Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's out of town I go!
Well we are off! We are heading to the other end of Michigan for a few days of R&R on the beach. Then we aren't sure where we'll go but we are thinking of hitting up an amusement park for a day or two and heading back home in time to get our dogs Tuesday morning. Hubby is coming with us but he'll have to work through the end of the week so he'll stay behind in the hotel while we are out gallivanting around the sand dunes.

See ya on the other side, everyone! Wish us luck! We haven't had a real vacation - just the five of us - in, well, maybe ever! We badly need it. If this doesn't work out, the wait until we adopt (November) will be excruciating for us since it will not be until after that point we can start implementing all those changes (new jobs, moving out of state, etc) we badly want to make now but can't for fear of disrupting the adoption. So we badly need some R&R - a reprieve - from the daily grind to rejuvenate us for the long wait ahead.

Off we go!!!!!!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/29/2006§

4 months!
Happy 4 month birthday, tiny baby Addison! I wonder how you spent your day. Are you smiling often, giggling easily? Are you rolling yet? Do you still use a pacifier? Have you stayed healthy? Have you grown much? Have you lost any more of your baby hair?

Although I've handled the wait to travel very well so far, today I found myself sort of sad and lonely in my heart for my baby girl. I miss her - which might seem strange since I've never "met" her but I do. Finally I realized that today is the day she turns 4 months old - she has spent 4 short months in this world, watching, observing. What lessons has she learned already about trust, safety, security? I hope, even given her circumstances at the orphanage, that someone takes the time out of their day every day to love her, to kiss her, to feed her in their arms and hold her when she cries and play peek-a-boo with her and elicit smiles.

Soon I will meet this baby girl, this person who I think I know from photos but whose personality - whose smile and voice and tiny baby smell - is still unknown to me. I hope I hold her in my arms before she turns six months old, before she has to spend any more time on this Earth wondering about love and security and trust. I want to teach her those things, sooner, not later. I miss my baby girl.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/28/2006§

I've been tagged!
Nicole from Fo(u)rt Robinson tagged me with a challenge to write 5 weird things about myself. How can I come up with only five things?

Here goes:

  1. I am absolutely literally phobic in the true medical sense of the word to teeth. How, you might wonder, does one function in life with a phobia to teeth? Well, not easily, I might answer. :-) The thought of cleaning them makes me nauseous, the thought of going to the dentist sends me over the top (I have to have IV sedation for a cleaning) and wiggly teeth make me run from the room. I can't even stand to hear the word tooth. In fact writing this entry has made me nauseous. So if that's not weird.....

  2. I was born in Spain. I'm not Spanish, I'm a navy brat. That isn't so weird, I realize. What is more weird is that I held dual citizenship until I was 18 and for a few years I considered joining the Spanish Olympic Team as a gymnast. I figured they sucked just enough to possibly accept me!!

  3. I'm a control freak. I realize this has made it to many other Top 5 lists so I'll jazz mine up a little by admitting that I don't let my kids' friends - or their parents - pick up toys when they come to our house to play. When they try I will often bite my tongue but secretly cringe in agony and then dump it out and start over when they walk out the door. I absolutely can not stand it when things aren't in the right place.

  4. I love Christmas. I stole this one from Kelly (who, incidentally, has the coolest looking house I have ever seen in pictures in all of my life!!!). I know it isn't unusual to love Christmas but it *is* a bit weird to have a christmas tree in every room of your house. This is my goal. We buy a new (artificial) tree every year and eventually we'll have a tree in every room. We are currently up to four trees. I have pictures but Blogger is not cooperating.

