Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moving and Babyproofing

We moved a few months ago! Downsized to a smaller, more affordable place. It's a very cute house with a yard. And we save a few hundred $$ a month. Woot woot! I really like it. It's very cozy. :)

I was impressed with the people who came out and helped us move and clean our old place! What great people. Made the transition much easier. Especially since I did all the packing and moving while Zay was at work! I got a U-Haul truck and I would NOT have been able to pack that thing, drive it, unpack it, and return it all by myself. No way! So, I really really really appreciated all the help. It went really well.

This boy LOVES to sweep, so he was more than happy to help.
Packed tight in the car, everything ready to go! He likes to chill with his hands behind his head when he's in his carseat.
So, for a couple weeks my house looked like this:

But I spent day-in and day-out unpacking and finding a place for everything and making sure everything's in its place. It's been fun... and we've had a lot of fun in this place already!

Lots of:

Outside time!
The Fall was beeeeautiful.
This is his "working hard," concentrating face.
Then, winter brought snow, snow, snow!
The cold keeps us inside now. Lots of coloring. :)

And a little bit of cousin time! :)
Video gaming it up. :)

I've been babyproofing everything now that Kal has decided that he finally wanted to walk and climb and open things, etc. It was nice with him being a late-walker, because I could control what he got into very easily. Not so much anymore! Babyproofing and cleaning has gone well. Decorating... not so much. You see that picture frame on the wall in the picture above? I've had it for about a year and it holds 10 pictures and I've only put 3 in it. Ha ha. I keep saying I'll finish it, but there's the proof that I haven't yet. I did put it on the wall, so yay. :)

Look at him... already touching stuff!!! Ha ha. Demonstrating the need for baby proofing.

Plus, we have our home visit coming up!.. In which our adoption caseworker will want to see that we have a super safe place for a kid. You know... no guns laying around on the table, no frayed wires hanging from the ceiling, no dead bodies under the floorboards... you know, the usual. So I'm finishing up shoving all the skeletons in the closet this weekend in preparation. :) I'm kidding! I'm so ready for this! Excitiiiiiing!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Adoption: Preferences (Gender, Race, etc.)

Kal, video gaming it

The #1 question we get when we tell people that we're going to adopt again is about whether or not we're going to "try for a girl." The short answer is, "No."

I guess it's kind of like asking a pregnant woman if she hopes it's a girl. Not actually like asking a couple who is trying to conceive if they are trying for a girl. You see what I mean? Cuz that would be kind of weird.

So, I'll answer the first question: We don't care either way.

We already have a boy, so a girl would be new and exciting and would round out our family nice. Zay would be head over heals in love with a little girl (and that would be!). He will just melt and I can see him being wrapped around her little finger. And I would looooove to do my daughter's hair, of course! I think a girl would be different and... a challenge. But a welcome challenge, for sure.

At the same time, we know boys well and another boy would fit in just as perfectly. We can handle boys, we know what boys are all about. We don't have much experience with girls, so a boy would be comfortable. Plus, we already have so many boy clothes that it would be easy to have a boy. Kal would have someone he could roughhouse with.

Either way, Kal is so ready to have a sibling. I'm starting to think he thinks the cats are his baby brothers with the way he gently pets them and gives them kisses before bed. Lol. I'm sure he's bored to death with me all day everyday! Ha ha. I ask him all the time, "Are you sick of this face yet??" He's not. He can be such a mama's boy. But still, I don't want him to grow up "alone." 

There are other "choices" when it comes to adopting though, besides gender. Race, for one. Seriously, you can pinpoint exactly what race you would accept or not... even partial race. Like, you will accept a half-Hispanic child, but not a full-Hispanic child. So weird. I've already talked about that here - we said that we would accept a child of any race, no matter the "mixture."

Another choice is age of the child. Most likely we will get a newborn, but there are some instances when older children come to LDS Family Services (not often - they usually end up in Foster Care). We would like a child who is younger than Kal, but we won't be picky. If we do get an older child, I'm sure there's a grieving process over those "missing" months that we didn't get to have with him/her (we already miss out on the pregnancy), so it would be difficult... but doable.

You can also say whether you would accept multiples (twins, etc.) or a sibling group. A sibling group would probably mean at least one of the kids is older. We are open to it and will cross that bridge if we have to. I for one would never want to separate biological siblings if it wasn't necessary.

Another choice is physical/mental impairments and the conditions surrounding the birth. This checklist is FOREVER long, and we really had to think about some of the things we would be willing to accept. I think only 3 or 4 impairments we were confident that we would not be capable of handling. The rest we said, "Yes." Whatever situations are placed in front of us, we'll pray about them and make choices as we go along as to whether it's an opportunity we'd like to pursue or if it just wouldn't blend well with our family dynamic. Mostly, the concern is for the child. If we don't think we can take care of a child with AIDs, then I don't think we should sign up for it, you know?

