Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We were supposed to go to the Pumpkin Patch last Monday. Pig flu, however, had other ideas and we were quarantined. Last night, when Troy got home from work, we piled into the car and headed to the patch. It was frrrreezing! I'm not kidding. It may have been about 30 degrees outside but, what with the negative a billion wind chill and all, it was not warm. Not warm, I tell you.

I was disappointed because some of my favorite pictures of Garrett have been taken at pumpkin patches and this year I was trying to keep Matthew from turning into a popsicle and my fingers were too numb to take very many pictures. Still, we got just a few.

Garrett was proud to pull his cart down the path...

Matthew didn't really smile once the entire time we were there. At least I got this somewhat decent picture of the two of us nearly freezing to death...

I tried to get a cute one of the boys together but Matthew would have none of it. He just kept giving me this look as if to say, "I'm from SoCal. You know what we call this temperature in SoCal?"
And I'd look deep into his eyes and reply, "Yes, nonexistent. I feel ya, man."


"Mommy. No, seriously, lady. Stop taking my picture. Wrap me up tighter and put me back in the car. This place is all kinds of messed up cold."

"Little Bud, give it a rest. I was born in San Diego. My hands are turning red, too. I'm cold, too. But we only get to come to the pumpkin patch once a year. I agree that next year we should petition the parentals to bring us in August or September, before this place gets ridiculously frigid, but Halloween is tomorrow, dude, so give it a rest.
We came home and Garrett insisted that Troy carve him a "monkey pumpkin". And, really, your guess is as good as mine as to why he wanted a monkey pumpkin but no amount of coaxing would deter him. So, Troy made him a monkey pumpkin while Garrett stirred the guts around in a big bowl and declared that he was making us a pumpkin pie.
Pictures to come.

I'll be attempting to do this again this year, so I'll see you tomorrow. And the next day. And the next...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hearing

Thank you for your prayers. Not a whole lot happened today but our lawyer is optimistic about the direction we are moving in. The next hearing is scheduled for December 4 and the judge will entertain the idea of moving the trial date up. Please continue to pray for the birth father. Pray that he would realize that we are the best place for his son and pray that he will, some day, come to know the Lord.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ocho

Dear Matthew,

You are eight months old today. Eight. Ocho. I'd say it in French but I grew up in San Diego and there just didn't seem to be a need to learn how to talk in Paris. Huit. There. I looked it up. Don't ask me how to pronounce it. I haven't the foggiest idea. But goodness gracious how ever are you old enough to have seen 2/3 of a year? You're not. I just won't allow it. I forbid you to be eight months old. There. I said it. This is me stomping my feet in protest. Or, in true Matthew fashion, flailing my arms and sobbing gigantic crocodile tears of objection. You are hereby sentenced to a lifetime as a seven-month-old.

Yesterday it snowed and your brother danced around in it like a crazy lunatic. You crawled up to the door and stared at it with an incredible look of wonder. It's not that you hadn't seen it before, it's just that I don't think you remember being a month old. I bundled you up and took you out to see what all the fuss was about. It was coming down all around us and you just kept giggling and bouncing up and down in Daddy's arms.



I'm not a fan of snow in October. Snow in December and January is growing on me but snow any other time of the year is just a colossal nuisance. Plus, I like my weather in the 80's. But, I have to say, I like my kids in snow hats. What's that, Adorable Snow Bunny, you'd like me to buy you Vail, Colorado on account of how cute you are? I'll look into it.
You pull up on everything now. Everything. And then you cruise. Around the table, around the couch, around my bed, anywhere you can. Then you stop, let go with one hand, and stand there with this look that says, Oh yeah, I could let go and walk right to you, if I wanted to. After that you wobble on one foot, come down hard on your bum, look up and giggle as if to say, Psych. Um. Okay. Yeah, Matthew, you got me.

You are in to absolutely everything all of Garrett's stuff. Your brother, the one who welcomed you with open arms and never so much as looked crossly at you and always explains to us that you are behaving that way because you are a baby, has finally had it with you. Why, you ask? I'll explain it to you. There is rarely a moment when you are not climbing him, patting him, drooling on him, taking his toys, licking his toys, chewing his toys, pulling his hair, licking his hair, chewing his hair, pinching his nose, pulling his ears, are you getting the picture? But don't worry, Little Buddy. While your brother has had it with you at least five times a day, he is smitten with you at least twenty times a day so the scale is definitely tipped in your favor. And, as I tell you this next story, keep in mind that he still begs me to keep you here forever. I guess he doesn't mind his slobbery toys as much as he pretends to.



But anyway, the story. We still have to lay on the floor while your brother falls asleep at night. It's got something to do with being afraid of roosters. So, you've taken to spinning onto your belly and immediately crawling up the side of your crib into a standing position the second I put you down at night. The moment the light goes out you start hollering and babbling and banging toys and trying to entice your brother to come bust you out--or something. We've had to put Garrett in our room on several occasions just so that he can fall asleep. The other night, as I curled up on the floor, you stood up. For a minute or two you didn't make a peep, you just stared at your brother. Finally, after several long seconds had gone by, Garrett whispered, "He's staring at me." It was said less like, He's breathing my air and more like, He's creeping me out. And I have to admit, it was a little bit weird. You were just so silent and, well, brooding--almost. Do babies brood?


