Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not much going on here. That's why I've been so quiet. Thank you for the kind comments on my last post. I really didn't intend to write about those feelings when I came here that day. My plan was just to tell another funny story about something my husband had done and everything else just kind of spilled out. After writing it, I'll admit I was a little worried. The last time I wrote about grieving the loss of a biological child I received some comments and e-mails telling me that perhaps I wasn't ready to adopt if I was still having those kinds of feelings.

I think Fuzz and Fuzzlet summed it up perfectly in her comment when she said "Adoptions cures childlessness, it does not cure infertility". So true.

I am enjoying the three day weekend, although I have spent much of it alone. Joe has been working every night and is asleep most of the days. I did have the chance to get out of the house today and have lunch with a friend. Thanks DeAnn!

The plan was for us to go to the beach tomorrow, but Joe is working tonight and tomorrow night and I'm afraid he will be too tired. How I wish he didn't have to work this second job.

Still, very grateful to have tomorrow off. And cannot believe it is September already. I do love the summer, but September, October, November and December are my very favorite months of the year. Love me some holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. All of them. Bring em' on!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I keep feeling like I need to come here and post something, but then I come here and find I have nothing to say. Writer's block? Or just a very boring life? Maybe a bit of both. Here's something that happened last week that I found interesting.

Remember how Joe and I were cleaning out Sophie's room so my sister and kids could stay in there?

Well I was putting knick knacks on the shelf I put up, and on it I placed two pictures frames that my awesome secret buddy got for me before I dropped out.

One of the picture frames is blank inside.

The other picture frame has a picture of a blond little girl in it(the one that came in the frame).

So I'm puttering around in the room and I see the picture frame with the little girl in it on the dresser with the picture facing down.

Hmmmmm.......that's strange. I didn't put that there. Maybe it fell. I placed it back up on the shelf and went about my business.

The next day I go in there to put some pillows and linens for my sister and I see the picture frame on the dresser again, facing down.

Now I know this picture did not fall down twice and land in the exact same spot.

Remembering the whole light situation, I call Joe into the room.

He comes and stands in the doorway

"Yes"? he asks.

"Did you take this picture frame down from the shelf and place it face down on the dresser"?

"Uhhhhhhhh......yes. I did".

"But why? Do you not like it?".

"No. It's not that. The frame is fine. It's the picture I don't like. Can we take it out and put a different one in"?

"Why? What's wrong with the picture that's in it?"

"It's a blond little girl".

"???????Yeah. So?"

"It's just that I always thought that we would have a blond little girl together and now that will never happen and it makes me kind of sad to look at it."

I honestly didn't know what to say.

For the last 7 years I have tried to come to terms with the fact that we will never have a biological child.

I have grieved that loss, and the fact that I will never experience pregnancy.

For those years, Joe has been my sounding board. My confidante, cheerleader and shoulder to cry on.

He has said from the very beginning that it doesn't matter to him where our child(ren) come from. It doesn't matter if they are biologically related to us, or that they won't look like us.

He is the one who made me finally realize this for myself.

Often over the last 7 years I wished I could be more like him.

I wished that I didn't grieve the loss of a biological child, but now I realize it was something I had to work through to get to where I am now.

You can still love the child you are going to have and at the same time grieve for the one that will never be.

The fact that I have felt sad that I will never have a biological child has nothing to do with the love I feel for Sophie. One is separate from the other. (I really don't care if you agree with that or not-it's how I feel).

I guess I was surprised to learn that he has been grieving too, in his own way. Maybe it just took him longer to figure out his feelings.

Today I came across some pictures of Joe when he was a baby. I felt a twinge of that sadness again. He was such a beautiful baby.

A red haired, chubby cheeked baby. For a long time when we were trying to get pregnant I couldn't see a red haired baby without crying.

Now I don't notice them anymore. I guess this whole thing is a process.

This evening we took out the picture of the blond little girl in the frame and in its place are the Chinese characters for "Sophie".

It makes us both smile when we look at it.

I think we're going to be okay.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lisa sent me pictures from the weekend last night and Joe woke up and we watched one of our shows together and I woke up today not so sad. Pity Party over.

Here's some of the pics:

I took this one. Love Lisa's camera.

Cameron the Boogie Boarder.

Grace finds the most comfortable seat on the beach. Plenty of padding. Heh.

Why am I holding up my sunglasses so excitedly? Because a minute before Lisa took this picture I was completely knocked over by a huge wave and my sunglasses came flying off of my face into the surf. I stood up and looked down and there they were, floating right in front of me and I reached down and grabbed them right before they sunk to the bottom, never to be seen again. What luck!

On the way out of Laguna we stopped at the animal shelter to see the dogs.

