April 30, 2010

Oh, my heart

he's so beautiful to me, my friends...

dreamy sigh

even though he's two.  but we've covered that already...

...and I do have more to say, but I've been running a little "mad-hatter" lately.  So I've got posts rolling around in the noggin and seemingly no time to get them out.  

However, I do believe we are long overdue for a good Keira update - and there's good stuff there - so I really need to commit to jotting it all down.  And I've got some oogley-googly-drooly pictures of her and those cheeks that will melt you where you sit.  It's true.  Look up oogley-googly-drooly in the dictionary - and there she is.  Apple cheeks and all. 

I'm just sayin'

April 27, 2010

On furry siblings

I had heard that sometimes adopted babies from China have never seen dogs and have never seen grass.  Therefore, the transition to being around dogs and sitting in grass can be traumatic or at least tear-inducing.

We just didn't have that experience with Keira...

with the dogs

or with the grass

and let's just say that Quint didn't either...thank goodness

...and say what you will about having pets, keeping dogs or cats or whatever.  I won't debate the benefits of children having pets - because they are many.  Many. I also won't debate the type of pet you keep (read: type of dog). 

But our two dogs and even our elderly kitty bring a very gentle component to our kids' learning - about how to care for others and how to be gentle and kind to all creatures.

I think it's working just fine...

April 22, 2010

The Duck Analogy - Unmasked


First let's start with this:  thank you for allowing me to keep it real over here.  Some days you just need to take a deep breath and let it all out.  My format for that is this blog and an abstract analogy (i.e. ducks).  Many of you had very supportive and kind comments, so I wanted to thank you!  It's always nice to be picked up and brushed off.  I needed that!

I do want to clarify something though that should not be side-stepped.  Many of you also felt I was experiencing post-adoption depression and encouraged me to seek help immediately.  And first, thank you!  Because I have been there in the past...with a certain little boy...and it was not pretty and I did not recognize the signs for some time.  I wasn't bold enough to admit it to others, but eventually broke down and got some help.  Nine months later, I was relieved to find it had passed, but not without a lot of effort on my part and some lovely "intervention".

Fast forward to now.  I just want to reassure those who are concerned - and really, I guess I don't have to...but I still want to.  Because you cared enough to encourage me, and you did reach out.  And too many times for too many women, that is not the case.  No one reaches out.  No one even notices.  And there are too many mothers who are simply drowning in new motherhood and have no one to talk to or tell.  Of course, my post was a tad OVERT.  And while you could have interpreted my post yesterday as a cry for help or a sign that I was wallowing in denial about the true cause of my feelings...I want to clear up the abstract analogy I gave you.  Because post-adoption depression is a serious, serious issue and you DO have to get it addressed.  So if you're a woman struggling with that - this post and the previous one are in no way to diminish from that or make light of it.  They just aren't about post-adoption issues. 

Ok.  So to the point:

AB has made it clear he would like me to communicate the following right up front:  my abstract duck/avian post was not about post-adoption depression.  Read on...
I'm not feeling depressed.  I'm feeling annoyed.  (Not nearly as "glamorous", I know)

I'm feeling really annoyed.  Like a fish out of water.  And it does kind of make me sad. 

Just in a selfish way.  When I say I'm not a natural, I mean...mothering and coddling do not come naturally to me.  I never enjoyed babysitting.  I never asked if I could hold other peoples babies.  I never hung around little kids, except my siblings.  I never even wanted children until I met and fell in love with AB.  

Yada yada yada...fast forward some more and we have two children. Albeit through some pretty trying and extensive measures.  

And I guess all I was trying to say, was that I'm a little disappointed that I'm not better at this stint than I thought I would be.  I mean, I naively thought "how hard can it really be".  And that was like, MONDO naive.  Like roll your eyes, slap me in the mouth and put me to bed kind of naive.

Oh my gawd.  It's so freaking hard.  I couldn't even pretend to make it look easy. 

I have friends who are old pro's.  Even though they're relatively new at this too.  And they make it look effortless.  The mothering...the coddling.  Knowing what to say and how to say it.  Knowing when enough is enough, and when to let things slide.  Always keeping their reflexes in check. 

What the...what is that?  How do they do that?

I'm wired differently.  I'm high-strung.  I'm wound tight.  I don't have a middle gear.  It's warp speed or no speed.  I'm cleaning like a mad woman or I'm comatose on the couch.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much

And so many of these moms I see/know have this amazing "medium" speed.  Casual, comfortable, nothing riles them up, nothing gets their goat...  Foul, I cry!  No fair!  I don't have that speed.

When Keira came home I was ready for the post-adoption depression to kick my butt again.  Waiting for it.  But nothing happened.  AB and I agree, I was much more prepared this time around (despite the horrible experience in China) and truth be told, she's really quite a joy now that she's becoming attached and bonding.  She's a very happy little thing these days, and she's easy going.  Love her to pieces.  She's a mama's girl!

