Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A Peelin'

Do you ever just watch or listen to your kids and giggle?

Kelvin has been entertaining me lately.

A few weeks back he decided he doesn't like peels on things anymore. He started asking me to peel his apples, and if I forget, or don't feel like the extra work he will eat the apple right up to the peel, and leave it in the bowl. OK, I thought.... whatever....

Then we had fruit salad with our supper one night. I looked over to see a growing pile of green stuff on Kelvin's plate. Turns out he was eating just the "insides" of his grapes!

Tonight was when it hit me that this really was funny, and not something to bug him about. We had mixed veggies with supper tonight. Once again I looked across the table to see a pile of green. He was taking the "peels" off his peas! I picked up my cup to hide the silent laughter, but I was definitely shaking as I caught Doug's eye.

What they don't come up with....

I've been enjoying them so much lately, I'm really not looking forward to school starting next week.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Lemme 'splain

You can't tell from the comments (yet) but I seem to have confused some folks a bit on my last post. Let's see if I can be more clear.

What I meant when I said Adoption is not everything is this: Infertility brings up a lot of questions or issues in your life. Adoption (from the parents' point of view) can answer a lot of them, but not all of them. We were taught that by a group called Adoption Options. They facilitate private adoptions here in Manitoba, and require that all applicants go through a weekend of orientation before registering. This group is (was - this was 9 years ago) run by adoptive parents, and they wanted us to know what we would be getting into.

There was some question as to whether infertility should impact on our identity. Does it change the way God sees us? No. But it changes how I see me. One of the first commands of God to man was to procreate. The ability to bear children is, at least traditionally, what truly separates woman from man, so the inability to do this HAS TO have an impact on how complete you feel as a woman. It is something we take for granted, so it's loss is both unexpected and something to be grieved. I'm not suggesting that we should LIVE in that place of grief alone. It is a process that needs to be moved through, and adoption does not deal with that loss of expectation as to how my body should function. It is also something that cannot be done for us. You may affirm our womanhood, but it is an issue we must resolve for ourselves.

I want to be very clear, here. Adoption and pregnancy/birth both meet an inborn need to parent. Pregnancy/birth affirms the proper functioning of our bodies. It is NOT the children themselves who meet the fertility need. It would be wrong to enter adoption with the expectation that they would. The loss of the proper functioning of our bodies is OURS to deal with, not our children's burden. I don't think of my children as being "less" because they grew in someone else's womb. That is neither here nor there. They are mine (ours) to love, guide, nurture, etc. The loss of perceived control over my body's reproductive functions was never any child's responsibility, and I would never want my children to think they were 'second best'. They're not. I couldn't love them more if I had all the stretch marks in the world.

Our experience with infertility is also somewhat unusual, at least statistically. Most couples who deal with this are eventually given a reason for their difficulty. Those who have conditions which are not treatable are able to begin the grieving process, and look to other options to meet their parenting desires. We have been given no such reason. We've gone through ALL the workups including four surgeries for me (endometriosis - but not blocking my tubes). At the end we were told that there was NO reason that they could find for us not conceiving. In fact, I did conceive six months after the second surgery, while we were filling out our paperwork for adoption. I miscarried seven weeks into the pregnancy, and have not conceived since. Strangely, just having conceived was enough to settle some of my questions. For Doug, however, it was devastating and opened up more questions. Still, God remained silent on the issue.

Adoption today is not what it used to be. We've had Matt from birth, so that was over six years ago. The statistics at that time were that the wait list for a public adoption of a healthy newborn was twelve to fifteen years. Twelve to fifteen YEARS! And all those names KNEW how long it was when they added their names to the list. There are NOT orphanages full of children waiting to be adopted unless you look internationally (and we were in the process of an international adoption when we were approached about Matt.). Teenagers are choosing to parent their children. And abortion...

