Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Munchkin at 5 Months

Dear Munchkin -

I cannot believe you are five months old already!  Some moms would have written many posts by now about your growth and development, perhaps with coordinated outfits naming how old you are each month.  I'm sorry, kiddo, I'm not one of those moms.  Which isn't to say that I don't love you with all of my wild and passionate heart, but crafty and organized?  And consistent?  Not me.

You, however, I could say so much about.  We have come SO FAR from your early days home when you cried and cried and mommy cried with you.  You are an absolute joy.  You have the most expressive eyes and they light up when you see any of your inner circle.  You are starting, just a little, to have some separation anxiety from us, but overall you are a really outgoing kid who just loves to be smiled at, cooed at or hugged on.

You are a pretty good sleeper, though we've had to do some things that have messed with that lately.  Namely, you are currently wearing your second set of casts to correct your clubbed feet.  This has made you significantly more uncomfortable in the night and you therefore wake up more than you once did, but I am confident you will sleep through the night once the casting process is complete.

You love to eat off of a spoon - currently you have tried cereal, peas, sweet potatoes and apples.  You like them all.  You just passed a phase of spitting bubbles all of the time and the kitchen and everyone's clothing suffered all the more, but you mastered the art of the raspberry!

You want to crawl, oh so bad!  If we put you on your tummy with a toy out in front you work so hard to get there but just don't have those motor skill quite mastered yet.  It's coming.  And I swear you are working on saying, "Hi".  I'm not making it official yet but I know you're trying!

You are the light of all of our lives and we can't believe it's going so fast.  I can't wait to see what you'll be doing the next time I manage to write one of these updates (hopefully not graduating high school).  Your giggles, your smiles, your coos - they make all this hard work one hundred percent worth it!

Yummy cereal!  Mommy will upload a better pic - someday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Makes a Parent?

Last week our family celebrated our adoption finalization.  The Mister, The Nugget, The Munchkin and I all drove downtown to a very tall building and sat before a friendly judge to answer, once and for all, that we are ready to parent our beautiful four month old daughter.  That we know, without a doubt, that she is ours and that no matter what happens in our marriage, she will be treated as our own.

Naturally, we agreed.  We never questioned this move to permanency.  For us, the court date was the final check mark in a series of tasks that needed to be completed, but not a huge event because this little girl was already ours and we were already hers.  Other adoptions may wait with more focus on that date because of the circumstances, but for us, there was no question.  We have a relationship with The Munchkin's birth mother and knew that she felt confident in her decision.

This got me wondering what makes me the mother of this baby in the first place?  What makes The Mister the father?    Is it waking up for 128 nights to feed, change, rock and soothe?  Is it making 768 bottles?  Am I her mother if I hold her while she cries?  Is The Mister her father if he holds us both as we cry?  If we explain to her big sister that she will be with us forever and deal with both her joy and jealousy, does that give us points?  If I can soothe her when nobody else can, does that make me her mother?  If The Mister can identify a chin wobble or a flailing arm as signs of imminent spit up, does that make us a "real" family?  Does ushering her through heart wrenching nights in the NICU and shepherding her through the even more harrowing weeks of aftermath count toward our credit?  Are 18 and half weeks of love enough to show that we are worthwhile?  If we know her looks, her cries, her movements and rhythms then are we her parents after all?

Perhaps in our hearts, and, to us, that is all that matters.  But on paper, well, we ultimately have to listen to the courts.  And on Thursday, with little fanfare, they gave us the stamp of approval and told us that we were a forever family.  Which, of course, we already knew.

The LTP family goes to court

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm a writer?

Side note: if you didn't read that title to the tune of "I'm Ron Burgandy?" then you haven't seen Anchorman.  If you haven't see Anchorman, then you have missed out on some of the most hilarious moments of your life.  Stop reading this now, go watch the movie, then come back.  I'll wait.

Okay, so I know I write on here (sometimes), but I do not think of myself as a writer, per say.  Many of you are, well, real writers with real writing jobs and you also just happen to have blogs.  Me?  I'm just  a person who has a blog.  Just an online diary in which I blurt out thoughts and feelings about the world and such.  I enjoy writing, but does enjoying something make you good at it?  Does it buy you a ticket into the show?

