Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
PLEASE SEND YOUR OWN LETTERS TO:
Honorable William J. Condon
Supreme Court, Suffolk County
210 Center Drive
Riverhead, NY 11901
I'D LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK AND SUPPORT... LET'S SHOW HIM HOW STRONG OUR VOICES ARE. LEAVE COMMENTS AND I WILL SEND THEM ALONG WITH MY LETTER. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR REAL NAME AND ADDRESS.
Dear Judge William J. Condon,
I was a classmate of Lindsay Soyka's for kindergarten through twelfth grade, and I am a resident of East Hampton. I have heard that in the accident involving Mrs Soyka and Charlotte Depersia, who was driving drunk at the time, you plan to sentence her to community service and probation, with a promise of no jail time. As a citizen of Suffolk County, I have to say that I am extremely disappointed.
I am a mother of a 3 year old and a survivor of a car accident that almost left me paralyzed, and to think that this three time offender may be free to drink while intoxicated again and again in the future sickens me. I don't want to drive on these streets with my daughter in the car, knowing that she walked virtually free and clear after the injuries she caused, and that the next time she crashes while drunk, it may be fatal... and it may be me.
Please penalize her to the full extent of the law. Please show her and everyone else, that DUI is taken seriously here. That our community IS a safe place to raise our children, and that a blatant disregard for others and for the law won't be tolerated.
We are counting on you to do the right thing and make sure this never happens again.
I have asked my community to send you letters with their own words, but those unable to, will leave their words and contact info here and I will send it with my own letter. Please hear the strong voices of our community and know that we take this very seriously. Our lives are at stake.
Springs, East Hampton, NY
|The Alison Family, March 2010|
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
For Lilian's 2nd birthday, we wanted to get her a fish... her OWN pet. She just loves watching fish, and she's very good about remembering to feed him (and Missy is even BETTER at remembering, in case Peanut forgets). At a science museum in Lancaster, PA on August 13, 2010, Missy and Brontis picked out a "Fish in Space" fish bowl. Spock was added to our family a few weeks later.
|Lilian in Petco picking out a fish. 9/7/10|
|The plastic "take out" cup that Spock used to call home.|
|Spock moves into his new home... Lilian is equally thrilled!|
We moved in late October/early November 2010 and Spock stayed at my sister-in-law's house for a few weeks while we settled in. When we moved him here (a 45+ minute car ride) he wasn't looking so good. For a week, we almost thought we were going to lose him, he was lethargic and couldn't really stay upright. Missy did some research and took really good care of him, and within a week or two he was back to his normal, awesome self! Now Spock lives on an awesome vintage painted-red tiny dresser (that we found in the basement of our new house) and Missy and Lily take really good care of him. It's almost a year since we got him, so we thought it was only right to throw him a birthday party like we do for everyone else in our house (dogs included).
|Spock's birthday "party"|
|Cupcakes in underwater/worms/sharks theme.|
|Spock's birthday banner, drawn by Brontis!|
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I don't know about you, but as a blogger I read a lot of gorgeous blogs by supermamas. And they really are supermamas with absolutely no pretense, doing an amazing job raising, loving, and (or maybe not) homeschooling their kids. It can make a mom feel less than adequate. Let's review.
Erin Wallace is a former pediatrician turned SAHM of four children ranging in age from 4 to 18. She started writing Dropped Stitches in 2008 as a knitting blog, but it's since evolved into a blog about life, family, mothering, cooking, faith, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy. She can bake a mean apple pie, wishes Rachael Ashwell would design her house (for free), and wishes she could sing like Chaka Khan.
"You Are a Good Mother", originally posted March 22, 2011. All words are photos were submitted to me by her and remain her property.
Check out Erin's blog, Dropped Stitches.
And... vote for me here, please! <3
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So, before we moved into our new house, we came to dropr some stuff off and clean a little. Lilian and I were playing in the backyard, and I found a box turtle. (See photo below with Lilian in the pink shirt... that's from 10/7/10). Our landlady was outside and she told us that he'd been here for years and years, and her BFF (who owned our house before she died), always worried about him. We named him The Situation, because of his rock hard shell.
Over the winter, I often thought about him. Wondered if he was OK. If he was lonely. See, our backyard is fenced in (to keep dogs in, and deer out). So he has been confined to our wooded yard for probably 5-10+ years. He can't go out and explore, nor can other turtles come in. I thought about freeing him, but decided against it, what if he loves it here and has a home. I decided to just leave him as is.
Well, this morning, The Situation made his second appearance in our "dog run" (a smaller area we fenced in against the house, so our chihuahuas don't go and get lost in the ivy and thick woods of our yard). Missy found him and brought him inside to say hi to Lily and me. I was actually pretty happy to see him. We decided to put some apple pieces outside for him. (Two other photos below are from this morning, Missy took them with her iPhone before freeing him).
But when she went out the back door to free him... who was there waiting for him but a slightly smaller box turtle! (A wife?) We liberated them both over the dog fence, into the large part of our yard. (The female then proceeded to bury herself in dirt/sand... we have no idea why. Maybe she was scared?)
But my summer instantly got a lot better. I no longer have to worry if The Situation is lonely, he has a friend! (Who I will call Snookie, due to the large BUMP she has on top). Maybe they aren't mates, I'm not sure of their gender, or maybe they are parent & child. Maybe they're even strangers and they just met for the first time. A backyard can be pretty big when you're an eight inch turtle. But I'm genuinely relieved and thrilled to know that The Situation isn't alone out there in our wooded abyss.
Sadly, when we found Turtle 2.0, we didn't take a photo. But I hope one day they emerge again, and I can take photos of our happy turtle neighbors.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I grew up in a northern New Jersey suburb of New York City, on a cul-de-sac block named after a fireman from our town. My parents (and therefore I) knew every neighbor on our block. First and last names, kids, religions, professions, and pets. As a kid I got hand-me-down Halloween costumes, books, and games from the girl about 10 years older than me that lived next store (her name was Mandy). I remember when the little girls across the street, Jennifer and Jessica, were born (they were about 10 and 12 years younger than me), and when my own daughter was born (twenty years later), their parents sent me a baby gift via my mom. A guy from my grade lived on my block, Chris, and he always walked his black fluffy dog past my house after school while I sat by the window and had a snack in the kitchen. One night the house at the crown of the cul-de-sac burnt down, and the entire block came outside and stood together in the street and watched the firemen put it out. When it was time for Girl Scout cookies or other fundraisers like that, my mom felt safe sending us out on our block... she knew everyone! I remember as a kid the neighbors on either side of us had teenage daughters, and they both babysat for me. And then when I was a teenager, and the block had "turned over" some, I babysat for some our our neighbors: Michael & Jason, Rachel & her little brother, etc. It was a community.
But as an adult, I have lived in several different cities and states. Apartments and condos and houses. I've both rented and owned. And in the past 11 years post-college, I don't think I have known more than one neighbor's name per address. In New York City, people just turn all twelve deadbolts with their keys, heads down, and hurry out of the building. In Hoboken, a knock on your door meant that a neighbor wanted to complain TO you or ABOUT you. And in our last house, we waved to some of the neighbors and shouted "hello" over 6 foot fences, but never were introduced. And we moved into our current house in November, and on Halloween we went trick-or-treating with Lilian and introduced ourselves to our next-door-neighbors on one side (with Lilian in the cutest Nemo suit ever) and were met with complete disinterest. She didn't even tell me her name in response.
