Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Too Do

My goals for yesterday were:

-blog about Behr
-Work on uploading/editing pictures from all of Ayla's life so far
-clean the living room
-unload dishwasher
-go grocery shopping
-workout
-take a shower/wash hair
-hand wash the handwash only pile (it's been piling up for a loooong time, didn't have super high hopes it was gonna happen)

Here's what I did:
- watched Rachael Ray
- listened to a sermon
- made an awesome sandwich for lunch
- blogged about Behr (applause!!)
- uploaded/edited 11 pictures from a month ago (um...out of several hundred pics, this doesn't get us close enough)
- did a load of Ayla's laundry (well, steps 1-2 of 4 anyway)
- watched some TED videos on Hulu
- went for a walk with John and Ayla (applause! we're counting this as a workout because I was wearing running shoes)

So, 2 out of 8. Somehow, I'm just fine with that!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ayla's Behr-friend

Ayla has a Behr-friend. He's not quite her boyfriend, but he is her friend and his name is Behr.

Behr's mom is Shannon, my friend whom I met when she moved in with me for a few months a couple of years ago. Shannon and her husband Mark quickly became good friends of ours, and I was excited to find out they were expecting their first baby at the same time as us, "due" 4 days before.

Here we are at Shannon's baby shower at 32 weeks:

(I was wearing heels and she was barefoot)

Here we are just 7 and 11 days from our due dates:

How did we go from cute to enormous in just a few weeks?
Wouldn't you know it, Shannon had her baby, Behr Robert, in the early hours of January 12 at 12:55am. He arrived just about an hour before my water broke! When I was at the hospital at 6am and saw Shannon post that he was born, I thought it would be cool if "Blueberry" would come that day, too.

When my labor took longer than I expected and I was finally ready to push a little after 11pm, I asked the nurse if I could have this baby today and she said I probably could. Sure enough, Ayla arrived at 11:33pm, just about as close to the end of the day as we could get!

We've gotten our babies together a few times and as you can tell, they are crazy about each other:




Well, at least we are crazy about each other's babies! It's so fun to have a mommy-friend with a baby who has the same birthday but different Every Thing Else! 









Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Baby, Two Parents, Three Grandmas, Four Generations

Ayla has now had the fortune of meeting all of her living great grandmothers. When she was five weeks old, we took her to Texas, where she met John's paternal grandma, "MeMa"



and John's maternal grandma, "Great Grandma."


Then, last week, my wonderful mom took me to see Ayla's third great grandma in Arizona.


This is extra special because she is not my mom's mom. (Ayla will have to wait till heaven to meet her.) "Bubbie Min" is my dad's mom. Even 20+ years after my parent's divorce, my Grandma Min still calls my mom "Karen Darling" and introduces her as her third daughter. 

I am blessed to be related to all these amazing women. They've lived long, hard lives. They've loved strongly and lost so many. They've prayed over their children, welcomed their children's children and now they have spread their love over my daughter, too. 

I wonder if my mom was thinking the same thing I was? If she'd be posing for a four generation picture with my or my sibling's grandchildren? Will I be fortunate enough to meet Ayla's grandchildren? Time will tell, I suppose, but if I do, I will have to find some technology to pull up these old pictures and show them their heritage.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Every Day Ayla - Month 4



I simply marvel at this gift I've been given. My little girl is one of my favorite people in the world. I really like her. She's funny and smart and thoughtful. I noticed in this month's pictures, I have fewer of her smiling. It's not because she doesn't smile, because she smiles and laughs all the time. But when she sees the camera, she usually stops and just looks at it like she's trying to figure it out.

Her favorite thing to do right now is put her head back as far as it will go and look up, like she wants to see the world upsidedown. She's also started sucking on her bottom lip to make a little slurping noise. It's really cute!


She rolled over from her belly to her back a few weeks ago, but I think it was an accident and it scared her, so she started crying. She didn't try it again for a while, but on the 11th, I found her on her back after two of her naps (yes, she sleeps on her belly), so I guess she did it again! We'll see how long it takes me to get it on camera!

She loves sucking on her fingers or on anything she can put in her mouth. She smiles at everyone she sees, but I think she has special smiles just for me. She will start laughing at me and throws her head back, so I kiss under her chin, which she just loves and squeals with glee. She loves her daddy, too, and goes to sleep much faster when he puts her down. He's got the magic touch!

She's still a great sleeper, though she's currently rearranging her nap schedule, so she keeps me on my toes. At night, she goes to bed around 8:30, then wakes up at 4:30 to eat and goes right back to sleep until around 8.

During her 4-month appointment, the doctor said I could start giving her rice cereal, but I don't know if I'm ready for that. I kind of like that she's exclusively breastfed, and she's so sweet and chunky, I think she's getting along just fine. Do you all have any opinions about when to start? (Who am I kidding, of course you have opinions! That's why you're my friends!)

Enough talking about her, here's her daily pictures from month 4. (For review, here's months 1 and 2, and 3)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do you like to laugh and/or eat?

I have some really exciting news to share.

But first, you must know that two of my favorite things in the world to do are enjoying good comedy and good food. Those are probably what I spend most of my non-housekeeping, mothering or relationship-building time on. And if I can combine any of those things with eating and laughing, then I am a happy girl.

Did you also know that I was a drama major in college? The degree was called Drama/Theatre/Film Performance, but it was mostly theatre. Even though I am clearly not using that degree to its fullest, one thing I learned to love most about it was performing in front of a live audience, and especially making people laugh.

(Now my audience is usually one chubby little baby girl, but she has the best laugh and it's enough for me!)

