So Very Lucky!

I really do live a lucky life. Despite all of the hurdles we have encountered – and our plan not working out the way we envisioned it, I can see how it was all part of His divine plan for us.

November is National Adoption Month. Sunday, November 3, was Orphan Sunday. We went to a church that was ahving an adoption focused service on Sunday morning, and we were so touched by the heart of this congregation for orphans and widows. I hope that the words spoke to all of the hearts in that church and that more people open their hearts to adoption and foster care. The one thing that I liked was that the pastor offered other avenues for people to contribute to the worlds responsibility for orphans by acknowledging that not everyone may be in the position to adopt or foster, but you can easily volunteer your time or resources to support others doing so.

As Lucky Charm was snuggled into my chest before bedtime on Sunday, I looked at her and my heart filled with gratitude for the chance to be her mama. I am SO very lucky to be her mama.

I am contemplating starting my own non-profit in the next year or so. I am still trying to nail down exactly what I want to focus on, but something with giving back to disadvantaged children/families.

I am also up to running 3.64 miles at my highest distance this morning. My pace was approx. 15 minutes per mile. I definitely have some distance and pace work to do, but my mileage is increasing, my muscle tone is defining, and I feel strong.

She’s already Three!

Lucky Charm’s Birthday trip was amazing. We had one of the best little family vacations ever. She was so thrilled to be a princess all weekend (as if she isn’t ALL the time!) and get all of the birthday girl attention. She was really well behaved too.

We started our journey with me decorating our hotel room for her before she saw the room. One of the housekeeping managers saw me carrying balloons into our room and she offered to come in and do some special towel art for her birthday too. I thought lucky charm was going to squeal with joy when she saw it was all decorated for her birthday but she didn’t seem to be phased. She was just happy to be in the room and at Disney and was ready to go go go!

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The first night of our trip we went to the Grand Floridian hotel and had dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tremaine (the evil stepmom). E was enamored with all of them. All of the characters were really great, especially Cinderella and Anastasia. Prince Charming was a bit stuck up and irritated – so he could have definitely played his part better – he was everything but charming but Lucky Charm still loved him. Every time the announcer came over the sound system to announce a new character coming out she lit up with anticipation. She wouldn’t touch her dinner until all of them had visited our table.

As for dinner and how it worked out for me after surgery – it was fabulous! At $38.00 per person I was annoyed with the cost and whether I would get my money worth. I definitely did. The food, atmosphere and entertainment was amazing even if my portion sizes were small. I had a portion of make-your-own-stir-fry with chicken, mushroom, zucchini and squash, a little serving of mashed potatoes, some caprese salad, and a few tiny bites of the desserts so I didn’t feel deprived. I was very full but I didn’t overdo it. I was proud of myself. After dinner we went to Magic Kingdom for a few hours and enjoyed our night.

The next day we went to the pool in the morning and then headed to Magic Kingdom again. We rode Dumbo, and saw the Princesses including Lucky Charm’s #1 fave Belle, and then Tinkerbell. It was a relaxed day, and we didn’t have any concrete plans.

The morning of Lucky Charms birthday we woke her up and let her open her birthday gifts which included a stuffed Sofia doll, a Sofia nightgown and a few little Disney toys. She had a bath and we got her dressed in her Belle Princess gown and took her for her princess makeover. The experience at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was amazing. We waited for a little while before she was called by her fairy-godmother-in-training. We were taken into a changing room and told that she was going to get her makeover in the chair in the front window of the store. They escorted her to the front of the store wearing a bright pink glittery and feathery shawl and she was so proud!

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When we got to the front window she was enjoying very much watching everyone walk by while she got pampered.

She got her hair done, her nails and makeup, and got the pixie dust treatment. By the end when she was turned around to see herself in the mirror she was glowing from ear to ear.

After her makeover we had a little photo shoot and headed to Epcot for her princess lunch. We first stopped to get photos with Mickey, Minnie and the gang. At lunch she got to get a photo with Belle, and spend some time and take photos with Snow White, Ariel, Aurora, and Cinderella. She didn’t eat much again, but was given a cupcake with a lit candle at the end of the meal so she felt super special.

Overall, those were the highlights of our vacation, and we had some much needed family bonding time and I think Lucky Charm had the best birthday ever.

In other news, I didn’t lose much weight while we were on vacation even after walking like approx. 6 miles per day. I stayed mostly on my plan for eating and I felt good while we were in the parks. It was nice to be out in the 90 degree weather and not feel like my head was going to explode. We had drinks and snacks in our little cooler in the stroller and we stopped to refresh when we needed to.

