Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions 2012 recap!

So for the last two years I've set some goals for myself for the coming year. Last year's post was written exactly one week before our foster daughter arrived, and about five months before I got pregnant the first time, so it's kind of funny how little I got done. Let's take a look:

1. Get our kitchen knives professionally sharpened.
Still a no, but I did call two different places to at least try. One of the places only does commercial stuff, and the other never responded to my emails.
2. See a dermatologist (bonus points if he/she uses primarily natural stuff).
Nope, but I started using only organic and hippie-type shit on my face and my skin is way happier than it's ever been. I wash my face with raw honey and I use an organic lotion, to which I add a bit of jojoba oil because my skin is really dry, and most of the issues I had in the past are cleared up.
3. Take a picture of every item I knit.
Ha, not even close. I do have pictures of the baby wearing the things I've made for her, but that's it. Um, I can't actually think of anything not-baby-related I've finished, though, so I guess that makes this a maybe?
4. Knit myself a sweater.
Nope. Didn't even finish the sweater I started for my mom LAST Christmas. Oops. Turns out parenting takes most of my free time, and when the kid's asleep, pregnancy has made me too tired to even think about figuring out the weird pattern issue that stalled that project.
5. Take at least two overnight trips with Andy.
YES! This is one that we did and it was as awesome as it always is. We went on that awesome weekend trip to a farmhouse in Endicottville with our good friends, and we went stupid camping, and we went to Virginia for my great-aunt's funeral (which hardly counts as us-time but was still an overnight trip), and we went to visit the Kid her family. Here's hoping we keep doing overnight trips even with a second kid in the coming year.
6. Get tattoo (and artist's mockup, for customized stationery, because that's so badass).
Nope. Not even close. I've spent half the year pregnant, so that's part of it, and the other part is that suddenly spending money on a tattoo seems a lot less reasonable when there's a kid to feed and clothe and stuff.
7. Take multivitamin, fish oil, and Vitamin D supplement at least five times a week.
Pretty sure I did meet this goal, if you average the whole year. I was super dedicated for most of the year but have been SO FORGETFUL with this pregnancy that I'm taking them more like twice a week. Oops.
8. Find some sort of health/fitness class to do at least once a week.
Sort of! My mom and I just signed up for AQUA ZUMBA and have had one class so far. It is ridiculous in the best ways possible.

So, in total, I met three out of the eight goals. I'm going with "hey, that's not bad!" with all the extra shit that's been going on in our life. I haven't even thought about goals for next year, aside from "keep parenting this baby as best we can for as long as they'll let us" and "do the best we can with NewBaby too".

I really like reading year-end reflection posts, but all I've got is that Andy and I are stronger than ever and work really hard on communicating clearly, and that our life together is so much more full with a kid than we could have ever imagined. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Obligatory holiday post

Merry Christmas, y'all! Hope your day was full of loveliness and delightful surprises.

I have been dealing with some hormones the last few days, so my holidays have been about 93% delightful and 7% feeling overwhemed/crying/did you seriously just say that to me? So that's been pretty cool.

This crying shit is new, by the way. Made it to almost 15 weeks without crying overtaking me (besides relieved tears at the ultrasound), and then twice in the last two days, I seriously felt unable to stop myself from crying. Yesterday, Andy had to work so I had to do all of the last-minute Christmas stuff with the baby, while exhausted, and even when he got out of work he was only home for about half an hour before he had to leave to get ready for music at church. Usually this would have been "less than ideal, but nothing I can't handle!" but the hormones had me convinced it was ALL TOO MUCH and the poor guy walked in to find me wrapping presents and crying. I even was lucid enough to explain that really, I understood that my face was doing ridiculous things and that it was fine and the baby and I would be at church in our fancy clothes and all the last-minute stuff was seconds away from completion, but my face just would not quit with the tears.

Of course everything worked out fine, and we were there in our fanciest clothes, and his drumming and singing were awesome, as always. I actually love that he drums at church for Christmas Eve, since we don't even attend except Christmas and Easter. I think it's sweet, and I love that he has a real reason to drum for a while, since he was in a band when we met and our life right now wouldn't make that a great idea.

Today we had a really awesome slow morning, and the baby had a great time. Her favorite things to play with, in order: the box I used to wrap a belt for for Andy; the gum from Andy's stocking; the fancy-ass handmade wooden train set we got her; a jingling dog toy we've had longer than we've had her.

We spent the early afternoon with my family, and the late afternoon with Andy's. There was some nonsense from Andy's mom and sister, directed at me, that made it pretty clear that I'm still considered an outsider. I know the hormones are making it into a bigger deal than it might otherwise be, but I also know that in the past year I've worked hard at refusing to let people treat me poorly, so I'm trying hard to decide how to deal with this. (This was responsible for today's crying. Andy backs me up when he knows what's going on, but it's not always easy to relate a particular tone of voice or attitude, so it often seems like I'm making a fuss over nothing, I'm sure. He will support me fully in however I decide to handle this, which is very reassuring.)

So! I suppose NewBaby wanted to make itself known for the holidays as well. I've really enjoyed that other 93%, though, and I hope you all had less crying and more eggnog. I've got to work tomorrow so my version of unwinding right now will be some hot chocolate and a Christmas movie. If it weren't for NewBaby, the hot chocolate would have a serious dollop of Bailey's in there.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's the holiday season!

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but we do some baby sign with our girl, and her two favorite signs are "tree" and "light," so the holiday season is blowing her little mind and making her arms very tired. She signs those to us constantly with absolute delight. Having a kid for the holidays is as awesome as those sappy ABC Family movies tell you it is.

The baby's birthday was this week, and it was pretty great. She was the first baby in the infant room at her daycare all those months ago, so they all adore her and have seen her grow the same way we have. They got her an organic cake to have a little party, which was very sweet and considerate of them. We had our folks over for dinner and presents and she had a blast. We had a doll custom-made to look like her and she LOVES it. (It's this exact doll, actually, so I'm not thrilled about paying extra for customization, or it being called one-of-a-kind, since she's selling a duplicate of the one we designed. Other than that the craftsmanship is incredible and the doll is just what we wanted. It seems the seller calls all her girl dolls "Camille" but we've just been calling it Dolly.)

The day after her birthday the baby had her one-year checkup and she's grown two inches and gained three pounds in three months! Her dad showed up 45 minutes late and the second he walked in she went from playing happily to sobbing. But this baby has some serious moxie, so she toddled past her bio-dad over to Andy, who was sitting next to her dad, climbed up on Andy's lap, and sat there snuggling Andy while glaring at her dad. This kid, you guys.

We're in the middle of a flare-up of the baby's eczema, almost certainly related to the weather getting colder and drier. The stuff we had been using on her, Aveeno's baby eczema stuff, wasn't working well anymore, and since we didn't love that the Aveeno stuff is made with petroleum byproducts anyway (really, Aveeno?), I took advantage of some of my second-trimester energy to make homemade whipped shea butter to use as a lotion for her. (It's super easy to make and really cheap, drop me a line or leave a comment if you want the recipe.) While I was making it, I reflected on how I used to spend significant amounts of my time dying my hair blue and going to punk shows. My life is different than I expected it would be.

I'm thisclose to done with my Christmas shopping. The only people left to buy for are my friends who are coming home from Brooklyn. They're hard to buy for because they have a small New York apartment and we don't know what they use and love in their daily life. My brain is still on pregnancy hiatus so Andy's in charge of thinking of something awesome.

How's your holiday planning going? All done shopping yet, or haven't started?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's a Tuesday.

I hate coming up with titles for blog posts. Basically all I post anymore is updates about the baby's case and my developing fetus, but "Update about the baby's case and my developing fetus, part the fifty-second" just doesn't have a nice ring to it.

A. Baby's case first:
1. Last week the worker told the baby's dad that in January they'd be starting to compile the paperwork to terminate his rights. He was very emotional about this and talked about stepping up his efforts to get custody of the baby. He was supposed to have a visit today, but didn't bother to show up on time, so the visit was canceled. He was very unhappy that they wouldn't un-cancel the visit since he was only five minutes late, but he's been late consistently so they're back on the system where he has to be in the building an hour and fifteen minutes before the visit starts, and if he's not, it's automatically canceled. I don't think anyone pointed out that he's on that system again because of his habitual lateness, so no, they weren't going to give him any leeway on being late. He has the option of another visit tomorrow, so we'll see if that happens.

2. Last week the baby's mom started the process of doing what she needs to do to have a visit - the first visit she'd have had since March. It would have happened to fall on the baby's first birthday, and the worker got permission from her boss and the baby's mom to have me attend, to make it easier for the baby. I was actually really looking forward to getting to interact with the mom with the baby there (and outside a court waiting room) and giving her the chance to ask us anything she wanted about the baby's life. However, as you might have guessed from my use of the conditional perfect tense,* it looks like the visit won't be happening. The baby's mom had been staying with the grandma and as of yesterday, that is no longer the case. The mom told the worker today that she didn't finish the process she'd have needed to in order for the visit to happen, plus the worker said the mom's phone doesn't have any minutes so there's no reliable way to contact her. I'm actually more disappointed by this than I expected. I know it won't be easy for the mom to deal with her baby's birthday and the holiday season and I thought the visit might have been good for her.

