Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things are Changing

Well, at 14 weeks pregnant I'm now showing with these two rascals.

The crippling morning sickness is better. At around 12 weeks I graduated from non-stop-all-day-nausea to "I feel great! Oh, hold that thought... vomit"
Most nights I still find myself very suddenly heaving for no obvious reason, but for the most part that's a vast improvement, and I'm counting my blessings.

Other notable things:

My pre-pregnancy pants are now barely wearable. They button, but not without effort or discomfort.

My belly button is increasingly less "innie" every day.

I've developed a taste for spicy foods, along with chocolate. The cravings of Donald's children, undoubtedly.

I'm irritable. Almost all the time. I just don't enjoy people.

I can barely breath when our Newfoundland decides to snuggle on me at 4am, and I have an (ir)rational fear that he's going to smoosh them at some point.

My previous preference for very light salad dressing has been replaced with a "ranch soup with greens" approach.

Donald gets very angry when I poke or jostle my belly. He doesn't appreciate my attempts at early sleep training, and insists I'll do brain damage.

I'm currently reading "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, and Quads", which contends (with profoundly convincing evidence) that I need to be consuming 176 grams of protein every day... which is my first official shortcoming as a mother, because that's a lot of protein.

And that's about it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You Gotta Laugh

I'm not sure which of these I love more.

Adopt? Have twins?

Neither has technically happened for me yet, but simply experiencing the pre-stages of both made me giggle at these.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Is...

Eating for three on Thanksgiving!

The twins will be arriving in June.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Halloween Wedding

One of my best friends was married on Halloween this year. For me, that came with the honor of being a bridesmaid.
Everything about the night (freezing temperatures while trying to take pictures on the dock aside), was picture perfect. Life is never dull with Crystal, and her wedding was no exception.

Here I am, on the left!:

Crystal and Marcus, the charming couple:

The dinner was so festive! The settings, decorations, and linens were just gorgeous.
(oop, and there I am again, ruining the shot!)

To Crystal: The most adventurous and beautiful bride I've seen in years.

Photography by

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Deuces, Summer!

ADIOS, Summer of 2011!
I can't say we'll miss you.

Class(es), Disneyland mid-September for Mom's birthday, Donald coming home from training in late September, being a bridesmaid in a friend's Halloween wedding, the holidays, and....

...not having to shave my heat-sensitive baby wildebeest anymore!

Here's two from the time we tried shaving him like a gorilla ("big" and fluffy up front, bare in the back. Like a canine-style-high-and-tight).
It didn't go over well, so now we clip him evenly and he's much cooler and happier for it.

Both our cold-loving dogs are as thrilled as us to throw DEUCES up to this year's summer.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Sometimes it's while I drive home from work, while other days it's not until I'm making dinner. But at least once a day, when I'm alone, I find myself completely overcome by sadness about the adoption falling apart.

It's a deep, confusing, sorrowful anguish. Yep, it's every bit as dramatic as it sounds. And then, because I need to, I pull myself together.

Generally speaking, I'm doing well. At least 23 hours a day, I'm composed, functioning, and very happy. Compared to what orphans looks forward to in life, my situation isn't that bad. Donald and I aren't the worse off party in all of this. Life continues for us... but for the orphans? Nope. And that's what kills me most. While we are quickly working on Plan B for our family, I am always mindful that these children have no Plan B. What they were dealt in life is what they get. On the surface, this adoption falling through has altered our life very little. Life continues for us. But "normal"? I don't think I'll ever return to my pre-adoption self.

When the life of a child is involved, there is no forgetting.

Even if all three of "our kids" found permanent homes(remember? one did!), there would still be 147 million more faces just like theirs. Lost, alone, and forgotten by everyone but God... and a handful of people around the world, like myself, broken hearted for them.

I'm still trying to figure out how I fit into the adoption world now. Given my current state, I've tried (poorly) to distance myself from it. I will continue to advocate for children needing families. Everyone can play a small role in redeeming these angels, even if it's not as parents. Still, I find myself having to be cautious about how deeply I allow myself to delve into the adoption world, because I'm just not strong enough for it at times. In fact, at the threat from Donald of blocking on my computer, I've agreed to not browse through the hundreds of sweet faces because we can't bring them home and it rips me apart.

