My Family

My Family

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Bump in the Road

We made it home yesterday.  It was a great trip and I will post more on it later.  For us it was a sad homecoming. 

The pet sitter had called us to let us know that Mr. P was sick.  Really sick.  His temp and heart rate had dropped and he was laying on his side. Not good if you are a bunny.  So he rushed him to the vet and gave him an IV.  They told him that now it was just a matter of time.  We were called and alerted, but it was too far from home to get there.  I spent most of the day crying, pretty sure that he would be gone before we made it home. 

He survived until we got there.  The sitter was amazed and said that he may just make it.  I took one look at him and was pretty sure that it would require a miracle.  I held him and we rushed to the vet.  We didn't make the vet.  Mr. P left us just as Frosty did a few months back.  Peacefully sleeping in my arms. 

I know for a lot of people that he was just a pet and a rabbit at that, but for me he was more.  I adopted P around the time that I found out I couldn't have kids.  He was comic relief and joy during dark days after a miscarriage.  I loved having him around and he had a zest for life and furniture.  He will be missed. 

Marvin was upset.  He was very close to P and loved him.  When Shannon went to dig the grave Marvin took his shovel and helped daddy.  He helped me place P in and kissed him.  Then we filled in the hole and went in.  Marvin told me his heart was hurting.  I told him mine was too, but it was O.K. to be sad. 

Part of loving is losing.  It has not been a fun past few months around here with that.  But time moves forward and we move on.  I will remember all the good times we had with him and his love for life.  The funny moments and the sad ones.  He was a joy to have and I am proud to have been a part of his life. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where in the world?????

Have you ever played that Where's Waldo game growing up??  I sort of feel like Waldo right now. It has been a crazy past two days.  But let me back up a bit... 

You may have remembered from a previous post that we were getting ready to go to John Deere land in Molene.  We had packed, tickets were purchased, and Marvin was informed and about lost his mind with joy.  It was the kind of moment that every parent pats themselves on the back for.  But then a problem arose.  Her name is Irene. 

Yesterday at work I found out that our plane was cancelled.  Shannon was scrambling to get a plan B together.  I came home quickly with Marvin to find a very agitated husband.  For once I was the cool one.  I had already informed family that I was pretty sure we were just going to drive out there.  After all, I had to suffer, I mean experience the joys of 10 plus hour drives growing up, I was sure that we could do this. 

Shannon and I debated on cancelling all together.  But we were both exhausted.  Aftershocks had me on edge and having lived in Florida we both were not fond of hurricanes.  Sitting around the house with no power and a four year old has little appeal.  So we put everything into the trusty Kia and got out of Sundance. 

So we drove and drove and drove.  About 2 hours into the trip we had gone back in forth about how to get to Molene and home in a short span.  We had to make a choice.  We decided not to go.  It was hard.  I felt so guilty.  After all, I had really wanted to do this for Marvin.  Hadn't he had enough disappointments in his short life?  I felt like crap.  I could tell Shannon did too.  I wanted to go home, but then I remembered Irene and decided that we would make the best out of a bad situation.  This would be a good lesson in resiliency for all of us.  So we stopped in West Va last night.  Shannon found us a really nice suite and I felt somewhat better when I saw this in the room. 

A very nice jacuzzi bathtub.  With working jets.  Hmmm.  I start to cautiously feel better.  The next morning after we eat the biggest breakfast at the hotel and I drink tons of coffee, Shannon, looks up attractions and finds several of interest.  So we pack up and head to our new destination, Joe Huber's family farm in Indiana.  Yup, a farm folks. 

Marvin catches on to the fact that we are no longer talking about John Deere.  He asks when are we getting there?  We cautiously explain to him what happened.  Marvin was upset and cried.  Once again I felt like crap.  He wants to go home.  We told him that we couldn't for a few days and that we were going to a farm.  Marvin sniffs and asks rather tearily if there will be a tractor there for him.  I put on my best chipper preschool teacher voice and say that we will see lots of exciting things, what do you think will be at the farm?  This kept him well occupied most of the way.  He was so excited by the time we got there that I was praying that this would be somewhat decent.

It was!  The place exceeded my expectations.  We had an amazing time.  There was so much to do. 

