Thursday, December 31, 2009

Darkness and Light

I've written several versions of this post, wondering how best to sum up this past year for me and my hopes for the new year. Most of the posts contained explanations and rehashings of the the cloud that I have been residing under for the past six months. It didn't feel right. I didn't want to focus on what has kept me from being creative and has, at times, kept me from even opening this blog.

This cloud has been me, a part of who I was. However, I am addressing it. I am learning how to deal with it. I am moving out from under its shadow. I will not give it anymore power.

Today was a microcosm of this past year. I decided at the last minute to have a mini New Years celebration for our family. The tree of us would ring in the New Year with a meal, desert and surprise treats. I had a lot of work to do, making a list, running to the store, dealing with crowds, and preparing everything just right.

My parents offered to take Bunny to the Domes, one of her favorite places. This gave me about an hour to make a surgical strike on the grocery shopping. I went to my favorite neighborhood market. Normally I enjoy it but today as I circled the parking lot for a spot, I could feel my chest start to tighten. As I walked the aisles, I was cut off, banged into and generally jostled with every step. I could see the dark clouds over my head and my mood darkened with it.

All I wanted was to get everything on my list and get the heck out of there. I stood at the checkout counter, ready to pay. The exit was in site. I was almost free. Just then, the woman behind me, engrossed in a conversation with her husband, rammed her cart into my side. She looked up, startled at what she had done and mumbled that she was sorry. And promptly ran over my foot. Ouch. &*@#**%@*&$##%$$$&**%#$**!

I fled to the safety of my car. I was stewing about the stupid people and the ruined morning. I realized that I forgot something on my list. Of course I forgot, that's just the way things go. Rather than returning to the store, I got the heck out of dodge. I hoped that another store would have what I needed and would be less of a hassle. It was not, but I managed to escape the store with what I needed and without bodily harm.

As I drove home in a foul mood, I passed my favorite coffee shop. Coffee! An extra large, superhuman sized latte would solve my problems. Or at least make me feel better. As I approached the door, I noticed a woman holding two large cups. She looked directly at me with a smile on her face (something I hadn't seen all morning) and said "Happy New Year!"

I nearly stopped in my tracks. What was happy about it? There was a storm raging inside of me. This happened and that happened and I need to do this and that and I've got to go there and . . . And oh my god shut the heck up Renee!

The woman was smiling, she was in a good mood (she had coffee) and in that moment her saying "Happy New Year" made it happy. The wind started blowing my cloud away, making room for some much needed sunshine. I could smile. I could say "Happy New Year". I could be happy. I could do all of this, if I wanted.

I want it, I really do.

Happy New Year. May this year bring us all more happiness.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BFL Picks

Football pick time. Winners in red and bold

Dallas @ New Orleans

Chicago @ Baltimore
New England @ Buffalo
Arizona @ Detroit
Houston @ St. Louis
Miami @ Tennessee
Cleveland @ Kansas City
Atlanta @ NY Jets
San Francisco @ Philadelphia
Oakland @ Denver
Green Bay @ Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay @ Seattle
Minnesota @ Carolina

Monday Night
NY Giants @ Washington
Combined MNF score - 44

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ruby Slippers

Ruby slippers are magic. Everyone knows that. If you click your heels three times, you can leave the world you thought you wanted but really didn't. Three clicks of those ruby slippers and you can be magically transported to the safety and security of home.

If I had ruby slippers, I would go clickety, clickety, click in hopes of getting out of my funk. Click. Click. Click. I would fast forward time to skip this winter of waiting. Click. Click. Click. Now its spring and I am full of hope. Click. Click. Click. Now I am holding my son. Click. Click. Click. Now I am home. Click. Click. Click. Now our home is complete.

But alas I do not have ruby slippers. I am destined to wander down this yellow brick road, wherever it may lead. I am the Cowardly Lion, often scared of my own shadow. I am the Tin Man, my heart is missing a piece. I am the Scarecrow, my brain has left me. I am Dorothy, looking for my home.

Ruby slippers are magic. There is a little girl with ruby slippers. She is dancing, singing and twirling. She holds out her hand for me to join her. I take it and the magic envelops me. I know that if I follow her lead down this yellow brick road, I will find everything I need.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm Back, Well Sort Of

I know I haven't blogged in a while. I could give you a host of reasons, but the truth is I don't know why. So I'm just going to do the football picks and see what happens with the rest of the week.

New Orleans @ Atlanta
Green Bay @ Chicago
Denver @ Indianapolis
Buffalo @ Kansas City
NY Jets @ Tampa Bay
Miami @ Jacksonville
Detroit @ Baltimore
Seattle @ Houston
Cincinnati @ Minnesota
Carolina @ New England
St. Louis @ Tennessee
Washington @ Oakland
San Diego @ Dallas
Philadelphia @ NY Giants

Monday Night
Arizona @ San Francisco
Combined MNF Score - 37

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bitter Rivalry

It begins at 2:30 this afternoon.

