Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New Prayers for Waverley (and one old one!)

Okay friends, I have been trying to come up with a way to get this info across to those of you who do not read Matt and Molly's blog without boring those of you who do.  As is often the case, the only info I have at this point is from their blog, so if you would like to read it "from the horse's mouth" get in contact with me and I will give you their blog address (if you recall, they asked us not to link directly to their blog for privacy reasons).  The best I can give you is my interpretation of what Matt wrote.  Here goes...

The result of Wednesday's hearing can be boiled down to three key things:

1. The judge had the opportunity and the authority to put Wavy's best interest at the forefront of his decision and he chose not to.  I don't know ANY details about this, but Matt eluded to some specifics that may be revealed at some point.  Ugh to that.  Ugh to you, Judge Sheppard.  So disappointing.

2. The transitioning of custody starts tomorrow.  The court has ordered that TOMORROW January 1st be the day the "transition plan" starts.  Tomorrow will be the first of daily visitations with Waverley's biological father.  The first of these will take place at Matt and Molly's home, with the visits eventually taking place at the birthfather's home.  The idea is that full custody will be transferred by the end of January.  The finality of that takes my breath away.

3. A next date to keep in your mind and prayers is January 10th.  All of these court appearances, hearings, appeals, and decisions have really only decided that Matt and Molly cannot adopt Waverley.  Now that their adoption has been rejected, the courts must determine which "natural" parent will get custody of Wavy.  I don't know much about this - it's actually the first I've heard about it.  If I'm understanding it correctly, the birth mom and birthfather will now battle it out for custody.  I have no idea if the birth mom even wants custody since she had placed Waverley for adoption to begin with, obviously.  All I know is that there is a hearing on January 10th to determine which parent will get custody and what the terms of custody will be.  Matt indicated that whatever decision is made in this court may affect their transition plan - depending on the terms of custody.  

For those of you who care what I think, here are my thoughts on each of those things:
1. Angry Kelsey says, "Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. Take that, Judge Sheppard.  Coward."  
Nice(r) Kelsey says, "It's okay, Judge Sheppard, we know that you're human and that you can forget that there are actual people attached to the numbers and letters on the court documents.  Good thing your court and authority will crumble away and be replaced by the unshakeable throne of the King who longs to be gracious to us; he rises to show us compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  (Isaiah 30:18)"

2. Our daily prayers matter even more now as each day holds the stress and anxiety of a visitation (set those alarms, people!).  We need to pray for protection for Wavy during these visitations.  Matt asked specifically that we pray that she not feel scared, but would feel safe and secure.  He also asked that we pray for him and Molly that they would be kind and gracious (can you believe he is even thinking about that!?  I think if I were them, kindness would not even be on my radar.)  I have also had the thought that maybe these visitations would be just the right dose of reality to get the birthfather reconsidering if he really wants to do this - let's pray for that!

3. It's my understanding that a custody hearing will take into account the best interest of the child in a way that adoption law does not allow for.  That's a plus.  Also, perhaps something will come to light regarding the birthfather's lifestyle that would demonstrate to the courts that he would not be a fit father.  My mind is running wild imagining every possibility - of course informed by my layman's understanding of the law!

The end of Matt's blog said this:

And, for all of you that still want to, you can pray for a miracle. I don't see where there is a possibility for one, but I'm sure anyone that's experienced a miracle felt that way - otherwise it wouldn't really be a miracle. Right?

Thank you all for praying for us throughout this whole journey. Thank you for fighting along side of us in this, for helping to bear our burden. You have no idea the encouragement you all have been through this.

This permission to continue to pray for a miracle was just what I needed!  I don't know about you guys, but I have been feeling this tension about stubbornly praying for a miracle in the face of a harsh reality that tells us it would be wiser to just give up and make the best of a horrible situation.  All along I have been asking the Lord if I need to do just that, but I continue to receive encouragement to hold out hope.  

So, as we say our prayers that are grounded in the reality of a broken world and a broken system, let's still cry out the the Lord, our God of justice who longs to be gracious!  Remember our battle cry? Let's have the faith of Abraham that God himself will provide the lamb.  

As far as I can see it, Isaac is on the altar; Abraham's hand is raised.  Any second now, God's voice will come booming through the heavens saying, "STOP!  Don't touch that child!  I have provided another way!"  

Please, Lord Jesus, God of mercy and justice, Ruler of all time and space.  We are putting our hope in your goodness and faithfulness.  We are waiting for your voice!
Wavy with big sister, Harper

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A letter to my daughter

Dear Lila,
You are one year and 11 days old today.  It's as though you were waiting to turn one so that you could shed your infancy in one fell swoop.  At 366 days old you walked across the kitchen to me with no prompting at all - this after weeks and weeks of failed prodding and bribing on my part.  That same day you began to string "sentences" together of complete nonsense, but you look at me with such seriousness and confidence that I'm sure you mean what you say...whatever that might be.  Within that precious 24 hours, you multiplied the number of teeth in your mouth by 3 (you had two, and now you have six).  I got you up the next morning to find a toddler in your bed, my baby had melted away overnight.  What are you doing to me!?

