Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sick House

Well, the illness has progressed and this is going to be a short post. Just got back from the MD and Joshua as strep throat and pneumonia, and I have strep but no pneumonia...yet. They let Josh come home tonight but if he is not better tomorrow then he will be hospitalized. We are going to be on antibiotics and they even gave him an antibiotic injection too, as well as prednisone and nebulizer in an effort to lick this thing. I so don't want him in hospital, so we are praying the drugs kick in and he starts responding quickly.

Imagine your house Christmas afternoon with all the mess not yet picked up from the morning, and sick bed stuff everywhere with blankets strewn on every surface...and Daddy trying hard to take care of everything else while still coming down with it a little himself. And at the moment, I feel so lousy, I could care less.

Think I'll go crawl back to bed. I don't have the energy to be deep, witty or interesting.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Feverish Christmas Ramblings


Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The coughing and hacking
Had mom on the couch!

With Josh and his blankie
And mom under hers
The big boys went out
To celebrate Jesus' birth

In our feverish state
We sat so enthralled
Watching old Christmas reruns
Trying hard to recall

The vision of Christmas
We had planned for weeks
For our new son's first holiday
Was not all we had dreamed

But this is "real life"
Things aren't always as planned
Perfect only exists
In sitcoms that are canned

So although it may not
End up as we'd wished
With cookies and fudge
And a great tasty dish

There is love in this house
Of that rest assured
Forever a family
A love that endures

And on this special night
With Santa and Elves
It is about much more
We remind ourselves

So from Mommy and Daddy
And Kenny and Matt
From Joshie and others
LaJoy's, that's a fact

May you have peace tomorrow
As you look round your table
And remember that Christ
Is more than a fable.

Merry, Merry Christmas to All

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Unique Christmas

Sorry I haven't been more prolific this week, with the great news you would think I would be filled with things to share! The fact is, the LaJoy house is under seige...4 out of 5 of us have been very sick with some sort of bug. Matthew was out of school all week (2 kids from his class ended up hospitalized with it, 9 were out in one day!), Kenny only battled one day thankfully, and Josh and I are in it full steam with fevers of 102 that keep returning, coughs, chills, you name it. I am sort of bummed because I was so looking forward to Kenny's first Christmas home and I was actually well prepared and now I am feeling way behind...presents aren't wrapped, baking not done. It's just not happening the way I had hoped for, but we are all going to just go with the flow. I was most happy to hear Matthew, who is now pretty much fully recovered, ask me "Are we still going to church Christmas Eve? That's the special part!". No questions about presents or cookies, just wanting to know if we get to go to that quiet candlelight service. I promised that even if Josh and I can't go, Dominick, Kenny and he would go without us. Huge grin and an upward thrust of the fist "All Right!" at that one!

As we have moved through this unreal week, with illness and great joy, I have often contemplated this little family of mine. I KNOW you all must be sick of hearing about how much I love them all, but you know what? This blog is really written for them, so keeping that always in mind I prefer to ere on the side of reminding them often how profoundly blessed I feel on a daily basis. If you all can read between the "love letter" that is this blog and glean something from it, terrific, if not, I guess I'll be pulled off your favorites list! So, back to the topic at hand, this hodge pedge group of unrelated people is a real family, a real, caring, deeply committed and connected family. Every single one of us has offered comfort in one form or another to the other one during this week, Joshie walking by even in his feverish state putting his hand on my forehead saying "I think you'll be ok, Mommmy", Kenny snuggling in bed with Matthew asking him how he feels, kids telling me "It's ok mom, we'll help" without even being asked. There is this sense of unity among us, pulling around a common goal of keeping this family moving. I'll be the first to admit that Kenny has really enhanced this with his helpful and giving spirit, and there are days when I catch myself smugly thinking "Man, someone missed out on a super son by passing him by!!", which is not at all appropriate but honest.

And now we come to our new additions...yes, it will be two. Some of you have already deduced what is going on and emailed me privately, and others who are long time followers can simply look at what is now missing from the blog and figure it out. Enough said.

I am scared. Yup, scared.

I'd be stupid not to be, wouldn't I? Dreams come true are awesome! I think God is going to use this particular experience in extraordinary ways to show what His people can do when they pull together to make something happen, to show that He is indeed Almighty. I know that saying the past year has had a powerful affect on me is quite the understatement.

