Saturday, October 24, 2009
I know. I KNOW!! I haven't blogged in FOR-E-VER, FOR-E-VER, FOR-E-VER (just a little reference to the movie The Sandlot...sorry if you haven't seen it). Really, the only excuse that I have is it just takes too darn long to create a post if I want to include pictures. And we all know that I like me some pictures in my posts. Honestly, and I'm totally not exaggerating here, if I want to post more than 3 pictures, I can pretty much guarantee myself about 2 hours waiting for everything to upload. It is ridiculous. So, I just end up neglecting my blog. Which stinks, because I truly do enjoy writing it. I finally made the decision that I'm just going to have to be super picky about what pictures I post and to keep them to a minimum...even though that isn't as much fun...but, whatever.
Ok, on to the good stuff. A Ben update! We are in the very final stages of waiting. We could get "the call" next week....or 6 weeks from now. I'm thinking it's probably closer to the 6 weeks though. The waiting is starting to become pretty difficult now because his room is very close to being finished and we have quite a few baby "items" thanks to a couple of wonderful baby showers that my mom had for us. Not only that, but Greg's co-workers are throwing us a shower next weekend and Greg's brother, Mike, is throwing us one the weekend after that, AND some friends of ours from church are throwing us one after that! We are so incredibly blessed to have such caring, supportive friends and family in our lives who share in our excitement and anticipation of Ben's arrival.
We received his most recent medical check up results via email yesterday. Looks like we're going to have a short little chunker on our hands :-) He is in the 75th percentile for weight (22.9 lbs) and between the 10th and 25th percentiles for height (28.2 inches). He is doing really well developmentally. Not walking yet, but he is pulling up to a standing position, so I'm sure walking is just around the corner. He just turned 10 months old earlier this month so he seems to be right on target, especially given the fact that he was born prematurely. Here is a pic from when he was 8 months old...
Now, you're probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with Ben. The answer to that is...nothing. The title was inspired by an event that occurred on a recent trip to Colorado. Greg and I went on a 5 day trip to Denver last month. One of the days we were there, we decided to visit the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we decided to be "at one" with nature by going on a hike. We were about half way through our hike when Greg noticed a pile of poop that he swore was left by a mountain lion. I disagreed. An argument ensued. It went something like this.....
Greg: Brooke, come look at this, I'm pretty sure it's mountain lion scat.
Brooke: That is NOT mountain lion scat. It just looks like dog poop. Mountain lion poop would be huge.
Greg (grabbing a stick and poking at the pile of poop): NO, this is NOT dog poop. Dogs don't eat rocks. Look at that, there are rocks in there.
Brooke: Those rocks are probably from the ground. And why would a mountain lion eat rocks???
Greg: Oh my Gosh. There's a NOSE in there. It's a DOG nose!!! Look at that!!! Now do you think it's dog poop??
Brooke (getting uncomfortably close to the pile of poop): Holy crap! That IS a dog nose!! I can't believe it.
Brooke: Give me that stick!
I then proceed to poke around at the "nose" to completely separate it from the poop (there's a sentence I never thought I'd type), only to turn the "nose" over and see that it had a plastic piece on the back that is commonly used to sew on to a stuffed animal. Yes, it was a stuffed animal nose. And we were looking at dog poop. Or, if you are Greg, you are convinced it was the poop of a mountain lion who ate a child AND his stuffed animal.
What can I say, we live exciting lives.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
And I also really wanted to post this song video. I hear this song a lot on the Christian radio channel I listen to and I just love it. Once you listen to it, I recommend looking up the lyrics online and then listen to it again. It's such a beautiful song. And so, so true. One thing though...before you play the video, you'll need to click the pause button on the music that automatically plays on my blog. Otherwise, both will play at once and you'll want to poke your eyeballs out.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Before I give you the details on Ben (we are naming him Benjamin), I need to give you a little background on how this all came about. When we first began the adoption process last October, we chose Nepal as the country we wanted to adopt from. Then, that kind of fell through because of political instability in that country, so our agency let us switch to Thailand. However, they also let us put our names on the "waiting child" list in South Korea at the same time. Then, whichever country matched us with a child first would be the country we would adopt from.
The waiting child program in Korea is for children who aren't completely healthy when they are born. South Korea is extremely picky on what they consider completely healthy. If a child had low birth weight or was premature but otherwise healthy, they would go on Korea's "waiting child" list as opposed to their standard program. The good thing about the waiting child program is that prospective adoptive parents can choose exactly what conditions we are open to. We marked what conditions we would be open to on their form and really didn't think much of it after that. We weren't open to much. Just a few minor/correctable conditions. So, we really didn't think we'd ever be matched with a watiting child from Korea before we heard from Thailand.
