Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Nugget here, to tell you all about my Halloween adventures!

I LOVED Zoo Boo! I do NOT love the lines to get into Zoo Boo, but the candy and the people oohing and ahhing over me make it all worthwhile. The best part of Zoo Boo was spotting a female giraffe. She had her hood off, but I could tell she was being a giraffe too, just by looking at her spots. Our eyes met under the moonlight...we pointed at each other and stared...I squealed, "Oooo, she's being a giraffe! We're giraffes together." For a moment, we forgot about the candy and just ogled each other's ossicones (those are the horn things on a giraffe's head, by the way). And then our parental units pulled us apart down different paths. Star-crossed giraffes...will I ever met her again?
Halloween is too fun to limit it to just one day. The day after Zoo Boo, I went Trunk or Treating. The parents handed out candy and treats from their car trunks, then my friends and I ran off our sugar rush at the playground.
Next, we had our Halloween Party at the library. We did crafts earlier in the week to decorate the room, then we played fun games like throw the spider on the web and feel the creepy stuff in a box. We also ate a yummy lunch - my favorites were apple slices with caramel dip and mini mummy cupcakes.
Finally, the piece de resistance, I got to go Trick-or-Treating with friend E and her mommy. I love this holiday - I get to press lots of buttons and collect candy! I wish I could do this every day, but Mommy says it's only once a year. Catch you later, I need to find out where Mommy hid my stash of candy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How adoption planning is like dating

People are always asking what it's like to adopt, and it's kind of hard to explain. One thing I've thought of recently is that adoption planning (open adoption anyway) is a lot like dating. How?

1. You overanalyze every word said in conversation, probing it for hidden meaning.

2. You obsess over what to wear the first time you meet.

3. You can't guarantee that this is "the one" but you go into each opportunity hopeful.

4. You carry the emotional baggage given to you by your ex-es.

5. You get a lot of notes passed to each other/about each other by counselors. (ok, this one is not so much dating, more like middle school "going with").

6. Your family and friends are super curious and sometimes opinionated about your relationship.

7. A match can look great on paper, but if you lack that chemistry, it won't work.

8. Even though you have to go about your usual work, errands, life, half of your brain and most of your heart is focused on your relationship. Does she really like you? Is this really happening? Thinking about the next time you'll meet. Will it be forever?

9. When you really grow to care about each other, the stakes get higher, because the other party is holding your heart and your future. Will they change their minds and smash it to smithereens? Or will they make all your wildest dreams come true?

10. When it's right, you become family. Your family is not defined by how often you see each other but that you are connected by the love you have for the child.

We're in the thick of it now, and we've got about a month to go. Please keep the prayers coming.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Teacher Holiday Gifts 2010

I got to spend 2 hours volunteering in the Nugget's classroom yesterday. Whew, do I have bucketloads of respect and awe for his teachers. A room full of spirited 3 year olds - all with their quirks, fears, tyrannical demands, budding social skills, defiance, energy, and a healthy dose of cuteness - let's just say that I was only there 2 hours and I nearly lost my voice. I didn't raise it a single time, it was just constant talking,

"Friends, let's use our words. Gentle hands, please. What is it that you wanted? Would you like some help with your shoe? Nugget, you can play with my belt buckle when we get home, right now I need to keep my pants fastened. Friend, where does this block go? Yes, I see that you are working hard on that painting!"

But I digress.

Anyway, I've been working on building their holiday gifts, and I wish it could be so, so much more, but there are 3 teachers and our budget is tight. Here's what I've come up with so far, and my budget saving tips as well!

1. A black and white polka dotted tin pail from the Target Dollar Spot. I bought these a couple years ago, about a dozen of them. Target has these tin pails in different colors all the time, but I thought the black and white looked especially clean, a Kate-Spade feel with a dollar store price.

2. I am using the Bath and Bodyworks coupons for a free travel-size classic for mini hand lotions. I have gotten 2 free so far, am waiting for one more coupon! I used the 20% off coupon on their special deal 5 for $5 mini hand sanitizers (so I got 5 for $4). I am matching up the scents so that each teacher gets a hand sanitizer and lotion. Unlike bubble bath or shower gel, I know the teachers will need and use both products the 2 hours I spent there, the teachers helped each child try the potty/change a diaper twice, having to wash their hands between each one. Miss P also fished a lovey out of the toilet. Sweet.

3. Their perpetually chipper faces indicate that they are either robots or they use large quantities of caffeine. So I'm including a Starbucks gift card in each pail as well.

4. Once I get my holiday baking done, I will probably include just a handful of sweets, probably the pretzel-Rolo-pecan turtles I love to make.
Depending on my time and coupon stash, I may also make hand-sanitizer/hand lotion packs for the 2 receptionists and the Gym Bus teacher. Who else do you gift at your kids' school? I know there are student helpers, but I don't know their names. Maybe a plate of cookies for them?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm just doing that.

