The 30 Day Challenge Completed!

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…

IN 24 DAYS, 15 HOURS, AND 47 MINUTES, I WILL BE 32...AND THIS WILL BE MY BIRTHDAY PLANS AS IT HAS BEEN FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS...BESTIES, BOAT, BEER!

IN 24 DAYS, 15 HOURS, AND 47 MINUTES, I WILL BE 32…AND THIS WILL BE MY BIRTHDAY PLAN AS IT HAS BEEN FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS…MY BRIDE, BABIES, BESTIES, BOAT, & BEER! LOTS AND LOTS OF BEER!


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…

LOOK AT THOSE FACES!

LOOK AT THOSE FACES!

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…

HOW CUTE, RIGHT!?

HOW CUTE, RIGHT!? (LEVI [L] NOAH [R])

MIRA MAMA! LOOK MAMA!

MIRA MAMA! LOOK MAMA! I’M SPLASHING!

ME AND BY KIDS...HAD TO FIT IN THERE SOMEHOW!

ME AND MY KIDS…HAD TO FIT IN THERE SOMEHOW!

The 30 Day Challenge – Day #29

Day 29-3 Wishes

aladdin_genie

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.

The 30 Day Challenge – Day #28

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.)Stress-2devdak

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….55063633So, 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**

Spotlight and The 30 Day Challenge – Day #22

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?!

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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.

WELCOME TO MY CITY (RIGHT UNDER OUR TRAIN STATION)

WELCOME TO MY CITY (RIGHT UNDER OUR TRAIN STATION)

MY WONDERFUL CITY SKYLINE

MY WONDERFUL CITY SKYLINE

Mother’s Day and The 30 Day Challenge – Day #17 & #18

Our first official Mother’s Day was pretty dope, I have to admit!  I say “official” because last year we had Mary with us for Mother’s Day, and even though it was special in a completely different way, it was beautiful and special this time around because of our adorable little boys!  Knowing what Callie’s body has gone through, and all these sleepless nights and dirty diapers, feedings, first smiles and giggles, and all of that, made this Mother’s day more real.

On Friday night, my best friend Tee and her partner J, who both work in the Hospitality field, booked us a suite at the Hyatt near where we live.  They came over and ushered us out the door so we could really celebrate each other uninterrupted.  We decided to exchange gifts that day, so as my gift to Callie for all her hard work raising our 3 wonderful kids (and to myself for being a hardworking Mama holding the fort down financially), I booked us a one hour couples massage.  Let me say, I didn’t know how much we needed it, until it was over and we were devastated that it didn’t last all night!  Afterwards, we went and had a quick bite to eat at Smash Burger (which we absolutely LOVE) and then went to take a walk around The Romantic Depot (boom chicka wow wow!) before heading to our favorite little local gay bar for some karaoke (which actually didn’t happen because one of their drag performers was celebrating his birthday-ugh!).  We ended up having a beer and just heading back to the hotel.  I must say, there is something about being able to sleep completely naked, on cold sheets, uninterrupted, in a pitch black room thanks to those blackout curtains. We haven’t done that in over a year!  And it was really nice to give my wife my undivided attention and receive the same in return. SUITESince Callie’s mom had to work all day on Sunday, we spent the day with her Saturday, so after returning home from our night away, we got all three kids ready and ourselves and went up north to visit with Callie’s Grandmother.  She was so shocked to see us since Callie’s mom hadn’t mentioned to her that we were ALL coming.  The saying of the day was, “Great grandma’s as happy as a pig in shit!” And every picture she has of her holding her two great grandson’s or her playing and reading and drawing with Mary, show just that.  Her health has been declining, and because she lives with Callie’s aunt about a 45min-1hour drive from us, it makes it really difficult to get up there to see her.  She also has an L-VAD, and requires 24 hour care, so trying to schedule something around her therapies, and rest times and medications, and feedings is quite hard.  But we got up there, and boy was she ever happy.  They finally got to take their “4 Generations” picture, and even Callie got a little bit emotional about that.  After about an hour and a half, we went to Callie’s parents to exchange gifts and eat some dinner.

