Sunday, December 30, 2012

God is always good.

I need to get something off my chest that bothers me immensely. This constant quote and ones similar to it, on facebook (or elsewhere)- "God is so good to bless me with being a mother!"

I guess at first glance there's nothing wrong with this statement. And you may disagree, but I don't like the insinuation that lies beneath and this statement bothers me now even though I DO feel that God is good and am glad that God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a mother!

HOWEVER,
GOD IS STILL GOOD EVEN WHEN YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER (or father)!

I believe this to be true times a million! God is good no matter what. God is good even when the sky is falling, loved ones have died, you lost your job and you can't pay the bills. When you are lonely, tired, lost, scared and even depressed, God is STILL good. Why do I believe this? Because I read the Psalms. They are full of fear, loss yet God's ultimate goodness in the midst of trial. When we praise God for the blessings in our lives and fail to praise Him and call Him good in the midst of trial and suffering we are truly missing out. We are missing out on God's greatest gift of all- the gift of true contentment in His presence. It's so easy to praise God when things are good and wonderful and easy (like becoming a parent for most people), but please do not declare that God is good BECAUSE of those gifts. In my opinion, you're kind of missing the point.

I also believe in every.single.person's.worth. You are lovely, worthwhile, amazing, gifted and blessed. WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A MOTHER!!! People that have never experienced infertility (or any major life struggle) may be confused by why I am emphasizing this so much. But, let me tell you... comments like this can cut like a knife. 


For so long I thought I was worthless because I couldn't become a mother. I felt like I had no direction, no purpose, no meaning to my life. Was any of this true? NO! And it took many, many tears and lots of crying out to God to get to the place of confidence and belief that I was a complete person without becoming a mother. Praise the Lord that I got to this place before the buddy came into our lives! Because I would surely be missing out if I thought my worth and life's greatest blessing came from being his mother.

Don't misunderstand me. Being the buddy's mother is amazing. He is amazing. I am SO blessed! But, even if I never became a mother, if YOU never become a mother, you are blessed! You are loved! YES! It feels like something is missing if you desperately long to be a parent and it's not happening month after month. Oh my goodness, it's the hardest. It's painful. It's lonely. It's rotten. It's horrible. Believe me, I know. But, I truly believe that God is still good and you are still worthwhile. You are an amazing, wonderful creation designed for so much MORE than motherhood! You were created for God's purposes. I don't know what those are specifically for you, but they're there! Don't miss out on discovering them! 


Could I make a list of what I was made for? I don't know. But, we all must know deep down that we have worth. That we have a purpose and that God wants to be with us. He wants to fill us with HIM and HIS love deep down to our core. He wants to bless us, but all those other blessings (including parenthood) pale in comparison to knowing Him and pursuing Him and His purpose for you.

The truth is, if all you can about your purpose and worth is being a mother, you are missing out. Just like I was missing out when I thought I wouldn't have a purpose or meaning if I never BECAME a mom. So, GO! Go deeper! Listen to God and don't just thank Him for the good things. Praise Him for the tough stuff, because without it, you never really discover what truly matters. 


The End. :-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thank you Infertility

Infertility seems like a curse instead of a blessing, right? I agree wholeheartedly! Infertility brings much suffering, pain and confusion. You have to answer questions most people should never have to ask. As in "how much money are we able to spend TRYING to get pregnant?" or "How comfortable am I with injecting artificial hormones into my body?" Or "When should we give up trying to have a child?" Oh my... my heart hurts so much even THINKING about those awful questions!!

BUT, I will say that I am so grateful for infertility in my life! Without it I wouldn't be the same (wiser?) person I am now. Do I hope and pray God will do a miraculous work and heal us? YES! Of course! But, that doesn't change the fact that I'm grateful for the journey we have been on so far for several reasons.

1. Of course, the buddy. He was SO worth infertility. He's awesome and we love him so much!!

2. I've developed more of a grateful and thankful heart. And I don't take the gift of the buddy for granted. And I think it has taught me to not take other gifts for granted either. We are not entitled to any gift this world (or even God) has to offer. Everything we receive is a miracle and a huge blessing I want to appreciate every day. I hope I always remember this. It's easy to take so many things for granted when life is going well.

3. Children are a gift. SO true! BUT, I have learned that our present, and any future children should not be the center of our universe. There is so much more we have been called to be as Christians and as citizens of the world. I am not just called to care for my own children, but for the children of the world. If all I can say at the end of my life is that I have been a mom, then I am missing out. I never would have truly understood this truth had it not been for infertility.

4. I have realized that there's a whole lot more pain behind all the happy status updates and photos on facebook. I truly hope this not only changes my attitude, but also my actions, and that I take this knowledge to the real world and ask people how they're REALLY doing and do all I can to help and love them. There's a whole lot of loneliness out there, most of it behind a smiling face.

5. I have made some wonderful friendships through infertility! It's not a fun thing to share in common, but I have met some amazing ladies nonetheless. I have also learned that as much as I like to have fun as the next person, if a friendship doesn't go to the deeper level, it's not a real friendship. Going through a trial forces friendships to go deeper or kind of fade away. This has been sad to lose some friendships, but I suppose necessary in the long run. Infertility is a lonely road and those going through it (like any tough situation or loss) need support! I hope I'm able to provide that for those that need it. (Again, if you want to talk to someone or are going through a difficult trial, please email me at lareinaisabel at gmail.com).

6. Adoption is a glorious gift! I learned that and get to experience it every day! We always said we would adopt after having biological children, but who knows if we ever would have done it if getting pregnant had been easy? I'm so glad I'm a part of such a glorious miracle every day. :-) And our experience has absolutely convinced us that we'll adopt at least once more in the future.

7. You know that verse, ""My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."? (2 Cor. 12:9) Yeah, I get that a lot more now. Only when you feel truly weak will you ever feel the huge power and grace that Christ alone has to offer.