I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere nowadays, but I know that it has only been my experience. And it's sad to think that Lilian won't experience that same feeling of community that my brother and I had when we were kids.
One company thought that they should do something about this...
WhitePages.com is announcing WhitePages Neighbors, a new free Block Party organizer and contact lookup product to help find the names and contact information for neighbors to promote neighborhood spirit, community partnerships and local safety. Despite the fact that most American adults who have neighbors (93%) say it’s important for neighbors to look out for each other’s safety, a new survey conducted online in June 2011 by Harris Interactive on behalf of WhitePages found that more of them can identify most of their neighbors’ cars (47%) than most of their neighbors’ first names (41%) and that more of them (27%) know most of their neighbors’ pets more than most of their neighbors’ kids (24%). National Night Out is coming up on August 2nd, which 37 million People participated in last year. In partnership with National Night Out, we’d like to help people plan even more block parties this year to help neighbors get to know each other (organize Neighborhood Watch programs, plan block parties, organize play dates, organize garage sales).
The new Whitepages Neighbors product offers an aerial map of U.S. household contact information, including first and last name, mailing address, associated household members, and phone number to help neighbors more effectively get in touch. Going beyond making it easy to look up neighbors’ names and contact information, WhitePages has partnered with the National Night Out (NNO) to make it easy to plan a Block Party within a few clicks without having to worry about tracking down neighbor’s names and contact information by sending personalized postcard invites via the U.S. Postal Service for free. "If you look at the 1940s and the 1950s, neighborhoods were safer places because people knew each other. Neighborhoods today are not as tightly knit as they used to be, even with Facebook and other social media tools at their disposal,” said Matt Peskin, Executive Director, National Association of Town Watch and creator of National Night Out. With the survey discovering that 34% of American adults who have neighbors do not feel comfortable asking their neighbors to keep an eye on their home when they go away, WhitePages and NNO hope people will use “Neighbors” Block Party invites to foster relationships that lead to effective neighborhood watch initiatives that promote local safety.
Try it out here: http://neighbors.whitepages.com/
For those concerned about privacy, you can log on and DELETE/edit/customize the information about yourself you'd like shown! But for starters, whatever info has been gathered about you and your family will be publically viewable.
Watch the Video to SEE how it all works!
The White Pages Neighbors home page looks like this...
And this is what the (real paper) postcard will look like that will be sent (for free!) to all your neighbors when you host a block party!
And to get everyone excited and ready for summer BBQs and block parties, Lil Family Blog is hosting a $100 cash giveaway to put towards summertime fun! (See disclosures and rules below for details).
* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry each day. You can do this once a day.)
* Leave a comment on any OTHER non-giveaway blog post. (You can do this once a day also).
* Click on the black Swagbucks button on the right and sign up as my referral. (Will be verified on the Swagbucks site).
* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries. You must link me to your webpage where I can see the button.
* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.
* Share this contest on Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).
* Add me to your blogroll/blog list on your site. (Again, link me to your site where I can see it.)
* Tweet about this! Post THIS on Twitter: " Visit Lil Family Blog for a chance to win $100 from WhitePages Neighbors. @dana_rubyfruit http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/07/wont-you-be-my-neighbor-win-100-cash.html " (You can do this once a day and get an additional entry every day).
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).
RULES: This contest will end on July 23, 2011 at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. If the winner does not provide an email address and/or does not contact me within 48 hours of the winner announcement on the blog, a new winner will be chosen. Winner must have a U.S.A. address where the prize will be shipped. The prize will be shipped directly from WhitePages to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print. The prize will be in the form of a prepaid Visa card for $100. I cannot be responsible for unreceived, lost, broken, defective, or otherwise "bad" items.
All info about White Pages Neighbors was provided by them. I was not compensated in any way for this post, with the exception of the $100 gift to be given to a blog reader. Any facts and information provided to me has not been verified or checked by me and is not necessarily my opinion.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Today, I did something pretty massively life-impacting. I asked my mother for my adoption papers/info. I don't know exactly what she has, because I never wanted to see. She offered me info and to answer all my questions numrerous times since I was 16 or so, but I always declined. Once, when I was about 22, I asked for a few minor details after her really pushing the topic... and got about 5 facts. But because she has offered up this info on so many occasions, I feel like she has something more than minor details. And even if she doesn't, with the official paperwork, I can search for health records and other vital statistic stuff. The need to know my medical history (for more than one reason actually) sparked this thought process, but its not like I haven't been curious for about 25 years! I guess I just never wanted to open that Pandora's box... who the hell needs more drama? I'm a pussy, so I emailed it to her, not called her. When the package comes in the mail, I'm not sure if I'll even open it. Maybe just having it will be enough for now. I'm not planning any family reunions, hell no. But I'd like some facts, and health records, knowledge of siblings existance, maybe photos or physical descriptions, etc. No meetings, NO phone calls, no emails, etc. Maybe there won't even be anyone to call. But after nearly 28 years, I finally feel like maybe its time to stop wondering. So, now I hold my breath as I await my mother's return email. I emailed her this: "Hey, mom. I feel weird asking this, but I probably shouldn't because I'm pretty sure you've volunteered this to me on several occasions, but I never really had a reason to care. I'd like you to mail me copies of all my personal papers, including adoption papers and any info & paperwork you have, medical records, etc. I have a few reasons for wanting to know family medical history stuff, and even if you don't have it, I can probably get/find it with a little more info. (And I don't have cancer or any weird illnesses or need a kidney or anything... nothing like that. And I'm not planning any family "reunions" either. I just want to know for myself.) Thanks in advance. (Please email me back to let me know you received this.) Oh, and I don't want to talk about it over the phone... its still hard for me totalk about, i'd rather just "see". I can't even explain what it took for me to actually write that email... of course years of anticipation, but it took extreme strength to sit down and actually press send. Its the first time I've ever inquired about it, ever, and it feels like a huge moment in my life. Even a glimpse at the official paperwork would be more info than I've ever had, or really ever wanted. So, yeah, this is major.
By the way... anyone reading... anyone else adopted???
I got the papers from my mom. There was a very nice note on the top that said "This is all the information I have. If you need more, call the agency and see if they can help. Any time you want to talk I'm here. Love, Mom." And she wrote the name/address/phone of the agency (its in NJ less than 30 miles from where I live now.) There were 3 different sheets with info. There is some very detailed stuff... but not a lot of info. I'm still digesting, so I'll write about it tomorrow. I apparently came from a bery very big family and have billions of relatives out there, which makes me want to contact/reunite even less!
However, all of this has made me too distracted to work...
I wrote last week how my mother sent me all the adoption paperwork, and its had a week to sink in. I wrote here why it was such a big deal for me... basically it was an end to 26 years of wondering / fantasizing / avoiding.
One of the papers she gave me (3 pages long) was a "Presentation form" - it was 3 pages of info about my "daily life" as a 3 week old. (I was born only 5 pounds and was in the hospital for 2 weeks... apparently). It had my daily schedule (what time I woke up, what time I took naps - about 4 a day - I wish it could still be like that! When I ate, etc.) What brand formula, and how much a day. And then a checklist of the shit I like:
Baby sleeps on: (back, stomach, side - all 3 were checked).
Baby naps outdoors in carriage - yes.
Baby sleeps though night (no). Baby uses a nightlight (no). Baby sleeps through ordinary house noises (yes). And baby enjoys being rocked to sleep (no).
Baby feeds from bottle (not spoon) while held in arms (not in a seat).
