Sleep Over at Wita and Wito’s

We caved!  We didn’t think we could do it, but we did!  And it was AMAZING!!!  My mom text me, and told me that she was available Friday night for a sleepover with the kids, so that Callie and I could enjoy a night out on the town.  At first, we thought it wouldn’t be right to torture my parents with a 7 year old who has been asking an incessant amount of questions and talking like words are going out of style, and 2 newborn infants that are still, for the most part, eating, crying, pooping, and waking up every 3-4 hours or so.  They might get lucky to get a 5-6 hour stretch, but those are contingent on what we like to call “Mommy Tricks”.  You know, those little things you pick up along the way, like putting a pacifier back in to a crying baby’s mouth at 2am, and rocking the pack and play for a few minutes so that they sleep for an extra 45 minutes.  Or when you pull them into bed and let them sleep on your chest while you’re inclined, just so you can get another hour or so.  Grandparents don’t know those tricks.  But hesitantly, and reluctantly, we packed up all “The Littles” things, and went over to Wita and Wito’s for a family slumber party.  Callie and I were originally going to go home after our night out, but decided to go to a bar near my parents, cab it, and stay at their house afterword.  We set the kids up, took out their pj’s, explained formula since Noah is getting 4oz now but Levi is still on 3, explained Mary’s nightly routine, kissed all the kids, thanked my parents, and head out the door (but not before my dad handed me a few rolled up bills for our “first drink”, which ended up being enough money to open a tab and take a $20 cab home!).

There is a local gay bar that we became regulars at a few years back, and established ourselves as the token lesbians.  Karaoke every Friday night, and the same people came out every week.  We never thought we would be able to go back, or if people would remember us, but when my sister Raquel dropped us off, a few of our old friends were standing outside, and couldn’t believe that we had made it out.  Our bartender friend RAN outside to greet us, gave us big hugs, and only a $20 tab for the whole night!  We enjoyed ourselves, singing some songs, throwing back a few beers, taking body shots, and dancing the night away.  It was obvious that we don’t get out much.  We called a cab, and were home before 2am for a good snuggle and a bad ass make out session.  That night, we completely bypassed the sex, so that we could get 8+ hours of sleep, while my parents tended to the kids.  It was extraordinary!  We still talked about our kids all night, and everyone was telling us how they love seeing their pictures on FB and IG, but Saturday morning we felt refreshed to take on the world (and 3 kids birthday parties).  All in all, it was great to spend a night with my lady, sans children, and remember what it was like when we first hung out.  What it was like to hold her hand, stand behind her with my hands around her waist, two stepping on the dance floor, see her face light up when I sing “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones, or putting whip cream on her belly and a blowjob shot in between her boobs, and knock it back with no hands! Those were the days!

DATE NIGHT WITH MY LADY (BEFORE BJ SHOTS)

DATE NIGHT WITH MY LADY (BEFORE BJ SHOTS)

SLEEP OVER AT WITA AND WITO'S

SLEEP OVER AT WITA AND WITO’S

And for no other reason, I will flood this post with pictures of my best boys…

ANYONE INTERESTED IN TAKING "THE LOVE BOAT" WITH MY LITTLE CAPTAIN?

ANYONE INTERESTED IN TAKING “THE LOVE BOAT” WITH MY LITTLE CAPTAIN?

LEVI FINALLY NOTICED THE KITTY

LEVI FINALLY NOTICED THE KITTY

NOAH TELLING MOMMY "NO MORE PICTURES LADY!"

NOAH TELLING MOMMY “NO MORE PICTURES LADY!”

LEVI BEING A LITTLE HAM

LEVI BEING A LITTLE HAM

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTAIN ALL THIS CUTENESS IN ONE PICTURE?!?!

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTAIN ALL THIS CUTENESS IN ONE PICTURE?!?!

