Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just laaazing around

I'm sure there's lots I could be doing right now. Pax has been asleep for almost 2 hours though so I must wake him up soon. He's back to napping! Woohoo!!! When we had to stop his glorious daily 3 hour nap because he stopped falling asleep at night... yeah, that was awful. But now...

Okay, so now that he's back to napping every 1-2 days for 1-2 hours I'm kinda, well, I'm just not sure what to do with myself. I end up doing things I either shouldn't do (snacking) or things I could just as easily do with him awake and playing trains by himself for 1/2 hour, like surfing the net. I reeeeally need to get serious about sewing. I can't learn it if I only try once a week or so! I can make a bobbin, thread the machine, and mostly remember to clamp it down before making it go. I still can't make it look good yet, but that'll take practice. And I think I'll enjoy it once I've actually gotten it down (I enjoy it already, I just keep forgetting to start at a reasonable enough time to accomplish anything).

I'm somewhat reassessing our diets again. I've started buying a different type of fruit each week as a snack food, only it's been the same these last couple weeks. Seedless Clementines, yum! Nik and I eat about 3 a day, try to get at least one into Paxton. I need to find more grapefruit too since I loooooove that. And we always have bananas stocked, and silly things like raisins and applesauce that can't even be mistaken as fresh.

I need to try to drink more water. I mean, I don't really drink much else so I might actually not be getting enough water. Also trying to cook more often since the recipes I cook from scratch end up much healthier than things we cook from a box or can, and I'm sure a ton healthier than foods we could get elsewhere.

My hope used to be to live an organic lifestyle. After we started saving funds for Pax's adoption years ago, we quit normal grocery stores and Whole Foods in favor of WalMart. Figured it was worth it to bring our son home. We're at a point with 2 mortgages where we currently can't do all too much to fix that, but we're trying. Little by little, lentil by lentil, substitution by substitution. Maybe someday we'll have mostly or even all organic and natural foods again, but I doubt it.

Hopefully I'll actually be able to follow through with my idea of a garden in the backyard. Finally, a garden not in pots but in soil! Real soil that already grows wild berries out the wazoo! It's fertile land we bought. I'm making a mental list of what to plant, like beans and tomatoes and eggplant and pumpkins and more berries. I'll probably make a kid's garden as well, with sunflowers and carrots and such, things I had as a kid. How awesome would that be? Pax and I digging in the soil and planting and watering and caring for them every day! We'll need to start a compost heap, and get some rain barrels, and by some boards. The tall pines will have to come down first and then we'll need to till and put up kid-proof fence for my garden (that secretly blocks off the old, rusty-but-useful shed). We'll put up a smaller, open fence for the kid's garden.

I don't think I'll plant chives. We planted those in my garden as a kid. It was near the dog pen. He peed on the chives. I ate them anyway. I don't think I can grow chives.

Now I feel icky.

Ah well, time to awaken the tot! We did Marbles this morning, came back for nap, and are going back for the last 2 hours they're open meaning we should be out of here in about 20 minutes. He's still in his jacket. I think we can do this.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I have no idea what it is exactly...

But there's just nothing like cooking a good, nutritious meal from scratch, getting everything right, serving it to myself, my husband and my son, having everyone just scoff it down happily, and leaving the kitchen and table clean.

I really never saw myself as the domestic type growing up. I just about burned the house down trying to make a PB&J when I was 13 (note: there's sometimes metal on PB containers so microwaving can be scary) and I could've lived off of ramen and pancake mix in college, and Velveeta shells and cheese in highschool. And Pepsi One. That's good stuff right there.

So how do I find myself more than thrilled to make homemade no salt/sugar wheat flour cinnamon raisin pretzels? And tonight, why was I so happy to make a successful curried and cuminned brown rice and lentil dish, served with boiled cabbage on the side and a dessert of PB & banana cookies (no oil, mostly vegan, low sugar)? And why does it all come so easily to me?

Yeah I still need to figure out my spices and branch out a bit to include newer foods. I also need to plan a bit better so I don't have to substitute quite as much. I've been better about picking up random ingredients when I see them, though, so often I'll find a recipe I like and I might not actually be lacking anything. Especially with vegan recipes, oddly enough.

I'm planning on trying out a lentil and sour cream muffin recipe soon. And maybe I'll try that chocolate cheesecake made with a tofu base. Mmmm... My goal isn't necessarily NO fat or carbs or anything like that. I want to eat better, not less. And I want the food to be deliiiiicious.

Oddly enough... the boiled cabbage alone was awesome. I've been hearing so much of the benefits of cabbage and I hadn't actually thought there were any. I mean, it's just empty like lettuce, right? Then I start hearing it's a probiotic (duh) and might help metabolism, and oh yeah there's an article on how the obesity rise in Korea is likely directly linked to a decline in eating Kim Chee (fermented cabbage) and then... we had some at Christmas dinner and it was awwwwesome. Cheap, easy to make, good for you and a very yummy side dish. Why the heck haven't I made this everynight already? I think it'll become a common side dish in our home from now on.

Now... to continue lurking on the Chinese adoption sites, at least until I'm needed. Nik has Pax now and will be doing potty/bath soon, but after that they'll need me for the bedtime preps and cuddles and such. I'm savoring any alone time I can get right now! When BB comes home (hopefully soon) I think I'll have a li'l 'un constantly attached to my chest, at least for awhile.


There's just something about seeing a ton of people adopting from China get a special end of the year surprise, several LID days matched seemingly out of nowhere 2 weeks before expected, that makes me tear up. No, it's not the route we've chosen or even could chose for several years to come. And yes other countries and other situations (ie, special needs) appeal much more to me and affect me more with their news. And yet..

