Sunday, December 20, 2015

Celebrity Babies

A friend of ours recently referred to us as "the family that nothing bad ever happens to." Although I know that's not true, I also know that we are very, very fortunate. In addition to incredible amounts of hard work, we have had unique opportunities shine on us on more than one occasion. When David and I first met, we were contacted by e-Harmony to do a news segment in Virginia about on-line dating (they even sent us crystal from Tiffany!) - Two years ago, we were profiled on our local NPR affiliate to talk about our experiences as a family...I wrote about that here. But then, earlier this month, something happened that topped it all. My children became just a little bit famous.

When Clara was born, we made the decision to splurge on newborn photos. It was something I deeply regretted not doing with Morgan, as the JcPenney portrait studio just didn't quite capture the essence of her new baby perfection. We decided to work with a phenomenal local photographer, who then spent hours with our little family one Saturday morning, tenderly posing our new daughter. The results were stunning; as soon as I saw the proofs, I wept. They captured everything, from the tiny cowlick on Clara's forehead to the newly formed bond between two sisters. They were magic.

Fast forward to this month. We received an invitation to a reception being held at the hospital where our girls were born. Our photographer let us know that she had been awarded a contract with the hospital and would be profiling some of her work throughout the maternity ward. One of Clara's newborn photos had been selected, and we were invited to attend the unveiling. 

We arrived that night in standard fashion - 15 minutes late, swinging a diaper bag and a car seat. The lobby was packed, filled with families and hospital staff swapping stories between forkfuls of cake. Canvases lined the walls, showcasing tiny windows into the lives of newly formed families. We had no idea which photo of Clara had been chosen, so we had no sense of what to expect. I set our things down, smoothed my hair and reached for a cup of punch. And there it was. The photo. So perfect. So sweet. 

We stood in awe, overwhelmed and humbled. Of all of the families, of all of the babies, ours were chosen. Chosen to help tell part of the hospital story, chosen to showcase the impeccable work of our photographer, chosen to highlight the wondrous journey that is family. Tears of pride hung in the corners of my eyes, falling only when David's glance met mine. Our babies.

The hospital coordinator invited us on our own tour of the maternity wing. She explained that in addition to the photo in the lobby, Clara was highlighted in four more photos throughout the halls and within the maternity rooms. And so we went, swept immediately back in time as we entered the halls I walked for hours as I labored with both my daughters.

With each photo, my heart burst just a little more. I was struck not only by how tiny and perfect Clara was, but by how much she has changed and grown in such a short period of time. What were once tiny coos and squeaks have been replaced by demanding squawks and screeches. The tiny bundle that once only rested while nestled in my arms now fiercely fights being snuggled too tightly.

The picture of our girls together also adorns one of the birthing rooms, and I thought it only fitting to capture those two moments in time.  So as we finished our tour, our guide took one more photo of us as a family. Just seven months and an entire lifetime between those images.

As we said our goodbyes that night, our photographer encouraged us to take a brochure. David declined, assuring her we were done having babies and that a brochure was unnecessary. She calmly persisted, encouraging him to pick one up from the table. As he nonchalantly handed it to me, I gasped. There was Clara again, quiet and serene, a subtle reminder of just how fleeting and perfect life's moments can be.

So no, we are not the family that nothing bad ever happens to. But we are the family who cherishes our daughters, whose hearts swell at just the mention of their names. If you're ever at the St. Luke's in Meridian, whether it's to have a baby, visit a baby, or return a baby that's become an unruly toddler, look for our family on the walls there. Autographs by appointment only.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Finding Joy

The holiday season is such a complex time of year. Without fail, it makes me pause, makes me reflect, makes me think more deeply about my life. And my life is pretty damn good. I am married to my best friend, have two precious and spirited daughters, and have the luxury of parents who have been together for nearly 40 years and in-laws who have been together for more than 50. And they they all live here. And they genuinely like each other. And they like me...most of the time.

