Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'ts December 28th in Korea...

And that means I have a 3 year old!

As I celebrate my son's birthday, I cannot help but to think of the woman who carried him for 9 months and the man who stood by her side. Did she hug her belly on Christmas Day knowing the child she carried would soon be born? Did they whisper secrets to their son? Did they know what joy they were bringing to our family by making such a huge sacrifice?

All this week I have been thinking about Jack's birthparents and what a difficult decision they made. Because of their hardship, Ian and I were able to become parents. I am grateful for their sacrifice and I hope that we will raise a son that all four of us will be proud of. So many days I think I do not deserve this wonderful child, and I am saddened that his first parents are not able to be with him and enjoy the son we share.
So as Jack turns 3, I wish for his birthparents to know how loved he is by us and for Jack to know how loved he is by all of us.
Saengil chuka haeyo, Seung Joon-ah!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!


As I sit and type I hear Jack in the bathtub saying, "Merry Christmas, Daddy!" He has been asking us everyday for about a week if it is Christmas yet. He also wanted to know if Santa was going to be staying at our house. I think he was disappointed to find out that Santa comes when he is sleeping and he wouldn't see him.

Jack has been quite excited about Christmas. We are doing our best to emphasize this is the celebration of the birth of Christ and Jack is understanding that his and Jesus's birthdays are very close together. When I took the picture of Jack on his big, big bulldozer (his request from Santa), instead of cheese or strawberries, Jack shouted "Jesus!" So something we are saying is getting through!

We hope that each of you has had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy 232nd Birthday, Marines!

As every Marine knows, the USMC birthday is fast approaching. Marines around the globe will celebrate together the beginnings of their beloved Corps. Here in our house, we celebrate too...but Little Marine style!



My Daddy, My Marine

Yes, Sir!

OOORAH!

To Marines near and far (especially Ben's Daddy), we salute you on this, your 232nd year of defending our nation's freedom.

Semper Fi!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pumpkins and the Cutest Skunk!

I just adore this age that Jack is at right now. He learns so quickly and everything is an adventure! His memory is really starting to develop and his imagination is going crazy. And did I mention cute? He is just the sweetest little guy...and reminds me that he is my little bunny (from The Runnaway Bunny).
Very few things are better for a little boy than squishing pumpkin guts!
We weren't even going to carve a pumpkin this year, but then I couldn't stand the thought of not having pictures for his scrapbook! Again, carving was done sans Ian, but Jack still had fun!
The pumpkin and the cutest skunk!
This fur is soft!

Eeeeew eee! What is that awful smell? You just got sprayed by the skunk!

Daddy, we hope that next year the Marine Corps will let you be home to take me trick or treating!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Help Daddy Dolls!


I have written about the power of our Daddy Doll before, it is one of Jack's favorite cuddly items. Now YOU have the power to help children who have lost a parent in war. Please help every child at Snowball Express 2007!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Perfect Mommy Moment


Jack has been a very active and talkative child recently. I have been barely able to keep up with him and as soon as he's awake he talks non-stop until he sleeps...even during meals and potty. The only quiet in my day is during naptime. Tonight as I was scooping food onto plates for dinner, this conversation took place:

Me: Jack, can you be quiet for 5 seconds?
Jack: Yup.
Me: (in a whisper to Ian) Wow, he can.
Jack: (after about 5 seconds) Mommy...?
Me: Yes, Jack.
Jack: Mommy, I love you.

My heart melts!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Laughter is the Best Medicine

You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything.~Stephen Colbert, Parade Magazine

When I started my journey through cancer, I was afraid...terrified even. My husband was in Iraq and I had cancer. A very treatable one, but the "C-word" nonetheless. The first few weeks after diagnosis were rough. I laughed very little and talked to very few people. When I was finally able to cope with having cancer it was freeing. I wasn't going to let this thing beat me, I wasn't going to let it take over my life. So send in the clowns!

I honestly think that my ability to deal with having cancer was because I tried to laugh through the whole thing. I couldn't put my finger on what it was about laughing at cancer that was so nice, until I read Parade Magazine this past weekend. There was an interesting story about Stephen Colbert, from The Colbert Report. I love the very last line in the story (the above quote), because you can't be afraid if you are laughing. I couldn't be afraid of cancer if I was always saying, "Na na na na boo boo!"

So I started trying to find ways to poke fun at cancer and find the humor in it. I now have many names for my scar: Pez-head, Zipper, my permanent smile, Cut-throat. Would I be like Spiderman after I received the radioactive iodine treatment? (Unfortunately I have not yet discovered any superpowers) Would I glow in the dark after said treatment? I was hoping for something fun, but nope. It has turned out that each time Ian has deployed he has returned early, because of me having cancer-related surgery (or being diagnosed), we are 3 for 3 with deployments and early returns. Hopefully we make it through an entire deployment sometime, but until then I'll enjoy my favorite joke, "Oh, go on that deployment, Honey, but I know exactly what to do to get you home early!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Signing on for Another 4

Yesterday Ian re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. He signed on for another 4 years plus the remainder of his current contract (which would have ended in April). So even though he'll deploy, he has a job for at leat 4 more years! There is nothing like job security, right?


Now that Ian has moved over to his squadron (VMFA 323), he had his ceremony in the hangar. It was pretty neat, I've neve been to a re-enlistment before and Jack LOVED seeing the jets up close.

It wasn't a long ceremony, mabye 10 mintues. There was a stack of paperwork for Ian to sign (I supposed enough to sign your life away) and even I was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation. It was the first time I was recognized by the Marine Corps. I felt pretty special too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Adoption

I love that our son joined our family through adoption. It was a long and sometimes difficult process, but at the end we were blessed with a miracle that God arranged over the whole Earth! When you meet other adoptive families, you instantly have this bond that no one outside the adoption community can understand. Whether your process was long or short, in the end what makes your family is love and not biology.

When we were waiting for our referral for Jack, I found a site especially for families adopting from Korea that were using the same agency as us. At first it was nice to know there were others who were struggling with the wait and were eager for our weekly updates from the program coordinator. The longer we waited, the more we leaned on each other for support and we became a family of sorts...an adoptive family. We each cheered and cried tears of joy for one another when we got our referrals and when our children we able to come home. It was so exciting to find out who got a referral or a travel call...and to find out who else was nesting like crazy! The site isn't as active as it was 2 years ago, but we still post pictures of our sweet children and enjoy sharing the challenges of parenthood.

One of my friends from the site has a dear friend who is waiting to adoption their second child. Because we are all a part of that adoption community, I volunteered to post their website on my blog...to cast their net out a little further. This couple has been networking for over a year now in search of a birthmother who desires to make an adoption plan for her child with little success. I hope my little blog can extend their network just a little more and help bring their family together forever.

http://brettandanneke.com/

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Finally....a new post!

