Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a-Mario!

This morning was one of my many "firsts" in the parenting department. The first Preschool Party! Lucky me, I have learned a lot in the last year, and I had Charlie's costume all laid out last night, Mal's 67 pound bag packed, and the crusts neatly cut off the chicken salad sandwiches (creative, I know). Even so, we were running a little behind this morning...See?

Hey, we all get tired!

How's this for a-friggin-dorable?! As soon as we got CF's costume on this morning, I could not stop giggling. I wish you could see the strut that seemed to come with the getup...

Yes, now that Jess mentioned it to me, I think the stache is upside down.
Siiigh. Maybe I am still learning. I was just so excited!

At school, the kids performed some really cute fall songs...
Well, some of them did.

That's right, babe. Don't conform.

In other accomplishments...
Okay, well, she isn't actually bouncing in there yet, but the smiling and sleeping, she has down.

Oh, and see where the economy has led me?? Early retirement, maybe? Ha.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


What an amazing weekend of love, family, friends, and FUN. A marriage was celebrated, reinstated, and admired by all. 30 years, and here we are. Mom and Dad, happy anniversary, and thank you for the life you gave us, and continue to bless everyday. Watching you emotionally renew your wedding vows, dance to Roberta Flack, and laugh together all night long has given Adam and I something else to look forward to. It's not always easy, or fun, and I think the whole idea of marriage sometimes still seems daunting, even to those of us who have done it. As I danced with my husband last night, we softly talked about all the things we will do to make sure that we will be where you are one day. The family you have raised, the friends who adore you, and the way you truly enjoy one another's company inspire me. So, by renewing your wedding vows, you also helped to renew ours. As always, you gave just as much as you took. We love you so, so much.

The photos are all thanks to our amazing Catherine! Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Park Pals

Preschool has been beneficial for more than just Charlie's social skills- Mom has made some new friends, too! These ladies are the sweetest, and we have a lot of fun hanging out while the big kids are in class. Last week, after we picked them all up, we headed to the park for some nap-inducing fun! Cindy, who is mommy to Mason and baby Ava (who was born only hours before Miss Mal!) packed the most yummy lunch. We're talking lobster dip and homemade salsa. This woman is amazing! Also along for the fun were Ann, Heather, and Wendy, one of Charlie's teachers, and all their kiddos. We stayed for almost 4 hours, and I think we moms had just as much fun as the little ones. It's a great group to be a part of, for all of us.

Mal-girl checking out the toys...

Cute little Ashley...

Baby Ava, Mal's birthday buddy...

Charlie likes to swing high to "make his belly tickle"...Too cute.

Ali can dangle like the boys!

Mason, just hanging around.

Hi, JD!

Sweet Hunter...

Let's pose, kids!

Ann, Cindy and I...

All that playing made for some thirsty kiddos!

Merry napping to all, and to all a good nap!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tech support, please!

Okay, so you guys are able to see what keywords people Googled to find your blogs?
That sounds like too much fun to miss out on. Do I have to upgrade my Sitemeter account? Or am I just not seeing it?
Someone help!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Baby Spa...

This girl loves her bath! And I love to give her one, because (and this is gross) I never realized how those cute little baby rolls really start to smell when formula gets down in there and dries.
At her doctor visit last week, our gal weighed in at....drumroll please....14 pounds! She is a little chunk, but she is perfecto.

Not to be out-cuted, Charlie asked for a little mini-portrait session tonight, too.

Guess I could've wiped the Cheezit goo off of his sweet little face, huh? In the last pic, he is pretending to be night-night. :)
In other Charlie news, potty training is going sooo much better. Today alone he made three rather smelly deposits. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Let's hope this is really the end of the Pullup days, for a couple of years at least. We could be saving about a million dollars a year.

Tomorrow, I go back to the orthopedist for follow up X-rays. Honestly, the elbow is not so bad. Today I went sling-free all day, and it's fine. I just have to be aware of how I am moving and keep Charlie from jumping all over me. I did have one painful moment a few days ago when I almost dropped a can of V8 and instinctively grabbed for it. Yeeaaaowch. Other than that, it's not so bad! And totally worth the skating. Although I will never, ever be skating again, thank you very much. I have learned my lesson...