My children have an aunt and two uncles who adore them, doing their part to undo all of my parenting whenever they see my girls, reminding me that, indeed, some rules are made to be broken. My home is warm and full of love, which I hope will always overshadow our moments of anger and frustration. My friends are my village, giving me the love, support and encouragement I am too often afraid to ask for but need nonetheless.  My life is whole.

In all of that, I know. I know what my family shares is special. Because holidays are stressful, reinforcing more of what we lack rather than what we have. Relationships are strained, budgets are stretched too thin, and so much time and energy is spent on just trying to "get through." The loss of loved ones is felt more deeply this time of year, when someone's boisterous laugh isn't heard at the table, or when you realize you can no longer pick up the phone to get tips on your turkey or how to keep your pie crust from burning.

Several of my dearest friends lost parents this year, and this season will be a struggle to find balance between mourning and celebration. A number of my friends will mark milestones without their spouses, their lives forever shaped by the loss of the person they thought they would grow old with. Because life so rarely works out just like we think it will.

In all of that, I also know. I know there is joy. There is love. There is kindness. If we are willing to pause, reflect, and think for a just a moment, we will find it. Not surprisingly, it is in those tiny, mundane moments that can so easily be overlooked:

  • The woman who hugged my husband at WinCo this week when he paid for the last bit of groceries she couldn't afford. It was just kidney beans and popcorn, but it meant she didn't have to put anything back.
  • The new parents we took dinner to, who spent a large portion of our visit gushing about how perfect their newborn's belly button is.
  • My seven year old, who offered to give my mother some of her Halloween candy after my mom expressed concern that they hadn't bought enough to handle the swarm of trick-or-treaters making their way through the neighborhood.
  • The friend whose husband has started warming her car each morning, making her commute each day a little less chilly.
  • The neighbor who we regular swap flour and eggs with. In a time of convenience stores and 24-hour supermarkets, it's still nice to send your kid next door with an empty measuring cup.
And so today, and for the rest of this holiday season, I will continue to pause, reflect, and think. Because it grounds me and keeps me humble. And because it reminds that we always, always, have much to celebrate. And for that, I am forever thankful.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hat Trick

The thing about new babies is that they don't actually DO anything. Sure, they smile and coo, but most of their time is spent sleeping, and eating, and pooping...and not necessarily in that order. When Clara was born, Morgan wanted to immediately play with her. Despite months of preparation for the fact that Clara was going to be little more than a lump, Morgan was heart broken when she realized that it was going to be a long, long wait until she and Clara could actually interact with each other. 

At one of Clara's first appointments, our pediatrician warned us that the single biggest risk to her safety is her big sister. Despite their good intentions, older siblings often over estimate their abilities and underestimate just how fragile newborns are. Morgan was no exception. She wanted to burp Clara, change Clara, soothe her, and cuddle her. We very quickly had to implement a "no touch" policy unless an adult was present to supervise. Not surprisingly, Morgan soon found a work around to this new rule.

It was a matter of days before Morgan started putting things on Clara's head. Technically, this wasn't a violation of the new rule, as placing household items on her little sister didn't necessarily involve any actual contact. Just FYI, give Morgan any rule, and she is guaranteed to tell you just how far you can push those boundaries. She is going to make one hell of an attorney one day. 

Things started benignly enough. Who doesn't love seeing their daughters in coordinating headbands?

But then they started to escalate. Clara was soon the proud recipient of a hot pink plastic Mohawk:

And then Morgan decided that Clara needed a new work out accessory:

Now that Clara was beginning to sit up a little on her own, Morgan decided to take things to the next level and actually balance something on Clara's head. Clara was less than impressed:

Things finally started to take a turn at a recent trip to Lowe's. I am not sure what this is, other than it's some sort of insert for recessed lighting. Morgan clearly thought it made a good hat. While Clara may have agreed, I decided that using random home improvement items as props was bordering on unsafe (I am a super great mom). I declared a moratorium on hat tricks at our house:

Until last week. While carrying a load of laundry from one end of house to the other, I unwittingly left a trail of socks and underwear down the hall and tasked Morgan with picking them up. I didn't give Clara a second thought, primarily because she was safely strapped into her high chair and doesn't actually have any motor skills yet. As I passed through the kitchen, my poor helpless baby caught my eye. There she sat, bewildered, with a pair of Morgan's underwear perched on her tiny little head.

