Saturday, July 29, 2006
Hooray for 100! (100 posts, that is)

Wow! This is my 100th post! Can you believe it?! I haven't even been blogging all that long, since April 7th of 2006 to be exact! Blogging is so important to me because it allows me to keep my creative juices flowing, it gives me a release to process difficult events going on in my life, and it permits me to meet lots of great people that I wouldn't otherwise know!

I'm curious to see how many of you have hit 100 posts and I'm interested in seeing what your 100th post was about, so I'd like to institute a little link exchange here.

Here's how I'd like to see this work:

1. Go find your 100th post (if you haven't posted 100 yet, wait until you do & come back to this).

2. Copy the exact link for that 100th post (in Blogger, you just click on the time of that post and it will pop up the unique page for that post).

3. Come back and past that post link into my Mr. Linky list so that I (and others) can stop by and see what you posted about.

4. Leave me a comment sharing with me why blogging is important to you (it must be important if you've made it to 100 posts or more).

It's that simple! I hope you'll all participate and please spread the word to get others to participate! I'd be tickled pink if I could get at least 100 people to link on this post!

I'll leave this up for a day or so, and then I'll try to post a link to this on my sidebar, for easy access in the future.

4:21 AM
84 comments


Friday, July 28, 2006
Five Ingredient Friday (Fruit Dip)

It's time again for my Five Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Thank you all who participate on a regular basis. And thanks also to the newcomers I've seen lately! I appreciate those of you who spread the word!

My Five Ingredients Friday recipe this week is one that my SIL, Madeline, taught me. It's so easy and absolutely delicious! I've made up a fruit platter with this dip and taken it to parties before and it always gets rave reviews! Enjoy!


Fruit Dip

Ingredients:
8 Oz container Strawberry Cream Cheese -- softened
7 Oz jar Marshmallow Cream
2 Tb Amaretto or almond extract (optional)

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in mixing bowl & beat on medium speed until well blended.

Serve immediately with a variety of fruit or chill until ready to use!

I look forward to seeing your Five Ingredients Friday recipe! Don't forget to link your blog on this post so I can see what's cooking at your house!

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4:08 AM
13 comments


Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Yates Not Guilty in Kids' Deaths

I've just read this news article and then watched the results of Andrea Yates' trial on T.V. tonight. Hearing over and over again of how Andrea Yates drowned her five children, saving her 7 year old for last (he struggled the most) has left me feeling quite sick to my stomach. She's been found not guilty by reason of insanity and I'm conflicted on how I feel about that.

On one hand, I have to believe that she was mentally ill to have executed such a horrific act, not just once, but five separate drowning situations.

On the other hand, I can't help but feel outraged about the agony that those poor little angels had to suffer at the hands of their own mother and I'm not sure that her spending time in a mental hospital, until she's deemed to be not harmful to herself and others, is a punishment that fits the crime.

Was this a case of postpartum depression that was inadequately treated? Even if so, the testimony makes it appear that she was at least sane enough to know killing her children was wrong. Doesn't that negate a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity?

And there's her ex-husband, Rusty Yates. I can't help but feel as though he had a part in this, even though no charges were brought against him. He may not have drowned his children, but how could a husband not be aware of his wife's mental struggles, especially if they were as pronounced as the defense claimed? Did he ignore the warning signs?

And what about her doctor who saw her a couple of days before she killed her children who simply set her how telling her, "have a happy day" and not viewing her as psychotic.

In the end, I know that it's not for me to judge, that both Andrea and Rusty have only to answer to God. I also know that they'll both have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives and there's no escaping it. I'm just disheartened by the sickness in our society.

How do you feel about Andrea Yate's not guilty sentence? I'd be really interested to hear your viewpoint.
7:18 PM
20 comments


Works-for -Me Wednesday (comforts of home while traveling)
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, as a grown woman I do this, but here goes.

The few times that I travel without my family (my husband and 19 month old son), as I'm doing now for business, I "borrow" a couple of items from both my husband and my son to take with me in an attempt to cope with missing them so much!

For my husband, I steal a t-shirt out of his closet and pack it to be used as a nightshirt (his shirts are like dresses on me). For Snuggle Bug, I take his security blanket with me. Thankfully, he has two security blankets (handmade by my aunt), a big one and a smaller replica. Both blankets have his name and birth date embroidered on them. I borrow the smaller one out of his crib.

