Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not too poud to beg for "my boys."

I mentioned earlier this month that I spent a week every summer for 15 summers working with kids with muscular dystrophy.

Tonight starts the annual MDA Labor Day telethon. I've been watching it since I was a kid.

I was always fascinated by the clips they would show of summer camp. When I had an opportunity in high school to go as a counselor I was thrilled.

It was such an experience. Life changing in many ways.

Over the years I was involved I watched some amazing kids grow. I was lucky to take care of the same little boy, Robert, for six years, from the time he was six until he was 12 and moved on to the big guys cabin.

He graduated from college this year! I'm so proud of him!

He's been in a wheel chair since his early teens. He has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He will eventually die from this. Likely in the next several years. He's one of the luckier ones in that he made it in to his twenties.

I've watched far too many of the boys I've known over the years succumb to their disease. It's devastating to me. I can't imagine how devastating it is to their families.

One of my boys though (I've always called the boys I took care of and the boys that were in my cabin, my boys. Several of them called me "mom." Kinda of a long story about one of the counsellors thinking I was a mom, and then finding out he had a crush on me. He was 17, I was 22. I was flattered. But that's a whole other story) has a different, non-life threatening form of MD and he is all grown up. Jeff. An amazing boy. I found his blog recently and it enthralled me. He is one of a kind!

But I digress. The telethon starts tonight.

I'm going to do a little begging of my own. Please, call in, or check it out online, and give a donation. If you want to make me really happy ask that it go towards research or summer camp.

Every dollar really does count. And I can promise you that it will go to something worth while.

If I can figure out my scanner tomorrow I'll try and get some pics of my years at camp up here for you.


Show and Tell - Adventure Aquarium

Friday we went to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. It was so crowded!

I guess every other family had the same idea we did, to try and fill up one more day before school started.

Noah had a blast, and over all he handled himself really well. Especially considering how crowded and noisy it was. I was proud of him!

Here he is petting the sharks.

My favorite part was watching the hippo's in the water. They were so amazing! Such huge animals swimming like dolphins. I loved how they get right up to the glass and look at you.

Kiel thought it was pretty cool too.


From my guest blogger - MIL from hell?!?

A couple weeks ago I read a guest post by Her Bad Mother about her mother in law. I left a comment and offered to let anyone who wanted to post about their own MIL do so on my blog. And Shonda from The Cowboy Chronicles took me up on it!

I've written about my MIL before. She's pulled a few doozies in our relationship, but over all, she isn't that bad. I know she loves me, and I do love her. After reading about Shonda's MIL mine looks like a fucking saint!

By Shonda at The Cowboy Chronicles

It's 7:00 in the morning and I've just finished my second cup of coffee. As I beat 8 eggs, my husband and I discuss the day laying ahead of us. With a crisp fall looming, this is the busiest time of the year for farmers and ranchers like us. These are my favorite moments, us still in our pajamas, before the Oklahoma heat has drained our energy.

And then the front door opens. She's early, most mornings I don't see my mother-in-law until 7:30.

"Here's your checking account statement, dear."

She pushes the torn envelope toward me and then rushes down the hallway. My husband smirks as I scurry after her. My sleeping children have a busy day before them, but I am too late. She has yanked them from their rest and, whether I want it or not, the remainder will be like a mossy stone plummeting off a rugged mountainside.

I'm aggravated, but most of our mornings start out with the same intrusions. Whether a day is good or bad is decided by a very simple criteria: If I have five interruptions or less, it is one of the good ones. On the other days, which happens at least three or four times a week, I wash away my sorrows with ice cold beer. I can feel in my bones that I may have to resort to tepid beer today.

Pouring the whipped eggs into a heated skillet, I ask her why my checking account statement is opened. She shrugs and says she thought it was hers.

My husband giggles, "Mom, our name is right here."

"I guess I missed that," she sharply bites.

The eggs are finished and I spoon two spoonfuls onto each boy’s plate next to honey toast and sliced fruit. Although they've only been awake for a few minutes, they are alert and energized. I must admit that they love her. And, for that, I do, too. With each daily intrusion, with each passive aggressive jab about the cluttered condition of my sons' rooms, with each frantic Old Wives' Tale, I remind myself of that. Yes, she is meddlesome and overbearing, but it stems from her boundless love, right?

I lift each boy into his high chair. They are jabbering with me and with each other. The oldest, the 3-year-old, shares memories of last night's dream. As their eggs continue to cool on the counter, I turn to the refrigerator, pull out milk and pour it into two sippy cups. Lids are never easy to find at our house, so I scramble for a minute before finding two clean ones.

When I turn back towards the boys, perching quietly in their high chairs, my jaw hits the floor. She's pulled two granola bars from her coat and both boys are now stuffing them into their mouths. Their cheeks are ballooned, as though they are chipmunks storing nuts for the winter.
"What are you doing?" I demand.

"What do you mean? The boys are hungry, so I was just giving them something to eat," she responds.

"Yes, I realize they are hungry. That's why I've cooked them breakfast."

I hold two full plates out. Our eyes lock. She blinks.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I didn't see you cooking that. I just thought you weren't going to feed them."

