Friday, October 29, 2010

My room at my mom's smells like a Steve Miller Band concert. It's incense, and it's called Dragon's Blood, which is a very practical name for a fragrance... but it smells like a high school party. I think you're tracking with me here.

Why would my mother, a devout Christian and aged parent, choose incense rather than a can of aerosol spray that smells like pie? I'll tell you. It's because she's a hippy.

My parents met in the 70's, in what was likely a cloud of marijuana smoke. They dated while working in a psych ward and then married on a rug in the forest. My dad wore black silk bellbottoms with a star on the crotch. These are the people that raised me.

A great deal of federally controlled substances and Jimi Hendrix albums later, they got saved. So, by the time I was born, there were relatively few traces of the hippy lifestyle left. Or so I thought. In retrospect, they primarily got rid of the drugs and the music. My young childhood was a compilation of Amy Grant singing in Hebrew and Michael W. Smith, interrupted for brief homages to Smoke on The Water or Whipping Post. We weren't allowed to listen to the Beatles, but by gosh, we were to respect them.

There was also a cyclical denying of the system, in which my mom would stop wearing business suits and start growing vegetables and denouncing the grid. They'd do this every few years, and eventually the grid would win, because of computers. Occasionally, the system would throw us, and we'd sort of involuntarily be off the grid for a little while, eating feasts of brown rice and beans and thick buttered cornbread. When we were poor, we ate the best.

In my tiny private school, I obeyed the rules, mostly. None of us listened to secular music or did anything "worldly", at least in the early years, but I think I was the only one who went home to a guy quoting Asimov. We loved Jesus, and we did spiritual warfare, and we were deep in our faith, but the wildness was always there, always a part of it.

We're wildflowers, really. We never fit, exactly. We grow, and we're beautiful, in our own way- sometimes more beautiful, in my opinion, because of the passion and the LIVING. And that's a gift.

So for a few more days, I'll sleep in this guestroom at the house my mama is blooming at right now, and then everything will change, and it will be scary for a minute, until the guitars and the pinto beans and the incense start up again in a new place, and it will be good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When I'm in Texas, I'm always struck by a revelation. No, not the revelation that Texas is best.... that one stays with me at all times. It's the one that goes something like... when you move away from home, home will never be exactly the same again.

People change, towns change. YOU change. And there's something very bittersweet to coming "home" to a place that looks different than you remember, and to your friends who have grown, despite your absence.

It's kind of like when you're going through grief, and your world has stopped, and then you realize construction on the new Target has still been going on, despite the fact that your dad is dead. Life moves on.

And I am so different. I am not who I was before the pain, because I am no longer innocent to pain. And I'm not who I was in the grief, because the grief has lifted. I am both of those, and something else... I'm new, really. And that's kind of hard to explain over a taco. The same for you... I know that you have lived, but I won't really ever know.

Then there's those conversations with a childhood friend or a sibling, where the sense of connection and shared experience carries all the weight. You know who I am, and I know who you are, despite what life has done to us. That kind of enduring, recycling friendship is refreshing.

it's the same
but all fractured
and it hurts
but it's familiar

coming home

and when I'm home again
I'll miss home

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ever since the incident at Lowe's with the 6 foot animatronic witch, Toby's been on high alert for all things Halloween. As I'm driving down the freeway, he yells, "Do NOT look over there!" causing me to take out traffic cones and endanger the lives of inmates and what have you. I, being human, do what humans do and look in the rearview mirror to see a giant inflatable Frankenstein selling cars.

The same warning pops up in every store. "Wow, mom. There is something right over there that we do not like. Guess what it is..." I pause from frantically eating my cheeseburger or whatever and halfheartedly indicate that it is, in fact, Halloween stuff. The good news is that he's gone from being terrified and burying his face to kind of a sick fascination with things that scare him. Wait, that's not good news...

Yesterday, when I was eating Mexican food (not to be confused with today's Mexican food) he flagged down a waiter. "Hey." Toby says. "We do NOT like all this Halloween stuff," waving expansively at the cobwebs and bats and whatnot. The poor guy had a fairly limited grasp of English, and besides, how much are waiters supposed to listen to kids? But he just stood there as Toby explained it again. "See this? See this Halloween stuff? We do NOT like it." The waiter looked at me kind of helplessly, and I indicated that he could stop listening to Ned Flanders and get back to his job.

I tried, again, to explain to Toby that our rules are not everyone's rules, and that besides, it wasn't even that guys JOB to take down the Halloween stuff, but he stood firm. "Halloween is cancelled." he told me. So there you have it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maybe you missed this, but I'm a Texan. God has momentarily or potentially forever stranded me in Missouri, but He can't take away my Texan-ness.

