Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweet Lil P

This afternoon I took my boys to Marbles before heading to dinner with my parents. I had emailed my mother just to whine and we agreed that dinner with the grandparents would cheer P up after a rough spot this morning, especially with Daddy being out tonight.

While at Marbles he found some craft supplies, asked a staff member kindly for a stapler, and proceeded to create a book from scratch with no help.

His title page. He did it Manga style :) "this is me"

This one's easy to read. It made me start to tear up.

This one is not easy to read :-P "I am a good engineer, very good. I am smart, very good."

"Blue is good, very good. Booo (say it like a ghost now), I am good."

I was tearing up and could only whisper "Good boy" when I got to the end.

"Silly mommy," he said with a smile. "It says good bye!"


Good Bay!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Yesterday was so warm, like the days preceding, and I got thiiiis close to pulling out bright summer clothes, flip flops, and sunglasses and having us all pose for a "Christmas in NC" picture :)

Today? It is not so hot. Not freezing, no, but not summer clothes weather.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it was the weather, the fact that we didn't decorate, or the fact that we had just been busy, but I was so not feeling this Christmas thing. I mean, family? Presents? Good food and lots of laughter? Yes, definitely looking forward to it. And I'm certainly not feeling morose or depressed this Holiday, in fact I'm quite happy and at peace right now.

But there was just something about the magic missing for me...

So last night we tried out this thing called Lights on the Neuse. It's in another city, half an hour away, and it cost almost $30. That coupled with the crowds, the costs for cocoa or other treats, having to wait in line an hour in the cold, jumpy children, and it not in any way being what I expected when we got there...

Yeah, I was ready to leave.

By the time we got up to the front of the line, P had been in trouble several times for various dumb things we normally would've let slide, A was fussy and shivering, and Nik and I were both just groaning.

For a second that broke, when a group of girls started to sing "Rudolph" and so many people, me included, joined in. Ambrose even clapped. And then it was gone and went back to waiting for them to load up the next tractor for the "hayride," where really it was just a tractor pulling a long platform with benches and railings at each side and some hay thrown down in the middle.

We boarded, snuggled in, reprimanded the kids again because, sheesh, we don't want to hold still for this long either but seriously just sit still!

And then we were off.

And it was incredible. Breathtaking. Magical.

And it wasn't so much the music, though that seemed all encompassing, nor was it necessarily the half hour light show, though that truly blew us away. It was my husband and I, each with a quiet, snuggling, wide eyes little boy sitting on our lap, watching the magic through their eyes and realizing that this night, this music, these lights, this feeling, was something they would remember forever, even if only a distant memory.

This Christmas may just be another Christmas for me. It's not a "first" Christmas for anyone, nothing horrid happened to our family this year where Christmas is helping to heal us, we aren't struggling and we aren't going all out. In some ways, it's just another day, something fun and something worth noting, but it would probably pass right out of our memory banks.

But looking at P... watching his eyes, hearing his voice, feeling him tense when lights would flick on and a whole lit up magical playground, moving by itself, would appear beside us from nowhere... feeling his body relax against mine as we trekked through the forest path, full of lit flowers and cottages and wildlife... seeing his face when we got to an open field, dark and quiet, and suddenly in a blaze of light a whole forest of bright multicolored trees light up and start flashing to the music...

And knowing my own memories and realizing that he will likely remember that moment, that special, magical time for the rest of his life...

That, to me, was magic.

And it made me tear up.

Oh, and the best part, of course, were his words.

"Mommy, I love you. Thank you for bringing me here. I'll remember it for always."

Ah! This boy kills me!

Granted a few minutes later he told me he was board and needed my iPhone... But eh, that was erased pretty quickly at the next light show :)


I should note that we capped off that night by going back into the mostly neglected 3D house, where you grab a pair of 3D glasses and walk through a barn filled with walls and tight twists and turns, with 3D painted on Christmas scenes all over the walls as you walk through.

We were at the very back, admiring a baby Jesus painting, when Nik tells me something is wrong with Ambrose. I turned around but he was hard to see in the black light with my 3D glasses on. It was just so dim...

So I bend over and ask, "Ambrose, what's wrong?"

"Nakey!" he tells me.

That's when I noticed he wasn't wearing anything but a shirt and he was holding himself and preparing to pee.

On baby Jesus.

So yeah, I got to be the crazy woman wearing 3D glasses grabbing a half naked child in the freezing cold and running past people as quickly as I could screaming, "WE DO NOT PEE ON BABY JESUS!!!"

He held it until we got home, haha!


Today we all got up early, despite a late bedtime. We had breakfast at one of our old favorites, went to the only place open in the area (Durham Life and Sci), then rushed home to help the security guy set up our new system. It's nifty! I can see my living room from my phone! And the kid's windows are monitored now too, which makes me feel better. No more finding P perched on his sill or leaning out to hold early morning conversations with people walking down the street while we're still sleeping. Oh, and no one can get in too.

No I need to go quickly wrap a small gift for my grandparents that the kids made and head over there. Eep! We're supposed to be to their house (20 minutes away) in 9 minutes! Oh well, you win some you lose some :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Breathe, woman, breathe...

Dear me,

Yes, you're tired. You've been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to sleep and you stayed up too late, only to be woken up quite early by two very excited children who now understand the concept of "Holiday Break."

And yeah, you put off drinking coffee until you got to your mother's at 9:30, instead of 7am, and you're kinda thrown off.

And yeah, getting them fed and ready for nap was a hassle.

And yeah... yeah, you failed at that.

For the toddler, who was nursing and crying and slapping you at 6:20 am is now the same toddler who has been rubbing raccoon eyes for 2 hours, crying, getting violent, and refusing to sleep.

You cannot take him to his room until his big brother is asleep, meaning instead of getting your own needed quiet time and then some fun time with both kids, you will now be stuck at home for roughly 5 hours straight having to keep one child quiet while the other sleeps.

And that sucks.

Especially when you have so, so much to do and when they will both be miserable about the situation and you are already miserable and, urg, yeah, sucks.

But you know what?

You got your 6 year old to sleep and he's been down 2 hours, two very necessary hours given his state when you sent him to bed, and that's awesome.

And you still got lunch (yeah, the salad making was super rushed but eh, you remembered the lettuce to it's all good). And you still got a shower, even if it was a 2 minute military shower that you rushed through quickly while the toddler screamed at you and you tried to shush him. It had been 3 days since your last shower, thanks to all the holiday hustle and bustle, so yeah, you're feeling much better and you should savor that feeling.

And the tired toddler is actually doing alright and will likely nap, and while truly inconvenient for everyone it will make it possible for you to actually get some one on one time with your 6 year old. That's rare. Savor that as well. And indulge in that new family fun video game you picked up just for him.

Also? Your house is full of chocolate and sweets. Granted, not as full as it was a couple days ago before you went into all out chocoholic mode... but you held off longer than you normally do, so hey, go you! You might only gain 10 lbs this Holiday instead of the expected 12! Hooray!

Also, your husband is cool and is commiserating over Google chat, sorta, and that's cool. And, um, you're seeing your mother later, maybe you can ask her to bring wine? She has lots of wine. That will make post-bedtime life awesome right?

Also, more chocolate. Just focus on the chocolate.

Oh, and the whole "family is safe, happy, healthy, and thriving and we've had such a great year" thing. Yeah, think about that :)

So, me, please stop being all emo at the computer about something dumb like spending over an hour trying to get a child to sleep and having him get angry and start hitting you and screaming. He was tired and didn't mean it, and you are tired and need to honor that, and maybe the chocolate will make it all better. Just hide it from the kids because you will not be happy if they find your chocolate stash :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pre-Christmas Quickie

Bullet Point Style!

-Just got in our invite for the MAPP classes and I checked the confirmation box. Will be in the mail tomorrow. Already tired thinking about how our schedule will be for those 5 weeks.

-Teacher Holiday gifts all finished, wrapped, and ready to go :)

-Nik just bought and iPhone 4. If we say it's for Christmas, then it doesn't sound so expensive. Also Siri is hilarious.

-We've all, everyone in this household, had 3 nights in a row of wonderful, deep sleep with no nighttime interruptions and a reasonable wake up time. I feel so... alive.

-The night before the Great Sleepening was awful. A had been crying all through the night and needing comfort more and more, for weeks, and we were back to sleeping in shifts. We were miserable. So I left him in his room, alone, in the dark, to cry himself to sleep as he stood pounding on his door. I don't know who felt worse, him or me. He slept and woke up much happier than he had been waking up. And he's been sleeping like an angel since then. *Sigh*

-Tomorrow is the last day of school for both of them for a couple of weeks. Not sure if I'm excited or petrified.

