Category Archives: Adoption

Look, Y’all! I Wrote A Blog! (One-Handed)

The last six (almost seven?!) months have passed by in an absolute whirlwind, with a million tiny spectacular moments suspended in time, like so many dragonflies in amber, waiting to be reexamined and  treasured in the months to come.

And the fact that it took me thirty minutes to think out and type that sentence with my left thumb, on an app from my phone, with a squirmy baby taking up four-fifths of my attention, is just one of those shiny moments I’ll remember in my old age. “Remember when I used to type one-handed?” I’ll say to no one in particular from the confines of my rocking chair, which probably won’t rock as much as levitate, and will come equipped with its own hologram television, WiFi internet connection (password protected), and locator beacon for my more widespread adventures.

I’m getting distracted. Let me start again.

I’m a mom. A fully-entrenched, pureed sweet potatoes in my hair, dark circles under my eyes, laughing till my sides hurt, worrying till my brain aches, honest to goodness, bonefide mom. I spend my days adoring this child, and my life couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have become well-versed in all things teething, submersed myself into the world of baby sign language and environment enrichment, and know way more about poop than any medical professional on the planet. (Pretty sure a doctor has to take a course called “Baby Poop: It’s Many Forms and Functions” in order to get their license. And yours truly could teach it.) But the one skill that has become the most valuable, and the one I use most frequently on a day to day basis, is the ability that moms across the globe have been perfecting for generations: that of being able to thrive with the limited use of only one hand.

In true Abby Gabs fashion, I leave you with a list of things I’ve managed to accomplish (nay — master) in my short time as a mother. Enjoy.

Things I’ve Done With One Hand (and Occasionally, My Toes)

* Picked up a dropped pacy/toy/blanket (most impressive when performed with my toes)
* Updated my Facebook status
* Perfected the “Mommy and Me” selfie

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* Made (multiple) daily cups of coffee
* In that same vein, made hundreds of perfectly toasted PopTarts (that covers the two main Mommyhood food groups)
* Cooked dinner (because warming up leftovers totally constitutes cooking)
* Pet a purring, sleeping kitty
* Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher
* Answered my phone (or, more likely, frantically smashed buttons or swiped the screen in order to silence my phone before it woke a sleeping baby.
* Rocked a restless kiddo in his car seat while blow drying my hair (this is another toes thing)
* Cheered maniacally (and relatively quietly) as my Carolina Panthers smashed their way into the upcoming Super Bowl!!
* Sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away laundry.
* Caught an epic baby vomit with a burp cloth, singlehandedly avoiding a giant mess and therefore, more loads of laundry.
* Vacuumed. My whole apartment. Like a boss.
* Carefully maintained precious friendships with those I used to see far more regularly than I do now. (I’m a text messaging, Facebooking, digital-corresponding expert.)
* Blown my nose. (Not kidding. That’s Yoda-level parenting, people.)
* Surfed for a better television program. Not so impressive one handed. Circus-level impressive when done with toes.
* Written a blog.

While I’ve mastered the art of surviving with one hand (and sometimes toes,) the most important part of it all is finishing those tasks so I can finally, happily get back to the important stuff: playing tickle monster, steadying a wobbly baby who’s learning to crawl, snuggling him close when he wants to nap. Those things require both hands…and five-fifths of my attention. So til next time readers, stay tuned for the next installment of Abby Gabs: “Funny Things I Did With Only Four Hours of Sleep.”

Days to Remember

On the day I found out about you…
Daddy was at work, and so was I. The day was slow, and uneventful, with only the long Memorial Day weekend ahead to look forward to. We’d tried so hard to remain positive, and to hold each other up, as we made our way along this emotional, bumpy path toward you. But it seemed, on that day, that you would never come.

Until the phone rang.

When I heard the words, “She picked you and Brian,” you could have knocked me over with a feather. We had applied for you over two months previous to that phone call, and had given up hope that we would be chosen. We’d tried to forget about you, to move on with our lives. And then…this. I never even saw you coming, Baby Boy. Until that moment, you were a lovely dream; one that seemed far away and hazy around the edges.