Well, actually, He could, technically. I mean, He has done some crazy stuff, historically speaking. But it's not likely that He will, so stop looking smug, people from lesser states.

We drove for 1,432 hours yesterday, alternately rocking out, arguing, eating and staring off into space, despairing because it takes so long. Oh, and having real conversations. That part was awesome. Then today I had my first Tex-Mex since July and also purchased 2 avocados that were larger than my newborn children. (the new kid will break the record, being born at what will likely be 6 pounds) Saw friends, saw family.  Winner of a day.

The MOG is working, and we tagged along on his work trip, which is awesome because I'm totally in Texas, and lame because he's working all the time and can't eat all the guacamole. Wait a minute...

There's a little bittersweet edge to this being the last trip with the 5 of us. I'm super excited about New Baby, but chapters are always a little hard to close for me.

You know what else is hard? Forgetting the duffel bag with all of your children's clothing in Kansas City. Doh. They've been wearing their scrungy travel clothes for 2 days now, although I made them strip down at naptime, washed it all and put it back on. Doh doh doh.

I've been getting a decent amount of questions about a baby shower. Not planning a "real" one. I registered at Target, and I might set up some kind of online shower for those who are so inclined, after the baby comes home. If you want to get a jump on that, the registry link is over on the top left... can you believe this? A baby. Woot!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If you ever told a parent of a special-needs kid that “God picked them”, then stop that. In His sovereignty, did He map it out? Yeah, maybe. Heck if I know. But that statement says that some people are cut out for parenting special kids and some are not. False. You just do the work. And if you were put in the same situation, you would do the work, too.

I’ve been the parent of a special need son for almost 12 years now, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

The earliest stage is the surprise and denial of it all… maybe they’re wrong, maybe he’ll be fine. This one repeated for me, cyclically, over probably the first 5 or 6 years of his life.
And honestly, doctors do often say the worse-case scenario, and then it isn’t that bad. “They” didn’t think R2 would live, and then if he lived, he would live in a vegetative state, and then, when we made it past that, he would never walk, talk, or live a functional life. At some point we had to learn how to take in what they were saying as a very real possibility, and then try to believe for the best and do all the medicine and therapy and intervention we could to beat those odds.

One of the hardest things in those early years was the realization that he was so, so delayed. We’d get encouraged because he was making eye contact, and then realize other babies his age were sitting up. That crash to reality happened over and over again. He didn’t walk or eat solid food until he was 4.

And there was so much anger. I was so, so angry. I don’t even know who I was mad at, but the first few years, R2 would rage at me, and I would rage at him, and then we’d both be frustrated and exhausted. And I could use my functional adult brain and think, “He can’t understand, and he is a baby, and this is ridiculous to be fighting with a baby.” Then that logic would shut off because surely he could get this, if he tried.

At some point, around 4 years, I think, I got some help, and read a book called Son-Rise. It’s basically an autism treatment story mixed up with some hippy/Buddhist philosophy, but really, really good. I walked away with at least one concept. Acceptance.

He is who he is, and he is great how he is. I want him to grow, but if he never reaches my “normal”, that will be okay, because he is Richy, and that’s good enough. In fact, Richy is great. If you’ve never been through this, that might not make sense to you, or even seem simplistic. It was life-changing for me. When we worked on crawling, the anger was gone, because he didn’t HAVE to do it my way. He responded so well to our attempts to get in his world and let him be.

Now, I’m entering a new stage, where the acceptance pendulum may have swung too far, and I have no expectations for him. There’s a line, maybe not that fine, between giving up demands and keeping hopes and dreams. I have a feeling the learning never stops.

Went to his parent-teacher meeting last night. He got straight A’s, for stuff like sorting silverware and identifying numbers 1-5. I am so proud of him. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Going to start re-running some of my older posts once a week, just to get them circulated. I've written 1,397 posts for this blog and what is the likelihood that you've read all of those? Not too likely, I'd think. So, here's your first rerun. Also, some people have asked about a shower/registry... not sure when/if we'll do a baby shower, but I've set up a registry link over on the left. Gratzi, friends!

Original post HERE, I deleted a few to try to take the post-length down a little...

georgia said...
1. When is it appropriate to wear pantyhose ?

Good question, gentle reader. It is appropriate to wear pantyhose at any occasion, but especially with high-waisted jeans and orthopedic shoes or sandals. This makes for a neat and attractive appearance.

