The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

News from the Treadmill

With the windchill bringing the temperature to -35C today, I decided to take my run indoors. Initially planning a follow-up to the snark I posted Friday, I looked around a bit while running.

Alas, no snark today. Just a really nice run on the ‘mill. It was Adorable Grandmother Day, apparently, as I witnessed several women over the age of 60 on the ellipticals, walking the track, on and off of treadmills. Right on! And take note, single men over 60, these women had it going ON. I bet they are super fun to hang out with.

A huge “thank you” to the man doing squats in front of me. Yeah, you with the colorful, detailed, inked-up arms. Looking at your tattoos, trying the decipher each one’s meaning kept me entertained on and off during the almost-45 minute run.

Here’s hoping for cleared sidewalks and warmer temperatures!

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Treadmill Snark

Ever wonder what runners are thinking while logging miles on the treadmill? Here’s an idea of what went through my head during my 6k this afternoon.
Guy next to me is spitting image of Mike, my friend and fellow marathoner. However, this “Mike” did not appreciate my wit and wisdom in the same way. No matter, I will make up a conversation.
Keith Urban look alike lifting weights. Worth noting, his weight-lifting form is not as pretty as his hair.
Hey, buddy with the hoodie and sweatpants doing squats.. you are not Rocky Balboa. Quit it with the shadow boxing between your reps.
Two Pakistani soccer players also lifting weights. I think so, anyway. They’re wearing the uniform.
Guy walks by wearing surfer shorts and backwards baseball cap. Really?
“Keith Urban” just got on the treadmill next to me. Do I ask him about Idol?
Two teenage girls walk by, in full makeup. No words.
Did I set the goal for 5 or 6k? Am I running under a heat vent? It is hotter than Hades in here. Perhaps next week I will (attempt to) swim laps. There is a hockey game on that elliptical waayy across the gym. What am I doing over here? “Keith Urban” gets off the treadmill next to me and another guy steps on. He obviously had curry something-or-other for lunch. “Mike” is still next to me, though he is slowing down, appearing to be in a cool down mode. Bummer, we were having a nice imaginary conversation where he agreed with all my feminist rants.
Note to all men in the weight lifting area – walking around in the general vicinity of weights does not equate a workout. Do something, for crissakes. Except you, “I am not a jogger” T-shirt guy, you can stay as long as you like. Preferably lifting in front of my treadmill.
CurryMan gets off treadmill. He is headed over to the elliptical with the hockey game playing. Would it be rude for me to ask him to report back with a score?
I set the goal for 6k, evidently, as I just passed 5.25k and “Mike” has left. I am alone.
Woman that works at the gym is doing rounds. She smiles at me. I must look like I’m about to have a heart attack, because I am sprinting in an effort to get off this machine as soon as possible.
Success! 6k complete, headed down to the pool to check out how many laps Jaybird has swum.
Also, a note to all girls working out.. if you still look pretty and smell nice after a workout, it was a waste of time. Don’t be afraid to work up a good sweat with boys around. The guy that flirted with me while I was on a stair-master in a smelly college gym in between his reps and sit-ups became my husband. Nice guys appreciate athletic women.

Virtual Half Goofy Challenge

10k one day, 21k the next. For Charity? Count me in.

Cori was on a team raising money for Team In Training, supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a charity with whom I have run two marathons.  Its is a good cause and I was happy to support her efforts through a donation.  The fact that is was also a run with a medal at the end was a bonus.  She had training schedules on her website for people to refer to and I mapped out my training to complete the challenge by the Christmas holiday.  When that didn’t happen due to a gazillion other things that came due during the fall, I set out to find a weekend where it would work before the January deadline.

I told running friends of my task, knowing that if other people knew I had this goal, they would keep me honest.  A few offered to run part of the mileage with me, which was appreciated, though I ended up going it alone.

Friday was the day I had set for the 10k, as I would have time for the run between my part-time job and picking up the kids from school.  Saturday morning would be the 21k.  I planned for a week, visualizing how I would get this done.

