December 31, 2006

Fireworks in the rain

Posted in The musings of Erin at 6:05 pm by Erin

My neighbors are rednecks.  Serious rednecks.  They’re as nice as can be, but their Halloween decorations consist of a 3-foot in diameter vampire mouth that hangs from their front porch ceiling–with a beer logo on it.  (That’s just one example, I could give you others.)  Currently, they’re setting off fireworks to help ring in the new year.  Three hours early.  In the rain.  Now THAT’S dedication!  It seemed a nice and poetic title for a blog post.

Our New Year’s Eve plans were to watch a movie together since we have no babysitter.  Instead, I got a migraine.  As a result, I sent J out to spend New Year’s Eve at his friend’s club.  I’ll probably go to bed before midnight and it seemed silly for him to sit here alone when he could be out spending it with friends, alcohol, and some good music.

I’ve actually made two New Year’s resolutions, with which I will now bore you:

1.  I will be more organized this year.  I did this a couple of years ago and it lasted for 6 weeks.  It was a great 6 weeks.  I had more time to spend with P and J (which is always important), more time to exercise (which led to my getting into better shape), and the house was cleaner more often.  I don’t remember why I stopped, but this year I’m resolving to try to keep it up for at least 2 months.

2.  I will be a new mother again in 2007, or at least be close to being a new mother when 2008 begins.  I hope, wherever my son is right now, he’s happy and being held with love tonight.

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December 28, 2006

My parents…or cave-dwellers?

Posted in The musings of Erin at 11:38 am by Erin

They have no internet.  They used to have a cable-modem with wireless internet in their house.  Apparently that was only while my brother still lived there–now they dwell in the darkness that is the off-line abode.  Needless to say, this made the second trip in a row in which our laptop was reduced to a nice and heavy piece of useless carry-on equipment that makes going through security lines a nightmare.

As a result, I have been on-line for nearly 2 hours and have just gotten through e-mails (and admittedly, I haven’t checked one of my accounts yet–I get 30+ junk mail messages in there a day, and I have to sift through them to find the real messages).  I’ve read a couple of blogs, but commented on only one (Akeeyu’s).  My Bloglines scares me.  I’ve never had so many unread posts.  I did get an e-mail from a man that I met at a friend’s Hanukkah party, who knew a woman who’s adopted several children from Ethiopia.  He sent me her contact info and ended the e-mail with "Think hard and act slowly!"  WTF?  Why do people seem to think we’ve made this decision spur-of-the-moment?  We’ve been talking about adoption since before P was conceived, and very seriously about international adoption for over a year now.  Give us a little credit!

It was a mostly great visit with my parents.  To my surprise, I started spotting while there and will probably be CD1 tomorrow, which means that I can fill my birth-control pill prescription and start taking them.  The surprise was because that means I’ve now had two unmedicated and ovulatory cycles in a row that were less than 35 days.  Weird.  I don’t think that has ever happened before. 

We made some more decisions while we were gone.  We’re going to find an agency in January and hopefully have our dossier ready to submit by early March (all the while knowing that a lot of it is out of our control).  We’ll also be keeping our son’s given name, and possibly last name, and adding ours at the end.  He’s going to be old enough to know it, so it would be very confusing to him for it to be changed.  We also feel it’s important that he have that connection with his first family and culture.  We may also give him a second middle name that is a family name, but haven’t decided for sure.

J’s parents surprised us with the very best gift for the holidays–they’ve offered to pay for our plane tickets to Ethiopia!  They said they wanted to give us something to help support the adoption, and that’s what they felt would be the best.  I am blown away by their generosity, and so grateful that they want to help us out with this.

My parents were supportive the whole time, as was everyone else.  Then my mom decided that she had to get something off her chest on the drive to the airport.  I will try to recount the conversation in its entirety:

Mom: I just want to mention something.  I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t adopt a toddler, but it does mean that P will have to share his toys right away and he’s not going to like that.  If you were to adopt a baby, he would have a longer adjustment period before the baby starts to get into his things.

