Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Penne with Goat Cheese and Spinach


about 1 1/3 cups uncooked penne noodles
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
half of a 140g log soft goat cheese (about 2.5 oz)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach, stems included
about 14 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic in oil until golden.

Crumble the goat cheese in a bowl.  Add spinach, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Add the garlic with the oil.

Drain pasta and toss with the goat cheese mixture.

Serve immediately.

Refrigerate leftovers.  It is also good cold.

To reheat leftovers, stir in frying pan until heated through.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Yellow Baby Blanket

The other day at my parents' house my mom took me to her room to show me something.  I was surprised and moved to see she had bought a whole bunch of light yellow yarn and was working on knitting...a baby blanket...for me.  It is so touching to know that other people are thinking of our future child and believe that we will have a baby one day.  Thank-you, Mom.  It is beautiful and you are so sweet.

   

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not Quite Sure Where I Fit In

I've never felt 100% sure where I fit in in the infertility world.  I read a lot (a lot) of blogs, mainly about adoption, and it seems like most people are adopting because they struggle with infertility.  Sometimes it would be simplest to say that's where I'm coming from, too.  But I don't know if that's exactly true.

Hubby & I tried to conceive on-and-off for roughly 1 1/2 years.  I say "on-and-off" because there were a couple factors for why we didn't ttc consistently, that I'm not comfortable sharing here.  When I told my doctor we had tried for a year already (which isn't 100% accurate, since there were so few times we could have actually conceived during that time) she made us an appointment for a fertility clinic.

But it was during this time that my epilepsy got worse.  We (especially Hubby) were uncomfortable with me being pregnant, being in labour, and taking care of a baby while my epilepsy was not fully under control.  So we made the decision to switch me to a better medication.  Better medication for controlling my epilepsy, that is.  A million times worse for an unborn baby.  So we made the medication switch, quit ttc and switched our focus to adoption.  My epilepsy is under control now.

This was NOT an easy decision.  But at the same time a big weight was lifted off our shoulders.  We no longer had the pressure of ttc.  We no longer worried about my epilepsy constantly.  We were (still are!) excited about adopting.  But I still had to grieve the child(ren) whom we'll never have.  The ones that would be a little bit of each of us.  I still struggle (sometimes VERY much) with seeing pregnant women, hearing pregnancy/birth announcements, going to baby showers, etc.  Sometimes I wonder if I always will?  Occasionally we still catch ourselves doubting our decision to take this path.  I wonder what if...?  what if...?  what if...?  I surprise myself by STILL daydreaming about getting pregnant just like I used to daydream.  (Only now I also daydream about getting "the call"!) 

One thing that has brought me great amounts of solace is all of you - all the bloggers who write about adoption, loss and infertility.  Sometimes I stick to the adoption blogs, because sometimes it hurts too much reading blogs about those who are actively ttc.  (Of course pregnancy announcements do happen on adoption blogs, too.  And don't get me wrong - I'm always happy for those who get pregnant - but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, too.)

But sometimes I'm just not sure exactly where I fit in.  When I feel grief, anger, sadness - a little voice says, But you decided to quit ttc; they have no choice over it.  And I wonder, should I just be quiet in the ALI blogging world?  Did I make the wrong decision?  And - the worst one - will someone else (who knows without a doubt they can't conceive) adopting feel I'm "taking" "their" baby??  I'm probably being silly - but these are just some of my fears and insecurities.

Another thing that brought comfort was when we went to our agency's weekend education seminar and found there were a wide variety of reasons the couples there were adopting - infertility, health reasons (like me), repeat miscarriages, and other reasons. 

So, as I try to find security in where I am, wherever I am, I will continue to blog, and read your blogs.  I will continue to feel a lot of the same emotions (why me?) even if for different reasons.  And, hopefully, one day, all of us will find a baby in our arms, through whichever route God chose to place that baby there.

[Update:  If you are here from In Due Time's NIAW 2016 link-up, you will see this post was written 3 1/2 years ago.  Click here to read our up-to-date timeline.] 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good News