B. Our new baby! Depending on which source you go by, I'm officially in my second trimester either today, or sometime over the next week, or next Tuesday. Andy stopped on his way home to get me a "second-trimester flower" - an orchid, my favorite! - and "second-trimester dessert" - peanut M&Ms, which I'm eating right now. I'm getting a bit more energy and have managed to stay awake until almost 10 pm two whole nights in a row. We're telling friends as we see them and planning to call far-away relatives this weekend. I'm announcing it at work next Monday, which is awesome because it's the first day of an annual tradition called Feast Week, wherein everyone brings in awesome delicious things on their designated day. Being the pregnant lady means that I get to cut in line and also I get to break out the maternity pants early and be supremely comfortable while I overeat.

*Yeah, I had to look that up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Yesterday morning we had our first trimester screen. This is a blood test combined with an ultrasound to give an indication of your odds of your baby having certain issues, including Downs syndrome, a rare but serious chromosomal abnormality called trisomy 18, or heart defects. We decided with the first pregnancy not to do the tests, since the outcome isn't going to cause us to terminate the pregnancy (there are a lot of false positives) or probably even pursue further testing, because the follow-up tests for the chromosome problems, amniocentesis and CVS (where they take a teeny piece of your placenta), carry risks of miscarriage. This time, we did the test because it meant another ultrasound.

The baby's doing fine. I cannot possibly tell you how much that sentence means to me. I realized as we were sitting in the waiting room that I fully expected to be told that I'd had another miscarriage. Every single thought about this pregnancy, for the last three months, has been tempered by the fear slash firm belief that I was going to miscarry again. Even though we saw the heartbeat at six weeks, I couldn't relax and let myself think things would be okay.

I think that really changed yesterday. The whole pregnancy is real to me in a way it hadn't been yet. We got to see the baby, who is measuring exactly on track, and it was amazing. It moved around and rolled and waved its little arms. The ultrasound as part of the first trimester screen is to measure a spot on the back of the baby's neck - a measurement above 3 millimeters is considered suspicious, and our baby's measured 1.2 mm. The blood results won't be in until later in the week, but they didn't see anything that immediately indicated any concern.

I had my twelve-week appointment with my own doctor today (the stuff yesterday was at a different place) and got to hear the heartbeat again. Not too proud to tell you I cried. Yesterday and today. I also finally remembered to ask my doctor about recommending physical therapy for my back, which has been sore already. I go in for my first appointment next week.

Awesome stuff all around!

Do you have any questions? I had a million the first time my sister was knocked up, so I'll happily answer them if I can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A brief review of our post-holiday week.

On Saturday Andy and my mom and I all got food poisoning. That was not cool. I mention my mom getting it because she's our go-to babysitter but she was out of commission too, so the poor baby spent a lot of time hanging out in her playpen. She was recovering from several very busy days, so she was okay with that - she mostly played by herself and chattered at us happily. The worst part of having food poisoning, besides the part where I barfed ten times in twelve hours (not that I was counting), was the part where my sister and I were scheduled for massages Saturday afternoon and had to cancel. Heartbreaking. I'm rescheduling mine, duh.

Before we realized that it was food poisoning and not something contagious, my sister and her family decided to split back for Maryland before it hit them, so that sucks too. And by the time they got home, my goddaughter was totally miserable and when they took her to urgent care she was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Cool stuff all around.

We are now back to normal and things are going fine. As of yesterday I was eleven weeks pregnant. I started to miscarry right before that last time, and I realized last night that I honestly had just been waiting to get to the same date and to have another miscarriage. That's a pretty shitty thing to be carrying around with me for two months. Today, for the first time, I ordered some super-sale maternity clothes, because I can finally let myself think about what it will be like to be visibly pregnant. I'm still worried all the time and can't wait for the ultrasound on Monday, but it feels good to be able to start to plan for this being real. Having passed the date I miscarried last time feels like I've sort of moved out of that sincere belief that it would happen again.

The baby's dad didn't call to confirm his visit yesterday but did today. Then he showed up 25 minutes late and told the worker he had been pulled over on the way to the visit and gotten a ticket. After the visit the worker followed him to his car to get a copy of the ticket for her records, and he mysteriously couldn't produce it. He searched his car while the worker stood in the freezing cold for five minutes, until she gave up and told him to bring it next time. He won't, of course, but all of this goes in her file and the file goes to the judge.

How was your holiday and post-holiday week?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Obligatory holiday post

We had her up late last night, so the baby is still asleep right now, and Andy and I just enjoyed a leisurely piece of breakfast pie together. In a few minutes, I'm going to start working on the next round of pies - pecan, made without corn syrup - and Andy's going to start working on his fancy-pants sweet potatoes. Then we'll head over to my folks' to spend some extra time with my sister and her family. Today is not too shabby, you guys.

This is the traditional time for us to reflect on what we're grateful for, and I have to say, there's a whole lot on my list. My life is pretty spectacular, really. I'll try to keep this somewhat brief and also not too sappy, but here's a sampling of what I'm giving thanks for this year:
  • My awesome husband and our wonderful marriage. Honestly, I'm legitimately thrilled that I get to hang out with this guy every day. He does little things all the time to make sure I feel loved and cared about. He has volunteered to take on SO MUCH lately so I can sit on the couch and feel queasy. He never tells me to stop being silly when I worry nonstop. He had a dream last night in which we had our baby, she was a healthy girl, and we had given her a really awesome name.
  • Our life as parents. This baby is really awesome, and parenting her has been mostly a lot of fun. She is funny and charming and she likes to snuggle my face with hers, which she doesn't do with anyone else in the world. We call her Baby Girl a lot, and she has started calling herself Baba Gull. She also sometimes calls herself Baba Yaya, where "Yaya" is a hilariously mangled version of part of her name. We are so lucky to get to be her parents, even if it's not forever.
  • The people we choose to surround ourselves with. Really, the only drama in our life comes from the foster care system and the baby's bio-family. We have many solid friendships with people who are genuinely awesome and sincere.
  • Related to the above post, I'm really grateful for how kind everyone was to us after the miscarriage. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, and I learned that our friends immediately step up in situations like that. My parents, too, were amazing, and made sure we had food in the house, and took the baby to play and snuggle and hang out so we could just be alone together. The behavior of people close to us in a really shitty time made me okay with telling (some) people about this pregnancy, because I know I will need them again if anything goes wrong.
  • This is going to sound weird, but I'm thankful for feeling shitty. I felt totally fine throughout the last pregnancy, so feeling crappy this time makes me feel like things are different. Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally a whiny baby about feeling queasy, but I am supremely grateful that there are indications this time that things are going okay in there. Also, for the first time, Andy and I can feel a bump now. We didn't feel one last time at all, and okay maybe I'm crying a little now.
I can hear the baby starting to wiggle around and it's Pie-Making Time, but I also want to say that I'm thankful for having this platform to work through stuff. I know many of my readers aren't foster parents, so thanks for asking questions and reading even when it's not relevant to your life. I have never had a single trolling comment on here (because I have like 12 readers and you're all awesome) so my little corner of the internet feels like a pretty cool place. I hope you are having a really awesome holiday and that you get breakfast pie as often as you want.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sometimes foster care is hard.

If you read any other blogs by foster parents, you've probably seen at least a few posts about how visits suck. That, friends, is because visits suck.

The baby's dad is still attending visits, but not with any regularity. The baby cries - screams - for most of the visit, then passes out from exhaustion. The dad didn't come to either visit last week, and today the baby cried so hard she puked all over herself and him. (I can't pretend the "and him" wasn't the tiniest bit satisfying.)

Her dad has been told that it's bad for the baby to see him only sporadically. She has not developed any sort of a relationship with him, because she's still not comfortable with him. The baby sees the worker with us at least once a month, when the worker comes for home visits, so she trusts the worker and tries to cling to her throughout the visits, still sobbing. Hearing all of this kills me. I asked the worker today if there's ever a point when they can ask the judge to change how this is going, on the basis of it being actively damaging for the baby, and the worker said, basically, that she's only ever seen the courts go for no visits in cases of sexual abuse. If the parents want visits, they get them, even if they only bother to show up occasionally. Our next hearing isn't until February, so this will probably continue at least until then, and nothing will happen at that hearing, so it will continue through April, when they can begin the process of filing for termination of parental rights (if things keep going the way they are), but then the judge can give an extension if he's feeling generous and so I can't really foresee a time when my baby girl won't be regularly subjected to hysterical sobbing on her dad's whim.

The evening after a visit the poor kid is all out of sorts. She doesn't want to be put down, but she is super whiny even when we're holding her. She holds on to us like she's scared of being put down. It's heartbreaking. Today is one of the days when being a foster parent is fucking hard.

