Category Archives: Husbands

Date Night

Giggle, giggle.

Went on a date tonight, movie and dinner. (For me, the second movie in as many years. It’s about time, right?)

We saw adoption-themed Martian Child. (Still mulling that one over.)

During dinner, we had conversation. Conversation that didn’t include entertaining anyone else other than each other, or reaching for books and snacks from a nearby tote bag. And it was fabulous. (Thing is, for all its fabulousness, I missed my Maevey Gravy. And straw splatter, tucking napkins and cutting food. And her smile. Oh, her smile.)

Among the topics, The Husband even helped me brainstorm crafty ideas for placecards I’ve been asked to make for Thanksgiving dinner. (No, I can’t be normal and just use paper and pen. (I’m thinking … chocolate turkey molds or pinecones or mini-pumpkins or old black and white photos of the guests. And ribbon, definitely ribbon.)

He even suggested designing and painting wine glasses (I did that one year for holiday gifts, a set of four wine glasses, each one depicting a season) with names. Considering what any of my painting projects does to our home life — I tend to set ridiculous deadlines and let my perfectionist tendencies rage out of control — I say, that’s love, people.

It’s been 15 years. We get a Big Night Out and the man brainstorms an artsy-craftsy project with me for at least half of it. Yeah, love.

Then, we got to come home to the comforting snores of our Maevey Gravy, tucked snug as a bug in a rug by her Grandma Cookie.

And everything felt right with our world.

Love, indeed.


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Filed under Adoption, Family, Husbands, Love, Maeve, NaBloPoMo, Parenting

I see Paris, I see France …

Returned to the scene of the crime the other night, and actually had a wonderful dinner out with Thomas and Maeve. She was a delight, and since she’s recently had another verbal spurt, we were delighted to sit back and soak in her adorableness.

Our server’s phrase o’ the evening was “No problem.” So by the end of the meal, Maeve was declaring “No problem!” every few minutes. When other diners passed by headed to their table, she would sweetly say, “Hi!Howareyou?” (It sounds just like that, all one word, smooshed together.)

Maeve watched ever-so-closely as our plates were cleared and I could see the wheels turning. She looked confused, and as our server walked away with the remnants of a nice meal out as a family, Maeve called out to her, in a singsong voice: “Whereyagoing? Plate? Plate? Whereyagoing?”

The best part of the night– and by far the most memorable — was when we were leaving. Thomas had one hand of Maeve’s and I followed close behind, after gathering our belongings from the booth.

There was a crowd of folks coming into the lobby as we were trying to make our way through, which slowed our departure. But what really hindered our exit was the way Maeve was walking. She seemed to be struggling, as if her shoe were coming off, or her foot was caught on something. Since I was behind her, I couldn’t see what the hold up actually was, but I could tell she was reaching down in front of her with her free hand — but to do what, I had no idea.

Due to the bottleneck of comers-and-goers, I encouraged Maeve to move along faster, figuring once we made it throught the crowd, we’d stop and look at her shoe situation. So, like any good mama, I took her remaining free hand to help lead her through the crowd.

That’s when I realized the problem wasn’t about her shoe.

Ya see, she was wearing a dress. And suddenly — after I took her hand — she wasn’t wearing a diaper.

No, that now lay on the floor between her legs. In the restaurant. On the checkered floor. For all the world to see. I could see her pink Crocs amid all the white cotton cushioning and velcro.

Thank goodness my husband can act quickly in such bizarre public situations (Ask him about the time his shoelace got caught in the escalator at FAO Schwartz and his foot was pulled tightly to the floor, he was holding himself up from falling, and other escalator-goers behind him began to stack up. I panicked and took off, found a security guard and said “some man over there needs help.” I couldn’t “claim” him, then my boyfriend. I just couldn’t. Not until his foot was freed and the crowd disbursed. I know, I know. Terrible. I just don’t do well in these paralyzing moments. And yes, he married me anyway, folks.).

Fast-thinking Thomas  gathered the diaper, the child and bee-lined it to the car. I followed, laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.

A few minutes later, when I’d calmed myself while Maeve was re-diapered by Daddy-Oh-So-Calm, and the car was finally on the move and headed home, a sweet, little voice emerged from the backseat:

Yes, Maeve?
(And in a most-inquisitive and surprised tone …)

What?! Happen?! Diaper?!

So, I ask you, what is it about me and this restaurant?


Filed under Adoption, Children, Family, For fun, Husbands, Maeve, Parenting

Decaf next time?


