Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stunning News From The 'Burbs

We arose to a clatter this morning. You'd have thought it might be Christmas the way my little kid bounded down the stairs after hearing the tree removal service truck roll up into the cul-de-sac. I suspect that the poor guys who were here to remove the trees in preparation for delayed adoption distraction 2006, I mean playroom addition, were not expecting to perform their duties under the watchful eye of my four year old.

Breakfast with the tree climbing dudes. She voted it was better than the Doodlebops...that's a compliment.

Yes, stunningly interesting right? What did you expect when you opened a blog with the title Stunning News From The Burbs?

Tie a yellow ribbon around an old Ash tree and pull that puppy down. Let in the light, the light in my kitchen to be exact. I am feeling a little tree killing guilt, ok not enough stop the carnage but perhaps in a few weeks our family can plant a few new saplings in strategically placed beds away from the house. I'm sure my very republican Main Muffin Man will be hopping on my Earth Day excursion wagon (complete with tie dye and peace signs) with Ava in tow to the local nursery while I say a silent healing prayer for what is now sawdust hoping to be mulch if it's lucky. Jury is out on that one.

In other suburban news tomorrow is the Bunny Buffet at preschool. What is a Bunny Buffet? I honestly have no idea, and I was fine with that. My kid on the other hand was all about the Bunny Buffet trying to explain that she gets to bring some food, put in on a table and all the other little preschool bunnies must try it. Great, I'm thinking perhaps I will send these when I get the notice in the backpack. Apparently the Lutherns once again had other plans.

As I was dropping Ava off at school yesterday her teacher starts apologizing about the short notice but here is my sheet explaining what I am being asked to bring to the Bunny Buffet. I look down. Ava's Mom: Eggs, Deviled. 2 dozen. I look at Ava's sweeter than pie teacher and grin sheepishly, you want ME to make deviled eggs? By Thursday?
She says, "Well, yes you can make them right? I mean you have made them in the past right? You do know what they are?"

I snap back, "Ugh, of course I know what they are. It's just what do you put in the middles after you boil them?" Embarassed, I catch myself. "Ugh, I'll go look it up at home."

I can be extremely inadequate in the domestic realm at times. Secretly, sometimes I sort of like the idea of rebelling just a tad when I feel myself sliding down the slippery slope to being just a little too June Cleaverish. See, if I suck at cooking and don't really give a rats ass about serving my child oranges and tricuits for lunch in my bed then surely that makes me a modern woman! (With a bed perpetually filled with crumbs...but that's another story.) Making deviled eggs for preschool bunny buffets was just not part of my master plan, when I decided to be the smartest woman, hottest wife and best mom evahh.

So, I know you're on the edge of that seat. Did she make the stupid eggs or what?

And it only took me 2 hours. I knew deviled eggs would be hard. Next year I call bringing the peeps.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

No Soup For You

Ahhh, it's been a wee bit of a let down here at Adoptive Baby Watch 2006 central today. Perhaps I'm a little bummed that my darling brother has left for the weekend, he was a nice baby distraction, wonderful company this weekend and all around good guy to have around the house.

Ava decided to color her name on a kitchen chair this morning with pink marker. That should have been enough to cure the "all I want is another one" blues. And it did for 20 minutes...I'm gonna kill her...oh, doesn't every kid do this at one point?...I'm gonna kill her since she is unrepentant...oh, perhaps she's just testing her limits, she's four, I'm gonna kill I'm not, I want to give her a sister. Sniff sniff.

Am I experiencing a wee bit of pre-adoption blues? I fluctuate between wanting a baby so badly I can taste it to don't I have my hands quite full with my rambunctious sometimes cat-like 4 year-old? She can wander through whole days doing her own thing, purposely defying my every wish. She will sometimes defy me in public to the tune of running aimlessly through store aisles and I skreech at her under my breath, stay with me...make sure you can see me, you scare me with that behavior when you run away. But then, she will close the day by looking up at me gently stroking my lips saying, "Pretty Mommy, you are simply the best. I love you." And my heart melts, it aches as I hold her. I have never smelled anything so sweet as her silky head. The rough patch of skin on her cheek makes me want to gather take my tired glum body from the couch to get lotion to try to smooth it out. I've never experienced such a rollercoaster of love and frustration. For her, my first. And also for the baby that waits us to come pick her up. I wonder if I will live to breathe in the way her head smells. Will I get to twirl her hair around my finger while watching tv? Will she be even more independent than my first? Could I take it if she were? Will she be the cuddly child who fits perfectly into my lap and chest? Will I choose to let the wait torment my soul, longing for a due date another month? Maybe two?