Subject change! In other non-news, as far as we know things are still going fine with NewBaby. I'm ten weeks pregnant now and still worrying pretty much constantly, which is exhausting. We have an ultrasound scheduled for December 3, which feels like FOREVER far away. I am still totally exhausted - like I'm staying up late to write this and it's only 8:39 right now - and I get waves of nausea, which I find incredibly reassuring since I didn't feel crappy for most of the last pregnancy. I told NewBaby that it is welcome to make me feel as crappy as it wants, even if it means I can't eat a single bite on Thanksgiving, as long as things are going okay in there.

I've got two Tollhouse Cookie Pies in the oven right now, but honest, for the first time in my life I am too tired to stay up for pie. This is crazy. Tollhouse Pie is my very favorite and we're bringing one to Andy's cousin's Third Annual Night-Before-Thanksgiving Pie Party tomorrow, so I made an extra for me.

What's your very favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Three our-family things and three bio-family things

Our family!

1. Today is a lovely warm fall day, so while Andy does yardwork, the little girl and I are going to have an adventure to get the best apple fritters in the world (shout out to Zarpentine's Farm!) and also to get her some long-sleeved onesies, because girl is growing fast.

2. Before we can do that, the girl needs to take a nap. She has been fighting going to sleep for over an hour at this point. She has the funniest ways to keep herself awake, like sticking one arm in the air and banging the other foot repeatedly. I think while we're out we'll stop at Barnes and Noble to try to find a decent short board book about naps - the baby loves Time For Bed and she actually pulls it out at bedtime if we forget to grab it. Whatever we get, I'll get a copy for daycare too, so we can have the same routine in both places. Any nap-book recommendations?

3. My sister and her family are coming home for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas this year, and I am so excited to see them! For what might be the first time since we all left home, we're having a full dinner at my parents' house with both of my siblings and their families. It's going to be lovely. Andy's making sweet potatoes with pecan-marshmallow streusel topping. We actually still don't know what the plan is with Andy's side, except that neither of his sisters can make it and that both of the houses we might end up invited to have residents who smoke indoors. Urk.

The baby's bio-family!

I talked to the worker for a long while on Wednesday and found out the following things:
1. The baby's grandma told the worker on Monday that she feels like the baby is where she needs to be, and that she (the grandma) is not planning to file for custody again. WHAT. This is the exact opposite of what she's been saying all along, so even if she changes her mind tomorrow (totally possible and even likely), it's a huge step. The grandma thinking the baby is fine where she is doesn't have any legal bearing or any impact on where she'll end up, except that it might mean she won't file for custody at the last minute and drag out the whole process.

2. The baby's mom had been doing really well and had been taking care of herself in a way that made it look likely that she was actually trying to improve her life. Well, turns out she had been working so hard because she thought that she might be pregnant, and now that she knows she isn't, she isn't making such awesome choices. This is sad because dang, her life could be so much better than it is, but it also gives me hope that she chose to be pretty healthy for the benefit of the unborn baby.

3. The baby's dad left me a note a few weeks ago in the notebook we send to visits that he had been approved for a three-bedroom place and would be moving soon. I called the worker to let her know and she called the dad and then called me to report that actually, he had been approved for a one-bedroom place IN OUR TOWN, not in the very small town 45 minutes away he kept saying he was planning to move to. Now, our town isn't tiny (it's actually in our state's top ten by population), but we like the idea of the dad being close by because it feels like maybe it'll be more likely that we'll be able to see our girl if she goes to her dad. Also, per the worker on Wednesday, the dad was planning to move into the one-bedroom to try to get custody of our girl but the worker discouraged that because it would mean leaving his other two kids with his mom indefinitely, which, you know, the county doesn't really think is a great plan. So the process to correct the paperwork to try to get a three-bedroom place is annoyingly slow and complicated, which works out great for us because the dad has said all along that he's not planning to file for custody until after he moves. For the first time, I actually feel like I can plan to have the baby here for her birthday (in mid-December) and Christmas.

The worker also told me that she's planning to start the paperwork process for writing the termination of parental rights after the baby's been with us for a year (in January) because it's a lot of stuff to compile. She is always pretty up-front that the baby's case could still end up with her back with bio-family, but she said that as it stands there would still need to be significant improvement for them to agree the baby should be moved. So, in summation, time keeps ticking on this case and no one is making big strides to get her back.

What is the thing you're most excited about making for Thanksgiving? Or, if you've been following this baby's saga, what do you think of these new developments?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are doing fine.

Ha, remember when I used to post every day? I like blogging, it's a good way for me to process stuff, but it's just not a main priority anymore. Still love y'all, though.

The baby is doing well except that she has decided that napping at daycare is for suckers, so we're trying to work on some sort of nap routine at home that daycare can implement as well. She fought her nap for an hour and fifteen minutes this morning. Pretty cool. It's hard to commit to a routine on the weekends because it's sort of rare for us to be home for every single one of her naps, so she sometimes naps in her carseat or whatever. But we'll stick to it so maybe she can take more than forty minutes' worth of nap per day.

The pregnancy is progressing well, as far as we can tell. We saw the heartbeat at the ultrasound and I cried like a sissy. The nurse was happy to hear I've been feeling crappy, because that can indicate healthy levels of hormones. I wanted to barf in her office just to show her what's up. I haven't actually been puking, but I often feel like that stage in being drunk where you suddenly realize the last two drinks were probably a mistake - I guess woozy is the best word for it. A little dizzy (FUN), a little nauseated, really tired and thirsty. The tiredness has been pretty overwhelming. I've been going to bed at like 8:30. Andy has been super awesome and taken on lots of things that used to be my responsibility, so I'm very grateful for that.

Daylight savings time is weird. The baby wasn't at all convinced when I tried to explain that she should go back to sleep for another hour. Oh, did I tell you all that she's walking? She is not yet 11 months old. Girl is determined. She also says Mama and Papa well and gets Baby about 75% of the time (25% of the time it sounds like Bobby), and is working hard on "more." 

Hope y'all are doing well, and am eagerly awaiting the second trimester, when I've been told I won't feel quite so dead anymore.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I have developed an eye twitch.

Dudes, I'm pregnant again. Today I'm all of six weeks and one day, which is exactly the age at which the previous pregnancy stopped developing. I've been anxious as hell all day, as you might guess. I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to make sure things are going okay. The only people we've told are my sister and brother and parents (we haven't seen Andy's side since we found out) and it's killing me, as an extrovert, to not be able to process this all externally, like I always do. It's also been a very different experience physically so far - I haven't gotten sick, but the other night lying in bed I got the spins, as if I was hammered, and it repeated itself any time I turned my head too fast. On and off all day I feel kind of woozy, like that stage in getting drunk where you suddenly realize you won't be driving anywhere any time soon. Very disorienting.

The baby girl has woken up extra early the last few mornings and laid in bed, happily talking to herself, until one of us comes to get her. This is a problem for me, because she's waking up about 45 minutes before I need to be awake, and I can't fall back asleep with her making noise. I can't just turn off the monitor because she does occasionally actually start crying and need reassurance, so I've also been lying there awake, wishing desperately that I was sleeping. The early wake up, plus the getting up in the night to pee, is probably a big factor in the eye twitch.

We had a home visit today, and the worker brought a trainee (a new worker who was shadowing her) so we didn't get the usual chat with a total review of new developments in the case. We DID find out recently that the baby's dad's new girlfriend is expecting, likely twins, and that the baby's mom might be expecting as well. This baby's getting a whole bunch of new siblings coming along here. Oh, in better news, the baby's mom has been sober for a few weeks, which is better than the worker has seen since getting involved in the baby's brother's case four years ago. So that's a cool positive development. No more news on the whatever-it-is in the dad's case.

The last fun new thing in our life is that we got the dogs groomed and poor Rooster got razor burn on his wiener, and then licked it so much he developed a sore. And when we started applying cream and put him in a Cone of Shame, he discovered that he could still reach his butthole, so he gave himself a sore there too. So my week has included repeated application of cream to my dog's wiener and butthole. I sincerely wish that none of you have had to do the same.

It's 8:21, and I'm going to go take a warm bath and go to bed. It's going to be awesome.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Is it naptime yet?

Today is a day for Getting Things Done.

After some delightful snuggle time in bed with the baby girl, we got up and got busy. So far today, I have:

- Started two quarts of honey infusing with vanilla beans.
- Loaded and ran the dishwasher.
- Made a double batch of whole-wheat pumpkin pancakes and some bacon for breakfast. (The extra pancakes will be quick breakfasts to send to daycare, so that counts as extra productive.)
- Washed, dried, folded, and put away all of the baby's clothes, including the huge bag of new-to-us stuff we got from my sister. It's official: The baby owns more clothes than I do. (This is probably actually not true.)
- Washed and dried the towels and am in the middle of washing a load of undies so I can stop wearing those awful backup laundry-week pairs I found shoved in the back of my drawer.
- Cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast, including unloading the clean dishes and reloading the dishwasher.
- Cut up and cooked a buttercup squash for the baby's lunches this week. (Note to self for next time: Jesus, this was a pain to try to peel, so next time cook it with the skin on and cut that shit off afterwards.)