Baby uses/is used to - infant seat, swing, carriage, car bed, nursery bird (what the hell is a nursery bird?), TV, radio, children, visiting, rocking. (The unchecked ones were play pen, high chair, jump chair, stroller, cradle gym, safety strap, singing, pets.)
Baby never uses a pacifier.
Toiletries: soap = Ivory. Shampoo = Johnson's. No lotion. Johnson's powder.
Laundry: Coldpower detergent.
Can wear plastic pants day & night. (WTF is that?)
Comments: Loves to be held and talked to.
Then there's a bunch of info - like birth weight = 5 pounds,discharge weight = 6 lbs, 15 oz., birth length = 19.25 inches).
And the last thing on the page says "Baby is considered to be in good condition." No faulty merchandise here!
The second bit of stuff... was the Foster Home Record. (I didn't even know there was one). It basically has a list of stuff that babies do (lift head, props up on elbows to raise head/chest, travels on abdomen, turns over, follows moving objects with eyes, focuses and listens when spoken to, turns head to sound source, smiles as a response to attention, "talks" back, holds objects, etc. It says when they were "achieved". Some are blank (all the ones I wrote above were filled in) - and some filled in with either 3 or 6 weeks. Then, body strength - (passive, average, average & strong - they checked average. Disposition - restless/unhappy, pleasant but demanding when hungry/tired/soiled, non-demanding and sleeps through feedings. They checked the middle choice - pleasant but demanding! Eyes - markedly crossed, some crossing, no crossing but vague regard, or alert and focused. They checked some crossing. (What the fuck is that?) No illnesses or hospitalizations, no abnormalities, birth marks, etc.
And lastly... I was given the historical / physical / family background of the bio-parents. I don't feel like typing it all out... so you can look at it yourself here.
It was a lot to swallow all at once. The schedule & presentation form was cute... it maybe is even more than some people who aren't adopted have. (Some parents make baby books and record this stuff, but some don't!) The foster home record was weird... because I never knew I was in one... but I never asked either. Nothing really surprising, because most of the stuff is stuff my parents told me about my babyhood with them - my disposition, preferences, etc.
(I also found it kind of weird that there were no legal papers, contracts, forms, documents like that).
The family history... well, a few of the things I knew. The ethnicity (Hungarian), the musically-talented background (my mom really pushed me in my musical education), their ages, and the bio-mom's basic description. But everything about bio-dad was new, and everything about bio-grandparents & my NINE bio-aunts and bio-uncles... all new info! Kind of weird to read, because I come from a family... that's not really into family. I am really close with my maternal grandparents (my grandpa dies last year though) and parents/brother. But that's it. My paternal grandfather died when I was a kid, and my maternal grandmother and 2 paternal uncles/cousins/etc. dropped out of the picture when my parents got divorced when i was 12. My mom's brother lives far away, they have little in common, and he has no kids - so I've only met him a handful of times. So, my family has consisted of mom, dad, brother, grandma, and (now dead) grandpa - at least in the last 15-20 years. (We did some paternal family stuff when I was little, 9 and younger.) I wrote last year after my grandpa's funeral, how shocked I was to see all the family there that I didn't realize existed or wasn't dead! Also here - but there are some funeral photos on that page (none of the body though), so if funeral photos will upset you, don't look!
So to find out that bio-family has 9 siblings total is crazy to me. One can only assume that at least 1/2 of them if not all of them had kids... and potentially there could be 8-20+ bio-cousins out there! Maybe even in New Jersey. And since bio-mom was young... I can only assume that she later in life maybe got married, maybe had more children when she was ready? And maybe bio-dad already had children before me... or had some after?.. Bio-siblings maybe? A strange concept. I've never met anyone that looked like me. I can't imagine it.
(By the way... I am 5'6'', small framed but chubby/fat, i have dark blonde hair that was light as a child, fair skin, and grey eyes.) - So I'm not sure how I ended up with grey eyes with a bio-dad with brown + dark features, and a bio-mom with green eyes and both with brown hair... but whatever.
And, I'm sure the next obvious thought is... what now?
I don't know.
So... on the adoption front.
I've been doing a lot of reading lately - in forums, blogs, webpages, etc. about other people's experiences. I've read some pretty extreme views. (I hope you don't mind me posting this m_d).
"...While there have been legal gains to open records in many countries for the adults adopted as infants, to enable them to locate their natural mothers and through them, their fathers, the mothers themselves remain locked into the pain of what is a terrible, irresolvable grief, into reunion and often beyond.
The mothers of the children taken into what is now seen as a form of slavery, whereby an infant is stripped of all its legal rights to identity, including the loss of its entire genealogy through falsified birth records, continue to suffer. Even in reunion, the symptoms of the various psychiatric conditions directly caused by forced adoption haunt the mother whose 'cure' depends on the resilience of herself and her now grown infant, to forge a healthy relationship based on the mutual trust and affection that has been denied them since before the birth itself.
But even in the 'best case scenario' where there is a successfully bonded reunion, those lost years and that lost infant can never be regained. Both are gone forever. This is crazy making stuff for the mother.
There is no doubt that many, many adopted people suffer too - from a lack of identity, from a lack of a feeling of belonging in the 'right' family i.e. their natural family, from a feeling of 'unnaturalness' caused by being in a substitute home, often based on a lack of the attachment that was always supposed to happen according to the trite psychology applied by trite social workers to the children they displaced. It was believed - wrongly - that babies would automatically respond to affection from a stranger. It was also believed - wrongly - that the adopters would feel an automatic attachment to their new acquisitions.
Sadly, the two way attachment process happened far less often than was publicized by social workers covering their tracks, or covering up what they believed to be their own mistakes but were actually just a side product of adoption itself. The inevitability of failed adoption is inherent in the process of attempting to 'attach' people never meant by nature to belong together in the first place, a process destined to fail.
It is well known that when records open the adoption brokers panic. In the mid 1980's, when it became apparent that the New Zealand government would vote legislation to open birth records for adult adopted people, there were rumors of dire action being taken by social workers around the country. For instance, I was told at the time by a reliable source that social workers at a public hospital were keeping busy shredding adoption records.
Social workers were covering their tracks, including their illegal acts. Destroying official records meant breaking the law as well as professional ethics to obliterate records that would reflect badly on themselves. That these were the same people entrusted to place new born infants into sound homes with substitute parents showed us just how flimsy and how dangerous adoption law and practice actually is. It is unsound, unsafe, and totally unjustified.
The mothers of the children kidnapped for adoption during the 'baby scoop' era of thirty to forty years ago, were so damaged by the experience they are only now starting to speak out publicly about the crimes committed against them by the adoption industry and that happened with the full collusion of the state. Adoption has been proven to be a failed social experiment that has left a trail of destruction in its wake.
Stranger adoption should be considered a crime against humanity. It is experienced as an emotional death by the mother who does not recover;"(For) the saddest and most horrifying aspect of adoption is the amount of emotional damage inflicted upon the natural mother. To call her the 'birth mother' instead of the 'natural mother' allows her only the physical birth and denies her those feelings she wasn't supposed to have. By implication this makes the adoptive parents unnatural, but secret adoption cannot be considered natural when the real mother, the victim of this hit and run, is left battered shocked and damaged. Nothing could be more unnatural".