Me (while J sits there, rolling his eyes): But if I were to give birth, he’d have to get used to me nursing the baby a lot and not being able to play with him.

Mom: No, it’s not the same.  I know that P’s a good boy and very generous, but he’s not going to want to share his toys with a new little boy that he doesn’t know.

Me: But there would still be adjustments.  If we adopted a baby, we wouldn’t be able to do as many things with P because the baby wouldn’t be mobile yet.  I couldn’t take them both to the park and then climb around the jungle gym with a baby strapped to my chest.  I’m just saying that we’re looking at a different set of adjustments.  Either way, it would mean adjustments.

Mom:  wa woh woh wa (Can you hear the Charlie Brown teacher there?  I pretty much tuned her out because she wasn’t going to be swayed from having her say.)

Me:  OK.  We feel we’ve made the best decisions for our family. 

***End of conversation.***

Did it sound familiar?  And under similar circumstances, too!  I don’t know why she feels the need to end visits on that note.  Let’s just say that it didn’t resonate well with me as we sat through the flight delay in the world’s tiniest airport–you had to go out of the waiting area and come back through security just to get some food…which we wouldn’t have needed if we hadn’t had to wait there for 3 1/2 hours.  Happily, J’s parents bought us a travel DVD player for Christmas, which kept P entertained for a little while, and we’d brought plenty of toys and stories for him also.

I love my family, I really do.  I love that my sister has a great new boyfriend who wants to marry her (not officially yet, but hopefully soon) and that they’re going to come and visit in a few months.  I love that my sister offered her help for the adoption in any way possible, and really means it.  I love that my dad has offered to go to Ethiopia with us to help with P.  I love that no one else said anything negative about our plans to adopt, and that what they did say was that they were excited for us.  I love that we had such a good time with them for 6 days, that we got to see cousins and relatives that we never get to see.  And I love seeing them with P–he lights up everyone’s lives.  I know they’ll love his little brother as much as they love him.

But conversations like that remind me of why I chose to move 480 out of the 500 miles that my parents said I could go to college, and why I’ll never consider moving back to NY.   I wish I could say that my mom’s and my disagreements when I was a teen were just the result of me being a rebellious teen.  But the fact remains that I’m going to be 29 next month.  J is 30.  We’ve been married for 7 1/2 years.  We’ve been parents for just over 3 years.  I have a Ph.D. and J has a J.D.  And my mom still doesn’t recognize that we’re mature adults capable of thinking through options and coming to the best decisions for our family.  That hurts me.  I hate that our visit ended on that note.

December 20, 2006

The miracles of the season

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 3:04 pm by Erin

Tomorrow, we leave to go to my parents’ house.  I’m probably not going to be posting or commenting from there, so I wanted to post once before we left.  I thought I’d share with you my thoughts and wishes for you during the holidays:

During my pregnancy with P, I belonged to a first-time pregnancy message board.  I remember a question about what we most looked forward to during the holidays, and answering that I was excited to share the story of Hanukkah with my baby, but expected that he or she’d be celebrating his/her first birthday when we did (P was due on December 19th and Hanukkah 2003 ended before then).  The board leader said that she could almost see my description of that from what I’d written.

Well, P came 2 1/2 weeks early, on December 3rd.  He spent his first Hanukkah nestled next to my heart, watching me light the candles and say the blessings over them.  The second night of Hanukkah, it hit me–I was getting to celebrate the miracle of the holiday with my miracle baby in my arms.  Happy, joyous tears poured down my cheeks as I sobbed out the blessings.

Last night, he helped me light the candles and helped me say the blessings over them–and I was again reduced to tears.  He is still my miracle baby.  We are so very, very blessed to have him in our lives.  Next year, I hope to share it with two children–P and our son from Ethiopia.  I can’t wait to share these traditions with him also.

That’s what I wish for all of you.  Whatever season’s miracles you’re celebrating, be it the miracle of one day’s worth of oil that lasts for 8 days, the birth of Jesus, or just a beautiful ice crystal on a snowy pine tree, I wish that you get to have the miracle of sharing that with your child or children.

