Asking For Help

It’s not always easy to ask for help, especially when you are the type of persons that likes to appear like they have it all together, but friends, this has been a tough couple of months.  Exhaustion plus sickness plus marital issues plus financial stuff and just general unhappiness with the outcome of certain things in my life has really gotten the best of me, and so I swallowed my pride (a bit bitter, I have to say) and reached out to find a therapist.  After having spent some time inpatient and almost 2 years completing a DBT treatment program, I’m pretty in tune and aware of when depressions waves start crashing over me.  Initially, they are lapping at my feet, but before you know it, they are over my head and washing me out to sea.  Before it got that bad, I called my insurance company, found a provider near me, called for a phone consultation where it felt like a pretty good fit, and last Tuesday night had my first session. Last night was my second.

See, the thing is that I’m at a place in my life where I have pretty much all the things that I want.  I have a beautiful wife that I love so, so much.  I have 4 amazing and wonderful children who take up so much time but also fill my heart with so much love.  I have family and friends that make my life so much easier and so much better and so much fuller.  I also have this internet community that more often than not, is a great source of comfort and relief, assurance, honesty, and friendship.  Somehow though, there is still…stuff. I mean, I didn’t expect 4 kids to be easy, so when the 4 kids came, it wasn’t that huge of an adjustment.  My parents had 5 kids, and I grew up in a small space that was kinda cramped with so many people, but that made my life all the better.  I wasn’t too badly disillusioned when 4 kids came…with stuff (lots and lots of stuff), and when they took up a lot of space, and when they cried all night and didn’t sleep, and when they puked all over my house, and when they drained my bank account.  It was all pretty expected actually having seen what my life was like growing up, but being a parent brings up things from when you were younger and how your parents parented you, and I think with some of that stuff coming to the forefront and it’s really starting to bother me.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty of it, but I find myself doing certain things that my parents did that growing up I thought were unfair or just straight up wrong.  When I catch glimpses of that person, I get really frustrated and upset with myself.

The whole “exhaustion and sickness” thing is to be expected when you have kids in school and daycare, but when you have FOUR kids and they are on a “sickness rotation” and it seems like the second one gets better another gets sick, it gets to a point where you just break down and cry, screaming to the Health Gods, “PLEASE MAKE MY BABIES UNSICK!!!” You ugly cry, snot running down your face, and you just pray and hope and do all the things you can to get the sickness out, but you’re already defeated!  You’ve thrown your hands up and surrender to the fact, that it may just not get better for a long time.  And that’s really depressing, because what loving parent is ok with seeing their babies sick indefinitely? Friends, it be’s like that some days…

Financial stuff?!  Well, you would think that two women who work pretty decent jobs, that have a combined 6 figure income would be able to get out of debt (it’s not much I swear!), get their lives together, buy a house that can actually fit 6 people comfortably, finally plan a freaking wedding and be able to take at least a small vacation once a year, right?!  Yeah, that’s not happening here!  Why?!  Because I am the absolute WORST at money.  Because money not only burns a whole in my pocket, but it sets my whole outfit ablaze!  Because I was never taught to save for things or given a bank account when I was younger.  Because my parents made me work so I could give them money to help pay the bills that helped them raise 5 kids, and ended up blowing the $50 that I had left at the end of the week because the other $500 were taken from me, and there ya have it!  Money and I?  We ain’t cool no more, and I doubt we will be for a long ass time, because it’s causing me so much stress and so much sadness, because I want to DO but I can’t financially, and it’s making me wish for other things that I should have done to help stack my bank account, and finishing college is one of those things, but I don’t even have the mental capacity to go there right now.