Right next door was a sign that said "Pacific Marine Mammal Center".
We were curious, so we walked over to check it out. This is what we saw as soon as we went in the entry:
Is that not the cutest face you have ever seen? Oh my Gosh, I was in love. If you live in Southern CA, you have to visit this place.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates sick or injured seals and releases them back into the wild.

We got there right at feeding time(score!), so we got to see them in action. These little guys are Harbor Seals and they were the babies.

They also had adult Northern Elephant Seals, and CA Sea Lions.

But the babies were my favorites. Go figure. I could have watched them all day. They were so darn cute!

They offer educational tours and kid's activities too, so if you are ever in that area you should check it out. For sure. They could probably use some donations too :)

And happy 22 months to us!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My sister and the kids have gone home. I am sad about that.

The Olympics are over. I am sad about that too.

Tomorrow is our 22 month LID anniversary. Also a bit saddening.

I had to take the Christmas ticker off because it was giving me anxiety. Not quite ready for Christmas yet. I'll put it back up after Thanksgiving. That's when a countdown to Christmas should start.

Joe is sleeping and I am having cold pizza for dinner. Alone. Sad.

Can you say "pity party"?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympians to Watch-Cheryl Haworth USA

Cheryl Haworth
Sport: Weightlifting
Team: USA
Why You Should Care: body positivity, women's weightlifting is maybe even more awesome than women's wrestling

Cheryl Haworth wants women to love their muscles. At 5'9" and 315 lbs, she says, "It’s fun to be strong." She's fast, too, running a 40-yard dash in five seconds. Her strength, speed and legendary confidence helped her win numerous national titles and a bronze medal in Sydney. However, injuries have made her feel "like an old lady" at 25, and Beijing will likely be her last Olympics. When she retires, she says, ""I'd like to experience the real world, get a job. The Olympics is an honorable endeavor, but you get tired of thinking about yourself all the time. I'd like to do something for others."

Olympians to Watch-Dara Torres USA

Dara Torres is an American Olympic swimmer.
Dara Torres was born on April 15, 1967 (she is currently 41 years old) in the United States. She is an Olympic swimmer whose main events are Freestyle and Butterfly.
Her Olympic career spans 24 years - she was only 17 years old when she first competed.
Dara has won nine Olympic medals, including four gold.

Some interesting facts about Dara Torres:

- Torres has worked as a TV reporter for US networks like NBC, ESPN and the Fox News Channel.
- In 1994 She was the first ever swimmer to appear on the cover of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
- She retired from the sport of swimming twice, and returned to the sport twice also.
Click here to go to Dara Torres' website.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympians to Watch-Allyson Felix USA

Sport: Track and Field
After BALCO and Marion Jones and doping and every other thing to taint the world of track and field, the U.S. is in need of a hero. Allyson Felix can be that hero. In addition to being the world champion at 200 meters, she is a Sunday school teacher. She has a degree in elementary education from Southern California and plans to teach when her running days are over. She is coached by Bobby Kersee. She is not serving a six-month sentence in a federal penitentiary. She can fly. She doesn't laugh when her coach is falling over. She even bowls. If she wins gold, or her bracelets can stop bullets, I think we've found our hero.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today I had the pleasure of hanging out with some very cool Blogger friends. How lucky am I?

We spent all afternoon by Shelley's pool, hanging out and eating some awesome snacks that Shelley had put together.

I even got to meet a few blog friends I had not previously met.
Kristen and Eva Jun were there(and Kristen's mother-in-law too).

I also got to meet Karen and Kailee for the first time. Kailee was such a cutie. I wanted to take her home with me :) I loved her so much I offered to babysit for Karen, and I hope she takes me up on it! (I meant that Karen. I wasn't just saying it)

Kristen's good friend Tori was also there, with her girls.

Shelley's friend Nora was there for a short period too, as were her girls, but I don't think she has a blog(gasp!) and I took very few pictures so I don't think I have any of them.

I hope to pilfer more pictures off of Shelley, as I was in the pool much of the time(with one or more children on top of me), so I didn't get much photo taking in.

We had So. much. fun. Thanks Shelley, for inviting us. A great time was had by all.

We missed you Joannah!

Here are the few pics I did manage to snap

Eva and Grace
Craziness in the Pool

Me doing an impression of a Mermaid. Badly.

Gracie Girl

Grace and Eva again

Charlotte and Grace

We each even got to take home a lovely parting gift. Some of this beautiful, yummy Salmon that Shelley's husband Rich had brought home from work. MMMMMMMmmmmmmm.........

This will be our dinner(a couple of times!) next week.

