Saturday, December 31, 2005

I always knew Tom Cruise and I had a date with destiny.....

This morning I was reading a post by my friend, The Jolly Porter. He talked about a website that will scan a picture of your face and tell you what celebrity you look like. This sounded like it would be LOTS of fun. Normally, I don't follow up on this stuff, but my husband took the kids on a long bike ride so I had the house to myself for a few hours. Of course, I had to do it! This was way more important then laundry or dishes. I scanned a fairly recent picture. I still had a puffy face from pregnancy weight, so I was prepared for the worst. The first name that came up was Guillermo Coria (60%). A guy. Does this count? I am not sure that I know who this is but he plays tennis. He kind of looks like Mark Wahlburg to me. The next person on the list was Juliet Binoche (55%). I was pretty happy with this because I looked like her glamour shot. It kind of goes downhill from there.

Next was Katie Holmes. That was kind of cool. It was a 52% match. The matching database had about 20 pictures of Katie. It was pretty interesting to see which one it thought that I resembled most.

It wasn't sexy Katie...

or fresh faced "Dawson's Creek" Katie...

nope, not "Angelina Jolie" Katie...

heck, it wasn't even "Brittney Spears" Katie...

Yes folks, apparently I look like "who needs individuality? I'll just get date an older man, get knocked up, have a silent child birth and join a cult" Katie. In this picture she looks just as glassy eyed as her crazy (and I have been saying this since 1989) boyfriend/cult leader. I am just glad that he proved me right over the summer. This is the same look I saw on a deer that I once hit with my car, seconds before its life ended. I feel creepy. That isn't very promising...

Not to be turned back--I kept scrolling to see who else I looked like. There was a tie for a 51 % match. JK Rawling. Ok, I will take it! She does look a little bit English and I suspect that there are some English teeth behind that smile. It is flattering to look like the richest woman in the UK and the only person to have a book on the NY Times Best Seller list for WEEKS before it was even published--not to mention the woman who may have single handedly gotten 10 years olds excited about reading again. Wicked.

WHAAAAAAAA? The tie for third place is Nicole Kidman? ANOTHER ONE OF TOM CRUISES WIVES? Ewwww, yuck, gag. What is this trying to say? I am offended at this. Again, I got "pre-nose job, I just met my husband and haven't gotten the Hollywood cynicism and polished looks" Nicole. This is "Days or Thunder" Nicole. The one that Crazy Tom fell in love with. Again, ewwwwww.

I am not a match to "Alicia Silverstone" Nicole...

or "Liz Phair" Nicole....

or even "Daryl Hannah" Nicole.

At least I didn't get matched with "too much botox/skull cap" Nicole, or...

"Orange- poodle- curls- and- you- probably- didn't- need-to- double- the- collagen- injections" Nicole.

Next came Andie McDowell. If I have to look 48% like any talentless, monotone, model turned actress with the most annoying accent EVER, I am glad it is this gal. I am especially glad that this is the picture I matched

and not this one,

this one,

or this one. (how did I miss a movie with Ms. McD as a nun?)

At the risk of this post taking too much space. I will just show you the pictures of the others that came just a few percentage points behind.


46% (I KID YOU NOT), how can they be so close of the scale? This lady is scary!!

Finally, my last match is to Miss Joni Mitchell.

I think it is the nostrils. I actually think that it is because I have a pointy chin and most of these people do too. I hope it isn't the noses, because that is not a pretty bunch, collectively. Derek suggested that I try a picture of myself when I was really skinny, just to see if I got different matches. I did. The first picture that came up AND had the highest percentage match (almost 75%) is this fine lady..........

I have just seen a glimpse into my future and it scared me a little. I will stick with the Mrs. Cruise's.......

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas...

All I want for Christmas this year is for BOTH of my children to smile at the same time!!!
I realize that when I put up pictures they always look something like this:

Everyone is smiling...clothes are mostly in order....
The reality is that most of our time is spent with them doing this:

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! We are going skiing for a few days so I will not be back until the New Year. I wish everyone happiness, health and joy in 2006!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I give up....

I got tagged by one of those special internet thingy's where you have to write things about yourself. On the one hand, I am feeling kind of popular right now because someone tagged me. ME!!! Although, that is sort of like feeling "popular" after someone gives you mono. On the other hand, I am not the kind of person who passes along chain letters. I don't even feel guilty. Heck, I don't even read them--I just delete them. I am pretty sure that by now I am personally responsible for thousands of people not getting dishtowels, recipes, dollars, blessings or treats. Do you know how bad I am? I don't even GET the special treats left by Thanksgiving ghosts or Halloween Turkeys that you are supposed to then pass along to other families. Sigh.

I am supposed to share 5 things that people don't know about me. Here is the problem. For the people who know me, they know pretty much all about me. I tend to talk. A lot. I am also pretty open about most of my life. I am a transparent eyeball (anyone get this reference? Lisa?). Not about yukky things like hygiene and other subjects that have NO place in society no matter how close of friends you are, but things like how occasionally I want to sell my children to the gypsies, I like to read magazines like People and Us Weekly, I feed my kids refined sugar and let them watch TV and that I hate Renee Zelewiger. That kind of stuff. People who know me will already know this about me. I have been trying to think of things that most people won't know about me--and I am coming up empty. The very few things that aren't public knowledge really need to stay that way. Those that only know me via the blog world won't know enough about me to know the difference. See the problem? After much thought and contemplation, here is the list I managed to come up with.

