Friday, August 12, 2016

The Unforgettable Trip of My Life



SUMMER BREAK!

This phrase can bring ecstasy and horror all at once depending on the individual. As a family of five, going on any sort of vacation can be tricky equation and includes several choice four letter words at any given time.

 For us, the usual no brainer is to make a trek to the grandparents house for an easy and affordable get away.

...Especially when your husband is going to be gone for a week in Nashville for a barbershop conference!

Ain't nobody got time for that single parent thing.... (props to military families or those with a spouse who is required to travel for work)

This trip of exploring parts of Connecticut while staying at the grandparents B&B was in the books for quite awhile.

Then throw in the whole mind blowing discovery of my unknown family....life couldn't be any better!

*Cue mind blowing bomb #2*

One morning before church, I was informed that it was of the utmost importance for me to come to the 2nd annual Sisterpalooza in Utah. Because not only would I get to meet a handful of sisters....my DAD would also be making an appearance. And if I could find childcare for my older two, my siblings wanted to chip in for a plane ticket.

Flabbergasted by their kindness and generosity, God opened the doors and a VERY kind friend agreed to help with childcare while Matt was at work.

So after a long retreat in Connecticut, I had a little over a day to recover and pack for another trip and take Alden along with me for the free lap space on the plane.

During my time in Utah, I was hosted by my sister Cy and her hubby Keith. Two other sisters came with kids of theirs and also enjoyed the wonderful hospitality provided. My brother Jed even pulled away from his busy life as a dentist and father of 5 to meet and visit. Sister peer pressure does work from time to time ;)

Highlights
The Natur Store
Fast food taco shops (ain't gonna find them in Rome)
Olympic Park Center- Ski jump tubing
SLC Farmers Market
Temple Square sightseeing
Staying up late and bonding
Comparing all sorts of different body parts of each other

.....And the most special part of all, spending time with my dad and meeting my only living grandmother Delpha. Alden is the only family member I know who has been able to meet a 'great'.

The overall experience and observation was to be able to just fit in with these family members and not feel like you had to be someone else to fit in. It was almost effortlessly, despite many of us growing up in different backgrounds and spiritual journeys.

I was told by many of the natural siblings that I reminded them so very much of our brother Zach who passed back in 2010 unexpectedly. Even looking through a memory book of his pictures growing up and comparing them to mine....Zach was really my twin. I feel honored to be given many likenesses and personality of him and wished I could have met him in person.

For those of us who are the donor siblings of the family....it is almost like we were blessed to skip the crudy growing up years of fighting and competing for attention and go right to the adult relationships.

This trip is only the beginning, and I can't help myself but smile all the time when these special people come to mind. My Heart has grown by numerous sisters, brother/inlaw, grandma, dad, nieces & nephews...and even a few fur babies.

I guess Matt did get his wish of marrying into a big family......God really does have a sense of humor! 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Who is Your Daddy: Part 2

To read part 1, click here

Darn red tape.....no money for a family law attorney....and well I guess maybe in Heaven I'd finally be told my missing story while standing at the pearly gates.


On my mothers side, we've been able to trace the family history back to coming over on the Mayflower from Ireland. So I did have that side at least to cling to. But otherwise, nothing to jump up and down about.

One afternoon during my favorite time of the day, aka nap time...I switched on TLC. They were airing a recent series called Long Lost Family. Most of the people they casted were those who came from adoptions.

You know....ones that had a better paper trail to track down. You hear about these cases all time. My entrance in life is either a rarity or not something which is talked or brought up about. Although with advancing fertility technology and same sex couples who seek a donor for one piece of the reproductive equation....I wonder if cases like this will be brought to light more often and laws put in place to give rights to the offspring from said donors.

In this show, they were using Ancestry.com quite a bit. You may have seen their commercials running before, with another company called 23andme.com. They were pushing their DNA test to see what your ethnic background was comprised of. It sounded neat....but not $100 neat. So I disregarded like a lot of pushes for products.

