Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, Sweet Summer...Goodbye Wicked Winter

Grass is green? Check. Temperature has reached above 60? Check. Humidity? Oh yeah and yuk. Crab Apples bloomed? Check.
Ahhhh. Thank you summer for finally arriving.

This declaration of gratitude comes for many reasons. A long winter. Lots of snow shoveling. And mostly because of the germ friends we made and wish we hadn't. Let me see if I can get this out in one breath or typing frenzy:
Sinus infections, Pnuemonia, Pnuemonia (Yep, that was twice on purpose) mutant respitory infections (A few were scary), sore throats, mutiple fevers, vomiting and drum roll please MONO! And we are only a family of three. You could say we perservered, built up our immunity learned the beautiful art of sharing. But really glass half full? Not applicable. Just glad we survived.

Who had mono? Ah,that would be me. My nickname became miss mono mama. Getting mono as an adult is no joke. There are no words... tonsils the size of golf balls. Searing throat pain,no sleep (nope I just was tired...pain did not let me sleep) and completely becoming a waste of space. Oh and the jokes. Those were awesome. Isn't that the kissing disease...snicker, snicker. Hee hee, ehemm. I think I would pay someone a hundred bucks to not hear that one e-v-e-r a-g-a-i-n. Just to be clear and defend my honor most people exposed to the EB virus don't get mono or are asymptamatic. It is just us run down, step throat individuals who can catch it; even by sipping on the same can of diet coke. I was told less than 3% of adults have a chance of getting it. Boy did I feel special to fall into those odds like a large heavy boulder. So s-p-e-c-i-a-l. That's me. Those of you who know me... it is safe to be around me now. :)

After all this whinning and sarcasm I hope you are not completely annoyed. I certainly learned a few things or had them come fuller to light.
Though our bodies are amazing things, we need to be kind to them. I needed to be kinder to mine. Yes, go to bed at 8:30 once and awhile. Lame but so effective. Drink a heck of lot of water all the time. While sick, I read about how this one thing prevents so much and helps your body heal. I read about re-wiring my diet. My husband has always been a healthy eater. I make sure Myla consumes healthy nutritonally dense foods. I need to do so too. Having just coffee and waiting till 2:00 in the afternoon to eat is just plain dumb. I have been a dumby.

Being healthy is a beautiful thing. After a season of so much sickness and watching my daughter struggle because of her anatomy (she was born with cleft lip/palate and has serious sinus issues) I am more detemined to feed her what she needs to fight off germs and have a strong immune system.
I need to become a good example of healthy eating for her, for me. And having the good health to enjoy the moments and minutes and years to come with my husband and beautiful daughter. And if recreating how I eat and take of myself gives me that? How can I not try? It would be a shame if I didn't. Wish me luck. Cause I have bad habits. And I am stubborn. :)

Wishing you warm summer days and healthy ones at that.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two Firsts and A Second....Part One

Again, I have let too much time pass between blogs! I promise to be better...really.
Oh and Happy Chinese New Year!

Perhaps the title should be three firsts and a second.
So what do I mean by this silly cryptic title?

We celebrated our first Christmas as a family, our first birthday with Myla which she turned two!
I cannot believe how fast she is growing and changing as a person.

It was tricky trying to find a way to have her expereince Christmas and the true meaning inspite of the present palooza and celebrating her birth as well.

We spent Christmas eve at my in-laws with cousins and she had a blast. She got the hang of opening those shiny packages but got bored with it eventually yet enjoyed mostly watching everyone else and playing with her cousins.
Christmas Day began with her birthday celebration with just the three of us. We taped streamers outside her door and I made a pennant hung outside her room. She seemed excited but did not know what for (the streamers stayed for weeks)

We had a birthday breakfast complete with waffles and straweberries. We then moved onto gift opening. We pruchased for her a toy kitchen from IKEA and then placed other presents on top to disguise it a bit. She promptly moved the presents out her way without opening any so she could get to that kitchen! We are hoping to have a little chef on our hands being the foodies we are. Perhaps it is too soon to dream of crepes and french toast? Eh?

