Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Zay and I Met

When we were doing our Intake Interview, our caseworker asked us about how we met... I wish we had a more, um, elegant way of meeting. But here's the story:

It was the summer of 2001. I was 15 years old at the time (Zay was 19). I was hanging out with my friend Shavon. We were walking up and down the street in Fort Valley, because that's what you do in the South when you don't have anything to do! Walk and talk. I wanted to go to the park, but we didn't have a ride over there and it was all the way across town. So I said, "How bout the next car that comes through here, I'll ask 'em to take us to the park?" I'm pretty sure she said something to the effect of, "You crazy, guh!"

Soon after I said that, this white old-school '70s Ford LTD comes around the corner, speakers booming, trunk rattling. Most likely it was a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony song. That was Zay's favorite music at the time. Shavon recognized the guy and yelled, "Zavius!" Ha ha. She didn't know how to pronounce his name right (Xavier). He stopped and started talking to Shavon out his window. I didn't know him, so I just sat on the curb on the opposite side of the street, waiting for them to finish talking. Turns out Shavon knew him because she was "in love" with one of his brothers. Ha ha. I vaguely recognized his last name. His younger brother was a year older than me and I'm sure I'd seen him around school. Everybody (but me it seemed) knew his family.

I got tired of sitting there on the curb, annoyed I was being ignored I'm sure, and I remembered we wanted to go to the park... so I got up and came over to the car, determined to get my way. They weren't paying me any attention, so I kind of kicked the passenger side of the car and said, "Hey! Take us to the park!" Ha ha ha.

The first thing out of his mouth to me was a slew of curse words. He cussed me out! He didn't play around about his car. I thought it was sooo funny, because it caught me off guard. And in a weird way, I thought it was kind of sexy. I gave him a little attitude back and playfully acted like he hurt my feelings and sat back on the curb. I had a mouth on me when I was a teenager, something I learned was necessary to stand up for myself in rough neighborhoods.

I asserted myself well. He told us to get in, and he took us to the park. :)

Despite being so aggressive in defense of his car earlier, we had a great time at the park. We ended up having a huge debate about religion, ironically. Then we hung out for two days straight. It was the summertime before my sophomore year in high school, so I spent a lot of time at my friends' places in the Valley (there wasn't much to do in my hometown one town over, so I was always gone... making trouble somewhere). He had graduated the year before and had a job in town. There was something attractive about an older guy with a car and a job. Oh, and he had his own apartment. This was impressive to me too. Ha ha! What can I say, I'm easy to please!

Speaking of easy to please, I thought he was the sweetest guy ever. He bought me McDonald's and Dairy Queen (high class!). We watched movies at his apartment (Final Destination and The Matrix). He took me to the park when it got dark and we looked at the stars. We got along so well. I had never connected with someone and been impressed with the intelligence of someone so much in my life.

But... he had a girlfriend (who just happened to be Shavon's sister's best friend!). And we went our separate ways. I didn't want to be that girl. I walked away and had no intention of ever seeing him again, although I thought about him all the rest of the summer. I tried to just tell myself that it was one of those "summer flings" and leave it at that.

Three months later... Shavon came to Marshallville to hang out with me instead of the other way around. We were walking up and down the street with my brother and one of his friends. And out of nowhere, I heard the familiar sound of Zay's car! Shavon yelled, "Zavius!" and my heart almost stopped. We ditched my brother and his friend, jumped in Zay's car and went for a ride, of course! He had just so happened to come to my hometown to see a friend who lived right next to me. He didn't even know where I lived, so he was just as shocked to see me as I was him. But he knew he was never going to let me walk away again.

Shavon and I were born a day apart and were excited that our birthdays were that next week. Zay took us to a flower shop and bought us roses. He and his girlfriend had broken up a few days before. We started dating that day. I remember being so shocked when he told me he loved me - no one had ever said that to me before. I remember holding his hand and feeling like I'd known him forever. We were attached at the hip from that day forward. I knew I was going to marry him not even a month into dating him, but I'm pretty sure he proposed to me at least three different times. (I was stubborn. We'd get in a fight and I'd throw the ring back at him, ha ha.)

We dated for almost 3 years. My mom wanted me to finish high school before I got married, so we waited until the summer after I graduated. By then Zay had joined the Church and we got married in the Atlanta LDS temple in the summer of 2004. We moved to Utah that August so that I could attend BYU... and here we are!