Let's just say that adoption is an exercise in letting go of any control you thought you had in forming your family. The process can actually be humiliating. You fill out a bunch of forms. If you are going for a private adoption then you have to wait for a birthmom to choose your profile from the many she can choose from, with no guarantee that you'll ever be chosen. You hope you have presented yourself in the best light, but always wonder if you've been misunderstood. If you are going for a public or international adoption you know you'll be put in the order you applied, more or less. You are required to go to classes to learn about the issues surrounding adoption. You are encouraged to look at older and special needs kids - there are many. You have to wait endlessly (it seems) to finally meet with your social worker for a series of interviews. And then you have to hope that someone else thinks you are good enough to be a parent just so you can get your names on a list and wait some more. You go through physicals, and criminal records checks, and references. I understand why they are needed, but no one makes you go through all those hoops just to get pregnant. It's like adding insult to injury. DON'T get me wrong, I'm SOOOOO glad we went there, and God's hand was SOOOOO there in the placing of these boys into our family. I'm just trying to say that the process isn't as easy as just saying "well, we'll just adopt, then".

So, do we want more? Sort of. I would love to have a little girl. Doug would love to have one, too. We're just not prepared for all the hoops of the adoption world. We can't afford the tens of thousands of dollars it takes for an international adoption. We're not willing to wait for a public one. And we're not likely to get chosen again for a private adoption because we already have two children. Most tend to choose the childless couples. Could we get pregnant? Sure. God could do that. But I'm 37 (it's my birthday for what's left of today), and Doug will be ____ this year. We're not that anxious to have teenagers when we're in our 60s. Then there's the issue of what another child would do to the delicate equilibrium of our household, since we have at least one child who doesn't deal well with change...

Well, I know I've rambled, but I hope I've been a bit clearer. Go ahead, ask me stuff. Tell me what you think. And if you ramble like me, just use multiple comments... I want to know if anyone's reading this stuff...

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Adoption thoughts

Adoption is a wonderful thing.

Adoption creates families, and can unite existing ones.

Adoption fills the need to parent.

Adoption allows for expanded thought on 'nature vs. nurture' questions.

Adoption does not deal with the issues of femininity or masculinity that infertility brings up.

Adoption does not answer the 'why' questions.

Adoption changes your priorities just like any other way of becoming a parent, but it cannot solve all the issues of infertility.

We are SO blessed to have been allowed to adopt our children. They give us the opportunity to experience parts of life we could never have known on our own or with bio kids. Still, we grieve for our fertility, that which seems our birthright. We have no answer to the 'whys'. We must simply allow that grief to be a part of our lives; it affects us, but must not be the dominating force in our lives.

I think God must identify with adoptive families. There is choice involved, and I personally don't believe it's all His. Some of us will not choose Him. I am reminded of a line from a Hymn , the title of which I cannot recall. "...sorrow and love flow, mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?"

Sorrow and love. Yes, they can dwell together. They do. I wonder if that will ever change. I mean, when we are in Heaven and totally enraptured with the presence of God, will we still have a place of sorrow for those who chose not to be there? Does God carry that with Him for eternity?

Adoption is wonderful. It just isn't everything.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Infertility Sucks!

Doesn't matter whether you can't conceive, or can't carry to term, as a woman it just sucks the life right out of you. It plays with your sense of worth. It places stress on your marriage. And it leaves you feeling downright powerless.

One of my friends has miscarried.

It stirs up all the emotions I thought I'd put behind me. I can barely hold back the tears. You'd think I had been through it just yesterday. The odd mixture of emotions, all the parts of the grieving process - WHAM - just sitting there on my chest.

I know I can't carry this for her. God gives her the grace for her life. I hope I can walk beside her and maybe help her process a bit. She has other resources - I'm not giving myself airs here, I just want to help. I hate that anyone has to feel this way.

God, you are a good God. You said so. You said you have a plan for us. A good one. Your ways are higher than mine. You said so. I can't see what you see, so I have to trust that You are true to Your word.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Food for thought...

I've been off for awhile 'cause I've been sick again. Nasty virus just likes me too much.

So, for any of you who just skim my main page, there's been a somewhat unrelated dialogue going on in the comments section of my last post.

It seems I made a comment on a friend's blog about how food was handled or controlled or distributed (however you see it) in the home where I grew up, and how I tend to do it in my own home. I mentioned not taking anything from my Mom's fridge without asking. Seemed an odd concept to some. Now, please understand that I refer to it as my Mom's fridge because it is no longer my home and therefore it IS now solely my Mom's fridge.

