I had a mind once. Now I have small children.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Allow Me To Reiterate

Wow, I can hardly believe that it has been almost a year since I started my humble little blog. I also can't even begin to tell you how therapeutic it has been for me to find some funny and write about my family so that i don't go crazy! In honor of my upcoming anniversary, I thought I would re-post my very first blog. The one that started it all. It was originally published by the fabulous ladies over at Rants From MommyLand. And now, without further ado, allow me to reiterate....

Thoughts From An Adoptive Mom...

I feel the need to write about this after a disturbing encounter this weekend. Let me start by introducing myself. I am the mother of 3 beautiful children…let’s call them Mario, Luigi and Peach. (Yes. We have a bit of a Wii addiction in our house!) My babies are the loves of my life and the direct cause of all of my insanity. I used to be a fairly normal person that had not yet surrendered, but now….well, let’s just say the surrender has fully taken over. What most people don’t know is that one of my babies is adopted.

This past weekend, my darling husband (let’s call him…..Bowser) was sweet enough to let me go to a scrapbooking retreat ALL BY MYSELF. 48 full hours of ME time! I know…you are sooo jealous! The bonus, it was at the Embassy Suites where they have a FREE happy hour for two full hours every evening. Can you say awesome? Scrapbooking and free drinks. I was in heaven. But, I digress….

While sitting at my station, getting all nostalgic over baby pictures of my sweet little terror suspects, I overheard another girl talking about her fertility battles. Now…I want to say here for the record, that I COMPLETELY sympathize with her. I, too, had fertility issues and know the pain of not being able to get the baby that you so desperately desire.

So, nosy girl that I am, decided that of course she wanted to hear my 2 cents on the subject. After all, we could bond, right? WRONG. I casually mention that one of my lovely little cherubs is adopted and that it is a wonderful option when you are struggling and want to build a family. OK. So, maybe it was none of my business, but I must say, that I was not at all prepared for the response that I got. It went something like this…

Me: Infertility totally sucks. I remember all of those awful feelings when I was struggling myself. Have you ever considered adoption? It is a wonderful way to add to your family.
Queen Mean: I would NEVER consider something like that. Adopted babies aren’t even like real babies.
Me: Ummmm….what?!?!
QM: Well, everyone knows that you don’t really love your adopted babies the way a real mother loves her real babies.
Me: Oh, I can guarantee you that my Luigi is every bit as real as Mario and Peach. And so is my love for him.
QM: If you were being honest with yourself, you would admit that you feel differently about him than your “real” kids.
Me: Why do you keep saying “real” kids? All of my children are actual live human beings.
QM: Well, I just mean that an adopted baby isn’t really like having kids….

The conversation kept going along these lines, and…well, you get the point.

I found it hard to believe that someone so desperate to love a baby, could be so ignorant about what family really is. So, just to clarify some things from my unique perspective as a mom with both biological and adopted children:

1. All of my children are, in fact, REAL. I have cleaned enough butts, kissed away enough tears, tickled enough bellies, and wiped enough noses to say with all confidence that all 3 of my children are most definitely REAL.

2. Yes, I love them ALL THE SAME. Let me repeat that. I love them ALL. THE. SAME. I may not have bonded with Luigi in my womb, but I was there the day he was born and can promise you that the amount of love I felt the first time I saw his beautiful little face was the same as when I first saw Mario and Peach.

3. All three of my little monsters, er…children, get the same kind of discipline. And all three get the same kind of affection.

4. Each child comes with his own set of issues, problems, quirks, etc. I have drank many a beer over my “bad days” with Mario, as I have with both Luigi and Peach.

5. In case you may still have doubts about whether or not my Luigi is a “real” member of our family, I will take this opportunity to let you know that on his “adoption day” a judge declared us a family. That is right. It is legal. He is mine, all mine! Boo-yah!

6. No. We are not afraid that Luigi’s birth mother will come back and try to take him back. *See #5. When the judge declared us a family, her rights were terminated.

7. However, I do send letters and pictures once a year through our adoption agency to let her know how he is doing. It is the least I can do. The day she put him in my arms, as happy as I was to hold my new son, my heart broke into a million pieces for what she was losing. Her strength and her love for him were actually tangible in the room that day. I will fight you to my last breath if you think that a birth mother “gives her child away” because she does not love him. It is exactly the opposite. I have seen that love and I will forever be touched by it.

8. Yes. We will tell Luigi that he is adopted. Why should we keep it a secret? His is a wonderful story of love. Without him, our family would not be complete. His birth parents are in his baby book. His birth mother wrote him a letter that I will give to him when the time is right. It doesn’t matter if he grew in my belly, or in someone else’s. What matters is that he is here.

