blurred lines

so, although ‘mount paperwork’ still looms in the background, (or maybe i should say, because ‘mount paperwork’ looms in the background..) i have been doing a bunch of fun things in life ie: procrastinating! i got a manicure, finished up some decorating around the house, had friends over for dinner, and met girlfriends for lunch on saturday.  (side note: we ate at the world street kitchen and it was cuuuuuuhhhhh—razy delish. i tried their ‘bangkok burrito’ and it is, as my friend lury says, ‘the stuff dreams are made of..’ great atmosphere, awesome menu, friendly staff…if you’ve never been, i highly recommend you get on that.)

anyway, while we were waiting for our food to come, we started talking about very typical girly things…the first of which was weight/how we feel about how we look. it was the usual “ugh..i’m having one of those days…i just feel blah…” followed by a chorus of “me too’s”, “totally’s”, and “you look great. i need a major makeover!”

i’ve been thinking about the ideas of body image and self esteem a lot since then…this self destructive talk is really so ingrained in (especially) women, and it’s starting to make me sad…mostly because there are very few moments it seems, for most women, where we are really loving ourselves.

the other day i took out my contacts before bed, and for a few seconds while my vision was blurry i just stared at myself in the mirror. staring, or should i say scrutinizing, myself in the mirror is fairly common place (unfortunately), but this time was different. without my contacts i couldn’t see every line, bump, or stretch mark. i couldn’t make out my crooked front tooth, lower belly pooch that needs toning, eyebrows that need tweezing, and roots that badly need touching up.  all i could see was the fuzzy outline of my body, and in that moment i thought “hmmm. it’s not that bad…” and this was huge for me. (sad to say that’s considered a really nice thing i say about myself..). as hard as it is to admit, even in my most dolled up, glamorous moments (of which there are few!), i can still only see my flaws. and so much of what i do to myself in terms of workouts, diet, highlighting, waxing, tweezing, plucking, dressing up, and making up is not because i love who i am, but rather because i don’t. i am doing all this work to try to make the world deem me ‘acceptable’, but the reality is even if the world does, i don’t. i’m starting to recognize the reasons behind some of my choices, and it scares me a little.

thinking about going into motherhood, and especially thinking about having girls, i want so badly for my children to not just feel loved and accepted from us, but also to love and accept themselves. how do i teach that? how do i instill values into my kids when i don’t show i value the same things? i don’t have all the answers….it’s just kinda got me thinking…. and don’t worry, i am not walking around self hating all the time….at least no more than the average girl :)

my friend laura has made it a point in life to always let girls know when they look nice, have a cute outfit on, or have a bright smile. even if they are total strangers. i’ve been thinking about starting to do this too. how nice would it be if we women started lifting each other up, encouraging each other, and started taking a little of that pressure off?? the reality is no one is judging me as harshly as i am judging myself. everyone else is seeing me, at least partially, with blurry vision.  (thank you God!) :)

any good advice or thoughts on this? how have you taught your kids about self acceptance/positive self esteem?

 

our adoption option: ascending mount paperwork

we knew this was coming. we’ve been preparing. we’ve heard tale of the giant that is before us… a mountain we (affectionately) call, ‘mount paperwork.’  but after receiving our first package yesterday containing the initial paperwork for our home study, it has been confirmed: this is not for the faint of heart. after opening the package and seeing packet after packet fall onto the kitchen counter, i immediately and without hesitation baked a dozen frozen chocolate chip cookies, and ate them mindlessly while staring blankly at the packets before me….just for the smell of it. naturally.

so here’s the game plan:  just like our syllabi in college, we will attack this one step at a time. one page at a time, one essay question at a time. i will not get overwhelmed. i will not get overwhelmed…

the good/bad thing about this paperwork is they are asking us some really deep questions. great things for us to think about as we prepare to be first time parents, but some take a lot of time and thought. since we are choosing to adopt through a Christian based agency, a lot of the questions center around our relationship with Christ. and it’s not like they are hard to answer, just….involved. like, “describe how you handle sin in your life.”   umm….okay…..let me just jot that down for ya quick….sooooo…are we talking like, real sin, or  “i love too deeply and i feel like it’s a stumbling block at times….” i am assuming they want the truth, and i guess honesty is the best policy…. i just have to figure out a way to eloquently say “sometimes, i can be a reeeeeeeal bitch.” “oh, and sometimes i swear. but i’m working on that…”

other questions ask us to address our parenting philosophy…..and at this point in our never ending essay test, i just want to say “listen: i know my kids will end up in therapy for something i did or didn’t do at some point in their lives. and i’ve accepted that.” but….that’s probably not what they are going for either…..maybe i’ll save that one for when the sugar from the cookies kicks in…….

