Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happiness ahead

Time is flying. My brother went home. We had a great time. My parents arrived.  We had Christmas #1 on dec 25 and #2 on the 29th.  I am overwhelmed by the generosity of my family and friends.

As we move towards 2013, I am hopeful for the future. We survived our first year together.  That was the goal and we made it.

I am thankful for:
- a family that has accepted everyone in it.  I know other people whose family would disown them if they adopted despite infertility probs.
- a healthy, happy, smart, energetic little girl
- a supportive, loving husband who has really blossomed into an amazing dad
- having the resources to care for our family: house, food, warmth/cooling, car, clothes, medical resources, etc.
- surviving this bad bout of health challenges.  I am not fixed yet, but it is coming.
- having amazing friends who are my second family around the world. I am so lucky to have these people in my life. The little random things you do are so special to me. You know who you are. I love you.
- a job which allows me to express my creativity and a supportive boss
- music, being able to sing, pop stars, the guitar, making up silly songs for sofie she will sing for the rest of her life, and Christmas music
- art
- fiction books, reading, writing
- Sunrises and sunsets and the stars and the moon and the sky and the oceans and trees and wind, Jamaica
- living in the US
- fruits and vegetables - I love them. They flavor our life.
- having the best cats in the world. I am biased for sure.

I know. Some of the items are corny. I was trying to hit the big stuff.

For the new year, we are going to get a jar and write something good that happened for every day of the year. Then, next new years eve, we will read them all and see what we had happen. I am excited to see what is going to be coming.  There will be little things and big things, and taking that moment every day to hug the universe will keep things in perspective.

Happy new year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Little Miracles

We had a Christmas miracle on December 24 - Suddenly, Sofie was saying "Go"sounds - she has never been able to really narrow down the glottal activation, and suddenly she was doing it. We made a huge deal of her achievement (ok, and I cried. I couldn't help it. She has worked so hard for it), and everyone was so happy.  I loved it.  Also, the morning of Christmas eve she made her first "k" sound, but I missed it.  These are huge miracles.

The Grandmas scored big on her presents this year.  Her Dad's mom bought her the first makeup set complete with 3 lipsticks, 10 lip glosses, 4 blushes, 2 powders, 10 eye shadows, mirror, and a partridge in a pear tree. Ha ha ha.  My mom got her a stroller for her baby and that was a huge hit as well.  She is rolling that thing through the house (and it is loaded up with every toy she can fit in there) and tried to take it out on the town with her yesterday.  The one thing she asked for (Hello Kitty Guitar) that Santa brought has not been nearly as popular.  Though, we have played together.  I think it is too big for her, but we had to get it.  The tone is NOT as nice as my guitar and the strings are all over the place.  I wonder if I re-stringed it, if it would sound better?

We had some amazing food - rack of lamb with fancy sauce, oven roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, and christmas cookies... Julia Child's beef bourgenoin with noodles and riscrem.  It doesn't sound fancy but both evenings were a heck of a lot of work.  Oh, and Christmas morning I made poached eggs with smoked salmon, asparagus, hollandaise on English muffins.  It is my alltime favorite breakfast, and it is so rich, I only allow myself to eat it once per year.  By the time I was finished serving Sofie, my brother, and my hubby, the poached eggs were perfect!

Tonight we have some foreign friends coming over, and we are making a Norwegian Christmas dinner with pinnekjott (salted lamb ribs), boiled potatoes, kohlrabi, brussels (for me) and riscrem.  Usually, it is a pretty white meal.  I need green.  I wonder if we could get some carrots in there somehow for more color.  All the Norwegians will say I am spoiling the dinner, but ... I need veggies.

All the presents we got for Christmas are keeping Sofers busy most of the time.  We still need to go outside and run around, but a front has come through and it is very chilly.   My lungs are still goofy and I shouldn't be outside for long periods of time.  Since the weather got icky, my lungs are a mess again.  All my test results should come back next week so we can see if they can figure out what is going on.

Anyway, I wish you a Happy New Year.  We are continuing to make progress, and I am so glad of where we are.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the night before ...

I can't believe that it is finally here.  It is so neat having a tuned-in child that understands English and knows what is about to happen.  Last year, we were in the midst of our new life, and Sofie had no idea.  Looking back, I hadn't realized how challenging everything really was (of course, I knew it was hard, but when you don't have communication - holy mackerel). Everything is so much better this year.  People tend to leave out the part about how hard it is during the transition with an international adoption of a toddler.  I had only read about how it would be 2-3 months before you could communicate & how it was easy to survive.  Now I know the truth.  It is hard - way harder than you could imagine.  Not only is your child grieving about the life they used to have, they have no way to express it except to act out, scream, cry, etc.  Sure, there are good moments, but it is pretty traumatic for everyone.

