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Thursday, June 16, 2011

an Announcement

Dear Friends,

I have a very exciting Announcement!

At least, I think it's very exciting.  I am positively giddy about it.


With a growing interest in and love for photography, the opening of my Etsy shop (more items coming soon!), and a deepening enjoyment of writing, I have been feeling little pin-pricks of change in the air.

When I started On the Way back in 2008 (wow, just three years?), I didn't know what blogging was, what the blog world was like, and what a balm it would be for me to share my thoughts and questions so openly, and to hear your comments and answers and feel your support.  It's been a wonderful trip, laughing and smiling and sparkling together, on the way.

But now, we're continuing the journey on a slightly different road, and I would like to invite you all to join me.


I will keep this blog active in case you want to re-visit old posts, but all future posts will be over in my new home.

I hope you like it :)

love,
anne

Friday, June 10, 2011

Traveling..

Today I am flying to California to see my family. My WHOLE family. Except for baby girl.. She has to stay on this coast. My flight was delayed 15 minutes, so I took the extra time to wander the terminal a bit, knowing I would be sitting for six hours.  I'm not worried about the time.  Jetblue tends to arrive earlier than scheduled, and I know my husband will be waiting for me.

I went to use the rest room as a preemptive measure (who really likes making all your row mates get up just so you can piddle?) and as I entered, there was a lovely woman sitting on the floor by the sink, crying.  A woman who was wearing her own baby in a carrier was taking to the woman on the floor, who was pumping (to keep up her milk supply).

Monday, June 6, 2011

So Much More

It was so much more than simply saying goodbye to my husband for a few days, or a week, or several.  It was more than knowing I would be facing an empty house coming home from work, or going to bed alone every night.

Hugging Taylor goodbye at the airport on Sunday was the concrete realization that so much that we have hoped for has, thus far, been withheld.  It was saying goodbye to the hope we fostered for so long, even after March 21, of taking our baby girl home with us soon.  It was saying goodbye to long summer days at the lake house, introducing her sweet face to all our family and friends, bringing her to church, to weddings, baptizing her, becoming a family at last.  A long last.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Thousand

With my head perched on the sill of my bedroom window, I hear birds in neighboring trees through my wire-grid screen.  When I focus closely, every part of the world fits into neat little boxes.  Everything lines up with the coarse wire lines keeping the bugs out.  But when I fix my eyes far away, the lines become blurred; faint outlines of the little pixels that make up the picture of the larger world.


Lightning strikes. I count the seconds until I hear the thunder. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand.  I count to eleven. The storm is not far off.  This weather is oppressive and, even without my chest cold, I find breathing wearisome.  Won't the storm come? Won't the clouds release their torrents and rid me of this weight on my chest, this weight on my mind.

One one thousand, two one thousand. Three. Four...  Seven.  It is getting closer.

Today is six months.  Six months ago today a little girl was born and named after my husband and me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mourning

The other day, I read a post by a recently-delivered mama of twins.  [Please read it, it's wonderful!]  While her boys are mostly healthy, they were born a bit premature, and so they had to spend some time in the NICU, which is always hard for parents.  And not less so "just" because their babies aren't severely sick.

Her experience with her twin boys really resonated with me.  In my struggle with infertility, and now with a lengthy and drawn-out and unpredictable adoption experience, I feel a growing sense of loss.

The Loss of ultrasound appointments and announcing "We're pregnant!"  Informing the grandparents that they are, for the first time or once again, grand.  Missing those baby-kicks inside me, or the first tell-tale signs of labor: this is it--we will see our baby soon.  The Loss of experiencing those first precious days of our baby's life with her.  Seeing her first smile.  Sleepless nights, and early morning snuggles with a swaddled, cuddly newborn babe.  Even sore nipples from that unique breastfeeding relationship.  All these things I am missing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

News

Not of the baby variety, unfortunately, but (in a way) of the "dependent" variety.

I've officially opened my Etsy shop.  *cue dramatic music*

That is, there are things in it.  Two things.  Two mei tai carriers that a friend ordered.  So even though you can't buy them, they're in the shop, and I think that counts for something.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Enough

**apologies if you are reading this for a second time--blogger hiccuped sometime last week and deleted a few of my posts, so I'm re-posting them now**

I am in limbo. Hovering, or perhaps falling, in an empty space I didn't even know existed in the realm of "becoming mother." This "loving a baby who may or may not come home with me" is a wholly new experience for me; nothing like what I expected; nothing like I had heard from other parents, adoptive or biological; nothing at all like what I had hoped and prayed for.

The Lord is certainly teaching me patience. Or, at least, He continues to try to teach me patience. I don't think I'm a very good student, unfortunately. I seem to be asking the same question over and over, a la Derek Zoolander.

Maybe I'm just not hearing the answer.

Maybe the answer is Silence.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Some Sewing...

Oh dear, I haven't been nearly as good at keeping up on my sewing lately as I should.  And I haven't even been good about sharing the things I have done with you.  But I can share a few pictures (at long last--processing and uploading is slow for me too. Hmm..), with links to my inspiration, if you are interested :)

So, to begin.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Whole Hand?

Today is my anniversary.  Five years ago today, I declared before an entire church filled with friends and family, that I would love Taylor forever, come rain or come shine.

2006

Five years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

...