for as much as i joke about it, it’s very exciting. we are actually moving forward…to actually adopt an actual human being…making us actual parents….and actually, i can’t wait.

just pray for our ascent up the mountain.

taming the beast

okay, so christmas is over, valentines day is gone, and my 14 day detox is finally finished!  which means?? my gut has taken one serious beating over the last few months. holiday stress, sugary foods, moving to a new house, detoxifying, and now the stress of the adoption process all point to me having one giant ulcerative colitis flare…..or at least it used to. but because i’ve basically made my digestive track my B in life, times like these don’t worry me much at all.

with the help of my naturopathic doctor, Nate Champion (and…have we talked about how great the name “champion” is for a doctor?!), i have been completely symptoms free for almost 2 years. i’m off all my pharmaceutical medications, and with the help of diet, lifestyle, and supplements, i can now approach ‘what would be flares’ with confidence. the beast that used to instill fear and trembling, as officially been tamed. :) too dramatic? have we met? ( you can read all about my journey under “my journey with ulcerative colitis” at the top of the page.)

like i’ve said before, stress is the biggest trigger for me and my UC. and my symptoms usually flare after the stressful event has come and gone….like a maniacal little monster poking a stick at my inability to cope well under stress….. but now, i know my body and what to look for in terms of signs of stress and flares, and i take the necessary steps to soothe my gut and immune system  to keep things under control. then, i just live my life….and it’s glorious. it’s a lot of work at times, but SO much better than feeling awful.

my doctor now has a blog where he talks more in depth of his work and study of crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBD, and i’ve added a button on the side of my blog as a link to that site.  please check them out if you have more questions about what naturopathic medicine is all about, or if you have specific questions about your gut health! (actually,  your health in general. he and his wife work together on women’s issues, infertility, gut health, and mental/emotional health resources as well.)

very good! stay healthy, my friends!

our adoption option: happy valentine’s day to her

i meant to post this on actual valentines day, but we’ve had a super busy last 10 days or so with travel, family, and work so here it is now and we can all just accept it. :)

the other day we were driving to fargo to visit family. it’s a long, boring, 4 hour drive and usually produces one of two things for the PLergs: 1) beautiful conversation about our life, our goals, our dreams for the future, or 2) a katy perry sing off. (paul always wins.) it’s always one of these options and never anything else.  so this trip we were sitting quietly, driving along with the snow white landscape whipping past out the window…just….thinking…..when pauly says to me, “isn’t it crazy to think that our birth mom is pregnant right now?” honestly, this thought knocked the wind out of me and instantly made my eyes fill with tears. she……. she is pregnant. we have waited almost 9 years to start this process and now all of a sudden she is real. she is an actual person, a real woman who either knows or is just finding out she is pregnant. she will change our lives forever, and she doesn’t even know us.  even now as i write this, i can’t help my eyes from welling with thankful, overwhelmed, tears.

for a while, paul and i thought about having a completely closed adoption. we thought it would be easier for us to just take our child and live our life. to completely think of this child as our own, and that way we could protect ourselves (in theory) from the dreaded “you’re not my real mom!” bomb someday. but paul’s sentence…that one simple thought….changed our minds completely. there is no us without her. this woman is giving us the most incredible, selfless, precious gift anyone ever could, and she will forever be a part of our lives. whatever that looks like: pictures once a year, meeting her before she delivers, being in the delivery room, phone calls a few times a year…. we want her to know that she is loved. deeply and forever by us. all of us.