And finally, the one that is affecting me the most is the marital stuff.  I don’t normally come on here to vent or to rant about the bullshit stuff that goes on in my marriage, because honestly, all of this stuff will be water under the bridge in a few days time, so really, whats the point?  But lately, some of this stuff has gotten so bad, that I’ve threatened divorce and moving out and couch sleeping, and just lots of things have been said (and sometimes done) when I reach that ultimate point of “I CAN’T TAKE THIS SHIT ANYMORE AND YOU ARE BEING SUCH AN ASSHOLE!”  And I’ll admit, sometimes in the heat of the moment I just might come out of my face and call my wife some things that I’m not proud of (a “fucking bitch” or the dreaded “c” word have in fact escaped my lips before and I’m not proud of it, believe me!) but sometimes it just feels like she is working against me and not with me, and that makes an already exhausting and taxing and hard situation/day 10x’s worse. Usually an argument escalates when one of us feels like that other isn’t doing their part, and I know my wife will vibrantly disagree with the following statement but I always do so much more than her.

We get home at 6pm, one of us cooks dinner or we have left overs, then everyone eats while I nurse Austin, then I give the boys a bath while Callie half ass cleans the kitchen, then I put them to bed while she sits on the couch and plays with Austin and her phone.  Then I clean the rest of the mess in the kitchen (is there this new thing where loading the dishwasher and wiping the counters is considered cleaning the kitchen?!?!?), if she hasn’t already done it I’ll clean the highchairs, and then I’ll clean the rest of the living room, sweep and mop the bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, throw out the garbage and FINALLY I am able to sit down just in time to nurse Austin again.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, she helps a bit, but according to her it’s never up to my standards so she doesn’t try very hard because I’m not easy to please and I’m going to do it over again anyway so why bother! Um, because you do it half assed and I HAVE to do it again any way!  And this is leading to so much friction in our lives, that after our kids go to bed at about 7:30, we barely talk to each other.  Pair all of that and the feels of being a quasi-solo parent to the situation with her hoarder tendencies, and you have a serious recipe for disaster.  I mean, I haven’t been able to clean our bedroom in 3 months because there is so much shit piled up on the floor on Callie’s side that it’s impossible to even get around to the other side of the bed to tidy up.  When I tell you that there is about half an inch of dust in my bedroom right now, I’m not even close to exaggerating even though I really wish I was.  So yesterday morning, I opened my eyes and was completely overwhelmed with the mess and scream, “You know Callie!  This is some fucking bullshit! Wake up, and the first fucking thing I see, is you, eating fucking BREAKFAST in the goddamned bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned in fucking forever because God fucking forbid you take some fucking initiative and do some fucking cleaning in this stupid ass apartment, so a big fucking thank you for ruining my day the SECOND I open my eyes!”

Guys, it was bad.  Really fucking bad!  And the fighting and the anxiety and the mess and the stress and the depression, so finally a therapist.  I’m getting help guys, for my anger because one of these days, I’m gonna snap.  But Callie thinks I’m the only one that needs it.  She doesn’t think she needs individual therapy, only couples therapy so that the therapist can tell me how wrong I am and how right she is, even though, no!  We are both wrong, we are both right, and she could absolutely help me more instead of checking out after 8pm because she is “so tired”.  We’re both fucking tired, hanging on to dear life most days, but yet having to make it work.    I had to get this off of my chest, and sorry for the unusual negative energy/post, but ugh!  The level of resentment and dissatisfaction with my wife if really bringing me down, and I don’t want to feel that way anymore.  I want to love her unconditionally and lately it feels like, “if she…then I would…” and that doesn’t feel unconditional AT ALL.  Nonetheless, I’ll continue to work on me in the months to come and hope this all clears itself up.  Hopefully my house will be a little neater, cleaner, and less cluttered too.

 

P.S.  While I was writing this, I was simultaneously getting quotes for wedding venues in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  See, I freaking love her, but she makes me so damn crazy….

Advertisements

She Knows…

adoptsymbol-300x293

Tuesday evening, the elevator climbs up the 3 floors to our apartment.  Before I put my key in the door, I take a deep breath and prepare myself for what will possibly be a tough night of explaining what happens next and trying to manage loads and loads of tears, but before I turn the key, I hear squeals and laughter.  I slowly open the door, and the boys are sitting on the floor stacking a few boxes and knocking them down, thinking it is the most hilarious thing they have ever done/seen.  I hear voices in the kitchen…more laughter.

