Saturday, November 5, 2011


Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

I love Saturdays and not for the obvious don’t-have-to-work reason because I am working. I love Saturdays because I get to see the beautiful gold light that streams through my living room the first hour of the morning. Gorgeous. I love it because Duc and I stay in our jammies and hang out. I love the rhythm. I like baking and relaxing and feeding my child with food that I have made.



(I love the way you can see the light actually streaming across)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some families go to the pumpkin patch…

Some families go to the pumpkin patch, our family goes to a wild cat rescue center.

Michael had taken me here several years ago for a birthday, but we haven’t been back since Duc was born. Since he is nearly 3.5 and his lovey is beanie tiger it seemed appropriate it for us to visit.

When we got there and paid our entrance fee the guy sized us up quietly before saying, “make sure you hold his hand at all times. The tigers will be very interested in him…”.

Ok. How does one respond to that???

Michael kept a good grip on Duc.


The first few weren’t too scary.

But the first guy was right…the tigers were interested in Duc.


The guide lead us down a narrow path through the woods into a low valley. We had lions to the left of us and tigers to the right and our path was only 3-5 feet wide between the two enclosures. As soon as we walked down there the tigers, who had been separate, formed a line and began pacing the fence where we were walking through. Most of them were growling quietly. The only reason I was able to get these pictures is because Michael was holding on to Duc.


Do you remember the scene in Jurassic Park when the visitors realized the fences weren’t working? Yeah, that’s how this felt. Unlike a zoo where there are metal bars, this one relies on a wire/chain link fence…similar to what you might have in your back yard. In the 20 years since it opened, only two animals have escaped and thankfully they weren’t tigers or lions!

Once we got into the valley some of the volunteer staff came through to clean the bones from the cages. Unfortunately, the animals thought they were getting fed so they started getting very busy. And then another 20 people joined our small little tour group of 5 in the small, low valley in the forest. Yeah, the animals noticed this too.

One heavily scented woman (perfume, cigarette smoke, etc—why would you wear that around feral animals???) got too close to the lion’s cage.

IMG_8940-2 BW

King (the lion) was on his feet and had his front paws against the fence in less than a second. I’ve never seen anything so big move so quickly.

There was a lot of this too:


At this point I told Michael to pick Duc up and walk back up the path slowly and quietly (less than 3 feet between these enclosures, remember? You could feel the heat from their breath). Shortly after that some of the rest of our tour group began to stampede and I got knocked over by a junior high student bigger than me.

Thankfully none of us became this:


Despite my slight freak out (Jurassic Park, remember?) the boys LOVED it. Duc wasn’t scared at all and we had a really great day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I’m Back!

Hello, friends, I’m backSmile I didn’t intend to take a nearly 6 month break, as the days passed it got easier and easier. There were still a lot of days when I would think “I need to write about this. I need to process this some more”, but ultimately decided not to. Truth is, I shut down.

The last 6 months at work have been a challenge. My workplace has been a stressful place from the beginning because we truly worked for a crazy woman. I never knew when or where the attacks would come from and after four years of being victimized by that woman she was finally fired. With that came a new director and manager, both are good but there is still stress as we navigate our relationships and the new rules that come with new people. My project load increased substantially and I began working 10-14 hours every day. Some days are even worse—I recently worked all day (10 hours), had 6 hours off and came in worked 7 hours through the night. I’m exhausted beyond exhausted and poor Duc is beginning to act out. I’m sure you can imagine why. And through all this I stopped writing. I stopped writing the blog, I stopped writing in my personal journal. I just stopped. I was too physicially and emotionally bankrupt by the end of the day to do anything besides fall asleep on the couch in the evening.

I suspect this may not have been the best response. I miss writing. I don’t like shutting down and just waiting things out. Sometimes it is easier to try to get through something than process my feelings or the fallout from things.