Anyway, the holidays are upon us, and the house is ready.  Presents are wrapped and hidden away.  Most of the cookies are made except some of them are disappearing fast and I will have to whip up another batch tonight.  I probably need to make some candycane cookies too.

We have gone to ecstatic dance twice (with me swaying a bit to the music and Sofie running, jumping, spinning, and dancing like the crazy toddler she is).  She loved it.  We didn't last 2 hours for either session, but we got our groove on.  She wore a tutu skirt both times, and it flares up as she spins which is an excellent excuse to spin as much as possible. My upper body strength is very impressive too for a pas de deux of jumping/spinning/tossing up/ etc.  

My brother is in town, and we went for noodles the other day.  Yummy.  Last night, we hit the lights at the zoo and went out for genuine tex mex at our favorite place down the street.  We are local legends (hahaha) and once our favorite waiter saw we were waiting, he got a table cleared for us 20 minutes faster than everyone else had to wait. It was awesome.  Tonight, the hubby is making rack of lamb. I think potatoes au gratin sounds really good too. And maybe brussel sprouts? I need to propose it to him when I am done blogging.  Oh, and tomorrow, I am looking forward to poached eggs on smoked salmon, English muffins, and hollandaise sauce for  breakfast.  I am not sure how that is going to play out with present opening, but I am sure everything will work out fine, right?  

Our speech therapist is here this morning working with Sofers, and they are outside playing.  A nice thing about living down South is that it is 70-something outside and sunny.  I have had my coffee.  All is good with the world.

I was trying to think of something exciting to post about.  I finally saw the pulmonary specialist, and he put me on 5 new medications.  The first couple days were shaky as I was transitioning, but I am breathing better.  I am going for a lung scan on Wednesday to make sure I don't have some sort of degenerative lung scarring disease that masks itself as asthma/pneumonia.  Everyone at the doctor's office was 70+ and really sick, and I hope that won't be me.  

Anyway, I hope you have a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays) wherever you are.   May next year bring forth good times, happiness, and joy.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Super Saturday

I have been feeling so guilty about being sick every weekend since October 14. Actually, my husband has been sick too.  He had food poisoning, a cold, a cold, and then his back went out. I had a cold, bronchitis, pneumonia and the pneumonia never went away. This week was slightly better and I was released to go back to work part time - and I am meeting with a pulmonary specialist on Tuesday to figure out why it won't go away.  In the time we have been sick, we have increased our reliance on the tv to entertain Sofie.  I feel terrible about it, but we didn't really have much of a choice.  We are too acquainted with mickey minus clubhouse, Sofia the first, and cinderella.  Oh, and toy story, and toy story 2. And various christmas shows for toddlers.

So this morning when I woke up, I was determined to make today more of a fun day then we have had in awhile.  My good friend had a baby 3 weeks ago, and Sofie is obsessed with babies at the moment - him especially.  We went over to visit the newborn and mommy.  Sofie helped me hold the baby, petted him, cooed to him, made him smile, sang Christmas songs to everyone, and was her super charged, sweet self.  

We also joined an organic food coop a few weeks ago and she helped me pick up our share.  They were playing fun music and she danced around while I picked out produce, checked out, and carried to the Car.

Then, we decided to drive to china town because we were already halfway there and get noodles. There is a place we go that has food very much Iike the food where she grew up. It has been a few months since we visited since we have been so ill.  I got her favorite steamed and sautéed egg/mushroom/chinese onion bun and pork noodles with super fatty fried pork chop. I had bean curd noodles. It was all super yummy and she was doing her happy tummy food dance (it has been awhile) for an hour and a half while she ate with her chop sticks (I figured out a trick with 2 rubber bands and a chop stick wrapper to make them useful for her). She even gave me extra hugs and kisses she was so happy.

Then, we drove home jamming to "ghangam style" together.   We were both dancing and she was so happy. I love it when she beams like the sun.  What a magical day!

Later, the hubby took her out to a winter festival while I napped to recover.

All in all, I am really happy I put forth the effort, and it was worth it even though I am having a bit of lung pain now.  What a fun day!