-Finally getting in the Christmas spirit... by eating lots of chocolate. Oh, and nachos. Can't forget the Christmas nachos.

-Presents wrapped and ready to go! Wish we could open them now! Paxton doesn't even want hints, and Ambrose doesn't care. Nik and I are like kids and we want to open them NOW NOW NOW!

-Holy crap Meetup is expensive! Now if I can think of 2 other Meetup groups to start it might be worth it...

-I think I broke Paxton's heart tonight when I told him that, despite what they told him at school today, he would not in fact be boarding a real, huge steam engine and going on a magical trip to the real North Pole tomorrow, even if they are giving him real tickets for this magical trip. In fact, I think it might just be fun imaginationy stuff. He argued with me a bit and I feel bad that I disappointed him, but better me and better tonight than tomorrow at his school. I can only imagine my poor, excited boy there in his jammies on jammie day, holding his special ticket and looking around for the real Polar Express only to be told that they're just going to read the book... as if his emotions aren't all over the place enough as it is! I can see a definite total melt down possibility there.

-I need to sleep... but I'm thinking about this week! I'm excited for what we have planned! I'm excited to eat out and see family and open presents and have cookies and home made candy and cocoa and have a break from the norm and just be together. I'm excited for my kids, and I'm excited for Nik and I. I'm just sort of in this anticipation mode right now :)

If I don't post again, I hope everyone reading this has (had?) a wonderful Holiday, no matter what or how you celebrate (or even if you don't!).

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Yesterday morning I went out with a friend. My BFF, actually. A typical Wednesday would have Nik and P out of the house by 8:30, me dropping off Ambrose at school by 9, cleaning up at home until 10:30 or so and then rushing off to see Renata for a couple of hours before picking Ambrose up.

Yesterday Nik was sick and headed to the doctor. I left around 9, with him prepping to leave. I dropped of A, ran out to see my BFF for brunch because that's how her schedule was working, and then talked to Nik on the phone while we were headed back to her house so I could grab my car. As I was speaking to Nik, who'd just returned home from the doctor, he asked me, "honey, where did you move the PS3?"

"Huh?" I asked.

"The PS3... and the Wii... oh, your jewelry box is on the floor... and the back door, um..."

"Yeah, please call the cops, I'll be home soon, OMG."

So yeah, we were robbed.

Not too much was taken, really. The Playstation 3 and controller, some games, the Wii with Mario Kart and a Gamecube memory card in it. Oh, and the jewelry... they got my engagement ring, my pretty little dark opal $200 ring we bought together almost 7 years ago, right after Christmas. I loved that ring... and my class ring, but even though it was personalized it was still less meaningful. They left my other jewelry but crushed one of my gold bangles (which was a gift from BFF for high school graduation).

So we're out some stuff. Since our two biggest Christmas gifts are video games and the new controllers to play them, well, looks like we need to buy two more big gifts. In fact, I already replaced the Wii.

But the engagement ring is irreplaceable. And the save games, as dumb as this sounds, are equally irreplaceable. We're not TV people, we're gamers, and that tiny little memory card contained the saves of all our favorite gamecube games, collectibles and classics we'd played together during long nights previous to children.

Oh, and Paxton's 17 hour save game that we were working on together.

Yeah, I got to explain to my 6 year old that someone went into our house, took our stuff, and now he can't watch Netflix or play his favorite games. When I think about the fact that I won't be able to hand off my engagement ring to any of my children.... and they probably only got like $30 for it too :-(


So, for the most part, what we're missing is stuff. Material stuff. And we get that, really we do. We also get that it could have been a lot worse than it was. It could have been multiple people doing a complete job on the house, or someone armed and dangerous and willing to harm. They could have seen my husband's $2K laptop or the checkbook. They could have really trashed the place. It looks like it's highly possible Nik actually walked in on the guy and didn't notice form our split foyer, meaning the guy just ran out the back before Nik went downstairs, and yet there was no confrontation. Heck, the back door doesn't always latch properly which is how they got in, and you know what? They didn't have to break the glass. My door is just fine in this winter(ish) weather.

And we have the money. We bought another Wii and we'll buy another PS3 and hey, maybe I can ask Nik for a nice new ring come February when we celebrate 10 years together. Another opal would be glorious :)

And we can just replay the games and we can clean up the drawers, and hey, they didn't take the Christmas gifts! Sure they took some of the PS3 games, but they were all either games we were done playing, or a game where the disk was sitting out, or a game that really ticked Nik off because he couldn't get his little guy to climb this flipping tower.

So... we'll be good...


But dude...

Someone was IN my house.

Someone picked my house after watching it, perhaps for days or longer. Someone jumped my fence. Someone looked in my windows, tried my door and opened it. Someone unhooked my game systems and chose video games off my shelf. Someone went through our Christmas presents in my sewing room, where the kids aren't even allowed. Someone went through Nik's office. Someone walked up my stairs, and they probably left their shoes on (jerk). Someone went into my bedroom. Someone opened our drawers. Someone looked through Nik's stash of Christmas presents. Someone looked through my freaking *underwear* some of it now unfolded. Someone found my "personal lubricant" and left it out. Someone went through the drawer right under my pillow, the one with my personal items including childhood toys. Someone looked through the jewelry box I've had since I was 3 or 4 and tossed it aside. Someone grabbed my real jewelry box and took it downstairs. Someone took my engagement ring, my class ring, and broke my bangle, likely squished in his hand.

And then that someone just... left. Out the back door. Like it wasn't a big deal. Like they were shopping.

And they walked a couple blocks over and tried to do it to another house, but their alarm went off.

The cops think it's just some sloppy teen, a single person who lives in the neighborhood and is doing this on foot. I guess we'll see if more houses are hit...


So I had a panic attack yesterday, or rather all over yesterday just slowly off and on. I would go from laughing uncontrollably to near tears to feeling just paralyzed. Again, I know it's not as bad as it could be, not nearly so. But suddenly the cost to replace would pop into my head, and the thought of not ever seeing my engagement ring again, and the thought of someone just walking into my house and grabbing my stuff and maybe making money off of that... I would just feel ill.

And for the most part it's been passing.

Okay, yeah, I started to tear up a few times today. When they were rude to me at the first Gamestop I went to and refused to even see if someone had sold a PS3 with my serial number, something they can easily check from there, as it will be days before the police report hits them... yeah. The girl behind the counter never looked up and just flatly said, "that suck..." I tried to joke about it, since I joke about everything (just how I am), but when I started to say, "It's just that my son's Christmas gift is for the PS3," I couldn't even finish my sentence and had to leave. And they still didn't even look up.

While in the mall playground I couldn't log into my email and I freaked, knowing I was logged in to at least one or two things on the PS3 and Wii with my normal screen name and password, tore Ambrose away from the slide, and sped home as fast as I could. It was just a fluke but I changed all my passwords anyway. For a second the violation from our home really hit me and the thought of this person, whoever he/she is, having access to my email? I mean, yeah, there's account info and passwords and such, sure, but what kept going through my head was all of our adoption journeys and how much we haven't printed out or saved anyplace else. The email letting us know we'd passed court in Ethiopia, the description of A's adoption situation, a short email from our agency about how he was doing in respite, etc. Those things, too, are irreplaceable, and just so *personal*, and there are days when the boys are driving me nuts and I just have to bring up one of those emails and my skips a few beats all over again.


So yeah, I think I'm pretty much through with processing this. Facebook/In person/ Blog mental dump = over. Yay!

I guess we'll be spending some serious money in the next week or so. New PS3, alarm system, and of course a whole new drawer of underwear. I mean, ew, someone was scrounging around in there, even washing them doesn't seem safe to me right now! Who knows where those hands have been?!?!

Monday, December 12, 2011


We went to that Foster Care information session in September and sent in our application in October. I emailed shortly after that but hadn't heard anything back. I decided, since we're still torn on the direction our family building should go, that we should leave it up to "fate." If we get a call back, we'll pursue this. If not, we won't.

On Thursday afternoon I missed a call, and the caller left no voicemail. I assumed it was another debt collector for the person (alegzandermishaw as the digital voice says) who used to have my number. Friday afternoon at 4:58pm I was sitting around and decided to Google the number, just to be sure.

Turns out the number belongs to the intake lady at our county Foster Care system.

So I called back this morning, figuring she could be calling about any number of things. We could be rejected, we could be accepted, we could be asked questions, we could be asked to re-apply, we could be asked to come to another session, etc.

