The most common question

It has been over 2 months since my last blog post.  I promise there have been plenty of post worthy events.   As i read over the last couple post before my absence i am reminded of Brisket’s pending return to grandma as far back as the August 13th post.  At that time the home study was back and only required approval.  To sum up the time between August 13th and now would be…two more weeks.

We heard it will be about two more weeks every two weeks for almost three months.  This morning the last two weeks came to an end.  Brisket’s time with us wrapped up and she has made the transition to her grandmother’s home.

The most common question or statement we have heard over the past 7 months has been “how you are just going to give that baby back?”  or “what are you going to do if they take her back?”. Until today i didn’t have an answer.

That State of Texas made a decision which took place today.  The CPS worker came to our house today and we quietly loaded up Brisket’s clothes, toys, bottles, and other things.  After everything was in the car Tori and I walked outside and buckled Brisket into the car seat.  At that point there was nothing we could say or do, no amount of hugs or kisses to show Brisket the level of our love for her.  The CPS worker did his best and passed along a message of thankfulness from Brisket’s grandma.  It was all over in less than 10 minutes.

We came inside and cried.  After some time we talked more about the entire experience.  We both agreed we would do it all over again knowing the loss and pain we feel now.  Living with Brisket for the past 7 months has no doubt been our greatest joy and sense of accomplishment.  Our life with her started April 6th at the hospital when she weighed less than 5 lbs.   This is a picture from that very first day:img_3078

We had absolutely no idea what we were doing and they sent us home with a fragile human being! For almost 7 full months we have done everything in our power to give this baby everything.  While the loss is emotional i am quick to tears when i look back at the mother T became overnight.  There is no question she deserves most of the credit for caring for this helpless little baby. Before she left this morning we weighed our Brisket one last time and she was just shy of 18 lbs.  at 9 months old.   We were back on the charts and in line with where she should be given her age.  She has made incredible progress since being almost three months premature.  Here is what all that hard work looks like:

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I am sure there is more grief and pain in the coming days but we will never forget the little girl who changed our lives.

More to come.  Thanks for the love and support from all our family and friends.

Gut punched

I will save you another dramatic and depressing blog post.  I lost my grandmother this week.  She lived with Alzheimer’s, reducing her quality of life, for the past 10 years.  Much like any family funeral, it is also a forced family reunion.  I have a fair-sized extended family that I know very little about.  Not knowing these people did not stop them from acting like family to me and the kids during this tough time.  More than once did T ask “Who is holding the baby?” my answer “I am not sure”.

The kids played a vital role of both distraction and entertainment during a stressful and trying time. Jack’s best performance was while sitting on the front row at the funeral, loosing his mind before the opening prayer was half way complete.  As T tried to quickly walk through the funeral home with a yelling 19 mo-old boy, Jack noticed me sitting with the other pallbearers and shouted “Hi Dada”.  Naturally, the crowd smiled during the prayer that no one could hear.

While there is very little that’s calming about either one of these kids, it was amazing what an impact they can have.  See below:

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There have been funny things along the way:

For the past few weeks I have been working to convert my mother in law’s name of Nay Nay to Sha Nay Nay and i am getting really close.  We look at pictures of Sha Nay Nay on my phone daily and call her Sha Nay Nay over and over.  I hope it sticks.

T might or might not have a habit of not turning in her expense report in a timely manner.  Well, after a few long trips in the car, it had worn Jack out.  This morning the kid just kept sleeping and sleeping and I finally had to go to work, so the burden shifted to T.  While she was getting ready, he came running in to the room yelling momma, holding her expense receipts that had been on the table for a few (days, weeks, quarters).  Made his dad proud.

Lou Lou and Grandy’s vacuum sleeps more than any other vacuum we have ever seen. (after hearing him say bacuum close to 3,000 times, we have been forced to tell him we can not get the vacuum out because its sleeping).

Brisket has added another nickname, Big Fat Baby.

When Jack sleeps in the car he is really funny when he wakes up.  He tries act like he wasn’t asleep and just starts talking right away and moving his arms around.

