Friday, June 30, 2006

AT LONG LAST...WE HAVE SOUND!!!

The Quarrel by Maxine Kumin (excerpt recited by Saia & Chago)
The Quarrel by Maxine Kumin
(as recited by Saia & Chago)

Click play below to have a listen
The Tyger by William Blake (excerpt recited by Saia)
The Tyger by William Blake
(as recited by Saia)

Click play below to have a listen

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

FIVE NOT-SO-EASY QUESTIONS

THE INTERVIEW

Kiles from She Means the World to Me:
  1. How did you meet your partner?
  2. In a strip club. She was the bouncer. I was a dancer. Oh, no, that was Flashdance.

    Amy and I were introduced 8 1/2 years ago by her best friend, my sister-in-law, while I was visiting my family in Texas from Massachusetts where I was going to school. She professed her love to me after just 5 days; although I'll admit I wasn't ready for another relationship at the time -- not that that actually meant anything to anyone -- least of all me. We spoke on the phone incessantly -- a real phone, a land line, if you can imagine that -- day and night, racking up hundreds of dollars in phone bills and prepaid calling cards. We sent...um...suggestive pager messages (that's right, I said 'pager' - you just try, I double-dog dare you, to make even three words out of the inverted numbers 0-9; and no, one of them can't be h-e-double hockey sticks!). We wrote (with a pen and ink and stamps and everything) love letters every single day, and made each other mixed tapes like we had stock in Sony. She came to visit me a month later for Valentine's Day with my initials and lips tattooed over her left breast in the exact shade I'd used to seal my letters every day since the moment we met. I flew down to see her a month later for Spring Break. She bought a one-way ticket a month after that, and we drove across 6 states down to Texas to our very first apartment together.
  3. Name just one thing (of many things I am sure) which makes your heart melt that Saia and Chago do?
  4. Chago cups my face with his hands to plant the cutest little pucker on my lips. It just kills me everytime.

    Saia gives the biggest and strongest hugs right around the neck with my face completely buried in her curls and my larynx on the verge of splintering -- almost always when I least expect it -- and often when I most need it.
  5. What is your most favorite characteristic about yourself?
  6. That I'm still and always the eternal optimist.
  7. If a movie could be made about your family who would you want play yourself and your partner?
  8. You mean we're not being filmed? Then who's the guy in the bushes with the camera?
  9. If you could only eat one kind of food for the next month day in and day out what would it be?
  10. Five-star red curry with chicken. Granted, I'd be spewing blood by breakfast on day 4, but I'd be happy happy happy!!!
THE RULES
  • If you wanna play, too, leave me a comment saying "INTERVIEW ME, WOMAN!" The first three commenters will be the participants. You don't have to be gay. You don't have to be a parent. But you do have to have a blog/website that you can post to.
  • I'll respond by asking you five original questions.
  • You'll update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
  • You'll include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you'll ask them five new questions.
THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Thanks for the interview, Kiles. I feel all warm and fuzzy now. :)

THE ENTICEMENT

Ya wanna???

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TUESDAY'S TODDLER PERSPECTIVES

CHAGO

Amy and I are chatting over lunch on Sunday when we overhear Chago saying something about tattoos.

"Are you gonna get a tattoo when you get older, son?" Mommy asks.

"Yes," he says resolutely.

"Where?" she continues, seeing that he's eyeing the Cleo tattoo on her right arm.

"I'm going to get a tattoo on my shoulder that says 'I Love My Saia'."

[All together now...awwwwww.]

SAIA

On the way into work this morning, pulling up anxiously to a faulty intersection light where everyone must now put their driving skills test into action, put down their coffee, bagel, cellphone, lipstick, and ipod [oh, wait, that's just me], and pay at least minimal attention to who arrived first at the light.

The idiot in the Ford F-150, however, who inarguably pulled up WELL after I did, decides to try to get an early start just as I'm pulling into the intersection. Because I happen to be a safe driver [yes, I am, Amy!!!], I slow down to let the illegal intersection interjector do his thing.

Then I slam on my horn (the one thing about the Durango that I just love), he gives me an FU look, and we both continue on our merry way.

"Why did you honk the horn, Mama?" asks Saia.

[Oh. Perfect opportunity for a lesson in geometry AND etiquette all in one shot!!!]

"Well," I begin, "when we got to the intersection, which is two perpendicular roads shaped like a little 't' like this [I cross my hands], the stoplight wasn't working so everyone has to take turns going through, but the big white truck didn't want to wait his turn, so Mama honked her horn to...um...remind him."

"Hmm..." she says.

"Do you understand, honey?"

"Yes," she says a little warily, "the other cars talk, but yours yells."