Wearing Oronzo's t-shirt to bed and having Snuggle Bug's little blanket near me helps me sleep at night. I guess you can garner comfort from familiar objects from home no matter how old you are. It works for me, maybe it'll work for you too!

If you'd like to share something that works for you, please leave me a comment. And be sure to link yourself over at Shannon's, the host of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

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4:30 AM
23 comments


Saturday, July 22, 2006
I don't suppose any of you live in or near Alamogordo?
So this Sunday I have to fly to Alamogordo, NM to do a 5 day deployment with my F-16 pilots. They're doing some test flying at Holloman AFB. I don't suppose any of my fellow bloggers live in or near Alamogordo, do you? So, are there any fun sightseeing prospects in Alamogordo? I've never been there before but I've been told there's not much to see!

I'm sick to my stomach at the thought of leaving Snuggle Bug for 5 days! Will he forget me? Will he wonder where I am and if I'm coming back? I'm sure I'll be more distraught about the separation than he will.

I'm told there's not much to do in Alamogordo. When I'm not working, here are the things I intend to do while I'm away:


  1. Eat out for every meal (not my idea of a good time, but at least I don't have to pay).
  2. Catch up on responding to my Blogger emails. Sorry I'm so behind.
  3. Organize digital pictures of Snuggle Bug and back them up to DVD.
  4. Stare longingly at said pictures and wish I were back home playing with my little boy!
  5. Drive about 2 hours to meet a couple of Albuquerque friends 1/2 way so that we can have dinner together one night.
  6. Back up all my Blogger posts, in case something happens (I've heard of some bloggers loosing their entire blog within a matter of minutes and I would cry if that happened to me)!
  7. Catch up on some much needed sleep in my boring hotel room!
  8. Read a book or two.
  9. Do some blog posting and reading (I'm bringing a laptop with me).
  10. Miss Oronzo and Snuggle Bug immensely and impatiently count the days until I can return home!

Oronzo's not much of a list maker, but if I had to venture a guess of what he and Snuggle Bug will be doing while I'm gone, it'd go like this:

  1. Eat out for every meal and rejoice that there is no Weekly Menu Plan in sight.
  2. Eat sushi and chicken serval times during this 5 day period (I don't like sushi or chicken, they both do).
  3. Watch tv whenever and for however long Oronzo would like, without worrying about my wishes that Snuggle Bug not be exposed to excessive amounts of tv.
  4. Mess up the house and not worry about picking it up (oh wait, we already do that even when I'm not gone).
  5. Let the cats up on the couch as much as they'd like.
  6. Read only one bedtime story per night (I'm a sucker and will read Snuggle Bug 2-5 stories per night when he sweetly says, "Peaz" but Oronzo is not such a pushover).
  7. Let Snuggle Bug drink his milk from a bottle rather than insisting he drink it from a sippy cup during bedtime routine.
  8. Let Snuggle Bug run around the house with a messy face or dirty clothes and not feel the compulsion that I do to scrub him clean immediately!
  9. Call me to relay all the cute things that Snuggle Bug is doing/has done in my absence (I hope).
  10. Miss me immensely and impatiently count the days until my return (at least that's my hope)!

Well, that's all for now. Time to go see if my baby is awake so I can cram in a few more hours of precious time with him before I board a plane!

5:50 AM
10 comments


Friday, July 21, 2006
Snuggle Bug's 1st meme!
Faith has tagged Snuggle Bug for a fun meme. He's happy to oblige! If Snuggle Bug could talk more prolifically, here's what he would say:

3 Things That Scare Me
1. Accidentally flipping over when "swimming" in the pool (Luckily Mama and Daddy are always there to rescue me.)
2. Noodle water guns (We don't have these in our pool, but my friend Ethan does. I don't like them one bit!)
3. Haircuts (This last one, my 3rd haircut, was a horrible experience! I cried and cried and still Mama and Daddy made me stick around and get my curls cut off. Why can't little boys have long hair too? It's not fair!)

3 People That Make Me Laugh
1. Mama & Daddy (Daddy is especially good at finding all my tickle spots!)
2. My kitties (I love it when they let me chase them around the house.)
3. Older kids (No matter what they do, I find them absolutely hilarious!)

3 Things I Love
1. Bunny (He was sent all the way from France as a gift from a friend. I sleep best with him in my crib.)
2. Outside (I always want to be "'side" and I often take Mama or Daddy by the hand to lead them to the door, letting them know it's time to get out.)
3. Books (Sometimes I ask Mama to read me 4-5 books at bedtime. It's a bit of a stalling tactic...ssshhh, I don't think Mama has caught on yet!)

