18 Weeks

Well, 2 weeks shy of being half way through this pregnancy.  That is both the best thing ever and also very sad.  I still haven’t decided if I love being pregnant, but then again there isn’t really much to love yet.  I’ve just started showing, and I am JUST starting to feel some movement (although I’m not convinced), and not knowing the gender (despite me wanting this baby to be a surprise) is making me feel a little, I dunno, disconnected?!  I think that will all change soon though, as this pregnancy starts getting more real.

How I’m Feeling this Week: I feel pretty awesome this week.  I’m not as tired all the time, and I’ve been enjoying the crisper weather that autumn is bringing in.  I absolutely hate the summer, and look forward to fall and winter.  So mix that with the burst of energy you get in the second trimester and well, things are pretty great!

How Big is Biscuit: Biscuit is about the size of a green pepper, or about the size of a small electric shaver.  Weighing roughly 7 ounces and measuring about 5 1/2″ from head to bottom.  Baby is forming some vernix and the ears are just where they should be now.  The alveoli are beginning to form in baby’s lungs and the vocal chords are forming as well!

Baby Bump News?:  This bump is definitely growing, and daily I am starting to feel more and more pregnant for sure!

SHAMELESS BATHROOM BUMPIE

SHAMELESS BATHROOM BUMPIE

Sleep:  Sleep has actually been pretty awesome!  In fact, Callie has been really great about letting me sleep in.  We have a system.  On Saturday’s, she sleeps in and on Sunday’s I sleep in. The past few weekends have resulted in us having to leave the house early, so she has let me have Saturdays instead…still have very vivid strange dreams from time to time, but for the most part, I don’t really remember much of it…

Food Loves/Hates:  Nothing really, but we went apple picking last Sunday and I have had apples pretty much every day.  Last night I made a braided apple pie which is delicious!!!

Symptoms:  Started to feel some MOVEMENT!!!  I’m still not all the way convinced, but I feel it most at night, when I lay on my side and spoon Callie.  It’s hard to really explain what it feels like.  People say like bubbles, or like gas, sometimes even like flutters, but I’m not sure if that’s what it really feels like to me.  I can’t really describe it, but I’m pretty sure it’s Biscuit!  And that is super exciting!

Next Scan:  My next appointment is scheduled for October 8th, for the anatomy scan.  I had an appointment yesterday just to check my BP and to give urine and do the AFP blood work.  Should get the results in a few days.  I was a little sad at my appointment though.  Our OB, who we ABSOLUTELY ADORE is pregnant.  I got a call last week that she was going to be out early on leave (at 24 weeks) because she was put on bed rest.  We were worried about her, and were given an appointment with the midwife at the same medical group, who just so happened to be my doctor before I switch to my OB since the midwife doesn’t do deliveries anymore.  The appointment went well (BP totally ok, and no protein in urine) but since the midwife has HER patients and also MY doctors patients, they are giving me a new doctor which I am not happy about.  He worked with my OB Dr. M, and Dr. M’s nurse Chrys is AWESOME and she’ll be working with him, so that will help, but I’m still not happy about it.  Chrys assured us that Dr. M said she would definitely be back for when I deliver, since her TRIPLETS are due in early December!  When i found out it was triplets, I couldn’t even be mad any more!  Freaking triplets!  Wow!!!

Sex:  ???

Overall Feelings:  I’ve been getting more and more excited about this pregnancy as it has progressed.  I’m excited to experience more movement, and baby hiccups, and seeing this little thing on the screen in just under 2 weeks.  I’m curious to know if my intuition is right, since I can’t help but feel with my whole heart and gut that Biscuit is a girl, but at the same time, I crave that surprise.  I still have 2 weeks to think about it, although the prospect of another Gender Reveal Party is really appealing!  HAHA!  Anything for a party!

Something I Didn’t Expect:  I didn’t expect to want to BE super pregnant.  People at work are starting to notice, and my family can totally see my little pump now.  I didn’t expect to want a natural delivery sooooo badly.  I had a dream the other night, that I blacked out while I was laboring, and woke up to a baby boy who wouldn’t latch after having a C-section and NO RECOLLECTION whatsoever of having had him.  It was freaking scary and my worst nightmare!  So I didn’t expect to be really sad and scared about maybe, just maybe having a c-section.  It’s really 50/50 odds though, isn’t it.