9. Having been through both, I must say that adoption is the best “pregnancy” you will ever have!!! Nothing can boost the ego quite like walking through Target and having someone look at your newborn baby and say, “WOW! You look great for having a week old baby! How did you do it??” Seriously. No better feeling. Not to mention the lack of morning sickness, weight gain, stretch marks, body aches…oh, and that pesky thing called labor and delivery! [Editor's Note: Also, you can go to Five Guys without fear. - Lydia]

10. I actually get amusement out of it when some jackhole acquaintance says “oh, I heard one of your children is adopted. Which one is it?” I just smile and say, “well, if you can’t tell, then neither will I.” Love it.

Now, I realize that adoption is not for everyone. I just felt the need to clarify a few things on the subject. I was shocked by the reaction of Queen Mean at the retreat. I really did not know that people could still be so ignorant and closed-minded about adoption. The definition of "family" can mean so many different things...A mom, dad and two kids, 2 women and a son, parents with 19 biological children, parents with one adopted child, a man and his dog... Really pretty much whatever combination you come up with can equal a family, if there is love and respect holding them together.

So, thank you for the chance to get on my soapbox. And thank you for reading my crazy and sometimes rambling thoughts.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Favorite Day of the Year

It's here! My very favorite day of the year!!! Happy St. Patrick's Day, world! To celebrate this most joyous of occasions, I would like to share with you my top 10 list of why March 17th is the greatest of days.

10. Corned beef and cabbage. As Bowser said, "It is so good, but like, only once a year and in small quantities." Agreed, my dear husband.

9. Green Beer.

8. It's the only day of the year you can get away with saying, "Slainte!" if you aren't actually Irish.

7. Irish music. Love it. Getting ready to listen to "The Unicorn" for the 543rd time today. "Green alligators and long necked geese..."

6. The Leprechauns always come and make mischief, so I have an excuse for the mess in the house. At least for a day.

5. Green Beer!!!

4. I can wear a freakishly big, sparkly, green bow in my hair, and no one thinks it is weird. Except for Bowser. But he thinks a lot of what I wear is freakish and weird.

3. Green is my favorite color. Bring it on! The more green, the better. You should see the Goombas. If I were someone else's mother, I would probably feel bad for them.

2. No more snakes in Ireland. What could be better than no more snakes, right?

1. Have I mentioned GREEN BEER???? An entire day devoted to drinking beer in my favorite shade of the color spectrum. My heart does not get much happier than this!

So, dear friends....

May the road rise up
to meet you.
May the wind always
be at your back.
May the sun shine
warm upon your face,
and the rains fall
soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you
in the palm of His hand.


ps--Just a side note... Do not--I repeat, do NOT--ever put all of your leftover corned beef down the garbage disposal if you are unsure of how well said garbage disposal works. Unless you want to see what looks like ground up gremlins shooting out of your sink. Don't ask me how I know this...just trust me. Please.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

The other morning, while the youngest two Goombas were enthralled with the latest episode of Word World, I was sipping on my 2nd cup of coffee and stalking people on Facebook when an old friend from college popped up in my chat window. Erb has two small, adorable children that he swears are trying to kill him. Aaah, yes. I am most definitely familiar with the Goombas conspiring against me. And I have to admit, I was glad to hear mine aren't the only ones.

"They time their middle of the night wakings to prevent dad from getting more than 40 consecutive minutes of sleep for a week straight," said Erb. "One wakes up, i tend to him - once I get him down, she wakes up..." I nodded my head in agreement and gave him an LOL to let him know he is not alone.

"Wash, rinse, repeat," he went on, "and dad's chugging his second five-hour energy drink since 7:15." Oh, Erb, I SO get it!

It's like a 6th sense that children have. They can tell when Mom is stressed, or Daddy is getting tired. They see the weak moment and then go in for the kill. Once you have more than one child in the mix, watch out. They like to work together. The Goombas don't always play well, but they sure know how to work as a team to make me lose my mind.

Case in point... They can all be sitting quietly, doing their own things. Then the phone rings. As I walk over to answer it, I can see them exchange a look and a hand gesture, not unlike the catcher sending the pitcher signals in a baseball game. I should just stop where I am and let the phone ring, but of course, I don't. I answer it and silently pray that they all stay occupied throughout my conversation.

Suddenly, someone is screaming, someone is saying, "Mommy, Mommy, hey Mommy, Mommy" at 8,000 decibels, someone breaks a toy, cookie crumbs are scattered across the floor, the cat is getting thrown over the stair rail, someone misses the potty and milk is spilled all over the kitchen. As soon as I end the phone call to take care of the insanity, they all go back to their quiet playing in separate rooms as though nothing ever happened. I just know that they plot this out late at night when I am sleeping.

Erb and I decided we have no idea where this behavior comes from since we were both perfect as children and NEVER conspired against our parents when we were young. ...sigh...