It begins on a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

It begins on a field in Evanston, IL.

And when it ends . . .

When it ends there is a very real possibility that my husband and I will not be speaking to each other.

When it ends one of us will be dancing around the room, arms raised victoriously, singing a fight song.

When it ends the other will be muttering under his (or her) breath, cursing bad calls and missed opportunities.

It is big. It is important.

It is a football game.

It is not just any football game. It is the game. It leads to bragging rights.

It is the battle of our alma maters. It is the battle of my beloved University of Wisconsin Badgers versus Frink's Northwestern Wildcats.

It is a battle between two outstanding academic institutions. It is the battle of an elitist private school versus an institution dedicated to educating the public. It is the battle of expensive versus affordable.

It is the battle of a football power versus a scrappy upstart. It is the battle of number 17 in the nation versus "that team that beat Iowa".

It is the battle of a cool, hip college town versus a college town that used to be dry. It is the battle of liberal versus conservative. It is the battle of Cheeseheads versus Flatlanders (FIBs or FISHs).

It is a battle between Bucky Badger

and Willie the Wildcat

It is a battle that Bucky will win. It is a battle in which the University of Wisconsin Badgers will emerge victorious.

On Wisconsin!

Jump Around!

(I love you Frink.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

I love Wordless Wednesday, just a picture, no words. I love looking at all the pictures and imagining the story behind them. I love seeing a glimpse into what someone's world looks like, what they like, what they find beautiful or important.

I have a picture I want to share. A brand new picture I am dying to share with all of you. I want to, but I can't. Its against the rules.

So I am going to use words to describe it. I know I will fail because a thousand words, a million words, all the words in the world are not enough to capture the essence of this picture. They are not enough to describe the beauty, the feelings it invokes. Words cannot capture my little Lion.

The first thing you notice is the eyes. They are the biggest eyes I've ever seen, beautiful, deep and dark eyes. The kind of eyes you could get lost in. The kind of eyes that if you stare into them long enough you think you might just find the secrets to the universe. I know I've found a piece of my soul there.

Next is the smile. Its a beautiful, baby smile. You notice the teeth, oh my goodness he has two teeth. You can't wait to see that smile in person, to hear him laugh or giggle.

In one of the pictures you can see the future. Through the look in his eyes and the sly grin on his face you know that he will make all the girls fall in love with him. I know I surely have.

He is small. I want to wrap him in my arms and never, ever let go. He is strong. I can picture him tearing around my house, chasing his sister and the cats.

This is a picture of my son. My words do not do him justice. He is beautiful. He is my heart. He is my Lion.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

I waited 37 years to become a mother.

I waited 10 years to become a mother.

I "officially" waited 13 months to become a mother.

And then I waited 2 months more to meet my child.

The wait was hard. The wait was long. The wait was difficult.

However, in a way, the official wait was also easy. Once we had decided to adopt a child, I knew I was going to become a mother. There was a child waiting for me a the end of this road. I had not had that certainty before.

I had to jump through hoops but my life really didn't change all that much. I went to work, I hung out with friends, Frink and I traveled a bit. We did the same things we would have done even if we weren't adopting. We were waiting to be parents of a non-existent, hypothetical child but we were also living our lives as a married couple with two incomes and no children.

One phone call changed that all. We got the official word that we were parents. There was a child, a little girl, waiting for us on the other side of the world. Once I heard that and saw her picture I was done. My life as I knew it was over and my life as a parent began.

Well it was ready to begin, I just had to wait a little bit longer. Two months. The longest two months of my life. Eight weeks. Sixty days. An eternity. Forever spent staring at that picture, the picture of my child.

Then, finally, I was a parent. The next three years were a blur of activity, laughter, sleepless nights and joy. It was every thing I had imagined and more.

Even though we were happy, we knew our family wasn't complete. There was one more child, out there somewhere, waiting for us. Or maybe he wasn't out there yet and we had to wait for him. We began the process and began to wait once more.

We made the decision to move forward last fall but had some false starts. We started again this year. We could have finished the process earlier but I always held off. I was waiting for something, I didn't know exactly what, but I was waiting.

I was waiting for something to push me forward. I was waiting for a phone call, THE phone call. The phone call that said you are a mother. I finally knew that there is a little boy waiting for me on the other side of the world. And I knew why I had been waiting, I was waiting for him. Once I heard that and saw his picture I was done. My life as a parent of two children began.

