Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kitty and Chet Dreyer

Kitty Dreyer was a woman from my hometown in Indiana who died on Monday at the age of 90. She was a sweet lady who had been married to an equally sweet man named Chet for close to 70 years. Together they had four children and lived a comfortable life in LaPorte. Most people are lucky to have that good of a life. When their kids got a little older they decided to become foster parents.

Most of the babies were in their home short term, waiting for adoptions to be approved. Many of the children stayed a few days or a few weeks. Some stayed longer. Over the years, Kitty and Chet took care of more than 1,000 babies. That's not a typo--1,ooo babies. Can you believe it? I cannot imagine the amount of love that they had in their hearts to give to all of those babies.

My sister lived with the Dreyers for three days back in 1967 until my parents adopted her. I came to live with the Dreyers in 1969 when I was 10 days old and lived with them for 10 months. While I was never given a reason as to why I was in foster care for so long, I do know that the Dreyers became attached to me and tried to adopt me. The Welfare Department wouldn't allow the adoption to take place because of their age. A few months after they were turned down, they were notified that I was being adopted.

I was so lucky to have known them while I was growing up. My parents asked Kitty and Chet to be my godparents, which they graciously agreed to do. To me, they were like an extra set of grandparents that I would occasionally visit. I thought it was so cool to have these "extra" relatives. It wasn't until I was older that I found out that I was the last child they had in their home. Kitty once told me that I broke their hearts when they weren't able to adopt me, so they stopped being foster parents.

Chet passed away last October. My mother went to the funeral on my behalf and found out that Kitty was very ill and couldn't attend her husband's funeral. When my mother approached one of their daughters to give her condolences, the daughter said, "Oh My God--you're Christine's mom." It took awhile for my mom to remember that Kitty had named me Christine. I guess it makes sense that I be named SOMETHING if I am in someone's home for 10 months. I always wondered why my parents didn't just keep that name when they got me--I'd certainly had it awhile.

Kitty and Chet leave behind an incredible legacy. I don't know any other couple who had so much love to give to so many children. Their kindness and warmth made 1,000 babies feel loved and safe while they waited for their new families to love them. Thank you Kitty and Chet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hausfrau Update

Things here are Casa de Hausfrau have been quite busy since we moved here. I have gone back to work 3 days a week, which has been good. I am working out of an office in central New Jersey and currently have a brutal commute, but it is short term until my boss thinks of another project for me to do. It has felt good to go to work and think about things other than locating Baby Girl's long-lost dolly and reading "Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb" for the 87th frickin time.

Herr was in San Francisco all last week for some sort of conference which pretty much sucked for me as we are in a new town with no baby sitters. I was so desperate that I hired the 14 year old girl across the street for an hour to baby sit so that I could run errands. It worked out well, but I am hoping to find some older girls to babysit in the future.

The highlight of my week was a visit from my friend Laura, who lives in Seattle. She is a women's apparel buyer, so she makes several trips to New York every year. When we lived in New Jersey, we were lucky to see her so often. Even though we are a little further away, we are psyched that we'll be able to see her again so frequently.

Our free time is spent unpacking crap, putting away crap and throwing crap away. We are struggling to find a place for all of our stuff, particularly the stuff that belongs in storage. We had a huge basement for storage in Cincinnati. The new basement has a fairly small space for storage, so we are currently trying to fit 10 lbs. of shit in a 5 lb. sack. When we aren't trying to figure out where something should go, we are slowly putting up curtains and pictures. The house is becoming more of a home everyday and the girls love their bedrooms and their playroom, so things are looking up.

Peaches is becoming quite the terror. We have a new name for her, "Destructo-Girl." Her uniform consists of wearing underwear around her neck (we REALLY need to get the closet doors installed in the bedrooms!) When she is not having ear-splitting temper tantrums, she runs around the house throwing things on the floor and chewing the sliding glass door (it's true). She is happiest when she is running through the house, pulling down anything in her reach. We are trying to be really dilligent by keeping anything of value out of her way. It became apparent this morningthat my efforts were pretty weak when I witnessed her stirring my coffee with our PHONE.

Baby Girl is being a typical teenager, fighting with me over clothes to wear at school and wanting to spend all of her free time with her friends. Wait, she's 3 1/2--WTF?!?! I cannot believe we have such a girlie girl who will actually scream and cry if she feels we are putting together an ensemble for her that "doesn't make me beautiful!" What is so funny is that she is having trouble understanding that coordinating colors DO match, while differing patterns of the same colors don't necessarily match. It makes for some interesting clothing choices.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And The Conversations Keep Getting More Weird

The girls and I were on our way this morning to the zoo. While in the car, I turned on the car and was psyched to hear In Between Days by the Cure.

"Hey Baby Girl, this song was one of Mommy's and Daddy's favorite songs when we were younger."

"When you were babies?" Baby Girl asked as she danced in her booster seat.

"Um, no. We didn't know each other when we were babies. We liked this song when we were older."

"Were you getting married when you liked this song?"

"What do you know about getting married?" I asked, surprised to hear her use this term.

"Weeeellllll, when you were a princess and Daddy was a King, did you get married?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Ohh. Well, maybe when I get bigger and am a grown-up princess and Peaches becomes a King, we will get married."

"Um, I don't think so sweetie. You aren't going to want to marry your sister. Someday you will meet someone you love and maybe you'll get married."

"Awww. Wait, I KNOW...I'll marry Eli!!!"

"Um, sorry Honey. You can't marry your cousin either."

"Awww pickles, Mom," she said with a scowl and her arms folded in front of her. "I wanna marry Eli."

"Uhhh--hey lookie, Baby Girl--we're at the zoo!"

"Are we going to see camels? Are they married?"

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hurricane Shmurricane

Team Hausfrau is back from a week of R&R at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island, NJ. The R&R was Rolling Rock and Red Stripe. We are now winding down from vacation and catching up on sleep in the hopes that we will be fresh as daisies tomorrow.

The beach was fantastic. It wasn't 10,000 degrees while we were there and the pre-Ernesto winds were great. These are two important factors for pasty white folk such as the Hausfrau Family. We managed to make it to the beach every day, even if it rained. That isn't something that has always happened (at least for me) in summers past. Previously, pregnancy laziness, my asthma and taking care of little ones who slept all the time kept me from going more than twice in a week. The kids were in heaven:

It was great to see that both girls enjoyed the water this year. Baby Girl was petrified last year, so it looks like the swim lessons may be working. Peaches showed no fear, which was much scarier. When not running into the waves, they worked with their friend Ava to perfect their beach tubs:

My friend Lisa was so smart to think of setting up a blow-up pool and make-shift sandbox on the deck of the house. My girls CONSTANTLY wanted to be outside even if it was cold and windy. Or 7:00AM.

When not at the beach, the week was spent doing whatever one desired, be it drinking, reading books or trashy magazines, watching the US Open while listening to a Mets game, playing poker, drinking, taking a walk, riding a bike (and crashing it), shopping, drinking or laughing a lot. What is great about vacationing with our friends is that no one gets offended if a group goes off without everyone else. My only concerns for the week were, "Will Peaches ever stop fussing?" and "What kind of beer should I drink?" and "Oooohhh, more Fragolino!"

I hope our friends had as much fun as we did.