But there is the reality of once again upsetting the apple cart, of taking a risk times two in this case. There is the truth of children from these backgrounds being profoundly affected by their beginnings and testing their new parents to the limits. There is the fact that we are doing this so very soon after Kenny coming home...I mean, I am not even done with his paperwork yet and here I am embarking on another paperwork nightmare!!! There is the fear that the balance of joy, peace and harmony in our home will be forever altered by this move.

Being the mother of 5 children is something I never really internalized as a possibility before.

So why do it? If I am scared and admit it, why move forward?

Because I am certain beyond all doubt, truly, that this is meant to be...that this is God's plan. If there are tough times down the road, then we are meant to walk through them. You know God really does speak, we just sometimes elect to ignore Him or to take a different path. I am convinced, in all my ignorance, that our lives are not nearly as blessed if we decide to take different paths than the ones He intends for us.

I also know that we will be subject to ridicule, people saying "Don't you have enough?", "What if they are screwed up?", "Why are you tempting fate yet again?", "Do you REALLY know what you are doing?", "Are you going to be one of those families with 20 adopted kids?" (NOT), "How can you afford to raise them?", "You'll never pay for college?", "Why don't you just quit while you are ahead?".

Many people will simply not understand why. They are not approaching this from the same life experience as we are, they have not looked into the eyes of orphaned children whose futures are dismal. They won't be capable of feeling this to the depth that we do, as they haven't held these kids in their own arms as they sob wanting a mommy and daddy and you pull back and realize you are looking into the face of your own child. They will never understand in a million years because they have not seen it with their own eyes, that a life living in an American lower middle class family or even the US's version of poverty would be preferable to what they face as teenagers when they are released from State care with nothing but the clothes on their back, an inadequte education, and destroyed souls due to lack of human goodness and love in their lives. Here there will be love, opportunity and a future.

Before our "Adoption Angels" stepped forward, we had discussed selling our house to make this a possibility should the chance ever arise someday, that is how serious we were about this. We quickly realized that would not net nearly enough. But God touched someone's heart, and for that we are profoundly, forever grateful. It was unexpected, out of the blue, and is a pairing of two families whose hearts will be forever bound by their belief in Him and the experience of looking into the eyes of the parentless.

You know too, this isn't a "passion" of mine, it is not something I preach incessently to others. I share when asked, I of course wax poetic here on the blog, but basically it is simply my life, it is fact that my kids come from elsewhere. No biggie. And yet I realize that it is a "biggie" in so many ways.

So the fact is I may have to turn to you, my readers, for support. When others ridicule or call us crazy, when others just don't understand, it will be to you that I turn for words of encouragement. For most of you, in one way or another, have walked or are walking this unique path yourselves.

And most importantly I will trust that God has spoken and we will listen, knowing He certainly knows better than we what is best for everyone. He has already given us some unique signs along the way about this, and I have come to the conlusion that it was only because He knew Kenny was out there and needed his perfect family too, which never would have happened had this fallen into place at an earlier time.

2008 will no doubt be a remarkable year for us all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Miracle - How Big is Your God?

"Never place a period where God places a comma." - Gracie Allen, adopted by the United Church of Christ.

Never has a phrase become so appropriate as in our lives this week. Your prayers and ours were answered in such a way as to leave no doubt what we are to do. Thank you to everyone who took a moment to pray for us when asked to do so, it made a difference, I am absolutely sure.

Folks, do you have any idea just how big our God is? I do, and I think I "get it" now in a way I never did before. I want to shout it from the rooftops!! He has made the impossible possible, and in record time. He has shown Himself to us, and hopefully to others through this blog and our life experience. What I once did not understand now has become very clear to me, and I admit to being ashamed of my own lack of faith in His ability to move mountains.

He has dictated that Kenny was not a period, that he was merely a comma.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, and with the help of our "Adoption Angels", we begin another journey.

I hope you will all continue to join us on this incredible ride.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

He Gets It

I had a long call with someone last night who is struggling with attachment issues with their child. It brought up such sharp, clear memories of the emotions that accompanied Joshie's first months home, the fears and the turmoil, the internal conflict. This is sharply contrasted with our experiences in bringing Kenny home, and today was one of the good days, the kind of day that drives home the fact that taking a risk now and then is good for the soul.

