Mary, Our Best Girl

Sometimes I get really sad that I can’t legally post pictures showing Mary’s face, the joy that’s on it when she’s in her favorite place, sandwiched between her twin brothers and little tiny baby brother on her lap.  This kid LIVES for those brothers, and they absolutely adore her. They run up and down the apartment, sticking their head into her room, only to scream , “A-YA-YA” (their variation of Mary’s real name) and then run away so she will chase them.  When she gets home from school, she gives them all the kisses she has been saving for them throughout the day, and they love it.  Every second of it. And WE love it!  We love seeing her interactions with her family, her space, her things, because it reassures us that not only do WE feel that she is in the right place, but she feels it too…

IMG_4567

MY TIE IS ON POINT, BUT WTF WITH THE MUSCLES!!!! AND MARY ROCKING THE MID 90’S INSPIRED SIDE PONYTAIL!

IMG_4568

UGH, MY FREAKING HEART!

So where are we with Mary, you ask?!  NO-Fucking-WHERE, that’s where!!!  Our next court hearing is May 10th, and we officially begin the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) trial.  What does this mean for Mary and for our family?  It means that records from therapists, teachers, doctors, case workers have been subpoenaed.  It means that most if not all of Mary’s “providers”(including her caseworker) will be called to the stand.  It means that we have to sit on our hands while all of these people dictate the life of one of our kids, the kid that actually made us parents!  So it’s really, really hard.  From what we understand, this could take a while.  We’ve spoken to Mary’s lawyer (he strictly represents HER and what she WANTS, not necessarily what is in her best interest), and he will be out our place on May 2nd to “interview” her and see where she is at.  That little letter up there ^^^ is pretty telling.

But how is Mary?  Well, “all over the place” sort of sums it up.  Let’s go back about 2 months.  Mary was talking to her teacher and telling him that she didn’t feel very well and that she wanted to speak to Ms. Kelly, the school psychologist, because she “had a lot feelings”.  So he sent her to Ms. Kelly’s office so that they could have a chat. Mary expressed that she had so many feelings that she didn’t know how to feel (she told us all of this when she got home.  We are firm believers in the whole confidentiality thing and prefer she tells us things when she is ready, which she almost ALWAYS does).  Most of the time, she was telling us that she had a weird feeling in her belly that wouldn’t go away, like she was going down a roller coaster, and anyone who has experienced this sensation knows that that is EXACTLY what anxiety feels like, and how crazy and in tune with her feelings is she,  that she was able to vocalize what is going on inside.  She may not know what anxiety feels like, but she sure is having some.  As soon as we heard that, we gave her therapist a call and they have been sorting it out ever since.  CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is hard…so so hard!  Adults have a hard time with it, imagine being an 8 year old!  But this kid, she really is something else.

Her behavior has been less than stellar, and it’s been hard for us as parents to discipline her because we know that she is going through so, so much right now.  I can’t imagine having to “choose” between 2 families that I love and adore (she doesn’t have to choose, but no matter how much we reiterate that, she is still, in her mind, the one that makes the decision).  How do you “choose” between your birth family, who may not have necessarily always done the right thing, but that’s your REAL mom and your REAL sister.  Or your “real” family, where you feel the most loved, and wanted, and cared for?  As parents though, Callie and I have some serious behavior non-negotiables.  School work comes first.  ALWAYS.  There will be no playing or watching of the TV if homework is not done.  She stopped doing homework and stopped caring.  We saw it as a red flag because she absolutely LOVES school, but having recurring thoughts and anxiety makes it not easy to focus.  We don’t play with school though.  SO we are stuck between disciplining her the way we normally would but also taking into consideration that she has a hell of a lot going on.  Also, when mom is super consistent, and I’ll give her that, because she has been, Mary’s behavior goes all haywire! Then 3 weeks ago, Mary comes home with a yellow card from the after school program.  These yellow cards are warning cards.  2 yellow cards=a red card.  First red card=suspension.  Second red card is removal from the program.  We can’t have that!  Neither of us gets home until after 6, so the after school program is a necesity! What’s the yellow card for?  KICKING SOMEONE!  What in the fack!  That is our second non-negotiable!  We DO NOT under ANY circumstance, put our hand on someone.  We could preach the whole self defense thing which is cool for maybe an older kid, but for young kids, there really isn’t any reason for that, ESPECIALLY because there is no hitting at our house.  Callie and I may scream at each other once in a while, but never once have we disrespected each other like that.  She lost her privileges for a week.  3 days later, she comes home with another freaking yellow card!  SERIOUSLY!?!? Apparently, she was wandering around the school on her own, when she knows that it is the afterschool programs #1 rule. NO ma’am, so she felt that one, because it was Easter Sunday and she sat…the entire time…and the only reason we let her do the egg hunt was because my parents and siblings and aunts and uncles BEGGED us to let her.  So she had a whole 20 minutes for fun for 2 whole weeks.  One for the kicking, and one for the wandering off.  Not even 2 days after that, I get a call from the therapist telling me that Mary got into a fight at school.  For crying out freaking loud!  It’s all been handled and the past 2 weeks behavior has been incredible, which is great because with 2 very sick and whiny almost 16 month olds, our patience was very, very thin!

