Sunday, June 29, 2008

Four Sure!

June is really a special month for our family. It's the time of year when we celebrate BOTH of our children's birthdays. I call them our children, but I use the term loosely. It's at the special times like this that I realize that they are God's children, simply on loan to us for a season. It is my humble pleasure that he chose ME to be called their mom. It really is the purest of adoption stories to be they are both His adopted son and daughter.

On June 24th we had the honor of celebrating Lou Bear's 4th birthday. It is really almost depressing to think that my baby is 4-years-old! Oiy, where does the time go? As with K-Man, I spent the evening before her big day telling her about her birth story. (Qbear was out of town.) She just rested her head in the crook of my arm and smiled up at me. I don't know if she knew or understood any of it, but I understood.

As I smooched on my little girl, I praised God for her birthparents. I praised God for their selfless gift. I praised God that her birthmother and birthfather chose LIFE so that my life could be so full and rich.

Lou Bear is a beautiful, smart, funny, loving, snuggly little girl. I could not imagine life without her. Being her mommy is something that would stand out on my resume. It's means more to me than my education, experience and accolades combined. In my opinion there is NO greater calling than being a mommy. I feel so grateful that for four years God has allowed this little girl to be my daughter.

Happy Birthday to my favorite little girl in the world!

PS: This last picture is a picture of Lou Bear at Bible School. She wanted to wear her pincess dess (princess dress) and her sandals for her special day. I realized later, she did it so people would say, "Why are you so dressed up?!" That way, she could reply, "It's my birthday!" WHERE does she come up with this stuff?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spiritual Spoonfuls of Blessing

Well, I did it! I went on a vacation...with the in-laws! Gasp? What? Yep, we just got back from a week of sea shells, sunshine, swimming and sweetness. Many of you know, but I am going to type it out for posterity, I absolutely LOVE my in-laws. They are awesome!! The week was truly amazing. The kids were in heaven. Our days usually looked like this: Get up, eat breakfast, decide between the beach or the pool, swim, eat, swim, eat, nap and eat some more. We also did some of the touristy things, we went to the National Aviaton Museum, the Gulfarium, the Pensacola Fishing Pier etc.

Now, I don't know about you, but a dear friend of mine (love you Stacey!) likes to think that she is God's favorite. Shoot - I think we should ALL feel like that. On this trip, there were so many times I felt like I was just heaped with spiritual spoonfuls of blessing. There were times where I just basked in the Everlasting Arms of Love and soaked it all up.

I watched my children in the ocean, I watched them ooh and ahh over things that occur in nature that would amaze you! There were some things I saw that blew my mind. I mean, I watched a pod of dolphins frolicking in the ocean - it was AWESOME. I had an especially blessed evening on the pier with my sister-in-law and my children. We saw jellyfish, a sea turtle, barracudas, dolphins, sting rays - WOW!

And while the natural beauty was indescribable, it was really the being with family that made me feel especially blessed. There were so many pockets-full of praise. There were so many times that if you would have been there and hit pause you would have been touched by something so beautiful. You may have seen a snuggle of a mom and her son, a teachable moment between a niece and her auntie, a look of love between a boy and his torpedo, a belly laugh, a tear in some one's eye, a moment of prayer, a grandparent doting, a nodding napper, a crevice filled with sand, a pool filled with family and a condo filled with love. It was truly a priceless time of pure and perfect FAMILY.

I don't have pictures to post yet...but I will. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Golden Birthday Praises

K-man turned 6 on June 6, thus it was his GOLDEN birthday. (I was surprised how many people have never heard that term. Your Golden Birthday is when the date, in K's case (June) 6, is that age you are - 6!) We celebrated from morning until night. We started with K-cakes for breakfast and ended with Cake and presents after the big baseball game. KJ especially enjoyed the birthday CALLS. Each time he heard the song his eyes twinkled and he sat up straighter and just looked so stinkin' proud!! He had so much to be thankful for that night when he prayed that I almost had to cut him off - I know, I know, but I thought about it. He even SLEPT with one of his presents. (It was a rocket fishing "rot". Good on ya Liz!! Great going in the gift department!!)

Birthday's are a big deal anyway, but birthday's also have extra special significance for our family. The Q-Bear and I suffered through many years of infertility before God brought us to our first born. To us, birthdays are about more than just Mom+Dad=baby. They are about Mom+Dad + birthfamily = baby. Truly, we feel humbled and blessed to even be a part of that equation.