First off, I was stopped by his teacher after Cub Scouts and we had a short conversation in which she relayed that Kenny has "turned the corner" in many ways, and he is doing so well in all his classes, behaving appropriately, being very kind to others, and listening in class the way he should. His beaming face said it all as he stood nearby listening in. We walked away and he said "See mom? I told you I be good boy!!". Both Dominick and I are inordinately proud of him, for working so hard at everything and making all the adjustments that we asked of him. We know it is not easy, and we still have many minor things to work on, but this was a big milestone for him.

Later on, we sat around the TV watching a show I had never seen before on NBC named "Clash of the Choirs" in which choirs led by music celebrity directors compete for a large donation to a specific charity. We really enjoyed this show, and at one point Kenny snuggled in next to me on the couch warming ourselves under a blanket (It's Colorado folks, we are always under a blanket...either a down blanket or a snow blanket!). One of the choirs sang a song "I'll Stand By You" that many of you that are roughly...ahem...my age...might remember being recorded by The Pretenders. So here we are, this little 9 year old boy and I, barely 6 months into being mother and son together, and he looks up at me in all seriousness and quietly says "Hey cool mom! I stand by you. I like that. We family, I stand by you forever."

WOW. Dumbstruck.

Loyalty & Love.

The abstract concepts of loyalty and togetherness and family are things that many adults in this world seem not to understand. Or if they understand it, they can not act on it. Here is this little boy, institutionalized his entire life with no real reason at all to even have a basic understanding of these things. They were not modeled for him, they were not experienced by him, they were not part of his daily life. How did the seeds get planted? Where did it come from?

"I stand by you forever". Daily, I am humbled.

It was Kenny who reminded us (as if I needed reminding) that tonight was a night for special prayer. So off went the lights, out came the candle, and by it's flickering light we all held hands as each one asked for God's guidance and blessing.

Regardless of the outcome, Kenny put it beautifully.

"I stand by you forever".

Changes and Polls

So I was bored this evening and started playing around a bit with the blog. It needed freshening up, and I might make further changes later, after I've slept and decided this looks awful. I saw that Blogger added a poll function, so just for grins I thought I'd give it a try so check out to the right of the page and try it out. If I find you all actually use it, I might put something serious there to address adoption oriented topics and create further dialogue for the blog.

I really need to get a life, don't I?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Moments

There are moments that alter the course of the remainder of our lives. Very often these moments are comprised of events over which we have no control. Sometimes they arrive suddenly, forever changing our futures. Sometimes these moments are pregnant with anticipation and wonder. They can foretell a future that is bright and shiny, or they can fill our hearts with dread and a lingering sense of sorrow.

Our lives are filled with smaller moments as well, the ones we tuck away in the envelope that is our heart, sealed with love. You know the ones I am talking about, those "Kodak" moments which in today's world are no longer memories captured on imaginary film but instead are on digital media which can be easily manipulated to appear even better than the real thing.

A couple of Kodak moments for me the past couple of days:

1) Working together as a family until mid-evening in our restaurant in Gunnison, preparing it for opening day today. Three little boys all happily pitched in vacuuming, stocking, cleaning. Team LaJoy was on the move! Matthew calling Joshie "Speed Racer" as he encouraged him to push potato chip boxes around to various locations...Kenny diligently cleaning stairs. This threesome of mine is so generous of spirit, so giving of themselves, so cheerful in their work. Somehow, and I have no idea how it was created, there exists among us all this sense of unity, of working together to achieve a common goal.

2) Matthew was home sick today with a fever and cough, and this evening Josh came up to him and gave him his precious "blankie" and tucked it under his chin saying "Here Matthew, this will make you feel better". An envelope arrived for all 3 boys and Kenny said "Matthew gets to open because he is sick!". Matthew sitting with his two brothers curled around him as he quietly read to them.

3) Having Kenny take it upon himself to dedicate a light at church to a family friend there who has helped him with his English and been very supportive of us throughout the adoption process to bring him home. It was all his idea and he used some of his birthday money to express his appreciation for her kindness during this fundraiser. Once again, I caught a glimpse of the thoughtful man he will one day be.

