Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taken way too soon....


Ben.... July 17, 2005 - December 30, 2008

I don't have the words at the moment.... I am so sad. I know I'm stuck in a state of denial and haven't processed it thoroughly yet. I am not ignorant to the injustices that some people have to endure -- I see it every day at work. But, I am still left reeling trying to understand the why's sometimes. Despite the barriers I try to establish to protect my heart, there are some kids and families that break through and take a hold, and there is nothing to be done about it. This little guy and his family managed just that. Ben could not have been more loved by his amazing parents, brother, and family. His mom has written an amazing account of this horrendous journey they have lived over the last year and a half... you can read it here. It is written with heart, humor, and frank honesty.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas from Phoenix...










Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing day from Phoenix!!
Well, I made it despite the tenuous weather conditions Seattle experienced the week and hours up until take-off. And, thank you Melanie for collecting me off the hill and dropping me at the airport on Christmas Eve.
Santa managed to find us here in AZ no problem and was generous as always. I haven't spent Christmas with my Grandparents since I was a little kid, and I don't think that I've ever had it with my Aunt Bernie, Uncle Reg, or Uncle Robbie... so, it has been great to finally break that history. I am the sole grandkid here this year so I was able to present our Grandparents with their Christmas gift from all of us this year -- a new computer! Their current computer is a bit of a lemon and is always in the shop -- so we thought we would help remedy that situation. Thank you Jenni for organizing all of us...
I find myself sleeping way late in the morning and still find myself wanting to take naps in the afternoon. I am definitely embracing the R & R part of the holiday. I am being spoiled and doted on for sure and I haven't eaten so much since, well, I can't remember when.... thankfully I have found some time to run a little bit and hopefully I am successfully managing a counter attack of sorts.
The sun is out today... its not particularly warm, but I have enjoyed soaking up some rays outside nevertheless. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thankful....


I am thankful for those people who truly know how to give of themselves. I have the great fortune of seeing this in action on a daily basis at where I work, but I am still blown away by those people who are overachievers in the art of giving. On Thursday we had the opportunity to mix it up at the hospital and throw a lil' winter holiday party. Gingerbread houses were the main theme and I love how everyone got into it -- not just the kids and families, but RN's, PA's, MD's and even our Attending participated fully. Competition was fierce. Side by Side has embraced our unit fully and we are a better floor for it. Generosity was abounding as we were also able to mount the new flat screen TV that 5 - 5th graders fundraised by running lemonade stands throughout the summer so that our kids and families could enjoy this new toy. Today my patient and I were able to play Santa and give fantastic high-end gifts (ie iPods, Nintendo DS's, or personal DVD players... among other things) to all the patients. It was so fun to witness how this thrilled all the kids and their families. This extremely generous donation was provided by Go for the Goal, (pictures of us unloading the goods and bringing them in by family of the founders) -- and they couldn't be more excited to make the kids' day. It is refreshing to be surrounded by such great people and organizations. It is inspiring for sure. It definitely helped elevate the holiday cheer of the kids and their families that are stuck at the hospital. (Can't show any pics of the kids... but you get the idea)

On another note, last night the girls and I decided we needed an excuse to get dressed up, have a good time, and laugh. So, that is what we did.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cold....

I am cold and I cannot warm up despite what I do. I made the mistake of complaining to my brother about how cold I am. I received no sympathy... no courtesy pity even. I don't understand why?


This is the weather he is getting. I think I am supposed to note that with the wind chill it is minus 43 celsius.

I'm still cold though.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Procrastination wins...

Why do I make things harder on myself? Despite the previous post, Seattle did, in fact, receive a decent amount of snow overnight to wreak havoc on the roads here -- especially when you live on top of a big hill. I quite enjoy the snow. And I generally do like to drive in snow. Stuart Sven, or Stu, as my car is named, has a good record of getting practically anywhere when the studded snow tires are on (except for that time that I high-centered him on a well-intentioned snow-shoeing trip... but we won't talk about that). So... did I pay any attention to the snow warnings we repeatedly received this week? Not really... I mean, I sat on my couch and thought that it may be time to dig out the tires and put them on. And, I was off of work for almost a week and had nothing but time to accomplish this task. But my lazy gene won out and I continued to sit on my couch, stare out the window, and contemplate life instead. So, I strategically managed to get home from work and found myself putting on my snow tires tonight, after the fact, and after working all day. Procrastination can be central in my life -- and apparent tonight. Oh well. Now I'm enjoying a glass of wine for my efforts.

