Friday, February 19, 2010

Someimes It Feels Like You Are Doing Okay....

99% of the time it feels like life is passing you by and you are just too busy to even be an active participant in it. Yet, every once in awhile the end of the day comes and you feel like shouting.... "Hooray! I had a good Mama/Wifey day!!". Today was one of those days for me.

David had a 10am meeting more local to our own home. Especially since he had to work late yesterday, it made sense that David did not travel into downtown Buffalo early this morning only to turn around to travel back north for a 10am meeting. So, lucky for us, David was able to come with me to drop Madeline off at school this morning. Afterward, David and I, together, enjoyed a quick cup of coffee and a bite to eat at a local Tim Horton's. What great way to start the morning!!

While Madeline was at school I was very busy working on some personal paperwork stuff that needed to be done. In the afternoon, aside from a speech therapy session for Madeline, Madeline and I went grocery shopping and then concocted a great Lenten meal of crab cakes with spicy avocado sauce, mixed field greens, roasted asparagus, a good crunchy baguette and a nice bottle of chardonnay. After dinner was started Madeline and I headed outside to play in the snow. The weather was fairly mild today and the conditions were perfect for "packing snow" so Madeline and I built a snowman so that we could surprise Papa when he came home. We were busy all day and therefore I feel like it was a good Mama day.....I need more of those!

Love Letters of My Past....

Today, one of my friends sent this link to me via Facebook. Although both she and I are two old married "cougars", the school girl giggles, although hard to capture in a *tone* of an email, came over loud and clear in her message that included this link. Yep, women do swoon over stuff like this because it is oozing with romance....not to mention the tone of the singers voice is uber-sexy.

But overall, what did this video remind me of???? This video reminded me how old I am and how technology has progressed at an insane speed since I was in high school. How could this video possibly remind me of this? Well, to start, I did not have a cell phone or the ability to text message while in high school. This technology did not exist. What did I have? I had a pocket full of quarters and the luck that my high school boyfriend had the same lunch time that I did. I would spend my lunch break attached to my girl's school 's pay phone while my boyfriend spent his lunch break attached to the pay phone in the foyer of his school. Since my boyfriend was a few years older than I was he headed off to college first. How did we cope? We coped through occasional phone calls and hand written letters. There were no cell phones (and long distance was EXPENSIVE), there were no emails and no texting. I saw this youtube video and thought the only professions of love that used to exist were private love letters between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Oh gosh, times are different now. Yet, at the risk of sounding old (like when my mother used to say, "What ever happened to Perry Como??") I think due to the level of technology, or lack thereof, we had made young love relationships more special - more special because the young couples had to really work at staying together. I do love our current technology but I am grateful of where I came from. I am young enough to embrace the technology of today yet old enough to realize that there are just better, more intimate ways, of being a part of someone's life. Sigh.....maybe it's time to sign off of the computer and make a phone call or write a letter. I challenge you to do the same.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

If It Doesn't Kill You, It Makes You A Family

What am I talking about? Infertility, that is! In my case, specialists could never determine any reason why I wasn't getting pregnant. Numerous procedures had both me and David checked out as "A-OK". But that did not make our road to having a family any easier. Although David and I have always been open to adoption, when one is in the midst of infertility treatments and procedures you feel empty and hopeless and can't imagine ever having the opportunity to raise and love a child. The stress associated with infertility is brutal. In fact, I have often said that I would not wish infertility on my worst enemy. Actually, research has shown that the psychological stress experienced by women with infertility is similar to that of women coping with illnesses like cancer, HIV, and chronic pain. Additionally, infertility can also be an open-ended situation where there are no clear endings and mourning and grief is prolonged because a glimmer of hope may linger. Despite all of that, I would relive all of that pain, stress and wicked roller coaster ride again if it meant that I would end up in the exact same spot that I am right now. Our dear Madeline was, without a doubt, meant to be ours and I can't imagine our family being any different - Mama, Papa, Maddie. And yes, if it (infertility) doesn't kill you, it not only makes you stronger but makes for you, a family.

Rebekah, a friend that we met in Russia while we were both in the midst our adoption processes, described this transformation the best. Below is what Rebekah posted on her blog today and thus has prompted me to share my feelings as well.

Infertility means different things to those whose womb it has struck. Each woman deals with infertility in her own special way, and for some, perhaps, infertility is harder than for others. However, I would venture to say that it always brings grief. But perhaps, as in my life, it can also bring joy...

Infertility used to be that which God was using to withhold His blessings and goodness from me (and my husband).

Infertility meant that I had to “endure” another baby shower, and hold someone’s newborn baby, knowing that God had not chosen to give a baby to us. There were times when I had to hear yet another pregnant woman complain about how uncomfortable she was, when I would have given anything for that discomfort.

