Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Give Me A Break

I am sure I will be heavily criticized by some for this blog entry but I am willing to endure it (through the use of modern day medication). This is not the most positive of blogs we have written but I just need to finally say it.
I am the first one to admit that I have not exactly been the model of personal responsibility since moving to Michigan and that can be hard for me and others. In the past I have been the person who has had a lot of things on her plate and for the most part I have done them all fairly well. Since moving to Michigan and turning our lives upside down I am not quite the same person I used to be. One day at a time I am taking the steps to do better. I have to say though I don't think I have left anyone in a lurch by my not quite having it all together.
Since March I have thought often about responsibility and why some people think it is okay to do nothing. Why do some people when there are only three in a room not take responsibility to include everyone? Why do some people sleep walk through their calling? Do they realize what kind of impact they are having on the people they serve? Why do people not do their Home or Visiting Teaching? Some of us are lonely and just need a friend. Why do you invite people over for dinner and then just ignore them while they are there? If you are going to invite someone take responsibility and entertain them.
Mike cares deeply for the sheep he is over but it is horrible when he can't sleep at night with all of the problems that there are in the branch. Many of the problems stem from folks not being able to take responsibility for themselves, their families, their callings, and their personal relationships with others. For a while we thought it might be that we weren't unified as a branch, maybe it was even not having great communications among each of the auxiliaries. To me the bottom line is that we as a branch are not living our lives in accordance with the will of the Lord. If we each were reading the scriptures everyday, paying an honest tithe and fast offering, being worthy to attend the temple and attending, and keeping the commandments in the ways we should, all of this would not be happening. We would all be one, there would not be strife, and Mike would not be up in the night with worries over branch, family, and work issues.
I want to love living here. I am going to love it.
Even if what I love has nothing to do with the people but I finally become one with nature.
Below is a statement on hope that I find very uplifting. Hope will get me through this.
Dr. Oz on knowing Randy Pausch, "The biggest lesson of all for a lot of us who have gotten to know you Randy through your works and the great book is that hope is not about a good outcome. Hope is about making sense of what's going on in life."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Never Understand

I have come to the conclusion that I need to be more actively involved in our blog. Not that I really have the time nor do I think people really care about my opinion but from some weird reason I feel I should share my two cents and why not here? Today was a very frustrating and emotionaly hard Sunday, why should going to church be stressful of all things? On our way home we dropped off a brother and sister and we saw LOTS of people out with friends and bbqing and I had to remind myself why it was so important that we just spent eight hours at church.

So the real reason I am blogging today is about why many people will never understand what we have gone through and will go through with Landon. Not him per say but with adoption and what it takes to adopt. Some people question why we have spent so much money on the cuter than money can buy photos we had taken of him during our adoption finalization. I started pondering why I wanted to make such a big deal out of the weekend.

Could it be:

A. He cost us $20,000.

B. We waited almost 9 years to get a child.

C. Natalie sacrificed much for her child.

D. He may be the one and only, we will never know.

E. We had to have an attorney for this.

F. Our lives were scrutinized by all during this process.

G. Being sealed to your child or anyone in your family for that matter does not happen every day.

H. Do you understand the importance of the sealing covenant?

I. He makes me happier than I ever thought having a child would or could.

Unless you have been through a smiliar expereince you may never know how important this time in our life has been and we appreciate more than anything those who we have met along the way that have shared with us their life expereinces. Birth mothers who have children out there they know nothing about but chose to give their child a better life. Adoptive parents who shared with us their stories that gave us hope and inspiration along the way and told us this is all worth it. Workers in the Salt Lake Temple who made the day amazing! Stacy for taking the best pictures of Landon money could buy, and Mike for always understanding or at least making every attempt to understand his crazy wife.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Better Way

Well, I turned 33 last Sunday. And I spent the weekend with the boys and I would not have done it any differently. Friday we got lunch and went to Belle Isle Park. It was BEAUTIFUL! I love living in Detroit. How lucky we are to have a park like that. Afterwards we drove to a yummy pizza joint called Pizza Papalis that I read about on a friend's blog.

Saturday we went to the West Park Farmers Market. It was opening weekend and it is not very big but it was a nice little walk from our house. We then drove out to Royal Oak and ate breakfast at Cafe Muse (which was rated in Esquire Magazine to have one of the best sandwiches in the U.S.) and really enjoyed ourselves and all of the ladies enjoyed Landon. After stuffing ourselves at breakfast we walked the streets of downtown Royal Oak and went into some eclectic shops and Landon saw his first train. After our little jaunt we headed over to Detroit's Historic Eastern Market. Wish we had some cash on us as boy there were LOTS of plants we wanted to buy. Gave us a lot of things to think about for our garden we want to plant. We topped off our evening by taking a trip to Coldstone for my free ice cream. It was so big that is what I had for lunch and dinner, but boy did I love it.