4) Sitting together on the couch in front of our Christmas tree saying prayers for those we love, for those we know are experiencing fear and difficulty at the moment, each one of them coming up with things that had touched their heart to pray for.

Those are the smaller moments. They build upon one another to make a happy life, to create peace in your heart.

Then there are the bigger ones, the life altering moments spoken of earlier. Hearing the news that someone you love is very ill, that phone call in the middle of the night. How we dread those!! The lost job, the lost love...the world stops spinning for a moment, all is at a standstill as we try and digest it, to understand it, to question why.

There are the happier big moments as well, the moment you realize the person you are with is the person you want to never let go of for the rest of your life. The first cry of your newborn child, the first photo of your child-to-be that arrives via email. Or perhaps it is stepping into your own home for the first time, envisioning the many gatherings and joyful times that are to come that will be contained within those walls.

We have all had those moments when we have crossed paths with someone whom we inexplicably knew was put before us for a reason. We later learn the reasons why, the lessons they had to teach us.

Tonight our entire family is laying in wait for news, news that has the potential to change our lives forever. In recent previous posts on the blog I have alluded to the fact that something was going on in the background, something that has been carried in our hearts for a very long time. I am still not at liberty to share this, and might not be for a long time...but should the outcome be positive, in due time I will write at great length about it. We are at a culminating point as of tomorrow evening, and I am asking all of you who read this, who have come to care enough about our family to continue visiting this blog to pray for us tomorrow night, or if you are not praying folk to send your thoughts our way. It is important to me that this turn of events be what God wants, not what we think we want, so I guess I am asking mainly for prayer that we hear God speak clearly.

I am not trying to talk in riddles here, to purposely be obtuse about the whole thing. There is no attempt on my part here to create some "Big Literary Build Up". But I am convinced of the power of prayer, I have seen it work in my life in numerous ways particularly this past year. There is no way Kenny's adoption should have been as smooth and his transition as easy as it has been. It is only because so many of you carried us around in your hearts for so long. I know God will hear you. That doesn't mean we will have an outcome we prefer, but we will have the outcome that is best and that is what is important to us.

I also want to apologize for not writing more often. This is a very hectic time of year for us, one that in many ways we just try our best to muddle through. I am honored that so many of you hit the blog daily just to check in, and I will try to be faithful about continuing to write as often as possible. We are actually at an interesting time with Kenny as just the past few weeks his language skills have caught up enough for him to be able to express himself better, and he seems to have a strong desire to talk about his life in the orphanage and his feelings about it. While he is genuinely a very happy little boy, there are times when we are talking about his past when he seems struck with a bit of melancholy and yet also strongly voices that he is very happy he has a family. I am sure that over the next few months I will be able to share with you many more of his thoughts and experiences. Maybe this will help others adopting older children to better understand what their life is like pre-adoption.

And so tomorrow begins a new day. Our lives are filled with "moments" big and small. Perhaps tomorrow we will find ourselves at the precipice of another.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Boxes Everywhere, Music in the Air!

Christmas time is an interesting, frazzled time at our house. We have gift shops/gift kiosks at our two airport restaurants (restaurant actually gives more credit than should be due...think of it as a step above a snack bar!), and with ski season kicking in we have to order lots of giftware and souvenirs. All of this begins to arrive via UPS after Thanksgiving along with Christmas presents from grandma's and friends and "Santa's" online ordering. It is not an exaggeration to say that our UPS driver is on a first name basis with us and the poor guy ends up delivering 4-8 boxes every single day to our house for weeks! You know you have too many deliveries when your UPS driver knows to deliver Christmas looking packages to your work address, even when you have forgotten and had it sent to your home address. One of the benefits of living in a smaller town :-)

Although I am so grateful for our work opportunities here, which through incredibly long hours put in by my husband make it possible to live in our version of "paradise" here in Colorado, the one thing I wish was different is that ski season preparations didn't take the fun out of Christmas at times. It is hard to focus on the real Season when we are gearing up for 4 long months of hard work with all the planning that goes with it.

