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September 30, 2009

Fat Girl Confessions

A little harsh?

OK. Let's trrryyy...

Big girl.


Girl with well endowed trunk area.

Thee who hath no little middle.

That's me. Most of my life actually. Which makes we laugh that on facebook, on this blog or anywhere else where I have risked my well protected vanity, I have only posted pictures where...

a. I am thin
b. I look thin
c. I have a human shield blocking any fleshy part that can be construed as "flabby."

Oh why, oh why, do I bow down to an idol of vanity? I know I do it, I am aware when I am doing but I continue to do it. It matters way too much. But I think I know the answer just like you do...

It matters because I think it matters to everyone else too.

Oh we saaaaaay weight does not matter. But I would venture to say that people are all somewhat obsessed with any area that is more fleshy then we would like. I have heard people complain of fat ankles. Or a double chin. Or chubby knees. But I so wish it was not something I thought about as often as I do. I am 20 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant so that makes me constantly aware. I put a box of pre-pregnancy clothes in my bedroom thinking this would motivate me. What it motivates me to do is throw my 2 to 3 sizes larger clothes on top of the box.

So I decided to do some more confessin.' Keepin' it real. Giving you the scoop on what I think and what I do as I endeavor to be victorious in the battle of the bulge. Maybe not victorious. No, I think I am just admitting to you some unhealthy thinking and actions.

1. I have wished, prayed, and wanted to make "Mom Jeans" cool so I could just stuff my stomach in them and be done with it.

2. I sewed an extra button on a pair of pants the other day to make them bigger and more comfy. I think they are a size 10 when I probably need a size 12 with 25% spandex.

3. When I have been watching what I eat, journaling my meals and starving to death, I have grabbed things from the fridge and eaten them standing there with my big bum holding the door open. Then, I conveniently forget to write this little snack down and not counted them it in my daily calorie intake. And I seriously believe my own omission.

4. When friends lose weight and look fantastic, I become concerned for their sudden and very possible eating disorder affliction and pray they don't have a problem. I also make them lots of baked goods.

5. I have mastered the art of standing next to people in photos. Always someone on either side of me. If this is not possible, I make sure half of me is covered up. I make sure my arms are hidden behind other shoulders. And chin up. I will try to hold a child if at all possible.

6. I love having justifiable excuses in saying I have struggled with weight my whole life, that PCOS makes it hard to lose weight or maintain and ideal weight. What I don't love to tell people is that I can eat an entire carton of ice cream and not feel ill. I feel incomplete when I have to close the bag of chips or when the plate is empty of pie. And I obviously have no wise discernment between making the decision to consume the above mentioned food or a nice apple.

7. I actually run 3 miles a day. But that actually means I run 3 miles on the particular day I actually get my lazy bum on the treadmill or outside to do it.

8. I have weighed myself and attempted to alter the pounds by standing on one foot, having my feet hang halfway off the scale, jogged really fast in place before getting on, and last but not least...go to the bathroom and go back and weigh myself to see if I lost a few ounces. Pathetic.

9. I have chosen tops a size too small, examined its stitching to see how well made it is and then stretched it until it fit. It alllllways maintains its shape and looks exactly the way the designer intended. Seriously, all I care about is that I am wearing a medium instead of a large.

10. This is so sad. When Cati walks away from a snack or her plate she will turn around, point her finger at me and say, "Don't eat it. I 'm not done." I should really feel shame that I eat her food when she walks away from it. I really should. Especially since when I do it I tell myself that we are poor and I should not let it go to waste. Or that I am saving her from perishable food that has been sitting out for 15 minutes. The poor girl will search the whole house for the last bite of a granola bar. And I actually get up and help her try to find it. Are any of you seriously questioning my eternal security right now?

Well there you have it. I needed to confess my fat girl dirty laundry.

Now are any of you willing to join me in this vanity obsession confession time? Please tell me I am not the only one.

September 29, 2009

Two Tips Tuesday

Tip #1: Fun Web Sites & Goodies to Check Out
Kid in a candy store. Giddy. Like finding out a surprise or fun secret.

That is me when I stumble on a blog or website that is just so me. When I learn about new stuff to purchase with money I do not have. Or waste time To buy a gift. Or a treat for me. Or just have lots of fun. So I want to share the wealth. Now understand you may have heard of some if not all of these sites or stuff. But this is also a window into me, what I like and maybe you will like it too!
I hope I can do this more often. Maybe some of you can share the wealth and tell me about some fun stuff you think I might like too. I recently had a good friend email me a website for ideas to get creative with food. Oh, yes. That is a mighty good friend who knows what I would like.
Here we go...

I love Jackson Pollock though I have been smug enough to think I can paint just like this but I can never pull it off. This site is fun because it is like a stress reliever. Kids love it too. You just move the mouse after you enter the site and you are an artist! Each click is like a dip into another color of paint.

This little gem of a web site is near and dear to my heart because it is located in NC where hubby and I moved from. Hubby is a good ole boy but I grew up in MD though NC is home to me. I went to college there. Anyway. This site is awesome because you can make your own fabric downloading your own designs or ones from the web. Or you can pick from theirs. It is so cool and worth checking out!
This web site has the happiest stuff for kids. My faves are the dolls and little knit hats for girls. Most of their stuff is hand knitted and just adorable. Great gifts or just some cute patootie stuff for your own kiddos.

Trapp Private Candles
OK. These candles are to die for. I discovered them in this little shop in the downtown area where I live. This shop is no longer there but it sold great shabby and coastal cottage type furniture which I love. But in this little corner of the place they had these candles and they usually had one burning. The scent was heavenly! My favorite is Sexy Cinnamon. I know, risque name but who cares. And by the way, it does NOT smell like cinnamon. It was unlike anything I ever smelled and it is just wonderful. Pricey but worth it...soooooooo worth it.

This is a fun little tool where you can down load their program to your computer and then send invitations, photo albums, recipes, cards, etc online. It is like having your own personal e-card store on your computer. You can pay for the card or send it for free which will just have ads attached and be a bit smaller. Look at my post titled Happy Birthday to my girls to see the invitation I used from Smilebox for their party.

