Monday, January 31, 2011

Cutie Patootie

I just think this girl is so dang cute on a bike -- feet all strapped in.  One of these days she'll be cruising down the sidewalk!  I just know it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Adoption Profile

The proper steps have been taken, and things are moving forward.  It's a strange feeling, but exciting.  We're considered in the "waiting" period.  On Sunday, during our Young Women lesson, a quote was shared that I love love love love love.  I need to track down who said it and how it actually goes, but it's something like this: 
There is no time for waiting, only preparing.

What would happen if I always looked at "waiting" as a preparation time?  I love that so much.  So, here we are, preparing for another baby, and until that comes, we'll continue to prepare.

Our profile is up and working (it's been up for a little bit but there were some technical issues that had to be ironed out).  If you are interested, you can check it out

Hairy Situation? Not Really.

One of the first things people talked to me about when Callie was placed with us was her hair.

"Do you know how to take care of black hair?"

"What are you going to do with her hair?"

"You need to talk to people abour how to take care of her hair."

Of course I had thought about these things. I researched right away and figured out what products to use, etc. It was a big surprise to me when I first met Callie when she had jet black straight hair. Perhaps that's why so many people asked me if she was Indian -- her straight straight hair and beautifully shaped eyes. But, as time progressed, her curls definitely came in.

Now, I'm not perfect, but I do my best. I could do better. But I've really tried to make sure her hair stays healthy, and I feel like I know what I'm doing. Ask me to braid her hair in super tiny braids with awesome patterns...I'm not there yet. But when it comes to hair health...I've talked to professionals, and I feel rather proud of myself when they tell me I'm doing a great job. I took Callie to a salon once, and even after looking at her hair, they told me that I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. So, 3 cheers for Jenny!

I had an experience in Spokane that I will always remember though. I was at the JCPenny salon and I talked to the only African American hair stylist there. She was the expert they told me, on ethnic hair. She was young, beautiful, and had a mane of hair that was gorgeous -- tight curls pushed back from her face in a headband. I could picture Callie looking like that one day. I told her about Callie and how I "want to keep her beautiful hair just that -- beautiful." The woman let out a sigh and said, "I'm so glad you said that." I was surprised. I didn't think I was the only mom out there who wanted their kids' hair to look good. "I can't tell you how many white moms come in here telling me about their black kids and how horrible their hair is to deal with not knowing 'what the heck I'm supposed to do with hair like this' and 'trying to figure out this mess on their head'. It is beautiful hair, just different from their own. So, thank you for saying what you said."

I honestly do love Callie's hair. Look at that picture. This was after a bath one night. She's too young for me to just let it out too often. When she gets older she'll be to take care of her own hair a little bit and she can wear a silk cap or scarf over her head at night...but for now, I usually braid it, cornrow, twist, pull up in poofs, something to keep it up. Those are all super cute, but when it's down....

So for me, saying Callie's hair was beautiful was natural. It made me so sad to think that there are mothers and fathers out there saying things, around their own children, about what a pain this or that is about them. It makes me cringe. I would never say around Samantha, "Gosh, your little head is such a problem." I know these parents probably don't even realize they're doing it or what it's doing to their kids...but I'm pretty sure some of those little girls will be the ones who can't wait until they are old enough to get their hair straightened. I'm not trying to be judgemental as much as make a point that we need to be so careful about how we parent, about what we say, and think about how our words (and actions of course) will ultimately affect our children's self-esteem.

So...long story short...Callie's hair is different than mine. I have to take much better care of her hair than I have to mine. It takes me an hour in the evening (not every night) to wash, condition, detangle, and braid. But look at that hair. And look at that little girl. It's so worth it.

Not the best hair shot -- her hair was in some serious need of being redone, but I like this one anyway. We were at the park and she didn't know I was about to take a picture. She was contemplating if she should join some kids on the jungle gym. She did.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It'll be nice when we're 5, but until then, being 4 is pretty great.


