Friday, November 1, 2013

HuffPost Live Interview



Hi, y'all, I'm going to be on Huffpost Live on Monday, 11/4/13, at 11:30 Central Time, talking about special needs adoption. They haven't given me a direct link yet, but until I have one to share you can try going here, where you can choose to be alerted when the conversation goes live.

Thought while I was here I'd give you an updated photo of the Beebles, taken last night.

JSJ

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Forwarding Address

Okay, people: I'm at jennystaffjohnson.com and that's FINAL. Until I change my mind again. And here. I might post some here, too. No one can stop me. Which is kind of the point. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Awesome Future is Now

Mr. Double Digits
Today my oldest turns ten years old. This is big for both of us.

He had a tough entry into the world on a couple of levels, and I had an equally tough time handling new motherhood. (I've written just a little bit about this on the NYT's consistently readable Motherlode blog; you can read it here.)

For the sake of the kid's privacy I'm not going to go into great detail, but let's just say we did not have much fun those first six months. It was not the kid's fault. It was instead a perfect storm of inexperience, unpreparedness, colic, passivity on the part of nearby adults, and hormonal malaise. Oh, and I liked to stay up late, and the kid liked to wake up at 5 AM. Like I said, not fun.

We have fun now, though, and lots of it. He is such a special kid, so sweet, creative, funny, and competent. He has a big heart and a fantastic brain. He is training with his dad for a kids' triathlon. So today I'm celebrating what a wonderful kid I have and how far we've come together.

I know some people love the baby stage of parenthood, and to those sweet folks I can only say this: what color is the sky in your world? But for those who are like me let me reassure you, it gets better. So much better. Night-and-day better. In fact, we need to do an "It Gets Better" series for overwhelmed new moms, don't you think?

Although not officially part of my imaginary new series, this bit from Dooce, which gave me the title for this post, would fit right in.

Mexico, July 2011
Happy birthday, Clyde. We love you the most.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Virtual Twins

Christmastime in Houston, December 2010

How old are your kids?

I get asked this all the time. Do you? I guess it's an easy, innocuous conversation starter that can go in any direction depending on the number cited in reply: just commiserate about (or celebrate) the quirks of that particular stage, and you're off.

But I digress.

When people ask me my kids' ages, I say, "Two of them are eight and one of them is nine." (At least I'll say that until this Friday when my oldest will turn 10.) Then the questioner, as soon he or she gets over the shock of all my children being almost exactly the same age, invariably says this:

"Oh, you have twins?"

I never know how to respond to this, because effectively, yes, I have twins. They're in the same grade at the same school and participate in many of the same activities. They play hide and seek together. They bicker ferociously. They compete for my attention. They occasionally camp out on the floor in each other's bedrooms. They share friends.

But are they fraternal, or identical? Neither. They are three months apart in age, and one of them was born in China. For a pretty comprehensive take on what the virtual twins life is like, read this post on Raising Devils, which details some of the pitfalls, as well as the perks: I particularly appreciated the author's riff on Candyland ("I only had so many games of Candyland in me, and I my oldest child exhausted them five years ago"), which describes my usual position on the matter and reminded me of this quote from Anna Quindlen:




Maybe I had three children in the first place so I wouldn't ever have to play board games.* 



I actually like some board games quite a bit, but when it comes to some of the more excruciating (for me) activities of childhood (see tic tac toe), it's great to be able to say, "Go find your brother/sister. Maybe s/he wants to play!" Sometimes it even works.

Visiting the Bejing Zoo, July 2009
*From this essay, "The Good Enough Mother," which is totally me, or at least I like to think it is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Second Anniversary

I'm not supposed to post here anymore, or at least I said I wasn't going to after we reached the one year anniversary of our adoption, but I think I'm going to resume doing so. In the interim I've been doing plenty of freelance writing, some of which you can read here and here, along with some things like this, but I miss having my own blog home. I don't think it will be primarily an adoption blog, or even a straight-up mom blog, but I like the name Axis of Beebles, so I think I'll keep it. Despite the disclaimers, however, my first post back is both adoption- and mom-related. I wrote it last week on the second anniversary of our "Gotcha Day."

Jackson Hole, Wyoming—July 2011

I don't think I've been this proud of my daughter since the day we met. Which just so happens was two years ago today. Though I'm not entirely sure how it happened, I woke up this morning to find myself signed up for a ten-mile bike ride with Mark, the kids and my dad. We're on a weeklong family vacation in Jackson Hole, and while I do my best to stay in reasonable shape, a ten-mile anything is definitely outside my comfort zone. But lured by promises of easy terrain and wonderful scenery—and to set a good example for the kids—I agreed, and off we went.

The ride turned out to be harder than any of us thought it would be, and though I tolerated the challenge I worried about Rosemary. She's so small, and had never attempted anything remotely like this before. I needn't have worried, though, as she faced this new challenge with her characteristic determination and (intermittent) optimism. After a somewhat bumpy start for her and my other young one, she attacked the task with concentration, pride, and sometimes even enthusiasm. Her little legs had to move so fast to keep up with me even at my slowest, but she stayed positive until the very end.

Which took me back to that afternoon in the conference room of the Beijing businessman's hotel. She was so brave that day, scared but seemingly optimistic that things were going to go well. Which, of course, was to a large degree a self-fulfilling prophecy. She was so game, so up for anything. Which considering the cataclysm of change that befell her that day, is quite something.