It appears that I have been delinquent in posting on my blog...bad Mommavia. We have been busy here with the Terrible 2s showing up and a certain handsome boy not napping. That equals an exhausted Momma. I am terrified that he is kicking his afternoon nap...I love being with Jack, but it is nice to know that I have a couple hours of downtime every afternoon. I see that fading away...just like my baby.

Jack has started turning into a little boy, the baby Jack is almost gone. Part of it breaks my heart to see him grow up, but he really is a cheerful child and loves to laugh and make others laugh. He has been doing fantastic with using the potty. He only wears a diaper now at night and rarely has accidents. Each time he goes, he is so proud of himself...I guess it probably helps that I sing a special "potty song" each time, he gets a sticker for his poster, is allowed to choose what color M&M he eats, and gets a Matchbox car each 10 successes and a Curious George book at the end of an accident-free day. Potty training certainly can be expensive!

Now, for the pictures:

Making cookies with our friend Ben.

Enjoying the cookies!

At the zoo with Granpa L. We also went to Sea World when my Dad was here; it is unbelievable how much Jack loves animals of all kinds!

Jack' s new fish tank, he helps feed the fish.

Our spider...you can see the fly we threw in the web for him to eat. Russ & Jenni, do you remember feeding the spider at the Ranger Station? Ian thinks it's the same kind of spider.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Log on to MSNBC.com and Baby James!

I am off to Iowa Sunday for the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum. I pretty excited about this event...for the first time cancer is being addressed by the Presidential Candidates. I am anxious to hear how each candidate is going to respond and what their game plan is for putting an end to needless suffering and death caused by cancer. Did you know that cancer is the #1 killer of Americans under age 85?

That's right, #1. And yet action is not being taken to find a cure for the #1 killer. I think it's time.

You can see a live webcast at 10 am CT Monday and Tuesday at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/.

Also of note, Baby James has received a pretty incredible report! I know how excited I was when I had my first clean scan, but I can't even imagine the joy that James' family is sharing after such a long road. James still hasn't been given an NED (No Evidence of Disease) report, but his prognosis is looking better than before and his family can start to get into a normal life again. And to top it off, they received this news on the 1 year anniversary of when they first met James. Let's hear it for James!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lance on Hardball TONIGHT

LAF is certainly leading the way to making cancer a national priority and to finding a cure. They aren't letting anything hold them down. Next month is the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum in Iowa, putting the candidates on the spot about cancer. I am planning on going to both days of the forum, I think it'll be interesting to see how the different sides compare. Lane will be on Hardball tonight to discuss the Forum. Tune in! Check for local times.

If you are part of the LIVESTRONG Army, then you already received the email below from Jeff Manning at LAF. If you aren't then Join the Fight!

Every day the LIVESTRONG Army drives further down the field in the fight against cancer. Today, leading presidential candidates confirmed their participation in the historic LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum, and MSNBC and Chris Matthews, MSNBC Hardball host became the Forum broadcast partner and co-moderator along with Lance Armstrong for the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum.

Tune in to Hardball tonight to hear Lance talk about the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum and the questions Americans will be asking of the next commander-in-chief. Learn more about the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum.

The LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum will be a historic event that puts cancer on the same national stage as other tough questions our country faces. If the candidate are discussing taxes, terrorism and education, they should also be discussing the country’s number one killer of people under 85.

The LAF has extended invitations to all candidates to join this historic LIVESTRONG Presidential Candidate Forum. As of today, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson will participate in the the August
27th Democrats LIVESTRONG Presidential Candidate Forum. Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Hukabee and Governor Tommy Thompson will participate in the August 28th Republican LIVESTRONG Presidential Candidate
Forum.

Tickets to the LIVESTRONG Presidential Forum are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. To reserve your tickets today, visit www.livestrong.org/forum.

MSNBC and Chris Matthews’ participation will give the LIVESTRONG Presidential Candidate Forum the public exposure that is critical to making cancer a national priority. Chris Matthews will also be holding live editions of Hardball following the two LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forums in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Whoever wants to be commander-in-chief ought to answer the cancer question. As part of the LIVESTRONG Army, you can make sure candidates know we expect them to care about cancer and will take it seriously in their administration.
Tune in to Hardball tonight and mark your calendars today for the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum—the day we ask the cancer question to the next leader of the United States.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Video: Our Stop in SC

This was taken on our first day of driving for our move...notice how rested Ian is? At least we found a way to entertain Jack and get a little exercise!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Adventures in Potty Training

If you have ever tried to teach a child to use a toilet, you know how challenging that can be! We are headed into that adventure in our house. I'm not sure I am ready for it, but Jack has certainly been showing signs...waking up dry for naps, wanting to sit on the potty, and telling us when he's stinky. Part of me is so ready to leave the diapers and move on to the next step, but another part desperately wants to hold onto my baby. Not that I want to be changing poopy diapers for the rest of my life, but I know that Jack is turning into a big boy and I am really starting to see that the baby we brought home 2 years ago is slowly fading away.


Jack has been showing signs for a few months that he is ready to move out of diapers, but I have been putting it off. I felt that it would be useless to have him using the potty is we were going to be putting him in a car for a couple weeks and completely uprooting his life. I figured he'd regress and it'd making the whole process that much longer. It's possible that he would have been fine, but I really didn't have a deep desire for cleaning accidents in the car several times a day. So here we are, mostly settled in our new house and getting ready to tackle this adventure!


Ian and I have been building a potty-training arsenal consisting of books, stickers for a chart, and M&Ms. We have bought several potty-related books, and our favorite is Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. It's part picture book part biology text. Jack loves it, and I find it entertaining...which is good since I'm reading it several times a day! I also recommend No Potty! Yes Potty! by Emily Bolam. Jack loves telling us that monkeys, bears, and elephants don't sit on the potty, but little boys do! Our stash of M&Ms for rewards has remained untouched thus far. Jack is very eager to get some "chok-lut" and reminds me that if he is successful he needs one; I know it won't be long and I'll be doling out M&Ms several times a day to my almost-big-boy. We put a big blue poster on that wall in the bathroom so Jack can put a sticker on it every time he makes a deposit, it is titled "Jack's Potty Score". My thinking is it will help him see how many times he has gone and will hopefully encourage him to want to add more to the chart. So far the M&Ms have been the bribe, er I mean, reward he has talked about the most.