Morgan doesn't know this yet, but her days at the top of the food chain are numbered. Watch out, my daughter. Clara will be walking sooner rather than later. And paybacks are a bitch.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New Math

Second grade has brought with it a shocking number of changes. First, my darling daughter decided to cut her hair. The decision has literally been years in the making, Every time she would inch a little closer to chopping her locks, some Disney cartoon would come out with a bunch of characters who had hair that cascaded down their backs and onto the floor. Not only were these images super realistic, they then planted these little tiny seeds of doubt with Morgan about whether she would still be as cute, funny, smart, or engaging with short hair. Despite my reassurances, it took Morgan two years to finally pull the trigger.

The change was immediate. She looks stunning, years older, and now carries herself like a young lady rather than a little girl. Except for when she's tired, or hungry, or if I've told her "no" too many times. Okay, fine. She acts the exact same way now as she did before her hair cut. Whatever. She looks cute.

A new look wasn't the only big change this school year brought. We have now officially entered the world of homework. Granted, we had homework packets in first grade, but I considered them more of a "suggestion" rather than a "requirement" - not sure the rest of the education world agreed, but it has clearly taken us a few years to gear up to this concept. The fact that David is a teacher played a large role in our lackluster approach to finishing homework. By the time he got home every day, he was done. Done being patient, done explaining every concept 47 different ways (because that's what good teachers do), and done telling 30 kids exactly when they could go to the bathroom.

We agreed that I would be the homework "liaison" this year. I like this term better than "enforcer" mostly because it's less likely to make Morgan wail at the kitchen table when I break the news to her that there is an entire set of problems on the back side of her paper. Part of Morgan's math homework also requires her to be able to talk about her solutions in different ways. This includes numerical representations, sentences, and even images. Images are by far Morgan's favorite approach, as it lets her turn her homework into its own art project.

Last week, I left Morgan at the table to finish her last problem. The problem was fairly simple: a visual representation of 7 +__= 17. She asked for colored pencils, which I gladly provided her. As is the practice in our house, Morgan let me know when she was finished, my cue to come check her work. As I quickly scanned the sheet. My eye was immediately drawn to the bottom of the page:

Yep, she drew a martini glass. Nine cups of sparkling water, rounded out with a glass of vodka and a couple of olives. If you look closely, you can see she even threw in a tooth pick. I could have been mortified, embarrassed that Morgan once again threw me under the proverbial bus. But I wasn't.  After all, she could have drawn a couple of cans of beer and a bunch of red Solo cups. At least she kept it classy. Now if you'll excuse me, we're going to go make some Bloody Marys for breakfast.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


When the laundry is overflowing and all the dishes are dirty and the only thing left to eat in the house is peanut butter, this. This is the moment that none of that matters. This is when motherhood is grand.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Seven. I have been a mother for seven years. On August 22, 2008, Morgan joined our family, changing every fiber of my being. She came into this world after 22 hours of labor, protesting every step of the way. Nothing about her is easy. Everything about her is perfect.

I never longed to be a mother. For many years, I couldn't see how babies fit into my life. I had school to finish, a career to guide, a world to conquer. And then I met David. And then maybe, just maybe, I could see adding a little person to the equation. And so we did.

I want to write more about my daughter, but I am struggling. Since Clara's arrival, my posts have been sparse, more sweet than substance. My thoughts on having another baby are complex, often filling my mind during those few precious moments of quiet. The comparisons are inevitable, instantly taking me back to those first few days, weeks, and months as a mother. Clara is just so much easier than Morgan was. She sleeps better, rarely spits up, and will smile at just about anyone who throws a glance her way.

Friends have said that second babies are often just easier, born with a temperament in stark contrast to the sibling who preceded them. Others have suggested that it's not the baby, it's the parents. First babies are journeys into unknown waters, complete with heightened anxiety and too many unnecessary trips to the pediatrician "just in case."