Monday, June 26, 2006

THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLY CLUB

Another beautiful weekend in the Bay Area. And yet another birthday party to attend.

Boy, are their dance cards filling up this summer.


Click on any photo
to enlarge
and/or print.

The highlight, as always, was the bouncy house, but I'll be the first to admit that she looks a little...well...One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest here:


If you can't see the video above, click here.

But man, did they ever nap well.

Bring on the next birthday, baby!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

ODE TO A BOOK OF POEMS

If you ever happen to glance over to the sidebar, you'll see a spot somewhere in the middle highlighting the kids' favorite books. This month, it's Poetry Speaks to Children by Elise Paschen.

I came across it one day as I was browsing through Amazon, thought it sounded kinda cool and ordered one for a birthday gift and one for ourselves. Well, that was just about the best thing I've done since potty training, wouldn't ya know!

They just adore this book, and what's more...it comes with a CD, too!!! They've listened to that thing non-stop for two weeks straight now.

But it's wonderful, and not at all annoying [well, okay, some of the poems we all vote to skip over 'cause they're just unbelievably boring, but the rest are really great].

But they're poems by authors the likes of William Blake and Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash. Poems I remember having to memorize in high school and interpret in college. And in some instances, it's even the actual author of the poems who's narrating. And it's just fascinating to see how the kids have reacted to this.

I mean, go ahead and roll your eyes. I know most folks don't give two sh*ts about poetry, but it's just a different form of story telling. It's grown up nursery rhymes and fairy tales. It's condensed adventures and experiences in memorable snippets with musical footprints. And I'm just head over heels in love with the fact that the kids are actually memorizing them, and asking me to help them interpret what's going on, and what does "hither and thither" mean, and "symmetry" and "gyre"? They're painting pictures in their heads of the words they hear, and you can almost see their imaginative world expanding.

Anyway...I'm beyond gushing, I know. But if you want to try something new, we highly recommend this book/CD combo. For any age group. You truly won't be disappointed. And honestly, how many more times can you really listen to "The Wheels on the Bus" before you literally go insane right there at the stoplight?

Click here or on any of the pics above to order your very own copy right this very minute!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

WATER BABIES

Nice sunny weekend. Car washing in the morning. Sprinklers at noon. New pool after nap. Bar-b-que. Jello. And very tall Grey Goose-cran-tonics.

Oh, that Monday would never come.

Monday, June 19, 2006

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!

We miss you and love you very much, Grandpa Donnie and Grandpa Juan.
Come see us soon!!!
Love,
Saia & Chago

Saturday, June 17, 2006

ADVENTURES IN WAREHOUSING

At the much anticipated close of a very long "Hell Week" for Mommy, she took us in for a tour of the new and improved warehouse this afternoon. Well, the warehouse itself hasn't changed, but man, is it ever busting at the seams with product now. She did such an amazing job -- and in most cases, singlehandedly, and I really wish we had some "before" shots so you could compare 'cause we're just so unbelievably proud of her. This project, with all its million moving parts, was so carefully choreographed and orchestrated that it actually did come off without a hitch. It was truly an impressive sight to behold, but the kids -- well, they couldn't really care less about the 100+ hours Mommy put in this past week; they just loved being able to run around in the huge enclosed (and surprisingly clean) space and climb all over Mommy's brand new equipment.


If you can't see the video above, click here.

CONGRATULATIONS, MOMMY!! GREAT JOB!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUNT ANNIE!!!

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
You look like a monkey
And you smell like one, too!
We love and miss you very much!!
Saia & Chago

FRIDAY'S TODDLER PERSPECTIVES

THE TIDE IS (not) HIGH

"Mama, why is the water torn?" asks Saia as we come over the bridge on the way to school yesterday morning.

"Torn? What do you mean, baby?" I ask as I scan the bay for clues.

"Right there," she says, almost teary eyed as she points to the tidal shelf. "It's broken in two."


THE BUTT OF THEIR JOKES (sorry, no photos available)

#1

Standing up from the potty and pulling up my skirt with my totally retro chainlink belt dangling dangerously down my...um...lower back regions when Saia screams out, "Mama!! Be careful!!! You've got a leash up your butt!"

#2

Totally different day. Less than half dressed, brushing my teeth, Chago on the potty.

"Mama, are you going to work like that?" he asks very disapprovingly.

"Well, no, son. Do I ever go to work naked?"

"No, because everyone would want to touch your butt."

[Well, I don't know about all that, but hey, I'll take all the compliments I can get these days!]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

BLANCA NIEVE

Not quite the Snow White that I grew up with, but hey...it's definitely acculturation at its finest.


If you can't see the video above, click here.

