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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last Weekend

It is currently raining and cool outside, which means that I am finally inside and have a chance to catch up with my blogging. We spent so much time outside over the weekend that nothing got accomplished inside.

Friday was my mom's birthday and we went out to dinner with the family (minus Greg since he was out of town) and then everyone came back here for lots of running like crazy around the yard and cake. Since my mom is so old (just kidding Mom!) she needed the help of her grandkids to blow out her candles.

From the minute we got out of bed on Saturday, everyone was thinking about being outside.

Saturday was our anniversary. Greg was not here so I went to a fundraiser thing with a friend while my mom played with the kids outside. After having dinner with my parents that evening, it was more outside playing.

Greg was home on Sunday and we spent the majority of the day outside. I did lots of yard work which is likely why I have poison ivy. Then we all played some soccer. Hooray for good weather!

Marcus can only kick a ball with his arm behind his back. See for yourself!

They were playing together so nicely... mostly.

It even looks like they really like each other!

I hadn't showered yet that day and had been doing yard work, so it was the perfect opportunity to get Mommy more covered in yard pieces.

Maya discovered soccer and it instantly became her favorite sport. She was a bit worn out from playing all evening by the time we caught her on film.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mystery Dianosis

Although I missed it, apparently Monday's episode of "Mystery Diagnosis" featured a woman with a unicornuate uterus, the same condition that I have. The episode is going to run again on Saturday at 5:00 pm on Discovery Health and I already have my DVR set to record.

It's been a long time since I talked about my uterus. Actually, I don't know if I have ever mentioned my uterus on my blog. I must confess that I think about my uterus all the time, far more than I am sure a lot of women do. Yet, I don't write about it. In a way I feel like admitting that I think about my uterus and actually talking about it on my blog is kinda cheating on my sons. Without my uterus the way it is, I would not have these sons and I wouldn't trade them for the world, but, I still think about my uterus a lot. So, I guess this can be a post dedicated to my uterus.

Long story short, I was diagnosed with a unicornuate uterus (UU) in January of 2006. (Here is the story of when I went for test the led to the diagnosis and sealed the deal that adoption was for us. Go read it. It is good. Go... I'll wait... Okay, read it? Totally worth it, right? Okay, continue!) Basically I have half a uterus and the other half didn't form when I was still growing in my mommy's uterus. I have two ovaries but have never gone into further testing to see if they both work. I also have two kidneys which is great because a lot of people with a UU only have one kidney.

Greg and I talked about adopting for a long time prior to all this. As soon as the doctor started whispering and calling in other doctors (really, NEVER a good sign) and he said, "There seems to be a problem," the very first thing I thought was, "Okay, we are going to go ahead and adopt now instead of later." That night Greg and I went out to dinner and I asked him what we are going to do and he said, "We are going to adopt now instead of later." Best. Decision. Ever.

So, here I sit with my half a uterus and a whole head full of statistics that I researched at some point and have forgotten by now. I am something like 1 out of some 6000 women who have a UU, and obviously this "condition" is cool enough to end up on Mystery Diagnosis. My doctor recommended some infertility treatments and an infertility doctor but I knew (and Greg too) from the minute the doctor said there was a problem, that our path was adoption. Many women go on to give birth. Many do not. Chances of miscarriage and still birth and premature birth and bed rest and a whole slew of other issues are pretty high, at least higher than in "normal" people. I have weird pains and pressure most days of my cycle and my doctor doesn't really have an explanation for it. I have a whole list of jokes about my uterus that are great to pull out at parties. (This is probably why people stopped inviting me to parties.) I have the most supportive husband ever. Most importantly, I have two amazing kids that I probably would have never had the honor to know had it not been for my uterus.

Not sure I will ever totally come to terms with my uterus. We have a working relationship. I can still be pretty pissed off at this particular organ and also incredibly thankful at the same time, right? I know I'm right because that is how my uterus and me have found harmony in our coexistence.


That was easy, but still not done

After several phone calls to the courthouse and me asking, "Where's my stuff?" I finally got an answer on Thursday. A judge had signed off on all our "stuff" and the foreign births of my two sons were being registered in PA. Then it was time for the next step... which was merely picking up the original Guatemalan birth certificates and our adoption decrees. That's it! And I put that off for how long?? In all fairness this process turned out to be way easier to do in this county than it would have been to accomplish prior to when we moved. So, I am quite glad I put it off. (At least that is what I am telling myself.)