It's important for you to know how much you adore the dog. If I put you down in the family room, you will always be found riding him, squealing at him, pulling his ears, chewing his hair...you know, pretty much whatever you do to your brother. Beck adores you and reminds us every day that we are so glad we decided on a golden retriever six years ago.

Ah boo. Anytime anyone says this to you, you crack up. We don't actually get it. It's like your own private joke. We don't care though, because you break into the most infectious smile that we're happy to go around sounding like complete crazy people to elicit the response. Garrett started it, I think. I'm fairly sure that in all of his three-year-oldness he meant to say Peekaboo and left off the first part. This morning you were Grumpy--yes with the capital G--and I was trying to get a good shot of you at eight months eternally seven months. I called upon your brother. He ahbooed (oh yes, it's a verb) and you, well, you did this:You're looking at him, by the way. Because he's your best friend. Don't try to deny it.

Tomorrow is another hearing. Baby Boy, you just have to understand how much hearings freak me out. Seriously. Heaven help us all when the trial comes because I am going to be one giant ball of wrecked nervous system. Anyway, even when our lawyer is confident I'm all, "But, but, but, what if? What if they take my son away from me? How will I even remember to suck air into my lungs and then exhale it?" And, above all, I worry about you. If, one day, you are taken away from us, let me just say here and now that I am so sorry. I am so sorry for whatever you will go through. I am so sorry that I won't be there to explain it and hold you and kiss your forehead. I'm so sorry that you won't know where we went, only that we aren't there anymore. Please know, somehow, that we only meant all of this for your very own good.

I told you today that there is a hearing tomorrow and you did this:

And then I was all, Little Buddy, calm down. Pray to Jesus. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. And there are people praying for us all across this country--across this world, even. People like this amazing woman. People who know us and love us and people who don't know us and still love us. So, stop your crying, it'll be alright.

So you stopped wailing and then you were all, "Mommy, I wasn't crying about that, God knows what he's doing. I was crying because I have this nasty runny nose and you need to hold me right now." Except it sounded more like, "Aiiiieee babababbbaaba! Beababaaaiaiiaiaiieee!" But I knew what you meant. So took a picture of your foot for good measure.

And you thought that was funny.

Eight months. I don't even know where Matthew's mommy stops and Lori starts. I know we had a life before you were here but it's hard to think about who I was before I knew you. We were fine when we were just three but we were missing you. We all knew we needed to be four. And now that it has been eight months of being four, I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of being three. I love you. I love the sparkle of your eye, the spread of your smile, the curl of your hair. I love your edible cheeks, your tiny birthmark, the sound of your little voice. I love the little boy I've called son for eight whole months.

All my love. ALL of it,
Mommy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Open Letters

Dear Utah,

Sigh. We're breaking up. We're separated. And, okay, so I'm not actually leaving, but we're going to have to be one of those couples who sleep in different rooms and see other people but stay married for the children. Last year you decided it was important--necessary, even--to snow on November 5. I rebuked you. You listened and kept the snow out of the valley until an acceptable date. December, maybe. Therefore, the only logical explanation for why, on God's normally green earth, you would snow on October 27, is that you just don't care about our relationship. You care more about your lucrative ski season. You care more about, I don't know, the employment of snow plow operators. You don't care about me.

I will admit that the presence of snow--that is sticking, mind you. Sticking!--was made exponentially easier by the fact that a certain three-year-old I know was thrilled beyond belief and screamed, "It's h-no-ing!" (S is still replaced by H at the beginning of a sentence.) And did he ever have fun playing in it for the ten minutes that I let him before I brought him back in to nurse his swine flu. And did Matthew ever look adorable with his snow hat tied on. But, you and I both know it's not fair to use the children to pit us against one another. Foul play!

Anyway. I'm giving you back your ring, moving my stuff into the guest room, and getting separate bank accounts. It's over. I can't stay in such an unhealthy relationship. I just can't keep pretending you care about me. I can't ignore the fact that you just don't love me anymore.

Signed,
Your Ex.

*****************************************************
Dear The Rock Star,

So. Um. The other day, you crawled up on my lap and said, "Mommy, when I was born at the hospital, why did you take your underwear off?"

Is it too late to have a C-section? It is. Well, just thought I'd ask. Not wanting to lie to you and hoping you'd be happy with my answer and run off to play Geo Trax, I replied, "Well, so that I could have you, of course."

"No, no, no," you continued, "after I was born. After I was born why was your underwear off?" Son, I was confused. Trust me, after you were born, my underwear was not off. It was ugly and it was mesh and it had ice in it but, seeing as how I couldn't move faster than a three-toed sloth while I was in the hospital, I kept the actual taking off of the underwear to a minimum.

