Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween II

The costume:

The haul:

That's more candy than he's had in his whole almost-four years. And he doesn't even realize that I took out half the candy he got in the parade yesterday. I'm handing it out to the stragglers who are still ringing our doorbell.

Halloween I

Halloween excitement is in full-swing here. A couple nights ago, B and his dad made cookies with the Halloween cookie cutters B's Nana sent. They underestimated how much the cookies would spread during cooking when they arranged them on the pan, so they came out looking like one giant cookie blob. Actually, they're ghosts, pumpkins and bats. And they're delicious.

Yesterday afternoon, M's work had a Halloween parade for the kids. They all dressed up in their costumes & trick-or-treated around the office. I never saw so much candy. He's got more candy in his pumpkin already than he'll get tonight. I have a feeling a significant portion of it is going to mysteriously disappear when he's not looking. I wouldn't be surprised if it reappeared right back at M's office. Wouldn't that be something?

After the big parade, we came home and carved the smallest of the three pumpkins. We'll do the other two tonight. They're pretty big, and we grew them ourselves in the backyard. B's Nana also sent him a pumpkin carving knife (one that he can't actually stab anyone with, or use to cut off his own fingers), so B did quite a bit of carving himself.

B's other grandma sent some Dairy Queen gift certificates, enough so that B can take all three of us out for ice cream. He's very excited to go get a "banana splat." Heh.

Check back later tonight for Halloween II, when the costume will finally be unveiled.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our weekend

What a weekend. On Friday, we went to a Halloween party at a rec center north of here. Games, candy, bounce houses, hay rides, etc. Came home to find our secret pal gift for October had arrived. B's mini-pal sent him a Batman backpack, some Batman pens, and a kit to make Scooby Doo magnets. This is the happy dance that the backpack brought on:

And this is the rest of his gift:

There were also two books for little Miss E -- "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes," a Chinese adoption classic, and "Little Miss Spider," about a little spider who can't find her mommy. B test-read these Friday night and pronounced them to be outstanding. There were also some fun little scrapbooking doo-dads that will be wonderful to have when I get around to scrapbooking our China trip, a bookmark, and a beautiful card. Thank you secret pal!

And after all that excitement, who wouldn't want to go outside & throw fistfuls of leaves around like a crazy kid? He's a human tornado, I tell ya.

Saturday was Boo at the Zoo (costumes & trick-or-treating) in the morning, followed by his preschool's Fall Harvest Party (very carefully crafted NOT to be a Halloween party. How very PC). Another bounce house here. This was the only second he stood still all day Saturday:

Sorry, no zoo pictures. Not that I didn't take any -- trust me, I did, and they are super-cute. But the costume is under wraps & will remain top-secret until Halloween.

Parting shot:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hurts so good

I had the third session with Russ, my personal trainer, today. The first one was a week ago Tuesday. I was in such bad shape after it that I could barely walk on Thursday and Friday last week. Seriously. I'd be hobbling along and my knees would give out. I couldn't sit down without groaning and clutching the back of the chair for support.

This Tuesday, we met again and did an upper body workout. My arms were sore yesterday, especially my left tricep (I have "issues" with my right arm, so my left arm did double-duty apparently). Well, compared to today, yesterday was a cakewalk. I was in such bad shape today that I couldn't hold my phone up to my left ear with my left hand. My arm simply wasn't working that way today. I was, however, able to lift a margarita from the table to my mouth at dinner, I'm happy to report.

Today's workout with Russ was lower body & abs. I'm a little worried that I'll wake up tomorrow morning with my abs & legs hurting really bad and my arms still hurting as bad as they were today. Will I be bedridden? Will B have to bring me breakfast in bed? Uh-oh. He doesn't even know how to pour a bowl of cereal. Who will help him put on his shoes? Who will help ME put on MY shoes?!