As I continued to watch, they were bringing up a DNA database to find any leads for someone searching.

Wait....DNA database?

.....then I became very still and became overwhelmed with emotion when it dawned on me that the door to my bio dad may not have been permanently shut.

I begged Matt to please get me the test as a Mother's day gift (yes, I ask for weird things as gifts from him). At that time we was game for it, but was uncertain as to where the money would come from to swing it. Then he found a couple weeks later, they were running a sale and knocking $20 off the price.

I guess that was the tipping point.

The box came with instructions to spit into a vial and send it back in a little white box. Done and done the same day I received it. My main goal of this test was to find at least one half sibling. In no way was I holding any hope it would result in any more or that the donor was registered with the site. Then I waited.

And waited.....

.......and waited some more.

I had no clue how fast this whole process of testing would take. Matt finally gets an email from them and....

.....I didn't give them enough spit and they were sending another test out.

UGH!!!!!

No expedited shipping or processing the second time around. Weeks continued to come and go, with only a few little updates that they'd received it, but hadn't undergone any testing yet.

Fast Forward to the night of July 8th....

We had been out late doing some shopping and the kids went to bed late. I decided to wind down with a little adult coloring before knocking out. I had just got settled when I hear Matt holler to come down stairs to see something.

Um....it can wait. Show me that funny FB meme/comment/comic etc later. I was not in the mood to move. Then he shouts that my RESULTS ARE IN!

Well then....I think I can be inconvenienced for THAT!

My ethnicity results were not showing up, but except a swirling progress circle.

Man...what a buzzkill!

But what we were able to find there were a few folks registered on Ancestry who were in the "close family to 1st cousin" category. Now the measured units they use for the test has to have at least 30 of them to register as being related in some way. THe folks listed were in the 1400 and up category with 100% certainty.

I sent a few of them a general message about the two mystery paternal sides to see if either one had an relation to them.

Next thing I know, one of them responds quickly with news I couldn't believe....

I was speaking to one of my sisters....and I have 12 other siblings! Some from a marriage(s) and the other half from being a donor that they know of thus far.

Oh.....and the one I spoke to said they've found the donor!

Holy COW!

The last 24 hours have included many many facebook chats, exchanging of pictures as kids and our kids....

LOADS of questions about each other....

And the best part....

In just 24 hours, I've spoken to my bio dad twice today!


Here he is!

He is an OBGYN in California.

Use to live in Poway just down the street where I was born

Says I look just like one of his sons from his first marriage...but with a wig on lol.


Here is a testimony to answered prayer...

I have been praying for almost 34 years for this day. 

From feeling left out for years before being accepted by my father in law.....

Finding old school papers talking about my wishes to meet my real dad...

Teased for who I was and my background.... (turns out I'm 64% west european, 9% trace and the rest Irish)

All has been revealed in a swoosh from no where. I can say very much so with confidence that I feel more more "whole" on this earth...and maybe slightly normal...but some may say the jury is out on this one ;)

The other siblings have all met each other last year....and I hope to make the trip at some point to meet everyone at a reunion and hopefully hug this man I've longed for more than I wanted to wait.

God is so very good....even 34 years later :)


On a side note from the Kindergarten Cop movie......I guess I can really say that "My dad is a gynecologist"

BUHAHAHAH!


Who is Your Daddy and What Does He Do? Part 1


Ah....a memorable line from a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

Growing up, I wasn't able to ever answer that question. Father's day was nothing more than a day where I knew none of my friends would be available to play around the neighborhood. There certainly wasn't much point in participating in the yearly Father's day card craft where you make the front look like a shirt collar with a tie.

I knew very early in my life of the fatherly void.

And my mother was not shy in keeping any secrets about how my existence became to be. I was conceived by methods of artificial insemination through an anonymous sperm donor.

