Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Missing My Daddy

So recently Jeff & I lost another member of our family. His grandpa died on March 1. We were saddened at the loss but know he is no longer suffering. He will be greatly missed. 

I think with the loss of Grandpa it has made me miss my dad even more. My dad died on April 1, 2005. I was Daddy's Girl and I miss him like crazy. I worry that my kids will grow up not knowing the fun of fishing (since this is something Jeff does not do) or the fun of walking in the woods. My dad would have had our children out in the woods all the time or on the boat. 

I am watching my nephews grow up, without Grandpa around. He would have loved those boys SO much and I wish he could be here to see them grow up. He would be so proud of both of them. 

I think about my dad on a daily basis, but sometimes I think about him even more and today was a day that I thought about him a lot. Not sure why as it is not any important day. I definitely missed him alot today, cried some tears, talked about him a lot, wishing he was still here with us. I wish he was here to give my mom a big hug to help adjust her back, I wish he was here to help my brother with all the things he needs help with at times, and I wish he was here to experience the joy we are going to have when we are finally adopting a child of our own. I wish he was here to see me graduate with a degree in something that I am actually interested in. 

My dad would be so proud of his children and grandchildren. I know that he is keeping an eye on us and taking care of the baby we lost so I have good thoughts about that. It just sucks that he was taken from us WAY too soon. 

Love you Daddy!

Live, Laugh, Blog!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just an (EXTRA)Ordinary Girl in a Crazy Mixed-Up World

I consider myself an ordinary girl, living in this crazy mixed-up world. Maybe I am not so ordinary, maybe I am EXTRAordinary. I grew up in a small town, living the small town life, everyone knows everyone. Nothing is secret, nothing is sacred. NEED TO GET AWAY. 

When I graduated from high school in 1996 I moved to Marquette, Michigan...mainly to "get away" from the small town life. I was a good girl in high school but when I left Ludington I discovered life. That discovery turned me from the "ordinary" into the "extraordinary" person that I am today. 

Things that have happened in my life have made me the person I am today, whether it appears I am weak or strong. Life happenings have made me strong. 

I now live in the suburbs of a larger city in Michigan. I am close to shopping, schools, & the night life. Do I even think about the night life? Not in many years. Concentrations are now focused on family. Jeff & I are looking to start our family. We have tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant but it hasn't happened. did but it didn't stick. So now we ponder the question, do we spend the tens of thousands on fertility treatments or do we spend the tens of thousands on adoption? Well...suffice it to say, we chose adoption because fertility treatments are not a guarantee. I have known too many people who have suffered long, arduous bouts of fertility treatments and they are still not parents. I have also known many who have gone the fertility treatment route and then switched to adoption because the fertility treatments were not working. 

Jeff & I feel that we have been led to adoption. We feel that is our duty to bring a child into our life that may not otherwise have a loving family to call their own. We have so much love to give and cannot wait to share that love with a child, a child that will be part of OUR family, a Van Houten, a little piece of heaven!

Jeff & I have discussed adoption openly with both of our families. Our parents cannot wait to become grandparents to a little Van Houten, a little one that is meant for us!

In this crazy mixed-up world, there is this extraordinary girl...ME...who just wants to be a mom and I know that some day it will come true. And why do I say this is a crazy mixed-up world? Well because it IS! Nothing that you want to happen does. And things that you don't want to happen do! It's truly a crazy mixed-up world!

Live, Laugh, Blog :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Answered and Unanswered Prayers

In my life there have been many prayers that have been answered and those that have been unanswered. Lately there have been more unanswered prayers than answered prayers. I can say that the strength and love of my adoption board friends have truly helped me to "give it to God" and he will take care of me. 

On April 1, 2005, my dad passed away after months of suffering from esophageal cancer. My prayers were answered in that he was able to walk me down the aisle. The prayers that were unanswered were those of the hope or want for my dad to be able to see his first grandchildren, see my brother get married, and many more. I know that our first child, who was taken from us too early, is safe in the arms of Grandpa, up in Heaven. Grandpa is watching down on Alex & Jayce, his grandsons, my nephews. Alex knows a lot about Grandpa Smith & we talk about my dad all the time. Not a day goes by where I don't think of my dad. 

