Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Third Trimester!

As of Sunday, Kelli is 27 weeks along and officially into her third trimester!! She's been feeling a bit better these days, although Jack is a little stinker and likes to play trampoline on her bladder, and sit on a particularly painful nerve. His favorite position is to lay sideways, punching his fists up underneath Kelli's ribs. He's a very active baby, and a hard kicker.

The top five questions many of you are asking these days:

1. Are you ready? -Yes and No. Yes, because this is something we've been wanting, planning, waiting, and pleading for since 2002. No, because it's way more fun to shop for blankets and paci's and bouncy seats than it is to paint the nursery. Actually, let's be really honest with ourselves- Why is the nursery not painted? Because it's still deer season, and in the contract I signed when we got married, I agreed to look the other way when my better half spends 1-2 days of each glorious fall week sitting in a deer stand. Anything having to do with paint will require paternal involvement.

2. Did you know Rush is coming? -Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. I knowwww. I'm painfully aware that they are coming. On April Fools day too. Ha ha. Very funny. The irony isn't lost on me, people. Reality: with a 10 day old baby, and probably only being barely back in the state, a Rush concert in Greensboro probably isn't feasible. Ahhhhh, this must be what they mean when they talk about parental sacrifices. I sooooo get it now.

3. Middle name yet? -No. We have one in mind, but we're waiting for final approval from the name's rightful owner. Long story. We are open to suggestions, and in particular "O" names (except not really).. Daron thinks it would be hilarious for him to have J.O.B. as initials.... as in, "boy, stop asking me for money... you need to go getta JOB!.." ....Ahh, dad humor.

4. Are things still going well? -Absolutely. Kelli is a great girl, and we've become particularly close. Sometimes life offers you opportunities you didn't expect, and the potential of a lifelong relationship/friendship with Jack's birthmom is an unexpected bonus. And not to mention, wonderful for Jack. Attitudes towards adoption and "open" adoptions in particular are so much healthier than they used to be.

5. What about work? -The plan right now is to take Jack with me while he's small and sleeping a lot. I've got a great office environment, room for a crib, and the flexibility to come and go. As soon as it's not feasible to have a baby in the office, I'll gradually whittle down my hours, and transition out. I'm not going to lie, not working is going to be very weird. I've worked full time for the last 20 years, so doing anything different from that will take some adjustment. I'm one of those odd ducks that really loves working, and feeling productive and contributory. My mindset now is that motherhood will be mindblowingly awesome, and I'll never feel the need to look back.

As we get closer and closer, I find myself becoming more and more excited and nervous. Excited for all the pretty obvious reasons, but nervous because of the many unknowns. My Type-A, plan-for-all-outcomes nature has been tested over and over again in this experience. I'm really having to rely on faith, and the hope that everything will work out just as it should. Daron has been instrumental in keeping me focused on the big picture. Just so I'm clear, I'm not worried about anything falling through- I'm anxious and empathetic for Kelli, and Jack's whole biological family- for the trial this has been and will be for their family. I'm anxious about the birth, and the lawyers, and the 1000 little surprise details that must be attended to. It's naive of me to wish for everything to run smoothly, and I fear being inadequate or underprepared for anything that might pop up. I'm sure this is just preparation for parenthood, where 85% of the time you're inadequate or underprepared.

13 weeks to go!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've been trying to distract myself by working on Jack's nursery. It's been a weird project, because the control freak part of me wants everything to be perfect and lovely when the little man moves in, but the superstitious/jinxed/jaded side of me is afraid to do too much. Hence, nursery limbo land, where everything is chosen and purchased, but not entirely assembled. Reality: with less than 18 weeks to go, it's time to get moving! Plus, with the added incentive of Jack's entire biological family now following the blog, there's additional reason to deliver- Gotta keep these lovely people convinced that the Barnes casa (and NC in general) will be an awesome place for a boy to thrive and grow! A janky nursery would make this a much harder sell.

