the day before

We meet the potential birthparents, both of them, tomorrow.  Do I even need to say that I had a few anxiety dreams last night and gave up on sleep pretty early?  Or that I’m kind of tired of people asking if I’m nervous/grateful/thrilled to meet them?  (Um… yes?)

Rockinrolla was such a sweetheart yesterday.  He really wanted to go rollerskating, like, PAINFULLY badly, and was being so cute that he talked me into taking him, even though I was exhausted and harried with stuff to do this weekend.  Daddy J (having lived through foul Mama Jamz moods brought on by over-scheduling) insisted that we not go.  So, instead, Rockinrolla and I went out and ran errands.

I got a deluxe manicure at the place by the Walmart (pretty good, though I have bubbles in the polish and there was no paraffin dip, dammit) so Rockinrolla had his first nail salon experience, complete with fumes and girlchat.

(You’re thinking, Manicure over rollerskating?  The insanity!  But I couldn’t deal with my shaggy cuticles and am being sort of obsessive about my appearance for the birthmother.)

(I hear you sniggering, Daddy J.  Yes I did say “sort of.”)

Anyway.  Rockinrolla is a great errand buddy and, it turns out, manicure chat friend.  We bought some stuff at Dollar Tree (party plates for the Fishmaster’s party and cards and stuff for my cancer patient) and I went by Sally Beauty.  I LOVE Sally Beauty.  They’re so frickin’ helpful.  I wanted new foundation, a moisturizing mask, and face cream, and the girl there set me right up.  I think she saw that dangerous glint of OCD beauty regimen in my eye.

(***edited to add: NO, I am not a base-face.  I like to have some liquid foundation on hand and mix a few drops of it with water in my palm so it goes on super-thinly, and then powder on top.  Sometimes, um, when under stress, I tend to break out a little.  *Ahem*.  I finally ran out of the stuff-in-a-pump I got after the house burned.)

This morning we’re having a birthday breakfast for the Fishmaster.  On the menu: PIllsbury cinnamon rolls, purple seedless grapes, maple flavored sausage, and juice/cocoa/coffee.  Grandma L is bringing a coffee cake, so I’ll plunk candles in that.

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Whatcha makin’, bacon?

I’m making what is possibly my all-time favorite “fancy” dessert (well, except for Mom’s Italian cream cake, but I’ve never made that myself – it seems awfully intimidating, and I kind of don’t want to know how much butterfat is in it.). 

From The New York Times Cookbook (thanks, Skyler!)

Nut Roll

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a jelly roll pan with spray oil, line with a sheet of wax paper, then spray the wax paper well with spray oil.

2. Beat 6 egg yolks  with 3/4 cup sugar until thick.

3. Grind up 1 1/2 cups pecans in the food processor. Mix in 1 teaspoon baking powder.  Fold pecan mixture into egg yolks.

4. Whip 6 egg whites until stiff.  Fold egg whites into pecan/egg yolk mixture.  Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 20 minutes.

5. Cover cake with a damp kitchen  towel and roll up and chill in the fridge.

6. Whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream  and flavor with sugar and vanilla to taste.  Unroll cake, fill with whipped cream, and roll back up, then chill. 

SOOOOOO delish.  I have mine all baked and waiting til tomorrow for the whipped cream filling.  I like to dust it with powdered sugar, too.

I’m trying out pumpkin pie wontons this year.  They look tasty and exotic, no?  I added minced pecans to my batch.  I’ve got the filling ready to go and will make and bake them tomorrow morning so they’re nice and fresh for the big meal.  I’m also going to make some rolls with rosemary from the garden tomorrow morning.

Daddy J is making Susan Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish Recipe from NPR.  It’s a sour creamy, oniony, horseradishy treat that he’s made the past few years.  Yum.  He’s also making a bleu cheese ball and a garlic-ginger-cranberry chutney.

(clearly, normal self-imposed eating rules do not apply at holiday time.  I’ll probably still avoid meat and poultry, but I imagine there will be some fancy cheeses, cream-infused recipes, smoked salmon, sushi, etc., in my next month or so of eating.  mmmmm…)

Grandma L is making the turk, stuffed grape leaves, and a fancy sounding veggie lasagna for Daddy J’s brother and me, and I’m sure everyone else will have some, too.  Grandma L is  FABULOUS cook so her meals are always to die for.

Soooo… what are you cooking and where are you eating the big meal?  We’ll be at Grandma L’s house with her husband and Daddy J’s brother.  A small but wonderful group.

fast forward

So, it’s not just me, is it?  Somebody hit the fast foward button around here.  The holidays are galloping – zooming – toward us at breakneck speed.  I mean, hello, Thanksgiving?  Then it’s full-tilt December right on its frickin’ heels, with Christmas parties every time you turn around.  And, oh yeah, I still have eleventy-seven people to shop for.

