Day 30-A picture
It’s taken me a few days to finish up this 30 day challenge (more like 40 day challenge, but whatever!), but here we are at Day 30 (give or take a few days) and I’m sorta sad that it’s over. I was really enjoying sharing my life with you all in some type of systematic way. Now, I’ll just have to randomly insert stories into my post by *sidebar* or *parenthesis* as I usually do! Anyways, without further ado, Day #30…
This past weekend was a great weekend for our little family. On Friday, after work, I went home, changed my clothes, piled the 3 kids and the wife into the car, and headed to our little local amusement park. When I was younger, our parents would take us once a year, and every time, it was the awesomest thing ever!! Being so young, I didn’t realize that my parents probably blew about 3 days salary to take the 5 of us, and sometimes a cousin or two. Back then, you could only buy tickets, not the super great “unlimited rides” bracelet that they sell now for one pretty fair price. Rye Playland ,the amusement park in “Big” staring Tom Hanks, is the equivalent of a County Fair that is set up indefinitely. It’s been there for decades. The Dragon Coaster (featured in Mariah Carey’s Fantasy video) has been there since the 1920’s! You can’t go there without riding it. I invited my sister and my two nieces, and we hung out from 6-11pm when the park was closing. It was really great to be able to share such a huge part of our childhood with Mary and my niece. It was even cooler watching them get their adrenaline on, and ride that Dragon Coaster by themselves. That’s pretty brave for 7 year olds! Went home and got ready for the next day!
Saturday, thanks to all the junk and cotton candy that Mary ate, she was pretty much out of commission all day! She was vomiting from the second she opened her eyes at 6:30am, until she went to bed at 7:30pm. It was pretty horrible! I feel like such a bad mom when she’s throwing up, because just the sound of her retching is enough to keep me on the opposite side of the apartment. “You okay honey?! Do you need some water, or a paper towel, or a cold cloth for your forehead?!?!”, I shout down the hallway. When she was finished, I would escort her back to bed, tuck her in, set up the iPad with the Netflix on, glass of water on the window sill, and check on her pretty often. Most of the day she slept, the poor thing, so most of the day, we slept, babies on our chests, TV blaring, bodies sweating (we have corduroy couches – I KNOW!), and phones on silent. It was actually not a bad day. Sometimes, you just need a day to veg out.
Sunday, my sister Raquel had an impromptu BBQ at her place. Her fiance, my soon to be super amazing brother-in-love on 8/1/15, was killing it on the grill! The kids had a blast playing on the swing get, eating ice cream, kicking around a soccer ball, and enjoying the beautiful weather. I talked to my mom about the boys baptism and in true mom fashion, she insisted that we needed more things than we had originally bought for the BBQ after the service, and made plans with Callie to go on Tuesday (yesterday) to pick up some more stuff (They picked up a TON more stuff thanks to my moms Visa card because we totally cannot afford any more frivolous purchases, and spending $50+ for “extra paper goods just in case” is just so dumb to me). We played dominoes for a little while, and then head home, but not before getting this picture of the boys and their favorite cousin Jezenia…
Monday, good Ole Memorial Day, was wonderful. First, let me say, although we haven’t been impacted by the loss of someone in our family or any of our friends, we do have a lot of family and friends who are service members in The US Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army. 4 of my first cousins have served on the front line in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, and all over the Middle East. They have lost many of their friends and comrades, and the day for them takes on a completely different meaning. Our hearts were with all of them as they felt the weight and the burden of having survived while their Brothers were casualties of war. I won’t let the politics of it all taint my vision or stop me from sharing in the fact that we are very fortunate to have these service men and women put their lives on the line for us daily. All the time I pray that Memorial Day won’t take on a different meaning for us and our families one day. So before we started our day, got our swimsuits on, and headed out to a cookout, we talked a little bit about why we have a “home day” and why we honor the courageous men and women who defend this country and our freedom. I think Mary got it. Like, really got it.
