Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's better than going thrifting?

Going thrifting when it's 30% off!! YAHHHHHH!

Today I scored a game from 1965 called Trouble (I played this as a kid and for it being 43 years old it's in great shape!) for only $1.39, a wooden puppet theater for $9.00, a wooden ironing board for $2.00, a cute realistic looking turtle (the girls are obsessed with Schleich animals) for pennies, binoculars (Shaye has been begging for some!) for $1.50, and two cute little kid tin trays that look pretty vintage (they have legs that pop out on the bottom so you can sit on the floor and use the tray to draw, eat, build Lego's, whatever for just under 3 bucks. One has an "ABC circus" and one has monkey fire fighters. They are SO cute! We also got a few pants and shirts and I found a Leap Frog phonics radio (retails for something crazy like $25!) for $1. I may just sell that on Craigslist though.

I've been thinking about my current obsession and I know there is money to be made by buying stuff up at Thrift stores for dirt cheap ($2 and less!) and reselling on Craigslist or eBay for 10 times the amount. I might give it a whirl and see what happens.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another score for the home team!

Are there support groups for thrift store addiction? Because Caroline is definitely going to send me to one. Ok, so when I go I usually spend anywhere from $5 to $20, but it's EVERY week...sometimes twice a week. I really gotta stop. But when you see a deal like this, you just gotta admit that you did the right thing by spending the money. ;)

I have wanted this for the girls since last Christmas, but there was just something about spending $60 plus $20 for each game that really turned me off. I did buy them a Leap Pad and a Leapster from Toys R Us and I would say they are much nicer and my kids really play with them alot (Shaye is alllllllllll about letters and numbers these days). I was in my favorite all time thrift store yesterday and found it for SIX (!) dollars!!! That is 90% off the retail price. Heh. I brought it home, put new batteries in it and it works great. I can say that I am really, really glad I didn't spend $60 on this game. It's not all that. I would say it was worth $6 though.

I also found one of these and made little "mail cards" out of wood from Michael's (I'll post pics later) and the girls are LOVING it! I spent something like $2.99 on it.

It's amazing how many cute wooden trays you can find for your home Montessori shelf, too.

It's such a rush when you find such awesome things!!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm not sure if I've ever blogged about this, but I thought it was worth a mention (ahem, name drop).  Back in the day, in the late 80's/early 90's there was a really great local Baltimore band called Beyond Words which eventually morphed into a band called Love Riot.  My band, The Wanting Seed (I played drums), used to play with them often around the local Baltimore area original music club scene.  Ahhh....those were the days.   Two of the folks from Beyond Words/Love Riot were Lisa Matthews and Mikel Gehl.  Not to brag, but pretty much everybody around the local original music scene knew who The Wanting Seed and Beyond Words were.  We were two of the bands that played alot and had good size followings and we played together frequently and hung out.  The local music scene in the 80's and 90's was incredible.  A tight group of folks that supported each other by either playing clubs together and coming out to support each other when they weren't playing their own gigs.  Everybody knew everybody, ya know? 

Fast forward to 2004 when I became a mom and started to notice all the little kid shows on TV.  One of the only one's I could stomach was Barney...nah...just kidding!  It's called Jack's Big Music Show and I always thought it was really cool that they would have *real* musicians as guests (like Sweet Honey in the Rock, Cathy Richardson, Lisa Loeb, Yolanda Adams, Buddy Guy etc.).  And one of the best children's artists around, Laurie Berkner, who has been called "the Ani DiFranco of kid's music".  There were a few songs from the show done by bands such as Hot Peas and Butter that were actually REALLY REALLY catchy.  Even though it was music about numbers and letters, from a drummer/musician perspective, it freakin' rocked out!!  I always had to chuckle because I went from drummer in a really cool original, regionally well known, band to jammin' out to a band called Hot Peas and Butter! LOL!!

Ok, so getting back to the point, one of the bands that I really, really liked was a band called Milkshake.  There was one Jack's Big Music Show episode that I had DVR's for about 8 months called "Marching Band" where Jack and Mary (the characters) can't go out and march because it's raining outside.  Milkshake performs a "video" called "Sunshine" on that episode and it really and truly a happy, fun song.  I watched this episode almost every day for 6 months because Shaye was ADDICTED to it.  Seriously, every day she would sit for 30 minutes glued to the TV to watch this show.  So, I heard this song and saw this video a lot.  A lot.  Oh, many, many, many times.  I used to think, "Why do those people look so damn familiar to me?", but I just brushed it off and thought, like me, they were probably once really cool pop/alternative musicians who now have kids and have to make a living or put a new deck on the back of their house (a.k.a. selling out).  About a year ago, I was flipping through Cookie Magazine and saw a little blurb about this cute little band and almost fell off of the couch.  Milkshake was Lisa Matthews and Mikel Gehl!!!!!!!  NO WONDER THEY LOOKED FAMILIAR!!!  