Some of my friends are the worst

If there is one thing that really chaps my ass it’s my self-centered friends. You know, I am over hear trying to live out a Lifetime Movie of a life, and these jerks think it’s ok to just drop me a text that says, “Marcus – check this band out…you will dig it”.  After 32 years of life on earth, finding new music that fits what you are looking for is hard.  It takes a lot of time and commitment to listening to average stuff.  You go down a lot of rabbit holes testing similar or frequently like artists, when you find one you like but they don’t always match up. When life gets busy, digging for new bands tends to drop off my radar completely.   Until last Tuesday when this lowlife, Alex text me.  He says listen to the Fugue State EP by Vulfpeck.   He even sends me an iTunes link in the text.

The part that really, really pisses me off is he was absolutely right.  I love it.  My first question back is how long have you known about this?  “Heard them on XM a few weeks ago” he responds. A COUPLE OF WEEKS! What kind of friend is this guy?!

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Serious transition.

Its been a really hard week.  While I love to joke around on here, life has been giving me a healthy dose of body shots. In the past week two things are really bending my mind:

  • Brisket’s pending move
  • A trip to see my grandmother for possibly the last time

Please understand this is an attempt at total honesty.  In my lifetime, as a middle class white male, this is one of the first times I have felt utterly out of control.  My entire life, when things didn’t work out, there was always a plan B or a way to “try again” and ultimately get whatever I wanted.  I will be the first to say it’s wrong that I have made it this long in life without feeling this sensation.  I understand how fortunate I have been.

Experiencing helplessness hurts but, I cannot help but stop and think about those who live this way a majority of their life.  Let’s ignore the cause for now.  It is a bizarre time of guilt and pain. I want to be upset and throw a fit.  I want to make a scene.  It is cliche, but my god, I have so much good in my life.  I would gladly give it all up to keep Brisket or my Grandma, but neither is an option.  Why do we let people around us live a lifetime feeling this way?  I am part of the problem and don’t have a solution.

I apologize for the dark tone here but I am working through uncharted territory in my mind.

 

One of a kind

My old lady is a good ole fashion mom.  Forget all the moving pieces and pending doom in our life, T decided first day of school presents for teachers are a “thing”.  Teachers also means day care workers.  So what does she do in the middle of the night?

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Thats right 12 gifts… Brisket’s 2 teachers, the 2 teachers next door to Brisket who sometime take care of her, the school chef,  3 front desk workers, the girl with yellow eyes, Jack’s 2 teachers, the girl who is there by herself in the early morning.

Yeah i mean if it really was a thing i had planned to pick up 2 or 3 Hot & Ready’s around noon and drop them off at the school.  Not T she has got this momma thing down and is currently brainstorming birthday party teams for 2, 3, and 4. Thanks to me 2 will be off the hook.

Another example of her going above and beyond was a few mornings ago. I am the nature morning person between the two of us and have been getting up with him between 5-6am every day for the past couple of months.  Well she can tell i am tired.  Jack woke up around 4:45am with a stinger in his diaper so we both got up to change him and try to get him back to sleep.  Cup of milk, couple good songs, T in the crib with him, and none of it was working.  She told me to “Go back to bed baby, i got it”.   Awesome.

I woke up again about 6 am and noticed the house was dead silent.  Maybe they went for a walk?  Whataburger?  The baby monitor was still on and sitting on my night stand so i picked it up.  I felt like i was in the middle of a horror movie.  The monitor was still pointing at his bed and it was empty.  I started to pan the camera left and it slowly began to give me a glimpse of the crime scene.  Every single item in the room which could be reached 3 ft and under was on the floor. Chairs flipped over, teepee in ruins, diaper pale upside down, and right in the middle of it all:

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My little all-star momma.  Out cold.  Good news is he had not killed her.  When i opened the door a little head emerged from behind the teepee and said “Eat Eat”.

Good times.

 

It was all a dream…

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Lets see here…We have had a pretty wild week.  Each kid’s CPS worker paid us a visit, our Hope Cottage case worker paid us a visit too, normal weekly visit with birth mom, a dentist appointment, and then our life too.

I felt like we were constantly coming and going from home and work to make this all happen the week was a blur.  This week Brisket’s CPS worker let us know her grandmothers home study was back and under review by her supervisor, Brisket’s attorney, and then the judge.  While we knew it had been in the works it didn’t seem like a big deal until this week.  Brisket has two half brothers and the oldest will start school this year.  The CPS worker anticipates everyone rushing to get the kids moved in with grandma by August 22nd in order to keep him from having to change schools this year.