14 Weeks and Gender Reveal Planning

It’s been 14 weeks into this pregnancy (well today is 14w3d but who’s counting?!) and things are still rolling along smoothly.  Callie is starting to get what we assume is some round ligament pain. It’s down really low in her pubic area and only to one side.  Since neither of us knows what it’s really supposed to feel like, we’re just sort of assuming that’s what it is.  The “Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy” pretty much describes exactly what she is feeling.  She’s also been getting headaches pretty frequently. They aren’t every day and they don’t last very long, but we’re going to ask our OB when we see him this coming Thursday and make sure that there is nothing wrong or abnormal about that.  We understand that preeclampsia starts with headaches and is more likely to happen when carrying multiples. We bought ourselves a Sonoline B fetal Doppler and we listen to our babies every night, but we do miss seeing them once a week terribly! Pro’s of not going to the fertility clinic every week – Not going every week! Cons- it feels like we NEVER get to see our babies and we were used to seeing them at least once a week, sometimes twice! Hopefully, they might be able to tell us their gender.  Either way, the following week we get to see the Perinatologist who said she would more than likely be able to see as long as they cooperate.  We keep getting told that our babies are very well behaved (stretching alllllllll the way out when we have U/S’s), and that it takes half the time to scan our twins than it does to scan a singleton.  Hopefully, it’ll stay that way!

When life hands you lemons! (Ain't she the cutest?!?!)

When life hands you lemons!
(Ain’t she the cutest?!?!)

Hopefully, they will definitely be able to tell us the gender of the babies by the first week of September because we have already sent out the invitations for our Gender Reveal Party set for September 13th! It’s really exciting, but it would be really bad if we had no idea what they were.  Knowing our luck, they wont want to cooperate.  We’re both very reserved about out “privates” so our guess, our babies will be too! We’ve invited about 60 people, which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t.  Just my siblings, their significant others, my parents, and my nieces and nephews are 14 people. With Callie’s parents, brother, and her grandmother, we are almost at 20, so technically we really only invited 40 people, which is reasonable.  Everyone is so excited because they are ready to shower these babies with so much love, which in our eyes, they already have.  We have to keep telling people, PLEASE NO GIFTS, because they keep asking what we want or what is customary! We just want to share that moment with them.  We did really well with buying all of our decorations.  Thank you Walmart.com for all of your 87 cent stuff! We got enough decorations for 8 tables, pink and blue plates and cups for 100, cutlery, 100 gender reveal napkins, 8 mini honeycomb gender reveal signs, pink and blue balloons, and pink and blue crepe paper. I only spent $43!!!  We are having it at the marina where we keep our boat, under the gazebo, BBQ style. My mom is going to make her famous yellow rice with pigeon peas, and Callie’s mom is going to make her mouth watering Mac-n-Cheese.  Other family has volunteered to make some other stuff, and my sister ( who is a year younger than me and just got engaged Friday night at the Coliseum in Italy—WOO HOO!!!!!) is getting about 50 cake pops for us from a friend of hers.  How are we gonna tell everyone, you ask?  We bought 60 black balloons.  Inside the balloons with be either blue or pink confetti, or both.  Everyone will pop the balloons at the same time and TADA!!!! Confetti color=a lot of excited family and friends. Hopefully, it will all go off without a hitch and no one will pop their balloons too early, but I’ll make sure of that! I’ll have to cut someone! J/K, or am I??? We are making copies of the u/s’s from our first to the most recent, backing them on pink and blue construction paper and stringing them as decorations.  We are painting clothes pins blue and pink and adding little pink bows or blue bows at the top and letting people wear their guesses. There will also lip cut outs and mustache cut outs on straws for good measure.  Should be a good time.  Time to get my craft on!  With my busy schedule, I have to start making all of these things now.  I’ll be posting pics in the next week or 2 with some of the finished decorations.  Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming about these babies, and first pray that they are healthy and safe, and then that I have one of each, so I wont have to throw myself off of a bridge but If I don’t, I’d be just fine…

13 Weeks, Baby Registry, and Hiking with the Bestie

We have officially made it out of our first trimester.  As of Thursday we are at 13 weeks.  Everyone is in one piece including me, although mentally is debatable. Callie is still feeling better than she ever remembers feeling (until that weird feeling of “blah” that took over briefly Sunday morning), and Mary is still with our family and still ridiculously excited about the babies.  We asked her if she was ready to be a big foster sister.  Her reply was, ” They don’t know I’m not your real daughter, so I will just be their big sister. Not their foster sister! Just their sister”. Hello warm fuzzies in my heart!

