Disclaimer

If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
OR
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Dec 30, 2007

Comes in three's, right?

Christmas day? Rather peaceful. Seriously. We were done with presents by 10:00. All but the babies were up at 6:00. There was unwrapping to be done! We took a break for an hour and forced them to eat something besides chocolate and candy. Santa, don't ya' know! We opened gifts one by one, ohhhed and ahhhed appropriately, took all the damn twisty crap off the back of a zillion things, inserted batteries, constructed Lego sets, and played. It was very nice...and peaceful.

My sister and her husband arrived around 2:00 and in anticipation of their arrival, there was mopping to be done. Naturally, Santa came a day too early or I mopped a day late, because my mop broke. Ahh, well, I always enjoy a good scrub, on my knees...

The next day, the washing machine broke. With the holidays, laundry was backed up a bit. That, coupled with the additional "nice clothes" for the various holiday celebrations and all the bedding- (everyone needed clean sheets for Christmas)- and then the two extra loads of sheets from a midnight wetting, and... You get the idea. There was a lot of freaking laundry to be done at our house. Turns out 26 loads, to be precise. The first load of the day sent the machine over the edge. The repairman was called and arrived the next day. After 4 hours at our house, he declared he should have the part in 7-10 days. Whoopee!

Turns out the washing machine repair man had to fight for a parking space in front of the house because there were three other trucks blocking his path. (No, no new cars for Christmas.) It was the other repairmen. It seems that the regular technician wasn't quite enough. The senior technicians needed to be called. And we had called in a second opinion to see just how much carbon monoxide might be blowing into our house.

In the end? No heat for the downstairs of our house. See, by law they have to disable the unit if there is a crack that is leaking carbon monoxide. Should be fixed in, oh, 7-10 days, maybe. It's supposed to be 33 tonight. And the duct system underneath the house which probably cause the part to malfunction in the unit? Needs to be redone.
(They took a look at the upstairs unit as well, and declared it "old, inefficient, and not up to code" and also mentioned that the duct system upstairs "was not doing the job properly and should really be redone")

I think perhaps Santa lost the $25,000.00 check he was sending me for Christmas. I'm sure it will arrive after the new year

And the laundry? Done. Käri spent the day at the laundromat, where she counted, 26 loads.

Did I mention we took a trip to the Bay Area yesterday? There and back in 13.5 hours.

Never a dull moment...






Oh, right, the mop...still need to replace that.

Dec 24, 2007

I Am Alive

I've conquered Strep- again! The virus/cold is still hanging in a bit and the sinus infection is pretty much gone. Thank goodness for antibiotics! I was sick enough that I ventured out to the doctor in my pink pajama bottoms, slippers, t-shirt, rust orange fleece sweatshirt -that I only wear in the house- and that's it- Oh, wait I did wear a hat to disguise my hair... A lovely sight, to be sure. I picked up my antibiotics at a local swanky grocery store in the same outfit, as well. Oi. Oh, well. I didn't care, until the next day.

We've been busy elves around these parts. Dinner is made for tomorrow, gifts wrapped, guest bed up, kids have been threatened to death if they get up before 6 tomorrow, we'll see.

Merry, Merry!!

Dec 21, 2007

The Cutest Elves Ever!

Hi! This is Käri. Tricia is sicker than a dog. She's got strep throat again and the crud on top of it all (thanks to me), so I thought I'd post something cute for her. We've gotten many emails with a link to this cute little elf dance. I thought I'd give it a try and sure enough, it's damn cute! The cutest elves ever are: from left to right, Ruby, Lily, Julia and Mason. Lily and Mason are our friend's cute little ones. Lily is a month older than Ruby and Julia, and her brother Mason is just three months older than that. When they're all together (which they are often!) it's like quadruplets! Quadruple the fun that is! Look at them dance and enjoy your holiday!
Merry Christmas!

Watch the cute elves dance!





PEACE and JOY from our family

Dec 16, 2007

The Santa Visit



The Santa photographer was able to capture a bit of a better image- though the babies are screaming and Gus looks like he's on drugs. We bought it, we'll frame it and add it to the collection on the mantle.

Dec 14, 2007

Header image

Is the header image all messed up for you all too??


Edited to add: I messed with it, forever and fixed it the best I could...html- holy cow... It's not centered- I can't seem to figure that part out. Maybe another day. But the picture is back, and that is the most important part.

I Bit

The idea is to make a copy of this list and highlight via boldface or underlining all the things you have done.

Oops, forgot to credit Cole.


01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (in the process)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Dec 12, 2007

Gabriel Allred and #6

He's staying with his parents!!!! Grandma withdrew her petition to adopt, but asked that Gabriel's parents make sure he learns Spanish and keep in touch with his birth relatives in Mexico. It brings me great pleasure to know that this worked out well for Gabriel. (and a little sad for Grandma)





#6 I chew gum. The kind I like is hard to find, so last time I found it I bought 20 boxes. So, when I stick a piece in my mouth I'm usually sure I'll be chewing it for a while. If my gum chewing gets interrupted by a stray piece of candy or a bite of an apple, I save it. The gum. I hold it until I'm done with the eating or I put it on the kitchen window sill until I'm ready to chew it again.

Definitely weird, and gross too.




One left, one last weird thing...

Dec 8, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Do you guys eat a lot of rice? Brown rice??

______________

T-Yes, we eat lots of brown rice and basmati (white) rice.
which reminds me, did I already volunteer to bring something for christmas dinner? Because if I did, i've forgotten what it was.
I haven't yet spoken with N. about christmas gifts; have you come up with any ideas? I'll email N. now.
Talk to ya' later,
M.

__________________

Uh, you volunteered to bring THE dinner- remember?

Tricia

P.S. We aren't vegan so we'll be needing lots of dairy and meat...please.

___________________

Ok, how about I bring a live cow that you can milk and then later slaughter?
I'll just bring a potato for myself.
:)
M.

_______________

We believe that it is cruel to slaughter animals ourselves and we wouldn't want to expose the kids to the cruelties of life, so we'd appreciate it if you could just take care of the slaughter ahead of time. we lesbians are a peaceful people. Think back. You remember don't you? Thanks for understanding. Will you be bringing a potato with eyes? Is that considered a face? Can you really eat that? Perhaps a slice of bread would be more appropriate. What will S. be eating? Looking forward to a very merry holiday meal together. One of Tricia's blogging buddies just sent her martini shakers. Maybe we should just drink our dinner. xo kar

_______

S. will be fasting and will follow his non-meal (and our liquid meal) with a colonic irrigation, complete with vivid details at the dinner table. We are also looking forward to a very merry meal, or extended liquid lunch.
Cheers! M.

____________

The proceeding is a series of e-mails between my sister and us discussing Christmas dinner. She's a vegan, we're not, neither is her husband. Before she was married she was a lesbian...

Dec 7, 2007

More System Stuff

I read this story by way of Jess. About a boy caught in the system. A system that, at least at first glance, is screwing the kid, again.

When I worked in residential treatment we would read these cases. These terrible cases of abuse and poverty, drugs, rapes, children being molested, hurt, over and over again. Children who were moved between relatives, friends, strangers, foster parents, shuffled about like dice being rolled across the table. And then, surprise, they would need to live in a residential facility, because no one could handle them.

There was a little girl who came to us a week after she turned five,(yes, 5). She had been so mistreated by her birth mother and then moved so frequently in the system that no one knew what to do with her. She was molesting other children- at the age of five! Not playing doctor, no. She would trap a child in a room and molest them. Was she devious? No. Really, mostly she was innocent. She only was doing what had been done to her. Isn't that what our kids do? They do what they have been shown, what has been done to them. What they know.

