Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good-bye 2013!

The past 2 years have been quite eventful for us! 2013 has brought a lot of new challenges and many blessings. I started a new job, Dave JUST got promoted to a full time job that will start in April (yay!), our buddy has continued to thrive, special memories with family and friends, a new brother-in-law in April, and we ended the year with a much needed new vehicle. :-) We also got quite the blessing of a new niece to add to the family right before Christmas!

We are so grateful for God's many blessings AND for the trials that He sees us through each day. Even though this year hasn't looked exactly how I would like it to be, I am thankful that God walks along with us each step of the way and will continue on with us to the next year.

We are praying and anticipating that God will continue to provide for us in the New Year and hoping for new blessings and a closeness to Christ that we never have had before.

Amen.

(Pictures to come)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

18 Months!

*This post was originally written for HelloBee and includes ALL updates from 16-18 months. I just didn't have the energy to write up another one.**

 


Weight & Length:
At his 18 month appointment, the buddy weighed 19 lbs & 13.5oz and was 31 in. tall. Our little guy is rockin' out the 4th percentile in weight and 10th percentile in length.


Clothing: I feel like this is all across the board. There are still a handful of items that he can fit into that's 9-month size! Granted, it's just a few things and the pants are too short on him, but they technically fit. Mostly he wears size 12-18 months. But, interestingly enough the only footie pajamas that fit him are size 18 months! So, he fits into quite a span of clothes. :) He now has a size 5 shoe and I think he will be moving up to 6 before we know it.

Sleeping:
I would say that the time between 15 and 18 months has been the most stressful sleep-wise, as we've been attempting to transition from 2 naps to 1. We were forced to start the transition because he started coming with me to Mother's Day Out (although in my case it's "Mother's day at work") when he was 15 months old. He started taking just one nap at Mother's Day Out two days a week, but still took 2 naps on the days we were home. And since then it has been a struggle to figure out how to transition a child that is just not ready for one nap. This has involved a lot of middle of the night wakings, which is just exhausting and frustrating for everyone. He's been on just one nap for over a week now, but even now we're having some night wakings and I'm very ready get past this phase. Whew!

Eating: The buddy has recently become the picky toddler we were dreading. He still eats a wide range of foods, but one day he will eat half an avocado for dinner and later in the week he will refuse them. He still loves all kinds of meat, sweet potato and cheese, and has recently become a big fan of kale (cooked in coconut oil) and whole milk yogurt. But, who knows? Maybe tomorrow he will turn them both down.

Personality: He also has such an amazing personality. We feel so blessed to be his parents! He loves to make us laugh and has started throwing his head back and giggling, which is so cute! He has his moments of whining and being cranky, but for the most part he is spunky and silly. He loves dancing and singing and pretending.


Milestones & Firsts:
-When asked who Jesus loves, he says, "me, me, me"
-Can successfully feed himself cottage cheese, yogurt, applesauce and oatmeal from a spoon
-Got ALL his teeth except for his 2-year molars
-Can point to his eyes, ears, mouth, head, hair, toes, feet, hands, fingers and belly when we say the words
-When we start counting "one," he responds with "two"
-Really started talking up a storm and uses polite words like please and thank you when he asks for something -He started scribbling with a pencil or crayons.
-We took him trick-or-treating for the first time.
-He picks out and asks for his favorite books. Currently his favorite is, "The Pop-Up Mice of Mr. Brice." He asks for "mice" each night at bedtime.



New words: teetee=tickle, go, na-na=banana, baby, yuck, beep beep, meez=please (more,please), apoo=apple, bubbo=bubble, tay too= thank you, book, da dahn=all done, go, a-side=outside, milk, nak=snack, cahker=cracker, dis=this, wook=look, no tay-too=no thank you, rock, bowl, poo=spoon, buc=cup, hoc=hot, hac=hat, bus, truck, shup=chop, home, mice, nice, mo-meel=oatmeal, two, soup, wach=watch, wuvey=lovey

Monday, November 25, 2013

Understanding a Semen Analysis

In the infertility world, it seems that there is less attention paid to male infertility than female issues. Because our diagnosis was male infertility, we have seen this first-hand. It doesn't help that there are A LOT of differing opinions everywhere you go!

We have seen two different Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs), three different acupuncturists (two specializing in fertility issues) and three different urologists. Ugh! Not ONE of them has given us the same answer or treatment protocol for Mr. Piñata's issues. That's a whole lot of information and it can be very confusing to sort through. One urologist said we would need IVF with ICSI and another said that Mr. P's semen analyses looked like that of a "healthy, fertile male" to him (which we know is not true). That is on the opposite ends of the spectrum!

 All that to say, we've done a lot of research on our own. It turns out part of the issue is that there are different guidelines for "normal" sperm parameters. Add to that the fact that the term "normal" isn't very clear either makes it all very confusing to figure out on your own, or even with the help of a doctor. We thought "normal" parameters might mean "average," or at the very least that getting pregnant would be easy. But, as it turns out, neither of those things are true. I have looked up numbers and guidelines on all kinds of fertility clinic websites, blogs and even talked to one of the leading urologists in male infertility. What finally made all the numbers make sense was reading an article from the Oxford Journals. There was a lot of jargon and statistics that made it difficult to read easily, but after reading this article and the charts within it, I think I finally have a clearer picture of what a "normal" semen analysis means and what it should look like.

 Here are few take-aways from the article for me.


1. First of all, in 2009 the WHO (World Health Organization) did a clinical study that changed the sperm parameters to a new "normal." So, when you just google what sperm parameters should be, you can get all kinds of different answers from all different people from all different years. It makes the most sense to stick to what WHO considers the normal reference values from 2009 and not the older guidelines, or what you find on a Wikipedia article.

2. When they establish "normal" this does NOT mean average!

For me, this was the most important piece of information to understand. For the first year or so of our fertility journey, I thought that if Mr. Piñata's semen analysis could get to the normal range that this would mean it would be pretty easy to get pregnant, right? WRONG!

Actually, when they defined normal they took the semen analysis from 4,500 men from over 14 countries. The analysis numbers from those who were able to get their partners pregnant in one year or less were the ones that were used for the basis of "normal." So, not just men that got their wives pregnant within the first few months were included, but also those for whom it took a whole year! This was good information for me to learn.

Not only that, but they put these numbers into percentiles (just like those standardized tests we had to take growing up). When they gathered all the information on the sperm numbers, they consider everything normal that is above the 5th percentile. That's right! The 5th percentile (where you wouldn't want to be on a standardized test either)!

Let's say we're talking about total sperm count. It's in the "normal" range if a man has at least 39 total million sperm. However, 95% of fertile men have MORE sperm than that because that's the number from the 5th percentile! If you want to know what the average sperm count would be, you would want to look at the 50th percentile and see that  the average number of sperm in a sample is actually closer to 255 million! (255 million is actually the median number, which means that half of men have sperm counts higher than 255 million and half have sperm counts lower than 255 million.) Which is quite a lot more than the minimum required to be considered normal.

