TRUE CONFESSIONS

When leaving church recently, there was a little girl and her mom having a bit of a power struggle in the hallway.  The girl looked to be about three and was screaming “I don’t want to!!!!” while she pulled against her mother’s hand.  I smiled as I passed by knowing exactly how that mom felt – frustrated and maybe embarrassed and tired.  When Jeremy picked the kids and me up at the curb, he mentioned the scene as well and said he had the same reaction.

Three years ago I know I wouldn’t have had the same reaction.  Three years into this parenting gig and I’ve definitely been humbled.  Three years into this and when I hear someone say “my kid won’t ever act like that”, I think to myself…just you wait and see.  Three years into this when I hear a parent say “my kid never throws tantrums” I think to myself…you must be lying.  Three years into it and I’ve had to learn that every child is different and there is no one-size fits all approach to parenting.

I’ve come to love honest parenting blogs…the ones where they talk about the fact that kids make you nuts and that sometimes just taking a shower is an achievement.  I have a general disdain for those who portray a perfect parenting picture….you know who I’m talking about.  These are the ones who will never discuss the trials and only post the good stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, there is good stuff.  But, there are some days when my glass of wine is screaming for me, but my child is screaming louder.  There are days when I think there must be some underground network that toddlers have to discuss bedtime stall tactics.  There are some days when I just can’t answer another “why” question. There are days when I think to myself, “I would walk through fire to save you from harm but if you do that one more time I’m going to hang you by your toe nails.”   There are days when I want to pop the eyes out of the person who says “just enjoy it…it goes so fast.”  Some moments are just not enjoyable or pretty.  Sometimes the only things you can do are laugh and have a second glass of wine.

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Brae-isms

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It’s been a while since the last round, so there are a few more than usual. As always, I’m so proud to be the Mommy of this little one.

1) One evening, Brae and I were saying prayers before bed. Brae said that he wanted me to pray, while he held his precious sticker book in his hand, and closed his eyes. I was praying, thanking God for all our blessings, when Brae whispered, “Mommy, tell God that I have super hero stickers. Thank him for those, too. … Oh, and tell him to not ever send us to jail.”

2) Brae and Tygh made brownies one evening. Brae loves brownies. He put a special one on a plate, and said he wanted to save it for after school the following day. Regrettably, I ate that brownie (don’t get too mad – there was a whole plate full of other brownies, but I ate the special one). When Brae got home and realized his prized brownie was missing, he said, “Mommy, where’s my brownie?” Guild-ridden, I said, “I’m so sorry, honey. I ate it. Were you looking forward to eating it?” “Yes!” he proclaimed. “I was looking forward to it….. and behind, and to the side!”

3) Brae: “Mommy, I want some juice and chocolate milk.” “No, Brae, you can’t have both,” I said. “Pick one or the other.” (Long pause) Brae: “Other.”

4) Brae and Sienna went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house recently while Mommy and Daddy went on vacation. Apparently, Brae’s picky eating habits continued even at grandparent’s house. One evening, my sister came over to see the kids. In front of Brae, Grandma said,“Brae is a p-i-c-k-y e-a-t-e-r.” Brae got upset. “No, I’m NOT,” he said. “I’m B-r-a-e.”

5) At the park Brae and a little boy were playing. Suddenly, the other little boy started throwing dirt in Brae’s face. Dirt got in his eyes. The other boy’s mom came rushing over, apologizing. Brae just shrugged and said, “It’s ok. It was my fault. I didn’t turn my face fast enough.”

6) “Mom, my light saber broke. … Now it’s just a flashlight.”

7) Recently, we “met” our housecleaner for the first time. We got home earlier than usual, and she was still there. I walked in and saw a little boy sitting quietly on the couch. I realized he didn’t speak English. Brae ran in, saw the boy sitting in Brae’s spot on the couch, went right up to him and said, “Hi! Wanna watch ninjas with me?” The boy beamed. Love that he has yet to meet a stranger.

8) I walked in on Brae going #2 in the bathroom. He had poop on his hands. I said, “Brae! Why do you have poop on your hands?” He said, “Because, Mommy. I want to always remember this poop being in my bum.”

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF TAMARA

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Being a new mom, I have recently been intrigued by the book ‘If you give a Mouse a Cookie’ by author Laura Numeroff, and a poem entitled ‘If you give a Mom a Muffin’, by Beth Brubaker.

Whatever age your children, or whether you’re a “mom-to-be”, we all have days like the one that inspired this poem.  I love when people can express their vulnerabilities and imperfections.  It reminds us that we can find humor in the mundane tasks of life.

Sometimes this poem is totally my life.  I think we can all relate.

IF YOU GIVE MOM A MUFFIN

If you give a mom a muffin,

She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.

She’ll pour herself some.

Her three-year old will spill the coffee.

She’ll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she’ll find dirty socks.

She’ll remember she has to do laundry.