"Umm....why did you think I put them both in their high chairs?"

"Well, I just thought you put them up there so I would feed them."

My eyes dart toward my husband and I hope they are burning through him.

"That's okay, honey. Just put their food on my plate. I'm plenty hungry this morning," the husband suggests. I'm pissed. He brushes her poor manners and constant invasion of privacy under the rug. For many reasons, I respect his tolerance for her. But, for many reasons, I wish he would draw boundaries.

As the boys finish their granola bars, she tells the oldest she will take him fishing. Even though I've asked her a million times to ask me privately first, she forges forward. Of course, I did already have morning plans for my kids. But, I'm exhausted already. Rather than jump into the conversation, which would make me the wrecking ball for all things fun, I tell her that they can go for 2 hours, but that I must have them back then. She only lives 500 feet from us and anytime that I keep her from doing something she wants to, I end up spending the rest of the day fighting her as though she is a rebellious teenager.
Perhaps if we do this early, I can have the boys back for the rest of the day, uninterrupted.

She returns them 30 minutes early and I thank her for taking them. Like I said, she is good to them in so many ways and I try to focus on that.

At 10:45 I lay the baby, a bouncy 2-year-old, down for his nap. He's a bit restless, but after a few minutes, he's out. The oldest boy started preschool this week. Since his birth, I have purposely sought jobs that I could do from home. Although I hate his absence, the school he is attending has a near perfect reputation. In order to even get in, children must be on the waiting list since birth. It seems impossible that he should be old enough to go, but my excitement for him in this new venture is electric.

I pluck a few grapes from a sacked vine and toss them into a cereal bowl. In my experience, reading lessons are far more enjoyable if done over those sweet drops of heaven.
As the oldest boy and I park our butts on his bedroom floor to look over Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Lessons, I hear clanking in my laundry room. The back door leads straight into it, so the noise makes me uneasy. I tell the oldest boy to eat his grapes as I jump up to investigate the commotion.

There she was, moving laundry baskets and trying to pull the dryer from the wall.

"What are you doing?" I inquire.

"Oh, well, when I was done here the other day, I noticed you had left clothes in the washing machine, so I moved them to the dryer. Then I came down to fold the clothes when they dried because I know how hard it is for you to get to that and I realized that your dryer wasn't getting hot enough. It was taking forever for the clothes to dry. So, I thought I would clean out the exhaust pipe, I'm sure it's stopped up. Then maybe your electric bill won't be so high and your clothes won't smell so moldy."

I pause for a moment, almost at a loss for words.

"My electric bill isn't high," I say. "What makes you think my electric bill is high?"

"Well, if it takes 2 full dryer rounds for your clothes to be finished, it must be," she huffs.

I start to just walk away and let her do whatever the hell it is she wants to do. But then I realize if I am ever going to have an inch of my own space, I cannot let her finish this insane project. I thank her for her effort, but tell her that I will look into the problem later. The younger boy was still sleeping and I didn't want to wake him, or at least that's the excuse I gave.

She wanted to stay, then she wanted to take the oldest boy with her. I wanted to gnarl at her, so I mustered all the softness in my voice when I told her that the boy needed to work on his book. I also reminded her once again to ask me privately if he could go, rather than announcing it to him.

She came back an hour later because she found one of the boys' favorite toy trains at her house. She came back three hours after that with chicken strips just as I was serving roast beef. As I was reading the boys their bedtime stories, she arrived with cookies.

Each day I live is like a twisted version of Groundhog's Day where my mother-in-law is a furry little rodent. If I see her before 8 am, I just know I am going to have a long day of intrusions. I don't want it to sound like I don't love her. I do. She loves my children as though they are her own and I chant that to myself over and over again when she snidely asks me, "Do you really think you need that second beer?"

And as she chimes in about the superiority of her toilet cleaner in comparison to mine, I think to myself, "Are you fucking kidding me, lady? Yes, I need this second beer. I need the 20 that will follow it, too."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

from my guest blogger - My cat Stuart is jealous of Michael Phelps

Laurie from Posts from the Playground offered to guest post on my blog, and I was all "oh hell yeah!". Well, I probably didn't swear like that, cause I don't know her that well, but I did read that she deals drugs at the park, so don't think I need to worry too much about my language. Anyway, Laurie is part of the Philly Mom Bloggers group, so that alone tells me she rocks. Check her out!

My cat Stuart is jealous of Michael Phelps

Hi, everyone. I’m over here from the playground today to fill in for my new blog buddy, Kristine. I wasn’t entirely sure what to write about until I saw Kristine’s cat post the other day and then immediately I knew. I had to tell the world about my cat’s obsession/jealously of Michael Phelps, most decorated Olympian, who has won eight gold medals this Olympics for swimming.

To all of you dog lovers out there who don’t believe that cats can be equally good companions, I say psshaw. I never really actually say psshaw, but in this instance, it is the only right thing to say.

