Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is an open adoption?

This blog has been neglected lately, but I have a 3 yr old who is constantly vying for my attention.  

I thought today I would write about a question I am often asked.  I am often asked if we have an “open” adoption, and when I respond, “yes”, it is often followed up by questions about what an “open” adoption is.  The term “open adoption” is a broad term and different for each family.

Prior to adopting Jacob we attended an adoption conference through our agency.  At the conference there were several birth mothers who shared their experiences and answered questions.  Every one of them had “open” adoptions, but the level of openness was different for each one of them.  Some only exchanged pictures, some of them visited once a year, some more often.  It helped us understand the importance of not committing to a level of openness that we were not willing or comfortable committing to.  .

The birthmothers shared how the thing they feared the most was that the level of openness that had decided upon would not be honored after the adoption was finalized.  Most everyone has this concern and understandably, nobody wants it to happen to them.  This was a concern for Jacob’s birth parents as well.  No one enforces your relationship with one another after placement; it is between you and your child's birthparents.  The tricky thing about adoption is that it wasn’t until after papers were signed and our son was placed with us, would we have the opportunity to prove ourselves and show that we would keep our promise.  Our son's birthparents had to trust us at our word, which is a hard and scary thing to do.  We are thankful they did trust us and I am grateful to have an open adoption with them.  They are great people and respectful towards us, and this helps us maintain the good relationship we have with them. 

So you may be asking, what is our “open” adoption like?  We generally exchange pictures around the holidays or birthdays.   But I also send them when he is doing something fun I think they might like—like playing ball or his first day of school, etc.  We have been able to visit in person with both his birth mother and birth father every year, and that has been fun.  Jacob loves seeing them and loves all the attention he gets from each of them. 

We knew that the first little bit after the adoption would probably be difficult for his birth mother, so we sent messages and pictures more often--even daily for the first week or so, and we told her if she was having a hard day and just wanted to see a picture of Jacob to contact us and we would send her one, etc.   I think she appreciated that and I enjoyed sending her pictures and messages about Jacob. 

The key to having an open adoption is respect and good communication from all parties involved.  And each adoption and situation is different, but we have been happy with our experience in an “open” adoption.

You know I love to talk about Jacob, so I will share a quick story that made my heart smile the other day.  We were having family pictures taken by a girl we know, and as we were driving her home, she asked us if Jacob’s adoption was open  (she was curious, since she was adopted).  We told her that yes we did, and said we had recently visited with his birth mother and birth father.  I then turned to Jacob and asked him if he remembered seeing them.  He said yes and then I asked if he could tell her their names.  He then said, “____ is my birth mother, and _____ is my birth father.  He was smiling and so happy when he mentioned their names, and I was too.  I am glad he knows them and loves them, and that he has felt of their love for him as well.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Doggedly determined

--> So, yesterday I wrote a depressing post about my frustration with the adoption process and having to wait for someone to choose me.  As I laid on my bed crying and feeling sorry for myself, the thought came to my mind, that the problem was not that someone didn’t want to choose me, but that they hadn’t found me yet.  This thought helped me get off the bed and formulate another plan of action.  I am going to find our child and I will not give up.   Call it perseverance, determination, or call it stubbornness.  On this thing I will not budge.  I will not give up on finding my child or his/her birthparents. 

Obviously, that is what I have been trying to do all along, getting the word out about our adoption so we could be found, but yesterday when things seemed to be at a standstill, I made the mistake of entertaining negative thoughts and questions.  So the next time my mind tries to drag me down and have me entertain the stupid question: “What’s wrong with me?”   I have my answer ready—Nothing!  There’s nothing wrong with me.   Things will work out, I just have to keep at it and not give up.  This isn't about me, this is about my child and those connected with adoption.  Sounds simple enough.  And yes, it sounds a little hard at the same time.  But I can do hard things.  That's where being stubborn about somethings really comes in handy.   

I am not sure what I will do differently or in addition to find our child or to help his/her birth parents find us, but I will persevere through this and I will not give up.

I was curious to read more about what it means to be stubborn, and I liked the definition I found on the internet.  Stubborn:  having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something.  I like the idea of being doggedly determined about adoption. 

We will have more children join our family.  That's all there is to it.   And the whirlwind of excitement and joy and sleeplessness that comes from having another baby in the house will occur and it will all have been worth it. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feeling frustrated.

