Monday, January 30, 2012

i can't stop this feeling


They need to invent a way to bottle up the feeling I get when I'm doing Zumba. The intoxicating combination of energy, excitement, and strength??? They need to bottle up that junk and sell it. I would buy it. And drink it all day long. I wish I could always feel as alive as I do when I'm Zumba-ing. Is that what doing drugs feels like? I can see how it would be hard to stop.

I'm getting to a place where I find myself coveting the trendy Zumba clothes. The $40 t-shirts and $70 cargo pants. I NEED THEM!!! My black workout tights and nasty t-shirts from college are so BORING!!! So in case you had some extra dough in your pocket and were contemplating getting me a Happy February present, there's an idea for you. 

It's good I have Matt to keep me grounded, though. Lest I get too full of myself and how sexy I imagine I look while Zumba-ing, there's always good ol' Mattie. Tonight I caught him checking us (me only, of course) out through the glass door a few times while taking breaks from his own working out. Naturally, I think to myself. Who wouldn't want to watch their hottie wife shakin' her thang with a coin belt a-jiggling, showing how excellently her non-Latino-but-still-impressive hips gyrate? I gave a few extra-sexy jiggles, just for his benefit.

Later, in the car: "So were yall doing a song where you dance like zombies? You looked like you were being a zombie."

Um...okay, thanks for bringing me back down to planet Earth. JERKFACE.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the winning-est, boring-est weekend

Yall, I am totally full of WIN this weekend. And I am simultaneously being sarcastic and for real. Let's share a few of my winning-est moments.

First of all, the other night I somehow managed to change the language of my autocorrect on my phone to...French. Or maybe it's Italian. Basically, it's a romance language that isn't English or Spanish. So as though autocorrect isn't already annoying enough...imagine how fun it is now that it keeps suggesting that what I'm actually trying to say is...some weird word in another language? Nope, pretty sure that's not what I was going for, but thanks for suggesting it. Apparently the button that toggles between languages is very easy to hit, cause I keep doing it. At least I know how to change it back, now. The first time it happened was right after I got my phone and it changed it to CHINESE and that's how it stayed for weeks. I wanted to cry. It changed half my words to CHARACTERS. Anyways. I didn't notice this French-thing this time until the other night when I was re-reading a comment I'd already posted on a friend's blog and noticed half the words MADE NO SENSE. On the plus side, maybe people will think I'm very exotic and fluent in so many languages that I get them mixed up. Yep, that's it.

 OK, so moving on to Winning Moments in Food.

Last night I cooked my first salmon recipe. You guys totally pulled through on the recipe recommendations I begged for here and I plan on trying all of them. I started with Lisa's suggestion (go read her comment for the recipe) last night because it a) looked easy and b) only required purchasing one other thing (in addition to the salmon, of course). YALL. It was SO GOOD. Normally I approach salmon kind of like I approach giant vitamins. It's good for you. If absolutely necessary for survival, you can ingest it by throwing it to the very back of your mouth and chasing with a giant cup of water. Try to miss all the taste buds and also try not to gag on it. Basically, I'm not a fan.

But last night? I was savoring every bite, licking my plate, snitching bites of Matt's when his back was turned. It was AWESOME! So you should go make yourself some salmon a la Lisa.

Today I continued expanding horizons by making a green smoothie. Apparently they're all the rage on Pinterest, plus my friend Kristin convinced me I should try it. I'm a big fan of spinach and all, but I just didn't see that being good all blended up with fruit. Happily, I was wrong! I forgot to take a picture, but that's okay because it was an extremely unappetizing shade of greenish-brown, so it wouldn't have convinced you to try it anyway. Basically I just blended up a few handfuls of organic spinach with a tiny bit of water until it turned into green goo, then threw in a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, and some ice. It was super good and tasted like strawberry banana and nothing like spinach. And it was healthy. So...way to go, green smoothie!

So Matt and I have been sick for what feels like forever. It was just me, starting last weekend, continuing til the present day. And then he apparently caught it or something around Thursday, and now he's worse off than me. The thing about Matt and sickness is that his always look more legit than mine because he always runs a fever. I NEVER run a fever. The last time I remember running a fever was in 2003. In Guatemala. Other than that, no way (then again, thanks to years of compulsive BBT, I know that my regular body temperature is much lower than maybe my version of a fever is just lower than everyone else's). Anyways, I'm kind of jealous of Matt's fevers because people totally believe that you're sick if you have a fever. They only believe I'm sick when they hear me cough for 2 hours without stopping and witness me hitting up my inhaler every 3 minutes. Which has been how most of the week has gone.

ANYWAY. So we are miserable of being stuck at home and I miss Zumba like crazy and actually was just watching videos of Zumba on Youtube last night (not doing it, because you have to be able to breathe to do Zumba...just watching) and I have been very sad to not get to work out at all this week. So this morning I decided that since it was bright and sunny and 60 degrees, I would mow the grass. This way I could get some exercise, be outside, but not be far from home in case I totally could not handle it. It was a great plan, and while mowing I noticed that this unusually warm winter has tricked all of the flowers into thinking it's actually they've decided to start blooming about 3 months early. Ugh. It totally stresses me out because I'm sure it's going to freeze again and then they will all die and it will totally ruin the spring bloom. But anyway. At least I had a chance to try my hand at flower photography!