Mary and Callie are talking.  Mary is sitting on the step stool, elbows on her knees, chin resting in the palm of her hands.  She looks…happy…which is not really what I expected.

Hey my two favorite ladies!  How’s everything? What are you talking about?!

I have a lot of feelings.

Hmm, you do?  Well, what are they?! Wanna talk about it?!

I was talking to mommy about it.  I was telling her I went to parenting. (Mary goes to parenting for an hour once/week.  Her and her mom meet with a therapist who monitors and corrects/applauds/helps with positive and appropriate interactions)

Oh, yeah!  And how was it?  Did you and your mom play games?

No, we just talked.

About?

Adoption.

Oh!  Well, that’s important stuff to talk about!  And what did she say about it?!

She said that I’m getting adopted.

SHE DID! ::GASP:: And how did that make you feel when she told you that?

It made me feel really happy and really sad at the same time.

You wanna tell me more about that?  Why happy and why sad?

Sad because I won’t see my mom so much anymore.  I can only see her 4 times a year, so that means I can only see my baby sister 4 times a year, and I won’t be able to see my family, like my Titi (mom’s sister) or my grandma (who passed away right before Austin was born and mom still hasn’t told her) or my cousins in Florida, that I forget their names, and that makes me sad.  But happy because I never have to leave again and I can stay here with you and mommy and my brothers, and we can be a family. Oh, and I can sleep over Wita’s house with Izzy whenever I want!!!


We didn’t think that Mary would be able to absorb this huge news and process it so quickly, but it’s 2 days later and all we see is the hugest change in her behavior and her demeanor.  She’s always been upbeat, funny, helpful, but lately it hasn’t been at the level that it’s always been.  She’s been dragging her feet a little more, being a little more whiny and complainy about the tiniest things, short of patience, lots of errors on her homework from being careless and uninterested, but just in the past 2 days she has somehow, in some weird way, flourished.  It’s like she became a whole new kid, literally overnight!  She set the table without being prompted.  She’s not only been brushing her teeth, but FLOSSING without having to be told.  Her bed has been made the past 2 days before I am even up in the morning.  Not a single mistake on her homework in the past 2 days.  She can concentrate.  She’s been sleeping (she was having severe anxiety and hasn’t slept soundly in a couple of weeks).  I mean, who would have thought that just KNOWING that you aren’t leaving again can make such a huge difference.  That same afternoon she came home with a Green Card from the after-school program.  I don’t know, but it can’t possibly be a coincidence that Mary hears the news that she is going to have a forever family after 5 years in foster care and gets rewarded for EXCELLENT behavior.  I don’t know why we were expecting her to be beside herself, and lost.  She has expressed over and over again that she wants to be adopted.  We should have known that this news would flip her life around, but in an amazing way.

When Mary went to bed, Callie and I talked.  Mary and her mom met with the parenting therapist from 2-3pm , and then Mary went on her own to touch base with her individual therapist from 3-3:30.  Mary’s therapist had called Callie and told her how it went down.  Lisa, Mary’s mom, explained that the judge had made the choice to make Mary adoptable.  She told her that she would only be seeing her 4 times a year.  She also said that Mary could see her whenever she wanted as long as we thought it was ok, and the parenting therapist cosigned that ish!  Callie and I were pretty upset about this, but luckily Mary had told her individual therapist that it was said, and she corrected it right away telling Mary that the judge said it was only 4 times and that was it, and also confronting the parenting lady and telling her that it was inappropriate to agree with that.  We aren’t really fans of the parenting coach.  This is the same lady that let Mary’s mom tell her that we aren’t her parents and that those aren’t her brothers, and Mary came home really hurt and upset about it.

