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A Homeless Tale

Across the street from our hotel in San Diego, we started noticing a bunch of homeless people gathering. And then we saw the prettiest white husky. We notice dogs because, hello, we’re dog people. We wondered what their story was the first day. The second day when we left, we walked across the street and struck up a conversation with them.

*I’m not perfect. I’ll be the first to tell you that if my husband hadn’t been with me I probably would have avoided them.*

That morning there happened to be two of them with the dog. We started telling them how pretty the dog was and they told us his story. His owner has PTSD and was arrested, the dog was his service dog. Instead of having the dog sent to the shelter, this group of homeless had banned together and taken the dog in. They each took turns with the dog and that was why we had seen him with so many different people. As we turned to leave, one of the guys simply asked us if we had any leftovers to bring them by.

I had tears by the time we made it to the car. These people who were homeless and probably could barely take care of themselves had banned together to take care of this dog so he wouldn’t go to the shelter and could hopefully one day be reunited with his owner. And all they had asked us for was leftovers. Not food, water, dog food or money. Just leftovers. I looked over at my husband and he was already on the same page I was. We couldn’t just bring leftovers. We went to the nearest grocery store we could find and bought canned dog food and sandwiches (of course somehow I forgot to buy them something to drink).

Here’s a picture of the dog enjoying his dog food:

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The next morning as we were packing up to head out, we realized we had so much extra water, food, plates, paper towels, so my husband bagged it all up and walked it across the street:

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I cried taking this picture and I tear up a little bit every time I look at it. My husband is a wonderful man. I learn so much from him. His heart is HUGE.

Honestly, my heart has been changed by this experience. These homeless people were so nice and so wonderful and so kind and so polite.

xoxo

nikki

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Vacation Part 1

We had actually planned this vacation before we figured out we were moving so originally we had planned more time in California and Seattle. Then we decided to take the first 4 days of our vacation and go to Alabama to house-hunt! I don’t have pics of that part, so we’ll pick up in San Diego, CA!

My husband has never been to CA before while I have been to LA and San Francisco (i had family in both places when I was a kid). Neither of us had been to San Diego so we headed there! Originally we would have spent more time there so we would have sight-saw (?) a lot more but we were exhausted from travel and house-hunting so we just spent all 3 days at the beach. (And did a little shopping of course :))

View from our hotel balcony:

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I was straight up chillin’:

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Toes in the sand!

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Walking the pier:

It was chilly the first day! The wind was really bad so it was cold and windy, hence the jacket, but the next two days were BEAUTIFUL!

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There was this surfer who LITERALLY did not surf. He just sat out in the water on his surfboard and… floated around basically. Here I am pointing him out, although you can’t see him, he’s out there:

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We walked the whole pier and on our way back, a bunch of actual surfers joined the sitting dude. He’s still sitting out there but we did catch one actually surfing!

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Sunset pictures are hard!

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But we finally got a decent one!

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This is one of my favorite pics from our trip:

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And that’s San Diego! Hopefully next time we go we won’t be so tired so we’ll feel like sight-seeing!

But honestly, just hangin’ with my hubby not worrying or thinking about work was exactly the vacation we needed. It was a perfect time to communicate about other things, be together, and just enjoy life for a couple days.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Uncategorized

Wow!

It seems like I’ve abandoned this blog. One of those reasons was a 10 day vacay with my hubby, which I will post about soon. 🙂

The main reason is because we are planning a cross country move! Yay!! We’re moving back home to Alabama! So, so, so, so excited. The last month has been exciting and stressful. Buying a house in a place where you don’t live is super crazy. 4 of our 10 day vacation was spent in Alabama house-hunting and putting an offer on a home! We are crazy, crazy excited about moving home!

Originally, we moved to Colorado because my family was here. For the last 4.5 years, we have lived next door to my grandparents and helped take care of them. In December they moved to Utah and we were left wondering what to do next. We loved living next door to them and I couldn’t imagine some strangers living in their house. We knew a move was on the horizon, we just weren’t sure where. Well, that’s where the party store comes into play. I always knew I wanted to open a second location and being in Boulder, we realized that college students were a HUGE part of our clientele. We began doing our research on college towns to find one that didn’t have a party store. To our surprise, Tuscaloosa does not have a party store and so that began our moving process. We will be opening the FIRST party store in Tuscaloosa!

