Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank you secret pal!

Wow. She really outdid herself this time. The theme this month was Chinese culture. Apparently, my SP lives near a Chinatown and can get all kinds of fun stuff. She says she bought the traditional silk dresses for her daughter in China, but they made her slippery and hard to hold onto. These are soft cotton instead, and a little stretchy. I've always thought kids are more comfortable in stretchy clothes anyway! And moms too, for that matter. There's also a beautiful little silk vest, and three traditional silk Barbie dresses. They're all lovely, really.

B's mini secret pal sent something for him again this time. It's a coloring book about China. He won't color in it so far -- I think he's afraid of messing it up. He sat on the couch last night and looked at all the pictures, going "Wow! Whoa. Mommy, they have castles in China! I keep seeing a lot of water, Mommy. I think they have water in China!" Yes, I think they probably do B.

You know, I don't usually go in for many of the traditions associated with Chinese adoption. Red threads, ladybugs, sonograms shaped like China -- all that stuff really doesn't do much for me. But I have to say, I love doing the secret pal thing. I get to indulge my terrible shopping habit, and it's really fun to get a mystery package in the mail every month.

Thank you secret pal!

And just for fun, a picture of how we ended our evening last night. Mr. Crankypants lost his marbles and a massive hissy fit ensued.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The giant black menace

Per request, here are some pictures of the Giant Black Menace. Here he is attempting to look sweet and innocent:

And here's his hulking presence lurking around the dinner table, hoping something hits the floor:

Seriously though, Kenai is one sweet dog. He's lab and ???. We adopted him from the Humane Society back in April, when he was (as far as we know) about five months old. He was about 45-50 pounds back then, and they told us he'd probably hit 55 or 60 pounds fully grown. HA! He's around a year old now, and weighing in at 90 pounds. I'm pretty sure he's done growing, but he clearly has some filling out to do.

He's all lanky gawky puppy legs. His tail could wipe out a small village in one wag. God help you if he tries to go down the stairs at the same time as you. He's clumsy and tends to overshoot his destination when he gallops across the house. He's got a weird and annoying habit of walking just past you, then swinging his entire rear half up against your body. If you're only 33 pounds like B, this is the equivalent of a body slam.

He really only has three bad habits:

1. He's a counter surfer. He picked this up from my parents' dog. Those two idiots ate an entire mango-coconut souffle I'd left on the stovetop to cool. I walked into the kitchen to find them in the middle of a fight over the empty dish. A few nights ago, he ate nearly an entire loaf of pumpkin bread B and I had made. He pooped orange the next day.

2. His saucer-sized paws devastate my gardens when he goes tearing through them at full speed.

3. He's a licker. He's constantly licking us. We catch glimpses of him walking across the living room, casually licking the couch as he passes by. He'll lick ANYTHING.

In spite of all this, we adore him. He's 100% good-natured, not a drop of mean in him. He's been very easy to train and has excellent heeling skills already. I'm working on controlling him off-leash now. And he sleeps at the top of the stairs, in the hallway, right between our door and B's. That makes me feel very safe. Nobody in their right mind would come into our house with Kenai here. Even though if they did, all he'd do is knock them over and lick them to death.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I was so NOT prepared for this

Last Wednesday, we ate at the OK Coyote, as we often do on Wednesdays. We're pretty much regulars there, and know some some of the other regulars. Among them is a family with a little girl named Rachel. B is rather enamored of Rachel (even though he's more than a year older than her), and asked if she could come over to our house and play. I told him "Maybe someday. Did you know Rachel's from China? Do you know anyone else from China?" He immediately piped up "My baby sister!" I told him I thought that Rachel would make a great friend for him AND his baby sister when she finally gets home. He processed that for a minute, then asked, "Mommy, is Rose [neighbor girl] from China?" Yes. "Oh. Am I from China too?" Wuh-wo.

This conversation has been looming in the background for months now. I knew it was coming. But I was so not ready! How do you explain the birds and bees to a three year-old?! I told him "No, I grew you in my belly." Silence, than an "Oh." More silence. "How did I get out?" Muffled groan from me. "I had to have an operation. They cut a hole in my belly and took you out. But some babies come out through their mommy's vagina." "Oh." Moment of silence as he ponders this fact. "How do babies fit through their mommy's vagina?" "I don't know." An honest answer, really. "Well, how did I get inside your belly?" (my inside voice: Nooooo...make it stop!!!) "Well, your daddy put a seed there, and you grew into a baby like a plant grows from a seed." (my inside voice: PLLLLEEEEEEASE, don't ask how Daddy put you there...)