This is the part of adoption that is really hard.  When you are just waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and…well you get the idea.  We have had an adoption profile up for 2 years now in hopes of adopting another child.  I have had a blog, I have told everyone I know about our desire to adopt, I have a public facebook page about our adoption, but here I am 2 yrs later, the day after renewing our home study yet again and I just feel frustrated and deflated with this whole process. 

I try to ignore my mind trying to get me to focus on the unanswerable questions like-- Why do I have to wait so long to have another child?  Why can’t I have any control in building my family?  Why doesn’t anyone choose us?  But there is no answer to those questions and so there is no point in focusing on them.  But it sure is hard not to sometimes.  Like most anything in life, no one else really knows how hard something is until they experience it themselves, and based on our different life experiences, some things are harder for some people.  All I know is that having  no control over the thing I want most, and having to wait and wait to be chosen is a hard thing for me. 

That’s all I have to say.  I don’t feel like writing anything cheery at the moment.  I know on these profiles and blogs I’m supposed to present my best self and “sell” or “market” myself.   But obviously I am not doing a good job, so here I am telling everyone, I am a real, normal, ordinary person who feels so frustrated and sad that I can’t seem to have children join my family no matter how hard I try.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go curl up in bed and finish crying my eyes out.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


As you can see, Jacob is holding up a big #3.  He will be turning 3 pretty soon.  It is crazy to think he will a 3 yr old.  He has been practicing holding up 3 fingers and saying he’s three. 

Since 3 is a magic number
I thought I would makes lists of 3

Places Rob and I have lived:
CA, UT, and TX

# of times we moved in our 1st yr of marriage: 
3  --from an apt in CA, to an apt in TX, to our current home in TX

# of times it rained during those moves:
you guessed it—3

3 places we have visited:
-Cancun, Mexico
-Australia & New Zealand

3 places I would love to visit;
-Maachu Pichu, Peru

3 activites Jacob likes
-playing with trucks 
-playing baseball
-riding his bike

3 books Jacob likes:
Caps for sale
Naughty little monkeys
Dingo (Richard Scarcy trucks book)

3 books I like
The Help
Hunger Games
The Hiding Place

3 adult songs Jacob likes
1.     Wildfire by John Mayer  “say, say, say”
2.     Home by Phillip Phillips
3.   I will wait,  by Mumford and Sons

3 kid songs Jacob likes:
       1.  Habia un sapo  (it’s a Spanish song)
    2.   Hot Dog hot dog, hot diggidy dog
        3.  Shake your sillies out

3 phrases Jacob says lately that make me laugh
1.     When he wants a lot of treats.  Jacob: “I want lots”.  Me, I will give you some.  Jacob rephrases: “I want many”
2.     When looked at something that is written down, “are those the number words?”
3.     When we are both talking and Jacob still has something he wants to say, “I still talking”

3 foods Jacob likes
             1. Pizza
             2. yogurt raisins
             3. any candy

3 things I love about Jacob:
             1.  His laugh
             2.  His smile
             3.  His love and concern for others.

3 things on Jacob’s ever changing and long birthday wish list
1.     A big Mack truck
2.     Lots of race cars
3.     A big bouncy ball
I think he will be a happy birthday boy !!!  I am excited to celebrate his special day with him.  It has been hard for Rob and I to wait until the big day to give him his presents! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Embracing Adoption

I know it has been forever since I wrote here…but in the last week or so a few people have asked about my adoption blog, so I figured since I had told them, yes I have a blog, then perhaps I should write in it.

It has been a busy few weeks and months.  Jacob started preschool and loves it.  Unfortunately for me, on the first day of school, his new friends shared a lovely cold with him, and he being the generous and kind boy that he is, he promptly shared it with me.  And lately whenever I get colds, they really hang on and worsen until I get some antibiotics to kick them out.  But, now I have some antibiotics and am feeling a little better.

Life is going well.  Jacob is busy as ever, silly as always, and lots of fun to be with.  I liked last week when he took me by the hand and said, “Mommy come, sit here... now tickle me.”  And so I did, and we laughed and had a good time.  I love laughing with my boy. 

