Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sangria For Everyone

When I was 15, just after my sophomore year in high school, I went on the Spanish Club trip to Spain for two weeks. It was my first real taste of being away from home, away from my family. And I really could not have imagined a better place to go.

Because part of the trip was to experience the culture, our parents had to sign a permission slip that we could drink alcohol while we were there. I assume it was so we could have wine with dinner, but we took it as carte blanche. I mean what were they thinking giving 15 Catholic school girls (from an all girls school, no less) permission to drink?

So we took advantage of the permission slips. We went out to bars and clubs. We'd make it back to the hotel for bed check at 11 and then sneak out again. We thought we were so cool ordering drinks like we were adults. The drinking age in Wisconsin at the time was 18 so some (not me at the time) had experience going out to bars.

But Wisconsin is/was a beer and brandy place and they don't really serve beer and brandy in Spain. It was funny to see what everyone ordered. Some people stuck to the old family standbys of Old Fashioneds and Manhattans (sweet of course). I thought it would be cool to drink Tequilla Sunrises (thank you Madonna in Desperately Seeeking Susan). Basically we had no idea what we were doing but we had loads of fun doing it.

One night we were in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid at about 9 or 10 at night. Everyone was out walking around before or after dinner. We were sitting at an outdoor cafe with our teachers and the tour rep from Wisconsin. We thought it would be totally lame but then the tour rep decided to order a pitcher of sangria. Well one turned in to many. And soon it was "Waiter, Sangria for everyone. For all my new friends."

It was one of those magical nights. I soaked in the culture. I think it was there that I decided to study the language for good. I fell in love with Spain and all it had to offer a midwestern girl. And yes, I fell in love with Sangria. What's not to like? Wine, mixer, alcohol soaked fruit. Its genius.

I went on to major in Spanish in college. And my Spanish accent is shaped by what I heard on that trip. After college I studied in Spain for a summer, living with a family in Madrid. One of the first nights I was there, I went to the Plaza Mayor and sat at a cafe much like the one I was at when I was 15. My friends and I ordered a pitcher of Sangria and then a few more for our new friends.

That summer I retraced many of the steps I took on my high school trip. I was older and wiser and I appreciated things a bit more. But I still had that wide eyed innocence. I still saw things through the same lens. And I still love Spain and all it has to offer this more cultured midwestern girl. To me its that dream place, representing what is and what could be.

As you know I've been kind of in the dumps lately. On Monday I got an e-mail from my friend Beth, inviting me to a Sangria party. It could not come at a better time. I thought about my past and the adventures I've had. And it made me realize that I have so many more adventures to come.

So I raised my glass and toasted to the past and to the future. And although my Spanish isn't what it used to be, I say Sangria for everyone.


For more on Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

But It's Really Good News

So today I am bloated, cranky, and have terrible cramps. I got my period and I could not be more excited.

You see this means that most likely I do not have premature ovarian failure. I really don't care what it means for my fertility. I still have to have tests to rule out thyroid or pituitary problems. But I am not entering menopause at the ripe old age of 38!

I have never been so happy to have my period in my life.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I try to stay organized. I try to keep on top of things. But some days, no matter what I do, its not enough.

The mess spreads beyond acceptable borders. Rooms that should be clean aren't and the ones that should look "lived in" look like federal disaster areas. Bunny is like a hurricane during the day, leaving a trail of dinosaurs other assorted animals in her wake. If she follows me into another room, the chaos also follows.

I try to pick up the messes we make each day. And then I try to do one more thing, laundry, vacuuming or something, to stay on top of the clutter. But there is not enough time, only nap time and after bed. And I am only one person. I need help, professional help, but any help will do.

But there are times, like today, when I cannot accept the help when it comes. Bunny chose not to sleep for whatever reason. So I got some internet time in but no time to myself or to clean. I was listening to her whine over the monitor, stewing, when my parents stopped by. My dad was going to do some work on the "deck" we have in the back. My mom started to clean the kitchen.

Rather than accepting the help, I lost it. I started to feel bad about myself and the chaos around me. I took their help as a judgement against me and my parenting skills. I thought if they had to help me, then it meant that I could not take care of my family in the way that I was supposed to. If I couldn't keep the house clean with just three people and two cats (with their shedding fur, their hairballs, their puke and their pee), then how could I possibly add another baby to the mix.

I was tired, I was alone, and I was overwhelmed. When I get stressed, I get lost. I get into a deep, dark hole and its hard to get out of. I realized that this home and this family are all that I have. I don't have a lot of other outlets for my feelings. I don't have friends who are in the same boat as me. None of my friends here can relate to what I am going through.

All of that emotion came out in the tears I was shedding. I felt like a failure, even though I knew I wasn't. I yelled at my mom. But really I was yelling at myself. Picking at old wounds, causing new ones because I just didn't know what else to do.

But the answer was there. It was staring me right in the face. I had to say that I needed help and I had to accept the help that was given. So I swallowed the false pride I was feeling and let her help. I still feel bad, but my kitchen is clean and that is a small victory. So now I can fold the 5 loads of laundry I did today and go to bed knowing that I, we, made a dent in the chaos. So thank you Mom and Dad for helping me, I really needed it.

