Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Different Kind of Normal

I keep wondering lately why my baby is getting so big.

It's inescapable to me these days - she's a kid. And I love it. I am not a mom who weeps over my babies growing. Part of my job is to teach them independence and bravery and I like seeing those things manifest in them.

But don't get me wrong - it gives me a little tear. And a teeny sniff.

We spent tonight with Ruby's birth mama.


It's our life, you know? It's our world, and I love it.

But when I take a step back I am struck with the knowledge that our life is not normal.

Holy cow - I am thankful for that. I'm happy to be the abnormal one.

Because I love Ruby's birth mom and the rest of her birth family.

They are my family now. I love them like my family.

When we adopted Ruby, we adopted them, too.

I remember back to the time I thought I could never do an open adoption. It scared me. You hear all the stories... But I'm singing out a new story. It starts with sacrifice and obedience and faith and ends with love that just keeps on going.

It does get confusing and complicated sometimes. We are all human and we all have human emotions and we struggle together to love Ruby in the way that is best for her. We have learned to be honest about the things we don't know for sure.

I do not feel competition. I do not feel jealous.

We all trust our Heavenly Father who brought us together in this out-of-the-ordinary way. We know He'll see us through.

I can feel my heart open right up when I think of the people Ruby has in her life who love her so much. Her circle is larger than most, and that could never be a bad thing.

As for tonight, we laughed and ate and played. Ruby showed off her mad ABC recognition skills and played the role she plays best - Class Clown.

Oh, and I made baloney boats for dinner.

What? You've never had baloney boats?

I pity the fools.

These are a well-kept secret, but they are slowly taking the country by storm. Fried baloney, mashed potatoes, creamed peas.

What's not to love?

You know that you're family when I serve you baloney boats. And I know you're family when every plate is scraped clean.

In an attempt to balance out the weirdness of the meal, I baked an apple cranberry pie with homemade crust that was all jacked up but tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I love abnormal. I love things that look different but are really quite perfect.


  1. Lovely post FPFG!! We're abnormal, too (in a different way from your fam) and sometimes it is so hard, but most of the time I just can't believe all the gifts that have come from this new little abnormal life we lead.

  2. i will pass on the baloney boat... but will take some pie! I love this post! I love your trust in the Lord! I love how you wrote about the open adoption!

    Merry merry christmas!

  3. Have you ever tried peanut butter rolled up in baloney/bologna? Then jam in a fancy toothpick (to secure it...not a toothpick filled with jam...that would be weird). My mom used to fix it for lunch when I was little, but she doesn't remember.

    Merry Christmas, Shannan! Your family is truly blessed!

    : )

    Julie M.

  4. What a sweet post! Just remember, "Normal is only a setting on the washing machine". We are abnormal people living in an abnormal world, with an incredibly abnormal Saviour who makes the abnormal beautiful! Merry Christmas! Becky

  5. How wonderful! Now the bologna boats I'll probably skip...the pie sounds good:) Ruby's pictures are adorable and so glad you all can enjoy the wonderful blessings of your extended family with her!!! So glad you shared.

  6. I am so new to your blog... so I don't know very much about the details of your family. But let me tell you, I've been hanging on every single word like it's gold. You bring me to TEARS with most of your posts, I can so relate. I'm wondering if maybe we were somehow peas from the same pod?!! Do you have time for a email or two?
    Merry Christmas to you and your husband, and those sweet three pickles of yours...

  7. Goosebumps. I love your little piece of the world. I suits you. So can I expect bologna boats next time I come visit? Can I at least substitute the peas for something else?

  8. Very sweet post. You have such a gift of storytelling! I'm sure it helps that you have some adorable little ones to write about!! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. Your last sentence...loving things that look different but are really quite perfect. Beautifully said. Struck a chord with me. Thank you....

  10. I do enough crying for the both of us about our kiddos growing up! Ruby is indeed a blessed little girl. Such a beauty!

  11. Beautiful.
    You. Her. Baloney Boats.
    O.k., maybe not baloney boats. ;)
    You truely are blessed.

  12. She is beautiful and you are too!
    Merry Christmas!

  13. Baloney Boats....wow. I'm speechless about the boats. The pie sounds fab. Your evening sounds like it was perfect. Your very own kind of normal.

