Salty Mommy - - The reason i decided on Salty Mommy is I like the play on words. Salty can be the opposite of sweet, it can be used to identify salt water, it can be used to describe a christian. On dictionary.com the definition of salty is 1.tasting of or containing salt; saline. 2. piquant; sharp; witty. 3. racy or coarse: salty humor. 4. of the sea, sailing, or life at sea. I used visual thesaurus and it came up with the graphic I posted. I like that I was able to learn a new word while researching my new blog name. Piquant - engagingly stimulating or provocative. It is my hope that when you read my blog entries that they are piquant!
I went back and forth on Mommy and Mama The reason I ended up selecting Mommy was two fold, Salty Mama is already taken so that meant I would not be able to have Mama spelled this way it would have to be Momma. The second reason is my close friend Stephanie explained Mommy is younger then Mama. As I thought about it more and did some other research there are a few things associated with Mama that I did not want to be associated with. Big Mama, Yo Mama and Baby Mama. The idea that I am a Mommy is still new to me although our son has been a part of our lives since Feb 2009, it was Jan 2011 that he became our forever son and he calls me Mommy. So friends I am going to begin working on a better blog and with my graphic designer husbands help and I hope to become a better blogger. Thank you for joining me as I write about our lives full of adventures big and small.
We had a palm sunday lesson about hosanna and Jesus riding in on the donkey on sunday it was my first time as little man's teacher and not just the helper. He was not happy to share his mommy with the rest of the class and became very clingy. We managed to decorate the donkey, make coats to lay down before the donkey and read the story before he had a melt down. Thankfully our extended family is very involved in church and Cousin Laura helped me with little man and Aunt Tita came and took him home early for a nap. I brought home all of the craft supplies and Jesus was part of them, little man wanted to play with him so we now have a paper Jesus hanging out with dinosaurs. It is pretty exciting to see Little Man use his imagination and play with his toys and with Jesus. So that imagination that he has is very fun and we had a little egg hunt and he decided under the deck there was a dino. He made sure everyone knew about it and was so excited hollering for who ever he could get to come over and see the dino under the deck. The best part was when he looked at Mimi and said "I'm scared." and did a little shiver.
We live in a "shore" community where 58% of the homes are empty during the winter months or off season. I am looking foward to the nice weather and even the humid hot and miserable weather because of all the fun things we will be able to do when that weather arrives. We had a really nice day on monday and Little Man and I went to the zoo. We have a free or donation zoo and it is awesome. This was our first outting sans stroller, Little man is 2 now and he is full of energy and pretty much runs everywhere so I asked him if he wanted the stroller and he said "No Mommy" I figured we could try it. He lasted almost the entire time but we had a sit out by the tiger. He just sat down in the middle of the walk way and was done walking. I was so amused at him and let him take a break. Many people commented on how cute he was and how tired he must be. One older gentleman said "wish I could do that." It is funny when you just let your child think for themself and see what they do. I wouldn't choose to sit in the middle of the walk way but he was wiped out and so that was it he sat down. So back to that nice weather I have started a list of things I want to make sure we get out of the house and try to enjoy the "shore" aspect of our community. The whole county really has a lot to offer of course we have beaches, bays, boardwalks. There are some other things too... nature trails, airport museum, lots of delicious food choices, parks and play grounds and we are going to try to do some activites like the farmers market. Is my two year old ready for mini golf? I am not sure what else we are going to do but if you have any ideas let me know. I am enjoying everyday even the rainy ones but I am super excited to spend our spring and summer at our "shore"!!
We have been super busy with life lately. Nothing new or in particular but we have not had much down time to visit family. We see lots of David's extended family weekly at church but mostly it is just in passing. We haven't spent much time with Grammie (David's Grandmom) so we decided to invite her for dinner last night. I wasn't sure if she would come or not but she said yes and we had a wonderful time. When you invite a grandmom for dinner the stress of what to cook really sets in. Well atleast it did for me. So I asked David and he picked chicken carbonara, this is a dish I have made a few times and it is really yummy. Then I started thinking about dessert. I found a cookie recipe in my parenting magazine that looked yummy and little man and I could make them together. The recipe was easy and the cookies came out soft and good. The recipe said to frost the cookies and make sandwiches with them, but we just made the cookies. Cake Mix Cookies - 1 box yellow cake mix, 1 Large Egg 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup buttermilk. Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed in electric mixer. Shape 1 inch balls flatten slightly and add sprinkles. Bake until cookies are golden and firm 8-10 min at 350 degrees. After we finished the cookies I put some italian herb bread in the bread maker and enjoyed the smell of fresh baking bread for most of the afternoon. When Grammie finally arrived Little Man was so excited to see her he showed her all of his favorite toys and ran around like a crazy man. Before Grammie even tasted dinner she asked for the recipe. She was in a great mood and I am so glad that we invited her for dinner. It was a wonderful night and Little Man went to bed a little later then usual because we didn't want the fun to end.