That was one little girl. There were others, many others. Some so twisted up inside there was nothing we could do. We would try all available resources, therapies... all to nothing.

And with some of them, we would joke about how we would read about them someday making history. In the papers, famous. Infamous, really. Because what we would be referring to is the inevitability of these kids growing up to be monsters. Rapists, child abusers, domestic violence perpetrators, and victims (because some would remain victims). And while this sounds like we were a bunch of insensitive assholes. It was not true.

Because, like any other job, these children and their stories become normal, everyday, for those who work with them. For a doctor, using medical terms is commonplace. To discuss transmissions among mechanics? Piece of cake. It's all what you get used to.

For the longest time I was not comfortable with letting "regular" elementary aged children out of my sight on the playground. When I purchased the new play structure for our elementary school, a tunnel slide was not an option I would consider. Kids could hide in there. Be out of sight. And for the kids I used to take care of, that was not an option- they were always within eyesight. And jump ropes? Yeah, no. They would tie each other up... All what you get used to.

The point is (before I digress more into those residential years). I sincerely believe that Gabriel is a name on a case. A case that the social workers and judges have seen many times before. Something political is happening about Mexico...perhaps the bigger story is that some of Mexico's kids are being raised in the states in non-traditional Mexican homes, to no fault of the distant relative who wants them. Some flags have been raised and this little boy is being made a victim. A victim of a system that is doing the best it can- but it's not good enough.

It is my understanding from reading the article that Gabriel has been in one foster home. He has not met his grandmother and his birth parents are not, and have not been for sometime in the picture. He has foster parents who love him and want to adopt him. And the most important factor here is that Gabriel is attached to them. He is attached to them.

How is it good for Gabriel to disrupt that attachment and placement to move him anywhere- relative or not?

It's not.

Could the state of Oregon, the foster parents and grandma provide a successful transition. Somewhat, yes. But, why? What purpose? Could Gabriel grow up to be a successful man in Mexico? Yes. But does he need to be moved? Should he be moved?

No. Easy, for me.

Dec 5, 2007

#5

Wait, I thought of another weird thing.

Well, actually I encountered another weird thing. I was looking in the extra fridge for the bottle of Gin I keep for cocktail night and I stumbled upon a little package wrapped in a paper towel. Light in weight. Tucked in a little protective place above the bottle of gin.

And that was it! My other weird thing.

See, I have canaries. And they live outside in a large aviary type cage. They bring me peace. In any case, occasionally something happens to one of them and they end up at the bottom of the cage, dead. About 6-8 weeks ago one of my guys was at the bottom. I pulled him out and wrapped him up and stuck him in the freezer.

I have this thing about closure. When we have had our foster kids leave, we have a little leaving ceremony. When my grandmother died, I made a special request of a viewing at the mortuary so I could see her, dead. (She was having a closed casket.)

So when a bird dies, we bury it. But, I like everyone in the family to know and to have a chance to be at the burial. So if everyone isn't present at the time of the discovery of death I tuck the bird in a paper towel wrap and toss 'em in the freezer, until such time as I remember to gather the troops and bury the little guy.

And, well, I forget, sometimes for a while. I think the record might be 5-6 months.


But we do it, eventually.

Dec 3, 2007

Modem and other sickness

That daily blogging killed my modem- at least that's my line.

The DSL man came and checked today and the intermittent drops that we've been experiencing are due to an old and malfunctioning modem. He says we can buy a new one.

I don't want to buy a new one. I want my DSL people to send me a new one. They sent me the original and at some point the updated one- which is now outdated... So tomorrow I start a new round of phone calls. I'm always up for a good fight or maybe they'll just give me one. That would make me happy.



I'm better- finally I don't wince when I swallow. It kicked my ass this time. I was in my pajamas for three days.


Mia, however is truly sick. She has been faking sick for sympathy for the last week or so. We've talked about it a lot. How we need to know how she really feels so we can take care of her, how she needs to be honest etc.

Here's one example from the last week.

Yesterday evening she came screaming in to me crying, tears streaming down her face, anguish, fear, the whole thing and yells "my throat, my throat, it hurts when I swallow, I just took a drink and it hurts so bad". It took three attempts to understand what she was screaming about since I could not understand her through her pain. (Remember, I have strep throat.) I ask her when it started to hurt. "just now"
MMMhmmm. I see. "Well, I guess that means you'll need to get up right to bed and miss dinner that mommy is bringing home" I say. "What is it?" I tell her what it is- one of her favorites. Suddenly, she's cured! "Oh", she titters, "I was just kidding".

Yeah, thought so.

But, this morning she said her stomach hurt and was again in tears about it. I shrugged my shoulders and told her I wasn't sure if I could believe her or not and suggested she continue getting dressed- "It's a school day for you today" She quickly hops up, wipes the tears away and says "it doesn't really hurt". (she loves school)

A few minutes later more crying and a dash to the bathroom where she proceeds to throw up. She is genuinely sick for the rest of the day- never asking to eat, unusually quiet, napped for a couple of hours this morning. Vomits a few more times and diarrhea as well.

We talk about how this is what sick really looks like...

Not sure what to do with this one. Next time she complains of stomach pain, I'll send her to school where appendix will burst...maybe or maybe not.

Dec 1, 2007

Better, a little

Not as well as I'd like to feel- it was a long restless night. I think having so much motrin on an empty stomach was not a good plan. Between the sore throat and the indigestion... After going to bed before 8PM, getting up at 8AM and returning to bed(after taking more medicine) at 8:30AM. I slept for 2.5 more hours. Now, at 2:00, having showered and eaten- swallowing slowly- I do feel better.

The wife was kind enough to run to the coffee shop to buy a mocha mist for me and some ice cream for later- not to mention 'do the kids' all morning and last night. She missed the first 5 hours of her all day scrapbooking today...but she's there now. I felt well enough and she's only a phone call away.

Nov 30, 2007

WHEW!

I did it, I did it, I did it!

NaBloPoMo is over as of today and I did every day. Even today...

I am sick. Strep throat. I can't swallow. It's lovely. I took four motrin at 2:15 and another four at 6:15 and some hefty antibiotic about 6:15, as well.

I will feel better tomorrow, I will, I will.

P.S. Apparently I'm not weird. See. Unless no one is reading, but my stats tell me there is-even some people I know.

Nov 29, 2007

#3 and #4

You'd think I was stretching out this seven weird things meme just to fulfill NaBloPoMo. I swear it isn't true. I don't know if it's simply being oblivious of my weird things (I am sure I must have more than seven) or I have learned to accept my weird things as part of myself, therefore making them not weird, at least to me. Perhaps I should take a poll.

Anybody reading? Go ahead, give it your best shot, let me in on my weirdness. Comment away.

In the meantime here's a couple of more.

#3. Even on the coldest of mornings I drink an iced blended coffee creation that makes my hands freeze. I admit it, I'm addicted. Thanks to my lovely friends and neighbors, who kindly shared their recipe, instead of me spending $4.00 at their wonderful establishment every morning. I still treat myself occasionally and their beans certainly make the best toddy...I even re-use their plastic cups and straws because it just makes it taste better.

#4. I cannot get my fill of babies. K and I even have names pretty much picked out should another call come in AND we decide we're ready (or certifiable). And no I won't tell what they are- even though I think we have told a few people already.

I passed a young girl (maybe 15) with her bff trying to pick out a pregnancy test yesterday...I wanted to pat her on the shoulder and say "I hope it turns out the way you want" and then give her my address in case she should decide to surrender that baby someday- you know, just in case. (I didn't do anything)


The finished pictures of the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, yeah, sorry they're all gone. Maybe next time, there will be a next time.