My old friends (that I have long since lost contact with) are now married (not to each other) and are a mommy and a daddy and write AWESOME kid's music!!!!  For those of you with young children and have seen the show, you will probably know them when you watch this video from You Tube.  Every time I hear this song now, I just have to laugh.  Someday soon I'll be taking my own kids back to Baltimore and instead of hanging out in the hip local original music scene dives, I'll be taking them to see my old friends Lisa and Mikel at the local kidfest!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sister squabble

Squabble overheard at my house moments ago:

Shaye: ::running down the hallway screaming and throwing a fit because Naia did something first::::
Me:  Shaye, PLEASE for the LOVE OF GOD be quiet!!  You are going to wake Laela up!
Shaye:  :::screaming even louder and crying::::
Me:  :::sigh::: God dammit.

Moments later I walked into the bedroom where Shaye dramatically threw herself on the bed and told her she needed to go into Laela's room and tell her that she's sorry for waking her up.

Naia:  I go to and tell Laela sorry!
Shaye: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NAIA!!!  You can't tell Laela you're sorry because you didn't do it!  I DID!!
Naia:  I go to.  Laela?
Shaye:  :::crying and throwing a fit:::: NO NAIA!! I'M GOING TO TELL LAELA I'M SORRY!

So, off Shaye runs into Laela's room saying, "I'm sorry for waking you up Laela.  Naia didn't do it.  I did."

Now, all 3 of them are in Laela's room laughing their heads off.

Just a day in the life of 3 children 3 and under.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Adoption in the animal world.

"For most mothers, it's just what they do. An instinct so deeply wired into them that often all they know is to love and care for life."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

What can you buy for .49 cents AND my children the future Olympians

It's amazing the things you can find in a thrift store!!!!  

Since I was close to my favorite all time thrift store today ;), I decided to just run in for 20 minutes and see what was around.  They get thousands of new items daily and I just can't resist a good bargain when I'm that close.

I bought this Three Little Pigs storyboard "puppet" set at Lakeshore Learning and we've never really used it because I didn't buy (or make) the board/glove that you use with them.  Today I found this for FORTY NINE CENTS and can't stand how perfect it is!  Much better than the board or glove.

Thrift find - felt board book
Thrift find - felt board book
Thrift find - felt board book
Thrift find - felt board book

I made a bundle of sticks and hay and used legos for bricks and VOILA! How cool is this? The girls are going to love helping act out the story. Have any of you read "The three little wolves and the big bad pig?" Oh, I highly recommend it.

I put these little props together for the book (see notes)

Caroline and I were laughing so hard last night. The Olympics have sucked our kids in. I love sports (mostly snowboarding and motocross) and we have been watching the Olympics faithfully every night. The kids get a kick out of the gymnastics and diving the most.

Michael Phelps, watch out!

Michael Phelps watch out!
My kids are in SUCH Olympic mode right now
I am so buying Naia a BMX bike and taking her to the BMX track by our house. She kept saying "watch more bikes, Mommy!" and "I do that!" last night when I was watching a DVR'd Olympic BMX semi-finals. She was *INTO* it (and that is an understatement). Here she is on the "BMX bed track". Then she crashes and says "I'm ok". God, she's a funny kid. Note the last picture of the crashed bike on the TV. She even re-enacted the crash! LOL!

Naia watching Olympic BMX semi-finals and acting out the race
Taking a spill on the "BMX bed track"
Taking a spill on the "BMX bed track"
Don't worry mom...I'm good.  I'm ok.  Really.
See...I'm ok.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Real Estate

Before becoming a mommy, I took the CA Real Estate exam and passed.  I interviewed my first broker (Prudential) on 12/27/04 knowing that I would not work for this company (it was a starting point to hone my skills).  On 12/28/04, my little Shaye was placed in my arms, and on 12/29/04 the broker called and asked what I thought and if I wanted to work with her company.  I declined saying that I had just become a mommy "last night" and it was really funny to hear her reaction (I didn't LOOK pregnant ;) Heh.)   But from that day on I have never put my license to work.  