Later that day we headed to my side of the family and Myla enjoyed her new shopping cart courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa P. My mom thoughtfully bought a doll remsembling what she called mini Myla but everytime we tried to put her in the shopping cart she promptly removed her and put her stuffed animal puppy in instead. Got to love that girl. Puppies are awesome.

A special first Chritmas.

The more I think maybe the title should be two firsts and second celebrating two times. No, too confusing.
We celebrated with family (her birthday) once at Cheeky Monkey... a tasty breakfast place (bistro by night...their words)for eggs, pancakes and later another celebration with the cousins. Jared and I got a bit carried away making fruit spring rolls and potstickers from scratch but the tastiness expereince was well worth it. We made smoothies for dessert (Myla's fav)and Grandma Mickie delievered on another favorite: Egg Foo Young!

Much to celebrate and thankful for those we have in our lives to celebrate with.

But I am also glad before the craziness ensued I had time for reflection. But it is not as if I made time, it came over me like a tidal wave off and on for days.

I thought about our first Christmas without our sweet puppy Spunkers and all the Christmas celebrations we had with her. Bittersweet.
I thought a lot about Myla's birth mother and the women who cared for her the first thirteen months of her life.
The tears were plenty. How I wished for even a moment I could speak to them and say thank you. Thank you for giving her life, thank for caring for her. That she is a gift to us and is doing well...thriving with her curious and tenacious sprirt.

So much has hapened this last year. How can I put it all into words? Well that is part two of this post. But don't be suprised if there is a post of another color in between. I have alot on my mind these days. Ever seen Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Foreshadowing of next post or post to come perhaps...

Until then, Take Care. Hug someone you think needs it. Live big. Eat chocolate.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snow, Snow, Snow...

Snow, Snow, Snow...

Snow...It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
Snow...I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

I would like to replace those three words with Bugger, bugger, bugger. I have been watching to much of BBC shows. Can you tell?
Hopefully in my arrogrance I have not typed extrememly profane words on my blog forever archived by the library of congress.

But I thought it appropriate in this moment to quote that lovely song from White Christmas.
Can you beleive I made it through most of my life without seeing it? Well until my husband changed that. He was horrfied when I told him this once upon a time.
It is not that I despise winter, well by February I kind of do. It is more about getting around and shoveling. But I suppose I should be thankful for the car I have in which to get around and the health to shovel. It is pretty to see the streets after a new snowfall with that sparkle. I love visitng my friends home this time of year... I call it the Chritmas house (That is a nod to your decorating prowess S and G) And yes I do love Christmas lights and decorations; oh and snuggling in with a warm blanket. Let's not forget I do love wearing mittens. I don't know exactly why but I do....

Okay. Eh hm. And that five minutes have now passed.

Is it too early to dream of spring: peonies, thunderstorms, and birds chirping?

Friday, November 22, 2013

One Year Ago This Month

I recently realized with alarm that it had been several months since my last post. I made a promise to myself that if I were to start this thing called blogging I would be consistent. But alas I come to terms with the fact I almost never doing anything consistently besides of course drink coffee. Did I mention I drink lots of coffee?

There have been several times in which I wanted to let my thoughts tumble down into the clicks of the keyboard but when I would return to my blog, I would see the last post. A difficult time when we had to say goodbye to our puppy and I then would get lost in missing her and reminiscing.

But this time I decided especially because it is November, I will put my thoughts together and type an entry of significant importance to me.

One year ago this month we call November, my life changed.

I saw the first pictures of my daughter.

Her sweet face, smile and those mischievous clever eyes.
One year ago this month my husband and I became parents. Now, it was actually several months later that we brought her home but in our hearts, we committed to becoming her parents.

And it was a whirlwind month. I remember my husband having to travel to Chicago for work and wishing he was physically beside me as he and I began to get our heads wrapped around what was unfolding before us. Because of course, I went into typical Carrie mode attempting to figure out, plan and do everything that I thought needed to be done...all at once. And of course accomplishing nothing. Which led to my panic attack in the middle of Barnes and Noble. I remember that moment thinking...Gee my head is spinning, that loud rapid breathing is mine, oh crap I need to sit down before I fall over and pass out, take out a bookshelf or that person next to me just trying to pick out a pick unbeknowest that the chick next to them was about to unravel.