Just something about that surprise, months, no, years of heartache and waiting and just praying it and missing the cutoff by a month or a week or a day even or in some cases several days, preparing yourself for not seeing your child's face for another month or two or three even though you're SO CLOSE, and then suddenly... there she is. The phone rings, the message boards go crazy, and suddenly you have a daughter and there's her picture and her name and her age and she's waiting for you and soon, around the time you thought you'd be seeing her picture, you'll actually be holding her and taking her home.

I remember how it felt to have Paxton's picture up on the fridge. The disbelief - was he really going to be ours?- and the hope and the pain of just wanting to hold him and the fear of how our lives were changing and the frustration over how slow it was going and the anxiety over how fast it was going and... well, it was a big mess o' feelings, lemme tell ya. And I cannot wait to do it all again, only this time I'll be doing it with my darling boy in my arms to remind me that yes, it does all work out in the end.

Even though no one is yet reading this blog, I wish good luck to all those on a journey, whether it be adoption related or not. And now to go stalk the China adoption blogs until the pictures are uploaded. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Really need to post photos!

So, Christmas is now over, our child is over sugared and under bathed, our house is full of new toys and their various wrappings, and... for some reason Nik needs to go back to work tomorrow. Boo.

So Tuesday: After Pax woke up from his nap he was quite sad, very remorseful and just not happy. We hugged a lot. He got a cookie. We went back to the kid's museum, found his "girlfriend" who works there, and he got to play for a couple of hours. He was much happier afterwards. He's big enough now that he most definitely remembers his punishment, and he has been telling people that he bit mommy and he's sad about it. Also everytime he does anything, like impulsively slap, he'll grab his own hand and cry out "sorry mommy!" then give me a hug. While on the one hand I'm not too pleased with myself for controlling him THIS much, on the other hand... woohoo! Now if only it would make him remember hitting is bad BEFORE he did it....

So anyway, Christmas was nice. We saw my parents Wednesday for early dinner and presents, then on to church. Nik got to read the first passage and we kept Paxton in the service for that. He was quite perturbed at Nik for getting up, going to the front and speaking really loud. I believe his exact words were "Daddy! Daddy, sit!" Nik took him to the nursery when he was done (he knows I love to sing the hymns!) and when they returned for communion my dapper young man in his gorgeous black and white Christmas suit with a dashing red necktie, was also sporting a new pair of pink princess high heeled shoes, complete with frilly pink feathers. It was too cute! Wish I'd taken a picture. Like always we took communion last in the shortest line so that Pax could take his time figuring out what to do. He wasn't too pleased. He expected cake, or at least cookies, and just found bread. And not even all the bread! He just had to take a small piece. He ate his then tried to drink directly from the cup (we dip) so I dipped mine and gave it to him, then walked him away as quickly as possible (in those shoes) while he asked for more. Then we all lit candles and he just kept relighting and blowing them out.

He fell fast asleep in the car, which was great as we were able to enjoy the luminaries in our neighborhood, even stopping to blow a few exposed ones out and attempt to put out a small fire. Seriously, the neighborhood association just automatically put out everyone's luminaries and lit them without people being home, and they used like 5 inch tall candles that burned the bags down. We saw a firetruck leaving the neighborhood as we were getting ready for bed. At least we haven't heard of any houses burning. Yet.

Today P got up early and Nik got up with him (yay!) to play trains. I slept till all of 8:30, almost 3 hours later than Nik. We opened gifts then played with them for a very long time, with me stopping a couple times to do laundry and take a shower, and Nik being a doll and cooking a breakfast that actually made both of us sick.

We left for Nik's mom's house around 2ish, got there and helped prepare food, ate, opened gifts, ate deserts and played cards, then left and watched Pax fall into a deeeeep sleeeeeep. We were so hoping he'd get a bath tonight as he didn't get one yesterday, but he also hasn't taken a nap in two days and he was up so early. Ah well, maybe tomorrow morning I'll bathe him.

So, for the present rundown:
Me: Animal Crossing: City Folk (I've already paid off my first house, changed into my Mii face, done all the Nook stuff and donated about 8 fish to the museum). New socks. A new pan set. Candlesticks. Various stocking gifts from my parents, including large oranges that disguised as grapefruits and made me eat less tangy citrus last night.
Nik: Portal, The Matrix Anthology, an RC helicopter, an RC pirates vs ninja set, a lightsaber, a lego pirate set. Various stocking gifts from my parents, including a pomegranate.
Paxton: Oh, where do we begin. Well, there's the play kitchen with the tea set, the pots/pans set, and the Melissa and Doug food for cutting. Then there are two train sets from both grandmothers, both Thomas but not compatible (one upstairs one down?). Then there's the little table and chairs set you can draw on, and the new books (one personalized), and the cute little worm and snake, and the snowglobe, and the laptop, and a caterpillar that makes music. That's what, like half of it? Well, maybe a bit more but seriously my kid is spoiled! Last year for Christmas it was seriously all clothes and this year it's all toys, and OMG he has toys already! But ah well, he's happy.
Also... I picked up little socks and put them in BB's stocking, which just sorta sat there as we have nothing to hang it on and really he/she will have a new stocking next year (God willing!) with a real name on it. But I still had to get a gift. Just li'l Pooh Bear socks. I love it when Paxton buzzes and says he has bees on his tongue like Pooh, and I saw those tiny socks with the little bees...