Aside from giving a little update about us  (since I put a lot of pictures on our facebook page that show what we are up to on a day to day basis) I thought I would share something I wrote awhile back.  (I used to have a blog—but stopped shortly after we adopted Jacob) about findng joy in life… Infertility can be quite difficult and after our second unsuccessful in-vitro attempt I was struggling to find joy in the daily moments of my life.  My husband and I were moving towards the path of adoption, and I wanted and knew that my heart needed to heal.  My faith was fragile, my outlook jaded, and I was tired of feeling that way, so I tried to focus on the good and joyful things going on.  Anyhow, in that process, some people seemed to like what I wrote and I was once asked how I “came to terms with adoption”.  The following is of what I replied, with some minor additions or grammar corrections.

I came to love and embrace adoption, but it was a process over time. 

At some point early on in our infertility (after a few unsuccessful treatments) and realizing that having a baby was not going to be as easy as we had hoped.  Around this same time I happened to walk past the store "Motherhood Maternity" while at the mall.  At that point I had a mini breakdown.  I sat down on a bench and felt sorry for myself.  I don't know if I outright cried, but I wanted too.  I was angry and felt justified in my anger at my body, God, and those that easily become pregnant, and just waltz into a store to buy maternity clothes. Would I ever go shopping for pants with stretchy waistbands or oversized shirts? Not that that was the best part about having a baby, but it was part of the process and I wanted to be able to do that.  I wanted to get pregnant and have a baby.  Was that too much to ask?    

I had always been open to adoption and loved hearing adoption stories, and as time went on with the infertility treatments not working out I began to realize that adoption might really be something we would be involved in.  As time went on I realized this focus of "wearing maternity clothes" was a bit myopic.  Time and the sheer fact that infertility treatment after infertility treatment failed led us to seriously consider adoption.  When I found out I had a unicornuate uterus (I will include a post about UU in case you are wondering what that is).  I learned that if I were blessed to become pregnant, bedrest, risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, and likely c-section were also things to be aware of.  I had to give up the idea I had that I would have a normal and natural pregnancy and delivery, let alone carry a baby to term.  Trying to have twins via in-vitro, IVF was also out of the question.  For me, these small bits of information helped me begin the process of accepting the fact that I would have to give up what little control I thought I had in the reproductive process.  

I realized there was more than one way to have children.  One way involved maternity clothes, morning sickness, hormone fluctuations, food cravings, ultrasound pictures, hearing the heartbeat and feeling the baby move and grow,, pregnancy announcements, registering for baby shower items, etc.  

The other way, adoption, would require any length of waiting period—maybe less than 9 months, maybe longer.  It would require us to be ok with giving up a lot of control—in that I mean—we would need to be ok with waiting or someone to think we would be good parents and then place their child with us and allow social workers to come in our home and also give us their stamp of approval.    We had to embrace and look forward to a different way of announcing to friends and family our hopes of adopting and also when we were “matched” or chosen by birthparents.  We experienced the excitement of seeing our child for the 1st time too, it wasn’t via ultrasound, but after he was born—and it was amazing and unforgetteable.  With adoption we experienced an intense amount of stress and joy in short spans of time and were able to build relationships with people we wouldn’t have had we not adopted.    

So with time and this realization, it really wasn't that difficult for me to "come to terms" with adoption as a means of growing our family.  Sometimes, yes, I would have a tinge of sadness if I thought, I wonder what my biological child would've looked like?  Or if I was feeling anxious or unsure of myself I would think, "Why do I think I can be a good mother? or, “What if nobody thinks I can be a good mom and I am never given the chance to adopt a child?”, or "What if the child I adopt doesn't like me?”  It was one thing to take on the responsibility of bringing a biological child into the world, but to raise and parent an adoptive child really put pressure on me to think about whether or not I was up to the task of being a good mother.  Perhaps because I knew others (social workers, birthparents) would be thinking and asking the same thing.  I think these questions and feelings were normal and were important to recognize.  It was important to acknowledge the loss that it was---to set aside the dream of becoming pregnant and carrying your biological child.  I always recognized it as a unique and beautiful thing that I hoped to experience, so while it was a little sad and difficult to set that dream aside, it was something that happened gradually as I embraced and looked forward to a new dream—adoption.  I knew adopting a child was just as beautiful and unique and I was so excited to experience it and become a parent in that way.  I knew the child we would adopt would bring so much joy and happiness to us, and I could hardly wait.

I also like having an open adoption.  I really enjoyed getting to know my son's birth parents.  I liked learning about their personalities, traits, and physical characteristics.  My son gets his good looks from his birthparents, as well as other great characteristics.   I will be able to tell him about them and the great people they are. 