The same is true across the board for all parameters including motility, morphology, total volume, etc. This was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. It was a reminder that just because someone has a "normal" semen analysis doesn't meant it will necessarily be easy to get pregnant. There may be nothing wrong in the sense that all the numbers are in the normal range, but it can also take longer than you'd like getting pregnant. So, if a couple is having a difficult time conceiving and all the sperm parameters are considered normal, but on the lower end, it definitely makes sense that it might take a littler longer. And maybe the not-too invasive procedure of IUI would be a good option for helping it happen quicker by bypassing the uterus. It was also encouraging for me  because the chart even shows the numbers in the 2.5th percentile as well. Those numbers may be even lower than normal, but those men did achieve pregnancy with their partners, so getting pregnant with a not-so-ideal semen analysis is definitely possible, just not easy.

3. There are two different measures of morphology. When they look at how sperm are shaped and if they're shaped correctly for good implantation into an egg, it's called morphology. But, there are two different scales for looking at it and it's good to know which method your laboratory uses. Most fertility clinics use the Kruger method, while there are some places that use the WHO method. The WHO method is a lot more general and it's more common to find "normal" numbers in the 30% range. However, using the Kruger method, they are much stricter on what qualifies as a "normally formed" sperm. The charts below in #4 are using the Kruger method even though these numbers come from WHO. You can tell that it's a lot stricter because it's considered normal if just 4% of the sperm are shaped correctly!

4. The actual numbers

Here is a chart taken from the article that shows the percentiles of each semen analysis parameter. This chart was SO helpful for me in understanding what normal vs. average actually looks like in numbers.

But, here is my simplified version for you if you're interested. It shows the difference between normal (5th percentile) and median (50th percentile).

 Whew! I know that's a lot of information. Thankfully, most of the population doesn't need these details and is able to achieve a pregnancy without ever needing to get a semen analysis done. However, there are those of us that have had far too many tests, lab work, ultrasounds, etc. and can get overwhelmed by the jargon that the doctors and nurses use, and just want to understand what is normal and where they fall in comparison to that.

Unfortunately for us, Dave falls below even the 2.5th percentile in the morphology department, so that's our constant fertility struggle. The good news is that even if your numbers fall outside normal, by seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist there are procedures that can be done (like IUI and IVF) and even drugs and supplements that can help with sperm quality. We have yet to achieve a pregnancy, but also haven't gone too far down the fertility treatment route either. Finances play a big role in our hesitation to move forward with the likely needed IVF. Hopefully one day I will be able to get pregnant, but even if I don't, I hope all the research I have done can help someone else struggling with male fertility issues.

My biggest advice is to not delay seeing a specialist if you suspect you or your partner may have a problem. Knowledge is power and you and your doctor won't know which treatment route to take if you don't get tested and begin the process. Lots of luck to all of you on the roller coaster of infertility!

*The information on this site is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and is for education purposes only.  Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Faith & Fertility

**So sorry for the weird repetitions in the first version of this post. I don't know how that happened!*

This post has been brewing in my head for awhile now. In the past few months I've been wrestling with my faith and what that means for our fertility. I'm kind of a "black and white" thinker and have a hard time letting in the "gray." I want to be able to have an answer for everything and, well, infertility kind of prevents that.

I've been struggling with a few trains of thought/faith. I've wondered if I should believe that we WILL conceive and that it's just up to God when the timing is. I've wondered if it's my lack of faith that has kept us from conceiving. I have also wondered if it's "my fault" that I haven't been able to get pregnant because if I had just trusted God more it would have happened.

Slowly but surely God has spoken to me that none of that is true.

Whew! What a relief!

In the midst of wondering if my faltering faith was our true "problem" God spoke to me at our church's All Saint's Evensong Service (planned by my wonderfully talented husband!). The Gospel reading was from John 11, the story of Lazarus's rising from the dead. But, what struck me was the very beginning of the passage. When Jesus was told that his friend Lazarus was sick he responded by saying, "“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it." -John 11:4

First of all, Jesus knows that Lazarus will die. Even though he says that "this sickness will not end in death." Of course Jesus also knows that HE will raise Lazarus from the dead and that THAT is the true ending of the story. What a miracle!

But really, the part that stuck out to me in the midst of me crying out to God for an answer and wondering WHY we are going through infertility was "it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." There's my answer. God has allowed us to go through infertility and the suffering along with it so that Christ may be glorified. And you know what? THAT is the best reason.

However, that doesn't mean that I know exactly HOW God will be glorified through our infertility. So, I'm praying every day that God will reveal that to me and that He will show me how I (and we) can best glorify Him through this circumstance. Could it be that He will be most glorified through a miraculous conception? Maybe. Could it be that He will be most glorified through another miraculous adoption story? Maybe. Could it be that He will be most glorified if, despite a very discouraging diagnosis and journey, we continue to praise God for his goodness and faithfulness to us, trusting that He alone will be our ultimate source of contentment and joy? Yes, definitely!

So, that's where I sit right now. Asking God for me to glorify Him through my attitude and focus on Him. Do I falter? Yes. Do I still have questions? Yes. Can our infertility journey still be confusing and frustrating? YES! But, I know that God has brought us through this in order for us to glorify Him and so I must trust each day that He will do what brings HIM the most glory, NOT what makes us most happy. The truth is that if we're trusting that God will do something for us and waiting for that thing (which for us would be another child) then we're missing the point. The point of prayer is not just for God to give us what we want. The point is for us to be closer to Him.

Over 2 years ago I did a great Bible Study by Beth Moore called, "Believing God." It was about trusting and believing God to do great things and it was a great study! But, now 2 years later I have been thinking about one of her key points throughout the study. She would say that if we ask for something from God in faith He WILL give it to us, unless he has something better planned. I've been pondering and praying about this thought too.



But, here's the thing. Our sanctification and a closer walk with God is ALWAYS BETTER than whatever we can ask for! Even if that "thing" we're asking for is something so good and even blessed like having children! Even having, loving and raising children is not as good as the process of becoming more holy and content in just Christ. That's hard for me to say, because it may mean the loss of dreams for us. 

Plus, the process of sanctification is not easy and involves suffering. Just Sunday my convictions were confirmed by our pastor who taught from Luke 21. The visual he gave was so powerful as he reminded us that Jesus encourages us to "lean into the suffering" and not avoid it because "b
y your endurance you will gain your souls." (Luke 21:19) Oye. Sanctification is no easy business and always comes when you just would rather life go as you planned. But oh,"tis so sweet to trust in Jesus."

"Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Do We Continue On?