3 Things I Hate
1. Getting my ears cleaned at bath time (I cry and scream when Daddy does this!)
2. Vegetables (No matter how often Mama tries to sneak them in, I spit them out. Sometimes I'll humor Daddy and eat some at lunchtime!)
3. Mama's business travel (I don't like it when she goes away. I miss her and I know she misses me too!)

3 Things I Don't Understand
1. Why can't I sleep with my bottle in the crib? I'd go to bed so much faster, but no Mama has to be militant and makes me drink my bottle in the rocking chair only.
2. Why does Mama has to go away on business trips? What's up with that?
3. Why does my kitty, Maggie, run away when I'm trying to give her a goodnight kiss? Doesn't she like my slobbery kisses? Of course, I chase after her, laughing, until I catch her and plant one on her! Silly kitty!

3 Things On My Nursery Floor
1. A pile of books that Mama has to put away (Hey, she was the one that pulled most of them off my bookshelf while she was trying to find a book I liked at bedtime!)
2. Toys, toys, and more toys (You can never have too many toys. I thought about putting them away tonight before bed but I think I'll wait until Mama can help me!)
3. A HUGE stuffed turtle (Mama brought it home for me last year when she returned from a FL business trip. I like to lay on it!)

3 Things I'm Doing Right Now
Well, I'm supposed to be sleeping, but I'm secretly typing this out in my crib using Mama's laptop. She doesn't realize it yet, but I've become a master at this computer stuff. I think I like blogging now too!

3 Things I Can Do
1. Talk up a storm (I say things like, I lov lou, pool, all done, up Peaz, truck, car, ball, and "go away" which really means come back and give me another goodnight kiss.)
2. Ride a horse (Grandma has horses and she's let me ride one all by myself. Well, okay, Daddy was standing right beside me to make sure I didn't fall off. I love horses!)
3. Eat with a spoon and fork (I've gotten really good at this over the past month or so. Okay, sometimes I still like to use my fingers, but who cares!)

3 Things I Can't Do
1. Stand in the high chair (Hey, when I'm done, I tell my parents by saying "ah done" and then I stand up to get out. Why do I have to wait until they're done eating too?)
2. Run out to the street to play (I tried this once and Mama got really scared and upset, scooping me up quickly and scolding me.)
3. Put on my shoes (I try and I try to do this but so far I've had no luck. I need Mama or Daddy to help me. I'll figure it out soon enough and surprise them one day.)

3 Ways to Describe My Personality
1. Busy, busy, busy (I'm always on the go, well except when Mama and Daddy make me take naps or go "ni night.")
2. Good natured (I'm pretty happy-go-lucky and sweet natured. I'm great at making others smile!)
3. Funny (Mama and Daddy think I say and do the funniest things. I always keep them in stitches!)

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To
1. Mama singing lullabies (Hey, she's pretty good. I love it when she sings to me!)
2. Daddy reading stories (He is amazing at sound effects and dramatic voices!)
3. My baby babble (I'm trying to talk in complete sentences here, why can't you understand me?)

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To
1. The word, "No" (I think it's used too frequently. Besides, don't you know by now that "No" means "Yes?")
2. The phrase "Time for bed" (I think I should be allowed to decide when it's time for me to go to bed! Now, if only I can convince Mama and Daddy of that one!)
3. Rap music (nasty stuff, for the most part)

3 Absolute Favorite Foods
1. Meat (I love, love, love meat!)
2. Cheerios (Mama and I eat a bowl together nearly every morning. I love it when she adds bananas!)
3. Fruit Pops (The ones Mama makes from scratch are the best, so refreshing on these hot days!)

3 Things I'd Like to Learn
1. How to put on my own shoes (I can't wait for this one!)
2. How to open the front and back doors (I'm tired of having to wait for Mama and Daddy to let me out to play!)
3. How to pen the refrigerator door (I'd like to be able to get my own "nacks" out, thank you very much!)

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly
1. Water
2. Whole Milk
3. Daddy's iced tea (Hey, it's better than pop, right?)

3 Shows I Watch On Occassion
1. Baby Einstien videos
2. Food Network (with Mama)
3. Animal Planet or Discovery Channel (with Daddy)

3 Babies I Tag
1. Munchkin over at My Inner World
2. Jake over at Away To Me
3. Kayla over at Big Blueberry Eyes

Okay, time for me to go convince Mama that it's time for "nighty night!"

