Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Need Some Celebrity Friends`

So I was watching Extra or Access Hollywood or some show like that and they had a special segment about celebrity birthday parties. This was brought about because Suri Cruise's birthday is around this time and last year they spent a reported $100,000 on her party. Will they double it this year? Why not? It's not like they're running out of money.

Anyway, the guest on the show was a celebrity party planner who described how to throw a FAB-U-LOUS party for your tot, complete with over-the-top themes, giant cakes, bags! She said that a $300 gift bag (at a children's party, mind you) was skimpy. Seriously. I need some celebrity friends! So, with Mateo's birthday coming up, I thought I'd do a side-by-side comparison of birthday parties; celebrity style vs. non-celebrity cheapo mom style.

Celebrity Party: Exotic animals and petting zoo
My Party
: Luca, our boston-beagle mix

Celebrity Party: $300 gift bag
My Party: $3 gift bag

Celebrity Party: full candy bar complete with real gumball machine
My party: $15 pinata

Celebrity Party: catered 5 course meal and open bar for adults
My party: juice boxes for kids and a couple 6 packs for adults

Celebrity Party: professional clown or magician
My party: drunk uncle?

So, whose party would you go to?

Stupid Butt Head

My son called the baby a "stupid butt head" today. Gotta love daycare. Well, it's days like these I'm sort of glad most people can't understand him. And on the bright side, at least he's using his words to express how he feels about the baby, instead of his fists.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Pictures

Okay, I realize a picture of a baby without a head is pretty creepy. Hopefully we can show her face this fall after we adopt her. But the outfit is cute, right?

This is Mateo saying, "I ownno", about where the pretzels are.

Here is Cowie making a great flag for the parade

Yes, this is our dog drinking out of a water bottle. She is really good at it. Hardly spills at all.

In Recent News...

Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayer as the new Supreme Court Justice. Why am I excited about this?

1) She is hispanic.

2) More specifically, she is Puerto Rican.

3) She is a she. Meaning a woman.

4) Now all parts of my children's heritage are represented in high government.

And that is enough for me to be pleased with this decision.

And about other recent news, anyone watch Jon & Kate Plus Eight on Monday night? I used to be a big fan of the show and the family, but now I'm pretty disturbed by the whole thing. In my opinion, Jon should never have quit his job and they should have ended the show when the kids were three. That would have probably saved their marriage. It's so tragic. And I can't see how anyone would want to watch the show anymore. It's just depressing. Any other opinions on that?

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. I can't believe how different life is with two kids instead of one. I have a hard time finding time just to shower. But I have some cute Memorial Day pics I'll post coming up soon. I just have to edit them first.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anyone Have a Superwoman Mommy Gene?

My husband and I fought almost all night long about who's turn it is to get up with _____ (enter Mateo, baby, dog). This is the conversation we had in the morning. Oh, and yes, we play the martyr game. You know, who's got it worse during the day.

Dave: If we can teach the baby to sleep through the night, it would be much easier. Can't we feed her something more substantial before bed?

Me: Oh sure. I'll just cook her up a steak.

Dave: Well, it's got be easier for you. Your mommy hormones kick in.

Me: What? Sorry but there is no superwoman gene that suddenly activates and makes me spring into action in the middle of the night. It's a choice. I chose not to let the baby cry. I have to drag my ass out of bed just like you, just like the rest of the parents of the world. There is no magical power here.

Dave: (sounding disappointed) There's not?

Then I told him to ask his friends at work who are dads if having a young baby is hard, stressful, and if they have to get up at night too. So, of course, his only frame of reference is his boss who is married to a very traditional Polish woman who takes on all the housework, childcare, and also works full time. Whatever! I told him that I'm not Polish and they'll probably be divorced in 10 years when she realizes how much she resents him.

Anyway, I'll spare you the rest of the details. But, really, anyone here have a supermommy gene that makes them more capable of dealing with stress and sleep deprivation? Or do you agree with me that it's just a load of B.S.?

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Weird Kids

Weird kid traits:

Kid #1 rocks himself (violently) to sleep every night.

Kid #2 must be moving at all times in order to sleep. Which means she sleeps in a swing, set on high, all. night. long.

Kid #1 feels he must be the loudest thing in the room at all times, out-noising the vacuum, the baby crying, and the dog barking.

Kid #2 screams in the car unless the windows are open, the music blasting, and the car is either driving a minimum of 70 mph or going over speed bumps. Note to self: invest in hydrolics.

Kid #1 has a fit if even a drop of liquid spills on his clothing during a meal yet he freely runs through the sprinkler or hose fully clothed and could care less.

Kid #2 would have gnawed my finger off by now if she had teeth.