I still don't know the answer to that, but I can tell you this:  I entered a writing contest.  My favorite magazine in the world, Real Simple (look to the right, they had their own label on my blog long before this post), has an annual contest called Life Lessons.  Each year, they assign a topic and readers can enter.  I've been reading this magazine for years (thanks to my awesome in-laws) and have seen the contest entries.  I've noted that sometimes the winners are previously published authors.  None of the topics has ever really moved me to try my hand at it, but this year, the topic was on the bravest thing you've ever done.  I knew immediately that I would write about saying goodbye to my son, a topic you are all familiar with here on this blog.  So, in September I wrote the essay and sent it off and didn't think much about it again.  I was proud of myself for entering and taking a risk.  I was vaguely aware in January that I figured they must have picked a winner by now (specific dates not being my strong front) and sort of said to myself, "okay, must not have placed, I'm sure they had lots of good entries".  

At the time, I was busy welcoming The Munchkin into the world.  We were busy in the best kind of way.  While we were at the hospital on The Munchkin's second day in the world, however, I got a call from an editor at Real Simple.  Turns out, they were running late on notifying people but I won!  I won a writing contest!  Me!  We could talk all day about the karmic timing of this little prize because I sure still needed some money for the adoption attorney, but the fact of the matter is, I put myself out there and it paid off.  

I guess in addition to letting you know my good news, I just want to encourage you all to go for it too.  What is it that you love to do but don't get paid for?  Writing?  Sewing?  Soap making?  Knitting?  Well, guess what?  Maybe you can!  I've spent years basically afraid of failure and got rewarded on the first try.  I know that makes me lucky but it feels like the universe telling me go for it.  And I'll bet you get the same message.

If you care to read the article, you can read it here:


A version of it has been posted on this blog before.  If you care to read the magazine, well, you will never find yourself disappointed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Believe in Fairy Tales

I know a lot of women blame fairy tales for giving them unrealistic expectations of relationships.  Books and movies often portray a woman (admittedly, often helpless) who is swept away by a knight in shining armor and lives, well, happily ever after.  People claim that this doesn't exist, that roles are stereotypical, that happiness is a daily choice and that the whole thing is oversimplified.  Perhaps it is, but I think maybe they are looking with the wrong eyes.  Here is a glimpse into my personal happily ever after:

I have been home with the two kids all day by myself while The Mister is at work.  I am tired.  I am overwhelmed.  I am feeling, if I'm honest, pretty helpless and in need of saving.  I hear the garage door opening and know that my knight's steed is approaching.

The Mister enter's the castle, our home, and sees his fair maiden wilting under the pressure of motherhood.  He sweeps the baby from her arms and changes her diaper and feeds her a bottle.  Did you hear his chain mail clinking?

Once he has put the baby down for a nap, he takes the older child into the yard and plays ball with her. I am almost blinded by the glare of the sun on his armor.  This man who has worked hard all day and come home to find a puddle of goo in place of his wife does not pause for a shower, does not ask what he can have for his reward, but he saves me, rescues me from the dragon that motherhood can sometimes be, draws his sword against my fears and helps me push forward.

THAT is a fairy tale ending.  My knight may drive a four wheeled steed.  His armor may be disguised by a work uniform, but have not doubt, he is my hero, and every day, in a million little ways, he saves me and moves me toward our happily ever after.  Without him, I don't know where I would be or how I would do it.  I am so lucky that it really is like a fairy tale for me.

Monday, March 24, 2014

In Five Years Time

My beautiful baby girl, who is now my big girl, turned five yesterday.  This is for her:

My darling daughter, you are so filled with love and light.  You still look so much like your daddy but you are mommy's girl in so many ways.  You are a deep thinker, and you frequently fret about the fact that you don't want to get old and sick and die.  Daddy shakes his head in bafflement but that is your momma's heart beating inside of you.  I'm sorry - that part of me makes things hard and very heavy to contemplate sometimes.

