Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I don't buy toys anymore....

Because who needs or wants toys when you can sneak into Mommy's closet and find boots made for walkin'.

Or classy pool shoes made for cloggin'.

And all the while the toys lining their little shelves in their beautiful rooms....collect dust.

By the way, I think Liv might have a look going for her there. That's a pretty hot look with the diaper added to the ensemble. The girl's got class.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Picture Time

Yesterday, it was time for the annual pilgrimage to the mall for picture taking time. Oh, the groans...not from them, from me.

I've been putting this off for several weeks, just not being able to muster the energy to wrangle them both in cute coordinating outfits, while making sure their teeth were not growing any fuzz that would show up in the photo and making sure they both had clean hair on the same day. And by clean that means no baby powder in Olivia's hair since on a daily basis she seems to outwit me and finds baby powder stored in the recesses of linen closets to dump all over the floor and her head. Every single time. I now think it is a strange genetic thing and she literally cannot help herself, no matter how many times Mommy gets "mod" (mad).

For Ava clean hair means no bubble gum. She's learned to blow bubbles, and hasn't quite mastered the concept of tossing the head to the side BEFORE bubble pops. This is a highly sought after skill that most females of average or higher intelligence do eventually master, but as we all know it can take time. All this cleanliness and cuteness is no doubt a monumental task for me.

Why do I do it? It's FCC calendar time. I always submit their picture for the FCC calendar because ours is still the largest in the country and makes a decent chunk of change that is submitted to Chinese Children's charities each and every year....for 10 years now running. And, you thought it was because I was a closet stage mom, prepping my cuties for future Miss America contests. Yeah, notice the $5000 gowns they are wearing? Um hm, Target $5.99.
You too can see your amazing darling in the calendar next year by going to for the instructions. It's a worthy cause, really it is.

Olivia for the most part got into the car and sashayed into the mall looking very much like she did in the photo. This was the look we were going for...casual summer, comfortable. Ava on the other had had the white blouse but no matching skirt or shorts. Neither girl had acceptable matching shoes. And, hair bows were folly for upcoming arguments.

My Mission before setting foot in walk-in photo store: Find Ava some coordinating something or other to cover her little bottom and find shoes for them both or give up and hope their feet were not too dirty for photo.

Ava's Mission: Beg and plead 1000 times for flip flops. End of story.

Can you see where this is going?

I had been putting this trip off for several weeks storing up all my energy for undiverted and successful trip to the mall. No amount of begging from 6 year old would break my mental toughness. We enter first shoe joint. Ava begs and plead for gross Hannah Montana pink plastic flip flops. I put my foot down and staunchly deny her. We move to next shoe joint where she finds the shoes she is wearing in the picture. I agree they are acceptable shoes and she proclaims them flip flops! Which they are technically not but who am I to argue? She gets "flip flops" and I don't have to settle on what look like 1985 pink jellies from hell that will pay for Miley Cyrus' future drug rehab in Palm Springs.

Bonus, they have matching ones for Olivia. I whip out a credit card and everyone is stepping a little lighter. Next stop, shorts or skirt that sort of matches the whole theme here. Ava and I argue for a few minutes while I try to cajole her into wearing these completely adorable plaid shorts. Of course, she hates them and refuses. I'm a little worried about her developing sense of style. Then, the whole mission almost got derailed when I spotted this. Because let's be honest, that is cuter that what I originally planned. But, I had to stay focused in that dinner time was approaching and if we didn't make some progress the whole thing was going to blow up in my face if Olivia got, dare I say it, hungry.

After agreeing on non-offensive jean shorts we turned left and headed in to the photo place. Good, news they could take a walk in. The mall was deserted. That's what happens in the mid-west when the first few 70 degree days pop up. So, now all we had to do was re-comb everyone's hair, change Ava's shorts, clean raisins out of Olivia's teeth, change both girls shoes and change a diaper. For posterity's sake, I was sweating by this time.

And, all that BEFORE anyone even picked up a camera.

But, the thrill of victory is sweet. We got a few nice pictures, and since I was in robo-mom mode I quickly discarded any hard sell for "picture club" and walked out with our 2 sheets of photos that we came for and not one thing more.

And then we ate "umburgas" (hamburgers) at Johnny Rockets. Ava asked if Daddy and I came there on dates since it was such a great place. I didn't have the heart to break it to her that no, when daddy and I do date...which is about bicentenially now...we don't choose Johnny Rockets but I would keep it in mind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Quirky Tag

I got tagged the other day and because basically I usually do as I'm it is .

1. Link to the person who tagged you: Jill
2. Post the rules: see # 3
3. Share six unimportant habits/quirks about yourself: see below
4. I think I am supposed to tag others...but since I don't do everything I'm told(ha, you believed that crap about doing as I'm told)...please play along if you feel so inclined.

