Friday, April 29, 2011

Your turn! (It's a contest!)

***Edited to add 2 other ways to enter--I knew I was forgetting something!***

Alright, my friends, I have doled out my share of honesty this week.  I have given you more insight into my life/adoption journey, I have admitted to being a giant procrastinator, and yesterday I let you all see that I tend to be a bit insecure.  That's about as transparent as I can be in 5 days' time.

So now it's your turn.  Share your confessions with me.  I have done this once before with "Mommy Confessions", but now it's just general stuff, whatever you want to confess.  It can be AA-style ("Hi, my name is Katy and I'm a confess-aholic."), it can be serious ("I would wave my magic wand and make Roo a 'typical' kid in an instant if I could."), it can be funny ("I took my eyes off my 1-year-old yesterday for TWO SECONDS and found him eating toilet paper."), it can be... well, let's keep it to things that won't be held against you in a court of law, 'k?

And why should you share your confessions for me and the two other people who read this all the world to see?  Well, because misery loves company for one.  Oh, and if that's not enough, there's a $25 Kohl's gift card and a $10 Starbucks gift card in it for 2 lucky posters!

Here are the rules:
  • Score 1 entry for each comment you leave with a confession
  • Score 1 entry for sharing Diary of a Zookeeper on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites (Leave a comment each time you share the blog--limit 1 time a day)
  • Get 1 additional entry for becoming a follower of Diary of a Zookeeper (Leave a comment--if you're already a follower, you can leave a comment as well)
  • Get 1 additional entry if you "like" Diary of a Zookeeper on Facebook (Leave a comment--again, you can also leave a comment if you already "like" us on Facebook)  Posting on my wall would be appreciated but is not required.  :-)
  • And just for kicks, you can earn an additional entry for each $5 you contribute to the Mozambique Mission using the ChipIn link on the right.  (Leave a comment for each $5--every comment will be 1 entry)
  • The contest will end at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, May 3.  I will use to pick winners and post them on Thursday.
So let's hear it!  :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deja Vu

This post has gone through a few different titles... I thought about calling it "What's Your Motivation?" "It's Not about Me" or "The Green-Eyed Monster" or "What is it to you?"  or a few other things.  And then I realized that those titles sounded familiar... and then I remembered that they are the names of other posts I have written--some published, some not.  So apparently, God is having a hard time getting this lesson through my thick skull.

Ugh.  Learning and growing is painful enough to begin with--why can't I get it right the first time?

I confessed to being a procrastinator on Tuesday, and today I need to admit to another fault: I am a jealous person.  It is hard for me to see other people get what I want.  Yikes--it looks really awful right there in black and white.  What kind of a petty person am I?  But today, it happened again.  I have been working really hard for something, and I just got a very casual message from someone (and someone much less deserving, in my completely-logical-and-unbiased-and-nonjudgmental mind, of course) that made it obvious that she's having larger success with less effort.

So I started whining complaining talking calmly and rationally to God about it: "But it's not fair!"  (What, that doesn't sound calm and rational to you?)  "I am trying to serve You, Lord.  And she obviously is not--so why are You letting her be more successful than me????"  After I pouted and subsequently had to put myself in timeout, I realized that I was acting more like my 4-year-old than the 30-ish person that I am.  (I think I like 30-ish.  I'm going to stick with that one.)  And I was able to admit that my statement was a complete paradox.  How could I claim to be doing something for God's glory and yet be so upset because I was being overshadowed?

God's glory and my glory are not the same.  It's a good thing, because I don't lead that much of a glorious life.  He is glorified through the big and the small, the weak and the strong.  I may never write a New York Times bestseller, but hopefully I will touch someone's heart through this blog.  I may never sell out any arenas with my #1 hit songs. but my daughter loves to sing with me.  I may never have my own cooking show, but I keep my family well-fed.  I may never be an expert on special needs, but my son lights up every time I walk in the room.  God's glory isn't about the size of the action, but the size of the heart behind it.