11:09 PM
14 comments


Five Ingredient Friday (Fudge Frosting)

It's time again for my Five Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Thank you all who participate on a regular basis. Hopefully we'll get some newcomers as well!

If you read my post from yesterday you'll understand why I could use a pick-me up from one of my favorite ingredients, chocolate! Therefore, my Five Ingredients Friday recipe this week is one that I've made several times and will probably make again this weekend. It's absolutely delicious! I've used it on cakes, brownies, and even ice cream! It's oh so good when it's gooey and warm! Enjoy!


Fudge Frosting

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:
In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter.

Add cocoa; stir constantly just until mixture begins to boil.

Remove from heat; pour into small mixer bowl.

Add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency.

Blend in vanilla.

Spread frosting while warm.

Yield: About 2-1/4 cups frosting.

Variation:
Add 1 tablespoon finely crushed peppermint candy to frosting mixture.

I look forward to seeing your Five Ingredients Friday recipe! Don't forget to link your blog on this post so I can see what's cooking at your house!

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4:30 AM
19 comments


Thursday, July 20, 2006
Goodbye sweet baby.
Before I get started on this post, please make a point to stop and check out my Blog of the Week post from earlier this morning.

Not so long ago, I posted here about my excitement of babies due on both sides of our family.

This morning, as I was driving to work, I got a call from my brother, Cole. He called me yesterday morning and we've been playing phone tag. This time we connected.

I was shocked when he somberly told me the news that his wife, Madeline, was loosing their baby! He went on to explain that she'd experienced spotting and went in to see her doctor. It was decided that an ultrasound was necessary and it was then that they discovered that the baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I didn't know how to respond to this horrible news! I was stunned. All I could do was say, "I'm so sorry!"

I started crying and blurted out, "I was so excited for you both!" What an idiot I am. How was crying and a stupid comment like that at all helpful to a father who is grieving such a loss?! I'm kicking myself now for my insensitivity!

Cole told me that Madeline was having a surgical procedure done today (a D&C) to remove the baby so that she wouldn't have to wait for her body to abort it.

"She's already not feeling up to talking about it anymore, so please give her a few days before trying to call her," Cole asked.

"I understand," I assured him. "I'll wait. Please let her know that I'm thinking of her."

"I will," he replied and then said he had to go.

My heart is aching for both of them! These are two of the nicest people you'd ever meet. I know they'll try again, Cole mentioned that they'd probably start trying again as soon as they were given the go-ahead from their doctor, but that doesn't minimize the pain of this loss.

How very wretched! They just bought a new, bigger house for their expanding family (they have a 2 year old son) which they close on in mid-August. Given the circumstances, I'm sure their moving in will be tinged with sadness.

So, here's my question. What do I do to offer comfort to my brother and SIL? I've never suffered a miscarriage, so I don't know what to say or do.

Do I talk about it with them or do I wait until they bring it up? I'll be offering up prayers for them, but is that enough?

Would it be appropriate to send a miscarriage sympathy card or is that just some marketing ploy by card companies that would that cause Cole and Madeline even more pain?

I found something on-line that spoke to my heart. These cards have such touching poems inside. Would it be okay to send such a card? If so, should I send it this week or wait a bit?

Ugh! I just feel so helpless when faced with their loss! Why does life have to be so horrendously hard at times?!
7:05 AM
33 comments


Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Works-for-Me Wednesday (sippy cups of water)
Snuggle Bug has, at times, been a restless sleeper, waking up and falling back to sleep (usually on his own) at least a couple of times per night.

We've always been against having a bottle in Snuggle Bug's cribs for the obvious reasons (risk of choking, rotting teeth, etc) but when he went through a two week period of getting up several times a night, crying, we tried everything to figure out what the issue was. Eventually I thought to myself, 'I keep a cup of water by my nightstand and wake up thirsty, maybe he's getting thirsty too!'

So we started putting Snuggle Bug to bed with a spill proof sippy cup filled with water. We'd hand it to him in his crib after his bath, bottle, book, and teeth brushing bedtime routine.

The first night there wasn't much out of it. The second night we noticed a bit gone, and each night it seemed as though more and more was gone. Amazingly enough, eventually the interrupted sleep nights disappeared!

Just last night he drank the entire sippy cup at some point during the night (I don't know when because he didn't wake us up) and I'll have to refill it this evening before putting him to bed!

