Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cause I'm a Blonde

I see people working and it just makes me giggle,

Cause I don't have to work, I just have to jiggle
Cause I'm a blonde B-L-O-N-D
Cause I'm a blonde don't you wish you were me?

(Just thought you'd like an 80's flashback.) I may not be blond but my new cabinets sure are. Perhaps not what I had envisioned in my do-it-yourselfer's minds eye but they'll grow on me. Especially once the floors and countertops are in to add a little color.

But hey, I'm not complaining cause we're making progress! Although we are still hunting for a plumber who could start BEFORE August 24th. The last guy was supposed to start...and finish for that matter...last week. But now he has pushed out the job until the end of August. So we can't install the base cabinets, we can't wall in the bathroom and we can't install floors. Basically, we can't do anything! Huh, so this is what it's like to be a general contractor.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mamma Mia

In the world of theater, there are leading actors and character actors. Character actors predominately play quirky, eccentric roles and often look the part. By contrast, leading actors play the larger roles and are required to be flawless and breathtaking and other equivalent adjectives.

I always thought I wanted to be the leading actor. The glamorous-center-stage-everyone-focused-on-me type of actress. They get the glory, the big salary, the great wardrobe...that kind of thing. So what's not to love? But if I step back and really think about it, I often find myself drawn to the character parts as I watch movies or television or plays. Never was this more true than Friday night.

My sister, some of my drama friends and I went to see "Mamma Mia" at the Keller Auditorium. (Thank you Wendy for the tickets!) IT WAS FANTASTIC! If you love Abba, you've got to see this show. Heck, if you love musical theater, you've got to see this show. It's fun and lively and filled with great music. Just what musical theater is meant to be!

After the show was over, we were joking about producing this show next year. All of us were vying for one part...and not the lead! No, we all wanted to be the short, "fluffy", 40-something friend-of-the-mom. She got the best lines and the greatest gags and by far the most laughs. And I'm sure we weren't the only ones who felt that she stole the show since she got extra hoots and applause during the curtain call. If they'd take me, I'd gladly squeeze myself into that white spandex costume and join the tour in a heartbeat. Please, don't visualize it...it will certainly ruin the intention. But hey, that's how much fun this part is!

If you can't tell, I love musical theater. So the question of the week is in honor of my fun night at "Mamma Mia":

What is your favorite live performing arts experience?
(Concert, dance, play, anything goes.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chelsea Rae

Chelsea Rae went home to be with Jesus yesterday. I had the privilege of talking with Chelsea on a couple of occasions. She was an amazing 13 year old who just radiated God's love. Her faith was strong...beyond her years really. In fact her quote on her website says " Don't worry about a thing, the Lord WILL get us through this, we just need to trust in HIM. LOVE YA LOTS!!!" I tell ya, my life is better just for knowing her. Her family is in pain but they know she is happy and healthy again.

We have got to cure cancer! Every time we lose one of these precious kids my heart just breaks. I envision Lillian meeting them at heaven's gates to welcome them. I know that Lillian is convincing Chelsea to have a tea party with her right now. Please pray for Chelsea Rae's family.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I think I may have skipped a couple of steps when I announced our adoption. Oh, I don't know, stuff like the when, where, why and how of it all. So let me step back a moment and give you the details. Let's start from the very beginning...

Why adopt?

I know pregnancy is a really important part of the process for many people and I don't want to say anything negative about fertility treatments. In fact, I'm impressed by people who stick with fertility treatments. The invasive tests, nauseating meds and monthly roller coaster of emotions were certainly more than I cared to deal with. For us, adoption is the perfect road to parenthood.
We don't feel the need to be pregnant, we just want to be parents. If God chooses to give us a baby the old fashioned way, super! But I'm not interested in going to extreme measures to have a biological child when there are so many babies in need of good families.

Where are you adopting from?

We are adopting a domestic baby through an open adoption. (Boy, "domestic baby" sounds weird.) Our agency is Open Adoption & Family Services. OA&FS completes the most domestic infant and newborn adoptions in Oregon and Washington. I know a lot of people are adopting internationally these days. In fact, the number one question I was asked when people found out Lillian was adopted was "where is she from?". It always seemed goofy to respond "Oregon." We just prefer open adoption which is easiest with a local birthfamily.

Why open adoption?

We choose open adoption because we believe it is healthiest for the child. Traditionally the two questions that plague adopted children are "who do I look like" and "why was I given up." When the birth family continues to have a relationship with the child, those questions seem to fade into the background.

How long will it take before you get a baby?

