Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why?

Something that my sister said to me this week has really got me thinking...

The majority of people who read this blog, have some connection to international adoption, most likely Ethiopia specifically. We have a pretty great circle of friends! We find out who is reading who, and our read list grows and grows! My two other loyal readers are my sister Kristin, and my mother in law Rhona. Other than that, I'm not quite sure who reads this.

In this circle of friends that we have created, we've established relationships with one another, we talk to each other through our blogs, revealing our inner most thoughts and feelings, getting advice and assurance that we are not alone in what we're feeling...We talk very openly within this circle about how difficult this whole process is on us, our hearts, and our spirits. And occasionally we may brag about our kids and show off cute pictures.


So what I've been thinking is, if someone were to stumble across my blog, totally oblivious to the whole international adoption scene, how would they not think I was insane? Most of us really.


I'm certain that those who don't share our crazy-ville connection must wonder WHY? Why do we do this?

Why adoption?
Why do we trudge through these waters blocked with bureaucracy and red tape? If this whole process is so difficult and so overwhelming at times, why?



There are those who feel "called" by a higher power...and although I admire their devotion to their faith and their strength, that is not my story.

There are those who are, for a gazillion different reasons, not able to have biological children. Once upon a time, I thought this was to be my story...But as it turns out, it is not and I can't even pretend to know anything about how anyone in this "category" feels, or how they deal with the added emotions and grief that must go along with their story.

And then there is the strange maybe most puzzling group, those of us who don't have the "calling" and maybe even have biological children at home... why on earth would we do this?

Many of us may not fit in any category...or maybe we fit into more than one...
I think even though each of our stories may be different, we all have something in common, for whatever reason we have adoption in our hearts. We are all a part of something. Something huge. Something life changing.

Why do I feel compelled to be a part of this? I have no idea how to explain it...other than adoption is in my heart.

Even with all of the worry and the heartache and the guilt, that come along with this whole process IT IS SO WORTH IT! We are making an impact on the world somehow.

Adoption has absolutely changed my life! Not just because of the beautiful little face I'm lucky enought to get to tuck into bed each night! But it's changed how I see the world. I can no longer read an article about poverty, famine, disease, without thinking of how these affect families in Ethiopia. It's not just another country anymore, it's the birth country of my gorgeous little girl. I feel like my eyes have been opened.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Friend or Family Feature

Rhona!


I'm pretty sure not many women have a relationship with their mother in laws quite like the one Rhona and I have. What can I say, she's one of a kind!

Rhona is a very private person, so I won't spill too much dirt on her! How about I just tell you about the incredible friend she has been to me over the years!

While I was pregnant with Caroline, I was on bed rest...it was awful! I was soooo bored, and started getting soooo depressed. There was a point when I was like a little dog in the window waiting for Jud to get home! Anyway, that's when Rhona and I started talking...everyday! Many times more than once! I'm sure she had to have been bored out of her mind listening to me jabber, I mean what could I have possibly had to talk about? But she called every day. And everyday she listened. And it's been like that ever since. We still talk daily. She is the first person I call when the kids are doing something hilarious and she is the one I call when I need someone to just listen.

Rhona is an incredibly kind and generous woman. She is the type of person who would actually give a stranger the shirt (or parka, it's cold in MN!) off her back. She thinks very deeply about things...It took me awhile to get used to that!

I remember the first time I went home to meet her...she had her book group over and they were in heavy discussion in the living room, I was in the kitchen crying because I couldn't understand a word they were saying!

She is brilliant!

She is powerful!

But she tries to act like it's no big deal!

She is warm!

She is silly!

After knowing her for 11 years I still have no idea why she is known as Duck?


She is not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right.

I think I've said this before, but the greatest compliment that Jud has ever given me, was when he told me I was starting to remind him of his mom...

Rhona is an amazing mother. Jud and his brother have so much respect and love for her and for all that she has sacrificed in order to make sure their needs were always met even if hers were not.

As a Bubbie she is truly awesome! She is responsible for our enormous book collection, although we do sometimes edit her book choices :) The kids adore her. She and Caroline have a very special relationship, which just pleases me to no end! I couldn't find a stronger, wiser, and more wonderful role model if I searched for a hundred years!

old videos!

I have some new software to convert our videos to DVD I'm not sure that I have it all figured out yet, we'll see if this works.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Friend or Family Feature

Will have to wait!

I have the feature, just not the time!

Jud is insanely busy at work this week, which in turn means long days and nights for me!

I have soooo much cleaning to do because we have our first showing tomorrow! What? Haven't I mentioned we put our house on the market? Well, no time to talk about that right now either!