For the decorating scheme, I was really stuck. For a girl it would have been so much easier- there is soooo much cute girl stuff out there. Boys are a little trickier. I know I'm going to offend someone deeply when I say this, but I really loathe the whole firetrucks/sailboats/blue theme that seems to be so common with boys rooms. Yes, you want it to be distinctly boyish, but the whole blue thing is so overdone. And probably the whole reason it's overdone, is because there aren't a lot of choices out there for boys. Look at me. The smug expert on nurseries all the sudden.

What I did choose ended up being a theme I'm completely used to. You'll see what I mean below:

Woodland creatures. Soothing earth tones. I'm totally cool with this. The collection is called "Tree Tops," by Carters. I've since chosen a complementary fabric and recovered the cushions on the glider, and lined the laundry basket I bought. Yes, little things to be sure, but enough to keep me distracted from all the things I have no control over.

No, there's nothing to be alarmed about. Things continue to go well, and Kelli has good days and bad days. This pregnancy hasn't been an easy one for her, so I try to root her on from the sidelines. I know she's doing the hardest part, and that's a weird feeling to reconcile. That feeling that there's diddly I can do to help her out. She's a good kid. I hate watching her struggle.

Anyyyyyway. I hope you like the woodland creatures. I think they are adorable, and a good way to get Jack prepped for all the time he will spend in the woods with his dad and grandpa. I apologize for the glossy, staged photo. As soon as we make a little more progress (still need to paint! arrgh!) I'll post the finished product. Now that I'm the expert on baby nurseries, and how not to get them done in a timely manner, please feel free to contact me anytime for fabulous ideas!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Here we go again!

Hope you have a strong stomach, because adoption is a rollercoaster!! I'm excited, and scared, and nervous, and happy, and relieved to be writing this post again: A baby boy coming in March!! The superstitious part of me has been postponing this moment for as long as I can, but I'm about the point where I'm going to burst if I don't tell someone. You're all going to shoot me when I tell you that we've actually known since August, but I know you'll forgive us considering the fiasco that was last April.

First of all, let me tell you that we are working with a wonderful birthmother. Her name is Kelli, and out of respect for her privacy, we won't be sharing much more than that. Her story is tough and intensely personal, and if the situation were reversed, I wouldn't want my struggles spoken about so casually. Kelli is the 6th birthmother that we've worked with, and from the moment she contacted us (the day after my birthday!) we knew that she was different from the others. It just seemed more comfortable and natural than all the others. We have an easy relationship, and are in contact almost every day.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this journey so far has been my recent visit to her state to spend a few days with her, and be present at her 21 week ultrasound visit! Daron was gracious enough to stay home so it could be a real "girls weekend." We shopped, we ate, we talked about the future. I was also lucky enough to be able to spend an evening with the birthfather's family, and really get to know their story. Perhaps the most wonderful realization of this visit: this isn't a story about an unwanted child- this is a child that is wanted by everyone, and loved enough to be let go. That thought humbles me more than you know. So many people could (and want to) step up and keep this child, but Heavenly Father must have known how much WE need him.

His name is going to be Jack, and the middle name is still up for discussion. If you humorously submit to us names like "Rabbit," "Daniels," or "Hammer," you're putting your shower invitation in jeopardy. Consider yourself warned!!

Please keep our family and Kelli in your prayers. She needs love and support, especially in the next couple of months. I already feel guilty for being so happy, when she is going through such a trial. I'm sure extra prayers for her peace and comfort couldn't hurt.

Now the cat's out of the bag, we will keep you posted!

Love to you all,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Birthday Fail

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but once in a while I make a critical error in judgment. The error I’m about to describe in painful detail surrounds the birthday of one Daron Barnes, and will go down in history as “The Great Birthday Incident of 2010.”

