Friday, January 28, 2011

The Ster

Piper that is.  We call her the Pipster and since Justin is The Stin she has become The Ster.  Piper is our 11 month old daughter and the light of all of our lives.  She has Don and Justin wrapped around her little finger and I pretty much am the one that suffers from separation anxiety.  I just don't want to miss anything.  She came to us on February 19th 2010 and made us a family of four.  

She was a beautiful baby and seemed to be doing wonderful, except for breastfeeding, she went on strike at two months and devastated Mommy-and I mean ON STRIKE-you would have thought I was shoving knives into her mouth.  But we pumped for almost two months and got a good amount of breastmilk in her!  She knows what she wants, that's for sure.  She is a great sleeper and has been since about 6 or 8 weeks-I mean through the night.  We have been very lucky.  She is keeping up the 90th percentile for just about everything and needless to say we call her Piper the Destroyer!  She has 8 teeth, and has had them for about 4 months. She started walking on New Year's Eve and has mastered the stairs.She walked right into the new year! I could go on and on about all her little accomplishments, but there are so many in the first year and I am that mom, so I will spare you.  

She seems to be right where she is supposed to be and is our lovely little girl.


The Stin

Justin that is. Our little man, my 9 year old son.  What a story he has, much more than many of us have dealt with in our lives so far.  He was born to my half-brother and his wife.  A bundle of joy and miracle baby at that.  His first months required much care due to the methadone detox he experienced.  My mom bore the weight at first but I was all in when I graduated from college and moved home.  His safety was our first concern and bringing stability to his little life became a priority.  At one point it seemed that they had gotten into a good place and this is when I decided to move to California with The Don (my boyfriend at the time).  That good place didn't last for long and Justin had to be removed. I remember getting the call in California from family services, I was a blood relative so I was contacted first, could I take him? I was frantic trying to figure out how I would make this work... how would I tell Don. But my mom began a search through my brother's father's side and found a couple that was looking to adopt a little boy. They had a home and a family, it seemed that fate had stepped in which meant I needed to step out.  I couldn't offer him what this family could and I had to do what was best for him.

Almost two years passed.  Don and I moved back to Ohio and were working in advertising, we got engaged and then married.  One week later the call came again.  The family had decided not to adopt Justin and he would be going into foster care unless I was able to take him.  Able-was I, were we?  We were 26 and 1-week newlyweds.  Don had never even held a baby, would he be in?  We were living on entry-level advertising pay, could we afford it?  But in my soul it was a no- brainer.  I was able to love this little boy and that's what mattered most, we would figure out the rest.  That's one thing Don and I are really good at-just figuring it out and making things work.  We are a good team and that had to be a good starting point to be parents.  So as the cliche goes, fate had worked in mysterious ways.  I didn't understand how they could decide not to adopt after almost two years but after reflection I know why-they weren't his forever family, we were but we needed to make things happen before he was supposed to come to us.  We needed to get back to Ohio-which we did and we needed to get married-which we did, then we would be were we needed to be to start our little family...and so we did.  We had three months to prepare, move into a bigger place, find daycare, get things situated for our little man to join us and on January 6th 2006 he made us a family of three. 

Justin was little, even though he was almost 5 he still wore 2T's-sometimes 24 mos.  His speech was difficult, he didn't know his ABC's and was obviously a bit behind.  Don and I went in with a loose plan-the best we could do with little time and no experience: structure, dinner at the table, discipline and lots of hugs.  I was able to take off 3 weeks for the transition and Justin learned his ABC's in the first week.  We just sang them everyday and pointed at the ABC magnets I had bought.  Our city offered a fabulous speech program and we started him in that immediately.  We introduced ourselves as Daddy Don and Mommy Nici and would just let him drop our names when he was ready, I think it took a month or two. He adjusted beautifully, we were very lucky. He did test and we stuck to our guns, there were rules and we would all follow them.  It was tough, knowing what he had been through but it was necesary to keep stability in our home. The adoption was finalized in April of 2007 and his forever family was legally final.  And that's how we explain it to him, he wasn't safe with his biological parents so he had a foster family to give the hugs while god found his forever family.  And here we are.