Otherwise, she is still doing exceptionally well in school,  had even better grades on her report card then last time!  She’s really been opening up at therapy and working through her stuff, and also, she has been an incredible, loving and kind big sister and daughter.  Honestly, I hope the outcome of this whole trial is that she will be freed for adoption, because if she’s not, I might just break one of our #1 house rules, and just hit something!  We love this kid so deeply, that thinking of her not being a part of our family is heartbreaking.  Let’s pray that May 10th is the beginning of bringing Mary fully into our family, legally into our family, forever into our family…it just has to be that way….

IMG_4554

A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY AS A FAMILY OF 6

IMG_4552

MY GIRL IN HER FAVORITE TREE

IMG_4188

MARY AND OUR NIECE IZZY

IMG_4186

LOOK HOW LEVI LOOKS AT HIS SISTER…THEY LOVE THAT GIRL.

 

IMG_4253

HER FAVORITE PLACE

Noah

jerseyMy little Noah.  These past 2 months have been really rough for my little guy.  There has been a lot of adjusting and acclimating to new environments and lots and lots of sickness.  In the past 4 months he has had 3 ear infections, but the last 2 (in the past month) have both been horrible double ear infections, that have my baby tossing and turning and whining all night.  We were feeling like it had started to affect his hearing, and in turn his speech and that he probably isn’t as verbal as Levi is because of it.  Well, he had to prove us wrong, because last week, the kid’s language EXPLODED and suddenly he went from a very raspy grunt to saying Mama, ma (for whatever reason this is how he calls Callie), cat, gato, Nene (his nickname), Nah-no (Macho, levi’s nickname) Moh (more), ah-ma (grandma), Ya-ya (Mary’s real name), uh-oh, wa-wa (Agua). 11 words y’all!!!  11 whole words in one week!  The same week that he had this awful, 103.7 fever inducing ear infection.  SO wild!  But we are so so proud! In fact, this morning, my parents came over to pick up Levi since he was diagnosed with RSV/Bronchiolitis and needs nebulizer treatments that his daycare won’t/can’t administer, and Noah spoke his first full sentence, while screaming and crying at the top of his lungs and pointing at my parents car, “Nene bah-bye a Nah-no! Nene bah-bye a Nah-no!” Nene goes bye bye with Macho…damn near broke my heart!

sick

MY SICKY BABY

Because of the total number of ear infections he has had in such a short period of time (6 in 6 months, 4 in 3 months, and 2 in one month) and the increasing frequency, we though, “It may be time to speak to a specialist,” so our pediatrician recommended a really great Pediatric ENT around our area.  We have yet to make an appointment, but I think it’s really just because I’m afraid that my tiny baby is gonna need tubes in his ears.  Despite all the amazing things and all the success that I hear about, it still scares me to know that my baby is gonna be put under and that he’s going to be in pain, and I hate it! I worry about an allergy to anesthesia, about how scared he will be, about not being able to hold his hand through it, and that maybe, after all that drama, they just won’t work. We’ll see how it will all play out.  We also hear that they outgrow it around 2ish, but do I really wanna sit and watch my little guy in pain for another 8-10 months?! NOPE!  So we’re exploring this tube thing, doing our research, and hoping that for now, this is the end of the ear infections.

IMG_4120

103.7 FEVER BUT STILL ADORABLE!

Noah’s gross motor skills are developing so well, and his fine motor skills seemed pretty advance for a kid his age.  He can make his stacking boxes in to a small tower and then of course knock them down.  He can throw and even kick a ball!  You have no idea how excited I am to have babies that actually GET soccer!  Like, get excited when they make a goal, and will run away with the ball when I chase them.  He’s also gotten pretty good at feeding himself with a fork, not so much a spoon yet (which I wish he would hurry up and learn, because he LOVES soup and it takes forever to feed him since he’s that kid that won’t eat until he swallows what’s in his mouth after chewing for a whole minute!!).  He points and says, “Ah Nene” (para Nene/for Nene) when he wants something.  He also ROCKS at using a shape sorter.  He’s an awesome climber that is already giving Mama heart attacks, but mostly, above all, he is our sweet affectionate boy, who kisses you when you fake cry, loves to hold hands and hug his brothers, and sister and will almost always share his food with you.  Except for string cheese.  This boy LOVES his string cheese!

IMG_4126

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES ANYONE!

IMG_4258

EASTER FANCY!

IMG_4284

OH SNAPCHAT FILTERS! YOU CRACK ME UP!

IMG_4204

ALL READY FOR SCHOOL

IMG_4182

BREAKFAST ON OUR FIRST FAMILY WEEKEND GETAWAY

IMG_4149

FRESH HAIRCUT FOR PICTURE DAY

IMG_4285

HAHAHA! MY SON IS GONNA BE HELLA HANDSOME WHEN HE GROWS UP!

26 Weeks

I wish it would just slow down.  I hope that time doesn’t got his quickly when the boys are born.  It makes me sad to feel that this is all going to be over soon.  I love seeing Callie pregnant.  I love the great mood and the positive attitude she has had.  I especially love coming home to my wife (hehe wife!) every day now that she’s on bed rest, because our opposing work shifts only allow for us to spend time together on Friday evenings and Saturdays.  It’s been so great to catch up on our TV shows and cuddle on the couch or in bed (kid free!) all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays when I have my overnights.  It’s amazing to watch her body change every week to accommodate our growing babies.