So yeah, birthdays. Daron and I both have a birthday and our wedding anniversary in a 30 day period. Because of this, we typically don’t make a big deal about it. For me, birthdays usually are a time to negotiate a purchase that I’ve been scheming and planning in my head for months. Birthdays sometimes provide that little bump of leverage I’ve been seeking- the bump that can push a “want” firmly and safely into the “purchase” category. Beyond that, a birthday has outlived its usefulness. It’s quite possible that Daron cares even less than I do, but even so, I wanted to at least acknowledge the fact that he’d made it another year. Problem is, I don’t have the Ken Carlile creative party gene, and I’m painfully inadequate when it comes to gift ideas, etc. Then it occurs to me: How about a massage? A surprise massage! He’s never had one, and I bet he would think it was heavenly. Simple equation: Elisa loves massage, therefore Daron must love massage. Easy Cheesy.

We pulled up the massage joint, and what happened next can only be described as unfortunate. You know the look on kids faces when you take them to get shots? It was that look. I wish I could say that bringing him was the only critical error. My second, and ultimately fatal error was trying to explain to him in the few hushed minutes we had in the waiting room, that most people will undress completely, but he didn’t have to do that etc., and I had something for him to wear in my bag. “You have my WHAT IN YOUR BAG?!!” At this point, any and all composure on his part deteriorated, and I think that may have been when I started to sniffle and dig around in my purse for a tissue. “I never should have brought you!” may have escaped my normally well-controlled tongue (stop laughing). It was then that my masseuse showed up, so I did the only thing I could do: I huffed out, and left him there to figure it out on his own.

The aftermath: I was secretly hoping that he would enjoy it so much, that he would beg my forgiveness for not trusting me, and so on and so on. When we were finally in the car leaving, I asked him how it was. “OK.” That was all I got. He then told me if he could have paid someone to scratch his back for an hour, then it might have been worth it.

Lesson to be learned here: Don’t EVER take a country boy for a massage. They don’t understand it, and they can’t relax enough to enjoy it. And for the love of everything good and holy, DON’T try to make it surprise. Daron is a good sport about a lot of things. If he couldn't recover from the shock in time to embrace something new, then your country boy won't stand a chance.

Live and learn!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

5 Things....

Today's post is titled, "Five Things You'll Never Catch Me Doing.."

Scuba Dive. Breathtaking expanses of coral and other sea life. What’s not to love? How about crushing expanses of water, weighing down on top of you. Sort of like when Timmy McClanahan trapped me inside a refrigerator box when I was 6. Except with drowning. I wasn’t a fan of claustrophobia back then, and I sure as heck am not going to pay for the experience as an adult. But it is soooo relaxing!! No, not for people that have a healthy and natural fear of watery graves. I’ve seen ‘The Abyss.’ I don’t have any of that magical liquid that Ed Harris’s character breathes like amniotic fluid. MY BODY WILL NOT REMEMBER. (Extra credit for you if you get the obscure Abyss reference…)
• Get a Tattoo. Contrary to popular belief (Hi Dad), I do not have, nor will I ever get a tattoo. True, I enjoy watching some of the tattoo shows on TV, but purely from an artistic point of view. There are some really beautiful tattoos out there. Approximately 3% of them. The other 97% were done by a guy named Spider, who learned how to tattoo while serving time. Let’s face it, there’s a certain cross section of society that turns to tattooing as a profession, and I’m telling you, there are no budding Caravaggio’s or Rembrandt's there. I have zero interest in being someone’s practice canvas. Besides, I’m the girl that has to wear completely different jewelry EVERY day because I get bored. How could I commit to one image, poorly done, in the same spot, for all eternity? Me personally, I can’t wrap my brain around the thought of being 86 and in the nursing home, with my rock and roll themed tramp-stamp being exposed every time they change my Depends. Have you ever seen a grandma with full tattoo sleeves? Me neither. But if I did, I would find it hilarious. And sad. And then hilarious again. So please, parents of mine, can this finally settle the does-she-or-doesn’t-she question regarding any alleged tattoo? Gracias.
• Be a Journalist/Reporter. There’s no part of me that could write/report about anything that I remotely had an opinion on. You’d see me on the news, the words coming out of my mouth, but listen closely- that’s a faint snicker you hear. Oh yeah, and maybe a well timed eye-roll. Could I seriously report on Lindsay Lohan’s first day of jail today without hinting to you that that’s exactly where the child needs to be? While we’re at it, give the two adjoining cells next to hers to her parents. But I digress. Some of you were born with good looks, smarts, ability to resolve conflict, etc. I was blessed with opinions. Lots of them. Many props to all of you who suffer through hearing them day in and day out.
• Teach High School. I love kids, I really do. I love them when they are small and charming. Appreciative, even. High Schoolers are big, and smug, and hopped up on hormones and Red Bull. Want to know what I remember from High School? That AquaNet achieved the greatest bang height, and that boys made better friends than girls. And that S***** Barnes (name bleeped to protect the not-so-innocent) was a beast. Yes, so I now share a same last name as my nemesis, and that’s what you call IRONY, people. Anyway, think of the blood sweat and tears that go into teaching. Low pay, high drama, and parents constantly calling your methods into question. I have two teachers that stand out as somewhat influential (English and History), the others I can’t even tell you their names. Is that the legacy you want to leave as a teacher? That the only thing I learned in a year of Chemistry class is that sulfuric acid will burn the crap out of your hand? (True story). Also true story: I ran into that same chemistry teacher at the grocery store a year or two after I graduated. He proceeded to ask me out for dinner, which completely weirded me out. Although, it did clear up a lot of the mystery of receiving good solid B’s in a class where I couldn’t even spell stoichiometry. It was one of those lightbulb moments.
• Sing Karaoke. Of some things, you can count on. The rising of the sun. The tides of the ocean. The very assuredness that you will NEVER have to endure my singing in a Karaoke environment. No illicit drug or substance would be enough to convince me of any sort of singing aptitude on my part. Will. Not. Happen. …Ever.