While we don’t know any dates for certain it sounds and feels like our time with Brisket is quickly coming to a close.  The most common question or comment has always been “I just don’t know how you will give them back” well, we are about to find out.  We are no more prepared for this than the average person.  We have spent the past four months with this little girl like she was our own.  I don’t know what we will need, how it will work, or when it will happen but the day is drawing near.

If it wasn’t me i would tell any other foster family remember, this has been the game plan set in place by CPS from day one.  This is the best option for Brisket according to their years and years of experience.  She will most likely grow up with her brothers and grandma playing a large role in her life.  You have done your part.  You have served your community and have changed the life of someone who will likely never know about this phase of life.

Could we do it better?  It doesn’t matter.  Would she have access to more resources with us?  That’s not a factor.  Is the grandma able to care for 3 kids under 5 years old?  The Judge will decide.  These are all hard questions that really are not worth asking in this situation because in my opinion we have done our job.  This is what we signed up for.  Sure we both have fallen deeply in love with this little baby and thats ok.

I am sure there will be more depressing posts to come.

Jack update – he is now affectionately referring to his man parts as his “dingus”, which i love.  He has mastered the car seat back arch.  He seems to learn a new word each day.  While the vacuum started as “bac” it has become “bacuum”.  He continues to do very well in daycare and thrives with the daily routine and structure.

Stay tuned.  Thanks for your support.

Welcome to The Jungle

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We have a spare ticket to Guns and Roses, do you want it?   (long pause) Well…can i get back to you tomorrow?

Mental exercise = If the ticket says 8 pm then, The Cure will start at 8:15. Play 30-40 minutes.  Best case GNR takes the stage by 9:15 but more likely 9:30.  Jack eats dinner around 6:30, in the bath by 7, and laying down for bed between 7:45 and 8.  If i leave home at 8 i can get to AT&T Stadium by 8:45.  This might just work!

“Drinks and Dinner before?”  – i know better than to even ask.

“Why not?” – I have one wife and two kids.

This triggers mind bending conversation – would you rather have one wife and two kids or two wives and one kid?  There is no good answer.

As of today we still have 2 kids.  At this point i have no idea when that will change.

Brisket has got to be creeping up on 15 lbs.  She rolled over (tear) and is turning into a big ole fat baby.  She is smiling a lot and is using her hands to grab on to anything.  There is one concern we have with her.  That is, the amount of TV she watches.  At the age of 5 months her eyes are glued on the TV any time its on.  She will get fussy and melt down if you are standing in front of the TV.  She watches a ton of ID channel, soccer, and Good Morning America.

Now the other one could easily create enough content for his own blog.

Last week we came home from work at the same time and started unpacking from the day.  Jack was playing in the living room while we let the dogs out, set down bags, and changed out of our work clothes.  When i walked back into the living room he was standing in the middle of the room and looked like this:

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It wasn’t a Cuban he was smoking, it was a Chinese dog turd.  Our wonderful Shih Tzu had left a gift in the corner of the room which we did not see when we walked in.  I calmly walked over and took the cigar out of his mouth and didn’t say a word.

The toaster is loosing its place in the household appliance rankings.  The vacuum is quickly making its way up the ranks.  He started 3 weeks ago in complete life shattering fear of the vacuum and has progressed to needing to open the closet in the closet in the laundry room 3-4 times per day just to check and see if the vacuum is still in there.

We are having a blast with these two wild animals.

Son of a Banker

It has been 19 days since the last post and I am sorry for the time that has passed.  I promise you have missed a ton and I will do my best to bring you up to speed.

First off we have landed on an official name for the young lad, Jack Henry Morris.  To the masses it’s a good solid name.  A versital combination of names that will serve him well at any age.

I a much smaller demographic the name clearly stands for:

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That’s right Jack Henry & Associates Inc., the S&P 50 company that supports more than 11,300 financial institutions with core processing services. So imagine telling everyone at work you named your first son after your core processing system.  Yes it has been painful.

In other news Brisket is 12.5 lbs and sleeps sideways in the middle of a king size bed. Over the past couple of weeks she has transitioned from a little baby to a combination of an asian man / Fat Albert.  As you can imagine very cute. It is hard to imagine she is 5 months old now.