2. If God is I AM does that make the devil I AM NOT ?
The devil is classically referred to as, I AIN’T. A grammarian’s hell is everyone’s hell.

3. Why does Eminem dance in ways we would scold our children from doing in public?
This reporter believes Eminem, or “Marshall” may have some incontinence issues, thus he regularly employs what is commonly known as the “pee-pee dance”.

4. How many times in one day can Toby climb into places he is not supposed to be?
Assuming “Toby” wakes up at 8 a.m., and goes to bed at 9 p.m., with a 2 hour nap, 330 would be a loose estimate.

~*~crystal~*~ said...
5. So is like kissing before you’re married like sin? LOL

Dear reader… my, dear, dear reader. Of course it is.

anonymous said...
6. dear jess,
why is it that my froggy makes me smile?

Batrachomania, I would suspect.

josharoo said...
7. How popular worldwide is eating frog legs?

Frog legs have lost popularity in most civilized nations. They are still quite favored in France, along with cowardice and “weenie” mustaches.

clammy said...
8. i had 2 really good questions, and i really tried hard on them, and then google did something crazy, and they're GONE!


josharoo said...
9. How many empire state buildings could fit on their sides in Boeing's Everett, WA airplane plant (the largest building in the world by volume

It’s unlikely that you could fit any Empire State Buildings in said building. There is only one, and the legalities of removing it are quite iffy. Also in question is the logistics of moving it to Washington, and turning it on its side. And what would you do with all the airplanes? Silly reader.

10. Why did I have to start plucking ear hairs in my mid-20’s?

This reporter suspects that is when you began your mating rituals.

anonymous said...
18. how many times in one hour can Toby get into mischief?

At a rate of one misdeed per 3 minutes (a conservative estimate), 20 times.

bethc said...
19. how many children did the old woman who lived in the shoe have? was it an old shoe or a new shoe?

It depends on the region in which the tale is told. In The Woodlands, Texas, that would be three children. In Rice Village, one.
The age of the shoe: In the Woodlands, 24.
In Rice Village, 39.

shannon2-24 said...
20. How many pecks of pickled peppers did Peter Piper EAT? I don't care how many he picked.. how many did he EAT?

The tone of this question is a little hostile to this reporter. Nonetheless, he ate 16 peppers.

21. Is it okay to not sweep up the floor under a highchair after every food-flying fun session?
Absolutely. The key is removing all debris at 4:30, so persons of the male persuasion don’t have to look at the filth and chaos of 300 Cheerios™ and assorted ends of Vienna Sausage. Or buying a large racecar rug and placing it under said chair.

22. Is it okay to be totally in awe of your child when they keep clapping over & over at MOPS while the leaders are giving away gifts (Oprah favorite's style) while everyone is repeatedly clapping? It is, unless your child is a “punk”.

23. Do many moms occasionally bop their child's head on the inside of the car roof while pulling the child from the car seat??
 Yes. The child will eventually develop protective mechanisms like arching and throwing himself from the vehicle as soon as his restraints are removed.

angelag said...
If you're (pretend it's me) walking on a road in the mountainous woods...let's say...Colorado Rockies, and two bears are coming toward you from your left at an increased rate of speed. On your right is a potentially frightened skunk. Directly in front of you is a rattle snake, and behind you is a cliff with unknown bottom. What advice would you give me for that moment?

I would quit pretending I was you and finish my oatmeal. Advice for you? I would, to use the vernacular, “Put your head between your knees and kiss your butt goodbye.”

anonymous said...
27. Dear Jessica,
My little brother took my pet cricket and feed it to his pet iguana. Now I want to take his pet iguana and feed it to my pet boa constrictor. If I do this, he may take my pet boa and feed it to his pet 12 foot alligator. Should I feed his pet iguana to my pet boa? 
Reptile in the Republic

This reporter is surprised that a parent has not fed you both to the alligator. Your home sounds like a swamp. Feed the iguana and the boa to the alligator, then set the alligator loose in Artesian Lakes. They will know what to do.

angelag said...
28. Let's say that one's parents raised their child telling them that they ("one") were raised by the monkeys. Then, as an adult, one starts growing hair on one's knuckles. Should one believe that their parents were, in fact, telling the truth all those years, and not just trying to make their sweet child cry and feel adopted? 
And, if so, should one then return to the monkey home they ("one") were apparently raised in? ...Even though there was no memory of said monkey raising.

