9 Months Old!

So Noah and Levi turned 9 months last Sunday, and boy are those kids something else!  They really are coming into their personalities and becoming their own little people.  Sometimes it’s hysterical to watch, and other times, I am kind of in fear of what the future holds!  The boys are smart, loving, cuddly, and most of all, mama’s boys!






There are so many things that I can say about Noah, but nothing would suffice to capture how LARGE his personality is.  He is totally going to be my little linebacker.  There is nothing he loves more that crawling all over his brother and tackling him to the ground.  We practice with a little sensory football that we bought at a tag sale, and he loves when I throw it and he gets to “catch” it, and then “throws” (hands) it back to me, and gets so excited when I yell, ” MUY BIEN NENE!!!!”

He is also perfecting how to wave, and can be seen waving to pretty much anyone, except my father and Callie’s father.  I don’t have any idea why he won’t wave to them.  The best is when I get home from work, and I walk in to them eating dinner in their high chairs and Noah’s face lights up and he waves to me!  It’s totally the awesomest!

He is more and more mobile every day and has been figuring out how to use all of the furniture to get him where he needs to go.  He crawls at the speed of light, and has started to use my fishing bucket as his main means of “transportation”.  He’s strong and stubborn.  If you tell him “no” or say “uh uh!”, he will promptly throw whatever is in his hands, or toss his body backwards and cry his fake cry (you now the one!) until he is finally over it, and will go back to doing something he probably shouldn’t be doing.  He is experimenting with different sounds, but still has no words and sounds like a baby zombie (as you’ll hear in the video below). This kid. I love him to pieces.






Levi is my sensitive little soul.  If you want to cuddle and squish all day?  He’s your guy!  He loves to pull his brothers hair (especially after getting crawled on) but then will rub his brothers head while Noah plays with toys.  He is still our pacifier baby, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.  Levi LOVES music and can be found “singing”, off key (mostly) and mouthing the words and trying to make the sounds.  Itsy Bitsy Spider is hands-down, the GREATEST song in the world to him. He is quite the mimicking baby at 9 months old.

He is very verbal.  He tries to say “leche” but it sounds more like, “nene” which is what we call his brother, but it’s fair to say that “leche” is his first word, which doesn’t surprise me because this kid can EAT! Basically, don’t go anywhere near him if you have food in our hands and you don’t intend to share!  I don’t think he ever gets full,  and still no teeth in sight either! I have no idea how he gums all his food to death!

He finally started crawling about 2-3 weeks ago, but we were a little worried because it was always with one side of his body only, dragging his little belly across the floor and one leg behind him, but in the past week he has learned to move both legs (kinda, sorta, occasionally) and has started darting across the apartment.  He is learning to stand himself up on lots of the furniture, toys, and in his crib, but he still hasn’t learned how to get down, so he’ll stand there and cry until someone comes over and helps him down.  He is truly scared, almost petrified to fall.  My little cautious baby.   Still very observant and still has a lot of trepidation about movement and trusting his body.  He’ll learn, just at his own pace.

Noah and Levi have really started to form a special bond and have started to look for each other.  Lots of times the can be found sharing some morsel of food that one of them found, swapping sippy cups, or holding hands in their high chairs.  They have started to communicate more (whatever that means) and have been found having conversations using grunting noises with each other when they should be going down for the night.  And weekend mornings I find their room a mess, after they tag team and throw all of the stuffed animals off of the dresser that separates their cribs, and then LAUGHING about it!


HAPPY SATURDAY! (note the mess on the floor!)

These two have really become 2 peas in a pod and look for each other when the other one isn’t in the room.  They use those grunts like echolocation! I kid you not!  But watching them grow has been pretty awesome.  These little 9 month old guys have stolen my heart!

Turtles grilled cheese my kids

A 7 Year Old’s Insight

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good, The Bad, The 10 Week Update

This weekend was one for the books.

