"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -----Martin Luther King, Jr.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle,but it will never break."
- ancient Chinese belief

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

If you've ever thought your house was messy, you ain't seen nothin'! I mean nothin.
Throughout David's bachelorhood, I visited his various apartments and rental houses, which he usually shared with at least 3 other men (boys? what are they at that age/stage of life?). They were all pretty nasty, including the carriage house that smelled so strongly of mold that I couldn't stay in there for longer than 10 minutes. And one house where the bathtub was literally brownish black from mildew. And the towels smelled. In one house I refused to eat off of or use any dish (you would've too if you'd seen the kitchen).
David is not nearly as bad as he used to be but is not and never will be a neat-nick. At first, this really bothered me and, as we woman can tend to do, I tried to change him. But, as our family has grown, I have become more and more slack in my upkeep of the house. And David's oversight of the mess has become endearing, and a Godsend. I've heard friends say their husbands have commented on their houses and been oh so thankful that David either doesn't notice or doesn't mind.
So, I've learned to sit in the sun with David instead of trying to keep up with and manage the mess the kids make all weekend long. I will snuggle the child that wants to be snuggled instead of folding laundry. If the kitchen isn't clean when it's time for me to call it a night, I call it a night and deal with it the next day. Or the next. Or the next.
And herein lies the problem. I have put stuff off for so long now, I feel like there's no getting out from under it.
I have started ebaying to make some money for the adoption. So that stuff is in limbo all over. Ty switched rooms so his stuff is sprawled about between two bedrooms. The school paperwork is piling up. The laundry is piling up. Toys (who even plays with them anymore?) are everywhere. I am having the garage sale to end all garage sales this weekend. That stuff is EVERYWHERE! In some part of my mind, I am thinking I am going to make and sell some jewelry. That stuff is all over.
Which leads me to my "Quote of the Day". After I got home from dinner out with some friends last night, I was changing into my jammies in our bathroom. I put my clothes on the HUGE, and ever-growing pile of my clothes on the bathtub ledge (thank heavens for those oversized garden tubs with their enormous tiled frames). David's pile used to always exceed the size of my pile, but not so anymore. And this is kind of embarassing. So I said, "wow, look at my pile of clothes". To which David responded,

"this is the messiest house I have ever lived in, including any of my apartments".

And then he proceeded to point out more of the obvious, "every single room in this house is messy".
I actually found it a little harder than usual to fall asleep last night with thoughts like, "how am I gonna get this mess under control?", "what should my first step be?", etc. This morning I said, "sweetie, I'm sorry the house is so trashed". And, as my sweet, sweet hubby can do, he made me feel all better by saying something like, "sweetie, don't worry about it". And I realized that for him, it was merely an observation, it didn't bother him in the least!
Gotta love that man!

David in our awesome Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), in Kyoto last summer.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Red Threads

There is a Chinese proverb that we Chinese adopters sometimes cling to. It says, "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break." -Chinese Proverb.

As waiting parents, we (at least I) may look for, and inexplicably notice "red threads". My mom noticed several right after we got our referral. After I sent off my first dossier paperwork to China I went to the kids' school one day. I parked by a big patch of clovers. I have NEVER in my life found a four leaf clover but decided this would certainly be the day. It would be my good omen, my Red Thread. So, I bent down to start my search for my clover and right there in the middle of the patch of clovers was a ladybug! For those who don't know, the ladybug is a symbol of little girls adopted from China. I was even happier to find a ladybug than a clover.

Well, as I said in my "Jack" post yesterday, our first LID was on his birthday two years ago. Very exciting! We are waiting now for our dossier to be transferred and to receive a "new" LID. It's all part of the time consuming, frustrating process. Well, I told my mom on Tuesday, "I'm getting some news this week. I can feel it". Secretly (or not so much) I was hoping for our LID to come on Jack's birthday. So, I admit, I was a little disappointed when I didn't hear anything from the agency yesterday.

Imagine my surprise, delight, and goose bumps when I read my emails this A.M. and found this:

Dear Ashley:
Your new LID is April 15th, 2010.

April 15! Jack's birthday! Bring on the Red Thread! And bring on that Baby! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

9 years ago today...

