Saturday, June 30, 2007

Short term

So, he's a dang cute little boy. But it's gonna be a short term placement. His Raising Arizona family (non relatives from whom he was detained) are out looking for him, and they are not the kind of people you wanna run into at the local Costco if you have "their" little boy. So we're kinda hiding out at home right now. The good news is, they've found his grandma and think she will be an appropriate placement. Probably some time next week.

Friday, June 29, 2007

In for a pound

If Z is the cute little bright shiny penny, then who is a pound?

We don't know yet, but possibly 3-year-old K, who will come stay with us tonight and most likely many many nights thereafter.

K is a boy, African American, and is going to need a lot of discipline and attention.

I can't wait!

No, not mentos

As much as I adore the whole Diet Coke spewing everywhere experiment and all associated Internet videos.


We have agreed to be mentors for Z's bio mom, S. This is because we have faced facts: The reunification is happening, probably in 6 weeks or so. And as much as we want Z to be with us forever, we don't want her to have to go through what she would have to go through for that to happen after she reunifies with S. How do we keep her safe and happy at this point? We help teach S how to be a good mommy and stay clean and sober. So, this we do.

This means S might come stay with us this weekend. Woo, exciting!

More big news to come. I know you're all staring at my blog and hanging on my every word. Go get yourself a snack.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That's it, she's brilliant

Baby Z waves bye-bye with her chubby little paw. She is only 7 months old!

Seriously, so smart!

Be still, my mommy heart!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Time for a cool change?

I substituted in Primary yesterday, in A's class. It was so fun. Mainly because of a darling little girl I really want A to grow up and marry.

This cutie is half white, half Mexican, and she has the exact same coloring as A -- gorgeous tan skin, sparkling light brown hair. The youngest of three children, she is funny and spunky in the extreme. She is always on the move and has the cutest little rubberface -- super expressive. Last fall at the ward picnic she came up behind A and shouted "BOO!" He jumped about 3 feet in the air.

Yesterday, she came up with a couple of real gems.

We were talking about Alma the Younger and what his dad could do when this great big boy who was essentially a grown-up was misbehaving.

She said, "My brother is sixteen, and he still has to put his nose on the wall!"

Then, later, when we were drawing pictures, she came up and whispered very confidentially, "Everyone in my family has their own deodorant. Even me."

So, is it time for me to get out of Young Women?

Friday, June 22, 2007

With a twist

Remember when every TV show and movie was advertised as having "a twist"? Yeah, I hated that. I tend to prefer a straight course. Plus if you know a twist is coming you can drive yourself nuts trying to figure out what is going to be.

But life is twisty lately. Here's the latest.

I talked with S (Z's bio mom) on the phone last night. She had a legit reason to call - there is all kinds of mixup about Z's birth certificate and SS card and basically to get either of those we need her shot record, and nobody will take photocopies. So I have to take her the real thing (don't worry, I will make a photocopy first so the doc's office can make a new record if needed).

Anyway, S said she is looking for a church. Before I knew what was coming out of my mouth I invited her to church with us, and she said okay. I think I am crazy for doing this in some ways (totally inviting her into our world) and yet I think it was the right thing to do. Plus it will save me from the misery of church without Z which was so sad last week.

This whole thing is going in a direction I never expected. It seems like I am becoming S's support system in some ways, and as much as it is not what I ever wanted to do I feel like it is the right thing for me to do. I feel like I am being swept away by it to some extent, yet not really scared or upset. It is so weird.