About a week ago Hubby contacted our adoption agency and asked if it would work to do our homestudy in this house.  The house we currently live in, that we are trying to sell, is very small and only has one bedroom - ours (and there is no room in it for even a Moses basket, never mind a crib).  The house is perfect for a single person or a couple but is not good for a couple wanting to grow their family!  Anyway, we were planning on waiting until we were in a different house to start our homestudy.  But it is winter and the real estate market is slow, and our house hasn't sold yet.  It's been up for sale for 8 weeks now with no offers yet.  We have been really putting the pressure on ourselves to get it sold, so we can move and get going on our homestudy.  But now our agency told us they can do the homestudy and we can get approved in this house!  We will just have to get our homestudy updated once we move, and the only cost for that will be mileage to our place!  This takes a huge load off our shoulders and takes the pressure off to sell our house!  We might even take it off the market over the middle of winter and put it back on in early spring, so it doesn't get market stale - we'll see.  But, now we have to get our tushes in gear and complete some of the things we've been working on - the Dear Birthmother/father letter, each of our PAPQ's, our AppII, and our photos.  There are 2 things that our agency has to receive no more than 3 months prior to our homestudy starting, and that is our Medical Reports and our Criminal Record Checks.  So we were putting those off until we'd sold our house, and bought a place and knew when our possession date would be.  But now, with this good news, the first thing I did was make an appointment for the two of us with my doctor to get our medical reports done.  That appt is scheduled for Dec. 17!  That means our homestudy should start no more than 3 months after that!! So exciting and nerve-wracking!!  The medical reports should only be $20 each so that is nice.  We should be getting the cheque, for the subdivided property we sold next door, this week, and when that comes we'll go do our Criminal Record Checks.  I am not sure how much they are because I don't know if we'll need to be fingerprinted or not.  It feels like things are finally moving along :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear Birthmother Letter

You wanna know something really special?  My mom-in-law gave me a copy of the Dear Birthmother letter she wrote back in 1989 when they were hoping to adopt.  Fast-forward almost 23 years, and none of us can imagine life without my husband's brother (who was born & adopted in 1990).  We are adopting through the exact same agency that my bro-in-law was adopted through, and back in 1990 they'd only been open for a year or two yet.

We are working on writing our Dear Birthmother letter right now.  Or I should say, basically I am writing it, and Hubby reads it sometimes and says it's good.  It's a hard letter to write.  But reading my MIL's letter was really helpful.  She just wrote so openly and honestly and simply.  What also helped was last weekend my husband and I both sat down and worked together on adoption stuff - me on the letter and he on his PAPQ.  I'm hoping we can do something like that again this weekend.

I'm finding it stressful how long everything is taking us.  We seem to drag everything out and procrastinate about it all.  I don't understand why we do this because both of us really want to start our family - like, years ago.  Of course, it doesn't help that we are in the middle of selling both our property next door and selling our house.  I'm trying to be content and thankful and to enjoy the here and now.

I want to say as Paul said "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  Philippians 4:11-12  And if there was anybody who had a lot of tough circumstances, it was Paul!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Liebster Award


Cool! :)  Caroline nominated me for the Liebster Award :)  The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.  It is a way to acknowledge each other and say "you're doing a great job".  It's a fun way to spread the word about smaller blogs and help them gain momentum.

I get to answer a bunch of questions Caroline picked for me:

Why did you start blogging?
I started my first blog (which is still out there but I don't use it anymore) to document my experience with psychiatric drugs and my withdrawal and recovery from them.  I ended up hardly writing about the experience at all, and just wrote about day-to-day life or whatever topic I was up to tackling.  When I realized we were not ending up on the normal route of getting pregnant and having kids, I started to feel that my personal life was getting too, well, personal, to share about on the blog.  I was also hardly ever posting and felt my life wasn't interesting enough to have a blog about, lol!  I started this blog when we broke the news that we are adopting.  I love being a part of the adoption bloggers world.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Well, I'm Canadian, so Thanksgiving for us was back in October and I am planning Christmas stuff already!  Thanksgiving isn't a huge deal at all to me (hey, I'm not an American and I'm not big into football either, lol!) but I'd have to say my favourite tradition is family gatherings.

Do you prefer warm or cold weather?
Warm!!!  

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Turn on the fan - got to have that white noise and the cool breeze for sleeping!

What do you do for a living?
I'm a stay-at-home housewife - not that I make a living doing that, lol.

If you could go on a trip tomorrow, where would you go?
I would go to Hawaii with my husband.

If you could go back to any age, what would it be?
I'm always so torn on this one - I'd like to go back and change things I did/didn't do, but then I think, everything must've happened for a reason.  

What is your favorite quality in your spouse?
His patience!!!

What have you or did you learn on your infertility journey?
So much.  Like, don't assume kids will magically be conceived when you want them to be.  Or, never assume you know someone else's story.

If you could only shop at one store for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I'm tempted to be practical and say the grocery store...yeah, I should probably say that :)

Do you have a favorite quote, verse or song?
Yes, yes and yes!  Now to be serious, or silly?  I'll go with Hebrews chapter 10.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Currently

A number of bloggers have done or are regularly doing these "Currently" posts.  The blog I first saw these posts on is a blog I follow Love, Matt and Kara.  It is a blog about a couple who were originally planning to adopt (and had to go through a failed adoption) but are now parenting their baby girl that they gave birth to.  Pretty much you make a list of the things currently going on in your life, under the optional headings Watching, Listening to, Thinking about, Loving, Reading, Making me happy, Trying to figure out, Looking forward to/Anticipating, Stressing about, Surprised by, Making me sad, Wishing, Working on, Planning, Laughing about, Eating, Feeling thankful for, Obsessing over, or whatever you want.  I love lists, I love organization, and I love things being made simple for me!  This is perfect for those times when it is time to update my blog but I simply have no idea what to write about!  Thanks Kara and Danielle!