And, I'm way behind Rebekah on the run count, so it looks like I may be on the treadmill tonight until midnight :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MY NEEDS?

I saw this on Charlotte's blog and I was cracking up!

I'd love to bore you with the mundane details of the day, but frankly I'm too tired to think! And this made me laugh, so here you go!

You do a Google search with your first name followed by 'needs'



Jessica needs......

1. coffee (amen!)

2. to stop dressing like a slut! (lol! are turtle necks slutty these days?)

3. a bigger bra! (sadly I highly doubt that!)

4. her Eric time? (no idea?)

5. a haircut (I was just thinking the same thing!)

6. to know she's beautiful (awwwww!)

7. fake titties and then she would be perfect! (I think Jud would agree!)

8. to put some clothes on! (really, I'm beginning to wonder!)

9. motivation (um yep!)

10 Facebook (told you Jud!)

World AIDS Orphan Day is May 7th








There’s a movement growing. Everyday in the Western world someone’s eyes are opened to the orphan crisis that’s ravaging the developing countries. The problem seems so large and we seem so insignificant. We can make a difference though. By raising awareness we foster a community and as a community we can provide. We’re asking you to help us in creating that community. World AIDS Orphan Day is May 7th. The AHOPE Store has developed a t-shirt to commemorate this day and the community of supporters that are growing year after year. Please join us in raising awareness. It’s simple. Order our newest t-shirt from the AHOPE Store for a $10 donation. (All proceeds go towards care of the children served by AHOPE.) Wear your shirt as often as possible, and especially on World AIDS Orphan Day. It will serve as a reminder to your community. It may even create a dialogue. That dialogue could open someone’s eyes. You might inspire them to do more, give more. We are asking you to join us in creating a community that is committed to orphan care. After seeing what one little t-shirt can you might be inspired yourself. If that’s the case be sure to check out the World AIDS Orphan Day website. Here you can find further information on this grassroots campaign and how to organize an event in your area. The campaign was founded by FXB International in 2002 and continues to grow year after year. To order your shirt, please visit http://www.ahopestore.org/. For orders of 20 or more please contact Marissa Baker at store@ahopeforchildren.org. Thank you very much for your support of AHOPE! Please share this on your blog and through email. We are excited about this shirt and hope that you will be too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Bloscar for me? I think there must be a mistake!





I was nominated for this Fabulous Award by


Charlotte a few weeks ago, and still I'm having trouble coming up with an exceptence speech! I think I'm still in shock! Not only to be nominated, but to be nominated by such an incredible woman. Charlotte is truly an inspiration. Not only is she so fricking hillarious that she can make me pee my pants with a single post, but she is also one of the sweetest most sincere people I have ever met. Charlotte is just one of those people who just gets it. I am so honored to have gotten to know her, to learn from her. And so I accept this award with great humility.

In comparrison to some the blog idols like Charlotte, Rebekah, Julie, oh the list could go on and on... I just don't feel all that fabulous.

Last year, when I decided to start this blog, I thought it was just going to be a way to update family and friends on the new adoption, so that I could avoid the "have you heard anything" question that I love so much!

But along the way, I have met some of the most incredible women. Ok so I've only actually met a few of them in person, but trust me they're all incredible! I have talked with them about things I can't talk to Jud about, or even my sisters.

This whole blogger-sisterhood thing is really amazing.

Four years ago, (gosh has it been that long?) when we were going through the adoption process for the first time, there was no forum, no list to obsess over, and no way to keep in contact with other people in the process.

It was a really difficult time. I had so many questions, thoughts, feelings, but no where to go with them. I knew people who had adopted children, but no one who had adopted children from Ethiopia...

I was so unprepared for so many of the emotions. Like the stages of excitement and joy, compounded with the stages of greif and guilt. If you havn't read it before you have to read this post by Julie she describes the stages better than I ever could. When I read this it validated so many of the feelings that I had...Julie has really helped me to feel that I'm not the only one in Crazy Town!


I have learned so much from all of these women, I feel like a better more complete version of myself since getting to know them.

They challenge me. To think, to feel, to do more.

I don't think there is anyone else in the world who could convince me to do what Rebekah has! (which I'm only on #2 by the way, I'm trying to sell a house here, give me a break!)



So onto the award!

I'm not creative enough to fit these into the post...

Five of my fabulous addictions are:


bloggers (just a few)

facebook (yeah, it's kind of like crack!)

spellcheck (why doesn't fb have it?)

taking pictures of my fabulous kids! (they're just to darn cute I can't help it!)

*EDIT(Maybe I was a little too honest!)
Painting (shocking!)


