The Gall!

(This was written a month ago, but as you can imagine once you read this, things got a little hectic, AND I was very medicated!)


In case anyone was wondering, here is a list of things that have happened in my life that have caused LESS pain than the gall stones I was dealing with:

  • Getting hit by a school bus at 13 years old
  • Having both big toenails removed practically at the same time
  • Getting kicked square in the face, full force at a karate tournament
  • Jumping off a swing but getting my shirt caught and falling on my face busting my lip open
  • Slamming my finger in a car door at 7
  • Finishing a soccer game with an ankle sprain so bad my doctor didn’t understand how it wasn’t broken
  • Giving unmedicated, vaginal childbirth

And I’d do it 100 x’s over before I feel gall bladder pain again! And good thing is, I won’t have to because they took it out and GOOD RIDDANCE! The pain of these gallstones was unlike anything I have ever felt before.

So this is sorta how it went down. Last Saturday I went in to the ER at 4am (so really Sunday early morning) in excruciating pain.  I’ve never had heartburn before (I KNOW!) and when I told Callie what my symptoms were, she said it might be that and to take some tums. About 3 hours later (and half a bottle of Tums -is that even safe?!?!) I was keeled over the arm of the couch, DEMANDING that whatever the hell had crawled ALL UP INSIDE of me to get the hell out while simultaneously thrusting my abdomen into the same armrest doing a quasi Heimlich/dry jump maneuver.  Super sexy, y’all!  All of this while I cried and vomited profusely.  When I literally couldn’t stand anymore, I woke Callie up and told her that I would be taking a cab to the hospital and that I would give her a call and let her know what was going on.

Arrived to hospital at 4am, was seen by  a few nurses to take vitals and take care of pain management stuff, waited until about 8:00am for the ultrasound tech to tell me that what the doctors suspected was correct and that I had a pretty crappy case of gallstone.  Luckily, from what the ultrasound showed, my bile duct look good, there was no inflammation to the gallbladder, and my liver looked good.  So, they gave me some pain meds (IBUPROFEN!), and Zofran for the pretty intense nausea and sent me to a follow up with my PCP the next day.

That whole following week (4/4-4/8) I had a constant dull ache right underneath my right breast.  I would classify it as a 7 on the pain scale.  Painful enough that it was noticeable and definitely uncomfortable, but not enough to keep me from working.  So I carried on as usual, although something didn’t feel right.  Because I was petrified to feel that same pain, like, EVER again, I basically refused to eat anything besides bread and water all week, so on Saturday (4/8/17), when I started to feel the pain creeping up again around 3pm, I knew it wouldn’t be good.  We were visiting Callie’s grandmother about an hour upstate, and as we were driving back close to 7pm, the pain became intolerable and I had to pull over on the highway to switch and let Callie drive so that I could lie down and just breathe through the pain.  By 9pm I had taken three 800mg ibuprofen, a Zofran (the nausea ramped up big time!), and two scalding hot bathes that seemed to be the only things that would satiate the pain.   At 4am, I was back in a cab to the hospital.

It seemed like maybe they didn’t believe that I was in as much pain as I claimed to be in, but honestly, with the Opiod epidemic in our country currently, I get it!  Same lady, two Saturday nights in a row, on the floor, literally screaming, “GIVE ME DRUGSSSSSS!!!!!!!”  My blood pressure should have been enough to show them the pain I was feeling (177/117, yeah, I KNOW!) , but nope!  I had go all out!


Phone ringing….

Mom: “HELLO?!?!  Todo esta bien?!? (Is everything ok?!?!)

Me – “MOM!!! I’m in a lot of pain, and they wont give me drugs, and you need to come here, because I’m gonna punch someone in the face, and they don’t believe me that I’m hurting, mom , and this is some ole bullshit with these damn nurses that don…..” (all in one breathe)

Mom – “SAMMIE!!!  Jew nee to calming down becoz, de lady, chee not gonna give you nossin! NOSSIN if jew gonna be a meanie to dem.  So, jew know, taken it easy!

Me: “MOMMY!  You need to just come!”

Mom: “Ay Dios Mio!  Ok, Mami is coming…”


Mami got to the hospital in about 20 minutes, came in to check on me.  They had given me 4ml of morphine at this point, and NOTHING.  When my mom walked in, I was standing in front of the bed, rocking back and forth as if in labor pain.  I was crying, and in lots of pain.  My mom stepped out into the hallway, yelled at a handful of nurses, “My dotah es in a lotta pain!  Please!  Jew don hearing her!?  Chee’s berry estrong, and if chee is crying, jew job es to heling her!  GO HELPING HER!!!!”

So, thanks mom, because that Dilotin was EVERYTHING!  Same gig as the week before.  Waiting till after 8 for the ultrasound tech who basically said the same thing as the last week.  This time though, she thought it would be best to speak to the surgeon since I was clearly in a lot of pain, and it wasn’t going away even with pain medication.  So around 10am, the surgical team came in, told me they would admit me and monitor me, pump me up with antibiotics (since my white blood cell count came back pretty elevated) and re-hydrate me.   So I was admitted, sent up to a private room, and loaded up with meds, both painkillers, antibiotics, and fluids.  Next morning, head surgeon came in and basically said, “Ultrasound doesn’t look terrible, but you’re clearly in a lot of pain.  White blood cell count hasn’t changed much so you’re clearly fighting something, so we’re gonna go in this afternoon and see what’s going on.”

I was taken back to surgery at 3:30pm, and I’ll be honest, don’t remember much for the rest of that day.  On Tuesday morning after surgery, the surgeon came in and filled me in. Turns out my surgery took about an hour and 15 minutes longer than it should have because my gallbladder was so incredibly inflamed that it was starting fuse with my liver.  The way he described it was sort of like my gallbladder was chronically sick.  So, he’s glad they went in and took it out because he made it seem like that pain would be pretty consistent. And also, the 7 he said I felt all week was likely a 10 for a normal person and that he has no idea how I was able to work like that all week, and that when I was saying that my pain was at a 13, he knows it was well off the chart!surgery

Sooooo, all of that to say, my gallbladder is out, thank the sweet LAWD! It was quite the experience, and lest we forget the “no lifting for 6 weeks” rule, so you know it’s been pretty interesting and also innovative ( and sometimes ingenious!) trying to figure out how to move around 3 babies without lifting.  CALVES BE ON POINT, YO!!!

About a month later, I’m feeling pretty good, down 58lbs in 6 months (thanks to the additional 8.5lbs I lost in the one week from barely eating), getting ready for surgery again at the end of July (that one was planned and it’s for another post), spending more time outside with my family (the new flexibility with my schedule is INCREDIBLE), volunteering at my church more (finding God has been another adventure that I wasn’t expecting and has been BEAUTIFUL but more on that in another post as well) and really, just being the best mom, wife, and worker (in that order!) that I can be. All is well on this end, friends.  All is well….for the most part…

~S

We’re Dealing…Sort of…

Trying to at least.  Life with a kid who has experienced a load of trauma in her short life, has to deal with the impending arrival of a biological half sibling and all the repercussions of feeling like “the unwanted one”,  a parent who is more absent than she and of course being 7, is not in the least bit easy. Actually, it’s pretty freaking hard, and this past month and a half has been damn near unbearable!