So what do you do when your 2 year old cries because you tell him he is not allowed to watch a show? How about when he asks "A show please, mommy?" or worse "Dinotrain please mommy?" Boy do I feel like the meanest mommy in the world,he used his manners and everything. Well my answer is to put on music and declare its a "DANCE PARTY" We then danced and sang and were simply silly! It got his mind off the Show and I had fun dancing around with my little man. I recently read in a magazine about how you can avoid saying NO. If your child wants a cookie before dinner, you can say " After you eat a healthy dinner you can have a cookie." I feel like the past two years I have become pretty good at getting little man to move on from something he thought he wanted by redirecting him. As he grows bigger and gets smarter he will start to figure out what I am doing, but for now I will distract him while we are eating and somehow feed him all of his turkey while he is busy trying to scoop applesauce on everyones plate. When he realized he ate all his dinner he even clapped. I am really enjoying being a mama!!
I am blessed beyond understanding! My mom's birthday wish allowed for me to have a fun and exciting time too. When my mom asked if we would like to meet them in Disneyworld for her birthday I was excited but not sure if it would all work out. Unfortunately David was not able to take the time off work to join us, but little man and I flew down to Orlando to celebrate my mom's birthday with her and Tony. We had a wonderful time and it is so fun to see Disney through the eyes of a 2 year old. He is talking more and more and everything was a train - the monorail, tram, parade and most of the rides. He loves trains and we rode the train in Magic Kingdom several times and the small $2 per ride train at down town disney. He rode that one all by himself. It was funny to hear all of the adults around the $2 train comment on how cute the little boy was going all by himself. I spoke up once and told the sweet ladies he was mine and he didn't want mommy to ride with him. They were just amazed that he wasnt afraid and how small he was. The joy on his face to be a big boy and ride all alone on the train made me feel a little better about not being allowed to ride with him. He had such a great trip and I did too. I am thankful to my parents for taking us along on their vacation and I tried not to spend too much time thinking about how thankful I am to be little man's forever mommy. I only cried once while watching him sleep waiting for the parade. I am in awe of the love God has poured out on me and my entire family by allowing us to be little man's forever family.
So I decided to just add a little more to each dinner I cooked this week and that would allow me to freeze the extra for a second meal next week or the next. So I made three meatloaves one night, three pounds of turkey meatballs another and I made chicken in the crockpot with italian dressing. The italian dressing chicken was delicious!! I made as many boneless skinless chicken breasts that I could fit in the crockpot. We ate it for dinner that night, then I cut it up and made chicken roll ups for lunch another day (chicken, avocado and cheese) and we still have some left. I am thinking about using it for chicken alfredo :) I guess the whole big plans to do a freezer cooking just isn't for me. I bought all of the ingredients to make mac n cheese and baked ziti but havent made them yet. Whatever night I decide to make them I will make 3 batches and freeze them for next time. I came in $40 under our weekly budget last week but I didnt have to get gas in my car...so to celebrate when David and little man get up from their naps we ae getting SHAMROCK SHAKES!! Special treats are the best!!