As time passes I'm sure there will be more things that come to mind that have been blessings in disguise. More hidden gifts that infertility has to offer. I still hate it. It still stinks. Every time I see an ultrasound picture or hear a pregnancy announcement, I wonder if that will ever be us and if it will always make my heart heart. I'm so glad for those people (especially those who struggled to get there!), but part of me may always hurt a bit when I see those things. I'm still grateful for all we've been through and I hope that every future trial will carry with it gifts that I won't ignore!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Open Adoption is Cool.

So, in the midst of all the Christmas celebrations, we were also able to go out to dinner with the buddy's birth parents! We already know his birth mom pretty well, but it was the first time to meet his birth father.

At first I was a bit nervous about the meeting, but I then realized that there's no sense in worrying about it. It was going to go how it was going to go no matter how much stress I put into it. :-) Plus, I do think that after going through infertility, everything else is in better perspective. As Dave said, "the ink is dry" so it's not like they're taking him back! It makes me sad when society has those worries because that is NOT what open adoption is like!

Open adoption is honesty. It's giving your child another person to love them in their life AND it's giving them answers to many questions they may have in the future. I love that one day we'll be able to take out the pictures we took this weekend and show him how he got to have his first Christmas celebration with his parents and his birth parents all together and that we all love him very much. I love that we are in contact (mostly through email) with both of them and we can get answers to health questions or even questions about what they looked like as babies, etc. I love that the buddy will be able to know where he came from and will be able to ask them questions many people don't get to ask of their birth parents.

I know that there are situations when open adoption isn't the best situation for everyone involved for many different reasons. But, for us, it's going so well! Of course, there are nerves involved and my insecurity wonders if they think I'm doing a good job raising him. But, we are confident that for the buddy, this is the best.

And you know what, we LOVE his birth parents! It's super exciting to have met J, his birth father as well. They are both wonderfully kind and fun people to talk to. They have interesting lives and we have more in common that we might have thought. And of course, they're both good looking, as you can tell by looking at pictures of the buddy... hehe. :-)

I would post some photos, but we'll keep their identities private for now. But, I will just say that open adoption is cool! It's a new are of navigation for us, but it's still super cool. :-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas??

Christmas is a holiday with a lot of expectations. Especially your first Christmas with a baby. :-) We were so excited to spend both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day at my parents' house here in town. We were even going to spend the night to have "Christmas morning" at my parents' house and have the buddy open gifts first thing in the morning while we all gathered around. :-)

Sadly, it has turned out 0% to be how we imagined it. :/ Yesterday afternoon and evening the buddy was a total mess for his naps. He screamed and cried and wouldn't sleep in the travel crib at my parents' house for the life of him. We thought he'd do better for night since he's a pretty good and deep night sleeper, but no such luck. It took us an hour to get him to sleep in our arms and there was still NO sleeping in the crib for him. :/ We eventually had to come back to our house to put him to bed around 9:30 because there was NO going back to sleep for him while over there.

I thought he might be sick, but no fever. And we went to sleep the minute I laid him down in his crib at home. So, I started to get petrified that this baby would never sleep well away from home! But, at least he was sleeping so we headed to bed. Then, his morning nap was horrible too, even at home! I took his temperature again and it was fine. That's when we got the call from my parents that my brother-in-law was up sick all night, so we decided that we shouldn't have a baby in the house with a sick person. SO... we stayed home.

And you know what? We found another tooth! Praise the Lord there's a reason for the madness! Whew! The buddy HAS seemed to sleep a little better the rest of the day, so we're thrilled for that. :-)

So, obviously Christmas hasn't turned out like we expected. But, no complaints here. An entire day in our pajamas hanging out around the house? Yes, please! And an extended Christmas on December 26th? Yes again! :-) We just hope the buddy AND our brother-in-law feel better ASAP!

We have so much to be grateful for this year. Our sweet boy and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! :-) I wanted to embed the video, but it won't work. So for now I will just give you the link.

Enjoy these days and I hope you experience peace and joy this Holiday season. :-)

Much love to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holidays & Infertility

I don't think it was just me, but the Holidays with infertility is the pits. Seriously. It's the pits. Christmas is so much of a family-oriented holiday that it's easy to feel left out and wondering if you'll ever have little ones opening gifts with family members fawning all over their cuteness.

This year I am SO, SO excited for Christmas with our little buddy! Oh my goodness it will be so fun to watch him open presents, even though he will have no idea what's going on. :) But, how my heart breaks for those that wish to be parents and aren't yet, or those that want another child and are still waiting. It's TOUGH every day of the year, let alone the time of year when families and children are glorified as the end-all meaning of life (Sorry, but it's true. Watch any tv special and it's all about how family is so important... what a way to leave a whole segment of the population out!).

Anyway, the point is that going through infertility really opened my eyes to so MANY people feeling lonely at this time of year. Infertility is not the only cause of loneliness, so I also feel for those that have lost a loved one, are waiting to find love or are missing out on any portion of the Christmas season. It is a joyful season for so many, but a sorrowful one for others. I hope that I am sensitive to others in pain, but it can be hard when I'm in my own little world. :/ It's also difficult when it seems like people feel like they have to "put on a happy face" no matter what pain they're in. Well, I just want to say I want to be here for you, whoever you are and whatever loneliness you may be feeling this year. You can email me at lareinaisabel@gmail.com. And if you know me in real life, well then, just call me or send me a facebook message!! I'd love to talk to you and be there for you, even if I can't "fix" anything.

And finally, I have never experienced miscarriage, so I can't imagine how difficult it must be. But, I DO imagine that for those who have been through infertility it can be even more devastating, especially if you've been waiting for years for the precious miracle, only to have it taken away so quickly. I recently read a post about this on a blog I love, so I wanted to pass it along. They also have a fantastic list of resources on how to cope with the Holidays when dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss. I hope you'll find it useful or will pass it along to someone who might need it.

Love, prayers and thoughts to everyone this Holiday season. Let's all make it a goal to reach out to at least one person we know who is struggling this year. It would mean the world to that person... and to you! May your Christmas be full of peace and a spirit of hope no matter what this holiday season means to you or what might be missing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Newtown Tragedy

So, I'm no expert and people sure don't come to me asking my opinion on important matter or tragedies. But, I AM both a teacher and a mom, so I thought I would share what has stuck out to me in the past few days as I have read and heard so many opinions.