Well it was ready to begin, I just had to wait a little bit more. WAIT. I had to finish some paperwork on my end. WAIT. We have to get a court date in Ethiopia and pass court. WAIT. We have to get a visa appointment with the American embassy. WAIT. We have to get travel dates. WAIT. We have to wait an unspecified amount of time for someone half a world away to tell me its time.

The wait this time is excruciating. I have his picture. I love him. I am his mother. However, I have to wait to hold him in my arms. And that is the hardest part.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Again

I posted on November 1st. I posted again on November 2nd. I posted two days in a row, which is pretty good for me lately.

Two days in a row wasn't that hard. I thought I bet I could do this every day this month. I could join National Blog Posting Month and write a post every day for the entire month of November. I even signed up for it. I could totally do this.

I could do it. (insert hysterical laughter from every one who knows me and who has ever read this blog). Shut up, I could totally do it.

I could but I did not do it. I didn't even make it to the third day. I skipped 5 days before I posted again, and that post was about football and snakes. Then I didn't post until today. That is 4 days out of 12 in the month, not even close to every day.

If they did a National Post Blogs Randomly Every Few Days Month, I could totally do that. But then most of those posts would be about my football picks. In fact, this post is about my football picks, because the fine folks at the NFL have started Thursday night games. You knew that didn't you?

I'll bet that some of my loyal readers are feeling a bit like this fine fellow

a bit put out that they were forced to wear a birthday hat for a stuffed parrot's birthday party.

For that I'm sorry, but this is my blog. I've been working on a few posts but I haven't been able to finish them so football picks it is (winners in bold and red):

Thursday Night
Chicago @ San Francisco

Atlanta @ Carolina
Tampa Bay @ Miami
Detroit @ Minnesota
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Buffalo @ Tennessee
Denver @ Washington
New Orleans @ St. Louis
Jacksonville @ NY Jets
Kansas City @ Oakland
Seattle @ Arizona
Dallas @ Green Bay
Philadelphia @ San Diego
New England @ Indianapolis

Monday Night
Baltimore @ Cleveland
Combined MNF Score = 45

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What a Charmer

Why yes that is Bunny with a juvenile Burmese Python. Why do you ask?

We were at Snake Day at the museum and of course Bunny was in heaven. For me it was infinitely better than bug day, snakes are not nearly as creepy as bugs.

Now on to the BFL picks (winners in bold and red):

Houston @ Indianapolis
Washington @ Atlanta
Arizona @ Chicago
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
Miami @ New England
Green Bay @ Tampa Bay
Kansas City @ Jacksonville
Detroit @ Seattle
Carolina @ New Orleans
San Diego @ NY Giants
Tennessee @ San Francisco
Dallas @ Philadelphia

Monday Night: Pittsburgh @ Denver
Combined MNF Score = 45

Check out the rest of the action here.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I've had this song stuck in my head for days.

I am sure you can all sympathize. It happens to everyone. And its always an annoying or slightly annoying song. If it were a cool song you wouldn't mind one bit, you'd just sing along. A cool song would be like having your own personal soundtrack.

An annoying song is different. You don't want it in your head. Its there and its threatening to stay. Forever. And it just might drive you crazy in the mean time.

Now the annoying song can be anything. It could be a catchy pop song from an artist you hate or from an artist you are not willing to admit to liking to anyone (not even your diary). It could be a jingle for a local bank, restaurant or the like. It could be a theme song for a television show you hate or are not willing to admit to liking to anyone (not even your diary).

In my case, it is a song from a children's cartoon. These songs are the worst to have stuck in your head. They are designed to be catchy. They are designed to be easy to remember. They are designed to be annoying because they are aimed at toddlers and pre-schoolers.

You can't fight that. The writers of these songs have research on how to make them memorable to children (and adults). Think about it, I'm sure you can remember the words to songs from shows you watched as a child that aren't even on the air anymore. These songs stick like glue.

The worst offender, in my book is Word World. Now I love Word World. Its helping Bunny learn her letters, the sounds they make and it is helping her to learn to read. So its a great show. A great show with annoying music, starting with the theme song and moving on to so many other annoying songs.

We've all heard the advice, to get a song out of your head you just sing it out loud. In theory this releases the song to the universe (or to the person sitting next to you) and frees your head. I follow this advice diligently. You can often find me breaking out in:

"You can never have too many OOs. Doodlely oo, doodlely oo, doodlely oo."

It should work. It should free my mind from this song. It should but it doesn't because Bunny thinks its hilarious that I am singing this song.

"Sing it again momma! Sing it again."
No, I will not sing that infernal song again.
"Please, momma."
Oh all right. "You can never have too many OOs. Doodlely oo, doodlely oo, doodlely oo."

