Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Halloween 2007


Life...or what was formerly known as life and is now known as CCC with the AAA...for Constant, Chronic Chaos with Alex, Austin and Andrew...forged ahead. It was late September of 2007, and I had three sons. Also, our daughter-in-law was pregnant with their second son. Life goes on. And on and on, in our family.

So it's my favorite time of year again...football season, (and I am a Gator fan, but just don't have the patience to sit still to watch a game, so while hubby watches...and watches...and watches...I....shop)! I love the fall festivals, the fall weather, the fall decorations, the entire mood and ambiance of fall. I began to prepare for our annual family Halloween party.

Another task we undertook was house hunting. We quickly began to feel the pinch of 5 of us in the house, especially since we knew we'd want to adopt again later...so we began the quest for our next (and hopefully final) family home.

Now, one thing I've neglected to blog about so far is that starting in December of 2006, I began to get sick. Not sick like in cancer...just sick. Head cold, sinus infection, resperitory infection, flu, you name it. I got sick in December of 2006, and from then until now, I would get sick for two weeks, go to the doctor (sometimes), get a prescription for an antibiotic, a nasal spray and a cough medicine, take it all, feel somewhat better for a week or 10 days, and then would get sick again. This went on...and on....and on....for all of 2007, and even into 2008. Luckily, for both Austin's birth back in February of 2007, and for Andrew's birth in August just 6 months later, I was well. For those particular weeks and for several weeks following their births, the Lord blessed me with good health, and thankfully none of my kids ever caught anything from me. But my major memories of 2007 are of feeling very, very sick for weeks and weeks and weeks.

However, in the first week of October 2007, I was eagerly preparing for our Halloween party, along with working, caring for my three sons, and house hunting. Then, the bottom fell out. I got sick, again (after all, I had felt well for three whole weeks in row..can't let Momma get spoiled now, can we)? And this time, when I got sick...it was bad. But, I figured it would run itself out like it had been doing for almost a year now...I'd feel like hell for two weeks, and then feel OK by the end of the month.

WRONG! I just got sicker and sicker and sicker. And it killed me to do it, but I had to cancel our annual family Halloween party. What made me even sicker about it was that our son and daughter-in-law and grandson from Mississippi, Matthew and Emily and Colton, we going to be in town that same weekend as our party. Plus, one of Pete's nieces was going to be there with her family. It was going to be the biggest, best party yet! Oh....the plans I made...new recipes to try out...new decorations....new games...I so wanted this party to happen! I tried so hard to get well again. But it just did not happen. And I really feared getting Emily sick, especially with her being 7 months pregnant. So the party got called off, practically at the last minute. We did manage to make it to our church's Fall Festival, known as Trunk n Treat, as well as to a pumpkin carving party at the home of some friends, so Halloween of 2007 was not without it's festivities. But to cancel our annual Halloween party just goes to show you how truly sick I was. It was scary.

But there is a hilarious Halloween story to share for 2007. It was before I got sick and had to cancel the party. We were dragging all of the Halloween decorations down from the attic. One of my motion-sensor decorations (a tombstone that opens with a ghost popping out) fell and hit the floor. Alex was right in the middle of it all, of course. I picked it up and saw that it was cracked and hoped I had not broken it completely. I took it to Pete (with Alex tagging along right behind me, of course) and Pete looked it over. He said: "Oh, it's only cracked. It's just a crack right here. I'll get some SuperGlue and I can fix it." Alex took all this in, word for word, naturally.

