Monday, July 30, 2007

Note to self...

...when flicking a 'buggy' out of your baby's nose, make sure his mouth is closed.

Visit from the fam!

On Monday night my brother called to see if we had plans this weekend. How great is that? A little background on why that is so great: my brother lives in Kentucky with his family we both stay so active that we hardly get to see each other. We even figured out this weekend that we hadn't seen each other in a year and a half! yikes! That's not okay! (True, I was out of the country for half of that but still!)

So, through the rain, construction and traffic they made their way into STL on Friday night and were able to stay with us until Sunday afternoon. Here's a few pics from the weekend:

We had a very chill weekend just spending time together. It was definitely overdue!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To work or not to work?

Last week I was made aware of a possible job opportunity. At one of the schools I've already worked for in the past there was possibility of a part-time second grade teaching position. In my opinion that's pretty much as perfect as it gets. Second grade is a fun grade to teach and there's no MAP test. Part-time is ideal in that you get your teaching 'fix' while still being able to have a life! Not only that but this school has an on-site daycare so if Russ was unable to watch Eliot, he could just come to work with me. It sounded ideal except for the fact that I would be leaving Eliot for half the week. I felt odd going to a movie and dinner with friends last night, I can't imagine how I'd do going back to work. (p.s. I got charged the student discount at the movie last night! 30 is the new 20, right? Thanks Arbonne!)

I sent my resume in and we started to pray. I really didn't feel as though I was supposed to go back to work but we need the financial support. I've restarted my Arbonne business but it may take a little while to build it back up to where it was before I left. So I began to wonder, was this the perfect provision from God or the perfect temptation to doubt that the Lord could provide without me returning to work. Blah. So my prayer changed to, "Lord, either slam the door shut or open it widely with blazing trumpets and banners."

So, on Monday I heard that the job wasn't available after all. The Lord answered my prayer. Then today I was cleaning (purging, reorganizing) my home office and found my 'dream board'. This was an activity I did with Arbonne almost two years ago. You basically cut out pictoral representations of everything you want to be included in your dream life. On this board was a phrase from a magazine that read "I'll miss you, Mommy" with a big red X through it. Again, just confirmation that I really want to stay at home with Eliot and it's been my dream for a long time. It's surprising to me how quickly I forget how God provides. He provided a way for me to build up my business before that surpassed my teaching income and it would be a little odd for me to throw in the towel now that we actually have what we've been fighting so hard for. So, back on the horse we go. Anyone need to buy some Arbonne?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sprinkler park and Birthday party

Lisa and Charlotte invited us to the sprinkler park that is new to town! They have a playground, a sandbox, the sprinklers and swings! Eliot wasted no time digging into that sand and even tried to eat a couple handfuls! Errrrr! Teething, anyone? He was a little unsure of the unpredictable sprinklers so we opted to just go to the swings after a little while.

Then on Saturday we spent the afternoon at a birthday pool party for little Fisher! I can't believe he's one already! It was great to catch up with great friends and see how much the kids have grown! I'm pretty sure I didn't stop smiling the whole time as I watched Eliot interacting with my friends and their kids!

By the way, we did get the video of our "5 minutes of fame" from the news of us coming home. We're working on getting it uploaded onto the blog so you can all see it!

Friday, July 20, 2007

fresh start

Last week after a day or two of settling in I met with a couple girls for lunch who have been accountability partners for me over the last year+. We had a great lunch together of catching up and reflecting a little. One of them said something that has stuck in my brain a little bit. Then a few days later, the other one followed up with another little nugget. Here's the goods, maybe it'll encourage you the way it's encouraged me.

The first one was just encouraging me to see this return home as a fresh start. This conversation came about because I had admitted to being stressed as to how to fit a post-Guatemala Katie into the pre-Guatemala Katie-life. Does that make sense? She equated it with your freshman year of college where you can be whomever you want to be, it's truly a fresh start. She encouraged me not to put pressure on myself to fit everything back into my time that was there before. Obviously my priorities are different now and there's definitely some juggling of the others that needs to happen.

So, I began to chew on that after our lunch. And of course, the overwhelmingness (is that a word? probably not) of it all came flooding in. I need to get my Arbonne business back to where it was and quick, I need to arrange coffee's and lunches with everyone that I miss or that I've kept in contact with so we can catch up, I need to figure out my running schedule so that I can get back into that, I need to get my house perfectly arranged especially with so many visitors, I need to get back in touch with all my girls that I have mentored so that we can reconnect now that I'm back, and the list kept growing and growing as I struggled with what should be priority or not. How could this be a fresh start if I jam everything back in?