Sunday, we get woken up by Mary who is WAY too excited about getting us to open our gifts.  Like 6:45am, way too excited!  But I remember being the same way with my mom when I was younger.  So we got up, made coffee (because that HAD to come first) and let her give us our gifts.  We each got a beautiful plant (mine was Pink!), and two really beautiful cards that expressed what it was that she loved about us so much.  Apparently, she loves when I make taco’s because I make them “the best ever”! Callie had the kids make me a really amazing little book with a bunch of saying and cute pictures.  There were footprint Jalapeños, finger print flowers, and a super cute puzzle that Mary made with each piece representing a different family member and showing me how perfectly they fit together.  They also got me a Pandora Charm bracelet with my very own “Heart Mom” charm.  The morning was great!  I made everyone breakfast, and then we got ready to go to church.

After church, we went straight to my parents house to spend time with my mom and my sisters and aunt.  It was really nice to be able to lay out in the grass under the shade of my dad’s Maple Tree, and it made me really sad that after almost 20 years, this would be one of the last times that we would all be congregating under the shade of this tree.  My parents have sold the house, and are waiting for the lawyer to let them know when the closing is.  So it was a really bittersweet feeling laying our kids on the blanket, under a tree where we had spent so much of our young lives playing, fighting, pretending, sleeping, and being kids.  We spent the rest of the day eating, exchanging gifts, cuddling with our mom, and laughing at my dad’s ridiculous jokes.  We were even surprised that Mary didn’t ask for her mother once.  She wasn’t even sad.  If anything, she seemed really excited to be able to celebrate with us.  Maybe, it’s really starting to sink in that we are her moms…it made the day even that much more special…
two moms

MY SISTER, AUNT, MOM, CALLIE AND MYSELF ON MOTHER'S DAY 2015

MY SISTER, AUNT, MOM, CALLIE AND MYSELF ON MOTHER’S DAY 2015


Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to

I’ve never been the type of person to really look forward to things.  I learned early on that if you don’t really expect much, then you won’t be disappointed.  But the older I get, the more and more I realize that I spend a lot of time looking forward to SOMETHING, whether it be the weekend, or cuddling my kids at the end of the day, or for 5pm to roll around so I get the hell up out of this office!  Lately, there are 2 things that I have really been looking forward to, and those two things are something that I CAN’T WAIT to happen.  The first would be, well, being pregnant.  I never really was crazy about the idea of carrying, but now, more than ever, especially after seeing Callie carry the boys, I have this urge and this NEED to get pregnant.  We told my parents that we planned on having more kids, although we didn’t say when, but when I saw my mom light up at the idea of me being pregnant, I think I may have given her one of the greatest Mother’s Day gift ever.  I’ve been looking forward to that very much.

The second thing that I have been looking forward to is Mary’s adoption.  Initially, we weren’t sure whether we would adopt her or not. There are a lot of reasons that I won’t get into, but it took a lot of soul searching and a lot of questions, and a lot of going over the same information over and over and over again to make our final decision.  When we spoke to her worker K a few days ago (to get permission for a family trip at the end of June) she still hadn’t heard from Mary’s mom (a little over two months now) and she turned the paperwork in to her lawyer, so that the TPR is officially filed.  Mary’s mom will have some time to appeal (if she ever shows up!) and then Mary will be freed for adoption and we can start the paperwork.  Every few days we touch base wit her worker and see if there has been any word.  We’re kind of hoping that Mary’s mom won’t show for another 3 months so that we can speed up the TPR for “abandonment” and Mary will be freed quicker.  We are still deciding whether we want Mary to be able to contact her mother in the future or vice versa.  It’s difficult to try and figure out what’s best for your child in a situation like this.  We know that Mary is very attached to her mom, so maybe seeing her after adoption would really hinder her and her progress, but we also wonder what NOT seeing her would do.  We’re still letting this play out, as it’s been almost 3 months, and if anything, her behavior has significantly improved.  We look forward to the day, where we can call her Mary Mendez (and she was very enthusiastic about the possibility of a name change when we asked her what she would want to do if we adopted her. “IF we adopt you do you want to stay Mary D. or Mary Mendez?” She shook her head vigorously and said, “Mendez!!! Yeah, MENDEZ!!!”

