Thursday, February 25, 2010

March Madness

Go big or go home.

I've heard that more than once in the past few weeks while watching the Olympics. I suppose it makes sense that "go big or go home" should be the mantra of Olympic athletes. If you get to the Olympics you are clearly at the top of your game and you have put yourself on the line for a goal. Pretty sure there are no half-assed Olympians. They GO BIG. Or they just go home.

I'm feeling convicted by that message these days, and here's why: I am feeling like a half-assed blogger. A fraud. A wannabe. Whatever you want to call it. I am feeling like a blog loser. This blog was supposed to be about honesty. It was supposed to be a place to write down anything and everything. It was going to be a place to explore some things I am working through in my life. But it has turned out to be NONE of those things.

Do you remember my first post? My blog theology is turning out to be more than I can live up to.

I love to blog, I love to write. So what's the big deal?? The big deal is that I feel blocked and just plain scared to put myself out there. There are SO MANY things that I could blog about. Despite what this blog may portray I do have a fairly interesting life. I have interesting stories. Funny friends. Etc... I have things to say. But I can't find my focus, I can't find my voice. I am scared to write about work for fear someone will take it the wrong way and I will get fired. I am timid to write boldly and honestly about many things because...well...I don't know why. I just can't. I could write about parenting all the live long day but this blog is supposed to be about the OTHER things in life. Parenting, yes. But the other things, too.

I don't know what I'm so worried about because I only have like 5 devoted readers anyway!! lol ;)

The posts that I HAVE written on here are truly authentic, they were things that were on my mind, or things I wanted to write about and from my heart. I don't feel like a fraud in that way at all. So I don't feel like I have necessarily let YOU down (my 5 readers) but I do feel like I have let myself down. Does that make sense?

My other blog (The Chronicles of Miles) is totally different because I know exactly what I want from that: a scrapbook of our lives with our son. Done. But this's more intangible. More eclectic. So, I'm never sure what direction to move with it. And then there's the whole idea of my two blogs conflicting--on The Chronicles of Miles I might post a happy, smiley picture of my son and then over here on All of the Above I might have a post about how I am really struggling with whatever the issue of the moment is with him...and then I feel inauthentic. Both accounts are correct and honest and true. But to the outside person it looks like I am playing Jekyll and Hyde. It's a conundrum. The blogs serve two very separate purposes, but I don't want The Chronicles of Miles to be the happy blog and All of the Above to be the bitchy blog. You know?

At this point you are thinking, "Dude, if you can't write then just DON'T. It shouldn't be this hard. You are over thinking it." You are right. Totally. Forcing a blog because I think I should do it is NOT a good idea. But I do want to do it. I just have to get my focus, get clear about what I want this blog to be....and GO BIG. Or shut up.

So, here's my plan. I am going to blog every single day in March. I'm going to call it March Madness because I think it will drive me insane ;) I am just going to see where this takes me. At the end of March if I don't think I have found my mo-jo then this blog will be yet another one of the millions out there that are abandoned. Or, I will sell it to the highest bidder. Just kidding.

I have no clue what I am going to write about. I hope it will come to me. I am just going to write for ME and hope that whatever comes out is fairly readable.

Will I go big? We shall see...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

13, because there are no bones in ice cream

A glimpse into the kinds of conversations I have with my husband.

Anne: If mosquitoes didn't have wings would bats eat other kinds of bugs?

Grant: If a canoe was rolling down a hill and lost a wheel how many pancakes would it take to cover a doghouse?

Anne: What? [laughing]

Grant: 13, because there are no bones in ice cream.

Anne: [laughing harder]

Grant: What the hell? Why are you asking about wingless mosquitoes?

Anne: [still laughing] I was just reading an article about people who are genetically altering female mosquitoes so they don't have wings.

Grant: Well, then they would just bite your toes.

Anne: [more laughing]

Grant: Or, they would do it tick-style and climb up into your hairy parts and bite you where it counts.

