Life as MommyMo

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Major Milestone

See the snazzy haircut on that kid? Rob and I did that ourselves!

Many people know that nothing -- no monster, no ghost, nothing -- instills fear in our child quite like the idea of a haircut.

We've tried every trick we can think of and have even used outright bribery. The best we get is a decent haircut but severely damaged eardrums. Sam screams bloody murder every single time we come even close to Kids Kuts. There's a nice woman there who has come to endure his screams because she knows she's nicely rewarded in the end. You have to tip well when you child occasionally pukes on the person wielding the clippers, after all.

Well, Rob got new clippers for his birthday. We invested in fancy ones now that I'm his main stylist. Sam saw that they're not quite as loud as our old pair, and he decided to brave a home cut. I'm not going to lie. There was whining involved, but no tears and certainly no vomit.

All things considered, I think we did a decent job. Rob is more precise than I am (perhaps because I was the one in front of Sam and would have been the one wearing what was left in his stomach had he freaked out) and went kind of slow, but we got the job done.

I'm partial to little boys with nice, neat haircuts so I hope this is the start of a whole new hair world in our house. It would be so nice to just give a quick trim to both Sam and Rob every ten days or so and know the days of screaming, drooling, trembling and puking salon visits are officially behind us.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Answered Prayers

We have had a picture of this (now) young lady hanging on our refrigerator for nearly three years now. Her name is Rogette and she had been living in Holt's Fontana Village in Haiti awaiting adoption for quite a few years already when we encountered her story for the first time.

I was immediately drawn to her face. We knew that we were not the right permanent family for her. She had been placed by her own family at a fairly advanced age because they did not have the resources to care for her. I knew that a girl nearing her teen years and having been in an orphanage (no matter how well cared for there) for some time needed a mother, in particular, who could be around much more than I can. I first saw her picture and story not long after I started my current position and realized that a travel schedule like mine would not be a good fit for her. It was also not long after Sam's adoption, and we had not completely finished his transition yet.

So, we began to sponsor her through Holt. On several occasions, we were able to send small gifts and notes to her. I prayed for her daily and have kept her picture in our kitchen all this time. I had heard not long ago via a letter from Holt that a family was interested in adopting her, but it wasn't until an email this week that I had confirmation that she has indeed come home to her forever family in the United States. The latest blog entry says she's doing well and has really settled in there. I get teary just thinking about it. I hope she knows that there must be many families like ours who have prayed for her and are overjoyed to see that she now has a home to call her own.

Early Christmas

Christmas came a bit early to our house this year. After vacillating for years, we finally got Rob a new laptop for work. He's been using the Social Studies office computer for about seven years now, and nearly every other teacher in his department has caved and purchased a laptop on their own.

We went ahead and got the computer early for him because he has a huge project coming up for Pearl Harbor Day for which he could really use the laptop. He also has a new SmartBoard in his classroom, so he's made a huge leap into the 21st century.

I not-so-secretly despise it when there's not an element of surprise on Christmas morning. I love shopping in secret, hiding the gifts at home and then watching Rob open them up. I feel like there's not much surprise left in life and gift giving is one place in which you can still manage just a bit of it. Oh, well. He's totally happy, and that's all that matters. I'll try to be creative and find a few small things for him to unwrap that don't damage the budget too badly. That concept is pretty much toast anyway, as we'd originally said we'd try to stick to $100 each for gifts. I'm pretty sure the adapter alone for his new Macbook cost that.

Sam had a totally busy day yesterday and is paying for it today. He had a play date in the morning, followed by two birthday parties. He left the house at 10 a.m. and we didn't get home until after 6:30 last night. Today, the hint of a cold he started with is a full-fledged infection. He sounds like he has socks stuffed in his nostrils and every cough makes *me* wince. I kept him home from Sunday School so that he doesn't infect every other kid before Thanksgiving. I'm hoping that a true day of rest will make him feel better, too.

I'm also hoping he's feeling well enough to go to school tomorrow, since I'm on vacation and planning to spend the days before the holiday in the basement, transforming it into a playroom for him. He's only seen the basement in our house a handful of times, so he does not suspect anything as we work down there. He's absolutely dying for a Geotrax train set for Christmas. We're trying to get the basement playroom ready so that after he opens some new Geotrax on Christmas morning, we can take him downstairs and show him the whole new room he has to play in. We also bought a huge starter set of the trains on Ebay (sorry, Kim!) and are going to have those already set up for him when he goes down there.