So we are prepared (I hope) to help Jack move to the next step in Toddler-hood. We are expecting wet carpets and clothes and probably some tears, but mostly we are expecting success (eventually) from our Little Man!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Sweetie

37 years ago today a very special baby was born onto this earth. He was a quite child, always listening and rarely in trouble. He grew into a handsome man of honor and strength, a man who has committed to serving his country. This man has become a wonderful father, who hugs and cuddles his son every chance he gets, and a loving husband who treats his wife like a queen. This man is my husband, Ian.

Each day I see him, I feel so honored that Ian is my husband...that he is the man I will live out the rest of my life with. We compliment each other perfectly, his reserved side is just the match for my boisterous side. And when I completely lose my mind about something, he is right there calm and level-headed as can be. And now as parents, I am lucky enough to see yet another side of my Man. I knew that Ian had an even softer side, but it wasn't revealed until we brought Jack home. Seeing Ian patiently trying to teach Jack how to put his shoes on the correct way or how to feed Sandie, is so awesome. There was one time I caught a moment of Ian teaching Jack how to whisper...it was so sweet, my 2 boys leaning towards each other with Ian whispering and Jack just talking a little quieter!

God has given me quite a gift in my husband, and I am so thankful. So here's to you, Sweetie! Happy birthday!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Boxes everywhere!

As Jack likes to say, there are boxes everywhere! There aren't so many now, but we had tons. It's been interesting trying to fit alomst 1600 square feet of house into around 1000. We no longer have a guest bedroom, well I guess we do, we have a pretty comfy sofa-bed. And we effectively no longer have a kitchen...the size of this thing is killing me! We had to buy a cabinet with a hutch for the dining room so we could put our dishes in it, and the biggest cabinet in the kitchen is the one under the sink. I am trying to just remind myself that this is for 3 years, but it sure is hard when I'm trying to cook dinner! Our house is cozy, very cozy. We are allowed to paint so we painted the living and dining rooms last Monday a nice, warm color called Flax. It's made the rooms much more relaxing. Pictures and such are slowly getting on the walls, it is starting to look a lot more like home.

There was a flurry of unpacking the first couple days after we got our stuff, but it has slowed considerably. I know that if we just unpack them we'll be done, but I have very little motivation to open another box of stuff that I have no room for. Our garage is now our storage space and laundry room. Ian did get me a new washer and dryer (the awesome red LG ones), and they rock. I even have a remote monitoring device so I can tell how much time is left and when the cycle is done. Something good did come out of this move!

Jack has been adjusting great, and I love that all his toys are new again! He has been a very happy camper since we set up his train table and got out all his books and puzzles. This morning he did a puzzle all by himself, one that he'd never done by himself before; I am very proud of him! Jack is also learning that he has a sense of humor and likes to use it whenever he can. Today at lunch I put a bit of my lunch on his plate and guarded it with my fork until he said "thank you" (my child will have manners!). He looked at the fork for about 10 seconds while I patiently waited for him, then he turned to me and whispered, "Mommy, what you doing?" I laughed so hard I could barely finish my lunch. Jack did say thank you, though!

The weather here is incredible, but we are going to be getting some record-breaking temps the next few days so I am on the prowl for an air conditioner. Hopefully we can find one today in our budget before we hit the 90s and 100s tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Petrified Forest and Beyond!

After Amarillo we headed to New Mexico for a night and onto Phoenix. We were able to stop at the Petrified Forest during our drive on Saturday and had a nice visit there. Jack thought all the rocks were cool and kept trying to put small ones in his pocket. We had to keep explaining to him that they needed to live at the park for other people to see, they were just for looking. A very hard concept for a little boy! If you have never been to the Petrified Forest, you must visit. It is really incredible.

My family live in Arizona for a summer when I was younger and we visited the Petrified Forest. I remembered the video we watched that explained who the trees turned into rocks and watched the same viedo this time around. I also remember being bored as we drove in the car as a child, but now know it's only 28 miles through the park and I got to be the adult pointing out the hills and rocks.

It was hot, hot, hot! But so beautiful! If you look close, you can see the baby bunny that we spotted inside this petrified tree. Jack spent the rest of the day looking for more bunnies.

Jack finally took a short nap in the car, his first on this whole trip so we drove as far as we could. We got south of Phoenix when he awoke and not too happy. Luckily, we were able to get some pizza delivered relatively fast so that Jack could eat. Then we swam in the pool. Jack loves the pool. He also loves jumping off the side of the pool and putting his whole head under water. He holds his breath, but it sure scares me! He has no fear of the water so we have to watch him close!


When we fell asleep that night, we were so happy to know we had only 1 day of driving left. We were so tired, we were all asleep before 9 pm, and I woke up bright-eyed and ready to go...not my usual demeanor in the morning! It was Father's Day so I made Ian breakfast (in the waffle iron in the hotel breakfast). I did dished too, carried them and placed them in the trash; Ian was delighted with this special treatment. I even told him I'd drive first for a few minutes. What a lucky man! (I actually drove for a few hours)

We have stayed in so many hotels on this trip, which means lots of loading and unloading of suitcases. Ian would make 3 or 4 trips to get our stuff in (suitcase or 2, Jack's pack and play, Sandie's food and blanket), but when I loaded the car in Amarillo I got a luggage cart! Ian decided that was a good idea and used one when we left our hotel south of Phoenix.

Suitcase, check. Pack-n-play, check. Dinosaur from the Petrified Forest, check. Sippy cup, check. Adorable little boy, check!


We arrived in San Diego with no bumps, bruises, or dents. I am pretty proud of that! We checked into our house on Monday and are settling in. I know I will have many adventures of to share of squeezing a house into a what-is-called-a-house-but-is-really-a-small-apartment-with-a-garage.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Georgia

Since Jenni is a whiner, I thought I'd post some pictures from our visit in Georgia. Just kidding, Jenni, you don't whine too bad.







Brandon thought Jack's bed was pretty nifty and climbed right in with him.


Jack trying to ride one of Brandon's toys.


Who could pass up a picture like this? My Dad was given this outfit when he was in Japan for work and celebrated his 60th birthday with "friends" there.


No! I'm not a whiner!



For some reason I don't have any pictures on Emily. Nonetheless, out visit to Georgia was fantastic!
Russ getting his Lace face on.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

9 Down, 3 To Go

In the last week, we have been in 9 different states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. I feel like a truck driver with all this driving! I'm pretty sure today is Wednesday, but I have no idea what time my body thinks it is, or what time it's supposed to be right now. All I know is that when we are in San Diego it will be Sunday, and Father's Day!

Jack has been such a trooper in the car, of course episodes of "Curious George & Friends" helps! Every so often we will point out a big truck, digger, train, or another interesting thing to him. We bought him a few new books and will pull out new toys every so often to keep him busy. I am amazed at how well he has done, and how well Sandie has done too. We've been trying to make frequent stops so we can all stretch our legs, but it's been so hot at most of our stops that it's not much of a break.

