Monday, December 13, 2010

Confessions of a Homesick Girl

This truly feels like a confessional today.  I am having a hard time but I haven't wanted anyone to know the extent of it.  I thought that if I just gave it a few weeks I would start feeling better and this transition would be behind me.  I've always prided myself in being adaptable and able to leave something behind with few tears.  We have been here a full month now and if anything I am more acutely aware of my lonliness and distance from loved ones.  It seems like tears are perpetually dammed behind my eyes waiting for just the right moment to flood, which happens quite frequently.  I can't seem to pull it together and just move forward with my life here yet.

There is something that I feel that God may want to teach me through this, and I even think I know what it is.  My head can get around it completely, but my heart is just not keeping pace.  One thing I know for sure is that we are really blessed.  God has always provided for us in every way.  You may immediately think financially, and that is so, but also in the closeness of our friendships and family, as well as the people that we are blessed to minister to.  There are so many things I can think of that have contributed to our sense of happiness and well being.  I find myself conflicted with the knowledge that I have way more than I deserve even while feeling sad and lonely. 

This year it looks unlikely that we will get to spend Christmas with our family in GA.  Now you see my last post and know that we just spent 2 and a half months there!  Yes, well, I wanted to go back for Christmas.  I have never been away from them at Christmas and there is something that feels broken inside of me knowing that this is a first.  I was reminded that for 3 of our siblings, being with family at Christmas is a rarity.  They live in other countries and do not get to come home most years.  I know that people all over the place, including several people that we know here in VT, will not be with extended family for Christmas.  Again, I understand how this should make me feel better, but I am realizing what a selfish heart I have. 

There is a voice deep down that I can barely hear saying this year will be different and good.  That this year we can just sit in front of our sorry little undecorated Christmas tree and listen to what Jesus would say to us.  Maybe in our solitude we will be in a better position to understand the things that make Christmas worth celebrating.  I hope that the silence of this Christmas will help me to hear what I most want to know--that I am not as alone as I think I am. 

Here is a video that is totally NOT in keeping with this post.  Jude has become really taken with dancing.  We aren't sure where he gets it since one of us can't dance and the other one of us won't dance.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Been a while, I know. What can I say, we have been relaxing in the lap of metro-Atlanta luxury with our families. They have heaped indulgence upon hand-and-foot-waiting indulgence upon us, and frankly, I'm not sure I'm ready to leave yet. I may have reverted back to my childhood ways a little and forgotten that I'm actually an adult now and needn't have mom or dad hand me my cereal bowl and orange juice every morning. But really, they have blessed us so much by giving us a place to recuperate and prepare for the next thing, which is Vermont in November.

The best thing about our 2 and a half months here is watching our families interact with Jude. It has been so sweet to see how they have literally changed from strangers to beloved in his eyes. He has grown so much in such a short time and has adapted quickly to his new house every couple of weeks. Here are some of the things that have broadened his little horizons.

On the way down from Jersey we spent a few days at a cabin in Tennessee.  Horses and fireplaces were what we were going for... check!

Jude and I spent a few days with my best friend Courtney and her family.  Here are some shots of Jude and Finn playing near each other.

Our first family visit was with Evelyn (Grandmom).  

She is such a teacher.  Here is a picture of the letters and numbers that she taped to her door for Jude to learn.  She went over them with him every day, as well as shapes, colors and his name.  

Grandmom brought Jude a Halloween card with a window sticker on it.  He loves getting cards!

Then we went to my dad's house, Mimi & Papa's.  An added bonus was having my cute Nanny in town from Texas for a couple of weeks.    

Jude played out in their courtyard a lot.  Give the kid a stick and a pot full of dirt and stand back.

Nanny watched his little baby videos with him trying to get a response out of him.  He is one tough nut to crack.

Jude did lots of new things--rode on Papa's boat, swam in the lake, and Papa taught him how to play golf with his very own little golf clubs.  Papa thinks Jude has real potential based on a fairly accurate swing with good followthrough that occurred one day in his office.  

Next we went to my mom's house, Oma and Opa's.  This is Jude with his cousin, Lyla, my brother's daughter.  Austin is in Germany about to be deployed to Afghanistan, so his wife and daughter will be joining him there shortly.  This wagon was a big hit with Jude, he begs to be wheeled around in it.  I do too, but with dramatically different results.

Another hit was the plastic bin full of sand.

And running like a madman around the yard.  Oma is tireless in her Jude-entertaining antics.

Jude and I went to Texas to visit my mom's side of the family.  Here is my Nanny, a four generation shot.  Jude loved playing out in their huge yard, stripped down to nothing and put in a bin of water.  They had a wagon as well and I think Opa gets the award for most vigorous and incessant wagon pulling. 