Day 18-Something you regret

I’m not the type of person to ever regret anything.  I don’t believe in coincidence mainly because I believe everything happens for a reasons and that would be contradicting. So to me, regretting something would mean hoping to take it back, and in turn changing the outcome of the rest of your life.  Where would my life be today, if I had done something completely different and hadn’t returned Callie’s email, or hadn’t broken up with my ex, or hadn’t put my self out there and worked that open mic night that led me to my amazing friends?  That is what I always ask myself when I think about my regret of not going away to college.  I was in love, and I was scared, and I was sheltered and unprepared.  I had gotta accepted to several universities and colleges (some with scholarships for sports and music) and I didn’t go because I was totally smitten and I didn’t want to leave my first love.  I think of my siblings and how they traveled the world, and studied abroad and had the full college experience, with dorms, and fraternities/sororities, and late night partying and early morning cramming.  I didn’t go to school for another 6 years after graduating High School.  In that time, I learned so much. So many things that I never would have learned unless I actually lived it, like how to stretch $20 for the whole week, or how to give back to the communities that gave to me that whole while.  Alls I know, is that 30-40 years from now, I don’t want to wake up and realize that I have been sleeping through life, taking my socks off to finish counting the regrets that no longer can be counted on my fingers.  I want to live my life now, without looking back, and pressing forward no matter how crappy some of my decisions might be.  When you live a life free of regrets, it’s fair to say, you really lived…

30 Day Challenge – Day #16

Day 16-Dream house

I always thought of my dream house growing up, as this huge mansion looking home, on a huge plot of land, with a stone fence and electric gate.  A 3 car garage with automatic

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PHOTO CRED – BUSINESSWEEK.COM

stable doors, and Japanese Cherry Blossoms lining the walk way to the front door.  It would have huge floor to ceiling windows, a winding staircase an no less than 6 rooms. I’ve always wanted a greenhouse (I actually have quite the green thumb and have brought several plants back from the brink of death) where I can grow my families fruits and veggies year round (I don’t think I want to leave NY as much now as I did when I was younger and the winters here can be brutal), and a swimming pool, right by the ocean.  And then I saw my first real paycheck (not the after school job ones, but a REAL one) and all that crap flew out the window!

As I got older, and my need to “fit in” with everyone else became less and less relevant, I

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PHOTO CRED – TODAYSPHOTO.ORG

started thinking of my “dream home” as a small farm (like 5-10 acres or so), with a few animals that would be more our pets than anything, and plenty of space for my kids to run around, wind whipping through their hair, grass between their little toes.  Where they could get lost in fields of sunflowers, and pick lemons off the trees and challenge each other to see who could eat the most without making a face.  A place where my kids would learn to ride horses, and tend to the fields, and get to ride around on huge lawn mowers, while Mommy makes ice tea, and then hangs laundry on the line.  Where they would gain an appreciation for the land and learn to take care of our very precious planet.  But the reality is that we are too attached to our families (more so Callie than me) and we would have to move too far to actually have us all be happy and not miserable that we are missing out on everyone’s birthday’s or graduations or baseball games.  So my dream of having a farm has been put on the back burner.

