Monthly Archives: April 2008

Ode to a Sunny Day and a Trampoline

Spring has come from out of nowhere in my area, and life is suddenly very different. Dealing with the kids has been awesome. The past few days have been mid-60’s to 70’s, and grandma has been babysitting cousins next door, so we had two days of a midget herd. At its height, there were three five-year-old’s, two three-year-olds, and a two-year-old playing on the swing set, jumping on the trampoline, and digging in the dirt (then arguing over who got to hold the grubs–blech!). Oh, and me getting to hear N~ yelling “Mommy, I see a hawk-bird!” Yep, my yard is like some Audobon heaven. Hawks, woodpeckers, vultures (hmmm, I wonder what is dead back in the field–I’ve seen them and a lot of crows in the past couple of days) all kinds of cool stuff to see and hear.

They spent two solid days playing outside, which kept the days quiet and the bedtimes easy. Heaven!

And while the kids are away, the mom can–clean. I have been really bothered by some of the more cluttered areas of my house lately. So I have been decluttering my bedroom and getting all of my office stuff and fabrics/craft materials organized and put away. My next project will be our buffet, which is so stuffed with goodness-only-knows-what that it is completely useless for real storage. Once that is taken care of, I can find homes for some of the things that are currently hanging out on the surfaces. I’m just really feeling the need for order–maybe the nesting is finally kicking in?

I had my six-week follow-up appointment with my midwife Tuesday. Oh, so many things I could talk about with that one, but my mother is reading (ok, not so much her as the fact that she knows some of the rest of you are reading, too!). What I will say, though, is that Utah has a great road system (really, I am still on the same topic, just hang in here with me for a bit). I really have no desire to ever live in Utah again, but I would love to have their road system here–streets named by how many blocks north, south, etc. you have traveled. It is brilliant. Once you understand it, it is darn near impossible to get lost. Here? Not so much.

Let me explain. A few days after E~ was born, my OB’s practice moved its office. This was the first time I had gone to the new place. Now, let’s say that the old office was on North Whistling St at the northern part of the local city. My understanding was that they had moved to a location very close by, on the same street, so I headed in that direction. When I got on N. Whistling, I checked the new address. 900 South Whistling St. I was at, oh, about 9000 North. Crap. So I started heading south. After awhile, N. Whistling turned into New Zealand St. And I was officially lost. Now, I knew approximately where S. Whistling St was in the suburb just south of the city. After much turning down one street or another, I finally found S. Whistling. But I was at about 2000 South. So I started going north. And S. Whistling quickly turned into another street (before hitting anything close to 900). At this point, I had been driving around for about an hour (thank heavens I had the time of my appointment wrong and left an hour early). It was late enough that the office-staff was back from lunch, so I called the office and explained that I was completely lost and confused.

“Oh,” said the nice lady on the phone,” our new office is just about 3/4 mile north of the old one.”

Huh?

That’s right, folks. I had to go north on N. Whistling to get to the S. Whistling St. that they were located on in the suburb just north of the city (as opposed to the S. Whistling I was on in the south suburb). Gah!

Oh, and to make it even better, I hit a stop and roll (seriously, I wasn’t even pushing the gas pedal) traffic jam on the freeway driving home. What should have taken me 1 1/2 hours round-trip (including appointment) took me about four hours. At least the baby had the courtesy to sleep through it all.

Also, my midwives now associate me with the vibrator. As I was checking out, the one midwife (loudly) asked how my vibrator was. Before I had a chance to melt into the floor, the other midwife and office staff started laughing about it (whew! At least they didn’t think I was–um–different than I am). Apparently, they have all seen the pictures and heard the story. Still, there is something a little disconcerting about being the “vibrator lady.” (If you are reading this and go to my church, please click the link and read the story so my mother won’t have to worry about you thinking poorly of me 😉 ).

I know I said that there were so many places I could go with the appointment, but wouldn’t out of deference to my mother. I didn’t.

I must say, the mind reels.

 

**If you read Elaine’s blog and are dying to know what is going on, all is well (but hectic). Elaine is currently experiencing the shakes from internet withdrawal, though. So you won’t hear from her until next week. But, rest assured, she’ll have plenty to talk about.

