Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween So Far

This is our Halloween so far. We have had Boo at the Zoo, a Harvest Festival, a Haunted Hay Ride and one photo session a piece for the kids. Whew!
This IS my favorite time of year though so I tend to do it up like others do up Christmas.
I think I should mention that in order to get pictures ready and sent out, we had to get some pictures of The Mermaid, and due to our crazy schedule, we had a very narrow window to do so. Well, the result was my skinny minnie kid laying on a cold rock getting splashed by waves and whipped about by the wind in 50 degree weather. She was a trooper though- it helped that she desperately wanted pictures of herself as a mermaid- by the sea. The lighting really wasn't ideal either but I thin we managed to get a few that came out ok.
Liam loves to don his dino/dragon outfit and prowl about growling and scaring us all.
The cat is unmoved by any of our shenanigans.

I have no pictures of the festival- I was too busy shoving funnel cake in my face.
We got one very silly picture at the hayride but that's on Leslie's phone. You can take my word for it though- it was fun. It was also very entertaining watching the differences in my kids. Ev spent about 40% of the hayride with her face covered up and Liam spent the whole time on his tip toes happily yelling at all of the skeletons, devils, giant spiders and fiends. I thing the best part for both of them was being able to play in the nearby park after dark though.

Well Trick or Treat is soon and I have a few other surprises up my sleeve but that will all have to wait as we are going to get very busy...
It's also Liam's third birthday tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Ev woke up this morning and made a mad scramble for my bed, she climbed in and settled in for a longish, quiet cuddle. She has told me about a hundred times today that she loves me. This happens after we have big emotional talks about her days in China alone and her Birth Mother. I never quiet know if she is trying to reassure me or herself  but I take the hugs and snuggles where I can and try to let the day go on. You see my girl does not like this sort of thing. There isn't a sentimental bone in her little body. That's not to say that she is unfeeling or that she doesn't feel things deeply, she is a very deep child, it's just that she is very practical and does not allow sentiment to govern her.

I, however, am a screaming hot mess today. My hands are shaking, I am nervous, I can't get my mind settled. I just keep reviewing our talk and wondering if I said the right things, if I held her enough, was it ok that she saw me cry, will she ever want to talk about this again...

I think the thing that makes me the most sad is that even though her pain and grief are profound, even though we will most likely need to help her with this for her whole life- she is not the only child that deals with the pain of abandonment. We are not the only adoptive parents to have to sit there and state awful facts and watch them strike the heart of the very children we want so desperately to protect. There are countless numbers of children out in the world that face abandonment.

I also keep thinking about how an abandoned child must build a "relationship" with the birth family. I think that because we will never know the ONE truth that led to Evelyn eventually coming  home with us, she must learn about ALL of the stories and possibilities and process each one as if that is the truth. She must work though these things so they will not hold her back, so that she can get to the other side.

Leslie and I believe that it's important to be honest with her, that it would be damaging to embellish the story, to assume things about her Birth Mother's life and state of mind. I will never be that woman and so, I will never be able to say why she did what she did. I will never get the chance to meet her and ask. I have to look at China and the possibilities of her life facts and make deductions. And so must Evelyn. And I think the key to healing is allowing our children access to those possibilities so they may work through the emotions that go along with them.

I have had to go on my own emotional journey with the Birth Mothers of my children. I have had to face my own anger and grief, my own incredulity at a system that allows this sort of thing to happen to families. I have gone from denial, to anger, to sadness, to a very deep and mournful respect and love for these women. And I must be ready to help my children go through this very same journey. The difference is that it didn't happen to me- so whatever I feel or have felt pales in comparison to what they must feel.

I have also been thinking about the nature of love. How a mother's love for her children may change and evolve. I have to look at how a child sees things only through their very own hearts. I have to believe that there was love for them as they lay in the wombs of their birth mothers because THEY need to believe that. I can't SAY your birth mother loved you, but I can believe it in my heart and have respect for it and my children will see that. I will, one day soon I think, have to talk with Ev about love and how it can change and be different. And that scares me because I am not good at this.

Some days I long for the simplicity of "you grew in my tummy". Not for me- but for them. But then, we wouldn't be the family that we are.

Monday, October 24, 2011

To An Unknown Woman in China

Tonight as I was putting my daughter down for bed, she smiled up at me and asked me to tell her the story of when I met her in China. She has asked this question many times in the 6 years that she has been with us and I always, always take time to stop what I am doing and tell her "The Story of The Big Room In The Jiangxi Hotel" .
Tonight was a bit different however. She seemed more pensive, more expectant, as if she were waiting for an opportunity to arise.
I realized pretty quickly that it was you she wanted to discuss.