1) My mom is the secret love child of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. We had to keep it a secret for a long time but since both actors are dead now, it's OK to tell. Also, since the only celebrity gossip that gets printed nowadays has to be about Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton, no one cares anymore.

2) In high school I was offered the chance to be a runway model at Fashion Week in Milan, but turned it down because I really wanted to go to BYU instead. Then, I auditioned for- and got- the part of the girlfriend (Sloane) in Ferris Buelers Day Off, but turned it down because I really wanted to serve a mission. Finally, I had the chance to marry Steve Young when he was in law school at BYU. He begged me. Seriously. But, I turned him down because I just really don't like football and we all know that a life with Steve Young would have involved A LOT of football.

3) I won the lottery when I was on my mission. A HUGE one, but since we aren't supposed to gamble and most definitely aren't supposed to gamble when we are missionaries, I never told anyone. I gave the ticket to one of my investigators and we agreed to secretly split it--after we paid tithing of course. I live like a normal/poor person so no one will suspect.

4) I dated Carly Simon's son Ben Taylor in college (oh, the stories I could tell about being at his house for Thanksgiving one year...James Taylor got SO drunk......good times). He told me who the song "You're so Vain" is about. And he told me how she keeps her curly hair so shiny.

5) W. Mark Felt is a big fat liar. I am Deep Throat and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein know it. They just let this Felt guy take the credit so people would QUIT ASKING THEM ABOUT IT ALREADY. He is kind of senile and really old so they didn't have to worry about him ruining the plan.

There is is. Now you all know everything that there is to know about me. It just occurred to me that any time I read one of these post where someone has been tagged, it always starts with "I really don't like these things but....". If no one likes them, then WHY do we all feel compelled to do them? I guess I will stay true to form and not tag anyone else. If I can be but a small part of stopping this madness I will have made a difference in the world. Well, the blog world anyway.


Saturday, December 17, 2005


This morning I heard Lauren singing in the bathroom. Here is what she said:

"today is the beeeeeeeeesssssssssstttttttttt day ever. I love Saturday so much. I can wear whatever I want. My mom can't tell me what to wear, even if my sssshhhhhooooeeessss don't match....."


Friday, December 16, 2005

Life is like a bag of monkeys.....

At the rest of sounding OBSESSED with my adoption situation, I am posting this anyway. I wrote this over two weeks ago (BEFORE the need to put the "Disclaimer" up on the blog). I thought it was pretty funny and am going to post it anyway. Life is funny....

I gave a talk in church this week. It was a pretty good talk, spiritual and had an actual point--unlike most of the talking I tend to do. During the course of the talk I made a comment that I missed holding my son when he was a baby because now it is like holding "a bag of wild monkeys". I got several "reminders" not to call my black son a monkey. The reminder was specifically because he is black--and it was from white people.

Uhhhhh, OK. Beyond the fact that I didn't call him a monkey (I called him a bag of monkeys), BACK OFF PEOPLE!!! I have since learned that the term monkey used to be a disparaging term in the past and so I can see why there is a tiny, tiny shred of weight to that one. Ironically, his appearance had nothing to do with why I made the was in reference to an animal that it would be difficult to hold a bag of. In retrospect, maybe I should have said "bag of wild cougars" I forgot to do the racial sensitivity checklist before I spoke. Is cougar ok? Will that make the BYU Alumni upset? Is there any Native American custom I might be mocking? The racial aspect of the comment has to do w/ the facial feature of some African American's. The comment about my son was personality based. But even if it wasn' what? I will address this in another paragraph. My son is called a monkey because he can climb ANYTHING. He has been known to take a running leap at my legs and grab on and wrap his skinny little arms and legs around mine and STAY THERE. He is freakishly strong. He can wrap his legs around my waist and make it very difficult to dislodge him. If I grab him by his hands and pull him up, he will bring his legs up and fold himself in half so that his feet are by his ears--all while hanging in the air. FREAK. ISH. LY. STRONG. I see now that I really should have said a "bag of Chinese contortionists". Wait, am I allowed to say Chinese? See, I did it again. He also has the cutest little bowed legs and when he was first leaning to walk, he held his hands straight above his head. We called it his "gorilla walk". It was adorable and I STILL watch the video of it. SO WHAT!!

I also have been "reminded" to take "lots of pictures of my son so that when he is older and compares his pictures with his sisters, he won't think we love him less". Oooookkkaaaay. Clearly this advice giver had given this some thought, and that part is touching and appreciated. But honestly, I defy you to find ANY second child that has as many pictures as the first. Lady, that is not just for adopted kids. Just ask my sister Melissa (the 5th girl) or my brother Jeff (the 7th child). If it was left to photographic evidence, the world wouldn't be totally sure that these children even existed. Her advice was given in the context of us being a transracial family and the fact that he is adopted. I am hoping that when my son is older, he won't think we love him less then his sister because of all the time and effort and parenting we will do with/for him. Of course, if he is like any other child (not just adopted ones) at some point he WILL think we love him less then his sister. I am pretty sure that I wouldn't be doing my job if that wasn't the case at least once or twice.