Let's not talk about the "repair requirements" list we got, on Christmas Eve no less (though they signed it on the 21st). It's not... horrific. Hope is still very much alive. But it's not a done deal yet. We just... need to hope.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I feel like crying...

We just got home from the Children's Museum. Paxton hit on one of my (very) few "zero tolerance" actions, i.e. he bit me. We already went through a "biting phase" where I was far more tolerant until he came out of it, but now that he's older and knows it's bad...

I hate having to be mean. With normal things, like hitting or kicking or spitting or whatever, he gets a warning or a time out. Nothing huge and it works. But a zero tolerance action is something I absolutely do not want repeating. Aside from biting I think playing with fecal matter or doing something very dangerous are just about the only things that send me into "crazy flipped out mommy" mode.

What I've learned with my son is that when I got totally over the top with a punishment it doesn't repeat as often. With hitting I used to just give a warning but now he gets a longer warning, I hold his hand for a bit, and if he repeats he gets a time out and a reprimand, usually the "I'm dissapointed" speech too which always worked on me and now works on him. Nothing huge but enough of a bother that he doesn't often repeat soon after.

With something that I absolutely do not want repeating or escalating, though, I have to go above and beyond. And I've learned from experience that just flipping the hell out (not really, just acting like it) works.

And I always want to cry when I do it.

He bit me while I was trying to calm down a tantrum and, honestly, for a second I almost let it go. He jumped back and his eyes bulged out and he looked at me. He KNEW it was wrong and he'd get in trouble, which is what I'm pretty much going for. But I know that if I did let it go then he'd know he could try it again and again, and while it's annoying on me, what would happen if he started biting other children while upset? I don't want to let that happen if I have any control over it, and I do have control. So I did my "zero tolerance" freak out, I made him stand up, grabbed my bag, yanked him by the arm (safely, conscious of nurses elbow) down the hall while he cried, stopped to tell him in no uncertain terms that biting was very mean and very wrong and he was in very, very big trouble, plopped him in his stroller then mostly ignored him on the walk to the car except to remind him he was in trouble.

I had to stop myself from breaking down and hugging him so many times, he was just so miserable, but the only way this works (I've found) is if I'm just outright not nice to him for a few minutes. When we got to the car he asked to go potty (we'd gone an hour before) and I told him no, we weren't near a potty. Then I said the dumbest, meanest thing that I could've said that I regret and will continue to regret for a long time. I told him if he had to go then he'd just have to go in his diaper like a baby. I think it was phrased more like "if you're going to bite like a baby does, you'll have to go potty in your diaper too." I felt like crap after saying it, especially when he started crying and patting his chest and telling me that he was a big boy. God, I'm having trouble not crying now...

We talked softly in the car for a bit and I apologized, and he fell asleep. I carried him in and he woke up for a few seconds. We hugged. He just looked so upset, so remorseful. I know that's what I want, for him to know that biting is so utterly terrible that it's not worth doing in anyway. I just hate making my kid feel shame. I know it's a part of parenting, I know that I have to use what I know works for him and I know he'll wake up in an hour or so and we'll cuddle and read books and play and eat cookies and have fun and be happy.

I still feel awful. I mean, my kid cried and I caused it. Yeah it saves a lot of further problems down the road, and yeah my warnings will go a lot further for a long time, but still... this parenting thing is hard...

Why is it that at the day, despite all the hugs and kisses and reading and playing and fun things, all I'll remember is this horrible second or that horrible second? Like the way he tried to plop down when we got to the hall and I didn't notice at first so I was actually swinging him for a second? Or the way he tried to bargain with me and I wouldn't have it? Or the sound of him crying... God, I hate that sound, I just want to bundle him up and hug him forever and make everything better and to know that I'm willingly causing it, if only for a few minutes...

I think I'll go and brood for a bit until my boy wakes up and I can hug him and talk to him. This would've been easier if he hadn't fallen right asleep. I just want to resolve it and move on and then cuddle and be happy again. And he looked so miserable... :(

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a Bad Mommy Day!

Not a Horrid Mommy Day, mind you, just a lazy butt, not really do anything, just keep giving him activities to entertain himself so I can phase out online kinda day. One of those days where I'm not really awake and not particularly happy for some reason and I just don't think face to face interactions are the best things right now. Except for hugs and cuddles. Those he gets upon request (he's just too cute!).

So the inspection was done on Saturday at the townhouse, hope to get that list of wanted repairs really soon so we can get past that hurdle. I just wanna freakin' CLOSE already! Yeesh! Adoption involves enough waiting and stress, does it need to involve selling a house in a buyer's market too??? Either way, I'm trying to keep myself emotionally guarded in case it falls through. We can't move forward without selling this house, not safely, so it's the next big hurdle in our road to adoption.

Paxton is making a very pretty picture. :)

Anyway, we've been horrible about bedtimes lately and it's really showing in the bags under my kid's eyes. On Saturday Nik went to a friend's house for D&D and I took Pax to visit my best friend. I also took WALL-E, which we hadn't yet seen. We ate dinner then dressed P for bed, then cuddled up for the movie. And watched all of it. I mean, I expected I would, but I thought maybe P would fall asleep at some point, all curled up and warm in a dark room. But nope. Then I tried to make him fall asleep on R's bed while we talked in the other room. Again, no. So an hour and a half past his bedtime, I plopped him in the car and drove home. He didn't fall asleep in the car. Two hours after bedtime he finally fell into a fitful, overly exhausted sleep. He woke up early and asked Nik to put in WALL-E. We've watched it a lot by now.

Paxton is now crawling on me and saying "Pizza yummy". The colors have gone away. His right hand is very neon pink.