And so, not knowing exactly where to start and not knowing exactly what it was she wanted or needed to talk about- I started with a simple truth.
As I lay there in bed with this 7 year old girl that is the light of my life, I looked into her face and I whispered to her that I had a secret to tell her. I told her that I think about you quite a bit. And as that whisper left my lips and traveled to her heart, I saw her relax and become almost relieved. She wanted to know when I thought of you, and I told her that it was when I saw her smile a certain way, or when I saw her in gymnastics class up on the balance beam or when she bursts out with a full belly laugh. I told her that at those times I thought of you and wished desperately for you to be able to see her.

She sighed and smiled a sad, strange little smile and then she asked me what you look like. I really wanted to be able to tell her. I wish that I could have met you just once, so I could tell her for sure what you looked like, so you would have been able to see that she would be loved and cherished. The sad truth is that I didn't see you, I have no idea who you are. I told her this. And we decided that we might have enough information to make a few guesses. According to us you are a tiny woman with very good posture. You have tiny, capable hands. You have dark black hair that is cut with bangs at the front but it's very long in the back and you mostly wear it in a long pony tail like her friend Willow. And you must have a fabulous nose.

She wondered sadly if you loved her and we talked about that. We decided that you must have kept yourself very healthy when you were pregnant with her because she was born healthy and strong. We talked about the circumstances in your country that may have led you to make the decision that you did. We know that there were other choices- choices that were easier socially and morally in your country but you made a choice that could have made things very difficult for you and any family that you lived with. She decided that you made the choice you did, not because you wanted to, but because you have Honor. And so she decided that with your honor and the very few other things we know, that you did love her.

I think she loves you too. It's a far away love, a love filled with sadness and regret but it is there. I wanted you to know that you are not forgotten. That she knows about you, she thinks about you. She thinks that you did the right thing, and that might be cold comfort to the mother's heart that beats in your chest but it is what we have.

I want you to know that she is loved and cherished. We will keep her healthy and happy and do our very best to give her the best of all things, but mostly the best that our own hearts have to offer.

I like to think that there are times when we are thinking of you and talking of you, and that you are there in China thinking of her too, and that somehow you know that she is loved by us and that she has a smile that can change the world. And her nose is the most fabulous little nose that I have ever seen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Resistance Is Futile

Do you want to know how to get your children started on the path to Geekdom?
Of course you do!

                                                                        Step 1
                       Allow them to spend a sunny afternoon reading vintage comics.

                                                                         Step 2
                                        Introduce them to the world of Star Trek.

                                                                          Step 3
                                     Provide Medieval Castles for them to play in.

Step 4
Take them to Medieval Faires at a young age.

Other things that you might find useful in your Holy Quest to make your children worthy of geekdom are:
*Star Wars
*Cult films such as The Princess Bride
*Dress up items that allow them to pretend to be super heroes, knights or kick ass Princesses
*Foam sword play
*Other geek literature such as video game magazines (thank you Gpa), Star Trek Manuals or more comic books
*A general and exciting education in the field of Science.
*Exposure to different types of music, like the Buffy Soundtrack for instance.
* But most of all, let them see your love of all great Sci-Fi and Fantasy and let them be a part of it.

Oh! And cool, geek appropriate t-shirts are a must!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things I Have Learned This Week

  • The only thing more painful than stepping on a tiny Ninja sword with bare feet would be to step on a real Ninja sword with bare feet.
  • You can actually see blood come out of your own ears when the number of times you hear "Mama?" in a day reaches into the gazillions.
  • My husband can fix the hell out of the washer.
  • It's ok to isolate myself when I am grumpy. It seems everyone can, and will survive without me. At least for a little while.
  • I drink way too much Caffeine Free Diet Coke.
  • I will probably not address the "too much Coke" thing as it's one of my only vices.
  • We can make it through a whole week with eating out only once.
  • The kids actually like it when you take the easy route and give them pbj's for lunch.
  • I am inordinately proud of my kids. Both of them. They are just nice, well behaved kids and I like being around them.
  • I need to get more Art into our life.
  • You can ignore that voice in your head that keeps telling you that you want Dunkin' Donuts and it will go away.
  • If you are tired of your 2 year old waking up 5 times a night, you can give him a pre-bedtime speech and just tell him to stop crying when he wakes up and to go back to sleep. And he will do it. (At least for one night so far).
  • My two year old has been scamming me and doesn't really need a night light.
  • 30 Rock may be the funniest show ever.
  • I am shameless-ly obsessed with Dr. Who and Torchwood. 
  • I really need about an hour a day that is all my own.
  • Seven year old girls are complicated little beasts. This is called " Cosmic Foreshadowing". 
  • I may not survive my daughter's teen years with my sanity intact. But I will go out loving her and trying my best not to strangle her. 
  • Stepping on matchbox cars is nearly as painful as stepping on ninja swords and you get a bonus ankle twist.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This is Liam. He's two. And he's what you might call, "A Moosh".
Please don't ask me to tell you exactly what a Moosh is. It's just Liam. He's just...Moosh.
We are a nick namey crowd and for the longest time, Liam just didn't get a nickname.
I noticed however, that as we have gotten past the one year mark with him, he's starting to pick up a few. It was like we had to wait to find the boy underneath all of that survival stuff to see what nick name would really stick. As he embraced his Liam-ness, we have been able to see other things. Like his relative Moosh-ness.
He doesn't really like being called Moosh. Or his other nick name for that matter. That other one is, "The Bubbuhz". He will look at us askance, put his little palm to his chest and say "No. Eeuhm". And we laugh, because he is so serious but pulling our leg at the same time.
He is my son. He is almost three. And he has a moosh magic all his own. He can make me all gushy and warm inside. He turns me into a real mooshy mush this kid. I could hold him and squeeze him forever.
I just might.

