Thursday, March 8, 2012

Adoption Insights From Adoptive Families

We receive Adoptive Families Magazine. It's a great publication that serves as a resource for people who are looking to adopt and for those who have already adopted. 

In an article titled "Midlife Moms and Dads," an adoptive mom says this:

"I have done everything I wanted to do as a single person with no children. I've traveled. I've accepted wonderful jobs that have outrageous hours or schedules. I've slept 'til noon and stayed up all night. Now I want to do this - parent."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What a Tea Cozy Can Teach You About Life

So I mentioned Robert was born and raised in England, right! Yep. He flew over to America at the age of 19 and joined the Air Force. Other than frequent visits across the pond, he's never looked back - and is now an American citizen. He still carries some of the old traditions with him, though. And one of those traditions is tea. More specifically, P.G. Tips.

When I met Robert, I was not a regular tea drinker. Sure, I'd brew up some decaffeinated Lipton and serve it on ice with lemon or occasionally sip Tazo tea at Starbucks but I had no idea what a ritual drinking tea really is until I met Robert. He came complete with kettle, pot and tea cozy. That was seven years ago and we're still using the same tea pot and tea cozy, although we had to finally replace the kettle during Christmas.

Just a few days ago, I was making a pot of homemade thai curry soup stock on the stove. I had ground up peppers, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and some other spices, including turmeric. After I made the soup, I realized the lemongrass was simply too chunky to eat. So I pulled out the blender, poured the soup in and turned it on. Off popped the lid. Soup went flying everywhere - on the wall, on the floor, on the rug, on me and, unfortunately, on the tea cozy. The turmeric in the soup stained everything a dark mustardy yellow. Everything survived but the cozy. I washed it but the yellow didn't budge one bit. Still, I didn't get rid of it because, frankly, it's the only cozy I have.

Randomly enough, we received a package in the mail today from Robert's mum, straight from England. I opened it up. Lo and behold, it was a lovely new tea cozy. She said she ran across it in a shop and thought we'd like it. I happily walked over to the old cozy and popped it off the tea pot. Now, the tea pot is adorned with a lovely, brand-new tea cozy that will assuredly last another seven years.

You know, sometimes life hands you just what you need, even when you don't ask for it. I'm hoping it will work out like that for us in another aspect of our lives. You know what I'm talking about. ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

Chicks found here:

They say not to count your chickens before they hatch. In this case, I think they've all pretty much hatched ... if you think of blessings as chicks. Recent events - both national and personal - have reminded me of all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for:
  • Robert and I have a wonderful marriage that is based on friendship, mutual respect and love.
  • We both have large extended families that are healthy and happy, and who are supportive of us in the way we choose to live our lives.
  • We are able to support ourselves financially and pay for all the things that we need - a house and a townhouse, two cars and all of the extracurriculars that we desire.
  • Robert and I share our lives but also enjoy our own hobbies and friends. I pursue yoga teacher training, for example, and Robert plays and coaches soccer.
  • We have a wealth of friends who share in our happiness, and who have their own healthy families.
  • We live in an area full of educational and learning opportunities (for all ages), culture and commerce. 
  • We are on the powerful journey of trying to grow our family through adoption, and know that we will be able to provide a child with everything he or she needs to lead a fulfilling life.
These are all gifts that have been given to us - but they are also the result of hard work and dedication. We have dedicated ourselves to one another and we work hard on our marriage. We work to keep ourselves healthy and happy. We take advantage of the opportunities around us. For these things, I am thankful.

Even in the darkest of days (we've had those too), I'm sure if you look hard enough, you'll see the egg shells are broken and there are chicks running around everywhere. Life is full of blessings and choices.

Monday, March 5, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

Ruby slippers found here:

This past weekend was a humdinger for weather in some parts of the country. Here in Virginia it was a little rainy but that didn't stop us from having a pretty normal weekend. Not the case where my parents live and also in other parts of the country, where entire cities were destroyed by twisters in Kentucky and Indiana.

We did have a slight mishap in my family. Mom and dad were watching television when the weatherman came over the airwaves and said D.U.C.K. You know what that means, right?

D - Dash to the lowest level in the building
U - Urgently hide your butt under something
C - Cover ye ole noggin
K - Keep yourself put until the storm passes

Mom and dad headed down to the basement but didn't turn on the light. Mom thought she had reached the bottom. Instead, what she anticipated was the floor was actually another step. She tumbled down, hitting her nose on a wheel barrow. 

I didn't actually find this out until later. Robert came home and said he had been watching the news on the Internet and found out tornadoes were sighted near my parents' house. (Side note: Robert likes to keep watch on the happenings where our families live. He even keeps up with his parents in England online.) I immediately called mom. She conveyed her story and told me she hadn't gone to the emergency department. Thankfully, my older sisters talked her into it. She had a broken nose.