along this process we have learned the ‘lingo’ for adoptions. for example, we have learned to always refer to any children that i may someday birth as ‘biological’ kids, no ‘our own’ kids…as in “are you ever going to have any kids of your own?” because all of our children are ‘our own.’ we will have prayed and labored in some way for each and every one of them. we also have learned that we need to view our birth mother’s choice for adoption not as ‘giving up her baby for adoption,’ but rather that she has chosen to ‘place the child for adoption.’ i never want my child to think that this was an easy decision for their birth mom to make. i never want my child to think that they are easy to ‘give up.’ because that simply is not true. yes. there are birth mom’s who don’t seem to be as connected to their child when placing them, but after reading story after story, listening to real birth mom’s share their experience, i know now with unshakeable certainty that this is never the easy choice. imagining our birth mom looking through our profile (or many many profiles) and thinking “i will never have this life. i will never be able to give my child this life…” and then selflessly choosing to give her child that life is…..unimaginable for me. i can’t imagine making that choice. i can’t imagine being as strong as she has to be.

so for all of this, she will always be a part of our lives. it’s because of her that we will have our family. and it is her strength, her courage, and her selflessness that i will remember when i raise my child. if this isn’t the ultimate of what it means to be a selfless, sacrificing mother, i don’t know that is.

so, happy valentines day to her. may she feel our prayers everyday. may she feel the love of Jesus wash over her every step. and may she know that she is already part of our forever family.

adoption option: why adoption?

we found out today that the consulting agency we applied to accepted our application and we can officially move forward in our adoption process! next comes a home study, more paperwork, and making our profile. i will keep giving updates as they come in, but we are so excited to have been approved for this first step! it’s really happening!! prepare yourselves, village :)

so, i want to address why we have chosen to adopt. there are lots of factors here, and lots more to tell about our process, but i will address today why we chose to adopt at all. i can chuckle about it now, but there have been, on more than one occasion, sincere questions about my ability to birth children. like, to my face.  from (almost) perfect strangers. most commonly, we get asked “oh you’re adopting!” (a little quieter) “are you barren?” it’s a little shocking, but, we get it. people have questions and want to know more.  i don’t take it personally or get really offended by it. it’s just funny to me that that is one of the first questions people have when they find out we are adopting. and if not a question, i can see it on their face….”oh your adopting!” followed by a slight narrowing of the eyes, glance at my stomach, tilt of the head, and then, after awkward eye contact back at my face, a quick “that is so great!” again, i get it. it’s not the ‘norm’ for people to consider adoption unless it’s due to infertility, and let me be clear: there is NOTHING wrong with that. we are PRO PRO PRO adoption in whatever form it comes in. however for us, our adoption option was just that, our option.

so let me get this out of the way right away: i honestly have no idea if i can have biological children or not. we’ve never pulled the goalie to find out. so….there ya go..tell your friends so i don’t have to. haha. just kidding. kinda.

(oh, on a hilarious note: i have also been asked  “are you adopting because you don’t want to ruin your figure?” to which i reply: “hahahahahah! yeah. i can’t risk ruining this bod…..my trainers ‘ben & jerry’ would kill me.”)

so here is the truth behind our adoption option:

we decided to adopt because we have fallen in love with the parallels between our adoption into the family of Christ, and  the process of adoption as a means of growing our family. we so connect with the idea that no matter who you are, where you are from, what color your skin is, or who birthed you, we can call each other family, and love each other unconditionally. since we don’t have any biological children, we figured why not go ahead and adopt first? those children will be just as much “ours” as any biological children will be, and we have such a heart for adoption now, that we don’t want to wait. :)

we are starting to fill out more paperwork now, and i will be posting more on our process soon. there’s a lot more to tell, but this is getting long…

so, all of this to say, we are open to your questions that come from a place of love and support. we know not all of our choices makes sense to everyone, and there is a lot that we will share about our journey…..not everything. but a lot….to answer as many questions as possible. thank you for being a loving, supportive, encouraging, village. we are blessed by you!

getting my pride jiggled out

for the past week i have been doing a detox/cleanse. no sugar, no gluten, no dairy. it’s as fun as it sounds. the problem is that i feel awesome. i’m sleeping better and waking up earlier with a TON more energy. it’s a real pickle. to be healthy and feel awesome and sleep like a baby..or eat peanut butter m&m’s with reckless abandon….honestly i have no idea what i will choose when this detox is over. (haha let’s pretend i am actually considering not eating m&m’s ever again..)