Mary has been exhibiting pretty normal behavior as far as the developmental milestones go for a 7  year old. Challenging authority, trying to prove her independence both socially and emotionally, developing better self-control, identifying emotions, and things like that.  She has also been exhibiting the traits of a child who is 7 that has ALSO experienced severe, early, and chronic trauma. Disregulation of affect, behavior, and/or cognition, as well as problems with trust, shame, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships.  And even though I know that all of this is technically normal for “a kid like her” (I HATE when people say that, but here in this post it’s totally valid for making my point), I can’t help but be so damn frustrated and annoyed, and just at my wits end, and even thinking things that on a normal day I wouldn’t think.

Mary has been on and off of “punishment” or losing her privileges for the better part of a month and a half.  She’ll lose her freedom and choices for a few days at a time, and then gain them back, but no sooner has she had a day or two of her privileges back, she does something to totally and completely fuck it up again.  It’s been a continuous cycle for the past 6 weeks or so.  Just recently, she’s been lying so badly and consistently, that it was recommended (hesitantly) by her therapist to lie right back, and we did, and it was effective, and she hasn’t lied since, but as soon as she started to get her doggone privileges back, she failed to do the right thing again, and now, after having had a carnival, a fun party to attend, a field trip at camp (we weren’t sending her on trips for about 2 weeks), a day at the pool, and her toys back all in the course of 3 days, she decided that it would be really freaking cute to be rude and sassy to the basketball coach at her camp on Monday.

Callie’s dad went to pick her up at camp.  As he’s leaving the building, the counselor and the basketball coach chased him down to let him know what happened.  Apparently, when they were playing basketball, the coach asked Mary to give him the ball.  She adamantly refused, gave him the stink eye and said, “NO!” So, of course, he asked her again, and she repeated, “NO!”, at which point she finally gave up the ball by just dropping it to the ground and giving the coach a face that was just super fresh (you know the one with the dead stare and almost eye roll that makes you wanna smack them and the arms dangling at the side?  Yeah! That face!).  Then she stood there for the rest of the time, no effort, not moving, and when it was time to leave, the group filed out of the gym, and Mary was called back in by the coach, and she blatantly ignored him, and kept walking, knowing very well that she could hear him.  So the counselor marched her right back into the gym, and they both had a conversation letting her know that her behavior was unacceptable and that she would be in big trouble if she did it again.  Callie’s dad relayed all this information to Callie when he dropped her off at home after camp, and added, “Honestly, Honeypie, I don’t think she’s ever gonna learn!”.  Then Callie sent me a text, and I. WAS. FUMING!!!

I figured, I’d do my best to keep calm, walked through every possible scenario on my train ride home as to why in the world she would think it was okay to be so damn disrespectful (can you tell I’m still angry about this whole situation?!), and figured, since Callie had already suspended her choices YET AGAIN, that when I got home from work, we would sit at dinner and I would ask her calmly, what happened.  What had transpired during the day, or during basketball that made her act that way towards an adult?  What was going on with her emotionally that made her act so fresh?  So at dinner, we all set the table, washed up, and started to eat.  So I asked how her day went (we pretend that Callie hasn’t told me anything initially so Mary can make the choice to tell me the truth about her day, especially when she gets in trouble).

“It was okay.  But I got in trouble today at basketball.”

Why did you get in trouble?”

“Because I wasn’t listening”

Well, why weren’t you listening?”

“Because I didn’t want to play basketball”

Why didn’t you want to play?”

“Because...

But what was your reason for not wanting to play?

“Because!!”

“So you thought it was okay to be fresh and rude because you didn’t want to do something that someone asked you to do?!” (Now I’m getting a little more animated and a little more aggravated because we have had this conversation a dozen times about “The Mary Show” and her doing what she wants to do and not was is required or asked of her)

She gives me a blank stare and that damn smirk, so of course, now I lose it!  Like seriously lose it!  Hands down my most shameful parenting moment ever in life.

“YOU KNOW WHAT?!?! I’M SO TIRED OF THIS CRAP!!! THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF THAT I DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING AND I DO IT ANYWAY BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU DO!!!  I DON’T FEEL LIKE GOING TO WORK, OR TAKING CARE OF KIDS, OR MAKING MONEY TO FEED ALL OF YOU GUYS, OR TAKE YOU TO THE PARK WHEN I’M TIRED AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT, OR BUY YOU NEW CLOTHES THAT YOU’RE GOING TO RUIN ANYWAY BECAUSE YOU AREN’T RESPONSIBLE WITH YOUR THINGS!!!  SO WHAT DO YOU DO?!  YOU’RE RUDE TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO NICE AND FUN WITH YOU!?!   I’M SO TIRED OF YOUR BEHAVIOR BECAUSE IT’S EMBARRASSING!!!  YOU EMBARRASS US AND MAKE US LOOK BAD WHEN YOU BREAK THE RULES AND YOU ACT FRESH! AND SO HELP ME GOD, YOU BETTER GET YOURSELF TOGETHER MARY, OR I’M GONNA FREAKING LOSE IT!  I’VE HAD IT!  COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY HAD IT! (and with a pointed fork right in her direction…to end my tirade..) GET IT TOGETHER!!!! NOWWWWW!!!! AND NO PRIVILEGES UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS WHEN YOU PROVE THAT YOU’VE GOT IT FIGURED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Slammed my fork on the table, and walked away)

Friends, this was just, ugh, so out of character for me, and I just, I don’t know!  Totally lost it!  I scared the crap out of her, and Callie, and even myself.  I had a brief moment where I saw my mother, and heard her voice, right before she beat the crap out of me and my siblings.  I couldn’t even believe that I actually did that.  But at the same time, it was totally liberating and almost like, she needed to hear it and see me angry and not just kinda flighty about the whole situation.  We have tried to address her lying and all of her behavioral issues in the best ways that we can (by the book, with the therapists help, with being in tune with the fact that she has loads of issues that your average 7 year old doesn’t have), and we have not even come CLOSE to fixing half of them.  And I know that it takes time, and I know that she isn’t going to be open to changing if this is how I am communicating with her.

