Category Archives: Friends and Family

Adoption Update

I have been trying to write an adoption update post for weeks! For some reason, I keep holding off. I write a bunch of stuff, only to delete it later. It’s not that it is anything bad, just that it is emotional and I’m not yet sure what is the right level of open for this blog.

Danny and I have always felt very open to (and passionate about) adopting a child. In the adoption process, we have prepared for and learned about being open to the birth family of that child. We have opened up every facet of our lives to examination, from finances to communication style to health history to familial relationships and more. We talk about it openly with family and friends. Yet, when I sit down to write, the words somehow don’t do it justice; the love we have to give, the lives we have to share and the fierce hope with which we wait. And while I may be willing to blog about a lot of personal things, nothing compares to the kind of openness one experiences with adoption–(and we are not even to the big, emotional part yet). Not just to the baby you have been dreaming of but also to his or her birth mother and father and whole extended family. Regardless of whether the adoption is open or not, regardless of whether those people ever see or speak to the child again, we, as adoptive parents, carry them with us for our child. And in turn, in a feeble and unworthy gesture, we open ourselves up to inspection. How many people can a heart hold? Actually, a lot.

I know, I know. That is not much of an update. That is me coming to terms with how raw my emotions are about how open and vulnerable Danny and I make ourselves by putting our profile out there. And it is finally out there! On this blog. On The Cradle’s website. And in print form and Nook form at The Cradle. We are officially a “Waiting Family.”

This means that if an expectant mother comes to The Cradle seeking to make an adoption plan that she may find out about us in a few ways. 1. She could see us on the website. 2. She could read about us on the Nook. 3. A Cradle counselor could recommend us to her if we fit her criteria and she, ours. If she wants to learn more about us, she will request to view our full profile, which is the printed book we’ve created over the last few months. It is longer than anything you could see online and it contains more detail about our lives, our family, friends, reasons for adopting and parenting. When someone requests our long profile, we will receive a Request for Profile, an RFP. The RFP will provide Danny and I will some details about the expectant mother and, hopefully also, father. Information like health history, prenatal care, race, age, and thoughts/notes from the expectant parent counselor about her/their interest in making an adoption plan. We then approve or deny the RFP. If we approve, the expectant parent takes our profile home along with 4-5 others. She then chooses one couple/person out of those 5-6 to meet. Then, the expectant mother (and potentially also father) and her counselor sits down with us and our counselor in, what I can only imagine is, the most awkward meeting ever.

The other way this could happen is that someone who is considering adoption finds our profile online (like through this blog or on The Cradle’s website) before contacting an agency to make an adoption plan. That is why if you share this post on Facebook, link to our adoption page on Year of Fun, or like The Cradle on Facebook, you help spread the word. You never know what friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend may find herself making this difficult decision.

Danny and I both appreciate all of the support and love from our families and friends that came with this announcement months ago and the announcement in April that we are finally LIVE. I promise to keep you all updated on the progress of the adoption. For now, we wait.

Life, Work, and a Health Overhaul.

So…it’s been a while.

Life (read work) has taken over for the hubs and I. When we aren’t at work, we are doing work at home, and in the few moments we have to tear our eye balls aways from glowing computer screens (maybe while sleeping or shoveling food into our mouths), we think about work. May was just really busy for us both. Oftentimes, in those moments, I become stressed about everything I’m missing–friends, family, art, a walk in a park, blogging, FUN. I get all lost in, “I’m so busy. I’m so stressed and IT WILL NEVER END!!!” But it does end. It has ended. I’m home. Enjoying a cocktail of OJ and coconut water. The hubs made a roasted beet salad and honey, sesame glazed salmon for dinner, that we ate at the table like adults. We took Elphie for a nice walk before the sky broke open. And now, I’m writing again.

How do you live in the storm of work and still see through to the clouds parting (sun shining, birds chirping, etc)?

Like, for real. How do you do it? Does anyone actually do this??

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One thing I’m trying now is an eight-week health overhaul. It started when I read a blog post about a detox cleanse that made me want to try one. However, after discussing with friends, I decided a cleanse of protein shakes for meals was not really the way to go for me. Instead a more holistic–mind, body, soul–approach. My friend Emily (of wedding and pop up photography fame) came up with a plan/set of goals for herself (super rigorous and awesome) that I, with help from my buddy-and running enthusiast-John adapted for ourselves. Below is the full list, including the goals Emily outlined for herself and how I’ve adapted it for my life and my RA:

Emily–No alcohol, Sarah–same–this one is easy. I already limit my alcohol intake due to medications I’m on and I have to say, it is actually a lot less stressful not drinking than it is to think about, “How many drinks have I had this week? Is this beer really worth one of the two drinks I can have right now?” Also, even after a late night with friends, I wake up feeling just fantastic (instead of headachy and sluggish)

Emily–60 minutes of yoga a day, Sarah–20-30 minutes of yoga a day–I do a combination of what I remember from taking yoga classes, RA specific poses/stretches I found by surfing YouTube and core work a physical therapist taught me. This has changed my morning and all I did was take the time I was spending reading email on my phone in bed first thing and use it on yoga. So much better for the soul.