I have big plans for the weekend...to do a round of freezer cooking. I hope to make 3 meatloaf's (or is it meatloaves?), burrito meat filling (enough for 3 dinners), macaroni and cheese (3-5pans) and baked ziti (3pans). So before I can do all of this I need to buy some throw away pans and ziploc bags. I have been reading about freezer cooking and I dont have the space to do a major freezer cooking but I think this will be plenty. I might have to cut back and do just 2 pans of ziti and 2 pans of mac n cheese. I am going to do a test with the empty trays to make sure I can fit everything before I start cooking. The meatloaf will just be mixed up and frozen no need to cook because when I am ready to make it for dinner I can defrost the meatloaf and bak as usual. The burrito meat will have to be cooked and then frozen....then when we want to have burritos all I have to do is throw the frozen meat in the crock pot on low until dinner time. The ziti and macaroni will be all cooked and then frozen, to reheat I read that you defrost and then bake or you can just bake it frozen. I am not sure the best way to do this but I am going to read some more and then try it. Any suggestions? or Recipes that work well for freezer cooking? I am excited because I enjoy cooking but some days I have limited time so this should help me with time management too. I will post how it goes :)
I like to consider myself a stay at home mom, but the truth is I am a work at home mom. I have the joy of getting to be home with my little man but I schedule my work around his day. I work while he eats breakfast and I work for an hour while he plays. Then we run errands, clean or just play trains. Lunch time, a show and then NAP. I work while he naps then when he gets up I usually have to fit in 30 more minutes of working. So between 2 and 5 we usually spend a few hours playing in the afternoon. Yesterday I spent some time on nick jr and sprout online trying to find some fun activites for us to add to our fun afternoons. We printed the blues clues mix and match game. Little man loves to match up the shapes with the colors and he is even saying the colors and trying to say the shapes. It is really exciting to see him learn and to see the smile when he figures something out on his own. I am going to print out some other shapes and make a board to match up the shapes and colors. When daddy got home from work little man was so excited to show him his new game! I also got a few ideas from my friend crystal about activites for little man. check these out. I am going to get some beads this weekend and some felt :)
I read a few blogs about adoption that have really helped me. I stumbled on this open adoption forum tonight after reading write mind open heart and the questions and many of the answers got me to thinking about our adoption. I don't feel like I have the answers to these questions but in answering them it has helped me to understand our relationship with little man's birth mom a little better. 1. If open adoption is so great, why do so many people suck at it? By this I mean, not honouring commitments, closing the adoption, telling the other family they’re not “doing this thing” correctly or playing the “for the sake of the child” card? Every situation is different for us little mans birth mom "K" is in a place in her life where she is trying to see what she can get from us, rather then what part she can play in little man's life. I have realized that when we meet up I previously had expectations set for how I thought K should interact with little man. It has not really gotten easier in the 1 month since our adoption has finalized but I have realized I can't hold K accountable to an expectation I have set. (we adopted through foster care and have had contact during the entire 2 years of fostering and now continue to have contact) The other important part in all of this is little man's 1/2 brother they are 11 months apart and he is with K and her new boyfriend. I hope that one day the boys can have a healthy relationship. I can't imagine knowing I had a brother or sister in the world and not knowing them. 2. From the standpoint of first parents, open adoption sounds like something that could prolong suffering. Could this suffering potentially outweigh the good of knowing where your child is? Who helps the first parent? It was not an easy decision for K to sign over her parental rights to us, and I feel like she wants to be our child too sometimes. She does not have a strong connection with little man, most of the time when we see her it seems like she just wants to know he is healthy and happy. Since we adopted through foster care she has several options open to her for counseling and to my knowledge she utilizes them. 3. I’m guessing kids are not hung up on how many relatives they have. Tell me that the thing that hangs up the public all the time about open adoption and other unconventional relationships—two mommies, two daddies, three, four, parents—is the least of your worries because it seems to me it is. The one thing that I wonder about in the future is how little man will feel when strangers tell him he looks just like his daddy. We hear this all the time and often we say "thank you" and continue on with our day. Sometimes we gently correct the person and say something to the affect of "really we get that all the time but we had the joy of adopting little man." (we usually save this response for people who know us through acquaintances but don't know our story. ) 4. Do you ever feel like you should give this child back? Does the thought ever seize you totally as you watch your child with her bio-family: “ooops?” (OR for f-parents: Do you ever feel as though you need to take this child back? That nothing is stopping you beside an agreement that feels false? Does that feeling go away?) This question reminds me of the time we spent as foster parents with the ups and downs of not knowing if little man would be our forever son or if we would be part of his reunification with K. When he would leave our home for supervised visitation it was the longest 2 hours in my entire week. We were blessed with an amazing driver/supervisor who helped during this time, but the sadness I felt as he cried being put in the van and when he returned home after the hour visit with puffy red eyes will always be a part of our process but it definately showed me that no matter what happens I would never want to give him back. He is my son this isnt even an option. 5. How do children ever cope with knowing they could not be kept? When they see their natural parents having more kids, what do they think? Who helps the child in this situation? Both sets of parents? Little man just turned 2 so I am not sure how to answer this. K made the decision based on the fact that she has another son who is 11 months younger then little man and if she decided to sign over her rights to us for little man she would be able to give him a better life and give his 1/2 brother a better life too. It was not an easy decision for her in any way and I hope that someday she can explain to little man and we can help him to understand. I have a lifebook for him that explains what I saw that day and the case worker asked K to write a letter but she declined. 6. Can you say comfortably that some surrendering mothers could not cope with an open adoption or do you think that it should always be the standard? I really don't know the answer to this. In our situation I believe K has times when being in contact with us is hard but she seems to work through it. For the second part I think it depends on the situation the adoptions of the past where people have no idea about their history have left many people in their 30's with a lot of questions. 7. Is there ever a reason (aside from extreme/illegal behaviours) to close an adoption totally? No. We decided that is little man doesnt want to have as much contact as we currently have at any point when he is older we will let him have a part in the decision. Right now he is 2 so he doesn't even know what is going on, when he is older he should have a say in our relationship with K.
