Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Year Older :-)

Yesterday Donald took me to the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle for my birthday. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Harry Potter, and I had been looking forward to this date for a long time.

No photography was allowed inside, which was a bit of a bummer. I still managed to snap a picture of the exterior though.

I highly suggest going, but only if you're a big HP fan. Otherwise, the $26 entry fee is a pretty steep price to pay for looking at movie props (but again, worth EVERY penny if you're a fanatic).

We only spent about 20 additional minutes in the Science Center, but it was just long enough for the souvenir magnet I had bought in the Harry Potter gift shop to get *lost* (um, stolen). After forgetting I had put it down 5 minute earlier, it was gone when I went back to get it. According to Donald, that equates to me losing it. Obviously I have superior moral standards, because I'm waiting for my adorable magnet to be returned to me on judgement day. Oh well, better to be a forgetful fool than an opportunistic thief, haha!

Playing at the Science Center:

For dinner we went to the Rain Forest Cafe, which brought back good memories. I had only been once before, roughly 5 years ago, when my mom met Donald for the first time.

The night came to an awesome close when I came home to find a TRAIN around my Christmas tree!! My mom had come over that morning while I was at work and given it to Donald to install. There are definitely some upsides to having your husband on mandatory Christmas vacation while you're still working... it makes coming home SO wonderful, especially when it's your birthday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chamber of Commerce Charity Event

On Friday night Donald, along with 3 other members of his brigade, were invited act as representatives at a charity event for military children hosted by the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Of course he needed a hot date to accompany him, and I was more than willing to do so.

The food was delicious, the company was friendly, and it was wonderful seeing so many people recognized for all the hard work they had put into bettering their community. That, and they filled an entire van full of toys for needy children at Fort Lewis.

The best part though?
I got to dress up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Perfect Prints for Little Winn's Room!

Decorating Little Winn's room as proven to be one of the single most exciting things I've ever done. Holding something tangible helps me connect with him/her, and the challenge of decorating for a child of unknown gender (and age, to a degree) has been quite the enjoyable challenge!

With exception to a few flexible details (which are at the mercy of what treasures Craigslist, Goodwill, and the DI can offer me between now and this spring), the entire "nursery" has been decided upon, and is coming together nicely.

My most recent purchase sums up the general vibe of Little Winn's rockin' pad, and I couldn't be more excited to display such adorable art to celebrate their heritage.

I purchased them from Cowface, a small seller on Etsy. I'm in LOVE.

They shipped yesterday. :-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Scary Business :-(

It's 6:41am and I'm doing homework. I have been for 40 minutes.
More history homework, as usual. It's my favorite.

But... can I just vent for one tiny moment?

Having to pretend I agree with the depressingly immoral passages in my textbooks just to earn a good grade makes me wish I could be attending a private Christian university SO badly sometimes.

(on the sexual revolution in the 1920s:)
"...There was also a modest increase in premarital sexual intercourse, made possible by...(contraceptives - more text than I'm willing to type). But sexual intercourse usually took place between partners who assumed they would marry. Importantly, the marriage they looked forward to was a romantic/sexual union in which both husband and wife had equal rights to sexual satisfaction. Effective contraception transformed sex from merely "propagative act" to a "spiritual avenue of expression." In this way, the new woman of the 1920s, though freer sexually, continued to focus on romance, marriage, and family."

I'll try not to be too whiney here, and I'm not trying to suggest that this textbook is evil or overly-opinionated (thought I could make a pretty good case based on some other chapters...) but it kills me is that all of my homework is centered around the assumption that I agree with the text.

I do my job, and I give the teacher what he wants. To get the best grade, I fake it.

In the past, I've attempted to tactfully and gently add my personal opinion in... but it is both time consuming and detrimental to my grade.

Also, on a slightly related note: I leave my house for work within 2 minutes of the elementary children being picked up at their bus stop. The stop is DIRECTLY in front of my house. Nearly every morning, I overhear a variety of profanities and explicit topics being discussed. 9 year olds.
And I don't live in a rough neighborhood.

Yet another reason to consider homeschooling, I guess. :-/

Being in the world is scary business sometimes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mt. Saint Helens

Last month we went to Mt. Saint Helens with my mom. It's a trip we'd been meaning to take for a long time, and we were all looking forward to it a lot. When I was maybe 5 or 6 (early 90's), I went with my cousins, and still have very clear memories from that trip. As such, my expectations for this 2nd time around were high. The entire trip up, I raved about the ash, dirt, bare open spaces, and overall eerie feeling of the place.