Anyway, we let him nap Sunday afternoon then put him to bed half an hour late last night. He woke up early and tired and wanting WALL-E again. Now he's whiney and tired and I think he'll be getting another nap today. Hopefully.

My mother should be over very soon as we're going to lunch, then coming back so she can teach me how to sew. I hope to figure out this bizarre contraption and soon be able to sew much needed or wanted items. That would be nice.

Oh, and we "finished" Christmas shopping. Bought boyo a play kitchen and sit and spin at Goodwill for $15 and $3 respectively. That adds on to all his other little "here and there" toys, like the $12 sale laptop, $5 plastic tea set, $3 silly snake, etc.

Time for some cleaning before lunch. Paxton found his "treasure chess" again. It's a chess set in a box. He opened it, we said "chess!", he said "treasure chess!" I think it was then followed by an "Ar Matey!" with his little hook finger.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In An Attempt to Keep Posting Here....

Some things I find cute about Paxton:

-His new phrases. He's putting so much together himself now, and he's getting a nice "sure of himself" attitude to go along with it. For example, I'll say we need do go out and he'll respond with "no, stay here!" I put my hand up to catch his drink if it fell off the table (which was likely) and he grabbed it, said "no!" then pointed to my glass and said "mommy's drink!" nodded and went back to eating. Just now I peeled a Clementine for him and he clapped for me. He was very happy about his "lemons."

-His interactions with people. He's becoming so cuddly with adults and other kids, following bigger kids, playing nice with littler kids, talking to kids his own size. He has a girlfriend at the kids museum. His face lights up when she comes in the room. She like my age. She's pretty, he has good taste. He dresses her, makes her drink "tea," and makes her play with him whenever he sees her.

-I love how happy he is about the silliest things. While it can annoy me when he's constantly getting upset, when he's constantly getting happy (enough to just clap for no reason) I'm sooo thrilled! I love this kid.

Okay so no news yet on the inspection at our old place or any list of repairs. Honestly, until we close I'm not going to celebrate. I'm just going to cross my fingers and pray and hope and just.... well, yeah those things. Same with Nik's new job offer, one that looks good but we lack some specifics. There are only 7 people in this company, no HR, so they're taking awhile to get back to him. Hopefully today or tomorrow we'll know...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Breath In, Looooong Breath Out...

Today we are officially under contract with the house. I'm a little too nervous about this to go "whoo hoo!" just yet, but right now... I'm happy. Calm. Relieved.

If all goes well and as planned, by the end of January we should be "on the market."

We wanted to be "on the market" a month ago.

Suddenly January seems awful close...

We're excited and hopeful and nervous and keeping our fingers firmly crossed for the next 5+ weeks.

If all goes well... then the journey can proceed.

Today I took some Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek caplets. They've just been sitting there, unopened, for months. Don't know if they'll do much without a pump or Domperidone or a hungry infant mouth but... first steps. First tentative, cautious steps.

At some point we get to take our last remaining items out of the old house. That includes the lamp, the one that will be used to light the nursery. It's so symbolic, isn't it?

I need to pray and thank God and Joseph and everyone and just... just be thankful. Prayer always reminds me to be thankful, because it always makes me look at the blessings around me and realize, in the face of God, how exceptionally blessed we are. How many people in this day and of our age, can say they have as full and easy a life as us?

Alright, so now comes the awful waiting period of just praying it all works out. I suppose it's just a trial run for the waiting period in adoption, after being matched and before placement. We can do this. We'll be fine.

I'm feeling so, so very hopeful now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Li'l P's Guide to a Freak Out

When past the terrible twos and teething stage, one can find life rather boring and monotonous. So we just have to spice it up a bit with a random freak out, not normally called a tantrum as they're a bit different. This is a guide to how our Pax utilizes his freaking out capabilities.

The actions involved:
a) for quiet freak out: Go totally limp and fall to floor, then look to caregiver with wondering eyes as if asking what on Earth happened to make you crash to the floor. If sitting, go limp and drop whatever's in hand, typically coloring or eating utensil. Again, stare at caregiver. Try to make it out as if caregiver and gravity are in cahoots.
b) for loud freak out: Momentarily go limp as you prepare, then flail, hit and kick. Make sure any food in your mouth either falls out or comes extremely close to doing so and freak out even more when this happens. Cry, scream and yell in a shrill voice, especially words like "NO!" and "DON'T!" and phrases such as "kick mommy!" If there's food or drink in front of you, flail into it so it goes everywhere, or just throw it and aim. Oh, and remember to use real tears and drool everywhere! That's how everyone watching knows it's "real"!

The required stimulus:
a) for quiet freak out: Be told either to do something or not to do something. If eating, make sure this has absolutely nothing to do with food. Wait for a proper "after this we're going to..." then drop your fork, fall forward onto table, and start crying.
b) for loud freak out: Possible stimuli include such things as food not holding right to fork, bananas breaking in half, one or both parents refusing to give you their entire meal to play with, food mixing, food not mixing, someone talking to you, something dangerous being taken away, being told no, being told yes, seeing someone you recognize, a gust of wind, a ray of light, a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere, etc. You don't need a good reason for a loud freak out, just make sure you can make yourself suitably upset about the "cause" such that nothing can be done to calm you.

