Wednesday, July 27, 2005

For your enjoyment....

This has no purpose. I just wanted to share with you all a couple of websites that make me laugh. I am not talking "giggle and snicker" laughing, I mean "guffaw and snort" laughing. I am not sure how I found these sites, probably friends and families sent them to me but they are classic.

The thing about these sites is that you can laugh about them now and then pull little tidbits out later and still get a kick out of them. During some of the troubles of the last few months, these have made me smile. Enjoy.

I especially love the Weight Watchers ones. They have come a LONG WAY.


A Gallery of Regrettable Food

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards

Monday, July 25, 2005

Did you get a baby?.....Not a sausage!!

If you were reading the blog that I WISH I could write, you would be reading "Congratulations to Rebecca and Derek on the arrival of their son". Instead, the blog you will read will be more along the lines of "Congratulations Rebecca and Derek, you just flew to Chicago for the second time in two weeks to witness the birth of you son, but instead the labor stopped so you got to go home with NOTHING except a bill for the ER stay, the rental car and the hotel!!" Oh, and it was 105 degrees in Chicago.

I couldn't make up stuff this good.

A well meaning person in my ward the other day told me "you are so lucky, adopting is SO much easier then pregnancy.."

Don't you agree? :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2005


My husband, my son and I went to Chicago this weekend. I consider myself well traveled, but I had never been to Chicago (aside from the odd lay-over) . This trip was a big event for us. We weren't exactly excited about going, but we knew that it would prove to be an important time for our little family.

The reason for our trip was that our son's birth mother is getting married to Richard, the birth father of the unborn baby that she has asked us to adopt when he is born. Before we left I worried a little bit how to act during this weekend. What should I bring? What kind of gift is appropriate for this occasion? (Does the fact that we are paying for the dress, the shoes, the flowers and the rings COUNT as a gift?) Since I couldn't find a book on how to behave at the wedding of your son's birth mother on the occasion of her wedding to the birth father of the next child you will be adopting--I had to wing it.

Chicago was hot, humid and generally miserable. A friend of mine that lives there says that "it is so hot, it gives me an attitude". I agree. I pretty much had an attitude the whole time. We ran tons of errands; pick up the dress, pick up the cake, pick up the flowers, pick up the food, etc. LOTS of fun. The wedding started an hour and half late, but was beautiful anyway. The bride looked radiant and the groom was nervous.

The really cool thing (and the reason we went) is that my son got to see his birthmother again and spend time with his three older biological brothers. It is amazing how much they all look alike. I met lots of relatives that I wouldn't normally get to see. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings of Jacob and the next baby. I hope that if either of these boys want to know more about their family, they will be able to find comfort and info in these pictures. Michelle had a lot of problems with her family when she decided to place Jacob with us. Many didn't agree with her decision. Seeing us there, supporting her in this very important event gave them a little bit more tolerance. They don't know that we are getting the next baby yet, but as Michelle says "that really isn't any of their business".

I would finish this story but Michelle just called me to tell me she is in labor. I am getting ready to jump on a plane and go meet my new son. I hope everything goes ok. Most of all I hope that they are both healthy. This pregnancy has been full of health issues for both of them. I am very worried, but relieved that the worry is amost over and soon we will know exactly what we have. This is the time to put my OTHER mantra for my life into action. "It is what it is". I am saying this to myself all the times I am not telling myself to "ignore the crazy". Take it or leave it, this is the situation that I am in and there is no changing it.

Prayers would be nice, I will give you Chicago part deux when we return.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ask an awkward question---be prepared for an awkward answer..

I just had another one of those experiences that makes me so glad that I have been friends with witty and sarcastic and quick thinking people for a long time!! This last weekend someone said to me "I can't belief you were running around so much last night what with being so pregnant and all" At this point, my raised eyebrows and blank expression might have led them to rethink what they just said......a long pause... "you ARE pregnant, right?" "Nope, just fat". That is my reply. That is always my reply (this has happened to me before). Ironically, I have lost 10 pounds recently.

I am of the opinion that if you are going to ask a potentially awkward question, be prepared for an answer that makes you uncomfortable. I am the first to admit that I am no longer the rail thin person I was in college and that I am a big girl--but I don't think that I look pregnant. Well, maybe first trimester pregnant, but not PREGNANT pregnant. I am blessed (or cursed) to be friends w/ the cutest pregnant women ever. I am talking super skinny "I just swallowed a basketball", their face and bum doesn't get fat, pregnant. I marvel that at 9 months pregnant, they still have skinnier thighs and arms then I do. Good for them. Some of it is genetics and most of it is exercise. Most of these ladies exercise regularly though out their lives--pregnancy included.