By 11am, everyone was dressed, packed, and ready to spend the day with Grandma and Pop on the boat. We had bought the kids a small little pool to place on the back deck, and it was a hit with ALL the kids at the marina. All 3 of our kids had a great day enjoying treats, lots of hugs and affection and attention, and splashing! Lots and lots of splashing! The boys only took 1 nap and weren’t even cranky all day! We watched the military planes fly over head (there was a huge parade and military plane show at a park a few blocks over), fed baby swans, and Callie and I got to hand the boys off, have a beer, and play a game of spades just like the “Good Old days”. Well, the days pre the new “Great Old days”! It never ceases to amaze me how huge our village is. It’s always so great and comforting to see how much love our little family gets. You never really get used to it. After a long day in the sun (no sunburn, woo hoo!), we had all of the kids fed, bathed, and sleeping (completely knocked out for the count!) by 7:30pm, giving me and Callie the opportunity to “watch some tv” in bed without interruption. Great show!! Realllllllllyyyyyy great show! I’d have to say, all in all, the weekend was pretty successful, and with a short week at work, a meeting with our Pastor at our place tonight, an RE appointment yesterday morning (PW protected post to follow), and some last minute stuff for the baptism in 2 weeks, this coming weekend is upon us with more plans for great times with my kick-ass little family…
Day 29-3 Wishes
I always wondered what I would wish for if I were given the ever elusive “3 wishes”. Now that I’m taking inventory of all my “wishes”, I’m surprised to see how often they changed. When I was a young kid it was all about toys and Lisa Frank stickers (especially the fuzzy ones!). When I was a preteen, a collection of the coolest sneakers and tickets to a Spice Girl concert. Teenager, wishing I could run away and no one would find me, that I was adopted (because there was no way in hell that I was actually BORN into this family) and that I would get a 2000 Mustang convertible for my graduation/birthday present. Most of those things never happened. Actually, come to think of it, almost ALL of those things never happened! My 3 wishes now are totally different…
1) That my children never have to experience or deal with adversity.
I know that this probaby will never happen and more often than not, it is those experiences that make them strong, but they also make people jaded, and angry and sometimes even recluse and desolate. I can only hope that my kids pick up the same mentality that I have about things that are really crappy. Stare it in the face, smile, give a little chuckle, and keep it moving.
2) I wish there was a magic pill that would allow my parents to never die.
For the first time ever, I’m starting to realize that our lives are finite. At some point, all of them will end. We will cease to exist and return to the ashes from whence we came. Although I am okay with MY dying ( I came to terms with that years ago and have never been scared of it), I hate the idea of my parents dying. I sometimes get flashes of them perishing in a plane crash, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time and someone shoots them, and for the rest of that day, I feel this heaviness in my heart. My parents are one of the greatest gifts I’ve been blessed with, and it makes me incredibly sad that at one point or another in my life (hopefully 150 years from now) they won’t here. A pill to keep them around (and looking and feeling young) forever would be AMAZING!
3) That I’m always of sound body and mind to continue to give my family all of me.
I haven’t always been the poster child for perfect health and sound mind. Who the eff am I kidding!?! I have NEVER been that person! As I get older (and apparently wiser – who would have thought, eh?!) I realize how much my family relies on me for so many things. I’m the sole bread winner, the cheerleader, the positive can-do attitude, the problem solver, the fixer, the “can you put this together?”er, the boo boo mender, the wife pleaser (boom chicka wow wow!), the “he likes it when YOU rock him”er, and the beating heart of my family. It would really put us in a terrible place if I got sick, or fell back into my self destructive ways. Having dealt with terrible depression in my life, the fear to go back to that place is excruciating. What it did to my parents and siblings was bad enough that there is no way that I would ever want to do that to my children or my wife. I work hard at not stressing out, and have really retrained my brain to embrace all of the good and reject the bad. It’s been working out pretty well. I wish more than anything, that I am always healthy and able for them, but also for myself.