By some sort of divine intervention, our conversation was timed such that it reached this point just as we pulled into the driveway. B caught a glimpse of his trike in the garage, and instantly the whole seed-baby-daddy-mommy's belly thing disappeared from his mind. I know it's coming back though. It's only a matter of time. The kid is like an elephant, never ever forgets anything. He's just waiting for a suitably awkward moment to ask the next question, like when we have company over for dinner or something. Oh, or when our new social worker comes over for our homestudy update. That sound like the kind of thing that would happen in this house.

In the meantime, if anyone's got a good way to explain conception to a three year-old, please, for the love of god, speak up and speak up fast.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How can it already be the weekend again?

People always told us that time goes by faster when you have kids. Turns out it's totally true. It seems like Memorial Day was just a few weeks ago, and here we are at the last day of summer already.

Since it's the weekend again & I'll probably have some pictures to post, I figured I'd better hurry up and get last weekend's pictures posted first. We went up north to have a picnic in the park with Grandma & Bumpa (my parents) and Grammy & Poppy (my grandparents). B took his scooter & was overjoyed to find a totally deserted hockey rink to fool around in. Scootering (we all took turns, actually -- that thing is a blast!) was followed by throwing rocks in the river for awhile. Pics of B & Bumpa below:

M's working today, so I think B & I will take the giant black menace up to the mountains & turn him loose in a dog park. Tired dog = peaceful house.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm married to a psycho

M has night terrors. He's prone to hallucinations and semi-violence in the middle of the night. A week or so ago, I awoke in the dark of night to a pillow bouncing off my body onto the floor on my side of bed. I rolled over & opened my eyes to see M sitting straight up in bed, clearly in the final stages of pillow-flinging. I asked him what the HELL he was doing, and he said "I thought there was a snake. I saw a snake on you. I was trying to protect you!" Ummm, with a PILLOW?! Every time I bring it up now (which I do frequently, because I find this story hilarious), he insists loudly "But I was trying to protect you!" which only makes it funnier. Like I said, I'm married to a psycho, but I love him dearly, psychoses and all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A poem by B

I saw a flock of birds
shaped like a kite
flapping its wings
across the sky

Monday, September 17, 2007


You may remember that eight days ago I vowed I'd be at the same weight I was at age 30 when I turn 40 in November. Well, one week into my program, and I weigh exactly ONE POUND less. And that could easily be that I drank less water yesterday than I usually do, or maybe I got up to pee in the middle of the night or something dumb like that. So basically, no change. Could it be that I only ran once last week? I imagine that has something to do with it. I did work my @ss off in the yard yesterday, and we're talking heavy work too -- digging, hauling rocks, etc. I did it again for two hours this morning. That has to count for exercise, right? Maybe last week was a bad week to try to start. I had a big presentation to make in Santa Fe on Friday, and was so busy & stressed with the preparation that I didn't make time to exercise. Maybe I should just stop making excuses and drag my lazy self out to run.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adoption news

Remember back in June, when I got all excited about our agency getting a new waiting child list? Wellllll, obviously we didn't get a referral off that list. I was being ridiculously optimistic. Justifiably so though, since CCAI told us 6-8 months was the average wait. We turned in our MCC in January 2007, so we'd just hit six months then, and we just hit eight months this week.

They got a new list two weeks ago. The things we know about this list are:

- there are 30+ kids on it

- the detailed files & translation are taking longer than usual, so referrals are trickling out at a snail's pace

- someone with a January 2007 MCC got a referral yesterday for a 23-month old girl with VSD

- someone with a December 2006 MCC was told she had a slight chance at getting a referral on this list, and a much better chance on the next list

Now these last two seemed contradictory at first, until I found out the woman with the Dec. MCC was open only up to 18 months. We're open up to 2 years, and have said we'll accept a minor heart condition or cleft lip and palate, the two most common SNs represented on the lists CCAI gets from China.

So what does it mean for us? I wish I knew. There are people with October 2006 MCCs who still don't have referrals yet. I know of one in particular who was open to the age range and conditions of the child referred yesterday, so I don't understand why that child was referred to a family with a January MCC. CCAI is maddeningly secretive about how they go about matching children with families.

