a little and a lot

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat

Speaking of the goose getting fat, we ate SALAD for dinner every night last week! No joke. It's hard to believe this time last year I was recovering from my first full marathon. I could barely run a mile today. *Sigh* Salad Week was actually the greatest idea EVER, and I have deemed it an annual tradition. (Made me feel less guilty about eating all those baked Christmas goodies.)

Speaking of baked Christmas goodies...tonight's the night for the Sugar Cookies. None can match this top-secret recipe of my MIL's--they are famous! (I actually don't know if the recipe is top-secret, but it makes it seems much more special if considered as a family heirloom.) Also on the menu for this week: Peppermint Fudge, a few Pioneer Woman goodies (oh, you'd better believe I've joined THAT covered bandwagon), Chicken & Waffles, and a small-sized but delicious Turkey Dinner.

Speaking of the Turkey Dinner, I had a fool-proof plan for the Big Momma Grocery Trip of 2009 this year. In year's past, I've panicked as the one meat item I was looking for was sold out or found in a different form/cut than what the recipe called for. This year, it was all about contingency plans. Here is what my list looked like:

And lo and behold, I got the last boneless turkey breast with skin on. That's right, friends. I've finally decided that while cooking a whole turkey is something to feel proud of, it's ridiculous for a dinner crowd of 2. Let's keep it simple, shall we? I can still make the herb-stuffed roasted turkey with pan gravy, the buttermilk mashed potatoes, the creamed spinach & green bean bundles, the blue cranberry sauce...I'll just be making LESS of them.

Speaking of making less of things, in our house we make less of a big deal about STUFF around Christmastime and we try to make much of the spirit of Advent. That's right, Charlie Brown, that big empty, exhausted, broke feeling you have on December 26 is NOT the meaning of Christmas! I feel my evangelical roots have failed me when it comes to the Advent Season. Advent means "coming" and it officially begins four Sundays before Christmas. It is all about the excitement, longing, hope, perseverance, and rejoicing in the coming of Christ. Like Israel in exile, we ALL need to be "ransomed" from what has "captured" us in this life. And the birth of Jesus Christ, in this world many years ago and in our hearts even now, brings light to the dark places. A new tradition for the Faris celebration of the Advent Season is our modern interpretation of the Advent Wreath.

Each night (ok, MOST nights...ha), we read the day's Scripture as we light the candles. (The first week of Advent, you just light one candle, and with each week you light an additional candle. By the week of Christmas, your whole wreath is glowing and reminding you that the Light of the World is near!) Nick and I have remarked that this new tradition has truly made us excited about the approach of Christmas, not just for the anticipation of "what's inside the gifts under our tree" but because we are truly excited and joyful about the advent, the coming, of our True Gift. And THAT's what the meaning of Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. [Loo loo looooo, loo loo loo loooo loooo] (That's supposed to invoke the image of the Peanuts kids standing around the CharlieBrowniest Christmas tree, "loo-ing" Hark the Herald Angels Sing...)

Speaking of how you don't care about any of this and just want to know WHEN WE ARE GETTING THE KID... (Haha--just kidding everyone. I know you would actually rather hear about my shopping list, right?)

Boy, oh boy, everyone. In keeping with the theme, everything and nothing has changed. We are now finished with the Home Study, and we're practically finished with the Dossier. (To refresh your memory, the dossier is the big fat stack of official, notarized papers saying we are legit people and fit to be parents of an Ethiopian child. It gets sent all around the country and world, ending in Ethiopia.) "Practically finished" means finished but not sent. And it's not sent because we're trying not to get ahead of ourselves financially.

BUT WHEN ARE YOU GETTING THE KID? Yeah, yeah, I know what you really want to know. The answer is I don't know/probably summertime/Believe me, I'm wondering the same thing. :)

Speaking of getting the kid, we have now entered the stage in this adoption when we've begun saying phrases like "our baby" or "the baby" in more possessive terms. This is a weird feeling. (Any of you parents-to-be relate with that?) For example, Nick and I fill stockings for each other and as part of the contents this year we said, "Let's give each other something for the baby." Aughhh! The baby! Our baby!

I have been hesitant of thinking this way for several reasons:
(1) The Faris baby/our baby is not our baby right now. He/She is being born/has been born to someone else. And it feels weird to start speaking possessively of him/her. In some small way, I want to honor the birth family in this.

(2) It's just plain weird thinking about myself as a mommy when I'm livin' everyday life in the same ole' same ole'. There is no "presence" of baby in our lives. This transition of thinking of myself as a parent starts happening when I begin thinking of "this time next year" or what in the WORLD kind of car seat do we need to buy in the next six months. (Ha, I will take advice on all baby supplies in a near-future post--start thinking about those essentials to share with me, all you parenting veterans!)

So here's where you weigh in, regardless of how you became (or will become) a parent:
What did you do (or what do you think I should do) to start the mental/emotional transition of thinking of myself as a mom (in the next 6 or so months!) ?


Unknown said...

Jesse, I think everything you are experiencing and feeling is completely normal. Adoption and pregnancy both take time for a reason. As that time progresses and wheels start turning you naturally begin to realize, I'm going to be a parent. Your wheels are already in motion, it's completely normal to start thinking of yourself as a parent. This transitional time (before baby comes) is an exciting time. You are able to enjoy your last child free days while preparing yourself to care for a new life. It sounds like you are going through normal pre-baby jitters.