Day 28-Something that stresses you out
There aren’t many things that stress me out, mainly because I’m a carefree person, but also because I don’t let things get into my psyche! I’m not a person that worries too much about anything. If I do, it’s usually some life altering event, and even then, I give it a good 10 minutes to a day to mull it over in my head before I remember that things are as they are and will be what they will be, so really, no matter how stressful things are, the outcome is just as it should be. No sense in getting all worked up about it. It’s similar to my philosophy on jealousy. (I don’t do jealousy because If someone is gonna cheat, they are gonna cheat, no matter what my actions are to prevent it, or how hard I hold on. If they are cheaters, they are cheaters…best to move on.)
There is one thing though that stresses me the hell out, at least for the few minutes before I get up, curse someone the hell out, and move to a different location, sometimes removing myself from the situation entirely. Ready?! Ready?! It really gets me going when someone is doing their personal grooming on public transportation! Like, seriously!!!!! You couldn’t do that at home?! It’s called personal grooming, meaning it’s private, and as a private activity, it should take place in the privacy of your own damn home. Your fingernail clippings, or as I like to call it, the unwanted parts of your talons, flying in my direction, cause me to become some crazed, deranged straphanger, acting all TYPES of crazy on the damn bus! Oh and lady! You!?!?! The one brushing her ridiculously long mane, while whipping the 4 people in your immediate vicinity in the face with your locks, while abandoning bits of yourself all over the “standing room only” train?! Yeah, I pretty much hate you! Did you not have 45 seconds AT HOME to take care of your damn weave, because let’s be real, not ALL of that is yours! So you had the time to put the pieces IN, but you couldn’t BRUSH it!?! I literally, can’t even! In fact….So, that being said, it totally stresses me out when I’m sitting in the window seat and it’s near impossible to get out. I have had to let a few people know about themselves and that it is really disgusting (especially the nail clippings). I’ve had a few choice words for people, especially after asking politely to please stop it. I think about it all day after the incident and get totally skeeved out, wondering if I need to call my Internist and get some type of HepC shot, or TB, or MMR, or Tetanus. It is so damn disgusting. I think about all the things I touch during the day, and how often I sanitize and wash my hands and know that the amount of times is not normal. I also know that most people, don’t wash their hands as often. I mean, what if they wiped their behind after making a BM and got a little on that pinkie nail that just flew across my face, bounced off the window, and landed on the lady’s knitted beanie in front of me?! Unacceptable commuters! So let’s get ourselves together, leave personal grooming at home (that includes brushing your teeth in THE ONLY bathroom sink and leaving spittle, blood droplets, and crusty dried up tooth paste for someone else to have to clean up! [having more than 1 sink and cleaning up after yourself is the exception to the rule). Please, for the love of God, respect your fellow travelers, who do not fancy unwanted “company” when they get home. I like living stress free, but this, ohhhh this, this stresses me the hell out!
**Officially have the heebie-geebies**
Phew!! That’s a lot of days to make up, but I’ve had quite a bit going on this past week with planning the boys baptism, some stuff for Mary with school, trying to get our boat together and fix some things that will make it more “sellable”, a visit with our case worker, and just dealing with 3 kids, work, and dr’s appointments. If you haven’t read my PW protected post, well, it’s up! Anyways, back to this challenge…
Day 22-Favorite city & Day 23-Favorite vacation
These two can easily be combined. My favorite city (aside from my own hometown) and my favorite vacation took place in the same country and in the same city.
Amsterdam, Holland, how I love you! Marco and I spent 8 glorious days half way across the globe. It was the middle of winter (early January) and it had to be one of the mildest winters they had experience in a while. We did a bunch of touristy stuff during the day, like visiting the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh (actually pronounced Goch, like in Chanukah), the BOLS ( liquor made in Holland and taste testing! YUM!), The Anne Frank House (climbing the stairs to the Annex and being in that space was really overwhelming and heavy), The NEMO Science Museum (AWESOME!), The Canal Tours (super cool, informative, and fun way to experience the city in 2 hours time), and Vondel Park (the Central Park of Amsterdam). And at night, oh at night!!! As soon as the sun set, we made our way to The Redlight District and all the shenanigans that went on down there. Drag Queen karaoke, TRUT (translates to BITCH and is a speakeasy LGBT club that you wait 2 hours for in line before they even open the doors! Only 250 people get in, and they give you tickets! Numbered Tickets! No one goes in passed the 250 until someone comes out!), The Erotica Museum, all those glass doors, and of course to my 25 year old self, the Coffee Shops.
