Raising a Blended Family

Notes from the trenches at 6 & 8 months

Wow, you guys. It has been sooooo crazy around here. Crazy enough that I managed to type out that last blog post, get pics added, and then get distracted by something and never hit the “publish” button! Until just now, which is why you’re getting two posts in one day.

I haven’t had time to write the babes their six and eight month letters yet (I will! I swear I will!) but I wanted to get down some notes on them now, before they go off and learn even MORE fun stuff and I forget what they were like before they knew how to do X, Y, or Z.

Stuff like:

-Independent sitting. Finally, baby girl can do it. I suspect she may have been able to do it long ago, but she kept using one arm as a crutch/tripod and wouldn’t just completely sit up straight. She finally picked that arm up off the floor and wa-la! Sitting! Guess she gets there in her own time, right? Pax seems like he’ll get there in his own time too… The doctor mentioned that “oh yeah, he’ll probably start sitting really soon for you guys” at our last appointment and Shorty looked at her like she was crazy. The boy can sit in tripod position- sometimes- but he is nowhere near getting there on his own! I’m not worried about it though- it will come.

– Crawling. Again, this falls into the category of stuff-baby-boy-cannot-do-yet and stuff-baby-girl-mastered-within-this-last-month. Previously, she was doing the whole army crawl thing, but she figured out how to get up on her hands and knees pretty quickly and it was all over from there. Poor Pax- this puts him at a significant disadvantage. Whenever the babies are on the playroom floor and he has a toy Addie wants, she will simply crawl over and swipe it from him, and then either sit up out of his reach or crawl away with it. Naughty thing! Pax is not mobile enough either to crawl away from her or crawl after her (though he can and will put up a fight as long as she’s within his reach!), and so oftentimes he is left wailing on the floor for a mama to rescue him and retrieve his toy. It’s cute and pathetic all at the same time. 🙂

-TEETH!!! Holy crapballs, the teeth. Pax now has SIX (two lower, four top) and is working on two more. I keep asking him what in tarnation he needs so many teeth for when he is an exclusively breastfed baby, but he keeps refusing to answer the question. Sigh. At least he isn’t biting me anymore- if that hurt with two teeth, I can’t imagine what it would feel like with six! Addie is now sporting two and a half teeth- the half just having been spotted poking through this morning! We had no idea she was teething, because she doesn’t typically fuss, chew, or have any other hallmarks of a teething baby. As a result, both her first two and this third one have been of the “surprise! There’s a tooth there!” variety. Pax, on the other hand, drools and slobbers and whines and runs fevers- the whole house knows when he is teething!

-Lately, the whole house knows when Pax is mad, too. If you put him down when he’d rather be up, or take something away from him that he’d rather have, or try to get him to sleep when he would rather stay awake, he will immediately inform you of his preferences. Loudly. He has this angry-screech that he does, followed by angry wailing directed at whatever person has wronged him. It’s the first sign of a temper we’ve seen on our otherwise mellow guy and I’m hoping it is not a harbinger of terrible toddler tantrums to come!

-We’re also seeing the first signs of “directed crying.” What I mean by this is that, when a baby is a newborn and has a need, they just cry. They go for it full out and they’re not crying at anyone in particular, or trying to manipulate the situation, they’re just crying to get their needs met. Pax is still crying to get his needs met, but he’s now directing it at the person he wants to meet the need he has. For instance, when he’s hungry or wanting me to pick him up, he will look right at me and cry at me in this shallow-sounding, no-actual-tears kind of wail. Then he’ll stop to see what kind of response he gets. If I don’t respond right away, he’ll wait to catch my eye and then when he sees I’m looking, he’ll give the cry again. Shorty calls it his “fake cry” because it never really seems like he’s putting much effort into it or is really upset- he’s just trying to get us to do what he wants us to do. It’s very interesting watching him learn this, learn how to manipulate his environment to get things he wants or needs. Some would say he is manipulating us, but I think that his crying, even directed crying, is still a means of communication. He’s just gotten smarter about it lol.

