Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I know you're just beside yourself wondering exactly what I'm doing/liking/thinking right now, so let's dive right into those deep topics, shall we? Also, funny that the last time I did one of these posts was almost exactly a year ago

Unrelated picture from this morning. Millie was pretending to be a mean witch (hence the broom...how does she even know that witches ride on brooms?!). Isn't she terrifying?
Listening...to my Broadway station on Pandora. That's been a constant for the last few months. It mostly consists of songs from Hamilton, Dear Evan Hanson, The Greatest Showman, and Wicked. I'm not complaining!

Eating...too much. Ugh. Last night we made a super tasty Garlicky Kale and Ricotta Pizza, though, and I highly recommend. We have leftovers for tonight and I'm basically giddy thinking about it, ha! I believe this was Millie's first experience with ricotta cheese and she liked it, but kept poking it and asking what it was (it is an interesting texture when it's been baked). I told her it was "cloud cheese" and that seemed to make sense and sound delicious enough for her. Sometimes I laugh at the dumb 'parent things' I say...but can't argue with the results, right?!

Drinking...nothing exciting, coffee at the moment. Lately Matt and I are obsessed with the Kroger La Croix knock-off seltzer water, though- their Raspberry and Blackberry Citrus (those are two different flavors, fyi) flavors are amazing!! 

Wearing...boring work clothes, and when I'm at home I change into workout clothes. I like to think that if I'm wearing workout clothes, I might workout. That works about half the time, so...win? I did order a new pair of sandals yesterday, though- another pair of my beloved semi-fashionable orthotics by Vionic!! And also I'm cracking up because in my post one year ago (I'm referring to it for the categories) I was also singing the praises of Vionics. What can I say. I'm consistent? And I have bad feet! 

Feeling...excited about our new house! They poured the foundation yesterday!!!! (please imagine all of the praise hand emoji here.) 
This is for sure the most exciting picture I've ever shared, right?
Everyone has said that once the foundation is poured, things move really quickly, and so that has me super jazzed! Now that there is a foundation we can get a much better visualization of the 'lay of the land.' Our lot is VERY small (our current house is on an acre; our new house is roughly .19 acre!!!) and the house's footprint is fairly large, so we will have a VERY VERY small yard...but it just helps to be able to see it. :) 

Wanting...oh, you know. I'm moving to a new house. With twice as much square footage as our current house. I can think of MORE than a few things I want to buy!!! On the top of my list is a new outside dining set (this is the one we plan to get), bar stools for the kitchen island (I'm thinking these), a new living room rug (I change my mind every day about what I want here, ugh), some entryway furniture...trust me, the list is long!!! 

Enjoying...everything! It's fun to have a fun project (the new house) to think about and plan for, Millie is generally super fun right now...it's all good!!

Organizing her rock collection is an ongoing project...so many rocks, so little time, right?!
(the following category didn't appear on my last 'currently' list, but I feel the need to add it now!!)

Watching...GUYS. You know. Just a little-known show called Downton Abbey, you've prob never heard of it...hahaha. You know I love to be super behind the times when it comes to pop culture stuff, so that's why I waited until last weekend to watch a single episode of Downton. But it's SO GOOD!! I finished Season One last night and can't wait to keep going! If you've been a long-time Downton holdout like I was, I encourage you to go ahead and give in. It's on Amazon Prime, so no excuses.

Friday, May 4, 2018

life lately

Ohhh man. It's been a minute, but let's just jump right in, shall we??

I'm still here (as in, in life...not so much in the blog world, haha) and life is good! Let's start off with our Millie girl, because that's who we all really care about, right?

Millie is 3.5, closing in on 4, and basically the greatest human in the history of the world. Also, she is 3.5 and totally normal, so that means she has a gift for being infuriating, obnoxious, and terrible, but I prefer to not think about those moments (...hours...). We'll focus on the positive for this rare blog update. ;)

She loves unicorns, mermaids ("I love mermaids, but I love unicorns the MOST, Mommy! And I love lions and dinosaurs and bad guys, but I still love unicorns the MOST."), and anything magical. 
She lives for going to the grocery store to visit this inflatable unicorn. And yes, I'm probably going to buy it for her for her birthday, because a) I am a sucker, and b) it will really complete my home decor.
She 100% believes she can do magic (with one of her many wands, of course), and most mornings, after Daddy leaves for work, she points her wand out the window and does a spell to make Daddy's hair turn purple/green/sparkly/whatever so that it "surpwises him in the mirror." It's her favorite thing. But then we always do another spell to turn it back brown later, so it's all fine. She loves doing ballet and yoga, and more than that, pretending she's the ballet and/or yoga teacher. (Hot Tip: if your kids enjoy storytelling at all, you need to check out Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube or Amazon Prime...it's SUCH fun story-based yoga, Millie is obsessed!!)