I need to call her tonight to find out if she needs to get it reset. Apparently when you break your nose, you have to reset it within seven days or the damage is permanent - who knew!

Even though my mom has a broken nose, I still feel very fortunate. So many families lost their homes and even their loved ones to tornadoes in many states. In fact, Robert and I were watching the news together just last night. There was a picture of a man holding his dog who had been found in the rubble of the man's flattened home. I said, "you know, that could be us." Storms are indiscriminate.

We are thankful for so many things. Our healthy families, our supportive friends, our beautiful homes, our fulfilling lives. And I personally am thankful for being on this adoption journey. I've met so many wonderful people and learned so much about the process of adoption. I definitely feel all of this has made me aware of what I have been given in life and I'm ready to share some of that wealth, culture and love with another.

Monday Madness

In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

— Lao Tzu

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

It's official. The dresser was finally delivered. And I've decided to repurpose a chair that my mom and dad gave us. It's an old Ethan Allen club chair that is just the right size to sit in while nursing (and maybe fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning). I told Robert I refuse to do anything else to the nursery until we know for sure that an adoption is going to happen.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday my hope had dwindled into nothingness. Today, after a good night's sleep and a bit of perspective, I'm back in the game. Yes, we're still looking for a match but, for some reason, today I have hope.

Robert opened the door to the nursery this morning and flipped on the lamp. It just feels right to have that door open and ready to welcome a little person. I left it open all day and, because it's warm in Virginia today, just opened the window to let some fresh air blow gently through. I can hear the wind chimes just below the window singing ever so lightly in the soft breeze.

I don't know when it will happen ... but it's sure to happen. And when it does, we'll be ready.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Break in the Storm

Image found here:
It's been raining all day here in Virginia, which is an appropriate setting for how I've been feeling lately. We've had a few calls here and there lately that have taken us down one rabbit hole after another only to find us falling fast onto a hard, impenetrable concrete floor. No one ever said this was going to be easy.

Regardless, Robert and I still believe that one of these leads will take us right through the looking glass. There, we hope to find the right situation for us - a baby whose mom (and maybe even dad) has chosen to place her child in our care. Because of that, we'll continue to take the midnight phone calls and set up appointments that never come to fruition and talk to strangers who say this is going to be the one only to be let down once again, staring at a phone that doesn't ring again.

They say never give up. And we're not. But some days the waiting just wrenches it right out of you. Someday this will all be a distant memory. Some day, all of this energy will redirect itself to something important - a child who deserves the world. When that happens, we'll be there to give it to him or her, whomever that may be.

Happy leap day, everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Best Days are Do Nothing Days

We've had the best weekend so far ... we've done absolutely nothing! Sometimes do nothing days are the very best days, don't you agree?

Yesterday we laid around all day in our pajamas, watching garbage television, skimming Facebook, reading and lying around with the dogs. I journaled and flipped through magazines - Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living and Yoga Journal - dreaming about new wall colors and furniture, and brushing up on the latest yoga news. In fact, I didn't get out of my pajamas until around 5:00, when I took a bath with Bath & Body Works Vanilla Verbena foam bath and a candle. (I love Bath and Body Works' aromatherapy line.) Gosh I'm starting to sound like a dang commercial!

We both went to bed around 9pm and woke up this morning to a day of sunshine. It is absolutely beautiful in Virginia today! It's around 50 degrees and sunny. There's not a cloud in the sky. Robert is playing in a soccer scrimmage this afternoon so I plan to join him at the park. I'll probably walk around the fields to get some exercise then hang out and watch. I may actually take pictures if I can get close enough to the goal!

Do nothing days are the best for recharging your batteries. Do nothing days are a way to give yourself some love - to tell yourself that you are important. What have you done for yourself lately? Have you had a do nothing day?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Because It's Friday

And because it's not sunny in Virginia today ...