I think time and just the realization that if I wanted to have children—then was the way in which it could happen.  I read stories and articles about adoption and I saw it as something miraculous and amazing.  I realized that not many people have the opportunity to adopt a child, and that I was lucky to be able to have this unique experience.  And unique and amazing it has been.

I think serious consideration of adoption is just a natural progression that occurs if having a child biologically is not possible.  It doesn't mean the child I adopt is loved any less, or that I am sorry we turned to adoption to grow our family.  I truly hope my child will know that.   I hope society and people will realize that too.  I am so grateful to have adopted our son, it was been a great experience and amazing blessing in our lives.

To get to this place of embracing the adoption, there were other things that helped.  Writing in my journal helped me organize my thoughts and feelings. Reading the scriptures and uplifting talks by church leaders helped me feel at peace with my infertility and not be upset with my body's inability to become pregnant.  Reading other good of fun books helped me take my mind of things.   Prayer and patience was vital.   Exercising helped.  Loving friends and family helped me through difficult days.  Focusing and thinking about others needs helped me forget my own.  
Finding the funny things about infertility helped—I cannot tell you how many laughs Rob and I shared in doctor’s offices.  

Having a photo shoot before an in-vitro treatment.  
Sporting the blue hat and hospital gown as best I can.
I definitely don't miss that outfit.

The night or two before we left town to see our son in the hospital after his birth, I had to go to the mall.  I had trouble finding the item I was looking for and ended up walking to the side of the mall I rarely go to.  As I did so I saw a certain store-- you guessed it--Motherhood Maternity.   When I saw it, I realized I hadn't passed that store since that sad day years ago.  This time as I saw it, I just laughed.  It seemed a lifetime ago that I had sat there feeling sad and hopeless, because all I felt at that moment was joy and excitement that in a day or two I would be holding little Jacob in my arms.  That was such a great feeling. 


Reading this 2+ yrs later brings back all those memories, and new ones with it.  Remembering those special first days we had Jacob with us in our home were some of the happiest I have ever had in my life.  We felt so much joy and love —it was just amazing.  I will never forget what a special time that was for me and for our family. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Story

I heard this quote in a little video about mothers, and I liked it:  "Every time a child is born, so is a mother".   That is how I felt when Jacob was born.  That was the day I became a mother.  I am always especially grateful to Jacob's birth parents on Mother's Day, when I think of the gift of Motherhood than they gave me when they allowed Rob and me to parent and raise Jacob. 

Since it is Mother's Day I thought I would share a few thoughts I had about when I became a mother and an experience that caused me to reflect on it a few months after we had adopted Jacob.  

The following are some of the thoughts I had written over 2 years ago...

Last week (over 2 yrs ago) a friend from work invited me to hang out with her and her moms group.  I decided to join her and had a nice time.  At lunchtime we went to the food court and while there I overheard some of the ladies discussing their children's "birth stories".  I was a few seats over from them, so I wasn't engaged in their conversation, but over the noise of the food court I heard the words: labor, epidural, dilated, tired, and c-section, just to name a few.  I wondered if they would ask me how Jacob’s birth went, but to be honest, I felt a bit like an outsider.  If I had a birth story like theirs it would have been natural to join in.  But, I didn't, and I wondered what I would say and how I would share about Jacob’s adoption if they were to ask.

Trust me, I am not embarrassed in the least to tell people about Jacob’s adoption.  I just didn't know these ladies that well, and it didn't come up.  And I don’t know how much I would’ve actually shared in a noisy food court with people I didn’t even know. 

But, the more I thought about birth stories and about what and how I would share of our story, the more I wished I had been asked about his birth. When I think about a “birth story” and what I may have shared, these are a few thoughts that come to mind. 

I know a few details about his actual birth I could share, but a huge part of his birth story is his adoption story.  So I would obviously share that we adopted Jacob and what that experience was like for us.   I might share how anxious I was to hear news about Jacob on the day of his delivery.   I might talk about how stressed I was making sure flowers were delivered to his birthmother.  And how I was an emotional mess when there was a glitch with the flower delivery.  I could tell them about how we went out to dinner to celebrate Jacob’s birthday.  Not many new moms can do that.  