Second babies bring with them confidence, a sense of "I got this." They bring with them less fear, more joy, more appreciation for every painful, exhausting moment. And for that I say thank you. I thank you, Morgan. For tearing open the wounds of my heart, exposing me to the vast, often lonely world of motherhood. Your first breaths brought with them strength and vulnerability, an instant connection between us. You needed me almost as much as I needed you.

And that's how it's been for the past seven years. The two of us, leaning in. What was once a tiny, wiggling bundle is now a mess of hair and limbs. I still snuggle you, you still asked to be held. You spill off my lap, caught somewhere between being a baby and a young lady. Coos and giggles are now sass and opinions. You challenge me at every turn. To be more patient, to be more measured, to be more creative in finding ways to channel your spirit.

And yet, through all of this, I marvel. At your generosity, your thoughtfulness, the deliberate way you make every decision. And now, as this seventh year has changed us yet again, I marvel at your growth. You forgive me every day. For having to share our time with your sister, for having to meet her needs before yours, for not always remembering you're still just a baby yourself. As big as "seven" feels right now, you are still so itty bitty. But you still love me, and you love her. You love her in a way that is pure and raw, not yet clouded by the stolen toys and hurt feeling that will eventually complicate your relationship. You love her the way I love you. Unconditionally and forever.

Happiest birthday to my darling daughter. You are life. You are joy. You are love. You are, and will always be, my everything.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Matched Set

Ever since she was little, Morgan has been a keen observer of similarities and differences. She loves to talk about our ages, our heights (she's quick to remind David that I have him beat in that department), and even the fact that both she and David have deep brown eyes. Morgan favors David so much that people often refer to her as his "mini me"-  it's like I did all of work bringing her into the world but get none of the credit. Unless she's being loud. Or sassy. Then suddenly she's all mine.

The arrival of her baby sister brought a new round of comparisons - people wanted to know how my pregnancies compared, my labors, and whether the girls looked like each other. What I didn't expect was Morgan's new found commitment to finding as much in common with Clara as possible. It started on Mother's Day, when Morgan asked if she and Clara could wear the same colored shirts. I did my best to find something they could each wear, especially considering Clara was six days old and I hadn't done laundry since shortly before her arrival. Given the fact you have to change a newborn's outfit 4,862 times a day, it was pretty dire. Regardless, the stage was set.

Morgan then requested matching Boppies for family room lounging:

And asked for complementary dresses for Clara's first (okay only) trip to church:

Eventually she wanted them to coordinate each time we left the house:

I finally got on board with their 4th of July outfits:

And David went full on over the top the last time he brought the girls to the office. Nailed it:

If I think back just a little, I should have known Morgan would be keen on finding ways to connect with another girl in the house. One of the first times Morgan realized she and I actually had something in common was during potty training. As all good moms do, I took her into the bathroom with me so that she could see how big girls use the potty. As we discussed bathroom logistics, her eyes grew wide. "Wait! You have a pee pee?!?!?  I have a pee pee!!!  WE MATCH!!!!" Yes, yes we do. Now just don't get any crazy ideas about matching tattoos.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I haven't posted in six weeks. Not because I have nothing to say, but because showering has once again become a luxury. I have so many emotions about having another baby. About being the mother of two daughters. About being a family of four. But those thoughts are for another post. I'm just too damn tired to be sappy.

Clara Josephine Lorenzo joined our family on May 4, 2015 at 1:43 am. She weighed in at 7 lbs 2 oz and measured 20 inches long. After a quick and relatively easy labor, girlfriend was born screaming bloody murder, just like her big sister was six years prior. I will spare you the details of my delivery, other than to boast that I was able to bring Clara into the world without an epidural and without cursing my husband a single time. I can barely get through a Tuesday without doing that. 

