Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A busy 48 hours

Since returning from Texas on Sunday, these things have happened:

1. I got sick with a snotty cold.
2. My ears are messed up and my hearing is off.
3. I'm spaced out on cold meds. Seriously spaced out, dudes.
4. We had to clean and neaten up for our last homestudy visit on Monday.
5. Petunia carved 3 awesome pumpkins.
6. Our basement smoke alarm battery died Sunday night.
7. I had to make an emergency trip to the store Monday morning to get a new 9-volt battery.
8. Our water heater relief valve died yesterday and leaked hot water all over the basement floor.
7. We had our final homestudy meeting last night.
8. It went very well, and Ms. Stork says we'll begin waiting next week.
9. We got the relief valve replaced today.
10. Petunia went to the dentist this morning.
11. All of my kids arrived in costume today, making diaper changes v. challenging.
12. I'm looking forward to trick-or-treating tonight. We generally get 200+ kids at the door, and I'll all set with the candy.
13. Did I mention that OUR HOMESTUDY IS DONE???

Happy Halloween!

Can you tell we're having fun?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Everything's bigger in Texas, like...

Palm trees


Republicans (shadier, if not actually bigger)


Frickles (fried pickles)

And snow cones (esp. this strawberry with cream)

Thanks to Orca and Beluga for a wonderful time in the Lone Star State!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Update on the maternity policy update

I've checked in with all of my families now, and 4 of 5 are cool. The last family claimed the mom didn't share the paperwork with the dad, and the dad was all surprised when I asked him about it yesterday. He said he'd bring their paperwork today, but so far...not so much. Maybe he'll have it tonight, but I'm not holding my breath.

See y'all on Monday! I'll be thinking of you from the Lone Star State!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Policy change update

I've heard back from 3 of my 5 families about my maternity policies, and those 3 families are cool with the changes. My last 2 families are holding out on me, which SUCKS! I'd love for all of this to be in place when I leave on Thursday; it would be a big weight off my shoulders. I think I'm going to have to be more assertive with my request for forms and/or feedback. ISSUES!

Monday, October 23, 2006

And P.S....

I have a new bloggy name!

Hook 'em Horns

On Thursday I'll be flying to Texas. I'll be visiting my brother Orca and his girlfriend Beluga, and I'm really excited about my trip.

I'm also excited because I got the plane tickets FOR FREE!

Last winter, Wendy's and AirTran ran a promotion where if you drank 64 medium drinks at Wendy's, you got a free round-trip ticket on AirTran. Y'all know I love the cheap, so Petunia and I hit our local Wendy's hardcore. I received a few submissions from Ms. Schatzi, plus I picked up 10 or so cups on the street (the litterbugs helped my cause considerably). The rest are from Petunia and me--we took one for the team and drank TONS of coke and diet coke, and the result is a free trip to Texas!

This is my biggest Big "C" coup ever. It even rivals the time when I was a kid and my mom bought bikes for my brother and me using Pepsi coupons; until now, that had been my gold standard for thriftiness. Those bikes were awesome, but you gotta admit that free plane tickets are pretty frickkin' rad.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Stroller issues

Because of my work, I have a veritable stable of strollers. They're the cheapest strollers I could find, and each time I bought one, I was all, "This'll do." With the QE2, I even bought secondhand. Right now, I can barely recollect that lackadaisical attitude.

Now that we're expecting our own kiddo, I'm going nuts over the stroller thing. I can't find one that pleases me. One model's handlebars are too low (Combi), another model is too wobbly (Maclaren), and a third contender folds with 2 hands (Peg Perego). I like the sound of one I've read about online (Silver Cross), but I can't find a place to test drive it. I've consulted Baby Bargains and checked out Consumer Reports, and I'm still not close to making my decision. (FYI: I'm doing the initial research, and then Petunia and I will choose the winning stroller together.) Complicating the whole thing is that we don't know the age/weight/ability of our child, so I'm not sure whether we'll need a cushier reclining model (for a tiny infant) or a bare-bones lightweight jobby. I'm leaning towards lightweight, but then watch us be matched with a preemie and I'll have to start the stroller research all over again. Grrr.

