Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The new normal

For those who know me well, know that I need my routine and I am an absolute mess without it. I need structure, discipline, order, rest, and time for myself. When I don't have that, it's a constant meltdown. Well, I was thrown so far out of my normal routine the past two weeks that I didn't know if I would ever feel calm again. But I must say that on this third day of the third week, we have established some sort of weekday routine that seems to be working for now...and I can finally feel a sense of peace and calm again. The alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. and I spring out of bed-no more hitting snooze until 7:15 like I have done for the past four years. We are dressed and leave the house by 7:30 a.m. I battle the early morning Cantrell Road traffic and drop Kayla off at the Westside YMCA for her day camp and then head down the street to work. I am at the office no later than 8:00! (I never would have thought this was possible for chronically late for work me-who knew that having a kid would actually make you get to work on time, and not just on time but thirty minutes early!) I leave work by 5:15 and battle traffic again to pick up Kayla from day camp and head home. We are usually home by 6:00. The last couple of nights I have even been able to take a walk, thanks to these low humidity days. Then I cook dinner (which is a whole other post), but I am actually cooking dinner for all you doubters (even if it is Hamburger Helper every night). Then we watch TV or Kayla plays on the WebKinz and Disney Channel website, and I actually get to relax! And I get to read books and magazines! And talk on the phone! Oh and how much these little things really mean to me today. And I don't feel like I just want crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head because I can't deal with any more changes or crises. I feel like my life took a huge detour for a little while but is now coming back around to something that somewhat resembles normal. The new normal anyway.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finally...a relaxing weekend

Some semblance of normalcy finally returned this weekend. We got home early Friday afternoon from the lake and I did laundry and took a much needed nap. Kayla was all psyched for the Disney movie "Camp Rock" so we ate pizza and watched the Jonas Brothers movie. Much better than I expected. Saturday we went to an adoption carnival and picnic sponsored by the Pulaski County Adoption Coalition. It was geared more towards little kids but we got to see some people that we have met along the way. Kayla also got to see her first foster mother from two years ago which was neat for her. Saturday night we again did nothing but relax and watch TV. Sunday morning we got up and went to church. It was a good service on "Why Did I Spend All That Money?" That is a question I ask myself everyday. After church, we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger and then onto Kroger for our weekly shopping trip. The rest of the day we took naps, read books and watched TV. It was definitely my kind of weekend and I feel much more refreshed and ready to start the week compared to the comastose feeling I had this time last week. Here's hoping to more good weekends to come.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Family Vacation

We just got back from a little family vacation to Lake DeGray. The entire Gray family was there and Kayla got to meet everyone. The best part, though, was the time spent with my parents and four nieces and nephews. We all had some good quality bonding time and they adored Kayla, especially little Isabella, who wants to be just like her. We ate good food, swam, went on a hayride, square danced, swam some more, and laughed so much. It was definitely good for the soul. Now hopefully we can get settled into a routine (I'm a mess without one!) and things will settle down least for a while.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I learned this weekend that being a pageant mom is exhausting. We went from sun-up to sun-down Saturday and I have to say the highlight of my day was taking a nap on the floor of Lakeside High School library. The day just about killed me after the week I had but seeing all the pretty girls on stage singing and dancing and having a good time just about made up for it. Kayla was glad to see her old friends and had a good time. We both slept past 10:00 this morning and hopefully we'll have a crisis-free day.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Kayla moved in Sunday afternoon--the same day a rock cracked my windshield. Also, the same day the grocer at Kroger forget to pack 1/2 my groceries. On Tuesday, we had a power breaker trip in the house and were without power for over an hour while we tried to discover the problem. After that, we went to get cupcakes for Kayla's birthday and on the way home, the container somehow opened and they spilled all over my car trunk--blue frosting everywhere! Tuesday night, I broke my glass table top. Thursday, my check engine light came on in my car. Friday morning, I took it to the mechanic for a $600! repair bill. Needless to say I am exhausted beyond recall, not to mention broke. This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life but I know that if we can survive this week, we can survive anything and maybe that is the lesson to learn from it all. Things break and fall apart, we run out of money, but we always have each other. In a week where four boy scouts were killed in a tornado and people are having to be evacuated out of the capital city of Iowa, these little things are just that. We still have a roof over our head and food to eat and most of all, we have each other. There are lots of other people this week that don't have any of that. This is what I have to remember when I think I can't make it another minute and can't deal with any more crises. This too shall pass...and it's only the little things...and they are not as important to me as my family, my dog and my little girl.

Pictures from the Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban concert

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kayla

I hope that the next year brings you much happiness and that you will know the meaning of faith, hope and love.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A trip to Congress?