The stress isn't totally gone, nor will it ever be. It is constantly there just like a friend or lover you want to let go of but can't. I just have to remember to take time for myself, to breath, to relax. Not to let it overwhelm me to the point of causing physical symptoms like it has done in the past.

I have to realize that I am not alone. I have my little family. And even if they can't always relate, I have friends. And I have this blog, I can reach out into the wilds of the internet and there are those who will understand me.

Things Overheard In My House

Mommy: First we are going to get coffee and then we'll go to our playdate.
Bunny: Mommy likes coffee.
Mommy: Yes mommy likes coffee, what do you like?
Bunny: Vanilla milk. Let's go to Starbucks.

As you can see from above, I've created a monster. She even recognizes Starbucks as we drive past, along with two other coffee houses.

Me: So there was a conference called BlogHer blah blah blah
Bubs: You should totally go next year.
Me: (Dancing happy dance) Ok

Bunny: (While licking her arm) Mommy I having a kitty bath.

Bunny: Old MacDonald have a farm EIEIO, on a farm he have a Gigantasaurus, EIEIO

Sunday, July 27, 2008

They Say Its Your Birthday

Yesterday Bunny went to her first non-family birthday party. Her little friend Claire turned 2 and had a party at Gymboree.

It was as I thought it would be, a bunch of little kids running around like crazy not really paying attention to eachother. Except when they got in someone's way, then there was mayhem, a potential situation to defuse.

Bunny did what she always does. She hugged Claire and they ran around together for awhile. Then she found the oldest boy, he was 5, and wrapped him around her little finger. She and this boy chased each other and played together.

After she had tired of her new friend, she found Claire's grandfather who was holding her little 4 month old cousin (who is also a boy). She then started hanging out with them, fawning over the baby and showing off for grandpa. (I suspect we may have some trouble later. She likes boys and they like her back.)

All this flirting made her hungry so she was ready for dinner. They ordered pizza and had juice boxes for all the kids. Bunny was in heaven, two of her favorite things. And just when she thought it couldn't get any better, they brought out the cake which had marshmallows on it. She stood next to her chair jumping up and down clapping saying ooooh ooooh ooooh. I thought she might just explode.

After presents were opened and good byes were said, we headed to the car. I asked her if she liked the party. She said yes. Well what was your favorite part? She thought hard for a moment and answered "The cake." Well of course that was mommy's favorite too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make

I'll be watching you.

February 20, 1984, Milwaukee Wisconsin

I was dropped off outside of the MECCA arena with my friends Ingrid and Katie. I was 14 and a freshman in high school. I was so excited because this was going to be my first concert without parents. We were going to see The Police on their last tour.

At that time, life did not get any better than that. I remember so much about the night. I was wearing a purple velour mini-skirt because it was 1984 and I was soooo cool. Our seats were behind the stage to the right. We had a perfect view of Stuart Copland and not much else. But then Sting came and sang two songs to those of us in the back. It was heaven.

Fast forward 24 years to July 25, 2008.

I'm older and a bit wiser but still damn excited to see the show. I realized that a lot had changed in 24 years. It was an outdoor show and there were thunderstorms in the forcast, so we brought rain jackets just in case (which is pretty lame for a rock show and shows how old I've gotten). Also the crowd had gotten older. There were a few teenagers who came with their parents and a smattering of kids in their 20s. But the majority of the crowd was in their late 30s and 40s. I also wasn't wearing a sassy mini-skirt. I was dressed in capris, a tee and cute sporty flats (which I later learned were not cute and sporty but were actually tools of the devil).

But when the first chords were struck I wasn't 38 anymore. I reverted back to that 14 year old girl. I knew every song and sang it at the top of my lungs. I danced with strangers sitting next to me. Demolition Man, Can't Stand Losing You, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Don't Stand So Close To Me, Every Breath You Take. It was all perfect. (Although I do have to say during Invisible Sun they showed images of children from all over the world. It was almost enough to send my adoptive mama emotions over the edge every time I saw an image of an African boy or an Asian girl.) The show was wonderful and reminded me of what it was like to be a kid again.

I also fell in love three times last night. The first was with two security guards who escorted me to the first aid station back stage. You see my cute shoes had cut off all of the skin on the back of my right heel and some on my left. So I stood there bleeding in my shoes. You can't enjoy a concert if you can't stand up. It was a desperate situation, I needed band-aids stat. But at least 3 security guards turned me down, thinking that my situation was no so dire. Finally these two wonderful boys took pity on me and led me to first aid.

I then fell in love with the ladies working at the first aid tent. They gave me band-aids and antibiotic ointment. They got me back on my feet and enabled me to dance the night away.

Finally, I fell in love with the Sky Glider on the festival grounds outside the Ampitheater. German Fest was in full swing on the festival grounds and the Sky Glider was running the length of the grounds. Our car was a mile and 1/2 away. The Sky Glider cut 1/2 mile off and enabled me to save my feet once more.

We glided above the grounds over Helmut's Strudel Haus, several Oompah bands and stands selling spanferkel. We then left the grounds and walked through the art district where people were strolling in and out of galleries enjoying Gallery Night. This could have only happened in Milwaukee and reminded me of why I love this town.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Journey Has Begun

I think I've started this blog post about 10 times and erased everything I've written. My thoughts and emotions are just a jumble. I can't exactly put a finger on what exactly I'm going through.