Am I sounding crazy yet? Well, I'm not.
I'm recovering, and holding on to the knowledge that one day, though it may be a few years from now, adoption will be a part of God's plan for our family. Until then, I continue on with my happy little middle-class American life to my very best ability, and enjoy every moment with my husband, friends, and family that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with.

But forget? I never will, and I think that's what God wants from all of us.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Donald Robert Winn

Born 29 years ago today.

The planet Earth never saw what was coming.

Happy Birthday, Baby-Love!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Speculation. Just Bad News.

Aren't they beautiful?

We didn't know it when we committed to them, but all 3 have hazel eyes of identical shades to Donald or I.

Several weeks ago we thought the adoption was over.

Then we had renewed hope.

Now, it's 100% official, and for the worse. We've withdrawn from the adoption process. No if's and's or but's. It's done.

We continue to hope and pray that U.krain.e allows children under 5 to be adopted again. When that time comes, I pray that Alyona (Brigitte) and Valeriya (Virginia) have families out there who will find them.

However, our adoption journey has ended. The universe has made it abundantly clear.

Reece's Rainbow is awesome. I have nothing but positive things to say about them. They're a blessing and truly do what they do for God's most favored and forgotten children.

We had 99% of the paperwork complete. We had every dollar needed to make it happen. But the reasons went so far beyond the tangible.
My iPhoto is filled with their pictures, along with Fletcher's. A very broken piece of my heart will always be reserved for 3 HIV+ orphans across the ocean who I will never get to hold.

I'm angry and miserable, but it is what it is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holding on to Hope

Recent news coming out of Eastern Europe (through our facilitators and friends) has been very encouraging, in regards to HIV being added to the list of special needs that allow children under 5 to be adopted.

Many believe that HIV (along with many more conditions) will be added any day, and all are almost certain that it will be approved by October at the latest.

So there you have it. Reason to hope.
Nothing is ever certain in the country we're adopting from. Things change quickly and often, but even the women my mom works with here in Washington, who formerly lived in that country, say that the entire nation is in an uproar about the new restrictions, and that many politicians and citizens are speaking out against it.

I was finger printed for immigration last week, and Donald did his today. We should have approval any day, and I'm scrambling to amend a few documents that will allow me to travel alone in the event that Donald is deployed or has training.

We could be ready to submit within a week or two. If only the law changes.

So essentially, we are now waiting. Waiting for things to change - hopefully sooner rather than later. It's terrifying and, at times, very discouraging. But we will be ready.

Just look at these girls. Waiting and ready. If their cute little faces don't give me reason to hope, I don't know what could.

A huge thanks to Missy and Kim, who took these pictures of the girls while they were there meeting their little ones.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter Night

On Thursday, in the hours prior to the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I had a little Harry Potter-themed shindig at my house.

I created a make-shift night sky in the dining room, likened unto Hogwart's great hall, dressed up like a Ravenclaw student, and made various HP treats to feed on.

It was nothing too exciting and the crowd was modest, but it was one of the BEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE.

Oh, and the cursed lightning bolt scar? It just might have been permanently tattooed there that morning. Or might not have. That's up to you to decide.

Pictures from that night: (sorry for low picture quality on some of these. My friend Erin and I quickly snapped a few pictures, but we were too busy partying to be worried with photography. The better of the photos were thanks to her. :-)

I "enchanted" the my dining room to reflect the night sky, just as in the great hall.
(It's a really dark picture, but shows up a bit better when enlarged. ENGORGIO!)

Can you see me in my Ravenclaw uniform? In the back, toward the left? I think I'm clearing something yummy out of my teeth.


Chocolate Frogs!

Adorable Peppermint Toads! Deliciousness evidenced by half of its body's absence.
Tutorial found here.

Cauldron Cakes. Pam arrived early and made the delicious frosting for me.

The problem with throwing a party 7:30pm in the summer is that it's bright outside, making a "magical" environment tricky. Simple fix: duct tape trash bags into the windows.

So here are things prior to trash bags and lights out:

My "little" cousin Gray Draco Malfoy, helping with the enchanted ceiling.

More of Gray, sporting one of the sweet Dark Mark tattoos I found on Etsy.

