Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Call

We got The Call!  Yes, that one!  The one we've been praying about for a year!  A mama has selected us to parent her baby girl due in January!!  If my excitement hasn't oozed out of those last four sentences then I clearly haven't used enough exclamation points.  Because!  I!  Am!  SO!  Excited!!!!!! 

Honestly?  We'd almost forgotten that we were waiting.  That's not entirely accurate.  I remembered everyday but the anticipation had wavered from a kid on Christmas Eve to a kid on the day after Christmas.  I guess it started to seem like it would never happen.  We had even begun talking about how long we would stay in the pool.  Others have certainly waited much longer so I know that may sound ridiculous.  But perhaps we were supposed to be content with our two kiddos.  So I had simply been petitioning God to make His will clear.  Talk about an answered prayer!

The story of The Call probably best describes the evolution of the year.  When we first entered the pool, every ring of the phone made me jump.  If my cell rang with a number I wasn't familiar with, I would dash out of a meeting to answer it.  I was that preoccupied with The Call and that sure that things would happen quickly like they had with our prior two adoptions.  Fast forward a year and I'm lounging on the couch during Ian's nap when the phone rings.  The caller ID says it's an unknown number so I let it go to voicemail, irritated that Ian might be awakened.  There was no message and then the phone rang again with the same unknown number.  Again, I let it go to voicemail but this time they left a message.  I ran across the room and grabbed the phone by the time she managed to get out "Hi, this is xxx from OAFS, I have a situation that I would like to talk to you about..." 

We are so eager to meet this family next week for the first of two planning sessions.  I am very aware that this is only the start of our journey.  But I believe that every child deserves to be eagerly anticipated so I'm giving my heart over to this completely.  If we don't end up becoming her parents, I will grieve that loss but there is no use borrowing tomorrow's pain.  For today, I am savoring the possibility of what lies ahead.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Halloween

As soon as the Kid got a peek at these, he started singing "Happy Birthday."  Apparently he thinks cake is only allowed at birthdays.  Heh.


...and spider webs...

 ...and worms in dirt...


I was in a hurry to deliver these to a friends house so I didn't have time to take a decent pic.  But they are pretty cute, er scary,  and in keeping with my must-be-simple-to-decorate rule.  Plus I tried a new vegan chocolate cake recipe that turned out remarkably moist and tasty.  After my last attempt at vegan cupcakes turned out disappointingly dry, I'm happy to have a new go-to recipe.  Happy birthday...I mean, Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Paying others to work

By far the best way to remodel is to pay someone else to do the work.  Sure it's still annoying and intrusive but by golly it's done.  And fast!  Anyhoo, my mom asked for some pics of the work so without further ado, here they are. 

We had the siding repaired where we removed a slider that led to no where.  In fact we have several sliders that lead to no where.  Odd.  No pics of this as it just looks like a wall.

Then we had a patio poured where the pool once was.  (Don't tell our kids that we had a pool once upon a time.  Oh, and NEVER buy a house with a pool.  At least not in Oregon.)  The patio is brushed concrete trimmed with a tinted grey stamped concrete in a grid pattern.  It is huge so the grid helps to avoid the parking lot look.  The Kid loves running back and forth with his shopping cart or riding his bike around.  He LOVES the patio.

We cleaned the chairs so they are facing the sun to dry.  Hence the army o chairs look.  It's nice, don't ya think?

Then we had the fence replaced which not only looks a billion times better but we also enlarged it to include a side yard so it's much more useful.  Rick's Custom Fencing demo'd the old fence and installed 280 linear feet of new fence in just 2 days. 

And finally we had a new roof installed.  This is a dreadful picture.  How does one take a good picture of a black roof on a cloudy day?  Obviously I have no clue. 

We brilliantly bought our house at the height of the market and then proceeded to pour money into it.  While we've enjoyed the fruits of those remodels, we doubt we'll ever recoup that investment.  And since we don't intend to live in this house forever, we tried to keep costs to a minimum which is why we opted for a concrete patio and a composite roof.  There are so many other things I'd love to do (replace the windows for example) but I think we're about done. 