Mary asked mom some hard questions.  “Why didn’t you do the right thing so you could get me back?  Why didn’t you make good choices?  Why is it so hard for you to make good choices?  Don’t you love me?”  I can’t imagine being a mother and having my kids ask me questions like that.  But the interesting thing, the one thing that we absolutely did NOT expect…Mary didn’t cry.  The whole time.  Not once.  In fact, when she got home, she shed about 3 tears, probably because she felt safe and comfortable enough with us to do so, and just because we know her so well, we knew that they were forced, almost like she thought that was what we expected.  It was like she was fighting to keep the smile OFF of  her face.  Friends, this kid is so, so happy, despite it taking her away from her biological family, it has cemented her place in her, permanently, in ourd. Her chosen family.  The place where her heart is.  That is all we wanted for her…safety, happiness, and permanency.  We’re almost their friend…we are almost there…


Day 4 of Operation No More Bobo’s is a success!  They haven’t asked for bobo’s once today and they are both currently napping!  Thanks the bobo gods!

IMG_4755[1]

WHAT 5:30 PM LOOKS LIKE AFTER 2 DAYS OF NO NAP!

Send Help!

Day 3 of “Operation No More Bobo’s” started out…ROUGH!  I tried to snatch the paci’s out of the crib before the boys woke up, but it was tough getting out of bed, and I COMPLETELY forgot that the operation was still happening, so alas, it was a slow start with lots of tears and two snotty faced boys screaming, ” Mama, ana bobo! Ana Bobo!” Oh Lordt, please help me!  I may or may not have been short with them and Callie before I had my coffee.

Yesterday was super tough for them at daycare, especially Levi, who has had a bobo in his mouth since the hour after he was born and has basically never been without it.  The teacher called me yesterday to give me the progress report.  Her response?  “Please, for the love of all things good, bring that child his pacifier!”, or something like that.  At least that’s what I heard, and I FEEL her because GOOD GRIEF the crying!  Instead, we agreed to work together to help the boys through this rough time, and so they checked in today, about 20 minutes ago, and I was hoping she would say, “Today was much better!  Today was exceptional!  Today was marvelous! So long Bobo’s!”.  But that’s not how it went down. At. All.

They didn’t nap AGAIN today, Levi had a tantrum that lasted 40 minutes at 8:30am, Noah lost his shit and chased the teacher around the classroom asking to be picked up and yelling, “BOBOOOOOOO” the whole morning, and to top it all off, they didn’t get a chance to go outside after snack (which is their routine) because there wasn’t enough support , so around 10:30am, both boys sat, backs against the door, crying for another 15 minutes.  IN fact, when I was talking to their teacher, I could hear Levi screaming his head off in the background.  I asked what they were doing to support them, and they gave them the little bears that i sent that are attached to the pacifier (we took the paci part off), and we also sent their Lovies with them, so they’ve been trying to give them those too.  They know that the boys LOVE to paint, so they let them paint their little hearts away to help distract them.  Hopefully, we’ll be over this quickly, because it’s like dealing with Callie when she quit smoking, and THAT was a shit show!  My poor boys are hurting right now for their little monkey bobo’s and mama is so, so mean for not giving it to them, and even though I know that I am doing the right thing, my heart says “You’re the worst! Look at them crying! How dare you!?!?!”

So here’s to tomorrow being a better day because this mom might just give in and give them their bobo’s and buy 10 more of the same ones so that I don’t have to deal with this ever again!

On a much brighter and definitely cooler note, I  have been picked up as a featured writer for TheNextFamily.com.  I’ll be posting bi-weekly about being a two mom, multi racial, reciprocal IVF, foster to adopt family.  You all know the kinds of shenanigans going on at Casa Mendez, but now MORE PEOPLE will know the insanity.  So HEY Universe! How you doing? Thanks for throwing this mama a bone (and an extra paycheck!) Hope you guys will follow along with me there…