At one moment I'm excited beyond words. I'm at the starting line of a long-ass marathon and I can't wait to get to the end. I'm making plans. I'm envisioning the future. I want to run as fast as possible to get to the end.

The next moment I'm totally terrified, wondering what I have gotten myself into. How can I do this? Do I have the strength?

Its all mixed up because both of these emotions are proper. I should be feeling exactly what I am feeling right now. I, we, my family has made the momentous, life changing decision to bring another member into our family. We have offically begun our journey to Turtle.

I've nicknamed him Turtle because he will take his own sweet time to get to us. But now that time actually has a frame work, the process is beginning and it will have an end. And at that end is a baby, a little boy who will join our family forever.

I tear up just thinking about him and what he will look like, what it will feel like to meet him, to hold him. Even though he hasn't been born, and probably won't be for a while, I love him with all of my heart. I've never been pregnant but I suppose that this is what an expectant mother feels like when the find out they are pregnant.

Turtle will be from Ethiopia. We hope that he will join our family sometime in late 2009 or early 2010. Sometime within the next 18 months I will be holding my son. I can't belive that I just typed that but it is true.

But while I am excited, I am also scared. Our journey to Bunny went so smoothly. We were lucky. I wonder how this journey will go.

We are a trans-racial family. Both of our children will experience and have experienced things that we cannot imagine. I want to have the strength and the support in place for them, for our family as we face these challenges.

Bunny has an amazing support group of adopted children from China. She will be starting language classes in the fall with other girls just like her. But what about Turtle? What will he have? I have begun to reach out to find families in our area with children from Ethiopia. I have even found a family near by with children from both Ethiopia and China. I need to find support for him and for us. We need to know that he is not alone, that he will know other boys and girls who have been through the same experiences as he has.

I ache for his birth mother and family who will make the agonizing decision to place him for adoption. Just as I ache for Bunny's mother. I want to meet these women. To give them a hug and let them know that I will love their children forever. But also let them know that I will help their children rembember them in some way.

We have taken the first, small step on our journey to Turtle. I cannot wait to meet you, my son.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An Open Letter

Anymommy has been writing letters lately and she has inspired me to write one of my own.

Dear Makers of Anti-Icky Poo:

I have sung your praises to the heavens. Scads of people now know your product thanks to my little blog. I was wondering if I could get a little love in return.

You see my boy cat won't stop peeing in my house. In fact last night he peed right under my computer table while I was sitting there. Luckily my feet were not under the table nor will the ever be again.

So we are running low on your wonderous product. Please, oh please won't you see it in your hearts to give a girl a free sample or twelve. I promise to drop Anti-Icky Poo in my blog at least once a week. Given the rate that Sir Pees-A-Lot is going, it won't be a problem.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shopping with A Toddler

Or how to drive yourself absolutely insane

Yesterday I had the bright idea of taking Bunny with me when I do the shopping for the week. I've taken her before but its usually a quick trip to pick up one or two things we need. And there is always bribery involved.

I figured we could go before music class. It was 8:30 and music class isn't until 11. No problem, right?

Yeah, not so much. It took almost 45 minutes to get us both dressed. Then another 15 minutes to find our (her) shoes. Then we had do decide which dinos would come with us. She wanted to bring 5. I told her we could bring two that would fit in her purse. We finally compromised on two in the purse and Gigantosaurus who can't fit in the purse because he is gigantic.

So we rolled out the door at 9:45 and drove to the grocery store. Our big grocery store is right across from the Co-op where I usually shop with Bunny. But because we needed a lot of things we hit the big one. Well she could see the Co-op and started screaming "I want Apple Ginger juice" over and over.
That juice is part of the normal shopping bribery because it is actually made with carrots and is a way for her to actually ingest a vegetable. I explained that we weren't going there but we had "Special" milk (regular milk with a dash of chocolate milk for color) and Teddy Grams. That seemed to calm her down.

The second we got in the store I realized I had forgotten my list. I should have aborted the mission at that time but I figured I could just wing it. As we were tooling around the produce section I grabbed as much as I could remember from the list. I passed the green onions and something registered in my head that I should buy some. But I overruled myself and kept on walking. Never overrule yourself, always listen to the voice(s) in your head.

Next we headed to the coffee bar so Mom could get her fuel. While we were waiting for the coffee, they were putting out samples of a new smoothie. Ok, I thought, we'll just use this as our bribe for the day. Bad, bad idea. The little taste awoke the juice monster once more. She kept chanting "Juice, j - oooce. Say it louder j - oooooce." (because she's 2 1/2 and loves to torture me). When they handed me my latte, I wished I had ordered a triple.

Then we went up and down the aisles grabbing what I could remember. She then decided to take out all the dinos and ask me questions.
"Mommy does Giganta like that?" "No sweetie he's a meat eater. He wouldn't like applesauce."
"Mommy Parasaurolophus wants to hold that box." "No sweetie we don't need what's in that box."
"Mommy, Minmi wants to know why." "Because."
"Mommy, Giganta wants j - oooooce." "Go to your happy place Renee. Just think of puppies. Everything will be okay."

And then because its 10am on a Monday the store was filled with eldery people and other moms. The moms looked at me with empathy. The grandmas and grandpas kept stopping me. "Is that your daughter? She's a real cutie." Um yeah not so much today.