 ...aaaand, the verdict is: I suck at flower photography. But hopefully I will get better before the real flowers start blooming.

Finally (I know, I had no idea this was going to be so long, either!), a little while ago I was perusing Pinterest and noticed that people were pinning this:

So I checked out the tutorial and it looked pretty easy, so I decided to real quick whip up one of my old t-shirts into a tanktop! You may recall that I have a huge shortage of tanktops in my life...

 Cute, huh??! And yes, I should probably invest in some non-white thread. But let's be honest: even if I had it, I had NO interest in changing out the thread in my sewing machine and bobbin and all that nonsense. I'm just going to make a trend out of having white thread on bright tshirts. Whatever. So now this old tshirt that I'd stopped wearing can have new life in Zumba class. Whenever I go back. When I can breathe on my own again. Someday.

And don't even THINK about judging me-- the reason the bed looks all messy is because the sheets are in the wash! I make the bed first thing in the morning every single day! But not if the sheets are in the wash, because that would be a total waste of time to make it up sans sheets.

Anyway. Well, apparently I'm even more bored than I thought, considering how long I just rambled on about nothing. In conclusion: To properly entertain yourself for the rest of this weekend, you should a) change your phone language to French, b) make some salmon and green smoothies, c) try to improve your photography skills, and d) re-invent some nasty old tshirts. And bonus points for e) leaving me an entertaining comment so that I don't go absolutely insane spending the 28913th night in a row at home with only a sickie to entertain me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dinosaurs, Dairy Queens, and Desert Islands: Meet Amanda!

It's been a pretty emotional week over here-- and can I get a high-five for posting SIX DAYS IN A ROW? Pretty sure that's never been done before (by me, anyway). Anyway, it's been loads of fun (love all your comments!!!)...but it's been all about ME. Which is generally fine by me, since it IS my blog and all. But too much's just not good for your soul. So today, it's not about me at all-- today, it's time for you to get to know someone you may already know...but not as well as you're about to...

Today, I want to introduce to you the one and only Amanda Joiner!

And just like she doesn't play around with a hot chicken chowder, she doesn't play around when it comes to being interviewed.

Why are you interviewing her? you may be wondering. I'll tell you why. Because sometimes I think of hilarious questions, and when I meet someone who can provide up-to-par answers, I just feel led to INTERVIEW THEM. And put it on my blog. So that we can all have a good chuckle together. And you can make new friends!
So a quick glance around Amanda's blog will probably give you the basics on her current life, but this interview is intended to reveal the deeper things. The things you may not know. The things SHE may not have even known until I probed. The things that even-- dare I say it??-- her identical twin sister Allison might not know. I know, folks. We're gettin REAL up in here. So...on with the interview!

       So Amanda, I think I've heard somewhere that you're an identical twin. That leads me to an obvious question: did you and Allison ever think about or plan to find a pair of identical twin boys to marry? And if yall DID find and marry twin boys, do you think you would have had a double wedding?

The rumors are true- I am an identical twin. Once upon a time, we read an article in a magazine about a set of identical twins that married each other. We thought this was really cool… until we got to the part about their respective children being genetically brother and sister (rather than just cousins). I think the dream died that day.

Even though we did not end up marrying twins, we did end up with college roommates, and once my mom realized that engagements were likely, she started pushing for a double wedding (double the fun, half the cost!). Apparently she was forgetting how much we both enjoy being the center of attention. Fortunately, Allison and Wade got engaged AND married before Brian had the funds was prepared to pop the question, so we dodged that bullet.

  Hmmm...don't be so quick to knock the idea of you and Allison's children being genetic siblings. I personally think that would be a pretty fantastic perk! And a great conversation starter. But anyway, since you and Allison DIDN'T manage to find and marry twins, it looks like you're stuck with Brian and Wade. That's cool. At least the 4 of yall are still really tight. 

So imagine you're forming a circus. There's a ringleader, a tightrope walker, a clown, and a lion tamer. Tell me which of you guys fills each of those roles, and provide justification for your choices.
You had me at, “imagine you’re forming a circus.” Ok here’s the breakdown:

Ringleader: Me, because I’m the bossiest one of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong- Allison gives me a run for my money, but ultimately she defers to my authority, so I would win that contest.
Tightrope walker: Wade, because he has the most self-control… and because he is tall and thin
Clown: Brian, because his silliness knows no limits when he’s trying to make people laugh
Lion tamer: Allison, because I have seen her when she’s angry, and trust me when I say that even a lion would bow down in fear if she unleashed her wrath :)

I guess Wade's lucky to have so much self-control if Allison is really as scary as you say she is. Well it sounds like you've gotten this circus thing all figured out, in case your day job doesn't work out. But let's get back to a less creepy and clown-filled topic: Weddings! So you got married back in 2007...what was your approach to wedding planning? Were you totally laid back, or more of a Bridezilla-type?

I, like all brides, had my Bridezilla moments (feel free to contact Allison for examples), but for the most part, I think I was fairly low-key. I remember being very stressed for a few weeks after we got engaged and then again during the last month leading up to the wedding, with the low point being the day that I broke out into a stress-induced case of the hives from head to toe approximately 3 weeks before the big day. That was special.

