August 30, 2011

our mistry baby.

while i was recently going through some papers and school projects that came home at the end of the school year, i came across a family book that marlie had made.  on each page she had drawn a picture of a family member and wrote how she loved each of us.  it started with your standard issued "i love my daddy, i love my mama, i love my sister, i love my brother, i love my baby sister."

i was surprised that there was an extra page at the end.  on it, she drew a picture of herself, with wild, yellow curls, blue eyes and "peach" skin.  beside her was a little swaddled baby, carefully colored dark brown.  below, the caption read, 
"i love my mistry baby."  

it is strange sometimes how a baby that doesn't even exist yet can already feel like a part of our family.  sometimes, when people ask how many kids i have, i accidentally say "five."  when we look at houses, we make sure there is room for five kids.  when we consider feeding the bottomless pit that is teenage children, we envision feeding five insatiable pits.  when i pray for my kids, i write in five different-colored prayer journals.  and when we panic about how we can't afford to put any of them through college, we make sure we panic about not being able to afford five tuitions.

this baby feels as much a part of our family as any of us.  and i can't wait to meet, and then know, and then love, our mistry baby.

now that london's health issues have resolved, and she is at a reasonable age to begin considering a sibling as a real, live thing in our home... we are starting up the adoption process again.  many people wonder (and ask) what this will look like... so, here is sort of list of must-do's as we move forward in the adoption journey.

  • finish all of our on-line application information.  (we have done the formal application and the interview portion, but the online portion requires a lot of specific family and financial information that we need to update and adjust.  it is actually pretty time consuming.)
  • apply for adoption loans.  (we are really praying that we will be selected for the abba fund, which is an interest-free adoption loan... this would really change our lives.  paying off our first adoption loan was a huge deal this past tax season, and we would love to avoid paying any interest this time around, if it is at all possible!)  
  • continue fundraising.  (this adoption will probably cost us somewhere around $16,000.  hopefully, this explains why we need to take a loan, and do fundraising. check out our store to see how you can help out!)
  • take care of tedious details, that are annoying, but necessary. this includes: getting physicals to clear for everyone in the home, getting fingerprints done, as well as child abuse clearances/background checks so they know we aren't criminals,   (hope they don't find out about this.)
  • make a family profile. (this is a scrapbook that gives birthparents a look at what life with us might be like.  this is where a birthmother can "get to know" a family through pictures and letters that explain who a family is and what they enjoy, believe and do together as a family.  it can play a huge role in being chosen by a birthmother, so it is an important, and time-consuming project... but one that i love to do!)
  • complete the home study.  (this is what kicks off my adoptive-version of nesting.  and trust me, it is no less intense than nesting while pregnant.  i have done both! comparatively, nesting during an adoption is intensified because it happens for an indefinite period of time! having no due date to use as a gauge for when my personal mania will end is tricky, but i usually  use the home study date as a nice "kick-off" to my indefinite state of perpetual nesting-mania.
  • maybe move into a different house.  (this one is not a "must" but is highly recommended by the last shred of common sense that i possess.  in order to make room for mistry babe, we will have to really overhaul the bedrooms.  depending on if we have a boy or a girl... we will have to move harper and london around, tear up carpets, loft beds, and bunk the baby up with someone... it just might be a costly project, and we aren't 100% convinced it makes sense to invest more money in this house, when we know that eventually we are going to need more space.  and if there is one person out there who would like to challenge me on this, i would ask you to try potty-training and living with five kids with one bathroom. on the second floor.  that leaves one sink, one toilet, one shower, and three bathroom drawers for 7 people.  i am not complaining... we have been making it work.  but, let's just say... we are outgrowing our home with four kids.  #5 might seal the deal.)
so, those are the major things off the top of my head.  i will certainly keep everyone apprised as we move along.  we are very excited about growing our family, once again, through adoption.  i am, admittedly, a little nervous.  it seems pushy to ask God for another healthy, beautiful child.  it is tempting to leave well-enough alone, and just be happy with the four treasures that i have already been given.  but, God is God.  and i am a fool. so, i am gonna go with obeying what i believe He has asked us to do.  and i believe we are called to open our hearts, our lives, our home, and even our bathroom to another baby.  so, we will.  we will wait, and nest, and open ourselves to this little miracle-mistry that will someday be so much our own, that he will only seem a mistry to everyone but us.