Emily–40 miles of running a week, Sarah–5 miles of running/walking per week–Here is where I have been struggling, not with the task but with finding the time. But I just have to do it. Aforementioned running enthusiast and friend John helped me come up with a run/walk program to ease me into running. I walk two minutes, run 30 seconds for eight sets for a total of 20 minutes (I can do about a mile and a half in this time right now). Slowly, like every week or so, I increase the running increment and decrease the walking increment until I am running the entire time. Still working on this one…

Emily–60+ ounces of water and green tea a day, Sarah–24oz of water per day plus green tea or OJ and coconut water–I gave up caffeine two years ago but green tea is so tasty and so good for you and doesn’t really have THAT much caffeine so I’ll have it once a week or so. But the water has made a huge difference. For real. I used to be one of those people who just didn’t drink things, not throughout the day, sometimes not even at meals. Very weird. Because now that I’m drinking water all the time, I feel really good. I’m sure the yoga and all this other stuff helps too, but on a very basic level, I can tell that water helped right away.

Emily–Oil pulling 1-2 times a day, Sarah–same. See my post on oil pulling. I love it.

Emily–Fish oil 1 time a day, Sarah–multi vitamin once per day–I eat a lot of fish and wasn’t sold on the whole fish burps thing so I started a multi-v. I’m sure I need all of that stuff. Oh, I also do chewable because, despite taking pills for most of my life, I’m really terrible at it.

Emily–Significantly reduce processed foods including sugars, Sarah–significantly reduce processed foods, especially sugars–I have a sugar addiction. I will eat cookies every day, multiple times a day then come home and have move cookies. I am an actual cookie monster and it just had to stop. It’s been two weeks and I have not had a single processed sugar item. I will tell you honestly that there have been days where the cravings were like, whoa. I mean. CRAZY. GIVE ME A COOKIE NOW OR I WILL STAB YOU feelings. But I have conquered them (for now). And while I may not ban sweets for life (I mean what’s Thanksgiving without pie crust?) I feel I am well on my way to kicking the habit. And most of my other meals have come from the organic produce section (of the fabulous new Mariano’s on Lawrence). I’ve also kept up with fruit for breakfast instead of–highly processed–cereal.

Emily–1 long dog walk a day, Sarah–1 dog walk a day–The hubs and I have thoroughly enjoyed this part. We do it together at the end of the night, when the sun has almost set and we reconnect. It’s nice outside, people are out with their dogs and our neighborhood feels like a community.

So that is what is keeping me sane these days. Anyone else want to join in on our challenge?

Hyde Park Night

I’m ashamed to admit that I am one of those Chicagoans that really sticks to their neighborhood. Or really the few neighborhoods that I already frequent–Buena Park, North Center, Andersonville and Lincoln Square. That’s it. So when my friend Allison said she wanted to do dinner, I said, “Why don’t we come to you?” She lives in Hyde Park, and the only times I’ve been there I have been picking stuff up either from her apartment or the University of Chicago–all for the theater. Shameful. So last Friday, Danny and I took Lake Shore Drive past the exit for I-55 to meet Allison and her beau and found Chicago, the college town.

Like for real, a college town with its mix of little independent shops and restaurants, the essential big box places and bars. It was a gorgeous night in Chicago so we ate dinner OUTSIDE (thank goodness) at Z & H. It was taco night and we had our fill of tacos, guac, chips, and quesadillas. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

It was delicious, even if ordering and receiving the food was slightly chaotic. They subscribe to the deli model of taking your name and then shouting when your food is ready, which would be totally fine if there weren’t very segregated seating areas. Not to worry, we got our food and ate. it. all.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetNext, we attempted to go to the new, swanky A-10 for drinks, however were denied access–no seats available. And it clearly wasn’t a standing bar. So instead we went to what can only be described as the exact opposite of new and swanky, what I’m told is a Hyde Park classic, Jimmy’s. Which isn’t even its name, mind you. The official name is Woodlawn Tap, however I think if you call it that, you might get kicked out. This is a college bar. Bad beer, torn up seats, loud, dark, FUN. We got a pitcher of beer and chilled with some friends of Allison’s that had the same idea.