I finally staggerd to the check out line with "j - oooooooooce" still ringing in my ears. I started to place the groceries on the conveyor. Bunny decided she wanted to help and tried to stand up in the cart. I managed to get her to sit down but then had to hand over every item so she could place it on the conveyor. "I'm helping Mommy." "Yes sweetie such a good helper."

We made it home and unloaded the groceries. Then we piled back in the car and made it to music class with 2 minutes to spare. After class one of the girls passed out treats for her 2nd birthday. Cupcakes and juice, just what I needed. I grabbed the cupcake and said she could have it for desert after lunch. But she managed to get a hold of the juice box.

"Mommy j - oooooooce. Open the j - ooooooce. I want the j - ooooooooooooce."

I started shaking from head to toe. I looked at the other mother with shock. "How could you do this? How could you possibly bring sugar and juice? I just can't belive that you would do such a thing. No juice, no juice ever."

Or maybe I just said thank you. I don't really remember much except for the fact that I've developed some sort of nervous tic whenever I hear the word juice.

J - ooooooooooooooooce

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Glimpse At My Former Life

Yesterday I had a glimpse of my former life.

The company I used to work for (and Bubs still does) started their annual meeting in our city. Its always a great time. They have a race and a garden party at the zoo on Sunday and then meeting stuff the rest of the week. This was my first time attending as a spouse not as an employee and I was excited to just have fun, not schmooze.

As we went to the party I was hoping I would run in to so and so. First because she has an adopted daughter from China so I wanted the girls to meet. And secondly because she worked in a department that if I ever went back to work, I'd want to work for. Well we didn't run into her. But we ran into lots of old friends and had a great time.

As I was talking to the husband of a friend, he was telling me about what he was doing. He said for the first time in his life he was going to have a career, not just a job. I could totally relate. Even though I had gone down a career path, I never really liked it. It was always just a job.

And then it hit me. For the first time in my life, I didn't hate getting up in the morning. Well I still don't like to wake up, but once I'm up I know I'm going to enjoy the rest of the day. Morning snuggle time, alphabet class, dino dancing, what's not to like. (Ok washing the floor and vacuuming before I had my coffee wasn't the greatest, but it had to be done.) Every day is fun because I get to play.

So I made a vow to myself. When or if I go back to work, its not going to be to a job just because I'm qualified for it. Its going to be to something I enjoy and am passionate about, if I can ever figure out what that is.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gasp, Pant, Pant, Gasp

Well I finished the 5k in 37 minutes. Its better than I was hoping for so I am really proud.

I'm going to go pass out now.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The One In Which I Vow to Reduce the Size of

my a** by getting up off of it.

In two months I will be 39 (for the first time, for reals). And to mark this momentus occasion, Bubs' cousin has decided to get married in Vegas that weekend. While marking my birthday might not have been her intention, it was so nice of her to throw a wedding that weekend so I would have an excuse to party in Vegas.

Every other time I've been to Vegas its been winter, so I've never gotten to go lounge by the pool while Bubs plays poker. So he has been looking into deals at the hotels with the nicest pools (how thoughtful).

But then a horrifying thought occurred to me. If we stayed at a hotel with a nice pool, I would actually have to put on a bathing suit and wear it in public. Yikes. That's not pretty for anyone involved.

So what's a girl to do? Well, I'm gonna try my hardest to lose 10 pounds by then. We're not going for bikini ready, maybe a tankini with a skirt (a long skirt).

So today I went to the gym for the first time in, well in a long time. And tomorrow I am scheduled to run a 5K, which is kind of ridiculous because I don't really run. Tuesday I am off to a Weight Watchers, instead of this pretend to do it on the interent but have no one hold you accountable stuff that I've been doing for the last 3 years.

And finally I'm gonna post how much I've lost here every week for all to read. You don't get to know the number on the scale just how much has come off (or not). So I'm counting on you all to kick my a** and help me make it smaller.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Internet Addiction

Hi my name is Renee and I am addicted to the internet.

Sometimes as a stay at home mom, its my only connection to the outside world. Its how I find out about world events. If I didn't go on the internet I wouldn't know if anything was going on.

Oh who am I kidding. I spend most of my time on the internet posting on this blog. I also read about 100 other blogs by really talented and funny people. And I am finding new ones every day. I've made connections through these blogs to some amazing people.

But its hard to fit all of this into the times when Bunny is napping or after Bubs comes home. I often find myself slipping into the computer room just to check my e-mail or just to read one blog. Well one turns into seven and then eleven.

When Bunny sees me heading towards the computer she screams "No blogs mommy" and grabs my hand. And that is when I know I have a problem. A 2 1/2 year old knows the word blog.

So this morning I didn't go to the computer. Instead I sat down and just hung out with Bunny. And you know what? The world didn't end. The computer didn't explode. I didn't have 100 e-mails to check (just 10). And best of all I had fun.

So now I need a 12 step program or wireless access. Either one will work.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


That's the sound of me unleashing my inner fan girl because Project Runway is back. Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, pure joy.

I started watching it while Bunny was still awake. She came running into my room and climbed into bed with me. "What are you watching?" "Project Runway." "What are they doing?" "The designers are making clothes out of items from a grocery store." "Oh." And then she settled into watch until bedtime. It was nice to have someone to watch with even if she was only 2 1/2.