August 29, 2011

You can't see it, but there is so much giggling and dolls speaking in falsetto here.

August 28, 2011

Last day as a five year old! wahhh!

Tomorrow my little Marlie turns 6 years old! Let the bowling commence! (i know i swore i would never post a picture of food i made, but c'mon, this is the coolest thing i will ever make. So, this is probably the last time it'll happen.)

August 26, 2011

pigtails gettin' their praise on.jpg

London's bedhead usually defies gravity, but these particular pigtails could lead worship for the most charismatic church.

August 22, 2011

there's a support group for that.

today i blew my baby's nose into a pair of dirty socks.

usually, i would opt for my sleeve, or a receipt from my pocket, or whatever elderly tissue i could find crumpled in the bottom of my diaper bag.  but today was special.  today was a snot-in-sock kinda day.  we were at the park with some lovely friends (shout out to jeannine and her well-behaved and sweet kiddos) and it was getting pretty hot, so i had marlie take off her socks.  it was handy timing because not too long after that, i saw london trying to blow her own nose into the pocket of her overalls.

"sick," i think to myself.  dirty socks made much more sense.

this was my first playdate with this woman.  and i was thankful that she didn't judge me.  out loud.

i have been processing through this whole judging, comparing, insecurity issue.  i think i am coming into a good place where i am starting to, unabashedly, be who i am.  in some ways, i feel like i have always been myself... no matter who i was around.  but, immediately upon leaving any social situation... i beat myself up for being myself.  for talking too much, or being too opinionated, or for asking such personal questions, or for not asking enough questions, or for waving my gangly limbs around too much when i talk.

this blog has actually been very therapeutic in regard to being myself.  lately, a few "closeted" readers came forward and confessed to following my blog.  they were such encouraging women!  they said such lovely, complimentary things.  but the best thing was when my friend, sue, said "it makes me feel like maybe i can be my self, and i don't have to fake it all the time."

what a blessing those words were to me.  so often i consider whether or not i should filter, or sensor, or eliminate something i have done, or said, or felt.  tom, my faithful proof-reader, continually encourages me, saying something to the effect of "you haven't had a filter a day in your life, why would you start now."

he frees me to be me.  sue, and these other ladies that encouraged me and my little blog, freed me up to be me.  and even those little moments where i literally (or figuratively) blow my baby's nose in a pair of gym socks, and forget that maybe that's disgusting and my new friend might be repulsed... instead, she just laughs and suggests i blog about it, and makes me feel free to be me.

so, this blog post is dedicated to any other secret blog- followers out there.  you may think of yourself as a "blog-stalker" or even a "creeper" as one woman swore that she was not.  but i don't care how shady or shifty you are, this post is for you readers in the closet.  just know, that there are others out there just like you.  you are not in this alone. and i appreciate you all, even if you never come forward.  when i write some crazy story about my life, or an even crazier story about what goes on in this head of mine... you read it and you don't send me mean emails, and in some small way, that makes me feel free to be myself.  and for better or worse, i am one nutty broad... so i will take all the freedom i can get!

if you, or someone you love, has secretly followed a blog... now is the time to confess it.  there is a whole bunch of us out there.  so don't be ashamed of how creeptastic you may seem., just confess your blog love freely.  and, if you're in a pinch, wipe a nose with whatever you fancy.

should we worry.jpg

Our morning discovery.

August 21, 2011

all hands on deck.jpg

Even the Barbies have chores in our house.

August 19, 2011

What? Aren't all babies wearing goggles indoors at 9pm?

August 18, 2011

Harper is helping me make peach cobbler, this was the uniform he decided to go with.

August 15, 2011

If something makes me smile, it's gotta be this.

August 14, 2011

miss marlie has been in trouble all day. oh how i wish my stubborn 'tude wasn't a such dominant hereditary trait. but, at least the poor thing inherited great curls!