 Needless to say, we were instantly smitten. Morgan was enamored, immediately embracing her new role as a big sister. In those first few moments, I wanted nothing more than to soak in their blossoming relationship. But it was almost 3:00 in the morning and I really needed a cheeseburger and a glass of wine. Unfortunately, I got neither of those things. By this time, the hospital kitchen was closed, and Red Robin had quit making fries hours ago. I sent our nurse on a scavenger hunt (I am pretty sure she rifled through the staff fridge), and she returned with some string cheese, an apple, and a bag of Baked Lays. Close enough.

Later that morning, Clara got her first bath. She returned pink and round and perfect. Because I had such a fast delivery, Clara's features didn't have time to become horrifyingly distorted. When Morgan was born, she looked like a prize fighter. A fighter on the losing end of the match. The hospital still made us take her home. 

By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, we were all ready to be discharged. Although I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the hospital and its staff, my room was a revolving door of activity. Between the hearing screening, the nursing staff and the hospital photographer, the only time I got any rest was when I locked myself in the bathroom. Not surprisingly, that trend continued when we got home. It now takes me 27 minutes to pee. Just ask David.

The thing about newborns is that they are super misleading. They sleep so much in the beginning that they lull you into thinking that having another kid will actually be easy. As it had been more than six years since I had a newborn in the house, I very quickly fell into this trap. 

As you may recall, I went back to school a few years ago. I took a class this semester, and my final was very stupidly strategically due on the same day as Clara. I was optimistic it would all fall together beautifully. Of course I was wrong. Clara was born on Monday, and my final was due on Thursday. My professor offered to give me an extension, but I knew better. Eventually, that baby was going to wake up and expect me to parent her. My days with a sleepy baby were numbered, so I might as well use that time while I had it. 

So there I was, freshly discharged from the hospital, burping a newborn, typing a paper, and trying to help Morgan figure out what the hell happened to one of her Legos. Baptism by fire, check.

As we embark on this adventure, I really am trying to appreciate every fleeting moment, no matter how challenging or how exhausting. Because we are definitely, definitely not doing this again.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Home Stretch

We are at the 39-week mark. For the (very) few of you who have resisted the urge to ask, I am still pregnant. Pregnancy and I actually get along swimmingly, except for the occasional moment when I feel like my belly is going to literally fall of my body. A friend of mine was still running 4 miles when she was 40 weeks...I would consider that an option if someone was willing to duct tape my stomach down. Totally feasible.

In advance of our little arrival, we decided to have some family photos taken. Beginning when Morgan was a baby, we've had a tradition of getting photos done in various places around Boise. We had these taken in the foothills north of town, and they are some of my favorites. I'm not sure if I consider these the last photos of the three of us or the first photos of the four of us. Regardless, they make us all look a little better than we do in real life, which makes them perfect. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015


In less than three weeks (if we're lucky), we will be adding another family member to our household. As I have shared, we have spent months shopping, cleaning, and mentally preparing for this new chapter. As we move through our to-do lists, I have found myself putting more and more emphasis on my daily interactions with Morgan. Things that have historically been mundane are now suddenly significant. Moments that would have otherwise gone unnoticed are now permanently filed in the recesses of my mind, like little tiny flashcards.

In February, we celebrated Morgan's half-birthday with one half of a cake and one half of a song. Objectively, this day meant no more than any other day, as we've never celebrated half birthdays before. But in that moment, as she and I mixed batter and poured sprinkles, that day was everything. From the moment I started telling people that I was pregnant, they asked how old Morgan would be when her sister was born. Morgan (even now) would beam and proudly exclaim, "I will be 6 and half!" And so we celebrated, marking the last time she will blow out candles without a little sibling under foot.

In March, as we wandered the isles of the party supply store, Morgan and I spent nearly an hour among the party supplies, planning grand events and elaborate costumes. As we cackled over the increasingly ridiculous masks we found and tried on, I paused. There was no toddler there to supervise, no little hands to stop from pulling everything off the shelves. It was just the two of us, me and my little best friend. And we are friends. We plan lunch dates and manicures, strategizing on how to spend our Saturdays. We gang up on David, sharing a glance whenever he doesn't get the joke.