Is it just me or is the world getting extra sensitive? Am I just naive? I am not saying that we shouldn't be sensitive to the differences around us. I am also not denying that there won't be issues that will come up because of the fact that my son is who he is. I know that there will be. How do I prepare for my daughter? Do I prepare for her to be not good in school? Not popular? Too tall? At least with Jacob there are a few I can anticipate. As a family, are we sensitive to my son's racial and cultural heritage? Of course we are. We embrace his identity. But that is it--I am just not allowed to talk about it, or I have to be very, very careful if I do. I have been chastised for saying my son is back, I was told to say African American. When I have said African American, I was told to say Black American. Who can keep track? I have been told that a white woman couldn't possibly know how to raise a black child. It is true that as a white woman, I don't know what it is like to be a black child. I don't know what it is like to be a boy either, but no one questions my ability to raise a son, just a BLACK son. Yes, there are people in the world that use color as a basis for poor treatment. There are also those that are disparaging towards women, or Mormons, or Democrats. I plan on defending ALL of my children from ALL of these things. I wish that none of it existed, but it does.

But is it as big of a deal as I am being forced to think it is? In our home, Jacob being black is such a small part of what he adds to this family. I think of him as cheerful, charming, funny and clever before I think black. Am I doing my family a disservice for not being extra, extra PC? My children ARE different. Lauren wouldn't put her face underwater for a million dollars. Jacob sits under the faucet in the tub. Lauren loves to play alone, Jacob is proving to be more attached to me and wants me much closer the Lulu did as a one year old. I take my kids differences and similarities in stride. Their skin color is one of those many, many differences. Am I not allowed to acknowldege it? The reality is that my son is black and my daughter is white. Doesn't not addressing that issue make THEM think it is a bigger deal then it is, or a subject that shouldn't be talked about? I want them both to be comfortable with who they are and what the world might throw at them. This is one thing that I am pretty sure that both of them are going to have to address to strangers and friends as some point. Maybe we don't celebrate Kwanza or eat African food in my house, but we don't eat Tripe or Haggas or German Food either. I am pretty sure that Jacob will know much more about HIS racial heritage then Lauren will. No one cares if white people know about the culture they came from--but wouldn't that be the same thing?

My daughter has a nickname, we call her Birdy. The day she was born, she looked so much like a little baby bird that it just stuck. My son has been called "the Monkey Man" since he was born. When Jacob was born--he did resemble a baby chimpanzee. Look at the picture for yourself and try to deny it. We also said that he looked like an 80 year old grandmother w/ a bad perm and Don King. When we got new white carpet and the fuzz stuck to his hair, we thought he looked like Morgan Freeman. He was also the hairiest baby EVER. The still has more of a mustache then many 16 year olds. I can see how in many ways people would think that is a terrible thing to say. I need to point out that it was his BIRTH MOTHER who first pointed it out. Her oldest son she named Cornelius because she thought he looked like that character in Planet of the Apes. She was clearly comfortable w/ the comparison. Newborn Jacob had an afro of frizzy black hair and a scrunchy little face. He was so skinny, there wasn't much fat under his skin and it was loose and had folds in it. His flat little nose and enormous eyes made him the most monkey-like baby I have ever seen. He would sit on my hip and just hang on w/ his little was adorable. Some babies look like turtles when they are born. Others look like shriveled old men. One of my good friends had a baby (white) that looked so much like a monkey it was kind of scary to think about her future. She is now one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen. Lets not forget the "monkey twins" aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. (seriously--they did look like monkeys when they were little). Does that mean they weren't cute? The entire NATION tuned in to see those simian featured children say "thanks DUDE" on Full House for many years. It might not be the nicest thing to say, but it isn't just black babies that bring on the comparison. Besides, what is cuter then a baby monkey? Seriously. Why is it ok to call my WHITE daughter a bird because of her resemblance, but NOT ok to call my son a monkey because of his on the basis that someone MIGHT be offended. It's not like I was calling him a serial killer or a pedophile. Isn't that a kind of racism too? Where is the line between respecting the difference between them and not making something a bigger deal then it really is? Or, am I like the people who are really racist but don't think they are? I don't think I am, but I wouldn't then, would I?

That is all I have to say about that. When I really think about it, I would rather live in a world that is extra cautious because that might mean that people are more likely to err on the side of kindness. I will teach my children that we should value the world's opinion as far as it will influence how we are perceived, but that what we DO is always going to be more important then what we look like. I will also teach them that while some people may hurt our feelings, the only opinions that REALLY matter are the ones offered by the people who know and love, or at least respect, us. I will also try harder to accept advice, if not for the actual content, but in the spirit in which it was meant. All I DO know is that I love my kids. I have many talents and goals for my life, but for right now I am going to invest all my time and energy into preparing them to go into the world as good, honest, fun and kind humans. And I wasn't offended by the "help" from our friends. I thought it was funny, and then it just got me thinking...

**Don't even get me started on the all the holiday PC. It is too much for me to even process right now. Let me just get this out in the open. I am going to spend the CHRISTMAS season in front of my CHRISTMAS tree w/ my Birdie and my Monkey Man eating refined sugar, milk that is NOT organic and counting my blessings. Whatever you may call this upcoming week, I wish you a happy and safe holiday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Not her first time being a flower girl,
but this IS the first time she got gold sequined shoes!
His first tie. What a BIG boy! This is just after his first birthday......

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My little social butterfly..

My daughter is pretty much a replica of my husband. Except for the blue eyes and the ability to talk a stone wall to death--she doesn't get much from me. Today I found another trait.