Also, Callie and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary on Sept 22, but I haven’t really had a chance to write about that, but I’ll get to it i swear!

usSo friends, there ya have it…week 18!

Oh and as always, these guys…nene nen1 macho1 macho

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Sweet 16 and a Day on The Farm

This has been a hella busy weekend.  We barely had time to sit down or sleep!  This was one fun-filled weekend for all of us.  We had a sweet 16, apple picking with the family, and a circus on our Mary and Moms date.  Let’s just say, I could have used an extra day added to this weekend.

Saturday started out late, at least late for our house on a Saturday morning.  Everyone was up at around 8, which was awesome.  An extra hour of sleep!  YAS!!!  I made everyone my famous cinnamon Farina (which the boys devoured in about 7 seconds and is Mary’s favorite breakfast that Mama makes), and we were all dressed and ready by 10:30 am to head out for Mary’s soccer game.  I have officially coached our team to 2 victories! 2-0-0…I’d say for a new coach, that’s pretty dope so far.  The girls on our team are AWESOME, and I was thoroughly impressed with the fact that Mary has caught on to the game so quickly.  Callie thinks I’m a total proud mama, but seriously, she’s the second fastest girl on the team, and her footwork is pretty great.  So, with a little more practice (and probably a soccer camp) she’s  easily be picked for next years travel team nd be one of the best ones on the squad.  Friends, I have been waiting for this for a long time! To have kids that are old enough to do fun activities.

After the game, we went home, and started to get ready for Callie’s little cousins Sweet 16, but not before I “put the boys down for a nap”. sleep Callie happened to snap this unflattering picture of everyone passed out!  My poor Levi hasn’t been feeling well and was running a low grade fever of 101 but he was in good spirits for the most part.  We gave him a little infant tylenol and got everyone ready to enjoy the evenings festivities.  Man, were all 3 of my kids the center of attention at this party!  I barely saw my kids the entire night!  They were being passed around to from person to person for most of the evening, and we kept getting compliments about how well behaved they all were.  Mary spend most of her time on the dance floor, Whippin’ and Nene’ing the whole night (if I NEVER have to hear that song again, it wuld be great!), doing the Cupid Shuffle, and once the glow sticks, inflatable microphones, and gymnastic ribbons came out, it was a wrap!  This kid had people coming over to her to ask her to show them to do all of these dances.  She really enjoyed herself, and they all looked amazing!sweet163

THE CUTENESS IS UNREAL!

THE CUTENESS IS UNREAL!

We got home rather late that Saturday night, which was a really bad move considering that Sunday morning we were all supposed to meet at my parents house at 9am.  Do you know what it’s like to get 3 kids ready at 7am to get out of the house by 8:30, and to hurry your wife along because it takes her 45 minutes to put on eyeliner (this is most definitely NOT an exaggeration!), just so we are only 10 minutes late and not an hour late?!?  It takes a LOT of effort on my part, but we made it, about 7 minutes past 9.  Everyone was so excited, and we got on the road for our hour drive up to the orchard.  It was a beautiful day, sunny, about 73 degrees and just perfect weather to be out with the family enjoying the day.  We got to pet a ton of animals, play in the bouncy castles, sample a ton of apples as we filled out bags, and had loads of fun in the corn maze trying to figure out which animal killed Farmer Joe.  Mary and my niece Izzy thought it was the coolest thing.  My parents, my aunt and uncle, my sister and her boyfriend and the two girls, and my brother, his wife and their 2 kids all went.  It was great to spend time with my brother and his kids.  Since we met about 6 years ago, our time together has been limited because of everyone’s work schedules, but now that his wife has gotten a new job with weekends off, we hope to do more things together with the kids more often.  We want them to be able to spend the time together that we didn’t have when we were younger. 5 hours, a Giants horrible loss, about 7 bags of apples later, and loads of pictures later, we were on our way home.  apples apples2 apples8We all went back to my parents house, where we left the boys for a little bit so that Mom’s could take Mary on a date!  We got free tickets for “Circus Latino” from our resource worker, and decided to just have it be the 3 of us.  We bought popcorn and soda (we NEVER let Mary have soda so it was a real treat!)  and enjoyed a free show.  We took a load of selfies, and Mary was so incredibly happy that it was a chance for her and her moms to do something that was just for us.  She stayed between us the whole time, holding both of our hands, and watched the show, munching on popcorn, sipping her Pepsi, and having a hard time closing her mouth during all the balance acts.

