Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baking Gals

I'm officially a Baking GAL!  I'm thanking my lucky stars that there are good people out there protecting our country, but I hate that they have to witness such violence and suffering, be separated from their loved ones, and risk their lives each day.  They are earning my cushy privileged life with their blood and sweat.  A few batches of baked goods and a handful of prayers hardly seem like payment enough.  Here's my first care package, shipping out Monday:

white chocolate chip cranberry cookies
mini turtles - pretzels, melted Rolos, and pecans
peanut butter cookies with mini Reeses cups

Originally, I was also going to include Andes brownies, but they wouldn't fit in the flat rate box, so I'll keep them in mind for the next round.

The Nugget assisted by watching the Kitchen Aid spin hypnotically, dumping in pre-measured ingredients, and of course, taste-testing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Unpaid Plugs

Fellow parents, I need to rave about a couple things that have made my life better!  As always, these are unpaid (darn!) endorsements.

1.  Dinosaur Train - airs on PBS at 9:30am.  It has a very nice, strong adoption theme and positive adoption language too!  The main character is a baby T-Rex who was adopted by a Pteranodon family.  They ride a time-traveling train and meet all different dinosaur species.  There is absolutely no violence, despite the fact that there are both carnivores and herbivores featured on the show.  The scariest thing is a dinosaur roar, but no worse than hearing the lions at the zoo.  It sneaks in a lot of education, not only about dinos, but also about scientific method and animal classification skills.  I like the Nugget to have exposure to other adoptive families, and he fervently loves trains, so it's a win-win.  

2.  I started ordering our naptime/travel disposables here instead of Amazon, just to use a coupon code, but now I'm hooked!  Free 2-day shipping with orders over $49, got a giant book of coupon codes with my first order, and right now they're having a super sale with lots of rarely-discounted brands like Mustela and Plan Toys.  I placed a second order that wraps up our Christmas shopping for the Nugget and a gift for an upcoming baby shower.  When I found that they included the wrong puzzle, I called Customer Care - they are sending the correct puzzle next-day and are letting me keep the one they sent (still worth $15!) for free since it was their error.  Wow.

3.  Toys-R-Us has a new grocery section with lots of organic, healthy options you can't find elsewhere at reasonable prices.  We snapped up some rice cakes with omega-3's, some organic fruit and cereal bars, low sugar granola bars, and some special squeezable snack packs of unsweetened fruit puree.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Snaps - Fall Fun Edition

He proudly pranced
And mugged for the camera
Like a good peacock should.

We took off our shoes,
Hoisted him onto the pillow;
He took flight.

Big trikes
Look like fun
But are awfully hard to pedal.

He grinned and giggled,
Rode like a natural,
Then gave the pony a hug.

He ran into the pile 
Tentatively at first,
Then crunched with abandon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Befriending perishable goods

One of my strongest childhood memories was walking to a neighbor's house every October to pick out our pumpkins.  These neighbors had a pumpkin farm and would bring cut pumpkins out into their yard and sell them.  It felt like we took hours trying to choose the perfect pumpkin and carried them around until our hands were scratched raw from the stems.  Right by the cash box, the neighbors had little "impulse buy" gourds with googly eyes hot-glued on for instant personality.  Well, I always brought my quarters to buy one, and each year in November, there was inevitably a teary day when I had to bid my moldy gourd friend goodbye, while my brother taunted me for becoming emotionally attached to a vegetable.

See above, my son with his very own pumpkin friend.  He picked out the stickers for the face at a fall festival a couple weeks ago, but I swear I didn't push him at all to form an attachment to it.  We set it proudly outside on the porch, but the Nugget insisted that "Pumpkin go inside now."  Well, no harm in that, I thought.  We displayed him on a shelf instead.  But pretty soon, the Nugget wanted the pumpkin to watch him eat breakfast, to play trains with him, and the next thing I know, he is giving the darn thing hugs and pretending to feed it breakfast each morning.  He pulls it onto our laps when we read bedtime stories.  I have stopped short of allowing him to sleep with it, although he would if I let him.  It's a doomed friendship, which will end badly with poor rotting pumpkin in the compost bin.  But for now, it warms my heart.