The lady was very nice and told me that they'd been holding back on my file as I'd put that our primary reason for wanting to do Foster Care was adoption. She said that they weren't sure if they should send me an invite for the MAPP classes or send me the info of an adoption agency. So I told her our thoughts, how we would indeed like for this journey to end in adoption but we know full well the risks, which is why we'd held of on taking the plunge so far. We feel we have a lot we can offer and that we'd be open to any number of situations (such as respite, emergency foster, week long foster, etc) but we wanted to attend the MAPP class first and find out more information. Right now our primary concern is the well being (physically and emotionally) of our children and we will make all our decisions in regards to placements in their best interest.

And so we are being sent the invite and we'll be starting classes in a month.

There are 10 classes, 3 hours each, over the course of 5 weeks. It'll be a rough month, and with Nik having a major deadline at work at that same time... yeah, it'll be crazy.

But we have a set start and end date so I can handle that kind of craziness!

The whole licensing and certification process can take anywhere from six months to over a year, but I'm hoping that we'll be ready to go by mid-fall, when the kids are another year older and hopefully sleeping in the same bedroom. This will give them a lot of time to grow and to process what our family is about to do, and will give us time to prepare physically (new car? More beds? A crib set up in the nursery? Another car seat installed? Maybe learn how to make a bottle of formula, which I've never done?). And it will give Nik and I time to build up a support team, to connect with other, more experienced foster and fost/adopt parents as well as the professionals involved.

So 2012 might just be our wildest year yet. Here's hoping it all goes smoothly!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last night was a school "eat out" fundraiser. You know, you go to a restaurant and say you're with the school and order dinner, and a portion is donated to the school. It was for A's preschool and we got to meet up with other families from the (small) school, which I love to do, and A was happy to see his friends outside of school.

It wasn't the most convenient. First off, we don't eat meat and it was at Chik-Fil-A, so the kids had french fries and milkshakes for dinner. P ate some fruit as well, but Ambrose wouldn't touch the stuff. *Sigh* Also we don't often eat out during the week, typically just for time. With my early risers, we're a "lights off by 7pm during the week" kind of family. Ambrose can typically stay up later but P crashes pretty early and is up around 6, though we ask him to stay quiet until 7. And no, they don't sleep any later if we put them to bed later, and yes we've let them go to sleep as late as 11pm and they're still up at 6 and can't get back to sleep.

Anyway, the big thing I was worried about is the layout. This is North Hills, where the restaurant is located right beside a little road that doesn't look like a road and is frequently blocked off from being a road while we're there. Other than the flower pots separating road from non-road, and the cars driving and parking, you can't really tell that there's a road there. P can tell. I can tell. Ambrose cannot tell it's a road.

Oh, and Nik wasn't there so it was just me with two tired, sugared up boys in the dark beside a non-road looking road.

See where this is going?

We ordered our meal, sat and ate a bit and chatted, the kids were running and playing, which made me nervous but P is a smart boy and was staying off the road with his friends, while Ambrose followed him like a typical annoying little brother. I kept an eye on them but started to calm down as they continued to play away from the road with their friends.

I had my back turned to the road when I started to hear a parent yell, "wait, stop!" and then another, and then I turned...

And there was my two year old, running into the road, in front of a parked SUV, about to pop out in front of an oncoming car who could. not. see. him.

I've replayed that vision over and over and over again for the past... 15 hours?

I think my heart completely stopped, and I could hear myself shrieking and feel myself moving but it was all a haze.

Ambrose stopped when I yelled, never coming around the corner. And the "oncoming car, whose ominous headlights made my child almost a silhouette for a moment, was actually stopping to let someone out so they weren't actually going to drive into my child. And the parent who yelled first was very close to this and grabbed him as soon as he stopped, and probably would have reached him even if he'd continued running.

But even so....

I had *thought* I knew where my child was. I had *thought* I had him in my peripheral vision, to my left, and instead he was to my right and running towards the road.

I messed up.

And he's okay, and he probably would have been okay even if I hadn't noticed, and thank God he's okay and he wasn't even in real trouble to begin with.

But oh... oh....

I am shaken.

I sat with him on my lap, held tightly to me with him struggling to get down and play, as I shook and tried to keep from crying or throwing up, tried to continue on like normal in this group of friends. It was a scare, sure, but he was okay now...

And I just couldn't do it. I stayed near him for the rest of our time there and as soon as I felt my legs were steady enough to get us to the car (which meant crossing a road) I did so and took them home, bathed them, dressed them, and with Nik's help put them to bed.

All the while that image of him running into the road, with the headlights approaching, kept playing in my head.


Today I have a wild little boy running around the room happily while I type this. And I'm so, so grateful. I know "the scare" lasted all of a couple seconds. But a couple seconds is all it takes, right? All it takes for a life to end. All it takes to be a name in the newspaper, a tragedy, a tale where people share half truths of "isn't it sad about that little boy?" with neighbors, and then forgotten by the world. All it takes for a car not to stop, for a child not to stop, and when the two collide it's obvious who will survive.

Still scared. Still shaken.

And so, so happy that it was nothing more than a scare.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Yesterday we took another day trip to Greensboro. We spent most of the day at the Science Museum, followed by a visit to N's grandmother. I think next time we go we'll make more time for her since we see her so rarely and the kids really loved seeing her (and the feeling was mutual!).

For lunch we located an Indian buffet, which was heavenly! Ambrose filled up on rice while the rest of us chowed down on some of the best Indian food I've ever had. Seriously, we were all in pain when we left their with our bloated bellies!

Shortly after we got our food, while the kids were being quiet, Nik looked at me and said, "It feels like we're missing one."

"I know. I feel that way a lot."

"No, no, I mean, I can see both boys and I know that they're both here and safe, but it feels like we're missing one."

"I know. I feel that way a lot. Really."

"... Oh...."

Just for a second we held each others gaze, sort of a quick understanding passing through.

We have room for another. We want another. We're missing another.


Even as I type this I think about all those I know who have lost a child, or who still wait. Some have had miscarriages or still births, others had failed or contested adoptions (some after very long placements), others lost a child to death, and others have been "matched" with a child that they are waiting for, sometimes for years now, knowing that their child is on the other side of the world and they just can't get to them.

I cannot compare my own yearning to this kind of aching pain. Our yearning for another child is just that: A yearning. It is not painful and it is not overwhelming.

It's like a dull throb at the base of your skull.

I can ignore it most of the time, and often I just accept it as being there, something I can live with, something that's pretty much a part of me now. This missing child is still more an idea, a wish, a dream, than anything based in reality.

And yet, there have been moments recently where I'm suddenly, out of nowhere, gripped by this intense desperation. My child is out there somewhere and I'm not with her! It passes and I wonder for a moment if I've gone insane or perhaps I haven't gotten enough sleep or maybe I'm feeling hormonal... and then I remember having these same little jolts with both of our sons, this feeling that our child was out there somewhere, that we didn't have a name or gender or place or race or anything and yet our child was out there and we somehow had to find the right path to our child.

Perhaps we started this journey too early... Perhaps now is when we were meant to start...


We're so torn, so torn....

We may want to stop at 3 children, and if we do, and if we're able, shouldn't we pursue a pregnancy? I would likely always regret it if we didn't even try...

And yet, I know the adoption world, it has worked for us, and the thought of bringing in another child through private adoption or foster care absolutely thrills me.

What if our child is a waiting embryo, frozen in Cleveland? What if our child is a little girl with cleft lip in Cambodia waiting for adoptions to resume, potentially next year? What if our child is living in this same city with a foster family who does not intend to adopt? What if our child is nestled warm inside the womb of her expecting mother, where she'll be kept safe and warm and nurtured while her mother struggles with the hardest decision of her life? What if our child isn't even on this Earth yet and yet we still feel that he or she is out there, or at least will be out there, and we need to get prepared now?

I check adoption news a lot. I read forums. I talk to people. I pray. I read. I dream. And I'm looking for a sign.

Sirens went off in my head with P. And with A things fell into place. We thought we knew which way to go this time around, a few times now, and they were dead ends.

I'm just trying to stay calm and enjoy the wild ride right now, because really what else can I do?

I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes and ears, and heart, open and hope that it comes to us before too long. And in the meantime, I'll be wrassling with a pair of wild little boys :) They do keep us busy!

Friday, December 2, 2011


I have to say that I'm grateful on more than a few levels for how our family was made. Obviously, I'm grateful for my children and for how wonderful our life is right now. The boys are happy and thriving and without too many time outs and knock downs :-P

But other than that...