The very first thing you do when I get you up in the morning now that you're a grownup is point to your CD player.  I say, "Do you want your music?" and you bounce up and down in my arms in response.  Then we walk over to the dresser and I push play.  There is a still silence for a moment while we wait for the player to wake up (it's rather finicky).  You are so patient in your anticipation of that familiar clapping of the first track and when it begins, you grin and sway back and forth.  Your daddy and I so often say how glad we are that you love music as we do.

This morning I sat in the rocking chair your daddy built for us, listening to Elizabeth Mitchell (our very favorite) and watching you take your Noah's Ark animals out of the ark, talk to them, and then put them back in.  I imagined that you were saying, "Now little giraffe, your neck is quite long and you really must try to keep it to yourself.  The other animals are complaining that you are crowding them.  Now back to bed with you."

You were wearing your fuzzy leg warmers that you got for your birthday and a Christmas tree onesie.  Your hair was endearingly disheveled and your round cheeks were chapped and rosy.  I found myself outside of my body telling the temporal me to take it in, this will soon be gone!  In obedience, I turned on my senses and smelled your shampoo (Daddy gave you a bath yesterday) and leaned down to kiss your cheek and then closed my eyes and listened to Elizabeth Mitchell singing.  And, silly me, I began to cry because this is what she was singing:

rest your head, my angel; stay here by my side
i've been doing some thinking and you've been on my mind
oh you're growing up so fast right before my eyes
you don't have to figure everything out; you just take your time

listen here:

I think you saw me close my eyes because you crawled over to me and pulled up on the rocking chair and tried to climb into my lap.  I lifted you up into the chair with me and then you just about killed me.  You laid your head on my chest and said, "Mom-meeee" the way you do, but softly.  I let out a moan and felt as though I would melt into the chair.  It was just too much for my fragile mommy heart to bear.  

My daddy, your Pop, used to "scold" me on each of my birthdays saying, "I told you not to get any bigger!  You disobeyed me!"  Now I know exactly what he meant.

I've been doing some thinking and you've been on my mind.  Oh, you're growing up so fast! Right before my eyes!  You don't have to figure everything out.  You just take your time.  Please, just take your time.


P.S. to blog readers: Matt and Molly have what should be the final hearing to determine the transition plan for Waverley on Wednesday at 10:30am.  Please keep them in your prayers over the next 48 hours. This is the last leg of this race as far as we can tell.  Let's finish well and pray fervently for favor with the courts and a miracle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lord's Prayer: the Wavy Remix

For those of you who don't yet follow our friends' blog about their daughter, Waverley, here is a quick update.

Today (Tuesday) they had what was supposed to be their final court appearance during which the transition plan for removing Wavy from her home and placing her in the custody of her birthfather would be settled.  However, they hit a few bumps in the road and things didn't go as smoothly or efficiently as expected and in the end, nothing was decided.  Matt and Molly are being intentionally vague about this, so I don't know much.  They were clear, however, that nothing has changed in the long run as far as Waverley's future in their family.  She will still be taken from them.

Perhaps I'm a fool, but to me, a stall is better than moving smoothly on toward an unhappy and tragic end.  To me, a stall is more time to pray.  More time for Wavy to be under the care of her sweet parents.  More time for a young birthfather to think things over.  More time for a miracle.  Am I beating a dead horse yet?

To be honest, my faith has wavered.  The other day as I was driving by myself at night and enjoying a rare moment of silence and alone time, my thoughts and prayers wandered to Wavy and I found myself asking the Lord, "What do you think about all of this?  Are you just as frustrated and devastated as we are?  Do you feel like your hands are tied by the hardness of heart that it seems like the birthfather and his mother and his lawyer are demonstrating?  Don't you want Wavy to stay with Matt and Molly?  Isn't that the best thing for her?  Isn't that the best thing for them?  Because if not, I really want to know.  I want to know what you think!  I want a glimpse into your perspective because I don't want to waste my time hoping for my version of a miracle when you may have a much better plan in mind.  So, what are you thinking, Lord!?  My prayers for a miracle and lamb don't seem to be working the way I had envisioned, so should I change my prayers?"

If joining Wavy's prayer army has taught me anything it's how little I really know and understand.  It's so hard for my little human brain to consider more than just physical and emotional safety for this sweet little girl.  I try to consider the possibility that maybe the Lord covets intimacy with Matt and Molly in a way that can only be achieved through the grief of losing a child.  I try to imagine how being a dad might change the birthfather's life in that powerful way that any of us who are parents can testify to.  I try to think beyond my past, present, future timeline into God's kairos always-present and see a future where Waverley's story saves many lives and furthers the Kingdom of Heaven in an unfathomable way.  I try to wrap my mind around the way things have gone despite the prayers begging for the opposite.

But when I ask the Lord for different prayers, I don't hear anything in response.  So my conclusion is to hold tight to this prayer that has become so familiar to me:  Oh Lord, provide the lamb!  Do the impossible!  Let Waverley stay with Matt and Molly!