We had a great visit in Georgia with my family and drove to Arkansas for a night. We met Genderist and The Hater in our Oklahoma stop for dinner. They were kind enough to bring it to our hotel in the midst of a move themselves! It was fun to swap stories about moving and how much the process sucks, and talk about how much we all hate cancer, specifically thyroid cancer. It was very nice to catch with with Genderist since seeing her at the Summit in Austin last Fall.

We are now in Amarillo, TX, visiting with old friends of Ian's from his first enlistment. I have talked with him and his wife several times on the phone during deployments and feel like I've known them forever. They have four children ages 7, 5, 3, and 6 weeks. Jack has had so much fun playing with them, and has enjoyed following around the 5 year old, who in turn has enjoyed giving Jack new experiences. The kids have helped Jack explore the outdoors even more by digging for worms, rolly-pollies, snails, and whatever other goodies they can find. Ian is out with Mike tonight on a ride along and is having a blast playing police officer. I have enjoyed visiting with Delonda and seeing Jack play with their wonderful children.

Jack is starting to understand the move! Throughout this whole process I have been prepping him for what is next (people are going to come and put all our stuff into boxes, men are going to come and put all our boxes into a truck and drive it to our new home in San Diego, we are going to drive for a very long time, etc.). Yesterday Jack made a comment about his trains being at his new home and today he said several times, "New home, Mommy? Daddy, Jack, Sandie, Barry, Mommy going to new home." I am thrilled that his little mind is able to wrap around this upheaval of his life.

I was planning to post some pictures, but can't find the cable for my camera to upload them. And I'm too tired to look for it anymore. Next time.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ian's Promotion (actually on June 1)

Since LAF commissioned me as a General, I thought it was time to promote Ian! So I didn't actaully get to decide when Ian would be promoted, but I got to help! Ian asked me to pin him on, but it didn't mean anything until Ian's promotion warrant was read and stated that "all junior Marines shall render obedience to proper orders" from him. I chuckled to myself when that was read, it sounds so formal and fan-me-with-palm-fronds-like. It was really neat to be part of this ceremony and a big step in Ian's military career.

A friend of ours, Jim, and I pinned him on, and I was ordered by the Lt. Colonel that I should pound the insignia into his chest. Okay, so I wasn't exactly ordered, but the LtCol said that I could and Ian had said that he'd like me to perform the tradition that is now considered hazing. Because I am not a Marine, it is not hazing if I did it. I wasn't sure at first that I wanted to do that, pounding it in would be that I would essentially be stabbing him. I didn't hit the insignia hard, but just enough so Ian would feel it and LtCol wouldn't yell at me (okay, he wouldn't do that). Ian didn't even flinch, maybe I should have hit them harder. During the whole ceremony, Ian was standing taller that I had ever seen him (and was looking mighty handsome too) and rightfully so, he became a staff noncommissioned officer that day. He gained more important duties, more responsibilities, and a rocker on his collar. He was selected for this promotion by a board of senior Marines in Washington, DC, they felt that he was worthy of this promotion. And I agree.

I am so proud of My Marine. May others always see in you what I always do, an honorable and steady man.

Friday, June 08, 2007

California or Bust!

The next several days will bring us across 12 states as we head west. We left North Carolina on Thursday morning heading west, but first we had one of the busiest weeks.

Ian was promoted on Friday to Staff Sergeant! He asked me and a friend of his (who was promoted right after Ian) to pin him on, I am very honored that Ian asked me. The Colonel said I was allow to pound the insignia into his chest, an old Marine Corps ritual that is now considered hazing, so I felt I should since the Colonel said to! Congrats to my Hero, I am so proud of you!

We had a cookout with friends Saturday to celebrate Ian's promotion and Jack's 2nd Gotcha Day which was Sunday. Sunday we spent the day together and Jack opened his presents, a motorized Cranky for his Thomas trains! He had great fun playing with it, and we cooked out again with our first friends in Jacksonville, Tina, Hal, and their girls. All day Sunday I had Jack's Korean parents on my heart, and wished that they could too experience this delightful child that we share.

Monday and Tuesday was a flurry of boxes, packing, moving, and contractors working on the house. I was very glad that I had very little to pack myself! I was also glad that Ian and I had planned to have a day between the movers and when we left to do what we needed to get done. It was nice to have a little more time with friends and not feel rushed to get out of the house as soon as the movers did. As we headed out on Thursday morning, we took one last picture of the house. It was hard to leave the house that we brought Jack home to, but it is just a house. Our home is where ever the Marine Corps sends us and what we make it.


The drive to Georgia was uneventful, and Jack was quite the trooper! Thursday was our longest day of driving, we have planned every other day to be 7 hours or less. We let Jack watch movies all day...I can't believe I did that...but I was feeling sad and very tired so it was a battle I chose to not have. We arrived in South Carolina happy, my goal. Arriving in Georgia however, did not bring Jack smiles; it was about 5:00 pm, he'd been up for 10 hours without a nap, was hungry, and just wanted to get out of the car. Luckily, I have planned ahead and packed a Rubbermaid tub of toys for Jack. The Magna-Doodle saved the day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

His Last Mom


Today is a very special day in our house. Two years ago today, my son was placed in my arms forever...John Seung Joon joined our family. We call it Gotcha Day, some call it Adoption Day or Family Day, but to me Gotcha Day fits: it's the day that we got a son and he got his forever family. We had met him 2 days earlier, but holding him on June 3rd was so different...I knew that I was responsible for this little baby and I am his mommy and he is my son.



For the past week I have been thinking about these events. We left the USA on our Memorial Day and met Jack on June 1, he joined his forever family (us!) on June 3rd (also Granpa L's birthday*), and we left Korea on their Memorial Day. Each holiday holds a special place in my heart. I cried a good portion of the day we left Korea, I was so heartbroken to be taking my child from the beautiful land of his birth, so far away from everything that he has known.

Jack's Korean parents are never far from my mind, but this time of year I think about them a little more. I am so sad they are missing out on this wonderful child that we share, but am hopeful we will be able to meet them one day. Today, though one woman experienced a great loss, I gained a son...a sweet, gentle, handsome son.


Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Jack!


*Granpa L is 60 today, happy birthday! But according to Brandon and Emily you are 101.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Baby James Again

In an earlier post, I wrote about a sweet baby who is battling cancer. My heart has been heavy since reading the most recent post on Baby James, his prognosis isn't looking so well. But miracles can happen, I believe they can happen, I believe one happened to me. I am calling out to all who read this to pray, chant, cross your fingers, do whatever you do to get that miracle to happen. And spread the word to get even more prayers and thoughts coming his way.