Isn't it a strange and wonderful thing that although we adoptees don't share blood, bone, or DNA with our parents that we still take after them in some ways?  He will always have his Poppy's dimples, his Tummy Mummy's eyes, and their shared talent for music and dance - I am proud to be able to tell him that.  And now I am in awe that I get to be a part of his psyche as well - what an immense privilege and responsibility that is.  Too bad you don't get to pick what part of yourself your kids inherit though.  I better start writing a eulogy for that pumpkin.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Proud Peacock

It's probably the last year I get to choose the Nugget's costume.  So I picked the best one ever.  Here is our little peacock strutting his stuff and tasting his first m&m's at our moms' meetup Trunk or Treat event. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am surrounded by glowing pregnant mamas.  I know about a dozen women, both close friends and acquaintances, local and around the country, who are busy gestating new little bundles of joy.  As a waiting adoptive parent, it's both a comforting and an uncomfortable place to be.  Comforting, because I have others with whom to share this unparalleled feeling of expecting a new little human, of building a family.  Uncomfortable because my journey is full of intangibles.  
I don't have any morning sickness stories to share.  My belly isn't becoming rounder.  People don't hold open doors for me.  I have no due date, no ultrasound photo.  Even when friends ask how the process is going, I have nothing to tell..."Just waiting!"  You might think that I have it easy, and in some ways I do.  I don't envy the puking, that's for sure.  But some days, I want so badly for something tangible, something firm to hold onto while I wait.  It's like I'm missing my baby before we have even met.

Athletic coaches are always talking about the intangibles.  They are the qualities that players and teams just have that make them great, yet you can't really put a finger on it, place it, or give it a name.  You have "it" or you don't.  But sometimes, it's the intangibles that win the game. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009


A very boring post, I'm sure, but I wanted to write down some housekeeping goals.  I think I have been improving in my housekeeping abilities and general attitude towards this noble contribution to our family, but there is always room for improvement, and I find writing down goals to always be helpful!

1.  Cook 6 dinners a week instead of 4.  (But feel no guilt or shame if a dinner fails and we have to get pizza, it's the effort that counts.)  

2.  Try at least 1 new recipe per week.

3.  Try at least 1 meatless dinner per week.

4.  Work on service projects:  Terracycle and Baking Gals.  Anyone out there looking for a from-home community service project, these are great causes!  You can help me or start your own collection brigade or baking team.  I am super excited about this one because I've felt that my service has been sorely lacking since becoming a mom, so pumped that I can help from home!

5.  Let Hubby help with sweeping floors, putting away laundry.

6.  Every day:  Laundry, dishes, counters, recycling, trash, tidy

7.  Every other day:  Bathroom, vacuum

8.  Every week:  change sheets and towels, mop floors, grocery shop

That's it for now!  A respectable challenge for me, the housework-impaired.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I was never interested in reading blogs at all until I became a mother.  Then, I think it was more of a desperation thing, like, "This parenting gig is really so much harder than anyone says - is everyone else lying or is there something wrong with me?"  Official baby websites showing smiling mamas hawking toothpaste and laundry detergent while cuddling immaculately washed babes in designer blankets sure didn't look like I felt, trying to heft around a giant sweaty, often-barfing (acid reflux) Nugget.  But reading other parenting blogs gave me a voyeur's eyeful that parenting is universally difficult, and that we ALL struggle.  Mom-101, Girls Gone Child, Finslippy, Dooce...I'll never know these women in person, but they gave me permission to feel challenged as a new mom.  I felt better.  The guilt lifted.  The joy of parenting increased.  Thank you!

Now, in the toddler years, I turn to blogs for a different sort of fix.  Not the commiseration of difficulties, but to feel inspired.  The backstory.

All around me, people, dozens of people ask, "When are you going back to work?  What are you going to do?"  I was above the heated debate when I worked from home - really the best of both worlds and inscrutable from either side.  I was both home with the Nugget and participating in the work force.  Since the move though, I closed the business and officially became a SAHM.  Now with a verbal Nugget preschool-bound next fall, American society deems it time for me to return to the work force.  Everywhere I look, there are articles discussing how my resume is becoming outdated, how as a college graduate, I am depriving the workforce of my education, how as a woman, I'm undoing feminism.  