Turns out a lot changes in 17 years.
There were shrubs, trees, and a whole lot of green. It's silly, I know, but I was stunned. I hadn't stopped to consider that things could change so much.

I felt like a schmuck, but quickly got over my embarrassment and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

We then took a walk around Spirit Lake. It was a short little hike, but Donald never passes up an opportunity for a good workout, so he strapped on his fully loaded pack and off we went!

We even saw some deer on the trail. If you enlarge the following picture and look smack dab in the middle of it, you can see them... kind of. If you look really closely, anyway.

This guy's a gem. I love it when he lets me take cheesy action shots.

To wrap the trip up, we stopped at a little diner for an early dinner, where I ate some of the most delicious Mountainberry Cobbler EVER (sadly, not pictured).

By this point, Donald had already posed for a few pictures during the hike. He had officially met his daily quota, and stopped cooperating.

He wouldn't be my husband if he enjoyed having his picture taken.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Northwest Trek Run Wild 5k

I ran my first 5k today, at Northwest Trek's annual Run Wild.

Nothing remarkable by most standards, but it was a HUGE accomplishment for me. This girl is NOT a runner. No sir, no way. Not me.

But today I was.

I went slow, but I went steady.

(Sorry they're so blurry. Donald was running with me, and it was too rainy to bring a nice camera.)

(a few minutes after crossing the finish line)

And I ran the whole thing without stopping to walk, stretch, or even tie my shoes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amazon Makes Life Easier

Blogs without pictures are boring, and my camera cord has been MIA for a couple months now. I've been conveniently using that as an excuse not to blog... but no more!

I finally broke down and ordered a new one from Amazon five minutes ago. It cost me a whopping $3 (actually, it was $0.25 but they got me with shipping), and within a week this blog should be back in business.
I also bought:

This book is wildly popular in adoption circles, and I've heard a lot of great things about it. In an attempt to be more frugal, I've been trying to convince myself to use the library more often... but this one felt like a purchase.

Donald has a very busy work schedule and has little time to read, so I like to highlight the most relevant and important sections of parenting books for him to flip though. You just can't do that with library books.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Day Working Front Desk

I had a colorful day at work. I've worked in Kids' Club for 9 months, but today was my first time working front desk, and I worked the super-early shift. A crazy homeless man (who cheerfully admitted that he was just released from prison) came in before dawn (when I was the ONLY person working) and scared me. Then he came back later, got a guest pass from one of the membership counselors, and then proceeded to terrorize everyone within shouting distance.

This guy was easily 300 pounds.

He made a crude gesture and sound when I bent over to pick something up (not knowing he was walking up to the desk behind me).

He used a LOT of our hand sanitizer, which I thought was selfish and wasteful. There are only so many germs on even the grossest of hands.

He complained to me that two women talking were hurting his head and that they wouldn't shut up. The gentleman was rather angry with me because I wouldn't make them stop talking and/or ask them to leave.

He then threatened those lovely ladies, telling them he'd knock their heads off if they didn't shut up. Luckily they're tough cookies and have great senses of humor.


My calling is with children. I can NOT handle grown-ups. Especially the large, crazy, and criminal varieties.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Stretchmarks

Some days this adoption doesn't feel real.

Unlike most mothers, my belly isn't growing. There are no flutters, kicks, or (thankfully) bouts of morning sickness. While other moms are experiencing constant physical reminders of the joy forming in their tummies, I have pieces of paper.
...and lemme tell ya, filling out ridiculous forms is nowhere near as fun as maternity shopping.

Sometimes, fear gets the better of me. My fears are similar to what a lot of pregnant moms experience though, I'm sure.

"What if something happens?"
What if the Eastern European judge takes one look at Donald's tattoos, and deems us unfit parents? What if my youthful face (at 24, strangers are shocked that I'm over 20) works against my favor, and the court decides I seem too young and immature to bring home a 4 year old we've fallen in love with?

" this actually happening?"
We fill out paperwork, and wait... but paper has no heartbeat. Paper is nothing to hold on to... and if I can't see something, it just isn't real to me.

"Am I ready?"
And other days, I wonder if I'm setting myself up for failure, and worry that I'm going to be the world's worst mother.

In the last few years, few things have been more unpleasant than finding out a friend or relative (especially those much younger and/or un-expecting/unprepared than myself) were pregnant (or, less frequently, completing an adoption). I knew that one day our time would come, and that we'd be parents. I had faith that God's plan for our family would, at some point, unfold beautifully.
It still hurt though - every time.

