Monday, October 08, 2007

And the winner is.....

all of them.

I mean, most people did vote for Danica. And a KAL is supposed to have everyone doing the same pattern. But I kind of felt bad forcing you to knit something you may not have wanted to knit. And who says you can't just knit whichever one you like? The whole point of this is to do it together, and I figure you're more likely to stick with it if it's one you really want to make.

But - I do ask that you stick to one of the four. It's fun to see how others are doing the same thing you are - and it is easier to help people if someone else is doing it too.

Also, I've created a separate blog just for this knit along. It's called the "Infertility Sucks" Scarf Along, and it can be found here. We will use this blog to post our progress and cheer each other along. This way we aren't boring all of our non knitting readers to tears with all the knit one purl two going on. So if I know who you are, I have sent you an email inviting you to participate in the blog (it's free to sign up). If you'd like to participate and you didn't get an invite, please send me your email address (mine is yeahsoiknit at gmail dot com) and I will add you. Oh, and if you would be so kind - blog about it and link to the new blog - hopefully more people will join (If anyone is technically inclined and would like to design a blog button - you will be my BFF)

And one other thing. I'm a little worried that I picked patterns that some may find too challenging. I do believe they are all learnable, and I am 100% committed to helping you get through the whole thing, so I really really hope you all stick with this. I will also be posting links to tutorials and other sites I think may be of help to you along the way. Feel free to post a question to the site, or email me directly. No questions are too dumb, and knitters are the nicest people!

Now go out and buy your yarn! Remember, worsted weight, any flavor. I hope you will make this scarf especially for yourself, so pick something soft and pretty. Knitting for loved ones are okay too - but why not treat yourself?

We offically start knitting Monday, October 15th.

I am so freaking excited.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It's TV time!

I came out of a building the other day and saw one of the Cavemen. He was being filmed standing in front of a statue reading a newspaper. For a commercial I guess.

Then I was watching Kitchen Nightmares and found that they were doing a restaurant that is like 2 miles from my house. I've never eaten there, but I might now that it's been redone.

Then I was on my way to happy hour when I passed a filming of 10 Years Younger. Saw the guy in the box but I didn't stop to guess how old he was. It was a pretty big crowd.

What's next? Maybe I'll run into George Clooney somewhere. Well, a girl can dream.

Speaking of television:

My favorite, The Office, has started. And while I'm thrilled that Pam and Jim are finally an item....I wish they would stop making such a big deal about it because you know that all that happiness is going to come to a huge horrible crashing end. I'm not sure if my heart can take it.

I've been sucked into Dancing with the week they should really vote off everyone except racecar guy and cheetah girl. The rest is just painful to watch. Wayne Newton is so creepy looking it gives me the willies. With the black hair, orange face and deer-in-the-headlights-I've-had-too-much-plastic-surgery expression, someone should just shoot him and put him out of his misery. The good news is that if you DVR it, you can watch that sucker in under 30 minutes.

And could you believe I haven't even watched Grey's yet....I better catch up on the web. Dont tell me what's going on!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Knit Along

Knitting (and crocheting) is a form of therapy for me. My life is crazy and my brain is always going a hundred miles an hour. Clicking away on my needles helps me funnel my energy - having my hands do the moving enables my brain to slow down a bit so I can think. Something about the repetitiveness of the motions puts me into a zone of concentration (or oblivion, I've missed many train stops because of it). Not to mention it is a productive use of my commuting time. That's why I knit now.

But why I knitted "then" was slightly different. The energy I had then was a nervous anxious energy as a result of all the waiting. Waiting for appointments, waiting for test results, waiting to start the next cycle after another BFN. The knitting was the ultimate distraction - I sought out soft pretty yarns - having somewhat of an artists' eye, beautiful color combinations made me feel better just to look at them. I also attempted new and more complicated techniques. It was during my darkest days when I taught myself to knit both a pair of socks and a lace shawl. It was an alchemy of sorts...all the negativity, worry and anxiety were magically transformed into a useful and beautiful thing. It made me feel like a little bit less of a total failure.

I've been reading more about the Red Scarf Project, and while knitting for charity is a great thing, especially when it's for orphans, they seem like they are already up to their armpits in red scarves, and because they need to be gender neutral, they can be limited in design. So I'm going to make the executive decision to nix the charity knitting (you can still donate your scarf if you wish, but it's not the main focus of this knitalong).

I would like this to be more focused on us as individuals - taking the time to sit and look inward and create. It would be ideal if you can find yourself some quiet time for this purpose, but as the mom of a toddler myself, I realize this is not always possible. But if you could somehow get that alchemy going it would be awesome.

So on to choosing a pattern. I wanted to ensure that the yarn required was obtainable from any mega craft store. The options below are all for any worsted weight yarn (like Wool Ease or Simply Soft) which are widely available, and would look great in any color. I also tried to choose things that contained an element that might be new to most people and therefore a bit of a challenge. I hate knitting boring scarves...I fall out of love quickly and the project then sits unfinished. Please remember that one of the purposes of a knitalong is to help each other through the pattern, so please don't be turned off by things that look too hard. Trust me, these are all do-able. And you will be glad you rose to the challenge.

My so called Scarf - an interesting stitch pattern

Irish Hiking Scarf - cables

Column of Leaves Scarf - lace type pattern

Danica - Entrelac (this one looks harder than it is - if you can learn to pick up stitches, you can do this - the effect is stunning - check this one out, and this one and this one) It's like magic - hey magic, alchemy...hmmm.....

I'm open to any other suggestions as well. If you think these are way too challenging, let me know too.

I will accept votes until Monday the 8th. Then everyone will have one week to get yarn. I am proposing to kickoff this knitalong on October 15th, which also happens to be Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I hope you will join along! You can follow our progress on the "Infertility Sucks Scarf Along" Blog.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

seafishes & starmonkeys

Okay, the etsy shop is up. Introducing:

Starfish15'll see that I obviously need a logo and masthead. Working on it. I had more crocheted stuff than I thought. Be kind...


Apparently, (and unfortunately) it's not so easy to just change the name of your etsy shop. So "Seafishes and starmonkeys" will have to wait for now.

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PURCHASED SOMETHING!! I will be adding things soon - especially the swirl picture frame that was a hit. Be sure to ask me if there is something specific you would like - I love to personalize things for people!

Mel at Stirrup Queens has done it again. She has arranged to compile a list of all shops that are owned by women who will use the funds for infertility treatments or adoption. Please see the link over there on my sidebar. When shopping for gifts (don't forget Christmas is coming!!) I hope you will consider shopping at these places for your needs. You will get a great hand made gift, and will help someone become a mom. Win win if you ask me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Funky Friday

This morning, as I am walking into my building to work, I encountered the biggest idiot on the face of this planet. To get into my building I have to go through a revolving door, which admittedly is always moving pretty quickly, especially in the morning when everyone is coming in. Getting through the door is usually uneventful. But this time, just as I get into my little one fourth section of the door, I hear shrieking in my left ear.

Apparently, a very young, very STUPID young woman who is apparently from a planet where there are no revolving doors, was unable to figure out how to safely navigate such a complex piece of machinery. I guess she misjudged the trajectory of her entry, and she almost got crushed as the door moved around. She and ended up smooshed up against me in my little section, scaring the crap out of me with the screaming. I had to do the Mr Tudball shuffle* through the door with this idiot on my back. Being the sympathetic and understanding sort that I am, I scream "WHAT ON EARTH WOULD POSSESS YOU TO DO THAT??". Sheesh. Meanwhile, she didn't even apologize or anything...when we got to the other side she practically ran into the little coffeeshop. I guess she was mortified. RIGHTFULLY SO.

So that should give you an indication of the kind of day this is. Can't wait to go home. Tomorrow we are doing a community yard sale - a bunch of houses in my neighborhood all do it the same day. It's always an interesting social experiment. I love to practically give away stuff to people who really like something, or really need something. I also really love tellling people to take a hike when they get all nasty because you won't give them a lead crystal vase for 25 cents.
Although most of my time tomorrow will probably be spent going through baby clothes right there on the front lawn...SM (seamonkey) has a closet full of clothes that don't really fit him anymore, and I am reluctant to face the fact that many things still have tags on them and were a complete waste of (mine and other's) money. I need to realize that he is at least in 12 mos size now, and it's probably a good idea to get rid of the 3-6 month sizes. Ya think? So I have his closet full, drawers, plus 3 huge plastic tubs of hand me downs from my cousin to go through. I need to pull out stuff to sell at the yardsale, stuff to sell on ebay, and stuff to give away to charity. Let me know if anyone is interested in little boy things - I would love to think that some of his things would be loved by other adopted kids.....

