Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hello, hello

Hello, internet friends! We are all alive and well. It turns out it's really, really exhausting to have two little kids and a new house and a full-time job, so the blog was an easy thing to cut.

The paperwork to terminate M's parents' rights still haven't been filed. The worker told me last week the writing portion is finally done, so now they're making copies of all the relevant documentation (two full years' worth of letters and emails and notices and stuff), then it'll to go an administrator for review, then it'll be filed. No idea how long that'll take. We had court in January and her dad's attorney tried to suggest we look towards moving visits to the dad's house, and the county attorney and M's attorney advised against it. The judge denied the request and set our next hearing at the standard six months, which is significant - he could have told the worker to increase visits, or set a date a month out, or all sorts of other things, and the fact that he didn't might mean he's not interested in playing around. Maybe. Who knows.

The new baby isn't quite as new - Nora is now a fun happy seven-month-old who has three teeth and another ready to break through any second. We moved her to her own room a few weeks ago and we're all doing okay with it - she only woke up once last night! I'm still really struggling with being away from the girls during the day, even though I know full well that there is nothing wrong with daycare and that if anything it's actively good for M. Still sucks every day. Still want to quit my job and just hang out with these two. Still have no way to make that work financially. Blarg.

My laptop battery is about to die, so this will be brief. See you soon, maybe!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's the holdiay season!

Y'all. We have a real Christmas tree, and M helped decorate it. Having a toddler is fucking cool, so much of the time. Her language skills are fantastic and she's funny and I love her. There's not much new with her case - her dad only had one visit in November due to a medical thing, and because it was medical stuff the missed visits don't count against him, which pisses me off because when she finally visited again, it freaked her out and made her cry. I've spoken with her attorney and with the pediatrician and with the worker, and we're just waiting for the stupid papers to be filed STILL.

M's birthday is coming up, then we have Christmas, then we have the anniversary of her arrival in early January, so lots of busy craziness in the coming weeks. Nora is down to one or two feedings a night, so I'm hoping to get to one consistently so I don't collapse from exhaustion.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hello, hello

1. M had a visit with her biological mom this week. It was the first time M had seen her mom in 18 months. I requested to be allowed to attend, so M could have someone she was familiar with, and the worker reported that the mom said she wasn't trying to be a bitch or anything but she didn't want me there. I'm choosing to look at it this way: The mom knows the termination is coming. She will almost certainly wait until the last minute and then surrender her rights, because if she surrenders she can request visits. She's comfortable with the worker (they've known each other for about five years) and it's scary as hell to start visiting a child you haven't seen in over a year, but a lot more scary to do so when it's at the whim of the strangers who have been raising that child. I'm trying to be positive about this, because of course it would be better for M to have a relationship with her mom, but damn does it suck to see her wrecked by visits over and over again. The night of a visit she cycles between being super clingy, and naughty on purpose, and silly and manic. It's rough. And now that she's able to communicate, she tells us she doesn't want to go on visits, and it really sucks that that doesn't matter to anyone but us.

2. Other than visits, nothing is new with her case. The worker reported that the termination paperwork was "half done" but I have no idea what that means in terms of time. Our next court date is scheduled for January, but the worker remains optimistic we'll be in before then to have the first hearing about termination. Oh, and the dad attended every single visit for a whole month (all of October) for the first time ever, and then canceled his first visit in November. And they're changing the visit times AGAIN because of the dad's bullshit, so that's pretty cool for M.

3. We're in the new house and it's starting to feel like home. The stuff we need for daily living is all unpacked, so now we have to decide where we're keeping stuff like outgrown baby clothes or Christmas decorations or whatever. We are making slow progress, because by the time both girls are in bed we're both just ready to collapse, and it's hard to make ourselves do stuff like paint all of the ugly celery-green trim in the upstairs hall when there's a new season of Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

4. Nora is still awesome and funny and huge - she'll be five months old this week, and she's wearing six-to-nine-month clothes. She discovered on Thursday that she can get her foot to her mouth, which is pretty funny to watch. She laughs when she sees me and my heart just about explodes every time.

