1.28.2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY

I am copying other bloggers, who do this regularly. I think it's in order.

I am thankful I spent some time in the hospital this week, because it was AWESOME. I am not kidding. I freaking love hospitals.* I love that at the push of a button someone comes running to meet a need. I love that pretty much everyone who works in a hospital is by career and by law supposed to make my life better.

(*Except for a very unfortunate terrible experience at Beth Israel Deaconess in Needham, MA where I was misdiagnosed, treated unkindly, had completely unnecessary surgery, was ignored for hours, had a surgeon doing rounds actually notice my room was filthy, the cleaning crew who came harassed me for being a snob when it wasn't me that even tattled about the state of the room among other horrors. But other than that, I LOVE hospitals).

I am thankful that yesterday I had two nurses worth their weight in gold. The first put in a wicked awesome IV in a severely dehydrated, shriveled up vein. It hurt like the dickens but she got it in on the first stick and it is in the best spot. A nurse who knows what she's doing does the side of your forearm, NOT near your elbow joint. That way you can move your arm and sleep comfortably. You can't feel a good IV. Thank you Martha of Antenatal Care in Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

The second nurse outshone the genius of the first: it was the little things.  She turned on the bathroom light and cracked the door open instead of flipping on the bright overhead flourescent lights when she came in my room. Where did she learn such kindness?  She brought me a ziploc bag of lemon wedges that I could smell whenever something made me nauseated (which is often.) This is so far in all of my pregnancies the best trick to fight against my crazy hyper sensitive olfactory glands. I slept last night for several hours with my face in a ziploc bag of lemons. Call it weird, I call it survival.

She even helped convince my OB - wonderful, kind, humane, funny Dr. Richer - that I should get the best present I've ever gotten upon discharge.  No, maybe the best present I've gotten ever.

They left my IV needle and port in. I am home now and my IV is still in. Do you understand how amazing this is?  I will spell it out:  I am going to get IVs at home. For awhile, several times a week. This people, is why I am grateful today. For the prayers that ushered Trisha the Nurse into my life yesterday. She took care of me.  For the prayers that made helped my doctor see how much I needed this.

This is how I may just make it. This is how I will be able to be human. I smiled last night like I haven't smiled in weeks.

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I am so thankful. Your entries into the  "Have you Ever" game made me laugh, too. Thanks for playing! Time to lie down again. I don't want to push my luck. I don't want to kill the buzz from my last IV.

1.26.2010

SHOWER THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE WITH LOVE

thank you, thank you for the hoardes of kind thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement. i feel like i just got a nation-wide shower of good feeling.

my heart is full.

do you want to play a game since it kinda feels like a shower? let's play, Have You Ever?

The rules are, I say "Have you ever..." And in the comments section you respond "No, but have you ever...." with your own experience. Does NOT have to be pregnancy or body related. It can be weird, funny, gross, tell me something I don't know about you, in fact, this could be your ultimate chance to de-lurk if you read this blog but have never commented. Think of it as a present to a sick girl.  Keep in mind I am rocking the most sensitive gag reflex you've ever encountered.

Here is how we will start- with my experience from last night: Have you ever fainted in the shower and called out for help for one hour while the two other adults in the house were sleeping and/or watching LOST with earbuds in so they couldn't hear you --AND your water heater never ran out of hot water before they finally came?

It's your turn.

1.24.2010

CHANGES

"If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans." - Cutting for Stone


I've written and rewritten and deleted this post in my mind about thirty times. Actually, I've had to work on it about nine times because I can't sit up to my computer for very long.

We are anywhere around two to ten weeks from our referral for two lovely, wondeful bebes from Ethiopia. After more than a year of work, prayers and mostly-happy tears, we are realistically looking at just a few short months until jumping on a plane and bringing these children into our lives. We've been up to our eyeballs in excitement and preparation and our hearts are in Ethiopia.

But ---- we just had to place our adoption on hold. Apparently my craptastic ovaries and God decided to play a bit of a joke on us and I find myself unexpectedly, unplannedly, and still a bit unwelcomly pregnant.