Adoption References and Feeling Inadequate


As we've been gathering up our character references for adoption, I suddenly started feeling really inadequate. I started to wonder who really knew us? We move a lot and it's hard to make friends at Church when they move a lot too. We've been out of touch for years with the people we were friends with back in Georgia, so... who really knows us and has a positive impression of us? That one was difficult for me. I tend to be really self-conscious and it's hard to think about how other people perceive me...

...especially since I tend to be really outspoken when it comes to whatever relationship problems I encounter. I'm not shy about discussing issues with my friends. I started to fear that everyone who knew us would only remember all the negative things I've ever complained about. Yikes!

I knew our Bishop would have nice things to say. He's awesome and he loves Zay's inquisitive attitude and involvement in the Church. Our caseworker said that he gave us a "glowing review." Ha ha. Good! I just hope that the rest of them will turn out okay. I'm such a worry-wort!

My feelings of inadequacy also stem from the anxiety I feel about a birth mother choosing us. I know we haven't gotten that far yet, but it's something I'm always thinking about. I hope when the time comes, I'll be able to be myself and not feel pressured to appear "perfect" for them. I know deep down that we would be awesome parents, but I still get crazy nervous thinking about some of these things!

I know I shouldn't feel so insecure, but I do. And if I say it out loud it might help me work through it.

American Idol Season 9 Finals Week 3


This has been a very painful season. Very hard to watch. The powers-that-be at American Idol should at least make an attempt to make this look like a singing competition, but they've given up trying. If these are the best of the best talents in America, than I don't have much hope for the future of the music biz. Not that I did anyway - not with the Lil Wayne's and Ke$ha's out there butchering music. Ha ha.



My favorite - Siobhan Magnus - fell from grace this week. She wasn't horrible when she was hitting the big notes, but the verses were sketchy. Oh, no! She was the only competition for Crystal Bowersox... so this worries me. Unless she regains the edge that she had before, this is looking to be a very boring season...(let's just crown Crystal the winner already). And I'm started to doubt my earlier predictions that Siobhan could win this thing. She might be a little too weird for America. I love her, though. Go Siobhan!


The person I've been secretly rooting for all along is Lee Dewyze. I absolutely love his voice, but his performances never really showcased it the way it needed to be showcased. He's been improving, but this week was definitely his standout performance. I was soooo proud of him! He gained some confidence, and the vocal coach he's working with has really been helping. Good for him!


Ohhh, Tim Urban... Turban... Teflon Tim. You are something else! Vote For The Worst is head over heels in love with this guy! And I can see why. He is so inadvertently entertaining! Ha ha. When he was performing, I didn't understand why he kept s-l-o-w-l-y creeping forward on the stage. Ellen Degeneres said that it looked like he was trying to sneak into someone's bedroom. And his deer-caught-in-headlights looks are getting more and more intense and awkward. I love it. And the way he laughed at all the judges' harsh comments was hilarious. Simon said "He's laughing because it doesn't make any difference what we say. You're gonna smile, the audience is gonna vote for you, and nobody cares and you'll be here next week, so well done." Ha ha ha. Go Tim!


The best performances:
Crystal Bowersox's "Midnight Train to Georgia"
Lee Dewyze's "Treat Her Like a Lady"

The worst performances:
Tim Urban's "Sweet Love"
Didi Benami's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"

HOLY CRAP! TIM IS SAFE!!! Didi Benami, who has an amazing voice when she picks the right songs, went home this week.

This week's American Idol in 60 Seconds with Jim Cantiello:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

American Idol Season 9 Finals Week 2


I thought this week was the most entertaining of the season so far. It's about time! I started wondering why I liked this show in the first place... And with my love for all things American Idol, you know it has to be a horrible season for me to start thinking like that!

They changed the theme from the potentially awesome "Teen Idols" to "Billboard #1 Hits" - which is much more broad and boring. But it actually turned out okay.

The most obviously horrible performance was Paige Miles' "Against All Odds," with a really close second going to Andrew Garcia's "Heard It Through the Grapevine." Have mercy, those were horrible. And they made me miss the awesomeness that was Alex Lambert (and his mullet). Speaking of Alex, here's a video of him on Ellen's show. He was a nervous wreck when he performed and needed more stage presence, but he deserved to be on that stage this week, for sure.

