Saturday, May 31, 2008

Show and Tell #1

Here is my show and tell that Mel at Stirrup Queens is hosting. I used to really love it as a kid and have to admit that it is fun to help Brian pick things each week. Well, that is when we can remember to pick something! This is a bracelet for a baby girl. I bought it at a yard sale a few weeks ago for ten cents! It was still in an Avon box and was from 1983! It looked so small that at first I thought maybe it was for a doll. So, I tried it on Justin, briefly, and it fit. With room! I put a quarter in the middle of it to show size comparison. It is Kathryn's first piece of jewelry!

Video Game Madness

As if it wasn't enough for Brian and Sean to be addicted to video games, now they have gotten Justin hooked. And let me tell you, they sure are smart. They give Justin an old controller so that he leaves them alone. Justin sits down with them and feels like one of the big boys with his own controller. And if you don't believe that he thinks he is really playing - just look at the pictures below! Right now the Wii has taken a backseat to Playstation 2. Brian and especially Sean want to play Lego Star Wars morning, noon, and night!

I have to say that I love the game too! It is a two player game, but it is different because you can play the game together as different Star Wars characters. I think there are even some things to be learned from the game besides improving hand eye coordination. I have taught the boys that Mom can hang while playing video games. And more importantly we are also working on dismissing gender roles. In the beginning when I played, the boys insisted that I play as Princess Leia. And since she is the only female in the game, I was not 'allowed' to play as anyone else!

I think they might have witnessed a little steam emanating from my ears. I will give you the short version and just say that the Princess turned on her teammate and kicked some serious Stormtropper and then Jedi behind! Let's just say that they learned a good lesson. After seeing the powers that a woman can have, I have now seen them playing as Princess Leia! I am going to make them into good men, even if I have to 'blow them up' along the way to teach them a thing or two!

Justin snags a controller
working the controllerWoo-hoo, cleared the level!getting mad just like the big guyssnack break

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Contest!

Anyone want to win a Dyson vacuum? Yep, that's what I thought! What a great contest! No pair of earrings or t-shirt here. (not that I wouldn't want to win them too!) This is an awesome prize! I have added it to my sidebar and decided to post about it to improve my chances of winning. If you want a chance, or two, to win, click on the icon below!

I also have to explain why I need a Dyson. Hmm, can you say house of boys! But if that isn't enough, I will explain a bit more.

1. I need it for Brian, my seven year old sports enthusiast. He is always playing something and dragging some kind of dirt or ball field clay into the house. He is always wearing cleats full of mud into the house. He throws balls around the house and constantly knocks over bowls of food. He kicks things that aren't even balls, a rolled up sock or shirt makes a good substitute for the real thing. Because of all the energy he expends, he is constantly eating snacks all over the house. Brian also has seasonal allergies and symptoms in the house would be lessened by a good vacuum.
2. My second reason is Sean, my four year old. His nickname around here is Pigpen. You know the character from Peanuts that travels around with a cloud of dust. This is the kid who can get a bath, walk down the steps to the living room and get dirty. He digs in the dirt for worms and gets chocolate all over his face. When he was younger, he had a lollipop and made a complete mess. His fingers were so sticky that they were literally stuck together. Like crazy glue. Do you think this bothered him? Nope. He went about pushing matchbox cars around and didn't care that his fingers didn't move. He throws food and wrappers on the floor, behind the couch and under the cushions. They really need a good cleaning.

3. Reason number three is Justin. Let's face it, babies are messy. More food is usually on the floor than in his mouth. He throws it and steps on it. He grabs pieces from his brothers and crumbs fall everywhere. He crushes bags of chips and dumps them just for the fun of it. Then he walks on the chips and laughs. He is all about cause and effect right now, and cause and effect to him is all about making a big mess. He also tends to bring home more mulch than the average kid from the playground. How in the world does he get it in his diaper? - with a onesie on!

4. Roc, our Black Lab mix, rolls in at number four. He is constantly tracking in dirt, grass and mulch. He rolls around outside, collects it on his back, and for some reason feels the need to shake it off in the house! But the dirt and grass are nothing compared the the shedding. Now that the weather has changed, he is losing hair at an alarming rate. Even just giving him a little pat on the head results in a fist full of fur! He also crunches his treats and bones on the floor and even though he cleans up pretty well, there are always a few crumbs left behind.