As for the etsy shop - I think we have a winner. Rachel came up with "Seafishes & Starmonkeys" and for some reason I can't get that out of my head. Something about how it tangles up me and the boy in a fun way. I have no idea what kind of logo/banner thing I will come up with, but it matches the whimsicalness (whimsicality?) of the items I make. And to clarify that point, most of my stuff will NOT be knitted related. I do alot of whimsical painted stuff...treasure boxes, pictures frames and things. I may throw some knitted stuff out there that I have never gifted out, but it won't be much. Sorry if I mislead you. But, once you see what kind of stuff there is, I am totally open to suggestions and will custom make anything you wish. Rachel, thankyou, and we will have to work out how you will be justly rewarded for your creativity.

If I can find a few freaking minutes of free time, maybe I can get everything finished, photographed and posted.

In the meantime, please check out these great links from adoptive moms:

Mama K Creations - Great tye dye baby stuff made by fellow blogger MamaK
The Family Gems - Beautiful bracelets - love the ones that say "believe"- by Sig
Connie at One More Ladybug is selling great International Adoption car decals - see her sidebar!

*50 points if you know this reference.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Help for a name

The Etsy shop is almost ready - although don't get too excited, I don't have a ton of stuff to list - whenever I get a free block of time, I seem to want to spend it with a certain short person in my household. But the stuff that will be there should be nice... Anyway, I need help choosing a name for my etsy shop page. Some things I've thought of:

Starfish Garden
Fifteen Starfish (15 is my lucky number)
Starfish and Seamonkeys
Chunky Seamonkey
Seamonkey Says...

Well, you see the theme I'm trying to go with here...and I don't really love any of me a favor and take 2 minutes and think about it - what else do ya got?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Grumpy Monday

Okay so people aren't exactly scrambling to knit with me. Seems like it's a slow blog reading day (or that's what I'm choosing to believe) - you all must be so exhausted from the weekend - I'll give you some more time to mull it over. Just one red scarf - and I promise to pick a pattern that is totally do-able. Even if only a few of us do it it will be fun dammit!

In other news - last week my admin asked me to contribute money towards a gift for one of our staff members who is a new dad. I found out about the birth when this person suddenly asked for a week off to help "the baby's mother" while she recouperates. Yeah, one of those deals. So I decided not to be all bitter, and I gave $5. Well today I learn that a total of $285 was collected! Can you believe that?? So I'm way past bitter now - I'm into totally pissed off. Let's all give this guy a freaking car payment because he forgot to use a condom?? I don't get it! Life is so not fair. But I knew that.

Yawn. I'm exhausted. I'm not sleeping terribly well these days. I find myself subconsciously worrying about every little thing lately. I guess when things are good you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Actually it's not so much subconsciously - I have been doing this really bizarre thing lately - I have been imagining these really horrible things happening to the people I love. Accident type things - and I play out entire scenes in my head. Like I'll be carrying seamonkey and I'll think "Imagine if I tripped and we both fell onto the concrete and he cracked his head open" - and that's a mild one trust me. In particular I seem to be obsessed as to when my dad is going to die. Isn't that horrible? He and seamonkey have such a strong bond that I'm thinking it would just FIGURE that something would happen to screw that all up.

I think I am just really scared that something bad is going to happen soon - the law of averages says it's got to happen sometime, no?. And those of us who have gone through infertility kind of know that you get used to bad disappointing hurtful shit happening to you so regularly that you can't believe that the good stuff will last very long.

Am I nuts? Do some of you feel that way too? Any thoughts on how to handle it?

Friday, September 21, 2007

KAL anyone?

So I've been thrilled to see that we have some knitters out there in adoption/inferitlity bloggy land! As you may know, I do have a knitting blog, but I haven't posted there in quite some time - it's been a challenge to post with any semblance of regularity on this blog, so maintaining two is OUT. So guess what? I will be consolidating - and now you get to look at knitterly things in various stages of completion from now on. Doesn't that sounds fabulous?

Okay ready? Go!

This is what I'm working on now - A blue baby kimono sweater. It's a gift for a friend. Now I just need to seam it and do the neck band. I also need to make a girly baby sweater for a friend, I was going to do this in a feminine color, but perhaps I'll just crochet something...that goes quicker for me.
Now for the items that I haven't picked up since before we got seamonkey:

A wrap (basically a big rectangle) made from worsted wieght wool, using a lace pattern I found in a magazine which I can't locate right now. Perfect for fall, but I doubt I'll finish it - I'm like a third done with it.

Entrelac baby blanket. This is just too feminine for seamonkey. When I finish it I'll probably gift or sell it on etsy. It's 100% wool and super soft, once it's blocked I'm sure it will be gorgeous and snuggly.

Bell Sleeve Pullover for myself. Thick yarn with big needles, this should go fairly fast. This is one sleeve done - it's the first sweater I've ever attempted just for me.

I wish I could plow through these projects and be done with them. I am definitely a product knitter - I like finishing and having something to show for my efforts, as opposed to some who are process knitters; enjoying the journey as much as the end product. That's SO not me.

I'm not sure if I'm going to pick up any of these UFOs any time soon (unfinished objects for all you civilians). After the baby sweaters I want to make seamonkey a stripey winter hat and scarf. And I maybe want to knit something to send to our friends in Colombia. And then I was thinking that maybe we could do a KAL?

What's a KAL you ask? Why a Knit A Long of course!

Where we all pick a pattern, knit it at the same time, help each other along and (of course) post our progress on the blog. I had this crazy idea that maybe some of you who dabble in knitting would like to try something new and exciting....maybe even learn something new? Howz about lace? Or cables? I was thinking scarf to keep things fairly quick to knit. AND, if you don't have your heart set on giving your scarf to your great Aunt Tilly for Christmas, we could even tie this in to the whole adoption thing and participate in the Red Scarf Project!

What do you think??

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some Follow Up

Well I am happy to report that this week is going much better (damn I was looking for an excuse to do some serious shoe shopping), although I should keep that on the QT in case the gods are listening - there is still tomorrow to get through. I have to attend a stupid lunch tomorrow to meet a client - an easy work day but I have to go with a bunch of sales people which is always so annoying - I can't do that chit chat thing, nor can I do the salesy schmoozy thing. Such a waste of time to me.

Anyway - just a note on my husband...while he is definitely a keeper - don't go giving him too much praise now - there were some definite benefits to him advising me to buy four tailored suits. Like how he doesn't have to hear me bitch about my lack of appropriate attire at least for the short term. That is no small thing here folks - I think his ears were starting to bleed because of it. Not to mention that I'm sure he assumes that he now has free reign to buy four tailored suits worth of fishing equipment, car magazines and grooming products. There is a method to his madness for sure - a stupid man he is not.

I am also remiss in thanking you for all of your kind words on the Birthday Bash. Again, it was nice of you all to be so complimentary, but really, I don't think I'll be winning any mom of the year awards. As I said, the weeks leading up to the event were so unbelievably stressful. I am not a good party planner AT ALL. I think and rethink every single decision a million times. I can't even begin to tell you how many times we changed the menu. And I am still feeling guilty for all the time I stuck seamonkey in his packnplay in front of the tv so I could get crap done. I do not enjoy party planning, not one little bit. In fact, I said to one friend at the end of the night "I hope you had fun because I am NEVER doing that again. Okay, MAYBE when he's five, but right now that is a very big MAYBE".

The invitations I enjoyed, because crafting is my thing. They took me a little longer than normal because I am a crazy perfectionist. But the rest was really quite simple. The food was all either cold stuff or barbecued stuff - simple recipies with few ingredients. The spongebob cake was really easier than it looks. The website not only gives you step by step instructions, but gives you videos of the whole thing too. It's basically a rectangular cake, so it wasn't all that tricky - and it uses a cake mix and canned icing. As for the cupcakes - that could not have been easier, and I got the idea from a tv show. Make any old cupcakes and any old frosting tinted with (2 whole bottles!) of red food coloring. Stick in two swedish fish with a notch cut out for claws, shoe lace licorice for legs, and halved black jelly beans for eyes. Easy peasy!

The difficult part was that I was crazy busy at work all week and everything I needed to do had to be done between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. Words cannot express the whirlwind of activity that occurred in my house in that time frame. It was not fun at all. AT ALL.

As for husbands, I don't know what to tell you. We seem to be struggling a bit with the SAHD thing....more on that in a later post. I'm glad to see that at least of few of you have husbands with the bizarre garage unpack/repack disease. Maybe we should have a telethon.