Anne: [tears, gasping for air] Maybe they should just let the poor little mosquitoes have wings.

Grant: Yep.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Follow Up on Adoption Questions

Following up from the last post, here is a thoughtful question from a reader/friend who is considering adoption as a way to expand her family:

There's a transracial family at our daycare and I'm quite sure the littlest boy is adopted. I'd love to strike up a conversation with his mom sometime (our older kids are friends), but I don't want to accidentally say anything offensive. How do you bring it up? What's inappropriate? What's warm and welcoming?

That is such a GREAT question. I never want to give people the impression that they can't ask any questions at all, just not stupid, invasive ones that have to do with money. ;)

Although I am super happy to talk numbers with people who are in the adoption process and have serious questions. But if it's my 2nd cousin once removed who is just being nosy I am not into it.


I always like it when people approach me with a "I hope you don't mind me asking, but I was wondering if your child was adopted? The reason I ask is because we are thinking about adoption and would love to chat with you about your experience." Even if you left out the "we are thinking about adoption" part it is still a nice way to approach someone. But it's always good to give a follow-up reason as to why you are asking. I once had someone approach me and say that she loves seeing transracial families because she comes from one herself. Making a personal connection to the reason for your inquiry is always a good idea. But that being said, I am never offended if people just come up and ask me if he's adopted then then just say "cool" ;) That has happened a couple of times!

I am happy to talk to sincere people who want to know more about adoption because I am proud of our adoptive family, proud of our transracial family and am frankly just a happy camper when I can talk about how we came to be a family!

We just had an interesting experience with the hair stylist at Cost Cutters yesterday. (I know, our first mistake was actually going into Cost Cutters but we're on a budget here, people.) So, Grant was getting his hair cut while Miles and I just hung out and watched. I could hear most of their conversation and her questions went something like this:

"Is he yours?"

"I mean, I just didn't know since ... well, you know. Is he adopted?"

"Where is he from?"

"How long have you had him?"

"Do you keep in touch with his birthparents?"

And on and on. Then she launched into how to take care of his hair, like we haven't been taking care of it for the last 2 years just fine thank-you-very-much. ;)

It wasn't exactly the line of questioning that is the problem, it is the way in which she asked such deeply personal questions (especially about his birthfamily) when we had just met her 2 minutes earlier. And it wasn't because she wanted to adopt (she made that very clear: "I don't even know anyone who has ever been adopted!") or that she had a legit reason to ask us such questions. She was just being nosy and as we have already established I'm just not into nosy people. Grant handled it really well. We have had many conversations, between the two of us, about just how much information we are okay with sharing to the general public. So we always know when to draw the line and where our boundaries are. That's really helpful in these situations--I feel like we are a united front.

Again, it's not that the questions are bad, necessarily. It's that I guess I would never in a million years ask some of these questions to someone I don't know. So I am baffled when people ask us. I DO get the curiosity, like is said in the last post, I really really do. But curiosity is not a license for appropriateness to fly out the window.

People also say odd things about adoption because they assume things they just shouldn't. Another reader/friend brings this up in the comments to my last post. She said she hears this one a lot: "You know what happens after you adopt, don't you? You get PREGNANT!" Believe me, I have gotten that one, too. My reaction is similar to yours, dear friend. Laughter. If I wanted to get pregnant (and I have been--twice) I certainly would not adopt a child to accomplish that task. There are many people in this world who can't fathom the fact that I feel absolutely no need to be biologically related to my children. I just don't. I am not biologically related to my husband and that neither diminishes my love for him nor the ties that bind us as a family. Same goes with my son.

To each their own, I say!

C'mon. This is FUNNY:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Ask

You know how there are certain questions that are just OFF LIMITS? Like, "How much do you weigh?" or "How much money do you make?" And they say you should never ask a women her age although that is much less of a faux pas in my eyes. Ask me again when I'm 40 and I might think differently about that.

The point is this: there are just certain things that you don't ask anyone. Ever. Right???