Like everywhere else, stranger adoption North American style can best be described as a 'hit and run', a non-accidental crash site with two primary victims, mother and child. But unlike everywhere else, it is apparent that what drives North American adoption is the money made by the baby brokers, those heinous people and their supporting organisations that traffic in human beings. They buy and sell infants and children. They import and export, just as the original slave traders did. Misery and mental illness are their environmental side products that are polluting the lives of their victims across generations..." - Copyright Joss Shawyer
I've also read about lots of happy happy reunions... and some miserable miserable sad endings (failure in locating parents/info, parents dead by the time they're found, parents won't accept the contact/communicaion, etc.) And what I really can't believe, it that I can't seem to find any OK (for lack of a better word, not happy, not sad) stories. Like: I found some info I didn't know before, and some/most of my curiosity is satisfied. Or maybe I looked into all possible sources, and I just seemed to hit a dead end, but I tried. Or, I located my natural family, but I've decided to leave well enough alone for now and not contact them. Etc. Everything just seems to be an extreme up or down. Maybe its that the people in the middle don't bother writing about it, because they lack the extreme joy or sorrow to actually feel like its worth writing about? Maybe I'm the only person that doesn't have a lot of emotions tied up in a hypothetical reunion?
I am experiencing one thing that I read about in some articles/blogs... that the adoption agencies are greedy and do it for business, not to help people. Once the transaction is complete, they want nothing more to do with the situation. I'm hitting a dead end already. Not that I tried hard. I've listed myself with all the major registries except ISRR and only because you have to do that one by mail, no internet registration, and for some reason, sending in the paper seems much more official and I haven't done it yet. I've searched all the registries to see if someone posted looking for me. I google searched all the info - the agency, the social worker's name, my birthday and birthplace, etc., and now if you do a google search - only I come up (the listings I've posted). How weird.
And lastly... I've tried calling the adoption agency. Twice so far. When I ask for someone who can answer questions about adoption, they always say that no one's available. I don't know if they even have any info that I don't have... but they obviously don't want to bother to look. Records 28 years old... I'm considering just going there in person, at least they have to look at me then! It's only about 30 minutes away from here. (I also emailed them and got no response.)
So... other than petitioning courts - and I don't even know what/where to petition for anyway... that seems to be my last avenue. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't contact them even if I did find out... maybe a letter/photo but definitely no phone calls, visits, etc. I don't know. I don't have much of a story to tell, I guess.
I totally have no negative feelings towards my adoption and the whole situation. I'm not angry or sad. I don't resent it and wish it didn't happen, nor am I glad that it did. It just is. I've been given every opportunity and all the support (most of the time) that a person could want. My childhood had its issues, but doesn't everyone's? How can you miss something that never existed to you? Perhaps I'm missed by someone else, but I don't remember my life before I was 4 or 5 or so, and especially not when I was 3-6 weeks old. And I'm not angry towards the people that gave me up, whatever their reason was. Had my life turned out badly, then maybe. But I have no hateful feelings. (I suppose it would be nice for them to know that...) It's not that I don't want to talk to/meet them because I'm angry or out of spite. Just because I don't want to. I don't feel like I need the drama in my life. For once, everything is going OK. I don't feel like I need more family, the ones I've got are naggy enough. (And family I do want is chosen... within my relationship, and my in-laws, and my friends who are like family, etc.) Would I like to know the circumstances of the adoption, of course. And would I like to see photos of biological relatives that may look like me? I'd love to! But I just don't want to make a big life explosion out of it.
To be honest, a lot of my personality comes from the very fact that I am adopted. I don't remember my mother ever telling me, I feel like I always knew. (I guess I was so young, I can't remember). Yes, it totally resulted in some negative characteristics - I'm very introverted, distant, and I keep my emotions pretty close to home. I'm kind of a loner and I suppose I do feel that loving something TOO much can be dangerous, because nothing is permanent. But at the same time, I have a sense of independence that most people can't even relate to. A freedom of sorts. Yes, I did often feel like I didn't fit in sometimes. But from that, I realized that I had to develop a "me" that I could count on. And that "me" could be whatever I wanted it to be, whatever felt natural. I didn't have the burden of having to live up to biological expectations. I'm not sure if this really makes sense to others reading... but...
Anyway, I did have a lot of myself entwined in this whole thing growing up, of course. But the older I get, the less I care. I'm not saying I never think about it... but it is what it is.
This is long and rambly... a mind puke...
(As a reminder... I didn't actually hear from my bio-mother until August 2009, so a LOT of time passed after these initial posts.)
While you're here... click this Picket Fence button for me to vote for Lil Family Blog! Just one click, no filling out of any info of any kind! I'm on Page 11 (of 94) of their site, Help me get to Page 1!
Tonight's photos that made me squeal (along with a current photo showing how big she got!)
|Lilian in Strasburg, PA November 2009|
|Lilian in Strasburg, PA November 2009|
|Lilian, East Hampton, NY June 4, 2011|
Monday, July 11, 2011
Lil Family Blog is looking to update both our look and our style soon. I'm looking for help from some other bloggers, designers, parents, and small businesses in the next few months to get the ball rolling. If any of these describe you and you'd like to participate and/or have some sort of exchange, please send me an email at LilFamilyBlog at gmail dot com. I can't pay (money) for any of these things... but i can advertise for you (run a button or ad in my sidebar, do a write up about your company, etc.), do something in trade (photo retouching, writing projects, etc.), or just be forever grateful.
1. Graphic Designers - i'm looking for a more updated and personalized look for the blog. I'd like to do away with the generic background and have a more uniform and stylized look to the blog.
2. Promotion - Lil Family Blog is on a few webring type sites (like Picket Fence... see the button on the right... please click it to vote for the blog!) And i'm on a few blogrolls on other blogs. But i know there are a lot more sites, blogs, and forums out there. If you host a site, if you're on one that you love, or if you have your own blog and you'd like to exchange buttons - please let me know. Let's help each other! And any internet savvy person who'd like to help promote and work on PR, i'd love to have you.
3. Weekly Guest Bloggers - i'd like to run a series of guest blogs from other points of view. If you blog, or just read blogs, or just have something to say, i'd love to hear it and share it. Lil Family Blog has a thousand+ followers and gets several thousand views a week; it's a good place to get heard if you'd like to. Looking for writers on: parenthood, gay/lesbian issues, adoption, New York/ Long Island relative issues, me, womanhood/feminism, humor, pregnancy and trying to get pregnant, dogs and pets, vegetarianism and being "green", travel, photography, marriage, family life, etc. Even if you've already blogged about it, i'd love to republish. I'd also love to guest blog for you and/or exchange articles!
4. Sponsers - Looking for advertisers, big and small. If you have a good product or website i can get behind, i'd love to host your ad and/or do an article/review for you.
5. Giveaways - to properly review (and photograph) a product actually takes a lot of time. But readers love giveaways. If you need attention for your product, more followers, Facebook fans, etc., and nearly free advertising... consumers love a giveaway. Contact me and we'll see if your product is a match for this blog. Great for made by hand items or small and upcoming businesses as well.
6. Related to a few of the items above, in August we'll be hosting a Birthday Bash month - where there will be daily posts, giveaways, products reviews, and all things TODDLER and birthday to celebrate Lilian's 3rd. Looking for sponsers, content, and products to feature.
7. Suggestions! Any ideas you'd like to see here, let me know! Any topic ideas you'd like to to cover, or things i've left unanswered, let me know.
8. Fundraising/Charity - i'd like to cover some good "causes", so if you help raise money for a cause related to anything i discuss in the blog and you'd like a write up or help promoting, please submit it to me for consideration. I'd like for my readers to have the chance to support good causes that might interest them.