December 17, 2006

On the second night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me…

Posted in Pure weirdness at 5:44 am by Erin

Two penguin slippers and a new blog entry!100_2429

Some women wish for jewelry.  Others wish for new cars.  Not me.  The only thing I need to make me happy is penguin slippers.

Aren’t they wonderfully tacky?  J is the best husband ever!

December 14, 2006

Can’t type, busy working

Posted in The musings of Erin at 11:01 am by Erin

Still surviving, but who in the world thought it was a good idea to have final exams, final grades turned in, syllabi for the spring semester turned in to the print shop, J with a trial (meaning he’s extra-busy), and P with an ear infection and cold in the same week?

I need some sleep.

December 10, 2006

Tagging along

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:01 pm by Erin

I’ve been tagged by both Jess and Artblog for the "Five things about me" meme, and I’m notoriously slow about doing these (I say as if I’ve done a million rather than this being only my second one).  I’ve got nothing to write about my strange clothing choices and we’re really doing nothing more about adoption for a few weeks, so it seemed like the perfect time!

1.  I graduated high school with an A average, was the yearbook editor, National Honor Society, mock trial, quiz bowl team, played tennis and rowed crew, blah blah blah.  I was a horrible teenager.  I genuinely can’t figure out how my parents didn’t kick me out of the house.  I smoked for a year (and hated every minute of it, but I was so desperately lonely that I’d do anything to have "friends").  Once I made some actual friends, including a boyfriend and many friends from the job that I got at 16, I skipped school and went out all the time and stayed out WAY past my curfew without calling, doing many of the things my parents were probably afraid that I was doing.  Not drinking or drugs, but that’s about it.  I swore at my parents.  I told them I hated them.  They told me I could go 500 miles away to college and I went 480 of them, primarily to get away from home (and because I fell in love with the school).  That fact alone probably saved our relationship.  Now I can’t imagine how they did it, and my mom didn’t really have an answer for me when I asked her about it.

3.  The lack of friends in high school was so horrible that I swore it would never happen again.  My parents left to go home about 36 hours after I got to college.  There was an 80’s party for the freshmen in the Greek amphitheater that night.  Right after I shed my tears that they’d left me alone nearly 500 miles from home, a voice whispered to me that this was my chance.  Almost no one there knew me.  I could be anyone I wanted to be.  I didn’t have to be the nerdy, pathetic person that I was in high school.  I squared my shoulders, marched down to the amphitheater, and proceeded to dance.  I ended up dancing with a guy who was one of my best friend’s all the way through college–we started dancing together because we each thought the other one looked "cool".  I ran into a girl I’d known very vaguely in NY (though my job) and we hung out, and she invited me to a party in one of the guy’s dorms.  It was on J’s hall, and we met that night.  That night is one of the reasons I often try to "Fake it until I make it," because I faked being social and outgoing that night and within a few weeks, it felt comfortable.

3.  I’m still "faking it until I make it" about my Ph.D.  I genuinely feel like I must have tricked someone somewhere into giving it to me, that there’s no way I could possibly have done that kind of work on my own.  I felt the same way when I passed the qualifying exams to continue my Ph.D. research.  Even though I had to study and take the written tests, then stand up in front of the department advisory council and answer questions about a proposal that I’d written, and even though I passed with quite respectable grades, I still feel like I fooled someone.  I realize that the people who were on my advisory committee and in my department are brilliant researchers who don’t just give the things away like candy.  But I still feel like I pulled the wool over someone’s eyes.  It could have something to do with the fact that my advisor told me for 4 1/2 years that I was a horrible graduate student.  When he stood up at my dissertation defense and praised my research as "groundbreaking" and said that it is "helping direct the future years of research in the lab", you could have knocked me over with a feather.  Bastard.  He still hasn’t submitted my third paper for publication.