My beautiful girl at 13 weeks

My beautiful girl at 13 weeks

Now in our second trimester and in the clear, so to speak, we decided to take the leap into “Baby Registry” world.  What we anticipated being a quick 1hour trip to our local Babies “R” Us turned into an almost 4 hour affair, with a lot of “Mary! Stop bouncing that ball!!!” and “Do we really need that?!?” and “You’re kidding with that color right? Because I can’t!”.  We didn’t argue, but I think it had to do with both of us getting a registry gun and sort of doing our own thing.  We did the main stuff together (twin stroller and car seats, pack and play, high chairs, bottles) but all the smaller miscellaneous stuff was done as we walked up and down the aisles, clicking away separately and comparing notes at the end of each aisle.  It’s kind of hard to put stuff on the registry when so much of it is gender specific and we don’t know what we’re having yet.  There was also the dilemma of whether or not to add 2 of everything.  Some stuff we obviously needed 2 of, like car seats and high chairs, but things like a bouncer or a pack and play only needed 1.  Needless to say, it was quite the experience, and the staff was fantastic.  They had ice cold bottles of water for the 3 of us, and even had the general store manager come over and greet us, congratulate us and wish us luck.  The whole same sex parents thing wasn’t even noticed, which has always been a concern of mine.  Being the non-belly mama, you sort of expect to get overlooked often, and luckily, that hasn’t really happened to me yet.  Still waiting though… We ended up with over 150 items on our registry (as big as a Glider for $500 and as small as infant Q-tips for $1.89), and a really happy Mommy who didn’t have to walk to far!

Expectant Mom

Expectant Mom

After the craziness of this past week (lots of catch up laundry, house cleaning, shopping, running around, full time job, part time nanny-ing, fishing for dinner to satisfy Callie’s craving, 6 hours of sleep in 3 days, and cooking) it’s fair to say my tolerance level was nil.  I found myself snapping at EVERYONE, cursing more than usual (which says a lot because I rarely speak a sentence without the F-bomb in there once), and wishing more than anything that I could have a major bitchfest with my best friend on a 10 mile hike in the middle of nowhere.  I didn’t think that was going to happen, as my only 2 days off are Friday and Saturday.  My best friend Marco works weekdays, and Saturday is usually our family day, since it’s the only day of the week that Callie, Mary, and I are all together.  Callie must have known that I was going to blow up soon because when I suggested if it was alright to possibly go hiking with Marco, she was quick to say, “YES! Please go and enjoy yourself.  What time will you be back?!”  So Marco spent the night Friday, to Mary’s delight as uncle Marco gave her cheese sticks and animal crackers for breakfast the next day. And wouldn’t it be just our luck that Saturday morning we woke up to the sound of a torrential downpour! So our 7am start became a 10am start, with an almost 2 hour drive to my favorite place in the world, The Shawangunks.  We were originally supposed to hike Peekamoose Mountain in the Catskills and continue our quest to become members of the 3500+ club (hiking all the peaks of the Catskill Mountains over 3500 ft of elevation), but due to a late start and a possible 3 hour drive, that wasn’t really an option.  Either way, it ended up being just what I needed to feel refreshed, grounded, and ready to start plans for our gender reveal party scheduled early September. I got to gossip, laugh, talk about life and these upcoming twinfants, decompress, get my heart rate up,  and Marco and I got the opportunity to reconnect.  It’s nice to know that our friends are just as excited and riding side by side with us on this journey.

Marco and I at Awostig Falls at Minnewaska State Park

Marco and I at Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park

Awosting Falls

Awosting Falls

And last but not least, NY Giant’s Preseason starts today!!!!  LET’S GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!

Foster Mama – Part 2

Being a foster parent is broken up into 2 parts:
1)The Easy part
2)The Hard part

The Easy Part – Callie and I have worked in childcare for a ridiculously lengthy amount of time.  She’s been the Director for a childcare center for about 13 years, and I have worked as a preschool teacher on and off for over 10 years.  Loving the kids, caring for them, teaching them right from wrong, nurturing them, helping build a positive self image and self worth, those things  come effortlessly.  We figured fostering would be similar.   We were made to have children, to care for these tiny humans.  Choosing to foster (foster to adopt actually) was something we both knew was in the cards for our family and something we both felt strongly about.  In the past 6 months we have had 2 placements.  Our first was a set of 3.6 year old twin girls. We loved them.  From day one, we loved them.  Our hearts took them in so quickly.  We held them at night when they cried for us.  We potty trained them and made them feel secure enough to get rid of their pacifiers. We sang songs in the car on the way to daycare.  They called us mom.  They loved us too.  Now we have Mary.  She’s our spunky, rambunctious, sassy, quick learning, very expressive 6 and a half year old.  She came to us and didn’t know how to read, had horrible manners, and lots of trust and control issues.  And again, We loved her, From day one.  4 months later, she’s reading everything her eyes come in contact with (even the super long hard words on the ingredients on the cereal box), she’s drawing pictures of rainbows and butterflies instead of dying flowers and crying and rainy clouds.  We rub her back when she’s tired, we put band-aids on boo-boo’s and kiss them better, we give her foot massages while she eats ice cream and the 3 of us cuddle on the couch for Friday Movie Nights.  We read bedtime stories with different voices for every character.  We teach her to fish and to say please and thank you. To wash her hands after potty and to say her prayers for all things good.  Hugs and kisses, hand holding, Loving them, that’s always the easy part.

