Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some thoughts

Last week we went out to dinner with our friend, Leslie, who was visiting from California. Her baby Sarah was born 2 days after Ezra but she is about twice his size! Look at the comparison! (Thanks for the cute pics, Leslie). It got me wondering...will Ez always be "the short guy"? Will he develop "Little Man's Syndrome" and feel the need to overcompensate or pick fights to prove himself? I hope that I can raise my children to be self-confident individuals who value themselves and know that their true worth doesn't lie in their outside appearance but in how they treat others, how they treat themselves, and how they understand their divine nature and their relationship to God, their Heavenly Father. I am very conscience about how I represent myself in front of Bella. I try not to talk about "dieting" in front of her but about eating and exercising to be "healthy and strong". I know that I am constantly telling Bella how cute and pretty she is and she whole-heartedly agrees. I love that about a 3 year old. She KNOWS she is beautiful. I also try to compliment her other great attributes so that not all of the emphasis is on her looks. I tell her how smart and sweet she is and I try to point out how helpful and thoughtful she is. We live in a world that is so consumed by looks and the facade of perfection. I hope I can age gracefully and accept my wrinkles, my sags, and my imperfections as outward evidence of my life's wisdom and experience. I will continue to strive to be "healthy and strong" and heck, how about a flatter bum while I'm at it? But, I vow not to obsess about it and to be a good example to my children on loving ourselves for who we are while trying to be the best me at the same time.

I love Elder Hollands thoughts on the subject in a talk entitled "To the Young Women". If you haven't read it in it's entirety, I encourage you to do so. Here is a great exerpt:

In this same vein may I address an even more sensitive subject. I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” 8 And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” 9 Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good. I mention adult women because, sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for these young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won’t be very surprised when your daughter or the Mia Maid in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be—that’s good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size.

Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard. As one Hollywood actress is reported to have said recently: “We’ve become obsessed with beauty and the fountain of youth. … I’m really saddened by the way women mutilate [themselves] in search of that. I see women [including young women] … pulling this up and tucking that back. It’s like a slippery slope. [You can’t get off of it.] … It’s really insane … what society is doing to women.”

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cutest Kids Ever...

Call me biased if you will, but I'm pretty sure I have the cutest kids on the planet... These are Bella's 3 year old pictures taken back in October by Mouritsen photography.

Tonight I took the kids to Old Navy to do a little winter clearance shopping. Bella got a few things and this was her bedtime prayer: "Heavenly Father, thank thee for this day. Thank thee for my new shirt. Thank thee for my new pants. Thank thee for my new sweater. Name of Jesus Christ, Amen". Well, at least she is grateful! Bella loves clothes. She changes her outfit a dozen times a day. You should see the laundry I do! Ez pukes all over his clothes so I've got double the load with him and Bella changes her clothes so often that she fills up her laundry basket and I'm not sure what is really dirty and what isn't so it all gets washed. Is 3 years old too young to teach her how to do her own laundry??? :)
Our smiley guy...

We took Ez in for his upper GI testing on Monday. He had to drink 6 ounces of chalky, no calorie, strawberry flavored barrium. Blaine and I were amazed at how he was guzzling it. No problems there! Then they took live x-rays every 15 minutes over the course of 5 hours to track the progress of the dye through out his intestines and into the colon. We got the results back today and we learned absolutely nothing new. He has acid reflux and malrotation of the intestines. But, since he has been throwing up less this past week, and since the x-rays didn't reveal anything new, we are not going to do the more intrusive tests at this time. Yippee!!! We feel like he is progressing, albeit slowly, and we are optimistic that he will continue to get better as the months pass. Oh, and that barrium stuff...if only he knew how that strawberry flavored chalk would back him up for the next few days...I don't think he would have been as eager to drink it. Boy, has he (and therefore us) had a rough few days.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mind Your Own Business

So, I was talking to a friend who shall remain nameless. She had just taken her 6 year old daughter to the post office with her. Her daughter was home sick from school and so she looked a little disheveled. Anyway, she was minding her own business in line while her daughter was playing with something quietly. When out of no where, an old lady comments, "That's a beautiful child you have. Really beautiful. Is she autistic?" WHAT??? My friend could not believe someone was asking her that. "No" she responded. The lady persisted. "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm sure". "Well, maybe it is hidden deep down", the lady says. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? The nerve of some people! I know this little girl very well and she is so far from being autistic. I just could not believe some old lady would play therapist in the post office line after seeing a little girl for about 30 seconds. UNREAL! So, it got me thinking...why do people think they have the right to say things like this to perfect strangers? Do they not realize how totally hurtful and offensive their words might be? Do they just not care? My friend wanted to get out of that post office line as quickly as possible. I wanted to cry for her when she told me.
Have you had random strangers say something totally inappropriate to you? How would you respond to a situation like this?
This got my blood boiling a bit so I thought I'd blog about it...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An article I wrote

So, this article may bore some of you. I wrote it for the FSA (Families Supporting Adoption) Colorado Chapter newsletter. I don't know if anyone who reads my blog has experienced a failed adoptive placement or knows someone who has but this is just a simple article on our experience from this summer. I know many of you were there for us as we went through this and we thank you for that!