Let's hope I learn the lesson for good this time... ;-)

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"

Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." --John 21:20-22

(PS Here is the last post I wrote about this passage...)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Katy's Family Forest, Part 3

The months following Logan's birth and death are a bit of a blur. I believe that his calling hours and funeral were the first week in July… and then 4th of July weekend I went to Internationals for Bible Quizzing in northern California.

As I mentioned before, I spent countless hours studying for this event. It was my sixth and final year in quizzing, both at the local level and on my district's International team, and I wanted to do well so much that I ached for it. To explain all of the emotion and history behind that week would be a book in itself, so you'll have to get the short version and just take my word for the rest. It was something I wanted more than just about anything else I can remember. And at the end of the week, my prayer was answered—but in a different way than I had hoped. Our team took first, which was just an amazing victory! I personally, though, did not do well at all, and had a couple of notable failures that really stung. It makes sense, looking back—the week-long competition ENDED less than two weeks after Logan died. It was a lot to ask of a 17-year-old girl. But I couldn't see that then. I was thrilled to have been part of the team, and so happy for my friends who had done well, but just starting to feel like I was falling apart.

I spent that last night at Internationals up all night, saying goodbye to my friends, most of whom I would never see again. There were some I had seen each of my six years there, and others who I had just met that week. And there was one in particular… a boy… such a cute boy… who had stolen my heart. I'd known him for several years, but knew that I was not likely to ever see him again (He lived in another state.), and I didn't want to say goodbye… so we stayed up until about 4 AM, when he went to go back to his room and pack for the trip home. (OK, I feel the need to clarify here that we were at a Bible Quizzing competition. Yes, we were up all night, but in a group setting—totally G-rated here. :-) )

And so began my birthday—yep, the day that I said goodbye to my friends, the day after one of the best and worst days of my life thus far, the day that I embarked on a family vacation with my parents without ever having gone to bed the night before... was also my 18th birthday.

My parents, fortunately, were sensitive enough to know that I could not handle any deep conversation about my seeking my biological roots that day. We were, as I said, leaving directly from the competition to go on a family vacation, first south in California to visit my aunt and uncle, then up to Seattle to visit my brother and his wife (a different brother). So we had a little "happy birthday to me" breakfast at their hotel, and that was it. They let me rest and get myself together a little bit before even bringing it up.

I think at the same time, though, they didn't want me to think that they had forgotten, or that they would go back on their word. So the next day as we sat down to eat, they reaffirmed their willingness to help do whatever they could to help me find my biological parents—whenever I was ready. Here it was… the day that I had been waiting for… the moment had come… So I looked them straight in the eyes and said………………………. "No thanks."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Progress, Productivity, & Procrastination

Hi, my name is Katy, and I'm a procrastinator.    

Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. In fact, I wanted to write this post last night, but I kept putting it off. I wish I were kidding for the sake of a lame joke, but I'm not. I mean, it's not like I put it off for nothing. I had important things to do… like… play backgammon online... until midnight. (Yes, I said backgammon. I am that much of a nerd.)

A lot is happening here at the zoo—we're trying to buckle down on our budget (gotta love the economy), I'm leaving for Africa in a month, Lamb will be out of school for the summer before we know it, etc—and I'm really trying to bring my A-game when it comes to getting things done around the house. It just gets so darn overwhelming, though. And I hate when a day goes by and I realize I didn't set aside any play time with my kids. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed & frustrated that I just shut down. I wander the house, looking like I'm working, but I don't really get anything done. Or I work halfheartedly on something meaningless because I'm intimidated to attack the project that really needs done.