Now, normally this is a cause for high fives amid married couples.  For us, I don't know exactly how to word this without causing offense, but a positive pregnancy test felt a bit like a guillotine dropped on us.

Saying my body does.not.do.pregnancy.well. is a bit of an understatement.

You can read all about the months of vomit and not being able to go anywhere unless pushed in a wheelchair, the IVs, the hospitalizations; the horror-- in past blog posts, but suffice it to say we did not want to put my body, my brain, and our family through that again.

In fact, I've been glowing in gratitude and peace for the last two years that adoption is the way we will grow our family from here on out. Amen. You'd never met a girl more content with not trying to get pregnant ever again.

And yet, here I am.  I haven't been able to care for the kids for a few weeks now. I spend 24 hours a day in bed, hugging myself in the fetal position trying to get to a semi-conscious state where I can't feel nausea and pain. I have no idea how I will get through today let alone almost a year of this kind of sickness, again.

I hate that this pregnancy feels a bit devestating at its onset. I want to be able to rejoice in a baby coming to our family. I guess the thing is, our hearts WERE rejoicing for TWO babies coming here. And they were not coming here in my sucky uterus. The shift in plans is a lot to take in.

My heart is in pain and empathy and love for every woman I know who lives with infertility.  Because it is unfair. It is unjust. I don't know how to sensitively talk about how I am feeling. For that I am deeply sorry. I feel like some horrid mistake has been made.

Somehow I have to get willing, and I have to become able, when I thought I'd never be willing or able to do this again. I am fighting an ever darkening cloud of depression that accompanies all my pregnancies that whispers "you're never going to make it. Never." It's hard to think rationally when living in suspended, constant world of nausea and vertigo and migraine.

And we are mourning our adoption. We can't stop thinking about our kids in Ethiopia.  We told 3-year-old Samantha who responded "Mom, our Ethiopian babies are in your tummy and that's why you're sick??"  At least I am not the only one confused.

Our adoption agency is a GEM because they are being ultra supportive and will allow us to place our file on hold for the time being. They actually would allow us to move forward, bless them, but since I haven't actually gone downstairs in several days and can't keep down more than a few hundred calories a day; since I can't even care for my current children or myself for that matter, the hold is our best option.

I know there is a glimmer of hope. I won't feel like this forever. There are many people in the world who wake up in pain every day and always will. My suffering has an expiration date. Someday I will be able to walk, eat, and care for my children again. I am lucky. I am blessed. And my reward: a little bundle of yumminess. That's a pretty great thing.

And this is also a lot to think about, but apparently there are going to be five Scooping it Up children because we still 193% committed to adopting children from Ethiopia. Just not as soon as we'd planned.  This makes me weep. Putting on brakes so close to the finish line.

So, for now, I am trying to reach a place of peace and acceptance. I am not there. I cry an unseemly amount and stare at the ceiling in my room asking it "Why?"  It hasn't answered back yet.

Sometimes, when I am feeling brave, I try to embrace the pain and quite literally, my barf bucket.
(Please have mercy and refrain from suggesting foods to eat or medications that might help. First of all, even the smell of bread and apples is enough to make me sick. Also, I've had every anti-nausea medication known to man. K?)

Remember my post from New Year's about being humbled in 2010 and accepting God's will for our family?
Take it from me, Newly Self Proclaimed Wise Sage: publically inviting God to humble you is going to get you exactly what you are asking for.

I am darn lucky to be a mother. It is one of the greatest blessings of my existence. I wouldn't trade my kids for the world. I might trade you my hyperemesis gravidarum*, though.

Thank you for your prayers. I need them. My children need them though they are doing remarkably well considering I haven't held them, bathed them, fed them or played with them in a few weeks. Thank you to the two kindest Grandmothers in the universe who are not only caring for my children but for me right now.

I keep having the lyrics of that wise Rolling Stones song in my head:
"You can always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."

Here's to hoping.