Still, I answered, "Um. I guess I took it off so that I could go potty." This satisfied your curiosity and you left me alone. But let me tell you, never did I wish I'd had a C-section until that moment. Because while, at three, it might be less traumatic for you to hear the truth about from whence you came than to hear a tale about your mommy getting sliced open, at ten or eleven you might wish you'd just been yanked out of my abdomen. Ah well, too late for a Cesarean now.

But stop asking questions that make my breath catch in my throat and I'll buy you a Shetland pony or a Corvette or something. Deal?

Love,
Mommy

***********************************************
Dear Tamiflu,

My fever is gone--for now. I think you're working. So, thanks for that. But why is it that if I try to stand for longer than twenty minutes at a time I feel like I was on the losing end of dog fight?

Affectionately,
Pig Flu Infested 28 year old

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Pigs

Oink.

That's the sound someone makes when she's diagnosed with H1N1 influenza.

Thank God! Is what she declares when she realizes that she almost drug herself to Christmas Play rehearsal yesterday but finally decided that what with feeling nearly dead it probably wasn't a good idea. She's very glad because she would have somewhat accidentally infected the entire cast and there would have been a lot of ticked off parents.

But back to the oink. It's true. The Rock Star and I have swine flu. TRS* got sick on Friday night and is much better. The doctor thinks he'll make a full recovery without the aid of antibiotics. At this point his only symptoms are a nasty cough and an occasional low grade fever--always lower than 100. (Although it was over 102 on Friday and Saturday night.) I am annoyed though because he's been vaccinated. Of course, according to the doctor, the vaccine doesn't kick in for several weeks. I have not been vaccinated because I do not fall into the itty bitty group of people allowed to get the vaccine here in Utah. He gave me Tamiflu and told me to watch for a deadly rash. Awesome.

I am much better than I was yesterday. Yesterday I literally felt like ripping my head off of my neck just so that I could be rid of the headache. My lower back (maybe my kidneys?) was throbbing and screaming at me the entire day. From about 2:00-6:00 my temperature was just below 103 without ever lowering and I just cannot function with that kind of fever. In yesterday's post I said that I felt horrible at 101.5 and that was before it spiked for the entire afternoon. I slept for two and a half hours in the afternoon and then I slept from 9:00 pm until 8:00 am. Today the fever hasn't gone over 100. This has been incredibly wonderful. Except the cough. The cough is nasty. I feel like every muscle in my back is pulled. It's all very high times.

So. Oink. And now I'm off to take a nap. Thank goodness it's my husband's day off...


*The Rock Star.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Plague of Death & Appreciation

I seem to have caught some kind of plague of death. This is possibly also known as H1N1--although I can't be sure at this point. I have chills, a cough, a headache, fatigue, and a fever. The Rock Star came down with this on Friday, was fine all day yesterday until evening when he got another fever, and has been fine all day today except for the coughing and the fact that his nose is now running. Let's just say that the three of us, who are not employed by the church, played hookie today. This meant that I laid around attempting to care for my children while also attempting to not breathe on them and simultaneously trying to suppress my moaning. This also meant that I began to cry when Garrett rubbed his snotty Kleenex on my face just for kicks. I blame the 101.5 temperature. Sure, Garrett can function almost normally with such an elevation but I cannot. I normally hover around 97.3 so 101.5 just might as well be dead.

Today they honored the pastors for Clergy Appreciation Month. Here's what we got:

A beautiful plant.
A 25 dollar gift card to a local grocery store.
Another 25 dollar gift card to a local grocery store.
A 25 dollar gift card to a pizza place.
65 dollars.
100 dollars.
20 dollars.
A 40 dollar gift card to Sports Authority.
535 dollars for our adoption fund.

That's 835 dollars worth of stuff plus a plant, in case you didn't want to do the math yourself. So, a huge THANK YOU to all the people at our church! You guys are the best! It definitely made my plague of death seem slightly less insurmountable and distracted me from the fact that every single muscle feels like it is attempting to claw its way out of my body.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stand Alone

Matthew will be eight months old next Wednesday. This means that he is currently seven months old. Say it with me. Altogether now. Seven months old. So, you can imagine my surprise when he let go of me this morning and stood by himself for a good three seconds. He's a professional crawler. He babbles all the live long day. Usually he just has conversations with himself that go like this, "Bababababababababababababababababa! EEEEEEEE! Bababa!" But, the other day, he looked right at me, smiled, and said, clear as a bell, "Mama."

It was a fluke. A lucky babble. I'm not kidding myself. But did it ever melt my heart in an instant. Seriously. And I know, I know, that what he meant was, "You are my mommy. Forever and ever and I love you more than anyone else in the whole wide world." Okay so he totally loves Garrett more than anyone else in the whole wide world and, in his mind, I'm just decent leftovers. But he might as well have thought all those things because in that one instant I would have personally moved the earth if he'd asked me to.

I'm just unclear as to why he thinks it's important to stand on his own. I mean, I'll give it to him, eventually it'll be pretty necessary but now? Now I am perfectly content to haul his chubby bum wherever he needs to go. But he's still insisting on growing up.