However, we are still not completely done. We could be, but since I would like to actually have copies of my kids' US issued birth certificates, I still have to request those. I have to wait a few weeks to send in the paperwork for that though since I was told to allow some time for the office that is going to file the registrations of foreign births needs time to do the actual filing. Then are adoptions will be for really real done! Well, apart from changing Marcus's name on his passport but I don't see a time anytime soon when he will be leaving the country.

I almost forgot to pick up the paperwork I kept bugging the courthouse about. The weather here has been hot and sunny and all that has been on our minds is going outside to play. So much so that we were getting our shoes on to go outside to play when I remembered that I had to go to the court house to get those official documents that would be nearly impossible to replace.

More posts to follow on our summer fun in the springtime.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Five Years Ago

I remember what I was doing five years ago today. Some things today were just the same as they were five years ago. Today I danced along side my friend Abbie and later spent some time dancing with some kids. Five years ago, exact same thing. Five years ago today I ate at a restaurant with my parents. Today, I was out at a restaurant again with my parents. Today I am madly in love with Greg. Five years ago I was madly in love with him, so much so that five years ago today I married him.

But, how things change. Five years ago today I stood holding hands with Greg while all our friends and family prayed for our happiness and love to grow. Today I attended a fundraiser where I joined hands with strangers and prayed for a woman who needs the cancer in her to cease growing. (Also did some dancing with Abbie at this fundraiser.) Five years ago I squeezed Greg's hands a little tighter during our wedding ceremony when the pastor prayed for long, happy lives together surrounded by children. Today I was with my children - tickling them, running in the yard with them, dancing on the porch with them, spraying them with the hose - squeezing them tightly because every minute of every day I am so happy to have them in my life.

On the day that I got married, it rained. It wasn't a horrible downpour, just that annoying sprinkling that lasts all day and makes the sky rather gray and ugly. Today the temperature was in the 80's with never ending sunshine. And although the day five years ago was not as warm as it was today, I recall being so hot that during the wedding reception I hiked my long dress up to my knees underneath the dining table.

Five years ago today my mom instructed my brother that he needed to decorate Greg's car. My brother hadn't brought anything to decorate it with so he ended up purchasing a bunch of icing from the restaurant which he used to write on the windows of Greg's car such things as "Just Married" and "Sex".

Today, Greg's car is not here. Greg is not here either. His sister graduated from college today (yay!) and he went to celebrate her achievement. Even though we are apart, we still sent each other text messages all day long. I still went to dinner with my parents to celebrate, even though he wasn't there... which seems rather silly but it was a free meal! So...

Happy Anniversary to us!

(Hmm... I really feel like I should write something really meaningful or sentimental now but I can't think of anything that won't sound disgustingly warm and fuzzy so I'll just stop and post a picture...)

(Just discovered that I don't have any of our wedding pictures on flickr. There are honeymoon pictures, but no wedding pictures. Off to find a wedding picture that I can upload somewhere and then post...)

(Okay, found one of just me, but not one of us both, which I suppose is perfectly fitting since right now it is just me, and not me and Greg together. Oh, and I really hated my hair on my wedding day and have since stopped seeing that horrible stylist. Oh, and because I didn't use flickr and didn't bother to resize the pictures before uploading them, they are huge. Deal with it.)


(Okay... back in business...)

I now pronounce you man and wife!

Yay! We are married!

And here I am shortly after dancing with Abbie, talking to Abbie

And here we are enjoying our honeymoon.

Oops! Wrong picture! Okay... HERE we are, enjoying our honeymoon!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Curious Case of Maya Brown Dog

About two weeks ago we started noticing something odd about our little 4 month old chocolate lab. As her fuzzy puppy hair was being replaced by her more adult coat, there were a couple white or gray hairs present. I didn't think much of it. Then other people started noticing. Over the course of two weeks, she went from having a couple white hairs, to hundreds of them.

The white hairs are most dense on her hind quarters but they are spotted on her legs, back, tail, and the back of her neck.

I kept meaning to Google it and when I finally did, I found nothing. I tried again a day later and finally found one mention here. It said that it was a recessive gene that caused the hairs to appear or else it could be an issue with excessive copper.