OK, so fast forward to later that night. Pete's on the porch watching the Gator game. Both babies are in bed. Alex is on my bed watching Shrek, and I'm in the shower. It's late. Phone rings. Knowing Pete was on the porch could not hear it ringing, and wondering who would call so late (well, not super late: around 10:15 PM) I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel to wrap around me and dashed to answer the extension on my bedside table. It was Adrian. I explain I'm dripping wet and can I call her tomorrow. Hang up. Go back around the bed and I'm moving around Alex who came to the phone to also say hello to Adrian. My towel doesn't completely cover me: my rear end, to be exact. Alex points at my rear and says: "Mommy, what's that?" I tell him it's my behind, my fanny, my tushie. Something like that. He says, "Mommy, what's that?" and kind of pats his hand at the top of my, well, forgive me here, but I have to tell you so you'll understand the story, at the top of my butt crack. (Now let me explain here that while butts and butt cracks are not our usual family topic of conversation, I don't want to lie to my kids ever, or give them made up words that they will embarrass themselves with later, or any other kind of misguided information about ANYTHING. So when they ask me what a certain body part is, or what anything is, for that matter, I try to always be accurate and precise and to the best of my ability, clinical and G-rated.) So a rear end can be called many things: butt, hiney, fanny, tushie, behind, etc., etc., etc. I was trying to think of a clinical, G-rated way of saying butt crack and I just could not come up with anything. So before he patted me again, and this got even weirder, I said, "well, Alex, that's my butt crack. Everyone has one: you have one, Austin has one, Andrew has one." Well, leave it to Alex. His reply? (Flash back now to the paragraph above). "Mommy, you butt is cracked? Daddy get SuperGlue. He can fix it!"

Kid just listens too damn well if you ask me.

So the Halloween party itself got canceled...but apparently a party of another sort took it's place. The weekend of the planned party, Matthew, Emily and Colton were in town and stayed at our house. Then, because they were at our house, everyone else in the family showed up to visit them: Samantha and her kids, Jessica, Adrian, Ashley and Jared, and even Gloria, Darrell and Sandy. But because I was so sick and didn't want to get anyone else sick, I didn't get to be a part of the fun and festivities, so I was relegated to my bedroom. Bless Adrian's heart. She felt so sorry for me and came back to spend time with me, saying, "I don't care if I do get sick...I'm not going to let Jamaica stay back there all by herself while everyone else is out here in her house having fun!" So at least I had some company, in between bouts of hacking up a lung.

I managed to rally just enough to take the boys trick or treating around the neighborhood the night of Halloween. Or at least that's what Pete tells me. I really don't have much recollection of it...either I was sicker than I let on, or else my sinus, nausea and cough medicine did a number of me reminiscent of my Vodka Collins' days. Alex was a Junior Bob the Builder, and Austin and Andrew were baby pumpkins. That much is true, because there are picture to prove it.

Being sick was really beginning to suck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Angelia's Birthday

Friday, March 20, was Angelia's birthday. It was a very rough day, so I have not posted this until now. Happy Birthday, Sassy! We love you and miss you always!


In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember.

In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember.

In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember.

In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember.

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember.

When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember.

When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember.

So long as we live, she too shall live,
for she is now a part of us,
and we will always remember.

by Roland B. Gittelsohn

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Patience!


I will return to blogging soon. For those who don't know it, I work in a tax office. And April 15 is just weeks away. Between that, and another personal project I'm working on, and, oh yeah, having three kids, I'm having to take a break from my blog for a little while.

But I will leave you with some news: I'm going to be a grandma again!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life with 3 boys!







So we settle into life as "My Three Sons". For someone who used to imagine that I'd only have one child, and a girl at that, how I ended up with 3 boys under 3...I'll never know. BUT: I'll forever be eternally, completely grateful. I just couldn't have imagined the fun three little boys can create! Noise, dirt, crying, screaming, clutter...all that and more would now rule my home and my life!

Andrew was 8 days old when he had the first party thrown in his honor. All the usual suspects showed up and a great time was had by all.

Now, with not just one, but TWO little brothers to show off for, Alex really began letting his personality shine through. One night while Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell were visiting, Uncle Albert kept trying to tell a joke. And apparently Alex understood that it was a joke his Grandpa was telling, because he kept slapping the table with his hands and laughing, out loud, ridiculously, obnoxiously laughing, at each pause for breath that Uncle Albert took while telling the joke! It was funnier than the joke was! But the best part of all was that when Alex did that each time, and we'd tell him, "Wait, Alex, let Pawpaw finish the joke" and Alex would interrupt with laughter again, and FINALLY Uncle Albert got to the punch line......Alex didn't get it! No a peep out of Alex....stone cold silence!