I love this site because they have beautiful announcements and invitations that you can have them do or you can do from home on your printer. They also have other goodies like party stuff. It is a lot of fun to just browse.

Tip #2: Kid Designed Mailing and Return Address Labels
I truly love this because it adds such a whimsical touch to your mail. Plus, it is from your children which makes it just plain sweet. It is guaranteed to elicit a smile from the receiver. The other bonus is that older kids can do this too. Here is what you do...

Grab some address, shipping and return address labels. Use colored pencils or crayons (since they are light) and have them go to town scribbling, drawing, or even going for a themed look for older kids. Drawing houses, holiday or seasonal drawings, favorite things...whatever. When they are done, you just print them out on your computer. All your Christmas addresses, birthday party invitations, or just return addresses from you or just your children.

Other ideas...

  • The labels can become homemade stickers
  • They can be names to put on tags for gifts
  • Labeling cups and belongings at school or church
  • Labels for organizational purposes in bedrooms or playrooms
  • Teaching about mail and giving them some fun sending letters

BONUS TIP!!! (I owe you from last week): Handy Trash Bags

I think having children can either make you less or more organized. Depends upon the circumstances or situation. I think I have improved in some areas but fall way short of the mark in others. But I have mastered a new kind of art...being more organized in anticipation of being un-organized. For I have mentioned before, timeliness is not high on my list of organizational togetherness. So sometimes I am organized enough to have food already thrown together in a bag for inevitable tardiness. So the girls can have lunch in the car on the way to swim lessons, church, AWANA cubbies or whatever we are doing. While being late.

But every single time I don't have a trash bag. Makes me crazy. And I don't want to have bags everywhere in the car. So my idea for this is to find a nifty, zip closure bag to stuff a bunch of grocery or trash bags in and leave it in your car door or glove compartment. That way, you won't be without one. Now I just have to be organized enough to remember to refill it.

I fit 8 trash bags in this 5 x 8 inch bag. Love, love simple conveniences.

Have a fabulous Tuesday friends!

September 24, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: The Conclusion


Well, I can tell you I went through quite the 9 month bloom as I fondly call it. I got BIG! Gained 55 pounds in fact. I justify this ridiculous venture to a 5 year culmination of the intense desire to be pregnant and my chronic cravings for sandwiches. Which I satisfied each day with a grand finale of 2 nightly ice cream sandwiches...because they were sandwiches. So watch that belly grow...

Those are my size 6 jeans that were falling off me...due to being bestowed with absolutely no derriere. FYI...thought I looked huge in this picture. Oh, to be insecure like I was then...

Look at Cati's short little body and hair. And look at the tummy that was not there and I was ashamed to even take this picture that day.

What am I seeing here? I mean, there is a little hump sticking out but come on!!!!

Woo HOOOOOOOOOOOO...a belly. I totally forgot Cati was always in the mirror pics. That is her pretending a calculator is a phone while checking her tonsils out. Or her tongue. What is she doing?

Wow. This camera is awful! I need suggestions on a good camera! Belly is definitely making appearances.

WHOA! Hello preggo! No need for the baby with downward pointing arrow to indicate pregnancy. Never had one BTW. My big, fat mouth told everyone standing within 2 feet.

Awwwww. Was so depressed I bought my first SIZE LARGE maternity shirt. I seriously think I would not fit in it now.

Hello BULLET BELLY! It literally came to point. Yikes. And I had bigger worries than my first large shirt. Sheesh...knock off the ice cream sandwiches girl and eat some sugar free jello.

OK, how was I still standing? I think this is 39 weeks. How funny is Cati cracking herself up holding her back and imitating me?

So that was my bloom. I would show you the ultrasound pics but we have all seen them and know what they look like. The 6 week one I cried because I had so many ultrasounds with no black oval with something in it. Seeing that little baby with the bigger than life heartbeat took my breath away and I cried and cried and cried. When I saw her at 12 weeks I was just so happy seeing her do a karate kid impression to the side of my uterus. I was pregnant. So happy.

Meanwhile, the adoption process officially began in about April of that year. We had to fill out all the same paperwork that we did when we became foster parents. Or so we thought. We actually did not have to. But we did it. And it draaaaaaaagged on. We were just so ready to have Cati officially be our daughter.
That summer, Ella was born.
This is the exact look she gave me when she checked out of Jessica's Womb. She lost all that dark hair. I was so sad. And she was predicted to be 8 or 8.5 lbs. Here is proof that doctors can be wrong. Was I ever grateful.
Minutes after giving birth...I look like I just gave birth. Hey, what if that was the way people told you that you are not looking so good..."Oh, honey you look like you just gave birth."

Another one of God's way of illustrating His intimate mindfulness of details...look at 2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 4. Find the picture of Cati in the first minutes she came home. The look on my face is almost identical. I can only assume it is the smile reserved only for the first moments I hold my little girls.

My hubby is the strong silent type but when he saw his daughter during her evacuation, I think the man was 2 moments shy of cardiac arrest when he saw her cone head...he had no clue this was normal. Bless his heart.

Not one person saw her take home outfit (aside from my hubby and me) actually on her person so I included this...and you still can't see it.

Ella now!

After 23 hours of labor I was pretty sure that was my first and last time I was experiencing that particular rite of passage. Um, babies sorta hurt coming out. A lot. I guess when your epidural initially numbs the left side of your body to the point your eyelid droops, it makes doctors a bit wary to give me more than a loading dose. Due to this, I had a pretty numb labor until I got to the end. You know, the time where it hurts the most with no meds. So when Ella starting her journey through a canal that has to be as long as the Mississippi River for how long it took, I would say I was a tad uncomfortable.