And then I heard those words, and you came into sharp, gorgeous focus. And our hearts soared.

On the day I met you…
It was hot and sticky and unbearably humid outside. Once again, your Daddy was at work, and we’d planned to just get through the weekend so we could finally, FINALLY start packing our bags and getting organized for your big arrival. Your nursery was mostly done, your crib had been assembled. We’d stocked up the shelves with diapers and wipes and even a few onesies. We’d done almost everything we needed to, except get ourselves ready for the big day. We had three whole weeks, and were convinced we had the time.

Until the phone rang.

When I heard the words, “He’s coming! The baby is coming!” my heart nearly fell at my feet. You were coming 3 weeks early, and we were 3 hours away, and I was desperate to get to you before you made your debut into the world. I scrambled to pack while I called your Daddy, and your Grammy, and our lawyer, and our social worker, and everyone else I could think of. When your Daddy got home from work, we hugged, we cried, and we marveled at the miracle of you. And then we made the three hour trek to finally, finally meet you.

You were born while we were stuck in rush hour traffic. But two long, frustrating, heart-fluttering hours later, I saw your face for the first time.

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And my whole world changed.

On the day that we brought you home…
We’d spent ten days hovering over you, worrying about every feeding, every med, and every hiccup. Yearning to touch you when we couldn’t, wanting to cuddle you when you needed rest more than snuggles, made those days a mixture of grief and gratitude. We gazed in wonder at your tiny perfect fingers, the shape of your chin, the sound of your cries. We loved you before we ever even knew about you, but in those ten days, you made a permanent home for yourselves in the hearts of two people who wanted you more than you can ever know.

And when we finally heard the words, “He’s cleared for discharge,” we hugged, and we laughed, and we whispered in your ear.

“It’s time to go home.”

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As we pulled away from the hospital that had been starting to feel like home, your Daddy looked up into the rear view mirror and caught my eyes. There were tears shining there, and even though I couldn’t see his face, I could hear the smile in his voice when he said, “They actually let us leave with a BABY! Can you believe it??!”

And we laughed.

On the day you became official…
My heels clicked on the marble floor as we entered the court house. The reverence of the day settled over me like a warm sweater, and I felt the emotions well up in my chest as we passed by the giant statue of Lady Justice in the foyer. Your Gram pushed you in the stroller through the corridors, bustling with activity, and your Daddy and I followed in her wake. When the elevator doors opened, we met up with our lawyer–the woman who is solely responsible for bringing you into our lives. She quietly walked us through what to expect during the court proceedings, reminding us to be calm, telling us it was okay to be emotional. She went over the questions she would ask each of us on the stand, and your Daddy and I exchanged a glance of worry when we were told we would be asked to explain to the court why we wanted to adopt you.

“I’m going to cry,” I said.

“And that’s okay,” our lawyer said.

And so, in we went. I held you snuggled to my chest, and you slept as Daddy was sworn in, and gave his testimony. When asked “The Question,” he paused, gathered his thoughts, and said, “It’s just what we’ve always wanted–to be a family. We have so much love to give. And I know we’ll be awesome parents.”

I heard your grandparents sniffling behind me, and knew if I turned around, I would join them. So instead, I kissed your head, passed you to Daddy, and made my way up to the stand.

I had a whole speech planned, Kal. You would have been so proud of me–flowery words that would weave the tale of our journey to you in such a way that everyone would understand exactly what you mean to us. But when she asked me to explain why I wanted you, all of that went out the window. I simply shrugged, a single tear trickling down my cheek. I leaned forward to the microphone, took a deep breath, and answered the only way I knew how.

“Because he is everything.”

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And you are.

There have been so many days to remember in the three months you’ve been in our lives. Moments that left me breathless, that have solidified our bond. Quiet moments in the middle of the night when you wrap your fingers around mine and fall asleep. Laughter and giggles and moments of sheer joy that fill my heart with so much gladness. Those days will only continue, my love, my heart. My son. Welcome to the family.