And now its stuck again. It also doesn't help that Bunny requests to watch this episode over and over again, thereby insuring permanent residence in my brain.

Thanks, sweetie.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Just in under the wire. Winners in red and bold.

Houston @ Buffalo
Cleveland @ Chicago
Seattle @ Dallas
St. Louis @ Detroit
San Francisco @ Indianapolis
Miami @ NY Jets
Denver @ Baltimore
NY Giants @ Philadelphia
Minnesota @ Green Bay - This is huge. This is my Super Bowl.
Oakland @ San Diego
Jacksonville @ Tennessee
Carolina @ Arizona

Monday Night
Atlanta @ New Orleans
Combined MNF Score = 54

Friday, October 30, 2009

Three Years Ago

Three years ago. It seems like it was only yesterday. I can remember the sights, the smells, the sounds of that moment. I can even remember what it felt like to touch you.

Three years ago. It seems like forever. I cannot remember what it was like before. It is as if things have always been this way.

Three years ago, everything changed.

Three years ago, I became the person I was meant to be. The person that nineteen years of education and thirty seven years of living had not prepared me for.

Three years ago, I became a mother.

Three years ago, we became a family.

Three years ago, we traveled half way around the world to meet you.

Three years ago, one journey ended and another one began.

Three years ago, there was you.

Three years ago, there was us.

Three years ago, there was forever.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Last night as I was brushing my teeth, I looked in the mirror and did an inspection of what I saw.

I noticed the winter paleness was already setting in, perhaps a result of having 3 sunny days in the entire month of October. I made a mental note to use a little blush so I could look human again. I noticed a pimple on my chin and sighed. 40 years old and I'm still getting pimples.

I moved on to my hair. As I said before, I'm a bit vain about my hair. I like it to look good. For a while now, I've been getting red highlights in my hair. I love them. They make me feel like a rebellious teenager at 40. But they don't last. I had them done 3 weeks ago and as I looked in the mirror I saw a blondish, pinkish, orangey mess. Not good. So I don't think I'll be getting them the next time I go in.

Then I looked at my roots. My hair has been colored various shades over the past 20 years and I don't know my real color anymore. I didn't get my roots done last time I went in, so its been over two months and you couldn't tell. So apparently I'm paying money to dye my hair its natural color (well with a little more red but its basically the same).

My inspection was almost over and I was ready to go to bed when I saw it. At first I wasn't sure what I saw. I thought it might be, but no it couldn't really be. Could it? No it definitely was. A grey hair. My first grey hair.

I felt a strange sensation. It wasn't sadness. It wasn't regret at getting older. I am older, its a fact.

It was something much weirder. I was excited. I felt this strange thrill at having my first grey hair.

Why? Well I still feel like this stupid little kid most of the time. I feel like I have no idea what is going on. And maybe, just maybe grey hair will impart some sort of wisdom on me.

Illogical I know. Give me a week and I'm sure I'll hate it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tonight I Wore Red Lipstick

Tonight I wore red lipstick.

Tonight I was a different, more mysterious version of myself.

I always wanted to be the kind of girl who wore red lipstick, the girl who stood out in the crowd. Instead I was the girl who stood in the back wearing lip balm. If I was feeling particularly daring, I would wear a tinted lip balm or lip gloss. For business purposes I would wear my tried and true MAC Twig, a shade described as a soft, muted brownish-pink. It really fit me to a T, I am soft, muted and brownish-pink.

Sometimes I would experiment. I would try bolder, more adventurous colors. Trying to make myself more bold, more adventurous. Sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes I failed. In fact, I have a drawer full of my failures.

Red scared me. Red was too vivacious, too daring. Red was too red.

But one day, I crossed that imaginary line in the sand. I bought a red lipstick. I don't know if it was the right shade for me but I bought it. Carrying it home in my bag, it felt like I was carrying an ancient treasure. I was carrying something that would connect me with famous femme fatales throughout history.

I got home. I ran in the bathroom. I closed the door. I tried on the lipstick. And I hated it. I thought it looked good but I didn't look like me. I looked like someone else, someone who was trying too hard. So I hid it away in the medicine cabinet. Occasionally, I would try it on before I went out. But I would always chicken out, I would cover it with a gloss or another color. I would change it.

But not tonight. Tonight I wore red lipstick.

I was different.

I was the same.

I wore the same shirt and jeans I had run errands in earlier in the day. I traded out my converse for some high heeled boots (because a 5'10" woman can always stand to have an extra 2 inches). I wore perfume. I wore red lipstick.

I was me and I was confident.