High On Life

This is my daughter. She is seven. She has one lost tooth and has one more  loose. Her legs are longer than ever. She giggles almost constantly. She loves Star Trek. She is a great, though fussy, big sister.
She doesn't need a reason to smile- she just smiles, all of the time.
She doesn't need a reason to laugh and giggle- she just does.
She dances and twirls about. It's not unusual for her to break into a series of cartwheels just for the pure joy of it.

She says, " i'm just kiddin' " about a hundred times a day- because she is always kidding and looking for a way to make those around her smile.
She will wrap up perfectly round, white stones from the ocean two weeks before your birthday and keep them hidden because she has noticed that those are the kind you always pick up while walking along the beach. 

She runs on very little sleep. She eats like a bird. Her hair smells like hot coals from the fire. She has lovely little hands with chipped polish. She has these amazingly tiny feet that carry her everywhere at light speed.

This is Evelyn and she is high on life.
I hope that she never comes down.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Monarch Tagging

While out yesterday, we noticed a sign that told of Monarch Tagging that would take place near the lighthouse today.  Seeing as we fancy ourselves Amateur Lepidopterists, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see "butterfly science" up close and personal.
Today we learned about the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly and what an important role  milk weed plays during the caterpillar stage. We learned that Monarchs are what you call a brush footed butterlfy. We learned how to tell the boys from the girls. We learned about the migratory paths. And we got to see, first hand, Monarch Tagging.
A tiny sticker is placed on each butterfly, right on the underside of a wing, each sticker has it's own i.d. number and this is used to gather scientific information about the Monarchs and how they migrate. Both Ev and Liam got to touch and hold a butterfly, as well as release a recently tagged Monarch back out into the world. We all loved every minute.
After butterfly tagging it was time to run and chase free butterflies out in the field in front of the lighthouse.
Then it was time for some tacos.
We are back home now and settling in for an evening of Classic Star Trek.
Another great day on the books for us.

Nature Walk

We have been lucky enough to find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a glorious run of perfect fall weather. Yesterday, we did what any sane family would do- we put up the books, we filed away the worksheets, we put the housework off, we ignored the laundry and we headed out into the great outdoors to see what we could find.
What we found was a lovely 2 mile trail that runs through the marshes in and around the Cape May Lighthouse. We identified trees, we counted butterflies, we found lots of bugs to look at, we watched some shore birds- in short we learned just how beautiful the Jersey coast can be this time of year. The kids ran breathlessly from one tree to the next, from one Monarch sighting to the next. They ran or nearly ran the entire 2 miles.
We rounded off the afternoon with some ice cream and a lovely sunset.
It was one of those days that even as they are happening, you know that it's one of the days that you will never forget.
Nothing extraordinary. Just you and your family out in the fresh air, feeling the sun and enjoying each other.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family Outing

We just got back from two days on the road- we went to Busch Gardens! And guess what? Uncle Mike was there! It's almost like we planed it (wink wink).
Evelyn has been asking for a trip to a "roller coaster place" for weeks and weeks. We missed our summer trip with Leslie's sisters to Cedar Point this year and that has been eating away at Ev. Well, we couldn't manage to get all of the way up there to Cedar Point, but we did mange to get ourselves to Busch Gardens when Uncle Mike and his crew were going to be there.
It was a great day. Lots of fun rides for the kids, a bit of a picnic under a pretty blue sky while roller coasters roared in the distance, cousins to ride the rides with, Uncles to be shy around. We might have to have TWO amusement park traditions. Aunt Jessica was there too, with the evident baby bump that means little Riley is cooking right along.