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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our Adoption Time Line

For those of you who might be interested in dates and time lines, we thought we'd share our adoption time line here. Plus, it's kind of nice for us to realize how far we've come.

May 2006 - First discussed looking into adoption. (But, there was a chance we would be moving, so we felt like the time wasn't right.)

October 1, 2006 - We felt prompted to contact LDS Family Services, while watching General Conference.

October 9, 2006 - Received the initial paperwork from LDS Family Services. Started praying like crazy to know if we were headed in the right direction.

November 17, 2006 - Attended an Adoption Orientation Meeting, and met our case worker. Answers to our prayers came flowing in. We left that meeting feeling very peaceful about our decision to adopt.

December 8, 2006 - Received more paperwork to fill out.

January 29, 2007 - Received the "big packet" of paperwork.

March 8, 2007 - Completed and submitted all paperwork.

March 21, 2007 - Met with our case worker for our one-on-one interviews and our first couple interview.

April 13, 2007 - Our case worker came up here to complete our home study, and do our final couple interview.

May 4, 2007 - Received the phone call that we were approved! Hooray! We were so excited, we cried.

May 8, 2007 - Received our official letter in the mail, saying we are approved.

So, since then we've been in the waiting period. There are moments when we feel like we're going to go crazy with the waiting... but, overall we have felt very much at peace with the process. As we've gone through life's trials, we've had to learn patience, and as a result we've come to trust in the Lord, and in His timetable.

As time has gone on, our thoughts have naturally turned more towards birth mothers, and more specifically our birth mother. Somehow, our burdens seem much less significant when we compare them to what our birth mother must be feeling. Though we don't know her, we have grown to love her. We pray for her, we hope she is surrounded by arms who love her and support her. We hope that when our paths meet, we will be able to help carry her burdens and bring peace to her heart. We look forward to that day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Great week at Girls' Camp

I survived the week at Girls' Camp... in fact, it was a fantastic week! I haven't downloaded the pictures from the camera yet, so I'll have to add those in later.

Our canoeing adventure was a success! We had a blast floating on the most beautiful lake. The sand/mud was a rusty orange color, which made the water look like the most beautiful turquoise you have ever seen. I didn't have my camera out near the water, so this picture will have to do.

I had a chance to paddle around in a traditional canoe as well as a little one-person kayak, and I have to say that I preferred the kayak. With the beautiful backdrop of pine trees and red rock, I felt like I was part of some national geographic adventure.

There were four of us leaders: Kim, Julie, Karin, and myself. We have worked together with the 4th level girls for the last three years. I love spending the week with them - I sometimes think we have more fun than the girls! We had 13 adventurers this year.

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So, here are some of my favorite camp moments:

1. One afternoon, we gathered our group together and talked about Joseph Smith and the sacred experience he had in a similar grove of trees. It was just one of those quiet moments that seemed to bond us together as a group.

2. Late Thursday night, we went to an open area to do some star-gazing. The girls laid down on the grass and looked up at the stars while we read and discussed some scriptures. Standing under the stars can bring such a powerful feeling about God and his reality. It reminds me of a quote by Joseph Smith where he said something to the effect that man can learn more about the nature of God by staring into the heavens for five minutes than he can by reading all that was ever written about Him. I'll have to find the exact quote, but you get the idea.

3. The mid-week run Karin and I made to the nearby town. We came back with Nestle Toll House ice cream sandwiches - to die for!

4. Getting to know our 13 girls. After spending a week together, you start to feel like a family. You form bonds with each other, and you become invested in them. I really grew to love them. They are so cute - especially when they did their "Bugle Boy" skit.

5. The quiet moments we had as leaders. I count Kim, Julie and Karin as some of my dearest friends. I'm grateful to be surrounded by such faithful, courageous, hopeful friends. {Dancing to our insanity song, really bonded us on a new level - "Release! I'm out of control, it's out of body. Release!"} Oh, we had a blast! What happens at Girls Camp stays at Girls Camp. Right? :)

6. Perhaps the best part of the week was being able to get away from the daily, busy, rush-rush of life. I took advantage of quiet moments in the mountains to pray, to read, to think, to renew my spirit, to fill up my reservoir of faith. I have always loved this quote by John Muir:

"Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

7. Staying up late Thursday night, as leaders, to make "stick people", so that we could sleep in, rather than get up for flag/roll call. {Of course, we felt too guilty to sleep in, so we tip-toed over to the kitchen to help serve breakfast.}

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8. And, I can't forget to mention the joy I felt seeing Marc walking up the road toward the kitchen on Friday afternoon. I was glad that Marc could be the one to come and represent the bishopric. It was a real treat! The girls got a kick out of him, too! (They're yelling out "Perry Hotter" because of a skit we did earlier that night, and he takes off his hat to show off the fake zig-zag scar on his forehead.)