An Announcement of Epic Proportions

If you’ve had a hankering for some Abby Gabs in recent months, you’ve been sadly disappointed. In fact, if you’ve visited my little website any time since mid-July, you’ve found yourself faced with the dreaded message “Site Not Found.”

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I’ve had many excuses for not writing before: vacation, writer’s block, lack of creativity. But never before have I left my precious site in “construction” mode. There’s never been a reason to do that before…until very recently. And believe me when I say that this time, I’ve had a really, really good reason for being MIA from the blogosphere.

Readers, meet ‘Kal.’

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This precious baby boy came into our lives over the summer, and I can honestly say that we have NEVER been happier. *Cue angelic harmonies of a full choir, along with 100 white doves.*

Kal is sweet-natured, happy as a clam, and is obviously the most gorgeous child on the face of the planet in all of time and history.

Obviously.

When you are finally given everything you’ve ever wanted, after years of hoping and dreaming…well, readers, I can only describe it as that joyful feeling you got in the center of your chest as a child on Christmas morning. It’s that fluttery, happy, excited, slightly dizzying feeling, when the possibility of the day lies ahead of you, and you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it’s going to be good. Like, really, really good. The only difference? It’s a perpetual state of being. Even in my most exhausted state–when I’ve had less than 3 hours of sleep, and my nerves are frazzled, and I haven’t eaten since Tuesday, and my hair looks like a furry animal has nested there–when I finally place this sweet, sleeping angel into his bed, and I look down on his cherubic face, I feel like I could fly.

I have learned a few important things about myself since finally joining the sorority known as “Motherhood.”

  1. I can function on about 4 hours of sleep, and 6 hours straight feels like I’ve been on vacation in Jamaica for a week.
  2. If I thought I was capable of pulling funny faces for the sake of getting a laugh on this blog, it’s nothing compared to the faces, sounds, and silly things I will do to make my son laugh.
  3. There are fewer things in this world that will make me swoon like a gummy baby grin. Seriously. Kittens are cute, but NOTHING is cuter than a toothless grin. Especially because they’re ALWAYS 100% genuine.
  4. Coffee and Pop-Tarts aren’t just a way of life, they are necessary for the survival of mankind.
  5. I’ve finally found my true calling in life. No, not just motherhood. But Baby Stylist. I’m a onesie guru.

The one thing that hasn’t been entirely surprising to me is the brand new love and respect I feel for Brian. Y’all know how much I adore this man—I make no bones about it here on this space, or anywhere else in the universe, for that matter. But seeing him with Kal, watching him shower this kid with absolute adoration, overhearing the conversations about all the fun they’re going to have in the coming years…well. I love Brian more now than I ever have before. Seeing him finally become the father he was meant to be is more than a simple, happy thing.  It is my greatest pleasure. The song in my soul. It’s…everything.

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That little popping sound you just heard? It was my heart exploding into a million little pieces. Holy crap, y’all. I adore them so.

To all of you who prayed for us, who donated money and stuff to sell, who gave us your precious time to help us raise the funds we’d need, to those who sent out positive vibes and energy into the universe in the hopes that we would finally, FINALLY find our baby—-from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. The universe heard your pleas, and as of today, October 16, at 11 AM, our little family has OFFICIALLY grown by one set of adorable feet.

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Cutest toes on earth.

Stay tuned for the changes coming to Abby Gabs in the coming weeks and months. Actually, it won’t be that much different than what you’re used to. You can still expect funny, heartfelt posts from me about the goings-on in our lives, maybe the occasional tear-jerker post about all the many emotions that being a new mother can bring. Some of my posts will make sense; most of them probably won’t, at least until we’re sleeping through the night again. The only difference? We’re now a party of 3.

A Letter To My Mopey Self

Dear Self,

Life has been tough lately. For whatever reason, you’re sitting around in your cookie pants, watching re-runs of Friends and wondering if things are ever going to get any easier. You’re not getting what you want in the time that you wanted it in, and you keep stumbling over road blocks or speed bumps, and that’s frustrating. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you sometimes sit in the shower, with the water cascading over your shoulders, your hair hanging in your face, and you cry your eyes out because no one can hear you over the sound of the spray. I know that sometimes, you sit in traffic and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to scream, and so you do, never sparing a thought for what the driver in the car next to you must be thinking. I know that sometimes, when the alarm clock sounds in the morning, that your first thought is “I don’t wanna.”