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Here’s the other thing about Hyde Park; apparently everyone knows everyone! Walking down the street, sitting at dinner and upon entering Jimmy’s we ran into no less than 5 people that either Allison or her beau knew. Craziness. Sure we were surrounded by people who did not look a day over 15 to me, but who I’m sure were in college, saying things like, “If I wanted tacos, I’d just go to Big Star.” But we had a fantastic time and I loved the vibe of the neighborhood. People just out and about having a great time. Thanks Allison and Sam for a great night showing us your hood!

Weekly Obsessions March 30

Like many people, I tend to get really excited about a things for a while, only to have many of them fall by the wayside after a few weeks or even days. Some obsessions definitely stick and become, well, normal interests, and that is great. However, I used to feel bad about being really into something for a short period of time. As if the time I devoted to that food, website, item of clothing, was not valuable because it was short? Not true, I say! Year of Fun celebrates anything that brings even short-lived happiness. So, here’s what I’m obsessed with (this week):

Coconut. For real ya’ll. Those of you who know of my extreme distaste for eating shredded coconut on any dessert or fried shrimp will laugh, but I am currently obsessed with coconut in other forms. It all started when my friend Emily (of the rockstar Emily Alt Photography-for real, go check out her rolling elopements) introduced me to oil pulling. Take quality oil–like organic, virgin coconut oil (I get mine from Trader Joe’s. For about $5, you can get a jar that will last for months)–and slowly swish (pull) about a tablespoon around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes in the morning before doing anything else. I know it sounds gross and, I’m not going to lie, it kind of tastes/feels gross at first. But, after two days my teeth were whiter than they’ve ever been and NO plaque. Oil pulling has other potential positive effects–fighting sickness, improving cardiovascular health, improving skin, hair and nails, and, even, helping ease the symptoms of many autoimmune diseases. If any of that happens, I will be very happy, however, the main reason I’m doing it is for my teeth. So white and so clean clean. Make sure you rinse and brush right after pulling!

That is not all I’m doing with coconut these days. I’m also putting the oil on my lips as a natural chapstick–since Chicago is under an ever-lasting frozen vortex of winter. And, almost every morning, I mix coconut water and orange juice for a delicious and healthy immune booster, hydrator, and all around pick-me-up.20140330-105436.jpg

Old Photos. I was recently going through all the stuff I have stored in my parents’ basement (yes, I am a fully grown adult and have boxes upon boxes of stuff in my parents’ basement) and found about 50 of those Walgreens envelopes full of photos. Now, these were not that old. They were high school and college, a time when Facebook was just being invented. I was feeling like I didn’t have many photos from that era, particularly college, and was so excited and relieved to find these. However, my mom also shared with me some photos that are actually old, of my grandmother, her mother, as a little girl. Not too long ago, she also shared with me old photos from my dad’s side of family that my sister and I used to create a photo book for our grandmother, his mother, last Christmas. Old family photos–especially black and white or faded color–make some of the best art for your home. They are meaningful and beautiful prints that add character and charm.  They are also relatively inexpensive to print, even in large sizes, and can be edited to fit standard frame sizes, so you don’t have to pay for custom framing. I have big plans for these in the new place.

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Organic Pop Tarts. Speaking of a blast from the past, these Trader Joe’s organic pop tarts are the cat’s pajamas. And they don’t have all the nonsense ingredients of other toaster pastries. Cherry pomegranate? Yes please.

20140330-110049.jpgSo those are my obsessions this week. We’ll see what next week brings…what are you obsessed with right now?

 

Year of Fun is Back!

Hi Hi Hi! It has been a looooong 6 months since the Year of Fun ended on September 24, 2013. I think I needed that time to recover. Seriously. It was such an undertaking, but now Year of Fun is back complete with a necessary makeover! Check her out.

People kept asking me if Year of Fun would continue beyond the original year. My answer was always “Yes.” I was just never sure what that looked like. Finally, I figured it out. It’s a–and I’m not sure how I feel about this term–“lifestyle blog.” Really, that just means I’m going to keep blogging about FUN and how it fits into my life. That will most likely take the shape of new home ownership, adoption, stuff I like, travel and staying active with RA. Over these long winter months, I’ve been working a TON. The hubs and I bought a house! Future location here: Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnd our home study was officially approved! We’ve been spending as much time as possible with this little lady:photo-3

And these young men:

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And, of course, I’ve been plotting this return to the interwebs. As always, let me know if you have any fun things you think I should try. Otherwise, I’ll hope you’ll come back for more in the coming days/weeks (not day. There will not be posts every day).

Year of Fun is on Facebook and Instagram (@sarahmslight) You can even check out our online adoption profile on the header at the top of this page.

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