Tuesday, July 28, 2009

with all of my imperfections...

Yes, folks believe it or not I have imperfections! We all do, physically, emotionally, spiritually and characteristically (google it, it's a word!!!!). Once we know and accept these things to be true, what we will do with that knowledge is the real conversation.

As far as physically goes, I'm pretty much like most folks in saying that there are a couple of pounds I would like to lose and definitely a few places I would like to tone up....however....I'm not the one motivated enough to get up every morning at 5am to work out. I still have the skin of a teenager, and not in a good way. Maybe in my 30's the acne will subside? And don't get me started on my feet. I have extremely short toes....and if that isn't bad enough, my big toes are curved...yes, crooked! I got picked on endlessly growing up for it. Check it out (excuse my need for a pedicure)...

Talk about some weird looking toes!!!!

Emotionally, I hold too many things in instead of saying how I feel. I'm scared to be vulnerable. Spiritually, I am still very early in my journey and have so much to learn. I don't have all of the answers, but I know enough to know that part is OK. I'm not the one with all of the answers.

So I started thinking today about all of my "imperfections" and how they have shaped me. My crooked toes are unique to me. Aside from winning a marble picking up contest at field day in the 6th grade, they haven't served me much physical purpose, but they have opened up conversations with complete strangers. Now, I'm glad for my differences. Forget being like everyone else, I was uniquely made with a unique purpose unlike anyone elses.

I found myself tonight talking to my girls about this....asking them what they like about themselves that is different. Kyleigh has two webbed toes and chose them:

The webbed toes....

We love that Reece has an "outie" belly button and she proudly displays it:

Four year old full belly

I wonder how my girls are going to be growing up, if they will accept and love their differences as they grow or be upset or embarrassed by them. An awesome and huge job as parents is to instill them with the confidence in themselves that air brushed pictures in magazines or super skinny folks on tv will not make them feel any different in years to come. I want them to understand how beautiful and unique they are inside and out and leave our door everyday with the confidence in knowing that they are just as they are for a purpose and to feel good about that.

With that said, I realize my body with it's couple extra pounds and lack of toned muscle (and a few stretch marks if we are being completely honest here) has gone through that transformation for a purpose....and Kyleigh and Reece are that purpose. My body was not made to be a sex symbol (to anyone else but my husband) but to provide life to our girls. I sing all of the time in the car...and I'm not good. It's OK. My voice was not made to be heard on radio stations across the world...it was made to get my kids out of their bad mood by singing silly songs to them or trying to sing along to the Jonas Brothers on radio. My spiritual journey is for a purpose, to wait with open heart and mind to what is REALLY in store for my life, not necessarily what my idea of it was. My heart is continuing to be transformed through this adoption.

Will I ever be the "perfect" mom? Size 6 with dinner on the table by 6pm, house cleaned, well behaved kids with a constant smile on her face. Uh no. But you know what? How great is it to let go and not to be bound by that and constantly striving for someone else's idea of perfection? My husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my Lord loves me just as I am.

I welcome my "imperfections" and I am proud to be a mom and wife that is still aggravated with acne, cannot consistently exercise, eats out more than I should, cannot spell, let's people get away with too much and is more about reassuring others that everything will be OK, but wondering about my own life.

What is your "imperfection"? What makes you different and unique? What is being molded through you? Feel free to leave a comment to share.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the road again...

So this weekend we went home to Goldsboro to spend time with our family and to Raleigh on Monday for our last set of interviews with our social worker.

We decided to forgo the huge birthday party for Reece here and do one with our family this past weekend. Reece has been asking for a turtle cake for her birthday...no, not a cake with a turtle ON it, a cake that IS a turtle. Tall order for mommy when the closest I have ever come to such a thing is watching Ace of Cakes on TV!

So we started working on the Thursday night. How hard could it be? After two trips to the store because we kept running out of cake mix, we ended up with this...