Who knows?! With open adoption, the birthparents select the adoptive parents. It will probably take us several months before we complete the requisites and are included in the pool of waiting parents. After that, we just wait anxiously until a birthparent selects us. The average wait is 10.5 months.

With Lillian, we made the first call to the agency almost exactly 40 weeks before she was born. Coincidence? I think not. It took 5 months to complete all the requisites. We entered the pool in June, were matched with her birthmom in July and Lillian was born in October. Although it was wonderful to have that time to get to know her birthmom, that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. 24% of placements are "last minute" which means you are contacted when the birthmom is in the hospital giving birth. Eek!

Hopefully this helps explain a few of those missing details about our adoption. Now for the latest updates. I got my blood work back today and as expected, I'm as healthy as a horse. And the agency called today to schedule our first meeting called the Application and Intake Meeting. We will be working with the same counselor as we had with Lillian. She's great but works only a few days a week so scheduling can be tough. Luckily my new job has much fewer meetings so my schedule is more flexible than before. So, we're on for Monday, August 6th. Yeah for progress!!!


Anyone sick of my remodel yet? Cause I am. But just when I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, some CONstruction appeared amidst the DEstruction. Check out my new closet!!! Okay, our new closet. I use the word "our" lightly because Jeff is hardly filling up his one wall while my 2 walls are packed. Though you can see all the empty spaces for SHOES. Dangerous...
Oh, to give you some perspective, this closet used to be an open sitting room complete with window and sliding glass door leading to an evergreen shrub. Jeff removed the window and door, framed and sheet rocked the new walls, installed french doors and installed recycled cedar flooring around the edges. We both assembled each and every one of those stupid cabinets and shelves. I primed, textured and painted the walls, installed new base moldings and installed the cabinets & shelves. Now we're on to demo of the old closets. (They're becoming the addition to our master bathroom.)

And the electricians started today. Let there be light! With bulbs in only half the cans, the kitchen is already twice as bright as it was before. Our old lighting consisted of commercial can lights that could give you a sun burn if you stood below them for long. The bulbs actually plugged in...not screwed in, plugged in...to the fixture. Lemme tell ya, plug in bulbs are not available at Home Depot. When I special ordered the bulbs for these beauties, the website said they are primarily used for mining. So basically, my kitchen was lit up like a cave. Don't get me started...

Hooray for progress! I may be able to stand it for a little while longer.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dear Lori

I'd love to answer your questions about adoption. I don't claim to be an expert but as you well know, I'm not shy about giving my honest point of view. So post your questions and I'll try to answer them either in the comments or in a separate post. We'll call this the "Dear Lori" series. Here's our first question:

Dear Lori,
I've had several friends adopt babies. It is really hard to know how to talk to them! Seriously - even though I struggled with infertility for 7 years before my first baby was born - there seems to be this invisible divider between "us" with normal pregnancies and "them" who can't (or don't). Does that make sense? Anyway, I'd love it if you'd write about the right and wrong things to say.



Dear Anonymous,

Either I'm not that sensitive or everyone has been blessed with the right words to say but I haven't experienced many inappropriate moments. Since that wouldn't be a very helpful response from an advice columnist, I'll give you my top 5 list of what not to say.

  1. "Do you know Johnny's* 'real mom'?" - Uh yeah, that's me. I'm his "real mom." I doubt anyone would question that as the people who cared for Lillian every minute of every day, Jeff and I were her "real parents." That brings us to what we should call the person who gave birth to the child who is also, BTW, a real mom. Personally, I prefer the title birthmom over biological mom or natural mom. To me it honors the relationship and reflects the gift of life. "Biological" seems cold and "natural" makes it sound like being an adoptive mom is unnatural or something. Some birthmoms prefer the term first mom as well.

  2. "Was Johnny's* birthmom on drugs/really young/other negative stereotype?" - Not only does this insult the genetic heritage of the child but it's just plain disrespectful. This is an area of greatest misconceptions. At our agency, the average age of a birthmom is 25. 43% of the children placed experienced no prenatal drug or alcohol exposure and another 23% experienced only mild exposure. Regardless of the statistics, imagine the strength of character required to endure a pregnancy and delivery only to allow someone else to raise this beautiful baby. There are many other seemingly easier options but these brave birthparents choose to put their child's needs above their own. Birthfamilies are the true heroes of adoption and should be treated as such.

