Tuesday, May 16, 2006

first fruits, blue birthdays, tired tigers

last night's supper, including our first spinach salad from the garden, and last year's pesto (we freeze it).

garden update: we're very close to having a deed to one of the four lots (at an outrageous price which the city mysteriously determined was the fair market value....); and we've asked the city to certify two more for sheriff's sale. we'll see.... i'll keep you posted.

note julie's homemade beer. yum!

we spend a lot of time at the new jersey aquarium these days, where they have an amazing shark exhibit, and two hippos that micah is completely fascinated by. and of course a lot of fish. thus the fish cake!

happy birthday sweet boy!

the other night, he insisted on sleeping in this costume. okay, admit it -- isn't he just the most beautiful boy?

Monday, May 15, 2006

on the needles -- a sweater for micah!

i've never knit anything for poor micah. well, that's not true -- i started something in size 2t when he was about 18 months (and still on the small side), but never finished it (not a lot of knitting was going on in those days....). it's still on the needles. i may try to finish it for my little cousin in amsterdam who will turn one this summer (we'll see....) other than that unfinished project, i've really never had a chance to knit anything for micah -- before he came home, i had no idea what sweater size would be right for what season, and after he arrived, well, i haven't mastered the skill of knitting while constantly holding and nursing a baby (cate did it, with twins to boot! but she's a fiber artist extraordinaire, a goddess really, and totally totally out of my league. you really should check out some of the beautiful things she knits on her site.)

so finally, i'm working on a sweater for micah, and i'm really happy with it. it's a double breasted, shawl-collared sweater in seed stitch. i'm doing it in a bulky wool/mohair blend which is really lovely. this color will look totally divine on him. i've always wanted to do something in seed stitch, but was really intimidated by it. i actually have a below-the-knees coat i want to do for myself in seed stitch, and i'm thinking it won't be as completely overwhelming as i feared. i'm realizing that if i knit in the "continental" fashion, seed stitch would be a lot easier, without all that effort of throwing the yarn back and forth every stitch ... but i tried it at my church knitting group -- one of my friends there knits that way, and it looks so simple. but when i tried to do it i was just all thumbs, and decided my inefficient american style is probably more efficient for me in the long run! hey, i'm enjoying it, and actually finding ways to work in a few rows here and there in a way i was not with those old, tired projects (see below...) that had come to feel like chores.

by the way, i don't know why i can't make blogger insert pix into my posts -- i know how to do it, but it's not working. so i'm using picassa, which only lets me put one pix into each post (as far as i can tell. i'm pretty backward when it comes to this stuff.) anyway, forgive the multiple posts.

next up, micah's birthday cake! Posted by Picasa

julie's sweater -- a closer view

this gives you a little bit better sense of the fabric of julie's sweater. i can't remember what the wool is called, but it's hand-dyed, hand-spun from somewhere in latin america, and it's really yummy. unfortunately, these photos don't really do it justice. Posted by Picasa

julie's sweater

i've been working on this sweater for julie for four or five years -- it's finally off the needles, and almost done (just in time for summer....) obviously, i still need to sew in the ends, put in a zipper, and block. and the collar is supposed to get folded in half toward the inside and sewn down -- i don't really get it, but i have until the fall to figure it out! julie's been waiting very patiently, and is quite happy with it. Posted by Picasa

trixie's poncho

i started this poncho for trixie over a year ago -- it's hogwarts colors, if you hadn't noticed. fortunately, there was no chance she would outgrow it while it was taking me forever to finish it, because it's big enough for her to wear as an adult. she likes it nonetheless. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

my prayers are with jessica

tomorrow julie is going on an all-day bike ride. she usually bikes for a week or more in the summer, but this year we're going on a big vacation with her family, so instead she's just doing a day-long ride in new jersey. now, normally, this wouldn't even phase me; we generally try to support one another in our extra-curricular activities, and biking is one of julie's passions. she rode across iowa when micah was about two months old, leaving me with a six year old, a teeny little preemie, and no car for almost two weeks, and i barely complained, apart for some good-natured ribbing (which continues to this day). so a day-long ride should be no big deal. but micah has been, well, quite challenging these days, especially the past few, and this being the end-of-the-year countdown when everything generally seems to be spiraling out of control, and having been really sick for more than a month with non-stop allergies, well, i've been feeling a bit sorry for myself that she isn't going to give me the saturday break that i have become accustomed to.

tonight i even made her take us out to eat, because i couldn't bear to cook, and then clean the kitchen that seems to be perpetually dirty despite the fact that i seem to be always cleaning it... we went to our favorite cuban/columbian restaurant, and i drank more than my share of the pitcher of sangria (julie was driving, so i felt it was my duty to keep several drinks ahead of her).