I did find out that Stu is somewhat like Mary Poppin's purse however... I am the person to be with in case of an emergency perhaps. As I was digging out my jack, I discovered all sorts of things in the hatch that I didn't realize were hiding out -- for starters, I could've walked home from work, if I wanted, with my snowshoes, and then I came across my ski boots, ski helmet, lantern, hiking poles, inflatable pool mattress, thermarest, aerobed, blanket, yoga mat, first aid kit, emergency kit, 2 camping chairs, a book, and a box of thai food from Trader Joes. My condo is nice and clean and organized because I am selling it -- my car has taken a hit as a result.

Winter Storm Alert...



Seattle's snow day yesterday. Good thing the kids weren't in school as the weather was so severe......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phew...

The itinery has been found. I really was beginning to wonder if I had made up my holiday plans in my head and never followed-through with a booking. Thanks to all you compassionate people who invited me over for the holidays.... No coal for you in your stockings.

Ummm....

Is it wrong that I can't seem to find my reservation for my flight out on Christmas Eve anywhere in my email files? I'm pretty sure I made a reservation.... but I don't remember what airline, what time, what website... don't tell my Mom. So, if this turns out poorly, does anyone want to invite an orphan over to their Christmas celebrations? Crap. I better keep searching.

Monday, December 15, 2008

T'is the Season...

Despite the fact that Christmas is staring me in the face, I have yet to embrace the holiday spirit fully. I really don't think that I'm a scrooge about it... I just can't simply get there this year. I don't know if its because of the economic hardship of so many this year, or because of friends that are going through really difficult times, or if it just snuck up on me... But, I go through the motions and attend the functions and make the goodies... there is hope, maybe! I am an absolute disaster in the kitchen. Its not for a lack of trying... but come on. I decided to make cookies and Nanaimo bars the other day (I'm pretty sure everyone should befriend a diabetic during the Christmas season because I'm quite certain the pancreas is not up for the challenge)... For one, I cannot organize at all in the kitchen and it looks like a bomb went off... It doesn't help when I attempted to rest the beaters on the side of the bowl and I accidentally hit the "on" button and batter spewed everywhere. That was fun. And then, apparently, I'm not very good at math, because after carefully following all the instructions to make the Nanaimo bars, I ruined them by quadrupling the butter instead of doubling (those butter sticks are difficult... I should never assume how much a stick equals).
Anyway. Whatever. I may have just saved someone early onset heart issues.

Chelsea, my running event buddy, and I participated in the Jingle Bell Run this year. It was perfect because we had received snow the night before... so I gingerly walked/slid downtown to the start of the run and then we jingled our way through the city. It was a gorgeous day... blue skies and the sun shone through. It is cold though... I spent a couple of hours wrapped in my puffy jacket and blanket willing my fire to be hotter.

Last night Leann held her 5th Annual Christmas Party. She always has a theme and this year was '80's style Christmas. There were some sweet outfits -- and unfortunately I didn't capture all of them. It was scary to recognize so many familiar looking outfits from my past.... what a decade.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Road Trip...

So, in the interest of finally getting my Homestudy completed, I headed south to Vancouver to meet with my Social Worker yesterday. Once again, I placed my coffee cup into the cup holders, added a diet coke for extra insurance, and made my great escape amongst many many other Seattlite drivers. I know I've said this before, but I really love to drive.... this time I wasn't feeling the music and drove down in silence -- I find it very therapeutic to just think without distraction sometimes. And I am quite certain I solved all the worlds' problems during the three hour drive. Its like I needed some alone time, which is funny, because I live alone.... I am in for a rude awakening in about a year's time when I have a baby and actually will never get it!

The meeting with my Social Worker, Barb, went really well. I essentially just had to explain what my life had been growing up, who my dysfunctional family members are (ha ha... kidding right?!), how I plan to raise my daughter -- ie., values, goals, discipline etc... Its very thought provoking and a good process for probably anyone to go through that is having a child. I know why we, as adoptive parents, go through this... but it also feels funny to have to explain exactly how you plan on raising your child and have it written up in a report. It is what it is though... and like I said, it is good to think these things through anyway.

