Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sick and Tired (of being sick and tired)

Wow it has been a week.

I've been puked next to, puked at, puked on, cleaned up puke, disinfected the bathroom a kagillion times, made more cup-a-noodles than I've ever made before, and had very little sleep.

The stomach flu came home Saturday night, courtesy of my husband. At first I believed he had food poisoning, but on Monday night at around 11pm my 5 year-old woke up vomiting in her bed. The top bunk. (Insert thumbs down here). So I stripped her bed, threw sheets in the garage, little sister in the spare room, and it continued. All night.

By Tuesday night little sister was throwing up, but big sister recovered, thank goodness I only had one of them acting like a fountain at a time. Whew.

By yesterday afternoon little sister had a fever, cough, and stuffy nose. Son of a bitch. Who goes from throwing up to having a cold with a fever (ok, I am trying to avoid the terminology but I know it's just another form of the flu) in 12 hours? Son. Of. A. Nutcracker.

Then, to make matters more complex. Despite little misses sneezy self, we went to the grocery store. I didn't let her touch anything. I locked her sick booty in the seat of the cart. But, we were out of food. Like all the way. So we prevailed. While we were at the store, we went to the banking counter (PS bank branches in grocery stores were MADE for women with kids, one stop shopping and banking, thank you bank people). The banking lady gave the girls suckers. Thank you bank lady, now they will have something to do while I shop. But, as I'm taking care of business, I hear the non-stuffy-nosed child say to the stuffy-nosed child "mmmmm your sucker is good." Yep. The healthy one took the sick ones lollipop and tasted it. Dumb-ass.

I feel the need to let you know that I talk to my kids about germs, and handwashing CONSTANTLY.

Today is day four of illness. Day three of me being home with kids. And, though I haven't woken them yet (still hoping they'll make a miraculous recovery), judging by the amount of coughing I heard through the night they are going to have to stay home again today. Plus, I'm sure the older one will wake up sick due to her lollipop tasting yesterday.

Dammit. Today is mommys day off. I'm supposed to go out to breakfast with a friend followed by a long walk in the park. I'm going to have to cancel.

Please children, be better by tomorrow. Mommy's going stir crazy. Ooooh, and by the way, I didn't catch the stomach bug OR the cold. Here's to good handwashing. Or, who am I kidding, long incubation periods.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Moon Will Rise, The Sun Will Set, But I Won't Forget

It's been 862 days since my sister died. I don't actually know that number by memory, but I looked it up today out of curiosity. I'm not really sure why I had to put a concrete number to something that time has no bearing over. Some days I wake up and still, after all this time, find myself thinking "I need to talk to my sister, it's been a while." Some days I don't really think of her much at all. It hurts me to write that, but it's the truth. But some days I wake up and miss her so much that I cannot breathe. So much that there is a physical ache in my chest from the empty space her death has left.

My sister was a ray of sunshine. She was nearly 10 years younger than me, but she grounded me. Her free spirit and my controlling nature clashed on more than one occassion, but overall we brought out the best in each other. She, my vivacious, spontaneous side, and me her astute, responsible side. We both envied the other for our qualities. Two complete opposites, but complementary and loving....most days.

She was taken away quickly. It was a Thursday morning, and I was mulling around on trying to find some amazing way to knock myself up (we'd been trying for a baby for just over a year at that point) while waiting for a friend to pick me up for lunch and pedicures. It was a warm September day. The phone rang, and it was my grandma. When I answered, she asked me if I was at work. I laughed at her saying, "um, you called me at home." Then she told me. I immediately accused her of making a horrific joke, but she assured me it wasn't a joke, my 18 year-old sister had been killed in a car accident. I needed to get to my moms house (2200 miles away) as soon as possible.

The hours and weeks that follow that moment blend together. I got to my moms house, and saw the strongest woman I'd ever known in pieces. Pieces that I would later, to this day, help pick up, one by one. I planned her funeral, because as everyone else was frozen with grief, I was pushing it down doing what needed to be done. It wasn't real. To this day, sometimes, it. still. isn't. real.

Today I woke up missing her. My sister. My angel. My love. When she died, a part of me came alive. I realized that I couldn't live everyday planning for what may or may not happen next. I didn't absolutely have to go to bed by nine o'clock to get up for work at five. I could enjoy my evening, and be tired. I learned to laugh at myself. I learned to live every moment, because it could be my last.
I swear that movie, "In Her Shoes" would have been a mirror image of us as adults. Clashing our way along in this crazy world, but loving each other to pieces.