I thought if I wrote in abstract bird terms...I could somehow avoid throwing a certain other child (hint hint) under the proverbial bus (hint hint) and that somehow you would miraculously (hint hint) know exactly what I meant.  Ahem.  Hint.  Alas.  I was too abstract.  Cough.

Aww, why not.  Might as well....

Here's comes the bus. 

My son.  Oh, my son.  Who I love so very much.  Sigh....

People.  He's going to kill me.

Shred me into tiny little pieces.  One. Day. At. A. Time.

And I know.  He's two.  I know.  I KNOW. 

But there is nothing I could do to show you...convince you...short of taping it (which, forget it...) to explain his toddler phase.  And it's only just started.  I mean, by all definitions toddlers are toddlers until they're 4.

I....(gasp...sob)....I don't think I'll make it that long.  I'm not trying to make light of this...not really, I'm just telling you flat out.  He's making me age.  Like gray hair/wrinkles/bad knees kind of aging.  Ok, actually this whole paragraph made me laugh just a bit, and that picture above too, so I must be making a little bit light of it.

But truly, it's not just me.  It's his Daddy too.  And our relatives.  And our friends.  If you're within a 20 foot radius of Quint, you cannot deny he is TWO.  ALL BOY.  And TWO.

And I'm not so good at toddlers, I'm finding.  Not so good at all.  The baby-phase is hard, don't get me wrong.  It's a lot of hands-on work - day in and day out.  But it has perks.  Lots of perks.  Like they stay in one place.  They don't talk back.  They adore you.  Most of the time.  But they're just silly little balls of butter who giggle and coo and explore.  And you can't help but adore them.

But this toddler phase, it's hard work AND very emotional.  From the minute they get you up (which lately has been 4am) until the light goes off at bedtime...it's emotional.  A struggle.  And yes, even a fight sometimes.  

Sweet moments, where his personality is just precious.  He is so loved, let me tell you.  But oh.  OH.  Kill me if I hear "NO!" or "STOP!" or the highest pitch scream known to man...one. more. time.  Or if he falls down on the floor and does his best "exorcist" impersonation.

Irrational.  Lovable.  Ridiculous.  Adorable.  Mind-numbing.  Smart.  

There are moments I can't take another minute of it, I tell myself.

Then others where I could soak him up and cuddle him for hours.

So when I see other people, with other toddlers...and everyone seems to be so tranquil...oh, I just want to...I don't know.  Go home with them.  Or huff and puff and blow their facade down. 

I just want to know what to do from that deep down place (that mothers instinct) and not let myself get so emotional about his...well, his toddlerhood.  Not let him get the best of me.  Be more...medium speed, like the other moms I see.  Calm.  Casual.  Collected.  Cool.  Easy.  Breezy.  

Not so...I don't know....blah. ugh. ack. grrr. why? no. stop. please don't. meh. kill me now.

I want to be a duck. That's all.

You know?

April 21, 2010

What doesn't come naturally

Can I share something with you?  I'm a little down. I have been for a couple weeks.  Even to the point of having a hard time blogging with any real passion.  Because I've realized something that has sort of hit me in a hard way.  In a hurtful way.  Something that never really occurred to me until now. 

Here's what I think. 

I think some people are naturals.  Just naturals.

They wake up in the morning and they just step into the water, like ducks, and swim around...comfortable, knowing, casual...calm...collected.  A sixth sense...an innate sense of what to do, when to do it, and how to make it wonderful. 

And maybe they do have their "moments" - but they're few.  And even those moments are met with steady gaze and togetherness within, which in turn breeds peace and then happiness to those around them.  A gentleness that begets more gentleness.  

I'm not a natural.  No.  Not one bit.  

And I'm ashamed of that.  A lot.

This does not come easy to me at all.  The swimming.  It's not gentle or collected.  It's chaotic.  A constant struggle to get it somewhat right.  To make it better.  To get from one day to the next.

I wake up each day and waddle into the water...running back out because it's cold, easing in a minuscule portion of my body at a time...clumsily spilling myself into the murky unknown.  Shivering.  Miserable at times.  Afraid.  Cold...

Everything in me sometimes cries to get out and find another pond, but it's too late for that.  And anyway, this is the pond I wanted.  Want.  ahem.

But it's easy to forget that when it's still dark out and I'm being forced into the water before the sun has come up, and wading out waist-deep like a buffoon who has lost her way.  Scrambling...feeling around for something to hold onto.  Watching all the other ducks, even swans, gliding past with ease and peace.  Envy engulfing me.  Anger and jealousy.  Share the wealth, why don't you?  Throw some of that my way?  At the very least, try not to stare.  I know I'm a mess.  I know what this looks like...me sinking in my own mud.  But look away...please.