We've secretly watched him wake up, root around in his crib until he finds the sippy cup, gulp a few sips, and then snuggle back down with his blankie and fall back asleep with no fuss!

I'm sure thirst wasn't the only thing causing Snuggle Bug to wake up at night during that tough patch, but it's nice that allowing him to quench his thirst eliminates one possibility for sleepless nights.

If you have a little one, I'd encourage you to give this a try. It works for me!

If you'd like to share something that works for you, please leave me a comment. And be sure to link yourself over at Shannon's, the host of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

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4:30 PM
26 comments


Monday, July 17, 2006
Item purchased pre-child
Good afternoon Blogland! I hope you had a great weekend. We sure did. We got together with friends twice, went swimming, took naps, went to the library, created an art masterpiece, and I even had time to read part of a good book!

So, I have a question for you. What was the first item you purchased before your child was born?

For me it was this children's easel set. I bought this easel shortly after Oronzo and I were married, before we'd really gotten serious about researching our adoption options. Let's see, that must've been about 3 years ago then.

I was driving home from running errands one Saturday morning and I saw a garage sale going on in my neighborhood, so I stopped by to take a peek. My attention was immediately drawn to the easel.
As I walked around it, taking stock of the paint containers, the brushes, the chalkboard with colored chalk on one side and the eraser board on the other, the owner of the house walked up and said, "Our children loved this easel, but they've outgrown it. Do you have children?"

"Not yet," I replied wistfully, "but we're hoping to become parents in the near future."

It wasn't hard to image a child of ours standing with a paint brush in hand before this easel, so I bought it for a mere $5.00 and took it home in my trunk. When I walked in the door with it Oronzo asked, "What is that for?"

"It's for our future child!" I explained excitedly. Oronzo looked skeptical but wisely didn't say another word as I set up the easel in our guestroom. Some hopeful parents are comforted by a decorated nursery. I was never brave enough to decorate a nursery ahead of time, so I took comfort in this children's easel instead.

I lugged this easel with us during two different moves and I know Oronzo often thought it was ridiculous to keep it when we could easily go purchase a new one at the appropriate time. But, I wasn't about to get rid of this first purchase for our child.

And this past weekend, I finally got my wish. I got to see my child with paintbrush in hand before this easel. As you can see in the picture, Snuggle Bug is still a little small and had trouble reaching up to paint, but it worked!

He alternated between painting with the brush and painting with his hands. He had a great time getting messy with paint!

Of course, the colors in the paint containers got mixed quickly because Snuggle Bug double dipped frequently. The paint brush and his hands were quite a jumble of colors as well.

My camera even got paint all over it too, as I tried to take pictures and help Snuggle Bug at the same time!

This was supposed to be washable paint, but his hands had stains on them after I washed him up and his clothes are possibly stained too. I'll have to see if Spray-N-Wash will get the paint out.

I'll tell you what, all the mess was well worth it! Snuggle Bug had a blast painting, I experienced the joy of having my son use the very first item purchased for him, I now have a "first painting" masterpiece to frame and hang on the wall, and I have some great pictures to commemorate the experience!

So again I ask, What was the first item you purchased before your child was born? Was it a toy, was it clothes, was it a picture frame, was it an entire nursery set?

Did you take pictures of your child with that item? Please tell me I'm not the only sentimental Mama to do this!
9:09 AM
21 comments


Friday, July 14, 2006
Five Ingredient Friday (Basil Bread)

It's that time again, but before I post my recipe I thought I'd ask if you like my new Five Ingredients Friday image! Oronzo is showing me how to use Photoshop and I modified this picture all by myself. I like it much better than my old one. Feel free to use this image if you're posting a Five Ingredients Friday recipe!

Okay, on to the recipe. I found this one on-line and I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to!

Basil Bread

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh basil leaves, slightly packed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (toast by heating in nonstick skillet on medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
10 inch-thick slices of French or sourdough bread, preferably made with part whole-wheat flour

Preparation:
1. Put all of the ingredients except the bread in a small food processor. Pulse briefly to blend well.
2. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon spread on each bread slice and place on foil-lined cookie sheet. Broil about 6 inches from heat, watching carefully, until spread is bubbly and lightly brown (two-three minutes).

Yield:10 pieces

Nutritional Information: Per slice of bread with spread (using part whole-wheat French bread): 132 calories, 4 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 4.9 g monounsaturated fat, 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 1.3 g fiber, 150 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 54%.

©2003-2006 WebMD Inc.