But now, there are days like today.
Days when I find out another friend is expecting... and I am purely full of joy and excitement for them. No jealousy, no fist-shaking at the heavens, no awkward silences or tearful prayers.
Nothing but happiness.
Because we're on the road to Little Winn... and (s)he is as real as if (s)he were in my belly... except that I might just get out of this without stretch-marks. bonus!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Two Little History Books

This not-so- little book has been keeping me very busy these days:

Last quarter I decided to become a history major. Yup. Officially. I even earned a scholarship (oh yeah, did I mention that? SUPER EXCITING) in which I talked about my love for the subject. Though I'm only in my 2nd year of college and it's not technically a "major" yet, my decision has been made.
My days have been full of reading and studying, and not just the sort of weak studying I do in other classes just to get a good grade. I'm talking REAL STUDYING. I'm soaking it in, and loving it. I'm even doing supplemental reading to enhance my retention.

Enter, my 2nd not-so-little book:

To be fair, I bought the audio book format from iTunes, and have been listening to it in the car or while doing chores. Still, a book is a book, and at 40+ hours of audio it is a BIG FRIGGIN BOOK, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about our country's amazing history, without all the liberal anti-American propaganda that most history classes and books are drenched with. The authors give complete and accurate information, and manage to include all of the ugly stuff without resorting to demonizing the great figures who shaped our nation.

I love America

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Spoke Too Soon

Okay so... remember how excited I was to let everyone know that Donald was HOME?
Well, he was home.

He's actually been back in Arizona for over a week now.

He's still without orders.

For those not in the military, none of this probably makes sense. For those of you who are, well... it's probably EQUALLY nonsensical. We are in a completely bizarre and unheard of situation. He's just sitting in the barracks, not belonging to anyone. His orders, a few months ago (while he was deployed out of Arizona) were magically deleted.

Apparently the people in charge of making sure he GETS orders were/are completely incompetent. His branch manager (guy in charge of giving him orders) was preparing to retire from the Army... so he had apparently checked out LONG before Donald's situation was taken care of. For several weeks Sergeant Checked-out (as I like to call him) continually assured Donald that everything was being sorted out and that any day his orders would show up in the system.

...turns out not.

He's been back from his deployment for over 6 weeks now. He should have immediately (like, within a few days) come to Fort Lewis. Instead, after sitting in AZ for a couple weeks, he (wisely) decided to take leave (vacation) to come visit me.

So glad he did, too... because there's still no end in sight! NO ORDERS!

Aaaaaand I'm going bonkers.

12 and 15 month deployments? 6 month TDYs? 1 month training exercises? No problem! I understand it all! THIS NONSENSE, THOUGH?

...I need another ice cream sandwich.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Inexplicable Love

Today I just want our Little Winn to be home.

I know, I know... I'm trying hard not to sound sappy and ridiculous. I haven't even met the kid. I don't even know if it's a he or she, or whether (s)he is already in preschool, or was just born. To emotionally complicate things further, we won't know until we arrive in Eastern Europe... which is nearly a year away.

When I'm not busy working or doing homework, I think of our Little Winn. Is (s)he in a state-run orphanage, or "fortunate" enough to be in a privately operated Christian facility? Is (s)he being held enough... or at all? Are kind words being spoken to him/her? Has (s)he had enough to eat? If (s)he's old enough to understand the situation, does (s)he have hope that we'll be there soon? However insufficiently, is (s)he being shown love by someone? Anyone?

The concept of loving a soon-to-be-adopted child has always made sense to me. Having known others who've adopted internationally, I've seen that engulfing love that overcomes them when they look at their baby's picture.

We, however, do not have a picture. All we have is an answered prayer. I definitely underestimated the frustration, longing, and love that would immediately result after receiving an answer to those prayers. The moment I felt our Heavenly Father had given His blessing on a Ukrainian adoption, a formerly unknown Slavic child suddenly became our child.
...and it's crazy how such a thing can change a person as much as it has.

So how can I explain the love I have for Little Winn before I know a single thing about him/her? To even consider elaborating makes me feel like an emotional nutcase.
...and so I won't.

I love our Little Winn already, I can't explain it, and I'm certainly not gunna fight it.

My cousin Laurel recommended a song by Matthew West to me, called "Safe and Sound". I downloaded it on iTunes and have it playing constantly, in hopes that I'll be come desensitized to it and won't cry every time it comes on.

I can't wait for Little Winn to be home safe and sound.

