Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pipe Down, Debbie Downer

I'm feeling a little Judgey McJudgerson today. How is that I run across all the "I wanted to send my kid back" confessional blog posts in one day? I'm all for honesty and helping others be prepared, but would it kill you to be a little more vague until there's time and distance and perspective to be had? Would it be so awful to approach people you trust in person to get the support you need when things get really, really hard? The internet is public, and boundaries are appropriate. Also, would it be the worst thing ever for you to take the view from the beginning that these are your kids forever, and there's simply no discussion of "sending them back" or the like? I mean, really. Even if you know you would never do it, mentioning it in a forum where people who know your kids or someday your actual kids themselves could find it seems a bit risky.

I booked our plane tickets today. I think I might be a little bit more sensitive than usual because of this. We are heading into this, and we are aware of the challenges that may present themselves, and it's really no mystery to us that it might be hard. That parts of it will be hard. She's three years old and speaks another language, and we have never met each other before. Her home is very different from our home. Do we really think it's going to be instant easy times? No, we do not. What we do think is that love is an action, that we are committed to being a family, that we will figure out what to do as difficulties arise. That's what families do.

Isn't it?

Well, anyway, we still have our sunshine and roses over here. I am pleased as punch that our daughter will come home during cooler months, as mix-n-match ensembles involving layers are my favorite. I've been laying out outfits on the nursery floor, and oh, man, my clearance shopping has landed us a lot of options. Most of the things I gravitate towards are in similar color schemes--we've got a lot of turquoise, fuschia, pink, purple, and brown--so there are a ton of things from various sources that go together beautifully. We may have to work hard at some things, but having our daughter look cute will not be one of them.

This is going to be FUN!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary

I'm just shy of posting this when it's still Tuesday. I had grand plans for getting it done earlier, but then I went into a fit of history of the English language nerdery, and all hope was lost. So here's the photo, a bit late. It was hot today, so I did my best to dress for the heat but still keep it pretty for OLM. Click on the photo if you want some more details about OLM's reaction.

tuesday, july 27, 2010

The pace of summer is as fast as ever, maybe faster, but still I have managed to start working out five days a week again. There's nothing wrong with doing less, but I feel better when I'm getting more vigorous movement into my life on a regular basis. It's funny to me how quickly I forget the practicalities of working out, like how much more water I need to drink and how I'm a lot hungrier, especially when I first get back into the swing of things. If I'm at your house and half your leftover pizza goes missing, it's fair to blame me. It's also fair to complain when I tell you I want a couple of bites of whatever it is you're having and then proceed to eat more than half of it. I'm really sorry about this; once I get used to this level of hunger, I promise I'll bring my own snacks. And also I will share.

That is, if you're quick enough to grab some of what I'm having before I've devoured it all.

Good luck with that.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Kind of Nice, Actually

I think a lot about body image. Now that I'm fixing to bring home a daughter, I think about it even more than I did before. I notice when I am using a Jillian Michaels video to work out, how much she mentions "problem" areas and what kind of body we all want, and it bothers me. The workouts themselves are wonderful, and I would be hard pressed to find something that would work me out as well that I could do in the small space afforded by my living room (and after I move a piece of furniture, at that). But the message that there is a certain body type that all women are aspiring to attain, well, I could do without that. I suppose it's my own fault for buying videos called "No More Trouble Zones" and "Banish Fat Boost Metabolism," but still. I challenge you to give me a good cardio video and a good strength training video without any of that kind of sentiment contained. As far as I know, such a thing does not exist, and it's probably because the focus continues to be on getting a perfect body as opposed to pursuing good health.

Something in the way I see myself has changed as of late, and I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but it's what makes all the "perfect" body talk so unbearable. I'm certainly not out of the woods, but the way I feel about my body--and beyond that about how I measure what makes my body "good"--has become kinder and gentler. For most of the summer, I've been unable to work out as often as I prefer, and yet I'm still somehow within the same eight pound range I've stayed within for the past twelve years. Could it be that this is simply the size I am when I am listening to what my body wants and needs and can do? I think so. Realizing that and accepting it as something that simply is, as opposed to something I should try desperately to change, has been freeing. I like my body just the way it is.

Weird.

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary

It looks like I skipped a week of visiting Old Lady Mary, but I assure you that I did not; I just am not fond of the photo, and I didn't go on a Tuesday anyway. I don't recall her saying anything much about the outfit, so I'm going to pretend that outfit did not exist. This outfit, however, did exist, and could have used the addition of a bracelet, but I was running late, so...no bracelet. And you can't see the earrings, which really take the ensemble up a notch. Oh, well. Click on the photo if you'd like to know more.

tuesday, july 20, 2010

It is 69 days until the court date assigned to us in Ethiopia. Yesterday, when it was 70 days, it seemed like a long time, but for some reason, turning the corner into the sixties makes it seem less we have to wait how long? and more crap, we have a lot to get done. If you haven't been following our adoption blog, let me sum up our current situation. We've asked our agency if I will be able to see Magnolia if I stay in Ethiopia between court date and embassy date (four to six or eight weeks later), and they've, in effect, said, "Um, we think that's a terrible idea, but we'll discuss it." So it's up in the air whether or not I'll get to have Magnolia with me if I stay, or if I'll get to see her at all. What is not up in the air is the fact that I plan to stay regardless. So stay tuned to find out whether I'll be hanging with my daughter or volunteering and crying a lot! In the end, the decision to stay came down to my realization that it would be just as difficult to fly back to the US to wait as it would be to stay there and wait. When I think about both options, the one I feel best about is staying. So there you have it.