Watching:  The Frozen Planet DVD's by BBC I got my hubby for his birthday.  They are AH-MA-ZING!  I sometimes have to leave the living room and go to the kitchen until my hubby tells me it's "safe" to come back, lol, because I can't handle seeing animals killing each other, lol, but that is just a small part of it.  Penguins?  Hilarious.  The way killer whales work together?  Insane.  Ice crystals?  In awe.  It is amazing what God has done and it astounds me that people can even consider that He didn't create all this.

Working on:  Our Dear Birthmother letter.  Why do I procrastinate doing things that I really, really want done, like 3 months ago?  There are a number of adoption-related things I/we can be working on, but this is the one I'm putting my focus into lately.

Hoping:  That our house will get shown again this Saturday and that it will sell soon.  It's so hard being patient when there's so much that hinges on our house selling.

Thankful for:  That the lawyer for the people who bought our subdivided property next door has decided to smarten up and we should be getting the money for that in about a month (it's all allotted for already, with one huge chunk going towards adoption!).

Looking forward to:  Christmas shopping!

Making me happy:  My sister had her LAST radiation treatment today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Five Love Languages

How many of you have read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman?  This is one of my favourite books.

For those of you who haven't read it or who need a refresher, I'm going to sum it up.  Simply because I just love this topic so much!

The idea is that everyone out there receives and gives love in one or more out of five different ways.  If you don't have a significant other, don't quit reading here.  I love to figure out the ways the people around me whom I am closest to need to receive love to feel loved - and that includes friends and family members, not just Hubby.

The five love languages are:
-Gifts
-Quality Time
-Touch
-Words of Affirmation
-Acts of Service

People may have more than one love language.  For example, my biggest one is Quality Time but right on it's heels is Gifts.  For Hubby, his biggest one is Touch, and right on it's heels is Words.  There's a reason our house is messy and neither of us is offended by it - neither of our top two love languages is Acts of Service!

See if you can figure out yours and the people who mean the most to you:

Gifts
You feel most loved when people remember your birthday or other significant event by purposely going out to find you a gift you will like.  They take the time to choose something that will mean something to you.  They wrap it carefully instead of just handing it to you as is.  You feel equally loved whether your significant other buys you a dozen long-stemmed red roses or whether they pick you a bouquet of daisies from the ditch.  You need small gifts between holidays to keep your love tank full.

You are the most likely to show love to others by buying them gifts.  Sometimes you spontaneously give away things you own if you know someone would appreciate it.  You would never be okay with skipping giving someone you love a gift on their birthday, but if money was tight, you would at least make them a homemade card.

You are the most hurt when someone says that giving and receiving gifts at Christmastime is selfish.  You are hurt when someone hands you a gift absentmindedly at the end of your party, it's still in the store's bag, and it's the same thing all your siblings got.  You are hurt when people do not respond enthusiastically to the gift you got them.

Quality Time
You feel the most loved when doing something together with your significant other (or group of friends) and they are paying undivided attention to you.  Road trips are all about the journey and not necessarily the destination because it means you can spend time together.

You are the most likely to show love by inviting someone to do something with you.  For some people this may mean an event you both enjoy, or it may mean sitting down across from each other and having a heart-to-heart talk.  (There is more than one dialect in Quality Time - one is Quality Conversation and another is Quality Activities (mine).)  When your love tank is getting empty, you find yourself following your husband around, just being with him while he works outside or sitting near him when he's at the computer.

You are most hurt when the other person is on their smart phone or distracted in other ways while you are out on a date or even just on a walk.  Sitting in front of the TV together doesn't fill your love tank.  You are hurt when your spouse spends long hours at work, only to need "alone time" when they finally come home.

Touch
You feel most loved when someone gives you a hug, or when your spouse gives you a back rub or runs their hand through your hair.  Even just your spouse purposely brushing up against you as you two pass each other in the house is a reminder to you that you are loved.

You are most likely to show love by giving a hug, especially when someone is sad you may think a hug is a cure-all, but even otherwise you give spontaneous hugs just to show your loved ones you care.  You like to sit close to those you love, with your arm around them.

You are most hurt when you come home from work and your spouse forgets to give you a welcome-home hug.  It hurts when you show someone you love them through touch and the affection is not returned.  Being physically abused is especially damaging to those whose love language is touch.

Words of Affirmation
You feel most loved when you are told "I love you", when people praise you for what you have accomplished, and when you are complimented or encouraged.  Hearing that your loved ones are thankful for the hard work you put in each day at your job motivates you to go back to work and do a good job there.  When being critiqued, you need to hear what you did right and not what you did wrong, to do better.