As far as planning went, I made it a point early on to limit my options for everything from venues to wedding dresses, because I wanted to make decision-making easier. All I can say is that I’m glad Pinterest was not around when we were engaged, because I think I would have lost my mind!
Um, no kidding. The wedding stuff on Pinterest blows my mind. So after the wedding, it's only natural to start adding to the family via pets. You and Brian have two dogs now, but here's the thing: if practicality were NO issue and real life was not a constraining factor, what animal would you like as a pet? For instance, I would choose a manatee. Obviously. What about you? Also, make-believe creatures are perfectly acceptable (dragons, unicorns, centaurs, etc.).

This is easy- I would totally have a real baby dinosaur! Of course, that’s assuming that an actual baby dinosaur is as (a) entertaining and (b) easy to manage as our current imaginary one. We would obviously have to train it not to eat our dogs… or any of the neighborhood children. 
OK, not gonna lie: all of your imaginary children kinda freak me out. But that's okay-- different strokes and all that. 
OK, the interview is about to take a sharp turn to the dark side. Just be aware. This is going to be really hard for you to imagine, but what if Dairy Queen were to go bankrupt and cease to exist? Where would you go to fill the dessert hole in your heart?

First of all, I’m not sure I would really want to live in a world without Dairy Queen. But if I had no choice but to go on living, then my go-to dessert place would definitely be Shake’s. There used to be one in College Station, and basically it is where I always went to eat my feelings during college. I actually like it more than Dairy Queen (don’t tell anyone!), but the closest one is 2.5 hours away in Austin. Tear. 

Ooh...sounds pretty good. I guess it's convenient that you go to Austin like every other weekend or something. Sorry about making you envision such a sad world and all. But things are about to get happier!

Quick! Someone just gave you $100 cash and you have only 2 hours to spend it all-- anything not spent will have to be burned in a furnace after the 2 hours are up. Completely wasted. And you can't give any of the money away. It's only for you. Where do you go? What do you buy or do?

The practical side of me would spend it on an acupuncture session, and then spend the remaining $15 on something both essential and awesome, like Mexican food. The less practical side of me would probably say a massage and a pedicure. And if there was any money left over in that 2-hour window, then I would go get a DQ blizzard, obviously :)

I like that description of Mexican food: essential and awesome. I couldn't agree more. I'd say your money was well-spent. 
On an unrelated note, would you rather be a Broadway singer/dancer/actress or an FBI agent? Why?

I guess an FBI agent because I am way better at stalking than I am at signing/dancing/acting. Thank you, internet, for giving me ample opportunity to hone that special skill!
That's true, I'll never forget the day you managed to stalk me down on Facebook and we took our friendship from blog-only to blogs, FB, emails, cards in the mail, G-chat, texts, phone calls and visits in person. Well, not all in one day...but that is basically how it progressed. All owed to your stalking skills!
So I've been thinking about this lately: what's your approach to buying embarrassing things at the grocery store? Do you profile the clerks? Try to hide the embarrassing item underneath less-embarrassing items? Just throw it out there in all its glory? Provide stories, if you have any.
My first approach is always to go to a self check-out lane, but if that isn’t an option (I’m looking at you, HEB), then I definitely go for the lane with the female clerk- and the younger the better, because the older women are nosy and have no problem asking personal questions. And yes, I try to hide the item(s) in between less embarrassing items in hopes that they won’t notice the box of ovulation predictor kits amidst the plastic hangers, birthday card, and bag of pretzel M&M’s. Come to think of it, I actually feel like I have had to deal with this semi-frequently thanks to infertility… like this special encounter at Walmart. Or there was this fun run-in at the grocery store with my sister’s boyfriend during high school. 

Self check-out, eh? I was a big fan of that when they first came out...not so much anymore. But I do agree about the young female clerks. Definitely preferable for embarrassing items...not so much for coupons, though. Go for the young guys for that one.

So what is your personal favorite state? Least favorite state? Why?
Ok I am going to assume that Texas isn’t an option, because clearly that is the favorite state of anyone with a brain (was that too harsh?). My second favorite state is New Mexico, because we grew up going there for family camp (yep, for real) every summer. I have a lot of fun memories there with my family, AND thanks to my mom’s incredible Santa Fe shopping skillz, I also have a lot of fun jewelry from there as well :) Oh, and I like the mountains and cool weather.

My least favorite state is New Jersey because I firmly believe nothing good has ever come out of that state. 

Now I never said Texas wasn't an option. But if you wanna go on and on singing the praises of New Mexico, I'm not going to stop you...even though whenever House Hunters is in New Mexico (the closest I've ever personally gotten to New Mexico), it's not usually my fave...but whatever. And I personally do take a little offense to the New Jersey comment...Real Housewives of New Jersey is absolutely a quality product of that otherwise-lame state. 
So enough about states...more about desert islands!
You're somehow magically stranded on a desert island with ONE celebrity, ONE person-you-know-in-real-life-that-isn't-Brian-or-Allison, ONE book, and ONE frosty beverage that magically keeps refilling itself (and there's a spring nearby with abundant fresh water). Name your celebrity/person/book/drink. And you'll be off the island in a week.