The come down:
a) for quiet freak out: As this freak out is never meant to last long unless you're hoping to cause someone else to freak out, simply get over it and go about your business as if it never happened. Or suddenly transition to loud freak out. Remember, don't give any warning!
b) for loud freak out:
1-When with mommy you don't get much of a choice. You'll be cuddled on first freak out typically but then quickly put in time out to calm down. If in morning, you'll be placed in bed. If not, you'll be placed on a chair. Either way mommy will stay a suitable distance away such that you can't hit her. Remember to get in parting shots then!
2-When with anyone other that mommy without mommy present, throw a huge fit and wait for the cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. Remember to carry on either a very short time (30 seconds) or a very long time (15 minutes). Keep 'em guessing! And remember those real tears, because everyone other than mommy actually buys it. If you can, keep up a string of freak outs such that it seems never ending. Be warned though that this gets boring after awhile.
3-When in the presence of both mommy and other people, freak out as much as humanly possible. Make certain that you mostly do it either right beside or right in front of mommy, so that she looks like a jerk for "ignoring" you or scolding you. Milk it, buddy. Throw that fit, look right into someone's eyes with huge tears pouring down and beg for something mommy said no to. Remember to smack mommy as much as possible, which somehow works to make her look like even more of a jerk as if she asked for it. Be warned! This one won't have the chance to get boring as mommy gets fed up quickly and as soon as a your situation has been diagnosed as a freak out and not a real upset you'll find yourself being picked up and moved to a place where it's just you and mommy, something that somehow also works to make her look like a jerk as everyone and their momma seems to think mommy is spanking you or slapping you or just doing something plain awful when she does this (though no one ever stops her or checks...). You can milk that to but either way you're going to end up placed in a safe, dry time out spot, inside or out, and mommy will stay near but will not interact other than to keep you sitting and safe. Feel free to scream it out, mommy's cool with that, but don't expect a hug until you've ended the freak out as mommy knows you like to head bash in hugs, you little sneak you. Typically after time out is when to end all freak outs in this particular session as mommy will continue putting you immediately into time out the second you start.

Freak outs are fun! They let you get away with lots of awful stuff and most people are cool with it because you're little. Remember to pretend you don't speak English and even more people get angry at mommy. Oh, and you might get candy out of it! You often do when with other people.
Also, remember that you can freak out as much as you like, and mommy will still adore you. It's awesome! Dude, you have it made! If you're worried about this, though, be good and loving for about 5 minutes. That's how long it takes for every ounce of anger to seep out of mommy's body, such that you can start afresh with your freak outs and mommy will be considerably patient with you.


As a side note, yes people do seem to judge me a bit harshly when Pax acts up in public. I'm either the woman who ignores her kid (as if his own mother can't tell the difference between a real upset and a freak out), or I'm the person who can't control her kid (as if he has an on/off switch). At home it's much easier as I can either put him in bed, put him in his time out chair, or if I'm afraid I myself am getting to worked up I can just leave the room for a few minutes, staying withing earshot.

Typically, though, he does this for other people and not me. As soon as eyes are off of him he stops, and the longer it goes the more impossible he gets to the point where he's gagging and coughing because he's freaking out so hard. So many people I know want me to just hug it out, but really? That doesn't typically work for him. I'll try it the first time or two that he freaks but after that, nope, not gonna do it since it's all attention getting from that point on.

I'll probably type more about my various parenting techniques for this child later on, but suffice it to say I'm not raising him or disciplining him in the ways I thought I would.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How I Knew We Were Meant To Adopt...

People often ask us "why Ethiopia?" but they rarely ask "why adoption?" Most likely they just assume a reason, or they don't want to be rude. It's not like it's a question I won't answer, so long as it's asked politely.

Hmmm, why did we want to adopt... well, we've both always felt pulled to adopt. From the time I saw a video on Romanian orphanages in high school that made me cry... and my husband with his fear of overpopulation... But that's what made us open to it, what made is want to do it some day in the future.

What made us totally thrilled with the idea of adoption, to the point that it was preferable to continuing to try for a biological child via fertility treatments?


Something about us, something about the way our minds work or the way our hearts work or something, well, it just clicked. We were supposed to adopt and we did and we have an incredible child to show for it.

I think there was a defining moment, though, a realization, an "ah hah!" The same realization I had the first time around that I'm having this time around.

I visit web forums a lot. Like, more than a daily basis. I used to be a part of epregnancy. I used to chat on the TTC group and wish and hope and pray and pine away hoping for a pregnancy. But... see, people kept getting pregnant and having babies and I just... didn't feel like a part of that. I was happy for them, sure, and I was touched by some of their stories. But it didn't seem like where I was meant to be, and it really didn't thrill me. Someone would announce their pregnancy and I'd let out a small smile, no jealousy felt, and congratulate.

Then I started to research adoption and started to visit adoption forums. That's when it happened. "She's coming home!" I'd read. "Out of PGN!" "We got the call!" "We're on our way to meet our son!" Just writing those words makes my heart clench and tears well up. My God I cannot explain it... while the news of a pregnancy just makes me nod and smile, the news of adoption makes me all out sob in utter joy. I'm thrilled to the core by adoption, by the joining of lives to make a family. I don't just accept it, I'm not resigned to it, and I didn't settle for it. I'm thrilled by it. I prefer it. This, to me, is the perfect way to build a family.

Today the Babies! post was put up on ChinaAdoptTalk. I have no desire to adopt from China anytime in the near future, and we are far to young to even be considered as potential candidates. And yet... reading the posts, seeing people praying and hoping and waiting month after month, knowing that there are children being left on the streets and raised in orphanages, and then to see the families so gladly and tearfully announce their new children... I cry every time. I pray with them. I hope for them. I get angry along side them. Sure, it's secretly and lurker-ly, but who cares? I feel for them, far more than I feel for a person going through fertility treatments and far more than I feel for a first time TTCer (though, remember, I DO care).

