Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Beautiful Day

I dropped my girl off for her first day of school yesterday. "Sit with her for a minute and reassure her that it will be a great day", says the teacher, "but don't stay too long as it will make it more difficult for her".
There she was all neatly seated for her morning snack surrounded by new friends. Visions ran through my head of all the memories she will make here. Then I thought of the memories we made together the past two years. I hope she remembers those moments I thought to myself.

I crouched down next to her and looked her straight in the eyes, just the way I did when leaving her behind in the orphanage. When I begged her to fight for her life and told her of all the love she has waiting for her. How far we have come. I cleared my throat and bravely said "look at all these new friends you have, you are going to have an amazing day! Mommy's going to leave now but I will be back in a few hours, have a wonderful day my beauty". To which she bravely replied "bye mommy".

I told the teacher that I was home and to call me if she wasn't adjusting well. I turned to wave goodbye but she didn't need to see me leave. She felt so comfortable and she was so trusting. A true testament to a child's ability to overcome a tragic start and thrive.

I picked her up a few hours later. She didn't nap but she did amazing! She was even given an award ON HER FIRST DAY! An award the teacher hands out once every few months. (I can see we have an over-achiever on our hands). After giving her teacher a big hug and waving bye to all of her friends we headed home, gave her dinner and found her asleep in the highchair at 4:30. She didn't move a muscle until 8:00 this morning.

I hope going back to school doesn't put me to sleep at 4:30!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where is He?

If you're thinking about tomorrow, you're not living today.

Today is so wonderfully beautiful for it's very own reason, though we may not always see it.

I have every reason to think about tomorrow. I almost died after my son was born. There was more than a possibility he would be raised by his father and without a mother. I went into a deep depression. I can still hear the echo's of well-intentioned people saying "stay positive", "there have been studies showing that negative things happen to negative people", "where is your faith?" and the ever-SO-not-helpful "everything will be just fine". I did not raise my son for six months, therefore we did not bond until much later. I did not even feel like a mother. I had no energy to fix a bottle, change a diaper or feed my handsome boy.

The years ahead were filled with challenges; hysterectomy, cancer scare (twice), meningitis, gall bladder removal and eventually the return of my heart failure. And throughout I would continually ask "why me?"

When my daughter was burned and then left to die on someones front door step in the middle of an incredibly harsh winter, I wondered, where is God in all of this?

Science is science. Our anatomy is fragile, things go terribly wrong. Physics are physics. When tragedy strikes it's Christian nature to ask "where is God in all of this"?

Where was God when I was fighting for my life and not able to be the mother he had blessed me to be? Where was God when my daughter was left to die? Where is God when an innocent child's life is taken? Where is God when children are orphaned and fighting for their lives just waiting for a family to adopt them?

I now know for myself exactly where He is.

He is in the doctors and nurses. He is in the selfless orphanage staff that does their very best to bring life back into these children. He is in the people that show up when we can't show up for ourselves. He is, simply put, the love that surrounds us when our world is falling apart, holding it all together. God doesn't cause these terrible things to happen. Bad things happen to good people and bad people, tragedy does not discriminate.

I've had to work very hard not to worry about the future. Everyday a thought will creep into my head wondering what's around the corner. When you've been through the worst, you realize the worst does happen. "Rare" is no longer rare. You take no comfort in any ones advice or medical statistics. And this is completely normal, completely realistic and completely OK. I no longer feel badly about expecting the worse.

But what I do know, is that no matter what lies ahead for me, God will show up. I think about today only and cherish what I have in the here and now. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11. I place my worries in His hands and focus on living the life He has planned for me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Letting Her Go

As I count down the days that I will have alone with my baby girl, I find myself feeling a range of emotions.
I'm excited for her. We dropped off paperwork the other day at her new school and she wrapped her tiny arms around my legs and said "bye, mama". Oh not yet darling. Not yet.
With all the therapist's coming and going and given the fact we don't really know anyone her age, the poor kid has been a little secluded. I may have taken the "bonding" stage a little too far looking back now. She has J and she has fantastic grandparents that swoop her up for lunch and dancing. My babe has been in no way deprived.
This will be great for her development, which is still delayed. There is nothing like peer influence to spark a child's eagerness to progress.
She will learn to trust other capable adults with her well being.