You show love by building people up with your words.  You can't imagine leaving the house or going to sleep without saying "I love you" a few times first.  You are very good at writing meaningful messages in cards, and when you pick out cards, what the words say in it mean a whole lot more to you than the picture.  You are very gentle and careful when picking your words.

You are the most hurt when people do not acknowledge your "I love you"'s.  Thoughtless, cruel words and name-calling is especially damaging to those whose love language is words of affirmation.   

Acts of Service
You feel most loved when your spouse cleans up after himself, or when your mom offers to babysit.  You feel loved when someone asks how they can help.

You show love by volunteering at soup kitchens, or cleaning your grandmother's apartment.  You show love by keeping the house clean for your family, or making your spouse's lunch for him.

You are the most hurt when you are sick and people who come by only bring flowers and cards and sit with you to talk, but ignore the fact that your house is a mess and you wonder why they don't offer to clean it up when you are unable to.  You feel hurt when others make more work for you rather than helping reducing your workload.

Once you have figured out what the love languages of your loved ones are, it becomes fun to try and love them in their languages and watch them blossom.

When it comes to children, it can be harder to figure out what their love languages are.  Gary Chapman says the best thing to do is to love them in all five languages and you'll be bound to hit on the right one.  (Of course, I know all you parents already do Acts of Service for your children.)  Also, by watching the ways your children give and ask for love, you also may be able to figure it out.

 So?  What do you think your primary love language is? (Hint:  You can go here to take a quiz to find out.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Eyes

(ICLWers:  You can read my ICLW post here.)

The other evening during church, I was reading my Bible and absentmindedly rubbed my left eye as I continued to follow along.  I was astounded to discover that, with only my right eye, the words were completely blurry!

I have always known that my right eye was worse than my left.  I wear glasses, and have since I was about 15 (yikes, that's half my life!), for my astigmatism.  But somewhere along the line, my right eye must have been getting progressively worse while my left eye stayed the same!  I don't know how I only noticed now! 

In the last couple days I've been regularly covering one eye and than the other and reading things and various distances (always with my glasses on).  I am shocked at how bad my right eye is.  I am near-sighted, and the fact that even things close up (like my Bible) are blurry with only my right eye (wearing glasses) is maybe what surprises me the most.  I am used to being able to read close-up very, very well.

Well, it has been four years since I've had my eyes checked and gotten new glasses.  So I will be doing that again soon.  Hubby says I can go for an appointment and get new glasses as soon as the money from selling our land comes in, which should hopefully be in October.

Which brings me to, do I want to get new frames or stick with the frames I have?  I think I want new ones, because a) I like change and b) it's been four years since I got these!  I honestly have no idea what's in style anymore for glasses frames.  Do any of you?  I mean, I've seen the teenagers wearing glasses that look like they're from the 80's/90's (you know, the ones that cover half your face) but I'm 30.  What frames are in style for a 30-year-old female, who usually dresses casual but occasionally likes to dress up?  I never wear contacts or go without glasses so they have to be something that go with anything.

Ah well, I will have to look around the stores when I go get my eyes checked.  Most important is probably finding something that will work with the shape of my face, and of course price will come into play.

I am really looking forward to getting new glasses (sight-wise) and we're hoping this will eases some of the muscle tension pain I have in my shoulders and neck!  And maybe I'll get less headaches, too, if those muscle problems ease up!

Friday, September 21, 2012

September ICLW

Hi, and welcome to my blog, newcomers and regular readers both :)

This is only my second time doing ICLW.  My first time was in July, and I really liked it.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here.

So this is the spot where I give a synopsis of our journey.  But I don't know what to write.  Because I still haven't decided what I do and do not feel comfortable sharing.  (I should clarify:  I am, for the most part, comfortable sharing my complete story with those I don't personally know, but a lot more uncomfortable sharing with those I could easily run into the next time I'm in the grocery store or at a family gathering!)

I will say this:  There are a number of significant reasons that have come together concluding in the result of us ADOPTING!

We are not approved yet and are still in the stage of getting paperwork ready and finding money.

Feel free to click around and read more.  Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anne

Went to a funeral by myself today.  It was for my best friend's sister (I think I mentioned her in this post). 

I have so many emotions going through me right now. 

The last time I had been to a funeral at that specific church was for my childhood best friend's sister's funeral, who also died of cancer...the last time I had been to any funeral was my grandpa's, 10 years ago...the last time I had stepped into any church building for any reason has been a number of years, too...although I still meet with other Believers.

Anne was a pilot.  My hubby is a pilot, too.  For some reason any of the aviation-related stuff (pictures, stories, etc) really got to me.  And guess who forgot to bring Kleenex!  During PMS yet, too!