Sigh.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheesecake

The Rock Star was eating a piece of leftover cheesecake for dessert. I was carrying Little Buddy off to bed and I leaned him down to receive a kiss from his brother.

Me: Garrett, give your brother a kiss. He's going to bed.
G: (with a mouth full of cheesecake) With my cake mouth?
Me: Sure. That's the best kind of kiss.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clarification

I should totally be SLEEPING right now but I just need to clear a few things up. Regarding my previous post, I think that I mistakenly led people to believe that Garrett is incapable of having quiet time without me. He's not. He's often excellent at playing with toys by himself, reading to himself, watching movies by himself. He's just not ALWAYS good at it. And when he asks me to do something with him, I am compelled to oblige.

Call me crazy.
Call me a mother in the middle of a contested adoption with the possibility of losing one of her children.
Call me a glutton for punishment.

I'm okay with it. We've definitely worked on Garrett being able to do things by himself and he certainly can. Otherwise I would have combusted long ago with a baby in the house and my attention still fixed 100% on my three-year-old. It's just that, sometimes, when he politely asks for me to join him for awhile, I'm acutely aware of just how quickly he's turned into a little boy and just how quickly he'll be a man. And those are moments I won't be able to get back when he's all grown up.

But it's not all the time. Have mercy and boy howdy would I ever be a walking zombie if it was all. the. time.

Napping

I'm tired. I could go to bed at ten and wake up at noon--I'm sure of it. And while I suppose I could be dying of something and the exhaustion is just a side effect, I think it really boils down to something much more monumental.

The Rock Star doesn't nap anymore.

It's true. And it's been true for about a month and a half.

He didn't want to nap. Of course, I did want him to. So we fought. He cried. He laid awake for an hour. He snuck up the stairs. I put him back in the guest room. He got up. I laid with him. For forty five minutes. And, eventually, he'd fall asleep. Then he wouldn't be tired when it was time to go to sleep at night. So we would repeat the afternoon scenario. Two battles a day. Count 'em. One. Two.

One day he missed his nap and that night he was out like a light within 10 minutes of putting him down. AH HA! A light bulb flashed on in my head. (Apparently I have talking light bulbs and, really, you can't be that surprised.) I could fight with my child twice a day or I could abstain from fighting at all. And let me tell you with three-year-olds...no fighting at all. Always no fighting at all. I mean, trust me, we're going to go head to head at least 85,992,366,001 times a day anyway so eliminating two of those is completely worth it.

So he takes a quiet time instead. Which is great! Except it's not. Because quiet time sounds like this, "Mommy! Mommy. Come sit with me. Can you watch this with me? Can you do that cleaning later? Can you read me this book?" And I know he's growing up. I know he isn't going to want me to come sit next to him forever. I know that scrubbing can wait. Laundry can wait. Everything else I have to do can wait. It can wait until after he goes to bed. So it does.

I go to bed late. Then I wake up tired. The end.

Although, I suppose I could really be dying. It probably wouldn't be the first time someone keeled over because their three-year-old had more energy than they did.

Monday, October 19, 2009

All Grown Up

The Rock Star doesn't say "Whole wide wiild," anymore. Nope. Now he says, "Whole wide world." Just like that. Just like everyone else says it. The day he starts saying "bottom" instead of "boggin" is the day I cry buckets.

He loves preschool. And by love, I mean, of course, that he begs me to stay with him every single day but then he frolics in to his classroom like a pro and comes bounding out, two hours later, full of knowledge and stories.

Did you know that A says ahh?
Did you know that if your clothes catch on fire you stop, drop and roll?
Did you know that if a stranger tells you he has candy you yell? If he says, "Come look at my puppy," he doesn't really have a puppy!
Did you know that the days of the week are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, SATURDAY!"
Did you know that I can sit criss cross applesauce?
Did you know that a little boy had to sit in time out but it wasn't me 'cause I listened?

I smile. And I sigh. Three years, two months, twenty nine days. Like the blink of a fast blinkin' eye.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crying Over Pumpkin Tarts

You know you're maybe just a tad overly emotional when you start crying over pumpkin tarts. But let me back up.

We had dinner with friends last night. I was taking the dessert and I had wanted to make something autumnesque. I sort of tweaked a pumpkin pie recipe and came up with individual pumpkin tarts. I had made six and I only needed five. I wasn't entirely sure that they had cooked long enough or even if they were edible. So, on Thursday night, I split the sixth tart in half and Troy and I "tested" it. I asked Troy if it met his approval and he answered with, "Do you think five is enough? Maybe we need two for each of us..." And they really were good so I concurred.

Yesterday I made more. This took a good deal of planning because they needed to cook for close to an hour and then cool for two hours before we ate them and what with having a seven and a half month old who is in to absolutely everything, planning anything can be difficult. But I accomplished my mission with enough time to put them into the refrigerator to chill for half an hour.