I am not what you would call shy. In fact, I am what most people would call overbearing and overly friendly. I am the lady that will actually respond to the grocery store checkers questions about my day. That might be why I know all the employees at Walgreens and Safeway. I know their names and have exchanged Christmas cards w/ many of them. I know which one is being a surrogate for her brother and his wife, but no one else at work knows it. I know which one works at the Walgreens AND the Safeway (which is totally against the rules and would get her fired), etc. They talk, I listen, I talk, they listen. Cheaper then therapy.

Anyway, a few nights ago Lauren came home asking if she could have a playdate with Fred. I don't know who Fred is, but told her that I would try and follow up. I assumed it was someone from school. Last night Fred came over to return Lauren's sunglasses that she left at the pool. Fred is 90 if he is a day. Seriously. She has asked me 12 times if I will call him and set up a play date. I am not exactly going to send my daughter over to the home of a strange adult man. I don't think he is any danger--in fact, I would be worried more about Fred then I do about Lauren. She could actually talk him to death. BUT, it is not something I would do. She also bugs me about going over to our neighbor Alice's house. Alice also just turned 90. I wish this was the end of the list, but it goes on and on. She knows ALL the old people around here and half of them don't even like kids. I gotta hand it to her, being able to make friends with people who actually turn around when they see you coming is a social skill I am still working on.

After the millionth time of her asking me and me saying no she asked me "Mom, why don't any of those kids want to play with me?"


Disclaimer to Birth mothers and Adoptive Families....

I have recently commented on a few blogs that are adoption related. I was a little bit concerned about leaving comments because people can find my blog. If you read the archive, you will see that we have had a really hard time w/ our birth mother. I don't go into much detail (because it isn't necessary) but I think that at one point I call her crazy and say that I am glad we don't have to deal with her anymore. I would never want to add to the fears of any birth mother that an adoptive family would distance themselves from her or just decide to stop contact. This was not the case with us, and because all the details aren't public, it is hard for you to know that our decision was based on many, many issues that stretched over the space of many months. I am not talking about things like "birth mother wants to spend time alone w/ the child" or "she wants more visits then I do." I am talking about dangerous, disrespectful, illegal, and hurtful things done on the part of our birth mother. Most people would NEVER dream of treating others the way we were treated, let alone the family that they chose to raise their child. This decision was a last resort for us and was not made lightly. Please believe this.

I have been "called out" by several members of the adoption community (birth mothers and adoptive families) for having this story public. I am aware that this is the thing that most birth mothers fear the most. Open adoptions are not legally binding in most states and it is a good faith agreement. Remember that phrase--GOOD FAITH. In our case, the good faith totally broke down. For an open adoption to work, both sides must be very clear about what their expectation is. It is my opinion that a family that actively seeks to enter into an open adoption is usually interested in keeping the the birth family in the picture. The birth parent may not have the physical care of the child, but in an open adoption the birth family plays a part in the emotional and spiritual development of the child and the the whole family. Most people who seek open adoption are looking to add you to the circle of their family. They know that things won't always be perfect. They know that there may be painful things in the future, but they are convinced that openness in the relationships between all parties is the healthiest thing for the child and family. They are willing to talk things out and work through any issues that may come up because they believe in their choice. Those that aren't willing to do this usually choose semi-open. Ask questions and be honest with your families about what you expect. However, as a mother it is my duty to protect my children. Any person who causes my family harm is no longer welcome in our circle. PERIOD. If these things had been done by my own mother, my siblings or husband the action would have been the same. There are consequences for all of our actions. If you hurt my children, steal from me and cause severe emotional trauma, you are not welcome in my life. Birth mother or not.

I am sorry if this story is upsetting for others to read or adds to the fears of those of you considering open adoption. You should try living it. In many ways, we are experiencing the worst fears of an adoptive family. Our lives have been changed in more ways that I could have ever imagined and the hurt goes very deep. It will be many, many years before we are able to recover financially, emotionally and legally. Believe it or not, for me the worst part of this is the loss of the open relationship. I grieve for the fact that my son will no longer have contact w/ his brothers. I miss speaking with his birth mother. If I had a question about him or just wanted to share a funny thing he did, I could call her. I don't have that now. I am angry that someday I will have to share this part of the story with him. I am frustrated that the open relationship that we really, really wanted has been taken from us. It cuts both ways. We still love her and will always respect her choice to place Jacob with us. She will still get pictures and a letter once a year (that was the original agreement, we had been getting along so well it progressed from there to weekly calls, visits, etc). She will always be a special person to us for the reason that she brought our son to us. We are hoping that distance and time can heal the other stuff.

If you are a birth mother reading this, please feel free to contact me if you have concerns about the things I have written. I am happy to give details on an individual basis. Please let me be the first to reassure you that our situation is the exception, not the rule and it this was the absolute last resort. If you plan on treating your adoptive family with respect and love and honor the relationship that all of you share, you will have nothing to worry about. If you jeopardize the safety and happiness of the adoptive family, I would imagine that you would be cut off as well. That is just the way it is.

No one else's story will be the same as mine. I am sure that there are birth mothers out there that have been cut off from their adoptive families and didn't do any thing wrong. There are no guarantees in any of this. I am sorry that this has to be an aspect of it. I choose to embrace what has happened to us and not pretend it didn't happen. When we adopt again, we plan on having an open adoption again. We might be a bit more guarded, but we don't plan on punishing the next birth mother for the actions of the previous one. In fact, we are even MORE hopeful for an open relationship next time.