But here I sit, typing on my laptop in front of a truly blazing fire in our woodstove, my bottom settled in a cushy couch, the sounds of my children and husband laughing in the background, and I have not a thing to complain about. I have several friends who love me and show me often in actions and in words, friends near and far who really care about us. I have a mom who has always known how to make Christmas special...and I wish I had her gift for making the greatest stockings ever for my own kids! I have a blanket of snow covering the land surrounding us, something that as a child growing up in Southern California I never dared dream of (3 acres of my own open space OR snow!).

This will be my first Christmas as the mother of 3. Our house feels fuller now, it doesn't feel as much like we are all rattling around in it. There are memories being created here right now that will carry on well into the future, that will be handed down to my grandchildren someday...traditions like setting up the creche my own grandpa built for my mom when she got married and quietly setting baby Jesus down in it, having Mexican food on Christmas Eve which I remember from my own childhood and don't really know why we HAD to have Mexican food...but we did. Then there are new traditions that are unique to our own little family such as attending church for the candlelight service on Christmas Eve, saying prayers for birth families we will never meet, and looking at "Waiting for You" ornaments hanging from our tree which commemorate the "pregnancy" period of each of our children.

Then, there are the harder things that come with Christmas, like thinking about my Dad's death in December 16 years ago...it can not be possible that he has been gone that long, but he has. How I wish he had met my sons!! I have always been glad that I married young, married someone he approved of very much, in fact someone who was very much like him. He had years to get to know my husband, to know I would be well cared for. I like to think he is looking down on us, smiling at their antics and Matthew's love of military and airplanes. I feel sad that he was cheated out of finally having someone to enthusiastically share his love of aircraft with. What a wonderful grandpa he would have been, and never had the chance to be. And yet I remind myself often that part of him is with his grandsons every time I hug them, every time I repeat something he preached when I was a kid. There have been moments when Matthew was particularly very young, maybe 2 1/2, when he would mention his Grandpa Rock in such a way that I almost felt Dad's presence right there with me...and maybe that is not so far fetched considering Matthew is the child whose interests are most like his.

There are also the questions I am asked, like recently when Kenny asked "Why did Santa Claus not come see me in Kyrgyzstan?". How do you answer that one without tears in your eyes? How does one explain that there are children in this world who are forgotten? And how does one explain to one of those forgotten children that Santa Claus only exists for those children who are held close to someone's heart? Instead I elect to explain that although Santa may have forgotten some children, God has never forgotten them.

We all attended a wonderful Christmas concert this past Sunday, compliments of two friends who performed who kindly gave us free tickets. I was so surprised that all 3 boys expressed how much they really enjoyed the 2 hour long event, and how they all sat enraptured by the live music and the large choir. Perhaps it will be a new tradition we will add to our repetoire.

Friendships are weighing heavily on my mind this Christmas, for many reasons. They sustain me, they fill the gaps, they restore me, they provide me with opportunities to accept love and to offer love back. They make us feel secure, cared for, nurtured. They laugh with us, but never at us. They tease us about long running jokes that only they know about, like ending up in Salt Lake City somehow when you are on your way home from Vegas, or hearing a cat meow at your rahcning friends house and saying "Is that a duck I hear???" like an idiot!!! Friends show us in extraordinary ways that they care about us....they do our laundry and leave it folded on our front door step, they stand in 20 degree weather for an hour with no gloves on holding up broken garage doors as you try and fail to fix it, they amaze you by laying your entire Pergo floor staying awake until 2:00 AM to finish the job, they live hundreds of miles away and yet say "I will help you, let me shop for you and take a load off your mind" as you are beginning to slowly come unraveled at the thought of traveling halfway around the world with 2 kids in tow to bring home another. They don't all express their love for you in the same way, and that is what makes it special...they each have their own love language. There are many times when I feel inadequate at friendship, as if I receive far, far more than I can ever repay. Then I am reminded that it comes and goes in seasons, sometimes it is the season to give, and sometimes it is the season to be on the receiving end. Ther receiving end is a hard palce for me to be. I have had friendships that have broken my heart, and will no doubt have that happen again in the future. But I will never, ever regret a single relationship, they all add such dimension to our lives. And I am blessed with friends that are without a doubt, the very, very best.

