Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wearing Camisoles in the Rain

Time for some more upbeat stuff. First, we're refinancing our house. Yay! 2.25% lower than what we're out now. So that's cool. The paperwork sucks though. I'm procrastinating right now.

And here's my funny story. I love my husband (duh!). He is just so much fun. He is pretty fashion savvy (when he wants ot be).

The other day we were making dinner in the kitchen and he said out of the blue--and very proudly--"I'm wearing my camisole today."

Before I could ask, he corrected himself. "No, wait. What is this?" He pointed to his sweater.

"Cashmere," I told him.

"Yeah, cashmere. A camisole is an umbrella."

I returned an incredulous stare.

"Nevermind. That's a parasol. I don't wear camisoles."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Essay Contest on Infertility

I know I've had a lot of depressing posts lately and I promise more cheerful stuff soon. But, I wanted to post this essay I wrote and entered into an infertility/adoption writing contest. So here goes...

By Lara Zierke

Seventy-six times.

I think of all the baby dolls I had a child. I rocked and swaddled them. I fed them and burped them. Even changed them when they were wet. Where are those babies now? Between garage sales and donations to D.I., I have no idea. They probably lay somewhere gathering grime, their plastic eyes dull with the film of time.

Seventy-six times. And next week will be seventy-seven.

I never planned on marrying young. I’d seen enough girls in my town marry young, have kids right away, and just seem to lose themselves. I didn’t want that to be me. But life has a way of surprising you, and I said “I do” at nineteen. We wouldn’t have kids right away. None of this nonsense where a daddy of four kids is still trudging through his undergrad degree. We’d finish school. We’d get real jobs. We’d travel. We’d have a nice place to live. We’d have some mileage behind us before we started adding to the mix.

When my friends and family had kids and struggled, I felt empowered by my choice. I felt smart. When we had a baby, we wouldn’t be on WIC. We wouldn’t be on Medicaid. We wouldn’t be restricted to a shoddy college apartment with questionable carpet. No, we’d have a yard and sidewalks and swing sets. We’d have the nicest things—all brand new—and a perfectly decorated nursery because we’d wait. Aside from offering material security, there’d be the emotional security too. We’d be mature adults. Secure in our marriage. Established. Confident. Ready.

Seventy-six times now. We probably weren’t ready at number one. In fact, for me, I probably didn’t get to “ready” until thirty.

It’s always a leap of faith. Try number one. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It’s the most romantic moment of your life. And then it turns into a mediocre movie with too much hype—anticlimactic. An ending that doesn’t fit with the buildup.

There were two years of casual trying. Of not preventing. Then there were the distant, blurry thoughts of wondering “if.” But those thoughts were never focused. Because the trying was only casual. And we kept it casual. We were happy. We enjoyed our coupledom. Travel. Dual incomes. Homeownership. Dog ownership. So for two more years we kept it casual—but not really. Somehow, little circles and numbers made their way to the calendar. And finally, there was a doctor’s appointment. And surgery. And tests. Procedures. Hormones. Pills. Syringes. Stirrups. Scars, pain, and empty promises.

Seventy-six times now. Seventy-six negative pregnancy tests lying somewhere gathering grime, the little pink line dulled by the film of time. It’s the only number I can count. The only number I can wrap my head around. I can’t estimate the tears that have dried and flaked away, the sobs heaved, the prayers prayed, the nights un-slept, and onesies bought and boxed away. So I count the times my heart has broken.

Next week will be seventy-seven.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quiz Time!

Hello friends.
Look to the right and you'll see a bunch of polls. I need your answers to become the bestest mom ever!

Narrated Slide Show by a Birth Mom

A story of the beauty of a birth mother. Natasha, thanks for sharing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Empty Things Inside

It's so cold
My hand on this bed where you should be
Like rain, like frost, like ice
My palms against my ears
But I can't help but hear
the sound of hollow
Filling all the cracks in sight
It fills this room, this empty room
The empty bed and my empty head
And all the empty things inside

Why don't I deserve you?
Why do you never come?
You give your promise time after time
And yet you never come

And they're so cold
These arms that should be holding you
Like rain, like frost, like ice
I can't escape the hollow
The din that smears my will to fight
It fills this room, this empty room
The empty bed and my empty head
And all the empty things inside

-L.N.H. 3/26/09-

Save the Streamers...