5. This past week has capital-S Sucked. Being at work and away from the girls was harder than it's been in a month. Work has been annoying and I've been tense and grumpy just about every minute I'm there. I cried when M's mom showed up for the visit and there was no call from the worker that the mom had changed her mind and I could come. And then I got my period for the first time in over a year and it all made sense. I don't really know how to have a period anymore. I got super indignant that this shit happens every goddamn month, too. What is that about?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pants party.

Things are still progressing around here. I don't have the energy to devote to regular blogging, but that means that any time I pop in, I feel like I'm just doing the same update every time:
1. Nora is still the fucking coolest. She just wants to hang out and I desperately wish our finances made it possible for me to stay home with her and M, but I know that going into debt to do so is a bad idea in the long run.
2. Nothing really to report with M's case. Her dad has been so inconsistent that the new worker (who is still doing as little with the case as she can while our worker's on maternity leave) decided to only extend one of his visits instead of both, so now she has up to three hours of visits a week. They had to change the visits to the morning so now Andy and I can't pick her up, which makes me sad. The termination paperwork still hasn't been filed. I also had to make a few phone calls today because we haven't been paid in two months - we've been having our mail forwarded and it turns out they won't forward checks from the county. Would've been fucking cool for M's temporary worker, her regular worker, or our worker to have mentioned that, since they all knew we were moving. We're not desperate for the money or anything, but I'm certain the county wouldn't have ever tried to make up those two months if I hadn't called.
3. The hardwoods are being done in the house this week, and we're going to start painting on Sunday. There's a lot of painting that we want to do and we're trying to figure out the logistics of painting with two little kids. Any suggestions there would be welcome.

And now, something a little more interesting. Here are words and phrases that I've heard in the rhythmic noises produced by my breast pump:
- Rachael (I hear this a lot, and it's kind of creepy)
- Apple
- Westeros (why yes, I had been watching a lot of Game of Thrones)
- Bob Ross
- Wacko
- Cello
- Let's go

If you have experience with pumping, please reassure me that this isn't just me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blogging break over!

Hello, internet friends. Here is what is happening around here:

1. Our baby is still the greatest. She's eleven weeks old and so happy and laid back and she just wants to hang out all the time.

2. It's awesome that she's so awesome, but it makes it way harder to be back at work. I went back three weeks ago and I hate being away from her so, so much. We talked about me going part-time, but our benefits are through my job so if I dropped my hours we'd have to get them through Andy's work, for more money and less coverage. So mostly I just get really teary a lot, and Andy does drop-off so I'm not a weepy mess. I rush to pick the girls up every afternoon and spend as much time in the evening holding Nora as is possible.

3. M is still a funny sweet lovely kid, and she still adores Nora. Today she walked by me and smooched the top of Nora's head, absentmindedly almost, as I was holding the baby. Our usual worker is still out on leave, and the new worker is in no rush to do anything at all with M's case. This is good in that her dad's visits haven't been extended (which the judge ordered in July), and really really shitty in that she hasn't done anything to get the paperwork filed to terminate M's parents' rights. Our usual worker is back next month so I'm trying to not freak too much.

4. We're still waiting for a closing date on our house. It is frustrating to have to wait on banks and mortgage dudes and appraisers and who even knows who else. But I'm daydreaming about autumn in our new-old house, with pumpkins on the front porch and pretty leaves changing color on our street!