She popped out and never went to sleep again. For like 3 months. I endured a baby who enjoyed 10 hours of awake time, who gave a cold shoulder to my breasts for food, who cried all the time, and all during a time that I was unknowingly going through post partum depression. Had no idea until one day I had a panic attack and I mistook it for some kind of heart attack. I had been dealing with ridiculous anxiety where I was scared to leave the house and I don't think I ventured outside for more than 5 minutes for about 7 weeks. I was so scared and felt impending doom was going to descend upon me at any moment. What a frightening experience. Had no idea this was PPD. No desire to hurt Ella or me. I just felt like I was losing my mind every second of the day. I really believed I could not hack it with 2 kids. This was not the case but I was clueless. Post partum happened to other people. Not me. Not after so many years of wanting to be a mom and be pregnant.

I never factored in how I idealized this experience to the point of fantasy. I never considered that most people are pregnant for the first time with their first child...not their second. I never knew epidurals sometimes don't work and the ring of fire is putting it nicely. I never thought breast feeding was that hard. Even when everyone said it was. I thought taking a class was all I needed to do. I thought babies slept 18 hours a day like Cati did. I thought 2 kids was what everyone endeavored to have and maybe even more. I wanted 4! Do you see the past tense there? Though God is just hilarious in how he determines how that will play out. In all honestly, we don't feel done but the prospect of getting pregnant now is frightening. I really had no idea what was in store. None. And to my currently preggo peeps with your second gets sooooooo much easier and you will do beautifully. I am just a basket case.

So the initial months were hard. Really, really hard. I had no idea how to bond to this screaming infant and I honestly felt like a failure as a mother. I felt so connected and bonded to Cati yet this screaming little bundle was a quandary to me. Oh I loved her. But that connection, that invisible cord that enables mothers to take one glance and get instantly hooked on love for their baby was not there. What was wrong with me? Did I not appreciate this enough? Was I so self possessed? Nope. Just suffering from PPD, an affliction people don't talk about enough, give enough merit to, and do not deal with. My doctor's answer was Xanax which tranquilized me instead of make me feel normal. Twice I tried and both times I had scary complications. Finally, I fell on my face and said "GOD! I cry out to you and have to believe you for healing!" And praise be the miracles kept coming. He set me free. I kid you not, from that moment on the PPD dissipated without any meds. It was gradual but I was relying on the strength of God and it was my lifeline. I never took meds again.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

In November, our family became complete. On the 9th, the Adoptions case manager came over and we signed the official papers to make Cati our legal daughter. We changed her name to match my middle name which was so meaningful to give her a family name.

Our first ever family picture (who all share the same last name)

On November 14, we adopted Cati on National Adoption Day. What a sweet, wonderful, incredible, long awaited moment to make her our daughter.
This pic is us walking out of the courthouse. This balloon has a whole other story behind it but we will save that for another day. But this was a sweet picture of a day we prayed and longed for.

I wish I had this amazing conclusion for you. This earthquake like proclamation of the goodness of the Lord. I wanted to go out with a bang and a boom but I realized something. God does that on His own and He did it with this testimony. Our testimony. Our little family saw a very BIG God do VERY BIG things. And I am so glad you came along for this ride with me to share in the miracles of my girls. I hope it encouraged you. I hope you can add it to your list when you find yourself in a storm and He requires of you to forget not all of His benefits. To remember that our God is one who deserves reverence, full and complete surrender, obedience, love and devotion, our CHILDREN, our everything. Because He is to be our all in all.

I will leave you with Psalm 113 which completes this whole testimony and why I tell it...

Praise the Lord.
Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor man from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap...
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

~The End~

September 22, 2009

Two Tips Tuesday

Tips #1: 3 Household Items I Could Never Live Without
And neither should you. The reasons are simple and hopefully you are already discovered them to make your life a little simpler.
Baby Wipes: Yes, baby wipes. I use pampers wipes but I like the huggies box. I am high maintenance, I guess. But baby wipes seem to be the best cleaner upper ever for me. I have wiped ball point pen off of my upholstered rocker, cleaned juice spots out s out of my carpet, got stains off clothes, you name it, these suckers are not just for diaper changes and I get panicked when we get low because they do more than double duty on a daily basis.
Corn Starch: But not for cooking. I kid you not, I use it on the days I have not washed my hair but I am too oily to show my face to return those library books. I do not have the time or moola to be schlepping to the store for dry shampoo. Here is the trick if you don't want to look like a costume version of Grandma with powder grey hair. Take a small amount in your hands, rub them together like it was gel to evenly coat your hands and flip your head upside down. Kind of get to the root and rub it in where you are the most oily and just keep rubbing your hands through while upside down. It gives a bit of volume and really works.

Shark Sweeper Vac: Not sure if that is the official name of it but I use this at least 3 times of day to pick up all of Ella's food off the floor, crumbs and whatever else the girls have put on the floor. It is fast, has about 30 minutes worth of juice before you need to recharge and light as a feather. It comes with a short handle to use it on furniture too. You just empty out the little slide-in reservoir there on the side and that's it. Completely helps me out in between vacuuming with the big vacuum.

Tip #2: Don't Start Your Weekly Blog Post the Night Before

Sorry Folks. My computer has been hit with some nasty little bug which is why I have not posted much for the last week. Still trying to figure all this out. This post has taken me one hour to write because it keeps freezing up on me. And sadly, I never scheduled this post last week due to my crazy life and now a sick child. So I owe you for next week. Until then, pray this computer and I make up and become friends again.

Happy Tuesday!

September 20, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 7

Two lines?

Am I jet lagged from a 2 hour flight? Am I seeing things? No way. It was the faintest line I had ever seen. Like I told you before, you stare at it long enough and see a second line. I mean, do you see a second line?

My point exactly. So I ran into the bedroom and show hubby.

"Do you see a line? DO YOU SEE 2 LINES???!!!!! ANSWER ME!!!!!! DO YOU? DO YOU?

He looks and then looks at me with a sweet, crooked smile. "I see two lines."

OMIGOODNESS! OMIGOODNESS! OMIGOODNESS! I start running around the house and grab the phone as I frantically and aimlessly walk into each and every room of the house. I am dialing Kelly's number and it is late. I praise God that her hubby is out of town on business.
I hear my tired BFF (who had fallen asleep on the couch) answer the phone with a sweet "Welcome Home!"