Can't believe you're here now
tiny dream come true.
The answer to a prayer now,
I'm so in love with you
couldn't wait to meet you.
hope you like your name
I get the funny feeling
life will never be the same

Safe an sound,
you're here with me now,
like I hold you near.
Safe and sound.
You're here with me now.
That's all I'll ever need

The world's a scary place here
but baby it's alright
I'll make sure the coast is clear
so you can just sleep tight.
But if you're afraid of monsters
like every body is,
I'll be right beside you,
closer than a kiss.

Safe and sound
I'm here with you now
and you will always be,
safe and sound
I'm here with you now
and that's all you'll ever need.

And some day I'm gunna teach you
the reason why we pray,
so that Heaven's love may reach you
every single day.
So baby close your eyes now
and say a prayer with me:
'Lord I lay me down to sleep now
but I know I will be
safe and sound'
you're here with us now
and we will always be,
safe and sound.

You're here with us now,
and that's all we'll ever need.

You're all we'll ever need.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Donald's HOME!!!!!!

...just thought everyone would like to know. :-)

I love having a husband.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Bastards Awareness Day to all my fellow illegitimates! :-)

No but seriously, if you grew up without a dad, you know how uncomfortable this holiday can be. I'm not trying to say that growing up without a father and being the odd kid out every 3rd Sunday in June was particularly traumatic, because it wasn't. It was just REALLY FREAKIN AWKWARD.

Granted, I had a Grandfather I adored until he passed away when I was 12, and I called my Uncle Mark (also an awesome father-figure) daddy until I was 3 or 4. As I got older I stayed with a family from my church who was headed by a fantastic dad(Ron), so I definitely don't want to deny credit where credit is due. Also, it's worth nothing that my dad didn't know about me until I was nearly 14, so the dude can hardly be blamed for being absent, and we now have a friendly (albeit virtually non-existent) relationship.

Still, the fact remains that I'm a dadless.

Growing up homeschooled and active in church made encounters with fellow dadlesses rare, and there was nothing I hated more than being reminded of how different I was (and prepare yourself for a future blog on the topic of being different, fyi) and making some stupid craft at church every year for a dad I didn't have .

So I was thrilled today to realize that this will be mine and Donald's very LAST awkward Father's Day! Neither of us grew up knowing our dads, so in 12 months we will both be celebrating Father's Day for the VERY FIRST TIME with our child... who will ALSO be celebrating it for - you guess it - THE VERY FIRST TIME!

Thus, I joyfully dedicate this post in honor of the Winn Family's very last Bastards Awareness Day!

Here's to hoping that our first Fathers Day comes quickly! Hurry up, time!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


We're not moving!

Donald's orders have been fixed.
Our home sweet home, here in Washington, shall remain our home sweet home.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The Army sure knows how to keep things exciting.

It's entirely too complicated to fully explain, but suffice it to say that the Army made a clerical oopsie, and Donald's orders to return to Fort Lewis after the deployment have been deleted. Most likely, the error will be amended, and we'll enjoy a few years together in Washington, here in our new house.

But... with the military, that "slightly less likely" chance of us moving is still an "actually very likely" one, and we'd be relocating within the next 2 months. Where? Who knows.

Like I said, we'll probably stay put. The odds are overwhelmingly in our favor... but I felt the urge to blog the situation. Why? Because crazy possibilities like this are an every day part of being an Army wife. I'm not complaining, honestly. Sure, a potential move would delay the adoption by another couple months (due to homestudy complications), but I'd welcome the wild adventure. When I married Donald, I did so knowing that the Army could move us as frequently as they wanted, and that for the next 15 years (roughly 10, now) our time spent together could, and would, be severely compromised. I said "I do" knowing full well what the risks were. The benefits(having him for a husband) have far outweighed those hardships, and the Army has always (okay, usually) taken care of us. If they want to move us... so be it! I just hope we can find renters!

Donald and I have lived together for less than 2 years of the 4 years and 2 months that we've been married. So long as we're in the same house, geographic location is small potatoes at this point.

We'll see! Stay tuned!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Emoes

If there are two things I've learned in the last 3 years, they are this:

1.) If I stay up late, I get emo.
Not the next day, for lack of sleep. No, I get less and less pleasant as the night drags on. If I'm up late, 80% of the time I'm doing nothing productive, and I start thinking too much. Every additional, unnecessary minute spent in the waking makes me progressively unhappier.

2.) If I start getting emo, I need to go to bed.
I never fail to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day.

...Okay, so they're essentially one in the same. Listing them separately just illustrates how very true and important of statements they are though.
It's after 11pm (abnormally late for this old girl), and I'm missing Donald more than usual. Only one more month-ish of this deployment to go! Not long at all, whee!
I have heaps of homework to do this weekend, a Relief Society lesson to plan, and WAY too much housework to even mention.
Bedtime, before I get a full-blown case of the emoes!