And the worst part is (and this is real deep y’all) that at times like this, it makes me wonder if we are even ready to take on a kid that is so damaged.  What is this gonna look like in 5, 10 years.  Am I going to be taking a 15 year old to a clinic for an abortion, or bailing a 17 year old out of jail?  Am I gonna have to send my 16 year old off to rehab? Am I gonna have the authorities banging on my door at 2 am to tell me that my kid was caught doing something that she shouldn’t do?  Am I gonna worry about the wrong crowd and the unimaginable happening?  Do I have to worry that she is going to be a terrible influence on her younger siblings?  What is her behavior and poor choices going to do to our family, because still at times, Callie and I stand quite divided on how we should handle some of the issues that we face with her.  At times like this, I think, “No matter which way this adoption situation goes, I’ll be fine!  If she stays, cool.  If she doesn’t, cool.”  And that makes me feel like a horrible person, and I know that I only half way mean it when I’m angry.  And even though I know that we are doing the best we can, and we are trying our best to build her self confidence, and her self esteem and allow her to make mistakes so that she can learn from them, there is only so much we can take.

Every day, we lace up our boots, trudge through all the BS that parenting brings, and work together to do the best we can, when and while we can, to help change Mary’s life.  I know that I should have been more proactive than reactive at dinner, and that’s something that I am more aware of now that it’s actually happened.  I’ve made a promise to Callie and myself (and silently to Mary) that I will walk away BEFORE the explosion.  I didn’t do the right thing friends, and it’s been sitting with me for these past 2 days…I feel like a horrible Mamà….

7 Months Old Is WAAAAY Different Than 7 Years Old

My babies turned 7 months old yesterday!  Holy Moly!  I can’t believe a whole 7 months have gone by in what basically feels like the blink of an eye! One minute they are immobile, breastfeeding, milk inhaling, sleepless little blobs (meant in the most endearing and sweetest way possible) and the next they are crawling across the living room chasing the cat, harassing the rabbit, and grumbling and grunting their desire to stand up and walk around.  It all goes by too quickly, that’s for sure.IMG_2386Where are these little ones developmentally you ask?!  Well, I’ll tell ya!

NOAH OSCAR:  This guy!  He’s got so, so, so, so much energy!  He’s been trying to crawl for over a month now, and about a week ago he FINALLY figured it out.  No more frustrated crying after getting up on all 4’s and rocking back and forth for a minute until he realizes that he wasn’t getting anywhere.  Now he gets up on all 4’s, moves his left knee forward, then his right knee forward, and then drops onto his tummy about 6 inches from where he started, and does it over and over and over again, until he gets where he wants to go.  It’s pretty hilarious!  He moves similar to an inchworm.  Adorable!  He is perfecting his pincer grasp, which is WAY WAY early, but he’s gotten pretty good at picking things with his pointer and thumb (like puffs and cheerios) and trying to get them into his mouth.  Those two bottom teeth he cut on the same day are helping him chew.  He doesn’t quite know how to let go of the food yet, but I’m sure, given another 2-3 weeks, he’ll likely figure that out too.  He’s practicing drinking from his sippy cup, but really would rather just bang it around and furrowing his brow while he continuously gets water in his eyes.  He’s saying tons of consonants like, b, d, t and lately m.  We’ve also been teaching them to sign and “milk” is becoming more consistent, especially for their bedtime bottle.  I’ll see him wiggling on the floor, on his back (which is unusual for him) opening and closing his hands rapidly, and in his raspy little voice going, “MMMM, MMM, MMM!!!”  He also loves standing and would rather have his feet firmly planted on the floor than anything else. We’ll probably be breaking out the walker this week, being that his need to ALWAYS be on his feet is giving his moms some serious back spasms.  Personality wise, this kid is super serious, determined and a hard laugh.  He only laughs when his brother cries at his hands.  That has to be the funniest thing on the planet to him.  Also, he cracks up when Mamá walks through the door at the end of the day, legs kicking all over the place, but I think it’s because he associates it with dinner time!  He won’t stop something until he gets it, like putting those colored rings onto the pillar, even if they aren’t in order (did you know if kids can do this under the age of one, there is a 90% chance that s/he has a genius IQ?!?! Yup!  So we’re halfway there!).  He doesn’t like being held, and isn’t so great at playing by himself.  He is very aware of everything going on around him.  He’s not very cautious and definitely more impulsive.  And he never, ever, stops moving,  Something tells me he’s gonna be walking sooner than we are hoping for, and the baby proofing will be in full effect this weekend.  Yesterday, Callie stepped out of the living room to poor herself a glass of water.  When she comes back, not even 30 seconds later, he had made his way to where we keep the bedding for the rabbit cage, and there was pine alllllllll over the living room floor. 30 SECONDS PEOPLE!  I just can’t even!  One word to describe him: ACTIVE fair IMG_2381 IMG_2379LEVI JAMES:  Oh, my little Levi.  Something about this kid just lights up a room.  He is the perfect sitter, not yet even trying to crawl.  He is super content just sitting up (for super long periods of time) thumbing through books and rolling cars around.  Or flipping them over.  It’s all the same in his book.  He’s not as agile and coordinated as his brother, and still completely fists everything he can get his hands on.  Including my hair…all the time!  He has become a professional raspberry blower (especially at the most inopportune times, like through Aunt Brit’s ENTIRE memorial service, which she would have found absolutely hilarious!) and has been having a hard time with the teething.  His gums are super swollen and you can sort of see where the teeth are just about to break the surface.  Poor little guy has been miserable, and so has his sleep, and by association, so has ours!  4 nights of waking every 2-3 hours.  This hasn’t happened since he was 6 weeks old!  Levi loves to eat everything he can get his hands on, but especially everything he CAN’T get his hands on.  He has pretty much tried everything we have ever eaten in his presence in the past 2 months.  Chicken, steak, avocado, string beans, lemon, sweet potatoes, beans, whole peas, steamed carrots, fried dough, corned beef, rice, Pasteles, and anything else you can think of, he’s probably eaten it.  He’s just started to use his voice, and has gotten pretty good at the sound, Bu, bu, bu, but really, that’s about it.  He has learned to give “besos” totally opened mouth with a messy tongue,  and has started to give very squishy baby hugs.  He’s a pro at using his sippy cup!  I think he’ll be weened from his bottle sooner than the year we are hoping to get them off by.  He also is learning to sign but I don’t think he has picked up on the connection between words and signing.  Personality wise, he is our cautious, smiley observer.  He likes to scope things out, see what’s going on, and then do.  He goes into a new room and will let you put him down, but does the once over to see where everything and everyone is.  He looks at his toys and looks at us, and looks at his toys, and looks at us, and finally we say, “Puedes Jugar! (You can play!)” and then he’ll grab it.  He’s also hyper aware of where his bully brother is at all time!  And this kid has to be the friendliest baby on the planet.  You can’t even look at him without him smiling, and the best part is his full belly laugh!  Favorite sound to laugh at?  “QUACK QUACK!”  and any time I tell him he has a stinky booty!  He’s very calm, hardly fusses, and goes to sleep once his head hits the mattress.  He is usually the better sleeper (although the past couple of nights have been difficult with the teething), and is usually content just being.  One word to describe him: JUBILANT fair1 IMG_2382 IMG_2378

Now, let’s talk about 7 year olds!  Ugh!  So help me GOD, before I lose my ish!  When you have a 7 year old, it gets real!  When you have a 7 year old that is a foster child, well, there is nothing that can describe that amount of anguish and “I’m gonna stab myself in the face!” that accompanies that.  See, Mary is going through a lot right now in her personal life, but also through the developmental changes that the average 7 year old goes through.  7 year old’s are going through what would be described as a transitional phase.  They aren’t the wide eyed 5 kindergarteners anymore, but also not old enough for those “amazing” preteen years.  Being 7 is about asserting your independence.  It’s about making your own choices (like what “extra’s” you want to take part in) and about processing the world around you.  It’s about asking questions and learning new things.  It’s also when kids start to REALLY test their limits.  Talking back and lying and being stubborn just to prove a point. And I have to say, 7 at our house has been pretty damn shitty!