and basically the whole evening, i have been giving her a hard time -- mostly all in fun, but you know, with a little edge to it -- for leaving tomorrow in the wee hours with a couple of cool chick friends to go biking in new jersey, while i will be home, alone, yet another day like every other day, with the kids.

when we got home from tierra columbiana, i quickly checked my email and favorite blogs. and found this. and then i went back and read this. and this. and, well, all of it is just, well, i guess there just aren't words. i read with tears streaming down my face. talk about putting things in perspective...

when i came back downstairs, julie was playing music from godspell, and micah was dressed in his tiger costume, sitting beside her on the bench, playing along. trixie and her friend, who is spending the night, were upstairs playing dress-up and narrating tales like the beautiful, bookish girls they are. the neighborhood children, who will be up until midnight tonight, were outside jumping double dutch and playing pitch and catch and making a racket that usually drives me crazy. and you know how sometimes, all-too-rarely, you seem to be viewing the world through a filter like they use in the movies, to make the light just so, and all the colors pop out? and you watch your world unfold like a movie, with the soundtrack of your life playing over the top, while people laugh and talk and get on about their business, but you can't really hear them, because the music is playing over the top of it all? do you know what i mean? it was like that for a few moments.

i wish i could hold on, moment by moment, to how exquisitely beautiful and precious life is. it's so easy to lose perspective.

and i'm accutely aware that jessica's life and death wasn't about making me appreciate my life more... it feels so small to be focusing on that. but what her life meant, to the extent that those of us who didn't really know her can know it at all, was written in her own words -- eloquently, hopefully, heartbreakingly -- in her own blog, cancer, baby. if you haven't already, go read it now.

my heart just breaks that she never got to have the experience of motherhood. i hope that the bliss and contentment and good fortune i feel in loving my kids is only a shadow of the peace and joy her soul knows now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

girls night in

julie's out tonight -- thursday is choir rehearsal night (she's the music director at church), and tonight she's also chaperoning the prom (!) (she's a high school english teacher). micah was toast by about 7:00, as he's been giving up his naps, so it was an early night for him. so trixie and i cleaned the kitchen and then made popcorn (organic, still on the cob, from my dad's farm in indiana) and watched the first half of little women. i read the book to her last fall/winter (i think we were interrupted when we finally got our hands on the 6th harry potter -- we're snobs, and order the british version from the u.k.), and we both really loved it. at first i didn't -- the first few chapters are fairly trite, with a pat moral lesson clearly spelled out (by marmee, of course) at the end. but the story gets much more thoughtful, and the moral dilemmas and lessons much more complicated. i love that the girls are always struggling against their evil twins, and not always winning -- i think that's what trixie identifies with. i also love the clear message, on the one hand, that girls should not be restricted to the domestic realm, and the equally clear message, on the other hand, that the domestic realm is of high value and worth choosing. rings true for me, on both counts!

anyway, my tender-hearted trixie had to turn off the movie tonight when beth was about to get sick -- she was almost in tears, and made me promise we could skip past the sad parts when we finish. she also reminded me that thursday is her night to sleep with me, and since i'm still sleeping on the nasty old futon in the play room (with plastic under the sheets in case micah has an accident at night -- which has not happened in 4 or 5 nights, knock wood!), she's now sacked out on a pile of throw pillows next to the nasty old futon, in a sleeping bag.

sweet sweet sweet. have i mentioned? it's a good life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

the end of an era

so yeah, we're done with diapers here at the wide tent. i've always been especially aware of and moved by -- perhaps somewhat melodramatically so -- milestones and anniversaries, which no doubt explains why i'm really dwelling on this of late. i'm finding hard to wrap my head around how we got from there to here. for so long, my entire being has been consumed with babies. beginning eleven years ago this summer, when julie and i drove across the country to camp and hike in glacier national park, and packed a thermometer so we could begin charting her cycles.... no, really, it would have been more than that. eleven years ago in february or march we joined a lesbians-who-wanna-be-parents group started by our friends d and m. they were pregnant and expecting j, one of trixie's best friends, who is about to turn 11. (they also have another child, m, are divorced, and both remarried ... a lot can happen in 11 years...). we ran screaming from the group, which totally creeped us out by the weird roles everyone seemed to be into (there was a lot of talk about having separate groups for the "moms" -- i.e. the ones who were going to get pregnant -- and the not-quite-dads-but-not-really-moms. these roles naturally fell along fairly traditional gendered butch/femme roles in the relationships. we were already mixing that all up, since to the extent that we have roles in our relationship -- and we don't really much, but if really pressed, julie would be on the butch end of the spectrum and i would be on the femme -- we weren't paying them much mind, as we had decided for lots of mostly practical reasons that julie would get pregnant first. first! ha! but i digress....) anyway, we took away from that one meeting an enduring friendship with d and m and now their new partners and their amazing kids. and a plan to get pregnant in the next year or so.