This question was easier for me to answer than I expected:

Celebrity: Tina Fey. Or if she wasn’t available, then Amy Poehler. And I think the purpose is obvious – entertainment value.
Person I know in real life: One of my BFF’s from high school, Mary Margaret. We have been friends for almost 15 years, and even though our current life circumstances are not all that similar (she lives and works on an organic farm in Maine with her husband and does not consider facebook to be a staple of her every day life), some of my favorite conversations I have are with her. Also, because she lives so far away, I don’t get to see her often, so it would be fun to have a week to catch up uninterrupted… minus Tina’s/Amy’s comedic relief, that is.
Book: Pastor’s wife alert! I think I would pick a devotional by Beth Moore. Her books are fun to read AND thought-provoking. Bonus: she was a Chi Omega (my sorority). :)
Frosty beverage: I’m going to go with Sprite, because (a) that’s what I drink when I want to spice up my typical H2O routine, and (b) it would help settle my stomach if I had to eat strange island food, like insects. My second choice (if you were aiming for the alcoholic variety) would be a frozen margarita (no salt, please).

I was actually going for an alcoholic beverage, so I'm glad you threw that in. Who would want to be stuck on an island with only a SPRITE? Lame. Good call on Tina Fey, though. Maybe you could make it into her next book-- or an episode of 30 Rock!
Alright, it's about time to wrap this thing up with a more serious question: what's your favorite thing about blogging? Since you've been doing it regularly since August 30, 2007, I can only assume you like it...

Honestly, I just really enjoy writing! Yes, it is therapeutic to put my thoughts into words, and yes, it has been fun to make friends in the blogging community. But when it comes down to it, I have a lot to say and enjoy the process of coming up with a (hopefully) entertaining way to say it.

OK, the correct answer to the previous question was actually "meeting you, Erika!"...but I guess I'll let it slide this once. Writing is cool too, I guess.


Well folks, that wraps up our interview for today. Hopefully you feel like you got to know Amanda a little better and were at least a little entertained. I know I was, doing the interview, so I guess that's really all that matters. 

It's Friday, right?? Hallelujah. Go forth and conquer.

And if you think of any more deep, thought-provoking interview questions, feel free to send them my way. Or if you'd like to be my next interviewee-- let me know! I'm always looking for someone to tolerate my ridiculous questions!

Happy Friday, yall!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

what the deal is (part 3)

This is Part 3 of a multi-part story: Go Here for Part 1 and Here for Part 2.

On Thursday, December 22, we headed back to Augusta for our meeting with Dr. X and Mr. D. We arrived in town super early, so we hung out at my parents' house for a few hours first. My mom was practically jumping out of her skin, she was so excited for our meeting. We, of course, were not nervous or excited at all. No way. Cool as cucumbers. Just another day, another meeting. HA!

The meeting itself went really well. Mostly Dr. X just explained how things usually happened: the chain of events that occur between him finding out about a 'situation' (mother in labor who wishes to place her child with adoptive parents but has not made any arrangements yet) and us getting a phone call, and then what to expect once we say YES to that call. There are a TON of variables, and that's what he spent most of the meeting explaining. 

We found out more than I ever really wanted to know about the effects of various drugs on fetal brain development. And the lifelong implications that can occur as a result...

 We heard some interesting tales about the lengths attorneys have had to go to to track down baby-daddies-- and learned about what happens when they can't.

He told us a lot of stories about a lot of families that he's helped. Honest stories. Some of them were happy-- some not so much. Gave us a lot to think about.

He needed to assess us, as well. He needs to know exactly what we a) want and b) are willing to accept, because when the time comes, he won't have a long time for us to hem and haw over whether this is a situation we can handle. Some of his questions we were prepared to answer (race, for example). Some of them we were not (how long of a NICU stay can you financially handle, since the baby will not be able to be added to your health insurance until the adoption is final?)

I really hate the inherent "choosiness" that comes with adoption. You know what I mean? If I were pregnant and found out that my unborn child had some kind of brain disorder, or Downs, or a birth defect, or anything-- then I'd deal with it. Track down the best specialist. Do what needs to be done. Gonna be in NICU for awhile when they're born? Then we're gonna be in NICU for awhile. It doesn't matter how much it costs. It doesn't matter if having a child with special needs isn't what I really 'wanted'. It's what I'd be getting, and we would love that baby no matter what, for as long as God let us hang onto him or her. I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard-- but it would be our child, and as the parents, we would do whatever needed to be done. It doesn't matter if you like it or if you think you're "prepared" for it or whatever. It wouldn't matter. 

But with adoption, you suddenly have a choice...and I don't really like it. I don't like thinking about these things. I don't like judging people or disorders or birth defects and saying "yeah, I'll take that one" and "no, that one sounds like a bit much." Doesn't it make you just feel sick to the stomach? Like a child with ___ is just...what? Not worth the trouble? Hey, they're not in my belly. Let someone else deal with it. I feel like that's what I'm saying, if I say "no, I would not consider a situation with _____ involved." Why? Because a child with ____ is less perfect? Doesn't fit in my personal schema about what the cute little American family looks like? Would inconvenience my adorable little life a little too much? Because my vision of having kids is more along the lines of playdates and walks in the park and not so much endless doctor's appointments and hospital stays?