We were almost to our friends' house when Troy asked me where the dessert was. And I kid you not, I put my hand over my eyes and proceeded to cry. I mean, I've heard that you aren't supposed to cry over spilled milk but apparently forgotten pumpkin tarts are fair game. I think my husband might have thought, What is this thing that I've married? I thought she had more resolve, better coping skills, the ability not to cry over pumpkin filling. What he said was, "We'll just stop at the store."

With a voice that can only be described as whiny and obnoxious, I moaned that I had really wanted to make something and not buy something. I cried about how I had worked really hard to time it all right so that we weren't late. I basically was a giant pain in the keister. We were too far across town to retrieve the forgotten dessert so Troy stopped at the store. I composed myself while he ran in.

I expected a carton of cookies. My husband knows me better than that. He knows that the only thing that would make me feel better about the surplus of pumpkin tarts occupying our refrigerator would be to exit the store with something even better. And did he ever.

He bought a cheesecake.

I knew I married that guy for a reason.

And now...well, we have an abundance of pumpkin tarts. But, I guess there are worse things.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Even When I'm Naughty

Um. So. That title sounds a little...questionable. I assume you realized it was about children.

Yesterday I had one of those nights where I wanted to hop into the crib and just breath in the smell of Shea butter and baby shampoo. Then I wanted to crawl into the toddler bed and snuggle the three-year-old as he squirmed and grunted in his sleep*. But I probably would have broken the crib. I mean, they're certainly not designed for adult women over a hundred pounds. And The Rock Star would have woken up, said something in what would have sounded like another language and then start sobbing. He cries a lot when he gets woken out of a dead sleep. But anyway. I wanted to snuggle them...forever.

So you can imagine that today's conversation melted my heart a little. Garrett turned a laundry basket upside down and was about a nanosecond from breaking a music box that normally is out of his reach. I explained--in no uncertain terms--that he needed to set it down immediately and that he was not allowed to play with anything on that shelf.

G: I just wanted it to play some music.
Me: Then you need to ask me to turn it on.
G: Will you turn it on?
Me: In just a second.
(I look down at him from the kitchen and see him picking up a different thing that he isn't supposed to play with on the very shelf that I instructed him not to touch.)
Me: (heading down to the family room) Garrett! I said don't touch anything on that shelf!
G: I'm sorry.
Me: (pause) I forgive you.
G: (pause) Mommy.
Me: Yes?
G: I love you. (pause) Even when I'm naughty.
Me: (hugging him tightly) I love you, too. So much. Even when you're naughty. And you know what?
G: What?
Me: I love you when I'm naughty, too.

*Garrett is a seriously restless sleeper. I mean, he's resting. He gets sleep. But when someone else tries to sleep with him, well, heads get punched, legs get kicked. It's a party. His poor wife. That's all I have to say.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rewinding Time

Our next hearing is in two weeks. We get nervous when hearings are coming. It makes me wish I could speed time up and stop it all at once. It makes me wish I could flash forward and rewind simultaneously.

As for rewinding time, that I can only do in videos and pictures...

video

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Retreat Speaking

Let's talk about the fact that I spoke at a retreat. So other than the fact that I look as though I am self conscious about my left leg...

I spoke at a retreat. I didn't really give you a lot of details when I got back. I moved from speaker mode into planner mode because only two weeks separated the retreat I spoke at from the retreat I was in charge of. The title of my retreat message (I spoke four times) was Clay in the Hands of the Potter: Learning to let go, trust God, and live by faith.

I prayed. A lot. Anything that sounded remotely acceptable was the Lord speaking through me and nothing else. The feedback I received was positive. I'm certain that there were people who thought I sounded like total crud but they respectfully kept their mouths shut.

Several people asked me if I was relieved when it was over. The thing--the really weird thing--the thing I did not expect--was that I wasn't. I felt a certain weight lift off of me, of course, but I was actually kind of...sad. I mean not sad like I was going to go off and cry buckets or anything ridiculous like that but I kind of thought, "Huh. That wasn't so bad. That was actually kind of fun. I think, maybe, I could do that again." And now that the retreat that I was in charge of is over, I find myself thinking about how I kind of really wish I had another retreat on the schedule. This is very strange because I hated my speech class in college with a vengeance. Every time I had to get up and deliver a speech I found myself wishing Point Loma would just topple into the ocean that very minute. So it is odd that I desire to do it again sometime.

It is odd that I desire to do it again sometime...soon. So what I need is for you people to tell me I'm crazy. I need you to tell me that this is a very silly desire. Because if you can't do that, what can I depend on you for, really? If you happened to be at the retreat in California just leave me a little note saying, "You are crazy. I got nothing out of it." If you don't know me or weren't there, just go ahead and say the same thing. Then I can put all of this behind me. Because the truth of the matter is that even if I wasn't horrible, even if I was mediocre at best, even if I could maybe have potential if I practiced a whole lot more and prayed even more than that, I wouldn't have a clue how to go about doing it again. So this is really like everything else I ever wanted to be.

Actress: Yeah. That didn't exactly pan out.
Writer: Still a pipe dream but darn if I'll ever find someone to publish me. And darn if I'd need to conjure up some talent first.
Mother: Okay. Mission accomplished but not without clawing and scraping and getting shots in my butt and not without a great deal of heartache.