Well, friend, I think what you need is a little perspective. Sure, things are hard right now. It’s probably not going to get any easier in the next week, or month. You probably won’t have that thing you want more than anything else in the world by then. But here is what you DO have:

You have a husband that would move heaven and earth to make you happy. And he has done, on multiple occasions. And now here you are–you and that beautiful man you married almost 11 years ago–sitting on this same island of despair together, holding each other up when you both want to fall over. There are a lot of people in this life that would wish for a love like the one you have. So embrace it. Revel in it. Remember it in the darkest of times when you feel like your dreams will never come true.

You have a family that loves you, and supports you, no matter what. They are unshakable, unwavering, and unquestioning. They will give you advice–some that you’ll use, some that you won’t. They will make you laugh when you thought laughter was impossible. They will hold you up, and give you strength. They will love you, even if you don’t reach your dream. Enjoy every moment that you have with them–they are priceless.

You have friends who are with you in the trenches, the same mud on their faces that’s smeared on yours. They will amaze you in a million little ways, and even more huge ways. They will sit by your side in the blazing heat, selling lamps and rugs and hand-me-down clothing, just so you can add a few bucks to your savings account. They will rally around you when you get news, be it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. They will send you little cards and messages of support, just so you know that, even though it’s been awhile, they’re still thinking of you every single day. They will shed tears for you, ones that you’ll never know about, and they will feel every divot in the road that you feel, sometimes tenfold (since you tend to remove yourself from heavy feelings as much as you can.) These people are more than just friends–they are your family. And you are SO beyond lucky to have them.

Last, but never least, you have a DREAM. A dream of becoming a parent when biology wouldn’t let you before. A dream of holding a little one, so dear, in your arms and kissing their tiny baby cheeks, and knowing that they are yours. Of little giggles, and sleepless nights, and future Mother’s Days filled with flowers and handmade cards and slightly-chewy pancakes served in bed. Never let go of that dream, self. It is pure, and shiny, and filled with so much joy that no matter how many times you fall on your face in pursuit of that dream, it will, without doubt, be totally worth it.

So I’m just going to leave this letter here. That way, you can find it when you need it. Let it serve as a reminder as to why you should never even dare to give up hope. How dare you give up hope, when you have so many people on your side, fighting the same fight, wishing the same wish, and hoping the same hope that you do?

So get up. Knock the dirt off, sister. Put on some real clothes.  And get back to your life. You’ve got work to do.

Sincerely,

Abby

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A Dream Within A Dream

Laughter and quiet conversation surrounds us. I straighten your blue-and-white gingham dress and pass you to my closest neighbor, all smiles, with my heart in my throat. Your tiny hands curl into fists, your yellow floral headband slightly askew, as kisses are planted on your adorably bald head.

Sunlight pours into the room from behind us, filling the room with more joy than we can handle. A box of tissues makes its way around the room, but these are happy tears we cry, little one. Tears we shed because you are finally here, and we waited so long, and we are so blessed.

My mother walks into the room, her eyes red, her cheeks pink, but with a big, beautiful smile on her face. My father’s bold chuckle rebounds from the kitchen, where I know he’s taken charge of refreshments for the rest of our guests. A small child, all blonde hair and blue eyes, puppy dog tails and muddy puddles, sits near my feet, running a matchbox car up and down my leg. The sounds of a camera shutter click from across the room, with only you in the frame, my little love. My heart.

My arms already itch to hold you again, though you’ve only been with someone else for less than a minute. I watch you like a hawk, studying your body language, your face, the shape of your delicious little thighs and pointed toes. A familiar thought, one I’ve had before: “She’ll be a dancer someday.”