I could also share how we packed up our favorite snacks and all of his gear,  (including more formula than he could probably drink in a month) to take with us as we traveled to meet Jacob for the first time.  I might also tell them how the social worker and I were wearing the same style and color shirt when we went to meet up with everyone in the hospital for the first time.   Oh well, nothing I could do about it. 

Of course I would tell about how Jacob was so cute and little.  And how I fell in love with him the minute I laid eyes on him.  (I loved him before I had met him, but to see him and hold him, was so special).  I would tell about how I got to feed him while I was there and how I was praying he wouldn’t fuss or spit up while I was feeding or holding him.  He did great by the way.  And how I was trying to just be myself and not stress about things out of my control.   I could share how this time while we were in town we had actually found a hotel in the area with a decent bed to sleep on.  Not that I slept much that first night.  I was too excited and my mind was going a mile a minute.  And when I did finally fall asleep, the hospital I worked for woke me up when they called and left a voice message asking me if I could come in and work a shift for them that next morning.  Thanks but no thanks for the wake up call.  Oh well. 

Anyhow, there is much more I could share—about how much Jacob’s birth parents love Jacob and how we are forever grateful to them for choosing Rob and me to be his parents.  Perhaps I would have been asked about the process of adoption and if I had been nervous, etc.  I would have said, most definitely I was nervous—that is part of the adoption process.  But everything worked out.  I bet Jacob’s birthparents were nervous as well.  I would talk about my love and respect for Jacob’s birth parents.  I’m sure I would be asked if we still have contact with them.  I would explain a little about how we share pictures or news about Jacob with them.  I might tell how the night we adopted Jacob we gave a few gifts to his birth parents and met some of their family members.  And then I would share how special it was to drive home sitting in the backseat next to tiny little Jacob while we called family members to share our news with all of them.   I would share how happy we were and how excited everyone was to hear about Jacob.  As I reread this I feel the same feelings I felt as I wrote it the first time.  I am smiling and my heart feels so happy.  I am so blessed to have Jacob in my life.   These are some things I might share as part of Jacob’s birth story. 

Now I have some additional things to add to what I shared from what I wrote over 2 yrs ago.   I didn’t write in that journal entry I shared, but I definitely thought about Jacob’s birth parents.  I tried to imagine and think about how they might be feeling.  We tried to share frequent pictures and text messages in those first weeks and let them know they were in our thoughts and prayers.  We all loved Jacob and I could imagine how much they missed him, especially in those first few days and weeks.  I was grateful for the love they showed us and the love they continue to show us.  They are such amazing and great people.  And I hope Jacob’s birth mother feels of our love and remembers we are thinking about her today on this special day--Mother’s Day. 

Now another little story to finish things up…

I was actually at a food court this last week with a few moms I didn’t know that well.  I was asked if and when I was going to have more kids.  I said, we were hoping to adopt again (they didn’t know we had adopted Jacob), and then they asked a few questions about adoption, etc. 

I didn’t share all of the lovely and emotional parts of what I just wrote here, but I explained a little bit about adoption and answered their questions.  People always want to know when Jacob came home with us and about our relationship with his birth parents.  So I shared a bit about that, and then I was asking Jacob if he remembered when he saw his birth parents, (I of course used their names when I asked him, but won’t share them here).  His eyes lit up and he smiled when I said their names and I think he repeated them as well.  Which made me smile and feel happy. 

I shared how the other day while leaving Target, I had a good laugh when Jacob asked me, “Where’s my brother?”  (yesterday he also asked where his sister was—so he will be happy with either a brother or a sister).  I also told them how Jacob has a book about the human body.  He loves this book.  It shows a skeleton, muscles, etc. 

Also in the book is a page that shows several pictures of a baby growing and developing inside a mom’s belly.  He loves to look at those pictures, and has always loved babies.  So after I explained a little bit about that page he always talks about how babies grow inside their mommies.  He has then tried to say I have a baby in my belly.  I have told him I don’t and I have also told him he grew inside his birth mother’s belly.  After telling him this I showed him a picture we have of his birth parents when his birth mother was pregnant.  I explained to him how he used to be tiny and be inside her belly.  I don’t know how much he really understands, but he had seen this picture before, but ever since I pointed that out to him in connection with the other picture in his book, he loves to look at that picture and that makes me happy.  I want him to know how much his birth parents mean to us and how much they love him.  And I want him to love them as well.  I shared a little bit about all this that I wrote with them, and they thought it was really cool.  They're right--it is.  :)

Adoption is part of Jacob’s birth story.  It is a part of our family’s story and I am very grateful it is.   I love that as he gets older I can share more of it with him and I hope he will feel how special and loved he is when he hears or thinks about it.  