Lastly, I never acknowledged that I was recommended for a Rockin' Girl Blogger award by Samantha at Southern Infertility. Thanks very much Samantha! As required, here are my nominations. I think I'm only supposed to list 5, but I needed to list a few more. This was pretty difficult, there are lots of great blogs I read, and many great people who have supported me throughout my journey. This list represents those blogs where I feel some kind of connection with the authors (beyond having adopted a child), as much as you can without having actually met the person anyway...

1. Samantha herself. In the spirit of "right back atcha", Samantha is an eloquent writer, describing her feelings during infertility treatments in a such a deep and thoughtful way - better than I ever could. Add to that the fact that she is a faithful reader of this blog, even when there are pics of seamonkey all over the place. She is the definition of class. Go say hi to her. She could probably use the support right now anyway.

2. Rachael at Always Wanted Four - I started reading her blog when she was in the process of bringing Katya home from Russia. Intelligent, crafty, witty - my kind of gal!

3. Jenni at Four Feet More - I love to read about the antics of high spirited Vika and handsome Eamon. We seem to have similar views on parenting and a similar sense of humor. And she knits!

4. Julie at ...And the rest is history - Our sons are extremely close in age, so it's great to get another perspective on things as we go along on this road to raising a human being. I like her candidness, both in her words and her photography.

5. Mama K - Me and Mama K go way back - we connected through our knitting blogs, and she's cheered me on from the beginning of the adoption process. Thankfully, she's never had to experience serious infertility issues, but she "gets it" nonetheless, and has always been a great supporter.

6. Shaken Mamma - This is one of the newest blogs added to my blogroll. From the first post I read, I knew this was someone I could relate to. She's hilarious, especially when she's describing her darling Chebbles and the challenges she presents to motherhood. How she manages to keep her sense of humor with all that pregnancy and nasea going on, I'm not sure.

7. Mel at Stirrup Queens - no explanation needed really. She rocks. Period.

Now go nominate some people if you haven't already, it just may make their day.

Going forward, I am going to try (TRY) to blog at least 3 times a week. No matter what, I am going to sit down and type out whatever is in my head at the moment. I want to be a better blogger. I am finding myself with this insane need to DO, to CREATE, to EXPRESS myself. I think maybe it's because life is slightly stressful now, and in the past creative outlets have helped me deal with things. It's probably because I feel validated and good about myself when people tell me they like what I've created (still working on that etsy shop!). It kind of balances out the negativity (real or self imposed) that is floating around me. So, be sure to comment regularly or I'll have to blame you for the degredation of my confidence.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A rambling account of my sucky week and it's ultimate redemption

Happy Monday. Let's hope this week is better than last week. Last week, at one point I was seriously considering jumping off a very high bridge.

It started well enough - I took last Monday off because I needed a mental health day - and I got to play Mrs. Mom for the day. It was such a wonderfully productive day - I was able to do some crafting (for that etsy shop I keep mentioning) and knitting, and laundry, and cleaning, and movie watching, all the while spending the day with my little munchkin. Man I love that kid.

Anyway, it all went down hill from there. Tuesday I woke up late, and we were in the midst of a horrible rainstorm, so I decided to drive through hellish traffic and flooding to our satellite office and spend the day there - which sometimes is good, but this time it sucked because I didn't have things I needed with me and well, just trust me it sucked.

Wednesday was even worse. Again, I woke up late. I had an extremely important 9:30 meeting to make. Okay no problem, I'll take the next train which will still get me there in plenty of time. Then some bizarre time vortex happened and before I knew it I realized I wasn't going to make the next train either. Okay the next train after that will get me there AT 9:30. Rush rush rush, yada yada yada, get in the car, look at the clock - Holy Shit you are kidding me I am going to miss this train too. So I drive like a maniac to the train station and pray to God that He doesn't choose this day to teach me a lesson and put a small animal or (GOD FORBID) a small person in the road in front of me. I thankfully avoid disaster, park and run in heels and jump onto the train right before the doors close. I sit on the train panting like a rabid dog, and try to sit quietly and will my sweat glands to stop producing. I do finally settle much in fact that I get so engrossed in my book that I miss my transfer. UGH. I end up having to take a much busier much more ANNOYING route to the office. Once I finally get there, I nearly sprint to the conference room to find that....the meeting has been delayed an entire half hour. Which means I have to hang around doing nothing until it starts. So I am standing in the hallway checking the BB, and my boss comes up with a puss on his face. And he starts telling me how displeased he is with a certain issue that has come up. And goes on. and on. And drops the F bomb. And then basically says he has no confidence in my team and storms off. *SIGH*

The rest of the day was spent playing email volleyball with him, because he got himself on a nice little roll there, and decided he needed to know (and criticize) the status of every project and issue we are currently dealing with. All day long. It finally ended at about 8:30 pm - I was sitting in the parking lot of a Boston M@rket having just picked up a late dinner, and emailing him back saying that I was sorry everything was so terribly horrible but can you please just cut me a break here, I am trying very hard and I am not one for excuses, but how much can a person take?? I got what could kind of pass as an apology, and a nice note that despite his meltdown, he's happy I'm in charge over the team. There may or may not have been a few tears at that point - but if there were it was only relief that I didn't have to argue any more, that the work day was now officially over and that I could go home and have dinner with my family.

Thursday was slightly better, only to be worse again on Friday when I had to attend two different client meetings, both of which were like walking into the lion's den. I hate it when people find the need to ambush you with issues, issues that could have very easily been resolved with a phone call when first identified, instead of calling a meeting with big wigs who don't need to be involved, and don't really understand that you are making a freaking mountain out of a molehill. Or at the very least, have the courtesy to allow me to prepare to be yelled at by a different set of people who are unhappy with me this week. Needless to say, by the end of the day, I felt like I was hit by a mack truck.

The weekend was MUCH better because 1) I have the ability to switch off my brain from work and didn't give any of it another thought once I left the building and 2) I have the best husband in the world.

BT was participating in some fishing tournament thing which involved him being out of the house for practically the entire day on Saturday. This afforded me some much needed time to try and finish some craft projects, and spend quality time with the seamonkey. Did I mention I love that kid? On Sunday I accompanied BT to the closing "ceremonies" of the tournament (read: a bunch of skanky fisherman and a suck up councilman standing in the parking lot gawking over fish carcasses) and it was a beautiful day, so I walked with seamonkey along the beach, and visited a new 9/11 memorial that was constructed there. Hauntingly beautiful - it gave me goosebumps. Afterwards we dropped the boy off at the grandparents and we went shopping.

Shopping beause - I need to upgrade my wardrobe. In this new position I have much more visibility, and many more occasions that require me to wear an actual business suit. As much as that pains me, both financially (I'm cheap) and physically (I hate wearing jackets) it is a necessity. I have been dreading this shopping trip because I'm hard to fit (and to please) and I've already been to many stores with no luck. We decide to head off to L&T because they have a decent selection in my size. We started off a little rocky, I must have brought in 15 things to try on and only came out with one shirt and one suit that would have been perfect except for the front darts on the jacket that made me look *ahem* very cold. I come out to show BT that "See? It isn't my fault, my body is bizarre and uncooperative so how can I be expected to find anything decent, and ---"



As I'm standing there blinking at him, speechless...the fitting room attendant sticks her head out and says: "I'm sorry, did you say you needed a tailor? Would you like me to call her up here?" to which BT of course yells "YES!" We were told we would have to wait a bit since she was backed up, but would we like to continue shopping? "YES!" says BT again as he grabs me by the hand and drags me into the suits section of the store. Now I have never, ever bought a suit where both pieces are together on one hanger. I am two different sizes on top and bottom, so I have always bought separates, in separate sizes. Standing among a sea of actual real life suits, BT tells me to "Stand there and don't move". He goes around pulling suits from everywhere, in the larger size to accomodate my *cough* voluptious bosom. "But I don't like---" I start to protest... "SHUT UP." he said "YOU WILL TRY ON WHAT I GIVE YOU." And for the next 20 minutes I tried on every jacket he handed me. It went quickly - we could see what had potential and what didn't. In the end, I had 4 suits in gray, brown, black pinstripe and a pretty brown/pink pinstripe. And when the tailor came, I tried them all on and just pushed through my embarrasment (I was convinced she was going to laugh at me and tell me that she was a tailor and not a magician or something) and together we agreed on what to do to make them look better. Mostly she made the bigger pants smaller, and adjusted some jacket seams to skim my curves better. The total for the alterations was just $80!! And the suits themselves were all at least 30% off or better, and the saleswoman gave me a 20% coupon for everything. Tell me can you beat that?? Stacey and Clinton would be so proud!!