Enter stage left, my cat Stuart. He is a white with cream-colored markings Asian shorthaired cat. He has blue eyes. One time when we were at Walt Disney World, about eight years ago, a man offered me his seat on a bus to the park. I was pregnant at the time and holding my two-year-old son, Ethan, on my lap. The man sitting next to us kindly asked Ethan if he was excited to see Mickey Mouse? He replied flatly, I had a dream that my cat Stuart had no eyes. This really has nothing to do with his issues of jealousy regarding Michael Phelps, but every time I mention Stuart’s eyes, I feel compelled to tell this story.

Anyway, Stuart is every bit the companion a dog is. He follows me around the house. He curls up in bed with me. He meows when we return home to let us know that he is glad to see us, and since the Olympics have been on, he has every night nuzzled on the couch next to me to watch. He stares intently at the t.v.

One night, when Mr. Phelps was winning his sixth or seventh gold medal, whichever one was the close call that was contested, I saw in Stuart’s eyes a strange look. "What’s wrong, Stu?" I asked him calmly.

Stuart and I communicate. I am the only one in the house that he confides in, and I can’t say that I really blame him, as no one else believes that he can, in fact, talk.

"I want to be an Olympic swimmer", he tells me. I interpret his language for the kids and my husband. At first, no one speaks, and then Ethan says, "Cats hate water."

Stuart, who honest to God taught himself to go pee on the potty, a la Mr. Jinx from Meet The Parents (no, he can not flush- cats have their limits you know) tells me he is not threatened by the water. He can see himself as a swimmer. He believes he can win eight gold medals. He wants to know what Michael Phelps has that he doesn’t? He asks Daddy for swimming lessons and a coach.

My husband Matt refuses to answer him. It can be a very cruel world, I tell him. My kids prove this by saying, "Mom you are crazy."

Of course, I don’t listen to them. I tell him, Stuart I believe in you. If you want to be like Michael Phelps, not only do you have my full support, but also I believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Cats are amazing creatures. See you in London in 2012! P.S. Does anyone know where I can get an extra small bathing cap with ear holes?


Friday, August 29, 2008

From my guest blogger - Not the only mommy needing therapy!

A couple weeks ago I did a little tweet on Twitter asking if anyone was interested in guest posting on Mommy Needs Therapy while I was on vacation this week. I was so excited when Hip_MOM at Happy Healthy Hip Parenting said she was interested! She and I have quite a bit in common, and I'm honored that she felt safe enough on my blog to share some of her life with us!

I've been invited to write over here while KATT is out of town. It's a bit of a challenge to write for someone else, somewhere else, since I want to make sure I don't offend anyone so you want to come back to this site but I don't want my readers to enjoy Mommy Needs Therapy so much that they make the leap and replace her site with mine for reading material.

This is why I haven't told my readers that I'll be posting here. Actually, that's a lie. I did tell them I'd be posting here and was so excited at the idea of promoting my own blog that I read Mommy Needs Therapy from header to footer in order to inspire some sort of discussion that would appeal to both my readers and hers.

While I realize that this post is more serious than I tend to be, and less exciting than the times I've written about sex in the suburbs or dating after divorce, I couldn't get past the title of the blog as far as wanting to really share with readers why I was so drawn to Katt's writing in the first place.

Here's my feeble attempt:

I've been in therapy before, several times. In fact, I owe my life, literally, to my last therapist who helped me get out of an abusive relationship, encouraged me to pursue my dreams and allowed me the opportunity to express myself openly and honestly, through tears and laughter.

My first experience with therapy was during college. The second therapist I went to came into my life at a time when I was depressed and experiencing a plethora of emotions surrounding my upcoming marriage. And finally, my last therapist was the man who helped me realize that my marriage was ruining my self-esteem and my husband would continue to be verbally abusive as long as I allowed it.

During college, and through all of these life experiences, I turned to writing, realizing how therapeutic it was for me. I wrote poetry during college and continue to keep a journal.

It's taken me years to finally comprehend how depression and anxiety played such a major role in my life. I made many bad decisions because I was in such a different state of mind than I would've been had I simply taken others' advice and got help or continued taking the medication that so obviously made the difference.

Today, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm on anti-depressants as well as having a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication that I take as needed.

Since I knew my depression was an issue, I made sure to tell my OB about it while I was pregnant. She made sure to monitor me and was a bit more gentle with me, I felt, when discussing the sensitive issues surrounding my pregnancy and the c-section I was to have.

Immediately after giving birth, I began to feel the depression taking over once again. It hit me so hard in the hospital that by the time I was back home, I thought that the baby blues were normal and that they would eventually dissipate. I have never been more wrong.

Looking back, I can tell you that post-partum depression was damaging to me in many ways, and to the many people that were a part of my life. My husband, especially, was affected by my issues, as was my son since he was there to witness the downfall of our marriage.

Back to the present: My sister just had a baby. He's 8 weeks old and she also had a c-section. Although this is baby #2 for her, I still felt the need to remind her about my experience with post-partum depression and how it took me three years - 3 years - to finally start taking action and getting a prescription to help me manage and function on a daily basis.

She's taking anti-depressants already - I want to say because of my reminder - and she noticed a dramatic improvement after just a few days.