Nov 28, 2007

So close now

I'm so tired tonight that I'd be in bed, but I had to wait for my turn with the computer so I could blog... It's not even 8:30. All but Leo in bed. We're watching 'Shrek the Halls' They are hysterical...

Today is day five of high fever's for Abe. He had a rash on his chest and belly and then yesterday he broke out all around his mouth, in what looked like little pimples, what the hell? Today we went to the Dr, finally. Of course he has an ear infection. He never complains of ear pain, I think, due to his 11 months with his birth mother. Oh, I haven't told their story yet, have I??? Well, too tired tonight. Someday, it will come... And the little pimples? Impetigo. Lovely.

On the plus side, I had dinner made by 2:00 this afternoon thanks to a recipe from City Mama. I had to e-mail her in the middle of it for clarification. Thankfully, she got back to me in like 4 minutes and dinner was a success, at least for Käri and me. My kids ate tortilla chips... Oh well.

I'm having trouble thinking of seven weird things about me...

#2 I haven't shaved my pits for about 20 years- it hurts, so I refuse, period. It's not the whole lesbian thing, although that probably plays a part, but that's like another whole post or maybe novel... and I only shave my legs in warm weather, so there, and goodnight. It's 8:44.

Nov 27, 2007

Number One, Of The Seven Weird Things Meme

Sometimes, when I'm driving down the road, and there is a car behind me, riding on my tail and there is a car next to me, so the eager car can't get around,
I

just

stay

there.

And I like it.




In other news...

I saw these.

So, I made some of my own. Very yummy, next time I would add more cinnamon, though.




I added chocolate chips to the second batch...Yum!



They're still cooking. Listening to Christmas music all day today put me in the mood for baking. That, and the babies slept for three hours this afternoon.



Canarygirl's picture is way better.

Nov 26, 2007

Funny

We're at the gas station. I finish filling up the colossal beast and get back in the van.

Abe frantically asks: "Mama, Mama... how do you fall in canimal poop?"

Me: "Uh, canimal poop...???"

Abe: "Yeah, canimal poop."

I look around looking for clues as to what the hell he is talking about. Searching, searching...

Me: "Animal poop?"

Abe: "No, no, a canimal, canimal poop, it has a bumpy thing on it!"

Ah, finally I spot the ad for Camel cigarettes on the station door.

Me: "Abe, do you mean a camel?"

Abe: "Yeah, yeah!"

Still, I'm at a loss- how do I fall into camel poop?? What the???

Me: "I suppose you wander around the dessert and accidentally fall..."

Abe: "Ohhhh."

Glad I could solve that puzzle for him.


Routines are how we live in this house. Example?

Abe and Mia have always slept a lot. They get easily over stimulated, change is hard... Sleep is very important for them in particular. Generally, we eat dinner at 5:30, each of the kids clears their own plate, and then Abe and Mia get into pajamas. They are in bed between 6:15 and 6:45 at the latest.

Tonight, Leo had to be at theater practice at 5, finish homework before he left, and eat dinner. On the way home from school at 4:15 (homework complete) Käri took the four oldest (the four youngest were home with me) through 'In and Out' for a quick dinner on the way to theater. They were done by 4:45. Jack sighs deeply "Oh, Mommy my stomach is so full, I am stuffed... Is it time for Abe and Mia to go to bed now?"

Routine, Routine, Routine...

Nov 25, 2007

Just The Beginning









Tis the season!























This is our third Christmas in this house. When we bought the house we were told that it was on a cul de sac that decorated for Christmas. In fact, our street is published in the paper as one of the places to see the lights. We get limos, buses, and a constant stream of vehicles driving slowly down the street, sometimes with headlights off 'to get the full effect'.

Our first Christmas here we had only been in the house seven weeks, and while we had decorated the outside of our old house, we did not have nearly enough. My family contributed a few things and we bought a few in the after Christmas sales over the last couple of years. We are well on our way to being seen from space or eternal tackydom, maybe both.

I refuse to get on the roof, so that remains bare, but the eaves are next, and the front porch, and the walk way, and the lighted wreathes that we hang on the inside windows of the house... This is the earliest start I've gotten- Leo was adamant that we start, now. And he did help, he kept trying to rearrange everything, he couldn't quite get the concept that they all had to be plugged in and that putting things in the middle of the lawn would mean lots of extension cords. He did try and assemble the newest addition, of a a 6ft tall lighted candy cane tree- my mother bought it for us when she was here in October- and then I spent forever swearing at it because it wouldn't quite fit together- so it's a little lopsided, who's going to notice?? Looks more natural that way, no? ;)

Nov 24, 2007

Mia, Mia, Mia...

The girl is driving me really crazy these days. She is in a particularly feisty, stubborn, disobedient, destructive, stage.

Since her behavior has put her on the naughty list lately, we've been keeping a close eye on her and within arms reach. Today, she was left on her own for 15- 20 minutes and in that time she took the scissors to her little sister's head. She denied it, twice, when asked directly. I changed tactics for the third query and simply asked "where are the scissors?" That did it. We considered shaving her head as a consequence, or perhaps giving Ruby the scissors and letting her cut Mia's hair. (Both were dismissed, grudgingly)

She has destroyed multiple toys, screamed, cried, hit her siblings, and can't seem to follow directions at.all. We've tried love and logic, natural consequences, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, logical consequences, patience, yelling, reminders, lowering expectations, raising expectations...

I know it will pass, and we'll figure something out, but for the moment, I'm at a loss and so frustrated. Arghhh...

Nov 23, 2007

CKO

A little known holiday is celebrated in our house on the day after Thanksgiving.

Today is the ninth annual Christmas Kick Off! Today is the day we welcome the Christmas season. It is our family tradition to spend the day in pajamas, listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas videos. We eat the first candy cane of the season, leftovers from the Thanksgiving feast, popcorn, Christmas candy, sparkling cider, and peanut blossom cookies (which are the cookies we make and leave out for Santa).

The kids pull out their sleeping bags, grab their pillows and make nests in front of the TV. They beg to eat candy all day... and we convince them to eat something on the healthy side first...

This year we are attempting to put together a Christmas puzzle- a little hard with two 21 month old girls climbing everywhere- we haven't quite started that project, yet. It's 4:00, and we have watched, Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, The Polar Express, Elf, and Deck the Halls (not as funny as I was hoping). Next on the agenda? Santa Clause III, make the cookies, start the puzzle.

The kids run around between movies, play outside and are at the moment very involved in a good guys, evil guys, helicopter, trapping the bad guys with blocks sorta game.

It's the best way to recover from Thanksgiving, no shopping, unless it's online. An occasional grown up nap is squeezed in, no commitments, sit back and relax, kinda day.

Nov 22, 2007

Turkey Day

Potatoes- done

Stuffing- done

Dill Dip- done

Onion Dip- done

Potato Chips- In the pantry

Tri-Tip- marinating

Turkey- ready to go

Gravy- to follow the turkey

Carrots- ready to go

Cranberry Chutney- done

Green Salad- check

Pies- coming

Ice Cream- Yep

Rolls- coming

Relish tray- coming

Beer- Yes!

Wine- covered

Hard Alcohol- uh-huh!

Sparkling Cider- check


I Think We're Ready.

Nov 21, 2007

Bees

Mia: "Mama, do bees make bananas?"

Jack: "Did you know that bees make honey? But, I don't like bees...'cuz, you know why? Bees kill butterflies."

Mama: "They do?"

Jack: "Yeah, they kill butterflies, bees kill butterflies because they don't like them."