**I'll start this post out by saying that I'm really not "down in the dumps" about our fertility. It's a discouraging process, but mostly (I think) because we're trying to get to the root of what's going on with Dave's health. If our family is only built through adoption there will be the loss of biological children that we will face, but we will be truly blessed. Honestly, if the buddy ends up being our only child we are truly blessed. But, we're on this journey and don't feel the peace to leave just yet, so below is what all is going on in my head and heart. (And I have a post brewing in my mind about our faith and how that currently ties together with our journey, but it's just not written yet).**


It's easy to get discouraged when you're dealing with infertility. For us it's frustrating that despite our visits to so many different practitioners and specialists who all seem to think they have an answer and solution, the problem never seems to be fixed. :/ We're kind of health-nuts around here who believe that how you eat and take care of your body directly affect your health. So, we often hear the message that if we were doing the "right things" and eating the "right things" that we would be healthy. And I would include reproductive health in that. Yet, it just hasn't worked out for us that way.

The further confusing part is this, "Why is it that we strive to be so healthy yet can't conceive while others that are not healthy at all conceive easily or even on accident?" Sigh. I feel like if we had an answer to WHY Dave's morphology is so bad it might be easier to at least understand, even if we had a hard time accepting it. As in, they could link it to a childhood illness, or if I was missing fallopian tubes due to an accident earlier in life. But, despite all the "issues" that various practitioners have found there has yet to be a solution that worked. I feel like when I try to do online research (I know, I know) that all I find are stories of people that transformed their health, started eating better, practiced a healthier lifestyle, or went to acupuncture for a few months and bam! they got pregnant. It's hard to read those stories and not think, "why didn't that happen to us?"

The truth is that we may just need to accept that life doesn't always make sense and we're not as in control of our lives as we like to think. I once visited a natural practitioner that told me that we are 100% in control of our health. But, I beg to differ. So far Dave and I have seen 3 acupuncturists (2 specializing in fertility), 2 different naturopath/nutritionists, 2 different REs and done some significant detoxification (yes, we have both done colonics). We even did a heavy detoxifying diet 2 years ago where we lost weight but didn't get pregnant. And I don't even want to get into the supplements we took! If it has ever been known to help with sperm quality, Dave took it! I mean, we probably spent over $1,000 on supplements alone.

You probably read that and think "they should probably read the writing on the wall and either move on to IVF or adopt again and just let go of biological children." And I wish we could do that. I wish we felt like that was the direction to move in. I WANT to move on. I don't want to keep trying this, that, or the other thing. But, for some reason I press on. Is it foolish? Maybe. Is it expensive? Yes. There's something about HOW CLOSE Dave's semen analysis came to normal back in August that keeps us from moving on. All along the way EVERY person we have seen has indicated that we have a good chance of pregnancy (especially if we do IVF while I'm still young), so it's hard to let go when there's a chance we could eventually get pregnant. A good chance? I guess not. But, there's a chance. None of our parts are missing and tests from 2 years ago indicate that I have good eggs left (although I'm terrified that this may not be the case for long). 


So, I feel like this post is horribly similar to my last post, but I guess it goes into WHY we continue even though we haven't conceived yet or gotten wonderful news on improvement. We don't feel like we will continue forever until I get pregnant, but it doesn't feel yet like it's time to stop trying. We definitely want to adopt again so I wonder when the time will come to renew our home study? OR when it's time to try IVF or just give up trying for biological children for good? But, we just don't feel at peace with any of those choices right now. So for now we continue on. With many blessings and contentment with where we are at the present moment, but a desire to continue on our journey of adding to our family and an openness to where God leads. It would be nice if this process were a whole lot easier, but also "easy" doesn't mean "better" so we continue to pray for God's best for us as trying as it can be.

And on a silly note, I will say that after 3 years we have officially arrived at the point that "intimacy" leading to a baby seems like something out of a science fiction movie. And absolutely CRAZY that that's how most of the world builds their family! Hilarious! (And yes, I do realize that's how most of my readers have had children, but still, it's seems impossible and crazy that that's how it happens. About as crazy to me as unicorns and leprechauns.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And we continue on...

So, just in case you were wondering how our visit with our RE went....

He wanted to have Dave try another drug to lower his prolactin as that hormone was high in addition to the DHEA (what the low-dose steroid was supposed to be working on).

We also got his blood taken again. And actually, his hormones are doing WAY better! All in the normal range! This is good, but also kind of bad I suppose. It's good that his hormones are more normal, but not so good that this didn't cause his sperm analysis to improve. :/ Our hope here is that maybe with more time they sperm quality would improve?

Also, this made us think that with numbers in the normal range that we wouldn't have to worry about Dave taking this new drug, but the RE wants to get the prolactin number even LOWER hopefully pushing that testosterone number even HIGHER. Aargh. So, Dave is on a new drug and it's horrible. He has to take it with a meal, so he takes it with dinner since it makes him dizzy, woozy, drowsy and even kind of stuffed up until about 9am the next day. Blech. So, he's been going to bed pretty early which is a bummer since we don't have much time to hang out.

Dave will stay on this drug for 3 more weeks, then in 5 weeks will get his blood hormone levels tested again and we'll see where they are. But, again, then it would take 3 more months for sperm quality to improve. I know in the scheme of life 4 more months isn't that long, BUT we're not really hopefully that his numbers will get better. We've tried so many things in the past 2.5 years to improve his fertility and nothing so far has worked. :/ We have definitely not given up hope, but we're not counting on improvement either.

Honestly, I think this drug is moving us in the wrong direction, but Dave wants to try it so he can know he's tried it all and not look back with any regrets. I would like him to try visiting a local chiropractor who also does applied kinesiology with supplements. Just so say we've crossed everything off the list. I think the biggest thing that bothers me about the particular RE we're seeing (and really most of them I'm sure) is that when we asked if maybe Dave could have a nutrient missing from his diet and if that could cause the issue he said definitely not. But, we really believe that the food and nutrients we put in our bodies play a very key role in our hormones, health, energy level, etc. So, we know we're not really on the same page as this doctor if he discounts that entire sphere of health. :/

So, onward we continue. We are praying about if/when we should renew our home study to adopt again, but also if we should pursue more intense fertility treatments (such as IVF) since my eggs are only getting older. :/ If money weren't an object we may pursue both at the same time! But, money is definitely an issue and so is our health insurance situation, so we're not stepping forward in either of these areas yet. We'll be praying for guidance as we begin to need to make decisions. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

17 Months

Ok, so this post is pretty much a month late. Aargh! The good news is that I was very excited that I got the picture taken on the exact right day! Yay! And then proceeded to not have time to write this post until tonight. It's been an exhausting month. 



Weight & Length: No idea on this one. We'll just have to wait and see where he is at his 18 month appointment. He's definitely getting taller, but I'm not so sure about the heavier. He runs off all the calories He eats!
Visiting a local farm/pumpkin patch!