Infertility meant that I would sit in silence with other women while they talked about their children. Every once in awhile someone would notice my silence and try to change the subject. I didn't want to change the subject....I just wanted to be able to join in.

Infertility made me wonder if God knew something about me that I didn't know. I wondered if I would be a bad mother, and God was protecting children from me. Infertility made me doubt the good work that God was doing in my life.

Infertility was my enemy.

Infertility made me look deep inside to see if I really cared about God's dreams for my life, or if I only wanted my own.

Infertility taught me what it really means to surrender to God's will and plans, and to walk forward, trusting my Savior.

Infertility showed me that God's ways are so much higher, so much deeper, so much better than my own.

Infertility is my friend.

Infertility...Oh yes, at times, you bring that unexpected pang back into my heart, but then I remember the friend that you have become. The road that I did not want to travel has led me to my greatest dear, beloved children!

Infertility, it is ok for you to stay.....for God has shown us that our children will come home, but they will come through another door....And I desire no other children than those whom God has chosen for us!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

There Is A BABY In My Cake!

Happy Mardi Gras! A late afternoon text message from David, that inquired about the possibility of a Kings Cake got my brain snowballing and my body scrambling to the grocery store for some items to create a last minute Mardi Gras celebration. Although as a child, we celebrated what the Polish call " Pączki Day" (Donut Day- as traditionally the lard, sugar, etc was used up before the Catholics' fasting of Lent began), David and I have taken to celebrating Mardi Gras with more of a New Orleans flair. Besides, David and I eat donuts WAAaaaayyyyy too regularly! Yes, I know, Tim Horton's is *nothing* like the Polish Pączki. Yet, although I like Pączki, I don't like them that much to consider them a treat. Instead, we have taken to New Orleans fare for our pre-Lenten splurge. Why New Orleans traditions? Well, our very good friend Jon lives in New Orleans and we have had the opportunity to visit New Orleans on numerous occasions (I believe this photo of David, Jon & me was in the year 2000. It was definitely on a rainy night in the French Quarter......and this photo is the last known location of the glasses Jon is wearing. Could they have unknowingly just fallen off of Jon's face while we were all on a typical French Quarter balcony??). Each time we visited we had more fun than was probably good for us. Unfortunately, it has been several years since we've been to Jon's for a visit. With Madeline, however, our future visits will most certainly be more low key. However, our stories of the French Quarter are ones we will giggle about and tell our grandchildren (okay, maybe not that).

Anyway, last minute I was running to the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients. Upon getting home I darted into the basement to dig out some Mardi Gras decorations from my teacher bins and some Mardi Gras beads from my Halloween bins.....(oh, the story behind those beads! More than you can imagine!) I quickly threw up some decorations and whipped together our dinner. We had Jambalaya, Caesar Salad and a baguette bread & butter. I mixed David and me up some official Pat O'Brien Hurricanes to drink (oh, another bunch of stories from our visit to Pat O'Brien's!) but, of course, Madeline had fruit punch instead. And, finally, for dessert we had the New Orleans traditional King Cake that I decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors - purple, representing justice; green, representing faith; and gold, representing power . The King Cake has a small baby trinket hidden inside and Madeline got the baby in her piece, which I guess means she'll have good fortune for the next year.

So here I sit, the night before Lent, still not knowing what I would like to sacrifice during the Lenten season. Oh, so many things to choose from!! Whatever I do, all I know is that I am looking forward to the END of Lent (Easter)! Not so much because I would be able to once again partake in whatever I give up but because my brother Paul and his family will be here visiting. SOoooo excited! In the meantime, enjoy the last little bit of those sinful splurges ;-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Don't We Look Like Spaghetti?

Ahhhhhh.....SOOOooooo relaxed! Do we not look like spaghetti?!?!? How is this possible? Well, although we love Madeline to pieces, a "date night" for David and me under any circumstances brings about relaxation. But today, to celebrate Valentine's Day, I decided to surprise David and finally use some gift certificates that we had just sitting around. I booked us a couples' massage at Excuria, a local salon and day spa. Yes, we are both loose and wiggly like bowl of cooked spaghetti.

Afterward, David and I had a pre-dinner cocktail and then, using another gift certificate that I won, we dined at LeMetro. Okay, I must say, the dinner was highly disappointing, but regardless, we enjoyed some quiet time together as a couple. Our quiet time was enjoyed so much that although we vowed to get home before Madeline's bedtime, we waited to the last minute to head home. We had a little extra time to spare before heading home and what did we do? We headed to Target to just browse the aisles. No, we didn't buy anything. We just roamed....quietly and without disruption. Not once did we have to say "Don't touch that!" or "Get over here!". And since that is something we rarely have the opportunity to do, even browsing at Target was relaxing and romantic.