But you see, even though we waited almost seven years for this moment (seven years of up and down, hopeful and feeling hopeless) I still felt and asked myself, am I ready?

Will I be a good mom? Jared I had no doubt we be a great dad.
But what if I couldn't be the mom she needed? What if I did not have the answers or tools needed to be good parent?

Here is the thing I came to realize...are any of us really prepared for motherhood? Do any of us have it all figured out before we hold our child for the first time? I am guessing no. And I had so many questions regarding the loss she was about to experience. The loss of saying good bye to the women who had cared for her during her first year of life.
How would I help her grieve, then get used to us, to feel safe again, to feel loved when everything, I mean everything in her life was about to change. The faces of her caregivers she saw every day. Her friends in the orphanage she slept, smiled at cried with and played alongside of. The food she ate. The scenery she saw day in and out. The voices she became accustomed to and the language they spoke. And the surgeries she would be facing. How would I be able to do all this?

I couldn't really. All I could really do was love her. But I know realize that was the best thing I could do. Through each stage of getting to know us, eventually trusting us, feeling safe with us and now loving us. She has no choice but to take it a day at a time. Why should I not approach this the same way? And trust God would be there too in the thick of it with us?

I do not need to be Super-woman or Super-Mom. I need to be reminded of this daily. Because we put this burden on ourselves. Why? I am not exactly sure. These are the kinds of lessons I am learning. I will make mistakes as a mom.
All the time. I need to humble enough to ask for help. Ask God for his guidance for he will not leave me. It is okay to cry when I do fail. But try again.

Myla most of all needs us to LOVE her. And what a privilege that is. Everyday little by little I am learning what that means.

November, you will always have a place in heart.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Missing You, Sweet Spunky

We said goodbye to our sweet, sweet girl Spunky dog yesterday. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be painful. But nothing can prepare you for the moment when you decide it is time. A heavy responsibility and so surreal the moment when they are gone.
Our hearts just in this moment want one more kiss, one more time to rub her ears her belly and one more time to snuggle, to throw her ball and watch her run. In her younger years boy, that dog could run and fast. But we are beginning to realize it will never be enough. To say I/we miss her is an understatement. A part of me is missing. A part of Jared is missing. We put so much of ourselves into her. The abscence of her presence is overwhelming.

But I look forward to the time when thinking of all the sweet moments, minutues and memories of her will bring comfort to us even joy for the 11 truly wonderful years we had with such a special being.

Some may scoff at this but I believe she is in heaven where tennis balls, swimming pools and lakes out number the stars. The attributes and traits of dogs are pure and good and unconditional. Through them we experience what is true and good.

Wise, sweet, curious, feisty, loyal, sensitive, joyful, playful and of course Spunky.

Jared and I will miss her and it will be hard. But we are so grateful for the gift of her.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Behind Our Eyes: Part one

When I began writing this blog my main motivation was to document our adoption journey; before we brought our daughter home and all the days, months and years after. It is also because I am in love with words, I am love with the magic of writing. Of language. Ink or should I say text on a page is enlightening, fascinating and when writing... a type of catharsis. I feel more connected to humanity and the human experience. Hoping that doesn't sound arrogant or full or fluff.
More than just words, I love stories. Words allow us stories. I enjoy learning about people and listening to their stories. I like to learn what is behind their eyes. And we all have stories, don’t we? This is not to say I have an innate right or a license to be nosey and know these stories. Unless, it is through the trust of friendship or someone else who needs to speak their heart, connect or simply to speak on a blog such as mine. It is important that we wait for permission to know their stories. It is important that we own our stories and share them when the time is right with the right people.
And I am thankful for the many in my life who do. Friends and those who are open to speaking thier stories on a blog.

Now, as a mother I find myself craving stories (amongst so many others) that give me a gleam into an adoptees heart. Like with many things in life we lose something to gain something.
Some of my questions include: Do they feel lost? What did/do they most struggle with? What can a parent do to help?
Many adoptees do share stories of identity loss and confusion. Many adoptees firmly state that they know who they are. Which one will Myla be?

And that is why I read. Soak in the words. Truly and sincerely try to empathize as much as I can so that I can understand (as much as anyone can who has not themselves experienced it).