Your fourth year was filled with milestones and growth.  You still get terrible growing pains in the night after days of hard play.  You are quiet and sometimes shy, but I see that shyness fading away and, in your own quiet way, I see leadership developing in you.  You still love my little ponies and I watch your friends, both at home and at school, take pains to play them with you in one way or another.  You are kind, you are, as my mother would say, "soft hearted".  People like to please you.

You can read long books to us now - roughly 40 pages being the current record.  You have lost two teeth this past year and, as you enter your fifth year, you have a third wiggler on its way out!  You love your people and want them near you whenever they can be.  Separation from visits with loved ones have become harder for you, leaving you with big tears falling as we drive away.  You have assured me that when you get older and grown up and married with children you will still live with me, in your words, "of course."

You are articulate and enjoy learning the meaning of new words.  You are such an artist - you draw and tell stories while you do it (I wonder if you might be an illustrator some day).  Your most used toy is your erasable drawing board where you spend hours drawing pictures while telling stories, erasing them and drawing more - it is fast action, a moving sequence never sitting still.  You also love to create with markers and clay, play dough and paint.

You are my beautiful thinker, daughter of mine.  Each year has been a bigger joy than the last, watching you grow and develop your own personality, your own passions and aversions, your own way of approaching the world.  I can't wait to see what new things we will unwrap in age five.

My beautiful, silly, wonderful big girl.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Coming up for Breath

Hello out there!  Unlike my usual, highly unpredictable and totally nonsensical blogging breaks, I have been swallowed by the gaping maw that is parenting a newborn.  If you were to make a movie of my last seven weeks, it would be a totally dichotomous.  The first movie would be a love story:

Title: Falling in Love All Over Again
Tag line: She never knew a heart could stretch so far, until she met her second child.
Trailer: Mother and child in an open field of wild flowers, soft sunlight filtering down around them as they gaze lovingly into one another's eyes while soft music plays and butterflies flit by.  Fade out gently.

The second movie, well, it's a bit more of a horror story:

Title: It Cries
Tag line: You can cover your ears, you can hide your eyes but you cannot escape because…IT CRIES!
Trailer: A mother tiptoeing from the side of a crib in a darkened nursery.  Menacing music plays.  Just as she reaches the doorway, a scream erupts from the crib and the mother's face is stricken with fear.  Snap to black.

The Munchkin, well, she cries.  A lot.  But only while we are driving or cooking or showering or interacting with her sister or cleaning or in any way not holding her.  If we do the holding, the crying is at a totally normal level.  No holding, well,  all bets are off.  So we all cry, some of us more literally than others (sorry honey).  Every time I start to think we've hit our stride and will survive this phase, like maybe I've broken the surface of the water and can gulp my lungs full of air, we have a really bad day.  But we've had some really good one's, too.  So, we are in survival mode.  Hopefully soon to enter thriving mode, but right now, just breathing in and breathing out feels like a victory we can accept.

The Munchkin, happy in The Nugget's arms.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sugar and Spice

And everything nice, that's what this little girl is made of.

The Munchkin, 6 lbs and 9 ozs of tongue sticking joy

As it turns out (and let's face, we knew this), due dates means very little. So as we all mourned a longer pregnancy (big sis, birth mama, and mommy and daddy), our new little girl was busy making her own plans.  Last Wednesday evening, as it turns out, we at our last meal together as a family of three.  During that meal, we got THE CALL.

The thing about adopting is that there is the strangest feeling of things taking forever and happening surprisingly fast all at once.  So we just looked at one another, going, "What?  We've been working on our second child for over a year, but now she's coming?"

And was she ever coming!  Birth mama's labor started around 4pm and we had that baby in our arms before 9pm!  There are many, many words to say.  It was beautiful and hard and overwhelming in every possible way.  Most of all, it was a blessing that we cannot even believe we got to be a part of.  I will save most of my words for another day.  Today, I will just share our beautiful new girl with you and stay thank you to everyone who sent good energy, well wishes, prayers and even money to help make this possible.