The stigma behind psychological disorders and being prescribed with "happy pills" or "my chill pill," as I refer to it, has gone through some changes over the years. People now make jokes - openly - and reference their experience by laughing it off, myself included.

But, the funny thing is, I need to talk about it more. I need to be up front with people, new moms especially, and let them know that my experience is not uncommon. I also make jokes about needing a drink in the middle of the morning or refer to alcohol as another form of therapy. That's not a lie. I do take pleasure in the relaxing effect that an ice cold beer or glass of wine has on me. I also shop when I reach a high level of anxiety or indulge in chocolate or enjoy ice cream (in higher doses).

I don't think there's anything wrong with having these things or experiences in our lives that offer us comfort. I do think there are times when people overdo it and allow these habits to turn into addictions. There's definitely a fine line there.

Katt's blog has inspired me in many ways. Because she and many other writers are so open about their life and their experiences, I've learned to become more open in my writing, and real. Readers thank me for my frankness and willingness to share.

For me, writing is therapeutic and I thank you, and Katt, for allowing me a little piece of my mind (and medicine for my soul).


Thursday, August 28, 2008

From my guest blogger - Mother and daughters, the drama, oh my!

When I asked Deb from Postcards from the Edge if she would guest post for me I think she passed out. Or maybe it was from the vodka shots she was doing. Not quite sure.

I "met" Deb a couple months ago, when she started stalking my blog. She will so try and tell you it was me stalking her, but we know the truth. When my blog moved she had some anxiety filled nights hours minutes seconds until I emailed her with my new address. Whew, it was tough there for a while.

Deb is the one that taught me how to do strike throughs, and for that I promise to over use it frequently will be forever grateful.

In all seriousness though, Deb's post about the mother-daughter relationship is pretty appropriate considering I'm with my own mother this week. She asks some good questions, ones I've wondered about myself at times. I'm quite certain I'll come back next week with some doozy posts for ya'all. So show Deb some love my friends, she'd like to get more than three readers a day she tells me. Heh.

When Katt asked me to be a guest blogger for her, my initial response was, “Wow! She must have some slim pickins if she’s asking me. I’m not nearly as interesting as, well, anyone else I read.” Then she told me that she thinks I’m interesting and likes my writing. At this point, I realized she had had one too many glasses of wine and I should not argue with her. So I accepted and here we are. Just don’t hold her accountable for my lack of intelligence or interesting things to say.

I want to talk today about the Mother/Daughter bond. I have never had a daughter, only 2 sons, so I can only speak about the relationship from one perspective. A daughter’s perspective. More importantly, my perspective as my mother’s daughter.

Growing up, I didn’t feel I had a great bond with my mom. Around the time I became a teenager, the bond I had with my mother was tenuous at best. We fought constantly, and I truly believed she begrudged me the carefree life I had that she never did. She began making me take my (9 year) younger brother with me everywhere I went, including on dates. I felt like that was her way of not allowing me to be a kid, therefore, putting a stop to any fun I might be having.

From as far back as I can remember, my mom has always turned whatever crisis or illness you have back onto herself. For instance, about 15 years ago, my brother was diagnosed with MS and she immediately began crying and carrying on, “What did I do to that made this happen?” That may sound trite, but she has pushed away the rest of the family with her behavior and now only has me left.

There are things that happened in my childhood (I refer to it in my own blog here at #18) that I have never told her. I’m sure we all have things we have never told our moms, but I doubt for the same reason.

Mom was an alcoholic (I guess was is not the correct word here) when I was growing up, so on the one hand I do blame her for what happened to me. But it did happen to me. So I think maybe I don’t share it with her because in some strange way I don’t want her to “take it away from me”. It sucked, don’t get me wrong, and I wish it never happened at all. But its part of what made me who I am today. The bond continued to crack.

Now, with all the issues surrounding my (soon to be ex) DIL taking my grand daughter so far away, mom has been in rare form. I did all my crying, scheming and screaming months ago and I’m done with that. I am now trying to work with the DIL to come up with a way to get to Okla. and see the baby. But every time I see mom, she brings up the baby and she turns it into a crying jag about how she is not able to see her and how much she misses her. She calls her, her grand daughter. (“I miss my grand daughter – Why did she take my grand daughter away from me?) I’m sure she misses her and (believe me) I know how much it hurts, but again I feel like she is taking this away from me. This is my grand daughter. She has grand children and other great-grandchildren that she shows absolutely NO.INTEREST.IN.AT.ALL. Why does it not seem to bother her to have no part of their lives? This seems to, once again, be her trying to take something away from me. My pain, my loss, my illness, or my grand daughter. Where does it end?

The once tenuous bond is becoming increasingly fragile. I fear it may altogether break and then she will have no one left.

I started this off talking about not having had a daughter of my own, but I know mine is not the “norm” when it comes to the mother/daughter bond. I have girl friends that have decent relationships with their mothers. This is what I imagine the mother/daughter bond should be. Sure arguments from time to time, but nurturing and loving too. These are not things I can say exist in the relationship I have with my mother. I love her, but I can’t say that I like her very much.

Is there a way to strengthen this bond? I don’t know, but I fear it might be too late.