And (I realize most of you are not in this boat, of course) the adoption is starting to speedwalk its way to us, too.  I have this feeling that December will totally fly by, and by the time I put all the Christmas stuff away, it will be time for SERIOUS get-ready-for-the-baby procedures.  Which is great, and pretty exhilarating.

Also…

We’re meeting the potential birthmom on Monday.

I know.  I know. I KNOW.  Wild times indeed.  She (*insert gushing comments about how wonderful and giving she is **HERE* * because I just don’t even know how to express how mature and all-around great she is*) selflessly invited us to her next OB appointment.  We’re going to take her out to lunch and then go with her to her doctor.  Like, in SIX DAYS.

Which is awesome, but scary, too.  Like, I think both Daddy J and I have this fear that we will say just the wrong thing and scare her away.  Like, maybe she has a phobia of German Shepherds, or maybe she thinks it’s unsafe for boys to play football, or maybe I will blather like an idiot or get food between my teeth or snort tea out my nose…

AND… there’s the whole seeing-our-child-on-the-ultrasound thing.  I’m a little afraid that I will freak out as we build up to that, since the last twelvety-two of those ended in hearbreak for us.  Ultrasounds have not been kind to us in the past few years.

I do feel mostly good about it, though, and heck, we’re nice, right?  *ahem*  RIGHT?!? So we have no reason whatsoever to be paranoid about meeting her, right?  And all her OB appointments have been perfectly normal and healthy so I’m sure Rainbow is fine, right?

****sigh****

No, really, it’s all going so beautifully and gorgeously, and I believe we’re going to have a terrific connection with her and it will be a comfortable, even warm, meeting.

Yes.

for the joy of the game

We just got back from a little road trip to Tuscaloosa to see Carla’s nephew play with his wheelchair basketball teammens_wchairbball

This would be the team from 2006 – her nephew wasn’t in the team this year – but there are several players still on the team from this pic.  Here’s an article leading up to this game.

It was… eye-opening.  Pretty much what I expected, but I didn’t fully anticipate my reaction.

We walked into the gymnasium, sidelines littered with cast off artificial limbs and wheelchairs.  There’s a guy with a big table set up with sport wheelchair accessories.  All over, everywhere, wheelchair-bound athletes are zooming around, warming up or in the middle of a game.  A women’s game was going on at the same time as the men’s game we saw.

I felt like a sicko on the one hand, because I couldn’t help noting their disabilities: this one’s an amputee, this one’s a double amputee, this one has healthy looking legs – must be paralyzed, this one’s legs are stunted and atrophied and asymmetrical, but the athletes were just laying it all out there for whoever to see and get over on their own time: yeah, sheltered housewife dumbass, I have no legs/useless legs/one leg, I am paralyzed from the chest down, I was born this way, I was in a horrible accident, I have a disease that did this to me.  whatever.  PLAY BALL!!

It was painful to watch these men, but simultaneously incredibly inspiring.  Some of them were dreamboat handsome, and I wanted to appeal to the sky on their behalf: These guys should be strutting around campus with rosy-cheeked sorority girls on their arms, but they are stuck in these chairs. 

They played vigorously, aggressively, fearlessly.  Carla said that often some of them will break bones or have bad gashes or scrapes on their lower limbs and not even know it, because the sensation is gone, so they must be carefully examined after games.  Their wheelchairs got locked up together at times, and several times a player tumbled forward onto his face, with the wheelchair on his back like a turtle, only to right himself with no help.

(From the sidelines: DE-FENCE!!  DE-FENCE!!  DE-FENCE!!  DE-FENCE!!)

The Alabama team, Carla’s nephew’s team, lost.  It turned out they had played a professional men’s team, not a college team, so that took some of the sting out.  We cheered and hollered and I lost most of my sensitivitiy to their disabilities.  A handsome black player was watching from the sidelines next to us, with a hip King Tut beard and impressively muscled arms, talking smack about our team.  Waist up: looking like your basic pro basketball player.  Waist down: useless atrophied legs.  Attention directed outward to the game before him, cheering on his friends, casually accepting of his body.  We talked to several of the players after, and they’re just any old sweat-covered, post-game athletes that you’d find anywhere, only sitting in a wheelchair instead of standing.

One of the players had hickeys on his neck (we heard he was the Casanova of the group) and another chatted with a very cute girl (sister? girlfriend?  dunno, but they sure seemed close) after the game.  Beside me in the stands was the young wife of one of the players with their newborn, a fuzzy headed little doll who stared at me with deep black eyes and lifted curious eyebrows and thrashed his little arms.  I was and am curious about their romantic lives.  None of my beeswax, sure, but I can’t help but be curious.

It’s so different now than it used to be for the disabled, which is a beautiful thing.  Even  twenty years ago, wheelchair sports were not this organized, and the disabled didn’t have much of an athletic outlet in most places.  And a hundred years ago – a horror to be born with or hit by a disability.  I don’t like to think about the minds and spirits that were left to languish in terrible places in the old days.