Then came the call from the other accountability friend. She just wanted to encourage me to be careful with the expectations I put on myself as I begin my fresh start. She really took a big fat chisel out and got it down to the necessary: my expectation should be only Jesus. The reminder of that makes my shoulders relax about four inches. It's really that simple. Jesus. He was there before I left, He was certainly there while in Guatemala, and He's more than ready to be my fresh start.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


This is one of those hodge podge entries! First of all, we've had some out-of-town visitors that we've been able to see since being home. A few posts ago I put up a pic of Eliot with Kirk and Debbie from CO. They just happen to be in town the week we arrived home, to our wonderful surprise. Also, greeting us at the airport was my friend and former colleague, Alicia from Utah, also in town just by chance. Then today we got a visit from my friend Amanda and her family who were coming through town on their way to family. Amanda and I are old college buddies and were in each other's weddings. We try to see each other at least once a year and have kept in better touch since we started the adoption. It didn't take Eliot long to warm up to them!

Secondly, congrats to Emily (check blog links)! She is heading home next week to Chicago with her twin girls that she's been living with in Guatemala for over 4 months now. It's an absolute miracle that she's going home so soon after so many problems. Praise God!!

Third, things are settling down here! It's amazing!! We're getting into a 'groove' here and Eliot is doing great. My favorite moment so far in the last week and a half was when Russ kept the car sitting at a stop sign because he was turned around to watch Eliot being silly. I had to remind him to keep driving, it was very cute.

Fourth, Russ's sister got to come for a quick visit last weekend to meet El-man. He definitely pulled out all the tricks for Aunt Manda!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

three important words

PURGE, Assess, and Organize!

First off, probably no pictures on this entry because any documentation of what's going on would be too embarrassing. Here's the thing: For almost 8 months I lived out of suitcases. For 4 of those months I lived in a bed and Breakfast in the tiniest room you can imagine. Between my bed, a shelf, the crib and a tiny dresser, there wasn't space to walk. Needless to say that when Russ came at Christmas bearing gifts, I sent as much home as he brought down. After 4 months I moved into CasaBella, which tripled my space. So, when friends came bringing even more stuff, I had more space but found that I enjoyed only having what I used daily/weekly. Each person that came to visit left with full suitcases. I lived with very little possessions and got to a point where I hardly noticed.

Then I came home. We've lived in this house only 3 years, so surely we couldn't have accumulated that much stuff, right? Oh dear, I wish that were true. I walked in the house last Monday night to a very sparkly clean home. (Good job Russ!) Then on Wednesday our luggage arrived and I began to unpack. This is when I realized we had a problem. Every drawer and closet is already filled to capacity. And with what? Stuff. Stuff we may use once a year or not ever. Stuff. Errrrr. Where did all of it come from and how did we let it get this bad? If anyone actually tried to hang their coat in our "coat closet" I envision myself running in slow motion, jumping over Eliot and the coffee table, yelling "No" in a multi-syllablic form to prevent our visitor from opening the door and revealing our junk and possibly ruining our friendship.

So, as stated in the title of this entry: We have begun to purge. I was sharing this with friends from church a few nights ago and one of the men said something that stirred in me, "Well, you better get it done quick before you get used to it all again." Wow, that answered it. We'd gotten used to it. So far we've filed the trash bins and already made a trip of 8 full bags of clothes to Goodwill but we've hardly made a dent.

What is it about possessions that makes us hang onto them even though we know that they don't ever get used? As I took each item out of the closet, I would assess whether or not I might "need" it. There was a tiny battle with almost everything. Even with my t-shirt that read, "All college hike- 1998", I went back and forth of whether or not I might want to wear it as a nightshirt sometime or to paint in or etc etc etc. (As Russ started making fun of the fact that I should keep it to celebrate it's 10 year anniversary next year...hmmm, maybe I'll wear it while I'm going through his DC Talk posters in the basement...) Anyway, what is that? that struggle of "need?" The "well, what if...". What does that teach Eliot? With each closet and drawer full of items we don't use, we teach him that stuff matters, no matter what it is. Purpose or no purpose, it must be important or else it wouldn't be around. Blah.

Okay, I need to stop typing and open the drawer to the coffee table that's sitting in front of me. It's looming and needs to be clean and free.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fast friends????

(Needless to say, Eliot has been exploring every aspect of the house, including where Sammie stays...)

Before we left Guatemala, Sharon taught Eliot how to say "tickle tickle". When we introduced the dogs to him, they of course wanted to lick him nonstop. So we started saying "tickle tickle" every time they would come around. So, now every time he sees them he points and says "Dog...tickle tickle." It's adorable.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Legs on a table

I think I've created a monster with this blog. You guys are so faithful and loyal to check and see how we're doing, it's been hard not to blog over the last few days, especially when so much is going on. I'll try and just highlight the interesting moments and throw in a few pics here and there to keep you coming back!