The Hard Part – When we decided to become foster parents we had to take a 10 week course that trains you for the challenging but rewarding experience that is fostering.  You go to a 3 hour class once a week and you touch upon topics like child abuse, gains and loses, managing behaviors, teamwork and partnership with the birth family, and a whole slew of other things. Being well aware of how to handle many of these situations (through many years of mandated training with our childcare jobs), we felt like this class would be sort of boring and redundant.  We were pleasantly surprised when we left there with a better understanding of how it all worked, and how many different circumstances lead up to children being removed from their homes and entering the “system”. You never really stop to think that maybe a dad lost his job and became very depressed. That he could have gone out with some friends for a few drinks and ended up with a DUI and mom had to post bail but spent all their bill money.  That their 9 year old was hounding them because they promised to take her and 2 friends to the amusement park and now cant afford it.  That they went to the ER for 2 separate incidents in a 3 week period because first mom lost it and ran out of the house as their 2 year daughter chases her, tumbling down the stairs and breaking her collar bone and a week and a half later dad pops the 9 year old in her mouth for being fresh about that damn birthday party and she pulls back and splits her head open on a wall corner (true story). Sometimes, they aren’t horrible parents, just a product of circumstance.  Taking all of this into consideration, you remember that fostering is only temporary, and our main goal is to support the families and the children and do our best to reunify them. We were ok with that.  We were prepared for that.  But after you’ve nursed all those boo-boo’s, dried hundreds of tears, cuddled and loved them when they lost everything they had and you became their new everything, you look at it differently.  You know that they aren’t  yours and that usually (sadly more often then not) they go back to the places that they came from, whether they are half way decent of hardly livable. They go back.  They leave you and take a piece of your heart with them.  You find a left over sock under the bed, or it falls out of your shirt sleeve where it’s been living since your last load of laundry.  You have to let go, and letting go is the hard part.

Mary has been with us since March 28th, 2014.  In the short time that she has been with us she has learned so much from us, but we have learned so much more from her.  We have learned to communicate effectively not only with Mary but with each other.  We try to model appropriate behavior and try our hardest to show her the proper and effective way to communicate your emotions.  We use “feeling” words, like “I’m feeling very sad today” and provide explanations for those emotions, “because someone at work hurt my feelings”.  We try not to raise our voices.  We have sit down dinners every night AT THE TABLE and not in front of the TV.  We try and limit the use of electronics when we are doing family things.   She’s taught us to see the extraordinary in the every day.  Catching fire flies and looking for starfish has never been so fun.  We have more open and honest conversations, and we ask more intimate questions.  We used to ask, “How was your day?” but now the questions are more along the lines of, “So did you laugh till your belly hurt today?” or “Did someone say something that made you sad today?” or “Did you do something today that made you feel good about yourself?”  These are the real questions worth asking.