If any of these are things you'd like to work with me on, please leave a comment or email me. (And on the flipside, if there's anything i can help you with, don't hesitate to ask.) The internet is a small place, let's help each other out.
And if this applies to anyone you know, please pass this on!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
In June of 2007 is when we decided that we were ready to have a baby. I was 27 and Missy and I got married a few weeks later. Our first obvious step was: sperm. We needed some. So we considered all our options. We started with the anonymous donor catalogs, we went as far as to sign up with one, choose our samples (first, second, and third choices), fill out all the paperwork (with a witness signature), etc. But something didn't feel right about it. As an adopted child, I grew up with a feeling of mystery and isolation. Never enough to impact my life, but still, it felt strange to have no biological ties to anyone in the world. And I couldn't even imagine what it felt like to "look like" somebody. When I had to fill out medical paperwork with family history, I always had to write "unknown" or "n/a". Not a big deal really, but when it came time for me to actually PAY for our donor sperm, I realized I didn't want that for my child. Because not only would his/her father's biological side of the family tree be blank, but my side would be too, save for me. And i know a lot of people have empty bio-family trees and no medical histories, but I didn't want that for my child if I could help it. So, in the end we chose to have a known donor, and we asked a dear friend of ours... and that worked out "happily ever after", but that's not what this is about.
But all those thoughts of genetics (going through catalogs choosing based on height, eye and hair color, ethnicity, and genetic health disorders) had me thinking about my own. I know what I look like, but I was wondering what recessive genes I carried. And I was curious to know about medical problems that could arise in the future. If my bio-family carried a tendency to have early heart attacks, I wouldn't want to choose a donor with heart problems in his family and double that risk, etc. And this is when I decided that although I never wanted to or planned to search out my origins, that I was going to anyway.
My first step was to talk to my mom about it. I gave her the double shocker of telling her I wanted to search AND that I wanted to get pregnant. She was always very supportive and open (about the adoption thing) and she encouraged the search. She told me she didn't have much info but she'd mail me everything she had the next day. I got a few papers, one with info about the bio mom, dad, aunts/uncles, and grandparents (one sentence about each) which was already 100x more info than I ever had. One was my foster care records (apparently in foster care for a month and the foster parent had to keep a diary of info to pass on) with cute anecdotes about 3 week old me. And one was my health document stating I was healthy and good to go (like a pedigree dog... LOL). It had the name of the adoption agency, and they still exist, so i called them a few times over the course of two weeks, but could never get an actual human from the right department on the phone. I left lots of messages, but never heard back. I kinda gave up trying.
So on June 20, 2007 in the middle of the night, I scoured adoption forums on the internet. The largest reunion database seems to be: http://www.isrr.net/ but their policy is that you have to submit your info via PAPER and mail it in. I printed out the registration forms and filled out only the first line... and decided to think about it more. I never mailed it in. The same night I posted an ad on another adoption forum. My ad said where/when I was born, the ages/nationalities of the birth parents, and the adoption agency. The ad also says "I am looking for bio-family info. I'm happy & healthy... just looking for info, photos, or siblings!" And for a week or so, I walked around on pins and needles terrified I might actually get a response, but when I didn't, I forgot all about it.
When I actually got pregnant and I had my first midwife appointment (about 6.5 weeks pregnant, so probably January 2008), she asked for family history and I told her I had none. She made me feel bad and told me I wasn't doing right by my child to not know, and if I wanted to be a good mother, I needed to continue my search. Though I felt she was full of shit (and later, she turned out to be full of shit on a lot of things, but that's another issue), I reconsidered it again at that point, but I was too wrapped up in my pregnancy, and well, I just didn't want to. I still never mailed in those papers to ISRR.
Lilian was born in August 2008, perfectly healthy and looking exactly like her dad. In the end, it seems my genetics didn't matter all that much. Well, a year went by and the first year of her life was obviously spent with my head in newborn-world. I never thought much about it again until...
About two weeks (late August 2009) before my 30th birthday (more than 2 years later), I got an email. It said "I think I'm your birth mother"... *screetch* Woah. That was major. It was totally unexpected, came at a totally random time, and was pretty monumental. A million thoughts went through my mind and it was all i could think about for weeks. We wrote back and forth for a few days trying to determine if we were even a match. And I didn't know her, and since I was the one with the ad up, it could have been anyone writing to me. I wasn't "sold" on the idea, I was still quite cynical. We exchanged some photos of each other, and I thought "well maybe", but at some point in that first week, she sent me photos of her grandmother when she was young... and I looked at them and saw my face in someone else's for the first time. I was convinced. (I am attaching photos at the very bottom of this post). So I called the adoption agency and finally got a human on the phone and explained the situation. We had found each other, but would like THEM to confirm the match with us each providing our personal info. I sent her my name/DOB and the name of my bio-mom (as she introduced herself to me) and 2 long days later... I got an email saying it was NOT a match! The name was incorrect. I couldn't believe it. After all my cynicism, I was finally believing it, and then it was wrong! All of the conversations we had in the prior two weeks (email, not phone) didn't matter. She had even told me what my name "was" to her, what she had named me unofficially. And then I wasn't her! It was just another valley in my emotional mountain range that month. I emailed her and told her we weren't a match... and then she realized that she had changed her name. Not just gotten married, but her first name too! So both first and last names were different (why she didn't think to tell me that in the first place, I'll never know)... and so after the weekend passed, we recontacted them, etc etc and yes, we were a match.
So that lead to the inevitable question of "now what". In those first few weeks, she had emailed me over 100 photos of her and her family (past and present), my bio-dad, my sister! (woah, I had a sister - that was a crazy thing in and of itself), etc. She told me about what people looked like, their talents, illnesses, etc. Not to sound callous, but I got what I wanted. She told me her version of my birth story (she contacted me after my bio-father had died, so I only get one side of things), and why I was given up, and what her life was like afterwards, and my sister's story, etc. Some stories were totally enlightening, some were a little horrifying. Some were really interesting, some were mundane, and some were downright dramatic. I got my history, my photos, my story... I shared mine with her as well. I told her about my life, my family, photos, etc. But at that point we kind of disagreed on where to go from there. I never wanted a relationship (and I was upfront about that in both my ad, and in my letters initially), but she did. She said that she felt a piece of her missing all those years, and now that we were reunited, she was hoping we could be "something". Maybe not mother-daughter, maybe not quite friends, but something. Personally, I felt she was glad to have her daughter back... which was not really what I had in mind. But I realized that the situation for me and for me was not the same. And so I tried to meet her somewhere in the middle. She was dying to have me come visit her, but I certainly wasn't ready for that. But I agreed that we could keep emailing, and she was on Facebook, so in those ways we were still keeping in touch. We had a few phone calls in the next six months, but talking on the phone isn't really my thing, and for me, it felt awkward. And so for a while, we were in touch. There were some times when she crossed boundaries that I wasn't comfortable with, but I told her so.
We actually don't talk anymore. It's been 8 months or so since we have. I imagine she still reads here once in a while, but even if she doesn't, I'm not the type to air dirty laundry. But I think the short version is that I think our personalities are too different and we didn't have the same expectations. I also became wary of some of the "truths" I was told and the reasons behind them. And after a confrontation, some ugly words were said, and we never wrote again. I can't say that I regret any of it, but it certainly wasn't a happily-ever-after reunion for either of us. To be honest, she's probably more disappointed with the whole thing than I am. It changed my life forever. I no longer have unanswered questions, and now there are lots of people in this world that I look like. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but not everything in life does, I suppose.