Then there is the other range in my emotions. I'm terribly sad. She, very likely, will be our last and only. She came into this family by unusual circumstances and we had to fight like hell for her. I have her now and I don't want to let go.
Everywhere I go she goes too. My little princess in the back seat that sings and dances during errands. I have been perfectly blessed to have a toddler that doesn't really act like a toddler. No tantrums, fits or crying unless something is terribly wrong. She has been a blessing to cart around. Just watching her take the world in minute by minute is a site I will forever cherish.
Two years together, mommy and daughter. I have been incredibly blessed to have had this time alone with my angel. But life, after all, is about change and nothing ever stays the same. Children grow and God calls for us as parents to grow as well. Being honest, this has been a deep struggle for me. But as always, I pray for God to lead my life in the direction I'm meant to go and I will gratefully follow. I have been lead back to school and my daughter has been lead to the most amazing preschool I've ever encountered. I have peace with our decision.
The time has come to let her go, even if I still keep her within arms reach.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's Gettin Poopy In Here!

Yup. You read that title correctly.

It seems we have entered the toddler-pulls-off-diaper-leaving-poop-EVERYWHERE-phase. Good gracious me.

I'm tired of cleaning poop off the bedding, the bed rails, the floor, the mirror, the vanity, the dresser......and everywhere else I failed to mention.

I tried to spare Leila public humiliation by posting this topic, but she's going to have to deal as mama needs some help here.

Things we have tried, unsuccessfully:
Diaper backwards
Safety pinning tops to bottoms
Clothes backwards
Potty training

A friend showed me this site so I excitedly ordered three.

Perhaps you readers have words of wisdom to share with this exhausted ma and pops, or perhaps I'm just venting as you sigh and say to me "this stage won't last forever so just hang in".

I feel better already.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now that I've pulled myself together...

I would like to share a story with you.

A story that touched my heart deeply.

Upon entering a tiny dark-green shack locals called an orphanage, my whole world changed. My circumstances and everything I believed was turned upside down.

What my heart couldn't accept in the moment, other's hearts accepted for me.

I am so touched by Kelle's ability to share such raw emotion.

A child is a gift no matter the circumstances.

Read Kelle and Nella's story here

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


evokes lightness and elegance.

Easter was neither light nor elegant in our home.

Instead of waking with excitement we awoke to J vomiting.

Leila is reading her new book from the bunny to her ill bro.

There was one highlight of the whole Easter weekend before the chaos began. Saturday night we had my Mr's parents over for dinner. My Mr's mom made delicious bbq ribs and I was in charge of sides and desert. I ripped out a recipe from my Cook's Country magazine, the one I love so dearly. I tried "Chantilly Potatoes", truly a recipe that came from Heaven.

Try them and you will see what I'm talking about!

Chantilly Potatoes

3lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (I used Russet), peeled and cut into 2inch cubes

Salt and Pepper

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled

1 1/2 cups (about 3 ounces) grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (I used Parmesan. Use fresh grated cheese, do not cheat on this step (BEANIE), you will be rewarded for your work).

1. Microwave potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic. Microwave until tender, 8-12 minutes, shaking bowl halfway through. Use either ricer or mash potatoes. Cover tightly again and microwave mashed or riced potatoes 3-5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-third position and heat broiler. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold two-thirds of whipped cream into potatoes with rubber spatula until absorbed. Dollop potatoes in broiler-safe-2-quart baking dish.

3. With rubber spatula, fold 1 1/4 cups cheese into remaining cream. Spread over potatoes and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil until top is golden, 2-3minutes. ***Let rest 4 minutes.*** Serve.

I watched Julie and Julia the other day and became super inspired to try new recipes. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learned was that you need not a super kitchen, bells and whistles. One simply needs an organized work space and the heart. So, I took on the major project of organizing the heart of my home, my workspace, my kitchen. I have received amazing tips from a dear friend and will post pictures and share the changes I've made with you along the way.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Blessings

Just in time for Easter, we received some good news.
Jafar is not in kidney failure, the initial test at the vet was wrong! No protein in his urine says a lab with "much better equipment". Uh, yeah I'd say so. To go from extreme amounts of protein to none, well, maybe the vet should just chuck their equipment out that fancy window I just paid for!

Nasser is healthy as a mule except he has high cholesterol. Go figure, only my dogs!

This weekend we had a friend of J's over for a slumber party. During the chaos, I managed to whip up a delicious three-layer coconut cream cake. Yummm. I also tried a recipe for mashed pataters, only with a twist. Definitely going to post that recipe here very soon. I promise it is easy (for my open-a-box-stir-add-water=done!-readers....you know who you are).

Tomorrow the Easter bunny will bring a little white basket and a little brown basket for a good little boy and girl, over flowing with scrumptious treats.

What will the Easter bunny bring mommy? Hopefully some extra time added to the day for a guilt-free nap...........it's been a busy weekend and this mama's tired.

Happy Easter!!!