She is playing on a little soccer team this spring. It's the most precious thing ever. Matt is the coach. Again- precious. My gal has not the foggiest idea what she's supposed to be doing out there, but she generally runs around and has a good time, and she sure looks cute, so I consider the season a success. She will be quick to inform you that she prefers yoga, though.

(Also-  I have no idea where the obsession with yoga came from. I go to yoga or do it at home on rare occasion and hardly ever talk about it. I only started letting her watch Cosmic Kids Yoga after she'd been 'playing yoga' for several weeks and it occurred to me to turn that on, haha.)

She is 100% a mama's girl right now (annnnd maybe for the last year, who knows) and generally ONLY wants to do anything with/for me. It's wonderful and exhausting, as I'm sure many of you can relate to, haha. She transitions easily and does just fine at school, in the church nursery, with her grandparents, etc., but if I'm around, I'm the only one she wants anything to do with, generally. In her words, "you my BEST FRIEND, Mama. I ONLY LOVE YOU THE MOST. You my best friend FOREVER and even if I not listening, you STILL LOVE ME, and even if I REALLY REALLY BAD, you STILL LOVE ME!!!!!"...she's got that down right. But she frequently brings up the part about how "even when I ______ (insert naughty thing she's currently doing), you STILL LOVE ME!" which is definitely true BUT ALSO PLEASE STOP DOING OBNOXIOUS THINGS THANKS.

We went skating last weekend and she spent the whole time grinning up at us, screaming "this is the best day of my whole life!!!! This is the most fun EVERRRR!!!!" and I had to agree. It might have been the best day ever. Slash I might need to buy a skating rink or something. 

She has been at the same daycare with the same little group of buddies since she was a little over a year old, but changes are on the horizon. She got a spot in our neighborhood elementary school pre-k program for next school year (those are lottery spots in Georgia- pre-k isn't required and there are far fewer spots than kids, so you enter an open lottery for the spaces) which we are thrilled about. We found another daycare near the school where she can go for after-school (and the millions of no-school days that public schools seem to take...fall break, fall break 2, a month of Christmas break, twelve additional winter/early spring/mid spring breaks, spring break, late spring break, SUMMER BREAK, oh and teacher workdays every other Tuesday, etc....just kidding, but seriously, it is a lot compared to daycare, hahaha). I am so thankful for how things seem to be working out, but in order to secure a spot at the daycare for after-school (I'm not really interested in having her at the school's after-school program with such a huge number/variety of ages of kids), I had to enroll her for their summer program...so she will be starting there in just a few weeks. I know it will be good, and it'll be nice for her to meet some kids that she will actually see at her big school (she's always gone to daycare in Athens, where Matt and I work, but no other kids there will go to elem school out where we live)...but man, it's gonna be tough to leave the school we've loved so much. She can't really comprehend not seeing her buds every day, even though she tells me she will make NEW BEST FRIENDS, and I know she will. So that's a good but maybe-tough change for the near future.

Our biggest Life Update (if you don't happen to follow me elsewhere on social media, haha) is that we are moving! We're "building" a house VERY near our current house and right across from Millie's future elementary school, so no great distances are being traversed, but it's still an exciting adventure! "Building" warrants quotation marks because we aren't custom building...we just bought a lot in a neighborhood under development before they had started building on that particular lot. We got to pick the house plan (out of like three) and some basic finishes and colors, etc, but no BIG decisions about where the windows should be or how the kitchen should be oriented. So..."building." Ha. So far in the 2.5 months we've been under contract on the house all they've managed to do is build a frame for the foundation. And dig the utilities. Not even a foundation yet. It's very slow and boring and disappointing, to be honest, haha. I eagerly await the day there are boards or walls or basically anything that remotely resembles a house. In theory we will be moving there in mid-July, but given the current pace of work...that may be July of 2023 or something.