  5. I couldn't think of a fifth thing so I had to ask my hubby and he said this is weird but I'm sure it is totally normal and anyone who isn't like this is the weird one :-) I am a planner. As in - I can not make a decision without planning out every potential contingency or outcome or consequence first. Sometimes it's a great trait, we often are ultra-prepared for whatever might come. Often it is just a burden and it zaps a lot of the joy out of life and some might say it at least appears very pessimistic. I call it realistic :-P

I'm tagging Kimmi, Dorin, Irish and Stef
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/25/2006§

My friends and family are so cool!
So I'm collecting for a 100 Good Wishes quilt which I'm just about ready to start cutting and sewing. I have the pattern all picked out and all the fabric I need to complete the quilt top. Most of my wishes and fabrics are from various square/wish swaps I've participated in. But I've finally started getting some from friends and family and they are, of course, the most special of all.

My best friend D~ brought me my first squish (square/wish). Even though she lives across the country and she was traveling all the way up here to stay for 3 weeks, by herself, with her three little boys she managed to remember to do this for Addison. This means so much :-)

My other friend D~ brought me a beautiful piece of sari fabric, representative of her family's culture. Aside from being totally gorgeous, it is very meaningful as well. Her wish is adorable, to boot. I am tempted to use the fabric for the main ao dai dress for the Vietnamese girl applique that I'm putting at the top of the quilt. It is THAT gorgeous.

My brother sent me a bunch of fabric from his first ever hunting shirt. My brother is a serious bow hunter and he's very spiritual about it. He even makes his own bows and never takes more than he can use from the world. I really respect this about him and am proud of his skill and ability and the spirituality he brings into this area of his life. Although some people might be grossed out by such a fabric, I think it is totally cool the level of spirit and soul that has possessed it in this lifetime. It is the first swatch I have that has actually been warn before. I am inclined to follow suit and cut up a piece of baby clothes from each of my boys to use for the quilt as well.

I know several other friends have made me quilt squares and I can't wait to see them.

Also my Mom is working on her square and wish. She hasn't chosen a fabric yet but it planning on writing a wish about the parallel between her and Addison since they were both adopted. This is incredibly cool, to me. I'm so eager to see what she comes up with!

So that's why my friends and family are so cool.

In crafty news: I'm just about done knitting Addison's cardigan that matches her dress I finished a few months ago. today I also cut out the fabric for two taggies-style blankets - one 18x18 and the other 36x36. I used some of that ultra-soft fancy fleece for one side and soft satin for the other. It is so textually pleasing that I may want to keep it for myself! haha

In travel news: To clarify yesterday's blog post, I am not talking about moving per se, or even a vacation. I don't like the implication of the word "vacation" that you will be coming back and I don't like the implication of the word "moving" that you won't! Haha. So I think I may leave next week and stay gone or come back and forth until we are ready to travel to Vietnam. I am resisting the (huge) urge to plan it all out, map it, make reservations, make lists. Today I almost bought airline tickets to Vegas for $7.77 OW for October. But once you plan it out you are committed and this is an exercise is non-commitment, spontaneity, an exercise in actually living life and not just following a plan. So where we'll go, when we'll return....those are all up in the air and if I meet my goal, they will continue to stay up in the air!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/23/2006§

Life, Liberty and the Persuit of Happiness
So yesterday was the last get-together with my best friend who has spent the last 3 weeks up here visiting. I'm not particularly social, by nature, but these last few weeks really drove home how isolated I've been up here in The Grand Ole Country and how badly I need out. I know enough to know that having a friend who you really mesh with AND whose kids your kids really love is a rare find, indeed. But still, it seems less and less likely that I'll find even one of those components here in TGOC where my neighbors make my skin crawl and driving to my other "local" friends whom I *do* love is an all-day event.

I've never quite had an itch to get out of here like I have this last month. I want to be gone, yesterday. I resisted the urge to leave while my friend was in town but now she's gone and there's nothing stopping me. So, if I up and disappear you know where I will be....or rather where I *won't* be!