Tell me about your mother/daughter bond from whichever perspective(s) you may have. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From my guest blogger - Mommy’s Had Therapy

I was so excited when Bikini said she would guest post for me this week. Bikini and I have been reading each others blogs for a couple years now. I love her sense of humor and her stories about her kids and her cats. I've decided I want to move next door to her so she can invite me over for dinner, because she sounds like an amazing cook! And then we'll do all kind of crafty girly things together!

Mommy’s Had Therapy

Hello! Guest poster Bikini here, filling in for Kristine while she’s off gallivanting and cavorting on vacation. Since I normally live in Pantsfreesia, I threw on some sweats to come over here for the day, as I don’t think Kristine wanted her readers to need therapy, too, after a random pants-free guest post.

I’ve had several therapists over the years, and I’d like to think that each one has given me some sage advice at some point. Yes, I would like to think that, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily true, as counselors, like haircuts, come in many styles, many of which require too much maintenance and/or just plain make you look weird.

My first experience was in college after a particularly emotionally grizzly situation with a roommate came to a head, when my college had a partnership with another local college, wherein graduate students in their counseling track came to my college to provide counseling. Kumbaya and that jazz, and I was assigned a counselor who was several years older than I was (I was 21) who shared a name with my sister’s friend from high school. Not the same girl, mind you, but the unusual name always made me slightly paranoid that perhaps my sister was getting transcripts of my sessions.

Since this was likely a first for both of us (my first time as a patient, and her first time counseling), I think we did okay. I tried to overlook the fact I was soliciting advice about my life from a girl who wore a leather jacket with oversized safety pins all over it (I was coming out of a grunge phase myself), and she tried to pry family secrets and Freudian insights out of me. I don’t recall that I had many to offer, frankly, and the most memorable session we had resulted in this dialog:

Her: So, when you weren’t able to make progress on that, how did you feel?
Me: I felt frustrated, frankly.
Her: And when it didn’t happen, what were you thinking?
Me: I. Was. Frustrated.
Her: And that made you feel….?
Me (tears flowing at this point): I think I was frustrated. (*sob*)

My 34 year old self wants to go back to my 21 year old self and slap her a bit for putting up with that nonsense. As opposed to my 32 year old self who put up with the therapist who continually cancelled our appointments and tried to reschedule them for 6 weeks in the future, when clearly whatever crisis I was in would either be 1) exponentially worse, making her job harder or 2) magically resolved, thus making her job easier.

I find that therapy is more like getting a haircut than anything – the hopeful first meeting, eventual crushing disappointment and tears at some point, the “growing out” period, and miscommunication with the professional can spell disaster, sometimes short term, sometimes long term. But when you find that right mix, it’s pure Aquanet-laced gold..


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From my guest blogger - A letter to The Boy

I met Anissa on Twitter several weeks ago and I thought she was pretty cool. And she makes me laugh! I have a little girly crush on her. Shhhh...

Not only did Anissa do me a huge favor by guest blogging for me, but she has given Noah a beautiful gift for the future. I will certainly be showing him this letter when he's ready.

Thank you Anissa!

Now go show her some love people!

I saw a meme going around to write your18-year-old self a letter. The things that you would tell yourself, the wisdom you would impart to your impetuous self. When Katt asked me to write a post for her while she’s gone, my first thought was about my letter. But then I thought, “Why would HER readers want to read about what I’d write to myself?”

So this is the letter that I would write to TB to read when he’s struggling with what being adopted means. Those days that he’s trying to identify what being adopted means to who he is. Being adopted comes with a 12 piece set of luggage that there is no getting around, no matter how loving the home, regardless of the devotion of the parents.

Dear TB,

Perhaps today you’re angry with your mom or dad. Perhaps they’ve again failed to GET you and you are resenting that. Are you just inside your head? I’m not sure what the exact reason is for the thoughts in your head, but please know, they are NORMAL. They do not make you a bad kid, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love your parents and it won’t make them love you any less.

Do any of these sound familiar?

I wish I had my REAL parents back, they’d understand me.

If a different family had adopted me, I’d be happier.

Why did these people adopt me if all they wanted to do was make me miserable?

They should have picked a different kid because I’m not what they wanted.

Ahh, sound like anyone you know? Because, you’re not the first…and trust me, you’re not the last…to have these thoughts. I had them when I was around your age. I struggled with all these same questions. Sometimes they were an easy excuse to be angry for whatever injustice I felt I’d been dealt. Occasionally I used them as a way to lash out when I didn’t know any other way to hurt. Other times they were the question rolling around in my head that kept me awake in the dark.

Can I share with you what age and becoming a parent myself taught me about the person I was then?

I was so full of fear that it was crippling, TB. I remember thinking that if my birth mom could walk away from me when I was cute little baby, what was going to keep my parents from walking away from me when I’m being a snot-for-brains teenager? There is a trust broken so early on, you may not even know it’s broken. I even pushed and pushed my parents to see if I could ever bring them to the point where they would reach a place where they would leave me. Give up on me. Decide I was right, they’d picked the wrong kid.