The Jesus picture in the entryway took one for the team that night, and had a HP wanted poster taped on top. Who wouldn't sacrifice for a Harry Potter party though, right? Surely not our Savior.

Um, pretend the random Spider Man glass wasn't there.
Mmmm Pumpkin Bread.

Me. 3am, post-movie. A blotchy pink, swollen, makeup-smeared mess.
I had sobbed for about 20 minutes in the theater, so there you have it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bittersweet News... and Discouragement

The country we were adopting from (are adopting from?) has decided to keep their adoption program open after all. PHENOMENAL, right?
Except that children under 5 - our girls - are not adoptable anymore.
Kids with special needs are adoptable, but HIV does not yet meet their definition of SN for this purpose.

Hours before we received the email, Donald and I made the official decision to move on - from adopting at all for now. We were putting it behind us. My heart couldn't take much more, and potential deployments in the near future was the deciding factor - we simply didn't have time to complete a new adoption, from a different country, before he left.

Then... wow. Nothing is ever certain in our world, lol. The email arrived.

So then, with little hope that we'd be allowed to bring home the girls, we had all but decided to adopt a sweet 5 year old boy (who lived in the same orphanage as the boys we were previously hoping to adopt). We were just days away from submitting the official paperwork for him.
Until suddenly, he wasn't listed anymore. We soon discovered his posted birthday was inaccurate, and that he was also too young.

The upside:

It is looking increasingly likely that HIV might be added to the list of approved conditions for the adoption of those under 5 (STOP - insert me leaping joyfully here). However, it's still far from certain, and the time-line for when it may be approved is equally unknown.

We've also recently learned that Donald may be deploying this October, rather than next June.
We're waiting on official word.

And he'll be in Arizona from early August through late September for training. So, if HIV is approved and we're allowed to adopt the girls, then we'll go for it even though I may have to travel alone for the trip, and *possibly* bring them back to a home where daddy is in Afghanistan. FAR from an ideal situation, but having a deployed daddy is far better than being an orphan, right? That's the conclusion I came to, anyway.

We're frantically praying that U-country adds HIV sooner rather than later, because once Donald is deployed there will be no way for us to get the appropriate paperwork updated and/or amended (things such as physicals and notarized copies of his passport).

Time and hope feels like it's slipping through out fingers.
I just want our kidlet(s) home - whoever, and wherever, they may be. I'm ready to stop worrying and writing depressing blogs about the process and HAVE THEM IN MY ARMS instead!

Eventually. In His time.

Divine Courage

I love missionaries; particularly the sort that proselyte door-to-door. Even when they're of a differing religion from me, I find speaking with them to be a very uplifting experience.
It takes guts, and a complete surrender to faith, to knock on a stranger's door in hopes that the 1 in 1,000 who's willing to listen is out there. The path to that one lost sheep is discouraging and often humiliating and painful. Amen to that type of divine courage.

It was a Jehovah's Witness that knocked on my door today. He shared a beautiful verse from the book of Revelation with me, and it was a wonderful way to start the day.

While we had faith in Jesus Christ in common today, I would find a non-Christian missionary just as inspiring. To serve in faith like that takes such a deep sense of surrender to your convictions. If only more of the world were willing to seek out and share good things with an equally reckless abandon. What a courageous way to live.

Here's hoping we can all find something we believe in so strongly. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dirty Dash

Donald "competed" in a local mud-run with a large team from CrossFit Infusion on Saturday.

I'm still not sure how he and our friend TJ ended up wearing super hero underoos for the event.
All I know is this - we ran into Walmart that morning, hoping to find cheap board shorts he could destroy without guilt. Instead, we left with Captain America man-panties (and The Flash ones for a friend).
The moment we laid eyes on them, it seemed like an AMAZING idea, and we headed to the register without hesitation.
Then they put them on.
Donald's ghetto booty was half-hanging ala' Victoria's Secret style the ENTIRE day. I'll be saving these pictures for posterity, believe it.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the "real" camera, so you won't be enjoying his tooshie in high definition. I know. My apologies.
I'm always impressed with the iPhone's pictures though. They turn our pretty well, for camera phone images.

The day's events, in chronological-ish order:

Donald and TJ. Mud-Run Studs.

We unexpectedly ran into my cousin Laurel too! What a nice surprise :-)

Alright, enough eye-candy for one day.

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