A Paschal Theology of Brioche

**sorry for any duplication--blogger hiccuped last week and deleted a few of my posts, so I'm re-posting them now**


When I reached for my Flour cookbook on Holy Saturday, I was a bit taken aback at the length of time the brioche recipe took. I wanted to make this egg- and butter-rich bread for our Pascha this year, but Saturday was the first time I'd looked at the recipe. "Still," I thought, "I can just break it up around our schedule."

And thinking about it after-the-fact, I think it fit perfectly with so much about Easter. Let me tell you about it.

Ingredients (for such a rich bread, it's surprisingly simple--life lessons, anyone?):
5 eggs, for the Pentateuch: the foundation of our faith, and the beginning of God's work in the world. Eggs for new life; eggs to remind us what we have given up for Lent.
Butter! So much butter: 18 tablespoons, to be precise. Nine in each loaf of brioche. Six sets of three. Oh, the richness of the Trinity :) 
Yeast, because we are Children of the Resurrection! 
Flour and water--can't make bread without these. 
Salt. We are the salt of the earth, after all.
---

So, in making the brioche, first you mix the flour, yeast, salt, eggs, and water together in a mixer, making a stiff dough--hardly pliable at all and not soft or supple like bread dough is supposed to be. But kneading is key in this recipe. In order to entice the gluten to break down, forming lovely, long, elastic strands, you have to knead the heck out of this dough. And you also need butter. Lots of it.

The recipe says to add the butter incrementally, waiting to add more until each addition is fully incorporated. Have you made brioche? Do you know how difficult it is to get (slippery, gooey, room-temperature) butter to mix into a stiff dough? It... takes a while. And even then, when all the butter is mixed in, the dough just sits on the bottom of the bowl all gooey and sticky. "How will this ever be bread," I wondered. Joanne said "trust me," though, so I did.

Knead for 10 minutes. Or longer. On medium speed, until the dough comes together and gets satiny smooth and much more bread-dough-like. I was amazed at this transformation. By the end of the kneading, you turn the mixer up a notch or two so that the dough is audibly slapping the side of the bowl. I guess you have to really beat the dough to get a soft, springy loaf... who knew?

Then you put the now-soft-and-supple-and-tasty dough into a bowl, cover it, and let it rise in the fridge for 6 hours, but preferably overnight. I only had 6 hours before we returned from the vigil with a tight schedule Easter Sunday, so I put it in the fridge, hoping for the best.



All the while we waited the Resurrection of the Lord, the dough was resting. "This is the night.." the priest chanted the Exultet. This is the night that Christ rose from the dead, triumphant over death forever. Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory? And our Easter Bread rested, waiting.

When we got home, late at night, I took the cold, clammy dough out of the fridge and shaped it into two loaves, reserving two little bits for shaping the cross for the top. And, after I placed the braided crosses on top, I covered the loaves in their pans and set them to rise over night. In a warm, cozy spot in my kitchen, the dough slowly expanded and grew to fill the pans, popping over the top, ebullient with the life of the yeast.

Early in the morning, before the sun was up, I woke to my alarm. Time to turn the oven on! Time to bake our Easter Bread. While the oven was warming, I brushed the tops of the loaves with beaten egg, creating the perfect recipe for a golden, shiny crust. Into the oven; set the timer; snooze on the couch.

The bread was done just as the sun was rising, just as the sky was brightening on our happy Easter morn.


And it was delicious.

So delicious, in fact, that I didn't take any pictures. Oops :(

Monday, April 25, 2011

Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is risen!!

St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.  If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.  If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.  If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.  If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.  If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.  If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.  If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.

For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.  He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.  He both honors the work and praises the intention.  Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Good Friday

Did you ever wonder, as a kid, why they called it "Good Friday" if it was the day we remember that Jesus suffered so much on the cross for us?  I know for me, at least, it was always a bit counter-intuitive.  I could understand the logic that our salvation came out of His death, but it still didn't sound like it was a good day.  I'll bet Mary didn't feel very good that day, I thought to myself.  I know Jesus didn't.

But of course, with age comes wisdom, and one begins to see how suffering can enlighten the pain of a moment and reveal its true value and goodness.  Yes, goodness in suffering.  Jesus may not have been very comfortable, but as a blogger-friend related, the nails didn't keep Him on that cross--Love did.  He suffered, yes, but He suffered for a reason.  For us.  And that is truly Goodness.

I find myself thinking lately about suffering and waiting and not-knowing.  Especially as concerns the adoption process, of course.  This Good Friday we spent many happy hours with the Babe before heading back into town for church.  She is so comfortable with us now, so relaxed when we're holding her.  I have experienced it with other babies, of course, but it's so different with This Little Girl, She Who Might Be Ours Someday.  Hopefully soon.

It's hard waiting, not knowing one way or another how things will turn out.  Not knowing if we'll ever be able to introduce her to our friends or watch her sleeping next to us.  We are so in Love with her.. can't we show the world already?  It's hard to leave at the end of every visit.  It's hard to say goodbye again and again and again, hoping, as we go, to never have to say it anymore, someday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Remiss

I have been remiss in posting here.  I have been silent because I feel like I have nothing to write about.  Stagnant.  Stuck.  Stalled.  It's all the same. Everyone knows how I feel right now.  What else is there to say?

Some days I feel it is all I can do to get to and from work and put dinner on the table.  Three nights within the last week we've had leftover soup.  The same soup.  With the same muffins.