Every year, the night before their birthdays we lay in the kid's beds and tell them their birth story. Our birthstories are a little bit different than the average bear, but nonetheless, they are ours and they are special. This year, we talked to K about his birthmom A. We looked at pictures and talked about the emotions we went through. Q-Bear told him how he used to sleep with him on his chest wrapped up in his t-shirt. (I used to walk in the room and both my boys would be sleeping together. KJ was a preemie, and at 4lbs 9oz was itty bitty and Daddy could pull the bottom of his t-shirt right over his lil' bottom. It was the sweetest thing.)

I'll admit, each time we tell the story, Q and I get a little choked up. Really, if you think about the selfless sacrifice that our children's birthfamily's made it is one of the most humbling things in the world. A young woman, scared and afraid, chose US, CHOSE us, to be the parents to her baby. I will never know the feeling of sacrifice my children's birthfamily made. But, but I will always know the thanksgiving on the receiving end of that miraculous blessing. Their gifts of love have become two of my life's greatest joys.

With that in mind, I will tell you that each year on K's birthday we hear from his birthmom. This year was no exception. She called and talked to KJ. He told her all of his 6-year-old boy-ventures in his sweet high-pitched little boy voice. While he was on the phone, I tried to imagine what A must be thinking. I wondered if she thought he was sweet? I wondered if she thought he was smart, funny, loving and kind? Because he is, he is all those things. I wondered if she thought he was amazing and special. As an adoptive mom, my heart ached for a moment. I felt sad that A didn't really know all of the wonderful, intimate, amazing, special things that made up this wonderful, creative, easy-going, all-boy boy!

Then it was my turn. I got on the phone and we talked about the year-in-review. I told her some funny K moments and then I told her about our before birthday bed-talks. She was quiet for only a moment before she said "Yeah, that was a crazy night wasn't it, well it was a crazy TIME?! I still tell everyone to this day doing that was the best thing I have ever done. When I hear him talk, I realize what a smart thing I did. You guys are such great parents. I tell people that all the time. That was the best thing I ever did for HIM. He is so much better with you. I wouldn't have done a good job at all. I think it was the best thing I ever did for him, for me and for you guys, huh?" Silence, silence, a moment to stop the tears and I replied "Yeah, it was one of the greatest blessings of our life! What you did was amazing and K-man is a healthy, wonderful little boy and we are humbled and blessed to be his parents." She said "Yeah - cool!"

Wow, wow, wow, talk about humbling. I am sorry, I realize I keep using that word, but honestly, there isn't a better one. We are just in awe of God's great mercy and grace. We are blessed beyond measure to know that He would allow US to be K-man's parents. That, for this season, He has entrusted this soul into our hands. WOW - it's humbling indeed.

It all started with an emergency phone call of "Can you be here in 20 minutes? Your son is being born by emergency C-section, he's breech!" Fast forward six golden years to a boy who has such a heart for prayer, a pocket for worms, a love of squirt guns, fishing rots, swimming, baseball and all things boy. Lord Jesus, I say thank you. Thank you for making our formula different, thank you for adding to our equation. The sum is so much sweeter. We are thankful and yes, humbled to have K-man for this season and we give You every ounce of the glory.

Six Golden Years in review:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Former Fat Girl Finishes 5K

First of all - relax. Yes, I did write the word fat. Because, if we are calling a spade a spade, I used to be fat. It's okay, I am okay with it. I am not surprised. I have always known. Guess what, I have always been okay with it. It's part of who I am. It's also part of the way I was made. Just because I was fat, doesn't mean I wasn't made in the image of God. I mean to tell you people, I am and always have been beautiful to Christ. And SO are you! God does not make junk. (Phew, don't get me started. That's a subject for another blog!)

He does however, say that our body is a temple, and a living sacrifice. Those are the Biblical concepts that I have been trying to live by since my gastric bypass surgery in December of 2005. While my decision to have surgery almost cost me my life, conversely it also gave me my life back. Before surgery I longed to do simple things that most people take for granted. I longed to walk without feeling like I had just climbed Everest. I wanted to sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor and play with my kids. I wanted to stoop down pick up my children and jump up again. And secretly, in my most secret self - I wanted to RUN! What? Run? Did I say that out loud? Gulp, yep I admit it, my former big girl body dreamed of running. But, I could hardly walk let alone run.

A year after my weight loss surgery, I started to train with my friend Jenny. Jenny is a hard-bodied, muscle-toned, beautiful DRILL SERGEANT! She lovingly, gently and sweetly (shoutingly, toughly and stubbornly) cajoled me into exercising. Guess what? I loved it. With her expertise, friendship and guidance I, Qtipper, on a gravel road in the prairies of South Dakota started to RUN. (Okay, I started to jog and pant and almost pass out - but you get the point!)