I apologize again to Kim for even mentioning our delight over finding this great Geotrax deal out loud. As it turns out, the furious bidding war we had in the final moments of this particular auction were against HER. Of all the people anywhere in the world who could have been bidding on that particular set on that particular day, it was Kim and I fighting it out till the finish. The silver lining is that Ethan, too, will benefit. He's one of Sam's favorite playmates and will have lots of time to play downstairs with the new trains. He'd have even more time if Kim and Ted bid on a house in our neighborhood. ;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Single Digits

We are now officially in the top ten on the UNofficial Holt "Waiting for Referral" list! I just peeked in and saw that we are #9 on the list that tracks everyone, regardless of requests for gender. We are #7 on the list of families waiting for either gender or a boy.

This is all very technical and probably boring to anyone not obsessing about our match date... which I admit is nearly everyone else in the world. However, it's very exciting for us. I not-so-secretly hope that we'll be matched with a baby before Christmas.

We typically decorate our Christmas tree with an ornament that somehow represents the "biggest" thing that happened to us that year. (This is a completely stolen idea from my sister-in-law's sister... but she's more creative than me and actually MAKES the ornaments. I'm nowhere near that talented and just buy a close facsimile of and object representing the event we are trying to commemorate.)

This year's ornament, we've decided, needs to be a clock to remind us of all of the waiting we've done. We've waited for a baby. We've waited for our new kitchen. You get the idea. So... you'd think a clock ornament would be easy to find. Not so much. Any ideas?? Maybe I can drag my feet a bit longer and have a new baby ornament to add to the tree instead!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Peppermint Mocha

Here's the latest installment in our caffeinated child drama. It's still working and we now have a bona fide coffee connoisseur on our hands. He asks what selection of coffee creamers we have for him every morning. He's tried quite a few and has decided that he's a peppermint mocha kind of kid.

This morning, he woke up (quite early, I might add) with some serious sniffles. He asked for milk with his breakfast, but I was leery of giving it to him since I was afraid it would aggravate his asthma if he really is getting sick. I gave him water instead. He told me that water is too boring for breakfast and demanded to know when the coffee would be ready. I replied that it had just finished and asked if he wanted some peppermint mocha. He looked at me with a completely deadpan expression and said, "Of course I do."

Sarcasm and caffeine. Is that the chicken-and-egg scenario we've created for ourselves? Which came first?! Honestly, given both of his parents' brand of "humor" I'm guessing the sarcasm would have reared its head at some point regardless of when he started drinking coffee.

It's just Sam and I for a couple of days at home... Rob is in upstate New York for the Division's Relay For Life leadership summit. It's so weird to be the one at home holding down the fort while he's at Relay meetings! I'm excited to hear how things are going. He's been working his rear end off for months now to launch a very cool program called Heroes of Hope. He gets to introduce 20+ survivor Heroes this weekend and he's totally psyched about it. The committee also chose him as an honorary Hero and he was just beaming when a spiffy embroidered shirt showed up in the mail for him saying so. If I haven't mentioned it lately, I'm quite proud of him. I'm not sure Sam could have ended up with a better specimen of a human being for a father.

Because Rob is out of town, I'm off to the dentist with Sam alone this morning. So far, Sam's taken to having his teeth cleaned far better than say, getting his hair cut. Hopefully this will be an routine appointment for which I will not regret having tackled alone.

The highlight of my day will actually be getting to spend some time in Sam's classroom after the appointment. It's my turn to read to his class. He chose, to my delight, Is There Really A Human Race by Jamie Lee Curtis for me to read. My sister-in-law and her family gave this book to Sam at least a year ago, and it has been read almost nightly ever since. If you have kids and don't have this book, you're missing out. We also love I'm Going To Like Me (also by Ms. Curtis) if you're looking for additional recommendations!

I should sign off and go print the Gap Old Navy Friends and Family discount coupon that the lovely Melissa sent to me last night. Sam has experienced his annual growth spurt in the last few weeks. All of the 3T pants we own are now showing a bit too much ankle for my taste. I'm pretty sure that if I don't go replace his jeans, he'll be wearing capris by Thanksgiving. Since every inch he gains in height is never matched a single inch around the waist, I'm not looking forward to finding 4T pants that will actually stay on his body.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


So it turns out that I have been unnecessarily worried about not getting matched with our child this year because of quotas. I caved and asked (ready for the bad news if it was real) on the Holt message board today. I figured someone there would know if we were running into quota time this year.