What keeps running through my head is how unfair it is. James is just 1 year old and is fighting a battle that no one should ever have to face. He was home for just a couple months when the cancer was discovered; not that anyone is prepared for this disease, but I am fairly certain it was the last thing from his parents' minds when they brought him home from Korea. This wonderful couple who were building their family got the shock of their life and instead of planning for a big vacation with their children, must now analyze their finances to pay for treatments. And there is no cure in sight.

And that is what cancer does. It tears your life into little pieces and throws it on the floor. Then you are responsible for putting it back together. You have to sort through the pieces and find what is left of your dignity and body. If you are lucky, you were able to hold onto your hope through the trauma. Cancer doesn't care who you are, it doesn't care how much money you have, whether or not you have insurance, how old you are, what you look like. It just doesn't care, it doesn't discriminate. Cancer affects everyone. No one is safe.

So let's get our act together and stand up together against this disease. Do it for yourself, do it for Baby James. If we unite against this disease then a cure can be found. And hopefully it can be found sooner rather than later.

Please visit www.livestrong.org to find out more way to get involved and to write to your Senators and Congress-person.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rockin' the Hill!

I arrived home late last night from my DC trip...and it was AWESOME. The LIVESTRONG Army was there in full force yellow, and we were unstoppable! At our training day we were named Generals in the LIVESTRONG Army since we are the driving force of the advocacy effort. When Doug Ulman (President of LAF) was introducing Lance at our Tuesday training he said, "Since you are all the Generals, that makes Lance, well whatever is above that." Feeling that Lance needed an official military title (and thanks to Ian infusing military into my blood), I shouted "He's the Commandant!" So the LIVESTRONG Army has been commissioned with 200 Generals and our fearless Commandant.

There were 2 advocates from NC, the other is a resident physician at Wake Forest (Jason). We worked together very well and had a fantastic tag-team approach to our meetings. We also went to each other's meeting for our House Representatives, which we both felt added to the effectiveness of our asks:
1) when considering funding for the Labor/Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, we encourage you to support a 6.7% increase for important research at NIH and NCI, as well as a $136.6 million increase in funding for critical cancer programs at the CDC .
2) to co-sponsor the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007.

Jason and I started the day off with his representative and her legislative aide, a meeting that set the tone for the rest of the day. Congresswoman Foxx was very supportive of our asks and stated that she would try to support the increases as long as they are not in the same legislation as other issues that she cannot support. She shared that she wished they could vote on each piece separately, but that's not how it works. I shared my story with Congresswoman Foxx, who in turn shared a story of her friend who lives in Chapel Hill and is treated for thyroid cancer at UNC-Chapel Hill...personal connection!

Next we met with each of our Senator's aides...both who shared a personal connection to cancer. Not in their immediate family or friends, but aunts or uncles who had cancer years ago before they were even born. Senator Burr's aide was very receptive and said that the Senator likes to try to support increases in funding if able; and that she would investigate further of his co-sponsoring the Senate version of the above mentioned act. Senator Dole's aide shared that she was knowledgeable of the Gardasil vaccine and how fantastic it is, but there are families who cannot afford it because insurance won't cover it (it's $130 a shot, and you need 2 shots)...which worked right into our asking of co-sponsoring the above mentioned act. Both of these meetings were fantastic and we felt we likely won support for our asks.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation held a press event in the early afternoon yesterday. There were several speakers, but the one of interest to me was Congresswoman Sue Myrick from NC. She is a breast cancer survivor and one of the sponsors of the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007. Jason and I were doing our best with our meetings to let it known that we want North Carolina to be at the front of supporting this act: we have 3 incredible cancer treatment and research centers (UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest) and Congresswoman Myrick as a sponsor of the act. After the press event concluded, Jason and I spoke with the Congresswoman and told her about our desire for NC to be so involved in this...of course she agreed that would be great!

The North Carolina force ended our day in my Representative's office, Congressman Walter Jones. He was unavailable due to votes going on but we had his legislative aide's undivided attention for about 45 minutes. She was so fantastic and shared that the Congressman has been voting yes for much of the recent health legislation...awesome news for our side! If Cybil wasn't on our side at the beginning of the meeting, she was definitely at the end...I practically feel she signed the recruiting papers on the line to join the LIVESTRONG Army. Congressman Jones is usually very fiscally conservative and has recently been speaking out against the war, but is being cautious about what he says (very smart since he has lots of military constituents!). I am hoping that he will be shifting to health issues, and after speaking with Cybil that seems to be a possibility. Score 4 for our side!

I am hoping after following up with the offices I will have even better news to report!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Cure Cancer

1. Baby James
2. Children with cancer
3. Me
4. Genderist
5. Elizabeth Edwards
6. Pico's Dad and Poppa
7. Members of my Support Group
8. Lucy, Erika, Wendell, and my other Summit friends
9. Surviviors I have met online
10. The more than 565,000 Americans that are going to die of cancer this year.
11. Cancer is the #1 killer of those under 85 (and funds are still being taken away from cancer research...hmmm, government priorities?)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May 16th: LIVESTRONG Day in North Carolina

Just checked my mailbox to find that I received a letter from the North Carolina Governor's office. (No, I don't need a pardoning.) Inside was the LIVESTRONG Day Proclamation that I had requested he sign. And Gov. Michael F. Easley did! May 16, 2007 has officially been declared LIVESTRONG Day in the great state of North Carolina!

Way to go, Gov. Easley! I have the backing of my great state to take to Capitol Hill now. Thank you for helping me bring awareness to cancer and all that it encompasses. Hopefully this proclamation will help save lives.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

1 in 5 = No Good

In less than a week I will be in our Nation's Capital preparing to speak with my Senators and Congressman. I am super excited about this trip, as this is my 3rd visit to DC for the purposes of Cancer Advocacy in the last year. With each visit, I feel that I am becoming more adamant about the issue. LIVESTRONG Day 2007 will hopefully bring some change to where money is spent. It's time to put an end to this disease.

Cancer has been in the news a lot recently, and even on the cover of Newsweek. Elizabeth Edwards with her recurrence (every cancer Survivor's nightmare), Juanita Millender-McDonald (a Congresswoman from Southern California) who died from cancer, and Discovery Channel aired "Living with Cancer". But it's still not enough. President Bush recently signed a bill to reauthorize the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides these early cancer screenings to uninsured and low-income women. That is great, the program is great.