A book I'm reading with a group of friends challenges us to put our own prayers into the method that Jesus taught us to pray.  So tonight, I'll leave you with my version of the Lord's Prayer for Waverley:

Our Father.  Waverley's Father.  Matt and Molly's Father.  My Father.  Our Father in Heaven.
Hallowed be thy name. You are wise.  You are creative.  You are holy and good.  Your goodness reaches deeper than our understanding can reach.
Thy kingdom come.  Bring your Kingdom.  Redeem these broken people, this broken system, this broken situation.  Let these circumstances look like your Kingdom.  Be the King!
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Your word and authority rules over all - so take charge here on this planet at this moment!
Give us this day our daily bread.  And in this moment, be gracious.  Give Matt and Molly their daily bread of peace and rest and faith and trust and hope and love and relief.  Give Harper and Waverley their daily bread of protection and safety and assurance and lack of fear.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Forgive us our ignorance, for thinking we know what's right and wrong in such a complicated situation.  Forgive us our evil thoughts toward the birthfather and his lawyer.  Forgive us our lack of trust and our lack of action.
Lead us not into temptation.  Save us from our cynicism, our lack of faith, our fear and exhaustion.  Save us from our laziness and the temptation to take our own children for granted.
But deliver us from the Evil One.  Oh Lord that our own sins would never cloud our eyes from your Truth!  Do not allow Satan to pollute our minds with doubts or fears or misplaced anger.
For thine is the Kingdom. We trust you and your plan.  We trust your love and your wisdom.
And the power.  You are strong.  You are good.
And the glory.  And we vow to honor you with our lips and our lives no matter the outcome.
Forever, Amen.  Amen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh Happy Christmas Birthday Tree to You

I have learned over the years that tree choosing is the one area of our marriage where it is not worth trying to be the decision maker.  The Husband, ever the nature-enthusiast, is particularly passionate about his Christmas tree.  I have come to recognize the look he gets on his face when he has found "the One."    This year, LJ and I followed him around for about 5 minutes until we succumbed to the cold.  As I headed inside with a red-cheeked and grumpy Baby Girl, I said over my shoulder, "You talk to the trees and text me when you've found one."  About 10 minutes later I received this text:

"Got her.  Trimming and binding."

Her.  Evidently Christmas trees are female.  But as much as I tease him for it, the man knows how to choose a good tree.  She is a beaut. 

I was all excited about Lila's first tree-hunting experience.  However, as I eluded to before, Lila grumped her way through.  I think due to the extra layers of clothing which made it hard for her to move her limbs, her apparently bottomless pit of a tummy, and her adventuresome nature and toddler-like desire for autonomy.  No, really mom, I can wander the aisles of Home Depot on my own.  I don't need you.  I really wish you wouldn't insist on holding my hand.
This is before we left so the grumpies hadn't hit in full force.  Yet.

Lila and Mommy taking refuge from the cold in the car.
Watching Daddy tying the tree to the top of the car.
The only way I could get her to stop yelling on the way home was to give her string cheese.

I don't know why I allow myself to have such high expectations for the small little firsts of Lila's life.  She seems to have a sixth sense about those events and plans her biggest hissy fits for those times.   I think it's that I'm starting to understand just how fleeting these days are.  When she was a few days or a few weeks old and people would tell me "it goes by so fast," I would think, "I feel like I haven't slept in about 8 years and it's only been 4 days.  This does not go by fast."  But now I find myself grieving the fact that we are about to say good-bye to Lila's first year and with it, a lot of her firsts.  And it has gone by fast!

Which brings me to my next point.  The big day is coming!  Lila's birthday is in 4 days!!  Huzzah!  Clearly I have been in need of some sort of creative outlet because I've been in major party-planning mode for 3 weeks now.  Here's a preview:

Are you excited?  I am.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another devastating decision

Matt and Molly's motion to reconsider was denied.  They now have less than 30 days as Wavy's parents.  By January 4th, Waverley will be taken from her home.  What horrible news.  What a horrible thing to be hanging over their heads for Christmas.  But I refuse to give up hope.  Keep praying.  Your prayers matter and the Father hears them!

I grabbed this from Matt and Molly's blog as I didn't think I could articulate their request for prayers better than they can:

Please pray for our Wavy. The clock is ticking while we scramble to complete and put into practice a transition plan for her that the court will approve.  Our trauma therapist that is helping to develop and present this plan is upset that the court would think 30 days (or less) is an acceptable timeframe to start and finish a transition of this nature.  Besides being devastated we are extremely stressed as we try to do this in the best possible way for Wavybel. 

Please pray that Judge Shepherd will make the right choices for Wavy when we present our transition plan to him.

Please pray that we will use the right words when we try to explain this to our girls in the next few days.

Please just pray.

And here are a few prayer requests of my own:
Keep praying for a lamb!  I believe that there is still a possibility of a miracle happening so that Wavy will not have to be taken from Matt and Molly.

Keep praying for mercies and protection for Wavy.  I believe that the Lord will care for Waverley's heart, mind and body in her absence from Matt and Molly.

Keep praying for the biological father.  I believe that there is still a possibility that he will have a change of heart - even if it takes her living with him for a little while for him to realize that she would be better off with Matt and Molly.

While Matt and Molly have to live in the reality of explaining this to their daughters and coming up with a transition plan, we have the luxury of living in the reality of hope!  Let's never stop hoping for a miracle for Waverley!  Let's extend our prayer pledge another month to January 18th.  That is exactly two weeks past the 30 day mark.  Two weeks for a reality check.  Two weeks for a change of heart.  Two weeks for a miracle.