Only time will tell...right?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cause and Effect

I think it is because I posted this on my refridgerator...that I am now hearing all about how the CCAA in Beijing has worked a whole month to process 5 or perhaps a whopping 6 days of paperwork referrals. Since our paperwork is 22 days out from the last day processed it might mean I will have to once again return these...which will of course break my heart in two distinct places since they have little hats that match...

and trade them for something a little more wooly, as in if the
powers that be continue to process in 5 day increments that would push my girls out to being about 6 years apart in age rather than the planned upon 3 to 3 1/2 years apart. And certainly Muffin Man and I will be climbing the Great Wall in the deepest darkest days of winter rather than sunny spring. Which is all really weird because when we started this process in February 2005 we were planning on traveling with mittens and parkas.

Excuse me while I go eat this.

That took about 2 seconds and I am no closer to seeing one little adorable child that is destined to steal my car keys and go joy riding with some long haired disrespectful boyfriend in the distant future. Oh for the love of God, bring on my darling little heathen.

And, if no one is going to send me a referral in the next 3 months I need to know because I plan on spending some serious money that I don't have on a margharita swilling sunburn inducing week away from my home town!

I simply cannot take this "bun in the oven" is getting overdone feeling any longer.

Muffin Man just called from some up north state where he is busy selling studly tools to men who wear flannel and nylon baseball caps without breaking in the rims. I broke the 98% chance of no referral for us next week. You know what he said? "I wasn't expecting a baby next week." This is proof that men are indeed from venus, because even the barrista at Starbucks is expecting our referral next week. Now I have to go break the news to her too, fabulous!

By the way I'd also like to share that my next door neighbor has been able to produce no less than 6 kids in the time that I have been successful with 1 and the thought of 1. Those are wicked odds. Maybe I'll go buy a powerball ticket. After I take that stupid referral call guide off my refridgerator of course.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Adopt One, Get More...A Lot More

When we started down the adoption path for the first time over 5 years ago I simply had no idea the amazing love and generosity we would encounter from others walking the same path. I suspected that our first adoption would work out just fine, even though all told it took 19 months the first time. I never really doubted our ability to love a child who did not share our DNA. I suppose this stems from my firm belief that children simply come through us, they are not really our children when we as human beings give birth to them. I've always felt that females have this gift to act as a vehicle for other human beings to enter our realm of the universe. I'm still not exactly sure why I personally wasn't granted this gift. But today it is what it is. My children are destined to come through another woman. I wonder sometimes if this is what helps to fuel a desire of many families in the adoptive community to connect? Something beyond blood, some other mysterious pull.

What I did not know over 5 years ago was that when you adopt through the International China program you have a whole loving and supportive network who seems ready and willing to bring you into the fold. Families that have nothing in common before Chinese adoption can quickly become fast and furious friends. I suppose it might be the same with other domestic and international programs as well, but I only have experience with China adoption. When this happened with a few of the families we adopted with the first time I came back to the States feeling like we had hit the friend jackpot. Families who are kind and open and live 5 minutes away. This new network of friends was invaluable to me as I "changed careers" from a business consultant to offering my consulting skills to only 1 little 8 month old kid full time.

It now appears that it is happening again. More incredible relationships blooming with families just because we are adopting again and have similar "due" dates. "Come to dinner, share a meal...don't stay in a hotel, share our home". This is what we heard this weekend. I for one am humbled by the generosity and willingness to share that our little unknown Chinese goodwill ambassadors seem to be creating from afar.

A special thank you to family S. We are glad to be in your presence and hope to be life long friends...oh yeah, and the big country breakfast rocked!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is It Ground Hog Day?