Ana learns again: It's not all about me and what I want. Bummer.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Brain unload

The blog is sort of becoming my pensieve. It's useful. I absolutely cannot keep all this stuff in m brain.
  1. The boys need haircuts, super bad.
  2. I need to get the alignment fixed on my van.
  3. Also the stereo.
  4. Need to reschedule appointment for childcare subsidy for Z.
  5. Prepare Primary lesson for Sunday I'm subbing in A's class.
  6. Prepare lesson for Cub Scout Day Camp next week. I can't believe I'm taking a day off work for this. Basically what it proves is that I cain't say no. Can I get an Oklahoma hello for that? G? Anyone?
  7. G says he will freak out if I forget his aftershave and shaving cream at the grocery store this weekend. Remember this. G freaking out is not good. Sometimes I wonder if he has a Target phobia. I mean, really.
  8. I need to see a dentist. It's been a while.
  9. Have to schedule a home visit with the county social worker before the end of June.
  10. Have to start the process to get permission to take Z to Alaska in August.
  11. Have to figure out whether we are going to Arizona in July. Are we dumb? No, just wanna be supportive of yet another family wedding.
  12. Must convince family members to space out their weddings. I am running extremely low on vacation time.
  13. I need to start my not-gonna-sink plan of exercise and scripture study, because I think hard stuff is coming.
Now I'm gonna go start my list of things I have to do for my paying job today. It will be at least as long and intimidating. Joy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sharing the truth

That's right, I've just had a missionary experience.

I've e-mailed a Snopes link to my bishop's wife, e-mail forwarder extraordinaire.

Turns out they actually do still teach about the Holocaust in history classes in the UK. Somehow I suspected as much.

I do really appreciate it that there are people out there checking on all the wild rumors that circulate on the Internet. I just hope that certain people who do a lot of forwarding will feel the same way and not be offended that I didn't take them at their forwarded word. And that maybe next time they will make a little foray onto Snopes themselves before they press Send.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

501 food

I just noticed that yesterday's dismal self-knockery was my 500th post on Watch Out for Mama. Hurray! Hurray!

In honor of post #501, here is something you would be just silly not to try.

Salmon and veggies en papillote

1 large salmon fillet
salt and pepper
several large, fresh basil leaves
olive oil

About 1 lb veggies of your choice -- try baby pattypan squash or baby carrots, or both

Tear off two large squares of aluminum foil. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on each one and rub it all over.

Heat your grill to medium, creating an indirect heating area by leaving one burner off (or, if your grill has an upper rack, you can just use that).

Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Salt and pepper. Wrap it up in basil leaves. They will stick right to the fish.

Place the fish on one square of foil, kind of on one side. Fold it over and then fold up the edges to create a little envelope.

Do the same thing with the veggies, seasoning them with salt and pepper before you fold up your envelope.

Put both envelopes on the grill. Turn halfway through cooking.

I will be really honest with you and say I did not time this recipe. It seems to be hard to overcook the fish this way because the moisture is sealed in the packet. 5-6 minutes on each side seems sufficient.

I worried about overcooking the squash, but they actually kept their shape and just acquired a kind of melt-in-your mouth buttery quality that was delicious.

I have also cooked this without the basil on the salmon, and just topped it with some fresh, homemade pesto once it came off the grill.

It's summer! Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Belated day

Yesterday I was more or less too wrapped up in my own misery to be much good to anyone.

Can I do Father's Day over?

I did manage breakfast in bed (sort of) for G -- although he was already up and shaving by the time I got it done. Graciously, he got back in bed to eat his french toast and cantaloupe. And I did make a good dinner. And pie.

But I didn't even get a card or a letter done.

And I didn't call my dad.

What a loser!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Church without Z about did me in. Tons of people our age were there visiting for Father's Day (our ward is normally mostly people my parents' age). Between all of their cute babies and all the family-oriented hymns for FD, it was hard, hard. I have not had a sacrament meeting that hard since before we had S when Mother's Day used to send me sobbing to the ladies' room. Today I wanted to leave after sacrament meeting, but G talked me into staying for Sunday school. Then I ran away and came home for a good cry all by myself!

It's funny because I was honestly okay with the visit all day yesterday, even though all day I kept thinking, "where's the baby?" We were up at Sally's all day and that helped distract me, I think. (You should see my cute red pedicure with daisies!) But then at night I had a hard time and at church today it was bad.