5. The fact alone that Brian Sr. is a male makes him eligible for the list. He is usually in the mix of things with the boys and brings in his share of dirt and grime. His shoes are usually covered in dirt and sand from the golf course too. He and the boys - and dog- wrestle in the dirt and grass, anything that gets stuck to them while rolling around winds up on the floors. He also eats lots of snacks and throws some to the dog, who doesn't always catch them.

6. It wouldn't be fair to not include myself in this list of mess makers! I think my number one culprit is my hair. I have a lot of it, and it falls out all over the house. I have to own up to this one because I have no choice. I am the only one in the house with hair over a few inches long. It is always stuck to someones fingers or toes! I also do my share of dropping things. And under my number I will include that we are saving for our adoption and that there is no way we could afford to buy a great vacuum like this!
7. The fish, Turtle. Okay, Okay he doesn't technically make much of a mess, but I couldn't leave out any of the members of our family. And he does have little pebbles in the bottom of his bowl that sometimes make it to the floor when I change his water!

And last but not least is photo proof of my dirty kids. I did not alter the color at all and you can see how white the bubbles and sides of the tub are as compared to the gross water. Yes, this is what the bathwater looks like after you put three boys in the tub!

ring around the tub!

I have no idea why I keep entering these contests online. This one really caught my eye because it is a Dyson vacuum! As a Mom of three boys, a 75 lb. dog, and a husband it is the ultimate cleaning machine! I am the eternal optimist I guess, because I never win anything. Never. I really mean never. I have entered countless 50/50 drawings and Chinese auctions and raffles. But that winning title still eludes me. I go beyond half and see my glass as two-thirds full! I am not complaining because this is me, and I like me. When I lose, yet again, I will just brush it off and find something else to enter. I feel like the more I enter, the more chances I will have to win.

This is partly true because if you never buy a lottery ticket, then you will never win the lottery. But entering things again and again doesn't guarantee that someday you will win. It will only increase your odds. This is because some people win more than once - even in the same raffle! Ugh! Last time I took a chance it was at an Adult Social for Brian's school. One couple won three different prizes. I was happy for them, of course, but the little kid in me wanted to stomp my foot in protest!

In all seriousness, I don't have a thing to complain about. I am such a silver lining girl. I have won the lottery of life. I have a wonderful family and extraordinary friends. I have a great hubby and three healthy boys with a baby girl to arrive next year! I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a car to drive. Brian has a stable job and the boys attend a school in a wonderful district. I live within an hour of the beach, the mountains, and a few major cities. So who needs those silly contests? Me, I do!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Legs!

These 'leg warmers' seem to be causing quite a commotion in the land of Mommy! Win 2 pairs of Baby Legs during Mandi's Favorite things contest that she is running. This is week 2, she will draw a winner Sunday. Mention my name when you comment to enter and we will both get an extra entry! Who can say no to free! Click over to enter and to find out more information - you even get to pick the ones you want to win. And again mention my name and put a post on your blog to receive extra chances! Good Luck!

Mandi's Favorite Things

Oh and don't forget to vote for my picture submission in Exposaroonie. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Babe Magnet

Every where that Justin goes he seems to attract a following of little girls. Little mother hens, mommies in training. The ogle over him, cater to him, and treat him like a little prince. If he reaches for a cookie, it is handed to him. If he drops his cup, it is returned to him. If he wants to walk around, his hand is held. If he smiles and makes silly faces, they are shadowed back to him. He doesn't know how good he has it. Or maybe he does.

He seems to know how darn cute he is. And he definitely flashes them smiles full of dimples and makes kissie fish faces. He lets them pick him up and carry him all around. He lets them feed him like a baby bird. He lets them chauffeur him around in his stroller. He sure is happy.

While sitting on the playground after Brian got out of school a conversation ensued about Justin's abilities to attract the opposite sex. A few of the Dads wished that they still had the power over females that Justin has. They thought it would be nice if women flocked to them like they do to Justin. They thought that maybe if they were more like him that it might work.

A few of the Moms then took a second to glance over at Justin. There he was sitting in the mulch. He had it stuck to his clothes, in his hair, and in his shoes. He had chocolate all over his face from the cookie he had eaten. The few spots that were chocolate free were colored in black with dirt. He was picking up piles of mulch and throwing it all the girls. The mulch that he didn't throw, he was trying to eat. After he ate it, he tried to spit it out.