And honestly, I couldn’t be more happy about moving back. (We used to live in Opelika). I was raised in Colorado for 7 years and when we moved to Florida I never thought I’d come back. I didn’t come to Colorado because I missed it, I came because my family was here. My end game was never to stay in Colorado. I HATE the weather here. I HATE the cold and the wind. I cannot wait to go home.

The new start in a new home, new city is appealing too. There are a lot of memories here. Most of them have to do with the boys. It will be nice to start over. The other day I was packing up what used to be their old room but since then has just been storage and I found myself just sitting on the floor in tears. There were a LOT of bad memories but there were also so many good ones. That was a life I thought we’d still be living. I thought that would still be their room. I am so, so thankful for a fresh start. A place with no memories. A place where we didn’t teach them to ride their bikes, or play basketball or play with bubbles or dance on the Playstation or build train sets or play volleyball at night or read stories.

My mental health is not doing so well right now. I’ll be the first person to say it. Yes, there are days when I am happy and doing very well. And then there are days where I don’t want to get out of bed. And then there are days when I don’t understand why the boys weren’t meant for us. And then there are the days when I remember why I needed the boys to leave. It’s such a tricky situation because I loved them so much it almost pushed me to suicide. I loved them well past the point that it was safe for me. Mentally, I should have disrupted that adoption about a month before we did. I was just in a really, really awful place mentally. But because I loved them I kept pushing forward, I kept trying, I kept loving them and it nearly killed me. Honestly. This is truth. The night I left, I was one steer from driving into a ditch and killing myself. My thought was to leave and not come back.

Ten years ago I flushed my anti-depressants because I didn’t want to be dependent on them. I am incredibly proud of my journey. And in just three short months, Duane had me almost back on meds. If they had stayed and I hadn’t died, I would 100% be on anti-depressants. Love is not enough to make any relationship work let alone an adoption. We were told to just keep loving them and it almost killed me. So yeah, a new start is incredibly appealing to me. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long journey to go to get back to the me that I was mentally before the adoption. And a new house, new city is a good place to start.

(i’ll try to be back soon with loads of pics from our vacation!)

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption, Uncategorized

Really Trying

I am really trying to move this blog on from our adoption disruption. However, this morning this popped up on Facebook and I couldn’t help but write a little note and share it:

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So of course, I felt like I also needed to share it on my blog. While I do want to move on with my blog and blog more about daily life and other stuff, our Adoption Disruption is always going to be a part of me and I want anyone else also going through it to know they are not alone. They should not be ashamed or feel like a failure. This month marks a year since the boys came out to visit us. It was the roughest and best week. In no way did I ever think that in a year they wouldn’t be here. I expected that this March they would be here, we would be celebrating St. Patricks Day together, having fun on Spring Break, and most importantly, we would officially, legally be a family.

They say time heals but it’s been 5 years since our first, big, expensive failed fertility treatment and I still think about it. Definitely not as sadly as those first years but yet I still do think about it. So I imagine I will always think about the boys. Hopefully not as sad but I will always remember them. That’s life.

I’m starting to accept life without children. I’m starting to realize that this is my life. This is how it’s going to be unless a miracle happens. I’m not going through anymore fertility treatments. I’m not going through another adoption. So this is life. And it is so, so good. I love this life that I have. This life that I’ve been blessed with. I don’t want to change it anymore. I don’t want to try to force things that aren’t meant to be. I just want to live this beautiful, crazy, insane, wonderful life.

xoxo

nikki

 

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Email

Today this email popped up on my phone:

Just a simple friendly reminder of D’s birthday.

But it hurt me to my core. Added to the fact that,yes, D’s birthday did pop up as a reminder from my calendar because it got overlooked when we were deleting things.