Sleeping:
He was a pretty good sleeper in the last month. Although with starting the "Mother's Day Out" program he has had almost a constant runny nose or cough, so there were some rough nights where he had a hard time breathing. :( But, I would say mostly slept through the night and half of his days he had one nap and half of his days he had two. 


Ha! I don't know what he's so suspicious of here. :)

Eating:
 The past month he started verbalizing what he wanted and didn't want to eat. This is overall good I'd say, but frustrating when he would say "no." He tried crackers for the first time and became obsessed! He also started loving avocados which he didn't always like. The big accomplishment is being able to eat thicker food with a spoon! There also is no more nighttime bottle or milk. 


Clothing: Clothing sizes are so different across brands. He wears some size 9 month things (like a handful), but only fits in 18-month onesies. He's mostly in 12 month sizes.


Playing at the train table at the library



Personality:
 As he gets more words and can communicate more he's getting more and more of a fun personality! He had a ROUGH few weeks at MDO, which was so hard for us. But, he finally started getting comfortable again and his teacher tells us he has such a sweet and fun personality there. Whew! This also makes behavior more interesting as he tells us more of what he does and doesn't want to do. I'm glad for the communication and him being able to assert himself. But, there's definitely a small part of me that wants him to be super compliant just to make life easier on me (how selfish!). :-)


Milestones & Firsts:
This was at the farm. He LOVED this!
-When asked who Jesus loves he says, "me, me, me"
-Really uses "no" when he doesn't want something (especially food!)
-Can successfully feed himself cottage cheese, applesauce and oatmeal from a spoon
-Got ALL his teeth except for his 2-year molars
-Understand when we ask him to sit down and obeys! (most of the time)
-Did his first finger painting
-Can point to his eyes, ears, mouth, head, hair, toes and belly when we say the words
-When we go to the park and I say, "1, 2, 3 GO!" he lets go and goes down the slide


New words: 
mo pease = More, please
apoo = apple
bubbo = bubble
tay-too= thank you
book
da dahn= all done
go
a-side=outside
melk= milk
nak= snack (a fruit or fruit/veggie pouch)
cahker= cracker
dis = this (or more like, I WANT THAT!)
wook = look
no tay-too= no thank you

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ALDI & The Whole30

Do you have an ALDI in your area? We do, but I haven't shopped there much over the years because it's in a pretty inconvenient location to where we live. And in the past their produce was really awful. However, as we've tried to cut costs since I work part-time I've re-discovered it and LOVE it! There is a lot of processed food there that I wouldn't want to buy for our family, but there is some GREAT stuff there too! The produce has also really improved. They don't really have organic, so I try to stay away from the dirty dozen as much as possible. (Although I didn't know celery and summer squash were on the list and I went for strawberries when I shouldn't have. Sigh. Those will have to come from Trader Joe's next time.)

Anyway, Dave and I are attempting the "Whole30" program this month. It's a diet of sorts that you do for 30 days to clean out your system and focus on real food! It's a great idea, but definitely stricter than what we've done in the past since you don't have ANY grains or legumes! It's been kind of a "cold start" since we didn't really have a "let's decide whether or not we want to do this and when" conversation. I just started off this past week deciding to cut out gluten and sugar, but by Wednesday decided we needed to do this entire food change and so I guess it officially starts today? Or tomorrow? I've been eating this way for a few days, but Dave is having a hard time cutting out cereal/oatmeal for breakfast.

Well, all that to say, our focus is really on healthy meats, good fats and veggies. We've having fruit too, but it shouldn't be the focus. So, of course I needed to load up on produce and nuts and headed to ALDI. I was SHOCKED at some of the good finds I got! :-)


So, here is my loot. Anyone want to guess how much all this cost us? First of all I suppose I should share what all we got.

3 lbs of wild caught salmon
1 lb of flounder
3 lbs of chicken breast (not pastured, so not the best I know)
8 rolls of toilet paper
2 lbs of cashews
2 lbs of mixed nuts
8 oz of almonds
celery
1 lb of whole carrots
bag of baby carrots
bunch of bananas
2 heads of broccoli
3 yellow summer squash
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (ingredients aren't bad!)
4 bags of frozen veggies
2 acorn squash
Italian Seasoning
Oregano
8oz jar of wild mustard (also great ingredients!)
1 box of raisins
1 bag of dried apricots
2 lb bag of pears
strawberries
2 lbs of vine tomatoes
3 kiwi
2 lbs of asparagus
4 avocados
2 mangoes
1 pomegranate

Any guesses? Ok. The total was $103!! That's It!! And that's after our crazy 9.5% sales tax! The best finds for me was the 1lb bags of wild caught salmon for just $5 and the big jars of nuts for $11. Those were definitely the most expensive, but WAY cheaper than we would have found elsewhere.

Dave says it's lame that I took this picture and am sharing this, but it's very exciting to me. :-) Of course we'll still need to pick up things elsewhere, like organic greens, milk, (for the buddy), etc. but this is a great start for us. I should also add that we bought 1/2 a cow with my parents at the end of the summer, so we aren't buying ground beef right now and just take it out of the deep freezer where the breastmilk used to be. :) We really want to get good quality bacon and other breakfast meats, but want to be sure we find a kind without added nitrites/nitrates. It's hard to find without paying a lot. I'll be on the lookout when we go to Trader Joe's for our other stuff. :) I still have to get Nathaniel's lunchmeat, almond butter and cheese there. Thank goodness we can have that almond butter! :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Something Good Always Comes Out of Something Bad."

Oh goodness. This is a LONG video, but worth all 12 minutes and 30 seconds for so many reasons. I promise. Just what I needed to hear from this sweet teenage adoptee!! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ugh.. the bad news update

If you haven't read our recent TTC journey on hellobee, here's the link.

We were semi-hopeful that this RE's protocol would work. About 2 months ago Dave got a sperm analysis that was headed in the right direction. Still not normal, but definitely better. So, he was supposed to continue to take the low-dose steroid for a couple of more months and get another test. He got another test last week and the results were the worst he has ever had. :/ Like, not only was morphology bad, but the motility plummeted. We were hoping we would have numbers good enough to try a few IUIs, but no such luck. :/ We have an appointment with the RE on Tuesday to get his thoughts and here if he has any more suggestions. We will likely have to run more blood tests (unless he tells us to just go straight to IVF) which will run us about $500. :/

On Friday we found out that the University where Dave teaches part-time is cutting his course load in half (but of course just making class sizes bigger). So, there's a significant loss of income for the spring. We're hoping this is only for one semester!