We had to laugh. Can't you just see a grown man sitting in the middle of a playground? Covered in mulch. Dirty. Wearing a diaper. Drooling chocolate. Throwing mulch. Blowing raspberries. It would be hard to resist, huh? Yep, I agree -hard to resist not calling the cops! Sorry guys, I think your days of infinite attraction are long over!

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

First day at the pool...and I may never do it again without help! Our town pool actually consists of three pools - a rectangular pool ranging from about 3 feet to 5 feet with lap lines etc. (we call it the big pool), a baby pool which is a round pool with a fountain like spray in the middle, and a splash pool that has all kinds of fountains, sprayers and waterfalls. The problem is that Brian and Sean want to be in the big pool and you have to be four years old before you are allowed in. Which means no one in diapers! Which rules out Justin and try as I might I don't think he can pass for four even with a hat, sunglasses and a trench coat - not this summer anyway!

So, I have to try to keep Justin from falling, eating other people's food, stealing towels and shoes, hitting other babies in the head with his toy truck and falling into the pool and at the same time keep an eye on the big guys who are actually in the pool! And since he is now a proficient walker, all I have to do is turn around and he is gone! This is okay at home but at the pool and at the beach, it is a major problem!

When I got home, I did as any Mom in my situation would do. I researched those outdoor gates/baby fences! I then called around to see if I could find anyone who has one that they are no longer using. I am still waiting on a few calls back. My Mom suggested a harness to tie to a pole - what kind of Grandmom is she!?! I can see it now - me on the 6 o'clock news in handcuffs as they try to untangle a one year old from a leash! I keep saying over and over that my Mom told me to do it. I am not saying that baby harnesses are all bad - but I cannot just leave my kids tied to a pole like a dog outside of a grocery store!

Then we decided that if I were to invest in a baby gate, or be lucky enough to borrow one, that there might be some money to be made. If the fence was big enough I could start a drop-off service for all the other Mom's in my predicament! We then joked that if there were enough babies, they would be corralled in like sheep and be shoulder to shoulder. Then my job would be easy because they wouldn't be able to move. But I don't think that it would work because the crying and screaming would make up for the lack of movement. Oh well. I am looking into a fence though -with room for at least for one!

I have been a Mom long enough to know that he probably won't last long in the corral, but a girl can dream! And maybe just maybe if I throw enough toys and snacks in he will last a little longer. And if the gate is big enough, and I sit in with him, I might just get a few more minutes. Now, how I carry it to the pool with all of the other crap gear that I need, well I am still working on that. I am sure it will come to me tonight at about 2 am when I cannot sleep!

To the Bay!

We were invited by friends to the beach today! I thought about not going since Brian had to work, but the weather was so nice that I decided to brave it alone! The house was right on the bay and there was a small beach right around the corner!

Brian and Sean never did make it all the way into the bay to go swimming. There were crab traps hanging from the dock and even thought there were no crabs in them, they were still afraid. I think they have been watching too many Deadliest Catch episodes!

Justin had no fear and when we went to the beach he walked straight into the water. He was knocked off balance and drank a little water, but he didn't seem to mind! He sat in the fifty-something degree water and splashed his little heart out!

It was a great day and we didn't get home until after 10:00 pm! The boys talked about the great day for a whole eight minutes until they fell asleep for the rest of the hour home. It was a very quiet and peaceful ride home!
Brian on the dockSean in the waterBrian in the waterSean catching a drink from the water slide!JustinBrian digging in the sandJustin loved the sand!and the water!splash, splash!


Today begins the first day of a month of NaComLeavMo - which is a creative way of saying,"Get out there. Read these blogs and leave comments!" I have signed on to leave five comments a day and to return at least one comment per day! I think it will be a fun way to find some new blogs - and to get myself some new readers and some comments!

If you want to read the over 200 blogs included in the comment leaving extravaganza, you can click on the NaComLeavMo party hat below! It is too late to join, but feel free to read - and comment anyway!

My tracker doesn't show a big increase in visitors, but I am seeing an increase in comments. So thanks for stopping by - and even more for saying Hi!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekly Photo Contest

I have been thinking about entering a photo contest on a few blogs for some time now. Not really because I am a photographer, but mostly because I take so many pictures! I have decided to start with the one on Exposaroonie because the subject interested me. And because I thought of this picture of Justin. The challenge was to take a picture from a different perspective and I think that this one definitely does that!