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Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode, just plain bizarre, Kids

The Greatest Reward

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you should be familiar with the Vietnam blankie project that I did with the girls at my church (and then my mother took over). We started in October, and the blankie buddies were finally delivered to Quinn’s orphanage about two weeks ago.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but we sent so many blankie buddies over that there were actually too many for Quinn’s orphanage. As a result, the adoption agency put some aside to send to another province. They were delivered this past week.

This is where it gets cool.

Elaine called me yesterday and told me that she wanted to read an email to me from one of her online friends. As much as I’m tempted, I’m not going to write the particulars of what was said since it is not my story to tell. This woman, however, had just received her referral from Vietnam. Among the many pictures she received of her daughter was one with a duck blankie buddy on the girl’s head. The picture was such that it reminded her of another picture–one of someone very close to her that had passed away. And that gave it meaning.

First, it amazes me that I have already been able to see a referral photo with one of our blankies in it. I had wondered if I ever would, so to have one within a matter of a couple of weeks–wow. But to know that there was something about it that really had meaning to this mother? Honestly, the whole project was worth it just for that.

I did share the picture and email with my girls last night. It was one of the few times that they have seen me choke up (honestly, why is it that I would rather have people think there is a cold, dark spot where my emotions should be rather than have them see me cry?). I hope that they are as moved by it as I am.

It has been such an amazing project. I need to find a way to keep it going.

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Reflections of Youth

Well she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there
Was a little more to life
Somewhere else
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to

 

On my way to our youth activity tonight, I went through the drive thru at Taco Bell to get something for dinner. I sat in the church parking lot and ate my food while listening to Tom Petty. My window was down, my music was up, and Spring was streaming into my soul. It was one of those moments that took me back ten (ok, fine, fifteen) years to when I was one of the girls coming to the activity, instead of one of the leaders.

It is amazing how certain things can take me back so easily. The Steve Miller Band takes me back to high school. A certain U2 song takes me to the week before summer semester my Sophomore year of college.

I remember having a conversation with my mother years ago. “It’s weird,” she told me, “who you are inside doesn’t get older. You look in the mirror an see someone different, but you’re still the same person inside that you were years ago.”

I’m beginning to understand.

It seems impossible that I could be one person’s mother, let alone four people’s. I usher my little brood through the day thinking, “Whose idea was it to leave me in charge?” My kids look to me for guidance and protection, and I sit in my car feeling American Girl flow through my consciousness.

Sean has known me long enough to remember the “good girl” with that streak of rebellion below the surface, wanting to come out. I generally held it back in the important ways.

I’ve grown up so much, but I haven’t really changed at all.

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Steps Towards a Healthier Me

Friday night was Sean’s graduation from our local Y’s “Biggest Loser” competition (which, in its second round will just be the “Big Loser” competition–you know, copyright issues). Anyhoo…They did a salad bar and had a motivational speech by Kae Whang from season four of the show (aren’t you jealous?). She actually gave a pretty good speech. Sean got his picture taken with her–not that he cared (or even wanted to), but one of his teammates is making a scrapbook and wanted the pictures to put in it.

Speaking of pictures, each person competing in the challenge got copies of their before and after pictures. Sean lost over 20 pounds, and it definitely showed in the pictures. Since I see him every day, I don’t notice as much. But the pictures definitely showed the difference. I’m proud of what he has accomplished so far. And I look forward to working with him on this.

Which brings me to Saturday. I decided to get up and go to the morning spinning class at the Y–my first real workout since E~ was born. I got there and started on my bike. About 15 minutes in, I was wondering how I had managed to do it for an hour at a time when I was five months pregnant. And then the trainer stopped. It turns out that they were doing a special “preview” class today. We went from spinning, to step-aerobics, to band training (that, if done on a regular basis, would undoubtedly give me the butt of my dreams–I felt the burn), to a workout ball, to TurboKick, to hip hop, to ab work, and (finally) a cool-down. I fully expected to not be able to move the next day. It kicked my butt. I wish they did it as a regular class–I’d show up every time.