I contemplated writing about this (mainly for fear of judgment at our tactics to teach Mary that her incessant lying is unacceptable), but then I read a post by Lindsay over at Solo Mama and decided, this is the real stuff that we SHOULD be writing about because it’s not all rainbows and sunshine and fruit salad (OMG!  I’ve been loving me some fruit salad these days!).  This is the stuff that parenting nightmares are made of sometimes.  Imagine a little girl, who’s biological mother is inconsistent (and pregnant with a new baby due in two weeks = rejection), who is processing the idea of being adopted, by 2 moms, with a father who couldn’t care less about her, who has experienced trauma beyond anything that my brain and heart can understand who is also SEVEN!  Let me paint a picture for you!

Mary’s mom disappeared from mid January through the end of June.  The first 2 months of her mother’s absence were difficult.  I mean, ridiculously tough.  Talking back, attitude all the time, constant lying, and using a tearful “I misssssss mommmmmyyyyy!” as a reason to not get in trouble for breaking the rules.  We are educators.  We get why kids do what they do.  So we started implementing a “loss of privileges” and also giving Mary words for the things that she was feeling.  We also understand a lot of her history, and for a long time, she was taught to lie, was never disciplined and treated as a mini adult and mom’s best friend.  Slowly but surely, the loss of privileges seemed to be working.  We would start by taking away screen time for the rest of the day.  If she continues to sass mouth and break the rules, she would lose her privileges for 2 days, and so on.  It got to the point where she lost her privileges (screen time, playing in the bath, dessert, outside time) for up to a week!  Finally, FINALLY, she was back on track!  2 whole months later we were making progress!  More please and thank you’s, school grades skyrocketed, teachers weekly report stated that she was super social and helpful in the classroom, and the lying stopped all together.  This all happened at the same time that mom disappeared and we started getting more honest with her about adoption and her mom losing her rights.  Then, mom shows up, and for the past 2 months we have been seeing this behavior again.  All the time.  Every day!  The lying has been as unbearable as you can imagine.  And always about the same thing!  Brushing her teeth and washing her face.   The first time we caught her (she claimed to have done it, even though she couldn’t have been in the bathroom for more than a minute, and I gave her the opportunity to tell the truth and she didn’t, so I sent her to bed, only to go into the bathroom a minute later and find a bone dry toothbrush!!!!) she had lost her screen time for the next day.  Not even 2 days later, she lied about it again, so she lost her screen time and sweets for two days.  A steady progression of lies later, she was up to a week with no privileges. When we talked to her about it, she said that she was scared that her mom was going to get her back and that she didn’t want to leave our family.  We totally get it!  Anxiety!  But lying!  No way.  I was so fed up after the last lie, that the day that she gained her privileges back, I told her that the next time she lies, she would lose her privileges for 30 days!  She understood, or so I thought!

The next day, we let her have sweets, we made popcorn and hot chocolate, and watched the Minions movie.  When the movie was done, I told her to go brush her teeth, wash her face and get ready for bed.  She was in there for a few minutes, and when she came out to kiss us goodnight, I noticed that her hairline was completely dry, so I asked her, “Did you do as we asked you?”  “Yes”  “Are you sure?!”  “yes!”  “Are you really sure!?!” Blank stare!  Sure enough, I go into the bathroom, soup is untouched, toothbrush bone dry, and Mary is behind me, screaming at the top of her lungs, “I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY PRIVILEGES FOR 30 DAYS!!!!!!! WAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!”  “Well kiddo, you should have thought about that before you lied.  What were you doing in here that whole time?  Pretending?”  This little pain in my ass, had the audacity to shake her head yes (although I can’t be mad because she FINALLY, FINALLY told the truth), so we sent her to bed, beginning her punishment the next day.  In reality, we were only taking away her privileges for the next 2 weeks.  We continued to communicate with her therapist and touching base with her, and see if she would talk to Mary about her behavior, but she insisted that we be consistent and hold her accountable for her actions.  She was doing pretty well for the almost 2 weeks that she had lost her “freedom”, but the day before she was to gain her privileges back (Thursday evening), BOOM!  LIES! So we spoke to her therapist who said we had tried everything that we could to get her to correct her behavior, and that perhaps, if she felt what it feels like to have someone lie to you and disappoint you (which we thought would be nothing new considering her relationship with her mother), then maybe, just maybe she would learn!  So, we had to lie.  We didn’t want to, but we had to take our chances and hope for the best possible outcome.

This past Saturday was “Family Fun Day” for the foster care families in our county at a local amusement park called Playland (Mariah Carey shot her Fantasy Video there).  We were going to a BBQ lunch, with face painting and arts and crafts for the kids, and then ALl Day ALL You Can Rid wristbands.  We LOVE this place, and had a blast last year!  Initially, we weren’t gonna go because we didn’t want to reward her poor behavior and constant lying, but we took this as the perfect opportunity to emphasize why lying is so terrible.  So we got her super hyped up!  “It’s gonna be sooooo awesome!!! We’re gonna go on all the rides, and we can go on the Dragon Coaster TWICE!  We’re gonna eat cotton candy and fried dough and caramel and candy apples!  You get to play with all your friends!!!  It’s gonna be AMAZING!!!!”   After a little while, she started getting excited.  She was like, “YAS!! It’s gonna be so so so so so so so so so so so fun!!! I can’t wait!!! When are we leaving!?  Is it time yet?  Now? Almost ready!?  Will you sit on The Whip with me!?  OMG! The Funhouse is so….FUN!” and she kept this up in the car.  We even had a dance going and everything.  We get there, find a table, talk to some of our other foster parent friends, let her run around and get a butterfly painted on her face, and she did a ton of crafts, we ate lunch, and about 2 hours after we arrived, she was ready to go!  Sure, I said!  All the rides, I said!  So we gather up our stuff, start walking towards the park, and as we are passing rides, she’s saying, “Ooh this one?!?!”  “We’ll come back to it honey!”    We are walking with friends and start kissing them goodbye.  Mary asks if they are leaving.  “No, we are!”