4.  I definitely don’t feel that way about P.  Being a mother feels like the most natural thing in the world to me.  That part you’ve probably already figured out.  But the thing that you don’t know about it is that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy being a mother, particularly to a toddler.  I hated working in the preschool room when I worked at a summer camp.  I hated babysitting toddlers and would put them to bed as early as I could get away with it.  I was terrified that I would hate it and be just as bored when it was my own child.  And then what would I have done?  I don’t know if the whole "it’s different when it’s your child" is true for everyone, but it sure is for me.  Every day, I’m thankful that it’s not like that. 

5.  Every month that we TTC since I started blogging, I’ve always had half-written posts in my head about how I would tell you that I’d finally gotten a positive HPT.  Every month, without fail.  Sometimes several of them, and I would sit there and think about which I liked better.  Even now, our last month of TTC (and it’s pretty half-hearted, being on no medication except Metformin), I’ve got one.  I haven’t even ovulated yet.  This month’s starts out something like "Now I’ll be the one everyone’s cousin has heard about…"

So that’s it.  I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you haven’t done this one, consider yourself tagged!

December 8, 2006

In the interests of starting a new life phase

Posted in Pure weirdness at 10:41 am by Erin

I’m making a confession.

You know how I posted that I love lingerie?  I should have added that it’s only true during the summer and warm weather.  When winter hits, I have another secret love: tacky flannel pajamas.  The tackier, the better.  They make me feel happy and make J roll his eyes and complain non-stop.

I bought a pair last year when I’d had yet another cycle fail.  They’re cream colored with cartoon rubber ducks on skis and wearing ski hats.  BIG rubber ducks.  I have another pair that’s pink with frogs on them.  Some of the frogs are wearing crowns (they’re frog prince pajamas).  My last pair isn’t so tacky but for the glaring yellow color of them.  I used to have a great pair that was a purple plaid pattern with brass instruments all over them, but J made me promise to get rid of them when I bought the yellow ones.

I searched a little for a pair to buy after last cycle’s stupidity but couldn’t find one.  It upset me because when I bought the ducks, there was another pair with huge pink flamingos all over them.  I gave them up in favor of the ducks.  (However, now that I’ve discovered that the pink flamingo pajamas are available on-line, I might just have to order them.) 

Then my slippers developed multiple holes all at once.  J intimated that he would be purchasing a new pair for me for Hanukkah (oh, we are so original).  While we were at the mall the other day, we walked past a kiosk that had a pair of slippers with penguin heads.  Think bunny slippers but with a BIG penguin head instead.  They had other animals also, but the penguins caught my greedy-eyed glance.

Last night I reminded J that I’d been wearing holey slippers for over a week and hadn’t bought new ones due to his hint that I might be getting a new pair.  Hanukkah starts in a week, I reminded him, and those penguin slippers ARE coming to our house.  It’s up to him as to which of us buys them.

They’re better than any tacky pajamas.

December 7, 2006

More surprises

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 6:25 am by Erin

We were talking to my parents this weekend and I was telling them about the Sesame Street episode about international adoption.  So we chatted a bit about that.  The conversation eventually wound around to my family’s (extended family–aunts and uncles, cousins, distant cousins, etc) vacation plans for next summer–they vacation in Maine every year, and they wanted us to know when they’d be there.  I said that we’d like to go but it really depends on where we might be in the adoption process.  I said that if we were just about to go to Africa, we wouldn’t be able to make it.

My dad piped up with, "If you need someone to go with you and help you out, let me know."  He’s been very quiet on the subject of adoption since we brought it up to them in February.  He’s asked a few questions but not really said anything else.  This was pretty unexpected!  And it made me so very happy.

I don’t know if we’ll take him up on it, since I’ve always assumed it would just be our immediately family, but I’ve also heard that having an extra person to help out when you have a child who’s also traveling can be great.  P certainly loves his Grandpa a lot and I’ve no doubt that he would help keep P entertained and help him adjust to having to share his parents with a sibling.  I also have no idea about Ethiopian policies for doing something like that.