For those of you who made it to the end, here are the football picks:

Minnesota @ Pittsburgh
San Francisco @ Houston
San Diego @ Kansas City
Green Bay @ Cleveland
Indianapolis @ St. Louis
New England @ Tampa Bay
Buffalo @ Carolina
NY Jets @ Oakland
Atlanta @ Dallas
Chicago @ Cincinnati
New Orleans @ Miami
Arizona @ NY Giants

Monday Night
Philadelphia @ Washington
Combined Score 35

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sharing is Caring

Now that Bunny is in school she is learning to share. Aside from her weekly play date and time spent with her cousins, she has never really had to share anything. The joys of being an only child. School is changing this. She has to share toys and books with the other kids in class. She also has to share her teachers' attention. And so far so good.

Wednesday was Bunny's turn with the sharing bag, her school's version of show and tell. When its their turn, each child gets the bag so they can bring a special object to school and share with the class. Now Bunny has already brought all of her special "guys" to school for comfort objects, so we had to come up with something the kids hadn't seen. Finally we decided on her new "favorite" toy, a rubber, stretchy green iguana named Liz.

The bag was supposed to have instructions for the parents on it. But Bunny's bag did not. So I didn't really know what we were supposed to do. I vaguely remember we were supposed to write out clues the kids could give their friends to guess what was in the bag, but how many? One? Two? Three? No idea. So I did the only thing I could, I asked Bunny.

"Bunny, how many clues do the kids give?"
"Okay, what clues should we give?"
"No, three. One. I don't want to give clues."
"But that's how the sharing bag goes."
"So we give two clues?"
"I don't want to share."
"But its your turn to share."
"Okay. Two. No, three. No, two."
"Okay we are doing two. What should they be?"
"Um, she has spines on her back."
"How about lets start off with its green."
"Okay. Then I'm gonna draw some spines on the paper."
"Sure. Let's go with that.
"Can I draw Liz?"
"Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the guessing game?"
"So I can't draw Liz?"
"I don't want to share."
"But it will be fun."

Sharing crisis averted. (Apparently it went fine and she actually shared.) Its good to share.

Bunny has also been kind enough to share things from school with Mommy. Specifically, her cold. In Bunny, it was a mildly irritating cold that turned her into a mini-Darth Vader. But when she gave it to me, it morphed into a nasty, yucky thing that actually gave me vertigo. The everything is spinning, your brain is going crazy kind of vertigo, not the Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo. The movie version would have been much preferred, I like Jimmy Stewart. I did not like the head spinny version.

Maybe its not good to share everything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life As We Used To Know It

Bunny had a sleep over at Ama and Baca's last night. Its a common enough occurrence and we all enjoy it. Bunny, Ama and Baca love it because they get to spend time together. Frink and I love it because we get to spend time together, alone.

We get to talk uninterrupted. We can go to non-kid friendly restaurants and stuff ourselves with margaritas, chips and salsa. Or we can cook a dinner together that does not involve food in nugget, stick or dog form. We can watch movies that do not have any talking animals or animated characters. In other words we get to be adults.

We also love it because we get to experience a peaceful night sleep. The kind of sleep where you don't have one ear open waiting to hear your child's cries. Deep, restorative sleep. Sleep that is only interrupted by a cat who decides the most comfortable place in all the world is on your feet. A nine pound cat, who in that magical sleeping cat form now weighs 1,000 pounds. And you have to struggle out from under this magically heavy sleeping cat to find a more comfortable position.

But that interruption is minor and your sleep is blissful. When you wake, you have no idea how long you've slept but you know that you are rested. Its only by the faint light behind your curtains, that you realize it is morning. You fumble for your glasses to read the clock and see the numbers six, four, zero.

You smile and wait for the sounds you know are coming, the fumbling of a door knob and the running of little feet. You wait for 33 pounds to launch itself onto your bed. You wait for a little girl, still warm from sleep, to dive underneath the covers. You wait for knees to find your stomach, for feet to kick your thighs, for little hands to reach out for yours. You wait for your morning ritual to begin.

Maybe with your hands clasped together, you will drift back to sleep. Or on weekend mornings, like today, the three of you will lie there giggling and whispering of upcoming adventures. On weekday mornings, she will try to hide under the covers when daddy returns from the shower. I say try to hide because one cannot successfully hide when one is giggling and "whispering" in an outside voice. But daddy plays along, pretending she's not there in that wiggling, giggling lump under the covers, all so she can jump up and yell Boo! And then, at 7 a.m., you can go downstairs and begin the day.

The noises you are waiting to hear don't come. The house is quiet. You realize that she is not here. The enjoyable evening you shared with husband and the restful night sleep you had don't seem as wonderful. There is something missing.