So it ended up okay. I'm hopeful this is a better week. If not, I'm definitely going shoe shopping next weekend!

Oh and the husband? Don't worry, he was justly rewarded...if you know what I mean.....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I remember

I can't believe it's been six years. It seems like just yesterday.

People say that everyone's forgotten, that's it's "business as usual". To me, that's true and it isn't. I walk by ground zero at least 3 times a week. The fact that there is a gigantic hole where there used to be buildings is not something I can ever get used to. There is life there now...vendors and business people and tourists. And for that I am glad. They are the evidence that life IS going on, but I would rather that than empty cold dark concrete. Each time I walk by that place I think about how we have literally risen from the ashes. I feel a little like it is my responsibility to keep walking there, to show that we are still alive, still free.

If you didn't observe the moment of silence this morning, won't you do it now? Close your eyes and send a prayer of thanks, a prayer of healing, a prayer of hope.

God Bless America.

(My post last year described my 9/11 experience, if you are interested, read it here)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Birthday Bash

Holy crap I have been insanely busy. The weeks leading up to the boy's first birthday party were pure chaos. Of course, because of how my life works, the several days directly preceeding the party were the busiest I've ever had at work ever. EV-ER. I took the Friday before off, and of course that's the day my company decides to prepare for the big board meeting the following week, and the president of the company is calling all over God's creation to find me. Good thing I didn't answer the blackberry, as I was up to my eyeballs in balsamic vinegar and canned icing (trying to multi-task).

It really did end up being a great time. We had a beautiful day, almost everyone invited attended and said repeatedly how much fun they had. We even got to know our neighbors better, they've lived next door for 2 years, and have a 2 year old daughter but we never really saw them. We invited them to the party and they still seem to like us after meeting my entire family! The only bad thing was that I didn't take any video, and didn't take nearly enough pictures. The memories though, are priceless.
Here's what we ate:

Steamed Crabs (caught locally, and made with O'Brycki's seasoning, better than Old Bay and a great Baltimore restaurant)
Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
Key West Chicken (made with boneless chicken thighs)
Marinated Flank Steak skewers (marinated and prepped by the butcher)
Potato Salad (from Costco - try it, it's amazing)
Corn on the cob (fresh local farm corn, so sweet!)
Mid-Summer Bread Salad (again with local farm produce)
BT's Salad (he's famous for it - green salad with sugared pecans, gorgonzola, red onion, pears in balsamic dressing)

Lessons I've learned:

1. Never start major home improvements less than a month before a party. You think it's good motivation to get your husband to finally do stuff, but all it does is strain your marriage and give you huge. throbbing. headaches. We had a paving stone patio put in and built a second floor deck. Yes I am insane.

2. Never ask your dad to do the aforementioned home improvements. Or if you do, remember that he is now 67 and can not move at the pace you need him to. I swear to you that no less than 5 hours before the party my backyard looked like the tool corral at Home Depot. I finally had to say "DAD FORGET THE TRIM, WE WILL LIVE WITHOUT IT FOR NOW".

3. Never trust your husband to do everything you need him to do while you are at work. I made lists upon lists, and each night when I got home I heard about all the stuff he did that was NOT on the list. Honestly, do your husbands have the insane habit of repeatedly "cleaning out the garage" which really consists of taking all the crap out of the garage, strewing it all over the driveway, and then putting it right back in again, rearranging it so that you can't find a damn thing? Or is that just my husband? How does this help prepare for a party??

4. Wear comfortable shoes when entertaining. I must have went in and out of the house sixty four thousand times.

5. Listen to your mom when she tells you how much food you are going to need. If you don't, then you will run out (or come dangerously close). Listen to your dad about how much beer you are going to need. Otherwise, you need to make a beer run at 9pm.

6. Having an extra fridge in the garage is an absolute Godsend. It's the one "not on the list" thing I have forgiven him for.

7. If you are going to make a big elaborate cake, make sure you give yourself enough time. This way you aren't rushing and accidentally leave out ingredients. Also make sure you aren't tired, or you will be punchy; when you laugh too much your hand shakes and you can't squeeze out icing consistently. Oh and when recipes say 4 oz of red food coloring it is not a misprint, that means TWO WHOLE BOTTLES. And for God sakes be careful or else everything will be red.

8. Boiled crabs are not good the next day. Leftover crab cupcakes however, are great for breakfast.

9. When you really really need him, your brother will come through for you. He cleaned, he babysat, he shucked corn and iced cakes. Could he finally be maturing? I won't hold my breath, but it sure was nice while it lasted.

10. When people offer to help you, TAKE THEM UP ON IT.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Extra Extra....

Read all about it...

Guess what foks, I am going to be a reporter! Well, sort of. I have agreed to be a reporter for the fabulous Mel at Stirrup Queens. If you haven't checked it out yet (have you been living under a rock?) her blog is an awesome resource for infertiles. Her blog is a wealth of information for any woman connected to infertility(including assisted conception and adoption) and all around great place to make connections with others. As I've said before, I still feel an odd connection to infertile blogs, even though I've now moved on from treatments and have adopted a child. I really feel like it is my responsibility to continue to provide support to the community that helped me through my difficult times.

So going forward, I will be providing Mel with news on the International Adoption front to be included in her daily newsletter. This newsletter is a place to report happy news, as well as anytime a blogger might need some love or support. So along with my usual blogroll, I'll be checking on those blogs listed under International Adoption and Parenting after International Adoption on Mel's site for all things newsworthy. If you'd like to be added to either blogroll, please let me know and I'll be sure to have you added. Also, if you know of any news to be shared, let me know that too.

How awesome is the internet??

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am officially a mommy blogger....

Many times I post comments on blogs where I dont really "know" the author. New blogs or ones where I am usually just a lurker. I am always concerned about what post they will see when they follow my link back to my blog. "There's only one chance to make a first impression" as the saying goes. Will they read it and decide I'm an idiot and never come back? Are they infertiles who will be turned off by all the pictures of seamonkey? Ultimately I know that I have no control over that sort of thing. And mostly I don't really care what other people think - but I would be less than honest if I said that I didn't want a new person to click here and think I was not your typical mommy blog-fabulously funny- must add her to my bloglines right now kind of blogger.

So it's with much trepidation that I present you with my very first mommy blog poop story.

Last week, I was giving Seamonkey his nightly bath. I was thinking about how I haven't been taking much video lately, so I get the camera to take a little footage of him in the tub. Tub time is a particularly fun time for seamonkey, he's very animated and talkative so it's great video fodder. So I'm taping la la....and he's swirling around the tub and slips a little so that he is kind of laying down in his tub (we put his tub inside our regular tub) and he gets all quiet and glassy eyed. I assume you see where this is going. I will spare you the actual video, but here's the audio:

Me: What are you doing?
Me: You better not be pooping.
Me: Are you pooping?


At this point I put the camera down on the counter, still filming, and forgot about it. So you then hear me and BT debating how best to remove offending fecal matter and next steps. You can clearly hear wet wriggling baby making unhappy noises. Ultimately, BT decides to get the cat litter box scooper. He cleans and disenfects the tub while I hold the baby, unwilling to let his poop water ensconced body touch anything else until he can be rewashed. His skin was a little pinker than usual by the time he was in his pyjamas.

Fast forward to last night. Boy in tub. Boy laying back in tub and splashing really really hard - snow angel style. Screaming, laughing, waving arms, water everywhere. He got himself very worked up. Really worked up. Again. No floaters, just brown water. LOL Sorry I know that's TMI but you need to really get the visual.

Guess What?
He didn't
He did.

I was laughing so hard I almost lost my own bodily functions. Which was making seamonkey laugh hysterically which just made me laugh harder. BT was not so amused.

I am so playing that video at his wedding.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On discipline...

As I mentioned in my last post, we have reached the point where Seamonkey is old enough to require some kind of discipline. Right now, he throws these little mini tantrums when he doesn't get his way. As soon as I piss him off, he starts this screechy cry, grabs my hand and bites it, clearly in an agressive way. He only does this to me and my mom...not to BT or my dad. I'm sure that alot of it has to do with the crankiness from teething, but I still need to address it.