Here's another one to add to your list. Write this one down:

How much did your adoption cost?

It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I even had a hard time typing it.

And just why don't you ask such a question?

Because it's none of your damn business.

Oh, and did I mention that it's none of your bleep bleep bleeping business? Yeah, that too.

The rant is over and now the education begins.

Adoptive parents (at least most of the ones that I know) feel like when you ask that kind of question you are cheapening or degrading the way in which our child came into our families. I'm pretty sure I would never ask someone how much their c-section cost or how much they paid the doctor to pull the baby out of your va jay jay. I just wouldn't. Because it doesn't matter, does it?? No. It doesn't. And it doesn't matter how much we paid for the adoption in that same way.

You see, adoptive families already have a mountain to climb when trying to get people to understand that we are like any other family. A little different? Yes. But we love our kids just the same no matter how they come to us. A question like that just serves to draw the wedge between *them* and *us* even further.

And for the love of all that's holy please don't EVER EVER ask that question in front of an adopted child.

The other thing that is inferred in that kind of question is that adoption must be so expensive, how on earth can you afford it? Here's the deal on this one: We paid adoption professionals to help us be united with our child, yes. But in no way, shape or form do we ever think about the money as a sacrifice. It's not that we don't care or think about the costs associated with our adoption but ... it is what it is. It's a means to an end, the end being a child being joined with its forever family. Done.

And although most people want to make a big deal about the costs associated with adoption the truth is that it's not what's on the minds of most adoptive parents. You want to know what is? The paperwork, the homestudy, the social workers, the match process, and SO MUCH MORE. If you want to ask some good questions ask about that stuff! Adoptive parents are preparing for their child just as any other expecting parent would--nesting, shopping, babyproofing, etc... And AFTER the adoption process is over? Asking about how much it cost is such an absurd and irrelevant question there aren't even words. Our child is home with us where they belong! WHO CARES about the rest except for the person asking the stupid question?

And besides that it's none of your beeswax.

I would never associate a dollar amount with your child. Don't do that to mine.

I get the curiosity. I really do. But to ask that question is a huge faux pas.

Want to know how much adoption costs? Google it.

And then come back and talk to me about jumperoos and baby monitors. Because that is what I REALLY want to talk about.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympics Feeva!

Someone take my temperature. I think I have Olympics fever. Or rather, Olympics Feeva!

There is just something about the Olympics. Maybe it's all of the nations coming together and the [fake] unity that picture paints. Maybe it's that I still cry every every time I see a medals ceremony and they play the national anthems. Maybe it's hearing the amazing back stories for all of the athletes and then feeling like you really want them to succeed. Maybe it's the drama that all of the "thrill of victory, agony of defeat" creates. Maybe it's just plain fun rootin' on the home team.

I don't know what it is about the Olympics, but I love it.

Grant was jokingly saying, as we were watching pairs skating last night, that skating is for sissies. Holy cow, is that ever the furthest from the truth! Skating is for incredibly muscular, flexible people who have no fear of being flung 20 feet over cold hard ice. And for people with discipline, which I lack. Their costumes are a bit sissy-ish, I will admit. Did you see the pair that had kind of a "clown" theme going on?? Not cool.

In any case, I am completely in awe of the athletes. They dedicate their ENTIRE lives to one thing and have a singular goal in mind: GOLD. I can't imagine having that kind of focus.

I was trying to think, if I was forced to choose one winter Olympic sport to compete in, which would I choose?

You know what I came up with?


I'm too much a wimp for any of the other sports. Alas, I will never be an Olympian.

Although, my name next to "5-time Gold Medalist" does have a nice ring to it.

*Oh! And now I have another thing to add to My Someday List: Go to the Olympics. (And by go to the Olympics I do mean as a spectator, as we have already determined I could never make it there of my own athletic prowess. Maybe Miles will be an Olympian?! As long as it's curling, I'm ok with it. Nice, safe, feet on the ground curling.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Euro II Grow With Me Chair REVIEW

I have been wanting to do a review of the Euro II Grow With Me Chair for ages, and I am finally getting around to it. I am by no means getting any kickbacks for this review--I just wanted everyone to know about them!