So call me crazy. Let the comments come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Photo Shoot

When we were in California, our good friend, Bethany, took our pictures. Out of the kindness of her heart because she's awesome like that.Can I just tell you how nearly impossible it is to get just one good shot of a family of four when one of the members is three and thinks the appropriate face for the situation can only be described as cheeseball and one of the members is a baby in a very I put my hands in my mouth all the time phase and one of the members is holding the baby and generally forcing a smile that moans, "Get your hands out of your mouth and figure out how to smile at the precise moment that the Cheeseball actually smiles!"

Yet, somehow, Bethany managed to capture our family. Because, like I said, she's awesome like that.

The Rock Star's most favorite body part is his tongue. He uses it to think. He plays with it. He's pretty much one with it.

Oh lookie here. A picture of Cheeseball and Insert Hands in Mouth with their daddy.

Okay. So. I could be separated from my son for, I don't know, fifty gazillion years, and I'd never--never, ever--forget this face. And, really, how could I?
And this, well, this makes 25 hours of labor totally worth it.

And this. I mean. Okay. So I have neck skin foldy things which I'm self conscious about and I'm sporting crow's feet and I'm just kind of a mess altogether but at least my earrings look good. But that's not really what I want to say. What I want to say is, "Thank you, Bethany." Because however much of a train wreck that face I'm making is, it's pictures like this that make every second of the past seven and a half months totally worth it.
I love these boys. I love Balboa Park. I love the color saturation. If that's what it's called. A photographer I am not. I love that it looks like we're in some kind of dream world. A dream world I wish I could enter forever. A dream world where it's just our family and no one is threatening to take any of us away.
A dream world where "Praying for Matthew's Future" means that we're praying he doesn't fall down and skin his knees. A dream world where "Praying for Matthew's Future" doesn't mean that we're praying we can, one day, legally adopt him. A dream world where he's ours. Forever and always.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Retreat

Our retreat was great. I plan to get back to regular blogging soon but my mom is still here hanging out with us. That and, well, the fact that I'm exhausted from like a month of running, running, running without stop.

But the retreat went well. More later...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Teenage Girls

I'll likely never have a teenage girl. But I'd be ready for one if I did. When she threw some giant hormonal tantrum or rolled her eyes at me with that look we all perfected at age thirteen, that look that says, You, mother, are dumber than the dirt beneath my feet, I would simply look at her and shake my head. Then I would explain that I'd already parented behavior like that.

My three-year-old sometimes acts like he's at least ten years older than he really is--and that he's also female. So much so that today, at the height of my frustration with him, I pulled his little face close to mine, looked deep into his eyes, and told him to stop acting like a teenage girl.

He has moments where, if I say black, the object in question is most certainly white in his world. If I say sit he wants to stand. If I say no, clearly, the only logical answer is yes. And he has this... tone. I kid you not it's the exact tone I would have when my mother would say, "Don't get that tone with me!" I instruct him to do something and he replies, "Oooookay!" As though, perhaps, he will do as I say but only because he feels like it and not because his mother asked him. Often, he is disinclined to acquiesce to my request. And he lets me know it.

So, tell me, is this a common three-year-old boy thing? Is something wrong in his head? Do I need his estrogen levels tested? I mean, when I had my hormone levels tested back in '04 I had slightly raised testosterone levels so it is possible that my male offspring has extra estrogen. What, you didn't know I had extra testosterone? Yeah. Not something I normally lead with. "Hi. It's so nice to meet you. I have raised levels of testosterone." It's not especially rare. Many females in law, politics and law enforcement have extra T. It's fine. It makes me competitive. Holy cow. I am so off topic.

Back to the question at hand. What the heck is this three-year-old going to be like when he actually is a teenager? Although, to be fair, at least he won't be a teenage girl.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Galilee Municipal Airport

So, apparently, at Sunday School last weekend, my son was learning about boy Jesus at the temple. He learned about how it was a long walk from Galilee to Jerusalem. He looked at his teacher and questioned, "Why didn't he just go to the airport?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

He Grew!

In the last month I've been stuffing my baby full of food. He's all, "Hey, mommy, you're eating so I'd like something, too. Right this minute. Do you hear me? Rightthisminuterightthisminuterightthismiiiinute! NOW!"

And then I'm like, "Dude. Chill. It's coming. Do you want carrots or green beans?"

Then he says, "Neither, lady. I want steak and potatoes and buttery dinner rolls. Then I think I'll finish that up with lobster and rice pilaf and string cheese. Definitely string cheese. Oh and ice cream. And a Twinkie."

Then I answer with, "Carrots it is."

You might remember that a month ago, at his six month well baby visit, he was teensy. Really. Super tiny. I mentioned it at the beginning of this post. Today we returned to see if he'd been growing. Like I said before, I've been stuffing him like a Thanksgiving turkey. He yelps for food and I respond. Although, to assuage your fears that I am overfeeding him, I should probably tell you that he yelps for food on schedule. Currently he's getting three meals of solid food and 24 ounces of formula each day. In any case, I knew he'd gained weight and I was desperately hoping he'd grown in length as well.