It’s not a decision we have to make right now, but I love that it’s a decision we can make when the time comes.

December 5, 2006

Some MAJOR changes a’comin’

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 6:46 am by Erin

The "All ahead to adoption" category hasn’t ever been more appropriate.  I just got off the phone from making an appointment for Thursday with my regular doctor to discuss birth control options.  Last night we decided to stop TTC and solely pursue adoption.

It was a decision that had to be made within the next week, since open enrollment is ending for my job and we had to make a decision about the flex healthcare spending.  If we were going to do an injectibles/IUI cycle in January, we needed to put in the max so that we could recoup it immediately.  If not, we didn’t want to put in anything.  J’s been all for pursuing adoption and waiting for a while to TTC again.  Doing even a single injectibles cycle would have been a big step back in being able to afford adoption, and while it wouldn’t have completely been a choice between the two, it would have necessitated a lot more creative financing, and taking out more debt, to pay for an adoption.  While there’s NOTHING we’d rather spend our money on than growing our family, given the luxury of choosing to pay up front or take on debt, we’d rather do it debt-free.  We’re not sure if we really can but we’ll certainly be closer to it.

J thinks it’s up to me.  His perspective is that we can afford to do both now if we take out a home equity loan, but only one injectibles/IUI cycle + adoption, certainly not IVF + adoption.  He’s not bothered by the idea of doing this again in a couple of years but immediately pursuing aggressive treatments instead of wasting time and trying on our own.  If his business continues to work out the way it seems to be, we might be able to afford IVF in a couple of years.  I’ll still be young–I turn 29 next month–and Dr Wonderful said that’s not a problem when we met with him last month.

I had been looking at it assuming that we would do one injectibles/IUI cycle and that would be it for TTC for the rest of my life.  It seemed silly to not just do it and get it out of the way, rather than having to deal with going onto birth control, then coming off, waiting for my body to get normal, and then doing a single injectibles/IUI cycle.  IVF was way out, I didn’t want to mess with that.  But I might be more able to do it in a couple of years.  It took me a while to get to this point–give me two years, and I think I might get to that point.  If not, I’ll have my two boys and we’ll look into adopting siblings.

It all came down to my decision.  J went out of his way to assure me that if I really feel strongly about doing the injectibles/IUI cycle now and it doesn’t work, we’ll still be able to adopt.  As it turns out, when forced to make a decision, I don’t feel as strongly about it as I thought I did.

I want to be a Mama again in 2007.  This way, it looks like it might actually happen.

December 3, 2006

Three years ago right now

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 6:39 pm by Erin

I was utterly exhausted from having been up for about 40 hours straight, and I didn’t care.  I was too enthralled in the baby boy that I had just given birth to less than 6 hours earlier, all 6 lb 11 oz of him.  He had such dark green eyes and adorable blond peach fuzz, and this huge conehead!  He was perfect.  He was so tiny and sweet.  Just the perfect little baby.  I couldn’t believe it.  I got the take-home baby at the end of the whole struggle, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more amazing.

Three years later, I had no idea about how he would have changed my life.  I can hardly remember life without him.  He’s the best kid in the whole world.  For his third birthday, we got him a bike.  My boy, who was just born 3 years ago today, has a little bicycle with training wheels.  He looks a lot like me and a lot like his daddy.  He’s growing so big and tall.  He talks nonstop, and his vocabulary is incredible. He recognizes letters and loves to "read" all of his books–after a reading or two, he’s got them memorized to the point that he can recite them without the book even there. He colors and runs and plays.  He throws rocks down big dirt piles with his daddy and uncle, and he swims with his cousins when we visit them.  He loves to race and play with the dogs most of the times; other times, he wants them to leave him alone–just like a brother does.  And he’s the light of my life.

Happy 3rd birthday, P.  Mama loves you more than she can even say!

(Pictures gone from the public website but feel free to e-mail me for the username and password to the pictures on the sidebar.  I’m going to update them later.)

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