Mary and her mom have a great relationship.  We know most of the details of the placement, but aren’t really sure what mom’s consequences are for her behavior.  They don’t really give us much info on moms progress.  They did let us know though, that mom put in for an interstate transfer to have Mary moved to an aunt’s house (who she has only seen a handful of times in her life) in CT.  When we spoke to Mary about it and asked her how she felt, she said, “My heart is confused.  I love you guys and I love the babies, but I love my mom and my family too”. My heart is confused…that’s the kind of stuff we like to hear.  We know that so far, in the short amount of time that she has been with us, we have instilled enough confidence, courage, and self worth that she will always do her best to voice what she is feeling and how she is doing.  They say  it can take anywhere from 2-6 months for the transfer to go through, and it usually does.  We asked the case-worker if there is anything we can do to advocate for her.  We believe that Mary going back with her mom is the best option for her.  Her mother isn’t a horrible person.  She isn’t even a bad mother! She’s just someone who made some mistakes and deserves a second chance, provided she comply with everything she was told to do. We aren’t those people that believe sabotaging a reunion could mean an adoption for us.  It’s never been about us. It’s always been about the child, but transitioning her to another home is crazy! She’s adjusted so well and made so much progress socially, academically, and emotionally that taking her away would just create more attachment and abandonment issues and probably send her into a place similar to the one she was in when she came home to us. Mom really likes us, a lot actually, but we aren’t family and that’s where her child belongs (even if it will tear her apart).  Callie and I have been having dreams that they are gonna remove her from our home, and it’s terrifying.  We’re feeling like this day is coming soon, and we’ll have to say our “See you later Coo-Coo”‘s and our “Remember to wash your hands cuz you have all those yucky germs”.  For now, we’ll just keep loving her and teaching her and helping her create some of the best memories she’ll ever have.  The easy part is over, but the inevitable hard part still awaits.

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First come love, then comes marri…wait?!

Callie and I started dating exclusively September 22nd, 2010.  Even before that, it’s fair to say that we were only dating each other although I had a girlfriend that moved from NY to FL right as our relationship was starting and I hadn’t seen her and had barely spoken to her in 3+ months.  It was a whirlwind kind of thing that involved a lot of fishing, rainy afternoons, and late night phone conversations in hushed whispers.  I was living back with the Parental Unit for about a year after 2 months in a psychiatric ward recovering from earth shattering depression after the dissolution of an almost 5 year Domestic Partnership. Borderline Personality disorder is a b*tch tho, ain’t it? Needless to say, they weren’t any less strict than when I was growing up.  Even the keystrokes on my laptop at 1am with my parents behind their closed door and me behind mine, across the hall, on the OPPOSITE side from the door, was enough to send my mom into a tizzy! (SB: My mom is AMAZING, just don’t eff with her sleep!)

Unlike any other relationship I had been in, we worked out the kinks early on.  We had no qualms about discussing what we were and weren’t okay with, what we could and couldn’t deal with, pet peeves, and relationship no-no’s.  Neither of us was trying to waste anymore time in our lives.  Nearing 30 with several failed relationships under our belts, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t figure out 5 years down the line that it simply wasn’t going to work.

So fast forward 4 years later, December 2013, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I finally buy her a ring.  It may not be the most expensive or the biggest diamond, but my gut told me she’d love it.  I researched long and hard to make sure that it was something that she would love and that matched her personality and who she was. Not that she wouldn’t love it anyway because I think at that point she was convinced I would never ask! Everything had to be just right though.  Nothing on a whim.  Perfectly calculated.  That was the only way.  Callie is a storyteller, and there is nothing she loves more than a great love story, and I was going to give her one! I started it by talking to her father and asking for his blessing.  He hesitated for a second, but only because he was choking up and didn’t really know what to say. “As long as she’s happy, I’m happy.”

She’s always pressing me to buy Groupons for scavenger hunts, but I was just never really that interested.  So what better way to ask her to marry me than to give her the ultimate hunt? Got family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who wanted in to help (thank you Facebook events). Wrote out clues (in perfect rhymes may I add), distributed them as needed, and got everyone in position, but not before I had emailed the itinerary at least 10 times and confirmed with everyone that they knew EXACTLY what was to happen and they were not to be late, OR ELSE!!!

January 4th, 2014 – 11am start

Clue #1-Her parents place, where she was raised, and dad gave her the second clue sending her off with a hug and kiss.

Clue #2-Mani-Pedi’s with my sisters. She has only 1 brother and wanting sisters was something that’s never left her. And besides, you can’t show off a shiny new engagement ring with your nails looking a mess!

Clue #3-Bowling alley in my home town where we had our first real date.  We were non-dating for a while (read first paragraph).  She walks in to find a spread of all her favorite bowling alley snacks, and a few drinks with 2 of our closest friends.  After noshing on some good eats, they gave her…

Clue #4–  My parents came in with my brother and his boyfriend (yeah! 2 gay kids out of 5!) and drove her back to their house, where I grew up, where my sisters would do her hair and make up and a new dress and shoes were waiting for her.  After some shenanigans and lots of wine, my parents gave her clue number 5.