This is the kind of question that keeps dedicated, serious bloggers going. By all means, return to your monkey home.

anonymous said...
29. If a twister by twisting, could twist a twist with three twists of his twister, he twist the twist. And if in twisting the twist, he untwist one twist; did the twist that untwisted untwist the whole twist??
~Ruminating in Romania

That depends on what was twisted. If it was a birthday streamer, it would be entirely untwisted. If it were a more twist-holding substance, the jury is out. If it was in fact, a tornado, everything would be untwisted. Unless it was a twister in Shenandaoh, in which case the local constabulary would have it incarcerated for twisting at 47 mph in a 45 zone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have been wearing pj pants for about 5 days. In fact, I don't think I've left the house in close to that much time. I only left today because I had to go to the bank. Well, quel le fromage? maybe you're asking. What the cheese, indeed. I'll tell you.

I have a baby due in a month. Despite giving birth to 5 children, I've never been this pregnant, and if you're new here, I'm not pregnant now... but unless something drastic changes, I will have a new baby in a month. So let me tell you what my serial premature-delivery-inducing brain is saying about being 35+ weeks pregnant. It goes something like this.

"SIT VERY STILL. STOP, STOP MOVING. GO BACK UP TO YOUR BED, EAT CHOCOLATES AND BE STILL AND WAIT. " So I have been doing that. I'm not leaving the house, or getting dressed in "street clothes", or doing much more than the minimum of housekeeping, until I remind myself that it's okay, and my les incompetent cervix is not involved here, and I can do anything and not have a baby. So I get up and putter around for a while, phone in some homeschooling,  do the dishes, and run to the grocery store. All the while, my brain is sending alarms... "IT'S TOO CLOSE! BE STILL! MORE SWEETS, MORE LAYING DOWN!" and I comply. 

Lucky for me, the MOG has the same brain glitch, or PTSD, so he doesn't mind. I don't know how we'll do with a baby that comes home with no wires or alarms.. 

Some people nest. I hibernate. I sit on my bed, folding laundry or reading and thinking about names, and hair colors, and what might be. There is a baby coming, and if I hold my breath, everything will work out, and he will be born a massive 6 pounds, and put in my arms. I think my brain just short-circuited. Where are those chocolates?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last year, Christmas
Growing up (and that is relative, since I'm only 5'1), we celebrated everything. We were a pretty non-traditional family in a lot of ways, being headed by two gypsy artist types. The 5 of us kids write and act and dance and sing and play instruments and paint and have big noisy families, and occasionally work for someone outside the family to pay some bills and buy more paint or what have you. Our traditions all had to do with food and family. 

I know, that rules. So birthdays, major holidays, bank holidays, major and minor awards, teeth falling out, getting your first training bra, whatever, it was time for a party. 

We teetered back and forth from rich to poor my whole life, and either way, the party looked the same. Massive amounts of homemade food that looked a little burnt, or lopsided, or was poured just below the melted mark on the biggest plastic bowl- presentation is not a Yablonski strong point, but the food is to DIE for. Sometimes, we do. Too soon? 

Sorry. I couldn't resist. Another Yablonski strong point, making an awesome joke out of something you should NEVER joke about. 

Back in the day, I was little and all the other siblings were grown or almost grown, and they would come to Mama and Daddy's house and bring all their little ones, and we'd sit around and the youngest ones would dance on the coffee table while Bobby played the guitar, or somebody played something, and we'd laugh and talk and visit until it was time for round 2 at the buffet. 

My baby, and my niece and HER baby 
Now, it looks a little different. The youngest siblings and the nieces and nephews bring THEIR little ones, and they dance on the coffee table while we watch and sing and celebrate. 

We don't get together as much now. For one thing, I'm in Missouri. (what the heck am I doing in Missouri?) But also, Daddy is gone now, and we're grown up and mostly get the WHOLE bunch, or close to it, together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a kid birthday or two. When we come together, though, it's like it has always been. 

I could probably write a book about this stuff, but two things I learned from my family: 1. Texas is best and 2. Every one of us is worth being celebrated, even for small victories. 

my birthday cake from last night
I think that's why I still have birthday parties, at 32 years old. Because I learned, from my family, that it is GREAT to be alive and to be loved. Also, any excuse for cake is a good one.

Here's to you, Yablonskis. May we ever celebrate.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

There are things in life that you take for granted. Gravity is a classic example. Other things, like the badness of Mexican food in Missouri, or the likelihood that some little Disney star will start acting super-trashy, riiiight about the time she's turning 18.

Or how about this one? You expect a bathtub hot water knob to stay on the shower wall, dispensing water at your command. Today, my world was rocked. I twisted the knob, as I have done countless times in my life, and then it wiggled a little. "Huh..." I thought, just before the knob popped out of the wall and was slammed across the room by a geyser of hot water. "Holy Moses!" I thought, or something like that. "What do I DO?" I tried to put the knob back on, no go. By this point, water is slamming off the back wall and out of the tub in streams.