Leave me a comment and tell me something YOU will never do....


Friday, July 16, 2010

Young Blood

Yesterday’s post was about how “old” I am. True, I no longer have that roaring metabolism, or ability to stay awake for three days existing on Mountain Dew and Cheetos. What I have retained are some youthful habits and pursuits; some helpful, some ridiculous. Mostly embarrassing. Buuuuutttt, since my readership demands humorous and self-deprecating posts, I’ll compile a real-life, completely true list of some of the things that keep me young. (read: immature)

* I eat all the marshmallows first out of my bowl of Lucky Charms. Only then do I reluctantly eat the little sawdust puffs that remain.
* I drive as fast as I did at 15, when my parents so wisely bought me a ’76 Camaro for a “first” car. Coincidentally, that’s also when I learned you could cry to get out of a ticket.
* I still rate my Saturdays as “good,” “better,” “best,” depending on whether I got to sleep in or not. And how long.
* I sneak contraband into the movies. Once in High School I managed a whole Jack in the Box combo meal, but my personal adult best is a 44oz soda, and king size box of Mike and Ikes. And not in a big purse, but a small purse with a hoodie draped jauntily over my arm. A bold move, if I do say so.
* We tape and watch ‘Penguins of Madagascar ‘ religiously.
* Two words: HELLO KITTY (The husband, who clearly does not understand the obsession has veto’ed the Hello Kitty themed bathroom. So rude.)
* Am currently working my way through LEGO: Harry Potter for XBOX360. Also own Lego Batman, Lego Star Wars, and Lego Indiana Jones.
* Will hop on a plane in a heartbeat to go meet my friends at a concert. The desire has always been there, but having an adult income has afforded me the means to do so. Not to mention, no parentals to tell me how frivolous and excessive this hobby of mine has become. (Has anyone seen the show ‘Intervention?’ Watch for me next season..) This all started with a Rush concert when I was 18, and 13 of us pooled enough money to get ONE room at a Motel 6 in Albuquerque. Where did we all sleep? There was no sleep. (See comment above re: Mountain Dew and Cheetos). Just a warning from the manager that we were no longer welcome at the SIX’er on Montgomery Blvd.
****SIDEBAR: Have seen RUSH in concert 21 times. Next month in Las Vegas will make 22.
* The word “moist” still makes me snicker. Keep in mind, I hear this word at LEAST once a day in my current profession.
* Last family gathering taught my sister’s little boys, 4 and 6, how to make the West Side gang signs. “West Saaayyeeed!” (Bloods was too hard- their little fingers aren’t that nimble. Don’t worry, copious amounts of XBOX will fix that.)
* Stayed up waaaaaay too late last night playing Texas Hold ‘Em on Facebook. On a schoolnight. Rationalized it by telling myself I'd make up the sleep on Saturday.
* Will sometimes open the bag of powdered donuts in the store, because I can’t wait until checkout.
* I laugh uncontrollably when I’m scared. I went through a “haunted woods” last year for Halloween, and I think they thought I was special.
* I have at one time, craved Krispy Kreme at 1am. My female roommates being more cautious (read: smarter) than I was, made me call a male friend to bodyguard us downtown. That bodyguard is now my husband, who these days will not take me out of the house at 1am for ANYTHING. Not even if the house was on fire, and there were $100 bills blowing down the street.