You just can't script this stuff with kids, can you?

Some other Alex-isms:

Singing "happy birthday, Luck-luck" (his cat) anytime he's at a birthday party for a friend or family member, and for his bedtime song each night after a story and prayers.

Telling his Sunday school teacher that "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne is his favorite song. His SUNDAY SCHOOL teacher...a song by Ozzy Osbourne....oh, yeah! We look good at the church now!

Alex imitating us, when we do Austin's "exercises" (just our way of distracting Austin and Andrew while changing a poopy diaper, cleaning a snotty nose, giving medicine, etc.). Alex grabs Austin's hands, and then his feet, thrashing them about saying, "1, 2, 3 4, pull...that's a boy, you're getting SO BIG!"

Alex telling us that the reason he can't go to sleep at night is that there are red alligators in his room that talk to him all night, keeping him awake. He says they live under his bed. Red alligators...I have no clue where that came from.

Alex thoroughly enjoying watching Mommy crawl out of her skin by telling her that "Alex like snakes and worms, Mommy!"

Alex gave the name "Lulu" to his toy cowboy and his toy fire truck driver. Not the most butch of names for such he-man occupations, wouldn't you agree?

Alex caught on to Mommy's little white lies when I told him we were out of Mommy's Fat-Free Weight Watchers devils food cookies. Alex insists, while standing on tippy toes, looking into the kitchen pantry: "Alex SEE no more black cookies, Mommy! Let Alex SEE!"

Alex insists on talking to his brother while we're trying to put baby Andrew to sleep. We asked him, "Alex, what is it you want to say to Andrew?" Alex replies: "I fart!"

And continuing with Alex's gas-passing-themed quips: While bathing Alex one night, he passed some gas while sitting in the tub, and delightfully (and loudly) exclaimed, "Mommy I made bubbles....with my fart!"

Or how 'bout this classic: "Mommy, my fart smells like.....macaroni!"

Upon hearing Austin crying after putting him to bed, Alex says: “Mom, sumpin’s bugging him. He no want to go nite-nite.”

While playing with my hair, Alex says: “Mommy, you need a hair cut. If you a good girl, and you no cry, you get a lawdy-pop!”

Then there was the day he painted himself, almost covering his entire body, with chocolate pudding, so he'd be black like his little brother. And when he decided it would be a fun afternoon activity to make mud pies on Austin's head (Austin loved it, too, by the way). And the evening he decided to help Austin comb his hair by putting a battery-operated drink mixer in Austin's hair, and TURNED IT ON HIGH, getting the mixer caught and stuck. Yeah, that was some fun, getting that out of Austin's hair. Austin was rockin' a mo-hawk back then. His hair started out silky smooth and satin-y straight, but when his curls began to grow in, they only grew on the top, middle of his head for his first year...the Maddox Jolie Pitt look, ya know what I mean. Apparently Alex thought his hair wasn't just quite curly enough!

Or how about the morning we spray painted wicker chair. We were all out in the garage, where I had the door open to air out the paint fumes while the boys played in the yard. Alex was comforting Austin, whose diaper was half off, hugging him, saying “it’s OK, it’s all right.” I ask what’s wrong, Alex says: “Hop-A-Long sad. Him upset.” I ask why. Alex says: “His butt’s hanging out." To which I reply: "Well, Mommy better go fix his diaper. I'll be right back." And I bend down to pick up Austin, only to have Alex stop me, saying, "It’s OK, I make it better, I make him happy.” I asked Alex how. Alex said, “I’ll spray paint his butt!”