“WAIT WHAT?!?!  But you said we could go on all the rides!?!

“I lied!”

Dead stare.  Tears on the brim.  She lets go of the stroller, and puts her head down as we walk into the parking lot, climbs silently into the car, and noiselessly releases a few tears on the 20 minutes drive home.  While we are driving, I let it sink it.  We get home, she goes to the bathroom, washes her face paint off, and goes directly into her room.  A little while later, we call her out into the living room to “debrief” what had happened.  We asked her what she was feeling.

“I feel sad, and mad, and disappointed because you said we could go on all the rides!”

“We are so sorry we lied to you, but we needed you to understand how lying feels.  When you lie to us, it makes us feel so sad at you, and so angry at you, and so disappointed with you because you make us feel like we can’t trust you, and that makes parents really really sad.  We were hoping that you would do the right thing all the time, and then you make poor choices that make us wonder if you deserve to have fun times.  When you do the right thing, we have a great time, like the Poconos, and when we went to Playland before, and the movies, and Glow in the Dark Putt Putt, and the arcade.  But when you make poor choices, we get sad at you and take those things away and then you have to earn them back.  We don’t like to put you in trouble, but sometimes, you leave us no choice.  Do you understand why lying is not the best thing? How people’s feeling get hurt?”

She shook her head yes, but we weren’t sure it had sunk in, until at dinner time, without being prompted, during a stint of silence, she said of her own volition, “I’m not gonna lie anymore.  I’m gonna do the right thing and make the right choices!”  Since Saturday evening, she has brushed her teeth and washed her face every day TWICE!  She has cleaned her station after dinner and cleared her plate and placed it NICELY in the dishwasher.  She has made her bed and made sure that all of her shoes were organized and her dressers had no clothes hanging our of them WITHOUT BEING PROMPTED!!! SAY WHAT!?!?!  By George, I think she’s got it. Also, my wife is a genius!fairy

She doesn’t know it, but today she starts gaining her privileges back, one by one, by going to an outdoor concert at the park, and for the first time in about a month, she’ll be able to take her bike with her.  Tomorrow night, we’ll be going with my parents and my nieces to the Carnival and she’ll be able to ride the rides, and Friday night, we will have a long overdue family movie night once the boys get to bed.  I’m excited for her to get her privileges back.  I’m excited that she’s understanding why lying is not ok!  I’m excited that she’s finally getting it.  I hate that we had to take it to that extreme, but I’ll consider the outcome a parenting win!  I will admit, that it took everything in me to not cry from the amount of disappointment that was sprawled across her face, but now, I see, that clearly, at least for the moment it has worked.

Tomorrow is our first TPR court hearing.  Wish us luck, and thanks for reading this eternally long post!

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!

Second Week Down

These boys seem to be growing at the speed of light! 2 weeks old and they already feel heavier in my arms and it pains my heart. We are really starting to get the hang of this “being moms” thing. We have a set routine and the kids are all doing well. We have been parents to our little Mary for almost a year now, but somehow it’s still different. With Mary, we picked up where someone else left off, trying to put together some broken pieces, and doing our best not to harm her any more than she’s already been hurt. But with the boys, we start from scratch, square one. We have to do our best not to screw this up royally. So far though, it seems like we’re doing well! They aren’t starving, no diaper rash, and sleeping soundly through the night (for the most part, with the exception of waking them up every 3 hours for feedings). As of our pediatrics appointment last Wednesday (another one this Wednesday unless the 3 feet of snow in our forecast prevents it) the boys are an ounce away from their original birth weights, they are both still the same length (as expected), and everyone who has looked at their little penises say their circumcisions look “Beautifffuuulll!!!” Which of course we loved to hear! So far friends, so good.

2015/01/img_0113.jpg
2 Whole Weeks

There are little things that we started to notice about them that make us forget that I didn’t personally birth them or inseminate Callie. Noah whimpers in his sleep and has the most gorgeous dimples. He has the most perfectly plum lips with gorgeous definition to them that makes him look like he’s wearing lip liner. His ears are attached (this has fascinated me since biology) and when his hair is wet it has a little curl to it. Levi only needs about 4 hours of sleep to function and is fully awake for the rest of the day. He is super active, always flailing his arms and kicking his legs, and he acts like a real tough guy. He’s going to be my future NY Giants quarterback. He loves music and boobs! These traits make these boys total Mendez babies! Callie and I agree that she was just the vessel. With the exception of their coloring, the blue and hazel eyes, and that ginger hair that Levi rocks!

2015/01/img_0118.jpg

2015/01/img_0119.jpg

2015/01/img_0120.jpg

2015/01/img_0121.jpg

2015/01/img_0122.jpg

2015/01/img_0123.jpg
These were the photos taken at the hospital that we ordered and are waiting for them to be delivered but I couldn’t wait to share them!

We’ve had tons of company, which is great because a) I’m ridiculously social and love having people around b) we get to show off our fantastically gorgeous babies c) when it’s our families and closest friends we get to sleep. For 3 hours. And cuddle. And not change diapers. And not wash bottles (the Bottle Washing Struggle is REAL my good people!!!). We haven’t cooked a single meal in 2 weeks because everyone brings us food every day with tons of left overs for lunch (when we have time remember to eat). I threw on a pair of summer shorts that used to be a little snug and had to wear a belt because they were falling off of my waist! People have been so kind and generous and it reminds me how blessed we are to have such incredible people in our lives. I’ve been an emotional wreck, crying for all types of reasons, but knowing that we have so many amazing people in our lives really brings the tears right out. Even this blog community has shown us so much love. We have received some pretty awesome gifts from you all. Vans sneakers and socks, gift cards, toys…it’s been awesome! Much love to you all. Seriously! It’s incredible.

On the nursing front: Can you freaking believe that I still have no DAMNED milk!!!! I’m like almost over it, but then I put them at Breast and my heart melt, and I smell them and they look at me with those beautiful eyes and recognize that I’m their Mama and I realize that the closeness and the bond and connection is what I crave. I say, “Eff it! I’ll rinse this little tube out and use it again later.” I get to nurse them about 3 times during the day while Mary is at school (boundry issues with foster care. I don’t want her going around telling people she saw my breasts!) and once at night for their 11pm feeding before bed. That’s my favorite feeding, when I sing them songs and ABC’s (in Spanish which is the only language I speak to them in) and I watch their little hands clutch my skin and rub their eyes and sleep wash over them like waves on the shore. I love being a mom to these beautiful
boys. Im the luckiest Mama alive…

2015/01/img_0129.jpg
Nursing Noah

2015/01/img_0077.jpg
The boys first bath which they loved!

2015/01/img_0124.jpg
Brothers?! YUP!

2015/01/img_0125.jpg
They love this swaddler!

2015/01/img_0109.jpg

2015/01/img_0111.jpg

2015/01/img_0108.jpg
We woke up like this! Flawless!

