Friday, February 28, 2014

Invites and Thank Yous

I'm still collecting pictures of our Dr. Seuss themed adoption shower from a few different people, but until I have them all in order and ready to post, I thought I'd share the invites and thank you cards I made. I'm fairly impressed with myself. Humble much? But really, they turned out better than I think store bought would have been and they were ridiculously easy to make. I did both as a postcard to save on postage and envelopes. Here are the invites: (The white boxes are covering private info. like address, phone number, etc.)

I loved the idea of doing books instead of cards (thank you Pinterest for the cute poem). Now Squeaks has a well established library and each book has a sweet note from the loved one who gave it to her.

We received so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts from SO MANY people! I would have loved to write personal and lengthy thank you cards to each individual person, but if I did that I'd be writing them until Squeaks' first birthday. I decided a pre-written note (thought up by yours truly), still very heartfelt and appreciative, accompanied by a sweet picture of our girl for everyone's fridge would be perfect.
 The white box on the front of the card is covering Squeaks' name. The little pink kiss above it and the pose in the photo reminds me of a picture of a 50's starlet autographing a picture for her love. So sweet!
Again, the little white box at the bottom covers Squeaks' name. Each card is "signed" with love from our girl in the same font as her "signature" on the front. I can't wait to tell her how generous everyone has been and teach her to write thank you notes.

I designed both the invite and thank you card using PicMonkey. They have basic free design features or you can purchase a membership for even more editing and design doodads (I used the free version). I love it! Except for the picture of Squeaks and the Cat In The Hat images (found on Google images), I used PicMonkey for everything. After designing the images I uploaded them to a blank postcard template on Vistaprint, added the messages on the backs, and added our return address. Vistaprint is super easy and well priced (plus you can usually find coupons online). The only thing I didn't like were the set quantities. You could order 20, 50, 100, or 250 postcards and nothing in between. Even with the set quantities though, I think the invites cost me about $11.00 to make (not including postage) and I got 100 of them. I ordered way more of the thank you cards so they cost more, but still very reasonable. I'm really happy with how they turned out.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

First Date

Josh goes back to work on Monday! We've been blessed to have him home for six weeks. It's been so nice to have him home for so long. He's been a huge help. I think I might have had to do the dishes only once in the past six weeks. He's done laundry, mopped, taken care of me and Squeaks. I have a good man. 

That being said, I'm looking forward to beginning our normal routine. I'd love it if he could be home all the time but it's just not gonna happen. Getting used to my daily activities without his help is going to be a challenge and I'm eager to get started. I've waited a long time to be a REAL stay at home mom. I'm very excited. 

Anywho, last night we decided to have our first date night as parents before he goes back to work. We had Grandma (Josh's mom) and Grammy (my mom) share the first official baby sitting job, which they loved. We decided the only movie out right now worth seeing was the Lego movie. Yes, we were the only people in the theater without our child but who cares! It was pretty cute. Not fantastic, but okay. We enjoyed it. Then we went out to dinner at a local burger place. I had some fried chicken sliders and buttermilk biscuits with coleslaw. *drool. Our dinner conversation has definitely been altered but was deep and meaningful to us. We swapped favorite-part-of-being-a-parent stories. Both of us agreed watching her personality develop is mind blowing and both of us expressed amazement at our capacity to love her SO much. The conversation turned to her bowel movements at one point and we laughed at our ability to discuss such things while eating. Receiving a text from Grandma describing an epic fart (by Squeaks, not Grandma. Haha!) made for some great laugher too. All wonderful conversation. I'll admit, it was difficult to leave her, but it was lovely to spend time with my husband. Seeing him as our daughter's father has added a whole new level to my love for him. 
Enjoying dinner together after the movie.
Home again! Had a great time but I was very happy to have her back in my arms.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BSF Shower and 1 Month Pictures

I've waited a LONG time to have a baby shower!!! And now I'm gonna have two!! Thanks to the lovely ladies in my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) leaders group, my wonderful mom, and mother-in-law, we will be showered with love twice.

When my fellow BSF leaders informed me they were going to throw me a shower I thought "a few gifts, some punch..." but they really surprised me! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised though cause they are all so sweet and generous.

The shower (Dr. Seuss themed!) that my mom and mother-in-law are giving me isn't until this coming Saturday, so I'll share pictures from that one later. For now, I'll share pictures from the lovely shower thrown by my fellow BSF leaders. They really went all out.

  They got me the cutest cake and balloons! Squeaks slept through the whole thing in her wrap.

Loved the decorations!
The balloons floated into our skylight and Squeaks enjoyed looking up at them from her bassinet.

A few days later, and a few days before Squeaks turned one month, our talented friend Becca (same friend who took our adoption "maternity" pictures) came over and took some beautiful pictures of our girl. I'm having a really hard time deciding which ones to frame! 

