Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Some pre-holiday humor to lighten your load

"Hand... where are you?"
"There he is!"
[game invented by Abby]

Young Einstein.
[yes, those are Mr. Potato Head glasses]

Stay away from the needles, Abby!

"Grrr.... bear!"
[Casey seems to think he has a snack to share]

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My Favorite Things

In response to a post by my friend Jennifer, I have decided to make a short list of my favorite things. Here goes!

Trista's Favorite Things (sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

Abby so giggly, and Ethan so cuddly.
Dogs who lick faces, and husbands so studly.
Hot apple cider on days you wear ‘muffs,
This is just some of my favorite stuff!

Warm baths by candlelight, hot summer sunrays,
Smells of clean baby and beautiful fall days.
Talks with my Jennifers*, good cups of joe,
These are some favorite things, don't you know!

Bare Naked Ladies and mint chocolate ice cream,
Seeing my husband fulfilling his life’s dreams.
Singing my lungs out and “Slug Days” with kids,
These things I hope I will never be rid!

When I’m tired, when the home’s messed,
When we're in "the twos".
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I feel good, it’s true!

*My two greatest friends, Jennifer and Jenny :)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Sigh. Oh, woah is Ethan. As he nears his 19 month birthday, he has to endure a major breakup. This breakup will leave him yearning for weeks to come, pining for his lost love... his pacifier.

The rule with our kids has always been that 'fiers are for naps and bedtime. Occasionally, the car if we're on a long trip. But that's it. Ethan has developed a stronger attachment to his 'fiers than Abby ever did. He made up his own little name for them - "bawa." He comforts himself in the crib by rubbing the pacifier on his forehead. The "bawas" are his friend. But, enough is enough, it is time. Bye bye, "bawa". Ethan's a big boy now!

Today, we removed all of the pacifiers from sight. We put him down for his nap sans "bawa." He cried for a few minutes, and then we haven't heard from him since. Nighttime will probably be more difficult. But, we're not taking any steps backward by giving him the pacifier. It's Ethan's first breakup. Hopefully he'll move beyond it soon. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"This little Baby is born again,
been reborn in the hearts of men.
Every Christmas,
this Child is born again."
- This Baby is Born Again

It's Advent. The time of year for waiting. The time of reflection when we prepare for the coming of Christ. The period of expecting.

Our family has been lighting a candle every night with dinner to remember our hope for the coming of our Savior. We've also been using a 6 minute reflection guide which looks at Jesus' birth story from the gospel of Luke. It's been very helpful for me to read, pray and reflect.

Today's entry talked about Elizabeth and Zacharias' story. With God's help, Elizabeth became pregnant after years of being "barren" (gosh, I hate that word). She was filled with the holy spirit. She and Zecheria obeyed the Lord and named their son John. Their John was John the Baptist. He was born a few months before Jesus. The reflection guide said that this story is not often mentioned with the story of Jesus' birth. It takes a back seat to the main event. The guide revealed that God never makes us take a backseat. In God's eyes, we are all the main event.

We have our own story of expecting. After months of reflecting, praying and talking, Mark and I have decided to adopt a third child. We've started the initial paperwork for our homestudy, and in the next couple of months should be finished. Then we begin the process of waiting.

Our "expecting" is a blessing for us in this time of Advent. It may not be the main event, but it is still imortant to God. Being in a state of waiting during a liturgical time of waiting makes Advent even more special to me. This is sure to be my most spiritual Advent to date.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ethan's Christmas Gift

Yesterday, Ethan got an early Christmas gift. We had the honor of visiting with Ethan's birth family for the first time since he was born.

We met Ethan's birthparents when his birthmom (S.) was in her 7th month of pregnancy. We had gotten a call from an adoption attorney who we had connected with early on in the adoption process. She told us of a pregnant couple considering adoption, and wondered if we were interested. It worked perfectly with our timing - we were planning on starting the adoption process for baby #2 once Abby's adoption was finalized in May. We got this call in March.

We met with S. and J. (Ethan's birthdad) and their two sons (ages 4 and 18 months at the time). We all seemed to hit it off, and our relationship began. I was fortunate to be able to take S. to her doctors' appointments for those two months. It was nice to get to know her better, and also to hear Ethan's heartbeat. S. and I developed a friendship and level of comfort with each other. She invited me to witness Ethan's birth, and asked me to cut the cord. It all felt very right between us, even from the start.

After Ethan was born, it was difficult for S. emotionally. Our agency shared with us how hard it was for S. when she appeared in court to relinquish her parental rights. S. also told them that getting updates from us was bittersweet - she liked seeing how happy and safe Ethan was, but it also forced her to revisit the pain in a very real way. My interactions with S. for the first year of Ethan's life were very supportive, but very tentative. I let her direct the relationship with us (really, the relationship with Ethan). I sent regular updates, and she called every couple of months to talk.

After Ethan's first birthday, she shared with me on the phone that she was feeling more at peace with the decision. Although it was still painful for her, she felt like she was ready to see Ethan in person, was even excited about the idea of it. We made ourselves available whenever she was ready to see him. And it finally happened yesterday.

We decided to meet at the mall, so the kids could play together. S., J. and their two boys came, plus J.'s mom, brother, and sister's family. When S. first saw Ethan playing, she went to him and sat alone with him for awhile, watching him and talking to him. There were tears in her eyes when she finally walked away. It was a very personal moment I was priviledged to witness.

