Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fluffy Butt

We are officially a cloth diapering household! I've really looked forward to this. I first became interested in cloth diapers because they looked so cute. I was hooked when I found out how much money you save over the course of the child's diapering years (spend an average of $2,000 for disposables, as apposed to $500.00 for cloth). I actually find cloth diapering just as easy as disposable. The laundry takes some getting used to, but it's really not that bad. Josh is even pretty enthusiastic and I've heard dads are usually a little hard to get on board. Ya know, the whole poop thing and all.

It was trial and error at first with which brand I liked best. I had been building up our stash for some time, even since before Squeaks came home. I made the mistake of buying multiple of one brand without being sure they would work well for us. I figured "hey, cloth diapers are cloth diapers. Right?" Nope. Fit is wildly different between brands. It ended up that the brand I had the most of, Kawaii Baby, was too bulky for her. We'll have to wait to use them when she's a bit bigger. I also ordered one FuzzyBunz diaper, but the whole adjustable elastic sizing thing is kind of a pain in the butt. I even tried my hand at pre-folds (OsoCozy)  and covers (Thirsties). They're great if you're willing to put in the practice time. Right now, I'm not very fast and if Squeaks is in a particularly squirmy mood, it's like trying to do origami on a moving object. In the end, bumGenius is by far my favorite brand. We have both "pocket diapers" (a separate absorbent insert is stuffed into a pocket in the diaper) and "all-in-ones" (the absorbent inserts are attached to the diaper). All the BumGenius diapers fit her great, but I think their pocket diapers are best for night time, and the all-in-ones are a great time saver (no stuffing the inserts into the pockets after washing). This video is a little lengthy, but is really good at explaining all the different types of cloth diapers.

Some of the benefits for us personally have been great. Squeaks actually tells me when she's wet now. In disposables, for some reason, she was content to sit in a wet diaper for quite a while. In cloth though, I think she can feel the wetness more and makes some noise (this bodes well for potty training). Diaper rash has never been an issue for her, but now it won't be an issue for sure. I also don't mind the laundry. We have an HE washer so our water bill wasn't really affected. It's just a little time consuming. I need to be home a minimum of four hours (including dry time) in order to get it all done. This hasn't been a problem for me, but I can see how it would be difficult for working parents. Looking out of my kitchen window at my laundry line covered in colorful cloth diapers is immensely satisfying. Plus, in the California sun, outdoor line drying is actually faster than using my dryer. Score! Drying in the sun has other benefits too. It bleaches out any stains and balances the diaper's PH. The main benefit though is how flippin' cute babies look with fluffy butts! The only down side is that all Squeaks clothes fit way tighter with a cloth diaper on.

I really could go on and on about all the benefits and cool facts about cloth diapers but 
I won't. I encourage you to do your research if you're considering it. There are tons and tons of YouTube videos (this is one of my favorites) and endless other blogs that cover everything you could ever want to know. A few words of advice though. Buy ONE of each brand you think might work, try them out, and then buy more of what you like. A diaper sprayer makes things a lot easier (that whole poop thing again). And lastly, if you're gonna do cloth diapers, you might as well do cloth wipes, it's easier.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Squeaks' First Easter

What a beautiful day! This day holds special meaning for multiple reasons. Not only is Easter a day to celebrate the fact that we serve a living God (which is mind blowing and totally awesome by itself), but it's also the day we announced our intentions to adopt to our family two years ago. Two years! At the moment that seems like a very short amount of time. During those two years though, every day of waiting was a struggle. At one point today, while watching the swarm of excited family members descend on my daughter, joy and love washing over their faces, I thought "I'd gladly do it all over again for this little girl". Frankly, now that I know her, I'd wait even longer. So, yes, it was very fitting that our first family holiday gathering with Squeaks home was Easter. Hope you all had an equally blessed day! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Love...

Listening to you breath next to me in the dark.
The squeaky noises you make in your sleep.
Your gas smiles and your real smiles.
Watching your daddy cuddle you.
The way your arms stick straight out when you're startled.
When you fall asleep on my chest.
The feeling of amazement I get when I look at you.
Waking up with you at 2am (not even kidding).
Listening to daddy sing to you. When he doesn't know all the words he adds an air guitar solo. 
When your toes wiggle while you're eating.
When you giggle in your sleep.
The way your eyes light up when you see daddy.
That you don't mind being held by other people, but after awhile, you only want me.
That I get to call you my daughter.
Watching you discover your hands.
The sucking noise you make when you're hungry.
The way you smell.
When you bury your face in my chest to get comfortable.
The way your little fist clutches the collar of my shirt when I carry you.
When you hold my pinky while I'm holding your bottle.
When your chubby cheeks bounce in your car seat when we go over a bump.
That you don't really like your swing or bouncer. I prefer to hold you anyway.
That you think it's funny when the dogs lick you, cause I can't get them to stop!
The happiness you've brought our family.
Your funny little personality that's starting to show through.
Watching daddy try to make you laugh. You're getting so close!!
Your beautiful long eyelashes and heart shaped lips.
That you've helped me learn to trust in God's provision.
All of your many many MANY baby fat rolls.
How artistic and elegant your little hands always look.
That your existence is proof of God's power and perfect timing.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Not Crazy

I've gone back and forth on writing a blog post about this ever since our adoption shower. I had decided to tell this story at our shower because I knew my audience, friends and family, and 
I knew they wouldn't have me committed. At least I was fairly sure. I share it with you now because it's a huge part of Squeaks' story. It's also a big conformation of God's power and His love for me. Frankly, I believe it's a miracle and people can't see enough miracles. God's power should be shared.