For years and years I would dream of finding out who this mystery side of me was. Just even a picture was all I wanted. I borrowed friends fathers where ever I could to relish and savor in any sort of way what it might be like to have one of my own.

Families came and went from the neighborhood, and so did the future activities I could live vicariously through.

When I turned 18, I sought out whatever information I could on the donor through the fertility clinic which was and still is in business. What they were able to release to me was not much. Nothing really identifying or tangible which I could cling to was found in that cold white single letter.

In college I struggled with my faith and what having a Heavenly Father really went and felt like. I still was clenching some sort of hope of someone who I'd never met or seen but made up 50% of my genetic material. My mother would be the one to give her blessing to Matt to ask for my hand in marriage. It would be my uncle to walk me down the aisle.

It came down to the point where I had to lay this hunger to know who my biological father down at the cross. If I didn't pick up the notation of any chance of finding out....I wouldn't have to fight to let it go.

Our wonderful kids came later....

And I was giddy of the fact of knowing these close family members were the newest and most directly related to me and my past.

Where does this come from?

Matt doesn't have these features....

Who do they take after on my side that I can't even compare to?

There would be a silent cry inside when members from Matt's family would comment on physical features and the family lines they most resembled. You know....the usual things proud family members do when a baby is born.

I'd have to fight the defensiveness in me to defend my unknown genetic material. "Well how do you not know it came from my fathers side!?" 

But due to legal restrictions....I was at a dead end of knowing anything more.

TO BE CONTINUED....

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Season of Goodbye


                                Mrs. Doreen- Speech                                    Mrs. Meada- Physical

For such a short amount of time for Eliza to experience, despite it feeling like yesterday and still knowing a whole five years have passed...she hasn't had to really say goodbye to much of anyone.

Until this season of life.

For the last 3 years, we've had a few special individuals come twice a week to do physical and speech therapy in our home. Now we are at the point where the fall will bring her therapy time while in school. The end of this school year means the end of our home visits.

....and it makes me a bit sad to not have these kind women to make small talk and briefly share the coming and goings of our families. We've had them from 1 to 2+ years. These women have gone above and beyond their duties while also accepting younger siblings and childcare kids present during therapies. Not to mention giving me a few moments to go to the bathroom alone for a moment while all are entertained!

Then to top it off, our year of Pre-K is over.

Miss Martin
This little school with its safe hallways lined with little shared lockers for 4 year olds and how every grade is the same level will no longer greet Eliza during the week. I struggle to recount her first day sitting at one of the large main tables as Miss Martin greeted them and went over important information. Eliza has struggled with the concept of when she'll go back to school again as a kindergartener, but not have her same teacher. Everything has the same concept of being "last year".

Yes yes.....I know I will have two more kids walk that main hallway...but the world is going to get a bit bigger for my first born come September. New office staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and new people like librarians and music teachers will be part of the new normal.

The silver lining though....

We hope to have our wishes granted to have Nolan get the same speech therapist in mid July as there is a severe delay in his articulation. And after further testing, it has shown him to have some hearing loss. In the same month, Nolan will undergo anesthesia in order to have a specific hearing test to rule out any structural defects. While they have him out, they will also check to see if there is continued fluid behind the eardrums. If so, they will put in tubes.

I think I am the most concerned about having to maintain the specific restrictions and precautions which follow having tubes. Nolan is clueless to what awaits him this summer. Will it be another fight or will he calmly surprise us and easily accept this new change?

Time will tell...but I'm not holding my breath!

Friday, June 24, 2016

One Year Down

Starting birth weight: 8 lbs. 13 oz                                                        One year weight: 22 lbs. 15 oz



With the third child, there are some shreds of truth about how much less attention they get compared to earlier siblings. We went very simple this year and decided to to a smash cake, outside the local custard ice cream stand and let Alden have at it. No real special theme or elaborate Pintrest worthy conjurments...only the classic cake and a birthday shirt his big brother wore over 2 years ago. 