It hurts, you guys. It just hurts. I’m not okay and I’m wondering will I ever be ok? I know we made the right decision. D didn’t want to stay here and when an 8 year old asks you for a plane ticket to move home and talks about moving home every. single. day. you finally give him what he wants. I pray that he and Q are happy. That’s all I want for them.

It’s all I want for me too. I just want to be happy and over this and it just keeps hurting me. We were so excited last year. We wanted this. We wanted them. We wanted kids.

I just can’t believe it sometimes. That this year is so much different from last year. We have no contact with them. We don’t know how or what they are doing. We don’t facetime with them. They don’t ask to see their room or the dogs or tell us they love us. We don’t get to tell them we love them or buy books for them or play video games with them. We listened to what D wanted and somehow I feel like the caseworkers are punishing us. Just because we listened and followed through on what he wanted, we don’t get to have any contact? Or even just know that they are doing well? (its not fair!!!!)

I could go on and on about the things that are different but I won’t. Because it all boils down to one thing: last year we were preparing to have two boys and this year we don’t have them.

I hate that it went wrong. I hate that we were lied to by caseworkers. I hate that they moved D here when they shouldn’t have, it wasn’t what he wanted!!! I hate that kids in the foster system have no choices. Mostly I just hate that they aren’t here.

I’m not ok and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m really, really struggling. I want to crawl in my bed and never come out.

I don’t know what to do. But I know I’ll just keep keeping on. I’ll keep believing in God. I’ll keep having faith in His plan. I’ll trust in Him.

xoxo

nikki

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Off My Chest

I just really need to get this off my chest.

My parents divorced when I was ten. Since then I have had an up & down relationship with my father. I had just about given up on him when I got married. My husband gently pushed me to try again and I did. For the past 7 years, our relationship has been fairly good. Up until this year.

I’m very hurt and I was trying to wait to write this until the hurt had passed some but I feel like I’ll feel better if I just let it out.

The boys came to us in May. My mother and step-dad came out two weeks later to visit. In the three months we had the boys, they visited us 4 times. They live 8 hours away. We also tried to FaceTime once a week or every other week. They wanted to be involved.

My biological father sent us one package of books and that was it. He lives about 10 hours away. He never reached out to FaceTime with the boys, never called, didn’t come visit. He didn’t even bother to call me to see how I was doing.

On both Fathers Day and his birthday (which are about a month apart), I called and texted him. I got no reply back. He did not bother to call or text my husband to wish him a happy Fathers Day. He finally texted on the 4th of July and I asked him did he receive my calls and texts. He responded “Yes.”

My birthday is August 1st. By that time, I was having a really hard time dealing with D and so I was already on edge emotionally. My biological father did not call or text me that morning. One of my brothers was there with me and told me that our father had called him the day before. When my other brother called to wish me happy birthday I asked him had he heard from our dad and he said our dad had called him the day before. I had received no calls or any other kind of communication from him. I finally received a text message from him at 10 o’clock that night. It just said “Happy Birthday”.

He finally reached out by text in Sept. asking if there was a good time to chat. (My husband and I both feel that he only reached out because I had blocked him from all my social media). He called the next Sunday (this was a week AFTER the boys had left) and I told him the boys were gone and went into that story. I told him that I was upset at him for not calling on my birthday and he said he was at a conference and forgot although that was no excuse. I told him that no, that’s  not an excuse and I’m hurt. He apologized and said he would call and check on me in the next few weeks.

I heard nothing from him until I saw him at my brother’s wedding in November. No phone calls, no texts, no emails, nothing. Even at the wedding, he didn’t ask how I was doing. (Sidenote: a relative who I have not spoken to in over 10 years but we are friends on Facebook pulled me aside to tell me how sorry he was that it didn’t work out with the boys and that my husband and I did an amazing thing and he checked to make sure I was ok. That really put into perspective the fact that my biological father did not check on me).

Now we’re at Christmastime. I knew our father was  going to want to come out because my brother and sister-in-law were coming out. One week before Christmas he texted wanting Christmas plans. I told him to work it out with them because I didn’t care (in nicer words than that). He ended up coming to my house and picking up my brother and sister-in-law and spending the day with them. They came back later that evening to open Christmas gifts.

