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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anecdote # 1: As I tucked Zach in the other night for bed, I curled up next to him and asked what he wants to be when he grows up. I enjoy asking him this every few days; he has a different answer everytime. “A French teacher!” He exclaimed. Seeing as I graduated with a Bachelors in French, this excited me – I always thought I would be a music AND French teacher, but I had to choose one…and actually I got to choose the one that I love most. So, I told Zach that it would be difficult to be a French teacher without speaking the language. I began speaking French to him – telling him, that he’d be such a great teacher, and he can be anything he wants when he grows up, and we could start speaking a little bit of French everyday, not just ‘cuz for one moment – one minute in his 3 year old life he claims to want to be a French teacher – but because speaking French to the children was something that I swore I’d do for them at this crucial sponge-for-languages young age. The more I spoke French, the funnier the look on Zach’s face became. He wrinkled his brow, pursed his lips (like a true Frenchman, I might add) and said, “Ahhh, mommy. Enough with the silly French talk, already.” Good luck getting a French teaching position, dude.

Anecdote #2: Matthew was student of the week in his kindergarten class – this role provided special responsibilities such as line-leader and white board eraser. He also “got” to bring in a snack for all 24 students. He got to bring show and tell on Wednesday and on Thursday his family was welcome to come in for family show and tell. Fun, fun!

After school on Thursday, I asked Matthew a question. Who was the lady there to help one of the kids? I knew she was there to assist with one child who needs extra special help, I just wondered if Matthew knew her name. Matthew responded, “Oh, she’s from the office.”

“Do you know her name?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “She’s just one of the principal’s sergeants.”

“Sergeants?! Is that what she’s called?”

“Nope, that’s just what I call them. She’s one of the sergeants from the principal.”

Anecdote #3: Trying to be a good mom who occasionally recognizes the good in children (as opposed to constantly scolding the bad), I complimented Zach the other day after he nicely asked for a drink.

“Zachary!” I exclaimed. “You have such nice manners!!”

Zach looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Today!”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I feel overwhelmed. I’m stressed. I’m tired. I have the reputation with many friends as “The Busiest Person” they know. I don’t like this reputation; I think I’ve always had it though. But part of me wonders, if I did ‘less,’ would I feel useless? If I actually spent more time at home doing the things that need to get done – the things that pile up and stress me out ‘cuz I’m not at home getting them done – the dishes, the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen clutter, oh! And I dunno! How about spending some more quality time with the two kiddos we have before adding a third one to the mix?! There’s a thought!

I worked THREE jobs in college, WHILE taking full credits every quarter so that I could graduate in three years and get married. Then as soon as I was married, I just wanted to be done working and have kids to stay home with. Then shortly after kids, I felt like I should start working a little bit again. Now, I feel like I’m so torn between home and work. When I’m teaching, I’m missing out on stuff at home; when I’m home I spend time doing everything that needs to be done because soon I’ll be teaching again. Am I workaholic?! But I’m stressed. I LOVE teaching music, and I’m good at it, so does that mean I kind of owe it to everyone? (My family? The world? Future musicians? To share my talent to their benefit?? But is my own family suffering because of it?) What to do?!

And really, there’s the whole staying at home mom vs. working mom thing which I’m not even getting into. I don’t care about that argument right now, because I AM home most of the time, I just need to figure out what I need in order to feel more at peace. How do I personally get fulfilled in home-work life and outside-of-home-work life? Right now, I’ve got: a National Convention to plan, a half marathon to train for, Engaged Encounter retreats to lead/attend, books to read, healthy meals to plan and cook, writing to write, and then music classes to teach – two days a week, plus two extra days a month (for Zach’s preschool).