If there is anything that I know about my little family, it’s that we LOVE the water.  We would take a summer of sitting on the deck of Pop’s (Callie’s dad) boat since we had to sell ours, floating around the Long Island Sound any day!  The first time we took Mary out, she just threw on the life vest, grabbed a rope, tied it around her wrist, and jumped right in!  She learned how to swim very quickly, and has been asking since the weather warmed up when we are going out again.  Callie’s parents, also lovers of the water and fishing and boating, decided to forgo buying a house, and instead invested their money on a boat.  They have been boat owners for longer than Callie has been alive (35+ years)!  They say it’s the best thing they could have ever done.  They live on their boat from March-October (this year the dock is getting repaired so they are still not in the water, which to them {and the rest of us} is completely frustrating) in the marina across the street from their apartment (which happens to be 2 buildings down from us in the same complex!).  So when Callie and I talk about our “dream home”, we never fail to mention how much cooler it would be to just live on a boat for a few months and then in the apartment when it gets cold.  I think we MIGHT actually do that one day. Our dream boat would have 3 rooms, a master for us, a room for the boys with bunks,and a room for the girls with bunks.  It would have a living room, and a bathroom, and a small dining area.  It would have a huge deck at the stern, and a nice seating area as well.  It would have lights underneath for night swimming (which looks SO FREAKING AWESOME!), and a flat bow where we could lay towels and soak up the sun.  Then when the kids grow up, Callie and I can travel the oceans and seas of the world and visit places that we have always dreamed of but know we can never afford to travel to, like Tonga, and Fiji and the Maldive Islands.  We could travel to Europe and the Mediterranean and take our grandkids on a trip along the east coast of the US down to the Florida Keys.  That would be the best!  A boat would truly be our Dream Home…

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PHOTO CRED – HUNTSYACHTS.COM

PHOT CRED - HUNTSYATCHS.COM

PHOTO CRED – HUNTSYATCHS.COM

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30 Day Challenge – Day #13 & Day #14

Just a quick story I wanted to share before I get into this challenge…

Lately, when we are out and about as a family, it’s me on one side with a baby in the Moby, Callie on the other with the other baby in the Infantino, and Mary smack in the middle of us both, holding our hands.  We look like that around our neighborhood, at the park, at the grocery store, walking on the Avenue, pretty much everywhere. People always comment on our family and how cute our kids are.  More recently, people have been lingering longer and asking about the babies, and our family, and somehow it always comes up that Mary “looks like the perfect combination of both of you!  My goodness!” But we never really know how Mary is gonna react.  For a long time, when people would say, “And these are your moms?”, she would quickly counter with, “NO!!! They’re not my moms!!!” and that soon turned into, “Not my REAL moms, but my foster moms!” But lately, she doesn’t say anything.  She sorta shrugs and smiles her shyest smile, and then looks at the lights on her sneakers, or changes the conversation quickly to take one of our attention away from engaging in the conversation.  At the grocery store Sunday night, a women and her very pregnant daughter approached us, and as they were admiring our family commented to Mary that she’s beautiful and that she has my nose and gap and the my big round eyes, but that she has Callie’s complexion and eye color and freckles.  She couldn’t believe how well we did that she looked “just like the both of us!” (I’m still not sure whether or not I should be offended about this, but we’ll just say Kudos to social services for literally, a PERFECT MATCH!)  I noticed her withdrawing at that point, and shifting from one foot to the other, so we said “thank you and have a nice day” and went about our grocery store business.  Callie and I talked about it and her behavior when we got home.  We weren’t sure whether or not Mary felt uncomfortable and was withdrawing or if she wanted us to acknowledge her as our daughter.  So yesterday morning before school, Callie had a conversation with her over hairdo’s and shoe-tying.

Callie: You know how people ask if you’re our daughter?
Mary:  Mmm hmm…
Callie: Well, we’re not sure what to say, so we wanted to ask you!  We don’t want to say we’re your “moms” in case it makes you upset because we know you have your other mom too, but we don’t want to say “foster moms” because we love you like a real daughter, so we just wanted to check and see what YOU wanted us to be called.  What do you want us to say when people ask us?
She thinks about it for a minute before answering and then, smiles, but quickly looks embarrassed and nervous…
Mary: Moms..just regular moms….