This post could go on ad-nauseum, and I’m losing self respect the longer I go on. In closing, I’ll give you one more reason that I couldn’t possibly be considered a real adult: At 7am this morning, I ate a piece of Kim Carlile’s birthday cake for breakfast. A generous piece. And when I say piece, I should clarify that I didn’t cut myself a piece. I ate it right out of the container like a Neanderthal. I learned that bachelor “why-dirty-a-plate?” trick from Daron. The upside to sugar at 7am, is that it has the same effect that it did when I was 6. The down side is that it had the same effect that it did when I was 6: I had oodles of energy until about 9:30, and have been dragging hiney ever since.

Naptime yet? Have a good weekend everyone….


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Old School

Yeah, so I haven’t posted in a while. You figured that out, right? I guess the whole adoption fiasco, and subsequent adoption scam of earlier this summer rendered me somewhat humorless. I hope to get back to semi-regular postings. Because if there’s anything your life is lacking, it’s random musings from me. You’re welcome.

Post of the day: I’m old. I just figured this out over the weekend. It came as a huge shock to me, so I’ll try to explain how this horrible realization finally dawned.

One word: Chaperone. The fact that anyone would trust me with their precious offspring just astonishes me, but as I go thru my “old” list, it’s beginning to occur to me that I’m not as young and impulsively fun as brain tells me I am. For example, the hubby and I spent 3 days at Youth Conference this past weekend, and came home much older, much wearier, and possibly dumber than when we left. (Top five vocab words of 2010: “Uhhh,” “Totally,” “Like,” “Duh,” and “Sick.”)

*Sidebar: The top five vocab words of 1989: "Uhhh," "Totally," "Like," "Duh," and "Gnarly."

When I say Youth Conference, think 830 kids, 3 dorm buildings, 2 dances, and lethal amounts of Axe Body Spray. Hubs and I did NOT get to room together, and in fact, were not even housed in the same building. Ask him sometime about his adventures with his roommate “Rudy.”

I have discovered that even though I don’t have kids, I weirdly enough have no issue with bossing other people’s kids around. Want to try to sneak into the boys dorm? Yeah, no way. (Old). Sticking angry head outside of door to yell at random girl running down halls at 3:30am? (Old). Not to mention, sans contacts and blind as a mouse? (Blind AND Old). Keep in mind, these kids were born in the mid 90’s. I’ve got shoes older than that. CUTE SHOES. Or are they cute? I’m having shoe-doubt now, which has never happened before. Who am I trying to kid? Maybe I should just start shopping for orthopedic shoes at the Naturalizer...

Remember the old days when a song would come on, fast or slow, and you would stand awkwardly around waiting to be asked, pretending you were super engrossed in convo with your friends, and then thank your lucky wall-flower stars when you finally DID get asked? Yeah, they don’t do that anymore. The slow songs, maybe. And there's no hard and fast rule anymore about who does the asking- Fast songs are danced in a big glob out in the middle of the dance floor, and there are no dance moves. Just jumping up and down to the beat. Seriously. (Old).