Dolls, Ankle Socks, and PJ’s: A Foster Mama’s Frustration

We are having a serious issue, and I don’t know how much longer we can keep our cool.  We consider ourselves to be reasonable people.  Respectful women.  Kind folks.  When we are asked to do something (within reason) we comply.  That’s just who we are.

For weeks (months really), we have been communicating with Mary’s case worker about the amount of gifts that Mary’s mom has been giving her.  We have also spoken to the Parenting Counselor and Mary’s individual therapist as well, and all three have touched base with mom about the incessant gift giving.  They have given her the reasons as to why this could be detrimental to her development. 1) She doesn’t learn to value and appreciate things 2) When we have a reward system in place, it is difficult to discipline her if she continues to receive weekly gifts from mom (every Tuesday) and twice biweekly (every other week she sees mom Tuesdays and Thursdays).  And 3) Our apartment simply isn’t big enough to have 52 two foot dolls (one for each week of the year and those ridiculously scary looking Disney princess dolls).  All of these conversations were simply not heeded and Mary has continuously received gift after stupid freaking gift.

Finally, we had it!  With Christmas quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that the holiday season with out family was a special one.  We normally buy gifts for each other, wrap them and promptly put them under the tree.  Not this year though.  We are teaching Mary all about the true story of Christmas, as well as the story of Old St. Nick.  We have wrapped her gifts and placed them in our closets and won’t be putting them under the tree until she is fast asleep Christmas Eve.  We decided that since mom hasn’t been listening to the workers that maybe we would reach out to her via email.  So Callie wrote her a very  nice letter explaining to her all of the above reasons as to why she should refrain from purchasing gifts, with the added, “And it’s the holiday season, so to avoid duplicate gifts, as well as making Christmas extra special for her.”  We also sent her the pictures that we took of Mary in her Christmas outfit in case her mom wanted to get cards made to send out to friends and relatives.  This was approximately a week ago.  Added to that email was a list of things that Mary doesn’t need (sneakers, short ankle socks, toys/dolls, pajamas, hats, gloves, winter jackets, t-shirts, house slippers) and things that she does need, since mom has felt so inclined to buy her things (longer winter socks, thermals, sweat suits, and winter boots).  Not that we can’t purchase those things for her, but since mom is going to buy her things every week, we might as well give her some clues for the things that she’d be better off buying.

Yesterday, when Mary returned from her visit, she came home with a bag full of stuff.  What was in the bag, you ask?  Welllll, you guessed it! Everything on the “DO NOT BUY”.  Ankle socks (It’s f*cking winter lady!), hats and gloves (last week she bought her 3 sets), house slippers (because the other 4 light up pair that she bought her obviously weren’t enough), another freaking princess pajama (because the 2 drawers full of pajamas that we have accumulated in the past 8 months certainly aren’t enough!), and a freaking Baby Alive doll that pees and poops, which we got Mary as a gift from Santa to help her in being a big sister.  That was the gift that we were most excited about.  That is the gift that we waited on freaking line for, refreshing the screen for hours on cyber monday in order to make her Christmas extra special because she wanted it so bad.  Needless to say, we were freaking PISSED!  Our case worker texted me on my way home from work to let me know that Mary’s mom had bought her a doll.  We knew it would be more than that because otherwise she wouldn’t have texted us.  We did not anticipate a bag full of crap, again, for the 4th time this month!  I let the case worker have it! When are they going to step in and tell her mom that it’s inappropriate and disrespectful to not respect the wishes of the foster family.  Does she not know that we hold all of the cards in our hands right now?  We can cancel visits when we feel like it.  We can cease all phone calls (we let Mary call mom whenever mom cancels a visit for something ridiculous like rain!).  We don’t ever have to send her another picture of Mary in a school play, or catching her first fish, or bouncing at a bouncy castle, or showing her face of wonder when capturing her first firefly ever. We have been nothing but kind to this woman, and nothing but understanding of her situation.  We speak highly of her to her daughter and encourage Mary to share her stories about her mother with us.  We have Mary write her cards and I put DVD’ together of Mary at her school functions.  We are the ideal foster parents and get blatantly disrespected like this!?!?!  How is it that we can comply and work with her and all of the multitude of requests, but our simple one is not even considered?  I can assure you, from this point on, we will be changing.  We will not be so accommodating.  It’s unfortunate, because Mary is ultimately the one who will suffer, but how do we make it clear that this behavior from mom is unacceptable?  How do we get her to understand, that her selfish behavior (the need to assert herself as “mom”) is not in her daughters best interest?  How do we explain to her that this is a partnership and that we should all be working together to do what is best for Mary?

On Tuesday, despite Mary’s tears and tantrums, we will be sending all of the stuff back (with the exception of the doll, which she loves, and makes us sad because we wanted to give it her) to her mother with a note indicating why it was all being sent back.  We will speak to the case worker and the therapist, and unless there is a valid reason as to why we will be receiving any more gifts, they are not to send Mary home with any more uselses crap unless it is pre-approved by us.  Is it a bit extreme?  Perhaps.  But we have rules in our home, and we expect them to be followed.  If Mary’s mom wants to have things handed to her by her sugar daddies and her stripper friends, so be it, but we will not be the parents that hand things to our children so that they expect everything to be handed to them in life.  They will work hard and earn them.  They will do chores for allowance, and learn the value of a dollar.  They will take pride in their achievements.  Those are the children that we will raise.  This situation has gotten out of hand!

Baby Dreams

These past 3 weeks I have been both pleased and plagued with baby dreams.  Some are so amazing and I see our cute little chubby boys on my chest as we cuddle and watch some TV, and then others, I am running around in what seems like endless circles, holding the hand of one toddler and screaming my head off looking for the other who is nowhere to be found.  Some mornings, I am so happy, that I wake up feeling amazing the whole day, and other mornings, in such a panic that the rest of my day is spent biting my nails and reliving the dread of the previous nights dream.  I realized that today that some these dreams may be due to the fact that I have more estrogen and progesterone coursing through my body than usual (started taking birth control pills in order to induce lactation WITHOUT the sugar pill which means 37 days of crazy hormones, and with my PCOS, this is all pretty new to me).

One night I had a wonderful dream! I mean, it was so amazing.  We were in the hospital, the boys had just been born, and I was allowed to cut the cord.  Within an hour I was tandem nursing and was producing so much milk that the hospital LC couldn’t believe that I wasn’t the biological mother and that I hadn’t been pregnant before.  They latched right on and ate for a while.  When I looked at them, they smiled at me.  I couldn’t really see what they looked like, but it was more like a feeling.  My babies were content, and they knew they were loved, and I FELT that.  I woke up, and my heart was so full that day, that even a 5:00am traffic jam first thing in the morning, spilling my whole cup of coffee as I got out of the car, and forgetting my lunch couldn’t make that feeling go away.