Of course in the last 2 weeks, the Hubs added a small raised bed for herbs.  And he has almost completed demolition of a portion of old rotton decking.  Then we'll level that portion of the yard and barkdust.  So when I say "almost done," I really mean THIS NEVER ENDS!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here comes trouble

I returned home from a trip last night eager to see my boys.  The weather was beautiful so we headed out to the park and then grabbed some dinner.  The Kid declared that it was "Nana and Papa Tiiiiiiimmmmmeeee" on the way home so we hopped on Readeo and let Nana and Papa e-babysit him read to him for a bit.  Finally after a bath, snuggles and more books, I tucked him in and said goodnight. 
Normally there is some whining as he winds down but that is about it until morning.  Note I said "normally." 
I had just begun thumbing through a cookbook in the kitchen when Jeff commented "what was that?"  Two seconds later The Kid runs into the kitchen signing and saying "AWAKE!" 

Oh boy.  We've clearly begun a whole new phase.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate Tall Cakes

My dad came over for a birthday dinner so I made these vegan cupcakes (don't tell him they were vegan). 

It was a winning recipe on Cupcake Wars so I figured they had to be good and they are totally adorable with their little muffin top hats.  Unfortunately I couldn't get the frosting to turn out right so I made a batch of the Fluffy Vegan Buttercream from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World".  The cake was a little drier than I would have liked so I'll check them at 18 minutes next time.  But I like the combination of fresh berries, buttercream and chocolate cake.  I mean, what's not to like?  The Kid devoured his in about 2 seconds of course.  I couldn't get him to pause for a photo so we just had to take one with his fork in his mouth.
Happy birthday Dad!  And happy anniversary Jeff - I can't believe it's been 16 years already!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mood swings

After a brief respite, the tantrums have returned.  The Kid is happy as a clam one second and whining/crying/flailing the next.  Tonight we endured a doozy.  We went to the store and he picked out birthday cards for Papa and Auntie Michelle (I'm sure the recipients will enjoy his interesting choices).  And we got in the car and headed for home without complaint.  But as soon as I mentioned that he would have a bath when we got home, he started crying and whining.  Keep in mind that he likes baths so I had no idea that this would cause such a fit.  Based on his repeated whines for "Auntie Shell" and "Papa" and "Biiiiiiiirrrrrthdaaaaay" I realized that he thought we were going to see Papa and Auntie Michelle and have a birthday party.  Darn it.  After several time outs interspersed with more whining and crying, he finally had a fun bath and is now happily getting ready for bed. 

While I don't want to under-sell my hatred of the tantrums, the harder part for me is not holding a grudge.  Once he has a change in activities, he is instantly sweet as pie.  But I'm still reeling from the drama.  I honestly don't know how he changes moods so darn quickly!  I just hope this tantrum phase ends soon because I'm getting whiplash from the mood swings.

Monday, August 30, 2010

God's infomercial

I just finished reading "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by local author Donald Miller.  I have read all of his books and always find his writing to be both accessible and insightful.  One passage in the book resonated with me in particular.  It talks about the idea that people often expect life to be easy once they become a Christian.  Like some sort of infomercial for the key to happiness on earth.  When in fact, Jesus promises us that life will be filled with trials (John 16:33).  Just look at the earliest Christians, the apostles, and the strife they endured.  Don puts it this way:

"Can you imagine an infomercial with Paul, testifying to the amazing product of Jesus, saying that he once had power and authority, and since he tried Jesus he's been moved from prison to prison, beaten and routinely bitten by snakes?  I don't think many people would be buying that product.  Peter couldn't do much better.  He was crucified upside down, by some reports.  Stephen was stoned outside the city gates.  John, supposedly, was boiled in oil.  It's hard to imagine how a religion steeped in so much pain and sacrifice turned into a promise for earthly euphoria." 

As life unfolds new trials before me, I find myself again wondering why.  Why would God allow bad things to happen to his beloved children?  As a parent, I would do anything to protect my kids from pain.  So why doesn't my all-powerful heavenly Father protect me from pain?  And if God promises us plans to "prosper us and not to harm us," (Jeremiah 29:11) then why are we allowed to suffer?  What happened to my key to happiness on earth? 

Don answers these why's like this:

"I think Jesus can make things better, but I don't think he is going to make things perfect.  Not here, and not now.  What I love about the true gospel of Jesus, though, is that it offers hope.  Paul has hope our souls will be made complete.  It will happen in heaven, where there will be a wedding and a feast.  I wonder if that's why so many happy stories end in weddings and feasts.  Paul says Jesus is the hope that will not disappoint.  I find that comforting."