Friday’s 10k ended up being inside on the treadmill, as it had been snowing like a banshee.  I headed to the Y.  I knew that one of the runs would need to be inside due to weather, and that I could handle 10k on the treadmill but 21k was unconscionable.  Many things went through my head during the run.  First, there is a 30 minute time limit on the cardio equipment.  I chose a treadmill in the corner, hoping that no one would notice me running there for about an hour.  Then, I had to finish within an hour, as some of the treadmills cut you off cold after 60 minutes.  While my mind wandered to the usual making up stories about those working out around me, I tried to keep my concentration on one of two things.  First, I scanned the number of treadmills that were open/available to be sure no one was waiting and ready to kick me off of mine, and second, there a chip of paint on the wall.  When I started to get stir crazy on the ‘mill, I returned to the paint chip.

Finished the 10K!

Finished the 10K!

Saturday morning came and it was time for the 21k.  There was still quite a bit of snow around, but the sun was shining and I had a plan.  Since I didn’t train real well for this run (or at all, really, don’t try this at home), I decided to break it up into three more manageable runs. I ran my usual 8k loop around the neighborhood, briefly stopped at home for water and bite to eat and ran it again.  The first 8k lap was great.  I was leaping over snow piles in the street and enjoying the crisp cool air into my lungs.  While it was a little chilly, I welcomed the opportunity to be outside for a long run.  Half way through my second 8k loop, the sun went away and my leaps over snow piles because a little less leap-y.  Nevertheless, I was happy to round the corner to my house for another snack and water break still feeling pretty loose and energetic.  After the break, I did a 5k loop that I have done so many times I could do it with eyes closed.  Only this time the walks were not cleared and I was shin deep in snow and I had to walk for about half the last 5k.  This would not have been a problem except that I was sweaty and the wind was picking up.  Walking made me cold.  I ran whenever I came on to a cleared section of the path or could run in the street. Thankful for quiet streets, I finished up the run and entered my house to the smell of JB’s blueberry pancakes.

It was pretty or fast, but I got it done!

It wasn’t pretty or fast, but I got it done!

During the run I thought about all those running over the weekend at Walt Disney World with Team In Training.  Many running buddies from Wisconsin were there and many that I had trained with last spring had also made the trip.  Mostly, I thought of Cori, who had brought me to this run.  I am thankful to her and to all those making lives better as a result of their fundraising with Team In Training.  I am hopeful that their efforts will continue to search for a cure.  I am grateful for an organization that improves the lives of so many fighting cancer.  I am mindful of all those that are fighting this beast and pray for their healing.

Thank you, Cori, for this virtual race.  It brought me to a happy place and kicked off my year of running.

Let the 2013 running season begin!

Latest Ski Adventure

Do we have to go back yet?  We had a really nice holiday break.  We skied the weekend before Christmas at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.  The skiing was nothing short of amazing.  Sunshine was already mid-season like conditions and due to recent snow there was fresh power everywhere.  Also, due to it being unseasonably cold, we are among the few crazies that were willing to brave the cold to tackle the mountains.  It was totally worth it.

After the holiday, JB took Jaybird and Mid skiing with another dad and his kids.  They had a great day.  (Apprentice had a hockey camp so we stayed behind.)

Not to be outdone, I wanted another chance to ski before we entered back into the school, work and activities schedule.  We picked Thursday.  Although there had not been new snow, the temperature had warmed and it promised to be a great day on the slopes.

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Braving the cold! Let’s go SKI!

 Early Thursday, (or not, we were running late), the kids and I headed out to Sunshine Village. It was brisk sunny morning and we spent the majority of the drive talking about our plans for the day.  The kids have specific runs they enjoy more than others and wanted to be sure that we had included all in the day.  First thing was to head over to The Great Divide Express lift, which takes you up almost to the top of the mountain.  It also straddles the line between Alberta and British Columbia, hence the name.  It is a great view of the mountains and has nice wide open ski runs.  After a few runs we started to get hungry and made our way back to the lodge.  I was feeling particularly accomplished at this point, as my kids were tearing down the blue slopes off the Divide lift like nobody’s business.  It was a fun morning.