A long time ago I might have handled this question a different way. I might have been embarrassed and tried to make the asker not feel stupid--all the while feeling stupid myself. No more. Part of being a grown up means taking control of my own situation and not allowing others to impact how I feel. I am aware that this is easier said then done, but practice helps. I got lots of practice after I had my daughter about 5 years ago. As the rest of our friends had baby number two and even three, we still had just the one. Well meaning, but still very rude, people would come up to me and ask "when are you going to have a brother or sister for Lauren?" After the first 20 times of saying "well, we haven't really be able to conceive so we are try to decide if we should do IVF, adopt or use a surrogate".... I started making up answers that would give the maximum impact. I do believe in being polite, but it is ok to teach a lesson too. I would say things like "we don't want anymore" or "Never, I'm infertile but thanks for bringing it up" and even "we didn't even want the one we got--why would we want another?" (this was never in earshot of my daughter and clearly not true). I kept a very straight face and didn't give the asker a clue if I was kidding or not. I figure if you think I am kidding, then the non answer is your clue to butt out. If you think I am serious, then you deserve to feel uncomfortable with the answer.

This point was brought home to me recently at a funeral. My friend had twins very early. After 7 months of struggle, little Juliet died while her sister Stella is fine. I had a chance to speak to another mother there who lost a baby. She told me horror stories of the things that people said. Most of it was well meant but still terribly rude. Things like "at least you still have your other kids".( Yes, well that doesn't negate missing the one you lost), "at least she will go straight to heaven" (I won't even touch that one). You get the idea. I shudder to think of the well meaning things my friend had to listen to and try to ignore on that very emotional day.

I should quality all this by saying I put my foot in my mouth all the time. I guess none of us mean to do it, but it doesn't make it less annoying. I know that I am going to try a little bit harder to keep my curiosity at bay and keep my mouth shut!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Jonah and Nemo

Bless Disney.

A few Sunday's ago I was trying to teach my Sunbeam class the story of Jonah and the whale. This is a great story that kids usually like. It has action, intrigue and a nice message at the end. I used to KILL with this lesson when I taught it a few years ago. The movie FINDING NEMO has changed all this.

Now when I try and teach the lesson I end up with an abridged version the movie. One particularly cute little boy in my class even gave us a demonstration of how Dorie talks to the whale; about 300 times. There was great discussion of the turtles, the scary part with the net, the funny fish in the tank and other great parts of the film. No matter how much I tried, there was no going back to boring old Jonah who had the misfortune to be swallowed by a whale that he didn't even know how to talk to!! After a few minutes I just went with it.

This is the best part about 3 year olds. You NEVER know what they are going to say, but it is usually very funny. I also know the hold that Disney has on children. We have been firmly in the clutches of the Disney Princesses at my house for years. You may think that your kids are not going to fall into this because you don't let them watch TV. WRONG!! Their friends watch TV. Even the little girl in my class who has NEVER watched TV (her mom even makes it clear to the people who invite the child to play that TV is not allowed) knows who the princesses are, the entire story line of Nemo and other bits of TV related info that her mom would pass out if she heard.

I have to admit that a fair amount of my child's knowledge of the Bible comes from the Veggie Tales videos. If you haven't seen these, you MUST. They are full of funny things that parents like too. The music won't make you want to rip your skin off and the writing is very clever. True, Lulu did tell a teacher that the reason the lions didn't eat Daniel in the lion's den is because they ordered pizza (from the movie) and that when Joshua led the children of Israel around the walls of the city of Jericho, the people who lived in the city threw slushies at them to make them go away (also from the movie). All in all, I am proud of her knowledge (as muddled as it may be) that she even knows or cares about these stories. I remember that I learned how many pounds were in a ton from the movie Pete's Dragon so TV can't be all bad, right?