I'm sorry to say there is no adoption news. You know, I'm feeling grateful for my odd detachedness to this point of the process. I'm anxious to travel, no doubt, but it isn't ruling my days. I'm not sitting by the phone, I'm not wishing the days would hurry up, I'm not losing sleep. That said, I hope to hear more in the next week or two about what month we might travel in. At that point all bets are off. I might be fine, I might become hysterical. Your guess is as good as mine - I've never done this before. Until then, I'm in denial that we are actually adopting. I close my eyes and can't quite imagine us in Vietnam, I can't quite imagine us at the orphanage, I can't quite imagine us holding Addison and loving on her, I can't quite imagine what she will look like at 6 months old, whether she will smile or cry or WHAT she might do. There is no vision in my head of how these things will be. So for now, I just wait patiently. Detached. Oblivious. Curious but some things in life are too big to be clearly imagined up front.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/22/2006§

Top 10 List
As promised awhile ago and inspired by others, I thought I'd write up a top 10 parenting goals list - the things I aspired to be and do as a Mommy before I had children, with comments on how my goals actually lived up to the reality:

1) I thought I'd try for a natural childbirth which meant, to me, avoiding an epidural but all other drugs were game :-)

[reality: I had that birth but went on to have two actual drug-free births, including one at home in the water - I would have never EVER thought myself crazy stupid capable of such a thing pre-child]

2) I thought I'd give breastfeeding the good ole college try but would wean by 6 months, no matter what. My body is only capable of short-term loans. :-)

[reality: I have breastfed for 11 straight years with only a 3 month break, once     the old me would have shot the new me for being such a slave to my children!]

3) I would go back to work after 6 months if possible, more likely 3 months.

[reality: my son was in no way ready for me to go back to work after 6 months. I eventually did go back to work when he was 5 and still miss working outside the home but really feel blessed for my time at home with my babies]

4) I would never EVER get divorced. Nothing is worse for a child than a split family home.

[reality: nothing except verbal and physical abuse maybe. Single motherhood, as it turns out? Not so bad at all! Remarriage? Now THAT's an adventure!]

5) I would make my babies sleep through the night as early as possible.

[reality: I tried, I couldn't. Some were wakeful, some where great sleepers, as long as *I* slept it was all good!]

6) I would NEVER EVER bring a child into my bed.

[reality: well...unless they keep me up screaming (see above) for months on end and I continually fall asleep rocking them in the rocker for so many nights that the rocker breaks and wears holes in the carpet. Then I give it a shot and we ALL sleep through the night ever since.]

7) I will make homemade baby food out of a wide variety of organic foods.

[reality: I actually did this but my kid wouldn't eat baby food. Nor the next. Nor the next. They all ate people food off the table straight away.]

8) I will use cloth diapers.

[reality: I tried this 3 times and hated it all 3 times. I won't try it a fourth.]

9) I will never spank my child.

[reality: so far so good - 11 years of spanking-free parenthood and my kids are still civil, well-mannered, caring young gents.]

10) I would homeschool. Ok, to be fair this was not a pre-baby goal (I didn't give much thought beyond diaper-years) but a goal I made soon after I became a Mother)

[reality: so far so good. We did one year of public school several years ago and hated it. Not for us.]

So you can see that my list - my goals and expectations of my future - was mostly a big joke. A few of the things were goals I managed to hold onto, the rest went out the window when I had my first child....a very high-need, demanding, unwavering child....who taught me how to be a Mother. This meant listening to my instincts, following his cue and letting my heart be my guide. I think it's done me pretty well, so far, so I intend to also use it during our adoption journey and beyond. However I've also learned to never say never. Things can (and do) change faster than you can blink an eye.

So my only goal for parenting Addison is this:

Follow my heart and remain open to life's many mysteries
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/21/2006§

Packing Lists
Ok, here's an attempt to keep track of my packing lists online. I thought I'd share in case anyone else wants ideas or wants to call me crazy for over packing!

Notes: my husband and I are traveling with 3 children ages 4, 9 and 12. Our daughter should be around six months old at the time of travel.