1. I love olives. I eat them almost everyday. My girls love them as well. People think it is strange that a 6 year old and a 2 year old would love olives. I don't. I think it is weird when people don't love them. The first time I went to Spain couldn't believe how lucky I was when all the restaurants served free olives with every meal! I was young and didn't really comprehend the magic of tapas. Do you know what goes with olives really well? Chick peas. I love them too and can eat them out of a can. Is that gross?

2. I don't get out much anymore. Liv loves home and routine and sometimes gets wiggy when we do too much. I'm very social by nature...and have been my whole life. But even though I joke about not showering and leaving the cul-de-sac very often...I'm secretly enjoying this part of my life where I'm somewhat anti-social. I hardly ever worry about what I'm missing out there in the big wide world like I used to. Shower optional is a good thing.

3. When I was little I bit my nails. Gross. Now that I am older I don't bite my nails anymore but I can't seem to stop ripping the holy living crap out of my cuticles. I think it is true what they say about leaving one bad habit but then picking up another bad habit to replace it.

4. I love my daughter's armpits. They are the cutest thing I've ever seen. They are so wrinkly and adorable. She is 6 and I still ask to see them sometimes before she goes to bed. She will give me the equivalent of a quick arm pit flash and then deny me, laughing hysterically. This game makes me laugh every time. I never tire of it.

5. I have clutter issues. I hate clutter. I'm the opposite of those people who are on HGTV or Oprah who need interventions because they hoard so much stuff. I get the willies just watching those shows. But the weird thing is I will let dust pile up and the carpets usually need vaccuming. I compulsively organize and toss junk away but don't deep clean very often for someone who claims to be so bothered by unorganized crap. So, I'm not that much of a neat nick. I'm a fake neat nick. Who has very few preschool art projects saved.

6. Some days I am living for the moment that I will have both of my children in school and I will have time for myself on a regular basis. But then I'm also terrified that I won't find something else that is satisfying and productive that will make me happy. It's an odd feeling to be waiting eagerly for something and sensing a dreaded aspect of it all the same.

What's weird about you?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Holy Tudor Family

When I was visiting my mom she gave me The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory to read. Since I am wildly and unhealthily addicted to The Tudors on Showtime I snatched it up in 2 seconds flat.

The book is smut...and I am greedily sucking up every word while the girls sleep. Over 600 pages...good grief, overkill. I'm on page 400 something and seriously rooting for Anne to get her pretty little head lopped off. Since I'm not above a little good smut now and again, it does a soul good, I should be done by weekend.

However, reading the book while watching the series at the same time? It is messing with my mind. As I aimlessly walked Olivia in the stroller a few miles this morning at one point I could have sworn I heard the swishing of green velvet in 6 yards of skirts. But then I looked down and realized it was only the muffin man's sport socks I was accidentally wearing. How does one accidentally wear black ankle sport socks even while working out with only a two year old? I casually pulled out a bowl of grapes this morning from the fridge and could have sworn I saw an amazing fruit bowl before for a king...complete with mangoes and exotic fruits from the far reaches of Europe.

Then I had a little fantasy of purchasing a small Tudor house with a little farm and only taking a few ladies in waiting and man servants as the muffin man and I gave up our time at court to become country farmers. Then of course I bore him a son to carry on the name. Strangely enough there was no Chinese adoption in the day dream.

Is this a sign that I need to talk to someone over the age of 2 1/2 during the daytime hours? I've gotta get a John Irving book off the shelf or something, and maybe a little reality tv.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Break...We're Back

Ahh, a delightful week filled with grandparents huffing and puffing after two little demons wrecking havoc on their usually spotless house. And all the while I simply turned a blind eye and skipped out the front door to watch movies at a real movie theater and sip $4.00 a cup Chinese tea with my brother.

Lovely I tell you. Lovely. But, we are back...we missed the Muffin Man who had to work for a living and chase raccoons out of our backyard while writing no less than 4 checks to the wildlife control people for permanent and irrevocable removal but without euthanasia for the capture of three raccoons and one opossum! He intelligently made the decision to cut the wildlife guy off with his wire traps and sugar donuts for bait when we suspected we were catching each and every wildlife critter in the neighborhood. Would it be unseemly to ask for donations in a tin can at the next neighborhood association meeting? Don't think me above it. So, we are out a few hundred bucks and the long time varmint residents have been evicted. What will the birds do as they actually have a chance to eat the suet block and cardinal grub rather than just watching as the raccoons scarf it greedily down? Maybe if this blog gets boring, too late? I will start posting spring pictures of backyard robins, cardinals, and blue that could be really exciting.