Thanks for the tip, Aunt Annie!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

CHEESY, CHEESY, CHEESY

So, today is wear your Trike-a-thon T-shirt Day. And thanks to all of your very generous contributions, the kids received these beautifully tailored shirts, two very large backpacks, and two teddy bear hand puppets for collecting the most donations in the entire school for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital!!!

I asked them how they wanted to express their gratitude to you, and this is what you got -- cheeseball city, I know, but hey, they really meant it!

Thanks again, everybody!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

HIS MOMMY'S MINI-ME

"Santiago, do you want to go to Nana's birthday party this afternoon?" I ask as we're all lazily curled up in bed together on Saturday morning.

"I'd rather not," he replies. "But I will."

Ugh. He is JUST like his Mommy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

TIGGER X 2

Beautiful weekend in the Bay Area. A little breezy, but still really really nice. Once we got our household chores done...
If you can't see the video above, click here.

If you can't see the video above, click here.
We were able to spend lots of time outdoors...
(ps - Mom, these are some of the clothes you sent)

If you can't see the video above, click here.

We also picked up a new pool with a spitting giraffe at Tar-jay on Sunday, so the kids are on their best* behavior this week (yes, I know it's only Monday) and hoping for sunshine on Saturday.
*please note that "best" is a relative term and a completely moving target that is utterly dependent upon how hectic the week is for Mama and Mommy, how much time we've spent in traffic, how much dinner gets eaten before it gets flung onto the floor, and how many times they can schmooze me with apologies and kisses before I begin resorting to time-outs

Thursday, June 08, 2006

SAIA, SAIA, BO-BAIA...

The cutest thing happened to us while at the airport waiting to collect our rental car this past weekend. A woman with twin boys was waiting in line behind us and the kids all began to play together -- her boys carefully pulling individual cars from their fanny packs and our kids spreading mass chaos all over the floor as they proceeded to completely empty out their backpacks onto the shiny checkerboard linoleum tiles.

Come to find out...the boys are also 3 years old. And not only that, they're less than a month older than our kiddos (although Saia & Chago looked like Amazon spawn standing next to her petite little things).

And then...and this is where it gets good...we find out that one of her boys is named "Saia". Yes, Saia! Can you believe that? Only it's pronounced "Sai-ay". But alas, the similarities ended there. She did not, in fact, get it off the side of a freight truck, and was a little more than amused to learn that I did, and won't that be funny [ha, ha] when she's 10 and you're trying to explain...

Yeah, I know, I know. Already been thinking about that, honey. Thanks for the reminder.

But what a very cool coinkydink, huh?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS, UNCLE TREVOR!!!

Well, we're back! We just made the quickest turnaround trip known to man (okay, slight exaggeration), but when you've got two 3-year olds in tow, everything tends to feel like you're building a pyramid from sand.

For the most part, though, they did pretty well on the plane. We didn't even have to buy drinks for any of the passengers sitting within earshot this time either. Although, we should note that United cleverly assigned us THE VERY LAST ROW on each and every leg of the trip, so, really, when you're competing with the much overused and rarely maintained bathrooms for most annyoing aspect of your flight, hey...we were EASILY second this time around.

Made it to our "hotel" (yeah, okay) just fine and settled in for a less than comfortable night. [I won't go into the details here of the review I'll be writing on TripAdvisor.com, but the best thing I can say about our stay was that the raucous flock of traveling grannies from Macedonia that we met over breakfast the next morning were at least learning to two-step to some pretty decent country music from what we could hear blasting through our windows from across the courtyard (read: weed-laden patch of grass between two beige-colored institutional buildings)].

ANYway...the kids played with their aunt and uncles all day on Sunday. We made it to graduation right on time (yes, we did, Mommy!!!). No one melted down even once during the entire program, although I thought Amy was gonna lose it when I busted out a bag of blueberries for the kids to munch on. I was't thinking, okay? I mean, certainly not about their brand new graduation outfits or them potentially touching any number of random Pennsylvanians also in their brand new graduation outfits with blueberry stained hands. I was just trying to keep the tantrums at bay. Thank you, once again, oh sweet blessed goldfish, saviors of all that is good and holy. Bellies appeased, blood pressure normalized, cotton untarnished. Mama not in dog house.

Back at the ranch...Johnny and Megan kept giving the kids more and more things to take home. We somehow managed to escape without Grandpa Juan giving the kids a single piece of candy or Grandma Becky's chocolate cookies. We got Grandma Becky all set up with her first blog. (You can check it out by clicking HERE.) And, guess what, the kids even took a nap!!! In separate rooms. By themselves. And Megan's the one who put them down!!!

Overall, I'd say we had a really great visit. It was wonderful to see everyone again, and especially to see them all with the twins. You can check out the rest of the pictures by clicking HERE. I have one litte video of Grandpa Juan pulling the kids in the sled, but didn't finish uploading it last night, so check back tomorrow and it should be right HERE.