I'm grateful that I know what it feels like to be infertile, what it feels like to go through legal hoops for a child, what it feels like to have a social worker judge you (harshly), what it feels like to step into a third world orphanage, what it feels like to love a child you didn't birth, what it feels like to be a "billboard" for infertility and adoption on the playground, what it feels like to be stared at, recognized, and talked to more than my friends when in public, and what it feels like to be completely out of order with the normal parenting scheme.

In a way, it's really helped to avoid that whole mompetition thing.

Know what I'm talking about?

Mine's talking first, mine's sleeping through the night, mine's doing this, mine's doing that, and I know for a fact that I'm a "good mom", no, a "better mom" because of this. Ooooooo...

So previous to Paxton, my only interaction with children was my niece and nephews and children I either babysat or watched for parents older than me. We were married at 21 and 23 and our peers hadn't settled down... in fact, a few have recently married and one is expecting his first child soon, but that's it. We're ahead of the game in that way, which is good in a sense since it means we didn't have to spend years watching our peers raise their children while we kept waiting for #1.

But it also means that we had no. clue. what. we. were. doing.

Oh, sure, we'd read up on attachment and we knew the legal process and we had the carseat and all the gear and a stocked fridge, etc.

But we didn't know how to bathe our toddler. Seriously, when we realized we'd had custody for like 5 days and hadn't washed him once we were like "Good Lord, and they're letting us keep him?" We didn't know what portion size to give him, didn't know his likes and dislikes, had no previous relationship with him, no clue about his medical background, birth weight, average bio family height, any talents his first family has. We didn't even know which teeth he had, nor how many we should expect, and yes I actually got b%$&#ed out about this, in front of my kid and the woman's kids, on a playground.

And it stung.

I was a first time mother to a toddler. Other first time mom's had newborns, and mom's of toddlers were so much more aware, so bonded to their children, had two whole years, heck their kid's whole lifetime, to get to know their child.

It was so off.

Bonding was off. Feeding was off. Sleep was off. Potty training was off. Everything was off.

And he's awesome and amazing and intelligent and witty and sweet and people adore him and I adore him and the only thing I would change, if I could, would be that I would hug him and cuddle him even more and not stress about all the stupid things that moms are made to stress about now.

And that's what I'm trying to do with Ambrose.

Who cares when he potty trains?

Who cares when he first walked or how many words he can speak?

Do you need to know how many teeth he has?

And yes, sometimes he'll push a kid down or steal a toy, he's a two year old boy and that's normal.

I hear it on the playground and see it on forums and in articles and comments on articles and, well, it makes me sad a bit.

Because they're babies. Tiny humans growing in the way that their bodies are meant to grow, developing at the speed they are meant to develop at. And they're children, small children, making huge mental leaps already and learning to read or write is really so complicated at first. And their teens, just trying to keep their emotions in check. And they're young adults, trying to balance freedom and responsibility. And their new parents, who are realizing they have no idea what they're doing and falling into the trap of mompetition, comparing their children, bragging when they're children do anything earlier or bigger or easier, as if it's proof of their own success as a parent, and complaining and frustrated and downright worried when they're children aren't the first at anything.

I just have to remind myself that everyone, even the people who brag and lie (and many do) and try to look great, are just trying to do their best.

Also, my kids are cuter. So there. :-P

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It's the best part of having kids. I mean, okay, maybe the kisses and cuddles and watching them grow and simply just having kids could trump the kidspeak....

But seriously? Listening to young children speak to each other? Holding a conversation with them? Listening when they're explaining something to you? Oh. Oh, it's hilarious.


On the way home from school:
P: Mommy, wow, look at that big bright light up in the sky! Doesn't that look so cool?
Me: Oh, yes, honey that's just the sun behind a cloud. It does look pretty doesn't it?
Me: Paxton, that is the SUN, stop looking right at the sun!!!!


Me: Ambrose, what's your name.
A: Name Isaac!
Me: Your name is Isaac?
A: Ya, me name Isaac!
Me: Aw, how old are you Isaac?
A: Me five ears olds!
Me: Oh, that's great sweetie! Okay, we need to go now Ambrose.
Me: ... okay, um, Isaac. Let's go, okay?
"I": Okay!


At the park, with a friend:
P: Do you like boogers?
F: Yeah, I love boogers!
P: Do you eat them??
F: Yeah!
P: Me too! They taste like cheese!
Me: OMG, eeeewwwww!!!!! Paxton, that's sick, don't... well, don't say that OR do that!
P: MOM! Why are you listening to me!
Me: Because you're sitting right beside me and yelling!


In the car:
P:I'm sad.
Me: Why?
P: I'm going to miss my friends when school is out. Tomorrow is the last day!
Me: Oh, no honey, tomorrow is the last day of November!
P: But December is Winter Break!
Me: Not all of December, just a couple weeks toward the end. You'll still go to school for a few more weeks!
P: Yaaay! And do I get chocolate too? Every day in December?
Me: What, no, why... Oh! The Advent calendar, yes! Yes, you'll get a chocolate every day!
P: Yaaay!
A: Me too! Me too chocolate every day!
P: No, Ambrose, not you. Just me. Oh, and mom and dad. But not you.
Me: Yes Ambrose
Me: Yes, Ambrose, you too.
A: BRUDDA!!! Me too chocolate every day! Yaaaay!
Then they both clapped.


I want to add that Ambrose is now petrified of fruit in jello and almost hyperventilated about a blackberry until I took it out and ate it. He knew it was a blackberry, and told me it was a blackberry, but apparently its presence in his jello was so utterly unnatural that he had to shove his jello across the table while shrieking and then cover his face screaming at me to get the berry out.

And he thinks there may be an emu hiding under our bathroom cabinet, so he has to check. Emu's are scary.

Also he's the wind and he can make things blow. Like leaves and straws and his brother and anything he gets in his little potty and your face, etc.


This should not make him as happy as it does... We went to the mall bathroom *just* so he could side on this thing. He just loves it so much...

Wreaking havoc at the doctor's office. Seriously, we were there over an hour, last patients to leave. We took a walk, went to the bathroom (P got to pee in a cup!), played all over, looked at magazines, played on my phone, and I did everything in my power to keep them from trashing the place and going insane. Seriously, doctor's offices should come with a playland. Like McDonalds. Only sanitary, because it's a doctor's office. Granted if you're there you may be sick.... okay, bad idea, but still! Glad it's a yearly, not a monthly!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Vacay

We didn't go anywhere for Thanksgiving, just stayed home.... except for numerous day trips :) I am SUCH a fan of taking trips close to home! I'm such a home body that I honestly get nervous if I'm too far away. What if there's a medical emergency with one of the children or a friend/family member in Raleigh? What if things are not working out at our destination? What if the weather becomes awful? What if we lose a wallet or keys? WHAT IF I GET BORED???

It's just nice to know that home is not far away at all, and yet still be able to have that "vacation" feel, you know? Eating out, lazing about attractions, riding carousels, taking too many pictures, that sort of thing.

Thanksgiving was a full on stay-cation for us and it was Won. Der. Fuuuuullll!!!!!

The only bad thing was, well, I messed up. I had thought that P's school was in session M-W, but it turns out it was only M and T, and I found this out like Monday night. And P found out Tuesday that he only had that day of school left and would not be coming back the next day.

P thrives in a very stable environment. There was a time we had to do the same. thing. every. day at the same. time. every. day. At this point a regular schedule works. 5 days in school and two weekends not in school? Totally fine. And a summer where we have a relatively set schedule most days? Again, totally fine. Predictable. Stable.

But this through him off.

It's been awhile since I've had a dis-regulated child. I sometimes forget P has Sensory Processing Disorder, as he keeps it in check so well. We're used to the small quirks and can do some quick sensory diet techniques without even thinking about it.

But Weds? Oh, yeah, he was just plain out of it.

We went to Pullen Park, which is beautiful and incredible and took my breath away even while I still miss the quaint old park it used to be. And we did truly have a fun day. We spent like $20 on ride tickets and more than that on food at their cafe (snack and late lunch), we rode rides, met up with friends, lazed about, took pictures, ran around, played on the playground, and just plain had a great day.

And P held himself together emotionally just perfectly. He was smiling and happy and well behaved.

But he was in full on SPD mode. When he wasn't flapping, clapping, or smacking himself all over his front side (face included), he was throwing his body around, running into things, rubbing people's hair, talking/yelling really loudly, and laughing to the point of hysteria. The kid didn't have a melt down or a rage, he didn't hurt anyone, he didn't freak out, and my Lord am I proud of him! Luckily as the day wore on (and the park got louder and more stimulating) he calmed down. Food in the belly every couple hours, regular enforced bathroom breaks, a few tough (like almost bruising) massages and joint compresses, and an order from me to touch *everything* not attached to a human being with his hands to "see how it feels". Seriously, y'all, if you ever have a well behaved kid having an SPD fit just tell them to roll on the wet grass and rub their hands along rocks/bricks/mulch/gravel/fences/etc and tell you how each feels. Normally he'd look at me like I was insane, but at that time it was like candy to him.

