We're Off

Tomorrow (or I guess today) we leave for Disneyland. Wahoo!
This is picture of the night we told the kids we were going. Nate came home from work with the Fairy Godmother's phone number and told the kids that they could call her and make one wish (which of course would be to go to Disneyland!). Clever right? Ya- we thought so too until Tess blurted out, "I want a puppy...no, a swimming pool!!" Hmmm, think fast. "Well Tess, remember how Dad is allergic to dogs (barely), and if we got a swimming pool then there wouldn't be room for the swing set or tramp in the backyard. Let's think of something that we can all do as a family...like maybe we could go someplace...(lots of blank stares on her part)...like maybe Disneyland." Thinking about it for a few seconds, "No, I want a swimming pool." Drat. This isn't going very well. Finally we convince her that Disneyland is by far the best choice and we make the call. (The 'fairy godmother' was a darling girl that Nate works with.) In the end Tess was pretty excited about the whole Disneyland idea, but a few days later she did say to me, "You know I think that we HAD to wish for Disneyland. I don't think that we really got to choose whatever we wanted." Hmmm- she's onto us. I think we are going to have to think things through a little more clearly from now on.

And here's a picture of the Pilgrim and sombrero-clad Indian that came to our Thanksgiving dinner.

Also, just had to share...
Nate and I and his new iphone went on a date the other night, in which I was definitely the third wheel, and we discovered a great little corner in SLC that you locals have GOT to try out. It's on 9th South and 3rd East. Start at Chanon Thai Cafe for yummy Pad Thai and Red Curry in a straight-from-Thailand, mismatched-place-settings kind of atmosphere, and then head next door to Cocoa Cafe for a mug of hot chocolate that literally tastes like a chocolate bar melting down your throat. Mmmm. Heaven.


The Non Plan

My story. In honor of National Adoption Month.

I'm a planner. I carry my calendar everywhere. I like to know what's going on tomorrow, next week, in a year, in five. I like it all laid out. I like to feel prepared.

Adoption was NOT part of my plan.
I come from a long line of very fertile women. It never occurred to me that things would be any different. I always thought (and truly believed) that I would have a big family of mostly girls that came along every 2 years alternating spring and autumn births. Yes- it was all on my calendar.

But things didn't go according to my plan.
And I had a really hard time accepting that. Month after month there was the disappointment of not being pregnant. Again and again. The pain was so tangible. I ached all over. I felt broken. And like I was less of a woman. Night after night I cried myself to sleep. I couldn't understand why this 'righteous desire' of mine was not meant to be. I began to doubt myself. Obviously God didn't trust me with children. There must be more I needed to learn. People would tell me that it would happen "when the time was right." And I couldn't imagine how it was the "right time" for the crack mother, and not me. It seemed so unfair. Why would God deny me the one thing I wanted most? How could He be so cruel? Did He really love me at all?

And then I surrendered.

After many moons it became apparent that we needed to come up with a new plan. Explore other options. We had undergone test after test. Been poked and prodded. Done everything medically there was to do. And we were still as unpregnant as ever. Adoption was something that had always been at the back of my mind. Over the years Nate had said, "What about adoption?" And I was never ready. Adoption wasn't part of the plan. It wasn't something that I wanted to do. But I got desperate. And I surrendered. I decided to go forward with the Non Plan just to see what would happen.

I did my homework.

For the next few months I checked out every book in the library about adoption. I talked with people about it. We met with a social worker from LDS Family Services. From the moment we started down this course, things started happening very quickly. Everything fell into place. I still wasn't completely sold on the whole adoption idea. But I knew I wanted to have children. And the more I learned, the more I liked the idea. I was trying to have faith that it would all work out the way it was supposed to.

And then I held my daughter.
Tess was born 8 short months from the time we first met with our social worker. I first saw my little girl about 24 hours after she was born. We went to the hospital. Her birth mother was there as were her birth grandparents. The moment I took her in my arms and looked into her eyes something inside of me changed. It is probably the most sacred moment of my life. I'm not going to share details because, well, they're sacred. But God smiled upon me in that moment and blessed me with understanding.