But back to the bike ride. Occasionally she'd call out "Mom!" and I'd say yes, right here, right behind you, are you ok? And thus reassured that I was still there her she'd reply confidently, "Yes! Family stays together, waits for each other."

Rosemary, I couldn't have said it better myself. We're so glad you're part of our family.

Monday, July 5, 2010

On July 5, 2009...



We met our daughter in Beijing, China. She was six-and-a-half. Last night we went to dinner at Fung's Kitchen to celebrate the milestone. We ordered the family combo meal, and though we probably should've been tipped off by the fact that it was described on the menu only in Chinese, we weren't. So we ended up with a dinner like so many we had in China, composed of things we couldn't identify with certainty, and also a severed chicken head, which regrettably, we could.


Perhaps in retrospect we should've had pizza, since Papa John's was our first meal as a family of five. Apparently it is the custom to give the new families quiet bonding time in their hotel rooms while the guide fetches pizza. I do love pizza, and so does little miss.


So I guess now it's time to say goodbye. Sadly, this is it for the Axis for the forseeable future. I've really enjoyed posting here, but have scruples about publicizing my kids' lives on the Internet, so I have to sign off. I have so appreciated everyone's encouragement and support over the last year; all your comments and emails really made a difference. You can still reach me at the email address listed on this blog if you ever need me; especially if you want to talk about older child/special needs adoption. I'd love to help.


PS: I'd hoped to have my new website set up by now to share with you, but I'm not quite ready. I'll leave it here, as a forwarding address of sorts, when it's available.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Brief Clarification


An astute reader commented after my "Yippee Skippee" post that she assumes things are not always hearts and rainbows around our house. This is an absolute fact. I generally figure that goes without saying, because whose life is always like that? Mine's not.

This morning, for example, meltdowns have been more the order of the day than hearts and rainbows. But it's early yet; here's hoping....


Friday, July 2, 2010

Yippee Skippee!

A year ago today, we got on an airplane to bring this darling girl home from China. We were scared to death, as I'm sure she was too. Here's what things are like today:

video

I'll post again on Monday, our "Gotcha Day" anniversary, which will be my last post here on the Axis. I hope by then to be able to leave some breadcrumbs to my next online home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Six Months Home


Six months ago tonight we arrived at Houston Intercontinental Airport on a Continental flight from Hong Kong, ending our once-in-a-lifetime China journey to bring our daughter home. I remember how she stayed up all night that first night, and though I could hardly blame her, I regretted that I was doing a poor job of keeping my eyes open to help her take stock of her new home. Fortunately, we all survived and now sleep through the night quite well, thank you very much.

We celebrated with dinner at Auntie Chang's Dumpling House, selected for its strategic location between home and Joel's school, where we were headed for open house night. RJ took no notice of the occasion and had her usual very, very busy day. She spent it attending school, scooter riding, writing a letter to her grandparents, and asking me for tips on how to spell everyday English words and pronounce the phrase "flip flops."

We ended as we have most nights lately, by reading The Three Little Pigs and then having a chat about how our house is a strong one too, no big bad wolves need apply. Then it's time for a little extra discussion about what tomorrow will hold, counting down the days until Saturday (no school!), and lights out.

Have I mentioned how great we all think she is?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Post on the New York Times' Motherlode Blog

I've been noodling with this piece for a long time, ambivalent as my patient readers well know about whether to publish. This week, I went for it. We can discuss more about why in days to come, if anybody's interested.

In the meantime I'm visiting friends and preparing to relish all the end-of-the-decade music shows that are bound to be airing tomorrow.

Talk to y'all soon.

Fall Foliage Fun



Seriously, what has gotten into Houston these days? Sure, we had winter and fall out of order, but they did arrive nonetheless.

RJ is going to get spoiled and think we actually have four seasons around here...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Put this on Your Mom Blog"

Just following the president's instructions....

video

Friday, December 25, 2009

Rosemary's First Christmas in Houston


It was one of those Houston winter days that make me so happy. Clear, cold and relentlessly sunny. The kids enjoyed their $6 wooden airplanes in the yard while the grownups struggled to reach full consciousness via large amounts of coffee in front of the fireplace.

She'd gone to bed on Christmas Eve a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts--we'd celebrated the traditional South Texas Christmas feast and exchanged gifts with my extended family that evening--but woke up happy, and fully embraced her first American Christmas. A good time was had by all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Star is Born



I can't believe I convinced all 3 kids to enact my role of choice in the annual Christmas pageant. Our church has the best star costumes.

Oh, and she tried roller skating for the first time and was charmed by it. So was I. Why haven't I done this in the last 25 years?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Craft Time


This is by far the weirdest thing that has happened since we adopted Rosemary:

I've become the type of person who volunteers to cook things. Sometimes it doesn't work out (user error doomed the sugar cookie dough I made for the cub scout outing; had to stop at Whole Foods on the way to the retirement center), but the point is that I have the inclination, and somehow manage to make the time.

Oh, I've had my DIY moments in the past, like that time I tried to learn the electric bass, or when I made that dress out of plaid fabric from Wal Mart (looks bad here but it fits nicely!),


but it seems my recent projects have taken on a more....domestic flavor.

Want proof? I am seriously considering doing this tomorrow:
Picture 17
Via Abbey Goes Design Scouting.


I'm scared.