But, there is more to the story. I had many goals before surgery. They are what I call my pre-weight loss surgery goals for my post-weight loss surgery self. Here they are, some of them might seem ridiculous/vain/sad/pathetic, but hey, it's ME:

1) I want to ride comfortably in an airplane/sit comfortably in a theater seat.
2) I want to walk without getting horribly winded
3) I want to get out of bed and not have to stand there for 10 seconds before I can move.
4) I want to go hiking
5) I want to bend down to pick up my children and get up with them in my arms.
6) I want to sit criss-cross-applesauce on the floor with my kids (KJ's teacher said "He just doesn't quite get the concept. He is always sitting on the floor with his legs sprawled open." Well, of course he is, that is how his mom sits.)
7) I want to go to WALMART (nowhere fancy...just WALMART) and buy clothing. I currently have to go to specialty store if I want to purchase clothing.
8) I want to get an item of clothing for $3 at any Mart/Get or Ko and brag about what a bargain it was.
9) I want to scoot past someone in the church pew without squashing them and making us ALL uncomfortable
10) I want to take a bath and fill the tub with water while I am IN IT and NOT have to readjust to make a flood gate for the water so it can fill the "front and back" parts of the tub.
11) I want to teach my children to eat healthily NOW so, they will not struggle with these issues later.
12) I want to jump up and down at a concert!
13) I want to go skiing, skating and rollerblading
14) I want to golf without having to readjust my boobs!
15) I want to RUN (GOAL: to run a 5K)

As of May 30th - 14 of the 15 goals were fulfilled. However, on Saturday, May 31st, 2008 I completed the 15th goal. Praise God with a Psalm 150 praise!!! But, wait, I had help. My sweet sister Sarah has been running with me and without me (since we moved away) for a year. She came all the way from South Dakota to run with me!!! My neighbor and friend Liz has been training with me for two months. She was also there that morning. Armed with their great resperatory endurance (ability to chat and run at the same time!)we ran 3.1 miles in the Little Rock Dino Dash. My time wasn't fantastic (35:00) but, I DID IT! Glory to God alone!!!! I crossed the finished line with a prayer of gratitude on my lips and tears of joy welling in my eyes. I could not believe that God had allowed this dream to come true.

Wow, I am just getting the hang of this blogging bit, so forgive the verbosity. Perhaps one of your goals was just making it through this entry alive. If you did. I am grateful, if not, well then you will have no idea that I am wearing pink underwear right now.

Here are the pictures for you:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Legacy of Love...

As my son would say "We-he-hell!" Hi there fam and friends! After drooling over other's blogs, I figured it's high time I joined the ranks of the Blogged and the Beautiful.

So, here I am on my maiden voyage to journaling. I must say, it feels sort of freeing. Actually, it gives me hope. Why? Well, you see I am by NO means a scrapbooker. In fact, scrapooking really intimidates me. There is all this craftiness, creativity and clever construction. It's a whole lot of C's that I just can't quite conquer. Plus, I think it's a cult. (Juuuuuuuuuuuust kidding, I know it's not a cult - but there are a LOT of stickers is all I am sayin')

However, the part of scrap booking that I envy is the leaving a legacy part.
You C - oops, I mean see - my mom has hundreds of photos of us. When we rifle through them, the memories come pouring back. A picture of the past can conjure smells, capture moments and create memories that can last a life time. Just looking back and laughing at hairstyles and clothing is enough to keep you giggling for weeks. I LOVE pictures. I do. And someday I want my children to look back at their lives in pictures and laugh, cry, you know reminisce. But, if that happened today, it would look like this:
  • Find the rubbermaid tub in the attic. (Which one I don't know, they aren't labeled)
  • After searching through 15 tubs you will come to a tub with a floral box in it. That should be K-Man's first 3 years. (With some intermittent honeymoon pictures of course.)
  • As for the rest of the photos, continue searching through random drawers in the house, the glove compartment of the vehicles, check pages of notebooks, novels, check gaps in bookshelves etc.
  • Then go to the computer, check the files labeled Pictures, Pictures, Pictures, Pictures, Pictures and lastly Pictures 08.
  • Finally, find the camera, insert the card into the disk drive and page through. (Although quite a few of them have been erased because the card has been perpetually full and so some of your not so good takes didn't make the cut...oops.)

I know, I know, not pretty. I can't even tell you the good intentions I have had. Oiy! Anywho, that leads me to today. I, Qtipper, am gingerly entering Blogsville. I am hoping that by starting this blog I will effectively be scrapbooking and thus leaving a legacy!!! Exciting, isn't it?!

So, I am asking you to hold me accountable in this. Okay? When I start to slack off, just let me know. I really want you to hear about all things Arkie and that means US! So drum roll please...

The beginning of my Legacy of Love:

Me and my best friend Q-Bear

K-Man, K-Dog, Diggity (almost 6)

Lou Bear, E-bear, E (almost 4)