After I was done in Vancouver I scooted south to Portland to hang out with my old roommate, Finny. Unfortunately I was done earlier than expected and had to kill almost 4 hours... so, where do you go? I should have found my way to the coast and taken that in for awhile, but instead I found myself at a main shopping center and essentially "people watched" the whole time. (I am in denial that Christmas is only a couple of weeks away and have yet to purchase one gift... and I still couldn't make myself do it yesterday despite the fact there were stores all around me.) But, people watching is one of my favorite activities... don't judge me -- I find it fascinating. I did find out that leg warmers are, in fact, a current and acceptable fashion statement, that it is okay to to wear ALL your Christmas accessories and clothing items at the same time, teenagers are ridiculous and funny to watch, and don't mess with lil' old ladies who are on a mission. Finn and I finally met up and managed great conversation before I had to venture north again... All in all. A successful trip down and back... and I even managed to avoid a second speeding ticket through Tacoma. Bonus.

And oh yeah.... Crystal Mountain has opened. Yay!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Black Kids in White Houses"

Posting from The Stranger this week. Something to think about....

Rollercoaster...


Resilience.... Will.... Determination.... and Honesty.... Kids teach us so much and they have no idea. There is so much I can never understand. But, I love this lil' guy. Thank goodness for the good days..... there are not nearly enough of them for you and your family, Ben.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sunny Days....






I love where I live and the beauty that is surrounding me. I had a couple of days off and managed to get out and enjoy local hikes/walks with friends, and even managed a run today, which seems to be a feat as of late. Amber, precious Avery, Melanie, Leann and I attempted a mini hike yesterday that was rerouted to lunch out and a walk around the lake due to Leann's navigational ineptness (note how sad Avery and Amber are about not getting to go on our adventure....ha ha)... but fortunately, the hike that we attempted yesterday I was able to do with Kathleen and sweet Elizabeth today instead!

The sunset is absolutely gorgeous tonight... so, I'm sitting here listening to music, fire on, book in hand... and watching the colors take shape against the Olympics. I am also vigilantly watching for some sign of snowfall so that I can dust off my skis and hit the mountains in the near future... although, I am enjoying the blues skies if I'm honest.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving....

Geez... It feels like a lot of time has passed since the last post. I love American Thanksgiving. It is a great bonus holiday that I get to participate with friends and witness other people's family drama! There was none to be had this year, but I'm always eagerly awaiting for "Home for the Holiday's" in real life -- how awesome would that be?! Thank you Sue and Timothy for taking pity on me and inviting me over... it was awesome. I plan to look pathetic without a home to go to every year so that I keep getting invites. The more pumpkin pie the better.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for me to take stock of my life and realize all the good and areas that I want to tweak. There really is an amazing amount of good in my life... I am surrounded by the most amazing of friends, family, and community. I feel so lucky to have people love me for who I am and have such giving spirits. There is a certain amount of control I have over my life and the direction it takes, but there is equally a lack of it that I must surrender and just be okay with... I guess. I will continue to strive and live the best that I can and make the most of the opportunities I have been given.... and let those in my life know how much I care about them -- I need to do better at that.

On Friday I was able to go and celebrate Ryan's first birthday -- a very special little boy. Ryan, I love your family so dearly and I'm so glad that you are here to give your parents a reason to smile each day. And I'm so glad that your brother was able to pick out your first birthday cake, one that he thought you'd love -- and you did. Thank you Ryan for just being your sweet lil' self.

I made another trek up to Vancouver over the weekend to catch up with the "high school girls". We try and get together once a year to catch up on each others lives... I hadn't been able to make the last dinner, so it was so great to see everyone.

As far as where I'm at with the adoption -- on Saturday morning my social worker came up to my place to scope it out and start working on the Homestudy report. I will have to drive down and meet up with her for several hours in the near future to so that she can ask me any and all questions relating to my upbringing and how I plan on raising my daughter. She didn't think this would all get completed until after Christmas, but at least we're moving forward.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Homestudy Finally...

Yay! Canada pulled through and provided my background clearance check. Phew... I was concerned that my unruly years would be represented on that little piece of paper! ha ha.. Anyway, what this means is that I can finally move forward onto the Homestudy. Unfortunately, because we're heading into the holiday season, my social worker didn't think that all parts could be completed until after Christmas... but at least some parts are getting done. I will have my home inspection meeting this Saturday morning -- so that's a start.

