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March 2010
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May 2010

April 2010

Social Worker and Bassinets

This past Wednesday we had our home visit by the social worker. Of course it went just fine and we joked with her about "passing" when we were done. She basically took a tour of the house, made some recommendations about baby-proofing and we talked about where the wee one might live. (Still haven't sorted that out yet.) Then she interviewed us each, separately, about our family histories, brothers/sisters, what was growing up like, how our parents influenced us, etc etc. It was good, easy stuff. Well, explaining my family is never really "easy". "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" That is a loaded question! My dad was married four times. My mom was married three times. There are step and half siblings galore. We got through with lots of laughing and I only cried a little bit.

I was really pleased to realize I know a LOT about the practical stuff around a house with baby. 98% of things she mentioned in regard to baby-proofing and such I already knew. That is what happens when I'm the youngest in the family, everyone had kids a while back and I watched my sisters be moms and adjust their houses accordingly. Same with our friends, we are the last in our immediate group to have kids so we've watched/learned a lot through them too. 

One suggestion she made was a really helpful solution. She suggested a bassinet for il bambino if we don't have a separate room for the wee one right away. I had "crib" in my mind and a much smaller bassinet makes so much sense to be in our bedroom. (We will not be co-sleeping.) Kurt wasn't sure what a bassinet was, exactly, so we googled it and found this:


So chic! So moderne! So expensive! At $500 it's a bit (ha!) out of our price range. Hand-me-down or $50 pre-owned is more our speed. And especially for a bassinet - this would work out to something like $100/month of use. But it sure is cool.

At this point we are so focused on fingerprint docs, birth records, medical forms, bank statements, etc etc etc, that actual baby stuff is not in our sights quite yet. That will come...

Spring Cleaning!

April has been a frenzy of many kinds -- script, housecleaning and paper gathering. I can't wait to see what kind of May flowers are to come.

The house is really really clean - in some rooms. The living room is great: took out, dusted and reorganized ALL THE BOOKS! Yes, dusted each frakking one! I gave a bunch a way, loaned a bunch and found new spots for some. The bookshelves look divine now:


So tidy. We also moved all of the furniture around so that we could sweep/vacuum/mop beneath it all. We took the area rug outside to beat the crap out of it and let it air. It's still kinda dusty, but at least it's an improvement. (Can't afford to get it professionally cleaned just now.) I dusted every nook and cranny and it looks great. Now we just need to re-cover all the comfy, but a bit tired, furniture.

The Bedroom got similar treatment. All furniture got moved and cleaned from all sides. I banged throw pillows together outside, then let the sun clean them for a few hours. We wrestled the bed and chests of drawers around to get at them from all angles and to vacuum underneath them. I didn't take photos of the PILES of dust underneath because A) too mortified to show you and B) the minute you could see the dust the vacuum was sucking it up.

The Kitchen and Pantry got the treatment as well. Gave away some unused dishes, Kurt went to work on the 50 year old stove (not sure when it was made) and it sparkles now. We also dusted behind stuff that hadn't been dusted behind in ages. Okay years. There, I said it.

The Dining room got half the treatment, but still needs a good mopping and the bar needs to be pared down and cleaned out. The bathroom gets the most regular cleaning so it's in pretty good shape, though the walls could use a bit of a wipe down.

My office and Kurt's office. Well. These are the cleaning staging areas that are neglected the longest. We switched DSL providers and that got finished this week so now it's time to remove extraneous internet tube gear and dust, dust, dust. Plus I have to dust the bookshelf and books in my office and then get all the piles of paper under control. I did tons of shredding last week. I started with three storage boxes like this:


And shredded down to this:


Hard to see, but I promise, those two bottom boxes are empty! There is much more out in our storage spot behind Kurt's office that needs going through, so that is still to come.

The momentum is great and by the end of next week, the whole place will have been cleaned. Poor old house! 

Part of the cleaning in my office will involve finding new homes for some of the furniture and lamps that seem to have ended up in here. It has become the catch all spot and much needs to GO. And go it will.

Love the clean so very much!


Winner! Winner!

Woo hoot! 27 days ago I had only a blank page. I got to page 101 today! And when I verified those pages at the Script Frenzy site I was rewarded with the banner seen here and to the right. I'm very pleased.


However, my story is not complete, so I'll spend the next three days getting to the end of it. Then May 1st begins Rewrite Frenzy! This is a Frenzy of my own making. So I made my own badge for it as well:


I am very please with the work I've done and am going to keep going full force on this rewrite. I'm not sure how to gauge the progress other than to indicate how many hours a day I put in so I'll just start there.

Thanks for all the support -- I'll need even more in the rewrite process!


Ticking The Boxes

We are working our way through the checklist. Today we did fingerprints or "livescans" to be send to the FBI as well as the state for background checks. Check.


