Sunday, November 20, 2011


My family celebrated Thanksgiving today.

I didn't do a head count but the rumor was that there were 22 people there - aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nephews, nieces, parents, grandparents, spouses.  It was loud and chaotic.  We commented at one point on how, when that many people are celebrating together, the only acceptable form of communication is yelling.  It's the only way to be heard.  Especially since approximately half of us are apparently deaf.

And, Lord, I am just so thankful for all that yelling.  All that chaos.  All that laughter.  All that love.

I'm a little ahead of myself this year.  Actual Thanksgiving is still four days away, but I'm going to be spending actual Thanksgiving on a plane, and in a car - traveling halfway across the country to cross another thing off my bucket list.  So, I'm taking the opportunity tonight, with a full belly and ringing ears, to take stock of all the things I am thankful for.

Here's the short list:

I'm thankful, of course, for Todd.  I'm thankful for this relationship we have in which we function as a team.  We respect each other, we take care of each other, and - at least most of the time - we bring out the very best in each other.  It's easy to take a relationship like this for granted.  We'll have been married 4 years in December, so by now our interactions are effortless.  Todd is home to me.  When I'm away from him for too long, I start to feel like something is missing, like I'm just "off."  He balances me, he holds me up, and he takes unbelievably good care of me.  Also?  He's going to be the most amazing dad in the world.  If you've never had the opportunity to see Todd interact with kids of just about any age, you're really missing out.  He's magical.  Kids light up when they see him.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating, I just can't wait to see him light up our own children someday!

I'm thankful for our big, crazy, boisterous families.  I cannot imagine what life would be like with less enthusiastic, supportive families.  Our families take care of us, they soothe us, they hold us up.  They are our best friends and our most trusted confidants.  I cannot imagine a different life, a quieter, less crazy (and sometimes inappropriate) family.  They say you can't pick your relatives, but there's no question that if we could - these are the exact ones we would pick.  These are the families we were always supposed to have and we are so proud of them, we love them so much, and we could not consider ourselves luckier to have them. 

I'm thankful for these big goofy slobbery dogs.  My crotchety old man and the goobery adolescent curled up into a tiny ball beside me.  I'm thankful for the entertainment and joy they bring to our lives every day.  I can't remember life before I had a waggily tail greeting me at the door every day. 

Alright, okay, I'm thankful for the cats too.  Sometimes they curl up in my lap and keep me warm and are kind of cute. 

 I'm thankful for our friends - who, in so many ways, are like family to us.  I'm thankful we have these people with whom we can be ourselves.  That we have these people in our lives with whom we can disagree, but with whom we are always honest and respectful.  I'm so thankful for the comfort and support our friends provide us - and for how loved and special they make us feel. 

I'm thankful for my job.  Sometimes it drives me crazy.  Sometimes it stresses me out.  Sometimes it's the last place in the world I want to be.  But I work with awesome people, I have developed some pretty wonderful friendships there and, in the whole grand scheme of things - it's a good job.

I'm thankful for this house.  I'm thankful in a literal way - as in, that we have a roof over our heads.  I'm also thankful in a more broad way in that - this house is so awesome.  We are so lucky to have it.  We are just as thrilled with it now (2 years later) as we were the day we found it.  Sitting here tonight with the Christmas lights on and the animals snoozing all around us, the house never felt so cozy and perfect for us.  Even better, there's plenty of room to grown. Someday this floor will be filled with baby toys (on top of dog toys) and all that noise and chaos we experience when our families get together will trickle over into our own home.  This house was made for that too.  We can't wait to fill it. 

I'm thankful for vacation -- which could not be coming at a better time for both of us.  I've never been to California.  I've never seen the Pacific ocean.  I'm thankful for this opportunity to see and explore this country, spend more time with my family, and take some time to just catch our breath and relax for a bit.

I'm thankful for adoption - for this experience, for this opportunity to learn, and grow, and deepen our faith.   I'm thankful for what this journey represents to us, and for what lies at the end of the journey.  I'm thankful that adoption exists as an option, and for the relationships we will one day build because of it. 

Finally, I'm thankful for this time -- when it's just Todd and I and the animals. It can be frustrating and incredibly easy to forget that this time is a gift when we're so ready and motivated to grow our family. But it is a gift, and I'm glad that we have it. We're trying to make the most of it.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Latest in Paper Gowns

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Remember how I talked about that Scentsy stuff?  Well, it's pretty much taken over my life.  Luckily I have a lot of fun doing it - but it's keeping me on my toes for sure!

Of course, it's not all been fun and games...