It's impossible not to get excited. It's impossible not to hope. And I think it's wrong to reign in the emotions. It can be painful--and maybe dramatic (and I am nothing save dramatic)--but I believe in fully emerging myself in the emotion of the moment.

Last Wednesday, our adoption agency in Utah called and told us about a birth mom they wanted to show our profile to. They gave us all the details and told us to think about it for awhile and call them back. I had missed one call from them earlier. I saved the message on my cell phone. If this really was the story of our baby, I wanted to save everything. I saved the scribblings about the birth mom even though those scribbles were intermixed from work scribbles. It would be a sacred thing treasured for eternity. After I got off the phone, I ran and told my friends. They were so pumped! Then they reminded me to tell my husband. I called my hubby and told him. He was very logical on the phone, very unemotional. He was protecting himself, I could tell.

I was useless at work for the rest of the day. I was excited and anxious and scared. I had a bout of anxiety because there were a couple things about this situation I wasn't thrilled about (for example, the birth mom wanted a closed adoption). But driving home from work, I was thrilled again. We only had a few hours to make sure we were good with this scenario. As soon as I got home, I grabbed my husband. We knelt down and prayed for guidance and answers. Then we hopped in the car and drove to Kohl's because they were having a sale. We bought onesies. We made sure they were gender-neutral even though this particular baby was a boy. We knew that everything was still up in the air.

I debated whether or not I should tell my family. Justin said no. Said we should wait until we are chosen. I agreed. For about 30 minutes. Then I called everyone! And I sent an email too.

I was getting more and more anxious by the minute. I had a weird stomach ache. I cooked dinner and didn't eat a single bite. I was supposed to call the agency that night, but I just couldn't. I needed more time.

I talked to God all night. I needed an answer. Rush delivery on an answered prayer, please. I'll pay extra postage! I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned. I got up an hour and half early. I called the agency and told them they could show our profile. I still was feeling very anxious and I was beginning to think it was an answer to my prayers. In fact, I knew that before I called the agency back. But I figured it didn't hurt to have the agency show our profile. If the birth mom happened to choose us, I could address these feelings then. I needed more time. It's ludicrous to think that a huge, life-altering decision like this needs to be made in a matter of hours.

And we waited.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with my sister talking about her new baby and dreaming about mine. My cell phone rang and it was the agency. I didn't get to it in time, but they left a message. The birth mom wanted different profiles. She didn't like any that were shown to her. It was a blow. My anxiety had faded over the past couple days and I was getting excited. I called home. Justin seemed to take the news well, but when I got home from work, he was so grouchy and snippy. Bitter. He has a harder time with this than I do. We comforted each other and talked of God's plan. We bought a tub of maple nut ice cream, curled up with a couple spoons and watched Veronica Mars and binged.

Last night I sent out an email to my family and friends who knew we were waiting. So many people sent back beautiful intimate thoughts. I especially liked this thought from Jamie:

The children you will raise on earth and be sealed to throughout eternity are being very carefully selected. Heavenly Father is guiding this entire process and He does not make mistakes.

How true! I can take comfort in the fact that my family is being put together like a puzzle, with every piece of it deliberate and inspired. (I know it's silly to think that my family is the only inspired, destined one, but since everything with adoption is so deliberate it feels that way). And Jamie is right. My children are being carefully selected. I will know when it's right. My heart will sing and finally, our family will be whole.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two Things

I've had a couple people ask me how to create a signature for their blog. I'll get to that in a second. First, I want to ask you all for your help.

I've just joined a fundraising program to help with our adoption expenses. The great thing about this program is that it is FREE and pretty much hassle free. The program is called One Cause and they have teamed up with a bunch of merchants who pledge to donate a certain percentage of the purchase to the National Adoption Foundation. Whatever amount the National Adoption Foundation gets, I get 50% of that in the form of a grant to help with my costs. So, how can you help? You just have to shop. Easy, right? There are hundreds of merchants that participate. If I had only known about this a month ago, I could've had contributions from Turbo Tax, Walmart.com, Target.com, Expedia, Netflix, and more. So, you can shop online through the One Cause site with any of these merchants to help us raise money. Better yet, you can register your debit and credit cards so that "brick-and-mortar" merchants who participate in the program will also donate. (Another option is to apply for their Visa card which automatically contributes to the cause no matter where your purchase is made. But that's only if you really want to have another nasty credit card around.)