We are taught that a mother’s love is unconditional and a loving mother would throw themselves under a bus for their child. But your birth mother left you. Left you to the luck of the wind to hopefully find a family to take care of you. Trust me, I know that’s harsh. If the one person in the world that is supposed to love you more than any other could just up and turn their back on you, what does that say about you?

You know what? It says NOTHING about you.

It says that she was a woman who wanted better for you. She sacrificed so that you could have a chance at a life that she couldn’t give you. For whatever reason, she knew that letting God provide you with a loving family was the best she could do. As a mom myself, I would be forever empty if I had to give up my child, but I would do it in a heartbeat if I knew that it was the only way for my baby to have a chance. For you, she did this.

If you wonder who she was and what forced her to make her choice, consider that she could be out there thinking of the baby that she gave away and what his life is like now. She would want to know that you are healthy, you are happy, that you have a family that loves you and keeps you safe…in a way that she couldn’t.

TB, you got that. If you know the love that took your parents to an orphanage in Russia, with their dreams in their eyes and their spirits full of hope for a child of their own, you would never doubt that you are THEIR child. They had love for you before they knew who you were, the same way a mother rubs her belly and whispers her dreams for her baby, they laid awake at night and talked about you…the child that would complete the missing part of their souls. You were not one face out of hundreds, you were the face that spoke to them deep in their heart of hearts and they knew it was you…ALWAYS YOU.

Any two people can have a baby. It takes two special people to wrap their hearts around a child, not of their bodies, of their heart. When you cried, theirs were the legs that ran to you. When you walked, theirs were the smiles that shone with pride through the tears. With each accomplishment, theirs were the arms that wrapped you in celebration. With each disappointment, their hearts were the ones that hurt for your hurt. With each breath, you became more and more theirs, until there is no identification of you as a child that wasn’t born of their bodies.

So, just know that you are loved, you are surrounded by family in the purest sense of the word. You are lucky beyond your understanding. As I often told my brother and sister, my parents’ birth children, “They HAD to have you, they CHOSE me.”



Monday, August 25, 2008

From my guest blogger - Breaking the guest blogger cherry. Heh.

When I "found" Bejewell at The Bean I was immediately smittin. In fact, I think it was girl crush at first read. The woman makes me laugh. And she swears like a sailor, which I totally respect. It's probably a good thing she's on the other side of the country, or I'd be embarrassing myself knocking on her front door...all "would you be my friend, please!" with my really annoying whiny voice.

So when you're done here, check her out at her blog. Just promise you will still come back and read mine, m'kay?

Mommy Needs Therapy Guest Post

A few weeks ago, Kristine asked me if I would guest post for her here at Mommy Needs Therapy, and I was all, “Hey! Sure! You bet! No problem!” but then promptly forgot all about it. Luckily, I knew when I took the job that I’d probably forget, and I told Kristine to remind me, which she did this Monday, at which point I slammed my fist against my head and yelled “Fuck me!”

(Yeah, it’s gonna be THAT kind of post.)

Now, let’s remember for a moment that this is only my second guest post – well, really my third, if you count the one I’ve already done for McMommy that won’t actually be published until late next week, in which I make a stunning accusation and present my supporting evidence. (You’ll see.)

But my point is, I’m fairly new to this whole guest posting thing, and while I talk a big game, the truth is I really have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.

For example, in my very first guest post a few weeks ago over at Auds’ place, I confessed that I was on some non-specified medication and then somehow ended up comparing myself to a confused date rapist with confidence issues.

No, really. I totally did that.

So, when I realized I was running out of time to finish this guest post, and hadn’t even started, I got freakishly stressed out, asking myself questions like What will I write about? Who do I think I am? How badly am I going to fuck this up? Will Kristine ever speak to me again? And in the meantime, I wrote nothing.

But then last night I took a deep breath and a hot bath (which always makes everything better), and decided to say Fuck It. I’m just gonna write some bat-shit crazy post that will have everyone going “What the hell was THAT?” and yeah, maybe it’ll kill Kristine’s blog, but it’s her own fault for asking me to guest post in the first place.

So here you go. Enjoy. Or don’t. What do I care? I’m SO over it.

10 Reasons Why I Wish I Was a Zombie

1. Zombies do not have a “To Do” list. Their only “To Do” is to find and eat brains. And that responsibility does not usually require overtime OR a long commute.
2. Zombies do not have to worry about staying in shape or losing weight. They can eat as much brain matter as they want without having to worry if the brains will go to their hips.
3. Zombies do not have house payments. If they find a house they like, they just eat the brains of the people who live there and, Voila! Automatic equity!
4. Zombies do not get annoyed by weird co-workers who say stupid shit like “Allrighty then” about 20 times a day. They just eat the annoying co-workers’ brains and enjoy the resulting silence.
5. Zombies do not have to eat microwaveable Healthy Choice dinners for lunch. They eat brains. (Which actually probably taste better.)
6. Zombies don’t have to worry about being popular or well-liked. They can always make their own friends.
7. Zombies do not have to worry about hair and make-up. They just embrace their grayish zombie complexion and the “messy” look.
8. Zombies do not have nightmares. I mean really, what would a zombie’s worst nightmare be? Puppy dogs and rainbows? I’m guessing they get a pretty good night’s sleep.
9. Zombies do not feel guilty when they forget the eco-friendly canvas bags or the coupons they’ve clipped when they go to the grocery store. In fact, they probably don’t even GO to the grocery store. What could a zombie possibly need at the grocery store? Duh.
10. Zombies never have to call Customer Support for ANYTHING. ‘Nuff said.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

If my eyebrows still exist in a week you will know it was a good trip.