When we got home, although Madeline loves her babysitter, Madeline was so happy to see us. David got Maddie ready for bed as I drove the sitter home. When I got home the three of us wrapped up in a blanket and watched a little bit of the Olympics together before bedtime. And, after a re-energizing evening away, I was happy to come home and hug Madeline a little bit tighter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In The Dog House?

We don't watch a lot of television in our house and we certainly limit what we expose Madeline to. Madeline's show repertoire is a small sampling of PBS shows that, as a teacher, I must says are very educational.

Tonight, before bedtime we watched a DVRed episode of "World World". All the characters and structures in its setting are created from the letters that form its word. At bedtime, Madeline always gets a bedtime story and tonight's story included D-O-G dog from Word World as well as Martha from another one of Madeline's shows, "Martha Speaks". (Martha, the dog, is able to speak because she eats alphabet soup).

Tonight's story was as follows:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Madeline. Madeline was playing with D-O-G dog from Word World. "Dog" and Madeline were having so much fun playing and jumping in the back yard. They were giggling and laughing and having a blast. All of a sudden they heard someone say, "Hello, can I play too?" "Dog" and Madeline stopped to look and see who was talking to them. They looked and all they saw was another dog standing near the fence. "Dog" and Madeline started playing and laughing again and before long they heard, "HELLOOoooooo, can I play with you"? They stopped and looked again but once again, they only saw a dog standing near the fence. This went on several times until finally "Dog" and Madeline realized that it was the dog near the fence that was talking to them! As they approached the other dog they realized that it was Martha (from Martha speaks) that wanted to play with them. Madeline and "Dog" were so happy and they had a great time playing with Martha. Finally, it was lunch time and they were so lucky that Mama had Alphabet soup for lunch. So, not only was Martha a talking dog but "D-O-G, dog" also began talking. The three of them continued to play outside and had so much fun playing together until it was time to go to bed. At bedtime, Madeline asked Mama if "Dog" and Martha could sleep over. Mama said, "Yes" and the two doggies climbed into Madeline's bed, snuggled up with Madeline, and they all went nite-nite......THE END.

After giving Madeline a good night kiss, I began to walk out of Madeline's room only to be stopped by Madeline saying, "Mammmaaaaaa????". "Yes?", I responded. From the dark room, Madeline's little voice said, "I want a doggie". Oooooopppppppssssss!!! That is SSOOOOO NOT where I wanted to go with that story. So what what did I do? I responded the only way that any whimpy Mama would respond. I said, "You want a doggie? Well, you'll have to talk to Papa about that in the morning. Good night....." Uh-oh...Sorry David!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love Of Travel....Must Be In The Blood.

My niece, Christina, is currently studying abroad. This is not Christina's first experience with travel. She, in fact, is quite the world traveler. Although my nephew, (Christina's brother) Andy, is also quite an explorer (CLICK HERE for Andy's grand bike tour to Newfoundland), Christina's travel preferences are more my style. (Andy's travel style includes exercise......ugh!)

Although I would love to share here all of Christina's excursions, there are already too many for me to keep track of. Instead I will use the words of my brother, Marty, to introduce his daughter's (my niece's) travel journal. Christina's writing style is awesome and her adventures are enjoyable (as well as educational) to follow. Below is the excerpt from my brothers' blog which introduce Christina's own blog, "Je ne get it pas". I will include a link to my niece's blog to the side of my own blog too so that if you are in the mood to travel Europe you can simply click over to see what Christina is up to. Thanks, Christina for allowing us to live vicariously through you.

Christina, since she was very young, had her sights set across the seas. In the summer between 8th and 9th grade, she took a ten day field trip to France. She spent her high school years and her college career so far studying languages, French, Spanish, and Italian. But she always seemed a little more tentative about embarking alone. Just a couple of years ago, I thought she wouldn't go anywhere unless it was with someone she knew. No more. In just the last year, she has taken trips to Honduras, Spain and Italy, with side trips to Portugal, and Morocco. And now she's in France, with plans to take side trips to Switzerland (she's there now), England, Germany, and who knows where else.

Last summer, when she was in Spain and Italy, there was drama, there were meltdowns, all due to inexperience and the crazy curve balls traveling life throws at you. She had a great time, but the "learning experiences" were sometimes stressful. Now, no matter what the road throws at her, everything is "totally fine" That's Christina's own phrase for for her attitude when things don't go as planned.

Christina has started keeping an online journal (I think she still chokes on the very idea of a blog). It's called "Je Ne Get It Pas". And it's some really good stuff! She's written about her homestay, the town she's living in (Montpellier, on the Mediterranean), French food, the crazy driving, and about just getting along in a place where you don't always know what is going on. Mom and Dad have really enjoyed the long, entertaining posts she writes. Now it's Mazurland's turn to catch up on Christina's travels. Stop by and drop her a comment. Even when things are "totally fine", it's good to get a message from home.