When she puts the laundry in the washer,

She’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer,

Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.

She’ll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With a Pound of Hamburger).

The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.

She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.

She will look for her checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.

She’ll smell something funny.

She’ll change the two year old.

While she is changing the two-year old the phone will ring.

Her five-year old will answer and hang up.

She’ll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for some coffee.

Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.

She will pour herself some.

And chances are,

If she has a cup of coffee,

Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF TAMARA

Tamara goes to pay bills.

As she pulls out her wallet,

She is reminded that she needs to clean out her purse.

She cleans out her purse which doubles as a diaper bag.

She finds a dirty diaper from yesterday’s shopping trip to get groceries.

She goes to throw away the dirty diaper.

She is reminded that she needs to empty the trash.

While taking out the trash, she sees she needs to pull weeds.

While pulling the weeds, her shirt gets dirty.

She goes to put the dirty shirt in the laundry room.

She is reminded that the clothes she’d washed yesterday still need to be put in the dryer.

She will put them in the dryer, and decide to fold them after paying the bills.

Oh yeah, the bills…better get those done before starting dinner.

Funny thing is.. Josh will come home and ask, “What’d you do today?”

I think to myself, “Well, I’ve really done a lot. Really, I have..”

MORE CAT HERDING AND OTHER WILSON HAPPENINGS

We finished tee ball. I would like to say we finished gracefully, but we didn’t. For several weeks, Maria was frustrated about not being able to field a ball and we kept telling her to try again and that you don’t always get the ball. During our last game, Cousin Jake gracefully let her have a ball after he got it. Maria was very pleased, but she then decided that taking the ball from all the other players was the right way to play. We are definitely going to have to work on sportsmanship…soccer is just around the corner.
We are doing better with potty training. Both are regularly sitting down before bed and going and will sometimes alert me during the day. They aren’t ready to fully commit, but we are making progress. I’ll take whatever we can get.
We are attempting to go binky free again. You may recall that we tried last year and after three days and a child who looked visibly ill from withdrawal symptoms, we gave in and gave the pacifier back to Maria. On July 4, replacement binky met its demise with a broken tip. I asked Maria to throw it away because it was broken and she agreed. Later she asked for binky and Jeremy reminder her that binky was gone. A look of sadness and regret crossed her face. She said she needed purple binky, which was a spare we didn’t know she remembered. Jeremy and I looked at each other in shock at her remembrance of this and both quickly lied about the whereabouts and existence of purple binky. As of this writing, she is 30 hours without binky and doing remarkably well.
One last update…last weekend, I became a minivan mom. My car was trying to die and after hemorrhaging money into it the last seven months we said enough was enough. If we were going to get a new vehicle, we were going to get a minivan. While it’s not new, it’s new to us and I have become a believer. Sitting up higher and automatic sliding doors sure are nice, in addition to the extra space and other amenities that came with this van. My mom asked Grant about the new car and he replied “we didn’t get a new car, we got a BAN!” The kids are believers, too.

LETTER OF SUPPORT

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As a recipient of donated embryos, I was recently asked to write a letter of support to help continue funding for education and awareness of embryo donation and adoption. It was my honor and privilege to help support this cause. Knowledge about this option of third party reproduction is what brought my son into my life.

I was first introduced to embryo adoption, many years ago, by my former doctor. He’d become suddenly ill, and had passed away from Leukemia very quickly. Before his illness, he’d discussed third party reproduction with Josh and me, as a viable alternative to building our family. As he spoke those words for the first time, it was like a punch to the gut. Realization set in: I could no longer be in denial that we probably would never have a biological child.

At one of our first appointments, he’d given us an about an 80% chance of pregnancy. Sitting in his office, almost three years later, he’d said our chances of a biological child had dropped to 10%. I’m not sure where he got his percentages. Maybe it was the 13 unsuccessful IUI’s, and the two failed IVF attempts, that got him thinking along those lines. Josh and I were not thinking along those lines.

With what felt like a stab through the heart, he had said,“You are both attractive and have good genes, but so do other people. I think we need to discuss third party reproduction….embryo adoption”. I had been fighting back tears when our percentage dropped to 10%, but holding on to every last bit of hope, I was waiting to hear what options we had left to maximize our 10% chance.

After hearing the words embryo adoption, I felt like my world was crumbling. Tears streamed down my face. I could no longer hold back the floodgate that was erupting inside my mind. My dreams were being dropped on me like a wrecking ball to glass, being shattered to pieces, in one 30 minute appointment. My doctor had a reputation for being blunt. He didn’t sugarcoat things. It wouldn’t be kind to do so in the infertility business. You would only give people false hope. He wasn’t giving me any false hope that day.