About 3 days later, I had a horrible dream.  It was kind of in pieces but everything felt incredibly real.  We were on our way home from the hospital.  It was pouring rain.  The streets were getting flooded so I decided to take the back roads (it’s very hilly where we live, so it made sense to me, because there was no where for the water to pool as it would all flow downhill).  In my dream, I was right, but then suddenly it started to snow.  The boys started wailing at the top of their lungs!  Callie couldn’t console them.  She told me to pull over so she could try to nurse them, or rock them a little but, but I didn’t want to because the snow was getting heavier and I just wanted to get home.  I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember not being able to stop that car as it started rolling down the hill.  I pressed the brakes but they wouldn’t catch and I could see a tractor-trailer approaching at the intersection about 100 yards away.  The car was picking up speed, Callie was  yelling “STOP!”, I was yelling “I CAN”T”, tractor-trailer tires screeching, and the inevitable sound of a crash. I distinctly remember our SUV rolling, as if something out of a movie, and then I remember the most piercing green eyes on one of my baby boys and I woke up!  I couldn’t breath! It was all so real!  This dreams were screwing with me big time.

About 2 days later I dreamt that the boys were about 3 and that we were on a Disney cruise.  They were so excited to see the Pirates Show and to have ice cream.  I remember walking on the deck, and I was holding both of their hands.  I let go of one for a second to get my wallet out for my “seacard”, and when I reached down and said, “Take my hand Bubba”, there was no response, no warmth in my hand, no resistance.  “Bubba?  Bubba?!?!”  And I freaked!!! Totally freaked!  I didn’t know whether someone had snatched him, if he had just wandered off when he saw one of the many characters walking on the deck, or if that little thing I saw out of the corner of my eye that looked like it was jumping overboard was my son! I didn’t know what to think!  I ran around the whole deck of the boat, yelling at the top of my lungs. Before I could stop myself (I can do that sometimes in my dreams), I grabbed a life vest and jumped overboard.  Before I hit the water, I woke up drenched in sweat (mainly because Callie was drenched in sweat even with a fan on in 30 degree weather and had her body drapped all over me).  I was pretty shaken up.

This morning, I woke up to such a happy, awesome dream, and that is carrying me through this day (and possibly the miserable snowstorm quickly approaching my area!).  I was in the delivery room.  Callie was laboring beautiful (according to the doula), and she was really holding it together.  She hardly screamed and didn’t curse me out.  The end… LOL! Just kidding!  After a little while (distinctly remember looking at the clock on the wall and it was 3:11am)the doctor announced that Noah was crowning.  I ran over to see and Callie yelled at me to come back and hold her hand because it hurt so bad.  So I did, and next thing I know, she pushes and on her chest they put this massive baby, with a head full of dark brown hair, and eyes as grey as morning fog.  It was incredible! Then another push and another cry at 3:13 and then 2 glorious babies were on Callie’s chest, this picture not as clear from all the tears in my eyes, and I see dark hair again (we have been debating whether we will even have AT LEAST one ginger baby {please Ginger Gods!}) and the most piercing blue eyes I have seen.  And I sang to them, and they knew it was me.  I felt it.  They kicked their little legs, and they just stared at me, wide awake, while I sang to them, as if they were dying to hear it without the muffling of that bubbling they were sitting in for so many months.  When I stopped they cried, when I sang they settled.  It was incredible.  My cat walked into the room (weird, I know!) and she started making this weird meowing sound that ended up being my first alarm.  I shut it off and tried to fall back to sleep and get back to the place I was in my dream as quickly as I could before I lost it, but no such luck.

I always hear about pregnant lady dreams, but never pregnant partner dreams.  I know they happen.  Butchjax confirms that, as her wife has been having these dreams too.  Parenthood is a scary but incredibly rewarding experience.  It’s only natural to have both of those kinds of dreams, I suppose.  I just prefer the ones that don’t involve me feeling like I am the worst parents in the world, or by babies scaring the crap out of me.  I’ll hold on to last nights dream for as long as I can…those eyes (even if that’s not what they really look like) will never leave me…

“Later, Laney” and 24 Weeks

Thursday afternoon, my phone is blowing up. I recognize the number as one I’ve seen a few times before but I don’t remember who it belongs to. First 2 times there is no voicemail. Third time they leave a message. It’s Laney’s case worker and we knew this call, this day, was coming. We were to drop Laney off at her usual visit with mom on Friday and then they would be picking her up and taking her to her paternal aunt after the visit. Callie was devastated. I was upset but understood from the moment that they dropped her off, that this arrangement was temporary. Callie on the other hand spent almost 24 hours a day with Laney and was definitely feeling it. Thursday night I went to work for my overnight shift and when I got home at 5:15am, I pulled Laney out of her crib and laid her in bed with Callie and myself and snuggled and cuddled her so she could feel how much we loved her. Friday morning, I got her dressed, brushed her hair, put her “smell good” on, and dropped her at her visit. Callie cried all the way to our OB appointment. I don’t think that tiny human will ever understand what she has given us in the past month and a half. She showed us that we can do this “parenting of an infant” thing even while completely sleep deprived. She showed us that cuddles are the best thing ever! That we swore up and down we wouldn’t do co-sleeping, walkers, propping bottles, playing in the crib with toys, baby Bjorn’s, but we lied…about all of it! She gave us more than we gave her and we are grateful that she was in our lives. So little time with us but such a huge chunk of our hearts were taken with her when she left. On a positive note, the caseworker gave the aunt our phone number (she asked first and we said whatever they needed we are available) and she invited us to her 1st birthday party in a few weeks, and called us family because it was obvious that her niece was well taken care of. Callie spoke with her on the phone for 30 minutes about feeding, sleep, and play schedules, thumb sucking and blankies and exchanged email addresses for swapping photos. All in all, we feel confident that we’ll stay pretty well connected to this little person we love so much! It’s not “good-bye” but more like, “Later, Laney”.

24 weeks! Can you believe it?!?! One weeks shy of our third trimester and these babies are a week sooner to coming home with us.