Medical Supplies:

Tylenol: infant drops, kids chewables, adult
Motrin: infant drops, adult
Tylenol Cold: adult
Benedryl - oral: child, adult
Hylands Teething Tabs
Decongestant: infant, child
Pepto/Immodium: child, adult
Power Antibiotics
Dramamine: child and adult
Scabies cream: small tube
Desitin cream: small tube
Rehydration salts
antibiotic ointment: small tube
Vicks nose stick
Sunscreen: 3 bottles
DEET wipes: 1 container
Purell: 4 travel containers

thermometer: digital
bandaids: 1 variety box, out of box, in ziploc
nail clippers
qtips (in ziploc)
medicine dispenser kit

Baby List:

diaper bag backpack
socks: 2-3 pair
PJS: 2 warm sacks, 2 cotton Old Navy pjs
outfits: 10 warm, 2 cool (variety of sizes between 3 mos and 12 mos)
hats: 2 sun hats
jacket: 1
shoes: 1 pair robeez
blanket: 1 heavy, 2 light
diapers: size 2 or 3, 16 (or enough to last for the first day after G&R and for the flight home)
hair ties (haha - as if)
bibs: 4
burp clothes: 2

formula: individual soy packets in case of allergy, individual regular packets to last until we can buy more formula in-country
Bottles: 2 4oz, 1 8oz
Bottle liners: 200 4oz, 100 8oz
nipples: 4 (2 round rubber, 2 round silicone, all fast flow)
baby wipes: 250
pacifiers: 4 (variety)
bottle brush
reusable bottle warmer
Gerber Stars: variety pack
baby sling and/or mei tai
hair brush
toothbrush & baby toothpaste

baby lotion
baby shampoo (share with kids)
Soap wipes (share with kids)

Toiletries and Miscellaneous Stuff:

travel alarm clock
power converters
money conversion sheet (laminated)
money belt x 2
paper folder
detergent in film canisters
dish soap in film canisters
travel toilet tissue
digital camera (batteries, SD card, battery charger)
Video camera (tapes, charger)
Travel journal
Sm. Umbrella x2
Gallon ziplock bags (for storage, organization, packing, etc
Food: snacks for hotel, ramen noodles for picky eaters, snacks for orphanage
Orphanage donations
Gifts for various staff

liquid bath soap (share with kids?) in ziplock
razors x2
toothbrush x 5
deodorant x2
hair dryer
curling iron
shampoo x2
brush x2

Coming soon.....carry-on list, kids list, adult clothing list
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/18/2006§

Ponder this with me:
How many life changes is it wise for one to attempt accomplishing at once before it is safe to assume that they will internally combust?

Hubby is playing around with a job change. There is nothing WRONG with his current job, but he was approached and I guess it planted a seed that has grown exponentially. This new job prospect would be a work-outside-the-home gig. He has worked at home for most of the last six years. It's a way of life (one that, if you all have noticed, I don't always love but am always grateful for). I don't know how I feel about that.

Also, the job would be in Houston. Texas. As in on the polar opposite side of the planet world country from where we currently are. Have I mentioned before that I've *only* ever lived *here*? It's true. My extended family is here. Our ex's live here. And also? I really hate it here. Particularily right here, where we are living right now. I hate my neighbors, I hate my neighborhood. I'm totally isolated here. My best friend? She lives in Houston.

So let's see - shall we move across the country, sell our house, buy a new house, take a new job, work outside the home and adopt all in the same season? How does that sound for a plan?

And that, my friends, is what happens when one gets an itch.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/15/2006§

The boy speaks out on cereal
N: "Do you know what cereal I'm totally crushing on?"
Me: "um, no, I guess I don't"
N: "Totally fruit loops, the really fruity ones"

So there you have it. If you, too, find yourself in dire need of a new *crush*, you should take yourself to the nearest grocer to pick up the fruitiest of fruit loops. If your kid is 4 and a boy and talks this way is it an indicator that they perhaps watch too much TV? Maybe? Maybe.

