Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Eva! It's Your Time to Turn 5!!!

Dear Eva,

SEE!? We told you before your knew it you'd turn 5! I know it can be hard sometimes for Rose to have her Birthday first, but you know what? It's what makes you even more special! How many sister will you know that can say they are 3 weeks apart from each other? I bet not many.

You are as as the day you were born. You are so full of light and life you bring a ray of sunshine into any room you enter as well as Baba and Daddy's lives. Occasionally you also bring some wicked storm clouds when you decide to have a tantrum! You are going to be a force to be reckoned with as you grow your fiery sister...we will probably be grounding you on a regular basis.

The day you came into our lives was the day you made our family complete. In my humble opinion, we now have the perfect family. Not because we are any better behaved than any other family (cause we know that sure as heck ain't true), but because of the burning love that runs through you for us and us for you.

Thank you Eva. Thank you for being or daughter, thank you for your compassion, thank you for your laughter, thank you for being you. Those Kindergarteners next year won't know what hit 'em!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Rose! You're 5!!!

Dear Rose,

I'm a day late in posting this. Sorry baby girl, so much has happened Daddy and I have barely had a chance to breathe!

Yesterday, you turned five...FIVE!!! Hard to believe our little girl is five and will be starting Kindergarten next year. In three short weeks, your sister follows!

Every passing day Daddy and I are thankful you are in our lives. Your smile, your giggles, even your whines, tantrums, and crying, they remind us of how lucky we are that we have a healthy happy little girl that is growing up too fast. Your fiery spirit, relentless energy, insatiable curiosity, and sharp wit are gonna get you grounded more times than I can predict as you get older, but that's okay. It's those same traits that will push you to accomplish great being a space...married to Buzz Lightyear!

Daddy and I love you Rose with all our hearts and souls. Happy birthday Rosie posie, now would you please stop pinching your sister!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is Poppa in Heaven Now? Is He an Angel?

Early this morning we got a call from Granny letting us know Poppa passed away over night. I woke up Mike B. and let him know. He dressed, I made coffee, and after a quick breakfaast and cup of coffee, Mike B. he went off to see his mother. I began my regular morning ritual of feeding the dog and preparing the kids for school.

When the girls got up and did not see Daddy, they wanted to know where he was. Mike and I had agreed not to say anything to them until they got home. But well...

Eva: Where's Daddy?
Me: He had to go and help Granny
Eva: Why didn't he come home? He was gone all night?
Me: No honey, he came home, but then he had to go and help Granny again this morning.
Eva: Oh

There is a pause, Rose is picking the marshmallows out of the cereal and sticking them under her lip to pretend she is either an animal or a vampire.

Eva: Is Poppa in Heaven now?
Me: Yes honey he is.
Eva: Is he watching us from Heaven?
Me: Yes Honey, he's looking down at you and Rose and smiling. 
Rose: Is he an angel now?
Me: Yes.

Another pause from both of them this time. Rose comes around to the other side of the kitchen island and looks up out the window.

Me: Rose? What are you looking at?
Rose: Heaven
Me: Oh, can you see Poppa?
Rose: Yes...oh...actually no...where is he?
Me: Well, he's way up high honey, so you may not see him.
Eva: But he can see us? How?
Me: Because when you go to Heaven you get superpowers so you can see all the people you love.
Rose: Cool! Goodbye Poppa.

Rose returns to her stool and I return to the morning ritual of trying to get them to eat breakfast so we can get ready for school.

To My Father-in-law
It has been a long journey Jim and I know you are in a better place now. Thank you for being a part of the girls lives...despite Rose going through a weird phase of being afraid of you at first. Granny's will not be the same without your boisterous presence. Say hello to my father while you're up there.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Goodbye Party for Poppa

With life comes the inevitable death. The time In between can be long or all too short. What we make of that time varies greatly from individual to individual. Comedy, drama, tragedy, melancholy, the possibilities are endless. As an adult, we come to accept all this. We accept that life is-what-it-is and it brings with it things we can control and many things we can't. Moreover, we accept that life will eventually end. But how do you explain this to a 4, nearly 5-year-old?

