Monday, July 30, 2012

Rouge et Blanc

Marlon and I recently had a date night and went to a fancy dinner at Rouge et Blanc. I had a gift certificate and a rebate VISA gift card burning a hole in my pocket and we decided let's go out to a nice dinner on a Wednesday night. We'll dress up, order what we want and have a date.

We've been on a strict all-cash budget for almost 8 months now. It was our New Year's resolution to save for the adoption. We've been pretty good with sticking with it and it hasn't been that hard. We only eat out once a week and rarely is it a fancy dinner with just the two of us. We never got cable after we moved as an experiment and to save some money and don't really miss it. I am a pretty darn good cook and PBS has some great shows to fill in the Primetime gap.

One of our favorite PBS shows is Mike Colameco's Real Food. Chef Colameco tours the kitchens of some New York City's best restaurants. One episode featured the French-Vietnamese restaurant, Rouge et Blanc and we were sold. The menu looked amazing but we were really interested to see how the restaurant was decorated. We want to do a French-Vietnamese look in our bedroom, but haven't quite pulled it off. So I made a reservation for our date.

Oooh la la, the restaurant was romantic.

photo credit: lindsay i from Yelp

We were seated and the sommelier came over to introduce himself and gave us a four page wine list. We drink wine, but we are in no way experts. I tend to buy what sounds good on special and on occasion a two buck Chuck at Trader Joe's. So that took a little time to decipher. We showed sommelier two that we were considering and he recommended a Chablis in our price range. We went with his recommendation and of course, it was perfect! The waitress explained the menu to us. There are no starters or entrees, just plates that can be shared. We ordered four plates - fried brussel sprouts, charred octopus, bone marrow and the soft shelled crab. I told my sister what we ate and she said gross. LOL. We always hear about how delicious bone marrow is and all the chefs love this dish. It was good, but not something I would consider my favorite. I tried it and checked it off the list.
Bone Marrow with Fennel Salad | photo credit: Larry l from Yelp

Soft-shelled Crab

We had a wonderful dinner and wine, held hands across a candlelit table and had a lovely evening.  We used our gift certificates within a $1.97 of the full amount, so it cost us nothing.  You know I love a deal! We even got a few decorating ideas for the bedroom. Now that's what I call a good date!

P.S. My pictures didn't turn out so well from the restaurant. They were too dark. I used a couple from Yelp and one of my own.

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button to the left. Thank you!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cute Kitty Thursday!

This week's cute kitty is Jeffrey. Isn't Jeffrey super cute?

Oooo, caught it in the sink!

Do you mind? I am trying to nap.

His momma owns Pound Puppies Pet Sitting in Portsmouth, VA. If you want your pets cared for like you do call Christie or click on the words above.  She's the best! Jeffrey is pretty cool too.  Thanks for submitting!

If you want your cute kitty pictures posted  email me pictures at

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button to the left. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dragging My Feet

I am totally lacking motivation to revamp our adoption efforts. I got a great response to my "Survey Says" post*. Thanks ladies!  My mom is all settled and doing great. Everything seems to be under control and usually I am on to the next thing.  Maybe it's the lazy days of summer but procrastination is not my usual MO. Updating our adoption look book, creating a personal website and networking to find a birth mother seems rather daunting.  Honestly, I'd rather play Words with Friends right now. 

I was hoping to have this all done by the end of July.  There is still time. Maybe I'll actually jump into action last minute instead of laying in bed thinking about what new pictures we should use or should we put the crib in the 2nd bedroom or in ours.  I am hoping my confession of procrastination will give me that push that I need.  Or I might just follow Mark Twain's words, "Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well" and give myself a little break.

*Since I am procrastinating, there is still time to respond to the questions in the Survey Says post. It will help us great deal in focusing our adoption efforts.

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button to the left. Thank you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cute Kitty Thursday!

It's cute kitty Thursday!  Here's sleepy Twiggy. Isn't she so sweet?


If you have cute pictures of your cats, email me at and I'll post the best.

