm sorry, but I think she's beautiful.

I also love this picture of her. She's walking around, but it looks as if she's running (when in reality she's stumbling around her little Sammy way)...
just like any other 4 year old..."Wait, it's my turn" as she runs toward the slip n' slide.

And here she is taking her turn with help from Daddy.

Callie was a little apprehensive about the whole thing, all day...
(just for the record, I think Callie's beautiful too -- really really beautiful)

until we turned off the water that is. She was all about the slip n' slide as soon as water wasn't splashing around.

That slip at the end was unintentional...and she was leery to get back on afterward. But this is the only way she went on the slip n' slide -- and she did it over and over and over again.

And of course Marcus and Scotty had their fun -- Annie did too, I just don't have video of her. I didn't participate. My chest still hurts a little bit from the accident, so I refrained on this trip. But maybe next time?

The highlight of the day, though, was this moment. Callie laughed so hard every single time Marcus pretended to fall. She wasn't thrilled when he brought her in the water with him, but she squealed and laughed so hard with each fall.

And since I've already gone overboard on the video, what's one more, right? This video, of course, doesn't show what happened in full force, but it's a little bit of what she was doing...she was starting to laugh so hard, she couldn't even stand still. I could imagine her saying "Oh, this is too much...I can't stand it!" It was so so cute. I love that girl so much. She cracks me up!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When Will It Happen?

Life is crazy. Crazy insane. Crazy good. Crazy difficult. Crazy crazy. And I really would like to make it crazier by throwing another kid in the pot. Is that too much to ask? Wouldn't that be fun, and crazy? I know...some people thought we were crazy to adopt Callie as soon as we did...and I'm sure there are others out there thinking the same thing now. BUT, Callie is already 2.5 years old, so she's much older than Samantha was (19 months) when Callie came to our home. humph

Sometimes I feel like it's never going to happen -- and then I get sad. Like now. We've had our paperwork done for a long time now, but we are still waiting on a few background checks. Because we lived in Utah and Washington, we -- the government actually -- needs to run background checks on us through those states as well. That makes sense to me. But it is taking F O R E V E R and my patience is waning. Just a few weeks ago I was feeling like, even though things are taking longer than we had hoped, another baby wasn't too far off. So, I know I need to have faith in that and lean on that right now...but I'm getting so frustrated.

Last week, Peggy (mother-in-law) and I gave a presentation to two wards about adoption. Correction: It was about the services that LDS Family Services provides, but with an emphasis on adoption. I was there to tell my story. After one of the presentations, one woman came up to me and said "I have a referral for you" and proceeded to tell me about a girl -- family friend of hers -- who was pregnant and was thinking about adoption. She took my information. At the time, I told Peggy that I didn't really feel like this was our baby...I was honored that she would be willing to pass along our names to her friend, but I didn't necessarily feel like it was going to happen with this girl. And...I found out today that this girl had already chosen a family.

Yesterday I got a phone call from Nancy, our wonderful San Jose LDS Family Services secretary, telling me that Sacramento sent them a letter of acknowledgement -- essentially -- "We have the forms that you want to send out for the background checks." Well, I don't even know if they've been sent out to those states yet. How long have those papers been sitting on someone's desk before they were even looked at for Pete's sake!

So, those two things have made my faith waiver tonight. It makes me sad. I wonder, when will it happen? When the time is right, I know. But tonight, I'm struggling with that simple answer.

Tonight I'll go to a bit of The Help (which is a fabulous book by the way), and I'm sure to feel a little better tomorrow. But for now, I'm sad.


P.S. Thanks for all your comments the other day -- it helped a lot. I have an appointment to check out the place Wednesday morning.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Just Don't Know

So, there's this place called Scribbles and Giggles. Sounds great right? I mean, really, who doesn't want to scribble and giggle all day long? Certainly not me. I wouldn't want to miss out on that action any day of the week. So, if it's so great, why the dilemma. Wait, let me first tell you the dilemma.

It's about our lil' Samsquatch. See, this Scribbles and Giggles is a "Pediatric Day Health Center." Translation: Day Care for Special Needs Kiddos Great. Samantha's bus driver has given me brochures and keeps suggesting to me that I should call them to set things up. She said she takes kids there all the time right after school. I've thought about it on and off. You have to attend once a week to keep your spot. They are full now, but when I called to gather more information, they said they'd have openings in July -- that's fine. I'm in no rush whatsoever.

The idea would be this:
Once a week (Wednesdays because they are "short" days at school), the bus takes her to Scribbles and Giggles. That would give me 3 extra hours to get things done around here. Then I go there to pick her up. All the employees are nurses, and the building (I am told) is connected to a hospital. You have to medically qualify -- so not just any kid can go there. All the kids have special needs and require a certain level of attention.

* I'd have an extra few hours on Wednesdays
* Sammy may learn to be a little more independent entering a new atmosphere
* It gives her other social opportunities outside of school and church
* Insurance pays for it
* I'd have an extra few hours on Wednesdays -- wait, did I mention that already?

* Essentially she'd be attending day care, and I'm not sure how I feel about that
* I wouldn't be with Samantha during those few extra hours that I'd have on those Wednesdays, and I wonder if it's worth it
* I might miss her

So, what do I do? I'm scheduling a fancy schmancy tour so I can see their program. I think it's more than just sitting around and playing. When the kind lady on the phone suggested I take a tour to see their facility and program, it sounded like there was more to it than just a day care -- and I know they do therapy and activities there. hmmm hmmmm indeed. I told the kind lady on the phone that I wasn't sure I was going to do it...putting Sammy on the bus was hard enough. She laughed and said she understood. I don't think she really did understand, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. The questions that are swirling around in my mind are -- am I a bad mom for thinking of doing this? What makes me believe that I need to do this? Would it actually make a difference (because maybe it would be more of a pain 'cause I have to drive there and pick her up anyway)? Does this make me a bad mom? Does this make me a bad mom? Does this make me a bad mom? Because I really really don't want to be a bad mom. If it were someone else asking me this, I'd say, "Girl, do it. This doesn't make you a bad mom." But if I'm feeling slightly guilty, than maybe I'm being selfish or something. But then I think...I felt guilty for putting Sammy on the BUS. What's a mom to do?! Heavens to Betsy!


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