God didn't promise heaven on earth.  So while life may totally suck from time to time, I have hope.  And despite my anger and grief and all around confusion, I know God is right here with me.  He will give me the strength to endure (Psalm 46:1). 

All this is to say, my sister has breast cancer.  She is one tough chick and I know she will kick cancer's ever loving arse.  But why the heck does she have to go through this?  God help me, I have no flipping clue.  So I just trust and hope and pray.  If you know my sis and want to follow along as she gives cancer an old fashioned arse whooping, you can find updates here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Managing 101 - What Not to Do

I tend to shy away from talking about work as some of my co-workers lurked around here from time to time. But with my blogging lull, I'm guessing that they've all gone on their merry way. And what the heck, it's my blog!

Like many people, I've worked for a myriad of managers over my career. Most have been good-hearted which tends to erase any managerial shortcomings. But there have been a few doozies over the years.

My first manager liked to stroll in around 9am, apply her make-up for the next 15 minutes before running out to grab some breakfast. She then spent the balance of her day huddled around the proverbial water cooler complaining about how overworked she was before exiting promptly at 4:30pm. She treated me with a sort of aloof disdain leaving my budding self esteem to wilt under her harsh gaze. When a new manager took over and treated me as though I was CEO potential for doing the exact same work, the skies seemed to part. Everything suddenly made sense and I was quickly promoted. It was then that I realized what a profound impact a manager can make on their employees!

Fast forward through a dozen or so managers across 2 more companies and I have learned a great deal about what to do and sometimes more importantly, what NOT to do as a leader. Which brings me to my latest experience. This one we'll put firmly in the what not to do column. Suffice it to say that my last manager made my first manager look like Mary Poppins. In fact, "boss" is a more appropriate term for her.

My boss would give unclear direction (if any at all) and then verbally abuse us for not delivering her expectations. She would push us for critiques of our co-workers, tell the individual a grossly exaggerated version of the conversation then berate us publicly for not working well together. When things went well, she would pass off our work as her own and when things went poorly, she would step quietly aside to watch us crash and burn. This past year has been a trying one but I was intent on doing my best, helping her succeed and sheltering my team from her craziness. Overall, I believe I accomplished my goals. She was uncharacteristically complimentary in my annual review despite giving me a rather lackluster rating. It was a disappointing end to the year but thankfully my efforts have led to a new job.

Believe me when I tell you dear internet friends that had I written this post a week ago, it would have taken a much uglier turn. But a wonderful vacation and a thought provoking sermon on Ephesians 4:31-32 (31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you) has softened my perspective. So at this point, I'm chalking this one up to just another life lesson of what not to do. And I hope it makes me a better manager as a result.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ring Dammit

If anyone is still reading this poor, forsaken blog, I will be amazed. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Let me outline this for you dear interweb machine. We entered the adoption pool at the end of October. It is now July (or will be in a couple hours). THAT'S 8 LONG MONTHS WITH NARY A SINGLE CALL!

"But Lori," you say, "isn't the average wait around 10 months."

Excellent point.

"Haven't placements been slow in general lately?"

Yes, they have. Another good point.

"And shouldn't your focus be on the right match, not the quickest match?"

Enough already. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

I want the right match, really I do. We want a life-long relationship with a birthfamily as much as we want a baby. But may I point out however that this wait has been nearly twice as long as the wait for both Ian and Lillian COMBINED?! So forgive me if common sense has taken a back seat right now as I battle through all of the unknowns.

I'm tossing out a humble prayer request to anyone who is still reading. Will you join me in praying that the right birthfamily and the right baby would come into our family at the right time? And in the meanwhile, grant me patience as I wait. I'm thankful Relay is a week away, work is keeping me busy and Ian keeps me running and laughing all at the same time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Relay for Life Fundraisers

Once again we're fundraising for Relay for Life! And once again, we have a name drawing with three terrific prizes and fundraising event at Papa's Pizza. All donations benefit the American Cancer Society. Without further ado, here are the details:

Papa's Pizza Event

Papa's Pizza Fundraiser

Bring this flyer to Papa's Pizza today, June 1st and Papa's will donate 50% of the value of the food you purchase!(Click on the image to enlarge & print. You must bring the flyer for the donation!)