Tomorrow brings me one day closer to the hottest dang soldier in the U.S. Army... eep! :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shopping Complications

However trivial it may be, one of the most difficult aspects of Ukrainian adoption is that you don't specifically know the age or gender of the child until you arrive in country (at which point you are presented with several profiles of potential matches, much like you would normally do prior to traveling, with other countries). It's not like we don't have a say in things, but between the Ukrainian system and God's will... we could come home with just about anything, haha!
All we know is that Little Winn will be somewhere between 12 months and 5 years old.

So... pacifiers or preschool? Time will only tell! We'll be thrilled with either, but my obsessive compulsive planning/online-shopping has become a bit more complicated lately.

Thus far, these are the only safe purchases I've decided on, as they will be appropriate for any child in our age category.

1. A Britax Boulevard car seat (or seat with similar capabilities and features).
I've already decided to keep my kids rear-facing for as long as possible. It's far safer, and I'm cool with swimming against the cultural stream on this issue. The seat rear-faces to 35 pounds, so a 1-3ish year old would be well protected. It can then be used forward-facing, with 5 point restraints, to 65 pounds. As I also plan to keep my kids "locked down" in 5-points longer than most, a seat like this will work for any child in the age range we've applied for.

2. Toddler Bed. I googled crib mattress measurements. I also consulted a CDC growth chart. Any normal 1-5 year old will fit in one nicely. I know, I'm obsessive. I have extra time on my hands with Donald still deployed... so go easy on the judging ;-) . If we get a squirmy 1 year old, we'll pick up a pack n play. We also have a twin bed in the craft room, so if Little Winn turns out to be a gargantuan kindergartner, we're equally set.

The inability to fulfill my insatiable shopping-itch is a good thing. It forces me to keep things simple, and to keep pinching those precious pennies.

...because seriously, when Little Winn gets here, we're going to the mall, and staying until they kick us out. That requires lots of pinched pennies, I'll tell you what.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Addition: Coming Soon! (edited on 1/23/11 for privacy)

(The country we're adopting from prefers that they remain anonymous until after finalization. For privacy reasons, I've gone through and edited things accordingly.)

Donald and I are thrilled to announce that we're adopting from eastern Europe! We've just started collecting documents and completing the mountains of paperwork, so we're still very early in the process. I debated for a while whether or not to go public now, or to wait... but ultimately I decided that there was NO way I could keep this much joy to myself. I stink at happy secrets.

So if, by chance, you've seen me bouncing around and full of smiles lately, you now know why!

We still have so much to accomplish, but the thought of our European angel coming home to us makes it all worth while. From start to finish, adoptions from this country usually take between 9-12 months. If that timeline holds true for us (things can easily change for the better, or for the worse) we should be bringing our kiddo home in early spring of 2011.

I've started a blog devoted to the progress of our adoption. You can find it at *blog removed*.
It will be heavy on technical aspects (forms, timelines, legalities, requirements, etc.), as I'm hoping to track things for the benefit of other families hoping to adopt.

All the warm and fuzzy bits will still be found here, though... so stay tuned!

We humbly ask that you keep us, and our baby, in your prayers. He or she has already spent too much of their life in an orphanage, and we're hoping to bring our "Little Winn" home as soon as humanly possible.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bad Week, Good Week... Works For Me!

Last week was bad. Just terrible.

I accidentally answered one very important question wrong in an essay for one of my classes (similar to "2+2=5". Yup, one of those type of inexplicable mistakes), which brought my grade down from a hard-earned 4.0 to a 3.7.

One afternoon, in the hours between my normal morning shift and an evening shift I was covering for a co-worker... my car broke down. Yup, my 2008 Prius WOULDN'T start.
This wouldn't have been so catastrophic if I wasn't parked in the Steele Lake Park parking lot with my windows rolled down. I couldn't just leave it there. :-(
Thankfully, the dealership paid for the tow-truck and rental car, and my boss was nice about me being late. The next day, however, they couldn't find ANYTHING wrong with my vehicle. It was working just fine! I've decided that it's a temperamental hippie, hell-bent on making my life difficult.

Many other miserable things happened last week. Some self-created, some acts of God, and some just rotten luck. No more of which I'll continue to complain about here.

This week is different. This week is a glorious, bright shinning light of happiness and hope. This week, NOTHING can get me down. And I mean nothing.