But only 1 in 5 women will receive care. That is how much current funding levels allow. I'm sorry, but that is not acceptable. I'm pretty sure Congress wouldn't allow 20% of their family to go through life without these life-saving screening. So why should these women suffer?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hokie at Heart

I still can't wrap my head around the tragedy at Virginia Tech. I keep thinking of that peaceful campus nestled in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia. I see the distinctive Hokie Stone buildings, rolling hills, blossoming dogwoods, co-eds flashing Chicago maroon and burnt orange. A madman on the loose is not part of that scene.

I attended VT my first year of school before transferring to Winthrop. Even though I left, I am a Hokie at heart. I lived half an hour from Blacksburg and spent many track meets during high school and college on that campus. I lived in the dorm next to West AJ (and would visit friends there frequently), I walked by Norris Hall everyday on my way to McBryde for class. It was 10 years ago, but I remember the crisp evening air like it was last night. That campus was so safe. I had a night class that I always felt safe walking to and from in the dark. Seeing the familiar sites on the news has ripped at my heart.

I can't even begin to imagine how the students are feeling. I know how sad I am, and know that the students must have a million times more grief. My prayers have been going out to the families of those that were killed and to the entire Hokie community. I know that Virginia Tech will heal, the campus will feel safe once again. April 16th will never be forgotten, and neither will those lives that were lost.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Cancer-versary*

April 9th may not mean much to you, but it is a huge day for me. I was upgraded to Mommavia 2.0 this day in 2003:

On Wednesday, April 9, 2003, at about 4:15 pm I was on my way out the door to go to a friend's house for dinner. Both of our husbands were deployed to Iraq with different units, and she had a 15 month old son. The phone rang and I contemplated just heading out the door. It could be Beth, asking me to bring something else. I was to pick up dinner at Taco Bell (yeah, we were going all out that night), so I answered:

Mommavia: Hello?
On the phone: Hi, is this Cynthia?
Mommavia: Yes, it is. (I immediately recognized the voice) How are you, Dr. Witt?
Dr. Witt: I am well. I am very sorry to call and tell you over the phone, but I wanted to make sure you had this information before your appointment on Monday. I have the results of your fine needle aspiration.
Mommavia: Oh, good, I've been anxious to hear the results. (I had the FNA on April 3, the same day I shook President G.W. Bush's hand!)
Dr. Witt: I'll need you to get something to take notes. You will probably want to sit down. I'm sorry for telling you on the phone, but I thought you needed to know now.
Mommavia: Uh, okay. (I grab the closest piece of paper and a pen, thinking: needed me to know what?!)
Dr. Witt: The FNA came back suspicious for thyroid cancer.
Mommavia 2.0: Oh. (Thinking: CANCER? What? Where's Ian? CANCER?)
Dr. Witt: Papillary thyroid cancer is very treatable, this will not be the demise of you. We'll possibly remove the lobe first, then if cancerous take it all out. We are sending the pathology to Bethesda to have it checked again. But I will be surprised if it's not cancerous.
Mommavia 2.0: (writing notes) Oh.
Dr. Witt: It is not like breast cancer. Thyroid cancer usually doesn't spread, if it does it's slow. We'll do the surgery first, then you will probably need a radioactive iodine ablation.
Mommavia 2.0: Will I lose my hair?
Dr. Witt: No.
Mommavia 2.0: Will I glow in the dark from the radioactive iodine?
Dr. Witt: (small chuckle) No.
Mommavia 2.0: Well, that's too bad, I was hoping to have a little fun.

Dr. Witt stayed on the phone with me for another 45 minutes to make sure I was okay, did more reassuring that it was treatable, and gave me his home phone number in case I needed to call him over the weekend. I really appreciated him doing this; most civilian doctors don't do this, let alone a Navy doctor! Ian was in Iraq and I was scared, about him being there, about me having cancer. All I wanted was for my husband to be home, or at least at work so I could call him.

I was pretty much numb for the rest of the week and at my appointment on Monday I learned what I already knew in my gut: it was indeed cancer. Dr. Witt and I made a game plan: Get Ian home, have a thyroidectomy, have a radioactive iodine treatment. He took extra time to make sure I understood what the steps were and made sure I had every question answered in my notebook (I purchased a notebook on the way home from Beth's so I could write my questions down and take notes). And he repeated what became my mantra, "This will not be the demise of you." I was, and am still, very grateful for the care and extra time he took to help me through a scary situation.

That night I sent the Red Cross message and I got my 4th phone call of the deployment that Friday, Good Friday. Ian called from Iraq, he was all packed and waiting for his flight out of his location. I was so glad to hear his voice, and it lifted my mood so much to know that he was on his way home to me. It was 6 am, but I got out of bed after talking with him and started tidying up the house. I hadn't done laundry in a while, so I started that, washing some of his favorite clothes, the towels and sheets. I wanted everything to be fresh and clean for him.

The supply hose to the washer came loose and flooded the apartment. And the one below us, and the one below that. There was water everywhere. I called the emergency maintenance number since it was Good Friday and they cleaned it up. They tried to stick me with the bill, but the week before my water heater wasn't working and they came to repair it. The maintenance man moved the washer to get to it, and that's when the hose was knocked loose. See what I'll do to get clean carpets?

Later that day I started to call our families. I'd start with, "Ian's coming home this weekend!" Everyone would get all excited until I told them why. Several people wanted to rush out here for Ian's Homecoming but I asked them not to. As much I wanted his arrival to be a joyous occasion, the reason for him coming home was overshadowing everything; I needed to be with Ian, just Ian. The more phone calls I made, the easier it was to talk about having cancer but it didn't seem like it was me that I was talking about. It was hard to keep reassuring everyone that I was going to be okay. I wasn't sure if I really believed it yet myself. I knew once Ian was home I could deal with it, until then I removed myself from the situation as much as I could.

Ian arrived home on Easter Sunday, 11 days after the upgrade. And I was finally able to really deal with what lay ahead. We were able to deal with it together. I cried in Ian's arms that night, and he did exactly what I needed him to do...tell me it was going to be okay, that I was going to be fine. And he has continued saying that every time I got more bad news or was feeling scared.

So tonight we are going out to celebrate. Friends are joining us for dinner to celebrate my 4 years of Survivorship. Having cancer isn't something to celebrate, but living past cancer is.
*Credit given to "the Coach" for the name of this day.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Baby James

If you haven't noticed yet, cancer and Korean adoption are 2 big parts of my life. They are each in their own little compartments and rarely collide. Cancer was one of the things that lead me and Ian to adoption, but for the most part they don't interact with one another.

Through an adoption forum I met a mother who has the same big parts of her life, but they collided. Her sweet baby boy was diagnosed with cancer less than 2 months after arriving home from Korea. James wasn't sleeping well through the night and her Momma Radar knew something wasn't right. He was diagnosed with Wilms tumors on both of his kidneys. They recently received news that James' cancer has metastasized. Uhg. Please keep this family in your prayers, and pray for God's healing in James' body.