I wasn't too happy with this idea of a genetic defect. After all the health problems we had with the pooch (our previous lab and all time best friend), we specifically sought after a good breeder. Now this. I felt a moral obligation to contact the breeder since they often use Maya's daddy to sire their chocolate litters. First I wanted to talk to our vet.

Thursday Maya had an appointment for some shots. When the vet saw her, she said she had never seen anything like that before. Not really what you want to hear from any doctor. She took some pictures and said that she was going to contact another vet this week who might have some answers. She suggested I email our breeder to see if she had any idea why our labrador was going gray.

I emailed our breeder. The first email I got back said that she had never seen that before and had never heard of any of their other puppies having that issue. A few hours later I got another email from our breeder with this link that shows some common mismarkings on labrador retrievers. Way down at the bottom with a note attached that says the author of the page had never seen this before, was a picture of a black lab's coat that looked just like Maya's. Apparently discussion of this white flecking shows up in a book called "The New Complete Labrador" by Helen
Warwick. The good news is that according to this website, Maya should go back to being an all brown dog by the time she is a year old.

For now, she will keep her distinctive look. Honestly, I think she is the bravest person I know. Most of us keep our faults all bottled up inside and try to hide them. She wears her faults on the outside for everyone to see.

She might look like she is prematurely old (and she is planning on returning to her youth later on in life), but she still saves time for her favorite activities. Like sliding...

and table dancing.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nice Little Saturday

I try my best to live a simple life. We don't have a big house or the best clothes or spend outrageous amounts of money on things that in the big picture we don't really need, and don't make our life anymore complete. That doesn't change the fact that my vision of what I think I should be giving to my family is not ever jaded. Some days I am sad that I haven't taken my kids on lots of vacations or bought them fantastic toys. It takes a day like today to remember that the most valuable thing I can give to my family often doesn't cost a thing. At the end of the day, the best memories come from the simple things we do together.

The weather today was perfect - sunny and 75. We packed up some things in the car and drove a mere fifteen minutes to Mingo Creek Park. It is a park I went to many times growing up. It basically consists of a creek, a couple pavilions, two old covered bridges, a paved walking trail, one road, and some dirt trails in the woods.

We were going to go to a playground and decided to walk there. It was quite a walk for two toddlers - about a mile in one direction. Maya hasn't spent much time on a leash but she did great.

We were hoping to introduce her the water, and kept our fingers crossed that her instincts as a swimming dog would kick in. I was getting rather worried. Some of the best times we had with Peyote were taking her swimming. I have memories of Peyote playing in the water at Mingo Creek. Maya would barely get her feet wet.

After watching how much fun the kids were having collecting pine cones

and throwing rocks into the creek along the way,

we almost decided not to bother going all the way to the playground.

We finally made it to the playground.

Everyone did some sliding.

Sure, our water dog won't go near the water but she will slide repeatedly down a twisting slide.

Our tummies were rumbling so we walked back to the car. Marcus and Will loved having their freedom.

The weather was nice enough that we were able to sit right next to the creek to snack, not being too hot or too cold. To the sound of water trickling over some rocks, we ate our sandwiches and cold pizza.

Then it was time to try that water thing again.

Maya made friends with a woman and her father hanging out on the rocks and they were as determined as we were to get that pup brave enough to take the plunge.

The kids had a blast throwing little sticks in the water and watching the current take them downstream. My little angelic-looking Will loved the feel of the cool water running through his fingers.

You can tell it was an incredible day based solely on the amount of mud Marcus collected on his pants.

We even took a moment to have a family photo taken.

This was truly a special day, just being together and exploring the world. The total cost of this awesome adventure was $3.70, for the deli meat that we picked up for our sandwiches on the way. That was the best $3.70 I ever spent. All the money in the world couldn't have provided us with a better day than we had today with some sunshine, water, sticks, mud, and being together.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Potty Training - Part 2, Phase 3

Part 1 of potty training is complete. That would be Marcus. All is well there. Wasn't too horrible. He is all about learning new things and always really wants to succeed. I am blissfully ignoring all the pain and misery he and I both went through over his complete fear to poop on the potty there for a little bit. However, if you would like a little refresher on the beginning of that issue, click here.

