The Write Timing

My voyage toward publication

Mommy, sit. January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!!  2016 was a year of blessings and sadness (as most every year is), but the birth of our sweet and adorable son, Nathan, topped the list of 2016 events.  Baby Nate is a perfect addition to our family and has allowed me to shake my head when I hear others talk about what a horrible year 2016 was.  Not for me – I got sweet baby Nate!

 

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As most of the rest of the world settles on a resolution or two, I have made some of my own.  Do I want to be healthier?  Sure.  Exercise more often?  Yep.  Stay more organized?  Uh huh.  All of these are lofty (though they shouldn’t be) goals, but they are not my tip top resolution for 2017.  That one came about with a little inspiration from my daughter, Olivia.  The day after Christmas, I was flitting from room to room, unpacking gift bags (and folding the tissue paper so as to save it for next year), opening new toys, and attempting to bring a semblance of order back to our house.  Olivia was playing with her new Beauty and the Beast tea cart and had brought Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the other tea cup to our front staircase.  She was seated about two steps up, tea service spread in front of her.  She looked up as I walked into the laundry room to drop off some new baby clothes I wanted to launder before Nate wore them (yep, I’m that mom), and smiled.  “Mommy, sit.”  She pointed to the step next to her.

 

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I looked at my sweet 2 year-old and responded, mid-step.  “I will in a little bit, sweetie.  I’m just trying to get some of these things put away.”  I continued into the kitchen and grabbed something off the island.

 

Then I stopped.  What am I doing?

 

My daughter didn’t ask much.  She wasn’t for the world.  Nothing extraordinary or expensive.  She just wanted mommy to sit with her and play with her new toy from Santa.

 

So what did I do?

 

I sat.  We drank pretend tea and talked about how delicious it was.  She made me banana pie and I raved about its flavor.  We toasted and giggled and cuddled.  It was the best.  And it took absolutely nothing from me but time.

 

So the gift bags stayed packed, the tissue unfolded, the new clothes unwashed for one more day.  And it was totally worth it.

 

My most important, Olivia-inspired, New Year’s resolution: be more present.  The mess will be there (try as I may to clean it up).  The Facebook updates will still be scrolling.  But the time I spend with my children and my husband won’t always be there.  So I will commit to being more present in the moment in 2017.  Cheers!

 

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Birth Day! July 11, 2016

Filed under: Blogs,Family,Parenthood,Starting Our Family,Uncategorized — michellephillips @ 4:30 pm
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This is a cheater blog post, because the actual post just appeared today on Pregnancy and Newborn’s Birth Day blog!  Please check it out and read about the day our sweet baby Nate entered the world. 🙂

 

Journey to Joy – Part 2 July 31, 2015

It had been two years.  We had tried all of the things we could – from ovulation predictors to testing and medicine.  And let

me tell you – it was stressful.  The process of “trying” becomes less and less exciting the longer you are at it.  It goes from being a fun adventure (Maybe this will be the month we get pregnant!) to a job (Looks like I’m ovulating…I’ll meet you in the bedroom.).  It became a chore: the endless counting of days, the feeling that if I was ovulating we were “on duty,” and the monthly disappointment when I got my period and we knew we had failed again.

So we stopped.  We stopped actively “trying” to conceive.  We stopped counting, I stopped peeing on ovulation predictors, and we stopped going to see the fertility specialists.  I had heard countless stories from people about how once they stopped thinking about it and relaxed, they got pregnant!  So instead of focusing on making a baby, we took trips, we made home improvements, and I started taking more graduate classes.  And it was great!  It felt so nice to take a break, but that hope was always there.  The break, the relaxation that worked for so many couples?  It didn’t work for us.

We were now almost six years into our marriage; three and a half years into unsuccessfully becoming parents.  We were ready to take a big step since the break wasn’t doing the trick.

We started the adoption process.

A colleague and close friend of mine and his wife had adopted their daughter through the Nebraska Children’s Home Society.  He had nothing but the highest praise for them.  After a great deal of conversation and prayer about it, Dave and I decided to begin the adoption process.