Thank you for taking the time to read it as well.   These experiences are dear to my heart. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our potential

Just a reminder that there is still a lot of good in the world

Every 6 months my church has a general conference broadcast where we listen via satellite TV to our leaders and messages they have prepared.  The latest one was about 2 weeks ago.  In one talk a story of a high school football star who befriended a girl that was being bullied was shared.  It was such a great story of love and kindness and how just one person can influence and change another person’s life.   I was so impressed with this story Carson Jones, and how he befriended and helped Chy Johson.   I learned from reading the ESPN news article about this, that Carson hadn’t even told his parents what he was doing and his mom only learned about it through a newspaper article she read after his kind actions went viral .  I have included the links to the general conference article where I first heard about this story and the article I read that was written by ESPN writer Rick Riely.  It was such a great story.  Reading this story a few times through I had various thoughts.  I can only imagine how Carson's mom felt after reading hearing what he had done.  As a mom, I hope Jacob will have the courage and inspiration to make good choices.  That he will choose to be kind and inclusive of others.  That he will use his influence for good without looking for praise or attention.  Carson is a hero in Chy's and her mother's eyes.  I hope I too can reach out to others and bless their lives the way Carson has, and I hope to teach my son to do the same.   Everyone is going through difficult times and fighting hard battles.  If we can remember our great potential in supporting and loving one another I think it will not only help those we love and help, but it will bless our lives as well.

I just wanted to share this story with you.  I hope it will inspire and uplift you as much as it did me. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts about today

I am heartbroken and saddened

It is a sad day today. 
My thoughts and prayers go out to all in Boston
The pictures and video of this act of terror were just horrific.
Watching the news was so depressing and the phrase “man’s inhumanity to man” came to mind.  So I looked it up and there were a few quotes using that phrase that stuck out to me. 
“Man’s inhumanity to his brother is Our greatest sorrow.” Our Lady. 

“Man’s inhumanity to man shows only the weakness of the soul.”  Unknown
I would have to agree with these people.  It is just terrible and sickening what the terrorists did today.  I can't even comprehend how twisted their minds are.  It is horrific.  

Earlier, I had been on FB chatting and sharing jokes with a friend.  Then the news about Boston started showing up on my feed and those jokes weren’t funny anymore.  As I thought about this, I remembered something the prophet, President Monson had said, 
When compared to eternal verities, most of the questions and concerns of daily living are really rather trivial. What should we have for dinner? What color should we paint the living room? Should we sign Johnny up for soccer? These questions and countless others like them lose their significance when times of crisis arise, when loved ones are hurt or injured, when sickness enters the house of good health, when life’s candle dims and darkness threatens. Our thoughts become focused, and we are easily able to determine what is really important and what is merely trivial. “  The race of life. (april 2012 general conference)    

It saddened me that time wouldn't stand still very long.  I had an ever growing stack of laundry to fold, dinner to make, but I knew for so many people, that today marked the day that their lives would never be the same.  And that just breaks my heart.  

I was also reminded that while there is much evil in the world, there is greater good and it will never be overcome. 

I think many of us are asking tonight, Why do bad things happen to good people?  I know I was.  And as I share this quote, it is in no way to diminish the grief and suffering that we and especially those in Boston are experiencing.  But this helped me as I asked myself that exact question.

"If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil–all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls...Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Proceeds the Miracle, [1972], 97).

Even though I think that is true, today I wish it wasn’t.  I wish the heartache and suffering that occurred hadn’t.  I wish we could stop this madness from happening.  I wish the phrase “man’s inhumanity to man” wasn't a part of our vernacular.  

As I go to be tonight I pray for peace.  I pray for the people whose lives will never be the same.  Those who have lost loved ones, or whose bodies have been maimed, or who will have nightmares about what they saw and experienced.  I pray that someday soon good will overcome evil.  I pray that we can be kind and forgiving to one another and remember what is truly important.  I pray that we can remember the Savior Jesus Christ and all that He suffered all for all so that we can know that someone understands the pain and heartache we go through.  I pray for faith to remember that God has not forgotten us and that He will bless and help us.   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Parenting with Love

Parenting is many things.  It is a fun, challenging, memorable, difficult, and fulfilling blessing in our lives.   It’s definitely something you can’t fully understand unless you experience it for yourself.   Essentially it is an act of love.  Every day we are serving, loving, and caring for our little boy regardless of whether the day is smooth sailing or a little rocky.  Love is essential when parenting and caring for little children. 