My actual birthday, Sunday, was dumb as it was Branch Conference and we spent seven hours at church, but most Sundays are like that, so not much different. Then the missionaries came over and stayed until after 9:00 pm. Sure glad I celebrated the days before. I think deep down I am a big birthday celebrator so I hope as Landon gets older he will really love his birthdays.

When I went to get Landon up from one of his naps today he made me laugh. I opened the door to his room and he was moving around his crib like a dolphin with the biggest grin in the world and I love those little bottom two teeth. I then picked him up to change his diaper and he was jumping in my arm like a Jack - in - the - Box. I am in love with his enthusiasm.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The First Time

My first Mother's Day was great! Poppy made me all kinds of fun things for breakfast and it was yummy! Landon gave me ( via Grandpa Owens) a great digital frame! As soon as it came in the mail Mike helped me quickly load it with all of our favorite Landon photos. I love looking at it while we work on our Eric Dowdle puzzle of Santa Barbara. A fun little side note while in Utah we went to the gallery at Thanksgiving Point where Eric Dowdle has his art and while looking around he came and spoke to us. He was a great guy to talk to and had some great thoughts regarding church membership. This is the third time we have met him and love his art work. Another thought I had about Mother's Day is in all honesty it is more fun to actually celebrate Mother's Day by having a child or have had children than it is to be one of the 18 years and older women to stand up to receive your chocolate or flower in Sacrament. I understand the idea why they make everyone stand up but there was definitely something behind having a child in your arms, even if he did not come out of my guts. I in turn give Natalie all the credit for helping me be able to finally celebrate this day.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Adoption Finalization

The first week of May has tended to be eventful for our family. From fun vacations to graduations, we have often spent this week on some new adventure. This year was no exception. We flew out to Salt Lake from Detroit last week so we could finish the final legal process of adopting Landon as our son. Here are just a few photos from our exciting weekend in Utah. We wanted to document the event, and we had Stacy from Three Winks Studio (the same woman that took Riley and Breanne’s wedding photos) take the professional photos you see here. You can check out Stacy's blog that has some photos at http://threewinksstudio.blogspot.com/.

The process of formalizing our adoption took place in three stages, one legal, and two spiritual or church-related. On Friday, we went to family court, where we had the opportunity to be made the legal parents of Landon. When Jodi our social worker gave her recommendation to the judge regarding us as parents our hearts just leapt with joy. We thank her for that. We are grateful that Stacy was there to document the time before we went in, a picture with Judge Iwasaki, and afterwards with all of the workers from Open Heart Adoptions. It was a great day for photos, and you can't beat Salt Lake in the spring (although Detroit is pretty nice, too—definitely not as dry. All three of us were parched in that mountain air!). All of the flowers were out just waiting for us to come. What does a family of three do to celebrate this occasion? Go to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. It is Hallie's favorite place and we enjoyed our breakfast and conversation that we had with a family in the booth next to us.

Saturday was the peak of the three days. We had the opportunity to be sealed to Landon in the Salt Lake Temple. What a beautiful experience it was and we were grateful to be surrounded by family and friends. We enjoyed walking into the sealing room and seeing people there supporting us. The sealer spoke a bit to us, and then they wheeled Landon in to the room in a little white stroller. They had him all dolled up in a little white outfit. We took one look at him and both started to cry. We will have that mental image in our minds forever. After the sealing some of our guests stayed around so we could take pictures with Stacy. It was a lot of fun and Landon was tuckered out by the afternoon. We all headed over to the Nauvoo Cafe at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and had a great lunch!

On Sunday, we blessed Landon in our former Salt Lake Eleventh Ward, and we again visited with friends and family. The biggest highlight was that Landon’s birth mom, Natalie, came and shared time with Landon and us. She and her fiancé (now husband) Jared came and spent Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting visiting with us and our family and giving us a few more insights about Landon’s birth family that we can share with him as he grows older. In all, this has been a wonderful experience, and we feel glad to have both Landon and the support of so many loved ones in our lives.

(5/8/08, We had to add something as a post script.) Mike was writing a bit about this weekend to our friend (spiritual twin sister? ;) ) Jenny, and he had to add this little bit to this post: "[The adoption finalization experience we had] was another instance of the Good Lord gently showing His great grace in elegantly simple yet profound ways. I think Natalie had a chance to verify that she had done Landon right, I know we felt so much more bound to Landon and so much love from those around us, and I believe this little miracle helped members of our family and our ward to appreciate the unique gift of adoption in our lives. A few years ago I do not think I would have been able to see things this way, but I love the fact that Landon came to us how he came to us. He's a special little person with a big set of experiences ahead of him, and I really think he will appreciate that this was how his story in mortality began."