The reality of it all though, the essence of this day that I'm having where I miss her so much it's almost intolerable, is that it's never going to be OK. My life has gone on, I have kids, a husband, a job, many, many blessings. But that day, the day I lost her, the fact that I lost her will never be OK. It's not OK. And no matter how much time passes between that day, and the current one, I will always miss her. The empty place in my life because of her passing is real. So today, I shed a few tears, looked at some pictures, prayed, spent some time alone, and will watch her memorial DVD tonight after the girls go to bed. I am so lucky because my sister changed my life. I got to watch her grow up. She was amazing.

Her spirit, her heart, her love is with me. That much I know is true. I carry it in my heart. It's like that E.E. Cummings poem they recite in the movie:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
-E.E. Cummings

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Top 6

I've been meeting a lot of new people lately, and have been talking about my girls a lot. There are two things that always lead me to share that they joined our family by adoption, the first is that I wear a necklace every day that says "Grew in my heart" and has the girls names on it. The second, is when I tell people their ages. The conversation almost always goes like this:

Them: How old are your kids?
Me: 4 and 5
Them: Wow, they're really close in age, it's like having twins.
Me: Yes, they're a year and a week apart.
Them: Wow, you're brave.
Me: Well, I didn't have them as babies, they came home at ages 3 and 4 so I got lucky.
Them: Confused look
Me: My husband and I brought them into our family by adoption.

And then the questions start.....
I'm open about the fact that my children were adopted, I don't see it as "private" or something we don't talk about. Adoption is an amazing thing, I wouldn't be a mom today if it weren't for adoption. I don't share the girls past, just our journey to becoming a family. And, some of the questions I get asked, are asked over and over again. Here they are.

1. Aren't you afraid their real parents will take them back? Or, Can their real parents come back and take them? The "real parent" statement used to really bother me, but it doesn't anymore. I know what people mean. They mean to say "biological" they just say "real" instead. But seriously, I'm these girls "real" mom. My blood doesn't run through them but they have my spirit. And no, they cannot go back to their egg and sperm donor because our adoption is final. My husband and I are on their birth certificate.

2. Do they ask for their birth family/real parents? No, they don't. They no longer (for the past 6 months or so) ask for anyone who was in their life before us. And it makes me both happy and sad at the same time. (I will have to approach this in another post).

3. & 4. What's the adoption process like? How much does it cost? I always answer these questions honestly. It's a long process, and it's invasive, but for good cause of keeping kids safe. Fos-adopt doesn't cost much, domestic newborn adoption (private adoption) does.

5. Are they adjusting well? Are they healthy? This is always a fun one because I get to say "yes." But, it's sad to me that the stigma is that these kids aren't healthy or able to adjust. In some cases it is tough. And, let me tell you, they scare the crap out of you in the pre-adoption classes. I heard scary stories, but honestly, even though I know my home wouldn't be the best for a troubled child it's not their fault. The adults that kids love and trust hurt them in one way or anther in these situations, and it breaks their heart. Kids don't know how to handle a broken heart, so many adoptive parents have to work heart to mend a childs broken heart, broken spirit, and lack of trust. God bless these people.

We were presented with information on a 1 year-old but she had a lot of medical problems, and so much of them were unknown for the future. We declined because we didn't feel we could be the best parents for her. It was sad, but we were scared. That little girl deserved a family who could embrace her challenges and work hard to help her. If I were a stay-at-home mom I would have considered it, but she was just too delicate for daycare, which I knew was in my kids future.

6. Are you going to have "your own" children? First off, my girls are MINE. But again, I know people mean "biological" children. The real answer is, I don't know. I hope so. So I usually say with a smile, "I hope so!" But, time will tell. And, that is the truth. But, I can say for sure, I will have another child, one way or another, our family is not complete yet!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Dance

Before kids, my morning would start out slowly, alarm would go off, and I (being the planner I am) would take my time doing hair, make up, making my lunch, and heading off for my day.

My husband generally slept in, because his schedule allowed him to begin his day around 9am, which worked great because he is in no way, shape, or form a morning person.

So, why do you care about this? Why am I mentioning it?

Well, because my mornings these days are quite a bit different. This morning was a perfect example. I am currently taking a critical care class two days a week and then working my 12 hour shifts two days a week. My husband is student teaching five days a week. He also tries to work a couple days a week for a few hours. The girls have daycare three days a week, and go to gramma's on a fourth day if we need it.

Got all that?

No? Don't worry, me either. In the morning, my house is batshit crazy. To top off all of us getting ready at the same time most mornings, we also only have one bathroom. Yep. I'm not complaining, I mean, we're lucky to have a warm house to wake up in everyday, but one bathroom for four people is a bit like trying to nail jell-o to a tree = difficult and sometimes impossible. Luckily, I'm the only girl in the house straightening her hair and wearing make up. Note to self, we will need another bathroom before the girls hit puberty.