I.  am.  happy.  Right now, as I am.  As a sometimes boring, housework-challenged, mom.  It's taken me awhile to be comfortable saying that's what I am, "just" a mom, but I'm so there right now.  Someday I think I'll be ready to punch a timecard again.  Right now, I want the Nugget's cry to be my alarm clock.  I want the freedom to work around his routine.  I want permission to feel satisfied, fulfilled, and important just as I am.  I never felt more important than when I was an educator.  Ironically, I mean so much more, give so much more to the Nugget than I did to any of the children I taught, yet I have never felt less important.  Heck, I am important!  I am helping to raising the future of this country, of this world!  I think it's fantastic that many women in this country can choose to work after kids, can choose to stay home, can choose to say no to parenthood altogether.  Let's celebrate those choices, and be confident in the choices we make for our own families.  Here's some blogs that are helping inspire me to feel that the motherhood I've chosen is a worthy calling.  Thanks, Nie-Nie and CJane.

Dialogue with the Nugget

The Nugget's vocabulary seems to triple in size each day.  There are stretches of time when he never stops talking.  An example from this morning.

Nugget (over the monitor):  *Dawa, Dawa, Dawa!  Ooooh.  Bouche.  Hop.  Hop, hop, hop.

Mommy:  Good morning, Nugget.  Did you have a nice sleep?

N:  Yeah.  Mommy happy?

M:  Yes, I'm very happy to be here with you.

N:  Good.  Yeah.  *Jaff happy.  Aww, nice.  Night night.  (Pretends to go back to sleep, then jumps back up.)  Hahahaha, all done!  Doggie?  Doggie?  Doggie?  Daddy?  Daddy?

M:  Doggie is downstairs.  Daddy is at work.

N:  Yeah.  Ok.  Eat?  Happysauce?  Juice?  (coming downstairs).  Down, down, down.  Plop.  Plop.  (Throws Jaff)  Oooh, jaff far!

M:  Pick your spoon, please!

N:  Bwooo.  No, pink.  (feeds Jaff) Num, num, num, num, num.  (Climbs into chair.)  I buckle.  Up, down.  UPPY, DOWN!  Plop.  (Points to food and dose of Prevacid set out on table.)  Wilk.  Bewwie.  Spoon.  Messin.   Cup.

*The cast...
Dawa - an approximation of his friend D's name.  He sees her a couple times a week but speaks of her daily.  He loves her, she tolerates him until he tries to make off with one of her toys.
Jaff - his bedtime giraffe.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Funny Stuff

A random collection of funny/cute things the Nugget has said or done recently:

1.  When he eats chicken, he calls it "bock-bocks", you know, the noise the chicken makes.  His friends K&K have a chicken coop in their back yard.  He also calls the live chickens "bock-bocks", then says, "Eat."  Grandpa says, "Well, he's a carnivore."  He is now offically eating any kind of chicken, not just the fried nugget variety - whew!

2.  Grammy and Grandpa brought the Nugget a stuffed moose.  He introduced himself to it like it was a new friend.  He said, "Hi Moose!", he waved at it, he pointed to its big grin and said, "Happy!", then gave it a hug and kiss.  Oh the joys of stuffed animals - I just wish they could be somehow deflated for storage purposes - we have a very modest number, and they are still filling 6 storage bins.

3.  He can say "applesauce" very clearly, but sometimes calls it "happysauce".  Eating applesauce does indeed make him happy.

4.  Every day since our summer vacation, he's been asking to go to "Ca-go" (Chicago).  When he sees a plane, he both names it, then asks if it is going to "Ca-go".  While Chicago wasn't our destination this past summer, we did spend several hours in O'Hare (and several more in a stationary plane on their runway), so apparently, it's the thing that stuck in the Nugget's brain.  We'll try to hit Chicago later this fall for a trip to Shedd Aquarium or another indoor pursuit.

5.  The Nugget got to Skype with his Grandma and Papa last week.  Since then, when he sneaks into the office, he immediately points to the computer and asks for Papa.  

6.  While not unusual, the Nugget is at the stage where he'll hear a number and immediately count out loud, from that number up to 10.  While watching the football game, they'd say the score, the down, or the yards to go, and he'd chant 4-5-6-7-8-9-10!