So, I said all that to say this: I’m back. I’m not sure for how long, but I do want to try to blog at least once or twice a week. I’m thinking the content is going to change somewhat. While I love writing about my son, taking pictures of him and writing about our joys and struggles I am interested in a lot more than just adoption. I will still write about some of the things we are working through (birthmom interest, anyone?) because we live and struggle with things related to adoption everyday, but my son opened my eyes to lot more. I became very involved with photography because I didn’t want to forget these moments. I began to DIY and make things because I’ve always been curious about the process, but now I can’t afford those things unless I do it myself. I’ve never been an outdoor person, but for the second year in a row I have gardened. Why? Because I like knowing where my food is coming from, I like introducing my son to an activity we can do together and I like the self sustainability of it all.

I hope you will stop by for a visit soon.



Friday, May 13, 2011

11:33 PM


{11:33 pm—an untouched photo}

In motherhood I have struggled to find myself in it at times. Not that I lost myself, exactly, I am the same stubborn, life-loving, first-to-laugh, homebody that I ever was. In some ways these traits are even large—I laugh longer and deeper, I argue passionate and I look for a laugh where ever I can find it. I long to stay in my jammies all day one day a week and not leave the house. These things haven’t changed.

But I lost my time and I miss that the most at times. I’ve always felt fulfilled alone. I’m recharged in my solitude and quiet time. I love having a few hours to get lost in my own head and dream. I love to dream.

Now that Duc is older he doesn’t need to sleep as much and my time is being encroached upon. Someday I will wake up and he won’t be there and I will long to hear his voice calling my name in the night, telling me stories and singing me songs at 3:14 AM. I won’t hear his bounding feet echo through the house. I know I will miss it.

But for now I miss my time. I steal it where I can and like every mother I have learned to juggle a number of tasks at once. Now, I find my time in a mindless sink of soapy dishes, jamming to Kings of Leon on the iPod and thinking slightly dirty thoughts. Yes, this is my time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Racism at home and in the wake of Japan's disaster

As a white middle-class mom I won’t see racism the same way my son sees it. No one will ever make “chink eyes” at me (oh, I take that back, someone did) or say an offensive joke about white, single middle-class moms. No one will talk slower and louder to me or ask if I speak English. No one is going to ask to see my birth certificate or proof of citizenship. But I am a not so silent witness to what is happening. Our nation has a long history of ostracizing various ethnic and minority groups. In my parent’s lifetime it was the 1960’s civil rights moment that finally gave rights to African Americans. In my lifetime it was letting gays and lesbians out of the proverbial closet. Maybe in my son’s lifetime any person of any skin color will be able to walk down the street and not worry about the police stopping and asking for proof of citizenship.

In my state, in the very state of my birth and the state that signed my son’s birth certificate, a new bill is being presented to the Indiana Congress that would allow police to detain anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant. What does an illegal immigrant look like?

Does this guy look like an American? He’s not, but his parents wereSmile. He served in WWII and has lived here for nearly 100 years. Now he is facing deportation and a loss of his Social Security benefits.


Is this the face of an American? IMG_7604

(yes, I realize eating junk food does not make you an American, but honestly, how cute is this picture from the Holidays?)

This immigration bill frightens me. Please check out this website for more information: I don’t want to have to hold my son’s hand tighter each time I see a police car go by. I don’t want to lecture him about the dangers of drinking AND being outside while Asian. I don’t want to have to worry about all the rednecks that are out there that might call the police if they don’t like the way he looks.

The dual tragedies in Japan has brought out a new face of racism, but unlike previous disasters people of all walks of life, even famous people that should know better, have piped up to say this is punishment for Pearl Harbor and other war related atrocities. Really? I really thought we got them back when we bombed the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fact that they have been strong allies and have not committed any further atrocities speaks to their commitment to peace.

Please check out this post over at Disgrasian and don’t forget to listen to the audio clips. It’s mind blowing what people feel comfortable saying in front of a microphone or in 140 word tweets.

But this little goody may just be my favorite:

And this awesome response:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Alternate Universe

Before I became a mother every one would very knowingly say, “your life is going change” to which I internally responded with ‘well, duh”.