I see your face turning red, your eyes squinting in preparation for one of your spine-tingling wails, before anyone else even realizes it’s coming. With that first cry, I start to reach for you. But your Daddy is there before I can even stand up. He cuddles you close, giving you his thumb to cling to, and he coos at you in a soft voice, calming your sobbing to only a slight whimper. The love on his face, in his eyes, for you leaves me feeling a little weak. I love him more fiercely in that moment than ever before.

When you begin to nuzzle at his chest, he looks up at me with a knowing smile. “I don’t think I have what she wants, Mama,” he says and proudly hands you over to me. I kiss your cheeks and breathe you in, and we wave bye bye to our loved ones as we make our way back to the privacy of the bedroom.

It’s darker in here, the shades pulled tight, but a lone sunbeam sneaks through, leaving a small pool of light on the patchwork quilt. I close the door behind me–but not so tight that a certain orange cat can’t push his way in. He settles at the foot of the bed, eyes on us, as I settle back against the pillows and lift my shirt. This is still brand new for us, little one, and Mama’s still learning.

You nuzzle and search, then latch on, and the pulling sensation still startles me. You close your eyes, shuttering the bright green from me, your long eyelashes brushing your rounded cheeks. The hand I’d been holding curls up in a fist, and you lay it against my skin, your body relaxing as you feed. I run my hand over your back in lazy circles, and we both drift for a moment. The muffled sounds of laughter come from the other room, and I am washed over with a love so deep, I could drown.

The brash sound of my alarm clock steals me away from you. My arms still ache from the weight of you as I turn it off and climb from my bed. You aren’t here, yet. But you will be. I believe that to the very center of my soul. My cheeks are dry today, little one, though I yearn for you so.

I only wish I’d dreamt your name.

 

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The Downside of Dreaming

It’s fun to dream. Planning a future you can’t quite see yet, that’s still fuzzy around the edges; filling in the shadowy bits that aren’t quite in focus–everybody does it. Maybe you’re imagining what your next job might look like, or what a move to the city might feel like, or even where your next vacation might take you. Either way, we all spend time dreaming about, planning for, and being excited by that upcoming phase in life.

For us, the dreams have been pretty specific for several years. Baby, house, new careers. That’s been my mantra since probably somewhere around 2005.

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My husband and I have shared these dreams for years, though my version is colored in a little differently than his. (He sees wood cabinets and tile floors; I see white cabinets and hard wood floors.) But we still pull out that imaginary blue print from time to time, talk about our likes and dislikes, our wishlists and our deal breakers, and we continue to color in the dreams for our future together.

As time passes, and those dreams have yet to become a reality, dreaming takes on a different hue. There’s more blue there than before, and not because we’re selecting paint colors for Brian’s man cave. I find that, after an afternoon of house-shopping or adoption talk, my mood swings from delighted to deflated. It feels like we’ve been waiting on these things to happen forever–and in many ways, we have.

Being patient, especially when it comes to things you ache for, is really hard.

Sometimes, the “we don’t have a baby” or “we can’t afford a house just yet” blues can stick around for awhile for me. Despite knowing that I already have a pretty amazing life–husband, family, friends, cats, fun–it can still be hard to sit in ‘today’ when what I really want is to be sitting in a shiny, new ‘tomorrow.’

But sometimes, all it takes to jar me back to my awesome reality is a bit of wisdom from my husband.

Brian

(Ok, so he might not have been so poetic about it, but that was the gist.)

I may not have a big house in the woods, with a little nook set aside for me to write the next great American novel. I might not have an agent, or a publisher, or a novel on the shelf at the bookstore bearing my name. I might not have an adorable, precocious toddler demanding every bit of my free time and attention and adoration.

But the word that’s missing?

Yet.

Those things will come, in time. And for now, I will revel in the things I do have, and try to keep the blue out of my blueprint of dreams.

You’ll Think This Post Is About Kittens (But It’s Not)

I spent the morning playing with our kitten, Fitz.

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He is darling, and hilarious, and the most loving little kitten we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing…but that’s not what this post is about.

As I waggled his chicken toy at him, and giggled like a maniac as he pounced, a conversation I had with a friend recently popped into my brain. I’m not sure what caused it–the conversation had nothing to do with kittens–and yet, I heard her voice in my head, clear as a bell.