Still struggling and getting myself caught in the thickness of my own struggle.  Pulling and pushing myself to make progress and to be like the others.  

But I'm not.  Not like the others. 

Instead I'm frustrated.  My mold doesn't fit.  It's all anxious and irritated and tired.  All the time.  Stretched.  Worn down.

And it's young.  New, even.  But still...fragile and tired.  A disappointment.

Not natural.  Instead like forcing a horse to drink...finding that needle in the haystack.


What happened?  Did I miss it?  The boat?  

Where is my own innate sense of what to do, where to go, when and how...and all that goodness and calm?

I'm feeling like a big let-down.  A big clumsy bird in a pond of swans and ducks.  Standing out everywhere I go because I'm stretched and cold and tired.

No one is more disappointed in me than me.  No one could be.

I thought all along that I would be a natural.

I'm not.

It doesn't come easy.

I'm in the water...it's cold, it's murky.  I don't know what to do or where to go...it's just dark and lonely and the other ducks pass by and look over at me with pity because they don't understand how you could want to be a duck your whole life, practice for it and work so hard for it...and yet

not be a natural at it.

If it walks like a duck...and quacks like a duck?  It might just be trying really hard to be a duck...

And for me?  Trying to be a good and natural mom duck is making me weep...

April 20, 2010

The other side of me

We've been married for 9 years today

We've been together for over a decade

And you know what?

Our lives are intricately intertwined in almost every way

We start and end each day with each other

We laugh, we talk, and sometimes we bicker

We're best friends

He knows me

I know him

We have children together

We finish each others sentences

But it's more than all of that, and those are wonderful things

He's still the one...

We often say to each to each other "I don't want to do this without you" and by "this" we are referring to living life and we mean it

Even on the hardest days, we wake up in the morning and choose to love the other person, no matter what.  To be committed to each other and work hard to build our life together.  To build our family together...

He's the other side of me...

Happy Anniversary to the one I love

If they were to write about
The story of my life
They would have to mention you
With every page they'd write
There's another side to every story told
If I were the ocean
You would be the shore
And one without the other one
Would be needing something more
We are the shadow and the light
Always love me
never leave me now
  now you are the other side of me

I have known the emptiness
Of feeling out of touch
And living life without you here
Would be living half as much
Cause I've a need that only you can fill

If love was mathematical
You'd understand the sum
To the heart's equation
Where one and one makes one
And lonely equals me minus you

Always love me
never leave me now
  now you are the other side of me

April 19, 2010

He's Coming Around

Just when I thought things might never get better

that he would never find peace with her

never accept her presence in our home

never accept his role

never like her, let alone love her

he's coming around...

taking interest in her

enjoying making her laugh or smile

calling out to her

giving her a nickname "sissy-dirl" - which means "sissy-girl"

even patting her on the back, comforting her, and notifying me when he hears her crying in bed "mama, sissy-dirl rying and rying"

even kissing her goodnight at bedtime

saying "bye sissy, see ya" when she goes down for a nap

and sharing his toys

I do catch him in the occasional aggressive or defensive posture around her

and he's been known to lash out at her more than a few times - thankfully without any real consequence to her

but I think he's coming around...

Just when I thought he didn't know what a good thing he has in her...

He's coming around...

April 16, 2010

More goodness

Time is limited for me at the moment, but that doesn't seem to keep me from both reading and passing along to all of you, a great post to read:

First of all, love them - love their writing - and we share the Ethiopia connection

Second, it's a really great post

Third, here's another sneak peak from the photo-op the other day...cuz omg.  Seriously?  I haven't even seen the multitude of them yet - just a couple.  Weak.  in my kneesies.

April 15, 2010


So, adoptions are on hold from Russia.  Wow.

I've thought about posting....thought about where I stand and how I feel about this woman sending the child back

...and actually, I'm just sad about the whole thing.  Front to back and through and through...

For the children.  For the adoptive parents.  For the waiting families.  For the whole community.

What are your thoughts?

April 13, 2010

Summer must be on the way...

It really must be...

because we've had this lovely warm weather and I found my boys busy doing yard-work this past weekend

and it's really something to see your toddler helping, especially with a happy heart

and it certainly felt like summer was on the way when we took a walk with that little wagon that we love

and then stopped and chatted outside with our neighbors in the breezy air

but especially when AB fired up the grill and I found this on my table for dinner (and yes, those are homemade onion rings and honey you would DIE from the meltinyourmouth overload that are in fact these onion rings) that's when I knew it must soon be time for swimming and long days and afternoon naps while the fan blows and hums and puts us all to sleep...

Summer must be on the way, because my little sweetie-pie was found with cold sweet watermelon juice running down her chin and both arms

Also, we got these out for good...and we love these.  Love them.  What else is there to wear in summertime? 

