Vacation Via Twitter (Not Really)

09/19/2011

I have a policy about not telling the internet world when we’re out of town so I don’t write much on Twitter during vacation. I did think about tweeting a lot though. Here’s what I would have said:

9/5/11 3:30pm We’re off to Naples! Or at least as far as we can drive tonight.

9/5/11 6:23pm Shared a delicious pot roast dinner at Cracker Barrel. Their service is so fast and good, cheap food, too.

9/5/11 6:59pm Cracker Barrel has more billboards than any other single company in the country. I learned that in an advertising class.

9/6/11 12:05am Cozy home away from home: air mattress in the back of the silver bullet. Yes, that’s right. We’re not paying for a motel to sleep for a few hours.

9/6/11 5:30am The sun is not up yet but we’re wide away thanks to the parking lot cleaner guy and his leaf blower. Back in the Wal-Mart to use the bathroom then we’re off to find a Starbucks.

9/6/11 1:22pm We arrived at our hotel in Naples. I drove the last 2 of 14 hours. Gotta do my part.

9/6/11 1:35pm It’s sunny and humid and beautiful. Straight to the beach we go.

9/6/11 4:47pm Complete relaxation this afternoon. No walking along the beach. No playing in the ocean. Just sitting and absorbing. Peace.

9/6/11 7:04pm Amazingly delicious and HUGE dinner at Cracklin’ Jack’s tonight. Fried Grouper was outta this world. It would have taken us hours to eat all this food. #vittles

9/7/11 We both got our ocean fix today. I got to ride waves and float around in the warm, sparkly salt water while Jason got to play beach explorer and found shells, sand dollars and crabs. I found some half-buried sunglasses.

9/7/11 8:10pm Dinner tonight was a surprise… the most we’ve ever paid for a meal. Surprise! Yelp has just $$ by this restaurant where it definitely should have been $$$. Cloyde’s was super, though. No complaints.

9/7/118:12pm I got the Chilean Sea Bass which was good but Jason got the surf and turf. The filet mignon was ahhmazing.

9/7/11 8:15pm “This filet mignon is so moist and soft it’s like cake. Meat cake.” – me

9/7/11 9:36pm We drove around looking for a good ice cream place and ended up back at the hotel ice cream less. Walked in and out of Reginas because we didn’t have cash. #getacreditcardmachine #youarelosingbusiness

9/18/11 9:04am Best Western Naples has a lovely poolside continental breakfast. We’re surrounded by palm trees, flowers and cute little lizards.

9/8/11 9:45am Checking out the Collier County free museum today. Mostly interested in the native plant garden.

9/8/11 12:11pm There are so many beautiful, modest mid-century modern ranches in Naples. It’s a shame they keep getting bulldozed to build beach mansions.

9/8/11 2:45pm Saw a blackish fin pop up in the water about a 100 yds from me. Moment of panic. Then I saw another fin and realized it was 2 dolphins. #relief #sharkavoidance

9/8/11 4:32pm It was supposed to rain all day but it ended up not raining at all. Another perfect beach day for the one who loves the water and the one who loves the shore.

9/8/11 9:01pm Tasty dinner at Grouper and Chips tonight. Not as good as Cracklin’ Jack’s but cheaper. Sat outside in the romantic neon glow of the OPEN sign.

9/8/11 9:03pm Stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream just before a storm broke out. We were slightly disturbed by the sight of this shirtless man.

9/9/11 11:11am Hit around 10 thrift and antique stores today and nada. All gaudy, beach condo junk. The Emporium has a few exceptions. Thought seriously about a set of 4 dining chairs (only one w arms) for $350 but passed.

9/9/11 1:43pm Lunch at a delightful British restaurant downtown on 5th St. in Naples called the Jolly Cricket. Filet mignon sliders were awesome.

9/9/11 1:45pm We’re off to Disney World!

9/9/11 5:22pm Checked in to Disney’s Contemporary Resort after being interrogated by the nazi border patrol parking attendant. “Why are you here?”

9/9/11 5:45pm I think this is my favorite hotel room ever!

9/9/11 6:00pm It’s pouring. I’m not going out there.

9/9/11 6:30pm Rain is letting up so we’re hopping on the monorail into Magic Kingdom to meet up with our Disney rep. Ish who will get me up close to all the stages for photos.

9/9/11 1:00am Damp and exhausted but we had fun. Bands I photographed: Francesca Battistelli, Group 1 Crew (awesome stage show!) and Matthew West.

9/10/11 1:05am We also rode It’s A Small World and a handful of other Magic Kingdom attractions.

9/10/11 10:23am Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Ginger! I hope it’s a great day!

9/10/11 5:15pm Resting at the Contemporary after a long day at Epcot. I think Mission: SPACE is definitely one of my favorites so far.