You can vote for me (after 5/29) by clicking on the link above! Thanks!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Future Golfers

These pictures are from a week ago, but I forgot to post them. Brian and Sean got to go to work with their Dad and had such a great time! It is so nice that he has a job that can accommodate a four and a seven year old once in a while! They got to hit golf balls, take rides in the golf carts, eat lunch, and pretend to work in the pro-shop! I guess in a few years, there will be one more part-time employee when Justin begs to go too! Brian may have to start bringing one kid at a time!

Brian Jr. is getting to be a pretty good golfer. Sean still wants to do it his way and has more of a slap shot than a golf swing, but he is happy and this is all that matters! They both want to wear khaki pants and golf shirts to dress like Dad at work! It is too cute!

running the shop

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Squirting Fun!

Lucky for Sean, Justin is a good sport and actually liked being squirted in the face by a rubber duckie! I am not sure if Sean or Justin had a better time! And if you know Sean, then you know that, yes, he did squirt his Mom too! Sean and Justin have such a different relationship than Brian and Justin. Brian takes on more of a big brother role; he takes care of Justin, teaches him things, and protects him. Sean plays and wrestles with Justin. He teases him and ... squirts him with water. He doesn't treat him special and thinks of him more as one of the boys than as a baby. So, I guess that is good for Justin - he gets the best of both worlds!

right in the face!
and again - love Sean's face
Justin is still smiling...
and laughing...
even after Sean does this!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's My Party!

Yep, today is my birthday. I was born at 10:28 am exactly 36 years ago. I was about 5 weeks early and weighed in at 4 lbs 12 oz! My Mom woke up to a puddle of blood and went straight to the hospital. They didn't have ultra sound so the best guess was that there was a tear in the placenta somewhere. I did have to stay in the hospital for a few days to learn to eat a little better. My parents still tease me about how small I was! They used to bathe me in a cooking pot because even the sink was too big!

It is beautiful, sunny, and in the low 70's in NJ today. That is because there is no party planned. It rained on my party day for most of my childhood. And back then there were not all of these cool, and expensive, places to have a party. I think I remember my brother having one at McDonald's though.

I filled out a form to win something this morning and it hit me that I am now 36 . There were boxes to fill in for name and address, a box to check for gender, and then a box to check age group. I have now moved onto the next age group! I have long passed the 18-24 range, and had been in the 25-35 range for a while now. But this particular form had the next box as 35-49! What! How can I be in the same box with someone who is 49! Do I really have more in common with them than a 35 year old! I think that they should redo the range system and have 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and so on. It makes more sense to me!

All joking aside, I am not someone who is worried about getting older. Not yet anyway. I was not bothered by turning 30 or 35, and am not worried about 40 either. It is funny how age is so relative. When I was 20, the thought of being 36 was almost nauseating. Now that I am here, even 40 or 45 doesn't seem too bad! I don't feel that I am in my mid-thirties and I even continued to get carded in a bar or liquor store up until a few years ago! No problem 36 - bring it on!

Sean, being the class clown of the house, did have to comment on my age last night at dinner. I said something about running fast to do this or that. He looked right at me and said, "I would like to see you run fast!" Oh, to be 4! Later, he asked me, "Do you remember when I was 4 and went to the park?" I said, "Yes, Sean I do. And you are still 4." He said, "No, I'm four and a half!" So sorry, I forgot the second part of his age!

This process of adding 'a half' to your age by saying four and a half, adding months by saying I am 4 years and 9 months, and adding 'almost' by saying I am almost 5 seems to be popular among kids. So is embellishing your age a bit. I saw Brian tell kids he didn't know last summer that he was 8 (he was 6 last February)- these kids were much older than him and had to be about 10. You would never catch an adult a few months, or years, before their birthdays adding that extra year or two. Brian Sr. says that he is 36, not 36 and a half! Honestly I think that if he did that people would look at him strangely!