I still believe that God himself will provide the lamb!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby Girl does NOT like her overalls

She's so dramatic.  I have no idea where she gets it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our family shares...EVERYTHING

There's nothing like a huge family get-together.  Every year for Thanksgiving, the "Texas Cousins" come up from, you guessed it, Texas and our already large extended family extends itself to 60+ people.  The holiday is a 3 day event starting the morning of Thanksgiving.  Here's the itinerary:

10:00am Family Thanksgiving worship service: led each year by a different nuclear family and accompanied by some soulful, albeit painfully off-key, singing and emotionally charged share time.  Predictably punctuated by an hour-late start and Ngo minh, our adopted Vietnamese cousin with cerebral palsy, getting us all choked up as he sings Amazing Grace at the top of his voice.

1:00pm Family Football competition - the boys (and a few brave girls) take over a local elementary school's football field and proceed to compete to the truest sense of the word.  More often than not, there is a moderately serious injury (broken arms and such), and a bitter brotherly battle over who cheated or who was a little too rough with their two-hand-touch tackle.

4:00pm Family Dinner - For most families, this may be the main event - everyone gathered around one big table sharing grace and a meal.  But when you have 60 people ages 7 months to 87 you find an open spot at one of the 6 tables, shovel in the heavy Thanksgiving goodness and then offer to hold the baby of the mom who hasn't made it through the line yet.  This is no time for lingering over stuffing and mashed potatoes because before you have had your 3rd bite, the teenage boy cousins are already ravaging the dessert table and you just might miss a taste of that chocolate ganache tart you've been eyeballing.
Just to give you an idea of the number of people, my dad snapped a few photos with his phone of the pre-dinner prayer 
Who can spy a cute Baby Girl?
5:00pm Conversation, games, clean-up, naps.

Then this happened.  I think they were watching the Cowboys lose miserably.  Sad for the Texas cousins.
12:00pm Annual family trip to Chartroose Caboose - the family favorite.  The one by my uncle's house nearly closed a few years ago and he seriously considered buying it for fear we wouldn't have somewhere to overtake on Black Friday.  It's possible that our yearly visit is marked in their calendar as their boost in sales that makes up for a deficit the months before.  Personally if I'm gonna pay $7.00 for a chopped beef sandwich, I'd rather scoot on down Metcalf a mile or so and get me a Poor Russ from Jack Stack.  Now THAT's a sandwich.

2:00pm Family softball/kickball/basketball or some other competitive sport for the boys, Black Friday shopping for the girls.  Because the broken bones and bickering from Thursday have been forgotten and the boys need to release some more testosterone, and if there's anything the Snyder/Kahler girls love it's a good deal.  Upon his review of this post, the Husband informed me that I neglected to mention that he was awarded the title of Softball MVP.  A coveted award to be sure.

5:00pm Family pizza night- the traditional post-Thanksgiving meal.  Although this year we were celebrating the engagement of cousin Zack (hooray!) so pizza night was postponed until Saturday.

11:00am Family baby shower - every year at Thanksgiving there is at least one pregnant mama.  Last year there were 4.  This year only 3.  At this rate, the next generation will outnumber us in just a few years.

The rest of the day Saturday is usually spent playing games, shopping, napping, talking, and eating leftovers.

Needless to say, our family really likes being together.  You would think we would get sick of each other by the end of the weekend, but we don't.  I think we just know how to share.  Share time and space and stuff and conversation and food.  Unfortunately we also shared something else this weekend.  The most contagious flu bug ever.  We're not sure where it started, but the first round it took out 16 of us.  At last count, there were only 12 of the 63 people who remained well.  None of those 12 were in our house.

Poor Baby Girl got sick, too.  It's so sad when she's sick!  It's even more sad when I don't feel good either and I can't comfort her the way I want to.  I thought there was some rule that mommies and babies aren't sick at the same time.  Or at least that mommies and babies AND daddies aren't sick at the same time.  Maybe we're just the exception to the rule.  Just so you're not so sad thinking of her all sicky, here's a picture of happy, pre-puking Lila:

There.  I already feel a little bit better.  Don't you?

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and lacking of puke!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Awesome things happen to me. Perhaps not every day, but often enough to take note. Now don't get me wrong- this isn't some ego-driven plug for how great I am or how I make awesome happen around me. I've never been the make-things-happen type. It's a sincere observation of the blessings and joyous moments that I have been fortunate enough to experience in my nearly twenty-eight years. Some of them are awesome in way that I don't realize until much later the caliber of their awesome. Sometimes, however, it stares me right in the face and then catches me staring back and throws an awesome punch just for good measure.

There have actually been quite a few of these moments over the last eleven months (can you believe eleven months have gone by since
Lila joined our family?) The first night I held Lila, the first time she laughed, when she started crawling across the floor to harass the dog and Franny just sat there patiently and let her. All awesome. And I've seen a lot of awesome (again, not trying to make this about me, but I did once candidly receive an amiable wave from a soldier driving a tank down 95th Street. Awesome). But just a few days ago the best thing yet happened. In order to fully illustrate the point, however, we need to look back about three months.