So, the question, and all it's derivatives, is did you have full and free access to the food in your home while growing up, or did you have to ask permission before you took food? And, how do you handle the food in your home now, particularly those who have kids?

If you had free access I have posed these questions : How did you know when was a good time to eat? Did you pig out on junk? And did you do it right before supper? Were you trained to let your mom (assuming she was the shopper) know when you finished something?

If your kids are grown, and had free access, how did you teach them to eat good food at appropriate times? How did you teach them to let you know when they had finished stuff? Did you make menu plans? Did you shop according to menu plans? How tight was your budget (non-specific)? Did you keep junk in the house, or did you only have healthy foods?

I plan my menus, and shop according to my plan. There's little room for adjustment if someone eats the cream cheese I needed for the casserole that week, unless I have a good store of leftovers in the freezer. My kids are allowed to make choices, but within the limits I think they can handle. For instance, I keep one "sweet cereal" in the house along with several more healthy ones. The boys can make whatever choice they want, but they have to eat a bowl of healthy stuff before they can have the sweet stuff. After school they get a snack. I've decided that it should be fruit, but they get to decide what kind of fruit they want ( there's always a variety), and the cutting, if necessary, is mine to do. You don't want to see Matt swinging a knife around! At meals they can choose juice or milk or water, but once they've had one cup of juice, they have to have water because I don't want them having too much sugar.

I'm getting better about serving my family healthy food, but that doesn't mean there's no junk in the house. And my boys would be eating candy from the moment they got up if it were available to them. Or, they would eat no meat or veggies at meal time if that option were available to them. They would also be eating 10 minutes before supper. Today they came in 20 minutes before supper and asked for their snack (which they'd missed playing outside) and I told them they could have fruit salad with their supper in a little bit. Not received well. Delayed gratification is a learned skill, and one I think needs to be in place somewhat before I can just open the cupboards and trust their judgement. Since they have difficulty with time concepts, I think this will take awhile.

I want to teach them to cook, and how to choose healthy foods they like, but I think it is a process for us. At the moment I set the breakfast table and pour milk into two tumblers left on an accessible (to them) shelf in the fridge. That way they can start eating if I'm not quite done with my shower. It's nice to have that degree of independence, and I want them to have further skills, but I believe that will take time. Matt will be taking his lunch to school this year, and my plan is to have him help make it. I can provide a list of healthy options for him to choose from, and he can help put it together. My mom, to my recollection, found herself too frustrated to be consistent with teaching us household skills. I left home knowing more than my siblings (being the oldest), but not nearly as much as I should have known.

Erica, you answered one of my questions in your last comment. You just didn't have the junk around very much, so it was certainly easier to trust that you would at least make healthy choices.

What about the rest of you?

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Alright. I think I'm done with tirades for awhile. Got it out of my system. I had hurt feelings that needed to be justified. I spoke my piece and was heard. All done.

So, anyone I scared off, you can come back now. I suppose I can get pretty passionate about stuff. I'm sure Doug thinks I take things waaaaaay too seriously.

He also thinks I'm up far too late at night blogging, and he's right about that one, so I'm going to put away some dishes and get ready for bed. My meds are leaving me quite groggy now, so maybe I'll actually get a restful sleep tonight. It seems like a long time since I've had one.


Don't you think that there should be a higher standard for those who communicate publicly?

To use my other metaphor, it's one thing to serve a bad dinner to your family, but another for a caterer to serve it. You hold them to a higher standard. And if you were a caterer, wouldn't you want to know if your food was off? Especially if it's something you can fix? Even if it means getting some outside help?

I think we just don't want to strive for more, or ask for help, so we justify ourselves. We tell our critics that they are asking for too much, when perhaps the intention of the critic is to help us attain more.

Yes, language issues are not in the same category as morality, but communication is universal. Should we not strive to set standards so that we can all understand each other? Without communication skills good ideas can never come to fruition. Why do you think that English Composition is a required course for all first year post secondary students?