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going strong! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button on the left. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mothering Mom

This past weekend, I moved my mom into an assisted living home. After 10 years, my mom had a recurrence of breast cancer which has spread to her bone. After chemo and radiation compounded with her other health issues, she just wasn’t able to live on her own anymore. It was a tough decision, but one I feel certain was right. I’ve been making the tough decisions for my mom for about 7 years now, since my Granny passed away and left me in charge of her.
It is weird when you have a role reversal with your parents.  I am the daughter, but my mom looks to me to take care of things.  She calls me “the boss” or “the general” if she’s mad at me. I am not a mom (yet), but I sure have a lot of experience in worrying, saying no, handing out allowance, paying for necessities, cleaning rooms, giving advice, giving in and trying to make things all better.  Our relationship hasn’t always been easy. Maybe this experience will make me a better parent. 
This weekend I felt what it must feel like to drop your child off at college or camp. My sister and I bought her new sheets, towels, a TV, and a dresser. We hung family pictures and made everything really nice for her. The urge to do this was something that I really didn’t have control over. I wanted her to be happy and comfortable and not sad.  I did all this because I felt a little sad too. Sad that she had to move, sad that she isn’t able to care for herself and is losing her independence, sad that things didn’t go the way mother/daughter relationships are supposed to go for us and a little sad that I am giving my responsibility for her to someone else. What am I going to do? I actually asked the director this.  She said I am going to call her and tell her that I love her and spend time with her; they will take care of the rest.  Oh, is all I could say.  Maybe I’ll learn to be her daughter again.
After a weepy move-in day, my mom seems surprisingly happy.  She is adjusting better than I expected.  This is a good thing.  Maybe now that I don’t have to worry so much about her, I can take a moment to breathe.  I can now really focus on us starting a family through adoption. Yes, I think this is a good thing.

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going strong! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button on the left. Thank you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cute Kitty Thursday!

I am starting a new segment called Cute Kitty Thursday!  What's Two Cats and a Cradle without the cats?  Here's Edie with her BIG catch, a giant ceramic sushi.

Yes, I am going to eat the whole thing.

If you have cute pictures of your cats, email me at and I'll post the best.

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going strong! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button on the left. Thank you!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Survey Says!

We just finished another seminar with our agency, Bethany Christian Services.  This one was about dealing with the wait and how we can network to find an expectant mother considering adoption that is interested in us as adoptive parents.  Some of the families have been waiting almost 3 years to be placed with a newborn.  I am not going to lie, this makes me really nervous.  I keep telling myself, when it is meant to be, it will be.

Bethany had some interesting ideas of how you can network and reach out to expectant mothers thinking about adoption.  Our one-year milestone of waiting is coming up in late August and I thought this would be a good time to revamp our efforts.  We can update our profile, add some new pictures, re-work the storytelling style of our life, add video, create one of those websites like "Jenn and Marlon want to adopt", maybe place ads or create touch cards (like a business card with our adoption info) to leave in various places and expand our search outside of the tri-state area.

But before we do all of this, I want to do a little focus group research. I hope you can help.  The potential target age for an expectant mother would a teen, college age or young woman in her 20s.  If you fit that age group, would you be willing to answer a few hypothetical questions? What I really want to know is; what is the best way to reach a young woman in this age group? Please email me your answers and thoughts at  The more responses the better, so please share with your friends and family too. I really appreciate your feedback, as this will help focus our search for a potential birth mother.