Also, it turns out that my new job that was supposed to allow me to spend more time with the buddy is super stressful. Even though I'm home on Tuesdays and Thursdays with him, my M/W/F days are longer and I do A LOT of work from home. So, I'm only working about 5 hours less a week than I did last year and making about 1/4 the money. So.... yeah. That stinks and I'm not sure what to do about it. I LOVE being home on T/TH, but I'm hoping as the year progresses I won't have to spend as much time working on things from home.

All that to say, we're discouraged. I spent the past few days being very depressed. I KNOW things could always be worse and I'm confident God has a plan for us, but it gets very difficult to remain optimistic when finances and fertility issues are so often a stressor. I have a hard time trusting God when things are hard. I wish I weren't this way and that trials made me more confident in God's future miracles, but we're pretty worn out on praying for a miracle. Sigh. 


It will all be ok. The buddy is amazing and I'm SO grateful for our infertility so that he is in our lives. But, I'm not so grateful for the infertility that has stuck around AFTER he's been our son. We really want 3-4 kids and I really want to be a stay-at-home mom and it seems like every time we think we're getting closer we get a big setback (or two).

Sorry to be negative. Just sharing how it's going. Here's hoping for a better week! :)   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Can I "brag" for a minute?

I often wonder WHY I'm posting for HelloBee. I feel like I don't have much to say, and honestly it IS time consuming to think of "helpful" blog posts instead of just what's going on in our lives. BUT, I wrote a blogpost about how I make my own seasoning packets and it got pinned to pinterest 250 times! Even though it's not like I'm trying to get famous by sharing simple recipes, I DO hope that this opportunity allows me the chance in the future to "do" something more with my writing and online presence. And I hope some people make themselves something a little healthier by forgoing normal seasoning packets. :-)

http://www.hellobee.com/2013/10/04/make-your-own-seasoning-packets/

Updates:

1. The buddy is doing much better at school. Whew! We are totally in "survival" mode with sickness, naps and a sleeping schedule, but at least he's doing better and not crying all day. A step in the right direction!

2. We have another SA coming up, probably with a follow-up apt with the RE and some big decisions to make, so please pray for us.

3. Prayers for my job. That's all I can and will say about that.

4. I'm OBSESSED with Essential Oils! More about that later. :-)

Also, little bud is 17 months old! How can it possibly be time for another update!?

He's cute. Even when he's screaming to be let out of his crib. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Some HelloBee Posts

Several time I've copied posts I've written for HelloBee, reformatted them and then posted them here. But most haven't made it. I don't like posting "advice" on here since I feel like this blog is more about catching up with our family and seeing adorable pictures of the buddy. PLUS, we started this as an adoption blog about our journey to adopt.

The truth is that I feel kind of weird posting advice blogs on HelloBee. I am NO expert on parenting or babies and so I feel quite unqualified. :-) I do have my soapbox items (like growth charts, infertility, etc.), but I am by no means any kind of expert on parenting a child. I pretty much have an eternal wish list on Amazon of the parenting books I want to read because I know there is so.much I need to learn. And want to learn too. :-)

All that to say, that's why this blog hasn't gotten a lot of action recently. Not that it's breaking anyone's hearts, but I know some family members want to see pictures more regularly. :-)

If you ARE interested in some of my "parenting" and recipe posts, here's a link. There are also a couple of posts about where we are with trying for child #2. For some reason (maybe because this started as an adoption blog) I'm not comfortable writing out all of our reproductive details on here. But oddly, I did on HelloBee! So, if you're curious (or bored) feel free to jump over there and see what else I've been writing. Here's a link to all my posts. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

16 Months

 

 I'm late this month because back-to-school time is crazy for us. But, it has been a fun month for the buddy to develop more of a fun personality! And Dave and I were just saying the other day that after he started really walking about 4 months ago, this is the first time we've started to notice that we can leave him in a room for about 30 second by himself and we can reasonably assume that he won't be doing anything too dangerous. He's finally learned what is dangerous and what he's free to get into. No more than 30 seconds though. :-)

Weight & Length:
The buddy had a random fever last week, so he went to the Dr. He was 19lbs and 5.5oz, which is just up one ounce from 6 weeks ago, so I guess we need to start adding more butter and coconut oil to his foods again to put one some more weight! He's still 30 in.

Sleeping:
 It was an interesting month since he started daycare/Mother's Day Out this month. We thought he would be ok with just one nap twice a week, but it has been kind of a disaster. As in, he's so sad and cranky at school waiting for the group nap at noon and then tired when we come home and is up for at least an hour or two in the night on those days. So, we're trying to work through that. He's still on 2 naps on days he's home (at about 10:30am and 3pm) and on the days he's home he sleeps through the night from about 7:30pm-7am.

Eating:
 Like most toddlers he's starting to get picky. He will actually eat just about anything we give him, but he doesn't want to try things when we just put them in front of him on his tray. So, we've started asking him to give his food a kiss and when he does (mwah!), he gets a bit of the flavor and decides to try it. He even does this with his favorite foods, like sweet potatoes! Silly boy! The most fun update in this area is that he can feed himself pretty well with a spoon. Which is an exciting development which keeps mom a little less glued to the high chair. :)



Clothing: He's still in 12 month clothes and I imagine he will for a while. He can wear a few 18-month things too, but some are way too big. The good news about having a smaller child is that he stays in his clothes longer, keeping me from having to buy new clothes too often!

Personality:
 The tantrums are getting better. Although now the separation anxiety is in full force! Oh, toddlers. ;-) He still loves making us laugh and laughing himself. When we watch Sesame Street or Curious George he loves to laugh at the silly things that the animals and/or monsters do. It's so cute! He also loves to dance and play the drums all through the house, which is also so fun! He's going to be a handful all growing up I'm pretty sure! But, he's also very good at playing quietly by himself for independent play time. He still spends about 25 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon playing quietly with his favorite toys in his Pack N Play. It's fun to watch him because he does a lot of "pretending" where his stuffed animals talk to each other and he pretends to feed them. It's so sweet!


Milestones & Firsts:

-When we sing "Itsy, Bitsy Spider he now tries to do the motions with his fingers.
-He points to himself and says, "me, me"
-He signs and says "more," which we've discovered actually means "please" to him
-He can climb up an entire flight of stairs at my parents' house
-He started scribbling with a pencil
-He now goes and hides when we play hide and seek and doesn't just come looking for us.
-He can identify people in pictures, like "nana" and "momma"
-He learned the word "no" and says it repeatedly whenever he doesn't want to do something (oh dear). -He says "beep, beep" when we see a car go by
-He started putting toys behind his back and saying, "Where'd he go?" and then pull out the toy laughing hysterically (so cute!)

New words:
me
teetee=tickle
go
na-na-na=banana
baby
yuck
beep, beep

Before we know it he will be 18 months old, officially half-way to three years old! ACK! It's really true what they say, "The days are long but the years are short."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bad News at "School" :(

So, after I wrote this post on the first week of school things started to go downhill for the buddy at Mother's Day Out. Part of the problem is separation anxiety and part of it is that he's over-tired. And I think part of the problem is that it's just a two day a week program and he never gets a chance for it to really become routine to him.