I'll be blogging a little later about what makes this week so fantastic, so check back soon.

Ultimately, I've decided that bad weeks are necessary to balance out the really good ones. Life just wouldn't be fair of God allowed EVERY week to be as great as this one is cracking up to be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


It has always been difficult for me to lose OR gain weight. With exception to brief periods of time when I've made significant "effort" in either direction, I've been roughly the same size since 7th grade. It's party a curse, and partly a blessing. As a Junior Higher I was always one of the fat kids, but as time has passed, the natural progression of age has caught up with my peers, and I'm increasingly more average. I've come to accept my body's love for maintaining homeostasis, haha. Ultimately, I've decided that if my body really likes a certain weight THAT much, then that's where God must have intended me to be. Mostly, I
've embraced my slight chub, and (with exception to reasonable issues I have with my arms) have found an odd affection for my chunkier bits.

When Donald deploys, however, things change. I always lose weight, and without significant effort on my own part. When Donald was deployed 2 years ago, I dropped over 20 pounds. I actually went to the doctor about it, because it was so uncharacteristic of me, lol.
I just... eat less when he's not around. Food isn't as much fun without a cute husband to share it with, I guess.

It's important to note that the weight loss is ALWAYS temporary. When hubby comes back to town and wants Enchiladas made with cream cheese every few days, my hiney grows back.

So what's the bad part about me losing weight?


I can hardly justify buying a new wardrobe for temporary weight loss, especially when I tend to only like more expensive jeans. (I'd like to pause here to note how ironic this is. I am cheap. DIRT CHEAP. I do NOT throw down money on clothing... with the only exception being JEANS. And, naturally, the only item of clothing that REALLY won't fit a
fter dropping weight is - you guess it: JEANS. Go figure)

This time around I'm down by about 14 pounds. Nothing crazy, but just enough to cause the sag. I have a couple pairs of jeans (bought last deployment) that fit good, but my recent favorites are bagging and sagging.
So, I'll enjoy being skinny-ish (for me, haha), and my saggy-butted-pants will remain as such, at least through the end of this summer, lol.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back in the Saddle

The past week has been all sorts of busy, but in a good way!

I was asked the Sunday before last to speak in sacrament meeting the following Sunday (which was this last Sunday, in case you weren't tracking). So in addition to subbing in the Sunbeams class(3 year olds, for all my beloved non-Mormons out there), I had my hands full preparing for Sunday. The subject was on how we can create Zion by being pure in heart. A fabulous topic, if you ask me. Researching the subject was really uplifting and inspiring.
I was up WAY too late Saturday, preparing. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I would have prepared better earlier in the week AND if I wasn't so busy Saturday afternoon.
After working Saturday morning (which I don't normally do), the rest of my daylight hours were spent completing my garden bed, and filling it with soil.

Unfortunately, the only pictures I have are ones taken with my Blackberry. I still haven't figured out how to operate Donald's new-fangled camera properly, and since my Katrina-proof camera (an Olympus Stylus - totally indestructible) is missing its' power cord, my phone's camera is what I've been relying on.

I finished screwing the two layers(built a few weeks ago) together with support pieces:

Next, I laid down a some week-blocker and put down a layer of big rocks, gathered from my yard (I needed to get rid of them somehow!). They weren't ALL the big rocks, but they were at least the BIGGEST ones I could gather before I started to go insane and then gave up. Trust me, folks... picking up rocks is torture.

Then... mom and I filled it up with dirt! Woot woot! Props to my mom, by the way. Without her fabulous truck and the use of her time and physical labor, I would have never completed this job in the time that I did.

In other news, school started back up again this week for me. I'm actually going to full time this quarter, but since one of my classes is online and another is a hybrid, I only have to drive up to school once a week. So far, so good. I'm absolutely loving it.

The only bad update to share is that I have some sort of rodent(s) living in my garage. I haven't seen it(them), but their "leavings" are everywhere. GAG! Critters? In my brand new house? I DON'T THINK SO, GUYS! It's bad enough that I've already found three spiders. I need to hang a "GROSS LITTLE CRITTERS NOT WELCOME" sign outside my front door, and then maybe they'll get the message.

Anyway, I've found it VERY difficult to find humane and EFFECTIVE forms of extermination. Poison? No way. I don't want to be sniffing around to find a stinky little dead mouse/rat-corpse after its long and painful death. Glue trays? I'd cry if one got caught. The same goes for those little traps that just catch them inside and then keep them there until they starve to death. They may be gross little vermin, but I DO have a soul.
Standard snap-down traps? Scary, but hopefully effective... because that's what I got.
I'm no bleeding-heart, but I still don't like to see any creature suffer. Even spiders, which I abhor above all of God's creations, I kill swiftly and as pain-free as possible.