Bottom line: I think we have an outside chance at getting a referral off this list. It should take them another two months or so to work their way through it, then there will be a lag of a couple weeks, and the next list will come (likely November or December). If we don't get a referral off this list, I just can't believe we won't get one off the next one. By then we'll have been waiting nearly a year since we joined the WC program. Six to eight months my ---. Every line I get in instantly doubles in length the moment before I step into it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dressed to read stories

Don't ask why. I have no idea.

Things I love

This time of year in Colorado -- clear blue skies, warm but not hot days, chilly nights, smells of fall

The way a basil plant smells so basily just from watering it

A warm, cuddly purring cat in my lap

Cozy Shack chocolate pudding

Watching B sleep -- he looks so innocent and peaceful

Having the house to myself for a couple hours. But only a couple hours -- then I start missing my boys

Monday, September 10, 2007

Coming soon to a blog near you

A new me. I gained an obscene amount of weight when I was pregnant, like 60 pounds. Waaaay more than what they say is healthy. And B was a tiny baby -- 5 pounds 14 ounces -- so I can't blame much of it on him. Funny aside: I made M promise that no matter how big I got when I was pregnant, I'd never weigh more than him. He had a hard time keeping ahead of me toward the end there, poor guy. Anyway, back to my chubby self: about two months after B was born, a month before I had to go back to work, M and I both went on the South Beach diet. It was hella expensive and there's no way I could do it when I'm not home full-time, but it really worked. I got down to about 8-10 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight.

And I stayed there. Nearly four years later, here I sit, still 8-10 pounds more of me than I like. I know there are lots of people out there who have genuine struggles with their weight and would probably give their right arm to be just 8-10 pounds above their ideal weight. But I'm living my own life, and I am starting to despise the body I'm living it in. It's time to take charge.

So here it is: I turn 40 in about two and a half months. When I turn 40, I will be the same weight I was when I turned 30. Since I only have a vague idea of what my actual weight was at 30, I've picked a number that I think is close. I'm setting the goal at 9 pounds less than I am today. Good thing I'm not aiming for my weight at 20 -- that's more than 30 pounds less than I weigh today, and I definitely haven't gotten any taller or anything. I was a skinny little stick back in the good ol' days. I remember trying to gain weight so the smallest size of Levi's 501s shrink-to-fits would stay on me. Ah, to be 20 again. No, scratch that. I'd just like to have the body of a 20 year-old and the mind of a 40 year-old. But I'm going to be realistic and aim for the 30 year-old bod.

Can I do it? I'm not known for my motivation when it comes to exercise. I love a good long walk or a sweat-inducing hike, but it's hard to find the time to work those in at the regular intervals I need to lose weight. I need to get back into a running habit, and I need to do strength-training twice a week.

I am, however, known for my love of cooking and food. Especially food that involves cheese. Not good when a body wants to shrink. My goal: more vegetables & fruit, less meat & dairy.

I'll check back in at the end of the week to report on my progress. I hope there's some to report! Anyone want to join me?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dog days of summer

Where we live, on the last day before the outdoor city pools close for the winter, they have a "dog day." For $5, your pooch gets in to swim his heart out for two hours. We took Kenai and Josie today (aka the Doofi). Even though neither of them got in the water (except when we pushed them in, and then only for about five seconds), they had a blast running around & playing with all the other dogs. It was definitely worth the $5 just to see that much doggie joy. I'm hoping that by the time next year's dog days come around, Kenai will like the water more & will want to swim. He is mostly lab, after all. Swimming should be in his blood!

Friday, September 7, 2007

How did I get an early bird?!

B likes to wake up around 6am, sometimes even earlier. I am NOT a morning person, and sometimes this is really difficult for me. I'm sure that in ten years or so, we'll have the opposite problem. I'll be on here complaining that we wanted to go skiing, but couldn't get the B out of bed before noon.

Back when he was a baby, we'd hear him in there talking and singing to himself when he woke up. Sometimes he wouldn't call us for half an hour or more. We loved to lay in bed and listen to him. No more of that! He calls us the instant he wakes up now. It's like he's so full of excitement for the day that he just can't wait to get up and start it. He never actually gets out of bed though. Instead, he scoots down to the foot of his bed, opens his door, and calls out "Mommy, now can I get up?" If it's before 6:30, I usually say no. I turn on his lullaby CD and tell him to stay in his bed until the CD ends. It runs 35 minutes. Sometimes he falls back to sleep during that time, but usually he doesn't. At least he stays quiet in his room, and it gives us a little time to wake up before we have to be 100%. What are we going to do when he figures out how to turn of the CD himself?