As for boy wonder, he has this incredible skill of ignoring every old person who wants to say hello.  When we are in public he gives them this blank stare like he is fresh off the boat from Iceland and doesn’t understand a word they are saying.  That’s not the incredible part.  This kid can pick the person in the crowd who has the least interest in talking to a 17 month old and will start a 20 questions game with them.  Yesterday in Costco we passed an Indian family and the little boy said “hi” to the grandma of the family and she ignored him.  For the next 20 rows we passed the same family and this kid had something to say to her every single time.  For 20 rows she ignored him every single time.

That is it for now.  More juicy info to come later this week.

A new normal…kinda

After so much diaper talk 5 days ago things got messy…real messy.  I believe it was a combination of expired dairy products and pizza rolls (keep in mind we are still new at this).   After a few days on the B.R.A.T. diet we are back to solids.  The B.R.A.T. diet did expose one of the greatest joys in life for the little boy….the toaster.  No telling the money and resources used to entertain him and nothing causes him to launch into outer space like a cheap toaster.

Cheap-Toaster

The fun starts with the fact he can only see a small portion of the toaster behind the child locked cabinets.  Often he stands there with the cabinet door cracked open a few inches blindly fishing around with his arm hoping to find the toaster.  The second level of fun is the understanding the toaster is always hot no matter what.  Watching my hands burn brings him great joy. The final thrill is the toast itself.  Yep. Just dry toast can stop tears in the blink of an eye and trigger belly rubbing and laughing.

Each morning we start our routine at 5 am when he screams bloody murder until I get him out of bed.  I lay on the floor in his room trying to sleep with one eye open while he mills around in his 12 pound diaper.  After Armageddon (diaper change) we made our way to the kitchen to start the toast routine.  I drag this out as long as possible because it’s 5:15 am and I have no other options once breakfast is over.  After a combination of getting dressed for school, waking up mom, and fighting with the dogs, we are out the door by 7:15 am.

Fast forward to 5:15 pm and we are picking up the kids heading home. First activity: the trip to get the mail, which has lasted up to 25 minutes due to unforeseen lizards and squirrels.  The second thing, is the new family tradition of a 6 pm dance party.  Each night we kick off dinner with everyone dancing in the kitchen.  In my mind this is a way to expose them to music.

  • Day 1 – Bob Dylan – Hurricane
  • Day 2 – Chris Stapleton – Fire Away
  • Day 3 (Friday)  Rebecca Black – Friday
  • Day 4 – Little Mermaid – Under The Sea (holds up well to the test of time)
  • Day 5 – Sturgill Simpson – Sea Stories
  • Day 6 – Jay-Z – Can I Get A..

While neither kid is interested at all, this has been fun for T and I.

Did I mention we landed on the name for the little boy? It lasted about 5 days and now the naming committee is considering other options. Stay tuned…

Brisket News: the little girl slept 11pm to 6am several nights in a row.  This is big, people.

We have several meetings over the next few weeks with adoption agents, CASA workers, CPS workers, birth mom, and doctors.

 

The Toddler Formerly know as …

I remember in 1993 when Prince changed his name to the “Love symbol”.  At age 9 I didn’t really understand because, what was his mom going to call him?  How would he rent a car?  I had so many questions.  Now I understand his dilemma.  Noodle has a pretty basic name given to him by his birth mother but for us it’s a reflection of someone else. When I am looking into his eyes discussing Brexit, while changing a diaper a Clydesdale would be proud of.

While I have promised a full diaper post, I was not prepared for the difference between what sweet little Brisket produces compared to the loaf of bread sized diapers the little boy has been generating.

Back on track, for the past few days we have been racking our brain on possible names.  Of course serious options only last for about 3 minutes before we launch into less than sincere alternatives.  Some of my favorites:

  • Klaus
  • Uncle Butch
  • Ned
  • Marcus Jr.
  • Estefan

The nice thing for us is there is really a pretty small circle who really know this little kid and his actual name.  Changing the name should be pretty easy.  Don’t think we haven’t tried yelling a few of the options from the other side of the room to see if he would turn around and look.

Miscellaneous & Housekeeping items:

  • Our first diaper rash experience was a blast.
  • We were sent home from daycare for the first time.  (Have not got to call in sick to work yet)
  • Please do not send toys.  We will notify you when we need more.
  • Father’s Day was a hit.
  • Cooked a Brisket for the first time since we got a baby named Brisket.  A little odd I am not going to lie.  We had two 10 lbs Briskets and some confusion.  “Have you checked on the Brisket?”  “The meat or the Baby?”