Clue #5– Off to the marina, where we had our first kiss.  Where we fished in the rain for hours and knew that the other was “the one”.  Where we played spades and she wiped the little beads of sweat of my nose which for some strange reason she thought were so cute.  Where she held my hand and kissed me.  Where our whole relationship lost the rockiness of the seas and finally reached the calms of the harbor.

On the car ride to the marina, my friends gave her my iPad which had a 12 minute iMovie of our whole relationship playing our soundtrack.  It’s the exact amount of time from highway to marina. She cried for 12 whole minutes, only to arrive, be blindfolded by my best friend Marco and walked to the beginning of the gangway. 30 or so people, in 2 straight lines holding sparklers, rose petals all the way down the gangway and all over the dock, and candles leading the way to me. I asked her to marry me in our favorite place surrounded by all of our favorite people. It was incredible! And freezing! Coldest day in NY the whole year! -4!

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Well thought out clues

Mani-Pedi, Bowling Alley snacks, wine with my family, movie of our love, and blindfolds for the reveal

Mani-Pedi, Bowling Alley snacks, wine with my family, movie of our love, and blindfolds for the reveal

Waiting for my love

Waiting for my love

She said YES!

She said YES!

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Our favorite place in the whole world

eng6 eng7Almost 8 months later we still aren’t married, but totally pregnant! This is not how I had envisioned this going at all! It’s all kind of backwards, isn’t it??? I never really thought about it much until I took Mary outside 2 days ago to play with her new sidewalk chalk.  I was busy opening some mail when out of the blue this lively little 6 year old turns and asks,

Mary: “Why aren’t you and Callie married? You’re having babies and you’re not married? Pssh! Weeeeiiiiirrrrdddd!”

Me: “We just didn’t have time kiddo.  We’ve been really busy getting Callie’s tummy ready for a baby, remember?”

Mary: “Yeah, but you’re ‘upposta be married first!”

Me: “Well, it’s a little different for us honey.  I can’t help Callie make a baby, so we have to go to the doctor and get all those medicines.  We needed money for the doctor, so we had to use the money we saved for our big wedding. Now we have to wait a little while before our we get married.”

Mary: “You don’t need monies! You just need to love each other! I’ll draw your marrying day!”

Callie and I getting married thanks to our 6 year old

Callie and I getting married thanks to our 6 year old

 

Somehow she put things into perspective.  We don’t need money or anything extravagant.  We don’t need flower arrangements, DJ’s, or wedding planners.  No hugely overpriced cakes or 100 hours of arguing about who can and can’t sit at what table. Maybe we’ll just go to our local government office and tie the knot there, with our family and closest friends by our sides, followed buy a small intimate dinner.  Maybe we’ll have something bigger when the babies get here.  Maybe we won’t. All I know is that we just need what we needed since day 1.

Trust. Hope. Faith. Passion. Understanding. Honesty. Love.

Above all things love, and that we have covered.

Week 10

There is nothing more awesome to me than watching my beautiful Callie get excited about our weekly “chalkboard update”. Every Thursday for the past month I have been documenting the stages of fetal development via a $5.99 chalkboard I bought at the Home Depot. I then add everyone to a MASSIVE mass text (about 20 of our closest friends and both of our families which include my 5 brothers and sister, mom, dad, Callie’s parents, brother, and her 2 aunts) and watch the craziness ensue. Our phones go off about 100 times in 10 minutes with a ton of “awww’s”, “how cute!”, “she’s glowing!” and “love the weekly lessons”. It’s nice to have everyone in on our joy, being that they have all been on this long, trying, and exhausting journey with us and are just as invested in these kiddos as we are. They’ve helped us through the really dark times when we thought there would never be any light to alleviate the sadness. They’ve been amazing and we’re extremely lucky. Everyone calls them “our babies”. One of my best friends Nikki texts us all the time, “How are our babies doing?” It’s actually really cute, comforting, and nice to know that we have such an amazing support system and so many people on our side.