Woke up this morning and realized it was large motor day. Ava's preschool calls a glorified 2 hours in the basement with mats and a balance beam large motor. As in you get to exercise your large motor muscles? Yes, you volunteer to "man" a station, which by the way should be called "mom" a station, since I have yet to see anyone else get suckered into "man"ning the large motor areas other than your basic garden variety pre-school mom.

I digress. After 15 minutes with Katie and Matt I realized I needed to beat foot it through the morning routine. I had to get Ava off to preschool 10 minutes early so I would have time to grab a LARGE cup of coffee and be the first mom in line to choose which large motor station I would supervise. This being my second time, I am no preschool volunteer virgin. Get there early or you'll get stuck bunny hopping for 2 1/2 solid hours. My bunny feet weren't feeling so lucky 1 day post the bunny hopping debacle of Feb. 2006. To make sure I got the good station I arrived bright and early complete with Type A smirk written all over my face. I decided not to take pity on the mom who arrived 10 minutes late complaining of neck pain, hey no pain no gain lady. Get here early if you want the obstacle course. (On a side note, I did offer my chiropractors number for those of you who think me truly evil.)

So we started chatting as preschool moms will do. Someone asks me about the adoption. I launch into my standard schpeel. We still don't know. We are hopeful that we will make this month's cutoff. Our paperwork has been in China since June 05. No that doesn't mean we will travel in a few weeks it just means we get to see a tiny picture of her and read a 1 page report. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Then another lady comes and sits down beside us. She was there last month when I was bunny hopping and apparently telling the exact same story. She says, "So, have you made any progress since last month?" Well, technically no. I have to admit. "So, nothing is new." Well, no I say with a strained laugh. Suddenly the conversation is changed to a discussion involving where to buy carpet.

And that is why today seems like Ground Hog Day. More of the same. I am even beginning to bore myself with the same story. Me, bore myself with my own stories. It is practically unheard of. Until Ground Hog Day, that is.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Which color, which finish, which bevel edge?

I have been shopping for hardwoods for about 2 years now, starting the process and then weaseling out. Jump starting the process by interviewing contractors only to then stop the process when I couldn't make up my mind or the reality of paying for the whole deal come to fruition.

Speaking of which, I think we've decided to go the home equity line route. Here's the funny thing, $29.99 for a new door mat was freaking me out the other day. Taking a home equity line of credit for a 18' x20' room addition and new hardwood floors in my house is well, play money. Hell, its so much money that it just doesn't even seem real. Laaaa laaaa, laaa I can't hear you. Name those 0000s on the back of that number and what the heck we are playing monopoly right?

I have been to 3 showrooms in 3 days. My palms are sweating and my contractor is umm..a little dismayed that I want to buck the system by perhaps purchasing from the close out warehouse people. I reminded him that if his people can cough up $2.45 a sq. ft. for maple in my beloved cinnamon stain by all means we'd be happy to strike up a back yard bar-b-que with his folks.

Maybe I will turn it over to this little gal. Heck it looks like I'm going to let her name my next kid after all. What is a hardwood decision next to that whopper.

Yeah, she looks confident about Maple in the cinnamon stain. I'd trust that face.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

True Confessions

Bless me Father for I have sinned. Sign the cross.

It has been approximately 25 years since my last confession.
(If I remember correctly it had something to do with Kathy Eppers and telling Tom Delaney that she liked him. Of course he was smooching Connie Cramer at the roller skating rink while roller dancing to Anita Ward's version of Ring My Bell at the time so who knows?)
I'm sorry your Grace, I digress.

I have cheated and looked at this....

It's not internet porn or anything like that but it is sort of the adopter's crack, so therefore I must absolve myself. Since I have been quite self righteous on my agency yahoo June group and have given lots of nunnerly advice to ride the straight and narrow, ditch the rumor mill and have faith in these cats. They will tell us everything we need to know. Bah ha.

My penance please, Oh skirt wearing, ring bearing, insense sniffing, wine sipping holy one?

Dear Wayward Catholic Stray:
Step away from the computer. Say 3 Hail Mary's. Go look for your grandmother's rosary. Head straight to the laundry room and fold something, think holy positive thoughts. Not what was under Sister Mary Carla's whipple in the sixth grade...holy pure thoughts.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where's My Tool Man?