I'm not going to suggest that dads can have a full appreciation for what moms go through in the first year of parenthood, nor can I pretend to completely sympathize with my extraordinary wife's exhausting daily routine of taking care of Lila. That said, we dads have our fair share of struggles, not least of which is reconciling baby's natural affinity for mom. For the first eight months or so of Lila's life I never won a parental preference contest. Not that I try to pit myself against Kelsey, but everyone likes to be picked once in a while. After spending a few days in Denver in August, during which I got to give Kelsey some down time while I took Lila to the pool or we walked to a coffee shop, I finally started getting a taste of what every proud parent loves. The tiny and longingly outstretched arms, the lean-ins for kisses, the grip tightening around my sleeve when other people reach out to hold her. And I'm not entirely proud of the fact that I enjoy it just a little bit when I leave for work in the morning and hear her crying at my absence. I can't help it. I spent eight months in a relationship of one-directional affection and now I'm getting some back. It makes me go eeeeeeeeeeeeee like I'm going too fast on a motorcycle.

So speaking of the unjust separation forced on me by having to go to work every day, last week the most awesome thing so far happened. As I opened the front door and walked past Franny, who was convulsing with elation at my return, Lila turned around from her toys, looked at me and said, smiling, "Da-da." And all at once my heart and lungs and brain collapsed and exploded and caught fire and were reborn from the ashes. I love coming home. But who wouldn't want to come home to this?

That's what I thought. Nobody. If I had to make a top five list of things I am loving right now, it would go like this (besides Kelsey who, I have been informed, holds the perennial #1 spot on any of my Awesome Things lists):

5. Winter weather.
4. The Matt Cassel/Dwayne Bowe connection.
3. Girl Talk's new album.
2. The anticipation of Thanksgiving.
1. Lila saying da-da when I come home.

There you have it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another hope for Waverley

Just a quick Waverley update for the Army!

Wavy's parents have filed a "motion to reconsider" asking the courts to review their decision and change their minds.  This does three things:

  1. Provides the very small hope that the ruling will be reversed (like mustard seed size hope!)
  2. Buys more time for Wavy to be with her family and for Matt and Molly to put in place the best "transition plan" to change custody over should they lose this motion (the decision on the motion to reconsider could be made as soon as tomorrow or as late as 3 months from now, meaning Waverley could be with Matt and Molly through the end of December or as long as March)
  3. Allows for the possibility to tweak the language in the ruling to support the cause of adoption for future cases


Pray for a conviction amongst the justices to consider the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law - and an understanding that the life and well-being of a child is at stake and is just as important if not more important than an adult's rights.

Pray for a change of heart for the birthfather - the way I see it, the longer this takes, the more time he has to think about the reality of being a father and the more time to change his mind!

Pray for the longest possible time allowed for Wavy to remain with Matt and Molly.

Pray for the voice of the biological grandmother to be silenced.

Pray that the justice of the Lord rules in the hearts and minds of the judges - far supreme to the justice of the nation.

Pray for wisdom and comfort and peace and hope and protection and provision for Matt and Molly and Wavy and Harper.

Pray for a lamb!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Pretend like you are a very patient, very compassionate, very kind mommy (okay, maybe "-ish" should be added to each of those adjectives to be fair).  Then pretend like you have an 11-month-old monkey child who spent 3 straight hours yelling at you.  Then imagine that child is ravenously hungry.  Are you imagining it?  There.  That's your own little window into my day.  Nice view, huh?

Lila must have woken up today and thought, "What do I want to do today?  Hmmm...probably just eat and yell.  That'll be fun."

Seriously, Lila took a page out of the hungry caterpillar book today.  This afternoon she ate:

1 stick of string cheese...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate 1/2 a slice of bread...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate 1/2 of a pear...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate carrots...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate chicken mixed with pear...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate another 1/2 a slice of bread...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate another 1/2 of a pear...but she was still hungry.
Then she ate some cheerios...but she was still hungry.

But then her mommy cut her off because she didn't want her to puke all over the place.  Which made monkey-child really mad and she yelled.

Disclaimer: I haven't taken a non-blurry picture of her with my iPhone for about two months.  She's just too wiggly.

She also yelled when I wouldn't let her play in the toilet.
She yelled when I wouldn't let her lick the trash can.
She yelled when I wouldn't let her crawl around in the closet with all of the christmas lights and ornaments and extension cords.
She yelled when I wouldn't let her pull all of the clothes out of her dresser which I had just put away from the last time she pulled them out.
She yelled when I wouldn't let her "kiss" the dog.
Again, sorry about the blur.  You gotta capture the moment, though.
So maybe you can understand why at exactly 5:01pm I texted Eric and said, "When are you coming home?!  I'm done with this baby!"

It's days like today that make me really glad I'm not a single mom.  And that I don't have twins.  And that I'm not pregnant.  And that it's Friday.

Today wasn't all bad, though; we had a few good moments in there.  For instance, Lila is really into kissing and she has started volunteering kisses rather than just offering them on demand.  She had me belly laughing today when she violently grabbed my whole head and slobbered all over my forehead because she had the sudden urge to kiss me.  She was also doing her best Fonzie impression this morning.  She has started this thing where she leans back against the couch with her arms propped up on the cushions - like a little chubby Fonzie.  Ayyyyyy!  And finally, I pulled up a few Sesame Street clips on Hulu and she was mesmerized.  She actually sat still and cuddled on my lap for 15 minutes (except for when she yelled and batted at the computer every time I had to load the next clip).