Disney Magic

disney_magic_by_untamedunwanted-d5k1sdfIf you’ve been to Disney World, then you know the type of magic I am talking about when I say Disney Magic. I have been experiencing Disney magic since I was a sassy little five-year-old. My parents took my sister and I for our first visit as a Christmas gift. I still remember that trip and cherish those memories. I can remember meeting Minnie, and driving around in our rental car. I remember the way the hotel room smelled when we walked in.
When I met Mr. Lucky in college, he had never been to Disney World. I first introduced him about a year into our relationship. Since then, we have been Passholders for many of our years together, and together we have brought our Lucky Charm to know and love Disney. Her first visit was when she was six weeks old. She loved all of the smells, sights and sounds. Today, she asks to go to Disney at LEAST once a day.
We decided to take her to Disney World for her third birthday in lieu of a traditional birthday party. We are staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort for three nights. I am hoping to get checked in, and let Lucky Charm and daddy walk around the resort or go to the pool for a bit while I decorate our hotel room for her birthday. I am going to have mickey confetti for the front window, and a string of lights, some balloons, a birthday banner, and some princess decorations.
The night we arrive, we are scheduled for dinner at the Grand Floridian’s 1900 Park Fare. Dinner is with Cinderella, the Prince, the wicked Stepmother, and Anastasia and Drizella.
The next morning we are scheduled to go to Hollywood Studios. We are starting the day with a breakfast with the Disney Jr. cast at Hollywood and Vine. She will get to visit with the Little Einstein’s cast, Jake, Special Agent Oso and Handy Manny. We haven’t decided if we will spend the rest of the day at Hollywood Studios or if we will leave late afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at Typhoon Lagoon water park.
Lucky Charm has been begging to go to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique since it first opened. The age requirements are 3 years old, in fact when I called to make the reservation – I tried to make it for the day before she turned 3 and they refused to allow her until she was actually 3. We decided we would allow her to get a princess makeover ON her birthday and take her to a special dinner. Our original plans included dinner in Cinderella’s castle. There were no open reservations for the castle during our trip, so we have settled on a princess lunch at Akershus in Norway at Epcot. Here she will get to interact with several princesses, and it includes a photo package as well. We will likely spend a few hours at Epcot following lunch and then head to Magic Kingdom to finish off the day.
We are hoping for an amazing trip, with lots of Disney Magic for our little princess. We waited and prayed to be parents for so long, and we treasure Lucky Charm, and her birthmom Tiny for helping to complete our family. I am hoping to do a review of the different places we visit and eat at Disney and provide some feedback of how they work with bariatric patients when we return.

How do YOU celebrate at Disney?

Crunch

photoDo you ever miss the texture of a food? Will a good crunch will satisfy you? I miss crunchy food.

Right now my diet is so restricted that I have missed crunch in my life. Until I found these Sea Salt and Vinegar PROTEIN CHIPS!!! They are the perfect mix of crunch and flavor, for only 9net carbs and they pack 10g protein for an added bonus! These are my new favorite find!

It will probably never be a good idea to eat regular potato chips again, but these will be a good substitute until I can eat things like crackers. My nutritionist probably wouldn’t be thrilled with me eating them, but thankfully I only had half of this little bag and I felt satisfied. What are your favorite healthy snacks? I would give anything for a crunchy raw piece of celery or carrot. 4 more months to go? Ugh.

I am almost 2 months out from surgery and I am down 47 pounds. I feel amazing, and Lucky Charm and I even walked 2 miles last night when I got home from work. Well we ran some of it, as much as one can run with a toddler.

I can’t wait for the months ahead. I am finally really starting to see changes in myself. This morning my cami (I typically wear them underneath my dress shirts to prevent cleavage at work and to help suck in my stomach) was so baggy that the arm holes were sagging. Since when do cami’s sag? When they are TOO BIG!

I am excitedly looking forward to our little Disney family getaway in August for Lucky Charm’s Third Birthday. I have most of our reservations secured and I am working on the extra special magical details. I will write another full blog post on all of my fun plans and visions soon.

Oh, and as for the therapist, she gave us some really great suggestions to help Lucky Charm’s sleeping patterns that have somewhat worked so far. As for our marriage – Mr. Lucky thinks the therapist is unnecessary and we can resolve everything on our own. I disagree but I am not going to continue to argue with him about how we can fix this. He needs to be willing to go the distance too. So for now, things are just coasting, and I don’t know what to do.

I’m also thinking about giving away a thirty-one thermal lunch tote to one of my followers when I reach 100 followers. Would you all be interested? I may even be able to throw in another fun prize.

