Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


Adoption from Foster Care- Meeting the Other Family

We are at a park that has a playground and an open field for kids to run around in. The weather is cool, requiring winter jackets and hands to be stuffed in pockets. We stand on the edge of the parking lot waiting. It's just the three of us, my wife and I and our newest son that we are adopting from the foster care system from another state. Our son is wide-eyed and very still. Which is unusual for him. The football is tucked under his arm, he's not throwing it or requesting anyone to catch or "go long". He just stands. It strikes me as unfamiliar that I've never seen him stand completely still like this.

Every time a car enters the parking lot his eyes go to it, scanning the people on the inside.
"Do they know we are here?"
"Yes, I texted them and told them exactly where we are.", I reply making sure my voice sounds soothing and calm as I do during the dharma talk at the end of my yoga classes.
"What time is it?", he asks for the third time.
"I'm sure they will be here soon.", I reply with a smile.

We are meeting two of his biological siblings and their adopted dad for the first time. We are all nervous, my stomach is doing bellyflops. I'm nervous about meeting this family, that in an ideal world we would continue to have a relationship with and I'm also excited for our son to see his siblings who he hasn't seen in months.
A pick up truck pulls into the parking lot.
'That's them!", he shouts.
His eyes seem brighter and a huge smile spreads across his face. He starts to run but my wife grabs his arm and kindly says "Careful, it's a parking lot." Once the truck has pulled into it's spot, he runs towards his brother and they hug so fiercely, tears instantly form in my eyes and I quickly blink them away as I smile and reach for my wife's hand as we walk across the parking lot together.

Seeing the three of them together was amazing. It was as though we had a glimpse of these missing pieces of the puzzle and to see how they interact with each other and play and laugh. My God, did they laugh! The bond that they have is so strong. They are incredible kids. The adoptive father was wonderful and kind. And is also looking forward to keeping the siblings relationship in tact.
I feel blessed. And so grateful.

Whether you believe in God, the Universe, Higher Power, Divine Source, Mother Earth or the Holy Mother herself....something larger than us was involved in this match. That he was chosen to be our son out of the 70+ kids that we inquired about. That the other adopted family would be so wonderful and kind.
I feel blessed.
And oh so grateful.


Adoption from Foster Care- The Map of Our Family

It was just my wife and I picking up our newest son for a day visit to go out to eat for lunch, he is a foster child that we are adopting from another state. We have to wait for the ICPC contract to be finalized in order for him to come and live with us and so in the meantime we drive two hours each way, every week to visit with him for the day.

He decided he wanted to eat at Chipotle, we let him choose since the older boys were with their dad for the weekend which means no one needed to compromise. He's sitting in the backseat of our Element SUV, the Element has these funky doors which requires the front seat passenger to open the door for the person in the back.

As he's getting out of the car he says, "so L and Z were adopted too?"
"Nope, I gave birth to them both.", I reply very matter of factly.
He looks at me with a puzzled expression on his face.
"They both grew in my belly.", I offer.
Even though he's nine years old I don't want to assume that anyone has had the "where do babies come from conversation".
"So you were married to their dad?", he asks.
"Ah, yes I was. And then we got divorced and then I married Momo."
"Didn't some people think it was weird that you married a woman after being married to their dad?", he asks with such innocence on his face.
"I'm sure there were several people who thought that.", I immediately reply as we make our way around the car and into Chipotle. He then looks up at my wife, "so you got divorced too?"
My wife does an amazing job just picking up the conversation without being privy to the first part of it and says, "No. Gretchen is the first person I married."

We walk into Chipotle and he begins to contemplate the decision between tacos or a burrito. He's going back and forth and you can tell that this decision seems huge to him and may impact his whole day by the value he's giving it. He decides on the burrito and his body relaxes as he tells the employee, very confidently, all the things that he wants on it. When we get to the counter to pay he turns to me and says, "I think those people are stupid who thought it was weird for you to marry Momo."
"I agree with you. We don't need those people in our lives, do we?"
"Nope.", he says with a huge smile and a twinkle in his eyes. I give him a hug and I can feel him exhale what feels like a huge weight of stress.

I know that we will have several conversations like this one as he learns the map of our family and the many twists and turns that it has made in order to be created. Divorce, marriages, children- generation after generation a new twist and a new turn. The best part is, he's on the journey with us and now a part of a family.


Easy To-go Breakfast

We are in the process of adopting an older child from foster care in the neighboring state of VA. We drive 2 hours each way to see our newest son on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week. Since January we have been making the very hard choice of choosing healthy food to-go rather than drive-thru convenience. It's so easy to run through a McDonald's and grab a coffee and egg sandwich. But I pay for it later with added weight on the scale and a roller coaster of emotions as my body tries to regulate the convenience food. Resisting the temptation to over indulge is hard. But prepping the meals doesn't take that much time as I focus on food that is super easy to put together and throw in a cooler for the car. I know our waistlines and attitudes will be better for it.

Here is my easy to-go breakfast that I put in a tupperware and eat in the car. All ingredients are organic. And I prep the berries after I purchase them by cleaning and cutting them and letting them live in a mason jar in our fridge so that they are always easy to grab when the desire for a sweet treat hits me. 

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries & blueberries
  • 2 Tbs strawberry preserves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts  
  • shaved organic coconut flakes.


Curly Girl Hair Product - Ms Jessie's Coily Custard

I've recently started growing my hair out and like many curly head ladies I have spent so much money trying to find the right products that work with my hair. After filling an entire shelf in our hall closet with curly hair products that I refer to as "the rejects". I posted on Facebook asking my friends with curly hair what products they are loving and couldn't live without. To my surprise about twenty curly head goddesses commented and there was only ONE duplicate!
Holy moley- how is a girl to decide???
I took the one duplicate recommendation and did a bit more research on the brand and decided to try Ms. Jessie's Coily Custard. And I am happy to report that I have found the perfect hair product for my curly hair!
I practice the Curly Girl method and use the Deva Girl No-Poo Cleanser every third day along with the One Condition. I only "wash" my hair every three days and on the days in between I spritz my hair with water and use Quenched Curls- Curl Moisturizer/2nd Day Curl Refresher.
This curly head girl is happy with the results!


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