My response? No time for pleasantries here. "I see a line."

My pregnant best friend shoots straight up from the couch with a "WHAAAAT??"

"Kelly, oh my gosh? Am I pregnant? Could I be pregnant? No. No way. Really? I mean, really?"

Kelly says, "OK. What happened?" And I tell her everything. From the weird cramps over the weekend, a light spotting that I thought I had hallucinated, the fact that it was night time and only 9 days past ovulation, yada, yada, yada.

Her response? Um, the one that only your BFF is supposed to say.
"Jess, you are soooo pregnant." And we chic scream and get all excited.

Meanwhile, hubby knows me well and gets dressed and goes to Walgreen's for another test. He comes back with it and ice cream too. Because he is just too cute. I am all excited until he tells me I need to wait until morning to do it. Just to be sure. Of course, this is wonderful wisdom but I thought I was going to burst. But I submitted for once and went to bed.

7:00 am. I pop up like its Christmas morning more excited to pee then I have ever before...

++++ IT'S POSITIVE!!++++

The line was oh so obvious. I am pregnant!!!! Oh my word, I wish I could type the elation that I felt in that moment. I take a flying leap onto the bed with my sleeping husband and said, "WE ARE PREGNANT!" He hugged me and said he was so happy.

Then my next thought became a prayer...Two, Lord? You are giving me two children? Not just the one I had been praying for? Two? Oh, the sweet love I felt from my King in that moment. In that instant, I knew. I truly believed, on a cellular level, that I just experienced what it means when His word tells us how God longs to be gracious to us. In a precise moment, the timing that is in His hands, the pain, the journey, the growth, the sifting, the agony, the bitterness, the sin, the hopelessness...became pure joy. And my God patiently anticipated that moment. He delighted in my joy and basked in the praise He wholly deserves.

Funny how I initially had a plan of how I was going to do tell hubby I was pregnant. Years before I had purchased a pair of newborn yellow booties in this clear, little box. I was Super Wife then with no children and always made dinner each night with it waiting for him when he got home. I am peeing my pants at the moment as I recall my past idealism that I could do this once children came in the picture. I don't mean just cook dinner. I mean have the table set with cute little dishes on the table and candles, nice music, and a spotless house. Now the food sits on the stove in the pots I cooked it in and I bellow a "COME FIX YOUR PLATE BEFORE THESE KIDS HAVE TO GO TO BED!" Ah, how times have changed.

Anyway, these booties would go in one of these covered dishes to surprise him. That was what I planned. But I did not get voted Biggest Mouth for high school senior superlatives for nothing...How could I wait? I had been waiting 5 years for crying out loud!!! So I cried it out loud...of course.
Then what do I do next? Well duh. I bought 10 more tests to pee on. And took pictures. All those one lined tests I had to endure, take apart, take back out of the trash can all day long juuuuust in case it changed results while I was not I could get excited because there it was...

Is this not the most glorious and beautiful pee covered stick you have ever seen? I would hang it from the Christmas tree with ribbon if it was not...well...nasty. And yep, the top one is from Dollar Tree. I bought like 10 of those. And peed on

And of course, I purchased the creme of the crop, the candid, tell-it-like-it-is test that you only buy if you are darn tootin' sure it will say...pregnant. Oh, glory. Bummer that the word eventually disappears, though.

So let's pause to recap the miracle of all of this by seeing God's hand upon every intimate detail. Because of course, this is when any uphill journey makes sense. This will be fun...

  • God spoke to my heart that I would conceive naturally...and I did.
  • The call for the IVF study came on October 24th. After figuring out the dates, we conceived Ella 1 week later following us turning this incredible opportunity down.
  • The prayer card we filled out at the church on Christmas Eve, 2006 was to see three things happen within one year's time... to have radical faith (like turning down IVF and believing God through a hopeless time), to overcome infertility, to adopt Cati). These 3 prayer requests culminated within a two week period. 1. Oct 24, 2007 we got the call, prayed, and turned IVF down the next day believing God for natural conception. 2. November 9, 2007 the adoption process begins. 3. November 12, 2007 we have a positive pregnancy test. All occurring less than 1 year later.

I so have goosebumps even though it happened to me. How can we not give glory to such an amazing, merciful, grace abounding, infinitely wise God? I so can.

Another thing that became incredibly obvious to me. As someone with PCOS, you are pretty much subfertile rather than infertile. More specifically, it is difficult to become pregnant but not impossible. And statistics become such a discouragement. It is lovely to hear how someone with normal cycles or typical fertility odds have only a mere 25% chance at becoming pregnant due to all that is involved in the process of making a baby. And yours is less. Well, yippee for me. Always makes you look at the glass half full side of things, right? Especially since we got like 6 billion people roaming the earth. Clearly procreating is not this rare endeavor as stats like to make it out to be. Considering all the intricacies with timing and one sperm and one egg...I am sure you do not need this lesson. But. How can we get wrapped up in stats with the kind of God we serve? Because this is what I have concluded. With God, I have a 100% chance of getting pregnant. Not 25%. Not 73%.


Because it is God who gives and takes away. It is our glorious, mighty King who stitches a baby together. He still could have given us a pregnancy that may not have gone to term. But He deserves my praise and complete submission regardless if the outcome is not parallel to my heart's desire. So I had to realize it was He who decided to bless us with Ella. Only He. Not stats. Not my weight loss. Not throwing your legs up in the air like my grandmother told me to do. (I did do that but whatever). Only God.

And I praise His holy name. He made me a mother...again. He rewarded our faith. He heard the cry of a mother who wanted to carry a child within her. And He not only gave us one...He gave us two...

September 16, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 6

Wow. It has been awhile since I have been doing this story but it has pushed me to revisit emotional places I really had not been in years. So to be honest, I needed a break from all the story telling. Just wanted to blog about life and normal stuff.

But I am back. Not sure if this is the final chapter because I never know what I will write until the fingers hit the keys. So let's see how far this will take us, shall we?

Where was I? Oh, yes. We kind of left off where Cati was around 10 months old and her birth mother had her first visit with her and her last. This is where it gets so good. I am giddy with anticipation.