Mama: "They don't like them?"

Jack: " Yeah, they don't like them, 'cuz you know why? 'Cuz bees make honey, and butterflies they make butter, and bees they think honey is better than butter, so they kill them"

Mama: "...really...???"



Mia: "....but mama, do bees make bananas...?

Nov 20, 2007

The Lovely System

I ran into another foster parent at the store today. I know the family by reputation, mostly, but the mother was very helpful when the twins first entered our care. She spoke with us on the phone several times and came to our house to meet them and talk with us about their day to day care and issues. I don't remember how long they have been foster parents, I want to say twenty years or more- a long time. Early in their career they had multiple babies in their home- up to six at a time. Babies, six of them, under a year. They moved from the big city to our area about five years ago and have continued to keep their home open for foster children of all sorts. They have also adopted close to twenty children over the years. Many of them live out of the home, however they do have, I believe thirteen at home. Their reputation in the foster care community, both foster parents and the professional folks, is wonderful.

I run into dad from time to time at the grocery store, usually. He always has a kind word, or three, and tends to remind us "that eight is a good start". Today, he gave me an update on the sibling group that they have had for three months. It seems that social services is now having second thoughts about placing them in this family. When they were initially looking for placement, social services called numerous homes in the hopes of keeping the siblings together. No one would take all three until this family was contacted and said yes. Good for the kids! Yay, team! Right? Apparently not. Now, social services is re-thinking the placement. They are saying that the family has too many kids...hmmm, not an issue when they were first looking for placement... Dad thinks it's due to issues with the older kids- there have been some spots of trouble over the last few months, bad enough that the parents called the police on their own children. Sounds responsible to me- knowing this family and the children that they have truly, devoted their lives too.

Of course, I don't know the whole story. Certainly, there may be details that have been left out. Dad says the kids have fit in their family very well and that things are smooth with them. I believe him. This is the first time the kids have entered care- it's working, why disrupt this placement? It would only disrupt these kids more. If social services believes they made a bad decision... There are other more legitimate reasons to disrupt a placement. This does not seem right. Dad is aware that he has little to no control over the situation. Kids come, kids go, some stay forever. He will, however fight for the children if he needs to. For now, they wait, to see what will happen and if they will need to fight for the rights of the kids.

And then I ran into this story. A little one that was returned to her birth parents and is now in trouble.

Nov 19, 2007

I'm losing count, already, I think part 3 or 5

Back in May, I wrote a post about our alternative lifestyle. It prompted a question which I started to answer here, here, here, and most recently here.

Leo was a wonderful addition to our family. His birth brought our parents more solidly involved with our lives in a way that they hadn't been. A grandchild forced their hand, so to speak. Before it was easy for them to not have to deal with us as a couple, pretend what ever they wanted to. Initially, Käri's mom did tell her friends that she had adopted Leo- I'm not sure how she explained my presence. (Once, when one of her friends was coming over to meet him, he was hungry, but she insisted he couldn't be. How was she going to explain to her friend why I was nursing him??? I whisked him off to a very long diaper change after her friend arrived, topping him off enough to make it through the visit)Her story changed quickly, as she accepted all of us as a family. Both sets of grandparents treated him as their grandchild and for that we were thankful. We had told them both that he was our child.

We decided to start trying for another baby when Leo was a year old. Not looking forward to the roller coaster (or the barfing) we started the adventure all over again in the Spring of '97. This next part of the story could be very detailed and long...Suffice to say- #2 pregnancy ended in a blighted ovum, #3 ended in an early first trimester miscarriage, and #4 ended in an early second trimester miscarriage. These were hard, very. Each one more difficult than the last. The miscarriages took place over approximately two and a half years. Käri was of the mindset that one was fine, but I continued to want more. The frustration and doubts about being able to carry a baby to term was huge and while a large part of me felt like my body was killing babies, I wasn't ready to give up, yet.

A week into our fourth pregnancy we took a very alternative route and went to see the Woo-woo girl, as we affectionately called her. J had an advanced degree in Chinese medicine, and acupuncture. She also read chakras. That's the woo-woo part. At the time of the appointment I was barely moving. I had hurt my back and was in a lot of pain. We had inseminated the week before so I wasn't taking meds- not fun. We both went in to see J. She interviewed us about our medical history, treated me for my back, read our chakras, and told us I was pregnant. woo-woo...We reminded her that we didn't know yet I wasn't even due for my period for another seven days. She 'saw' that I was pregnant, but thought the baby wouldn't make it. She gave us some suggestions of things to do to try and maintain the pregnancy. She also told us that she could see two children just walking and Leo being around kindergarten age. She thought they might be both girls and she wasn't sure if they were twins or just very close in age.

We tried her suggestions for maintaining the pregnancy to no avail. That late miscarriage was sent for an autopsy, where it was discovered that the little baby girl had Turners Syndrome. While we grieved the loss, I felt like my body had rejected the baby for purely biological reasons...98% of all conceived Turners Syndrome girls spontaneously abort. Somehow, I felt like my body had done the right, but sad thing, according to the rules of the animal kingdom... It gave us some hope to continue on.

Our woo-woo girl had "prescribed" a combination of Chinese fertility herbs for Käri to try since Western medicine had not worked for her. Soon after the miscarriage she started...uh, taking them. Her shit balls, as she affectionately called them, were the size of a decent meat ball and looked like the inside of a fig newton. She would break them into smaller, pea size, pieces and swallow them down every day. According to J. many women just ate them and actually referred to them as her fertility cookies, she offered to roll them in cinnamon...Käri declined. In any case, two weeks later Käri had all the signs of ovulation, that were never very prominent before. We were amazed.

With our record over the last several years, my miscarriages and Käri's inability to conceive, we decided to both try at the same time. Oh, what fun. I know there is this theory that when you live with another woman or other women, you tend to follow the same cycle. For us, this was not true. Twice a month we were at it again, picking a donor, ordering sperm, calculating how long we could keep it until we needed it...and by this time we had switched to a sperm bank that was out of state so we had to consider shipping time. Once, when we knew we were going to be out when our "medical sample" arrived we had to ask our neighbor to sign for the package. Thankfully, we knew her well and told her it wasn't a kidney, but to please take good care of the box- our future was in her hands!

A few months passed with no success, until we hit the jackpot! Not only did we get pregnant the same month, but we actually ovulated and conceived on the same day. For the first time- and I swear still, the only time, we were on the same cycle. Again, because of our recent history we weren't sure either of the babies would stick around, but they did. Käri's pregnancy was very low key- never sick, mild discomfort and normal. Mine was hellacious. The morning sickness was so bad that I had to check myself into the local clinic several times a week for an i.v. bag of fluid to get re-hydrated. I threw up constantly. I was barely able to function and at it's worst Käri had to call my mom to fly up to help us out for a week. It was awful...the possibility of terminating the pregnancy came up once, when I just thought I couldn't take it anymore. Thankfully, that was at our lowest point, before I started getting re-hydrated through a needle.

Grace arrived on her due date just like Leo, and Gus arrived four days and six hours later. By the calendar they are five days apart. They shared a crib for the first many months and really are much like twins.

The first of our three sets of two...

Stay tuned for more!

edited to add: Leo started kindergarten and a few weeks later Grace and Gus started walking... woo-woo...

Nov 18, 2007

I Carry

I discovered this fun idea by way of this fabulous woman.

I carry...

A small leather backpack instead of a purse.

I carry...

200 lbs around with me every day.

I carry...

The wish that foster parents were no longer needed.

I carry...

Dreams for my children.

I carry...

The idea that we can all really get along.

I carry...

A swiss army knife in my backpack.

I carry...