“You deserve to have whatever you want. Don’t let anyone else influence you
to the point that you give up on your dream.”

I watched Fitz wiggling his bum, preparing for another pounce, and let those words reverberate around in my brain. You know, that friend of mine makes a really valid point. We live in a society where it’s as easy as a few key strikes to shout your opinion from the social media rooftops. There are some topics of conversation that bring out the opinions quicker than a horse at a hay party—like politics, religion, sporting teams, and parenting.

Who knew adoption was on that list?

We’ve heard a plethora of comments from strangers, acquaintances, and friends alike when they learn of our choice to adopt. Most of them are normal questions filled with curiosity about the process–all valid and easily answered. Others are honest questions that people don’t realize can have a touch of ‘judgey’ to them — “Oh, well, didn’t you look into In-Vitro?” (Yes.) And “Oh, I’ve heard that’s expensive. On your salary?” (Yes.)  And “You should adopt from Africa/Germany/Haiti. They have a lot of kids that need homes.” (So does America.)

But the judgement doesn’t stop there. Nay. I have MANY mommy friends who have already started preparing me for the stern faces I will get when I ultimately choose formula over breastfeeding (sort of a necessity since, you know, adopting), public school over home school (I have to work, sadly), and Huggies over cloth diapers (because poo is gross.)

I’ve been so desperate to pledge the Sorority of Mothers that this side of the sisterhood wasn’t something I was prepared for. I always thought of it as a large group of strong, independent, thoughtful women who supported each other in this quest of raising kids to be prosperous, helpful, kind adults.

As it turns out, apparently moms are more interested in policing your child’s grooming habits, party etiquette, and food choices than being all “Kumbaya” about parenting.

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Since I’m already getting hit with that judgement, and I’m still only pledging said sorority, it makes me wonder just how much worse it can get. And since I’m a newbie, I tend to want to take everything a Mom shares with me about her journey straight to heart.

Ultimately, here are the bullet points I want people to know:
We chose private domestic adoption. It wasn’t something we decided to do on a whim; we researched and discussed and soul-searched, and it was the best fit for our family.
We chose to pursue adopting an infant. Yes, I know they cry a lot, and I won’t sleep at all, and I’ll pray for the days when they’re old enough to tell me they want juice rather than just raising their voices to the sky in the hopes that I will understand that WAAAAAAAAAAAAAIL means JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUICE. But I want a baby. I want to experience it ALL. And why shouldn’t I get what I want just because my body won’t make a baby on its own?
We did NOT choose to be infertile. So no amount of offering to pray for us, or asking us about our sex life, or questioning our choice of adoption over fertility treatments isn’t going to change the fact that we probably can’t get pregnant. At least without a doctor’s help. And even with that help, we have less than a 30% chance of conceiving.

So when my very wise friend made her very valid point the other day, while she was talking about our decision to adopt an infant, it could really be applied to all facets of parenthood. Hell–it SHOULD be applied to all facets of LIFE.

If you DREAM of getting rid of all your worldly possessions in trade for an RV so you can travel the country like gypsies—don’t let your paranoid and clingy best friend change your mind.

If you DREAM of quitting your day job so you can open a tiny pizzeria—don’t let something as trivial as ‘expectations’ change your mind.

If you DREAM of being a mother to a squalling, incontinent, impossible-to-please tiny human being—don’t let anyone else’s opinion about children change your mind!

After all, the other piece of advice this wise friend gave me? “You deserve to be just as miserable and exhausted as every other new mom in the world.” And she’s right. I totally do.

Path To A Happy 2015

Guys, my holidays pretty much sucked. There was no Christmas spirit. There was lots of crying and “woe as me.” There was a WHOLE LOTTA forced merriment. I took my decorations down the day after Christmas, and as each bauble found its way back into storage, I felt a little bit happier, like I was packing away the source of sadness that had plagued me since just after the turkey went cold.

Considering the fact that, in years past, I have been accused of being as jolly as Buddy the Christmas Elf, this is some pretty serious news in and around these parts.

