Monday, May 18, 2009

We Are Finished!!

As you read this, we are jumping up and down, shouting from the rooftops, and dancing around like crazy!! You see, we finished another school year in homeschool. I don't know who is more excited, me or the kids. :o)

We actually tied up loose ends this past Saturday, and we've been celebrating ever since. Now, to turn the house upside down, and get organized once again is the task at hand. Of course I don't know how long it will stay that way with 2 kids, (3 if you count Carl), and myself. :o)

Excuse me, my cluttered counters are calling.............

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Journey To Motherhood

Mother's Day always presents an opportunity for me to share about my journey to motherhood. Most everyone that knows me knows about "my story", but I never tire of telling it because of what God has done for me, and maybe someone that stumbles upon this blog might find hope and encouragement through the words I share.

I really believe the story of Hannah was included in the Bible just for me. I believe God knew before time began that Sherri would need hope, inspiration, and encouragement on the road to motherhood.

I remember sitting in my gynocologist's office, hearing the words, "It's highly unlikely you'll ever have children of your own." Those words penetrated my heart and crushed me so deeply that I couldn't bear to think about what that would mean. Thoughts raced through my mind; some selfish, some not so selfish. "If we never have children who will take care of us when we grow old?" "But I want to be a mom." How could I bury this deep desire that had taken root in my heart?? The tears started flowing and didn't stop. From that day forward I dreaded each and every Mother's Day. In church, I would sit there with tears streaming down my cheeks and want to cry out to all those celebrating being mothers and say, "What about those of us who truly desire to be mother's with all of our hearts, but we're just not able??" Every song I heard that was sung by children just made me tear up. It was like I was walking down this dark path with no hope in sight. I read my Bible every day and poured my heart out to God many times through the course of the no avail. Reading my Bible one morning, I found comfort in a verse that God brought to me. Psalm 113:9 reads "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." Those words leapt off the page and into my heart! The verse doesn't even make sense, and yet I claimed it as a promise from God, knowing that He was the ONLY ONE WHO COULD MAKE SENSE OF IT. I pondered it, "barren, mother, children." The only words that go together in that verse is mother and children, but throw barren in there, and what do you have? A PROMISE!!! I made sure to point it out to God and to Carl that it says childREN, and God knows the difference between a child and children. I clung to that verse. It became my lifeline.

But how would it happen? Carl and I didn't really want to go the "infertility treatment" route because we had heard so many times of it not working or costing many thousands of dollars due to repetitive tries. We then started looking in the direction of adoption. We both wanted a "white" or caucasion baby since we were white. That was a road in itself that we had to take. (We are not predjudiced people, but we just felt for the child's sake in later years it would be better if he/she was of our race.) God showed us that every child is the same, and they all need the same thing - love. What does it matter? And if the baby He chooses for us is of a different race, He'll give us wisdom to know how to deal with any issues that arise.

We had a homestudy done and put together an "adoptive parent" notebook in hopes of adopting domestically through a lawyer's office. In the course of the homestudy, our social worker made mention of the fact that if we wanted a girl our best bet would be to adopt from China. I punched Carl's leg under the table because I have always wanted a girl, knowing full well we could never go to China. That was when I believe a "seed" was planted in my heart, but we still went the domestic route. After that meeting, we started seeing all this stuff that had to do with China, even commercials on tv!! We had never seen so much Chinese "stuff", and God used all of that to open our eyes to "another world".

We got on the phone to our social worker to have our homestudy redone for international adoption, specifically China. We had no idea where we were going to get that kind of money, and we still don't know where it came from other than to say it came from the Lord, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. All that led us to our S.

We chose her name before we ever even saw her photo. As anyone knows about international adoption, it is a long, tedious process. Our agency, Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI), was very helpful in telling us what we needed to do every step of the way. We had to have some paperwork redone one time because we had been waiting close to 2 years, and some of our papers had expired. We had our fingerprints redone on Friday, February 1, 2002. Since we were having to redo some paperwork we even toyed with the idea of changing our request from a healthy baby girl to twins, but after discussing it with some others who had adopted from China we decided not to steer in that direction.

I had a dream the night before of me nursing a baby, and it was so real and vivid that I shared it with Carl on our way to having this paperwork redone.