Healing

Yesterday I was working from home because I caught a bit of a cold, and Dr. Oz was on in the background. He had a segment about Crystal Sonic Therapy and how it can do wonders for healing clarity, pain, relaxation and sleep. I decided to download one of the CD’s on itunes to see if it helped me any, and I have to say it is VERY relaxing. I am sitting at my desk listening to it with headphones and it really is amazing how powerful it is. If you are struggling and you can take the time to listen, I highly recommend it even just for relaxation because I’m not sure I’ve personally experienced any other benefits from it so soon.

My lucky little family and I are starting therapy on Friday. It is going to be good for us. Mr. Lucky and I have some things to sort out stemming from our infertility and growing our family. Mr. Lucky really wants me to get pregnant. If you didn’t know by now, I’m infertile. However, weight loss surgery changes things for some people. The sudden weight loss can make people who were previously infertile, very fertile. For that reason, my surgeon and nutritionist have recommended that we use protective measures to avoid pregnancy for the first 18 months after surgery. When I told him this, he was bothered by the fact that I would want to prevent pregnancy after all we have been through. The truth is, I really don’t want to ever be pregnant. I am ok with building my family through adoption, I’m even ok with Lucky Charm being our one and only. He isn’t. He keeps talking about me getting pregnant after the 18 months and we really need to get this resolved. I don’t like to continuously disappoint him, but isn’t it time to put my own needs and health first? When we were going through fertility treatments, it was my body that was violated and attacked by hormones, not his. Nevermind that I am still bleeding profusely so the opportunity to get pregnant is NOT there. It is going to take alot of time for my body to re-adjust to hormonal changes, but hopefully soon I will get a break from bleeding.

I am finally below the weight I was before we started treatments (270). My next goal will be to be below the weight I was at our wedding (228). I really don’t ever want to be back here again, and the thought of pregnancy and gaining weight after all of this hard work scares the pants off of me. Nevermind having been through an incredibly painful back surgery and recovery.

Things I’ve Learned as a Mom

I have learned so much in the almost 3 years I have been a mom (adoptive mom, infertile mom). Here is a list of some of the things that I have realized along the way.

I care more about my daughter’s health than my own. But I am getting that under wraps now.

From the second she was born I made sure she had the best of everything. The best rated (safety) carseat, organic baby food, little junk food (didn’t last!), well balanced lifestyle, and the best caregivers to help her avoid germs.

Vaccines are a very very hot topic, and a bone of contention for people on EITHER side of the vaccine argument.

We have chosen NOT to vaccinate our child after doing hundreds of hours of research on vaccinations, their purpose, their ingredients, timing, side effects, etc. It was something I knew we wanted to be cautious of in the beginning, but we didn’t have a plan from the very beginning to not vaccinate at all. We don’t announce to our friends that she isn’t vaccinated, because some people are really uneducated about how everything works because they believe everything their pediatrician tells them. In the end, we made the decision to discontinue all vaccinations after several severe adverse side effects.

Please don’t tell me how to discipline my child, and I won’t tell you how to discipline yours.

Every child responds differently. Your job as a parent is to figure out a system that works for you and  your family. My child is my world. I fought hard for her for years. I will pick her up if she is crying, and I will hug her if she is upset, and sometimes I will even give in on something that really isn’t that big of a deal (I constantly ask myself if it is going to hurt her, or harm her in some way). Regardless of how you think I should discipline my child, these moments, the good and the bad, are what I dreamed of for SO long.

I don’t always fit in with other moms.

Lots of times, “normal” moms want to talk about pregnancy, childbirth, and when they “plan” to pop out another one. For an infertile, this isn’t a conversation you can actively participate in. For adoptive parents, planning to adopt again takes a chunk of change, a clear emotional state, and much planning. We have to pass another homestudy, including having our home analyzed once more, having our family under a microscope, and having a social worker observe you and your family for several months all over again. (P.S. Adoption social workers WANT you to pass your homestudy so they aren’t looking for ways for you to fail it, they are just making sure you are fit to parent) Either way, its just another complicated stage of planning/analysis for another child.

People may never realize that birthmoms deserve a medal.

Lucky Charm’s birthmom, despite any bad decision making, is our angel. She gave us a gift that we could never ever thank her enough for. So when people say we are SO strong for keeping contact with her, we believe that this is a very small token of our appreciation for the gift of life. Birthmoms choose LIFE, they put their own needs aside when they want to be selfish and keep their child. They have to choose another man and woman to parent their flesh and blood. They trust complete strangers to carry out the promises made in their adoption plan. They deserve a medal for being so strong, so brave, so loving.