We spent those days adventuring, staying up late, meeting new people, and exploring a new place we’d never been to. We learned how to take public transportation in another country, and also learned that ketchup is a €2 side dish! A SIDE DISH!!! You know, I love the Dutch, but they do not know when it is appropriate to give you ketchup. A grilled ham and cheese DOES NOT require such a condiment. I’ll never understand! But we walked (and got lost) A LOT, rented bikes to get a better and more authentic view of the city (bikes have the right of way which was CRAZY to us but when bikes outnumber people 3 to 1, well, it makes sense), tried to get into a live sex show before the bouncer/pimp got nasty with us when we told him that Marco and I were NOT in fact a married couple, and drank delicious Chocomel with Schlagg every day! We promised we would go back every two years. That has yet to happen, but one day, we’ll be back, and it’ll be amazing. Probably just as awesome as the first time.
Day 24-Something you’ve learned
This list could go on, literally, forever! There are so many things I’ve learned, but the one that has served me most valuable is, “Treat people the way you want to be treated”. It’s such a simple task, that it often boggles my mind that people don’t get it. I make it my business to always smile at people if we catch each others eye. To hold doors for people and offer old ladies a hand when crossing the street. To give up my seat to the elderly or to a pregnant woman. To do my best to volunteer or offer a helping hand. And to always, always offer laughter. I’ve seen how it can impact people. It’s amazing. Be kind, always.
Day 25-Favorite memory
My favorite memory is a toss up between two life altering events. Since it’s nearly impossible to pick which would be the all-time favorite, I’ll share both.
#1 – The day that Callie and I help hands for the first time, and jumped into the frigid waters of the Sound. We were anchored between the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, and neither of us really wanted to get into the water with the rest of our friends despite the fact that it was 90 degrees out. We decided to just suck it up, hold hands and jump in. What we didn’t realize was the electricity that would spark the second that our fingers became intertwined. That’s what started it all. A simple, “Ok, so we’ll just shut the hell up, hold hands, and jump in!” And that was that. A few years later, we were talking about that day, and I was embarrassed to mention the charge that I had felt. Callie confessed to jolt of energy that she felt that day as well, and how she chose not to pursue it because of the relationship that I was in at the time. It didn’t take long before us holding hands because a daily activity.
#2 – The moment that the Dr. said that Noah was on his way. That first cry, it was everything! It did something to my heart (in a good way) that can never be corrected. It made me a mother, truly and wholly. It is one of the best and most treasured moments of my life.
Day 26-Picture of your family
After getting rid of the birds (3 really gross Cockatiels) we are left with Dusty, our bunny, and Gracie, our pretty kitty. Although I love Gracie (like, LOVE this damn cat) and tolerate Dusty (like, by the skin of teeth tolerate), I just wish we had a dog. That would be awesome. A Great Dane who we would call King Maximus. I would love that!
So, I realized that after you all read this little Spotlight, you will know what are real names are….For the most part. But aside from that…here we are! And also, check back in an hour or two and I will have a password protected post available for your reading pleasure. And also Days 23, 24,25,26 & 27 (sorry, It’s been busy, but I’ll explain later!) But for now, here we are!
4 Months old! Holy Crap! I expected a lot of stuff when my children came into the world, but I didn’t expect for them to grow so quickly! I can’t believe it! I wish they would take their time and stop growing, at least for a little while. But alas, children grow!