Yes, I had the opportunity to model the latest in hospital-wear earlier this week.  And, of course Todd took advantage of this photo op.  This is pre-procedure, by the way.  The pics he SWEARS I told him to take of me coming out of anesthesia will not be seen here.

Don't worry!  Everything is fine!  It was a very minor, outpatient surgery and I was even back to work the next day.  It has, however, kept me a little distracted and away from the blog more than I intended.

I'm no stranger to this look.  I'm an old pro at surgery.  The procedure this past week was the first one I'd ever had that wasn't ENT related, and prior to this one, it had been more than eight years since my last surgery, but over the years I became very familiar with the drill. 

See, I have bad ears.  Specifically, I have bad eustachian tubes.  This means that as a child, I had tubes in and out of my ears a lot and, as a teenager/adult, I have had at least two surgeries to reconstruct my eardrum.  The result is significantly diminished hearing in my left ear. 

Overall, I hear okay, but I often have trouble determining where sound is coming from, and if there's a lot of background noise I can have a hard time following conversations.

I had the audiogram above done approximately 3 weeks ago.  When my ENT specialist took a look in my left ear (for the first time in 5 years), his exact words were "Well, it's not a TOTAL disaster in here!" 

Oh.  YAY!?

In any case, I'm almost completely bounced back to normal and settling back into a routine.  Vacation is just around the corner and so are the holidays!  Those of you who are fans on Facebook know that I have already busted out the Christmas music and our house is 90% decorated.  I'm hoping to put the tree up this weekend.  I know, I know, it's Thanksgiving first - but we're actually celebrating Thanksgiving with my family on Sunday - so technically, for us, that means Thanksgiving WILL be first!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Biding our Time

Last weekend was daylight savings time and, although we really appreciate the extra hour of sleep we got on Saturday night, I would gladly trade it back for the 4 hours of daylight it apparently stole from us in return.  It's hard to get motivated to do things when it's dark all the time, but we're trying to stay busy while we wait for our lives to change.  Here's some of what we've been up to lately:
  • School:  we're both in school working on bachelor's degrees. We are in online programs, so we have the flexibility to attend class and do homework when it works best for our schedules (and when a baby comes along, we'll have lots of flexibility there as well).   I am 5 classes away from a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Services Management.  FIVE.  CLASSES.  They are going to be the longest five classes of my life.  Todd is pursuing a degree in Business Management - and he has a way to go yet, but we're making the most of this time of unemployment to focus on his education. 
    OH YEAH.
    That reminds me.
    Todd is unemployed.  He was laid off from his job a few months ago and hasn't been able to find permanent employment since.  This economy is the pits. However, we're making it work.  Like I said, Todd is in school  and if we found our baby now, he would be a stay at home daddy!  We figure there's a reason for all of this, we're just waiting to see how it plays out and trying to learn how to be patient.
  • Work:  For me, work has been cuh-razy lately.  I'm hoping this will ease up in the next couple of weeks.  Well, it will definitely ease up in the next couple of weeks because....
  • Vacation: We're going on vacation!  We leave Thanksgiving day for a trip to Southern California and Las Vegas.  We are really really looking forward to getting away together.  I've never been to California, so I'm excited to see the Pacific Ocean and cross another thing off my bucket list.  Todd HAS been to California, but as a San Diego Chargers fan - he's still pretty darn excited.  We'll be traveling with my mom, step-dad and grandma, and visiting family in California -- so it's bound to be an adventure!
  • Scentsy:  In an effort to supplement our income and (let's face it) feed my addiction, I became a Scentsy Consultant.  I LOVE this stuff, so I'm excited about that, although a little nervous.  However, I have four parties this month so I guess I'm not the only one who loves the stuff.  I'm hoping that, ultimately, it will churn up some more money so I can start our advertising up again, but we'll see.  If nothing else, it's providing a good distraction and keeping me out of trouble.
  • Holiday deal scouting:  I feel so behind!  I am usually at least halfway done with my Christmas shopping by now, but I feel very uninspired this year.  I'm hoping something will jump out and catch my attention soon.  Christmas is going to be here before I know it (SO FAST)!
So, it's not exactly scintillating stuff, but it's keeping us busy and moderately distracted and hopefully pointing us in a direction where we can renew our outreach efforts.  This waiting is hard.  It doesn't seem like it should be hard, right?  We're just living the same lives we've always lived and keeping them full and happy.  It's just now we're out here, so we know that it could happen at any moment.  It makes it difficult to wait, but we also know that this is bigger than us, we're learning patience and trust right now, and - in the end - we will get the children we're meant to have.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nursery Rhymes

I stumbled upon this poem while playing on Pinterest this evening.  It was (and still kind of is) my all time favorite "nursery rhyme" when I was a kid.  I remember my grandparents had these big hard covered books - they looked like encyclopedias but they were filled with nursery rhymes and children's stories.  Classics that seem to have disappeared in today's world.  Things like:

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.