Pic found at:

Have the most lovely Friday ever!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cover of book found here:

When Robert and I first decided to adopt, we worked with an adoption agency to complete our initial home study. As part of that home study, we were asked to read The Third Choice - A Woman's Guide to Placing a Child for Adoption. It was my first introduction to adoption from the perspective of a birth mother. 
We've been on this adoption journey now for over a year. Still, I often refer back to that book to remind myself about the brave women who choose adoption for their children. I think it's important for those who would like to adopt to educate themselves about all aspects of adoption. Yes, it's a happy time for an individual or couple who are adopting, but it's also a sad time for the person who has chosen as a mother to allow her child to be brought up by someone else. 
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book. Remember, this book is written for women who are considering adoption for their child:
  • It is your right to ask for as much information as you need in order to make a good decision.
  • No matter what your circumstances, there is almost always an appropriate family available who will want to adopt your child. You have a greater chance of finding them of you are straightforward about your history and situation.
  • After you have met with all of the prospectiveparents that interested you, the decision is now in your hands. Chances are, you already have a pretty good idea who the parents of your child will be. Some birthmothers say they felt a tremendous relief when they found the adoptive parents for their child, like a burden was lifted from their shoulders. Other birthparents agonized over the decision. It is often just a matter of your style in making decisions. Take your time, and do it according to your own timeline.
  • By the time a couple contacts and adoption organization [or adoption attorney], chances are, they have spent a number of years trying to have a baby on their own.
Women who choose adoption for their children have so much to think about - just as adoptive couples do. Robert and I have already been through a couple of near misses, one where the birth mother decided to keep her child just as we were packing up to drive 13 hours and meet her at the hospital. Some days it seems like we will never have the opportunity to adopt. Then, other days, when I'm feeling more realistic, I have compassion - both for Robert and I, and for the women who are going through an unplanned pregnancy and who are faced with a difficult decision. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birth Mom Posts About Adoption Language

I read a lot of blogs and websites about adoption. I want to be as educated as possible about adoption so I can be the best parent possible when we are matched. I read an interesting post today on America Adopts! It's written by and from the perspective of a birth mother.

Have a read: Birth Mothers Are People Too

I'll be interested to hear what you think, whether you are a birth mother yourself, someone who is considering adoption for her child, an adoptive parent, a hopeful adoptive parent, or simply just someone who happened upon Adoption Is a Powerful Choice.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adoption Insights From Jamie Lee Curtis

Picture found here:
Lately my celebrity crushes have been on celebrities who've adopted. Recent mentions are Sandra Bullock and Mariska Hargitay. My latest celebrity crush is Jamie Lee Curtis. I had no idea she had adopted her kids until I saw a list of notable adoptive parents. There's not a lot of press on Jamie Lee and Christopher Guest's adoptive kids, and I respect that. After all, celebrities are people too (well, some of them). But I did find this quote on adoption from Jamie Lee Curtis' interview in Parents magazine that extracts the romanticism right out of adoption and injects the process with reality:

"Adoption is a very complicated road filled with incredibly emotional and challenging aspects. At its core, adoption is about loss. It’s one that needs a lot of good support for everybody, so that everyone is clear about the feelings that are being stirred up for everyone. Birthdays, for instance, are very hard for adopted children. For everyone else it’s a celebration of the moment of birth, but for adopted children, it’s the remembrance of a birth family that they don’t have. So it’s complicated terrain but still a beautiful way to make a family. You have to just be really open to all sides of it." Read more here

Jamie Lee really gets to the heart of it. We've been on this journey for a long time. Some days it feels like we'll never become parents. But when you consider everyone involved - from the hopeful adoptive parents to the birth parents to the adoptive children - you can understand why it takes so long ... and why it really should take so long to adopt. Adoption is a process that happens over time, an unfolding of emotions and a willingness on the part of all parties to be authentic with their choices in life. I think it will be totally worth it. 

As Robert always says, "Life is no dress rehearsal." Why dip your toes in the shallow end when there's an entire Olympic-sized pool full of lovely blue water waiting for you to dive in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Couple Adopts Through Facebook

How interesting the world is today. I just read about a couple who posted their adoption flyer on Facebook. Shortly after, they met the woman who wanted them to adopt their baby. We've been on Facebook and Blogger now for a few months and haven't received one phone call yet from either! The two birth mothers who have called us since we've been up and running found us through Parent Profiles and through the Families for Private Adoption Facebook page. Neither of those worked out for us but we still believe!

The media makes it all sound so easy. Just post a Facebook page and whammo, you'll be matched! Believe me, it's not that easy. Here are just some of the things we've done to get the word out since our home study was approved:

  • Told all of our family and friends
  • Joined an adoption network 
  • Listed with an agency, and created an adoption profile so they can share with potential birth moms
  • Let attorneys know that we are eligible for domestic adoption
  • Joined three Yahoo networking groups
  • Made adoption cards and flyers that we post on every community bulletin board we see
  • Placed ads in newspapers, both in print and online
  • Sent cards and letters to various locations where birth mothers might come for pregnancy tests or information about pregnancy choices
  • Started an adoption blog (you're reading it here!) and joined Blogher to spread the word
  • Started a Facebook page
  • Joined Parent Profiles

    We were told it's a part-time job looking for a match and I have to admit, it is. Not one day goes by that I don't do something to get the word out that we are trying to adopt. Plus, I update our blog, Parent Profiles and our Facebook page almost every day. We are also going to invest in a few other avenues over the coming months to get even more exposure. It just takes one phone call. It almost feels like dating. You put yourself out there and can't predict what might happen. You might me the person of your dreams - or you might just become an expert at marketing. 