So here's how to start helping us. Go to OneCause.com and click "Join" in the top right corner. Fill out the info. When it asks for the cause, type in National Adoption Foundation. Once you're all set up, click "My Home". On the left in a box titled My Profile Settings click on "Supporter Crediting." Check the box to enable this and enter this email address: justinandlara@gmail.com. In the same My Profile Settings box, click Credit/Debit Cards and register all your cards. You can shop online through this site to get contributions and anytime you use your debit or credit card at a participating merchant in real life, the contribution will still go through. Again, we get HALF of all contributions as a grant to fund our adoption expenses and it is FREE TO YOU!

Please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE sign up and help us. Hit up your friends and family. Take 3 minutes and register your debit/credit card and never think of it again. With enough people, this can really make a world of difference to us and it doesn't cost you a thing.
Shop through OneCause Now Shop Now to Support
National Adoption Foundation

Okay. Onto the signature line. I created my signature with this program called My Live Signature. I just used their stock fonts but you can attempt to create your own signature using your mouse or even scan one in. Once you've created the signature, the program will give you a block of HTML code. Copy the code. Go to customize your blog. Click the "Settings" tab. Click "formatting". Scroll all the way to the bottom and paste the code in the "Post Template" box and save it. Voila! Just make sure when you do future posts, you do your writing above the signature code or else your signature will appear at the top of the post instead of the bottom. Now you have a cutie signature!

Trying something out...

Ah, look at my new pretty signature. Fun!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Expecting (But Not Pregnant)

photo courtesy of flickr

So my mom often says she's expecting a grandbaby (or it was two grandbaby's before Audrey was born) and I am always confused who is expecting. She reminds me that it's me. Since I am on an adoption wait-list, it's basically like being an expectant mother.

We don't have a lot of news with the adoption proceedings. Our agency (which is in Idaho and Oregon) has teamed up with an agency in Sandy, Utah. This agency in Utah has a pretty fast placement rate as they work with mothers all across the country. They are more expensive and they offer the birth moms a lot more, so I think that's why they have a higher placement rate. They're average wait time is about 4 months, so I am hopeful to be a mom before the end of summer. I am greedily hoping to be on maternity leave and get out of a nasty business trip in August. :o)

So, anyway, I have to keep reminding myself that I am expecting a baby and I need to get baby stuff. For the past few months I've kept an eye on Craigslist for good deals on baby gear. My biggest problem is that I don't have any clue what is important in choosing stuff like cribs, car seats, playards, etc. So I want advice from anyone, please. Like I've heard to get a crib with metal hardware instead of plastic pieces that can break, or to get carseats with longer crotch straps so you don't pinch the baby's thighs. Any other tips? What's worth spending money on? What has made life easier? What has made it worse? Thanks!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best Basketball Game Ever

Back in February, Justin and I went to Salt Lake for a fun visit with my sister Stephanie. We stayed up way late talking into the wee hours every night. We watched the twins play a basketball game. We went to a very fun swimming pool/park. And The adults went on a double date to delicious Market Street Grill and Desert Star Theater to the show "Home School Musical." It was a very fun weekend.

The boys were very funny about their basketball game. When Mason found out that Justin and I were coming to watch, he told his dad he would try extra hard to make a basket. Well, he got his wish! Jonah and Mason BOTH scored baskets. In fact, they were the first two baskets scored by their team, and their team had a total of 3 baskets. So the Frederick brothers are truly the team's MVPs. They are very good players. They always kept on their guy from the other team and knew how to block. They were really good about switching from defense to offense and getting open. And obviously, they were great at scoring points! Here are some pictures from the game.

Mason is #15 and Jonah is #13.

Mason checks his options before a flawless pass.

Jonah steals the ball from the other team.

Mason passes the ball to Jonah.