Sorry for the tangent, but I need to keep it real here. This adoption story so far has been pretty God-breathed and chillbump-inducing, but it is still real. We are still regular old people who are now being asked to make some really tough decisions that I actually don't even want to make. I just want a baby. I want to be a family. I don't want to have to think about the laundry list of lifelong implications that come with whatever choices the birthmother was making during her pregnancy. I don't want to think about how there are some issues that no amount of good parenting and 'raising them right' can overcome. I don't want to think about that. But I'm having to. So this adoption thing isn't glamorous. You have to take a pretty brutal look at yourself...times two, because Matt and I are BOTH doing this thing. So...yeah.

These are the things we talked about at the meeting. Mr. D. answered some of the questions we had about process and procedure, and we were happy to find out that we do not have to have a pre-placement home study. This was great news, because I had been under the impression that would be required, which would mean at least 4 or 6 months or so until we could be available to get a baby. There was actually NOTHING really required of us that had to be done prior to placement-- other than select a pediatrician (and think about all of the things I digressed about above). 

We left the meeting feeling good, but overwhelmed. Dr. X needed some of the information from us (things we couldn't answer at that time) before he could really start considering us for any cases he came across, so it was pretty much in our hands. Once we made some decisions and let him know, we'd be fair game to get a middle-of-the-night phonecall saying I think I have a baby for you. He asked another thing of us, as well-- and this was definitely the hardest part.

He asked that we start praying-- and earnestly mean it-- that God would either provide us with a child, or take away our desire to have one.

GULP. I mean, we did NOT want to pray that. Are you kidding me?? I want a child more than anything... and infertility has definitely been the hardest thing in the whole world, but I don't want to NOT want a child! So I'm not going to lie-- it took us a few weeks to be able to pray that.

He said that he asks all of the couples he works with to pray like that. Most of them go on to adopt. A few have actually gone the other way-- felt like God really did take away their desire to be parents, and they go on to spend their lives doing something else. Without regrets. Without feeling like they were forever missing out on something they wanted. I guess if you're going to be child-free, that's the only way I'd be able to do it. I couldn't just live like this forever: desperately desiring something I don't have.

Dr. X also needed a comprehensive list of Every Way He Could Ever Possibly Get in Touch With Us. Phone numbers, addresses, GPS coordinates...because when the time comes, he has to act fast. And he's had situations before where he really felt like this certain child was for a certain family-- and was not able to reach them-- and eventually had to move on to another family. YIKES. That isn't gonna be us. So he now has the phone number of basically everyone we've ever known, and you are all in charge of physically hunting us down in the event that you get called. We also sleep with our phone ringers on now, so please don't text or call me in the middle of the night unless it's REALLY IMPORTANT because I will hear it. Thanks so much. 

So that was the meeting. It lasted around two hours, and overall it went really well. It also opened up about a thousand cans of worms, as you can see...stuff we've been thinking and working and praying through in the month since. Last week we finally got back to Dr. X with some of the information he was waiting on. We are now in the process of trying to officially "hire" Mr. D as our attorney-- whatever that means. Currently we're waiting on him to return a phone call...I guess then we'll see what happens next.

Officially, though, I guess you could say we are just waiting for a match! In our case, though, a "match" will most likely not happen until the mother is in labor, meaning basically no time between finding out we're matched and needing to travel to get the baby. That's why we've decided to start decorating the nursery and such-- plus, it just feels like something positive and happy to focus our thoughts and energy on. That room has been so empty for so long-- it stands as a constant stark reminder of what we don't have. I'm ready for it to be pretty. To show some signs of life. To be ready for a child-- the way that Matt and I are. 

We don't really have a concept of how long it could be. Dr. X has no way of knowing, either. He has no control over when he will meet a birthmother looking for an adoptive family (although he said he typically does several adoptions each year). He did say that he doesn't just match the babies based on which couple is next in line-- he truly thinks and prays about each situation, taking into account each couple's wishes, abilities, and limitations. And leaving room for God to work. So in my mind, we could be called any day. We could also not be called for several years. There's no way to know. Dr. X encouraged us to continue pursuing any other adoption avenues we wanted to (agency, networking on our own, etc.). For now, we don't feel led to do that-- we're still feeling sorta 'high' from all of this craziness. Maybe in a few months, when we're back to being bored and frustrated of waiting, we'll start doing something more active again...but for now we're just going to wait. Kind of like for the past 3 years of infertility-- only now we have two miracles to wait on. A miracle pregnancy, or a miracle adoption. Either could happen. Both could happen! But whatever happens...we're going to have a family.

Thanks for sticking around for this really long and winding story. I wanted to write out all of the details so that I don't forget them one day. I like how all of these little things just "happened"...and it so obviously just points to God writing this story. One day, when we're telling our little one about how we became a family, I want to be sure to include all of this. The crying in the car, finally desperate to adopt. The 9am phone call from Mom. The wedding we just happened to be going to. The way Dr. X just ran into a friend who happened to be an attorney. Our baby is not just going to happen to end up in our arms, yall. This baby isn't going to be some consolation prize for failing to conquer infertility. Can't you see? This story just reeks of a higher purpose. Of things happening for a reason. Don't know what it is yet. But I bet it's gonna be good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Operation Nursery: Curtain Ed.