I have been experimenting on how to deal with this, but obviously it would be best if I was consistent in my approach. I've tried just pulling my hand away and ignoring the tantrum, letting him cry. I've tried "changing the subject" and distracting him with a toy or something. I've tried yelling "NO BITING!". I've even tried a light smack on the mouth (do not lecture me I'm exploring methods). To be honest, all of these have had mixed results. Sometimes he cries harder, sometimes he stops.

I googled around a bit and realized how many vastly different parenting approaches there are out there. I've come to the conclusion that every kid is different and responds to different techniques. My son, the little bugger that he is, does not respond at all to yelling. He has no fear of me. If I yell "NO THROWING FOOD" when he's chucking his lunch over the sides of his highchair, he pauses, looks me dead in the face, and while still holding my stare, picks up more food, holds it over the side and opens his hand. If that kid wasn't cute he'd be on the moon by now. It's all I can do not to crack up from the audacity this kid has. I just shake my head because I know that God is giving me just what I deserve.

Anyway, he does seem to react most to praise. As I've said before, he believes everything requires applause. So I try to focus on praising him when he does something right. But Lord, I feel like I'm turning into June Cleaver, and that this kid will think every time he farts it's cause for celebration. You know it's bad when I'm in a meeting and when something good happens I clap my hands and say "Yay!". OY.

I think I need to read some parenting books, if for nothing else than to find out what will and won't work for my particular child. I came across this Interesting website which helps you figure out which style might be best for you. My scores indicated the Sears method might be the best for me, but I'm not sure...might be a little too lenient for my personality type - I'll have to read it for myself to see. If you figure out your score, let me know how you came out. I was raised pretty strictly, and I'm a no nonsense kind of gal, so I don't believe in spoiling a child or coddling them too much. But I don't want to be a cold unfeeling bitch either. I think that kind of comes out in my writing, so if you are like me, maybe you can recommend your methods or books that have helped you.

This is such an interesting time for me - I can really see how one's actions can have a profound effect on a child's development.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Monthly Update - 10 & 11 months old

Dear Seamonkey:

It's been a busy summer! I didn't take nearly as many pictures and videos that I would have liked in these past two months. We run around so much that many times we forget the camera, and I need to do a better job remembering to capture all the little moments of your childhood. Despite the pictures though, I am confident that we are making lots of good memories for you.

This month, we've seen alot of this face:

You are having a terrible time with your teething. You've had two teeth come in at once, your left eye tooth and your right front. You don't really drool at all, and you don't seem to get fevers...the worst part is that it turns your personality from happy to evil in 2.3 seconds. It prevents you from falling asleep and once you do, makes you wake up crying quite a bit. We give you lots of baby orajel and cold freezy toys which do help you. The good news is that once we've relieved your pain, you're back to being your fabulous pleasant self.

You still don't stop moving. This is another familiar sight:A blurred image of you crawling away from me. One of your favorite things to do is to crawl up and down the hallway - and you are remarkably fast for a little thing. You are still cruising around, and now you've gotten fancy using only one hand. It's only a matter of time before you're walking. We've been encouraging you with the use of your car walker:
You get so proud of yourself that you applaud, and don't realize that you're standing on your own:
Then you do this weird trick that you taught yourself - putting your hands on your head. This may be the "so big!" that your Aunt M taught you - I can't be sure because we don't teach you that at home.

Speaking of tricks, you stopped doing "bye bye" for some reason. You won't do it no matter how many of us are waving back at you. You're still babbling in your own language, but still no real words yet, even though we're trying desperately to teach you some basics. You've also started this move:

Which you'll do in response to "wahoo!". And then there's this new trick which I'm going to say you got from your father:
You are getting better at feeding yourself:We've been trying to increase the amount of table food you get, but unfortunately, after a few bites you start winging it over the sides of your highchair. When that happens, it's a sign you clearly won't be eating anymore, so we take it away. You're still eating baby food, and I'm trying to figure out a good way to get you off of it. I have found that this part of your life is the most challenging for us - trying to transform you from a baby to a toddler. We've gotten very used to doing things the baby way, and we are starting to see that you are growing up fast!You are becoming very head strong - if I stop you from doing something, like standing up in the bathtub, or dunking your face into the suds (you end up choking yourself) or gnawing on the crib rails, you start to throw a tantrum. When you do, you try to grab me and bite me. Isn't that special? So discipline is something else we've started to explore. We're trying to figure out how to best handle these situations, yelling NO!, or ignoring it, or distracting you from the behavior or a combo of all those things. I know that what we do now will affect your behavior going forward, so we want to get things right. It looks like you are going to test us at every turn!

But most of the time you're a very good boy. We took you camping with us and you held up better than mommy did, that's for sure.
You still love the pool, especially the one that Grandma and Grandpa bought you for the yard.
It's been a blessing during these hot days. We can't wait to put you back into swimming lessons after you turn one. We can NOT believe that in a few short weeks you will one year old! This time has really flown. You are an amazing, adorable, wonderful little boy. We love you very much!

Monday, August 06, 2007

8 Obscure things meme

Thanks Julie for tagging me for this meme that has kept me up nights. I had the worst time coming up with 8 things you don't know about me, which is funny considering, well, none of you really know me at all. It was tricky to come up with something you might find remotely interesting. Here's what I got:

First, here are the rules:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.
5. Eight is a magic number. Not three.

1.The fact that I love the beach is no secret. I'd rather be there than anywhere else in the world. I've spend much of my life on the shore or on a boat. The weird part? I can't swim.

2. I can't wear contact lenses. Apparently, my eyeballs are shaped funny which precludes me from wearing them without them feeling like hot flaming barbed wire pokers. I've tried every brand they make. And each year I try the new ones that promise to be even more "breathable" than the ones before. So I wear glasses all the time instead. On my wedding day, I refused to wear glasses so I was just blind the entire day. I am too scared to get the laser surgery.

3. I played the clarinet in school for 8 years. I made it up to second seat at one point. I was also in the marching band and was asked to be the drum majorette but I chickened out because they didn't have a majorette uniform in my size and one of the mom's volunteered to make one (talk about teenage social suicide). I quit the band altogether to take typing in my senior year. My conductor was heart broken. Considering I can type about 85wpm, I'm glad I took the typing course. Not so much use for the clarinet in my current position.

4. I am a daydreamer. If I am stuck somewhere with nothing to do, like a car or train ride, I can make up entire stories in my head. If I'm listening to music, I'll pretend I am performing the song in front of an audience. Or I'll play out a scene in my head about running into an old boyfriend, or recreate a conversation I had where I get to really say all the things I wanted to say the first time. Or sometimes I'm the heroine in a favorite book or movie. I have favorite daydreams that I'll think about for a while until I come up with a better one. This also helps me get to sleep.

5. Though I consider myself a very rational, sane person, I sometimes have difficulty separating fantasy from reality, particularly when it comes to celebrities I favor. For example, I do not want to see Jim Krazinski in any other role than Jim from the Office, so I don't watch or read any interviews with him because it will spoil the illusion. I don't read about my favorite bands/musicians because I want to always feel like the songs I connect with are just for me - I don't want to find out if they are really jerks, or if the song had a totally different meaning. I need these people to remain the way they are in my head.

6. I originally wanted to be architect. A family member convinced me to be a civil engineer, because you can be an architect and get paid more. I went to school for 3 years to do just that, and then much to the dismay of my parents (and their bank accounts) I decided I hated it. I had to really struggle just to get a C, and while I'm all for a woman being in a male dominated industry, I just couldn't hack it. I switched schools, and switched majors (Accounting) and crammed the rest of remaining credits into another year and half, taking all summer and winter sessions. Thank God I did, though. I met my husband within the first month at my new school. He still has the first note I passed him in Government Accounting over 15 years ago.

7. In my freshman year of college, I almost joined a latina sorority, even though I am not remotely latin. I grew up in schools that were at least 75% minority, so when I got to college, I connected more with those I was familiar with (the fact that I met some people who had never met a black person before college completely blew me away). The only reason I didn't go through with it was that I started dating a guy who's ex girlfriend was the president of the sorority. It would have given new meaning to the word "hazing". I'm gutsy, but not stupid.

8. Related to #2, but deserving to be listed on it's own - in college I preferred to go to latin and african-american frat and sorority parties instead of the typical beer funnel fests thrown by the "white" ones. They were so much more fun than their anglo counterparts. Less drinking, more dancing. Therefore, while others were rocking out to the new grunge scene - I was sweating it up dancing to hip hop and house music, and watching step shows (like this)- hard to believe, but this whitey white girl knows all the words to FAR too many rap and hip hop songs (who's that....browwwwnnnn - 5pts if you know that one too). Alas, my talent goes unappreciated, because I married the whitest man on earth. He especially dislikes it when he gets in the car turns on the ignition and finds that I left my XM radio channel "The Rhyme" blasting. Oops. My bad!

