10.21.2009

SALEM STORIES

Ever heard of the Salem Witch Trials? We went to go separate fact from fiction in this lovely, historical town. I invited myself -using the kids as bait- to join Grandma Marianne and Aunt Carolee. Thanks for letting us come, ladies, we loved it!

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10.19.2009

AN UNQUIET MIND

thoughts lately


...the unmistakable mark of a stay at home mom is upon me: i work 3x faster when on the phone. the second the phone rings i have a pavlovian response and immediately start making beds, loading the dishwaser, and straightening things. it's completely insane. i cannot and do not work like a machine unless on the phone.

deep shame: Once called just about everyone I knew to try and chat while I went through my to-do list. No one was home, and I didn't realize for 30 minutes I was doing laundry while cradling the phone between my shoulder and my ear. I wasn't talking to anyone, no, I just couldn't work without the phone in my neck.


isn't that sick?

...Cookie Monster and I can't shake a cold. it's been lingering on for almost three weeks now. I sound like a veteran chain smoker and am really sick of the amount of snot I am dealing with on an hourly basis.

...my kids are freaking rock stars. Today I spent about 3 hours in a reclining position accompanied by a sinus headache and
My Name is Asher Lev (which I am enjoying way more than I thought I would) while they played with dolls, pollys, animals, play kitchen, cars, blocks.

Miracle 1: one toy genre at a time, cleaning as they went. Miracle 2: happily and without any major refereeing. Our home was heaven today. I am so thankful they were easy going on a day I needed them to not demand too much.

...I've said it before, but the Scoopy kids are amazing eaters. Today they ate leftovers of mustard and shallot glazed swordfish and roasted garlicky potatoes with fresh dill. This is what I would have qualified as "weird food" growing up. They just eat it like it's a french fry.

...speaking of french fries, my friend Kathleen unearthed my dirty little secret last week that my kids have never had fast food (I should add: to my knowledge. Wouldn't put it past my siblings to sneak them random bits of normalcy when I am not around. Calling all Guthries this is your chance to come clean.) Kathleeny, if you come visit I will let you take them to MacEVIL'S MacDonald's for their maiden voyage. We will take a picture so when they grow up and say "Mom why did you deprive us??" I can show them proof to the contrary.


...I've been moping a lot. Not entirely self-pity kind of moping. More, winter is upon us and I just don't feel up for it moping. I am not reconciled that it will be cold until next May. I don't know why I sign up for this year after year. I used to live near LA, dangit. Every single winter I am reminded that I am not cut out for this. I do not come from hardy stock. I only own like, 3 pairs of socks, even after seven unconsecutive years here.

I really, really hate winter.

...I am nervous thinking about our future additions. Are they born yet? Are they hungry? Are they safe? I feel helpless. I am "pregnant" with no due date. Now that I have no big task list of adoption paperwork, how do I keep my head in the game? I've been doing some reading but it's hard. I want to think about these kids and prepare for them every day. But I am feeling in limbo and distant right now.

...I recently realized how as I've gotten older that I simultaneously like myself more and dislike my faults more. I recently read a blog post by a
woman who calls herself a lactivist who is still breastfeeding her 28 month old son and says "When asked when I was going to wean, I say that World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2 years, but I was pretty sure he’d be done before college."

I swear I didn't bat an eye. I laughed and I didn't think she was weird.

I have a friend who recently gave birth to her fourth child at home, assisted only by her hubby and a 2 year old who cut the cord.


This didn't sound so odd to me. I was like "good for you!" and really meant it. This would not have been the case a few years ago.

I am happy that as life goes on, I realize more and more that everyone has stuff that works for their family. And that that's ok if it's different than mine. I feel less threatned by differences. I like this about me, though I have a long way to go.

I was one of those girls who thought (before I ever nursed or had a baby) that there is an approriate or "normal" way to have kids and how long to nurse them.

I wish I could go back in time and slap that 20 year old and say "You don't know what you are talking about."

Why on earth should I form an opinion about how to parent or what is the "right way" to do things before I am even there? It's so embarassing to look back and realize that my thoughts were judgemental.

...On the other hand, I am probably forgiving myself less and less as I get older. I should know better than to think certain things or say certain things. I should know how to handle frustration better. I should be more organized.

...I wish I didn't need people as much as I do. Growing up I always wanted to be more introverted. I thought it was much better to be a composed, quiet, logical, hardened, self-strengthening character. I wanted to show less emotion and rely on others less. I wanted to not need friends. Anyone who knows me will laugh at those descriptors.



Part of me still finds my extrovertism a weakness. I say too much, I care too much what others think. I want company too much. I want to be me 30 years from now and hope I've tamed this and simultaneously accepted who I am.