Yeah yeah yeah, I's Wednesday and I am totally skipping out on Way Back When-sday...but I just have so much to say this week about stuff going on NOW! I can't stop to reflect back. No time for all that. Unless by "reflecting back" you mean reflecting all the way to last weekend, which is what we're going to be doing.

So we had big plans to get started on turning our super empty and depressing 'nursery' into...ya know...a place a kid might actually like to spend some time. For the last 3 years, it's just been hanging out, cold and empty. We never put furniture in there because we always knew it would be the nursery, and we didn't want to have to find new homes for there it sits, holding Lola's crate, a card table, and not much else except for dust bunnies.

So we've started! Last weekend we finally managed to purchase fabric, coordinate and purchase paint, and make and hang curtains! Whew! It was awesome. And now the room feels less psych-ward-like and a lot homier. 

Alright, enough chit-chat. PICTURES!



EEEK, doesn't it look great??! I am super excited. It was SO HARD to find fabric that was bright and fun and GENDER NEUTRAL. I am a huge fan of this. Then the girl at the fabric store commented that it looked "almost Hawaiian, but not quite" and then I almost didn't want to buy it because I am NOT going for the Hawaiian look...but now I have convinced myself that she was just dumb and wrong and it is NOT Hawaiian, it is simply bright and whimsical and perfect. So keep any Hawaiian comments to yourself (unless you are offering to take me on a vacay to Hawaii, in which case I gladly accept).

Next project: somehow getting this fan out of its box and into our ceiling. And functioning. All prayers are accepted for this project.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

what the deal is (part 2)

This is Part 2 of a multi-part story (not sure how many parts, yet!)...start here to catch up.

It didn't take my parents long to assert that YES, their daughter and her husband would probably most definitely be interested in meeting with him, as they are exceedingly anxious to have a baby and also big fans of divine intervention, which is what this appeared to be (not sure if they said that part, but you know they were thinking it). He gave them his cell number and said that we should call him soon to set up a meeting.

"She will!" my dad promised. "But it just so happens that they will both be here tomorrow night for the wedding-- would you like to talk to them then?" [Ed. note: I mean, isn't it just too perfect that we 'just so happened' to be rolling in to town the next night? I mean, for real??!]

Yes, that would be good, Dr. X agreed. But we wouldn't be able to talk much at the reception-- we would definitely need to set up a meeting for the near future.  But it would be great to get to meet us in person.

This is what my mom told me when she called. She wanted to give me a heads-up, and hadn't been able to SLEEP she was so excited to tell me. She had been counting the minutes until 9am, which was the earliest time she deemed acceptable to call people on a Saturday morning (PS I love my mom). My dad, on the other hand, had wanted to wait to tell us until we got into town to tell us. WHAT?? I am so glad my mom won that 'discussion.'

Naturally, this news thrilled Matt and I to the core. I mean, face it. Basically 5 days ago we decided (and by 'we,' I mean God) to pursue adoption. The next 4 days were overwhelming, because ADOPTION IS OVERWHELMING. We still wanted to do it. But we were buckling down for a long and harrowing journey, full of paperwork and social workers and blood tests and money. And suddenly, out of the blue, someone appears LIKE A FRIGGIN GENIE to offer a seemingly faster, easier, less stressful means to the same end? Someone who didn't even know we existed, but felt led to basically track us down via my parents? Are you KIDDING ME? If anyone out there seriously thinks all of this was coincidental...well, I don't know what to say. There's really no other explanation than God. But anyways.

Surprisingly, Matt and I are 97% excited and only about 3% nervous about the wedding-turned-adoption-meeting that night. We selected our wardrobes with care, knowing that you only get once to make a good first impression. In addition to looking drop-dead gorgeous, we also needed to convey that we would be good parents! Fun parents! Parents who aren't afraid to wear red lipstick to a wedding in December! (OK, maybe that was just me and maybe that has nothing to do with anything, but seriously, that lipstick was hot)

 My parents made the introductions at the reception. Dr. X was taller and younger than I had imagined, and he told us many of the things he'd already told my parents. He explained how he came upon these adoption situations and how things usually played out. He told us that we would need to get an attorney. He told us a few things that we would need to think about and pray about and find out about (from our companies' HR departments and such) before we set up our meeting with him. But mostly he was warm and kind and had the kind of presence that made you feel like everything is gonna be okay. It was a good introductory meeting, in my opinion. We truly enjoyed the rest of the wedding and the weekend, feeling this special "can you BELIEVE what just happened???" buzz all along.

Matt called him Wednesday or Thursday of that next week. We set up a meeting at his hospital for Thursday, December 22. 

On Tuesday night (the 20th), we had just been excitedly sharing our story and our news with Matt's family. We all prayed together, that our meeting would go well and basically that God's will would be done. We then left to head to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, as is our custom on Tuesday nights. While in the car, Matt's phone rings. It's Dr. X.

Are you KIDDING ME?? we thought. We JUST prayed about this and everyone was so excited...and here he is, calling to cancel. UGH!!! Can't ANYTHING in our lives go right??!??!