Night One....
That's right folks. 9 cakes of different sizes. The next day I set in to somehow convert them into a turtle. Here is what I ended up with....

My completed turtle thrown together with my minimal artistic skills!

We carefully grabbed all of our turtle pieces and packaged them up. Now I had to set up the fondant and let it sit overnight on Friday. We got into Goldsboro about 9pm and started on the fondant. Talk about an arm workout! We rolled out three sets and put it in the fridge, praying after all of this work something resembling a turtle would appear the next day!

We got up on Saturday and got started trying to dye it green and continue to kneed it. I definitely needed Bobby and his dad's help. The bigger hands were much better at it than I was. Here is what we ended up with....

We even added some fish! Just missing the water!

All Smiles
Reece was so excited and I have to say we were pretty proud of ourselves for pulling it off! Bobby left with his brother that afternoon for some much needed boy time racing go carts and then doing some real auto cross racing on Sunday in Sanford, NC.
We asked the girls what they wanted to do on Sunday and of course they exclaimed "GO TO THE PARK!" So off we went. They rode the train which has been there forever and we even treated ourselves to snow cones, which Reece got all over her face!

Our racing, 3 laps spinning around the mini train track!

The messier, the better!
On Monday we had our last set of interviews with our social worker. She hugged us when we were leaving and told us everything looked great. We hopefully should have our home study written and approved next month, then we get on the waiting list!!!
We are so tired today, but it was such a great weekend filled with significant starts and finishes: We finished our first family birthday cake, Reece kicked off her fourth year of life, Bobby had a great finish at the race track, we finished our interviews...which starts the next step of our adoption journey and we also finished the last piece of business with my dad...making his mustang officially ours. I am overwhelmed when I think about all of the events of this weekend, and feel completely blessed and happy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reece is FOUR

Right at home with Jimmy...
Reece turned four on the 11th...and we are all still in one piece!!!

My sweet, energetic, full of life little girl, I am so thankful everyday for you. You bring so much joy to our lives and always keep up on our toes. You are so fearless and greet each day with eyes wide open, no expectations....just seeking a new adventure. You give the best hugs. You hug like you will never hug them again. You are certainly talkative and love nothing more than to talk on the phone for hours at the time if we let you. You love to sing and dance, anything that is freeing. You love God and your outlook on life is so sweetly simple.
We love you our Reece a roni! We hope this year will be the best ever and you never grow out of your sense of adventure!
We opted not to do a big party this year because we are going to Goldsboro this week to celebrate Reece's birthday with our family and for our final social worker visit on Monday. Each birthday, we leave it up to the birthday girl to pick what/where they want to eat. They are princess for a day (which Reece had no problem reminding us all of!). So, with any place in the world to eat Reece picks Margaritaville. Ah, she makes her Papa Price so proud in Heaven! Here are a few shots:

Riding the boats at the Pavilion

No words for this one....

Try this mommy!

and here are some of my old favorites....

Sharing a nap

My first Christmas

Haley pug still loves to hang out under her chair....
In other news, we just finished all of our adoption training! Yeah! We have our last set of interviews coming up on Monday, so we are doing really well getting everything done in a timely manner. Hopefully our home study will be all put together and approved in August and we can get on the waiting list. We really hope to have our son/daughter home by next Halloween! Right now we are just trucking along and trying to learn all we can about Korean culture.
On another note, (and I realize this is a long post full of all kinds of stuff), PPD unfortunately had to let go some of it's workforce this past week....and I am overcome with emotion for them. These are folks we have worked along side for many years, created friendships with. I cannot imagine the loss they feel at this time. I really feel that there is a bigger plan for each of them, better than they could have imagined, and that is where they are being led. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they are going through this period of change.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Social Worker Meetings Day 1 and 2