And really, when my alarm beeps at 10:08 twice a day and I stop what I'm doing to pray for Waverley and her family, I tend to snap out of my frustration and thank Jesus for my baby girl as I ask him to be gracious and let Matt and Molly keep theirs.  I'm sure they would do anything to add more days to their time with Wavy - even if they were all like today!  It helps to have a little perspective.

But even with perspective, days can just be nasty and by the end of the day all of those sweet bonding memories were fading away in the haze of the crabbiness that had invaded our house.  Which brings me back to the title of this post.  Grrrr.  That is how I feel about today.  I don't have the energy to lecture it or even lash out and bite it.  I'm like that elderly dog who is not so keen on the children tugging on it's ears but can only muster an apathetic warning growl.  Grrrr, nasty day.  Grrrr.  I'm done with you.  Leave me alone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sleeper, awake!

 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!"
     “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
   “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
   “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
   “Here I am,” he replied.
  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Genesis 22 tells the confusing and heart-wrenching story of a father asked to sacrifice his son.  It seems wrong that the Lord would even ask it of Abraham to begin with, but we have the benefit of knowing the whole story, just as God knew the whole story before it began.  I believe God knew that Isaac was safe even before he asked Abraham to sacrifice him.  I believe he knew Abraham's heart, knew he would be obedient, knew Abraham trusted God in all his wisdom and holiness and mystery.  And Abraham reveals to us his trust in his answer to Isaac's question in verse 8:  God himself will provide the lamb.

As it stands today, the longest Waverley will be in Matt and Molly's home is through December 18th, (although custody may change over before that, depending on what is worked out legally).  But, just as I believe God knew the whole story - beginning, middle and end - of Genesis 22, I believe he knows the whole story of Waverley's adoption - beginning, middle and end.  And it is not over.

I have been awed by the way that the Lord seems to be captivating our hearts on behalf of Waverley.  I am honestly taken off guard by how many people have told me that they haven't been able to stop thinking, praying, weeping for Matt and Molly.  I believe that this is significant.  And not just in revealing how kind and thoughtful people are, or how horrible this situation is.  I believe the fact that so many hearts have been moved by Wavy's story is significant because it is evidence that the Lord is moving.  I believe the Lord is raising up an army of prayer warriors.

Today I spoke with a woman I have met only once - a friend of a friend - who has never met Matt and Molly, but heard of their story through my friend.  She told me about a friend of hers who was dying of stage 4 cancer.  This friend had slipped into a coma and the doctors had called all family members to say their goodbyes.  As doctors said there was nothing more they could do, this woman and her friends decided to pray for their dying friend twice a day for 100 days until she was cancer-free.  I don't know how many days into their 100 days they were when their friend awoke from her coma.  I don't know how many more days until she stood up from her deathbed.  I don't know how many more days until she walked out of the hospital.  But today her friend is now back at work, cancer-free.  A miracle.  No doubt about it.

The woman told me that she wants to do the same for Wavy and as she told me of her desire to pray corporately for Wavy, I saw in my mind the scene from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King when the army of dead warriors arises and bursts out of the mountain to fight on behalf of the King.  And I thought of the verse in Ephesians: "Sleeper, awake; rise from the dead! And Christ on thee his light shall shed!"

Do you see what I see?  Do you see that army rising up?  Did you feel something awaken in you when you heard Waverley's story?  Was it a cry for justice?  A sense that the Lord should make wrong things right?

Well, fellow warriors, we are the army.  We are the Sleepers awakening, coming out of a deep slumber (perhaps of apathy? of faithlessness? of forgetfulness? of fear?) ready to fight on behalf of the King and his beloved daughter.

So here is what I am asking of you:  Set your alarms for 10:08am and 10:08pm and join me twice a day in prayer for Waverley every day for the next 36 days (today - December 18th).  Why 10:08?  Because 10:00pm in military time is 22:00 and Genesis 22:8 is our battle cry: God himself will provide a lamb.

My dad gets a daily scripture reading via email and he emailed me today's reading.  Scripture says the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.  So if you need more ammunition for this fight, draw this sword of Truth:

Friday, November 12 
Psalm 123 
1 Kings 7:1-33; John 13:31-38 
There is no perversion of justice with the Lord our God, or partiality, or taking of bribes. 2 Chronicles 19:7

Peter began to speak, 'I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.' Acts 10:34-35

Millions are crying out for justice, righteous God! You demand that we be bold and speak out against all forms of injustice and unjust rule that destroy body and soul. Strengthen the values of fairness, honesty, integrity, impartiality, and righteousness in our families and nations so that we can do that which is acceptable to God alone. Amen.