When we were out in the church graveyard after the service, I heard a plane coming.  I looked up and they had 2 planes come over, circle once, then come over again and do the missing man formation, where one plane splits off.  I hadn't cried much before, but that one got me.  That formation always gets me whenever I see it.

Gave my friend a few big hugs.  She's so special.  Her and her siblings were so brave to go up front during the service and share their memories of Anne.

I ended up not staying for the reception.  Ended up talking to a few pilots outside and then headed home. 

Here is a poem that means a lot to aviators.  You can read the history of it here.

"High Flight"

 Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air....

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
 
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Subdivision Approved!

Finally!  Our subdivision was approved today!  Hubby & I are ecstatic and hugely relieved.

We have 5 acres and have been working on subdividing it into two 2.5 acre lots (one with the house on it and one without).

We first looked into subdividing about 4 years ago.  A LOT of various things went wrong.  We kept pursuing.  More things went wrong.  It has now been about 1 1/2 years since our most recent attempt.

People have wondered why we didn't just quit trying and just sell the whole lot as one.  There's a lot I don't understand, but I do know this - we will get a lot more for 2 lots and we need the money to pay down debt and to ADOPT!!!

Along the way I often felt like shaking all these government people who stood in our way and saying "don't you realize you're keeping us from our baby??"  But God's timing is best, even if I can't always see that from my spot on planet earth.

The lot without the house has already sold (subject to subdivision) a while ago (in fact, it sold only 4 days after we put it up for sale) so that is excellent.  We just have to wait about a month for more mumbo-jumbo I don't understand and then is possession date.  It will be interesting seeing a house go up next to us, if we are here that long.

Our house will be going up for sale very soon!  Aaaah!  We've never done anything like this before.  We have been working like INSANITY for the last number of weeks getting our house ready and it still feels like there is so much to do.  Our porch is just about finished out and it looks fantastic.  My mom and brother came over yesterday to help with odd jobs around the yard (because my husband works long days and has so much to do) which was wonderful of them.

So happy today :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Real Mom

So I had the following conversation with my 8-year-old niece C the other day.  She sprung it on me out of the blue, as kids seem to do.  It was at the supper table with other family members listening.

Niece:  Do you think your kids will know that you're not their real mom?

Me (I said everything gently):  But I will be their real mom.

Niece:  No, like their real mom.

Me (extending my arm to her):  Pinch me.  I am real.  I will be their real mom.

Niece (brief pause while she thinks hard):  No, will they know you're not the one who gave birth to them!

Me:  Yes, they will know.  I'll be their real mom, and they will know that they have a birth mom, and hopefully they will even know her.

So?  How do you think I handled it?  I'd especially like the opinions of other people in the adoptive world.  This is not the first time she's sprung a conversation like this on me, and somehow I don't think it'll be the last.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Smacky

Our cat, Smacky, is going to a new home tonight.

It doesn't feel overly real yet, although it is sinking in today.  As I cleaned the cat carrier this afternoon, my heart felt heavy.

Once it was clean & dry I put it in the house with it's door open, so he could get used to it.  He sniffed it thoroughly, then tentatively went inside, and then lay down and promptly fell asleep.  It showed me that, yes, he will get used to a new home, despite all my misgivings if we are making the right decision.

Why are we giving him away?  The reason is twofold.  1)  We are moving soon, hopefully this Fall but at least this Winter.  I want a fresh start in a new house, without the smell, fur, and messes that come with a cat.  2)  As you know, we're adopting.  Don't know when, but eventually we'll have a baby.  And although lots of other people have babies & pets together, I simply don't like the idea of Baby lying on the floor putting handfuls of fur into their mouth.  (Oh, and I'm also allergic to cats - the allergy doctor recommended I "get rid" of my cat a long time ago, but I haven't listened.  This is not a deciding factor in Smacky moving, but I am hoping it helps clear up some of my allergies.)

So he's going.  And despite it being our decision, we're still really torn and sad.

I asked Hubby yesterday when we went to bed if he was wondering when the tears were going to start.  He said he had been wondering.  I assured him "tomorrow night - when he's in his new home and we're back here without him and I'm wondering if he's okay".  Yup.  Almost guaranteed.  At least I'm not in PMS, lol.  That should make things easier!

Silly thing is, I know he'll be okay.  He's going to my brother & sis-in-law's, so we'll get to see him whenever we want.  And really...he's just an animal...AGH, I have to tell myself that all the time, so I stop putting human emotions on him!!  But, man, it's hard not to!!