So anyway, yeah, Weds was all about Pullen and sort of helping P through that little bump and moving on.

Thurs was Thanksgiving with my parents and grandparents at my mom's house, which was great except I'd hardly slept the night before and a late nap (9-11) tooootally messed me up! I was a bit of a zombie until towards the end of the meal, when we finally got Ambrose (my all night wake-upper) asleep and I finally got two cups of coffee and some food into me! I was so mad at first, I was exhausted and out of it and we show up and my mother's house smells EXACTLY like it did last Christmas when she made this awesome cinnamon chip scones (my biggest weakness!). I was literally salivating and kept trying to find these things. Seriously, when they weren't in the bread basket at the table I came up with an excuse and went into the kitchen to check the oven and putter around. Where could she be hiding them??? The smell was so strong!

Turns out it was a cinnamon potpourri.

I almost cried.

#firstworldproblems :-)

That night we visited again to see my aunt and cousin, who'd come in from Florida. P switched his cousin obsession from my cousin Tiffany to my cousin Bethany. He loves having a girl to flirt with. And I'm so going to embarrass him as a teen about that!

Friday I took the boys out to Durham Life and Sci for a visit and we ended up spending the day, 9-5 minus an hour to eat lunch at Elmo's. It was great except for the wait in line for the one paying ride we went on! Though again, P was fantastic. I handed him a $5 bill and gave him some instructions, "go up this path and then to the left. You'll see some bathrooms. Somewhere over there you'll find a machine that wants $5 and will give you a token to ride this ride. I'm going to wait in line, you go get the token."

In a way, it was foolish. He just turned six, he's not super familiar with it, and OMG I let my young child out of my sight. But I'm a huge fan of free ranging when I feel we're in a spot to do so, and letting my children learn independence in reasonable situations. And man does it build confidence and real life skills! You wouldn't believe how proud I was when he returned a few minutes later proudly showing me the sparkly (tiny) token he'd purchased so he could ride the trampoline/take off thing!

Saturday we just sort of hung out. Nik took the kids in the morning while I slept, then they came home for lunch and a nap. Got some grocery shopping done, cleaned up a bit, that sort of thing. In the afternoon we went to my grandparents house to visit my aunt and cousin again before they left but they were all busy playing cards. After spending about 10 or so minutes at the playground near their house and realizing that we were super close to the airport, we packed up and high tailed it over to the airport's observation deck and spent two hours (during a gorgeous sunset) watching all of the planes for Thanksgiving weekend come and go. P found a friend at the sandbox, A stared in awe as plane after plane came in seemingly out of nowhere or took flight and disappeared. It was beautiful and perfect. Then back to my grandparents for some dinner and chatting before heading home to bed.

Sunday we all just lazed about in the morning before heading out to a goat dairy farm about an hour away, close to the zoo. I have to admit, I was only really looking forward to meeting up with our friends through a local inter racial family group, but man the place blew me away! Tiny, quaint, and just the perfect get away for us. We've already made tentative plans to stay there some weekend in February, when they have the new baby kids! Our little guys need more outside farm and woods time, and the suites were adorable, the places was beautiful, and again, close to the zoo :)

Today was a normal day again. Monday. Nik went to work, Paxton went to school, Ambrose went to preschool, and I did some shopping and hit the gym for an hour. In a way, it was more relaxing than our week together! But I have to admit... it was nice once the day was over and we were all back together again :)

I'm so looking forward to Christmas break now!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And Now He Is Older....

Ambrose turning 2 was hard. Really, it was. He was my first baby, and admittedly potentially my only baby. We'd love another, or even a few others, but life gives no guarantees so I chose to wholeheartedly indulge in his babiness while I still could.

Even so, while Ambrose turning 2 was hard, Ambrose being 2 is just fine. Perfect, in fact. I've had a two year old, I'm on familiar ground, and this time I'm doing it with a highly verbal, healthy, and firmly attached child which makes it so much more fun. I'm loving my little guy being two years old!

So I thought I could handle the growing up thing... and THEN, Paxton turned six.

Yeah, six.

Six years old.

That's, like, 72 months.

That's ooooooold!

Okay, so three was hard (how could I have a three year old when I'd only been a mom for a year?) , and four was hard because that was so less babyish, and then five was hard because that's the year you start school and he was so big and it's just such a kid year, not a little kid year, but at least five is at the precipice of kid years.

Six years old is firmly into kid territory.

School aged, reading, writing, knowing too much of the world already territory.

And man "six" does not roll off my tongue the way "five" did!

Maybe it's my own "big" birthday coming up (OMG the big 3-0 next summer!) but having a six year old makes me feel like I'm getting older, and not in that cool "wiser" way but in that totally uncool "mom, you're so old!" kinda way.

I'm sure I'll get used to it. In a few weeks, I probably won't have to correct myself when saying his age and it'll just seem normal to me.

And then next year he'll be seven...


So I should note that his birthday went off without a hitch. Not drama, no tears, no melt downs, no fights, nothing!

The days leading up to his birthday I tried to make super fun. I had to take him out of school early on Tuesday for a dentist appointment, and he was just so, so sad about missing math and PE and being with his friends. I decided to make it up to him by taking him to a huge bouncy castle place, the same spot he'd wanted to have his birthday party before we nixed the idea (too crowded by far, as well as pricey!). It was just my two guys and two other kids for the whole two hours we were there! 6 huuuuge bouncy castles between 4 children. Um, yes, I like those numbers!

Wednesday afternoon was Chuck E Cheese, and then birthday morning we were all up early enough that I let him pick a breakfast location (Waffle House of all places!) and we all dropped him off at school as a family. Gotta make my boy feel special :)

We brought in cupcakes to his class during snack time and everyone sang happy birthday for him. He was super excited! When everyone started to sing he sort of had this plastered smile on his face, totally awkward, not accustomed to being on the receiving end even though he'd been anticipating it for weeks. He locked his eyes with mine and didn't look away until the song was over. I guess even as a big six year old mommy is still his safe harbor :-)

That was Thursday, and that night we did our normal birthday dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We all ate way too much, including appetizers, and then we had them do their birthday thing where they come out with a flan and put a huge colorful Sombrero on his his while singing loudly, then dip his nose in whipped cream and clap. He had been looking forward to this and asking about it since Ambrose's birthday dinner.

So he was super psyched to get his own public humiliation!

Friday I picked him up from school and we went out and bought his cake, and a balloon, and ate about a million free samples of food at the grocery store. Seriously, I don't know how they expect you to buy any food when they practically give you a full meal just from walking in the door! P picked an ice cream cake, since he doesn't like regular cake or any bready sweets really.

Saturday was party day, and as we had 5 kids coming over with seriously nothing planned, I rushed out to buy some party games. Nik, P and I set up the house, with an adult seating circle upstairs (let's face it, the grown ups come to chat!), a pinata filled with good candy hanging from the pergola, the table pulled out and set up with an array of snacks and drinks, and several little "game" stations downstairs with things like the game Go Fishing on one and a craft on another and "make your own candy necklaces" on another. We taped streamers over the snacks and balloons around the house, and also blew up punching balloons for the kids to casually play with.

So it was my first "kid" party (not baby or toddler) at my house and you know what?

It. Was. Awesome.

I would totally do it again in a heartbeat. The whole party was nothing but laughter and squealing in fun, the cost was low, the set up and clean up was pretty fast (I had the kids find and pop all the balloons for me!), and even the adults seemed to have a great time. The only thing that surprised me was how much the kids loved the chickens! They all gathered the eggs for me, just because, and I had to make them all wash their hands haha! I got this close to setting up Mario Kart on the Wii for the kids to play together in a little Wii tournament, but I figured I'd save that as my secret weapon if the party went South. Never had to touch the TV! And given that we're talking kids in the 5-8 range, they were all kind and respectful and well behaved and, well, it was just a perfect number of kids and a perfect party. I think my favorite part is split between the pinata, which took just the right number of hits to break and was a huge hit, and the end of the party after all the presents were opened when P took his new playdough toy out onto the deck (that stuff's not allowed anywhere near my carpets!) with all of the children and even though they were sugared up and excited they all sat quietly and played together wonderfully with the new toy. All the adults, including us, were in awe!