I was first introduced to these awesome chairs by my sister who purchased them for her two boys several years ago. Her boys love them. The seat and the footrest are both adjustable which makes the "Grow With Me" part really true. I think the boys were 3 and 5 when my sister got the chairs for them, and now they are 6 and 8 and they STILL sit in them and love them.

Miles also loves his chair. In fact, the reason we have one is because of his obsession with his cousin's chairs. Every time we went to their house to eat he just HAD to sit in one of their chairs, and would refuse to sit in his highchair. I thought, what better way to get him to be excited to sit at the table! So my parents got us this chair for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!). I love love love not having the huge highchair sitting in our dining room anymore. This chair has the look and feel of a "regular" chair so of course it's much more stylish to have around, and the bonus is that it is appealing to Miles as a "big boy chair".

The chair comes with a plastic seat cushion, which I think could be improved upon, although it is very cleanable. My mom ended up sewing some chair cushions for the boys chairs that are much cuter and more comfortable. But for right now I am happy that I can just wipe the seat down and be done with it. (You can also purchase a backrest and seat cover online.)

If your child still needs a seat belt restraint and tray I would recommend the highchair version.

We chose the cherry color over the lighter natural color because it matched our dining room furniture best. But the one drawback to the darker color is that scratches (or teeth marks in our case) show up really well. The lighter color might be a better choice if your kid will be rough on it. The chair itself, though, is very sturdy. I never worry about Miles tipping it over. In fact, that would be hard to do, so I feel like he is really safe in it.

The best price I found online was $89.95, and if you can find a site with free shipping then BONUS! There are similar chairs out there but they are much more expensive. It's such a great investment for a wonderful chair that you will use every single day for years and years. I would highly recommend it for your kiddos!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Check-In with the Resolutions

1) I am still a blonde but now would like to be blonder. ;) Not like Kate Gosselin ugly blonde extentions crazy, but maybe a few more highlights next time. I enjoy the blonde-ness. (Seriously Kate, stop trying to re-live your youth, quit club hopping in NY and go home to your kids!)

2) I am utterly failing at my Gratitude Journal. There, I said it. That's the truth. Will I get back on the bandwagon? I sincerely hope so! I really have thought about it a lot, and it's the thought that counts, right? Ugh, not in this case. When it comes down to a choice of either getting 5 minutes of extra sleep or writing in my journal, I'm afraid sleep is winning right now. No more excuses!! Must keep writing...

3) The one resolution that is still coming along well, and even better than I expected, is the cash budget. LOVE the cash budget. I would highly, highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about how to save money or get out of debt. But you need someone to keep you accountable. In my case it's my husband, but it could be anyone. I love the challenge of having a set amount of money to spend in a month, and trying to see how far I can stretch it. And it feels REALLY good knowing that we are in no way overspending. With a cash budget it's impossible to overspend. I'm honestly not sure I will ever go back to swiping my debit card again.

Am I the only one still talking about New Year's Resolutions out there? I feel a little bit like my next door neighbor who just can't seem to let Christmas go...she still lights up her tree (outside) every night. It's February. Live in the now. Grant and I have joked that we are going to go over there and "accidentally" unplug her tree if she doesn't pull the plug herself soon. :-)

But isn't that the whole point of New Year's Resolutions? To be successful at them?? To keep them going as long as possible??? Call me crazy, but I kinda think so.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Born From Our Heart

I am a brand-new fan of Mr. Ray. He writes songs that both kids AND parents can enjoy (imagine that!). But this song, Born From Our Heart (The Adoption Song) solidified me as a card-carrying member of the Mr. Ray fan club. I think this song hits me so hard not just because it's about adoption, but because of the "angel" imagery he uses. You see, Miles' middle name is Gabriel, and we always think of him as an angel sent from God. Not that he always acts like an angel, he is our angel nonetheless. :-)

This was the back of our birth/adoption announcement after Miles was born:

...hard to believe he is going to be 2 in a little over a month...

