May 31, 2010


I love to garden. I discovered gardening a few years ago when we were still living in a north-facing high-rise where we could barely grow shade plants on our balcony. My husband mentioned to me that a friend of his was going to be joining a community garden and did we want to join as well. I knew nothing of gardening but I do love the Farmer's Market and cooking so figured I'd give it a go.

Our community garden was about a mile from our house as they are fairly popular and it was the only one we could get in to. Coincidentally, or not so much, we were given a plot that was literally a weedy field. Joel went to great lengths tilling and prepping the soil, adding organic matter and breaking up the clay. We sowed our seeds and watched the plants begin to emerge. I was completely hooked.

This was the same time that we were on the tail-end of fertility treatments and were beginning to explore adoption. With no control over my own ornery and stubborn fertility it was nice to be able to have a small hand in creating and producing something.

It was an extremely therapeutic hobby. I loved quiet mornings by myself in the garden weeding and monitoring the progress of our food. We grew lettuce, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, broccoli and a lot of herbs. I decided that gardening was the perfect hobby for me. We stayed in the community garden for a couple of years. There were high and low points of being a in a community garden. There was a lot of theft of vegetables, vandalism and water would arbitrarily be turned off. This wasn't the best experience for someone projecting their fertility onto a plot of land.

Last year when we bought our house, we still had a large plot in the community garden and the owners of the home we bought had planted a small garden with squash, eggplant, tomatoes, kale and lettuce. We had two gardens and it was heavenly.

This year we are focusing on the garden in our own backyard and freeing our space in the community garden for someone else. Joel spent last weekend preparing raised bed boxes and we've been growing our seedlings since February. Nora, still a bit sleepy from being sick, took a two hour nap and we were able to plant most of the garden. It was such a great experience for Joel and I to have time together and to know that we won't be making runs to the grocery store for produce all summer. I've already begun to harvest the lettuce and peas that I planted in March and the Swiss chard isn't too far behind. I'm so excited to have our own garden right outside our back door this year and I can't wait to share my love of gardening, cooking, food and eating with Nora.

Meetings and Sickness

It's been a crazy week and a half in our house and I've had so many things to blog about but so little time.

The first is that I had the opportunity to meet a bloggy friend for a beer a little over a week ago and it was great to chat and discuss adoption and our lives. It's so amazing how you can meet so many interesting and great people through blogging.

We met with C and J a little less than a week ago. It was a good meeting but in the evening so Nora was a little tired and fussy. They are doing great and it was such a relief to see. We exchanged email addresses so communication in the future will be far easier. Now, if they want to see Nora or if we want to ask them a question we won't be playing telephone through our agency. I feel blessed to have such a good relationship with them and to really like them.

The morning after meeting C and J I took Nora to daycare as usual and headed off to work. It takes me an hour from when I leave my house to get Nora to daycare and get to work. I had just reached the parking lot when I got a call from daycare that Nora had a low fever. I assumed she was just teething since she hasn't cut any teeth yet. I walked into work and a few minutes later got a call that she was lethargic, pale and her fever was 101.6. I turned around and went to go get her. Nora was then sick with a fever for four days straight. She's never had a fever before and it was really disconcerting to see her so lethargic and hot. Her top temperature was 104. Nora isn't a snugly baby so I could really tell that she was sick when I held her for days on end and that's all she wanted. Usually, if I hold her for more than a few minutes, she squeals and arches her back to be put down. She's doing much better now but it's been an exhausting week/end. I think this is the curse of daycare. She's moving to another room and has been transitioning so I think she's transitioned into all the new germs too. The upside, I guess, is that we both survived and when she's school aged all these bugs will be nothing to her.

May 18, 2010


I got so much done yesterday on my day off that I feel like a whole new person. I made a book for Nora all about her adoption on, picked up the dry cleaning, bought the dog his special food at the dog food store that's almost never open, picked up some prescriptions, ran to the grocery store, deep cleaned the entire house and hosted a wine and cheese happy hour for my parents (who just got back from a trip and were dying to see Nora) and finished it off with homemade soup. Whew! Done! (I promise I'm not on meth - waking up at 5 am with Nora helps to give you a head start on the day).

Today, Joel fed Nora at 5 am and she went back down until 7 AM! Hooray! I woke up to a happy baby and an amazing latte that Joel made for me. Even though it's a little bit cloudy today I can already tell Nora and I are going to have an amazing day off together. It's remarkable what a couple of days off can do for you.

P.S. The image is a piece from my thesis show. I found it to be ironic and funny when I glanced up at it while mopping. What little I knew in college.

May 16, 2010

I Need a Wife

Joel and I have been watching the HBO series on polygamy, Big Love, and it's got me thinking that I need a wife. It's impossible for me to work, take care of Nora and make sure that the house is in order. I also am not great at some domestic tasks. I'm a great cook and I can clean but it took me an obscenely long time to fix the hem in my pants and iron them. So, I'm looking for a wife.

Not just any wife, either. I can't have a clone of myself. I'm a twenty-first century wife with some domestic skills and a good education but I need a pioneer woman to complete our family. I need a wife who is hardy, knows how to darn a sock and hem pants and use an iron. Until we're able to time travel, embrace polygamy and add said woman to our family, I think our house will always just barely be clean, pants will be taken to the alterations place, shirts will be taken to the dry cleaner to be ironed and closets will never really be organized.