The fantasy of financial wealth.

I carry...

Sadness and joy.

I carry...

History.

I carry...

The desire to help, always.


And now, I carry...

Myself off to bed with the hopes that we make it through the night with no waking and no small bodies nestling in...

Nov 17, 2007

Training

Today, was training day. I hate taking the time to go to trainings. It's part of the deal when you're a foster parent. A certain amount of hours a year in order to keep our license. It's not a tremendous amount of hours, and actually at the moment I can't even remember how many, 12-18, maybe.

Once I'm actually at the training, if it is at all interesting, appealing or stimulating, I walk away with more knowledge and hopefully more tools. It's grown-up time. A chance to talk about strategies for dealing with our kids. I always hear stories of other families that are struggling with similar issues, which is so oddly comforting. Tales are swapped, different ideas are suggested, methods are taught and not just by the instructor. I come home more energized about how to engage with my kids in a more positive manner. Re-charged and ready to go again. Excited to try something new, something that might help me, help mine.

And usually, they have treats... And I get to have lunch, all. by. myself. That part, I love.

Nov 16, 2007

We don't get out much

But last night, we did. It was fabulous. We sat in the restaurant for four hours- 4! Some friends invited us out to help celebrate a birthday, so we cashed in a birthday babysitting gift certificate, put five of the eight down for the night, and went out for the evening. I truly do not remember the last time we did this. On a school night to boot. By the time we headed in to bed it was close to 1:00 AM.

Other than sex with the wife, I think this is my favorite activity. I absolutely love to sit around eating, drinking, talking, and laughing. Doesn't matter if it's in someone's home or a drive in burger joint. Although, good food, good company, and good drinks, helps...

Some of my best memories are of hanging out at the dinner table, long after dinner was over. Family gatherings of cousins, aunts, and uncles, being old enough to join in with the adults, sitting around the table, listening, talking, playing spoons, Tripoley, FOIL, and later Pictionary. Chatting, snacking, lingering..., lingering, relaxing. Good times.
Good for the body, good for the soul.

We need to do this more than, once every I don't know when the last time was...

Nov 15, 2007

Dear Birth Mom

Abe and Mia were writing at the table. Scraps of paper, old pieces of stationery, pens and pencils. And without warning they asked me to write letters...

Dear Birth Mom,
It's Mia. I'm five. I love you. I've been missing you for a long time. I'm a big kid now and I've made a fort. I have a little dog and maybe you could come someday when you get bigger. You should remember me, because I'm the little baby from your tummy. And I was in your tummy a long, long time ago. You should remember me because I was in your tummy a long, long time ago. And i have Ruby and Julia and they are my little babies. I have a basket that has a lot of papers in it and I have a mom that's named mommy and mama. I love you so and you are old. Tell me where's your house? what's your phone number? You should tell me what color is your house? I'm in preschool in the Funny Frogs.

Love,

Mia




Dear Birth Mom,
I love you_____ because I know I was in your tummy a long, long time ago. I miss you very much. For a long I was in your tummy and I know that I miss you. My moms are named mommy and mama and they're my moms now. I have a new house, I just moved. I used to be in Lucky Ladybugs, but now I'm in Funny Frogs.l I used to not have a puppy, but I have a puppy named Dixie, now. I grown up and I want to be a mailman when I grow up, even a daddy. It was just Halloween. Did you sure have some candy to give to people? I'm not a baby anymore. Julia and Ruby are babies now. They're my babies. My sister, Mia, is bigger than me. I went to the dentist yesterday.

Love,

Abe



I told them we'd keep them until we knew where their birth mom was...

Nov 14, 2007

today

Go, go go, let's go, let's go, time for school!

Walk in 6th, 1st, Preschool... let's get home the oven repair person is coming!

Snack, wait a minute, I gotta pay bills, oops, what, oh... come on in, it won't light, bake doesn't work, oh, you fixed it last time, oh, a check? sure. lunch, we gotta go, time to pick up/drop off. bottle? milk? snacks? let's go!

Shit, late, call mommy on the cell- no answer, call mommy in the classroom- no answer, call mommy's teaching partner- no answer, damn...call preschool, please send the twins with C's mommy- Thank you!

We're here! Back in the stroller, let's go Jack- time for kindergarten... where are the twins?? Oh, thanks C's mom! Oh, a check? for the girl scout nuts, right. Sure. Good day Abe and Mia? Let's go bring Jack to kindergarten, pumpkin pie for today? no, Friday. Whew. Allright, let's go say hi to mommy. Oh, grandma. Hi, working in kindergarten? right, okay, have fun. Let's go! Dentist appointment in 40 minutes! Load up, let's go.

Lunch? Let's split some fries. Babies asleep, no? No nap? Yeesh... all done? time for the dentist. let's go. All four at once? Ruby, not Julia? They need to be together, they're only 21 months. Oh, okay. In a room, don't touch... Mia, wait here, she'll cal your name- you'll be right next to Abe. Open your mouth, honey, good job Mia, way to go Abe. Oh, good job guys, you're doing great. Initial here, here, here, and here. A check? sure. Let's go, back to school, oh wait, pet store for crickets for mommy's first grade frogs. All right, now let's go, we' have to pick up Grace, Gus and Jack. Load up.

Back to school. Everybody out. Babies are finally asleep...15 minute nap, at 3???? Let's go. Shhh... let's try not to wake up the babies... Mia, you okay?, ouch, shhh... damn, that woke up the babies. Big sigh... okay...collect Grace and Gus, collect Jack- Leo's staying after for a little help with fractions. Let's go, load up.

And we're home, garbage cans are in front of the driveway, not where I left them, thank you garbage collector. Everybody out, I'll move the cans back to the yard, Mia, careful, don't let the dog...out. Okay, it's okay, just go get her. Cans are in, dog's still out. Mia, just go get her, it's okay. I'll stay out with you for a few minutes while I clean up the leaves that are all over the street from the leaf collector. good, okay, put the dog in the house, Ruby out of the street! Let's go in the house, I need to cook dinner.

Dinner? dinner??...hmmm...dinner? defrost some ground turkey, start some rice, cornmeal, do we have cornmeal? everybody out of the kitchen!!! Chili, cornbread, rice, done. Mommy and Leo are home, yay! Grace set the table. dinner!, no, please wait until we all sit down,... no not yet, wait until everyone sits down... NO, not yet! Wait until mommy sits down. Okay, eat. More milk, more chili please, more honey bread, honey, more chili, more milk, more... sure, clear your milk cup, wash up. Abe and Mia get ready for bed...

Leo, piano, homework!, stop messing around guys, Mia, Abe ready for bed. Leo, Gus, Jack, quiet! Jack, homework, Grace and Gus homework- let's go! Babies off the table! Goodnight, Abe and Mia. Angels on your pillow! Love you.

2 down.

Jack, finished with that? time to get ready for bed, pajamas, story? Grace, Gus, stories? pajamas? babies, pajamas. Night, Jack, angels on your pillow, love you. homework folder in your basket, Grace and Gus? Ruby, say good night, kisses. Night, night, Ruby, angels on your pillow. Shhhh....shhhh, love you... Grace and Gus time for bed. Leo finished? piano too? time for a shower... Night, Grace and Gus, angels on your pillows, love you. All right Juj, your turn, say goodnight to mommy, kisses,
bottle, b.c., rocking... rocking...and down she goes. Night, Juj, angels on your pillow, love you. All done with the shower, Leo? All right bud, time for bed. Angels on your pillow, night babe, sleep well, love you.

Nov 13, 2007

Insane Asylum

The kids were were not living up to my expectations in the morning. Forgetting their coats, jumping over each other in the rush to get out of the van, pummeling one another to get out of the way...