Photoshoots and BoBo’s

Callie and I finally had a few minutes to go over the boys 1st birthday photo shoot from JANUARY!!!  I know! I know!  We need to get our lives together, but you know, full time jobs and FOUR KIDS!  Anyways, they look adorable…086003045012046073-v2156Despite all of that cuteness, it had been a tough 2 days. We got rid of the boys Bobo’s (pacifiers) and they are absolutely, positively, not happy about it.  2 days without naps, and crying themselves to sleep.  We aren’t necesarily a full fledged CIO family, but we do dable in the world of modified CIO, and last night was absolute torture.  Noah cried for a good 20 minutes before he finally was like, “Eff this! I’m going to bed”.  I had to cuddle Levi because he was hyperventilating.  It’s been awful, but so are those teeth.  It’s time for them to go!  Wish us luck! But they sure look cute with bobo’s, don’t they?!?

IMG_4307

IMG_4204

Permanency

Yesterday we had court for Mary.  We didn’t know what to expect except what we had heard, which was mostly, sit back, listen to what they are saying and prepare for this to go any way.  That didn’t sit very well with us, but having had other friends who had gone through TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) we know that it can be quite the lengthy process.  Kids have to be in foster care any 15 out of 22 months before a TPR is filed and then after that the trial and disposition and finally a decision from the judge.  Depending on how long the child has been in care dictates (for the most part) how long the TPR process will take.  With Mary having been in care for over 5 years, we kinda knew this was gonna drag on and on and on.  Moms reluctance to give her up would make this last even longer! So, we showed up at 9:30am ready to lock our butts into the cold wooden seast and listen to what the caseworker was going to testify to.

Now, when you’re at a hearing, the evidence that is presented is ONLY from when the TPR is filed and before that.  Nothing after that. Since the TPR was filed, mom has been pretty consistent (guessing she doesn’t wanna lose her kid) but it’s a little too late.  They would be testify and providing evidence from moms WORST year.  The year that she disappeared for half of and tested positive on all of her drug tests for the other half and left all her different treatment programs (rehab, anger management, parenting, individual therapy).  Not a good look.  But we sat in the waiting area with our caseworker, her lawyer, and Mary’s Lawyer.  A few days ago Mary’s lawyer came to our apartment to interview Mary.  We weren’t allowed to sit in, which was a little unnerving, but Mary has been pretty adamant about being adopted but STILL seeing her mom if she was.

As we sit there, Mary’s mom’s lawyer walked over to us (the whole group, not just Callie and I). The caseworker’s attorney (let’s just call her Alyson) suggested to Mary’s mom’s lawyer that she should sign the consent.  The “consent” is a document that’s almost like pleading “no contest” in a court of law, except you admit guilt but no evidence is heard against you.  Makes it pretty hard for a judge to determine and prove negligence if there is no evidence, so then we go to the disposition where everyone can make their case, EXCEPT the Department of Social Services (DSS) won’t be able to use evidence from BEFORE the TPR, only AFTER! This is mom’s best option because if we were to use the information from AFTER the TPR, mom has a greater chance of getting Mary back, and Mary could potentially go home.

Mom’s lawyer went back to where Lisa (Mary’s mom) was sitting.  She gave Lisa the information and came back about 10 minutes later to explain to us that Lisa would be willing to sign the consent if, and and only if she can get an additional one hour visit every week.  Alyson and Mary’s lawyer (Saul) were both completely against it.

“That doesn’t even make sense! We’re in TPR! We can’t give her MORE time with the child! It’s counterproductive. Absolutely not!”

So Lisa’s lawyer went back and told her.  She was gone for quite a while.  She came back and said that Lisa would not agree to signing anything unless she got more time with Mary.  Our car worker called her supervisor to speak to him and see if it was something that was feasible.  After several more minutes, and sweaty palms, the caseworker’s supervisor decided that if mom would sign the consent, an additional visit a week would be the best option, and we could proceed with the case and the department would have one less thing to worry about (that’s mine and Callie’s take on it).