Other days it's better. I'm pleasant at work, and I can get a few things done around the house, visit with people, make a nice dinner and clean up the kitchen afterwards.  I've even started running a bit lately.  I cleaned the bathroom this weekend.  It really needed it.

After a crushed-hopes-induced hiatus, I've begun pumping again.  Perhaps that, too, can be an act of faith--pumping in the hopes that within the next several weeks, we will have news of Baby Girl's future.  Maybe in a few weeks we will have a date to look forward to.  Not "look forward" as in "get excited," necessarily.  Just looking forward directionally, toward the horizon.  The next point we need to get to.  To Hope for.

See, I'm stuck in a fog of ambiguity.  Sometimes it's so thick I can't see my own feet on the ground and have to trust that the next step I take will land on something solid.  Oftentimes my trust falters and I can't move... I just stand there, frustrated by my own weak faith and staidness, but terrified of taking a wrong step.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

That's the Point

As I shifted positions under Sleeping Baby Girl, smoothing her soft hair over her forehead, the foster mother continued her story:  "They tell me: 'Fostering must be so difficult--don't you get attached to those babies?  Isn't it hard to let them go when it's time for them to leave?'"  So I tell them, 'Well, yes, we do get attached.'"

"And that's the point," she told me during our visit last week.  "How could you not get attached?  You do.. and you're also given the grace to live with it."

Parenthood, I've already realized, comes in many forms.  I have now learned that foster-parenting (and even in my case, hopeful-parenting) is no different.  To be any sort of parent to a child is to be attached, to Love him, to want only good things for his life, and to make sacrifices for his well-being.

And folks, we are attached.  We have given our hearts over to this Little Girl in a real and complete way.  We have opened ourselves to the joy and love and happiness of knowing her while we can.  But that also opens us to the terrifying uncertainty of our future relationship with her.  It makes us especially vulnerable to the very real possibility of losing her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Update

Excited to see a post title like that?  I wish, more than most people could possibly know, that I was the bearer of better news than this.

This morning I learned that the birth father has, indeed, filed an objection to the adoption.  So a court hearing is a certainty at this point, and the lawyer for our agency will try to get an idea of when the hearing might be scheduled, but it could take weeks, or even months to come up on the calendar.

I'm awash with a steady torrent of emotion, trying to come to terms with another indefinite period of waiting and uncertainty; trying to maintain my hope and faith that God has a plan and all we have to do is go along with it with as much grace as we can accept; trying to not feel irritated as everyone around me asks excitedly, "Have you heard anything yet?!"  Salt in the wound, really, but it's not their fault.

It's no one's fault.  That's the hardest part.

To all parents with babes-in-arms (or wombs):  give them a kiss for me, and ask them to say a prayer for all children who need a forever-home.  And for the frazzled hopeful-parents at the other end.


and we continue, on the way...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Small Update..

Yesterday evening, much to my dismay, I found out from our agency worker that Monday is not quite the auspicious court date she thought it would be.

Instead of being the day when a judge hears the case as presented, it is, rather, the day when the agency's lawyer goes to the courthouse to check on the case, to see if the birth father has filed anything contesting the adoption.  Somehow based on how that check goes, the actual hearing will be scheduled sometime within two weeks of Monday.

I don't know what will happen if the birth father hasn't filed anything, if the hearing will take place sooner or not.  I don't know when, within the next two weeks, the hearing might be.  And I don't know if this affects any sort of schedule for us (hopefully!) bringing the Babe home.

So to all of those who have so wonderfully kept us in your thoughts and prayers, do keep it up!  We are in need of them especially this week, as we wait for more information.


God grant me patience...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We Remember

Today, two years ago, my family buried my mother.

In many ways, it was the hardest day of my life.

In other ways, it was most blessed.  If only you could have seen how full the church was that day at her funeral, to hear my family and our Church singing of God's promise and Hope in the life she lived, the life we have left to live before we see her again.  To be there with family and friends (and in-laws!) who traveled so far to join us in celebrating Momma's life--what a joy to have such a community.  This is what Christians do for each other.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Labor

I am overflowing.  With excitement, anticipation, joy, anxiety, adrenaline.  Sometimes tears.  My body simply cannot contain the emotion that I am feeling.

I sometimes have to sit by myself--door closed at the office or in front of our icons at home, quietly breathing "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.  Have mercy on me... a sinner."  Over and over again, just to get my heart rate back down to normal.  Just to quiet my soul and feel the presence of God's Love.  I know He is here with me.  I know He has a plan and will give me strength to accept it.  But I have to remind myself of that sometimes... sometimes when the my heart feels like it will burst at what it is experiencing.

To think that in one week, we could welcome into our home, for good, Our Little Girl.  To imagine going to sleep with her at night and waking up with her in the morning, content to be lying in bed with us, gazing at her in wonder-full Love.  My heart cannot sustain the anticipation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

2 Years?

Has it been two years already?  Twenty-four months is not a very long time--ask any parent of a toddler--and yet, it seems ages ago that I first learned my mother had died.

Last year, I shared the story of my mother's death, and how we celebrated her life in remembrance.  This year, unexpectedly, I am a strange mix of emotions: happy and sad; peaceful and unsettled.