So, it was a terrific week! The best part was feeling the spirit of the girls' testimonies on that last night. After running around all week, making sure everything is going smoothly, you kind of just hope that somewhere in all that chaos they are growing and learning. And, then you realize that somehow your small efforts are enough for the Lord to work great miracles. And, that is the icing on the cake.

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Oh, and the Nutella was a hit! There are 13 more girls converted to its chocolaty, hazelnutty goodness!

- Megan

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The mysteries begin to unfold

So, Megan is away at girls camp. She found out she has cell phone coverage in part of the camp, and she called me yesterday. I thought it was really dandy, getting to talk to her like that. In the back of my mind, though, I kept thinking she was going to get in trouble for talking on a cell phone at girls camp. I can imagine the sort of person who points out things like that, walking up to her and saying, "WAS IT THAT IMPORTANT?" I remember that sort of person at Boy Scout camp...usually it was the same person who only brought one change of clothes, so they would try to make things difficult for everybody. Hey man, you don't bring the clothes, you gotta pay the consequences.

Also I'm learning all sorts of interesting things now that Megan is gone. One thing is, I didn't know we had all these love notes everywhere, before she left. All of a sudden I'm finding them in the freezer, on my desk, and this morning a love note fell out of the CAT FOOD bag. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. I'm surfing to the manufacturer's website to check for a recall as soon as I finish this post.

Another interesting thing I learned is that a long-standing mystery has been solved. I'll share it with you, but you have to thank me for saving you the cost of a subscription. You also have to be good at clicking on links, like the one in that last sentence.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's been a crazy week!

Preparing for Girls' Camp is almost a year-long process, and yet I still leave so many thing for the last minute. Friday night I dragged Marc out to three different stores to pick up some much-needed {essential} items for my week away. You wanna know what tops my list? Nutella. Yes, that's right - creamy chocolate hazelnut spread.

In Italy, they eat Nutella like we eat peanut butter - the most common way was on a slice of bread for breakfast. I'm personally not a fan of the Nutella and bread combo. But, my favorite things to eat with Nutella are: graham cracker sticks, bananas, strawberries, crepes, fruit smoothies with a large spoonful of Nutella added in. And, really, there's nothing like just eating a spoonful without anything to distract from its yummy goodness!

Aside from food preparations, Marc also had to help me figure out how to set up our new tent yesterday. We have never slept in it. We've only tried to set it up once - on the beach. It was so windy, though, that we never even got it all the way up. You can see what I mean here. In non-windy weather, it was rather a cinch. So, I think I'll be able to handle it.

So, I'll be taking this whole week off work, which will be a nice break. And, actually I should let you know that I won't be working in the doctor's office for much longer. I gave my notice this week. I'll work through August, then I'm going to focus on other things. For the last week or so, I've felt this nagging feeling that we need to make room in our lives for a baby. See, we both work long hours, have time-consuming Church callings, and fill the rest of our time with a hundred other things. But, I guess that was also part of our initial strategy - keep busy so that we don't go crazy wondering when something is going to happen in the baby department.

When I initially got that nagging feeling to quit my job, I fought it and tried to ignore it, because it's scary to have hope. It's scary to take that step into the darkness not knowing what's going to happen. Being in this position of waiting to adopt is interesting when it comes to making plans, because we never know when something is going to happen. And, we've had to put a lot of faith in the small promptings we feel, even though we don't know for sure when or how things will play out.

So, Marc and I talked about our options and after a lot of prayer, we couldn't ignore the feeling we got. As busy as our lives are right now, they'll be getting even more busy in a month, even without my full-time job to worry about. I'll start teaching early morning seminary again, and I'll also be taking some night classes for my teaching credentials.

As scary as it is, I hope that we'll always have the courage to follow the small promptings that come, so that we'll be ready when important moments in life happen - whatever they may be or however they come to us. Because it seems like those big moments don't come with a lot of warning... or maybe they do but we're just too busy {or too scared} to hear them. So, here's to a life of less busy-ness and more focus on what's essential.

Like Nutella at Girls' Camp. :)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Photo Illustration

I really enjoy heading over to the Wikimedia Commons every once in a while to see what sort of fun ideas come up. The Commons is a huge resource for completely free photography and illustration. If I find a few images that seem to add up somehow, I'll open them in an image editor and see what happens.

Here's what I started with this time:

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After working with those images for a while, I came up with something that felt pretty intriguing (click to see larger version):

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Maybe a fictional book cover? I just can't think of any titles.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Quiz Day!

Okay, this isn't one of those days at school where you have to take that dreaded history quiz that you know you're not going to pass. This is a quiz that not only will you pass, but there are no "wrong" answers. Whatever you answer is right! So, come take this fun quiz and then come back and tell us what your final result is.