And finally, the worst realization concerning my “oldness.” I’ve coasted gently into the years of having to consider “age appropriateness” when purchasing clothing. I’ve seen some adorable outfits that would just get me talked about by other harpies my age. Take for instance those cute cutoff leggings that the girls wear under skirts. It’s with a twinge of sadness that I admit I shouldn’t even attempt that look.

So there you have it, my essay on oldness. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I don’t have the heart to go on. (may need a nap now..) Sure, it’s mostly a state of mind. That’s why next time I’ll post all the things that still make me young and immature.


Monday, May 10, 2010

We're Ok

Just a quick update. We really are doing fine. It's pretty much back to normal at our house, and although I still have the periodic twinge of sadness, they are getting fewer and farther between. It's helped just to stack everything back in the nursery and close the door. The task I work hardest at is banishing the thought of "what if it doesn't ever happen?" It's embarrassing to admit that I give in to despair sometimes, but I'm learning to squash those thoughts as they pop up. I keep telling myself that there has to be some sort of reason or plan in all this, and it's ok for me not to know it. I also have to make myself not over think things. Even if this never happens for us, we've got to be ok with that possibility too. It helps living with the eternal optimist. How did a cynic like me end up with Pollyanna? Not sure, but it's a good thing I did. He's taught me how to be grateful for what I DO have. To love each day for what it is, and the opportunities that surely lie ahead. That even with our trials, we still don't have much to complain about.

So many of you have sent meals, checked in, emailed, sent cards, sent flowers, and just generally showed us that you care. Also, a big thank you to my counselors and leaders that pretty much took over my calling for the last two weeks. That was a huge weight lifted. If there was one positive thing to come out of this, it was to learn just how loved we really are. You allowed us our space, but still made your loving presence known. Thank you for that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

6 Days

Turns out six days is all it takes to turn your world upside down. We had been frantically and excitedly preparing for a little boy to enter our lives this week, and are sad to report that that will not be happening.

Up until yesterday everything looked good, we had conferenced with our lawyer in SC, and were on track to pick him up in a few days. Yesterday afternoon, our case worker Jean called with bad news. The birthmother had not be forthcoming about her prenatal care, and in fact, had had none. Her only visit was a month ago at 35 weeks, where she was told that the baby had multiple birth defects. She received no care after that, until yesterday when she went to the hospital to deliver. Knowing (or not knowing) that there were going to be many unanswered questions about his health, we decided to wait until he was delivered to make any decisions. He was born by c-section this morning, and weighed in at a healthy 7lbs 2ozs. He has spina bifida (his spinal cord is exposed outside of his body) and hydrocephaly (fluid putting pressure on his brain). Both of these are correctable to some extent, but his long term health is a big question mark. He underwent surgery this afternoon to attempt to correct both of these problems.

There were many legal difficulties to overcome when this was a healthy adoption. Now that he's certain to be in the hospital for several months, we were advised (and reluctantly agree) that a local SC family would be better for him. They can visit and care for him on a daily basis- something that we wouldn't have been able to manage due to distance and legal issues stemming from being in another state. The new family was notified this afternoon.

That being said, I'm in quite a state. We've done nothing but celebrate with you for 5 days, and now all I feel is a tremendous sense of loss. We know that you all love us, and will pray for our peace and comfort. Right now it's too hard to talk about it, so please let us lie low for a couple days while we get our bearings again. The Lord will bless us with our righteous desires- it just wasn't meant to be this time.

Elisa and Daron

Saturday, April 24, 2010


So, a lot of you have heard, and most you haven't- We're tried to call and let a lot of you know...