anyway, a few days ago i decided that in addition to taxing my system with a 14 day detox, now would also be a good time to start a rigorous training program for a half marathon. it should be noted i am not currently, nor do i plan to be, signed up for any races. i just thought, “meh. why not? since i’m on a health kick….what could go wrong?” (have we talked about my “all things to the extreme” personality?…)

so needless to say, my body didn’t like it, and i JACKED UP my knees in the process. so much so, the pain has been waking me up in the middle of night. achey, tight, sore…not fun. worried that i did permanent damage in my over zealousness, i made an appointment with my chiropractor to check it out.

i don’t love the chiropractor. i always feel nervous about accidentally farting in his face, so i tense my body to the point where it’s difficult for him to work on me. i giggle nervously when he wraps his arms around me from the back, and then let out an awkward, loud, forced breath “HA” when he cracks my back….followed by more embarrassed, nervous giggling. and i just don’t love the sounds he forces out of my joints….it’s unnerving….oh, and did i mention my chiropractor is tiny? and by tiny i mean, if he were a house up for sale, he would be described as “charming” or “quaint”…….little. he’s little. at least compared to my 5’9 frame…i just feel gargantuan next to him. and he’s in incredible shape…so…..yeah…….

when i arrived this time, my palms were already sweaty with nervous anticipation. he asked me to follow him back to the room, and i settled in on the table. i explained to him my knee issues and he asked me to lay back and raise my right leg off the table. he wanted to do some muscle testing to see if i was overcompensating in one area, causing strain on my knees. he would press down on my leg and i would try to keep my leg in the air. now, the sight of seeing him try to press my leg down was, honestly, comical. i swear at one point his entire body was off the floor hanging onto my leg. he then asked me to flip onto my stomach and he would try to realign my hips by, what i can only describe as, dropping the table out from under me a short ways, over and over. so here i lay, derriere heavenward, and my tiny chiropractor leaning over me. ten times he drops the table, and ten times i feel my butt jiggle hard down to my knees. i don’t even have time to tense my butt muscles in hopes of redeeming some pride and before the next drop would come. KA-BOOM. KA-BOOM. KA-BOOM. jiggle…jiggle….jiggle…..

by the end we were both profusely sweating. me of embarrassment, and he from what was, apparently, a incredible cardiovascular workout. as he tried to catch his breath he explained “i think…..(heavy sigh..) that your knees….(sharp inhale)….are okay….(exhale)….there’s just some scar tissue built up….(sharp inhale)….causing some inflammation…..(exhale…..)

i stared wide eyed back at him, horrified at how exhausted he looked……okay doc. got it. now get me the H out of here.

so there you have it. pride gone. and i am now VERY aware of muscle groups that “need work”. *cough* my A$$.

in other news, I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. and it makes me want to workout……but for risk of needing another chiropractic visit, i will refrain until the detox is over. only 7 more days……

adoption option: and so it begins!

i can’t even believe i am typing this entry. honestly. i never thought this day would come:  as of today, my dear friends, paul and i have officially begun the adoption process! it’s really happening.

this has been something we have prayed about, talked about, dreamed about our entire marriage, (and that’s almost 9 years, mind you) and the time for action is now. through prayer and planning we have concluded that this is it! let’s do this!

i am going to try to chronicle our journey as thoroughly as possible. i want to remember this time with crystal clarity. i would love for our future children to be able to read these posts some day and understand fully how amazing this process was. will it be hard? yes. but unbelievable and life changing in the best way possible? no doubt in my mind.

last monday we contacted a consulting firm, based in georgia, about helping us with our process. this is not a necessary step, to use a consulting firm, but we decided getting a little more hand-holding the first time around seemed like a good thing for us. it helped too that friends of ours used this same agency for one of their adoptions, and only had the best things to say about them.  this agency will help us with our home study, paperwork navigation, and then ultimately they will be the ones we send our profile to. they then will send us out into the ‘adoption-sphere’ in hopes of getting matched!

so this weekend we filled out the necessary paperwork to apply to this consulting firm, and (fingers crossed!) when we get approved, that’s when the ball will really start rolling!

so thank you everyone, in advance, for your prayers, support, and love. it takes a village, and we are counting on you to help us through!