This is where it gets interesting. Originally, I did not want to get my biological father anything for Christmas. I am angry and upset and didn’t feel that he deserved anything. My husband helped me pick out some ties and even a tie holder for when he travels. I actually did put thought into the gift because I know he wears ties for his job and he also travels.

Here’s what he gave me:

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Yes, it is a CHILDREN’S BOOK. For the children that I DO NOT HAVE. When I opened it, it took everything inside me not to throw the book down and run out of the room. It is the MOST HURTFUL gift I’ve ever been given. There was no thought put into it. He didn’t even think about the fact that it just reminded me that I had no children and that I failed at having children.

Meanwhile, while I was opening the most hurtful gift ever, my brothers and sister-in-law were opening gift after gift of things that they would actually enjoy, things they were interested in. I had one gift. They each had four or five.

Honestly, up until the moment I opened that gift I had hope. Stupid, stupid hope. Hope that my biological father would step up and apologize and try to fix our relationship. Hope that he would make up for forgetting my birthday.  Hope that he would apologize for not calling me or checking up on me.

Honestly, I hate that I put myself back in this situation. I feel like I’m ten years old again, staring out that window, telling myself “he’ll come back, he loves us, he doesn’t want us to go, he’ll fight for us, he’ll come back”. For years after the divorce, I cried after talking on the phone to him. I used to say to my mom “why doesn’t he say i miss you? why doesn’t he say i love you? why doesn’t he come visit?” I couldn’t understand why my own father didn’t want me.

And here I sit feeling rejected again. The only difference is now I’m 29. 19 years later and I still don’t understand why my biological father doesn’t want me. And it’s even harder now because I know he keeps in touch with my brothers. It’s just me he doesn’t want. He even reached out to his ex-step-daughter after he divorced her mom. He wanted a relationship with her but he doesn’t want one with me.

At this point, I just have to accept the truth. He’s hurt me bad twice and I won’t let it happen a third time. I’m not willing to.

I guess I feel a little better putting this out there. It’s not weighing so heavy on my chest. I’m sure I’ll blog about it some more at some point but at least the story is out there.

thanks for reading

xoxo

nikki

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Christmas Break 2017

This year most of my family came out here for Christmas. We had my brother & his new wife, my other brother, my mom, step-dad, uncle & of course, me, hubs, and our two fur babies. Everyone besides my uncle stayed at our house, he lives out here so he didn’t need to stay at our house 🙂

It was awesome!! I loved having everyone around for the holidays. Of course, around day 6 I was about ready for everyone to leave but I think everyone gets that feeling at some point when they have guests. It’s great having everyone but at some point you’re just like “i need my house back!!” Luckily by the time I started feeling like that, everyone left the next day anyway! My Grandma always told me “guests start to stink after 3 days” so I made it twice as long as she usually does!!

We had so much fun, it was my brother’s wife’s first time in Colorado so we made sure she got to do everything she wanted to. It snowed three of the days she was here which was all she wanted, so I was glad the weather cooperated! The only thing she wanted to do that we didn’t do was go to the zoo and that’s only because it was too cold!

Firstly, we worked on our lists for Santa:

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And put the Christmas Tree & Train up:

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Then it snowed the DAY BEFORE they were supposed to fly in! I was hoping it would last for her but luckily it snowed like a foot the night after they got here!

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My sister-in-law & I made a cake to celebrate two of the three December Birthdays! My hubs birthday is after Christmas so we celebrated that one the day of!

(She did the fondant art)

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We went to the mall & stopped in the Tesla store, man those cars are NICE…and EXPENSIVE! (My mom & I are in the car, this isn’t a picture of some strangers in the car lol!)

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My brother & his wife built a snowman! (Don’t you just love his legs??)

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We stopped at a lookout stop:

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Looking for our party store, it’s out there somewhere:

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And after everyone left…

We watched tv:

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And slept:

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Hope your holidays were merry! Mine were better than I thought they would be and for that I am grateful!

xoxo

nikki