Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween last year was pretty much overlooked in our house. This year is much more fun! Squeaks is going as Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc.! I know I said I would be making costumes, and in the future I'm sure I will, but when we saw this one at the store I just couldn't resist. She could not be cuter. Yes, I understand Mike is a boy character, but he's my favorite, and at this age kids are doomed to dress up as whatever their parents want. I put a green bow on one of her horns, so it's okay. Haha! Josh and I went back and forth on what we should dress up as, but couldn't ever decide. So we're going as first time parents!! We're gonna head over to our church's harvest festival and people-watch all the great costumes. Other than that, it'll be a quiet, but very happy night. Hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch

We live pretty close to a very nice pumpkin patch. Josh and I have been going for years. It's one of those things that just makes it feel like fall. Over the years this particular pumpkin patch has gotten more pricey (charging admission, charging for the petting zoo, charging for the corn maze) so this year, since Squeaks is so little, we just stuck to picking out her tiny pumpkin and enjoying the beautiful day. We can do the petting zoo and pony rides next year. She loved touching all the pumpkins and seeing all the different colored gourds. They had sunflowers planted everywhere to attract bees to pollinate the pumpkins and Squeaks LOVED the flowers. It was fun to watch her get super excited when we handed her her own tiny pumpkin. She immediately tried to eat it. Haha! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Staying Focused

I got some not so great news recently. I've been diagnosed with endometriosis. Ugh. Apparently it's a fairly common diagnosis, especially for women in the U.S. Americans tend to eat a lot of hormone-laden red meat, dairy products, and pesticides (although there is no real known cause, poor diet definitely contributes).  I can't remember the last time I had cow's milk though (we drink almond milk). Plus, we eat red meat maybe once a week (and it's always organic grass fed), and I steer clear of the dirty dozen. I guess I'm just lucky. My doctor did laparoscopic surgery to remove what she could find (but it will grow back), and after doing some research (here's one helpful site), I've decided to cut out dairy, wheat, and gluten as much as I can to try and manage it. It can't hurt to be a little more healthy.

The part that really bites though is that this might have contributed to Evelyn's passing because endometriosis is toxic to a fertilized egg. When my doctor told me this, it brought back a rush of emotions I had worked hard to overcome. My first thought was "I poisoned my child with my own body!" My second thought was hatred for the sin and brokenness of this world. And then God lead me back to gratefulness. Gratefulness to experience pregnancy at all. I mean really!? First, diminished ovarian reserve, and then endometriosis on top of that!? It's a miracle Evelyn was ever in existence. What a gracious gift God gave me! Grateful for the amazing job my husband has that comes with health-care benefits so that I could find out why I had been experiencing so much pain every month. Grateful for the daughter I had waiting for me when I got home. Grateful for the miracle of adoption.

So on the way home from the doctor's office I stopped at Babies-R-Us. I walked into the store I had dreaded just one year ago. I walked passed the newborn section, passed the six-month section, and purchased a pair of size twelve-month pajamas for my daughter. My daughter who is healthy, beautiful, smart, and growing like a weed. Just because I can. Because I am a mom.

I must stay focused on the blessings. God makes such beautiful stories out of our trials. My body doesn't work "normally", but I still get to have this awesome life with an amazing little girl who was hand picked by God and her birth parents to call me "momma". Sometimes I feel like anyone can give birth, anyone can have the basic my-mom-went-into-labour-and-24-hours-later-I-was-born story. Not just anyone gets to have my story and Squeaks' story. It's rich, interesting, and beautiful.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keepin' It Clean

We're still going strong with the cloth diaper plan. There have been a few small breaks, like when we went on vacation and when I wasn't feeling well, when we used disposables for a bit. I always came right back to cloth though. I actually even missed my cloth stash. I also use cloth wipes (with a spray solution of water and baby wash) as often as I can. However, there is that occasional diaper that just requires disposable wipes (Ew!). Up till now, I've always bought Honest Co. disposable diapers and wipes. In an effort to cut costs, I've decided to make my own wipes (I'll never give up Honest Co. diapers. They're the closest thing to cloth in my mind. Love them!). I was first inspired to make wipes when I read a post by Gingi at Domestic Geek Girl when she made wipes for her sweet daughter. She gives great info on the ingredients and why they are beneficial. I didn't have all the same ingredients as she did on hand, and since this was suppose to help us save money, not spend more, I worked with what I had. Here's what I used:

2 cups filtered warm water
(You can also use distilled for even fewer impurities.)
2 tbs castile soap
(I used peppermint Dr. Bronner's because it's super gentle. Peppermint kills bacteria too.)
2 tbs coconut oil 
(This is a good moisturizer and has lots of health benefits.)
8 drops of tea tree oil
(Also good at killing bacteria.)
8 drops of lavender oil
(Calming and covers the tea tree oil smell.)