THE GOOD – My sisters Wedding!  OMG! It was absolutely amazing!  The day started early for us, around 7am, getting all of the kids ready and packed to go where they needed to go.  We were all bathed, dressed, and out the door before 8:30am. Talk about a serious hustle!  Mary stayed with another foster mother, who has a 7 month old little girl, and who had a 7 year old little boy who we have had plenty of play dates with.  We’ve become great friends over the past 2 years and have always had children in our care around the same age.  Mary really enjoyed her time with our friend…



The boys stayed with their Godmother Nikki (my bestie) and her fiance Titi, again, because the boys absolutely adore them, and they absolutely love (and spoil) our babies.  They took them on yet another shopping spree for more toys! toysAnd threatened to kidnap them for their vacation next week. vacation But ultimately, our babies are in good hands, and they really enjoy their time with their aunts, who take excellent care of them.playtimeSo we climbed back into the car, after dropping off our kids, and went to meet my sister at the Mansion.  We arrived around 11:30am, and so did all of her friends, my mother, my sister Nat, and my cousin who was doing her hair and makeup.  It was super fun!  We had “Today’s Hits” playing on Pandora, everyone was drinking mimosa’s (except me of course because suddenly I have this new obsession with chewing on ice!), and sharing memories and laughter with my sister to help keep the nerves away as she was getting ready.  We hung out for a while before Sebastian showed up.  He was there with his mom, who was running back and forth between his room and the Master Suite where the rest of the ladies were.  Since they didn’t have a wedding party, just 2 flower girls, I decided that my sister had enough people to help keep her calm, so I went over to where Sebas was, and hung out with him while he got ready, drank his whiskey, and practiced his vows.  I tried my best to make him laugh, because the amount of sweat that was pouring off of him, and the severity of his shaking were unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  So joked around, we laughed, watched TV, and waited for the photographer and videographers (who has a freaking drone to get aerial shots!) so they could start getting ready.

When they finally showed up, I was between two rooms, trying to help and be in pictures with my sister and with my future brother-in-law.  When my sister finally put on her dress, I don’t know if it was all these crazy hormones or just the fact that my little sister, my first best friend, someone I can tell all my secrets too without judgment, was getting married.  She looked so damn beautiful, and the tears flowed, freely, without reservation.  And good thing, because I was officiating the ceremony, and couldn’t allow myself to cry during the service.  How unprofessional!  So I cried, quite a bit, as I helped my sister put on her wedding gown. nana nana1When they were both dressed and ready, they decided to do a reveal, just the two of them, before everyone saw them.  I followed along because I was getting video of the whole day. Seeing that man cry, turned me into a blubbering mess…again!nana2When all was said and done, we walked outside to the area where the ceremony was going to take place.  Guests were starting to arrive.  Family and friends had excitement etched all over their faces.  Before you knew it, it was a quarter to 5, and almost all of the seats were filled, waiting for the couple to come down the aisle.  I was at the front, nervous, but so ready to help send my sister off into married life.




nana3I actually did rather well during the ceremony!  I kept it together……….for the most part.  The only time I cried a little was when Sebastian read his vows, because I had heard my sisters vows quite a few times to desensitize myself to them, and had read through the ceremony countless times to get the correct cadence, and timing and spacing.  But when Sebas read his vows, and how raw his emotions were, and the crack in his voice, I  couldn’t resist.  It slipped a little..but I pulled it together (thank you thoughts of Sewer rats, and also the Giants winning the Super Bowl!) and I was back in the game!  I married my sister and her husband and we were off to (un)cocktail hour and an awesome reception underneath a beautifully decorated HUGE tent!  We partied, hard!  It was loads of fun, no drama (thankfully), and everything was just perfect.  Now, they are both off to Tahiti now, and I’m only a little bit jealous…I couldn’t be happier for them, and I know that they will make each other so happy for the rest of their lives…and I can’t wait for more nieces and nephews! NANA5

THE BAD – After all of the amazing going on Saturday, we wake up Sunday morning to a non stop phone ringing. I knew something was wrong right away, but if you’re ever in that place between being asleep and awake, it was almost like I was dreaming.  Phone started ringing at about 7:30, but neither of us got up to answer it until about 10am.  I noticed that Callie’s mom was on the caller ID, and she usually works Sunday’s and doesn’t use her cellphone, so I knew immediately, something wasn’t right.

“Cal’s, wake up!  You’re mom keeps calling, and it’s Sunday and she works, and it’s her cell.”

“Oh shit…hand me the phone.”  Dials her mom.  “Oh jeez…what time?  Since when?  Why didn’t you call my cell?  But I don’t have any missed calls…uh huh….uh huh…yeah….uh huh….i dunno…uh huh….ok…well how’s Aunt Jasmine?  Alright, we’ll get dressed and we’ll go, but we have to get the kids…ok, love you mom…be there soon…”

“What happened?!?”