And that was it.  We are officially, in her heart, her moms…


Day 13-Goals

I don’t have very complicated goals at all.  I mean, I think we all have those universal goals…good job, family, nice house, car, you know the usual stuff, but really I just have one real goal, and it’s one that I have lived by for as long as I remember.

“Make someone laugh every day”

That’s it!  The other stuff in my life, all those material things, finances, jobs, those things all come and go.  They are here one day and gone the next. One year I had over $10,000 in my savings account and the next, I was splitting Ramen for dinner with my best friend.  But the one thing that has never faded from my life, is the laughter.  It resonates! And even in my darkest times, it’s the laughter that stands out the most.  It whirs around, tickling me from the inside out.  I know how it has illuminated the hollow person that I was for so many years.  Laughter can makes someones day, especially those days where it seems like everything’s amiss.  My goal, every day, is to share laughter with as many people as I can.

And speaking of which…How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?!?!  TEN tickles!!!!  ::drops the mic::

Day 14-A picture you love

OUR SPOT

OUR SPOT

This is probably my all time favorite picture of me and my best girl.  It’s so simple, yet everything about it reminds me of our love and how it came to be.  We fell in love right in that spot, on a rainy summer day, while we fished and talked about life, and heartache, and love, and work, and family, and everything that two young people getting to know each other could talk about.  It was there that we cemented out love, and threw out anchors in the water hoping to never drift away from one another.  It was in that same spot that I set up candles and dropped rose petals on the coldest of winter days to propose.  It was there that we told Callie’s parents that we were having twins.  The same spot where Mary caught her first fish, and we knew that this kid, regardless of what happened, was definitely meant to be in our lives.  And this will be the spot that we will teach our boys to swim from, and where they will also catch their first fish or net their first crab.  This one particular spot, in between dock fingers, has become “our spot”, and this picture, no matter how infrequently I see it, always brings a smile to my face and makes the offspring of the offspring from the original butterflies years ago, hatch from their cocoons and flutter all over again!

30 Day Challenge – Day #10

Day 10-Something you’re afraid of

I didn’t want to write this particular post, because well, I’m a ‘fraidy cat.  This post will be in bullet form, otherwise it would take me FOREVER to discuss all of my fears here…and honestly, since this is basically a judgement free zone, I’ll just put it all out there.  All my fears, both rational, and irrational are as follows:

  • Balloons – don’t even come near me with those freaking things!!!  Even my own father can’t believe I haven’t grown out of it.  No clue where it comes from, but I scream if they get to close to me, and I cringe in sheer terror!  This is my #1 fear.  And the fear is crazy real!
  • Scary Movies – I have yet to watch a scary movie in its entirety.  It took months of coaxing me to watch American Horror Story.  This lady will refuse, adamantly to watch any Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, or anything of the sort.  No way Jose!
  • Clowns – Yup…pretty freaked out by those too, although, not as bad as I was when I was like 20…but still, they aren’t normal!
  • Haunted Houses – I plan these almost every year with my friends and then spend 45 minutes outside of the place debating whether or not to go in. I get made fun of, and then the cast of these haunted places realizes that I’m a sucker and won’t leave me be the rest of the night.  I have never ONCE opened my eyes in a house, and am usually sandwiched between Callie and Marco with my head down, eyes closed shut, and clutching them both as close to me as possible.
  • The Dark – this fear comes and goes, and I realize that when things are a little crappy in my life, the fear is much worse.  I usually turn on all the lights to make my way to the kitchen or bathroom in the middle of the night.  And when I don’t, i get where I’m going really quikcly, turn on the light, do what I have to do, and then shut it off, and run speed walk back to my room, all the while convincing myself not to look behind me, because, well, monsters!
  •  Feet – or at least feet touching me.  They are so freaking gross!  Why would people even want to touch feet?!  I’ll never understand.  I barely touch my own feet!  I can guarantee you, if you try and put your feet anywhere near my person, you will not be walking for a few days…it’s that serious! ( I get mad thinking about people putting their feet on me!)  Someone put a picture of feet (from a Sketchers add in Seventeen Magazine) through one of the slots in my locker in high school, and when I opened my locker, these damn FEET were freaking looking at me, all gross and everything, and I damn near lost it!  Lucky I never found the culprit…sooooo lucky….
  • Snakes and Lizards – it’s all fine and dandy when they are behind glass (although sometimes I envision a Harry Potteresque scenario, when the glass just disappears and the snakes come loose!) but when they are in person, like around someones neck while I’m out and about Coney Island and not expecting it, I totally freak out!  I hauled ass to the other side of the park, and then the anxiety was so intense, constantly looking around and over my shoulder and clearing corners like I was some stealth ninja to avoid a snake, I just left, because I couldn’t anymore! Lizards are no better, all flicking their tongues at me and stuff.  I don’t like that ish at all! Except Chameleons.  Chameleons are super cute!

