Monthly Archives: March 2015

Getting “There”

Lately I’ve been in one of those fogs… where you are more keenly aware of your mind and way more “inside yourself” than anything else.  And one thing that I keep coming back to – well, I figured I might as well share it with you guys.  That’s what blogs are for, right?

You know how growing up… for most people there’s a moment where we see someone (most likely a parent) doing something that they just do not love?  They seem so miserable or robot-like.  Like a zombie just going through the motions, day in and day out, because they have to.  And we swear to ourselves that we won’t be like that.  We won’t let ourselves just become a statistic… another drone that just drudges through life.

And then one day, we wake up and we’re exactly that.

How did we get there?

The bigger question I’ve been asking myself lately is… how do we change that?

There must be a way, right?  People all over the place are doing what they love.  So there’s got to be a way to make that happen.

But how do you bridge the gap?  How do you get to the point where you aren’t just mindlessly pushing through each day, constantly counting down to the next weekend and you are actually enjoying what you do?  Most people spend well over 2000 hours a year at their job, and what a waste that is when it’s a job that we don’t love.

We heard people tell us all the time that we could do anything we put our minds to.  That we could be anything we wanted to be.  So how many people actually took that to heart and really made it happen?

What about you guys – do you like what you do?

To be clear, I am SUPER grateful for the job that I have and for all that it has afforded me.  I believe that the work I do makes a difference and that is something that’s really important to me.  Maybe this is less about my actual job, currently, and more about the stage of life that I’m in.  I don’t know… But I do want to be clear that I’m not ungrateful.

I just sometimes look back and think about how I got to where I am and wonder how the slightest change in direction could’ve landed me in a completely different place.  This isn’t really the focus of this post, though, so I’ll get back to that before I veer too far off course…

I’m just not someone who sees myself sitting at a desk. I’ve been doing this kind of work for 12 years, now, and I just don’t know if it’s right for me.  I want to work with my hands.  I want to be outside more.  I want… just something different.

Do you now anyone who’s made a complete career change at some point in their lives?  How did they do this?

Doing something like this would take a lot of faith and right now it just seems like nothing more than a fantasy.

I don’t mean to sound depressing or completely unhappy because I’m not.  I have a good life.  I’m a happy person and I’m not sure if I do a good job of conveying that through this blog, but it’s true.  I’m just not one to go more than an hour without having a smile on my face.  It’s just not who I am.

But even in the midst of that, I can’t help but wonder, sometimes, if this is really what I should be doing… if it’s where I should be.  This isn’t something that I just started feeling recently, but I’ve discussed it with Studly on quite a few occasions over the years.  And it just all comes back to one major point:  how would I even begin to make such a drastic career change?
Anywho – this is really just my trying to sort through some thoughts “out loud” so I’d love to hear from you.  Anything to add?  Is anyone else dealing with similar feelings?  Have any of you or someone you know gone through this and just taken a giant leap of faith?  I’d love to hear about it!

~Hope

Pinterest Pluckin’

With all of the rain we’ve had lately, I’ve been dreaming of the warm, sunny days that are more typical her in Texas.  And for some reason, when I think about beautiful sunny weather in a state as awesome as Texas, I’m typically also thinking about cute spring outfits to go along with it.

Some do spring cleaning, but I tend to do a good bit of spring shopping.

As I mentioned previous, I’m not typically much of a shopper.  But there are two times when I do tend to do the bulk of my shopping… the spring, and the fall.  Outside of these two times, it’s pretty unusual for me to shop and instead will occasionally buy a random shirt or pair of shoes (and by randomly, I mean maybe once every other month… if that).

I have done Stitch Fix a few times, which I very much enjoyed, but even that isn’t something that I like to do all that often.  Because who has the money to do that all the time?!

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that I daydream on the regular, though.  I mean… who doesn’t?!  Everyone else always seems to put together, especially in comparison to myself.  But I do try to mix it up and tear clear from wearing anything too bland and dreary.  I don’t always succeed, but I try. haha

Anywho – here are some outfits that I’ve been LURVE-ing on Pinterest, lately.  Fingers crossed that I can figure out to way to make them suddenly appear in my closet!