I have learned that a mess can be cleaned, but memories of a fun time can never be erased. Let your child make that mess, and have fun. You are only a child once – let them live and experience sensory play. Then make it a game to have them help you clean it up! You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have together.

If you think you could never love a child that is not biologically yours – you’re wrong… I love my daughter so much, I don’t think I could EVER love a biological child more than I love my little girl. I tell her daily how blessed I am to be her Mama. She will always be my number 1.

Lastly, being a mom is something I treasure. Sure we have our challenges in our family, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. It is the hardest, most rewarding job I have ever been given, and I trust that Tiny will be happy in her decision to choose us to parent her child.

Tiny’s Trials ~Part 2~

I was getting impatient waiting to hear what was going on with the papers and if she had even received them. I was sure she had by now. I asked the attorney’s secretary to call the jail since Tiny can’t accept incoming calls from me, but she can from a lawyer.

Later that morning I got a call back from the secretary saying that a message was relayed to her that she would not be signing the papers, but she did have them. I was blown away, and confused. It had only been a week and things have changed this much? Why hasn’t she called me? What is going on? I was sitting at my desk at work stunned when the “jail phone” (the prepaid cell phone we set up to accept collect calls) rang loudly and I scurried into a conference room to chat with Tiny.

Tiny explained that she had the papers, but that she was served a subpeona to appear in court for a custody trial for Gem. It appeared that Tiny’s aunt had filed a motion in the courts to get the process sped up since there were no custody/guardianship papers signed. I told Tiny that regardless, it SHOULD be her choice where her child goes, regardless of whether she is in jail or not. I asked her to be honest with me and tell me what she wants, and we would honor whatever decision she made. She explained that she was going to let her Aunt have custody of Gem temporarily since Gem already lived with her, and that she would later give us full custody down the road if she is sentenced long term. I told her that I would check with my lawyer to see if she would indeed be able to change custody later on if a judge orders it through court now. We hung up and I told her to call me soon so I could relay any legal info to her before her court date. My lawyer said her Aunt could file for full custody pretty much at any point and be granted because of Tiny’s circumstances, so I waited for her call. I waited by the phone anxiously for days, literally.

photo_17952_20100515She called me on a Monday evening and I told her that if she wanted to sign custody over to us before her hearing, she would have to do it the next morning and I would send my lawyer to pick up the papers so they could be filed before the court date on Wednesday.

Just hours later, I got another call from Tiny it was VERY odd to get two calls on the same night. She was hysterically crying. It took me several minutes to calm her down and find out what was wrong. When she mumbled the words “They just came and told me my Momma passed today.” my heart sank and then broke into a million pieces for her. I can’t imagine losing my mom, nevermind being in jail and not being able to be with my family through this time.

The next morning, my lawyer visited her in jail before a court hearing at the same courthouse in her town to find out what was going on. He spoke with her for about an hour, and she apparently told him that she still didn’t know what she wanted to do about custody. He really is an incredibly caring attorney, and also told her he was going to speak to the judge that afternoon about her case and see about getting her out of jail in Alabama sooner and into Florida so she can be finally sentenced. That afternoon, we learned that the court hearing was going to be continued due to the passing of Tiny’s mom. We also learned that Gem had a Guardian Ad Litem assigned to her.

When my attorney called me, he advised that we fight for custody because this little girl deserved a two parent family, and to grow up with her biological sibling. I do agree with that, but I also truly feel like this is a decision for Tiny to make – even though the judge will if she doesn’t. When Tiny called me, I told her what he advised us, but I told her that I would rather not fight for custody if it wasn’t what she wanted.

When I called Mr. Lucky to explain the situation, he immediately said NO. We aren’t fighting for custody, it isn’t meant to be, she isn’t our daughter, let’s be done. I was SO incredibly upset with him. I couldn’t believe that he was ending this just.like.that. My heart was already invested in this little girl who I have watched grow through Tiny’s letters, emails and photos. I had a brand new carseat waiting by the front door in a box waiting for Gem.

I begged him over the next few days to change his mind. We weren’t getting anywhere so I began to grieve what I felt like was a loss of a larger family for us. Building a family isn’t easy for an infertile person. It takes alot of money, trust, work, love, and partnership, on top of all of the investigative procedures you must undergo to even get on a “list”. Regardless, I know now that Tiny’s decision was ultimately going to be to give custody to her Aunt, and that makes it a bit easier to swallow. Somehow, Mr. Lucky and I need to figure out how to communicate better though, because this push/pull struggle isn’t resulting in effective conversation.

I hope that all of this craziness makes sense to you all – it’s quite complicated/convoluted.