In other news, the boy is full of sick germs. It's a fun one. This one disguises itself as a UTI and increases urination 10 fold but with a funky constipating effect on the side on top of the sneezing, sniffling otherwise miserable-ness of a normal cold. You can tell it's been a long time since cold season. I find myself wondering what in the world to DO for a sick boy. I'm not a medicater, by nature. I do use some natural remedies (essential oils, homeopathics, rarely herbals). But I'm out of practice. Other than pushing fluids and avoiding dairy, it's taking me awhile to get back into the groove.

Regardless I'm doing the un-PC thing and dragging his sick self out of the house, tonight, and meeting my Mom, brother and his girlfriend for a belated Birthday dinner for Mom where he and my other two boys will be sure to charm and entertain while also infecting. Never met the girlfriend - I'm the last on earth, it seems. But I know all about her. Apparently she is Perfect. Which is great unless you happen to be on the receiving end of comments such as "She sure is HELPFUL when she comes to visit" - clear allusion being "Couldn't you be more like her?". Seriously I am eager to meet her but hope she doesn't mind a parting viral gift. :-)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/11/2006§

I'm getting itchy
I've got the travel bug and man do I feel itchy. I swear it is all I think about. You know how everything can remind you of your adoption? Even things so ridiculous a normal person might think that there could not possibly be a correlation to adoption? "Boy these apples sure do look ripe and the price is great! Hrmm. I wonder if they sell apples in Vietnam and if Addison will like applesauce!" Well that's how I usually feel but right now that is how I feel about travel! "Boy these apples sure look ripe and the price is right. But I bet they taste even BETTER on the other side of the state! No way to find out without going there!".

I don't have a destination in mind (sure I'd love to travel to Vietnam rightthisveryminute but anything will do to feed this itch). One minute I'm suggesting a small day trip (like yesterday when I felt like having PF Changs for lunch so suggested we drive to our state capital - 2 hours away - to do it!) or big huge moves (as in selling our house and moving across the country). Reading other people's summer vacation getaways is making me even more desperate. I need a break.

Another issue is that I have come to the realization that here is not where we are supposed to be. I'm not sure were we are supposed to be yet but it isn't here. I love our house soooo much. I love our little lake. But I can't stand our city, I can't stand our neighbors. And we are too far away from civilization for those things not to make a difference. There is very very little diversity here - not in race, creed, religion, ethnicity, etc. One area there *is* a lot of diversity is the socioeconomic class but I've quickly learned a hard lesson - an asshole is an asshole whether they are rich or poor. Plus this town is very very conservative (and we are v. v. Liberal) - another uncomfortable way we just don't fit in. There are a few homeschoolers but most homeschool for religious reasons only and are clear that if they wanted their kids to spend time with my type of heathen, they'd just send their child to public school in the first place! So my kids are lonely too - or maybe this is my own transference onto them since they seem totally oblivious. Regardless, much to my family's bitter disappointment, a move will be in our future most likely. A few years down the road but out there, none the less. Or at least I need to believe that if I'm going to continue living here *now*!!

So I'm restless. I'm thinking of packing up the kids and the tent and just leaving. It sounds like cheap fun to me. So if I'm suddenly quiet here online, there might be a knock on your door! Watch out!
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/07/2006§

Five Years Ago Today....

At this very moment, I was standing in the parlor of our church, lining up our wedding party and listening to beautiful piano music serenading us all as we waited for my wedding procession to begin.

Five years ago today, I was so sick I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it through the day. It wasn't the cold feet or nerves, it was our little bundle of joy tucked secretly in my uterus making his presence known in a big way.

Five years ago today I danced in my husband's arms for the first time ever, married or unmarried.

Five years ago today I wept as our entire wedding ceremony was completely ruined by our officiant who brought the wrong copy of the ceremony and left out the entire vows we had written to the children as well as all our special passages.