Although I know we'll have so many more of these moments, I couldn't help but panic just a little when I realized that we will be sharing our time with another member of our family. Or maybe, just maybe it was my own realization that with the arrival of a sister comes a new relationship that I won't necessarily be a part of. Again, the rational part of me welcomes this next chapter, but I am already mourning the loss of the status quo.

This week, Morgan had no school on Wednesday. We made it a girls' day at the movies, taking in a matinee while David was suffering through a mandatory in-service. I called my mom from the car, and mentioned in passing that this was the last movie Morgan and I would go see before her baby sister arrived. We chuckled a bit about how quickly time is passing and then hung up. And then I proceeded to sob the rest of the way to the theater. I let her sit on my lap (or what's left of it) throughout the movie and was all to happy to oblige when she asked me if we could spend $5 and visit the photo booth.

As the tiny images emerged, I couldn't help but laugh at my ridiculousness over the past several months. These photos so perfectly captured our relationship, the bond that is so solidly formed between us. And what better way to commemorate the transition from one daughter to two, from being an only child to being sisters, from being a family in flux to a complete family of four. Yeah, I think we're ready.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You've Got to Move It

In the highly unlikely event that you haven't noticed, I am what you might call "sturdy."  In graduate school, one of my classmates referred to me as the "husky mountain girl"- offensive, but true. Plus, we both knew I could kick his ass in a heart beat. I am such a lady.

Despite my extra padding, I live an active life. I go to the gym, I try to hit my 10,000 steps each day, and I generally avoid putting foods in my body that have an ingredient list I can't pronounce (except for when I'm pregnant and Hot Tamales are involved. They call to me). As part of those efforts, I also look for opportunities to be active with Morgan. Whether it's riding bikes, swimming at the Y, or playing soccer in the backyard, we are always "doing." 

Last summer, I invited Morgan to participate in her first 5k with me. It was more fun than athletic, but it was still just over 3 miles of movement among thousands of other people who were crazy enough to get up at dawn and head outside. We had a great day, and she ran like a champ. What I didn't recognize, however, was the lasting impression those few hours would make on her.

Just a few weeks ago, Morgan's teacher sent home her most recent report card. Her packet was full of work samples, including math, science and writing. As I proudly perused its contents, I encountered Morgan's most recent writing sample. Her class is working on more complex narratives, complete with illustrations. 

To say I was shocked is an understatement. We ran the Color Run last summer, and it's something we rarely talk about. In fact, I had contemplated not doing it again this year. But as I read her words, I couldn't help but reconsider. In just a few short sentences, Morgan had captured everything about not only that day, but the types of memories I am trying to build with her. And it worked. With the most pure of insight, Morgan was able to reflect on being outside, being together, and being healthy. Maybe, just maybe, I am not going to completely screw this kid up after all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

No Butts About It

Having children changes people in such weird and inexplicable ways...or at least it should. As David, Morgan, and I gear up for round two of this madness, each of us appears to be motivated into action as sort of random coping mechanism.  Not surprisingly, Morgan is asking lots of questions about her place in our family. Right after we announced she was getting a baby sister, she started quizzing us with questions like, "Am I still important?" and "Will you have enough love for both of us?" You know, the superficial questions that are super easy to answer. In an attempt to secure her pecking order (as if there was any real question), Morgan's bedroom door now includes her new title:

For my part, I have been playing Dave Ramsey. We have been transitioning to a cash-only system for most of our purchases, and every time we want to splurge on something, boxes of diapers and wipes flash before my eyes. It's become "waters only" at restaurants and "only matinees" for any movies we attend. My family loves me so much right now.

David, on the other hand, has become obsessed with health and wellness. He has scheduled physicals, put in more time at the gym, and is basically just consumed with gearing up for this new little person. A search of his Google history reveals phrases like "older fathers" and "becoming a dad after 40" - the baby's actually due one week before David turns 41, so I keep trying to convince him that he's over thinking all of this...then I go balance the checkbook one more time.