Five fabulous bloggers I nominate are:



Stacy

Kari

Michele

Heather B.

Heather M.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Caroline's long awaited birthday party!

Yes, her birthday was in January, but when I called the Humane Society in December, I was told they were booked into February... I told Caroline that instead, we could do a sleepover party closer to her actual birthday, but she wouldn't have it!

She was so looking forward to this!

I think I mentioned before but, in case I didn't... Caroline had decided to ask her friends to donate to the Humane Society rather than buying a gift for her! And they sure pulled through! She had made a card to give to the HS, and she had all of her guests sign it, inside she put the donations! Over $100 and one of her friends brought lots of supplies for the animals!

Add in what we had to pay to have the party there! I'd say a pretty good donation day!


I think they all had fun! They got a backstage tour of the HS and learned about all of the work they do to help animals...

We got to see a little surgery action, most of the girls (and Jack) were grossed out, but not Caroline! No, her favorite show is Rescue Vets, so she's used to the scene!

She says she is definitely planning to be a vet! Maybe!

The best part by far was when they brought a little puppy in! Oh did they love that!






Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two posts in one day!

I guess the day wasn't a total flop after all!

I was just putting pictures from today on the computer, and they cracked me up! I thought since I shared what made me cry, I'd share what made me laugh!

I guess the extra time to do Emma's hair and find the heart shirt this morning was worth it after all...she did look pretty darn cute! All day she kept "shakin her pretties"!





Emma and Caroline were trying on their flower girl dresses for Jessie's wedding and trying out their dance moves too!




Part of the bedtime routine around here is Tom and Jerry. But not just watch it, they act it out! It's a group favorite!




All's well that ends well...I guess!



I guess Jack did forgive my tone!

A shout out to all the other not so perfect moms!

There are others right? It's not just me?

We had a totally craptastic morning at our house!

To add to our normal crazy hustle and bustle of getting all four kids fed dressed and ready for school...this morning we also had two Valentine's Day parties to prepare for... which meant finding Emma's heart shirt in the laundry, putting her heart pretties in her hair, and extra stuff to pack into the car,which apparently was just enough to push me over the edge!

I finally got everyone into the truck, made 5,000 trips back into the house for backpacks, hats, boots, and of course the V-day treats...we were still short one glove! I was seriously ready to lose it, I almost dropped an f-bomb! But I refrained! I took a breath, decided it was OK I'd go back in the house find the missing glove and we would be on our way. A little late, but OK.

Except this time when I went to go back into the house, the door was locked! I felt an immediate panic, because it's not a door we normally lock. I quickly checked my pockets, and then the car, and all of the bags now in the car...Are you fricking kidding me? I didn't have my keys!

Now we are late.

Definitely late!

And stuck in the garage!

Caroline is crying because she is going to miss her Valentine breakfast, Jack is crying because he didn't like my tone...Sam was crying because, well I have no idea why Sam was crying.

Luckily I had my phone in the car, called Jud who was just thrilled to have to drive all the way home to unlock the door!

Good Times!

As we sat in the car waiting for Jud to rescue us, we had a minute of silence...I think the kids were all a little freaked out, this is not a side of mommy they see often...or ever!


After a few deep breathes, I apologized for my tone, and we decided we should just make the best of it! So they all started singing B-I-N-G-O

This definitely did not help the shooting pain I was beginning to feel behind my left eye!


After our night in shinning armor rescued us, we headed off to school!

Since we were late I had to park, and walk them into the office and explain why they were late.

Then it was off to Emma's preschool do drop her off and explain why she was late!

And then back to the "bigs" school to help out for Caroline's party, or what was left of it! Which turned out to be nothing.

Poor Caroline had walked in to the classroom not only late but starving! Since it was a breakfast party, she didn't want to eat because she wanted to save room the pancakes...but they had already cleaned everything up!

Her teacher saw how crushed she looked, and made another batch just for her!

When I got to her classroom she was just starting to eat.

All the perfect moms who were there for the party,

who are there for every party, had already gone.

I told Caroline I was so sorry about how the morning went, and that we missed her party...she said, "oh that's ok, at least I can still have pancakes!"

But it sucked!

Since I have the little two home in the afternoons, and Emma home every morning except Tues. and Thurs. when she is at school, I'm not usually able to help out in her classroom...I was really looking forward to being there today for the party.

I was obviously more upset about it than she was.

Once I got back in the Truck I sat in the parking lot and cried. And cried.

That's my craptastic morning for you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love will Prevail!

I saw this amazing video on Mrs. Bakers blog and I just had to share!







"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jack gets to practice with the Buck's!