Several months ago, Poppa, my father-in-law, Mike B.'s stepfather was diagnosed with the worst form of Pancreatic cancer, survival rate 1%. This coupled with the litany of other medical complications he has been suffering with for the past 7+ years, the diagnosis was pretty much an announcement that the end of the journey was imminent. The hospital pushed to get him into a clinical trial, as the cancer had not metastasized, he was an ideal candidate. I had very little faith it would result in anything more the just delaying the inevitable, but you never know. Poppa wanted to participate, so with various tests performed to make sure he was a viable candidate, he began the program.

It was rough and he did see an improvement. But, as we all feared, it was not enough and the cancer metastasized. This meant he could no longer be part of the program and went on regular chemo therapy. Eventually he switched to a new Oncologist and after additional tests, she gave him 3 options to consider:

  1. Continue an aggressive chemo treatment which would be painful and exhausting that may give him another 3 months
  2. Pursue a less aggressive chemo treatment which would be less painful, less exhausting, and may give him another month
  3. Stop the chemo altogether and live as pain-free and comfortable as he can with the time he has left. 
He chose 3 and my mother-in-law promised him she would do everything she could to make him comfortable and pain-free until the end.

It has been rough for my MIL and those living in the household. From the time he began the clinical trial program to the present there have been highs and lows, humor and pain, frustration and coping. Our girls had started to have sleep overs at Granny's just about every other week which provided 2 rays of sunshine for Granny and Poppa. The past 3 weeks, however, Poppa has declined considerably and sleep overs are on hold until Poppa goes to Heaven.

The girls know Poppa is sick. They have seen his decline from their sleep overs and we have not shied away from answering their questions. At nearly 5, however, their understanding is still limited. 

This weekend, as we were shopping for Spring and Summer clothes, Eva kept talking about the goodbye party for Poppa and the dress she wants to where. She explained to me that when people go to Heaven you have to have a Goodbye party for them. But then they would come back and that you had to die before you could come back and be born again so we could see them again. We're not sure where she AND Rose got this from, probably school. While a bit unprepared for this response, both Mike and I don't have an issue with it as we both believe in reincarnation. 

She was getting very excited about the party! I tried to explain to her that it would be a sad party. I told her that when Poppa goes to Heaven it will be sad because we won't see him again. I told her that Granny and all of us will be sad and that Granny especially will need lots of hugs and kisses to help her not feel so sad. She then wanted to know who was taking Poppa to Heaven. I replied, probably God. This led down another discussion of whether God took everyone to Heaven..."Even in India?" Asked my daughter. 

Throughout this exchange, Rose just listened.

As I was getting Rose dressed after nap so we could go over to Granny's, she became very upset. She told me she didn't want Poppa to go to Heaven and began to cry. Someone, at that moment, punched a hole through my chest and yanked out my heart. As I struggled to hold back my tears, I asked her "Honey, what are you talking about?" Through tears she said she didn't want Poppa to go cause he wouldn't come back and she didn't want to lose her Poppa. At that point I lost it. I just grabbed her in a big hug and tried to calm her down through my own tears.

As I hugged her, I told her it would be okay. I told her that Poppa would come back, but he would be different and we may not know it's even him. I told her she has to be strong so she can help make Granny not sad. Then she asked why I was crying and I told he because she made me sad because she was so sad. She then said sorry for making me sad and wanted to make sure I wasn't going to Heaven for a really, really, really long time. For that matter, Eva informed me I was not allowed to go to Heaven for 100 years. We dressed Rose in her tutu and her tiara so she could be a princess ballerina for Poppa.

Downstairs Eva had chosen a book she wanted Daddy to wrap and give to Poppa to make him feel better.