We had plans after lunch to hit Tin Can Alley, their favorite run.  We did it a couple of times, but the sun was moving across the mountain, so we decided that we should as well.  Mid wanted to head over to another lift to get more sun when skiing.  We had a couple of options.  Either we took off our skis at the bottom of Tin Can Alley and walked up a little to other lift, or we could zig-zag and traverse a little and ski to it.  We chose the latter.  We starting traversing, which is a lot of work, and turned downhill when we(I) thought we could catch a green run to the bottom of our chosen lift. I stopped to be sure the kids were close behind.  They were on their way and voicing some apprehension as to where we were headed.  I told them not to worry.  As if on cue, a woman passed us, walking uphill, carrying her skis and poles.  She told us that the run we were about to go down got “quite steep” and she was going down another way.  Of course, I thought she was greatly underestimating our skiing abilities.  I thanked her for the warning, asked the kids if they wanted to walk back up the hill or take our chances on this run.  From where we standing the slope was nothing we couldn’t handle.  We slowly carried on.

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Mom, do you know where we’re going? We’d rather follow Jaybird.

We past the point of no return when the slope became almost straight vertical and very narrow.  Not wanting tha panic the kids, I showed them how to gradually go down sideways, so that they would not get going out of control and hit a tree.  I assured them that if we went slowly we could get down this short run and over to the lift.  We started down.  A few thoughts crossed my mind, but I can only remember thinking “holy shit”.

Apprentice was first to call out.  As I heard him yell to me that he had fallen, one of his skis skid by me.  Then I heard Mid trying to help him, but he was too far from Apprentice to do much other than encourage him to get up and take off his other ski.  Jaybird was behind Apprentice and also tried to encourage him, but she had problems of her own.  She was sliding down the slope and about to run over her brother.  She sat down, or fell, and as a result her skis popped off. They made it down to me in time for me to try to pick them up.  That’s when I tumbled and my skis let go.  I yelled up to the kids that they needed to take their skis off and carefully scoot down the slope on their butts, holding their skis and poles.  I said, “Watch me, this is how you are doing to do it,” intending to go one step forward and them assist them on their way down.  I lost my footing and went down the slope on my butt, or front, or both, for about 25 meters.  Mouths gaping open, the kids stopped screaming.  I started laughing, embracing the fact that we were providing entertainment for all those that passed us, which thankfully, was not many.  A good Samaritan skier picked up my skis and brought them to me.  The kids started to make their way down, on their bottoms, and once they realized we were going to make it out alive, they started to laugh as well and enjoy our folly. The run was not long, maybe 200 meters, but seriously straight down for about half of them.  I found out later that this particular run is sometimes rated a “double black diamond” (or, are you crazy enough to attempt this?) on account of the steepness of the slope.

When we got to a safe place, we all put our skis back on.  We came out of the run and, sure enough!, there was the lift we were hoping to get on for our last run of the day.  Our last run was a green (or easiest).  Jaybird led us down the run, as the boys had told her that she is better navigator on the slopes.  True enough.

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WE MADE IT! Jaybird takes a rest.

Christmas Wish

Joy to the World!

So, its Christmas Eve Day.  I have shopped, baked, wrapped, and all that to prepare for the big day.  Well, almost prepared.  My house is dirty and we have been counting cookies as a food group for a week or so now.

Our tree is decorated in the usual “eclectic” style.  When I see other people’s’ Christmas trees, or those on television, I marvel at how stylish they are.  How everything seems to match and coordinate and all the decorations are so beautiful and.. what’s the word?  congruent.  Ours is not that way.  That’s the way I like it, actually.  I love that our tree ornaments are fit for the island of misfit toys.  They remind me of where we’ve been, friendships old and new and why this season is so special.  There are ornaments from work gift exchanges, kids’ day care projects and the “baby’s first Christmas” trio.

Mid made this one at school.  Its a Scrooge, I think.