I'm waiting for the hot water heater to recover from the laundry, then I'm going to hop in the shower. After that, we're meeting my folks and my brother and his wife and daughter at a local pumpkin farm to pick out pumpkins and pet some goats and be autumnal. The baby's wearing her new sweater and it will be perfect. Might even make some spiced cider to bring with us. Damn, today's cool, but it's only 12:30 and I'm already beat!

The worker called me yesterday to tell me two interesting things:
1. The baby's mom has expressed an interest in starting visits again, for the first time since March. The worker is not confident in the mom's ability to treat herself effectively from the disgusting skin condition (her living situation makes it especially challenging right now) so visits won't happen until the worker is satisfied on that count, but she wanted us to be prepared.
2. The worker couldn't give me any details at all, but there is something going on with the dad that might preclude our baby going to him. Like maybe ever. But whatever it is, it's the early stages of being looked into, so it might turn out to be nothing. Oh, you know, because this isn't a huge deal that made me immediately jump to OH MY GOD WE MIGHT ACTUALLY GET TO KEEP HER. Trying really hard to be patient and to not ask the worker questions she's not allowed to answer. I'm still telling myself it's most likely she won't stay with us long-term, because that is easier on my psyche.

I hope your autumn weekends are as delightful as ours!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hooray, long weekend!

Andy and I are heading out* in the morning to go visit my sister and her husband and my perfect niece! They are in a new house and we get to see it and them and probably the National Zoo all in one jam-packed delightful weekend.

We haven't taken the baby on a car ride this long since she was four months old, so it will be interesting to see how she does. She doesn't nap well at daycare at all and makes up for it by taking mega-naps on the weekend so it's entirely possible that she'll sleep in the car and still sleep at night.

I'm super excited to see my sister and to squeeze my niece and to eat my brother-in-law's homemade pizza and wings. It's going to rock.

Also, totally unexpected and totally awesome: I got a text message out of the blue yesterday from a friend with whom I'd lost touch. We chatted about our respective awesome lives and I asked where he's living now - still on the other side of the country? Answer: Forty minutes from where we'll be this weekend! How awesome is that? So we're going to try to meet up for coffee so we can meet each others' respective babies and do some more catching up.

Any fun for you on this Columbus Day weekend?

*We have a house sitter, duh, so don't try any funny business.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oh look I made something cute.

I made the baby a sweater:
I took that picture on my kitchen floor with my new phone (ask me sometime about spending two and a half hours on a Friday night in a Verizon store) so sorry the quality is shit, but damn, it's a cute sweater.

I made it from this pattern in a bulky wool-blend yarn (Bernat Roving, which is garbage and which I won't be using again) and knit it up in like two days. I wove in the ends last night and sewed on the buttons this morning. I just put a picture up on facebook and already have two requests for full-size versions. (That's an interesting thing about being a knitter - acquaintances think nothing of asking you to spend hours of your life lovingly crafting something for them.)

Up next I'm knitting the baby a dress out of the yarn we got at the fiber arts festival, then this sweater (probably in brown and cream), and then finally finishing the sweater that was supposed to be my mom's Christmas present last year.

The baby decided that today was a good time to learn to put herself down for a nap in the Pack and Play (she did so while I was sewing on the buttons), so that means I will probably get to squeeze in extra knitting time! Is there anything more delightful on a fall weekend?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's your deal, Wednesday?

Today did its best to bring me down, y'all. It started 45 minutes earlier than it needed to, with a baby who was super mad at me because I can't make teething any easier and who would NOT go back to sleep. That threw off my morning pretty hard (Andy's too, since I needed him to corral her while I was in the shower instead of leaving while she was still asleep like he usually does). We were out of breakfast foods, so I stopped for an apple fritter, which made my stomach mad, which is bullshit because I'm a grown-ass woman and will eat a fritter for breakfast if I WANT. The coffee machine at my job ate my coffee money. The worker didn't call to tell me if there was a visit, which usually means there isn't, so when the daycare called to say Medical Motors had showed up I told them not to send her. Oh, but hey, there was a mix-up with the worker being in court and our usual clerk out, so the backup clerk called daycare and was snippy about YES THERE WAS A VISIT, so I called and then she was rude to me too.

Also, there was a big customer meeting at work all day, and my old biddy coworkers love any excuse to get excited, so there was a lot of noise in general, followed by the customers being given a tour through the office, including the usually-silent area in which I was trying to work. This isn't a huge deal, but it's a low level of constant annoyance.

Oh, and I'm fighting the cold that the baby brought home from daycare, which is putting a cramp in Operation Get Me Pregnant Again.

Andy knew I was trying to figure out a way to punch today in its face, so he stopped on the way home and got me flowers and a harvest pumpkin chocolate chunk cake (which is the best cake ever, duh). Then we left for our WIC appointment and while we were gone Pancakes somehow got on the kitchen table (climbed the high chair, maybe?) and ATE MY CAKE.

So when we got home, I gave the baby her bath and Andy went to Wegmans and got me another cake. No joke. And we just had a piece and watched an episode of Parks and Recreation, and we're going to bed early. I'm calling a do-over and starting again in the morning.

This post was a hell of a downer, right? Sorry about that. Here's some awesome news: My sister is having a girl! I'm going to have a third niece! I've been pushing hard for this one to have Rachael for a middle name too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hippie weekend and nine-month checkup

We had a pretty awesome weekend. On Friday night, we did nothing. We had an invite to go out to dinner and we turned it down to stay home and hang out quietly. We watched a movie called Extract, which we had never heard of but which stars Jason Bateman and Kristin Wiig and Mila Kunis and Ben Goddamn Affleck. Better than expected.

On Saturday we spent the day in a family friend's log cabin, making pickled beets. No joke. We made a smallish batch earlier in the year (May?) and absolutely flew through them. Turns out people like pickled beets - even Andy, an avowed beet hater. We brought a pint camping and they were gone that same night, and two people asked if we had any more. We've gone through six pints since May, so we decided to make a bigger batch to take us through the winter. We went a little overboard, though: we canned 10 quart jars and 14 pint jars full of chopped beets. (The recipe we used was from the Ball Blue Book, but it was a lot like this one, plus three cups of onions.) They get processed for half an hour so they're silky and spicy and delicious. Try them, even if you think you hate beets. Try them. Don't even halve the recipe if you think you hate them, because you'll find people who will happily snatch up your extra jars.

On Sunday, we spent the day at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival. It's my third time going but Andy's first, and by the time we left he was slightly less enthusiastic than I was. There is so much to see and touch and to lust after. My goal was to not buy any roving this year, and I'm proud to say I succeeded. I only got one skein of yarn, and I had Andy pick it out! He and I use color in very different ways, so it's neat to have him pick something out and see how it knits up. We got a skein of Bitsy Knits sock yarn in a colorway called Midnight Bells, which is grey and yellow and orange and red. It's destined to become a dress for the baby.

Today we had the baby's nine-month checkup, and she's doing fantastically well. The baby's dad didn't show up, despite being told about the appointment at least ten times. I was a little surprised that he didn't come, since he has been told that involvement in her medical care will be a factor if/when he files for custody. (Her mom was invited too but we didn't expect her to show up, since she still can't hold the baby since she's never proven she's been treated.)

Our girl's hitting just about all of her milestones and the doctors don't have any concerns. She got very, very mad about having to be stripped down to her diaper and even madder about getting a shot. The doctor got to see her have a little hissy fit, and when we asked about that (she throws herself around when she's super mad, which is scary as hell when she's slippery from her bath and doesn't want to be lotioned), the doctor laughed a little and said, "Good luck when she's two."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Permanency hearing

Today we had a permanency hearing at court. This is a fun meeting where the parties involved get to go over the permanency report compiled by the social worker a few weeks ago. Basically, it's a review of what progress has been made so far, and today we also dealt with the dispositional plan  for the mom and with the grandma's custody petition.

First, the progress report: no real progress by the mom, very minimal progress by the dad (and his progress is pretty much all since the report was written). The mom has actually missed some appointments and stuff, so one of the facilities involved won't even give her an appointment for six months. She's not in a great place right now, and all the possible interpretations of that sentence apply. The dad has had sporadic visits. He has to be in the building an hour and fifteen minutes before the visit starts, and he has managed that when he has to be there at 11:45, but not when he has to be there at 9:45. So he has had half of his possible visits in the last two weeks. He responded to a note I left him in the notebook we send to visits with a very positive note about how strong she's getting and how it must be the solid food, and thanking us for all we've been doing. After court today he came over to say hi and said that he was going to try to catch the worker and see if she could come inspect his house today, but then he walked right past her on his way out without saying a thing. He's very good at saying things that he thinks people want to hear, but we'll see what his longterm follow-through is like.