I made my first venture into Raw food yesterday. It was called chili, but it really was more like a salsa with barley in it (ok, I did cook the barley–I didn’t have 3-4 days to let it soak). I took it for our family’s Sunday dinner get together. Others are not as brave as I am, apparently, so I brought a lot home. Fine by me–I really like it.  I also got stuff to make garden burgers. I’m excited to try different recipes. Sean seems highly skeptical. Too bad, I’m still making it. He can choose to eat or not. 😉

When I mentioned Raw foods in my last post, I got a comment from a woman who, it turns out, has written several recipe books and teaches classes on Raw foods. I have been enjoying reading through her website, so I thought I would go ahead and share it. So, if you have any interest in learning more about Raw foods, go here. I don’t plan on becoming vegan, but I am definitely interested in incorporating a lot of the Raw ideas into my diet.

I finally got to meet Quinn yesterday! Between all of the people and the fact that he’s still on Vietnam time, I didn’t get to interact with him a lot. He is a really cute little guy, though. And he definitely seems to have a great disposition. I hope that he is able to adjust to his new family well. It stinks that they are moving so soon after he comes home (OK, it stinks that they have to move at all). I’m just glad that they are moving as a complete family. It was about time that he finally came home.

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Filed under adoption, Daily Life, Healthy Living

Here Comes the Son(s)

Last night, my phone rang. Sean grabbed it and, as he was bringing it to me said, “It’s P~.” OK, not necessarily helpful since we have three people in our life with that name–all of whom could have been calling me. When I looked at my phone, it said P~R~. N’s birthmom’s mother. I was excited to answer it. It wasn’t P~, though. It was T~! Even better! It has been quite awhile since I have gotten to talk to N’s birthmom.

My first question, of course, got to the matter of why she called. I asked her how her baby was, and if he was still in, or if he was now out. The answer was that he was born on Saturday–on C’s birthday! That will be an easy one for me to remember. It turns out that she had a very similar labor to the one I had with E~, but not as long. She went into the hospital with her contractions about two minutes apart, only to have them slow back down. Like me, it took pitocin to get things going again. Her little boy was seven pounds and seven ounces, so a decent amount smaller than E~.  Of course, that just means that she gets to have normal-sized babies (how unfair is that–she is seven inches taller than I am)!

T~ isn’t usually one to talk very much. She tends to play her cards very close to her chest, so I was grateful and pleased that we had a rather long conversations that included things from both of our lives. We, of course, talked about the babies, as well as our other kids (we’re up to seven between us). We also talked about the fact that N~ is going to be in kindergarten next year, and that I have already enrolled him in a homeschool/charter school (I’ll write more about that soon). We talked about my concern over N’s difficulty with letters and the fact that she struggled with math until middle school.

Maybe most importantly, I told her about N’s recent understanding regarding his adoption. About how he saw a picture of her and said, “That’s my mom, right mommy?” About the fact that he asked me the other day what “birth parents” means, and if W~ has birth parents. I left out the fact that the conversation started when N~, angry with W~ for some random thing, shouted, “You’d better stop it or we’ll send you back to your birth parents!” I was both amused and bothered at the same time. Amused that he could come up with something like that since nothing of the sort has even remotely been said to him, and bothered that he would see it that way. We explained the concept that we were W’s birth parents, as well as his mommy and daddy. I wish I would have been thinking a bit more quickly–I told him that he is the only one in our family that has separate birth parents, which is true of our nuclear family. I wish I would have thought to point out that his cousin, Tank Boy, also has separate birth parents, as well as Quinn, who is coming home this weekend (!).  Instead, I just pointed out that having separate birth parents just means that he has extra people to love him.

T~ was really surprised that N~ was already asking about adoption and figuring out how we all fit together. I told her that we have just gone with the idea that if he is old enough to ask the question, he is old enough to get the answer (in an age-appropriate way, of course). Between the fact that he is getting a new cousin from Vietnam, and the fact that he just got a new brother from me being pregnant, we have had plenty of questions to answer that go back to adoption. While she didn’t say it, I think I could hear T~ tearing up as I told her about it. I hope that it doesn’t make her nervous to be around him. Of course, that is why I brought the topic up in the first place–I want her to be prepared in case he asks her any questions. She has a right to know that he is thinking about it.