This week Levi and Noah are about the length of zucchini.  They should be weighing in at just over a pound half, but they are weighing in at (Levi) 2.2lbs and (Noah) 2.0.  The doctor says that’s great!  They continue to develop their lungs by breathing in amniotic fluid and then exhaling it.  They keep stretching their bodies out and pushing all over Callie’s belly.  I’m almost certain that they (because they are exhibitionists!) are sticking their little butts out for Mamá to rub.  Of course, I appease them!  Their fingernails have grown all the way in and will probably be really jagged when they are born.  Grimy and jagged nails are one of our pet peeves with kids! They might also open their eyes this week or next and begin batting their eyelashes (hopefully they’ll be long and I’ll be really envious!).  This week, their brain-wave activity is also the highest it has been throughout their development.  They are really starting to make sense of the warm pool that they are encased in, and all of the sounds around them.  Their sensitivity to light is also at its most sensitive since they have been able to sense it.

This week, at our OB and Perinatologist appointments, we were told told that Callie’s cervix got back up to 2.1 from a 1.94 so that’s great.  We were also told that the boys have quite a bit of hair, Noah more than Levi.  Callie also passed her 3 hour glucose test (phew!) but that she is sort of borderline so she has to monitor her intake of carbohydrates and sugars.  Unfortunately, it was Halloween Friday and Mary brought home enough candy to satisfy (10 times over!) Callie’s insatiable urge for sweets these past 3 weeks.  And by insatiable I mean, piece of pie, 10 minutes later sherbert, 30 minutes later candy, 20 minutes later more pie, 1 hour later looking for something sweet again.  Marco brought a pie, Crack Pie to be exact, for the wedding and it was AMAZING! Callie has been talking about it ever since.  No seriously, EVERYONE and their mother needs to have this pie.  If you have a Momofuku near you, make it your business to get a slice.  It’s pricey ($45/pie) but soooooooo worth it!  All of that said, everything looks  and seems to be going well. Our weekly appointments continue with the OB and bi-weekly with our Perinatologist.  I’m starting to get a little worried that we haven’t even painted the nursery yet, but I enlisted Marco for a hike and help with cleaning and organizing our storage unit and getting some stuff done in the nursery this Saturday.  Even on bed rest and with everything going on, Callie is still encouraging me to take some time to myself since I’ve been doing everything basically on my own for over 3 weeks now, so I’ll be able to really enjoy the autumn foliage this Saturday hiking Storm King Mountain and revisit the sculpture park at Storm King Arts Center down the road.

MY WIFE AT 26 WEEKS PREGNANT WITH OUT TWIN BOYS

MY WIFE AT 26 WEEKS PREGNANT WITH OUT TWIN BOYS

*BREASTFEEDING WITHOUT BIRTHING UPDATE*

I have been trying to induce lactation pretty much since we found out that Callie was pregnant.  I have done manual expression and used a breast pump 6-10 times a day (depending on my work schedule) for about 15-20 minutes each time.  I wasn’t having any success with the exception of 1 little drop, so I contacted a lactation consultant who put me on Domperidone.  After the second day on Dom, I had a few drops of clear liquid the next 2 days of pumping.  After those first few days, there was nothing else.  Not a single drop, but I never gave up.  I called the consultant to ask her if birth control was the way to go (I think my PCOS is preventing me from having the appropriate levels of estrogen and progesterone to really get the milk making ball rolling), but she said it can take more than the 1-2 weeks that everyone says it takes from Dom to work.  So a month and a half of taking Dom 4x’s a day later, and still nothing.  I decided to make an appointment for both Callie and I, so Friday morning we went there to discus with her our next options.  She checked to make sure that I wasn’t producing anything (which I’m not), and decided that since we still have time it would be best for me to stop pumping (thank the lawd!), take Birth Control to stop my period, trick my body into thinking I am pregnant by not taking the sugar pill and going right into the next cycle, and continue with the same dosage of Dom for the next 2 months.  Then I’ll stop the pill, keep taking the Dom, and start pumping with a vengeance like before.  HOPEFULLY, that will work.  If not, then there really isn’t anything else I can do besides get a feeding tube and supplement with Callie’s breast milk or formula.  I hear that once babies latch on, there seems to be an increase in milk production from non-birthing moms, and then I can start taking herbs again that will help with that as well.  So I’m still on this journey of trying to be the best Mamá for my boys.

WOULN'T BE SO BAD TO NURSE WITH A NURSING SYSTEM, WOULD IT?

WOULDN’T BE SO BAD TO NURSE WITH A NURSING SYSTEM, WOULD IT?