Mid made this one at school. Its a Scrooge, I think.

Jaybird made this ornament at Girl Guides.

Jaybird made this ornament at Girl Guides.

Santa came from a former co-worker.

Santa came from a former co-worker.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations does not match anything.  It was a gift from a friend with the explanation, “May this spider web be a reminder that Jesus was not born in a palace or sterile-clean hospital room.  He was born in a humble dirty stable, with animals, loving parents and the Good Lord surrounding him.  During this season surround yourself with God, people you love and love you, be humble and don’t worry about the imperfections.”

Humble Web

This is my Christmas wish for you.  May your days be merry and bright.  May your ornaments not match your decorations.  May you be surrounded with those that love you and you love right back.

Cheers!

Monday Morning

Friday was a busy day.  I had been gone from home all day and had not listened to the news.  Upon returning home with the kids after school, I took a moment to check my email and news feeds.  The first Facebook post I saw was that of my friend Jim.

“Don’t read the headlines, don’t watch the news, just hug your kids extra tight tonight. THAT is my advice.”

And I thought, huh, wonder what is going on with them.  I made a mental note to check in with Jim and his family later that evening.  Then another post telling me to hug my children.  And another.  Then more informative posts.  I switched to Twitter.  There I found links to CNN and other news organizations.  I started to read the coverage.  As (I imagine) everyone else did, I started to cry.  Apprentice noticed and walked over.  “Are you OKay, Mom?” he asked.  “Did something bad happen?”  I replied that yes, something very bad had happened.  “Did someone die?”  I replied that yes, some people had died.  “Do we know them?”  No, we don’t know them, but I am still very sad.  He hugged me and walked away.

All weekend my husband and I struggled with how to talk about the horrific actions of one person.  We kept the news off of the television and did not discuss the school shooting in front of the kids.  Then came Monday morning.

I was having breakfast with the kids and it occurred to be that other kids may talk about the tragedy in Newtown, CT, at school.  Or, that a prayer may be said during school about it.  I wanted them to hear the news from me.  I did not want them to ask questions as school.  Not that the teachers, administrators and staff at our school can’t deal with it, they are all awesome, (full disclosure, I work there part time).  I just didn’t want them getting information from other kids.  I did not want them to be afraid at school.

“So, today at school you may here about a terrible thing that happened last Friday in the United States.”  They all looked up at me, puzzled.  Mid asked what had happened.  I froze.  All three of them were looking at me with questioning eyes and I choked.  My eyes filled with tears and I tried to get some meaningful words out.  It seemed as if an hour had passed.  “Someone broke into a school in Connecticut last Friday and had a gun.”  Jaws dropped.  Jaybird asked if the person was a kid or adult and if they had hurt anyone.  “It was an adult and yes, he hurt a lot of people.”  They stared at me.  Jaybird broke the silence by saying that she understood.  The boys nodded their heads in agreement and we went back to breakfast.  I started to cry.

I took them to school at the usual time.  When the got out of the car I told them the usual “buona giornata” (have a good day) and added “I love you” in pretty much any language I could think of.  (“Ti amo”, “Ich liebe dich”, “”Nakupenda”)  They got out of the car and walked into school.  I cried the whole way home, thinking of the mothers in Newtown.  Hopefully, when we discuss this tragedy later, I will be able to reassure them that they are safe and that God watches over them.  That their school is full of wonderful children and adults that will help them.  I hope I never have to reassure them of this because it should be a given.  Children should always feel that adults will act in their best interest.

Prayers to all those in Connecticut and all over the world.  Please follow Jim’s advice, today and every day.

 

If you would like to see Jim’s advice more often, please see his blog <HERE>.  It’s a good one.

Ski School Tale

Sometimes we all need a little push.  For my husband, it was my father informing him that we would begin taking ski vacations as a family and he was fully expected to learn to ski.  For my daughter, she needed to be coaxed a little.  We negotiated some days with Grandma, some days at ski school.  When Mid entered ski school with her, there was another negotiation which involved a few days of ski school in exchange for some snow tubing as a reward at the end of the week.  It was a little tougher to come to agreement with Apprentice.