This weekend I am to go to San Francisco to be a part of a one day surrogacy conference organized by Families Through Surrogacy. I was asked a while back to help out. There is a poetic irony in my going to be a part of talking about the possibilities of bringing new life into this world while Mike and I talk to our children about its culmination. Mike B. Was to have come with me, but with Poppa declining so fast, I will travel alone.

The coming days and weeks will be tough for the family as we all wait. We all hope when it's time, it will be quiet and peaceful. We don't know how the girls will react when it's finally "over." All we know is that there will be a Goodbye Party for Poppa and Eva wants to wear a pretty black dress for him and Rose will be looking for the new Poppa.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas POW!

Last evening, as I sat on the couch, very much in pain, I was reminded again about the frailty of our existence and how the mere act of putting on a sock can bring you to the brink of tears. A wool/cotton blend comfy cozy beige sock, designed for the sole purpose to keep tootsies and feet warm. Not once did I think this beloved garment of mine that brings me so much comfort during cold Winter days and nights could, like a jealous lover in a rage, turn on me and cause such pain!

Now of course it wasn't fully the sock's fault. It merely suffered the wrath of my cursing. Nay, in truth, the sock was merely an accessory to the unpleasant outcome and rather, my over zealous nature to work off 2 weeks of holiday grazing was the true culprit. I over taxed myself and my back Friday in a gym class, and Saturday morning, as I attempted to don my little foot slices of Heaven, I wiggle waggled the wrong way and POW! I lay on the bed moaning in pain sending my little ones, who came in to see why Baba was using bad words, to get Daddy and drugs.

Daddy fetched Alleve and drew a steaming hot batch for me. He then helped me get in the bath. As he helped me undress and get out of bed and in the tub, my mind flashed back to when my father last came to visit us and I was called downstairs by my mother to assist him in getting dressed. The memory was bittersweet, I smiled at remembering my father, and knew at that moment how helpless he felt. Thus my mortality came into focus clearly in 1080HD with the memory of my father. No longer can I ignore the march of time and the inevitability of my existence that I generally keep at bay through fuzzy focus, drink, and self-denial. I need to remind myself that as I get older, the big 50 looming too close for comfort, I have greater limits then when I was much younger. I want to be around for a long time without having my girls shouldering the burden of pushing me around in a wheel chair whilst listening to me curse at socks like a mad man who probably belongs in a looney bin. For that matter, I'd rather not have my husband have to be my caretaker either. As much as I love him, he sucks at being a nurse and I'm just not a pleasant patient either.

With Christmas passed and just a few more days until we ring in the new year, I can reflect and recover. Thankfully Granny took the kids this weekend so I could convalesce in peace. They were both so sweet and concerned about me. Rose made me lean forward so she could rub my back, Eva kept trying to help me up and offered her arm as support as I hobbled to the bathroom. The top of her head was much more useful as it was cane height. Alas, helping injured Baba pales in comparison to a night at Granny's where they will stay up late and eat junk. 
That's what granny's are for. This weekend especially, Granny and Auntie promised to take them to their first movie in a real movie theatre. They were going to see Disney's latest animated release, Frost. To say they were excited was putting it lightly. Think cute little chipmunks…on crack. When Granny showed up at the door, they practically exploded out the door leaving nothing but dust and the remnants of their laughter to settle and echo in the foyer.

As they were shepherded off, their faces glowing with excitement, my pain went away for a moment to be replaced by the love that consumes me every time I see them smile. While keeping my waistline to a slim 30 is important, I need to remind myself that so is enjoying my time with my girls and my husband. Convalescing on the couch and watching life go by just will not do. Besides, as they grow older, I'll need to run faster to keep up with them and I can't do that with a bum back. Not to mention, how can I possibly scare off would-be suitors if I hobble around looking like a crippled hobbit? I will heal, it will take time, plastic surgery will make sure I never look like an old hobbit.