Let's start with the 40 foot barn slide.  Shannon and Marvin had a blast playing on this.  We fed animals, rode tractors, horses, and went fishing!!
Guess who caught herself a nice big catfish?  Marvin helped a bit, but kind of freaked out a bit when the fish was still flapping.  It was a big one!  I am not telling a fish tale when I say I was the only one to land a fish that day.  The lady up front told me. 

We finished off our farm day at the restaurant at the farm.  These goodies showed up at the table just in time. 
Fried biscuits with fresh apple butter and dusted with powdered sugar.  Yum.  Dinner was awesome and Marvin had an amazing time.   

So we are just staying in the Kentucky/Indiana area these next few days.  We will go to the zoo, see museums, and have some quality family time.  True it is not the vacation we imagined, but sometimes life takes you on unexpected journeys and you have to be the one to decide whether you go with the flow or sulk and pout because you didn't get what you wanted.  I choose to go with it.  I am getting family time and that was the purpose of this vacation.  Sometimes you just focus on the journey and not the destination and enjoy the surprises life has to offer.  Like fried biscuits, 40 foot slides, and the realization that my son is learning to become adaptable and enjoy the journey that we call life. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moving on

First off I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support last week.  It has been a very difficult week and we have had many ups and downs as the week progressed. 

The viewing for great-grandma was full of many people.  It was an open casket so Marvin was a little confused.  People kept going up to see her and Marvin kept shushing them because he thought great-grandma was sleeping in her special bed and getting better.  It was funny and heartbreaking at the same time.  I did try to keep telling him that her soul was in heaven, but he didn't like my explanation to much.  Later when we got home he sat in my lap and cried.  I cried too. 

The funeral was hard for him.  I had wanted to take him to school so he could have a bit of a routine but my husband had the day off and after a few "intense" discussions I caved and let him stay home.  The service was right in the middle of nap time so I knew that may be a bit challenging.  It was.  But we made it through.  We also found bits of humor here and there.  Marvin had some cereal to keep him quiet during the service but of course he had to eat it as loudly as humanly possible.  Which cracked up many on our pew (and probably annoyed equally as many).  We also heard a rooster crowing during the graveside service and I was asked if I was having post traumatic chicken disorder (I was attacked by a rooster about a week ago and my family has been making jokes about it ever since.  I can laugh at it now=) ). 

There were also sweet moments where we remembered a life well lived.  I found out things about Eunice that I had never known.  She was an amazing woman born into the roaring twenties.  She married and lived through the great depression.  Her wedding meal was a BLT sandwich and her husband had to buy her shoes.  Eunice had a special talent for cooking and could make a meal out of just about anything.  She served actively in her church for over eighty years and was married for seventy-two years.  Not many people can claim that. 

I find as the week goes on that instead of trying to keep busy so I can forget and escape the pain of loss that I now am pausing and trying to remember.  I remember how she welcomed me without hesitation when Shannon and I were dating.  How she was so sweet and kind.  She took time to listen to me and got to know me.  She told me her stories of marriage and growing up.  I loved listening to her stories. 

So even though Eunice is gone she still lives.  Her features and temperament live in my mother-in-law and my husband.  Her cooking talents live in them also.  She lives in my nephew and even in my son.  A part of her lives in me too.  Her stories live in me.  It is a legacy that I will pass on to my son and he will pass on to his children someday.  For when we are remembered, we are never truly gone. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I really wasn't planning on posting for a few days.  I have lots to do.  School is kicking off soon, parent orientation, trips, all sorts of stuff happening.  But I wanted to take a minute and talk about loss. 

Loss is something that we all go through.  We loose things.  Keys, socks in the dryer (did anyone ever figure out where they get to?), and people.  When you are adopted you have already lost two of the most important people in your life.  Your bio mom and dad.  No mater how you try to play it down it is always there.  You learn to live through it and around it but it is still there.  So you hold on all the harder to the people around you and can be even more affected by loss.  It is very painful. 

Last night I said good-bye to a woman who I cared for and admired greatly.  Shannon's grandmother died. True, Alzheimer's had already robbed her of so much.  She had long ago forgotten me and pretty much everyone in the family.  But she was still here.  A tangible presence in our life.  It was a quiet passing.  She had been going downhill for quite some time.  She had forgotten how to swallow and just closed her eyes and slipped away from us.  Shannon and I are devastated.  I find myself weeping for the woman who openly welcomed me into her home and spent time with me.  We are hurting very badly now. 