Second, the mom's dispositional plan. I think these are typically settled before the baby has been in care for eight months, but the custody issues with the brother complicated things, I guess, so this was just settled today. The short version is that this is a document that was drawn up months ago detailing the goals the mom would have to meet to get her kid(s) back. The mom officially consented to the plan today. Nothing on it changes but now she agrees that she must complete the items on it if she wants custody.

Third, the grandma's petition. She has officially withdrawn her custody bid for our baby for now. Her life has gotten more complicated in the last few months and she realized it 's better for her to focus on finding stable housing for herself and to resolve the custody stuff going on with the baby's brother before refiling the petition for her granddaughter. This is actually really self-aware and mature of her, and it means we don't have to go to trial so that's convenient for me.

So to summarize court: nothing changes for us. No surprise there.

It's been really trying for me to know that the dad could really file for custody at any minute. That uncertainty is especially rough when he does this pseudo-involvement. If he keeps up the regular visits and does the few things the county asks, he could get her back without much fuss, and that's his right. I do think that children belong with their families of origin when that's safe, and I think it's possible, even probable, that her dad could keep her mostly safe. But it gets complicated because of my head-over-heels bottom-of-the-deepest-ocean love for this girl, and my resentment that she's not important enough for him to make time for. I want him to want her enough to work really hard for her, and he totally isn't. I know that if I were asked to do anything to keep this kid, I would make it happen, and as quickly as possible. It's hard to convince myself that it would be in her best interest to leave us for him, even at the same time that I recognize I'm being selfish.

I've had three coworkers ask this week, super casual-like, some version of,"So do you still have that baby?" like it's no big thing if I don't. When I confirm that we do, they usually follow with some question about if that means we're adopting her. I know they don't know what they're talking about, but it's hard to explain quickly and politey over and over that we're nowhere near knowing about that.

I have no cohesive warp-up. I love my delightful perfect daughter and life with her is awesome and at the same time life as a foster parent is really hard, but not really hard the way I expected. The end.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

On daycare

I really like having my kid in daycare. This is partly because I have a job so I don't have much choice, and partly because I’m a raging extrovert who gets really weird without grownup interaction. I know my limitations, and I don’t think being a stay-at-home parent would be a great fit for me.  My sister and I have been having conversations lately about in-home daycare vs. center-style, and I think there are a lot of benefits to either. (In our county, in-home daycares must be certified, and can choose to work directly through the county to accept foster kids, so we got a list of daycares, both in-home and center, to pick from in our area when we got certified to foster. Our kid goes to a branch of a center-style daycare about a mile from our house.)

All of that said, there are a few things that routinely bug me about our daughter’s daycare:

1. At least once a week, I have to hunt for her pacifier before we can head home. She has a pacifier clip. She enters the building with it clipped to her shirt every morning. Unless they’re changing her clothes (see next item) I don’t have any idea why they’d have to unclip it and leave it, say, on the bookcase, or draped over the arm of the bouncy zebra toy. I’m not in love with the baby being as attached to her pacifier as she is, but that’s our choice, not the daycare’s, and I don’t like having to hunt for it. Especially because I don’t usually notice it’s missing until she’s buckled into her carseat, so I have to unbuckle her, haul her back inside, and find a small item in a large room.

2. Lately, our girl has been resistant to wearing a bib at daycare. This is interesting, since she has never fussed about or pulled at a bib at home, with the very rare exception of when putting the bib on slows down the process of getting food into her face. Anyway, in the last week or so, the daycare has just let her eat without one. We do baby-led solids, which means our almost-nine-month-old gets a lot of chunks of fruits and veggies. So regardless of what she’s wearing, they let her eat peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, green beans, whatever, without a bib. And then afterwards, after there’s a bunch of organic matter smushed into her clothes, they just change her into one of the backup outfits from her cubby. And stick the messy clothes into a grocery bag, tied shut. For me to deal with, up to eight hours later. This has meant a huge increase in the amount of Oxyclean I have to use on her clothes, which sucks because the baby has eczema and I try not to use synthetic shit on her clothes (and I haven’t been able to find a natural stain remover yet), and a doubling of the amount of clothes I have to wash for her every week. But I haven’t said anything, because I can’t tell if this is the battle I really want to pick. Maybe I should get a few thrift-store shirts in a bigger size for them to throw on like a smock?

3. This is the biggie. The usual lady who runs the baby room is on vacation this week, which coincides with the start of a new baby. Yesterday, I dropped our girl off to the usual backup lady, who we know and are comfortable with. The new baby was on the floor with a woman who I assumed was her mom. NOPE. It’s a new employee, who made very limited awkward small talk with me but who didn’t bother to even INTRODUCE HERSELF in the ten minutes I was there. She was there when Andy picked the baby up, and introduced herself to him, but no one at the daycare mentioned the baby would be with a new person (which, hi, attachment issues mixed with visits in the last few weeks, would have been fucking cool to have been notified of) and that she would be in charge of my kid. What the hell, daycare?

It feels weird telling people what to do, especially for someone who curses a lot but is painfully polite in real life, and it’s even weirder when you’re telling them to do something totally different from how everyone else does it. Explaining baby-led solids to the usual lady was not fun for me, nor was the conversation a few weeks ago where I realized they aren’t feeding her like we do (i.e., bottle of three or four ounces of formula plus three or four ounces of solids equals a meal – they’d been giving her small bottles at mealtimes and solids separately), especially when I called yesterday about the visit and they were doing it “their way” again.

What do you all think? Are these minor issues that I should just let go, knowing my kid’s well cared for and happy, even if it’s not the way I’d do it? Is slight adjustment part and parcel of having your kid in someone else’s care all day? Or do I speak up? Should I talk to the director about the food thing, or about the not-introducing-herself thing? What would you do?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've missed you, Internet.

I'm typing this on my husband's iPad, which is weird to type on, but my laptop is telling me it can't find my operating system, so that's fun.

Since I last posted:
- We went camping. I'd link to old posts on that subject but I don't know how on this thing so you'll just have to search for them the old-fashioned way. It was exactly as stupid as I expected it to be, with the added bonus of the part where I managed to get stung by a goddamn bee on my goddamn INNER THIGH and spent four hours walking around like Yosemite Sam. (The bee flew between me and a chair I was in the process of sitting in. It wasn't to do with any sexy anything, because camping.) Also, I was the only person the whole time to get stung, and also the only person there who hated camping. Not funny, nature.
- I took advantage of the fact that we were living in the woods for three days to switch to a natural deodorant, because who the fuck cares what you smell like when you're living in the woods? It worked okay, but not terrific, so I finally gave in and embraced the crazy and this evening I made my own deodorant out of arrowroot powder, coconut oil, baking soda, and tea tree, lavender, and bergamot essential oils. I bought the arrowroot from the public market yesterday and the dude asked what I was using it for and I almost lied because I realize how crazy this shit is. He did tell me I was the first person he'd ever have buy it for that purpose. I'll let you know how it works.
- The baby cut her first two teeth, finally, at just over eight months old.
- The new teeth plus eating some acidic foods (ratatouille and pineapple) combined to give the poor kid some fucking awful diaper rash. Every time she poops she sobs. Heartbreaking. We've been doing a lot of naked time (actually, she usually has a shirt on to clip her pacifier to) and we bought extra Burt's Bees diaper rash cream.
- The baby had been visiting with her dad, who had been showing up late or not at all, even though he has to call the morning of the visit to confirm that he's coming. Last week he called to confirm and then didn't show, so starting this week if he wants to see his daughter (my brain just corrected that to "if he wants to see MY daughter"), he has to be in the visitation center an hour and fifteen minutes before the visit starts. If he's not, they call and cancel the baby's transportation. We'll see how he does. I'm really curious to see if he can make it work, because he has literally never been on time to anything I've attended.
- My sister, who is awesome, and her husband sent me and Andy a rosebush to plant in memory of the baby we lost. People have been overwhelmingly kind to us and we're very grateful. This has been especially difficult because I don't know if I mentioned this but said awesome sister is pregnant. Our due dates were five days apart. We were fucking psyched about this, so it was a huge blow to both families when we lost our pregnancy. Thankfully, everything looks really healthy on her end and I can be really happy for her while still grieving our loss. For no particular reason, I think she's having a boy and am psyched to find out in a few weeks if I'm right. I suggested Rachael as a middle name for this baby, regardless of sex, since it worked so well for their first kid (who is my goddaughter and whose middle name is Rachael, duh).
- Andy and I are doing pretty well and are starting to talk about trying to knock me up again. The trying is the fun part, after all, and we know there was nothing we could have done differently last time to change that outcome. We'll chat with my doctors about this at a checkup I have later this week.

As always after I take a short blogging break, this got way longer than I expected, especially because I keep trying to rest my fingers on the iPad keyboard and typing gibberish that I then have to erase. Hope you all are doing fucking fantastically well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Slowly returning to life

This is going to be brief: We're doing moderate-to-okay, mostly. Some days are rough, some days are fine. Our friends and family have been heroes and very thoughtful and kind, which helps.

Our foster daughter had another visit with her dad, and the worker indicated that she thinks he's going to start stepping up, which means I've been freaking out about losing her too. The worker reminded me that saying isn't doing, but hey, it's something to worry about and we all know I'm good at that.