Boy, we were wrong. Just 3-4 short months after we put our name on the list, we were contacted by our agency on June 12 and asked if we would review the file of a 6 month old baby boy from South Korea. After they told us a little about his medical "conditions" we agreed to look at his file. They emailed us a couple of pictures, along with a detailed doctor report for every month of his life after he was born.
We had a pediatrician in Omaha (who specializes in children that are adopted internationally) look at his file to get his opinion on his condition. The doctor had very positive things to say. Although Ben was born prematurely and had low birth weight, he has grown extremely well in the past few months and is currently in the 25-50 percentile in height & weight and was at a 5-6 month developmental level at is 6 month doctor visit. Wonderful news! Also, he has a minor thyroid condition that he is currently on medicine for, but the doctor said the condition he has is almost always temporary and most babies are completely weaned off the medication by the age of 1 year. Even if it turns out to be a life long condition (which is highly unlikely) he would just have to continue to take medication. No biggie. Well, after the doctor gave us his opinion, we quickly contacted our agency and said "YES"!!!!
We've had to wait to post this news until we had Ben's legal papers in hand. That is the point at which it's basically considered a "sure thing". Now, we just have to wait another 4 to 6 months and he will be home!! South Korea gives the option to either travel there or have an escort bring him over. We flip-flopped many times and it was a VERY difficult decision, but we decided to go the escort route. We would have loved to go to South Korea and meet Ben's foster parents (babies in South Korea don't live in orphanages, they live in foster homes). However, with all the instability with North Korea in recent months, we decided it best to have the escort bring Ben here.
So, that's the big news! We couldn't be more thrilled. I still don't think it has completely sunken in for either of us. It just doesn't seem real. We praise God for getting us through all these challenging years of trying to have kids. We prayed that He would join us with the child He has chosen for us and we are so thankful for His answered prayers. Also, we are so thankful for all of you...our family and friends...for supporting us and being there for us over the years. We are truly, truly blessed! We can't wait for Ben to come home and to introduce him to all of you!
I'll keep you updated as we know more.
Greg and Brooke
Monday, July 20, 2009
Over the last few weeks we've spent time preparing for and going on a missions trip to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Our small group from church coordinated the trip for ourselves and several high school students that also go to our church. There were 8 adults and 11 youth total. The Rosebud reservation is a large reservation in the southern part of South Dakota. We stayed and worked specifically in the town of Parmelee for the whole 5 days we were there. And it was quite an eye opener to say the least. This is going to be a long post, but I really want to share our experience.....
Parmelee is a very, very poor community. The entire town consists of about two streets and has a population of around 700. It is quite common for them to have 15-20 people living in the same house together. And the houses are small. Most of them have no air conditioning and some don't even have running water. It was hard to believe we were still in the United States. The town looked like part of third world country. We stayed in a run-down community center that had no air conditioning. Luckily, they had two working bathrooms and each one had a shower. That was a relief! Our purpose for going was to put on a vacation bible school for the kids in the community. Beyond that, we were there to just hang out with them and help out with whatever we could such as fixing things around the community center.
When we first got there, kids from the community ran over immediately. Several groups visit the reservation each year, so they know that when vans or large vehicles pulling trailers show up at the community center, people are there to play with them. And they get soooo excited! It was shocking how young some the kids were that would just wander over by themselves. There were a couple of three year olds and a few four year olds that came every day. Their parents never escorted them anywhere. Unfortunately, that's how it is there. Many of the adults in the community have alcohol problems and a few of the kids told us that their parents would hit them. It was very sad. Many of the children showed up in the same clothes day after day. One little boy wore the same outfit the whole time we were there....even though he had vomited on his clothes one evening after dinner. On our last day there, we decided enough was enough. A few of the guys from our group washed him and we found some donated clothes in the community center for him.
The kids from the community were just amazing. Most of them were so sweet and just wanted someone to give them love. They would run up and give hugs and kisses and would hold our hands. They just wanted to spend time with us. They seemed to really enjoy the vacation bible school activities too. On our final day there, they kept requesting to sing more and more worship songs. On the first day, we sang 3 and on the last day, we ended up singing 10!! They just loved it. It was a joy to watch them sing about Jesus and dance around with huge smiles on their faces.
One morning, we decided to take a break for a couple of hours and venture outside of Parmelee to check out some other places on the reservation. We went to an Indian artifact museum and, while we were there, we were invited to attend a nearby pow wow. We were a little apprehensive about going because we weren't sure if we'd be welcomed or not, but we decided to go anyway. We were so glad we did. They couldn't have been more welcoming. A few guys came up to our group and introduced themselves and one of them asked if we'd like to participate in "grand entry" part of the pow wow. The grand entry involved several adults and children from the community dressed in their native clothing. They entered the main circle two by two and made their way around the entire circle while performing native dances. We got to walk in behind them and make our way around the circle as well (we didn't dance though). It was incredibly cool. A great experience!