It really was a great weekend!

When The Adoption Worker Shows Up

Yesterday, around 4pm, Callie and Mary met the new adoption worker.  She called on Monday to set something up to meet Mary for the first time.  It was pretty informal and it was just to give us a little more information about what the termination and adoption process would be like.  From what Callie told me, it was pretty uneventful, but with situations like this, we like to wait until the last minute to inform Mary because otherwise her anxiety goes through the roof, waiting and ruminating about how it will all turn out.  Usually we don’t even tell her she is having a visit with her birth mom until the morning of, nonchalant, as she is grabbing her backpack and walking out the door.  “Oh CooCoo, you might have a visit today with your mom! Have a great day!  We love you!”  She spends most of the day distracted at school, and then she only has 20 minutes to worry on the bus ride to see her mom.

After school yesterday (3:30pm), Callie let her know that the new adoption worker was on the way and that they were going to get to meet her.  Immediately, Mary shut down.  About 5 minutes later, she told Callie what was bugging her.  ” If I get adopted today, I’ll never get to see my baby sister!! Will I ever get to see my mom again?”  (When Mary had her visit last Thursday, her mom was supposed to bring her new baby sister to the visit but didn’t because it was raining…I know!  Don’t get me started!  Always breaking promises!).  She shut down because she thought she was being adopted right then and there.  Callie reassured her right away that the woman was not there to sign the adoption papers that day.  She was there to meet her and start to get to know her better, because we will be working together for a long time while all of the court and adoption things are going on.  Probably until all the way to 3rd grade! She seemed to calm down a little after that, but the whole time that the adoption worker was there, Mary wouldn’t even look at her.  She kept her nose buried in a book pretending to read.  She didn’t make eye contact, she was shying away from all of her questions, and acting like the shy girl that we haven’t seen since the first week she came to live with us 18 months ago.

When the worker left, Callie asked Mary how she was feeling, and she refused to answer.  She said she was reading her book.  When Callie asked her what she had read, Mary gave her the “oh shit! She knows I wasn’t reading!” face.  Callie didn’t push it.  She knew it was a lot for a 7 year old to take in.  A few minutes later, Mary asked, “Am I going to therapy this week?!?”  I love that she understands that therapy is where she can talk about these things and her feelings in a safe space, especially when she isn’t ready to talk to us yet.  Hopefully she’ll be able to sort some of those things out, and come home and pour her heart out, which is what she usually does.

How do I really feel about this whole situation?  Honestly, and I’ll be really candid here…I can’t wait for this whole shit to be over.  I can’t wait for my daughter to understand that everything that has happened so far in her life is not her fault.  She holds onto every. Single. Little. Detail of her past like you have no idea.  It’s her fault she was taken away from mom because “mom always listens to what I say and she didn’t listen when I told her not to go to Florida.  I TOLD HER!  I told her they would take me away again!  It’s my fault because she didn’t listen to me and she always listens to me!”  And then there’s the, ” I told mommy I really wanted a baby and so she had a baby for me.  Now they took the baby away, and it’s my fault!  I told her to have a baby and she always listens to me.”  This is what this parent has done to her child!  It’s frustrating and infuriating. I wish I could help her see that none of the circumstances of her life are her fault AT ALL!  In fact, they are completely, totally, and 100% her mothers fault, for making poor choices and having terrible parenting skills.  I wish that this adoption would move quickly, or that her mom would realize what is really best for her daughter, and just sign over her rights.  Callie and I are THOSE foster parents, the ones that always side with the bio-parents.  We really have no reason not to, because hey! Let’s be real here!  We’re all human, and people make mistakes, but when is enough enough!?  Callie and I were supportive and encouraging, and behind mom 100%.  We WANTED her to get her daughter back.  We’re not in the business of breaking up families, but it got to the point where we couldn’t support her choices and bad decisions any more.  We refuse to let Mary get hurt any more than she already has.  We refuse to continue to let her be a victim of poor judgement any longer.  We will fight, with everything that we’ve got, to give her a normal, stable life, with a family who loves her and does everything in their power to make good, strong, powerful choices for her and guide her life in the best direction we know of.  We love the hell out of this kid, and it kills us to see her go through the ups and downs of knowing that her mom loves her (she really does and they have a very loving relationship) but can’t seem to do the right thing often and long enough to give Mary what she needs.  I mean, imagine, you are on your way to adoption and mom misses so many of your visits, but has a new baby with a new dad that loves her, and gets to see everyday, and promises you that you’ll see the baby and then doesn’t show up? THIS friends, is what we are contending with…I really hope our love is enough…