While sitting in church this morning I had a feeling of completion. I thought of the card table my parents had for us when we were kids and how there was the slightest sense of satisfaction as the fourth leg clicked into place and we were onto game time or coloring time or whatever. This week has been FULL, to say the least, and this morning I felt the fourth leg click into place.

The first leg would be home. Home being defined as Russ, the dogs, Eliot in his room with his toys, in his highchair, etc. My bed, my laundry machines, my dishwasher (praise God!), etc. How great are garbage disposals? Daisy is Eliot's new obsession and prefers to watch Sammie over playing with any of the new fun toys in the house.

The second leg would be friends and family. From the wonderful greeting at the airport to the swinging front door of our house this week, it's been so good for my heart to see everyone. I've been getting calls and emails of greetings from those who haven't been able to stop by yet. (Which I promise to return once my head stops spinning...)

The third leg would be American culture. My first restaurant to hit was Texas Roadhouse. I needed some serious red meat. Probably sounds gross to some of you but I'd only eaten red meat about 4 times in the last 8 months! We hit Ted Drew's and the Zoo one day. Russ and I went on a date to a movie and a quick walk around the mall one night while his parents took care of Eliot.

The fourth leg would be my church community. I desperately missed it. It was so great to hear the message in English, and to sing in English among all those who've been praying and supporting us along this journey. Not to mention hearing a batch of scripture read aloud by Anton to begin his message. I could listen to him read a manual to a water heater and feel led to praise the Lord! (He's from South Africa) As I sat in service my thoughts went to this whole process from the first conversation that Russ and I had about deciding to start a family, through all the decisions with infertility, to moving forward with the adoption. Each of those decisions was prayed for and about in that church with those people. Ironically (or not so ironically) the message by our associate pastor this morning was on unity. Weird, huh?

We're glad to home. I'm glad to be yelling at Sammie as I type this to stop eating Eliot's toys. I do have to share, though, that I did get a little weepy this morning as I met friends at Starbucks and they had a whole display of Antigua, Guatemala coffee.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We made it!!

Eliot taking his shoes off to go through security...

Eliot was so sweet at the airport!

They're actually letting us get on the plane! No one was running after us to stop us!

There happen to be an empty seat in between Lisa and I!! So great!

We spent 4 hours in immigration. Yikes.

Where to begin???? Well, after leaving the hotel at 6:15 a.m., we finally arrived home at 10:30p.m. Eliot was a trooper and I have no doubt that his favorite part of the day was the hour that Lisa and I RAN through the airport from concourse to concourse as our flight (that we were already hours late for thanks to immigration) had been delayed and we kept being told to go to another gate and we had 15 minutes to get there. (It's a long story!) He was in the jogging stroller and kept raising his hands and squeeling like he was on a roller coaster as I darted in between hundreds of other travelers. We still don't have our luggage yet but we have very little to complain about. We had quite the welcome home party at the airport. There were balloons, signs, gifts and most importantly the faces of family and friends I hadn't seen in months. I was so blessed to get to hug them and speak to them face to face. How amazing and good for the heart! AND...they all got to meet a very sleepy but happy new American citizen!

So, I'm home now. Eliot's sleeping in his ever-so-spacious crib, the dogs are running under my legs, and Russ is reinstalling the car seat for our trip to Target. It should feel weird but instead it just feels right. I've had moments of temporary amnesia where I couldn't remember where my pajamas were and had to look in two cabinets before I remembered where our bowls were, but I'm surprised at how normal and fitting it feels to see Eliot here. He's interacting with all our visitors like he's known them all along and is happily crawling in and out of his nursery like it's normal for all his stuff to be in there. Russ and his parents welcomed me home by taping some random groceries together like at the Bodegona. Oh, memories!

There was a moment last night when Russ looked at me in the car and said, "It's over, it's really over" and we looked at Eliot. He was smiling and pointing as he looked out the window of the car at St. Louis. Moments like that define the state of my heart.

Thank you to everyone who called or emailed to say welcome home. Each message makes the experience even richer. Thanks to all who came to the airport and waited it out to see us come home. Thanks to my Antigua family who sincerely wished me well, I miss you guys so much already. Thanks to Allie for coming this morning and helping me organize my dishelvedness and for bringing me Bread Co to the airport. (I feel like I should thank the academy...this is getting out of hand...)Okay, I'll quit and just add a bunch of pics to this.

Sorry it took so long to get this up on the blog! Thanks for being patient!!

The crowd!! (including a news crew from Fox2 news! What?!)

Eliot's shirt reads, "Sorry to have kept you all waiting".

The fam!

Quite a long day for Little Man! He did great though!

Eliot at home this morning, enjoying his new world!

Oh, the joy.