– We are going to be starting Pax on solids, soon! He’s over six months now so he’s definitely allowed to… We haven’t had time to be honest because of the move but once we move and get high chairs set up, he’ll be getting solids twice a day, just like Addiekins! Speaking of whom, that little girl loves her some food. Any food. Pick a food! I generally let her try a little bit of whatever’s on my plate, provided its not too bad for her (and yes, I will guiltily admit that this does mean she has on occasion sampled teeny bites of a French fry or some frozen yogurt). The vast majority of her sampling though has been of the healthy variety. Broccoli is a favorite, as are sweet potatoes. Can’t wait to let her try more things as we go on!

-How could I forget- the STANDING! We noticed baby girl pulling up to a kneeling position a few weeks ago, but that was as far as she would get. Suddenly one day though, she grabbed the crib rail and hauled herself out of kneeling position, and STOOD! (We lowered the crib that night!). Since then she has repeated the trick using various items to pull herself up- baby gate, couch, mama legs, etc. She’s only done it a handful of times but I suspect she’ll catch on fairly quickly- that seems to be how she goes. Next stop, stepping!

-Both of them, laughing laughing laughing. It is the best sound in the whole wide world to hear the house fill up with baby laughter. Addie has a high-pitched giggle and Pax has a much lower “tee-ha-ha” and together, they are the cutest things in the whole wide world. Remind me to share a video of it. 🙂

-Statistics: we have no idea where Addie is, length-wise, since she’s in between her six and nine month check-ups, but weight wise she’s about 19lbs. She doesn’t feel that heavy when you pick her up- Pax actually feels heavier. He’s only 18lbs 8oz though (74%) and about 27.75 inches (84%? I think?). The doctor said he is tall for his age and that even though he looks quite chubby, he really isn’t and his height to weight ratio is perfect. Yay! I’ve always worried a little because he was such a chunker. He is in 12 month clothes, but I think that has a lot to do with the cloth diapers, since they’re both in ‘sposies this week (no cloth diaper laundry for me! Not while trying to move an entire household and five kids!) and he is back to fitting into his previously outgrown 6-9 month sleepers. ‘sposies are just so much more trim and give them less of that bulky diaper-butt.

-Last but not least, wanted to note that Pax IS rolling. Both directions, very regularly and easily. He’s been doing it awhile now but I couldn’t remember if I’d mentioned it on here before or not, so I’m mentioning it now. 🙂 He mostly just rolls from side to side but there have been a few times when the playroom floor was mostly clean and he was feeling motivated that he rolled all the way across the room for something! Only a few times though. I wish he would do it more, cause then he could keep up with Addie!

That’s it for now. If I think of something, I’ll add it. Probably not going to blog again until after the more (THREE DAYS! Holy crap!) so I’ll see you on the flip side!

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Busy days

Hey all, I just wanted to pop in here really quickly to apologize for my lack of writing. As you can imagine, it’s been busy days around here, what with swimming lessons for five out of six kids (baby girl sitting these out- not a water fan), Tae Kwon Do and gymnastics for the older kids, school, and oh yes! We’re moving in 8 days.

(ahhhhhhhh! my life is crazy.) (feel free to nod your head in agreement).

anyways, I would love to blog about these and any number of other items (including the fact that as of last Wednesday, Pax turned a whole SIX MONTHS OLD and it feels like his babyhood is going waytoofast,dammit) but like I said, time is in short supply around here. So here’s a quickie-version and some really cute pictures so that you’ll forgive me for being such a crappy blogger and we can still be friends (bribery totally works, right?):

-Shorty and I have been talking a lot about Link. We think we’ve come to a decision. Stay tuned.

-Double antibiotic-resistant ear infections for baby girl. Round four of antibiotics. Poor. Thing.

-As mentioned above, lots of extracurricular activities for the Zoo herd. The reasoning behind such a full schedule was “keep them busy so they stay out of trouble slash it’s good for them”…. But I think we may have made a tactical error. We’re keeping them busy but when we get home they still have as much energy as ever and we’re exhausted. Dammit.

-Pax is doing mommy-baby swim lessons. Oh, the cuteness.

-We move in 8 days. Holy crapballs.

-Certain selfish stupid people continue to be selfish and stupid. Surprise.

And that’s really it! I will blog more… Sometime. Pictures!





























The Biggest Casualty.

With three foster kids and two of our own, we get a lot of comments on our unique family situation.  One of the comments I get the most often when people learn about our mixed family is “Oh, you’re an angel.” Followed by a lot of gushing about how awesome and selfless I am. Blahdy-blah-blah.