What a fitting call to battle!  These Words are our ammunition.  They are our swords.  Put them to use.  Fight.  Pray.  Cry out for justice and mercy.  Be bold and courageous, oh Warriors!  Please leave a comment and pledge to pray for Waverley twice a day for the next 36 days.  Let's have the faith of Abraham and say with confidence, "God himself will provide the lamb!"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A call to prayer

Well, I was planning on a Halloween picture post, but that will have to be for another day.  There is something else I feel like I need to share even though I almost don't have the energy to share it.  I don't even really know where to begin.  But, I want to invite you all to pray with us on behalf of our friends.  The short version is this: 

Our friends Matt and Molly have adopted two little girls.  For the last two and a half years, they have been in a legal battle with their youngest daughter's birthfather.  He contested the adoption claiming he didn't know that the baby had been born.  As more details emerged, it became clear what Matt and Molly had always felt deep in their hearts: Waverley was their daughter.  She was meant to be a part of their family.  That was the best place for her.  They learned that it is actually the paternal grandmother who is pushing her son to contest the adoption.  The birthfather is young (20 years old at the time of Wavy's birth) and immersed in an unhealthy lifestyle involving drugs and alcohol.  In fact, the grandmother testified in court that she wants her son to be a parent because she thinks it will help him "grow up."  There's so much more that goes into this, but because of privacy issues, they have asked us not to link directly to their blog, so if you want to read the nitty gritty, leave a comment and I will send you a link to their blog privately.

Adoption law does not allow for the judges to consider the child's best interest in their decisions - they must solely consider the birthparents' rights.  So, even if the Justices thought that Wavy would be better off with Matt and Molly, by law they are obligated to rule in favor of the birthfather if they believe that his rights have been violated.  Matt and Molly won the initial court decision 2 years ago and have since won the first appeal.  All looked good and I think everyone began to be hopeful that this long journey would be over and we would be celebrating the fact that Waverley was officially their daughter.  However, the last step of the appeals process was the Kansas Supreme Court and last Friday we learned that the Supreme Court had reversed all of the previous rulings.   Unfortunately, the only option for appeals is to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is very unlikely that their case would even be heard on that level.  In other words, they are out of options and the bottom line is Waverley is going to be taken from Matt and Molly and her big sister, Harper. 

We are...heartbroken, enraged, confused, disappointed.  As a mommy with a daughter, I haven't been able to go long without bursting into tears thinking about Molly having to drop off her baby and drive away or Wavy starting a whole new life in an unknown, perhaps unsafe place without a mama.  I have had to resist the urge to go wake Lila up and snuggle her to remind myself that she can't be taken from me.  Being a mom makes you a little nutty when it comes to your kids!

I have prayed and prayed and have gone from despair and confusion to a real sense of peace that God is not done working in this situation.

I wanted to share something with you all with the hope that it might give you some direction for your prayers or at least some hope that the Lord is active in this situation. Last Saturday night I couldn't sleep and felt the Lord calling me to prayer. I wept and prayed for Matt and Molly, Wavy and Harper and asked all the questions that I'm sure everyone is asking: Why? How? What now?  After several minutes of praying, I believe the Lord began to remind me of stories from Scripture: the prostitutes who fought over the child in Solomon's court, the firstborn boys being spared during Passover, Abraham and Isaac, Jesus himself. All were stories of children whose lives and futures were in jeopardy but were saved at the last minute. And then I believe I heard the Lord say: "I always provide a lamb."

Now I would like to interpret that as God is planning on returning Wavy to Matt and Molly at the last second, but I just don't know if that is true.  What I do know is that all things are possible with God and that the prayers of the righteous have great power and wonderful results.  So please join us in praying for a lamb - that is, a substitute or another option - for Waverly so that she might be able to grow up in the only home she has ever known and with parents who love her and love Jesus.  It would be a miracle, I know, but thankfully we have a God who has a habit of performing miracles!  So, let's pray on behalf of this sweet face:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

too many teeth and not enough naps

I'm just gonna warn you: we've had two not-good days and I'm feeling whiny.

Lila and I are in a fight.  Actually, two fights: Teeth and Naps.

No, it's not that she's teething.  It's that they're already out and she likes to use those new little masticators.  She bites everything, including me.  And Mommy already feels like she's being very generous with certain parts of her body and doesn't have much patience for those parts being treated like a teether.  Especially since those aren't teeth.  They're razors.  My child didn't sprout sweet little soft pearls.  She popped out the sharpest, pointiest, razoriest fangs with which I've ever been chewed on.  It does not feel good.

The first time it happened, I instinctively grabbed her cheeks and said, "NO! Lila, do NOT bite Mommy!"  And she said, "HA."  The little urchin.  The next time, I did the same thing, but also set her down on the floor.  She wasn't nearly as amused that time.  Instead she wailed and looked red-faced back and forth between Eric and I as if she was saying, "Can you believe what she/you did to me?!  Which one of you is going to rescue me from this unjust punishment of being plopped onto my diapered bottom?"  Neither strategy has been all that effective, incidentally, but (because I'm such a good mom) making her cry makes me feel better.  At least she's not mocking my pain, but sharing in it.  

I'm gonna go ahead and give myself a point for that one.  I think I deserve it.  Lila: 0 Mommy: 1

Yes, I'm still complaining about her naps.  The girl is just not a good napper.  We've hit an all-time low, though.  Let's do some math, shall we?

Yesterday we spent 75 minutes + 60 minutes (2 separate attempts) trying to get Lila to sleep in the morning.  She never slept.  Then we spent 20 minutes trying to get her to sleep in the afternoon and she finally slept for all of 40 minutes.  So all-in-all 155 minutes (2.5 hours) in her crib in varying degrees of distress (ranging from bouncing around babbling to screaming her brains out) and 40 minutes sleeping.  Definitely in the red there.