She's growing so fast and eating like crazy! She officially finished the last of the milk I pumped and we are now relying completely on donations. Thank you God for generous mothers! 
We still haven't started cloth diapering but as soon as she gets a little bigger and needs to be changed a little less often, I'll take the first stab at it. 
I did find the first down side to the wrap. I kept noticing little bits of sparkle in her hair but didn't know where they were coming from. Her head was always sparkly! Then I realized its the makeup bronzer I wear! I can't help but kiss and snuggle her perfectly round little head when she's all snugly wrapped on my chest.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I've been calling our daughter "baby girl" on our blog in an attempt to give her a bit of personal privacy (babies need privacy too) but it sounds...impersonal. I thought about calling her "V" her first initial (teaser) but it sounds kinda like a super villain. Haha!! Am I right!? So I've waited patiently for her personality to show through and produce a nickname. And so, from hence forth, in blogging world, she will be known as "Squeaks", and here's why. (video won't work on mobile devices)

This is her sleepy sound. She usually makes it when she's wrapped in her sling and in a deep sleep. I love it!!

Today was also her one month birthday!! We spent the day with lots of friends, first at a bridal shower and then at Punkin's third birthday party (stop growing up!!!). Squeaks slept in her wrap most of the time, but if she had been awake she would have heard all the oohs and ahhs at how beautiful she is. People say "she's gorgeous!" And I always say "thank you!" As if I had something to do with it. But 
I feel like I do! She grew in my heart, she's absorbing my love, I have to think that shows through. Her beautiful birth mom gave her those big wonderful eyes, pouty lips, and adorable nose. Part of me is in there too though. A BIG part of my heart.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The "Stuff"

There were a few things high up on my list of looking-forward-to when baby girl came home. Getting her home was the important part, now we get to enjoy the "stuff" of parenthood. Things like defrosting the milk I pumped for her, putting together her crib, introducing her to the dogs, breaking in the baby wrap I splurged on months before I knew she existed. All the "stuff". It's been wonderful and I have really enjoyed documenting the "stuff" so I thought I'd share.

Pumping breast milk was difficult, but I couldn't be happier that I did it. Unfortunately, I did have to throw a little away because of freezer burn which made me want to throw up. Those of you who have breast fed or pumped milk will understand. They don't call it liquid gold for nothin'. I'm still able to give her about three months of my own breast milk though. I've already started taking milk donations from some very generous ladies for when we run out of the milk I pumped. I'm determined to reach my parenting bucket list goal of six months feeding her with breast milk only.
Putting together a baby crib is one of those moments I think every mom looks forward to. It's the ultimate in nesting satisfaction. Watching Josh put our daughter's crib together was just as satisfying as I expected it would be. That's right, I watched. Someone had to hold the baby and take pictures.
The dogs have done really well with her. If we let them I think they would lick her all day. Our oldest, Diamond, is very protective already. There were moments of jealousy at first, but they've done very well and I think they're all going to have a lot of fun playing together when baby girl gets older.
I love the wrap!! And so does baby girl. I wear it practically all day just to have it ready. It makes getting things done around the house easier while still being able to bond and cuddle her. It's very soothing to her too. She rarely fusses when she's wrapped and generally falls asleep. I think this kind of close contact bonding is especially important in adoption. It's good for mommy and baby!! I guess I can check this one off my parenting bucket list too.
I've enjoyed the past three weeks SO much. It just feels right. She was the missing piece.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

So Flippin Happy!!

I wanted to write about baby girl's first week home as soon as possible so I wouldn't forget any detail. Well, here she is, three weeks old, and I'm just getting to it. Oh well. I've been busy enjoying her. A lot of things have lost importance. A lot of things have become infinity more important. One thing is for sure. We are indescribably happy! Having her home has been the definition of joy. Yes, we are tired and our personal style and general self maintenance has declined somewhat, but who cares??!! It's been replaced by diapers , burp cloths, and bottles!!! We are blissfully happy. She is a super relaxed baby and only cries when she's hungry or being changed. She has officially christened her changing table (multiple times) and there was one incident with lots of poo and us laughing our heads off. It's been so much fun being first time parents. Just sitting and staring at her is better than live professional theater!!! Have I mentioned we're REALLY happy?!!
One of the benefits of adoption is not having to go through hours and hours of labor (physical labor that is. The emotional labor of adoption is unmatched). The day our girl came home, I was fairly well rested. Aside from the draining anticipation, I was physically prepared and energetic, so we had our parents over right away to meet her. They were at our door less than an hour after baby girl was home. It was great! We have waited SO long to give our parents a grandchild and watch them enjoy a baby. It was such a blessing to watch them with her. Since that Tuesday night the stream of excited family and friends has not stopped. Everyone has been so generous and supportive, celebrating right along side us. If I wasn't so tired (NOT complaining by the way. Love taking care of our blessing at all hours.) the past few weeks would feel like one giant baby shower. A huge party! This little girl was prayed for and is loved more than she could ever imagine.

Here is some video and photos of her homecoming and meeting the grandparents for the first time. 

Meeting a few more excited family members including her aunt, great aunts, cousins, uncle, great uncle, and great grandma.

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