Tomorrow, I am going to try ecstatic dance with her, even though I can't dance very much. I hope with lots of people dancing around us, she will get some of her energy out.  Crossing fingers. Hope I can dance a little bit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pregnancy and Adoption

Pregnancy and Adoption

Life isn't fair. We don't always get what we want. Some people get what they want without trying, and it can be hard.  Some people get things that they don't want/need and they throw them away. It can feel terrible knowing how little someone else respects what I value. There is no explaining or justifying why things happen the way they do. We won't ever get those answers, and as we move through our lives, I believe it is important to see the big picture and be where we are.

When I started my journey to having a child, I was very hopeful I would get pregnant.  It didn't happen. People around me continued to get pregnant, and although I was sometimes envious as hell, I was also so happy for the people who were getting their child because I new the child was a miracle. The child symbolized hope and brought forth a new little person to love and to cherish.  

Some people around us didn't get pregnant as they went in their personal journeys.  They had IVF and it did not work. Numerous times. It was heart breaking.  Marriages were shaky;some broke up & they decided it wasn't meant to be since they couldn't have kids together. Other friends got pregnant and then miscarried.  Even worse. I saw this and was scared. Some had IVF and it worked. Others did surrogate with success.

I realized i had a fertility problem in 2002.  After getting over my heart break at the likelihood of natural conception, it took another 7 years to get to the point where my husband agreed we could adopt.  It took a 6 months to find an agency and another year to do the paperwork and get the approvals. A year after that, we realized it was going to take 5-8 years to get a child from China (times had changed).  We considered special needs and were matched with a little boy.  He fell through because he was too sick to travel. It broke my heart.
After this, people in my life volunteered to do surrogate for us, because I was the problem in the reproduction arena.  They took back the offer after a few months when things got serious.  It destroyed me. Looking back, there is a black hole in my memory.

A few months aterwards, I had an intervention with a stranger in a courtyard at a church I had just started attending.  We both went to an early service that had been cancelled without notice. I hadn't really talked to anyone about it, and she helped me.  it was a chance meeting.

After that, I started to feel hope again that my child was out there.  We started working with a different adoption agency & started the paper chase again.  
Once we had finally got all our ducks in a row with the new agency, the original agency came through with Sofie.

Meanwhile, many friends & colleagues in my life got pregnant.  They are still getting pregnant - many of them having first children. Some had infertility issues.  Some got pregnant right away.  There is no rhyme or reason to it all,

Yes, sometimes I railed at the injustice of it all, but I am joyful that other people didn't have to suffer like I did. I am relieved that for many others, everything came together. I can see the beauty of pregnancy, and I am still amazed by the human body and how life propagates.  New people are created every day, and I marvel at how it all comes together.

It isn't fair that I won't get a child that is a mix of our DNA. I did get a child who has an amazing personality and loves me to death.  However, at the end of the day, it is my journey. Who knows? I might get pregnant yet someday without even trying.  I have stopped trying to explain why things happen and accept that this is what it is.

I love my friends and I truly feel joy for their joy with pregnancy.  I don't want to take away from their happiness.  Just because I haven't been pregnant, doesn't mean I can't be supportive and loving as always.

Not every option works for everyone. It's ok. We are in it together.  That's how I feel.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Some days

Today has been a mixed bag:
- Sofie helped blanch almonds (?!) for pepper spice cookies
- Sofie helped me out at the organic coop and helped pick out veggies and ate a whole apple with skin because she couldn't resist..
- Sofie swung across 4 rings at the playground (4!!! Like a pro. She is 3! And she can do monkey bars with full body weight! I had never seen that before)
- Sofie took full ownership of the "get well soon" balloons and played for 20 minutes
- she found her microphone and belted out many songs like a pro (and she regularly reenacts the music & moves from "Sofia the 1st - I'm not ready to be a princess. Did it twice)
- she cleaned up the explosion of toys she generated

These are all good things.

Now the ugly.  She refuses to take naps on weekends with us and had 3 ginormous temper tantrums... Over stupid stuff. She refused to put her shoes and socks on. She didn't like that Espen turned the volume down on the TV (I could here it outside in the front yard...). She didn't like the MickeyMouse episode I put on tv so we turned it off since she wouldn't stop screaming.  The tantrums went on for 30-45 minutes per pop. There was some serious angst. Her head was soaked with sweat for all of them. She was on the floor pounding fists and legs for one of them.  It is hard not to laugh. I wish she weren't so frustrated with us.  She isn't much of a temper tantrum kind of kid, but when she has them.

Wow. Today was a doozy. I am glad good things happened too.