(In November 2010, about a year after first emailing/contacting my "new" sister, at age 31, we finally did meet and spend a significant amount of time together. But, that's a subject for a different day. We never searched for our two older half-siblings.)
ON BEING AN ADOPTED CHILD
So far, everything I've ever written on the subject has been about being a formerly-adopted-child... as an adult. But I've never really talked about being an adopted child. Then or now. Probably because before the age of 25 or so, it was a weird subject for me. I don't remember the conversation being told about adoption... I just always knew. I guess I was too young to remember, but old enough to understand. But then when I was 2, my mom got pregnant with my brother which added a new dynamic to the situation: one adopted child and one biological child. I was never made to feel any different, and it was never ever mentioned. But that doesn't mean that I didn't remember... and have moments where I felt different. My mom told me which of the kids I went to school with were also adopted, I guess to make me realize it wasn't all that unusual. But I never talked about it with any of friends, those or any others. It kind of became a family secret, not because it had to be or anyone wanted it to be, but after not talking about it, it just seemed natural to keep not talking about it. It just wasn't talked about, and I was OK with that. I'm sure some people around town and in school knew, but I also looked enough like my family to "pass." It's not like I was a different race or drastically different looking. My mom has light blonde hair, my dad dark brown and mine was medium blonde as a kid and dark blonde as a teen/adult - not different than you'd imagine biologically. They both have green and green/blue eyes, mine are gray, not that different either. I remember telling a few people later in life, and they were actually surprised to learn it. So while it was always part of my life, it was always on the peripheral. I'm sure it helped mold who I was and who I became as a person, but it was never something that defined me. At times, it did make me feel isolated, different, and maybe even embarrassed. But at other times it felt very liberating. I could be my own person with no biological expectations. I could imagine my own history and create my own future. I wasn't tied down to any one reality or set of rules that would govern my outcome. But once in a while there would be awkward moments. I can remember like it was yesterday being at a birthday party for one of my brother's friends (with my mom, waiting for him to drive him home). We were sitting in the waiting area of a gymnastics type place and one of my brother's friend's mom had never met me, and she came over to say hi to my mom. And when I was introduced, the woman made some comment along the lines of "oh wow, you look nothing like [your mom] or [your brother]. You could be adopted!" *awkward pause* I think my mom and I just awkwardly giggled... heh heh, and left it at that. (By the way, what grown woman would say something like that! You never know people's stories or what might offend a pre-teen girl, whether it was true or not!)
Did I ever have regrets about being adopted growing up? (Not like I had a choice of course). No. I never once wished that my biological parents kept me. I never once wished I wasn't adopted, never wished THESE parents didn't end up with me, etc. It was my reality, and it was always my life, and a good one at that. My parents were awesome in a billion ways, my life was privleged and awesome in a billion ways. If I lived a different life (either with bio-parents, or some other parents wherever), maybe my life would have been great in a billion DIFFERENT ways, but then it wouldn't have been MY life, ME as i know me now. I'm a member of the "it is what it is" club, and I have had no complaints about this in my life. Nobody chooses who they are born to, the same as I didn't choose who I was born to OR who I was raised by, but I have no complaints. My biological parents had another daughter whom they kept, and after finding that out, I also never wondered why her, why me? I don't feel rejected and I have no anger or jealousy. I don't wish to change anything about my "origins," I had a fantastic childhood, education, and upbringing.
I've read many websites and forums about adoption in the past and people have lots of opinions on it. I've heard people call it a crime against nature, a lie, theft, etc. I've heard cries for changes in the laws to open up adoption and medical records. I've read a lot of good, bad, awful, and worse. And I can see both sides of the arguments. I can. I can see how it might be perceived as unfair to the child... who will later become an adult with no "rights" regarding the situation, but also had no right to choose. But I can also see how privacy may be very important to the birth mothers who have made that decision. I know some adoptions are evil... children are bought and sold, unfit parents adopt for the wrong reasons, and babies are taken/persuaded away from possibly young, but otherwise fit mothers without proper counseling, etc. Bad things happen in adoption as well as really anything in the world. But sometimes there are happy endings too. In my situation, my birth mother has said that she was "coerced" into giving me up and regretted it ever since. But she did get to keep a daughter and stayed with our father for 20 years, and it was her decision to live with in the end. I know my parents and grandparents were ecstatic to have their first child and grandchild and that they loved me very much. And I know that I lived a great life. Sure, I had questions in my lifetime. Still do. But I never felt robbed or violated in any way by the decisions made FOR me by other adults.
In the past two years, since our "reunion", getting answers for many of my questions, and actually meeting a biological relative (besides my daughter of course) for the first time I don't think any of my opinions have changed. I actually am not sure I have that many opinions on adoption at all actually. But since really making it part of my life, I definitely have developed a new interest in the subject. I'd like to talk to some of the anti-adoption advocates just to hear their points of views. I'd like to hear more stories of people content with their reality like me. Search & reunion stories actually interest me, where they really didn't 4+ years ago. I guess I have a story to tell... and a pretty major one. But still not a lot of opinions on the subject. I'm not really sure what rights adoptees and birth parents should have, I'm not really sure what laws are appropriate. Maybe I'll do more research (anyone have good book recommendations?)
ON THE OTHER A-WORD: ABORTION
I'm a left-winged, liberal, feminist... anti-abortionist. Probably a very unusual combination. And maybe it's because of who I am as a person, maybe it's because I'm adopted, maybe it's because of how I was raised, I'm not sure. But I just know that abortion does not sit right with me. I would certainly say I'm pro-life. But isn't everyone? I mean, who is pro-death? The term is silly to me. And I wouldn't say I'm anti-choice either, though. Do I want to take away YOUR right to choose? Probably not. But I am anti-abortion, as a concept, not a political standpoint. To me, it's the wrong thing to do. Are there exceptions, of course... rape, incest, underage pregnant "children", pregnancies incompatible with life (both the fetus and/or the mother), etc. But abortion simply because you do not feel like having a child doesn't seem OK to me. My friends already know this about me, most don't agree. i also don't eat meat (vegetarian of varying degrees since 1992), don't fish/hunt, wear fur, etc. I just value life, I guess. But my politics aren't really relevant here... I want to talk about abortion in relation to adoption, because sometimes they are portrayed as "opposites" of sorts in political discussions about one or the other. Oh, you are pregnant and don't want a baby? You can abort it OR give it up for adoption. (Though, personally, I hardly seem them as opposites).
It may seem crass to say, but it has on occasion crossed my mind, that as an unwanted child (to my bio parents) I could have been an abortion. I mean, maybe to THEM specifically not... I have no idea what their politics on the subject are/were, but like I said about the near-opposites, I suppose that the concept must have occurred to them. I was born in 1979, and abortion was federally legalized in 1973, so it wasn't even brand new. And never once in my life have I wished I was aborted instead. Man, if keeping me wasn't an option for whatever reason, I am certainly grateful for my life every day that I wasn't aborted. It's gross and extreme, but it must be something that crosses every adopted child/adult's mind at some time.