9/10/11 7:00pm Took the walking trail into Magic Kingdom this time. The plan tonight: Sanctus Real, rides, Kutless, TobyMac, rides.

9/10/11 11:55pm Got soaked in the front row of Splash Mountain. The line was too long for Space Mountain so we gave up. Another fun but exhausting day!

9/11/11 11:30am Today’s agenda: Animal Kingdom and then Hollywood Studios.

9/11/11 3:15pm A Bug’s Life 3D show is definitely another fav! Also the Africa Safari was pretty cool. Heading to Hollywood Studios now.

9/11/11 6:10pm We enjoyed the Star Wars 3D ride so much we went on it twice. Also my roller coaster hating husband LOVED the Rock n Roller Coaster! #adrenalinerush

9/11/11 9:30pm We’re all Disney’d out. Strange, beautiful lightning cloud on our way out. Lightning keeps repeatedly lighting up inside this cloud column…flashes and bolts.

9/11/11 10:55pm Watching the fireworks over Magic Kingdom in my pjs from our balcony at the Contemporary. Perfect end to our Disney World adventure. #ilovefireworks


Phone Photo Friday

09/16/2011


Jason

09/16/2011

My love. My husband. My best friend.

What a year this has been.

You traveled the world by plane, tour bus and van.

Played on stages big and small.

I saw you on TV and in a magazine.

Your quiet confidence was never boastful

…except maybe about all the good food you ate on the road.

This year we became parents but not in the way we had expected.

Or planned. But an idea was planted in my heart and it grew.

I strategically brought up the need for foster parents in the US.

I secretly prayed that God would open your heart to this crazy idea.

You jumped in with both feet.

We sat through long, boring classes together.

Homework, physicals, blood tests, home studies.

You painted the bedroom and assembled IKEA furniture with me,

And then let me go hog-wild with the rest of the kids room design.

You were right by my side through every step.

Praying with me, for me, for yourself and for our future kids.

In July I got the phone call that changed everything.

You were in Norway but I knew what you would have said to this one.

The next morning you met your first daughter through Skype.

I watched you fall in love with her, grinning from ear to ear.

It was the first time I had seen her smile and say hi in her first 12 hours.

Three days later we picked you up from the airport.

It was getting late but you wanted to take your little girl to the park.

You pushed her on the swing and chased her through the grass.

As I stood back to observe and take photos, I was witnessing a transformation.

You became a daddy right before my eyes.

In your strong arms she felt safe immediately.

She was stand-offish with some new people but never with you.

You taught her what a father’s love looks like; what Daddy means.

And I fell in love with you all over again.

We taught her how to kiss. It took 2 weeks and several demonstrations.

I’ll never forget when you called me at work at say,

“Guess what I got?”

A kiss! Her first kiss was reserved for her daddy.

I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

On September 1st we walked into a courthouse carrying our first baby girl.

And walked out without her.

We clung to each other as we went down the steps and crossed the street.

I’m not sure who was holding up who as we tried to hold back the tears a little longer.

Then we cried together.

This past year has been wonderfully difficult and full of joy. A beautiful mess.

You have grown so much as a man.

I am endlessly proud of who you are,

And thankful to call you my husband.

Happy 29th, Jason.


Sweet Signs of Love

09/15/2011

God is very generous. I didn’t ask Him to give us a sign that Ladybug was supposed to be our first placement, our first daughter or to confirm the specialness of the day of her arrival. But He did.

First it was the pregnancy symptoms. I think I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not trying to get pregnant. However, in the two weeks leading up to Ladybug’s arrival Jason and I were completely convinced that I was pregnant. Without going into detail here, let me just say there were things going on that don’t normally go on in my body. We were sure. An app on my phone was pretty sure too. It said 7/28/11 was Test Day. I woke up that morning and took a pregnancy test. It was negative. We were perplexed.

Later than night I was sure I wasn’t pregnant (AHEM) and I was wallowing in my own world of discomfort, reading Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman, when at 8:30 the phone rang. It was the same placement worker who had called Jason 4 days earlier and we missed the placement because he was on a plane. “I told you I had your number on speed dial,” she said. I suddenly forgot how crappy I was feeling as I sprung into hyper-nesting-mode, trying to make sure everything was in place to receive her in just 1 hour. If we hadn’t missed that first call, the placement worker wouldn’t have been able to reach either of us.

About a week after Ladybug’s arrival, I was back at work looking at my planner. I flipped back to July so I could write “Ladybug’s arrival” on July 28. I was shocked to see “Ladybug’s Due Date” already penciled in on July 28. Then I smiled. God. How funny that You would do that. I have a co-worker named Ladybug (L’s real name… work with me here) who had been pregnant. I emailed my co-worker, who had just given birth to a baby boy, to share the funny news with her. She responded back, “it really is funny how God works because my due date was actually the 29th.”