I have nothing but the most wonderful things to say about our experience with the Children’s Home.  We started by attending an informational meeting in Lincoln about what we could expect should we decide adoption was the right route for us.  The next step was an initial interview with a case worker.  We went to two days of training where we learned about the blessings and the challenges of adoption.  Our families were invited to attend a session about how to support couples who are pursuing adoption.  We filled out our extensive questionnaire and made decisions we never thought we would have to make (Will you accept a child of a different race?  Will you accept a child who was exposed to drugs or alcohol?  Will you accept a child with a disability?).  We went through a series of interview and a home visit.  We wrote our profile letter (the most difficult letter I’ve ever had to write) that a potential birth mother would read to help her decide if we were the right parents for her child.  Finally, in April of 2013, we entered the adoption pool.  Now, it would be a waiting game.  Which mother (if any) would select us?

Throughout this entire journey, we prayed for a child.  We continued to help our friends and family welcome their own children into their families.  We watched as Facebook friend after Facebook friend announced their pregnancies (and second pregnancies!  Third!)  I attended countless baby showers, every time experiencing such a mix of emotions – the tremendous joy of seeing my friend pregnant and glowing, ready to welcome a new baby, and the absolute sorrow that I was not able to experience it for myself.

During one particular baby shower for a friend from high school, the mom-to-be received a framed print of a beautiful quote, “This is the child we have prayed for.”  When she opened it, I could feel tears stinging the back of my eyes.  We had been praying too.  For so long.  And as we jumped into the adoption pool, my daily prayer for a child changed.

“Dear Lord, please let whatever child we are supposed to parent find us however they are meant to find us.  Amen.”

Because the fact of the matter is, while I may have given up hope of ever conceiving a child, I never gave up hope of becoming a parent.  I knew that I was meant to be a mother, and I was ready to welcome a child however that child arrived.

 

Journey to Joy – Part 1 July 16, 2015

Filed under: Dreams,Family,Goals,Starting Our Family — michellephillips @ 8:04 am
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For a while now, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about something incredibly personal and close to my heart.  What’s held me back is not being sure my words can capture these experiences.  In fact, I’m certain I can’t capture them as fully as I’d like.  However, what I know for sure is that they have to be shared.  Our journey may encourage others and give them a gift I’m sure many have left behind: hope.

My husband Dave and I met in 2003 in the most romantic of locations: the juvenile justice unit of a group home for boys age 12-18.  I know – how could we not have fallen in love against such a backdrop?  We dated for two years before getting engaged and then married in August of 2006.  We were young: 24 and 25.  We had so many goals and dreams: buying a house, traveling, finishing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and eventually – having children.

As newlyweds, we decided we would wait two years before starting our family.  Two years seemed like a decent amount of time to accomplish some of our goals and settle into married life before bringing a little one on board.  We moved into our house.  We visited Jamaica, Washington, D.C., and Italy.  Dave finished his degree and I continued taking classes toward my Master’s.

The summer of 2008 arrived – two years had passed! – and we decided we were ready to start trying.  Each month, we waited; we hoped.  Each month, we were disappointed.  The first few months weren’t bad.  We knew it often took a few months for conception to occur once couples started trying.  But as summer turned into fall and then winter, we started to get a bit discouraged.  Every month, I’d fool myself into thinking I was pregnant.  Oh – I think my sense of smell is heightened – I must be pregnant.  I’m tired today – maybe I’m pregnant!

Many of our friends were announcing their pregnancies.  We waited for the day we would announce ours.  But as the calendar turned to 2009 and then 2010, our discouraged feeling turned into concern.  Why wasn’t this working?  We thought we would have a baby in our arms by now.  Heck – we thought we’d have a toddler!  What was going on?  Something had to be wrong.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

I talked to my doctor.  She ran some blood work and didn’t find anything amiss.  She recommended going to see a specialist who could complete additional testing.  So we made an appointment at a local reproductive center ($$$).  We got tested.  The results: We can’t find anything wrong.  But we can try a hysterosalpingogram.  (For those who don’t know, a hysterosalpingogram is a procedure where dye is injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes to see if the tubes are open or blocked.  For those who do know about it, I’m sorry.  It probably means you’ve had one and they are hella painful.)  The results:  You have a beautiful uterus.  Okaaaaay, that’s nice to hear?  Weird, but nice.  And now, dear doctor, tell me why I haven’t been able to conceive a child in my beautiful uterus.