As focus groups normally go, you put yourself in the situation presented and answer accordingly. I am not implying that you'll ever be in a situation where you are pregnant and are considering adoption; I just want to know how a woman of this age will respond. Don't over-think it, there are not any right or wrong answers.
  1. Where would be the first place you'd look for information about adoption?
  2. Who would you discuss your options with? your doctor, pastor, guidance counselor, etc.
  3. Would you answer an ad placed in a newspaper?  What kind of newspaper?
  4. Where would you pick up a touch card? On a bulletin board at your school, laundromat, grocery store, coffee shop, etc.
  5. What information would you want to see on a touch card? Picture of the couple? Expenses paid? Open Adoption? Counseling available? QR square? Other?
  6. If you were doing a Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. search, what exact words would you type in?
  7. What social media sites would you search for adoptive parents? Facebook, YouTube or other social media sites?
  8. Would you feel more comfortable about a family by viewing an agency's web-page for potential adoptive parents or a personal one?
  9. What information would you want to see in a perspective adoptive parent's profile?
  10. What other factors would you consider in selecting adoptive parents?
I cannot thank you enough for taking a little time to help us. If you ever hear of anyone considering adoption, please think of us.  Expectant mothers can call Bethany Christian Services directly at 1-800-Bethany and speak with a pregnancy counselor about "Marlon and Jennifer in New York" profile. No last names, please.  If you are interested in receiving our touch cards to hand out or post in your local area, please let me know. You don't need to be in the New York tri-state area.  Stay tuned for our new and improved profile in late August 2012, thanks to you!

♥ Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going strong! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece!  Thank you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Have You Heard About That Boy Down The Street?

Our new thing that we do when we are going on a long bus or train trip is to load up the iphone with a movie. I have a long Netflix list and this keeps us entertained.  We were on our way out to Jersey on the train to a party and we decided to watch I Love You Philip Morris.  It was exactly the right amount of time to watch 1/2 going and 1/2 coming back. Well, almost. I still need to watch the last 7 minutes, but I know what happens.  Now, I totally got this movie confused with Thank You For Smoking and was bewildered for about 20 minutes when tobacco was not mentioned.  I kept looking at Marlon like, what movie is this?

Anyways... I keep thinking about this movie. Spoiler alert, stop reading if you don't really want to know details of the movie.  I promise I will be talking about adoption too.

The movie is based on a true story about conman, Steven Russell.  It starts off, of course, with parents telling their 8ish year old kid that he is adopted. The kid grows up and tries to the best person possible (to please his parents?).  Sets out to find his birthmother who still lives in his hometown, she rejects him and then he moves his wife and child from VA to TX.  He gets in a car accident, has an epiphany, and decides to be who he really is - gay and live his life to the fullest.  He leaves his family and pursues living life to the fullest which means lying, stealing and breaking out of prison numerous times. All, he claims, for love.

In one part of the movie, his ex-wife says to him "I just wonder is the gay thing and stealing something that goes hand and hand or...?" That was funny because I was wondering the whole time if the lying and stealing was because of the being adopted thing.  I was curious to see if there was anything written about the adoption part of Steven Russell's life.  The only thing I could find was a excerpt from The Guardian.
In regards to Steve's motivation, Jim Carrey, the actor who plays Russell in I Love You Phillip Morris, is quoted as saying: "The bottom line was that he [Russell] wanted to be loved and he felt disenfranchised his entire life."
Russell politely dismisses this thesis when I put it to him, but there is much in his background to suggest it might be true. In 1957, Russell was given up for adoption at birth by his mother, who had just divorced his biological father and did not want to raise a child out of wedlock. Russell later tracked her down only to discover that she had remarried his father and given birth to three other children, each of whom was Russell's biological sibling. "I felt rejected," is all he will say now. "I had a little bit of a problem when I found out."
Maybe I am over-sensitive about the adoption thing and reading into this.  I  do think adoption has a profound effect on the child.  An adopted child may feel they have greater expectations on them since they were chosen.  Or they don't want to be given away again so they want to be extra perfect.  Also, Steve seems to be driven by the need to be loved and accepted.  This comes back to that whole nature vs. nurture issue.  What personality traits were inherited? Was Steve predisposed to lead a life as a con-man or was it the pressure of being adopted. Or maybe adoption didn't have anything to do with it.  This is what goes through my mind, people. I think every parents worries a little ( a lot) about how to not mess up their child.

This movie was supposed to be simple entertainment for a long train ride. It wasn't even the movie I thought I was going to watch, but I am still thinking about it days later. Now about those last 7 minutes...

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