My Mom called a little bit ago to wish me a happy birthday. It was 10:33 am when she called and she said, "You were only a few minutes old 36 years ago!" My eyes started to fill with happy tears. It is so nice to be remembered. I have felt a deeper connection to my Mom since I have become a Mom. I remember what time of day my kids were born every year and that minute is so special to me. Thanks Mom, you made my day! I love you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

National Commenting Month

Mel had a wonderful idea on her blog! I have to say that she is a woman full of insight and good ideas! It is a movement to entice people to leave comments for a month! It is called NaComLeavMo. Click over and you will find a huge list of blogs to read! The authors have signed on to leave five comments a day and to return one comment a day from their own blog. The month will run from May 25 to June 25th! Anyone is free to join the blog-roll; any topic, any author! So, if you are looking for a way to increase you comment giving or want to find some great new blogs to read, then join in! It is easy! Just remember to mind your manners and be nice!

Flower Fun!

I have never even heard of this flower, but I guess it is what I would be if I was a flower. Maybe that means I am unique?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


First, I have to brag a little and say that Justin is a great sleeper. So were his brothers. I give a little credit to myself since strict bedtimes and nap times are rules that I never allow to bend in the slightest bit. But I really think that some of it is in their DNA. They just love to sleep!

So, that being said, I am pretty sure that Justin no longer needs to be "topped off" at night. This was a trick I used for Brian and Sean too. I nurse them right before they go to bed, maybe 8-8:30, and then get them out of bed for a little top-off before I turn in for the night. They don't wake up and for me, it filled up their bellies all the way, and made them sleep better and longer.

The thing is, Brian and Sean were long finished with their "topping-off" by the time they were a year old. Justin was a year old two weeks ago and I am still topping him off. He would probably just sleep on through with no problem. It is me, all me. I love that time with him. Just he and I. It is so wonderful. I am not ready to give it up.

The house is quiet and calm. Justin is usually too busy or too curious to nurse for very long. But, late at night, he is content to nurse for longer and I cherish it. I know that this special time for us is soon coming to an end and I am holding onto it for as long as I can. I am a huge supporter of breast feeding, but like Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View said last week, "When the child can spell milk, it is time to stop!" I thought that this was funny. I don't condone those that breast feed for longer or into the toddler years, it is just not for me.

Before going to bed, I go into his room to get him out of his crib. As I open the door, it creaks ever so slightly and he raises he head. He lets out a small whine and reaches for me. I pick him up and he snuggles into me with his eyes still closed. He is immediately comforted and he knows I am his mama even while he is asleep. I sit down with him and he instinctively turns and roots for my breast like a newborn. He knows my smell and knows the routine so even in the dark he knows which way to turn his head.

As he latches on, I can almost hear him let out a blissful sigh. Soon, my milk comes in and I can hear him swallowing. It is a fantastic and moving experience to see him immediately calmed. When my supply is depleted on one side, he kicks and softly whines once more. This is his signal to me to change sides. As I lift him to turn him t the other side he kicks his legs in unison as if to propel him to other side. He begins to root again and amazingly knows to turn his head to the other side even though his eyes remain closed. As he latches on the other side, he is once again peaceful.

When Justin is full and content, he sometimes opens one eye and upon seeing me will flash a sleepy, drunk grin. I cuddle him in closely and my heart overflows with love and wonder. He prefers for his head to be over my left chest. I think that my heartbeat quiets him and reminds him of the sounds in my womb. My head is telling me to go to sleep myself and to return him to his crib. But my heart wants to hold him close to me all night long. I hug him tightly a few minutes more.

Reluctantly, I carry him to his room. I hug him close once more and kiss each delicious cheek. I then kiss the top of his head and inhale his natural baby perfume for a few seconds. I lay him in his crib and make sure his lion blanket is on his chest. Justin grabs it with his chubby fingers and brings it up to his face. As he gently rubs the blanket over his face, I can see his body relax and give into sleep once again. Then his hand slowly falls to the side and his breathing deepens. I stand there for another minute and revel in the miracle that he is.

After quietly closing the door, I go to Brian and Sean's room to check on them before I turn in. I love to see the boys sleeping. They are so peaceful. If they had a rough day in the listening department and got in trouble, it is all forgotten. I have to just stand there a few minutes and watch them sleep. Then I gently kiss Sean on the head and try not to wake him. Brian is now in the top bunk, so I cannot kiss is head directly. I compromise by kissing my hand and then touching my hand to his head. Caught up in day to day life I sometimes don't get time to really study them. Some nights I am caught off guard while looking at them. I marvel at how much they have grown!