Thanks and all, but you guys? I have a confession.  I am not an angel and I’m certainly not selfless (the awesome I’ll take, though).

Fostering all these children is wonderful and something I do gladly. As more and more information pours in about their home situation (hint: someone involved just popped positive for mothereffing meth, you guys. METH.), I thank everything that we are able to be there for them and be their safe space, now that their home is not that place for them.

But doing this for them is not without a price, and sometimes I worry that the price is too much to pay.

There. I said it.  See? Not an angel, not selfless.

Worried about how much this is costing us.. but not monetarily (screw the money).  Costing us in other ways… in terms of our future children.

Once Pax was born, and before all of this happened (when we still just had Addie), Shorty and I were NOT done.  We both very, very, very much want another child. You see, we have Thing One, and now we have Pax.  We love them both, but they are seven (almost eight) years apart.  They will never go to the same school, ride a bus together, play at a park together, or be small children together.  By the time Pax is five, Thing One will be a teenager and want nothing to do with him! By the time he is ten, she will be graduating high school and off to college.

I have only one other sibling- a brother.  He and I are eleven years apart, which is bigger than eight years but not THAT much bigger.  I am the older sister and while he is still living at home, going through high school, I am all the way across the country raising my own kids. He and I are not close and were each basically raised as only children, and I never.never.never wanted that for my own kids.  It is too late to close the age gap between Thing One and Pax (although the age gap is one of the major reasons we started trying for Pax as soon as we did!) but Shorty and I always envisioned having another baby after Pax, making them as close in age as was possible and reasonable, and then being done.

The baby we are envisioning already has a nickname: Link.  Link is important to us not only because we want to see him/her and Pax grow up together, but for one other reason: his/her nickname comes from the fact that not only will s/he be a younger sibling for Pax to grow up with, but s/he will also, literally, Link our family.

It works like this:

Shorty carried Thing One, who also has a dad.  I carried Pax, and we used Known Donor.  It has always been the plan for Shorty to carry Link, and for us to use Known Donor.

Thus, I carried Pax, and Pax and Link will be genetic half-sibs because we will use the same donor. But Link and Thing One will also be half-sibs because Shorty will carry/carried them both, and we will all be Linked, as a family. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed envisioning and looked forward to so much.

Enter current circumstances.

We were going to start trying next month (yes, we want them close).  Shorty was already tracking her cycles, even.  Of course, that’s not going to happen now… it’s a little too hectic at the moment for TTC.  When we realized this, we made a note on our mental calendars, and pushed our TTC date back to August, and soldiered on. And August could still happen, but then again, it could not.  What if August rolls around and we still have all these kids? September? October?

The Idiot’s parental rights will be terminated come November (mandated by state law), if she fails to meet the requirements to get her children back by then. If that happens, Addie will be up for adoption, and we would, of course, adopt her.  We aren’t sure where that would leave Bubby or L due to the presence of the Moron but the possibility remains that we could end up, permanently, with all these kids. And while that may be in the best interest of the current children, unfortunately, it might be Link’s undoing… I don’t think we could financially manage a house of six children, permanently- so adding another would be out of the question.

So where does this leave us? I don’t know. If we’re going to have him/her, we want to start sooner rather than later, to reduce the possibility of a big age gap.  But how can we start TTC again with all this craziness going on around us?

This is not the first time we have been in this kind of situation. Before we started trying with Pax, we had Bubby living with us. We questioned then, too, if we should go ahead and try even though we had him with us and the possibility of keeping him.  We went ahead, and here Pax is, and of course I don’t regret it one single bit. If we went ahead with Link in the same way, I know we would never regret that either. Maybe that’s the answer, then.

No matter what, I love these kids we’ve got and I know it is absolutely not their fault that their worlds fell apart around them.  Shorty and I are both here for them, to be the strong and dependable adults in their lives.

But dammit, I want our little Link baby too.


Date Night and Easter

Well, things have been crazy busy around here (understatement), but Shorty and I still managed to have a date night (with help from Grandma, who babysat).  It was a pretty intense date night… we laughed, we cried, and there were several points in time when I’m pretty sure my wife wanted to kill me. Sounds successful, right?