Can hardly sit still and don’t really know why that is, thoughts moving through my mind faster than I can make them into words for you here, I’m trying to figure out why that is but as soon as I think I have the answer I forget what I was trying to think of, isn’t it silly how that happens, as Maeve would say, silly mommy, she would laugh and I would laugh and there would be lots of laughing and maybe even some tickling and falling to the floor but right now I can’t think of much else other than the fact that I can’t sit still and focus and I don’t know why that could be, by the way today Maeve received a cute tea set for her birthday from a friend in my local adoption group whose daughter turned two a couple weeks before Maeve did, they came by and the girls played outside and inside and even got pulled in the big red wagon and collected rocks from the driveway and had orange juice popsicles on a hot, sunny day, and then when daddy came home tonight he helped open the tea set and showed Maeve how to set it up, cute in itself dontchya think, a big strong daddy sitting down to tea and showing Maeve how to pour and stir and use a pink saucer, she watched every move he made and I watched both of them silly happy at how cute it was and before we knew it we were all having an impromptu tea party, our very first ever, and Maeve was pouring tea for both of us and sometimes into the little bowls and onto the saucers too and then she’d just turn the tea kettle over and rest it in her lap while she drank from the teacup but that’s ok because it was only her first tea party after all and a girl’s gotta learn, and hey, wait a minute, I think I just figured out why I can’t sit still, it must be the 183 cups of tea Maeve poured for me tonight, because by the end of the “teapahty!” we were all just smiling and sipping and smiling and sipping and maybe, just maybe …

I sipped too much.


Filed under Adoption, Children, Firsts, For fun, Friends, Gifts, Husbands, Maeve

Favorite things


I was thinking recently about how, despite a comfortable home and all its stuff, there are just a few things inside it that actually have a deep, sentimental, in-the-gut connection for me. Things not necessarily of great financial value, but of utmost import personally and emotionally. Some bring me great happiness; others are bittersweet. Thought I’d share some of them now and then. Here are two.

Topping the list is Maeve’s adoption box, which includes hospital records, her birth certificate and anything written to her by her first mother B. In that same vein, photos of Maeve with B., and all of us together; and the stuffed animal B. gave her four days after her birth, when everyone gathered the first time.

My Pandora bracelet. A gift to me from Thomas and Maeve on my first Mother’s Day. When I received it, there were three charms: one to symbolize our dating years, one our marriage (a three-tiered wedding cake), and one the arrival of Maeve into our lives (an old-fashioned baby carriage).

Since then, a few more have been added as birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated, even any old day made special. A dangling pearl marks my birthday, the garnet my all-time favorite stone. The black Murano glass bead and small daisy-like flower is especially beautiful to me. The charms move loosely along the bracelet, jingling when I move my arm.

Since a day hardly goes by that I’m not wearing my bracelet, Maeve is accustomed to seeing it on my wrist. The best part is that as she grows and learns, she discovers a new piece, running her little fingers along its path. Cake! she exclaims, delighted with herself. As she befriends a charm, I share its story, re-living its history — more for my own sake, I imagine.

I look forward to filling and crafting a most unique and personal piece over the years, until one day the completed bracelet is a representation of me, the paths I’ve traveled, the people I’ve loved, the experiences we’ve shared. Something that hopefully will be treasured in some way by those here long after me.


Filed under Adoption, Beauty, Birth parents, Birthdays, Children, Family, For fun, Gifts, Husbands, Life changes, Love, Maeve, Open Adoption, Relationships, Treasures

My Own Love Thursday

Being silly and betrothed, 1999

Eight years ago yesterday, Thomas and I said “I do.” Well, technically we never said those two words as we had written our own vows, not realizing the infamous “I do” wouldn’t still be included by the priest marrying us. I’m fairly sure, just moments after walking up the aisle with my new husband — tossed rose petals still in my decolletage — I panicked and then asked quizzically, “Wait — did we say “I do”?

A week later, on our Bermudian cruise, we renewed our still-fresh vows along with about 100 other couples likely betrothed much longer than seven days. But still, I was happy to have said, “I do.”

Several years later, Tom’s parents celebrated a milestone anniversary and we all ventured to Chicago where they renewed their vows in the very church they had said them decades ago.  Their own siblings, as well as others who had stood up for them on their wedding day, were there to celebrate the moment.

At the end of the renewal, the priest called Tom’s parents’ five children and spouses up to renew their own vows as well in this beautiful old cathedral on the anniversary of their parents’ wedding.