Marrying My Best Girl

I spend most of my Friday night getting our apartment ready to host about 15 guests for our wedding.  I think  it was more to calm my nerves and keep busy.  I couldn’t eat, I barely slept, I made sure that our rings fit, and I looked at myself in the mirror every time I went to the bathroom, and practiced saying “I do”.  After taking Mary trick or treating in our apartment complex, I set up some minimal decorations as per Callie’s request because she didn’t want to make “a big deal” about it, especially because it was taking place in our living room and not at some big fancy hall like we had always dreamed of (it’ll happen eventually).  I organized, moved furniture, moved the zoo into the nursery, and hoped that I hadn’t forgotten anything important.  I kept telling Callie, “In just 19, 16, 12, hours, you’ll be my wife!!”  The smiles that followed that will be engrained in my mind forever.  My friend Nikki spent the night for an impromptu bachelorette party that consisted of watching Bridesmaids and drinking non-alcoholic wine (for Callie) and shots of Fireball (for us!)  We  stayed up later than we probably should have, but it was fine since I couldn’t really sleep anyway.

Saturday morning, the BIG DAY, my alarm goes off at 8:03 ( always set to some random time…OCD thing).  I wipe the kitchen counters down one more time.  I make sure that there isn’t any hair on the floor of my very white (and usually immaculate) bathroom.  I take our clothes out.  I iron Callie and Mary’s dresses.  I Iron my clothes and Nikki’s son’s (basically my nephew) clothes.  My sister got to  us at around 10:30am to style Callie’s hair.  I brushed my teeth and found my something old, new, borrowed, blue.  I had to make some rice so I put the pot on for Nikki to watch while she made her baked ziti, cut some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and put them con crackers with a little basil leaf, and I jumped in the shower.

At around 11:30 our guests started arriving, putting their homemade dishes in our kitchen for the potluck lunch, and getting really excited about our vows.  I put my socks and slacks on, taking deep breaths, I button my shirt slowly and fidgeted with my tie (I must have tied it like 10 times before it was “perfect” and I don’t even believe in perfect!), I buttoned up my vest, tied my new shoes, and walked outside to let the judge into my garage spot (parking by us is a nightmare!) .  We walked upstairs, and I got everyone to find a seat.  I stood there with the judge waiting for Callie to enter the living room.  Callie walked into the living room down our long hallway and at the very moment, I couldn’t believe that after all that time of talking about our little shotgun wedding, it as actually happening.  I had seen Callie in her dress, but I hadn’t seen her done up with hair and make-up in her dress.  My head was reeling!  In about 5 minutes I was going to be married.  I was going to have this amazing woman as  my wife.  My heart couldn’t contain itself.  My eyes filled with tears (didn’t spill any though!) and I held Callie’s hands as the judge welcomed everyone and introduced herself.

She asked if anyone objected (NOPE!), she asked if we wanted to marry each other (YUP!) and then we exchanged rings making promises to be there for each other as spouses, not only when we wanted to but more so when we didn’t.  We were told to never forget our commitment and to love and honor each other every day for the rest of our lives.  And we will.  I just know it!  Something about the way that Callie looked at me during those 5 minutes, I knew that I was making the best choice of my life. That having her as my wife, and her choosing me to be the other mother to our children are the two most important and life changing decisions I could have made.  For the rest of my life I will be reminded of that in the smiling faces of my kids, or the tears of my wife when we see them off to college, or the first time we meet our grandchildren.  I will know that I made the best choice by choosing her.

We took a ton of pictures, had lots of delicious food, and celebrated with some music and some reminiscing.  It was nice to have such a small intimate affair.  We were able to talk to everyone, to listen, to share hugs and know that we will remember everything that happened, even to the smallest minute detail, like how Gracie (our kitty) walked across us and the judge when she asked if there was anyone who objected (really Gracie! You little hater! I know you love mommy but DANG!).  I’ll remember all of the kin words that were said about our love and the tears shed by friends and family. It was an amazing day that I will never forget.  I keep looking down at my ring and saying, “Did his really happen?!?!”  It really did.  Today, I woke up the same person that I went to bed as on Friday night, but somehow, everything is different.  The only thing that comes to mind is our favorite song, as song that us of our relationship, of our story, of our love…

Want To by Sugarland

I packed a cooler and a change of clothes
Let’s jump in, see how far it goes
You got my heart in your daddy’s boat
We’ve got all night to make it float

We could sit on the shore
We could just be friends
Or we could jump in

The whole world could change in a minute
Just one kiss could stop it spinning
We could think it through
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came
with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

I got your ring around my neck
and a couple of nights I don’t regret
You’ve got a dream of a degree and a shirt that smells like me

Yeah we both got dreams
we could chase alone
or we could make our own

The whole world could change in a minute
Just one kiss could stop it spinning
We could think it through
But I don’t want to if you don’t want to
We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came
with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to if you don’t want to

Never waste another day wonderin’ what you threw away
Holding me, holding you
I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

We could keep things just the same
Leave here the way we came with nothing to lose
But I don’t want to, if you don’t want to

But I want to
But I want you

WAITING FOR THE JUDGE

WAITING FOR THE JUDGE

WAITING FOR MY BEST GIRL

WAITING FOR MY BEST GIRL

WITH THE JUDGE

WITH THE JUDGE

WHEN I SAID "I DO" AFTER ALL THAT PRACTICE IT STILL DIDN'T SOUND PERFECT!

WHEN I SAID “I DO” AFTER ALL THAT PRACTICE IT STILL DIDN’T SOUND PERFECT!