I'm happy to say, though, that I will be getting lots done today, thanks to a little something that Mr. Fantastic calls "Dogg Night." A few months ago, he and a friend started a work swap night—twice a month they come here and work together on projects for an evening, and twice a month they go to his friend's house to work. (Don't ask me why they call it "Dogg Night"—they're 30-something men and they think it's cool.) I have really admired how much they get done on their evenings together, and I have envied the quality friend time. J So a few months ago a friend of mine and I decided to do the same thing during the day… And by "a few months ago", I mean we did our first work day in January, and then our second one last week. It's been a busy few months. Anyway, I think she's coming over today for Round 3, and I am giddy about how much we can accomplish. Already I am realizing that 1 + 1 equals more than 2. When we work together, we are both so much more motivated than when we're on our own. The work doesn't seem overwhelming because there's someone else to talk to. It's great to have some girl time and not feel like I'm getting farther behind. And even though I do have to set aside some time to take care of Roo, I don't worry about taking time away from my kids because I get so much done in one morning working with my friend that I can devote the afternoon and evening to nothing but my family. It's a good thing. (Plus today after school we're having an awesome playdate with friends at a place that's all full of those inflatable bounce house things. Shhhh… My kids don't know—just in case it somehow doesn't work out—but they are going to be so happy!)

And speaking of procrastination, I finally got my shots for Mozambique yesterday. I know, my trip is still a month away and it seems like I have plenty of time, but one of those immunizations is a 3-shot series over the course of 6 months… so I'll have to go back twice after I come home. And I've known since November that I was planning to go on this Short-Term Mission, so I could have at least gotten 2 rounds in. Oh well. My right arm is quite sore from the tetanus shot, but overall it was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I went to our county health department, and it was quite a bit cheaper than anywhere else, the people were friendly and knowledgeable, AND they had self-retracting needles that hardly even hurt. It was a really positive experience!

Oh, and about Mozambique, don't believe the ChipIn on the right—we have had some wonderful donations. THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed. You all are much better at being on the ball than I am. ;-) The ChipIn doesn't reflect this because it only records the online donations, and all of the money so far has come in directly to those of us on the team, or to our church. I don't know an exact total of what we've raised so far as a team, but I know that I am about halfway there for my own portion of the trip. Yes, I said we were planning to do a big giveaway/fundraiser, but I am still mulling that one over. This is partly because the money is coming in pretty well, but mainly because I'm not sure we'd get the participation in a giveaway for a missions trip that we would for something else (like the orphans on Reece's Rainbow)—which is totally fine, but I don't want to be wasteful, you know? I just can't decide if it would be worthwhile. But anyway, thank you again to everyone who has donated to the trip, and please feel free to click on that ChipIn on the right or contact me if you are interested in supporting me! I'll be posting more about my upcoming trip soon—I'm excited to fill you all in as we get closer to the big day!

So… it turns out our chickens are not procrastinators at all. We got our first egg less than 2 days after we picked them up from my brother, and now have 2 (out of 4) laying. As much as I fought having them, I am enjoying the fresh eggs, the kids are loving them, and Mr. Fantastic seems to like them too. (I have only been back to see them once since we got them… a week ago today.)

And while we're talking about progress & productivity, let me give you a little update on Roo, who is my big helper while I am writing this morning. (Darn early risers. Who knew that 2 of my 3 kids would be morning people?!) In addition to his continued reign as Cutest Baby I've Ever Seen, he is now the proud owner of THREE teeth—two on the bottom and one on the top. He is so close to crawling, he can almost taste it. He gets up on his hands & knees, scoots one knee forward, then PLOPS down on his belly, raises his hands and feet in the air, and acts like he's flying, then repeats the whole process. But don't let the lack of crawling fool you—he gets where he wants to go.

Well, as much fun as it is to retype every third word while Roo continually tries to snatch my laptop away from me (He is the most techno-savvy 1-year-old…), I need to run. It's almost time to wake Lamb up for school, and I like to be dressed & ready before she's up… I don't really have time to get that done now, but I've been putting it off for a while… When will I learn?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Check me out! And other random ramblings...

Friends, I have something that I just have to share this morning... I am a guest blogger on A Perfect Lily!  I know that you have all heard me talk about Patti before and how fabulous she is, and you're all starting to wonder if I have a bit of a bloggy crush (I do), but I just have to tell you that I was so excited when she asked if I would be part of a week of guest bloggers on her site!  Thanks, Patti!  So head on over there and give me an ego boost, will ya?  ;-)  And if you're visiting from Patti's blog, welcome!  Feel free to stay and visit the zoo for a while.  You can read Roo's complete story here.  I am also starting to post the story of my adoption--so far I've just shared part 1 and part 2.