I had been noticing over the course of a few days that I was having great hunger pangs, and at times I felt like I could gnaw someone's arm off because I was so hungry. :o) One of my favorite things to eat is a good old Subway sandwich. We had gotten one of those for supper on Monday, February 4, 2002. We ususally get a footlong and save the other half for lunch the next day. This particular night I was very hungry, and I ate the whole footlong!!! That was very unusual for me, but after I had eaten it, I wished I hadn't. As a matter of fact, just the thought or mention of Subway just turned my stomach.

Wednesday morning, February 6, 2002, we had a 2 hour delay from school because of ice. I knew I was late for the month, and that was unusual as well, because the medicine my doctor had me taking was supposed to cause me to start. I decided, once again, as I had done so many times before to take a pregnancy test. I had been through this same kind of thing over and over, so I was disappointed before it ever gave the results. Much to my surprise, there were TWO lines!!!! I hollered for Carl to come in there. I showed him the stick, and said, "According to this I'm pregnant!!" Carl's jaw dropped to the floor as our telephone rang. It was Mama calling to let me know about the delay of school. Carl answered, but he was so bumfuzzled, he just said something like, "Okay." We were thrilled, but yet scared out of our minds!! Being diabetic adds another issue to pregnancy. And what about China?? Our baby girl was there. We have a daughter in China, and we HAVE to bring her home. "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children" ran through my mind. Could this be??

I called my gynocologist, made an appointment for that morning, shared the news with my neighbor who is one of my best friends and took off to school to get a substitute teacher for me for the day.

I'll always remember lying on that table in the doctor's office while having that first ultrasound. I was 5 weeks and 1 day along, and I was due October 3, 2002. I saw the heartbeat! I had a living baby growing inside me which was nothing more than a miracle. At that moment I knew God had a plan. Before I left, that same doctor who had told me that it was "highly unlikely" hugged me and said, "WOW!" Coming home from that appointment, I pulled over in the K-Mart parking lot to call Carl to tell him about seeing the baby's heartbeat. His reaction still rings through my heart, "It has a heartbeat????!!!" I really don't know what he was thinking, but this was all new for him, too. I had to smile.

We were afraid that we might not be able to adopt from China, but our agency said that as long as we brought her home BEFORE the baby was born, it would be fine. However, the maternal-fetal medicine doctor advised against it, because it would be so hard. This doctor is a good Christian man, so we really thought through his advice, but we still felt God nudging us to go.

My doctor could not allow me to go to China. It would be too dangerous being there, diabetic, and pregnant. Carl traveled by himself (without me, anyway, but with others in the travel group who were also adopting).

On July 29, 2002 I became a mother for the first time, as the nannies placed a little dark headed, 8 month old baby girl in Carl's arms. They both came home on August 10, 2002. What a happy reunion and meeting we had at the airport!!

Then on Wednesday, September 11, 2002, I gave birth to a healthy 6 lb, 1 oz baby boy!! What amazing ways God works. I called my gynocologist on Friday to let him know that I had a baby boy. (He didn't deliver babies so I hadn't seen him since that first ultrasound.) Much to our surprise, he walked in to my hospital room to see this little miracle. Again, he said, "WOW!"

I left the hospital on Saturday, September 14,2002 and went home to be settled in my home as a happy mother of children. ☺

Field Trip to the Museum

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
C. has been wanting to see the dinosaurs at the museum for a very long time now, so on our trip we decided we would go then. (Thanks, Kelly, for the passes!!) It was very interesting. S. made a little lightning while we were there. None of us had ever been to the museum before, so we tried to soak it all in.