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August 10, 2011

anything you can do, i can do better.

i might have a seriously major problem.  comparing myself to others has been a lifelong infection of mine.  i intentionally choose the word infection because that is what it is.  infection is defined as being tainted or contaminated with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably. 

comparing myself to others is something that affects life's quality, my personal character and the condition of my heart unfavorably.  i am a sick, sick woman.

i think that this infection (for me) started at childbirth.  i was born 18 short months after my organized and athletically gifted sister, who could do almost anything better than me.  she was a more disciplined student, a much better athlete, and she always had her uniforms washed by game day.  comparatively, i was a bright, but distracted student who rarely "applied herself."  i was mediocre at sports, and had to sneak out of school during my lunch hour to go home and wash my uniform on game day.  and i usually washed the home jersey for away games, and vice versa.  my antics irritated my sister, and almost anyone in a position of authority.

don't get me wrong, i wasn't a complete idiot.  i'm just a little more free-spirited than your average apply-oneself-er.  it's not that i got bad grades, they just didn't reflect my potential.  one semester in college, i decided that i would actually try to get a 4.0.  i had 18 credit hours that semester, so it was the perfect time to see if i really had what it takes to ace a challenging course load.  i got a 4.0.  i didn't tell anyone at the time, and i never tried to apply myself so thoroughly ever again.

while i may not have told anyone, i kept track of that achievement in my mind.  if someone out-performed me in school... i could always say "well, if i had applied myself, i would have done just as well."  (comparison: victory for me.)  it is really out of self-preservation that i needed a secret comparison victory like this, because i spent the other 99% of my life feeling bad about the losses in most comparisons:  "wow, that girls has incredibly thick hair, but not frizzy-thick, her hair is smooth, shiny, pantene-commerical-thick. my hair isn't so much thick, as it is big.  not pantene-big, but 80's-big."  (comparison: loss for me.)  "her kids know all their state capitols??  and they recite the old testament in its entirety out loud before dinner?  and they eat the egg whites?  unsalted!?  she is super mom.  i'm the worst."  (comparison: loss for me.)  "but, her kids don't understand dry humor."  (comparison: victory.)

do you see what i mean?  i'm totally sick and infected.  it's like the circular argument i am constantly having in my head:  i am the worst-----> at least i'm not as bad as that guy-------> i am a total fool-------> she acted dumber than i did--------> i wish i could be her-----------> i could probably beat her up in a survival situation-----------> i would never act like that!----------> i can't believe i acted like that----------> i'm the worst----------> i can't believe that i am seriously the best.

sick. twisted. infected.

i hate comparing myself to others.  i usually lose out to some busty broad who fills out her dress like a proper adult... and to make myself feel better, i try to find a comparison victory to make myself feel better.  so, i search and i come up with something like, at least i know not to wear the sock/sandal combination that lady is rockin'.  it's horrible, and it doesn't make me feel better.  it makes me feel like a huge jerk.  which leads to "well, at least i'm not as big of a jerk as...."

if all of you egg my house tonight, i will understand why.  i just egged it for saying this stuff out loud.

so, i have been contemplating the comparison trap.  i have realized that it leads (in my mind) to some perceived loss or victory.  the losses, obviously, make me feel horrible.  and the victories make me feel a little better for a hot second, but ultimately make me feel horrible.  the trap is this: "victories" lead to pride (sickening), or "losses" lead to self-loathing (sickening.)  either way, comparing myself to others makes me more and more self-focused and sickening by the second.  so, i quit.

i am giving up comparisons.  i am choosing to believe that i am fearfully and wonderfully made, and so is everyone else.  no better, no worse.  we are all made in the image of a good and perfect God who is neither impressed by my "victories", nor disgusted at my "losses."  so, i am choosing to agree with God on who i am, and who others are.  i am going to stop measuring myself against other women, and start measuring myself against who i know God created me to be.

this is going to be really hard because it all happens in my head where there is zero accountability.  so, if you see me deep in thought, just slap me right across the face as hard as you can because i am, undoubtedly, comparing myself to someone else.  i will gladly do the same for all my sisters out there who are stuck in this same sick trap of comparing ourselves, and our families, and our gifts, and our faults, and so on...

i'll even bet i can slap harder than you can slap.

August 2, 2011