I LOVE THAT GIRL!

I LOVE THAT GIRL!

MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF THE DAY

MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF THE DAY

wed11

wed12

MY RINGS

MY RINGS

WITH MY SIBLINGS

WITH MY SIBLINGS

WITH OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS

WITH OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS

HAD TO GET IN A FREE FEEL! FIGURED I WOULDN'T GET YELLED AT ON OUR WEDDING DAY...LOL

HAD TO GET IN A FREE FEEL! FIGURED I WOULDN’T GET YELLED AT ON OUR WEDDING DAY…LOL

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

wed8

BED REST NEVER LOOKED THIS GOOD!

BED REST NEVER LOOKED THIS GOOD!

Our Love Story

Two days shy of the day I marry the love of my life, and I can’t stop thinking about how I fell in love with her.  How when she walks into a room, even if there are hundreds of people in there, she is the only one I see.  I think about how she is laying in bed, making such a huge sacrifice to make sure that our 2 glorious little boys are kept safe and sound.  I remember how from the first time I met her, I gravitated towards her as if our hearts knew something that we weren’t privy to yet.  Some big old secret and plan to eventually see us together.  This is the story of how our love came to be.

I was in a relationship.  As married as you could be in NY at the time.  I had been in this relationship, trying to conceive with a women I knew wasn’t for me.  My heart always knew it, but my brain tried to make it work, because that’s what you do when you are “married”.  My ex-wife and I were invited to a BBQ at Callie’s best friend Jenny’s house.  Her best friends girlfriend was my biological brother (from my father’s side) lesbian sister Trudy.  We had a few beers, sat in a huge circle on the deck, played some badminton, and had a few burgers and hot dogs.  As the night started closing in on us, the fireflies set the mood, and the music had a bunch of drunken lesbians rapping along to B.I.G.’s “Juicy”, we decided to play a game of spade’s.  I had already seen Callie’s competitive nature during our not so friendly 2vs2 badminton match, and was surprised to see that no one wanted to play with her OR against her. “She’s CRAZY when it comes to spades!” “She REFUSES to lose!” “I can’t play with her crazy ass!” I, was totally up for the challenge.  I am a spades master after all! So we played together, all night, across from each other, high-fiving, laughing, telling jokes, and talking loads of crap. Loads and loads of crap!  We won, tons of times, and spent the next three hours in our seats at the table as pair after pair were spanked several times.  Spades Masters we were called.

We didn’t see each other for months, probably closer to a year.  We barely spoke.  I ended up calling my relationship quits, dissolving our domestic partnership, and moving out leaving my 2 fur baby puppies behind.  I ended up back home with my parents and attending an outpatient treatment program.  I was a wreck.  My life was in shambles.  I started a rebound pseudo-relationship.  It was great while it lasted I suppose.  We connected but something was just off, and after all of the hard work that I had put in during those 2 years working on myself, I wasn’t willing to settle.  I started hanging out with Trudy (my brothers sister) and hung out with Callie a time or two.  She asked if I had 4th of July plans, which I didn’t, and we ended up hanging out that day.  Her parents boat neighbor took his boat out and invited Callie, Jenny, Trudy and myself.  We spent the whole day talking crap, hanging out, drinking ice cold beer and smoking cigarettes.  There was something about her.  How easy our conversation was.  I loved the way she laughed .  She would start with a chuckle, then full belly laugh, but she would cover her mouth and you’d only be able to see her eyes over her ridiculously chubby little Vienna sausage fingers.  I actually told her that, and it’s become an ongoing joke.  She responded with, ” Just as ridiculous as that Spongebob watch!” ::Swoon:: She could trash talk with the best of them.  At one point, I was ready to go swimming, and she wasn’t ready yet.  I told her (in a very flirtatious but not trying to be flirtations way) that I’d hold her hand as we jumped in.  She hesitated but agreed.  At that very moment, I felt something. Holding her hand, I got a shiver down my spine.  A flash of a future with her.  Electricity.  About 2 years later, Callie told me that she had felt “a spark”, and she could tell by my expression at that very moment, that I had felt the same thing.  I went home afterwards, even though she had asked me to stay the night with her and the girls.  I knew, that was the beginning…

OUR FIRST DAY...AND CHECK OUT MY WATCH!

OUR FIRST DAY…AND CHECK OUT MY WATCH!

A few weeks later, I went on my annual camping trip with my closest friends.  It’s a rule that we are not to use electronics on this trip.Only twice a day it is allowed: 1)while we wait for everyone of us to be up, give or take an hour in the morning and 2) in the early evening when we all went down to the rec center to take our turns for showers, about another hour or so.  Callie had remember that I was going, and she sent me a Facebook message wishing me a good time. I didn’t have any reason to check FB considering that all my closest friends were there and I usually steered clear of social networking all together on our trips, but something kept beckoning me to check.  I have to admit, after I saw her  message, I spent most of the next 4 days formulating an excuse or another to go back to my tent and check my phone.  I wanted to talk to her so bad but I didn’t know why.  While away, my girlfriend Laura had text me that her parents caught her drunk again and were sending her off to a rehab center in Florida.  It was a devastating blow, but there wasn’t much I could do.  We tried long distance for about 2 months but that didn’t work out well.  Callie said we should hang out, so we did, as soon as I got back.  We “non-dated” for a while.  She would pick me up after program and we would go down to the dock, where we inevitably fell in love.  I knew I loved her about a month in, when we had plans to go fishing and it started pouring rain.  She told me we didn’t have to go since the weather was so crappy.  I told her fishing in the rain was one of my favorite things.  We sat on that dock, for hours, in the pouring rain, holding hands, joking around, and letting fish after fish free upon catching them.  We had a blast, and I was officially in love with the woman of my dreams.  Outdoorsy, funny, kind, loving, beautiful, a shit talking spades player who was ballsy, always speaks her mind, and never fails to surprise me.