So Justin is now 9 years old and now the Big Brother.  He has officially been with us longer than he wasn't. People say he looks like Don, which always makes me smile.  We are open about his adoption and honest about his parents (in 9 year old terms) but Don and I are Mommy and Daddy and this is our family. With adoption and especially the foster system, people talk alot about roots and blood, I think your roots are where you're planted and blood is something our body needs.  Justin is just as much my son as Piper is my daughter and that is that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Don

Ahh The Don

That would be my wonderful husband.  You will find my praising this man a lot... because he deserves it.  I find that I keep his wonderfulness to myself because I don't want to be the girl that always talks about her amazing husband-because you know that behind my back people are not believing me and creating all types of marital problems I must have that I am hiding behind my stories.  Well I think this is a nice forum to finally share my thoughts on how fabulous he is. 

Now I would be lying if I said we never fight or things were perfect from the start, I mean we are human and relationships take work.  We both had to make some adjustments, we fight here and there but the best thing about Don, selfishly, is that he gets me.  He just gets me.  He gets when I'm not feeling well, he gets when I'm stressed, he gets when I'm PMSing and a total bitch. He gets it and he handles it with love and understanding.  He has always joked that he is my Pepe Le Pew and I am Penelope the cat.  He will come in for hugs and just be all lovey when I'm in the middle of doing things and I'll be pulling away trying to finish packing a lunch or doing the dishes just like that damn cat in the cartoon.  We giggle about it and now have acquired some Pepe mementos, but the gist of it is that he loves me.  When I'm crabbing at him or just mad about something I felt like he should have known to do (I am the first to admit that I can be a martyr and work on it every day!) he just walks over and gives me a hug.  Maybe this would piss other girls off or feel condescending, but with Don he knows that this will diffuse the situation, because how can I stay upset with this man who still loves me when I'm being irrational?  And the best part is when I'm not being irrational and have a valid point he will apologize.  Yeah pretty wonderful.

I think the true testament to what a wonderful man he is, is with our son (see The Stin post for complete story).  Don understood the situation with Justin when we first started dating but I don't think he ever expected or could prepare for the phone call one week after we were married that Justin would be going into foster care-which was not an option for me.  I was very prepared for this to make or break our marriage from the start and honestly wouldn't have blamed him if he wanted out...but he didn't.  He knew this situation was a non-negotiable for me and I was not about to let my nephew get lost in the system and he loved me enough to hold my hand and walk through this door with me.  We were going to do it together because that's what marriage is and he was going to step up and be the father this little boy needed.  I know how scary this had to be for Don, I mean he had never even held a baby, let alone begin raising a 4 year old with a lot of past that would need to be handled delicately, but he did it and what a wonderful Daddy he is!  He only worked four 10's at the time so Monday's were his days off and they became Daddy and Justin days-so they could bond and Justin could become secure with the new situation.  Justin still talks about his Daddy days and how much he liked them.  Don could have had him going to preschool on Monday's but he didn't-he just didn't. That's pretty wonderful in my eyes.

So I married a pretty amazing man.  Through my posts you'll hear about what a great father I think he is also.  I mean Piper melted his heart the day she was born and Justin is a Daddy's boy.  This is my Don and I feel like if this was written for anyone, it was really written for him.  I hope I tell him enough how much I love him as a man and a husband and a father, but if I don't, at least now he will forever have this blog to reference. 

Ahh The Don.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well I have been wanting to start a blog since I started staying at home, but our old computer just wasn't up for the task.  We are now up and running with our new computer so here we go.  I see all these shows about the "real" housewives and think to myself, that's not "real", I'm real.  I am 31 years old with a 9 year old son and 11 month old daughter.  I quit my job in advertising after going back for 5 weeks to horrible seperation anxiety from my daughter.  My husband and I live on a tight budget, but we make it work, because me being home was what was most important to us.  I have an interesting situation being that we have a 9 year old who was adopted and we didn't get him until he was 4 1/2 years old.  So needless to say I am muddling through a child in elementary school-and a boy at that, as well as being a first time mother to an infant girl.  It's hit or miss in our house and we are definitely dealing with a huge learning curve with both of our children, but that's what parenting is-just figuring it out as you go-right?

I think I will do seperate posts for each family member, they deserve that since they each have their own special story.  So stay tuned.  As for my posts I figure they will consist of the things I am experiencing as a woman, a wife and a mother.  They will probably follow along the lines of my taste, which is pretty eclectic, so expect a little of this and a little of that.  I hope to be thoughtful and insightful on what I am writing about with a little bit of humor thrown in.  It's hard to properly portray sarcasm through writing but expect there to be some, whether you catch it or not.  Or better yet, if you don't agree with what I might be saying, chalk it up to sarcasm :) Well this is my life as of January 25th, 2011.  Welcome and I hope you enjoy the ride.