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Jun. 6th, 2006 04:54 am Don't let your housing bubble burst

This was a subject line of my email yesterday and I thought it appropriate for what my family has just been through the past few days. It was Wednesday afternoon when we got the eviction notice, no I don't mean the noticed to quit. I mean the notice from the Sheriff saying that we have 48 hours before they come to take possession of the premises. The story started a long time ago but as I try not to complain about the injustice I often encounter, I haven't written about it.

It was weird because at work I am gearing up for peak again as the retreat I am responsible is now a month away. I will write more about this amazing retreat later. I have also agreed to help a friend who has three children, Khalila's best friend, and twin one year olds, so that is about 30 hours on top of my madness at work. Add on my family, and add on the new position of resident directors (which has included events at the president of a local college, interviews with newspapers, meeting the scholars and their hosts, and their family, and the board, spending a weekend at the house covering for the resident director who is leaving, lunches with perspective students for next year, etc.

Needless to say Mama Lili is a supremely busy woman, and although it must be done, I sometimes wonder when I can be more available to do crafties, music, nature, loveins, shower, and connect with the friends I love and miass. Okay back to the subject, despite the time demands on me, I managed to not let myself get thrown off, or upset about being kicked out. We spent the first 24 hours digging for boxes, buying tons of tape, and packing. We are lucky enough to be able to put our stuff in the basement of our new home (which we can move in to on the 1st of July) We were loading the truck when the Sheriff got back to town and returned our call. He was nice and happy to hear that we were in the process of moving, saving him the hassle of getting a truck, movers, and carrying away our stuff at a tremendous cost to us. He also gave us the weekend, which helped take some pressure off, but we were already loading the minivan and borrowed van.

The whole time, I was grateful that I had 48 hours notice, that I had the resources to box up my things and transport them. Josh and I did most of it by ourselves, I have many wonderful friends, but it seems like the need more notice for an emergency. No worries, I only reached out to a couple of my many many friends. We didn't need help, we did it. I hired someone who is down on their luck to help us actually move on Friday, he helped for about four hours. Though it was a challenging situation, to be facing living in our car with a three year old, I knew how privileged I am. I was painfully aware of the millions of people displaced in history, and in the present. Africans back to the slave trade, to today in Rwanda, and Sudan. The ethnic cleansing where people are forced from their lands under threat and carried out death. The Jewish people during Hitler's mass destruction. The natives during the trail of tears. Katrina, Tsunami, Earthquakes. All of these brothers and sisters, and I had no self pity, for in comparison, there is no comparison, my life is amazingly easy. This perspective kept me going and left no room for complaint.

So we are presently camped out in the living room of my mother. My mother and sister are not smoking in the common areas, and keeping their bedroom doors closed tight as to not expose us to the smoke. We would be in a tent, but it is too cold for my run down body. So far I am winning the battle with my immune system, of course I have only slept 5 hours in the past two days, so I may soon lose the battle. So our housing bubble did burst, but something beautiful has come out of it. A re appreciation of my spouse, for when the going gets tough, he hankered down and came through ( as opposed to running, or blaming me) We are also saving June rent so now we can afford to get caught up a bit and to go on a date:)

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May. 25th, 2006 02:29 am ABC Resident Directors

Josh and I are the new resident directors for the ABC house in our town. I am so excited, for I am made to be part of a larger family. Khalila is already calling them her brothers. ABC stands for A Better Chance and it is a national program that places 500 students. It places students who are under represented in higher education and who come from disadvantaged school systems. Our house is a male house, there are 8 young men and they are great. Josh is also going back to Grad. school, the same program that we both started in 2004. It's a year intensive, Master's and teacher certification. I will write more about our lives later.

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Apr. 23rd, 2006 04:39 pm The hair on my lip

Another thing about PCOS is that it is hormonal
and the pancreas makes a lot of the hormone insulin
but my FSH levels are low and so my body produces
androgen, male hormones, possibly even testosterone.

I preface this when I write what my baby girl said 10 minutes ago.

When I type she usually ends up standing on the chair,
cradling my back. She looks seriously at my face to
point out what she thinks is a pimple or a mole, which
I lovingly refer to as angel kisses. She catches a glance
at my upper lip, touches it and says

"oh no mama, you have a beard"

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Apr. 23rd, 2006 04:28 pm Polycystic Ovarian Syndromme

After years of irregular periods and other symptoms,
I have finally been diagnosed with PCOS.
The scary part is that 40% of women with
PCOS will have type II diabetes by the age
of 40. The bigger picture starts to come
into view. Maybe this is the gift of my
infertility, to understand the risks of my
lack of insulin sensitivity and do something
about it before diabetes is the conclusion.
I am hoping it is not too late, and that my
insulin levels are still in the prediabetes
stage. I guess with PCOS I am at increased
risk of cardiovascular issues and hypertension.