Russ has turned me loose to work out on my own for a couple of weeks, until I feel like I need some help again. When we start working out together again, he's going to be focusing on core strength. Sounds painful already. But maybe I'll have a killer six-pack by next summer. It'll look awesome with my fish belly white skin. Hot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Give it to B, he'll eat anything

One of B's classmates announced at lunch today that she was a vegetarian. B's response: "I'm a meatararian." Later at home, he added that he's also a fruititarian and a cheesatarian. That's our B.

A tidbit of adoption news that I forgot to post last week: I was at CCAI last Monday to drop off our I-171H re-file paperwork and met briefly with P from the Waiting Child Program while I was there. She looked at our paperwork before she came in to talk to me, and said that we can reasonably expect to get our referral off the next list. The next list is due any day now, and they will likely begin making matches in November. I was initially pretty excited about this, but I'm back to my cynical "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude now that ten days have gone by. And the list hasn't come yet, by the way.

Parting shot -- another oldie-but-goodie picture (around 6-7 months here):

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Snow, sand and kryptonite

Look what we woke up to this morning! If it keeps snowing like this until tomorrow morning (which they're predicting), it could actually add up to some significant snow.

Who can walk around with this much sand in his shoe for hours and not notice? B can, and does, pretty much every day.

I found kryptonite in my dryer this morning. M asked if it made me feel weak. Of course not! I'm WomanGirl, and kryptonite has no effect on me. That's right, we're a superhero family. B is Superman, M is Spyderman (inside joke) and I'm WomanGirl, pronounced "woman gu-wul." It's better than being a goat family, like we were last week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An oldie but a goodie

I've been going through all our digitial pictures, organizing & deleting. I found this one I'd forgotten about, and it totally cracks me up. I think he was about six or seven months old here.

For Donna

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Update: 30 at 40 campaign

So I'm turning 40 in about six weeks. I really really want to have the same body I had at 30, yet somehow I haven't mustered the energy or motivation to do much about it. Since I made this decision (about six weeks ago, I think), guess how much weight I've lost? Zero. Zip. Nada. And how many times have I run or worked out? Twice. In six weeks. I don't think that's going to make much difference.

So today I hired a personal trainer. That's right, I'm paying someone to motivate me. We had an hour-long workout, and it was actually very fun. I think it's going to make a difference. I'll probably be a little whiny tomorrow though, b/c my legs already hurt and feel rather rubbery when I go down stairs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


A random list of signs that B is evolving from a caveman/toddler into an actual human:

Today when I was putting B in his carseat after school, he kicked me in the head (the evolution story is coming, I promise). I said ouch, he said sorry, and I thought that was that. Then a few minutes later, he asked me if I knew what "checking on somebody" meant. I said "Yeah, it means asking or looking to make sure someone's OK." Then he said, "Mommy, are you OK?" I was touched--he was still thinking about the kicking incident! I told him I was. The next question floored me. "What can I do to help you feel better?" Whoa. What happened to my three year-old? I told him just saying he was sorry he kicked me and not doing it again would be enough to make me feel better. Can it be that the stuff they're teaching him at school is actually sinking in?!

Today he brought home this artwork from school:

I had no idea he'd matched up the numerals and counting like this, or that he could draw such nice pumpkins and apples! This new preschool class rocks.

Last night B had his first soccer class. He's been super-pumped about taking soccer. He occasionally wears the shinguards around the house:

These pictures may create the false impression that he grasped the concept of dribbling. Actually, it's all about kicking the ball as far as he can for B.

Last but not least, a gratuitous cute B picture, just for the grandparents (I know you're visiting! You should leave a comment...):

PS - M has an idea for a post he thinks would be cute & funny. I'm trying to convince him to do a guest blog. Help me lobby for this -- leave him an encouraging comment. He's very funny, I promise.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

B shops for his babysisterfromChina

For weeks, B has been talking about buying a rattle for his baby sister. We've talked about how she might be two years old and not a baby, but he's been stuck on the rattle idea for awhile. Today we took his piggy bank to Babies-R-Us, laid out about half a dozen rattles on the floor, and picked his favorite. We dumped the piggy bank out on the counter and he paid the $4.31 out of his own money.