I miss Momma more than I thought I could, and in ways I never expected.  I miss talking to her about adoption, even though I never did speak with her about it, about becoming a parent in this way--it is so different from being pregnant.  When I have dreams that I don't understand, I miss hearing her interpretation of them and what she thinks it means for my life.  I miss listening to her tell stories; stories she made up or stories from her past, or from her family's past.  She had a flare for story-telling.

Still, even now on the second anniversary of her death, I am giddy with excitement.  Today, Taylor and I get to go visit our Little Girl--the court date is getting so close!  All I can think about is whether or not we will have her home in two weeks.. in just 13 days.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

...


Ash Wednesday

I was scrolling through my google reader this morning, and one of my college friends has posted this wonderfully apt poem on Death.

You should go read it!  And if you like it, do let Margaret know :)

Isn't it great how we can experience so much more in life through the experience and urgings of our friends?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

14 Days

In just two short weeks, we will know if we can take a Certain Baby Girl home.  In 14 days, when we hear the result of the hearing, we will either get a rush of adrenaline (and tears, I'm sure) as we prepare our home and hearts for her... or we will prepare our hearts to say our final goodbyes.

When I was younger, in high school and college, Momma would always tell me to "claim" Good Things in Jesus' name.  If I was worried about a looming test or an assignment or a difficult conversation I had to have, she would build me up with encouragement and Love to believe and trust in the Good Outcome we hoped for. "I claim this in Your name, Jesus, because this is my daughter and I have a right to pray for her."

And so, I have taken a leap of faith in this adoption case.  I am clinging to my choice to believe that we will be able to take our Baby home.  I choose to place my verbiage and my thoughts and my planning in the hands of God.  I am plunging head-long into the churning emotional sea of Confidence without Assurance.  I am confident we will have her soon, though I do not know for certain.

I choose to say "when we take her home" instead of "if."  Not that I don't think "if" to myself sometimes, but when I say it out loud I try to have confidence.  Each time "if" surfaces, I say a prayer: "Please, Lord. We want to be her parents."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

3 Months

Our Little Girl is three months old today.  She has already outgrown the hat I made for her.  It was so big when she first wore it...

And as I think about having a three (nearly four) month old baby later this month, I find myself fighting against jealousy of all those parents who have had the chance to hold their babies the whole time.  I think about all the nursing I've missed already, all the giggles and the growth.  I even think about all the dirty diapers and stained favorite clothes and sleepless nights I've missed.  She's changed so much since we met her and first whispered our hopes to bring her home someday.

I think about how our lives would be different now, if we'd had this baby for three months.  Being able to know her and to see her first smile, to be able to make her laugh, take her to doctor's appointments, read her books, sing her songs.  All the time.

But then I also think about the family we wouldn't know if we had our Girl already--our Baby's foster family.  We are blessed that they do not live too far away from us and we are able to go up to see the Babe at least once a week.  It's such a joy to know them, to have them in our lives, and in our Little Girl's life.  They take such good care of her and want nothing but her happiness.  They hope and pray that we are able to bring her home, forever.  And they have opened their hearts to us in ways I never expected.

Monday, February 28, 2011

On Popcorn

Popcorn's a pretty neat thing.  Whodathunk that drying out corn kernels would reveal such an amazing canvas for so much creativity when it comes to butter + accoutrements... 



Did you ever read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder?  Do you remember when he and his family are still back east and they are inside one evening, listening to their mother read?  Do you remember the popcorn?

Hot, crunchy, salty, and perfectly buttery, melting in his mouth.  I remember Almanzo wanted to finish off his popcorn with a tall glass of fresh, cold milk, but the cream was collecting on the top of the pail and his mother would be furious if he disturbed it... popcorn: serious business, folks.

So, this might seem silly to you, but I'm sort of a connoisseur of popcorn.  It's a big thing in our house.  We won't have air popped, thankyouverymuch--it has to be oil popped, preferably with olive oil, and preferably in a whirly pop, though I've used a skillet and snug fitting lid in a pinch.

The corn doesn't have to be buttered, necessarily (though I do prefer it that way), but it has to be salted.  Even just plain popped corn and salt is a great treat.  (I confess, sometimes when Taylor is out for the evening, I have popcorn for dinner...)

If it's buttered, though, the butter has to sizzle just a bit while I'm heating it.  Butter that's just barely melted isn't quite perky enough.  And you have to put it on the corn evenly!  Getting a butter-soaked piece is a nice surprise, but when the rest of the bowl is just dry unsalted corn, it's no good.  To get it evenly coated, you have to add the butter little by little, and shake the bowl to stir the pieces.  Pour, salt, shake.  Repeat until you're out of butter.  And add a little more salt for good measure (go ahead--lots of it falls to the bottom of the bowl anyway).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Home is Where You Are

With Taylor in his second year of law school and our eyes firmly fixed on a long road trip to Washington without looking back come May 2012, I've been giving some thought to the idea of packing (ick), moving (ick), and leaving our Boston home...

I didn't realize it until a few months ago, when we really started planning to leave Boston, that we have grown up a lot together in our small apartment here.  We had been married just over a year when we moved in and started our life so far away from family.  Our previous apartment was a small stone's throw from our college days and our alma mater and our previous dwellings.  Not much had changed except that we were now blissfully married.

And then we came to Boston.  It was hot when we moved in, and humid.  So humid--sweat dripped down our backs as we lugged box after heavy box (mostly books) up the three flights of stairs to our "penthouse."