Joel's a great man and does a lot around the house but even the best of men can't multi-task and get things done like a woman. I'm taking applications for anyone interested. Your payment is great home-cooked meals, time with a super-cute baby and lots of love and admiration from this domestically-challenged woman.

May 15, 2010


This week being a working mom has really caught up with me. I've felt sick all week alternating between a sinus issue and a stomach bug but in reality I think I'm just exhausted. Work has been really busy and has included evenings and weekends and I think I'm just super tired. The good news is I have a few hours of work today and then I'm off on Monday and Tuesday. Hooray!

It's a sad state of affairs when you are fantasizing about mopping your floors and organizing your closets but I'm really looking forward to getting my life back in order. I'm also looking forward to putting together a book for Nora that tells her adoption story. I know I have a lot on the list for just a few days off but I'm really looking forward to even crossing a few things off that long list.

Nora seems like she's grown so much in the past week. She is now in her 6 month clothes (almost at 8 months) and seems to have gotten longer. Her speed at rolling across the floor and grabbing things is also astounding and literally changed over night. I can't take my eyes off of her for even a second or she's rolled across the floor and has grabbed my purse or is about to grab a bone out of the dog's bed. It's so incredible how much she changes each day.

May 9, 2010

A Day Late

I had no idea that yesterday was Bithmother's Day. I'm so glad I follow so many blogs of so many with-it people so that I was able to find out this important piece of information. So, in typical Jen fashion, I'm going to be a little backwards. (After all, I was the only kid in my kindergarten class who insisted on painting the candy cane in my art project blue). So, Mother's Day post yesterday and Birthmother's Day post today.

As I alluded to yesterday in my Mother's Day post, church has always been a sore spot for me on Mother's Day. I think the uninterrupted hour to think sometimes puts me in a special place. Yesterday, I found myself feeling very emotional thinking of C. on this day. She's a strong woman and I know she'll put on a strong face for today as she likely celebrates with her family but I'm sue this day is very hard for her. It's hard to know that she's likely having the very opposite experience of myself this day. She's having the experience I've had for many years with a different level of grief added to it thinking about an actual baby, Nora, on this day.

We correspond with C and J every few months through the agency and offered a time to get together. I hadn't heard from C and J and was sad and disappointed thinking that they didn't want to see us. I also know that the process is hard and will ebb and flow and I wanted to respect wherever they were at in their lives.

Our caseworker contacted us last week and said that they wanted to get together this Wednesday. So, I'm very pleased that they will get to see Nora in a few short days. Perhaps, this makes today a little easier for C or maybe not. At least I'll be able to wish her a Happy Birthmother's Day in person and she'll get some important time with Nora.

May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head about Mother's Day this year. I remember the feeling of excitement on the Mother's Day when we were first trying to get pregnant and my anticipation of celebrating the next year with a baby of my own. The subsequent Mother's Days during infertility and the adoption wait were always a mix of some glimmer of hope, sadness and frustration. Going to church on Mother's Day felt like the ultimate torture as the church was crammed with families, babies and moms. It was so hard and it took everything in my power for me not to burst into tears being surrounded by so many moms and in many ways being angry at God and the universe for the fact that I too couldn't be a mom.

Mother's Day to me this year seems more exciting than Christmas. I've been waiting so long to celebrate this holiday with a child of my own and I left work on Friday giddy to celebrate with all of the other moms on Sunday. It's such a special holiday to me this year and one that I feel privileged to celebrate for the first time.

My thoughts will be with all of those who are still waiting to celebrate their first Mother's Day. I know what a painful holiday it can be.

Finally, a HUGE congratulations to E on celebrating her first Mother's Day! I've followed E for such a long time and I'm so ecstatic for her to, as she put it, finally be a mom!

May 1, 2010

Places to Go Things to Do

I have an active baby. I suspected that this might be the case but since I have never had a baby before I had no basis for comparison. However, I started to hear a common theme when picking up or dropping off Nora at daycare. "That little girl is active", "I wish I had half her energy"; "You better put her in track when she gets older". Nora hit the energy jackpot.

Nora's disposition is phenomenal. She's always happy and inquisitive and active. However, this little girl does not nap. If we're all lucky, she takes two 20 minute naps a day. At home, at daycare, doesn't matter. This little girl has places to go and things to do. There's always a limb in motion at all times. We laugh that she's the only baby we know with a six pack because she does incessant leg lifts.

I LOVE her activity level; however, the lack of naps has been wearing on us. I can tell Nora's tired but she just won't go down for longer than 20 minutes. I was completely shocked and amazed when I picked her up from daycare and they told me that she took a 1.5 hour nap and a 45 minute nap. Yesterday my mom was watching her and she slept 2 hours! She still has her abundant energy but she might become a more well-rested baby. I'm wondering and hoping that maybe we've turned a corner and she might get some of that precious sleep that she needs.

Lack of sleep aside, I feel so fortunate that Nora is my daughter. She has the sunniest most fun disposition and her energy level is actually a perfect match for women on my side of the family. Poor Joel has always been overwhelmed by all the estrogen-energy in my family and it looks like that legacy is going to continue with Nora.