*If you're not familiar, you're lucky. It's kinda like being poisoned by your own pregnancy hormones. It's relentless, it's crushing, it's disgusting, it's unlucky and the only thing that really helps is IV and time. The only person I know who can relate is my friend Dan who's been through chemotherapy. I do not say this to make light of the fight against cancer. I'm just one sick puppy.

1.14.2010

STAY AWAY

we're all sick.

don't come to our blog.

you might catch it.

plus, you know that life/baseball analogy that says when something tricky and unexepected happens we call it "life throwing you a curveball?" i think that is crap, because in the course of a baseball game, depending on the pitcher, it is not out of the realm of possibilty to expect a few curveballs. in fact, if you're a good player, you slam those suckers outta the park; at least hit a double.

well, our current baseball analogy goes more like this: the Scoop family is playing an exciting game of baseball and a sledgehammer the size of a Mac truck comes descending out of the heavens and starts breaking up the playing field and players are running for their lives screaming.

curveballs? i wish we had a curve ball. what we have here is a freaking situation.

i don't mean to be cryptic and obnoxious.

someday i will be able to explain. for now, take cover and know that this blog will be experiencing a little bit of a game delay.

1.11.2010

PROJECT Samantha

Have you heard of the Project 365?  I have bloggy friends the nation over committing to taking photos every day this year and posting it. Some started late and it's more like project 361, and one has said she's only willing to commit to one month and has Project 31. I think it's wonderful!

I have been shying away from the project. There are too many unknowns going on for our family in 2010. I don't want to set myself up for failure. So, Even though I love the idea of Project 365 , I am not going to do it in 2010, and will just continue with my once or twice a week photo ops. However, I am inspired to document something that has been going on in our household for the last eight weeks or so.

Several nights a week, at least three, our Samantha feins going to bed. She curls up under her covers, closes her sweet eyes, and we turn off the light and leave. A few moments later there is the click of her light switch, the unmistakable ping of her closet latch opening and a faint sound that could only be likened unto the rustling of petticoats.

I sneak in later, to do my midnight snooping as I am wont to do, and find her blinged out.  Tights, slips, dresses, high heels, or "church shoes" as she calls them, tiaras, etc. I don't know how she sleeps in this get up, or why she changes from her comfy jammies into itchy nylon and tulle, and goes right back to bed. I think it has something to do with wanting to wake up in the morning and be able to start the dress up fun right away, but there is no way to understand fully her thought process.

It completely slays me. We love it. We love her for it. And I am committing to take a picture every time she does it. I wish I'd been doing it all along, because I'd have at least twenty shots so far.

My first Project Samantha Submission of 2010

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1.10.2010

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM

...and that problem is me. Apparently I am foolish enough to assume that if I remember to put the pens and markers away, like, in a drawer, little hands won't find them.

This chronicles two separate incidents this week. As a side note, our house was built last year. We are the first owners. Our kids are doing a dang fine job of breaking it in.

black fine tip sharpie incident:

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and purple Crayola

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I think he looks a little impressed with his handywork in this last picture.  Apparently we are not
on the same page with this. Or any page, as it happens...

WHIM

Recently I feel like I've been mentally hit in the head with a sledge hammer. Lots of stuff to ponder is a fun way of saying it.

Yesterday we acted on a whim and hit up the Boston Children's Museum. As you can see, the wonderful Daddy did all the heavy lifting, and I got to enjoy watching my sweet family play.

Bliss.

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Let's pause here and analyze this above picture a second. This is why dads can be so cool: He lifts baby with one arm, lets him make the shot while being ready to catch the ball in his other hand to keep flow of play going. A mom doesn't know to do that stuff. At least, this mom doesn't. I learn from Hubs how to play everytime I watch him.

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Never one to shy away from a PSA, listen up Massachusetts residents: If you live in the area and want an annual membership that will get your whole family into the Boston Children's Museum and the Museum of Science for pennies, go to http://www.amse.org/ and go to the membership button.

This costs $35 a year. That's it. They send cute little laminated cards in the mail and voila! Your winter salvation. As a price point comparison, annual membership to MoS is $105 a person, family membership to Children's is $125. 