I'm fucking tired a lot still so I've been keeping up with reading the internets while I'm pumping at work (p.s. I HATE pumping at work) but can't be bothered to post here much. I'll try not to be away for a month again though!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quick court and house updates

1. Court. Nothing changed, really. The dad's new lawyer argued for extending the dad's visits, which the judge approved. So now instead of the very bare minimum (one-hour supervised visits two times a week), he's got one step up (two-hour supervised visits two times a week). The worker is switching the time back to mornings to make it easier on M. They haven't filed the termination paperwork yet and probably won't for another month or so (UGH). M's mom was delighted to see pictures of M and says she's back on track and trying to start visits and wants to really try to get M back. I told her that we are so happy to hear she's doing well and hope she continues to do so, and that if she doesn't feel that it's successful we want her to be part of M's life if she stays with us. I worded it more nicely, though. Oh, and according to the dad he only sees his new baby when the mom's in town, which I'm guessing means that he doesn't see her at all. Why can't he go after that kid instead of M??

2. The seller of our house didn't agree to give us any money for the garage issues but we're buying it anyway. We'll be closing in early September. Which is great, because it's been two and a half weeks with my folks and we're starting to feel that friction that comes with too much time in close proximity - nothing serious, just little annoyances. It's a big relief to me to have a finish line in sight. Also I've been watching a lot of HGTV while I'm nursing or pumping, to get ideas and because I haven't had cable in years and holy shit, there's a lot of garbage on tv.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oops, forgot I had a blog.

Hello, hello! I forgot I had a blog for a minute there. We've been happily learning how to be a family of four, plus also we sold our house and moved in with my parents. You know. No big deal. Life as usual.

This baby is still awesome and I'm still loving every second with her. She has outgrown her newborn-sized clothes and it amazes me that my body is responsible not just for growing her but also for every single ounce and inch she's gained since birth. That's some primal mammalian shit right there. Breastfeeding is not bad for me, praise Yeezus, except when she decides to eat every hour on the hour all day and then it's RIP, nipples, for a day or two. I'm off work this week and two more weeks and I pretty much want to hold her every minute of those weeks. She's five weeks old and grins delightedly when you talk to her, so you'd be doing the same thing if you were me.

Fun housing thing: back at the beginning of June we put in a low offer on a house that hit pretty much everything on our "YES!" list but that had a few quirks. Well, to be brief, after a lot of back-and-forth where they tried to get us to give them more money and we kept saying "No, really, that's our best offer. You can say no it it, but we don't have more money than that.", they finally got desperate and accepted the offer as it was originally written. WHAT? But then we had the inspection yesterday, and it uncovered some structural issues in the detached garage, plus confirmed that yeah, buying a house that was built in 1850 will mean we'll eventually be putting out money for upgrading shit like plumbing. So we're waiting to see if the seller will give us money for the garage and then deciding if we buy the house with the 100% perfect location and a bunch of weird small-to-large issues, or if we walk away and start the search all over. Because you all know how much I love uncertainty! It's so much fun!

Speaking of uncertainty! We have court for M tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the paperwork for termination of parental rights hasn't been filed yet, so nothing will happen. Just kidding, even if that's been filed, I'm pretty sure nothing will happen tomorrow. I'll be bringing Nora with me to court, so the classy people being served by our county's Family Court will possibly be getting a glimpse of my nipples. So for once maybe I'll be the spectacle in that waiting room, instead of the yokels yelling about felonies or the teenage girl in a tiara and sweatpants and socks but no shoes. (I love the Family Court waiting room a real lot, you guys. No joke.)

M is still dealing with all the changes in her life pretty well. In the space of a month and a half, she got a new sister, moved in with her grandparents, and moved from the baby room to the toddler room at daycare. She is coping so much better than we could have hoped. Slightly more meltdowns than normal, but nothing too crazy. The only thing that has surprised me is that she's decided she is scared of the bathtubs here. We've tried the big whirlpool tub (she loved the one at my sister's), but even with me in there with her it was a no. We also tried the super-fancy light blue tub in the bathroom with the matching light blue toilet, sinks, and wall and floor tiles (thanks, 1960s!) and that was also deemed too scary. So she's been getting a lot of scrubdowns with soapy washcloths while we work on getting more comfortable with the tubs. It makes me sad to see my confident brave girl so scared, but I know it's mostly just a reaction to so much change. Poor sweet kid.

I'll try to update soon with results from court!