She will be back tonight ... it can't come soon enough for me!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hat in the ring

Finally, a candidate I can support wholeheartedly.

Dr. G-to-be passed his qualifying exams today.

We officially have Ph.D. candidate in the house!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Flutter, flutter

Tomorrow I go into court for Z for the first time. I didn't even know I could ask to attend previous hearings. So this is all new.

It's an interim hearing, and we expect that they will order weekend visits. I sure hope they don't start this weekend. Can you imagine anything to ruin G's Father's Day any worse? He loves that baby girl so much. And I believe to my core that she needs a good, loving, stable daddy. It breaks my heart to think there's a chance she could be denied that in her life when he adores her so.

Back to the hearing: I am feeling like any word I say tomorrow could be the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wing. I'm gonna be praying extra hard tonight that I can choose my words correctly and not create any undesired implications.

Last night I had the unbidden thought that maybe the best way for us to have Z in our family permanently is to let the system work, let S have her chance, and be ready to get Z back if or when S can't make it work. A prompting? That, I have to figure out.

Any prayers, good energy, or whatever you've got to send my way would be most welcome. It is a strange feeling, being where I am right now.

A long overdue book post

Sometimes I think my book posts are like a five-year-old gossip magazine. I can't tell most people anything they don't already know. I really am late to a lot of parties.

Last night I finished the second book in Margaret Young and Darius Gray's Standing on the Promises series, "Bound for Canaan." This is a book that I meant to read forever. I read the first one as soon as it came out and gave copies away as gifts.

Specifically, I remember getting one for the family who scooped me up at church in Raleigh with a newly-placed, five-day-old baby A in my arms and found me places to stay within their ward for 11 whole days while I waited for interstate compact papers to clear. They had several adopted African American children. They were awesome and deserved a whole lot more than a book, but it was the best I could do.

And then, you know, I had two little kids and not a lot of reading got done for a very long time.

Not that I have more time now, but at least I can usually be reasonably sure that nothing really horrible is happening while I neglect the children -- nothing beyond too many videogames or a nine-hour Pink Panther marathon, that is.

Back to the matter at hand. Can you see why I am late to everything? No focus, I tell you.

This was a hard book, and a wonderful book. It documents the beginnings of the policy that prevented Black members of the LDS church from holding the priesthood, and how that affected individual lives of those members at that time.

It also resoundingly affirms those members' determined faith and provided a great deal of insight for me. By the end, I was all teary and at the same time trying to figure out how I can get another baby boy so I can name him after the absolutely amazing Elijah Abel. (Honestly, if I had as many children as I have cool names for them I would be in serious bad trouble!)

I'm trying to figure out when my kids will be ready for these books. I am so grateful to have them. I really hope they will help my boys understand the way they have helped me. The careful documentation gives them so much credibility, and I know my fact-focused S will really appreciate that someday. ("My stories have to be real," he said to me once.)

Thumbs up from the latecomer's corner.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Visiting daddy

I remember when I was at BYU, seeing little families having lunch or dinner together on campus. I assumed that usually it was mom and kiddos coming to see daddy mid-day. It was sweet.

Now I realize that it was probably the only chance to see daddy for families of grad students and young professors.

We did our first on-campus daddy visit last night. It is vastly more complicated when mommy also works on campus, of course. But worth it, I think.

I picked up the kids at 5 (Z) and 5:15 (S and A) and motored home to make some dinner. About 6:15, G called to see if we wanted to come up to campus and eat with him. Fortunately I was making a very lovely salad that turned out to pack well. So I put it all together, cut up some watermelon, packed crackers for the boys and formula for Z, and off we went. (Well, after I gave $6 to a guy who knocked on my door looking for money so he and his little daughter could stay in a motel. That was very weird and something that would never normally happen in my neighborhood. I really think the guy was honest, though. So sad.)