The doctors could not find anything wrong with my husband or me.  But they decided to treat me anyway.  Six years later, I still have a problem with that.  How can you treat symptoms without knowing the cause?  Because the fact of the matter of this: infertility is not a diagnosis.  It is a symptom.  It is a symptom that SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON.  But, this doctor was not of that same opinion.  So he decided I should go on Clomid.

Here’s the thing – you cant just “go on Clomid.”  Oh no.  You have to come into the office for an initial ultrasound ($$$).  Then you take your Clomid like a good girl and deal with the wonderful side effects of nausea, weight gain, etc.  Then your husband has to give you a shot to make you ovulate at the appropriate time ($$$).  Then you have to come back in for another ultrasound to see how many follicles have developed ($$$).  And it goes on and on – every time you arrive at the office, you take out your checkbook – and you are totally willing to hand over the cash if it means you’ll end up a parent.  Every time you hope and pray it’s going to work.  Something that they’re doing, something they’re trying is going to work.

But it doesn’t.

The testing, the procedures, the medication – none of it works.  There is no resolution.

There is only heartache and arms that remain empty.

Attribution at bottom of post.

Image attribution at bottom of post.

Teddy bear photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/61629383@N08/16133347587″>Flash of the Blade</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

Busy June 9, 2015

Filed under: Family — michellephillips @ 10:01 am
Tags: , ,

It’s been just under a year since my previous blog post.  It’s always difficult knowing quite what to say when I return to The Write Timing after a long absence.  I always have a myriad of excuses ready.  But it always centers around one main thing; that luxury so many of us don’t have: time.

And I thought I was busy before.

I thought looking for houses, moving into a new one, changing jobs, packing a classroom, etc. etc. etc. kept me busy.

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Now I’m a mother.

Now I know what “busy” is all about.

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It’s figuring out the exact time to set the alarm in order to maximize sleep and look presentable before the baby wakes up.

It’s microwaving a bowl of oatmeal, grabbing a spoon, and just nearly sitting down when I hear cries from upstairs.

It’s folding laundry just a hair quicker than my darling daughter can take the clothes back out of the basket.

It’s scrambling to grab the most minute items from the floor because she will inevitably find every one.

It’s lugging the vacuum cleaner upstairs only to have it sit for a week until I can “find time” to actually plug it in.

It’s washing bottles, pump parts, baby food jars, and the cutest little spoons you’ve ever seen.  Constantly.

And now she’s crawling.  And teething.  Yeesh.

But it’s also the best kind of busy.

The kind where I sit and stroke her hair, not caring at all that the table is dusty.

The kind where the minutes are spent giving flurries of kisses.

The kind where we figure out the perfect combination of song, toy, and distraction to keep her still long enough to actually change her diaper before she rolls away with a bare bottom.

The kind where every clap, wave, and bubble is celebrated.

The kind where we support each other, work together, and – even through frustration and sometimes exhaustion – are so full of wonder and awe that she’s actually ours.

The kind where every look, every hug, every giggle, every moment is so utterly full of love that sometimes I’m not sure my heart can handle it.

Yep.  I’m busy.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

If Disney Ran the World… July 23, 2013

Last week, my family and I were in beautiful Central California.  We started our trip in Santa Barbara, then traveled up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Luis Obispo (where my Grandma and Grandpa Mimick were married at the Mission in the 40s!), Monterey, Napa Valley, and ended in San Francisco.

The weather was beautiful; we traded in the heat and humidity of Omaha for the crisp high 60s to mid 70s of coastal California.  We had a marvelous time sipping wine, catching up with California friends and family, getting to know my sister’s fiancé (and his chocolate addiction) even better, and gazing out into the Pacific.

However.

As often happens when you’re in a new place (or at least when I am), there are a few things that make you stop and think.  Why, oh why, do they do that?  What would possess someone to organize something like this?  And, being the avid (AKA obsessive) Disney World fan that I am, while waiting in line for a public restroom that had 6 stalls for a very large portion of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran, I started thinking: What if Disney ran the world?