Marvin is confused.  Great-grandma was well into Alzheimer's when he came onto the scene.  Yet she always knew who he was right up to the end.  He brought her joy.  He doesn't get why we can't see her and isn't thrilled about her being in heaven.  He and I both are feeling the sting of another loss in our lives.  Last night he did a beautiful thing though.  He has always been a bit nervous around great-grandaddy.  He has a cane and talks loud due to hearing loss.  Marvin kind of avoided him.  But last night after we told great-grandaddy he walked over, crawled into his lap and hugged him.  They sat there like that for a very long time.  Marvin with his head on Freeman's shoulder just loving him.  It was a beautiful moment.  And a good life lesson about putting aside your grief and helping others through theirs.  My prayer is that I am able to do just that and in doing so give strength and comfort to those in need.  God willing, let it be so. 


Friday, August 12, 2011

It's all about John Deere

Growing up I dreamed of the little girl I would have one day.  We would go shopping, do crafts, get our hair done, make-up, barbies, and all the other joys that I loved doing. 

Flash forward to today.  I have a little boy.  Even though he does love to go shopping (mostly just for food) there is no hair, barbie, make-up, or much crafting unless we are making tractors.  I suppose not liking barbies and make-up is a good thing, but I still sigh and imagine what life would be like with a girl. 

A good friend told me to give up on that fantasy.  Girls are hair and drama.  Looking back I would have to agree.  Shopping with mom was a nightmare.  She would go out of her way to buy "practical" ( cheap) clothing.  My sister would pitch fits and throw massive temper tantrums in the stores.  I would walk away and mutter something about being glad I was adopted because a "real" mom would buy her child designer clothing.  Then there was the sisterly times that Kari and I would get into bar brawls that made Jerry Springer's guests look like Barney cast members.  Over bathroom time, boys, clothes, phone time, just about anything.  We finally got along once I moved away to college.  Now we enjoy each other and get along.  She adores Marvin and I adore my perfect nephew and niece. 

The truth is that I may just end up with a house full of boys.  Don't get me wrong, I would love a girl.  My mom would love a girl.  My mother-in-law would love a girl.  Just about everyone I meet asks me if the next one will be a girl.  But there are a few problems with that. 

The sad truth is that mostly boys are available for adoption.  For every one girl there is about seven or so boys.  They say that boys are harder and everyone wants a girl.  Because they are so much easier supposedly.  That also is a mistruth.  Girls can be much harder with their behaviors.  

Plus, I have gotten used to being the queen bee around here.  True the burping and scratching can get a little gross, but I have learned to deal with it.  I find myself enjoying things I never thought I would like.  Such as tractors.  Marvin discovered them a while ago and is obsessed with John Deere.  He has them everywhere.  We have clothes, toy tractors, tractor movies (yes they make them) and tractor books.  In a few weeks we will make a pilgrimage to the John Deere mecca.  Molene, Illinois.  We plan on going to the tractor museum, factories, whatever else we can find.  We are also making a side trip to a zoo, but I am sure that Marvin won't be very impressed with that. 

Shannon and I decided to take the trip now while Marvin is still obsessed with tractors.  We also though it would probably be the last trip he took as an only child so we wanted to make it special for him.  As the time approaches I am even getting excited about it.  Not so much the tractor part as the time we will spend as a family.  The look in his eyes.  Especially the look in his eyes. 

We haven't told Marvin yet as he would drive us crazy until we left.  I am about busting.  I am a lousy at keeping such a good surprise.  So far he hasn't caught on. 

When we get there I plan on taking oodles of pictures. I may even pick up a little pink John Deere shirt and put it aside for now.  Maybe someday I will have a little someone to wear it.  Even if I don't it would make a cute gift.  I still can hold on to a dream until a better reality finds me. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adoption Update

So there have been many questions about where we are in the process.  And about the process itself.  Here is a look at what happens. 