Someday, maybe, the thought of a pregnancy will thrill me. It's certainly still a possibility, one Nik and I still entertain, and I wouldn't see it as second best to adoption just as I don't see adoption as second best to giving birth. We'll just have to follow the road layed out before us, no matter how dim our vision, and trust that tomorrow will bring us great joy, one way or another.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My first religious post in a looooong time...

One of the reasons for starting this blog is so that I can feel comfortable posting about religion. Many of the people I know from LiveJournal are not comfortable with religion, especially Christianity, and while I greatly respect their views I feel uncomfortable sharing my own thoughts.

I am a Christian, of that I'm certain. I'm also a liberal. I'm pro-choice but anti-abortion, I'm a bit of a conservative in some areas, way too liberal in others, and like to think I'm a moderate just left of center but know that this is likely not true. I believe in Christ, I believe in the Bible though I do not think it's infallible. I believe in God, my Lord do I believe in God, though I think I view God differently than many other's who believe in God.

I'm even a bit peculiar about how I came to have such a great faith. Ever played The Sims? I have. Total addict. I control little people, help shape them, help form their very lives, lead them along and they still don't always listen to me. I provide them with a bathroom and they still scream at me for not leading them there so they could pee in the toilet and not on the floor. I provide a fridge and they still starve to death. I put them in seemingly loving households where there's no reason for dissagreement and their relationships drop into the negatives because someone in a bad mood pushed someone else. It's all so relatable to God and his relationship with us, though I'd like to think those times when I get bored with the extra people and just kill them all and laugh have absolutely nothing to do with natural disasters.

So, in short, I'm a liberal, progressive, somewhat nutty and non-traditional Christian who finds it hard to fit in religiously with those who share my interests, and finds it hard to share common interests with those who share my religion, although my UCC church is fantastic and as I've grown as a person I'm finding more in common with my churchy brethren.

On to the point finally, ie Time To Get Religious:

I've been thinking about St. Joseph an awful lot lately. It all started with us trying to sell our old townhouse, a great little house that people could buy for really cheap that would make most people pretty dang happy. I feel bad for it, it's a lonely little house and it's done no wrong, yet here it sits empty and alone, constantly trodden with new people to reject it. It was a safe house, a warm house with good vibes that made us feel comfy and at home. I love this house.

While trying to sell this house we've had a lot of issues, but now everything's repaired or repainted and it looks beautiful, all gussied up and just waiting, waiting, hoping for it's new family to shield from the elements and keep safe and warm. After several months of two mortgages, I began to pray, for us, for our son and the child we cannot yet adopt until the house sells, for the house, for the new family of the house to find it. I know God's pretty dang busy like all the time, and there are far, far more important things in the world, but... in times of strife, any strife, isn't it wonderful to know you have a friend? A confidant? Someone who'll always listen? Someone who's never failed to send me little thoughts or signs? Isn't it nice to know every time I pray or start crying a new showing happens? I prayed for a sale, of course, but mostly I've been praying for hope. Please keep our hope alive, oh God, and please remind me that this will end when it needs to end and it's all planned already.

Through the prayer I remembered my Catholic routes. I'm not Catholic, never was, but my parents were both raised to be. My mother was French Catholic, father was Irish Catholic, very different according to them. I wouldn't know. What I do know is that my father's family always had little statuettes of the saints about, especially in cars or homes. They were cute, I thought, and I didn't see a real reason to NOT turn to the saints to help us in a time of need (not great need, no, but need nonetheless).

So I looked it up and discovered St. Joseph. Now, Joseph isn't a guy I'd given much thought to previously. Why would I? And yet, here he was, blessing houses around the country and helping them to sell. I asked my mother about it and she ordered one for me online. As soon as it arrived I read the instructions and drove over to my old house. My son fell asleep in the car, and as the neighborhood was silent and empty at that time of day I let him stay there for a nap while I did this.

The first step wasn't to bury him and hope, it was to pray. And pray I did. I didn't intend to cry.

It had never occured to me until I prayed, not until I'd thought about it, what Joseph meant to me. Here I am trying to sell a house so that we can adopt our second child, and here's Joseph, the most well known of all adoptive parents. According to the Bible, which I don't always believe yet love anyway, Mary the Virgin conceived Jesus immaculately. Joseph chose not to turn her away and married her anyway, after a dream telling him that she had not cheated on him and was in fact carrying the son of God. It had never occured to me previously how much in common we had. He was raising another's child, a child that did not have biological ties. He could've turned away, could've chosen to raise only children he himself had brought into this world. But he didn't. He CHOSE to accept this unborn child, CHOSE to love a child not his in flesh in blood. He didn't care about the thoughts of society, the child, in his eyes, was his. He loved Mary, and he loved her son, now HIS son. He gave him his last name, raised him, taught him his trade. He fed and clothed him, disciplined him, loved him and cared for him. And in many ways his story is one of the greatest fears of all adoptive parents, that they should be forgotten in adulthood in favor of the "natural" parent. Jesus is forever remembered as the son of God, not the son of Joseph. He was just Mary's husband. Just Jesus' stepfather. Just another man. That's all I used to see him as and now I realize his story is so, so much more.

So I cried as I prayed, suddenly realizing the similarities and feeling so guilty. Then I buried the statue. Well, I ended up kinda wedging him into the ground with my foot. I just pray St. Joseph has a sense of humor...