In the meantime, I'm getting really excited about renting a dumpster. Good grief, I'm old.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Decluttering

I've been working on physical decluttering of our home for nearly three years now, but it's just been a vicious cycle of me getting something I think we need or could use, then getting rid of something else, then getting something new (or reclaimed), then getting rid of stuff...and on and on it goes. We've been bringing in a lot of stuff for our daughter, mostly stuff we do need, and I've reached the point where I really need a ton of other stuff to leave. A good amount of things we own can be donated, some can be sold, and others need to be returned to their rightful owners (*cough*cough*futon in the garage*cough*). Even more stuff simply needs to be recycled or tossed into the garbage. My goal is to donate first, recycle second, send to landfill as a last resort. We will fill a small dumpster with things that cannot be salvaged or recycled for anyone else's benefit, and that's just a sad fact of our lives as consumers. We are trying to be better about this. I feel like we are both making strides towards consuming less and eliminating more. Still, at the end of the day, I always wish I could have gotten more crap out of our house.

But the problem isn't just the crap stuff; I've come to realize that it's also the crap commitments and obligations. And, honestly, the crap schedule that I've managed to arrange for myself. I read this, and it really hit home. All the things that I do in my life are valuable, but I can't sustain all those commitments and obligations and still manage our household. My life as it stands is incredibly cluttered with obligations I don't need to keep, to the detriment of the ones I do need to keep. As we move closer to the day we bring home our daughter, I am intent on creating the kind of space in our home life that will allow us to keep a regular schedule and a peaceful space.

For me, this means a change in the way I work. The truth is that I need to work less and I need to work more predictable hours. I am failing at a lot of the things at which I'd like to succeed, and I know without a doubt this is due to my lack of predictable schedule. The major changes will not come until we leave for Ethiopia and eventually bring home our daughter, but they are coming. While I can stupidly subject both myself and my husband to the type of scheduling that leaves me little energy or brain space for basic things like making dinner and cleaning up the house, I cannot, or rather will not be that kind of mother for my daughter. Frankly, I shouldn't be that kind of wife for my husband, nor should I be that kind of person for my own self.

So I'll be decluttering everything.

You know, once I have the time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Planning Ahead

Somewhere on the iPhone that's somewhere in this house, I have a photo of what I wore for Old Lady Mary this week. I'd get up and find it, but I am enjoying this chair, thanks. More specifically, I am enjoying the brief moment of feeling justified in sitting in this chair. Most of the time I cannot escape the thought of so much to do, must do something! and even if I'm tired, I just can't sit still. So for ten more minutes, I am just sitting here. Then I'm getting a two-and-a-half-year-old up from her nap, giving her a snack, and carting her off to Home Depot. Oh, the joy of life! Home Depot!

But here's what's important in all this: we got a court date. It's September 29. Not as soon as we'd hoped, but quite soon after the Ethiopian courts reopen post rainy season, so we'll take it. Between now and then, there's a lot of work to do. I figured that if we got an August court date and I somehow ended up staying in country until the embassy date, we'd just figure out where to go from there in terms of projects that really should be complete before we bring home our daughter. But now we've got a little over two months, and heaven help me if we do not get all the crap out of the basement in particular and the house in general before our flight departs September 25.

This may seem silly to some of you, worrying about junk in the basement (and garage and various closets), but the path our life is taking will likely lead somewhere basementless in the not too distant future, and I think we can all agree that it will be far easier to haul things out to a dumpster when it's just me as opposed to me plus a three-year-old who speaks very limited English. And it needs to be done besides. We've needed to do it ever since we got married and I moved my full household's worth of crap in with Jarod's full household's worth of crap, and especially since we remodeled the kitchen and much of the bathroom. When you can't park your car in your garage and there are items in your basement you haven't touched for the entire length of your marriage, it's just time.

And besides, it will keep my mind and hands busy while I wait for our daughter, which is a good thing on many counts, including the needing-my-pants-to-still-fit count. Baby weight isn't just for pregnant women, it turns out.

And with that, I'll rise from this chair and do something useful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

The week away was wonderful, albeit busy. It was good to see the kids one last time before I'll have a child of my own in tow, and fantastic as well to scamper around New York City unhindered by anyone except the groups of tourists that like to stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk when they are confused. The Picasso exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was even better than I'd hoped it would be, and the lunch that followed in the cafeteria made the visit there the highlight of my NYC wanderings.