Then she slept 14 hours overnight, so I chalked it up to it being a school day.


This morning she spent 75 minutes bouncing around her crib and 30 minutes sleeping.  Frustrating, but I was still (foolishly) optimistic about her afternoon nap.  However, after an hour of babbling and flopping in the afternoon with no sleep, I finally gave up and resolved to just put her to bed early because her boyfriend, Reave was coming over (more on that later).  Total numbers for the last 2 days = nearly 5 hours of trying to get her to sleep, 21 awake hours, 14 hours of night sleep and only an hour and 10 minutes of daytime sleep.  I don't like that kind of math.

You guys, I'm not being a push over.  I'm really not.  I let her cry.  A lot.  I don't go in there all the time and when I do it's to give her bink back (after she's thrown it out of the crib in a fit of infantile rage), but I don't make eye contact and I just lay her back down and walk out.  And I've tried putting her down later and earlier and a lot later and a lot earlier.  She just won't sleep!  And when she does sleep it's not for very long.  I can't force her to sleep.  Lord, I wish I could.  I'm at my wits end.  Any ideas would be helpful.

So in the nap battles, it's Lila: 1 Mommy: 0

Despite the biting and nap protests, she's still rather charming most of the time.  In fact, you probably wouldn't have known she hadn't slept today.  The only indication was that she was a little emotional during her first date with Reave.  She and Reave are betrothed.  His mama and I were pregnant together and he was born on Lila's due date.  She's got two days on him, the cradle-robber.  Alissa and I decided to do some baby-swapping so we could each get some much needed alone time.  So I had Reave today for a couple of hours and Alissa will take Lila tomorrow.  Here are a few pics:

Lila: Get me outta here!  This boy keeps trying to hold my hand!  Reave: I can't believe I have to have this pink blanket on me.  Maybe if I close my eyes, something more manly will appear.
Lila: Yay! Good date!  Reave: Is it over yet?
Lila: Reave, do you like my windblown hair-do?  Do you think it makes me look like a model?  Reave: Haha.  You said 'doo-doo!'
That Reave, he's just like his daddy.  He loves potty humor, too.  Lila and Reave played so cute together - you know, the way 10 month olds do: stealing each others' toys, crawling on top of each other, knocking one another down, banging on things, throwing things, pulling hair, driving over each other with the walker.  Good stuff.

So I guess my day wasn't all bad.  But I'm still grumpy, okay?

Oh yeah, and thanks to your votes, Lila Lou will be the cutest little Who in Who-ville this Halloween!  Photos to come next week, of course!  In the meantime, pray for me and send me any stop-biting or start-napping advice you might have!  I'm all ears!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cindy Lou Monchhichi is about to rock

It's 7:19pm on Tuesday and Baby Girl has been asleep for an hour and a half.  That's right.  5:45 bedtime.  That's what happens when certain stubborn pixies boycott their afternoon nap at school.  You wouldn't have known that she had been up for 7 hours straight because she was walking her walker all around the house yelling "Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-BA! A-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-MA!" with a grin on her face for 45 minutes after we got home from school.  The girl's a pro at that thing now.  I'm kinda worried she won't ever learn to walk for real because she can maneuver her way anywhere real speedy-like with it.

That's low on my list of worries right now though.  Topmost on my list is our plugged main sewer line.  Yup.  Problems.  Round about Thursday, I heard this glub-glubbing sound coming from the laundry room where I was washing Lila's diapers.  When I went to investigate I stepped in a growing puddle of water seeping out of the floor drain.  I thought maybe I over-soaped the load (which doesn't really make sense, but that was my first thought).  Then on Friday, the shower didn't really drain well and then the toilet started bubbling.  Thus began our uber-fun weekend of talking to plumbers (some smarmier than others), sopping up water in the laundry room, watching said plumbers dig around in our backyard, and then not showering for 3 days.  Are you jealous?

The good news is that the Husband took the day off work yesterday while we got bids and diagnoses on our sewer line.  I love it when Eric gets a few days in a row at home because Lila just loves her daddy.  I can see such a difference in the way she responds to him when he's spent a substantial chunk of time with us.  It just makes my mommy/wife heart swell.  Kinda like the Grinch at the end of the movie when his heart breaks the little heart measuring thing. 

Speaking of the Grinch (nice transition, eh?), one of our favorite costume ideas was Cindy Lou Who.  Check out the poll on the right of this page where you can vote from our top three options for LJ's Halloween costume:

Numero Uno: LJ as Cindy Lou Who.  Pink nightie, pipe cleaner antennae, pink bows in hair and maybe a red ball for the ornament

Santy Claus, why are you stealing our Christmas tree? Why?

Option Two: Lila Monchhichi.  Monkey costume, red bow in ponytail, white bib with "Monchhichi" on it
Monchhichi, Monchhichi, oh so cute and cuddly!

Thirdly: She's a little bit country AND a little bit rock-n-roll.  LJ rockin' her AC/DC tee with a cowgirl hat and boots.  Ah, what the heck, let's throw in a pint-sized electric guitar, too.
cowboy up and rock on.

So vote on our poll for your favorite and the costume with the highest votes will be Lila's first Halloween costume.  Never before have you had such power.  Use it wisely.