So his birthday is officially over, and he wasn't immediately bumped up to first grade so I won that argument, and he's a little mopey about the fact that it's over with but not depressed. Instead he's just psyched to fly his RC helicopter for its 5 minutes of battery charge and read his many new books and eat the leftover snacks.

So last year? I arranged 4 parties for my kids in 6 weeks time. This year just two. Last year I swore I'd never do something that that again. This year, I had a blast and I'd totally do the low-key at home party again. Guess I've learned my lesson :-) See? You can teach and "old mom" new tricks!

Paxton tends to think outside the box when it comes to his decorating skills...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just A Moment

We've been having some sleep issues in this house lately. What with a time change, a new big-boy bed and deciding that he'd like to hold it for the potty now, Mr. A has been waking up a lot at night and needing a lot of attention. To say we've been a bit tired would be an understatement, but we've been through things like this before and we know very well it's not forever and we'll all be sleeping again soon.

That being said, I did have a wonderfully delicious 8 hours last night, only to be woken up at 6:30 by Nik coming into our bedroom with Ambrose. The babe had woken up shortly after we'd gone to sleep, at 11, and Nik just spent the night in his room to tend to him when he woke. I took over and brought Ambrose downstairs so that Nik and Paxton could sleep.

While it was very tempting to turn on Laurie Berkner so Ambrose could dance while I woke up fully, I had already received a talking to from Paxton about how I shouldn't turn on the TV until he's awake since it always wakes him up. Fair enough.

So we sat on the floor together, flipping through books and looking at puzzles and playing with little light up toys that make music and stuff like that.

At one point, though, my little bean realized that he was hungry for breakfast.

"Bar?" he asked hopefully, pointing to the stairs which lead straight up to the kitchen.

I did a quick mental check of the cupboards.

"No, sweetie, no bar. We at the last one a couple days ago."

His whole face scrunched up, eyes close to tears, mouth contorting. His body was stiff and his fists clenched.

"Sooo baaaad!" he called out.

"You want a bar so bad?" I asked.

"Ya," he nodded, relaxing and starting to pout.

He sat down on my lap, leaning his head into my neck, and just breathed there for several seconds.

And suddenly...

It was like a flash, a vision, and image stuck in my mind.

My little boy no longer little, all grown up and asking for something and realizing he couldn't have it. Disappointment, sorrow, anger... so many emotions could follow, as they do in toddlers. But I could see my little boy, now a grown man, letting it roll off of him, controlling himself, changing his plan easily and readily.

I could see this tiny boy as an adult all too easily.

And as an adult, he won't need to me to cuddle him when he's disappointed that we're out of cereal bars, or when he bumps his head on the underside of the table, or when it's his brother's turn to play with a toy he wants. He'll be able to regulate it himself.

And so, I held him. I held this little man, all thirty pounds of him, as he lay against me sad and upset and trying to hold it in and seeking comfort to help make his world okay again.

And a minute later, he left my lap to sit on the floor. He picked up a toy and in the sweetest voice he called, "mama pay wiv me," which is somewhere between a statement and a command.

So we played and we cuddled and we ate cold cereal and leftover home fries and a couple hours later we went to the store together where I bought him a box of cereal bars, which he happily opened in the cart.

It's amazing to me that there was a time I was that little, a time my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, and all people on this Earth, were that little, that helpless. It's almost as amazing as the fact that one day he won't be so, one day he'll be big and strong and while he may still need me, it won't be for everything and anything. People start small and typically grow up. It's... amazing.

And I'm so, so, so incredibly lucky to be able to take part in it all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh the deleting...

K so I wrote this post and then realized later that I shouldn't have written this post. Not because it was in any way offensive, I don't think, mostly because it's 3 in the afternoon and I've been up 12 hours already and I think I'm pretty much saving all the brainings for my children and seriously like nothing was translating into words very well. So yeah. I deleted.

Anywho, nothing interesting to report over here. Year's moving too fast, P turns 6 next week, Ambrose is in a big boy bed and learning to go on the potty, something has broken into the chicken tractor twice now but the chickies are okay, seeing my brother and his kids tonight for the first time in over 4 years. Kids are taking successful naps but should be up soon. I feel like I should have done something during their nap, like take a nap myself, but did not work and wish I had but yay internet. Also yay backspace key bc my fingers are not agreeing with proper word making right now. Go go weekend yay!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In which I get a little TMI

Hey, you know what stinks?

PMS. PMS stinks.


PMSing hardcore when there are full Halloween treat bags just sitting there.

I mean, seriously, normally I might have a few of the pieces of candy a day for a couple days and then just send it all with Nik to work and be like "seriously, just take it!" Sure I'd leave some for the kids and probably have them pick out what they'll be keeping, but otherwise it doesn't need to just sit there and look so, so, sooooooo good.

And it's not even that good, really.

It's like bite sized Twix and peanut butter Snickers and lots of weird, gooey, not-chocolate things that I won't even touch.

But I can't stop eating the chocolate.

Mmmmm, chocolate....

So anyway, you know what else sucks?

Wanting another child and getting your period.

Yeah, yeah, I know, we expect this every month and we can adopt again if we want and put our minds to it and we have that foster care thing to try and persue and I'm not exactly desperate for a pregnancy right at the moment but....

But I wouldn't *mind* if it happened. In fact, I'd be downright ecstatic. I might not be actively trying, no more temping or charting or planning ahead, but that doesn't mean I don't wish and hope and dream.

Because it could happen.

The basic ingredients are all there, even if they're in shorter supply than they should be.

And every month when I start to twinge and cramp a bit I do wonder, just for a minute, if maybe this is actually the month. Maybe it actually DID happen, maybe we beat the odds. I try not to, but I quickly add up 9 months in my head or on my fingers, just to see, just in case, which month I might, possibly, if it happened, potentially give birth in, then I try to wipe it from my mind and not think about it.

And then I start bleeding and that's all over and I get sad for a bit. Not the hardcore depressed I used to be, no crying or laying in bed staring at the ceiling, and my blues now are far more hormonal than emotional, and I swing upwards again very quickly.

The truth is... every month that it doesn't happen, is another month gone. Another down. Another month older. During our marriage our "possible due dates" have gone from July 2006 to July 2012, and yet still there has been no pregnancy to even begin the countdown. If it weren't for our children I think this fact, this 6 years since we first started TTC, would drive me utterly insane. Instead it's just... sad.

I know I shouldn't but sometimes, pretty much only on the first day of my period, I feel broken.

Women from all walks of life, all ages, all cultures, all situations, become pregnant so easily. They conceive and carry and birth without any real issue. I wonder what it would be like to decide you wanted to conceive a child with the person you love and to just do it and have it happen and just bask in it. Even if we were to ever conceive it wouldn't be like this. It would either be highly planned, ie with doctors involved, or unplanned in the "not trying not preventing" sense. We could never just make love with the semi-assurance that a baby will likely come of it.

I know it's not my "fault" and yet I can't help that feeling of helplessness, of failure, in my inability to do something that the vast majority of those around me can do. I'm not so much angered by it, nor does it stick with me all day. My friends announce pregnancies and go on about their babies to be and truthfully I'm 100% happy for them. I can handle big bellies and newborns and birth announcements and parties and it doesn't get to me. In a way I think having my children and being their mom has sort of buffered me in that way.

So outside influences... well, for the most part they don't get to me, except for extreme circumstances.

My sorrow is for me alone, for the lack of a baby in my belly, for the lack of a set due date, for the lack of that joyous moment of seeing two lines, that moment of telling my husband, children, family, friends, for being able to tell the world, for buying maternity clothes and going to prenatal appointments and feeling kicks from the inside... I have so, so much and I know it and I'm so incredibly thankful and grateful for it. But that doesn't stop me from hurting, just a little bit, just one day a month, when I realize that another month has passed and it still, after six years, has no happened for us.


K, time for a peanut butter Snickers...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Name rant addendum

K, so now I'm feeling all bad that I wrote insulting things about popular names. I think.


I've been riding high on sugar for like a week now. Halloween candy is totally awesome. Also Paxton was super sweet and got a ton of candy and told me that all the chocolate is for me. How can I pass that up? He's too sweet. And so is his candy. Yuuuummmm.


I should mention that my own kid's names have been the subject of ridicule online in several places. Oh, the things that have been said, the judgments that have been made. Also, the day we got P's referral? The day we first heard his gorgeous, meaningful, and also very common Ethiopian name? We shared it with people. And what did they tell me on this most wonderous occasion? "Ew. You can change that right?" "You NEED to change that right away! He'll be teased!" "You have to give him a normal name. You don't want to send him into a business interview with that name do you?" "Teachers will treat him poorly if you keep that name! If you want him to do well in school he can't be named that!"