It was the first episode where you get to meet all the designers. However, it was all sort of a jumble and you don't really get to know anyone.

But here are my first impressions:
Blayne - annoying, kinda creepy looking, butt ugly outfit, but he's kinda crazy so he'll be around for a while
Jerry - that was one ugly, uggggly dress / raincoat (a raincoat? really?) bye,bye
Daniel - cute in a Daniel V kinda way, loved the plastic cup dress
The Bang Sisters - three girls with dark hair and bangs, I can't really tell them apart yet, but they are cute and made cute dresses
Kelly - yet another girl with bangs but she's blond and has tatoos, loved her dress and she totally deserved to win

Project Runway always gets me in a creative mood. So hopefully that will lead to more jewerly designs. Who knows I may even add more to my store

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

The internets like me. I am so honored.

I'd like to thank the Academy. I'd like to thank my daughter for being herself. I'd like to thank my cat for peeing everywhere (well not really and don't get any more bright ideas Tabasco). I'd like to thank my husband for putting up with all the chaos and for creating some himself.

What's all the hubub about? Why am I channeling my inner Sally Field? Jyll from Never a Dull Moment gave me this cool little award.

The rules of this award are that you are supposed to:
1. Put the logo on your blog,
2. Add a link to the person who nominated you,
3. Nominate 7 more awesome bloggers.

So I nominate these wondrous bloggers:
Stacey from Is There Any Mommy Out There for being a great nay an amazing mom and for telling it how it is.

Meghan from A Mom Two Boys for being the genius behind All Mediocre and giving me an internet home.

Eat Play Love for making kneesocks cool again.

Kate from The Big Piece of Cake for reminding me why I don't dance any more.

Amy from Amy In Ohio because she shares my obsession with Jon & Kate Plus 8.

And MamaCarter from Insane Toddler because she knows me and really does like me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things Overheard in my House and Other Randomness

Bubs: At the Zoo we rode the train and the carousel, Bunny rode the ponies, we petted the sting rays and we fed the giraffes.

Me: No wonder she loves you more than me. You are like a weekend dad, "I'll buy you things. Please love me."

Bubs: Yeah. You are the disciplinarian and I'm like the drunk uncle, the drunkle.


Bunny: That car is on the sidewalk. I'm so mad.

Me: Why don't you tell it that you are mad? You'll feel better.

Bunny: I'm mad at you car. You no park on sidewalk. We walk on sidewalk.

Me: Do you feel better?

Bunny: Yes.

Other bits of randomness:

Anti Icky Poo really works. It even cleans the smell of decaying vegetables, skunk spray and dead bodies. Not that you'd need to get rid of the smell of a dead body, but in case you do.

Anti Icky Poo is really fun to say.

And if you were wondering Sir Pees-A-Lot has struck again. In the bookcase this time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Part 2 of the Quest for Non-Existant Hypothetical Baby #2

Read part one here.

The Non-Existant Hypothetical Baby # 2 shall henceforth be known as Turtle (because NEHB#2 sounds silly).

So in May Bubs and I decided on our course of action for Turtle. We decided to try fertility treatments and to file our paperwork with China. We felt this would cover our bases quite nicely. If the fertility treatments worked we would have a biological child with in the next year or so and the would adopt our third child from China in three years. If the fertility treatments didn't work, we could switch our dossier to special needs and adopt sooner.

It was the perfect plan. But as I have found out perfect plan and Renee do not belong in the same sentence. Heck we're not even on the same planet. The universe mocks me and my planning.

I made an appointment with my doctor. Given what we had found out previously, I suspected that there would be no major issues and we could start the dance. I had been having normal periods and the ovulation sticks had dectected ovulation. No problem right?

Not so fast my friend, the universe taunted. After reviewing my FSH (folicle stimulating hormone) levels the doctor said they were very high. So she ordered a new test and it was even higher. High FSH levels generally mean you are no longer producing eggs. So this is not good news.

The next step was an ultrasound to check the status of my ovaries and eggs. So I went and had the goop slathered on. It was weird to see an ultrasound picture with no baby inside. Just an empty uterus. It was kind of sad. As the technician was reviewing the results she asked me what day of my cycle I was on. I answered day 18. Her response "Oh, okay. Hmmmm." That did not sound like good news.

And of course it wasn't. My doctor said she could not see any folicles in my ovaries. Which meant there were no eggs this time. My uterus was also thin, meaning there was no estrogen stimulating my cycle.

I asked what it meant bottom-line. She said either you are entering menopause or this is just a fluke. Regular cycles in all the previous months could mean a fluke. Or it just could be that we've caught the exact beginning of the end. She said we have to wait until the end of July to know for sure. Either I get my period and we do more tests. Or I don't and that is that.

So this means that it is extremely unlikely that Turtle will be coming out of me. And I'm not really that sad about it. Its hard to mourn for something you never really had. I've actively tried to have a baby and not tried not to have one for the past 10 years. So I just assumed there was an infertility problem. And now its pretty much confirmed.

The whole premature menopause thing? That really bothers me. I'm not sure I'm ready for "symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, vaginal dryness, low sex drive, or trouble sleeping." (Thanks WebMd, I really wanted to know about that.) I'm only 38 and that really sucks.