And on another painting day, after the painting was finished up, I went in the house to wash my face and hands, leaving the boys outside with Pete. The next thing I knew, Alex was at my side, almost crying, very anxious and upset, talking too fast, trying to tell me something. It came out, "mommy, hurry, quick, daddy said, run, Austin....fingers.....blood!” Over and over again. I got soap in my eyes and all I heard was "Austin" and "blood", so fearing the worst, I ran back out to the garage with Alex at my heels. Pete was very calmly standing there with paint thinner (which smelled like gasoline) and was dabbing lightly at Austin's hand. My thought was to scream, panic and kill my husband, as in my blinded and confused state, I thought he WAS pouring gasoline onto a cut on Austin's hand, which looked to me to be bleeding heavily. Turned out: Alex was not such a good message relayer, and I really was blind as a bat. Because Austin had simply put his hand on the newly-painted-red chair, and to Alex, it looked like blood, and to me, the paint thinner smelled like gasoline. Easy to guess who the drama queen (and king) is in our house, huh?

So yes, life with three boys under age three was proving to be....let's just say....highly spirited. Drama, tears, laughter, joy...I never knew how much fun my three guys could be.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Introducting.....Andrew





















So our third son was due to arrive. We had spent the summer exchanging phone calls and emails and letters with his birth family, and even managed another visit with them, this time with Alex and Austin along for the fun. What a fun time that was. I think Alex developed a crush on Andrew's birth mother, and she just adored both of them. Alex was really puzzed by how his baby brother Andrew managed to get inside her tummy....he didn't understand why he couldn't actually see baby Andrew and one time just reached up and pulled down the zipper on her zippered jacket, as if baby Andrew would just now pop out from inside her jacket.

Baby Andrew's birth mother had placenta previa and was scheduled for a C-section. He would be arriving about 3 weeks early. So we made our plans to be there for his arrival, and took Aunt Chris along to help us out with the other two boys while we would be at the hospital.

So the big day arrived. The C-section was scheduled for 12 noon, so we got to the hospital around 9:00 AM that morning, to spend time with the family beforehand. His birth mother wanted me in the OR with her, but hospital rules allowed only 1 family member in with the patient, and she really wanted her mom with her, which was completely understandable. They came and got her around 12:30, and after hugs and kisses and tears, I left her with her mom and the hospital staff, and went to find Pete and Alex for the long wait.

Turned out: not too long of a wait. Andrew was born at 1:00 PM. And by 1:30, I met my third son for the first time. Gorgeous, beautiful, precious...words never can describe the beauty of a new life. And quiet. Not like Alex had been at all...screaming from the moment he could draw a breath. I spent about half an hour with Andrew and his birth mother, and then had to leave the room so they could transfer baby and birth mother to a regular hospital room from the OR recovery room.

I left the room and went looking for Pete and Alex again, who had gone looking for Aunt Chris and Austin. I saw them before they saw me, and I was struck by the look of excitement and anticipation on Alex's face when I heard his daddy say to him, "Let's go see your new brother!" That moment...that look on Alex's face was as precious to me as anything else in Andrew's birth story. As soon as everyone got settled in the hospital room, we took Alex in to see baby Andrew. He kept saying, "Alex see him!" "Where And-woo?" "Go get him!" Alex was running, full steam ahead, racing down the hall, and absolutely yelling, "time to see And-woo!" "Go now!" "See him!" He was so excited, he was squirming. We were afraid to have him walk in the room, afraid he would run and trip over something. So Pete carried him in, he said hi to our birth mother and then looked into the bassinet where Andrew lay sleeping and said, "Hi, And-woo, time to rise and shine!" "Wake up!" Pete and I cried. It was the sweetest voice, his little hand waving to his new baby brother, looking at him so closely. Then began the questions: "What dat?" (The cap on his head). "What on his eyes?" (The drops they put in newborns). "What he doin'?" "Where his toes?" "Him tiny." When Andrew began to cry a little, Alex asked, with a worried look on his face: "And-woo have bad dreams?"