Name Drawings

  • Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20

  • You can donate online using a credit card and email me with your choice of prize.

  • Or give your cash/check to me in person (if you give me cash, please let me know if you would like a receipt for tax purposes).

  • Drawing will be held at Relay on July 11th

You choose which prize drawing you want to enter-


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Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter bunny

Look at what I made for Easter! Under all that toasted coconut "fur" lies a a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and a homemade dark chocolate cake. Yum!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Calling all cooks

We're creating a community cookbook filled to the brim with the best recipes from the best cooks we know - and that includes you! I think. If you somehow manage to burn water then no, not you.

Anyhoo, the theme of the cookbook is a year of weeknight recipes for the whole family. With your help we'll have 260 main dish recipes and separate sections for starters, side dishes and desserts for mixing & matching. And in support of Meatless Mondays, we're planning to include 52 vegetarian main dish recipes. Between leftovers and eating out, you'll have a complete year of meals at your fingertips! All the profits from the sale of these cookbooks will be donated to the American Cancer Society through our Relay for Life team.

If you have a recipe to submit, email me for the form. All recipes need to be submitted by April 15th. Oh, and each recipe in the book will include the name of the submitter so you'll finally be published!

We are also including advertising in our cookbook with prices starting at $40. Email me for more info on that as well.

If all goes well, the books will be ready to purchase in June. Wish us luck! I can't wait to try all of these tasty dishes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An open letter to moms who bring sick kids to public places

Dear moron fellow mom,

I understand how difficult it is to stick around the house with a sick toddler. Believe me, I do. We've suffered through 2 bouts of croup and the chicken pox in the last 18 months. But the rest of us aren't interested in attending whatever snot-filled germ party your kid is hosting. When I take my kid to a play gym, I expect the other children are healthy. And that their parents are abiding by the simple posted health rules (also known as common sense). So if your kid is sick, for the love of all that is holy, stay home.

Thanks to you I haven't smelled...well, anything in the past week. My right ear is completely plugged. Snot is being manufactured at record-setting rates. And I sound like a four-pack-a-day smoker. Oh and my kid and hubby are suffering with the same bug. Our house may require professional fumigation and disinfection when this stupid cold finally ends.

But hey, if it's more convenient for you to get out of the house and play among innocent children, by all means, don't let me stop you. It's obviously all about you. But be forewarned. The next time my kid has even a slightly runny nose, I'm letting him lick your car door handle.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Only in my dreams

I don't normally remember my dreams but this week I woke up two mornings in a row from vivid dreams. And frankly, you don't need to be Freud to interpret these. See what you think:

In the first dream we were trying to get ready to go on vacation. But for some reason I could not get the hubby moving and the kid was still asleep. So I'm running around packing and getting everything ready while the hubby saunters over to pour some coffee, plops in the chair and turns on the news. Finally I look up the itinerary, glance at the clock and shout "THE PLANE IS TAKING OFF RIGHT NOW, we missed it." The next thing I remember is being in the car heading to the airport with the whole family and as I'm on hold to reschedule our flight, I realize I forgot the special items I purchased for the trip. And with that, I woke up feeling incredibly frustrated.

Admittedly, I'm usually the one getting everything packed and organizing all the details so that part is very real. But the bottom line is that I'm in desperate need for a vacation. Like NOW.

The second dream takes place in a swimming pool. I'm holding onto the side of the pool while Ian and Jeff are playing in the water to my left. I look up and see an adorable, chunky little infant girl with whispy brown hair sitting on the edge of the pool to my right facing away from me. As I comment on how cute her roly poly legs are, she tumbles backwards into the pool and I catch her just before she reaches the surface. I plop her back on the side and give a raised eyebrow look at her grandfather who is sitting in a lounge chair a few feet away. He shrugs and doesn't move. I watch her out of the corner of my eye and a few minutes later she tumbles into the pool again but this time sinks right to the bottom of the 30 foot area. (That's right, a 30 feet deep pool.) I take a few deep breaths and struggle to the bottom pulling myself along the wall. I grab her in a manner of seconds and quickly surface. I signal the lifeguard who runs over and asks if the baby needs CPR. I check her breathing and pulse and say yes. The young lifeguard struggles to remember how to do infant CPR so quickly I grab her, sit her up and pat her on the back. She spits up and starts to breathe. And again, I wake up. Oh and despite all the detail in the dream, I never saw her face.