So now I'll be watching and waiting all throughout July. But because we've already adopted, I still know that Turtle is out there somewhere (or will be soon). So I can still be his mother. (Did I just type him? I don't know why but I think Turtle is a boy). We are in the process of re-evaluating our options, yet again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life in But Why Mommyland

Tabasco aka Sir Pees-A-Lot


Friday, July 11, 2008

Good Parenting or Enabling

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that my daughter is obsessed with dinosaurs. She has, at last count, 1,000,000 dinos or something like that. She knows their names and she knows whether they are plant or meat eaters. Its kind of scary.

So I decided to take a look at all of the dino paraphernalia that she has. At our house she has 5 unidentified bath/pool toy dinos, a dino puzzle with seven pieces and 8 plastic dinos (I could give you a who's who but you really don't want to know). Not too bad. She also has 3 dino books. A recording of the movie Dinosaur, which is watched in some part at least once a day. And at least two dinos are carried in her little red purse everytime we leave the house.

At my mom's house she has the same bath/pool dinos, a one armed T-Rex (according to her his arm will grow back), several other unidentified dinos, 5 finger puppet dinos and 5 wind-up dinos. She also has (on loan from my mom's library at school) 10 books on various dinos, including Megalodon, Apatosaurus and Velociraptors. She practically has the books memorized and always wants to see the skeleton pictures at the end.

And now its gotten to the point that if I see a dinosaur, I'll buy it for her. Whenever I'm at Target, I rummage through the bins to see if I can find a new one she doesn't already have (last time I scored a Gigantosaurus). They have a mini-dino set with 15 dinos and fake palm trees that I totally want to buy but I am afraid it will contain repeats of what we already have. And yesterday when I was buying a new shredder at an office supply store, I seriously considered buying a Stegosaurus calculator. But then I realized she can't do math yet so I skipped it. This time.

Maybe we've got a budding palentologist on our hands. Or maybe not. But for right now Bunny's dinos are like dolls to her. Yesterday we put on some tunes and had a good old fashion dino bash. Bunny served refreshments of chocolate cookies and vanilla juice. (Which if you didn't know is made by sticking a cardboard tube into a teapot. Its very tasty)

Parasaurolophus and Spinosaurus where having a dance party. They tried to start a dino mosh pit but Gigantosaurus was having none of that. So then they started pogo bouncing on their tails. Well that got the crowd going and soon Stegasaurus, Brachiosaurus and Triceratops joined in. And T-Rex accompanied us on the trumpet. It was a kick ass party and a good time was has by most. Except for Euoplocephalus (or as Bunny calls him Minmi, which is a similar looking but different dino) who decided to take a nap.

So I may chill out on buying new dinos for the time being. But I'm going to revel in the dino mania for as long as it lasts

Thursday, July 10, 2008

She's Got Questions, Do I Have Answers?

When you live with a two year old you get a lot, and I mean a lot of questions. Most of them are fairly simple. What's that? Where's parrot? Where's minmi? What are you eating?

Then there are the tougher, more philosophical questions, the why questions. And the questions about nature and her surroundings can also be tricky. What do ants eat? What kind of clouds are those? These questions may require a basic understanding of grade school science.

Now I am a relatively intelligent person, a former lawyer. And I know realize that none of my schooling beyond grade school has prepared me to be a question answerer (is answerer even a word?) to a toddler. So like any good (former) lawyer, I make an educated guess, research it further and give a more fully formed answer later.

Take for example the cloud question. When faced with determining the type of clouds in the sky, I was pretty sure that the fluffy white ones were cumulus so that was my answer. A quick check of Wikipedia confirmed it. I also looked at the other types of clouds for a refresher, just in case.

Her questions about ants have posed tougher. She will spend hours examining ants, and ant hills. And then the questions start:

What to they eat? Grass (I think).
Where do they live? In the ground.
What are they doing? Looking for food.
Why are some little and some big? Um, they are different kinds of ants.
What kind of ants? I don't know. Let me check on that and get back to you. Would you like me to brief it or would a simple answer suffice?

So I found myself at the bookstore looking at books on ants. Hey guess what they do eat grass. Well some of them do. Do you know their are ants that grow their own food? Farmer ants do, in case you cared. I armed myself with some basic knowledge and answered her questions.

I know that this is just the beginning. I'm going to have to learn enough about what she is interested in so I can answer her questions. For example I just looked up whether a Parasaurolophus is a meat eating dinosaur or a plant eater. And the answer is plant eater.

What do you do when faced with these types of questions? What kinds of questions have you answered?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Letting Go

I am a bit of a pack rat. I hang on to things longer than I should. Its a problem that I am trying to work on. With the explosion of toddler stuff in the house, I'm trying to let go of the stuff I don't need anymore. I think it will help with my feelings about the CrapShack. If I can get rid of some of the clutter it will look better.

The problem areas in the house are limited to two rooms really. Our room, more specifically our closet, and the office. Since those are two rooms I spend a fair amount of time in (sleeping and banging away on the computer) I should do something about it.

So a few weeks ago, I went through my closet. I took out all of the stuff that doesn't fit, which unfortunately was a lot. I also gave up all of my work clothes. I haven't worked in six months and I am not going to for the rest of the year. Its highly unlikely I'll go back to work before Bunny goes to school. I don't need the work clothes anymore. So out they went.