1. Of course, murder is always a tragedy. Death is always a tragedy. But, the death of innocent children is even more atrocious than I could ever imagine. It breaks my heart and makes me sick every time I even think of it. And I will say that as a nation we are all grieving. But as we grief, let us be kind and gracious to each other as we all grieve differently.


2. Can we please agree that assault weapons (intended for military combat and specifically designed for killing huge numbers of people) are just NOT necessary for citizens to own? I'm all for second amendment rights and I'm not going to attempt to get all guns outlawed. But, I really think that after this we should be able to agree that guns made to shoot round after round of bullets do not need to be owned by the general population! Please, please join me in this. I don't want to place blame because the problems in our country are so complex, but this would NOT have happened in such a great magnitude if the killer would not have had access to an assault weapon. It just would have been impossible to kill so many people so rapidly without an assault rifle.

3. Please, please, PLEASE do not be afraid to send your child to school! Violence like this is NOT a common occurrence! It is so, so rare. Please do NOT live in fear and give power to evil that way. Schools are safe places to send your children. Statistically speaking, your child is much more likely to die in a car accident on the way to school than at the school. If my child attended Sandy Hook, then I 100% agree that returning to school would be a very traumatic thing and I get that. But, if we all decide to home-school BECAUSE of this incident, we are living in fear and that also makes me sick to my stomach. I have walked through my school very confidently (yet sorrowfully) the past 3 days knowing that I am 99.99999% safe in my school (which again, is much safer than I am in the car driving on the interstate and none of us would suggest that we should never drive anywhere).

4. Take the opportunity to appreciate the teachers in your life. The teachers at Sandy Hook made the ultimate sacrifice for their students because that's the kind of spirit that teachers have. Sure, there are good teachers and not-so-good teachers, but I'm pretty confident that they all go into the profession to serve and teach children. They chose a career with pretty much no possibility of advancement, no Holiday bonuses and no chance to get rich. And usually they are just barraged with negativity from both administrators and parents (I'm so blessed that this is NOT the case at my school and have a very supportive principal and parents, but that is often not true!). So, take some time to appreciate teachers instead of criticizing them.

5. Please do not ever suggest to me that schools would be safer if all teachers had guns. I am a teacher and if I had to carry a gun to school every day I would quit my job. First of all, that would make the school a much more dangerous place because gun accidents are more common than mass shootings. And secondly, all statistics show that more guns=more homicides. So, even if your personal logic points you to that answer, please believe studies and statistics over your own hunch or personal feelings.


6. I think we can all agree than anyone that would kill children is not mentally healthy. There is much going around about mental health, and I'm glad for the awareness. My heart breaks for those going through these struggles. Whether it's advanced schizophrenia or temporary depression, mental health is a complicated, upsetting (and sadly, very common) issue. I think the bottom line here is that even though each one of us is 100% responsible for our own actions and decisions, we need to be there for each other, love each other and support one another as much as we can. What if more people reached out to those isolated and confused instead of avoiding them because they are "weird?" It would only make this world a safer place. This is convicting to me because I really need to take the time and reach out to others more and get out of my little personal problems and concerns.

7. Is there a way we can unite against violent video games, tv shows and movies?! The prevalence and glorification of violence and slaughter in our culture is disgusting and horrifying. Dave and I went to the movies Monday night to see "Guilt Trip" (which we recommend by the way) and saw a GIGANTIC movie poster of a girl with blood all over her face. How is this ok!? Not that I'm a big supporter of swearing or sexual content in these areas, but why is that stuff regulated so much more than gratuitous, disgusting violence!? Shows like CSI just glorify and perpetuate the obsession with have with depravity. I can get into a good murder mystery, but what is out there and readily accessible to our young people is deplorable! Here's an article that reports that the shooter in Newton was an avid "gamer" in the world of violent video games. Why am I not surprised? (I don't think I have ever used so many negative adjectives in one paragraph before!)


I'm sorry if I was just on my soap box for this entire post. I hope I haven't estranged any one or discouraged you from reading here. I don't want to use our blog as some forum of preaching my own "personal message," but felt like I wanted to gather my accumulated thoughts after all the articles and essays I've read in the past few days. 

Disagree with me if you'd like. That's ok. :-) That's the wonderful thing about living in America. We can disagree with each other and (hopefully) continue to live in peace. So, let's make that our ultimate goal. Whatever brings peace. I think if we can all just focus on that we'll be moving in the right direction.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

7 Months Already!


On Thursday our sweet buddy turned 7 months old! Here's what he's been up to. :)

Weight & Length: Since we space out the buddy's vaccines he went to the Dr. this week and weighs 14 lbs 10 oz, so not as much weight gain as we'd like. :/ We have no idea what his height is though.

Sleeping: Ah, well, we've regressed in this area in past month due to teething! There were a few nights there where he woke up several times in the night and wasn't so easily soothed back to sleep, so we all got pretty tired around here! He even started needing to eat again in the night, which he hadn't done in 4 months! Because of teething we discovered that eating was uncomfortable for him so he wasn't eating as much during the day and needed to eat more at night. So, we added in the Dream Feed again and gave him an extra feeding before we headed to bed (around 10:30pm) and that has helped him sleep until morning again. :)

Eating: Again, teething kind of made this a rough month for that. Poor little guy. He went from eating 25-30 oz a day to eating 20-23oz a day for a few weeks. Which is why we added the Dream Feed back in! He's back up to 25-30oz a day including the Dream Feed, so we'll keep it for now. :-) Like I said at the start, he didn't gain a whole lot of weight in the last month, so we're ok with feeding him as much as we can get in. :-)

We're also (for the most part) rocking the 4-hr. eating schedule. This means fewer bottles to wash! We're attempting a more simplified schedule. It doesn't always look like this, but it's what we're aiming for.