I think it's very honorable of you to be so respectful of the birth parents. They deserve that honor and respect. I do however (IMO) think you should "own" those parental feelings. I do not think it's "bad" to refer to your future child as "our baby". I think it's healthy and exciting. Enjoy those moments when you dream of life as a parent/larger family. Everyone does it and shares in those same feelings whether it's through adoption or pregnancy. It sounds like you're hitting all the right milestones.

By the way, know that you two are going to make great parents. The fact that you are asking these questions, putting heart into it, seeking help, etc. means you're going to do great. Congratulations again!

Larissa Smith said...

I think one way that parenthood becomes more real as it heads your way is when you start setting up your life to be ready for it. Partly, you won't be able to do that just yet until you know more, but I'm referring to the kind of stuff like choosing a rocking chair or a room theme or clearing out a dresser to use as a changing table. Anytime you make space in your everyday life that will be reserved for a little one, your heart looks a little more forward to seeing it in use. Go ahead and buy some wipes (wait on diapers, having a size you can't use is pointless) or baby lotion or a framed verse of some sort. Definitely find a super soft blanket that just melts your heart. Pick out some little stuffed toy or browse lullaby music on iTunes. Let yourself daydream about how your day will change, what your favorite parts will be. Imagine taking a nap on the couch with a baby snoozing on your chest. Wander through the kids section at a bookstore; get some board books (Sandra Boynton rocks!). When you lay in bed at night, picture that there is a child who depends on you more than anyone else in the world sleeping one room away.

You'll be antsy to welcome that baby before you know it! And you won't even be hormonal for it; lucky you.

Julie said...

1. If you wind up with a pork loin after your big mama shopping trip, make the Pioneer Woman's pork loin with cranberry sauce. You will be so glad you did. Slap your mama.

2. There is nothing you can do that will fully prepare you for this transition. This was hard for me. I want to study for a test and know the answers and mommyhood never lent itself to me in that way. That being said, I would start a journal just for this journey, maybe written to your baby to give to them someday. Journal your thoughts on the whole process and let out all the hard questions in the journal. I can tell you that the selflessness with which you are already living your life and your capacity to love others (spouse, friends, pets) is already preparing you in so many ways. Just consider this baby an extension of yourself in the ways that Nick and the dogs and your closest friends are. I remember someone telling Charles and I that when you become a parent there is a part of yourself that is already there that has just been lying dormant that comes alive. I loved this thought. It makes me feel like I already have the mental/emotional capacity to be a mom that come from being made in the father's image and that it has just been lying dormant until my children entered my life. So part of the mental/emotional transition will spring to life when you get that first picture, first walk into the room, first hold your baby.

There are so many days I still can't fully grasp the thought that I am a mom so if this process does seem difficult or seems weird, know that you are not alone!

Kristy said...

You made me so hungry describing your holiday feast. Your good cooking is one of my favorite things about adult-you.

Speaking of your question, I don't know if there's anything that really prepares you for motherhood until you hold that baby child in your arms. However, I think it is totally healthy to refer to your child as "our baby." In a way it is establishing an emotionally bonding connection, and I think it does honor the birth family in your promise to truly parent their biological child.

I love you and think you are going to be the most amazing mother. Merry Christmas!

Shannon and Andrew said...

There's no way you can fully prepare yourself for bring a mom. It just kind of hits you all at once when you hold that baby for the first time. After that it's a process of growing deeper an deeper in love with that wonderful person every day.

I think it's ok to start calling the baby "ours" or 'mine." We starting talking about "our" baby before I was even pregnant and then through the pregnancy. Though you are not physically carrying your baby you are going through the emotional process of pregnancy, without the crazy hormones. It's the first step in falling deeply in love with your child. God has that precious baby set aside for you and Nick and He already knows it's going to be yours. Loving that baby is going to be the best honor you can give the birth family.

McKinney Madness said...

Wow girl... where to begin! I'm so excited for you and for this season in your life. I know there may be unanswered questions, anxieties, etc. towards the adoption and becoming a mommy, but I have no doubt that you and Nick will make amazing parents and when the time comes to be parents you'll "just know" what to do. I'm not a parent, so unfortunately I don't have any great words of wisdom for you. But I do know you, and I know what an amazing person you are. This child is going to be the luckiest kid around to have such fun, God-fearing, fantastic parents like you and Nick!

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

I love your transitional paragraphs. ;) I love how you have been so kind and thoughtful and prayerful about all of this. praying for you both and I am so excited for you!

sko3 said...

I didn't think of myself as a mom until I met her. But I'm a slow learner!I referred to her by her name for the 7 months between "soft" referral and travel (I got caught in the TB nonsense) but suddenly, when I met her, she was "my daughter."

Me. Us. She. said...

Hi! I'm glad you mentioned something on the forum so I know you'll be waiting on our list. I have become very close with the women who was 2 ahead of me. We've been trying to find others that want to be friends in the wait. Give me an email if you want to talk more amandacox77@hotmail.com
:) Amanda

PS. We just call her "baby" as in "what do you think baby is doing right now?" Makes it feel less possessive because I definitely understand what you are saying about that.

Ashley said...

Hey Jesse!
I just found your blog! What a surprise to see your sweet smiling face. Sounds like the Lord continues to work through you. This little precious child will be blessed to be loved by you!
If you have time, check out this link: http://bringinghomebabybrown.blogspot.com/
Another family going through a similar adoption process.
Great to find you!
God Bless,
Ashley Sanders (Burton)

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more