So that summer, I was in a wedding which my weight loss paid off in that I felt like a normal bridesmaid. I had been in other weddings where I had to pay more money for extra material!!!! Does that not seem like the most horrendous thing ever? Hi, your fat. Pay up. Ugh. The dress was still a size 12 and I wore a size 4 pants. The sizing world stinks. All righty. I am on a tangent that needs to be saved for another post.

Then that July rolls around. And a day I will never forget arrives. The day my very best friend Kelly calls and excitedly tells me she is pregnant. Now please understand a few things that make this EXTREMELY significant. The first is that she has PCOS like me and struggled long to get pregnant with her oldest son. So if anyone understands the pain of this, it is Kelly. But now she is pregnant with her second and I have never been pregnant with my first!!!!! This phone call came and all time ceased. Was she kidding? I lost all this weight, periods are back and I am still not preggo? They were not even actively trying to have a baby!!!!!!!! I mumbled a quick, "Iamsohappyforyou" and got off the phone.

And began sobbing. Wailing, really. A mewling sound if you will. And I kept asking God to help me breathe.

"Please, God. I am so angry. This hurts so much. Why not me, God? Why?"

Now the fact that I could never get that moment back is not lost on me. But I seriously delved in to the deepest, pit filled depression for a week. And the most sinful, ugly, hidden parts of me came to the fore. Like not speaking to her for a week. Like a tiny, secret part of me hoping that her pregnancy would be lost (I am seriously choked up here because my anger turned to such sin and bitterness), or that I could never, ever be friends with her again. Because she was pregnant. And I was not.

About five days go by and I get an email with the subject line that says..."hi."

I open it to to the sweetest message that tells me how sorry she was for telling me the way that she did, for not being sensitive and that whenever I was ready to talk she would be there. It was compassionate and sensitive.

So the next day I called her to break up with her. Literally, to end our friendship. After praying all week, I was appalled by my behavior, reaction and thought life. I figured that the agony of watching her belly grow...again and having to go to the baby shower and hear about it every day was going to be too much for me to be nice. And I wanted so much to be there for her. But I could not.

This was my solution. I called her to thank her but to say I was an awful best friend and we could not be friends anymore. Now honestly, if the roles were switched I would have got in my car and parked myself at her front door telling her nothing was going to make the friendship be over. But she is not pushy like me. She basically said the friendship was not over no matter what I said and she could not imagine us not being friends. Then she said the loveliest, most selfless thing...if she had the choice she would have me pregnant before her.

That did it.

How can I not be friends with a person like that? Naturally, this is why she is dubbed my BFF. Plus, she is the kindest person I know, she makes me laugh and tells me I am pretty when I am not.

Then she tells me her progesterone levels are so low and the doctor was preparing her for an inevitable miscarriage. My world stilled in that moment because though I had those shameful, horrid, ugly thoughts in my head of this very thing, I never, ever would have wanted that. NEVER! So immediately I prayed for that tiny, forming life to be sustained to term. That life's name is Timothy and he is almost 18 months old now.

I am not sure how but God sustained me from that point forward to be the friend Kelly deserved and to enable me to be happy for her. I had genuine joy! I still ached to be pregnant and I still struggled with jealousy but Kelly's friendship meant more to me then my desire to be pregnant. Let's just throw a picture in to give you a visual...I am a visual kind of girl.

This is Kelly and me from her birthday dinner last month. My prayer is everyone have a friendship like she and I have. She is beyond precious to me.

Back to my timeline. It will see. By that August we had a wonderful first birthday party for Cati and all was normal but I still had this butterfly feeling in my stomach over the fact that birth mother was possibly going to be back in the picture. Would she pop up unexpectedly again? I was not prepared for more pain and the constant reminder that I was barren. Cati had been with us a year and my heart was hers. She was my daughter. I was her Mommy. We were a family. Period. And I did finally have peace that if Cati was the only child we had, I could be content. I would always want and continue to try to get pregnant but I knew Cati was everything to me and being her Mommy would be the greatest gift from God. Ever.

Meanwhile, the goal that year of her case plan had gone from re-unification to a dual goal of re-unification/adoption. The birth father was unable to be found and seemed to not want to be found. Then the birth mother was arrested and this time would be in prison for quite a bit of time. This process was so up in the air and worrying over it gave me insomnia and the desire to eat all the time. I did keep praying it up and giving it to God. But I worried too.

Yet, while the fostering and potential adoption of Cati continued I had totally focused on getting pregnant. I was using ovulation kits daily and having crazy cycles. Typically, someone who has a 28 day cycle, they ovulate on day 14. Not me. I would have 53 day cycles and not ovulate. Or ovulate late. The latest it will typically occur is by day 20-22. If it does not, you have missed your window for a viable pregnancy. This process is so frustrating. But we were trying, praying, and hoping.

On October 24, 2007, I received a call that has been pivotal in my life until this very day. Do you remember the infertility study I did and then finally listened to God about believing Him for conceiving naturally? OK. Well this time they called to invite me to participate in an IVF study. Money would be required but only $3000. If any of you are unfamiliar, this can cost a family anywhere from $10,000-$20,000 for one time. They told me that they had 40 slots and only 10 were left. They needed to know by morning if this is something I would like to do.


So I call hubby at work, tell him in like 2 minutes and ask him to pray all day, fast if he won't pass out, and we will pray together when he comes home. I then call my mom to tell her and she immediately says she will pay for it. OK, Lord is that you? Then I call Kelly who is literally like, "YOU HAVE TO DO IT! THIS IS SO GOD! WHAT AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY!!!!!"

Yet. I had no peace. Strange that everything seemed handed to us on a silver platter. But no, no, no peace. I thought I was nervous. Or too excited. But hubby and I talked a little that night when he came home but we prayed. We literally got on our faces before the Lord believing that within the short window of time he would reveal what we should do. As we prayed I deeply sensed God's answer and kept questioning. The answer came loud in the midst of my 87th repetition of "God is that your will?"

We raise our heads from prayer and I look at hubby. So what is our answer?