Matt has a speech delay. Sometimes he tells me about a 'nake'. Sure, I know he means snake, but others won't, and he IS able to make the 's' sound. There are other sounds that he hasn't been able to make, so I don't hold him accountable for them. I keep telling him that he needs to make all his sounds so that people will understand him. It's a terrible thing to not be understood.

If we keep on tolerating poor language skills pretty soon no one will understand anyone else. OK, maybe not that soon, but it's happening....

Yes, this is a response to Jude's comment. It was just too long for the comments section.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Tolerate this!

tolerate v. to bear or support; to suffer to be or to be done without prohibition or hindrance; to allow or permit; to treat in a spirit of patience and forbearance; not to judge of or condemn with bigotry.

tolerance n. the quality of being tolerant; the capacity or the act of enduring; a disposition to be patient and indulgent toward those whose opinions or practices differ from one's own.

I don't want to be tolerated. Please do not endure me. Like me or don't. Agree with me or don't, but please do not tolerate me. Have an opinion. Make a judgement. When I want to be indulged, I'll ask you.

When did tolerance become a virtue? Patience, yes. (I checked with Galatians 5) But tolerance speaks to me of the lukewarmness of Revelation 3. YUCK! It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, before you come after me, I am not advocating calling everyone down who disagrees with you. And, in spite of being a first-born (see Erica's post on first-borns) I know that I'm not always right. So dialogue with me. I can agree to disagree.

Tolerance has become a buzzword for the idea that "everyone does what's right for them", as though we have the capacity within us to determine our own morality. It has become a word that removes absolutes and decries any who hold them. I realize that we live in a world of grey tones, but at the root I still believe there are blacks and whites. Some things are just right, and others are wrong. It's not always easy to discern; sometimes it's impossible given our limited perspective.

Tolerance has also been used as an excuse. If you don't want to conform to a particular standard all you have to do is cry "intolerance!". You could just as easily cry out "prejudice" or any of the "isms" that spring from it. People need to accept me just as I am, and I certainly am under no compulsion to meet any arbitrary standard....

Is it wrong to hold standards? I don't think so. Are all standards worth holding? I don't think so. So, instead of tolerating, enduring, and suffering with each other let's talk. Let's rework unreasonable standards together. Let's get to the root of the issues that lead to holding different standards. Let's have opinions and not water them down, while still being open to input. Let's agree to disagree. Let's even embrace differences where they're valid, but for heaven's sake let's stop just tolerating each other!

Don't you deserve better than to be tolerated? I do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Raging Grammarian

Flylady sent out a note today telling everyone who writes in to correct her spelling or grammar that they are simply captives of their perfectionism. It's not the first time she's sent that message, but today I really felt I needed to reply. I'll probably be ignored and lumped in with the rest, but I needed to speak my piece.

I love language. I especially love eloquent use of the English language. Language just seems second nature to me, so I have a hard time understanding why people would have such a hard time using it correctly. Can't they just hear when something is off? I do. I also find that I proofread everything I read. I don't intend to do it, it just happens. I notice ALL the misprints in the church bulletin, and I DO find myself asking "don't they have someone proof this before it gets printed?"

Since I joined the Flylady program I have heard her plead for us to overlook the language issues and see the heart. So I try. I do see the heart. I appreciate the heart. I just don't get why it's so hard to have someone proof your writing before you send it out to a mass audience. I've never written in to criticize. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I sure felt mine were hurt today.

Tell me, those of you who are musicians out there, when you hear someone sing or play off-key, doesn't it hurt? I mean, it's painful. Those of you who cook, when you taste something really off, it is actually painful. When we see something that we have a love for being done poorly, we CAN see the heart and appreciate the effort, but it's still an unpleasant experience.

To have my love for an elegant language written off as mere perfectionism, something to be banished, well..... That hurt. I had to tell this wonderful lady that just because this is not her strength doesn't mean it is invalid for me to notice and feel the pain of poorly used words. I will strive to put the feelings of people above my love for language, but I shall not let go of my passion.