And praise the Lord, he did both. He gained over a pound and grew almost an inch in a month. Yeah! Good job, Little Buddy.

And alright, so when we moved from our first rental into our second rental I was all, "Maybe I'll get a new pediatrician because I don't want to drive all over kingdom come when I don't have to." But then I took the boys to the doctor and was reminded that I drive all over kingdom come because I love the staff there.

I adore our pediatrician, even though we only see her every fourth visit or so--she's in high demand. I love our nurse practitioner who is as invested in Matthew's case as you could ever hope for medical personnel to be. I love the nurses. I love the people who check us in. And Matthew is always super happy to be there. It's like he forgets that every time we walk through the doors he gets poked with needles. He's all, "Man, I love it here. You girls are the best. See my grin. I'm telling you how much I love you. Holy OUCH! Sob! Wail. Okay. I'm over it. Now let me smile a bunch more." I'm sure if I told them that he throws enormous tantrums they'd call me a liar and order a polygraph test. Not Matthew. Not sweet, innocent, adorable little Matthew. He couldn't ever be anything but sugar and frosting.

He seriously loves himself some pediatrics.

And Garrett loves himself their fish tank. He's affectionately named the big orange one BeBe.

Yeah. I have no idea.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You'll Be In My Heart

That instrumental CD is going to be the death of me. The other night, as I fed Matthew his bottle just before bed, I hit play. He stared up at me with huge chocolate eyes and You'll Be In My Heart started playing. And sure, Phil Collins probably wasn't trying to make me get all choked up when he wrote it. And sure, it was instrumental. But I know the lyrics. Of course I know the lyrics. I just hadn't quite thought of them splattering their lyricness all over our current situation.

Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand
Hold it tight
I will protect you
from all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry
For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart, always
Why can't they understand
the way we feel
They just don't trust
what they can't explain
I know we're different but,
deep inside us
We're not that different at all
And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know
We need each other, to have, to hold
They'll see in time
I know
When destiny calls you
You must be strong
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on
They'll see in time
I know
We'll show them together
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on,
Now and forever more
Oh, you'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be in my heart, always
Always

So then, maybe Phil Collins did write it for me and not, you know, ten years ago for the movie Tarzan. Excuse me while I go light fire to that darn instrumental CD.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Football

My husband lucked out. It's true. Oh sure, there are better wives than me. There are wives who know how to cook boeuf bourguignon. Some wives probably wake up with breath smelling of Listerine and nary a hair out of place. But few wives know their football like I do.

Not many wives know how to pronounce Houshmandzadeh, let alone know that his name is TJ and that he now plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Many wives might not know what usually happens on a fourth down. Many wives might not be able to correctly define a chop block or what a wildcat offense is.

But I can.

I am a football fan. National football league, not college. I can watch college ball but that isn't where it's at for me. For me it's Sunday afternoon, in between play rehearsal and Community Life Group. It's a fire crackling --although mine is currently broken and someone is coming to fix it next Thursday--and it's a warm blanket wrapped around me. It's cheering and jumping and silent fist pumping. The latter of which I learned how to do when my two month old baby was sleeping in my arms three years ago. It's chili and nachos and TV trays. I can't put my finger on why, exactly, huge men pounding on each other is so fantastic to me.

Maybe it's because football, for me, has always been family. Family gathered around the television. Family snuggled together on the couch. Family tossing the ball around in the backyard during halftime. And over the years I've picked a few things up. I've learned how to pronounce Houshmandzadeh. I know who plays quarterback for most teams. I have a fierce rivalry with the Broncos fans at my church. Although, secretly, I'd choose the Broncos over the Chiefs or the Raiders any day. Especially now that they don't have Cocky Cutler as their QB anymore. My heart belongs to my Chargers.

I love football. I'm a good wife.

(And my husband preached on ego this morning. Hmmmm....)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Twitter

So I have a twitter account. I hardly ever actually tweet, but it's there, collecting dust. If you want to follow me go ahead and click here.

Another Retreat

A couple days ago I was putting together a little something for the women who will be attending our church's retreat next weekend. The Rock Star was assisting me.

G: Is Grandma going to be there?
Me: Yes. She's flying in on Friday and going to my retreat with me.
G: Are you going to be there?
Me: Yep.
G: Am I going to be there?
Me: No. You get to stay home with daddy.
G: (pause) So it's just a bunch of old ladies?

So now we've established that Garrett thinks his mother and his grandma are old ladies. Terrific.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Morning Has Broken

Some days are harder than others. Each day I try to give my fear to the Lord, but sometimes I am caught emotionally off guard. These last few days have been chilly and I've been able to snuggle with my boys under the covers of my bed. This morning I left them in their pajamas longer than usual. There's just something about little boys in warm jammies. Fall is here. I didn't know I liked autumn until I moved to Utah. I like turtle necks and hot chocolate in the morning. I like the way a cozy house smells when a spice candle is burning.