1.  Love the simplicity of this one.  I Honestly don’t think I’d accessorize the same way, but that’s just me.  Who doesn’t love a perfect pair of white skinnies, and this loose-fitting top and these flats?!  Totally cute.

2.  Seriously… how cute is this?  Another very simple outfit, but I adore the pop of coral with these skinnies… and a good pair of colorful skinnies can really round out a wardrobe.  Or maybe I’m just convincing myself that I’d totally find a way to wear them all the time because I love them so much.  And these sandals?  What can’t you wear them with?!  The rosettes on this white top just perfectly finish it off.

3.  This outfit is something that I could put together rather simply.  I already have a pair of bottoms almost identical to these, and I have a good red sweater, too.  The white came is a given, and my brown flats are only slightly darker than this.  I really just need to find this top because its super cute and I’d finish it off with a simple short necklace with a delicate silver chain.

4.  Everyone needs a good pair of shorts and I am SO not a fan of both shorts, so these are pretty much ideal.  The watch is a little flashy for me, but otherwise… super cute. I’d probably stick with some simple studs if I wore this necklace, but would definitely go for the earrings if I opted to go without the necklace.  DOn’t want too much going on, that’s for sure.  And the sandals are adorable and I waaaant them!

5.  Hands down my FAVORITE of this bunch… this next one is so stinking cute.  I love the kelly green sweater, and it is SO stinking CUTE when paired with this floral top.  Almost anything can work with some basic jean skinnies, but throw in these pink suede pumps and I am in loooooove!!  This is the one I’m really trying to make appear in my closet… but no matter how many “I Dream of Jeannie” head bops I do, it’s just not happening.  *le sigh And this necklace is just icing on the cake, as well as the oversized cloth bag.  So simple, yet so. stinking. perfect.

(source)

**Except for this last one, all pics were plucked straight from Pinterest and lead to random Polyvore boards that wouldn’t let me link in properly.  Sorry Polyvore Queens! I just can’t seem to figure the sourcing out for some reason (it’s pulling in strange, random images instead of the ones I’m actually looking at.  Haalp?!)

Let’s hear it – what are y’all eyeing up these days?  Any thoughts on the outfits above?  Seen any of these pieces during your e-window shopping lately?  ‘Cause you’d absolutely be my hero!

~Hope

Da Funk

I’ve been a bit tightly wound lately.

Actually, I was quite literally so last week when I randomly ended up with a jacked up neck and muscle spasms after a nice solid year-plus without one.  There my winning streak, I suppose.  *le sigh

But outside of the pain in my neck (the literal one, of course), I thought I’d been doing pretty well until this week hit.

And boy did it hit hard.

I thought last week was rough with my neck issue and I even remember telling a coworker on Friday that I felt like I’d had a “week of Mondays”… boy did someone decide to make me eat those words.

Errrg.

So here I am feeling like i could say those words yet again, but fighting the urge to do so if for no other reason than I just don’t want to incite the powers that be to shout another “Challenge Accepted” and have to go through this yet again next week.

Point taken, man.  Point. Taken.

I think you get my drift.  I am a-strugglin.  And often when I have times like this, I’ll just call it and take a half day.  Or even just go full-throttle and take a full personal day (assuming my SIL is at work and I’ll actually get the house to myself).  But thanks to the pain in the neck that was last week, I’m pretty screwed on hours at work and need to get it together.

Translation:  no dice.

Well, I did leave about 2 hours early one day just because I could no longer talk myself out of it.  It wasn’t my proudest moment, but don’t worry… once again, the powers that be didn’t let me down.  I got home to find our bedroom smelled like urine for some horribly, ridiculously unacceptable reason and after scrubbing the entire floor clean and hopping in the shower, Studly got home and walked in to announce that the dog had just puked on the bedroom carpet.  The one that I had just scrubbed clean.  And as he finished telling me this while I dried my hair, we heard the all-too-familiar sounds of more upchuck happening in the closet.

WHY MUST YOU PROVE YOUR POINT SO LOUDLY, powers that be?!  I get it already!  As stated above… POINT. TAKEN.