Mix everything together (swirl, don't shake, to keep bubbles down) in the same container you're going to put the wipes in. I used an old coffee container I scrounged from my parents since Josh and I don't drink coffee. Cut a roll of paper towels in half with a serrated knife (this takes some elbow grease). With your mixture in the bottom of the coffee container, slide in one of the paper towel roll halves cut side down, put the lid on, and let it sit 10-15 minutes. After that, flip it over and let it sit another 10-15 minutes to soak in all the way. Open it up and slide out the center cardboard piece in the middle of the paper towel roll. The wipes should dispense perfectly from the center! Cool!

I've used these on a few messy diapers, and so far so good. They are thinner than Honest Co. wipes (which are super thick), but that is my only con. They moisturize like nobody's business and are really good at getting the stickier messes. I'm very happy with these. Let me know if you try them out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oct. Adoption Love Link-Up: Celebrate

Yet again, some seriously awesome blogs joined the Adoption Love Link-Up this last month. We had brand new adoptive parents, seasoned veterans, multiracial families, waiting parents-to-be, and even a birth mom! I hope you all found some great new blogs to follow and support. We had some very thoughtful posts from those who chose to write about last month's topic question. I really enjoyed them all. Here are those who responded, just in case you missed them: (Please let me know if I forgot you!)

This month's topic question is a fun one. I look forward to reading lots of creative and inspiring ideas.
How did you/will you chose to tell your child they are adopted, and how do you/will you celebrate this blessing with them? Or if you're a birth-parent, how would you hope to be included? 

As always, if you have an idea for a topic question, something you're curious about and would like some feedback on, feel free to let me know. Also, don't forget, the blog list on the Adoption Love Link-Up page restarts every month too, so that it stays current. If you keep blogging, keep posting your link!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Answering My Own Question

I promised I would answer the question I posed for this month's Adoption Love Link-Up. Since it restarts soon, I need to get to it! So many of you wrote such thoughtful responses. I love the variety! Every blogger had a different take on the question. I'll share links to all of them when I post the new monthly link-up topic in just a few days! 

This month's question:
How, if at all, has adoption changed your view of humanity (for good or bad)?

I believe adoption has made me more compassionate and frankly...for lack of a better word...curious toward humanity. 

I'm a natural born people-watcher. Places like malls, parks, restaurants are all fair game for some professional style people watchin'. Disneyland is people-watching paradise! Don't get all creeped out though. I don't follow anyone or stare, no using binoculars, nothing weird. Just a general observation of human kind. While I watch, I imagine their story. What have they experienced? What trials have they faced? What made them choose that outfit? (Just kidding. Kinda.)

When we chose to adopt, I found myself observing families more than just individuals. Wondering how they grew (through adoption or biologically), thinking about how they bond, watching parents interact with their children. I'd see a pregnant woman and wonder how she felt about the life growing inside her. If she looked particularly tired, had she gotten bad news about her unborn child's health? Was she facing single-parenthood? Was she considering adoption? Had she been blessed with an active little one who enjoyed dancing on her bladder at all hours? 

After Evelyn went home, on my first ventures out into public I'm sure I looked like death warmed up. I didn't bother wearing makeup because I'd most likely cry it off. I was still physically recovering and hadn't lost my baby bump entirely. I felt thoroughly miserable and antisocial. One particularly chipper cashier at the grocery store could not take a hint and I ended up literally ignoring his many, many questions and attempts to get me to smile. Now, when I see a mom who looks unkempt, a woman gripping her husband's hand, both of them looking stressed, an expectant mom who looks less than thrilled with her glow, I wonder. And I pray. What trial are they facing and are they facing it armed with the grace of God and the hope He offers? "Please God, give them strength, give them joy, let them feel your love. Surround them with support. Let them have faith in your perfect timing and plan." I know, realistically, they may just be tired...or have gas...or something way less dramatic than 
I'm imagining. But who couldn't use a little prayer? Humanity needs as much prayer as it can get.
 Look for next month's link-up topic question coming soon!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Exhausted Cuteness

This last week has been exhausting to say the least. I had a minor health issue that put me out of commission for a bit, so Josh got a little dose of single parent life. I think it was good for him and Squeaks. They had some good bonding time and I got the rest I needed.

Anyway, Squeaks monthly birthday picture got set aside for a few days. When we finally had a moment when they could be taken, Squeaks was not terribly cooperative. I took a ton of pictures but nearly all of them came out with her looking less than enthusiastic. I managed to get one single picture of her smiling though. I thought maybe a costume change would wake her up a bit, but it seemed to do the exact opposite. At one point Josh even started jumping around behind me and singing to try and get a reaction, but that just made her look at him like he was nuts. Haha! At the end of it all I changed her into a t-shirt and she took a two hour nap. We were all a little exhausted. The pictures are pretty funny though.