So below are the words weighing on my heart if and when (when is more likely) my daughter might doubt herself.

I love you. Your dad loves you.
You have our love always, no matter what.
If we fail to love you well, know that doesn’t change that we love you with our whole being.
We are the lucky ones.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Please don’t be afraid to ask questions even if they hurt to ask.
If you find yourself in a dark place do not sit in silence. Do not stay in the dark. Let me sit there with you. Ask for help to turn on the light and help you speak the words.

You are beautiful.
You are brave.
Seek the truth.
God is with you.
Within in you are limitless possibilities.

And if anyone tells you different send them my way.

You are our beloved daughter.
And a million other thoughts I can't think of at this moment.

And while this next statment may sound contradictory, the words above don't quite cut it however they are pretty darn close to reavealing the condition of my heart so I will take it and speak and write the words anyway.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh Spunky, Our Time Is Too Short...

When I took two weeks off to care for my little girl Myla post surgery I did not realize I would begin spending the last days with my other girl, my sweet gorilla girl, my four legged sweetheart Miss Spunkers.

Let me start out by saying, I love her with my whole heart. Four legs, black silky fur, smart as a whip and the most amazing being. She is Jareds gal Friday and they have always been two peas in a pod. There is not a thing he would not do for her.

Now I know, they cannot live forever on this earth, no on can. But how do you prepare yourself to say goodbye to a piece of yourself?

Spunky started to show signs of aging for quite some time now. Her body has grown weaker but her spirit bright.
We started to notice something was really wrong right before our daughters palate repair surgery. We went to the vet and so began the first round of meds and the detective work to find out what was wrong. At first we though a parasite and thought okay, we can get her healthy again. But it was not to be. She started to lose her zest for eating all things tasty and needs coaxing just to eat. She wants to but she doesn't like her tummy to hurt. Every time the fridge opens click, click, click here comes Spunkers. Rotisserie chicken is her main stay (yes, our doggie has a refined palate and I will gladly give her what she wants).

At one point Jared would be feeding our daughter Myla by spoon, praising her after each bite for she did not appreciate the liquids only (doctors orders as her mouth heals) and I would simultaneously be hand feeding Spunky chicken praising her after each bite for simply eating.

There has been a lot of tears at our house.

It was during our last visit to the vet I started to let it sink in. And spoke the words, please help us during her last days so we know what to do. He nodded in understanding and I sobbed into Spunky's neck of thick black silky fur.
He gave us pain meds and something for her tummy to ease the discomfort. He did not believe she is in great pain but as we muddle through this, we want to be prepared.

Of course I asked him how will he know and he tenderly offered advice. At this point just prayers that we will know. We do not wish her to suffer (she is getting weak and losing weight).

But what a great weight it is to carry knowing that you have to be the one to decide.
But it is our job. She needs us to make it for her.

And so hear we are. Taking one day at a time. Soaking her in.
Spunky seems to save her energy for a few hours a day so we try and make sure she can do her favorite play ball or swim; oh does she love to swim but then becomes so weak. We massage her body. Cover her in kisses. Tell her we are doing our best for her, thanking her for all the years, moments and minutes she was there for us. Myla loves Spunky too. Follows her. Always trying to give her a tennis ball, a treat, a pet or sit by her. This is so bittersweet.

For some who have never had a dog or pet...this may sound odd. But she took care of us.
Through our journey to have a family, job loss, sickness, struggles and triumphs.

How many people do you know that can comfort without saying a single word?
I believe dogs are gifts. They are mirrors of what love should look like. God created them and they are living breathing examples of patience (well unless a tennis ball is involved) loyalty, kindness, unconditional love.
They celebrate when we simply walk in the door.
They kiss our tears and try to lick them away.
They snuggle as if to say I am here, you are never alone.
They try to get us to enjoy the simple things.
They are grateful for their food and water (well unless table scraps are involved then they may raise the bar).
They forgive us when we are busy and are thankful and exzubratly so when we give them 10 minutes of our time.
They never hold grudges. Hmmm, sounds like someone I know who lives in the great upstairs...

And so who would have dog taught me how to be a better person.

Oh Spunky girl. These days will be tough but I am thankful to have them with you.