We've received copies of Kurt's birth certificate and our marriage license. Now just waiting on my birth certificate and Kurt's divorce records. My birth certificate comes from Hawaii, of course, and when I went to their site, there is a whole page about Obama and asking for his birth certificate. Oy.

We have copies of our insurance showing that our future bambino is covered.

Kurt went and got his physical and blood and TB tests this week. I'm going in two weeks to a new GP for this. 

We had already written our autobiographies and filled out the application. We also turned in our confidentiality docs. 

We've asked friends for reference letters, so those are (hopefully) in progress. 

We've scheduled our infant CPR and First Aid class for the end of May. (Anyone want to join us?)

Now it's down to financial records, employment statements (ha!) and a letter to the birthmom. 

Next week we have our second interview with the social worker in our house. That is going to be intense as we haven't quite figured out where things will go. I realize we have a bit of time before we need to baby proof and rearrange furniture, but still...daunting in 950 square feet and both of us work at home most of the time.

I've said before, it's hard to get excited in this phase. There are so many little details to deal with, it doesn't feel like it's leading up to a baby yet. But it will. 

We move ever forward!


Carcass: It's What's For Dinner!

So I'm in the kitchen preparing to make chicken stock with some tired veggies and picked-over chicken parts and I have the chicken and the water in the pot, and nothing else. Kurt comes in to chat and looks at the pot and says, "Mmmm! Carcass!" We just started laughing and I added, "I did say we were on a budget." 

For some reason it's making me laugh a lot. "Honey! Dinner's ready! Come get your carcass!" 

On a side note, I love making homemade stock because it's like you are making the worst stew in the world while cleaning out the fridge. So easy to do, the fridge is fresher and whammo you have quarts and quarts of stock! 

"Who wants more carcass?"

Weigh in Wednesday

Treefrog Back to the Wednesday Postings...

Weighed in at 183 today! Woo frakking hoo!!!

Seriously, I'm very pleased with myself. Can not wait for the scale to start with the numbers 1 and 7. And I forgot to mention in my previous weight post that another MAJOR reason I'm working hard to lose weight and improve my fitness is because there is a baby on the way. Don't know from where and don't know when, but she/he is coming! And I need to be in some kind of shape for that.

Oh and I also want to wear, look good in and feel great in, a bikini this summer.

Happy Wednesday!

(ribbit, ribbit, ribbit)

Being Paper Pregnant

As you've read, we are working on the baby thing. We are still trying the old fashioned way and we are also proceeding with adoption. Can I just say for the record? Sex is so much easier, not to mention a lot more fun. It's quite a bit of work before you can even be considered "ready" to adopt.

We are following in the footsteps of friends of ours and working through Heartsent, an non-profit adoption agency. They mainly do international adoptions, but have branched out to domestic adoptions over the past few years. We opted to go with an agency because we are new and we wanted personalized help, guidance and checklists! (Hey, I'm a producer, it's how I roll.)Baby-crib-778623

What will it take to be "ready" to be a potential adoptive parent? Here's the general list:

--a lengthy application

--3 page autobiographies for each of us as well as another few pages of detailed answers to other questions.

--10-12 hours of classes, including CPR and first aid

--3 hours of meetings with a social worker, in the office and in your home

--House description and floor plan drawings

--Fingerprints for state and FBI background checks

--Providing copies of all vital records for us both (birth, marriage and divorce certificates)

--Three years of financial records and letters from our CPA about earnings/income (CPA because we are both freelance and don't have an "employer".)Eco-crib_179  

--3 reference letters from non-family members

--TB tests and letters from our doctors saying we are in good health

--Health insurance and bank record verifications

--Signing various and sundry confidentiality and truthfulness docs

--Writing a letter to potential birthmothers telling them all about us and why we would be a great choice

And the toughest one of all:

--Naming a guardian

None of the above (except for the last) is super hard, just time consuming. And not very sexy.CribBeddingandTeethingCribRailCover

Once all the documents are completed and in place and we get a "go" from the agency, then we can be considered ready to adopt. The paper work part can take 6-8 weeks (depending on how fast we get it all done) and then when we are ready, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to find a birthmother and adopt. Every adoption is different.

Lots of you have asked about our choices. We are adopting domestically. We are open to any ethnicity. We are open to either a boy or a girl. We are open to a baby from 0 to 1 year old, though with domestic open adoptions, you generally adopt a newborn. We are open to a birth mom who may have smoked or drank in her first trimester (within reason). We figure our moms did, and we turned out okay. Right? Didn't we? 

We are about 40% of the way through the paperwork. We had our initial meeting with Heartsent, handed in our application, talked about how they work and got our binder full of info and checklists. In that first meeting, the woman at Heartsent looked through our app and noticed our "any ethnicity" and "drinking/smoking" and said that would help us find a match sooner. Nice to hear. We went to an orientation at Heartsent last weekend and heard directly from adoptive parents who adopted their boy ten months ago. Great to hear their story.