Noah is my main man! As a mother, I don’t have a favorite, I just love each one differently, and Noah, he’s my sidekick. My mini-me for sure! He is my active baby, spending 15-20 minutes on the floor on his tummy, looking at himself in the mirror, reaching for pretty much anything he can get his hands on, and being the easier (and less needy) of our twins. He is super alert, getting up at around 6:30-7am (giving me just enough time to cuddle with him and give him tons of kisses before I head out to work for the day). He loves singing really loudly, and cooing to himself, or to his sister, or to the cat, or really to just about anyone who will listen. He is all smiles most of the day, and hardly ever cries. He’s a grunter, and slowly, we have figured out what his little grunts mean. This kid is a laugher too. The squeals he produces when he thinks something is hysterical are just so great. Can totally brighten up even the gloomiest days. He loves playing in his exersaucer, and looking at the bright flashing lights and pressing anything that will result in music or noise. And the thumb sucking…so bad, but oh so freaking cute!
At his 4 month check up, he was weighing in at 13.47 pounds and measuring 25inches long. The Dr. said that his Torticolis isn’t anything to be concerned about since we have been working with him diligently since his 1 month check-up, and now that he is spending more time on his belly and stretching and working his neck muscles, it should all sort itself out. She also said that he doesn’t need a helmet/orthotic band either, at least not yet, and that the shape of his head has improved lots since the last visit at their 2 month check-up. But really, the best thing about this little guy are those cheeks! Oh, those cheeks! LEVI JAMES
Levi is our squishy boy. His favorite place to be is his belly on my chest, with his cheek pressed to my nose or lips. He absolutely HATES tummy time and will barely do 5 minutes without having a complete red faced melt down. Either way, we let him cry it out for a few minutes (as long as he is fed and dry), because even a little flailing is helping his muscles get a little stronger. He is our silent observer. He looks at everything around him with a very watchful and curious eye. He is hardly ever seen without his Mico (little monkey Wubbanub) and his Owl Wubbie (also sporting a Soothies paci), and will promptly have a meltdown if he realizes that it isn’t within arms reach. He is holding up his head pretty well and prefers to be sitting in his Bumbo than being on his tummy. He’s not as vocal as his brother, but he makes up for it with how great he is with holding onto things and reaching and playing with all of the toys hanging from his play mat. He is such a smiley boy, and is rarely in a bad mood. And all the chins he makes when he smiles (which is pretty often) are totally the best!
At his 4 month check up, he was weighing in at 13.29lbs, and also 25 inches long and really closing in on his brother. They have always been about 6oz. apart, but little Macho is catching up! We were concerned that his little (I say TINY but Callie gets super mad at me, because I’m “gonna give him a complex”) penis went inverted all the time (he was circumcised and we were concerned something was wrong) but according to our doctor, he has a really “fluffy” piece on his lower abdomen that is making his penis look smaller then it really is. She manipulated the “fluff” a little, and voila! I wasn’t expecting that! So really, I have two little guys that are well endowed! I was totally concerned! We also expressed our concern about his hate of tummy time, but she said he was doing just fine and nothing to be worried about. Our little Macho Man is living up to his name, strong and tough (and apparently packin!)<—-also, not sure what i pressed to make this bold, but ummm, yeah…
They are finally, for the first time, starting to notice each other. Levi rarely notices Noah, but Noah is all about trying to get his brothers attention. He laughs at him, bangs in his general directions, yells at him and coos at him, but half the time Macho doesn’t even notice. It wasn’t until Levi had no more food in his bowl, and Nene had food left in his that he wasn’t eating, that Levi looked over at him, grunted, and then smiled. I think that was my cue to give him the rest of his brothers food. And since we are on the topic, REAL FOOD! This is one of my favorite things in the world. Seeing a baby with food all over their face and really enjoying it makes me so incredibly happy. That is the case for Levi. He LOVES eating cereal. When we sit them in their new high chairs (which have also become their favorite places to be this past week- even rocking them forever can’t put them to sleep like these high chairs do, it’s so weird!), he starts kicking his legs and cooing and yelling so loudly waiting for his food. We introduced peas for the first time at last nights dinner, and Noah wasn’t having any of that either! He does not like real food AT ALL. We have to trick him by giving him a few sips of his bottle first and sneaking in a spoonful here and there. I can’t wait till they start trying a ton of other stuff. So far they eat and like (at least Levi does) Oatmeal cereal, bananas and now peas.