I felt a little trudgey as we drove onto campus -- after all, it is just going back to work for me. But the kids were excited, of course. And when we got out of the car the breeze was so lovely and the light so gorgeous, it seemed like a different place.

We sat on the very lush grass of the quad and ate. The boys rode a skateboard and ran an obstacle course around all the baby Chinese pistache trees and their supporting stakes. Z discovered she does not at all enjoy the feeling of grass between her toes. Ah, well, she'll learn.

We told the boys about when we were newlyweds at BYU and all the cheap and free things we used to do on or near campus -- International Cinema, riding our bikes around at night very fast and dangerously, Rock Canyon hikes, weekly (!) temple dates. I am amazed that we went every week. How lucky we were.

We talked about S's baptism coming up in August. We called Grandma and Grandpa in Utah and invited them. I think they might come -- how cool! We decided on brownies and lemon bars for refreshments. S is hoping he can be baptized in the river up at Briceburg. I hope it will be okayed, and I hope the river has enough water for it in this very dry year. I think it would rock!

It ended up being a pretty cool family-not-at-home-evening.

Here's the salad recipe.

Lemon-Basil Couscous Salad

2 c cooked whole wheat couscous
1 head cauliflower, cut up and steamed until tender (I used the pretty green kind)
1 yellow bell pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 c cooked garbanzo beans (just open a can!)
1/4 c pine nuts
1/3 c good olive oil (seems like a lot but it makes a lot of servings so it's not so bad)
juice and zest from 1 large lemon
1 c fresh basil leaves, chopped

Just mix it all together. Easy cheesy, pretty, colorful, and makes a great picnic! I'm guessing this could serve 6 for a main course with some fruit on the side.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pick of the litter

Litter meaning garbage ... just some random thoughts to spew before I get my Monday going:
  • It's the week of G's qualifying exams. They are Friday. I expect not to see him much between now and then. How is the house going to stay clean? We are just going to have to be gone all the time, I think. Swimming pool, McDonald's, park, library ... what else can I do to keep the little messmakers away from the TV, the computer, the back yard and their own bedroom?
  • Speaking of housekeeping, I worked my butt off all day Saturday and the house still looked the same. G came home and had it sparkling within an hour. How is it done? (Actually, I know. I spend a lot of time sorting and organizing. G confessed that he just puts things in piles, confident that I'll fix it later. Which I do. So I guess we complement each other.)
  • Speaking of my detail cleaning work, A got a super cool birthday present from my parents. It is the Crayola washable paint sprayer. Really fun. The problem was that Sam liked the idea of painting the driveway so much that he thought he would continue the fun with some acrylic paints. Namely, the sparkly blue, peach and yellow paints from the tutu project. I scrubbed a long time on Saturday with a wire brush and got most of it off, but we still have a slightly sparkly driveway.
  • I have six, count 'em, six, volunteer tomato plants! I am hoping they are yellow pears. Seems likely since that was the plant that was completely bonkers last year. Guess we'll see. And it's looking like the Roma plant is gonna be the big producer this year. She's doing great.
  • Z is freaking cuter every day. She gets peek-a-boo now. Pulls the sheet down from her face and laughs and laughs. Also, she has six teeth!
  • Just as S was exiting the bad-word-fascination phase, A seems to have entered it. To wit: "Mom did you know that sometimes bad words are in words? Like password?"
  • It is such a gorgeous morning, and I had such a cute purse and comfy sandals, that I thought I would park in the faraway parking lot and walk up the hill to my office. This turned out to be not such a hot idea because of two things: (1) wrap dress, and (2) wind. Having to hold onto your skirt really dampens the carefree effect of the adorable red straw purse.

Friday, June 08, 2007

In fact

I am about to go over to the courthouse to turn in my application for de facto parent status for baby Z.

Basically all this does is give me the right to attend all hearings and speak in court. And get a lawyer. Which I think I can do without much cost because we have legal insurance. Woot for my benefits through my job! They are excellent!