But from http://www.amse.org/, it pays for itself in one trip to the museum!  This is no scam. We did it last year and renewed this year. Ok. I'm done.

1.06.2010

A CHEST TO PIN IN ON

My assigned freshman roommate in college was a match made in heaven -or in the room where the committee who creates room assignments meets-, in that we were the only two non-Jewish girls in our building at Brandeis University.  At Christmas and Easter we may or may not have gone a bit overboard with the Jesus.

Brandeis, for those not in the know, has a student body at least 60% Jewish, and practicing Christians really stood out. It was a very cool experience to be in a "minority" for the first time in my life.

Flashback to my junior year of high school: I took the PSATs, didn't completely blow it, and checked the box that said "universities can see your score and send you their stuff."

I will admit, the ensuing monsoon of pamphlets and folders that came to our house every week nourished the wilting fern of my validation-needy heart.
These places didn't think I was an idiot!
They wanted me to apply!
They wanted my father's $50 check whether or not they'd even look at my application!

Two schools caught my eye. U of Rocherser in NY. They have a kickin' music school, Eastman, and I thought they were a tier one-ish school I could swing. I wasn't Ivy material by any means, but I had things to offer.

I looked good on paper, maybe even better on paper than I was in real life. The other school that appealed to me was Brandeis, a definitely tier one school that was known for psychology program.  The biggest draw of these schools were that they were about 3,000 miles away from my family. (Whom I fiercly love and appreciate, but at the time, I couldn't think of a sweeter sensation than to be that far away from them.)

I can still picture the front of the booklet they sent me from Brandeis. A large autumn tree was pictured on the front. That really was the nail in the coffin for me. I did no further research about the school. I wanted to go to Boston. I wanted to see a tree like that. I applied, and they actually let me in.

What I failed to notice from the little school insignia on the lower right hand corner of the cover was the fact that it contained hebrew characters.

In fact, even after an alumni interview with a Ms. Aronson, I had no idea this school was at all associated with Judaism in any way. At 17, I had no clue that certain surnames could give away potential Jewish heritage. It was not on my radar.

My first day on campus, as wide-eyed as my father who accompanied me, I saw a vast sea of dark, curly haired young adults, many of whom wore yamicas.  I had no idea what was going on. It was a year of culture shock for me to say the least.

Anyway, back to my freshman year roommate. Jen. Light of my college life. Dear friend today, Auntie to my kids, best listener in the world, and it all began with giggle fests until 2am every night.  Her father, who I love, owns a wit as dry as a sand storm, laden with sarcasm. Quick to put down a inkling of self-satisfacation he once responded to something I said with "What, do you want a medal or a chest to pin it on?"

Well, here I stand today saying, Mr. Wahl, I do want a medal, and a newly constructed chest to pin it on wouldn't be so bad either.

Why? It's so sad I can't stand it.

There are certain tasks in a stay at home mommy's life that fall under the catagory of "this could probably wait 8 or 12 more hours."  Everyone's list is different. Mine includes things like

Doing laundry
Listening to voicemails
Shaving my legs
Cleaning out the fridge (this one can be delayed for months if necessary)
Brushing the kids' teeth - please don't judge me dental-oriented families. Some nights the fight is too much for me to handle. I can't bear the five more minutes this will take. Again, it falls under "this can probably wait 8 more hours. It won't kill us."
Cleaning the kitty litter

This is certainly not exhaustive by any means. My favorite one is actually Pay Electricity Bill. That can always wait eight more hours. Am I right?

Tonight I let myself feel like the freakin' Citizen of the Year for cleaning the cat litter, listening to the voicemail and brushing the kids' teeth. That is three in one night, yo.

And as a matter of etiquette, as I round the corner to the big 3-0, am I officially not young enough to properly use "yo" in a sentence?