...to deal with the mopes I've been reading my head off in a way I haven't done in years. If you are not using Goodreads I highly highly recommend it. It's great fun. It is basically a way to review books you've read and get recommendations for books based on what people you know are reading. After college it's hard to get a constant supply of reading material that is challenging and rewarding. I am happy to report I have about 70 or so books on my to read list and it grows weekly. If you sign up, be sure to make me your "friend" so we can share reading lists.


... I fear sleep. I stay up late every night. No matter what. My kids go to bed before 8 every night and 99% of the time stay in their beds asleep until 7am at least. I shouldn't stay up until 1am but I almost always do. I don't know what my problem is.


... I noticed the past few days my 17 month old son dances really beautifully. He bops his head to music, especially classical, and has really great balance on his tippy toes. I don't tell his dad this, but I'd love if I got a ballet dancer for a son.


...and now, I will sleep. (Nah, who am I kidding, I am just gonna read for another hour. That Asher Lev's final 80 pages are calling my name)


Thanks for letting my share what's been on my mind. Do you have anything plaguing your thoughts lately?

10.18.2009

FRIENDS N STUFF

We were delighted to brave the insane cold yesterday with some new and already dear friends. I was lucky enough to take pics of this bundle of yumminess baby A, who recently came to live with his Mommy and Dada from a little place called Ethiopia. We all were gaga over him (well, to be honest, Cookie wasn't that interested but only because there were rocks and sticks around) and we are so happy to have a fellow adoptive family close by.

Could he be any cuter? We are SOOO baby hungry.
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And here is a small tribute to the best Dad in the universe. I just wanted to point out that Hubs rocks. He is quick to laugh, quick to forgive, quick to apologize, quick to smile and quick to help with dishes and diapers. He knows just where to hold a reflector when I am doing pictures and is supportive of just about every idea I have.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Love your guts, babe.


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10.13.2009

SCOUTING AHEAD

Always on the hunt for a cool photo op, we found ourselves running around the Bradley Estate in Canton, MA yesterday. I would have loved to explore more, but Cookie and Samantha were sissies. In that it was fracking freezing, and thesnot flowed, and the whining quickly followed.
 
I do love massive estates and farms that families gave to the community so lowly people like us can enjoy the land and wish we were a wealthy family in the late 1800s in New England.

It's a fun walk, and indeed makes for great pictures. Go check it out!


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On an unrelated note, it's been fun dishing out the mulah for new fall/winter clothes for the kids (Yes. seriously. I really enjoy dressing them up. I never got over playing dolls, and now I have real LIVE ones, who barf on the new clothes and get red pasta sauce on them!)


But I've been struggling. The pants Samantha is wearing in these pics were from last year, and as she rounds the corner towards age 4, those size 24 mos jeans are the only things that stay on her behind. I recently decided she had to have 2Ts, and even with all the cinches pulled to their max on the adjustable waist, they are too big. But the 24mos pants are high waters. What am I gonna do with this girl?? I've tried tons of kids stores, from Target to GAP to Children's Place, Gymboree, to Hannah Andersson...


It looks as though the predicament of finding the perfect jeans for a girl starts early in this house. At least I enjoy the shopping part.

10.09.2009

KEEPING IT REAL: BOOKWORM EDITION

i've been a negligent housekeeper and mother in the last 48 hours.

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i am bestowing food and hugs and nursing with nary an eye on the task at hand or the child in question.

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this is what has become of the kitchen and family room.

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Cookie has had full reign over the cupboards.

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and Samantha has been wearing this for a few days now. and yes i've used Cinderella and Sesame for their apt babysitting capabilities.

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all because of my inability to put down this:

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i just put the precious ones down for a nap and i am fighting my animal instinct to burrow under the blankets and keep reading, or face the monster i've created.

ok ok, i will at least go shut the fridge and take out the diaper-trash. after that i can't make any promises...

10.07.2009

RACIALICIOUS

i've gotten a bit o' feedback regarding my recent posting in the realm of adoption-related stuff.

my general impression is that adoptive families are right there with me, but many friends and family are more in the cringing/uncomfortable range. race touches nerves. i get that.


but i feel a bit deflated about all of this, mostly because it means i am alienating people i love. my only thought was to be open about my journey to figuring out what adoption means for my family and me personally. the readers of this blog include people i talk to every week and that my kids see a lot. it's important.


for clarity's sake:


no, i don't think my friends and family and raising their children to be mini racists if they don't play with dark skinned dolls.


no, i am not obsessed with race

no, i am not ashamed of my culture or whiteness.

yes, i think about race more

yes, i consider diversity of race and all cultures important to our family

yes, i hope that my kids by adoption future friends and cousins accept and love them

yes, i hope my kids grow up with positive self-identity even though they will look different than many of their sphere of influence

yes, i believe that their confidence and identity has just as much to do with their attachment to Hubs and me, their roles in our family, developing their talents, and love of God as it does from positive racial identity

yes, i have to figure out what i means to be a mother to children of color and how to advocate for them

no, i don't think that starting to talk about my feelings and observations makes me hypersensitive

in fact, i think i am just beginning to learn what it means to be sensitive to race.