The morning that should hold so much promise because it is yours alone seems rather empty. You could get up and head out the door to run, the pounding of your feet on the earth, the cool crisp air in your lungs would surely energize you. You could make a pot of coffee and putter around the house, open the computer and read the blogs you have been neglecting for so long. Or you could hold on to the sleep that is slowly leaving your body, pull it back to you and drift back into its warm embrace.

You could do any of those things, but your heart's not really in it. The light that makes your day brighter, isn't here. So you just lie there and wait for it to return.

Suddenly, you hear a cry and feel a weight jump onto the bed. Is it her? Your heart starts warm with the possibility that maybe it was just a dream. That maybe she is really here.

No, she is not here. Its just one of your fur babies. The cat has seen you move and is now demanding to be fed. So you give up, get out of bed way too early and begin your day.

And you figure as long as you are up, you should make your stupid football picks (winners in bold and red):

Houston @ Cincinnati
Detroit @ Green Bay
St. Louis @ Jacksonville
Baltimore @ Minnesota
NY Giants @ New Orleans
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Kansas City @ Washington
Philadelphia @ Oakland
Arizona @ Seattle
Tennessee @ New England
Buffalo @ NY Jets
Chicago @ Atlanta

Monday Night Football:
Denver @ San Diego
Combined score: 42

Check out the rest of the BFL action here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Artistic Revolution

An artist lives and breathes their work. To create is to live. Like the artist themselves, their work is constantly evolving. One cannot work in the same style, creating the same thing over and over again. They need to grow, to develop, to expand their horizons.

Still the quest for artistic growth can mean a radical departure. A change in style from representational art to abstract impressionism or vice versa can be quite shocking for the viewing public.

Especially their parents.

In Bunny's short artistic career, she has moved from Let's mix all the colors together and see what happens

To her Hamstack period

To a more representational style

I know that she is learning and figuring out how to represent her world, but I miss the Hamstacks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BFL Picks

I know I've been slacking on posting this week but I've been busy with adoption related stuff. I promise to be a much better blogger this week and come up with something more interesting than football picks. Really.

So here are my picks for this week. The winners are in bold and red:

Cleveland @ Buffalo
Pittsburgh @ Detroit
Dallas @ Kansas City
Minnesota @ St. Louis
Oakland @ NY Giants
Tampa @ Philadelphia
Washington @ Carolina
Cincinnati @ Baltimore
Atlanta @ San Francisco
Jacksonville @ Seattle
Houston @ Arizona
New England @ Denver
Indianapolis @ Tennessee

Monday Night
NY Jets @ Miami
Combined score: 38

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On Fish, Books and Football

There is a new resident in our house, a small beta fish named Shape. Shape is a beautiful beta. He is blue and red and very fancy. Bunny loves him very much.

I was all for Bunny having a fish. In fact, I told her she could have a fish when she was six. She is not six. She is three and a half. I did not buy her the fish, daddy did. My main concern about bringing a fish into the house was not Bunny. It was the two furry felines that live with us. They like to hunt and in fact have each caught a mouse (or two). I was afraid that if the cats knew there was a fish, that fish would be no more. Then Bunny would be sad and we'd have to buy a new fish and the cycle would start again.

But he is here now. He will live in Bunny's room. The door will remain closed at all times. And hopefully the cats will remain blissfully unaware of his existence. Fingers crossed.

For my birthday last week, my parents bought me a book. Its not just any old book. It is THE book, Andrew Henry's Meadow. The book that I had them read to me every night of my childhood. It was a long book but I had it memorized. My dad would try to skip some pages but I always knew and called him on it every time. I loved that book. (They may or may not be making it into a movie which I am so going to see.)

So it was amazing to see it again after all of those years. I read it to Bunny, telling her it was my favorite story when I was her age. And then she had me read it again. And again. And again. Its a really long book. Really long. So I tried to skip a page and she called me on it.

Well played, Mom and Dad. Well played.

Now on to my football picks. The winners are in red and bold:

Tampa Bay @ Washington
NY Giants @ Kansas City
Cincinnati @ Cleveland
Oakland @ Houston
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
Seattle @ Indianapolis
Detroit @ Chicago
Baltimore @ New England
Buffalo @ Miami
NY Jets @ New Orleans
St. Louis @ San Francisco
Dallas @ Denver
San Diego @ Pittsburgh

Monday Night
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Combined Score - 45

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Love Letter

Dear Lion,

Do you mind if I call you Lion. I have read your story thus far and the name seems to fit you. You are brave. You are strong. You are a survivor.

When I saw your picture, I fell in love. I knew, in that instant, that we were destined to be together. I have spent the moments since, studying the lines of your face, staring in to your beautiful eyes. I have your face memorized. I can close my eyes and see you before me, laughing, smiling, calling my name. You are mine and I am yours.