I have a testimony of adoption.
I know that adoption is of God. I know that my adopted kids are meant to be mine. I know that God always intended them to be Meekers and when Nate and I couldn't make that happen He sent them to us another way. I feel strongly that our adoptions are something that Nate and I agreed to in the life before this one. That Tess and David agreed to them too. That we knew long ago that this is the way they were to come to our family. I know that their birth moms made the most selfless decision anyone could ever make. And that the Lord is now blessing them for their goodness. We are much better people for having them in our lives. We love and honor them beyond my ability to express it in words.

I trust in the Lord's will.

God's ways are not always our ways. His plan is not always ours. We must surrender control and trust Him. This is a lesson that a loving Father has tried to teach me over and over again in life. At first when things don't go my way, I resist. But then I remember. The Lord does love me. He is mindful of me and my family. And when I submit to His will things always turn out wonderfully for us. It's not necessarily the way I always imagined it would be...it's EVEN BETTER. I feel so blessed to have had experiences that have enriched my life beyond what I could have ever imagined.

more unexpectedness
It just so happens that this week brings more changes for the Meeker family.
Unanticipated, out-of-nowhere changes.
(No nothing to do with more kids for those of you who are reading way too much into this...just church stuff...not a big deal...except to our family.)
It took us a moment to wrap our heads around these changes. But of course we know that change is good. It provides a chance for growth. For refinement. So we are embracing this newness. And we thank our Father for the opportunity.


Grandpa's ER

So you know when you begin a phone call by saying, "Dad, do you have a scalp stapler?" that your day's not going well.

Yesterday, just after (and I mean JUST after) I had updated my facebook profile by saying that I was "loving that I had nowhere to be today," I hear a big crash and David's immediate high-pitched screaming. I run into the family room to see a trickle of blood running down the back of his neck. Okay, don't get light-headed. Stay focused Erin.

I page Nate with our family emergency code (our number + 911) and he promptly calls back:

Nate: Hey what's up?

me: (with David screaming in the background...about the blood getting on his PJs mind you and not the pain) Um, David hit his head. Really bad. There's a 1/2 inch gash and blood is dripping down his back.

Nate (ridiculously calm): Hmm- did he pass out?

me: No, he was screaming right away. But there's a lot more blood than our usual head injuries.

Nate: (totally unruffled): Okay, well do you want to drive up here and let me take a look at it?

me: Ya- I'll be right there.

Nate: Why don't you page me with a code so that I know you're here. What code do you want to use?

me: Yes.

Nate: Erin- listen to me. What code are you going to use?

I finally muster the brain power to focus on the sound of his voice and give him a code. (Can you tell why Nate's the doctor and not me?)

Now it's almost 11:00 a.m. and the kids are all still in their PJs. But as I stated previously, we didn't have anywhere to be. So don't judge me. We throw on snow boots and hop in the car.

After inspecting the wound Nate says, "Wow Dave- you can see the fatty tissue under the skin. That's pretty awesome." Then to me, "We're going to need a scalp stapler. Do you think your dad has one of those at his office?"

Hence the phone call to my dad, who by the way, does NOT have a skin stapler, but promises to do stitches if necessary. (Nate's reaction..."Ah, but the stapler is so much more fun!") Now my dad is not an ER doc. He's a dermatologist. But this past year his office has also served as the Meeker family on-call emergency room. (Why you might ask since Nate works at a hospital. And the answer is...there's no co-pay at Grandpa's ER!) It brings such great comfort to our minds (and of course, wallets) knowing that "Doctor Grandpa" can take such good care of us each time we gash our heads open. THANK YOU DAD! Last year we took Will in with a split forehead. We decided against stitches and just butterfly bandaged it. David was not so lucky. He got 2 stitches. (I know- all this fuss over 2 measly stitches, but hey, it was the first set of stitches for our fam so it was a big deal!)

David was such a trooper. He didn't make a sound, just kind of pouted.

I promise it looked a lot gnarlier before the stitches were in.

Enjoying burgers at Five Guys afterward. In our PJs. (Blood-stained PJs for David.) At 1:00. Whatever you guys. I'm a good mom.

I also feel compelled to share that before all of this happened I was on the treadmill and interrupted 5 TIMES (literally, no exaggeration) for bathroom breaks during my 30 minute jog. If I were to write an autobiography about this portion of my life it would be titled, "Going Potty: Memoirs of a Mother with three 3 year-olds"... do you think it would sell?


