When I was little, I always wanted a gargantuan stuffed animal, so when I saw that Costco had giant bears for $30 each, I was tempted. For the boys, of course.

We had our nephew in town, and I thought it would be the perfect party favor to send him home with. My sister would be thrilled (heh, heh, heh . . .) I couldn’t resist. In the store, my nephew carried his on his shoulders, while the boys stuffed theirs into a shopping cart. You should have seen the looks we got. Huge smiles, looks of longing, little kids pointing, and this one girl who gave her boyfriend a meaningful look and said, I’ve always wanted a giant bear.” I wanted to tell everyone, “Just do it. Buy the bear. It’s thirty bucks of fluffy love- you can’t beat that!”


Three boys and their bears

We buckled all three of those bad boys into my back seat.

Now we’re home and the bears have joined the family. We lounge on them. They lie alongside the boy’s beds and sit with us on the couch when we watch a movie. Those giant bears make no logical sense. I can’t tell you why they make me so happy. I loved my sister’s reaction when we pulled that giant bear out of the car to send home with her. “You did NOT do this, this is a joke, you’re joking . . .” All for the bargain price of $30.

Growing a tomato plant may not have made a whole lot of sense either, when I could buy them from the grocery store. I had to water it every day, worry about bugs and birds, and haul it out to the lake for the summer where I killed a patch of grass in the protected courtyard just to keep it safe from the deer. Despite the illogical, my tomato plant has given me great joy. The tomatoes have been hearty and plentiful. We’ve had tomato and mozzarella salads, tomato sauce, and plain old tomatoes with salt sprinkled on them.

Our adoption may not seem to make a whole heck of a lot of sense. We’ve spent hours and hours filling out paperwork, often redundant. We’ve worried and rushed and mailed, and dreamed. At the end of 3 and a half months, we’ve almost got our paperwork complete. Still no little girl in sight. We have one more letter we’re waiting on, something we have to go to Houston to get. Then we’ll bundle it all up and mail it to Honduras to be translated. Then approved. And then we’ll be on the list. Looks like next spring before we see our little girl. Totally illogical, and yet a total thrill, to imagine what life will be like. For now, I’ll lounge on the bear and dream about the day when we get her picture, travel to Honduras, and hold our baby girl.

Why I Love Legos

I don’t know if I even need words for this post, since you can’t help but love legos when you see what Benji and his friend made the other day.

Lego Creations

They are vehicles for their ugly dolls.

But since I am a writer, I have to add words. What I love about legos is that they can be used different ways. Sure, you can build the picture on the box the legos came in, carefully separating all your pieces and following the directions. You can put it together and put it up on a high shelf and guard it closely whenever small children are near.

Or, you can make what’s on the front of the box first, then gradually pilfer one creation to make another. You use your imagination, restricted only by the pieces available to you. In our case, that’s a large tub full of assorted pieces from dozens of different lego kits. The boys make do with what they find. They alter their creations piece-by-piece, as they discover new ways to go about achieving their vision.

Ugly Doll Transporter

On this particular day, Benji’s brother left for camp for two weeks. There was potential for boredom, whining, and general unhappiness, but instead, he made these awesome creations with his friend.

This same day, I woke up filled with a sense of anxiety. Nate was gone, there was much to do to get ready for an upcoming trip, and I hadn’t worked on my story in weeks. But I made time to meet writing friends for coffee, and ended up talking with them for two hours about things I care about deeply. It wasn’t the piece I thought I needed, but it fit exactly where I put it.

That night I tried a new recipe for dinner, and had the time to cook without rushing around the kitchen. Things simmered, and our house filled with good smells. I could have been “getting things done.” If I was looking at a list of instructions for how to build a perfect model for achieving my goals, spending time cooking dinner would not have been one of my pieces. After eating, Clay, Alayna, Benji and I went out on the boat. The sun set while Alayna surfed behind the boat, a black silhouette. Bats skimmed the surface of the lake. Clay made us laugh as he surfed and turned a 360, first successfully, and then not so successfully.

The only thing that could have made the day better is if Nate was with us. If I had done some writing. If we’d moved forward on the adoption . . . but I worked with what I had. I sunk my hands deep into a tub full of displaced pieces, a tub full of potential, and made something of my day. Too often I waste my days feeling anxious, fretting over what my day “should have” looked like, when I could have made Ugly Doll transporters.

Check out my cool blue shades!


You’ve heard about planking, right? The “big” internet craze? Okay, so maybe it isn’t all that big, but you’d be surprised how many pictures you come across of people planking. Clay became aware of it a couple weeks ago, and the Davises just had to try:

Meredith and Benji Plank


Alayna Planks
Benji and Nate Plank
Clay Planks

The “official” definition I found when I googled is the act of lying facedown for a photograph. More specifically: to put your body face down to the ground (or table, or object, or anything) with your arms to the side. Ours aren’t all that exciting compared to the man planking between two camels, or the two women planking in Vegas on either side of Elvis, but I still got the smallest of thrills. Why?

We did something together as a family. Some of my favorite moments have been spent with my entire family, whether around a dinner table or on a plane to Morocco. Even better, we laughed together. Oh, I love to laugh. It happens when I hear my voice echo back to me if my phone gets funky. Or when I see bodies all stretched in wavy mirrors. We took this picture at a “Hall of Mirrors” in Lucerne, Switzerland.

That day I laughed ‘till tears ran down my cheeks and I had to cross my legs so I wouldn’t pee. But another reason I liked planking is because we put ourselves in an unusual position and saw our world from a different perspective. Our living room looked different lying horizontal on a barstool. And it felt a little weird, but cool, to put my body in a place it had never been before.

There’s a point to this post on planking. We’re doing this adoption as a family, everyone is on “board” and can’t wait to meet their new daughter/sister. It is the topic of frequent dinner conversations as we talk about going to Honduras and try to come up with names. And the whole naming thing has led to lots of laughter, and I’m sure that’s just the beginning. Bringing a baby into our home means diaper explosions, carrots on the face, and those funny phrases she’ll come up with when she starts to talk. There is a lot of laughter in our future.

And we’re definitely putting ourselves in a place we’ve never been before. Lots of places. In particular this week, Clay and me drove to Fort Worth to meet two of the people who live in Honduras, and lots of the people we’ve been corresponding with via email and phone. We really liked everyone, and got lots of questions answered. There are still plenty of questions out there. There is uncertainty, and a healthy bit of fear, but I think it really isn’t an adventure without a little uncertainty and fear.

I also did a psychological review which is required of both Clay and I for the adoption. I’ve never sat in a chair in a psychologist’s office, and it’s been a long time since I took a bubble test. The MMPI had more than 500 true or false statements, which ranged anywhere from “I enjoy fixing door latches” to “I’ve thought about killing myself.” That same afternoon we had our home study. Our caseworker was a really nice woman who asked us some easy and hard questions. We were pleased to find out we’ll be seeing her over the years for child evaluations once we adopt our girl. She was full of ideas and advice that made a lot of sense.

Because this is all new to us, this adopting business, and we can use all the ideas and advice we can get. But we’re in it together as a family. I didn’t find out until later that day of our home study that Alayna had missed a fun day with her friends, who all got together to swim and watch a movie. She hadn’t even asked if she could go, because she knew where she needed to be. Where she wanted to be.

So I have a new definition for planking, the Davis definition: doing something together, experiencing much laughter, as we put ourselves in places we’ve never been before. Come on, admit it, you want to try. I can’t wait to see the pictures . . .