However, with the horrible real estate market these days, I have mentioned to Caroline (in brief passing in the hallway - LOL!) that we should purchase a investment or two so that in 12 years we will have a little nest egg in equity that might help pay for some steep college tuition for 3 children.  
I have two very good friends that are real estate agents and I think I might start talking to them about my little pipe dream.  I'm not sure that I would activate my license quite yet, but I need to do some research.  A friend is buying a new construction home in a new development that has a very appealing price tag, so Caroline and I need to do some thinking and research about this.  We already know that we could rent to family members so that we wouldn't have to worry about delinquent payments, so it just seems like the perfect time to buy that rental home.

I just heard that the San Francisco market is down 29% (TWENTY NINE PERCENT!) over the last year with median house price going from something like $615K to $435K.  Can you believe that?  $435K for a home in the SF area?  Yeah, now is the time to buy those rentals!!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I swear I sometimes feel like a jack of all trades-master of none!  Our garbage disposal hasn't been working for a few days (just gives us a dull hum when we hit the button) and I keep forgetting to call the home warranty people about it.  Today it was so stinky that I had to call.  

Home warranty guy:  Did you hit the red reset button?
Me:  Huh?  What reset button?  
Home warranty guy:  There's a red reset button on the bottom.  Try pushing it.
Me:  Oh, ok.  I never knew a garbage disposal had a reset button.  Hang on.

I hit the red reset button and now nothing at all happens.  No hum.  Nada.  

Me:  Crap.  (then I get back on the phone)
Me:  Nope.  Didn't work.  Now there's not even a hum.
Home warranty guy:  Ok, the plumber will call you within 24 hours and come fix it.  That'll be $50.
Me: Ok (thinking "oh crap, FIFTY bucks (!), but better than $100 for a new one plus another $100 for somebody to install it)

I decided to Google "garbage disposal reset button" and found this site:

I fixed the problem with a simple twist of an allen wrench.  My, my...what shall I accomplish next?  Maybe I'll tackle installing a new ceiling fan.  ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

She's ours!

Adoption day - 

Our beautiful Laela
Heart xoxo

Shaye twirling with a pinecone in front of the courthouse
Twirling in front of the courthouse (with a pine cone)

Sweet Naia
Opera singer?

They remind me of little ducklings
They remind me of little ducklings

Goofin' with Uncle Hector
Shaye and Uncle Hector make kissy faces for the camera

Naia having a sweet moment with her Uncle on the courthouse lawn:
Naia and Uncle Hector

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Witnessing a birth of the human kind

Our friends Susan and Aaron brought their daughter (Shaye's BFF) over tonight around 7:30pm because Susan said (as relayed by Caroline and Aaron), "I'm not feeling so well and we want to go to the hospital to have everything checked out."  Ok, I had NO idea her contractions were now coming every three minutes!  About an hour later, Aaron called and said that they had just checked her and she entered the hospital at 9 cm dilated!  He said, "If you still want to see the birth.....HURRY!"  We live less than a mile from the hospital, so I made it there before they broke her water (I will never forget that sound - ACK!  It kinda creeped me out).  I decided to forego the Sbux non-fat peppermint mocha that I was desperately craving to make sure I got there in time. ;)  Turns out, I could have stopped.

I got there, sat down quietly, and she was in a lot of pain, but she was still able to talk and actually seemed to be fine between contractions.  By 8:30 this all changed.  She was laboring hard and started to push.  And push.  And push.  She kept saying, "I can not do this anymore, GET THE SUCTION" and the doctor said that the baby wasn't far enough down yet.  She labored naturally and the anesthesiologist came in at one point and offered a saddleblock to which the nurse said, "Let me see how she's progressing with this next contraction."  I loved her demeanor because it was as if to say, "Go away...Mama's fine and can do this without you."  I actually got a little irritated with the doctor and his "well, you didn't opt for an epidural" comment at one point.  How RUDE!   I think after about 20 pushes, little baby Maggie (Margaret Jean) entered the world at 9:10 pm weighing 8 lbs. 8 oz. with apgars of 8 and 9 (not sure about her length).  The cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times which is apparently why Susan had a hard time getting her out.  Not to mention her head was a little large.  Mama and baby are doing fine and Maggie latched on and was nursing quite well when I left the hospital around 10:15pm.

As for my spectating experience, I won't lie - I cried.  I'm not sure why I cried exactly, but I think I was crying more for Susan than anything.  She was screaming in agony and I could feel myself holding my own breath and clutching the arms of the rocking chair I was sitting in.  It was a little scary to see somebody in such pain.   At the same time, I also felt extremely privileged that I could be standing in that room witnessing a human being brought into this world and taking her first breath.  I am very grateful to have been able to have this experience since I have never even seen the birth of my own children.  I am truly, truly thankful and honored that she allowed me to be there.