7:30am- Wake up & Eat (bottle & solids)
9:15- Nap

11:30 (the goal)- Wake up & Eat (bottle)
1:15ish- Nap

3-4pm or so - Dinner! (bottle & solids)
5pm catnap

7pm- Start bedtime routing including bath & bottle
7:30- Asleep? Maybe? haha...

10:30pm- Dream Feed

It (of course) doesn't always look like this, but it's the goal. Today his first 2 naps were just about an hour instead of two, so he took his catnap early, but it ended up being over 2 hours long! So, we also just go with what he needs.

He has also cut down on solids. Since he's not drinking as much we're having to give him the bottle before offering solids and so by then he's not eating too much. Although his favorite food so far seems to be a yogurt and apple combo. :-) And sweet potatoes. 

Diapers: We still do Cloth Diapers. BumGenius 4.0 are our favorites and we also have some MG Baby ones that we like as well. We rarely use disposables anymore. (He's not at dayschool anymore, but is watched by our dear friend once a week! It should be noted that this means he gets to hang out with his baby girl-friend once a week now.) :-)

Clothing: He's still wearing some 3-6 month and 6 month clothes, but is wearing more 6-9 month sizes too! Which is interesting since apparently he only gained 6 oz. since my last post.

Personality: Other than a few rough teething days the buddy is as happy as ever! We love finding new ways of making him laugh. He's so much fun and so social. We're lucky parents.

Milestones & Firsts: 
-He started scooting backwards! He's especially fast on the wood floors because they're so easy to slide on. :-)
-He recognizes and responds to his name.
-He got his first two (bottom) teeth!
-He's tried drinking from a straw in a sippy cup and does pretty well.
-He also likes drinking water from our glasses, so we let him try. This also leads to him trying to grab and drink out of people's beer glasses in social situations. Ha! Whoops!
-He tried turkey, peas, avocados, zucchini squash, apples and yogurt all for the first time.
-He's trying to crawl, but the lurching just looks silly. He can't go forward yet, but he can sure scoot backward!
-He's discovered "how to play" the piano and it's quite adorable.
-Of course, the adoption was finalized and he's legally our son! AH! SO EXCITING! :-)


Note that the sign has had to be moved behind him because otherwise it goes straight into his mouth!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Official!


On Monday, December 10th, 2012, the buddy officially became our son! Wahoo! 

The appointment in court was pretty simple and about what I expected. What I DIDN'T expect was how sentimental Dave got about it. I'm so blessed to be married to such a sweet guy! :-) He's felt like ours from the beginning, but now he really is! We don't have to forward medical documents to the Adoption Agency or let them know when we'll be out of town because we really 100% are his parents! Wahoo! :-)


Also, this kid took seriously cute 6 month photos! I can't believe this was almost a month ago already! Sheesh!






Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Story

So, I forgot to mention yesterday that I wrote a guest post on Tara's blog as well! 

It's all about our adoption story and likely has more details that I have ever written out on here. So, if you want to know more about how the buddy joined our family, you can read it over here at "Overwhelmed by Joy." :-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Guest Post from Tara at "Overwhelmed by Joy"

I haven't been nearly as good at blogging for "Adoption Awareness Month" as I was hoping I would. But, I've really enjoyed reading others who are more consistent than I am! One of these bloggers is Tara who blogs at Overwhelmed by Joy about their sweet baby girl adopted from Taiwan! I have really enjoyed reading about her and their story and I am honored to share the story of the first time they met Mary Alice! Enjoy! :-)


 Hello Waltzing in Galoshes readers! My name is Tara and I blog over at Overwhelmed by Joy. I am the blessed mommy of a precious girl named Mary Alice through international adoption from Taiwan. I wanted to share with you a little window into the story of our adoption. This is the day we met our daughter. Finally after almost 4 years of marriage, 3 failed adoptions and 1 miscarriage... I opened the door to the orphanage...or maybe Matthew did...I am not sure, it has been awhile... We walked through the door and I heard it slam behind me...a distinctive slam that I can still hear when I close my eyes and focus, the slap of wood against wood...the metal screen vibrating against the frame...the spring near the hinge springing back into place... The two men who came to pick us up slip in behind us but I am not worried about waiting on them...I have a baby to meet. I look around and see a room I have seen in countless first family photos; the couch, the piano, the pictures. The room is empty. For some reason I expected to meet her here so a little off balance I press on. Through the door into the kitchen/dining room. Everything is quiet, the babies are napping. Someone is sitting with their back toward me, they turn and there she is, I think. I think it is her but I question, she looks a little small...not quite like the pictures, she is pouring sweat. It is hot, isn't it? I wonder what I am supposed to do? Pick her up, study her face, remember this moment? Then I remember what a fellow adoptive mommy said, "Don't think about what you should do or what you are supposed to do. This is your daughter, don't pressure yourself to do anything in particular." All of these thoughts speed through my brain so quickly that I don't even register them until later in quiet moments once we arrive home. In a blur, she is in my arms.
She feels so fragile, so tiny and helpless. Not knowing quite what to do and starting to feel a little overwhelmed I hand her to Matthew. Yup, I get my baby and hand her off. She isn't looking at either one of us, in fact, she is looking at everything but us. Bev tells us, "She'll often ignore you in the beginning.." Good to know. (the only reason I know she says that is because I have it on video!) I watch Matthew awkwardly holding her and realize that he doesn't know what to do either and all the sudden the switch flips, "THIS IS MY BABY! GIVE HER BACK!" Thankfully I only yell that in my head but I swiftly take her back, hearing giggles around me as I start to reconnect with reality, there are at least 5 or 6 people sitting around watching this and one person filming it! Watching it back on the video, all I do is look at her and laugh kind of manically at everything everyone talking to us says. All I remember is thinking is, "is this real?" I snuggle her close and rock her for a little while and hand her back to Matthew so he can actually spend more than 30 seconds holding her and so that I can answer the increasing questions with some semblance of sanity. Shortly after I hand her off, Matthew gets the first smile. Mary Alice starts to get fussy (she is very late for her nap...they kept her awake to meet us) so someone kindly suggests that we head outside to rock her under the gazebo. Alicia thoughtfully took some pictures of us soaking in our first moments alone as a family of 3. This is the first time I allow myself to cry. The tears start jumping out of my eyes, down my face and right onto the face of my daughter. She is crying too so it doesn't really seem to bother her. I start to sing Christina Perri's song A Thousand Years, a song I had dreamed of one day singing to her, and she begins to quiet down. Her eyes and breathing begin to get heavy, as well as my tears. Matthew and I just keep looking at each other in wonder. We honestly had given of hope of ever arriving at this day. Alicia came out with lunch for us and Mary Alice perked up a little, just long enough to cry a little more and for us to sneak in a few pictures. What we didn't know is that one of the men who drove us up from Luo Dong was also adopted. He watched us snuggling Mary Alice from the kitchen and realized for the first time how much his parents loved him from the very second they met him. It was an emotional moment for everyone watching. Once Mary Alice fell asleep we brought her back into the kitchen/dining room and laid her down to take her nap. After we laid her down, Bev, one of the orphanage owners, suggested Alicia take us down to the lake nearby to get some ice cream burritos and to get some fresh air before Mary Alice woke back up. Ice Cream Burritos! I don't honestly remember much about that walk or the walk back. I don't think my feet ever touched the ground though. When we got back she was still asleep and this picture was taken:
I don't think I have ever been more full of joy. I was a mom.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have much to be thankful for this year! Just thinking back to a year ago... wow, what a difference a year makes! (Last year was rough as you can imagine.) What a miraculous and precious baby we are raising. However, no matter where you are in life and whatever you are going through, I hope you find these quotes meaningful. They sure to mean a lot to me, both currently and retrospectively. A friend shared them on facebook and they really hit home to me.

"Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now." -A.W. Tozer

"Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks." Thomas Goodwin

Blessings to you wherever you are in life, whether a season of blessing or trial. May you feel God's love for you and be granted peace in your journey.

Love,
D, E & The Buddy


Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 Months!

So, I've been reading friends' blogs and they post monthly milestones for their babies. I don't know why it has taken me so long to catch on!

Weight & Length:Today was the buddy's 6 month check-up! He was 14 lbs 4 oz and 25in. He's still hanging out around the 10th percentile in both areas. So, it's good and normal that he's along the same growth curve, even though he's a little guy.

Sleeping: The buddy has been sleeping through the night since 12 weeks, so we're lucky! About a month ago we cut out the "dream feed," which was when we fed him after he went to bed for the night, but right before we went to bed, around 10pm. That has been SO nice!

I was kind of nerdy (but loving it) when I started moving his bedtime slightly later right before Daylight Savings, so when we gained that hour, he went to bed at 8:30pm and woke up at 7:30 and we didn't miss a beat! Wahoo!

This month he DID start rolling from back to belly in his swaddle, so he's been sleeping most of the night without a swaddle! (If he wakes between 6-7am we swaddle him and put him back to sleep and he usually sleeps until 7:30/8am.) It takes him a while to fall asleep for the night because he rolls around and talks to himself and plays with his lovey, but we think it's good for him to practice falling asleep on his own! It just takes about 10-20 minutes and is adorable to watch on the video monitor. :-)

I'm still trying to figure out a nap schedule for him. The problem is that his nap lengths are so inconsistent that it's hard to make them at the same time every day. I will like it when we get to this point. :) For now he takes 3-4 naps a day.

Eating: The buddy is still mostly fed from donated breastmilk. Our supply recently almost ran out, and when reaching out to potential donors we got such a big response! He (and we) are so blessed!
He also started solids! We're doing the Weston A Price method, which is good, but difficult as a working mom. It's kind of difficult for me to puree meats for him, etc.. I hope to get a chance to do this in bulk over Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

He started with egg yolk, but one time threw up his entire next bottle several hours later, so we haven't tried it again in over a week. But, he's doing GREAT with vegetables and a couple of fruits! He has been eating bananas, peas (I figured if we got him to eat those, he would then eat anything later on.. ha!), squash, sweet potatoes and now prunes! (And the prunes accomplished their intended purpose I might add... hehe).


Diapers: We still do cloth diapers except for the one day a week he's at dayschool/daycare or when I got to the bottom of the stack before doing laundry. We snapped up to the next level though, so they're bigger! He's still in Size 2 disposables.

Clothing: I think it's strange that onesies in the same size as other "outfits" seem so much smaller! He's mostly wearing 6 month and 3-6 month clothes, but some of the onesies of the same size are to small! So, I just did a large load of 9 month and 6-9 month onesies and other outfits I might start trying on him. :-)

Also, is there a difference between 6 month and 3-6month clothes? Is it based on weight? I'm still confused about this.

Personality: This kid has gotten SO happy, playful and interactive this month! He jabbers and laughs and is very ticklish. He is also very loud. Whether it's happy or upset sounds that he's making, for some reason he thinks he needs to shout. :-)

Milestones & Firsts: There are so many of these in his 6th month! Here's a list:
-Started making both a "b" and "g" sound.
-Plays around with his mouth and making mouth sounds, including blowing bubbles, making raspberries and sucking in his lower lip.
-Laughing at people making funny sounds and funny faces at him, and not just tickles- We just LOVE this guy's belly laugh!
-Rolls from back to belly now too
-Sits unassisted!
- Sleeps without a swaddle at night
-Started solid food (and therefore he now has formed turds in his diaper... hehe)
-He has started scooting himself in a circle when doing tummy time. He hasn't gotten onto all fours yet to start crawling, just scooting to get to more toys. :)

Prayer Request: I don't think most people include this, but I will! As of today the buddy has been with us for 6 months! This means that in our state any day after today his adoption can be finalized. Currently the adoption agency is legally his "parent" and we are his guardians. You can't imagine how much we want to change this so he's legally OURS! We are waiting for our lawyer to hear from the judge about what the date will be.