Because we didn't have this wait for referral when adopting Sam, some of the details about the process get jumbled in my pea brain. The proverbial quota I've been fearing for so long only affects travel once you are matched, not being matched in and of itself.

That actually makes sense, because the government in Korea is ultimately controlling how many children actually leave the country each year. Any matches being made now will definitely not travel until next year, so... we could seriously be matched by Christmas.

I am aware that might be wishful thinking, but I'm still getting my hopes up. I would just love to know at this point if we have a boy or a girl (and a picture would be nice.) I can occupy myself over the holidays by decorating his or her room and getting Sam prepared for the new arrival. It's all so esoteric until you have *something* and I feel like we've been in that limbo for way too long.

That's my good news for the day. Back to my regularly scheduled programming, otherwise known as torturing my husband over baby names. For those of you watching from home, we are about 99% decided on a boy's name now. That probably means we'll be matched with a girl and not have the poor child named until she's almost here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Movin' on up...

I checked the Holt referral list today and we're #9 on the list of families waiting for either gender child. SINGLE DIGITS!! I'm reinspired to believe that we WILL have a new baby. It's so easy to get frustrated and start to feel like it's never going to happen...

It is really starting to feel like so much is changing all at once, which is JUST what happened when Sam came home. We have a new president (whom we are hopeful will bring about true grassroots mobilization for the first time in our generation's lives,) our home is changing for the better (demolition should begin soon,) we are about to start switching Sam to his new "big boy" room AND, there is light at the end of the waiting-for-a-referral tunnel!

I've had lots of phone calls today asking me how I'm feeling on this "day after." Unfortunately, I got what I think is food poisoning just after Obama delivered his victory speech last night. Needless to say, I have not enjoyed this day as much as I'd hoped I could.

I will say, however, that I was proud to the point of tears last night. As the parent of a child who will face racism on some level throughout his life, I am simply giddy at the notion that perhaps those barriers are finally crumbling. It's so easy as a Caucasian American to overlook how insidious the problem can be. I truly believe that times are changing as a direct result of the election of Barack Obama.

I have also told quite a few people when asked that I firmly believe that no one person can bring about the change we need. I know lots of people believe all politicians are shady characters on some level. That may be true, but just complaining about it and accepting that as fact will never change things. I want to believe that we may have a new leader who is uniquely gifted in his ability to stir the souls of many, many Americans. If that is true, and if that continues and we don't become complacent (expecting Obama to single-handedly fix some huge problems) I believe that we can actually see real change.

Call me Pollyanna. Call me glass-half-full. Call me naive. No matter what you call me, though, show me a different solution other than people getting involved, because I just can't see one.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My voice was heard

For a complete news and political junkie like me, today is like the Superbowl and the World Series played at Disneyland all at once. I know plenty of people who are sick of all the political talk (I'm specifically tired of the ads) but I still have plenty of enthusiasm about today.

We got up at 5 a.m. and left the house just after 6 a.m. to vote. We are enthusiastic, yes, but the move was more about self-preservation. Sam really wanted to vote with me and since I recall my mom taking me to the polls (wait, maybe that's what caused all of this *gestures to self like Vanna White*) I wanted to be sure to go at a time that he could come into the booth with me. I had a feeling lines could be long, and no matter how much I want to instill pride in doing your civic duty in my son, I am not prepared to stand in line for hours with him. Remember all the talk about him needing caffeine?!

Sam popped out of bed around 5:45 this morning, ready to put on a blue shirt "because I'm on the blue team, Mommy!"

We snapped a couple of pictures for posterity (and the adorable voter scrap kit burning a hole in my external hard drive) and caravanned over to Thomas Paine Elementary. Now... we vote in nearly every election including all the little local ones a lot of people don't bother with. It's usually a bit like visiting the library: the halls are quiet, people talk in hushed tones and you do what you came to do and get out.

Today was a different story. At 6:12 a.m., it wasn't easy to find a place to park at our polling location. Sam and I parked around the side of the school and got to say good morning to all of the people streaming out ahead of us. The coolest part was that they were all grinning these huge grins. Imagine that! People were totally happy about voting. I can safely say I have never noticed that particular phenomenon before.

Rob ran into an older African-American woman leaving the gymnasium in which we vote. She paused by the "polling center" sign and snapped a quick picture because she was making history today. It's hard not to feel proud about something like that. No matter who you're voting for today, we will make history and that's a very cool thing.