He looks almost sad as he says.."It's no." That was the answer I got too.

God so strongly impressed upon us both to say no. The next morning I called and told them no and thanked them for the opportunity. I then called Kelly and my mom. My mom was pretty disappointed and felt we may have missed a really great chance. Kelly understood and was believing God right along with us.

week later a termination hearing was scheduled for the birth parents. The birth mother would have an opportunity to surrender her rights if she showed up and if they were no shows their parental rights would automatically be terminated. Long story short, she was not surrendering (though she showed up) and the lawyer was trying to drag it out. A few days later, she tells her lawyer she is ready to surrender and sign the papers privately.

The signing of her papers was to occur on Friday November 9th. That day, Cati and I were flying north to visit family. I found out that she signed the papers that afternoon after getting off the plane. We were now considered the prospective adoptive parents of Cati. It was just so exciting.

That weekend was a nice time spent with family and I flew home Monday afternoon. I was so itching to take a pregnancy test because I was at 9 days past ovulation (or 9 dpo for my infertility peeps who know all the lingo).

Now understand that for the woman obsessed with conceiving, the driving force is the hope of this moment in the loo. Everything is about the moment. Last month was negative so you spend a week depressed, and then the next week you get your period, the hope begins to spark to a flame, and are in the bathroom again peeing on a stick like a kid waiting for the biggest ice cream cone ever. It becomes ritual.

And you have pregnancy test taker types. Some stare at the stick the entire 3 minutes...waiting and watching. Others can just leave the bathroom and forget about it. I am the sneaky checker. I would glance over at it hoping it would not catch me do it. I would leave the bathroom only to come back to re-flush and take another sneak peek. And if you were obsessed like me, you knew all the scoop on all the tests. I knew which were the stronger ones that could detect hcg (pregnancy hormone) levels the earliest. I knew which ones had frequent false results. I was the pee stick wizard. I also confess to taking a test to a lamp to see a possible faint line. Taking it outside in the sun. And taking it apart to identify the faulty manufacturing of it since it was not revealing the positive I wanted. Or so I could better see the faintest line that my eyes would create in desperation.

So testing just became this monthly thing. So the Monday I flew home I knew I had one of those Internet cheapy tests in the bathroom. The really, skinny, papery ones. But those suckers detect early! And if there was a test in the house I was going to use it. And it was the last one. So I thought about it the whole plane ride home. And before bed, I asked the husbter if I should test. He said wait until morning since the first pee after you wake up is the one with highest levels of hcg. See, you train hubby to know their stuff too so they hold you accountable within your obsession. I said, "You're so right. That is what I will do." Then I go in the bathroom and pee on the stick. Did I mention I was obsessed?

But I forgot to sneak up on it. I just plain forgot. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on my pajamas. Oh, the test! It had been about 5 minutes...

There were two lines...

September 15, 2009

Two Tips Tuesday

TIP #1 Easy Decor on the Cheap!

Some of you may not be crafty but I really think these projects are verrrry easy. And they are not expensive to do. Gotta love that. As you may already know, I rent. So I have to live with a lot of things I do not like about my house. We try not to paint walls though I wish we could. We have lived here 5 1/2 would think I would update a bit. But I always think we are 30 days away from moving...or so I hope.
Here is one idea with letters...In Ella's room I had to get really creative because there is no closet and there is also a door in there to the patio. I had to get storage baskets for the built in shelf that takes up the whole wall and the tiny room has two windows. So there is hardly any wall space. I wanted Ella's name in letters in there although I cringe because that seems to be in every child's room everywhere. Nothing wrong with that but I strive to be different. So what I did was buy letters in different font types and then covered them in scrap book paper that coordinated with the bedding. It ended up really cute. I painted the sides for contrast and placed them on top of the bookcase leaning against the wall.

This is the light switch in Ella's room. It is the ugly taupe color like the switches. Again, I rent and why should I replace these? I know. Because they are ugly and old. Anyway, I decoupaged tissue paper on the switch plate. That's it. You can do a zillion things with a switch plate. But that can be for another day.

This project cost me $5. The trick is to plan and know what you are looking for. I bought the frames at the place where everything is a dollar. I think if I write dollar tree one more time, my entire blog will spontaneously delete itself. The key was to find 8 x 10 frames with mattes already in them which I did. So each frame was $1. They are not high quality but I could care less because they were going on a wall.

So here is what you need:

5 frames with mats (I think these were frames for certificates or awards)
4 x 6 scrapbooking matte size papers in coordinating patterns (or other decorative paper)
Faux botanicals (I had an arrangement in a vase and I just snipped tiny blooms off with scissors)
Hot glue gun

All I did was create a uniform arrangement of pictures for my guest room. Which is now Ella's room. I was inspired by something I saw in a catalog. Some company that rhymes with Lottery Yarn.

TIP #2 Menu Planner & Cleaning Schedule
Do you ever have weeks where hubby comes home and you have no idea what to make for dinner? Maybe due to an empty fridge? Because this is me at least 3 days a week. So this is what I try to do and when I stay on works.
First, I plan a weekly menu and I use this little handy pad on the side of my fridge...

I write what I want to make in each weekday slot and then put in the memo section the food I need to pick up at the grocery to be able to make the meals for that week. This helps me stay focused when I go grocery shopping and not over buy and ensure I have all the ingredients for my weekly meals.
I made this list years ago and I love it because it helps me stay on track. And I love lists because I love to scratch off the things I get done. I think I love it too much. I laminated it (I loser)and use a dry erase marker to check off the things I cleaned for that day. I broke it down into categories that were easy for me. Do you like the title too? Just in case I momentarily forgot who's cleaning checklist it was I felt the need to title it with my name.
Another way to do it is do a room a day. Bedrooms on Monday, Kitchen Tuesday, Bathrooms Wednesday, etc. Organization Day is for cleaning out the fridge or closets, washing curtains, going behind the fridge or washing machine. That kind of thing. Big jobs...for hubby to help with...okay, for him to do.
Now. I am going to wish you a Happy Tuesday like I always do. But you have to understand the sadness I feel when no one comments on Two Tips Tuesday. Could ya just leave a comment just once? Please? I mean, I think these are good tips but I get no love on Tuesdays. Yet, I will hear amazing things later by email or in person. So what gives? Just be anonymous. Lie to me. Tell me you hate it. But show me something. I am begging you. Shamelessly.

