I started writing this post on Thursday to be a “friday five” theme….now I guess it can be the Sunday Seven?That’s about how the last few days have been–go, go, go!
1. Wedding Weekend
Yesterday was my first wedding of 2014, and the entire day was beautiful!! Great details, plenty of opportunities for creativity, a fun bride & groom, and perfect weather. I rented a lens I’ve been drooling over for a long time (70-200) and ohhh boy I had fun playing. I know I love my job when at the end of an entire day of working and shooting I could still keep going!! I always feel it the next day though and that’s why I titled it wedding weekend…I crashed totally dead asleep for two hours this afternoon, and my shoulders are aching from carrying my gear all day yesterday…but the ‘side effects’ are worth it! Spring is finally blooming and I’m really looking forward to upcoming spring photo sessions as well!!
2. Adoption Advocacy
I have the highest admiration for a leader of integrity who can mobilize a group of people around a cause and together achieve results. I would absolutely love to serve in a role like Kelly from Both Ends Burning–she is my hero and this past week has been an absolute whirlwind of activity under her leadership. I’m not sure anyone anticipated the depth of motivation and passion that has emerged from this group of adoptive parents :) She has helped waiting adoptive families with finalized DRC adoptions come together with a common message and a proactive plan, and she has not shied away from requiring hard work from each adoptive family in this past week. I am SO happy to have had some action in the waiting. I definitely felt like the action items were taking over my life, but it also felt like the highest priority! Our voices are being heard!!! The State Department has taken action and made plans for the DRC delegation to meet Congolese children that are home with their American families (there was no plan prior to this, and this was something we were specifically requesting!! You can see the notice here). Seeing families across the country who already have their children home step up and say “we’ll go, we’ll take time off of work, we’ll spend the money to travel, we’ll do this for you waiting families” has repeatedly given me goosebumps and a profound camaraderie for the adoptive community. We are very very hopeful that this will get things moving in Congo. Again, I want to firmly emphasize that all of this work has not been to bring to light another country’s faults. As Angie wrote in this post, our first priority has been to get our own elected officials involved. They are here to help with issues that are important to their constituents and this week we made it clear what is important to us! Adoptive parents have been feeling like not enough has been done by the State Department or the Embassy for our stuck children, and that is what we were unhappy about. Yes, we want our kids home. We want them to have exit letters. But we also want to respect their country and their laws. We are doing our best to go about all of this in a respectful way that shows how much we ALL care about Congolese children!!! I want to also personally thank every single one of you who has also stepped up and out of your comfort zone–posting about the situation on facebook, changing your profile pictures, signing the petition, sending letters to Congress, calling your state representatives, paying to hand deliver letters to Congress–thank you so so much.
Kelly sent this email yesterday:
CONGRATULATIONS! What you have accomplished in less than ten days is
nothing short of spectacular! Over 100,000 letters to Congress were sent
for your children. It appears as many as 200 members of Congress are
stepping forward to extend a hand to the President and Prime Minister of
DRC to seek a solution to whatever it is that stands between you and
your children. You all became the news in over 20 markets, and more
stories are coming every day. For the first time in the history of my
work in this field, members of Congress are reaching out to me to see
what they can do to help you be united with your children. We have an
opportunity to share your love and committment to your children with the
DRC government officials in less than two weeks. For the next few days,
I want you all to regroup and celebrate your success (after you upload
your one-sheets and love letters, of course). We have made real
progress, and we are just getting started! When I tell you this is
unprecedented (the energy around DRC), I mean it.
And just a reminder if you have something negative to say about international adoption, direct your energies elsewhere–I delete all hateful comments and don’t have the time to engage with irrationality.
3. Crockpot Freezer Meals
As my friend Meri and I have continued to read through our parenting books together, we have been challenging each other and holding one another accountable to making changes in our schedules, priorities, time management, and screen time. One of the stressors we both share is meal preparation. I meal plan and grocery shop, but still struggle to find the time to cook. We are both working during the hours our kids are in school, and then want to pay attention to our kids and their homework once they are home in the afternoon. By evening we’re working again and juggling evening commitments or (gasp!) relaxing! so doing meal prep after the boys are in bed is less-than-appealing. Meri came up with the genius plan of bulk cooking together 1-2x a month while our boys play. We made 10 meals together last Saturday that went into the freezer and will be cooked in the crock pot, and we’re getting together again this Saturday to make another 10. I am SO EXCITED about this. It feels so great to have fresh, healthy meals made from scratch ready for my family with the added bonus of talking to my friend about life and listening to music and watching the boys play. We didn’t use anything canned–it was all lots of chopping and mixing! I haven’t yet decided if I’ll start using these freezer meals regularly, keep them for when I’m in a pinch, or keep them for my guys when I travel to the Congo for weeks on end.
I have been running regularly and plan to step up my running plan to 3x a week in preparation for a race I’m doing in MayI can’t say I enjoy running 100% while I’m doing it (unlike biking, which I LOVE), mostly because I feel like I’m dying the entire time, but I like how I feel afterwards and so exercise continues to be an important priority for me. I think I’ve found my solution, which is running somewhere I enjoy–the woods, by water, or along the beach–versus running around my neighborhood or the high school track. This past week I hiked to one of my favorite lakes that has a pretty flat area around the lake and did a couple of loops around the lake. I ended by sitting quietly on a rock overlooking the lake for a long while and then hiking back to my car and it was exactly what this introvert needed. I’m hoping to do that again very soon!
5. When my words fail, these are the words of my heart: