July 31, 2008

Proof in the Pudding

To prove that the previous post is not the ramblings of an insane new mother but truth and actually happens - you must, you must:
you must go here

This is my dear friend V's take on her new life with babies (she's got virtual twins!!) and I can tell you that this is TRUTH - all you new Mama's-to-be...take a note from our book - say goodbye to life as you know it.

It's a beautiful thing - and quite the adjustment - and a beautiful thing - and a hard thing...


but hard.

Do it again? Yes, in a heart beat.

but hard? Totally.

Hardest thing I've ever done. Most amazing thing I've ever done in my life.

July 29, 2008

Coming up for Air

Well, at least you came back to check on me! Jeesh! I'm sorry everyone - it's been one of those years....ya feel me?

First of all - the joys of motherhood are too many to name - but I'll try. They're joyful. There you have it. Ha!

The trials of motherhood are also too many to name, but I'll try that too...let's just say this - your house will never be the same. Fughett about it. Seriously. I've been grappling with the ever increasing mess and the rapidly decreasing measure of time I seem to have on any given day to get anything even remotely relevant taken care of. I was the girl who said "that will not be me".

In April I hosted a baby shower at my home for a friend. One woman complimented me on how organized everything was - and lamented how she couldn't manage to keep her house in any semblance of "organized". I said "it's a personality flaw of mine...not necessarily a good thing". She then said to me (I'll never forget this!!) "OH WAIT! You don't have kids yet! But just you wait...you'll see what I'm talking about....I used to be YOU...I used to have everything just so...you'll see!" We laughed and I inwardly shrugged her off. I just knew she was wrong and that my life of uber cleanliness and organization did not have to come to an end simply because our family was growing.


Hindsight people...hindsight. (shaking head)

Behold I give you the"favorite snack" bag...mini powdered donuts...

And sadly - all that remained after I stressed out about my lack of organization lately. This, my friends, is the only thing getting cleaned out in my house. Shameful, I know.

Ok - well, I've since become educated on exactly what she meant - I too, cannot keep anything organized. Sob. What happened to my labeled files and neatly stacked papers - or frequently deep cleaned home, or tightly folded towels and sheets? I'll tell you. Time is a fickle friend. He's around when you don't really want or need him (enter our long wait for Keira here) and he's fleeting and invisible when I really long for him to be present. Jerk.

Labeled files are still around...somewhere. Stacks of papers are still there - only they are no longer neat and they have multiplied by the dozens because I have neither the time nor the energy to deal with their rapid duplication. The deep cleaned home I long for and used to know makes me want to cry. Really - what happened to that? I was the girl who got a great sense of accomplishment from taking a Saturday to give my house a good deep clean. There I was in my cute little pink house gloves, scrubbing a toilet and singing a happy tune. True story. It was a great feeling for me to do that and do it well. Now, let's just be real - I can't be taking an entire day to deep clean my house anymore. You all read this post, right? Where do YOU fit a deep clean into that schedule. Nothing I do anymore can take all day. No more all day shopping, all day lounging, all day cleaning, all day working, or all day sleeping (though good gawd how I would love me some all day sleeping). The reason is because there is a little person depending on me for regular diaper changes, interaction, feedings, naps, and lots of hugs and kisses. What may seem like hours and hours in any given day are quickly swallowed whole by tasks. Not to mention, you can't be vacuuming and clanking around your house while your light sleeper of an 8-month old is trying to nap. And trust me - you want him to nap. You really do.

SO. Having said all that - we have had to come up with some quick fixes that I thought I'd pass along on the off chance any of you need some. Not for everyone - realize that. But for some - it might help or might help down the line when you add to your own family.

1. Get on a schedule. As best you can - make and keep a schedule for yourself, your family, and most of all - baby. Lord help us if we just went through each day willy nilly. Not only would I never accomplish anything at a predictable rate - but Quint would be miserable, because he could not count on anything happening at the same time everyday. I'm talking about sleep, naps, feeding, and playtime. That's all - though some people like to structure even tighter - which is fine.

2. If you find yourself letting the house go - letting the bills and piles of paperwork go, etc. - take my advice here: make a gentle to do list - or make a monster to do list. Divide your list into rooms or categories, depending on what you're trying to get done. For me, I needed to clean my house. I made a list of each room and what I wanted to accomplish in that room. Then I proceeded to only tackle one room at a time or one room per day, whichever came first. Once that room was done - I would not keep going, but cross it off the list and move on to the rest of my day (or to bed in some cases). This gave me the freedom to let myself walk away. On Monday, I deep cleaned our bathroom in increments that took me about 8 hours of off and on to finish. But, at the end of the day, I had a beautiful bathroom and crossed it off my list. It felt good! Granted, I knew I was moving at a slower pace than I had pre-baby (what with said baby happily jumping around in his exersaucer in the bathroom while I cleaned out the closet) but it still felt good to get a nice hold of my ever growing list and just make even the tiniest dent. This encouraged me that I could get through it, if I gave myself the grace. So far, it's been two weeks since I made the list, and I've attacked five rooms in the house. Not finished, but still feels like accomplishment, which has become very important to me.

3. Get out. Literally. Get a sitter and get out. Some days you will be swallowed whole by the responsibility of parenting and you just have to take the opportunity to get out. If you must, scheduled a sitter after baby goes down for the night and have a date night. Or maybe just ask a friend to come by for a couple hours during the day so you can get out and be human again, sans spit-up on your shirt and crackers in your hair. Go to the mall, go to the nail salon, go get a massage, or just go sit in the library and have some peace and quiet time that's all your own. Being a mom is amazing - but so is being a woman, and a wife, and a daughter, and a friend. Keep all your hats and don't let any one hat get too dusty with your new role. Promise?

4. Allow your spouse (or family member or friend) to help you out. Anton saw me drowning last week and threw me the very biggest of lifelines. He took our little guy and made a special trip to go visit his parents for two days. Hard as it was for me to part with either of them (yes, I cried when they drove away), I then walked back into a completely quiet house and found myself almost as weepy at the happy prospect of actually making some progress to get caught up with work. Which I did - and which I appreciated so very much. If you have loved ones offering to take the little stinker for a couple days - don't let your guilt keep you from it. You're only human, after all - and we all need sanity time. (And no, working outside the home is not sanity time)

Ok - so enough advice from a mom of only three stinking months...eh? What the frig!

How about some pics of my little man?

July 24, 2008

"Is there a Time Management Guru in the house?"

Try as I might, or want to though I may - I have no time to blog this week. (yet, remarkably - I have taken my big bag of "no time" to blog about not having time to blog...hmmm) Anyway...

I am buried, folks. Buried alive. Work, housework, chores, errands, work...buried I tell you!

More to come on AB's solution to my buried-ness, our fun weekend coming up, and how I'm overcoming and trying to adapt to my new schedule - working full-time from home and juggling being a mommy. Harder than I thought...a lot harder. I'm getting my ba-dunk-a-dunk handed to me. Oh yes, I did go there.

See ya real soon! Why? Because we like you!


July 21, 2008

1st Trip to the Zoo & Milestones

We were invited to go to the Zoo with a couple of my M3 Sistas and so we couldn't resist the chance to take Quint for his 1st trip.

Pros: 1st trip to the Zoo for Quint, 1st trip to the zoo for Quint with Mom and Dad going goo-goo gaga on the sidelines over every little smile and coo of delight while we trekked through the park, and a really cold and yummy cherry icee halfway through.

Cons: Freaking Texas in July in the freaking 100 degree weather. A packed Zoo with all the other crazy Texans who don't care about the heat. All of us being too hot to care about the animals. Sweating so bad you start to smell worse than the animals. True dat.

*Captions on the top of each picture

Daddy and Quinty in matching shirts - Old Navy - you too can have this look for $10. Sooooo cute!

My sista-friends Erin and Robyn - we were minus K and V - missed you girls!

Bob, Erin, & Mollianne!

Robyn & Little Miss Avery (how did I miss Paul? I have no pics of him from the whole day?!?)

Quint decided to use the map to guide us through the park. He consulted his handy dandy paper to instruct us all where we needed to go first. Seriously, how cute is this?
Look son, it's a gazelle!!
Daddy made us laugh...what a great picture!

Zebras (way over there in the background) - but truly - such a beautiful zoo!

Ok - Quint REFUSED to cooperate for this little photo-op with the girls. He was devastated that his Uncle Paul sat him down in this little scene. So...he's not quite ready to be the ladies man. That's ok - he can be mama's little man.

Aaahhhhhh - cool refreshing cherry icee. It was so freaking hot - poor baby was loving this!

Love it...

Riding on the train - Daddy was snapping away because I made him promise that he would not let me hide behind the camera all day.

After the Zoo we went to the famous Kincaid's for burgers and fries. Loved it! It's so unique and the food was excellent. I was able to order deviled eggs. Booo-yaa! That's what I'm talking about!

Last but NOT LEAST! Good grief...we've spent the last four days dealing with LOTS of three things:

  • Crying
  • Drooling
  • Runny Nose

All you moms out there already know where this is going don't you? HE'S GOT A TOOTH!!!! It came in sometime over the last few days - but I didn't know until I went to put something in his mouth and felt a little snag. WOW! There's a little tiny tooth poking through on the bottom left. Whahoo! That's explains the excessive drool and crankiness. Whew - I was wonderin'.

So anyway - after the zoo he took a nap and when I went to get him up, this is what I found. See anything unusual?
He's STANDING UP. He's only 8 months old and standing up! You go baby boy! He hasn't done it again since, but I swear, he's changing so much every day. It's like a whirlwind of change - and watching him grow up is amazing. He's such a wonderful little boy and Anton and I daily count our blessings. We are so insanely in love with him. Even on his worst day (had a few very recently) he's still the love of our life. I cannot, cannot, cannot think of life without him.

Is this parenting gig hard? Yes, insanely hard. Hardest thing I've EVER done. Hands down. But worth it? My Lord - yes! Worth every minute from the top of his little head to his tiny toes. The most amazing boy in the world!!!

The New Look

New comers - see the post below explaining the new title and look for the blog. Those who have already read it - just had to give credit where it's due:

I procured the talents of Danielle over at "Blogs by Danielle" to get this wonderful new look for my blog and I can highly recommend her - but doesn't the blog design she made for me say it all? If you need a re-fresh, a new blog, or just something really snazzy - you can now consider yourself appropriately referred in the right direction!

Come on - admit you're curious - go visit her site to see the plethora of fantastic blogs she's made over.

July 20, 2008

Bushel and a Peck

Well, it was time. Time for a change, time for something new. Time for integrating the little man into the blog. Time for extending my beloved blog to include the general and larger changes in our family this past year.

Certainly not time to let go of our little Keira (see sidebar) but time to refresh and create something lovely for my ramblings. I really hope you like it! It's still got a couple small tweaks but you can definitely see the big changes!! Bloglines, and all you subscribers of the quick fix - give a sista some props and come see the blog in all it's newly adorned glory. At least once. I know your way is faster, but hook a sister up with a visit.

As for the title change, allow me to explain:

My grandfather whom I love dearly and with whom I have a most precious relationship, handed me - his oldest granddaughter - a very special gift when I was perhaps 4 years old. Maybe younger. He would gather me onto his lap, hold me close, and sing the song "A Bushel and a Peck". As time went on, I started to learn the words, and we would sing it together. Each time we saw one another, we would at some point find time to take a couple minutes and sing "our song". Sometimes quietly and no one would even notice, and sometimes loudly and sweetly for all to hear. Might sound silly to some and I admit that through the teenage years, I chagrined and rolled my eyes when my grandpa would close in on me to sing "our song". But as I've gotten older, I have begun to understand the words to that song and understand that even in their silliness ~ they speak to the volumes of love that you can have for another person. And even on my last visit back home, Grandpa and I took a moment to sing it to each other. Actually, we've gotten quite good...he'll sing a line, I'll sing a line...it's perfected in its age of 30+ years. Never gets old, remarkably.

Doris Day sang it - actually, several people sang it. But I sing it too. I find it's a part of me and always brings a smile to my face...and more importantly, I caught myself singing it to Quint about a month ago. That's musical legacy, folks. From one to another and down the line...I'm sure you could tell me about your own family song or saying that gets passed down and is precious to you. Maybe Quint or Keira will be singing it to their kids someday...and wouldn't that be something?

Thanks Grandpa....I love you.....a bushel and a peck...

I love you a bushel and a peck

A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck

A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap

A barrel and a heap and I'm talkin' in my sleep

About you, about you

'Cause I love you a bushel and a peck

You bet your purdy neck I do

I love you a bushel and a peck

A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck

Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess

Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness

About you, about you

'Cause I love you a bushel and a peck

You bet your purdy neck I do

I love you a bushel and a peck

A bushel and a peck and it beats me all to heck

It beats me all to heck, how I'll ever tend the farm

Ever tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm

About you, about you

'Cause I love you a bushel and a peck

You bet your purdy neck I do

July 18, 2008

Time is of the Essence...of...I don't know...Time, I guess

I'm gonna make a confession. Another one of my "expert" mother (cough) admissions of sin. Before I had a child, I didn't think time would be much different. I really didn't. Time was...I don't know...my own. I could not imagine it any other way. Things come up - you deal with them...and then you continue on with what you were doing. In all ways, I assumed (ass...you...me) that having children would certainly impact my time in some ways - you have to feed them after all...but my friends...I have been foolish. My confession is that in this ever dwindling economy, the biggest pinch I am feeling is on my wrist...watch that is. Let me set the record straight on the mom club for babies. You moms in the toddler club or kiddie club can attest, and I'm sure there is a whole new set of rules when they're old enough to tell you why their crying - but for now, humor me and bless my little heart with your good nature and kind will - I am a poor man's amateur in the worst kind of way. Where was I...(rambling is a side affect of lack of time...you panic feeling you have only so much time with which to say things and you find you have diarrhea of the mouth - everything comes out...see, happening right now...) Record..straight...ah yes.


Wake up: 6ish - for the first time - see the monitor and check on the baby from said monitor. All is well. Back to sleep.

For ten minutes...baby is awake and vocalizing. Loudly.

Upsie daisy madam...feed the little eating machine...up you go - that's right. Into the closet..err, I mean kitchen. That's the way! No, stop gazing longingly at the coffee machine - maybe later after lunch. What? That's about the next time you'll be up for air. Now hurry - run along - baby waits for no man. Change that diaper (ewww, that's a doosie!) and land that bottle on that runway of a pouty lip before all the neighbors are awake to watch you do the mama shuffle. It ain't pretty...look away less you turn to salt!

Ok, bottle - check! Diaper - check! Play time? Nope. Not having it today? Cry....sniffle sniffle...cry....whine whine...cry.....sub sub. Ok. How about we sit together? Read a book? Play with blocks? Count to 10? ABC's? Yawn. Get thrown up in the air? Throw up on Mom? Oh. That wasn't fun. Clean that up. Still upset? Especially now? Sorry buddy...truly. Still learning. Ok, all clean. Good grief...already 9am? Ok - well, how about a nap? No, don't cry. It's ok - sleep is good...sleep is wonderful...sleep is...ZzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What? Huh? Yawn. Huh? Oh sorry! Right! Sleep is what Mommy just did - isn't it fun? No? Awww, sweet thing! Playing with Mommy's hair? OUCH! That's attached to my head you know? OUCH! Ok - let's pry those cute little chubby fingers loose. Whew. Ok, nightie night.

TWO HOURS! RUN...put this there, put that there...clean this up....wash that...dry this...fold this one....put that one away...mail this, send that, call her, check on that....whew. Ding! Time's up. What? Two hours already? I hear baby. Deep breathe and here we go again...Yawn. So tired for some reason....

Hi baby! How was your nap? Good? Wow - you're happy! Time for a bottle huh? Ok, let's go...wait let's change your diaper. Uh-oh, little accident. No problem, we'll just change that sheet while I set you here. Oh. This bumper is tied in 72 places on this crib. I can't seem to get the mattress out...if I could just slip it out, I could...GRUNT.....AHHH...nope. Not budging. Hmmm. Meanwhile, baby... Baby? Oh boy. There you are! You can't go in the kitty box. I forget how quick you are. No, you stay here with Mommy while I change this sheet. I can't believe it's 12 already. You know I...baby? Baby? Seriously...kitty will not appreciate or see the humor in it...

Sheet changed - check! Ok, so sit right here and play with these FUN FUN toys and I'll sit here and fold clothes. Oh, no - you can't get in the basket - son....SON....no. And that is not a toy. Uh-oh. Daddy's Batman Comics. That was not funny. I know you think it's funny, but Daddy likes his comics dry and in one piece. And Mommy's just opened that soda. Oh dear. Son. No. You can't....ok - well there went that whole stack of towels. Ok - just play in them - who cares.

Ok - let's watch...what is this? Seriously...Yo..gabba who? Wait, how do they get those guys so little when he's so big? (Head tilts sideways) What? Oh my - we just watched an hour of Nick Jr. How did that happen. You ok? Yeah? Happy even, I see. Well...what's that? Hungry again? Ok - let's eat. By "let's" I mean, you. You'll eat. I'll...smell your baby food because it smells good - but tastes terrible. That's fun. Oh, please stop swatting at the spoon and trying to gra.........b it. Nevermind. I'll just wipe that up when we're done. Nevermind. The dog got it. Good dog. Nasty though, ain't it? Poor dog. All done? Well, I'm taking from the rubbing of the eyes and ears that you're tired again. Nap time? Feeding - check! Clean up from feeding - semi-check! Diaper - check! Naptime - check!

Hour - maybe hour and a half! RUN...put this there, put that there...clean this up....wash that...dry this...fold this one....put that one away...mail this, send that, call her, check on that....whew. Ding! Time's up. What? Two hours already? I hear baby. Deep breathe and here we go again...

Hi baby! How was this nap? Good? Wow - you're excited! Time for another bottle huh? Ok, let's go...let's change your diaper. Uh-oh, little accident - AGAIN? Good grief. Diaper and clothes changed - check! Bottle - check!

Ok - let's play with this leap froggy thingy. Wow, that's loud. Does it have volume control? No? Jeesh - you could go deaf. Phone. Probably Daddy...let's not break it to him over the phone about those comics. Oh, dinner...well, we'll deal with that at 5 o'clock. Oh, it IS 5 o'clock. Crud. Ummm, we better feed baby dinner. Ok, enough of the trying to grab and swatting at the spoon and trying to toss your bowl of food.......... Nevermind. I'll just wipe that up when we're done.

Here, let Mommy just get a couple bites down. I'm starving over here. Oh, what's the matter buddy? Are you bored? Tired of sitting in the highchair? How about a banana puffie? Water? Or, a cracker? No? How about your sippy cup? Or you could toss it on the floor. Guess that's a definite no. NO Anabelle - leave that alone, puppy. It's a cup. You can't eat a cup. Son, how about cheese? Maybe it'll back up some of those "accidents" we keep finding. Hmmm.

Ok, forget it - I wasn't that hungry anyway. Let's get you a bath. Yaaay! Clothes off - check! Diaper off - Check! Oh! No - son! Don't do that...I just took it off...don't pee........nevermind. Just get it out of your system. Why not. Good grief. Well, at least you're taking a bath. I'll wash that rug later. Alright - splashy, splashy, splashy, fun, fun, fun. No - you can't eat soap. No. No. No. Seriously? Are you really that hungry? Ok, let's wash you. I know you hate this part. I know. Awww. Don't be mad. Ok - here we go - up and out. All better. All done. All wet...Mommy is - not baby. That's ok. I forgot to shower this morning anyway on my way to bottle number 1.

Bedtime for baby but first...let's just towel you off. And...SON! No! You just peed before the bath! What the.... omg. Seriously? Buddy! You're killing me with the random peeing. Ok, all done? I didn't even have a diaper out yet. Timing, buddy. Timing! Whatever. I'll wash that cover and towel later with the rug. (and Daddy's comics) Diaper on. Whew! OHHHHHH MY GOSH!!!! ARE YOU OK? What the....."DADDY!!!" He just threw up his entire dinner. omg. I don't know why? Oh lord. Well, let's take this diaper off - the tub still has his bath water....oh my gosh, he's even smiling. Bless his heart - poor guy. Ok, let's get back in the bath. It's all over you! Poor baby! Diaper off - Check!

Alright - splashy, splashy, splashy, fun, fun, fun. No - you can't eat soap. No. No. No. Seriously? Again with the soap bottle? Are you teething? Ok, let's wash you again. I know you hate this part. I know. Awww. Don't cry. It's just soap. Your favorite! Ok - here we go - up and out. All better. All done. All wet...again. Mommy is - not baby.

Deep breathe. Diaper on at lightening speed and now relax. Wait! Lotion...we need lotion. There...that's better. Like a nice little baby massage. Better? No? Awww...buddy so tired? Here, Mommy rock you and sing to you. You like that? Sweet baby. Down you go...I love you...see you in the morning...same time same place? Ok. Love you. We'll do it all again, eh?


Time! Time! Where for art thou time? Anyone got a suggestion for how to forgo sleep altogether? I could really use the six hours of sleep I'm using up for let's say...showering, eating, working (yes, I do that from home still), household chores, did I say showering? Anyone?


For Grandpa Rod - The King of Dill Pickles

I give you, good sir, your Grandson...

The Prince of Dill Pickles...

1st time - gone in 3 minutes

Who says you have to be related by blood?

Love you Grandpa...

July 15, 2008

My Little Hero


Did you know you are a survivor? You're a little hero. Do you know why? Because you made it, baby boy. You made it through one of the toughest things anyone can endure - total abandonment. Not only did you make it - you fought through it. You were sick for months, but you fought. You lost everything you ever knew, and still you fought on. You lost your parents, your home, your country, your language, and everything that you had been given in your short little life. Let's face it, everything you ever knew was not such a great start given the way it ended up for you. That's why you're my little hero.

You smile everyday and you light up mine. You laugh and we laugh with you. You rest your head on my shoulder and pat my arm...are you comforting me? Are you reminding me that it will be ok? That I shouldn't worry so much about you? I forget everything you've been through already.

I saw where you stayed at the orphanage...I'm sorry, son. I know that must have been hard. But I know you were so much better off in that little crib, than the alternative I saw on the streets. I know it must have been hard to cry yourself to sleep some nights or to be hungry some days. All the while, not understanding why. I know you didn't always have someone there to pick you up or comfort you when you just needed to be sad. I wish I could have been there sooner for you. But you're such a trooper and you just kept on hanging on, until we could get there.

That's why you're my little hero. You've seen more loss in your short little life than I can possibly conceive of. More than I can comprehend. And yet, you smile and giggle. Blissfully unaware of the curve ball life has thrown you. Or maybe not...maybe just stronger than Mommy could ever be.

Knowing you and loving you was the best thing that could have ever happened to me and Daddy. I'm just sorry it came at such a high price for you, sweet boy. So very, very sorry.

Have I mentioned, you're my little hero?

Happy 8th Month Birthday...I love you always


July 12, 2008

On Not Being Pregnant

I’ve often heard that when you’re pregnant, your sense of smell is heightened significantly. That the smell of perfumes, food, or body odor can be pungent and make you feel sick. I’ve also heard that after you’ve become sick from one of these pungencies, you can’t hardly stand to smell that again after you’ve had the baby and sometimes for many years to come. To this day, my mother can’t stand the smell of Shower to Shower bath powder, because she got too strong a whiff of it while pregnant some 20+ years ago and threw up. Twenty years later, she’s still avoiding it like the plague. Sounds terrible.

I hear that while you’re pregnant, you’re very emotional. Your hormones are out of control and you can cry at the drop of a hat, or laugh hysterically at something silly. Or that you lose control of your bladder. A simple cough and sputter sends you running for the bathroom and an adult diaper.

I’ve heard, but not experienced, that you have several physical and emotional symptoms while pregnant – and that even after you have delivered, you tend to feel this way for some time. I guess until everything levels out again? But that you have this incredible bond with life growing inside of you. That you are overcome with love for the life inside.

I guess I’ll never know. I never carried my son. I never sang to a growing belly, never stroked my growing womb, never read “what to expect” while eating pickles in bed and getting my swollen ankles rubbed by my doting husband, and never peed 8 times a night. I never felt him kick. I never placed my hand or my husbands on my belly to feel the sensation of him inside of me.

I never rushed to the hospital, finding my water had broken. I never took a sharp needle to alleviate my growing labor pains. I never pushed, or placed my feet in stirrups, or counted to ten while breathing deeply. I never felt that searing pain or that warm gush of afterbirth come flowing out of my body afterward. I never heard the doctor say “it’s a BOY!” or got to stare into the eyes of my newborn son while he was placed on my chest. I didn’t cry at his birth. I wasn’t there for it.

My son was born in a remote village in Africa. He was born in a tribal community that we now understand was wrought with extreme poverty.

He probably came into this world in much the same way most babies do. Crying and cold. I’m not sure if he was born in a hospital or if he met the world in a small hut. I’m not sure if his father was there. I’m not sure if his mother lived through it. I don’t know if she had a difficult labor or a quick and easy one. I’m not sure.

I don’t know if they placed him on her chest so she could stare into his big eyes or if they shouted “it’s a BOY!” to her, so she could be proud of bearing a son. Maybe she was sick, maybe she was young, maybe she was alone and scared or starving?

I’m not sure she lived. I’m not sure she breastfed him. If she died, he must have been cared for by family?

I do know that one day, in January…just six short months ago – my son was left by a river in Africa. To die or to be found. He was left. For all his standard entry into the world, he was unceremoniously abandoned two months later. With no fanfare, his family – his mother…his father…left him. And as they, he, she walked away, they took his beginning with them. His family tree. His siblings. His past. Walking away while he lay there, just two months old.

Was it cold that day? It was January. Was it hot? Was he dressed or naked? Was he there for long? Days? Night too? How long did he lay there? How long did he go without eating or hygiene? How long until that officer happened upon him? Was he crying and so he drew a crowd or was it chance that brought the policeman to find him lying by that river?

I will never know. And sadly, neither will he.

He was found by a police officer. He was taken to the orphanage and given a name, assigned an approximate birthday. He was cared for and then taken to Addis, where he was left in the care of the primary orphanage. The same one we found him in.

And that’s all we understand of his beginnings.

I know from the minute I laid my eyes on him, from the minute I touched his hand and took him in my arms, from the second I spoke his name to him and stared into his face – I loved him deep down in my soul. I felt like I had finally come home and that we had finally found each other. I felt my heart lurch in a thousand directions.

There was no doctor to joyfully call out “it’s a Boy!” but my heart leapt just the same. No stirrups or pushing, but tears of happiness and overwhelming love. Sobs between kisses and hugs and words of affirmation. “I found you…we’re a family…finally, we’re a family…I love you, my little boy…I love you”

No hospital. No doctors. No ice chips. No incision.

Only a childless mother and motherless child. Together at last.

After years of heartache, my pain found its salve. A gentle, easy, warm salve that covered so much hurt and longing.

I don’t know how much pain his mother had when she gave birth to him. I’ll never know. And I’ll never know the name she gave him when she saw him. How much he weighed or how long he was at birth. What his footprint looked like, if he was a calm baby or cried often. I’ll just never know. I only know how much I love him, the name we’ve given him, and how much joy he brings to us every day since the day we met. He lights up our world and makes it a better place. He weighs 16 pounds and he’s 26 inches long now. I know this, because I’m his mother.

I don’t know much about his past, but what I do know is that Quint and I labored for each other – him alone and abandoned in his greatest hour of vulnerability and need – and I, for years trying to make my tired heart find a way to get to him. We labored for each other when it mattered most.

I can’t say that he looks like me or that he has my smile. He can’t say that “diabetes runs in my family” when the doctor asks.

But it doesn’t change the fact that we needed each other so very much – and half a world apart, still found each other.

Look what I found on my way to not being pregnant...the greatest love of all. My beautiful baby boy – my little labor of love.


(Quint on the Ethiopian hand made blanket we purchased for him at his Orphanage*)

July 10, 2008

Chopped Off Hair

Ok? Ok?? That's what my stylist asked me today. I feel like I could run singing through the forrest! Best seven inches of hair I ever parted with. I feel like I can move my head left to right again. I feel like I can go maybe seven hours without a crappy headache. I feel like I actually might have a style for once, and not just all my masses of thick hair crammed on top my head in a clip - looking like I just rolled out of bed. Buh-bye seven inches. See ya in the fall! Whatcha think?

Meanwhile, the "little tiger" and I matched, so Daddy took a picture...orange is a good color on us, son!

My little pumpkin...I love him so much I could die from his cuteness overload.

Just because...notice how Anabelle sits in close proximity? I told you. That's her baby.

Daddy loves, loves, loves his little guy...

Many of you have asked how Kaleigh is doing - she has had follow up testing since we came back from Africa and we are still concerned about her liver. She's going in for another ultrasound on the 25th and we'll go from there. At this point, it doesn't seem dire. She's doing ok and other than being miserable from allergies (*her whole life, I might add) she's pretty much herself and still our little punky brewster.

The other night, we had a thunder and lightening storm - a pretty sizable one. Well, this sends Kaleigh to scope out ANYWHERE that she can bury herself and hide until it has well passed. I went looking for her and found her snuggled between Anton's rack of clothes in the closet (and shivering in fear). Sweet baby.

When I left and came back a few minutes later...she had moved...into what I can only describe as..."The Blair Witch Project" position.

(if you didn't see the movie - don't bother. I was scared to be alone for a month after that stupid freaking farce of a movie that I freaking thought was real for freaking ever until I happened upon the actors talking about it on TV...#*$#$*##*$&# If you did see the movie - you should be laughing still.

Yesterday, my little man finally wore an outfit I've had for a while now. My little "Year of the Pig" outfit that Anton got me last year for Keira. (we were still hopeful...sigh) Little did we know that we DID have a little "Piggy" - he just hadn't been born in our hearts or even literally born yet. Well, here he is, in all his glory. Spit up on it ten minutes later in a big way and the new was off like an uncomfortable pair of jeans after binging at the "All You Can Eat" buffet. (come on, this is some of my best material, folks!)

As for the bloggy makeover - still coming. Working on it...working on design...trying to make decisions that I have no time to make at this point - but can't resist. Another couple weeks oughta do it.

For someone who asked where all my sidebar links went - well, they were a casualty of my blog makeover - for the sake of I'm not sure what yet. I just wanted to simplify a little. It was truly meant as no insult or anything of the sort. If your blog is not linked - please know that I love you and your blog and still read them faithfully (though I am an unworthy blogger, because I am comment lazy - or time deprived...ouch) Anyway - the one blog in particular...I can't find! Yikes! So sorry! I know her name was Cindy...and she has a cat as her ID. A grey cat, right? Anyone? We think she may be getting her referral finally?!? Cindy - you out there?

July 8, 2008

LID-aversaries...gone but not forgotten

As those who have followed my blog for the last two + years know - and for those curious few who have actually read back through my history (bless your heart) - we have been waiting for our daughter Keira Joy for well over two years. At last count, I believe our LID-aversary was at 27 months or 2 years and 3 months. I guess if you count the paperchase process for her, you can add another 9 months to that, which would bump us up around three years.

Used to be that we celebrated every month down as "another one bites the dust". What started as a nine month wait at the beginning quickly became ten and then 12 and 16 and 20 - and you know the rest. Somewhere along the line of blogging and even talking within our own home, we stopped counting. Not when we started the process to adopt Quint - but well before that.

It's not that we gave up - it's that we got tired and depressed about it. We foolishly set up a nursery for Keira when our dossier went to China. LID is 3-29-06, for those who weren't sure. We officially surrendered an entire room in our small 3-bedroom home for her - and willingly. So for over two years, that room has sat as a daily reminder, not of what's coming - but instead of what's missing. A constant jab in the heart, if you will, of someone that we planned for who didn't come home when we thought she would. Day after day, and month after month - we added things and changed this or that - hoping that our efforts at holding out hope weren't in vain. That room is now an emotional space that neither of us have the heart to even entertain changing in any way. It can't be touched, essentially - because that is too reminiscent of defeat or abandonment of her before she even gets to see it. No, it stays as it is and it will until she is home to see it for herself.

Long ago, I came across an LID "prediction" site that I would visit off and on. A friend linked to it in a post, and I think it was curiosity that drove me to it. You enter your LID and they give you a formulated prediction of when you'll receive your referral. I entered mine today and it calculated a possible referral on or around 5-31-2009. I was kind of OK ( as ok as you can be) with that - because I think that's the date that I had set in my heart as the most likely possibility, based on the recent trends and numbers.

This is what they had to say about people who are starting their adoption journey with China:

"The people receiving referrals now have waited about two and a half years. Their total time to adopt a child from China was about three years, although they were told at the time that it would be less than one year. If you are just putting in your dossier right now, we expect you will wait at least six years from the time your dossier is logged-in for a referral. This will make your total time to adopt from China, from initial decision to adopt until receiving a child, more than seven years. It is our strong recommendation that you avoid adopting from China if at all possible, as we believe that if you are pursuing adoption, it is probably because you are interested in having a child in less than seven years."

Is that surreal for you to read? It was for me. And I'm in the middle of it...never thought it could happen and here we are.

I can't deny that adopting Quint and bringing him into our family has given me a peace and a sense of purpose that I was longing for. Having him here has drowned out the cry of my heart and given me a soft perspective in my waiting for Keira. Though she was the first child of my heart, she will now be my second and presumably youngest child. This was a hard concept to get a hold of at first - until it took on shape inside and I relaxed into it.

Having Quint to love and hold and snuggle has given me comfort and blessings of which I cannot express adequately here. But selfishly, it does not fully quench my hearts desire to also hold and love and know my little Keira Joy.

I want to confess here that as I have continued to watch my blog buddies - with whom I have shared almost my entire adoption journey - struggle as they wait and the months drag out, I am ever burdened for them. I sometimes feel guilty because I have such a sweet respite in my little son - a delight and a reason to get up in the morning that I never imagined could be so wonderful. (tiring and exhausting, yes - but wonderful nonetheless) Even though I long for Keira to come home - I have comfort in my soul, because Quint has taken so much of my hurt away. So I feel ashamed to say that I am sad and missing her. Or selfish to admit that I am tired of waiting for her. I feel this way, because so many of my friend are waiting still.

Over a year ago, when we decided to pursue a second adoption - some thought we were nuts to tamper with our Chinese adoption in this way. We got many stern warnings from well-meaning people who told us that we were quite possibly throwing away our entire wait for Keira. Since I am a firm believer in God's perfect timing - I look back now and can't imagine not doing what we did. Consider that our agency requests that if you have given birth or adopted a child while waiting, that you allow 12 months in the home prior to bringing your new child home from China. If our referral prediction holds, Quint will have been home 12 months and 2 days. Can't time it any better than that! God, of course knew this full well and led us down the road we were meant to travel. Had we not been listening or obedient, we could have missed such an amazing boy and incomparable blessing. That thought makes me shudder!

So we aren't celebrating (can you call it that?) LID's or posting often about Keira - but mostly, it's out of honest sensitivity to those who have walked this road with us and are still waiting on their sweethearts to come home. We're still waiting on our sweetheart too - her name is on the wall, her clothes are hanging up in her closet, her blankets are folded gently in her dresser, and her dolls and stuffed animals are waiting for her in her sweet little crib. She has Christmas ornaments with her name, and a big brother waiting to play with her.

Not forgotten...

Never forgotten or far from our minds

Just waiting and hoping

July 7, 2008

4th of July Fun

Well, actually...5th of July - but it was the 4th in spirit...or, err..something.

ANYWAY - we had a quiet 4th at home because we knew we would be partying "Country" style on the 5th with our good friends Robyn & Paul and all but one of our sista posse. (Missed you K-girl!).

We had a blast! Still talking about the amazing fireworks...felt like we were at Disneyland (no lie!) Quint was a doll, as usual - but a little clingy, which we're noticing is his new "public" routine. Cling, cling. It's ok - we don't mind holding and/or clinging back. He's so cute, I could eat him up!

The food was awesome, the drinks were cold, and the view from where we sat was just beautiful (props to Mama Martha and Daddy Wayne for one heck of a landscaping job all the way out there in countryville.

Here's some pics - hope your weekend was fun and relaxing and that you ate way too much, like me.

Q-man playing with his friend A - she is such a sweetie pie

Do you get the feeling that we're the beginning of a united nations posse with all our beautiful multi-cultural kiddies?? LOVE IT! This isn't even everyone. We're missing FOUR little ones...can you believe that!

Nuttin' but a G-thang baby...