“Aunt Brittany passed away…this morning…at 7:15…and my phone didn’t ring…”

So Sunday morning, after spending 9 days in the hospital, Aunt Brit passed away.  Not a minute before Aunt Jas went in to tell her she loved her, and some other things that she wasn’t telling anyone, either because it was too painful to relive or too personal to say.  And that’s okay.  But she’s gone, and we miss her, and it’s really shitty.  Her family wants to cremate her, so they will, and they don’t want a memorial service, which we are all against with the exception of her mother and sister (who are delusional even now after she’s gone), so we’re having a service anyway.  On Thursday evening.  It’ll be so so hard…

This was such an emotionally draining weekend, and we are all feeling to today.  We haven’t slept, everyone has a headache, all 3 kids are acting out, and I just wanna run away even if it’s just for a few minutes.  But we’re hanging tough and making it work….as best we can, we make it work….

10 WEEK UPDATE – So it’s been 10 weeks (and 4 days at this point) and the nausea had FINALLY subsided! Thank the heavens, because it was a lot!  And it was constant.  BUt YAS!  It’s gone!  But interestingly enough, since it’s been gone, I’ve had an aversion to lettuce…salad really, but I can  pick the things out of it, like cucumber and tomatoes and carrots, and still eat those things individually, but it’s that damn lettuce that gets me every time.  It’s awful.  What do I love?!  ICE!  Lots and lots of ICE!  I like to chomp on it sotht it makes everyone around me absolutely crazy.  Interesting thing, when my mom was pregnant with me, she had my uncles trekking to the store to buy bags of ice, because the ice trays weren’t freezing fast enough for her appetite for them.  I didn’t know this until Sunday, when we were all at my parents house (really my moms sisters house, where my parents are living in her basement studio until they find a condo/coop) in the evening, and my uncle asked me if I wanted anything.  So I told him, “Just a cup of ice”, and he gave me the widest, cheesiest grin.  He laughed and said, “She’s just like you when you were pregnant! Remember you used to send me to the store and get you ice, and ice, and ice!?!”  And here goes my mom, “Oh my gah…Jew gonna haben a girl! Yes jew are because Mami loven to eata de ice when chee was pregne wis jew! Oh jes!  It’s a girl!” It’s nice to hear that I’m like my mom, because I always consider us so different.  It’s nice to have this pregnancy to connect us, and I get to hear stories that I’ve never heard before about her pregnancy.  It’s actually really nice, and made me feel pretty special.

I’ve been having some weird mild cramping, but Callie seems to think it’s just baby growing, and considering how exhausted I have been and so hungry (although I can’t eat more than a few bites every hour or two), I don’t doubt that there is some growth spurt happening or something.  My next Ob appt is on 8/27 for the Nuchal, so hopefully, all will go well with that, although I have no doubt.  I do worry about the constant headaches I’ve been having and how nothing makes them go away.  Not even the recommended dose of Tylenol.  I worry that it might be an issue with my blood pressure, but even having gone to our local CVS and done the cuff there, my pressure was were it usually is…borderline, which is my normal for me at around 135/80.  It’s been like that since I was about 18.  Not that it’s a good thing, but it’s my baseline.  Callie has also been having loads of headaches, which isn’t normal for her, so I’m wondering if it’s just stress and lack of sleep.  I guess I’ll know more at my next appointment.

I’ve been looking for some gender non-conforming maternity wear, and I am just so sad about the lack of anything that doesn’t have pink flowers and a plunging neck line.  The good thing is that I have a younger cousin (who I adore!) who is a fashion student at FIT, and she’s gonna take on helping me make so dope ass maternity clothes that are more my style.  We’re gonna buy a crapload of bellly bands and pants that I would normally wear, cut the waistline down, and then sew in the bands.  Not sure what we’re going to do about shirts, but because I’ll be getting bigger in the fall and winter months, I can get away with sweaters of button downs that I already own from when I was much bigger.  I knew those XXL Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie shirts would come in handy!  So, I have that to look forward to as far as maternity wear is concerned.  My pants are starting to get a little tight, but if it weren’t for that, I would have no other indicator that my body is changing.  Otherwise, everything seems to be going well…

Thanks again everyone for keeping Aunt Brit and Aunt Jas in your prayers…they’ve been received and it’s proving to provide loads of comfort at this time…you are loved…truly….