It was brought to me again this Sunday at church as our minister spoke of St. Joseph. How Joseph is the one who received the annunciation in the book of Matthew. How the society of that time would've called for Mary to have been stoned to death at her father's door, and how Joseph would've had full support had he chosen this route. Heck, that stoning rule is even in the Bible. Joseph betrayed his land's law to save the woman who he felt had betrayed him, and yet after his dream he chose to go even further and keep Mary as his betrothed, finish the dowry and marry her. Furthermore he chose to raise this child. As my minister put it, Joseph must have really loved Mary.

Perhaps it's popular culture or a liberal mindframe, but I sometimes have trouble associating any part of Christianity with love, despite the fact that Jesus' greatest wish was that we all love each other as we wish to be loved. For some reason, picturing Joseph at that time in that life with that dilemma, picturing his world and his thoughts, and realizing that he chose love... I don't know, it's almost overwhelming.

We chose love when we jumped through hoops and travelled across the ocean to bring home our son, and while some people might see it as an act of charity and others as an act of selfishness, in truth it was our love for our child who we did not yet know, who we had no biological relation to, who was so different from us and who we knew might someday reject us in favor of his homeland and his first family.

But we have support. We have peers. We have a family who agrees with us and upholds our decision and friends who do the same. Our family is not so abnormal.

But what must it have been like for Joseph? What of rumors? All societies have their gossips and people didn't seem to believe Jesus was a chosen one until he was far older than an infant. And here's this honorable, law abiding citizen who chose to balk at the rumors and take them in stride and love this woman and accept her child as his own son.

More and more I respect the man. Many men wouldn't even consider such a thing, not even for the son of God. Heck, especially for the son of God. Who on earth wants to compete with God as a father figure? And yet, according to the Bible, he did it. And for that I respect him and love him and feel for him. I can only imagine his life, only imagine what it was like when Mary birthed Joseph a child and he worried over caring for them the same, only imagine what it was like the first time he lost his temper. I can see him gazing down at this tiny child, knowing innately what he will become (not the full scope of course, but still knowing he'll be a great man) and knowing that one day he won't be the father Jesus calls out to. I can imagine the heartbreak and the love and the care and it just...

Yeah, it makes me cry. I'm a bit of a cryer now.

I suppose this is where I should leave off as I'm getting rather rambly. Suffice it to say, I'm believing in the Saints more now. Perhaps it comes with not seeing them as huge, Godlike figures, but seeing them as they were, men and women of their time periods doing something extraordinary.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby Dreams....

Back when we were trying to conceive, a good 3 years ago, I had several similar dreams. In them I was typically pregnant and would give birth during the dream, to a beautiful baby girl I'd name Serah (for several reasons, not the least of which being that my sister's name is Sarah). I was so certain for awhile there, so sure that this was a premonition and that we'd actually have our little baby girl.

Obviously, that did not pan out, though it's always a possibility that it's something yet to come.

Last night I had a dream. We had a new baby handed to us, a teensy, weensy baby boy. He was more like a fetus at about 5 months gestation, small enough to fit in my hand. In the dream I placed him between my breasts under my shirt and carried him around, my right hand holding him firm as his tiny little body snuggled for warmth. His little head strained to look up at us, big brown eyes straining to see. Paxton was in the dream, doting over his new baby brother, and Nik was there too, so happy. My family was congratulating us and I was just adoring this tiny little thing, with his dark curls and tan skin. As tiny as he was the weight of his little bottom on my hand as I supported him gave me comfort. He was real. He was there. I could feel him.

I know better than to put any stock in such a dream. I know this does not automatically mean that our next child is currently in the womb and reaching out to us, nor does it mean he's 5 months gestation or that he's African American or even that he's a he. The fact that I used to hold an underweight kitten the same way to warm her frail little body is something I need consider as I do still have maternal feelings associated with cuddling a tiny, helpless little thing in this way and warming a body that can't quite warm itself.

And yet...

It gives me hope. Our next child is out there, or will be soon, and our house will sell and we'll be ready for him or her or them whenever we need to be and not a minute too soon. There is a plan and a reason and a timing and it's all falling together, though it seems as if it's in disarray. We just need to hold on and work and pray and remind ourselves of the blessings we already have and how lucky we are, and we need to enjoy the life we're living now with time to ourselves and one wonderful little child who's easy to care for and who is enjoying his alone time with us.

Our second child will come to us. We just have to be ready when the time is right.

I still can't help it, though, that I wish beyond reason that this time is very soon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Day, Another Showing, Another Hope...

I may as well go ahead and actually post over here. I was tempted to vent my thoughts on LiveJournal, however I figured this is the more appropriate blog as it's a family thing.

I've been posting ads on Craigslist for the house. Everytime I do this, we bring in at least another showing. This is the third time I've posted and there is someone seeing the house right at this second, unless they were utterly disgusted and left immediately. That means that there's a possibility, however remote, that we could get "the call." Not "THE call," as in "we have a baby for you" but "the call" as in "we have an offer on your townhome."

At this point we've been paying two mortgages for over six months. We couldn't move into this house for roughly a month as there were deed issues (it was a foreclosure) and we needed new carpet, paint and AC. We then didn't have all our stuff out and the old house set up for over a month. We're lazy like that, have long transition periods. We still haven't unpacked all our boxes and aren't planning to anytime soon.

So it's been on the market like... well, I know it's over 100 days now. We've had numerous people see it. Some were interested and couldn't get financing, one wanted it but knew (and hated) a neighbor, and MANY want to do lease to own. People we know keep telling us to rent it. We don't want to become landlords. We want to sell it.