How can he be such a thoughtful, generous kid, and at the same time be such a little monster? He's been at the hospital with me for the past three days, where everyone basically gives him whatever he wants in order to keep him quiet. This strategy worked for awhile, but has turned against us now. We have a spoiled rotten little dictator on our hands who ignores anything he doesn't want to hear. I'm seeing a lot of tears and exiled-to-the-bedroom time in the near future as we try to de-program him and get him back on track. It should be a really fun weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Grammy with B when he was one week old (and a very chubby me by her side).

Grammy & Poppy moved here from Virginia about a year ago, and I am so very, very glad. I would hate to be far away with Grammy not well. And I know that B brings both of them tremendous joy. Really, their faces light up when he comes into the room. He & I are headed back up there this morning to visit Grammy in the hospital.

Friday, October 5, 2007

This kid is not normal

I bought a head of broccoli to steam for dinner. B saw it on the counter and said, "Wow! Thanks Mommy!" The kid loves broccoli. Whenever I make it, he asks for seconds. If he sees it in the store, he begs me to buy it. Tonight, he grabbed the whole head, ripped off a chunk, and scarfed it raw. Then he asked if he could eat the leaves. I said sure, and he tried them but found them less tasty. Finally, he took a big chomp out of the stem and ate it, then went back for a second bite. Not normal. I attribute it to the fact that I fed him nothing but organic, whole-grain, fresh, dirty hippy homemade food until he was almost two. Then he started eating the preschool-prepared meals, and that wrecked everything. But he still has good instincts. What an amazing kid he can be.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Check out my bling

I was, walk all around the office and show it to my work friends, then go back to my office and get to work. And that's just what I did.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Quote of the week, courtesy of B

We live just a couple of blocks from a high school. Starting in July, we hear the marching band practicing almost every afternoon. B is intrigued by all things related to music, and asks about the band all the time. We've gone over to watch them practice on the football field a couple times, and followed them as they marched up and down the streets around the high school. We even went to a parade where they marched. Apparently B was quite impressed by all this, and talked to his grandparents about it quite a bit over the weekend. My mom reported the following exchange:

B: Grandma, I love the marching band! I've even seen them in a parade!

Grandma: Oh yeah? Do you think they sound pretty good?

[moment of silence as B gives this serious consideration]

B: Well, they sound better than coyotes.

My mom thinks I should send the high school marching band's director a note about this critique. I think it would be cruel. Funny, but cruel.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Warning: Self-pitying to follow. Continue reading at your own risk.

I'm feeling blue today. No, not because nobody has commented on my racism post. I know you're here, people. Speak up! Don't be afraid to tell me I was wrong. I can take it.

No, this is an adoption depression. This is the worst I've felt since we jumped on this crazy rollercoaster 18 months ago. I feel discouraged and rather hopeless.

When we started looking into adopting from China, it was 6-8 months from LID to referral. By the time we were LID on August 1, 2006 (happy 14 month LID anniversary to us...) it was 8-10 months. But we had reason to be optimistic. Things had slowed down in the China program before, but had always sped back up. Surely this was just a blip. Then we watched as the wait crept up to a year, then 15 months, then 18 months, and gradually the realization sunk in. It's not getting any faster. There's no speed-up coming. We will probably wait four years.

To say that we joined the waiting child program to speed up the ever-increasing wait wouldn't be accurate, but it would also be untrue to say that the wait had nothing to do with it. I think if the wait time were still 6-8 months, it simply wouldn't have occurred to us to think seriously about the WC program. But given the unexpected extra time we had, we each mulled it over individually for a couple months before saying anything to the other. Then once we started talking about it, that lasted another couple months. What it came down to was that we both felt we were extraordinarily lucky to have one child at home who has no serious medical issues, and we felt capable of dealing emotionally and financially with some of the special needs listed on our agency's WC form. So since we could adopt a child with special needs, we decided we should.