MY LITTLE SOCCER STAR

MY LITTLE SOCCER STAR

8 Months Old and 16 Weeks

Good GOD, the boys are 8 months old!  How awesome is that?!  Things are a-changing around our house, and some space has to be made in order to accommodate 2 growing (and now two mobile!) boys.  Both boys are really doing awesome and meeting milestones left and right!  It’s so exciting and awesome to watch them grow.  I just wish I had more time with them during the week, but that just makes the time that I DO have with them so much more special and cherished.  They are both understanding English and Spanish, and we can tell because when I say “leche” they both start opening and closing their hands rapidly which is the sign for milk.  They constantly look for each other when the other isn’t around, and they give each other food from their trays when the other starts grunting.  It is ridiculously cute and melts my heart every time!  GUYS, I just can’t sometimes!musicians hat BWW bathtimeLEVI
My little Casanova!  This kid can get women to flock to him like there is no tomorrow!  He is gentle and caring ( you can tell already!) when he rubs your face and looks deep into your eyes with his blue ones, and just smiles at you while he does it.  He can be caught several time a day, just patting his brother on the head, almost like giving him an, “I love you bro!”  He likes to sit most of the time, but about a week ago figured out how to army crawl.  He has been navigating his way around our living room and kicks his legs in excitement whenever he reaches his goal.  He laughs at just about anything, especially when Mamà pretends to be shocked, and eats like a champ!  He is still very cautious and very aware of his surroundings.  He is hesitant to stand but loves moving around the house in his walker.  He maneuvers it like he has been using it for weeks, but just started in it about 3 days ago.  He can even back up and around corners with ease.  He loves music and singing songs, and is starting to be able to do the gestures to a Spanish song I sing to them about birds in the sky (flapping arms), fish in the sea (putting their hands together and swishing) and horses in the forest (holding reigns and bouncing).  He loves playing by himself, and can keep himself entertained for long stretches of time. Something tells me his is going to be our laid back, practical joker, musician .  I look forward to seeing if that’s true.musician2 levipaintNOAH
My little daredevil!  This kid is gonna give us a run for our money when he actually starts walking, which I don’t think is far off, considering that this week, he has let go of his standing toys a handful of times and stood unassisted for a few seconds, before becoming distracted and wanting to move, realizing that he can’t and sitting quickly on the ground.  We’ve had to lower his crib and move all breakable things out of the way.  This kid crawls, and FAST!  Like, turn around for one second and he is down the hallway, fast!  He has no sense of danger and tests his bodies limits constantly.  We may have to get him some soft climbers because he is constantly on the move and climbing over everything, especially his brother!  He doesn’t do well with new food textures and it takes him a little time to acclimate to new tastes, but he is really good at picking up loads of cheerios and puffs and shoveling them into his mouth.  He doesn’t really babble and is a lot more quiet than his brother, but when this kid smiles, oh those dimples!!  He loves reading and books (especially eating them!) and is our champion sleeper (we’ll leave it at that!).  He’s an easy baby who loves adventure.  He’s gonna be our athletic, kindhearted, gentle book-worm!  It’s gonna be so awesome! musician1 noahpaint


16 WEEKS

How I’m Feeling this Week: I’m actually feeling pretty great this week.  I have loads of energy back, I’ve really been spending a lot of time with Callie now that school is back in session and all children are in bed by 7:30, and I have my first hike of the season planned with my best friend Marco.  That first trimester was NO JOKE, but this 2nd one is pretty great so far.

How Big is Biscuit: About the size of an avocado!  I just had one with dinner last night, and almost brought one for lunch today.  That’s kind of big!  Also, for people like me who find that those kind of things fluctuate in size, that’s about the size of a Campbell’s Chicken Soup can.  That’s nuts!  Also, this little person is finally able to hear Mamà, so I’ll be singing and talking to this baby much, much more now!  That makes me really happy!

