Thursday, January 27, 2011

Next To My Heart

The first time I saw those mother's necklaces with the child's names stamped on various sized discs, I couldn't wait to get one. I had one all picked out for mother's day. For some unknown reason I waited to order it. (It's a good thing too considering we kept Lion's birth name instead of our original choice).

On the plane to Ethiopia, I found out why I had hesitated. I met a woman who had adopted kids from Ethiopia and was returning to do some mission work. She had the most beautiful necklace, an African pendant with a heart where Ethiopia was. Even though I had yet to experience Ethiopia and the effect it would have on me, I knew I needed one. I wanted to show my son and others that a piece of my heart would always be in Ethiopia. Upon our return, I immediately bought one and have not taken it off since.

Bunny would often look at the necklace and ask if there was a China one. "You love China too momma, right?" she would ask. "Yes darling. I love China because you were born there. China is in my heart too." "Then why don't you have a China necklace, momma?" I had no good answer. I needed to get one.

My necklace arrived on Monday and now I can carry the birth countries of my children next to my heart always.

My children did not grow in my body, they grew in my heart. And now thanks to the lovely Tracy at JunkPosse I can show the world.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fabulous Times Five

Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend's wish!

I guess I've got five on the brain this week. Today I am sharing five fabulous bloggers with you. There are so many fabulous bloggers out there that it was difficult to narrow it down.

The first is Stacey from Is There Any Mommy Out There. Stacey is a fellow adoptive mom. She is smart and funny with a passel of beautiful kids. Her writing is absolutely beautiful. Plus she's even written a novel that she is sharing with the world for free. I've also been lucky enough to meet Stacey in person so I know that she is as fabulous a person as she is a blogger.

Next is Issa from Issa's Crazy World. I first was introduced to Issa when I met her at Blog Her '09 where she was one of the Community Keynote speakers. Her post was just amazing. But more importantly I found out that Issa was one of the most amazing women I had ever met. She has such a big heart and is always willing to share. In fact she organized an internet birthday party for my 40th birthday and a blog shower for Lion. I am still amazed by that and I am so thankful that blogging has brought her into my life.

Next up is Denise from Eat Play Love. Denise is honest and passionate. Thanks to her I am actually looking forward to Bunny being in all day kindergarten next year so I can pack her lunches in beautiful bento boxes just like Denise. Another reason to love her is her unabashed love for Chris Martin and Coldplay (something I may be guilty of as well).

Another fabulous blogger is Stephanie from the NieNie Dialogs. Stephanie's story is so inspiring. She is recovering from a near fatal plane crash that left her with burns over 80% of her body. That would be enough for anyone to give up. However, Stephanie's blog is filled with joy, hope and love. It is my happy place. I go there whenever I am feeling down and it never fails to lift my spirits.

Finally there is Stefanie from Baby on Bored. Stefanie is funny. She is famous. She has written three wonderful books. But that is not why I chose her. I chose her because the stories she has shared on her blog have quite literally helped to change my life.

I hope that you will check out all of these bloggers if you don't read them already.

Don't forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend's wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses
Blog With Integrity
, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This post should have been up days ago but I just couldn't find the words. How do you sum up the essence of someone? How do you describe what makes them, them?

Bunny turned five on the 14th. It still shocks me that she is five. I can remember the first time I held her in my arms at nine months. I remember that baby, the first steps, the first words.

Five is no longer a baby or even a little kid. Five is a big kid. Five is a kindergartener. Five can do things all by herself. Five can write. Five can almost read.

Bunny at five is amazing. She is loving and kind. She has patience for her little brother (except when she doesn't). She tries to teach him all that she knows.

Bunny at five is talented. She draws beautiful pictures. She writes and illustrates her own books. She wants to share her talents with her friends and family.

Bunny at five is funny.

Bunny at five is a friend.

Bunny at five is full of hope for the future. She cannot wait to experience all that life has in store for her.

Bunny at five is a blessing that I am so lucky to have in my life.

Bunny is five. Five.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The first thing I notice is the boots, brown, flat, beautiful, perfect. In another time, a time with two incomes and less mouths to feed, I would have asked her where she bought them. I would have run out and bought those boots or ones like them because I could. I would have been happy, the kind of happy that only beautiful boots can bring.

The next thing I notice are the leggings. They are black and grey in an interesting pattern. I chuckle to myself. Looking at my mocha and cookie, I know I could never wear those leggings. Not the way she does with her supermodel long legs, with her supermodel thin legs. I could not wear them without a long sweater to hide the things that needed hiding.