I’ve been saying for some time now that “something’s got to give;” I just can’t keep doing it all of it, all of the time. I may fall apart. And the time has come to figure out what exactly it is that’s got to give…because I’m starting to fall apart. I can’t give up the National Engaged Encounter Convention – cuz we’ve been asked to do it, and WILL do it; I can’t give up our EE retreats because that’s quality marriage time for Mike and I which is crucial to a healthy, happy marriage and therefore family. I can’t give up running a half marathon because that’s for ME – completely, selfishly, totally for me. I can’t give up reading and writing because that gives me Sanctuary. I can’t give up planning and cooking healthy food because that’s for the wellness of the whole family. I CAN control how much I teach, so….what to do? What to do?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We received our first foster child profile over email the other day (probably the first of many). It was exciting and petrifying and thrilling and ca-razy all at the same time. It's the longest wait ever for that email attachment to open up complete with picture of Possibly-The One and details about Possibly-The-One. I can’t tell you any specifics of this case, but let’s just say it was an ideal situation…in Oregon. Which means that this ideal situation (child bulletin) was sent out nationwide (that’s how Oregon DHS works). Which means that hundreds – if not thousand(s) – of families will submit their home study for this little girl. (Well, you do know that we’re looking for a girl under two, so that kind of detail goes without saying). Which means that it’s kind of like lottery-playing-chances to get picked. Which means thank GOODNESS I don’t have my hopes up [well, of course I do, a little bit] because we’re so stinkin’ busy [which is true, but I know everything would work out if she was The One for us…but still not ready, not ready, must keep telling myself, we’re not ready. No hopes up. Too busy. We’re not ready.].

The Oregon social worker for this baby has up to a month to narrow down the field to a few families, at which point, the chosen families can get a little more detailed information about the child. And then from that small pool the family is picked. I CANNOT FATHOM being in the social worker’s position. I mean, I know they have training and Social Worker Skills (probably like nun-chuck-skills), but do they feel a little bit like God? They are deciding this little person’s future! Picking their mom and dad and possible brothers or sisters! And the future of the family, for that matter. They are looking at you on paper and deciphering (in this case among lots and lots of great choices, I’m sure) who the best fit is for this child. The pressure!

I know that this process will be an emotional roller coaster, and it takes a serious amount of faith to trust that – if we got really excited/attached to the idea of a certain child being ours and then not getting picked, that that’s how it’s meant to be; that child just wasn’t The One and not to get discouraged, but holy majoly! Sheesh! This could be a wild ride folks. Strap in.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It has been said that I am like Lady Gaga. (A mild exaggeration, to say the least. We definitely differ in our taste in clothes and make-up…I hope). The unlikely comparison comes from the sudden popularity of my toddler/preschool and parent music classes at two local public libraries. We were having an issue at the bigger library because people would register on-line (there were only 15 spots available per class), but then not everyone would come so I’d have a very wee-sized class of wee-sized musicians. Then we wondered: can we let others drop in to at least make it more worth my time? I mean, I do hate playing to an empty house. But then what if we let others in and all of a sudden everyone who actually registered actually shows up? It would be musical mayhem! (Musical Mayhem. I did consider that as a name for my business but decided that the mayhem part went without saying in a toddler music program, so promoting it might not be the best idea).

The proposal was made: This session, it will be a drop-in class but only open to the first 15 kiddos (aged 2-5) and parental assistant. I arrive on the first day of class to an angry toddler-mommy mob scene. They are lined up in the library…around the corner. Apparently one of the librarians didn’t want to let moms just put their names down on a list (‘cuz then what if they didn’t show back up when it was time to start and we had an empty spot), so they HAD to stand in line to hold their spot. Moms were ticked off. Librarians were ticked off. Everybody was really just way ticked off.

And because they couldn’t lose their spot in line, they had to keep angry, line-waiting children with them when the library is practically as cool as a candy store…especially this one complete with play-puppet area. With the number of people waiting in line, the library may have to invest in some Disneyland line-rope thingies. They can maze their way through the book shelves while they wait.

Anyway, this system obviously wasn’t working. So, week 2 the proposal was made: This session, 15 minutes prior to class time, the first 15 kiddos will get a ticket – a laminated piece of bell-shaped paper – which must be turned in upon class entry. Well, what did they do? They lined up 30 minutes prior to class time to get there 15 minutes prior to class time to be one of the first 15 kiddos to get a bell-themed ticket. Apparently kiddo-mom combos #’s 16-23 were hoping that some of the kiddo-mom combos #1-15 would start dropping like flies. Yeah, not so much. Kiddo-mom combos #1-15 were able to flaunt their bell tickets as they smugly entered the storytime room turned musictime room. One of the librarians said she’s concerned that people might start camping out – sleeping in sleeping bags along the sidewalk the night before the library doors even open. (Again, exaggerations, but holy majoly, people are hardcore about their toddler music classes!).

At the first library, where on-line registration has worked surprisingly well, people have started sneaking into class when the librarian’s not watching and guarding the door like a bouncer. This week, it seemed like every time I looked around the room there were a few new toddlers who hadn’t been there before. And at one point, I commented that it was like a clown car – they just kept coming through the door (even 20 minutes in to the 30 minute class)! Comical, indeed. I’m glad I’m not trying to get into one of these classes – it’s cut-throat!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soy milk will NOT, in fact, turn our child GAY. I’m fairly convinced of that. Let me repeat: Zach will not be a homosexual because of drinking a fair amount of soy milk.

I have always attempted to avoid scandalous and highly debatable topics in my Blog, thus, I’m not speaking to the topic of homosexuality in general. All humans deserve love and respect regardless of their socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, racial make-up or sexual orientation. That’s all I’ll say about that. But there are some CARAZIES out there claiming that feeding your young children – most especially boy-children – soy milk is a “slow poison” turning them into homosexuals. That’s kind of the most REDONCULOUS thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Ever.

Let me start from the beginning: I suffer from some lactose sensitivity issues. And that’s all I’ll say about THAT. So, I choose to use soy milk in my cereal and many other lactose-free products. The boys – especially Zach – have become fans of drinking soy milk. Now, 9 times out of 10, Zach requests soy milk over “regular milk.” I have a friend from church who kinda flipped out when she heard that the boys are drinking soy milk daily. She explained that soy milk is full of estrogen and possibly causes infertility and other issues for boys. (For the record, she said nothing about the whole gay factor – that was someone else). She recommended almond milk. She makes her own. She and her mother purchase 50 pounds of almonds and make their own almond milk. Now, more power to them, that’s healthy – I’m sure – and amazing, but I just don’t have time to milk 50 pounds of little almond teats. But this concern about soy and boys did make me wonder. So, I chose to do some research of my own. (Though I honestly don’t know who to believe on-line).

When googling “soy and children,” one of the first articles that turned up was titled “Soy is making kids ‘gay’” by Jim Rutz. Holy Majoly, that’s got to be the funniest argument/slash/article title I’ve ever seen in my life! I told my friend Rachel about this article. Rachel is quite knowledgeable on the topic of whole, healthy, green food and livin’. I knew the article was hooey but just wanted to know what she thought of the estrogen-in-soy-products thing. We both agreed that moderation (as in anything) is key.

My parents babysat that night so that we could go see Avatar for Mike’s birthday. When we got home, my mom – not knowing about the article that I’d read that morning – told us a funny anecdote. She said, when putting the boys to bed, she asked Zach for a goodnight kiss. He immediately said, “No. Ick! I don’t kiss girls! I only kiss boys!”

Hmmm. (I just think this whole thing is very funny…Mike did look a tad bit surprised). Later, I reassured him that the girls-and-the-cooties thing is perfectly normal. His response was, “Yeah, but that doesn’t happen until like elementary school.” Well, Zach, at 3 ½ , is just very mature for his age.

The next morning, I was driving with Zach in the car. He was asking about “work.” Like, does Uncle Chris ‘work’ at the same place where daddy ‘works’ and is all ‘work’ just one big ‘place of work.’ As I explained this all to him, I said, “And mommy works too, you know.” (I was actually just about to head out for teaching my music classes).

Zach scoffed – he actually scoffed from his car booster seat and shaking his head with dismay said, “No, Mommy – silly! Girls don’t work! They CAN’T…’cuz they’re girls!” Ahhh. I understand now. Thank GOD! It’s not that he’s gay necessarily; it’s that he’s a sexist, chauvinistic pig. Phew!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A modern man…

The love saga continues. Matthew presented to Emma the card that he lovingly made for her. It depicted a green-and-blue-clad Matthew and pink-and-purple-clad Emma holding hands. Inside, there was a smaller version of the lovebirds complete with a star above Matthew’s head and a heart above her head. The “Come play at my house” suggestion was left open-ended with no specific time or date provided. Could Emma suddenly appear on our doorstep for the promised playdate?

The boys were given a Baskin and Robbins gift card for helping take care of our neighbors’ cat. When Matthew saw it he immediately said, “We can invite Emma to come with us for ice cream!”

I said, “Well…maybe. That IS nice. If you invite someone to do something, it’s nice to pay for them.”

Matthew paused, thinking about that. Then before walking out of the room he said, “Well, maybe she can just pay for her own ice cream with her own money. That’s better.”

He’s a modern man making a lady pay her own way.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Talk about Jekyll and Hyde! Wowza. In exactly one week, Matthew has turned into a completely different child. Um, and no offense kid, but thank GOD! Last week not getting the drinking straw of his choice brought on a 35 minute freak-out. Any little injury was cause for therapy and major concern. What a change!

On Tuesday, we’re walking home from the bus stop when Matthew casually says, “I got kicked in the face today on the playground and my tooth came out.” I’m pretty sure that I stopped walking and just stared at him. WHAT?! He says it so nonchalantly and we’re already half-way home! I’m not pumped that my child got kicked in the face, but I’m actually REALLY happy the tooth came out! It was one of those stubborn little buggers that just wasn’t getting very wiggly but already had the grown-up tooth pushed up behind it. The dentist had said that if Matthew didn’t get it out soon she’d have to pull it. We’ve been working on Matthew to wiggle it and work on it, but it didn’t seem to be getting too loose. Thank you, kid, that kicked it on outta there!

Matthew showed me the little plastic tooth-shaped container that he got in the office for safe-keeping of his real tooth. He said the tooth had popped completely out on to the ground getting pretty dirty. On close inspection, Mike thinks that they actually picked up a tiny little pebble and not the tooth at all. This means that the tooth fairy totally got duped, AND that a part of my child remains on the school playground. Hmm. Weird. Oh well, at least she provided Matthew with some financial comfort for his tooth-loss woes. Seriously – I’d MUCH rather pay the tooth fairy fee over the dentist’s! What a bargain!

So, that was Different Child Matthew Day One. Yesterday, Day Two, Matthew woke up ridiculously early. Apparently he wanted to see just how generous the tooth fairy is when you loose your tooth in a dramatic way. (Kinda generous, as it turns out. He got a whole dollar bill! She hasn’t given a dollar since his first four. The two middle top, two middle bottom are important ones…and then after that what with economic set-backs, etc. he’s only got 50 cents/tooth). I was concerned that Matthew would be a way tired-cranky-monster after a long day at school especially when he’d woken up so early. I picked Matthew up from the bus stop in the car as it was POURING. Matthew hopped in through the torrential downpour. I looked back at him once he got his seatbelt buckled. He wore a goofy-huge-cheesy grin as he leaned back in his seat and sighed.

I was suspicious. “How was your day, Matthew?”

“Good… Actually super good.”

“ Super good, huh?”

“ Yeah, I got to make a card for Emma. But I didn’t get to finish it so I brought it home.”

“ That’s nice,” I say.

Matthew sighs again, “Yeah, I like Emma a lot.” He leans forward in his seat getting more excited. “She’s the first person that I like, Mom! I’m going to MARRY HER!!!”

(OK, I will admit that a tiny part of my Mom-ego burst here. #1. My child is grown-up enough to know that you can’t marry your own mother and #2. What’s wrong with me?! Why doesn’t he want to marry me anymore??! Who is this little hussy that has stolen my son’s heart?!! I was a little sad, but recovered quickly because, well, how could I not? Maybe I’ll soon meet my daughter-in-law!)

“Oh, really?!” I ask.


“How do you know that you’re going to marry her?”

“Because I nudged her and she nudged me back!” Matthew demonstrates with a slow motion, gently-executed elbow nudge, complete with raised eyebrow-wiggle. “And I smile at her and she smiles back.” He’s smooth, this kid! Check out the moves!

“I made her with a pink and purple shirt on the card ‘cuz she likes those girly colors…Was school short today? ‘Cuz I’m not even tired and I was up EARLY! And I’m usually tired. But love made me not tired!!”

I drove home quickly (yet ever-so-carefully so as to not damage the groom); I needed to get that conversation recorded before I forgot it. I need to have 100% word-for-word accuracy here for recording in their wedding book.

Later, as Matthew worked on his card (in which he and Emma are holding hands and he invites her to “Come play at my house” and there is a star above his head and a heart above hers), he provided me with further Emma commentary.

“Maybe Emma made a card for me!”

“Maybe,” I say.

“When’s it going to be another morning? Well, I’ll wait all night and day to give her this.”

He keeps coloring explaining how both he and Emma have jeans on in the picture because they both really like jeans. (Phew! If that’s not a deal-breaker I don’t know what is! Thank goodness she likes jeans.)

“In my dreams!!” Matthew suddenly says excitedly. “I’ll dream of giving her this [card] and that she gives me one!...I like Emma a lot. She’s very kind. And cute. Mom, Emma’s very cute.”

“That’s nice, Matthew,” I say. “Maybe you can introduce me to Emma the next time Zach and I come to have lunch with you in the cafeteria.”

“Yeah!” He giggles, “’Cuz I’ll sit by her at lunch.”

Do you know anything about her? Does she have any brothers or sisters?” What kind of family does this girl come from?! I try to remember if I met her mom at the open house. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else.

“I dunno,” Matthew says.

“Well, do you know her favorite color?”


“Maybe you could ask her some questions, you know, get to know her better…” [Before you commit to a deeper relationship.]

Matthew smiles dreamily, “I just know that she’s kind…And Mom, she’s cute!”

Yeah, you mentioned that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I’ve been researching Blog-writing lately. I’ve always known that I’m a bit of a loner in my lack of Blog Post titles. I already try to make my Blogs as fun, informative and enjoyable to my readers as possible, and the pressure of coming up with a good, fitting, catchy-fun Blog Post title each time is just something I can’t commit to. But you’re kind of ‘supposed’ to. I’m like a Blog loner and rebel. It’s pretty impressive how ca-razy I am. I should be part of a Blog motorcycle gang or something.

But, really, how would I come up with a great title in the 45 minutes that I usually get for Blogging? And then, I’d have to basically have an organized theme and thought for that Blog post? That’s crazy talk. I have too many thoughts in my head most-Blog days to be contained to one Blog Post Titled-theme. I’m like a wild blogging animal that cannot be tamed. Can’t cage a Blogger like this. Mmm-mmm. No, you din’t.

I even read a Blog on how to write the best Blog. One of the main points was, yes, title your Blog and title your Posts; it’s so much easier for your readers, etc. Well guess what? I have high expectations for you, readers. I think you can HANDLE a little spontaneous Blogging. In fact, I’m bringing you down with me. Look at us: crazy Blogging rule breaking gang. Let’s start wearing the same color and make fancy signs with our hands. Or toes. I’m keeping you on your toes. You don’t know what’s coming next. PEANUT BUTTER. Didn’t see that coming now did ya?

I’ve been mocked at the bus stop lately. I’ve been mocked by the parents, sure, but the kids – especially the GIRL kids – think I’m SO cool. And it’s basically the goal in my life to be the popular girl for once. (Not really, but hey! I’ll take some elementary school fans, why not?). Two of the neighbor girls – a 1st and 2nd grader – had both been rockin’ some seriously cute black, suede wedge boots. I’d been in the market for boots that I can wear that are cute yet comfortable enough to wear for teaching toddler and preschool music classes when I spend most of my time sitting on the floor and jumping up and down to fetch instruments, collect instruments, start the stereo, etc. I told these girls that I coveted their boots. I didn’t, like, PRETEND that I didn’t want boots exactly like those sold for 7-9 year old girls. So, I researched. I hunted. I found them. And I got my boots.

And now, the girls like to know which days I plan on wearing my boots so that we can all wear them on the same day. This was a tricky endeavor for the three of us to coordinate our boot-wearing schedule. You must work around PE days (they have different days) and then my music class days. Finally, we’ve figured out that boot days for the three of us are Mondays and Wednesdays with the option of Fridays. Now, that we’ve established our days, we all look forward to them. Yesterday, the girls both came running up to me after exiting the bus and we did a little boot-comparison. Yes, we’re like the boot-wearing clique and only the cool girls get invited.

Now another situation I have going is my hair – ever since I cut it short I accessorize more. I wear scarves or headbands and maybe even the occasional flower clip. Well, yesterday, with the boot-matching-with-the-grade-school-girls and the bow-bedecked headband in my hair, it was just too much too handle for one mom and I was mocked. Now Cool Mom – who I recognize was speaking out of jealousy for her lack of boots and bow – said, “What,” snort/chortle, “Are you like in preschool now, Jenny?” I took a deep breath, stamped my foot, put my arm around my Boot Girls Posse and replied snottily, “No, puh-lease, I’m in like SECOND GRADE.” Ha! Showed her!

Friday, January 08, 2010

I can now report: No Montanian Baby for us! (Please see previous post if you’re utterly confusified). I got an email back from Montana Adoption Lady and she said in an ever-so-nice-Montanian-way that they only place Montanian babies with people who live in the grand state of Montana, so best of luck to us. Maybe we’ll move to Montana….nah. While I was anxious to hear what possibility lay within the Montana Baby Boundries, I must say that it was with the utmost relief that I read her email. See, while a baby girl any day now would be a wonderful blessing, and we will change some things to make it all work, I’m secretly hoping that it doesn’t happen until, mmmm, like mid-October. I’m more than happy to stick out the wait with Amara too.

See, we’re sort of partially in charge of the National Engaged Encounter Convention (400 people) that takes place in Seattle October 1-3rd, 2010. We also have an ocean camping trip planned for August. While these things would not be impossible with bebe, they’d certainly be way more challenging. And we’re quite new to Convention-Co-Chairing AND camping, so I kind of feel it’d be easier with one less person under our care. However, we did start the whole adoption process knowing: a.) it could take a while, b.) it could actually happen very quickly and therefore c.) we just gotta roll with it, baby. Watch us roll. See how good we are? Look at us! We’re rollers!

Another reason I’m SO NOT FEELING READY for a third offspring is because our eldest (6yr.old Matthew) has, well, how can I say this ever-so-lovingly? He really – especially lately, adjusting back to school after vacation – has the emotional fragility of an approaching puberty, pre-teen stricken, 11 year old girl. I say that with SO much love. And I know (I pray) that this over emotionalness this week WILL get better. It was the same way when kindergarten first started. He just needs to adjust (sleepwise, energy, etc.) back to the all-day school thing. His is a strange and magically-not-delicious combo of preteen drama mixed with toddler trauma. It takes skill. It’s one of a kind.

Par exemple: Yesterday after school, while getting snack for my dears, I’d tried so ever hard to be patient and accommodating. I know when Matthew first gets home from school, any little thing can set him off. So, I feel as though I’m tiptoeing around his emotions that lay exposed on the floor. After I poured milk into cups, Matthew made the request (politely so I honored it) for usage of their rocket-shaped cups complete with twisty straws. Well, who wouldn’t want to drink milk out of a cool cup like that? I handed them their rockets of milk only to have Matthew IMMEDIATELY start crying and screaming a tirade of bitter rocket cup envy and angst, “I DIDN’T WANT THE BLUE STRAW I WANTED THE ORANGE STRAW YOU KNEW I WANTED THE ORANGE STRAW HOW COME ZACH GOT THE ORANGE STRAW I NEVER GET WHAT I WANT EVER YOU’RE BREAKING MY HEART IT’S LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN LOVE ME I DON’T WANT THE BLUE STRAW I WANT THE ORANGE STRAW MY HEART IS SO BROKEN RIGHT NOW I’M SO UPSET I DON’T WANT THIS STRAW…” Yes, we’re talking about a normally quite rational six year old boy. Yes, this constant stream of anti-orange-straw campaigning continued for TWENTY, I repeat 20, 2-0, minutes. Yes, I eventually couldn’t take it anymore. I finally just walked Matthew – kicking and screaming the whole way (him, not me; my kicks and screams were mostly internal) to his room where he stayed (by his choice) for the next 45 minutes building Lego’s happily and quietly.

This is why I’m having all of those scared thoughts just like a pregnant lady. How on earth will I handle another child if I can’t handle the two we already have?! HOW will I handle a preteen girl when I can’t handle an emotional 6 year old boy?! (Granted, we won’t actually have a preteen for a while…but still! It’s scary!) How will I handle three kids with: planning a National EE Convention, going on camping trips, teaching music classes (300 kids next week!), writing, cooking healthy food, taking care of our house, reading, doing Yoga, going to the gym and running – (I’m going to do another Half Marathon in June!! My first one post-Zach…who is now 3 ½ )…How? How, pray-tell, how?! I’m just thinking that if things don’t settle down a wee bit, I, too, may have screaming fits when given the straw that is NOT of my liking.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

When all is said and done, what if we end up with a baby from Montana? Not that there’s anything wrong with Montanian babies, mind you, it’d just be an interested place to end up. Here’s the deal: as you know, we’ve begun (and completed!) the home study process with an agency here in Seattle. We picked said-agency (Amara) after lots and lots, oodles and oodles of research into International, Domestic and local agencies. We picked Amara for several factors including price (let’s face it: the baby buying process is an expensive one!) and location – we liked that it was local and we could actually meet and get to know the people who would be supplying us with a freakishly beautiful, talented, will-never-have-preteen-or-teen-angst-attitude little girl. (OK, really, the requirement is just a girl baby of the healthy persuasion; those other demands are just the dream). So, now that we’ve officially been moved into the ‘Child Search’ stage and we could – hypothetically – get Baby Girl any day now, why have our thoughts turned eastward toward the great open skies of Montana? Allow me to explain, as you know I will.

We just received an email from a couple who we met through Engaged Encounter. Two years ago we were the Seattle Coordinators and attended Unit Board meetings – getting to know other leader-couples from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Apparently they had heard through the EE grapevine of our adoption plans. And then, just this past weekend, a close friend of theirs who works in adoption for Catholic Social Services approached them after church asking (it sounds somewhat desperately) if they knew of any perspective adoptive couples as they’re in huge need. Well, Jerry and Maureen, not knowing where/how far we are along in the adoption process, immediately thought of us. This email was delightful. You could feel their excitement absolutely penetrate through the computer screen. It’s as if they felt certain that THEY would be the middlemen in providing us with our baby. They went on and on about how great this friend is and provided us with both her work and home phone numbers. Then, they painted, the picture: when you come to Helena to pick up your daughter, you can stay with us! We’ve got a 6 bedroom house and only use two rooms now. We’re even ready for your boys and have a room with bunk beds! We can help with childcare and any needs that may arise while you await paperwork processing. Come to Helena! Find a baby here! That was the general idea. Quite frankly, we may just take them up on the child care offer if nothing else!

These were my first thoughts: That’s SO nice, such sweet people…Do they have a lot of babies in Montana? Is there like a baby girl-mill there or something?...Are they free babies? And all that fresh, open air – they’re probably very hearty, healthy stock babies. And being Montana, let’s face it, they’re most likely white babies – this would make things easier for some people (see previous Blog post to see that I, in fact, am NOT racist – we’ve taken classes and everything; it’s others we worry about). But what about everything we’ve already done with Amara? Would it be totally betraying them – and Joy, our adoption specialist – if we end up adopting through somewhere else? And what about all of the work we’ve done for them? We’re SO not re-doing that. We wrote 30 page autobiographies, had 9 hours of interviews, attended 40+ hours of classes, got the house all Foster-to-code approved. What about all of that?! Is it dishonest to have baby-finding-feelers out in two different states?

After all of those thoughts, I decided, yeah, we probably shouldn’t pursue this. But then, I thought that maybe actually consulting my spousal unit may be a good idea. After discussion, we decided that it doesn’t hurt to at least look into this Montana baby-business. Maybe there is a great need. What if, in the end, the Great Grand Plan all along was for us to do all the paperwork/prep/class/home study with Amara so that we’d be ready to go for Montana Baby Girl? What if she’s there right now, all pink and fat and cute, just hanging out, waiting for us at the Montana baby factory? So, we’ve sent an email to Ms. Helena Adoption Lady. No word back yet. Maybe a Montana baby is in our future, maybe not. We shall see…

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Throughout our adoption/home study classes we had to do a lot of research and learning on the topic of “Transracial Adoption” – is it right for you? Are you a couple able/willing to adopt a child of a different race? We read books, we had to watch videos (the same one twice at two different classes!), and we had to take an entire three hour long training class on “Transracial Adoption.” The training was held at Amara and was excellent, but by the time we got to it, we’d already done all of the other reading, watching, learning, so it was mostly review. The best (most entertaining) part of the training was the Seventeen-Magazine-Type Quiz that we got to take. Instead of ‘which kind of boy should you be dating?’ questions it was all “can you handle transracial adoption?” And “just how much do you hold on to racial stereotypes?” etc. It was a little amusing because it was pretty obvious what the correct answers were. But it was good in thinking not just about how you feel about it, but how you’d handle a situation when others don’t react well, and just being aware of the area in which you live…is transracial adoption really a good idea for your family?

Mike and I have always believed that we will get whatever child (girl-child!) we are intended to have. No matter what she looks like, what sort of family she comes from, she will be OURS. We’ve also talked about adoption with the boys WAY before we even told them that we were planning to adopt. A couple of years ago, Matthew even showed me his stuffed animal family on his bed; they were all bears except for the sister bunny. “She looks different ‘cuz she’s adopted,” his four-year-old-self explained.

Well, now that same boy may need to take a few of the transracial adoption courses with us. We live in a somewhat diverse area – our immediate surroundings (neighborhood/shopping area/school) aren’t hugely diverse, but just south of us where we do preschool, the gym, and a lot of our shopping has a lot of diversity. Matthew. Ahhh, Matthew. Ever since Barack Obama was elected president he’s had some confusion, and I don’t know how to PC-ily correct it (even with all these classes)!