When Andrew settled back down to sleep, we settled in with our birth mother. She asked Alex what he's going to teach little Andrew and Alex told her, "play toys. Play big rigs, play front end loader." Everyone laughed, Pete and I still cried. We visited for a while and then Alex began to get rowdy. So Pete took Alex back to the hotel, but he had to say bye-bye to his new baby brother. So we held him up so he could see him again, and he said (with some prompting from us, of course): "Hi, And-woo, my Alex (meaning: I'm Alex): my you big brudder. I love l00000, I take care of you". (More tears here from Jamaica and Pete). Then, all on his own, he says: "Night, night, buddy. Have good dreams 'bout dirt!" OK, now the floodgates are open and the tears are really pouring. I just can't believe how precious this all is. He picked up the "buddy" from us, which is what we say when putting any of them to bed: "night, night buddy." The sweet dreams about dirt part comes from one of Alex's favorite videos, Dirt Monsters, where at the end of the video the trucks are all going home for the night, it says, "good night, Dirt Monsters, have good dreams about dirt!" Alex says this every night to Austin, too.

Our time out of town for Andrew's birth was not without it's funny moments, too. One morning I was showering and Alex came in the bathroom. He jerked open the shower curtain and startled me. He looked at me and said, "Mommy, what you doin'?" "I'm taking a shower, Alex." Then: "Mommy, that's you body." Me: "Yes, this is my body." Alex: "Mommy have boo-boo, went to doctor." (I had a band-aid on my shoulder where the dermatologist took a small skin biopsy from a funny looking freckle: no cancer). Me: "Yes, I went to doctor, but Mommy is all better now." Now for the Kodak moment: Alex: "Mommy, where's you penis?" Me: laugh so hard water gets in my mouth and I choke. "What?" Alex: "Where's you penis, Mommy? Where is it, Mommy?" Me: "uh, uh, uh, I don't have one. Alex: "how come, mommy?" Me: "Go ask your daddy". Alex continues to stare for a few seconds, and sees the water running down over me, over and off of my legs while I'm showering and then asks: "Mommy, why you peeing in shower?" (Maybe next time I need to remember to lock the bathroom door!)

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. We got to meet a lot of our birth mother's family and friends and get to know them all. Everyone adores Alex and Austin. Another funny moment was when one of the birth father's buddies came in to visit and our birth mother had Austin on her lap. This guy thought Austin was the baby our birth mother had just given birth to, and he absolutely freaked out at how big he was (Austin weighed 19 pounds at the time). He kept commenting on how big he was and how much hair he has (Austin had a mini-mokawk hairstyle at the time) and that he already had teeth. That's when we figured out his mistake. Babies aren't born with teeth! He was just assuming since Austin's black and the new baby is mixed, that Austin was Andrew!

The whole weekend at the hospital, Alex could not be in the room with Andrew without wanting to hold him. Constantly: "Alex hold And-woo on lap!" "Me feed him!" "Fingers 'way!" (when we would help Alex hold him). He kept wanting to check on his toes and finally, after his 5th or 6th time looking at his toes, I asked him, "Alex, do you have an obsession with toes?" Alex looked up at me, smiled sweetly and said simply: "I like feet!"

Pete did something very sneaky, but also very sweet that weekend. We hated that thought of our birth mother leaving the hospital empty handed, so we had planned ahead and brought flowers and food (my mom's homemade sour dough bread) for everyone to share. And we had given gift cards to the birth parents for them to shop with (a music store gift card for the birth father, and a clothing store gift card for the birth mother). But sneaky Pete went to the mall during one of our trips from the hospital back to our hotel, and went to a jewelry store and got a beautiful diamond angel pendent necklace for Andrew to "give" his birth mother...so she'll always know what an true angel she is to all of us. Everyone in that room cried...me, Pete, birth mother, grandmother, Aunt Chris, our attorney...we were all just weeping, wet messes by now, but they were also tears of happiness, because this wasn't an ending, just a new beginning.

I look back on that long Labor Day weekend of 2007, and even apart from the miracle and blessing that Andrew's birth was, just the whole time spent with his birth family was a miracle by itself. We truly love that whole family...his birth mother is like the little sister I never had, and her mom is a true friend, and her stepdad is one of the greatest people you could want to meet. It felt like a family reunion, in more ways than one. Having Andrew alone is one great blessing, but our family grew by more than just one person that weekend....we are ALL now, one great big happy family!