My local OBGYN has done as much as they can
do so I am seeing a specialist at Baystate
in Springfield. It looks promising. I will
keep all of my loyal readers up-to-date on that.

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Apr. 23rd, 2006 04:18 pm Ave Maria

One of my grandmother's two favorite songs.
Schubert's Ave Maria. My dear Grammy has been
dead for four years now, long enough that my
almost three year old will never me the flesh
and bones version of her. This happens to be
the case with most of my family so I keep them
alive through stories, and things like when I
tickle Lili I usually attribute it to Uncle Jon.
The past week I have been missing my Gram fiercely.

Khalila recognizes it and says "That's Grandma Gigi's song.
So yesterday I didn't sing along and just listened to
Khalila sing it (by the way, I have to get that on tape)
and in the middle of the part she knows she stopped to
tell me "Grandma Gigi says 'good singing Lili'"

Connected to my Grandmother, I started crying, it was
so beautiful.

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Apr. 9th, 2006 03:18 am Oh no she didn't

Here are a few of my "oh no she didn'ts" from today.
Disclaimer is that Mama has been super duper busy
putting together a national youth conference and
a show that would kick off the weekend. Busy busy and
lots to do. Khalila comes to the theater shows, open mics,
and dances.

Tonight we were watching WEBO, an amazing artist from New
Orleans perform and she first says "I want to go with Quest,
Quest is my boyfriend." Quest is the son of Steven Sapp and
Mildred Ruiz, of Universes fame, not to mention all the other
amazing stuff they have done.

Hello, when did Khalila learn the word boyfriend, and why
does she have the mischievous grin on when she says it?

Next thing made me cry, about an hour and a half in, and
I tell you, she was great, I am so proud of her, but at that
moment she whispered "I miss Daddy" and I replied, "we'll see
Daddy soon, Daddy loves you, and Mama loves you."
tell me how she said "no you don't, you don't love me, you leave me."
Silent tears fell, as i didn't want the beautiful bundle in my lap
know the power of her words, not in terms of her feeling guilty and
trying to take them back.

I am glad she said what she said for it is a marker as to how she
is perceiving the world and it is important that I know these things,
however, I can't stand that I have to work during this critical time
in her life. I pray that she is not developing an abandonment issue
that will last the rest of her life. I need to help her understand that
well, i don't know, I just need to love her as much as i possibly can
and make the moments that we have together matter.

I couldn't help but wonder if I should have married a man or woman who
would be able to earn enough to let me be home with the babies.
Cast aside, don't dwell on the what ifs, focus on your baby girl and
the rest will fall into place.

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Mar. 30th, 2006 07:54 am Happier thoughts

A couple of my favorite Lili statements from the past.

Although it could break my heart if she said it more then that one day is
"you don't love me mama" as she stomped up the stairs, at 2 1/2.

Also the infamous "my nuts hurt mama"

And "that girl is making me so nervous" as she avoids a neighborhood 13 year old.

Of course, it is her inflection, and her expression that really make these statements endearing.

Khalila's friend Tea is having an article done about her in a magazine and they want to take pictures of her playing with her friends, so her mama Malu invited Khalila to be a part of the photo shoot as she is Tea's best friend. It is cute how many of the kids consider Khalila their best friend in her school. Malu was saying how Khalila was such a mother to Tea, they are 8 months apart.

As I thought about it I realized again how amazing Khalila is, and how lucky this world is that she is here. I won't put expectation on her, but if she continues to connect with and touch people the way she already has in under three years then wow. At school, every since day one she provides nurturing for the children that are sad when their parents leave, she helps those that fall, that cry, she holds hands with the shy ones to engage them, she helps the others put their shoes on, and unzip their lunchboxes. Her teachers are smitten, and Khalila has prompted one of them to have another child. Of course I told her if she gets pregnant before me, then I cannot talk to her anymore (just kidding, kinda)

I sometimes think Khalila should be onstage or in commercials, this idea came first from tons of people saying that when she always smiled as a baby, then it came when she exclaimed "Mama, these are the most delicious cookies we made" as she danced around. Also Shirley Temple has nothing on her, Khalila knows four different dance styles, she tumbles, she sings and makes up these incredible melodies, and she is a little actress, whenever she wants to make a point her facial expressions are priceless. Add her memory, her easy goingness, and her friendliness and I know she would have a place in that world.