But I see that I have gotten a little ahead of myself. You do not know me. We have not been properly introduced.

I am your mother.

And you are my son.

My son. My son. My son.

I repeat those words over and over like a mantra as if by speaking those words you can hear me calling you. Those words connect us through time and space. We are one you and I despite the miles between us. 7,500 miles, oceans, mountains, continents, languages separate us.

They separate us now but we will be together soon. You will know me, know my face as surely as I know yours. We will be a family forever.

I used to call you Turtle, but I was wrong. You were not slow, I was. I delayed and stalled, dragging my feet. I didn't know why. But now I do. I was waiting for you, my son.

And now I must wait a little while longer to hold you in my arms. This may be the hardest wait of all. But I know that it will be worth it because you and I will be together, forever.

My lion. My son.

Your Mother

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thank You

Today is my birthday. My 40th birthday. The big 4 - 0. And you know what? I am totally cool with that because I am seriously one of the luckiest people on earth.

So today I am going to thank all of the people who have made me feel so blessed and lucky.

First I want to thank my parents because really this day is all about them. Without them, I wouldn't be here. Without them, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. You are two of the most amazing people I have ever met, thank you for being you.

Second, I want to thank my husband. There are so many reasons why I love him but I wanted to share two with you. He helped me realize a nearly lifelong dream yesterday and thereby resolving one of the two bones of contention that we had in our marriage. Ironically both involve baseball (and to be fair there is nothing he can do about the other one so I just need to let it go).

You see I am a huge Brewers fan. I have been for all of my life. When I was a kid, I belonged to the kids club and went to a lot of games. Every year I would look at the schedule and see if there was a game on my birthday. I thought there would be nothing cooler than having your name on the scoreboard on your birthday. For whatever reason I never went to a birthday game.

Until September 28, 2000, my 31st birthday. It was also the last game at County Stadium, the old Brewers' stadium. I told Frink about my wish and asked him to call to have my name on the scoreboard. It would have been awesome to see my name on that old scoreboard on that special day. But he didn't call. And my name wasn't in lights on that day. And I kind of held a grudge for the next 9 years. I even organized a tailgate for one of his birthdays and had his name on the scoreboard.

But then we got tickets to yesterday's game. The day before my birthday. I reminded him about my childhood dream. And this time he came through, which is totally awesome.

But more importantly, he did something for me which was just amazing. Last week we had a discussion about what I wanted to do for my birthday. We didn't have anything special planned so we'd have to throw something together last minute. We decided on dinner at my favorite restaurant with some friends. When he asked who I wanted to invite, I started to cry because so many of the people I would want there were so far away.

So he e-mailed my friend Issa and told her that I was feeling down about my birthday. And together they cooked up the best present a girl could ask for. So thank you, Frink. You are truly amazing.

Now I'm going to thank Issa and my other wonderful friends for the wonderful gift they have given me. Issa organized a blog party for my birthday. She got all of these amazing bloggers who I read,admire and love, some who I know personally and some who I am waiting to meet, to send me birthday wishes from their own blogs. I was floored when I saw this. This blog and the people I have met through it have meant so much to me and to receive something like this means everything.

So thank you Issa, Mommy Geekology, Matthew, Kirsten, Bridget, Kate, Heather, Greis and Stacey for making my day all the more special.

Finally, I want to thank my beautiful girl, Bunny. She's the reason I started this little blog. She is the reason that I do everything. And she is the reason I am truly blessed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Not Here

I'm over here guest posting at my dear friend Christy's blog. Please stop by and say hi. And while you are there, read some of Christy's archives. She is awesome and I'm sure you will love her as much as I do.

I promise I'll be back with a fresh post tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bugging Out

On Sunday we went to Bug Day at a local park. Bunny was in heaven. She loves her creepy crawlies.


Hissing Cockroach


She is one brave girl. The nearest I got to those things was behind the camera lens.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I've decided to participate in the Blogger Football League again this year. When I told my husband about it, he said I'll make your picks for you if you want. Um, no. This is all for me. I mean I know I sucked at it last year and didn't win anything and didn't beat him at all. But winning isn't everything right?

