Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Most Important 5 Minutes You'll Spend Today

Natalie's first birthday-- and birthday cake!  
Six months ago today, on October 30, 2007, my beautiful 14-month old niece passed away.  Natalie (or Nat-Nat as family and friends called her) was a happy, bubbly, active baby.  She was the delight of her parents, grandparents, and doting aunts and uncles, and her big sister's special playmate.  On October 24, she accidentally wandered into a backyard with an open pool and fell in.  Although she survived the drowning initially, she died after 5 days on life support. Losing Natalie is the single hardest and saddest thing my family has ever endured.  We miss her terribly every day.  There is little to ease the ache.  

However, Natalie's spirit lives on in many ways.  Her parents decided to donate her organs, and now others have the chance to live because of Natalie's tremendous gift.  My sister has said that the decision was an natural one to make, and that they are so thankful Natalie was able to help others in this way.  

My husband is also an organ donor.  Nearly eight years ago he donated a kidney to his brother. So, in many ways organ donation is a hugely important part of our family's story.  I have always felt that I would want to be an organ donor, but over the past months the impact of that decision has taken on additional meaning.  For years I have had my driver's license show that I wish to be an organ donor, but I recently learned that this may not be legally binding.  However, it is quick and simple to sign up to be an organ donor online, and it is a legal decision.   

If you live in North Carolina, go here to sign up today.  If you live in Virginia (my sister's home), go here.  If you live in other states, just Google "organ donation" plus your state's name. It really does take only 5 minutes, but it could literally save the life of someone else someday.  

My sister said that someone she met recently (not Natalie's recipient, but another) told her that her donor did not die so she could live, but she lives because her donor could not.  Wow.  What a tremendous legacy to leave behind.  What a priceless gift to give.  Won't you consider signing up today?

My two favorite donors-- Natalie and her Uncle Mark
They truly are my heroes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The End is in Sight!!

My lame-o excuse for not posting in over a week:  it's the end of the semester, and since I prefer to "work to the deadline" (or procrastinate, if you prefer to speak plainly) I have been working my tail off to get my big final projects done.  I just e-mailed the last ones off to my prof.  Woo-hoo!!!!  It always feels so good to be done and have gotten over one more hurdle in this master's degree program.  I have a few things to do to wrap up the semester, but unless I find out I have to re-write my literature review (and I pray not)I am done with the spring semester for all intents and purposes.

Plus, we had a busy weekend-- we went to see Wicked (the musical) with friends and also went to a concert on Saturday night.  Plus the homework.  Oh, the homework.  Needless to say, posting got pushed to the back burner along with house cleaning, folding laundry, and returning phone calls.  (sorry everyone!)  More on our Big Saturday Out in the next post!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's Fashion Fiesta Time!!

small button
I actually did take my pictures yesterday, but here it is, Sunday night, and I am just now joining the party.  I guess I'd better skip the small talk and get to the important parts.  

BigMama asked that we show off our daily uniform, in all its glory.  For better or worse, here it is:

Ahh, yoga pants.  My uniform after work and on the weekend.   After a long hard day, there is nothing more comforting than an elastic waistband and stretchy knit.  BTW, I have no idea what those spots are on the picture.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I pulled all 3 pairs out of the dirty clothes basket and smoothed out the wrinkles before snapping the picture.   Of course, they are about to be put up for the summer, when my equally nice elastic waist workout shorts will replace them. 

I have a variety of lovely options for tops to go with the yoga pants.  A T-shirt is always appropriate, for example.  

Yes, I am big on the pig.  No, not really.  I bought this shirt at the Piggly-Wiggly grocery store while at the beach.  As usual, I got slightly sunburned and forgot to pack a long-sleeved T-shirt.  Besides, you can never have too many long-sleeved Ts.  
Here's a my favorite ensemble for chilly days, or whenever it's warm outside but it's still 60 degrees in our house: 
Old Navy gray fleece -- a bargain since I paid $3.50 for it on clearance-- and a basic Hanes T from Wal-Mart underneath.  The layered look is in, ya know.  Fleece is my new favorite fabric.  My fleece yoga pants are my all time faves (they are on the right in the top picture.)  Ok, Blogger is being irritating and taking about 5 years to load each picture, so sadly, this will be an abbreviated post.  grrr.  I'm going to try one or two more...