  3. "Aren't you afraid that Johnny's* birthfamily is going to want him back?" - Well if I wasn't before, I am now...thanks a lot. Once the birthparents have signed consents (about 48 hours after the birth), they have terminated their parental rights. And Oregon law favors adoptive parents. But really, why even bring this up? Don't parents have enough to worry about?

  4. "Once you adopt, you'll get pregnant." - Oh really? When did you become an expert in this area? I honestly think this happened to one couple in the history of the world and somehow EVERYONE knows them. It's like the 6 degrees of the adoptive parents who miraculously conceived. Sarcasm aside for a moment (which is hard for me to do), this rarely happens. And if it does happen to us, yippee! More kids to love. Oooo, and we can become the stuff of urban legend.

  5. "Can't you have children of your own?" - Adopted children or biological children, they are my own. 'Nough said.

Don't be afraid to say the wrong thing. As long as you are approaching the subject with a genuine desire to learn and without any preconceived stereotypes, I for one, won't be offended. But in return, don't be offended if I correct a mistake. That's how we all learn.


*To make my life easier, the adoptive child in these scenarios will be referred to as "Johnny". He/she/the child/etc was just too confusing to write.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Let's Get Physical

One of the forms that is due a little later on is a health report from our primary care physician. Unfortunately it requires that a physical examination be conducted within the last six months. Ugh. Since I haven't been to the doctor in 3 years (the last time I needed the health report form), it was time to make an appointment.

So, I called yesterday and to my great joy (said with great sarcasm), they had a last minute cancellation for 9am today. As much as I wanted to let Jeff take this one, the next several available appointments conflicted with my schedule. Alas, I had to go first.

It's not like a physical is a big deal but I don't understand the concept of going to the doctor when nothing is wrong. Isn't that just inviting trouble? I know, I know, it's called preventative medicine. I don't know if you've noticed, but doctor's waiting rooms are filled with sick people! Yes, sick people! So if you weren't sick when you arrived, there is a pretty good chance you will be when you leave.

Oh well, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. I arrived early and there was already a line. The woman in front of me proceeded to cough repeated into a partially open hand. And the open hand was pointed at me! What?! It's like she was guiding the germs directly to me. And since she was at the doctor's office, I can only assume she has some sort of airborne infectious disease. Only time will tell I suppose.

After 2 hours, 1 tetanus shot, blood work and the dreaded weigh-in, I was back on my way to work with the completed health report in hand. I guess it's good to have that out of the way. Now, it's Jeff's turn.

Question of the Week

I'm getting dumber by the minute. The construction fumes are certainly killing brain cells. The dust is making my skin itch. The debris is threatening to require a tetnus shot. So when this question was posed on the radio yesterday, my answer was simple:

If you could wave your hand and control anything, what would it be?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We're Having A Baby!

We've decided to adopt again! I'm so excited it makes my heart skip a beat every time I think about it. We still miss Lillian every minute of every day and I don't see that ever changing. But if there is one thing we have learned, it is not to waste a minute. So, we're having a baby!

You may be wondering why we don't try fertility treatments. Or what is involved with adoption. Or when we will get a baby. Well, we'd like to answer all those questions and more through a new blog. Our hope is that through this blog, you would share our joy, pray with us and learn a little about this road to parenthood.

Oh, and I'll still be posting my own random thoughts on this blog so don't forget to check in here too.

Step 1: Forms

July 12, 2007
10:02 am

Our adoption process has officially begun!

Not to be anti-climactic but the first step in the adoption process is simply calling the agency and ordering the packet of forms. Because we've adopted through this agency before, we are able to skip the initial step which is an orientation seminar. Alas, that is the only step that is skipped. And really, there shouldn't be any shortcuts to adopting a baby.

We received the packet this weekend and are mailing the forms today! How's that for a quick turnaround?! When we adopted Lillian, they gave us a big packet of forms that we had to fill out by hand. Then once we submitted them, they asked us to re-do a couple of them electronically. I opened my files and a 3.5" hard disk fell out. This time we received a big folder that contained only a cd. What a difference 3 years makes!