1.  You take classes on how to be a parent to a special needs child.  (Every child over infant age is considered special needs no matter what.)
2.  You wait and fill out paper work.
3.  You wait and have a home study.
4.  You wait and pass/fail your home study.
5.  If you pass your home study you wait some more.  (Are you catching on to a theme here?)
6.  You wait and meet some children.
7.-10. You wait
11.  You find a match and it is "the one".
12.  You begin visits and move towards permanency. 
13.  Congrats!!!  You are a family!!!! 

Now there are deviations in this.  Failed adoptions, evil social workers, etc.  But if all goes "normally" these are the steps that take place.  We are on step 2 right now.  If all goes well by the end of August we will have the paperwork turned in and be on the road to more waiting.  Not what I wanted.  I dreamed of finding my second child over the summer so we had bonding time and time to decided on education, care, and all that good stuff.  At the rate we are moving it will probably be a closer to Christmas sort of thing.  Some one once told me that it is a broken system, but it is the only system we have.  It makes me sad that it takes so long and the children get the short end of the stick.  They wait and dream of a family that may never come for them.  All because of the stupid red tape. 

So instead of loosing my mind I plan on keeping very busy while this goes on.  The problem when I was waiting for our first child was that I kept on getting undone at every little corner that didn't go as planned.  I became cranky and irritable and frustrated.  I kept hounding our agency and I am sure they got tired of me even though they said they didn't.  I cried and cried. 

On that road to discovery that I need to have more faith and patience and not harass the agency I decided to combat the waiting and worrying by being productive.  Here is my to do list: 

1.  Focus on what I have.  I have a husband, son, and insane rabbits who need my attention.  I also need to prepare Marvin for the fact that he is no longer going to be the only child in the family.  He is excited about a sibling, but he also has to learn many things, like sharing mom and dad.
2.  I am starting my second year at an awesome school!  I love it.  My first year went well, but there is room for improvement.  I am my hardest critic and know many areas that I can better myself in. 
3.  I am going back to school.  Yep, I am a glutton for punishment.  Plus I have put it off long enough.  My goal is a Masters Degree in Special Education with emphasis on the preschool age group.  I have a long way to go, but I am confident that it can be done.  One of my good friends got hers and it took her 11 years.  I am aiming for a little less that that. 

I am also taking action and stalking adoption websites.  In doing this I make contact with social workers early on in the game.  I let them know where I am in the process and most are willing to talk with you and let you know if there is a chance the child will be available when you are done.  I am also looking at "unadoptables".  That is a class of children who are autistic, have cerebral palsy, metal retardation, you know children who people look at and say "Well we really would consider that, but still have unrealistic fantasies about this perfect child who will pop into our lives, so no dice."  Now mind you, not all people say that, but most do.  What I have come to realize is that those are just labels.  They do NOT define who a child is or what they can become with a family who will love and support you no matter what.  I have seen so many of these children blossom once they are home for good. 

So for now I will be content and busy while I wait.  I will keep people posted and enjoy what I have and look forward to the day we add to our family!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Other Fields' Family Members

After a very stressful previous week involving some sort of inner infection and vertigo for yours truly, Shannon having another hereditary syncope spell (a fancy name for passing out at any God given moment thus freaking out his wife and reducing her life span by 5 years every time) and Marvin managing to contract a double ear infection we are in bad need of a quiet weekend. 

Everyone is on the mend and I plan on doing some serious scrapbooking and reading.  Marvin plans on playing with tractors and being read to.  Shannon wants sleep=).  We also have two other family members with some needs also.  Such as shampooing, nail clipping, playtime, and obedience training.  Sound like kids?  Close.  Let me introduce you to our last two members of the Fields' clan

These are our house rabbits.  Yep, we have rabbits and I keep them inside my home.  They are sweet, fluffy, destructive, lovable, destructive, fun, did I mention destructive. 

Now most people get dogs, or cats, or a fish.  When I was growing up we had fish.  My parents hated animals.  My dad grew up on a farm thus sprung his dislike of animals.  Mom just didn't like them.  We had no real pets.  I'm sorry if I offend fish people, but they are nice to look at there is just no interaction or bonding.  When I got married we moved to Florida and as I patiently waited for the baby that would never come I decided that I must lavish all this maternal instinct on something.  We lived in an apartment so a dog was not the best choice.  Shannon is a cat person but with my mom and his dad being allergic that was out.  Then we walked by the pet store and I saw BUNNIES!!!!  Being the wise husband Shannon told me to do research and present dollar amounts.  I did and found a rabbit rescue overflowing with dumped and abandoned rabbits.  After meeting the person who ran the Jacksonville branch, Jason, he introduced me to my first bunny.  Mr. Peabody.