All of my grandparents have passed away. We are thankful to still have Jeff's grandpa with us, as well as Grandpa's significant other, Sandy. I think of Sandy as Grandma, although I do not call her that. She will be Grandma Sandy to our kids though. We found out last night that Grandpa was in the hospital with breathing troubles. We went up and saw him this morning and he looks great. He is now going to be on oxygen, but hey...he's 85 years old and he is going to be able to handle this! It was good to see him today and this has now made me realize that Jeff & I need to get down there to see him more often. He doesn't live that far away!

I know as I get older, everyone around me is getting older, and people are going to die. I just wish that things didn't have to happen to people that are close to us, so close together. We just lost Aunt Marcy in January, now Grandpa is sick. But Grandpa is still with us, so our prayers were answered. 

I know that there is power in prayer and I know that with everything we are going through right now, we just need to Give it to Him. He will take care of us. 

Live, Laugh, Blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friends - Near and Far - and those that have pissed me off

So lately I have been a little down in the dumps. Maybe it is because I don't have many close friends here. I have my friend M, who has been a lifesaver. Not only is she a great mommy, but she is a great friend. She lets me vent, bitch, or just share happy news with her. It's so nice to have someone that can vent to me, but also let me vent to her. Not all my friends are that way. M & her family have become extended family to Jeff & me. We watch their 1 year old about once a week and both her kids call us Aunt & Uncle. It's so nice. We do have two nephews of our own, but it is still nice to be able to share our love with another family as well. 

So why my post about friends? Maybe because I wish I had more in this area. Friends that I could go to dinner with, have a drink with, just sit & chat, scrapbook, or whatever :) I love the fact that I have so many "friends" that I have never met! I love the fact that they feel like I have known them forever! I know that the day I do meet any of them will be a great day. Many of these wonderful ladies are in the adoption process or have already adopted. They are a great source of strength, encouragement, and love. I think about my "boardies" all the time. I have a few friends that have children that I still keep in touch with. One is C & the other is J. Both had difficulties TTC, C finally was able to get pregnant and J adopted a newborn. Both of these ladies have been a saving grace! They keep me sane, keep me smiling, & keep me focused...They know who they are and I Love them both! I cannot wait to do some traveling so that I can finally meet them both face-to-face!

Recently a new "secret" group was started on Facebook for those from Ivillage who had graduated from the TTC boards. Someone "accidentally" invited me and then removed me because "I am not a parent" and let me tell you...THAT HURT. It was just another reminder that Jeff & I have not become parents yet. I was part of the Ivillage community for a long time, supporting & encouraging these women & all of a sudden I am no longer allowed to keep tabs on them (since most don't use Ivillage anymore). It really angered me. I felt like I was being shunned for suffering from infertility. It doesn't bother me to see pregnant women..I've dealt with it a long time. I just wish that people would be more considerate. I would love to be a part of this "secret" group, not only to keep up with everyone who has growing babies but also to keep up with those who are TTC again, or even to seek advice when I do become pregnant. 

I am not really bitter. I am just upset & sometimes it bothers me when people dwell on the fact that I am not yet a mom. I will be a mom, just in God's time. I am leaving it to Him and that is all we can do. 

So please...remember to treat your infertile friends with respect. If you are afraid of saying something that may hurt your friend, or if it would have hurt you when you were still TTC, don't say it. 

Now for my infertile friends...just a little something to make you smile. You might be an infertile if....(click here) 

Live, Laugh, Blog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 was SUPPOSED to be a good better change..and change FAST

So I know that I haven't blogged much lately. School, work, and life in general has gotten in my way. I need to make time for blogging. It is my outlet. A place where I can share whatever I feel like and I don't have to defend myself. This is MY blog!

So anyways, 2011 was supposed to be a good year. It hasn't turned out that way so far. In mid January, Jeff's Aunt Marcy died in a house fire. His Uncle Tom survived, but the house was destroyed. Uncle Tom tried to save Aunt Marcy but he was unable to. Uncle Tom ended up with burns on his hands & face. He is doing well and now lives with his daughter in Indiana. 