This week has been absolutely crazy. I have been cleaning for days in preparation for our social worker visit yesterday. Our house is usually clean by most standards, but I felt like I needed to have everything washed from top to bottom, candles lit and closets cleaned out for some reason! Sally (our social worker) came Thursday afternoon to do a couple interview and my individual interview. These are based upon our written autobiographies and other information she has obtained on us as well as information sharing on adoption and the Korean program in general. All I could think was "I'll be so glad when this is all over"! Looking back, I have no idea what I was so nervous about. Our first couple interview was mostly about Korea and what it means to be an adoptive parent. We were able to share information back and forth and I have to say I was so impressed with Bobby! He is usually shy in these situations and a little quieter, but he did so well and spoke right up on how he felt about our adoption.
My individual interview was a lot about my childhood and my parents, school and how all of that has made me the person I am now. It's amazing how she was able to spin things in a way I didn't see before like me being able to relate to adoption because I wasn't raised by my biological father and my step father was just as much as a dad as a biological one was. She was very nice and seemed very supportive and wanting to help us in any way during this process.
Today we kept the girls home to meet Sally when she came back again this morning to do the 2nd couple interview. They did really well!
The interview with Bobby and I today was all about our relationship and our marriage. It's been such a ride when you sit down and talk about your relationship and your lives together...how you met at 18 and eleven years later here you are going stronger than ever before with a 6 year old, 4 year old (Reece's birthday is tomorrow!) and another one on the way. I feel so blessed and lucky beyond any words I can put down in the blog to be married to Bobby. It was all I could do not to sit there and cry as we had to run down why we loved each other and what made our marriage special.
Sally also talked a lot about my dad today and the loss and grieving I felt, comparing this to the loss and grieving our son/daughter will go through one day when everything starts coming together. It was hard to sit and talk about him and my feelings about the whole thing, I guess I hadn't really done that since he passed away.
So, interviews 1-3 are down and 4 & 5 we will be traveling to Raleigh to do on the 20th at Sally's office. We have our reference forms out to be sent back to Sally and we still have our adoption education to finish. Things seem to be moving right along.
It's going to be a long wait, I know, and we certainly will not have this baby in our arms overnight, but I cannot say enough how excited we are and it just seems to grow everyday more and more. I know it will not be easy and we will have bumps along the way, just as we already do with our girls, but I am completely in love with this child and do not even know if it's a boy or a girl, if they have been born yet or how old they are, where they are or what they are doing right now. I heard an adoption quote where a mom told her son he grew in her heart instead of under it. I thought it was cute at the time, but now I'm starting to really understand it and know our hearts are only going to grow bigger as time goes by. It's been a few years since we have had the excitement of anticipating a baby in this house, so we are really cherishing it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Boy, this is actually interesting

So, our last step in the home study paperwork (aside from the references which are out of our hands and Bobby's physical when he gets the time to go) is the education. We are required to take four classes of varying length and subject from an online source just for adoption education. In my mind, I honestly thought this would be boring. I feel like I have read so much stuff these last few months and I thought it would just be a repeat of everything I have read before.

I cannot tell you how much I am glad they make all potential adoptive parents do this. The class we are working on now is called "Eyes Wide Open" and while it does cover a lot of the things we have already read and research, much of it is told from the adoptees point of view. They place you in situations where you can really imagine yourself in their shoes and what it must be like for them. Of course, you know when you are finally given this child all you want to do is love them and give them everything you can. You know they are going to spend the rest of their lives with your family in a secure environment, but what do you think they know and understand at that moment?

For our adoption, this might be the experience our child has: With an older infant, they are used to a certain caregiver. In Korea, they have gone from their mother to an orphanage to a foster family...and now they are being moved again, all before their first year of life. They have probably just bonded with their foster family, gotten used to the noises in the neighborhood, the smells of the house, the food served, the milk, the toys and bedding, the feel of their clothes, their nap/sleep schedule and their spacial surroundings. Korea is a 13 hour time difference, so when we are going to bed, they are waking up. I don't know how much one on one attention they got, how much they were hugged or kissed, how loud their house was or even how their diapers were changed. Everything for this baby is about to change, not just the people caring for them, but the clothes, the food, the sounds, the smells, the environment, the time, the house, the country. Their whole world is about to be turned upside down, and while this is providing a positive, loving and secure future for the child, we have to remember and understand what this might feel like from their point of view when this first happens.