Good night, sleep tight, my sweet boys!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tunnel Fun

I was cleaning out the closet in Brian and Sean's room and came across this tunnel. I think it was from when Sean was a baby. It has been in the back of their closet for years! So, I brought it downstairs, Justin and Sean had so much fun! I thought that Justin might be afraid to crawl in at first, but he wasn't! He peered into one end and then crawled right in! He goes through so quickly and then turns right around and goes back in.

Justin's favorite parts were when Sean chased him in the tunnel and when he popped up at one end to surprise him. He got that deep belly laugh that is so contagious! Sean tried to lay down in the tunnel and block Justin from getting through, but that didn't stop Justin! He just crawled right over top of Sean! They really had a great time together!

Justin in the tunnel
having fun climbing over SeanSean in the tunnel

Friday, May 16, 2008


The other night I was giving the boys a bath. Sean jumped in first and Brian wanted to wait to take a shower. As I was getting Justin ready to go in with Sean, he dumped a whole bucket of little rubber ducks wearing football helmets into the tub. Sean started to try to pick them up out of the water with his mouth! He said, "Look Mom I am biting for ducks just like biting for apples at Halloween." I said, "It's bobbing for apples." He said, "I don't know what bobbing is but when you get something in your mouth and use your teeth it is biting." And so it is!

That same night I was putting the big boys to bed and it is a rule in our house that they have to go potty before bed. I don't care if they went ten minutes ago or five hours ago, they have to try. Because I hate changing bed sheets - especially on the top bunk! It was Sean's turn to go andhe jsut stood there looking from the toilet back to me again and again. Then he looks at me again and says, "Mom, I can't go. My peep is empty!" I was laughing so hard, he has such a way with words!

Then last night at Brian's baseball game he thought it would be a good idea to flash the opposing team and say, "Ha, ha! Look at my weiner!" I was mortified and we quickly had a "nice" little talk. He knew he was wrong and we talked about his body and how it was private. His answer was, " Sorry Mom, but I didn't do it to Brian's team though." Maybe it was a distraction technique to give Brian's team the edge! Last year at t-ball he pulled his pants all the way down and ran around, so I can say we are making progress...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Ice Cream Cone!

Mr. Softee (the ice cream truck around here) was nice enough to drive down our street at 8:30 pm! Brian and Sean had been in bed for about fifteen minutes. I heard the music outside and almost immediately heard footsteps upstairs. They were out of bed and down the steps in a flash! They were smiling and yelling, "Ice cream! Ice Cream!" I looked out the window and there was the truck with its flashing lights and hypnotic music. Mr. Softee doesn't make it down our street too often, so I said yes to ice cream!

Brian and Sean ran out of the house almost as fast as they came down the steps. Brian Sr. and I grabbed some cash and Justin, and headed out the door after them. I got a vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles, the Brians got chocolate cones, and Sean got a Sponge Bob popscicle! I made a big error in not getting Justin a cone because he practically grabbed mine right out of my hand!

I took one last lick and handed it over. He had so much fun after the initial faces because it was so cold! He didn't even really make too much of a mess until he decided to try to pick up the ice cream with his hand. It was too cold and he tried to drop it. When that didn't work he started shaking his hand to get it off! Brian and Sean thought this was hilarious!

I remember being a kid when Mr. Softee would come around. As I got older we used to chase him on our bikes in the summer. When I was pregnant with Brian, Mr. Softee would stop in front of our apartment and wait for me to waddle down the steps. Now that Mr. Softee is officially making his rounds, I am sure there will be a lot more ice cream in the house! Next time Justin will get his own cone - and bib! Hopefully he comes a little earlier next time!

first taste
too cold!
hands-on technique
biting the cone
big bite!
happy boy
Sean's popscicle
Brian's cone

Different Trips to the Same Place

The following was written by anonymous author. The social worker read this to close our class. It really sums up everything in a wonderful story. I think the two trips can be compared to pregnancy and adoption but I also think that it can be representative of getting pregnant with and without medical treatments.

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you look forward to be being pampered on the trip.

So you go the the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you, you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait, and wait, and wait.

Flights to Australia come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax, You'll get on a flight soon.: Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!", you say, "Going by boat will take a very long time and costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than by air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined and the beauty is magnified by you long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during the voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible, traveling by sea is so easy." You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty is not in the way you get there but in the place itself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trans-racial adoption

Brian and I had our second of three PIP (parents in process) meetings today at our adoption agency. The class was about the impact of being a trans-racial/trans-cultural family, how to be a multicultural family and about the losses and gains that each person affected by adoption goes through. It was very informative and I liked that they showed videos with interviews of adopted kids. It really gave good insight into how they were feeling and they even gave out a little advice to those of us still waiting.