It is supposed to be basically a given that this is granted, considering that we have had full-time care of Z for 6 months now. So that will mean I tell the judge that I believe the current reunification plan is not in Z's best interest, rather than just complaining to the social workers whose goal is reunification. And I can have an attorney look into what I believe are some irregularities in the case.

I'm hoping this can be granted before the next interim hearing on June 14. Supposedly they are going to start weekend visits for Z with bio mom S in her inpatient facility at that time. All kinds of crazy, ain't it? Babies in rehab.

I learned about the de facto parent option from the mom of one of A's friends. She is a social worker in the county just to the north of us -- coincidentally, the county where bio mom S's "rehab" facility. Interestingly, this social worker friend says it is not an actual rehab facility. The child and family services agency in that county won't even work with them. Interesting.

Anyway, I know this guarantees nothing about the outcome of the case. But it is a tremendous relief to me that there is an option for me to make my voice heard -- that I don't have to just stand by essentially as an employee of an agency whose goals for this case I don't agree with.

The downside: When I do pipe up in court, I know it is going to hurt S. A lot. I don't know how to frame it so that it will seem like anything but a betrayal to her. And that sucks. Because I do like her and hope for the best for her. But I think the reunification plan is premature. She has got to get out and prove her ability to live clean in the real world before I will believe she can do a good job mothering again.

Because, let's get real. We're talking about meth. We're talking about something like a 4-5% addiction recovery rate. Depending on who you ask and how long you expect them to stay clean, sure, that can go up. I've heard numbers as high as 50%. Still.

That is just not good enough for "my" baby.

[Okay, trolls and meanies, go to town. I'm feelin' mean. Bring it on.]

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Enough with the sad

Here are some funnies.

After bedtime last night:
A: Mom, S said "F-you" to me!
S: That means "Fank you!"

Earlier today:
A: Daddy, why doesn't my friend H's daddy go to church?
G: Some people don't choose to go to church. When I was your age, my dad didn't go to church.
A: Maybe that's why he's so naughty!

(He is!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Today I so intended to focus on work and get back to normal as much as possible. I am just having a really hard time. And a lot of it is about stuff not related to my friend who passed away this week. Stuff that I was coping with okay before. It just seems like that has put so much sad into my emotional cup that everything else is spilling out.

Crying at work, never a good thing. Trying really hard to rein it in right now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

No rug

It's pulled out from under me today and I'm sort of flat on my back on a very hard floor.

I have a group of Internet friends. I know how nerdy this is; whatever. The thing is that we have known each other so long they are really just my friends now.

We lost one last night. She'd been depressed, hospitalized, released mistakenly before she took her life. She left three amazingly gorgeous, much-longed-for children and a very wonderful husband. It is so wrong, so wrong, so wrong.

I've met most of the girls G calls my "imaginary friends." Not this one; she lived in Australia. But I've walked with her through infertility and friendship and humor and sadness. She loved her family. She was so funny. She had the guts to shave her head for a good cause.

I sent her a little package when she was in the hospital. It seems so pathetic now, so ineffectual.

I didn't know, until now, I could mourn a friend I've never seen.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Group read

Our Young Women are reading the Book of Mormon together this summer. We are going to finish the whole thing before school starts.

Each girl (and each participating leader) got a new copy of the book, a journal, a cute little book bag, a red pencil and a chart to track her reading along with a letter from all the leaders challenging her to read the Book of Mormon beginning to end before school starts.

At the end of the summer we will have an outdoor testimony meeting out at the lake and share our experiences. But I don't really want to wait that long.

I am loving this so far. I'm a little behind (when is that ever not true for me?) but I am reading and finding new things to think about and feeling the Spirit more in my life. God has things to say to me and to give me, and all I have to do is just open the door a little tiny crack. I take one little step and I get these gigantic rewards. I am so grateful.

Anybody wanna join? It's not too late!