They will not have anything from their current environment to hold onto except what is brought with them from Korea, if anything. Can you imagine how that must be? Not knowing where you are going, where you are, who all of these people are grabbing onto you, not knowing where your foster mom is. It has to be heartbreaking for them at first.

I am really writing these things down in preparation because it's so easy to get caught up in our own emotions. We are so excited, scared, anxious, grateful. But, we also want to remember how our baby will feel those first months home. I think it's a fine line between making them feel secure and comfortable and not overwhelming them at the same time.

The new way of life will be very different for all of us, and I think as parents we need to take a step down into the shoes of each of our children for a moment and really contemplate how it's going to feel. Kyleigh did a great job transitioning into big sister when Reece was born and we are hoping that will be the same again, but we will be seeing things from her point of view as well. Reece is younger and may be more prone to act out than verbalize like Kyleigh does. Right now they are more than excited about all of this, but I think it's going to be so important to incorporate our family early and often and all be open about how we are feeling about the whole thing. So far, its been such a wonderful experience that has truly opened my eyes to the bond Bobby and I have, our children's world view and certainly mine. I hope we will continue to have our eyes opened by this experience and things continue to go well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hunger for Chinese on the 4th?

Not sure why the taste of sweet and sour chicken was so stuck in my head when I should have had burgers and dogs on the grill!

Bobby had to work on Saturday, so the girls and I took our time getting up and moving around. At lunchtime, we decided to go to the hottest place around....the beach on 4th of July! The traffic was horrible! Our closest beach is Sunset Beach, which has a cozy little one lane wood bridge (those of you that have ever rode with me know how much I do not like driving over any bridges!). We had to wait almost 30 minutes just to get over. Once we made it, we parked about a block away and started walking. Reece was pulling a small toy wagon with their sand toys, Kyleigh was carrying plastic shovels to dig with and I had a chair on my back and a bag of goodies to eat on my shoulder. We found a great spot and unloaded. It was so crowded so we were really lucky to find the one we did! We alternated between digging in the sand, sitting and relaxing and then playing in the ocean. Oh, how our girls love the ocean! I'm like the worst mom broken record ever out there " I said back up!" "you are out too far" "come back!" "Now you have to hold my hand" Just to point out, "out too far" is more than 6 inches from me, which is roughly where the water comes to the middle of my shins :-)

They both love to jump over the waves and Reece actually likes to roll in the water when it is about as deep as her bath.....creating a lovely cleaning opportunity in her bath suit later that day :-)

We were out there a little over 3 hours, just us girls enjoying the weather and ocean. I was so exhausted on the walk back to the car and we were covered in sand. I tried my best to clean up everything I could, knowing how hard Bobby had worked earlier that week to clean my car out. All in all, it was such a fun day. One of those days I will look back on and smile.

And to top it all off I got my Chinese food for dinner! We do not partake in fire works because the loud booms always scare our girls so badly, and they were already so very tired from our day at the beach. Just a quiet night at home, being thankful and gracious for all of our freedoms.

Kyleigh is very much in full mode of continuing to ask the why questions for everything and this holiday was no different. When she asked what was the 4th about, I had to sit down and tell her how thankful we should all be for the freedoms we have, freedom to live our lives as we dream, freedom to say the way we feel. It was a nice reminder to remember all of the things all of us had been taking for granted. We live in a great country...a country where hundreds of thousands of people have given their lives to protect. I realized too today during a history lesson of sorts in our church this morning that I should not only be researching Korea in anticipation of our adoption, but also America. I want to really share the history and values that this country was founded on with all of my children, and not just have them learn what pop culture is teaching at that time. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE!!!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."