We are off this morning on a 12 hour drive to the ol' family farm in Michigan. Wish us well. Wish me sanity. Wish me lots of alcohol waiting for me at my parents house. The Xanax is already in my purse.

But don't worry my friends, in my absence I have left you well taken care of with several great guest bloggers! Check back tomorrow for the first guest post. You will not be disappointed!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good news, more information and a new post.

Results back from Noah's blood work and everything was fine! (ha, ha I just typed "wine" instead of "fine." I think you know what that means!) No indication that there is anything wrong with his muscles. Everything else was great too! Big relief!

Also good news, the Risperdal seems to be having a positive effect on him. I think we will still need to increase his dose, but so far so good.

And, another post up at Mommies With Style, all about Noah getting ready to start kindergarten.


On my last post, Show and Tell of the feline variety, part 2 about Stel, Cassandra asked in the comments if Stel was short for something. And it reminded me that I forgot to include one of the best parts of his story. Stel, and his brother Mell, like all my cats, have pharmaceutically related names. Stel is short for Stelazine and Mell is short for Mellaril, both antipsychotic medications. They were two crazy kittens when we brought them home!


Next week I'll be on vacation. Well, I'll be away visiting my family on the farm, not so much a vacation since it involves my parents. But anyway, the MNT blog won't be silent, as I have some very exciting guest posters lined up for your reading pleasure. Make sure you visit! And don't forget to give them some MNT love! I'll be back in September with what I'm sure will be some good posts about my mother. Because what's a visit to my parents if I'm not pulling my eyebrows out by the second day. Don't let me forget to take wine!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Show and Tell of the feline variety - part 2

This is Stel. He's my big boy cat.
Twenty-three pounds of pure cat flesh.

He is one of two brothers I adopted in August 1996. We used to call them Thing one and Thing two. They were wild little things as kittens.
Now he's more of a sweet old pussy cat. This is how he sleeps most of the time; curled up next to one of our other cats.
I used to call him my boyfriend. Except for the neutered bit, he'd be a pretty damn good man if he was human. He catches mice if they get in the house. He warms my feet at night. He eats quite a bit though. And he's scared of the vacuum. Pretty typical man actually.


I suck!

Sometimes I just suck.

Like last night, when my husband let out a few moans, then said "wow, you're getting better at this." Ummmmm...excuse me? Better? I was BAD before?

Anyway, that wasn't the suckage I meant. I suck at posting the winners of my Third Blogoversary Contest! I said I would do it yesterday morning, but, well, one thing led to another and before I knew it here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I still haven't decided.

Right now it's between Anissa and the "Olympic butts," Kristin and "husband DNA," Lollipop and "bandaid in her underpants" and SF with "things to do in an elevator."

I'm headed outside right now to get Noah to help me pick a letter (A,B,C or D). If I ask him to pick a number he'll just pick the highest number I give him. So predictable.

And the winner is?!?!?! The letter C! Lollipop and "bandaid in her underpants!"

Lolli check out my CafePress site and let me know what you would like from there. Email me your address as well so I can have it shipped out to you.

Thanks everyone for playing! Wish I could give you all a MNT thong, but it's just not in the budget right now. *sigh*


Friday, August 15, 2008

Less bitching, more humor

Yikes, this blog needs to lighten up a bit doesn't it! Dayum, way to much bitching and whining lately!

So Noah had his first soccer practice for the fall season the other night. Rich said he did pretty good. He even walked away from another kid who got in his face Yeah Noah!

Cute story - in the middle of a practice game he's standing there and yells to Rich. "Daddy, Let's go to Rita's after this. I want a vanilla ice cream cone with sprinkles on it."

At this point Rich is trying to get him to turn around and pay attention.

And then the little boy standing next to Noah raises his hand and says "I'll have chocolate!".

Cute, huh?

And what's up with Kiel you ask? You did ask right?

Umm, yeah. I caught him standing up on his own tonight. At least ten seconds. He's not even nine months yet

I am so in trouble.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Because there isn't enough to worry about

So, in an unexpected turn of events we are ruling out muscular dystrophy in Noah.

I know! W.T.F.!

This morning we saw the neurologist. It was to have been a quick check in appointment with a sign off from her now that we are seeing the new developmental pediatrician.

Noah was handling himself very well, which isn't unusual at 8:30 am. Too bad we can't get all his appointments that early.

So the doctor is doing a quick exam on him and she starts to question his well developed calf muscles. And yes, he has well developed calf muscles. Not freakishly large, but more developed than you would expect in a 5 year old.