There is no point to this ramble. I don't care if your kids watch TV or not. Clearly I am not one of those parents who never lets their kid watch TV. I admit that there have been days in our home when the TV was turned on to the Disney Channel first thing in the morning and didn't get turned off until evening. These days usually corresponded with me being sick, or being tied up on the phone w/ work all day. I don't think that my child will be less intelligent or less adjusted because of it. Most of the time now she doesn't even want to watch TV. I just thought that it was funny that all the three year olds knew EVERY SINGLE detail of the movie. One of them can even speak "whale" but I doubt he could tell me his address or phone number. I imagine that like my kid, they forget to pick up their toys or follow household rules and offer "I forgot" as an answer when challenged. I find it so hard to believe that a child who has memorized the entire movie "Annie" can't remember to not leave her shoes in the hallway. Maybe Veggie Tales or Disney can make a movie called "Obey your household rules" or "Math with the Princesses". I actually think this would work. I KNOW it would work in our house.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy Hour at the Sharons

If you read my last post you know all about my geriatric neighborhood. It is becoming better every day. Over the last few weeks I have witnessed a strange ritual take place here.

We are very lucky to live at a place that has a pool (actually, it was my top priority over dishwasher, working washing machine or intact roof). We are in it about 10 times a day. We usually put the baby down for a nap and my daughter and I jump in the pool. In the afternoon, we are back in the pool. For the last several weeks we have been going to the pool in the evening too. There is a magical hour in our house between about 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm. I am usually trying to finish up dinner, it is hot and my husband isn't home yet. Oh, and by magical, I mean evil. This is the hour that my sweet children are replaced with whiney, screaming little lunatics. This is also the hour that the fish will choose to die, causing great trauma to the 5 year old, the baby will dump an entire box of Life cereal on the living room carpet and roll around in it or someone will get a hold of red acrylic paint and paint the couch, their hands and feet and then run through the house touching all the walls (all of these have really happened). I decided to take the matter into control by plopping everyone in the pool during that time until the evil wears off, or daddy comes home--at which time the evil children are no longer my responsibility.

I gather my kids, the towels, two floaties, two kickboards, the Nemo that swims in pool, the stroller, the swim diapers and walk the mere 25 feet to the pool. The kids pool is always warm and quiet and it is only 4 feet deep. The baby can float and my daughter can touch. The pool on our side of the complex is the "kids pool". One the other side of the complex is the"no kids" pool. I think the old people don't want to be bothered by my kids. I never thought that there would come a day when I didn't want my kids to be bothered by the old people. They may call it the kids pool here, but we have a very different name for it. HAPPY HOUR AT THE SHARONS.

About 5 o'clock on the first day I heard the gate open and saw the oldest man ever carrying a tray over to the pool. He headed towards the lawn chairs, adjusted the umbrella and sat down. He promptly fell asleep w/ his head lolling back and his mouth open. Hmm. My kids and I just ignored him. I figure as long as he is snoring (and therefore breathing) I am not going to worry about it. A few minutes later, another man shows up w/ a bucket of ice and a bottle in his pocket. Soon, doors are opening all over the complex and old people are converging on the pool. ALl of them have a basket of chips or a bottle or glasses. Our complex is normally very, very quiet (except for us). There is no parking allowed on the street or in driveways (only in the garage w/ the door shut). I never see signs of life around here. It can be eery. Suddenly The Sharons is like the book a "Wrinkle in Time." You know the part where you are in a silent neighborhood w/ similar looking houses. At the same time every day, as if drawn by a silent signal, the doors open and children come out of every door, walk to the driveway and bounce a ball. If you sub the chosen generation for children, alcohol and beer nuts for balls and make the silent signal something only people over 60 can hear--you have my neighborhood.

It took me a minute to realize that I have NOT been transported into the geriatric version of "A Wrinkle in Time", it is HAPPY HOUR at the Sharon's (which is how I am starting to affectionately refer to my neighborhood--if I have to live w/ all these street names, I might as well like it). A real live happy hour. I have never seen such a thing in real life--only on TV shows from the 70's. I have always seen the fancy bar sets in places like Crate and Barell and wondered--who buys that stuff? Can't you just use your hands to get ice out of a bowl like every one else? Do you NEED an ice pick? Now I know who buys that stuff. OLD PEOPLE. I think they flock to bar sets like young parents flock to brightly colored plastic toys. None of us wants to fill our house w/ colored toys that talk and light up or overpriced bar sets--it is just a natural progression into the whatever phase of life we happen to be in. It is part of the ritual.