Aunt Marcy's funeral was on January 22. That was our 6th anniversary. Jeff & I were planning on going away for our anniversary but we knew we needed to be there for the funeral. Jeff was having a really hard time as Aunt Marcy was his godmother. We ended up staying for visitation and then leaving. We needed to get away so we headed over to Birch Run and the outlet mall. 

Birch Run helped me de-stress! I shopped, shopped, and shopped some more. I bought stuff for myself, for our future child, and for Jeff. I got my first COACH purse & wallet. I wasn't going to, but figured I needed to spoil myself!

Jeff & I are still in the adoption process. We were switched to a new case worker in January. We are getting ready to do the homestudy process but it seems that whenever we get on the right track & are getting things together, bad things happen. 

Jeff lost his job in early February. He had been working at Sam's Club on & off for 13 years. Unfortunately, it seemed inevitable that he was going to lose the job. He is now on the lookout for a new job, all while working on the house and making sure it is spotless once we do our homestudy. 

On top of Aunt Marcy dieing, Jeff losing his job, my mom also had a problem with the ceiling in one of the bedrooms. Snow/ice decided to help the ceiling come down. Thankfully it doesn't seem too major, but still needs to be fixed. Thankful it wasn't her room & thankful that no one was in the room. 

I am still working for Davenport University. I will be graduating in May and will complete my internship in the Spring. I cannot wait until I am done & have a job to help with our income. I am also taking care of my friend's little boy one night a week. Dillon is 1 and makes us laugh! 

As far as our adoption fundraisers, we are still doing the coffee fundraiser from Just Love Coffee. The link is and we receive a portion of all sales to go towards our adoption fund. I have been told it is delicious coffee (but I don't drink coffee so I wouldn't know). We are also going to be doing another yard sale in the Spring. We are seeking donations for this sale. Last year we made a good profit that has gone towards our adoption fund. The more we raise, the less we have to pay out of pocket. So if you have anything you would like to donate to us, that would be wonderful! It can be anything, from used items that you would find at a yard sale, to new items, to handmade items! Items can either be mailed to myself or we can pick up or you can drop off (if you are in the area) :). We were so blessed last year with donations that we couldn't keep everything left over so we in turn donated the items, especially the larger items. 

Whew, that was a lot of info..I need to blog more often so I don't have as much to say!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Life....Back to Blogging :)

I apologize that it has been so long since my last blog. I was finishing up the Fall semester at school and I had started a new job. The good news is that I made all A's in my classes and I made the Dean's List as well. I am currently holding a 4.0 GPA and I will graduate in May. I will finish my internship during the Spring/Summer semester. Hopefully by the time I am done with my internship I will have secured myself a job that pays well :) I just have to get my internship packet completed and then my graduation  application and we will be on the go :)

We are still in the adoption process and will begin the homestudy process very soon. Just a few more paperwork issues to resolve and we will be good to go. We did have a change in our caseworker, but that is okay. We understand that things change and we will just have to go with the flow. 

I am going to start making some creative things to share with friends and family. I have some ideas, from pre-made scrapbook pages to fleece blankets or maybe even some taggies or burp cloths. I have to figure out what I want to do and just do it :) Share with me what you think you would like to receive as a homemade gift. 

So another good thing happening in our life is that I will be going off of birth control pills this month and we will start the trying to conceive process...again :) Jeff & I decided that we are still going to work on the adoption but why not try for one of our own too. We know we can get's just a matter of staying pregnant. So we can use all the positive vibes and prayers you are willing to share. 

So stay tuned for more posts. I may have big news one day :)

Remember... Live Laugh Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cold Weather, Work, and more cold weather!

So today is my second day at my new job. I'm enjoying it. Everyone is so friendly and I am happy I found something I will enjoy doing. Still training today but going to start working on the computer later this afternoon. 

It's very cold out today, only about 40 degrees. I am glad that I am inside and not outside! I'm hoping it doesn't snow but I am sure it will snow this week!

Not much to blog about since I have been working, but I will have much more to say this weekend!