As I reread this I am afraid that it seems like this is something I am defensive about or dwell on. It isn't really. I don't really think about it as much as I used to. If you notice, my blog does not center mostly on adoption. It is about my life and my family. Adoption is a part of that, but a very small part. My days are spent enjoying my children (or not enjoying them so much on some days), spending time w/ my friends and their children and trying to keep the house picked up and the laundry done. It is the same with my son. The adoption aspect of it only really comes up when someone makes a comment or I get a comment about this blog. Adoption is not a part of our daily conversation. Jacob is my son first. He is charming, funny and sweet. He is all of these things to me before he is my adopted child. My daughter is beautiful, sweet, smart and a little bit of a pill these days before she is my biological child. I am responding to the comments and requests that I have gotten as a result of this blog. I also want to be fair to those that come to this blog and may not understand the whole story. Almost everyone who reads this blog is someone I know, but lately there have been visitors that I don't know and I want to present an accurate picture. If you are unhappy with the way I choose to do things, that is fine. Live your own life differently. If you feel the need to comment, I guess that is OK too because we are all entitled to our own opinion. I only ask that you be respectful of my decisions and I will be respectful of yours. Discussion is fine, opinions are fine, asking questions is fine--hurtful words, inflammatory comments and disrespect is not. I am always happy to answer questions or offer help. I am a huge fan of open adoptions and feel that our story on how it didn't work out can be as helpful as the ones where it is a roaring success.

Thank you for taking to time to understand where I am coming from.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas Shopping...

Greetings everyone! I haven't blogged forever and the reason is really clear. I HAVE BEEN REALLY BUSY!! It is getting harder and harder to get on the computer.

I decided to do my Christmas shopping in one day this year. In past years, I have spaced out the shopping and always ended up w/ too much stuff because I don't remember what I already have. I also spend more money then I have budgeted and it ends up taking WAY too much time. This year, I wrote a list and decided that anything that wasn't in the store I would order on line. I figure the cost of the shipping is less then I would spend on "extras" during another trip to the store. For some reason I can't come out of Walmart w/ out at least $30 worth of stuff that I didn't plan on buying.

Not only did I decided to shop all in one day, I did it the day after Thanksgiving! I have never shopped on Black Friday (I have WORKED many, many Black Friday's though). Nothing I needed was really on sale, but I would have done like Jenny E. and waited in line at 4:00 am if there had been! I missed the fist fights at Walmart over the 20$ DVD's, but go there just in time for the long lines, grumpy people and general Black Friday craziness. I was armed with an ENORMOUS Diet Coke from the in store McDonalds (praise heaven for that brilliant merger). Ironically, when I went to Target, next door, things were calm, clean and quiet. I guess it isn't really that ironic. Going to Target is like going to my version of heaven. Wide, clean aisles, the store is bright and cheerful, it is always decorated really well and uses lots of bold colors and clean lines--PLUS they have a $1 section, we don't have any dollar stores in my neck of the woods.

Sadly, the ONLY formula that my son won't spit up all over me is the store brand from Walmart. That means that I am FORCED to got to Walmart every few weeks. Grrrrrrr. Some of you have heard me say this before, but I HATE WALMART. If I just pretend like I am going to visit a third world country, it isn't so bad. If I go not expecting anyone to speak English, know the right price, have aisles clear of merchandise, have what I need in stock, a store that smells like anything besides cigarettes and urine or anyone to push their carts in a clear and logical manner ( like lanes of traffic, all carts going one way should be on the same side of the aisle, right?) then I can pretend I am on vacation somewhere that is very, very different then the place I live. This could just be MY Walmart, but I hold the entire chain responsible! Sheesh. I'll pay the extra 30 cents a Target any day.

So, the Christmas shopping is done (just two more online purchases). It is so nice to take that off my plate. This year Lauren did ask for everything she has ever seen a commercial for on Nick Jr or the computer. Hmmmmm. She asked me for a doll called "Amazing Amanda". I asked her what was special about that doll and she said "I don't know". She asked for a "Cold Nosed Puppy" and again I asked what it did. Again..."I don't know." I told her that Santa was only going to entertain requests for toys that she AT LEAST knew what they did. I did some checking on "Amazing Amanda". First of all, it costs $100. Yes, that is right, ONE HUNDRED US DOLLARS. Ummm, does the doll do the dishes or change diapers? Apparently it has facial expressions and can talk and do calculus or something. The only talking doll that I am willing to shell out $100 for, is one that reminds Lauren 10,000 times a day to pick up her clothes, her shoes, her coat, etc. THAT would be good investment for me. She isn't getting the doll--but her best friend is. This will be interesting. The "Cold Nosed Puppy" is just that. A stuffed dog with a cold nose. We are not getting that either. She is getting lots of My Little Pony and Princess stuff. I figure I don't have too many years of that left. Jacob is getting a new vacuum (which he will lend to me whenever I want to use it) and all of Lauren's "Little People" things wrapped up. We don't have many years left of pulling a fast one on him either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Aunt Kate, "Lulu, you need to remember to be a good girl and listen to your mamma".

Lauren, "Yeah, she's at the end of my rope."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thank you for the music....

That title has nothing to do with this post--I am just obsessed with ABBA. My child has caught the obsession and now we must listen to it ALL DAY EVERY DAY, unless of course we are listening to Annie. I digress...