I expected a certain amount of transition—how could I not? I was going from SWF to table for one and a half. Some of the changes were sudden and some were gradual. The first thing I noticed was a fatigue that settled deep into my bones that was not relieved with any amount of sleep. I didn’t really recognize it for what it was until talking to another new adoptive parent who complained she was tired all the time despite the fact that her daughter slept beautifully all night long. It was responsibility. It was knowing that I was the ONLY parent for this child and that my life suddenly had a bigger meaning. My life no longer belonged to just me. While our parents teach us to fly a child ties us to this world. I had never felt so deeply rooted in this world, to this life. Before Duc there was always the chance of escape. Always the wanderer, anytime life felt boring, overwhelming, whatever, I knew I could run. I could pack up my few belongings and hit the road. To be honest, it was that probability that got me through many difficult days at work. I feel tied, but not necessarily tied down. Now, when I picture my escape I see Duc and I sitting on a beach watching the sun set on the Pacific (but to be honest I rarely ever think of escape anymore). IMG_7894

Certain things that I had once enjoyed no longer interested me. Hot new guy on TV or on the street—nothing. Barely even a pitter patter. There was a time I deeply longed to be married, but I now find myself at peace and sometimes even grateful for being single. Duc keeps me so busy that the only time I wish I had a husband is when I am sick or exhausted or days when he just wears me out through his sheer physicality.

I haven’t worn a dress or high heels since I became a mother. I am more interested in comfortable shoes that allow me to dart after him and breathable cotton that won’t make me hot when he falls asleep on me or when I have to carry his 30+ lbs. through a mall because he won’t walk. Dry clean only clothes are a waste of time. It has only been the last few months that I have made it to work without snot or cereal smeared across one or both or my breasts.

IMG_7892 1

I can’t stand watching shows or movies that show acts of violence against women or children (sorry, men). I nearly vomited the last time I tried watching “Criminal Intent”. it’s too close to home. I can remember trying to watch the Liam Neeson film “Taken” shortly after Duc came home. I was so anxious I paced the floors and had to keep pausing the movie so my heart would stop racing (yeah, I could have turned it off, but that goes against my nature to finish everything I start).


And where these desires waned, new ones took root.

Before Duc I didn’t spend much time at home. Now I am home every night by 7 pm (6 pm is the witching hour where tantrums are more likely to occur). I’ve had a chance to evaluate my surroundings and realized it no longer matched our lifestyle. I’m obsessed with HGTV and all things relating to home decorating or renovating. I have little money, time or energy to take on new projects, but I have.

I’ve started building.



Became this…



(just to clarify, that is only dust and cat hair on the edge of the bed from being moved from the living room to his bedroom—I wiped it off right after I noticed it on the picture!).

After two years of sleeping in a pack ‘n play my baby now sleeps on a bed with a mattress—and no rails! He has had his bed for exactly one month today and everyday he shouts “I like my new BED!”. We store toys, books, out of season clothes in the cubbies below the mattress. For a small house it has really worked out well.

When I shared the photos with my boss the only thing she said is “why would you want to do that (build the bed)?”.

Honestly, I don’t have a great answer other than wanting to pass on something tangible to my son. Something that that his son or daughter will some day sleep in. For two months he has bragged to people that “mommy built my bed!” and I hope he will always feel that way. My dad built me a bookshelf when I wasn’t much older than Duc and even though it is a rather odd looking bookshelf (sorry Dad!) I won’t part with it. It is now in Duc’s room.

As a single parent I think more about sustainability than I did when it was just me. I want to know how to build my own furniture (please see for easy to follow plans—they are amazing). I am more interested in growing our own food and even if I am not as concerned about what I am consuming, I want the food he eats to make his body healthy and strong. Last weekend Duc assisted with building another raised bed for a cold garden (spring veg). He is going to have his own raised bed and has already chosen pumpkins and watermelons as his crop for the summer.