Now we are in the pool waiting to adopt our 3rd child so this dream doesn't exactly require deep analysis, does it?

So I think we've discovered three important things:
1) I'm in need of a vacation asap.
2) I'm ready for that baby asap.
3) I'm just not that creative in my dreams.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another reason not to google medical stuff

When I was a teenager, I decided to become a vegetarian. My mom says I'm just another casualty of the Bambi generation. I say meat is just yucky. Yucky to think about and yucky tasting. I realize there are many who don't share my opinion and since I don't push my choice on them, I ask that they simply return the favor. It's a kind of don't ask-don't tell dietary policy. Ironically I married an avid fisherman who later took up the hobby of hunting. Suffice it to say that opposites attract. Anyhoo, I'm a devoted veg who occasionally dabbles in a vegan diet.

"The point?" you ask.

After my unfortunate kitchen accident, they applied a substance called Gelfoam to stop the bleeding. They noted that it would fall off on it's own after a few days. Here it is a week later and trust me when I tell you that despite my best efforts the stuff is still stuck like glue. So I did a bit of internet research (always a bad idea) and found this: "Gelfoam...is a water-insoluble, off-white, nonelastic, porous, pliable product prepared from purified pork Skin Gelatin USP granules..."

I am flipping mainlining pig parts. And it doesn't want to come off. Welcome to a vegetarian's worse nightmare.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mundane details

I've been getting more spam comments than real comments on my blogs of late so it's time to add a bit of security. I think that last lull in posts worked as a sort of spam lure. For now I'm enabling word verification but should this trend continue I'll have to disallow anonymous comments. (Sorry Mom.) Why must those pesky spammers ruin it for everyone else?

Sadly, that's all the writing inspiration I can muster at the moment. I'm trying to get back on the blogging wagon but topics are alluding me. So if you have any writing prompts to offer, don't hesitate to share them.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Say it with a song

I love musical theater. I know that some people think it's odd to watch a song and dance number peppered between dialogue. Personally, I prefer it. In fact, I think the world would be a better place if all good and bad news would be communicated through song. Need to fire someone at work? Follow it with a song for the ultimate tension breaker. Getting engaged? Profess your love with a heartfelt ballad. Heck even my son won't clean up his toys until we start one of the clean up songs. Clearly my 2 year old understands the impact of a well timed song.

This morning as I was preparing brunch for some friends, I managed to slice off the tip of my finger along with the core of the apple. (Stupid Rachael Ray apple coring suggestion.) The hubby put my fingertip on ice (along with the piece of apple it rested upon) and I hopped in the car to visit urgent care. After waiting 10 minutes for it to open, I calmly completed the requisite paperwork and then waited with a rag around my bloody finger for another 20 minutes. Finally I was escorted back to a room with unprecedented nonchalance. The nurse took my temperature, checked my pulse and took my blood pressure before even looking at my finger. She handed me gauze to replace the bloody rag and told me a doctor would be right in. True to her word, a doctor rushed in before the door even closed. Apparently he "loves to sew" and was eager to get started. He was sorely disappointed that I hadn't hacked off a larger chunk because there just wasn't enough to sew back on. He explained that he was trained in c-sections (I immediately crossed my legs) and didn't get the chance to sew very often. He threw around words like "cauterize" and "infection" before delegating the work to someone else. That someone else arrived to apply the dressing with remarkable force and I was finally free to go with my ET looking appendage.

Okay, how are these first two paragraphs related? It's simple. A girl sitting in a waiting room clutching her hand in a bloody rag for 20 minutes while the other earache and sniffles patients gawk practically screams for a "Rent"-esque song. And a doctor who loves to sew and is disappointed with my wound cries out for a number straight out of "Spamalot." And of course I could have used an upbeat "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" song when the receptionist, nurse, doctor and someone else each asked me if I cut my finger while making breakfast. It's 9am people, of course I cut it making breakfast. I'm not out chopping wood this early after all.

Clearly life would simply be more tasty if strategically seasoned with music.

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