This is just a quick post to say thank you. I have a long list of people to thank lately. Many of them I have a "face to face" relationship and some I have become acquainted with on a blog/chat forum basis. Either way, I appreciate all of you for the times you have made me laugh and for the support you have shown. I should especially thank the ones that have to talk to me on the phone and listen to me try and figure my silly life out. I know it is tedious and I know you must use patience, but stick with me because I am slowly, slowly feeling like myself. I have been given encouragement, support and even food by people who have no obligation to make sure that I am ok. It has really helped.

This weekend one of my best friends in the whole world came to visit me. We mostly sat around and ate (French food--yummy), drank Diet Coke, played with our babies (her 7 month old is bigger then my 13 month old.......but only because my little cub is tiny) and talked. I realized that it felt a little bit like being my old self. It made me realize that even though it is tiny baby steps ("baby steps doc, I am doin' the work" the movie?), I am moving away from the trauma of the last 6 months and getting some perspective and distance that only time can give. Whew. Finally. My other best friend S has made me appear in public at places like baby showers, church and other fun things. Many times I don't go, but sometimes I do and when I do I am always glad. She has saved me too. She listens to me, encourages me in disciplining my increasingly disobedient 5 year old and pretty much makes sure that I am ok every day. She does this every day.

This week is kind of brutal. My husband is gone so I have the "my children are making me crazy" factor. Today is Grandma Thora's birthday (she is the one that died in August, my daughter and I were both very close to her). Mine is next week and we always celebrated it together. I miss her. A lot. Tomorrow is the day that I would have been due had I not lost the pregnancy. I thought that by this time I would have two babies in my life with my big new house with the matching big mortgage payment. To be in the house (and a slave to the mortgage) and not have any babies kind of sucks. Another good friend who got pregnant the same time I did just had her baby. I feel like it is passing a milestone. I can put that part in the past now too. I know that it will all be ok because I can tell that I am doing better now then I was one month ago. I still have a long way to go and a lot of things to sort out, but it will happen. All in good time. I know that the right children will find me, no matter how they get here.

So thanks to all the faces out there that have helped make this better. I needed you and I hope that you know it is appreciated. I have learned more about service and compassion then I ever thought I would. I have a new respect for many of the people in my life and I will offer service in a different way now then I would have before. Live and learn, huh?

On a lighter note-the kids were awesome for Halloween. Lauren decided to be a leopard the actual night of Halloween (despite having an Annie costume all ready). She looked really cute. She just wanted to hand out candy so we didn't have too many doors. Jacob was the worlds cutest Yoda. He is so small and walks so fast that from behind, he kind of looked like the real Yoda. It was a little disconcerting, but sweet. My sister in law got married a few weeks ago and the whole family got to dress up. We might actually have a Christmas card picture this year!! It has been nice to have some fun family events. We have taken the Halloween decorations down and the Christmas ones are up. The Binghams have officially opened the holiday season at our home.


Saturday, November 05, 2005


I have a confession. Some of my favorite foods are not what you would typically think of as appetizing. I don't know where it came from. Some of the foods that I crave late at night are things that would make most people gag and run away.

The biggest one? Peanut Butter and Parmesan sandwiches on toast. Yup, that is right. Crispy wheat bread w/ chunky peanut butter on it, slightly melted from the heat of the bread. Grated, sharp and pungent Parmesan or Asiago cheese. Heaven. Even reading this makes me a little sick. I am just curious is anyone else has a secret food that they eat that is out of the norm......

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Black people love us....

I can't even remember how I found this, someone must have sent me the link. It makes me laugh every time I see it. I have no idea why or how this started, although it is clearly a joke. This whole thing is very much in the spirit of the Bean Society back at BYU. It could have been a Garren's sketch (can't you see Lisa Clark or Katie Fillmore Craig as the girl with the sweater around her shoulders?)

Best part--the letters from people who don't realize it is a joke. :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2005


What is a first birthday without having the "cake all over your face" shot? We decided to get Banana Cream Pie (it shows up better) and we just let him go at it. These pictures were taken right before it got smeared in his hair (I am STILL picking it out). He also figured out that if he put a whole bunch of it in his mouth and "blew bubbles" it would shoot across the room.

In our family you aren't officially one until you have this picture. Ironically, every meal time at our house has Jacob ending up looking like this....

Some pictures...

At the front gate......Tinkerbell Costume for Lauren? Check. Tinkerbell Costume for Clara (the bear)? Check. One squirmy toddler? Check...........Lets go find some Churro's.

Lauren knew the drill w/ the characters so she was in HEAVEN. Jacob just wanted to lick them. This is one of the few pictures we have where he isn't actually putting a part of the character in his mouth. I hope these guys get paid well!

It was SO HOT down there. We stripped the kids and let them run around in the sprinklers at Bug's Life in California Adventure. It was a good way to cool them off. This is a GREAT idea.

This is Lulu with her two favorite people. Grandma Jane and Cinderella. They occupy the same worship status in our house.

Ohhh. Derek took Lulu to the park one morning the minute it opened and they were able to see all the characters in less then an hour. This is the best way to do it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It must be stream of consciousness Monday

I discovered a blog that I love. It is called Snarkernacle. This guy follows all the LDS based blogs, some are really more of a web magazine, and pokes a bit of fun at them. It is all the things that I usually think, but don't say. He has comments on the contributors, the topics and some generally funny comments about other stuff. It is usually not personal or mean--but sometimes it is. He is like the John Stewart of LDS blogs. If you are going to put it out there, prepared to have it commented on. He doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. In fact, I think he even contributes to at least one of the sites. Plus, I love the word snark, I use it all the time with my kids.