Yes, after over a year, we are officially "approved" for adoption.  What does that mean?  It means that the state deems us worthy of adopting a little kiddo and we're so so so excited.  I think my mother-in-law is even more excited/relieved (her fingerprints kept getting rejected, and rejected, and rejected until FINALLY they cleared her!).  So, super exciting and kind of scary.  Going from 2 to 3.  Yikes.  But, we're happy to be moving forward.  But who knows, right?  It could still take over another year before a baby comes, but we're at least one step closer.  For that, we're grateful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feeling Grateful

Of the many blessings that I have in my life, I have to count Scribbles and Giggles as one of them. In the simplest terms, Scribbles and Giggles is “pediatric day health center”, or a daycare for special needs and medically sensitive kids. When Samantha was born, sure I was overwhelmed, but I felt confident that I could do it. Enter Callie. I still felt fairly capable. But when I was introduced to Scribbles and got Samantha enrolled, I realized how heavy my load had been. Scribbles and Giggles is so much more than a daycare. They do therapy, activities, field trips. They completely cater to the kids and their families.

Tonight I attended a meeting at Scribbles and Giggles. There, I learned that Scribbles was losing $25,000 a month (!!!), but the past 3 months it’s been about $15,000. I was floored. They are barely staying afloat and it’s largely due to poor planning from parents. I was relieved that I was considered (I think anyway) one of the reliable parents – but moreso, I was impressed with Mike Zarcone. He is a man, who after had 2 brothers with developmental delay and seeing what his parents went through, decided that this community needed a facility that offered services to parents and their children. This is a man who is losing $15,000 monthly and just trying to break even over the next year if possible so that he can maintain this facility.  If not, they'll need to shut-down.  (This is also the man who owns the next-door sub-acute hospital that saves our state $11 million a year because kids can go to his hospital instead of staying in other hospitals.)  I was touched as he spoke and I had to stifle any tears that were trying to make their appearance because I just felt so much gratitude for this man, and I felt blessed to be among the 41 families who use Scribbles and Giggles.

I am most certain that there must be special places reserved in Heaven for men like Mike Zarcone, who altruistically sacrifice and give of their resources for others. I don’t know his faith or beliefs, but I know that, at least this aspect of his life is very Christ-like and I feel blessed to be able to benefit from this kindness.

Samantha loves attending Scribbles and Giggles and they adore her there. She can’t tell me in words, but when we went tonight, seeing her face light up and her legs start kicking, I was pretty sure she was telling me she was excited to be there. It’s a really good feeling knowing that your kids are well taken care of and taught, guided, mentored, and loved by tender, intelligent, talented, and truly kind people. Tonight, I feel grateful.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

While we were in Michigan last summer, I needed some reading. I didn't have any books with me and so I purused my parents' collection. I came across this book and picked it up, thinking it would be one of those good parenting books. I didn't get to reading it while I was there, so I packed it in my bags (surely my parents weren't going to be reading this anytime soon) and headed back to California. It wasn't until now...nearly 7 months later...that I decided to read it. I'm really glad I did. It was a very short and fast read filled with really good information -- at least for me.
You see, some people are "natural" mothers. I'm not. I get teenagers (at least those who aren't my own, because I greatly suspect one day I'll be singing a different tune when it comes to teenagers), but little kids, I don't know how to teach them. I don't know what is age appropriate. There's so much I feel like I don't know. I can pretend to eat food Callie's prepared, I can let her help me cook, I can do a ton of stuff, but when it comes down to the academic teaching, I don't really know what I'm doing. So, I'm grateful for books like this. They lead. They guide. They instruct. And they point out things that I know, but didn't know I knew...or at least knew I knew but didn't know why I needed to know it. phew.

The best part of this book, however, is the list of books that he's compiled that are great books for reading aloud to your kids from infancy through teenage years. Even if I didn't read the book, looking at his reference list would be helpful as it would name books that are known to be among the best.

It was a good read. Interesting and I'm glad I read it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

mmmm yogurt

Callie loves her yogurt.  But it must taste better when she's outside, because almost everyday she asks me if she can eat yogurt out on the deck.  And most days, I oblige.

mmm mmm good

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Flip Side

I just wrote about how full my life is.  And it is.  But....

that post came after hours of internally complaining about my life.  Yes.  I complain.  I complain a lot and I need to work on that.  The other day, I was so frustrated with life and I was seeing all the things that aren't working out.  Fortunately, at these times (after some wallowing) I'm often reminded of all I have and am humbled by the blessings in my life. 