We didn't get any good pictures of Jude for Halloween unfortunately!  He was a chicken, wait, a duck.  Ok, we thought it was a chicken when we bought the costume only to be corrected on closer inspection of the beak.  It's not as funny being a duck.  I think Kevin had more fun than anyone taking him door to door.  For a kid who can't eat candy, he scored big time.  

As I mentioned, we will be heading up to Burlington in November. Kevin will drive our car up around the second week to hunt and kill an apartment for us. Then Jude and I will fly up the next week to move in. We have some dear friends from NJ that will drive up to help us move in. Thank you, thank you. My next post will come from the great state of Vermont!

Oh yes, one more thing to mention for those that haven't heard yet. We are happily pregnant with number two, due early May. Praise God for this great gift!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dear New Jersey

Dear New Jersey,

I have so many things to say as we get ready to leave you. We have been through so much together these last six years. It has been tough at times but I like to think that we won you over in the end. For a while we weren't sure if you liked us or not, but we killed you (murdered, really) with kindness and you didn't have much of a choice but to accept us. I remember pulling in with our U-Haul truck to the three ring circus that was our house closing. It was standing room only in that tiny room with a round table not big enough for all the lawyers, brokers, real estate agents, and us commonfolk. Jersey accents were flying, tempers were high, tears were flowing, and I'm pretty sure someone asked us to do something illegal before it was all over. Welcome to New Jersey, Pounds', you aren't in Kansas anymore.

The first month in our new old house, amid wallpaper stripping and detoxing it from years of cigarette smoke, we slept on a mattress on the floor of our room. I lay awake each night listening to the noise on the street, wondering what in the world we had done, praying for sleep and for the morning to come. Someone would shout and it sounded like they were right outside our window. What were they shouting about at 3 in the morning? This was different.

We would walk down the streets of New Brunswick and pray for the people we saw, not knowing anyone and trying to read their faces--would they accept us, would they accept Him? It was so strange, so full of strangers, but love came quickly to us. We started to see the same faces over and over, started to notice the personality of the city. We became fixtures at Starbucks on George Street, the nexus of the New Brunswick universe. We spoke to the regulars and became part of the inner circle of people who spend most of their working hours plugged in and sipping all day on a Grande mild with Hazelnut.

Good things started happening, God began building his church. Someone was saved and we baptized him in the ocean. We moved from a small apartment to a playhouse, then a hotel, then office space, a night club, a school. We asked you how we could help and you cynically pointed out many needs. Let's see if they really will... You gave us your trust in the end and I think we loved you more for making us work for it.

Thank you for teaching us so much about relationships and service and living in community. Maybe our biggest lesson from you was how to share our lives with our neighbor-what it means to love her as we love ourselves, to give freely to him of our time or money or shelter. You gave us some of the best friends we will ever have. For all of the knocks you get for being brash or quick tempered, we have found friendship in your Kind, Generous, and Loyal.

And there is one more thing that I would like to thank you for. You gave us a son when we thought we may not ever have one. Maybe Jude was like a parting gift that you wanted to give as we were making plans to leave--you wanted us to take some New Jersey up to Vermont perhaps. This kindness I will never forget. I will always be thankful for God bringing us together. And even if this was the only fruit of our lives in New Jersey, I would spend six years all over again to have him.

Oh, New Jersey. I won't miss the jug handles, our gang member neighbors, or the property taxes. I probably won't miss the latino music played loud on my street everyday, or having to move my car on Mondays between 8 and 9 and Thursdays between 9 and 10. I for sure won't miss having to bundle all of our cardboard into 24 inch squares tied with twine for the 3rd Tuesday of the month. But I will miss you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jude is 1 and Other News

And you thought my last post was about Jude's birthday. Well, his actual birthday was just this weekend even though we had the party for him last month. I kept telling people that we were not going to do anything special and that I was just going to get him his very own balloon. But then we woke up on Saturday morning and were reminiscing about what we were doing this exact day one year ago; how we went into the midwife office, found out we needed to run home, pack, grab a bite to eat and head over to the hospital; how Kevin wanted to stop at Chipotle and I thought it was a good idea until we got there, and I decided that habanero salsa and cayenne chicken didn't square with my nerves; and how we were so nervous when we got to the hospital, but even more excited about meeting our son so soon.

So, someone must have spiked our coffee with some sort of parent-love potion on Saturday morning, because somethng came over us that made us want to celebrate. What would Jude really enjoy doing as a live-for-the-moment-no-thought-of-tomorrow guy who won't have any memory of whatever it is afterwards (hedonistic little creature)? We quickly decided on the zoo and headed to Philadelphia for a day that turned out to be, as far as we could tell, the most fun day of Jude's little 1-year old life.