It was the first day of our annual ski vacation.  The sun was shining, the air was crisp and clear.  There was a little chill in the air you felt all through your lungs with each inhale.  We took the kids to ski school.  Jaybird and Mid were in a different section than Apprentice, due to their ages.  I had the older two, JB had Apprentice.  As I was getting my two situated with the ski instructor, I heard some screaming and general commotion in the other area.  I thought nothing of it and after our conversation was done, I walked over to where JB was checking in Apprentice.  Cue entrance of my mom.  She and JB were trying to reason with Apprentice outside the ski school building.  I asked what was going on.  JB reported that Apprentice had run out of the building, yelling that he had changed his mind about going to ski school that day.  JB was contemplating staying with him to be sure that he was OKay with Grandma.

As noted above, this was the first day of our ski vacation.  It was a picture perfect Steamboat, Colorado, day.  I was going to ski.  Frankly, this delay pissed me off.

I told Apprentice to come with me, asked JB to stay put and marched into ski school. He was fine until we got to the counter.  When he realized that I fully intended to leave him with these highly personal, energetic ski instructors and kids his own age, he.. well, he freaked.  His eyes started to water and he ran, ala OJ Simpson through an airport, out of the building.  Did I mention he was wearing ski boots?  Oh yes, its was a sight to behold.  I chased him out, caught him and carried him back into the building.  He was kicking.  He was screaming.  Grandma had joined me at the counter to check him in.  I paid for him and apologized for the scene he was continuing to create.  The kind woman smiled at me and summoned a 20-something instructor the front.  The young woman took Apprentice from me and carried him back into the “parent free zone” of the ski school.  I blew him a kiss, turned and walked out.  Grandma offered to take him for the day.  We will try again tomorrow, she said, I can’t stand to see him so upset.  I told her that in my experience with him that if we did not force him to do it that first day he would not ski the entire week, and I would not have it.  I thanked her for coming along to check them in and started for the lift.  She stuck around the ski school to be sure that he would calm down.  The grandma-ish woman at the reception desk smiled knowingly at her and reassuringly said, “We have at least 4-5 kids like that every day.  He is going to be fine.”  And, of course, he was.  He just needed a little push.

ski school 2009

Random cuteness of kids after a day of skiing in Steamboat.

The last day of the same ski vacation, we were getting suited up for a day on the slopes when we noticed the front door closing.  Apprentice had completed getting his gear on, grabbed his skis and had headed out for ski school.  He has typical German patience, or lack thereof, and decided that he had enough of waiting for everyone else.  He wanted to get out on the slopes for the last day.  Part of me was so very happy that he loved (and still loves) to ski.  However, the vocal mom in me yelled to my dad to chase him down and make him wait for us.  When I caught up to him, he had the same look I had the first day, when I was delayed in getting on the lift.

This story was the topic of our breakfast conversation this morning as the kids and I discussed upcoming ski plans.  They are becoming good skiers.  So good, actually, that sometimes its hard to tell who is more excited to get to the mountains, them or me.  They went through all their favorite ski hills.  Lake Louise, for overall family time.  Steamboat, for the awesome ski school and “Why Not” run.  Sunshine for the close proximity to Banff.  Copper Mountain because of the moose house, (the condo we rented a couple of times had this monstrous moose pelt hanging on the wall…at least I think it was a moose) and the good times they had napping in the sun with Grandma.

Tis the season!  Let’s get to the slopes!

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One must see the statue of Billy the Kid when in Steamboat. Also, there’s a bar with yummy local microbrews.

He Called Me Erickson

Summer in the late 1970s always included a visit from Uncle George and family.  One of my mom’s five brothers, he had moved to this mysterious place where Vikings came from called “The Twin Cities” and was the only of her siblings to move out of the area where they grew up.  I loved when he and his family came to visit.  George would give a lot of advice to all of us kids.  Most of the time, when I would repeat this advice to my parents, they would explain that George was “full of BS” and not take what he said too seriously.  Then, they would send me back to him to get the answer for what letters “BS” meant.