I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I escaped to the hallway, screeching "RICHY! RICHY! BATHROOM EMERGENCY!" Richy was a mile away at the Prayer Room and therefore, did not hear me. Hannah tried to come to the rescue, by going into the basement and turning off every water-looking dial she could find. I turned off water-looking dials under the sink and started throwing towels and blankets and random clothes into the flood...

Then I had this idea, because I am logical. I thought, "I bet I could put that knob back in and somehow regain control of this monster..." So I did. After a moment, the water stopped spraying and started dripping out of the faucet again.

I was just giving myself a little pat on the back when Hannah started screaming in the kitchen.

Get this: if you plug a geyser, it still keeps spraying. You heard it here first, ladies. Only now, instead of flooding my bathroom, it was POURING out of the light fixture in the kitchen. And down the stairwell in the basement, like a mighty flood of justice.

By this point, we had made emergency calls to multiple sources, finally reaching Richy who came home and ran around, taking the knob back off and kind of frantically disparaging our efforts until he found and turned off the water main. Whew.

I don't know if I'm cut out to be a homeowner.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When I last left you on the Clarkives, Toby had been born and there was much rejoicing in the land. A very short 6 months later, we found we were pregnant again. Well, again, it was ME that was pregnant, as men are not capable of pregnancy, regardless of what Hollywood and Arnold might like you to believe. I wish I could blot Junior out of my MIND.

When I felt the first contractions at around 14 weeks, I was devastated. By this point, I was extremely familiar with what labor felt like for me, and these were definitely contractions. We made up a modified bedrest plan…

So, at 17 weeks I went to bed. Richy was working a day job at this point, and couldn’t help during the days, so family members came and took care of R2 and Toby, and I laid in bed and sulked, a lot.

Eventually, my mama pulled another “Snap out of it” and got me started on a quilting project, my first (and last?) quilt. It took me HOURS a day. I dreamed and sewed and listened to music and I got my hopes up. When I found I was having a girl, I was ecstatic. I could not believe it. Finally, after 4 boys. We had chosen the name Brynn for a girl in every pregnancy, so there wasn't much to discuss, she was Brynn. We designed a quilt with pink and black and poodles and man, it was adorable.

Like my Toby pregnancy, we used Terbutaline for a while, and eventually switched to Procardia. I can’t remember if it worked any better than Terb, but it must not have, because we only made it to 29 weeks.

At 29 weeks, when I went to the hospital, I was pretty sure it was over. I had worked so hard at not being hospitalized for 12 weeks, and I was tired. I don’t think I could have fought any harder. Once we knew it was game on, they finally tracked down Dr. Reed, who was at a Steve Miller Band concert. She had to leave early to get to us, and she jokingly griped at us. It’s funny, because 29 weeks is still WAY too early, and we all knew there were no guarantees, but there was such peace in the room. We had the staff totally cracking up in between the stages of labor.

When she was born, they gave her to us to hold, while a nurse stood off to the side holding a bag valve mask over her mouth. It’s pretty blurry, since I ALWAYS take as much labor pain drugs as possible. Richy says she was breathing so well at that time that the nursing staff let him hold her for several minutes.  She stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks, and was pretty much a rockstar the whole time, with very few setbacks. Her NICU stay was the hardest I ever waited through, because the MOG was working a day job and I had 2 toddlers at home, so I was limited in the amount of hours a day I could be up there. NICU life is an agonizing balance. I always felt an unbearable desire to sit and wait by the bedside, at the same time knowing the rest of my family needed me and I needed to do things like eat and sleep.

She finally passed her car-seat test and got to come home in April. And then we were FIVE. 

I never thought about what it would be like, having a daughter. It's such a treasure to have a little woman in my house, being beautiful and passionate and emotional and just what God made her to be. She was so worth the wait. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Okay, look, I'm a right-wing neo-con fundamentalist Bible-thumper. So this next 300 words or so, griping about Halloween, should not come as a surprise to anyone, really.

We don't really do Halloween, although we buy all the costumes we can find at the thrift, for year-round fun, and shoot, EVERY day is candy-day. We never deal with trick-or-treaters, because somehow, we've never been home at our house on Halloween night. An actual coincidence.

Here's the thing. A few weeks ago, we took the wee ones to Lowe's. As we wheeled the cart through the entry, a nearly 6 foot animatronic/motion sensitive witch turns to look at us, cackling. Say WHAT? Toby took a nosedive into the basket and whimpered throughout the whole store, halfway peering behind us to see what WAS that and is she following us. I have had to promise not to go back to Lowe's until November.