Other news regarding single mother adoption -- it looks at this point, unless things change in the Ethiopian regulations, that I will be permitted to adopt from Ethiopia. The government is going to allow ten single mother adoptions per agency per year.... and I will be one of those ten. Thank goodness.

No other exciting news or pictures to post as I've mostly been working this last week... but Happy Thanksgiving to everyone tomorrow!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Changes??

Well, there are rumors and speculation swirling around the adoption world that Ethiopia is, or may be, changing their laws regarding single mother adoptions. Meaning -- they may be restricting or banning future adoptions. I spoke with my case manager yesterday who informed me of this potential change... but she felt hopeful that I may not be affected. Apparently there is a possibility that Ethiopia may allow up to ten single mother adoptions a year per agency... and someone, somewhere in Ethiopia asked my agency for the names of single women currently in the process... therefore, there is a potential light at the end of the tunnel for me. I am choosing not to fret or worry -- there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. If for some reason it is not meant to be... I will cross that bridge when it comes. So... I will remain hopeful, but sad for what this may mean for orphaned Ethiopian children who are missing out on some amazing mom's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pineapple Classic...


The Annual Pineapple Classic took place this past Sunday, which proved to be as hilarious as it was last year. The premise... create a team of two or four, run 5k as a team, conquer a variety of obstacles along the way (ie. climbing walls, tires, shimming through tubes etc...), all the while carrying a pineapple, and then enjoy the luau at the end of the race. Pretty fun deal. It is an annual fundraising event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our team, Malibu Run, finished it... that was our goal!

Following that fun, I decided to venture north for a few nights in Vancouver to catch up with friends and enjoy the city. I love going home... and I was lucky with fantastic sunny weather so that I could enjoy some walks and bike rides. Here are my friends Ann and Mike and their kids, Kaya and Zane... they are so fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Emmie!!


My niece, Emma, is 9 today!! Wow... its crazy how time flies and how quickly the kids are growing up. Emma is probably the sweetest, most unselfish person I have ever met in my life. I have no idea how she is capable of so much unconditional love... I really look to her when I try and adjust my life to be more selfless. Happy Birthday sweet thing.... I miss you so much.



On another note... I received this letter in the mail from her last week. I guess I shouldn't be calling upon her for my reference letters... All you need to know is that my sweet, precious niece has been badly corrupted by her Father -- my brother-in-law! It is a horrible thing to take advantage of children and warp them at an early age!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tagged...

Well... I was tagged by Erin and I'm supposed to find the fourth photo in the fourth file of my computer and explain. So... the winner is a picture of my sassy niece Kate.

I adore all my nieces and my nephew for their distinct personalities and humor, but Kate is probably the one that can make me laugh the most. She is exuberant beyond words. Whatever she has to say, she says it passionately -- and often very loudly. She also loves being the center of attention and can crack a joke without even thinking about it. She has an addiction to books... she and her sister, Taryn, can sit literally for hours and just read. I love that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Major Buzz Kill

Ahhh... the morning was turning out so perfectly... I got up early despite the fact I really like to sleep in... but i really like avoiding rush hour traffic more. I treated myself to a triple shot grande latte from Starbucks... and I hit the road. I made great time and pulled into Olympia earlier than expected (note the foreshadowing here). I had a very nice lady help me get my document state certified and I headed back to Seattle singing my little heart out.

This is where things took a turn.

I was driving through Tacoma listening to one of my favorite U2 songs -- Bad. Just as the song was gaining momentum I noticed the police officer on the side of the road. I even noticed him get excited and start jumping on his motorcycle. I was thinking... too bad for the poor person that's about to get pulled over. La ti da... I'm still singing. But because someone's about to get pulled over, I still pay attention so I can watch it go down. I better even get over to the middle lane so that he can whiz by me and get the offender. Wait... Why is he coming up behind me? Why is he motioning for me to pull over?? Its Me?!?