Born From Our Heart (The Adoption Song)

You start with hope
The wait can make you cry
Unanswered prayers
Things turn, you wonder why

The road can take you where it wants
Sometimes you have to just let go to hear life's song

It's meant to be
It was written in the stars
For us to see
A little angel to be ours
We're a family
We'll tell you where you came from
But you were born from our heart

Faith lights your path
Then one day lets you in
Inside the dream
Of something never seen

The beauty of your little smile
Each little sound you make
Takes our breath away

It's meant to be
It was written in the stars
For us to see
A little angel to be ours
We're a family
We'll tell you where you came from
But you were born from our heart

©2009 music & lyrics by ray andersen

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to Add Pages to Your Blogger Blog

Finally! Blogger is catching up to the needs of their loyal minions. I have been wishing for an easy way to create pages in Blogger for, umm, FOREVER. And now it's finally here!! Thank you, Blogger Gods!!!

I am a Blogger fan, don't get me wrong. I even tried to work with Wordpress, which to be honest I really liked and thought it had many great features that Blogger just can't offer. But you apparently can't teach this old dog new tricks because very soon I was back to Blogger. What can I say? After two years of using Blogger it was just easier to go with what I already knew.

SO, to the good stuff: How to add pages to your Blogger blog. We're talking about static information on stand alone pages here, people! Functionality! Yeah!!!

It's incredibly easy:

Dashboard--> Edit Posts--> Edit Pages

YEP. That's it. It's not brain surgery.

But it's oh so fun.

By the way, my pages are currently under construction so keep checking back to see what's new!

QUESTION: I just installed Live Writer and I like it. But I'm still getting my feet wet. How many of you use it, and do you like it? What are the advantages of using it over the standard Blogger editing functions? Do tell, do tell.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My bookclub just had one of it's most extraordinary nights.

And we have had a lot of amazing ones, so this is saying a lot.

We were so very lucky to have my friend Elissa Elliott, author of Eve: A Novel of the First Woman, join us for our discussion of her book this month. My mother introduced me to Eve and guided me to Elissa, and for that I am so grateful. She very graciously accepted my invitation (about 6 months ago!) and we had been looking forward to this evening with anticipation ever since.

Since Eve is filled with rich images of the Mediterranean, including the food (they apparently ate many, many figs!), we couldn't pass up the opportunity for a Mediterranean-themed dinner to go along with our discussion. Yummy food, pomegranate wine AND champagne and baklava to top it off.

It was heaven.

Speaking of heaven, I wish I could do this incredible book justice with an eloquent book review. But if I am being honest here (and it IS "Let the Truth Be Told Tuesday", right??) I am not insightful enough nor do I have the adequate words to do it the justice that it deserves. I will say that I stand in awe of this work of fiction. It's the hardest thing in the world to tackle a story that is so well-known. Can you imagine? Elissa took Eve, one of history and religion's most recognizable 'characters', and made you think that you are meeting her (and her family) for the very first time. The story she weaves is so believable, so thoroughly researched and so engaging you absolutely forget that you know how the story ends. Her prose is like's really beautiful.

I could go on and on about how clear her vision of Eve as a mother is, how shockingly real the relationships are, how she makes you think (really think) about our relationship with the world and other people, how close you feel to knowing what the true nature of our connection to Elohim (God) truly is after reading her words ("Everything ordinary is extraordinary and points to one luminous thing, to a love that has already given its response. You have only to receive it.") ... but I will stop there.

Read this book. It will not be wasted time.

Thank you, Elissa, for your candor and humor and openness and insight and wisdom.

And thank you to my wonderful, precious bookclub. I would be lost without you!!!

Me, Brynn, Elissa, Siri, Karna and Jodi (we were missing Amy, Lorelee and Dawn!)