So I go into Mom mode and start ranting about how they are making me insane, driving me crazy, not pissy, just annoyed and frustrated. One of the little muffins pipes up with "what's an insane asylum?" I explain that it's like a big house, with a bunch of crazy people in it... I glance in the van, looking at all those eager faces, wacky, hyped up, forgetful, children and realized, I already live in one!

Re-frame.

Nov 12, 2007

The Jaws of Life

























This is the way he returned home after a sleepover... "I tried running it under really hot water for like 15-20 minutes" He had it on his finger for over an hour before he arrived home. And, no mention from the parent in charge. Uh, hello? Would like to know, in the future, when my kid gets a digit stuck in a toy for more than a few minutes, thanks. To sound completely sexist, dad was in charge, mom was out. Leo was not a happy boy. We, of course, laughed. I mean really, how the hell do get a plastic toy blaster gun stuck on to your entire finger???

I may have even said at one point 'good thing it's not your penis'!








Up close and personal!

















Most of it's gone...























Tools



Just add firefighter certificate right next to the medical license.

Nov 11, 2007

4 Things

Tagged from Cole.


4 Jobs I’ve Had

~ scooper, Baskin Robbins

~ cashier, Marine World Africa USA (when it was in Redwood City)

~ sandwich maker and barista (before they were called barista's)

~ social worker/case manager/therapist for severely emotionally disturbed kids in a residential treatment center.


4 Movies I Love

~ It's a Wonderful Life

~ The Goodbye Girl

~ Fried Green Tomatoes

~ Grease


4 TV Shows I Watch

~ Brothers and Sisters

~ M*A*S*H (so, it's in repeats...)

~ Food Network (anything that's on)

~ Ellen



4 Places I’ve Been

~ Dublin, Ireland

~ Boulder, Colorado

~ Reno, NV

~ Disneyland



4 Websites I Visit Daily

NFTT

Lelo in Nopo

Cole

State of Grace



4 Foods I Love

~ ice cream

~ butter

~ garlic bread

~ tri-tip



4 Places I’d Rather Be

~ Bainbridge Island

~ Mexico

~ In the Sun

~ In a plush hotel with Kär without the kids



4 Blogs, just cuz

~ Mocha Momma

~ Gwendomama

~ And Baby Makes 6!

~ Under Construction

It's a Meme, but I'll be resisting the urge to tag. Feel free to take it on, if you want.

Nov 10, 2007

Crooners



Never to young to start dancing on top of the tables!



Think that belly button's pierced?



Taa Daaa!!




Oops, guess she had one to many cups of milk. Good thing she has good friends to help pick her up...wait a minute, are they actually pushing her down???

Nov 9, 2007

Release

I can't shake these two thoughts, dreams. They've been running for a while over and over - the other night I couldn't fall asleep switching back and forth between the two. Silly, really. One has nothing to do with the other.

The first is being able to go on the R Family cruise to Mexico this spring. Kelli O'Donnell (Rosie O'Donnell's partner)runs R family Vacations with Gregg Kaminsky. I can't honestly say that a cruise has been a desire for me, but the idea of being on a boat full of other gay and lesbian families or at least friendly folk, is so appealing. We live in a relatively small town and our kids don't see other families that look like theirs... Our spring break just happens to coincide with this cruise, it leaves from the West Coast instead of the East-which means we could drive instead of fly to the boat- I've always wanted to go to Mexico, and K and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2008. For the whole family, yes all ten of us, it would be about $10,000.00, but that includes everything!! Really not to bad of a deal. Of course there would be passports to get and I'm sure other incidentals... Oh, I keep dreaming- it just won't go away.

The second is buying a deli. There is a sandwich shop opening near the high school. And I want to buy it and run it. I'm not even sure it's for sale...but I have reason to believe it will be. Six months ago another deli by the same name was for sale, I inquired. The owners explained that they have 15 or so of these deli's in Northern California. They open them, staff them, and then sell them. They train you as the new owners and provide some transition time. Sounds good to me. Of course the only business I've ever owned and run was a childcare, and then there's the babies, and all the other kids and schedules, school, etc... And money, it takes money to own a business.

Feasible? Realistic? yeah, not so much. Perhaps this post will release these particular dreams...

Nov 8, 2007

Long Explanation

On they way to school in our essentially surburban'ish town we passed a vacant field. There was a heavy mist lying over the entire field even though the roads were fog free and the sun was out. The kids started asking questions about this phenomenon- very perplexed, and I tried to explain about the moisture collecting in the field. How the earth was warming in the morning sun after a cold night and how it eventually turns to rain after evaporating...

There was a pause after my explanation.

Then Mia chimes in "Oh, I just thought it was a dying cloud".

Much better.

Nov 7, 2007

Pumpkins

Here's a little tidbit to remember.

When you have nine carved pumpkins adorning your doorstep it is best to remove the candles immediately following Halloween. Because, when you are trying to dump the rotting carcasses in the 'clean green can' seven days later, when they are covered with nasty little fruit flies and your trying to be good and not include the candle in the container, they swarm onto your hands and into your face and it's gross and you feel all yucky and your kids scream as though you are filming a segment from The Birds.



Just remember that, okay?

Nov 6, 2007

Maybe closer to famous

I'm actually related by blood this time!






My cousin once removed, or is it my second cousin??? I can never remember. The boy in the dark green striped shirt- he is my cousin's son. He was just here a couple of weekends ago playing with all his cousins. His mom and I grew up together- she is much more like a sister.

The comments, most of them, make me very sad. I know, for my cousin, that her son was recruited to be an actor/model because not only is he darn cute, but very personable and sweet. He has never had to be bribed, cajoled, or pampered in any way in order to "perform". He is a very normal kid expressing a normal five year old imagination.

Yeesh, people!

edited to add
: I just realized that the way U-tube is embedded on the blog, you don't access the comments and that is a good thing. Although, I do then feel compelled to say that many comments on this video are from people who do not have children, hate children, or do not know children! Oh, and this is an add for Google- maybe they are coming out with a phone????

Nov 5, 2007

Silly and Extra Silly

The twins are in this space where they get into a really silly space. They laugh and giggle and laugh and yell and bump into each other, physically getting into each others space. They wrestle and show their tongues to one another and laugh and chortle and yell...and scream...and laugh...AND IT DRIVES ME INSANE!

Mostly, because they do all this while they are eating lunch or on the floor of the living room. I like some silly, but they are having a hard time distinguishing between a little and way over the top. I send them outside or upstairs and that helps, but not always. Meal time ends early for them sometimes, because they just can't stop. It's obvious they enjoy each other and for that, of course, I am grateful.

It's just that I feel so cruel ending their good times, limiting the laughter. No one usually gets hurt and they appear to be in such a happy place. For me, not so much.

Limits, boundaries, acceptable vs. non acceptable behavior, how to rein it in- oy. I know it will change and I'll miss it...someday, just not today or, I'm thinking, anytime soon.

Nov 4, 2007

DST


















I know there are plenty of historical reasons for Daylight Savings Time. Something about getting more daylight in the evening or the morning... And then there is the whole it's for farmers or it helps conserve energy or... I really just don't ultimately understand why we have to change our time for more light or whatever. If you want more daylight time during the winter can't you just set your alarm earlier. Why do we all have to change the clocks screwing up our body clocks, wrecking the kids bedtimes, mealtimes and wake up times. Every time it drives me nuts!


I looked it up on Wikipedia- I admit I couldn't make it through the entire article and I do recognize that Wiki is not the end all. Still even in that article opinions are conflicted. Read for yourself . What do you think???