Sometimes I list the things I won't miss about him, to help make myself more okay with our decision.  For example:
-fur EVERYWHERE (he's long-haired)
-smelly basement
-biting me
-hairballs
-vomit
-stray turds
-loud meowing (he's VERY vocal)
-crumbs of litter that stick to your feet and somehow make it onto the clean sheets
-people sitting gingerly on the edges of our couches so they don't get furry/people complaining about getting furry
-cost of litter and food (mild, I know, compared to a baby's needs)
-not having to watch the door so that he doesn't escape

Of course, though, I also will really miss:
-his cuddling (he is a very affectionate cat - not one of those aloof ones)
-pure entertainment (read:  midnight crazies)
-how well I know him (what every different meow means, for example)
-the comfort of knowing what that "bump in the night" is (whether it really is him or not is moot point)
-our routine (his reaching up to be picked up every morning)
-conversing (like I said, he's talkative)
-hugs (yes, he does)
-being greeted when we get home
-his adorableness, especially when he's sleeping
-and much more!

We've had him for about 7 years (he's about 7 1/2 years old) and I've amassed a LARGE collection of pictures of him.  Here are just a few for you to enjoy:

Silly kitty lost all 4 limbs and his tail again.  Ah well, he's just a furry slug now ;)

Snuggles.

Aha, fuzzy belly!!

Awww.....!  Curled up in a ball next to me on the computer.

And again - awwww!

Perched comfortably in his usual spot.

Mr. Handsome.

Our little family.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Birthday

My 30th (gulp!) birthday was a couple weeks ago, so I figure I'd tell y'all what I did to celebrate it!  (Celebrate turning 30?  I'm not sure if that's what I was doing, lol - I just like any reason to have fun!)

On Saturday the 11th, the day before my birthday, I had my family over.  My family has been going through some tough times lately, and this was one of those days.  I had been planning this party for forever, though, and decided to go ahead with it anyway.  I spent the day before and the day of making food.  There's 12 of us, so I made a lot, but there was plenty left over (lots of leftover yummies for me!)  There was:

-ham and cheddar mini quiches
-red pepper, goat cheese, and spinach mini quiches
-mushroom tostadas with garlic mayo
-tomato avocado goat cheese crostini
-tortilla chips & salsa
-salt & vinegar potato chips
-strawberry marshmallow salad
-veggies & dip

I think that's everything!  It was a LOT of work but everything turned out yummy and all-in-all I enjoyed all the cooking :)  You can follow the links above to some of the recipes but keep in mind that I do tend to tweak everything!

I left my hubby in charge of dessert and he came through with chocolates as well as a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard cake! 

Here's some pics:

My 13-year-old niece gave me a paper crown she'd made that I put on and then completely forgot I was wearing it as I rushed to finish up the food!

I didn't have a chance to put on something nice before it was time to eat.

I bought some flowers and decorations from the dollar store including those nice white platters.

My cake!

My previously-mentioned niece stayed for the night and then the next day, my actual birthday, we brought her back to my moms. On our way to the city my hubby gave me some small gifts (a set of 3 glass cutting boards and an iTunes giftcard) and 2 great cards.  Hubby and I did some shopping - his present to me was new shoes, which I desperately needed.  Thankfully there was a big shoe sale on that day and I found 1 pair in my size of exactly the kind of shoes I was looking for, for 40% off!  We did some more window shopping, we ate supper at Boston Pizza, and we went to see the movie Step Up Revolution.  It was a good time.  

Chicken Salsa Wraps

This recipe comes from a Jean Pare Company's Coming cookbook.  I've tweaked it a touch, so if you want the original it is in the Year-Round Grilling book, pg. 31.  Here's my way:

Make the marinade the evening before:
1/4 cup salsa
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine in a big Ziploc freezer bag; add 1 frozen chicken breast.  Seal and place in the fridge overnight.

The next day, combine the following in a tin pan:
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
half a red pepper, julienned
8 mushrooms, sliced

Preheat your gas BBQ to medium.  Grill chicken for 5-10 minutes per side.  (Discard marinade.)  At the same time, grill the veggies in the tin pan on the BBQ for about 10-12 minutes, turning or mixing occasionally, until pepper is tender-crisp and mushrooms are browned.

Combine 3 Tbsp. sour cream and 2 Tbsp. salsa in a small bowl.  Divide and spread over 2 10" tortillas.  Sprinkle about a quarter cup of shredded cheese on each tortilla (optional).  Slice up half an avocado and divide over each tortilla.  Cut the chicken into slices and divide over each tortilla.  Divide up the veggies and split between the tortillas.

Roll up the tortillas as best as you can and secure with toothpicks.  Melt a little butter (1/2 - 1 Tbsp) and brush over the wraps.  Grill wraps on BBQ for about 2 minutes, turning once, until crisp and grill marks appear.

Serves 2.  Very yummy!


Happy Things

Lately life hasn't been ideal, but I don't feel comfortable writing about those things here, since this blog is really public and everyone I know knows I have it (something I occasionally regret doing because it would be nice to write more freely at times). 