There’s a ton of other fears, but they are things like loosing my loved ones, and stepping on poo barefoot, or getting a tape worm.  There’s also loosing all my teeth (family has hereditary gum disease and most of my uncles and my grandmother lost most if not all of their teeth by the time they were 40), having sleep paralysis, and having broccoli in my teeth at a job interview.  I’m petrified of getting into a serious car accident, of hitting my cats tail in the door and severing it, and now (THANKS A LOT LADY KING!!!) hair tourniquets! Basically, I’m scared of life! Good thing my wife (as small is she is) is big and bad and brave enough for both of us! Hi, I’m Sammie, and I’m a pee.you.ess.ess.why…

30 Day Challenge – Day #6 & Day #7

Day 6- A picture of something that makes you happy

THE SHAWANGUNNK RIDGE

THE SHAWANGUNK RIDGE

The Shawangunk Ridge…oh, how I love that place.  The Gunks is hands down, my all time favorite place to hike.  With all the crevices and fissures in the rocks to crawl and climb through, this place is an adult playground.  Marco and I have hiked miles and miles of the trails on the ridge, and every time we go, I find just a few more reasons to love this place.  Our first “real” hike, when we decided that hiking was our thing, was at Minnewaska State Park.  I had gone there with a friend and her family when I was about 12, and I loved it even then.  We lost contact over the years, but thanks to reconnecting on FB, I asked her randomly one day, what the name of the park was that she hated and I loved where we hiked for what seemed like hours.  When she got back to me, after asking her father, Marco and I made plans to go that following weekend.  I have to say, it was just as incredible as I remember it being when I was young.  The white rocks, jumping over cracks, viewing the most impressive waterfalls, experiencing all the changes in foliage as we walked from the lake up to the Sam’s Peak, with it’s breathtaking view.   We hiked the Labyrinth, an intricate ladder system that weaves it’s way through rocks, and lets you out at the Lemon Sqeezer where you climb a 30 foot ladder through a 2×2 fissure to get to the summit. Claustrophobia is real there! We’ve hiked the Ice Caves, where it’s so cold, that even at the end of the summer in late August and early September, you can still find areas covered in ice.  We made our way to Verkeerderkill Falls, where you can get so close to the edge of the falls that you’re almost tempted to jump, just because you can.  Awostig Falls, where the leaves at the bottom of the falls make the water look like tea.  Blueberry Run, where you can pick blueberries as you walk to the highest elevation in the Gunks, but be mindful of the snakes and the bears and the deer (we’ve never encountered any, but it’s very likely that you would, especially in the warm summer months).  This place has become such a staple in my life, that when I die, I want my family and friends to take the hour and a half drive, and scatter my ashes there, so I can forever be connected to this place where I find my sanity on days where it feels like I don’t have any.  This place, where no matter what curveballs life throws at me, I collect them and throw them over the edge of the crevices.  This place, where after 12 years of friendship, I continue to get to know Marco and our relationship continues to grow and flourish.  This place, where when even looking at a picture of it, causes immense joy and a dire need to Google more trails and see where they take me.  The Shawangunks, with its white rock, cracks, blueberries, and bears, will always be my favorite place…