Mr. P as we call him most of the time was dumped twice.  Once by his original owner and the second time by a family who adopted and returned him for being boring.  After hearing that I vowed I would take him home with me.  I have had him for 5 years now.  He was middle aged when I got him and is now in the twilight of his life.  After adopting him I joined the rescue.  We broke off from our parent branch and started our own rescue.  It is still in full swing and I help out as I can.  After we got P I decided he needed a companion.  Rabbits are herd animals and do better in groups.  So I bonded him with Princess Bridgette.  A long name for a tiny grey bunny.  She had cancer and they told me she was going to die while I fostered her.  After about a month I decided that no one gave her the memo and she wasn't going anywhere so we kept her.  She lived for two years.  After she died P was depressed.  Yes, rabbits do grieve and get depressed.  So we had another rabbit named Frosty.  She
was a Katrina rescue and we had adopted her out, but her family decided that their dog was allergic to her and sent her back to us.  She was Shannon's special bunny.  So we bonded them.  Frosty lived with us about 3 years and then became very ill.  She died in my arms a few months back.  We were devastated.  Crushed.  I had never seen Shannon so upset before.  We will never know why she died.  After we were picking up the pieces and moving on a friend jokingly suggested we get Mr. P a "trophy wife" since he had outlived two.  I pushed the idea aside as I was so upset.  Then a few weeks later I got an e-mail from someone who knew a woman who was dumping a cute bunny.  So about a month ago I caved and we now have a 6 month old female named Penelope living with us.

So Mr. P did get a trophy wife after all.  Age wise it is like a 70 year old shacking up with a 16 year old.  But it is good that they are both happy.  And that I have a really great husband who keeps letting me get rabbits.  He is still healing from his loss but Penelope is trying to win him over.  So far she adores Shannon and Marvin.  Me she tolerates.  Go figure.  For those of you who are dying to get a rabbit here is a word of wisdom.  Don't.  Seriously, I love my pets but unless you are prepared for destructive forces beyond your control (for those of you who have kids you know what I mean) don't get a rabbit.  Here are two powerful arguments.  This was once carpet.

This was once a nice piece of furniture.

I have become very good at repairs and hiding bunny no-nos.  I also believe that my home is someplace to live in and not a glorified show piece.  I still like nice things, but I have a kid and pets so it is not always a realistic expectation.  I keep it clean and do my best.  And use duct tape. 

But for those of you are not scared off from bunnies they are rewarding pets.  I plan on enjoying mine very much this weekend!  And repairing my carpet with a glue gun. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Nature verses nurture

A while back my mom, sister, grandma, and myself sat around grandma's table drinking coffee and complaining about politicians and laughing about failed cooking adventures.  Shannon told me that day that "you are just like your mother".  Even though I am adopted and come from an entirely different gene pool I realize that I am pretty much like the woman who raised me and loved me. 

I have found that since Marvin has been with us he to has transformed.  When we first got him he was quiet, didn't like tons of attention, sort of a loner.  He didn't smile or laugh much.  Life was very serious business for the little guy.  He didn't play much and would just sit by himself and look around.  I realize that he was probably a little stressed out, but I worried about him.  Shannon and I spent time playing with him, laughing, and loving him. 

Flash forward to today as he was in a store with me.  Marvin had a basket in his hand and was happily humming and "helping" me get items.  All of a sudden he spilled his basket.  He put his hands on his hips and did a very loud moan.  I had to laugh, he was just like me.  

Marvin has slowly morphed into a mini-version of us.  Although he retains his own unique qualities and talents there is so much of us in him.  He has become curious, loves to play, enjoys laughing and making others laugh, has his mom's temper and his dad's stubbornness, loves people, has a dramatic flair, and mimics all of mom's expressions.  He even has glasses like us.
Every time I hear the nature verses nurture debate I have to smile.  And think about mom, grandma, my sister, and I around grandma's table.  Then I think about Marvin who is just like me.