So a couple days ago I decided to write down 10 things that make me happy, to remind myself that life isn't all bad :)  Here they are:

  1. How much work my husband has gotten done on finishing our porch.
  2. Finally getting a couple items ordered that I need.
  3. All of our reference papers sent to our referees.  Feeling like we're closer to getting paperwork done.
  4. My sister E giving me baby clothes she bought second-hand for me (a pink sleeper and a blue outfit).
  5. Re-hearing the gospel explained so clearly and simply.
  6. The little sunflowers in my flower bed that bloomed after I let them grow there from fallen bird seeds.
  7. My 7-year-old niece complaining about a sore throat: "I can't swallow my illness." (???)
  8. Sleeping in with my hubby 2 mornings in a row.
  9. Eggs fried over-easy.
  10. And I saved the best for last:  My 8-year-old niece, spontaneously: "Auntie Rhonda, you're gonna be a good mommy!"  (Which was rewarded with a highly-deserved, gigantic, scoop-off-the-floor hug from me.)  (Oh, her reason for the statement?  "Because you laugh with me, and you'll laugh with your kids.")

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Stuff

I enjoyed doing ICLW!  July was my first month ever doing it.  I was very happy with the number of comments I got (I think 9 total, which for me is a lot) and I found some new blogs as well.  I must admit I didn't do nearly as many comments as I should have (I think 11 total) but I mostly blame slow dial-up Internet on that one!  If you don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about, click on the link.


On Sunday Hubby and I were driving down the highway (not a busy highway - more in the country) when ahead of us we saw a small black bear run across the road!  We pulled over to look at it, and it ran through the ditch on my side and squeezed under a fence.  It then cut a corner and squeezed under another fence.  However, this pasture had cows in it.  It took a few moments for the bear and cows to notice each other.  The cows seemed curious and some took a couple steps closer.  The bear (probably only a 2 year old) hurried around the herd.  Then, we couldn't believe this, it was so hilarious.  The whole herd of cows and calves started CHASING the bear!  The bear took off as fast as he could across the pasture, with all the cows & calves chasing him in one group!  I laughed so hard!  Wished I could've taped it.  That bear was still running for all he was worth when he was out of that pasture.


It's my birthday on August 12th! (*cough*LFCA*cough*)  I know I am no longer 5, but I still love birthdays, parties, presents, and everything else that goes along with growing older...except, well, growing older.  This is the conversation I had with my hairdresser yesterday when I told her my birthday was coming up:  Stylist:  "Oh, so how old are you turning - 24? 25?"  Me:  "Umm, yes...yes...."  Stylist:  "So, which one...?"  Me, sheepishly:  "It's my 30th..."  Stylist, shocked:  "You have to throw a big party!!!"  She also told me that she did not enjoy turning 30 because she was so down about never being in her twenties again, but she is now enjoying her thirties so much.  Once upon a time, I had planned to be done having all my children by age 30!  Lol!  So much for "plans"!

Today my sister FINISHED CHEMO!!!!  I got to be there with her while she had her last treatment, and then she had her picc line removed.  The picc line has been one of the things that she had the hardest time with, so she was really looking forward to getting it out.  It was kinda crazy seeing them pull that long string out of her.  I am so glad for her that she is done.  Of course, she still has to go through the side effects of this last treatment, but then she gets August off before she has to start radiation in September.  Yay yay yay, she may not be jumping up and down for joy, but I can do enough for the two of us!

So those are my random bits of news lately.  Nothing new on the adoption front.  Right now working on subdividing and getting our house ready to sell is taking up most of our time, money, energy, and thoughts.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Future Thinking


This is something that is on my mind a lot.  Or I should say, I’ve become aware of how much Hubby & I do this.  I often hear Hubby saying “When we have a different house, when our finances are under control, when this or that.”  I myself am often thinking “When we have a baby, When we live in town, When this or that”.  I’ve realized that this way of living in the future doesn’t allow one to live in the present very much.   For those of us who have tried for children for years, or still are, or who are waiting, waiting, waiting for an adoption, I think it is important to remember there are a lot of good things right here in the present that we don’t want to miss out on or take for granted. 

I don’t try and think pessimistically and say, “Oh, such-and-such future event might never happen”, because that is a pretty discouraging way of living.  I am still trying to keep my hopes up (rest assured, that doesn’t always work) and I still dream about and plan for the future, but I am trying not to live in the future.

“Set your way of life without money-loving,
BEING SATISFIED WITH PRESENT THINGS;
for He [God] has said,
“Not I will leave you, not ever!
Nor I will not forsake you, not ever!”
Hebrews 13:5

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
but remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cancer

Cancer is not a pretty word.  I never really thought cancer would play a part in my life.  Now, before I scare you all, I don't have cancer and neither does Hubby!  But lately it seems like cancer is all around me.