So she starts talking very carefully about this, clearly not wanting to alarm us, when I pipe up and ask her if she is concerned about a neuromuscular disorder. She looked a bit taken aback when I said that, clearly a bit surprised that I picked up on where she was headed so easily.

The thing is, I spent a week every summer, for 15 summers, working with kids with muscular dystrophy, from the time I was 17 until I was 31. I've often hoped that in some wildly karmic way by spending so many years working with these kids, I was making sure my own children would be safe from it.

But I know the signs, and I know that enlarged calf muscles aren't a good thing. I actually brought it up with one of his doctors a couple years ago. Noah has had well defined calf muscles since he was a toddler. And at the time I questioned it he seemed to be falling a lot. The doctor laughed at me and told me to stop giving myself more things to worry about. I talked to his preschool teachers and they told me they just thought it was because he was always moving so fast, and just didn't pay that much attention to his surroundings. It made sense to me, and since he has never shown any signs of muscle weakness I let it go.

Until today.

When the doctor questioned the size of his calf muscles.

And my heart hit my toes.

I told her what I used to do every summer. And that I had questioned this myself a couple years ago.

She did a few more tests on Noah, and agreed that she didn't see any muscle weakness.

She said we could just let it go. Wait and see. Or we could run some blood work and see if it looked like there was something going on in his muscles.

Now, if she thought that I could just LET.IT.GO. at that point, she was crazy!

So we are doing the blood work. And figured since they were going to put Noah through the trauma of a blood draw we might as well do a full metabolic panel and just confirm every thing else was OK.

And I have to give Noah props, because he handled himself well for a five year old. He wasn't happy to do it, but Rich held him and I stroked his hair, and he was very brave.

We'll get the results next week.

Honestly, I'm not all that worried about it. Because really, I already have enough to worry about...


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our 5th "Gotcha" Day!

Monday was the five year anniversary of Noah's adoption. It amazes me that it has been five years. So much has happened. So many memories. Here are a few pictures of Noah from Russia.

One of the first pictures we took of Noah. He was 4 1/2 months old when we first met him. This is the picture we sent home to family and friends. He looks so peaceful and introspective in it.

This is the doctor that did his assessment. She gave him high marks! How could you not! He was so bright eyed and happy!

Worn out during one of our visits. One time a nurse came in when he was sleeping and tried to tell me to wake him up, that it wasn't time for his nap. We spent a couple hours with him every day during our first visit in June of 2003.

The play room we visited him in.
More of the play room. Isn't the carpet beautiful? Since then the room has been renovated we have heard.
This was his crib in the orphanage.
This was the crib waiting for him at home.
Stel is keeping it warm for him.
Dascha helped us out as a tour guide and interpreter. She was amazing for a 17 year old!

Finally it was visit 2, we went to court, and he was officially our son. This is a picture of his going home outfit!

One of the baby nurses at the orphanage. I have no idea what she was saying to us, but she did seem to care for him. She told us 11 was his lucky number.

Here we are, our first photo as a real family. This would be our last time at the orphanage!

A picture of the orphanage.

Another picture. Those are bars on the windows.
Back at the hotel with Daddy!
First bath. He was definitely not sure he liked what was happening.
This was in the crib in the hotel. He looks so lost and unsure of what is going on. I love how he is holding on to his bear. He still has animals and blankets that comfort him.
Outside the US Embassy after getting Noah his Visa and the papers he would need to become a US citizen once we reached US soil.
On the plane. Like all babies he was fascinated by his feet.

Finally, we are home!!
Meeting my parents dog for the first time. Safe at home!


A Meme - for Tackle it Tuesday

Ok, for Tackle it Tuesday I am tackling this Meme that Deb tagged me for. I'm also off tackling a new doctor for Noah and visiting what we think will be the day camp we will be sending him too next summer. Wish us luck!

....easy as 123' simple re mi. ABC, 123, baby, you and me girl
**Make sure you pay attention to the letter “T” cause I may be tagging you!**

A. Attached or Single? Married - eight years on 9/2.
B. Best Friend? Jocelyn
C. Cake or pie? Cake - white or yellow, with chocolate frosting
D. Day of choice? Friday - since I'm usually starting a three day weekend
E. Essential item? My laptop - yes, I am addicted
F. Favorite color? pinks and purples, but not to wear
G. Gummy bears or worms? YUCK!
H. Home town? Fowlerville, MI
I. Favorite indulgence? eating at a really nice restaurant
J. January or July? January I guess, I'd rather be a little cold than too hot
K. Kids? 2 boys, 3 cats
L. Life isn’t complete without? my family
M. Marriage date? September 2, 2000
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 brother
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples - must be crunchy
P. Phobias? bats
Q. Quotes? Gonna have to get back to you on that one
R. Reasons to smile? My family
S. Season of choice? spring and summer
T. Tag 5 people: I hate the pressure of having to tag someone. If you want to play, feel free.
U. Unknown fact about me? My left boob is bigger than my right.
V. Vegetable? sweet red peppers
W. Worst habit? the internet
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? strange question - ultrasound I guess
Y. Your favorite food? NinNin's pancakes
Z. Zodiac sign? Aries
Z. Which zoo animal is your favorite? monkeys