Then there is my friendship with God, my greatest friendship. He is all that I have mentioned above and more. When I am alone, afraid, uncertain, sad or feeling deflated and defeated, He takes my hand in His and walks with me. He has given me a spectacular and unique life filled with experiences I never would have anticipated. He has given me strength to express love unequivically, to show emotions when they are deeply felt, to not run and hide when it hurts. I wasn't always like that but as I have grown closer in my friendship with my God, I have seen inside my heart better and I understand on a very basic level that certain things need to be expressed. Perhaps much of this comes from the loss of my father at a younger age (I was 25), but it hit home very strongly that saying "I love you" is never something to be ashamed of, to be feared. You may never have the chance to say it again if you don't do it when you should. Of course, I don't walk around saying "I love you" to my friends all the time, that would simply feel awkward and weird! But there are times when it needs to be said, to be proclaimed loudly and boldly, fearlessly. I have given up looking "cool", being detached. When I love someone, they will never have to guess it. When I have a friend, be they young or old, I will give them my all, no one I love will ever have to question in their minds if I care for them. And I hope that no one who meets me will ever question whether God is my friend or not.

So tonight, as I finish this after sending out some private emails about an issue close to my heart, the fire has died down to mere embers, the boys are all asleep in bed, including Dominick, and my rambling here is near finished. The day to day life I lead is unremarkable, at best. It is the life of a soccer mom, a minivan mom, a Cub Scout mom, a choir mom. I yell at my kids over lost jackets and forgotten homework, I lose my cool over stepping on Legos AGAIN. I get frustrated over not having enough money or "honey-do lists" that never quite seem to be gotten to. I am not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, nor is my life perfect. If so, my yard would look as if it was from House Beautiful magazine, and I would have no grape juice stains on my carpet. Yet I have been chosen to be the mother to 3 of the most incredible children a mother could ever ask for, I have been given the gift of a husband who has walked through this life with me hand in hand since we were children, I have been given the friendships I needed just when I needed them most. All I want for Christmas is love, love for my family, love for my friends, love for children who are not loved. I don't need pretty packages wrapped with glittering bows, I don't need crass drunken office parties, I don't need images of perfect families on TV specials showing me all that I should have yet don't.

I have it all, I really, really do. And I hope you do too, with all my heart I hope you do.

Monday, December 03, 2007

They Liked Me! They Really Liked Me!

Hahahaha! Couldn't resist that posting title! :-) I just received a comment on the blog that I'll share here:


Cindy,

My husband Ken and I attended the Adoption Alliance classes Friday & Saturday and I wanted to tell you that your presentation and your story were absolutely invaluable to us. I'm surprised to read that you were a little nervous - you didn't seem to be at all! We really thought you must do these all the time! Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a thoughtful, informative and emotion-filled presentation. I'll now be a loyal reader of your blog!

Kelly Arnold

So guys, we all did it together! Your suggestions were so helpful and I felt I would be lucky if I walked out of there having helped one couple with the story of our goofy little family. It really was more of a challenge than I expected to turn back the hands of time to when I was a "newbie" myself...so many of the fearswe had the first time around are now ones I laugh at ever worrying about! It is not that they are not valid, it's just that we have now done it 3 times and they have proven to be without merit. Having those of you who are new to all of this offer suggestions about the things that you are most concerned about, and the things I have blogged about that have been the most helpful helped me go backwards in time, and I thank you all.

I ended up spending a good portion of the time discussing attachment disorder, and read most of my blog post response to Amanda's question that she asked awhile back, as there was a good mix of domestic and international adoptive families present and a surprising number who were considering older child adoption (Yea!!!). My only wish now was they they all could have seen the little boy Josh turned into after hearing about the struggles. No words can express who he is today, the wonderful, sweet, tender, no-training-wheels boy he has grown to be.

Darn it if I don't love my kids to death!!

Anyway, Kelly thanks for your comment. I walked out of there feeling uncertain about how it went on the receiving end of it all...and like I was a Big Goof. Your entire group asked some terrific questions!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spare Digital Camera's Anyone?

Hi Guys! This is a quickie but John Wright over at www.actofkindness.blogspot.com has a phenomenal idea and I am going to see if we can help. He and his family are taking a missionary trip to Kyrgyzstan starting in February, and he had the idea to bring over a few digital cameras and a printer to leave with the orphanages so that they could make photo albums for the kids. AWESOME! You don't realize how important this is until you have adoptred an odler child and they come to you with almost no history...but you are blessed enough to have a few photos of them at younger ages that someone shares with you. Kenny LOVES looking at the pictures of himself and his friends, it conencts him with who he is and his past, and is very much a part of his life and figuring all of this out.