    Getting Through the Wait - Channeling Spring

    Painting found at

    I've been channeling Spring lately. Yes, I know it's only February, but in Virginia, the weather has been quite mild. In fact, our trees are already budding and I saw a knock-out rose bush the other day that was blooming. 

    Like Frederick, I'm pretty good at thinking about sunny days when these Winter days get long. But there are moments when I think to myself, "Self, I just wish Springtime would get here."

    It's kind of the same thing with adoption. Most days, I can stay upbeat by updating my blog, reading inspiring stories of other folks who have successfully adopted and believing that one day it will happen. In my experience, once I set an intention, it usually happens - but not always on my timeline. The Universe has its own timeline and you just can't mess with that.

    So on those days when I start to think to myself, "Self, we'll never find a match," Robert comes through. What you may not know about Robert is that he is ever the optimist. He can turn a negative thought around in a second and inspire you even more than you ever thought you would be inspired. I've had my moments, but Robert has always pulled me through - and I have to say, I've done the same for him. Great marriages are like that.

    I believe that this adoption is going to happen. We just have to wait for the Universe to decide that it's our time. All it takes is one phone call with the right person. 

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Dave Grohl's Got Heart - Insight from the Grammys

    Picture found here:

    Last night, we finally got around to watching The Grammys. We had DVR'd it so we could fast-forward through all of the boring bits. Of course we love Adele - she's so down to Earth and has the most wicked cackle for a laugh. (You can see a great interview with her on British TV here.)

    My favorite acceptance speech of the night was by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. He said, "It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding correct. It’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here (points to heart) and what goes on in here (points to head.) 

    I believe the same thing about this whole adoption process and about being a parent. It's not about being perfect or sounding correct, it's about what's in your heart and what goes on in your head. 

    Rock on, Dave Grohl.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    8 Ways to Say I Love You on Valentine's Day

    Find photo at

    I pretty much Love Valentine's Day. Even way back when I was single, I'd pick another single out of the crowd and shower them with gifts of candy, flowers and cards. I'd also do something special for myself ... a favorite meal, a small gift for myself, even just an evening to myself. It's a day to tell someone that they are special to you...and don't forget yourself!

    This year, Robert and I celebrated Valentine's Day in a few different ways:
    • Sent boxes of candy to our nieces and nephews (complete with confetti)
    • Went shopping and bought a gender-neutral crib and dresser for the nursery
    • Robert bought me lots of Bath and Body Works bubble bath
    • I bought Robert lots of candy (non-chocolate, of course, because he's allergic)
    • Presented each other with cards and showered each other with kisses this morning
    • Called my mom and dad, whose anniversary is Valentine's Day (you should see their wedding pictures ... red velvet bridesmaid dresses!)
    • (We will) prepare a lovely meal tonight of grilled salmon, salad and Dave Matthews' Dreaming Tree wine Crush 
    • A night of pre-recorded Grammys, Downton Abbey and the Baftas
    And it's only 8:30 in the morning!

    When we finally have the opportunity to adopt, we plan to share Valentine's Day - and many holidays - with our child. After all, holidays are a reason to celebrate and to mark each other as important. It's an excuse to stop and take a look at what you have ... and to be thankful for all the gifts that life provides.

    What are you doing to celebrate your loved ones - and yourself - this Valentine's Day?

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Gender-Neutral Crib and Dresser

    In all the excitement about the USSS vs. FBI Charity Event, I forgot to mention that we finally found a crib and dresser for the nursery. On Friday, Robert and I headed south to a huge shopping mall. We spent the day together shopping and then stopped for a bite to eat before driving home. One of our favorite purchases of the day was a dresser and crib for the nursery. We were going back and forth about what type of crib we wanted but in the end, we ended up with a traditional pick from Pottery Barn Kids.

    We picked out a Chestnut finish but I couldn't find a picture of either in the Chestnut color. Here is a picture of the crib in Espresso:

    We bought the Kendall dresser from Pottery Barn Kids. Pictured here is the crib in Espresso finish. We selected a Chestnut finish for ours, as it seemed to be gender-neutral.

    We loved the dresser. It's the perfect size to use as a changing table as well so our next purchase will probably be a changing pad. I also saw some really cute changing pad covers on Etsy. Here's a picture of the dresser. Keep in mind that this isn't the finish we selected but I couldn't find Chestnut on the website to share with you. Imagine this but a bit darker:

    The dresser shown here is in honey. We selected a Chestnut finish as it felt more gender-neutral and could be used for quite a few years.