New spring clothes!!  I heart them.  The black cropped jacket is about the cutest thing I currently own (now a weekly staple), except for maybe the aqua flats you see in the same picture.  I love them the most, especially now that I have discovered the wonder that is the Band-Aid blister prevention stick.  They have turned the Shoes of Death into a happy, happy, pain-free experience.  Wanna see the cuteness up close?

These shoes make me so very happy.  And it's best to end on a happy note, right?  What with Blogger being all uncooperative and all.  Thanks for joining me in the fiesta!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

People Get Ready

It's here!!  The Fashion Fiesta!!  

Stay tuned-- I'm real busy planning all the stunningly fashionable combinations with which I will wow my Audience of One (actually it's two, but I seem to be on a random thing with incorporating the titles of Christian songs into the post.  Can you find all of the "hidden" song titles??  OMG, that sounds like a VBS challenge.  Now, where was I?  Oh yes, fashion.) 

 In fact, just to get really inspired, I am spending my Friday night on the couch, with my beloved laptop, watching the Miss USA pageant.  Lots of lovely, bedazzled ladies!  Hosted by Donny and Marie!!  I know you are all totally wishing your Friday nights were as thrilling as mine.  

We will ignore the fact that, in this pursuit of fashion utopia (nirvana?  whatever.) I am wearing ratty light blue sweatpants and my almost-as-beloved-as-the-laptop "Todd's at Tigertail Beachside Grill Marco Island" T-shirt (with the picture of the pyramid of people, hiney-side showing, on the back).  I'll spare you an actual photo of this lovely ensemble.  The T-shirt is of an undetermined age, since I have no idea how I acquired it.  Especially since the only people I know who go to Marco Island with any regularity are my 89-year-old grandparents.  Somehow I doubt Mamapa and Granddaddy are hangin' out at Todd's shooting pool during their annual beach trip.  

I Will be Here later this weekend with my contribution to the fiesta!!  (I may be pushing the nerd envelope with that last song title, but I just indulged in a few chocolate chip cookies  and after 10 days of WW and chocolate deprivation, I blame all nerdiness on the sugar rush.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Are you ready to party??

small button

If you love fashion, head over to BigMama's blog and get ready to join the fiesta!  I'm already planning the outfit I am going to share.  :-)  Join me-- and BigMama-- on Friday!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Because a picture is worth a thousand words...

P.S.  Thank goodness this semester is over in two weeks!  I am ready to be done with my boring grad school classes!

P.P.S.  If you want to see some more hilariously "insprational" stuff, head over to  It's worth the trip!  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

15 months

Hard to believe it's been 2 weeks since I posted on Easter.  Lots of reasons why-- we went to Ohio over Spring Break, work has been super-busy, lack of topics I feel motivated to write about-- but mostly, I just haven't gotten around to it.  I'm really good at writing posts in my head but not getting them down on paper... or at least the screen.   

Yesterday marked 15 months since we were logged in.  We also got our homestudy update report in the mail-- 3 months to the day when I first e-mailed our social worker to get it started.  It took forever.  On Friday, referrals for this month came out.  Only 5 more days were referred this month.  Now the CCAA is up to January 9, 2006.  Only 361 days ahead of us.    Another month has gone by, but it just doesn't feel like we are making any progress.  

I used to imagine what my daughter might look like, what leaving for China might be like, collect ideas in a file for the nursery.  I haven't done that in a long time.  Of course, not a single day goes by where I don't think of AK in some way, and where I am not reminded of just how empty my arms are, but I just cannot picture her at all.  A few days ago, a friend of a friend got the referral for her daughter.  On her blog, she recalled how right around the beginning of August, she had a very vivid dream about her baby being born.  She learned the other day that her daughter was born just days after she had that dream.  I just can't even imagine that.  I have dreamt no dreams, seen no signs (I refuse to count dead ladybugs), had no indicators whatsoever.  I've begun to think of her as just a "mythical baby."  

 It's been such a long wait, and only God knows how much longer it will be.  Some (actually, many) days I wonder if the adoption, if parenthood, will ever really happen.  I feel guilty for having so little faith, but there it is.  Right now, it's easier to not prepare for a little one; I'm fully aware that this is a form of self-preservation.  I guess in some ways it's good to live life without feeling like we are constantly on hold.  I (well, Mark, too) am making plans for summer and fall that do not include welcoming a baby into the household (although if a miracle does happen, you'd better believe all plans will be adjusted accordingly).  And, since I can't seem to get/stay/be excited right now about this, it's just hard to be enthused about much of anything.