Five years ago today I enjoyed being the princess, the center of attention, for the first last and only time in my life.

Five years ago today our beautiful children dressed in their tuxedos and fancy dress and fully celebrated as we became a family.

Five years ago today I made a promise to love and cherish my husband through good and bad. We have experienced all of the above many times over, including that day five years ago today! It is the best and most important promise I've ever made to anyone about anything in my life.

I love you, my husband, my best friend, my co-conspirator, my lover, the father of my wonderful children and my rock.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/04/2006§

Our Mini Vacation to Stepford
Well we are back from our last-minute trip to Stepford, USA.

My kids are honestly very very good on an ordinary basis - a fact which I don't take credit for and truly feel blessed about. But this was very very different. It all started when the little guy slept in suspiciously late and his brothers even later giving me a freakish boost of energy after an unusual restful night of sleep. If that wasn't clue enough, our youngest son insisted on brushing his teeth first thing in the morning instead of watching a morning show or having breakfast - his usual requests. The kids were too kind to each other, too helpful, too low maintenance and in general a little too perfect. I had bountiful energy and managed to clean the house top to bottom, dusting places that hadn't seen the light of day in a year, washing windows, cleaning the inside of appliances, vacuuming the entire house plus furniture. I did about 5 loads of laundry and watered the flowers and reorganized the kitchen counters and soon discovered that the entire house can stay clean all the time and there is still time left to relax. I feel like a housewife! I even managed to do some homeschooling with the oft-educationally-neglected 4 year old (turns out he is still quite smart despite my best efforts!). I even loaded them up, despite my blog from the previous day regarding taking kids shopping, and ran errands. Boring errands like Sears for a refrigerator filter. Then more daring errands like Toys R Us. There were no fits, no arguments, nothing but joy. Then bedtime rolled around and I got the little guy to sleep by 9pm - a good hour or more earlier than usual.

Then I woke up.

I had an odd sore throat. My flowers died despite my best efforts. The dog pooped on the carpet. Our "breakfast experiment" of "omelet in a ziplock" was a gigantic failure involving melted plastic bags and my entire body was sore from way too many hours on my feet and going up and down stairs the day before. Supermom-mode caught up to me. Hello reality check!! Still, carried by the previous day's joy and harmony, I plugged on steadfastly planning a day of extreme productivity. I started working on cutting out quilt squares for various swaps due soon and then the headache-caused-by-hunching-over-the-floor-cutting-fabric came on with a vengeance. The day was pretty much shot but I managed to do that time-honored thing most other parents who aren't spoiled by full-time-house-husbands and no jobs do and just kept on keeping on. The baby threw a few pint-sized fits, the kids weren't always thrilled about playing together, I forgot to take out the Uncrustable for lunch, I was exhausted, sick, sore. But the day wasn't a total failure. I got all my fabric cut out (no easy feat - that's like 100 fabric squares precisely measured), I made my wishes for the quilt swaps on the computer, I taught the kids how to load the dishwasher *properly* and got them into the habit of loading it after meals instead of stacking in the sink, we made homemade cookies and turned them into ice cream sandwiches and I managed to get the baby in bed and *to sleep* by 8pm, kept the house clean, vacuumed, dusted and free of dishes.

I woke up this morning, too early (that's what happens when the baby goes to bed at 8!!!), the pain in my feet and legs and head is (mostly) gone and the garbage made it to the curb in time (first time in 3 weeks, I might add - that is a LOT of garbage!!) and I didn't bother making a hot breakfast. I decided I'm no one's maid which means I'm not jumping up to get new drinks, forks, or other things the kids are capable of getting themselves. I'm taking more time for me. I'm insisting the little guy play by himself once in awhile. I think today might be my day of happy equilibrium.
posted by Stepping On Legos at 8/02/2006§

Name: Stepping On Legos
Stepping On Legos Stepping On Legos Home: TX, United States
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