Which, of course, brings me to the most exciting part of our conversation. As soon as she feels up to it, we are going to set up a visit! She and her family want to come out to see us. Of course, my home is always open to them (conversely, I know that I am welcome there any time). It has been too long since our last visit–almost a year. I have respected her decision to pull back for awhile, but I am glad that she is ready to visit again. She and her family are such good people. I am so grateful for the chance we have to know them. It is amazing to me that we have developed such a good relationship–when we were first matched, she wanted no contact at all. We have come so far.

In other adoption news, Mom, Matt and Quinn should be home tomorrow evening! And Elaine has already invited us over on Sunday, so I’m less than 48 hours from meeting my new nephew! I really am excited about this. And it will be comforting to have my whole family back where they belong. Life is good.

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Filed under adoption, Kids, open adoption

A Dissenting View

After feeling so good about all that I got accomplished Tuesday, it was inevitable that something would have to bring me down yesterday.

I have mentioned before that Sean’s grandmother came to help me almost every weekday for two weeks after E~ was born. It was a really nice gesture, and a lot got accomplished (by both of us).  I don’t feel like I need help at this point, but she has offered to still come over once a week to help for a few hours. She likes the time with the kids, I get adult conversation, and we get some extra cleaning done. It should be a win for everyone, and it usually is.

But not yesterday.

Sean left early yesterday morning. I was out of bed before seven o’clock, getting breakfast for kids. I made beds, picked up the living room, and cleaned the kitchen before Granny arrived. Shortly after she showed up, I went to the store to pick up some necessities. I came back and took the shower that I didn’t get before Sean left. I was so busy that I didn’t even eat breakfast.

By the time I finished all of this, it was a little past eleven. Granny was in my kitchen, and mentioned that she had been working on the muffin tins in my sink. Sean had made muffins two days ago, but forgot to spray the tins. I had been alternately soaking and scrubbing at them when I had a chance since then, but they were still not clean. I told her that I honestly hadn’t knocked myself out because I was kind of leaving them for him (if you have ever seen my kitchen after he has cooked, you know that I clean up LOTS of his messes, but I felt like he should take some ownership on this one). She looked at me and said “You seem to just leave a lot of stuff for him.”

I looked straight at her and told her I did not. She responded by saying, “Well, it sure looks like it.”

Not the right thing to say to me at that moment (or ever).

Here’s the thing. I would never claim to have the cleanest house on the block. I am not a slob, but I certainly have my fair share of clutter. But it isn’t for lack of effort. I spend hours out of every day picking up, making beds, putting away, cleaning, cooking, etc. etc. All while trying to raise four little boys. And that is my biggest problem–they make the messes faster than I can keep up. So, even though I spend a lot of time cleaning, it really doesn’t feel like I make a lot of headway. I just keep doing the same things–cleaning the same messes–over and over. It is infuriatingly frustrating. I can spend the entire morning cleaning, and the house will be a wreck again by the time Sean comes home.

But I am doing it. Over and over.

So, to have someone come over for a couple of hours each week, then use that limited interaction as fodder to attack me??? Not.going.to.happen.

Because, here’s the other thing. This isn’t the first time she’s gone after me. We had a brush this fall where she was literally yelling at me in the middle of the street (in front of my kids, no less) calling me lazy and a “wounded soul” because I had the audacity to be upset that Sean didn’t come home when he said he would on a day that I had been fighting a migraine all day long. It took me quite awhile to get over it that time, but I did. And I will get over it again this time, I suppose.

Unless she keeps doing it.

You see, there is one more thing. She has a reputation for doing this to every woman who marries into this family. She did it to my mother-in-law. She does it to my father-in-law’s current wife. She does it to me. And she’s done it for years to her other son’s wife. We all know it, because she tells us all how difficult the other women are. Last time that we had an argument, I flat out told her that she was being nasty. And she told me that her age essentially gave her a “get out of (ahem) unkindness (ahem) free” card.