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(Cue foggy edges…)

1.) The world would be clean.  Even the restrooms.  Especially the restrooms.  Not a dirty napkin, discarded Starbucks cup, or empty pop can would be seen.  When a pizza crust or scrap of paper fell to the ground, a festively dressed man or woman would swoop in to whisk it out of the way.

2.) The world would be organized.  You would be able to grab a colorful map that could not only direct you how to get from place to place, but a times guide that would tell you when events were happening that couldn’t be missed.  When the need arose to wait in line for something, you would have fun activities to complete while you waited and themed decorations to keep you busy.

3.) The world would be colorful.  Decorated with poinsettias around Christmas, hoards of blooming colors in the spring, bright pinks and yellows in the summer, and deep reds and oranges in the fall.  And it wouldn’t only be decorated with flowers, but with buildings, street signs, and benches that are vivid.  Not a flake of paint or faded hue would exist.

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4.) The world would be welcoming.  Every face you’d see would be smiling, every attitude positive.  Hands would always wave in welcome and the childlike grins present on each face would be contagious.  Every person would belong and you would be able to sense that feeling of belonging all around you.

5.) The world would remember the importance of family.  Disney World is all about family togetherness.  A world run by Disney would see families having meals together, playing games, talking to one another, and planning what they would do next as a family.

6.) The world would be respectful.  Everyone would be treated like a prince or princess.  Each person, especially children, would know he or she is a one-of-a-kind, very important person.

7.) The world would be responsible.  And full of cast members.  We would not be only considered citizens, we would be active participants in the world!  We would be the ones responsible for keeping our world running in a Disney-esque fashion.  All of us would work together to make our world the place it should be.  No one would sit and expect to be catered to and wait on by the cast members; everyone would have a role to play and be a cast member themselves.

8.) The world would be magical.  With fireworks every night for good measure.

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Summer Time, Summer Time June 17, 2013

There are things I genuinely love about each of the four seasons.  The fall, with its back-to-school shopping and return of college football; the winter, with multiple opportunities to spend time with family and cuddle up with a good book; the spring, with its explosion of color.  But there’s just something about summer…

The Fountain of Nations at Disney World, one of my favorite summer (and year-round!) destinations, contains water from each of 22 different countries.

The Fountain of Nations at Disney World, one of my favorite summer (and year-round!) destinations, contains water from each of 22 different countries.

We all remember how exciting summer was when we were young.  As kids, we counted down the final days of the school year, waiting for that glorious day when we could walk out of the school building and be greeted with nothing but luxurious days of friends and fun ahead.  As a little girl, my summers consisted of swimming lessons at Millard North High School, frequent trips to the Omaha Public Library to update my progress on the Summer Reading Program, afternoons full of running through the sprinklers, and an annual family vacation.

And I’m pretty lucky, even now, as an adult.  As a teacher, I still get to feel that summertime anticipation.  I still get to walk out of the school building (though these days, it’s a few days after the students have already left), with the promise of the best gift ahead of me.

Time.

Time to write (and to catch back up with my blog).  *Writing goals = Journal every day, blog once each week, send out more query letters, and begin a new piece (a screenplay!).

Time to read.  *Reading goal = Read one new book each week (stay tuned for a weekly account of these books).

Time to hang out with my family.  My mom is a teacher, too, and we love to spend our summer days shopping, going out to lunch, and planning activities for our students for the next year.  I also spend time at Preco, Inc., where my husband, dad, and brother all work.  Even though all of us are working (the boys on their Preco stuff; me on my writing), it’s nice to be together.

Time to reconnect with friends.  This week alone I have two lunch dates, two coffee dates, and a dinner date with friends!

Time to rejuvenate.  Sometimes I have to force myself to relax.  I am constantly on the go and I know that, for my own sanity (and my husband’s), sometimes I need to stop and take some time to do nothing.

Time to reenergize.  I love to generate new ideas for my classroom over the summer.  I am also attending some professional development sessions later in July, as well as presenting at a conference!

Summer gives me such a gift.  The gift of time.

(Note: There are a lot more things I love about summer.  Enough, in fact, I think I’ll do a second post about them!  Stay tuned…)

 

 
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