Now, in order to get my Fundy card, I have to limit my child's TV viewing to things that don't directly involve, oh, witchcraft, demons, devils, stuff like that. I don't freak when they run around with a sheet on their heads making ghost noises, because right now, it would cause more problems to explain that than to ignore it. So my guys are fairly sensitive when it comes to scary stuff, because that stuff is not for kids. Period.

Evidently, though, my kids are the only ones that don't get a good laugh out of partially decayed human remains and witches with glowing red eyes that can talk? Oh, wait, that's totally hilarious. Bodies hanging in trees in the front yard. What do you people WANT? Are you TRYING to desensitize them? Do we have a shortage of serial killers?

Will there come a day when I talk about good and evil, and what's real and what's not, and other religions and blah blah blah. Yes, absolutely. But not with a 4 year old. I want my 4 year old son to be a wuss. I want him to LIKE shows with puppy dogs that dance. I want him to cry when he falls down. I want him to hide his eyes when something scary comes on a screen. I want him to be a little kid. Because he'll be a little jaded soon enough.

In the meantime, I'm not taking him shopping anywhere. And that's your loss, Walmart and Lowes. Because when he's with me, I spend twice as much.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm working on a new Clarkive. I promise. Now, if you don't pay preeety close attention around here, you might be all like, "Huh? what the hey is a Clarkive, Mabel?" Well. Lemme tell you. Clarkives are my chapter-based recounting of the major historical points of us, the Clarks. There's several of them over there in the left sidebar.  Also, it sounds like archive, which is one of the reasons you love me. Anyways, I'm working on the one where Brynn is born, since she's like 3.5 now, but my memory fails me on crucial details, so I'm having to do a little research here on my own blog.

In other news, I am not in a band. I'm in the ministry with the band, but technically I am a full-time mom now. (SO MUCH MORE THAN TECHNICALLY) The perks of that are, I don't have to go to band practices and read novels while men argue about chord changes, and I don't have to fast unless I just so happened to be in the meeting or dream or what have you when the fast was called. I can skip prayer meetings, if I have a good reason, like, "Your child is making me nuts and if I don't spend the next hour in my room with the door closed, I might light the van on fire." Sometimes, when I pass by the room, it sounds like they're praying for me. Hmm.

The downside of that is I don't get to be in the band pictures, and I don't get to travel (that one can be a pro or a con, depending). I mean, on occasion I do hop in the van, abandoning my children to the nearest relative, and travel the country, trying very hard to play it cool in the van and not let Matt get me in trouble for joking when everyone is sleeping. Also, I miss singing. Don't get me wrong. Me and Jonny Lang sing the hits in my kitchen on a regular basis, but it's not quite the same. And, I miss just being in a band, and road life. It was never glamorous, but it was fun and carefree and deep and meaningful all at the same time.

I'm not really complaining. I love what I'm doing now. This is absolutely what I would choose to do, if anybody had asked me before being born. I'm just pontificating, on account of this great new band pic that I am not in. Isn't it good?

photo by Steve Offutt

Monday, October 11, 2010

There's not really anything about guns. I was just trying to keep my male readers. 

Now that we're en route to becoming homeowners, we are trying to display responsible behavior and do things like cleaning gutters and replacing light bulbs and such. Along with these lofty goals, I have been assigned the task of paring down all the clothes and shoes, so we can put shelves in the closet and buy new dressers and be totally awesome with our home makeover skills that we might have.

Now, for some people I'm married to, this job is ├╝ber simple, and not just because they're Danish. "It's so easy!" they say. "I could clean out all the clothes and shoes in 15 minutes!" And maybe that person could. First, they would put half the clothes in an obscure location and then immediately forget that location. Then, they would throw the other half away. "There." they'd say, walking away smugly, with big plans for loosing Tomlin's hold on the worship market in the remaining 3 minutes. 

The next morning, when the shivering bare children wailed for their clothes, I would say something biting and sarcastic and awesome, and the other half of my marriage would be like, "Well, it shouldn't have been sitting in the middle of their DRESSER, then..." 

But for me, it's a bit more challenging. I've always known getting rid of stuff stresses me out. Not food, so much. It's clothes and shoes and toys and books. I remember as a kid, feeling a deep sense of remorse and guilt while putting toys in a donation bag, like I was hurting the toy's feelings. Now, it's a little different. I think I might wear those shoes again, or maybe I could cut off those jeans of Brynn's and make them a skirt, or maybe R2 actually cares about that toy and he'll just wander around silently, looking for it.