Like everyone, we want to do the best we can in raising Jacob and in creating a loving and special home. 

At times, we don’t always feel like we know what we’re doing.  But we try our best and try to build on what works and learn from what doesn’t seem to work well. 

I really enjoy seeing how Jacob learns and grows from every little thing.  He is constantly watching and listening.  He can be talking to himself and playing with a toy in the other room and later talk about something he overheard Rob and I talking about while he was in the other room.   

I saw a quote on a friend’s FB the other day that said:  “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”  Peggy O’Mara   I think that is so true.  Not only does this pertain to what we say directly to them, but what they may overhear us saying about them.  We would hate to overhear someone talking about the things we do wrong.  We already know what we struggle with.  I think kids are the same.  They don’t want to constantly overhear their parent talking about they things they struggle with.  They want to overhear someone talking about what a great person they are and what they are great at. 

There are many things that Rob and I hope our children will learn and do in life.  But some of the main things we hope is that they become good and kind people.   We also hope that they will not only be kind to others, but to themselves.    We hope they will be confident in who they are and have feelings of good self worth. 
One thing we do to try to instill this in Jacob is to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We pray, read the scriptures, and sing songs every day so he can feel of God’s love for him.  It is amazing to me how quickly children can learn things.  We read the scriptures with Jacob and at times we think he isn’t really listening, or we wonder if he’s getting anything out of it.  One time when we were reading the Book of Mormon, we were in the part where Isaiah was quoted.  And we were just getting through it as best we could, I couldn’t hope that Jacob would understand it, because I don’t understand a lot of it.  Anyhow, I was reading some of the strange names:  King Uzziah, Pekah, and Remaliah were listed.  And Jacob just started laughing and repeating their names.  He said their names constantly for weeks.  It was so funny.   There are pretty unique names.  Before that time I had never even noticed them.  He taught me that he was listening and that maybe even reading the difficult portions of Isaiah can be enlightening and fun.  Two of the songs we often sing for Jacob before he goes to sleep are, “I am a child of God” and “My Heavenly Father loves me”.   

My Heavenly Father loves me:
Whenever I hear the song of a bird, or look at the blue blue sky.
Whenever I feel the rain on my face, or the wind as it rushes by.
Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by our lilac tree.
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world,  Heavenly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see the color of butterfly wings
He gave me my ears that I might hear the magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart, I thank him reverently.
For all His creations of which I’m a part,
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.

He now knows those songs by heart and sometimes when he is he will just start singing them to himself.  He often starts to sing “whenever I touch a velvet rose….” When we are out on walks and he sees a colorful flower.  He then touches it and will usually give me a petal or two as a manifestation of his love for me.  I love it.  And I love it when I hear him stating out loud to himself, “My Heavenly Father loves me.”  Yes, Jacob, He does.

Ok, so you may think, this is all fine and well, but what about on the hard days or in difficult moments.  What do you do then?  Good question.  We learn from our mistakes.  We try to be loving, respectful and kind, but sometimes we are impatient and raise our voice a bit.  But we have learned the latter approach doesn’t work out well for anyone.  We try to teach Jacob to apologize when he makes mistakes, and we also tell Jacob sorry when we don’t behave as we should.  If we have to correct Jacob, we also try to show forth an increase of love afterwards so he won’t have any doubt that he is loved.  

A few months ago I started reading the book:  Christlike Parenting: Taking the Pain out of Parenting by Dr. Glen Latham.  It is really good and has helped me understand how I can continue to improve in my efforts to be a kind and Christlike person and parent. 

Ultimately, we can’t make or force our kids to become or act how we might think they should.  They get to decide.  As parents we get to teach them, be there for them, and love them no matter what.  And I believe, if we do that, they will feel of our love and will have happy and fulfilling lives. 