And of course everyone had "statistics" to back it up. Seriously? This is the age of Google, and if you want to find a study, paper, article, or statistic to back something up, you can. Just take the opinion you already have and only look at, and latch on to, that which agrees with it. I mean, seriously, *I* do it, why don't we all admit that we take statistics and studies more seriously when they agree with what we already believe to be true?

Anyway, yeah, that was my first taste of name hate.

So my own name, very common and popular and, IMHO, overused, is considered just fine for any (female) child. But a name like Tariku? Uh, yeah, I've met two people in the US who can pronounce that (other than Ethiopians or Ethiopian adoptive parents). It's TA-ri-ku, with the r sounding a bit like a d. He was called Tari (TA-ri) in Ethiopia and I can't tell you how close we came to keeping his name.

So why did we change it?

Well, I could give you the normal reasons like "this was our first child and we wanted the honor of naming him since we'd missed everything else" or the acceptable "we felt it best to give him an American name so that people wouldn't have trouble pronouncing it all the time" (which helps, yeah, but not the case). What it boils down to, though, is that one day I was sitting around and a voice popped up in my head and said "You're going to get a boy and you'll name him Paxton" and I just couldn't get that out of my head. We even had a couple other potential names, Solomon and Cassian, as well as a slew of baby name books handy, and we really did come close to just keeping with Tari, but he just... well, he was Paxton. And we kept Tariku as his middle name and he's allowed to go freely between them and he has my express permission to ask to be called Tariku permanently if he so chooses. But he says he likes Paxton. He may change that when he's a teenager and I can totally see him taking back his birthname legally on his 18th birthday (and I'll be there to celebrate with a cake that says "Happy Birthday Tariku!").


My fingers are numb and my brain is fried and this is getting me nowhere.

So let me just say this then:

I love my kids names and those were THE NAMES for them, for our own reasons. They're actually rather long, complicated stories that involved a lot of what ifs and that one perfect moment of THAT'S IT!!! And lots of second guessing afterwards but, that really was it and our minds were stuck and somehow, someway, both times we were absolutely stuck on a boy's name, certain of that name, before even knowing we were having a boy.

(should I mention now that we've had a girl name picked out for a year that we're both stuck on?)

So, the thing is.... The perfect name for your kid is the perfect name for your kid. If they don't like it they can change it, like Nik did, or they can grow into it, or they can adopt a nickname that they use full time, or go by initials or a middle name and use that if they work in a business environment.

What they do when they grow up is their choice.

But when they're born you're making the choice and the name that seems perfect is perfect.

Whether it's Jacob or Bear or Apple or Emily or Pilot or Liam or Honey or Lily or whatever.

Or Sophie, which is a name I'm perfectly enamored with but beyond being highly popular is also the name of several children I know which just makes it weird to me to give to my own child, like I'm stealing a name. Oh, but she's the main characters in Howl's Moving Castle... I like Howl too... wonder if I can sell Nik on that one. Howl Everett? Howell Everett? Naaaah... maybe middle names?

Okay, I'm about to pass out from cold, sleepiness, lack of company with Nik stuck uber late at work, and the sugar buzz wearing off.

So I think my point is this: You give your kid their name because that seems right to you, due to whatever factors seem important like:
-family members
-the way it sounds
-who you did or didn't know with the same name
-real or fictional people or places with that name
-what sort of life you see for them (business office? Freelance photographer?)
-your last name
-your own experience with names
-how popular/unique it is
-culture of origin for you or child or ancestors
-influence from friends or children around you
-cultural attachments
-a bajillion other factors

And everyone else does it the same way. Some people are pretty much handed a name if these factors don't mean much to them, others toil away at choosing a name for years.

But not everyone is picking a name for the same reason you would pick a name, nor do they have the same factors.

A name that sounds crazy and pulled out of nowhere to you might be the name the parent has loved since 5th grade due to... some reason. A name that's uber popular might be uber popular for a reason, such as a good meaning, nice sound, and close family members with the same name. A Caucasian middle class parent giving their child and ethnic name might have strong ties to that culture and name and not just be trying to be "trendy," and even if they are that's still their decision.

What gets me, really, is just this name hate and how defensive people get over their right to judge, declaring that the parents are dumb and selfish for forcing such hideous names on children. Seriously, unless you live in their family, in their culture, in their town, go to their work, their place of worship, know their family history, their ties to this name, and know for a fact that others of the same name have fared worse than those with names you yourself have chosen.... yeah, I don't think you have any right to judge. And yeah, that goes for Pilot Inspektor and Audio Science too. And Apple. I mean, seriously, it was in baby name books far before Apple Martin was born, it's not like she's the first, or last, and it's not like names have always been homogenous.

Okay, back hurting, time to pass out asleep and dream of Reese's Cups and the strict diet I'm going to have to (attempt to) go on starting the end of the week....

Night y'all.

A quick rant about names...

Okay, why, WHY, do I bother going to "baby name" forums? I mean, seriously, I LOVE names. I love the histories of names, the reasons people have for giving their child a certain name, I love unusual names and classic names and, well, just names.

What I do not love, however, is name judgment.

Since I'm too much of a wuss to create an account, log in, and say this to people directly...

Seriously, y'all, get over yourselves.

Just because you don't like a name does not mean a child will be bullied because of it. So you can make a silly rhyme with it, so what? It sounds like a body part? It's "ethnic"? It has a "youneek" spelling? So. Flipping. What?

Seriously, okay, my name is Megan. The most typical spelling of one of the most popular names of my generation. I grew up with several other Megans in my class and because of it I always had a secondary label, like Megan M or Megan #3 or Brown Haired Megan or Megan Who Sits On The Left.

And don't even get me started on those dang blasted "personalized" pencils/stationary pads/mini license plates/hair clips/etc! People with uncommon names got actual personalized gifts on vacation or from relatives. I got pencils that said Megan. A LOT of them.

So no, no, I'm not in any way all about giving my child a common name. I hated having a common name and honestly? It never felt like MY name because of it, just some label stamped on me that didn't really fit. I'll respond to it, sure, but it doesn't feel in any way special or "mine."

Oh, and here's the kicker: My name was so, so, SO wicked popular, and also so simple to spell and pronounce.

And for my entire life I've been correcting the spelling and pronunciation.

Oh, and I was teased because of my name. The kids wanted to tease me (semi jokingly, as they were sort of friends) so they came up with a rhyme anyway even though it didn't make sense. I did the same to my cousin with his common name as well. They didn't need to sound like a bodily function or fictional character, if a child wants to make a dumb rhyme they'll do it.

But, hey, you know what? I've spoken to other people, children and adults, with rare, unique, or even "ugly" names, and you know what they say? They LOVE their names, they feel more individual because of their names, they stand out and are proud of their names, they love being able to be known by their first names alone and they would certainly give their own children unique names.

And so, here's my point:
When you are posting on a baby name forum, blog, or even writing a book and you are giving naming advice and literally bashing names and the parents who choose said names... you are being a jerk. A bully. YOU are the people who would think less of a person and their family because of a name choice.

When you are deriding a use of "cutesy" nicknames as a first name you are forgetting names like my own, Megan, which are in the truest sense only a nickname being used as a first name (and for some reason people still take me seriously). When you groan about how new spellings of older names are becoming popular, you are forgetting that very, very few of the names we have now started out in the spelling we have (I mean, seriously, who spells Guenevere like "Jennifer"?). When you joke about names from other cultures and how "we" (white people) shouldn't use them, honey, that's just discriminatory and there's no reason "our" names are okay for all other races and yet "their" names aren't just as good for us. When you laugh at people giving a child the name of a person from a book... uh, yeah, Bible much? And then there's names like Wendy, which were created only for a fictional tale. Oh, and when you're making fun of "feminizing" very masculine names for a girl? You're making fun of my mom. You don't want to make fun of my mom. She will mess you up :-P

(Hi mom!)

So am I not bothered by what other people name their children?

Well, I do take a bit of an issue with naming a child a super, super, over-popular name JUST SO that child won't be teased. Congrats, bullies, you have already won the battle while they child was still in the womb! I have to admit I'm also a bit put off by people giving their children that same over-popular name and not knowing how popular it is, as if it's a shock years later when they discover that it was #1 that year. I mean, the charts for top 1,000 names are available online readily so I don't know how people can be unaware of the popularity of their children's names. In our case, P's name was rising in popularity but now appears to be skyrocketing, and we've already met a few other Paxtons. But he was #777 on the top 1,000 list the year we named him. He's still the only one in his school at least! And, again, he's known by first name only (and boy does he LOVE his name!).