As we are entering Spring I will probably try to tackle new projects around the house and I will also try to document the process to share with all of you (that being the 7 people that still read this blogSmile).

If you are curious about anything please feel free to ask.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I know I often talk about the struggles that we face. Let’s face it, being a single parent is hard work. Being a single parent to an active boy is even harder. While he is used to my work schedule if I pick him up even 30 minutes later from daycare it will be a rough evening and even a rough night on some occasions. I admit, I struggle with this sometimes. I really like my “me” time. I crave it actually and I need several hours each night or I struggle to sleep. I like the quietness of the house and I like to be able to sit on the couch and pet my cat (which I never see during Duc hours).

But sometimes there are blessings where you don’t see them. I have a child that wants to be with me all the time. I have a son that thinks I’m awesome and he tells strangers that “my mama is funny!”. I have a son that still wants to cuddle despite the distractions of toys and Thomas the Train on the brain. I have a child that enjoys not only picking out his own clothes each morning, but picking mine out as well (yes, the boy has good taste, but he seems particularly driven to my boobylicious shirts. In his own words, “I like boobies”).

Today I had a shit-tastic day at work…after several already this week. I’m physically and emotionally spent. When we got home tonight, we took our shoes and coats off and I fell into the closest seat. Duc climbed up in my lap and began looking at our videos on my iPod. And for 30 blissful minutes I slept and held my baby while listening to the sounds of his laughter on the video. Even after dinner he didn’t insist on rough housing or throwing a ball through the house or beg me to build his train set once again. He laid down next to me and we watched a little TV together. I marveled at the sweetest of this child next to me and understood why people refer to him as an “old soul”. I love that he has a naughty little grin and he will do something over and over again if it made me laugh just one time. And even if he won’t sleep in the twin bed I built him, he lays in it every night while we hold hands in the dark and talk.

I love that he loves Vietnam and that every time he sees a palm tree he excitedly yells “VIETNAM!”. While I don’t love that he goes though the trash cans, I love that I find surprises. Sometimes in my purse (which explains why it weighs 15 lbs.) or coat pocket or other places. Today I reached into my pants pocket and pulled out this:


Yes, that is a bottle top from Seagrams wine cooler I drank last night. He found it this morning and begged to be able to take it to daycare. When I refused he must have snuck it into my pocket because it was a treasure worth keeping.

I love that he has become such a little man. He holds doors open for people, is so sweet and delicate with little girls and asks me when he will finally have a sister.

Yes, yes, yes I love this boy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hello, my name is…

Despite my apparent inability to blog, I think about it often. I find writing is cathartic for my soul even if no one reads and no one responds (although it is always good to have feedback!).

From my previous posts you know life has been challenging lately. I feel a bit bad for not updating you on Duc’s nee-nee/sleep situation, but I am happy to say it has improved. I think I needed to get far enough distance between living it and writing about it. Despite my assertions that I am not superstitious, I still find myself crossing my fingers and trying not to jinx myself.

The night following my last post I talked to Mom. Every woman wants to believe she will be a better mother than her’s was. You think you will find the patience that your mother lacked. You promise yourself you will never say “because I said so” and especially as adoptive parents you think you will never get tired of hearing your child chant “MOM!” at high volume. You tell yourself that you know everything about your child—more than any other living soul on this planet (a fact that saddens me and empowers me to make better decisions). As an adoptive parent you educate yourself on attachment issues and can spot those times when your child struggles.

I’ll be honest, hearing Duc scream and cry for hours on end simultaneously tears my heart out and makes me want to scream at him in frustration. I finally shared this with my mother. I didn’t want to admit that I was failing. Failing him and failing my sanity. I didn’t want to admit I was over my head, at the end of my rope and feeling up a creek sans paddle. She gently reminded me that I always have Duc’s abandonment issues in mind and that whether or not it was intentional, Duc was playing me. She couldn’t be right, could she? I excused him and explained “you don’t understand. you don’t hear his panicked cries or see she tear soaked face. His anxiety is real”

But my mother has been a mother for 30 some years. She has counseled hundreds of children in the last 15 years of her career and most recently began working with children and families in the foster care system (among other things). I couldn’t deny the fact that she knows children and their psychology.