    We really do have all the basics. Once this furniture is delivered (about two weeks), we'll be all set. I can't wait to put all of the little bits and bobs away in the dresser. Finally, the nursery is coming together. Once we get the furniture set up, I'll snap a photo and share it here.

    It's so fun pulling all of this stuff together, even if we haven't been matched with a birth mom yet. We feel so ready to welcome a child into our home. 

    FBI vs. USSS Charity Hockey Game

    Last night, we attended the FBI vs. USSS Hockey Game at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex with our friends, J and L, and their 5 year old boy, A. They just had a baby a little over a month or so and this was L's first time away from her daughter, whom they left in the capable hands of her mom. As you'll see, J is hard to pin down for a photo op but the rest of us had fun with the camera.

    Kris and Robert goofing off during the USSS vs. FBI Charity Game.

    The game is an annual event played for charity. This year's charity was Efforts 4 Ellie, a foundation that supports research efforts for glycogen storage diseases (GSD). GSDs are metabolic disorders that make it hard for the body to break down foods to create energy. Ellie was there and stood in the middle of the ice for photo ops then headed up to the prime seats in the house to sit with the USSS.

    A and L enjoying the game.

    The game might have been for charity but that didn't stop things from getting heated. The first period saw the USSS in the lead, which only spurred the FBI on in the second period, where they pulled out all the stops. It wasn't until the last five minutes that the USSS scored two, pulling them forward for the win.

    A mesmerized by the USSS vs. FBI Charity Event. He wants to play hockey now ... the jury is still out on whether mom and dad will let him.

    It was only 7:30 pm when the game ended but we were all pooped. L and J were anxious to get back to their little girl and A fell asleep in the back seat. Fun was definitely had by all. Can't wait for Robert and I to be able to share this kind of fun with our own adoptive child, when we are so blessed to be matched to one.

    Final score: USSS 7 - 5 FBI

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Why We Want to Adopt

    Every hopeful adoptive couple (or single!) has a unique story, just as every person who decides to choose adoption for their child has a unique story. Ours began in 2007 when Robert and I were visiting his parents in England.

    It was Christmastime and we had just been to a pantomime at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. A pantomime is an English Christmas tradition. In America, we would think of a pantomime as a play with a twist ... the audience gets to participate. The pantomime we saw was Snow White. Like Shrek, this version of Snow White was for kids but also contained humor for the grown-ups. Anyway, I digress as usual.

    Robert and I were lying in bed getting ready to shut off the lights and get some shut-eye when he told me he wanted to have a baby. I thought he was kidding. The next day, I brought it up again just to be sure. He reassured me he was ready, and so our journey began.

    Fast forward to 2009. Robert and I had tried to have a baby naturally but it just wasn't happening. Month after month, we'd build ourselves up, only to be let down by a big fat "-" on the pregnancy test. We talked with our doctor who recommended we see an infertility specialist. He conducted test after test. I had a CCCT and an HSG (which, by the way, is not a comfortable procedure at all). Robert had a sperm analysis (I won't go into the details but how humiliating!). Everything looked a-okay. We started taking Clomid. That didn't work. We decided to try IUI coupled with ovulation induction - yes, Robert had to inject me with hCG to increase the number of eggs available for insemination. It was all becoming so scientific. And the majority of infertility treatments are not covered by insurance. Robert and I were disheartened, thinking we would never get to be parents. We decided to take a much-needed break.

    What people don't tell you about infertility is that it takes a huge emotional toll on couples. Robert and I were worn out and our spirits were low. We came to the realization that we just were not going to have a baby naturally. And so we shifted gears and started working on our relationship. We reconnected in a different way - our relationship slowly grew stronger and stronger. We both realized that even though we could not have a child naturally, we still had a desire to parent together. And the fact that our child might not be our biological child somehow just didn't seem to matter. Slowly, a glimmer of hope began to emerge.

    We began researching adoption as an option for us. But there were so many choices - international vs. domestic, private/independent vs. agency, open, closed, biracial, transracial ... which one was right for us? After many months of talking to people who have successfully adopted, meeting with an adoption attorney and talking with an adoption agency, we decided to adopt domestically (in the United States). We also decided on an independent adoption instead of an agency adoption. Independent, or private, adoption is where the hopeful adoptive couple finds an individual or a couple who have chosen adoption for their child. All parties come to an agreement that works for them and an attorney takes care of the details. We've also decided we don't care what race the baby is or whether the baby is a boy or girl. We know the right situation will find us, no matter what that is.