Anyway, my exciting news is that I've been invited to be a part of a women's comedy troupe with five other ladies from my church and we are performing our first show, of skits and songs, on May 21st!

Now, I know what you're thinking. That's also Judgement Day. And you're right, so, clearly we did not coordinate this well with God's end-time calendar, but we are going to keep our fingers crossed that the judging will occur after our show.

Well, we don't want to be judged after our show, but if Judgement Day means the end of the world, we'd rather go out laughing.

I digress.

So, performing comedy. Love it.

It gets better.

Another awesome lady from our church has started a program called Food for Life. They use food to educate and train low-income young adults in Washington, D.C., empowering them to become change agents in their lives and communities.

We are excited to do our first show as a benefit for Food for Life and we're calling it Laughs for Life. Brilliant, right?

The tickets are only $20 and it includes a delicious dinner prepared by the FFL students and a hilarious show.

Ok, I can only guarantee the delicious dinner part. We'll do our best to make the show hilarious.

If you're in the D.C. area and want to come, let me know and I'll get in touch with you with the details and info about getting tickets. All the proceeds from ticket sales go to Food for Life. If you're not in the area, but are inspired by Food for Life, you can donate to them directly here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

One year ago today



This is how I told John, gave him this little box, suggesting
we include it in our Mother's Day gifts for our moms.

And here's my Ayla Jewel today!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This is a sad one

Charred corpse
Dumpster
Burned beyond recognition
dental records
 Remains Identified 
No fixed address
criminal record
One-year-old daughter

These words are the eulogy of a life snuffed out far too soon.

Her body was discovered a month before they knew it was her. Her life was stolen from her for many years before she died.

Resilient--as humans tend to be--she survived poverty, divorce, abandonment, foster care, abuse upon abuse, addiction, homelessness and a system that all but forgot her.

She had a baby girl who changed my life.
 (She was once a baby girl, too...)

Her laugh was precious, a treasure shining through cracks of a broken life.

She was sweet, so eager to please, so willing to learn, so impressionable.

Maybe too impressionable.

She was taken advantage of. She abused her own body because so many others had.

She made wrong choices, but who among us doesn't.

She saw a chance for new life in her baby girl's eyes.

She told me of her dreams of getting better, moving home, getting married, having more babies. A little brother maybe for the baby girl.

Suddenly, because she had a child, the system was interested in her well-being. And for the first time, it actually helped her.

But the system cannot give deliverance. The system cannot give healing. The system cannot make new.

Only One can.

I hope with every bit of my broken heart that she met Him before she left.

I took her to church, prayed for and with her, told her that God could help her, that He loved her.

I hoped for a permanent change in her life. She wanted it so badly, was so determined, so in love.

Now her ashes lie in a cold case. Her name strewn about, tied to a mug shot that hides such neglected beauty.

My tears are hot and bitter, burning my cheeks.

My stomach is a mess of knots.

My baby girl smiles at me. 

(She's used to seeing me cry.)

How could they? How could her parents not do everything in their power to protect her? How do you bring a life into the world and abandon it? How do you steal someone's innocence? How do you supply drugs and alcohol to someone's baby girl? How do you put someone's body in a dumpster and set it on fire?

In the place of judgement,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness, 
Iniquity was there.
(Ecc 3:16)

And worse, the questions burning in my heart!

Why didn't I call her more often? Why didn't I insist more persuasively that she come stay with me? Why didn't I answer the phone when I saw it was her? Why was I too tired or busy to watch her baby, to deal with her? What words (Words?) could I have said to help her choose to stay in rehab and off the streets?

No.

I know it's not my fault. Not directly. I could've done all of the above and the outcome might not have changed.

But yes.

Yes, in the sense that I have lived willfully ignorant of the person behind that mug shot. She is on the news in every city. Her deaths unsolved, unimportant. She lives and works on streets all over the world, even mine. I drive by or change the channel and think how blessed I am.

I hope her baby girl will someday know how much her mommy loved her. How much she was wanted. I hope she will know how much God loves her.

This, I know I can help with. This story, I will tell her.

I hope my baby girl will someday know how much God loves that person behind the mug shot, that woman of no fixed address. I pray she will never hesitate to reach out in love to those around her.

This, too, I know I will have a hand in. Because my baby girl will only know it if she sees me live it out. And that's what I will do.

Rest in peace, my friend. You changed my life, and I will never forget yours.


(To read more about Baby F and her mom, E, you can either go to the 2010 Archives and read February's blogs, or go to the Label section and click on "Baby F." She is currently in the custody of her mom's cousin, and has been for the better part of the year. She is in very good hands and we hope she stays there for a long time to come.)

(Tomorrow's blog is much, much cheerier!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meanwhile...

Wow. Just realized I haven't blogged since April 12. Sorry about that. Well, you managed to survive, so, congrats about that.

There's been so much going on, it's hard to know where to start.

I've been giving a lot of thought to what I want this blog to be about. It was sort of an infertility related blog and a bit of a foster care advocacy blog. I'd probably naturally fall into categories such as mommy blogs and Christian woman blogs. I try to be funny sometimes, so there's that, too. But, I want to write on serious topics every once in a while and I'm thinking about dabbling in some political/controversial topics from time to time. I don't know if I can be all of the above, plus whatever I'm feeling at the moment, or if trying to do everything dilutes it all.

One thing I do know, my baby girl is pretty stinking cute, so pictures of her are always a hit. While I'm trying to figure out who I am and what my blog wants to be when it grows up, enjoy this little collage of our Easter pictures.

(created in Picnik with the collage feature, then added the Vibrance and Cinemascope effects)


What are your thoughts on this whole blog identity thing?

(My next blog will be one of those serious ones I told you about.)

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