What else was new while my girls visited more than one park a day with grandma and grandpa? I joined a doll quilt swap and sewed my little heart out capitalizing on my mother's summer dining room table, using it to spread out for the sake of creativity! The story of the doll quilts is over here. Go ahead read is filled with plot, angst, jubilation and a twist of unexpected events involving the color pink.

Since we are back and Costco made my buy the 10 lb. bag rather than the 2lbs. that we really needed...we are celebrating with apple pie! Yes, with swimsuit season right around the corner I need an apple pie on my hips like I need blue doll quilt...or wait...I really do need a blue doll quilt.

In other news I've been tagged for Jill's meme. Now, to come up with some quirky things about myself. Note to self...should I consider mentioning publicly my other career as exotic pole dancing queen to make money for my kids 529's?

Maybe not.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I can't get this taking sides stuff out of my head. There really is pressure to take sides in our society...Barack or Hillary, pull troops out or keep them there, working mother vs. stay at home mother, soda or pop. Everyone wants there to be a right and a wrong. Good and evil. Black and white. But really, when we commit to honesty there isn't is there? Despite the comfort in cuddling up with one side or another and having your opinion all rolled up in a warm fuzzy blanket and the other guy being completely is merely an illusion. Life is complicated, humans are flawed and amazing at the same time, we have been given free will to do good and to do no-good.

Recently, I have read some pieces by people who have weighed in on some arguments both for and against adoption. Personally, I usually find that when complicated issues are boiled down to a simply pro or usually does the issue no justice at all and you end up with something like a sitcom sound bite.

My children, though I know very little about the specifics of their early months in this life did not have it easy. Through no fault of their own they lost birth families, birth culture and endured institutional care. Then they were placed in the arms of some giddy would be parents who traveled across the world to "take them home." Did white privilege play a role in the transaction? Yes, I have to answer I believe it did. Had I been born a poor black woman in the American projects without education or opportunity would I be able to fly across the world and adopt an internationally born child? I cannot say absolutely not, (because I have had the opportunity to know some pretty amazing minority people who have obtained middle class status and high education despite lack of easy opportunity) but statistics would tell me the chances would be slim at best.

Will I apologize or self denigrate to society and my children for my place and my actions that lead me to want to have children in my life? No, I will not. Even though I sought out and actively pursued both of my children for selfish reasons, I believe in my heart that they are better off being raised by loving parents who are wholly committed to seeing they they are raised with warmth and kindness rather than without parents and family at all. Does it mean that they will not or have not grieved for what they have lost? Absolutely not. Sometimes that which does not kill us does indeed make us stronger, kinder and more able to love. It is a choice, to see life in shades of gray trying not to judge others for their misgivings and mistakes. It is a choice to take life and say thank you for small positive things each day. Do not misinterpret this to mean that that which pains us should be forgotten, or suppressed or swept under a proverbial carpet for the sake of a smiling facade. But, when you feel deeply loss and pain, remain with it and then come through it with gratitude you have overcome. You become free to be a being of love.

I would say that on the outside I have probably been a champion, dare I say poster child, for adoption. I have counseled people when they have come to me asking about adoption, I am careful to add it cannot under any circumstance be to physically or spiritually "save" one child, for that will end badly. But it is human nature to want for others what has filled your life with love and hope and I am guilty of perhaps some over zealous conversations in the throws of excited adoptive talk. I'm thinking about these sides people are talking about and perhaps it will make more a tad more careful in my choice of words and more reflective about the realities of what can and does happen in adoption. It cannot be disputed that it would ultimately be better for children if parents were counseled more on the 100's of what ifs..and to get down and ain't all ladybugs and red threads and bouncing baby girls in lace headbands at the end of the day.

Ultimately, as my children grow I will continue to defend my choices if need be. I have no
regrets about their adoptions. Do I feel deeply for those who lost when I gained? Yes, I do. I did my best with what information I had at the time. In the same breath I will add I consider it my responsibility to listen to their feelings and wishes as they grow. It is my duty to be open about their situations with them in the home. It is my duty to find professional help, should they at any time need or want it. It is for me to love them but remember that they are not mine, nor would any children who had come through me had that been the case. Their decisions and opinions and actions are their own. They have all the power they need.

I am not naive when it comes to the the gross realities of corrupt individuals on all sides of all oceans. Nor am I naive to the decisions that governments think they need make to protect masses. I advocate discussion that leads to action where children do not lose birth parents due to poverty or lack of education or by the hands of those without parents and children's best interest at heart. But then the day is done, and choices by adults lead to children without homes I think I will always believe that a child will fare best with the love of a permanent family.