Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Zoo, kind of...

Kevin and I took Jack to Pet Smart yesterday. We weren't shopping for anything, we just visited. For Jack, going to Pet Smart on a Saturday morning is pretty much like going to the zoo. The difference? Jack gets to pet all the dogs coming in for training class. First of all, we stop by the "bud" cages. The was enamered with the green and blue parakeets. The flitted around, flapped their wings and put on a pretty good show for him. We must have stood there for 10 minutes while he watched them. He pointed out every single bird, as if I might not notice them.

The reptiles were close by, and there was a really cool turtle. So, I let Jack stand on a mobile step the workers use and showed him the turtle. Have you ever read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? Fudge eats his brothers turtle. Well, Jack doesn't think turtles are as cool as Farley Drexel Hatcher does. He wanted down immediately. I asked, "What's wrong? You don't like the turtles?" Jack replied with a violent shake of the head and firm, "NO!" "Ok, bud, let's go find something else."

Next, the parade of disobedient, or so their owners think, dogs began. Jack was the Pet Smart greeter. He was so cute. They should pay him to bring customers into the store. He petted chihuahuas, labs, muts, you name it. One man had dachsons and Jack sat down in the floor beside them to play. :)

After that, we went into the cat room. Jack loves our neighbors' cat. So, I figured he'd be good with the ones at Pet Smart. Well, let me tell you, he was in absolute heaven! He played and played and played. He was so sad when he had to tell the bye. He kept looking back over his shoulder, almost made me want to adopt one. I'd rather let him play with the neighbors' cat.

I remembered that Biscuit and Birdie need new tags with our new phone and address info on them. We used the engraving machine to make two. Jack thought that was pretty cool, but not anywhere near as awesome as the automatic doors. He kept walking up to them to get them to open automatically. He'd walk up and squat with his hands on his knees waiting. We laughed loudest when he'd have to scoot up closer because he hadn't crossed the magical open the doors line.

We had so much fun, and didn't have to pay admission!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Last night, Kevin and I went to see Juno. We both loved it. Most of the reviews I've read focus on the fact that this movie is about teenage pregnancy. That is true, I guess. To me, it was more about adoption. I'm sure being an adoptive parent has something to do with it.

I've found, since our adoption journey began in August 2005, that those who have no experience with adoption or haven't been personally touched by it (whether birthmom/father/sibling, adoptive parent/sibling, or family member) truly can't relate. It's not that they don't want to. On the contrary, they try wholeheartedly. They just can't either side of adoption. For me, despite the fact that Jack is loved as much as any other child in our family, even our own relatives stuggle to understand the relationship that exists between Kevin and me and Jack's birthmom.

People often ask, "How could she do that?" They don't understand that the decision she made isn't about herself. It's about Jack, too. She didn't "give him away." She gave him a life, one that is filled with opportunity. She struggled with abortion. I don't know how easy or difficult that would be, because I can't relate. I do know that someone I barely knew walked around public places, like Juno did the mall, and was scrutinized for being pregnant out of wedlock. She was in the grocery store every week. I'm sure people would ask, "When are you due? Boy or girl? Picked out a name? How exciting!" Can you imagine the pain, the guilt, the strength and courage? If you've ever been pregnant, consider the times you were oooooed and aaaaaahhhed over. Now imagine reaping none of the benefits, nothing to hold, rock, feed, or show off when you get home, no trophy. I missed out on all the physical pregnancy attention with Jack, but I have the most beautiful prize to show for it napping in the next room. So, to answer the how could she question...I have absolutely no idea how someone could be so strong and selfless and publicly admit such a mistake, but I am eternally grateful she did.

Jennifer Garner did an excellent job of portraying a woman who wants to be a mother more than anything in the whole world. I can identify with her on so many levels. I know the hurt she felt when having to explain that an adoption had fallen through for them, the "how sure are you" question...80%. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to ask that, to measure it somehow. You can't measure love. My version of the question ended up sounding more like, "Are you sure you're not going to have any regrets about this?" In the movie, Garner wants to paint the nursery. Hubby tells her it's too early, yet. While his motive was different than my own husband's motive, I heard that many times. I just wanted something tangible. Something I could touch that would say, "Hey world, I'm going to be a mommy, too. I'm worthy, too. Stop feeling sorry for me. This thing is going to happen." Kevin didn't want me to be heartbroken. I, too, had to wait to paint the nursery.

The reason I really love this movie, is because Ellen Page shows incite to the struggles a birthmother faces. The struggles aren't necessarily the same, but they are difficult nonetheless. I couldn't help but notice in the movie that Juno was walking against the current of students in the hallways at school, against the grain. She was amazed at this little life inside of her, cared about it, nurtured it. She's a real person, with real feelings, not some inferior human being as many of the world, like the sonagram tech and the school secretary in the movie stereotype. Any female in the world who has ever had unprotected sex out of wedlock could be Juno. The next time you see a young pregnant mother in the grocery store, instead of thinking what a floozy she is, I hope you'll appreciate the difficult path she has chosen, whether she keeps the baby as her own or places it for adoption.

Kevin and I feel extremely protective of Jack's birthmom. She has given us the most precious gift anyone has ever given us. How could anyone think less of her? I appreciate that the ending of the movie shows how Juno's life goes on. That's what adoption should be, a solution for all. We learn from our mistakes, thankfully God has the grace to turn them into blessings.