Bachelorette Weekend and 9 Weeks

My 2 week hiatus is due mainly to nausea, excessive tiredness, teething babies, and a ridiculously insane weekend for my sisters Bachelorette party. Forgive me…

Last weekend, my sister Raquel’s “Despedida De Soltera” (translation – Farewell to Being Single) was a Saturday and Sunday away to the East Coast’s budget version of Las Vegas, Atlantic City.  I have to say, I was little nervous about going because 1) we are on a very, very, very tight budget, so gambling and drinks were kind of out of the question for us (especially drinks for me),



2) being away from my 3 kids for a long time (first time the boys stayed away from home, but they were in good hands with Tia Nina [my best friend Nikki, their Godmother] and her Fiancè Titi, who took them on a Toys R Us shopping spree!!!) And 3) A 3-4hr drive with lots of nausea and limited bathroom breaks.  I have to say though, we had a BLAST!!!

We started the trip at a really awesome beach bar called “The Bungalow”.  They had a ton of beds and benches and hammocks all over the place.  The wings and fries we ordered were delicious, the DJ was playing some awesome music, and from what I hear, the drinks were on point!  So on point in fact, that about an hour and a half after being there, we all headed home so that my sister could sober up in order for us to get going for our dinner and clubbing that evening. My mom FORCED her to sleep it off for the next 2 hours, while the rest of us went to the private beach at our hotel.









While my sister slept and then showered and got ready (in my moms room), my mom decorated my sisters suite with more phalluses than I care to admit.  I mean, seriously..there were dick’s EVERYWHERE! Straws, plates, candy, cakes, games, decorations, and tons of other crap!  I spent most of those 2 days saying, “You better get that damn dick outta my face!”  We all got dressed and ready for an evening out, all dressed in black (as per my sisters request) and she was looking AMAZING in a skin tight, red mini dress. We met up at my sisters Suite for an hour or so of drinking, games, and lots and lots of pictures.  We toasted her upcoming nuptials, her amazing life so far, and her pretty awesome husband to be.  We LOVE that guy!  Sebastian is gonna be an amazing member of our family, a great father and husband, and knowing that my kids and nieces and nephews get to have such a kind and loving and funny and fun uncle, well, that makes me really happy.  Next week, I’ll write a little more about the both of them, and their incredible relationship, as I’ll be officiating their wedding next Saturday 8/1 (the service turned out pretty amazing, if I do say so myself!).  So yeah, we hung out for an hour, waited for the shuttle to take us back to the AC strip where we went to dinner at a classy burger joint, and then went for a night of dancing at Cuba Libre, a Cuban restaurant turned nightclub after hours.   out6 out1 outWe partied the night away.  EVERYONE was absolutely and totally wasted.  Good for them!  I would have done the same.  We got back to the hotel around 2:30am and a handful of my cousins and Raquel came back to our suite (which I shared with my sister Nat, my brother Pudge, his boyfriend Seven, my cousin and Callie), and we talked and laughed and ordered Pizza until 4am!  It was awesome to be able to spend time with my siblings and my cousins, like we used to when we were younger, before we all grew up and moved out or away.

The next morning we all met up for the continental breakfast.  I mean, why else do you stay in hotels?!?!  We had a laugh over waffles, and then packed up, checked out, and headed over to the Tropicana casino to use our $20 voucher from $20 shuttle ride of the



night before.  Can you believe that I won over $200 on my $20 voucher!?!?!  Yup!!! I took $200 for the weekend and come home with $220!  Pretty awesome stuff!  So we went to the Fiesta Buffet because the crab leg craving was pretty intense, and after about 4 heaping plates of crab legs, we got in the car at 4pm and made our way home.  A 3 hour drive with 2+ hours of traffic and picking up our kids from 2 different locations (one in the city and another about an hour North) we finally made it home at 10:40pm!  But it was all totally worth it! My sister had the Bachelorette party she always dreamed of, and that’s all that mattered!

So today makes 9 weeks for me!  These past 9 weeks have NOT been pretty.  I am ashamed to say that I am the epitome of what movies make pregnant woman out to be.  I am irritable, nauseated, cry at the drop of a hat, sluggish, exhausted, unmotivated, and can sleep for hours on end!  I am the type of person who NEVER sleeps.  I can do fairly well all week on 3-4 hours a night.  I think I have napped more in the past 4 weeks than I have in my entire life combined, but you know what!?  Screw it!  I’m pregnant and I’m loving every second of it!