Moving along...

Well, I was given an assignment in the ward. Nothing too time consuming, it appears. The Graham Stake is putting on a fine arts expo-thingy in June. I'll be the representative for our ward, which essentially just means that I go to the meetings, take notes, and pass on the information to our ward.

The Bishop also said he had a calling for me. Oh snap... everyone pray hard that it's something wicked cool, okay?

Um... what else...
Oh yeah, D.O.G., our 11-month-old Newfoundland puppy, almost outweighs me. He's less than 10 pounds behind me. I'll soon be able to say that I own a dog who weighs more than me. Don't ask me why, but that's always been my dream. I adore large beasts, which makes me like a female Hagrid. Just smaller and far better looking, I guess.

That's all for now, folks!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Best Four Years

Yesterday was our 4th Anniversary....

Can I just say that I am one darn lucky woman?

I mean really, how could you NOT love that face?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Same Old Stuff

Life is the same as usual.

Donald's still deployed to the middle east.

I'm working and going to school part time. The quarter ends on Monday. I couldn't be happier. I really hate drawing. A lot. I've actually turned out to be pretty good at it... I just find it to be tedious and pointless.

Next quarter I'm going full time. We'll see how that goes with work and commuting.

I mailed out our tax return without a very vital home document to verify our eligibility for the home buyers tax credit... so my furniture-buying shopping spree has been dramatically delayed.

The website for making claims for damaged household goods (from when we moved) was down for several days. I drove to Fort Lewis trying to make a claim for the thousands of dollars worth of damage. Donald was gone and couldn't help. I filled out some paperwork. Apparently I didn't fill out all the right paperwork. Long story short... I didn't get our claim submitted in time. We won't see a dime.

I went to the ComiCon in Seattle today. It was fun. That's a happy change.
...until I deleted EVERY picture on the camera (by accident). Nearly a full Gigabyte worth of pictures from the last several months - gone. Then the printers at ComiCon weren't working right, and we didn't get copies of our picture with LEONARD freakin NIMOY so I have to drive up to Seattle tomorrow after church (over an hour) to pick them up.
When I came home and started uploading the few pictures we took AFTER the catastrophe, I then managed to...
delete my ENTIRE iPhoto library. ALL the pictures I had on my computer are GONE. FOREVER... because I apparently didn't have the Time Machine set up right. How I deleted the entire library, I have NO FREAKIN IDEA.

It's Girl Scout cookie season, and I have a clinical addiction to Thin Mints.

I'm dieting. The Thin Mints complicate this.

We still have no kids.

I'm still commuting 15 hours a week, not including time spent for leisure and errands.

Mom helped me build raised garden beds last week, but I haven't had the time/ability to go get soil. my seedlings for the early crop stunted in their trays.

I've gotten pale.

My car did the opposite of breaking down this week. It decided NOT to turn off and I missed a day of work (after already missing two days the same week because I was sick) because I had to take it to the dealership.
So I called in sick/absent to work for the first time EVER... and then TWICE MORE... in the same week.

I hate going to church alone in our new ward... so I don't. I've only decided to go tomorrow because I need to turn in tithing. That's the only excuse/motivation I've found to keep me going every month or so.

I'm staying mindlessly busy until Donald comes back, and I've been decently productive. I'm not depressed, but I'm sure the heck not happy.

But we're both well fed, clothed, sheltered and completely in love with each other.

So all in all, I'd say that our life lately has been good.
...enough ...ish.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Foster-Adoption? Think Again...

I was told by TWO different social workers at DSHS, both in the foster parenting 0ffice/department that there are, and I QUOTE,

"no children available for adoption"

No, I'm not kidding.

According to both women, whose numbers I got from the Foster-Adoption page of the DSHS website, there are no children (other than teenagers) available at all in the entire state of Washington. Not even special needs. They said that "Foster care isn't for adopting. The purpose of foster care is reunification with natural parents."
"Yes," I very sweetly responded, "and I completely agree. But some children, for whatever reasons, aren't reunited, and parental rights are terminated and they become eligible for adoption, right?"
Their response? It was long, political, condescending, and full of misinformation and blatant lies.
I'll spare you all the details (because frankly, I was too flabbergasted to remember them all), but both women (whom I spoke to separately) turned me away and told me to call a private agency for designated infant or international adoption.