“I represent my client and what she wants and there is NO WAY I will agree to one more visit! My client wants to be adopted, and another visit a week is out of the question on the grounds that it would cause too much confusion for my client and remove her from school even more than the 3 days a week that she already is,” boomed a voice from the corner.  Saul is a small guy, about 5’6″, bald shiny head, small elvish features and tiny voice, but when his voice came through, we all knew this was a non-negotiable.  Lisa’s lawyer called an attorney meeting with the judge.

All 3 attorneys entered the courtroom and left all of us outside to wonder what was happening.  What felt like an eternity later (probably only 10 minutes though) all 3 attorneys returned, Saul and Alyson to where we were sitting and Lisa’s mom’s attorney to the opposite side of the area.  Saul said the judge said “ABSOLUTELY NOT!  We are in TPR and there is no way I would approve an additional visit.  This is not a permanency hearing (where they make decisions about visits, treatment, next 6 months) and it’s not beneficial for the child.  And I would tell your client that if she’s adamant about seeing her children, she may want to sign a conditional surrender because that’s her only guarantee to see her child.  We’re terminating her rights! She needs to understand that.” Callie and I are sitting there not saying anything, kid of taking it all in.  This is so new for is, and we had loads of question brut it was all going so quickly but also really slowly and time was crawling but feeling like we were in fast forward. We see Lisa’s attorney walking towards us.

“Do the terms of a surrender stay the same?”

All eyes on Callie and me. Blink blink.

“Us?!”

Nods in our direction.

“4 visits a year. Quarterly. No holidays, Mothers’ Day, or birthdays.  Monthly email updates with pictures. Anything else at our discretion.”

“What about 6 visits a year? Every 2 months?!”

Callie, “Absolutely NOT!”

She walks away. She comes back.

She’ll sign the consent.

Everyone looks at each other and then look at me and Callie.  What the heck are they looking at us like that for?

“Wait?  She’ll sign the surrender?” says Mary’s lawyer.

SHOCK! She’ll what?!?! She’s gonna surrender her rights?! Somehow Callie and I heard consent, not surrender.

“Yes, she said she’ll sign the surrender so long as those conditions apply and so long as Mary is adopted by Sammie and Callie.”

Callie’s eyes brimmed with tears and Mary’s lawyer told us not to get too excited.  There are a series of questions that the judge would ask that most parents, upon hearing, change their minds about surrendering.

“We have to go back to the office and draw up the paperwork.  Everyone be back by 1:45pm.  I’ll inform the judge that she is surrendering.”

So we left, had lunch with my parents, had a Sangria because THE NERVES, and made our way back to the courtroom, waiting impatiently for them to call us in.

“PARTY FOR COLLINS.  COLLINS!” screeched through on the loud speaker.

Sweaty palms, light feet, we made out way into the courtroom.  I don’t know how any mother could have heard the words the judge said and not break down.  Are you of sound mind making this decision?  Have you had any alcohol or drugs today?  Do you realize that you are going to be losing custody of your child today once these papers are signed?  DO you realize that a day, a week, a month, a year from now, you cannot take back this decision?  All of those were asked, but the one that took my breath away, that left an ache in my heart for what this mother was doing/about to do, “DO you realize that once you sign these papers and walk out of this courtroom, your child will be a STRANGER to you in the eyes of the law?” “Yes, I understand”.  My heart broke for Mary’s mother, for the first time since having met her.

A stranger…and it’s double sided because she IS a stranger.  She’s BEEN a stranger.  But somehow not.  And as her penned hand mechanically moved across the paper, probably collecting tears and ink stains along the way, it was not lost on us the gift that she was giving us, the gift and the life that she was giving Mary, and we realized then that she loved this child more than we had expected.  That she loved her daughter so much that she was willing to give her away to give her her best chance, and all in one moment I had a new found respect for her.  A desire to make it work the way that divorced parents did, because really, more people loving our daughter is something we would turn our nose up to.  For the second time, she was giving Mary life, and for a quick moment, I loved her.  Genuinely, deeply, and unselfishly.