As of right now, the Goombas are all quiet. They are in the basement together, doing who knows what. I have a feeling I am about to get hit with a coup of Goombas. I better brace myself. Oh, and Erb, grab another energy drink. I have a feeling your kiddos aren't done messing with you yet.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dear Mario....

To my Darling 1st-Born Child,

My dearest Mario, where do I even begin? I have to admit, my sweet love, that I am getting a little choked up just thinking about writing you this letter. Eight years ago, you came along and changed my life forever. Of course, you have always been a little bit stubborn and you didn't want to make your debut until 2 weeks after you were supposed to. But, I have to say, you were worth the wait. I guess technically, you were worth the weight as well, seeing as how you showed up at close to 9 whopping pounds!

I remember when you were born, Daddy and I would sit in the hospital and just stare at you. We couldn't believe that we created someone so beautiful. Even to this day, when I sit across from you at the dinner table, and you tell your funny stories about what happened at school, I find it hard to believe that God gave you to me. When you were just a baby, I was so scared. I even told the nurse in the hospital that she shouldn't let me bring you home, because I was sure to do something wrong! But, Baby Bear, I loved you so much that somehow, being Mommy to you was natural.

You have been such a delight since you were born. The only time you ever get cranky (even now!) is when you are hungry or tired. There are so many things that I adore about you, that I could never fit them all in one little blog. So, I will list just a few here...

Darling Mario, I love...

~Your enthusiasm for learning. Although you sometimes complain that school is boring, I know that deep down you love to learn all kinds of new things. You ask all kinds of questions at dinner about how things work. You want to read anything that people put in front of you. It is incredible and I hope you never lose that need to know more.

~The way you obsess about the things you love. I think you get this from me, sorry. But, when you find something that piques your interest, you go at it with gusto. When you were 4 years old, you decided that you loved maps. You had atlas after atlas, state maps, driving directions from Google, books about the states, and so much more. You would memorize directions and facts from every page and share them with us. I never have and probably never will know another 4-year-old that could give me minute by minute directions across the states of Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. Over the years, the interests have changed, just as they should. I have learned more than I ever thought I could about the planet Saturn, the Green Bay Packers, Angry Birds, and Super Mario Brothers.

~Your gigantic green eyes. All my life, I wished I had beautiful green eyes. You, my son, got them! Someday they are going to melt a girl's heart and you will fall in love and you will have a new woman in your life. And I will be ok with that. As long as she is an virgin-orphan*. (*Anyone that knows me will understand this. It is a topic needs it's own blog post to explain!)

~You are so very good with your brother and sister. Even though I know that Luigi can make you crazy sometimes, you let him play with your things and you are very patient with him. You also adore your little sister. Peach looks up to you and wants to like everything you like. You help her do things, you never turn off the light to the basement while she is still down there, and you can make her laugh like no one else can. You let Luigi "meow" at you while you play games and you let Peach confiscate your Mario doll because she loved it so much. You are the best big brother in the world!

~Your quirky jokes and stories. You have the best imagination, albeit strange sometimes! I remember when you had imaginary friends. Light was your wife and Oscar was your best friend. (One time I stepped on Light. I thought you would never forgive me!) Now, you have immersed yourself in Mario's World, where all kinds of fantastic things happen and you are the King.

Mario, there is so much more that I love about you. I am the luckiest Mommy in the world to have you in my life. As I said before, when you arrived 8 years ago, you changed my life forever. But, my Baby Bear, I wouldn't have it any other way. You asked me the other day if I had a chance to trade you for a million dollars, would I? Absolutely not! Not for a million, not for a billion, not even for a google dollars! You are mine forever, kiddo, no matter what!

Happy Birthday, Kiddo-Bo-Bee-Diddo! I love you!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Call of Duty

I am pretty sure I am the only person in the world that actually enjoys being called for jury duty. I'm not even joking. I love it. I act all annoyed and stuff, but secretly, I am squealing with delight on the inside. It's like I won the lottery--they picked me, me, me! I realize that 99.9% of the rest of the population looks at jury duty as a burden, an annoyance, something they are forced to do, but, not me. I think it is so wonderful that in this country we are allowed to see, first hand, how our justice system works. Not only that, but we are called to be a part of it!

Now, before you stop reading because you think I am just completely insane, allow me to explain myself. Along with loving our system, I also have some pretty selfish reasons for loving jury duty. First of all, it gives me a break from the Goombas. There are not many things that I can do that allow me freedom of no children for a few hours. This is one of them. So, in my crazy way, I actually look at jury duty as a break from my normal life.

Along with getting to be a free mama for a day, I get to wallow in someone else's grief for a while. It is amazing how good you can feel about yourself when you are called to a jury where someone is defending himself for heinous crime. Ok, they are not always heinous crimes, but even a DUI can make me realize that, hey, things in my life could be worse.