I look forward to seeing your Five Ingredients Friday recipe! Don't forget to link your blog on this post so I can see what's cooking at your house!


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5:30 AM
10 comments


Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Works-for-Me Wednesday (pie crust made in bulk)

Making pie from scratch is a lot of work, especially if you're making the pie crust from scratch as well, so when I do this I like to make it in bulk and freeze what I don't use for a later time. You can keep pie crust in your freezer for at least a month.

Here's the pie crust recipe that I use (you can double or triple it). It's tender, flaky, and oh so yummy!

Flaky Butter Pie Crust
(makes enough for 2 pie crusts)

7 oz (14 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold
3 cups flour
1./2 tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Baking powder
½ to ¾ c cold water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cut in the cold chunks of butter with a pastry cutter until pea-sized pieces form.

Combine the water and vinegar and add to dry ingredient mixture. Work the dough, quickly, by hand until it forms into a smooth ball. Break in half to form 2 smooth balls.

Flatten out each ball into a round circle for easier rolling, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour or overnight).

If you've made extra, be sure to double or triple wrap it before putting it in the freezer and let it thaw out in the refrigerator for at least a day before using.

Roll the first circle out thin enough to use as bottom pie crust. Roll the second circle out to be used as the top, or cut into strips to weave together.

Enjoy!

If you'd like to share something that works for you, please leave me a comment. And be sure to link yourself over at Shannon's, the host of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

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4:30 AM
34 comments


Monday, July 10, 2006
A Shift in Family Dynamics

Whenever Oronzo and I spend time with our extended families, especially with our parents, we end up having some interesting conversations about our childhood and how we hope to raise our children.

Without getting into the gory details, both Oronzo and I grew up in dysfunctional households. We were subjected to physical and emotional abuse as children. This has affected our view of our roles as parents. We are working hard to shift the family dynamics in our own home for the better.

For example, both Oronzo and I have agreed that we will not spank our children. We will strive not say mean, hurtful things in anger. We will not be demeaning towards our children or towards each other. We will make sure that if we, as a couple, have verbal disagreements our children also see the resolution to those disagreements. We will shower our children with affection and do our best to make sure they know each and every day how much we love them. We will treat our children with the same respect that we ask of them.

If you wonder how that's working for us so far, I must say that, so far, it's working quite well. Don't get me wrong, we set boundaries for Snuggle Bug and we are working at teaching him to be a respectful, well-mannered child. He's only 18 months and we haven't experienced any major disobedience issues yet, can you at that age? It might prove more challenging as he gets older, but we're determined not to raise our children the way we were raised.

The other night, as we lay in bed at Oronzo's parent's house, we talked about the changes in our own parents over the years and our ability to forgive. Oronzo made the comment, "They did the best they could at the time," and I disagreed. My parents didn't do the best that they could. They chose to drink, they chose to hit us and each other, they chose to hurt us with their hands, their fists, and their words. They didn't do the best that they could. I don't buy that at all. In fact, now that I'm a parent myself, at times I'm even more angry and disgusted with the thought of how they could have caused such pain to innocent, powerless children.

Having said that, I do want to give both our parents credit for the changes we've seen as we've become adults. They've mellowed in their old age, in some instances they've expressed regret and sorrow for some of the things they've done. They work hard at being good grandparents.

I was napping at Oronzo's parent's this past Saturday afternoon and I awoke to the sound of Aleiza and Peyton playing with Snuggle Bug in the guest room. I sat and soaked in the sounds of their laughter and Snuggle Bug's happy baby chatter. Then I got up, tiptoed over to the guest room and peered in the doorway. Aleiza was sitting on the floor, patiently letting Snuggle Bug hand her books and toys. Peyton was sitting in the rocking chair, leaning close to encourage Snuggle Bug with his task. It warmed my heart to see this scene.

I've seen similar, positive interactions between Snuggle Bug and my parents and I'm amazed at the changes in them as well.

It's hard sometimes to reconcile the differences in our parents. The parents that were abusive in the past, can now be loving and affectionate, especially towards their grandchildren.

I still haven't reached a place of total trust with either sets of parents, and there are still resurgences of dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes from time to time, but their efforts to change for the better have gone a long way towards earning my forgiveness and have helped my personal healing process.

** Edited to add: **

After reading a few of the comments left (thanks, by the way), I'd like to clarify a couple of points.