I'm not tagging anyone else, I don't want anyone losing any sleep on my account. Play along if you'd like. Someone else tagged me on something similar, but I seem to have forgotten who that was. Sorry!

Today 3 inches of rain was dumped on this city in under 2 hours. This had disastrous effects on our subways, trains and traffic. It is almost a 100 degrees out, and the humidity is so high it feels like pea soup out there and it is even difficult to breathe. My commute this morning was torturous, not to mention what my hair looks like. I am going to get in my car, pump the air up to max, turn on my hip hop and brave the commute home. Pray for me.

In which I piss off my SAHM readers

This past weekend I accompanied BT to a backyard BBQ at the home of one of his fishing club friends. I know most of the guys, but never really met any of the wives. Feeling a little awkard, as I am not good at the social chit chatty thing with people I don't know, I sat at the "wives" table with the baby. In general most people were very nice, and everyone made very pleasant conversation. Most knew that seamonkey was adopted, as BT kept his fishing buddies informed during the whole process.

First, I should say that it's funny how I still don't feel part of the mommy club. I do feel like seamonkey's mom, when I'm with him and when we're with family. But being a mom as I relate to other (non family) moms is just ....weird. It's hard to explain. Suddenly my conversations are all about kids. Why? Is there nothing else to talk about? Do you really care when my son learned to crawl? Because I could care less about when yours did. It's nice to know about people's kids, as they are now - how many, what gender, what they're into and stuff...but why must we rehash entire childhoods? Can't we talk about news, movies, life in general? I am amazed that people ask me so many questions about the past 8 months of his life - it's so weird to me. It's worse when it becomes a competition, but I don't understand why those conversations get started in the first place. I am not defined by the fact that I have a child. Yeesh, I just got over being defined by my infertility and people want to stuff me in yet another pigeon hole....Anyway, I digress from the point of this post.

As I said, most people were very nice. Except one. The one I refer to as 'that ASS'. How that woman didn't end up with my fist lodged in her face by the end of the day is beyond me. Truthfully, I think what saved her is the fact that I wanted to be nice for the sake of my husband. I only later found out that he can't stand the husband either. She is lucky I did not have that information while I was sitting there.

When I first arrive, I sit in the only vacant seat, which was kind of in the sun, with the baby on my lap. THE ASS says "Honey, why don't you move over here so the baby doesn't get a sunburn" in a real condescending how-stupid-are-you tone. First, don't call me honey. Second, when I first sat down, your whiney child was still sitting there so there was nowhere else to sit. Okay fine, I move to sit right next to her. She talks in this very sing songy voice and is all me me me, have I told you about me? And how about me? And in case you didn't know? Me.

I soon realize that I met her before. BT took our Pilot on it's maiden voyage onto the beach. Her and I were the only women there, the rest were all fisherman from the club. When she formally introduced herself, I told her we had met. She gives me this ridiculous face and says "Sorry" as in, "I can't be expected to remember all of my fans". She knew who I was, I'm sure of it.

At one point, all the husbands go and take a picture in front of their fishing club banner. All of the wives, including me, make comments about what dorks they are. I mean, come on...grown men. Fishing club. Need I say more. THE ASS says "well...I really can't make fun, because I happen to LOVE to fish. husband is this close to becoming president of the club". Oooh, President? Wow! You must be so proud. I am so jealous that you are on deck to be THE FIRST WIFE of this raggety band of beer drinking bait smelling fisherman! I bow to your greatness!

Then THE ASS' husband is trying to prevent their son from going up to the pool deck without his lifejacket on (he's 5) and the kid is arguing about it. THE ASS yells up and asks what the problem is, husband explains. THE ASS then starts talking to the husband in that sing song voice like he's two..."Now honey (honey again!) he's a big boy now, I know you want to help him, but he's got to learn for himself...." Learn for himself? By drowning? And if my husband ever spoke to me like that in front of a group of people I would punch his lights out.

The aforementioned 5 year old? Has a mohawk. On his head. He's 5. Mohawk. 5.

Then came the straw on the proverbial camel's back. The dreaded SAHM discussion. I hate that discussion, because I am not a SAHM. When people get around to asking me, and I tell them our situation (I work, BT is a SAHD) everyone gets quiet and it's usually the end of the conversation. Usually I keep quiet the entire time, as I don't like to judge other people's situations, just like I don't like others to judge mine. But up to this point THE ASS has been jumping up and down repeatedly on my last nerve.

An older woman with grown children is talking benignly about raising her children, in the context of how things are so different today. THE ASS hears the words "stayed home with my children" and cuts her off by saying "--HARDEST JOB THERE IS. HARDER THAN ANY MAN'S JOB!". So my eyebrows shoot up, because I assume by "man's job" she means anyone with a job outside the home. Still trying to keep my foot out of her ass, I say "Well, I think that depends. It depends on what job you have (or had), how old and how active your kids are...I don't think you can make such a blanket statement". Of course she ignores me and prattles on and on about how EXHAUSTED she is and how her husband just doesn't GET IT and blah blah blah blah blah. She was in the RESTAURANT INDUSTRY so she worked at night and the hours were long, and blah blah blah and being a waitress - Wait, you were a freaking WAITRESS?? That's your big stressful job?? I snorted out loud at that one. She keeps going....blah blah My husband thinks I just sit AROUND all day blah blah..... Finally I say "Well guess what. I work full time and my husband stays home. I'm sure if you ask him he'll agree that he has the better end of the deal. I work all day and I come home and then I'm the mommy too". First came the expected silence. Then came the questions from the others, including asking what I did. I normally don't expound upon what I do, and never use my very official and important sounding title, but I had to this time, and did so in my "SO NOT A WAITRESS" voice. The conversation turned focus away from THE ASS, and since she was no longer the center of attention, she got up from the table.

I know this woman is a particular breed of annoying, but please, someone, for the life of me, explain why some (notice I say some here) SAHM's find the need to justify their position all the time? Of course your job is important. If it wasn't you and your husband wouldn't have agreed to have you home. Face it, the job comes with perks. Like you can go to the beach for the day, or in my husband's case, work on his boat, take the boy to the tackle store...whatever. Don't get defensive about it, be happy you can do those things. There are times I get to go to a fancy dinners without BT and he ribs me for it. So what? And why must we always compare anyway? Why does one job have to be harder than the other? I can see making your case if you are talking to someone like THE ASS (probably like her husband is) who insists that SAHMs do nothing but eat bonbons all day. But many people don't think that way. Please don't wear your SAHM badge like a chip on your shoulder. You don't know me, my family situation or my work situation. So please don't imply that your job is harder than mine. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Who cares? Raise your kid and I'll raise mine. It's not a contest.

And whether you're a SAHM, SAHD or you work, be proud of your role. We're all in this together.

And my kid crawled at 9 months. Did yours???

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Because I'm crazy like that...

So the thank you cards for the boy's Baptism were mailed and received by all. I made them myself, using some scrap book paper and a picture of him with his little sailor suit. I've learned that my scrapbooking skills can use some work. I would show you, but I neglected to save one for myself.

I would breathe a sigh of relief now that the entire event is behind me. But alas, I've gotten myself into another fine mess. Seamonkey is going to be one year old in 4 short weeks. And he must have a fantabulous party.

So what should be a sigh of relief is now a deep breath to steel myself in preparation of all the craziness that is about to ensue. I've got to keep this inexpensive, so alot of this has to be done ourselves. We have an awesome theme that we are very excited about...

A Backyard Crab Boil!

We're going to borrow two big turkey fryer pots and layer them up with crabs, clams, corn, potatoes all seasoned up...and once done we'll dump them out on tables covered in butcher paper. We'll have burgers and franks too, and a bunch of homemade cold salads.

I plan on making a big birthday cake, and originally I was going to attempt to do a crab (the whole party will be crab themed) but BT thought I should do a SpongeBob cake. Seamonkey has this weird thing for SpongeBob, and whenever the opening theme song comes on he will stop what he's doing and dance. There's a few on the web that I may try, like this one, which comes with video instructions. Yes I am insane. Needless to say I took the entire day of work off the day before the party. I also plan to make these freaking adorable cupcakes that you can see on the cover of this book. If spongebob doesn't work out, I'm going to make extra cupcakes and arrange them in the shape of a 1. Always good to have a plan B.