Those last 7 or 8 pushes were brutal.  I was standing right over the nurse's shoulders at one point watching it all unfold and she said, "Look closely right there.  Do you see it?  That's the top of her head." and I could see a little sliver about the size of a pinky.  She joked and said, "This baby doesn't appear to have one hair on her head" and we all laughed because Drew was bald until she was about 18 months old!  That gave Susan the energy to seriously push that little baby out.  With a few more pushes you could see the entire top of her head and I was honestly a little horrified at how everything looked, but caught myself gasping and saying, "OH MY GOD SUSAN THERE IS HER HEAD!"  It was AMAZING.  Truly amazing.  I never knew what a beautiful shade of blue an umbilical cord is.  I always thought they were just kinda red and grayish.  But it's this beautiful sky blue color.  It's indescribable, actually.  I think you just have to see it to believe it.  I was too busy taking pictures of the baby when the placenta was delivered, so I was PISSED that I missed that part.  I asked to see it and Susan's mom somewhat freaked out about it and kept saying "how gross" it is.  I was somewhat shocked by that comment, but just ignored her and the nurse started to jiggle the little bag that was hanging below the bed to catch all the, ahem, "stuff" that came out during delivery.  One of the other nurses jumped in and said, "Oh, I'll pull it out for her" and she literally dug it out from the bag and explained to me what all the sides were and what-not.   I think I just said, "Wow, that's really amazing and beautiful" while standing there with my mouth open and Susan's mom still kept going on and on about "how anybody thinks it's beautiful is a little weird."  Umm...hello...I'm standing right here.  I hear you, lady.   It was cool, no doubt.  Bloody and strange, but that is the little sac that the baby was in and nourished by for 9 months!!  

Honestly, a little part of me was sad because the placenta was just laying in this medical waste biohazard bag.  I felt like it should have at least been in its own separate little pan or something.  If it were my own placenta, I think I would be one of those "weirdo's" who would request to take it home with me.   What the hell I would do with it, I don't know.  But it just felt so weird seeing it laying there all mixed in with papers, latex gloves, and poop.  I have read about Lotus birth and I'm not sure I would want the placenta hanging out with us for 3 or 4 days, but watching them clamp the cord and cut it immediately just made me feel so sad.  The baby was whisked away behind a curtain to be cleaned instead of immediately given to Susan and that irritated me a little.  Why can't Mama see the baby being cleaned?  It was all just very strange how it was handled.  After about 7 or 8 minutes, they had the baby cleaned, wrapped, diapered, and topped off with the standard blue/pink hat and handed her over to mama.  I helped the baby get UNwrapped so they could have skin to skin contact and she could nurse.  Susan looked so helpless like, "I don't know what to do" and the baby was fussing a little looking for her nipple.  I just wanted to jump in and say, " it like this!" but I didn't want to intrude.  By this time a few more visitors had arrived and I just sat back down quietly observing everything.  I did mention how I nursed Naia for 6 months with a Lact-Aid and told Susan that if she needed to borrow it I'd be more than happy to lend it to her.  I'm all for bottles and have spent many hours arguing with lactivists about the subject, but I hope she just doesn't give up.  She said she had a low milk supply with Drew and the hospital kept giving Drew bottles and a paci (which is why she changed hospitals with this birth), so I reminded her that the baby needs to NURSE in order for her milk supply to meet demand.  So many mom's don't get that and just give up so easily.  

There were so many things about the birth that seemed so sterile to me.  Had it been me, I would have changed many things.   For starters, if I ever give birth I think having a water birth would be really cool.  Another weird thing is that the nurse came in and said, "We're going to take her for a little bit and give her her first bath, etc."  I'm sure they'll do the heel stick and do all the post delivery blood tests.  But a bath??? WHAT?  I am just shocked that Susan didn't say, "The hell you are taking her for a bath!"  I mean, shouldn't Mama just be allowed to bond with her child?  I think the bath can wait - like until they are all home and the PARENTS can do that!  So bizarre.  Again, if it was my birth, my child wouldn't leave my sight for anything.  ANYTHING!