As a show of solidarity for his health-related efforts, I entered (and won!) a poetry contest this month that focused on colonoscopies. For those of you who don't know, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. We don't actually have a history of colon cancer in our family (prostate cancer seems to be our genetic disease of choice around here), but colon cancer is extremely prevalent and extremely preventable. While I know the idea of a colonoscopy sounds about as much fun as being on the night shift with a newborn, it's absolutely a worthwhile torture fest. In fact, I think a free colonoscopy might just be the perfect gift to get David this spring. Just one more pain in the ass for him to tackle.

Twas The Night Before My Colonoscopy(yes, read like the Christmas poem)
Twas the year I turned fifty, when my doctor did call
“Time to check polyps, both large ones and small.”

I said I’d be in, that I wanted to know     
But I was so scared of what the test might show.

I hemmed and I hawed, too nervous to think
In the pit of my stomach my feelings did sink

I gathered my courage and dialed the number
Ready to face my colonoscopy slumber.

“No food or drink, we need a clear view”
I emptied my guts all the way through.

I drank and drank, staying close to my home
Far from a bathroom I dared not to roam.

In the end it was worth it, so glad that I went
Just one simple test; a few hours spent.

The results could’ve been scary…6 polyps found,
Caught and snipped before becoming cancer-bound.

Cancer can lurk in the unlikeliest of places
Especially your colon, full of small spaces.

So my advice to you, as you read every line,
Get yourself checked, even if you feel fine!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Personal Responsibility

Thank you all for your support and jubilation regarding my last post. We are in full on overload, but look forward to sharing more about our upcoming arrival. In the interim, I am still living life as usual. This, despite the fact that none of my pants fits and I haven't had a glass of wine since late last year. The struggle is real.

Morgan has also gone back to life as usual. She is totally over the fact that May continues to be several months away and is totally exasperated by the fact that her baby sister isn't here and ready to play Barbies. She has no idea just how useless this new baby is going to be.

As David and I are finally starting to realize this baby is going to need a place to sleep, we have been busier than usual in cleaning and organizing (not that either of those efforts are going well). Morgan has been left to her own devices more than usual, which often results in 287 wardrobe changes and every one of my heels pulled out of the closet.

Last weekend, I noticed that Morgan had been unusually quiet for an inordinate amount of time, which is always a recipe for disaster. My panic was compounded by the fact that I realized she was in the bathroom. With the door closed. And the water was running. For those of you who are parents, you know that moment. The moment when you realize that you could be walking in on an empty roll of toilet paper, a wholly squeezed tube of toothpaste, and an overflowing toilet.

Just then, she opened the door. I looked in, scanning the room for any signs of impending doom. Nothing. The room was clean, the floor was dry. But she had been in there for so long, I knew something was amiss.

"Morgan, what were you doing in the bathroom for so long?"

"Actually, I'd rather not say."

"Is everything okay? I heard the water running."

"Oh yeah, it's just fine."  The less she discloses, the more suspicious I become. Always.

"Alright kiddo, you need to tell me what you were doing in there for so long."

"Okay, I will tell you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone."

"Of course." (Yes, I realize posting this makes me a liar, but she doesn't have access to the Internet yet, so I have some time before she realizes I betrayed her.)

"Well...(insert, long dramatic pause), I was in the bathroom and I was washing my hands, and I did something I shouldn't have. I said a grown up word."

"What?" Mind you, I can see the beads of sweat forming on her little forehead, her legs fidgeting nervously as she shifted from one to another. This shit was serious.

"Well...(insert another long dramatic pause), I was washing my hands and I accidentally said the F-word."

"You did? You accidentally said the F-word? How did that happen?"

"I'm not really sure, Mom. But don't worry, I went ahead and washed my own mouth out with soap."

I have never, ever, washed this child's mouth out with soap. In fact, it's not even on our list of idle threats. I am either instilling a strong sense of personal responsibility in her or have completely failed as a mother. Or both, which is the mostly likely scenario. And yeah, we're bringing another one into the world.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

25 Weeks

25 weeks. That's how long it's taken me to figure out how to write about this. It's been a confusing and overwhelming several months, in part because I just didn't see it coming.