no, we don't plan on talking about race with the kids until it is appropriate for understanding and age (which according to this book isn't for awhile). colors, differences? yes. but Race. the social construct, not right away. i am relieved. it gives me a little bit of time to keep thinking about it.


based on some feedback, i may or may not do less of that thinking in this forum for now.


also, i thank EVERYONE for reading and commenting. even those who's feedback was "this makes me uncomfortable."


talking about this stuff makes me uncomfortable too. i think it's good to learn how to do it.
wait. no. there's more. i swear then i will be done. hear me out.


definitions for "sensitivity" i just found on the internet


1) responsiveness to external stimuli
2) the ability to respond to physical stimuli or to register small physical amounts or differences
3) sensitivity to emotional feelings (of self and others)
4) the ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment


i think the word sensitivity has a bad rap. it seems to be used negatively most of the time. like you are too sensitive. but those four things up there are all pretty good things, right?


when i think about developing my sensitivity to the vast issues surrounding adoption, (whether it's language choices, the dichotomy of birth vs. adoptive family vs. orphanage living, or race, or transnational movement, or the way families look, single parents vs. two, attachment parenting, dealing with fertility issues, etc etc etc)
i think about three things:


1) that sensitivity --both physical and emotional-- is not always a bad thing.
2) i think about wanting to change how i speak to be more sympathetic, supportive and loving.
basically, trying to find ways to be less judgemental and more accepting. heightening my sensitivity is NOT a byproduct of becoming an future-adoptive mother. it is on purpose. i want to be more sensitive because i hope this will make me a better person. hurt others less. heaven knows i've done my fair share of unintentional hurting. i am so glad i have a life ahead of me of getting better at this.
3) this might be the most important part to explain to my few readers: my exploring sensitivity about the issues of adoption is NOT about finding new and improved ways of being offended by others. it's not about making you squirm or feel bad about how you think. it's not a "this is how I think now so watch out! Don't say the wrong thing in front of me!"


it's the opposite. it's challenging myself to be OK with the fact that the way i've said things or thought about things in the past is only ONE WAY to see the world.
my discussion of these topics on this blog was, i suppose, a small invitation to join me on my journey to being more sensitive.


because we all could probably stand to be a little more compassionate. to think about our biases. and even that word -bias- isn't bad or good. it just is what it is. i am ok with saying i'm biased about things. i don't defend it. i don't try to find a way to say those biases are right or that i am justified. i want to change some of my biases.


we got some stinkin' cute babies coming and i want to do right by them.
and i will admit, i want to do right by our loving, incredible support network, namely, YOU. thank you all for the love and prayers and well wishes.


back to your regularly scheduled programing like pictures of my kids and our random field trips. i'm done for now.

10.06.2009

NEVER TOO LATE FOR THE BEACH

With the way these kids need the ocean, we might be finding ourselves there come hell, December or highwater. (Does it snow on the beach? I don't even know.)


Maybe I am projecting. Maybe I am the one who needs the ocean.

Alls I know is that this family is a lot happier when we get the heck out of the house and go play all day. Our sweet Daddy has been working is tuchas off lately, the only way to survive missing him is to go forth and enjoy New England.


Heaven knows this (all-day-adventures-world-is-our-oyster-no-schedule-ness) will all come to an end someday when I have school-age kids. Hmmm, unlesssss, I found the guts to homeschool.


I {heart} York, Maine.
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It is really hard to take pictures of a cool lighthouse with a baby on trecherous rocks overlooking a long drop into a freezing ocean. This is how I make it work: squeezing him really hard in between my legs.
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On the beach the tide had just gone making excellent beach combing for us and the gulls.
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Photobucket and yes, the boy has nail polish on. He wanted to get in on the action, what can I say?

this bush freaked us out. these grow everywhere by Nubble Lighthouse. be careful...

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love builds up the broken wall
and straightens the crooked path.
love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides
each of us is created of it
and i suspect each of us was created for it

- Maya Angelou

10.05.2009

A SMALL FIGHT

"kids, we have to get out of the car."
"but mom, we aren't at the beach yet."
"out. quick. play in that swampy grass and don't get any ticks."
"but mom, i don't want to get my shoes wet."
"you're just gonna get them wet at the beach anyway"
"ok, but i don't want to look at the camera."

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that's just fine, sissy, the picture wasn't about you anyway...

10.03.2009

WARDS BERRY FARM REVISTED

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Today heaven felt like Ward's Berry Farm, in Sharon, MA. Our tour of the farm by none other than Bob Ward, owner, was awesome. He stopped by every vegetable, pulling out corn, broccoli, swiss chard, gourds, squash, letting us feel and taste. He was patient with the kids and I loved his dirty hands. Not Target bathroom kind of dirty. Like, just-pulled-up-a-bunch-of-basil-to-let-us-smell kind of dirty.

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Glorious fall!