Something else we got to do that was unexpected was attend a church service in Parmelee. One of the older kids that had been coming to the community center every day invited us to come with him to church. Several of the kids came with us. It was a tiny little church and we were crammed in like sardines but it was wonderful. I don't get "choked up" over a lot of things, but I was just overcome with emotion at the church service and had to fight back the tears. I was just so happy to be there in that moment. That may have been one of my favorite parts of the trip.
When it came time to leave it was extremely difficult. All of us had formed bonds with the children that none of us had expected. The youth from our church had the hardest time with it. They were all bawling when we had to leave. It was so hard knowing what kind of an environment we were leaving them in. And the looks on their faces when we told them we had to go was heart-breaking. One little boy I had hung out with quite a bit asked me to play a game with him a few minutes before we were leaving. I had to tell him "no" because we had to leave but that if he asked one of the other kids to play, I'm sure they would. He just looked up at me with the saddest face and said "but I want to play with you". Ugh....I felt TERRIBLE!!!
Before we headed back to Lincoln, we spent a night in Sparks, Nebraska where we did a debriefing session. We also had some fun time and went tubing down the Niobrara River. That was a riot. A couple of the high school boys from our group decided they were "pirates" and jumped into the river and ambushed many of us on our rafts. It was pretty funny. I'm not so sure the high school girls found it as funny though.
Whew, so that was our first experience with mission work. It was emotionally and physically draining, but it was so worth it. We feel so blessed that we were given the opportunity to go to Parmelee and spend time with the children there. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera on the trip so I don't have any pictures that I can post on here, but if you're on Facebook there are a few pictures that some of the others from our group shared with me that you can see in my Facebook photos. Our group plans to go back to Parmelee. We would love to go with them, but it will all depend on where we're at with the adoption.
Speaking of the adoption....we have some news, but can't quite share it yet. I know, you probably want to hit me for leaving you hanging like that, but check back in a week or so and we'll have the details!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Anyhoo...we recently returned from yet another trip to Vegas. I know, I know…we go there a lot (this is our 3rd time in the last 10 months…it’s possible we may have a problem). As usual, a good time was had by all (at least, I hope). This time, the party crew included Matt & Kelly Reynolds, Michael and Keri Roper , Heather Reynolds and her boyfriend, Rob, Mike Reynolds, Greg’s cousin Katie and her hubby Brian, and Greg’s uncle Dick and aunt Cindy. Oh yes, it was quite a crew.
We stayed at the Flamingo this time and I’ll admit I was a little wary of it at first because of the outside appearance. However, I was pleasantly surprised by our room (you’ll see pics in a minute). Plus, the location on the strip was great and the pool was pretty decent. And the price was unbeatable.
Here are some pics of our room:
The very large T.V....
Kelly, me, Heather.....
Dick, Brian, Katie and Cindy.....
Our second night there, we ate dinner at "Nine Fine Irishmen" at New York, New York. Here we are after dinner.....
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I have to admit, I was really nervous the morning of the race. Which is just stupid because it wasn't like I was off to perform brain surgery or something. All I had to do was put on my Ipod and run for a while with 6,499 other masochists. Big whoop, right? Well, although I had been training for several weeks, I hadn't really been following the training plan as closely as I should have. The longest run I had ever completed was the weekend prior to the half-marathon and that was 10 miles. I was pretty scared I wouldn't be able to squeeze an extra 3.1 miles out of myself on race day. Here I am before we left for the race....
So here is how the day played out....
The race started and ended on UNL's campus in front of the football stadium. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was a cool 55 degrees at the start and around 60 or so by finish. All runners (marathoners and half-marathoners) had to line up according to "projected pace" by 6:45am. Apparently this was a record-setting year for number of participants. It was sheer craziness.
So, I lined up at the end of the 8 minute / beginning of 9 minute pace area and said a quick prayer....please, God, don't let me be "that guy". You know, the one who collapses and winds up on the 6:00 news. Oh and by the way, my wonderful hubby not only got up super early on a Sunday to drive me to the race and see me off, but he stayed for the entire race and took pictures. And ate his weight in the various breakfast items that were offered there.
Here I am on my way to line up...
And on my way to the finish line....
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Yesterday, I participated in a local 10k race. A 10k is 6.2 miles so I was a little nervous since I'm pretty new to this whole running thing. It had been raining pretty steadily right up until the start of the race but we lucked out because it stopped just before the race began. The 10k race usually brings out a lot of competitive runners, so my goal was just to finish in the upper half. I was very pleased when I came in 195th out of 470 runners. My time was 53:22 for an average pace of 8:36 per mile. This pace was even better than my 5k time from a couple of weeks ago, so I was really proud of myself. I will admit though that I am feeling it today. Here is a pic Greg took of me right before the race. You will notice that Jackson always manages to make his way into my running photos.