So besides the summer pj's they're wearing and the windows being open all day...I'm not sure what other signs we need?  Maybe the fact that we're at the park or playground practically daily or that we're loving the summer fruit that's starting to show up?  Strawberries anyone?  Blackberries?

Summer must be on the way...and it's making us very happy

and by the way

...we are just having some really busy days the past two weeks.  It's production time for AB and Quint has a cameo in the play.  He's the youngest child of the King of Siam and that's just cute.  So we're running around quite a bit - back and forth, to help make it all come together.  Pictures of that perhaps next week when this is all behind us.

Meanwhile, we've got company on the way for the weekend and I'm, you know...cleaning. A little bit.  Ahem.  (wipes sweat bead from brow)  Shhhh.

In other really exciting news, those header pictures up there that I love so very much?  Well, they got updated today.  i.e. we got to go take new ones this morning.  Not all of us, mind you - because let's just come out with it that the children are waaaay better to look at.

And even though it may take a few weeks to actually get them back and revise the blog for them...all I can tell you is...

brace yourself.

you can't handle the cute.

April 10, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

You know why I love a good party?  Better yet, a good Blog Party?  Because this is a really easy way to check out hundreds and hundreds of super fun bloggers.  Kind of like leap-frogging from pond to pond all in one fell swoop!

Janice and Susan are our hosts and thousands have already joined in the fun!

Even if you don't like blog hopping, surely you love prizes?  Gifties?  Give-aways?  Come on now!

I don't mind sharing what I'd like to get my sticky hands on...

First of all, you've seen mah' girl in the Red Tutu, right?  Drool.  So one of the items up for grabs is the custom made tutu by Sweet Patootie's - and pardon-me-scuse-me, but I'll be havin' that.  Ahem.

Second, there are a load of giftcards...Amazon, Toys R Us, The Disney Store, Target....oh my!  Mommy like.  Mommy likey a lot.

Third, there are gift baskets available that left me a little...well, sigh.  Like the Mom Basket...I'm sorry - but any opportunity to put lotion on my feet and some heavenly cream on my face and relax with a good magazine or book...I die.

So anyway...enough about what I want.  You're invited!  Why not...what else have you got to do?  It's fun to find new blogs, meet new people...get free stuff and never have to move from your computer chair, right?  Right?  Anyone?  Is this thing on? (tap tap)

If you're new to Bushel and a Peck - Welcome!  I'm Christie and this is my little corner of la-tee-dah, where I talk about wife-ing, mothering, adopting from China and Ethiopia, and gushing over the occasional good book or Lost episode.  Well, you can't have all poetry and fine-reading, eh?  Some times you just have to discuss in depth the hidden virtues of Sawyer and the dark secrets of Jack.  Just sayin'.

Meanwhile, let me introduce you to us

Here are my delicious little children...no really...they are.  Delicious, I tell you.

Keira Joy Xi - my youngest.  She's almost ten months and we just returned from China in January after a four + year wait to bring her home.  There are some good posts about attachment and our trip in the February and March listing.  (see sidebar "All in the Past")

Those eyes...those cheeks...the chubby arms...they are delicious, no?

Quint is my oldest - and he's obsessed with Woody!  He is two and a half and All. Boy.  All boy, people...

AB is the King of De Castle and he's a rock star in the kitchen and in the teaching world...and I like him.  I like him a lot.  He's kinda the favorite around our house.  I know he's mine...

And this is us - and ain't life grand?

Thanks for visiting - I hope you'll peruse some of the older posts...we've been having some great discussions over here at Bushel and a Peck.

Don't forget to check out the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 - woot woot!!  And if you're here from the party - be sure to leave a comment so I know you swung over for a visit.

...come back soon!

April 9, 2010

I'm not sure what's better

....a man who gives you the morning off by closing the bedroom door ever so quietly while he tiptoes out and gets the children up, changes diapers, feeds them - all while you whittle the hours away in dreamland (bliss, I tell you!)

...a man who, when you do finally stumble out of that same bed and into the land of the living, makes you Eggs Benedict for breakfast...which I promptly lap up like I've never had a meal before (wish I had a picture of that!)

...or a man who spends his afternoon and only day off perfecting the art of the English Muffin - which, let's just say they were about as good a piece of bread as you've ever put in your mouth.  Butter melted into all the little crannies.  Let's just say.  Because honey, they were.

or a man who finds great peace in ending his day like this...

and before you get any fancy schmancy ideas that I had them pose for this, remember that Quint is 2 and poses for no man (or mom).  He was out like a light.  One minute I could hear Anton reading to him, and then after a while, just silence.  Look at his hands...Oh, I could cry.  The sweetness overload.

And that fact he does look so sweet and peaceful makes me want to forgive him for putting his Woody doll in the toilet.

either way...

I'm not sure what's better, but I sure feel blessed to have married such a keeper

I love my boys