I even got rid of some shoes. Well more like 30 pairs (and I even kept 25 pairs). Just call me Imelda. I love shoes. You see when I was in high school I was 5'10" and had size 10 feet. Its not a big deal now but it was back then. They didn't make cute shoes in a size 10. For homecoming freshman year I had to buy these ugly grannyish shoes. And I hated that. So when they started making cute shoes in my size, I started buying them.

I know I could get rid of more. But I'm taking baby steps. I hope to become more minimal, more streamlined, eventually.

The next project is to tackle the office. I have way too much paper. I hang on to stuff in case I'll need it. And I never need it. So inspired by managermom's call to show where we work, I'm going to clean out this dump. On July 13th I'll show where it started and where it ended up. Now momma's gonna go buy a shredder.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Zoo Day, Hooray

Today Bunny and I are going to the zoo. We will meet up with her aunt and 2 cousins. Bunny loves going to the zoo and hanging out with her cousins so it will be a big day for her.

We have a zoo pass which means we can go to the zoo for free. Since the beginning of the year, we've gone at least 25 times. Its our default activity. And its also pretty cool.

My favorite thing to see at the zoo is the baby orangutan, Mahal. Its amazing how much he looks like and acts like a real baby (just ask baby on bored or see above.) There are always huge crowds around his enclosure. Some there just to see him.

When I found out his story, I realized how important he really is (you can read it here, here and here.) He was rejected by his birth parents, one surrogate mom died and he was rejected by another. He came to our zoo to be with a new surrogate. His story mirrors what a lot of human kids have had to go through. And he's also become sort of an ambassador for the endangered orangutans.

So I hope you read his story and learn a little more about him and his species. (Gets off soapbox) But if you just want to look at a really cute baby, you can just watch his webcam.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hi My Name Is

Mommy and I'm chopped liver. At least around these parts recently.

Bunny got to spend a lot of quality time with her father over the long holiday weekend and it appears that she prefers him to me. When faced with the question "Who do you want to do X?" The answer was always daddy.

At times she would look at me and say "Go away momma. Go cook dinner." Nice. My own kid ordering me around like a servant.

I thought I caught a break on Saturday night when, after bath time, she wriggled out of her towel to climb in my lap. She gave me a nice soaking wet hug and said "I love you, mommy." She then allowed me to read her books and put her to bed. Well after the last story, just as I was getting ready to put her down, she screams "I want Daddy. Daddy put me bed." Curses, foiled again. So daddy was summoned and Bunny went to bed.

I get that she spends most of her time with me so Daddy time is special, something to be savored. And this weekend she got 3 whole days of daddy. Its what she expects now. In fact when I got her up this morning the first thing she said is "Where's daddy." It will take some time to fall back into our routine.

But looking back over the weekend, I really wouldn't have it anyother way. Yesterday we were at the beach. As I lay on the blanket I could see Bubs chasing her around, helping her throw rocks in the lake and building her sand castles. It was beautiful. Bunny is so lucky to have such a devoted dad.

So while I may be chopped liver. Its okay.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

You Always Want What You Don't Have

As many of you know I live in a CrapShack which I hate for all of its brokeness. Its a curse I have to bear until I can get enough money to fix all of its problems. But by that time I will probably be dead or living in Del Boca Vista. So it will always be the CrapShack to me.

Because of this, I have developed a bad habit. I am addicted to glossy shelter magazines and design shows on television, what I like to call House Porn. I get so excited when my copy of Elle Decor arrives in my mail box. If I'm at the drug store or book store, I'll often pick up a copy of Archetectural Digest or Metropolitan Home.

Then when I have some free time, I run to my room to peruse its contents. I stare loveingly at its pages. Oohing and ahhing over the Viking Ranges, non-peed upon couches and working bathrooms. I save the magazines to read over and over again. Its truly a sickness. Then when I'm finally ready to part with them, I will tear out pictures of the kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and frankly the houses I want to live in. Someday.

The design shows do it for me too. I love to see the transformation of the home from plain (or plain ugly) to beautiful. And I dream that someday it will happen to me. But it won't because all of the shows seem to take place in California or "Big City". They won't take place in the heartland. But they could.

See I have an idea for a new show. You take some big time, fancy scmancy interior designer and architect away from their champagne and caviar clients and have them redo a house on a beer and brats budget. Its genius. Its got everything you need for good TV. Drama, could Kelly Wearstler or Katie Ridder handle the challenge? Tears from the homeowners and possibly the designers. And the first challenge? You guessed it fixing up the CrapShack.

So hopefully you'll be seeing this show on HGTV or Bravo sometime soon. And I'll be raking in the dough with my Executive Producer credit.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th

I never used to think much about the 4th of July. It was a day of parades, picnics and fireworks. It was fun but that was it.

But now as the parent of an international adoptee, it means a little bit more. After all the paperwork, waiting, paperwork, governmental approval etc. when your daughter finally becomes a US citizen its kind of a big deal.

It happened in the O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Right outside of customs they had a long table set up. You brought over the Brown Envelope given to you by the US Consulate in China. You were not to open it under penalty of, well, of something. Then you sat waiting for your child's name to be called. We waited for a long time. Now mind you we had a connecting flight to make and bags to recheck. We'd also been up for over 24 hours at this point. So the wait seemed like forever.