I couldn't believe what they were telling me. Had the millions of "waiting children" in our country fled the State of Washington, or was I just being flat-out LIED to??

After talking to another foster-adoptive parenting and doing some online research, their rejection and dishonest bull-jive makes a bit more sense. It's all a bunch of garbage politics, and it's outraging.

Maybe I'll have the energy to blog it all another day, but right now I don't. I'm just too drained.

But yeah, if ever you feel like pointing fingers at people who spend oodles of cash going overseas to adopt, rather than "helping the kids here at home", you now know who to blame. The freakin' Washington social workers themselves, who apparently view hopeful adoptive parents as desperate baby-snatchers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Note On Family

Last weekend I flew down to Arizona to visit Donald for a few days before he deploys. I flew in to Tucson at around 6pm-ish, at which point we immediately hopped in the car and made the long drive up to Gilbert. What's in Gilbert, you ask? Well, my Dad, Brother, and insanely cool Step-mother reside there.
Woah, woah... what? Katrina has a Dad??? I mean, basic human biology obviously requires some sort of paternal parentage, but most people never knew the guy existed (due to no fault of his own. The poor guy didn't find out about me until just before my 14th birthday).
Well, I do. His name is Sean, and he looks like me.

I first met him when I was 14, and he seemed like a cool enough guy. If nothing else, he was a fantastic sport about my existence. I mena, not many people would just... well, accept the fact that they suddenly have a teenage daughter.

His dad, my Grandpa-Jerry, was a very special person to me. We emailed almost daily after he found out about me, and I'm sure he'd still be a huge part in my life if he hadn't passed away a few short months after we met.

The shock and chaos of his sudden death essentially dissolved the ties I had with his side of the family.

10 years went by. We exchanged Birthday and Christmas cards for a few years, sent pictures here and there, but nothing too significant. Both of our lives were already on different paths, and I don't think either side ever expected anything beyond what we each were giving.

And then we met up last Thursday night.
We hung out, ate good food, played pool, reminisced about what could have been, and had a much better time than I imagined we would. Honestly, I hadn't expected anything more than an awkward and quiet dinner. It definitely turned out a lot better than planned.

I guess we know now where I get those small, deep-set eyes from!

He showed me some pictures of his side of the family, which was a first for me. Having not taking after my mom's side of the family for... well, much of ANYTHING, it was humbling to look into the photographed eyes of people who LOOKED LIKE ME.

I don't look dramatically different from the family I was raised with. I mean, we're all white. We blend. But still. Thanks to my Grandma, everyone on my mom's side was blessed with dainty and feminine features, paired with huge blue eyes.
I have neither. I do, however, have just about everything my dad's side is known for.

If nothing else, this experience gave me a small sliver of understanding and a tiny glimpse into the lives of my future children.
For the longest time I've tried to tell myself that when Donald and I start our family through adoption, nothing from their past would be of significance. I'll be their mother - their entire world - and genetics wouldn't count for a thing. They'd be raised in such love that their biological parents wouldn't matter at all, and it would be as if I had carried them for 9 months myself. I'd be their ONLY mother, they'd never ask questions, and I WOULDN'T HAVE TO SHARE THEM.
Yes to all the parts about love, being their real mom, and all that other mushy stuff.
Not so much on the part about not having to share

I don't even have my kids yet, but I'm already so attached to the idea of them being completely mine. It's a reasonable expectation, and how God intends things to be, in the ideal setting. But lucky for me, and for my future children, our situations aren't ideal in the traditional sense. Sometimes life's unexpected bumps require that our standards change a bit. And so they are.

Though I know that my kids WILL be mine (at some point, eventually, when the time is right), I'll have to always remember that a small part of their hearts will always be with their first parents, and that's okay. I wasn't raised by my dad. He's a fantastic guy and I love him, but he's not my "daddy". There's something to be said for biology. It's a powerful thing. I knew nothing about my father's side of the family until middle school, yet a day will never go by that I don't think about them, and I wish that I could have known them better.
After looking into the eyes of those pictures last week, I think I'll have a better idea of where my kids are coming from when they start showing interest in their biological family.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Iraq, Aruba, and a Quote From a Democrat

Who would have thought that a democrat would be the author of my new favorite quote?

"Do not pray for easier lives. Pray to be stronger men." -John F. Kennedy

Donald's deploying to Iraq again. He was supposed to be coming home at the end of this month, but instead he's shipping out. It's not entirely bad news, though. It's a MUCH shorter deployment than last time, and he'll be back this summer... at which point we'll be going to Aruba, or somewhere else that's equally tropical and fantastic.

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