Baby Bump News?:  Well, I DEFINITELY don’t fit any of my regular pants anymore, so today, for the first time, I am wearing maternity jeans.  Not my style at all, but I am coming to terms and really surrendering to the fact that maternity clothes for gender non-conforming individuals is going to be difficult, so I was handed down some stuff that isn’t SO terrible.  So, today, I actually FEEL pregnant.  Some co-workers have mentioned that I’m glowing (I don’t see it!) and that I am definitely starting to show.  That’s pretty exciting!

Sleep:  I’ve still been having pretty weird dreams, but they aren’t every night anymore.  I think I have definitely been sleeping more soundly, mainly because of not having to get up to pee in the middle of the night.  But I will say, when I sleep on my stomach, it feels like I am laying on top of the remote control.  It’s really strange to realize that it’s NOT the remote control, and totally, Little Biscuit.

Food Loves/Hates:  Still don’t want anything to do with salad, but corn beef hash over white rice?!?!  AMAZING!  I’ve had it twice in 7 days!

Symptoms:  A serious case of bad gas again, but otherwise, more energy is definitely a plus.  Also, I haven’t really been hungry much.  I know that’ll change in the next couple of days with a growth spurt on the horizon.  Something about double in weight and size in the next 2 weeks or so!

Next Scan:  My next scan is scheduled for October 8th, for the anatomy scan.  I really want to keep the gender a surprise but everyone’s been hounding me and calling me selfish for not wanting to find out.  So I’m sitting on the fence.  Mainly because I am totally convinced that Biscuit is a girl, and I want to know if my “intuition” is right!  I also have an appointment on September 24th (possible ultrasound) to check my blood pressure and to do a non-fasting glucose test to see where my sugar is since it’s been pretty borderline for the past 2 years or so.

Sex:  It’s up and down the past 2 weeks, but also, doing respite care for a 7 year old girl for a week who’s sleep patterns we don’t k now, is tough.  Mary sleeps like a rock…this kid, not so much!

Overall Feelings:  Hella excited to be able to go hiking on Sunday (and football obviously!), since my pregnant body is finally catching up to my barely pregnant brain and is FINALLY allowing me to do the things that I THINK I can do, but my body and exhaustion wouldn’t allow.  Also, feeling like, this baby is getting more and more real as my body starts changing.

Something I Didn’t Expect:  For real, for REAL, I didn’t expect maternity pants to be so damn comfortable!!! I might live in these for the next few months, and maybe even more than that!  I really wish they were more my style, but this will have to do in the meantime, and the comfortably factor counts for way more points then style factor, that’s for sure!  I also didn’t expect that these subtle changes in my body would warrant me wanting it to change faster and be MORE pregnant, but all in due time, I suppose.

Friends, this pregnancy so far, has been pretty awesome! And don’t laugh, but my first official internet “bathroom break bumpie”…

16 WEEKS AND COUNTING

16 WEEKS AND COUNTING

A 7 Year Old’s Insight

Mary has completely turned her behavior around.  We started a pretty neat reward chart for her, and she gets cool stickers on the chart when she completes the task.  Thing like brushing her teeth and washing her face twice a day, tidying her room and making her bed, cleaning her station after dinner, and listening to the adults in her life.  Going on 2 weeks now and she hasn’t missed a sticker.  It has a section that says “Things to Work On This Week”.  Usually we try to keep it positive, like instead of saying “not lying”, we say, “always tell the truth”.  Instead of saying “not being rude and fresh” we say, ” Having a positive attitude every day”.  Every week there is a “prize” or a privilege that she has gained back.  Last week, she got to attend my nieces pool party, and have chips and cake and candy, and hang out with all of her cousins.  She had a blast!  What does she say in the car on her way home?  “It’s fun to have my privileges back!”