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" Mt 7:11

Clapping at the hippos

Big bleating Pippins

Now for the Other News. I'm sure most of you that read this blog know about how Jude came to us through in vitro fertilization (you can read about it here When we decided to go forward with IVF we felt very strongly about being responsible for whatever embryos that we created. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I will say, thank God that we have 3 additional beautiful embryos, and no MORE (or less). So in the spirit of populating the earth with Pounds', we are beginning round two. In a couple of weeks I will be starting the hormone treatments and we should know if we are pregnant by mid-August. We'll keep you posted!

Here are some other pictures of Jude from the last month:

In his birthday crown

the daily love fest with Pippin

talking to the grandparents on the calculator

Good buddy Ricky

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I always hear mothers say how quickly their children grow up. It seems like every other day, when Jude and I are out, some woman will stop me and say, "enjoy this time, they grow up so fast." Then they tell me how old their "baby" is now--eight years old, seventeen or forty-five. Well, one year has almost come to Jude so we celebrated a little early with two of our dear friends, the Benton's and the Takemoto's. Lennox is 6 weeks older than Jude, and Ricky is one month older, so we threw a joint birthday party at a nearby park. Many good friends came and the weather was just right.

Since I was young, my mom has made beautiful cakes for us for birthdays, graduations, and even weddings! My dilemma was this: I wanted to have a homemade cake for the boys' party, but I knew that it would probably end up looking like they made it themselves. So I figured that I couldn't do much wrong with cupcakes--solid colored cupcakes I can do. It's a caterpillar, by the way. I'm sorry to say that Kevin could not figure out exactly what it was (sorry Mom, I guess I just don't have it)...

The Donning of the Birthday Hats:

Happy Birthday dear Knox, Ricky, Jude...

Cutie pies...

Laura and Mari have been special friends for me, I am so thankful for them. I have needed these friendships and support like never before. They are what I will miss most when we leave this year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Across the street from our house is a city park, Baker Park, that we go to a good bit to throw the ball with Pippin or push Jude in the swing. I suppose it's the same with all city parks, but this is one of those places where you would not want to go after dark, and you certainly wear your rubber soled shoes. Other than the more than occasional used condom (um...?), you don't want to be wearing flip flops for fear of stepping on broken glass or a stray needle. Nevertheless there are kids playing there during the day and there is a nice (graffitied) playground, fields for soccer and baseball, and a basketball court that is always occupied.

So one day, about four years ago now, we were at the park throwing the ball to Pippin when we noticed a chain link gate in one corner. I figured that it could only lead to deep dark places, but of course Kevin wanted to check it out. We walked through the gate and down a little dirt path, and all of a sudden the sky cleared and a ray of sunshine fell on our path. Two Robins flew down to us tweeting a familiar song and they were each holding a small wreath of flowers that they dropped down on our heads. Green grass magically spread before us as an ancient Willow tree bowed down, plucked us off our feet, and set us in the middlle of a strange sparkling land.

Well, that's how I remember it anyway. I called it Narnia at first, and then the Secret Garden, and then decided that it was more like Terabithia (minus the rope swing and menacing creatures). It's actually a very old cemetary, full of very old gravestones and very old trees. I asked our neighbor, Bill, if he knew it was there and had ever walked there before. He looked at me like I was crazy and asked, "doesn't it smell?" He's a bit supersticious and apparently doesn't know about embalming.

Usually the only people that we meet on our walks in the cemetary are other dog walkers, whom we greet like we are in some kind of secret society. I get the feeling that they are like us and don't want too many others to find out it's there. There is an occasional Crazy in there too, like the guy who Kevin has seen twice piling up leaves and then diving into them and swimming around.

Kevin and I have had so many important talks here, and now that we are leaving NJ, every walk in the cemetary reminds us that we won't get to take it with us. It's been our end of the day ritual to take a long walk and talk about whatever is important to us at the time. Years ago we talked about maybe starting to try and have a baby. Then we talked about adoption, and then all the implications of in vitro fertilization. Then I dragged my huge pregnant self out there and we read all the names on the graves trying to discover a goodie. We imagined ourselves pushing a stroller along the pathways. Jude's first trip to Terabithia was when he was a week and a half old.

Here are some pictures that we took in our premature nostalgia.

This is the entrance to the park right accross from our house

These are just some shots of Jude tolerating us swinging him. I think he wonders why we get so excited about pushing him in this crazy contraption

Here's Kevin and Jude crossing over into Terabithia through the gate in the corner of the park

Here are some Terabithia shots. Wait, now I'm nervous that i've built it up too much. Disclaimer: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and these beholders live in urban New Jersey where trees are scarce and front lawns are littered with Goya soda bottles and Cheetos bags.

this is a picture of what is right outside one of the gates

Junk yard dog on one edge of the cemetary that would love to get his paws on Pippin

Tomb of Robert Wood Johnson (of the Johnson & Johnson family)

And my personal favorite tomb in the entire cemetary