So you see?  Next time I feel like I should just call it a day and go home early, I’ll remember this day.  And find some other way to busy my mind just so that I don’t have to scrub mystery-urine and fresh puppy puke from my carpet instead.

SIDENOTE:

The urine does have an explanation and I swear it’s not weird.  It’s still gross, don’t get me wrong, but it’s because of a little unofficial foster pup that we’ve taken in over the past couple of weeks (she found us, and we haven’t been able to find her home, yet).  We aren’t sure if it’s her doing it, or our Pup doing it to reclaim the space as his (insert look of disdain here), but there… ya see?  We’re not grosslings (’cause that’s a thing, right?).

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

It’s just been a week where my to-do list is growing faster than the invite list to a rabbit family reunion (uh… yeah. exactly), my to-done list is quite literally invisible (mostly because it’s all still on my dumb rabbit list, instead), and a new project at work is making me feel like I don’t even sprechen sie englisch… as in I have no idea what’s even going on because I’m the kid that came late to the party and everyone talks a mile-a-minute about everything because they all “get it” and I’m just the one that’s hiding in the corner and hoping no one notices I’m there.  *deep breath

Woosaaaaah.

Why can’t everyone have summers off like we did in school?  And while we’re at it, why do they set us up for such disappointment?  Why do they ever begin giving us months off each year, along with extended breaks for Christmas if we aren’t going to always get them?  And while we’re here… Recess, people …am I right?!

There I go again.  Welcome to the funk, everyone.

Anywho, at the end of the day, there’s really no one major reason why I’ve been “grumpy” (to put it simply).  I just have.  And I think I need to do something crafty or go for a run (if it’d stop frigging raining and being so dadgum cold, already) or just find something to snap me out of it.

Maybe I can convince Studly to take me out to dinner this weekend.  There’s nothing a good carb overload can’t fix, right?

Unless your problem is eating your feelings (looks around awkwardly… then raises hand timidly).

Screw it.

Who am I kidding.

BRING ME THE BREAD!

~Hope

Let’s Get Serious

I mentioned last week that I had some meets to share regarding our Adoption journey, and I’m here today to spill the beans.

It isn’t really the kind of “beans” that I’d like to be spilling, but beans are beans, people.  And beaners can’t be choosers.

What?!

Nevermind.  Sometimes I get carried away with a common saying and just can’t disengage.

ANYwho…

Studly and I took a huge first step a few weeks ago, and actually started contacting several organizations regarding adoption (organizations being an all-inclusive term to refer to facilitators, law centers, and agencies).  Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but for us… it absolutely IS a big deal.  It’s as though we’re finally putting our money where our mouth is.

To be clear, though… we’re not putting money anywhere just yet.  (See?  Another saying and now I’m just confusing people again. *smack! Get it together, Hope!)

We contacted several different organizations we had begun to identify by scouring website after website after website… I think you get the picture.  Basically, thanks to the internets (thank you Al Gore!), there are a lot of resources on adoption.

Honestly, (and this may sound crazy, but its true) we were able to rule out a bunch rather quickly after only briefly visiting their website.  For us, a cheaply created or poorly maintained website indicated come less-than-desirable qualities for an organization to which we’d be paying tens of thousands of dollars to help us grow our family.  So if they can’t even build or maintain what I imagine to be the primary means of getting business in this day and age, then I’m not sure we are interested in digging any further.

Although we plan to do much more research before submitting any applications, we did find about 3 good organizations as our starting point.

After contacting them, we found that 1 was not licensed in our state even though their website initially said that they did (maybe this was more recent?), 1 sent us a good-sized packet of information through e-mail, and 1 shipped us an information kit through the mail.

Out of the 2 that actually sent us information, only 1 asked us our income right off the bat.  This may not be a big deal, but it is a bit annoying.  Quite a few agencies charge fees based on your income, and I find that to be a bunch of crap.  Call me crazy, but that shouldn’t be an initial question.  Should it be part of your home study and overall assessment as to whether or not you can provide for the child? 100%. Absolutely. No question.  Should it be what you use to determine your fee schedule?  Heck no!  Mostly because you don’t know the entire situation just based off of a single number on a piece of paper.  Sorry – already jumping up onto a soap box.  *jumps down… *deep breaths…

Where was I?!