Nov 3, 2007

The Children, part 2

Back in May, I wrote a post about our alternative lifestyle. It prompted a question which I started to answer here, here, and here.

Onwards to... part four, or two, depending on how you look at it.


Eighteen months of charting, picking a donor, is it too early to pick up the sample?, the sperm bank is closed on Sunday's, do we have enough dry ice to keep it frozen if we got it too early?, ovulation predictor kits, charting, temperature, mucus, waiting, waiting, waiting. At some point we consulted the MD's and did some more interventions, clomid entered the scene at some point and then there may have been a different drug, vaginal ultrasounds... The frustration at being unable to conceive, wishing, hoping, dreaming... Consulting baby name books, wondering what the baby would look like, figuring out the due date, trying not to talk about it, or be obsessed with 'trying', constantly. Each month passed with nothing but bleeding and dashed dreams.

As we got further and further into the process we started talking about the fact that this was one area in our lives that we were lucky we were two women. If it didn't work for Käri we had a built in back up plan, me. So after eighteen months, we jumped off the roller coaster.

My turn. My cycle was more predictable, temperature more reliable, and signs of ovulation were more obvious. We had high hopes that I could conceive. There was a period of letting the dust settle- to grieve the loss of Käri being unable to conceive and gather the energy to begin the ride again. We both felt ready after a few months off, and in the Spring of '95, started again. It's hard, now, to recall those feelings of anticipation and wanting, exactly. When I think back, what I feel is overwhelmed and how 'getting pregnant', conceiving a child, became everything. The doubts and worries- "maybe someone is trying to tell us something", "maybe we aren't meant to have children", "maybe these little vials of sperm aren't really", "are we doing it wrong?", "should we have sex before", "stand on my head after...?".

The second month we tried, I had this odd feeling about a week after we inseminated. A physical feeling. There was no unusual breast tenderness, nausea, or tiredness, but I had this distinct feeling that there was a...a... well, it felt like I had swallowed a fish weight and it had lodged itself above my right ovary. I call it a fishing weight. I don't know what they are really called... one of those little hunks of lead like balls, of some sort, that weighs the fishing line down. That's what I felt like I had in me. I would push on it, it had a presence, but it was not palpable. Odd. At some point in the week before we took the pregnancy test I thought it was a baby. It made no sense that I could feel something that was no bigger than a flea, but I did. When we took the test and it was positive, I wasn't surprised. Hard to fathom, but not surprised. I can picture myself taking a shower that morning, preparing for work, talking to Kär, knowing we were finally pregnant, but not trusting the reality. And then again, I can see myself, on the ferry and then traveling down the freeway towards work, with my hand over the little fish weight wondering if it was going to stick. Wondering how I would hide it from my co-workers, how would they not know...

Soon enough, they knew. It wasn't long before the barfing began. At a friends house, on a plane, on myself as I was driving down the freeway, in the middle of the street ('cuz it was all I could do to stop, let alone pull over and get out of the car), at work... all the damn time. The doctor's assured us it was a good sign- hard to take too much comfort in that- The pregnancy progressed without a hitch- other than throwing up, tiredness, aching crotch, sore back...the usual. Leo entered our lives on his due date, on Käri's birthday. I'll save the details of his birth, the bitch ob/gyn who was on call, labor, pushing, etc. To quote an old friend "Hey, if it's bigger than a tampon it's going to hurt like a bitch, right?" That sums it up pretty well.

He was a beautiful baby. A typical first born. Wouldn't sleep anywhere but in our arm's, always held, homemade baby food, dressed to kill at all times, loved, adored, much wanted. Something special about that first one, something pretty wonderful.


Finally writing this part 2/4 brings up so many other stories in my head. This is NaBloPoMo so maybe I'll get to some of those, and continue the story of course, we do have more than one kid, right?

Nov 2, 2007

Follow Up Appointment

We are lucky to live in a small enough town that we occasionally run in to people we know in places where it pays to know someone- like the ER. Such was the case the night Gus went in for stitches. The nurse who took care of him happened to be a dad at our school. At discharge, our nurse gave us a little to go kit for removing the stitches. He offered to remove the stitches in the nurses office at school instead of having to wait in the ER or make an appointment with our pediatrician. Swell! Twelve days came and went and we missed our nurse in the parking lot.

What's a mother to do??


Pull out her medical license, I say.











Nov 1, 2007

Happy Anniversary

What exactly do you get for the first anniversary of blogging? A year today, just realized it. Flowers, chocolate, coffee, cash... all accepted. Please no coffee mugs or bath accessories, my wife's a teacher, we have plenty of those.

Halloween, What Else?




The Four Big Boys!



























Assembling for the photo... 16 out of the 17 children. Please note libation in my hand. All seven adults carried their beverage of choice, with the majority choosing beer, with a smattering of Pepsi. Caffeine or alcohol, hmmmm....

A fun night was had by all. Only one scraped knee in the bunch, but no tears! Plenty more photos to be seen if you click right on over on that flickr badge.










The final grouping- all 17! There is just the tiniest speck of Spiderman showing behind Obi Wan and Darth Vader.

Oct 23, 2007

One Down, Nineteen to Go














We were so worried he'd freak out if it bled, or he lost it, or swallowed it... We went over all the scenarios- just in case. And then as he was eating lunch, it fell out. He walked over to me and announced " I lost my tooth" and that was that. Later, he thought it was pretty cool. And then there's Gus, never loses an opportunity to be in a photo.



Mia and Abe decided they didn't want to miss out, either.





I love this picture of these four- such personalities...

Oct 19, 2007

Falling

Each fall I arrive on a day like today. It takes me to a melancholy place. Sometimes it's just for a few minutes, sometimes it's all day, sometimes it lasts for a few days. Today it came for a little bit and then passed. The gray, clouds, windy, leaves blowing, cool weather. I had my music on at home and this came on...

----------------
Now playing: Bob Marley - Coming In From the Cold
via FoxyTunes

I'm laying on the couch, it's the middle of the night, literally. She's on another couch across the small den. We are both seniors in high school. The cat, Merona, travels back and forth between us, and we talk until morning. It's fall outside, cozy in the house. Music plays from some hidden speakers. She introduced me to Bob Marley. At first, I couldn't hear the English, couldn't quite make it out.

It was the beginning of a tight friendship that lasted through the first months of college. I was never clear on how that year long friendship ended. She stopped talking to me and that was it.

It had started from a school assignment. She had written an essay about me comparing me to a fictional character I can't even remember. I had heard through a mutual friend that it had been read aloud in class. We went to a small school, graduating class of 140, the other students had to guess who the essay had been written about...
An odd start.

It was only later, hindsight, always so much clearer, that I figured that I had fallen for her. She's straight, as far as I know. There was no "hanky panky" between us, but for me I think it was a first love. Unrequited, but real.

Today, this fall, this is what I remembered.

Oct 17, 2007

Famous by Association???


You know that saying, guilt be association?

I'm thinking this as close as I'll ever come to being famous...


http://www.houseandgarden.com/winefood/bestfood/pantrypick_massarice



We're friends.

Wanna touch me? One finger, or two??? ;)

Honestly? I've eaten rice forever- white, brown, whatever...never really paid attention. But, this stuff? It's good, really good. Great texture, flavor...yummy stuff! Did I mention, it's organic? And the packaging is cute, too! That's really their house, built with baled rice straw... Try some rice. Try some Massa organic brown rice!

You can buy it online at massaorganics.com

Oct 11, 2007

More Initials...NCOD

In honor of National Coming Out Day. Just thought I'd say, I'm a Lesbian- just in case that wasn't perfectly clear. :) Käri also told me this morning that she's a lesbian too. Hmph...

