Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where to begin? I guess I should explain the whole “SHOEPER MOM” name. Entering into my adult years, I would have never imagined all of the different roles that I have become leading lady to. It seems that as each of these roles come into play I have to put on different “gear” to meet the needs of that role. I was married at the young age of 19 (still going strong), decided to go back to school to become a teacher, meanwhile finding out that I was, what the doctors would label, infertile, and then finding myself (alongside with my husband) having to make some extremely difficult choices in regards to infertility treatments as well as working through the process of adoption.
Each of these adventures required me to be able to put on different “faces”. It was after facing infertility for about three years, and feeling utterly alone, that I decided to start a blog. I wanted to blog so that others could relate and find comfort knowing that they were not alone…but also for me…so that I could vent without having friends and family reply with comments that were not well received.
The title of my blog has evolved as you can see that we are now a family of four. I decided to go with the name “Shoeper Mom” because, like the different faces I had to put on for each of the different “worlds” I lived in, it also required me to put on different shoes. Shoes are an important part of life. Each shoe that we own has a specific purpose to get a job done…just as the shoes that I have chosen for each of my adventures:

About me…I am your classic “Type A” personality. According to wikipedia, that means that I am rigidly organized, impatient, multi-tasker pushing myself with deadlines, obsessed with time management, sensitive, cares for others, and wants other people to get to the point. YES…to all of it!!! What does that mean to me? I get things done!!!
This year, I am taking a year off from work to be home with both of my kids. If I so happen to get a spare moment to myself, one of my favorite things to do is to craft! I love to make jewelry, scrapbook, make cards, etc. I also enjoy organizing (and reorganizing) things.


I have been happily married for thirteen years. We worked at the same hospital, attempting to pay for our college tuition's. I still remember the first day that I laid eyes on him...he was gorgeous! That day, he was covering someone else's shift (because at the time we both had worked separate shifts...so our paths have never crossed until this fated day). When he saw me, I remember him coming right up to me and introducing himself. A couple of days later (since we were both back to working our separate shifts) he left a note for me asking me on a date. It was the cutest thing ever...the way he wrote the letter, you would think that he was going to have a "yes" or "no" option for me to circle on the bottom, like in the good ol' elementary school days. I ended up called him that very second and we have been together ever since.
Thirteen years later and we are closer and stronger than ever. We have had a lot of ups and downs, to say the very least...but through it all (and I use the word "through" intentionally) we continue to walk forward, hand in hand. Craig is my strength and I am so thankful for him. 

I would have never dreamed that I would be a mother to TWO children!!! My first child, Emily, was an absolute miracle and I am in awe that God has gifted me with a second. Parenting is awesome and super challenging. I am a “Baby Wise” parent, and (as they get older) a “Love and Logic” parent. Each new phase is a new adventure. As a brand new parent of TWO kids, I am learning things all over again and trying things out a little differently. My goal is to equip myself with the best tools that will allow my kids to grow into the amazing children that God has created them to be. 

After six years of marriage, things finally fell into place where Craig and I were both ready to increase our family. After a couple of months without success, I had a Dr.'s appointment where I brought up my concerns of trying to conceive. Fast forward through four years and, after multiple tests…I went through multiple cycles of using clomid, IUI’s, injections w/ IUI, and finally…one cylce of IVF w/ ICSI…none of which brought us any success.
After our failed IVF, we started researching and taking baby steps towards adoption. During that short road, Craig and I felt that we would always have a place in our heart for adoption. Around the same time, our Pastor gave a message on a letter that I had written to him regarding life...”When does life begin”. At the end of his message, he closed with talking about how precious life is and he had an alter call for women who have had abortions or were considering them...he wanted them to know that God still loved them and that He still had an amazing plan for their lives...he wanted them to come forward and receive forgiveness from God and from themselves. HUNDREDS of women came forward from each of the services. As Craig and I left that Sunday...walking to our cars, we both said to each other, “If our four years of infertility were so that letter could be written and Pastor could create a message in order that those woman could receive forgiveness...If one girl changed her mind about abortion...If one life was saved...I would go through my four years (of what felt like pure torture) of infertility again in a heartbeat.”

The very next cycle...I became pregnant with Emily. She decided to come on her own, in God’s perfect timing. To God be the glory!!!

Two years later...and let’s just say we didn’t use any measures of preventing another pregnancy. It was another two years of heart break...no success of getting pregnant. This second time around was such a different feeling compared to before. Yes, I had a daughter now and so that obviously made it different. What I struggled with this time around was with feeling guilty that I wanted another child again...feeling guilty that Emily wasn’t enough for me...WHICH I KNOW IS A LIE!!!! And so I was constantly fighting to stay strong and confident in God’s promises while at the same time being overly thankful for the most wonderful gift that God had trusted me with…Emily
Once again, as we moved forward with adoption…I found myself pregnant with our second child. Emily and Andrew are now exactly three years apart (minus only two days).

As I continue in this new journey of trying to become an adoptive parent, a friend had the great idea of adding a new tab to my blog: My Life As An Adoptive Parent. I am just in the beginning stages of the adoption process...NONETHELESS, I am finding myself in a constant battle, thus the picture of the combat boots.
We decided to follow this new road because, before Emily was a part of our lives, we were looking into adoption and actually took the PRIDE training required by the state. This class did something to us...it created this desire in our hearts for adoption. At the end of the PRIDE training, I found out that I was pregnant with Emily. Two years later...and WE WANT MORE!!!! Then…enter in Andrew.
Now, just because we now have two biological kids…both Craig and I still feel strongly that these long journeys had a purpose…many purposes actually.
I wonder if this was all a part of God's plan...allowing us to struggle with infertility which would lead us into looking into adoption...creating this desire that could only be filled by adopting. If it were easy for us to have kids, then maybe, unfortunately, we wouldn't even consider the option of adoption. Maybe...I'm sure of it...God already knows of a child that needs parents like Craig and I.

I have been a middle school teacher for seven years now. My first three years were spent teaching math and science at a sixth grade level. At the end of three years, I was pulled into the principals office where I was told that I was going to be moving up to an eighth grade science position. I was TERRIFIED!!! A two year leap doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but you would be amazed at the changes in a child from sixth grade (where they are fresh out of elementary school and still have a large desire to please their teacher) to eighth grade (where the students have lost a lot of interest in school and their peers are their EVERYTHING). Let’s just say that my first two weeks, the following school year...I was looking for a new job. Fortunately I didn’t move forward with any leads because NOW I wouldn’t change grades for anything!!!
So, I taught 8th grade science for the following two years... when, once again, I was pulled back into the principals office so that they could inform me that, not only was I going to continue to teach 8th grade science, but that they were going to add 7th grade science AND 7th grade math to my schedule. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS AGAIN...it’s as though I was a first year teacher all over again.
I love searching and finding new ideas for the classroom, new classroom management styles and lessons that are fun and engage the students. Pinterest has been such an amazing tool in finding new ideas to implement in the classroom. I am excited to try them out and share with you their successes and/or failures.


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