You can read more about the idea over at John's blog, but if any of you are upgrading cameras for the holidays or have a spare lower pixel count camera laying around that you aren't using anymore...or a printer or battery charger, can you consider donating it to John?? The address is alos on his blog as well. If you do, tell him Cindy sent you! Hahahaha!

Snowbound!

Matthew and I are finally home after our overnight trip that was extended by a day after we got caught in the winter storm that hit the Denver area. We might have made it home ok, but it was getting dark, cars were stuck in the snow all over the place, we drove at 4 miles per hour for about 40 minutes of it, and the last straw was seeing the minivan right in front of us slide into the guard rail! I figured it was better to be safe than sorry, so we made a beeline for the nearest off ramp along with about a dozen others right behind us and checked into a motel.

We had a wonderful time spending the night before visiting our friends. I had the chance to have a nice long "girl talk" and we got caught up on everything we have missed not seeing one another in several months. We have been friends since their son and Matthew were 3 years old, and it has been cool to watch both of the boys as they grow up.

We arrived at Adoption Alliance's office where the training session was being held, and there were a lot of people there...close to thirty I think. I took a deep breath, and started...and spewed and made a total fool of myself. I decided I wasn't going to be anything other than completely and totally honest, just as I am here on the blog...as that is simply who I am. I am not a pro at this kind of thing and I am sure I won the "Geek of the Week" award for this one, but maybe someone's heart was touched or prepared by something I shared...you just never know. Matthew was scared but got up there and did his best, and had everyone laughing when I asked him "What did it feel like when Josh came home?" and he replied "Like it was the Army!" which I didn't quite get until he added "There was so much screaming going on!!" he likened it to Boot Camp programs he has seen on TV! I shared a few photos and then had a second shorter session with families only adopting internationally, and as I sat there with Matthew sitting there on the arm of his chair next to mine with his arm thrown over my shoulder I grinned to myself as I thought "These poor people, they have no idea how their hearts are about to be invaded forever by some little person!". I also thought I was so glad that we were done with all of that mandatory training and never have to do it again!!

Matthew and I had a very special weekend together, and he loved our "adventure" of getting snowed in (It was worth the hundred bucks for the hotel room! Ski areas are EXPENSIVE!). I asked if he wanted to go out to eat but he said he would prefer to get something and bring it back to the hotel so we could snuggle in. So we went to the grocery store where we had TV dinners and watched a movie, giggling under the covers together. It was so cute to hear he and Kenny on the phone together as Dominick was trying to arrange a hotel room for us while we were on the road, and they were occupying themselves while I was driving and Dominick was "driving" the computer at home. Matthew was sweetly trying to explain to Kenny that we couldn't come home that night because the snow was so bad...but we would be home the next day so don't worry! Dominick said that Josh cried this morning when he got up and I wasn't home, and once again I am reminded that my little guy is still kind of insecure about me being out of his sight for too long.

When we arrived home I had the blessing of hearing first, then seeing, Kenny and Joshie come bursting out of the front door yelling "Mommy! Matthew!" over and over again...and then as Matthew stepped out of the car both of his brothers embraced him in a big bear hug...and Matthew shared his McDonald's toys he had saved for them from the road trip. And I thought to myself "What a wonderful world...".

Then, for the grand finale, the boys spent the late afternoon riding their bikes and Dominick took Joshie's training wheels off...and he was off riding with no help at all! Josh and Matthew both came running in the house screaming "Mommy! Mommy! Come look at Joshie!" so we all went out and watched him rip along on his little Tonka bike, feet peddling furiously and the biggest grin you can imagine on his face! 2 down, one to go...gotta get Kenny riding on only 2 wheels, but that will take more time I think as he is still very tentative on his bike.

The weekend is over too quickly and another week begins. I have been called for Jury Duty, and have to go to Gunnison 3 days so my days of being a stay-at-home mom are pretty much coming to an end now, even if unofficially as we don't open over there for another 2 weeks or so. And that will bring with it a new set of adventures!