We may be opening ourselves up to some pretty sticky situations that will have to be handled delicately, but we'll trust God and let Him lead us to the right match for our family. We might have to make some really hard decisions, but that's okay. It's worth it. And it may be smooth sailing, who knows? We shall see.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Creating our Adoption Profile

Playing in the snow with Kal and my nephew!

I have a tendency to overthink things. And get all worked up. And try to create something that is "perfect" (when that's impossible). So, to fight that urge... I copied and pasted most of our profile from the last time we went through the adoption process. And I randomly picked the pictures. Literally, I picked them randomly from a bunch of random folders on my computer. The first pictures I saw, boom boom boom - uploaded. Done. They may not be the best pictures or convey all of our interests and talents and show exactly "who we are" -- whatever that means. But, if I allow myself to over-analyze everything, it will be a nightmare. So I avoided that!

And, bonus! We got our profile done in record time! Caseworker says it looks great. If I want to tweak it later, I can. But I'm just gonna agree with the caseworker and say it looks great! DONE.

We also filled out our "preferences." Yay. Done, done, done.

SO, NEXT STEP: Set up our home visit where the caseworker gets to case the joint and make sure our home is a safe place for a child. I have begun the fun task of scrubbing and babyproofing this place from top to bottom and making it look presentable (or at least decent). Yay! After this "inspection," there isn't much else to do except make sure everything's in place (no paperwork overlooked) and then approval comes soon after that!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"100 Ways to Make Your Marriage Rock": Regular Date Nights

Continuing the list of "100 Ways to Make Your Marriage Rock"...

Next up on the list is "Go on regular Date Nights."

At a basketball game. Can't get Zay to keep a straight face for photos!

Having a regular Date Night is some advice we received before we got married, but we never set aside an official night dedicated to wining and dining each other (well, whatever the LDS equivalent of "wining and dining" is... ha ha... sparkling cider, anyone?). I mean, we didn't have kids for the first 6 1/2 years of marriage! Every night was Date Night. Every night was a party. We stayed up as late as we wanted, went out to eat every other night, partied with friends, laid out under the stars, slept in as late as we wanted... sprawled in each other's arms... we were accountable to no one!

You know, if I could go back in time I would have taken advantage of all that time and done so much more! But I digress...

Now we have a child and as awesome as he is, he is a needy little son-of-a-gun. Remember, my only parenting experience was taking care of my cats. Cats are not needy. Lol. This is all new to me. I realized immediately that the Date Night advice that had been floating around us for years now sounded wise indeed. Actually, I had it on my list of things-to-do before adopting a baby to make Date Night a regular routine. I had some foresight!

Zay picked out his favorite painting at BYU's Museum of Art one Date Night. He said, "This speaks to me." And we stared at it for a good 5 minutes. I like the legs of the people walking by in the background... GET UP, DUDE! The world is leaving you behind!

So, for over two years now we've tried to set aside one day a week as Date Night. We budget for it, so that we can go out somewhere nice if we want. It's totally worth it. We get a babysitter. We don't take hair appointments. We don't work that night. It's just the two of us, focusing on each other, catching up on the week's events, no phones, no distractions. When we finally got into the groove of going somewhere and doing something each week, we started alternating picking where we go and what we do - me one week, Zay the next. I totally used that to my advantage by making him go to all the museums I wanted to see. :) And I went to many, many basketball games. So we're even. :)

Visiting the Salt Lake City Temple. It. Was. COLD.

Islamic Art at BYU's Museum of Art. Loved this!
We haven't always been the best at this, but we've gotten better over time. I refuse to let us get lazy in this area. Especially lately, as the idea of adopting a second child is out there and will no doubt keep us grounded for awhile as we love on a new baby and spend a lot of time at home together as a family of 4 (crazy!)... We're getting Date Night in now while we can. :)

One trap you can fall into is that Date Night ends up being like any other night, or somehow you're just not making it special enough. That's happened to us before. The key is to always get out of the house! If you say, "Well, we can just have this one Date Night at home tonight... watch a movie or something..." ... then all your Date Nights might end up that way. Other things to make it special - dressing fancy, going somewhere new, doing something we've never done before, etc. (Ever tried role-playing? As in, pretending you just met or it's your first date... so fun!)