Yesterday, I went through all of Brynn's stuff, and I actually cried. What a wuss. It was hard, though, putting things that she looked so cute in in a bag, knowing that I was acknowledging that that stage of her life is over forever. Jeez. 

A couple of times a year, I go find one of those reality shows about hoarders and scare myself silly. Because these mentally ill women with bags full of rotting pumpkins or whatever SAY things that I say. And a lot of time, most of the time, the hoarding became a serious issue after losing a child. I watch it in horror, and then I tell the MOG to throw away everything I own, and just don't tell me. Just wait till I'm gone and throw it all away. I will be fine. I will gripe, and maybe I will buy 2 hair dryers from the thrift store, just in case one breaks, and then I will be fine. Right? 

Friday, October 8, 2010

I didn't write yesterday. If you didn't notice that, carry on, nothing unusual here. But if you did, I gotta tell you, I try to write 5 days a week. For years, I pulled that off. Of late, though, I have wanted to write better, stuff with substance, or at least funny things. So yesterday, my mind was formless and void, so I took the day off. Which drives me nuts, because in terms of readers, this was my biggest blog week ever, easily doubling or even tripling a normal weekly number of visitors. So I had to skip out yesterday with the knowledge that my analytic charts will take a downward slide again. Still, I had nothing to say. Enough about all that.

Couple good posts this week, though. You should read them.

In adoption news, we met with a lawyer yesterday. Due to the rice incident, followed by the basement flooding incident, plus the general and ongoing procrastination incident, I haven't done laundry in days, so we looked kinda scruffy all up in the law office with the conference room and all that.

Super nice guy, I liked him a lot. We talked, and then we paid him, and then we walked... not sure if we'll see him again until the baby is born.

IN 42 days. In a day or 2 here, the birthmom (heretofore referred to as C) will be more pregnant than my record breaking 34 weeks and 1 day with Toby.

6 weeks, y'all. Y'ALL.

In other news, Toby referred to me several times today as "Low-Fat." I think it's just because he read it on the sour cream, but I didn't argue. Also in child related news, Brynn has been wearing diapers for 2 days, pretty much. I haven't given up. I'm just laying down in the battlefield and taking a little rest.

In other, other news, I haven't hit you up for adoption funds in a long time, and I don't think I will again, for OUR adoption. My good friend Tracie's adoption, on the other hand... she is doing the same matching fund that we did and they're an awesome family. Go read this and send something to Hand in Hand for them- it will be doubled and you'll be BLESSED to be a part!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I put rice down the garbage disposal. A lot of it, all right? My logic was, there's these sharp blades in there that should just cronch cronch cronch SLICE and drain. Call me a sucker, but I bought right into that shiny embossed Dispose-ALL logo. 

I'm reasonably bright, you know. I spell things right, for the most part, although throw me a "restaurant" or "occasionally" in a weak moment if you want to see me crumble. But your basic trivia, and such, I know. I do have a disability, which some people might call "womanhood" but I think is just a lopsided brain. The English and spelling and reading parts of my brain are SO expanded that they just crunched down all the logic part, like will my van fit in this space, which way is left and what hand IS the big hand, anyway? Think about that one for a moment. A clock has a LONG hand and a FAT hand. Couldn't either one logically be referred to as a BIG hand? I rest my case. 

Anyway, on occasion (nailed it) I make very stupid decisions. Like last night, when it occurred to me that I should bake not one, but two apple pies at 6 pm, when my kids hadn't been fed and we had a home group scheduled at 7:30. By 6:30, there was pee and flames and blood and screams of agony amongst mounds of apple peels and flour. Bad idea. The pies were good, though. 

And then today. Good idea: clean out the refrigerator. Bad idea: put leftovers down the disposal. I can't even claim some kind of innocence here. This has, in the words of Tiger Woods, "happened to me" many times before. I tell myself,"This machine, with its sharp blades and motors and promising logos, should be able to crush this old ravioli, so I don't have to take out the trash and start a new bag for leftovers trash." I pour it down, flip the switch, activating the light and the motor, and then go merrily about my business. Moments later, wailing begins in the basement. 

Multiple times. I would be more remorseful, but I'm still griping in my head because the disposal should be able to dispose of soft foods. It just makes sense to me. 

Of course, I failed my driving test 3 times over parallel parking. Sense. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I always put my best schizophrenic foot forward on the blog here, dividing myself among myself and saying I feel this way, but I feel this way, too, and I end up having to say “on the other hand” three or four times, which is really unlikely, unless you are a mutant octopus-man or something. I’m not. I’m just a relatively confused person with an internet log that I use as a diary. Kind of.