Basically any African-American man on my computer screen (when looking at the news, etc.) is Barack Obama. There happened to be an article about a rather infamous man lately – Tiger Woods – and Matthew, walking by, all nonchalantly pointed and said, “Oh! There’s Barack!” (He’s even on a first name basis). I always explain – as delicately as possible – That, no, actually, that’s not the president…Matthew even gestured toward a man in Costco once and said (thankfully, quietly), “Is that the president?!”

And yesterday, I learned that this Presidential-Profiling, if you will, is not limited to Mr. President. When we were walking home from the school bus, I waved and said hello to one of our neighbors who happens to be a very attractive African-American woman. Matthew (again, not too loudly, I think, I HOPE), said, “Is that Mrs. Barack Obama?! I didn’t know she lived here!”

We may be open to transracial adoption, but our six-year-old? Hmmm. Maybe not so much.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I have no one to blame but myself…well, and my husband. We have had the laziest last two weeks ever. Very nice, mind you, but la-hay-zy! Our Christmas-New Years Staycation was a delightful success – in totally throwing off our sleep schedule. The boys even got used to staying up a little bit later (oh, 8:30!) and sleeping in ‘til…wait for this craziness 8AM!!

So, here we are, Sunday night, I’m tired from lots of late nights and fun, but I can’t for the life of me shut off my brain and fall asleep. I was in bed at 8:45, that’s how tired I am! And then I read a bit, and then I laid there. And laid there. Awake. Yup. Still awake. The alarm will go off at 5:27am (I have a ‘thing’ with setting my alarm for weird times…no 5:30 for me), and that’s coming awfully early. (Yes, it’s coming at 5:27, but that’s extra-awfully-early tomorrow). In my sleepless-frustration I finally decided: H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks with it! I’m not going to just lie here running laps in my head, when I could just get up and do something. And Blogging was what I chose to do.

Writing. It’s always on my New Year’s Resolution list. Must write. Must write more frequently. Tuesday mornings at 6am – Designated Blogging Day. Thursday mornings at 6am – Further Blogging or Other Writing Day. And here’s my question about Other Writing: where to go? I’m at a crossroads. It’s a dilemma; a conundrum; a befuddlement. I’m just not sure which Writing Path to take. See, I’ve nearly completed the second draft of my middle grade chapter novel. I mean, I’ve got a printed manuscript and everything. It’s so close I can taste it. (And yes, it does taste a bit like chicken but with a more pleasant consistency). But for some reason, I just haven’t felt motivated to finish that sucker. Which is suckery since I’m SO stinkin’ close to being completely, 100% done. So, there’s a part of me that won’t let myself get too deep into Other Writing because shouldn’t I just see things through? Shouldn’t I just finish what I started?! (When doing therapy for Post Partum Depression, Louise – my therapist – called this “SHOULDING all over yourself.” I LOVE that. Sadly, I’m quite a good shoulder).

Then, there’s this here Blog. This here Blog that is now 306 pages single-spaced. This Blog – that WAS my therapy while in the hospital on bed rest, while going through Post Partum Depression, while internally sorting through my life thus far; my existence; my essence – the Jenessence. And thanks to my Blog, I have slowly but surely started work on my memoir. (Which MUST – I repeat MUST – be said with a snooty accent because that’s just how it sounds. Who writes their stinkin’ memoir at the age of 29?! Someone awfully self-involved, that’s who!). But the cliché: Write what you know obviously has some major hefty truth to it. And I like to think that I KNOW myself fairly well.

So, these are the things that I’m thinking about as I lie in bed scolding myself to fall asleep. COME ON. Shhh, brain. STOP THINKING. Go to SLEEP. Can you not shut off for two seconds?! You’re tired! I SWEAR you’re tired! GO. TO. SLEEP!!! Yeah, that doesn’t work. So, instead I come up with working titles for my memoir. Do I go with the Blog idea: Tales of a Terrorist Cervix and Beyond: a memoir or something a little more vague and mysterious? The Small Percentage: a memoir – which you’d have to read (or just know me well) to understand.

Ahh, these sleep-deprived musings seem to be getting me no where. Input? Anyone? It’s most welcome. But for now, I might as well go do something productive – like lie in bed and alphabetize my Costco list.