Not only do we want this to be soon just for our mental health, but also financial! If we finalize before the end of the year we will be eligible to get the Adoption Tax Credit. If not, we our out thousands of dollars we were counting on. It might seem easy to get a court date, but I've never done this before and there is only between 2-4 days a month that the court hears adoption cases so I'm getting anxious! Please pray that we are given a date soon and that all goes smoothly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Called to Adopt?


















Life is crazy right now. For various busy reasons (mostly being work) I've been away from the buddy for 10 hours both yesterday and today. :-( So, there are still bottles to wash and dinner to clean up from and it's practically my bedtime!

But, I still want to share a blog post that I read today and is meaningful to me. To be quite honest, I often think about how we'll build our family in the future. We always wanted 3-4 kids (and deep down I think I have always wanted more), so I wonder how we will build our family in the future and if/when we should start the adoption process again.

I truly want to take this time to just enjoy the buddy and his sweet, sweet, smiling and laughing self. :-) But, that doesn't meant that I don't wonder what the future holds for us and wonder if the next step for us would be domestic, international or foster adoption. This blog post I read today is all about discerning whether or not you may be called to adoption and I know I will refer back to it when decision time comes again. Whenever that might be.

http://www.addingaburden.com/2012/11/discerning-your-call-to-adoption.html

Also, guess who turned 6 months old YESTERDAY!! AH! Time is flying!




Monday, November 12, 2012

More on Adoption Awareness Month!

I've been wanting to post about "National Adoption Month" this whole month! But, sadly I've pretty much been sick for the past month or so. BUT, I'm finally feeling better and wanted to offer some information and resources about adoption.

Here is some information about how you and your family can take part in adoption and orphan care, even without adopting a child. - http://media.focusonthefamily.com/free-downloads/pdf/Orphan%20Care%20Resource%20Kit.pdf?refcd=142805

Wonderful website- "I Care about Orphans"

Also, here's something important for everyone to know. I can't tell you how many stories I've recently heard about families that have adopted, but also have their "own" children. I know these people are well-intentioned, so I can't blame them, but it does hurt my feelings a bit. As if the buddy isn't "my own" just because we don't share the same genetics? :/ Again, I'm not mad at these people and know they just have never been told correct adoption language. So, here's a link to the appropriate terms to use when talking about adoption! http://www.icareaboutorphans.org/CorrectAdoptionLanguage.aspx

That's all for today. More to come (hopefully)!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Today is Orphan Sunday!



Today is Orphan Sunday! I don't feel like the buddy is or ever was ever an orphan as he was carried by a loving mother who chose an adoption plan for him because she believed it to be the best for him. And he's been loved by us from the moment we found out about him!

But as an advocate for adoption, I can't go without mentioning the significance of today. As Christians, God has called us to take care of the widows and orphans and there is SO much more we can all do to help the plight of the 150 million orphans worldwide. Whether it's by supporting those who choose to adopt children without parents, adoption a child yourself, supporting organizations that help orphans, etc. the possibilities are endless!

I know I've been convicted today about my selfishness and focusing on my own comfort instead of on those in need. I sure need days like today to remind me that the world is a WHOLE LOT bigger than me and what's going on in my own life. So, please consider what you can do to help an orphan today, and really any day of the year! :-)

http://orphansunday.org/

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mommy Meltdown

Yesterday I had my first "mommy meltdown." You know, the moment where you are completely overwhelmed and your cry hysterically? (I'm hoping I'm not the only one here who has that that moment.)

In the past I have had quite a few infertility meltdowns and parenthood has been so fun, so it's been a while since I've had a meltdown. But, yesterday I couldn't handle it anymore and had to cry it out myself.

Let's just say that the combination of being sick for a few weeks, working during the day and coming home and taking care of the baby at night by myself while hubby is at work, all while not being able to breathe through my nose finally got to me after the buddy cried for an hour and not sleeping. Two nights in a row. (Yes, it is while I have a sinus infection that the buddy has started rolling over from his back to belly in his swaddle, meaning that we now have to train him to sleep without a swaddle... AH! Stressful!)

All is really well. And we are blessed every time I think about life. And thankfully, I think my anti-biotics are FINALLY kicking in today! Whew! Being sick really WEARS YOU OUT! Even though I took 2 sick days from work this week, I never actually got to relax. 'Tis the life of a mom. :-) And I truly love it. It's the sinus infection I would love to live without.

Also, November is Adoption Awareness Month! Woo! I'm hoping to get in some interesting and informative posts up here. :-)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Orphan Sunday" is right around the corner!

On November 4th, as well as the surrounding Sundays, thousands of events will echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God's steadfast love for the orphan will also stir in our hearts.  From many sources, one voice.

Orphan Sunday is an opportunity to excite family, community, church and friends to God's call to care for the orphan.

As Orphan Sunday approaches, we pray you will dedicate time on one Sunday in honor of the fatherless.

Here are a few helpful and practical recourses for how to spend an Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans' Orphan Sunday.org website:

  • The Orphan's Table - Experiences impact us more deeply than words. On Orphan Sunday, share a meal eaten by orphans around the world.  Gather with family, small group or church for the meal, discussion and prayer.
  • More Resources - Check out OrphanSunday.org for other church resources such as sermon starters, worship songs, bible studies, bulletin inserts, prayer guides, and much more!
We are hopeful you and your church family will honor orphans by participating in Orphan Sunday

Thursday, October 18, 2012

5 Months!? When did THAT happen!?

                                                                                                  
    This past weekend the buddy turned FIVE whole months old! AH! Where is the time going!? I feel like I want time to slow down, but really, I think I just need to get a lot better about living in the moment!

As the buddy turned five months, we also decided we would start some solid food. It was a pretty hilarious adventure for us (apparently pretty traumatic for him though!). He tried boiled egg yolk. Sound strange? Well, we ARE doing this out of the ordinary. We're not starting with the typical rice cereal, but instead are following the Weston A Price/Nourishing Traditions plan. It starts with egg yolk and possible mashed banana from 4-6 months, then moves to pureed meats, vegetables and fruits at 6 months and doesn't introduce grains until he's a year old. We looked into a few solid food "strategies," including Baby Led weaning, and decided that this was the closest to how we try to eat OURSELVES (emphasis on try, cough, cough), so we wanted to stick with the most nutrient dense plan we could find. I have yet to cook the egg perfectly, so I'm hoping part of his distaste has to do with that, but in just about 3 weeks we'll be adding some veggies, so I'm excited for that "first" as well. :)


Interested and/or curious? This article pretty much sums it up.