Not with me. The other women may be a little more stuck since they are married to her sons. I’m not. And even Sean agrees that, if she can’t be respectful, she doesn’t need to be around. It is hard enough to deal with little-kid attitudes without an adult belittling their mom in front of them.

Rant over. I’ll move on now.

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Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode

Supermom

I am pretty darned impressed with myself today. I managed to be up, showered, and ready before most of my kids were awake. We were out the door before 8:00 am, and I was actually early for my 8:50 dentist appointment. I got through the appointment with the two younger kids with me (the older two hung out with their cousins). Afterwards, I managed a shopping trip with all four kids. And this evening? I spent about 45 minutes on the treadmill.

I am mommy–hear me roar.

The appointment with the dentist went well. I had to take E~ since he doesn’t do well being separated from me. C~ went along because I wanted the dentist to check out his lower front teeth. One of the first ones that should have come in didn’t. He has a space for it, but no tooth. I just wanted to check and make sure he didn’t need a spacer there, or anything like that. Apparently, everything is ok. The dentist said that he may have even had the two teeth fuse together. But since all of the other teeth are lined up well, we have no worries (and since he is a cosmetic dentist, I trust his assessment).

When my cleaning was over and the dentist came in, I told him that, being the big dork I am, I brought him a present. He took the bag (yep, I put it in a gift bag with tissue paper and all) and set it on the counter. I told him to go ahead an open it–if he hadn’t known me most of my life, he probably would have thought I was completely nuts (heck, he may have anyhow). He looked in, got a big smile and said “They’re making it again?!” He, the hygienist, and the office assistants (who happen to be his wife and her sister) all thought that it was great. The sister-in-law laughed about how she has considered many times throwing the old toy away but couldn’t because of sentiment and the fact that kids still play with it. She said that she just settled for disinfecting it at least once a week. I looked around online and found a picture of the old one.

old toy

Fisher Price Tumble Tower

According to the ebay seller who posted this picture, this toy was made in 1971. I know my dentist thought his was older than that, but I don’t know. One way or another, it is at least 37-years-old. And it is the only toy in the office. I hope they keep the old one there, but they have the new one now, too. And I honestly think they were as excited about it as I was.

Like I already said, I managed to do a shopping trip with all of the kids after my appointment. We started at the mall so I could get a new nursing bra. Can I just say that the Motherhood store needs to get a clue? I like their clothes and they have great prices. But their layout sucks. A store that caters to pregnant women and new mothers should have aisle wide enough to effectively maneuver a stroller. It is hard enough to get through there with a single stroller, but darn near impossible with a double stroller.

Our next stop was the book store. I bought a raw food cookbook (ok, that’s an oxymoron–a raw food “preparation” book). Between wanting to eat more fruits and vegetables, wanting to lose weight, and liking the idea of recipes that don’t require an oven when the weather heats up, it just seemed like a cool idea. Of course, I’m already wanting a juicer and a food processor to make some of the recipes with. We also picked up another Magic Tree House book for the kids. They’re excited since this one is about pirates.

Sean was able to get me into a Biggest Loser group at our YMCA. I had hoped to put  together a team with people I know, but I wasn’t able to find anyone else. So, I’ll be working out with strangers. I can live with that. I just want to be working out again. I managed to get on our treadmill this evening. I had wanted to do an hour since I was only walking, but had to stop at 45 minutes when Sean threatened to lock the baby in a closet (he was just kidding!). E~ was screaming over my disappearance and Sean couldn’t take it anymore. I’ll have to keep doing these practice runs on the treadmill so that E~ can get used to the concept of me being gone for awhile before the actual challenge begins. I almost feel selfish committing to this when E~ is so young, but I just need to do this for myself. My emotional state is so much better when I am exercising. And I feel better about myself when I am a certain size. Not that I’m heavy, but I have ten pounds to get back to where I was before this pregnancy. Twenty pounds would get me back to where I was before any pregnancies, which would be awesome. It amazes me now to realize how thin I used to be, and how unable I was to realize it. It’s kind of sad.

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Filed under Daily Life, Healthy Living, Patting myself on the back