I was really surprised at some of the kids answers. Some said they think about being adopted all the time and some said they hardly think about it at all. They said for them to feel connected to their birth country more was required than just celebrating holidays in the home or cooking ethnic meals. They said they needed to be with other adopted children and if possible, around other adults that share their heritage. This was very important for them to build self confidence. Being a minority in the United States means that they are not the standard in anything. They are a minority among all people - in entertainment, sports, politics, education, medicine, law enforcement etc. To them, t was more comforting to be in their birth country even though everything was foreign to them because there they were the standard everywhere they looked.

I found it very interesting that one guy said that he never knew which box to check on the forms that ask for ethnic background. He said he doesn't totally feel Korean or American or even Korean-American. He said he wished that there was a box labeled trans-racial adoptee. He felt that is where he fit in that adoptees almost make up their own culture. They have no known biological relatives anywhere.

We did a really neat exercise about loss. We had to get out a piece of paper and number it one thru ten. I'll wait while you grab a paper and pen. Go, ahead it is a great exercise. I tried to remember as much as possible but it is enough to get the point across.

On the first line write the name of someone who means a lot to you. On the second write something you are most proud of in your life. On the third write someone that you count on in life. On the fourth write your ethnic background. On the fifth write the word information which covers everything you need to know in your daily life. On the sixth line write your favorite place to be. On the seventh line write the word resources which includes money and your material things. On the ninth line write the word values. On the tenth line write your favorite thing to do.

Now look at your list and cross off four things. Believe me it is harder than it looks! I think that maybe I can cross off one thing, maybe two, but four no way! Then she said you have to cross off two more things! That was next to impossible! After that she said, now you have to lose two more things. At this point I am smiling because there is no way I can cross off all of these things and still be able to function in life.

The social worker said that this is what an adopted child goes through. In order to be adopted, they must suffer profound loss. They must give up everything in their lives that makes them feel secure and that is important to them. I never thought of it that way and I really had to just pause a minute to think about it. The more I thought about it, the more emotional I got and I have to admit that my eyes got a little teary.

The kids said that the most important thing is for adoptive parents is for them to be educated and aware of race. They want the adoptive parents and family to be comfortable with their own race and to be confident with who they are. Also important to them was that the adoptive parents have an openness about discussing race, keep communication lines well established, and to have talks with their children about racial issues.

Infertility United - Who is with me?

I have to say that my feelings have really been hurt lately. I am not angry, just a bit wounded. I do understand that infertility can take a real toll on people. It changes some and makes them do and say things that they might not have otherwise. And this is the same for any person going through any kind of difficult time. Everyone deals with life's ups and downs the only way that they can.

What I don't understand is the the name calling and the discrimination among infertiles. To me it is a social injustice. To say that you are more infertile and more hurt than another just because you have been undergoing treatments longer or have not conceived yet is just ridiculous to me. Some may have been trying longer or shorter than others but it means you have felt the emotions for longer than some, not that you definitely feel more or less pain. In any case, and no matter whether I am right or wrong, it is still no reason to make others feel bullied and ashamed of their own feelings.

Yes, it is different, there is no question of that, but it is not an open invitation to ostracize those that have been blessed with pregnancy and/or children. If you are not in a place to offer congrats and support then that is perfectly acceptable and understood. But please stop judging. Let others be happy or sad or mad or frustrated with whatever life gives them.

Whether it has been one cycle or fifty cycles, there are still serious and raw emotions involved. And to lesson someones feelings in any way is not acceptable - especially when you know first hand how it feels. No one person can say for sure how another feels or what they are going through. When people experience things together, side by side, there are those that 'graduate' before others. It is a fact of life. We all approach things differently and all have our own way of working through difficult times.

There is such a wonderful community of support and understanding in the world of infertility and loss. I relied on it in the past and still do for many reasons. Let's not let this negative behavior by a few affect us as a whole. Let's not let emotional stress lead to hurting other's feelings. I would hate to see this sisterhood crumble. Everyone person at one time or another is judged enough by the world; let's not do it among ourselves. It is time to do more hand holding and less finger pointing. It takes so much less energy to be kind and compassionate - and it feels better too!