For the record, my style is:

- Megan

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Love the life you live

When we got back from our trip to Utah, we immediately changed the title of our blog and never explained why. Maybe nobody noticed, but just in case you did, this post is for you. The first morning we were at my sister Dawnette's, while eating breakfast, I noticed a piece of painted wood hanging above the kitchen table with these words painted on it, in my Dad's writing: Love the Life you Live.

As I stared at those words, it was like one of those "ah-ha" moments. I mean, I know it's a really simple idea, but I guess it just really hit me. I feel like too much of my life {lately} has been spent comparing my life to those around me, making mental lists of how my life differs from theirs... and wouldn't you know it, that more often than not those mental lists don't dwell on how fortunate I am.

Not so much anymore. That "ah-ha" moment has changed the way I look at my life. I have new eyes that appreciate the journey our life has taken. Yes, I'll admit that our life has taken us in a different course than what we expected, but along that path we have found beautiful moments that have strengthened us and given us many opportunities to see amazing vistas.

A few months ago I may have told you that I'd do anything to trade places with "person X", but I can honestly say I am happy to be in these shoes. I love the path we are traveling and I'm grateful for the blessings we're finding along the way, teaching us that whatever path our life takes, we can love the life we live.

- Megan

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

It's Friday the 13th today (you're not supposed to write out the 13 as "thirteenth"), and Megan asked me if I was going to blog about it. Yes I am.

Normally it's coolest to celebrate Friday the 13th in October, because of the superstitious connotations of the date. I have bad news, though: The next Friday the 13th that occurs in October won't be until 2017.

In fact, the 13th of the month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day, so if you were waiting for *tuesday* the 13th, for example, you'd have to wait longer. Or so I'm told.

Speaking of people who would look good in witch costumes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born on Friday, March 13, 1964. Can't you just imagine her as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz?

Anyway, if you, like me, found yourself cowering under the table all day today, you may have triskaidekaphobia, the fear of...the number that comes after twelve.

Closer to the subject at hand, if you are thinking, "no, this cowering thing happens to me *every* 13th, not just on Fridays," you probably aren't lucky enough to have paraskevidekatriaphobia, or a fear of Friday the 13th specifically.

Sadly, I predict that the only part of this post you will remember tomorrow is the mental image of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a witch costume.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

G'day Mates!

My parents left for Australia on Monday night. They arrived in Sydney sometime Wednesday morning, and I was able to talk to them for a few minutes soon after they arrived. They are probably still recovering from jet lag and getting settled in to their new home for the next year and a half. It makes me so happy to think of them in Australia, helping and loving the people there.

So, Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, please know that you're in every one of our prayers. We can't wait to hear about your first impressions, and how your first few days have been! We love you so much!

- Meg

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LDS Family Services

There may be some people out there who are wondering what LDS Family Services is all about. Basically, LDSFS offers a wide range of help for a wide range of needs. As far as adoption goes, there are two sides to it - helping birth parents and helping adoptive couples.

For birth parents they offer counseling, medical services, and other resources free of charge. Birth parents receive help and counseling tailored to their unique situation, without being pressured into choosing adoption. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that is really helpful.

For adoptive couples they distribute profiles of couples to prospective birth parents who are considering adoption for their child. They also have profiles online, making it convenient for birth parents to view them from home at their leisure. The agency doesn't match adoptive couples with birth parents. Rather, the birth parents review profiles and other information about couples, and are able to choose for themselves the family they'd like their baby to be placed in.

We have been very happy with our experiences with LDS Family Services. We have felt very comfortable and secure every step of the way, knowing we are in good hands. We would highly recommend them and their services to anyone who is seeking counseling, wanting to adopt, or is interested in learning more about adoption.

Frequent Linker Award

Ever since we've become involved in the adoption scene, we've been aware of the importance of word-of-mouth communications as a way to identify birth mothers who may be out there. It's been difficult to "market" ourselves, so we've been grateful for the wonderful support we receive from both sides of our family.

We appreciate all the different types of support that we receive. All our family members have been incredibly supportive ever since we let them know our adoption plans, everyone doing what they can to spread the word, be understanding, etc. We are thankful to all of them.

If you've been over to Carrot Jello's blog today, you'll see that she took the award for Frequent Linkage.

We do in fact receive serious linkage from Carrot's blog, which has been embedded in the blogosphere long enough to have built up a virtual army of link-clickers. And she's funny, too. So check out Carrot's blog when you get a chance.