IMG_9179.JPG
Fetal movement has been CRAZY! Their kicks are stronger, sometimes even shifting Callie’s clothes! The past week, they have really been loving their sweets. Callie’s been having Skittles, ice cream, milky ways, Reece’s Pieces, homemade cinnamon toast, and pretty much anything sweet she can get her hands on. Not that I thought it was a very good idea to indulge so much with her glucose test this past Thursday quickly approaching, but how can I deny 3 PEOPLE all that sweet and chocolatey goodness!?!?! I’d be a bad Mamá! So I admit, I bought her a cheesecake from Juniors at Grand Central on my way home last Sunday from work and chocolate chip cookies and a pumpkin spice latte from DD’s yesterday! We had a Dr’s appointment Thursday, where they did a scan to see what was going on. Looks like everything is still good and it seems that the bed rest has been working. Callie’s cervix went from 1.97 to 2.2 which is great! She is still on bed rest (which she is simultaneously loving ::no work:: and hating ::can’t do shit::) and spending most her days in bed with her Snoogle or on the couch with the kitty who hasn’t really left her side since the day she stared bleeding. The ultrasound showed 2 very healthy boys (2 fat chubba’s!) who are still measuring bigger than they should. No wonder mommy’s cervix is struggling! The nurse did our 1st 3D Ultrasound and I was in awe! I couldn’t believe how clear they were! I could see my boys! Like really see them and not have to imagine what they look like anymore. They look like real humans! It was incredible. I held it together pretty well though, right after I jumped out of my chair and stood up close and in front of the TV monitor. It was surprising to see our donors nose on one baby and lips on the other. Callie says you can’t really see that yet, but I can see it! And I’m excited about it! Callie has gained 4 pound from her pre-pregnancy weight and her bump is measuring in at a whopping 28 inches!! Aside from that, we are just waiting on the results of the glucose test and are scheduled to check in again in 2 weeks. Everyone, say hello to our handsome boys!

IMG_9170.JPG

Here are 2 pictures of our donor…am I bugging about the looks?!

IMG_8162.PNG

IMG_8163.PNG

Treadmill

In case anyone was wondering, this has been my life the past 2 weeks! This ish is no joke!

IMG_9059.PNG

I can only imagine what it will be like when the boys are here! What have I gotten myself into?!?! I know I’ll love every second of it though. I kind of see it like running. Put me on a treadmill and I’m over it. Throw a soccer ball in front of me, and I can run for 3 hours straight. Let’s just call this the “treadmill” of my inducing lactation journey.

Gender Reveal…Part 2

It started out as a pretty hectic day.  We were moving, providing respite care for another foster mother’s 7 month old son for the weekend, dealing with our own 9 month old with a stomach bug, and setting up an outdoor party NEAR THE WATER on probably the windiest, crappiest, “threatening rain”iest day on record so far.  Things were not looking good.  I had allotted myself plenty of time to get things together.  I knew I still hadn’t made a trip to the grocery store to pick up the things we needed, I had to go to the $1 Store to get balloons filled, I had to bring down tables (from the marina rec room), wipe them down, and set them up. I also had to help Callie get all 3 kids ready for the party. Luckily, Marco, as usual, stayed the night in order to 1) help me move 2) help watch the kids 3) help me set up and run errands 4) inject his undying and unwavering positivity to an otherwise hectic situation.  I thank my lucky stars every day for that guy!

Wake up call was 7:30 am, kind of.  And by 7:30 I mean 8:30.  I was dressed, ready and walking out the door by 8:40.  I shot over to the grocery store to pick up some soda, juice, chips, paper goods, condiments, salad dressing, bottled water, and powdered lemonade mix.  I also picked up potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise, onions, and an aluminum tin to make potato salad, but I never actually got around to making it.  Too busy! After that, I drove over to the $1 store, which ultimately ended up being a waste of time and money because it was so darn windy out that day, that the balloon decorations for the tables ended up being tied to the fence, and being blown all over the place! Shortly after my day began, at approximately 9:40, I picked up some breakfast (and much needed coffee) for us, and head home to see what Callie, Marco, and the kids were up to.  Everyone looked a hot, terrible, tired mess! After a 15 minute argument about what should happen next (should Marco and I go decorate and come get the kids later, or if we should get the kids ready and take them with us now while Callie got ready, or if we should all get ready and leave together but not necessarily have enough time to pull this all together), we decided to take our chances with the amount of time that we had, and all get ready and head out together.  Needless to say, we left the house at about 11:20am and walked the block over to the marina to start decorating for the party.  Luckily, my sister Raquel, soon to be BIL Sebastian, my parents, My FIL, and my friend Cat and her husband Shane showed up and help us with the bulk of the decorating.  Granted it wasn’t much, because the wind was taking everything with it, but it DID take all of us to tape and tie table cloths down to all the tables.  The saying “Teamwork makes the dream work” totally applies here!

Our guests started arriving at around 1-1:15pm.  We had pulled it all together just in time.  Once people started arriving, we really were able to put faces and a number on all of the support and love that we and our twins have.  It was pretty overwhelming to see all those people together for us and our family.  Words can hardly describe what was going on inside of me that afternoon.  I felt like all the love in that space was lifting me to a greater height, like I could physically see love, in colors and hugs and warmth.  I’ve never felt that before, and it made me all teary eyed.  I played it off like my contacts were bothering me.

At around 2pm, we invited everyone to eat.  My moms Pernil (roasted pork shoulder marinated in red and green peppers, cilantro, onions and garlic, vinegar and oil) and Arroz Con Gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas) are to die for! Most people went back for seconds, and some even went back for thirds!  We waited for everyone to finish eating and got then got together for the moment they had all been waiting for and the reason we had invited them all to share that day with us.  I had spent 3 hours the night before (while on my overnight shift mind you) filling black balloons with glitter and confetti.  At the party, I had everyone line up in a semicircle around Callie and I and distributed the balloons for everyone to blow up, but not before we begged and pleaded with them not to cheat and ruin the surprise. They had waited that long, what was 2 more minutes, right?! Surprisingly enough, no one cheated, and they blew up the balloons, tied them off, and waited for our cue. [Random fact about me: I am deathly afraid of balloons.  Like, ridiculous, paralyzing fear!  My father makes fun of me all the time, and my friends do their best to protect me whenever there are balloons around.  Something about the unexpected popping of balloons that gets me all freaked out, my hands start shaking, my stomach feels weird, my heart races out of my chest.  It’s the weirdest thing, but I can’t shake it and I have no idea where it comes from or how it started.  It’s kinda always been there.]  Callie counted off a “1…2…3” and balloons popped all over the place- cue stalled heart!  Blue glitter and “It’s a Boy” confetti went flying everywhere!!  Some people rejoiced right away, others looked for a speck of pink somewhere in the mix, and some people took a minute to process.  My mom took about 15 seconds longer than everyone else before she realized that she would not only be getting her first grandson son but also her second!  She never in a million years expected twin boys.  Hardly anyone did! It made that moment that much cooler.  After tons of hugs, tears, and congratulations, we continued to party well into the evening.  People mingled, had cake, asked tons of questions and relished in the fact that two beautiful baby boys will be joining our predominantly female family, and will finally add some testosterone to our home.

Levi James & Noah Oscar, your Mommy and Mama (and the rest of this crazy large family) are waiting for you with hearts so full and arms wide open…

both

Wear Your Guess

Wear Your Guess

pinkJust the 2 of usphoto 1

Tons of Pink and Blue

Tons of Pink and Blue

Cake Pops thanks to Tia Raquel and Tio S

Cake Pops thanks to Tia Raquel and Tio Sebas

Popping Balloons

Popping Balloons

photo 2    kisboysIf you want  to watch a brief video of the reveal (less than a minute) feel free…watch my family go nuts!