First, the apologies that we have received from our parents were not willingly given. Both Oronzo and I have had to have painful conversations with our parents in the past. I can't speak for Oronzo on how his conversations played out, but often times my conversations with my parents were results of them making stupid statements like, "I can't believe the neighbors do [insert judgmental observations here]," and me responding with, "I can't believe you're criticizing when you did the same thing to us when we were kids!"

My siblings and I have slowly gained the courage over time to speak up and speak out against our parents. We've confronted them about their past treatment and we are less willing to tolerate their bad behavior in the present. As a result of these forced conversations, we sometimes get apologies. I do appreciate the apologies when they come across as heartfelt, as they sometimes do, but it'd be so much nicer if they offered them up on their own.

Second, the lack of total trust that I mentioned means that Oronzo and I both agree that our children will not spend time alone with our parents for a long, long time (no matter how much they plead with us and try to make us feel guilty). They've hurt us too much in the past and we're not willing to risk them hurting our children so we will be present when our children visit their grandparents or spend time with them.

Oronzo and I have talked about possibly letting our children go stay with grandparents for short visits alone when they're older and can verbally tell us if they are mistreated, but we don't have a clear idea in our minds as to when that magical age will be. A lot depends on how our relationship with our parents continues, going forward.

Still, I do acknowledge and appreciate the positive changes I've seen thus far.

7:04 AM
16 comments


Saturday, July 08, 2006
You're next! (the race to expand families)
Remember how I mentioned in this post, how truly happy I am about the new babies expected in February 2007? Well I am happy, really I am, but I failed to realize what the news of these anticipated arrivals meant for us.

We're staying with Oronzo's parents this weekend, to allow them to have their much desired time with Snuggle Bug, and it didn't take long for the discussion to turn towards new babies and for them to tell us, "You're next!" followed by the question, "Have you heard anything on the adoption front?"

Oronzo's parents aren't the only ones asking about the progress on our efforts to adopt #2.

Suddenly we're in the spotlight with both sides of the family, as if it's now a race to expand our family as well.

I don't want it to be a race. I don't want to stress out about how long it's taking, as I did before we were matched with Snuggle Bug. I don't need pressure from our families because all it does is cause me to worry.

I worry, will we ever be matched again? Are we being naive in trying to be matched through family and friends again? Will we end up being forced to go through an agency in the end? Will a 2nd adoption even happen? We're not getting any younger, if it's meant to be how long will it take?

And then there's the guilt (hey, I'm Catholic, the guilt is always there) that we're trying to adopt another child when so many couples are desperately trying to adopt their first.

Snuggle Bug is only 18 months old. Why are our families suddenly in a rush for us to adopt again? Aren't we allowed to just enjoy being the parents to one fantastic little boy for a little while longer?

We do want to adopt a second child but we're not out to win any races in the process. We want it to happen in God's time. Is that so wrong?
11:15 PM
20 comments


Friday, July 07, 2006
Five Ingredients Friday (Fruit Pops)

It's time to exchange recipes for Five Ingredients Friday! Back to posting recipes of 5 ingredients or less.

It's hot here and I'm always looking for cool treats for Snuggle Bug.

This recipe is something that I concocted at home.

I've been a bit leery of giving Snuggle Bug popsicles from the grocery store because I don't think they're exactly healthy. So, when I found a freezer pop mold, I bought it and decided to try to make my own healthier popsicles.

The first batch I made turned out really yummy and Snuggle Bug devoured his popsicle in no time flat!

Fruit Pops
Ingredients
1 banana
1 peach
1 container of vanilla yogurt
splash of oj


Directions
Peel the banana and the peach (or whatever fruit combo you'd like to try). Throw fruit & yogurt into a blender and blend on pulse.

Add a splash of oj to create a smooth consistency.

Pour mixture into popsicle molds.

Put in freezer and let them freeze overnight before serving.

As you can see, Snuggle Bug liked them and I think you will too!

I look forward to seeing your Five Ingredients Friday recipe!


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7:16 AM
20 comments


Wednesday, July 05, 2006
My past WFMW entries

My past WFMW entries:

lowering cholesterol tips
free 411 calls
gasoline tip
inexpensive landscaping
chalk it up
fun & creative labels
Melt Down
How to get your spouse to do the dishes
the Plate Method
free steak seasonings/marinades
bargain shopping tips
My-Calorie-Counter
free customized ring tones
party favor basket
10 ways to make brushing fun!
Crayola Twistables Slick Stix
kids car organizer
stop urban legend emails
send credit scores soaring
foolproof extra creamy cottage cheese
stainless steel ball whisk
Uses for your child's wagon
10 Reasons Why Parents Should Not Spank
Love Sweet Love
travel tip
free children's printables
calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels:

8:30 AM
0 comments


Monday, July 03, 2006
Today I attend the memorial mass of my deceased uncle.
In about an hour and a half, Oronzo, Snuggle Bug, and I will be driving 2 hours north to attend the memorial mass of my uncle. He's been cremated, so there will be no burial serivce afterwards. We'll be going over to his son's house to spend time with family that's flying in from out of state to pay their respects as well.