What it all reminded me of, this desensitization to body differences, was our brief time in the PICU of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.  Where you are first horrified and shocked to see a toddler with a feeding tube or respirator, but you very quickly get over it and can smile brightly and chat with the parents and not even see the medical accessories and physical struggles.  Oh! what beautiful eyes/hair/skin your baby has!  Is this his picture?  What a handsome boy!  His medical tests came back encouraging?  Awesome!  What a tough guy!

Desensitizing in a very good way, looking past the disturbing “abnormalities” and seeing the person there.  A good goal, I think.  It makes me want to go back again and again to this kind of event, and spend more time with differently abled people, until I just don’t see the differences any more.

nice thought for the day

Those of you who haven’t had been through the adoption experience, you might not know that there’s a LOT of information out there for adoptive parents and adoptees.  Some of it is very scary and daunting and makes you feel like running the other way, some of it is glossed-over-and-spun-sugar-sweet, some of it is actually both helpful and reassuring.

From Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul, Adoption means…”

“Adopted” means you were loved enough to be given up, and loved enough to be taken in.  “Adopted” means loved twice.

bzzzzzt!

The shock collar seems to be quite the success with Dana.  Daddy J hooked her up and gave her a couple of sessions this morning.  We worked on eliminating her piercingly shrill bark when someone knocks on the door (seriously – it’s ear-splitting) and gave her the opportunity to chase the bus again.  She declined.  😉

In other news, I think I’m all done with grieving parent chat rooms.  I kind of haven’t been going at all of late, because I was annoyed that no one had responded in my email support group (spun off from frequent chatters) when I had informed them that the anniversary of Wardie’s accident, and then his birthday, were coming up.  Last night was the last straw – I checked in just to say hello, and the topic was what we had done to cope in the early months/first year.  I mentioned that I had meditated a lot, and the moderator said, Oh, that’s not good.  I was baffled, and thought she had misunderstood, and said that I had used guided meditation cd’s, and she acted like it was a dangerous addiction: as long as you know when to stop… 

It might sound silly that I got so irritated – doanchu be putting down my guided meditations beyotch!! –  but I did.  I dropped it in the chat room, but I just don’t need anyone putting down something that was, and is, a lifeline for me.  And the moderator, no less.  I mean, WTF?  Is there a rash of meditation addicts that doctors are having to treat?  I’m sorry to tell you this, sir, but your wife appears to self-medicating and healing with all natural mental and spiritual techniques, and we CAN’T HAVE THAT – get her to a therapist and on some meds STAT!

Huff.

Anyway, I was kind of feeling all done anyway, so there you have it.  It was good while it lasted.

Adoption news: (tee hee – that’s fun to write now) I mailed my letter to the potential birthmom expressing my warm feelings, respect, and gratitude toward her.  My handwriting is that of an arthritic ninety year old, but whatchagonnado.  I did end up buying nice stationery from Books a Million and used that.  I took the Fishmaster and Rockinrolla there for a special Sunday treat.  The Fishmaster picked out Pet Semetary  (scary…) and Rockinrolla bought an origami paper airplane book.  He’s all into exotic paper airplanes now.  It’s kind of fun sweeping up and finding all this paper boy debris on the floor.

back in time – post from Jan. 2, 2008

I wanted to post some pics of Wardie on this newer blog for those who have never seen him, and found this post from earlier this year on the old blog. I’ll get Daddy J to help me post some more pictures of our family, but here are some nice ones for now.  And FYI, we ended up bailing on the RV idea and taking the fam to Mexico this summer…

We’re starting to think about a summer vacation with the boys. Daddy J brought home RV rental info, which looks like a lot of fun. The boys will be 11 and 12 this summer, so I feel like it’s a good time to go with them on a big road trip out west.

And… I thought it would be nice, too, to put up some more photos of Wardie. Disney, anyone? Sigh. It was so fun. Draining, hot, expensive, yes – but really, really, fun.

One of the countless sad things about Wardie’s being in heaven is that there will be no new pictures of him.

Deep breath. Nope, no more pictures. I’m sure that’s a big reason why I like to make art using images of him in new, fun situations. I want to visually show that the good times and adventures are continuing for him.

Anyway, here we go. Drum roll please…

whole family

The essential whole family shot with Mickey.

on merry go round with Gray

Merry-go-rounding with the Fishmaster.

with pooh

Now, he might look scared or unhappy here, but he was SO digging meeting Winne the Pooh. He was absolutely reverent. It was magical.

with piglet

Piglet was pretty good, too.

with Daddy on roller coaster

With Daddy on a Big Guy roller coaster.

approaching water spout

Approaching some big fun…

at water spout

Hunkered down, ready for action…

big water spurt

Oh, yeah, baby. I think that one’s my favorite.

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