Our "new house." Very exciting. 

Our current house went under contract very quickly (we had our first offer about 8 hours after it went on the market!!) and has been mostly a smooth process, but still a giant headache, haha. We will close on our current house in mid-June and move into my in-laws' basement until our new house is ready. Good times ahead!

I guess that's about it. I spend my spare time reading and thinking about packing (not ACTUALLY packing too much), so who has time for blogging with all that going on? Ha. As always, catch me on Instagram for Millie in Real Time...she is a mess and well worth seeing more than once every 4 months when I get around to blogging, haha! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

full circle

It's been interesting over the last 3.5 years watching things come "full circle"- in my mind, this is the concept of when something that was once painful comes around again and is redeemed- no longer painful. Throughout the years of infertility and waiting, there were plenty of things that became painful triggers for sadness and grief- but Millie's presence has redeemed them one by one. "Full circle" things tend to be things that are cyclical, that roll around every so often on a schedule, and therefore can accumulate memories and expectations. The first time the event occurs post-trauma (and in my case, the trauma was the years of infertility, waiting, and our failed adoption), I find myself remembering the hurt of the event previously, but now having Millie to make new memories that hopefully wash away the pain previously associated with the day.

Some things came full circle quickly: most holidays, for one. Each pre-Millie Christmas hurt. Each was a reminder that another year had gone by, that this was the Christmas where I was supposed to have a baby...each brought another social media feed full of other people with their happy kids and cute babies. But once Millie was born and a few short months later Christmas rolled around- it just wasn't painful. It was life as I'd thought it should be. The life I'd hoped for. Christmas came full circle.

Christmas 2017. Completely perfect, because she got the Paw Patrol bath toys she'd been religiously begging for all month!

Some things took longer. Her birthday, to be honest. In some ways, her first birthday was difficult- while it was absolutely the anniversary of her birth and her life with us, it was also the anniversary of her losing her birth mother. I felt that. I mourned that when it happened, and I remembered it on her first birthday. It was the anniversary of the enormous, nearly overwhelming stress that covered me during Millie's first few weeks of life, as we waited to pass through each (what felt) excruciatingly slow phase of her adoption to pass and finalize. The stress of those days was pretty damn fresh, even a year later. And so while obviously there were many things to be joyful for and celebrate on her first birthday, I don't really feel like the concept of "hooray, baby's birthday!" was really redeemed until her second birthday. By then, the stressful memories were overwhelmed by the joyful ones and I could really celebrate and eat cupcakes with the reckless abandon one would expect me to. :)

Look at that cute little two-year-old Millie!!!

As we're well into our fourth year with our beloved girl now, most things feel like they've come full circle to me. Name a holiday, any holiday!, and my gut reaction will probably be happiness and excitement. (Whereas in, say 2013, you could say "St. Patrick's Day" and I would get teary because the previous year on St. Patrick's Day I'd just known that next St. P's day I was going to have a baby to dress in green, and now I didn't, and therefore St. P's Day is a big bummer...that's kinda how it worked for me.) I have happy memories of every holiday from the past few years, and excitement and high expectations for happy ones to come. Holidays are happy again. Full circle.

So it's kind of fun and exciting when I find a thing roll around that hasn't yet had the chance to come full circle. I'd kinda thought I'd gone through them all already. But the other day I realized that another one (our last one?) was coming: the Winter Olympics.

You can laugh, but it's true! I love the Olympics, both Summer and Winter. I believe this is well-documented here, haha. But our last Winter Olympics was in February 2014. A few short months after the excruciating loss of our first maybe-baby, and before we knew about Millie (although it should be stated that she was probably an adorable little fetus with lots of opinions hanging out in Mama J's tummy at this point). Although my personal involvement with the Olympics is limited to sitting on a sofa and watching them on TV, I still remember the pain and sadness I felt while watching them last time. It's like this dark cloud that covers my memories of hours on the couch watching other people twirl and speed across ice and do amazing things. (Although I would be remiss not to mention that I do have SOME happy memories of the 2014 Olympics- mainly when we happened to be in Texas for the weekend and stayed with the Joiners and watched the Olympics with them!) 