All in all, these handsome little guys are healthy, growing stronger and smarter by the minute, and really giving us a hard time with this 4 month sleep regression thing. Noah is still sleeping through the night (7:30pm-5am) but Levi has taken to staying awake, grunting and cooing in the pack and play from 12-2am for the past week, sleeping on and off for 3 hours,and then is officially away for the day at around 5 am. You can only imagine the joy that Callie and I are experiencing! But even the regression in sleep is showing that they are right on target and where they should be. And even at 2am, when they are screaming loudly and scaring the crap out of us, leaning over into the crib and seeing them all smiles when they see us, makes it all ok….
A few days ago, I look on my IG account and I have a notification in my DM box. I open it and to my surprise it’s The Next Family. The Next Family, ” is a diverse community where modern families meet. It is the start of an on-going, open-minded and sincere dialog between urbanite families, adoptive families, in vitro parents, interracial families, same sex parents, single parents and so on. It is a way to remind people that the Next Generation of families already exists in larger numbers than the old model of a “family unit”.”
I love seeing them on my feed! It always brightens my day to see so many same sex families highlighted. And seeing the faces of all of their beautiful and happy smiling children, well, that just melts my heart! So, in this message from them, they think that my family would be the perfect candidate for their “Spotlight Series” and asked if we would be interested in participating!!! Did they even have to ask?!?! Uh, no, not really! So of course I shoot a message back telling them that we would “Absolutely freaking LOVE to be spotlighted” and after a few emails back and forth, we answered the questions they provided in true Non-Belly Mama (and Callie – yes, she actually wrote! GASP!) fashion, sent them some really awesome pics of our family, and voila! We will be featured very soon as one of their spotlighted (spotlit?!) families. A two mom, bi-racial, foster to adopt, IVF, twin pregnancy, suburban family! So excited! So as soon as it features, I’ll post the link…but how cool is that?! And who wouldn’t wanna see allllllll this cuteness anyway?!
Day 22-Favorite city
I have visited many cities in the world, but honestly, my favorite, hands down, is the city I grew up in. White Plains, NY is the 11th biggest city in NY sate. With a population of 56,853 people, it still has the feel of a small town, where everyone knows everyone. Where kids ride bikes together around the neighborhood and play manhunt in the woods behind their houses on summer nights, and going sledding during snow storms at the local golf course is a right of passage for any kid “around the way”. A place where we are proud to scream ” DUBSET!” during high school football games while we rep our city, or where we walk down “The Avenue” with a 5lb glass beer stein when they shut the street down for Oktoberfest. Where summers at Gardella Park pool is the only way to cool down, and baseball games at Gedney Park was a great way to spend Wednesday nights. It’s a place where the churches stand up for people of color, for LGBT families, for people with disabilities, marching through the streets and filling the space with their cries of “Black lives matter” and “We’re queer, We’re here”! Where the community gathers together on NYE and watches our very own ball drop in the middle of our personal Times Square. Where the 37 lives lost on 911 are honored EVERY SINGLE YEAR in their own ceremony. Where if you didn’t hang out at “The Galleria Mall” growing up, I do NOT know what you were doing with your life, and where McDonald’s on Central Ave for lunch during high school (even though technically we weren’t allowed to leave campus) was the place to be. A place where Teen Night at Club Emanon (That’s No Name backwards which was so clever) was a great place for parents to send their kids on Friday nights and didn’t have to worry about their safety. Where Webb Field was the place to play tag to your hearts delight and swing round and round and round on the dizzying tire swing. It’s a place loaded with our nations history! The Battle of White Plains was fought literally, in my parents back yard! No seriously, it was! George Washington’s home is located just a few minutes from my childhood home. It’s a place where selling lemonade on the corner was a daily occurrence during the spring, summer, and fall, and a place where my heart lives forever, right there on those streets.
My city, where my roots have been sewn, and the roots of my mother and father, uncles and aunts and cousins, brothers and sister, will always be “Home”. And they say, Home is where the heart is, and it couldn’t be any truer.