The most heard phrase in our house is now, "I'm just doing that." It's mostly a stalling technique, when he doesn't want to answer our questions. "That" could be anything from messing around with something forbidden, to hanging upside down, to jumping on the furniture, to's really very versatile. When we ask the Nugget if he's done eating, he whines, "NO! I'm just doing that." When we tell him to please sit in his car seat, he cheerfully states, "I'm just doing that."
I told the Nugget that it was naptime, and more of my words came tumbling out of his mouth. "I'm sorry, that's NOT an option right now."
At church today, the Nugget spots a woman in an animal print (I think it was leopard), and squeals loudly, "Look, Mommy! She's (pointing) being a giraffe! Hi giraffe!"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christmas shopping

I love Christmas shopping! I can't give too many spoilers because many on my gift list read the blog, but I can tell you what is going to be under the tree for the Nugget this year. We try not to overdo it, and we'll definitely have him participate in a charity gift again this year. What's great about a 3yo is that I can still give him what I want him to have. Soon the lists will start, surely to include all manner of weaponry, video game consoles, and exploding volcano kits. Anyway, here's what I will do this year, and I'll share my savings tips with you. His entire haul should come out to well under $50.

1. My love of all things stainless continues with this divided plate. The Nugget will love it because it's shaped like a bus. I got it for FREE by participating in an online university study, from which I was paid with an Amazon gift card. Dude, how can I get hooked up with more of those?!

2. Llama Llama Holiday Drama or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. We love the cadence of these addictive stories and the beautiful painted illustrations. The author definitely has a deep understanding of early childhood, and Mama Llama always knows how to handle whatever challenge Little Llama throws at her. The Nugget requests the Llama books over and over and over again, and we never get tired of reading them. I will either get it discounted with free super saver shipping on Amazon, use a Borders reward coupon, or use my spouse discount at the campus bookstore...I never pay retail for books.

3. A t-shirt from my favorite Etsy shop. I'm thinking about this freight train, and HappyFamily often will do custom, so I'm going to request it in a long sleeved version.

In the stocking:
1. An ornament, probably the Hallmark John Deere collectible, since tractors are a new obsession. Using a Hallmark rewards coupon. We give the Nugget an ornament each year that he will take with him when he leaves home as an adult. We try to pick something that represents the year he's had - last year, it was a tricycle. And, um...while he's still little, I may even wait and buy it after Christmas to get a deeper discount! Cheapskate? - yes, I am!
2. A ceramic reindeer mug I picked out last year at Borders. The Borders post-holiday sales are among the best ever. It's child-size (kid-sized mugs are really hard to come by) and will hold the perfect smidgen of hot cocoa after a morning of snow play.
3. A couple of his favorite treats - a pack of Annie's fruit bunny snacks and some peanuts in the shell.
4. Crayola Bathtub Markers. Because bathtime has become a struggle, and anything that will make it remotely appealing is worth it. Target had them for under $5, and I used my final 10% off day. (Not sure how I feel about the RedCard rewards revamp.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lil' Sib Pending

I've been trying my best to wait until the right time to release this post! We have been chosen to be parents to a little boy, due in November. The exact due date is up in the air due to various medical reasons, which I won't get into at this time. We are very excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, overjoyed, and optimistic!

Yes, if the adoption disrupts, it's going to be painful and stinky to make the blog announcement, but having experienced 2 disruptions - it's painful and stinky anyway. It doesn't really matter if you've let yourself believe it's going to happen or guarded your heart, if you've shouted it to the world or kept it to yourself - disruptions are just awful. So we are choosing to be joyful now, and are trying to prepare with joy instead of fear (of course, the fear does get to me every once in awhile, but I'm learning to push it aside). Every child deserves a gleeful anticipation, don't you think?!

I won't be sharing many details about the baby's story on this blog (and if you know details, please keep them out of the comments), but I did want to share with the blogosphere what it feels like to be parents pending an adoption.

Here are some of the feelings whirling around, in no particular order. Sometimes there is one overarching emotion, but they can change by the hour:

Anxious - while I mainly feel optimistic, my breath still catches in my throat when I think about the "ifs". I imagine bio moms feel this way too. The difference is that people constantly ask us about how/when this could go wrong, and of course we know from experience, so let's just say I am not exactly the picture of calm.

Happy - like any parents-to-be (again!), we are excited to meet him, to witness him grow, to find out what he's like as an individual, to discover his talents and passions.

Thankful - it's an overwhelming sense of gratitude when a birthmom feels that you are the right family for her child. I can't even describe it, and it's my goal as a mom to maintain this feeling of gratitude during the everyday struggles of parenting. The Nugget has been longing for a sibling too, in his own way, and I feel like it's the perfect time for him to transition from "only" to "oldest".