My first experience with cancer, that I can remember, is when I was around 12; my best friend's younger sister had leukemia, I believe.  She passed away at, I think, age 10.  Among other things, I remember going to the funeral and I remember my friend crying at school.  Since then, until recently, I don't think I've really known anyone with cancer.  Actually, my cousin had lymphoma, I believe, but I can't remember when.  As far as I know he is fine now.

Last summer, my sis-in-law R's dad got skin cancer on his neck.  He had to have surgery, and is now fine, as far as I know.  It was a very stressful time for my sis-in-law.  Also last year, my close friend's sister was diagnosed with cancer.  My understanding is that the chemo quit helping her, and my heart breaks for my friend and her family.   I think they are trying radiation again now.

Then on February 8th of this year, my sister E found out that the lump in her breast was for sure cancer.  It was all very scary for our very close knit family who really had never had to deal with cancer before.  She had surgery on March 12th to remove the lump and to check if the lymph nodes around it were clear.  They were clear, but she still decided to have chemo as a guarantee.  Her first treatment was on May 28th, the second one on June 18th, the third one on July 9th, and THE LAST ONE WILL BE ON JULY 30TH!!!  Yes, we are all counting down the days, lol!  After that may or may not be radiation, I don't know.  I got to spend time with my sister during her second treatment.  The nurses treated her really well.  I also got to visit with a gentleman from the church I used to attend; he was there being treated for his lymphoma.

Hubby & I used to get together with 3 couples with young children from our old church every other Saturday, for years.  After Hubby's and my spiritual beliefs changed, we decided it would be best to leave the group, and sadly, I don't feel it went very well.  However, I think about these old friends a lot, and very recently found out one of their sons, only 7, has leukemia.  My heart is so sad for them and what they are going through.        

Life is not fair.  Simple and plain as that.  It makes me angry that my sister's life circumstances leave her without a husband to support her during this time.  It makes me angry that people would pressure her to make harmful choices she doesn't want to, and then make her feel bad when she finds the courage to say no.  Yet at the same time I am so extremely grateful to Christ that He would work things in such a way that she will most likely soon come out fine at the end of this, because she has two precious daughters who need their mommy so much.  But at the same time I feel bad, because why should MY sister be okay, when so many others have not been, and won't be?

Chemo is not pretty.  Well, personally, I think my sister is cute with her bald head, but seriously.  She is not doing good now.  Once upon a time I used to think chemo was only about losing your hair and being nauseous!  Ha!  I do feel pretty helpless, but I can encourage her, and I can give hugs.  And I can love on those two little girls like nobody's business.  Okay, they're 13 and 8 already, but they'll always be little in my opinion!   

I don't know if I have a conclusion here; I just needed to write about how I was feeling about all the cancer I feel is around me.  I suppose I haven't been completely open in sharing how I truly feel, because I don't know who all reads this blog from my family, and I don't want them to feel like they need to support me.  I have gone through a lot of tough, ugly things in my life when they have been there for me.  Right now, I need to be the one to support them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chicken Spinach Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles
1-300g pkg frozen chopped spinach
1 big or 2 small frozen chicken breasts
1-200g pkg goat mozza, shredded
1-500g container ricotta cheese

1.  Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain.

2.  Cook spinach according to microwave directions; drain.

3.  Put frozen chicken breast(s) in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until 160F.  Remove from water, cut into small cubes when cool enough to handle.

Sauce:
1/4 cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Pour 1/4 cup water into a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and garlic powder; boil until the water has almost evaporated.  Stir in cream, parsley and pepper.  Mix cornstarch into 1/4 cup water; stir into sauce.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Makes 2 cups.

4.  Combine cubed chicken and 1 cup of sauce.

5.  Combine ricotta and spinach.

6.  In a 9x13 glass cakepan, layer the following:

-3 noodles, edges overlapping
-chicken & sauce mixture
-half of the shredded mozza
-3 noodles
-ricotta & spinach mixture
-remaining 1 cup sauce
-3 noodles
-remaining half of mozza

7.  Bake at 350F (preheated) for about 50 minutes until top is browned & bubbly.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's Next?


Next steps for us include filling out each of our Prospective Adoptive Parent Questionnaires (mine's almost done; Hubby's working on his), getting our marriage certificate (form is mailed off), choosing our references and asking them to write letters (2 down; 2 to go), filling out our Application II (the difficult one - not started yet), selecting pictures (slowly working on it), and writing our Dear Birthmother/father letter (haven't started it yet).  Only once we have more money (after our property is subdivided - almost done - and sold) and know when we're moving (after we sell our house & buy) will we do our criminal record checks and medical reports (because those expire after 3 months and need to be current when we start our homestudy).  Only after all of the above do we start our homestudy (during which there are 4 meetings (I think), with one of them being done in our home).