In no time there are about 25 people surrounding the pool. Ice tinkles in glasses, chips are being munched (despite the strict "no eating at the pool" policy every old person made sure I knew about the second my son reached for an animal cracker). People are getting more and more, um, relaxed. Some are sitting in chairs, many are asleep and all I can think about is--what am I going to do if one of these pickled grandpas falls in the pool? Is that why they do it at the KIDS pool, because the chances of a youngish person to give them CPR are greater? All I know is that this happens every night. My sister thinks it is like counting noses. If someone doesn't show up, you know to call and see if they are ok. My husband thinks , and I quote "it takes away the loneliness". My daughter thinks it's not fair that she isn't allowed to eat a PB and J at the pool and these people can--and they don't share. I think that if being old is anything like being a stay at home mom w/ little kids--anything you can do to break up the monotony of the day and give you something to look forward too can't be a bad thing (although I don't recommend mothers use alcohol to beak up the day like our nice but tipsy neighbors do).

There are too many damn Sharon's around here..

I live in California and I LOVE it. I mean LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I never knew that there was a California girl deep down inside of me. I still can't believe that I cried when I found out that we had to move from NEW JERSEY to California. To be fair, I loved New Jersey too--so I guess I am just shallow. Or easily distracted. Like I was saying, I love Palo Alto. I love it even though I am in the minority for not buying everything organic and I don't drink soy milk. I love it even though I am usually the only mom in a park full of nannies. I don't play tennis or golf. I am not a size 2 or blonde. I let my kids eat at McDonald's, drink soda and watch TV. I don't even mind the rediculous housing prices. I do drive an SUV--so I manage to slip in under the radar. I am not saying that all people in Palo Alto fit into the stereotype, just the ones I know.

Anyway, we have lived here for about 6 years. A few months ago we had to leave our little condo. It was a sweet little two bedroom condo on a beautifully landscaped lot. It had a pool, a hot tub and a garage. The reason we had to move is that we have two kids and two more on the way. Even though 12 year olds are allowed to have babies and live in cars, we weren't going to be able to adopt another child until we had another bedroom (no small feat in our area). When the perfect place dropped in our laps we had to take it. The problem was that I didn't want to leave my little house. That condo is the place that I have lived the longest in my entire life. I brought my babies home here. My daughter learned to walk on the sidewalk just outside. Gulp. That isn't even the worst part. Our old condo was right across the street from Walgreens. Having a Walgreens across the street is like living next door to heaven. When we would run out of milk, we could trot over to Walgreens. Need diapers? Formula? Glue Sticks? Make up? Walgreens had it all. When my kids would get bored at home, we would walk over to Walgreens and play in the toy aisle or get an ice cream cone. We knew all the staff and they knew us. We made cookies for all the Walgreens employees every Christmas.

The new house is NOT next to Walgreens. Even though it has the right amount of bedrooms, the neighborhood is very different. Our new condo complex used to be a retirement community until about 5 years ago. There are three young families living here now, the rest of the neighbors are very elderly. The young families live here because the previous elderly owner died or moved to a nursing home, creating a vacancy. Our neighbors are 88 on the left and 90 on the right. I'm thinking that we are going to get new neighbors REALLY SOON, if you catch my drift.

There are actually many benefits to living in a sea of old people. They can't hear the racket that my kids make. My kids do charming things like crying every morning at 5:30 or going through 4 packages of these firework things that you throw down and they make a loud pop in like 5 minutes. Old people also drive really slow--so I don't worry too much about my daughter riding her bike in the street. They never throw loud parties or try to put their garbage in my can. One of them did drive through the front plate glass window at Longs the other day while my sister was in there. The firemen that responded to the scene seemed so bored I am assuming this isn't first time this has happened. Other than that, pretty good neighbors.

The weird thing is this neighborhood. This is me telling my friends how to get to my house "Take Sharon Park drive to the first stop sign. Turn right onto Sharon Road, go past Sharon Green and turn right onto Sharon Oaks, 5th house on the right". There are really that many roads starting w/ the name Sharon and that isn't even all of them--just the ones to get to my house. I cannot figure out why someone would do this. Granted, Menlo Park is full of old people so maybe they didn't want to confuse the residents. What about the mail man, delivery people and folks that are trying to come and visit ME? Someone always turns on the wrong Sharon and doesn't realize it because there are so many other bloody "Sharon" roads. By the time they call me and I can figure out where the are and get them back to me we are both practically in tears. Were the city planners just lazy? Bored? Why Sharon? Why not Edith or Judy? Did some mysterious Sharon donate all the land around here? Was Sharon someone's mistress? Whatever the reason, as far as I am concerned there are too many damn Sharon's around here.

I miss Walgreens.

P.S. The picture has nothing to do w/ this entry. I just found this picture of my son and was struck by his resemblance to his sisters Cabbage Patch Kid (which my daughter "adopted"). They both have their arm up and look suprised. Funny.