The reason why doesn’t really matter as much as finding my way back to happiness. What’s done is done, the past is in the past, and I’m ready to move forward into a happier, healthier, shinier new year.

Since my day-to-day life has been pretty colorless lately, I pointed my browser over to my favorite blog, Heck Awesome, written by the lovely and talented Carrie Baughcum. She is a daily source of inspiration for me, and though she doesn’t know it, I think of her as the Creativity Queen. And just as she has in the past, with one adorable and heartwarming post, she inspired me to try something new.

Art Journaling.

Finally, a way to combine my “artwork” with my words. (Note the quotations. Perhaps “cartoons” would be a more accurate description?) I’ve found a way to fully express the ideas in my brain. And use my awesome multi-hued felt-tipped pens. It’s brilliant.

And colorful. Did I mention art journaling is colorful? <—-COLOR IS GOOD.

So I decided to start my journal with that nasty holiday depression in mind. What can I do to ensure that my path in 2015 is filled with light, and humor, and happiness? I can accomplish the goals I’ve set forth for myself. I can exercise and let the sunshine in. I can write more and whine less. I can start every day with a positive thought. I can hang onto hope, even when hope seems fruitless. I can smile. I can laugh. I can draw and write and paint and doodle. I can create my own sunshine. I can be ME.

Path to a Happy 2015

It’s not as impressive as other art journal pages I’ve seen as I’ve perused Pinterest, looking for ideas. In fact, it’s downright amateur-ish. But it’s a start. And it made me happy, which was the whole point of the exercise anyway. So I’ll move forward. I’ll draw a doodle every now and then, and add the page to my journal. I’ll draw out my feelings when I can’t find the words to express them. I may or may not share them here, depending on how proud I am of said doodles.

Either way, my toes are off the starting line, and I’m moving up that path to happiness. I know it’s there, waiting at the top of the hill for me. It may be an uphill climb, but I’ll make it. And I’m taking my art supplies with me, because…

crayons

(Or, in this case, felt-tipped pens.) (But use whatever works.) (Heck, fingerpaint with pudding if you want to. I won’t judge you if you won’t judge me while I’m licking the paper clean.) (Great, now I want chocolate pudding.) (Mmmm. Pudding.)

To Carrie: You are my sister in creativity. Thank you for continuing to inspire me. XO

My Recent Life As A Blogger

I had a friend tell me last night that he misses my blog.

“You need to get back to it,” he said. “I only follow one other blog. I miss Abby Gabs.”

I was humbled, flattered, and left feeling guilty for letting my readers down. “Truthfully?” I replied to my friend and reader, “I miss it, too.”

I don’t have many excuses for you when it comes to not writing here on this space I carved out for myself. I look back at posts past and wonder how I managed to pull out so many different blog ideas back then–humorous or thoughtful, commentary or comedy, I managed to find things to write about on a nearly daily basis for three years. Then, all of a sudden, it was like someone turned off the creative water faucet. Just like that, the words dried up in my mind. Occasionally, something funny or wonderful or goofy would happen, and I’d think to myself, “I should blog about that.” But I never did. And now those moments are lost forever, a myriad of memories locked away.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

When I lament the loss of my blog to my mommy friends, they all say the same thing. “You have Baby Brain.” It’s true. I eat, sleep, drink, obsess, and think about the adoption every single waking minute of every day. But while my life has been consumed with All Things Adoption this year, it hasn’t changed so drastically that I couldn’t sit down and write a blog every now and then. The honest truth of the matter is that most of those unwritten posts would have likely been about adoption: about the fundraising, and the constant worry, and the waiting, and the sorrow, and the excitement, and the anticipation—all the things that make this process what it is. There was a part of me that wanted to chronicle this journey here on AbbyGabs, but it became so intensely personal, and I worried I’d never be able to capture the emotions we’ve gone through in the form of the written word.