Happy Tuesday. Just click right there below where it says 0 comments. Be number 1. It feels good.

September 10, 2009

Beach Underwear

Or a bathing suit. But we will get to that later. Lets back up to where I just spent 120 minutes in the pit of darkness.

In a department store dressing room.
Trying on bathing suits.
With a sea of choices laying before me from the labor day clearance.
Where I get the pick of what is leftover.

My cup overfloweth.

Actually, I overfloweth from the tops of these things.

I begin picking up bathing suits that are safe, 2 piece numbers that will give me some coverage (i.e. granny skirts and lots and lots of rouging) and hopefully slim me down and hide my triple layer tummy. As I am loading up the stroller with my selections while Cati hangs from the middle of an empty rack I realize I am in for a dressing room treat. Both girls confined to what I consider an anatomy confessional closet as I try on a litany of suits. At this point, Cati begins screaming that she needs to go pee pee (her words) and is scared she will go in her panties. I unload the stroller and we go to the bathroom that is 2.5 miles away on the other side of the store, though the housewares department. Cati finds public restrooms to be the most delightful experience. Cati's hygienic playground. I, however, can be a bit phobic about the germs lurking there to pounce on my daughters hind parts. So I am a bit anxious when nature calls for my Cati.

We leave without too much incident. I am confident of this since she told everyone in the vicinity that all her pee made it into the loo and not on the floor or her pants at her ankles.

We go in and I begin to try on these esteem depleting contraptions which just makes me a tad grumpy. And then there is Cati narrating the process. I had like 10 suits in there with me and I was going as fast as my fanny could roll in and out of those suits.

"Mommy, I want to go hooooooooooome."
"Mommy, is that your bra? What IS that? Your bra, Mommy?
"I want to put on a baby soup." (translation: bathing suit)

"Cati, these won't fit you. You are too little."

"Because your BIIIIIIIG Mommy?" Shoot me now.

"Yes, because I am big."

"Mommy, are these your panties or a baby soup?"

"Cati, can you kindly let me try on these bathing suits please?" And then my child proceeds to pants me. She thought it was hilarious. I did not, however since she did it right in front of the mirror so I got the full visual of her hilarious funny on Mommy.

"Cati, now where is my bra?" The dressing room is the size of a refrigerator but the brassiere is completely MIA. I am imagining myself having to walk out with these bathing suit tops that are waaaaay too small and I am considering topless is the most respectable option.

" this it, Mommy?"

"No, Cati. That is a bathing suit." So not helping with confidence here.

"Ohhhh wait...heerrrrrre it issssss." And she reaches under the stroller in the basket underneath and whips out my underwear that actually looks like underwear. As she lassos it over her head, barely missing Ella's face who is sitting in the stroller, she wears a triumphant yet mischievous look on her face. I let it go.

After the pantsing and hide and seek bra fiasco, my hubby meets us and takes the girls for a healthy meal at the food court. I wrap up the torture of trying these wrongly sized suits on and finally decide to purchase two.

I am behind this 40's something woman, this petite, teeny little thing that you could put in your pocket. Her tank top had the tag sticking out with the XS taunting me. I overhear her (I am shamelessly eavesdropping) talking to the saleswoman at the register and she is saying how this suit looks like a bra. The saleslady tells her it is the hottest thing right now and they even have these lacy ones almost identical to our unmentionables. Which are clearly being mentioned on beaches and at swimming pools across America since they are sold out. I look at my purchases and wonder even if I had the XS tag hanging out of my shirt, would I parade our Florida beaches in what people may mistake for underwear? Not that there is much difference nowadays but I still wondered.

The extra small, pocket fitting lady then explains that she needs her husband's approval to purchase the suit which is is this adorable black and white suit. I would try to describe the pattern but I could not make it out due to the negligible amount of fabric available. But it was cute. Lots of strings, though. Lots and lots of strings. I digress.

So as I purchase these suits I think to myself that perhaps I need to reconsider the trauma of trying bathing suits on. I mean, if people are commenting that they look like underwear and then purchase them after gaining awareness of this fact, I might be glad I don't have a size zero body. My life is far too crazy to aspire to this.

Now my only aspirations are avoiding public pantsing by my three year old daughter.

September 9, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 5

Oh, my precious Cati. How all the details, all the grief make sense now. Of course they do. If Anthony stayed longer, we would not have had Cati. If we had not opened our hearts and home two days later for that precious boy, we may have never been ready. If J had not gone through those 2 weeks of episodes and delays Cati would never have been part of our lives.

Here are some other little facts that cause goose bumps. When we held J in the NICU...ready? Cati was a few beds away. Can you stand it? Here's another amazing thing. Cati was born when they called us for J. It all was timed so perfectly that only our God could have orchestrated it; all so that I could put these words here now. Because God gets the glory. All of it. And here is a final bit of info that may make you sad. Five days after Cati came home they called to ask if J could come to our home because he had been released to regular foster care. Although Cati was embedded in my heart, it was the hardest "no" I ever said.

Guess what? Her name was not Cati. Not even close. It was actually another first and last name. I so wish I could tell you what it was but I need to protect her in light of all the specifics regarding her foster care and adoption. I would also love to share with you her name that was finally told to us a few days after she came home. Again, I must protect my daughter. The first part of that name, the first 4 letters is spelled C-A-T-I which is why her name is Cati and why it has such an unusual spelling.

That night when she came home, it was late at night and there were 4 other children in the van on the way to their foster homes. I remember peering into her seat and seeing her. Oh, she was so teeny, tiny in that car seat just sleeping so peacefully. But the woman transporting all these kids was on a schedule so I got her out of the seat and kind of held her one armed like a football. I was carrying her folder in my other hand and as I carried her into the house I was shocked at how comfortable I was holding her like that. My other shock was that the moment I held her I knew that letting her go would make Anthony seem like a cake walk. She was the child of my heart.