Finally they called Bunny's name. We went to the table. They handed us some paperwork. And said "Welcome to America." It was kind of anti-climactic at the time. But it really meant so much more than that. Bunny was now an American citizen. One in a long line of immigrants who came to America looking for a better life.

So today that is what I think about. I think about the journey she took from an orphanage in China to being a typical sassy, dinosaur obsessed, American toddler. That is pretty cool.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Anti-Icky Poo

Yesterday afternoon I thought today's blog post would be about my adventures as Gulliver in the land of Lilliput. You see I was felled by about 3700 plastic dinos who then proceeded to climb all over me for the better part of an hour. It was awesome.

But then I discovered that the cat had peed on the sofa again. And not just on the bottom part but all along the top of the sofa where you rest your head. Don't ask how I found out, I just did and it wasn't pretty. So now I have a pee ridden sofa. Part of me is pissed off yet another part is glad because I hate that ugly sofa. But all things being equal we can't afford another sofa so we have to clean it.

We busted out the Anti-Icky Poo we purchased from the Vet. They swear by it and I assume they have lots of cats peeing everywhere. It smells better than the other stuff and seems to be working. So we'll see if it happens again. I don't want to have to change the cat's name from Tabasco Kitty Pants to Sir Pees-A-Lot.

Right after we had sprayed the couch with the Anti-Icky Poo (and yes I'll probably type that a few more times because its fun to say), the power went out. It was kind of a stormy warm night so I wasn't surprised. But Bunny had just gone down in her crib when the power flashed a few times and went out. She was totally freaked out. Bubs went in to calm her down, while I looked for alternative lighting sources.

This is where I'm lucky my friend Beth sells Partylite and I buy way more candles then I need. I was able to put candles in all the rooms that needed them, so thanks Beth. But I discovered that none of our flashlights work. I had to go to the store for more or else we would have been carrying candles around like old timey folk.

When I went to the store I was again reminded that we are not on the same power grid as our neighbors across the street. They, of course, had full power. Their lights were on. Their fans and air conditioners worked. Their big screen TVs taunting me as I looked at their houses. I hated them.

Bubs and I had to sit by candlelight. We thought we were going to have to read or God forbid talk to eachother when I remembered we had a portable DVD player. We were saved. I popped in Raiders of the Lost Ark* and we marvled at the general bad-assedness of Harrison Ford until the lights went on two hours later.

So that is why I am not waxing rhapsodic about my capture by the dinos.

*I have not seen the 4th Indiana Jones movie. I love me some Indiana Jones and I want my image of him ruined by a crappy movie. If you think its worth seeing, let me know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Lately Bunny has been taking more risk. She is pushing her boundaries. She is branching out, trying new things and seeing how far she can go. It is a good thing. She is learning and growing up. But she knows that I will always be there to catch her.

Watching her take these risks makes me realize that I haven't taken much risk in my life. I've always been the good girl, done what is expected of me. I've rarely stood at the crossroads and taken that twisting turning dirt road. I usually travel on the paved roads.

I went to law school because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted to do it. But I also harbored a dream of moving to New York. I didn't take that risk. And looking back I am glad that I didn't because I met my husband in law school and we adopted Bunny. That time the paved road led to treasure.

But I want to be an artist. To write, paint, draw and make jewelry. To date I am simply a dabbler. I enjoy doing it but I don't take risks so it never rises to the level of art. Its good but not great.

And why don't I take those risks? Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of being laughed at. Fear of fear. So I live my life in a state of half-assedness. If I'm not trying then I'm not failing. Maybe I'm numb and have to walk into a few walls to wake myself up.

So now I'm opening myself up to the world. Here I am naked before you. This is me, this is who I am today. I am trying to take those risks to make myself into the person I want to be. Maybe its good, maybe its not but it is something and that is what is important.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good Things

Over the weekend I went to see one of my favorite bands, the Bodeans. I grew up with the band going to their first album release concert in 1986 when I was still in high school. Over the next 22 years I think I've seen them 30 times. I love their music, but its really reminds me of a time in my life. When I hear their songs, I am transported back to college.

I think about my friends, those three gals I saw most of those concerts with. Beth, Michelle and Leslie. We were inseperable. We went everywhere together. Okay maybe we mostly went to the Pub and Monday's together but you get the idea.

But after college it ends. It has to end. Everyone goes their separate ways. You move to different cities. You get married. You have kids. Your life changes. You are not the same person you were back then. You try to stay in touch. And when you get together its fun, you relive the "glory days". But its not really the same. And so you lose touch. You don't want to you just do.

I wish I wasn't that person but I am. I am a good friend but I am not a great friend. I don't keep in touch. I don't call. I may send an e-mail here and there. But its not real contact. So I tend to drift from my friends if they are not in the immediate area.

Looking back, I no longer have contact with any of my high school friends. I live in the same city I went to high school in so I'll occasionally run into someone. But we chat and then move on. College is a bit better. We had lunch last year. We send Christmas cards. But that is it. I'm trying not to let it happen with my law school friends but its hard.

I'm not the kind of friend that I want to be. I'm not the kind of friend I want to have. And I don't like it. As the song says "You don't get much without giving." So this is my gift to my friends. I miss you and I am thinking about you. Wherever you may be.