OUR FAVORITE SPOT IN THE WHOLE WORLD.  WHERE WE FELL IN LOVE, WHERE WE FISHED IN THE RAIN, WHERE I PROPOSED, AND WHERE WE PLAN TO TEACH OUR BOYS TO SWIM AND FISH

OUR FAVORITE SPOT IN THE WHOLE WORLD. WHERE WE FELL IN LOVE, WHERE WE FISHED IN THE RAIN, WHERE I PROPOSED, AND WHERE WE PLAN TO TEACH OUR BOYS TO SWIM AND FISH

August 21st we had our first kiss, September 5th we went on our first real date to the bowling alley, and September 22, 2010 we made it official.  We spend that whole month laying in bed inside the cabin of her parents boat, catching up on Glee while Netflixing, eating PB&J’s at 3am, doing puzzles, playing scrabble, making out and talking until the sun came up.  She was everything I could have ever dreamed of.  Flashes of us as old ladies on the porch in rocking chairs waiting for our grandchildren, filled my head.  She was the one!

Years passed, our relationship flourished and I was ready to take it to the next level.  We wanted a big wedding but it was more important to start our family. We made plans to have our babies and the wedding would come later, but first I had to propose! And I did, with an amazing scavenger hunt that fills Callie’s eyes with tears every time she talks about it.  It’s been almost a year since that day.  In 2 days I get to marry and spend the rest of my life with the most amazing woman I know.  She keeps telling me how lucky she is to have me, but I keep reminding her that I am the lucky one.  I am the one that has been blessed beyond finding word to express.  I am filled with gratitude that God has sent me such an amazing soul to share my life with.  In 2 days, all of my dreams will be realized. There are many love stories, but ours is my favorite.

“Marrying Day” Plans and 25 Weeks

We’ve officially made it to 25 weeks (well, right now it’s 25w4 days).  I was a little late this week with our board (finished it on Sunday night) because we have been running around like crazy trying to find outfits for our “marrying day” (according to Mary).  We’ve bought Callie’s dress (which looks AMAZING and accents her baby bump perfectly, although I feel guilty about having seen her in it), and a new vest and bow tie for myself.  I have to say, when we have our “real” wedding, I am definitely going to Men’s Warehouse to buy/rent my tuxedo.  They didn’t even bat an eyelash when I said that we were getting married and that I was looking for a vest that fit well, but wasn’t too tight around the chest.  I love that they had a woman who was doing fittings as well.  All in all, it was a really pleasant experience (although a little more expensive than I was hoping for but what are you gonna do right?!)  We also went to look for rings with no success.  Everywhere that we went said it would take 1-2 weeks to have them resized, which isn’t going to work for us.  Standard in store size is a 7. Callie wears a 6 and I wear an 8.5.  We figured since we will probably have these rings indefinitely, we would at least spend a decent amount of money for them and make sure they are rings that we are happy with.  5 days later and still no rings.  We have one last stop before we just order the ones we want and have them delivered to us later on and just get sterling silver rings for our ceremony in the mean time.

We were just gonna go to City Hall and have a judge marry us, but we ended up deciding on having the judge come to our home and marry us there (it’s the same price so WHY NOT!?!).  We have some friends coming over and my siblings and are having a potluck style lunch.  We are fortunate that our closest friends and sibling were able to rearrange plans to accommodate our lesbian shotgun wedding, as so many of you bloggers have dubbed it.  It’s gonna be awesome, and I’m excited, nervous, scared, and beyond happy to be marrying Callie, my best girl and the love of my life, on Saturday 11/1/14 (1+1+1+1+4=8 and if you flip that sideways, it’s the symbol for infinity which reassures me even MORE that this is what is meant to be and happening just as it should)  Still sad our parents won’t be able to be there.