So in other random news, Roo has a second tooth!  It's on the top, and it's actually pretty far forward and kind of high up in the gums, so I think it was there for a while before I even saw it.  In fact, my mom called me one day last week (She was keeping the boys for me for a while.) and said, "Why didn't you tell me he has another tooth?"  I had no idea what she was talking about!  My little guy is growing up so fast!  He is also just ready to take off crawling at any minute... look out, world!!!

Oh!  We got CHICKENS!  No, I don't mean that there are new children in our family zoo and I've decided to call them The Chickens.  That would just be cruel.  No, we have ACTUAL LIVE CHICKENS in our backyard.  I fought this one hard, friends, but Mr. Fantastic won.  He and the big kids went out to my brother's last night (He's a farmer.) and picked up 4 hens.  They are fenced into a small corner of our backyard, and I haven't even seen them yet.  I hear two of them have been named "Brianna" and "Chickie Mo-Mo", and that they may be just a weeeeeee bit dirtier and smellier than originally thought.  (ha!)  So... anybody want some fresh eggs?  Swing by the zoo...

OK, I must run.  Today is a big, busy day, full of Easter shopping and meetings and making dinner for friends and running kids all over the place.  I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope to see you back here soon!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Katy's Family Forest, Part 2

Yes, I know that I am supposed to post this tomorrow, but tomorrow I will be guest-posting somewhere else, and I want to talk about that here too.  So I am posting the next "chapter" of my story now.  I'm pretty sure the world is gonna keep spinning.  ;-)

So... before I talk about 1997, we have to back up a bit to the fall of 1996. I don't want to digress too far from the main story, but this is important—both to my adoption story and just in general—so please bear with me. It is likely that this entire entry will deal with something completely separate from my adoption, but it really does have a lot of bearing on the story, at least in my mind.

It was a Sunday afternoon in early fall when we found out that my brother and his wife were expecting their first child. And not just their first child, but the first grandchild for my parents—the first niece or nephew for me! It was such an exciting, elating announcement for us all! Of course, we were all torn because we also knew that my brother and sister-in-law were planning to move to Colorado the following year. :-( So we began to prepare for both of those big changes.

And then came January. That's when we got "the visit" from my brother and his wife. The one that immediately followed their ultrasound. The one that I can still remember like it was yesterday. My mom, who is an elementary school teacher, was still at work, but my dad and I were home. They weren't able to wait until she got home—they needed to talk about it right away. Something was wrong with the baby. He had a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Oh goodness, I can't even begin to explain what exactly that means, but basically everything worked fine in the womb; but within a few days after the baby was born, his heart would no longer function correctly. To this day I feel like I've been punched in the stomach when I think about it.

Over the next few months, as I was studying, preparing for graduation, and trying to select a college for the fall (which I didn't do until April of my senior year!), my brother & his wife were busy researching HLHS—treatments, hospitals, life expectancies, etc. They decided to have the baby at University of Michigan Hospital, because they had a strong success rate with this condition, which was wonderful because it was only 3 hours away. The baby would need 3 surgeries in the first 2 years of his life, the first one shortly after birth (anywhere from a few hours to a week, depending on how well he was doing when he was born). They also turned down her job in Colorado, because the altitude may have caused a problem for his condition. They bought a house close by--they had been renting, but now knew they would be staying local.

Finally, the weather started to get warmer, and with it our hopes all started to rise. My sister-in-law graduated with her PhD in something-rather-complicated-but-I-think-it-has-Neurobiology-in-there-somewhere. (I'm pretty sure that's not the official title, but that's basically it in layman's terms. ;-) ) I graduated as Valedictorian of my high school class, and got to enjoy the fun perks of that. (Seriously. We got to do some really fun things!) I was also very involved in a competition called Bible Quizzing, and was preparing for Internationals—the Christian & Missionary Alliance's championship among all of the districts. It was my final year, and I was determined to do well. I spent anywhere from 4 to 8 hours each day studying the book of Matthew.