I love 'em. But I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I May Have a Serious Problem

Courtesy of your local Walmart and Target. I simply can not go into a store without picking up something for the baby. I think I need an intervention. And before you accuse me of showing favoritism, I did buy several summer outfits for Mateo. Would you like me to post pictures of those too? I will but they are not nearly as cute. (Although one t-shirt sports an arguably adorable monster.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Mean She Doesn't Look Like Me?!

I don't know what is going on but this baby has prompted more comments and questions than I ever had with Mateo. And she doesn't look more different from us than Mateo does, so this is weirding me out. Here is a conversation that occurred at the mall while playing in the children's play area with Mateo and holding Maya. And then a list of snarky comments to follow.

Random Woman: Wow! What an adorable baby!

Us: Thanks. (Yes, we were a collective being that day)

RW: How old is she?

Us: (thinking in our head's, how predictable) Two months.

RW: Oooohhhh.....(looking back and forth between me, the baby, and Dave) I'm trying to figure out who she looks like.

Us: (huh?) [enter snarky comment here]

Here are some options:

What? Clearly she looks just like me!

My wife's boss.

I don't know but if you see someone around here who looks like her, tell them they can have their kid back.

Your mother!

What are you talking about? She looks just like...(looking at baby)...wait a minute! Honey, do you have something to tell me?

Oh, she looks like my husband's sugar momma.

Or you could just do what we did and stare at her blankly.

Any other ideas?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Enjoy your day ladies!
the J-momma family

*****in response to the question in the post below, I think we will be starting the tradition of planting something in the yard in honor of birth mother. And since we may be having an open adoption, we will most likely send a card too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Birth Mother's Day?

Anyone honor or celebrate birth mother's on or around Mother's Day? How and what do you do?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good News!!!

I met my son's (and future LEGAL daughter's) birth mom today. It was an interesting experience and one of the most emotionally charged moments for me. Without getting into details, she is going to consent to termination and allow Maya to be adopted by us. I think we can finally breathe easy now knowing that she will stay with us forever. YAY!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I Heart Faces AND Mamarazzi have the same theme going right now so I'm going to use the same picture for both. It's definitely my favorite hat picture, although some of you may have seen it recently in my Easter pics.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Car Crashes and Back Aches

Mateo: Mommy, my have boo-boo. (points to small scratch on arm)

Me: Uh-oh. Are you ok?

Mateo: Yes.

Me: What happened?

Mateo: Car crash.

Next day

Mateo: Uh-oh. Daddy boo-boo. (points to small dot on nose)

Dave: Yes, I have a very small boo-boo, but I'm ok.

Mateo: Car crash Daddy?

Apparently everyone with a boo-boo has been in a car crash. Which means he's been in about a hundred.


Dave: Mateo will you hand me that rock please? (working outside building a patio)

Mateo: Mine back hurts. Need break. (sits on step and drinks juice)

Must be from all the car crashes.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Claim to Fame

I'm famous! Okay, not really. But I've been in Adoptive Families magazine and in our local newspaper. Not a big deal, I know. But it's a start. I would love to write freelance someday and I'm hoping I can get my foot in the door with the adoption route. So the first photos are from an Adoptive Families (a national magazine about adoption-related issues) article about lifebooks. The yellow highlight is where I'm quoted. I happen to be very passionate about lifebooks and I teach a class at my local DCF office. Then there's a picture from Mateo's lifebook on the bottom of one page. I'm going to write out what the quotes are so you can read it for yourselves. I wish I could find the entire article online but I can't. And I don't have time to type the whole article out. You'll just have to buy it if you want to read it. They carry the magazine at Barnes & Noble or you can subscribe at

For an adoption storybook designed for a very young child, less is definitely more. "One or two photos from each place or person is enough," says Justice Riccardi, who adopted her son domestically.

One of the biggest challenges was finding the right words to explain why my son's birthmom can't take care of him," says Riccardi. "I wrote that she had 'big grown-up problems that made it hard for her to care for you or any other baby.' I also repeated the phrase 'babies need food, clothing, toys, and a home,' and added that his birthmother could not provide those things."

Justice Riccardi designed eye-catching pages using photos and stickers on bright backgrounds. Before slipping the pages into plastic protectors in a binder, she made a color copy of the complete book. "We used a three-ring binder, and placed the pages in protective plastic sheets. We also made copies, in case our son spills on it," Riccardi says.

As part of my job (with a non-profit agency that recruits and supports foster/adoptive families in my area) I put an ad in a local paper. Then I got the idea to do a regular column where I can highlight a positive story about foster care or adoption. I started with our story (or a very short version of it), and this is how the column turned out. Our ad is on the bottom. I think it looks great and I'm very happy with it. I'll write that story out too. It's pretty short.