We're taking a long weekend this weekend and surrounding ourselves with people who love us, so that should be good.

How y'all doing?

Monday, August 6, 2012


We lost the pregnancy.

It sucks about as much as you probably imagine, plus a little extra.

I'll spare you details, but it sucks to be me, mentally and physically, right now. I'm working on being kind to myself and on letting people do things for me (which I'm not terribly good at). I hope to be back in fighting shape soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Yesterday we had court, and the very brief summary is that nothing has changed.

The longer version goes like this: Last time we had court they set yesterday as the date for two custody hearings, one for our girl and one for her four-year-old brother. There was some back-and-forth with the brother's case, and since the parties can't all agree on what the outcome should be, the judge set a custody trial for the brother for early September. Then we turned to our baby's case: same outcome - the parties don't agree, so we go to custody trial in early September.

The grandma has filed for custody. The mom supports placement of the baby with the grandma. The dad supports temporary placement of the baby with the grandma, so, in his lawyer's words, she's with family instead of with strangers (i.e., us, the people who have raised her), and eventually the dad plans to get custody himself, even though he hasn't filed for custody in the last six months and he's not even a respondent on the case. The county doesn't support the baby going to the grandma, and even if the dad's home is ready for a baby (as his lawyer asserts) the county still has some other stuff they want him to do. Since there's no agreement, we go to trial, where the judge will hear all the parties' sides regarding our baby.

I spoke with the county attorney after the hearing and she said that as far as the county's concerned the baby will be with us for a while yet. They'll still give everyone every opportunity to do what they need to do to get this baby back, but even if the dad does every single thing he can in the next month, they won't just hand the baby over at the next court date. Speaking of which: he could have had visits both yesterday and today, but didn't call to confirm. So that's fun.

The most interesting moment came after the hearing. I have a terrible cold, and I had to blow my nose a few times during the hearing because the cold medicine I can take didn't do shit. As we were all getting up to leave, the baby's dad came over to see if I was okay, because he thought I was crying. Now, I know this dude to be a manipulative guy. I know that he is a charmer to get people to trust him. I just can't figure out what he was trying to gain there. I was so taken aback that I actually laughed out loud - and then I remembered that I want to be involved in this baby's life even if she ends up with him, so it's in my best interest to have him think I like and trust him, so I said, very politely, that no, I had a cold, but that it was very sweet of him to ask.

So we get at least another month with this awesome baby, and have just as much of a guess as to where she'll end up as we did the day she arrived.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Visit and WIC and Olympics

On Wednesday, the worker called me and asked if I was sitting down. Naturally, I assumed that something terrible had happened, which was only partly true: The baby's dad had called her to tell her he wanted a visit. He assured her that he had the empty tubes to prove he'd been treated and that he had treated his house and everything.

Complication: I shouldn't use the treatment cream now, because I'm pregnant. So if the baby gets reinfected, we all get reinfected and my unborn baby is at risk. This is not okay. The worker went through the entire checklist with the dad twice, and he solemnly assured her that he had done everything he needed to do. The worker has had it independently confirmed that his house has been at least minimally cleaned, because it looks like he's getting custody of his other two kids, but the worker is required to take his word for it. Ugh. So she had to let the visit happen. Naturally, since the baby hasn't seen him since March, she had no clue who he was and cried so hard she barfed up half of her bottle, so that's fun to hear. Our solution for dealing with reinfection is that Andy has been 100% in charge of the baby's care since Wednesday. This has sucked a little for all of us, because I can't even snuggle my baby, and because I'm pretty sure Andy thinks it's somehow way more work when he does it than when I do it, and because the baby's fussing for me a lot. Cool. If she makes it till tomorrow without any symptoms of a reinfection, we'll say she's okay, but I don't want to take a chance.

Also, this is the second thing the dad's showed up for this month, which is kind of amazing. The worker said he seemed sort of intent on "getting all [his] kids" and is still talking about moving to a very small suburban town. The worker did remind me, however, that since the dad hasn't been around we have no idea how long he's been "planning" this move, and that he could have been talking about this since February, in which case yeah right it's probably not real. I have a really hard time not jumping to conclusions, of course, so I'm worried that this dude who has never raised a baby and who lives with his mom is suddenly going to be living in the middle of nowhere with no support system and his older kids (both of whom I've been told are a handful) and a baby who doesn't know him, and that he'll be too proud to ask for help.

On a positive note: We changed WIC offices and it was like a different world. The people we dealt with were efficient and helpful and made me an appointment two months out instead of in three weeks like the old place always tried to do. They even offered to cancel my standing appointment with the old place. By the time we were done, I had had them switch me in the computer to make their office my main one and have my records transferred. They also told me that our old office managed to lose their own blueprints during their recent remodel, so that was fun.

So now it's Friday and the Olympics start today and I'm totally excited, unironically. I'm planning to watch as much as I can and to knit the whole time. My goal is actually to make a dent in the sweater I started for my mom for Christmas, and to finish the little lovey blanket I'm knitting for my three-month-old niece. We'll see how that goes with a seven-month-old who has recently discovered that she's self-propelled.

Foster parents: how do you deal with visits? Are they rough for you, or are you used to them? Non-foster-parents: Are you geeking out about the Olympics? Any favorites?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Busy weekend!

We went to my coworker's wedding on Friday night. It was really lovely - it was actually my first gay wedding and I honestly teared up during the vows, happy that my friend and her wife are finally treated like human beings by my state - and I've never seen my coworker so happy. The ceremony itself was sweet. My friend's wife actually giggled with joy at one point! She was just so full of happiness that it just bubbled out of her. The wedding was at a really awesome art gallery that also rents out studio space and there are one million things to look at all the time. We left way early, around 9:30, because it turns out dancing under a spinny flashy light thing made me really dizzy and sort of nauseous.

Then on Saturday we had another wedding to attend! This one was for one of my good friends from high school, and we got to sit with a crowd of our other friends from high school (Andy and I didn't attend the same school, actually, but his band played with my friends' bands so he got to know my friends pretty well). It was very awesome to catch up with all of them and everything about the evening was lovely. I had managed to squeeze in a nap so we stayed out till all of 11:30! Pretty wild.

Two of my good friends happen to be in town from their respective cities - Boston and New York - so yesterday we had breakfast with one of them and dinner with the other. We had a great time hanging out and eating delicious stuff.

So now, I'm beat! The baby has recently discovered her ability to scooch, which she is doing enthusiastically, so it's taking even more of my energy to keep her entertained and safe. Looks like this is the week our house will finally get babyproofed!

How was your weekend, internet?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh look, a post!

Dudes, I used to post on this blog five days a week. I seriously wish I was motivated to post more often, but damn, sometimes (most times) other shit seems more important. Even if the other shit is taking ten minutes to stare into space.

We had another home visit today (we have one every month) and the worker reports no changes. At my request, she's sending letters to everyone who's supposed to have visits to tell them they need to confirm the visits the day before instead of the day of, so I can tell the daycare when I drop the baby off instead of interrupting work to have to call them. The worker's pretty accommodating about stuff like that, plus also no one has called to confirm a visit in months so it's not like we're asking a lot.

As always in the summer, we have one million things to do all the time. We have a wedding to attend this Friday and then another on Saturday, which will be cool except that I get tired pretty easily and I'm not drinking (except the champagne toast, because I love champagne and I'm going to pretend I'm European for a few minutes). In other pregnancy news, we've decided to opt out of the first trimester screen, because I worry enough as it is and the tests only catch 80% of the defects they're looking for, so I wouldn't really trust the results on that matter, and also something like 10% of the positives are false anyway, so there's that. We know we wouldn't terminate a pregnancy based on those results, so why bother getting the test?

Our foster daughter is thriving and is enjoying the hell out of solids. In one sitting today she ate a whole banana, two slices of peach in one of those mesh teether things, and four big chunks of watermelon. Then she pounded four ounces of formula.

What's up with you, internet?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Words that need to go away immediately.

- Totes.

- Awesomesauce. (Literally no one has ever sounded cool saying this. No, you didn't. Really.)

- Amazeballs. (See above. This isn't funny or clever. It's just awful and always has been. Stop using it, and stop allowing it to be said in your presence.)