Coping with a Failed Adoptive Placement
Tirsa Allen

“She has decided to keep the baby,” the social worker told us. With those seven words, our hearts were broken and our arms, that had just held a beautiful baby girl the day before in the hospital, were now, once again, empty. We weren’t surprised by those words. We knew from the moment that the baby was born without the special needs the doctors and her birthmom had anticipated, that her birthmom might change her mind. But, here we were, in another state, having already held that beautiful child that we had planned on being ours. And now we were told to go back home with empty arms and broken hearts.

Most of us have come to adoption having already experienced much grief and loss while trying to build our families. After so much pain, it felt like a cruel trick by God to be chosen to adopt a child, only to have our hopes and plans shattered again due to a failed placement. Working through the grief of a failed placement is similar to working through the grief and loss of infertility. Much of the same feelings of anger, sadness, and denial at not being able to control your own destiny of how and when you build your family start to resurface with a failed adoptive placement. offers these helpful tips on how to cope with a failed adoptive placement:
1) Allow your friends to help you
2) Let your spouse grieve in his or her own way
3) Seek closure and
4) Make peace with God.

Allowing our friends to help

Of course, all of our friends and family knew we were rushing off to another state for the birth of our child. We had so many people cheering us on and supporting our decision to adopt this child, who had the possibility of having special needs. When the placement failed, we allowed our friends to grieve with us. We emailed all of our friends who had anxiously been awaiting the birth and placement announcement to tell them that the adoption would not be going through and we found many supportive people waiting to comfort us when we arrived home. We notified certain people such as work and other responsibilities that we would be taking a few days to ourselves to regroup when we got home and we were appreciative of the supportive emails, phone calls, and visits we received. Friends and family even brought us meals for a few days, which we realized helped them to not only support us in our loss but to also take part in our healing. I will always remember the kindness we received from so many people during that very difficult time.

Grieving in our own ways

My husband decided he was done with adoption for awhile. We had had a rollercoaster ride of a year leading up to this failed placement and he just wasn’t interested in opening his heart to more pain. He became silent and withdrawn on the subject of adoption for a few days. He wanted to move on and not dwell on the experience. I, on the other hand, wanted to talk endlessly about it and I wanted to think and plan and dream about where our future children would come from. We definitely were not on the same page with how we were dealing with our grief but after working at it, and trying not to “force” the other to grieve in our own way, we sought understanding on how the other was dealing with the grief. It was then that we were able to support one another’s grief in a way that was comfortable for each of us. I tried not to say every thought about adoption that popped into my head, only the thoughts that I really wanted to talk about. And, he expressed more to me about what he was feeling, while still maintaining a healthy emotional distance on the subject. Grief is so personal and each person will express it in his or her own, individual way. Respect that your spouse isn’t you, and therefore, may work through his or her own grief differently. Allow your marriage to be strengthened by inviting your spouse to understand your way of coping with the loss and seek to do the same for him or her.

Seek Closure
Everyone will seek closure in their own way. Journaling was a great way for me to continue to think about and express my thoughts and emotions as I sorted the experience out in my head and heart. Journaling allowed me to review and analyze the events from every angle and then to let it go. I also recently emailed the birthmother’s aunt to find out how the baby and birthmom are doing. Although I now feel completely resolved and good about the whole experience, I am still curious and I will always remember that little girl. After all, for a few moments, she was ours.

Make Peace with God

This was the most important step for me. Knowing that this child was likely to have some special needs, we sought an answer from God before moving forward with the adoption. Once we felt the confirmation to seek after this adoption, we knew it was right and we felt happy and excited for her birth and life. After the placement failed, we felt confused and angry at God for allowing us to go through this. We didn’t understand why he would give us an answer that would be completely contradicted by the experience of our failed placement. But, we quickly remembered that God’s ways are not our ways and that his plan is perfect. We learned so much from that heart wrenching experience and can testify, that “these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7). Some of the things that we learned from this experience are too personal and spiritual to share here. But, I know that I am a stronger person, having gone through it, and I am actually grateful for what I’ve learned. Furthermore, in our case, we were chosen for our son just one month after the birth and loss of that baby girl. We now know that we would not have been available to accept placement of our son had the other adoption worked out. This is something that we never could have foreseen and we know that, when it comes to eternal families, God makes no mistakes.