So how’s about those 25 weeks, huh?!?  Our little buddies are developing their startle reflexes.  They can totally get scared now if something falls and makes a loud bang that they weren’t expecting.  I think this is funny! I wanna scare them, but Callie said it’s not nice and that I should think about that, considering what a fraidy cat I am.  No seriously!  To this day I have never seen a Chuckie, Freddy Kruger, Halloween, or Friday the 13th movie…ever! And I never will!!! I have no idea what ANYONE did last summer, and I don’t care to find out either!  At this point, the boys are continuing their growth spurt and causing Callie to be “1st trimester tired” all over again.  They are getting some fat on their bodies, but they started that already considering that they are 2 little chubbas!  They are also developing surfactant which is a lipoprotein which will help the boys lungs breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide without their lungs collapsing.  If you ask me, I would say that’s pretty important! Also, their testes will be or already have descended into the scrotum.  I think that’s pretty important too! When I sent my friends the weekly chalkboard update Marco commented “Oh thank God those testes have descended! I was starting to worry!” which I thought was hilarious.  You know what else is hilarious!?!  Balls! LOL! Ok, get it together Sammie! These boys should be measuring in at about a pound and a half and about 13 inches long.  No wonder we really can feel those kicks ridiculously strong now.  Most people will catch a glimpse of them moving around under Callie’s shirt and can see them kicking and punching to get out.  Not yet little guys! Not yet! We still have a few more weeks.

COULDN'T CHOOSE SO I USED BOTH!

COULDN’T CHOOSE SO I USED BOTH!

25w2

We had a perinatologist appointment last Thursday and Callie’s cervix is doing worse than it was before.  It went from 1.97 to 1.94. It’s a really small change but if it continues to get shorter, it could potentially be a big problem.  The doctor made it very clear that she is to stay off of her feet until 34 weeks! He is concerned that the babies want to come and that Callie does too much.He was very specific.Our OB told us that she should be on bed rest and take it easy but this doctor was very specific.  If you tell a runner who runs 8 miles a day to take it easy, they may run about 6 instead.  He is saying “Run no miles lady!”…at all if you want to stay pregnant because at this rate, who knows how much longer they will stay in.  Good news is, she isn’t dilating or cramping and the contractions have slowed down a bit, although they are stronger than they were before.  I’m making sure that she isn’t doing anything at home with the exception of bathroom trips and switching from the bed to the couch.  When I’m not home? Well, that’s another story!   I just want my buddies to stay in there as long as they can, preferably 38 weeks.  Oh, and they love it when Mamá reads to them.  They wiggle, and roll, and move all over the place. I think they can recognize my voice now.  Callie says that they move a lot when I come home and start chatting and they haven’t heard my voice in a few hours.  I like to believe that!  So upcoming wedding, and completion of nursery this week and next.  No idea when the baby shower is but I’m almost certain that it’s coming in the next 2-3 weeks! Can’t wait!

MAMÁ READS TO CHUBBA AND BUDDY

MAMÁ READS TO CHUBBA AND BUDDY

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do…

With the impending birth of our twins, Callie and I decided that it was our number one priority (this week) to get married.  Everything that has been going on with her cervix and contractions and the bleeding last week, we’re getting a little paranoid and a little nervous that these boys will be here sooner than we think and that I won’t legally be their mama.  I know that I probably still have to legally adopt my boys (although I don’t plan on going to Mississippi any time soon, I am hoping to take my kids to Disney in Florida at some point, and God forbid something happened down there, I wouldn’t be their parents.) but I also know that marriage equality and reform has at ton of momentum right now and it’s all inevitably going to change.  FINALLY!   With all of that said, this >>>>>>

MARRIAGE LICENSE

MARRIAGE LICENSE

happened yesterday afternoon.  We got out Marriage License, and we are getting a few things together for our friends to come here on Saturday 11/1/2014 and have a little shindig at the waterfront park across the street from out apartment complex.  We’ll probably just go out to dinner and not really do anything major (since our plans are to have a bigger wedding when the boys are here) except maybe game night and beer/wine at our apartment.  I’m a little sad that my parents won’t be back from their 39 day excursion in Europe (they are seriously partying it up in super gay Mykonos, Greece which they are LOVING! “O my gah! All deh peoples is so nice ovah he-yah eng ebrybah-dee es un GAY! PARRTYYY!”), but you gotta do what you gotta do…

In 2 weeks time, I will be legally married to the woman of my dreams, the mother of my children, my best friend, and the love of my life…

Drama for a Foster Mama

Being a foster parent has its ups and downs.  It teaches you so many things, but also challenges you in ways that you didn’t expect or anticipate.  Take everything you learned growing up from your parents and basically, throw it out the window, because this is new.  It’s a whole new process and a new learning experience.  Lately, I have been struggling with my role as a foster mama.

I have been having a really difficult time relating and being patient with our 6 year old Mary.  I’m not sure if it’s my lack of sleep, my swing shifts at work, a new baby at home, not spending enough time as a family, Mary attention seeking (she’s been an only child her whole life and a new baby is really throwing her for a loop), Mary seeing her biological mom once a week and twice bi-weekly, or a combination of all those things.  These past 2 weeks she has been insufferable, and I have been less than my usual gentle and tolerant self.   I have to remind myself that it’s a lot of change very quickly for her and to step away and count to 10 before I lose it!

She’s very cheeky and sassy, and usually I find it to be pretty funny (I don’t laugh in her face though, I swear it.)  Lately, it has been less than funny.  It’s been downright rude and disrespectful.  She has made it her business to get the last word in even when we tell her that the conversation is over. “Mary, that’s enough thank you” “I know, but I was just saying that blah blah blah”.  “We understand honey but thank you, that’s enough” “But I was just saying that…” ” MARY! ENOUGH!” ::mumbles::”I was just saying, god!”  She blatantly disregards us and pretends not to hear us, but we know she does because she makes a slight flinch when you call her, but catches herself and turns back to what she was doing.  It’s beyond annoying because we KNOW she hears us! Lately, she has gotten into the habit of sucking her teeth if we ask her to do something and she is busy with her crafts or playing wit her dolls.  This is what we have been dealing with since they updated her visiting schedule with mom.  It’s like dealing with a teenager and she’s not even half way there yet!