It was a two-part evening. The first part was an adventure to a high ropes course that I picked as a surprise date.  I have done low ropes courses before, but never high, and I thought it would be a fun adventure… something different from the norm.  Shorty had never done either… and I forgot (until we got there and she started rocking back and forth) that she’s afraid of heights. Oops. So that would be the wife-wanting-to-kill-me part.

The first thing we did when we got there was called “ground school.”  Basically, it was where they taught us how to put on our harnesses and how to attach ourselves to the cables of the ropes course, all while standing on the ground so we didn’t kill ourselves once we were 10,000ft in the air…. or whatever.  Pretty sure Shorty was wishing the entire time that we would just stay earth-bound. Sorry, wife.


Shorty, safely only 3 feet off the ground, holding on for dear life while learning to clip herself in.


Us, BEFORE the course. Note the wife’s forced smile?


nervously examining the heights….

After we finished ground school, the next step was to decide how to get UP into the course. There were four routes we could have taken:

This rope ladder...

This rope ladder…

These two elements were also possibilities...

These two elements…


..or this.

Wife told me she would go whichever way I went and that last one, being the hardest, was naturally the one I chose to try. Sorry again, wife.

Climbing this thing was seriously a you-know-what. It was straight vertical and I have, like, zero upper arm strength. But with a lot of swearing and some serious determination, I made it to the top.

halfway up and stuck...

halfway up and stuck…

Made it to the top. BOOYEAH!

Made it to the top. BOOYEAH!

Little did we know (we should have known), getting there was the easy part.  There were still the elements to cross, and a little thing called getting down. We’ll get to that part.

Once we got to the top, our paths began to diverge.  Wife chose this crazy-scary looking tightrope type thing where the only things to hold onto were swinging PVC pipes.  Yeah. Crazy.

climbing off the platform (I swear that was the scariest part)...

climbing off the platform (I swear that was the scariest part)…


see? terrifying.

see? terrifying.


Not that my chosen path was any easier.  I chose this swinging bridge thing, which looked really fun until I realized, as soon as I stepped onto the first one, that the mother effers actually SWANG and so traversing this “bridge” was similar to standing on a playground swing on one foot and leaning back and forth to build momentum and get it to swing… except that these swings were tiny, 100ft up in the air, and then you had to reach out and try to grab the next mofo, staring into the thin air between you and the ground while you did so. Holy crapballs, it was hard.

Looking back once I got across it... see what I mean?

Looking back once I got across it… see what I mean? Those Em effers SWUNG when you stepped on them!


After this, pictures got scare as I was too busy staying alive and stuff to take pictures.  Here’s one of me walking across this log-thing after Shorty chickened out early chose to descend to the ground. I always knew she was the smarter one of the two of us.


My genius self decided to stay up there and push my luck… which is how I ended up in this little predicament:

Sitting on a ledge, legs dangling off. Staring through the thin air to the ground 100ft below. Not attached to anything on the ledge whatsoever. And they were telling me to jump.

Oh, and I also may have been hyperventilating.

Ya’ll, I pride myself on being adventure-ready. I backpack (okay, fine, used to. But loved it.). Rock climb. IN college I climbed the huge redwoods and climbed sheer cliffs.  But this. This was HARD.  Making myself jump off a ledge into a freefall… I had a really hard time with it. Sure, I was attached to cables (in a V shape) so I knew they would catch me and I would end up swinging instead of falling. But still. It was terrifying and in the end it was only the knowledge that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it, that made me go.

Here I go:

Yep. Fun at the end but scary as hell until then. I got down and promptly burst into tears of relief on Shorty’s shoulder.

In any case, we made it through alive and in one piece.  And treated ourselves to a soothing meal of sushi afterwards. It was a great date night!

post- challenge course.

post- challenge course.


The next morning, we woke up and did Easter.  I don’t have a lot to say about this except that it was chaos.  Here are the four big kids’ easter baskets, all lined up nice and neat the night before.


Let me assure you, they did not stay that way.  I wish I had taken after pictures, but alas, I did not.

After the easter-basket frenzy, we took the kids to an underwater scavenger hunt at the local community pool. It was pretty chaotic (and packed) but the kids had fun. They had these eggs that filled with water and then sank, and then the kids could trade in the eggs they found for prizes back on dry land.  Pretty nifty. The babies also enjoyed observing from the sidelines:




So that’s all for now.  Hope ya’ll had a great Easter! We definitely did.




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