I met with our OB for my first appointment this past Wednesday.  She is the same OB that Callie had and we absolutely adore her.  She’s young and hip and funny, and is a mother herself to a 13 month old, which to me sometimes makes all the difference.  We did all the “first OB appt.” stuff like blood work (about 20 vials of blood to be exact), blood pressure (A little high but that’s been my norm since I was 17 at 134/88), weight (I’m down 15lbs since I weighed myself 3 days before transfer from 244 to 229 [dude, i totally just told you all my weight!]) and ultrasound to make sure that Biscuit is measuring where it should be, which it is, at exactly 8w5d with an EDD of 2/26/15! We have a ton of winter babies!  Callie is 12/26, The Boys are 1/11, Gracie our Kitty is 1/15 and Mary is 1/31!



So with everything looking good so far with the exception of my BP, she sent my off with a huge orange container to collect my urine for 24 consecutive hours, just to make sure there isn’t any protein in it and be ahead of possible preeclampsia, in case it does happen.  Also, I’ve been taking Metformin for my PCOS and borderline sugar stuff, so she wants me off of it at 10 weeks, and then 2 weeks later when I go in for my Nucal (sheesh it’s going fast!), they can do an early, non-fasting Glucose Test (yup, the delicious juice drink everyone raves about!) to get ahead of gestational diabetes, if that ends up being the case. Let’s hope and pray, that’s not the case.

Aside from that, symptoms have been pretty much the same.  I don’t see any growth although my pants are starting to feel a little more snug, and the food cravings (aside from those crab legs on vacation) have subsided.  The smells though, yeah, that’s still going on…strong!  Still haven’t been able to change a poopie diaper, although I HAVE tried a handful of times, and gag through my rescue calls to Callie, while I hold a flipping baby’s legs up in the air and cover my face with my t-shirt.  Not my finest moments as a mom, that’s for sure.

But alas, things are well.  Everyone is happy, and growing (and teething!), and sitting up, going to art classes, and enjoying summer, and living.  Really really living!

The 30 Day Challenge – Day #29

Day 29-3 Wishes


I always wondered what I would wish for if I were given the ever elusive “3 wishes”. Now that I’m taking inventory of all my “wishes”, I’m surprised to see how often they changed. When I was a young kid it was all about toys and Lisa Frank stickers (especially the fuzzy ones!).  When I was a preteen, a collection of the coolest sneakers and tickets to a Spice Girl concert.  Teenager, wishing I could run away and no one would find me, that I was adopted (because there was no way in hell that I was actually BORN into this family) and that I would get a 2000 Mustang convertible for my graduation/birthday present.  Most of those things never happened.  Actually, come to think of it, almost ALL of those things never happened!  My 3 wishes now are totally different…

1)  That my children never have to experience or deal with adversity.
I know that this probaby will never happen and more often than not, it is those experiences that make them strong, but they also make people jaded, and angry and sometimes even recluse and desolate.  I can only hope that my kids pick up the same mentality that I have about things that are really crappy.  Stare it in the face, smile, give a little chuckle, and keep it moving.

2) I wish there was a magic pill that would allow my parents to never die.
For the first time ever, I’m starting to realize that our lives are finite.  At some point, all of them will end.  We will cease to exist and return to the ashes from whence we came.  Although I am okay with MY dying ( I came to terms with that years ago and have never been scared of it), I hate the idea of my parents dying.  I sometimes get flashes of them perishing in a plane crash, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time and someone shoots them, and for the rest of that day, I feel this heaviness in my heart.  My parents are one of the greatest gifts I’ve been blessed with, and it makes me incredibly sad that at one point or another in my life (hopefully 150 years from now) they won’t here.  A pill to keep them around (and looking and feeling young) forever would be AMAZING!

3) That I’m always of sound body and mind to continue to give my family all of me.
I haven’t always been the poster child for perfect health and sound mind.  Who the eff am I kidding!?!  I have NEVER been that person!  As I get older (and apparently wiser – who would have thought, eh?!) I realize how much my family relies on me for so many things.  I’m the sole bread winner, the cheerleader, the positive can-do attitude, the problem solver, the fixer, the “can you put this together?”er, the boo boo mender, the wife pleaser (boom chicka wow wow!), the “he likes it when YOU rock him”er, and the beating heart of my family.  It would really put us in a terrible place if I got sick, or fell back into my self destructive ways.  Having dealt with terrible depression in my life, the fear to go back to that place is excruciating.  What it did to my parents and siblings was bad enough that there is no way that I would ever want to do that to my children or my wife.  I work hard at not stressing out, and have really retrained my brain to embrace all of the good and reject the bad.  It’s been working out pretty well.  I wish more than anything, that I am always healthy and able for them, but also for myself.