The visits are a whole other problem on their own.  We consider ourselves to be pretty strict and have a strong grasp on the proper discipline of a 6 year old.  It basically comes down to losing her privileges like, no playground after school, not helping with cooking dinner, no feeding the baby, no electronics time (about 30 minutes of her choice of TV, iPad, or computer), or a half hour earlier to bed where she can read or lay quietly in her bed.  When she wants a new toy, she first has to raise the money herself by doing her chores (this consists of making her bed every morning which she does a great job with, cleaning her station after dinner, and making sure to scrape her dish and put it in the dishwasher). Then she has to donate one of the toys that she no longer wants to make room for the new one.  We also have a strict “candy is for special occasions” rule.  We had a few issues with her stealing and hiding her candy and now she does a lot better about asking for it, so we’ve eased up a little bit to reward the positive behavior.  It makes it incredibly difficult to implement these rules for good behavior when every Tuesday after parenting sessions with her momher mom sends her home with a black deli grocery bag FILLED to the top with junk food (which we promptly confiscate when she gets off of the bus and yes, exactly! Parenting sessions!). Sometimes it’s a buttload full of toys.  Or bags and bags full of clothes and new sneakers, that I have to bring a shopping cart down to be able to carry it all into the apartment. Or my new favorite, a brand new Little Mermaid school backpack over a month into the school year, when the one that we bought her cost us quite a bit of money and she chose herself because it was “OMG! SOOOOO cool!”  I understand that mom is trying to assert herself as the parents, but there are other ways to do it, like slicing an apple with peanut butter instead of Doritos, or split some carrots and some ranch dressing (Mary’s favorite snack!).  Maybe instead of telling her you’re going to buy her a ferret, a cat, a dog, and sugar glider for when you get to go home and be together (God knows when!), get books to read together about those animals.  Weigh out the pro’s and con’s of owning each.  Ask her how her school day was or if she made any new friends.  Ask her about her new teacher.  That’s what we do! Make her earn her toys.  “If you read 10 books from now until next Tuesday, and Callie and Sammie write me a note, then we can talk about getting you a little something.” That would be most effective.

Maybe I’m just being salty because I’m taking it personal.  When Mary goes to visits she comes home in different clothes or a different hairstyle or different shoes.  Are the things we bought her not good enough!?  Are WE not good enough!?  The case worker simply stated, “Different strokes for different folks” and I totally get that, but does it have to be every week?  I’ve actually thought once or twice in the past week, “Are they making progress with this aunt in Connecticut or what?!?!”

Ultimately, I know I don’t mean it and that I’m just frustrated.  I know birth moms that at some point have said, “Where is the nearest church so I can drop this damn baby off on the doorstep because I CAN’T!”  If my Mary left, I would honestly and tragically be devastated.  My heart (whether due to the lack of sleep, sensitive painful breasts, and all the emotions for the impending birth of our twins has made me a sappy mess!) can’t handle it.  I would cry and cry and cry for quite a while, but I’m human.  I’m allowed to be pissed at a kid who doesn’t listen, or is fresh, or is rocking my last nerve! My parents keep saying, “Remembah gwen jew wus a 6?” “No dad, I don’t” “Well, we do, and we gwanna forgot becoz jew was a pain in de ass!” “Thanks a lot dad!” Wise words from my dad again. (If you need a translation let me know!)  I’ve come to the realization that this too shall pass. It just seems to be crawling this week…

We MUST Be Crazy!!!

Tuesday afternoon, 1:47pm, my cell phone rings.
I don’t recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail.  About a minute later after hearing the message, I was ringing Callie at work as quickly as I could.  She was busy but I couldn’t wait.  “I need to speak to her NOW!”  So her assistant found her in a flash and before you know it, I was returning the phone call to our county’s CPS offices.

A beautiful, 9 month old little girl! As if our lives couldn’t get any crazier (and richer at the same time)! How could we say no?! Well, we could have, but why?  This baby, who has no fault in any of the shenanigans that her parents have put her through (domestic violence, mental health and drug abuse issues), needs a home full of love and a nurturing environment. We can totally do that! So we will! We went from a family of 2, to a family of 4 in less than 6 months.  And in less than 4 months we will become a family of 6, if Mary and our new little addition, Laney, end up staying with us for a little longer.

Will it be overwhelming? Of COURSE it will! Will it be scary? Petrifying! Will we be on the verge of loosing our minds? Every damn day! Can we handle it? You bet your sweet ass we can! We’re super moms, and we have each other, and love, beautiful families and amazing friends.  We have everything we need to know that we can do this and make a difference.  A handful of people think we are crazy, and that’s fine, because well, maybe we are, but at the end of the day, we know what we are doing is right, no matter how crazy it is.  Life just got a whole lot more interesting…