The Zoo and Family

Monday, May 4, 2009
The title doesn't necessarily go "together". My family doesn't come from the zoo, or at least some of them don't. :o)

We had the opportunity to go to the zoo, and afterwards meet up with some family members who we claim as friends, too. :o)

Shoes, Shoes, and More Shoes

I thought this deserved a post all its own. The day of the wedding was..., lets just say, hectic. S. was the flower girl, and C. was the ringbearer. I had planned to have S.'s hair done by someone who has more hair experience than me, but it just didn't work out. I was going to take her to Wal Mart or Great Clips the morning of the wedding, but those hair places didn't open until 9 AM, and we had to be dressed, ready, and at the church by 10 AM. I was concerned about being rushed, and if I had to wait for any length of time at either hair place, it would have just made things even more stressful, so I nicked that idea. I enlisted the help of my mom, and had asked her to please be at our house at 8:30 AM so she could help me with S.'s hair. I went ahead and started curling it that morning, and as 8:50 approached, Mama had not arrived!! I called her, and it turned out that she was waiting for me to call her. Anyway, she came on, and we got S.'s hair curled up to the point of walking out the door to leave. Everyone was loaded in the car, and I was darting out so to not make us late. I slid my shoes on, and we were on our way. Whew!! I can now relax, and take pictures at the wedding, which is what my sister-in-law had asked me to do. Anybody that knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE taking photos, and with having a ring bearer and a flower girl in the wedding, I envisioned these wonderful photo op's.

Thirty minutes later we arrived at the church, and everybody hopped out of the van. I stepped out, and for some reason looked down, and this is what I saw...

The tears started coming to my eyes, because I knew there was no way I could make it home (we live 30 minutes away) to get a matching pair of shoes and make it back in time to get pre-wedding photos. Carl, trying to console me, told me it was okay, and just run to town and buy a pair of shoes. I didn't want to do that, but given the three options, the latter sounded the best, until climbing back in the van I remembered a pair of sandal slides that I needed to return that were too small. I just couldn't miss a single picture, not for myself, but I wanted to get some good shots for my sister-in-law. It was the job she had asked me to do, and I wanted to give it my best. So, I wore these shoes... Since I've worn them now, I can't take them back to the place I bought them.:o( Maybe I can find a new owner??

After the wedding we had just enough time to dart into town and buy a pair of flip flops...

After all was said and done, I had gone through three pairs of shoes, or four if you count the two mismatched ones. ☺

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wedded Bliss

May 1, 2009
The rehearsal dinner...

C. is a typical boy and enjoys finding new and improved ways of entering a building...

The church where the ceremony occurred

Getting a little bored with rehearsal.........

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The groomsmen...

The ring bearer...

The flower girl...

The bride and her father...

The bride and groom...

Thomas Kinkade and Kite Flying

May 2, 2009 held a busy day for us. We started out learning about Thomas Kinkade in the kids' art class. I even learned something myself. Did you know that he hides his 4 daughter's initials or first name (Merritt, Chanler, Winsor, and Everett) in every one of his paintings?? I didn't know that either, but now when I see his art it will give me another reason to "study" his work.

One of the activities I enjoy most with my children is flying a kite. It's a very relaxing activity (most of the time), and they are in awe as the kite soars through the air. On this extremely busy day, we decided to take a little break and enjoy some time together just having fun.

The California Gold Rush

April 30, 2009

We read about the California Gold Rush in history, and panned for gold (pennies in the bathtub) as one of our activities. The kids had fun with it. It might have been that they had a good excuse to play in water. ☺

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ Happy Birthday!! ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

Carl celebrated his 38th birthday on April 28. He loves Red Velvet Cake, so I wanted to make a different kind of Red Velvet Cake that I had heard about - a Red Velvet Poundcake with cream chesse frosting. Yummy!! I had to bake it the Saturday before his birthday because I wanted it to be a surprise for him, and he was going to be off from work on Monday (27th) and Tuesday(28th). He got it a little early, but he didn't seem to mind one bit, though. ☺

LOOK, MA,......

no training wheels! It was all C.'s idea. On April 23, 2009 he wanted to take the training wheels off of his bike and give it a try without them. It's one of those monumental times in a Mom's life when she realizes her baby is no longer a baby (sniff). Just the day before, he lost his first tooth (sigh). He did well, including the times that he wrecked. Of course, he wrecked in the grass as that's all we have around us. ☺

The Tooth Fairy Pays a Visit

C. finally lost his first tooth on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 while we were at church. He had bumped it on the slide the previous week at a park, and it began leaning over, so I knew it probably wouldn't be long. What surprised me, though, was that he went into the restroom at church and pulled it himself. I'm glad he did that, as he probably would have hollered if we had had to pull it. :o)

Easter Sunday