We met with our new adoption case worker on August 6, 2014 (our previous case worker had left Health and Welfare just prior, much to our surprise). We discussed the status of our family, our ongoing interest to adopt, and whether there had been any changes to our file. She was optimistic, hopeful that it was "just a matter of time" before we found the right child. Her words, while cheerful and confident, sounded hollow not only in our ears, but in our hearts. Empty promises.

She left, and we went back to waiting. That night in bed (serious conversations are always safer there), I shared with David my thoughts, my fears. It had been three years. Three years of trying to make this plan work. But it wasn't working, not the way we thought it would, not the way we thought it should. But now, now we were committed to growing our family, committed to giving Morgan a sibling, committed to setting one more place at the dinner table. "Let's just try," I said. "We can try to get pregnant for 6 months. If it doesn't work, we'll know it wasn't meant to be."

On August 26, 2014, I found out I was pregnant. First try.

I found out I was pregnant on a Tuesday, in the ladies' room at work (glamorous, I know). I didn't tell David until that Sunday, and we didn't tell any of our family until we were 18 weeks along. Part of me was in shock, part of me in denial. As for the rest of me, I suppose I was in mourning. Making the choice to have another baby meant we were no longer helping a child in need. Making the choice to have another baby meant we were giving up on the very system that had clearly already given up on us. It was time to move on, but our hearts were still broken. Making the choice to have another baby meant closing the door on something we'd been committed to for a really long time.

But as one door closed, indeed another opened. When we finally shared the news with our family and friends, they were not just surprised, but ecstatic. When we finally shared the news with Morgan, she was over the moon. And when I finally felt the tiny flutters within me just weeks ago, I rejoiced. For our baby is healthy and strong, and she (yes, she) will make our family complete. And we will celebrate her. And Morgan will be the world's best big sister. That much I am sure of.

Look out world, there's another Lorenzo on the way.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Do you remember last month, when I talked about Morgan's struggle to clean up after herself (it shouldn't be hard, I tragically only posted once in December)? Well, she took that little life lesson very seriously, maybe a little too seriously.

After returning to school following Christmas break, Morgan's class spent some time working on their New Year's resolutions. Morgan crafted three resolutions, one of which included a commitment to "quit blurting out in class so much" - good luck with that one, kiddo. I have been working on that for more than 30 years. When I was in the 4th grade, Mrs. Robinson made me go sit in the hall under the drinking fountain because I wouldn't stop volunteering for acts in the talent show. And when I was in the 5th grade, Mrs. Brady wrote in my report card, "Amy needs to learn to sit quietly."  Still haven't mastered that one.

As I thumbed through the rest of Morgan's list of resolutions, this little guy caught my eye:
It would appear that my child actually took to heart that cleaning her room is her responsibility. But as we all know, New Year's resolutions are easily broken. There is a reason I can't find parking at the gym in January but have my pick of the lot by mid-March.

Despite my skepticism, I sent Morgan to her room last weekend to get her toys picked up and organized. I was immersed in my own housekeeping endeavors and quickly lost track in time. When I finally realized I hadn't heard a peep from her, I called out her name. No response. I called a little louder. Still nothing. I decided to investigate.

I cracked open her bedroom door, where I immediately encountered this:

Not sure what you're staring at? Look closely, My daughter has turned her jump rope into a leash, literally tethering herself to her stool by the ankle.

"So, uh, whatcha got going on in here?"

"I'm just cleaning my room, Mom." Total blank stare, as if she actually didn't know what I was asking.

"No, what's the situation with your jump rope?" I pointed casually to the slightly disturbing and bizarre scene before me.

"Oh, that? I was having a really hard time staying focused so I decided to just tie myself to my stool. That way, every time I want to go play, I can't. I have to stay right here until I finish."

They say kids learn by example, but Morgan conjured this up all on her own. However, it did indeed work like a charm. So much so that I am considering tying David to his work bench.