So, here's what I was complaining about this time.


It's a beautiful thing if it works out for you.  It's a beautiful thing if a baby is placed in your arms and becomes your own.  It's a beautiful thing when you realize that all your waiting and waiting has been divinely directed so that your baby comes to you through an amazingly selfless birthmother who recognizes that she is also part of bringing a family together.  As painful as the process is, it's a magical and beautiful thing.

Right now, I'm just in the painful process part.  Kind of.  In 2009, we began the process.  I didn't expect that things would move as quickly as they did for Callie -- I mean, really.  She came to us super fast and that's pretty much unheard of.  But, even in my heart knowing that things would take longer, my heart didn't prepare me for this one.  So, 2009.  2010 rolls around and we're still doing paperwork, but we're truckin' along.  It's now 2011.  We are still NOT approved.  We're waiting on my mother-in-law's FBI name check to get cleared (which is ridiculous...for real...the story is soooo long), AND, because a year has passed, we have to redo the entire process.  RE-DO!  So, Marcus and I went and got our fingerprints done.  Lee and Colin need to get theirs done.  We need to get physicals again, etc. 

I can't fully express the frustration...and also the discouragement that comes along with this, nor do I want to, because adoption IS a beautiful thing.  But sometimes, it's also very taxing. 

I have faith.  I know that our baby will come when the time is right.  And I think I also know that if our baby had come, then Heavenly Father -- the miracle worker -- could expedite everything along to make it work out.  I believe that's what happened for Callie.  I guess I'm learning patience? 

That's the update.  My life is full.  It truly is.  Full of love, full of happiness, full of blessings.  But sometimes, it's also full of other stuff too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Birthday Girl

Callie didn't have a birthDay.  She had a birthWEEK.  That's right.  Wednesday was her birthday, and we weren't going to celebrate because Marcus would be getting home from work late and Sammy would be in bed.  I wanted us all to be there.  But, I wanted Wednesday to be special for her.  We made cupcakes and did a lot of fun things together.  It was a good day. 

But Friday, now Friday was the day.  She asked me for a big pink cake for her birthday.  Hmmm I had been planning on making a puppy cake, but she opted for the big pink cake.  I went with a raspberry vanilla cake (recipe off the Softasilk flour box).  It was ok.  I wasn't too thrilled about it, but other people seemed to like it enough.  She loved it.  So, that's all that matters.  

Before the "party" started, Nathaniel stared at Callie in awe.

Very ready to light the candles and get going!

I love this picture.

Not the best lighting, but that's innards of the cake.  Layered...raspberry stuff, cake, raspberry frosting.

Washable markers and a ream of your very own paper!!!!  She loves this.  For "Secret Santa" back in Spokane, that's what one of the kids wanted and I've always remembered that.  What a great idea for kids.  This was from Grammy.

I got Callie her own electric toothbrush.  I know she doesn't seem excited, but she is.  I assure you.

Callie loves Uncle John.  All day she was telling us "Uncle John's coming over."  He let her do his hair, which was very charitable.  This reminds me, a little, of when I was younger.  I used to brush my mom's Uncle Tom's...or was it Dan?  I always get those two mixed  He was such a good sport.  It's a good memory.
 Callie had a good birthday.  She felt special and loved and spoiled.  I didn't go all out on gifts.  I did get her a huge map for her wall and she loves looking at it with me.  She knows where she was born, where Grandma and Grandpa Haubert live, where we live, where Canada is...she loves maps.  She got a toothbrush and her own toothpaste.  Yes, very practical gifts.  But that's what grandparents are for, right?  They did the spoiling.  Grandma and Grandpa Haubert sent her a doll that she loves and helped pay for her dance classes she's starting in a couple weeks!  Yeah.  I'm so excited for her.  Grammy and Grandpa got the paper and markers, and a My Little Pony big pony that both she and Samantha love!  It was a good day to be Callie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Life is Full