We got the call that my sister-in-law was in labor on Saturday, June 21—early on Saturday. We all packed our bags and headed for Michigan, hoping that we didn't miss the arrival during our three-hour trip! We didn't need to worry! Logan hung out in his mommy's belly for a few days, not making his arrival until Monday (evening!), June 23. It was a long weekend, full of a lot of fast food and card-playing at the Ronald McDonald house. We were ecstatic to see him, and the doctors said he was doing amazingly well.

On Tuesday, my parents and I made the drive back home. Of course, we didn't want to leave EVER, but my dad had to get back to work, and it looked like Logan wouldn't need his first surgery for a few days, so we planned to head back up the following weekend. By Thursday morning, my mom couldn't wait any longer and went back up without us. My dad and I were supposed to join her the next day. Unfortunately, that never happened.

I answered the phone on Friday morning, and I immediately know something was wrong by the sound of my brother's voice. I handed the phone to my dad. And when he got off the phone, all he could say was, "Logan's not going to make it."

Early morning on Friday, June 27, just four short days after we welcomed him into the world, Logan went home to be with his heavenly Father.

The days following that phone call are a blur of family and tears and… so many things. But I need to stress here that although this is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced—not only for my own grief, but because I watched my brother and sister-in-law and parents grieve as well—it was also absolutely amazing to see how God worked through it all. He brought my brother and sister-in-law closer to Him. He brought them closer to each other, and closer to my parents. He allowed them the sweet joy of getting to meet that little boy, and also spared them the pain of raising him for 2 or 3 years, only to lose him to HLHS then, as happened to friends that they made during their stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Logan's story is sad for us, but glorious for him, as he got to be loved so dearly on earth, and got to go home to heaven so quickly. And he touched so many lives in his four short days, I do not doubt that God used him in many ways that we may never know.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I feel like I need to preface this post... I promise you all, I have a lot more good days than bad days.  Really.  But somehow the good days just don't seem all that noteworthy.  And anyway, there's a happy ending here, so keep reading.  You know, as in, persevere through this post.  ;-)

I woke up this morning feeling... well, actually, feeling panicked.  I've been trying to get up by 6, often earlier, and today my eyes shot open when I realized it was lighter than I had expected.  It was 6:43, which meant that I needed to shower and get dressed in about 15 minutes so that I could get the kiddos up and going on time.  I managed to pull it off and breathed a sigh of relief.  I could feel a little sadness nagging at me, but I pushed it aside.

I went to wake up Lamb, and found Monkey wide awake on the floor.  Monkey, who had a HUGE weekend with no naps and late bedtimes.  Monkey, who was so exhausted that he had fallen asleep the second his head hit the pillow last night.  Monkey, who we later found out had been so sleepy and out of sorts, he had forgotten to go potty before bed, despite the many, many times we told him to.  So he was also Monkey, the boy who had peed the bed less than 10 minutes after bedtime.  And I was the mean mommy who had been very short-tempered when it happened.  :-(  So I was less than thrilled to already find him bright-eyed and ready for a new day, 30 minutes before his normal wake-up time, considering all of the things I just mentioned.

And then Lamb was whiny.  And then all three kids needed me at the same time.  And then... I don't even know what else.  But suddenly the day seemed like it was going to be too much.

Mr. Fantastic is pretty good at reading me these days, so he didn't even ask how I was feeling.  Instead he said, "Is there something in particular that has you feeling down?"

I answered, "Just the overwhelming feeling that I'm not going to make it through the day."

And you know what happened next?  He went to work.  He didn't stay and get the kids ready or take the girls (Lamb and our neighbors) to school or ask if I needed him here or anything like that.  He went to work.  And I cried.  And you know what?  Honestly, it's good that he went to work.  He needs to be able to go to work.  And to be quite honest, I know I'm pretty darn tired of myself being in a funk, so I can only imagine that he's had his fill as well.