And yesterday we met with the social worker for the first meeting. The talk was mostly about how we met, how we get along, how do we solve problems that come up, why do we want to adopt and why now, what do we think of how children should be raised, etc etc. Good conversation, though I know that was the easy one. The next meeting will be at our house and so this will bring up great questions about the practical household stuff, where will the crib go, etc. (Is it wrong to say the garage? I understand babies can be quite loud at night.)

More adventures to come in this amazing process to have a baby! We are really excited about it, but just a bit distracted by the paperwork!

Weigh in Wednesday on Sunday

Hippoonscale It's been a while since I did my blog weigh-ins because I was annoyed that I would have had to start back ABOVE where I last weighed in. I wanted to be where I was, or below, before going weekly again.

Last summer, before leaving for Belfast, I was 186. When I returned from Belfast, then North Carolina for Thanksgiving, then Montana/Oregon, I was 186. Well done me for maintaining. Then, well, things fell apart, I got back up to around 195 after the holidays. Bummer. I started working out a lot on the Wii Fit and that has been good, but the eating was still off track. I went to get my hair done in early March and the woman who cuts/colors my hair said she was doing Weight Watchers online and had lost 8 pounds already. I thought about that for a few days and decided to sign up online with WW to get me back on track. (Don't like the live meetings and weigh-ins.) But I needed something more than just "I want to lose x pounds." That's a good goal, but I need rewards for reaching a goal. (Other than looking and feeling silly is that? Oh well...)

I started March 8 and the plan is this: I can not cut my hair (except for tiny trims) until I have lost 25 pounds. I told my hair cutter so she's in on it too. Those of you who know me know that cutting my hair is a favorite thing for me to do. 

On March 8 I weighed in at 192. Today I weighed in at 185. I'm pleased, but will not fully rejoice until I'm at 180 when I can fit into 2 pairs of brand spanking new jeans I have in my closet. "New" means I bought one pair last summer when I was about this weight, but really I needed a few more pounds off to really feel good in them. Another pair I bought at Christmas 2007 when I was at 180. I can't wait to get into them again and to let my current jeans go. 

Forward with good health!

P.S. OMG look how cute that baby hippo is!!

Life And Death And Anniversaries

I had dinner with a mom-friend the other night and she said, as a few of my mom-friends have, that having kids is the best thing she's ever done and the hardest thing she's ever done. I thought about what she said after I got home and realized that statement needed a bit of qualifying. I'm not a mom yet, but I'm sure that burying my sister was the hardest thing I will do for a long long time.

Saturday, April 17th, will be two years since Jennifer died. Two years. The time has flashed by in a blur of tears and work and joy and good stuff too. (Life is life.) The two years has also been a whole lifetime away, and I don't mean that symbolically or metaphorically. Jen's death was an end not just to her life, but to all of ours that we knew before. Once she died, we had to start new lives without her. Another friend in mourning told me something her therapist said about death and I'll paraphrase here. The me that Jennifer knew is gone. That me left with Jen. 

When someone significant in your life dies, no matter how you felt about them, you are thrust into a new you. Even if it is as simple as knowing "one of my parents is dead." I know this sounds ridiculously simple, but it's earth-shatteringly huge, even when you are in your 40's and your dad was in his 80's. There was a balance to your life, but suddenly someone took the weight off of one of the scales and you tip wildly. Even better - it's like being on a teeter-totter and when you are high in the air, the other person suddenly steps off and you slam into the ground. That's what it feels like. Times infinity.

Thinking about this horrible anniversary on the 17th, I emailed my mom the other day:

I was thinking about coming to see you for Mother's Day just a few weeks after Jen died. How were we even functioning? So strange to think i could just do stuff, like fly to Maui and drive a car and stuff. Strange.

Honestly, how did I keep breathing? Where did I get the strength to call both my mother and Jen's father to tell them their first baby girl was dead? How is that humanly possible to even do? Maybe we have to become superheroes for that time. Death mutates you into a superhero simply so you can keep doing mundane things like driving cars and making phone calls.

In June we are going to Maui for the Seabury Reunion. It will be my 25th and would have been Jen's 30th. (Seabury is so small we do all school reunions, not just by classes.) There will be a short memorial service before the party, to honor Jen and another member of her class, Ramon, as well as others who have died. I will go to that service, but I'll go kicking and screaming in my mind. I'm a two year old in this new life and I DON'T WANNA GO TO A MEMORIAL FOR MY SISTER!!

But I will, of course. Of course I will. I'll put on my superhero cape and be strong. I'll cry buckets though, that's the one thing no superpower can stop.