It's just us girls around here most of this week. Muffin Man is off gallivanting around Dallas selling some tools to people who obviously care about lots of tools. Me? I have too much estrogen or x chromosome"ness' and just can't bring myself to complete the study of hatchets and wratchets, hammers and saws galore. And in that lies irony. Here's why.

While the Muffin Man has been on his tool sales 2006 extravaganza which has been taking him to a city near you for the last 6 weeks I have been slowly and systematically tearing down the house. It is not intentional, mind you. It just seems that everything I touch around here seems to explode in my face. Last week I lost keys and ended up truly needing some magnetic tool thingy to help find them under the refridgerator. They weren't there but I ripped off the kick plate in the process. I have also melted sippy cup #4 in the dishwasher. We now have a lovely technicolor display if you feel inclined to stick you head in there. I'm considering having a few pops and enjoying the "pretty colors" for entertainment later. Yesterday, I ignored the water running rapidly through the downstairs toilet for a good two hours hoping denial would become my friend and it would miraculously stop. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore. I opened the comode lid and barely touched the arm thingy with the ball on the end. SNAP. It fell off into the tank. Water started filling higher and higher.

I know better but I panicked and called my man in a Dallas hotel room. (God, am I good under pressure or what?) After confusing me with words like pressure valve and gasket cover I gave up and tried to turn the water off completely. No started to spray all over the porcelain goddess. Turn it the other way, he patiently coaxed me on the phone. We are preferred customers at ARS Service Express, and that ended that conversation.

After I turned the water off in the bathroom and cleaned up the yummy toilet water I fed the kid. She asked if I was "in trouble". Hmmm, sort of. If you consider trading in a little shopping spree at Vic's Secret to try out the new IPEX Goes Wireless for $216.17 in plumbing repairs, yes I'd say that's trouble. Cranky trouble, girl.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A pint sized swaggering sailor...with mended tooth

Yeterday at 9am sharp Ava had her teeth cleaned. While all was going well for me in the waiting room finding out why Heather Locklear is ditching Ritchie Sambora, Ava was enduring the dreaded pointy metal thing-a-ma-bob scraping and poking her teeth. To everyone's stuck to a molar indicating..dum..dum..dum...cavity.

Honestly I think the dentist, a strange wiley little woman was the most surprised and disappointed. Since I have experienced no less than 3 verbal lashings from this impish dentist in the past about the proper care and feeding of my daughter's pearly whites I pretty much took it in stride. She first rattled me up with gloom and doom back in early 2004.

Look, I don't know thing one about her prenatal care. I couldn't even venture to guess if there is a Chinese biological family out there somewhere with crummy teeth genes. And, of course there is that little matter of candy fest 2003-2006 fully supported by the Muffin Man, aka....her supplier. I have gently suggested that dessert and candy is not necessary every day. I have been met with the proverbial talk to the hand in the face about the matter and one little grinning kid with red gum drop juice falling down the side of her mouth. Thus, my lack of astonishment at our predicament.

So, at 8:20am this morning I arrived back at the impish dentist's office with a sorry little soul who had absolutely no idea what the next hour would entail. We were met at the door by impish dentist exclaiming "Well hello tall girl and tiny patient." I sneered and ran for another copy of People magazine crack. Paris is turning 25 without her Greek bizillionaire boy toy you know.

For the next hour I tried unsuccessfully to determine if the screaming coming through the walls was from my child. But because there was a steady stream of children flowing through the pediatric dental office...who really knew. I contemplated busting through the door to make sure some sort of mandibular torture was not being inflicted on my baby. But then opted for popping a suggestion of better insulation in the walls into the suggestion box.

Just as I was about to find out why Jodie Sweetin from Full House was addicted to crystal meth the nurse popped out and called my name.

There she was, a pint sized swaggering little drunken sailor swaying back and forth. Eyes slightly tipped, mouth a little red and swollen and a piece of cotton that looked remarkable like a cigarette hanging from her clenched jaw. I let out a nervous laugh. "Is she alright?" "Oh yes, model patient." the nurse proclaimed "It will just take a few minutes for the nitrous to wear off." Yeah, ya think?

She's a trooper. She decided to march herself right off to preschool after I told her she could take her new secret decoder ring to show the kids. She said she will expect me to help administer her new tatoo immediately after preschool.