I made my aunt a blueberry peach pie and a card and will be taking them with me.

Baking the pie was nearly an all day affair. I made the crust from scratch, I even pealed and sliced the peaches that were used in the fruit filling. I love baking and, to me, it's an expression of my love when I share my baked goods with others. Of course, Snuggle Bug had to help and so the process took a little longer than expected, but my aunt will appreciate it when I tell her that both of us baked her a pie!

The card I created from scratch as well. The outside says, "With Sympathy." The inside has a simple message offering our condolences, but then I added the letter that I'll list below.

Dear Aunt,

It’s hard to express with words how sorry I am about the death of Uncle. He was kind, handsome, vibrant, friendly, and intelligent. What I will remember most about him though was his great sense of humor, and his love of family.

I’m so thankful that I was given the opportunity to know Uncle, not as a child, but as an adult. It began when you both opened your home to five of us back in 1995, when we traveled from from our state to yours to go to watch our college team play in a bowl game. You two probably hadn’t heard from us for over 10 years and yet, because we were family, you willingly invited us to stay with you for a week. During that week, we learned how wonderful both you and Uncle were.

A year later, I moved to your same state. That first year was rough, I felt quite homesick, but you and Uncle helped by inviting me to your home for the holidays I couldn’t get back to my immediate family for. It was such a comfort to me to know that I had family just 2 hours away, especially considering that I knew no one else when I relocated.

You and Uncle have always made me feel welcome in your home. Staying with you and spending time with the two of you was always such a pleasurable experience. I’m only sorry I didn’t make the time to get back your way for another visit before Uncle died.

I’d like to make sure I don’t make that mistake with you. When you’re ready for company again, please let me know. I’d like to bring Snuggle Bug (and possibly Oronzo) with me for a visit. It could be just a day visit or a weekend visit, whichever you’d prefer.

I hope you know how much I love you Aunt. Please let me know if there’s anything that I can do for you during this painful time. You will remain in my prayers!



6:06 AM
15 comments


Saturday, July 01, 2006
Baby News

We've had news recently of two new pregnancies within our families.

First, I heard from my favorite brother (to be referred to as Cole). His wife (to be referred to as Madeline) is pregnant with their second child, due to be born in mid-February 2007. They're hoping for a girl because they already have a little boy (to be referred to as Aiden). Aiden is two years old.

Just tonight, we received a call from Oronzo's brother, Christian. His wife, Larissa, is also pregnant with their second child, due to be born at the end of February 2007. They're hoping for a boy because they already have a daughter, Rebecca, who just turned one year old in May.

After hearing the good news from Christian and Larissa, I was telling Oronzo that it's such a good feeling to be able to be truly happy for both Cole and Christian and their families.

Let me explain. Before we were matched and before we adopted Snuggle Bug, I must admit that whenever I got a call from family or friends letting me know that they were expecting, I tried really hard to be happy for them, and I succeeded to an extent, but that happiness was always tinged with a sadness and a touch of envy. That attempt at happiness for others also led to agonising self doubt. I often questioned, Will it ever be our turn? Will we ever become parents too?

The answer to those questions was "Yes!" Our turn came and we became parents to the most wonderful baby boy and we couldn't be happier.

Now, as parents ourselves, I can be most sincere in my well wishes for those close to us who are becoming pregnant and expanding their families. What a wonderful feeling! No sadness, no envy, only joy!

Yes, we hope to adopt again and possibly even again after that. But if for some reason a second child isn't meant to be for our family, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I'm already blessed to be the mommy to a bright, beautiful little boy and I'm so very thankful!

So go ahead, tell me you're pregnant or adopting and I'll tell you how happy I am for you, and mean it!
9:22 PM
16 comments




Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Beautiful adoption video
Date Night Bliss
Family Rules and Values
In the swing of school
It's time for the kiddos to head back to school a...
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
Baby fix!
Easing back into blogging
A shocking phone call
1 year anniversary for Boo
























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