This isn't about money. Well, in a sense it is. See, it costs money to adopt. We aren't doing foster adoption, which is pretty much free except for the HS and classes and such. We don't think we'll do agency adoption either, probably use a referral service or adoption attorney. Our adoption might not even cost that much, but I can assure you as people who've never had a newborn or small infant, we'll sure as heck need a lot of stuff. Cloth diapers are expensive, babies run through a lot of cloths and sheets, slings and boppies and all sorts of stuff that we'd like to have will all cost a hefty sum when added together, and then there's the cost of travel on top of it as it's likely our baby won't come from NC. Even were we to be able to afford the adoption itself without the money from the house, affording the care of a child plus the care of our current child and ourselves AND two mortgages...

What it comes down to is this: we really, really NEED to sell that house. It's not about money or about moving on or about convenience. It's about the fact that we have a completed homestudy just sitting on a shelf and an empty nursery with an empty crib and a little 3 year old boy who gazes into said crib and talks about the baby that will one day fill it, with such amazement in his eyes. It's about the fact that minority infants throughout the US are going to fostercare or being adopted internationally because of a lack of homes here. It's because we just FEEL our next child is out there, somewhere. Probably still in the womb, possibly already born, and while they might not need us right this second, we'd like to be ready for when they do need us.

And while I know it's all going to happen when it's supposed to happen, and not sooner or later than it needs to be, it's all just so frustrating and somewhat infuriating. Sure, we have "worst comes to worse" plans, and yes, we are so, so blessed and we do realize this. If this is all we have to complain about then believe me I know we're lucky.

I still wish that dang house would sell though. Seriously, we'd be willing to make a bargain on it too.

Introductory Post

Well, hello fellow bloggers and those who've been coerced to read my blog. I'm here to write a blog. Not a particularly good blog, nor a particularly bad blog, just a blog. I've written blogs before. Infact, I've been with livejournal for almost seven years now, under the username Ladyofmoonlight (my screen name most places). However, I felt it was time to finally create a blog just for family, a "family friendly" blog if you will. This is not my first attempt. I started a secondary livejournal back when my husband and I were first married and trying to conceive. Unfortunately, it mostly ended up being a rant journal where I'd whine about this and that that my husband did or didn't do. It all came to a quick stop with one semen analysis, backed up by a second one (and now two more) confirming that it would be highly unlikely that we'd be getting pregnant anytime soon.

I think had another blog, one I started shortly after receiving our referral for our son from Ethiopia. I posted 5 times. I could not get the hang of blogger after so many years at LJ.

But... I'm trying again. I want to be able to record every. single. thought, every bizarre notion that runs through my head,without boring the people in LJ land (who don't really read it much anyway which is highly understandable). I want to talk about different parenting techniques, playground etiquette and politics, subtle racism my child is being exposed to, and the journey of just living our lives. On top of that, we have the fact that we're starting/have started a second adoption. We're "paper ready" for a domestic adoption, in that we have a homestudy sitting upstairs gathering dust as we await the sale of our old townhouse. So I'll probably be whining about the townhouse a bit too, though as I'd like to keep this blog more family oriented and safe for even my children to someday read I'll likely do most of my more, er, "naughty word using" whining over at my livejournal. It's been a wonderful ran journal anyway.

And so, now that I've written a long introduction to our introduction, here, let me introduce my family:

Hello, I'm Megan. I talk a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Like you have to just get up and walk away when you're sick of me because I just won't stop. Expect my posts to be long and full of ramble. As for the specifics, I'm a 26 year old Maine born woman who has lived in NC for half her life (do the math, it's easy!), married a Carolinian and am now living the life of a Southern Housewife. I have an English degree from UNC, which I managed to get in 3 years and still haven't properly used unless you count long, unintelligible blogs and sometimes videogame fanfiction. I enjoy being online (a lot), talking forever at coffeeshops with my best friend R, reading graphic novels, playing very easy videogames, forcing my husband to play very hard video games so I can watch, and of course playing with my adorable little son.

My husband is Nik. He's 24, also a bit of a gamer, and very forgiving of his semi-nutso wife. He's a very loving, ever present father who spends soooo much time with his kid it almost boggles my mind. He works in the software engineer field and comes home to play with his boy, give him a bath and read him bedtime stories, then gets right up with him in the morning. He's a long blond haired vegetarian, like me (only I'm brunette). I could say more, a lot more in fact, but rest assured I'm very pleased with my choice of mate :)

Our son is Paxton, age 3. He came home from Ethiopia on his 2nd birthday, seated between his daddy and me. We recently hit the one year home mark and he's been doing specatularly. We really could not have asked for a better child. Despite some very tough times there dealing with seemingly unending teething and so, so much violence on his part, we've come out the other side strong and happy. He's a calm, happy, smart and loving boy who kisses the booboos of anyone crying, loves to give hugs and kisses, says please and thank you, and is already starting to read a bit. He sleeps through the night, eats well, lets us know what he wants and doesn't want, can be easily reasoned with, has a great sense of humor, and he can easily amuse himself, as he's doing right now.

Hopefully our family will grow again within the coming months, and we have all hope that by next Christmas we'll be holding our new little one in our arms. Just as my Livejournal detailed our journey to adopt Paxton, so will this journal detail our journey to adopt Baby Bender (our joke name for the new kiddo, we came up with it one night after several leaps of logic we cannot recall, but it stuck). We're expecting a lot of hope, heartache, joy, pain, excruciating decisions and moments filled with such happiness as cannot be described by mere words. The journey to Paxton was hard, and this one might even be harder, but one look at my happy, smiling, thriving child tells me that it's all worth it in the end.