So, I pull over and start pulling out my registration and license... trying to look like an agreeable person who doesn't deserve a speeding ticket. The officer was all business. He showed me his radar gun indicating that I was going 72 MPH in a 60 MPH zone. Well, everyone knows that you are allowed to go at least 70 in a 60... what's another 2 really?! And, I was going with the flow of traffic... there were plenty of drivers going much faster than me. But I was too proud to tell this officer all my explainable thoughts. As he left to go write up my ticket, I slyly moved my Hospital badge onto the passenger seat.... just in case. Nope. Didn't work. I officially don't like Tacoma... no wonder it won some sort of 'least desirable city to live in' ranking a few years ago.

So, the document that I chose to drive down to get certified so that I could have a happy drive cost me $144, a half tank of gas, and my 'peaceful easy feeling'. I had been feeling slightly guilty about my unnecessary drive and its effect on the environment anyway. Apparently now I'm giving back.. but in the form of more money in Tacoma's pockets.

Whatever. I just pumped up the tunes again and resumed where I left off.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Road Trips....



I just love them. I don't do them often enough... but there's something about hitting the road, plugging in the tunes, and accelerating to who knows where.... I was recently perusing through old families photos and came across shots from our exploration of Europe by VW in 1979. The pictures just make me laugh. My parents were very ambitious for sure -- they took three kids aged eight, six, and four and camped their way through Europe for 2 months before we settled in Edinburgh for the year. I clearly remember that the kids rotated sleeping positions each night and the coveted spot was up front -- across bucket seats, a stick shift and all.... and my parents slept diagonally across the bed in the back. If you look closely you will notice my Dad self-medicating.

So, tomorrow I will take a mini trip down to Olympia to get my Power of Attorney needed for the adoption state certified. I could really get this process done by mail... but I wanted an excuse to hit the road with my new playlist and just drive. There will be some stellar singing I'm pretty sure. Let's hope my, not so deeply rooted, road rage doesn't make an appearance while dodging rush hour traffic! The first step is acknowledging you have a problem.

I heard back from my Social Worker today and she has finally tracked down the appropriate person to get my clearance from Canada who said it "shouldn't take very long"... but wouldn't give a specific timeframe. We'll see!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh yeah... Adoption


So, I look back and realize that, although I started this blog to update my friends and family about the adoption process, everyone has been subjected to my everyday life without any mention of adoption for a while. Well, what's going on? Not much. I officially have everything I need to proceed to the next step -- homestudy. But, we need to wait on my Canadian background check to come in. This should maybe concern me a little... not because of what they'll find (I hope! ha), but rather the time it may take! If the government works as quickly as the Canadian postal system, I may be waiting a long time! Oh well. I will not fret. There is nothing I can do... As I said to my social worker -- we may not be the fastest nation, but we're really nice! But, that is where I'm at for now.

Happy notes -- last night we were able to celebrate with my friend Jill at her "end of therapy party"!! Jill is such a rockstar.... she has completed all her rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and did it in style -- she is an inspiration. And, she is looking cuter than ever in her new sassy short hair.

Amy and I decided to take advantage of the fact it has rained something like 10 inches in the mountains this past week and slop through muddy trails in the Cascades. I love the smell of rain and the crispness of the air this time of year. And bonus... we didn't get shot at.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Choices...

To live purposefully in a world that, at times, seems out of control is what I strive for. Despite the exciting results of this weeks' election, other aspects of my life have not been so elating. My heart has been burdened this week... I love what I do for a living and I get to meet the most amazing of people. But sometimes there is no happy ending. I don't understand how and why some people have to endure so much... and my heart literally aches....

But, as I constantly analyze the why's without any really good answers, I frequently remind myself how important it is to live and choose to be happy -- it is a gift. I have so many opportunities, for which I am grateful. I have my health, fantastic family and friends, and freedom. Thank you for the wine, conversation, and laughter Amy.... you are a great friend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Days!!!

Last election I fell off my chair with the unexpected results... I was holding my breath all morning hoping and wanting to believe that the people of this country would make the right decision. While I snuggled up next to my sweet sweet buddy, Ben, I watched Obama take the stage. I am excited to be excited again. This is a huge victory for the country and the world.

Happy Election Day!!!


It better be anyway..... Go Obama Go!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Halloween Fun....




In addition to the big news of Avery's arrival, Halloween fun took place at the hospital too. With the help of a lot of volunteers we were able to pull off our second annual Halloween Carnival. We decked out all the doors with painted doors so the kids could trick-or-treat, and then we followed that up with carnival events. We sufficiently sugared up all the kids to make for a very interesting evening for the night shift!