Seems to me, at this point our vows are set in something darn-near stone.

Although yesterday we celebrated eight married years together, in two weeks, it will be 15 years since our very first date. Fifteen years. I was just 19 when we met and took weeks to muster the courage to ask him out. Until then, I’d been asked out or it had been a mutual decision to go out with someone — this was the first “boy” for whom I was brave enough, determined enough, smitten enough to make the first move.

Last night I arrived home from work to a large bouquet of 20 or so roses he had picked from our backyard garden and arranged himself, accented with large, green hosta leaves he’d clipped from the front garden. We then went out for dinner while Maeve played at home with her aunt and cousin.

Funny thing is, the entire Adult Dinner was spent talking about our little sassafrass Maevy Gravy. And her birth mother. And our upcoming visit. And how we want things to play out for our daughter and the life we are determined to provide her. For an evening free of cubed food, board books and sippy cups, she sure was with us: we laughed about her latest silliness, smiled over her juiciness, admired the outgoing personality that emerges more each day, and shook our heads in disbelief that she will be two in less than eight weeks.

Hours later, as we prepared for bed, I fell asleep before Tom ever made it into the bedroom from his readying-for-bed routine. Him setting his alarm and climbing in woke me up. I grumbled and mumbled something about being jostled from sleep. As I tried to rediscover slumberland, myriad thoughts of things to do, things to remember, and things to remember to do filled my mind.

In an effort to remove some of the To Do’s hijacking my brain, I reminded him about two phone calls he needed to make today. He stirred a bit, grumbled and then mumbled something about how now I had woken him.

Ah, how “old and married” we sounded.

Then he reached over and rested his hand on my back in what I knew was code for “Didn’t mean to grumble. Happy Anniversary, You.”

As I began to drift to sleep, I thought: So this is what us being in love for 15 years is like. I’m sure I was smiling.

Oh I do, baby, I do.


Filed under Family, Husbands, Love, Relationships, Weddings

Drizzle to drama

So here I sit, late Saturday night, comfy in my living room, warm blanket tucked over me and around my cold, bare toes (where did this frigid-for-May weather suddenly come from, anyway?), fire crackling in the fireplace we thought had been put to rest for the season, my husband and daughter tucked into their beds, and my shiny new laptop before me. (Fun!)

Earlier this  evening, on the way home from some belated Mother’s Day celebrating, we traveled roads familiar as they are part of my daily commute to the office. But on this cold and drizzly day, my family sat with me as we meandered neighborhoods a town away from our own. And we stumbled into a pleasant surprise.

What we thought was thunder teasing us from the distance, actually was the noise of a fireworks show. The sky lit up before us, pulling us in its direction. Although just a few miles from our home, we actually don’t know the area we soon found ourselves driving, looking for hints of color and light from the sky, all the while wondering the inspiration for such a display, months before Independence Day and a week before Memorial Day.

We turned and twisted back roads, letting the fireworks guide us until we were close, and found an empty parking lot with a great view. We gathered Maeve from her carseat and stood close at the front of the car.

Maeve’s naturally large brown eyes were wide with delight and then with surprise at the sounds and scope of it all. Her little hands clutched Tom’s shoulders and the brown of her eyes — dancing with fear and intrigue — pushed to the corner of her eyes, taking it all in. (Last summer’s brave baby at fireworks is no longer!)

As the cool drizzle highlighted by the glow of streetlights began to take hold of us, I grabbed an umbrella from inside the car. For the next 10 minutes or so, my little family huddled together under the round polyester shelter, gazing into the night sky, taking in the magnificence.

There was something wonderfully peaceful among the loud pops and bangs of fireworks because I was sharing such a surprise moment with my little family. A moment that neither Tom nor I discussed, planned or paid admission for. It was simply a ho-hum, everyday-kind-of-drive suddenly interrupted by brilliant greens, pinks and blues in the night sky.

Memories made most unexpectedly.


Filed under Children, Family, Husbands, Love, Maeve

Hush Money — Er, Honey

The other night my sister and I went out for an impromptu dinner with the kids. Kid-friendly Ruby Tuesdays was the not-so-lucky locale for this outing, as my sister’s son Dashiell loves the salad bar and she likes the vegetarian options.

Maeve, however, wasn’t having it at all. It began as soon as I took her out of her carseat. She didn’t want to leave the side of the car, her feet planted firmly on the pavement, her top half swaying toward me as I took her hand and tried to walk forward.

Shoulda been a clue.