If you've followed our blog you know that when my milk came in after Evelyn's passing, I decided to pump it and save it for our adopted child. I didn't know when God would bring our child home, but I couldn't imagine letting this opportunity pass. It was difficult. I pumped a lot, as if feeding a child. It was very emotional for me. I grew attached to the process. I know that sounds weird, attached to pumping breast milk, but I did. It felt like a connection to Evelyn and, at the same time, a connection to our future child. I was somehow actively loving both of them. Maybe other mothers will understand. I would have pumped until I couldn't anymore. I was determined.

It was seven days before Good Friday last year. March 22nd, just before midnight. Josh and I were getting into bed and I decided to pump one more time. As I sat there on our bed in the dark, pumping while Josh tried to sleep next to me, I heard Him. Not audibly, but "heard" is the only word I can think of. It was  like a punch in the chest but slower. Abrupt but gentle. Heavy and deep. 

"Stop pumping and I will give you a child in seven days."

These were not my own thoughts. My heart raced. I felt light headed. It repeated in my head over and over. "Do I stop pumping right now? Yes." I stopped. Apparently, I told Josh right away. He says he remembers how strange I looked, but I don't remember talking about it until the next morning. I do remember that he believed me. If anyone would have confidence in my sanity I would hope it would be him. It was a relief. He was excited with me.

It took me a while to get to sleep. I kept imagining what would happen in seven days. I immediately believed what He said. God had told me this. Yes, I heard God's voice. I know what you're thinking cause I use to think the same thing when people said they heard God. "Come on. Really? You must be smokin' your socks." Don't get me wrong, I believe God speaks to people, through the Bible, through other people, but not a direct line. This was like nothing I'd ever felt though.
 I debated whether or not I would tell my mom, which is nuts, and proof of how crazy I felt, cause I pretty much tell my mom everything. She called me that morning though, and immediately could tell something was on my mind. When I told her, she believed me too. Two for two. I felt even more confident. As I did the math I realized seven days from then was Good Friday. This seamed even more providential when I remembered we lost Evelyn on Black Friday. I know Black Friday is a man made shopping "holiday" but when you think about it the days seem directly opposite one another. A day of sacrifice and love versus a day of materialism and self gratification. It was further conformation for me that God's timing was perfect. 

I told no one else. The week passed and life continued. My mom and I agreed I wouldn't call her on Friday unless something happened. I was envisioning getting "the call". We would be matched, chosen, or even, maybe, the baby had been born and we were instant parents! But seven days later, Good Friday, March 29th came and went and there was no visible outcome or explanation for what I had heard. It was difficult for me to accept. I know what I heard. I know Who I heard. I'm no flake. I don't convince myself of signs or follow my "feelings". I know better than to put words in God's mouth. I was convinced though! I discussed it with Josh and my mom multiple times. We rolled over possibilities. Maybe He wanted me to stop pumping and my deep desire for children added the "seven days" part? No, I wanted kids but I wasn't so desperate that I would hallucinate a message from God. Maybe I subconsciously didn't want to pump anymore. No, like I said, I was attached and determined. I had only pumped for four months. I wasn't done. Maybe I was grief stricken and tired after loosing Evelyn? Again, no, this happened. Yes, I was still grieving, but if anything that was only further proof of what I heard. Evelyn was still in my head, in my thoughts, heavy on my heart. I was waiting for our adopted child, but having them in seven days!? I needed to catch my breath. Plus, frankly, I had been mad at God after loosing Evelyn. We were not on speaking terms at the moment. I felt very far from Him and He had felt very silent in my life the past few months. So, after much deliberation, I still believed what He had said. This was not just me. We didn't see the outcome but something had happened on Good Friday 2013. 

"What I heard" would come up in conversation over the next year. I decided to share it with three more people. People strong in their faith and conviction. People I love and trusted. People who wouldn't lock me in a padded room. All of them believed me and all of them agreed that something unseen had happened. 

Fast forward to January 9th 2014, the day after Squeaks' birth. Josh and I are on our way to the hospital to meet her birth parents and our daughter. It suddenly occurs to me that I should type the date for Good Friday 2013 into a due date calculator and see how close we are. I hadn't ever thought to do that before. I Googled one on my phone and typed in March 29th 2013. 

"Your baby is due January 3rd, 2014." Squeaks was born January 8th, 2014.

My heart raced again and, at that moment, a year's worth of questioning my sanity ended. She had existed! No one knew but God, but she had existed on Good Friday 2013. She was ours from the second the biological properties needed for her to form were created. She was ours even before that. God knew her, knew when she would be here, knew when we would meet her. He knew.

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

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