So I got the kids ready.  And I took them to work.  And I did it without losing my temper or barking at the kids over stupid stuff (although I did bite my tongue a few times) or having any kind of a nervous breakdown.

And then I came back home, and I started to feel overwhelmed.  This is where I sometimes just get paralyzed by my depression.  I feel like there are so many things on my list that I can't possibly do them all, and it is so overwhelming that I just do nothing.  I can't find a place to start, so I just don't start at all.

But today, I was determined.  So do you know what I did?  I picked up the dirty bowl & spoon from Lamb's breakfast, and I put them in the dishwasher.  And when Roo was done eating, I put his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher.  I went upstairs, picked up a shirt out of the clean laundry, and I folded it.  And when that was done, I picked up something else from the basket and folded it.  And when that basket was done, I put things away.  And then I found something else to work on, and something else.  Every time I finished a job and I started to get overwhelmed, I thought, "I don't have to do everything, just the next thing."  And that's exactly what I have done all day.

And guess what... All of the clean laundry is folded, the washer & dryer are running, the first floor is straightened up, the kitchen is clean, and the grocery shopping is done.  And while I may not be the most chipper I've ever felt, I feel... satisfied.  Relieved.  Like it's going to be OK.

And now... I'm going to go do the next thing.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Weekend Zoo: Fun for the Whole Family

It's been a great day here at the zoo.  Earlier today I had a chance to share my journey with a wonderful group of women at a Ladies' Luncheon at a local church.  We (my mom and mother-in-law went with me) had a great time--the food was delicious, the program was great, and everyone was so nice.  I had a chance to see some old friends and meet lots of new people.  And here's the best part--the kids were at home with Mr. Fantastic, so I could actually just relax and enjoy.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  ;-)  Honestly, though, this was my first opportunity to speak publicly since Roo was born, and it felt great to get up there again.  I mean, sure, I cried and not all of it was fun stuff, but... I love doing it.  Thanks to all of the ladies who were there and made me feel so welcome.

I came home just in time to change clothes, feed Lamb an early dinner, and then get her ready for the Daddy-Daughter Dance at school. My little sweetheart is a total princess and an absolute Daddy's girl, so this was like a dream come true for her!  I wish I had pictures to share, but the camera is with them at the dance.  I hope they are having a fabulous time.

Meanwhile I got to spend some quality time with my boys.  Monkey has been complaining about his legs hurting a lot (I think/hope it's growing pains...), so I rubbed his legs while we listened to an Adventures in Odyssey story.  My kids love those, and they are definitely worthwhile.  (They are actually intended for slightly older kids, but overall they are great stories for any age.)

And now the boys are in bed, Cinderella & Prince Charming--I mean, Grace & Mr. Fantastic--won't be home for another 45 minutes or so, and I am listening to the sound of glorious silence.  I don't know how to type a deep peaceful sigh, but that's what I just did.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend as well.  Stay tuned, because next week will bring the next installment of my adoption story, a much-overdue follow-up to my allowance post many moons ago, a link to my very first guest post (yay!), and more!  :-)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Katy's Family Forest, Part 1

Today marks the start of a new feature at the Zoo... My own story.  I had originally posted this on my old blog, but now want to share it here.  So come back every Wednesday to read the next installment--and come on the other days, too.  ;-)

I don't ever remember being told that I was adopted—I've just always known. And I don't mean "I've known" like it was some sort of childhood suspicion that no one ever talked about. It was just a normal aspect of my life. It's a part of who I am, like having brown eyes or being left-handed. I'm adopted. The woman who gave birth to me knew that she couldn't provide the home and love that I needed, and she found a family for me who could. End of story.

In fact, it was so normal for me that I couldn't imagine life any other way. In elementary school kids used to ask me what it "feels like" to be adopted. I would ask them what it felt like to not be adopted. It was just life for me, nothing unusual. My parents brought me home from the hospital when I was 72 hours old—I'd always been theirs, and they had always been mine. My brothers, like it or not, were fully mine as well. :-) My adoption was a source of humor in my family—"You're such a dork! I'm glad I'm adopted!" or "Aren't you glad I inherited that from you, Mom?"—but never, not once, was it a sore spot or source of division. My family was my family.