As I attempted to place her in her highchair, all toddler hellfire broke loose. This wasn’t a meltdown — it was more like self-combustion. Absolute hysterics, I tell you. In fact, I’m sure she was way past the point of even knowing what she was crying about.

As Dashiell was trying to talk over her to show me something about the maze on the kids’ menu, and my sister and I were trying to calm her down, the waiter approached and introduced himself. All I heard was “person,” “serving,” “today.” Lucky him.

We couldn’t hear him over the babyshrill let alone concentrate on what we’d order, so we (loudly) requested more time. By now I was thinking we might just need to go. Pitying those around us and not wanting to ruin their evening, I was about to suggest this change of plans when my sister headed off to the salad bar to grab some finger food to console the wild beast. (I say this with love, folks, so no nasty e-mails, please.)

Meanwhile, I remembered I had pink bunny cookies in my purse — don’t ask, I’ve also got six CDs, a yo-yo that lights up, a flattened granola bar or two, a lint brush, a plastic egg holding a red bouncy ball, my family’s fortune in loose coins, three ballpoint pens that don’t work, about a half-dozen wrapped tampons floating loose all willy-nilly, a bottle of generic Tylenol, a diaper, an envelope of horse-sized Advil gelcaps from my latest dentist visit, a pair of Maeve’s socks rolled into a ball, a red Sharpie marker, a booklet of kiddie ride tickets for this summer at the boardwalk, and Sandra Boynton’s Hey Wake Up book — and so I simultaneously broke every good parenting rule and handed her the cookies as a peace (and quiet) offering. Hush money, if you will. Just … make … the … screaming … stop.

Between the cookies and the snacks my sister brought back from the salad bar, Maeve calmed down. (Although the fiery look in her eyes had us fearful her head would spin again at any moment.)

Problem is, we began to think we were added to some sort of Ruby’s Watch List. In fact, we’re pretty sure there now are sketches of us taped up in back. You see, we hadn’t ordered yet, which means Maeve ate seven stolen grapes and five stolen raisins. My 21-month-old could very well have a permanent record.

While we waited for the server so we could place our order (which included salad bars, folks), the hostess hovered near our table, pretending to be checking out Something Very Important somewhere very close to the little plate in front of Maeve. Good at playing hostess, not so good at playing detective.

As my sister and I debated if we were just being paranoid, our dinner arrived and it was the manager who delivered it. He questioned if he was “missing food for the kids.” Now absolutely sure we were the latest denizens on Ruby’s Watch List, we pointed out that both kids were eating the salad bar. He smiled something short of an actual smile and left. Moments later he was talking to Detective Hostess.

As soon as we could get our waiter’s attention, we explained that it seemed folks were worried we’d ordered for the kids and we wanted to confirm with him that he had, in fact, heard us order the salad bar for both of them. He seemed confused, agreed we’d ordered for them, and claimed he didn’t know of anything amiss.

Before too long, Detective Hostess, Manager Man and our waiter were talking in a restaurant huddle.


Before we left the not-so-relaxing dinner, I headed to the ladies room. My sister had both kids at the table and before I’d even exited the stall, I heard their voices in the bathroom. I actually wondered if something had happened back at the table related to the Grapes Security Breach, but it turns out Dash just needed the restroom.

As we waited, she and I reminded one another that the next time we get the bright idea for an impromptu Girls’ Night Out with the kids, one of us should shoot the other first as that would be less painful. 

As we laughed, he suddenly bellowed, “Get!Her!Out!Of!Here!” We looked over, and all we could see was Maeve’s tush as she was squeezing herself under the door to his stall like she was a limbo finalist.

“Da-shiell!” she cooed and giggled, happy to have found him in this self-created game of hide-n-seek.

“Mo-om!” he yelled, flustered and embarrassed.

Rrrrright. Time to go.

On the drive home, both of us exhausted, we wondered aloud if our husbands could have done better. We assured ourselves they couldn’t — ahem, ahem — and vowed that one day soon we’d suggest they take the kids out for some good father-child-brother-in-law-cousin bonding time.

And we’d head out for a mani and pedi. Yes, that sounded nice.

But by the time we pulled into my driveway, our plan morphed instead into an Evening of Espionage as we agreed we should instead trail the guys and watch from afar — as part of “Operation Can They Leave Less Food on the Floor And Avoid The Ruby Tuesdays’ Sketch Artists?”

Now that’s a Girls’ Night Out.


Filed under Children, Family, Husbands, Love, Maeve, Parenting, Still learning