At 2:28pm on Tuesday, May 10, 2015, the judge announced that Mary was officially freed for adoption. We’ll talk to an adoption worker next week and start the ball rolling on paperwork and interviews and whatever else she needs us to do.  In just 3-6 short months Mary Mendez will be an official member of Casa Mendez.  It’s been official in our hearts for ages…

Callie and Her New Job

Callie has always been a hard worker.  She has always moved quickly up the ranks with any organization she has worked with and has always been the employee that is used as an example (and not in a bad way).  Wanna learn how to do something, and do it right?  Go to Callie.  Need someone to put together a great training about…who cares?  Ask Callie.  Want a supervisor that always has your best interest at heart, and will help you in any way that they can?  Callie is the one.  She has always had a great rapport with anyone that she has ever worked with.  She’s one of those people that can (for lack of a better word) “alter” herself to fit the person that she is speaking with so that she can connect with them on a different level.  And people LOVE her!  I mean, absolutely ADORE her!  Her old manager friends and even her old boss still keep in touch with her regularly.  There was a point in time when different child care companies had her name on their tongues and were FIGHTING to have her joint their company.  I mean, she was a freaking diamond director.  That means that even after staff was paid, bills were paid, and things for the school were taken care of, she STILL made them over 1 million dollars in revenue!  Only 12 directors in 1200 schools INTERNATIONALLY achieved that.  My wife is BOMB yo!  And hot…also very, very hot!IMG_3038[1]

The 16 months that she was home were really rewarding because she got to stay home with the boys and care for them and be a kick ass SAHM, but she always mentioned that she felt like something was missing, but she didn’t know what that something was, until she scored a pretty awesome position as an Instructional Specialist for a really great child care company.  This center is run by the same people who started 2 other international Ivy League Day Care companies, because they wanted to give a really great education to children from impoverished/at risk communities and give them the same start and opportunities as kids in more affluent communities.  And also because learning starts REALLY early, and lots of the children that are at these centers wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.  It’s really an incredible program!  I dig it!  After her 2nd full week of work, she realized what it was that was missing.  It was acknowledgment, praise for a job well done, and working together with a team to get things done.

She currently has 4 schools that she “manages”.  She works in the classrooms monitoring teachers and doing observations.  Afterwards, she talks to the teachers and praises the HELL outta them for all of the amazing things that they are doing with the kids and in the classroom, how they are communicating, about the content of the lesson, about the children’s reactions, etc.  Then, she gives them some pointers and helps them to be the best teachers that they can be.  These teachers (who also grew up in these communities) don’t necessarily do well with criticism, even if it IS constructive, but for whatever reason, the absolutely ADORE Callie. She loves turning classrooms around and building “community” within the schools that she is working in.  In fact, she had a huge ACS walk through (these schools are heavily monitored by ACS [Administration of Children’s Services] and DSS [Department of Social Services] because they provide the funding)   and she managed to get a few teachers to come in to move furniture and get her schools in tip top shape for the visit ON A SATURDAY!  I couldn’t believe it!

Does she miss being home?  Of course she does!  She is particularly guilty about not being able to give Austin the same amount of time as she did the boys, but with a family of 6 living in a pretty pricey suburb outside of NYC, it’s just not feasible or affordable to have one working mom, even more so since our savings account is starting to dwindle and we have completely and totally outgrown our tiny ass 3 bedroom apartment, so house hunting has officially begun.  And the combined 6 figure income is freaking SWEET! But also she is so happy at this new job and she loves what she does, and being useful, and in a small (but still super huge way!) changing the community and the lives of the people who live in it. Because really, the only way to make these “at risk” communities get a little less “risky”, if you will, is to educate the youth, and she is doing just that!  Seeing her this happy after the last 5 years of hell at her old company is such a nice change.  IMG_4243[1]