There was a BC football game that day.  We had parked too close to campus and our car was towed.  Welcome to the city, West-Coasters! Our first night in our home we had a house guest.  We didn't have any of our furniture yet, and so he slept in the living room on the camping mats we had used in our cross-country drive.  The door-to-door storage crates weren't due to arrive until the next morning.

And, as we've changed, we've made changes to our home over these past four years.  Has it been four years already?  Almost... almost.

Friday, February 18, 2011

32 Days

The waiting is hard.

I think it (might) be different if we were still waiting for the baby to be born; or if we were still waiting to make a connection with an expectant mother.  I don't know if it would be easier, but it would certainly be different.  When I think back on our before-waiting, it didn't seem this hard.  It didn't seem so hard to wait for an email from the agency telling us "there is a mother who has selected you as a family and she's due on..."  or even for the phone calling telling us "your baby was born this evening.  You can pick her up in two days!"

But she's here!  That Little Girl is here already, and all I want to do is hold her, all the time.  I took the call from our agency worker on December 2nd and she told me "S had her baby, a little girl, who she named after you and Taylor.  Everyone is healthy and doing well, and she would like to select you and Taylor as the family.  But, Anne, there are a few complications..."

My heart was racing as she explained the situation and told me the baby would be put into foster care.  All of a sudden, from a pleasant cruising altitude of "well, we'll see what comes along in time..." we were shot into a rocking roller coaster of WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THIS VERY SPECIFIC AND TIME-SENSITIVE SITUATION?  How were we to fit this new, unexpected, complicated circumstance into our plan for bringing a child into our home?  In one moment, our hope for a child became tangible to us.  Someone was holding a child that might be ours someday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Babies and Boobies

They're not so different, really.  Squishy, squeezy, squirt-y.


Though I guess breasts that are feeding babies are mostly the ones that are squirty.  And most people know that breasts only get squirty (ok, we'll use a grown-up word), that is, bring in a supply of milk after the woman has delivered a baby and the hormones + baby suckling cues the body to start producing milk.

But what does a woman do when she has a baby she didn't give birth to?  Can she still breastfeed?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

#Googled

I really have to hand it to Google today, guys.  When I first saw the link in my twitter stream this morning, it didn't quite occur to me how awesome the idea was. My first "map your valentine" for Taylor today was only our apartment address: "My home is where you are, my Love."  Simple, sweet.  I didn't think of any grandiose locations to send him on a heart-shaped map.

But then I got his valentine back and I swooned.  Really!  I almost gasped out loud at work (ok, fine, I did gasp out loud at work.. but no one was near my office) :)

Really, the location might not mean anything to anyone else, but to me, it brought back memories of fresh pasta, hot humid days, warm vibrant nights, ancient history living all around me, and lounging in bed for hours on end, with nothing to do but eat tasty food and read Tolkien aloud to each other.  He sent me the address to the apartment in Rome where we stayed for our honeymoon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

...

Winter-Fresh

We don't shop for fruit.

Or vegetables.

In fact, I never know what I'm going to get each week in our CSA produce share.  But I like it that way.  It adds more adventure to my kitchen-life.

In fact, it's been so long since I had any stickers on my apples that I sliced right through a sticker on an apple from work and nearly ate it up.. oh, to have produce straight from the source.

During the winter, the CSA share we have is gathered from only the east coast (during the spring/summer/early fall it's all New England goodies).  This isn't "dogmatically" local, of course, but we much prefer getting our greens and fruit from, say, Virginia or Florida during the winter, rather than from California or Mexico.

Now, naturally we have a lot of citrus coming in our shares during the winter.  Hey, if I was a box of food from Florida, I'd probably contain a lot of citrus too!  Grapefruit is very common--which is great for me, having been born in Florida myself.  I've always liked grapefruit--at least, I liked it enough to douse it in sugar and cut the wedges out with Momma's grapefruit spoons--and the plethora of these citrus in my boxes has forced me to be a bit more creative. After all, I can only handle so much sugar (anymore).  And I don't have any serrated grapefruit spoons anyway :(

So it's forced me to get creative.  We sometimes get four or six a week, which is more than even T and I can eat for breakfast.  Then I had an idea..

Monday, February 7, 2011

Look, Ma!

no hands! 


Guess who snuggled up perfectly in this new mei tai.. and went right to sleep?  

That's right--(hopefully) our little girl :) 

Far Away

I've had this song from VeggieTales stuck in my head for the last few days.. or maybe it's been the last few weeks.  Months?  I don't know, really, but it makes me think of Baby, and we saw her on Saturday, and we will see her again this Friday.  Of course, it sounds better when Junior's mom sings it to him as a baby, but I can't find the audio anywhere online.. so you'll have to listen to his cute little voice singing it if you want the gist of the song :)

I wish you could see this Little Girl's sweet face.  I wish I could show you her smile and let you hear her little coos and laughter.  The few hours we get to spend with her each week simply aren't enough.  I think about her all the time, and I wonder how she's changing and growing each day.  I can't wait to see her again.

And I find myself singing to her--sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud.  I have her picture on my phone so I can look at her whenever I want.  And whenever I think of her, I start to sing..
Think of me everyday, hold close to what I say
and I'll be close to you even from far away.
Know that wherever you are it is never too far.
If you think of me, I'll be with you. 

I wonder... is she singing to me?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fiction Friday

The great front door slammed with a bang against the wind and a strong young man of 18 tramped through in heavy boots into the sitting room, to find his sister cozily reading on the couch.