Before leaving Sunday we took a drive and saw the new Draper Temple and the new Oqquirrh Mountain Temple

Draper Utah Temple

Oqquirrh Mountain Temple

Tuna Sandwich

On occasion, my niece Afton will spend a Friday night at my house. We always enjoy having her. She is so much fun and she is so good. We've had shopping sprees, tea parties, and Barbie movie marathons. I watched her a couple weeks ago and she saw a television program where some kids made tuna fish sandwiches shaped like fish. She said she had never had a tuna sandwich and wanted to do that. So for lunch, I helped her make the tuna mix and then I cut her sandwich into a fish shape. She loved it. The picture shows her with her lunch on Uncle Justin's special Superman plate.

Monday, March 9, 2009

HBO's Big Love

On Sunday March 15th, the HBO show Big Love is showing an episode containing an LDS excommunication as well as temple ceremonies.They hired an ex-member to help re-create the ceremony, rooms, and clothing.
I've never watched an episode of Big Love on HBO. First of all, I don't have HBO. Secondly, it's really not my kind of show. This is how HBO describes the show:

At first glance, Bill Henrickson seems to lead a typical suburban life. A hard-working husband and father of seven, this Salt Lake City native tries to find enough time for his family while overseeing the expansion of his successful home-improvement business. But Bill is also a polygamist and with three wives and three homes to maintain, his life is anything but ordinary.

Apparently Bill and his main wife are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they keep their unconventional polygamy secret from the Church and their neighbors. It's a very popular show. It's interesting to see how vested viewers and how they use words like "sealing" and "ordinance."

I just learned today that an upcoming episode of Big Love will show things that happen in the LDS temple. An ex-member of the church helped the writers and producers to very realistically duplicate clothing, ceremonies, and sets. There's even a picture in the latest TV guide of a woman in the "temple" in her special clothing. This whole thing bothers me. There is no way that HBO doesn't realize how deeply troubling and even offensive this is to true members of the LDS faith, yet it's controversial so it's good TV.
If you feel so inclined, here is a link where you can write a message to HBO. However, I bet they're loving every enraged comment they get. Their viewers aren't LDS. They don't care that they offend us. In fact, our outrage is probably getting them higher ratings. Still...it is just frustrating. I know that ceremonial things are available on YouTube. I know that patterns of our sacred clothing can be found all over the internet. I know that the LDS church and its fundamentalist off-shoots have been pictured on everything from CSI to The Simpsons.

This story was posted on the comments of this LDS blog. I find it inspiring. It is from the book Go Forward with Faith.

President (then Elder) Hinkley and his wife Marjorie left for Switzerland to prepare for the dedication of the Temple there. He had the Temple film in 2 small drums in a suitcase. Of course the protection of such sacred film and audio were first in Elder Hinkley’s mind. When they arrived in Bozel (?) the customs agent asked what was in the Drums. Elder Hinkley replied “Church film and lectures”. He was told they could not let the film through customs without the approval of the Federal Film Board. The film was to be transported to Behm (?) where they would be reviewed by the board and returned in 2 days. He tried to argue, but didn’t want to cause any undue attention to the film, so he gave them to the agent.

The next day Elder Hinkley and the Swiss-Austria mission President fasted and pled with the Lord to keep the sacred film out of other’s hands. Early Monday they reported to customs to pick up the film. There they were asked a series of questions about the film. As the agent listened to Elder Hinkley’s explanation of what the film was, he became quite understanding and unusually cooperative. He stamped the papers needed to take the film on to the Temple, and not a single frame of the film was ever watched by anyone on the film board, or anyone outside of the Temple and the audio was not listened to either.

Our world is in a sad state if popular television has come to this. But it doesn't affect me and it won't really affect the Church. It is frustrating and sickening. Just like so many other things in this world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pets are People Too

I now officially boycott any movie that shows a pet getting eaten by a monster.

Justin loves gory, cheesy, lame horror movies on the Sci-Fi channel. I often watch them with him because...well, there's no excuse. I just sometimes do. They have a specific formula. This often includes a brave, protective dog disobeying his master and being eaten by the baddie of the moment. There's also an unbroken rule about never showing violent things happening to children. It's just not done. This is a rule in "real" Hollywood movies as well. Which is fine. I'm not lobbying for violence against helpless, innocent beings. Which brings me to pet violence. Pets can be like children too.

Being childless, these are my babies. And I'm taking a stand against pet violence.

From The Zierkes

From The Zierkes

From The Zierkes


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