Anyway, that is not the point, I had never even heard of most of the blogs and I had a great time reading them. I have to say that many of them seemed a bit holy and pretentious (one major exception is Various Stages of Mormonism--because you get all sides of one topic. I enjoy hearing what all sides have to say about it and It doesn't usually turn into a contest to see who knows the most or can pull the most obscure reference from the scriptures). I fully recognize that I am not the greatest authority on all things holy. All I know is that if I were any of my non member friends and ran across these, I would think that Mormons were a bunch of stuffy religious zealots that had really relaxed rules about how much time we were allowed to spend on the computer at work. Many of the people seem to be the kinds of people that drove me just a little bit crazy in school, the people that I liked but would cause a lot of eye rolling and would give me really great fodder for the stories I would tell my non member friends. To be fair, I actually ended up knowing at least one person at each site, between Stanford, Princeton, BYU and my mission. The people I know aren't all stuffy and pretentious. Mainly they are very smart, kind and capable people who DON'T drive me crazy so maybe the blogs just don't read true for me.

Wow, that wasn't the point either. This is where I was going.......One of the threads that I read was all about how this guy came home from his mission and kept wanting to use words in Spanish for English things (come on, we ALL knew this guy...the one who would pretend to not remember the word in English....I frequently forget words in English but it is because between the Diet Coke and my children I am running on fewer brain cells, not because I spoke another language for so long). His point was that there are some words that just cover it better in Spanish. Ironically, when I was at The BY (as Grandma Thora always called it) it was only the Spanish speakers that I ever heard do this. I never heard someone lamenting that a Finnish word or Russian phrase would cover so clearly what they were trying to say. There were at least 30 people in the comments that agreed and all contributed words that THEY liked better in Spanish. Again, just Spanish, not Japanese, Thai, French, etc. Maybe it is because there are far more Spanish speaking RM's then anyother language. Maybe Spanish really DOES work better for English then English. Who knows? All I know is that it if it doesn't work for Madonna, it isn't going to fly with anyone else. It is annoying.

I served in the very short lived British Sign Language British Isles Mission (we basically opened and closed it). I was already fluent in American Sign Languge. Signed languages are spatial, so they are very succinct. Instead of saying "go down the road, turn left, take a quick right and then up the stairs", you can communicate the same thing in ASL or BSL w/a few gestures.
There are many things in a visual language that you can communicate much easier then spoken language. There is usually no verbal equal to many of the phrases and idioms in ASL/BSL. It's been 10 years and there are still times when I am saying something and thinking "I know ONE sign that would cover what I am trying to say". At times, talking can be very tedious (and I should know because I talk, A LOT!!) It IS a real language with grammar rules and all the other things that spoken language have, you just use your face, your hands and space instead of vocal chords. It also isn't just subbing a sign for an English word. If you were to transliterate ASL or BSL into English, you would sound like Yoda. I just want to say for the record that even though there were MANY times I thought to myself, "I wish I could just sign this essay test" I never ACTUALLY tried to.

There was lots of cool slang in England, but most people know it: loo, chuffed, dodgy, git, nappy, tube, etc. It got interesting when we would have to try to translate the slang into the BSL slang equivalent. It was maddening. I lived in Bow, a section of London that still uses Cockney rhyming slang. I still remember it when I hear some words. People in this very small section of London use it all the time. For example--apples and pears is Cockney for stairs, trouble and strife is wife, dog and bone is phone, ruba dub dub is pub. Here is a phrase in Cockney...."I need to go up the apples and pears and use the dog and bone to ring my trouble and strife and tell her to meet me at the rub a dub dub". To make it even more complicated, they will often drop the last part of the rhyme--or the part that actually rhymes with the word that they are subbing it for. This is the same phrase used by someone who is speaking real Cockney--I'm going up the apples to get on the dog to ring the trouble and have her come 'round the rub.
Translate THAT!!!! I shudder to think about what the poor Deaf people actually got when they depended on me to translate for them. The Relief Society President in my ward in East London used various phrases all the time. No one really uses all of them all the time, but it was enough to be confusing. I also want to state here that I NEVER walked around the BYU campus using Cockney slang and "pretending" to forget the real words. Do you get where I am going with this?
I served in Scotland for several months too. That one was hard. They used lots of Gaelic slang up there but the slang was easy compared to the accent. I love the accent more then anything in the world, but some of the people are very hard to understand. If they would all just talk like Ewan McGregor or Sean Connery, we would have be fine. Sheesh. There was a Scottish elder in the London Mission I swore I would marry just to listen to him speak for the rest of my life. Of course there was also a Scottish elder in the London mission that accepted a bet for 5 quid to eat a bonnet pepper (one of the hottest peppers in the world). He did it and was sick for days. He also took 10 quid to drink the water in the old nasty plant pot that had been in the missionary flat forever. Again, sick for days. He would eat anything disgusting for money. Ahhhh, missionaries.

This post really has no point or even very good flow. I was just taking a walk down memory lane. I don't really think about my mission any more. It was fun to think about it for awhile. I am far enough removed from it to not really remember or care about the bad stuff and can just laugh about the good stuff. Also, that is where I met my husband. It was really nice to not have to talk or think about birth mothers, law suits, crazy people, cancer or favorite grandma's that have passed away. I needed that this week.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The devils child....