Here's the list of forms in this packet, prepare to be amazed:

  • Intake form (1 per parent) - General stats similar to what you would fill out at a doctor's office
  • Adoptive Family Information form - Details on each parent's history including occupation, education, physical characteristics, heritage, hobbies, etc. And a brief summary of child care plans and values, experiences and opportunities that we plan to offer our child.
  • Financial form - Detailed summary of income and expenses.
  • Health history (1 per parent) - Detailed family medical history for self and relatives. I guess they want to make sure we'll be around to raise this kid?
  • Grievance policy form - Agreement not to go postal or sue them or anything.
  • Release of information (1 per parent ) - Signing away our rights to any sliver of privacy that may have existed. Oh well, we've got nothin' to hide.
  • Acknowledgement of Adoption Assistance Availability - Hmmm, this is a new one. We've signed it but have no idea what it's for. Guess I'd better call them and ask...
  • Authorization for Credit Background Check (1 per parent)- Yep, they even check our credit report.
  • Consent for Criminal Records Check (1 per parent) - Enables the Department of Human Services to check for any criminal history including any child abuse claims.
  • Copy of Federal Income Tax Return - I guess this is making sure you didn't lie on your financial statement.
Once we complete and return the forms, an adoption counselor will contact us to arrange our first of many meetings. The paperwork is overwhelming. The wait is stifling. But the outcome is SOOOOOOO worth it. Adoption is a lot less spontaneous than the traditional method of making a baby but hey, it works!

We're Having A Baby

We've decided to adopt again! I'm so excited it makes my heart skip a beat everytime I think about it. We still miss Lillian every minute of every day and I don't see that ever changing. But if there is one thing we have learned, it is not to waste a minute. So, we're having a baby!

You may be wondering why we don't try fertility treatments. Or what is involved with adoption. Or when this bundle of joy will be ours. Well, we'd like to answer all those questions and more through this blog. Our hope is that through this journal, you would share our joy, pray with us and learn a little about this road to parenthood.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Relay Spirit

Relay is over and lemme tell ya, it was awesome. In the true sense of the word, not the 80's watered-down version. We walked and sweated and raised money and sweated and danced and sweated and sang and sweated...you get the picture. Team Walking with Angels made the most of the event and it showed because we won the SPIRIT AWARD! (C'mon, be impressed, it's the only award given at Relay.) I'll give a link to all the pics soon but in the meanwhile, check these out:

Team Pic - aren't we stylin' in our team t-shirts?
Next year, team tank tops.

Spirit Award Winners! Go Angels.

One of my baby's luminarias.
The event raised over $51,000 for the American Cancer Society. Our team raised over $4000, not bad for our first year!
Closing credits:
  • Co-captain - Becci (the best co-captain a girl could ask for)
  • Team members - Jeff, Skip, Linda, Michelle, Becca, Cody, Amy, Wendy, Elyse, Jenna, Liz, Jennifer (an amazing team - full of energy and passion)
  • Visiting walkers - Grady and his family, Lexie's parents, McKayla's mom, Becca's mom, Lisa and her kiddos, Jennifer's husband and kiddos, Jason and Matthew (thanks for coming out and supporting us)
  • Volunteers - Massage therapists Dana Davis & Nick d'Alonzo (thanks for donating your time and talents), Heresy Wears (thanks for the cool tees, we definitely stood out in the crowd!)
  • Corporate donors - Al's Garden Center, Blooming Nursery, Gymboree, Patti Stanley, Landmark Ford, Nike, Rain Salon (thanks for your financial support/item donation)
  • Donors - Thank you all for your prayers and financial support!

I'm sure I missed folks so thank you everyone. This was a total team effort and I am proud that we were all a part of CURING CANCER!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Question of the Week

There's something about not being able to cook that makes me think of food constantly. Jeff and I love to cook so it's tough eating out for every meal. And it's tough on the waistline. But soon enough, we'll have a beautiful new kitchen. Big fridge, gas stove, convection ovens... *Sigh*

Where was I? Oh yeah, back to my food obsession. I was eating something yesterday (I don't even remember what it was) and I thought, "hmmm, this doesn't taste that good." It wasn't bad, it was just okay. And it wasn't healthy food, it was something junky. So I started wondering just why I was eating it.

It's like the stupid grilled cheese sandwiches at OHSU. I ate a ton of those awful things. Don't get me wrong, I love a good grilled cheese. These were not good. These pathetic-excuses-for-a-sandwich consisted of a piece of processed American cheese between two pieces of stale white bread. Far from healthy. Far from tasty. So why not just get a salad then?

I'm sure you smarties are saying "stress causes your brain to release endorphins...blah, blah, blah." Trust me, I know about stress eating. And I can see splurging on an amazing meal or decadent dessert. But why blow the calories on a crappy grilled cheese? Well, I guess it's one of those mysteries of life. Right up there with Donald Trump's hair and Tammy Faye's mascara choices.

Sorry that you have once again been forced to wade through the randomness that is my cognitive function. I'll try to find a point somewhere in here...