On nights when we haven't planned anything, we have a jar of activities where we can pull out a strip of paper and do whatever it says... it's fun to pick a few out and try to combine them all into one adventurous night. :) That should be a backup plan, though. It's way more exciting when you surprise your spouse (or get surprised) with a well thought out date night that was planned in advance. It shows that you're still excited to be with each other and you still want to impress your man (woman) and married life is still ~fun~ if you make it fun!

Grabbing some frozen yogurt at Yogurtland. Kal came with us that night. Can't remember where we went, but he has a wristband on. Maybe extreme trampolining at Hang Time?

I just recently went through a million Date Night ideas (CLICK HERE for a million ideas) and added tons of new activities to our jar. It was fun just thinking of all the fun things we'll do in the future! And it's been great re-focusing on this goal and making it extra special lately.

Also, remember to throw some fun bedtime activities in the jar too. Put the kids to bed!! End the night well! ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Adoption: Individual Interviews

Helping Mama with Christmas decorations. :)

The holidays made scheduling our individual adoption interviews difficult, but I did mine last week and Zay did his this morning! Yay!

The point of the interviews are to ask basically the same questions that we've already filled out on paper and online, but to come at the questions from a different angle. And to separate the couple and get to know each of us one-on-one. Sometimes issues can come out that way. I've heard that this is the point where wives are suddenly surprised to hear that their husbands have been struggling with porn addiction. Or husbands are suddenly surprised to learn that their wives were hiding eating disorders, etc. Isn't it crazy that couples can hide such things from each other?? Anyway, I guess I'm glad those kinds of things can come up and be addressed, but honestly I just wish people weren't so sucky and weak and riddled with problems. I used to have such a happy-go-lucky view on life (I don't know why - my childhood wasn't exactly carefree), but the older I get the more I realize people are messed up.

The agency wants to weed out the really messed up ones. And... we made the cut! Lol. Thank goodness we're normal. I'd even say we're above average, but maybe I'm biased. :)

So, NEXT STEPS: Create our online profile - pictures of us, answering "Get to Know You" questions, birthparent letter (that goes on the front page of our profile), child preferences and birth conditions we're willing to accept, contact information so potential birthparents can contact us, etc. This is all the fun stuff birthparents will read and make decisions based on. So, no pressure! Ha ha.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festivus 2012

I think this story will give you a little glimpse into my personality, lol... I was making a spreadsheet of all the holidays throughout the year I thought are necessary or fun to celebrate. YES, a spreadsheet. There are just way too many holidays and birthdays and whatnot to keep track of, seriously. I need a dang spreadsheet. The part of me that wants to be all "super domestic diva" wants to always have a party in the works and always know what's coming up next (so I can be prepared for it). 

I've been absolutely terrible at buying gifts... every single time... for any occasion. And it's because I just forget about stuff until the last minute. But at the same time, I love to celebrate anything and everything... so I keep wasting all these good opportunities because I haven't been organized. So, I was spreadsheet-ing it. I looked at a bunch of lists of holidays online. One list had Festivus on it and I giggled to myself and thought, Definitely!

Seinfeld has always been my all-time favorite show. When I was a kid, it was kind of my escape. It was a type of humor I was never exposed to and I loved it. Half of it I didn't get when I was young, because they were New Yorkers and lived an entirely different life than me, but that was the appeal. The humor grew on me. I was nervous that Zay wouldn't like Seinfeld when we first got together (I was nervous to introduce him to The Office, too!) but he got it immediately. For years we've played Seinfeld in the background while we're doing other things. We sometimes turn it on before going to bed and let it play all night.

Festivus is a made-up holiday on Seinfeld. George's dad made their family celebrate it as an anti-materialism stand against the Christmas holidays. There was a simple meal... something like spaghetti or meatloaf with red sauce. An unadorned pole rather than a Christmas tree ("I find tinsel distracting." -- Mr. Costanza). The "airing of grievances" around the dinner table - gathering all your friends and family together to tell them how much they've disappointed you over the past year - rather than expressing your gratitude ("I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!"). And the "feats of strength," which are never really explained in the episode, but it is mentioned that Festivus isn't over until the head of household is pinned to the ground (I figured this is open to interpretation - FUN!).

Festivus went immediately on the spreadsheet. Lol. And this year we got a few friends together to celebrate the awesomeness that is Seinfeld and eat some Seinfeld-inspired foods. (Did you know how many times specific foods are mentioned in the Seinfeld series?! I had a lot of foods to choose from! Here's a list.)

Got the guys frosting the cookies. SO CUTE!

Seinfeld reference: The Big Salad. "She didn't buy the big salad. I bought the big salad... She just took credit for my salad!" -- George Costanza

Seinfeld reference: Poppyseed Muffins. "You tested positive for opium...White lotus, Yam-yam, Shanghai Sally." - J. Peterman, Elaine's boss

I went with spaghetti. :)

I was so proud of these slow-cooked turkey meatballs. SO GOOD!