We met them, our son’s parents. We loved them. If we weren’t getting their baby, we would invite them over and try to help with some of the broken places. As it is, I know I will think about them and pray for them always, no matter what happens. I still think about the 18 year old that interviewed us months ago, and she kept her baby and we never heard from her again. It’s not easy to sit with a young person while their heart breaks and then just walk away.

On one of my other tentacles, I think it’s probably the right choice for them to not parent their baby now. That’s their choice and I can see why they made it, I mean.

So I am trying to allow myself to distance myself from their side of it, the pain and the loss and the choices part of it, and move over to the expectant-parent side of things and just get excited about having a baby.

And that’s in there, in the chaos that makes up my mind. Somewhere, mixed in with fat-laden recipes and snippets of Amish fiction novels, with Jon Foreman lyrics and the terrifying realization that my kids are growing. In the mixture is a tiny sputtering light, a maybe-flame that reminds me that someday, maybe soon, my heart will be wrecked with love while my body begs for sleep and my arms ache from fulfillment. It says that waiting is for a purpose, and the tunnel doesn’t last forever.

It also says sometimes I lay it on a bit thick with the metaphors, and maybe I should listen to less melancholy music. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

I didn’t sleep last night. Did you?

I was dreaming about your baby. Is that weird? Did you dream about him too? Did he keep you awake with his kicking? There’s a bag by my bed with three onesies and 6 tiny pairs of socks. I think, even in the dark, I was aware of it.

We’ll meet today, you and I. It will be undeniable that you are very pregnant, with a baby you plan to put in my arms.

It’s so deep, and so real, that I can’t wrap my mind around yours. Instead, I think about what I will wear… what I should say. I will think about silly things like my hair and my shoes, because I can’t imagine what I will say.

I want you to like me, today, because someday in the future you might hate me a little, you know. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll love that I love him, that I carry him everywhere and watch him sleeping and love the smell of him.

Did I mention I’m a narcissist? Enough about liking me already, right?

So we’ll meet, and we’ll talk, about little things like the weather, and major things, like your son, my son. In the back of my mind, I’ll be filing as much information as I can. How do you laugh? Do you talk with your hands? Will you be okay? Because I plan on knowing you, always, but if at some point we lose track, I want to tell him what you’re like.

I will sit on a couch, or a chair, and try to tell you that I will love your son, my son. At the same time I want to say if it comes to that moment, and you can’t let go, I will be okay.

Because one of our hearts is going to break.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

It looks like we may be coming to the end of this stage of the adoption process. By that, I mean, the stage where we do adoption stuff with no "real" baby in sight. We were selected by a birthfamily last week, and unless they change their mind, we're matched!

It is really exciting and very surreal to take in. The baby, a boy, is due in mid-November. We're planning on it being pretty open, but I still want to keep in mind that his birthfamily may come across this blog, and for that reason, and just general respect for their privacy, I will be careful what I say.

It's tricky ground emotionally. Yesterday at Wal-mart, I was looking at baby clothes, just thinking, and I couldn't bring myself to buy anything. The 6 year anniversary of my twin's due date was last week, and there's definitely some of that emotion mixed in here. This is different, really, because I'm not looking at coming home empty-handed, like I did with them. If this baby's parents decide to parent him, then we'll wait for another baby, and eventually there will be another baby. Still, I am having a hard time imagining looking at an empty carseat on Thanksgiving.

But back to this baby, and the here and now. He's Caucasian, which was kind of a surprise for us, since we've planned on a transracial adoption all this time. It's okay, though. I like white babies, too. I have a couple of them I'm pretty nuts about, actually.

He has some heart issues, most of which appear to be minor and should correct during the rest of her pregnancy or at birth, without surgery. Pray for resolution there.

You know what's NUTS? I think this whole adoption is paid for. A LOT of individuals gave so generously in the beginning and all along the way, and then we had the fundraiser in Texas, and then we sold shirts, and the Helping Hand set us up with the matching grant, and Get Real Food Co and a bunch of individuals gave toward the matching fund, as well as Captured Conference , who took an offering for the matching grant, and then the Zoe Foundation gave a generous grant, and we've used rebates and returns and little inheritances and man... as far as I know right now, our needs will be met as they appear.

We'll hold off on having a shower until things are more solid, maybe even after he's born, but we'll need diapers and little boy clothes, I know that much. Can you believe this? I don't think I can, yet.
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