Before he even started I was quite nervous about how he would do since he was having some issues in the church nursery, which is only for an hour a week. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the first couple of weeks he did great! He didn't eat a lot of lunch and he was tired and needed his lovey/paci a lot, but we were ok with that. He seemed to enjoy playing in the sandbox outside and meeting new kids to play with. But a couple of weeks into the school year things started getting ugly.

Part of the problem is that he is used to 2 naps at home but they only do one nap at noon. This means that he's used to going down for a nap by 10:30am at home, but he has to wait until noon at school. This makes for an especially cranky 1.5 hours before he can lie down. I have tried on so many occasions to remedy this by doing just one nap with him at home, but within 2-3 days he gets overtired, starts waking up all night inconsolable and stops sleeping well for that one nap.

I think another issue is that he's learned that I'm right around the corner. It's impossible to know for sure, but I imagine that knowing that his mom is so near but not with him when he's sad must be hard. This is also the worst part for me. Since he's quite the high pitched screamer I can hear him crying and screaming throughout the day. Of course, this prevents me from being able to focus on my own students and it takes everything in me to keep from running down the hall to comfort him! His teacher says that he's upset, crying or screaming about 80% of the time they're awake. Ugh. In the first couple of weeks, having his lovey/paci kept him calm and comforted when he got sad. But, apparently it's no longer working. We're told he can be ok for a few minutes at a time if he's really distracted, but he then gets upset and starts crying again and says "momma" over and over.

Right now we have absolutely no idea what to do about this situation. On the days he goes to school, even when I give him an early bedtime he has interrupted night sleep, so I know there's a component of over-tiredness going on right now. We have talked and done trouble-shooting with his teacher, but there's nothing we can do about the school schedule. Since he's at the same place I work, moving to another center wouldn't help or be useful. It's also frustrating because the program is open just on Mondays and Wednesdays so it's like he can never really "get used to it" since he's still home 4/7 days of the week (and at my parents' house once a week).

All that to say, this post has absolutely no advice in it, nor do I think there is any particularly helpful advice to be given. I think this just may be one of the times in parenting where things just aren't working and you have to push through and give it time. We have an amount of time in our head that we're willing to continue with this before we re-evaluate everything and decide if we need to do something completely different. But for now we will give the buddy a bit more time to adjust and will hope that within a month or two he will be ready to do just one nap at home too and that will help his tiredness at school.

I mean, look at this sweet child! I can't stand to hear this happy boy cry. :(

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

First Week at School

This is a few weeks late. :/ I wrote it for HelloBee. :)

I suppose I jinxed myself after writing a post about getting "organized" to go back to school! The day before school started for both of us, Little Piñata decided to get the sniffles. We're new to the daycare/school atmosphere (technically Little P is enrolled in the Mother's Day Out Program), and started getting worried about whether having a cold should keep Little P at home. So we tried to find someone to watch him the next day if he wasn't feeling up to going to school. Since it would be my first week teaching my 3 year olds, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to miss work at all last week. They're so little and need to get used to me as their teacher and shouldn't have a sub. Mr. Piñata teaches as an adjunct at a local University and it was his first week of classes as well, so he couldn't watch Little P either. And of course, following Murphy's Law, both of my parents were out of the country for business. 

Thankfully, even though we made back-up plans for his care on both Monday and Wednesday, he ended up being well enough to go to school. It just made things a bit more stressful, calling, planning and figuring things out, but it did help me to be more clear about the illness policy of the school right from the beginning though! I now know that it's fine to send him to school with a cold, just as long as he hasn't had a fever in the past 24 hours. 

In the end, Little P ended up doing GREAT in his class! I was kind of nervous since he started having separation anxiety back in May when I would leave him with people. Often times this included uncontrollable screaming and I really didn't want that for him or his teacher. Plus, I was pretty nervous about just one nap. At his school they do one nap starting at 12:00pm and let them sleep as long as possible (although the school day ends at 2:30). He's 15 months old and usually takes two naps at home, the first one at 10am or so, so I was nervous about him being over-tired and cranky at school. Even though he takes just one nap once or twice a week, on those days it starts around 11/11:30am and it usually lasts about 3 hours. And he certainly isn't used to sleeping in a room with 4 other toddlers either! But, he ended up doing great for his first week. I left his lovey there and I think that helped with both the separation anxiety and the sleeping. His teacher said he was definitely tired and would fall right asleep at noon, but then slept for 1.5 hours each day. This is quite a bit less daytime sleep than he's used to, so he was in bed by 6:15pm both nights he had school. :-)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

15 Months!!



In my opinion, each passing month with your child gets even more fun! Though there are parts of me that miss Little Piñata as a teeny, tiny baby, it seems like each day he develops more of a personality, learns new things and makes us laugh at something new. I really feel like I can see him changing from a baby to a person with a big personality right before my eyes! Weight & Length: At his 15 month appointment he was 30 in. tal,l which is right around the 12th percentile for height using WHO guidelines. He's 19lbs 4.5oz, moving him up to the 7th percentile for weight (also using the WHO guidelines). We're so excited he crossed the 5th percentile mark! :-)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Check Another Off the List...

Yesterday I made my first order with Azure Standard. :-) They deliver natural and organic food all over the country, mostly in bulk. When it comes to something I KNOW we'll use I don't mind buying this way. :-) You have to buy $50 worth of product, which was pretty easy (since you're likely buying in bulk). When it arrives I'll let you know what we got. AND if it's all good, we will probably try again, maybe even buying good, organic produce in bulk! :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

That pesky "to-do" list

So, after we got back from the beach last week summer was pretty much over. I've been spending at least 5-10 hours a day getting ready for my new job. SOO, it looks like it's time to see how much progress I made on my to-do list. :-)

1. Get back into running and even be able to run 5-6 miles by the end of the summer.
No way. I ran about 2 miles a few times, but that was it. :(

2. Learn how to make my own tortillas.
Sadly, I didn't do this either! I'm not giving up and will still do this soon!!


3. Start couponing again!
I tried this once or twice, but decided with me working and having a toddler, it's not worth the time sadly to really COUPON. Instead I went shopping a couple of times at Aldi, and am focusing on only getting what we need. I still like Publix and their weekly B1G1 Free deals, so I should still look at that once a week. But, I don't think I'll be printing or cutting coupons anymore. Who's got time for that?!