Sunday, January 06, 2008, it's been a while. I'm sure my blog is rarely visited anymore it's been so long. Well, the new year brings a new resolve to keep my blog updated. I will take the time to update it, so I would appreciate it if you take the time to comment. Say, "hello;" let me know you're out there!

To make up for my posting deficiencies in 2007, I'm posting memories from the year.
  • January~We decided to move to Mississippi to be closer to Kev's mom, and put the house on the market with a realtor.
  • February~The house sold in about a week. We accepted a contract, shopped for a house in Mississippi and moved all before February 21. It was a whirlwind month to say the least. Jack saw his first snow while visiting MS for a house shopping trip. Can I just say that I hate boxes?
  • March~We have never been sicker. Jack is usually healthy, but a new town brought a new set of germs. He became sick our second day or so in MS and couldn't stay well just about the whole month of March. Kev and I got sick, too.
  • April~Jack turned 1 on April 4th, and Easter was on April 8th. We celebrated Jack's birthday on Easter with the family so all of his grandparents could be here. Uncle D and Uncle Tim's fams also came. I was sad that we weren't in P'ville where our "home friends" could come to Jack's party. We had Easter before lunch and birthday after lunch. Jack had a blast and knew it was his big day. It was unseasonably cool for April. Jack loved hunting Easter eggs and digging into his Easter basket. He wanted to find the eggs, examine them carefully, and return them to their secret spot. Uncle Kev and Aunt Cindy were repaid for all of the awesome gifts we'd given to nieces and nephews over the years when Jack received his first drum. Thanks Aunt Kristy! He still bangs on that thing. I was finally confirmed in the Catholic church the next week. It was a very emotional day for me. I waited almost 3 years for this.
  • May~I know it was my birthday and Mother's Day. I celebrated both on the same day. Kevin separated them for me. He's an angel. I went to my first ever Gum Tree Festival. Other than that it was a very busy work month for me. Jack started daycare. I started thinking that I missed the classroom and wanted to go back into teaching. It's hard moving to a new place when you work inside the home and your child is too young to participate in community activities.
  • June~My brother-in-law's National Guard unit was activated stateside to cover for an overseas group in Virginia, leaving Amanda at home with a 1 year old and a turkey in the oven. He also had to spend a few weeks in New Orleans for war games. I felt terrible to be four hours away from my little sis when he was gone. I applied for a classroom job and was hired the day I interviewed, pending board approval of course. I was sooooo excited! What was I thinking? Did I forget about all the preparation that goes into being a teacher? Kev and I took our first trip together since Jack was born. We went to the beach and left Jack with Granny. We were only gone a few days and had a great time. We didn't take Jack because he wasn't walking very sturdy yet. All we could do was think about him and wonder what he was doing. Every little kid we saw was Jack to us. We ate well, very well. :) We rested, too. On the last day, though, I was dressed and ready to go see my little coconut before Kev was even awake. He still thinks that's funny.
  • July~A very pregnant Amanda and Mallory came for the 4th of July. I truly enjoyed seeing my little sister. We took the kids to the fireworks in the park. It was sticky hot, but Mallory and Jack had so much fun. There was surprise parade through the neighborhood. We watched the kids riding ATVs, motorcycles, bicycles, and a flatbed trailer from our front yard. WGU had graduation in July. So, I got to see my buddies in SLC. My favorite part of graduation was seeing Ngozika graduate. She is the most inspirational person I've ever met. Nothing has ever come easy for her.

  • August~Welcome to the world Cousin Savannah! She is a beautiful bundle of joy! Her mommy thinks she looks like me, but I don't see it. I went back to the classroom teaching 4th grade.

  • September~lesson planning, paper grading, parent calling, lesson planning, meetings, paper grading, lesson planning...Need I say more?

  • October~Family sponsored charity golf tournament. Kevin's mom works hard all year planning for this. Kevin played a larger roll in the planning this year. The tournament was successful. We all had a great time. Thanks to all who supported the fund raiser for the Sanctuary Hospice House. We took Jack to the most pitiful pumpkin patch I've ever seen. He didn't care. He had fun jumping the ruts in field. It was all about Jack. Jack was the cutest Elvis you've ever seen for Halloween. He didn't like the costume at first, because of the big collar. Once he realized he was going to get to listen to Elvis music, ride in his red wagon, AND people were giving him candy all at the same time...he had a blast.

  • November~We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Alabama. This is the first time in a few years we have done so. It's so hard fitting everyone into our short trips. I spent all my time off traveling. I was beyond tired when I returned to school. I can't do that anymore. We deserve restful vacations too.

  • December~I stayed so busy with school planning for Christmas Around the World that I had no time, and little money, for Christmas shopping. Christmas in Mexico was a success, and I finally had some time, and money, for Christmas shopping. Jack was good about the tree. He rarely touched the ornaments and brought them to me when he did. He didn't like the way the needles fell to the floor as we got it situated in the living room. He wiped them with paper towels. :) Amanda and Mallory visited in early December. Cousin Savannah stayed with Nana. Her Daddy was activated again for a few weeks in the Gulf of Mexico. We had so much fun! We all, including Kevin, went to the Christmas parade Saturday morning. The kids love the pets from the humane shelter and the horses best. Then Amanda and I took the kids to Disney on Ice that night. I have never seen Jack sit so still. They were absolutely mesmerised. When we left, Mallory kept saying, "Go Cinderella!" She loves her Uncle Kevin. They played, played, played. Kevin kept the kids after Disney on Ice so my lil sis and I could go out to dinner. It's been forever since we could go out together.