This morning, I set Little Buddy down in his crib because The Rock Star asked me to turn on some music. I chose a lullaby album that is all instrumental. When it began, Matthew was so happy just to crawl around his crib and listen that I left him there while I cleaned my bathroom. Several minutes later I needed my broom. I turned the corner out of my room and my breath caught, midway to my lungs. Matthew sat, content, in his crib. He had his big green pacifier sticking out of his mouth and his gaze was transfixed on a toy he was maneuvering in his chubby hands. Garrett was lying on his bed. His legs were bent and a book rested on his thighs. More books were strewn around him and he quietly read to himself while unknowingly keeping time to the music with his foot. The CD player sang a version of Morning Has Broken.

And just like that, tears welled up in my eyes and spilled over.

Just like that, I wanted to cling to the image--to beg it never to leave my mind. So simple. So normal. So worthy of being forgotten. So worthy of being remembered. An event so ordinary as brothers keeping to themselves in their bedroom on a Friday morning could bring such strong reaction for the very reason that it might not be commonplace. My days of these magical moments could be numbered. Are, in fact, numbered. For even if they remain mine forever, little boys grow up.

It was instrumental but it's only fitting that the stereo played the song it did. Morning has broken, like the first morning. Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. Praise for the singing, praise for the morning. Praise for the springing fresh from the word. Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven. Like the first dewfall, on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden. Sprung in completeness where his feet pass. Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning. Born of the one light, Eden saw play. Praise with elation, praise every morning. God's recreation of the new day.

Every morning with them is blessed. These little men are brothers. Bound not by a common face and not by blood. Bound, instead, by the joy of friendship and unforced affection. Bonded by something greater--eternal Love above. They laugh together. They play together. They are genuinely happy in the presence of one another. And this morning, they attempted the art of being separate--together. They read and played alone, existing under the tune of the same song.

Before the moment could break itself, before a baby could see his mother in the doorway and before a boy could grow weary of his books, I wiped my eyes and walked away. I didn't want to watch the moment break. Because some day, when the boys have grown and gone or when life has dealt us a devastatingly different fate, I want to be able to close my eyes and see them together like that. I want to hear the piano ringing through their room. I want that sweet morning to have broken but I want to pretend that the night never came.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The One Where My Brother Disowns Me

Okay so, first things first, this is my brother and his wife. Let's just get it out of the way right now. Let's all agree that they just shouldn't reproduce on account of the fact that they are both so hideous. Jon and Heather couldn't do a photo shoot for a dentist or orthodontist or Colgate or anything. Certainly not. Gosh. I'm so glad I'm not as ugly as they are.

In all actuality, I'm still trying to figure out how Jon got all the looks and the brains. I mean, I just feel like there is some kind of law of averages that should have come into play in our family. But...no.


There I go, down the aisle in what my son refers to as my Juliet dress. It was a Chamber of Commerce day. The kind of day I think about in the dead of January when there is three feet of snow outside my door. The kind of day that makes me nostalgic for the grass between my toes on a day in late May at Point Loma Nazarene University when I was a college student. What I'm thinking is, "Marina Village, I'm going to send you the bill for aerating your lawn. Gosh I hope I can continue to successfully remove my heels from the ground. If I got stuck right here at the end of the aisle would the other bridesmaids gather around and lift me out?" What you don't see in this picture is the gorgeous marina that I'm walking toward.

Oh. Here it is.

That there is my brother smiling bigger than I've ever seen him smile. And that's saying a lot because my brother thinks his own gas is uproarious. He'll probably resent that I just shared that with all of the blogging world but, you know what, I so don't care. Because I'm still irritated at the whole "getting all the looks" thing. Plus he just got back from his honeymoon, is moving into his apartment with his wife today, and opened a boatload of gifts yesterday so I think he'll get over the fact that I said he thinks his farts are funny. Also in the picture are my cousin, Kyle, my husband, Troy, who served as the best man, and one seriously sweet ring bearer. Speaking of the ring bearer, let it be known that if The Rock Star wore a tuxedo every day, he could get anything he wanted out of me. "Hey mommy, can I have a chocolate bar for breakfast?" Well, sure. I don't see why not. "Can I have eighteen puppies, a twenty pound boa constrictor and a Shetland pony?" Garrett, I must admit, that sounds like a great idea. Seriously. Few things have melted my heart like my three-year-old in a tux.

I used to look like my dad. For real. Our baby pictures are, like, identical except that his are black and white and mine are in color. I used to think my mom was just an egg donor and a warm place to grow. But now...

I gotta admit, I see the resemblance. My mom's dress was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. The picture doesn't do it justice. I'm wearing my grandma's necklace. It was a perfect match and it choked me up way more than I thought it would that she wasn't at my brother's wedding. It made me feel better to have a piece of her around my neck.

Garrett's shirt said, "Ring Security" and he switched into it about halfway through the reception. And Matthew had socks on but then he somehow managed to throw up baby food all over them. I love all those boys. They complete me. They. Complete. Me.

Photos are courtesy of my aunt's facebook because, well, I only took like two pictures with my camera.