In my panicked haste last week, I shot off e-mails to Senators Lincoln and Pryor, as well as to the director of the National Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). For those who don't know anything about foster care and foster care adoption, it is not an easy process and a lot of support for these children gets cut off after they are adopted. Senator Rockefeller has introduced the Adoption Equality Act to the U.S. Senate to ensure that every child in foster care receives the same benefits and support after they are adopted regardless of their situation. There is also a companion bill that has been recently introduced in Congress. I didn't expect anything to come from my e-mails, but I've been willing to try anything lately. Saturday, I heard back from the executive director of NACAC and he asked me to call him. I called him last night and he was on his way to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Arkansas delegation about the Adoption Equality Act. He said my story is exactly what he was looking for and asked me to send him a summary of mine and Kayla's experiences and he would present it to Senators Lincoln and Pryor and the Arkansas congressmen. When I heard back from him today, he said he wished we were there with him because it is the exact story he is trying to get told to Congress. He said he will be in contact with me after his meeting to let me know how it went. He is hopeful of getting this Act passed soon so please write your senators and congressman and ask them to support this Act. If it gets passed before Kayla and I finalize our adoption, it will greatly benefit us...if not, it will definitely benefit other adoptable children out there and their adoptive families. Who knew what a quick e-mail could do?

Moving Day

Kayla has moved in and it honestly feels like she has been here forever. She has effortlessly fit into my life. Yesterday was a long and stressful day, but we made it through. We endured cracked windshields, 95-degree heat, packing and unpacking three dozen boxes, going to the grocery store, having to go back to the grocery store because they didn't give us all our groceries. So at 8:30 at night, we finally ate dinner and then collapsed. Today, we hung around for the Comcast guy and now Kayla has her own TV set up in her room and we now have a home phone. We then went to Target, JcPenney's and Wal-Mart looking for swimsuits and bedding. We picked out a comforter only to have to drive to three different places to find hot pink sheets. Apparently that is the in color right now because they are sold out everywhere. I still feel like I have so much to do but we are slowly getting there. Hopefully, tonight will be a relaxing one.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weekend Visit

Our weekend visit to Fayetteville has gone better than I expected. I could tell Kayla was overwhelmed at first meeting a bunch of new people because she got really quiet but by the time Keith Urban sang his last song at Razorback Stadium Thursday night, she was dancing with Isabella and part of the family. Yesterday we spent a girls' day out with my 11-year-old niece Carly. We went birthday shopping and to see Kung Fu Panda. Carly and Kayla couldn't get enough of each other. I am overwhelmed at times with the responsibility placed on me for this child but the more time I spend with her, the more I am in awe of her. She is such a great kid--very well-behaved and can entertain herself. She is obsessed with the Twilight book right now and spends all her free time reading it. We slept in today and we'll go to Isabella's dance recital tonight and then head back to Little Rock and move her in tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a big day for both of us.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

All I have to say is...

well done, Hillary. You ran a good race and you also made it possible for little girls in America to dream of being the next President of the United States. 'Til next time, Madame President.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

School Issues

I am trying to get Kayla in the best school possible for her and it has been a headache and a half to say the least. But thanks so much to my friend Carey, we may have a chance to get her into Pulaski Heights Middle School. Carey is a teacher at the school and spent all morning talking to the principal and other people to try to get Kayla transferred to the school. The bad news is they said they can't take any other transfers from other school districts. However, Carey gave me the number to Student Assignments and I explained the situation to the woman who answered the phone and she said because of her unique situation I can do an appeal for her to go to Pulaski Heights. So next week I am going to gather up all the information I need and head down to the LRSD office and cross my fingers that she will get into Pulaski Heights. If not, I will start going down the list of magnet and charter schools and just pray that she will get the right school for her. And this is my last night of freedom!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thank you

I just want to say thank you for all the emails and calls I've gotten from my friends and people at work in the last couple of days. They are the most heartfelt and amazing e-mails I have ever received. Every single person has offered their help and support and I've already gotten her a few babysitting jobs! And a personal meeting with the director of Shuffles Dance Studio. So thank you--I have the greatest friends and co-workers in the world.


I've been told Kayla has been packing for four days--ever since she first met me Friday night. She is ready to come to her new home. Meanwhile, I just dropped off half my life at the Wolfe Street Thrift Center to make room for her stuff so if you need any new clothes or shoes run down there fast. I talked to Kayla yesterday and she is so excited. We are going to Fayetteville Thursday to see Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban with all the nieces and nephews and stay for a few days. Sunday, we will go get all of her stuff and move her in and the caseworker will come over and visit Sunday night. I'll be off work next week and maybe longer to be with her and get us all situated. And hopefully her day camp situation will be settled by then. Her birthday is a week from today--June 10--so I've also got to plan something special for that day. Any ideas?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Next Week?!

I talked to Kayla's caseworker this morning and she is planning on June 9th as a placement date for her. June 9th as in a week from today. Holy cow! Overwhelmed is not even the word. She's supposed to be with me for a weekend visit and trip to Fayetteville to see Carrie Underwood and then she'sll be with me forever. I have three days of freedom left to do whatever I want. Three days!!!! God help me.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recital Pictures

Dance Recital

I went to Kayla's dance recital last night. Have you ever been with hundreds of girls in one place? Wow. Being a backstage mom is pure craziness. I put makeup on her and did all the hair accessories. I'm so not good at the hair thing but I'm learning. Margaret met us at the recital. We had a fun time cheering Kayla on and critiquing everybody else. We also got to meet her half-sister who is a clone of her and loves her "big sissy." Kayla was so excited over the blue and yellow flowers I gave her to match her costumes. Afterwards, we went with the family to McAlister's and Kayla and I got some time to talk. She is excited about coming for an overnight visit next to see what her new house, room and neighborhood look like...and to meet Reba. What an adventure! I'm already worn out....