Everyone was excited to see Ethan, and Ethan warmed up pretty quickly to everyone (much to my delight). Ethan's birthdad, J., was pretty reserved yesterday. It seemed that he felt awkward in the situation. I did notice that even though he stayed back, he watched Ethan a lot, which was nice to see. Ethan played with his birthbrothers (who are now 5.5 (J.) and 3 (E.)). Brother J. gave me a big hug first thing when they arrived, and a little while later told me very matter-of-factly, "Ethan is my brother. He was adopted." I praised him for being such a smart boy to know that, and told him that Ethan loves him very much. Brother E. acted just like Ethan in lots of ways (and looks a lot like him, too). They are both pretty leary of new situations. They both had the same scowl when they were acting up. And they even share the same little head bobble when they are being silly. It's so cool to see different aspects of his birthfamily in Ethan.

There were Christmas gifts for Ethan, which is very special. We treasure the gifts that the kids receive from their birthfamilies, and I take pictures for the kids' scrapbooks so they will know what their birthfamilies chose for them. Ethan's birthfamily was very thoughtful, and even included gifts for Abby. We had brought gifts for Ethan's birthbrothers, and a special mini scrapbook about Ethan for his birthmom and birthdad.

It was a very nice day, a family day. We hope to have lots more nice days like that with S., J., J. and E. We believe it is a great thing for Ethan to know his birthfamily on a personal level, and to know how much they love him. Meeting in person, it was obvious to see how special he is in their eyes.

In order to maintain the birthfamily's privacy, I am not including any photos. But I wish I could: I have a precious picture of Ethan and his birthmom that I will frame for his room, as well as some really cute pictures of him with his birthbrothers. It's great to have those photos for Ethan as he grows up!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A little slice of heaven

Thursday morning, 7:30. Grab the kids and tromp downstairs. Time for breakfast! Eat up - we've got to go! Get dressed, and put your coats on. Kiss Daddy goodbye. Climb into the van. Buckle up, we're off to church!

Drive to church. Notice every schoolbus along the way! Pull into the lot - everyone out - yes you can walk, Abby. Trot to the nursery. Your big tears tell me you don't want me to go, Ethan. You'll have fun! Don't worry! You love to play with the other kids.

Who's working the babysitting co-op today? Natalie and Sarah! My week isn't until January. Until then, no kids from 9 to noon Thursdays. See you later, kids! I love you!

Hop into the van, a little lighter. Stop at the coffee shop - two grande carmel cafe's, please. Pop into the post office; 5 books of stamps will be fine. Pull into the garage with a smile on my face.

Give Mark his coffee and a kiss. Time to get to work! Clean the bathrooms; toilets, sinks, tubs, showers. Listen to Mark's Big Bad VooDoo Daddy CD while I work, keeps me light on my toes. Switch laundry loads. Start the dusting downstairs. A little Natalie Cole Christmas CD will do the trick. Uh, oh - too many toys in the toy room with the Christmas tree in there! Time to move some to the basement. Rearrange the legos, dollies, blocks, stuffed animals. Fun fun fun!

Oh no - it's been 2 hours! Where has the time gone? Kick it into high gear. Switch laundry loads. Get out the vacuum. Move out of the way, Maggie! How much fur can you dogs grow, exactly? Unbelievable. Empty the vacuum canister for the 8th time - all done!

Time for a quick shower. Ahh. It feels good to be clean. Sure, I'd like to go out for lunch, honey. We need to get going - kids need to be picked up. Drive back to church. Back to the nursery. Mommy - Up!!! Of course I'll pick you up Ethan - I missed you too! Let's get coats on, we're going to a restaurant. Today's a special day.

{Smile}. I love Thursdays.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Super Scrappers

This post is a little belated, but better late than never :)

A few months ago, I got the brilliant idea to organize a scrapbook weekend for my mom, sisters, nieces, best friend and myself. Since we are located in two different states, we would meet halfway between for a weekend of fun and scrappin'. I began to get excited about the idea, and after bouncing it off of everyone, started the process of research. I found a scrapbook store willing to do a weekend crop on the one weekend we all had available. I found a hotel nearby that was inexpensive. The plans were completed quickly, and then we had to wait until November 11th to go. I looked forward to the weekend for a few months!

There were nine of us who attended the weekend: Me, my mom, my sister-in-law Tracy, my sister Becky, my niece Breanna, my niece Courtney, my sister Bobbi, my niece Kelsey and my best friend Jennifer. We had FUN! We cropped Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. I completed 15 pages, which is less than my usual for a crop weekend. But I had so much fun gabbing and seeing everyone, I didn't care. We played games in the hotel at night (with a few wine coolers and some Bailey's Irish Cream to make it interesting). We went out for meals together. And we each completed a similar page for our albums, called the "diamond page." It was a blast! Several people asked if we were going to make it an annual retreat. I think we all enjoyed ourselves on our "girls weekend away."

Here I am, pondering a page on my sweet Abby. Notice how messy my area is - I am always losing things in my piles of junk!
These are the 9 finished "diamond pages" - aren't they beautiful? It was so neat to see everyone take the same idea and make it their own.
The busy scrappers in their 11th hour.
Rear: Becky, Breanna, Jennifer, Tracy, Trista, Boots
Front: Courtney, Kelsey, Bobbi