4. Start ordering food from Azure Standard.
Aargh! NOT this either! I actually thought about it, but it seemed like the prices weren't as great as I thought they would be. Also, it's totally overwhelming because there are a million things on their site. If anyone does this and wants to give me tips, let me know! :)


5. FINALLY finish our family 2012 album.
Yes! I did it!

6. Read at least 2 books a month.
I did this too! I think I read more like 3-4 a month. Wahoo! :)

7. Get a tan, dang it.
Yes! I did this on our last trip to the beach. Yay! Although it's already fading. :/

8. Make dinner on a MUCH more regular basis.
I think I did this. I will try not to let the Little Caesar's Pizza we had tonight make me believe otherwise. 


9. Get a hair-cut. (It's pathetic that I have to put that on a list like this, but it's been a LONG time since I have been. Like maybe 7-8 months? Sheesh).
Umm... I did this yesterday. Sheesh. Took me long enough!


10. Get back to taking ballet classes! And BarreAmped Classes.
I did both these things! Yay! That makes me feel better about not running. :)

11. Make significant progress in getting some of my writing published online.
I'm a blogger over at HelloBee now, which is in the right direction. Although, sadly it has kept me from getting things read on actual publications or bigger sites. (I'd really like for something to end up on "Her-Meneutics," Christianity Today's blog and news specifically written for women).

12. Start soaking and freezing dry beans to save money and avoid canned beans.
I did this too! Yay! And I wrote about it on HelloBee. It's way easy and I can't believe I didn't start doing this sooner!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm a Negligent Blogger. :/

Between keeping up with a VERY busy toddler, becoming a new blogger at HelloBee, getting ready and going on 2 vacations (one without wifi) and attempting to get ready for a new school year at a very new job, blogging here has been neglected. :(

SO.... I may not have anything good to say, but I DO have adorable pictures. I will save more beach photos for a separate post, but will share some zoo and kiddie pool pictures. 

Making a mess :)

Daddy's first time at the zoo with us! 
This time N was a lot more hesitant about the goats. :)

Add caption

N LOVES the kiddie pool at our rec center! 

It's just the right size for him!

I wish we had taken better advantage of it all summer!

Yep. That's the buddy inside the laundry basket. That I bought for college. :)

The buddy is enjoying our bonus room now! We got rid of a guest bed and made a play area for him.

Enjoying his new play area
That's all for now. Nothing exciting around here. Just stress. :-) Hopefully once we're well into the new school year things will calm down. For now they're quite hectic!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Different Perspective on "What to Expect When You're Expecting"

Warning: Spoilers included! 

Last week Dave and I had a "stay-at-home date night" and  hesitantly chose to watch "What to Expect When You're Expecting." Ever since our struggle with infertility, we (mostly I) have avoided tv shows and movies dealing with pregnancy. Of course, it's unavoidable as it's a part of life and a pretty common theme. But, as we tried desperately to get pregnant with no success, watching both Angela and Pam get pregnant on "The Office" soon became torture, so shows like this were abandoned for a while. Once we adopted Litte Piñata, I have become a whole lot more interested in entertainment dealing with babies, but that doesn't mean that pregnancy related things are always easy now, as it's still a part of life where I am left out. 

All that to say, our expectations were low going into the movie. We even said we'd stop it if it made us too sad or annoyed. But, we were so pleasantly surprised! It was good to see at least one couple struggling with infertility from the beginning. The characters and situations were believable, though obviously caricatured. We felt the awkwardness of the couple that got pregnant after two years of trying only to discover that his father's young wife was pregnant with twins.  We were groaning right along with them.  There were so many clever lines that we could totally relate to and made us laugh out loud. It was realistic in showing the various journeys people take to parenthood, and I thought the grief of miscarriage was portrayed well (even though we haven't personally experienced it). Hearing the fears and worries of the adopting couple was so very, very familiar to us.  In all, though there was obviously a great deal of growing bellies and pregnancy talk, the issue was not glossed over, overly romanticized, and especially was not taken for granted (as it so often seems to be on TV).  Because of this, the many pregnancies hurt less to watch, and I have to say, we would actually recommend the movie (although I may not say this if we were still childless). 

But, another thought entered my mind as the movie closed and the couples had their happy endings with their babies. Although the "giving birth" scenes were a bit hard for me to watch, I couldn't help but think of the women for whom those scenes must be even harder to see: birth mothers.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Music vs. Swim Class for Toddlers

Here's a post I wrote over at HelloBee. Another post to come (hopefully) soon with pictures from our trip to Florida!

This summer I thought it would be fun to enroll our Little Piñata in a fun toddler class or two. I looked into all kinds of classes, and since most classes (like dance and gymnastics) are open to kids 2 years old and older, my two choices ended up being music and swimming. After asking around for advice and being unable to decide, we bought an 8 week session of music class and just a one month session of "Parent and Tot" swimming lessons. I went in not knowing what to expect, although most people thought that Little Piñata would enjoy swimming classes best. I was actually really surprised that we found the opposite to be true! After the first month, Little Piñata has gotten SO much out of music class, but we have found the swimming lessons to be a waste of both time and money. Now, I don't think this will be the case with all swim lessons and music classes everywhere, but it's true with the particular ones we found near us. Getting Ready for his last swimming lesson!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fellow Bloggers....

For some reason I have gotten LOTS of anonymous spam comments on my last post about our job changes. What causes these comments and how do you prevent it? I've never gotten much spam before on the blog, so I'm wondering what to do! :-) Does anyone else have experience with this?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Some New Things

Sorry for my lack of presence here on the blog! The past few weeks have brought some fun, exciting and kind of scary (but still good) changes for our family. :-)

1. I am now a contributing blogger over at HelloBee, a Pregnancy, Baby and Parenting Website/Blog! I will be blogging about infertility, adoption and parenthood. So, it may take me a little while to figure out how to balance blogging at both places. :-) If you want to check out my first couple of posts, I'm Mrs. Pinata.

2. Dave has an almost full-time job! Yay! He's been piecing together jobs for over 5 years now so this is a much welcome change. :-) He will continue to teach a few classes at Belmont, but his primary job will be the Interim Music Director at our church! We hope this turns into a long-term, full-time job. But, for now we're so grateful for this step for him and for our family. We're all thrilled.

3. I officially quit my job! Yikes!! Turns out it's time to move forward past the in-between into something new. This is the terrifying change. I've had my job teaching Spanish for 5 years and it was a really, really good job. There are frustrations in every job, but I really can't complain. I loved my students and I loved what I taught. But, an opportunity to teach 3 year old Preschool at our church's program popped up and after a lot of tears, questioning and prayer we decided it was the best move for our family. I'll be working 3 days a week, and brining the buddy with me 2/3 of those days to be in the Toddler Room. My parents will watch him that third day. And I will be home with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays!! It will be a sacrifice for us financially, but with Dave's new job at church, faith and shopping at Aldi, we will make it work. :-)

I'll share more in the coming weeks and months! For now we're trying to enjoy the summer. :-)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

13 Months

Enjoying the Pool
How is it possible I'm writing a 13 month update?! I guess it's no surprise that it's late. :-) I debated on whether or not to continue these since he's over a year old now, but I decided that the SECOND year of life is also full of lots of changes and milestones so I'll try to keep it up until the turns 2. 