Adoption Walk with Me

On Saturday I took the kids to Liberty Park for the Adoption Walk with Me 5K (which really turned out to be about a 3K as it was just one lap around the park). This is an annual event sponsored by Families Supporting Adoption. Its sole purpose is to help spread adoption awareness. We were a rather small group but it's always fun to be among people that we know have had the same experiences as our family and regard adoption as an incredible blessing and miracle in their lives just like we do.

Nate was able to score tickets to the BYU football game that day (thanks Mark) so he wasn't able to walk with us. No worries- I brought lots of help. A big thanks to Mom, Dru and Maddie for helping little ones around the track and supporting our family. Love you guys.

The camera was on a weird setting, but here are the kids and me at the starting line.

And here's our gang beginning the walk.

Look how happy Maddie and Mom are to be there.

Dru got a hold of my camera. Awesome.

Tess likes going to adoption events and seeing the other kids that are just like her.

Nora actually pulled David in the wagon for a little stretch.

The highlight of the walk was definitely the dead bird. The kids were so fascinated. At first they stood back, but then started inching closer and closer.

David taking a turn pulling Nora.
I promise Will was there too. I just don't have many pictures of him because he was being his usual trailblazing self. He would run ahead of our group and then pop out from behind trees to scare us.
What a fun thing for our family. And it was such a gorgeous day. (I'm loving this autumn like no other.) I think we will have to make this walk a yearly tradition... and next time we'll know to wear orange. :)


Jesus and the crocodile

This is a picture of the Jesus bust that we have sitting in our den at home. And here is the conversation I had with Will about it today...

Will: (with a worried expression and small voice) Mom, what happened to Jesus?

me: What do you mean?

Will: Where are Jesus' arms?

me: Oh that's a bust of Jesus. It's supposed to be just his shoulders, neck and head.

Will: (now very worried) Mom...did the crocodile eat Jesus' arms??

Apparently he thinks that Jesus' robe looks like a crocodile mouth.

I will never look at the bust the same way again. Creepy Jesus bust.


Election Day Drama

Tess: Mom, at school we get to vote for President. Who should I vote for?

me: Well Tess that's the beauty of living in America. You get to decide for yourself who to vote for. Everyone makes their own choice and no one gets to tell you what to do. Your dad is voting for Obama and I am voting for McCain.


me: Whoa Tess, calm down. That's not what that means at all. Let's talk about this...

I will spare you the details of us going over what each candidate believes in and why daddy likes one and I like the other, and why it is so wonderful to live in a place where people can have different opinions and express them freely and still be friends. But even after all this talk talk talk it still ended with Tess in tears because she thought that in having to choose who to vote for at school, she was having to choose between her dad and me. Finally...

me: Tess just vote for Obama. He's going to win anyway and I promise I won't feel bad.

Tess: (smiling for the first time since the conversation began) Okay mom, that's sounds good.

Hmm...do you think she got the take-home message about it being a privilege to make your own decision??

(By the end of school Tess and her friends were chanting "Obama! Obama!" It seems we have a clear winner from the elementary kids...)


Fall & Halloween Pictures

The kids were a bit scared when they came home from preschool to find the "scary ghost" on the door.
At the pumpkin patch for preschool (Check out David's face...he kills me!)

This is Tess at Gardner Village. It probably looks like she was trying to dress up as a witch. That's actually not it at all. On the way there I had Tess read to me in the car in an attempt to get her homework done. Well, that wasn't a very good idea because Tess gets car sick, and unfortunately this time it involved projectile vomit. Her pants were covered. The only thing we had for her to wear was Aunt Dori's BCBG (I think?) dress from the back of the car.
A really happy Davey

Nora with playgroup friends

Boys throwing rocks
Nora blowing bubbles

Our rag muffin Tess

Cousins: Tate (Raggedy Ann), David (Superman), Will (Batman), Tess (Homeless child), Nora (Tinkerbell), Jackson (Obiwan Kenobi), Cole (Jack Sparrow)

Cute Jackson with the really cool and much coveted lightsaber.

Okay the dreads are still cracking me up!

Isn't Tate cute enough to eat??

Maddie and Eve work together so for Halloween they dressed up as each other. Not hard to do since they have basically the same wardrobe. They even matched shoes, earrings and hair clips. Such dorks. :)

Notice the names drilled into the 4th pumpkin. Yes, Nate really got his drill out.

We {heart} Adoption

November is National Adoption Month. I will probably be posting quite a bit about adoption in the coming days...so get ready.