We got the call yesterday morning, and not only are we getting a baby, he's due in 9 days! May 3rd is his due date, but you know how these things go. We're preparing so that we can leave about any time. We don't know a lot about the situation, as the birthparents wish for a closed adoption. We know that he is healthy and has had excellent prenatal care. We know that he is caucasian, but beyond that... nothing. We won't know anything about the family beyond the little bit of family medical history that will be provided to us.
People keep asking about showers, etc. I can't even wrap my brain around this yet, much less contemplate a shower. I am excited to have one, and will enjoy it much more after we are home for a week or two. My go-to girl Sherri is taking charge of that, so if you'd like to help, or want an invite, please email her at itssherriberri@hotmail.com. She'll hook you up with all the pertinent info.
This isn't a done deal. Please pray for a healthy delivery, and that the Spirit may comfort his birthmother throughout the process. I can't imagine being in her shoes right now. She has a final doctor's appointment on Tuesday that will hopefully help us narrow down our departure date.
Thank you for all the well-wishes, and we will keep you posted as we know more!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He's a keeper

It's the little things that tell me I picked the right guy. One little gesture like this, and bonehead comments like "you're the 2nd best cook I know!" melt further back into the recesses of my memory. I couldn't bear to scrape it off, so I drove all the way to work like this. Thanks Daron, for making my morning a little better!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Yeah yeah. I know I haven't blogged in a month. I know that I should be blogging about Christmas, and New Years, and my parents visit in early December... and there's still plenty of time for that. I still have two days of vacation left, and anything is possible. In the meantime, let me introduce you to the newest member of Team Barnes:

Yep, she really is as adorable as you think she is. Stella's arrival at the Barnes Casa came as a surprise to me too. A couple of days before Christmas, I started getting "prepped" for her arrival:


Daron: "A girl at work has baby hamsters."

Elisa: "Awesome. What do you want for dinner tonight?
Because I was thinking about....."


Daron: "Hey these hamsters are really kinda cute. There's a grey one,
and a.."

Elisa: "Really, a hamster? What are we, Nine years old? Do we
really want a hamster? Are you feeling me out for a tentative hamster

Daron: "Nooooo, no, no. I'm just saying they are pretty cute."

So fast forward to Wednesday evening, when one Daron Barnes comes through the door with a small cardboard box in hand, and a guilty 9-year-old look on his face. I open the box, and the sweetest little hamster face looks up at me. (Side note: I'm such a sucker for animals, it's not even funny. In fact, I have to turn the channel whenever the ASPCA commercial comes on, with all those sad little dogs and cats. The only thing that keeps me from running a Pekingese rescue, is my love of a paycheck, and inability to buy high-end handbags and shoes on said shelter salary. Which is none. Ok, that, and the husband has a big problem with turning his garage into fully functioning kennel.) Suffice it to say that I loved her immediately, just as Daron knew I would. A trip to PetsMart, and $45 later, my FREE hamster was set up in her new swank pad. Not ever having had a hamster growing up, I had to educate myself quickly and thoroughly on hamster care. The quick glance I had at the hamsters-for-dummies pamphlet at the petstore should do the trick.

ANYWAY. You probably have a couple questions. So here we go-

1. Why Stella? What kind of name is that for a hamster? Well, why not. Besides, you have no idea how much entertainment has been derived so far by hollering "STELLLAAAAAA" in your best Marlon Brando voice. (Go google 'Streetcar Named Desire' if you don't get the reference. And you might want to watch more Turner Classic Movies. I'm just saying.)

2. Why a hamster? Why now? Oh heck. I don't know. I keep asking for another puppy, and I suppose this is Daron's way of buying some more time. Because there's one thing we know about women who can't/don't have children, and that's that they fill their lives and homes with pets until a. their spouse leaves them, or b. News14 shows up on their doorstep because the neighbors are complaining about the meowing/barking, and the overwhelming smells of Meowmix/Alpo when the wind is just right. Don't worry, I'm not there yet.

3. What about the dog? Perhaps the best question yet. Having a dog bred for rodent management presents an interesting conundrum. Presently, Stella resides upstairs, and Skip downstairs. Since the dog is not allowed upstairs, we are reasonably confident in Stella's survival rate in the upstairs office. I suspect that subconsciously, we were craving the adventure that only a predator/prey pet relationship could provide.

For those of you keeping track, Team Barnes now consists of the two humans, one dog, four fish, and one sweet little hamster. Hopefully 2010 will be the year we add another human! Wish us luck!!