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And, just so you don't think this award was some cheap thing we bought in a thrift store:

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Thanks Carrot! And, big thank yous to everyone else out there who is hoping and praying with us. We are often overwhelmed at how much others have done and are doing for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


P.S. I think I just heard my favorite shower song coming from Carrot's blog... "And I said, heyyyy eee yayyyyy eee yayyyyyy eh eh...." :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

This I Believe - Adoption

NPR has a segment called "This I Believe" where people write essays about their life experiences. While we were in Utah, John and Dawnette shared one of the essays with us. It's about a couple who is waiting to adopt and have come to believe parenthood is a gift. It reflects many of our own feelings, but the feelings are expressed so well that we had to share it. You can listen to it or read it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Some highlights from our trip

Day 1 - Woke up at 3:41am. Spent about 14 hours in the car - Marc, me, and my Mom and Dad - before arriving at Matt and April's near Ogden, Utah. April fed us some delicious tortellini soup with spinach and sausage, which really hit the spot after eating snack foods most of the day. Visited there with April and 2-year old Kelly for a while, before heading up to Smithfield to see Dawnette and family.

Day 2 - Woke to the smell of blueberry pancakes and bacon. YUMMY! We were introduced to their two new baby kittens, one white and one gray/black. Since they could only keep one of the kittens, they offered to let us have the gray one. We decided to name him Watson. (They later decided on "Sherlock" as the name of their kitty.)

Attended the Logan temple with Mom, Dad, Dawnette, and John.

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Played soccer in the front yard with McKayla, Dennison, Truman, and Malachi. Went on a nice little hike up the canyon with everyone, and spotted tons of dragonflies. When I tried to point them out to 2-year old Malachi, all he noticed was the dog poop on the trail. :) Ended the day with an ice cream cone from Casper's. Oh, while we were waiting at the car for the others, Marc taught the kids some karate moves. Here is Malachi showing his stuff.

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Day 3 - We relaxed at home most of the day. Played more soccer. Went shopping with my big sister, Dawnette. She and I ended the day with pedicures. I believe self-pampering is a healthy activity! I tried to convince Marc to join in, but he was too busy watching a movie on his new laptop. Oh well, next time. :)

Day 4 - We met up in Ogden with four of the eight siblings for a family picnic with Mom and Dad. After eating lunch, we chatted, played with the kids, and tossed a football and softballs with each other... until we were all so hot that we returned to Matt's house for Popsicles and air conditioning.

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Drove down to Provo with Mandi and Adam. Had dinner at Guru's and watched part of Casino Royale.

Day 5 - Went to Church. Hung out with Mandi and Adam all day. Played with Watson. Went on a walk with Marc, and then later went on a walk with my little sister, Mandi. Mom and Dad arrived later that night, excited to enter the MTC the next morning...

Day 6 - Bid farewell to Mom and Dad, well for a couple of hours anyway. They checked into the MTC and got their name tags and then came back for lunch with us, before attending more meetings in the afternoon.

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Don't they look so great?!!

Marc, Mandi, and I did a little shopping and then later played Skip-Bo. Marc and I checked out the mural that my Dad painted at Mandi's work, and then took a stroll around BYU's campus. We made French Bread Pizza for dinner and Apple Crisp for dessert. Jamie and his family joined us from Idaho that night, which was a treat! With it being our final night in Utah, we really soaked up the time with everyone. We enjoyed some much-needed quiet moments with Mom and Dad.

Day 7 - Woke at 4:45am. Shared hugs and kisses and tears. It was hard to leave the state where both of my sisters live. In my ideal world I would live across the street from both of them, or at least around the corner. Hopefully one day!

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Mandi, Dawnette, and me - both my sisters are expecting! :)

It was even harder to say good-bye to Mom and Dad. They'll be in Australia in just a few days - on the other side of the world for a year and a half. But, I'm so proud of them... and it gives us an excuse to make a trip to Australia! :)

It took us about 12 hours to drive back home to California. We listened to a book on tape that Mandi let us borrow - Outlander - which actually made the trip seem to go faster. What a relief to finally get out of the car. Watson traveled really well.

After arriving home, we cuddled Einstein before introducing him to our new kitty, Watson. Here's a video of their first introduction. (DISCLAIMER: Please ignore our annoying, high-pitched kitty-talking voices.)

And, then this is the following day, after we had given Watson a bath. The first clues that Einstein and Watson are going to be good buddies.

As you can see, we had quite the trip! We had a fantastic time in Utah. It was great to spend time with two of my brothers and two of my sisters and their families. And, it was wonderful to have some time away with Marc. There really isn't anyone I'd rather be with than him. I love our time together!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Utah Roadtrip

We just got back from a quick trip to Utah. We drove out there with my parents, to see them off at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). We were able to spend time with family, play with nieces and nephews, attend the Logan temple, have a self-guided tour of the latest renovations at BYU, hike up a Utah mountain, and send my parents off on another mission. It was a week packed with a lot of fun and tender moments with family.

Come back later for photos and other highlights of our trip! :)

Oh, and by the way, we also came back with a four-week old kitten, Watson. So far he and Einstein get along really well. We captured their first introduction on video. They're some handsome kitties!

- Megan