"Where have you been?!" he bellowed.

"Where do you think I've been?  I told you!" she said, looking up.  "I'm sure I told you before I left.  I thought you heard me--the way you nodded your head."

He stood a few paces from the couch, dripping wet from the torrent of rain he had just left outside.  He was visibly distraught, but the signs of his worry were fading as he stood and talked to her.  She was sitting, wrapped in a blanket on the antique couch, with her stocking-ed toes toward a blazing fire.  It was a chilly night.

"Oh..." he sighed.  "I heard you say something," he replied, "but I didn't realize you were going to be gone for so long.  I was so worried, and the storm was coming."

"Oh, John!  Don't you know by now?  I'd be alright even in the wildest tempest with them.  They will always take care of me. They promised."  She paused.  "In fact," she added, "I believe they held off the rain until I got safely home."  She returned to her book, content with the thought of this mysterious protection.

"But no one knew where you were," he said.

"Of course they wouldn't!  No one would have understood anyway.  No one but you, that is."  She looked up at him and saw the concern in his face.  Turning her eyes from his, she gazed into the fire for a moment.  "I'm sorry I worried you so.  I'll be more careful next time."

He mumbled something of an acceptance and shuffled from the room.  He was the only one in the family who knew, and she was right--no one else would really understand.  It wasn't that they were un-feeling or hard-hearted, they just wouldn't understand a 13 year old girl's desire to traipse around the forest day after day, bringing back all manner of strange, unbelievable tales with her.

He went back into the hall and took his boots off, leaving them by the door.  He walked carefully upstairs, trying not to drip too much on the carpet.  He paused at the top landing, listening to his mother's voice.  She was talking to father about the dinner party next week--they hadn't even noticed Muriel had left.  He went to his room.

He hadn't meant to have understood Muri's adventures in the woods, except that one day, he found himself in the middle of them.

It seemed many years back now, but when he thought about it, it was only 11 months ago that he saw her as he walked through the woods on a fine autumn afternoon.  At first he thought she was only playing make-believe, as young girls are wont to do, but when he got closer, he noticed she was dancing with something--or someone.  He began to walk towards Muriel, but before he got much closer she stopped dancing and turned toward him, her face full of joy.

He'd never seen a fairy before, and even now he wasn't sure he had.  But it was unmistakable then that his sister danced and played with some being that was real, tangible, and with quite dainty feet.  He had seen both their footprints in the moist grass, and the fairy's departing laughter sent a thrill through his heart instantly.

Muriel had the most carefree explanation for him: "They're fairies, John!  Real ones!  Didn't you see them?  Did you hear them singing for me as we danced?"  He had to admit he'd heard something like laughter, though he couldn't distinguish it in his mind from a symphony of bells or wind in the trees on a stormy morning: powerful and playful and joyous all at the same time.  It still made his heart beat when he thought of it.

"It's ridiculous," he thought to himself.  "I've only seen her--really seen her--once, and she barely talked to me."  He thought of the fairy's face and saw her eyes in his mind.  How they seemed to glow with light, a deep light, from somewhere inside, that caught the reflection of the setting sun and seemed to smolder out the great star itself.  And then her smile.  It drove straight to his heart when he recalled the joy there and couldn't help but smile himself.

"How could I be in love with a fairy?" he said aloud.  "I didn't even know they existed a year ago."

[...to be continued]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fiction Friday

Back and forth. Back and forth.  She gently rocked her new baby in her arms in the warm, dark bedroom.  Gentle baby coos issued from that perfect little mouth as his eyes fluttered up and down, resisting sleep, but smiling at his body's own frustrated effort.

Contentment.  Pure contentedness.  It flowed from the pair of them the way rain flows down a well-paved hill, gushing and spurting over any obstacle and rushing ever onward to its goal.

She looked at the tiny crib tucked right next to her and her husband's bed.  It was all ready and welcome to receive such a warm and cozy little bundle, ready to keep him safe and quiet and sleepy until she finished the dishes.  She took a step toward it but he cooed again.

She looked at him.  At his dark hair, his tiny fingers.  She watched him smile in his sleep..

Cribs can wait, she thought.  There will be time to lay him down later.  Dishes can wait.  He's all mine, right now.    I'm all his.

She sat down in the rocking chair, covered them both with a blanket and leaned her head back, listening to him breathe, close to her neck.  She could feel his heart beat.  She could feel his warm, soft cheek on her chest, his tiny hand wrapped around her finger.

Yes, dishes can wait..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Ready

My mother-in-law, bless her heart :) has been good enough to order Taylor and me the "baby essentials" so that we're ready--whenever it happens--to take a baby, maybe a certain baby, home with us.  We have received a changing pad and cover, the crib we picked out, and the ever-essential car seat.

When the UPS guy buzzed our apartment and I came downstairs to sign for the package, he offered to carry the large car seat box up the stairs for me.  I thought a brief moment why--when they usually don't--they would offer this time.  Then it occurred to me.

"Oh! We're adopting." I said.  "So I'm not in any "fragile condition" or anything." I smiled and said I'd be fine carrying it up--"but thank you for offering. I appreciate it."