Okay, so this rant is getting me nowhere, just kind of a mental dump.

I guess I should finish this by stating that a blog I've recently started following had a post about what not to name your baby, poking fun at names just for laughs. I wasn't laughing. Poking fun at baby names is tantamount to poking fun at real people, and then declaring that someone else will bully them because "children are so cruel"... Um, no, you're the cruel one. I see people listing names from their children's classes, from hospital birth announcements, from their friends and families, just to laugh at them, and feeling fully justified. And I'm mortified and disgusted.

I'll probably rant about this again. It's just... seriously? You really think naming a child something like, iunno, Urijah, is setting him up for failure? I've met so many people with similar names (Yuri (m & f), Uri, Uriah) and no, they aren't teased, and yes people do take their names seriously. Really? Get. Over. It.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Motherhood in Pictures

I suppose I could take snapshots all throughout the day. Images of all of us grumping around in our jammies trying not to walk into walls while bustling about to change diapers and cook breakfast and load backpacks and diaper bags and laptop bags.

I suppose I could show endless piles of laundry, cleaning the table, setting the table, cooking a meal, cleaning up from the meal, dishes piled in the sink while the dishwasher works on the previous load we'd forgotten to start...

I could show time outs and being stuck in traffic on the way to pick up and child from preschool or realizing I forgot coats at home when little boys start to shiver. I could show mini arguments, temper tantrums, and the whole hullabaloo of trying to get two small children down to sleep in two separate rooms, sometimes by myself, when both just want to cuddle and play.

But you know what? All these things, these normal parenthood, totally highlighted by every sitcom and mommy blog things? They're just a part of life. Like breathing and getting gas and keeping the lawn mowed. They're the regular, the mundane, the whatever, and even then? Even then it's not too hard to see the magic in those regular moments.

That first cuddle of the day. The brothers sharing their breakfast then running off to laugh and play. The smiles and hugs. The laughter. It's all throughout these moments. So the bad isn't so bad, and is in fact actually pretty wonderful.

And the good? Is incredible.

Presenting, in no real order, some recent random snapshots of my own experience in motherhood.

A moment of silence and rumination in the middle of a busy day.

The unceremonious death of a pumpkin, first mysteriously smashed and then entertainingly mauled by a group of scavenging chickens.

A ham for the camera, with a new mask.

A mummy and his mommy go on a date to the kid's museum Halloween party.

A visit to somewhere we've been countless times lends to a surprising discovery: a lovely little snack nook that we had never noticed before.

Laughter that lasts so long I have time to take a picture.

Helping my mother recover from surgery by entertaining her dog and giving her cuddles.

Anything can be a hat.

Sharing is caring, even if you are only distracting your baby brother with a brightly covered object so you can snatch, and hide, all the Skittles with your other hand.

You know it's one of my boys when he runs away and hides.... just so he can "read" a book.

Entertaining themselves during the wait before Trick or Treating at the nursing home.

And now the little on is up, so I'm done. Time to change a diaper, put away a couple loads of laundry, start dinner, clean the chicken coop, and run the dishes :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A day of race...

A somewhat local science museum has a new exhibit up, one that's been touring the country, about race. I went to the museum with Ambrose today and got to check out the exhibit but only briefly. It's definitely something I'll be going back to see, and perhaps next time I'll just walk Ambrose around until he takes his nap in his stroller, allowing me to read and watch the videos.

Of course, seeing the snippets that I did got me thinking about race, how it defines so many of us (if not all), and how it affects so much (if not all) of our society. Also, when I'm at this particular museum I tend to think about race anyway. The city I live in is quite diverse, and aside from some areas I tend to find that wherever we got there is such a mix of races, and our whole family is met so warmly, that I forget about race entirely. Families like ours are common here, and every place from the playgrounds to the libraries, to the children's museum and so on contains such a variety of people from different races, ethnic groups, cultures, countries, etc.... It's beautiful and wonderful.

And yet this other museum, which I love, is typically far more... um, pale. Like, I see a LOT of white people and many pale skinned Asian people, and sometimes a transracial adoptive family with a white parent. Sometimes there will be a school group with an African American student or two, and sometimes you might even see one family of African Americans. But that's usually it. Despite the fact that I don't notice our individual races in my own city, when I'm one city over I can certainly feel the difference.

Today we ate lunch in the cafe of the museum, which serves awful food but, eh, it's convenient. A family came over to sit near me and Ambrose. A grandmother, mother, and two children. I want to say they were Chinese since I'm pretty certain they were speaking Mandarin, but I wasn't exactly eavesdropping and obviously I don't know them so I don't know their history.

What I do know is that when the grandmother came over the claim the table she was carrying the younger child, a boy about A's age, in her arms. And the look she gave to Ambrose...

Then the mother came over, looked at our family quickly and a bit warily, but set the food down anyway. I saw them exchange glances and heard them say... something. In a language I don't know. But it's not the first time we've received odd looks, though it is rare.

Then... the other child, a little girl around 4, came around the corner to get to her seat. She saw Ambrose. And that child... backed away. She was scared. There was honest to God fear in her eyes. A child was frightened of my dark skinned toddler, who was smiling and waving and calling "Hello Friend!" from his seat as he ate cheese fries, getting himself all messy and gooey.

The mother kept looking at Ambrose nervously but called the girl over and tried to calm her down and help her slide past my son. I saw both the mother and grandmother trying to say something to her, sort of a "don't be scared, it's not a big deal."

And it hit me... This may be a revelation for them. They truly seemed like they did not expect the little girl's reaction.

It just... well, it broke my heart. Because my happy, vivacious, social little boy just kept waving and smiling and telling me what his "friend" was doing.

I tried to ignore it, told myself that they were not speaking English and were possibly visiting from their home country where perhaps they had never seen anyone who looked like Ambrose up close. Perhaps this was a first experience and they truly did not expect what they saw.

But before we left the little girl started to complain to her mother about her apple juice. I know this because the girl spoke perfect American English. ... yeah.


So that weighed heavily on my heart and mind all day, and it's a PMS sorta day so it probably weighed more than it should.

Tonight we went trick or treating at my grandmother's nursing home. I was not really looking forward to it. On the one hand, it's hard to see my grandmother. The exuberant, happy, "second mother" to me has wasted away to a twig of a person who hasn't recognized me in 10 years, though she'll happily hold a conversation with me. On the other hand, the kids didn't get much sleep last night and they were so, so tired. And so was I. The thought of keeping them out late to run around a totally overstimulating environment and collect candy... oh, I was so not in the mood. But it only comes once a year...

So we went.

And I'm very, very glad we did.

Because again, race was on my mind.

And this time?

This time I saw very, very old people, Southern people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, who saw desegregation, who saw the entire concept of race change throughout their lives. There were people of many races and nationalities in the home, all living in their rooms side by side, happy and smiling at the children. And what really got to me was the thought that some of the same men joking with my children, some of the same women petting their hands and stroking their cheeks, would probably not have even thought of doing such a thing to these very same children when they were my age.

I walked into the rooms of people who had spent their life in privilege due to race at a time when race, more than anything, determined your fate. People who likely attended white pools or drank from white fountains or went to white schools. People who saw my children and smiled these huge, incredible smiles and reached down for them just to feel their soft skin and hear their innocent words, people who felt nothing but love for them, even in that brief instant. And it shocked me, the power of it all. How many of these same kind people had performed unkind acts? How many had said unkind things? How many benefited from the pain of others? How many didn't agree with what they saw around them, but went along with it anyway so as not to disturb the peace? And how many are so, so happy to see how the world is changing? Unless I interview them, personally, I'll never know will I?

What I do know is this: When Nik was taking a walk through the halls with Ambrose a woman stopped him to ask about A. Nik said that A was our son, that we had adopted him, and the woman was blown away! Nik tells me she was outright ecstatic. Her own sister had married a black man in 1947 and, given the racial climate, they had run away to Mexico to be together. The woman is trying to get in contact with that side of her family now, find her sister or her sister's children. The US has changed a lot in 64 years. Such a short time when you think about it....

I'm so glad we went tonight, if only because we gave this one woman hope. Hope that our country really is changing, and has changed so much, so that now we really can love each other openly regardless of race. Yes, we still have a long way to go but man have we come far!


And with that... I leave to finally go clean the dishes. Kids are asleep in their beds, Nik finishing up some work, and The Office will be on in 15 minutes. Ah, it's a good night :-)