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Geddes are a Swinging

At last the summer has just about reached us....at least warmer temperatures to enable some enjoyment outside.

With the new house, I made it a point to find one that gave us a large enough backyard. Nothing crazy big, but something bigger than a postage stamp. As we started spending time out there with my kids and a few others who join us a few days a week, it was becoming quickly apparent that we needed a few more things to do.



Phase one was building a simple basic sandbox. Its 5'x5' and required 400 lbs of sand. Yes you read that right. Try pushing it on a dolly through Lowes ;) The bottom has landscape fabric tacked on, so it never floods and keeps things where they are suppose to stay...as long as the kids will keep it all inside....sigh. Do far, any area cats have not discovered it, or do not care to, so we used the cover tarp as a nice shade canopy.

Phase two involved a little more time and muscle to construct. We were missing our ghetto swings at the old house. The old belt swings were kept, for just this possibility of building our own. After looking on Craigslist and other retail options, it was becoming clear it would be best to just build our own. Many folks who were selling theirs, did not construct them to be taken down and put back up. And for the price of it used, it was about the same in materials.

We ended up going with this option on Amazon. It enabled us to not have to figure out cutting any angles or wondering how we could get it cut. The 4x4 beams just slide in along with a 4x6 header. I wanted something which could last longer than most of the cedar products....and also to grow with the kids are they became bigger and taller. (The yard past the swings doesn't belong to us, but there is no fence and the house is bank owned for now)







Each new project has been presented with a learning curve....and tool components we lack..grrrr. And I'll never understand why there are no couples counseling resources to be found in the home improvement aisles, but its done and the kids love it!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Eliza the 5th


Here we go! Number Five is in the books for Eliza Ruth. And how awesome to have a house big enough to host a party. An even bigger bonus was to have weather which cooperated for outside play.

The cake was a layered brownie, using a mini loaf pan. This enabled me to stack and play around with them to make her requested letter E cake.



Lots of friends attended, with close to around 18 kids total (4-5 being babies)


Needless to say....both Matt and I were exhausted after everything. We kept everything pretty simple with the food provided (cucumber & PBJ with chips and juice boxes), and self entertainment. Yet, with just hosting a party, there is still a fair amount of cleaning and prep to be done. I think until she hits 10, we'll keep things to being a little more low key and do parties for the milestone years.

Kindergarten....here we come!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

11 Months


Gah!!!!!!

I hate this month for the sole reason my babies look so much less baby and more so beginning toddler.

Teeth keep spurting up through those gums while my daughter keeps loosing em. His count is now 7 toofers.
Most of his clothes are in the 12 to 18 month range, with a few 2T pajamas he can get away with. 

Steps have been taken...4 at the most in one time. Alden loves to pull himself up on furniture and then let go and stand and gaze around like its no big deal. If I've gone upstairs, he is very quick to follow me and has made it to the 3rd step before I rush to remind him of the boundaries.

I think we've entered into some of the separation anxiety stage. For staying at the grands house, this was the first time he's taken a long time to warm up to his surroundings and to the warm open arms of grandma. He'll cry rarely in my arms....and claw his way to me if in daddy's embrace and I come within inches of him.

My yearning for his independance to increase accompanies damage to my heart. Of course I want him to grow and develop into the next phase, but I can't help but long for more of the baby wearing and cuddling stage. Yes....I want my cake and eat it too. Freedom for myself AND baby smells with long gazes at each other.

If only I had friends close by to get a baby baby fix and promptly hand them back. No nieces or nephews to dote over either.....being an only child sucks at this stage of life.

I know I keep promising a post about the house....but I RARELY get very long stents of time down in the basement where the office is kept to get images edited and posts typed down. I find I do most of my casual online involvement on the phone....which is not blog or photo editing friendly.

So hope springs eternal


p.s.
I have been seriously considering scrapping a 1st birthday party and doing our own family cake smash. I feel like ain't nobody have time for that party prep....or anything else fun.
When did I become soooo boring?