When I got the box upstairs and set it down in our apartment it hit me.  I'm in a very fragile condition right now.  We've already determined I have pregnancy brain, even though I'm not pregnant.  But emotionally, I'm all frazzled.  The uncertainty of the entire situation is certainly wearing on the nerves--not only  not knowing when, but even if this baby will be ours.  If she will ever sit in that car seat, or sleep in that crib, or look around at the pictures I have on my wall.

I sat there on the floor, in front of The Car Seat box and cried.  Just a little bit.  And not a despairing cry, or an anxious cry.  Perhaps I was just coming to terms with having to be prepared and accepting that we may never need the car seat.

I just don't feel ready.  Not that I'm not ready to be a mother--I've been "ready" [are you ever really "ready" to be a mother? it's always learn-as-you-go to some degree] for motherhood since the day I got married.  And it's not that I'm not ready for a baby tomorrow.  I guess I just don't feel ready to start receiving baby gifts like there's a due date a few months down the road where we'll pack up and go to the hospital to await the arrival of the baby we've known for nine months already.  It's different with adoption.  I've never been pregnant, but I know this much:  it's just different to be expecting to adopt.

Now don't get me wrong--I am truly thankful for the baby things we've received and my  mother-in-law is 100% right that we need to be prepared, and the sooner the better!  But it's difficult, still.

My sister graciously agreed to let us keep the baby things in an extra closet in her house.  She's got the space, and they're not far away, should we need them at a moment's notice.  But at least for now, they're out of sight.. not out of mind.  That Little Girl we met is never far from my thoughts, never far from my hopes to hold her and buckle her into that seat.

But out of sight helps a little, in the meantime.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Please

You know Taylor and I very much want children in our lives, and that we have started the adoption process.  We are nearly done with our home study and hope for a placement in the next few months.  It is an exciting and unusual time--expecting a child with no known due date...

But today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I need to say something.  I'd like to put this case in a slightly different light.  In 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta sent this message to the United States:

Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.

Her words mean so much to me.  About a year and a half ago, a woman I knew of through a dear friend was pregnant and briefly considered placing her baby for adoption.  My friend asked Taylor and me if we had thought about adoption--which was interesting, since we were, but hadn't "announced" it yet.  We prayed about it and we both came to the conclusion that we did, indeed, want to start the adoption process.  We told her that if this woman was thinking about abortion, we would--unconditionally and no-questions-asked--accept her child, if only she would maintain the pregnancy.

The day I called my friend to tell her our decision, she told me the woman was on her way down to the abortion clinic.  I was crushed.  It was a blow I wasn't expecting--to feel so acutely that I had lost a child whom I had never seen and only known about for a week.

I think the baby was a girl.  I have named her. Our first Little Saint.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fiction Friday (continued...)

...

Once a month, Sophie's mother organized a community recital at the Home for the Elderly, and anyone could perform who wanted to.  Sophie's mother always signed her up to play the piano.  First she'd play, and then she'd recite the poem she memorized that month.  The applause were never very loud, and there were never enough cookies and punch afterwards and it was so long before everyone had finished their recitals.  Sophie's mother would sit and visit with the old men and women for what seemed like hours, and smile and laugh with them and hold their hand--listening to their stories and their jokes until they got tired and needed to take a rest.

When it was time to go, Sophie took her mother's hand and they walked down the street together.  Father was at work and her other brothers were in school, so it was just the two of them, the ladies of the house.  Down the street, two blocks right, and one to the left, past the big yellow house, through the park (and all those lovely trees), and up the steps of the large building.

Today, instead of letting her play in the courtyard after the recital, Sophie's mother brought her into the hall and introduced her to one of the old ladies.  

"Sophie, this is Meema.  She just moved in here." she said.  Meema had white hair and her face was pale, like the parchment pictures in Mother's bedroom.  She had thin lips and watery blue eyes, but she was smiling.  Sophie liked her smile--it reminded her of Jake.  

"Pleased to meet you, ma'am," Sophie replied with a little curtsy, but she hung back a little behind her mother. 

"Meema is Jake's grandmother." Sophie's mother told her.  "After his parents died, Jake lived with Meema and she took care of him."  

Sophie stared with wide eyes.  The more she looked, the more she saw Jake's face in the old woman.  Meema smile even wider.  "What a lovely little girl you are, Sophie!  I loved the poem you recited today.  Where did you learn it?"  

"Well, Jake wrote it down for me before he left, ma'am, and I've been memorizing it for the past few months.  He used to tell me all sorts of stories and poems and songs... b-before."  

"Ah, it sounded like something Jake would like.  Will you tell me again, dear, slowly.  I'm going to close my eyes, but I'll be listening.  Can I hold your hand while you say it?  You have such lovely little hands."  

Sophie put her hand in the old lady's.  It was warm and soft and dry--like old paper, like the old face, but it was strong.  Meema squeezed Sophie's hand, and Sophie began:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

...


[there's more snow on the way this weekend!]

Cold.

that is to say, CUH-hold! I'm staying inside on Saturday. What are you doing?
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fiction Friday

"I don't want to GO!" She stomped her foot emphatically.  "I don't like it there."  The brown curls on her head shook emphatically with the motion.  She didn't like dressing up, and she certainly didn't like wearing shoes.  Especially her dress shoes--they were tight and stiff and she had to keep them extra clean, which meant no running and no climbing.

"I know, Sophie," her mother said.  "But it's important for us to go."  She took a clean handkerchief out of her dresser drawer and tucked it into the pocket of her sweater.  She looked down at her daughter.  "Jake would have wanted us to, you know."