Anyone else???

Oct 10, 2007

IVGLDSW Day

I haven't seen this in a while. It was sent to us in honor of IVGLDSW Day. Yeah, me too! What the hell does that stand for???? International Very Good Looking Damn Smart Women's Day. Think they have a hallmark card for that? Anyway, I do love this...



Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"



Except, I'd have to change wine to beer or gin or tequila... :)

Monday Night






Seven,'cuz he's seven! Gus is the best patient ever- He only screamed when it first happened and when he had the shots of Lidocaine.

New rule: When your chore is to take out the recycling, you have to wear shoes!

Oct 5, 2007

Mom's Here

The mother, she is here! I love my mom, and there isn't much quiet when she's about. In that, she talks, a lot. Kind of a running commentary with questions, observations, and stories. So far, I've managed to keep her from scrubbing, vacuuming, or folding. And that's good. The kids love it when she visits and stays with us. She plays with them, reads to them, holds them. She's a good egg.

Cheerleaders, I am working on part two of the children, I swear.

Oct 3, 2007

Newest Fantasy?

A coffee shop and beer/wine place. Desserts, limited selection of non dessert edibles. Like salads, a few sandwiches, not a lot. Wait, wait! Even better, hummus, garlicky, good guacamole. All appetizers. Hmmm... a variety of dip things, pigs in a blanket, cheese balls, bruschetta, cheese plate, grilled asparagus with aioli, good olives...

Like a comfortable cocktail party at a good friends house. Maybe live music in the evenings, on the weekends. Like a comfortable kitchen, warm, friendly, good place to hang out and have a conversation, has to be child friendly, too, for the day time. A couch or two. A big huge magnetic white board on the wall, letter magnets for kids, grown up poetry words for grown ups.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches- white or wheat, crust or no crust- cheese, too. Open until rather late, maybe midnight. Not rowdy- just easy. Gay and Lesbian friendly, of course. Wanna kiss your partner in public, just hold her hand... come on in.


Maybe after I win the lottery. Yeah, that's it...

Oct 1, 2007

First Impressions

The first time I can remember? We were at a meeting and she left, crying. It was a high stress situation- but I can remember thinking "what drama, please". And then I found out what else was happening in her life...

From there- there were little bits and pieces, rumors, glimpses...I had other thoughts "closed minded, born and stayed in a small town, stiff, uptight, unapproachable".

WRONG! All of it!

I'm not proud of thinking these things. I'm glad I did not contribute to the rumor mill with my thoughts- just for the record, I usually don't. I'm glad I allowed myself to have my first impressions changed.

Reality?

Smart, well-read, funny as hell, quick, educated, always learning, thinking, opening, welcome, thoughtful, helpful, sweet, kind, generous, racous, a little bit crazy...

There was a joke- about a plug- an inside joke...it makes me think about the three prong adapter- The kind you use when you need to plug a three prong plug into a two prong outlet...Which led me to her being adaptable and also how she is sometimes a bridge for other relationships, other things, for many people.

I'm glad I got to know her and I count her as one of my friends.

Thanks for letting me in.




Don't kill me, kay?

Sep 30, 2007

The Children, part 1

Back in May, I wrote a post about our alternative lifestyle. It prompted a question which I started to answer here and here.

This is part three.

We both always wanted children. We both wanted to experience pregnancy. I had always wanted six. Käri thought maybe two. Timing was discussed. I would have liked to have children early in our relationship, Käri wanted to wait. Thank God we waited. I know many people have kids right away, I'm just glad we didn't. We had time to settle into our relationship with each other first before we added kids.

We began the process of adding to our family in our 6th year together. There were a couple of friends who offered their... ahem, services. But, we were worried about the consequences of accepting their assistance. We had heard too many stories of donor's not wanting to be involved with the child at the onset and then changing their minds after seeing the baby. One of our friends offered to be a third parent, and that just seemed like too much. Imagine trying to decide on a name for the baby, which school to go to, and what about where to live with three parents. While there are many families that do this, we decided to go with option three, the anonymous donor.

Be forewarned, this may be TMI for some...

We decided that Käri should start, simply, because she is 19 months older. And so began the arduous task of choosing a Sperm Bank and then donor. Initially, we chose a bank that was somewhat local because we were worried about timing and having samples delivered and sitting for too long...

See, this was back in the mid 90's when performing regular old insemination at home on our own, was a popular option- instead of the now more popular, IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination. (Think, simple as inserting a tampon vs. Dr. appointment, speculum, and placement of sperm into the uterus.) The theory is that IUI is more successful. I contend, that the research is primarily focused on women with infertility issues and that it is also one more way to make money. We would get the sample frozen and have to keep it on dry ice until the most opportune time. And at the time, dry ice was either a ferry ride away (count on 3 hours, at least) or a two hour round trip drive. If the sample thawed, we were screwed, or not, depending on your sense of humor! ;) We had taken basal body temperatures for several months as well as watched mucus, paid attention to other signs of ovulation and charted. We were feeling prepared. Having a Baby Without a Man: The Womans Guide to Alternative Insemination was our bible.

Donor's bio's were sent to us and devoured. We set out to use a donor that matched physical and ethnic characteristics of each other. We hoped to have children that might favor the non birth mom in outward features so that our family might look more cohesive. (what did we know, then?) Looking at the lists prompted many discussions about how to pick a donor. Intelligence, health, eyesight, hair texture, height, complexion, history of acne??? The lists were pretty detailed with a physical description of the donor as well as his health history, sibling, parent, aunt, uncle, and grandparent health history, hobbies, education level, reasons why they wanted to donate, skills etc. Could they have lied, made stuff up...? Sure. We didn't have much control over that, but sometimes we would have a good laugh at the nearly blind, body builder, who was just under 5 feet tall, a pilot and had climbed Mt. Everest, all before the age of nineteen!

We ended up using health history as the #1 consideration, as well as sticking to using a donor for Käri that matched my racial background and similar physical description and vice versa. If we were a straight couple we wouldn't even be discussing this. By that, I mean if I was married to a man, regardless of his personal health history, physical description, or family history, chances are we would just go for it, right? Unless we both carried some recessive gene for some terrible malady or another. In any case...

The quest to join egg and sperm = child, began. For a year and a half we tried with Käri with no confirmed success. We suspect there may have been one conception that ended just a day or two past the day Kär was due for her period. 18 months of "do you feel any different?", a wicked roller coaster and we had really just begun.



I've been sitting on this post for eight weeks, trying to finish... part 1 will have to do for now.

Sep 25, 2007

Argyle Girls



Are they not the cutest damn things???

You can't quite see it, but both are wearing argyle sweaters this chilly morning.

On a side note, can I just say 'Thank God for hand-me-downs!' We are so fortunate to receive clothes from a few families in our community. It is the ultimate in recycling...

Sep 19, 2007

Nice Moments


Mia and Abe
Originally uploaded by Trixamina
On my way out of Costco today a woman with gray hair, stooped a bit at the shoulders sidled up to me to query-

"How do you do it?"

I hadn't seen her while I was shopping, but there she was.

I laughed and smiled. She stood there waiting.

I realize she's not leaving until she gets an answer.

Me: "How do I do what?"

She: "Your children, I've been watching and they are so well behaved, how do you do it?"

Again I laugh.

She waits.

Me: "Well, I follow through with my threats... When I say you can have a hot dog when we are done, if you've done a good job, I mean it. They know that. And there are times that there's no hot dog."

She: "Well they have just done a beautiful job".

Me: "Thank you"

And off she went.