I really didn't need another reason to be all fired up to go to DC, but this is doing the job! A cure has got to be found. I beg you to please write your Senators and Representative. Lets put an end to cancer: It could save your life. It could save Baby James.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Finally, a good article

I haven't ever written about Angelina Jolie's adoptions, mainly because I have never read a story that portrayed them in a good way. I am not particularly fond of her, but she has done great things in the world for children of all nations. It seems each time she adds a new child to her family she gets more and more heat. I don't envy her...do I wish I had her money so I could complete more adoptions with less stress? Yes. But I don't envy how public her life is. Yes, she chose it, but her adoptions have not been private and they have been shredded to find bribes and such. The "real" newspapers don't print the good stuff about her adoptions, but the Rainbow Kids website did: Angelina Jolie's Adoption.

I was glad to finally read something positive about Pax joining the Jolie-Pitt crew. I admit, I was very skeptical about her recent adoption. It was all very hush-hush and it was hard to find out more information about it (like what agency she used, when they really started the process, did she actually pick a child or was he referred?), but I tried my best to give her the benefit of the doubt; that she'd use her celebrity status for good instead of evil. But the press hasn't been so kind. They don't think about how hurtful those nasty words they printed can be to the child...they just want to print some dirt on Angelina. Shame on them: adoption is about the child. They want to rip apart the child's new family and life, "it won't be normal."

Well, guess what. My son isn't going to have a so-called normal life either. There aren't too many "normal" families out there whose Dad leaves for 6, 7, 8, or even 12 months at a time (in a military town that is a completely different story, but less than 1% of the American population serves in the military). Most families don't uproot every 3 years and move cross-country or to another country. But we do, and that is our normal. And as the article said:

I know of lots of normal and not-so-normal people who are to be admired. But the ones I respect most, all seem to have the same name and title:

Mom.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Watch out, here she comes

Last Friday night I was thrilled to learn that I would be traveling to DC again in May with the Lance Armstrong Foundation for LIVESTRONG Day 2007! I am so excited about this opportunity to meet with my Federal elected officials to tell them once again that what they are doing to cancer is not acceptable. If you recall, this will be my 3rd visit in the last year: LIVESTRONG Day 2006, Celebration on the Hill, and now LIVESTRONG Day 2007.

Last year, LAF selected 2 delegates from each state for LIVESTRONG Day. For 2007, there are going to be 200 delegates, and I think next year they hope to have even more. If you'd like to become involved in LIVESTRONG Day, you can hold your own event in your town. To learn more visit this link.

This visit I really hope to drill it in the importance of making cancer a national priority and get positive answers for support right there. As I told Senator Burr last fall, "My family is fighting 2 wars. I know more people who have been affected by a cancer-related death than this war." So watch out Liz, Rich, and Walt...I'm coming and won't take no for an answer.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The joy of childhood


Jack has finally been introduced to the fun of the garden hose! Remember as a kid you would spend hours running through the sprinkler int he summer? Your feet would get all grassy and you'd almost wear a path in the grass from all the running. If you were lucky, someone on your block had a good hill and a Slip-n-Slide. That was the best.
So the other day it was 80 degrees and I was potting some plants and cleaning up our yard. Jack decided to stick his head in the "rain" and laughed and laughed. Then we walked through it. He was having too much fun I couldn't stop him! "Rain! Wet!" he'd exclaim through the shivers. I asked him if he was cold and he'd feep wanting to plain in the rain. We finally did stop him when his legs were shaking from shivering. After I got him all wrapped up in a towel, he said, "Oh, warm."

Monday, March 12, 2007

I speak American

Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
25% Yankee
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern


I was glad to know that I speak more Yankee than Dixie...phew!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Other Lessons of Cancer

A friend I met at the LIVESTRONG Summit emailed me a story today from Newsday.com, it's a good one (I love that I still have communication with so many of my Summit friends!). I don't think I have ever said cancer has made me a better person. Different, yes, but not necessarily a better version of me. Mommavia 5.0* appreciates the finer things in life more since April 9, 2003. And if you have ever told me I'm brave, you know what my answer is, "Me, brave? Hell no. I'm not brave, I have no choice but to deal with cancer. Marines are brave. My son's birthparents are brave. Brave is choosing to do something dangerous or heart-wrenching. Me, I am just coping the best I can."
The truth is, having cancer just pisses me off.
I wish that could have been my quote. I have a very visible scar. If I forget I had cancer, I am reminded by a sneaking stare from a stranger in Target, or when I look in the mirror and see the bright red line. Or when I zip up my neck in my coat, but don't feel it. I kid you not, that happened. I like, no, love being an advocate and talking about the disease when I want to. If someone is curious, I will gladly share my Readers' Digest version. But because my cancer is visible, I must deal with the rudeness of strangers.

The article, The Other Lessons of Cancer, really struck a chord with me, mostly because it's as blunt as Mommavia 2.0 and newer. But it also "debunked" a lot of myths about having cancer, and pretty much said what I say:
Firefighters and police officers who plunge head first into dangerous situations
are brave. A child protective worker who gets paid next to nothing and tries to
be a mother to as many as 50 dysfunctional families is brave. Those people chose
their positions in life. Cancer chose me. It's not bravery that gets me up every
morning to try to beat back the monster. It's a survival instinct that kicks in,
pure Darwinism.
Sometimes I think I am a completely different person since becoming a Survivor. I worry less about what people think about me and more about what I think about me. I don't sweat the small stuff (that's from my #1 fan). But I don't really live every day as if it's my last, because I don't want it to be. I want to see Jack grow up, lose teeth, play football, get married. I want to grow old with my husband. I have plans, big plans, and not just for my family. I'm going to be a Cancer Advocate until the cows come home, well until a cure is found; I want to help form more support groups for Survivors, young Survivors. I have a big honkin' To Do List so I can't live everyday as if it's my last.

Today I might be feeling a little bitter.

*Previous versions include The Orginal; Mommavia 2.0: the Survivor upgrade; Mommvia 2.2: thyroidectomy upgrade; Mommavia 2.5: first bilateral neck dissection upgrade; Mommavia 3.0: second bilateral neck dissection, a 10 hour upgrade; Mommavia 4.0: the motherhood upgrade; and the most recent upgrade to Mommavia 5.0: a left, modified, radical neck dissection upgrade.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Going, going, gone!