An Adoption Story. When Mateo’s social worker drove up to our house that warm August day, my stomach fluttered and tears welled up in my eyes.

“Come meet your new son!” she yelled after opening her car door. I could see the little feet kicking in the car seat in the back of the car. The social worker picked him up and held him out to us. I couldn’t believe how tiny he was. Mateo was only 14 months old but had a lifetime of worries. He smiled at us, while we talked to him and held him. Of course, he couldn’t understand that we were his parents and he’d be staying with us forever. He was our son! Our first child, our love, our hearts.

I remember the first time Mateo hugged me. He was a happy little boy, but not necessarily affectionate. It took him some time to trust us. To trust that we wouldn’t leave him and that we loved him unconditionally. But one day at a playgroup, another little boy pushed him down, and Mateo came running to me, arms open, and rested his head on my shoulder. I almost started crying myself. It finally felt like he loved us, just as we loved him.

After the adoption was finalized, we had a big party. Many people were there, family and friends, and even Mateo’s first foster mom joined the celebration. We had cake, and a blow up jumpy house, and lots of food. It was a great time and proof that Mateo was as much a part of our family as any biological child would be. I hope that he can look at those pictures one day and know how welcome he has always been in our family. Even though our skin doesn’t match on the outside, family is about what’s on the inside.

I am also on public access television all the time on a show called "Families in the Making" where I was interviewed twice about being a foster/adoptive parent. So I may not be famous, but I'm getting closer. Just watch. Pretty soon I'll be chillin' out with the Jolie-Pitts and chatting about nannies. Angelina, if you're reading this, give me a call, k?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Being Real About Child Abuse

Warning: I'm about to get a little depressing here. Sorry, I just have to express an incident that happened recently that gave me deep feelings about the world. So, read with caution, or don't read at all if you're already in a bad mood.

I went to visit a fellow foster parent last week who takes in babies/toddlers and helps them either reunify with their birth families or transition into adoptive homes. She is a wonderful, caring foster mom and her husband is just as great. I'm sure all of you have heard horrific stories of child abuse and felt sad for the mentioned children. But have you ever met that child you heard the stories about? Have you ever had them sit on your lap and look up at you with beautiful innocent eyes as you listen to the horrific things they've been through?

Well I have. And it was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever witnessed. There are two children this woman has in her care right now. A little girl who just turned one year old, with light brown silky hair, deep blue eyes, and chubby little cheeks. She is friendly and cuddly and just precious. The other is a 6 month old boy with dark brown smooth skin, curly black hair, and big brown eyes. When I sat down, the little girl came crawling up to me right away. As she sat on my lap and looked into my eyes, her foster mom began telling me about how she was so malnourished when social services found her that her head had swollen up to protect itself in starvation mode. She had been left in the exersaucer for hours upon hours at a time. There was no food in the house. At 9 months old she didn't know how to drink from a bottle. And her birth father was grooming her for abuse. As I stroked her hair back from her eyes, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of monster could do that to such a sweet angel? And I've never had bad feelings about birth parents before, so this came as a shock to me. But hearing about the abuse and seeing the child in real life, was just so much to take in.

The second child, the little boy with big brown eyes that reminded me of Mateo, came into care with 19 broken bones. He had been shaken and now has extensive brain damage. He had 5 blood clots in his brain, broken ribs, old bruises and fractures, he is blind in one eye and maybe deaf as well. Doctors think he was shaken or thrown on more than one occasion and even stepped on. I've never had such powerful feelings about abuse before. I think when you match the story with the faces, it makes it all the more real.

Both of these babies will be going to adoptive homes. Can you guess who will be placed first? I wish I could tell you that I would scoop up that baby boy and be his mommy forever, but it takes someone special, more special than me, to want to raise that boy forever. A boy who's future is so unknown. I pray that that someone exists and that the love offered can heal his wounds and he will exceed all expectations doctors have of him.

I tried to imagine what life was like now for that little baby boy who had been so hurt by the adults around him. Do you think he knows he's safe now? The foster parents report that he cries all the time. Do you think he trusts anyone after being thrown around and hurt so badly? Even at six months, as defenseless as he is, he knows more than any baby should know about the world. That it is a cruel, painful, horrible place to be. I wonder what he would be like if he hadn't been so abused? It kind of makes you wonder about the pro-choice/pro-life dilemma. What if mothers like that weren't given the choice to abort their unwanted babies? How many more cases would we have of abuse like this; babies who were born to unprepared women, abused, and then put into foster care where they could languish for years becoming more and more detached from society until they end up in prison or in institutions? I'm not trying to start a debate about abortion. I'm not even stating my stance. It's just something I think about often in dealing with abused and neglected children. People say they are only thinking of the babies when it comes to abortion, but who's thinking about them after they're born?