Summers were usually hot and humid, made more so by the cigarette smoke that would fill our kitchen.  During George’s visits, the evenings were full of noise and new words, (which I was instructed never to repeat).  My aunts and uncles would gather at Grandma’s or our house (we lived three houses away from my grandparents) and play cards, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and smoke cigarettes.  The card games among Ray, Jim, George, Barbara, their spouses and my parents seemed to go late into the night.  Though thinking about it, I was a little kid, so it probably wasn’t all that late, really.

I could tell many stories about Uncle George. I could tell about how my grandmother would pound on the kitchen ceiling with her broomstick, (directly under his bedroom), to get him up for chores on the farm, or work in the factory, or to get back to college.  I could tell of how he was really good at winning things at county fair-type games.  He once won a stuffed animal or something for my mom, (he called her “Kid”), and hid it in a bassinnet.  He told her that he had won something for her, but she would have to pull back the blanket to see what it was.  She was terrified and took a week to work up the courage to uncover the teddy bear (or whatever it was).  He told my brother of a little “misunderstanding” that happened at the University of Wisconsin which resulted in his fraternity getting kicked off campus.  He said many times that people were just too sensitive.  He had a great sense of humor.  He had nicknames for all of us.  Popper, Lester, Stoney, Kid, Erickson, Clarkson.. we all answered to whatever he said because he was fun to be around.

Over the last many years he had faced some serious health problems.  Each time, my mom would call me and say that she was worried his condition was grave.  She was thankful his kids were taking such good care of him.  Each time, he came through determined to golf in Arizona for the winter.  Also over the last few years, Barbara, one of my mom’s sisters, was leaving us as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Barbara passed away in the beginning of November.  George came down for her funeral and talked with as many as he could in the family.  He still called my mom “Kid”.

While visiting with my mom over their sister’s funeral, he had shared that he had no regrets and he was thankful for his life experiences over his many years.  George passed away this past Thanksgiving.  Knowing he was content with the life he led brought peace to many in our family.  The funeral, I was told, was a true celebration of his life.  He would have liked the party, my mom said.  There were many toasts to George and all the joy he brought to people.

The uncles that used to gather at my parents house in the summer have all passed on.  My memories of them are filled with summer evenings filled with family, laughter and a healthy dose of BS.  I would like to think that they have reunited at the kitchen table in heaven to play cards.  I imagine St. Peter, St Jude or St. Balthasar shaking their heads, wondering who let these clowns in anyway, as they curse at each other, deal cards, smoke and drink their Pabst Blue Ribbon.

To George! With love, Erickson

So the Question Is…

Jaybird has lost a tooth.  One of the molars, you know, the biggies toward the back of her mouth.  We were expecting it, as the orthodontist that put on her braces told us that she still had some baby teeth to lose.  She had told me that it was loose, but I didn’t really pay much attention.

She came home from school (yesterday? two days ago?) with her tooth in a napkin.  She showed me the lost tooth, placed the paper towel-wrapped tooth on the breakfast bar.  The tooth fairy did not leave her any money that night, as the tooth was not under her pillow. A few days (1? 2?) passed and she still had the tissue with tooth tucked into the corner on the breakfast bar.

Then came the day that I cleaned the kitchen.  I threw out the folded paper towel that had been sitting on the breakfast bar for far too long.  I swept, scrubbed and mopped.  The kids returned from school and Jaybird starting looking around in the kitchen.  I asked her what she wanted, as this is unusual.  Usually the kids run to the pantry as soon as they arrive home.  Apparently there is some kind of food shortage a few kilometers away at their school which causes them to be ravenous wolves by 3:45pm each weekday.  But I digress.  She told me she was looking for the paper towel that had been sitting on the counter.  She was going to put it next to her bed at that precise moment so not to forget again and miss out on the money from the tooth fairy.