The thought of not having a biological child was devastating. Adopting was NOT EVEN CLOSE to being on our radar. Traditional or otherwise. The concept of embryo adoption was totally foreign to both Josh and me. We couldn’t grasp the idea of carrying a child, from someone else’s genes, in my body, and giving birth to a child not of our blood. But time wears you down. And procedure after procedure wears you down even more. It took Josh a bit longer than me, to warm-up to the idea of third party reproduction.

Fast forward to today…

Awareness and education about ED/EA is how we got our son. After trying procedure after procedure, Josh finally accepted, that if we were ever going to have a child, it would probably be through third party reproduction.

If you read my first blog, ‘Acceptance to Elation’, you’ll know we had a close friend who offered to be a donor for us. While researching donor IVF, we came across the NEDC blogs and website. It wasn’t until after a failed IVF cycle with our donor, that we decided to pursue embryo adoption through the NEDC.

My heart, John Luke Foster, was born November 26th, 2012….

All thanks to the information and awareness obtained through the NEDC website and blogs. Thanks to a loving couple who sacrificially donated their embryos. And initially, thanks to a very sweet man, Dr. Samuel Thatcher, who passed from this life much too soon. He had the boldness to tell me words that I didn’t want to hear. But words I needed to hear for my own good.

Words that would forever change my life…embryo adoption.

Friends with our Donors

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I am now Facebook friends with our donors.

This may seem like a silly thing on which to write a blog, but it actually means a lot to me. I have a friend who is pregnant with twins through EA, and recently became “friends” with her donors, and was raving about how much she loved it.

Spurred on by this, I texted our donors to see if they wanted to be “friends.” I was delighted when they responded that they absolutely would.

It has been such a treat to be Facebook friends. I’m able to see all the pictures of Sienna’s genetic siblings, get to revel in the humorous and insightful posts they make, and am able to establish a tangible link between our two families.

Another bonus has come out of this growing relationship is that Sienna’s genetic sister, who will be in 5th grade, has started responding to some of the text messages I send to our donors. It is beyond a blessing to me to be able to have forged this relationship with Sienna’s full-blooded genetic sister.

For me, this is just part of the beauty of open adoptions. With the advent and growing popularity of the Internet, our world is getting smaller. To some, that is scary. To me, it is comforting.

I want Sienna to be able to know her genetic family. I want her, when the time is right, to ask any questions she wants to. I love that her genetic family is open and receptive to this. I am not threatened in any way by this openness. I long for it. Brae has it with his biological family, and we believe Sienna should have it with her genetic family.

Some reading this may not understand or relate to this, or even agree with this decision. I get that. It took me a while to get to this point, so I do understand the resistance and uneasiness.

Ultimately, however, I’m doing this for our daughter. In all of our adoption trainings (and we’ve been through a lot), there really is no such thing as a “closed” adoption anymore. (There are exceptions, of course). Most adoptees, at some point, hunger for information about their past, and with, again, the growing inner circle of our culture through social media, it is becoming easier to connect to our past.

For me, I feel blessed and honored to be able to have access to a wealth of information that, when the time is right, I can provide to Sienna.

To those of you out there, including my dear friends, who have adopted internationally, have more traditional “closed” adoptions, or who chose anonymous EA, I hope you take this post in the spirit in which it is intended. Your children also needed forever families. A child is not eligible for adoption simply because it would be an open one. So, I applaud your bravery and willingness to engage in that part of the adoption adventure. I suspect it is equally as challenging, and rewarding.

BABY BIRDS

Not far outside our kitchen window is a robin’s nest strategically placed under the eave and on top of the downspout. About a week and a half ago we saw first evidence of the new life that was inside the nest – four baby birds whose sole purpose in life is grow. They spend the majority of their time with their mouths wide open as their weary parents keep a continual parade of food to drop in their bellies. They’ve been fun to watch and Grant and Maria find this very entertaining. We’ve discussed how the mommy and daddy go get more food. “They go to the stoooooore?” was Grant’s question. Not exactly. As of last night the four baby birds were busting out of the nest, practicing their wing flapping and thinking about leaving the nest. They’ve quadrupled in size in the last week and half. I’m sure in another week they will be gone and mom and dad might be able to get a little rest.
Speaking of baby birds and time flying, we received some pictures of Grant and Maria taken when they were only a month old. Our church paper did a story on embryo adoption and came to our house to take pictures of the stars of the story. I requested that we get the pictures from the photographer and he said no problem. He would leave them for Jeremy at church. Well, life happens and it wasn’t until this week that Jeremy ran into the photographer that we got the pictures. I’m so happy to have these now. They show just how small Grant and Maria were when we brought them home from the hospital – Grant as just shy of six pounds and Maria was shy of five pounds. Just like baby birds, their sole purpose was to eat and grow. (Jeremy would add poop to that list). They were (are) very demanding and kept (keep) us on our toes. While the days are challenging, I know I don’t feel as weary as I did on those early days of constant feedings and diaper changes. In no time, just like those baby birds, Grant and Maria will fly the nest and we’ll look back and marvel at how fast it all went.