Wrong! According to Vince Lombardi, its the only thing. So here are my winning picks for this week (winners in bold and color)

Carolina @ Atlanta
Minnesota @ Detroit (FYI this pick is based solely on Adrian Peterson and is no way reflective of who ever they have starting at quarterback for the Vikings)
Cincinnati @ Green Bay (FYI #2 - I will always pick the Packers. I am a total homer that way)
Houston @ Tennessee (FYI #3 - this is no way an attempt to kiss up to the commissioner)
Oakland @ Kansas City (FYI #4 - I'm totally guessing here)
New England @ NY Jets
New Orleans @ Philadelphia (FYI #5 - I like Drew Brees and I think my next door neighbor is starting for the Eagles)
St. Louis @ Washington (FYI #6 - Frink said do not take St. Louis, they are the worst team in the league. So I'm not taking them.)
Arizona @ Jacksonville
Seattle @ San Francisco
Tampa Bay @ Buffalo
Pittsburgh @ Chicago (FYI #7 - I will probably never pick the Bears, unless they are playing the Vikings)
Baltimore @ San Diego
Cleveland @ Denver
NY Giants @ Dallas (FYI #8 - I am so looking forward to teams kicking into the scoreboard. I wonder how many times it will happen per game. 2? 3? And if you are losing, do you just kick into the scoreboard on purpose just to piss the Cowboys off? I would.)

Monday Night
Indianapolis @ Miami
combined score - 38

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who Is This For, You or Me?

Nap time in our house has gone the way of the dodo bird. It is extinct. Dead as a doornail. And it has been for some time.

We (I) tried in vain to have quiet time in her room. I hoped that she could play quietly while I got some things done around the house. Nope. It didn't work in the least. You see she can open her door and come downstairs by herself. So I would spend the hour taking her back upstairs repeatedly. Not the best use of my time.

Then we tried having her watch a video or show while I did other things. Somedays it worked fine. Somedays it didn't. She would get lonely. "Momma can you come here please. I miss you. I want you to watch with me. Please." So I'd come in and sit for a while and go back to whatever I was doing, only to have the whole thing start all over again.

So the next thing we tried has worked like a dream. I can't believe I didn't think of this before. When its time for quiet time, we both head to the couch with our blankets. I lay down first then she lays on top of me. We turn on a show and snuggle for a while. Then she will either lay with me, sit on the other couch or play quietly while watching her show. The most important thing is she is quiet. For a whole hour. Its perfect.

Now how can this be perfect, you ask. Isn't the point of quiet time for you to have some time to yourself? Yes it is. And I do get exactly what I need.

Because every day I fall asleep on the couch during quiet time. I get almost an hour of uninterrupted napping. And it is awesome.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Days, Celebratory Balloons and Feats of Engineering

Yesterday we all survived Bunny's first day of preschool.

We arrived at school and everyone was excited.

Bunny had her Kai Lan backpack and her trusty triceratops Topsy. Kai Lan would hold all of her treasures and Topsy would keep her safe.

We climbed the stairs.

Found her room.

We braved the chaos and went in. She got an apple with her name that she hung on the bulletin board and a name tag so everyone (who could read) would know who she was. We found her cubby and placed Topsy safely inside. Then she explored the room. At first she seemed a bit tentative but she gained confidence. When she found the playdough, she was all set. She stood side by side with two other kids, who I am sure will become her friends. But for now they were ignoring each other, focusing solely on the playdough.

Frink and I looked at each other and figured this was a good a time as any to make our getaway. We told her we were leaving. We gave her a kiss. She nodded and gave us a dismissal wave as if to to say "go away, I'm busy". So we left.

There was coffee in another room so we could have a chance to meet the other parents. Frink went back to work and I stayed talking with some of the other moms. When I finally felt confident enough to leave, I saw on of her teachers on a bathroom run with another student. I asked her how it was going and found out that Bunny was crying. And then I heard it. A heartbreaking, I want my mommy wail. I was devastated. The teacher looked at me and said "we can handle this". I knew she was right so I left.

Never in the history of time had two hours stretched out so slowly. I went grocery shopping, came home, put all the groceries away and there was still 45 minutes left. So I did what any sane mother would do, I got coffee. And then I did what any neurotic mother would do, I drove to the school and waited outside for the next half an hour.

When it was finally time for pick up, I went inside the school. I stood outside the classroom and heard only singing. No crying. That was good news. When the door opened, I saw Bunny sitting on the floor with her classmates. She looked up at me with a huge smile on her face and I knew everything was going to be alright.

That night, Frink, being the good daddy that he is, brought home a special celebratory desert and a balloon for our big girl. She was thrilled. She loves balloons. And cake. But mostly balloons.

Unfortunately for Bunny, there is another member of our family who also loves balloons. So she spent most of last night and part of this morning screaming "No Tabasco!" "Go away Tabasco!" But of course he got to the balloon and ate some of the ribbon. She was angry. She'd had enough.

So she did what any self respecting preschooler would do, she built a wall to keep him out. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Great Wall of Bunny;

Indeed it is a marvel to behold. Notice that it is guarded by Olive the tiger. The tiger is fierce and will certainly scare the cat away. The wall it high. It is made of bricks and chairs. Surely it will keep the cat out.

Except that it probably won't. But I don't have the heart to tell her.