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

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

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

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

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



Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to

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

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

Day 18-Something you regret

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

What This Community Has Given Me

I came into this blogging world with a simple idea. Write, write , write. Document your life, if not for you, then for your future wife and children so that they know what you were going through while waiting for their arrival. Record Callie’s changes while recording my own. Express my fear, joy, expectations and disappointment. I never thought that I would become a part of such an incredible community and that my life, my laughter, my tears, would be embraced the way that they have been. That I would have connected on such a deep level with people that I technically don’t know. That I would care so much about their lives and their triumphs and sadness, and feel what they feel right with them. Never in a million years did I anticipate words connecting with so many souls. Simple words…

This has been a really trying month for us. We’ve moved, received a new foster baby and embraced and welcomed her into our home, executed an amazing gender reveal party, took a child for respite care, (on a positive note) went on a much needed babymoon, and have visited the hospital because of (way too early) contractions. We’ve had issues with Mary’s mom, not very clear answers from our case workers, and sleepless nights because of two very sick girls with belly bugs. Let’s not forget to mention laundry, cooking, cleaning, groceries, homework and teething! This post isn’t about any of that though.

Today has been one of the scariest days in my life so far. I thought that our scare with Callie bleeding at the beginning of our pregnancy was the worst thing I had every experienced, until today. After 3 days on bed rest Callie woke up, went to the bathroom and noticed lots of blood when she wiped. She looked down into the toilet and realized that there was a lot of red. Very bright, gritty, grainy blood. She called me straight away at work and in a panicked voice, “Blood!” That’s all I got. That’s all I heard. My heart sank. Initially, when we experienced this some months ago, I freaked (naturally!) but my connection and bond wasn’t as strong. It wasn’t as pronounced. I hadn’t known my children. I hadn’t named them. I hadn’t felt and seen them kicking and squirming. I hadn’t experienced seeing them play together. I hadn’t sung to them, and I hadn’t pushed them back when they kicked me. The connection is different. I love my boys. Before, I loved the idea of having them with me, but I was learning and growing to love them everyday. Now, the idea of not having them makes me sick to my stomach.

As tears streamed down my face while I drove down I-95, I envisioned the worst. I got home as quickly as I could. Callie was waiting, red faced and teary eyed, trying to hold it together so Mary wouldn’t worry about the boys (she’s incredibly attached) and when I walked to her, we moved into the bedroom and she cried. She cried and worried and cried some more. I changed clothes, helped her put her Uggs on (officially Ugg season In NY and she is so excited) waited for Pop (Callie’s dad) to show up and ran out the door as soon as he did. We were sent to Montefiore at Albert Einstein (because our Dr says its a level 4 NICU in case we had to deliver TODAY they’d be getting the best care possible) and had every test you can imagine. First, worst hospital EVER! No seriously, I’m writing this from the “lounge” (hardest, most uncomfortable chairs ever!) after having been in L&D since about 10am, and now at 7pm (on the dot) we are still sitting here waiting for results of blood work from 2pm. No they haven’t forgotten about us (I asked, 4 times!) and no, they still don’t have the results. Second, bedside manor is comparable to a lobotomy! Long story short (too late, I know) everything with the boys is fine. Heart beats are normal, cervix is closed (and 3.2cm LONG), but the contractions are still coming on. The baby bump still hardens every 10-15 minutes or so. Babies and Mommy are still safe, still cozy, still sane (I hope) and still waiting.

This whole time, I didn’t know what to do. I reached out to a fellow blogger and vented. I shared my fears and she reassured me. I told her what was going on and she let me know it would all be fine. She asked what was happening and touched base. She asked how I was doing and if I needed anything. 30 minutes later, a nurse comes in and says there is something for us. A young man walks in, with a vase full of beautiful flowers and a card that read “We are thinking of you. Cook those babies a little longer so one day our twins will hang out. Love, Ashley and Devon“. This touched our hearts in a way that we can’t explain. There are no words. Perfect strangers, connected, by intangible emotions and a shared experience. Sharing each other’s pain and helping to lessen the load. What they have done for us today, simply by brightening a room and by sharing their love and support has reminded us that this community is real. That these people are real and that we truly do care about one another and that these rooms have power and love and light. But love…mostly love…