And many many congratulations to Trevor. We wish you the very best of luck and know that you'll succeed at whatever it is you decide to do. You're smarter than you give yourself credit for, and stronger than you know. You've grown into a pretty amazing man, despite the odds, and we have every confidence that you'll continue to be every ounce of the wonderful human being you've always been -- regardless of the path or partner or position you choose.

We're behind you 150%, buddy. No matter what.

But by God if you don't get your ass into college ASAP, Mister, we're gonna have to strip you naked, tar and feather you, and hang you in the public square by your toenails until the vultures chew all your very special parts and pieces away, do you hear me?!?!?!

Friday, June 02, 2006

MAMA, DON'T PUSH ME!!!

Watering The Baby Roses
As I'm getting dressed this morning, she comes into my room rubbing her belly and making a pained face.

"Mama?"

"Yes, Beauty?" I ask while quickly applying my mascara. [Yes, we're running late -- AGAIN!]

"Mama, don't push me," she says.

[WHA?!@#$%] I spin around and smear my new Ulta Waterproof Blacker Than Black across my right temple.

"Push you?" I ask incredulously. "When did I push you?"

"Just don't push me anymore," she says a little more resolutely while rubbing her protruding belly, having just stuffed herself full to the brim with grapes and a whole banana in under 15 minutes.

"Saia, I don't push you, baby," I explain. "Do I?" [fumbling unsuccessfully through my mental rolodex trying to figure out to what she could be mistakenly referring]

"Yes, Mama, you do," she says. And says nothing more. And I'm sitting there - aghast - thinking Oh my god, how many people has she told this to? What the hell is she talking about? And is DFS gonna be waiting for me at her school this morning?

"When, baby? When has Mama pushed you? Do you remember?" I gently prod, not wanting to scare her into silence.

"All the time," she begins, and my jaw drops. "When you put me in my carseat and you buckle the buckle on the seatbelt you always push my belly down so you can make it tighter because if we have an accident I might fly out the window but it's not a wee-wee accident it's a different kind of accident where one car hits another car but not with their hands because cars don't have hands so they don't go in timeout..."

[and I'm just staring at her in disbelief, and, of course, wondering where the hell this is going]

"And?" I a little too impatiently prompt.

"...AND," she continues in a much louder voice because she hates hates hates to be interrupted, "and my belly is sooooooo full today, if you push me I'll throw up."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

BLOGGING FOR LGBT FAMILIES DAY

Almost forgot that today was Blogging for LGBT Families Day. So, thanks Gandksmom for reminding me.

And here we go...

Although this is already pretty obviously an LGBT family blog, I mostly focus on the day-to-day trials and tribulations of raising 3-year old twins with my partner of almost 8 1/2 years and our two dogs.

So today, I thought I'd share a little something with you that most of you may not know.

Shortly after having the kids, we contacted an attorney to find out what we needed to do to make Amy their other legal mother. Tons of paperwork, a visit with a social worker, one happy day in court, and a couple thousand dollars later, she became legally reconized as their mother in the state of Washington.

And I remember thinking at the time how scary it all was. How at any point, it could all fall apart and someone could just say 'no' and that would be it. Amy would never have been their mother -- legally. If something ever happened to me, they would be taken away from her. Let me say that again -- they would be taken away from her. Away from the only other parent they've ever known and loved. Away from the only home they've ever had. Away from the only place they've ever felt safe and secure. And our family would be destroyed.

And, of course, I realize how lucky we were to have lived in a state where 2nd parent adoptions were legal (well, in Seattle anyway); where LGBT attorneys were plentiful; where open-minded family-conscious social workers were readily available to walk you through the process and remind you how amazing it was that you were doing this when you step back and think about all the people, single or otherwise, that have children and don't care about them -- don't want to support them -- don't want to even claim them sometimes -- and even abandon them to a complete stranger, the elements, or worse.

And here we were...choosing to do this. Choosing these children every step of the way. Painstakingly choosing their donor. Painfully choosing to endure the shots, the invasive procedures, the skepticism of our family and friends, the absence of support from our own country, our own government. Choosing to be their mothers more than anything else in the world, regardless of the expense, the uphill battles, the legal hoops we had to jump through. We chose then and continue to choose their lives every day since then.

So, I guess today I'd like to raise my glass to the Choose Lifers because, like it or not, folks, I choose life, too.

X-posted at my other blog...

LET'S GO FLY A KITE!

Kite Days
Mark Sawyer

A kite, a sky, and a good firm breeze,
And acres of ground away from trees,
And one hundred yards of clean, strong string -
O boy, o boy! I call that spring!

Click here if you can't see the video above.

Click here if you can't see the video above.