What would you add to the list?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Case plan review

So today we had the second case plan review for our foster daughter. This is where, in theory, the social worker sits down with the parents and goes over the case plan that lists the goals they need to meet to regain or maintain custody of their child or children. Last time we had one of these, neither parent showed up, and today only the dad did and he came 40 minutes late.
So we got to chat with the worker and the very nice independent moderator and ask questions and stuff. They did ask us to confirm, again, that yes, we’d adopt the baby if the parents surrendered their rights or had them terminated. They went over the items that the court requires for each parent to complete before the child could be placed with said parent. They discussed whether any progress had been made since the last Case Plan Review (no, not really) and what new updates there were on the case (grandma has filed for custody of the baby, which neither the county nor the dad support; mom has missed two appointments for a particular evaluation and the facility won’t make another for her for six months because of it).
Then the dad showed up and had a long list of reasons about why he hasn’t seen his daughter since March 27 and told us all about how busy he is. He says he’s currently planning to move to a very small town about forty minutes away, to get away from the drama caused by both of his baby mamas. I’m really hoping that he doesn't mean it, because housing is a big part of the county’s reason for not returning the baby to him. However, the dad has told me several things that have never materialized (regarding visits and his housing situation) so I’m trying hard to see this through that lens.
He told the worker that he had missed the baby’s doctor’s appointments and a court appearance because the baby’s mom had been messing with his mail. The worker reminded him that she had also left him many voicemails and that he had been present when they set the date of the court appearance, but politely asked if there was a better address to use so she couldn’t mess with it. He said he’d look into getting a P.O. Box. 

The baby was SO EXCITED to see me when I walked into daycare and it made me really happy because I felt the same way.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What it's like so far

We've told our families and close friends, so now I can talk about being pregnant on the internet without fear, right? Isn't that how that works?

So far, here's how it's going:
1. No morning sickness yet - but I fully expect it to knock me out, because I'm a sissy.
2. All I want to eat is fruit. All the time. I ate TWO QUARTS of cherries in three days. And twice now I've managed to eat an entire (large) watermelon by myself in three or four days. Other food sounds okay until it's in front of me, and then I don't really want it. This is especially true for protein.
3. I have to pee all the time. On average, I pee about five times during an eight-hour work day. This is directly related to:
4. I'm always really thirsty. I drink water with lime constantly. Soda is not as appealing as it usually is. (This will not stop me from drinking the twelve-pack of caffeine-free Coke Andy bought me.)
5. My boobs hurt. A lot. Like they're giant bruises. The baby headbutted me the other day and it made my eyes water it hurt so bad.
6. Minor things become a huge irritation. My WIC appointment last week was so frustrating I wanted to cry. Yesterday Andy's sister and her boyfriend (who are in town for the 4th) dropped by unannounced during what should have been naptime, and I tried hinting that yes, the baby would go down better if they headed out, and when hinting didn't work I was ... less than polite. Which then caused an argument with Andy, who had stopped on his way home to get me roses and a watermelon (See No. 2) and the caffeine-free Coke and some ice cream, just to be awesome. So then I felt like a dick, which made me cry. Often, for like an hour at a time, I feel like I'm having the worst PMS of my life. And knowing I'm being unreasonable, which used to help me snap out of it, is not helpful at all.
7. I get these weird little flashes of anxiety, like I just remembered that I have to be the person to tell someone terrible news. Then I remember that the news is actually really awesome and the moment passes.

So that's what's up in my uterus this week.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun day!

Andy's birthday was a few weeks ago. I finally figured out what to do for his birthday this year, and I have to say it was a huge success! We had a date day!

We both took the day off today, and the baby still went to daycare. Andy and I started with breakfast at a diner around the corner (the garden omelet, no peppers, for me; steak and eggs for Andy). Then we played a round of mini-golf. Andy was WAY better than I am, but I laughed until I cried two different times and also I got two holes-in-one (to Andy's zero, I might add), so all told I call that a success.

Then we went to see The Avengers! It's the first time we've gone to the movies in about six months. I didn't know much about the movie before we arrived, but it turns out I'm enough of a dork that I've seen most of the necessary backstory movies so I followed it pretty easily. We used to go to the movies all the time (we usually went to our awesome second-run theater) so it was nice to get a chance to do that again.

After the movie, since we were right near the fancy mall anyway, we went shopping for a bit. We lucked into bonus-forty-percent-off-sale-price-day at the Gap! Then we finished up with some mocha-coconut frappucinos before we picked the baby up from daycare.

It was really nice to have a day just enjoying each other's company without worrying about leaving the baby with a sitter or taking her with us and having both of us spend more energy on her than ourselves. I think this might become a regular occurrence!

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a go.

Dudes? I'm knocked up.

Pee test confirmed it. Doing blood work tomorrow. So far we haven't even told our families (except my sister, who knew we were trying) so no one call my mom and steal our thunder.

Remember last year when I first told you all about becoming foster parents, and promised I wouldn't make this blog a "family-friendly love-fest"? I still cuss a lot, but I definitely talk WAY more about parenting than things that will always piss me off or my thoughts on pajamas or the general weirdness of strangers.

I just reread a bunch of stuff I wrote, and I liked it. When I'm awake enough, I'm going to try to start incorporating more of that shit, because I do in fact have a personality outside of mothering.

So, you know, hooray! I'll keep you updated!

Friday, June 22, 2012

On wanting certainty

So Mary over at Noah Baby Blog wrote a really interesting post yesterday, about how she's always been pro-fostering and pro-adoption but that it hasn't stopped her from wanting to get pregnant and give birth. And I commented, because I totally get that.

When we started this whole foster care thing last year, I didn't know if I ever wanted to get pregnant. But I can tell you that in the last five months, since this perfect baby girl arrived, I've realized I want to get knocked up and have a baby. I've realized part of why this is: I WANT THE CERTAINTY. I don't want to have that heart-wrenching up-and-down mess that comes with fostering and, often, with adoptive placements falling through. I don't want to have to wonder where my baby will be in a year.

We had court on Wednesday, and there's still no certainty about where this baby will be growing up. The grandma has filed for custody, but the county and the dad don't support that. The dad told the worker that he doesn't want the baby to be adopted (but didn't say why), so it looks like they'll have to eventually terminate his rights or place the baby with him - and the longer this gets dragged out, the more likely placement looks, because he currently has two older kids living with him and the biggest argument keeping this baby out of there is her age. I hate that I can only plan our lives together in little tiny chunks. And I know that giving birth to a child doesn't come with any guarantees of certainty, of course, but at least I won't have to run everything by a social worker and other, "real" parents.

I want to parent this baby forever. But that can't be certain, and I want something certain. And here's the cool thing: There's a very not-zero chance that I might be pregnant. (Either it's a yes, or I'll be seeing a doctor about whatever the hell is going on! I'll be testing tomorrow.)

This current baby is obviously my heart's first child. She will always be my daughter. But I'm pretty psyched about making her a big sister. (Re: possible pregnancy: Yeah, I just teared up writing that while the baby's sleeping in my arms. Hormones! Yeah!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, hello there.

How y'all living?

I feel like our lives have been very full lately. We've had plans every weekend for about a month, with no signs of slowing down. There are always one million things to be doing. I feel like I'm forever loading and unloading the dishwasher, but there's also lots of awesome things that we've been up to. I keep realizing, over and over, that this is the baby's first summer, so we've been making time for things like laying on a blanket in the grass and looking at things. We're going to put up her swing in one of the trees in our backyard, which will be very awesome.

The baby is six months old now. Remember back in February when we thought she was leaving? Had her all packed up and everything. Right now, she's not any closer to leaving, but she's also not any closer to staying. It's difficult living constantly in a state of not knowing. It's also weird to be making decisions about caring for the baby - for the very large majority of the time, we treat her as if she were our own, so that means things like me wearing her in a sling instead of pushing her in a stroller, and baby-led solids instead of purees (because I have discovered that I am in fact a weirdo hippie). I wonder how her mom would react to seeing how we're raising her kid. I suppose we'll find out if visits resume any time soon; it's not like the mom has been shy about telling us her concerns!

We have Part Two of court tomorrow, at which the baby's mom is expected to consent to the allegations of neglect. This doesn't change anything about our case; it just means that the mom won't have to go to trial and that the case plan (which has been written for about four months) becomes court-ordered. If she doesn't start complying with the case plan, they'll have grounds (in about a year) to terminate her rights. I'm planning to go to court, because I like the mom and the grandma to see me and know I'm invested.

Do you dudes have any questions about the process or the case? I'll answer if I can.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Court is irritating.

So today was supposed to be our pretrial conference, wherein the court would hear the evidence the county has about the neglect of our baby.

Instead, what happened was this:

1. The baby's mom told the social worker she was ready to consent to the accusations of neglect. [This is an eventual expected outcome anyway but would just speed up the process - and it's a total shift from where the mom was last time at court.]

2. The mom's smarmy, sleazy, scumbag lawyer showed up and took her aside for some whispering.

3. The mom's lawyer, dad's lawyer (who was there without the dad, who didn't show), the baby's brother's dad's lawyer, and the county attorney got called into the courtroom for a while.

4. The rest of us got to go into the courtroom, where they discussed, in total, the visitation issues the brother's dad and the grandma are having. The only mention of our baby was in regards to the skin condition shit, which is still somehow an issue. Oh, and the baby's law guardian spoke up and said that if the judge was going to allow the brother to have visits with his dad before his dad was treated (as a precautionary measure), she was going to ask the court that the sibling visits be stopped, because there is significant concern about exposing a child this young to the poison so many times, and because this baby also has eczema there's additional concern about it getting into her bloodstream. So that part was nice.