Squeaks also had her nine month checkup today. She's 20 lbs. 10 oz. and 29 inches long. Our healthy girl! They also tested to make sure she's not anemic, and she's not. Yay! In fact the doctor said she's the first baby she has seen all week who isn't anemic, which makes me kind of sad for those other little ones. Go donor breast milk and homemade baby food!
The bow was more interesting I guess. lol!
What the heck is dad doing?!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shameless Plug

So I just did something pretty exciting. I applied for a job!...Well, a paid internship to be more precise. One of my favorite mommy/healthy living blogs, The Humbled Homemaker, is hiring a virtual assistant intern and I applied! 

The other day she posted an update about some blogging conferences that she's going to be attending soon and she mentioned that she has a virtual assistant. After reading her post I couldn't get the virtual assistant thing out of my head. I actually prayed about it later that night. And then this morning when I woke up I saw her Instagram feed had an announcement about the internship. I nearly jumped out of my skin! I quickly went over to her Facebook page and applied. I don't think I've applied for a job in about six years. This is a great opportunity though. It would help us take a little sting out of our remaining adoption costs, and also allow me to stay home with Squeaks. I think I'm perfectly suited for a position like this. Organization makes me crazy happy and I love blogging.

In the application it asked for the URL of my blog. So just on the chance that she actually comes and visits, here I am saying I really want the job Erin!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 and Awesome

I'm married to a 31 year old! We're and stuff.

Josh is super hard to buy for. Actually hard doesn't even cut it. He's nearly impossible to buy for. So this year he opted to skip a birthday gift from me in order to save up for a fancy pants Oppo bluray player. So I didn't even get to wrap a present for him! It made me feel like an awful wife...and how I feel on Josh's birthday is what matters, right!? So, I guess this year he wasn't hard to buy for at all. :)

After diner out the night before, on his actual birthday we decided to drive down to Balboa Park and visit a few of the museums and gardens. We got a slightly late start so we got there with only a few hours to spare before the majority of the museums closed. We decided on the Automotive Museum. It was smaller than one would hope and slightly overpriced in my opinion, but had some super cool cars. Next we visited the Air and Space Museum which was also featuring a Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit. I actually enjoyed the Ripley's exhibit more, but that's just me. And wouldn't-ya-know-it, my phone died and I couldn't get any pictures. We enjoyed both museums and both were very much up Josh's alley. 
Josh's favorite was the black Lotus Elise and mine was the pretty red Lead Sled.

Josh enjoying the fascinating world of shock absorbers. I did think it was pretty cool seeing some of the original prices on the cars. 1931 Cadillac for $3,450?! Yes please. 

Balboa is a beautiful place. Incredible architecture. It seemed to be a popular place for wedding pictures. While we were there we saw at least five sets of brides and grooms, and possibly a quinceanera (she looked very young). The sidewalks were also quite the theological cornucopia. At one end of the park was a tent promoting conversation on atheism. I stood watching their booth for a moment, contemplating, firstly the irony on organized atheism, and seconding, the signage they had chosen to draw people in. One read "There is no hell. There is no heaven. Relax. Enjoy your life." The second sign read "God didn't create the world...and she's not going to clean it up." Hmmmmmm. I don't know about you, but the first sign does not "relax" me. I could get much deeper on the subject (and you're free to ask me more in a private message), but suffice to say, I find satisfaction in the justice of Hell, and great peace in the gift of Heaven. Just sayin'. The second sign almost made me laugh. Really!? I hope I'm not the only person seeing the blatant contradiction (and "she"?!). Just a little farther down was a tarot card and palm reader. He did not look like he was making much money at it. Must not have taken the time to look into his own future. And then, at the end of the walkway was the "Jesus" booth. One of their largest signs read "Jesus Christ is your savior, not a swear word." Another said "You MUST accept Jesus as your savior." While both signs are...true...kinda, out of all the beautiful promises, pure love, hope in adversity, and eternal joy that comes with a life in Christ, these are the signs you choose!? And along with being bland, they're pushy too. Do better people!!

I'm getting a bit off topic...Josh's birthday!
 It really was a beautiful day. A long hot day, where not much went according to plan, but a beautiful day nonetheless. I look forward to going back and spending more time going through the other museums and gardens.

The next day we celebrated with family at Josh's parent's house. We had a barbecue and enjoyed the Jets/Chargers game. We've got diehard fans of both teams in our family so it was pretty fun. I made Josh's birthday cake of course. Although it wasn't quite as cool as last year's cake, the traditional random decorations Josh's parents have been adding to his birthday cakes since he was little added some much needed flare. I also made the invites for his party using the same site I used for our adoption shower invites. I'm pretty proud of them and I think it represents his personality perfectly.
My husband is my best friend. We get super mad at each other, we laugh together all the time, and we try as hard as we can to keep our marriage God centered. He is an awesome dad, husband, and all around awesome person. I wouldn't mind celebrating him everyday.

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