In many ways, I see the adoption solution as the most noble/selfless decision. I'm sure as hard as it is to abort a baby, it must be even harder to carry one to term... feel it kicking and growing inside you, then turn it over anonymously to never be seen again. I was given the ultimate gift of life, I'm sure at a cost to my biological mother both emotionally, physically, financially, etc. And in return, she got nothing except knowing that I was out there... somewhere. Hopefully happy, healthy, and living. She too got a life of wondering and unanswered questions, which for some, may be arguably harder than the mourning/grief of terminating a pregnancy. And, like I've said above, although I've never felt bad about being given up for adoption (after all, the parents I ended up with wanted me SO badly, they went to extremes and waited a long time to get me), I feel even GREATER about the fact that I wasn't killed before even being given the chance to live. I am grateful for the sacrifices a virtual stranger made for what I see to be the harder decision. It may seem kind of disgusting to say "thanks for not aborting me", so I suppose "thank you for giving me my life" is a nicer way of putting it, because it was, after all, a choice.
Becoming a mother has always been a goal of mine. I think even more than a career, house, car, husband/wife, etc., a child has been the focus of my future-fantasy as long as I can remember. Being a mom has been the constant in my life, the one goal I always had, forever. Again, I'm sure this is part of who I naturally am as a person. Some people just are meant to be parents. And some not or don't want to, and that's OK too. But I think my adoption has also played a part in this fantasy (which later became a reality). Because as much as I was "OK" with being adopted, that's not to say that I didn't also want to experience the bond of biological relationships. It may be something taken for granted by most people (or even disliked), but I spent my whole life looking at people who looked alike; studying siblings and parent/child to see their matching features. It was something that fascinated me, and something I'd never had. Personality similarities too... like a friend who was good at music because her mom was. Behaviors and personalities grow and morph by nurture as well, but I never just felt "connected" to someone in that way. Even "we are both allergic to cats! I got that from my ____." And because of this, I think having a child became very important to me, perhaps more important than it would be to an unadopted person. Because not only was I having my first child, I was getting my very first blood relative. I'll be the first to say that "blood" relations is not what determines a family, but for someone who has never had it, it was very important to experience. It doesn't discount my adoptive family. I love my parents, grandparents, and brother very much... they ARE my family in every sense of the word. But that doesn't mean I didn't want to feel the connection that most everyone else does. I would definitely consider adopting/fostering a child in the future, but I knew that in my life, i NEEDED to have at least one biological child in order to feel complete. And when she was conceived/born, she was my only bio relative (my bio-mother didn't search me out until Lilian was a year old). I'm not sure that our biological tie made Lilian any more important to me or made me love her any more, but I know that the biological connection is something that strongly compelled me to become a mother in part. Now that she's here, her/my DNA doesn't seem that important. My attachment to her came from both wanting a child so badly, and growing her INSIDE my body. I imagine if I carried a child in my uterus that came from somebody else's egg, and grew and birthed and raised that child, I'd feel exactly the same about him or her. But on the day she was born, and I examined her and saw that she has my exact same hands... teeny versions of the hands I look down at every single day of my life.... on someone else, I felt something I had never felt before in my life.
(The topic of "looking like" people is another I can go on and on about... so I'll save that for another time).
I probably have a billion more things to say on the topic of adoption... but I've been writing for almost 5 hours, and I think I need to end this here. I know I've never put most of these thoughts in writing, and I've probably only spoken about them with my wife... so this is all new territory for me. If YOU are an adoptee, birth mother, or adoptive parent, I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts. (Please keep it polite and civil, even if you disagree with me or other commenters). If you come across my blog and you'd like me to read your blog/book/article on a similar subject, I'd love to. If you have questions, I'd love to answer them. And if you have proposals for future blog post subjects, I'd like them as well.
I just poured my heart out in 5 hours of words... so please comment and let me know what you think.
See this picket fence button right below this? Please click it to vote for Lil Family Blog on their site. It's just one click, you don't have to fill anything out once you click it.
And if you haven't already, please "like" Lil Family Blog on Facebook! I'm trying to reach 1,000 fans. Pass it along to your friends and family. Help me reach my goal!
Like this post? Please click below to share it on Facebook and/or Twitter.
If you like my words, please free to link to my post, but no part of this may be copied, quoted, or reproduced elsewhere on the internet or in print without my permission. Thanks for your respect!
|Biological great grandmother|
|Biological great grandmother|
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
By Dana Alison
Ha ha ha! I feel like i'm writing a grade school report on how I spent my holiday vacation.
Because i worked extra hours earlier in the week, i had Friday off. Our besties (and Lilian's dad) BS and Val came out Thursday night and we stayed up late playing X-box Rock Band and hanging out. I'm glad Rock Band has made a reappearance in my life. The year Lilian was conceived and a fetus, we played nearly every weekend like it was a job. It was awesome and super fun. Then i guess we all "got over it", but now 4 years later, it's fun again! Yay!
Friday, we woke up early and drove to Riverhead, the nearest major shopping area (about 35 miles/50 minutes away) to do bulk party/grocery shopping. We bought BBQ supplies to the max. Afterwards, we went to Bay Burger, our favorite local burger joint (in Sag Harbor) where we sat at an outdoor table next to Kelly Ripa and her family. She had no make-up on and they looked like a very down to earth family. The boys were really well behaved, and when they were leaving, she told Lilian that she liked her T-shirt! How cute is that. Soon after that we went to pick up Hillary & Sarah at the train station. Hillary has been a longtime "online" friend of Missy's. They met once briefly at Missy's band's shows and they have mutual friends, but this was their first real hang out. And what better way to get to know someone than to have them stay at your house for 4 days straight! Ha! Lots of cooking, BBQing, eating went on. Sunday night involved a big Italian dinner and Ashley (one of our favoritest humans on the planet) and Roberto drove out. Saturday night was a BBQ (Mike, Kate and Felix and Mat stopped by, all local friends). Hillary and Sarah went to the beach for a couple of hours Sunday morning, but it quickly turned to a rainy day. The weekend was mostly a 4 day long slumber party with pajamas, group naps, cooking and snacks all day long, video games, cartoons, and puppies. The big BBQ party and beach day didnt really happen, but that's OK because we all got to relax. The weekend felt LONG and now it's Tuesday morning and i feel well rested. And all 4 of our houseguests got away from the city and their real lives and had a 4 day "getaway". I think we all needed that. We didn't bother to go see fireworks last night, we were already in unwind mode, and traffic/parking/mosquitoes are all horrendous out here in the summer, and Lilian was too little to care. So, we did a lot of nothing this weekend, and had a lot of fun doing it.
The only drawback to the weekend was that i came away with a 3 pound weight gain. Ugh. I hope it's a lot of bloat and water weight (since we did eat a lot of salty, heavy foods) and by tomorrow morning it'll all come back off. I'll be eating light, drinking a lot, and hopefully going for a long walk today.