This is what we thought and said before Matt answered the phone. Like how full of faith and optimism we are?

Hi Matt, it's Dr. y'all doing? Just wanted to make sure we were still on for Thursday...and also, it just so happened that I ran into a friend of mine, Mr. D, today. He goes to my church, actually. He's an attorney, and we got to talking. I was telling him about y'all and he has actually done private adoptions before. I told him about our meeting on Thursday, and he is available and would really like to come. Would that be alright with y'all? You certainly would not be obligated to hire him-- he just felt like it might be helpful if y'all had any legal questions or anything...unless you already have an attorney in mind that you'd like to work with, of course. What do you think?

Ummm...let's see, what do we think? What I think is that trying to find an attorney to hire sounds like the scariest, hardest thing ever. I don't know any attorneys in that town. I certainly don't know any who are experienced in private adoptions. And I wouldn't know how to even start looking for one. Google? So what you're saying is, you just "ran in" to someone who totally fits the bill, someone whom you know personally, someone who feels excited about our situation, who just so happens to be available to come to a meeting 3 days before Christmas for NO MONEY and NO PROMISE OF FUTURE MONEY? 

Well, I suppose it would be alright if he came along. Just for kicks, or course.

We tried to contain our excitement and act cool and mature. I'm pretty sure we failed.

Are you KIDDING ME?? I mean, SERIOUSLY?? After three years of infertility and fighting nature and money and insurance companies and ourselves tooth and NAIL every step of the way, now THIS? Seriously some dude is going to 'discover' us and offer to help us and then all these other dudes are going to just come along and do the same? With absolutely NO effort on our behalf at ALL? In the space of TWO WEEKS? For FREE?

Pretty sure you could have knocked me over with a feather.

I'm pretty sure it's my friend Stephanie that says this (if not, it sounds like something she would say), but it was starting to feel like God was really just showing off.

To be continued...

Monday, January 23, 2012

pick me, pick me!

Um, WOW. Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement from my post last night! My phone was BLOWING UP with all of your comments, emails, Facebook messages and texts...makes me really happy I decided to split "the story" into a few parts so that I can look forward to a few more days of this...ha! Don't worry, Part 2 will be posted tomorrow morning at 6 EST...just in time for your first cup of coffee!

However, before we delve back into the emotional and serious stuff, I thought I would remind you that I am about to be on my way to my FIRST EVER JURY DUTY. Despite coming down with some kind of mysterious illness yesterday (typical winter gunk: sore throat, earache, headache) and still feeling the same this morning, I am determined to get picked to serve this week. In case you can't remember WHY I want to be picked, it is very simple: free vacation from work + $25/day. Oh, and a deep, deep desire to serve justice in my county. Of course.

To help increase my odds of being picked, I selected today's outfit with care. I felt it would be important to look halfway decent and clean, like I am a person who pays attention to details and cares about life. However, I didn't want to look too stuffy, because I'm pretty sure 98% of my county is populated with rednecks, and I didn't want to look snooty or like I couldn't relate to what's up in town.

With that in mind, here is my first ever Outfit Of The Day: Jury Duty Ed.

Cardigan, ruffled tank-top, and shoes-- Old Navy; pants-- Gap; earrings-- Premier; ponytail-- Classic Erika, keepin' it real.

OK, so this thing apparently did not post this morning like I thought it did. Oops. That's okay, though, because now I'm home from jury duty and can give a proper update.

Apparently being selected for the jury has nothing to do with how cute your outfit is and everything to do with how far down on the list your name is. And my name was really far down, so I didn't even have a chance to get picked. :( :( :( Sadsies. I do have to call back tomorrow afternoon to see if I have to go back Wednesday, so there is still a little hope, but basically I'm assuming my jury career is over for this time. And I didn't even get $25. Ugh. There is NO justice, I tell you!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

what the deal is (part 1)

OK people. Are you ready for it? It's obvious I've left like 99% of you in the dark and judging by the comments on my last blog, you're feeling the confusion. What happened, Erika? You overshare about you're going to go all cryptic on us about maybe you're thinking about adopting and now all of a sudden you're decorating a nursery? WHAT HAPPENED?? I know. Keeping things under wraps isn't usually my style, but I haven't really known how to go about this one while both a) maintaining privacy of parties that wish to remain private, and b) not oversharing, because I feel like the details and the context are really important. So I'm going to try to tell the story (or at least start), and I will still try to keep important details confidential, but I will not bother trying to not overshare, because...I don't want to forget. One day, maybe a soon day, I will have a screaming baby begging for my attention, and I won't have time to write down how he or she got here, and I don't want to forget because I don't think any of this is a coincidence.

First, a primer on independent adoption (also referred to as 'private adoption'). Just go read this, it will save me a lot of typing. If you are too lazy to do that, then I will summarize: you do not have to use an adoption agency to adopt a child (in 45 states, including Georgia). If you are pregnant and want to place your child with an adoptive family, and you happen to know that the Joneses down the street are looking to adopt, then the two of you can get together and make a plan for them to adopt your baby. Throw in a lawyer and some paperwork, and you're good to go. (Note: if you actually do find yourself in this situation, please let me know, as I am the "Joneses down the street" so to speak) This is the essence of independent adoption. Cutting out the 'middle man' of the agencies, and cutting out a whoooooooole lot of paperwork. There are pros and cons to both private and agency adoptions...feel free to check the above link for some of them.