I am a terrible mother.

For the last few weeks people have been asking me how old Jacob is, I always answer "he is almost one." I think the reason people ask is because he is walking everywhere now. He is also in a phase where he does things like insisting on pushing the cart in Target or his stroller in the mall. He even goes as far as grabbing my hand to pull me AWAY from the cart so I don't interfere with his process. Charming, huh? People always express surpise when I answer because he is really small. He looks like a walking 6 month old (and is still wearing 6-9 month clothes, poor baby).

Lately, when asked, I have been answering "he turns one on Saturday". I am just about to burst my buttons because I can't believe that my boy is almost one. I think about how much has happened in a year, what I was doing a year ago etc. Just today, I realized that I had gotten the day wrong. He isn't turning one on Saturday because that is the 8th, his birthday is on the 7th, that is Friday. I was laughing about this on the phone with my friend and she was quiet for a minute. Finally she said "are you sure, Rebecca? Isn't his birthday on the 6th?" I was just about to become indignant and say something like "I would know my own kids birthday--I was there after all" but something struck true. Suddenly, I couldn't remember the day of his birthday.

How can this be? Is it because he was adopted and I didn't physically give birth to him? Wouldn't that make me MORE likely to remember? Granted I slept at the hospital for three days inbetween taking care of her other kids. I didn't even know my own name by the end of it, but I would remember that......right?

I called my husband. "Is Cubby's birthday the 6th or the 7th?"
"The 6th."
"Are you sure? I thought it was the 7th."
"Rebecca, you have done this before, I remember hearing you tell someone else that his birthday was the 7th and I thought to myself, no it isn't."
"How could I not remember that ?"
"Here is an easy way, just think of him as a little devil baby. He was 6 pounds and 6 ounces and born on the 6th. 666."

Riiiiiiiight, the devils child. Got it.

I can joke about this boy being the devils child because he so clearly is NOT. From the first day JJ entered the world he has been a happy and easy going soul. When I first brought him home and we weren't sure how serious his diagnosis of Galactosemia was, he was mellow and calm. He rarely cried and his face just radiated joy. Lulu and I used to race to his room in the morning to see who would get the "wake up smile". The first thing he does when he wakes up is flash a big smile. Now that he is older he can jabber, clap and laugh too. It is very infectious.
When Derek blessed him, he said that one of Jacob's special talents was to be cheerful. That is a very good description. He is a cheerful boy and it is a talent.

I guess I can give myself a break about not knowing the day he was born. There are lots of other dates that are important. The 8th of October is the day his birth mom relinquished her rights. I stayed at the hospital while they all went to court. I just held Jacob and for the first time REALLY looked at him. Even though he looked like an 80 year old woman with a bad perm, he felt like mine. I just said to him over and over "hey there, I am your Mommy." I recognized the look in his eyes and knew right there that he was mine. The bond was instant and visceral, must faster and stronger then with Lauren. He was meant for our family. The 8th of April is the day that we finalized his adoption. That was also the day his birth certificate was changed to the name we chose for him and his parents names were listed as Derek and Rebecca. The 9th of April we were sealed together as a family. Lisa Clark held him during the sealing and instead of having to wrestle him (like I thought she would be doing), he just sat and listened and looked at us the whole time, almost as if he knew what was being said. All of our friends and family were there to witness this big event. It was one of the best days for our family.

The last year has been full of major adjustments for our family. One bright spot has been to see our little Lulu blossom into a big sister. She loves this boy and uses him as her personal slave and perpetual dancing partner. She is the one that can always get him to laugh. He follows her and copies everything she does. When she sings, he sings. When she dances, he dances. When she goes to school he grabs her doll, her doll bed and one of her dress ups and drags them around the house. He is even starting to say "ooohhh ohhhh" for Lulu. Lauren has been telling me lately that "it is fun to have a brown brother". She still feels this way even though he is old enough to start getting into her stuff.

We got to watch Jacob go from a smiling, not so cute lump(see the above picture, Don King look alike--yes, cute--not so much), to a cuter smiling crawler to a dashing and handsome, smiling walker. Even though there has been drama in the last year, he has added the sunshine. I look forward to him being able to speak so we can know what it is that makes him so happy. He loves to snuggle and he loves his mama. Last night I forgot to rock him before bed and he crawled over to the rocking chair and starting "singing" and pushing it. He is starting to watch Barney, Teletubbies and Elmo. He has a round face and large brown eyes and the longest eyelashes EVER. His hair grows faster then mine, Dereks and Lauren's put together. He has a strong sense of what he wants and usually finds a way to get it. We can usually find him playing the piano or pounding on a keyboard. He is the boy of many nicknames; JJ, little J, Cubby, Dr. J, man cub, monkey man, grumpy pants, puppy...the list goes one and on. He has a voice like Barry White. Even as a tiny baby he had a very deep cry. He still has a low and scratchy voice, but can "whisper" in the most soft and gentle voice too. He eats more then most 3 year olds and will someday, SOMEDAY graduate to 12 month size clothes. I forgot how fun and incredibly frustrating a one year old can be at the same time.

We are so blessed to have him in our family. I know that every parent says and feels this way but I really don't know what we would do without him in our family. I can't wait to see wha the next year has in store.

Happy Birthday Jacob!!!!