I havent been posting about my weight/diet here but I guess now is as good as a time as any to update. I've been struggling with weight... forever. And i've been on and off diets for the last 7 years. But about 2 months ago, i started "on" again. And i've lost 17 pounds... but it's been slow. Really slow. For the first six weeks, i tried Timothy Ferriss's "slow carb" diet. It basically allows NO grains or white foods of any kind and no dairy whatsoever. Beans, green veggies, eggs, and (beef/chicken for meat-eaters) are the diet. It's more specific than this, but that's not what this is about, so i'll leave it at that. It was really limiting and really hard and i lost a bunch of weight, but not really any quicker than a regular low calorie diet (like Weight Watchers) than i've done in the past, so i decided not to stick with it. And instead i'm not following a specific plan (for once) and just trying to eat light and fresh, low carbs, low fat and dairy, and limiting my aspartame diet drinks to one a day. And a month ago, i started walking. I try to walk 2-5 miles about 3-4x a week. I can walk while at work, which is awesome. The baby enjoys the fresh air, views and sights and going to the park. And i dont have to take time away from stuff I need to do at home and it helps my days pass faster. It's a win/win. I wasn't going to write about my current diet until i lost my first 20 pounds, but those last 3 pounds have been stuck! I need to kick into serious gear... and now i'm 6 pounds away from the goal, since i gained 3 back this weekend. Missy, however, has lost 50+ pounds in the past 3 months... which is almost unreal! She looks fantastic, and it makes my 15+ pounds seem insignificant. But, this is a lifelong struggle... so i guess as long as i keep moving DOWN on average, i'm doing OK and i won't worry too much how slow it's going. I have a goal of losing 25 more by my birthday (Sept 8), which is also in the neighborhood of the goal that i want to reach before getting pregnant again. I'd like to start my next pregnancy at a much lower starting weight than last time, to hopefully have an easier third trimester. Well, i hope my next diet update is a much more positive one.
There is 2 things i hate about summer. (And i mostly hate summer). 1. The Heat. 2. The bug (bites). And both have been problematic recently.
The weather has been humid and our house isnt properly air conditioned. There is one unit in our high-ceilinged living room/kitchen/dining/hallway area, but it's a big space and the unit barely cools it. And our other 2 units are in the basement... uninstalled... and we can't do it on our own (i have a bad back and can't carry it, and Missy is asthmatic). So the bedrooms have no A/C. Lame. We slept on the couches (all 3 of us) for the past 2 nights, but i dont get the best night sleep there. I need to find some kind of handyman that won't charge us a fortune to install them.
Part 2: the bugs. When we moved in, we found old used ant bait traps around the house... but no ants! We figured the previous tenants were overreacting. Fast forward 8 months... Hello, ants! I find about 20 a day. And not only in the kitchen. By the front door, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Nice. But i can handle that. And out here, mosquitoes are inevitable. And sadly, Lilian and i react badly to bug bites... they swell as big as marbles, and have in the past gotten as big as baseballs! But we keep the doors closed... and i can handle that too. These aren't the bugs i'm talking about.
It's ticks. Dog ticks and deer ticks. Since spring, i think i've found about 8 ticks on my dogs... big ones though, most likely dog ticks. And we found one Lone Star tick. But this weekend i found two deer ticks on Lily and Missy found one on herself, so yesterday was the day of Tick Extraction. Lily is really brave, and so she didnt flinch when we dug around in her skin with tweezers. But still Not Cool. Last thing i need is for my 3 year old to get Lyme Disease. I know it's partially inevitable, the ticks that is. They are a huge problem out here. It's rural, it's coastal, there are tons of deer (which i love, all 3 things) and therefore, tons of ticks. But part of the problem is my backyard. It's unacceptable. It's bascially a wooded lot with 2 circle "clearings" in the back one on top of each other, like a snowman. But this property hasn't seen landscaping in probably 10 years. There's no grass (ivy ground cover, and weed ground cover in the clearing), the bushes havent been pruned in ages, weeds are as big as trees, autumn leaves havent been removed in years, etc. And the "front yard" is a circular driveway, and the part in the circle is the same... wooded, overgrown, etc. Overgrown is the best word i can use. It's just out of control. I LOVE gardening and landscaping... but since we never felt "permanent" in this house, i havent taken the time, and i am definitely not spending money on a rental house. But there's no safe place to really sit and read a book, and certainly no safe place for Lily to play outside. It majorly sucks, because that's part of the appeal of living somewhere so rural. Outdoor space.
Well, i guess autumn will be here soon enough...
The next bit of weekend drama... Ruby nearly poked her eye out. (For those new readers, Ruby is my first dog. She's an 8.5 year old, nearly 14 pound chihuahua. She's quirky and my best friend). It started a couple of weeks ago... one eye was puffy and watery. I looked at it, didnt see anything, and assumed it was allergies. She's allergic to everything: foods, trees, grass, mold, pollen, humans, etc. It cleared up for a few days... then got worse with goop and swelling... i looked and saw nothing else unusual, so we thought maybe she had pink eye. Dogs can get that too. Again, it cleared up and was fine for a few days, but then swollen again this weekend. So Friday night, Missy and BS examined it... and holy crap! There was a HOLE in her eye. (A puncture wound or an ulcer.) She could barely open it. This resulted in a lot of chaos and concern (would she die? Would she lose her eye?) So Saturday morning i took her to the vet, and it is exactly what it looks like. He thinks it probably was an run in with a thorn or stick (another reason why my backyard is unacceptable) or perhaps another dog's claw. But it looked clean and like it had started to heal. Prognosis good. Super expensive rx eye drops purchased. And now that it's been a few days, the hole looks more like a dent, and she can open her eye all the way and it looks otherwise pretty normal. She didnt lose vision. What sucks is that it is supposedly one of the most painful injuries you can have... and we didnt notice for so long. I looked, but never saw it!!! And her behavior never changed, so i never knew she was in pain, that's why i assumed allergies. Well, i feel terrible, but she's on the mend now. Send well wishes to my baby Ruby!
Another bit of personal suckiness in my life. Last summer Missy bought me a digital Canon Rebel SLR camera. I wanted one for 6 years, but couldnt afford it. And 3 weeks ago, i left it outside in the rain for a few hours (oops) and it seems to be completely dead. So i had to resort to a point-and-shoot mini Nikon i got as a gift... that takes terrible photos. Well, on Saturday, that one broke too! What are the chances! So this will be the summer of no photos (except mobile phone shots). If you know me... you know HOW unusual and HOW crappy this is for me.
(Friends and Family: birthday is coming up Sept 8. Gift certificates to Best Buy so i can put them all together and buy a new camera would be fabulous. Just a hint!)
Lilian is going to be 3 in a week and a month. I cant believe it. In some ways, time has flown. And in others, not. I can't even remember what it was like to have a baby in the house, now that i have this awesome, funny, little toddler around. I've been hit HARD with the baby fever. Emotionally, i am SO ready for a little brother or sister. (Some other pieces have to fall into place first, but i, myself, am ready.) I dreamed about Lilian years before she was born... she even had her name in my dream (and that is partially how she got her name). And a couple of weeks ago i dreamed about her little brother. Yes, brother. He had a name, and i could see his face and hair. And now i'm anxious to meet him in real life.
I didnt make it to the beach this weekend, but that is DEFINITELY where you'll find me this weekend. With a LOT of sunblock on. (My back got burnt last weekend, and 10 days later and it still hurts.) Plus, every time i go out in the sun, i get 100+ new freckles on my face, and it's getting out of control. But i vow to spend 1 day on the beach this weekend. Water/swimming is probably the ONLY thing i like about summer. Wait, thats not true. Gardens and fresh fruits are the other two. But swimming is up there. Oh, and sandals. Sandals are really good.
I think i've rambled on enough about all the bullsh*t going on in my life this week. Just two whole, and two half more work days until the weekend.
While youre here, do me 2 favors.
1. See the picket fence box on the right? Click it? That'll give me a vote on the Picket Fence Blog directory. Thanks! You can vote once a day.
2. I am trying to reach 1,000 Facebook followers. So if you don't already follow Lil Family Blog on Facebook, please do. On the top left of this page, you'll see the badge to click. I've got almost 900 so far. Almost there. Please click it and "like" us on Facebook to keep up with updates.
And leave me a comment... show me some love and let me know you're reading.
Thank you!!!! You're awesome.