There was a time long ago when a girl I remember only in photos could have worn those leggings. She was supermodel tall, supermodel thin. She subsisted on coffee, Sprite, microwave popcorn, a few cigarettes and alcohol. She wore leggings like that. She could pull that off. People noticed how thin she was. She was complimented. Boys noticed her. She was happy in the way that only a cute boy noticing you can make you happy. Miserable and unhealthy but happy that she was thin.

I notice her hair. The length is what I am hoping to achieve later this year. The color is that beautiful honey color I have always wanted but never quite achieved. I make a mental note to discuss this with my stylist on Thursday. I will be happy, the kind of happy that only a new hair color can bring.

Her back is to me. I cannot tell her age. She could be young. She could be my age. I cannot see her face. I cannot know if she is happy or sad. I can only know myself.

I know that I am softer, rounder and wider than I wish I was. There are lumps and bulges I wish weren't there. Lucky my height hides the imperfections. There are days I can rock skinny jeans and leggings (with an appropriately long ass covering sweater) and days I cannot. My hair is almost back to it's natural color. It is sprinkled with gray, a nod to my age.

My clothes are not stylish nor fashionable. I wear jeans, a t-shirt and sweater that may or may not have been picked up off the floor in my rush to get three people dressed and out the door to school on time. My feet are clad in worn winter boots. Boots that no one would look twice at but keep me warm while I stand on the playground or frolic in the snow with my children.

But none of this matters to the woman I am now. I am happy, the kind of happy that comes from living life. I am blessed with the wisdom of time, struggle and acceptance.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I was alone twice yesterday.

First I was alone for two hours in the afternoon after my mother had picked up the kids. It was glorious. For two hours I could do whatever I wanted. I did not have to do anything for anyone. Sure I could have done the dishes or the laundry but that would have defeated the purpose of being alone.

Instead I reveled in my aloneness (if that is even a word). I surfed the internet. I watched TV. I took a shower. A shower! It seems so trivial but it meant everything to me. I got to take a shower during the day not late at night before I tumble blearily into bed. I got to take a shower during the day when no one was breaking down the door, pulling open the curtain to ask for juice or to chuck random bath toys at me.

I barely remember when I was able to do that before. Before, that long ago time before children that I am not completely sure actually existed. But my alone time was short lived. I had to collect the children and resume my normal life.

The second time I was alone was after the kids went to bed. Frink was away for business and I was alone in the house. You would think I would love that type of aloneness too. I do and I don't. In 41 years, I only spent 9 months living alone. I don't do that type of alone well.

I always stay up late when he is gone hoping that I will be so tired I can drift off to sleep immediately. If I cannot then I begin to notice his absence. I double and triple check the door locks. I leave the closet light on with the door cracked. I pile pillows on his side of the bed in an attempt to feel not so alone.

When Frink is there in the bed beside me, I notice the snoring and the battle over the covers. I think how nice it would be to have the bed to myself. But when he is gone, the bed seems to big. I can't rollover to his side and slide my hand under the sleeve of his t-shirt to cup his shoulder. It's a little thing that calms me and allows me to sleep more soundly.

When he is gone, the dark seems darker. The noises seem louder and more ominous. I wonder if I should wander into Bunny's room to grab her large stuffed dog. I love to lay on it when we play in her room, maybe it would make me feel better. Or maybe I could bring one or both of the kids in bed with me. The warmth of their bodies, their weight next to me, the sound of their breathing would certainly calm me.

But I don't. I lay there alone, listening. My eyes strain to see in the dark. Was that a cat? Or was that the mouse? My brain turns on. It ramps up and the hamster wheel starts to spin. Alone with my thoughts in the dark is not where I want to be.

Suddenly I hear something. "Momma. Momma! Momma!!!" My heart leaps with joy. I run downstairs and scoop the little lion cub into my arms. I carry him to my bed and I soothe him back to sleep. Once I hear his even breathing again, my body relaxes and I am able to fall asleep, alone no longer.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love this time of year. Everything feels shiny and new like there are new possibilities around every corner. There is so much I want to do, to try.

But I am careful. I do not resolve or promise anything. Instead I follow the possibilities seeing where they may lead. Perhaps there will be an undiscovered present full of joy, perhaps not. That is the gift of the new year, it holds so much promise. We can make it whatever we choose.

This year I choose love. I choose laughter. I choose hope. The rest will take care of itself.