Moment of truth.  I have mentioned before that I sometimes will tell a little white lie to my kids.  What to do here?  Bloody hell.  She is twelve years old.  I turned to her with a very serious look and quiet voice.

“Jaybird, do you still believe in the tooth fairy?”  I asked.  She smiled and whispered, “no.”  I smiled back at her, gave her the money for her tooth, and told her to keep this whole thing a secret.  She is now a conspirator.  I followed up with a “Is there anything else you would like to ask me about?  Anything you may or may not believe in?”  I was on a roll and to be honest, about done with the upcoming Christmas charade that we parents play.  I was ready to deal with the “Santa Question” as well.  But nothing.  She had nothing further.

So the tooth fairy thing is almost done.  Santa Claus?  Another time, perhaps.

Fire, Family and KP

Summer

We were having cocktails and conversation with some friends on a clear summer evening.  The fire pit was crackling and the kids were chasing unsuspecting fireflies throughout the yard.  KP’s and my conversation flipped from work to husbands to in-laws to children to schools to politics and back to work.  I love conversations with KP.  Its like having ten conversations at once about entirely unrelated things but ultimately it comes full circle to Skinny Girl Margaritas (why she likes them and I do not) and our families.  KP and her husband Tony are parents to one son.  They would love to have more children, but had some fertility challenges with the first one and those challenges were multiplying as they attempted to have another child.  KP was frustrated with unsuccessful IVF attempts.  She and her husband did not think that international adoption was for them.  But they had so much love to give and wanted another child to complete their family.

“You may think this sounds crazy, but I know my daughter is out there.  I could pick her out of a crowd.  She has ringlet curls and beautiful ebony skin.  She doesn’t look like me, and I may not have given birth to her but she is my daughter.  I am going to find her, I can feel it in my bones .”

Perhaps it was the margaritas, or the fire, or a full summer moon, but I did not think it sounded crazy.  I remember Rosie O’Donnell once explaining adoption.  She said it is when a child is born to someone and God says, “what the heck? that’s not right,” so God goes about the process of finding the forever family for that child.  And it is made right.  (OKay, I know, total pie in the sky and it is way more complicated but that is how Rosie explained it to a kid.)  I do believe that when you decide that your family should be more than you and your partner that things usually happen the way they should.  I did not think that I would ever be the mother of three.  Yet, here I am.  We decided that we wanted to have children and were lucky enough that they all came.  Although it was not always smooth sailing, (see Jaybird’s Birthday), I would not change a thing.  Our family is complete with the five of us.  KP, her husband and son were not a complete family.  Not yet.

Fall

All set to be foster parents, their house ready, KP and family are ready to take in a child or children that need a home.  Well, KP and her husband were ready.  Their son, then six years old, was with them in spirit, but had no clue as to what he had agreed to.  His world was about to change forever.  A call came that there was a little girl, about 15 months old, that needed a loving home.  KP and company jumped at the opportunity.  This beautiful, vivacious little girl showed up at the their door.  Within one day she was calling KP “Momma” and was a dream.  Again, the 6 YO boy was not so sure; eventually this little girl won his heart.  She was healthy, strong in spirit and good-natured.  Within three days her “foster-brother” was reading her bedtime stories and singing to her.  KP and family made their intentions known over the next few months.  They would like to adopt this little girl with the flawless ebony skin and ringlet curls. 

The Next Fall 

I saw the countdown on Facebook.  It is official.  KP is expecting! It is 10 days, then 9, and so on until the adoption is official.  KP and her family have welcomed a new girl into their home forever.  The pictures of the day exemplify love, family, commitment.  So many family and friends came to celebrate this family going from three to four (officially) that I felt love just oozing out of my screen.  KP’s family is living proof that when it comes to family, there is no black or white, just love, respect and kindness.  Their family is an inspiration.

When we choose to commit our lives to another person we start a spiral of decisions.  Sometimes we decide that we would like to welcome children into the mix.  Sometimes we give birth to those children and sometimes not.  It does not matter.  What matters is that we love each other, respect each other and pray for each other.  This is family.

Congratulations, KP and family on your new addition!

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