I know that I have been very bad at blogging this year. I admire those bloggers that can keep it up and wonder where they find the time. As a working parent, I admire any parent that can find the time to do anything other than take care of their children. It is a balancing act and we are slowly finding the balance. Yet the balance is tenuous and with each growth spurt, each new year, something new is thrown into the mix that makes us have to rebalance. I suppose this uncertainty and ambiguity in life is what makes life worth living. It is an adventure, sometimes large, often small, almost always unpredictable. I would be dishonest if I did not say that those things that are predictable bring a certain comfort to myself and Mike B.

I shall make no resolutions this year. Resolutions are too easily broken as they are often too lofty. Rather, I'll just say to myself that I will endeavor to be a better father, a better blogger, and more routine with my fitness schedule so as to avoid visiting the Scooter store prematurely. 

To all of you out there from our family to yours, we hope you had bright Holidays and here's to a new year and the new adventures it will bring. Oh, and a few photos of our Christmas.

Christmas Eve this year was at our house. 
The girls all dressed up before the guests arrive.

 Eva happily ripping into presents Christmas morning.

 Rose donning the latest in Christmas morning fashions
thanks to Santa. I think she was trying to make an accessory
with the bow to add to her ensemble.

The aftermath and a Merry Christmas was had by
all…and the dog didn't eat the bows or the wrapping
which was it's own Christmas miracle!

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'll Get you my Pretty!!!!

Happy Halloween to all! 

We had a great night of trick or treating in the new house. It was so nice to be on a street where the girls could actually go out and trick or teat and NOT have Baba and Daddy worry about cars flying past. Granny came over and we all went out, including Peagle the Beagle. Lots of kids, the street was very festive, the kids well behaved, and the girls were a big hit.

They were exhausted by the end of the night and melt-downs occurred, but we expected that. plus, they got to wear their Halloween Costumes to School that morning and they had a little Halloween parade around the park. Too bad it was so cold they had to wear their coats. But the evening was nice and balmy. It went from 32 degrees in the morning to 56-60 by the time 6PM hit!

I think the only learning curve Baba and Daddy have is how to craft appropriate costumes for kids…our drama queen sides kicked in once the girls decided what they wanted to be and well…ever try to go potty with multiple layers of Pink Sparkly tulle? Which, by the way, Baba had to hand sew on to get the Glinda look just right. I ended up looking like I had just caused Tinker-bell to explode on me as I had sparkles EVERYWHERE. Daddy made a FABLUOUS crown...but...we ended up going out with the back-ups as poor little Rose's head was just not strong enough to hold it up and it's hard to run when it's as big as you are! As it was, Daddy actually cut the height down in half from the original design!

The funniest part was we kept trying to teach Eva to "Cackle." She just couldn't really get it and it just kept coming out sounding more like a "Ciggle," which was too damn cute. Rose on the other hand, just wanted to fly in a bubble…Mike and I both came up with great ideas to accomplish that. But again…4-year-old = Child protective services asking why our child is swinging from a crane in a giant plastic bubble. Breathe in…and breathe the Drama Queen out...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Our Newest Family Member!

We would like to welcome PEAGLE! Peagle the Beagle. A 12 week old beagle mix puppy we just adopted today from the Sterling, MA rescue shelter. Potty training all over again!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Snakes, Two Stories, Two Little Imaginations...

This week and last they have started to learn about the Rain Forest in Daycare. Last week they came home proudly with binoculars they made with toilet paper rolls and glued on feathers...rather ingenious I thought. They talked about how they use them to watch birds. Today, when we picked up the girls from daycare, the presented us with the snakes they had made in class with the snake stories written on them as transcribed by their teachers.

As our girls grow, it is fascinating to observe their distinct personalities and how they apply to everything in life. With the binoculars, Eva's was a a riot of feathers while Rose's was much more subdued. With drawings and colorings, Eva, again, big, bold, energetic. Rose, simple, subdued, purposeful. I think, however, the most telling is the stories they dictated to their teachers.