So after several months of soul-searching and discussion, we formally joined the WC program on January 12 of this year. They told us to expect a wait of 6-8 months for a referral. Sound familiar? Well, the next part will too. At the six-month mark, it was obvious we were nowhere close to getting a referral. At the eight-month mark, it seemed like a long-shot at best. Now we're less than two weeks from the nine-month mark, and I'm growing increasingly doubtful that we'll receive a referral off our agency's next list (due late this month, probably). It'll be at least two more months until the next list arrives, which puts us at the one-year mark since joining the WC program. Yep, this wait keeps getting longer each month too, just like the NSN wait.

I feel like whatever I decide to do instantly becomes more difficult the moment I make my decision. Mileposts, bright spots, things to look forward to keep getting further away instead of closer. How am I supposed to sustain hope and excitement under these circumstances? How does anyone? I feel like there's a point at which I'll mentally give up (I'll never actually give up), and it feels like that point is very close today. Brushing right up against me, in fact.

I'm done whining. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Will the real racist please stand up?

We were out to dinner with eight other people last Saturday night to celebrate a friend's birthday. These are good friends (the birthday girl & her husband, not all the rest, as you'll see), the kind you consider family. M has been friends with the husband for many years. They moved here together from the east coast when they were in college. He was the best man in our wedding (can you call it that when you elope? Whatever. They were two of the four people there.).

It's kind of turned into a thing -- every year for her birthday, we go out with them and all these other people. The other people are our friends' neighbors. When they first moved to this neighborhood four or five years ago, we were a little jealous. It was a new neighborhood, with big shiny new houses and lots of families with young kids. They have a fabulous neighborhood pool, and a burning hot family social scene. We do stuff with this whole group about two or three times a year. It's things like our friends' kids' birthday parties. It's usually pretty fun -- they seemed like basically nice people, and B likes all the kids.

As time has gone by, we've gotten a little less jealous. For one thing, we like our little old house (not that we couldn't love a slightly bigger new house too, but that's another blog posting). We like living perched on the foothills, where we can walk five minutes and take a hike or a run in a big open space park, or drive five minutes and be in the mountains. Their house is so far east they're practically in Kansas. But the main reason we got over the jealousy thing was because we realized their friends were actually a little crazy. Dysfunctional marriages, raging alcoholism, spectacular consumerism, and now, it turns out, latent racism. (I'm still jealous about the neighborhood pool though.)

So the woman who's always drunk got rather drunk Saturday night. Toward the end of the evening, she asks if she should tell a joke. Everyone groaned and said "It's not the Leroy joke, is it?" She said it was. Someone called her a racist in a mostly joking way, to which she said, "I am not! I love black men!" Then she launched into her joke. It started like this: "Three black women are hanging out..." I was mortified. How can a joke that starts with "Three BLACK women" not be racist? Why can't it just be "Three women?" Obviously the fact that they are black is integral to the joke, which makes it, by definition, a racist joke.

So what did I do? Did I call her out? Did I tell her I didn't want to hear it? No. I excused myself and left the room. I told myself that I didn't want to make a scene at my friend's birthday party. It wouldn't make this woman less racist if I did, it would just ruin my friend's party.

Had my son been there, or even worse my son and my daughter-to-be (who will not be white), hell yes I would've said something. I would've smacked that joke down before she finished the first sentence, and called her out on her racism. But the kid(s) weren't there, and I didn't.

Was I a coward? Should I have called her out anyway? What would YOU have done in this situation?


After thinking about this all day (obviously, I'm having a very introspective day today), I've come up with a couple of things I should have said earlier:

1. Though it really goes without saying, we will avoid hanging out with these friends-of-friends in the future.

2. I am lucky to have friends who I don't think would even dream of telling a racist joke. Honestly, it's been years since I've heard one (except for a few from some idiotic yahoos in my distant family). I'm glad I'm surrounded by kind, thoughtful people.

3. It was probably unfair of me to paint that whole group of people with the "latent racism" brush. I know our friends aren't racists, and maybe it was just the one woman who told a stupid joke. Nobody spoke up to say "Hey, you're being racist," including me. So if I'm going to label them as racists based on their silence, I'd have to include myself. I don't believe that would be an accurate representation of who I am. At least I hope not.