I remember during the summer 2016 games how redemptive it felt to watch them with Millie sitting in my lap. She didn't know what was going on, but I remembered the previous games and just noted the supreme differences in my life from 2012 to 2016. How much greater the joy. It was wonderful. And now I get to do it again- wipe away just a few more less-than-stellar memories and replace them with joy.

And joy it shall be. If you keep up with me on Instagram stories or Facebook, you might have noticed that Millie is SUPER EXCITED about figure skating these days. She is ALL IN! 

Behold one of our (many) magnificent lifts.
Her current passion is having us find old Olympic figure skating videos on YouTube. She will watch for two seconds before shrieking "WE DO DAT MOVE!!!! PICK ME UP!!! I NEED TO DO DAT!!!" Matt and I have to take turns being her partner, and we're frequently scolded because we aren't as amazing as the people on TV, but we do our best. I mean, we've lived in Georgia our whole lives. Gonna have to lower those expectations, skating snob.

My favorite is when she's taking a break from her skating and she watches the Olympians, she'll point to the female skater and say "dat's me," and point to the male and say "dat's Daddy." ALL THE HEART EYES.

Oh, my other favorite is how she requests to watch the skating. "Mama, we turn on da TV and watch da skaters so I can DO MY MOVES!!! I need to do my MOVES!"

Over the weekend we were playing outside and Millie was getting some toys from the garage. She noticed my dusty Rollerblades shoved back on a shelf and exclaimed "we have ICE SKATES!?!?!?!" with lots of excitement and wonder in her voice. I pulled them out and explained that they were like ice skates for people that don't have ice. Obviously she demanded that I put them on, so I did, and I very gingerly shuffled around the driveway for a minute. She looks at me, dead-pan. "Show me your MOVES, Mama!"

Ummm...I'm 35 and really, really out of shape. I am likely to perish just standing here on wheels. These are all the moves I've got, sistah.

"Dat not amazing. Can you twirl?"

Do you wanna spend the weekend in the ER with me??

She turns away from me, done with these shenanigans.

"Daddy, where YOU ice skates? Show me you moves!"

She. Is. A. Mess. A really cute mess.

I know I've said it a thousand times, but every minute with this girl is a gift. To be sure, some of the moments are less enjoyable than others, but still- such a gift. The joy she brings, the life she restores to the parts of me that felt dead...I will never get over it. She can diss my skating skills all day long, I don't care- this babe just keeps on filling the world with light, and I cannot get enough.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

just wike me.

It's not atypical for Millie to be walking around with a baby doll or stuffed animal crammed underneath her shirt. This usually means she is pretending one of three things:

  • She is pregnant and there is a baby in her belly.
  • She is "wearing" her baby, like in a wrap or Ergo.
  • She is a kangaroo and the baby is in her pouch.
These are all frequent components of her imaginary play, and it's just as likely that she will want me to stuff a baby under MY shirt and assume the role of one of the above. 

So it wasn't out of the ordinary the other night when she came up to me as I was sitting on the floor. She had a doll in her hand, and she started lifting up my shirt, trying to shove the dolly under. I reached out and helped her, stuffing it under down low on my stomach, where a fetus might like to hang out late in a pregnancy.

"Is that right?" I asked.

"No, you need to put it up dere," she said, pointing up closer to my shoulder as she tried to pull up the baby underneath my shirt.

"Oh, okay," I said as I adjusted. "Am I wearing the baby so that I can go on a walk?"

She stopped and looked at me.

"No. Dis baby growing in your heart. Not in your tummy. She growing in your heart, mama! JUST WIKE ME!!!"

And now we have a fourth option, when we see Millie walking around with a doll in her shirt. Maybe there's a baby growing in her heart, the way she grew in ours.

I don't always feel like I'm hitting it out of the park as a parent. In addition to the 'usual' parenting things that all folks deal with and worry about, I also get to wonder whether I'm handling her identity as a child who was adopted properly. Am I saying the right things? Not saying the wrong things? Does she know how incredibly valued she is, how much her birth family loves her, how my heart absolutely overflows with love for her? Am I doing the things now, when she is tiny and easy to talk to and pour love into, that will sustain her and give her a positive sense of self when she is 13? 

I don't know, really.

But she is proud to walk around our house with a baby growing in her heart, so that gives me hope that maybe I'm not too far off track. Maybe she thinks that babies grown in hearts are just as wonderful as babies grown in tummies. I sure think so. Goodness gracious, I love this girl.