Another lesson learned this weekend is this one: The less I work, the more I enjoy it. It's a pretty simple truth for me, I guess. I shot a maternity session with the cutest couple ever, and it was so satisfying. I love the photos, they love the photos, and I feel good about having done it. I am looking forward to another family session this weekend. It is so nice to be excited about something I (usually) love to do. Here are a few:

How cute are these two...well, three??!

One last thing...there's this family that I adore. I don't see them nearly enough, but I suspect that when we make the trek to the coolest mall in our state for our holiday shopping, we will force them into having dinner with us. Only this time, Virginia will be the one turning down a beer. Go say congrats to this soon to be family of four!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Movie Magic.

How awesome is Julie? She was tagged, and instead of doing the 6 Random Things, she rebelled and had the idea of sharing her favorite songs in movie scenes. This is a subject close to my heart, as I often wish life itself had a soundtrack. Music in movies is so powerful. Julie's choices were excellent, so check those out, too, and then do it yourself!

This scene is one of my most recent favorites. I remember the night Adam and I went to see it in the theater, our first date after coming home with young Chuck. You might say I thought it was a lovely, romantic movie....(ahem) because nine months later, Mallory was born. Thank you, Steve Carrell.
From Dan in Real Life...

Okay, more mush for ya. I love this, the ending of Never Been Kissed. The words to Don't Worry, Baby kick in right as the ever sexy Michael Vartan passionately grabs Drew for her first kiss. Sighhh...When this movie came out, I worked at a local theater, and knew the times to run in and catch this scene whenever we weren't busy.

A classic...My hubby and I constantly argue over the ending of this, one of my favorite movies. He is a die-hard Duckie fan, but I much prefer the sparks between Andie and Blane.
From Pretty in Pink...

Moving away from the Romance, I love a good heist movie. And I love me some Nina...
From The Thomas Crowne Affair...

When Adam and I started dating, he made me watch all the Wes Anderson movies. I love them all, especially Rushmore, but the Kink's song, Strangers, in his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, had me on the edge of my seat, in tears. If you have seen it, you know the scene that it followed, so you know why. (Side note: I have a huge crush on Adrian Brody, but none of my friends see why!).

This one's for the hubby. Adam loves this movie so much. He can quote it line by line, and often does when I am making us run late for something. Remember the line, "By the time we get there, the kid won't even be dead anymore!" Yeah, I hear that alot. Here's his musical scene pick.
From Stand By Me...

And I leave you with one of my most feel-goody endings to any of my favorite movies. I still long for the days when we wore Doc Martens with plaid skirts and wanted nothing more than to work here...
From Empire Records...

I tag everyone!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The big G.

Lately, it's been in the front of my mind a LOT.

I seem to be a carrier. It has become such a characteristic of mine that I am actively seeking ways to dispel some of it. It's like a tangible force, following me around as I make my way through this parenting journey. It makes my stomach hurt sometimes, it makes me doubt myself to the point of tears, and it makes me constantly fight the comparisons between myself and other moms.

I am quite sure that my guilt has two very distinctive origins. The first, and most devastating one, is the family we left in Ethiopia one year ago. I could write for a week about the emotions that thinking of them evoke. I know that some of you adoptive parents can relate. I never, ever imagined it would be so hard. I find myself in a panic, knowing that soon, Charlie will being asking the questions. What if I don't know the answers? What if he is angry? What if I don't know enough about his culture? What if he can't understand why he is here? Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

My other guilt source is far more simple, yet somehow just as terrifying to me. It's the everyday, I-know-he-should-be-eating-veggies-for-snacks-but-dang-he-really-likes-these-cookies type of Mom guilt. The nagging feeling in my brain when we let him play Nintendo for an hour, because he so loves that Mario game. That nagging voice tells me that things have changed, and even though we grew up eating Little Debbies and playing video games, that now you just can't be that relaxed. It's not enough now, even though we grew up healthy and happy and so close to our parents that to this day, people are amazed by our bond. That voice nags me if I decide to read a magazine, or a blog, or do anything for myself when my kids are awake.