Day 7-Favorite movies

I have to admit, I’m not really a movie person.  I’m much more interested in binge watching some really great shows.  Movies tend to just bore me to death, unless of course it’s a documentary (I have been known to watch documentaries that I like over and over and over again!) because those teach me things.  I’m always on either end of the extremes.  I love to watch things that will teach me something, or mind numbing TV that will just rot my brain.  Like the Real Housewives of Atlanta!  Talk about a guilty pleasure!  When it comes to movies though, I DO have a very definitive Top 5, and those movies I have watched at least 3-4 times a year for as long as I can remember.  In no particular order, my Top 5, and why I can’t get enough of these movies.

1. Life in A Day – Documentary
This documentary is INCREDIBLE!  If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure that you do that when you get some free time.  It really puts life into perspective, and you get to see what every one in the world is doing at any given time on the same day, July 24th, 2010.  This made me cry, made me smile, made me laugh, and even at times made me question my own existence and what life and happiness and being connected to the world really means to me.  It’s heavy and light all the same time.

2. Forest Gump – Drama, Romance
This movies doesn’t even need words.  If you don’t love Forest Gump, well, then I don’t really know what to say to that!  The first time I saw this movie I was 11 years old, and didn’t understand half of the references in the movie, but I sure did believe that he did all of that stuff! There is one thing that I understood, and no matter what you think of this movie, I think we can all agree, Forest loved that DAMN JENNY, and he was willing to go to the ends of the earth for her, and if you have ever experience a love remotely similar to that, then you feel for him, so much, through this whole film.  I mean, seriously though, what goes better with peas than carrots? That is an official love!

3.  Gia – Biography, Drama
When I was 16 and really started talking to girls and hanging out with the “gay” kids in school (even though no one knew it just then) we would get together on weekends and find all the LGBT movies we could get our hands on, and binge watch.  Gia was one of those movies that I ended up buying (the unedited version! That’s right!) and lived in my DVD player.  I would turn it on just for background noise sometimes.  It was the first real time I had seen a sex scene between two women, and I can’t even begin to tell you how fierce the Angelina Jolie obsession became after that.  I think I spent $100 that summer at Blockbuster renting everything I could find with her in it, but this one will always be my favorite.  Especially the unrated unedited version…mmmmm unrated….

4. The Little Mermaid – Animation
I know every single word to this movie.  From beginning to end.  So much so, that it’s kinda been banned in our house, because no matter how many times I promise not to sing along and not to recite EVERY. SINGLE. WORD, I fail miserable every time.  This is the first movie I remember seeing at the movie theater with my mother when I was young.  Just her and I. Holding hands.  I remember how awesome I thought the poster was, and the opening scene.  I remember the way my moms perfume smelled, and sometimes, when I’m sitting at home sneaking in a quick few minutes of TLM, I get a whiff of it.  It’s the weirdest thing.  I’ll always remember that day…

5. 300 – Action
There is something about this movie that really gets me super HYPE!!! Maybe it’s all the blood (which normally makes me queasy), or the hot bodies that I wish I had!  No matter how many time I see it, I never get tired of it.  Callie has vowed that if she has to see it one more time, she is gonna jump into the screen, grab one of their spears, and spear herself to death! She’s so freaking dramatic!  But 300, amazing!  And the amount of times that I have hilariously substituted “Sparta” with something else, you have no idea! Even when the babies start crying really loud, “THIS. IS. QUITE TIME!!!”  Or the occasional, “THIS. IS. DINNER TIME!” or even “THIS. IS. MY ASS ON YOUR LEG!”  Yup, that totally happened….