Again, I do understand that my perspective is different since I have children. But maybe that is why I can see the whole picture. I am not as emotional as I was while I was trying to get pregnant. Infertility is infertility in my book. No matter how you look at it. Whether it be male factor or PCOS or egg quality or fertilization problems. One is not better or worse. It is all so painful. It is all emotionally and physically draining. To make light of some one's struggles is wrong on so many different levels.

Those that have conceived on their first cycle are different than those still trying five years later. Those that have experienced loss and those that haven't are different. And I am not trying to say that this is not true. I don't want to be kicked out of where I belong and feel comfortable, where everyone knows my story and pain. But, I guess to put it simply the point that I want to get across is to just be nice. To those with kids or who are pregnant -try to remember and understand, and try your best to only offer support and not give answers. To those still trying -try to remember that we are rooting for you and that we do remember the pain and frustration on a daily basis.

Infertility still hurts, even after three children and an adoption in the process. And sometimes that is a good thing; I don't want to forget. And as weird as that sounds, the underlying pain never lets me forget what extraordinary miracles that my kids are and how I love them more with each passing day.

Infertility is always there, kind of like a blister on my foot that will never go away. A constant reminder of my struggles and tears. It is still sore and painful. Only instead of being an open wound, mine now has a bandage on it. But there are times when the blister gets bumped and rubbed and even the bandage cannot protect me from the pain. My blister will remain incurable, and tender forever.

Any woman that has dealt with infertility has walked a similar path to mine, but all the footprints left along that path are unique. So, let's all be there for each other, and not try to comment on the comfort of another's shoes when they clearly don't fit our feet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My list

I have been tagged by So These Are the Days. So, here it is!

Four Things I did 10 years ago

1. got engaged

2. breifly lived in Maryland

3. worked in title research in a courthouse

4. planned my wedding

Four Things I did five years ago.

1. gave birth to Sean

2. moved Brian to a bed from a crib

3. started doing childcare in my home

4. I cannot remember any more - so I will say lost some memory?

Four Things I did Yesterday.

1. wash, wash and more wash

2. drove kids to and from school

3. blogged

4. played with the boys

Four Shows I love to watch.

1. Boston Legal

2. Deadliest Catch

3. Brothers and Sisters

4. Frasier re-runs

Four Things that make me happy

1. my kids

2. random acts of kindness

3. organization

4. crossing things off of lists

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day 2008

I have received this e-mail a few times before and thought it was appropriate for today!

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,
the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

Justin's Birthday - round two

We had some family that couldn't make it last Saturday. Since Justin only turns one once, we decided to do cake for a second time. Plus I didn't get to make a big cake last time and only made cupcakes due to the low attendance! Justin had a great time and definitely enjoyed the chocolate cake more than the vanilla one. Maybe that is why he didn't dive right in last week. I surrounded by a house of chocolate loving boys. All four of them prefer it to vanilla and Brian Jr. has been known to turn down cake if it is not chocolate on chocolate.

Justin has been walking so much more in the last week. He started so much more today! He now probably walks and crawls about the same amount in a day. And he starts off walking as far as he can and then crawls when he falls down. It is neat to see how proud he is of himself! Justin walking so much also means that the bumps and bruises are not far behind! I had better hurry up and get some pictures!

His first 'girlfriend', Jordan, will turn one in June. She loved Justin. In fact she may have loved him a little too much! He did not quite feel the same way. She pretty much smacked and attacked him. She would go up to him and tackle him. He would try to crawl or walk away. During one escape attempt she tried to grab him and only got the waist of his pants. She pulled them right off of him - it was so funny! Jordan kept giving him love pats on his head. At times, those love pats didn't seem so lovey! Then once when he was lying on the floor she went over and laid down on top of him!

By the end of the night you could tell that he was definitely avoiding her! It is so funny to me to see how personalities can be so different - even from birth. Justin has always been more easy going and laid back than Jordan. She is so much more adventuresome and outgoing than he is! They are like complete opposites. There were times when he just sat and stared at her like she was from another planet! Hey - opposites attract! There may be a future for them yet!

Jordan ready for a sneak attack
first time kicking a ball
trying to kick again
Justin's 2nd cake
diving right in
what is this?
Justin and Mom
the fork was stuck to his shirt
after he tried to throw it backwards!