    And so here we are almost five years later still trying to find our someone. This road has not been an easy one. The financial burden alone has been tough. But I have to say Robert and I have grown so strong as a couple because and despite it all. We continue to reach out to family, friends and even strangers to find someone who would like for us to adopt their child and raise it in our home. I hope it happens soon but, if not, we will persevere.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Sunshine on My Shoulders

    I drove to my yoga class this morning in the beaming sunshine! I can't believe this Winter has been so mild. The temperature today was in the upper 50s. 

    We're looking forward to Springtime in Virginia. In March or April, Washington DC has its annual Cherry Tree festival. The festival lasts for just a short time while the Cherry Trees bloom. There is so much for families to do and see. I hope the weather remains pretty throughout the season. 

    In the coming weeks, we're planning a trip to Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is full of history and is the capital of Virginia so promises to be a fun trip. We are going to shop at Short Pump, a town center and mall that has all kinds of shops. We are slowly pulling together a nursery and are looking for furniture that is gender-neutral so we can welcome either a boy or a girl to our family when the time comes. 

    Also on our list is the National Zoo. I've been to many zoos throughout the country but am looking forward to seeing all the animals. My favorites are usually the seals and otters. They are so playful. I think of them as water dogs! 

    Most of all, though, Robert and I are looking forward to more and more days of sunshine. We look forward to gardening and walking, grilling out and sitting out on the patio in the evenings. Here's to Spring! I can see you on the horizon!!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    The Importance of Mealtime

    My photography really doesn't do this breakfast justice - or maybe it's my mad Photoshop skills. Either way, this lovely feast is what Robert cooked this morning for breakfast ... French toast with fruit-infused butter, thick (real) bacon and grapes. Not pictured here is the lovely coffee mug that was sitting happily right next to the plate. 

    When I met Robert, he cooked quite often. Rarely did a week go by that he wasn't whipping up a breakfast like this one (very English, by the way), a chicken curry (again, very English) or a bread and butter pudding (seriously English). Okay he made salads too. Most of his cooking took place on the weekend, while I made our weekly evening meals. As time went by, and as I began experimenting with various cookbooks and perfecting almost every Jamie Oliver recipe I could get my hands on, Robert quit cooking except on the rare occasion.

    It wasn't until recently, when we started watching The Pioneer Woman on The Food Network that Robert's interest in cooking peaked again. Now, I've read The Pioneer Woman's blog for years. She has literally millions of followers and talks about everything from her Bassett hounds to her cooking to her home schooling to her photography. 

    A couple of weekends ago, Robert made spicy pulled pork. This weekend, he made French toast with berry butter for breakfast and he's planning to make Asian hot wings for dinner. Since I already indulged in the French toast, chances are I won't eat the wings but the ingredients sitting on the counter look mouth-watering good! I bought some Boston bibb lettuce and may just make myself a salad for dinner. For some reason I feel like I need a little healthiness! (I can't imagine why!)

    Benefits of Family Meals

    Sometimes I bet you wonder what all of my random blog posts have to do with adoption. Well, I'll tell ya. Studies show that families who eat together are healthier. Why? The social connections created while sitting down to a meal fire up all of those feel-good neurotransmitters and create bonds. 

    Say what? 

    A family that sits down together for meals get close:
    • Family meals provide structure and stability. 
    • Families who eat together talk more.
    • Families who eat together share more
    • Mealtimes are a reason to get together every single day. 

    A family unit is about the strongest bond a person can have from infant hood well into adulthood and beyond.

    You might say Robert and I are practicing our parenting skills before we've even found our adoptive child just simply by cooking together and eating together.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Adventures in Dining

    Last night, Robert and I dined at a local restaurant that serves organic, free-range and hormone-free foods paired with wines and beers from local wineries and breweries. It was Friday night and the one-room restaurant was quite the scene.

    As you've probably figured out, Robert and I like to get out and about, experiencing the local culture and just basically seeing what's out there. We've often wondered if that will change once we adopt. Our answer comes by watching and learning.

    Last night, while we waited to be sat at our table, we shared lounge seats with a large family. Two of the men were holding babies. At an adjacent table sat another couple with a little girl who looked to be about four years old. And, after we sat down, yet another couple sat next to us with three kids ranging in age from about 12 to 2. Enough said.

    The secret? Selecting carefully. This very cool and trendy restaurant welcomes kids. And so it attracts couples who like to get out and about ... with their kids of all ages. After all, who wants to sit around and watch TV all the time?

    Not us.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    The Shows We Watch

    Robert and I aren't really television surfers. We do have a few shows that we absolutely love (thank goodness for DVR).

    Modern Family - I think Robert has a crush on Gloria. (Do you blame him?) Frankly, I have a crush on Cameron.