Samantha smiles and I can't help but smile back.  She giggles and sometimes it still brings a tear to my eye.  Her long pigtails touch her shoulders and her innocent eyes give me a glimpse into eternity of happiness -- and an eternity of perfect personality, physical form, and being together, maybe even the ethereal vision of running together through a lush field of soft overgrown grass.  Her longing cries of "mama" never get old.  I want to be able to be there for her every time she says it.  Her spirit is too large for her small frame; it permeates through every pore and touches all who stand nearby.

My life is full.

Callie lays her head against my shoulder, her soft tight curls rubbing against my cheek.  I'm unaware of the fact that she laid her baby down for a nap until I put Sammy to bed.  I discover Callie's baby, nestled in blankets in Samantha's crib.  Her witty words and phrases frustrate but utterly delight me.  Rocking back and forth, we sing together, "I Am a Child of God."  Her voice completely off tune is perfectly beautiful to me.  She is smart and stubborn, but gentle and kind.  I often wonder who she will become -- what that stubbornness will have to fight against in her future.  She is solid, knows what she wants, and often she wants Mommy.  That's ok, because often I want her too.

My life is so full. 

Marcus hugs me from behind and tells me I'm beautiful.  I don't feel that way, but he thinks I am.  He tells me I'm a great mother.  I don't feel that way, but he thinks I am.  He is my sincere cheerleader.  Together we walk around the neighborhood, against the crisp cold breeze, talking about life -- our future, funny things that happened today, frustrations and annoyances -- allowing each other to vent a bit.  I fall deeper each day.  I have a pounding migraine.  I sleep.  He takes care of the girls.  He takes care of me.

I feel overwhelmed with how full my life is.  A lot of times I can get frustrated feeling like things aren't turning out how I'd like.  After Samantha was born, I learned an important lesson: Life doesn't turn out like you expect, or plan, but it's always better.   I truly believe this.  If we are doing our best to follow Heavenly Father's personal plan for us, if we are being obedient to the best of our abilities...then we are on track, and though life may be different than what we planned, it'll always be even better than we could imagine because it's His plan for us.  I learned that lesson and I really believe it.  But I too often forget that and get caught up in what I want again.  Today, for some reason, I was able to slow down enough to remember that my life is pretty great.  Sure, there's more I look forward to, but even if those things never happen, I've been incredibly blessed.  My life is full.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Girl and Her Bike

For awhile now, Callie had been telling me she wanted a bike.  The problem was, her old tricycle is just too small for her to ride like she wants to.  So, I suggested she submit a petition to Santa, and, of course, Santa couldn't resist her kindness and cuteness and brought her a bike (and helmet).  Now Callie loves going on bike rides again!  Happiness for all!

Friday, January 7, 2011


I love my new camera.  Or, I mean, I love our new camera.  More to come on this later, but I've had so much fun taking pictures again, and I take a ton!  Love it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

For Three Years

Today I feel so blessed.  It's hard to put into words the feelings a mother, or any parent for that matter, has for her child.  Even still, we feel compelled to attempt the share, in words, how we adore our children and how deeply we love them. 

For three years, Callie has been in our lives.  (Actually, if I want to be really technical, she will have been in our lives for three full years on January 7.)  And for every day of those three years, my life has been greatly enhanced because of my sweet daugther, Callie.  For three years she has added a definite level of spunk.  She has made me laugh.  She has made me cry.  She has added to my hope and faith.  She has brought sunshine when I allowed clouds to overshadow the sun's rays.  She has filled our home with playful laughter and sincere, true love.  I can't help but think of her birthmother on this day, among other days, and wonder what she may be thinking.  If I could tell her one thing, it would be that Callie is intensely and insanely loved in this home.  I can't imagine my life without her.  She's, first, my daughter.  But more than that, she's my buddy.  Sure, I love her to death...but I also really really like her.  She's witty and clever, smart and adventurous.  The past three years have been pretty amazing with this girl. 

I love you Callie.


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