Oh right.  The 1 that asked our income information right off of the bat was more local, and also happened to be the one that sent us some information through e-mail.  I’m fine with the fact that it came through e-mail, but there’s something to be said about snail mail that just seems more personal.  Regardless, the conversation I had with the local organization was pretty short and not very helpful.  She kept making statements to indicate that all of our questions would be answered… and they’d be more than happy to talk with us… etc etc, but I was already asking questions and those weren’t actual answers.  I did try to get down to the reasoning and just asked if they needed to set up some kind of meeting with me and Studly, thinking that maybe this was why she wasn’t being as helpful, and then the truth came out – “all we needed to do” to have this conversation was to submit our application.

Whaaa?!

I’m not going to pay to apply with you before I even have information regarding your organization, what it provides, it’s process and average timeline, etc.  Who would do that?  Well, there must be some people who would do it because it seemed to be their standing policy.   Umm… no thanks.

As I’m sure you can already see from the story so far, it isn’t all that hard to weed out the non-contenders.  And though the list of what’s acceptable would absolutely change from family to family, there’s already going to be something that is identified as a non-negotiable and you’ll find that these things can really help to thin the crowd of options pretty quickly.

So that brings me to the final organization that we contacted – the one that mailed us an information kit.  One of the perks of this organization is that they are nationally licensed, meaning they can work with adoptions in any of the 50 states.  And that translates to more placements each year – averaging around 300.  I’m not sure if you’ve done any research on these numbers, but that’s a really high number of placements for one organization.  We reviewed the information kit that they sent us, which included: a DVD, additional information on their organization, an example of the packet that’s given to potential birth mothers in the selection process, an application, a wall calendar, and a personal letter from the lady that I spoke with on the phone during my initial contact with them.  It was full of helpful stuff.

During my initial phone conversation, and before we got the information packet, they also set us up with an appointment to video-chat with our adoption consultant.  They were so well organized, very informative, and they took me seriously from the first moment we spoke – which was very nice.

One would think that having taken the step to contact an adoption organization to begin would indicate to them that we were serious about getting information.  It’s pretty sad that only 1 of the many phone calls that I made left me with the impression that this was the case and I wasn’t just another blank face on the other end of the millionth phone call they’d had that day.

Anywho…. fast forward to Monday evening when we had our video-chat consultation.

It. Was. Sooo helpful.

We both felt pretty comfortable with her and she was very patient with our ridiculous amount of questions (correction: MY ridiculous amount of questions).  Studly and I both answered some of her questions and after it was over (over an hour later), we both felt as though it really helped to answer our lingering questions and put things into perspective for us.

Surprisingly, we hadn’t had to submit any forms or pay a single penny to just have a full conversation with someone.

And I was starting to think that’d be difficult to find!

Between the information that we gathered from this consultation, and the research we have conducted over the past several months (though to be honest, adoption is something we’ve been familiar with for many years, due to my work in the pregnancy clinic a few years before we moved)… it all adds up to a long list of things to think through and consider.

We’re still digesting it all, really, and have already had at least 2 lengthy conversations about everything just since Monday’s meeting.

I have a lot to share with you, but this post is already getting a little long, so I’ll leave you with this for now.

Lessons learned so far in this stage:

  • Each adoption organization is not created equally.
  • Also, there is so much to think about and consider that a lot of the time… it feels more like a business deal than it does adopting a child.  And that’s tough.  So much of our heart and emotion is in this, but we haven’t even made it to the point, yet, where that really comes into play.
  • You need money.  No question.  BUT there are a ton of resources (grants, low-interest and even interest free loans, tax credits, employer contributions, etc) to help you get all of that money together.
  • There’s still  a lot to do before we can submit an application anywhere.

That last bullet may be the hardest to swallow, but it’s really important.  We’re not doing anyone any favors by “just” submitting the application.

The biggest lesson so far is this:  You need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re ready.

But that’s definitely another post for another day.

I look forward to sharing more of this piece of our lives with y’all soon! And in the meantime, any other adoptive families out there with some pointers?  We’ll take all the help we can get, for sure.

~Hope

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