Since I'm missing home cooking, I might as well add insult to injury and ask:

What is your favorite dish?
You know, the one that makes you feel good. Or the one that reminds you of something wonderful. Or the one that you have on special occasions. Oh, and for you non-cookers, it doesn't have to be a dish that you make. And I definitely want the recipes. No holding out on me now. C'mon people, feed the obsession! Cause if I'm going to drool over food, it might as well be GOOD food.

We're Number 1

I am officially the number 1 fundraiser

And it's all thanks to you. Thanks to your generosity, I have raised $2,658 for the American Cancer Society so far. Together, we are making a real difference in the lives of people facing cancer – and in the lives of the people who love them. Just think, the dollar that you donate could be the one that funds the cure for cancer. THANK YOU!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Pray for a Cure

I have a summer cold. Blah. It hit me on Tuesday and has slowly worked it's way south from my head to my lungs. I now have the lung capacity of a 90-year old smoker. You know why you don't meet many 90-year old smokers? Cause they can't breathe. And breathing is required to live. But hey, it's just a cold. In a few days I'll be good as new. And hopefully regain some lung capacity just in time for Relay for Life this weekend!

The most annoying thing about this cold is that I haven't been able to visit the friends in my cancer community. Colds and chemo are a bad combo. So I have stayed away. Even though I have friends who are having a really rough time right now. I know I can't make them feel better but it makes me feel better to at least visit and give them a big hug.

Lexie's Mom, Robyn is suffering as her baby suffers. She is wrestling, as we all have, with the idea that we put our babies through chemo for the selfish reason of keeping them around. That we would torture our precious children out of fear of losing them instead of allowing them to be whole and healthy in heaven. Believe me, I often had those thoughts when Lillian was in pain. It's unnatural to allow someone to poison your child. So why do it?

The challenge is that we don't know the outcome. You know the odds but you don't know whether your child is on the smaller, life-granting side of the odds or the larger, life-ending side. If chemo and radiation and all the other torture results in a long, healthy life, it's worth it. But if they endure all of that just to die, was it worth it? In hindsight, I wish we would have spent the last 6 months of Lillian's life playing and laughing instead of in and out of the hospital. But we had no idea what the future would hold. And frankly, it's naive to think that life would be sunshine and roses if chemo wasn't in the picture. Dying from cancer is just as painful as living with cancer.

So again, why do it? I'll tell you why. Because they have a chance at life. And until there is no chance left, you fight. Please pray for all the families fighting so hard. Click on the links under my cancer community to read their stories and comment on their sites. It is so encouraging to get notes from people, even strangers.

I hate seeing my friends in pain. I really hate seeing these kids go through all this torture. I really, really hate going to funerals. Pray for a cure. I know it's possible.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Question of the Week

The interns have landed at work! And boy do they look young. Fortunately the intern in my area is a MBA student who worked for 7 years between undergrad and grad school so he's not as young as the rest of them. But I swear that the interns get younger and younger each year. I mean, I know I'm not getting older so they must be getting younger, right?

The other day at work, we were talking about how the age gap is widening due to technology. These college students are digital natives whereas we are digital immigrants. They don't hesitate to share every detail of their lives with the world through myspace or facebook. Multi-tasking is no problem as they are used to managing multiple IM's and computer games and text messaging simultaneously.

Having a blog keeps me somewhat in touch with the digital world. I'm not sure I'm ready for myspace. It looks like a lot of work frankly. But I've been thinking about giving it a shot. Just as a way to connect myself to the next generation. You know, keep me young and in touch...

In that spirit, here's the question of the week:

What do you do to stay young?
PS - Spell check just highlighted all the tech words - myspace, facebook, IM, etc. Maybe the spell check creators should get in touch with the next generation too.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Yard Sale


Yard Sale
Saturday, July 7th
Lori's House
(e-mail me for the address/directions)

Let me first say that I hate yard sales. Haggling over pennies. Strangers pawing through your stuff. Disposing of the remaining dregs that nobody wanted. I would much rather donate everything to Goodwill and call it a day.

So why are we doing this? I'm glad you asked. We're making one last fundraising push for Relay for Life. All the money from this yard sale will go to the American Cancer Society! And that makes it all worth the effort.

How can you help? Wow, you're asking all the right questions today!

  • Give us your stuff. Leave a comment or e-mail me and I'll arrange time to pick it up. It's a great opportunity to do some summer cleaning for a worthy cause.
  • Visit us on Saturday. Tell your friends. Cause if you have a yard sale and nobody comes, did you really have a yard sale?

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