Not that I wasn't curious. I had no idea who—or even where—my biological parents were, and sometimes I would see people on the street… at the fair… even on a bus when I was visiting my brother in Seattle… and wonder, "What if I'm related to that person?" Even people I knew—especially single relatives and family friends—were objects of my curiosity. It was a fascinating daydream for me, but not a sad one. I knew what a wonderful family I had, biological or not, and I have always been thankful to my birth mom for giving me what she knew she couldn't provide.

Along with being very upfront about my adoption, my parents always made it clear that once I was 18, I was free to explore as much (or as little) as I wanted into my biological family tree. They would provide as much information and help as they could, and they would support me as I did any additional digging on my own. I always knew that, and I always planned to do it starting on July 13, 1997 (my 18th birthday).

Little did I know what God had planned for me in 1997.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nutrition & Denial

Yes, I know, I went from nothing for over a week to 3 posts in 2 days.  When I do something, it's all or nothing.  ;-)

So... I just got off the phone with the Down syndrome clinic at our local Children's Hospital.  Roo was in there about a month ago because of some concern over his weight gain.  After the appointment, I posted some of the suggestions they gave... but honestly, I haven't been doing most of them.  I did up the calories in his formula like I had been doing when he was first born, but I didn't start adding melted butter to his food or anything like that.  I thought it was silly to just add calories and fat to his diet.  He is growing, just not super fast.  Right?

The doctor at the clinic doesn't agree.  Our pediatrician's office faxed over Roo's height and weight from his one-year checkup, and she isn't too happy.  Apparently he's gaining an average of 4 grams per day, and he should be gaining a minimum of 11-12.  Now not only does she want us to see a nutritionist (something we were already supposed to have scheduled... but hadn't...), but she wants to do a swallow study on him as well.  (This is because she had wanted us to increase his formula intake, and I have attempted to do that, but he is just completely uninterested in taking any more formula in.)

I'm frustrated and I'm sad.  I don't want to start adding calories to a baby's diet when part of me feels like--given the fact that he has Down syndrome AND (let's face the facts here) the fact that he is related to me and Mr. Fantastic--he's likely to struggle with his weight anyway.  And he IS growing.  And he isn't sickly--OK, he's had his share of congestion and stuff this winter, but he is happy and growing and proportionate.

On the other hand, he's over a year old and still in 3-6 month clothes.

Am I in denial here?  I just don't know what dangers we're facing.  I am definitely going to the nutritionist appointment (which I DID call to schedule after talking to the doctor), but I don't know if I want to do the swallow study.

And can I just say... my baby's health is absolutely the most important thing here, but... is this all really necessary?  To be very honest, my husband is self-employed, the economy sucks, and we have a very high deducitble insurance plan... and these extra tests are a little stressful for our emotions AND our pocketbook.

So here we are.  I've spent the last month laughing about the suggestions the doctor made, and now part of me feels like I should have taken them more seriously... and part of me still feels like they are unnecessary and may even do more harm than good in the long run.  Am I crazy for thinking that?  I am not a medical person, so who am I to even think that?

Oy, I wish this were simpler.

Kanga’s Story

A year or so ago, before "Down syndrome" became a part of my everyday vocabulary, I was working on a ministry that involved my own story. When Roo was born, that took a back seat because I was just trying to handle life with three small children. When he was diagnosed, it took a major back seat because I could barely keep my head above water. Then I started to get some ministry opportunities because of our experiences with Roo, and that seemed to take precedence.

Now, though, I'm getting some opportunities to pull from both my own life experiences and Roo's. It's amazing to see how God is weaving the threads of my life into a bigger picture. There have definitely been some ups and downs, but being able to use them all for His glory is such a humbling joy.