I am making the invitations too, and so far I have the inside done, but I am still wrestling about with the outside. I'll show you when I've got the prototype finished. I've got to get them out very soon, since the party is on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend...I'm sure people are already making plans. I've spread the word verbally already so everyone pretty much knows.

Decorations will be mostly balloons and streamers, nothing too fancy. Of course, we need to put in a concrete patio and elevated deck on the house. Nothing like a party to light the fire under your husband's ass. We already had workers come and excavate for the patio, ripping up the side of the house and part of the front lawn in the process, but I told myself I am not going to hyperventilate about it. It's just family, and there really isn't any need to stress.

There will some kids there, and I'm not sure what to do for them. Most of them are in the 2-5 range or in the 8-12 range. What can I buy to keep them occupied? I have some bubbles, temporary tattoos and sidewalk chalk - any other ideas?

Yes, I know he is one and won't remember a thing. But this is as much a party for us as for him. We made it to a whole year and he's still all in one piece and even growing and becoming a real little boy. That's cause for celebration, no? Plus, I need something to look forward to if my summer has to end.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A little follow up..

Can I tell you what is just so funny....I was cracking up that everyone was saying how brave and daring I was to go camping, and that I am such a trooper. I really wish you could have seen the first draft of that post. After I wrote the whole thing I thought "Wow, I am a total negative complainy beyotch, lighten up Francis, it wasn't THAT bad".

But the truth is I mostly hated it.
The baby part was really not so bad - we are one of those really obnoxious couples that is blessed with a naturally good baby... he really doesn't cry unless he has good reason (don't worry, I'm sure God will get me back in the toddler years). The worst part was with me. We got up so early on Friday morning I didn't shower. If I don't wash my hair every single day I get so greezy you can fry an egg on my head. So by mid day I was a wrinkled, no makeup wearing, tired, cranky greasy headed mess. I was especially cranky when I had to get out of the car and let other humans see me. I know I should have a "screw 'em" attitude, but you know, us fat girls can NOT be going out of the house like that. We rely on the hair and makeup to distract others from the not so pretty parts. So I was definitely not a happy camper (ha! that never gets old!). I had a good day on Saturday because I got to shower and dress somewhat nicely. Sunday was downhill again because it was raining so hard I just wanted to get packed and leave, so again I didn't shower. Big mistake. When we got home my bro was there with his girlfriend, who is skinny and always dressed nicely and although she is very nice I always feel like a bit fat schlub around her. Anyway, you didn't come here to hear all that did you?
Changing subjects.... remember the friend that told me he and his wife couldn't have children? Well I read all of your comments and decided that I would send an email, short and sweet like you said, and without mentioning adoption. It basically said that I knew we kind of got awkward there for a minute, but I wanted to let him know that I knew how he felt and that if he ever needed a sympathetic ear, I was available. I didn't hear anything back from him for several days. I thought "oh great, now he's pissed". I would have expected at least a "thanks" in return, even if he was mad or whatever. But then I saw him in person again, and at the end of our conversation he acknowledged the email. He said he really appreciated it and that it was very nice of me to send it. It seemed like he was trying to get across that his situation DOES really suck and that it might really STILL be sucking pretty bad. I have no idea when they stopped treatment - who knows it could just have been recently. So in the end, I was glad I sent it. Maybe someday he'll ask me more about adoption...I really hope so. I mean, does anyone ever really stop wanting to have kids? I know there are some people who never try and aren't interested, and that's fine...but if you go to the trouble of going through treatments, you've got to want it pretty bad, right?. You can't just turn that off. How can adoption not be an option? I don't think money is the problem. I think it must be that they need some more time to grieve.
*sigh* Whatever Starfish, you can't fix everyone's problems.

In happier news, I have entered Sig's Monday Giveaway this week. Somehow I lost touch with my friend Sig and her beautiful guatemalan daughter, but now I'm back (I did some house cleaning in blog lines and think I've got it all worked out now). To enter the giveaway, I have to tell you who my secret fantasy men are. Okay, these run the gamut, and you are NOT allowed to hold these against me!

Okay, no secret that I like this guy, although "hot" is probably not the right word. I am a total sucker for a nice smile:Another obvious choice, and another great smile:

Kind of have a thing for this guy too:

I've loved this guy forever:And this guy too (see a trend here - tall, dark and handsome is my thing)

Okay, now for my closet crushes (shhh don't tell)
I'll bring your sexy back baby...
Lead singer of my favorite band. Although in my fanstasy he looks like he used to: And not what he looks like now (yikes!)

Camping with Baby

Hello all…I’ve been gone did you miss me? BT and I headed off to into the wild green yonder this past weekend…I say green because we went to Vermont to go camping with the baby.


We used to camp fairly often when we were first married. We didn’t have much money, or much time off of work, so making long weekend trips to various New England spots fit our bill nicely. BT was always very good at picking campsites that were relatively clean, with decent bathroom facilities and that were close to the local attractions. We would pack up the car (little red Honda hatchback) with snacks and CD’s and off we went.

So since we’ve been back from Colombia, we’ve been talking about doing more vaction-ey type things. But since we don’t have much money left over, or vacation time left over, our options are limited at this particular time. Enter – camping. Makes sense, right?

We decided to take a three day weekend and drive up to Grand Isle State Park, located on an island in Lake Champlain. We were here once before, many moons ago, and had a great time. Back then, an elderly park ranger eagerly plotted out a route for us on a local map, encouraging us to experience all the local culture. We hiked many different trails. We went to a church spaghetti dinner. We ate at a local diner called the “Squirrel’s Nest”. We made beeswax candles at a candle shop on Church Street in Burlington. So many great memories we couldn’t wait to recreate.

Uh, well….didn't exactly turn out that way.

First of all, the weather was really crappy. Cloudy and drizzly the whole six and half hour drive up. My poor little baby was stuck in that car seat and he was not a happy camper (ha get it). When we got to the campsite everything was wet and muddy. We found out that Ranger Rick retired many years ago, and was replaced by a young Jesus look alike who wasn’t nearly as eager for us to soak up the local culture. But we managed to set up our cozy little corner as best we could.

The first night we went to Burlington to this place, and we had a lovely meal in their quaint alleyway. The waitress somehow knew that seamonkey was Hispanic and chatted away endlessly to him in his native tongue. He blinked those long eyelashes at her and smiled in his charming way.

The next day we had beautiful weather. We started out our day by having breakfast at the Ferry Dock where you can take your car across to Plattsburgh, NY. It was one of those hidden treasures – a complete dump with friendly people and awesome food. We went down to Church Street but sadly, all the quaint business are gone – replaced by commercial behemoths like Eddie Bauer, Old Navy and Urban Outfitters….and smaller trendy overpriced stores. No beeswax candles to be had. There was a very cool green market nearby, and we wandered through there, stopping to sample awesome homemade Indian food, and great local products like cheese and honey. After that, we headed to the Magic Hat brewery to get us some glasses of No. 9. The tour was short but amusing and the beer was cold. Amazing that all of that beer comes out of that tiny little place.

We left the brewery and drove around…we used our navigation to find us a park, and we came upon a small state park that had a nice walking trail where we could take the stroller down to a small beach. It was so nice to be surrounded with all that peace and quiet and all that green-ness. That kind of thing really recharges your batteries, you know? Seamonkey enjoyed the beach, which was really mostly mud and dirt – and we let him crawl around in it and be a total boy. There was only one time that I wasn’t quick enough and he put an entire fist of the stuff directly into his mouth. I literally had to scoop it out, and would you believe he found the whole thing hilarious. Didn’t even make a face at the nasty tasting dirt. Weird kid.

Saturday night we hung out at the campsite. We had a heck of a time figuring out how to bathe the boy….We ended up having all of us go into a shower room, standing a wet wriggling boy on a very small bench, soaping him up and sticking him under the shower for a rinse. He was mostly annoyed by the whole thing but thankfully did not have a meltdown. We had takeout dinner and relaxed by a wonderfully smelling campfire. We took turns holding the baby, singing every song we could to keep his attention and distract him from wanting to crawl around in the mud. Do you guys remember that song “John Brown’s Baby”? Where you do this hand motion thing…John Browns Baby (rock imaginary baby ) had a cold (cough into your fist) upon his chest (thump chest) and they rubbed it (rub your chest) with camphorated oil….. I totally forgot that sucker and I brought that out of the arsenal which cracked seamonkey up to no end! Also kind of bizarre was that he was babbling incessantly up to the sky…waving his arms as if he was trying to emphatically make a point to someone or something. Not sure if he was just intrigued by the tall trees that surrounded our site leaving only a bright patch of sky above, or if he was berating God for placing him with this insane family that insists on sleeping in a nylon room in the middle of a mud puddle. Again, weird kid.
Sunday I awoke to seamonkey in my arms and the sounds of my husband rousing the fire outside. Not a bad way to wake up on the 10th Anniversary of one’s 28th Birthday. Unfortunately it was another crappy day, and it started to rain so much that BT had to run into the truck and we were communicating on walkie talkies for a while. “Truck to Tent – Over” “Tent here – this sucks, over” “Affirmative. Truck out” Somehow we managed to pack up everything in the rain and head out. We decided to stop and Ben & Jerry’s which I could have sworn was somewhere in the middle of rolling green hills…but no, it was right off the highway sitting atop a hill in front of a very muddy parking lot. There was construction going on and it was crowded. The ice cream didn’t even taste and good as I remember. Oh well. We came. We saw. We ate ice cream.