Can I just say that coupon shopping for baby food pretty much combines two of my passions perfectly!? Helping the buddy AND couponing in one trip!? YES PLEASE! I've promised myself that I'll be making my own baby food in the future, but this working mom has stocked up with the help of coupons for the next couple of months! Although I plan on having some marathon baby-food making over Christmas break. I'm so glad we have a deep-freezer. :-)


SO close to being an independent sitter! He loses his balance quite quickly. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

I have never personally experienced miscarriage or infant loss, but I'm sharing the fact that today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. As someone who has experienced infertility, and therefore much loss and sadness in the process of building our family, I can only feel great sympathy for those women and couples that have gone through the pain of this loss. I'm thinking about and praying for you all today.

I think it's such a shame that posts like this on facebook tend to go ignored (as well as people who go through these issues in real life) because people feel "uncomfortable" talking about things like loss and infertility. But, you know what!? It's real!! According to www.iamtheface.org, 1/4 of females in America will experience pregnancy or infant loss and that breaks my heart.

If you have been through this trial, know that we are here for you. And if you know someone that has been through any of these losses, please let them know you love and care about them. Just because it's common doesn't mean it's not painful. (Here's a link to an article about how family and friends can help.)

I don't like to "avoid" difficult issues. I like to talk about them and share, so we can bear each others' burdens, pains and losses. Not only is it our responsibility as those that live together in community, but it also makes sharing in the joy of others even more sweet when that time comes as well. We NEED each other! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Opening the Adoption Files

Here is a great article in "Christianity Today" about Open Adoption (we have an open adoption and a great relationship with the buddy's birthmother).

Opening the Adoption Files

I have so many blog ideas but not enough time to compose them. Hopefully soon I will sit down and write some of my thoughts and share them with you. :-)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bodily Functions

Because so many of you enjoyed my post about him spitting up AND peeing in our bed within 5 minutes time I thought I would share this "delightful" story. :)

WHILE I was changing his diaper last night he was coughing (poor guy). BUT, every time he coughed he also passed gas. I couldn't keep myself from laughing. So hard. Even though it was time for him to be sleeping and I was supposed to be all calm and quiet.

Oops. hehe :)

So... I was wrong.

It wasn't just teething. It is an all-out cold. :(

When I picked the buddy (my new blog name for baby N!) up from my parents' house on Friday he had a yucky cough and a goopy eye. Thankfully the Dr.'s office is open on Saturday mornings so we took a trip to see the pediatrician who said he definitely had a cold. I knew the hacking and eye ickiness were not symptoms of teething, but it was good to hear it wasn't something more serious! 


Poor guy seems happy until a stuffy nose or cough wakes him up from a nap or at bedtime. And of course until we have to administer the antibiotic eye cream, or the worst, aspirate his nose. Yeah, he screams like crazy at that for sure!!! It's a 2 person job trying to get the limbs still enough to make any of it effective. :/

I'm pretty bummed he's sick, mostly because it's sad to hear his stuffy nose and know he's uncomfortable, but also because I thought he would have the immune system of a Greek god because of all the donated breastmilk he has gotten! Our hope was that because he has gotten immunoglobulins from several different milk donors (even though we have had 3 "main" donors, we have had about 3 other supplemental donors) that he would be immune from all kinds of childhood illness! But, no suck luck. :( 


So, the buddy (and I) stayed home from church yesterday and then I'm home early from work to watch him while Dave goes into teach. No dayschool for the little guy today. I WILL say I'm glad for the time with him, but definitely not at the expense of his sickness!

Here's hoping he's better by the end of the week! It's so sad to have "torturous" bedtime routines of nasal saline drops, snot-aspirating and eye cream application! I'm ready for normal (whatever that is?) again! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quick Post

He's getting pretty good at "tripod sitting."
So, it's easy to say that the transition is going well when everything goes "as planned." Of course, after that blog post (I need to stop bragging!) our sweet baby seemed to catch a little bug. :/ He seemed a little stuffed up, and had a fever last night and was either screaming or sleeping, definitely not his normal cheerful self. He's also recently decided that he doesn't need a long late afternoon nap OR an evening catnap anymore. Which is good because I get more interactive time with him. BUT, all of this also means I'm on the overwhelmed and exhausted side of life! :-)

Based on his temperature and behavior today, we're pretty sure he's just teething, but oh my! If this teething continues in the same way it did yesterday the house will never be clean again! Or even tidy... :)


Anyway, on a side note, I forgot to blog about a pretty hilarious "episode." On Tuesdays I miss Nathaniel extra because it's the day I not only work at my regular job from 7:30-3:30, but then afterward I teach for an hour at a local Preschool. So, I miss him! One recent Tuesday I didn't get home until almost 7pm because I also had a (long overdue) haircut scheduled. 


So that night, after he was sleeping I decided I wanted to bring him in to bed with me to snuggle him (around 9:30pm). He's been sleeping in his own room since the beginning, so this hardly ever happens! But, I grabbed his teeny, little swaddled body and brought him into the bed. As soon as we snuggled down he spit up all over himself and me. So, I laid him down in the middle of our bed and got up to change my pjs. When I came back to get him, he peed THROUGH his diaper, pjs, AND swaddle, right through to our sheets! ha! So, while I got him cleaned up and ready for his own bed again, Dave had to change the sheets on our bed. Ha! It was obviously NOT a successful snuggle time. hehe :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

5 Whole Weeks?!

How sweet is this photo of N with our friends' precious baby girl!?
I can't believe I've been back to school for 5 weeks already!! AH! Time flies when you're super busy I guess!
My transition to work from full-time mommyhood has overall been much better than I would have imagined. I always thought that going back to work as a mom I would be a teary, blubbering mess that felt like the worst mom in the world for leaving her child at home. However (for the most part), it has been quite the opposite thankfully!