Last but not least, remember how I told you that my husband is not a morning person? I would like to mention that again. This is how my morning went today:
Up at 5:40 to get myself ready for an early morning meeting and class starting at 7:30, which means I have to leave my house by about 6:50 to get there on time without having road rage.
Husband gets up at same time, sits on couch, drinks protein shake and coffee.
6:10 I'm almost ready, husband goes out to garage to work out.
6:30 husband comes in and grumbles to me "If I'm taking them to grammas can you at least get them ready." I smile and say "yes" while visualizing punching him in the face.
6:35 girls get up, go to bathroom
6:40 girls found laying on couch, lay out kid clothes, put toothpaste on toothbrushes, tell them to get dressed and brush teeth. Make my breakfast and snack to-go.
6:45 dinner into crock pot, coffee brewing, husband comes in, barks at kids to get ready (and they pretty much already are)
6:50 put kids hair up in ponytails, get reprimanded by 3 year-old because "it's bumpy." Remind her grandma can fix it, coax them to put shoes and coats on, put on my coat, pour to-go coffees for hubby and me
6:55 girls leave house with dad, as they're walking out, I realize I didn't give the dog her insulin (yes our damn dog is diabetic), and our little dog her antibiotics (absessed tooth)
7:00 ten minutes late, I'm out the door, clocked in for my meeting at 7:30, the minute it starts.

Whew. It was exhausting recapping that. As I was driving to work I was thinking to myself "what an amazing, crazy, awful, beautiful life."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Sunscreen Song

The sunscreen song was a song that came out back in high school (actual year was 1999) when a guy named Baz Luhrman decided to put his essay to song. It's actually titled "Everyone's free (to wear sunscreen)." Within some humor there is some REALLY good advice in this song. Lot's of times when I'm feeling lost, overwhelmed, or as of late: anxious, I will listen to the song and try to hold on to some piece of it for the day. Today is:

"Worry, but know that worrying is about as effective as solving an algebra equasion by chewing bubble gum."

We have to take risks in our life. We have to bring ourselves to the end of our comfort blanketed rope and branch out. We have to get up and try. If we don't exit our comfort zones, we will never really live.

Anyway, I'm obviously feeling a little "deep" on this foggy cold morning, as the girls sit next to me working on letter tracing. Here's the video, I hope it gives you some insight today.

Watch it here: and have a great day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


What a holiday season it has been. We had our first Christmas with the girls, which included a preschool party on Christmas eve, followed by dinner at my husbands cousins house. Then Christmas morning we opened presents as a family of four. It was amazing! Santa left bikes, sparkly shoes, and umbrella's. Mom and dad bought waaay too many other things (shoes, toys, books, dresses). Then we went to my husbands grandma's house for breakfast. In the evening, I cooked a ham for four family and my husbands brothers family.

Then, on the 27th we left to fly to the midwest for Christmas with my side of the family. We were there until yesterday, and we got home last night (new years eve) at 7:30pm.

And you were all wondering where the anxiety was coming from!

On that note, I've been much better. I know much of my anxiety is because of my .... ok, I'm going to say it: controlling personality. Let me give you an example: We flew southwest, and they don't assign seats. I was having heart palpitations boarding the plane because I was worried we wouldn't get enough seats together. I actually worried about this an hour before the flight. Not normal. My mom, and my grandma are the same way. We stress over every little thing.

After writing the last post, I got some great feedback and pointers from friends. I have found ways to work through the moments when I feel anxious. Honestly, the hardest thing at this point is worrying I'll have another moment. It was very scary.

Anyway, I'm working through it. I really nervous to start my new job Thursday, but that goes in stride too. I feel like some anxiety is good, it makes us alert, and makes us work hard. But I refuse to let it prevent me from doing anything.

As for my reflection on 2012: What. A. Ride. I (finally) became mother, in a way I never thought I would. This year has been about flexibility, outsourcing, taking advice I don't always ask for (all new moms get this), being patient, maintaining "awesome wife" status despite my busy schedule, being humble about my blessings, and overall, attempting to judge less, love more, and smile. Lastly, being grateful for every moment I get in this crazy world.

A good friend of mine and her husband moved across the globe because they wanted to. I mean it. They wanted to live in this place, this far away paradise (from what I can see), and they made it happen. My quote for 2013 comes from her. As I start a job in critical care, which is something I know little about, as I continue to parent two preschoolers and consider another child, as I lead and follow in the dance of marriage, I will remember this:

"If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough" - unknown