All in all it was a good time, but I think the thought of camping is always better than the reality of Of course my manly man husband, who enjoyed plodding around in the mud and playing with fire exclaims "this was great, let's plan another 3 day weekend in August!". Uh yeah....why don't we just think that over a little more there chief....

Once home we had a real home cooked meal waiting for us (Baked Ziti) and my little brother, who will always be my little bratty brother for his entire life, made me this cake.

He got me a Michael's gift card (going to start scrapbooking now) so he made up for it.

Thought I would share some things that were indispensable for us during this trip:

Jogging stroller - great for the street as well as hiking trails. Rides like a dream.
Hook on Chair - Best thing we ever bought - better than a high chair at restaurants
Rubber place mat - put it under the arms of the hook on chair and you've got a completely sanitary environment - the catchall prevents baby from making an embarrassing mess underneath.
Formula Dispenser - Keeps 3 servings of premeasured formula in a compact container.
Avent Tempo bottle system - Disposable liners enable you to bring only one or two bottles with you.
Baby Trend Pack n play - Small & Compact, and easy to fold & unfold. Great for home too.
Gerber Baby Puffs - I kept ziplock baggies of these everywhere, they are good to tide baby over if you are stuck in traffic
Saline spray and aspirator - Different climate made the boy's nose really dry.
Huggies disposable washclothes - These were great for baby and parents alike. No washclothes to hang out and dry.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Speechless for once

You'll notice I just posted two very late monthly updates. I am a bad mommy blogger. He's well into month 10 and I am just posting these now. In truth, it was hard to even remember what happened when, but I did my best. I should start drafting the 10 month post while things are still fresh...oh the drawbacks of being an old mom.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my unsent letter. The letter will remain unsent, for many of the reasons you all didn't send your letters...resentful, stubborn, afraid of know. I don't get the sense that this whole thing is quite over yet, I don't think too much time has passed, but I could be wrong. I have this feeling that I am destined to run into her somewhere soon, and truthfully I panic a little every time I am in a place I know she could be (we only live 10 minutes apart). I suppose time will reveal all...we'll just have to see. It is amazing how we all have one of those letters in our back pockets, huh?

I had a very awkward conversation today, and I have alot of mixed emotions about it. I was talking to someone who is about my age, and who I always guessed was affected by infertility because he and his wife do not have children. We have known each other for a while, but only recently have had cause to talk more frequently. I try to be conscious about what I say around him, because I know what it was like to hear people prattle on endlessly about their kids. Today, as we made small talk about family and things, he told me that he and his wife had made the decision not to have children, since all their efforts to concieve were unsuccesful. They felt that it just wasn't meant to be. Would you believe that I had not one clue on how to respond? I kind of stared down at the table and tried my best to sympathize with him - I let him know we went through 3 horrible years of it too. Turns out we went to the same clinic at one point. He didn't really want to talk about it so the words kind of just hung in the air between us. I guess he just wanted to let me know - I asked him if he considered adoption and he said yes, they decided it just wasn't for them.

I was at a total loss on what to say and it really bothered me. It's not really my business, I am nothing to him, but maybe I wanted to help him in some way and I couldn't. I feel like I should have said more, or said the right thing to want him to talk about it. Of course, I wanted to tell him that adoption was the best thing that ever happened to me. That I too thought that God was trying to tell me something and that the day I saw my son's face that feeling completely evaporated. But who I am to say that to him? Who knows what his reasons are and what does it matter, really.

I feel like I should follow up the conversation with an email or something - Something to acknowledge that I appreciate him telling me, that I'm sorry it was awkward, and if he ever wants to talk about adoption, I'm available. Think I should? Or just let it lie?

In other news, it's hot as hell here today. Feels like 106 outside. Yesterday I had jury duty. I had to laugh at the people who were bitching about it. You'd rather be at work in this heat? I had a lovely time sitting around in the nice air conditioning, crocheting away and people watching. I never got called - at the end of the day we were released for time served. Now I'm good for 6 years. I was kind of hoping I did get picked, I think it would have been interesting. But it's okay, we're going away for the weekend beginning on Friday and it would have sucked if I had to cancel.

Are you staying cool?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Monthly update - 9 months old

Dear Seamonkey:

June, your 9th month was a very emotional one for me. The only way I can really describe it, is by saying this is the month that I felt like you loved me back. Of course, we've loved you from the start, and you were always happy and smiley under our care. But this month, it's like you love us because you want to, not because you have to. This month was the first time you shied into my shoulder when a stranger approached. It was the first time you cried when I left the room. And honestly, those moments made me tear up too. You are growing into a real live little person right before our eyes, and it an amazing thing to think we figured out how to make that all happen without any major incident.

The most important event this month was of course your baptism. You were baptized in St. Christopher's church, and you were a good boy. Well, except for the loud babbling and craning your neck to look back and your grandparents. We had a great party for you afterwards. You did not cry once the entire day. You let everyone hold you, and you even "danced" on the dance floor - I sat you down in the middle and you started bouncing up and down and clapping your hands. A good time was had by all.

Also this month we went to the annual picnic for our adoption agency, and we got to see all the new babies who have come home. It was really a treat to talk with all the families that did what we did, and to hold the beautiful Colombian children. You hammed it up as usual, clapping and waving on cue to everyone's delight. You discovered your first playground there, and you LOVE the swings.Since then we have taken you to other parks to swing. You also like to hang on the monkey bars. You are so strong that you will actually hang there holding your own weight. We stay close by though, because that cracks you up and makes you let go.
You wave bye bye really well now, although you usually do it with two hands, and kind of out to your sides so you look like a bird. You will do it on cue when someone says "bye bye". You have just started to say bye bye yourself, more like a "bah" but we can see you know the word and are trying to say it. You say mama ("mamamama") and dada ("adah") too, but not exactly discrimately yet. Your babble has changed into your own little language, complete with multi-sylllable words and intonations as if you are really having a conversation. We talk back to you that way and apparently whatever we are saying, we are hilarious. You seem to be the most talkative in the bathtub.
Your hair is riotiously curly, so much so that I actually put hair gel in it to keep it somewhat contained. You have TWO teeth now, and among other things, you use them to bite your crib rails. You would think we keep a pet beaver in there. It has become apparent that you now have a favorite blanket; the blue and white chenille one:You sleep so much better with grab it in your hands just right and then shove your thumb in your mouth. Once you "assume the position" we know it won't be long until you are zonked out. We wonder if we will have to tear this blanket away from you in the dead of night when you are 9 to avoid any mental scarring, but for now, it's a comfort to you and that's a good thing. We got smart and bought two extra, leaving one in your crib and one in the car. You kind of suck on them so they get pretty nasty quickly, and one of them is usually in the wash at all times.

When you are awake, you are moving. You are never still. Even when you are drinking your bottle, you are kicking your feet or patting our arms. You are pulling yourself up like crazy now, and can cruise very well on the furniture. To our dismay, you are also an expert at climbing stairs, so needless to say we bought a gate this month. You don't like roadblocks, and will dive headfirst into or over things to get where you want to go. You've just begun standing for a few seconds without holding discovered that when you wanted to clap your hands while standing up. Everything still requires applause:

You are still a happy, loving, easy going little boy. We have spent many weekends at BBQ's with family and friends, and you've enjoyed it all with us. You still have a love affair with cupcakes:
It's now become a habit for everyone to give you one wherever we go. I suppose it won't kill you, athough no one really gives us a choice...I don't hold you much when we are around family. Everyone snaps you up and you seem to be okay with it. You love your grandparents and your aunt and uncle very much, which absolutely delights them.
It has been so much fun spending our favorite time of year with you. We love you more each day.