Olympians to Watch-Shawn Johnson USA

Shawn Johnson
United States

At 16, she is perhaps the best gymnast in the world — a compact, powerful package who is just as at home on the beam and bars as she is in the vault and floor events. "She doesn't know how good she is," says former Olympian Shannon Miller. Shawn Johnson has an easy smile and confidence and rarely betrays the nervousness she says she feels at every competition. That anxiety gets expressed only through her poetry, which she scribbles in a journal that's always with her or which she texts on her cell phone. Through words, she reveals a Shawn not often seen by her competitors — one with a very human awareness of her limitations and a self-doubt about her emotional and physical strength that belies her age:

You remember the struggles and pain you had
When all the good had turned to bad
When behind the scenes you crumbled and prayed
For it all to simply just go away
But when the pressure builds and tears you apart
How are you able to not depart
How are you able to still carry a smile
When everything inside is in a pile

These lines, from a poem called Champion, were written during a stay at the national training center in March. "I feel like I have so much to say that I don't know where to start," she says of her creative urges. Much of the tension she describes is generated from within, from responsibilities she feels to her parents and coach, Liang Qiao (known as Chow), a Beijing native and former Chinese gymnastics champion. "I want to show everyone in their country their hard work through me," she says, referring to Chow's coaching skills. She will probably show her country too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympians to Watch-Chen Yanqing CHINA

TANGLI VILLAGE, China -- As a child, Chen Yanqing was the fastest girl in this farming village. She often outran the boys. One day at a sporting match, a coach noticed her throwing skills and took out a tape measure. She was 11 years old, and the muscles in her arms and legs were extraordinary.So was the proposition her parents received: Release their daughter to the state, and she could go away to sports school and improve her future, with possible financial benefits for the entire family.

"It was rock hearted of us, but we had no choice," says her father, a farmer named Chen Zufu. "If we didn't send her away to sports school, she would have ended up a farmer." In rural China, that likely means an annual income of less than $2,000.

Chen Yanqing, now 29, went on to reach the heights of global competitive weightlifting. Her rise helps to explain why many think China may win the medal count in the Beijing Games -- unseating the U.S. from its spot as Summer Olympics medal king.

China is in a position to compete for the top spot because of its unique mix of central planning and poverty that drives an intense desire to get ahead. Almost all the 52 Chinese athletes who won gold medals in Athens in 2004, including Chen Yanqing, came from the nation's system of elite athletic boarding schools. The primary recruiting grounds for those schools is the poor countryside, where some 700 million of China's 1.3 billion citizens dream of joining the nation's economic renaissance.

As the world record holder in the snatch lift, Chen Yanqing is key to China's hopes when she competes on Monday. "A rich person would never let his child do this," says Mr. Chen, Yanqing's father.

These athletes lifted their nation to the No. 3 medal spot in Sydney in 2000, and to the No. 2 spot in Athens in 2004. This month, their undisguised intention is to finish on top.

Out of Poverty

Mr. Chen's decision to hand over Yanqing has borne fruit -- a gold medal in Athens, a 2006 world record that she still holds and the opportunity to win gold again as part of the first Chinese Olympic team to compete at home. Her success helped lift her entire family out of poverty, according to interviews with her parents, sister and coach. In her small village, on a remote island off of Suzhou, two hours west of Shanghai, she is a hero.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nursery Pics

The view from the doorway

We call this the Bamboo Forest

Dresser/changing table/shelf

Closeup of shelf. We sure have collected a lot of things in the last three years! Some of them are very special to me, as I bought them when I was in China when Grace joined our family. Others are special because they came from some awesome secret buddies I have had over the last two years.

Old Barbie house that I painted and made into a toy/bookshelf. Still need to Decoupage some scrapbook paper to the top.

Bookshelf. This is holding only about a quarter of the books I have. You collect a lot of books when you teach preschool/work with kids for fifteen years!

Reading/snuggling corner. That chair is not comfortable at all. I hope to pick up a used glider that I can refurbish to put there instead.

Toys. Really need to stop buying these

This is the light that Joe and I agreed to keep on for Sophie. I am going to be making these for gifts. It is a bottle that is decorated with stickers and decoupaged shapes. A hole is drilled into the bottom and a string of Christmas lights is inside. I figure it is using less energy than the lamp Joe previously was leaving on

Art work I made and cute dragonfly we picked up in Capitola Beach this summer.

Shelf above the window and dolls. Must stop buying dolls :)

We still need to:
(Re)Assemble the crib
Buy an area rug. Something bright and cheerful, with a garden theme
Purchase or obtain a glider for the corner
Paint the walls. Possibly put up a border.
Purchase and hang some curtains. Hate those vertical plastic blinds.

I was so afraid that putting it all together would make me sad, especially given the fact that we have a good two more years to wait. Surprisingly, it makes me happy to go in there. That may not always be the case(like at Christmas time), and if that happens we'll just close the door. Some day there will be a child in that room, messing it up. Some day.