This week was no different. Callie got home from work, kicked off her shoes, pet the kitty, gave hugs and kisses to Mary and asked about her day at summer camp, and was ready for her weekly snapshot. Let me not forget to mention that she peed about 3 times while all of this was happening. We set up the board and took our picture. The whole time, as usual, I’m thinking to myself, “Look at her smiling! She’s so happy! She is so damn beautiful! How did I get so lucky?” My best girl, in all her pregnant, baby carrying splendor. All mine! I hope our twinfants look like her. Freckles, beautiful green eyes, red hair (this week they are actually developing peach-fuzz on their bodies). I hope they are musically inclined like I am (thanks to our months of pouring over Latino donor profiles and waiting for the perfect one with a musical background, and not having webbed fingers anymore this week helps that too!). 2 healthy babies is all we can ask for. Until they’re here, I’ll keep marveling at what Callie is doing to her body for us. I’ll continue to assure her that as her belly grows and grows so does my heart and love for her, and that I have never been happier in my life. 10 weeks of babies, but a lifetime of love already…

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Foster Mama

One of the questions that I find myself asking more and more is, “Will I be a good mama?” I have been an excellent daycare teacher with the most difficult children’s parents saying, “How do you do that?!?!” I am a pretty awesome babysitter, hardly ever putting an infant down, and making sure that children of all ages have age appropriate ideas and activities to do and that the TV remains OFF! I treat all the kids as if they are my own and make sure that they feel loved, respected, safe, attended, and listened to. But what about my own kids?
Will I be as great a caretaker to my own kids when I can’t send them home at the end of the day and have a few hours to decompress before I do it all over again tomorrow? Will I be able to exercise the same amount of patience with my own babies as I do with a complete strangers? Where is my guarantee that after all of the craziness and turmoil that I experienced in my life, I wont emotionally scar my children with my indecisive, free spirit, “who cares what happens next as long as we’re alive” mentality? There are a lot of things that are still so incredibly unclear. So many things that are not guaranteed.
We have been on this pregnancy journey for about 17 months, but even before that, WAY before that, Callie and I had discussed what was most important to us and for the future of our relationship. One of the things that came up was the idea of adopting or fostering to adopt. We always knew that our hearts were big enough for more than 1 child. Heck, we knew it was big enough for a preschool sized room! Bring on the babies, we thought. 5 kids?!?! Make that 10! Our own soccer team to take to the 2026 World Cup hosted right in our own backyard! Why not, right? We had talked about it several times since then, and even after our initial consultation with the fertility specialist, we still agreed that it was something very important to us and that we wanted to do regardless. And lo and behold, we take my niece to a children’s carnival, and there right in front of us, about a week after another “foster/adoption” conversation (despite fertility consultation), a booth in support of National Foster Month! How could we not sign up and get more information?! How could we possibly pass the booth by when it was so very loudly screaming, “SAMMIE!!! CALLIE!!! COME HERE!!! WE NEED YOU!!!” So we did! Obviously! And we signed up that very same day for MAPP classes (a 10 week course in learning to become foster parents).
What were we thinking!?!?! We had Dr.’s appointments twice a week, I had a new job with an inconsistent schedule, Callie had a new boss who was pulling rank and switching schedules left and right, and the only class that suited us was a Saturday morning. Did we really want to get into this? Now? On our one day off together a week? No day but today they say, and we are so glad we decided to do it. We met some really amazing like-minded people who we still stay in touch with and hang out with pretty frequently, and we learned a lot of things about ourselves with through of the sensitivity training that they offered. It allowed us to open up more about some of the things in our past, and even opened our eyes to how different some of our parenting styles are. Ultimately, it was an amazing experience.
After a load of home visits with a slew of different people, 10 weeks of classes in an unair-conditioned room in the middle of June, some MORE home visits, and then almost 8 months of waiting, we got our first placement. A set of 3.6 year old twin girls. They were only with us for about 2 weeks, but they changed our lives. They made us realize how CRAZY the child welfare system is (but that’s for a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST!!!), how in sync we are as parents, how supportive we are of each other when we needed some parental back-up, and how much love we truly have to give. Callie still cries about those girls. A few weeks later, we got the little lady that’s been living with us for the past 3 months.
When Mary came to live with us, she was truly a lost child. Having spent most of her life surrounded by her mom and mom’s friends (not being judgmental here but lets just say they aren’t the best 20-somethings to surround your 6 year old with), she truly had no clue how to socialize or play with other children. 3 months later she looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask if I can play with her and her friends on the playground. Apparently, its for “little kids and not big people” like me! She is truly a ray of sunshine in our lives. She’s feisty, smart, rambunctious, curious, and loves her “2 best foster moms ever!!!”. She’s learning to be independent and play by herself (mainly because she trusts us enough to know that she’ll be o.k. even if we aren’t with her every moment). She’s learning to share her emotions with us and allowing us to comfort her and show her our love and support (even when being ripped from her school without a goodbye from mom in FL, she never cried), but most importantly she’s learning that we love her, and that no matter what she does, right or wrong, we are going to be there from her.
Even with all of the things that we are able to teach her, I still struggle with the notion of having my own children and being able to do what’s best from them. I somehow still try to separate being a foster parent and being a “real” parent. Aren’t they one in the same? Isn’t being a foster parent being a REAL parent? But something resonated with me this weekend when we took some friends out for a day of boating and swimming. My friend T said, “You guys are awesome parents!” We are? Stated that simply and as nonchalantly as “Pass the Grey Poupon”, but you know what? We sure are! We are pretty awesome parents.
So back to where this blog started. Will I be a good mama? From the looks of it, with the support of our loving parents, our amazing friends (who might as well be our family), our doctors and our years of experience in the childcare industry (oh yeah and GOOGLE which I can hardly survive without), I think I might just do alright! We might just do alright! I might just be cut out for this “mom” business.