I wish I could explain to you every minute detail of those first few weeks. The fact that we experienced everything a parent experiences after bringing their baby home from the hospital still astounds me. Because we did it all not yet knowing she would one day have our last name. I laugh remembering as I looked at her for the first time, my first thought was, "Oh this bun is so not done. She needs to be put back in!" She was frail and her skin was transparent. Her cry was this small squeak and hardly audible. One day when I was feeding her and moved her I saw her ear bent in half and it stayed that way! I almost hyperventilated myself into a dead faint before I could fix it. You should have seen me. It was like playing hot potato with her teeny weeny little ear. I kept jerking my hand back afraid to touch it or hurt her. But I put it back and no damage done. Except for my heart palpitations.

Ah, but then the fertility fairy sprinkled me with her dust and I began the quest again. Around October of 2006, I looked into a fertility study being conducted. This study would test an ovulation inducting drug through the use of artificial insemination. I had to go through a series of tests beforehand as did my husband. Not a thrilling experience. But we both got the clear and we began the first of 3 attempts to get pregnant.

Here is the time to tell you something. God had been speaking to my heart for a very long time that I was going to get pregnant naturally. No, I did not hear an audible voice boom from above that I would be barren no more. I just had this knowing, that still small voice telling me to stop all attempts and believe Him. He was calling me to radical faith. My holy response?

Nope. Got it covered. You are so my plan B. But I am getting this womb filled and if all systems fail, theeeeen I will try the faith thing.

Understand that this was not me being flippant with my King. It was UNBELIEF. It was years of seeing nothing happen. I desperately wanted to believe this knowing. But I was still reluctant to believe that nothing was impossible for God.

So, onward Christian soldier Jessica moves herself forward with a highly embarrassing process of artificial baby making. I have no issue with anyone who has done infertility treatments. Insemination. IVF. God has blessed many of my friends this way. I think it is wonderful that there are options. Heck, I tried those options. But no one dreams of having an internal ultrasound with a doctor, nurse, and THREE INTERNS in the room staring at my ovaries. But I could only blame myself for signing up for this research study. I will add that the main doctor was ridiculously hot and I truly wondered if all of this was really worth this kind of humiliation. They treated me like I was being prepped to be a dissected frog. Awful. What made matters worse? The first cycle failed. Meaning an egg was developing to be released (definition: ovulation) but it stopped. I would have to wait another month to try again.


During this time I wrestled so much with my intense desire to be a mom. One day, I was walking Cati through the neighborhood, praying about her. I wanted her. With everything in me I wanted to be her mother and I felt guilty telling God this and praying to adopt her. As I prayed I kept vacillating between being totally honest and trying to almost carefully choose my words to pray like a good Christian should. As I foolishly tried to appeal to my God He spoke so loud that I thought I suddenly went crazy. I feel crazy telling this part but I make myself feel better that I do not have to make this huge boat after hearing it. Anyway, I distinctly heard God tell me...I am so being serious here..."She will be your daughter. But believe. Believe Me."

God? Is that you? Because if there was ever a moment in my life where I want that voice to be yours and not mine it is RIGHT NOW. Please. Let this not be my hope masquerading as your voice. Will Cati be our daughter?

"Believe me. Because there will be times where it will seem like you will lose her. Believe me."

I literally trembled as if on holy ground. But I knew I had never had a moment like that in my entire walk with God. So I decided to take Him at His word. And His word rang true because seasons of doubt and uncertainty did come.

So by now its Christmas. And celebrating my Savior's birth got me a tad introspective. Well, let's call it what it was. I was humbled. Ready to listen to that small voice. The one who had been getting louder. The one that has been saying...


So I did. That Christmas we went to North Carolina and visited our old church where we attended before moving to Florida. The message was amazing for a Christmas service and it talked about waiting. During the service they passed around this paper asking for prayer requests and the church promised to pray for these requests until Easter and then send it back to us. Here is that piece of paper...

I am a little panicked that it has her full name on it but I am counting on the fact that you are not a super hero and can't read it. But here is what we put as our prayer request...

1. To have radical faith

2. To adopt Cati, our foster child

3. To overcome infertility and conceive a child

Now at this point, I was seriously trying to figure out what I could do to be the naturally impregnated girl God was telling me I was going to be. So I decided to stop the infertility study and lose weight. I had been struggling with my weight most of my life and I was close to 200 pounds...the heaviest I had ever been. So at this infertility clinic, they had a weight loss clinic. Drastic means to lose weight but with drastic results. I lost close to 60 pounds. Here are my before and after pictures... Lord God, help me to remove the idol of vanity so that this testimony can bless others...

Whoa. So hating that I am posting this pic of me but whatever. Glory to you, Lord!

How mad do I look here? I lose weight and gain an attitude. Geesh, simmer down skinny chic.

Must tell you I so don't look like that now. I was a running fool then and consumed next to nothing. Now I run occasionally and enjoy an occasional donut. Much more chipper now.

My cycles regulated and after considering buying stock in ovulation kits, I realized I was ovulating. God is so good.

Then, around June of 2007, we find out that Cati's birth mother is ready to do her case plan and bring her daughter home. She wants a visitation, the first one since she came into care. What a punch in the gut! She had so many issues but a few months back we had heard she received Christ as her Savior while incarcerated. My prayer had been that if it was genuine then she deserved her daughter back if she would love her and give her what she needed. I prayed for God to make this come to pass if that was to be the case.

She had her visit with her and it went fairly well. I made her a photo album of Cati and told her how we prayed for her every single day. The following month she did not show or call for the visit. We never heard anything again.

OK. If at this point you were thinking of taking a break you must not. If your spouse's hand is stuck in the disposal, the damage is already done. So sit tight. The children may look pale and grayish from lack of food while reading this post for the last 30 minutes but just throw them a piece of gum and keep reading. It is too good not to...

Oh, alllll right. I will write about it in the next one.