Probably. I am gonna go make it four by brushing my own teeth and snuggling in bed to finish Me Talk Pretty One Day.   By the by, this book has some mediocre and mildly amusing chapters. And then there are some that had me weeping, WEEP-ING with side-splitting laughter. I tried reading portions of this outloud to Hubs, and couldn't even it make it through some sentences without crying and shaking with hysteria. I love a good laugh and I think I burned more calories reading this book than I did the last time I exercised.

As a disclaimer, there are some swearing, and one chapter that is heavy on the F-bomb.

Over and out, yo.

1.04.2010

CONVERSATIONS AND OBSERVATIONS

Some lovely miraculous thing is happening to Cookie. He is trying to speak, English that is. He's always spoken a great deal, just in his own dialect.  Let it be known that at twenty months, our dear boy decided to call his father "Dad" instead of "Mama."  Hubs couldn't be happier, though admittedly, we were getting to the point where we could differentiate between the Mama he used for me and the one he used for Hubs. That's kind of sick.

I hear snippets every day that might be a word. Last night when two full grown adults used all their strength to hold him down and brand him to brush his teeth, he yelled "Go away!" I think.

It was awesome.

The other Scooping it Up progeny has made her mother awfully proud lately as well.  Last week at church she decided she was going to love Abby.  Abby is Samantha's exact age, both turn 4 in April, and when the girls were about two months old Abby started having seizures and never really stopped.  Abby is beautiful, spunky, smiley, interactive, but will probably never do certain things like crawl, eat by herself, speak, sit up by herself, etc. 

At church Samantha sat next to Abby, held her hand, talked to her, told her she liked her sparkly shoes, and treated her like she was just another kid in her class, even though to an adults' eyes, it might be hard to see past the feeding tube and the special wheel chair. It doesn't bother S one bit.

Here is sweet Abby with her awesome mom.
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When her parents came to take out of class, Samantha cried out "No, I don't want Abby to leave!" And that night when I asked her about her favorite part of church she said "Playing with Abby." 

I am so grateful to Abby for teaching my Samantha how to love, and helping her learn that different isn't bad, it's just different. Heaven knows we are going to learn more what it  is like to be different in this family.

1.03.2010

A NEW YEAR

The new decade rolled in with a literal bang for Hubs and me right around the moment that You-Know-Who got what You-Know-Was-Coming towards the last bit of Avatar.

--Actually, just in case you were considering it, don't click on that link for the movie. Don't watch the trailer. Just go see it, 'cause was a thrillion times better than I imagined it would be. If you'd asked me before seeing it if I thought it possible to wipe away tears and stifle sobs while wearing 3D glasses, I would have laughed my head off.

I stand before you -with everyone else who saw it- saying, just go see it.

Moving on.

I haven't been able to wrap my brain around the best way to kick off the ol' blog for the new year yet. A 2009 recap? A photo essay? A list of failures and disappointments? A list of goals? A trip down memory lane to New Years Past? Recommendations of things I loved in oh-nine?

As much as I'd like to wax on about the great sale price of these awesome ballet flats from ALDO
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or the teensy bit of pride I have in taking pictures of my kids almost every week of 2009, uploading pictures within 24 hours every time I took them, creating a new folder with tags reminding me of what was in the pictures and how old the kids were. And then backing them up on an external hardrive every month. My sick organizational skills when it comes to photos is hypocritical when you consider I am lacking it in most other aspects of my home. But still, I am proud that I consider myself in control in this one area. But this doesn't really talk about my life.

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(Cookie this exact day last year. It took me about four  seconds to find this photo. Boo-yah.)

I could talk about how I started off the year weighing far less than I did when we got married, feeling and looking awesome after two bebes, and how knee injuries have pretty much halted any exercise beyond occasional yoga since July, and how much I hate this and the changes in my body because of it. I can't even walk a brisk mile on a treadmill.

I am totally paralysed by fear of knee surgery, but not doing anything about my knee pain is taking me far away from the self-love I'd like to have. Which involved a high amount of fitness.

Things like this though, would not paint an accurate picture of what really impacted me - no, our family- this past year.

There were two LIFE-ALTERING family decisions that needed to be made this year. Each humbled us to a happy wonderful, humble place that we probably don't visit often enough.