I said that this experience would either make me want to put my 7 embryo's into my uterus or it would make me want to donate them to science.  I'm still undecided about it.  The labor part was not appealing to me.  Not at all.  I didn't find myself wanting to be in her shoes.  Seeing the baby for the first time was magical, but watching her scream in agony immediately made me think "surrogate"!!  People say, "You forget the pain" or "Childbirth is beautiful".  Yeah, well, that part is not pretty and I certainly don't long to do it.  I laughed a little to myself because, to me, seeing the top of Maggie's head brought back memories of the first time I laid eyes on my own children:  Shaye was brought to us by two social workers, laid on our coffee table in the car seat, and when the little blanket was pulled back I got my first glimpse of her.  That rush of seeing my first child for the first time was mind blowing.  Naia was in the ICU unit on a respirator and we walked in and got our first glimpse of her little, tiny body in this big, huge bed.  I cried for her helpless little self and I knew at that point she was meant to be my daughter.   I'll never forget the day we walked into the nursery to meet Laela for the first time.   I saw a few babies and those couple of seconds that it took to find her felt miserably like hours.  But when they pointed to her and said "here she is" I was overwhelmed with emotions.   Seeing *MY* babies for the first time will never compare to watching another woman give birth.  But it was really cool.  I think I have the "been there done that" attitude now. My curiosity has been satiated and I can honestly say that I do not have the desire to go through with what I just witnessed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On being a mother..

It's been amazing to watch our Mama cat have kittens and then take care of them so instinctively.  At the first sign of distress, she jumps into her little birthing box to take count of her kittens and make sure that they are all ok.  Usually, she just plops down for them to nurse because they are screaming for milk.  It is so wild to watch that motherly instinct take over.   She just rolls over, like, "have at it kids".   She really has this joyful aura about her.  She rarely leaves the box, but more and more she's been venturing out into the house to just lay around on the tile.   How am I ever going to find new homes for them?  I honestly want to keep them all.  I wonder, do we keep the first born?  He's the most mellow little guy (I've been calling him Biggie Smalls because he's the biggest of the litter).  Do I keep little "Stucky"?  Afterall, I pulled him from the clutches of death and I feel like I have a bond with this little fella.  Then there are the beautiful tiger striped kittens.  They are just so beautiful and different looking from Yoshi.  One is the runt of the litter and the other, in my opinion, is the most beautiful.  So, do we keep the runt?  Or the cutest one?  ugghh....I hate this.  Earlier, I pulled all the kittens out one by one to weigh them and Yoshi was meowing at me and really showing signs of a worried mommy and it was just so amazing.  I would put the babies right back onto her to show her that they were ok and she'd relax, lick them, bop them around a little bit, and then pull them into her.  Really and truly just an amazing thing to watch.  However, in the middle of the night she decided to move them under our bed.  ACK!

Being a protective, joyful mother - a perfect segue into the adoption of our little Laela Jade Christine.  It was *SO* incredibly uneventful.   It wasn't even a real judge!  It was a subordinate judge that was given power this week because the "real" judge was on vacation or something.  It was pretty funny.  He asked everybody to introduce themselves (Grandpa, Grandma, Elba, Hector, Shaye, and Naia).  Caroline and I never did sit down.  In fact, we just sauntered up to the bench and signed all the court docs right there on his "desk" (his bench? You know, the place where the judge sits.)  Then he said something like, "I now declare that Laela Jade Christine is yours forever from this day forth just as if she were born to you" or something like that.  It almost felt like we got married!!  It was awesome to hear those words and have it be all legal and official.  I didn't cry (ok, a teeny little tear formed in my eye), but I was so over the moon happy to have this behind us.  She is ours forever, but she has been ours since she was a 6 week old fetus growing in Lisa's belly and we found out about her.  My little Baby January is now home safely FOREVER with her Mama and Mommy and two loving sisters.  Those months of not knowing what would happen to her wondering if birthdad would fight us for her after having her in our home for months were terrifying.  But tonight, I can go to sleep looking at my little love knowing that she is *MY* daughter and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.  

And Caroline and I are celebrating tonight with our $110 bottle of Silver Oak wine (which is very yummy, but I'm just as happy with the $12 bottle of Jacob's Creek).  We are so thankful and lucky to have these children.  I can't imagine ever becoming a mom any other way.  Thank you 4 years of unsuccessful IVF and to the universe for guiding us to our children.  Thank you Sacramento County foster/adoptions for making my deepest wishes come true!

If my camera will cooperate, I'll post some pics later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Such a good new Mama

My little Yoshi and her new babies.

A new day has come....

I am no longer just a mom to one child, so I've moved my TwoMomsForShaye over to this new site (thanks to Sara). Cleaner appearance and much more user friendly, too!!! Hello little Blogger. :)