The un-numbered part of potty training is pretty much done too. That would be Maya. She was also pretty easy, and not a human and therefore why she doesn't get numbered. First week was awful but that is to be expected. She still pees when she is really happy, which is often. In the past week or two she has taken to sitting and staring at me and sometimes letting out a little whine when she has to go. I say, this mission is complete.

So on the Part 2. That would be Will. The only way to convince Will that something is a good idea is to make it seem like it was all his idea in the first place. I can't just decide we are going to potty train and start doing it, which is pretty much how potty training with Marcus went. That would be met only with resistance. So, I have to trick him. No one told me that part of being a mom was learning how to be completely manipulative. So, here are the steps.

Part 2, Phase 1 - Poopy On The Potty
This phase started about 4-5 months ago. Will was a very obvious pooper so every time he started being really obvious, we would grab him, run at full speed to the bathroom, strip him down, seat him, and wait. Of course he hated this at first but after acting completely ridiculous each and every time there were positive results, all was well. Now he tells us when he has to poop. The only time there are "accidents" are early in the morning or after nap when he is still in bed and has to go.

Part 2, Phase 2 - Peeing On The Potty Is An Option
This is a two section part. First Will started sitting on the potty right before getting into the bathtub. Eventually he peed once while there... then twice... then most of the time. During Section 2 of Phase 2, I started putting Will on the potty to pee before snack and meals and after getting out of bed (the normal times when Marcus pees). With much chanting of, "Pee! Pee! Pee! Pee!" and totally wild and ridiculous cheers, pretty much every seating has been a success for a few weeks now.

Part 2, Phase 3 - Peeing On The Potty And In Diapers
This brings us to where we are now. Starting this week Will is still wearing his diapers but I have somehow managed to convince him that we should go pee on the potty every 30 minutes while he is awake. I set a timer to remember to go. The hardest part is trying to act just has excited and thrilled and over the top the first time he does it as I do the 158th time he does it. I honestly can't believe how well this is going. Will is really excited! After racing me to the bathroom every 30 minutes and doing his business, he cheers and grins from ear to ear. Today he kept his diaper dry for several hours. I'm going to keep up with this phase for a week.

Then... I have no clue what to do. Phase 4... pull-ups? I am thinking going to underwear isn't a good idea just yet. I'm not in any kind of hurry to get him potty trained but I don't want to miss an opportunity either. Also, I don't really want to continue taking him to the potty every 30 minutes for the rest of his life. I don't think either of us has that much enthusiasm. Maybe pull-ups for a bit and then asking him daily if he wants to wear pull-ups or underwear? Only time will tell. Wish us luck!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter in an Eggshell

We had a nice Easter weekend here! We enjoyed all the H's of the holiday - the holy spirit, hope, ham, and hard boiled eggs.

Last week we colored eggs. I don't really get what colored eggs have to do with Easter so I didn't really bother with the tradition the past few years. This year we dove into the activity. Both kids had quite colorful hands for a couple days.

Saturday we visited with Greg's parents, sister, and his sister's boyfriend. Sunday we went to church and had dinner with my family. There were lots of egg hunts and Easter baskets and very few naps. I took way too many pictures that I haven't gotten uploaded yet but here are a few.

My two sweet boys, holding hands:

Greg asked Will if he was going to sell some insurance in that coat. I figured it was a great chance for taking photos to embarrass him with later in life.

Will reading the bible along with the sermon at church.

Hunting Easter eggs:


Thursday, April 09, 2009


Greg and I purchased some much needed new toys for ourselves that were delivered yesterday. For some reason, Greg didn't want to use the push mower on our massive yard so we got a new lawn tractor.

Marcus and Will thought it looked pretty cool too and Marcus was the first to get a ride.

Will was really excited about the tractor until we asked him if he wanted a turn to ride. Although we kinda feel cruel, we have determined that sometimes we just have to make him do things because we know he will enjoy them once he tries. So, I pried his hands off of me and he sat with Greg on the tractor.

As we suspected, he was terrified at first but after a minute he had a good time.

I was not about to let these little boys think that tractors were the only cool toys. After all, I did finally get a refrigerator yesterday that doesn't have broken shelves and is large enough so that I don't have to practice my Tetris skills to get food to fit in there. And it actually matches the rest of our kitchen.

The kids were most certainly as impressed with the fridge features as they were with the new tractor... at least that is what I am telling myself.

We are just waiting for the curious fingers of the kids to hit one of these buttons and get a face full of water.