And so I just avoided the blog. I’d open my browser every morning and click anywhere but on Word Press. I’d spend hours on Pinterest, or play games on Facebook, or research  a new and different facet of adoption or parenthood, all in the attempt to avoid the fact that I wasn’t blogging. Not only wasn’t I blogging, I also wasn’t writing. At all. My enthusiasm for writing and getting published went up in a puff of smoke as soon as our home study was completed.

We have had a full year–one filled with friendship and support and laughter and tears and hope and failure. We have built friendships with people who have become more like family. We have planned and saved and dreamed about the baby we so desperately wish for. We lost a beloved pet, and gained a new one.

Pip and Fitz

There’s a small tug of regret for not documenting it here, as I had done so diligently for so long. But there’s also a small nugget of gladness knowing that I was just…living.

My hope is to find my way back to this space, and to the groove of blogging again. I know it’s still in me, somewhere. The creative spark reignited during Nano last month, and I’m hoping to tend to it, baby it, and turn it into a flame. And perhaps in the new year, I’ll be able to rebuild that roaring fire that took me flying through the first three years of Abby Gabs history. Until that happens, I’m going to keep living. I’m going to snuggle our new kitten, Fitz. I’m going to laugh with my friends. I’m going to keep dancing and striving for better health. I’m going to spend time with my family. I’m going to keep loving as big as the sky. And I’m going to write. Because, ultimately, writing is a part of who I am, and when I’m not doing it, I feel like a piece of me is missing.

Here’s to a renewed creative spirit.

I Learned Something About Myself Recently…

I suck at puzzles.

How? How can I be horrible at something that requires such precision, such concentration, such….OCD? I mean, I ROCK at sock-mating, and color-coding, and label-making. How can I be bad at putting together a puzzle??

bad at something

You’re probably wondering why it is that I’m discovering this little tidbit about myself so late in life. Well, Brian and I are gearing up for yet another adoption fundraiser, and this one involves a 1,000 piece puzzle. (For more info on the fundraiser, you can click on the handy-dandy little tab at the top of your screen titled “Puzzle Pieces.”)

I just knew, when we read about this fundraiser, that it was gonna be a winner. I mean, not only was it going to give us a project to keep us focused and busy, but we were going to get to spend a couple of days putting a puzzle together, too. And I just KNEW, down to the very fibers of my soul, that I was going to kick ass at puzzles. I mean, I know I rocked them  hard core when I was in kindergarten. Watch out, alphabet puzzle. I’m coming for you.

But the puzzle we chose is…difficult. As in, if puzzles came in difficulty levels, with 1 being the alphabet puzzle and 10 being super-duper puzzle of hardness….well, we chose a level 25 puzzle.

The pieces are TINY. Not kidding. See:

tiny puzzle piece

And to make matters worse, the puzzle we chose is ALL words…so there’s lots of blank space. Ever tried putting together a bunch of plain white puzzle pieces? Yeah. It’ll make you go cross-eyed faster than reading ‘Dune.’

But I had no idea what was facing me as we happily dumped the puzzle out onto the table to get started. I jumped into organizational mode and promptly separated all the pieces by color, then bagged and labeled each color. Boom. Puzzle master.

We decided to start at the bottom and work our way up, and so I chose the correctly labeled baggie, and dumped the pieces out in front of us. After about 10 minutes, I had shuffled the pieces around and felt relatively confidant that, very soon, I was going to be able to locate 2 pieces that fit together.

That confidence was shattered when I looked over to my right and saw that my over-achieving husband had already successfully put together an ENTIRE WORD. In, like, 10 seconds.

Brian the puzzler

This is Brian’s smug face.”

“Ok, fine,” I thought to myself. “So he’s great at puzzles. No surprises there. But I’m sure I can be good at this, too….I just need to concentrate.”

So I stared at the pieces in front of me with a higher intensity, urging my brain to work at the level I know it’s capable of. And still…nothing.

After an hour of staring at the same 25 pieces, I managed to put together about 10 of them.

Abby's pieces

And no, it doesn’t say “YOLO.”

Brian, in the meantime, had managed to put together the rest of the phrase in its entirety, and had started on the next line, giving me the time I needed to feel like an utter and complete failure.

Oh well. There’s always sock-mating.