Seinfeld reference: Junior Mints. "Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint; it's delicious!" -- Kramer

Seinfeld reference: The black and white cookie. "Two races of flavor living side by side in harmony. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it?" -- Jerry Seinfeld

Seinfeld reference: Dip. "You double-dipped the chip!... You dipped the chip. You took a bite, and you dipped again." -- Timmy, at a party with George Costanza

Feats of Strength: Thumb Wrestling

Feats of Strength: Arm Wrestling

Feats of Strength: Leg Wrestling

Seinfeld reference: "These pretzels... are making me THIRSTY!" -- George Costanza

Wielding the Festivus Pole. It just sat in the corner most of the night, but then we used it for Stick Pull in the Feats of Strength.

The day's first attempt at garlic bread. Ummmm, that broiler got hot FAST!

Me, rectifying the burnt garlic bread situation. :)

We set the TV up right at the table to get the most out of the Seinfeld-watching.
The Airing of Grievances could've been dangerous, but we kept it lighthearted and then didn't even get all the way around the table because we were just laughing and talking.

At the end of the night, everyone refused to try to pin Zay, the head of household. No one had the guts. But I'm totally not intimidated by him. So I used my best wrestling moves and tried to "Rock Bottom" him and then I did the "People's Elbow" and pinned him. He totally let me. Ha ha. I win!

Definitely doing Festivus next year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Looks like the world isn't going to end after all...

We're a day away from "the end of the world," but no one knows how it's supposed to end. There are a lot of theories, but according to NASA "no apocalyptic claims have any scientific footing." There's nothing catastrophic heading for Earth... no planet, no large meteors.

Unless something completely unpredictable happens, it's probably going to end up being just another day.

That's kind of disappointing. I'm ready to see some mountains turn into valleys! Ahhhh, dang it. Guess it won't happen in my lifetime. But who knows? We shall see. 

If it does end tomorrow, I wanna go out like Woody Harrelson in the movie 2012:

Screaming about how beautiful it all is. Going down in a blaze of glory.

Because (dangit!) I didn't plan ahead and get tickets to whatever party Britney Spears is probably throwing:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yay for "Team Babies"!

So, my friend who I mentioned that decided to pursue surrogacy rather than adoption... it didn't work the first time. Sad! And it was the 6th time they'd done in vitro, 1st time with a surrogate. Can you say "devastating"??? They decided to try ONE MORE TIME.... and the surrogate is now pregnant with TRIPLETS!!! Wow, so much time and money and effort and stress and tears... and the blessings are just pouring in! I can't believe how over-the-top excited I am for them! They are so surprised and thrilled! :)

Can you imagine having three babies at once??? Craziness.
She blogs HERE and her amazingly selfless sister-in-law who volunteered to be the gestational carrier blogs HERE, if you want to follow along. Who does that for somebody?! Seriously!

I just can't hold in my excitement! I am squealing!! I cannot wait to meet babies A, B, & C (two of which will be identical twins)! She is almost 17 weeks along. So amazing!!

She needs prayers and love and good vibes sent her way so that the babies can grow for as long as possible and eventually be born safely! Go Team Babies!

Monday, December 17, 2012

60-Day Hiking Challenge: The "Y": Week 3

This past summer I decided to challenge myself physically. I needed something repetitive that I didn't have to think about each day - I would just get up and go. I wanted to be outside. I wanted Kal with me. Most of the time I wanted it to be just me & him, so I could use the time to meditate and think. It was a very cleansing experience. Brought a lot of peace in my life to be in nature and to spend that much one-on-one time with my son. I decided on a 60-day hiking challenge up to the "Y" in Provo. The goal was 6 hikes a week for 10 weeks. This was Week 3.

Hiking Day 13.

Hottest day so far! 93 degrees...
I'm sizzling!!
Hiking Day 14. Got sunscreen in my eye right as I started the hike. Gah!

Hiking Day 15.
My calves are outta control!
The very last stretch. I get so excited when I can see the "Y"!
Hiking Day 16. Kal with his sneaky face... ha ha!
Always trying to steal my phone away from me.

Getting sleepy... playing with the straps.

Lizard! I see tons of these little guys. Yay for nature!
Hiking Day 17. Hiking with a friend, so she got some good pics on her camera rather than my cell phone. But she refused to get in the pics! Ha ha.

Hiking Day 18. On the drive before hiking: the "Y" is waaaay up there...
HUGE dandelion thingie mabobbers...

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