Fishy, fishy, in a brook
Daddy caught him with a hook
Mommy fried him in a pan
And baby ate him like a man.

I used to spend hours reading that book.  But this one -- this one was my very very favorite:

Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the bright blue sea!
He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he had them for tea.
But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn’t play nothin’,
For he hadn’t anybody
To play with at all.
So he sat on his island,
And he cried for awhile, and
He felt very lonely,
And he felt very small.
Then along came the fishes,
And they said, “If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,
Instead of for tea!”
So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you and like me.
by Florence Page Jaques

My new mission (as of right this moment) is to find a book with these stories in it, and then sharing these long forgotten rhymes with our children. Just another thing we have to look forward to!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween By Todd

Well, Halloween has come and past and we had the usual amount of little ghosts and goblins hungry for their fix of candy stopped by our house last night.  So in honor of the event also known as a "Dentists Worst Nightmare", I thought I would give you all a little insight on how our Halloweens were celebrated when I grew up.

Well, first off for the people who are new to this blog or have not known me for a period of time, You have to understand that I grew up on a farm and lived out in the country.  When I was younger, we really did not have much money for any sort of fancy costumes like you see today.  A few years in a row I was a vampire because, well, you can buy fake teeth pretty cheap and about anything can be made into a cape.  I do remember one year when I was really young when I was dressed up as C3-PO from Star Wars ( this may have been the start of my strange obsession with the films). I remember the costume was a VERY cheap plastic mask and was pretty much a yellow poncho that was painted on the front to look like the character.  So, needless to say, it failed in the "realism" department.  As I am typing this, I think it might have been in kindergarten that I had that because I remember seeing it in a old picture my parents had of the elementary school parade.  And yes, I did say a elementary school Halloween parade.  I remember that for fact because we would all get excited, go outside in our costumes, and walk in front of the school as the parents would wait on the curbs with their cameras and snap away.
Its amazing what you can find on the Internet, This WAS my costume!!!

One thing that comes to mind was one year we decided to make a scare crow for the end of our sidewalk.  We took a pair of my coveralls and one of my old jackets and then stuffed leaves into garbage bad to make a filling for him.  Then his head was pretty much a paper bag with some marker on it.  Well, then once Halloween night came, we took down the scarecrow and I changed into his clothing and went out and sat in the chair he had been sitting in.  As the kids would come back from getting their candy, I would jump up out of the chair.  Needless to say, there were quite a few screams that night from surprised kids and adults as well.

Another memory I have is when I got a little older, I was invited by friend to go "trick or treating" in town.  This was a TOTALLY new concept to me.  See, living out in the country, you had to be driven to get your treats.  And usually you went to the grandparents houses and a few other random houses and maybe the neighbors also before calling it a night.  So when you lived out in the country, those cheap plastic pumpkins was about all you needed.  My first lesson in trick or treating-town style was before we even left the house.  My friend asked me what I was gonna use to put my candy in so I showed him my plastic bucket.  He just looked at me, laughed and said " That's not gonna work, just leave that their."  I kinda gave him a weird look as he then started to take the pillow cases off 2 pillows and handed me one of the cases.  I then asked what this was for and he said " To put the candy in dummy".  I still just kind of looked at the case but was like OK, whatever you want there weird-o.  Well, needless to say, that was a EXCELLENT call on his part.  We came back to his house and we had both filled our cases over 3/4 of the way full!!!!  I just could not believe how much candy these "city folk" were giving out.  So needless to say from that time on whenever I got the chance to go into town trick or treating, I was on board with it.

The Rockers!!!!  2008
Todd as LaDanian and Shell as Todd the Mayo Custodian - 2010

This year was a little more quiet for our usual trick or treaters.  Me and Shell think its because the holiday falls on a school night.  We still went through quite a bit of candy though but now that its over, its time to start taking down these decorations and put up some Halloween and Christmas lights while it still warm out.  Yes, we put up Christmas decorations this early but we NEVER light them until after Thanksgiving.

Also, some of the "Regular Followers" have said they like it better when I end my blogs with some of the funny pics I find while on the internet.  So I will now make it a point to end all my blog-ings with a couple funny pics.  Enjoy!!!