Some other perks to the call of the justice system:

~I actually read about 30 uninterrupted pages in my book. That may not seem like much, but it has been a long time since I have read that many pages without having to put the book down 25 times to go help someone with something.

~I had adult conversations about something other than poop and snot and temper tantrums. It was lovely! I had a very nice chat about New York with the lady that sat next to me in the jury box. With no Goombas screaming in the background. I could actually hear what she was saying, and I didn't have to yell over the noise around me. I had almost forgotten what that is like.

~Because I am a total nerd, seeing how a trial really works was intriguing to me. I love the process. I love the politeness required of everyone..."Yes, Ma'am," "No, sir," "Thank you, Your Honor." It was a very nice change from "MMMMIIIIIIILLLKKK, NNNNOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!"

~I actually had something interesting to tell Bowser about after the Goombas went to bed. Usually, I hear about his day at work and all the problems he gets to solve. I usually tell him about how Luigi finished a new puzzle, Mario whined about homework, and Peach begged for Aladdin for the 500th time of the day. Yesterday, I was the one with the cool story.

So, yes, I guess I am officially a weirdo, but I enjoyed doing my civic duty to my country yesterday. I was on a fascinating case involving a DUI, driving with a revoked license and weaving in traffic. With no hard evidence of intoxication. It was very thought provoking and both sides made a strong case. And it was my own little vacation into adulthood for a day.


ps--Thank you so much, Grandma Bowser, for hanging with the Goombas all day! And, for cleaning the toy room...that was a wonderful surprise! You rock!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Morning's Fun

I had a lot of things planned for this morning. I needed to go to Costco to get my tires balanced, and while I was there I had plans to pick up milk and beer. Also, I wanted to just wander aimlessly around the Coscto, since there are always fabulous deals there that make me happy that I must bring home with me. It was going to be great.

After finally getting out the door with the younger 2 Goombas, we went on our merry way in Mini (my awesomely awesome van). Peach and Luigi were actually entertaining each other in the back, so I was able to listen to 2 whole songs all the way through. Really, this is going to be a fantastic day, I foolishly thought to myself.

As we turned into the shopping center where everyone's favorite warehouse is located, we were stopped at the Nemesis light. I swear to you, this light is NEVER green when you get there. It is green for the opposite direction, which no one is ever coming from. And, it usually takes at least 5 minutes of waiting before it changes. When it finally changes, you have about 3 1/2 seconds to get through it before it is red again. But, I digress...

We were waiting at the Nemesis, when I heard Peach cough. It was kind of a wet cough, so I glanced in the rear view mirror to check on her. What I saw coming back at me in the mirror was a thing of horror stories. Peach was projectile vomiting all over the back seat. There was no warning. No "Mommy, my tummy hurts," no "uh oh..." Nothing. Just lots and lots of vomit.

In the split second that it took my brain to register what was happening, Luigi started wailing and gagging, "Mommy! (gag) Peach is (gag, gag) BOFFING!!! (gag)" Sh!t. What is a mom supposed to do? So, here I am stuck at the Nemesis, screaming all kinds of sailor-words at it to just @#!$ change to green already, while Luigi continues to gag and holler, and poor Peach is whimpering while covered in her own "boff."

When the light FINALLY changed, after what seemed like 6 1/2 hours, I raced over across the street, pulled over like a maniac, flipped on my emergency blinkers and ripped open the van door to see the devastation that was my van. Luigi was still gagging and crying. Peach was covered head to toe in chunks. It was on the floor, on the back of my seat, on the window....well, I think you get my point. Of course, I had no towels or anything in the car with me, and there was no way the few wipes in my purse were even going to make a dent, so, I did what any other good Mommy would do. I took my coat off, wiped her face with the sleeve and then covered her up till we got home. The entire time, I held my breath and prayed silently that Luigi would not join in the puke-fest, for if he did, I would surely lose my own breakfast.

I managed to convince Luigi to look out the window, instead of at his sister. I tucked the jacket in around Peach so that she wasn't staring at her own partially digested food for the next 15 minutes. I don't do well with sickness of the stomach variety, so I popped in a piece of gum to mask the smell and drove home like a bat out of hell. One of the great things about Bowser working from home, is that he is a great vomit-cleaner-upper, which means, I only have to strip and bathe the sick child while he takes care of the mess in the car. By the way, we have it down to an art. This is not the first time a Goomba has let loose in the car.

Looking back on the events of the past hour, I realize that the worst part of it came when we got home and I was stripping Peach in the laundry room. And this, my friends, is how I know I have fully surrendered to motherhood... Although I do not do well with grossness like this, I started picking through the chunks, examining them and saying, "What the heck is this? What on earth could she have eaten?" I. Am. Disgusting.

Now we are back home. Peach is clean and sipping on juice out of her favorite princess cup. Luigi is chowing down nuggets with ketchup. Bowser is back at work. And I am trying to figure out how I can make it Beer:30 already.