I find it difficult to explain just what it meant to me to be able to make one last trip to see these kids all on my own. When your job is to love someone, it goes beyond the paid working term, you know? And for these kids in particular, who had too many nannies that were wonderful but didn't keep in touch, I've felt strongly that it's important that I maintain a relationship regardless of what else is going on in life. I plan to visit again next year with my daughter along, but it won't be so easy to just hang out. It was good to be there for the week.

Now it's back to normal life. The house is a bit of a wreck, and I know I need to pay bills and do laundry. I head back to work tomorrow morning and have an evening job as well. Nothing like a work double header to get back into the swing of things, right?

For now, I'm going to put on my pajamas and watch something fun on the internet. Today's 5:30am wakeup call necessitates an early bedtime (or else I'll just slump over the desk here and start drooling on the keyboard), and I've been missing my very own pillow. I hope your week has been a good one. Thanks for standing by.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Can Only Keep My Eyes Open for About Twelve More Seconds

I am at the point of exhaustion that makes one feel a little ill, but I just can't go to bed without getting a few more things done. I leave tomorrow for a week away, and for once I'm not taking a laptop. I'll have Jarod's old iPhone (which I refer to as my iNotPhone since it does not have phone service) for checking email and reading a few blogs, but I'm trying to keep it simple for the week. I've got a some quiet projects to work on when there's idle time, but for the most part I'll be hanging out with a couple of kids who are growing up way too fast. I'll also be spending two days in New York City, during which I'll be busy being a museum nerd or wandering the city in search of snacks and snacks and more snacks.

The timing for this trip is excellent. Since we found out about our daughter, I've found it hard to rest because there's just so! much! to! do! This trip will whisk me away from all of the projects on my list aside from making a Mama bunny and Daddy bunny to match this Nola bunny; I've got the supplies to finish that project packed in my suitcase.

lucy and nola's bunny

Because I am heading out on a Tuesday and coming back on a Tuesday, I visited Old Lady Mary today. She's now all stocked up on paper towels and peanut butter. I can be away and not worry that she will run out of something she needs. I'll send her a post card from New York, and she will be thrilled.

She loved today's outfit; you can click on the photo for details.

monday, july 5, 2010

I have nothing left to add; my brain is fried, and it's time for what can only be called a nap before my alarm rings.

Have a wonderful week, internet folks. I'll think of you while I'm drinking iced coffee by the shore and stuffing doughnuts into my mouth in NYC. If you're the artsy type, I'll also think of you while I'm nerding it up in museums. It will be a good week for sure.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Work, School, Conundrums

Because we are bringing home a three-year-old as a baby, it turns out we have to think about school a lot sooner. I'd never thought I'd home school, but now I'm keeping that option open. Mostly this has to do with the fact that I'm a hippie weirdo, and I prefer Waldorf education, but there's no Waldorf school in Kansas City that I know of. If we move to either location that is desirable and likely, the only obstacle will be a financial one, which still means I need to keep that home schooling option open. So much of what the Waldorf method espouses--play as the child's "work," structure and routine, an atmosphere of warmth, teaching by example, etc.--match closely with my own child-rearing philosophies. It's the kind of education I want for our children.

I find myself feeling as if I'm on the defensive lately when it comes to my preferences for how we raise our girl. I'm not a fan of television for children, I don't go for toys that require batteries (particularly of the sound-and-light-producing variety), and I'm not into academically structured preschool. I am into reading and storytelling, imaginative play, and getting familiar with other children through play groups and story times. I realize that I am a hippie weirdo, but come on, do you really expect anything else from someone who makes her own deodorant? I know that what I would like to do with our daughter is outside the realm of the American norm, particularly in the case of television. But I have experience with these things (which I gained by practicing on others' children, of course), and there was never such peace in the house as what descended after I banned television while the children were in my care. I dig that kind of thing. I love it when kids go outside and play or drag puzzles into the hallway and work on them, when we have conversations and sing along to songs and have impromptu dance parties to good music. And by saying this, I am not saying that if you allow your children to watch television, that you are wrong or horrible or anything of the sort, or that you don't like those things that I like in addition to a little TV time for the youngsters; I'm just saying that I choose to do things a little differently. You can feel free to roll your eyes at me; I won't see you from here.

I'm also mulling over the idea of being at home with Nola most of the time, and I feel a little pressure in that area as well, as if I need to explain exactly why I'd want to do that. I just want to. That's it. I have done well with the work set before me, but more and more I find that I am happiest tending to my own household and home. My Saturdays are magic, since I can bring my work home with me, so to speak, and let her play while I work in the house. She often follows me from room to room, and there is always plenty to occupy both of us. I will continue with that work for certain, but the rest...I suppose I would like to heed the advice given to every currently-working mother awaiting the arrival of her child and just wait and see what both Nola and I are able to handle. Honestly, I hope to stay home more. But we'll see.

About all of it.

We'll see.