2009 was about humility. In a good way.

Let me preface the following by saying I believe in a God that is a person. A father. A wise, all-knowing, all-loving father that has a perfect idea of what I need in my life to grow and be better and be happy. That includes difficuly, horrible pain sometimes, but in general, I believe that if I completely let go of the reigns and opened my heart up to being directed, my life would be awesome.

I also believe that God cannot speak to me, I mean really speak to me and tell me what I need to do if I have notions about what that is, or how I want to do it. If I have an idea of what I'd like to do, and am praying for direction, I sit dead in the water. No answers come. It is a test of wills.

Until 2009, I don't think I ever understood what it means to completely let go and open my heart to God's idea of what is best for me. It only took 29 years, I hope it doesn't take that long for it to happen again.

One of the life-changing decisions we prayed over, cried over, argued over, and went back and forth over for several months was not whether or not to adopt, or even if we should adopt two children, but whether or not we should adopt two at the same time.


This was possibly the most agonizing decision we've have ever had to make. I have never felt such pain over indecision. I get sick to my stomach even recalling our endless conversations, the eyes-closed, hands over face, arms folded over stomach defensiveness, the pleading, the acquiescing, the changing of minds. It was intense. And it went on and on and on. We couldn't get on the same page. And that meant we couldn't move forward with adoption paperwork.

I mean, at some point, a little box must be checked, one child, or two.

And then, it came to me. I was done. I couldn't talk about the pros/cons, possible outcomes anymore. I didn't even want to make this decision anymore. I wanted God to make it, and I felt really strongly He had to tell Andrew what to do.

Instead of praying "Help us know what to do, two or one right now..." I started praying "Please tell Hubs what to do. Tell his heart what is best for our family, and whatever he feels I will go with, because I can't do this anymore. I will be ok." I hope it doesn't sound anti-feminist or something, because the experience was incredibly powerful and empowering. It wasn't giving up to Hubs, it was knowing that God could give him peace about it, and that if Hubs felt peaceful, than I could.

This happened one other time, not in the same way, but the result was me truly not wanting anything anymore, but to do the right thing, and believing God would show us what that was.

He did.
Miracles happen.
2010 may bring us to those same depths of humility. I hope it does, because so far we are two for two with aligning our collective will with God's.

And in the meantime, I have a serious goal of seeing an orthopedic type who can MRI my stupid knees and tell me what I gotta do to go back to ballet, running, aerobics, and climbing my stairs without agony.
And I hope to make as goals the words given by two loving souls:

"Cherish your spouse as the greatest possession of your life and treat him or her accordingly. Make it your constant goal to add to the happiness and comfort of your companion.
Never permit yourself to let down in your affection or your respect or your faith in one another. Be excellent in every way.  You will find your greatest example in the Son of God. I hope that each of you will make Him your friend while you are here and ever after. I hope you will strive to walk in His paths--extending mercy, blessing those who struggle, living with less selfishness, reaching out to others." - Gordon. B Hinckley

and

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. - St. Francis of Assisi


This is gonna be a great year, I just know it.

1.02.2010

FIRST ADVENTURE OF 2010

New Year's Day Party with crazy good chili and desserts, football and wonderful friends? Check.
Pictures taken during shin dig? No. Gasp. Shame. Definitely next year.

But I did capture our festivities on the second day of the new decade with our family doing something new to the kids (and let's face it, me. I still am wrapping my mind around owning socks. So Cal is a hard habit to break.) After a few moments of hesitation, they were in love, and so were their parents.

Hauling them out to the hill. Cookie Monster doesn't enjoy sitting with Sis -his name for her. One of this three words. sis. It is so cute.
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what is this stuff falling from the sky?
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Samantha's first sled run ever

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checking things out
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Cookie is next
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Woo hoo big boy!
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"By myself this time, Dad!"
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my little elf watching the big kids
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There goes Sis again!
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When hands get cold, it's takes only seconds to go from this:
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to this:

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Hot chocolate and cookies fixed us all right up, though. Maybe we will go again tomorrow...