From Eva:
One day there was a little pond and the snake couldn't get out so they called the ambulance and tied a rope around to take him out because he was stuck. Then there were little ducks in the pond and the dragon ate them, and they got out of the mouth of the dragon. And then they ate and their mom tried to find them. And they found people in the pond.

From Rose:
Last morning I found my snake. Then he wiggle-waggled. Then we found a chipmunk to eat. Then he just ate. Then he met a nice alligator to look at. Then they had a picnic together with ice-cream. That's it.

You can see the recurring pattern here. I look forward to seeing how our girls develop further. I look forward to seeing how each handles communicating with us as they gain more acuity in their cognitive and verbal abilities. But most of all, I'm really curious to see which one will be the better liar as they enter their teenage years and have to cover their tracks for doing something they know they shouldn't have! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


That's right folks, Mike and I have made it to the big time! Our little family has been discovered and we will soon be tragically hip and bathed in fame and fortune.

Well not really, and frankly, neither of us really want the strings that comes with being uber famous. But as I told Mike, if it's something that contributes to the girl's college fund…

We got contacted a few weeks ago by a casting company working with a network producing a new "reality" show about parenting. After talking it over with Mike B., we said, "sure, why not." I just finished uploading a whole batch of files for the casting company including an hour long interview we did for them. Now, they take all that we gave them and pitch the network.Then we'll learn whether or not we're star quality or not.

As we were filling out the application form, both Mike and I realized, damn, we're pretty friggin boring as parents go. If they are looking for train-wreck television drama, we certainly ain't it. We don't have knock down drag out fights, we only have screaming blow-outs or emotional breakdowns maybe once a year (those are generally induced by lack of sleep due to children). We're not crazy or risky parents. Nope, we're pretty vanilla and bland save for the dash of five-spice on account of Baba being half Chinese.

Don't get me wrong, we have our moments of excitement. I mean watching water boil is truly a scintillating experience! And shopping for new drapes, wow…just awe-inspiring.

I think the most interesting thing about us as a family is that we're a same-sex male couple with kids born through surrogacy in India. The first portion is becoming more common which leaves the latter for any interest. But soon, even that will garner only a shrug. How the Hell is a Drama Queen going to command any respect without any drama?

Well, we'll let you all know if we get our 15 minutes of fame. Who knows, maybe we'll be on with Mark and his family over at Our Simple Lives…turns out they also got tapped. At least he's got that French guy to liven things up! Just kidding Fred.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Eva!

Dear Eva,

Today you are four! You came into this world taking your sweet time deciding to stay put for 3 more weeks before finally making your debut. When you did...we realized they didn't install the mute button. Poor Pushpa, your night nurse, thank goodness we had earplugs! Amazingly, your sister slept through it all.

You are our girlie-girl! PINK rules your world. Dresses, especially fancy ones, make you giddy. Shoes...well, we're gonna need a walk-in closet just for those. Of course it would help if Baba and Daddy would stop buying you shoes. What can we say, our inner drag queen compels us!

You are willful, stubborn, and a force to be reckoned with when you are mad. But your laughter, beaming smile, and genuine compassion have us wrapped around your little fingers. You are the first to give us hugs, the first to give us kisses, the first to tell us how much you love us, and the first to use all this against us to get what you want! Sly, endearing little child...I have a feeling we'll be grounding you for long stretches of time once you hit the teenage years...Heaven help us. We are looking forward to watching you blossom, and trembling in our shoes at the same time.

You are unconditional, incredibly powerful raw love in it's purist form. Despite some of the most challenging times we can have with you, the light that is you shines through pulling us back from our dark moods. A hug, a kiss, a sob, a teary eyed sorry...we're done for.

Happy Birthday to Our Princess!
Love, Baba, Daddy, and Rose