9 years ago today my 2nd son, Jack, was born. It was Easter morning. I know that mostly because my nurse (the best nurse EVER!) was wearing an Easter sweater vest and an Easter charm bracelet. The bracelet was what I was focusing on while I was breathing through my labor pains while the 9" epidural needle was being inserted into my spinal cord. I was freaking out. She pushed David aside (who was trying to comfort me with his soothing words and coffee breath) and grabbed my shoulders and said, "hold on to me". I did. And a few minutes later, I was happy and relaxed again. Had I known I was about to give birth to a 9 pound, 5 ounce baby I probably wouldn't have been so relaxed. But, I digress...

Jack was delivered by my OB/GYN, Dr. Siegal who I thought was just swell. Jack came into this world with no complications, a huge loud cry and a hearty appetite. It is family legend now that the grandmothers were waiting right outside the door when they heard the bellow of what sounded like a 4 year old. It was my 9 lb, 5 oz newborn. From the minute he was born, he wanted to nurse. If I tried to get him to stop to check him out or kiss those already plump cheeks, he screamed. Mad screamed. I remember my sister Linda and I laughing and laughing at that.

Over the years I have only fallen more and more in love with this little boy. He is so different from my other two. He is my BIG "momma's boy". The kind of guy you can picture with a "MOM" tattoo someday.

He loves to snuggle.

He sucked his thumb and twirled his hair until 2nd grade. David and I bribed him with things to quit. He cried at the mere thought of not sucking his thumb. He said he wouldn't be able to. He easily did in a matter of weeks.

Jack has a nack for dressing. His is a clothes horse. I can always count on him to put together an outfit that actually matches. For a good long while, he was very into wearing "collar" shirts and boy necklaces. He had like 20 necklaces. I thought he was on his way to being a fine upstanding metrosexual. He is now out of that phase, though, and back into a "sporty" phase.

And speaking of sports, he loves them all. He has played soccer, flag football, basketball and baseball and is outside playing from the minute his homework is begrudgingly done till dinnertime. He learned how to ride a 2-wheeler when he was 3 in a matter of minutes. By the end of the day he was riding onto our grass and off the curb.

Jack easily makes friends. He will join any sports team regardless of whether he knows anyone or not. And by the break at the first practice, he will have a friend, or friends, that he is buddying around with (ie: jumping on, fake punching, etc).

He hates all vegetables except raw broccoli with TONS of ranch dip (which I think basically counteracts any of the healthiness of the broccoli).

He has been a blatant, admitted, FAVORITE of all of his teachers. Because to know Jack is to love Jack.

He is an enigma, however. You can't ever know exactly how he's going to react to a situation. Which has often led me to my favorite saying, "You don't know Jack!".

He has a lot of the same, quirky fears as his mom: clowns, heights, thunderstorms, mannequins (the "dentist" on the Yorktown!), etc. When he was between 2-3 he would always yell, "ZOINKS!" when he was scared, like when his brother had snuck off and left him in the basement.

He is super-duper sensitive. Which I both love and worry about. I know he will have a lot of girlfriends. The girls already seem to totally dig Jack. I worry about his gentle heart. I hope it stays gentle but that nobody stomps all over it.

And finally, Jack has been totally, 100% on board with the adoption from the get go. The other brothers not so sure at first. Jack has just always been like, yeah, bring on another little person to love. He gets that someone out there needs a family. Since we have gotten our referral and put "Dumplin's" picture on the fridge, he has walked by it no less than 20 times and said, "I wish we could just go get her now" or, "I can't wait to hug her". He tells everyone at any opportunity that "we are getting a sister from China". So, it was so very fitting that our original LID came freakishly quick, on his birthday two years ago.

One of my favorite Jack stories has to do with the adoption. 2.5 years ago (so he was 6 1/2 years old at the time) we were having our homestudy done. We were doing our house tour when we walked into our master bath with all the kids and the social worker said "Wow, what a big tub. Who takes a bath in here?", and all the kids were like (monkeys) saying, "me, me, me" and she said, "you don't splash do you?" and the kids were like "yes! yes! yes!" and then David (for reasons I will never know) said, "and what does daddy say when you make a mess?" (what he thought 3 boys would respond to this question i don't know either) and Jack says immediately: "he says 'I'm gonna punch you in the face!'" Somehow we still got approved!