Number 4 - Your toddler runs to you for comfort when he falls down or feels sad. Kids this age may not truly understand the meaning of "I love you," but their actions speak louder than words.
I received this in an email from babycenter.com and it made me smile. I don't need a website to tell me the 7 signs my child loves me because I know he loves me but number 4 makes me smile. It happens all day long even when I am the cause of his sadness. I tell him he is not allowed to go in the fridge by himself and he is so sad he turns to me and cries on my shoulder. He drops a train on his own foot as he is playing he runs to me and says "up mommy". I can not count the number of times in a day I have the joy of getting to comfort my son. I love him so much and I know he loves me too.
I like to think that I am good at organizing but I can not get a handle on our bedroom. I get it all clean and organized and then boom its like a bomb went off. David said this morning "our room has hit a breaking point" I havent left it purposely but maybe if he helps me we can get rid of some stuff and he can organize his stuff? I think that is wishful thinking. We need some tools to organize and help us stay organized. I think today I am going to go to walmart and see if they have anything that might help us. My ideas so far are a shoe organizer on the back of the door to hold my winter scarves and hats and gloves. A shoe organizer that we dont have to see the shoes because they seem to take over our room and a file cabinet for all of david's work stuff. I might check craigs list for the file cabinet or the thrift store. I am also thinking about another dresser even though we dont have a ton of room if we get another dresser we can spread our clothes out and maybe we can put david's work stuff in it. Of course I have to run all of this by David but these are just a few ideas. The other thing we have to do is figure out how we can move the rocker into our room because once little man gets moved to his toddler bed or twin bed I dont want the rocker in his room anymore. Anyone have any other suggestions for organizing?? Any ideas especially repurposing items would be gladly accepted. I am looking forward to getting our room out of the tipping point!!
I don't think I have ever had a new years resolution but I feel like this year there are going to be some exciting things that I want to accomplish or help someone else accomplish. The big one is potty training, our little man is going to be 2 next week and I have been researching potty training and talking to lots of moms. I thought 2 was young to be potty trained but it seems like a possibility so I am going to try to start this in the near future. Before we start potty training I think I have to move our little man to his toddler bed. I have lots of reasons that I don't want to move him yet all selfish reasons, it is going to be a lot harder to get him to stay in his bed for naps and bed time and parenting is going to get more difficult until he learns to stay in his bed. He is small and I don't want him to get hurt and I am sure he will be getting up earlier...I like to sleep! For me I can't wait until it gets a little nicer out so I can start getting into shape. I got a jogger stroller for Christmas and some awesome reebox easytones. I do love looking out at the snow but I am excited for the new way to exercise!! The other thing I am going to try to change in our lives is to cook with more fresh foods, I have a bunch of new recipes and I am happy with my progress as a cook but I want to cook healthier. I have the Jamie Oliver Cookbook and have tried some recipes. Alright time to play some wii sports resorts the airplane game...its my little mans favorite.
This has been a very busy start to a new year. We received our court date for the finalization to our adoption right before Christmas then we headed to California to celebrate Christmas. After a great vacation we flew home to NJ and on Friday 1/7/11 our adoption was finalized. Today we had our little boy dedicated to the Lord in our church and celebrated with family and friends. It has been a whirlwind and I am sitting here trying to remember the moments we have experienced with adopting our little boy. The court proceedings were very sweet and the judge was in a great mood. The one thing that he stated at the very end is "it is the same as if you gave birth to him." How cool is that?!? We have been on a rollercoaster for the last 2 years and now we look forward to the rest of our little boys life and we are his parents! The other thing that stuck with me is our parents, they have been "grandparents" since the day our little boy was placed in our home. But there is a change in all of them since friday when it was made official. They can't stop smiling and one of our dads said my "grandson, wow thats cool i havent ever said that before." Today at the dedication our pastor did a great job it really made me think about being a Mom and during prayer another mom went down to the altar and her 16 year old son came down to pray with her. This scene was not staged but to me it showed a bright future and the reality that our little boy with someday be our grown son! It has never felt like I was not his Mom but seeing the other mom and son praying together just brought me to tears of joy. I love being a MOM and I love my little family!!