One good thing about the military is that they help you weed out all your bad furniture and get you to Spring clean out of season. The upcoming move has gotten me to start cleaning out my closets and evaluate the usefulness of our belongings. When we left Charlotte I remember giving away several boxes of things and having a huge trash pile when the movers came. Since living on the coast, we have been in 2 apartments and our current house. The local moves got me to clear out a little, but nothing compared to what is taking place right now. I am clearing out practically anything that isn't sitting still. So now I have entered into the world of being an eBay seller. I listed 22 items the other day, I have lots of scrapbooking materials listed and several retired Longaberger baskets and liners, and it has been exciting to see what happens on this side.

I've been a buyer for almost 4 years (my feedback is 100% positive!) and love swooping in at the last minute, or last 30 seconds, to snatch up an item. The only bad thing about doing that is you sometimes don't have another chance to put in a higher bid if you don't bid high enough. The last 3 or 4 transactions I have done though have not been the "swooping in" kind. I have placed my bid and checked back later to see what the status is. Unless it's Jack's naptime there isn't really another way for me to do it. There have been a few items where I have had Jack help me so I could win them.

As a eBay Seller you get to see if people are watching your item. And I have loved checking my listings to see if they have gotten any more bids and how high they are up to. I did 7 day listings so I'd have next weekend to package things up and get them out; but I think next time I will do 5 day listings. It will shorten the anticipation for me. Of the 22 items, 5 so far have bids, so I know they will sell...cha-ching!

Ian's pretty excited that I am cleaning out, but I think he's a little fearful. Sometimes I will walk around the house looking for items we we haven't used in a while. So far I haven't listed anything that belongs to him. I won't ever list his swords or tools without approval, but I'm pretty certain that he keeps moving around so he doesn't end up on eBay too!

Friday, February 09, 2007

They got the boot

I enjoy reading magazines for parents, they usually have good tips in them and I like hearing that other parents are having the same challenges that I am. They aren't all adoption friendly however. Today I called and cancelled one of my subscriptions then promptly wrote a letter to the editor:
Dear Editor:
After receiving and browsing through my March 2007 issue of Parenting, I promptly called to cancel my subscription (which ends in October). The question asked for the "Mom Debate" was bad enough, "Should single people be allowed to adopt?" I'm pretty sure you will never ask if single people should be allowed to raise children or give birth to a child, because later in the issue you have an article about being a single parent ("Single dad, efficient parent"). So why ask this one? I understand your desire to have a subject that will start discussion and thought, but this crosses the line. And then I read the responses to the question, I was appalled.

I called to cancel my subscription immediately after reading the responses you printed, that were even worse than the question. Raising a child can be easier with two parents, but I know plenty of "stable, happy contributors to society", as one reader responded, who were raised in a single parent family, many of whom were adopted. The response that was the worse, however: " 'Why would you want to start a child out with one less person caring for him? An adopted child already feels subconsciously cheated and rejected- why add to that?' Jill Mitchell, Simi Valley, CA". A child who was brought into a family through adoption does not make them automatically feel cheated and rejected. Are there challenges that come with building your family through adoption? Yes, but adoption does NOT equal what this reader responded.

The fact that you printed that response shows that you truly gave no thought to the adoptive family. It is thoughtless and inconsiderate of Parenting to print such an ignorant remark.


I'm still pretty fired up about it. The other responses for the "no" side were not much better. I urge you to cancel your subscription too...who knows what will be next from them, asking if military couples should be allowed to have kids because of the frequent deployments? Whatever.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You can't handle the truth!

There are about a thousand things that I love about the Lance Armstrong Foundation. One of them is that they are all about truth. They tell you the hard stuff. You need to hear the hard stuff. The Survivor Notebook that you can receive from LAF, is full of information and helpful tools to get you through your fight. It's about the truth, and the hard stuff...like getting your affairs in order, obtaining a living will and health care directive, and organizing your health care information. Oh, did I mention it's free? You just pay to cover the cost of shipping. A good deal for such an outstanding tool. When you become a survivor, you are faced with your own mortality; and LAF can help you face the truths.

Lance Armstrong isn't afraid of the truth, he'll tell you how it is. On his blog, he talks about how cancer was not addressed during the State of the Union. As Ian and I half-watched the State of the Union, I noted that cancer wasn't mentioned. And I was a bit heartbroken. So many Americans die from cancer everyday, and while the death rates are decreasing, it is not enough. Remember, a 9/11 happens in the cancer world every 2 days. As Lance asks on his blog:
How long will we have to wait until our elected officials show us that a disease that kills one American, every minute of every day is one of their top priorities?

How long...until entire cities are taken away by cancer everyday? I sometimes feel like a hypocrite, being a Marine wife maybe I should be standing up against the war. But the fact is, I know more people who have been affected by a cancer related death than a war related death. I am pretty sure most Americans can say that. I wish I had a bigger voice, then maybe I could get it through Congress' head that cancer needs to be addressed now. I am grateful that Lance and LAF are about the truth, and their voice is bigger than mine. I won't stop advocating, I wont' stop writing to my Congressman and Senators, and I won't stop standing up for more financial support for cancer research. I think LAF said it best in their response to the State of the Union:
We believe this is not how you treat a disease that is expected to kill 560,000 Americans this year.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Having your very own personal cheerleader...

...can be a good thing. She will cheer you up when you are getting ready to have a fourth surgery. She will remind you that everything is going to turn out okay, "because you are too stubborn to die." And then she asks you to run a marathon with her, "Let's do it, it'll be so much fun!" And you say yes, because at the time you were temporarily insane. Or maybe you were too focused on getting your husband home from Afghanistan and the pending surgery to know what you were agreeing to do. Or maybe it was because you were delirious from the pain medication after surgery.

Whatever the reason, you agreed...and she remembered. And reminded you. You try to back out, "I have an old running injury that prevents me from running ever again." Or you try, "I'm a big sissy, huge." But it doesn't work, nothing works. She's a cheerleader, a perky and persistent cheerleader. And she dubbed herself as your cheerleader, and then it begins. The brainwashing. And doesn't stop until any recollection of you not wanting to run is gone. And most of your memories of actual pain were brainwashed away too, because you need to not feel pain to run a marathon. But through all the brainwashing she is as perky as a cheerleader, because that's what she is. Remember, she's your cheerleader. And she continues to remind you, "It'll be fun!"

So yes, I think I've been brainwashed by my friend Beckie. There's this marathon you see, at Disney World in January 2008. And she thinks it'll be fun, and now so do I. It seems likely I won't be getting out of this brainwashing anytime soon, because now I have been looking for information about training for a marathon! And Beckie and I want to raise money for a good cause. You guessed it, for LAF. So I guess I'll start my training soon, unless another brainwashing session comes along and I'm going to be doing a triathlon...NO, Beckie!