This week, she was allowed to ride her scooter, and last night at the outdoor concert, she had ice cream for the FIRST TIME this summer!  Yeah, we’re evil!  Whatever!  When she wasn’t brushing her teeth everyday, we refused to help her rot her teeth out, so last night, she ate that ice cream so fast, mmmmming, and ahhhhing for 15 minutes!  This week, her prize?  Family Movie night!  It used to be our every Friday night weekly routine.  We would be showered and pj’d by 7:30, all on the couch with hot chocolate and our own private bowl of popcorn.  We would let Mary pick her favorite movie, all get cozy under the blanket, and have 1.5+ hours of silence, while we all cuddled and watched together (usually something Callie and I loved when we were younger and wanted to introduce to Mary like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” or “Teenwitch” or “Ferngully”).  Then we would have her wash her face, brush her teeth, and both Callie and I would tuck her into bed.  This hasn’t happened since June.  You have NO IDEA how excited this kid is about Family Movie night!

I think this reward system is really working.  I think that she can see what she has done and has something tangible, like seeing 7 stickers on her board at the end of the day.  Also, it’s helping to teach her multiplication!  She’s also been a lot better behaved and a little calmer, and I think the fact that we are giving her back her privileges incrementally gives her something to work towards.  She still doesn’t have her electronics privilege back (TV time, iPad time, and computer time), but this Friday will be the first day she has seen TV (aside from sneaking it in for a few minutes at my parents) since the beginning of July. We’ll slowly add 30 minutes of TV a day after school to unwind before she has to start homework.  HOLY CRAP!  In 6 days, I will have a second grader!  That’s just wild!

I’m also wondering if Mary not seeing her mom for over a month could also be helping in her feeling safe and secure again.  The therapist said that she feels (because she has seen it in other cases) that Mary acts out because she actually LIKES being in trouble.  Well, not likes likes, but that when she was with her mother she always had to play the adult.  She always felt like she had to take care of her mother (she still says it now…”If you adopt me, then who is gonna take care of mom when she is older?”), so us reprimanding her and “putting her in trouble” makes her feel like a child in turn making her feel safe.  (Psychology is so interesting and totally not black and white at all!)  And also, you know, attention. So we have changed all of the negative attention to positive attention, and when she does something that we don’t necessarily like, instead of going berserk, we just redirect and try out best to ignore the negative behavior.

Yesterday, Mary and Callie were home and having a conversation.  Mary came out of her room saying, “I have a lot of feelings today..” so Callie asked her if she wanted to write them down, or if she wanted to talk about them.  Mary wanted to talk about them.  Mary’s mom is pregnant (well, was pregnant), and she was due on Aug 29th.  Mary doesn’t know that mom had the baby because we haven’t told her yet.  The main reason is, mom knew they were going to remove the baby and was supposed to call the case worker when she went to the hospital to give birth.  She never did.  She gave birth 2 weeks ago, and didn’t let the worker know until last Wednesday, via EMAIL, and gave them 2 addresses where she could possibly be, and hasn’t been at either for the past 2 weeks.  They have a private investigator looking for her.  So, we have no answers for the hundred questions Mary will ask.  We can’t say “I don’t know” to everything.  So when she was talking to Callie, she was asking about her mom.  Where is she?  Is she going to show up to the next visit?  Is the baby born yet?  Where is the baby if she IS born?  And the main emotion she was feeling?  Fear!  She is scared that her mother is going to run away with the baby (go figure!) and that no one will find her.  She wanted to know if mom was still making bad choices, and that she was worried that her sister wouldn’t be safe.  She was scared that her sister would learn to make bad choices too and maybe go to jail when she is older.  She was petrified that her sister would be taken away and go to another foster family.  She mentioned that she wished her sister could come live with us so that we can teach her “the right thing like you are teaching me!  So she could learn to be a good girl and make good choices and not bad ones.”  She is still being the adult, worrying about the choices that her mom will make and the consequences that follow.  This kid hangs on to that so tightly!

What really amazed me was that Mary is really and truly processing her life.  She understands that her mom isn’t bad, or a bad person, and honestly not even a negligent asshole of a parent.  She’s just a young girl who has made some really bad choices and is suffering the consequences.  She loves her mom, and we tell her that all the time.  We encourage her to draw and write and think about her mom, and we never say anything bad about her. Mary is making these distinctions on her own.  She knows mom makes bad choices and that those bad choices lead to mom’s privileges being taken away.  I think she is really making the correlation now.  And the more Mary grows and understands the world, the more I am in awe of the little woman she is becoming; pondering, processing, and persevering….