Thursday, August 18, 2011

Balancing Acts - Boys, Bake Sale, Baby Dorothy & A Tea Party With Brenna

There is a balancing act that all moms do.  You try to balance your professional (whether you work outside the home or work as a stay at home mom), your home (laundry, meals, etc.), your family, your marriage, your health and everything else.  For me, I feel like it's a tightrope.  And that's okay.  I wouldn't trade our tightrope or my life for the world.  I try to balance all of Joey's doctor and therapy appointments with trying to make one on one time with Tommy.  I also try to find some "neutral" time with Joey that doesn't involve medical treatments.  As the summer is showing signs of coming to an all too abrupt end, we are squeezing in as much as possible before these sunny days become snowy nights.

Tommy & Grant's Adventure at Memphis Kiddie Park

These two in their "too cool for school" shades and their beautifully contrasting hair are just too funny.  Grant's mommy, Shannon, and I love to watch the two of them together.  They are still at the stage where they kind of independently play near each other.  Sometimes they will actually play together and that is when our hearts just melt. 

Joey's First Birthday Present
Clearly the wrapping is definitely as exciting if not more exciting than what is in the bag.  His fascination with the tissue paper reminded me of what our therapists advised about using different textures to entice him and help him explore.  Yay!!!  The bubblegum machine-- just the perfect height for Joey's new sitting skills. 

The extra balls are genius!!!

The Neighborhood Bake Sale for Joey's All Stars
When our beautiful friend, Jillian, said her and her kids wanted to have a bake sale to help raise money for the Buddy Walk we were 100% in!!!  Tommy and I bake a lot of "tookies" (as he still calls them) for Daddy after Mommy gets done with work.  If you ask him what you need to bake cookies, Tommy will look at you very seriously and say, "You need five things."  I don't know where he came up with this, but when we bake "tookies" he takes almost every cooking item we own out of the cupboard.  

I packed up the kids after work on Monday and took them over to participate in the Bake Sale and to make some purchases.  When we arrived Tommy went up to one of the cutest little girls you have ever seen with bright, blonde ringlets and he promptly growled at her.  I wish I could do his growl justice.  He goes full body into it.  He leans forward, scrunches up his nose and says, "Grrrrrrrrrrr".  He then promptly hit her with his lovey.  Ugh.  I love this child with all my heart, but the hitting thing is out of control.  When your child is going through the hitting thing you can be the mom who ignores it, the mom who freaks out and makes a scene or the mom who has the perfect answer.  So far I've been the first two.  If my child growls at your child and/or strikes them-- please accept my apology in advance while I try to figure out how to manage this new attention getting behavior and become the third mom.

Back to the Bake Sale.  After I got down low and spoke very rapidly and tersely in Tommy's face about not hitting anyone I went on to buy some cookies and chocolate-covered pretzels to bribe him good with.  You know how some people in bars drink people pretty?  I was bribing him good.  

This was a serious Bake Sale.  They had a beautiful table set up and all the delicious items were on display.  Miss Jillian was wearing her Joey's All Stars shirt and we got to see her beautiful kids and hang out a little bit with Zeke who is their son they just adopted from Ethiopia.**Quick side note.  We spent one lovely night drinking lots of red wine at 750ml and talking about international adoption with David and Jillian.  Jillian said that when people ask her why they chose international adoption she tells them that it is because the orphans in other countries usually  don't survive.  Wow.  That really puts it into perspective, doesn't it?   I feel blessed to know such amazing people.  Thank you dear friends for this awesome event!

Mr. Trouble.

Gorgeous girls!  Tommy growled at the sweetie on the left.

Precious Baby Dorothy ~ Miss Kelly's 3rd Miracle
Have you seen the Pampers commercial "For Every Little Miracle" where it talks about all the different ways babies come into this world?  I can barely talk about it without crying--- you can see yourself this fabulous commercial that talks about all the different ways babies come into families.  It really gives validation to the variety of ways people become parents and families and also features a beautiful baby girl who has Down syndrome.

Kelly was one of my first friends when I moved to Akron.  We met at a Junior League meeting and then re-met at the gym on the treadmills.  It was through Kelly and her husband that I learned what it means to have to work really, really hard to have a little miracle to call your own.  When I first met her they had just lost their first baby who was being carried by a surrogate.  Only a couple years later I got to witness them having their first baby girl, Eloise who was carried by Kelly's sister Kari who was their surrogate.  When Eloise was not even a year old, their adoption from China was finally approved and they traveled across the world to pick up their second daughter, Adelaide.  Last year, when I was pregnant with Joey and fearing that I would lose the pregnancy, Kelly and Brad lost their second baby who was being carried by a different surrogate.  I remember hearing Kelly tell me that they went to the doctor's office and there was no longer a heartbeat.  Those are words you never want to hear or ever have anyone you love hear.  

I remember during that same time frame we went to P.F. Chang's one night-- just the two of us-- and I told her what I had shared with only 1 or 2 other people in the world at that time-- that Joey had Down syndrome.  I remember her saying only the perfect things-- not, "I'm so sorry" or anything like that at all.  I remember wondering how after having such a recent loss she could still be such a supportive friend.  

Just a couple of weeks ago we were finally able to celebrate their third miracle.  Dorothy Grace. A beautiful baby who was carried by a wonderful surrogate who lived a couple of hours away. 

What I've learned from Kelly is that surrogacy is not glamorous.  That you don't ask a mom-to-be if she is worried that the surrogate will want to keep the baby (I didn't ask!  But it's one of the many coconut questions she faced throughout the pregnancy).  I've witnessed my friend drive hours and hours to be there for doctor's appointments.  I've witnessed her release all control and put all of her trust in their surrogates.  I've watched her laugh off silly comments like, "Is the baby half yours or all yours?"  She's handled it all with a smile and grace.  Dorothy Grace.

A Tea Party With Brenna
This beautiful nine-year-old was recently my lunch date.  Meet Brenna.  She is my niece from New Jersey who is in town visiting for all the August birthdays as well as walking in the Buddy Walk.

I don't get a lot of "girly" time in.  My evenings involve picking up sticks in the yard and playing "hockey" on the kitchen floor, so when I had the opportunity to have a lunch date with Brenna, well, it was a lovely chance to put on a dress and be a lady for a couple of hours.

Brenna is not only beautiful, but she is also very witty and incredibly intelligent.  She is truly a 25-year-old in a 9-year-old's body.  We talked about everything from working moms, to what books she is reading, to whether or not she will go to an all girl's high school or one that has boys.  We both voted for the one with boys.

Brenna is our baby lover.  She just loves holding babies and she is a total natural.  Whenever she is in town she goes straight for the babies.  We are so lucky to get to spend some quality time with her on this trip.  We love you, Brenna!!!


  1. You have some lovely ladies with equally lovely hearts in your life. Nice to hear how these lovely women of all ages bring you their love. Beautiful!

  2. Tears! Kelly is so lucky to have such a wonderful friend in you Jen!!


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