Spotlight on Tim Urban for a second: he is sooooo funny to me. Last week he had a very bizarre Raggae interpretation of a dark Rolling Stones song, and this week he picked the cheesiest song ever and then ran around and slid on the stage. OMG, he is desperate to get on the tour! Ha ha ha. He's so entertaining, so I say what the heck - give it to him. Plus, he's a nice guy!


So, I was begging the American Idol gods to please kick off Andrew this week. GO HOME! Why are you still here?!?! is supporting Tim, so I figured he was safe. And according to history, the lone black diva always makes it to the tour, so I figured Paige was safe. That left no one but Andrew! The logic made sense, didn't it? Well, not to America. The black diva went home, and Andrew wasn't even in the bottom 3! Grrr...


My favorite performances were Crystal Bowersox's "Me and Bobby McGee" and Katie Stevens' "Big Girls Don't Cry." And Katie ended up being in the bottom 3 rather than Andrew. I wasn't a fan of hers up to this point, but based on her performance last night, she should have been completely safe for sure. *Big sigh...* I don't get it. Apparently, neither does Crystal. HA HA.

Next week's theme is "Soul and R&B," with Usher as the mentor. That's my kinda week! I just hope that not everyone picks a slow love song. That would be BOR-ING. I don't know who to pick to go home next week. Apparently there is a huge fanbase out there for Andrew that just cannot be defeated. So, I'll just have to see who tanks before I can decide. :)

This week's American Idol in 60 Seconds with Jim Cantiello:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adoption Progress: Intake Interview


We had what they call our "Intake Interview" earlier this week. Things have officially begun now! Paperwork on our side is basically done, so we met our caseworker. She was really super nice and I felt good about her as soon as we met her. I was glad she was young - I feel like I'll be able to better relate to her. I can tell she'll be rooting for us all along the way, and that's all I wanted to feel.

She asked us a few questions about how we met and where we got married. It was funny. Our "how we met" story is pretty silly. And she gave us an overview of the entire process, which was just reiterating what we already knew. But it was nice to hear it again. There's a lot of stuff to do, so they try to get us to wrap our heads around all of it.

What I really liked about this interview is that we were able to get some of Zay's issues with adoption out on the table. He hates that somebody can tell us "no" ... that there's a possibility that we'll go through this whole thing and it not work out. When he talks about those feelings, I keep imagining them taking a big red stamp and stamping "DENIED" across our file. Ha ha. It doesn't work like that. I was happy that our caseworker was sensitive to his feelings and helped him understand that we're all on the same team and they want us to be approved and to have a successful adoption. Even if there was some sort of problem (like pornography addiction or whatever - not that there is!), they wouldn't flat out deny a couple - they would help to make sure they got the counseling they needed or whatever was necessary to correct the problem. They'd work with us, not against us. I've said these things to Zay before, but it was good for him to hear it from the source. I hope it eased some of his worries.

American Idol Season 9 Finals Week 1

I've been doing a mediocre job at picking who goes home each week of this season. Lacey Brown and Tim Urban were two of my picks to go home the very first week of the semi-finals (with the Top 24). Lacey sang a horrible version of "Landslide" and Tim butchered "Apologize". But somehow they stuck around to make it to the Top 12. Lacey's voice to me sounds like nails on a chalkboard. And I don't get the whole "little girl voice singing" that she does. Lilly Scott and Didi Benami have a similar style, but they actually pulled it off.

Her hair was cool, though. I definitely liked the hair. Ha ha.


Tim is the cutest thing on the planet with his deer-caught-in-headlights look and genuine humility (he has no idea how he's gotten this far in the competition), but he's definitely one of the weakest contestants and is probably solely getting by on the tween vote. Ha ha. I want to hate him, but he's just so darn cute. And likable. And he's actually been getting better in my opinion. I'm betting he'll be safe just one more week, so he can make the Top 10 and all the tweens can see him on the AI Tour this summer.