Out of control - everything is very out of our hands at this point. We are working with a different adoption agency, and we have completed all the steps we can, so we wait. Birthmoms call the shots after you're chosen, from doctor's appointments to setting times to meet, etc. Our roles reverse after placement, and while it's a strange and hard place to inhabit, it also gives us a better sense of how birthparents must feel after they entrust their child to you. We are trusting her to carry and care for this baby, and she is trusting us with the rest of the child's life. It's so humbling.

Curious - what will it be like with 2 boys in the house (3 if you count Hubby!)? Will I be able to keep up with the constant meal prep and laundry?! Will the Nugget completely lose his marbles for a couple months while he adjusts to a shared spotlight? Will I be able to meet the demands of 2 little boys when Hubby is away on business trips?! Sometimes I feel like I'm not allowed to be nervous about the transition to two, because we are wanting it, asking for it, claiming that we are fit to handle it! But of course, we are just humans and we have the same questions about growing our family as anyone else would :)

Nesting - This instinct does in fact, apply to adoptive parents, if you were wondering. It's taking a slightly different form this time around - not scrubbing every surface since that's painfully pointless with a 3yo - but definitely shopping for warm baby clothes, dusting off and reassembling the baby gear, and making our guest room ready for the nursery conversion.

Present - I am treasuring my final month of uninterrupted sleep and hoping it will be enough to tide me over until Lil Sib learns how to sleep through the night. I'm savoring every second of adult time with Hubby after Nugget goes to bed. I'm cooking dinner from scratch while I can. I'm trying to absorb what it feels like to be mommy to one, because I don't want to forget this little window of time we've had together, "just us".

Please keep us and baby's birthfamily in your thoughts and prayers.

Where are all the hugging things?

We attended our library's Open Book Festival earlier this month. The Nugget enjoyed crafts, live music, storytellers, and most of all, the book characters. A couple weeks later, we hit the library for a playgroup, and the first words out of the Nugget's mouth are, "Where are all the hugging things?"

The Nugget is a very mechanical person. He loves to fix, to observe, to tinker. Now that he's so verbal, he'll often stare at something for awhile, then tell us how it works. For instance, the doll seat on his toy shopping cart from Grandma and Papa, "Mama, I pull this silver thing down, and the red thing comes up. See that? This part comes down, and this part goes up." I have a feeling he was dumbing it down for his mechanically-challenged mom. I'm telling you, I am learning more mechanics than ever before.

I don't think I use the word, "shall" very often, but the Nugget has picked it up, and he's very attached to it. Maybe from books? Anyway, it's pretty funny to hear such an old-fashioned word come out of a 3 year old boy. When Doggie snorted, he looked at me seriously for a moment, then said, "Doggie snorted, Mommy. Shall we laugh?" We decided that yes, a dog snort was worthy of a giggle, and we laughed together.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How was your day?

One of the Nugget's most endearing habits is asking about our days. I always try to ask Hubby sincerely, "How was your day?" and the Nugget now beats me to the punch. It is so adult-sounding, it often takes our friends and family by surprise.

Once he asked Grandpa, "How was your day so far?" first thing in the morning.

Our sitter cracked up when he asked, "Miss L, how was your day?" as she tucked him into bed.

Today, he asked Daddy for a lift to the monkey bars and while he was hand-over-hand-ing, he casually looked downward and said, " was your daaay? Was it good?"
Anytime I'm feeling down or tired, I find a little boy sweetly smiling up at me, asking, "Mommy are you sad? Do you want a hug? Pumpkin friend going to give you a kiss, ok? You feeling better now? Do you feel happy?" Who wouldn't perk up after some Nugget TLC?!

On one particularly challenging evening, the Nugget screamed bloody murder and flailed like a hooked fish during his bath, until I was all finished washing him. Like a switch flipped, he started playing happily with his toys. Then as I sat on the closed toilet, soaked and exhausted, trying to regain my energy and composure, he looked carefully at me and asked, "Mommy, why are you so tired?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stinky Bobcats

The Nugget throws his dirty washcloth in the laundry bag and sees/smells Daddy's running clothes in the bag:
N: There are stinky Daddy clothes in there.
Me: Well, Daddy went running and his clothes get a little stinky after he runs, because he sweats a lot.
N: (thoughtfully) Yeah.
Later, at the zoo:
Me: Hi bobcats! Whew, the bobcats are a little stinky!
Nugget: Why are you so stinky, bobcats? (bobcat runs past) Oh, because he ran fast and now he's stinky.
Me: You mean like Daddy?
N: Yeah. Silly, stinky, stinky bobcat! (bobcat twitches ears as Nugget laughs)
N: Ooo, that bobcat loves my laugh!


Nugget here. Now that autumn is truly here, I have so much yardwork to do. I'm not sure how Mommy and Daddy managed without me - I am super strong and a busy worker! Mom says that I could run my own lawn care business by the time I'm in first grade. Here I am, hard at work and enjoying the fruits of my labor - a leaf pile!