To add even more complications, I know we'll be using a combo of infant/toddler carriers for our Hester. I loves me some Baby Bjorn, and I have a sling I like to use for itty bitties and for hip-sitting toddlers. We also registered for a hip carrier I've been dying to try out, so you know our poor kid's not going to be too far from Mama or Mumzy. That said, I wonder how much we'd really need an infant stroller? In stores we'd be able to put an infant seat in the basket of the cart, and for walks I assume we'd just use the Bjorn or similar. We don't go to malls often, but I suppose that's where a stroller would come in handy, and also for strolling around Boston, New York, etc.

Hmmm. Any advice?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"I'm Not Hester Willa"

Okay. Now that I've broken the seal and started shopping at Old Navy for Hester (and OMG I got some cute stuff for her/him!), it's time to turn my attention back to Ye Olde Crafty Stuffs. I have some onesies to embroider and decorate with iron-on letters, and 8 cross stitch bibs are calling my name. Babies Suck, anyone?

Dudes, Hester's going to rock the handmade goods.

See what I mean?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

We're Material Grrrls

Petunia and I were talking about this last night: After so many months of the unpleasant side of preparing to expand our family through DSS adoption (the bureaucratic waiting, the invasion of privacy, the MAPP classes), we're thrilled to be doing pleasant, happy things for our growing family. This includes BUYING TONS OF SHIT for Hester Willa! Rest assured, it's not that we've gone temporarily retail-mad; it's that shopping is so much more fun than telling Ms. Stork about the worst moments of our respective childhoods. See what I mean? Perspective, baby.

And so we're preparing to feather our nest with all manner of cutie baby things. We registered for newborn items and items for toddlers, since we won't know whether Hester will be 2 years old or 2 months old. We test drove strollers, selected baby bottles, and picked out pacifiers with great deliberation. We debated about car seats, chose teeny washcloths, and even signed up for a few outfits, though we know we'll probably have to delete those from our registry because of size/season considerations. I'll tell you this, though: We haven't had that much fun at Target since we registered for our wedding five years ago. Suh-weet!

Also, we've been burning up MyRegistry.com. Do you know this site? It's sort of a metaregistry that allows you to select things from different stores, so you don't have to start 10 different registries to get the things you want. Our favorite part is that it allows us to pick items from all sorts of stores, even little indie ones, so we're not limited to frickin' Babies R Us. (We hate that place.) Petunia put a ton of baby CDs on MyRegistry last night, and I've been busy adding smart-alecky onesies. That shit is good times, for real.

In the spirit of continuing this party, please let me know if you have any suggestions for baby or toddler must-haves. In particular, if you have a diaper bag that you love and couldn't live without, I'd v. much appreciate that information. Also, if you have any hints for fun, snarky onesies or baby t-shirts, please let me know. Thanks, y'all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Baby Central

We're very much aware that we'll start waiting for Hester in 3 short weeks, so we're trying to take care of business now. We're both getting really excited about starting our wait; in just a few weeks' time, we'll be pregnant on paper!

1. Petunia got some great news yesterday: Her work is going to let her do a compressed workweek, so once her maternity leave ends she's going to work 2 8-hour days and 2 12-hour days. Now Petunia won't have to take time off in order to take Hester to the doctor, to birth parent visits, and to any specialist appointments Hester will need. Yay! Also, it'll be great for both Petunia and Hester to have a scheduled Mumzy/Baby day each week. Petunia's already scoping out local museums, attractions, etc. to visit once Hester arrives. Hooray for flexible workplaces!

2. Petunia and I are probably going to hit Target tonight to begin registering for baby things. Eeeeeee--it's so exciting! We figure that we'll register for infant stuff, and then if Hester turns out to be a 2-year old, we can just delete those items from our registry. This will be just as fun as when we registered for our wedding, I'm sure. We've also started an online metaregistry with all sorts of indie things, like this hip carrier from Walking Rock Farm, plus FOUR diaper bags. What? We're trying to whittle down our selections, I swear!

3. Petunia had her doctor's appointment today, which means that our medical references are done. Sweetness.

4. Ms. Stork will be coming on the 30th for our last homestudy meeting, and she'll be bringing a draft of our homestudy document with her. We'll be able to proof it and change any errors, and then Ms. Stork can add the info from our last meeting and get the document approved. A nice touch for that evening: We'll be meeting over a light dinner, so it's sure to be more relaxed than our first meeting.