Hungry AGAIN?!?!?!

8 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  So far, so good! Everything seems to be as it should, and our little world has yet to be disrupted.  Luckily for my gorgeous Callie, she isn’t very symptomatic for a twin pregnancy. She isn’t showing much fatigue ( she ALWAYS falls asleep at 9pm and wakes up at 1pm the following afternoon AND naps), there isn’t much breast tenderness (she’s been experiencing this symptom for the past year and a half since she’s been on fertility medications) and every day we thank our lucky stars no morning sickness! Everything so far has been great! It’s fair to say that she is having the perfect pregnancy, if there even is such a thing.  But boy, can she eat, or should I say, can WE eat!

Callie has always had quite the appetite.  Being 5’3″, 115 lbs for most of her adult life, I could never understand how she could pack away so much food and not gain a single pound! I have been around 200lbs (give or take 20+/-20) since I was 18 years old. I never even come CLOSE to eating as much as Callie does. No, seriously, let me explain.  Not even 30 minutes after having had a huge meal I hear her utter from somewhere in the front of our 2 bedroom apartment, as I hear the refrigerator door squeak open, “I want something, but I’m not sure what I want! Ugh!”  She proceeds to come into the living room with chips, a pickle, a cup of hot chocolate with a huge dollop of Fluff, possibly a piece of chicken cutlet left over from dinner, and lets not forget the always readily available glass of water.  This was all BEFORE she got pregnant!

It’s never been an issue to me that she has such a huge appetite, and honestly, even less so now that she is feeding my 2 apparently very hungry babies.  What the issue is here is that every time she eats, I have been eating! This has to be some type of phenomenon!  I remember when my younger sister was pregnant, her fiance gained about 30lbs. during her pregnancy.  We made our little jokes about him, you know, the ones where you say “I don’t know which one of you looks more pregnant” or “How many months are you?” or even go to the extreme of rubbing his belly saying, “Tia (aunt is Spanish) is here!”.  Am I going to be that person?

I already feel like I can’t close my pants! My button down work shirts look like they are bursting at the seams when I sit at my desk (and sorta make me look like a cased sausage). Maybe its the anxiety. Maybe its the fear of being an inadequate parent.  What if my babies aren’t as attached to me, their mama, as they are their Mommy because I didn’t actually give birth to them?  What if the swing shift at work (3 days 5:30am-1:30pm and 2nights 9pm-5am which already make me extra cranky because of lack of sleep) makes me emotionally unavailable? And lets not even get started on the drama of trying to plan a wedding on a really (really, really, really) tight budget and a short amount of time (Thanks NY state for not allowing 2 women who spent TONS of money and planned these babies for years to not put the non-belly mama’s name on the birth certificate without being married)! Even as I write this post I’m eating Sour Patch Watermelons, pork rinds, and a Vanilla Coke with chocolate chip cookies on deck, thinking about what I can have for breakfast when I get home at 5:30am, and why I didn’t bring a Cup-O-Noodles, leftovers, a sandwich or something more substantial and filling than sour watermelons. Something tells me I’ll be gaining the average 37-54lbs with the twins. Another one of the joys of soon-to-be mamahood!