That night I tucked Duc into my bed with my mom’s instructions rolling through my head. I assured Duc that I wasn’t going anywhere. I told him I would hold his hand for a few minutes and then I would return to the living room to work on laundry. I told him that I would not be returning to the room no matter how much he screamed and that I would only come back when I went to bed. His response made me cry later:

D: Mommy, go to work?

M: I’m not going to work. I’m going to work on laundry just down the hall.

D: You not going bye-bye?

M: No, honey, I’m not going bye-bye. Did you think I was going to work and leaving you alone?

D: Yeah, mommy. I thought you leave me.

Wow, I had no idea. Once I assured him that I was most definitely NOT leaving he quieted down and slept fine.

We still struggle from time to time with sleep now that he doesn’t have his nee-nee to pacify him. He has had to learn to rely more on me for comfort and to learn how to self soothe. And at times I realize he is trying to manipulate me—maybe not intentionally, and maybe not related to adoption. Every person was born with the ability to manipulate. It is what carries on our species and what drives our self preservation—whether it is our corporeal being or our mental being. We are given the tools from birth that allow us to get our needs met.

I’m just glad to have my happy boy back (and to be able to sleep in my bed alone).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blue Nee-Nee II


B so nicely inquired this week about how things have been since the blue nee-nee went bye-bye. In short, it sucks. The actual weaning process was surprisingly easily and fast. Nee-nee disappeared on Christmas Day after Duc hadn’t used it all day (no nap=no nee-nee). He fell asleep in the car shortly after leaving my parent’s house and he didn’t miss it. Or so I thought. At 1:30 AM he woke up screaming and crying. He was inconsolable and nothing I did helped. Finally around 6 am he dozed for a while before getting up around 7:30. For the next few days he inquired about blue nee-nee and asked that I search for it. Ever the dutiful mother I promised to do my best.


What I didn’t realize at the time was the extent that he relied on his pacifier. That was his comfort when even I could not help. Friends used to marvel at the ease in which I was able to get him to bed. Essentially I held him and rocked him for a few minutes with the pacifier, put him down and didn’t hear a peep out of him. Now it feels like January 2009 when we first arrived home from Vietnam. Weekend naps are almost non-existent. It is nothing for him to scream and whine and cry during his two hour nap period. Duc is the kind of child that REALLY needs a nap—sometimes two. Without naps he becomes destructive and more than a little mean and at his size he is force to be reckoned with.

It’s been three weeks today since I took nee-nee away and still we struggle. In the last two nights I have slept about three hours per night because Duc is sleeping in my bed. He sleeps in my bed even when I am not in bed with him. We have never been a co-sleeping family so this is a struggle for me.


I will be the first to admit that I don’t like change. I think because I am at an age in my life that so little changes it always astounds me that he is changing each and every day. How is that possible? I am struggling to learn that my parenting has to change to match his physical and emotional growth. I think I deluded myself into thinking that because he has been so advanced in his physical development and what he can do that his emotional growth would be slower. I have found that isn’t the case. On Christmas Eve we were driving to my parent’s house and he started wailing in the back seat. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “I’m mad at you, Mommy”.

“Why are you mad at me, Duc?”


“Honey, ‘because’ is not a good enough reason. If you are mad at me you need to tell me why.”

“Because you won’t pick up my toy and give it to me.”

Yes, that is Duc's bed in the background that I am making

He tells me when he is happy, when is mad and when he is sad. Sometimes he isn’t able to verbalize why he feels these emotions, only that he feels them.

Happy Family Day cake

And so my parenting is adjusting. He needs me more now that he can’t rely on nee-nee. More time. More hugs and kisses. More time sitting next to him while he plays with his choo choos. More me. But I’ll be honest with you, I’m exhausted.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

  © Free Blogger Templates 'Photoblog II' by 2008

Back to TOP