AJ, Ally, Bowen, Brady, Cam, Cate, Dessert, Gigi, Isabel, Jax, Juliana, Megafamily, Phineas, Tess

It’s The Great Pumpkin!

Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to.

Say, Charlie Brown, I’ve got a football…

I got a popcorn ball.  I got a fudge bar.  I got a pack of gum.  I got a rock.  

By the way, whatever happened to the world war I flying ace? Oh, he’s probably getting ready to take off in his Sopwith Camel on the next dawn patrol.

You kept me up all night waiting for the great pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle!

Maybe not only a beagle!

–FullPlateMom, who hopes you all find your Great Pumpkin too!

 

Adoption, Isabel, Jax, Phineas

Spring (Break) Renewal

We spent a quiet, but not uneventful, Spring Break at home.  We had plans to travel to the Motor City for Spring Break, but Isa burst onto the scene, and it is best for her to have some time to get used to our routine at home.

She and Jax both celebrated their birthdays on March 27th.   Jax chose dinner out at a buffet, because what could a pre-teen boy love more than all-you-can-eat pizza?  Isa isn’t really sure how to ask for something special, so we did what we thought she would love and Joe and I practiced some Colombian recipes for her.

I did my very best with empanadas.

We ordered all the Colombian sodas that the kids loved during our time there.  Joe made Colombian rice.

Isa loves pretend play, so we bought her a ‘grocery store’, but named it ‘Isa’s Bodega.’  She has ice cream and lattes for her customers, as well as fruits, veggies and maybe a loaf or two of bread.  

We found out shortly before Isa’s birthday that her heart defect is FAR less complex then her adoption file seemed to indicate.  She has a hole in her heart, but the damage that was done to her lungs by it seems well managed by the medications she was given in Colombia.

Her hips are another story.  What we were told might be Cerebral Palsy (CP) might actually be untreated hip dysplasia.  That makes me sad, but knowing that her heart defect isn’t as severe as we thought is comforting as we move forward figuring out how to fix this.

We celebrated her first Easter with us.  The kids rose super early for an egg hunt.  It was snowing here though, so it was all indoors.

Then there was actual egg dying.  Isa was pretty fascinated by this.

The days here are quiet as the winter rolls out and spring rolls in.  These last, cold days have brought a whole lot of hardship for some other families in our lives.  Our hearts hurt, deeply, for those families, one in particular.  It is so hard to watch other people suffer as we are just enjoying a new life, together, with Isa.  I feel tremendous guilt about what I have, versus what they have now lost.  The quiet is, in part, out of respect for their loss.

We are seeing changes in our careers.  Joe is a Spanish Interpreter.  Recent anti-immigrant sentiment, and mass deportations, are making his job difficult in many, many ways.  A change may need to happen.   My job isn’t easy right now either.  We are a delicate balance here in this house of many.  Uncertainty, when you have this many people depending on you isn’t a good feeling.  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt the weight of quite so much on my shoulders.

I remind myself that we were made for times like these, but that it is still hard to live in these times.  The stress has nothing to do with Isa herself.  I wish that there could be more joy in her arrival and less worry about the future of the family in general.  I can only hope that she doesn’t feel the stress of all of this, that none of the kids do.  I have guilt about that too.  It’s just how I’m built, for guilt.

The quiet is necessary right now.  We are embracing it with new family traditions.  Traditions that we hope provide connection.

In the quiet moments, we worked our way through the first book in the Harry Potter series.  A new wave of children is so excited to read the illustrated version.

Our puppy is now old enough to try the local dog park, although he is still sure he is human, and therefore, has no use for other dogs.  The kids find great joy in his fluffy silliness.

Most of all, we’re just leaning into each other, and figuring out where the new normal will land us, as we travel this road, together.     –FullPlateMom, who is learning to love the quiet.

 

 

AJ, Ally, Being a Transracial Family, Bowen, Brady, Cam, Cate, Dessert, Gigi, Jax, Juliana, Our Full Plate, Phineas, Tess

Thankful For Changes

This year was our first year eating Thanksgiving dinner with just us.  “Just” is relative term when there are 13 people in our immediate family.  On Thanksgiving last year, my extended family decided we were no longer welcome at their holiday celebrations.  By Christmas, it was decided they would no speak to us at all.  It was incredibly painful, more for the kids than for anyone else.  Yes, I was upset, but for me, this had been a long time coming.  It wasn’t for the kids.  So it was a shock to them when family members decided they no longer wanted them in their lives either.

There were questions about it this year.  “Will we be going to…”  “Will we be seeing…”  “Why don’t they like you anymore…”

There are too many of you.  They don’t understand why we live this way.  They don’t support us at all, yet they expect endless support in return.  You’re too Deaf.  Too black.  Too opinionated.  We’re too much for them, and when you’re too much for people, those people aren’t your people.

I do the very best I can to explain that in a way that makes this less about them and all on the other people involved.  They’ve seen extended family rally for us too.  I have cousins left who would walk through fire for us, who are there to celebrate every adoption, to support us through every surgery, and to come to every holiday.

Joe has a mom who drops everything to babysit, who loves our kids enough to learn sign for them.  His aunt and uncle, who have no children themselves, were here yesterday, in our loud, rowdy house, visiting for as long as it was feasible for them.  Before leaving, his aunt took my baby’s face in her hands and said “You are so special, I love you.”  What a blessing she is.

My mom and dad still see them, and celebrate them, at every birthday.  That means a lot to the kids.  Other than that, there isn’t anything more we can ask.  Life changes.  In our house, it changes at a rapid pace.  Sometimes, the changes mean we can’t be everything else other people need us to be.  I have accepted that.  All I can do is move forward.

People come and people go, but this family, right here, is forever.  That is worth fighting for.  So, this year, when it was time to actually sit down to eat, it was “just” us.

–FullPlateMom, who is grateful for us.

Phineas, Tess

Welcome to the Family, Phineas.

We’ve been busy at FullPlate Manor lately.  This is why.

There was endless drama surrounding this little guy’s entry into our family.  But, just like any addition to our home, not that I want to compare the entry of a dog to the entry of a child, but, in this small way it did compare, this wasn’t easy, but it was perfect.

There were so many disappointments, and false starts as we tried to work with service dog organizations, rescues, and finally, we landed with a breeder who has raised many a service/therapy dog.  It is our hope that we will be able to train our little buddy here to help with certain tasks that would make life easier for Gigi.  He does not need to be a service dog, more of a support dog.

Phineas is an 8 week old Mini-Doodle.  He will be 35-40 lbs when he is fully grown.  He currently tips the scales at a whopping 6.7 lbs.

He is patient.

He is kind.

He is so loved.

–FullPlateMom, who couldn’t have asked for a better furry buddy, even if he does pee all over her floors.