  14. Such a sweet post! I have friends that recently completed an open adoption & it's such a gift from God! I completely know how you feel about your baby growing up - my oldest baby just turned 4 - amazing & shocking all wrapped into one. God Bless your family over the holidays!

  15. Thank you for your sweet words..

    Love your daughter's curls. She's a doll!

    Not sure what to say about the baloney boats... I secretly suspect that my husband would love them and I'm not sure how I feel about that.. :)


  16. Abnormal is a blessing. I love and embrace my abnormal family structure. I would not have it any other way. What a blessing for my son to know he is loved here and there.

    PS. Not so sure on the boat thingie. I might have thrown up a little in my mouth.


  17. "I love abnormal. I love things that look different but are really quite perfect."~ amen sister...everyone has their own path in life, and perhaps OURS are not the norm, but I like you LOVE my life and wouldn't have it any other way! Merry Christmas to you Shannan, I am so glad that I found your blog, you bless me each day with your posts and your humor! Enjoy your babies! blessings, Tara (copy-cat Tara!!! :)

  18. I love your abnormal life!
    And my dad once made us bologna boats but with shredded cheese on top. I thought he made it up but apparently it is a real recipe with a name! I might have to resurrect that for my kids - they would think it's a hoot!

  19. Beautifully written. You are so open and honest and loving. That sweet Ruby is so lucky to have you as her Mama. Baloney Boats....??? Hmmmmm...Ok, I'll give her a go. Ok, I just made molasses cookies that came out flat as a pancake. Now I know that I am at high elevation but will you post your molasses cookie recipe por favor? I know it's a pain but I really need a good recipe for these. Maybe after the holidays...

  20. Hmm..balloney boats huh....sounds good and that pie looks delisch!

  21. She's is gorgeous! The only life that is normal is the one that works for you! Merry Christmas... but I think I am going to skip the baloney boat ;)

  22. I just love reading your posts. You are an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. She is gorgeous! Thank you for all your lovely comments on my blog, May the happiness of the holiday season be yours today and always x

  24. sweet in everyway - well besides the bologna boats :)- You guys are blessed for having Calvin and Ruby and they are blessed to have you as their parents.

  25. Great post, my friend~
    Ruby is so lucky that you have invited her heritage into your family with open arms. She will benefit in so many ways as she grows into "her own"

    You are a lovely person beyond measure and I would just love to sit with you in person right now!
    Enjoy this holiday with your beautiful family.

  26. You rock.
    Ruby is cute (as always).
    I can handle the boloney (I say it like that too) and the mashed potatoes. But creamed peas? Ick!

  27. Love this story. Your strength and faith amaze me. You have such beautiful children, and I am glad that Ruby's birth family will be touched by God through you. Merry Christmas. And mmm - mmm, those baloney boats look yummy (but you knew the Spam-loving girl would give you a big thumbs up!). And cranberry apple pie...recipe please!

  28. If every family were the same, it would be rather boring.

    Ruby is fabulous. Beautiful.

    Have so enjoyed your blog over the last few months.

    Merry Christmas to you Shannan!

  29. you pretty much rock my world.

  30. whoa! i wanna try those bologna boats!! and you are such a great momma & a testimony of God's perfect plans!!!

  31. Interesting choice of menu, but glad it worked. I would probably totally did it! Glad you had a good evening!

  32. Open adoption scares the snot out of me. Both of our boys were abandoned, Jesse's story way more negative and hard core than Joe's, and I worry about the day that each of them want to know their story. I pray for their birth mothers all the time even though we know nothing about them. I pray for peace for each of them, that they would know that their sons are safe and loved beyond words.
    So excited that you are going to be bringing home another baby! We are talking about it if we dont get pregnant in the next few months!
    I love adoption, God is so amazing for choosing us to be the parents of these amazing children.

    Oh and baloney boats....really????

  33. Love this post. I, too, was scared almost to death of open adoption. And though our kiddos' birth families live half way around the world, I am so so super thankful for our version of open adoption. The relationships have brought such healing to our kiddos and beautifully extended our family.

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