Olympians to Watch-Tyson Gay USA

United States
Age: 25

Can track and field catch a break? Less than a week after clocking the fastest sprint in human history, Tyson Gay, 25, tumbled to the track at the U.S. trials in Eugene, Ore. Fearing the worst, the crowd gasped as Gay clutched his left hamstring, wincing in pain. But he had suffered just a mild strain. The defending world champion in the 100-m and 200-m sprints, Gay was trying to qualify for the 200-m race in Beijing. He's out of the 200-m, and we're left wondering, Will he be healthy enough for the 100-m?

Gay has said he'll be healed by the Olympics. "I've had conversations with the physicians, massage therapists — everyone," says former Olympic sprinter Jon Drummond, one of Gay's coaches. "Everything they've told me gives me confidence that he'll be O.K." At the trials, Gay broke the American record in the quarterfinals of the 100-m, finishing in 9.77 sec. He followed that with a historic final: a time of 9.68 sec., the fastest ever recorded, but unofficial because of a strong tailwind. Still, that run made Gay the man to beat in Beijing — before he strained that hammy. At least history offers some comfort. Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene pulled up lame in the 200-m at the 2000 trials. They both won Olympic gold in other races (Greene the 100-m, Johnson the 400-m).

Unlike many top sprinters, Gay is a shy, dry competitor who doesn't talk smack on the track. And he doesn't always eat right when he's off it. "He loves McDonald's," says Drummond. That's not exactly the diet of champions. "He's been eating McDonald's his whole life, and look at what he's done," says Drummond. "Who am I to say it's bad for him?" Gay is a freak. If he can run this fast on Big Macs, how can a tight leg slow him down?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I was finally able to wrestle the computer away from my husband for five minutes while he is in the shower. He is teaching five classes, so the computer has been attached to him every minute that he is awake. I can check e-mail and blogs from work, but can't really comment or post anything. Sharing a computer bites. We're lucky to have one computer, I know. I should stop whining now.
It's almost my bedtime and there really isn't a lot going on anyway, so I'll make this short and sweet. And with bullets. Everybody loves those, right? :)

--We are still enjoying the Olympics. I will be sad when they end this Sunday.

--My apartment is still in a state of chaos. It is causing tension between my husband and I. Why, oh why, does he feel the need to hang on to junk? I would be happy if I woke up tomorrow and it had all simply disappeared.

--You know how I was going to take down the nursery so we could make use of that room during this interminable wait?

Well while we were cleaning it out this weekend my husband somehow convinced me that perhaps instead of doing that and keeping everything in boxes where it would get dusty and no one would see them, how about we set up the room, just to see how it will look?

So now the entire nursery is set up, with shelves and art work and toys and everything. What the?

How do I let him he talk me into these things?

I did manage to talk him into disassembling the crib though, and I decided we are not going to reassemble it or paint the walls until we have our referral.

Now it is the cleanest room in the house, and it does looks awfully cute. I have pictures, which I will post the next time I get to use the computer.

--My Sees-ter is coming to visit this weekend. Yippee! (Hence the cleaning out of the baby's room)

--We're supposed to meet up with Kristen and Eva at Shelley's house on Friday, but their whole family has been under the weather this week, so send healing thoughts over there!

--My sister is sick of the same songs on my blog over and over, so she sent me a whole list of song suggestions, which I thought was nice but also a tiny bit controlling of her :)

--Again, too tired to do anything about it now. I'm going to bed. G'night!

Olympians to Watch-Guo Jingjing CHINA

Guo Jingjing
Sport: Diving
Team: China
Why You Should Care: commanding record, celebrity status China might win all eight diving golds this year, and Guo is the jewel in her team's crown. She's also China's highest paid female athlete. At 26, she's won four straight world titles in springboard, and suffered a detached retina from the impact of a dive. And her love life has made her a Chinese tabloid staple. She and diver boyfriend Tang Liang were known as "the diving prince and princess," and she was said to be "pining" when he married someone else. Now she's with "playboy" Kenneth Fok, but one Chinese blogger warns "Guo must be careful not to think about boys too much or she’ll crush China’s Olympic hopes." Guo sounds like she'd rather the press focused on her diving as well: “Whatever I say," she complains, "reporters don’t report it truthfully, so I might as well shut up.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympians to Watch-Jeremy Wariner USA

United States
Age: 24

White sprinter. It's a flat out contradiction in terms in recent Olympics, and one of the most intriguing track storylines of the Beijing games: Wariner, two-time world champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 400m, seems a bit vulnerable. Since breaking with long-time coach Clyde Hart earlier this year, Wariner has lost twice to fellow American LaShawn Merritt, on June 1 in Berlin and at the Olympic trials in early July. Prior to that slump, Wariner had lost only four times in 42 pro races. Wariner dismisses the talk that the coaching change has hurt him; he backed it up by clocking the year's best 400m time on July 18. "I'm still the favorite," he says. "When it comes to the Olympic Games, I've been there before and I know what it takes to win it."