A few weeks ago at Jack's basketball game/practice, the coach announced that they were having a drawing for a chance to practice with the Buck's. They would be taking a handful of kids from each Y ...Jack was so excited and begged me to sign him up! I had to explain to him that it was a drawing, and there were literally hundreds of kids signing up...in all likely hood, he would not get picked, and would therefore not get to practice with his beloved Buck's players.


He looked at me like I was crazy!

I guess I'm jaded towards any type of drawing. I have honestly never won a thing in my entire life! Not a dollar from a lottery ticket, not a CD from calling into a radio contest, not even a free soda from the bottle caps!

Fortunately, Jack has inherited "Jud Luck" !!! Which means that he is pretty much guarantied to win any drawing he signs up for, for the rest of his life!

So he here is at his practice with the Buck's players on Sunday!

feeling cool on the drive!




He's the one always playing with his headband!





Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fourth folder tag!

I was tagged by Rebekah
and guess what the 4th picture in my 4th folder was actually not a picture of one of the kids, it was of me! Not too many of those exist!




This picture was actually taken at the airport, just minutes before I met Emma for the first time! A memory that is forever ingrained in my head!


Let's see what
Charlotte
Kari
Stacy
and Michele
have in their fourth folders!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Friday Friend or Family Feature

My Mom





I'm sure if she read this blog, she would be very surprised to see that she is the first person I'm writing about. (other than my kids!)

But she is one of the most important people in my life! Always has been!

I'm guessing, she would be surprised to hear that too...



Growing up in our crazy house was quite an adventure!

Even with 8 kids, my mom always worked full time! A social worker of course! She was so involved with every family that she worked with...she really cared for them and wanted to see them succeed.

And as if that's not enough work, she was the center of our home too!

I remember my mom coming home from work and immediately getting dinner started! And I'm not talking pb&j or mac&cheese! Each night was a feast of a meat & potatoes kind of meal! We almost always had dinner together, all 10 of us! I have so many memories of sitting around that kitchen table...mostly of Frank starring at himself in the mirror across from the table :)

My mom was always the last one to sit down...the last one to eat. We would all finish and leave the table, and there she would sit. Now, I realize that is when she was finally able to decompress from the day and enjoy a little quiet!

Besides having to deal with all of the running around that 8 kids in various sports and school activities requires...she somehow found the time to be on the athletic club for our school, coach our softball teams, and constantly be sitting in the stands watching our games. They even owned a pizza place on top of everything else for a few years!

She really had very little time for herself. But never complained about it. She had her card group once a month and I vaguely remember a bowling league. I think that was put aside once all of us kids were more involved with activities.

She has always put us first.

Even to this day, now that she is retired, she still seems to have a hard time putting herself first. It's just not who is she is. She has always been the most giving person. Of herself, her time, and her love.



We've had our share of tough times over the years. Sometimes I feel like, out of all the 8 kids, I have been her biggest source of stress.

It seems like the two of us are each other's harshest critic.

But I think I finally have a reason to why.

We are so much alike!

I see so much of myself in her.

I know I often get frustrated with her when she doesn't stand up for herself, or she puts herself second. In a way, I get frustrated with myself for the same things.

I just want her to be proud of herself.

Proud of all that she has accomplished.

Proud of how many peoples lives she has touched.

Proud of the friend, sister, mother, grandmother that she is.


The road has not always been an easy one. We've had our share of family drama! But through it all my mom has remained a source of strength for all of us!

From broken bones (mostly noses!), fights, college, marriages, divorces, pregnancies, miscarriages, adoption, cancer...to bon fires, sunsets (aka bouncing ball!) and remission.

She is truly the matriarch of our family!

All 33 of us!





Yep, that's just immediate family!

My dad (married for 45 years!) 8 kids, 22 grand kids, and 2 great-grand kids!

I am so proud of her, and I can only hope that one day, my daughters will feel as privlaged to have me as their mother, as I do to have her!

Pictures from my LITTLE trip!!

While Jud was in meetings for two days, I walked and walked and walked around DC
















It was a little chilly, but nothing like here! After a few hours, my fingers felt they were frozen though! I decided to keep them in my pockets rather than on the camera, so not as many pictures of the awesome architectural details on the buildings as I hoping to get!










Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Live from D.C.



Well no sign of Mr. President!

And actually they really don't let you get very close to White House anymore! Luckily I had the super zoom lens on the camera since we were about two blocks away, and I had promised Caroline a picture!

Tonight I'm having dinner with The Queen of Hilarity herself!!! Yeah Rebekah aren't you jealous! Who needs Hawaii when you can have dinner with someone who makes you laugh so hard beer comes out your nose :)