At the race, I noticed a woman there who lives in our neighborhood. Not only does she live in our neighborhood, but she also goes to the same gym as me and we have taken a few of the same classes there as well. I've never met her before, but since I see her everywhere and since she appears to be around my age, I figured I'd introduce myself after the race. Unfortunately, the conversation didn't quite play out as I had hoped. Here is how it went....
Me: Hi, I just thought I'd introduce myself because I think we live in the same neighborhood and go to the same gym. Do you live in Parker's Landing?
Neighbor lady (smiling): Yes, I do! I live on 79th and Hunter's Ridge.
Me: Yeah, I know. I live on Nob Hill. My name is Brooke.
Neighbor lady: I'm neighbor lady, nice to meet you. So, do you know Chris & Jessica Such and Such?
Me: Uh, no.
Neighbor lady: How about Rick and Christy So and So?
Me: Hmm. No, I don't think so.
***About this time, neighbor lady's friend, who is standing right beside her, asks "Where exactly on Nob Hill do you live?" Only, she didn't say it in a manner of curiosity, but more like she didn't believe me.***
Me (nervously): Ummm, well, it's at the end of one of the cul-de sacs (note: there are about 5 cul-de-sacs on Nob Hill) but I can't remember the name of the cul-de-sac. Actually, you and I have the exact same house but yours is made of stucco and mine is made of brick (just as those words leave me lips, I think..too much, Brooke, too much).
***about this time, neighbor lady is looking at me like I just might be a crazy person who is planning to break into her house and kill her***
Neighbor lady: Oh, okay. Well, um, maybe we can go running together sometime.
Me: Yeah, definitely. Well, anyways, I just wanted to say hi so.....it was nice meeting you.
Neighbor lady(looking sideways at her friend and smirking): Uh huh.
Ok, so that was my version of the conversation. I'm sure neighbor lady's version of the conversation included me saying "Hi, I'm Brooke. Nice to stalk you."
After the conversation I walked slowly away with a "deer in headlights" look thinking "what just happened???" Then I ambled over to the food area for no apparent reason, at which point I decided... Time. To. Go.
As I started the long walk to back to my car, all I could do was replay in my mind one of the famous Chris Farley skits from Saturday Night Live..."Dangit...That sounded so stupid!!". About that time, I saw someone running at me, pretending like they were some sort of "bird of prey". It was Greg. He had come to watch me cross the finish line. And although the eagle/falcon/hawk scene would have been embarassing under normal circumstances, I was just too shaken up to care.
So, I proceed to share with Greg that I introduced myself to neighbor lady. He says, "that's great...I'm proud of you". I was starting to feel better about myself, like maybe it wasn't so bad after all. That is, until I re-enacted the conversation to Greg, at which point he lets out a muffled laugh and says "Okay, stalker".
Great. Guess I'll be finding a new place to walk the dog.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
We had such a wonderful, relaxing time. We spent our days hot tubbing.......
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Hey there everyone!
Well, this morning I decided to participate in the State Farm 5K run. I'm pretty sure I got the bright idea to sign up for it during one of the beautiful, sunny, 70 degree days we had a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I was none too happy when I finally realized that I would have to run the race in "less than favorable" conditions.
I must say that we are extremely lucky that we haven't been hit with the ridiculous snow storm that has recently plagued the Dakotas and Kansas (those states are our neighbors to the immediate north and south in case you're not up on your Nebraska geography). However, we did not escape the bitter cold and wind. This morning, at the time of the race, it was 25 degrees with 20 mph winds (it felt like 12 degrees with that wind...at least that's what the weather channel told me). Ok, now that is COLD, people. And I don't do cold. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I ran in the cold it was the winter of 1995 and I was running with my friends from our sorority house to whatever frat house was having a party that night.
But, I decided to suck it up and run the race. And, given the fact that it was insanely cold, windy and I was weighed down with about 5 extra layers of clothes, I didn't do as badly as I thought I would. I'm not positive of my exact time, but I think it was somewhere between 27:10 and 27:15 for an average pace of 8:47 per mile (UPDATE: I just got my official time and it was actually 26:52 for an average pace of 8:39 per mile.. WOO HOO!!!) . That may sound slow to some of you who are runners, but I probably should have prefaced this whole story with the fact that I have always been a very bad runner. I'm good at most forms of exercise, but definitely not running. So I was pretty happy with my time.
My next race is the Novartis 10K on April 18th and after that, I'm doing the Lincoln Half-Marathon in early May. Yes, I just may be off my rocker.
Here are some humorous photos taken this morning right before I left for the race:Above: Rocky Balboa??