and as it happened, things went fairly according to schedule, all things considered. we took that thermometer -- an old fashioned mercury thermometer, which we promptly broke, scattering beads of mercury all over our tent, and a subsequent one as well, purchased somewhere in the dakotas, until we finally got wise and bought a digital one -- on our trip, and that really felt like the beginning. i remember how much on my mind our future child was as we drove across the dakotas, reading to each other from kathleen norris's dakota: a spiritual geography (we even drove through her little town, and in stalker-like fashion looked up her address in a local phone book and drove past her house; i actually regret now that we chickened out in the end and did not ring the bell.) three or four months later we began at-home inseminations with frozen anonymous donor sperm, and six tries (spread over eight months) later, trixie was conceived. then we were in pregnancy mode, then in baby mode, and by the time trixie was two we were starting to think about another.

that's a whole other story, for another post, but the highlights include six at-home tries; a pregnancy conceived on my first clomid cycle with an re, during which cycle i also passed a clomid challenge test; fetal demise, after very encouraging betas and an excellent early ultrasound; a d&c and subsequent testing which revealed no abnormalities; another pregnancy conceived on the subsequent fifth clomid cycle (by which time the clomid was making me c*r*a*z*y and my brain mush, not altogether compatible with my profession as a high-powered attorney in a very complicated, highly regulated, tax-driven field with an extremely steep learning curve....); another fetal demise, and, despite my fervent desire to miscarry on my own, an extremely painful d&c necessitated by the fact that i was about to take a business trip during which i could not really afford to have a miscarriage, in the event that my body should actually decide to oblige me; four weeks of heavy bleeding of the huge clots variety, during a trip to the midwest to visit family; another d&c to retrieve the tissues that had not been retrieved in the last [extremely painful] d&c, and which was causing all the bleeding; extensive testing, none of which revealed any reason for the two miscarriages; and finally, a second clomid challenge test a year after the first, which i failed in a fairly profound way, and which finally gave us some answers. my re said that the fact i had conceived at all was pretty astonishing, but that my chances of actually carrying a pregnancy to term were pretty much zero to none. of course we could have gotten a second opinion. we could have found a clinic willing to work with a woman with a sky-high fsh. we could have done ivf with julie's eggs. but at that point i was so worn out, so longing for a baby -- and perhaps most importantly, so longing to quit my job and be home with the baby i already had, not to mention the next baby that with luck we would somehow bring into our family, that i just couldn't justify the cost. i was making good money, but considering that every cycle would cost the same as a domestic adoption, and that if we weren't successful pretty much right away, i would be stuck in this job that was making me miserable, we decided to go with what had always been our plan for baby #3: domestic adoption.

that's also another story, and really this time i will keep it to a nutshell: one agency told us we would never be chosen because we were a lesbian couple. another agency -- the one we ended up working with -- told us we could expect a baby very very quickly. (another agency told us the same but had some seriously questionable ethical practices). as it turned out, th agency we went with was wrong (although, thankfully, quite ethical), and we waited a year from the completion of our homestudy to bring micah home.

and then we were out of trying-to-get-a-baby mode, and back in having-a-baby mode. but basically, we've been in some sort of planning-for-baby, or being pregnant-with-a-baby, or having-a-baby, or trying-to-have-another-baby, or grieving-about-losing-the-bab(ies), or researching-adopting-a-baby, or waiting-for-a-placement-of-a-baby, or having-another-baby mode for a really long time. and while micah hasn't really been a baby for well over a year now, something about the fact that he's out of diapers really symbolizes that WE'RE DONE WITH BABIES. wow, huh?

and if you think i'm being a drama queen about *this* rite of passage, just wait for the maudlin post you can expect when micah weans!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

micah (the short version)

i need to write about my kids because they are just blowing me away with their amazing selves these days. but i only have a minute here, so i'll just hit micah's highlights:
  • he turned three yesterday (!?).
  • he's playing t-ball in a 3 to 5 year old league (how cute is that?), and can dribble both a basketball (with his hands) and a soccor ball (with his feet).
  • he's the most buff three year old you've ever met. i mean, this kid is solid muscle, with the most yummy tush and 6-pack abs.
  • he's sharp as a tack.
  • and, drumroll please! he's potty trained! beginning last wednesday, we had about three days of on-and-off accidents, and for the past four days, nary a one. totally dry and clean, day and night. how 'bout that? (and that's also the topic of another blog entry, hopefully: the end of an era at the wide tent. our baby days are really and truly over. no more diapers! wow.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

oppose the federal marriage amendment

just received this email from a friend at church:

Dear Friend,

Sign this postcard that will be hand-delivered to your Senatorsand Representatives this summer! Congress is considering the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment and the Senate will vote in June. HRC will hand-deliver these postcards to Senators on June 5. Take action today!