6. I sat there going, "What? Wait, what? What just happened? Where are we going?" I talked to the worker later in the day and she told me that the mom's sleazeball lawyer talked the judge into setting ANOTHER hearing date, next Wednesday, and the mom will probably consent then. Likely reason: scumbag lawyer gets paid for a full day every time he makes a court appearance.

So I took half a day off of work to hear them barely even mention the case we were there to hear. Andy had to park ten blocks away and walk to the courthouse in a downpour and arrived just as the judge was adjourning, so all around we feel really fucking awesome about our court experience today.

Next Wednesday will be interesting - the baby has her six-month checkup that morning and now we have court in the afternoon, so there's another personal day down the tube. Cool.

To end on a positive note: we got a quart of perfect fresh strawberries in our CSA share today and it's lovely watching the rain, which is what I'm going to go do.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lazy Sunday

I was going to write a nice post about how we went to the zoo on Friday because the zoo closed early and was only open for foster parents from 6-9, and how we got to hang out with awesome people, and also about how we had an awesome party yesterday to celebrate my brother graduating from college, but instead of writing that post, I'm bumming on the couch with a snoozing baby and being lazy.

To keep you occupied, here's Sarah Von's awesome Web Time Wasters post for this weekend, which contains about one million awesome links. (I particularly want you to focus on this part about pay equality!)

Have an awesome day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CSA bounty!

Yesterday was our first CSA pickup of the season. We got two heads of green-leaf lettuce, three big stalks of rhubarb, a pound of sugar snap peas (Andy's favorite), and a few quarts of apples. We made a huge salad for dinner with one of the heads of lettuce (and added a beefsteak tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and shrimp grilled with pineapple, which was fucking awesome). We've been snacking on the peas all day. I'm planning to make a rhubarb simple syrup, which I will absolutely be using in a Rhubarb Tom Collins.

I don't know what to do with the apples, because we still have most of the eight quarts we picked up a few weeks ago, and I basically only like apples in pies or fritters. I realized years ago that I don't really like eating plain apples, and our CSA provides us with ONE MILLION APPLES. Last season I made applesauce like crazy and a whole lot of apple butter and we still had so many apples around all the time - it's basically impossible to run out of them. I'll make some pies for family parties in the next few weeks, and I think I'll whip up these apple fritter muffins for quick breakfasts for a few days.

The awesome and also really frustrating thing about a CSA membership is that each week is a surprise, so meal planning is a little on-the-fly for me. We also don't know what we'll be getting ahead of time, so, like, strawberries are in season around here but I don't know if this particular farm has enough to fill CSA orders yet, so I don't know if I should buy some elsewhere or not.

Do you have a CSA membership? What the hell should I do with all these apples?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rainy weekend

How is it that a four-day week feels like it took forever? Andy and I both woke up yesterday thinking it was Friday, for some reason, so today just felt like a punishment.

It was 92°here on Monday, and today it's 56° and rainy. (For the record, I prefer 56°and rainy.) 

We have shit planned for tomorrow: Andy's doing a work thing in the morning while I hang out with my mom and help her with her resume, since she found out this week she's getting laid off, which blows, and then in the evening we're doing dinner with Andy's aunt and uncle because they haven't met the baby yet due to living in Florida for half the year. Then Sunday I think we're having my friend's husband, who's a plumber, come take a look at our backyard spigot, which is insisting on spitting water into our basement. (I will pay him in baked goods, as per his request.)

I really like weekends, you guys! 

This has been a boring, pointless post. You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We switched baby formula

Our doctor suggested we try a new formula for the baby, since she was still spitting up after almost every bottle and because her poop was ... not pleasant. (She got poop in her own armpit on Easter.)

My reactions to the new formula, in order:
1. HOLY GOD IN HEAVEN this shit is expensive. So glad the county pays for it.
2. Oh, hey, it's white instead of tan. Maybe I won't have to spray the living hell out of the neckline of everything the baby's ever worn now, because she eats so enthusiastically she drools out the sides of her mouth.
3. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK HOW DOES IT SMELL EVEN WORSE THAN THE OLD STUFF. (If you haven't smelled baby formula lately, I am very seriously jealous. Shit's nasty.)
4. What? Why the hell is the second ingredient corn syrup solids? How the fuck is that a good thing to be giving to a baby in large quantities? THANKS, AMERICA. (And no, the county doesn't cover the similar-but-not-corn-syrup-laden other kind.)

Also, our county gives us the option of getting the powdered formula or the concentrated kind in cans, which is amazing and if I ever have a child I'm responsible for feeding and breastfeeding isn't an option, I'll sell a kidney before going back to the powder. Anyway, my grocery store only keeps, like, six cans of this new shit in stock, but with WIC you have to use the whole check (which for us is 12 cans) in one go, or you lose the rest of it. So we had to drive around to four different grocery stores to find one that stocked enough of this for us to use a full check. That was a nice way to spend several hours.

However. The baby is spitting up WAY less, almost down to none, and her poop stinks way more but is at least staying where poop is supposed to go. Because this is my blog and I can talk about how the baby's poop smells if I want.

Speaking of which: I am holding her while she is napping, and she just pooped in her sleep. I don't want to wake her up to change her, but it's seriously making my eyes water. My life is not exactly what I envisioned it would be, is what I'm saying here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Diagnosis confirmed. Again.


Since I was working from home anyway, I moved up my WIC appointment (that I was so happy to have been able to push back a month) because the pediatricians want us to try a hypoallergenic formula to see if it helps with the baby's spitting up and apparent reflux. So I got to sit in the WIC office with an itchy, fussy baby for an hour. That was cool.

I called and left a message yesterday for the baby's pediatrician to see what power they have to override the dermatologist. The pediatrician and worker agree that the baby is showing the exact same symptoms, etc., and that the dermatologist was probably wrong.

They called back this afternoon and asked me to bring the baby in to see how things were progressing, and to confirm that I was now showing symptoms. The worker met me there (again, because she is seriously busting her ass on this case - I already called her supervisor to praise her). The doctors saw whatever it was that they needed to in order to confirm it. They also called in their head doctor to consult, and she's putting it in writing that visits must be stopped until further notice. This is both a huge relief and another reason for me to worry, because the grandma is not going to take this well and will likely feel like we're trying to keep the baby from her.

Ugh. I've been going nonstop since the baby woke up (early and fussy), and I have nine million more things to do to disinfect the house again. But I'm beat and I haven't used the treatment cream yet, so vacuuming the couches wouldn't be useful if I was planning to sit on them again tonight, so I made brownies (stress baking for the win!) and am having a Pimm's Cup and am catching up with my Google Reader.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Well, the baby had a visit

with her grandma on Friday.

And Friday night she was really squirmy. Like she was when she was infected. I made Andy come in from another room to confirm it.

Saturday morning we saw telltale spots.

On Sunday we noted that they were worse. And the poor kid was off all weekend - in a cheerful mood then suddenly inconsolable. We tried to tell ourselves maybe she was teething, but the fussiness is the only sign of that, and it matches how she was when she was infected.

Yesterday I took the day off to take her to the doctor. The dermatologist who finally diagnosed her correctly told me he wanted her to be seen by his facility (even though I only trust him there) if she was symptomatic again, so I called them and got the run-around for three hours, and then when I was sort of a pushy bitch (which I HATE doing) they fit us in in the afternoon. With one of the doctors who misdiagnosed her.

Guess what she said.

It's not the skin condition. Even though it looks the same as it did the last three times. Even though Dr. Idiot agreed that it was the skin condition the first time, when it looked just like this. Even though it cleared up immediately after using the prescription all three times (Dr. Idiot: Oh, the cream's a moisturizer. Me, incredulous: I lotion the child twice a day. Dr. Idiot: Oh, okay. [long pause]). When pressed for some sort of diagnosis, she said maybe it's related to the baby's eczema. Which we have almost completely eradicated. And even though it only shows up immediately after a visit. The worker attended the visit with me, and agrees that the doctor is incompetent, but doesn't know what we can do because they are just about the only dermatologists in our county who take Medicaid.

So we didn't get treated, and naturally the baby is miserable. My plan is to wait until Andy and I are showing symptoms and then insist on being seen by the doctor who diagnosed her, or to just say "fuck it" and take the baby to our doctor and pay out of pocket for her. Because this is ridiculous. (I'm really grateful to be able to work from home for a few days while this is getting sorted out, because I'm not infecting the other kids at the baby's daycare on Dr. Idiot's word.)

Oh, and the worker told me that the grandma's planning to file for custody. It's really unlikely that she'll be successful, since the county isn't even trying to place the kid there at all right now, but still. Did we really need another complication here? Christ.

I'm fucking discouraged right now, you guys. I just want to help this baby, who I love like my own, and the goddamn red tape is making that really fucking hard.

P.S. I was going to go through and hyperlink to all the shit about her appointments and misdiagnoses and shit, but I'm fucking tired from trying to work from home while holding an uncomfortable baby who also wanted to help me type. So, you know, check the archives (try the "gross gross gross" tag) and sorry I'm not bothering.