Ladybug’s due date was marked on my calendar…on test day, when we were convinced we were pregnant.

There were a few other little confirmations, too, though not as significant. Like that her birthday is Jason’s half birthday and some personality traits there were so much like me or so much like Jason that it was humorous to us.

The last surprise came a couple days after our goodbye. A sweet friend, Brooke, called to let me know that her husband was dropping off a gift on our back doorstep. When I got home, I found a vase of 10 bright pink Gerber daisies. I love daisies. I walked through the back door, set them on the counter and bust into tears as I remembered. The night Ladybug arrived at our house, she was carrying a fake hot pink Gerber daisy. The twisted stem had a sharp wire at the base so I tucked it away in her bag the next day. No one knew about that daisy except my parents and the placement worker who dropped her off (and who had given it to her.)

I’m not sure exactly what that means but I don’t believe it was a coincidence. It’s Ladybug’s flower. Maybe it means God is going to take her 1 twisted fake flower and multiply it into 10 living flowers. Maybe it means Ladybug was the first of 10 kids. (Ack! Jason came up with that idea.) Or maybe it was just a sweet reminder that God loves us. He knows what we’re going through, He cares and He weeps with us.


Back to Reality

09/13/2011

Jason and I had a lovely week away in Florida. We spent the first part of last week in Naples, one of our favorite towns. Then the past weekend was spent in Disney World. I’ll share more about our trip (and other happenings) once I dig myself out of all these piles of email and laundry and find time to buy groceries. Priorities, you know.


I Would Get Too Attached

09/12/2011

Every foster parent has heard this. It seems to be the default reaction from other parents when we explain what we do.

“I don’t think I could do that. I would get too attached.”

Usually my answer is, “There is no way not to get attached.” 

If I ever have the time, courage, (cockiness?) and eloquence for a long answer, here’s what I would say:

You’re right, you can’t do this; I can’t do this either.
God asked us to do something really, really hard.
It sucks.
But it’s worth it.
Because it’s not for our benefit.
It’s for them.
And for Him; for His glory.

I never intended to or attempted to not get attached.
These kids don’t need babysitters; they needs parents. Parents don’t hold back love for their children.
Yes, it will break our hearts.
We are aware of the risks God has asked us to take in this journey.
We’re willing to suffer for the sake of these little ones. For His sake.

Easier said than done.

If people were honest, instead of  “I would get too attached” they would just come right out and say: “I don’t want to suffer because of someone else’s mistakes.” Believe me, I fully understand. I am selfish, too. Maybe I should just say that next time.


Phone Photo Friday

09/09/2011


Recommended Reading: Water Baby P.S.A.

09/08/2011

This week, while Jason and I spend some time purposefully disconnected from the internet, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recent blog discoveries. Be back soon!

Cindy over at Zach Aboard wrote about the importance of teaching your kids to swim. They live on a boat so it’s obviously very important to them. I grew up with a pool in my backyard for my first 5 years so it was very important to my parents, too. I started taking swimming lessons (“water initiation”) when I was 6 months old and by the time I was in preschool, I passed a water survival test where I jumped off the high dive at the YMCA full clothed and swam to the other end of the olympic size pool. Thank you very much, Mom and Dad. I love how Cindy put it:

“Swimming is not a sport, or a pastime, or a summer thing. It’s a life skill. But for some reason people spend more time and effort teaching their kids to ride a bike than swim. If your kid never learns to ride a bike, it’s really no big deal. I don’t ride. If your kid doesn’t learn to swim, they could die.”

Photo from “Water Baby P.S.A.” on Zach Aboard. (This makes me want a waterproof camera so bad!)


Recommended Reading: House Tour: Our Living Room

09/07/2011

This week, while Jason and I spend some time purposefully disconnected from the internet, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recent blog discoveries. Be back soon!

OK, so I gave Greta from Lilly and the Brothers some blog love yesterday. Doesn’t she have the cuties kids ever? I actually found her other blog, Picnics in the Park, initially and commented on how similar our tastes are. We got a kick out of how we both have white mid-century modern living rooms with a greenish-yellow accent wall, though I think she has some much cooler pieces like the shelving unit, clock and credenza. Her living room tour. My living room tour.

Photo from “House Tour: Our Living Room” on Picnics in the Park.


Recommended Reading: “Are You a Yes Mom?”

09/06/2011

This week, while Jason and I spend some time purposefully disconnected from the internet, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recent blog discoveries. Be back soon!

The sweetness this big brother has for his little sister totally melts my heart (and reminds me of how thankful I am that I grew up with a sweet big brother.) Greta is one of my new favorite bloggers. She’s a thoughtful and beautiful writer. Check it out.

Picture from “Are You a Yes Mom?” over at Lilly and the Brothers.