Yup, further proof she's my little clean toothed, swaggering, tattoo bearing sailor.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy Ending or Tragic Visit To Hardware Store?

On the third hour of searching for my little metal tickets to freedom, my keys, I got a little flutter in my heart as I thought surely they would be here.

Do you see them? No me neither. I will admit to checking my watch to see if it was legal happy hour time. A St. Pauley Girl to calm my housebound nerves? Nah...where are those girl scout cookies? I have $18 worth of those butt expanders.

You see in my little corner of the world the child protective service folks frown on sharing St. Pauley Girls with your 4 year old. Or so I have heard. There is no law against downing a box of Samoas though now is there? I was practically inhaling these babies as I ran through the abode...searching, searching.

After my call to the Muffin Man in Atlanta, as if he could help me, I took his advice and checked the kitchen refridgerator. He has a little experience losing the peanut butter and windex here. Listen to the experts, I always say.

No keys, but I did think that I should probably relax since we have about 16 weeks and $100,000 worth of grocerys to tide us over for the remaining 26 hours until we got ahold of a car key if worse came to worse.

Doughnut, zero, nada, nilch, zippo. After seeing all that food I decided to take a dinner break. You know since the 28 Samoas did not seem to be doing the trick. During my dinner my dear brilliant daughter came up to me and said, "My heart breaks for you Mommy." (This is what I tell her when she is sick.) "Perhaps you should cast a spell and make me the magic fairy godmother so I can find your keys." Hey, I'm game for ANYTHING at this point. I cast a spell complete with hand motions and a rhyme. She took off flitting through the house trying to find my keys. I really thought, wouldn't it be a total gas if she found them after casting a magic spell? Unfortunately, after a few minutes she return to down her hot dog, sans keys. As a consolation prize she in turn cast a magic spell on me.

I got up from the table to put away a few barrettes she had on the counter. I walked up to her closet to put them away. I looked up and saw her tap dancing bag.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Tap dancing, yesterday. And there they were, accidently dropped into the shoe while I put away her tap dancing bag.

Happy Ending! I almost drove around the block just because I could. But hey, Mary Poppins and my spell casting fairy awaited downstairs.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where are those damned keys?

In the last two hours I have searched 3000 square feet for my set of these.
I swear this is my fault for killing too many brain cells in my youth. I have displayed a range of emotions, all for my 4 year old's viewing pleasure. At first I was in a minor panic. Surely they couldn't be too far. Keep looking. They I started to get agitated. I loaded her into her car seat and put all of my errand running junk into the car. She sat there for about 20 minutes before getting a little snippy. I unloaded her from the car. I continued to search while she decided to help me. Aka...look for 2 minutes until getting distracted by pulling toys out in the living room. Then I started to get pissed off. No keys. After another stretch of time I thought I might just push to make sure she did not find my keys yesterday and proceed to make them toy box fodder. She insists on holding firm to her story, "Nope, did not steal your stupid keys Mom."

Now all this strikes me as completely idiotic. Who really looses keys for more than two hours? How can this be when I am the type of person who sort of militantly puts the damn keys in the same spot every time when coming into the house.

To make the situation even more fun, Muffin Man is away on business. No keys, no driving anywhere until he rolls back into town about 27 hours from now.

I must say this little stunt is only second best to when I locked Ava in the car when she was a baby. She swiped the keys from my hand while I was closing the door she then deftly hit the lock button. Of course Muffin Man was about 1000 miles away for that one too. After a moderate freak out session I got a grip and called the police. Who came out in 15 minutes to mock me and unlock the door. Fun time was had by all.

So, where are those damn keys? I am obviously taking a Columbo break so as I don't pop an artery or have a kitten. Here is the weird 3am last night I was wide awake sort of stressed out by my list of things to do today and tommorow. I was sort of pining away for a day where we would just hang out in the house with nothing but a bunch of toys, the internet and a Mary Poppins movie late in the day. Funny how the Universe gives you what you ask for. Albeit in a half assed $100 to replace the key while inducing an acne breakout sort of way.

I'm off to take the refrigerator kick panel off to make sure they did not fall behind the counter and fridge.