My favorite "Jackisms":

No Balls (what he said from 18 months on when I said, "time to change your diaper". You can figure it out.)


Dat Weirz (to anything strange)

Mystery Maddy Face (what he called David when he was grouchy once. It stuck for a good long time and we still use it occasionally)

Is cereal all you ever have on your brain? (when David tried to give him cereal for b'fast for the 2nd day in a row)

Oh my GOSH! (said exactly like Napolean Dynamite any time he feels he has been dealt something unjust- like cereal 2 days in a row)

Jack through the years...

Look at the size of that newborn. Zoinks!!

1st Birthday!

2nd birthday- The Blues Clues Era

3rd b'day- Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes! (the Wiggles Era)

4 years old-"Animal Expert" phase

5 years old

6 years old- with his Bros

7th Birthday - The year of the D.S. lite!

8 years old- Lover of Baseball!

And today, 9 years old! Mommy's big boy!

Happy Birthday to my very special boy! I love you so much!

PS: please excuse the erratic spacing here and there. i tried to edit it to perfection, but am not seeing posted what i do in my "editing" space. Sorry!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life's a Beach!

We were very fortunate to be able to use my dad's condo in Destin for Spring Break! The weather could not have been more perfect the entire time.

The condo overlooks the pool so the boys spent LOTS of time there- in the pool and in the hot tub. I would occasionally look up from my AWESOME book Eat, Pray, Love to see them all sitting in the hot tub, sometimes with several grownups or teenagers. Hilarious!Since the pool water and the ocean was way too cold for me, I spent a LOT of time reading-something I don't spend enough time doing. It was great! We also spent a lot of time snuggling at night- my favorite thing to do with my boys!

I feel I can speak for the entire family when I say we ate way too much! Fast food on the way down, Jordano's pizza the first night, La Paz with my stepsister Karen and her hubby Kevin, The Red Bar in Grayton beach twice and The Donut Hole 3- yes 3, times! Before our trip David and I decided that donuts for b'fast is a little crazy and we would be "healthier" and have them as dessert instead. So, after lunch on our 1st day, we drove to the beloved restaurant with visions of jelly donuts and angels filling our heads. It was 2:00 (they are open until 11:00 p.m.) and they were completely out of donuts. ALL DONUTS. We walk out of the donut shop and Jack, who will be 9 this week (but whose love of sweets is rivaled only by his Aunt Linda's), BURSTS into tears! Needless to say, we had donuts for breakfast the next 3 mornings! When we were pulling out of town on our last day the kids said, "we want a souvenir, what's our souvenir?" to which I immediately responded, "the 5 pounds you each gained". Gotta say though, it was worth it!

Smiling in anicipation. We waited in line for these donuts for 20 minutes- at 7:30 in the morning. So worth it!

The Red Bar!

My 3 Sons

This pretty much sums it up!

We spent hours on the beach. The boys dug holes and trenches, swam in the ocean, played bocce ball, and we ALL played two hand touch. David laughed really hard at how hard I was running on the beach to try to "tackle" Michael. My competitive streak is finally showing! BTW, football on the beach made me aware of some underused muscles in my legs. wowsers!
Jack- lover of the beach. And donuts.

Even with the freezing water temps, the boys played for hours in the pool. Their favorite activities are silly jumping contests and having Daddy throw the football with them or having Daddy throw them. They learned early that Mommy is good for things like bedtime, kissing boo-boos, etc. but Daddy is the man you want at the pool!

Future Belly Flop Olympian- Ty Gruskin

Boy oh boy does this boy love his Daddy!

It's amazing how time flies when you're just relaxing, enjoying the beach and your family. How I wish Spring Break could be just a little longer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Testing, Testing. 1. 2. 3.

Well, here I am. After years of dreaming of having my own blog to document my life and our family's adoption, here I am (with a referral and everything!). Wow, it really wasn't so hard either. I'm talking like a few clicks and done.

What was I waiting for? :)