So December 6 was a Tuesday morning and I was driving to work. I'm like 1 mile out of town, minding my own business, singing Christmas songs along with the radio, and BAM. Out of nowhere, this thought pops in my head: I want to adopt. I am done with infertility treatments, I want to adopt. I want a child, I want to be a family. I want a child more than I want a pregnancy. I want to adopt. I'm not kidding- it came from nowhere. And when I say it "hit me," I mean-- I am BAWLING. The emotions that rushed over me were unbelievable. This is exactly what I had been waiting for: for years now, I've been 'weighing the options.' IVF...adoption...IVF...adoption...pros and cons sheets, thinking it through, mostly wanting pregnancy more than anything. I have certainly been open to adoption. But I didn't really desire it. And I had prayed, on many occasions, that if adoption was what God had for us, I was going to have to want it. To want it more than pregnancy. I couldn't start an adoption journey halfheartedly. I needed to crave it.

So here I am, driving and crying and a hot mess because I felt like I suddenly knew what I wanted. I called Matt and he thinks I was probably in another wreck, what with the heaving and sobbing and all-- but no, I'm all "I want to adopt a baaaaabbbbyyyy..." and he's like "are you sure you're okay? Are you okay?" "Yes I'm fine I just want to adoooopppptttttt" and once he's convinced I'm not lying in a ditch somewhere, he's like "well then let's do it!" because he has been wanting this for years, unlike me.

So from that moment, we are people on a mission. We are going to adopt, so let's get this party started while the emotions are running hot! We research agencies. We start debating different things. I write a cryptic blog. We think. We plan. We don't really share it with many people-- not because we don't want to, but ya know...we're just busy. We're researching. And it didn't come up.

So Saturday morning, December 10, I wake up to a phone call from my mom. We were heading to Augusta later that afternoon for a wedding, so I wasn't terribly surprised to see her calling at 9am...probably wanted to tell us something last-minute to bring or do.

Well, not really.

As it turns out, the night before she and my dad had been at the rehearsal dinner. While there, they found themselves sitting at a table with an acquaintance they knew very casually: as in, had met a few times, but knew very little about-- and the not-knowing went both ways. They chit-chatted, and before long this gentleman (we'll call him Dr. X) was inquiring about whether they had any grandchildren or were looking forward to any on the horizon. My parents said that they did not; they would be excited when that day did come, but there were none in the immediate future. Dr. X asked again-- none? Neither Jake or Sarah? Not thinking about it?

You see, Dr. X didn't really know I existed. Like I said-- he was a casual acquaintance. He knew of my brother and sister because he'd seen them at events before. As far as he knew, those were the only kids in my parents' clan.

Well, since he was asking, my mom shared a little more. No, Jake and Sarah-- neither of them are thinking kids. But we do have an older daughter-- she and her husband have been married for over 4 years. And they would love to have children. They have been trying for a long time, but they have some problems, so they're sorting through their options. They are desperate to be parents-- and when it happens, we will be the happiest grandparents in the world. We can't wait for that day.

At this, Dr. X seems to relax. He smiles a bit. How long have they been trying? he asks. A year or two?

Well,'s been three, my mom tells him. They are waiting on a miracle. They are also considering whether they may like to adopt.

[IMPORTANT DETAIL: My mom didn't know about my revelation earlier that week. I was going to wait and tell her in person when we went home. So this was just a reference to our months-long back-and-forth about 'maybe adopt, maybe not' dilemma.]

Dr. X seemed to like this final sentence. Thinking about adopting, are they? I had a feeling they might. 

He goes on to tell my mom some very interesting information, and I'm going to have to leave out a lot of details, but it goes something like this:

Dr. X has a job that puts him in a position to help 'matchmake' private adoptions. This is not his "job," and he receives no compensation. It is something that the Lord has led him to do for the last 25 years, and it is something he has a great passion for: placing babies with couples who long to have families. He usually has a handful of couples that he is working with, and when a situation arises where a baby needs a family, he prays about the situation and God nudges him towards the couple that are right for the situation. 

I realize that if you do not believe in God or prayer, this probably sounds a little loco. If you're us, though, this sounds like the most amazing thing you've ever heard of.

He does this because he feels that the agency adoption system is so vast, expensive, and scary that it deters couples from wanting to even try. He has known many couples who want nothing more than to become parents, but are unable to because of infertility and then the (real or perceived) barriers in the adoption 'system.' And he comes upon birth parents that, for whatever reason, are also not interested in making an adoption plan through an agency. He puts 2 and 2 together...after a lot of prayer.

In 25 years, he has never had an adoption reversed.

He tells my mom a few more things, and also mentions that, as this is not his job, he truly cannot help very many couples: each situation is simply too involved and too time-consuming and emotionally draining. He frequently has couples approach him and seek his help, and he turns almost all of them down. He waits on the Lord to show him the couples that he is supposed to help, and that's all he can do.

 "So I was wondering," he told my parents, "if your daughter and her husband might be interested in working with me. I want to help them find their baby."

To be continued...