Funny, I'd been thinking about this language thing recently, even before the Flylady note. My boys both have speech delays. Matt's is far more pronounced, and I haven't seen much progress in the last year. I know it will make it that much harder for him to learn how to read. How can he read a word with "L" in it when he can't even say "L"? I've always had difficulty understanding people who process differently than I do, and I guess I've really taken my intuitive approach to language for granted. I can model correct grammar 'til the cows come home, but Kelvin is still going to say "them is ....".

My kids may not have my genetics, but God surely meant them for me. They stretch me in ways I'm not sure I have the ability to go. Grace. Lots and lots of grace. That's what I need.

My friends who blog, you don't need to worry. I won't be correcting your grammar. (Well, at least not out loud, anyway.) I will see your heart (with my x-ray vision) and appreciate you.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Momsterator

Now, that's the thing about being a parent, isn't it. You're always discovering new skills. Sure, it's usually new things your kids can do, but every now and then you find that you are able to do something you never thought you could.

One friend of mine once said she wanted to write a book called "101 things you can do while nursing". I wouldn't know about that, but I'm sure she never knew she had those skills before she had kids.

Some of you may have discovered that you have an amazing aptitude for macaroni art. Maybe you can cook 3 different dinners at once to satisfy your picky eaters. Or perhaps you're the expert at removing urine stains from any surface.

Today I discovered an unexpected side effect of carrying children up stairs for time outs and bedtimes for the last 6 years. I can successfully wrestle a 5 and 6 year old boy together with extended tickling, pile-ons, and a bit of the 'don't kiss me' game without even breaking a sweat. And I can win. They can't pin me. They might get in the occasional smooch, but I can flip them and tickle their ribs at will. I feel like grunting:"oh oh oh oh oh". (insert visual of flexed biceps here).

The many. The proud. The mommies.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Here's lookin' at you, kid

And this would be the family. Posted by Hello

This is Matthew in Florida this spring. Posted by Hello

This is Kelvin at Disney World on Splash Mountain Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Kelvin has a stuffed Mickey Mouse (from our Disney trip).

Matthew has a series of stuffed cows, the smallest of which is named Mini Moo.

This morning I heard Matt swinging Mickey Mouse around and saying (in his 'stuffed character' voice) " I'm Mini Moo. I'm Mini Moo......."

Then he came up to me and I asked him if Mickey Mouse thought he was Mini Moo. He said " Yeah, mom, see Mic... Mi... Mic... Mi..."

"Oh", I said, " they start with the same letter sound 'mmmmm' "

" Yeah", he said.

So, why is this exciting? Because my boys are not auditory learners, and Matt has a pronounced speech delay. We've been working on printing letters, but Matt hasn't been able to make the connection between a letter and the sound it makes. In fact, it frustrates him so much that he doesn't even want to try...

I'm so proud! I almost cried...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Solitaire Endorphins?

Computers are evil.

Well, ok, maybe it's just mine.

Doug got an old computer from work (auction) and set it up for the boys in the dining room. Then he set up a wireless network. Now I don't even have to go downstairs to access all my stuff. Too easy.

Yesterday I made a deal with myself that I couldn't go near a computer without my timer. I set it for 20 minutes, checked all my blogs, e-mail, and played some solitaire. When the bell went I had to finish my game and leave. Sounds easy doesn't it?

Well, it worked yesterday, but today I have my very own blog! How could I not spend most of the day checking in on it? And since I'm here, I may as well play a game of solitaire, right?....

I think they must put something in the games that just makes it impossible to play just one. Hmmm... I wonder if Lay's has something to do with it....

Oh well, better luck tomorrow (keeping my routines going and caring for my kids, that is, NOT winning more games....)


Wow! This is actually up and running! Many thanks to my dear friend Yvonne the webgoddess.

So here we are. I just wanted a place to process stuff, since I do think out loud. If you're reading this you're going to hear about my boys, dealing with the school system, advocating for special needs kids, knitting, women's retreats, adoption, infertility, God (or my thoughts on Him), and just about anything that I find funny.

Feel free to leave comments. Input is always helpful when you're trying to process stuff, but please try to be encouraging. There's enough in life that brings you down. I want this site to build you (and me) up.

Chicken Stew. Warm. Nourishing. Comforting. And full of lots of weird stuff.