This little guy LOVES standing! :-)
I do miss sweet baby N lots while I'm at work and think about him all the time! Especially the first couple of weeks I wondered what he was doing every minute of the day. But, I'm the type of person that likes to stay (very) busy and productive, so getting into a routine and being at work has been good for me and for our family. We DO have to pay the bills you know? ;-)

And our situation is really ideal for where we are right now. I teach a regular 8 hour day on Tuesdays, but the other 4 days out of the week I only teach 5 hours, from 9:30-2:30, which is such a blessing. It's amazing how much of a difference those 3 hours a day makes. :-) Of course I'm doing more work from home than usual and it was a pay cut, but it's totally worth it for those few extra hours. Baby N stays at home with Dave on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I take him to my parents' house on Wednesdays and Fridays and he goes to a part-time dayschool on Mondays. So, really the schedule really works out very well. And even though I DO miss N while I'm at work, it's also good for me to be at a job that I enjoy and that helps me balance things. And, it's also super fun to come home from work and see N break into a huge smile, grab my face and "zero in" on my face for sloppy baby kisses. :-) (He doesn't ALWAYS do that, but when he does it makes my heart so happy!)

Monday, September 3, 2012

16 Weeks!



First of all, I officially stink as a blogger. :/ I think of ideas all the time, while I'm at work, in the car to drop baby N off somewhere, or even while I'm on a walk with N. But, by the time I'm done with all the above things in addition to bottle washing, making, diaper changing (and washing), etc. I can't remember what my inspiration was! I promise I have thoughts to record, but I'm not so good at actually taking the time to sit down and record them!

Here are some baby-related items I love.

1. Cloth diapers- STILL love them! Even though the poops have gotten much stinkier and more difficult to clean out... hehe :-)

2. The Bumbo- I know it's controversial, but he really loves sitting in it. And there's not way he's heavy enough yet to tip it over.
 



3. Swaddles- Seriously... I don't think this baby can sleep without them. Which is actually a terrifying thought....


4. Video Baby Monitors- We joke that we should connect it to the big-screen tv to watch it. :-) But seriously, I kind of think this might be a must-have. Especially if you start any "crying it out" (which we started at 11 weeks and are very grateful for).

5. BabyWise- I scoffed at it at the beginning, but I'm a believer. Once we had baby N start crying it out during his naptime (His naps were WAY too short and he'd wake up tired. We tried to soothe him, but he wasn't having that either, so we implemented crying-it-out for him to fall back asleep and have longer naps) within 2 days he started sleeping through the night. So, yes, I'm a believer. They say that BabyWise creates happy babies and I'm on board with that.

I will say, I don't think that BW would work for all babies. But, it works well for N's temperament, which I'm grateful for.


6. BABY CONNECT APP!!! Oh my goodness, I'm totally obsessed with this. :) It's a way to track your baby's sleep, eating and activity and since I love schedules, it makes me very happy to see it all in charts and graphs. :-) We bought it for Dave's ipad, which has all the fancy features, but once you have the app, you can log into the account from the computer too AND register others as child care providers! It's so wonderful that I can log-in at work and see exactly what he's doing while being cared for by my parents and Dave, see if he's napping well, etc. Saves time on asking about all those details when I pick him up.


7. Donated breastmilk- I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile now. Baby N has been almost exclusively breastmilk fed his whole life so far! Through the gifts of several different women, we have been able to feed him the nutritious liquid gold that I personally am unable to give. :-) It's been a HUGE blessing! Not just financially, but mostly nutritionally for N! If you're ever interested in more information about this, please contact me. I never would have thought I would become a "frozen breastmilk expert," but I kind of am at this point. And also never would have thought we would purchase a deep freezer to store it in. But, it's in our storage room and it's amazing.


And on an unrelated note, I can't believe how much I love this baby! We wondered if you'll feel the same about an adopted baby, even though everyone says the love isn't any different, buy holy freakin' cow, it's so true! We can't imagine our hearts loving a baby any more than we love this one. We just want to rip him out of his crib most of the time and snuggle with him all day. Unfortunately, that's not exactly practical, but you know, the image is there. :)


Also, the photos displayed throughout this post are from his 3 month photo shoot.
Visit http://www.meredithlanephotography.com/ to hire this talented lady! :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Take a Moment

Tonight I sit here with a very full, but very broken heart. Tonight we heard from friends of ours that they just experienced a disrupted adoption. Instead of bringing home the babies they have been preparing for for the last few months, they are going home from the hospital alone. I can't even imagine their pain and loss right now.

So tonight, baby N's bedtime routine was done so much more intentionally and with so much gratitude. Tonight I feel so undeserving of the gift of parenthood. These friends have been through so much more than we have in their journey to parenthood already and somehow we have our baby before they do. I don't understand and I feel so humbled. Tonight I allowed my heart to swell at every kick and squeal during bathtime and coo during story time. I feel like I'm taking in his every moment like I haven't done in awhile.

Tonight I'm reminded of how grateful I am for N's birthmother. I'm in awe of her whenever I think of her and need to take more moments to do so. She chose what she believed was best for him and I can't believe she chose us to raise him. It's so incredibly humbling. We owe so much to her and are so thankful that we are forever connected to such a loving, kind and selfless woman. How can you ever thank someone for giving you the gift of your child?

So tonight, as much as I've been thinking I need to post about what it's like juggling mommy-hood and a nearly full-time job, right now it's unnecessary. Life is busy, but it has never been more wonderful. We are so blessed and do not take the gift of being his parents for granted. I want to remember this feeling. It's similar to the one I had when we brought him home and I couldn't believe the change that happened to our lives and our home in less than 24 hours. I hope I remember this feeling and take it with me through every step of his childhood and beyond.

Please take a moment and pray for our friends. I can't imagine what the coming days will be like for them. Sometimes I just don't understand.