Weight & Length: 
When we took him to our new (yay!) doctor, he weighed 18 pounds, which bumped him up to 5% in the WHO percentiles, but of course, still below the CDC chart. They measures his height and head circumference too, but sadly I don't remember what they are! This was his weight at 12.5 months.
13 Months

Sleeping:

Well, I've already blogged about this, so you know that night sleeping was rough this month due to teething (EIGHT teeth popped in from early May-June 11th).

He still takes two naps on MOST days, but on days he has music or swimming class he only gets one nap. Thankfully that one nap is about 3 hours long, but it's still not usually enough daytime sleep for this guy to not be over-tired by bedtime. So, two naps is preferred. :-) He DID start fighting his afternoon nap for a few days, so we make sure to wake him up after 1.5 hours from his morning nap so he will still sleep well in the afternoon.

His (ideal) schedule at 13 months:

7am- Wake Up & Have Breakfast
8am- Independent Play Time
9:30am- A bit of Milk, then Nap
11am- Wake him up
11:30am- Lunch 

1:45pm- Snack
2pm- Nap
4pm- (About the time he wakes up)
5/5:30pm- Dinner
6:30pm- Bathtime & Bedtime Routine (includes a real toothbrush now!)

7pm Bottle & Bedtime

I like food, just if it's well-seasoned. :)
Eating:
He doesn't seem as much of a finicky eater as before. BUT, he won't eat too much of one thing. Apparently he likes a variety for his meals. What a complex palate this kid has. ;-) 


In the morning we start out with a 6-8 oz bottle. It's definitely the time of day he gets the most milk. We are SO grateful that we still have a big enough supply of donated breastmilk that he gets this in his breakfast bottle. He loves fruit for breakfast and we usually also give him yogurt mixed with whole grain baby cereal or oatmeal.

For lunch he gets a sippy cup of raw goat's milk (I will write more about this later) and then lots of finger foods. I also try to spoon feed him either cottage cheese, applesause, or some baby food, just to get more calories in when he's not eating a ton. I would say his favorite lunch-time food right now is Ezekiel bread (it uses sprouted grains) and almond butter. Which is great news for us because almond butter has lots of good fats and calories. :-) He also loves cheese, chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli (especially with olive oil and pepper), beef, sausage, prunes, bananas and asparagus. I'm not good at adding as good of a variety of vegetables to his meals. Does anyone have good ideas of easy veggies to serve?

Before his afternoon nap he still has milk with cod liver oil and butter. I know it's a strange afternoon snack, but cod liver oil is pretty much the best supplement you can take! And the nutrients are absorbed better when you take it with butter.

Then for dinner he has a lot of the same thing that he had for dinner. Although we try to keep grains to breakfast and lunch if possible. For no particular reason except to try to prevent him from being addicted to carbs.

He still has a bottle before bed, but it's goat's milk now. I think we'll be keeping this bottle for a LONG time. He sleeps especially poorly if he doesn't get at least 4-5oz for this feeding.


Clothing:


He's pretty much in all 12 month clothing, except a few articles of 9 month clothes. He has one pair of shorts that are 9-month and they are ADORABLE! But, they likely won't fit for much longer.


Personality:
See? Sometimes very upset!

Well, he's just as excited about life as he was a month ago. SUPER happy and excited and running around the house in a good mood, and vocal about his distaste if he doesn't get what he wants. We're still working on that, but "please" is unfortunately not a part of his vocabulary yet. 

Milestones & Firsts:

-He says "momma" again and uses it to refer to me! He also uses it when he's whiny and wants something. ha!
-He tried (and loved) both bread, asparagus and almond butter for the first time.
-He started making a "sh" sound to mean shoes. He LOVES his shoes and when he ask him to go get them he goes right for them to get them out. I think it's partially because he loves going outside. :)
-He scraped his knee for the first (and second, and third...) time. This happens a lot since he's obsessed with playing with the watering can on the patio.
-He says "doggie" and "woof, woof!" He definitely says it with dogs, but when we went to the zoo he also used it for ALL the animals he got excited about, including the flamingos. :-)
-He likes to "help" by putting clothes from his dresser into his laundry hamper and by pushing the swiffer sweeper around the house on the wood floors.
-He started kicking his balls, and even using his baby golf club to hit the smaller balls around (now that I think about it, most of these little balls are missing!)
-His first swimming lesson and first music class- He LOVES the pool!
-I know I already said this a million times on here, but he got his first four molars, for a total of 12 teeth!

The buddy's new buddy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blog for Lifesong: Adoption Mission Moment!

13-6 MM Email

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)


Adoption. One of the most beautiful pieces of the Gospel. An all-powerful and loving Father God chose us, in our sinfulness, to be His sons and daughters. Does it get any better than that? The fact that we, as Christians, can replicate this relationship in our own families to tell the Gospel through our lives is an complete honor and joy.


"WE SAID YES TO ADOPTION" // Andy & Laura's Story

Andy and Laura, adoptive parents of Eli from Ethiopia shared how God provided every step of the way, crushing fears and showing that HE is faithful to finish what He starts.

Part of God's provision came from Lifesong and its partner, Legacy 685 Adoption Fund, helping this family financially with a matching grant and funding support.


INDIGENOUS ADOPTION // Ukraine

Meet Volodya and Lyliya, one of the many Ukrainian families blessed by Adoption without Borders, an initiative that intentionally links like-minded families and churches in the USA with Christian families in Ukraine who are seeking to adopt.  

awob pictures MM

"(Adoption is) the deepest evangelism we can provide, to dedicate our lives to bringing children to the Lord. Our biggest dream is that all of our children would commit their lives to God." --Volodya & Lyliya, adoptive parents of five Ukrainian children 


HOW CAN I HELP? 

Because of your support, the families above have been able to give a forever family to a child in need. Are you looking for ways to join the cause? What you could do:


READ MORE ABOUT ADOPTION...

How Could We Not? -  Erik & Erin's adoption story is unique, but beautiful as they stepped in to help a family member in need by providing Austin with a stable and secure family. Read Full Story

Worth the Wait - Guest blog post from Jeff & Rachel,  adoptive parents of Kate from Ethiopia. Read Full Story

God Creates Family from Strangers - Sharon, adoptive mom, shares her heart of on an ordinary day four months after bringing Asrate into their forever family.  Read Full Story

US Churches impacting Ukrainian families! - Three US churches wrap around a Ukrainian family to ensure home repairs where finished soadoption could be complete. Read Full Story

"I know you guys!" - Read as Robert & Alexis share about meeting their son Jacob for the very first time. Read Full Story