Speaking of the old company, I think I may have mentioned that we filed a discrimination case against them with HRC and, we won!  We totally won!  Callie was able to prove that he company discriminated against her based on sex and pregnancy and we freaking won!  It took 8 months, but no matter what they said, Callie always countered with proof.  Loads and loads of proof.  I mean seriously, Callie got written up 2 weeks AFTER she told them she was pregnant with twins for 3 years worth of infractions.  But 2 weeks BEFORE she told them, she had received and email from her supervisors supervisor basically saying how amazing she was!  They claimed that they got rid of her because she wasn’t meeting the impossible task of enrolling 3 new students a month, which in this economy is CRAY!  So she looked up enrollment rates in our county and it turns out that for how poorly every district in our county was doing, Callie was actually KILLING it with enrollment and retention even though it wasn’t where the company wanted her to be.  But who cares about them! They suck big sweaty ones, but they’re paying us a nice amount of cash since they decided to settle.  Enough to get a little down payment on a new home when we are good and ready (I’m freaking ready! Callie is on the fence!).  This was the push we needed to get us out of our apartment and into a home, and also…on a week long vacation in July with 4 kids!

LEVI


Levi…this kid! I have felt so terrible for him because there really hasn’t been a day in the past 6 weeks where he hasn’t been sick.  I thought I couldn’t catch a break, but this poor baby has it far worse than me.  First it was stomach bug for a week, followed by an ear infection for 2 weeks, then another stomach bug for another 10 days, then bronchiolitis, followed by pink eye, and now bronchiolitis again!  BUt finally, 9 days later, he is finally starting to feel better.  But look at that face?  Would you have guessed that he had a 102.7 fever and an ear infection in the picture above?  Probably not!

Macho is a tough guy.  He always has been, and despite having been so sick for so long he still manages to be the silly, rambunctious, loving boy that we adore so much.  The kid is attached to his pacifier as if it were another limb, and lately in the past 2 weeks has acquired an affinity for any soft blankies that may be laying around.  All this time we were hoping he would be a blankie baby, and now that he is, we are all, “WHEN THE HELL did that happen?!”

IMG_4307

DOES THIS BLANKIE MAKE ME LOOK YOUNG?

IMG_4426

NAPPING WITH WITO IS THE BEST!

We’re a little worried about his speech so we’ve started to take the pacifier away in the morning, and even though he cries for it and looks for it (and has hidden 20 paci’s in the apartment and can always find them!) we have only given it back to him (for the most part) at nap and bed times.  He still says mama and gato and mas, but that’s about it.   He is officially off of the bottle, so that’s one less thing we have to contend with.  His appetite is that of 5 children his age combined and can eat the rest of us under the table.  In fact, his favorite place AFTER dinner is under the table, because we basically have a human vacuum cleaner! IMG_4079

About 3 weeks ago, at daycare, Levi was hustling to get to this round rainbow pillow on the floor that he loves (go figure!).  He tripped over his own feet, because he thinks he can go a lot faster than his “i just started walking 2 months ago” legs would carry him and chipped his left front tooth.  The school called me and the teacher sounded so incredibly apologetic and was worried that we would pull the kids from the program.  We’ve been in that classroom.  We have see the way our boys love them and run right into their arms when we drop them off at school.  We know there was nothing they could have done, and besides,, accidents happen.  And that chipped tooth,  I have to say, it is so darn cute!  The tooth wasn’t wiggly or anything and he didn’t seem to be uncomfortable or in any pain, but I took him to the pediatric dentist just to be on the safe side.  All is well with the tooth but if it starts to hurt him or get discolored, then I have to take him back and most likely have it pulled.  Otherwise, gross motor is on point (jumping on the couch is his new favorite activity), fine motor is on target (he loves to shove things through every single hole he finds!) , and hopefully his speech will follow soon.  And no one I know in this entire world has a laugh as great as he does!IMG_4353

IMG_4203

OFF TO DAYCARE!

IMG_4121

IN HIS FAVORITE MICKEY MOUSE PJ’S

IMG_4185

BREAKFAST ON VACATION

IMG_4583

HIS NEW FAVORITE PLACE TO BE IS IN A BACK CARRY

IMG_4286

WHAT A HANDSOME BOY!