I guess it's a good thing he doesn't ever get out of bed without asking first. I don't have to worry about him going down to the kitchen and playing with knives or something while we're still sleeping. I wonder how long this will last?

M & I have come up with a system for weekends that works pretty well for us. On Saturdays, M gets up with B and I get to sleep a little longer. On Sundays, it's my turn to get up. We usually go downstairs and watch a cartoon or two while I get my first cup of coffee in me. I don't like to talk before I've had a cup of coffee, so I need the cartoon to keep the B quiet for a bit.

On work days, we're usually up around 6:30, and we let the B get up then. Fridays are "B-Mommy Super Fun Days," when B stays home from school and I don't work. I occasionally try to grab an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep while M is up getting ready for work. A couple of times, M and B somehow managed to get up without me waking up. M took him downstairs & parked him in front of cartoons and let me sleep. I woke up to find M gone and B still watching cartoons. While it was nice to get that little extra bit of sleep, I felt very weird about it. I didn't like B being downstairs by himself with me upstairs sleeping. What if he started jumping on the couch, and fell and hit his head on the coffee table? What if he found the children's Tylenol, opened it and drank it? I mean, it would obviously be bad enough if that happened under any circumstances, but if it happened while I was upstairs snug in my bed, I'd never ever be able to forgive myself. So now I make sure I'm up before M leaves on Fridays.

Speaking of Tylenol...I didn't just randomly make up that possibility, although I definitely have a macabre imagination and have come up with worse. I read a story in the Denver Post about a three year-old kid who woke up before his parents, went downstairs, climbed up on the counter, opened the cabinet, reached up to the top shelf where the Motrin was, took it out of the box & the shrink-wrap (it was a new bottle I guess), opened the child-proof cap, and drank it. He lived to tell the tale, but it freaked me out completely. Note to self: this weekend, take all the meds out of the medicine cabinet, put them in the hall closet, and put a child lock on the door handle.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Happy birthday to M

M is 37 today! We gave him an iPod Nano. Wouldn't you know...about an hour after we gave it to him this morning, Apple introduced the next generation Nano -- twice the memory, plus it does video, for the same price. The first Nano is going back to Costco, and the new Nano has already been ordered from the Apple store. Now I'm off to ice the carrot cake. Happy birthday, M!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Check out the new 'do

I think it makes him look older:

Or maybe he just looks older because he's gained two pounds and grown half an inch in the last two weeks!

And a couple cute pix from bathtime tonight:

Monday, September 3, 2007


I just got a message from our social worker, saying that she's moving on to another job. We've got our I-171H renewal process starting this month, which means a homestudy update. Now we're going to have to do that with a new social worker. Bummer. If you haven't been down this adoption road before, you might not realize how invasive and soul-baring a homestudy is. You pretty much have to spill your guts about your childhood, your relationship with your spouse, your parenting philosophy, everything. I'm not looking forward to doing that with a stranger. Our first social worker wasn't exactly a stranger -- she worked at the same place I do back in the late 1990s, so I knew her from that. She's a very open-minded person, and we were totally comfortable talking to her. I hope the new person is the same.

Hmmm...I wonder if the slowdown in China is what's causing this -- maybe the agency is having to let some social workers go, b/c they have fewer families starting the process. I hope not. I hope she just found a better job. I'll have to ask.

Berry Patch Farms

B & I went to Berry Patch Farms on Friday. It's an all-organic farm about half an hour east of town. You can pick your own for some things, and for others you can buy it in their little store. Two hours of berry-picking and $34 later, here's what we came home with (minus the 3 homemade fruit snacks the B ate in the car):

That's a LOT of berries. I froze half for smoothies. So far, we've had strawberry muffins, raspberry-strawberry shortcake, and raspberry kuchen. And what you see in the picture isn't anywhere near all that we picked -- I'd estimate that the B ate an entire quart of strawberries while we were picking. In fact, I doubt if he put a single berry in a box. They all went straight in the mouth. He ate so many that he peed orange when we came home! It's a true story, I swear.