So, Lacey was finally sent home this week. I was happy, but my personal pick to go home was Andrew Garcia. I don't see what anybody sees in this guy. He's not attractive in the least. He tries to take pop songs by female artists and turn them into acoustic male performances (just weird). Last week he sang "Genie in a Bottle" for crying out loud! I don't get it. He reminds me of Danny Gokey from last season - someone who made it really far in the competition, but I had no clue why. There was no appeal whatsoever. *shrugs*


Just one more person gets booted before they get to the Top 10 who'll go on tour, and I'm hoping against hope that next week Andrew will tank. *crosses fingers*

Oh, yeah - this week the theme was the Rolling Stones... and I heard next week will be something like Teen Idols (???). I don't know what that means, but if someone sings an *Nsync song (Tim preferably), I am just going to DIE of happiness! Ha ha.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Latest Obsession: American Idol Season 9


I don't know why I love American Idol so much. Something about the voting, the drama, the shock eliminations, the rooting for the underdog, the discovering of new talents, the trainwreck performances, the contradictory judges advice, the cheesy themed weeks... maybe all of the above. It's just good television, in my opinion.

I've been following pretty faithfully ever since Season 4... when my all-time-favorite Carrie Underwood won! It's much harder for me to predict the winner of American Idol than it is for me to pick the winner of SYTYCD, so that always makes it extra exciting. Season 5 I picked Chris Daughtry (4th place), Season 6 I picked Blake Lewis (2nd place), Season 7 I picked David Cook (woo-hoo! got one right!), Season 8 I picked Adam Lambert (2nd place) (although I was sooooo in love with Anoop Desai). So, for the most part I have a history of picking who SHOULD have won. Ha ha. Not necessarily who DID win. But I always end up loving the winner anyway. I saw Season 5's winner Taylor Hicks at the Stadium of Fire in Provo. I went to see the AI6 tour and saw winner Jordin Sparks at a concert in Orem. I think Season 7's winner David Cook and Season 8 winner's Kris Allen are pretty amazing too. So, it all works out in the end.

So far this season, I've had a hard time readjusting to the lack of Adam Lambert-like presence on the show. His voice was a-m-a-z-i-n-g, which everyone had to admit even if they didn't necessarily like his style. And he brought so much personality and energy to his performances. This post-Adam-Lambert season has been quite... boring, in comparison.

Now that they're down to the Top 12, I can start to focus in on who might actually win this thing. Anything can happen from here on out, though. One bad performance can ruin a frontrunner's chances. I'm gonna go ahead and say that my pick to win is Siobhan Magnus. Rickey (my favorite AI blogger EVER who actually uploads MP3s of the performances each week) agrees with me. Who knows, though - my track record hasn't been great. Ha ha. Crystal Bowersox is right up there with her in talent, I think. My favorite two guys were Lee Dewyze and Alex Lambert, but Alex undeservedly got booted right before the Top 12. Wow, America. Really? Was it because he had a mullet? Ha ha ha. He seriously had one of the best male voices! Mediocrity with a cute face (I'm looking at you Tim Urban) always wins over mullet, I guess.

So, before we get into the Finals this week... here are my favorite performances so far:

Siobhan Magnus "House of the Rising Sun"
Siobhan Magnus "Wicked Game"
Crystal Bowersox "Give Me One Reason"
Lee Dewyze "Lips of an Angel"
Alex Lambert "Trouble"
Alex Lambert "Wonderful World"
Aaron Kelly "Here Comes Goodbye"
Didi Benami "The Way I Am"
Casey James "Heaven"
Katelyn Epperly "The Scientist"
Lilly Scott "A Change is Gonna Come"
Michelle Delamor "Fallin'"

And here are the WORST performances so far:
Tim Urban "Apologize"
Haeley Vaughn "The Climb"
Paige Miles "Smile"
Lacey Brown "Landslide"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Other Side of Adoption


I found a good article from a lady who was adopted as a baby from an orphanage in Vietnam. She talks about being drawn to the story of Hannah and Samuel in the Old Testament. Her thoughts on the subject remind me of my own.

I like this quote:
I love birth moms. They are the unsung heroes representing the other side of adoption. While it’s great to honor the coming together, I think it is equally important to honor the coming undone. And so, I honor my birth mom:

Thank you for the gift of your sacrifice. Thank you for bravely walking away and giving me over to something better even if I cried. Thank you for thinking about me all these years (like I know you must) wishing you could give me a hug, a kiss, a touch, or a little token made with your love. Thank you for loving me enough. I remember you.

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