Rob and I love being parents.  We have a lot of the fun as a family.  We also have challenging moments and try to get through them as best we can.  We love our son.   We hope he always knows this and feels this.  He is one of our greatest blessings and joys in life. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dream big

Well, since I can’t sleep, I figured I would get up and write.  Initially when I first met a person it may take a little time for me to open up and let that person get to know me.  The same is true with me regarding blogging and FB.  But now that I have started blogging again, I feel like we are good friends.  Well, at least you know me, and if you like what you read you will keep coming back.  So that makes me feel as though we are friends. Sound good to you?  :)

A funny thing about Rob and I is that we like to virtual shop.  Let me explain.  Last week we thought it would be fun to get road bikes.  So we researched it and got really excited about many aspects of it. But, it is really expensive to get a bike, etc, and then there is the question as to how much biking I would actually be able to do since I have a little shadow that goes by the name of Jacob.  It would be fun though.  And when the time comes to get a bike, I already know a lot about them.  :)

So tonight Rob was really excited about this grill/smoker called the Big Green Egg.  We watched a half a dozen videos about it.  Some were ridiculous—a ten minute you tube video showing how nicely packed it is.  Come on.  But we saw someone cook a delicious pizza, brisket, bread, and all sorts of yummy goodness.  Rob said he watched someone cook a peach cobbler.  And when Rob mentioned this might be something he could really get into—Who am I to stop a man from trying to cook.  I love any meal I don’t have to cook.  Don’t get me wrong, I do cook and I think I am fairly decent at it, but it can get a little old.  If I were rich I would definitely hire a personal chef.  Food always tastes better when someone else makes it.  Anyhow, at the moment we are still pretty interested in it.  But it is pretty large and expensive.  And then when Rob said he wouldn’t get the pizza dough or other things to cook ready, he would only put it on the grill, my interest in it started to wane.  :)  Just kidding, they do sound really cool.  And it gets super hot in my kitchen during the summer.  Also, Jacob loves playing outside in the backyard and we eat outside right now while the weather is so nice. 

Other things we have looked into are paddleboards.  Well Rob mostly did.  I did for a little bit, but I figured out quickly that I didn’t want one.  I mostly did research on that to either persuade him not to get one, or when he wouldn’t stop researching it, it was to convince him to just get one and be done with it.

A boat would be nice  (we live close to a lake), but the questions of where to store it and the fact that all these fancy fun things cost so much money always comes up.   

But it sure is nice to dream about these things.   And if you’re going to dream, why not dream big? 

We are quite content with what we have.  We have a nice home and a happy little family.   And as long as we have each other, we are good.   And of course we have dreams and things we hope to accomplish.  I will share one of mine with you.  I love children’s books, and have always wanted to write one.  Maybe I will someday.  Another dream I do have is to look back on my life and be happy with the person I was and the life I lived.  I want to be a good and fun mom and have my kids happy to be home and enjoy life in one another's company.   I can speak for Rob in saying that he shares this  same dream of creating a happy family and having fun memories with our kids.

So lest you think we don’t have any real fun, let me tell you what else we like to do.  Rob and I like to go on dates.  We have been to a few fun concerts together.  But usually for our dates we go eat somewhere and then enjoy a fun movie together.  We like going on double dates with people where the guys or girls plan it and surprise one another with the activity.  Rob always tries to figure out what we are doing.  He likes to know what's going on, where as I think the fun is in the surprise and I would rather wait and experience the event.  We also like to go running together.   Jacob gets so excited when he sees me in my running clothes.  He likes riding in the stroller while I exercise.  But via osmosis he feels like he is exercising and loves to tell us that he’s exercising. 

We like to do the things we can afford near our lake like taking walks on the trails or throwing rocks in the lake.  We like to go swimming, (Jacob has been practicing in the bath tub lately since he “can’t swim”).  We like to go out to ice cream as a family.  I still remember the first time we took Jacob to get an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins.  He was in heaven.  We like to hang around the house and watch movies or  “play cushions”.   “Play cushions” requires that Jacob throws the cushions off the sofa and jumps around on them.  If only we could remember how much fun we had as two year olds.  I guess that is where I come in.  I try to take pictures and videos of these little moments so I can show Jacob how fun and silly he is.  

So there you go.  Just what you wanted to know.  Thanks to the internet Rob and Jana spent a good portion of their day researching another thing to buy.  Please tell me we are not the only ones who do this.  The only question now for us is will we buy it?  Chances are, we won’t, but you never know…