However, I have seen the worst of what that world can do, and never want my bay girl to think that I am either living my dreams through her, or that I exploited her. So she will remain a local artist, until she is old enough to convince me otherwise, if that is to be her path.

I know this is like proud mama moment, and I hope it's not received negatively, but Khalila is too darn adorable not to have an entry dedicated to that. Seriously though, trying to lighten up since my last entry.

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Mar. 28th, 2006 11:53 am Mama's heart is breaking

I know the title is a bit dramatic but...
Another stick reads negative.
How many inseminations?
How many ovulation kits?
Peeing on how many sticks?
How many pills to ovulate?
How many pills to menstrate?
How many tears are shed?
How many pregnant women do I know?
I have been handling it well until all of the sudden
I broke down. I say change my perspective
Breath, you are all right.
Look at your healthy children
S, K, and K.
Look at them, safe and sound,
never having the horror of a kidnap
never having the horror of lukemia,
having lived through the horror of
incest and rape, luckily on of them
is healing and I know they will prevail.

I need to understand that the universe has
a different plan for me know and not let
my heart be broken. I love being a mother
more then anything else. I want my kids to
have each other, and a lot of each others
to depend on when they get older.
I guess next step is In vitro fertilization.
I need to be grateful that I live in a time
when there is treatment for infertility.
I need to be grateful that Khalila blessed
my thought to be infertile body.
I need to be grateful for my other kids that
I love as if I birthed them.
I need to be grateful that I am in the
training for foster parenting and will
expand my family, one way or another.
I need to understand...

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Mar. 26th, 2006 08:17 pm Blessings Be

I never take the time to write in this journal, well here I am to change my ways. I miss the time I used to spend reflecting with the computer. I certainly still reflect but there is something to preserving it.

Khalila and her sayings,
"I don't believe it" about anything that strikes her fancy.
"Hell to the no" okay, that's my fault, but I stopped saying it a while ago.
"Don't forget the kisses, don't forget the hugs" whenever one of us leaves.
"Mama, I want to tell you a tory, ssss tory" We are working on her sounding the letter s in front of a consonant. chool, ponge, tory, top, tage, nuggle. The s in front of a vowel is easy for her.
"Oh Snap" when something falls or the like.

Kevon and his cuteness
Ten years old and still climbs on my lap.
Lovingly taking care of Khalila.
Waiting his compliment if he hears me give on to Lili.
Attempting the spins on his head.
The fierce concentration he gives when he sings.

Khalila loves to clean, to cook, to play the piano, to dance, to step, to sing, to play with her baby girls Kanana and Higirl.

Today at the YMCA, everyone thought Khalila was a boy, the daycare provider said "he was so adaptable, and he is so bright" then we when to the plaing structure where a few more people said he this, he that. Then there was the four year old that decided she was a boy, and called her Jon. Of course I let Kevon dress her, and perhaps the clothes come from the boy section. I don't believe in all of that nonsense. I have bought her some adorable outfits from the boy section. My favorite is the suit with a tie, pictures to come when I get myself another camera.

I miss my baby girl so much, I can barely stand it. This huge conference and performance will be done in two weeks time, and then I can reclaim a bit of my life back. Hang on little missy, soon mama will be more available, I promise.

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Mar. 14th, 2006 01:07 am An email about Mamahood


After 21 years of marriage, My wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well," she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded, "Just the two of us." She thought about it for a
moment, and then said, "I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too,
seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print.

Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It
was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.

"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation---nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice; much more so than I could have imagined," I answered. A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I din't have a chance to do anything for her.

Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An
attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve.

Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till
"some other time."

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby....somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal" is history.

Somebody said yu learn how to be a mother by instinct....somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring....somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good"....somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices....somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor's kitchen window.

Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother....somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.

Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the first....somebody doesn't have five children.

Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing questions in the books....somebody never had a child
stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.

Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery....somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten...or on a plane headed for military "boot camp"...or off to college.

Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back....somebody never organized seven giggling Brownies to sell cookies.

Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married....somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.

Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home....somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her....somebody isn't a mother.

Pass this along to all the "mothers" in your life. I think we should also pass it on to anyone who has ever loved and/or lost a

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