It is my hope that you will not have to go through a failed adoptive placement. But, if you do, know that there is a reason for all things. I encourage you to seek to understand God’s purpose for your family’s experience and to have an open heart to hear his divine answer and to receive his consuming comfort.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Thanks to everyone who is checking in with my weight loss progress. Believe me, it is motivating to know that I've put it out there for all to see me either fail or succeed...I'm going with the latter! 4 pounds in 2 weeks isn't amazing progress but we are moving in the right direction. Usually when I lose weight (yes, I've done this a million and one times) I lose quicker in the beginning. But, the difference this time is that I am usually doing some really hard, strict diet that as soon as I go off, I put the pounds back on. So, this time my game plan has been to exercise a lot and eat sensibly. This isn't always easy...old habits creep back in...cookies baking at a friend's house smell divine, watching Blaine munch on chocolate makes me envious, etc. So, I've allowed myself to enjoy these things at a minimum and try to not make myself feel totally deprived. So far it is working, albeit at a much slower pace than I'd like. But, I am moving in the right direction and I am going to reassess my dieting plan as needed. I have really been good at working out. Of course, Blaine has been out of school this month and so he's been around a lot more to relieve me of my motherly duties so I can sneak away to the gym. We'll see what happens in a week when he is back in school! I have to say that I have felt really great exercising and eating better. It just feels GOOD!

Our update on Ez is that we saw a pediatric GI yesterday. We weighed him and he was still 7 pounds 12 ounces after almost a week. Babies are supposed to gain an ounce a day and the really bad thing is that Ez had been doing so great the past few days that we for sure thought he would have gained at least a few ounces. No such luck! Anyway, so the specialist has ordered some tests. On Monday, Ez will go to the hospital and drink a bottle with barrium dye in it. Then they'll take x-rays of his stomach to see if there is anything notable. I'm not too worried about that procedure. (Although, with a baby who vomits...I wonder how successful we will be with this barrium thing!) On another day, the doc wants to do a scope with a camera and get into his stomach to get a better picture. I am REALLY worried about that one. That means intubation, anesthesia, and possibly an overnight stay in the hospital. I really don't want to put him through this. He is too small for this stuff. I know that he's had within the first hours of life and weeks of tubes down his throat. But, I just don't want to go back to that...not even for a day. So, that is our update. Ez needs to gain precious ounces and I need to lose pesky pounds!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

All Smiles!

Oh, there aren't even words to express how happy we are when we see him smiling like this. After all of the stress and worry over him, it is great to be rewarded with some of his charming smiles!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Me and the Kiddos

We took Ez for a weight check today. He is 7 pounds and 12 ounces now at three months old. His weight has slipped on the growth chart. He was already 5 boxes under where he should be but at this check he was nearly 6 boxes under. So, instead of getting better, he is lagging behind. This is not a surprise to us since he throws up the whole feeding at least 1-2 times a day and all of the other feedings he doesn't throw up at once but he slowly leaks it out over the next few hours. It is very frustrating and discouraging to feed, feed, feed and see your baby not able to hold it in. The good news is that his head and height were growing well so it is just his little body. We were referred to a pediatric GI that we will take him to within a week or so. We are already fortifying his formula with extra calories and we will now also add rice cereal to his formula. So, we've been a little stressed and worried about him lately but we are hopeful that he will continue to grow and get stronger. He is a tough little guy and such a joy to our family.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bella, a Sunbeam

Bella became a Sunbeam today. She was SO EXCITED and not scared at all to go to class. Here she is in her princess "I am a Child of God" crown.

We have church at 9:00 am now. I set out Bella's church clothes last night and she got up and got herself dressed and ready for church. All of the sudden, it's like she grew up over night. She has become so much more independent. I wonder if she would have found her new independence naturally, just by becoming 3 or if bringing Ez home kind of pushed her to find it quicker? At any rate, it is great, although I find myself choking up just a little as I realize what big girl she is.

Here is Ez showing off how he can lift up his head. He is so smiley lately. It is so sweet.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Beautiful Video on Gastroschisis

This is a beautiful video that a girl from my gastroschisis yahoo group put together. She is trying to get a grant funded for research into the causes, prevention and treatment of gastroschisis. Ez is now a youtube super star!

If you feel so inclined, go to :
to donate. I guess we are in competition for this grant and the more donations we have, the better chance we'll have at getting the grant.

I know from our personal experience with Ez, that the information regarding the causes of gastroschisis is limited and the treatment of it is varied. He continues to throw up daily and we continue to worry if he is keeping enough down to grow healthy and strong. He also has developed an umbilical hernia which he will need to have surgically corrected in a year or two. It is a tough way to start out life, but these "gastro" babies are fighters!

This second video is very short and explains more about gastroschisis, the statistics, and the grant.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking GREAT in 2008...

Yep, you guessed it...I, like millions of other people, have made the New Year's resolution to lose weight and become more fit and healthy in 2008. (You know how I've got to lose that baby fat from Ez...IF ONLY I HAD THAT EXCUSE!) So, anyway, I am still forming my game plan on how it is to be done. I've started working out regularly again and will be trying the standard portion control and reduction of junk. I will be faithful at watching my favorite, motivating t.v. show, The Biggest Loser, and if I can ever get on their new website (it is down due to high traffic) I'm going to do whatever it is they are doing involving America losing millions of pounds together. "America, next time you see me...I'll be 26 pounds lighter and sporting a bikini in Mexico"... (O.K...maybe the bikini bit is taking it a wee tad too far but I will be 26 pounds lighter by the end of July). So, I'm rallying the troops (that would be you, my blog reader friend). What has worked for you? How do you stay motivated? Anyone else working on this, too?