Why can't it be okay that I let Charlie do his own thing for a while? I can't let go of the idea that if he is awake, and I am not playing with him, reading to him, or doing something, anything, to make him happy, that I am being selfish. This part, I believe, is somehow related to that first source of guilt. And, I am almost embarrassed to admit, it's already starting with MJ. The other day I looked down at her, content in her bouncy seat, and was struck by this feeling that she must be so bored, and that surely there is something I can do to help entertain her. Of course, I coo and talk to her all the time, but the voice tells me it's not good enough. Perhaps she should be learning her ABC's by now. Ridiculous.

Then we have discipline. Anyone who knows CF personally, knows that he can be quite independent. Well, okay, stubborn. He doesn't always react when we tell him to do, or not to do something. It's hard to be in that situation, especially around other parents, and feel like everyone is watching to see what strategy-of-the-month from Parents magazine you're gonna try. And if it will work. And how composed you are while you perform said strategy. And it sucks to wonder if you are doing it right, or if you are royally effing up your children. I know in my head (somewhere amidst all the dust) that people probably understand, and most likely feel the same from time to time. But at what point do I get to let go of worrying and just do what I feel is right?

With all the times I have berated people (okay, not to their faces) for implying that Charlie and Mallory will be different to me in some way, why should I not be able to handle letting Charlie down? Why can't I realize that it's normal for a pissed off two year old to throw his head back and declare that he 'no longer loves youuuuuuuuu'? Is it adoption? Is it just me and my GUILT? Maybe I will feel the same way when Mallory is older, and that will help answer that question. But I cannot let it go that far. I can't be easier on him, because in my mind, that is just as bad as being harder on him. Either way, I have got to be vigilant in keeping things equal. There is no problem with the love....So much love pours out of me for both of them that I know there will never be any indiscretion there. It's the other parenting stuff, the hard stuff, that worries me.

I just want to learn to be tougher without being a meanie-head. I don't want to worry like this every time he gets in trouble. I don't want to look at the faces of the other parents I am around and try to read judgement in their expressions. I want to be a confident mother, a parent who knows what works for her family and what doesn't. I don't want to go into a rambling rationalization, to myself or to anyone, about what I choose to let my kids eat, watch, play, or listen to.

While I am letting it all out, are some things I know will either do one of two things: confirm the Guilt's accusations that I am indeed, a rotten mother OR bring me to the realization that I am not alone in this, shall we say, relaxed parenting style.

Charlie loves Indiana Jones. He loves Star Wars. Yeah, some parts are scary-ish, and some parents would never, ever let their kids watch those movies. And yes, he sometimes watches more than one (and by one I mean two) hours of television per day. I am every child psychologist's nightmare. I do remember my sister and I happily splitting our time...some days we rode our bikes, and some days we watched movies all day. Ah, the old days. I am sure my parents weren't in the living room beating themselves up about it. I want that, too.

Sometimes I make him Spagettios for dinner.
Sometimes I let him drink Coca-Cola. (caffeine free. I may be a sucky mom, but I'm no fool).
Sometimes we hook up the old school Nintendo and watch in awe as he beats level after level.
Sometimes I use the TV as a babysitter.
Sometimes I skip his bath if we haven't gone anywhere.
Sometimes I just shove Mallory's bottles in the dishwasher.
Sometimes I heat them up in the microwave.
Usually, when we go shopping, I buy Charlie a prize.
Sometimes at night, I am too tired to read to him.
We eat McDonald's.

There is also another, quieter voice that I hear as I reread that list.
It sounds something like this:

"Okay, that stuff is not that bad. What about all the stuff you do right?"

Like keeping them fed, and happy and clean (mostly).
Like making sure that Charlie experiences as much as possible.
Like not making a hair appointment so we can go to the fair instead.
Like finally getting into a routine during the week.
Like letting Charlie stir when you do decide to cook.
Like washing clothes 7 days a week.
Like teaching Charlie all the words to 'Three Little Birds'.
Like getting a minivan!

I have been wanting to write about this for some time, but have been afraid to. I am not looking for pity, or compliments, just maybe...reassurance. That it's not just me living with this big, ugly shadow following me around all the time. I'm looking, mostly, for words of wisdom from so many moms and dads out there that I look up to and admire. I am looking for the way, maybe not to shed the Guilt completely, but to, once in a while, be able to look it in the face and say
"You know what? Screw you."

Friday, October 3, 2008


This morning, I have a renewed sense of faith in my country, and that wonderful feeling that was starting to fade... hope... has returned.

I so wish I had written this article!