And I think that's it. Now that we're registering and we know what to expect workwise once Hester joins us, it really feels like we're going to be parents soon(ish).

Knock wood, okay?

Fall fiends

You might think that all we do this time of year is look for pumpkins and gourds.

Well, you're mostly right. But we also like doing these things:

Picking apples,

Eating cider doughnuts,

Looking at fall leaves,

And taking amusing photos of our furbabies.

We live such wild lives in the autumn! Whatever will we do when winter comes?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Warden AJWP

Clary B. was sad that I wouldn't let her in the kitchen to eat the kids' chicken and cheese quesadillas, carrots, and salad. Pathetic, no? Poor puppy--she's so neglected!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Maternity leave

Today's the day my families will receive my new maternity leave policies. I'm scared and excited all at once.

Eeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm going to be a mama!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Guess what: I'm a lesbian!

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Random things

So I'm fresh out of pumpkin pictures, at least until I manage to bring the camera outside and take a few shots of our porch. It's Pumpkin City out there! Until I remember to do that, here's what's been on my mind:

--I went back to the otolaryngologist on Monday. Good news: My sinuses are normal! It seems like the crazy cellulitis was just a fluke.

--Also on Monday: My individual homestudy meeting happened. It went well, and our social worker is totally in our corner. Petunia has her individual meeting this afternoon (please think good thoughts!), and our final meeting will be on Monday, October 30. After that, we'll start to wait.

--I find it v. amusing that this guy broke into my house and stole my wardrobe. Seriously, I wore the same thing to work last week, orange Crocs included. That dude is so busted.

That's all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy wedding anniversary from Mom, Dad, and Grandma

When we got home from all the festivities on Saturday, a gorgeous flower arrangement was waiting for us! My parents and grandma sent it to us for our anniversary, and they used the same florist we used when we were married. The arrangement has some of the elements from our bridal flowers, namely the orange roses and the hypernicum berries, and the whole thing is just so beautiful and thoughtful! Petunia and I are lucky to have so many people in our lives who love and support us.

Pumpkins and squashes and gourds, oh my!

Pumpkin Paddle

Y'all will never guess where we went this weekend--to the First Annual Massachusetts Pumpkin Paddle! You really haven't lived until you've seen grown men and women paddle hollowed-out giant pumpkins around a pond for prizes. Petunia and I live for wacky stuff like this.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Anniversary plans

This anniversary weekend was going to be awesome. We were planning to head out of town, probably to the small town in Vermont where we celebrated our civil union five and a half years ago. We were going to relax, stroll around, celebrate autumn, and be all mushy and whatnot. We figured that a nice long weekend away would be a great way to celebrate five years of marriage.

But then Petunia realized she has to work tomorrow. And then my otolaryngologist wanted to see me Monday morning. And Monday's not a holiday for Petunia, anyway.

So we scrapped those plans and started making new ones. I added another appointment to my day on Monday, figuring that if I'm in town and not working, I might as well schedule my individual homestudy meeting for that afternoon. We began planning to make Sunday our official anniversary day this year, since that'll be the one day we have together this long weekend. And since we'll only have that one day, we're filling it with tons of fun stuff.

We're planning to attend an event on Sunday that's totally wacky and incredibly blog-worthy, so I'll be sure to bring my camera and post about it afterwards. We're also planning to head back out to western Mass for a day of fall fun, including choosing pumpkins and walking along the rail trail. We'll have some good meals, stroll around Northampton again, and be all mushy and whatnot. We might not be able to go away for the weekend, but we can still have a lovely time.

Going incognito

I've decided that I need a new bloggy name for myself in order to be a teensy weensy bit more private. "AJWP" is too close to home, and it's boring as well. If you have a name suggestion for me, I'd love to hear it! Thanks.

Our fifth wedding anniversary is tomorrow

Happy anniversary to my beloved Petunia!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Harvest time

Here's our tiny cinderella pumpkin in its supportive sling, along with a few green tomatoes for good measure. I took this photo a few days ago in preparation of its harvest.