I've been debating for a while whether or not to repost my adoption story here. I know that blogs are supposed to have one major focus so that you can define your readership, etc. But let's face it, folks. I'm not exactly Pioneer Woman here. I think you select few devoted readers can handle me muddying the waters a little. ;-)

So that being said, tomorrow I'll be posting part 1 of my own little journey, and it will become a weekly feature here at the zoo until it is done. It's a wild ride, believe me. But I hope you enjoy going on it with me.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I know I have been neglecting this little spot in the blogosphere. I said in an earlier post that there are several reasons for this, but they all keep coming back to one thing… Silence. God has been teaching me a lot about, in, and through silence lately.

This morning I wish things were silent around here. Mr. Fantastic is out of town, and I am home with 3 sick kids! Lamb has a fever and is miserable, Monkey just seems to have a cold or growing pains or something (headache and general achiness but no other symptoms), and Roo has just gotten over a bug and is all congested. I couldn’t get to sleep until 1 AM. Sometime after that, the cat decided he wanted to play with my toes. I was not amused. Then at 5:30 Lamb came in and asked me to get that same cat out of her bed. She was back in my room at 6:15 to ask for help with blowing her nose (Seriously?). It was obvious she had not gone back to sleep from when the cat woke her up. Then Roo woke up coughing. Then our house alarm went off (I still don’t know why). And that was all by 6:45. I’m a tired mama with lots to do today.

Oh, I’ve been silent from Facebook (in my regular account) for about a month now. (I gave it up for Lent.) I have to admit… it’s getting a little old. BUT it truly does make things simpler to not have one more thing I feel like I need to keep up with.

Being silent can help me to learn. When something is on my mind, when God is trying to get something through my thick skull, and I immediately come here to write about it, it can be easy for me to wipe my hands clean when the post is done. “See, Lord? I obviously learned my lesson. Look what deep insights I wrote about it.” Then I go on my merry way, lesson… regurgitated, but not really learned.

The silence of others is often a blessing in disguise—or at least a lesson. I tend to depend on other people for a lot of things… affirmation, a listening ear, advice, etc. There’s nothing wrong with turning to a friend, but I so easily forget that I have the ultimate Friend who is available any time I need Him. So sometimes He has to remove the obstacles… and sometimes that hurts. But it’s good in the long run.

When I am upset about something, I get silent. It’s something that Mr. Fantastic and I struggled with early on in our marriage. Now I’m seeing that tendency in my life as a whole. When I am overwhelmed by something, I avoid it. When I am overwhelmed by life in general, I shut down. I have so many plates spinning right now, and instead of trying to decide which ones need my attention the most, my tendency is to turn my back on them, plug my ears, and brace myself for the crash. So far it hasn’t come.

And when I do that… and when I get silent with God… sometimes it feels like He’s being silent to me. But I have to remind myself that I’m the one who has cut off the lines of communication. He is there waiting with open arms. But can I tell you something? I’m a little bit scared. In some strange way, being lonely from the Lord can seem easier than drawing near to Him and accepting what growth He might have in store for me. (Note my earlier statement that things can be good in the long run but hurt in the short run. I don’t really want to hurt any more.) So I’ve been a little bit timid with Him lately. But a verse has been bouncing around in my head for the past few days: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Corinthians 4:17)

Light and momentary troubles. This is coming from the same man (Paul) who later in the same book recounts that “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (II Corinthians 11:23-29) These are his “light and momentary troubles”?!? But you see, he can have this perspective because of what comes next. They are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” They aren’t just something to plow through until we get to the other side. They are achieving for us that eternal glory. We need these light and momentary troubles… these trials and hardships… these painful growth experiences. And someday we’ll say, “Wow, I can’t believe I worried so much about that. I mean, it wasn’t fun at the time, but it was so worth it.”

Well, this post has taken a much different turn than I had originally planned… but there you have it. I’m trying to take these lessons in silence and apply them in a healthy way. Stop being silent toward God and start being silent before Him. Spend a little less time worrying about what others think and a little more time walking with my Closest Friend. Take my lessons to heart and apply them before I just spew them out here.

And in the meantime, I’ll try to stop being so silent here in general. I miss this little part of my universe!