    Jamie Oliver's American Road Trip - Jamie's cooking shows took my dinners to a new level. This show finds him traveling across America to discover how food and culture collide.

    Sons of Anarchy - We cannot wait for Season 4. This show is about a motorcycle gang in California. Definitely not for wussies!

    Parenthood - Robert doesn't watch this show (yet) but I can pretty much laugh and cry during every episode.

    Bones - Our friend the microbiologist says the science on this detective series is retarded - but who cares when the characters are so cool!

    The Fringe - Did you love the X-Files? Enough said.

    True Blood - Another one that's not for wussies. I read the Sookie Stackhouse series and am now trying to keep up with Sookie's adventures when we get free HBO previews.

    Sherlock Holmes - No, really. The British version of modern day Sherlock.

    Downton Abbey - A British drama about a well-to-do family with sisters vying to get married so they don't lose the family fortune. Can you say Dynasty anyone?

    Gosh, we watch a lot of television. I promise you we are really not that boring. :)

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Nursery Ideas

    The more I stare at this nursery, the more I like it. Hey, don't knock it. I have to have something to fill my creative mind while I wait for a match. I found this one on Chic & Cheap Nursery.

    Anyhoo, I painted the nursery light French gray. It's a Sherwin-Williams color, and not as dark as the gray pictured here. Robert and I both decided last night that the nursery is our favorite room in the house - though there's no furniture in it yet other than a shelf that I painted, a night stand and a lamp. It just feels inviting and soft and relaxing.

    I'm trying to find some colors that are bright and cheerful but that are gender-neutral. Why? Well, because we have no idea whether we will be adopting a boy or a girl!

    Keep it simple is my motto. I'm more minimalist than anything. So I'll probably choose one overarching color and have a couple of accent colors for pillows and whatnot (such as in this picture) but what really matters is who's in the nursery, after all.

    Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Another Celebrity Adoption - Sandra Bullock

    I'm totally in love with Sandra Bullock adopting too. Above is the picture of her People spread just after she adopted baby Louie. Just like Mariska, I've always loved Sandra Bullock. She's not your typical star, in that you don't see her out gallivanting, vying for media attention.

    I know, I know. Stars don't live in our world. They decide to adopt and it seems like suddenly, they have a child. Not like the rest of us, who go through months and years of paperwork and waiting before we are finally matched somehow, some way. Regardless, I think it's inspiring.

    I don't think I'll be doing any photo shoots after Robert and I adopt ... but you never know. ;)

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Celebrity Adoption - Mariska Hargitay

    I've always loved Mariska Hargitay. I just think she's so pretty! And now I have yet another reason to love her. She is an adoptive mother.

    The above picture is from an article in More Magazine. (I'm convinced the editors of More have an affinity for adoption.) Apparently, she's now adopted a little boy as well. I'm ever so jealous ... she's pretty, successful and has now experienced two successful adoptions. Well, I can't be too hard on myself. Two out of three ain't bad.

    Can't wait to post about our adoption on here when it happens! Still searching ...

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Chalky's Playlist

    Chalky's been into some R&B lately ... and a bit of down home funk. Check out his favorite playlist:

    Fred's a little more mellow. Look for his playlist soon!

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    More Magazine - Adopting at 55

    We've chosen independent domestic adoption, which means we are trying to find a girl or woman from the United States who would like to consider adoption for her child. Still, I love stories. And one of the more recent adoption stories I ran across was one about a lady named Joyce. At 55, she decided to adopt two sisters from Ethiopia. 

    Their mother died of AIDS, and their father is HIV-positive but the girls are healthy. Says Joyce, "The choice I've made to adopt is one that few of my over-50 friends would make - and one that I wrestled with for more than a decade. I have no idea where I am headed or what my life will look like when I get there. I just know that once I put my arms around these two girls ... I'll be embarking on an adventure that's as challenging as launching a raft into Class 5 rapids but a lot longer lasting. Sink or swim, no turning back."

    The article was published in the September 2010 issue of More Magazine. I cut it out and it is now housed in a folder that holds many articles about adoptions - both domestic and international.

    I love the picture of the three of them on the table. The girls have left a continent to move to a place unfamiliar to them both - but there's no fear in their eyes. They're warriors, the three of them. 

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Sun rays, Colors and Words

    Frederick by Leo Lionni was one of my favorite children's books when I was a little girl. Frederick is a mouse who belongs to a colony of mice. During the summer and autumn months, all of the mice of the colony are gathering nuts and berries and grains to store away for the winter - all of them, that is, except Frederick. 

    When the colony mice ask Frederick what he's doing, he replies that he's gathering sun rays, colors and words. As you can imagine, the other mice think Frederick has gone coo coo. 