And here it is in my hand after being harvested yesterday, two days before the Harvest Moon. I love pumpkins so much (um, can you tell?), but I especially love the cinderella varieties. They're so beautiful!

We might get frost tonight, so this morning I brought in the rest of the tomatoes (both reddish and still very green*), a couple of sunflower heads, and some herbs to dry. It's all fall-y outside today, v. sunny, windy, and brisk. Yellow pine needles blanket half of our yard; the kids spent the morning sweeping them into nests and pretending they were birds. This weekend I want to split and transplant some perennials, and as soon as our allium and garlic arrive we'll plant them and begin to ready the gardens for winter.

Also, I checked on our compost today--it's just beautiful! It's ready to use, too. It's all black wet mulchy goodness, and I'm proud of us for sticking with the whole composting thing. Yay, crunch power! We're living the stereotype. Gotta love it.

*If you have a recipe for fried green tomatoes that you've tried and liked, I'd love to have it. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scared and angry

The other day I got some news from Not Pregnant Neighbor that might or might not be true: She told me that a probation officer notified her that her new 2nd floor neighbor is a level 3 sex offender. She hightailed it over to my house shortly thereafter, causing my heart to stop beating and my stomach to start churning.

I'm still not sure if it's true since I wasn't able to find the man's info on the MA sex offender registry website. Also, NPN couldn't give me any solid details about the man or about the officer who notified her, which seems sketchy. Regardless, I called the registry board as well as our local police department for more information, and last night Petunia and I went down to the police station to put ourselves on the list of folks who want to be notified of level 2 and level 3 sex offenders in their neighborhoods. I'm trying not to panic, but a couple of things I've discovered since Monday have really upset me:

1. It's up to local police departments to figure out community notification strategies. They're encouraged to notify schools, parents, child care centers, etc. about people who've offended against children, but there's no requirement to notify those people and institutions. I think that shit should be required.

2. Level 3 sex offenders can live wherever they want, even next door to your local elementary school. I'd long labored under the delusion that they can't live within a certain distance of schools, child care centers, etc., but I was wrong. It turns out there's no restriction at all.

This is scary, scary shit. Folks at the registry board said there's pending legislation that would make notification policies more stringent, so I called my state senator's office to inquire about that. It's unfathomable to me that a level 3 sex offender could (potentially) move into a triple decker that houses 3 small children next door to a family child care program; at the very least, the kids' parents AND the child care provider should be notified of the situation.

I'll post more information when I have it.

Update as of 3:30pm: It's true. I confirmed that the man who moved in next door is a level 3 sex offender with 1 conviction for child rape, another for indecent assault and battery of a child under 14, and 2 convictions for distributing harmful matter to minors.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Moses basket

Guess who loves Hester's new Moses basket?

Josephine and Reuben love it! Aren't they sweet?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fried Oreos!

We tried them at The Big E on Saturday night. Don't judge! You would have tried them, too.

The verdict? They taste exactly like chocolate doughnuts. Kinda disappointing, but still fun.

Great Glass Pumpkin Patch

Jenny PP and I went to the MIT glass lab event on Saturday. We managed to score a couple of beautiful pumpkins, but the place was a madhouse. Competition was crazy--I arrived over an hour before the event started, and there were 150 people in line ahead of me! This year's event was much pricier than last year's, too; the cheapest pumpkin I saw was $30 and the most expensive pumpkin was $850. How insane is that?

So I didn't get a chance to implement my evil plan because I was totally priced out. I couldn't bargain because I grabbed the cheapest pumpkins I could find. For me, it was a much calmer morning than I'd anticipated, which is probably good. People were being crazy greedy, though; JPP and I saw several people purchasing 10+ pumpkins at a time. Folks hoarded like crazy, too.

At any rate, here are our pumpkins. We got the orange one last year and the other two this year:

And here are the 2 photos I took at the event before my camera batteries died:

I hope that Jenny PP will post some of the photos she took--you won't want to miss the insanity.

Thanks for a fun date morning, Ms. JPP!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pumpkin porn, courtesy of The Big E

Check out these whoppers! The largest pumpkin weighs in at 1,001 lbs. Can you even believe it?