Sophie sat down in a huff on the settee by the front door.  She felt squished in her shoes and she curled and released her toes, thinking about Jake.  She had liked him, when he still lived nearby.  He was strong and big and funny and he loved to play with her and sing songs with her and tell her stories.

Then Jake had had to leave so suddenly one day, she barely remembered him saying good bye.  It was early in the morning and he and Mother were standing in the kitchen.  Mother was in her bathrobe.  Jake was dressed strangely--all in the same color with a big heavy sack on his shoulder.  They were talking in soft voices so they wouldn't wake anyone.

"Be safe, Jake," mother said.  Her voice sounded scratchy, like it did at church when "How Great Thou Art" was sung.

"I will, ma'am." Jake said.  "I don't exactly know why it's me, why it's now, but it's come down to it and I know there's something important for me to do.  Just like you always said, 'You're put here to do something no one else can do.'  Now I know what that is.  I hope I can do it."

Mother had always said that Jake was a good friend of Sophie's oldest brother, who had died when Sophie was just a baby.  She didn't really remember her brother, but she thought he would have been just like Jake.  Everyone liked Jake.  He had a way with people--helped them calm down, feel better, smile more.  There was never a fight he didn't help solve, never a mopey little Sophie he couldn't cheer up.

She never did understand why he left.  That early morning, so early it was still dark, he had told her he needed to help other people far away.  She thought those other people would like him, too.  She hoped they did.

[...to be continued]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preoccupied

I've heard of "pregnancy brain."  If 95.8% of your friends were pregnant, you'd have heard of it, too.  And while I'm not pregnant, I've been totally distracted lately.  By lately, of course, I mean the past 6 weeks.  I can't get anything done in a reasonable amount of time.  Thank goodness for deadlines (like Christmas and airline schedules) or much would not have been accomplished at all.

Patrick McManus says that humans have a "worry box" in their brain and they can only hold so many items to worry or think about.  If one thing too many is added to the box, something else slips out.  My worry box is all full up.  Other Things don't even have a chance.

At least, my subconscious worry box is full up--I'm still able to think about Things like "when should I start dinner?" or "gosh, I really should empty the trash." or even "hm, maybe I should wake up so I can get to work on time."  But I have little space to worry about Christmas thank you cards (sorry folks, nothing personal!), sewing projects, or keeping the house tidy.

All I really want to do is putter around online (not unlike an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP) and ignore most of the things I have to do.

See, I can't stop thinking about her.  Her face.  Her hands.  Her birth parents.  The whole situation.


What's going to happen?  When will we know anything?  Why the delay?  Why now?  What do You want of us, Lord?  What should we do?

I know that my questions will be answered in time--in God's time, but my subconscious is overloaded in the meantime.  I walk into a room to get something or do something and the moment I get there, I forget what I needed.  I go to the computer to look something up.  I manage to check my email (no new messages in the last 10 minutes--why am I checking again?), catch up on twitter, comment a bit on facebook, and browse around Amazon.  But I don't look up what I needed.

Then, listlessly, I go sit on the couch, trying to remember what I was going to do when I hear the lid on the pot of water I was heating begin to spurt and bubble and I remember--I wanted to look up some baking ratio.  But now the water's too hot and I have to cool it down again.

Is this what it's like to be expecting?  I suppose at least, with pregnancy brain, the eventual holding-of-the-baby is a pretty for-sure thing.  Maybe that's what's driving me nuts.  I can't plan maternity leave; I can't set up the crib; I can't put the carseat in the car.  Why bother right now if we'll be waiting another 4 months?  What if this child never becomes available for adoption and we're back on the "waiting list" for however-long?  I work well with deadlines.  I rely on them.  But there's no deadline with adoption.  No date past which we induce.

There's only the waiting.

Don't misunderstand--I'm not feeling cynical and I'm not despairing.  These are just real concerns in adoption.  Real unknowns that I'm struggling with and learning about.  I can only hope that the expectancy of my subconscious translates, somehow, into prayer for this little girl and her families.  Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit hears the groaning of our hearts and knows our need more than we do.  My heart aches for This Little Girl.

She has so many people who love her already.  I hope she can come home, where ever her home will be, soon.

And forever.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fiction Friday

The door closed and he stuffed his hands in his pockets.  He often had his hands in his pockets, especially on nights like this.

It wasn't that his hands were cold, of course.  They always found his pockets after he saw her.  He'd never really thought about it, but it was his own small defense mechanism--hands in the pockets was a sign for anyone to read:  "Leave me alone.  I don't want to talk to you."  So he walked down the steps and around the corner, picking his slow way home through the chilly evening, musing on their conversation, kicking pebbles with his toe.

"Are you happy?" he had asked her.  He always asked that question, even though he knew her answer.

"Oh yes, very much!" she said, eyes shining.  She always said that.

It all seemed a bit idyllic to him, no matter how many times she said it, no matter how often she explained it.  He had heard that people could be happy like that.  That it suited some people to live the life she did.  But he never saw it for her.

Hadn't he known her since she was young?  Hadn't they had grown up together, played together, gone to school together?  They had the same classes and knew the same people and liked the same things.  She had so much potential, so much energy, and so much promise!  He had seen great things in her future, wonderful things.  And yet he couldn't wrap his own conception of her around the fierce reality of her happiness as he sat there, face to face with her smile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011