    Later, in the middle of winter, the mice of the colony have eaten up all their grain. The fruit is long gone and there are just a few nuts. It's then that Frederick the mouse begins to tell his brothers and sisters stories - stories of the sunshine and of the colors of summer and of words that were spoken during months when they were all together in the warmth. Frederick's stories warm the hearts of all the mice in the colony and they finally understand. 

    I think of Frederick a lot during the winter months, especially during the month of January. On the coldest of cold days, it's often hard to find something that inspires a ray of sunshine into your day. On those days, I channel Frederick. After all, it only takes a moment to close your eyes and imagine the sunshine on a day in the middle of late summer when you and a loved one shared a moment. 

    One of my favorite memories from this past summer is when my nieces and nephews all spent the night with me and Robert. We hung out at the house then went downtown to a local burger joint to enjoy massive cheeseburgers, monster shakes and jumbo onion rings and fries. Then we walked and walked downtown. It was hot and we were sweaty, but we were together, hanging out and acting goofy. Afterwards, we sat around in the living room and fought over which movies we wanted to watch. The next morning, we all got up and met Nana and Pop Pop for breakfast before they had to go home. 

    What are your colors? What are your sun rays? What are your words?

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Trip to Washington DC

    Man oh man did we have a great time in Washington, DC today. Since we didn't actually get there until around noon, we decided to eat lunch first. We stopped in at the Old Post Office to see what kind of food they had.

    Our stomachs eventually led us a barbecue restaurant called Hill Country. Food is served up Texas style in a wrap of paper with lots of hand wipes for that finger-lickin' barbecue sauce. We split the special. Now before you go thinking that you'd be starving if you split a meal, listen to what The Pitmaster included: 1/4 lean brisket, one pork spare rib, one beef rib, quarter all natural chicken and any two sides. We picked mac n' cheese and cole slaw. All that food plus two drinks and tip for less than $28. We couldn't believe it. It's right by the Crime & Punishment Museum if you're ever in the area - and apparently bands play there in the evening. 

    After lunch, we began our walk past the sculpture garden to the Air and Space Museum. On the way, we encountered this little guy. He walked right up to us but even before he did that, we knew people must feed him because he was quite a hefty fellow!

    We then walked up the street to the Air and Space Museum. I personally wanted to see the Albert Einstein Planetarium so we bought tickets and enjoyed a viewing of Journey to the Stars. Did you know they've discovered objects in the Universe called "brown dwarfs" that are too big to be called planets but too small to be called stars? There are just as many brown dwarfs as there are stars. Fascinating! My favorite, of course, are the nebulas - a cloud of dust that serves as a virtual nursery for the birth of stars. After they're born, stars kind of hang out together in the nebula as a cluster. Our own sun hung out in a nebula until it broke away with the planets. I could go on and on but I digress. 

    The Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Mall is full of spacecraft and aircraft - both models and the real thing. And there are missile, like the ones seen here. Yikes! Of course the warheads are removed so these are the Heidi Klums of the missile world - just mere models now.

    Here you see the nose of the 747 jumbo jet. We got to walk into the cockpit of this baby. You can't really see the scale here but it was GIGANTOR big.

    I don't get as excited about planes like Robert does but I did love seeing the sky lab. I swear I took a picture of it but I can't find it now that I'm looking for it. Anyway, I have such a hard time imagining people hanging out in a cylinder in the sky with no place else to go! Astronauts truly are pioneers, in my opinion. There's also a satellite out there somewhere that has recordings from every country on Earth just in case someone out there finds it. It's like something off of Star Trek!! 

    Besides the planes and the spacecraft and the missiles, there were also uniforms - lots of them. 

    This was an Englishman's outfit complete with gas mask. Hmmm ... wonder why I was so fascinated by an Englishman's get-up! We also watched a 3D movie called Legends of Flight. It was all about how they designed and built the 787, the latest and greatest fuel efficient airbus (which is just another name for an airplane that can carry a bunch of people). The inspiration for the design came from an albatross - a bird that can glide for an incredibly long time. 

    By the time we got through all that we were pooped! But not too pooped for some gelato. We walked to Pitango, a gelato shop on 7th street and had a refreshing treat. I selected cardamom and hazelnut. Robert had vanilla and creme (did I mentioned Robert is allergic to chocolate?). 

    It was a great ride home. We talked and talked. About 20 minutes from our exit, we both just went quiet. Now, as I sit on the couch watching "The Guardian" and retelling our story, I think back on how much I learned today. It was definitely a great day for both of us.

    Forgive the layout on this post. I couldn't get it to line up then finally decided it's good enough as it is.

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